Sunday, August 5, 2012

Live Fire Maneuvers with James McKenzie-Smith's British Army Platoon - An ArmA 2 Scenario/Template

I don't know if you are aware of ArmA 2's "high command module". This module, which is included in the out of the box version of ArmA 2, allows the player to take command of other groups of units (usually squads). In the past, I've used this module to move around several squads but I've limited my use to just move and change the squads' formation. When combat ensued, it was always every squad on its own because I could not cope with the click fest.

What about a system that features a platoon, support units (mortars, close air support and heliborne transport) and a quick command menu that allows to dynamically establish  rally points, stop and resume units' movement towards a waypoint ... and more?

The 24 hombres of McKenzie-Smith's (-) platoon, ready to follow my lead.

Enter James and his exquisite know-how with the ArmA 2 engine scripting capabilities. He sent me a mission which is an assault on an insurgent-held town. But after almost falling off my chair after seeing his creation, I decided to take his platoon on a live fire exercise in order to learn how this thing works. I'm going to take this system very slowly, so please be patient.

Make sure to click the images so you can read the menus in the screenshots.

Well, we knew the objective was that abandoned oil refinery in the background so why not calling an air support mission. 2 A-10s showed up promptly and left us out of targets.

To the left, is the OPORD menu. It allows you to plot positions on-the-fly in the map. Some of these positions are functional (like landing positions for the helicopters and rally points) and others are just overlays for the player's information (assault, objectives and support positions). 
This is a feature that I wanted for a very long time in my command adventures: the ability to orient my subordinate units on-the-fly and efficiently. It works significantly better in James' setup than in the stock high command system.

I'm going to write about this in more detail later, but here it goes something that worries me for my future missions. Disorientation. As a wargamer, I am very good at concocting plans and plotting waypoints in the map. Here I have the platoon in a fairly open area where I can see almost every men and sub-unit. Yet, that translation from "paper"(the in-game map) to the 3D world is quite a shock for me. Who are these guys over there? 1st or 2nd Squad? Keeping the eye in the tactical ball during contact its' going to be challenging. 
After a long day of work, "getting to know each other" (exploring the command system), I asked for an heliborne pickup. Our transport showed up some 6 minutes after I asked for it. That's great timing, but to be sincere we were very close to the airbase. Now under contact, a bit afar from the airbase and with a MEDEVAC pending ... The wait will feel longer! 


Mike said...

The High Command function is one of the best features in ArmA. I wish they would've developed it more.

Anonymous said...

That looks really awesome - I'll have to check it out!

Storm Rider said...

Now that´s a reason to reinstall Arma2!

RangerX3X said...

Gonna have to take a look at this.

Monty said...

This looks excellent all-round! I am going to upgrade my PC in the near future and ArmA2 will be straight in there ;)

JC said...

Glad you liked it. It's a great work. James told me he worked a whole battalion in the past, but I was not brave enough to try that.


Mr_Centipede said...

Where can I download this template/mod/mission?

JC said...

Hi Mr. Centipede,

James said he will post it somewhere when he feels it is polished enough to release. I will keep you posted.