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Scenario for Testing: Scramble for Africa, 2027

 
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Scenario for Testing: Scramble for Africa, 2027 - 10/28/2018 2:14:53 PM   
DismalPseudoscience

 

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Situation

The year is 2027. As China's influence spreads across the Indian Ocean, it comes to touch Eritrea at the mouth of the Red Sea. When the Eritrean government, emboldened by the presence of their new protector, decides to reopen its territorial dispute with Ethiopia, the Ethiopians strike back - only to be met with an ultimatum from China.

But despite the odds, Ethiopia is prepared to fight.

Scenario

This is a mid-sized air warfare scenario pitting Ethiopia, bolstered by a foreign PMC, against a Chinese expeditionary force. The Chinese will be continually reinforced as the scenario goes on as more of their forces arrive in-theater. The player controls Ethiopia.

Author's Notes

I've been a huge admirer of the authors and scenarios which make clever use of Lua - like angster and apache85 - and wanted to use this scenario as an opportunity to increase my knowledge. Some of my implementations might be a little less than elegant, but hopefully that's just part of the learning process. Also, I used a small patch of code from apache85's Seven Days in October to spawn planes at an airbase. For all other methods, I relied heavily on CK's Command Lua documentation for reference.

This scenario should be in a fully playable state, but is missing some content which was planned at the outset. Hopefully it will be enjoyable as-is already, though.

Please let me know if you have any comments or suggestions, or catch any bugs!

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RE: Scenario for Testing: Scramble for Africa, 2027 - 10/29/2018 9:26:43 AM   
Ancalagon451

 

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I downloaded it and at this moment, I'm using it as a testbed about how to employ alamo armed flankers against ARH armed ones without being wiped with no enemy losses. It's not going well.

Once I manage an acceptable result in the first skirmish I'll start looking how to attack the nearest enemy base.

Ancalagon

(in reply to DismalPseudoscience)
Post #: 2
RE: Scenario for Testing: Scramble for Africa, 2027 - 10/29/2018 4:28:12 PM   
templar42


Posts: 42
Joined: 8/16/2018
From: United Kingdom
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quote:

ORIGINAL: Ancalagon451

I downloaded it and at this moment, I'm using it as a testbed about how to employ alamo armed flankers against ARH armed ones without being wiped with no enemy losses. It's not going well.

Once I manage an acceptable result in the first skirmish I'll start looking how to attack the nearest enemy base.

Ancalagon


Observe the range at which the AI aircraft are set to launch BVR weapons. It may be you can defeat the ARH shots by running away and then chase them down when they reach Winchester and turn for home.

(in reply to Ancalagon451)
Post #: 3
RE: Scenario for Testing: Scramble for Africa, 2027 - 10/29/2018 9:03:03 PM   
Ancalagon451

 

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That's a micromanaging tactic, and I don't use those. At most some switching on-off for a mission or prosecution zone but 99.9% of the time I let the fools fight the fools.

I have managed some WRA settings that give me a reliable 1:3 kill ratio (default settings gave a reliable 0:6 ratio) and now I will try putting some of the Kfir into the mix.

If that doesn't work I'll put them in a strictly defensive posture, wait for the Vipers to be ready, and let them self-escort.

Ancalagon

(in reply to templar42)
Post #: 4
RE: Scenario for Testing: Scramble for Africa, 2027 - 10/31/2018 3:37:12 PM   
Ancalagon451

 

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Joined: 1/4/2018
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OK, I managed a not too pitifull 1:2 ratio in the initial sweep and I procceded to a "minute zero" runway strike against Asmara.

I managed to pull it off at the "too many to remember" try (and I still lost three of the four ready frogfoots, damn MANPADS) bombing the runway and the runway-grade taxiway and destroying the tin-shield and both HQ-17 in the process.

Only the taxiway showed battle damage but since there where no planes taking off I assumed that it was merely lack of BDA on that specific facility. That would be shown to be oh so wrong later.

Of course the first Liaoning stike caught me with the pants off and they bombed the viper housing base (don't remember the name) at leisure. I was saved by they use of dumb bombs (seriously, I'm not complaining but; in 2027!?) which make them miserably fail their targets.

I proceeded with my own base strike employing the two ready Hinds (still less than three hours in the scenario at this moment) and It was with an inmense pleasure that I found they bagged fourteen grounded sino-flankers (I targeted occuped tarmacs only but still didn't expected such a success), a later follow-on strike with more Hinds and frogfoots would bag another six for a total of 24 enemy casualities (four downed in the air).

