Author Topic: No.401 Squadron Final Campaign Coming Soon  (Read 1628 times)

Offline No.401_Wolverine

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No.401 Squadron Final Campaign Coming Soon
« on: October 28, 2014, 09:55:37 am »
Greetings AKA!

We're nearing the conclusion of our '41-'44 campaign which simulates the lead up to the invasion of France and we're getting prepared for the start of the final assault on Fortress Europe.

AKA is invited to participate in the final campaign which we're developing as an Online Dynamic War divided into 'Battles'.

The design of the campaign isn't final and the code is still being worked over, but intially, this is how it looks like it will go:

Each campaign night will encompass an attack on a certain region of France as decided by the Red Team. For example, the first campaign night might involve the attack on Caen and surrounding territory in an effort to take the city and the airfield. The next week would spread out from there, with initial starting locations restricted by territory already conquered. Some cities might take more than one night to capture depending on the defenses.

Some key features:
1. Realtime updating of the frontline on the ground.

When territory is captured, the frontline will reflect it immediately. You'll be able to see our lines move on the map in real time.

2. Running ground battles requiring CAS and CAP

How do we capture territory? We make sure our ground units take it, of course! Our allied ground army will be fighting it out with German forces on the ground and will need our help. Enemy ground forces, artillery, and AA will all be a threat to our units. Soften up areas being attacked in order to pave the way for our forces to move in. In real time.

Here's my synopsis of a recent test of the system:

Quote
"When I tested the second system with StiC, it was quite a different feeling. We watched as the German tanks were being beaten up by our artillery and then spotted our armoured cars making a mad dash for the enemy airfield. We quickly went over and shot up the artillery on the airfield and our cars were able to safely advance and capture the ground. It felt like we were doing something very important and that we were actually supporting a ground war. The targets we took out weren't just percentage points in a counter, they were threats to our forces. It was some of the most fun I've had in months with the game. Plus, watching British matildas fighting German panzers in the forest, with all the gun fire, tracers, and smoke from destroyed units, was quite exciting.

On top of that, there's a real valid recon system in place now. If we see units on the ground moving, they may or may not be friendlies. We need to ID them, get their heading, and report it to bombers who can take them out if they're enemies."

Keep an eye on this thread or on our forum for updates about the start date and final details about the format.

Offline AKA_MattE

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Re: No.401 Squadron Final Campaign Coming Soon
« Reply #1 on: October 28, 2014, 03:53:45 pm »
Nice Wolverine, thanks for the heads up.  What time are you going to be flying these missions (same as before)?    It sounds like you have sorted out the moving units issues that come up with COD.  I love the idea of a tactical COD war!

Keep us in the loop we are looking foward to playing.

MattE

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Offline No.401_Wolverine

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Re: No.401 Squadron Final Campaign Coming Soon
« Reply #2 on: October 29, 2014, 10:42:19 am »
More testing was done last night. Unfortunately, the ground unit movement issues are still too crippling to make the initial design work with ground forces in an environment with bridges and towns that are un-navigable.

Another version was quickly developed and tested in which the cities are composed of multiple 'capture points' (think Battlefield series) and they have to be attacked and damaged. Roads are blocked at town entry points by artillery and AA positions. Once roads to major towns have been opened up, one or more city bunkers are opened up which can then be assaulted.

The front line will move with each point on the map successfully destroyed. Situations may arise where a city is half-captured.

I'm working on keeping some level of participation by ground units, but this may be limited to static ground forces that load in when a point is damaged or destroyed and help in defending newly taken territory.

I've said it before, and I'll say it again: the AI (ground, air, sea) in this game is probably the single greatest thing holding it back.

Offline AKA_MattE

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Re: No.401 Squadron Final Campaign Coming Soon
« Reply #3 on: October 29, 2014, 03:53:40 pm »
Thanks Wolverine, I was hoping you guys had discovered some way to get the AI to move on the ground without the issues that have been seen.  We have some friends that are working on a dynamic campaign that have run into the same ground unit issue.  Hopefully someday TF will have the ability to modify the map and fix the routes.

So are you guys going to do this on Saturday afternoons again? 

MattE

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Offline No.401_Wolverine

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Re: No.401 Squadron Final Campaign Coming Soon
« Reply #4 on: October 30, 2014, 09:09:01 am »
Yes, we're looking at running this on Saturdays at 9:00pm still. We've got the final mission or couple of missions of our current campaign to go and then we will begin the new campaign with a big 'invasion' type mission. For that one we'll need as many Red fliers as we can get.


