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2014-03-09 AIGameDev interview, Arma3 aircraft add-ons Zoom

Tonight, Alex Champandard (AIGameDev.com) and myself will be talking about the type of planning used here at PlannedAssault, in a interview broadcast by AIGameDev.com.

As usual, the interview will be recorded and made available to AIGameDev members for viewing at a later time.

AIGameDev interview on Planning at PlannedAssault

A Sukhoi Su-35S just took down an hostile aircraft (Arma3)

F-18F being taken down by a Su-35S (Arma3)

Deadly skies above Altis (Arma3)

The F-18F (Arma3)

An A-10C Thunderbolt riddled with bullet holes (Arma3)

As the screenshots above show, I've spiced up the PlannedAssault unit database with a few Arma3 aircraft add-ons. This will enable you to create lively skies in your Arma3 missions, regardless whether you play a ground-hugging armor commander, a Stinger equipped air defence specialist, or a fighter pilot.

New are the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet and Su-35S 'Flanker-E', both by John_Spartan & Saul, and the A-10C Thunderbolt II by Peral.

 

William

2013-10-12 Close-air-support for Arma3 (F-18, Buzzard) and Arma2CO (F-18, F-14, Typhoons) Zoom

This week increases choice in close-air-support for Arma3 and Arma2CO missions. The (default Arma3) FAA A-143 Buzzard and John Spartan and Saul's F/A-18 Super Hornets (USMC and US Navy liveries) are now available for Arma3 missions.

 

For Arma2CO, the Cold War F-14B Tomcat (in US Navy and Iranian air force liveries) and modern day F/A-18 Super Hornets (USMC, US Navy, ADF liveries) and Eurofighter Typhoons have been added (RAF, Luftwaffe, Luftstreitkraefte, Aeronautica Militare, Ejercito del Aire liveries).

USMC F-18F over Poliakko (Arma3)

Close air support from a ground perspective (Arma3)

USMC F-18F launching an Maverick missile (Arma3)

Especially the Arma3 screen shots show the planes in all their beauty, against the backdrop of Altis island.

RKSL Spanish EuroFighter C.16 turning (Arma2)

RKSL Spanish C.16 Eurofighter Typhoon (Arma2)

Iranian air force F-14 Tomcat (Arma2)

Sadly, the Arma3 FAA A-143 Buzzard is very unreliable in hitting its waypoints. At this time, I recommend against using it in missions. Please vote this issue up to get the problem fixed.

US Navy F-14B Tomcat (Arma2)

AAF A-143 Buzzard over Altis (Arma3)

AAF AMV-4 Gorgon unloading dismounts upon contact (Arma3)

On the ground the Arma3 FAA also have been given their AMV-4 Gorgon (Pandur II) IFV. Also, the PlannedAssault unit definitions for the US Military Mod (80s, 90s) have been updated to fix incorrect helmet textures and newly added unit badges.

 

William

2011-06-14 New: mission generation for JCOVE/lite (VBS2/VTK 1.22) Zoom

As of today, PlannedAssault generates JCOVE/lite (VBS2/VTK 1.22) missions. Initially, missions can be generated for two areas near As Samawah.

I'm quite happy with the results of this first step: combined arms maneuvers working for single player missions, involving armor, infantry, artillery and rotary wing CAS.

JCOVE: battery of AI controlled AS90 self propelled guns firing

JCOVE: British infantry and WMIKs move up under AW-1 cover

Insurgents forming up for an attack

The biggest three rough edges are unit placement, air landings, and warnings about missing marker icons. The problem with unit placement problem is that groups spawned in 'FORMATION' (which means VBS2 selects the exact positions) sometimes end up with group members or vehicles placed on top of buildings or in walls, and being stuck there forever. The work-arounds for this problem include: (a) in PlannedAssault position units away from buildings and/or (b) inspect and fix unit start positions in the generated mission using the JCOVE/VBS2 2D mission editor.

Air landings with Mi-24 Hind gunships under fire may suffer from pilots failing to land. I'm not yet clear on if this is due to the Hind being a gunship instead of a transport helicopter, or something else.

UK infantry with chest rig and PRR

JCOVE: generated briefing shown in-game

Pinzgauer 4x4 truck and Jackal patrol vehicle patrolling

Mission generation with PlannedAssault for JCOVE/lite is similar to mission generation for the Arma series (and these video tutorials, on editing, transport and air assaults apply).