I was feeling very smug with myself when the secong Liaoning strike put me in my place, crossing the whole country from east to west, downing all CAP planes available and a pair of SEAD vipers returning from a patrol. Then they bombed the Kfir housing base and, while they where still using dumb bombs, this time the attack hurt a lot; with half a dozen Kfir destroyed in the ground (some of them where unavailable ones so operational losses where fewer but they still scored negative points). To sum up: a dozen frames lost in less than an hour; ouch .

Then there was a lull in with my planes keep bombing Asmara (they bagged some Y-20 in the hangars) and the stand-off armed Vipers make a raid on the coastal base where they hit half-a-dozen of some type or armed drone I've never heard before, but scored like any other plane so, 300 extra points for me.

The next blow came when a patroling pair of SEAD Vipers was blasted by a HQ-16 SAM appeared of nowhere next to Asmara (later I checked in editor mode and found It was teleported just under the plane so it was never seen before opening fire. Since that base was closed (or so I thought) and out of planes (or should they be called targets?); I deactivated the strike missions over it and let it be.

The sacrifice of my last two SEAD vipers enabled me to destroy the third Liaoning strike, since the escorts RTBd after the engagement and left the strikers alone, attacking a base housing my last three surviving flankers . I took a page of that old "How to give the MiG-21 a fighting chance" video somewhere in this forum and waited until they where at less than 20nm to launch my planes. This time I managed 6:1 ratio .

After that I was thinking what to do exactly (I was at major victory but still more than a day of playtime, and little units remaining to do anything), when the chinese decided for me; and it was "you die".

A message appeared saying president-for-life xingping had declared hostilities against me and I laughed thinking that I had declared on them eight hours ago to great effect. Then missiles started apearing all over my airspace from unseen planes and I stopped laughing.

To make it short, more than a dozen of freshly arrived yet-another-variant of sino-flankers, carriyng PL-15s this time, wiped out literally every fighter plane remaining; while PGM armed ones wrecked all my strike planes on the ground. In less than an hour I'd gone down to minor defeat and had NO airworthy planes remaining.

To rub salt on the wound, all the newly arrived bogeys returned on a straight line to Asmara; with was allegedly inoperant, and when I checked with the editor I found that the runway didn't have even a scratch (after three frogfoots worth of BeTAB bombs scoring direct hits, seems they are unable to damage heavy armor even if they easily destroyed the medium armored runway-grade taxiway) and, since I had ignored the access points earlier, the base was almost fully operational when the reinforcements arrived.

So to resume in a word: HAAAAAAAAARD.

You did'n lie with the difficulty bar, at all.

I loved having to make one very tough decision at the start, strike with all four strikers and two helos (no SEAD) against an airbase protected with almost last-gen SHORAD, or wait to ready more assets when the briefing alerts you the enemy is mustering forces in a big way. I decided going early and I do not repent, but I would love to hear the tales of players trying the "wait to make a big strike" strategy.

Technically speaking the scenario was flawless, the teleport events worked well (the reinforcement planes where all put in undamaged tarmacs, very impressive ).
Air defences maintained EMCON to great effect, even if that turned against them when I managed to destroy the tin-shield radar; and both the strikers and escorts of the Liaoning strikes worked without a hitch, except when the escorts deserted in the third strike but that was them adhering strictly to their ROE, perhaps you should change escort doctrine to winchester to make them stick with the strikers if they still have ammo remaining.
I loved how different strikes where made against different bases employing the same planes, that's seldom seen in CMANO scenarios.

I have of course thrown the towel in this attemp, but I'll do a new one in a few days and employ all my hard earned experience to try to see the end of the scenario ( I have glimpsed something about balistic missiles while cheking the teleport events and I'm already shuddering).

So to resume: unusual arena, great gameplay, no technical issues, fairly sophisticated enemy tactics and hellish dificulty. This is a must play. Thank you very much for your work.

Ancalagon

(in reply to Ancalagon451)
Post #: 5
RE: Scenario for Testing: Scramble for Africa, 2027 - 11/2/2018 7:29:43 PM   
Ancalagon451

 

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Joined: 1/4/2018
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I made today that second try I told about, and this time I managed to score a Triumph (albeit I feel it was a somewhat hollow one) but I discovered quite a few Issues that didn't appeared before.

First and biggest one is not technical but of desing, as of right now, if you manage to close Asmara, the chinese have lost. That's how I won today and why I said it felt somewhat hollow.