Offline No.401_Wolverine

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Re: No.401 Squadron Final Campaign Coming Soon
« Reply #5 on: October 30, 2014, 10:27:26 pm »
Here's the skin if you guys want it. I've made many improvements to the one pictured above. It's pretty clean now and I'm proud of it. Now, as Kookaburra said, we need some cannons to go with those stripes.




Offline AKA_MattE

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Re: No.401 Squadron Final Campaign Coming Soon
« Reply #6 on: October 31, 2014, 12:53:04 pm »
we need some cannons to go with those stripes.
And about 540 more HP!


Great Skin Wolverine, Thanks!

MattE

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Offline No.401_Wolverine

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Re: No.401 Squadron Final Campaign Coming Soon
« Reply #7 on: November 03, 2014, 06:35:28 am »
Just a bit of a development update on how the new campaign looks.

I've been able to put in place the following WORKING systems:

Moving frontline - when enemy positions are destroyed, the frontline moves to reflect territory captured and new friendly defensive units replace destroyed enemy defensive units
Airbase capture - when the frontline is pushed far enough to place an airfield in friendly territory, the airfield becomes active for your side
Capturable Radar - when your side takes territory that includes an operating radar tower, your forces take command of the structure and you are able to get radar information from that location
 
I'm still testing the option to have a few mobile ground units engage defensive positions during battles (moving only short distances), but there's nothing to preclude it at this point - just balance issues.

Offline AKA_Blasto

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Re: No.401 Squadron Final Campaign Coming Soon
« Reply #8 on: November 04, 2014, 09:28:50 am »
S!~
 That was fun on Sat. night Wolverine. The second mission/ sortie worked out a little better- looking forward to trying it again- perhaps Tues. or Wed. of this week. If not- then Sat PM - good times!  8)

S!~ AKA_Blasto

Offline No.401_Wolverine

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Re: No.401 Squadron Final Campaign Coming Soon
« Reply #9 on: November 04, 2014, 12:02:52 pm »
Yeah, much better run the on the second one. I'm hoping we can do a mission test of the new map soon to get some feedback and work out any bugs.

I'll be on tonight working away in the mission builder and script editor, but I might be coaxed out for some flying.

Offline No.401_Wolverine

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Re: No.401 Squadron Final Campaign Coming Soon
« Reply #10 on: November 06, 2014, 06:52:24 am »
Me again, folks.

I'd like to invite you guys to help test the new mission structure this Saturday at 9:00pm EST. We'll run it for 30 min or so to try and get a sense of what bugs are in it and what balance needs tweaking. Targets will be available to move the front at all populated areas across the Cherbourg Penninsula and east to the river running between Honfleur and Bernay.

It might not work perfectly at first (I'm thinking mostly about the ground units taking each other out before we get a chance to get involved!) but I believe all it needs is play testing to find the balance required. I don't think this sort of mission has been done before in CLOD so there isn't much in the way of precendent.

Offline AKA_Blasto

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Re: No.401 Squadron Final Campaign Coming Soon
« Reply #11 on: November 06, 2014, 08:39:58 am »
S!~
 I hope to make the Sat. mission. This week is quite busy- but perhaps by Sat. eve my list of have-to's should be short.
AKA- if avail. - lets try to support these important tests- and thanks to 401 for including us! Hope to see you all then.

S!~ AKA_Blasto    8)

Offline No.401_Wolverine

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Re: No.401 Squadron Final Campaign Coming Soon
« Reply #12 on: November 07, 2014, 10:01:08 am »
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

Offline No.401_Wolverine

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Re: No.401 Squadron Final Campaign Coming Soon
« Reply #13 on: November 08, 2014, 09:52:54 pm »
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!

Offline AKA_MattE

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Re: No.401 Squadron Final Campaign Coming Soon
« Reply #14 on: November 15, 2014, 08:12:19 pm »
Wolverine,

Sorry I missed the test tonight, I was all set to fly and something came up.  I know it seems we (the AKA) are a not around that much but you will see more of us.  On a quick note, is it possible to try and get a week night going for these missions as well, Saturday is a bit hit or miss for a lot of us.  I am going to register on your forums right now.

MattE

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