Don’t stop me now: Command PE v1.15.5 now available

March 8, 2021 · Posted in Command PE · Comment 

It has been 10 months since the last official PE release, and the WS dev team has been pretty busy on multiple fronts. The time is now ripe for another significant official update: Command PE v1.15.5 is now available to new and existing pro customers.

The new update brings a deluge of additions and improvements big and small, including some features explicitly developed as customer requests. These include:

New sensor type: Passive Coherent Location System (aka “Passive Radar”). For a general background on PCLS, see here. PCLS systems can be very useful both as a covert means of airspace surveillance and as a potent counter-VLO asset to be combined with other, more traditional sensors. They do have several drawbacks and vulnerabilities (for example, they can be limited in altitude coverage because of their bistatic nature, and each receiver must have clear LOS to both the target and the transmitter in order to process the reflection), but as long as these can be accommodated, PCLS sensors can significantly enhance an IADS and complicate enemy efforts to disrupt it.

New major feature: Distinct mobile ground units. In addition to modelling mobile forces as “aimpoint facilities” , it is now possible to explicitly model individual vehicles with their own customized properties such as armor, propulsion, mounts, sensors etc. These new units now have their separate data annex (“Ground Units”), and can be browsed on the DB viewer:Apart from the obvious benefits of easier targetability and clearer per-unit cargo assignment, the new-style ground units have unlocked certain brand-new capabilities, such as true amphibious vehicles (with distinct speed & fuel consumption properties overwater and on land).

New feature: Formation presets. You can now quickly arrange the members of a group using any of a range of formation presets:

The presets work with any unit type and allow quickly positioning units relative to each other and to the group’s lead. You can either assign the relative positions to the group units or, if in ScenEdit mode, you can directly “teleport” the members to their assigned positions (this can be very useful for scenario authors, obviously).

Major enhancements to Command-CLI. Command-line execution was one of the hottest new features of the v1.15 upgrade (see this article by Northrop Grumman on how they have been using it for a DARPA initiative to train AIs with literally quadrillions of scenario variants), and we have receive lots of feedback and suggestions as to how to improve its utility. Two big new features are:

  • You can now launch a CLI instance in interactive mode, using the Lua TCP-socket as the control interface. This ability combines the high-performance, low overhead and parallel execution benefits of CLI with the full-control interactivity of the full-GUI client.
  • CLI mode now supports both coarse and finegrained timestep modes.

Improvements to Multiplayer. The layout of the various MP-specific UI elements has been improved to be less intrusive, the transmission delay of scenario snapshots has been sharply reduced using a “delta” comparison engine, and various fixes and tweaks have been added.

New doctrine/ROE/WRA feature: You can now define decimal figures for WRA engagement and self-defence ranges, using the relevant Lua methods. For example:
ScenEdit_SetDoctrineWRA({guid = ‘d7db0f50-bf1a-4977-ad57-15c30ef3f91a’, target_type=’Aircraft_Unspecified’, weapon_id=134}, {‘2′,’inherit’,2.5,7.8})

In addition, a new message type (Doctrine/ROE) has been added to the message options, and thus can be configured to appear on the message log, raise a pop-up etc. This makes it easier to receive immediate feedback/confirmation on script-driven WRA changes.

Various tweaks & improvements on the event-export tables, directly based on user feedback.

You can now control the jettison of aircraft stores through Lua. This is a more powerful and flexible method than the GUI, as it allows dumping stores at any arbitrary point (not just when under attack), and provides finer control as to what items will be jettisoned (all stores, externals only, heavy stores only, or even a specific weapon ID)

Plus a wide assortment of other tweaks, fixes and improvements across the various functionality tiers of the application.

Work is already underway on the next update releases. Stay tuned, as there are some impressive things on the horizon!

