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Korolov
11-08-2004, 03:49 PM
Over the recent days, I've revisited one of my older sims - by the name of Enemy Engaged: RAH-66 Comanche vs. Ka-52 Hokum.

It has a really intriguing mission system and I thought "Could this be applied to PF or any future 1C titles?" The system has a lot of merit and fits both online and offline, dogfight to coop.

So, how's it work? Read on...

Lets say that we're playing a campaign over the Pacific - we'll take the 'Slot', the string of islands from Guadacanal to Rabaul. You have the Allied forces, USAAF, USMC and USN; then you have the Axis forces, IJAAF and IJNAF. Each side has a limited pool of resources and one main base of operations (or not - depending).

Let's say the Allies have 100 planes total and the Axis 100 as well. They are divided as follows:

48 Fighters (land based and carrier based)
34 Bombers (land based and carrier based)
18 Various (reconnasiance, cargo, etc.)

This is the total pool of aircraft for each side - NOT what's actually put onto the campaign, which can be decided by the campaign builder. Take the pool of aircraft, then you have the actual aircraft stationed:

Allied:
Fighters
12 P-38s
12 F4Us
6 F4F-4s
6 FM-2s
12 P-40Ms

Bombers
12 A-20G
12 B-25J
6 SBD-5
4 TBM

Various
12 C-47
6 PBY

Axis:
Fighters
24 A6M5a
12 Ki-43
12 Ki-61

Bombers
12 G4M
12 D3A
6 B5N
4 Ki-45

Various
12 Ki-46
6 H8K

So, that's our plane list. That leaves a total of 200 planes for both sides - 100 on station and availible, another 100 in reserve. Note that the player can't take control of any plane that doesn't have a cockpit.

After that, we have mission types. The general stuff - CAP, Fighter Sweep, Intercept, Ground Strike and so on.

A example of how it works:

Player 1 decides to fly for the Allies. He chooses a flight of P-38s; four of them under the callsign "Razorback" flight. He chooses to fly Razorback 1, the lead plane. Next, he can choose a mission - lets say he chooses to intercept bombers at Bougainville. He confirms all this and is on the mission; from here, he can choose his payload, fuel and vice versa. He takes two drop tanks and 100% fuel, so he can be sure of making it to Bougainville and still come back home. Before he's ready to go though, Player 2 decides he's going to join him. He selects Razorback 2, or the second plane in the flight. He quickly loads up his plane, choosing the same loadout as Player 1.

Now, they're ready to go. Player 1 goes to his cockpit and starts his engines. They're at Henderson field now, aircraft from the field going all around - C-47s, P-40s and so on - all AI controlled until a player takes control of them. The control tower is also active at this point and tells Razorback flight they can taxi to the runway. Since only two planes in Razorback flight are human controlled, the remaining two are AI controlled until another player decides to join them.

They takeoff and head for Bougainville, but 100 klicks along the trip, Player 3 joins the flight and selects Razorback 3. He won't have the option to rearm or select his armanent, and until he goes to the cockpit, the plane will remain under a formation autopilot setting.

Heading along, they're suddenly bounced by a A6M AI flight that are performing a CAP. Since the P-38s obviously need to defend themselves, they need to ditch tanks. Lets assume there are 4 A6Ms attacking; Players 1 - 3 attack the AIs and eliminate two of them, chasing after a 3rd. At this point the A6Ms will realize they are badly outgunned and try to disengage. Player 3 scores another A6M, but one escapes. The A6M can either radio home and ask for help, or go home and tell what he encountered. In either case, the P-38s are no longer operating secretly. Now on internal fuel, they must continue heading to Bougainville and try to track down the bombers they're tasked to intercept.

They finally make it to Bougainville and encounter 6 G4Ms; they quickly shoot them down, taking little return fire. Their mission is now complete from here, and if any player wishes to stop flying, can go to the menu and quit the flight. From here on his plane will be AI controlled. Let's assume they want to stick with it and decide to fly all the way back home.

