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2013-04-15 Getting better at generating missions, CWR2 beta units and Project 82 Pucara units Zoom

"Cannot find maneuver space to execute a coordinated attack...". If PlannedAssault fails to generate a mission, it most frequently is for this "lack of maneuver space" reason. In case of eight 4-tank platoons being asked to attack through a single valley in Takistan, it's hard to blame the mission planner. However, in some other cases, the planner wasn't seeing all the options available.

Form-up position candidates for unit Hotel

Checking form-up positions for crossing routes

CWR2's M2A2 Bradley in combat (Arma2)

I've just updated the planner behind PlannedAssault with a new set of algorithms to identify and select the most promising form-up positions and avenues of attack. The new approach takes into account more candidate form-up positions which also have higher quality. It balances multiple prongs in a joint attack better. This improvement applies to all supported games and simulators, from Arma1 to Arma3, Iron Front and any VBS.

And, most important, it is better at finding maneuver space. It is successful more often based on off-line runs against 100s of your missions.

 

In the first two images above, you'll get a glimpse of the new approach. The image on the left shows potential form-up positions for combat unit Hotel and its transport (not shown), along with course avenues-of-approach to the objective. The image in the center illustrates a sanity check performed when picking form-up positions for multiple units; when a combination of form-up positions leads to units crossing each other towards the form-up, this combination is rejected.

Column of CWR2's new T-64s and BRMD-2s (Arma2)

A CWR2 OH-58/AH-64 hunter killer team (Arma2)

CWR2 SAS engaging P82 Pucara with Stinger (Arma2)

This update also brings a few new (Cold War era) units to the unit database. Ready for inclusion in your mission are new additions to the Cold War Rearmed 2 (CWR2) add-on: the M2A2 Bradley IFV, the OH-58 Kiowa scout helicopter, and Warsaw Pact T-64 tanks and the BRDM-2 family of recon/HQ vehicles.

 

Also new is the Argentine FMA IA-58A Pucara by Foxtrot, which combines nicely with the CWR2 UK forces.

 

Enjoy,

 

William

2012-09-16 Cold War Rearmed2: British Forces, Dutch Marines, and cold-war era Harrier, Chinook Zoom

Today's update adds more cold-war era forces, especially covering the Falklands War, to the unit database. Last week, the Cold War Rearmed:2 mod team released an update, and introduced cold war era Dutch Marines, British infantry and vehicles, and British SAS.

 

Based on the TO&Es I could find, I've defined groups and sections (and 'ploegen', for the Dutch Marines) for the most common variations. This includes the Dutch Marines with the camouflaged faces, TOW crew-served weapon teams, Dragon and Stinger units, and 81mm mortar teams.

For the British infantry, I've added the 5+3 sections, camouflaged faces, mortar and howitzer teams. For the SAS, I've added GPMG, 66mm HEAT rocket and Stinger variants, and created a script that replaces the default backpack with large bergens if the Lennard's 19 backpacks variants add-on is loaded. These SAS teams should better represent the teams deployed in the Falklands war.

Dutch (Korps Mariniers) cold-war era Marine in DPM (Arma2)

Dutch Marine with Carl-Gustav anti-tank missile launcher (Arma2)

Harrier GR3 in cold war RAF-Germany livery (Arma2)

RAF Chinook 'BN' in 1982 Falklands camouflage (Arma2)

SAS troop with large bergens inserted by Chinook (Arma2)

SAS soldier equipped with large bergen and Stinger (Arma2)

British howitzer being fired (Arma2)

British light infantry advancing on Zernovo (Arma2)

Cold war era British infantry and FV432 APC (Arma2)

To add to the Falklands coverage, the cold-war era Harrier GR3 (in RAF Germany livery) (by trouble) and the Falklands War livery CH-47 Chinook (by Konyo and friends) have been added.

 

Enjoy!

 

William

2012-01-15 Cold Winter Wars with CWR2, Vilas' P85 (all for Arma2:CO) Zoom

This update has a 'winter' theme: it adds added a winter map (CWR2's Winter Kolguljev), it adds units in winter camouflage (also from Cold War Rearmed 2). In addition, this update adds scripts that that add snow, add breath plumes, and that change camo net patterns to 'snow', for a more immersive winter combat.

Aside from that, this update adds FRG (West-German cold war era) units and US Army cold war vehicles from Vilas' Project 85 mod.

Soviet Mi-24 Hind approach snow covered Kolguljev (Arma2)

Cold war US infantry in snow camo (Arma2)

P85's M577 mobile HQ passes by while snow flakes fall (Arma2)

The images (from PlannedAssault generated missions) in this news update show the CWR2 Soviet infantry, Soviet Spetsnaz and US Army infantry with in winter battle dress or coveralls. PlannedAssault's' database now also includes TOW launcher teams, mortar crews and howitzer crews in winter camouflage.

 

Since the previous update, PlannedAssault's missions order defending units to employ camo nets (provided HcPookie's camo net add-on is loaded). In the previous update, all defending units were configured with camo nets in matching size, style and camo pattern.

