Command: Modern Operations - Ground Ops

Take command of air and naval assets from post-WW2 to the near future in tactical and operational scale, complete with historical and hypothetical scenarios and an integrated scenario editor.

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Daniele
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Command: Modern Operations - Ground Ops

Post by Daniele »

Command: Modern Operations is coming soon. In this piece, let us take a closer look at how Ground Operations are depicted in CMO.

CMO is not just about massive improvements to UI & UX as we saw in the last two articles. It also includes significant changes and additions to the simulation engine itself. Many of them encompass ground operations, and this week we take a look at them.

Image

The obligatory disclaimer

Let’s get something out of the way up front, which we already stated clearly before but is worth repeating in order to avoid unreasonable expectations.  

CMANO has always been about joint, cross-domain operations: ground forces interact with air, naval, strategic and other elements as they execute their mission (the interaction often but not exclusively being of the “shooting at and being shot by” variety). This disciplined focus continues in CMO. 

Players expecting CMO to feature the tactical finesse of ground-centered games like Armored Brigade, Flashpoint Campaigns Red Storm, Combat Mission or SPMBT will be disappointed. Troops vs. troops slugging it out muzzle-to-muzzle is doable, but with limitations & abstractions that will likely dismay tactical land combat aficionados. Quick examples: no intricate modelling of per-side armor, no built-in model of suppression & rallying effects (this is doable through scripting if you get creative), not taking advantage of roads, no more than 2 levels of hierarchy etc. So, players who absolutely need these nuances in their wargaming experience should look elsewhere.

Now that we made it clear what CMO does not (yet) provide, let’s see what new and/or improved features it does bring to the table.

The lay of the land

In Command v1.x, the terrain has world-accurate elevation & slope, and this affects both mobility (it’s much easier to traverse a valley than a mountain ridge) and sensor detections (radar & IR clutter). However, the earth’s surface is treated essentially as a global desert: No modifiers for different terrain types affecting mobility and visibility. This changes dramatically in CMO.

Image
The new “land cover” map layer in action

Terrain type is now a decisive factor in land operations. The various terrain types (urban, desert, forests, croplands etc.) have different effects on the mobility of ground units, on weapon effects (especially blast and frag warheads) and spotting visibility. As examples:

- Water is impassable
- Wetlands reduce speed to 10% of original (bog!), and impair visibility slightly.
- Snow/Ice reduce speed to 20% of original, and impair visibility slightly.
- All forest types reduce speed to 30% of original, significantly hamper the destructive effect of blast and fragmentation detonations, and sharply reduce spotting ranges.
- Shrublands reduce speed to 50% of original, slightly reduce the blast & frag effects, and moderately reduce visibility.
- Croplands and vegetation mosaics reduce speed to 70% of original, and slightly reduce visibility.
- Open and wooded savannas reduce speed to 80% of original
- Barren / sparsely vegetated terrain and grasslands have no impact on speed, weapons or visibility.
- Urban & built-up terrain increases speed to 110% of original, but severely block both weapons and visibility.

Image

These combined effects have startling tactical & operational implications. For example:

- How do you move a unit rapidly and minimizing observation by the enemy? Move it through urban terrain. (If stealth is more important than speed, a forest will also do. If speed is paramount and no urban infrastructure is nearby, go flat-out through barren/plain terrain).

- Do enemy weapons/sensors outrange yours? Deny him a shooting gallery by closing on him through a forest or, failing that, a shrubland. (Conversely: How do you maximize your weapon & sensor standoff? Fight in deserts or plains. Ding ding ding!)

- You know the enemy is holed up inside a forest but your conventional explosive & frag weapons are seriously degraded inside it, and you don’t want to send your own forces inside for a bloody knife-fight. How do you kick them out of the forest? You rain down napalm and fuel-air explosives on their heads. (If civilian casualties are not a concern, this can also apply to urban terrain).

Units are aware of the terrain type and take into account in their navigation & pathfinding calculations. They use a new cost-based pathfinding algorithm that considers both terrain slope and terrain type to generate the optimum (fastest) route to their destination. 

In the example below, a M60 tank platoon in southern Attica (outskirts of Athens) is ordered to move to the northeast of the peninsula. The unit selects the displayed path both to avoid the surrounding mountain ridges (red ellipses) and to maximize its mobility, going through the urban area instead of the croplands to the east.

