Cold War clashes, banana wars and stealthy Seahawks: Six new Command scenarios available

January 16, 2015 · Posted in Command · Comment 

AF117Miguel Molina has posted a new revision of the Command community scenario pack, the compendium of Command scenarios crafted by the user community. The new release contains several scenario updates plus six brand-new scenarios:

  • Boston’s Battle, 1963 : This is an “alternate” scenario to Boston’s Brawl, 1963.  The assumption is that the American Surface Action Group centered around the Boston is on patrol off the coast of West Africa, instead of being in the South Atlantic, and is called upon to destroy a Soviet Surface Action Group.
  • One Final Old-fashioned Banana War, 1947 : An economic slump in Mexico following the end of the WWII commodity boom leads to political unrest in the country, and thus the US military finds itself heading south once again, this time at the request of the Mexican government.
  • Best of the West, Worst of the East, 1982  : Thanks to recently-declassified documents we now know that, had the Cold War escalated to a superpower conflict, the Soviet Navy would preferably keep its modern nuclear submarines in close escort to their all-important strategic missile subs in their bastions, and instead send their modern diesel subs to interdict NATO resupply lines. So as the turbulent early 80s spin up to a bonafide crisis, the Red Banner Northern Fleet’s diesel sub force puts out to sea to challenge NATO’s awesome anti-submarine screens….. and you are in command.
  • Rollback – The First of Many, 1998 : The US military attempts to get rid of Saddam Hussain’s regime via a number of active measures, first and foremost being a series of carrier-launched strategic strikes. This hypothetical scen features the A/F-117 “Seahawk”, a carrier-suitable variant of the F-117 that was nearly adopted by the US Navy in the late 90s.
  • Rollback – Hoisting the Net, 1998 : In addition to airstrikes, the US Navy took other measures to isolate the Hussain regime, one such being the identification and interdiction of supplies headed for Iraq. The USS Denton has been tasked to identify and seize a large container ship enroute to the port of Latakia. Will this be a run-of-mill call?
  • Birmingham Strikes, 1992 : Sierra Leone has plunged into a brutal civil war with the deaths of tens of thousands.  The rebels, known as the Revolutionary United Front (RUF) were infamous because of the atrocities they committed. The RUF captured a large number of weapons from Sierra Leone (and later from some of the UN peacekeepers dispatched to the area), but received further assistance and material from outside countries such as Libya. In this not-so-hypothetical scenario a small British task group centered on the destroyer HMS Birmingham is tasked to disrupt RUF operation in its vicinity.

As always, the community scenario pack is available for download at the WarfareSims download section: http://www.warfaresims.com/?page_id=1876

With the new scenario pack release, the total number of released Command scenarios is now 225!

The Final Christmas Gift: Sixteen new Command scenarios

December 23, 2014 · Posted in Command · Comment 

Following the release of the massive v1.06 update, and concurrent with the ongoing Matrix and Steam holiday sales, Miguel Molina has delivered the final Christmas gift: A new revision of the Command community scenario pack, the compendium of Command scenarios crafted by the user community. The new release contains sixteen brand-new scenarios:

  • Old Feuds Have Now returned, 2014 : Instead of a vote for unity, the Scottish have voted for independence. Then the real troubles began. The rise in oil prices was just an illusion, a short one driven by jitters after the Oman-Pakistan war rather than any serious change in supply and demand. Both countries’ economies sank after the messy, calamitous split. The pro-UK Shetland Islands held a referendum of their own, and since maritime boundaries determined who could control the resources, this was a problem. Warships were sent, the first shots were fired, and wars between the English and Scots have come back.
  • Sink The Nautica, 1977 : The Canadian naval forces in the mid-70s have seen some very lean years. All but four of the major surface warships are based upon designs more than two-decades old, the venerable CS-2F Trackers have lost their ASW capabilities and the CP-107 Argus LRMP’s are now long in the tooth and overdue for replacement. A Canadian version of the P-3 Orion is on order but delivery of the CP-140 Aurora is still some years away. However, even with the material shortcomings the personnel are well trained and the available “O” Class submarines are worked up and ready. Now there’s a general war against the Warsaw Pact and protecting Canadian waters has to compete with NATO tasks for scarce ships and planes. Into this unsatisfactory defensive situation sails an aggressive Soviet submarine.
  • Operation Charming Truth, 1985 : A coup in Sudan has led to widespread chaos and violence in that country. The Sudanese government believes that some American civilians are organizing anti-government protests, and prepares to crack down – hard. The United States has decided to evacuate Americans from Sudan.
  • Operation Lawful Destroyer, 1985 : This scenario assumes that a coup has taken place in Tanzania in the early 1980s and that the new government is hostile to Western allies like Kenya. The Constellation carrier group is ordered to neutralize Tanzanian forces by striking at Ngerengere airbase and any targets of opportunity.
  • Operation Lawful Avenger, 1985 : A variation on Lawful Destroyer, with different weather conditions and enemy compositions & strengths.
  • Raid on Bir Morghein, 2020 : This scenario assumes that in the near future tensions have increased between Morocco and Mauritania.  The situation has been exacerbated by the fact that China has recently sold military aircraft to Mauritania, giving it for the first time in many years a way to control the skies over the disputed area of the Western Sahara.
  • Terrorists In Anjar, 1984 : An operation that might have been conducted during the war that took place between Israel and Lebanon in the early 1980s. Available IAF air assets at Ramat David AB are tasked with striking at terrorist militia cells deep inside Lebanon, while evading Syrian air defences.
  • The Escort Division, 1962 : A US Navy Escort Division composed of old WWII Destroyer Escorts manned by hastily recalled reservists brings a supply convoy to an isolated Iceland. Designed as a light ASW/minesweeper mission inspired by the 1962-1963 Jane’s Fighting Ships edition. Also designed for maximum replayability with random starting positions for most forces.
  • Incident at Le Perouse Strait, 2014 : The islands in North of Japan have been always a matter of conflict between Russia and Japan. The Russian Pacific Fleet is deployed near Le Perouse Strait in a exercise which is closely monitored by Japanese submarines. This kind of situations could develop in serious incidents. The scenario features the new Japanese ‘Carrier’ destroyers with a complement of F-35s against the new Russian naval units.
  • The Soviet Test, 1964 : The Soviet Union, looking to expand the reach of its naval fleet, has drawn ire from its recent close approaches to the Philippines, Guam and now the Hawaiian Islands. Fearing that the Soviets may uncover the recent nuclear testing at Johnston Atoll, the US places CTF75 in the region to detect and deter the Soviets from encroaching the region and possibly testing their capability of a first strike on the Hawaiian Islands.
  • Air Battle over Beraf-Kucove, 2020 : A civil war erupts in Albania in 2020.  After several months of ferocious fighting, the two sides have drifted into an uneasy cease fire.  However, North Albania has used the lull in the fighting to negotiate arms deals with Serbia and Russia.  Concerned with the direction the war was taking, and its implications for the region, Greece has sold a number of older Mirage fighters and other military equipment to South Albania. 
  • Those Who Hunt Goblins, 1973 : The Yom Kippur war is in full swing. Both the USN and Red Banner Fleets have rushed naval reinforcements into the Med and with the two navies operating at close proximity, the possibility for accident or opportunity sneak attack is considered very great. For the first time since the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis the US has set DEFCON-3. The only significant naval force to protect the Eastern Seaboard of the United States is the Intrepid Battle Group with her hybrid air group and ad hoc collection of escorts.  This would not normally be an issue but the crisis in the Med has siphoned off most of the SSNs that normally track and trail the Soviet SSBNs operating in the Western Atlantic. The plots for at least two Soviet Yankee-class ballistic missile submarines operating near the American coast have been lost. Can the Intrepid group re-acquire the boomers and keep tabs on them without further escalating the standoff into a possible WW3?
  • Red Flag, 2017 : Red Flag is a world famous exercise held multiple times per year at Nellis AFB, Nevada. It is the "mother of all Flags" and features everything a fighter pilot can wish for in an exercise: dedicated adversary fighters, lots of SAM transmitters, good airspace, and plenty of live bombing targets. It focuses primarily on fighter aircraft working together in COMAO packages to accomplish challenging objectives. Two missions (one day, one night) are flown each day for two weeks, with various assignments, such as Defensive Counter Air, Air Interdiction, Escort, Dynamic Targeting, combinations of the above and more.
  • DCA Mini-EX, 2012 : A joint air-defence exercise pits the combined USAFE / Danish AF forces against OPFOR invaders from the Scandinavian north.
  • Death of the Belgrano, 1982 : After following the ARA General Belgrano task group for one day and four hours, the British nuclear submarine HMS Conqueror receives permission from the Royal Navy Command to intercept and sink the Argentine cruiser. If possible, his escorts too. The green signal was given.
  • The Fighter-Bomber Aviation Regiment, 1987 : You are the regimental commander of the 236th APIB, an elite Soviet MiG-27K regiment stationed in Hradcany-Mimon Air Base, Czechoslovakia. You have just been given your top-secret orders: War has abruptly broken out, without prior warning. According to established warplans, your assigned targets are a range of high-priority NATO installations. You have one hour to prepare your first airstrike of the war.

