2013-05-12 Cold War unit database reinforced Zoom

With the Arma2 community continuing to deliver great cold war add-ons, here is another update of the add-on database. New in the air are SCAJolly's RAF Phantom FGR-2 in various (squadron) liveries and Foxtrop's Argentine FMA Skyhawk A4B / A4C's.

Cold war RAF Phantom FGR-2 from 43Sqn over Schwemlitz (Arma2)

British paras with their maroon berets from the CWR2 BAF add-on (Arma2)

BAOR's CRV(W) FV721 Fox platoon (Arma2)

On the ground, we have Trouble's CRV(W) FV721 Fox recce vehicles and para and marine berets for the Cold War Rearmed² - British Armed Forces Expansion, by CWR² Team.


With a little bit of scripting, the CWR² BAF add-on allows you to recreate the 29Cdo RAR batteries from the Falklands campaign. PlannedAssault has these units ready to use in its unit database, handling all the configuration and scripting for you.

29Cdo RAR battery firing, with CWR2 BAF marines (Arma2)

Cold war Royal Marines advancing (Arma2)

FMA Skyhawk A4-C (Arma2)




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.





2013-02-14 Better defense: spread out more, concealed better, and covering the avenues of approach (Arma2OA/CO, IronFront) Zoom

The past couple of weeks have been spent improving the AI's defense in PlannedAssault's missions, and now the results are hard to spot!


As the first screen shot makes clear (can you spot the two concealed and spread out M1036 TOW HMMWVs?), attacking a position becomes a lot more interesting when it is properly defended. With PlannedAssault-generated missions now offering stronger defense for Arma2OA/CO and Iron Front missions, I'd like to explain the changes.

Two TOW vehicles spread out amidst trees and buildings (Arma2)

Planner input: the position to defend

Planner analysis: likely threat avenues of approach

The improvements in defense mainly come from a combination of terrain and threat analysis (as performed during mission planning, by PlannedAssault) and better position selection (as performed by a new script during as part of the mission itself), as follows:

  1. In the mission planner, the position to defend, and the likely position of hostile forces are analyzed.
  2. In the mission planner, the defensive position is partitioned in 'pizza slice' sectors. Potential threat avenues of approaches are generated, and analyzed for traversing a defensive sector's front or area.
  3. Finally, the mission planner selects the key sectors to defend based on expected threat movement. The defending forces are assigned to those sectors in a way that best matches the expected threat type for the sector. Sectors likely to be used by hostile (armored) vehicles are preferably defended by tanks or units with an 'heavy AT' capability. Sectors likely to be used by hostile infantry are preferably defended by IFVs and infantry.

Planner analysis: chosen sectors and allocated forces

Generated mission: sectors and threat avenue of approach

In game: candidate vehicle positions in Keiler's sector

  1. During the generated mission, the defenders each are ordered to move into their sectors. For each sector, the mission planner has included in the mission a list of positions representing the likely threat avenues of approach (see the black dots in image #4). Once the defending unit arrives in his sector, he will use this list of positions to pick the most suited defensive positions.
  2. As soon as the defending unit arrives in sector, a newly developed script is triggered. This script first generates number of candidate positions inside the sector that are suited to hosting the unit's vehicles/men: empty positions for vehicles near houses/trees, and bush / forest edge positions for infantry.
  3. This script then tests each of the candidate position for having lines-of-fire onto the threat avenue of approach positions, and for being placed central and deep in the sector. The most suited candidate position then is selected, neighboring positions are culled, and the next best position is selected for the next vehicle. Rinse and repeat. This yields nicely spread out positions in the sector.

In game: chosen vehicle positions from the candidates: spread out...

In game: the result, one of the Keiler group vehicles positioned

In game: the result (continued): another vehicle from Keiler's group

  1. This script finally sends each vehicle to its individual battle position and orders it to orient itself towards the threat avenue of approach. Image #7 shows the result: a hard to spot Bundeswehr Jaguar tank destroyer positioned near and in front of houses. He has a good view at the road where hostile forces are expected, while at these hostile forces will have troubles spotting him. (The pink floating ghost HMMWV is a debugging marker I use to be able to easily spot assigned vehicle positions - you won't see it in generated missions).
  2. Image #8 shows a second vehicle from the same Jaguar tank destroyer platoon being positioned 50m east wards, covering the second incoming road in the platoon's sector. (Again, the pink floating HMMWV is a debugging marker to facilitate spotting the Jaguar, and isn't shown in generated missions).