Command: Modern Operations wins the Charles S. Roberts 2019 award in the category “Best Modern Era Computer Wargame”

October 26, 2020 · Posted in Command · Comment 

Triple whopper: Updated Community Scenario Pack with 28 new scenarios

October 16, 2020 · Posted in Command · Comment 

It has been a busy week, that’s for sure. Yesterday we had the release of the massive v1.02 update and the new Command-LIVE “Sahel Slugfest” scenario, and today it’s the turn of another Command stable, the Community Scenario Pack (CSP). Brandon Johnson (Kushan) has updated the pack with updates & refreshes to existing scenarios, as well as 28 brand-new creations. Let’s take a look:


Airstrikes on Zinder, 2025 – This scenario assumes that in the near future Niger will experience a civil war.  An organization known as the ZLA seeks to establish a separate country in the Nigerien territory of Zinder.  It has already occupied the largest city in the region, also known as Zinder, and is presently operating as a de facto state.

Assalto in Pakistan, 2018 – After the multiple terrorist attacks by Pakistan .. NATO has decided to teach him a lesson .. by sending the nearby Italian fleet.

Baltic Fury 2 – Borscht on Bornholm – In this scenario you are playing the Soviet side and are charged with conducting an airborne and amphibious landing on Bornholm. NATO is on the backfoot so this should be a quick and relatively simple operation, but it’s essential that the island is seized and secured rapidly to allow for future operations.

Carrier Hunt, 2024 – China’s surprise attack hit every US-alliances in North-East Asia. While major military assets in Japan and South Korea took severe damage by Chinese ballistic missile strikes, Chinese forces have captured the Japanese Okinawa Islands and seized control.
Although the United States and its allies have suffered significant losses, they are still far from beaten…
This is a medium, single-sided battleset scenario with a duration of 2 days. You have two US Carrier Strike Groups with mostly three anti-ship weaponry: AARGM, LRASM, and Multi-Mission Tomahawk. Your primary target is Chinese Carrier ‘Shandong’ around Okinawa.

Galveston Gets a Mission, 1960 – Nikita Khrushchev believed that the role of the Soviet Navy was to support the Army, and once referred to surface warships as “molten coffins.”  He did, however, believe that submarines, especially those armed with nuclear missiles, were a good idea.
During the Cold War, both the Soviets and the Americans used submarines to gather intelligence on each other and often tried to sneak submarines close to the territory of their rivals as possible.  They also used cruisers and destroyers to find those submarines and to chase them away.

Greek-Turkish EEZ Conflict, 2021 – In late November, 2019 a diplomatic crisis erupted between Greece and Turkey when Turkey announced it had signed a memorandum of understanding with Libya outlining their maritime boundaries. This particular dispute, amongst all of the other conflicts simmering between the two rivals involved an agreement between Turkey and Libya that defined oil right for a newly found oil field in an area Greece claimed as part of its Maritime Zone (MZ).

Hell of the East, 2019 – In this alternate future, the dispute and arguments between Turkey and the United States of America lead the Presidential Republic to leave NATO in favor of its alliance with Russia.
Due to growing military actions from the Turkish armed forces in the contested waters, Greece agreed to allow the Italian forces to field it’s air defense batteries and part of it’s air force in Greek territories and move it’s Ocean-Capable fleet in International waters.

Leathernecks are Watching, 2025 – This scenario assumes that Indonesia is going through a period of civil unrest.  Separatists in western New Guinea have renewed their efforts to force Indonesia to give them independence.
There is evidence that China is providing the rebels with financial and material support.
The rebels recently seized control of the town of Jayapura and nearby Sentani Airport.  They have also taken two groups of American civilians hostage.
The only American vessels in the immediate vicinity are a surface group centered on (LHA 6) and the attack submarine (SSN 766).

Nile Delta Strikeback, 2012 – Israeli-Egyptian relations, in a grudging peace for 33 years, have once again flared into war. The Israeli Navy has deployed in force off the Nile Delta. Opposing it is only a pair of old Romeo submarines. Command either side for a different experience.

