Jump to content

TacOps Gazette 00.02

Guest MajorH

Recommended Posts

TacOps Gazette 00.02

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

> In reading accounts of various engagements

> during Desert Storm, it appears that tanks did most of the killing compared

> with M2/M3's, and ATGM's played merely a supporting role.

In Desert Storm, M1 tanks were effectively invulnerable at almost any range. Bradleys were not. Accordingly M1s led everywhere. Load up a TacOps scenario, take away OPFOR's improved ATGMs and OPFOR thermal sights, substitute the Iraqi T72 and then lead with M1s. I suspect that you will get results similar to Desert Storm.

> I don't know if the Major believes that the clear superiority of the

> ATGM vs. MBT in TacOps will in fact obtain on the battlefield. Perhaps his

> view is that, "Well, the weapons systems in TacOps are modeled objectively

> based on real world data, and if that leads to the result that ATGM's will

> dominate tanks on the modern battlefield, so be it." In a way, ATGM

> dominance is one of the principal theses of TacOps.

I am neutral on the topic. The results of direct fire engagements in TacOps are produced by the interaction of many abstractions. If a critical abstraction is wrong then the end result could be wrong. Given sufficient evidence I am ready to revisit any abstraction.

With regard to this specific topic, if there is a flawed abstraction in TacOps the most likely candidate is the rate of fire of tanks vs the rate of fire of ATGMs. The current set of abstractions that influence tank fire effectively limits one tank to destroying not more than one target per 15 seconds but the tank can usually fire again in the next 15 seconds if there are still targets in view. At close to medium ranges ATGMs can also kill one target in 15 seconds but they can not usually get a round off every 15 seconds. Thus the TacOps abstractions give parity to tanks and ATGMs for the first 15 seconds of a perfectly mutual engagement but after the first fire pulse the tanks get the edge.

If the abstractions were altered so that tanks could potentially destroy more than one target per fifteen seconds or if the abstractions were altered so that it took longer for ATGMs to do their thing then the game results would change dramatically - given the generally good lines of sight that exist in most TacOps terrain. Now before everyone jumps on the bandwagon of saying just increase the rate of fire of tanks ... Before TacOps was first released, tanks were allowed to potentially kill two or three targets per 15 seconds. The combat results when spread over several minutes of game play were just plain unsupportable. It was as if everyone was armed with death rays.

> I was left wondering if Infantry ever remount after having

> been dumped due to incoming fire on their carrier vehicles.

> The AI exited 10% of it's force, but that included quite a

> few empty BMPs, and many machine gun squads, etc were left

> on the map.

The AI will sometimes have surviving APCs pick up orphan infantry from destroyed APCs if they are nearby and 'on the way' but it will not usually make a special effort to round up distant stragglers. Troops who get left behind in the middle of a two or three kilometer, rolling assault are most likely not going to be looked for by the rest of the OPFOR force once the assault is over.

> In a couple of cases, a company of BMPs would volley fire.

> Once my unit was eliminated, the fire shifted to a second

> unit not in the same general target area. Seems to me that

> all of the fire should go into the same target, even with

> this results in target over-kill.


What you suggest was the way things worked in early versions of TacOps. Then folks complained that (a) too much ammo was being wasted on over-kill and (B) targeting was not being spread across a wide enough frontage - so I changed the abstraction to what exists now. The current abstraction still provides some overkill but not much. The current abstraction tries to prevent a given marker from being potentially eliminated more than two or three times in a single 15 second fire pulse. Also, the current abstraction mitigates (but can not eliminate) the gamey tactic of leading a charge with very low value units such as trucks.

> Is it standard policy for all infantry squads to carry

> radios?

Yes - for most Western armies. There are so many radios available today that constant effort has to be put into making people not use them - i.e. emission discipline. OPFOR probably should not be so well equipped but I didn't think it was worth the extra complexity in the code.

> I have always been a little confused as to how a TacOps unit

> (say with only one person left) can call in artillery

> strikes -- or the larger issue -- allow me (the player) to

> see units that the counter could see.

