Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Control of Fires in Operation Flashpoint Dragon Rising

The effective delivery of firepower is vital to the US Marine Corps' way of war. In the rush of a firefight, each soldier tends to fire at whatever target he deems more threatening. This tends to disperse the firepower of the entire formation. Squad and platoon leaders are responsible for directing the fires of their subordinates, the goal being the delivery of overwhelming firepower onto single targets (instead of dispersed firepower on a multitude of targets).

That's the theory. I wanted to experience this Marines' fire fighting axiom and practice some of the fire control techniques using "Operation Flashpoint Dragon Rising" (OFPDR). So, I winded up a scenario where I am in command of a USMC Rifle Squad attacking a squad of PLA Paratroopers defending a small industrial installation.

The result was an utter waste of time: apparently in OFPDR you cannot control the fires of computer-controlled soldiers without dumping your scheme of maneuver into the trash can.

The pieces for fire control in OFPDR are there. In my humble opinion, they are just wrongly implemented. For example, I see three PLA machine gunners in the second level of the industrial complex and off course I order one of my fire teams to "suppress" that position. The fire team fires a couple of volleys and then it starts moving towards the flanks of the target getting both shot at and into trouble collinding other enemy groups we had no contact with before. Multiply this by 3 (one squad has 3 fire teams) and you get a firefight that looks like a bunch of chickens being chased by a coyote.

"-Heard that? That was not a bullet flying by, it was my scheme of maneuver ..."

The "engage" order is another annoyance that produces similar results.

I appreciate the AI designer's eagerness to provide the computer controlled bots with some "independent tactical thinking". I've seen the AI do clever things in OFPDR. But when as a squad leader you get your AI fire teams spread over a front of 250 meters in broken terrain, your only sin being to order to supress a position just in front of you, you can only wonder why is not possible to have both the "halt" and "supress" orders active at the same time.

OFPDR gets a fail grade on this topic. I'm so upset that I don't even want to post screenshots of this.



Anonymous said...

Interesting, but sad, read.

How is this in ArmA2 ? Better ?
(I'm unfamiliar to both games, as I'm mainly tanking in SB Pro ...)

Thx, Koen

JC said...

Hi Koen!:)

Thanks for your comment and for dropping by the blog.

Good question, I will have to try it in ArmA2. I suspect that it will be better. For starters, in ArmA2 you can tell your squadies "stop" and "look there" and BOTH orders will stick with them and be followed simultaneously.

I will have to check, though. :)