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Nike-Ajax

Technical question regarding Recon in a split scenario

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Hi All

 

So here is my question:

 

I would like to try another approach to using Recon in a multiplayer scenario. Specifically due to the length of sessions as well as not having a number of people waiting, then we are often forced to use Recon in an accelerated fashion, if at all.

 

Therefore I am toying with the idea of splitting a scenario in two:

 

Starting it up with an extended Recon session, and once the goals are achieved, then do a save in progress.

 

And then in the follow-up main session/scenario being able to use and build on the recon in the same scenario thus in effect splitting the scenario up in a Recon and action phase so to speak.

 

So how then would I be able to facilitate this best? 

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Well I tend to create two missions - e.g. the various Rolling Thunder missions and populate Mission 2 with wrecks, etc. from Mission 1.

 

Esp. given that the Recon should do a "hand off" to the main force and then get out of there to go to their next mission - not hang around and be cannon fodder for mission 2.

 

But you might be able to do something by:

 

1. Including the main force in the mission but with spawn triggers.

 

2. Do an in progress save at the end of the Recon Mission.

 

3. Then load the mission as if it were the main force and activate the Triggers.

 

I know in the non PE version you can split a scenario but can't recall if that's in Pro PE yet or not.

 

Or just educate the participants. :)

 

If you want "accuracy" then the mission will likely look pretty different to "entertainment".

 

Edited by Gibsonm

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Ah thanks Rotar.

 

As for the recon a lot will depend on what you call "recon", since its conducted at various levels by various units.

 

If you map already has red circles, Assembly Areas, Routes, etc. (i.e. you know where the enemy is and have a plan) than you have done the recon.

 

Recon informs the plan.

 

If you "think" the enemy is somewhere (from various feeds, etc.) then the red circle needs to be big and populated with "?".

 

Then through a process on Named Areas of Interest (NAIs), Targeted Areas of Interest (TAIs) and other things your Inteliignece, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) assets can help inform your plan.

 

For example (just because its recent) the graphic for "Operation Bear Claw" has identified where you need to get to, but not where the enemy is or the routes and crossings you need to use.

 

There is probably a couple of days work there for the ISR assets to scout suitable AFV crossing points, points that are suitable with bridging, if the present bridges are prepped for demolition, if they are AFV suitable, approach routes to those crossing points, possible enemy overwatch and security positions, etc.

 

If you want to do all that and have the main force advance, cross the river and secure the objective in say 2 hours game play you must resort to "recon by burning callsign" (e.g. unit x just disappeared so there is something there capabale of killing unit x).

 

I'd recommend that you do two missions back to back.

 

Week 1 = the recon phase (tell all the "tank only" people not to bother coming).

 

Week 2 = the main assault based on the results of the recon plan - you could re-use the first mission but with more accurate graphics for unit locations and edit Red to reflect their condition (via the Report file).

 

As to how many people will turn up for both sessions and how popular it will be, I can't say.

 

Edited by Gibsonm

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Another approach (still needs the two session format though) might be.

 

1. Play the recon mission.

 

2. Just before you quite the mission do an "in progress save".

 

3. See if you can then edit that saved mission (I haven't tried this).

 

4. Add the main force units

 

5. Save a Main Force mission

 

6. Play that at the second sitting.

 

It would require the map area to remain the same though (i.e. the map area selected for Mission 1 would need the extra space required, if any, for Mission 2).

 

I can try Step 3 tonight and let you know?

 

Edited by Gibsonm

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2 hours ago, Nike-Ajax said:

Hi All

 

So here is my question:

 

I would like to try another approach to using Recon in a multiplayer scenario. Specifically due to the length of sessions as well as not having a number of people waiting, then we are often forced to use Recon in an accelerated fashion, if at all.

 

Therefore I am toying with the idea of splitting a scenario in two:

 

Starting it up with an extended Recon session, and once the goals are achieved, then do a save in progress.

