From: The Great White North!
I'm not a programmer so may be way off the mark here. It seems to me that; although complex it can be simplified by breaking it into various parts, and by using the Mission planner and Event editor which work well and are already in the game, it becomes more manageable. I think daisy chaining multiple missions as emsoy described is a bridge too far at the moment and if the 'strike planner' (or whatever it will be called) was limited to one strike at a time, it would mean that the players have a role in the game after the first setup . So my thoughts:
Step 1: Mission planning as we do now, break the target into its components, assign aircraft and Emcon etc.
- An IP (initial point) needs to be added to the strike mission parameters, probably by using a Ref point, this will solve the approach angle issue, just assign different IP to different missions.
Step 2: Strike planning, the new interface bit where the player associates missions with the strike, assigns a TOT and assigns strike times based on that TOT i.e. Mission X @ TOT+4(min). Needs to include all missions like OECM, SEAD, tankers, Ftr sweeps, recce all keyed to the baseline timing. Surface to Surface strikes need to be included but the parameters would be slightly different.
Target planner - this routine works out the target end details from the IP forward: Alt, wpn release times, time of flight etc: end result is a time at IP
Base management planner - This one does all the time calcs to get the A/C from the hanger to the IP (all good if you don't have to tank up)
Mission interface planner - This one is probably based on the current event editor and relates to all of the support missions, Tankers, OECM, Recce (pre & post strike) etc
Surface to Surface strike routine - a simple Time of Flight calculation to match the assigned TOT I think
Feedback loop: The player needs:
-To be told if TOT cannot be met by 'Mission X'
-To have a TOT adjustment tool, where he can change the TOT (slightly) and get feedback on the results (i.e. Mission, X, Y, Z cannot meet the TOT will be over target @, or Mission W needs to tank up etc)
-Be able to add or take aircraft away from the strike, probably through the mission planner as they can do now
So...400 A/C, 1 strike package, 4 A/C per mission - 100 missions, 1 waypoint, the IP for only the strike missions (the support AC have normal mission parameters, so patrol and support areas assigned in the mission planner), cruise missiles superimposed with a TOF routine. Simple really Like I said, I have no idea how tricky this is to program, but those are my thoughts.