Image

Apart from being visually displayed on the map, the land-type information is also listed on the map-cursor databox, next to the existing terrain slope info:

Image

The goodies of COW: Cargo, amphibious & airdrop operations

As we previously mentioned, we decided to incorporate into CMO’s core simulation model a number of features that were hitherto unlockable only by certain DLC packs, chief among them “Chains Of War”. Of these features, the one most relevant to ground operations is undoubtedly the cargo, amphibious & airdrop operations.

We have described this feature extensively in the past, so as a brief summary: You can now transport ground forces in any platforms that are able to take them, and unload them where suitable. Platforms are realistically limited in the weight, area & personnel they can take (e.g. you cannot load an M1 tank on a C-130, but you can fit it on a C-17 or C-5). Ground units can be transferred between bases by aircraft, or between ports via ships, or embarked on beaches on a landing assault, or airdropped from aircraft or helicopters. Combined with the much higher terrain detail offered by the Sentinel-2 layer, you can extensively model amphibious and airdrop assaults, both when they go well and when they don’t unfold as planned, as in this example:

VIDEO - A doomed amphibious landing
Amphib Ops 101: Don’t copy Omaha Beach or the Bay of Pigs

Beans & bullets

This has been a popular request for some time, and we are glad to fulfill it. Land units can now replenish their ammunition from any suitable provider (e.g. supply trucks). This works in a manner similar to UNREP for ships, ie. the player selects the unit low on ammo and orders resupply either via automatic selection or manually designating the desired provider. Units will race to the selected provider and take on as many stocks as they can.

In this example, a coastal C-802 missile battery shoots at a hostile target and then, low on missiles, performs a rendezvous with a supply truck to refill its ammo:

VIDEO - Replenishment for ground forces example

Obviously, both players and scenario authors can use this new feature for much deeper modelling of ground operations. Greater emphasis must now be given to the resupply chains of ground formations; it is entirely possible to render an otherwise powerful tactical group virtually impotent by denying it its replacement stores (though fuel is still abstracted as “infinite”). This opens the door to new tactical and operational dilemmas; for example, do I pull back some of my anti-air defences from the front to better protect my logistics train? And how many of them before it becomes counter-productive?

The gods of war

Artillery and air support (and conversely, tactical anti-air defences) have been CMANO’s main strength on ground ops since the beginning, and their presence is still felt everywhere in CMO. This is one of the areas that benefits greatly from the addition of the terrain-type nuance, as now the actual effect of different sensor and warhead types varies with the type of landscape that the units on the receiving end are occupying.

This has significant implications for both avoiding and delivering fires: If you are trying to avoid enemy strikes, you can delay detection by using terrain to your advantage (or destroy his spotters on the ground or in the air, of course). If you are under fire, clever use of the terrain can reduce your casualties or afford you greater mobility so that you can ruin the enemy’s aim. If you are the attacker, you now have to carefully consider your battlefield reconnaissance and your selection of ammunition; your spotters must be carefully placed (or orbited) to maximize their coverage, and an incendiary, cluster or FAE warhead may often be far more efficient than normal hi-explosive. (Employing precision munitions if also often necessary, particularly in environments with numerous potential collateral damage).

Used properly and combined with useful recon, massed artillery can be quite effective, as this example demonstrates:

VIDEO - Artillery barrage

Air support and anti-air defences continue to be simulated in great detail as in CMANO. The extra wrinkles of terrain type and ground units replenishment add new headaches for the virtual JTAC; SAMs and triple-AAA are no longer “out of the fight” once they expand their built-in ammo, and aircraft no longer roam over a virtual desert plain. Visualization through Tacview or other means can be useful here to better illustrate the geometries of the tactical situation, as in this example:

VIDEO - Recon and close air support

If the enemy has even minimal air defences this can be an “exciting” overfly

Thanks for reading! Stay tuned for further updates
Doctorwarthog
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RE: Command: Modern Operations - Ground Ops

Post by Doctorwarthog »

Sounds awesome.
Rob322
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RE: Command: Modern Operations - Ground Ops

Post by Rob322 »

So, when can I pre-order?
ParachuteProne
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RE: Command: Modern Operations - Ground Ops