Many of the new scenarios, as well as some rebuilt versions of existing ones, make extensive use of the new v1.06 features.

As always, the community scenario pack is available for download at the WarfareSims download section: http://www.warfaresims.com/?page_id=1876

With the new scenario pack release, the total number of released Command scenarios is now 219!

Steam sale back on

December 20, 2014 · Posted in Command · Comment 

Almost 40% off until January 2.

The Matrix sale (-37%) is ongoing until January 11.

Fox Three, Good Kill: Command v1.06 has been released

December 17, 2014 · Posted in Command · Comment 

The wait is over.

We have explained in considerable detail the massive new features of the upgrade (see Part I and Part II) so there is not much else to say other than…. grab it and enjoy!

Both Matrix/Plimus and Steam customers should be able to upgrade to the new version automatically. If for any reason the automatic update does not work, you can download the installer from here and update manually.

We would like to thank the entire beta team for their sterling contribution in polishing this release, and we are looking forward to the even better things coming in the near future.

Happy holidays to everyone!

Command v1.06 – The new features Part II

December 10, 2014 · Posted in Command · Comment 

On Part I of our coverage of the new v1.06 goodness we covered the radically revised Air Ops and unit-level proficiency settings. If you thought these were the big attractions though, there is an ever bigger fish in the new release. Let’s have a look.

Game-changer, thy name is Lua

The Lua scripting language has been widely employed in games & simulations in the industry and so its introduction to Command marks a milestone event. On this first iteration, Lua has been integrated as another “Event Action” type in the Scenario Editor’s established Event Engine. Within this new action type, a whole range of script functions are supported for altering elements of the running scenario (see HERE and HERE for comprehensive documentation of available scripts).
The new supported functions include:

  • Assigning units to missions, removing them from existing missions or reassigning them to others.
  • Changing EMCON settings. One could make an event for an entire side’s radars to engage.
  • Creating new Aircraft, Ships, Submarines and Land Units at specific or random locations.
  • Moving units, setting new courses for units. Telling units to hold fire, or to open fire.
  • Changing side posture, for example one could make an event to make Soviet Union and NATO hostile towards each other.
  • Changing the doctrine for a specified side, mission or unit.
  • Changing the weather, either specifying a precise change or randomizing the weather.

All of these new actions can be performed by the AI side in a scenario according to events triggered via the Event Editor. Scenario designers therefore now have a whole new set of tools to make more dynamic, highly-variable and interactive scenarios. Imagine for instance a scenario where the AI side performs allocation of aircraft to different CAP missions and zones based on the amount of aircraft destroyed or land units destroyed. Another aspect of this is that a scenario author can move and set course for units. This is especially interesting when a scenario author sets an action to move reference points if there is a mission patrol zone attached to the reference points. This allows a scenario author to edit patrol zones during a mission – thus changing the behavior of the AI in a scenario. Doctrine settings are now manipulable via the event editor as well. An example of this might be the Russian side enabling the use of nuclear weapons if Moscow is destroyed or damaged. Or, tying in with the air operations tempo doctrine settings from earlier, an AI controlled nation could have an event that bumps up air operations tempo from sustained to a surge footing.

Tomcat84 from the beta crew has put together two Lua-in-Command video tutorials: an introductory one, showing how easy it is for someone completely unfamiliar with Lua to use it to enhance a scenario, and an advanced one demonstrating how a familiar author can completely transform a scenario, for example:

  • Making a CAP change mission to become more aggressive once approached
  • Having a 50% chance of an AWACS being added when the scenario is loaded
  • Removing radar information from fighters when the Fighter HQ is bombed (permanently or coming back online after X amount of minutes)
  • Making tanks become detectable to the player side when crossing into an area
  • Making those tanks retreat once they reach a certain amount of damage together
  • Randomizing whether an SA-2 site is dumb with radar on or smart with radar off and a prosecution area at scenario load
  • Randomly adding either an SA-3, SA-6 or SA-8 at a location with 40% chance for SA-3 or SA-6 and 20% for the SA-8
  • Randomizing which CAPs a group of MiG-29s goes to
  • Having the weather improve over time with slight amount of randomness
  • Showing how to have a strike mission marshal somewhere first before randomly selecting which target they go to
  • Having SAM’s EMCON go active once too many EW Radars are taken out
  • Having SAM’s EMCON go active when the SAM HQ is bombed
  • Having SAM’s go passive again when HQ backup is online after X minutes, UNLESS they were already active because EW radars were taken out

