Nov 8th, Saturday's Mission

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Nov 8th, Saturday's Mission

Post  Wolverine on Fri Nov 07, 2014 12:39 pm

This Saturday at 9:00pm Eastern, we will begin our weekly campaign mission night with a 30minute (roughly) test of a new mission format I recently built. This new mission format is intended to form the backbone of the final campaign to simulate the advance of allied forces through northern France.

In order so that the test goes as intended, here is a short guide to the new mission format and your expect roles in it.

JOINING THE GAME
Upon first joining the game and selecting a side, you will see that every airfield is available and have numbers assigned ("Airfield_1" "Airfield_84" etc). These are currently required to identify the airfields for the code process. The airfields are still labeled directly on the map, so this shouldn't be an issue.

You will also see that the front line encompasses a beachhead area in Normandy that gives the Allied side access to Crepon airfield and Plumetot airfield. This section of front line between Red territory and Blue territory will be the area of combat.

SPAWNING IN
When you create your aircraft and spawn in at your chosen airfield you may or may not notice immediately that there is flak overhead and/or artillery gun impacts all around you. There may even be fires burning nearby. This is because you have selected an airfield that is close enough to the front line to have come under fire. The artillery is not targeting the airfield directly, but enemy positions nearby. This will be normal.

It is possible that while playing you will see text across the top of the screen indicating that "The Allied/Axis forces have taken X." This notification is to alert you to the fact that a ground position has either been taken or lost. For example, if I receive the notice "The Allied forces have taken a position on the outskirts of Caen", and I were to check the map roughly 15 seconds after receiving this message, then I would discover that the front line has now shifted to give the Red forces a new position on the outskirts of Caen. Almost every populated (town texture on the map) area in the combat area (St.Lo to Bernay area) has an army position associated with it.

ARMY GROUND POSITIONS & TARGETS
Army positions are composed of AA guns and sometimes supply convoys, tanks, and other vehicles. Some of the larger cities (such as Bayeux and Caen) are broken into multiple army positions that make up the road entrances to the city and one or more central city positions. The city positions may be hardened positions that will require bombing to destroy or may be scattered vehicles and tanks taking positions in amongst the buildings and 'digging in'. In all cases, it is important to note that ANY visible target objects (ones that will produce the 'dots' at distance) is a valid combat target and will contribute to the capture/defense of a position.

The role of your air force in the mission is to contribute to the defense and destruction of army positions on the ground. In many situations, you will not be required to destroy all of the targets in an enemy position because your friendly ground forces will already have 'softened' the target and destroyed several objects. You will be required to seek out and destroy the last remaining enemy technicals that are too hardened or entrenched for the artillery to destroy. In some cases this will only require strafing. In other cases, bombs will be required.

Please remember that joining the server after targets have been destroyed will mean that their fire and smoke plumes will not render and you will have to get very close to the target to identify if it has been destroyed. If you remain on the server for some time, this issue will go away since objects get destroyed and replaced all the time and you will eventually have all objects refreshed. This is a problem with CLOD's rendering of effects and cannot be fixed easily or efficiently (by me).

THE MOVING FRONT LINE
By destroying and protecting the army positions you will be able to force the front line to move across the map in real time. This has more significance than simply redrawing the line and awarding you more territory.

Firstly, capturing an enemy position will replace all of those targets with fresh friendly ones. A brand new position of your own AA, artillery, convoys, etc will appear (and become targets for the enemy). These positions will immedately begin to help in attacking any nearby positions. In this way, pushing a front line forward that is contiguous and supported by good supply lines will make your captured positions more defensible and more effective at attacking the enemy. While possible to capture positions 'behind enemy lines', these positions will be exposed, further from air force reinforcements, and likely to be recaptured very quickly unless significant resources (players) are put into defending them, leaving other areas undefended.

Secondly, by moving the front line, you will be able to capture and deploy new airfield positions. Airfields are not targets directly. Why destroy something when you can take it? By attacking enemy held army positions nearby to an enemy airfield, you may be able to push the front line far enough so that the airfield ends up on your side of the line. When this happens, the airfield becomes closed to the enemy and opens to you. You now have complete control of that airfield (until you lose it).

Thirdly, RADAR towers are located in major cities across the map (in the case of our test scenario, in Caen, St. Lo, and Bernay). These RADAR towers are only accessible by the army who controls the territory in which they are located. You may access the RADAR towers via Tab 4-1 and use them to locate enemy and friendly forces in and around the city to a rough radius of 60km (or approx. 36 miles). The limited range of the RADAR is meant to reflect the use of mobile RADAR positions with limited power and scope. Many, if not all, of the RADAR towers overlap in some significant way, so it is not necessary to control all towers in a region in order to have RADAR coverage of common combat areas. If your RADAR tower is captured, you will no longer receive messages from it and attempting to contact it will result in a message telling you that the tower is now broadcasting enemy signals and is indecipherable. You will need to switch to another tower, or recapture a tower location. The towers will also give out weather information in order to determine wind direction.

Lastly, as the front line moves, you are shifting the position where your pilots can return safely. While it is possible to bail out over enemy territory and escape back to friendly lines, you are much more likely to return home if you can bring your aircraft down or parachute safely into friendly territory. By capturing territory, you increase the range at which your forces can retreive your pilots safely and bring them home. You must now, more than ever before, be checking your map to know where the line is.