Since all the combat reinforcements are spawned by event in the base, if it has no operable runways (or access points as it was the case); those planes are trapped and only serve to give me free points bombing them.

The only fighting forces remaining in that case are the Liaoning embarked wing and eventually the Dong Fengs (and those I also neutralized easily, more about that in a moment) and, while their strikes hurt (most of the times), they are simply not enough to win the points race if I merely keep bombing a chock-full-of-trapped-planes Asmara.

The problem was compounded by the second issue: in the last twenty hours of the scenario, the targeting priority algorithm seems to have failed, since the IA kept bombing an empty base (as in literally empty with even the maintenance planes already destroyed) and wasted two or three whole strikes pounding empty tarmacs and gifting me some free poins in the form of casualities caused by my ****ty air defences.
All of that while I was repeatedly bombing Asmara from another base which was chock full of Froogfoots.

The third issue was the HQ-9: perhaps it's some type of flanking denial strategy, but right now, it's so badly placed that I only discovered it's existence when I checked with the editor after the end game to see what remained!!!

If it had been placed between Asmara an Massawa instead, It would have stopped me from bombing Asmara with impunity (all other air defenses where already destroyed at that point) and forced me to either deal with it or relinquish all those points.

Also it would have made much harder to deal with the dong fengs, once I received the warning message, I had to sacrify a plane making a low level flyby near Massawa to locate them; but after that a pair of Vipers armed with SBDs wiped them, no sweat. HQ-16/17 lacked both the range to threat the launching planes and the rate of fire to stop the salvo. A properly placed HQ-9 on the other hand would have complicated the action immensely.

Finally a minor one are the armed drones on Massawa: the Strike algorithm seems to make no use of them and, right now, they only are yet another source of free points for a SBD standoff strike. Y-20s in Asmara are the same, but those seem deliberate since they are all in manteinance (also being heavy cargo planes); the drones on the other hand don't seem so.

I still like this scenario very much (even if, for a macro-only player like myself, dealing with the ARH armed sino-flankers with my old SARH armed ones it's hard as hell) but those issues are to big to overlook.

Hope you can find aproppiate solutions for them beause this scenario deserves it.

And again, thanks for your work.

Ancalagon

(in reply to Ancalagon451)
Post #: 6
RE: Scenario for Testing: Scramble for Africa, 2027 - 1/20/2019 2:49:58 AM   
DismalPseudoscience

 

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Joined: 10/10/2014
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Hi Ancalagon,

Thank you very much for playing this through! I apologize for the (very, very) delayed reply.

I clearly misplayed the balance between the two main options available to the player (attacking before the Chinese, or letting China declare war first), making the first a bit too easy and the latter way too hard.

I'm going to try a few tweaks (and a few bug-fixes) to see if that can be straightened out. Some key ideas are changing up the SAM spawns as you suggested, and probably also downgrading the J-11Ds to PL-12s instead of their current super-missiles. Hopefully that will result in a more balanced scenario, while keeping the concept and basic outline similar.

I think I should probably also introduce some Eritrean border skirmishers to pick up the pace earlier, but that is a secondary priority for now.

Thank you again, and I hope to have a revised version up soon!

(in reply to Ancalagon451)
Post #: 7
RE: Scenario for Testing: Scramble for Africa, 2027 - 1/20/2019 2:07:36 PM   
Ancalagon451

 

Posts: 330
Joined: 1/4/2018
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quote:

I clearly misplayed the balance between the two main options available to the player (attacking before the Chinese, or letting China declare war first), making the first a bit too easy and the latter way too hard.


Careful with that, I didn't mention that, in the second try, I was unable to reproduce the first minute strike of the first run. Also that first run was succesfully made after a BIG chunk of failed attemps and restarts. So the conclusion here if that the first minute strike is the hard way and it's better wait for some extra punch.

Of course wait too much and there is consecuences, but that is as it should be.

Don't bother yourself with the delay, the scenario is very enjoyable and challenging as is, specially being such an unusual setup, I'm a little fed up with the tipical "USA carrier/air force vs whatever" even if there are some very good ones out there.

Also a little OOT but I found that "In the Steppes of Central Asia" is not in the community pack unlike "The Bear and the Dragon" and after a pair of tries (and fails, you sure make some hard scenarios ) I haven't found any technical issues with so I think is ready for submission.

Ancalagon

(in reply to DismalPseudoscience)
Post #: 8
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