Jump to content
Crusty

Very interesting article at SimHQ

Recommended Posts

and I quote "That being said, I expect a number of substantial improvements over the next twelve months, shader effects and all that." oh nice one. give us a preview :debile2:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So, Ssnake, why didn't you comment about improvements that need to be made in the physics model? Like, bobbing roadwheels, smoothing out the bumpy roads, etc. and all the other goodies we have suggested on the forum? Are these not high priority? Or did you decide not to comment soas not to raise/dash the hopes of anyone on the forum?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

please tell me we will have a save plan and game feature.im not playing the larger and more complicated sce. due to this.i hate having to replan over and over,esp after laying out graphics and spending 30 minutes planning.:)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Someone actually did a convoy escort mission in ARMA 2 over at Tactical Gamer where absolutely nothing happened. People went crazy complaining about it :D

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I contemplated five-hour scenarios at night time where, sometimes, the enemy would show up in the last minutes. But that idea was dropped quickly for obvious reasons.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Toyguy: One of my mates in ArmA 2 built a scenario in which you pull overnight guard duty for 45 minutes at a supply depot.

Being Dutch, he logically made you wait for 30 minutes, giving you plenty of time to become complacent shortly before a five man Spetsnaz team attacked you on a flank while you're busy driving off a half-dozen locals with misplaced ideologies (e.g. communists).

No, you don't get night vision equipment.

After the first time we played it, he and I survived since I assumed he would be an ass and put in the SpN attack. The others died, as they engaged in a game of kill-time gathered around a light.

Second time we played it, it looked like Russian conscripts during the First Chechen War or Americans in Vietnam. Parachute flares every ten seconds, for 30 minutes. Then lots of red tracer. Then more flares.

I imagine this is the line between realism/immersion and gameplay that the roundtable was discussing at one point.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sucking people into complacency and then killing them (virtually) certainly has an educational value, but comes at a high price in training time - probably unacceptably high for most people.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have found that on tactical exercises, when time permits, it is vital to execute the approach march and deployment for battle phases. This is boring - for gamers - and somewhat mundane, but without implementing it then it is the "unimportant" details which get messed up, for instance battalion mortars being too far to the rear to shift fires onto enemy positions in depth after the break-in is achieved. When the tasks become mundane, there is a sense of complacency and that is the ideal time to insert an enemy spoiling attack/barrage.

Training must account for this. SB Pro PE, OFP and its sequels (the Armed Assault series, and the associated VBS developments used as training tools analogous to SB Pro for MechInf/Airmobile Inf commanders) are great because of how flexible the mission building tools are. When time allows, you can do more than simply train for executing battle drills in thirty minute scenarios such as "Over this rise is the enemy. Attack now."

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, that's different of course. There's the opportunity to show the consequences of bad planning, and how bad it can really become if the times to move out and deploy a mortar team are realistic.

I'm just saying, a mission that is plain boring for half an hour just to suck the player into dropping the guard before smacking him - or not smacking him at all, or just have a lone sniper shoot everybody from behind, then call for artillery and disappear - is neither entertaining nor terribly educational.

Ultimately you as the actual instructor know best where the training and educational deficiencies are, and whether you can address them with the right scenario. So, yeah - that's why we have a mission builder that is supposed to give you a maximum degree of freedom to set up your own missions, if you know how to work with it. The usual caveats for all exercise planning remain of course - didactical analysis, selection of proper methodology, time and location, ... A virtual simulation isn't always the answer (bur surprisingly often, it can be).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm just saying, a mission that is plain boring for half an hour just to suck the player into dropping the guard before smacking him - or not smacking him at all, or just have a lone sniper shoot everybody from behind, then call for artillery and disappear - is neither entertaining nor terribly educational.