 

And then in the follow-up main session/scenario being able to use and build on the recon in the same scenario thus in effect splitting the scenario up in a Recon and action phase so to speak.

 

So how then would I be able to facilitate this best? 

To add an "American flavor" to what Gibsonm already stated:

 

In an Armored Brigade Combat Team (ABCT), there are multiple levels of collection assets for recon organically available. I'll focus specifically on what you will normally encounter in your typical Steel Beasts scenario; the analysts and DCGS will remain in the TOC.

 

ISR is the Shadow Platoon, which can be simulated in Steel Beasts by using a single UAV. The Shadow Platoon is organically under the control of the Military Intelligence Company, which is organically under the Brigade Engineer Battalion (BEB.) This is a Brigade-level asset, and is normally used to answer the Brigade Commander's Priority Intelligence Requirements (PIRs). As such the player may have control of it IF in the context of the scenario the unit in question could theoretically answer PIR at a BDE level. This also depends on the BDE Commander's personality; in our most recent NTC Rotation, the Cavalry Squadron never controlled the Shadow, the BDE Commander controlled it directly. However, we were able to have the Shadow look at specific Named Areas of Interest (NAIs) that we identified as it traveled to its intended target. This level of Staff work could be simulated in a scenario by creating a UAV route, allowing players in the briefing to "see" what the UAV saw when flying over positions. This method includes showing enemy vehicles in an area at the start of the scenario, so it can be a good tool for refining a plan.

 

Next is the Cavalry Squadron. This is the Brigade's largest organic collection asset, and in an ABCT consists of a Headquarters and Headquarters Troop (2x M2A3s), three Cavalry Troops (consisting of 1x M2A3 for the Commander, two Platoons of 6x M2A3s, and one section of 2x 1064 Mortar Carrier Vehicles,) and one Tank Company (consisting of 2x M1A2s for the CO and XO, and three Platoons of 4x M1A2s each). By doctrine, the Cavalry Squadron can conduct reconnaissance along a 30KM front, with each Cavalry Troop being able to conduct recon along a 10KM front. While I won't get into a full doctrinal discussion, the Cavalry Squadron is generally employed to answer Brigade-level PIRs, or to conduct security operations to allow a Brigade Combat Team (BCT) to establish a deliberate defense, conduct resupply and reorganization, etc. The Cavalry Squadron generally crosses the Line of Departure well before the rest of the Brigade; depending on time available and the mission, this can be anywhere from 12 hours to 3 days prior to the BCT's LD (obviously, there are other factors in play, these times are not exclusive.) A mission focusing on the Cavalry Squadron (or an echelon of it) should be fully recon-focused, while providing SOME tanks for the tankers to play with. Additionally, the Cavalry Squadron typically has a threat focus at areas like the National Training Center (NTC), and is used to confirm or deny the enemy's COAs to enable the BCT Commander to make decisions on how he wants to employ his forces.

 

Each Combined Arms Battalion (CAB) has Battalion Scouts. As of right now, they are a Platoon-sized element equipped with 4x HMMWVs, and 2x M2A3s, but are slated to be standardized with 6x M2A3s to look the same as a Reconnaissance Platoon in a Cavalry Troop. Battalion Scouts are owned by the respective Battalion, and are used to answer PIR at the Battalion-level. They cross the line of departure before the Battalion LDs, but are generally well behind the Cavalry Squadron. In my experience, I have seen them cross the LD anywhere from one hour to six hours prior to the Battalion crossing LD. Generally, they perform reconnaissance in less detail than the Cavalry Squadron, are are generally, at the NTC, are terrain focused. I have seen them employed primarily to guide the Battalion into suitable Battle Positions for a hasty or deliberate defense, or to "proof" a route that the Battalion Commander wants to use to maneuver his formation on the offense. Battalion Scouts could be incorporated into a more "tank heavy" scenario, where the enemy situation is generally more understood, and where the detail of recon required is low. 

