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  • Location
    Winnipeg, MB, Canada
  • Interests
    Things that go BOOM in the night
  • Occupation
    Lt, Canadian Forces

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Brad_Edmondson's Achievements


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  1. As evidenced by the 0% Ghost in game the Army had other plans for my free time four years ago I'm now Released and returning to regularly scheduled programming. Mostly because 12Alfa keeps nagging me to come back. Once I get my license sorted out I should be around online.
  2. I just finished my Field Ambulance course and can see a niche for SB in creating videos for teaching points (mostly brigade level movement and where CSS fits in, especially ambulance shuttles). I've done this before with a battlegroup bridge crossing and learned there's a more efficient way of doing it than scripting the entire scenario. A better way is to direct users and capture the action. It's far easier to reset if you don't get it right the first time. The one shortcoming of Pro PE for making videos like this is no in-game free-roaming camera like the referee mode in the Pro version. This makes getting the right perspective quite difficult. Any word on SB2 having this function or will I need to get a license for Pro?
  3. There was a time when I was doing it every day (but not with SB unfortunately) and swore I'd never play another sim again. I imagine gynecologists lose interest in their focus the same way. Well, here I am...Steel Beasts just has that special somethin'-somethin' to bring me back to gaming
  4. Yeah, time flies. I'm sure I have my SB files saved somewhere and can find the original AARs to republish. Sean's links to the files seem to be dead. Archangel and 3Star aren't around anymore? Kinda sad that the OTs (Original Tankers) are so thin on the ground (and in my case, the hair too).
  5. Now that I’m sorta back into Steel Beasts (the Army sent me away just as I was about to start making scenarios…) I want to share my experience with ‘serious gaming’ versus simulation gaming. By ‘serious gaming’ I mean simulation used for military training purposes and by ‘simulation gaming’ I mean online gaming for fun. I’ve done both now and can see where ‘simulation gaming’ can benefit from some of the lessons learned in the ‘serious gaming’ world, chiefly player organization and scenario design. For those who remember, I tinkered with a series of scenarios called Battle Labs as a civy Steel Beasts player with 1 Canadian Division. The impetus for this exercise was a general dissatisfaction with controlling the ratio of units to players and the need to at times micro-manage AI units. My aim was to find that happy medium between playing Steel Beasts as a tank sim and a RTS wargame. I don’t have my original notes handy, but three things I took away from the Battle Labs was: 1) Massing players together in a troop vs. players running individual troops provided the most effective combat power. 2) Further massing players within a troop as crew commander & gunner provided the best situational awareness and combat power. 3) AI units left alone against even a single player running his own troop were likely to be turned into mulch. For company level or larger scenarios this meant that the players massed together as a troop scored higher locally while scoring lower globally against players spread out across the map in their individual troops. Winning the skirmish vs. the battle is another way of looking at it. Creating a system to run individual platoons but pull players together into a single platoon for an engagement was never satisfactorily developed. Doing so demanded a high degree of communication and drill, perhaps too much to expect for casual gaming for fun. After joining the CF as an Armour Officer I eventually ended up in a real Battle Lab while I let my bones knit (I’m accident prone) from a training injury. I never finished my training because I transferred out due to there being too many chiefs and not enough Indians in Armour for me to ever get a troop leading position. I still had my fun on the Leopard C2 and learned lots about tactics at all levels by instructing in the Battle Lab. From the real Battle Lab experience I brought away more lessons learned: 1) To leverage the most training benefit scenarios need to be short and develop contact early. Too much time driving through the digital countryside enjoying the scenery wasn’t productive. Multiple students needed to be rotated through so, depending on the training level (crew commander, patrol leader, trooper leader), 30 minutes were about ideal. It was enough time for instructors to view students exercising battle drills and seeing if they could shoot, move and communicate. We’d normally start them on the LD and go from there. 2) Any unit in contact with the students had to be manned by a lab operator. Whatever the sim software being used, we wanted control over the engagement and instructors wanted to see what the students did from the god station to evaluate them. Control over OPFOR units also allowed us to test the student by forcing a contact and then falling back. Normally we’d shoot to miss as brewing them up on the first shot had little training value at the lower levels of training. Authority to kill a student came from the course instructors when they’d observed that a student was clearly retarded and was not aware of his situation. 3) The only manned student vehicles were the troop itself. Every vehicle had a crew commander and driver. The student under evaluation had an instructor as his gunner. If we had people to spare we’d fill all the gunner seats, but this wasn’t always possible, leaving other students to crew command and gun. The drivers seat was always filled because part of every student’s evaluation was to shoot, MOVE, and communicate. This meant being able to communicate with your driver on contact, as a crew commander would never have direct control over the vehicle. He could have direct control over gunnery though. Whether the student under evaluation or other students in the scenario, this setup provided a high degree of situational awareness that overcame the limits of the simulation (i.e. no peripheral vision, depth perception, sound, etc). 