On the way back, however, they find themselves intercepted by Ki-61s! Razorback 4 is lost in the fighting, but our fearless players manage to take out two Ki-61s and break for it.

Now almost home at Henderson Field, Razorback flight is running on fumes, but are able to land. They taxi to the parking area and the mission is over for them. At this point they can review the debreifing, see what they destroyed, any medals or promotions, and so on. Since they lost one plane in their flight, one P-38 was taken from the plane pool to replenish their flight.

Now, in reaction to Razorback's success, the Axis side task a strike towards Henderson field. Since the allies are unaware of this and thus the players, they decide to take F4Fs off of a carrier on a reconnasiance flight. Their task is to fly up the islands in search of any ground or naval forces that bombers or fighters could strike at.

On the way though, they meet 6 D3As escorted by 4 Ki-43s. They quickly turn to engage, but the Ki-43s have the advantage and shoot down Player 3's Wildcat and one AI Wildcat. Player 1 and 2 manage to destroy one D3A, but are forced to disengage from the Oscars.

On the way back to their carrier, they can radio for help and a CAP mission is then generated for Henderson Field. Player 3 decides to head up 6 USMC F4Us and make sure that the bombers aren't able to damage the airfield. While Players 1 and 2 are heading back to the carrier, Player 3 is already in the air with 3 AI planes for wingmen, and engages the bombers and fighter escort. They manage to destroy them all.

As a result of this, Player 3 will likely get a commendation of some sort, but it will also cause the Axis to schedule a fighter sweep over the area.

And so, we have a reactive campaign environment where nothing is always the same. Victory comes when either side takes critical objectives - for example, if the IJN manages to land troops at Henderson Field, or the USA captures Bougainville and puts a small airfield there - allowing them to strike Rabaul at will and forcing the IJA to retreat. Victory also comes when either side runs out of critical aircraft; for example, if the IJA only has 2 fighters, 4 bombers and 4 various types, then they've pretty much lost the campaign.

To give another example of the reactive environment, if we have Ki-61s flying by C-47s and they don't consider the C-47s a threat or have something else in prospect, they'll leave the C-47s alone. If they choose to attack the C-47s, then they'll radio for help, generating a fighter sweep for the allies, and so on.

The beauty of this system is that it works for both offline and online play styles; you can limit the amount of aircraft types and amount of aircraft in reserve, as well as ground/naval forces. If a player doesn't want to fly all the way from Henderson Field to Rabaul, he can do something else, perhaps much closer - like a F4F CAP over a carrier, and take control of the other flight when it gets near Rabaul.

So, how's it sound? Good? Bad? It would help with one of the many shortcomings of the current campaign system, IMO.

XyZspineZyX
11-08-2004, 04:01 PM
Awe man, that was MY idea!!!

Heh, I was gonna post this along with a list of other "good" suggestions I've been slowly compiling since I started playing this system a month or so ago...

Ok, so this suggestion officially carries my FULL endorsement! (A lot of good that will do ya...)

Korolov
11-08-2004, 04:03 PM
I'm pretty sure I thought of it way before you.

http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/mockface.gif

crazyivan1970
11-08-2004, 04:05 PM
I`m down for that, totally. Might have to deliever it to appropriate ppl http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif

clint-ruin
11-08-2004, 04:13 PM
Triggers.

's why we need triggers.

Everything above is doable with simple set goals when certain conditions are met. Joining a coop in flight is likely to need a rework of the network/mission/AI model though.

Korolov
11-08-2004, 05:50 PM
This is all a bit more complex than basic triggers, Clint. It's a dynamic environment; you dont have to reload a campaign to fly a mission again, you dont have to sacfice the ability to "respawn" to get AI planes in a mission and so on.

Although triggers would be great for PF currently, if possible.

