2012-07-07 Bridge crossings obscured by smoke screens, immediate insight in the generated plan, and Operation Frenchpoint units Zoom

In today's update, I am providing something extra for attackers having to cross a bridge in their advance: artillery delivered smoke screens. These smoke screens obscure the attacker's moves across the bridge. The smoke screens make a successful attack more likely even with the defender explicitly defending bridges (as of the previous update).

If the attacking team has an artillery unit able fire smoke or WP, this unit is ordered to fire an obscuring smoke screen to ease crossing a bridge under fire. Smoke screens are being fired after the preparatory artillery strikes on the objective, if any.

Artillery delivered smoke screen starting (Arma2)

Artillery delivered smoke screen fully built (Arma2)

US Marine advancing across smoke obscured bridge (Arma2)

The (AI) artillery unit will fire a smoke curtain on the far side of the bridge, by firing smoke or WP shells perpendicular to the bridge and some 20 to 80m apart (depending on the wind direction). This is done repeatedly, since smoke shells provide smoke for less than a minute and the smoke cloud takes time to build. The smoke screen is maintained for a period of about 8 minutes. The smoke screen will be 50 to 300m wide, depending on the number of guns and the wind direction. (Smoke screen calculations are based on WWII British Artillery Corps documents).

For now, PlannedAssault will solely generate smoke screens orders for missions involving bridge attacks and targeting Arma2 (base, OA, CO); effectively this means missions with attacks across bridges on the Zernovo and Faysh-Khabur maps.

French Tigre with HAD load-out near smoke covered bridge (Arma2)

The generated plan provided as feedback (Arma2)

French AMX10 R-CR on far side of obscured bridge (Arma2)

This update brings another improvement: immediate insight in the generated plan for the player's side, on the 'generated mission' screen. There, the same information is given that would otherwise first be seen as part of the in-game mission briefing. The generated plan doesn't go in much detail, but indicates the transport assignment and how fire support is being employed (whether artillery is within range to provide the necessary support).

One of the screen shots in this update provides a nice example of such a generated plan. Having the plan information available should help quicker round-trips while tweaking a mission.

French AMX10 R-CR and VBCI stuck on bridge (Arma2)

A platoon of CAESAR mobile guns deployed on line (Arma2)

OFrP's Close-up of the control system for the CAESAR gun (Arma2)

For the A2:OA and A2:CO games, I've replaced the Hexagon add-on entries by the corresponding Operation Frenchpoint (OFrP) add-on units. Operation Frenchpoint is the successor add-on for Hexagon, adds A2:OA features, and includes all the Hexagon units and a bunch of additional units. Especially impressive are the CAESAR mobile guns (which aren't available for selection in PlannedAssault until the Operation Frenchpoint add-on team provides ballistics for the CAESAR's ammo).


Finally, I've included a script in generated Arma2 missions that configures tank crew to remain in their tanks if these get immobilized. This behavior is available from Arma2 1.60 onwards, and results in an innocent error message if you haven't upgraded to that version.


Have fun!



2012-03-01 RUBE's 'weather machine', AI firing the Stryker M1129 MCV-B Mortar Carrier's 120mm mortar, and CWR2's Malden (Arma2*) Zoom

"When grass is dry at morning light, look for rain before the night." Weather lore may become handy in Arma2 when using the RUBE weather module. Using the date, time and climate model as input, this weather module generates matching yet varying weather, and expresses that as clouds, winds, fog, ground fog and color. You can see the effect in the images below.


I've made a few changes to PlannedAssault to provide input to RUBE weather module. Every map is now associated with a meteorological region (for example, "Kandahar, Afghanistan, Central Asia, Asia"), which is translated to the best matching RUBE weather module's season modules at mission start time, if you've selected the RUBE weather module. From this and the mission start conditions (date, time, %overcast and %fog), the RUBE weather module determines the weather.