TEST PURPOSES & GOALS
Please note the following about the test run:


  • We are looking for any bugs that might pop up
  • We are looking to see how the ground positions are balanced and if they provide the appropriate level of enjoyment to atttack/defend
  • We are looking to see how the various aircraft balance and if any changes are needed to add or remove specific aircraft
  • We are looking for suggestions about improvements or additions
  • We are looking to have fun!


We will be restricting the maximum number of players on the server to 36 for the test, but this number may be increased based on performance of the server using the new system. There are no AI aircraft in this design. Ideally, we would like to see 18 red aircraft vs. 18 blue aircraft and a combination of bomber and fighter pilots participating to get as many impressions and viewpoints as possible.

Thank you!


No.401_Wolverine
C/O virtual No.401 Squadron RCAF

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Re: Nov 8th, Saturday's Mission

Post  Atag_Freya on Fri Nov 07, 2014 1:25 pm

This sounds amazing, Wolverine! I can't imagine the hours you've poured into to making this, so first of all, thankyou! This type of dynamic scenario is a much needed addition to this sim. Your post -Design Diary- was one of the best reads I've seen in a long time, well said. I'll do my best to be there to help test. See you then!
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Re: Nov 8th, Saturday's Mission

Post  |450|Squiz on Fri Nov 07, 2014 4:00 pm

Absolutely brilliant Wolverine. I have asked for maximum support from 450 Sqn to assist in the testing.

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Re: Nov 8th, Saturday's Mission

Post  GloriousRuse on Fri Nov 07, 2014 4:02 pm

Very cool.

How is aerial attrition being handled, and do the usual sizing rules apply for flights and such?

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Re: Nov 8th, Saturday's Mission

Post  Wolverine on Fri Nov 07, 2014 4:33 pm

GloriousRuse wrote:Very cool.

How is aerial attrition being handled, and do the usual sizing rules apply for flights and such?

There's no attrition being handled at this time. If we do anything like that, it will apply to the official campaign. Also, no rules for flights or refly. This is just to test, in as honest an online setting as possible, what might happen if we just threw this thing up for 24 hours a day and watched what happens.

So go nuts, just be aware of your targets and the role you're playing.

For example, guys who just go up looking to dog-fight are quickly going to find themselves losing ground. Also, people who figure they'll just capture a city center to take all the radar are also going to quickly find that they're working very hard to take one location while the other team has taken the rest of the map and left them completely surrounded.

The idea is that the more organized team using the best tactics is going to win. And every tactic has a counter. Teams who focus on pushing the front line slowly forward are going to be caught off-guard by pinpoint attacks to take away airfields and cut off reinforcements. Teams who drive one sector of the map forward hard are going to be susceptible to flanks. Etc.

But it all remains to be seen. This may all blow up and go down in flames. We need to test it first.

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Re: Nov 8th, Saturday's Mission

Post  kookaburra on Fri Nov 07, 2014 9:29 pm

I am blown away by the amount of effort you have put into this Wolverine, really looking forward to the next iteration of this sim. See you on Sunday (Oz time).
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great job

Post  |450|caveman on Sat Nov 08, 2014 7:35 pm

me as an old programer can understand how much effort you have put into this, i take my hat off to you great job look forward today's test.

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Re: Nov 8th, Saturday's Mission

Post  |450|Target on Sat Nov 08, 2014 8:04 pm

Guys it looks like I may not get home in time to trial this, really keen. Just depends on how soon I can get the high command away from shops
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Re: Nov 8th, Saturday's Mission

Post  Wolverine on Sun Nov 09, 2014 12:37 am

UPDATE!

Thanks to everyone who participated in the test this evening. We ran with about 18 people on and experienced NO lag and NO warping.

We successfully demonstrated the front line moving by capturing several positions.
We successfully demonstrated the acquisition of an enemy airfield by pushing the frontline over it.
We identified a key bug that has already been repaired. (I stupidly forgot to give the Blue side indication messages about the front line positions being taken or lost: fixed!)
We tested the level of AA over the enemy positions and found it to be hard but not too hard.

All in all, a very good first round of testing.

We will be testing again next week at 9:00pm Eastern in a more competitive sense to see how the battle will actually play out. Both sides will have their own TeamSpeak channel and we will have no expectation of behaviour. The goal for both sides will be to acquire as much territory as possible and hold onto it. We will be open to 36 players again (18 per side). If we ever do hit 36 players and things continue to operate smoothly, we will increase the player limit to 60.

Again, thank you. I was worried that this project might not stand up to players on the server, but it appears there are no limits on it as of this time. I require only one simple script puzzle to be solved to make this mission operational on a 24/7 basis. Namely, how to update the initial army position mission files that are loaded, which are currently defined in the main .cs file, so that when the mission restarts the initially loaded army positions are correctly tied to the territory that has been captured. The front line file already is persistent across server restarts, I just need to make the initial mission load tied into that system as well. Technically the mission can already operate as a 24/7 system, but I doubt people want to fly at night. Also, if the server were to crash and restart, things would not be reset properly.

Again, thank you everyone and stay tuned!

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Re: Nov 8th, Saturday's Mission

Post  Wolverine on Sun Nov 09, 2014 11:52 pm

UPDATE:

Mission now includes army positions for all of the Cherbourg peninsula.

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Re: Nov 8th, Saturday's Mission

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