269GA-Maxmars
11-09-2004, 08:19 AM
Also some kind of automatism would help.. E.g. "scrambles" when enemy bogeys are incoming, if airport has available planes. That would make the environment more lively.

clint-ruin
11-09-2004, 08:46 AM
To me everything you wrote in the description is exactly what you use if/then, or/not/&, and true/false for. From ticking down aircraft left in a theatre, to vectoring CAP, to concentrating air cover over likely approach routes, to responding to enemy strikes .. as long as you define the state to start with, and set a response if it's true or false or incompletable, that's really all you need. Especially for stuff that happens on the back end in the campaign generation system. Getting AIs to dynamically change their waypoint list in flight is something we don't have, but the AI is able to take over and override the existing WPs with its evade/attack/land routines, so maybe something could be done there.

csThor
11-09-2004, 08:50 AM
Can't help it but I dislike this "strategy game approach". I prefer the roleplaying campaign style of Red Baron II. No need to reinvent the wheel - just copy Red Baron II's campaign system.

Just my 0,02 " ...

NAFP_supah
11-09-2004, 11:16 AM
I think the current campaign system is better emersion wise. Now you really play as a pilot, if you get wounded you are out for a few weeks, or you have to replay the mission. You learn to deal with your aircraft bad points and take advantage of the good points. If you want to play as a mud mover and get jumped by fighters in a mission then you are going to have to make it out alive, just like in real life. Not just jump to a fighter and go after them.

I think the current system has bugs (though not that many) but overall I think it is one of the best campaign engines I have ever seen. I think it beats lomac any day.

One thing I would like is the ability to jump between fronts, I own BoE and would have liked to be able to start my campaign during barbarossa in a Bf-109F4 and then after a while transfering to the western front in time for D-day to fight there in a Bf-109G6. Like wise for american's and british it would be nice to be able to switch from the western front to the PTO after a while.

Another thing I would like are more western front maps but I have come to understand from various forums that these are amongst some of the hardest things to make for this game. I would love a North Western europe map, prefferably with The Netherlands on it. The bomberstreams passed over it and many bombers were shot down and came down in the netherlands. But seeing how much work that would be sadly I doubt it will happen and I don't mind. Looking forward to the Murmansk map and enjoying BoE + PF in the meantime.

SeaFireLIV
11-09-2004, 12:23 PM
Apache/Havoc was one Gunship sim I loved nearly as much as IL2, and why? Because of the wonderful dynamic campaign. The entire map had a proper war situation, with the Allied and Enemy AI working out a strategy with reenforcements, etc. A point system let either side know what it could and couldn`t have.

One of my favourite tricks would be to try and get to the supply points of the enemy and destroy it quickly. It was also one of the 1st games that actually allowed you to fly as Russians! Lowengrin`s DCG is the closest to this system I can find.

Such a Campaign system would be brilliant for IL2. Ahh, I still miss the old apache...

Korolov
11-09-2004, 01:23 PM
Clint - The major difference is this system will allow the player to fly as many missions as he/she wishes within a campaign. Currently, if you die on a mission, you have to reload everything and start all over again. That blows when you have to load a huge mission all over again.

Thor - it's not really a "strategy" approach, although it has some of that in it. You still track individual statistics and so on. If you've ever played the Enemy Engaged series, you'd know what I'm talking about.

Supah - I disagree. The current system is very scripted and couldn't be called dynamic at all. You can't change the outcome of the campaign and you're stuck with very poorly balanced missions.

If you, in your example, play as a mud mover and complete your mission, the battle *would* change, as in real life. It's up to you to get out alive from then on. If you don't, you lose aircraft and resources. You can of course leave things in the hands of the AI, but with the current AI we have, I think they're more liable to lose aircraft than you are.

The "learning aircraft" part will always be in there - you might be able to take a Yak-3 instead of a IL-2, but you'll have to become accustomed to a entirely different style of combat altogether. In this system, dead is dead and that's that. Your character gets a "KIA" tacked to his stats and has to move on from there. I suppose if you wanted to play it differently, you could make it so you had to wipe the slate clean after you die.

