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.

 

Stay home and play: Twelve new CMO community scenarios

March 23, 2020 · Posted in Command · Comment 

Kushan has released the updated version of the Command community scenario pack. In addition to updated and refreshed versions of existing works, the new release includes twelve new scenarios:


119 Squadron Makes a Little Noise, 2021 – This scenario assumes that Syria is using local militias to support its political agenda in Lebanon. There is compelling evidence that the militias have conducted terrorist operations both in and outside Lebanon and are planning attacks on Israel.

Air Battle over Metema, 2019 – Hostilities have erupted between Sudan and Ethiopia.

Assault on Banak, 1985 – A “Bolt out of the Blue” Warsaw Pact assault on NATO began at 04:00 utc/Zulu time this morning. Since then airfields and army units in northern Norway have been hit hard. You have been ordered to get your Type 207 Class submarine r underway ASAP and interdict a Soviet amphibious group rounding Nord Kapp destination Banak Diversionary Airfield. Your mission is to engage and destroy as many Soviet Amphibious vessels as possible and still bring your crew home!

Fiery Cross Reef, 2021 – The world is at war… After three weeks of fighting the fronts are stabilized on fronts, except in the Middle East where Israel is driving into Southern Lebanon and Damascus. The time has come for the West to take the offensive and the first move will come against the PRC/PLAN with the Spratly/Paracel Islands as your target.

Hormuz, 2020 – Iran decides to close the Straits of Hormuz.

Operation Quiet Rodeo, 1994 – During the 1990s, the United Kingdom and Libya provided support to different factions during the Civil War in Sierra Leone. This scenario assumes the situation escalated. British and Libyan forces have become directly involved in the conflict and, on occasion, have engaged each other in combat.

Senkaku Islands Clash, 2019 – The Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands are disputed by the Peoples Republic of China (PRC), Taiwan and Japan, with Japan currently controlling the islands. For decades they were little more than navigational markers and a fishing grounds until in the late 60s when oil reserves were discovered near the islands. This increased in 1971 as the United States turned over control of the Ryukyu Chain, including the Senkaku, to Japan. Jockeying for control of the islands really began in earnest in the 1990s with the situation becoming more nationalistic during the 2010s. By 2016 the dispute had reached a fever pitch when the United States confirmed it was committed to assisting the Japanese Self Defense Forces with the defense of the Islands.

The Battle of Vogel Seamount, 1981 – This scenario assumes hostilities erupted between NATO and the Soviet Union in 1981.

The Corfu Channel Episode, 1946 – The historical Corfu Channel Incident does not make a very good war game scenario. It involves several British ships conducting a Freedom of Navigation Operation. Two British ships were damaged by mines and more than forty British sailors were killed. This version assumes that the British have more information and have sent two minesweepers to clear the mines and a surface action group to protect them. The scenario is set at about the same date as the actual Incident and the SAG includes most of the historical vessels involved.

Vikrant goes to War, 1971 – You are Commander, Eastern Fleet of the Republic of India’s navy with war against Pakistan considered imminent. After deliberate preparations, the Fleet has sortied with your flagship INS Vikrant and you have been briefed by the Chief of the Naval Staff on the Chief of Naval Operations intentions for your force.

Northern Fury #40: ‘Tongs’ – The new global war between East and West has been raging for a month, NATO is on the offensive but the Warsaw Pact is far from defeated and still has the ability to counter attack. The ground war in Europe continues to be brutal and deadly. Conflicts in the Caribbean, Mediterranean, Persian Gulf and Indian Ocean have stabilized in NATO’s favour. Commander STRIKFLTLANT has set in motion a series of attacks designed set up the conditions for upcoming amphibious operations in central Norway – Operation Thor’s Lightning. This is one of those actions.

Mediterranean Fury #4 – Secure the Flank – Three days into World War Three and you as Commander 6th Fleet are finally able to focus your efforts. It looks like the Turks are solidifying their position on the Bosporus, although it will be a while before the Soviets are finally dealt with; Libya and Algeria have been neutralized, at least for now; it’s been very quit in the Balkans and Aegean Sea; and the sting has been taken out of Syria’s offensive capability. Now it is time to make sure Syria is pummeled into submission!


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

The CSP now proudly counts 521 scenarios in its stable!

Another week with the pros: Fifth Command PE users conference concludes

February 2, 2020 · Posted in Command PE · Comment 

FARNBOROUGH, UK – It has been an intense and exciting week at BAE Systems headquarters in Farnborough as the fifth Command PE event came to a close. This time Slitherine and WarfareSims put together a week-long conference for a diverse set of participants, from existing professional users, to new clients, to prospects and existing strategic partners.

Over one hundred delegates coming from all over the world attended both plenary sessions and one-to-one meetings to debate about the future of professional wargaming and simulation and on the specifics of what is now an established benchmark software in the sector. Command PE has taken the lead as one of the most powerful and flexible software for planning, analysis, and training in the defense and military simulation sector and the amount of interest towards this product has grown immensely over the past few months.

The list of attendees to the Farnborough training week includes representatives from both public institutions such as USMC, USAF, DSTL, Luftwaffe and RAAF and private corporations such as BAE Systems Air, BAE Subs, Microsoft and Improbable. The presence of the latter two companies, in particular, is the testament of how closely the videogames and defense/military sectors can interact when it comes to developing game-based experiences for professional purposes.

Slitherine and WarfareSims thank all attendees for their presence and extremely helpful feedback, and are already looking forward to the future. The next CPE user conference will take place at the University of Dayton Research Institute (UDRI) during June 15th-18th in Dayton, Ohio. If you would like to attend, please get in touch!

 

New horizons: Command Modern Operations v1.01 update now available

January 23, 2020 · Posted in Command · Comment 

Most good things take their time and this one certainly did, but now it’s out: Command v1.01 (Build 1121.6) is now available, both on MatrixGames and Steam. See the full release notes HERE. This update consolidates all public beta releases since the last official patch (B1115.8), and adds a few more tweaks and improvements as well as a major database update.

Arguably the biggest new feature is proper Fog-of-War for the Tacview 3D view, as this was by far the most popular post-release request by players. Other highlights include:

  • The loading and display of map tiles has been significantly sped up
  • Another popular request: configurable volume for game sounds and music
  • Numerous simulation speed improvements
  • Very large scenarios can be played with much lower chance of memory exhaustion
  • 15x time compression option has been added
  • The “detached message log steals key-focus from main map” problem has been resolved
  • Clicking on units in the mission editor automatically centers the map on them
  • The default “start looking for tankers” fuel threshold has been changed from 60% to 30% (This helps with cases where aircraft nearing their strike targets abruptly turn back and start looking for a suitable tanker to refuel)
  • Improvements in ABM guidance logic
  • The LOS-tool calculations are slightly less punishing on the UI (and the rest of the computer, really).
  • Updated versions of the various DLC battlesets
  • Updated database images and descriptions files
  • New 3D models for Tacview
  • A crapload of new additions in the latest DB release

Select members of the dev team are already packing their bags for the upcoming Command PE users conference in Farnborough, UK, so expect a slightly reduced tempo until the start of February.  If you are in the area, drop us a note! We’ll be glad to share a pint and give you a glimpse of the amazing things on the horizon.

And as a reminder: The CMO discount for existing CMANO owners ends in a week; so hurry!

Command: Modern Operations has been unleashed!

November 14, 2019 · Posted in Command · Comment 

Available on Matrix Games, Steam and other online sellers

THE KING IS BACK.

Dev diaries:

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