 

For the idea of incorporating "recon into tank" scenarios, Kanium did this in the past Kampfgruppe Wolf campaign. I forgot who ran this, but I'm sure you could ask on the Kanium Discord and get some information on how this was run.  

 

If you have questions about US Army Reconnaissance Doctrine, let me know. I love teaching this stuff. :) 

Edited by Mirzayev

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6 minutes ago, Mirzayev said:

I love teaching this stuff. :) 

 

That's the challenge - not launching into a multi page Tactics presentation filled with acronyms and concepts that in turn may need to be explained. :)

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1 hour ago, Gibsonm said:

Another approach (still needs the two session format though) might be.

 

1. Play the recon mission.

 

2. Just before you quite the mission do an "in progress save".

 

3. See if you can then edit that saved mission (I haven't tried this).

 

4. Add the main force units

 

5. Save a Main Force mission

 

6. Play that at the second sitting.

 

It would require the map area to remain the same though (...)

Actually, no. :)

You can open a mission saved in progress, then go to the Map menu in the Mission Editor, and select "replace map". Then you could pick the same map, but a different area (like, shifting the map section frame in a certain direction, adjusting the map dimensions, ...)

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Ah ok.

 

Just confirming that steps 1 - 6 should work but the map limitation doesn't apply? :) 

 

Of course if you moved the map, any scripted routing etc. would need to be checked as the ground "underneath" the units would have changed.

 

Adjusting the dimensions (e.g. enlarging it, but not moving the units) should not impact that scripting though.

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So many good answers already: so thanks for that.

 

This is something that me and few people who like myself like the recon aspect - in whatever shape or form we finalize this in -  have toyed with as an abstract idea for a while, and for a number of reasons.

 

Firstly because we rarely have time to do the recon, because in the approximate two hour timeframe that we have for our usual sessions, then using just 30-46 minutes for a recon part, where everybody else is sitting around waiting and doing nothing, is totally unacceptable. It is however also unacceptable from a practical standpoint to add two hours on the Sunday games. Plus it makes little or no sense if the intel and gained information is not delivered to the CO of a given session in a timely manner so he can use it to plan - or adapt his plan. Intel that are late is useless.

 

Moreover this is in no shape or form meant to detract something from the main mission, but to add something both for the Recon guys and the main event so a win-win kinda thing, and not a splitting of ressources. If I cant make that particular equation work, then its a no go. Because the main sessions are always the driving force - this is just another layer underneath, which should add flavour and fun for all.

 

SO my thought without having made any concrete choices yet is we do it on two different days. Also I see the recon part as something that has limited appeal to most, and have in fact already a few guys who like me thinks that Recon is interesting. So the recon part would be small - a small handful of dedicated players as I see it - leading up to the main mission with whatever number of people we have. And I can do both, so dont really envision this being something which should be a burden to anyone.

 

There are a number of smaller and some bigger challenges that I need to sort out. And the scenarios would need to be something which would work with the concept. They dont have to be rewritten, but rather the Recon assets should be tailored to the size and ENY threat. I think. I am still in the concept phase...

 

I think I will have to test some of the good ideas that you guys have presented.

 

@Mirzayev Anytime you have the time, I have the time...

Edited by Nike-Ajax

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5 hours ago, Nike-Ajax said:

 

@Mirzayev Anytime you have the time, I have the time...

 

I didn't mention it explicitly but the same offer is on the table here. :)

 

Can I refer you to the campaign that Volcano did some time ago (Red Tide 1985) or even the Vigilant Guardian Campaign from 2010 (was it really that long ago!).

 

It had recon missions and the results of those fed:

 

1. The Mission designer for the main battle

 

2. The respective red and Blue player's force selection and planning.

 

To add more "fog of war" / Friction you could specify that the CO for the Main Mission could not participate in the preceeding Recon mission to ensure they received their feeds from there (as opposed to first hand).