Scen authors can use a “Lua script console” (if you have played first-person shooters you are probably familiar with drop-down consoles that offer all sorts of hacks and diagnostics) to try out and experiment with their scripts before committing them to the Event Engine. One thing that is important to note is that the introduction of these new event editor actions in no way changes existing Command scenario functionality. This only acts in addition to existing functionality: your favorite scenarios will still play out just way you like them.

The other new features

Aside from the “big three” new features, the v1.06 release contains a myriad of fixes and additions, some of them long-time desires of the dev team but most of them directly influenced by the plentiful feedback we have received since Command’s triumphant public debut. This is a summary rundown of the most visible additions; for full details see the release notes accompanying the v1.06 release.

* New UI feature: Satellite pass predictions. Selecting this function from the “Game” menu, and then clicking on the desired location on the map, brings up a window with the predicted passes and coverage times (ie. sat being within sensor range of the location) for the next X days for all satellites (default value is 3 days, but this can be modified).
All columns are sortable by clicking on the headers, so for example you can quickly see which sat will pass within coverage from the area of interest, which pass will offer the longest dwell time etc.

* Patrol/Support mission altitude overrides on Mission Editor: You can now set override values for the transit and on-station aircraft altitudes for patrol & support missions. These values are displayed & edited in feet or meters, depending on display preference. 

* Radars able to detect mobile ground units are limited by target speed. A halted tank platoon for example is much harder to pick up than one on the move. Radars with progressively higher frequency (NATO J/K/L/M bands) get extra bonus on this as their higher frequency allows them to pick out even low-speed or static targets. (Not coincidentally, such seekers feature prominently on weapons like Longbow-Hellfire, Brimstone etc.) 

* “Submarine Datum” contact:  If an inbound torpedo is detected where no submarine contact is held, a presumed submarine contact is auto-generated on the assumption that the weapon came from somewhere. The initial AoU for the presumed sub contact has a 10nm radius and expands with time as with normal detections. Likewise, if a sub-launched missile is detected immediately after launch (within 1nm of its firing submarine) then a sub contact is generated with a 1nm-radius AoU (remember how “Operation Doolittle” in RSR went horribly wrong?). This helps surface/sub forces under sub attack to respond quickly to the attack even without having positively detected the attacker (and hopefully kills the player “sub sniping” cheat).
 
* No need to close and re-open the DB viewer: The DB viewer window, if already open, now refreshes properly when you click on a different friendly or identified non-friendly unit, or perform any other action which would normally open it (e.g. clicking on a weapon entry on the loadout selection screen). So you no longer have to close it repeatedly in order to browse through various in-scenario units.

* Fixed long-standing bug on “Unit enters area” trigger: it was firing for every moment at which a unit was in the area (so if it was chained to a repeatable event, the event was firing continuously). Now it fires only when the unit actually steps into the area from outside.

* Loadout IDs are now displayed on the aircraft page of the DB viewer.

* Special reserved variable for Event Engine: UnitX. This is a global (scenario-wide) variable representing the active unit responsible for firing any of these triggers: 
- Unit is damaged 
- Unit is destroyed 
- Unit is detected 
- Unit enters an area 
- Unit remains in area 
So whichever unit causes of the above triggers to fire, it gets tagged as “UnitX”. 
You can then use this special variable as a reference in any Lua-mapped function that takes a unit’s name/ObjectID as a parameter (so for example you can dictate “whichever unit enters this area will get assigned to this mission”).

* New logged message type: New Mine Contact. As with all other message types, it can be configured to show (or not) on the message log and also trigger a clock-stopping popup.


* The various altitude parameters (transit altitude, on-station altitude etc.) of a loadout’s mission profile are now enforced for air patrol & support missions. So for example a P-3 on a typical ASW patrol will transit at high altitude (optimum fuel consumption) and once it enters the patrol area it descends to 300m for the actual patrol. Combined with the optional altitude overrides for patrol & support missions, this means that an aircraft’s altitude is now configurable at 3 different levels (controlled by loadout, controlled by mission-level override, or finally overriden by direct player input).