Operation Cachalot, 2023 – Pakistan is in the middle of a civil war between the loyal moderate government and the islamic radicals and the latter are winning. European Union, with France on the front line, is helping the loyal and trying to defuse the situation. Radicals allied groups conduct a surprise attack to France forces in Djibouti and hijack the French research ship Cachalot with 50 sailors on board in the Gulf of Aden, asking for France disengagement and sailing toward Pakistan. The negotiations do not produce any useful results and in a few hours the French merchant Cachalot will reach the main Pakistani port of Karachi. The French carrier group centered on Charles de Gaulle just arrived in the area of operation and is ready to take the merchant back and teach the Pakistan radicals a harsh lesson.

Operation El Dorado Canyon, 1986 – A highly detailed recreation of the April 1986 US air strikes on Libya.
On the 5th of April 1986 terrorists detonated a bomb in a Berlin nightclub. The bomb killed 2 American soldiers and a Turkish woman and injured 229 others, 79 of whom were American.
In response, citing evidence that the government of Libya was responsible, US president Ronald Reagan ordered airstrikes against Libya on the night of April 14/15, codenamed OPERATION EL DORADO CANYON.

Operation Locusta, 1990 – Following the invasion and annexation of Kuwait by Iraq, on September 25, 1990, the Italian Government sent eight multi-role Panzer Tornado IDS fighters (plus two in reserve) belonging to the 6th, 36th and 50th Wing in the Persian Gulf. Operation Desert Shield, which were deployed at the Al-Dhafra air base near Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates.
The use of Italian aircraft in the Desert Storm operation represented the first operational use in combat missions of Italian Air Force aircraft after the end of the Second World War.

Operation Northern Stork, 2018 – Four EuroFighter aircraft from the Italian Air Force took off yesterday from the Grosseto military airport to the airport of Keflavik, in Iceland, to launch the NATO Interim Air Policing operation, called “Northern Stork”. The aim of the operation is to preserve the integrity of NATO’s airspace by strengthening Iceland’s skies surveillance, which does not have the capability and autonomous air defense structures. Italy contributes, with periodic shifts with the other countries of the Alliance, to this NATO mission.

Putin’s War – In the Jaws of the Bear, 2022 – The time had come to take the war to Russia. MAG-31 was to launch SEAD attacks from its base in Norway attacking from the landward flank. The USAF aircraft in Iceland would fly a circular route north of Jan Mayan Island launching a SEAD attack with their decoys, jammers and JASSMs and the USN would follow up that attack with a Tomahawk strike on the major Kola Peninsula naval bases and air fields.

Putin’s War – Midnight Sun, 2022 – The Baltic Crisis finally erupted into a full-scale NATO-Russian/Belorussia conflict on the morning of June 6th. The Baltics and the Suwalki Gap were rapidly overrun by the evening of the 7th with Russian forces reaching Kaliningrad by advancing west along Highway A16/E28 from Vilnius to Kybartai. They then turned southwestward reaching Highway 63 in Poland on the 11th, where they paused.
Under the midnight sun on the 7th Russian air forces bombed the Norwegian expeditionary air base at Banak and ports near Nordkapp.   The war above the Arctic circle had begun…

Putin’s War – Operation Exodus, 2022 – After the onset of Russian military operations against Norway it was decided to move Norwegian Vessels, under maintenance or damaged, to Royal Navy ports and shipyards in the United Kingdom.  Norwegian and British yard workers worked 24/7 to get as many of the vessel’s systems up as possible, and propulsion back online. By the 14th escorts were in place and the exodus to the UK ready.

Putin’s War – The Bodo Express, 2022 – On the morning of the 7th Russian air forces bombed the Norwegian expeditionary air base and port at Banak, near the Nord Kapp. By afternoon Russian paratroopers had seized the air field with Northern Fleet’s 61st Naval Infantry Brigade conducting a follow up landing at the port that evening. The 200th Separate Motor Rifle Brigade crossed the Norway-Russian border that morning brushing aside the tripwire Norwegian outposts. More follow up forces from 80th Independent Motor Rifle Brigade follow on advancing west.