January morning weather (Prague climate model) at Malden (Arma2)

July morning weather (Prague climate model) at Malden (Arma2)

July evening weather (Prague climate model) at Malden (Arma2)

The second part of today's update also involves scripting: I've added a ballistics table for the 120mm mortar in the Stryker M1129 MCV-B mortar carrier vehicles which are part of the Arma2:OA and Arma2:CO base game. This ballistics table now comes with every mission using the Arma2:OA US Army units, and finally enables the AI to fire artillery missions from the MCV-B vehicles. These 120mm mortars pack quite a bunch, and are able deliver fire from up close to 5km away.

M1129 MCV-B mortar section firing their 120mm mortars (Arma2)

Dynamic wind (stronger at altitude) in RUBE's Weather system (Arma2)

CWR2's Malden island being fought over by US Army

This update adds the Malden map from CWR2 add-on for mission planning.



2010-11-28 ADuke's special Blackhawk variants, Hexagon ISAF, FELIN and Milan units Zoom

Now available for use in generated missions: ADuke's US Army and Air Force special variants of the UH-60 Blackhawk. The helicopters look impressive, and are great for air landings. One warning: although the helicopters are capable of fast-roping, this ability cannot be used unless a human pilot is performing the landing. The reason for this is that Arma2 AI currently cannot properly hover and stay in position while under fire or when part of a group of helicopters (see this bug).

French FELIN equipped soldier

French Milan launcher deployed

160th SOAR MH-60K ERFS heli inserting T1 units

The French infantry and COS unit templates have been updated to reflect additions and changes to HEXAgon's Characters & Weapons Pack: ISAF and FELIN teams were added, as well as Milan anti-tank launcher teams (for Arma2:OA and Arma2:CO only).

The Milan teams are composed of a team leader, Milan tripod carrier and Milan tube/ammo carrier. The Arma2 AI by itself is not able to autonomously deploy the launcher, but you as team commander can do so as follows: (1) order the Milan tripod carrier to the Milan's intended position, (2) order the Milan tripod carrier to unload the tripod, (3) order the Milan ammo carrier to assemble the Milan launcher, and finally (4) order the Milan ammo carrier to man the Milan.


Another change: in generated missions, the radio is now made visible on the map screen. This might come in handy when you want to call in artillery (and have placed artillery units in the mission).



2010-11-17 Australia and New Zealand forces, mission end trigger fix Zoom

Today's update adds unit templates for Australian and New Zealand defence forces from the AAW and ANZAC mods for Arma2:OA/CO, and fixes a bug triggering an early mission end in Arma2 and Arma1 missions.

ADF soldiers disembarking from MRH90s

ADF SRPV and M1A1 tank

NZDF infantry dismounting from Pinzgauer 6x6 truck

The bug being fixed is the following: In missions with air support, missions sometimes ended early and before the objective had been seized. Root cause for this is that the "SEIZED BY" trigger takes aircraft and aircraft cargo into account, which is a surprising implementation (at least, for me).

In missions, the mission end conditions are implemented using triggers, with the most important trigger being a "SEIZED BY" trigger. The "SEIZED BY" trigger activates when the corresponding forces has a significantly stronger presence in the trigger area than the enemy.

The problem (that I didn't see until recently) with the "SEIZED BY" trigger is that it does not differentiate between aircraft and land based units. The trigger also activates when an unarmed helicopter containing a dozen infantry men or a jet fighter passes through the trigger area, even though these aircraft are unable to project any force into the area for a longer time. I have raised this as two problems (jets and aircraft cargo) in the community issue tracker. Feel free to vote these issues up. I do not expect these bugs to be fixed anytime soon, because changing the trigger behavior might mean breaking existing single-player missions that accidentally or by design rely on this behavior.

ADF soldier advancing

ADF infantry waiting for an ASLAV-25 pickup

F-111 Ardvark providing air support

I have implemented a work-around with a custom sqf script performing the "SEIZED BY" check and returning true when there's a 4:1 ratio of land based armed vehicles in the area. Newly generated missions all include this improved seized by check.