View Full Version : Which Modern Combat sim to choose...?

25 Apr 04, 05:42
It seems that my original post has got zapped :surprise:

So I`ll repost here. I only got to see one reply before the thread disappeared into cyberspace!

Whilst I know that the answer is subjective, which modern military sim would people recommend.

I now realise that DA is a larger scale sim, so is prehaps not what I`m looking for. TACOPS, ATF, POA2 and BCT seem more my scale.

Whay I want to now is how do they compare, which would you recommend if you could recommend only one? Are they user friendly? what is the longevity of each title? Scenario creation, is it possible, how flexible is it?

One other question, Ive seen info on "war in afghanistan" and "raginf tiger" that use the ATF engine. Are these/will these be expansion packs or standalone games? Can`t seem to find an answer to that on the wbe sites.


25 Apr 04, 07:47
Hi Dita,

To answer the last part of your question first, Raging Tiger, Thunder in the Desert, The Falklands War 1982 and War in Afghanistan will all be stand alone games from Prosims.

As for the first part of your question. That is far harder to answer.

For my money it would be ATF at present but POA2 is a very close second. ATF does not have the same level of detail for ballistics and ammunition data as POA2. POA2 is also way ahead of ATF on the nations and equipment available to players. ATF like POA2 deals with line of sight and fog of war. Where ATF is clearly ahead in my humble opinion is the modelling of logistics and the command level. With ATF you have the ability to tell a units to move to a given location to carry out a selected task. During this operation you can select the formation it will move in to the location, the formation it will use to carry out the operation and what casualties it will suffer before aborting the mission.

So in conclusion ATF is currently ahead of POA2, but with the level of support the POA2 team are giving the game that could change soon.



25 Apr 04, 08:07
Thanks for that response.

What nations are avialable in ATF? Also, what is the difference between BCT and ATF?

Looking a HPS web site POA-2 looks very good, but the system specs are way beyond my current machine :cry: So I suppose that limits my choice even more.

25 Apr 04, 08:35

With both BCT and ATF the force that ship with the games are US and Warsaw Pact. There are however gamers out there who are producing other nations and I know that Deltapooh is working on a UK orbat.

BCT is the forerunner of ATF. It deals with division sized formation and does not have the detailed orders process that ATF has. ATF is more a battalion sized game.


Ivan Rapkinov
25 Apr 04, 09:26
ATF is also at a greater scale than POA2, which is squad based - ATF can handle sqauds, but it's abilities are wasted on something that small - missions etc aren't as interesting unless you got the whole company doing it :D

TacOps is good, but I find the lack of new scns for solo play frustrating. Also the OB is not edittable (yet) so you won't see extra weapon packs/countries like you do with ATF. That being said, Tacops is easier to pick up and play, and runs on a LOW end system ;) ATF can require a bit more grunt.

all games are well supported by their designers, so you really have to choose which one suits you best - if you're coming from a SPWAW/SPMBT background, I would avoid at first the real time ATF games in favour of the "pulse" Tacops games.

25 Apr 04, 10:29
Buy all of them. :)

If that isn't feasible then try out the demo versions.

TacOps has a 16 meg demo version which includes a tutorial and two scenarios that you can play to completion with all features enabled except for multiplayer teams mode.

Windows demo.


Macintosh demo.


25 Apr 04, 12:21
ATF Demo: http://www.shrapnelgames.com/prosim/atf/6.htm

BCT has a Demo Too: http://www.shrapnelgames.com/prosim/bct_commander/6.htm

I own Tacops, BCT & ATF. I do not have POA2 as its requirements are too high for me too. The 3 I do own run fine on my PIII 800mhz with 128 mg video card. But they all ran fine with my 32 mg video card too.

All three offer a lot of fun for the buck. I think ATF will give you the most active modding community in terms of free add ons right now.

BCT plays just like ATF but as it was stated earlier you do not have the capability to assign mission details. You just give movement paths. There is A LOT more mouse clicking in BCT because you can't move by Company like in ATF, you have to give a path to each unit. Also there aren't a lot of add ons for it as the community seems to have mostly moved on to ATF. All that being said you will get about 50ish scenarios with the game and it IS still a fun game.

Also while ATF and BCT are real time games you can issue orders while the game is paused so you can still play at a slower pace.