AAVP platoon spreading out to cover two access roads (A2CO)

Better positioned defenders: the attacker's perspective... (A2CO)

Dangerous crossing: road sections covered by Milan gunner (A2CO)

Once positioned, a defending group will remain in position until (a) triggered to fall back to a 'GUARDED_BY' trigger position or (b) engaged by an enemy. It retains its traditional dynamic (GUARD) defensive behavior.

With these changes, defenders will occupy better positions offering more visibility and lines-of-fire into potential threat avenue of approaches, while occupying less conspicuous positions and spreading out vehicles better. Also, static vehicles with anti-tank capabilities will keep their crew fighting for longer after being hit.


Please remember, this is still Arma2's AI, which means some things cannot be controlled from my new defensive positioning script. In particular, armored vehicles cannot be told to face a specific direction with their hull and turret, and they risk being recalled into 'formation' if the group's lead vehicle is late moving into position...


However, the script is effective most of the time, an improvement over the vanilla defensive behavior, and a gap filler until the time Arma's AI receives an understanding of battle positions like Steel Beasts does.


Key ingredients in the defensive positioning script are the selectBestPlaces, findEmptyPosition, lineIntersects and terrainIntersect(ASL) commands. They are the reason this improvement is implemented for Arma2:OA, Arma2:CO and IronFront but not for Arma, JCOVE, and VBS2 1.x.

I should be able to make this work for VBS2 2.0 as soon as BI Simulations releases the VBS2 2.0 upgrade for my PE license.



2013-02-13 More Cold War and Afghan War Units for your Missions Zoom

With this update, PlannedAssault expands its support for generating Cold War era missions. The Arma2CO unit database received significant additions for you to use in your missions:

  • new US Army Chinook CH-47D and FIA freedom fighters from the Cold War Rearmed 2 project (CWR2). Pachira defined the FIA squads, sections, and platoons.
  • a huge range of Soviet infantry and armor for the European and Afghanistan theaters from Vilas' P85 Soviet pack, including 'Panamka' units for the Soviet Afghan wars and large caliber self-propelled guns (2S3 Gvozik 122mm, 2S5 Akatsiya 152mm, and 2S7 Pion 203mm).
  • artic variants of UK SAS and Royal Marines soldiers as wells as new sniper units of the CWR2: British Armed Forces Expansion
  • the Sukhoi Su-15TM 'Flagon' intercepter aircraft by Citizensnip

Troubles are brewing in Schwemlitz (Arma2)

Cold War Sukhoi Su-15 Flagon over Schwemlitz (Arma2)

Schwemlitz being invaded (Arma2)

Soviet infantry with PK and 6B2 vests (Vilas' P85) (Arma2)

Two CWR2 Chinook CH-47Ds inserting cold-war infantry (Arma2)

CWR2 US Army infantry and armor attacking Schwemlitz (Arma2)

What better map for Cold War era missions than the actual terrain where NATO prepared to fight Warsaw Pact forces? Falcon & Lancer have recreated real-life's Schwemlitz and its surroundings. Schwemlitz is small village in Northwestern Germany, in the former NATO NORTHAG sector, between the form inner-German border and Uelzen (along the WL-191 road).

The Schwemlitz world stands out because of its details, and of its realistic recreation of small hamlets and farms, with houses and sheds placed and connected together with garden paths and drive ways. See the screen shots on this page.

Three 2S7 Pion self-propelled 203mm guns firing a mission (Arma2)

P85 Soviet artillery crew in Afghanistan (Arma2)

Soviet infantry with 'Panamka' hats being inserted in Takistan (Arma2)

Several hooded Cold War Spetsnaz soldiers from Vilas' P85 (Arma2)

Soviet AT-4 Spigot anti-tank missile launcher (Arma2)

CWR2's UK Royal Marines in artic outfit (Arma2)