PlannedAssault created missions include plans for both sides, a briefing for the player's side explaining the role of each group. The missions include instructions and scripts for the AI to:

  • form up and attack abreast with multiple groups, in straight and flanking AoAs
  • mount and dismount multiple vehicles,
  • fire pre-planned artillery missions and AI triggered defensive artillery missions
  • fly gunship CAS missions and engage targets from a distance
  • execute air landings
  • select and man defensive sectors while hide non-combat vehicles
  • trigger and perform a armored counter-attack

Not yet supported for JCOVE are fixed wing CAS. PlannedAssault doesn't support paradrops and UAVs yet.

JCOVE: Using the Javelin

JCOVE: generated mission loaded in editor

JCOVE: Challenger2 troop counter-attacking

In order save time authoring missions, PlannedAssault offers a large database of units (groups in the 2D VBS mission editor) with custom configurations. Examples for JCOVE include the UK soldiers equipped with other weapons than the LA-85A2, and insurgents manning civilian cars. (For Arma2, PlannedAssault uses custom configurations to provide Bundeswehr mechanized units featuring correct battailon logos, and company designations).

 

I'm looking forward to explore and support more of VBS2.

 

William

2011-04-07 Long-range gunship close air support, 2K12 / 1S91 SAM batteries, RAF Harriers and ACE2 for OA extra units Zoom

With these update, gunships start offering close air support (CAS) from a distance, playing to their strength: long-range missile attacks. To counter this, the SA-6 'Gainful' SAM launchers (updated) have been paired with the 1S91 'Straigth Flush' fire-control radar (new mod). On top of that, the 'extra' units from ACE2 for OA have been added, and RAF Harriers.

A pair of AH-64D engaging at long-range

New gunship behavior plotted on the map

AH-64D having five Hellfires launched using the new behavior

One problem in the Arma's default AI gunship behavior is gunships attempting to close in with their target and circling on top their target's position. This exposes these gunships to small arms fire from the enemy. And it ignores the gunship's advantage resulting from their long-range guided missiles. As a result, Arma's AI gunships rarely use their guide missile arsenal but instead perform close-in 'knife-fights' with their cannons until they get shot down.

For gunships tasked with close air support (on offense or defense), PlannedAssault missions now come with a script whose purpose is to keep the gunship at a distance from its targets. The script does the following: it monitors the gunships and as soon as the gunships start engaging, the script determines an 'attack base' behind the gunships. After say 10s into an attack, it starts ordering gunships back to the attack base, after which they again are allowed to attack. This often keeps the gunships circling around the attack base and firing missile at stand-off range. As a result the gunships are more effective, and more Hellfire and Vikhr missiles are being fired.

(This script is for any Arma2 variant, but not for Arma).

A SAM battery consisting of two 2K12 'Gainfulls' and a 1S91 'Straight Flush'

SA6 2K12 'Gainful's engaging

Royal Air Force Harrier

On the OPFOR side, a SAM battery is available for use in missions, based on the updated SA6 2K12 Kub add-on and the new 1S91 Fire control radar add-on. The fire control radar detects and paints targets for the corresponding Kub missile launchers. These batteries are available for Russian forces only, Arma2 and Arma2:CO.

BLUFOR air forces have expanded with a RAF Harrier from the the RAF Harrier add-on.

ACE for OA extra Russian infantry in desert camo

ACE for OA 'whiskey' Cobra in woodland camo

ACE for OA extra US Army units

The 'extra' units from ACE2 for Operation Arrowhead have been added to the unit database: for the US Army, this means woodland camouflaged trucks and Stryker IFVs, and new M1 Abrams tank variants.

The new ACEX US Navy units include USMC marines in desert MARPAT camo, M1 Abrams variants, and AH-1 Whiskey and Zulu Cobra gunships, some also in woodland camo.

The ACEX RU units now support consist of desert camo infantry, Shilka and truck mounted ZU-23 anti-air units, older equipment such as Ural trucks, BMP-2s, BRMD-2s, and BTR-70s, T-72s. Also covered are the VDV BMD-1s and BMD-2s and T-90As. With ACEX RU also numerous aircraft (in grey and sometimes desert camo) have been added: L-39 Albatros, Su-27S Flanker-Bs, Su-30 Flanker-Cs, and Su-34 Fullbacks.

 

Please remember that you can run your PlannedAssault missions using ACEX (or other AI mods) without having to explicitly select these mods during mission editing. It's PlannedAssault's policy to use vanilla behavior when possible and be compatible with as many mods as is practically feasible: ACE, Mando's missiles, ....

 

A final note: the teething problems (causing a previous update) have been addressed fully. I'm now looking back on a stretch of 30 days without any mission planner crashes or memory overruns.

 

William