From: Washington D.C.
Together with multiplayer, a mission planner would be the icing on the cake !
Especially seeing as how complex the database and the scenarios can be...
As much as has been said about it, I'm actually cautious regarding the value of a mission planner. The reason is that I worry that while it might handle a certain mission template well, it might lack the flexibility necessary to accomplish the full range of possible missions. Unfortunately, all plans made in the absence of specifics require making assumptions. When those assumptions prove to be false, the plan and possibly the planning process is no longer valid. It would therefore be erroneous and unrealistic to force all strikes into a single template. The essence of tactics is problem solving, and one must be cautious not to constrain one's solution set artificially. The Vulcan bomber raid from Ascension Island is a great historical example of an innovative and novel solution to a difficult problem. Would an automated mission planner handle that well? Should it? Maybe the challenge of the scenario is to construct the refueling plan? Maybe part of the hobby is constructing planning tools, performing calculations, developing Heuristics, and novel employment concepts for weapons and platforms? Command is a game of planning, for sure.
I bring this up because I'm already sometimes frustrated with the missions as is. I experience this especially when it refuses to allow me to assign an aircraft in flight to a strike mission on account of excessively strict and simplistic refueling assumptions, forcing me to run things manually. This has the effect of me wasting time creating the strike mission and meticulously setting up target lists, only to discover later that the computer won't let me use them.
I sometimes feel there was excessive optimism about the realism and wisdom of allowing the simulation to run "hands-off." I've found that for some things it works well, but for other things, in order to behave in a realistic or sophisticated manner, an operator must intervene and control it. I also believe that in its conception there was insufficient consideration given to the notion of novel "swing role" missions, time sensitive targets, and the potential utility of using "missions" for the purpose of organizing, positioning, routing, timing and sequencing strikes, then moving aircraft off the purely organizational mission into the mission which might contain the target list. This isn't to say the simulation is unable to handle TST CAPs, for example. It handles them well, but almost always with some measure of operator intervention. I suspect in the absence of explanation, someone causally looking at my savegames would think I'm insane. I routinely do things like assign bombers to air-to-air patrols, which seem at first counter-intuitive, but actually serve a purpose. I'm using the simulation and its tools in ways it was never originally conceived, and I'm happy because those tools are great. They're very generalized, simple, and easy to manipulate. I don't want to be forced to play the game in any one particular way. A mission planner should never force an operator to conform to a specific template because it runs the risk of ceasing to be a simulation and becoming a mere "game-ism."
So as much as I'm on the one hand hopeful that a strike planner might help alleviate some of the workload, I'm also worried the tradeoff might be to overly constrain the player. The new player wants simplicity, and to have difficult problems handled by some automated process. The advanced player wants freedom and flexibility. My intuition is that balancing those interests strikes me as difficult.
< Message edited by SeaQueen -- 11/29/2019 3:07:04 PM >