Post by ParachuteProne »

Very much looking forward to it !
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lecrop
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RE: Command: Modern Operations - Ground Ops

Post by lecrop »

Amazing videos [X(]
overkill01
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RE: Command: Modern Operations - Ground Ops

Post by overkill01 »

But how do we interpret "soon" [;)]
Raptorx7_slith
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RE: Command: Modern Operations - Ground Ops

Post by Raptorx7_slith »

ORIGINAL: overkill01

But how do we interpret "soon" [;)]

Just keep telling yourself it'll be out tomorrow and eventually it will be true! [:D]
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RE: Command: Modern Operations - Ground Ops

Post by stilesw »

Lieven,

Paraphrased from the book “The Angony and the Ecstasy”.
Irving Stone, 1961


In 1505, Pope Julius II commissioned Michelangelo to paint the ceiling of the Cistine Chapel. Over the next four years Michelangelo worked on this project. During this time the Pope often became impatient and would come into the Chapel where Michelangelo was working. Looking up at the renaissance artist he would ask “When will you be done”? Each time, Michelangelo’s response was “When I am done”.

Or, more collequately, don’t take the cake out of the oven too soon!
“There is no limit to what a man can do so long as he does not care a straw who gets the credit for it.”

Charles Edward Montague, English novelist and essayist
~Disenchantment, ch. 15 (1922)
ZoroastroBR
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RE: Command: Modern Operations - Ground Ops

Post by ZoroastroBR »

ORIGINAL: stilesw

Lieven,

Paraphrased from the book “The Angony and the Ecstasy”.
Irving Stone, 1961


In 1505, Pope Julius II commissioned Michelangelo to paint the ceiling of the Cistine Chapel. Over the next four years Michelangelo worked on this project. During this time the Pope often became impatient and would come into the Chapel where Michelangelo was working. Looking up at the renaissance artist he would ask “When will you be done”? Each time, Michelangelo’s response was “When I am done”.

Or, more collequately, don’t take the cake out of the oven too soon!

Well said, Stilesw! Better wait for a bug-free, working game than an incomplete "pay to test" "early access" game.
britten
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RE: Command: Modern Operations - Ground Ops

Post by britten »

Well, just asking for approximate release date shouldn't hurt.
Dimitris
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RE: Command: Modern Operations - Ground Ops

Post by Dimitris »

It will be released approximately within our life-spans [:D]

(Seriously now, it's coming sooner than most people think)
morphin
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RE: Command: Modern Operations - Ground Ops

Post by morphin »

Maybe we should make a tip sheet?
My bet would be 31 of october
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Sardaukar
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RE: Command: Modern Operations - Ground Ops

Post by Sardaukar »

Xmas sales is must! [8D]
"To meaningless French Idealism, Liberty, Fraternity and Equality...we answer with German Realism, Infantry, Cavalry and Artillery" -Prince von Bülov, 1870-

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Marder
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RE: Command: Modern Operations - Ground Ops

Post by Marder »

i guess: today ;)
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RE: Command: Modern Operations - Ground Ops

Post by tjhkkr »

ORIGINAL: Dimitris

It will be released approximately within our life-spans [:D]