* The “Select new homebase” function now works for any type of unit and group, not just for aircraft and airgroups. So now you can easily switch home bases for deployed ships, submarines, mobile land units etc.

* New Event Trigger type: “Scenario is loaded”. This fires immediately once a scenario is loaded from file and before it is presented to the player/editor, _if_ the scenario current datetime is at or before the “start of scenario” datetime. This enables doing initial setup actions (e.g. randomize unit locations) before the player starts the scenario.  * On the “Add Unit” window, the unit names are now also hyperlinks to the relevant page on the DB viewer:

* Improved cloud and thermal layer indicators on throttle/altitude window. This makes it easier to quickly visualize if e.g. an aircraft is blocked by cloud cover (important for EO/IR sensors, LGB-lazing etc.) or where a submarine stands in relation to the thermal layer (very important for sonar detections, as explained in detail on the manual).

  

* New patrol & support mission feature: Minimum number of units on station. This appears on the mission editor windows as “Try to keep [XXX] units of each class on-station (0 to ignore)”. 
This value can be used to precisely specify the desired number of units (per class) on-station instead of relying only on the 1/3rd rule. However, it can also be _combined_ with the 1/3rd rule, and the biggest value between them takes precedence. 
Let’s look at a concrete example. We have 12 aircraft (same class) on a base and are assigning them to a patrol. 
- If the “minimum number” value is 0 and the 1/3rd rule is not used: The airops crew just flushes out all aircraft at once. 
- If the “minimum number” value is 0 and the 1/3rd rule is used: The airops crew tries to keep 1/3rd of the force on station. 
- If the “minimum number” value is > 0 (let’s say 7) and the 1/3rd rule is used: The biggest value between them takes precedence. So in this case 12/3 = 4 and 7 > 4 so the “minimum number” value wins. If the force was 24 aircraft then the 1/3rd rule would win because 24/3 = 8 and 8 > 7. 
- If the “minimum number” value is > 0 (let’s say 7) and the 1/3rd rule is not used: The airops crew will try to keep 7 aircraft on station. 

* Additional factor for ship gunnery: Ship size. Large ships are very stable platforms for unguided weapon fire (guns, rockets, lasers etc.) even during heavy seas, while smaller craft face progressively more severe aiming problems (even with advanced fire-control directors) as the weather worsens. 

* Modified patrol behavior for aircraft: Once they get a class ID on a contact, if they do not have suitable weapons to engage it, they stop going after it and resume their patrol. This is meant to address the “MPA twirls over hostile surface ship and gets shot down” problem.

* Torpedoes can now be fired to their maximum kinematic range instead of 8nm. So if you really want to e.g. fire a Mk48 out to a target 25nm away because Jane’s says that’s the max range, now you can. (Just don’t blame anyone if the target easily outruns it or if the firing solution at that range is so poor that the torp misses outright). The firing behavior is configurable as a doctrine setting (so it can be applied to side-, mission-, group- or unit-level), and can be set to apply only for manual (i.e. player-initiated) shots only (so the AI remains conservative), both manual and AI shots, or none.

* New Scen-Edit feature: Clone a unit (ie. copy a unit and also copy all customizations of the original). The keyboard shortcut is Shift + CThe only limitaton currently is that modifications to an aircraft’s loadout (extra weapons etc.) are not copied.

* Added option (ON by default) to display the selected unit’s (or identified contact’s) image as a thumbnail under the unit’s name on the “Unit/Contact Status” info panel:  NOTE: The image will appear only if you have downloaded the DB image pack from the WS Downloads page.

* Aircraft returning to base on RTB-Mission Over / Winchester / Manual status now accept course orders (but not if they are on RTB-Bingo). 

* Pressing Ctrl+X now copies the geo coordinates of the map cursor (in decimal form) to the clipboard.

* Includes a large number of new import files by Mike Mykytyn and Jakob Wedman.

* Includes rebuilt and improved versions of all official scenarios. 

* Includes the latest versions of the DB3000 & CWDB databases, with the usual mile-long list of database fixes and additions in direct response to user requests. * You can drag-select multiple facilities, ships, bases or ship groups and access the Air Ops or Boat Ops menu (F6 / F7 hotkey) to display aircraft on all parking facilities.

 

Version v1.06 (Build 624) of Command is currently under final testing and preparation and should appear in public within December.

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