The lesson to be learned there would be "always put out and maintain security on any task." It's only useful as an illustrative, and typically then only if you have some seriously well trained guys who don't need more time to practice more worthwhile skills, when compared to driving home the "always maintain security" lesson. For gamers this is actually less than totally useless; the A2 mission I described above has been played a grand total of four times. Good thing only thirty minutes went into building it. So yeah, I agree with you but there is sometimes value in doing so.

Now a question for you, Ssnake, the answer to which I'm hoping is not covered by an NDA. I read in that article that you'd lost a bid for a Norwegian gunnery simulator to KMW, which is really impressive, just so KMW could keep you off their turf.

Related to that, what kind of training feedback do you typically get from militaries? Are there features or capabilities that SB Pro PE doesn't have yet that various militaries find lacking? As I go through the features list and various AARs and numerous reviews, it doesn't look like anything is missing, but they're all written by "learned civilians" rather than servicemembers.

Since your business is driven by military orders, as you state in the roundtable, have you incorporated things into the sim that aren't available to the general public for OPSEC/NDA reasons?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Related to that, what kind of training feedback do you typically get from militaries? Are there features or capabilities that SB Pro PE doesn't have yet that various militaries find lacking?

Since your business is driven by military orders, as you state in the roundtable, have you incorporated things into the sim that aren't available to the general public for OPSEC/NDA reasons?

Well as a representative of a “military customer”

SB Pro PE’s feature list is a sub set (in some areas) to the military SB Pro product.

In a military classroom we use SB Pro not SB Pro PE.

I believe the eSim web site details a lot of the publicly listable differences.

Yes there’s lots of things that various militaries ask for and then it pretty much boils down to “who is going to pay for it” as to whether it gets in.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
It's only useful as an illustrative, and typically then only if you have some seriously well trained guys who don't need more time to practice more worthwhile skills, when compared to driving home the "always maintain security" lesson.

We are 100% agreed.

I read in that article that you'd lost a bid for a Norwegian gunnery simulator to KMW, which is really impressive, just so KMW could keep you off their turf.

They probably had another reason. I think they see it also as a precedence for another, bigger project that is supposed to start this year, and the real money will be made there. But without our presence the Norwegian taxpayer would, without the shadow of a doubt, have gotten a much less sweet deal. If you bother to visit the procurement agency's website and inquire about the award details you will eventually learn that KMW was awarded the gunnery contract for a sum that will barely cover the costs for the hardware, if at all. Of course, had the Norwegian army just procured SB Pro with commercial notebooks and the control handles off the shelf from a certain vendor in the UK, they could have gotten the same result without months of paperwork for the about 12 teams that were invited to tender (eight of which pitched with SB Pro as the software of choice). But they got a prime contractor this way for no extra money, plus nice mil-spec transport boxes (as if the trainers will ever leave the classroom...), and no radioactive materials (yes, that was a big requirement).

Related to that, what kind of training feedback do you typically get from militaries?

Not as much, and not as systematical as I wish we would. You typically get a list of development specifications at the beginning of a project. You could consider that as some form of feedback - they look at what they already have off the shelf, and then define the delta; what they would like to get in addition. That is, in a way, a form of feedback, but it doesn't tell us much about end-user acceptance, or tangible training results. The typical argument is that they are too busy to measure the success of their training.

Are there features or capabilities that SB Pro PE doesn't have yet that various militaries find lacking?

You bet. Comparatively few of them are outright software deficits. There are some. But the more important points are how SB Pro integrates with the rest of the training continuum - be it content-wise, be it in the way how it interacts with certain hardware or other simulation softwares. Needless to say that there also is a fundamental gap between the nature of Steel Beasts as a vehicle-centric simulation while current operations are infantry-centric, counter-insurgency, asymmetrical warfare stuff. For that an egoshooter based infantry simulation is inherently better suited.

Still, vehicle crews need training too, and readiness for high intensity combat is part of the training spectrum, even though it currently isn't at the center of attention.