(Seriously now, it's coming sooner than most people think)
Command: Modern Operations is coming soon. In this piece, let us take a closer look at how Ground Operations are depicted in CMO. CMO is not just about massive improvements to UI & UX as we saw in the last two articles. It also includes significant changes and additions to the simulation engine itself. Many of them encompass ground operations, and this week we take a look at them. The obligatory disclaimer Let’s get something out of the way up front, which we already stated clearly before but is worth repeating in order to avoid unreasonable expectations. CMANO has always been about joint, cross-domain operations: ground forces interact with air, naval, strategic and other elements as they execute their mission (the interaction often but not exclusively being of the “shooting at and being shot by” variety). This disciplined focus continues in CMO. Players expecting CMO to feature the tactical finesse of ground-centered games like Armored Brigade, Flashpoint Campaigns Red Storm, Combat Mission or SPMBT will be disappointed. Troops vs. troops slugging it out muzzle-to-muzzle is doable, but with limitations & abstractions that will likely dismay tactical land combat aficionados. Quick examples: no intricate modelling of per-side armor, no built-in model of suppression & rallying effects (this is doable through scripting if you get creative), not taking advantage of roads, no more than 2 levels of hierarchy etc. So, players who absolutely need these nuances in their wargaming experience should look elsewhere. Now that we made it clear what CMO does not (yet) provide, let’s see what new and/or improved features it does bring to the table. The lay of the land In Command v1.x, the terrain has world-accurate elevation & slope, and this affects both mobility (it’s much easier to traverse a valley than a mountain ridge) and sensor detections (radar & IR clutter). However, the earth’s surface is treated essentially as a global desert: No modifiers for different terrain types affecting mobility and visibility. This changes dramatically in CMO. The new “land cover” map layer in action Terrain type is now a decisive factor in land operations. The various terrain types (urban, desert, forests, croplands etc.) have different effects on the mobility of ground units, on weapon effects (especially blast and frag warheads) and spotting visibility. As examples: - Water is impassable - Wetlands reduce speed to 10% of original (bog!), and impair visibility slightly. - Snow/Ice reduce speed to 20% of original, and impair visibility slightly. - All forest types reduce speed to 30% of original, significantly hamper the destructive effect of blast and fragmentation detonations, and sharply reduce spotting ranges. - Shrublands reduce speed to 50% of original, slightly reduce the blast & frag effects, and moderately reduce visibility. - Croplands and vegetation mosaics reduce speed to 70% of original, and slightly reduce visibility. - Open and wooded savannas reduce speed to 80% of original - Barren / sparsely vegetated terrain and grasslands have no impact on speed, weapons or visibility. - Urban & built-up terrain increases speed to 110% of original, but severely block both weapons and visibility. These combined effects have startling tactical & operational implications. For example: - How do you move a unit rapidly and minimizing observation by the enemy? Move it through urban terrain. (If stealth is more important than speed, a forest will also do. If speed is paramount and no urban infrastructure is nearby, go flat-out through barren/plain terrain). - Do enemy weapons/sensors outrange yours? Deny him a shooting gallery by closing on him through a forest or, failing that, a shrubland. (Conversely: How do you maximize your weapon & sensor standoff? Fight in deserts or plains. Ding ding ding!) - You know the enemy is holed up inside a forest but your conventional explosive & frag weapons are seriously degraded inside it, and you don’t want to send your own forces inside for a bloody knife-fight. How do you kick them out of the forest? You rain down napalm and fuel-air explosives on their heads. (If civilian casualties are not a concern, this can also apply to urban terrain). Units are aware of the terrain type and take into account in their navigation & pathfinding calculations. They use a new cost-based pathfinding algorithm that considers both terrain slope and terrain type to generate the optimum (fastest) route to their destination. In the example below, a M60 tank platoon in southern Attica (outskirts of Athens) is ordered to move to the northeast of the peninsula. The unit selects the displayed path both to avoid the surrounding mountain ridges (red ellipses) and to maximize its mobility, going through the urban area instead of the croplands to the east. Apart from being visually displayed on the map, the land-type information is also listed on the map-cursor databox, next to the existing terrain slope info: The goodies of COW: Cargo, amphibious & airdrop operations As we previously mentioned, we decided to incorporate into CMO’s core simulation model a number of features that were hitherto unlockable only by certain DLC packs, chief among them “Chains Of War”. Of these features, the one most relevant to ground operations is undoubtedly the cargo, amphibious & airdrop operations. We have described this feature extensively in the past, so as a brief summary: You can now transport ground forces in any platforms that are able to take them, and unload them where suitable. Platforms are realistically limited in the weight, area & personnel they can take (e.g. you cannot load an M1 tank on a C-130, but you can fit it on a C-17 or C-5). Ground units can be transferred between bases by aircraft, or between ports via ships, or embarked on beaches on a landing assault, or airdropped from aircraft or helicopters. Combined with the much higher terrain detail offered by the Sentinel-2 layer, you can extensively model amphibious and airdrop assaults, both when they go well and when they don’t unfold as planned, as in this example: VIDEO - A doomed amphibious landing Amphib Ops 101: Don’t copy Omaha Beach or the Bay of Pigs Beans & bullets This has been a popular request for some time, and we are glad to fulfill it. Land units can now replenish their ammunition from any suitable provider (e.g. supply trucks). This works in a manner similar to UNREP for ships, ie. the player selects the unit low on ammo and orders resupply either via automatic selection or manually designating the desired provider. Units will race to the selected provider and take on as many stocks as they can. In this example, a coastal C-802 missile battery shoots at a hostile target and then, low on missiles, performs a rendezvous with a supply truck to refill its ammo: VIDEO - Replenishment for ground forces example Obviously, both players and scenario authors can use this new feature for much deeper modelling of ground operations. Greater emphasis must now be given to the resupply chains of ground formations; it is entirely possible to render an otherwise powerful tactical group virtually impotent by denying it its replacement stores (though fuel is still abstracted as “infinite”). This opens the door to new tactical and operational dilemmas; for example, do I pull back some of my anti-air defences from the front to better protect my logistics train? And how many of them before it becomes counter-productive? The gods of war Artillery and air support (and conversely, tactical anti-air defences) have been CMANO’s main strength on ground ops since the beginning, and their presence is still felt everywhere in CMO. This is one of the areas that benefits greatly from the addition of the terrain-type nuance, as now the actual effect of different sensor and warhead types varies with the type of landscape that the units on the receiving end are occupying. This has significant implications for both avoiding and delivering fires: If you are trying to avoid enemy strikes, you can delay detection by using terrain to your advantage (or destroy his spotters on the ground or in the air, of course). If you are under fire, clever use of the terrain can reduce your casualties or afford you greater mobility so that you can ruin the enemy’s aim. If you are the attacker, you now have to carefully consider your battlefield reconnaissance and your selection of ammunition; your spotters must be carefully placed (or orbited) to maximize their coverage, and an incendiary, cluster or FAE warhead may often be far more efficient than normal hi-explosive. (Employing precision munitions if also often necessary, particularly in environments with numerous potential collateral damage). Used properly and combined with useful recon, massed artillery can be quite effective, as this example demonstrates: VIDEO - Artillery barrage Air support and anti-air defences continue to be simulated in great detail as in CMANO. The extra wrinkles of terrain type and ground units replenishment add new headaches for the virtual JTAC; SAMs and triple-AAA are no longer “out of the fight” once they expand their built-in ammo, and aircraft no longer roam over a virtual desert plain. Visualization through Tacview or other means can be useful here to better illustrate the geometries of the tactical situation, as in this example: VIDEO - Recon and close air support If the enemy has even minimal air defences this can be an “exciting” overfly Thanks for reading! Stay tuned for further updates
Thank you for all your work!
Remember that the evil which is now in the world will become yet more powerful, and that it is not evil which conquers evil, but only love -- Olga Romanov.
britten
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RE: Command: Modern Operations - Ground Ops