Putin’s War – Threading the Needle, 2022 – As chaos continued to descend upon the Baltic all three nations jointly invoked NATO Article Five asking Brussels for aide. Debate raged in NATO General Council during the late week (June 1st and 2nd) until it was proven on Friday (June 3rd) that “Little Green Men” were appearing more and more frequently in the growing civil unrest. To date, the crisis had been confined to the Baltic States but at 18:00 UTC a French satellite pass noted the Russian SSBNs getting underway from the Kola Peninsula and other satellite passes confirmed the rest of the Northern and Baltic Fleets getting ready to stand up…

Royal Problems, 1962 – Following the Coup of September, 26th, 1962. Egypt immediately recognized the newly declared Republic of Yemen. Supposedly concerned over a possible Saudi intervention from the north and a British move from the south from the Protectorate Aden, Egypt actively supported the new Republic of Yemen.
In October 1962 the situation escalated quickly as the pro-royalist forces gained more and more support from Saudi Arabia. Additionally the United States of America sent weapons and aircrafts to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

South Atlantic War, 1982 – Sneaky Beakies in South Georgia – Following the successful Argentinian occupation of the Falklands Islands and South Georgia, the first steps in the UK military response was to start to gain ground-level intelligence on the occupying forces.
This scenario is playable by the UK side only and re-creates the covert insertion of SBS reconnaissance teams by the SSN HMS Conqueror on the night of 18/19 April 1982.

Sumatra Crisis 1 – Mayday, 2022 – Indonesia is under a civil war, facing separatist rebels in North Eastern Sumatra, getting extensive support from abroad, against the official government. To stop the foreign assistance, Indonesian Navy started to board and inspect some merchant ships passing through Strait of Malacca and along the western Sumatran coast that could provide help to the rebels. More than one time ships coming and going from Singapore port were harrassed, causing considerable concern and tension. After a few days Singapore Navy started patrols along their line of communication to ensure freedom of navigation. The next time an Indonesia patrol boat stops and inspect a friendly merchant, hopefully Singapore Navy will be in position to perform a show of force.

Sumatra Crisis 2 – Trade Paralisis, 2022 – After the strong Singapore reaction to Indonesia inspections and harassment to merchant traffic around Singapore, Indonesia government stopped using ships for the activity and resorted to submarines, sinking any vessel suspected to bring equipment to the rebels in the Strait of Malacca. This is a inacceptable limitation for Singapore lines of communication, heavily dependent on naval traffic transiting in the strait. A special task force is immediately assembled to hunt the enemy submarines.

Sumatra Crisis 3 – Singapore Surprise, 2022 – In a final step to reduce merchant traffic providing help to Sumatran rebels, Indonesian Navy started placing mines East of Palau Lingga Island in Malaccan Strait. Singapore Navy immediately moved heavily escorted mine countermeasures vessels (MCV) to remove the weapons and establish full freedom of navigation in the area. This time Indonesia forces are ready to react in force and teach Singapore a harsh lesson.

The Desperate Hours December, 1985 – World War Three is entering its third month. Amazingly neither side has yet resorted to nuclear weapons but the balance of power is gradually shifting. Younger members of the Politburo prevented the old guard from implementing the “Seven Days to the Rhine” plan with its first use of over 600 nuclear weapons, arguing the Warsaw Pact’s conventional forces can carry the day.
In Moscow, the balance of power is shifting, the ministers who opposed the “Seven Days to the Rhine” plan have now been discredited and the nuclear war hawks have neutralized them. NATO intelligence begins to pick up indications of Soviet preparations for a nuclear strike on the Continental United States (CONUS), Alaska, the UK and France. NATO navies are out of position for this with most forces involved in the Battle of the Atlantic and reinforcing Israel in the Med. USS Pharris FF-1094, charged with defending the GIUK Gap, and a few P-3s are all that stands between a Soviet Yankee reinforcing Soviet nuclear forces in the Atlantic and maybe the tipping point in the balance to nuclear war.