As I go through the features list and various AARs and numerous reviews, it doesn't look like anything is missing

Oh, I could easily list a few:

  • Multi-channel voice recording and (synchronized) playback in the AAR
  • Organic infantry that is tied to vehicles
  • Dynamic changes of visibility conditions
  • Multi-party capability
  • Noncombatants
  • A better support for artillery-related training
  • SCORM compliant mission reports for linking exercise results to a training database

As you can see, there's still enough to do in the software development department. Not all of that is of immediate value to PE releases (nor would all of that ever be made available in the PE version), few of these issues are real Go/No Go items ... but probably nobody among our customers would refuse improvements in these areas.

Since your business is driven by military orders, as you state in the roundtable, have you incorporated things into the sim that aren't available to the general public for OPSEC/NDA reasons?

I remember just one specific feature which we were asked to keep under wraps for a certain amount of time, probably for OPSEC reasons. Then there are features like the Instructor Host mode which would be downright damaging in normal PE multiplayer sessions. A few features we limited in the PE version, or removed entirely - partly as product management decisions, partly because they have no practical value for a Personal Edition anyway.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes, I saw the differences listed between Pro and Pro PE. They're very minor; I'll never have a tank platoon or more of guys in a room playing this networked together, just me myself and I and anybody else on this forum interested in getting a few scenarios on. So excellent product design there, clearly.

The typical argument is that they are too busy to measure the success of their training.

That concerns me, as if they're too busy to measure the success if their training then they're not making enough time to do their jobs properly. It's possible that what they don't have time to do is get back to you on how successful it was: if they didn't have time to assess the success of any training program, then pre-deployment training would not be a prerequisite for going in-theatre.

Edit: It occurs to me that egoshooters are quite possibly one big reason that we're having difficulty getting soldiers to think of Afghans as humans rather than "Figure 11s". "Herman the German", after all, has been replaced by "Makmoud the Muj" or "Hadji Hassan." In conventional combat, thinking of the enemy as a target is great. In COIN it is insufficient, as the enemy varies day by day and for a variety of reasons.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It may not be so much a non-evaluation but rather a comparative study between training with and without Steel Beasts (or any other training tool, for that matter). There's only a fixed amount of time for pre-deployment training, and obviously you want to put as much training into that time as possible. So you just check if previously defined training goals are met, and if so, give them a pat on the head and send them off - and here's the next contingent already!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes, quite. Time constraints are especially tight when you have non-national forces rotating through your facilities as well. For instance, Canada is notoriously chary of desert terrain, so we've been sending battlegroups down to the US before going over to AFGH.

With regards to network play, why was the decision made to limit SB Pro PE to eight players per session? Other simulators allow for many more players per session, but these (IL-2, OFP/ArmA/A2, et al) are not the personal edition versions of training software.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sending our troops to the US desert has more to do with the time of year. Training in Wainwright in Jan/Feb does not work for obvious reasons.

We can do he training up here if the weather is ok.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yeah, I've seen the predeployment training at the CMTC in the summer months. Was told - granted, by someone who wouldn't be 'in the know' - that the rotations through American forts in the desert were for acclimatization purposes. Good data, thanks.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
With regards to network play, why was the decision made to limit SB Pro PE to eight players per session? Other simulators allow for many more players per session, but these (IL-2, OFP/ArmA/A2, et al) are not the personal edition versions of training software.

That's one point - to have a distinguishing element for the classroom version to justify a higher price. I know about at least one current and one past army which is (or was) going for the cheap option in violation of the license agreement; from that perspective eight is still too many.

The next point is that there's no dedicated game server mode, which is what all the other programs are using. We're still tied to peer-to-peer play, and here a typical DSL connection will practically limit you to seven connected players anyway. We do have however selected communities with experimental game servers that allow for more than eight players, so you can still play games with more people, but at a few central locations. We want to stay in control of that version for obvious reasons, and also I think it's a good way to concentrate the few players to a few meeting places where there is then higher traffic and more game opportunities. Few things are more frustrating than sitting alone for half an hour or more waiting for some other player to show up.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


×
×
  • Create New...