Both abstractions are driven mainly by the grand tactical scale of TacOps and to a lesser degree by a desire to reduce multiple searches all the way through the unit list during the combat phase. Now that CPU speeds are way up I could probably afford to do a second spotting check to determine the quality and capability of the best possible spotter and then somehow adjust the timing and accuracy of the arty service somewhat.

> How about randomizing damage to infantry units to include

> radio destruction (or non-operation)? How about the same

> thing for vehicles?

There are a huge number of radios and frequencies in use on a modern battlefield. A unit marker can represent 1 to 15 squads/vehicles. A given unit could be carrying multiples of several different kinds of radios. Tracking all that would get extremely complex - code wise - and would greatly enlarge the unit data being tracked.

> I have always wanted to see tank crews represented in TacOps

> (as they are in AH's squad leader). It would certainly

> allow for more excitement when recovering damaged AFVs (and

> console me with the fact that I saved some of the crew).

I don't think orphaned vehicle crews are significant given the grand tactical scale of a typical TacOps scenario. Also I don't think that recently orphaned vehicle crews would usually be inclined to immediately continue the battle as poorly armed and poorly trained infantry. I think they would either hang around their vehicle to safeguard it for recovery, or to await pickup, or they would try to escape and evade.

>I have a concern regarding ATGMs.

>they seem to fire and have

>rounds impact within the same "impulse".

>This results in ATGMs often out

>performing tank main guns and IFV cannons at medium ranges.

Each type of ATGM travels at a different speed. At close and medium range, most can get to their target in less than one TacOps 15 second fire pulse. If an ATGM takes longer than 15 seconds to reach its target it is possible that the firer will be taken out by enemy fire before the ATGM arrives and the ATGM will miss. Units firing ATGMs from hidden positions, usually get away with it even if it takes two 15 second fire pulses for the ATGM to arrive. In such a case by the time the unit is spotted its too late to suppress it. I think most wargames overate/over reward the tactic of tanks firing at ATGM launch signatures so as to rattle the gunner. I first read about that tactic 20 plus years ago in reference to the manpack Swatter and the first version of the manpack Sagger - both very slow and very hard to steer ATGMs. The tactic seemed plausible then but I don't think it is today due to the much higher speed of today's ATGMs and their simpler guidance systems.

> "Friendly" indirect fire appears not to effect the OPFOR. Rounds

> landing on both my units and theirs seemed to suppress/kill my stuff and

> have no effect on them. True or did I miss something?

All units - friendly and enemy - within the beaten zone of indirect fire get checked for effect. In general suppression is automatic for every unit in the beaten zone. The program only shows a suppression symbol for the first effected unit at or very close to the exact center of the beaten zone. Suppression still takes place for the other effected units but a suppression symbol will not be shown. This was added to speed up play in those cases where large stacks of units were being shelled. In the early days of TacOps people complained about having to wait for every suppression symbol to actually be drawn in such cases. Secondary explosions are shown in every case as are actual troop losses to each infantry marker (skull and bones). By the way, the game relevant beaten zone of arty and especially small mortars is usually somewhat smaller than the explosion 'blossom' animation.

> a large number of Red BMPs attacked me backwards. I noticed

> a few other vehicles doing the same. Is this a feature to

> make the demo easier?

No. What you saw was probably a cosmetic detail that sometimes does not work as I intended. In the past, silhouettes on blue marker markers were always drawn as facing to the right and silhouettes on red markers were drawn facing to the left. In v3, I changed the display code for mid and large size markers to provide silhouettes that can face right or left according to an approximation of the unit's current game relevant facing or its most recent direction of travel. This is purely cosmetic - for internal program purposes, units actually face in one of eight directions. My intention was for unit markers to show a cosmetic face that was closer to their actual game facing. What happens though is that units that are moving or facing at an angle that is very close to true North or true South sometimes get drawn facing opposite to what the player feels is right. You can use the F5 key to cycle the unit markers through several 'informational' faces to confirm their true facing.

> I miss the close window/"command key and w" option in the

> file menu of [Macintosh version] 3.0.)

The traditional Mac 'Cmd + W' still closes most windows (as does Escape and just about any other keystroke), I just removed the menu item for it.


Best regards, Major H


Link to comment
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.

Unfortunately, your content contains terms that we do not allow. Please edit your content to remove the highlighted words below.
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...