 

Anyway I'll check on the editing of an "in game save" mission and get back to you.

 

Also depending on when you want to run it (say the Friday or Saturday night "Ad Hoc" sessions) I'd be more than happy to participate - recording issues not withstanding.

 

Your Friday night (my Saturday morning) session would give the Mission Designer and COs 48 hours to incorporate the results of the recon:

 

Friday night: Execute Recon Mission

 

Saturday night: Designer releases Main Mission (gives Designer 24 hours to tweak post recon and CO 24 hours to plan Main mission)

 

Sunday night: Execute Main Mission.

 

Edited by Gibsonm

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5 hours ago, Gibsonm said:

(tell all the "tank only" people not to bother coming).

This is the problem. Most players won't show up because (1) recon is difficult and (2) I think most players just want pew-pew. I could be wrong. However, I've seen players gripe and no-show when they are forced to use PCs instead of tanks. 

 

I, however, love the idea of a 2-week/2 phase scenario with reconnaissance and I'm willing to start making scenarios that fit this model.

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6 hours ago, Gibsonm said:

For example (just because its recent) the graphic for "Operation Bear Claw" has identified where you need to get to, but not where the enemy is or the routes and crossings you need to use.

Its not awesome, and I'm going stop designing scenarios that way.

 

1. The scenario isn't long enough to develop the situation to understand terrain and enemy.

 

2. Player commanders don't have the training nor experience to understand the planning considerations for a tactical problem like that. Simply stating that there is an enemy forward of the Araz river just isn't enough for most players to understand.

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@Apocalypse 31 It is a fun mission, but you do need to know how to do IPB in its current form.

 

Also, to be fair, you can do more of a "pew pew" recon mission by creating a Reconnaissance in Force scenario. Plenty of opportunities to kill stuff, but it does (or should anyway) force the Commander to still need to collect information on composition, disposition, etc. The effects would need to be seen in a follow on mission to really drive home that you are helping the BDE Commander make a decision.

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1 hour ago, Apocalypse 31 said:

Its not awesome, and I'm going stop designing scenarios that way.

 

1. The scenario isn't long enough to develop the situation to understand terrain and enemy.

 

2. Player commanders don't have the training nor experience to understand the planning considerations for a tactical problem like that. Simply stating that there is an enemy forward of the Araz river just isn't enough for most players to understand.

 

Please don't get me wrong - I wasn't critiquing your scenario.

 

I just picked it as it was one Nike would be familiar with and had a recent graphic. :)

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BTW, yes you can:

 

Run a scenario

 

Do a "in progress save"

 

Edit the saved file (to add units, etc.)

 

Then run that edited scenario.

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4 hours ago, Apocalypse 31 said:

This is the problem. Most players won't show up because (1) recon is difficult and (2) I think most players just want pew-pew.

In all fairness, Steel Beasts does not yet lend itself very well to scenarios that rely on sneaking.

We simplified the target identification process so that if line of sight exists AND if the unit is actually detected (and repeated tests make that a certainty, the question is only how long it takes), the unit will be immediately identified as a foe, and its location will be transferred into the antagonist party's hive mind. That's okay-ish for combat scenarios (for which SB was originally designed) but had we known that SB would soldier on as a tool for tactical instruction in a much wider context decades later, I guess we would have refined the detection algorithm to allow for false-negative identification (mistaking enemy as friendly), and a "limbo" zone between detection and ID range, where targets are already recognized, but not yet identified. Only then is does the attempt of infiltration promise a reasonable chance of success.

 

I hope that we can address this issue in a future (major) revision of SB Pro.

 

Right now recon is made much harder than it would be in real life, close to impossible - unless conducted during hours of darkness, if the recon party is equipped with thermals while the enemy is (largely) not.

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10 hours ago, Apocalypse 31 said:

This is the problem. Most players won't show up because (1) recon is difficult and (2) I think most players just want pew-pew. I could be wrong. However, I've seen players gripe and no-show when they are forced to use PCs instead of tanks. 