Tacops will run on very low end computers it has a very good database of OPFOR , American and decent supply of Aussie vehicles to choose from. It comes with a good # scenarios for both two player and single player. Most of the maps are fairly simple looking complared to the others. Also while there are scenarios editing tools that are arguably more simple then the ATF editor there is no provision for giving the enemy any AI. All user made scenarios would HAVE to be 2 player games.

Finally because Tacops is turn based and can be played PBEM you may have better luck finding other people to play. Because the other 2 are real time no one seems to play multiplayer.

A few other things. Tacops has an orders phase that is "your turn" and then the action is carried out in a 1 minute action phase that you can't influence after your orders are in. It is a WE GO turn system like Combat Mission versus the standard I GO You Go.

While finding a live opponent can be very important for games with poor ai, I don't think ATF or BCT fit this catagory. The single player mode is very challenging. Developing effective coordination of your units is an art form in ATF that gives you something to strive for.

Losses are taken man by man in Tacops where as with ATF if a unit is hit it either gets suppressed or dead.

ATF & BCT Model wind and it affects smoke and flares.

As I said all are fun. If your patient you may just want to wait for Raging Tiger. It will play all the user made scenarios from ATF and when it comes out it will be the Most Current ATF game. Or wait for Tacops 5 as that will have AI implementation for Users Made scenarios.

Hope this helps a bit. All three games are fun. Steel Panthers Main Battle Tank is also a fun game with modern troops and is a free download at SPCamo Workshop at the Wargamer. http://linetap.com/www/drg/SPCamo.htm

Let us know what you decide if you pick one of these up!:)

26 Apr 04, 16:13
I still like TacOps best after playing ATF and DA but not POA2.

The most important reason is interface and technical/programming polishing.

It just works, clicking on anything always does what it should. Dialog boxes are rare and "right-sized", much opposed to ATF which I think often chooses the worst possible GUI element for a given task. I also don't like these icon bars, I much prefer real text menus.

Other technical stuff includes OOB im/export and very convenient editing, e.g. while running hotseat you can add any unit you like and try it out without ever quitting a scenario. Saving games when in two-player (or more) multiplayer mode is a must for me, I'm not going to start a game which will be doomed on a single internet hickup.

I also like PBEM which ATF doesn't have.

I like ATF as a game, in particular for the artillery model, but if I had to choose one the above issues would decide it.

With regards to the computer player, yes the TacOps AI can only plan premade scenarios and slight variations thereof, but it does give you a pretty good beating on the attack, IMHO much better than really autonomous AIs (e.g. in Combat Mission).

01 May 04, 04:48
Thanks for all of the replies.

I`ve now downloaded the TACOPS and ATF demos and have a some hours on both.

TACOPS does seem to be my prefered option at the moment. The interface is clear and crisp and still offers alot of depth. Perhaps my turn based roots are showing through :)

ATF I find very complicated, and have difficulty grasping it. Lots of choice for the player but, I feel, the options seem difficult to find and the cluttered. I`m sure the manual would help alot, as would more time to explore the game :)

Thanks again, and I`ll keep going through the demos.

01 May 04, 09:38
I'm one of those who happens to like simple over complex in general in wargames. I have TACOPS, BCT, ATF, and DA. I prefer TACOPS over ATF because I think it is simpler. Frankly I even prefer BCT over ATF for that reason, even though I am likely in the minority on that. You might get all of them. TACOPS in its various versions has been on my computer a long time, and I know I can set it up and run a game very quickly. I like DA for the same reason I like TACOPS. It models something very complex very simply, and, like TACOPS, you can put a lot of mental effort into it or just kind of play it (with much poorer results than if you put a lot of effort into it). This is not a knock on ATF. It is a great game.

01 May 04, 13:18
I think it is fair to say that Pat Proctor would improve ATF a lot if he sorted out the dialogs.

The "few multi-function boxes" approach is TacOps is utterly superiour for anybody who wants to play an efficient wargame. In ATF you sometimes even have double dialog boxes with the first box explaining what the second one will be about, that's pretty extreme.

Having said that, I think DA holds the current crown of interface goof. It requires that you right-click for the movement waypoints. Apart from the fact that you have no idea whether you are in movement mode in first place, the game goes as far as reacting to a left-click by popping up a dialog box "you need to right-click to do this" - thereby proving that the right-click requirement was pointless in first place.