4) Everything not within the student map trace was notional. We would generate radio traffic for what went on left and right of trace but there were no AI units involved. We trialed some canned scenarios with AI units on the flanks going head to head but it just didn’t have training value. Because their in-game maps were disabled and students had to use in-game GPS and hard copy maps, there was no need to generate AI units that would never be seen. It was up to the student to update his map with new information, his position, and the position of his other CS. Taking all of this into consideration, when the Army lets me get back to my hobbies I’m starting a new Steel Beasts campaign by building scenarios that may be a little different from the norm. Short and tight in length and scope will be the rule. My thinking is: a) Nobody wants to be a driver so I won’t force that on anyone. You aren’t being evaluated; you’re here to have some challenging fun. b) Losing your only CS early and waiting for the game to end is not fun. The scenarios are short (20-30 min) with clear objectives and small maps. Large maps with huge deployment zones allow too much roaming time to enjoy the digital flowers. This new option allows the ‘dead’ to move into gunner or driver spots until the scenario is complete. c) One player, one CS, so we’re looking at a minimum of a troop (4 players) up to sqn size, fully manned crew commander stations, for large scenarios. d) OPFOR is one player per BLUEFOR troop. OPFOR is more a challenger force to put the gears to the BLUEFOR players. Think of it as co-op + style play. The logic here is that the alternative, a short, tight scenario of equal force on force will likely be over in about 5 minutes seeing as 120mm smoothbore hits are rather unforgiving. The other thing I recall happening in that situation is the few survivors of the initial contact then play whack-a-mole against the other side. That can be fun, but can also go on forever while the rest of the players watch. In this new scheme the one or two OPFOR players are given direction on what challenge to press on the BLUEFOR team. These players essentially wargame their side. My aim remains to find that happy medium between sim and wargame styles of play. My experience is that you can do one or the other well, but not both at the same time, regardless of software platform. When I’m back home I’ll start bashing away at building these scenarios. That’s over a month from now, so comments/critiques are more than welcome. Good to be back…even if the Army sent me away again just as I came back…
  6. Hello to whoever is left who remembers me Just winding down a couple of career courses and planning a return to Steel Beasts, the resurrection of the 1st Canadian Division and building a campaign along with Battle Labs. 12Alfa and I have talked about this a few times over the years, but the Army keeps getting in the way of play time. I *think* things are settled down for me, but we'll see. I've been gone a long time and would appreciate feedback on where the community is at in terms of play style. -I noticed MP co-op scenarios outnumber h to h by about 2-1. Is 'Tank Quake' over and the sim nutters won out? -If sim style is the order, is it mostly WWIII Fulda Gap stuff, re-enactment of late 20th century mechanized warfare (ie: '73 Golan Heights) or future and notional conflicts? -Is the predominant style of play unit based with TC/gunner and few units or part war-gamer, part sim with players controlling multiple units? -Are scenarios running long or is it a series of short battles each night? -What's the average turnout for a game? What's a really good turnout? -What's the comms situation? Single channel for each side? Multiple channels (IC and troop net)? -What needs development in terms of player coordination and unit management? I've a lot of ideas tooling around my head but need feedback to see what's feasible. After working with military sims for a few years I'm looking at SB through new eyes. I thought I'd never want to touch another sim or build another scenario again after doing it every-single-day, but I miss SB and I find it a joy to work with compared to what I was using professionally. Looking forward to slinging digital sabot again. ...now to get a new joystick...
  7. I ran CMDust and it didn't register a dongle as being there. I'm not home for a few weeks so I'll give it another go and forward the data to CM support with a CC to you.
  8. I mailed in a sick dongle, I got back a healthy one. I was happy. Steel Beasts was happy. I upgraded Steel Beasts with the 2009 Expansion Pack CD. I was happy, my dongle was happy, Steel Beasts was happy. Two weeks later, dongle died, Bradley cried. --- All jokes aside, I'm at a loss for what's happened. The dongle doesn't light up at all and isn't seen by Vista. I've re-installed the latest CodeMeter software and it still doesn't see a dongle. The dongle has only ever been in A) my keyboard USB port or B) in it's sheath on my desk. I've tried the other USB ports and no dice. What now? Mail it back in? Sacrifice a squirrel? Ask a padre for a young priest and an old priest for an exorcism? Borrow a defibrillator and try to shock a heart-beat back into the thing?
  9. Thanks. Been away for too long and I miss it. My Saitek is in storage and I'm debating upgrading to a newer version. I also see there's a new patch that we pay for?
  10. Full movie was a 472MB Quicktime file, chopped up into MP4 format for Youtube. Still looking for the file.
  11. Mmmmm, beeeeeer. 12Alfa: your PM wants to block my return for some reason. I'll see if I can dig up your cell #.
  12. Still have my #? If not PM me. I'm free this weekend.
  13. Oh well, the baddies have tracks then.
  14. Zimmer for parts 1,2,4, and a score from Gears of War for 3. I'm not sure where the actual scenario is. It might still be on the Laptop I used, in which case it could be anywhere because it was a loaner. The only flaw with the scenario is that it was a roll of the dice whether the AI would cross the bridge. Some did without flinching, others took wide routes around bushes and decided to ford the river instead. I had to shepherd many vehicles across. One trial run left to run on its own resulted in a pileup of vehicles at the crossing point. Hmmm, now I want that laptop because I know I took a screenshot of the mess! I don't recall what version of SB that was so I don't know if such behaviour has since been fixed. I think I have a CASEVAC with vehicle recovery scenario floating around somewhere. Never made a video out of it, but it was used in a presentation.
  15. I have a film project I'm planning on the side and wanted to use the thermals from Steel Beasts as a quick insert. Easy enough. But, I want the target in the thermals to look like a hovertank. Say, a T-72 without the tracks and appearing to hover the same difference above the ground. I'm starting to find my way around Photoshop and Final Cut Pro. Has anyone tried to make part of a SB skin transparent to achieve this or a similar effect?
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