The Art of Command
Understanding Command Ranges and Delays
One of the key elements we try to capture with the game are the various differences in the command-and-control capabilities of the various nations. During the Cold War, NATO had a more flexible command structure and lower-level forces had more autonomy to adjust orders to deal with changes on the battlefield compared to those in the Warsaw Pact.
One way we differentiate between the various nations and their command capabilities is the National Data Tables and in particular the Command tab on those sheets. As seen below, we provide values for Command Radii and Command Delays based on the Headquarter’s (HQ) Level of the unit and its need to communicate with higher headquarters.
Command Delays are only one factor to how orders flow from HQs to subordinate units and back. Another key factor is the Readiness of the units, both the HQs and the subordinates. The more fatigued units become the more the main command cycle grows. Enemy Electronic Warfare also plays a major part in the overall command delay. The main command cycle can also suffer additional delays with the loss and replacement of active headquarters. There are many factors to be aware of as you command your troops.
Command radius also impacts resupply capabilities of units as well as the command delays. Units falling outside of their local HQs command range suffer loss in both resupply and recovery capability.
To help you command your troops there are a few tools and reports to help you get a clear picture of the current situation.
The one tool is the Chain of Command Overlay. Depending on the unit selected, line will be drawn from a higher HQ to a lower HQs:
From a HQ to its subordinate units:
From a subordinate unit to its local HQ:
In all cases the Command Range of the HQ in question will be shown on the map as well. Solid lines indicate in command connection and dashed lines mean out of command.
How well your overall command cycle is doing can be seen on the following:
Game Control Panel – The colored bars showing your past, current, and future (estimated) command cycles and an estimation of the enemy’s cycles as well.
You can view your command cycle in greater detail from the Operation Report on the SITREP tab.
A similar report (estimated) for the enemy is available from the Intelligence report on the Enemy SITREP tab.
You can also see command-related problems from the Personnel and Logistic Report (P&L) on the Staff Alerts tab. This includes units out of command, low readiness, or morale, and even transportation problems.
This gives you as the Commander a look at some of the main tools at your fingertips to be able to plan your battle and achieve success.
Issuing Orders to Your Troops
Orders can be given to a unit by right-clicking on the unit icon on the map and selecting an order from the displayed Unit Popup Dialog. Some orders just require selecting to set them (Screen, On Call, Hold, Resupply, etc.). Others require the player to designate waypoints or target points (Moves, Assault, Barrage, Hunting, etc.). With these latter orders you must finish the order by hitting selecting one of the options in the Orders on Arrival dialog that pops up when you are done selecting waypoints for the move.
Orders shown on the Unit Popup Dialog depend on the type of unit selected as seen in the images below.
It is possible to give orders for more than one unit at a time by the following means:
The new formation pathing AI will take the single movement order and path the units in an intelligent fashion to avoid traffic jams and follow your SOP settings while dispersing at the final objective. You can, of course, modify the waypoints of an of the units.
One last item for orders is the heavily requested additions of more waypoints (now six) and the ability to change orders along a path. As seen below, you can change the type of movement (or fire mission type) of an order in the Unit Dashboard.
Setting Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for Orders
One of the more requested features from Red Storm was the ability to set Standard Operation Procedures in more detail for your units. We have that now and it is a very powerful tool for you as the commander to wield. This tool gives you the flexibility to adjust many different operational parameters of your units, per unit, per waypoint, and for new orders. Grayed out parameters are not available for the selected unit.
These SOPs can be applied to the selected unit or easily copied to other units in the formation or of similar platform type.
This has been a small taste of the way you Command and Control your forces in the new Cold War game engine.
More Developer Blogs detailing more features will be coming in the following weeks are we ramp up to release. Please feel free to comment and ask questions on the Southern Storm Forum on the Matrix Games site.
Until next week!