Seafire - someone who knows what I'm talking about! http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/25.gif

NAFP_supah
11-09-2004, 01:47 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Korolov:

Supah - I disagree. The current system is very scripted and couldn't be called dynamic at all. You can't change the outcome of the campaign and you're stuck with very poorly balanced missions. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Well in real life you couldn't change the outcome of the war as a single individual pilot either. Unbalanced? Thats how fights sometimes were in real life, especially for the axis forces later on in the war. This game for me isn't about changing history but taking part in it. I've also played a lot of fun missions which were balanced and quite immersive. The AI at one time was quite good. Lately it has developed some odd behaviour but still doable.


<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>If you, in your example, play as a mud mover and complete your mission, the battle *would* change, as in real life. It's up to you to get out alive from then on. If you don't, you lose aircraft and resources. You can of course leave things in the hands of the AI, but with the current AI we have, I think they're more liable to lose aircraft than you are.
<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Would it not make more sense to improve the AI rather then just "cure the symptome" ? Sure the AI is clumsy and not that good at certain areas of flight. But no matter what you do you are not going to be able to fly all the planes all the time. In the long run improving the AI will be the better solution then to try and fly them all yourself.

<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>The "learning aircraft" part will always be in there - you might be able to take a Yak-3 instead of a IL-2, but you'll have to become accustomed to a entirely different style of combat altogether. In this system, dead is dead and that's that. Your character gets a "KIA" tacked to his stats and has to move on from there. I suppose if you wanted to play it differently, you could make it so you had to wipe the slate clean after you die. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

I wouldn't like it, it's not like pilots got to change back and forth between planes in real life on a daily basis and certainly not once they have taken off in one http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_wink.gif

clint-ruin
11-09-2004, 01:57 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Korolov:
Clint - The major difference is this system will allow the player to fly as many missions as he/she wishes within a campaign. Currently, if you die on a mission, you have to reload everything and start all over again. That blows when you have to load a huge mission all over again. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Ahh, sort of like LOMACs and other games "jump to a plane" feature. Yeah I'd like that, don't see it as something that would be terribly easy in the current game though. Would be good for BOB and bomber stream missions too - you could literally play for hours and hours at a time in the mission, just flicking further back through the group :>

Korolov
11-09-2004, 02:12 PM
You see, Supah, your problem is you're trying to go for total historical accuracy. That's OK, that's fine with me. But don't kid yourself into thinking that our current campaign system has much merit, if any.

With this system you can make it as biased or rigged for a certain victory if you want to. Just limit the pool of resources so that one side has far less equipment, fuel, etc. than the other one. Or you can make it as balanced as you'd prefer. The whole idea is to get rid of that stupid scripted feel - and having to reload after every mission.

The AI will obviously need a improvement, either way. If you stick with the current system, you either get expert no-miss AI or you get dumb-**** couldn't-hit-the-broadside-of-a-barn AI. Naturally we need a medium between the two and I'm sure 1C already knows this.

The key point here is fun. If you're not having fun, what's the point of playing it? Realism isn't always fun, I'm sorry to say. It's great to have it, but not at the expense of gameplay.

So, let me lead you by the nose:

1) I AM NOT DECLARING THAT THIS IS THE CAMPAIGN STYLE WE HAVE TO USE. I'm saying this campaign style allows for a easy way to bridge the gap between online dogfights and coops as well as offline campaigns.

2) Traditional campaigns can remain the same scripted, canned style they are, if you wish for it to be so.

So, bear in mind all of this. The purpose of a game is to be fun, even if it's a simulation. Even a lot of older WW2 sims had a "what if" scenario which might have the Axis win in 46 or the allies winning in 42. What's the fun in it if you know that your side will win or lose because its all so canned and planned out according to the history books?