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TacOps Gazette 00.01

Guest MajorH

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TacOps Gazette 00.01

[TacOps is a computer game for the Macintosh computer and for the PC (Windows only).]

>What are the qualifications to be a play tester?

A good play tester is one who is unlucky, can't read directions, and acts illogically. If a game instruction or feature can be misunderstood then he will misunderstand it and invariably take the wrong user interface path If there is a bug that only has a one in a million chance of happening, it will always happen to him.

>...what did you do in the Marines?

I was enlisted for four years. After commissioning I was an infantry officer for five years then I switched to intelligence where I stayed for eleven years.

>In the vehicle specs, is front armor the front armor of the turret or

>the glacis or a combination of both?

It depends on the vehicle - I have used all three approaches. In general I use the glacis thickness with consideration given to its slope. When the slope of the glacis is factored in, there is often not a lot of difference between the turret and the glacis. This is an abstraction that I noticed while doing the original research on contemporary vehicles. I would not be able to get away with this abstraction with a lot of WWII vehicles.

>Do the FISTV, COLTs and ground radars have any direct effect

>on the game or are they window dressing?

FISTV and COLTs usually increase the accuracy of the first volley of arty fire on a target to which the unit has a clear line of sight. Radar units are just window dressing - they don't do anything special other than being able to see through smoke.

>The same question applies to Engineer units

In TacOps ... Engineers are far more likely to recognize an unspotted minefield prior to walking into it. Engineers are far less likely to be attacked by a minefield as they move through it - clearing a path as they go.

>An airstrike struck 600m south of an "observed" target.

Air strikes that are engaged by ground fire (whether it hits them or not) may drop their loads erratically. The more fire they receive the more likely they are to drop off target or to not drop at all.

>ATGM fire seems erratic. Sometimes ATGMs hit their target

>instantly after launch and sometimes they don't.

TacOps knows and tracks the flight speed of each kind of ATGM. Some of the OPFOR ATGMS are much slower than others. A one minute TacOps combat phase contains four 15 second fire pulses. At extreme ranges, some ATGMs can not get to their target within a single 15 second fire pulse. In such a case you would see and hear the ATGM launches but there would be no flight sound effect and no impact sound effect until the next 15 second fire pulse comes around.

>...I noticed that sometimes the M113 TUA fires its TOW missiles

>at twice the speed of the BMP2 Spandrels. In other words, in

>one combat phase, the BMP2s fires, but no impact yet, but the M113 got

>off *two* full salvos in that same phase. The BMP2s rounds impacted on

>the following phase.

Correct behavior. In TacOps the TOW travels at 280 meters per second while the Spandrel travels at 185 meters per second. Since the Spandrel can only travel 2775 meters in fifteen seconds, the situation can often occur where it can not get where it is going in one 15 second combat phase. Also, the single tube BMP must reload after each round while the dual tube M113 TUA can fire a second round as soon as the first one impacts.

>I was a little surprised the Osprey didn't move faster than a Blackhawk,

>seeing as it is a fixed wing aircraft when moving horizontally...

Done to reduce 'gamey tricks'. The Osprey has to slow down to land and to transition the rotors from horizontal flight to semi vertical flight and vice versa. By the time it is on a TacOps map it should be considered to be either moving to an LZ or that it has just left an LZ. Either way it ought not to be able to zip around the map at technical max speed - folks would abuse this in very unrealistic ways.

>are the unit markers supposed to be an off/baby blue?

Yes. I changed the color of the 'Allied' force to blue to match the current wargaming terminology that is most often by the military users - i.e. Blue force and Red force. Plus it was time to start scrubbing out the 'US' orientation of the TacOps game engine. Also, it got too tedious to enable the program to keep up with 'who' was playing the friendly side - US, Canada, New Zealand, Australia, a mixed force etc.

> I noticed, in the Unit Orders window of the tank, their is now a button

> named 'Tow'. I did a double take because it didn't seem familiar

That is a feature that was added to v3.0 at the last minute. The 'Tow' button instructs a vehicular unit to tow or pull another vehicular unit. For example a tank retriever can now be ordered to tow a damaged vehicle.

>Visibility is too limited in TacOps. Ground visibility in clear weather

>for the unaided eye ought to be around 8 km.

It can be - when standing on a high point, feeling relaxed, and with all the time in the world to look. It is considerably different when crouched beside a crew served weapon or sealed up in a tank looking out over real world terrain with all its folds, depressions, odd small clumps of vegetation, etc - while looking at advancing units that are doing everything they can to take advantage of anything that can transiently block your line of sight.

>How do I do a screen capture in TacOps [using Windows]?

1. Simultaneously press the Alt and the Print Screen keys. This will copy what is on your screen into memory.

2. Go to the Windows Start menu and select programs/accessories/paint so as to run the paint program that comes with Windows.

3. Once the paint program is running, select the Edit/paste menu item to paste the contents of memory into the paint program.

>How many people in a typical battalion have a practical

>capability for adjusting artillery fire?

In principle - in the US military - anyone who has or is within shouting distance of any radio on any frequency. Any caller who can convince the receiver that he really is one of the 'good guys' and that he has a worthwhile target can eventually get fire support. If the caller is unskilled then the fire support folks will prompt and drag the necessary targeting and adjustment info out of him. Obviously it all works a lot faster and better if the caller has been trained, is using the right channel, and has been previously designated to handle calls for fire support. But ... the lowest private could find himself instigating a Brigade TOT in a crunch.

>...to shift fire or call in and adjust new fire missions

>would seem to be beyond the technical/practical ability

>of most of a battalion's personnel.

Laying and firing arty accurately may be rocket science but calling for it and adjusting it is not. Picking a junior troop at random and having him verbally conduct a call for fire drill was a standard practice for my platoon sergeants in idle moments. The hardest part of it for an infantryman used to be simply knowing exactly where he was on a map. Now all he has to do for that is punch a button on a GPS.

A modest exaggeration follows smile.gif...

Private Jones: Help!

Bored Arty Spec5: Where are you?

Private Jones: This GPS thingee says 12345678. There's some tanks kinda in front of me.

Bored Arty Spec5: Cool ... rounds out ... splash.

Private Jones: Good gawd amighty ... would you look at that!


Best regards, Major H


[This message has been edited by MajorH (edited 01-18-2000).]

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