Post by britten »

ORIGINAL: morphin

Maybe we should make a tip sheet?
My bet would be 31 of october
Yeah, that would be perfect day to fire You Brexit, You Fix it scenario in new C:MO environment.
Tookatee
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RE: Command: Modern Operations - Ground Ops

Post by Tookatee »

Will it be possible to affect terrain using ordinance, whether through scripting or a built in base game mechanic (such as a large conventional explosive or a nuclear weapon destroying a large radius of forest/urban terrain to create a level environment with a sight-line for sensors?)
Dimitris
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RE: Command: Modern Operations - Ground Ops

Post by Dimitris »

ORIGINAL: Tookatee
Will it be possible to affect terrain using ordinance, whether through scripting or a built in base game mechanic (such as a large conventional explosive or a nuclear weapon destroying a large radius of forest/urban terrain to create a level environment with a sight-line for sensors?)

No, sorry. That's a fairly advanced ground combat mechanic.
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RE: Command: Modern Operations - Ground Ops

Post by Gunner98 »

ORIGINAL: Dimitris
ORIGINAL: Tookatee
Will it be possible to affect terrain using ordinance, whether through scripting or a built in base game mechanic (such as a large conventional explosive or a nuclear weapon destroying a large radius of forest/urban terrain to create a level environment with a sight-line for sensors?)

No, sorry. That's a fairly advanced ground combat mechanic.

I am thinking that the response will be the same but what about intervening crest for artillery? I.e. rounds hitting the mountains between the guns and the target if the trajectory is too low?

Tx looking forward to this!

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