With this 'winter' update, I've added a map specific override that changes all camo net patterns to 'snow'. This 'snow' override is enabled on winter maps such as Winter Kolguljev.

The benefit of this 'snow' camo net override is that regular 'wood land' units are less conspicuous on winter maps, which makes it more attractive to combine snow and regular units on winter maps. See for yourself in the 'P85 M109A3 Palladin' screen shot.

Soviet motorized rifle infantry advancing in winter camouflage (Arma2)

P85 M109A3 Palladins firing from camouflaged positions (Arma2)

Cold weather breath plume from a US spotter (Arma2)

The addition of map specific scripts (such as snow, breath plumes, camo net pattern override) and mod specific scripts (camouflaged faces for some cold war era forces) reflects a recent improvement to PlannedAssault's design. I've transferred almost all scripts and script dependencies from the mission planner to the web UI and database. This makes it easier for me to introduce mod and map specific scripts, and to support mods that heavily rely on their own scripts.

For this update, I've had great fun adding CWR2's snow, breath plumes and snow camo nets. Let's see what opportunities come up.

P85 M151A2 MUTT with TOW launcher (Arma2)

Soviet Spetsnaz riding on top of BTR through the snow (Arma2)

P85 FRG Cold war era Fallschirmjaeger being inserted by UH-1Ds (Arma2)

Finally, I've begun adding units for Vilas' P85 add-on, starting with the cold war West-German forces and US vehicles, and according to historic TO&E. Vilas' add-on is pretty unique in covering the cold war era with such a wide variety in forces and vehicles. And with PlannedAssault it becomes real easy to create the large armor battles that never were.

 

Have fun!

 

William

2011-12-24 Defenders concealing themselves with camo nets, and CWR2's Kolguljev (all for Arma2:CO) Zoom

Camouflage nets have been part of Arma 2 since its release. In the real world, these camo nets are frequently used to hide units and vehicles, enabling defenders to surprise attackers. However, camo nets have seen little use in Arma2...

Concealed SAM site consisting of a 1S91 radar and two 2K12 launchers (Arma2)

French mountain unit manning mortars (Arma2)

Y2003 USMC TOW HMMWV manning a line in the desert (Arma2)

This PlannedAssault update attempts to change that. Building on, and inspired by, hcpookie's 'Deployable Camo Nets' add-on for Arma2:CO, PlannedAssault now generates missions that include include orders for selected defending units to deploy camo nets. As a starting point, all Arma2:CO crew served weapons, all crew served artillery, and all light-armored anti-tank vehicles and all anti-air vehicles are configured with camo nets.

 

The screen shots here clearly show what a camo net can do: hiding a defender or break up its shape making detection harder.

Stryker MGS engaging threats from camouflaged position (Arma2)

Bundeswehr Wiesel 2 Ozelot set-up under camouflage net (Arma2)

Bradley IFV crew mounting up after deploying a net (Arma2)

Hcpookie's 'Deployable Camo Nets' add-on introduces camouflage nets in different sizes and colors, along with a script enabling human players to set-up a net for a vehicle in a 30 second animation.

I have written a new script that makes a group of AI vehicles deploy their nets one-by-one. In many cases*, you'll see a crew member dismount to set-up the net using an animation and afterwards remount. I have added orders for each 'camo-net equipped' defender group to trigger this 'deploy camo net' script when they are to hide or perform a 'guard' action. Unlike hcpookie's script, camo nets won't automatically disappear when units move out of their camo net position.

I have reviewed all Arma2:CO units in PlannedAssault's unit database, and added camo net matching the unit's size and camouflage where applicable.

 

Just to clarify: the Arma2 AI doesn't decide on its own to the deploy a camo net. It is the additional orders in missions generated by PlannedAssault that make the AI units use the camouflage. It's been a simple addition for PlannedAssault and me, because PlannedAssault generates orders from a larger battle plan from which it is obvious when and where it make sense to deploy camo nets.

Four M119 howitzers firing from a concealed position (Arma2)

Cold war US M60A3 platoon on Kolguljev (Arma2)

CWR2's AH-1F Cobra w shark graphics (Arma2)

This update also includes a new map: Cold War Rearmed 2's Kolguljev island.

As an experiment, I've chosen a larger area size than for previous maps. The (North) Kolguljev map is 8 x 6 km, whereas all earlier maps were four times smaller at 4 x 3 km. Larger maps provide more room and freedom to define battles, but making positioning units in your browser more difficult. Larger maps used to take too much computing time on my side, but with a faster planner now in place I'm ready to explore this.

For testing CWR2's Kolguljev, I've added and used the new CWR2 AH-1F Cobra. It is available in the unit database with and without shark nose graphics.

 

Have fun!

William

*: In case the vehicle has cargo or has a gunner that is not a commander. This follows from Arma2 AI limitations: if the driver dismounts, all other crew will dismount as well. If the commander dismounts, other vehicles will move around, potentially leaving their camo net position.