 

I, however, love the idea of a 2-week/2 phase scenario with reconnaissance and I'm willing to start making scenarios that fit this model.

You are right @Apocalypse 31within that context you describe, and would love for you to make some scenarios in line with this concept: and thanks for leading the way in advance ALTW … BUT 

 

I think I am being unclear: Mea Culpa...

 

No players are forced or for that matter invited to the Recon Phase as such: not that they cant join the Recon phase, because surely they can and be welcome.

But they need to know their stuff both with regards to Recon and SB and above all like the concept. Or at least be willing to learn from the rest of us like we are willing to learn from others, as well as from other people whos time will not be wasted if they are willing to give a lesson, like the gracious offers from @Mirzayev and @Gibsonm for instance.  There really is no room for negativity in this, if it is going to work.

 

Like I wrote previously then I already have a nucleus of a group of people who like it: they like me are ALL former military Recon in different shapes and backgrounds, and are ALL experienced SB players. And are all interested and happy about it. For sure there is room for more - and I would be happy to see them join, but it has to be people willing to accept the limitations and challenges as @Ssnake and the rest of you guys very sensibly and correctly has outlined. 

 

It was said we could not simulate or emulate Peacekeeping moving into peacemaking and gradually into full war, including insurgency in Steel Beasts. But we did that.

It was said that no one wanted to read a narrative tied to a campaign in SB. But we did that. I will leave it to others to decide how well we did it. But we did it.

And for reasons I cant really fathom then somebody from a military context actually thought the idea was good enough, that they asked for and got the campaign we made, to show how SB could be used and tweaked. Especially by someone more competent than me.

I am nothing special, but I think this idea is at least good enough to try. 

 

We can do this. And we wont leave it hanging at that as a hollow slogan ;)

 

Sure we will have to accept that its not a perfect simulation, but rather perhaps a pretty good emulation sometimes. But it is good enough for us to make it work I believe.  

I see this as complementary to the already existing activities, and nothing that clashes with anything (well possible a few ADHOCS... but there are more days in the week).

 

So we will respectfully and happily see if we can accept the challenge and prove @Ssnake at least partially wrong :D

 

I think I need to point out that this wont be a 50/50 model. My intent is that we still play all the Sundays as usual BUT - if possible and meaningful - we ADD the Recon phase to some but not necessarily all the normal Sunday scenarios.

 

And specifically another day and preferably Friday at the latest so the intel is actually actionable by the CO - and we dont clash with the scheduled activities which to me is mostly TGIF and Gibsons and BGANZAC´s sessions. And the Recon group will be a small unit manned entirely by double volunteers, who LIKES doing that stuff. So the tankers can still get to drive their tanks. The recon will flow around them but not with them, if that makes any sense

 

In short: This will NOT replace the Kanium Sunday games: it will be an addon. 

So the Pew-pew players will get what they want and the Recon´istas will get their own as well. Best of both worlds hopefully. 

And agree with Gibson: The CO cant be a part of the Recon, so they will need to format and communicate their findings in a comprehensible fashion.

 

And thanks for everyones input and time so far. 

Edited by Nike-Ajax

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6 hours ago, Ssnake said:

In all fairness, Steel Beasts does not yet lend itself very well to scenarios that rely on sneaking.

 

1 hour ago, Nike-Ajax said:

In short: This will NOT replace the Kanium Sunday games: it will be an addon. 

 

And an old idea that we have talked about before @Nike-Ajax: Using ArmA or DCS to conduct reconnaissance of objectives that will feed information/intelligence for a Steel Beasts game. Obviously, matching maps in the different games would be difficult, but not a stretch of the imagination. 