The Laser Dance, 2024 – A few hours ago, China declared war on the United States and its two major alliances in the Pacific. Right after the war declaration, a massive Chinese ballistic missile strike had initiated. Many air bases in Japan and South Korea have neutralized, their air forces in the region suffered critical losses.
When a large scale of Chinese naval activity is detected near Okinawa Island, the United States Pacific Command made a decision to save one of its hidden cards, a Surface Action Group which was conducting tests of new weaponry in the region.

The Missiles of October Part Deux, 2020 – During the Spring of 2020, the new Coronavirus “COVID-19” strain caused serious disruption to the world order and economic systems, diverting the West’s attention from military matters to lock downs, market crashes and sealed borders. Quietly ties between Russia’s President Putin and Partido Comunista de Cuba (PPC), First Secretary, Raúl Castro warmed over this period of disruption. By late May, Russian engineers began construction on a series of bunkers south of Habana (Havana) which bore a striking resemblance to similar bunkers recently completed in Kaliningrad.
In mid-August Russian antishipping missiles took up position along the Florida Straits. Between 15 to 25 September, as chaos reigned in American and European cities, several Russian ships docked in Cuban ports disgorging Intermediate Range Cruise Missiles and their Transporter-Erector-Launchers (TELs). Satellite imagery took several days to analyze, due to the virus, but by October 3rd it was obvious that Iskandar missiles were being positioned in Cuba. The clock had been turned back 58 years!

The Olutanga Rebellion, 2020 – The Philippines has long struggled with civil unrest.
This scenario assumes that a separatist group has seized control of much of the island of Olutanga.

Two Cutters in the Gulf of Mexico, 2020 – In war and peace, the United States Coast Guard wages an endless battle to protect America and Americans from criminals and, sometimes, their own stupidity.


The new community scenario pack is, as always, available for download at the WS site: http://www.warfaresims.com/?page_id=1876 , and also on the Steam workshop.

The CSP now proudly counts 549 scenarios in its stable!

Angry gets things done: Command v1.02 update now available

October 15, 2020 · Posted in Command · Comment 

It has been a while since the v1.01 update back last January, but as our regulars know we have been busy on all fronts. After releasing a number of official minor updates, the time has come to consolidate progress to a new development checkpoint – thus, the new v1.02 update has been born. The new update is now available through the Matrix installer and Steam, and the full release notes are available, as usual, in the MatrixGames forum.

v1.01 had a big bang feature (addition of FOW to Tacview), and v1.02 comes with a biggie of its own: Mine warfare has received a serious overhaul with many improvements in mechanics and AI logics, fixing some outstanding issues and improving both realism and player convenience and usability.

Other noteworthy additions:

  • An improved 4K-fixer tool
  • Improvements to QBG functionality along with more quick-battle templates
  • Improvements in ABM modelling
  • A brand-new set of “Surface Warfare Tutorial” scenarios by Rory Noonan
  • Updated version of the DB3000 database with numerous improvements and platform & system additions (as one example, most warships now have proper “cargo” allotments for personnel as well as small boats, so they can be used for situations such as boarding & inspection, seizure/capture, counter-piracy etc.)
  • And of course countless fixes, minor tweaks and improvements based directly on community feedback.

Gave a go at it and let us know!

Climbing ever higher: Command PE v1.15 released

May 7, 2020 · Posted in Command PE · Comment 

It has been almost a year since the release of PE v1.14.5, and a good 3.5 months since our most recent user conference at Farnborough. We are confident, however, that our pro customers will agree: Command PE v1.15 is here, and it has been worth the wait.

You can read the full release notes for the new update HERE.

Arguably eclipsing v1.14 as the most significant CPE release so far, v1.15 incorporates two brand-new features that have long dominated the wishlists of our customers:


1) WEGO-style multiplayer. Users can now host, join and play multiplayer game sessions using the familiar CPE user interface. There are several important characteristics that define this functionality in its current implementation:

  • Currently up to 16 players are supported per session. These can have any type of posture between them (friendly, neutral, hostile etc.) so both vs. and cooperative play is possible, in any number of combinations (8v8, 16 vs AI and anything in between). The server runs at the customer premises (not hosted by WS or MatrixGames), and the overall architecture is optimized for a LAN environment.
  • Being a WEGO type, play flow is broken down into simultaneously-resolved turns (those familiar with Combat Mission or BSG:Deadlock will feel right at home). All players submit their orders and then the scenario state advances over the specified turn duration. During execution, the players (optionally) receive snapshots of the scenario progression in order to visualize what is happening.
  • Both the time available to issue orders (described as Order Submission Time or OST) and the actual step duration (described as Variable Turn Time or VTT) can change dynamically from one turn to another. This allows incorporating into the same session both long-duration events with minimal player intervention (e.g. a long transits) and also rapid action events where player intervention is frequent (e.g. close combat). Changing the OST value allows for providing the players with ample time to consider their decisions (in an MBX-style game) or, conversely, placing them under very limited available time to increase pressure.
  • Both umpire and observer roles are supported. The umpire has complete “God powers” (ie. access to all scenario-editor features), and has two chances per turn to use them: First, immediately after all players commit their orders but before the turn is executed (at that point he can also change any of the player orders to his whim), and then again right after the turn execution and before players resume control. He can also change the OST and VTT durations as desired, as well as force-commit all players (no laggards!). If no player takes the umpire mantle, the pre- and post-turn adjudication phases are skipped altogether. The observer role has the same omniscience powers as the umpire, but lacks its omnipotence – he can only watch.

The initial version of the MP functionality is already in use at the USMC wargaming center with feedback having been nothing short of enthusiastic, and suggestions for tweaks & improvements are already being absorbed by the development team for future iterations. (And to pre-empt the question that everyone in the commercial space is about to ask: Yes, MP is also coming to CMO, but later. The commercial market has different priorities and the system must be adjusted to them before general release.)


2) Command-line version. The heavy-duty analysts are going to be giddy with this; think Monte-Carlo on steroids. the command-line version shares the same simulation engine as CMANO/CPE, and all the powerful-pro only features, but completely ditches the graphical user interface in favor of using a console for basic feedback (plus of course any generated outputs as configured). The benefits of a command-line version of CPE are mainly two-fold:

  • Being scriptable and thus automated. It can thus be incorporated into an automated analysis toolchain. It is trivial to launch either one or multiple instances for different analysis jobs, both in-sequence and in parallel.
  • Lacking the GUI elements of the full-fledged CPE edition, this version is even faster and more efficient (as a point of comparison, the CLI executable is just over 5MB in disk size, compared to full-CPE’s 12MB). This makes it possible to run even more instances in the same machine.

Both the automation ability and the increased performance and instance density point to usage in massive-scale analysis, machine-learning inputs and other similar tasks.


These two features are not the only ones by far in the new update. Other additions include:

  • All the features and improvements of CMANO v1.15 have been incorporated.
  • Substantial performance improvements both on the GUI and core simulation engine.
  • All the tweaks and additions since the release of PE v1.14.5 have been rolled-up.
  • A new UI feature (fixed-side colors, useful for MBX-style games) has been added.
  • The Monte-Carlo mode can now run in both coarse (1-sec pulse) and finegrained (0.1-sec pulse) time modes.
  • A new mechanics override has been added: Public.NoContactExchange. When activated, friendly sides do not automatically exchange contact information (new or updated contacts) or any contact-related messages. (The default behavior is that they do). This can be useful in order to route contact information & exchange through other network-modelling systems.
  • Simulation tweaks for submarines, including new behaviors for vessels with lithium-ion batteries (such as the new submarine Ōryū).
  • When using DIS to connect to a federated simulation, it is now possible to “pin” a specific network adapter.
  • The Lua TCP/IP socket now supports a range of different encoding modes (Big-endian, Unicode, ASCII, UTF-7/8/32 etc.), to better adjust to different connector types.
  • The formation editor is now also usable for airgroups.
  • Updated content (databases, scenarios, tutorials, Tacview objects etc.)

Command PE v1.15 is now available for download by professional users. The WS development team is already busy collating early feedback and integrating it in future iterations of the product.

For more information on Command PE, see the dedicated product page here.

 

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