 

1. Scenario Designer builds the SB scenario.

2. Scenario designer builds the ArmA/DCS scenario with similar reconnaissance objectives;  for example, a zone reconnaissance to determine trafficability of route/identify obstacles OR aerial reconnaissance to determine enemy composition

3. Players complete objectives in ArmA/DCS (route recon has identified obstacles, air recon has identified location of main body, air has destroyed long range artillery)

4. SB scenario is updated with relevant information regarding the success or failure of ArmA/DCS missions; this can be done with map graphics depicting obstacles or updating the Enemy Intel of Position (known) in the SB mission editor.

 

I've seen VU's do this, and its incredible. 

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All good and valid points. 

 

And not ones I will discount in any form, save to say that those are in the medium length timeframe whereas what we are discussing can be implemented here and now. Thus one does not preclude the other.

 

Moreover then this requires that we have a similar pool of players that not only own but plays both or all three games.

But its still a good idea. 

Perhaps what we are discussing could lead to just that?

 

And/or do a cooperative scenario between said VU´s and us?
 

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But then you need to have other´s adapt to other platforms (DCS/ArmA) too, and we are just a handfull here who do so, or did so. I also love the Idea, and you could even use "Dangerous Waters" for Martime, but all this means even more implication from users and a change of play/mind.  The actual play defenition as is seems quite "hard-coded" at times, which in my opinion is not to healthy for SB and/or the SB player base.  Although the die-hard all time players will disagree with this statment and prefer the actual gameplay over all, I don´t see this as to beneficial, specially in the long run. 

 

The new engine will also attract new players, some who have never been in the army, and/or don´t care "that" much for actual military doctrin´s, which in turn will be turned off "if" the tolerance hit-box is not ticked.  Iam sure there´s alot of players of SB who are in the shadows playing on there own because of the "hard-coded" gameplay style, or the fear of not being on par of those who have some military background.  Some tend to forget the fun in milsiming and take it a step to far!  Thus a reallity check...

 

Playing by the book is for a handfull, but not for everybody, and there´s a thin line which can turn people off if crossed leaving the game and player base to a small group of elite players, which for them just might be great, but not for the game it´s self.  When we are all to old to play SB, who will be left to play?  It´s like when you played chess in the park, you ended playing chess with the same folks with the same strategies all the time, so you really didn´t learn anything new.

 

I would also like to see "permenant" slots added, as in your permenant vehicle/platoon which then are part of a permenant company and/or task force. Task force dosent have to be big, just esential elements for a small battle group so H2H can be played and/or events, tournements ect can be organized.  This H2H might not be to good for some egos, but it´s healthy for the community.

 

I have seen this happen way to many times. If a game/sim wants to evolve, let the players decide how to play it.  Great things have been done because they were not in the book, so as "we" all know from our army day´s, let´s do what we were taught to, adapt to the enviorment/situation if we want to survive.  Even todays armys have to constantly adapt and evolve to todays ever changing world/society, or did we forget that part?

 

+1 to the CO not being part of the recce, and not having a situation brif till recce complete´s it´s objectives. Other then for support reasons.

 

Just my thoughts, and Iam for one recce.

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The save in progress and edit  a mission was not working  properly in last version,and I dont see anything about fixing that in the current version notes, so you are going to have a lot of problems when playing online (on SP works good).

Other problem I see is that usual mission maps are too small for what you want, in big map of 20x20km, you  need like 20 min to cross half map, at that point you will be already in contact,and with a lonely recon unit you need to stop the mission.

I'm sorry for being so pessimistic, I like the idea but I dont think is going to work, anyways we can try, its free.

 

 

Edited by Colebrook

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20 minutes ago, Colebrook said:

The save in progress and edit  a mission was not working  properly in last version,and I dont see anything about fixing that in the current version notes, ...

 

 

Well as of my post 18 hours ago (see above) it does work.

 

Edited by Gibsonm

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Have you tested the save in progress&edited mission online?.It is strange that Esims has fixed it and they didnt say anything.

Edited by Colebrook

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