Sunday, September 16, 2012

ArmA 2 Army of the Czech Republic - More on Satellite Patrols

Light armored vehicles and satellite patrols again, fellows. This time in ArmA 2, I took on a Pandur II supporting a squad of Czech infantry ... Or maybe the other way around?

Czech infantry moving under the careful watch of a Pandur II light armored vehicle.
I have been messing around with the usage of light armored vehicles in Combat Mission, and one of the things that surfaced from that scenario was the inability of the LAVIII to provide early warning to the infantry and a lackluster target acquisition performance. Two fellow readers pointed out the possibility that the abstracted (i.e. not visible but computed) civilian villagers could be obscuring targets and that there is a possible game design gimmick (toned down target acquisition) into it.

Because the LAV featured in ArmA 2 is a USMC vehicle without thermal sights, I took the Pandur II which has very thin armor but a great automatic cannon.

The first setup. Close and hilly terrain. There is a village in the background and my infantry is moving in for a presence patrol.

The target acquisition system offers great magnification, but the foliage obscures most of the village.

I had to keep a good eye in the dismounts (shown here still a few meters in front of the village) and move the vehicle from our position to better fields of view. But still I had a very narrow  sight of the terrain ahead due to the foliage.

Insurgents attacked us from the right flank. My Pandur II took an RPG but miraculously we didn't blow up. In this picture, I am firing towards an enemy that is elusive and makes well use of concealment.
In the end, my vehicle is immobile (note battle damage in the picture above, two right wheels are gone) and I have to call back the dismounts for perimeter security. I killed two insurgents and one civilian ... The latter most likely due to my fires against targets partially concealed.

The second setup: clear and open terrain. The dismounts (green romboids) are moving towards a group of houses some 800 meters ahead.
The great magnification and powerful thermal imaging system (bottom) worked very well. Maybe a bit too well? I held fire simulating that I didn't know if these tiny white shapes were hostiles or not. Once I got the "under fire" radio call from the dismounts I opened up on these and dispatched them without moving forward.
The dismounts (green romboid icons) clearing the houses. Note how the Czech troops are "colder" (i.e. less white) than the insurgent dead in the roof of that distant building. Hmmm ...
The thermal sights in ArmA 2 feel a bit too god to be true. Will have to try this in Steel Beasts.

Stay tuned,



Anonymous said...

At times infantry in SBPro can be dumb as a brick. I remember many times a squad on a side of a hill in the woods wasn't using trees for concealment and cover thus making it possible to spot them from great distances and decimate them with coax almost without them reacting.

Anonymous said...

Here are the Leclerc thermals:

Anonymous said...

Some countries have been putting an effort in lowering the thermal signature of their troops through selecting certain materials for uniforms and equipment, perhaps the difference in brightness between the Czech troops and the insurgent could be explained in such a way.

Vulcan said...

Interesting article :). Those Youtube links in comments were also pretty interesting. Thanks for both.

RangerX3X said...

I have been playing the demo for CMSF and it has given me some ideas for missions in ArmA II. However the ArmA engine is currently incapable of simulating realistic light armor and infantry tactics, IMO. I have done some testing with the BAF module, trying to use the FV510 Warrior vehicle as over-watch for the attached team’s advance on a suspected position some 1km away.

The issue is that the team will make it to the first waypoint (the APC is frozen using the commandStop function), then turn and race back to the vehicle to board it as if it would take them the rest of the way. If I ungroup the team from the vehicle, then the AI just sits there while the team is engaged some 400m out from the objective.

If I board the vehicle as the gunner, I can clearly see the technicals straight ahead of me, some 1,200 meters out. However the AI commander and gunner cannot acquire these targets on their own and as with all ArmA series games, ungrouped same sided units do not share information. The end result is yet another ArmA disappointment compared to what else is out there.

James said...

I just tried a very quick test with the FV510 in overwatch; I placed it on the map using the mechanized section group and then made the leader playable. If you put:
"[d0,d1,d2,d3,d4,d5] allowGetin false;"
in the init field of the FV510 (where d0 - d5 are the names of the dismounts) they will not try to board the vehicle. It seemed to work fine. In fact the vehicle opened fire before we (the dismounts) even spotted the enemy.

Now I want to explore all this patrol with mech overwatch in more detail; if I ever find the time.

RangerX3X said...

Wow thanks for the heads up - talk about collaboration: I have been playing OFP/ArmA since 2001 and have never stumbled across "allowGetin false"...I will definitely try this out.

JC said...

James is one of those guys that can edit an ArmA scenario so it will show you a TV show in the billboards of Takistan. :) Count me in, man. I'm off to try that!

JC said...

Anonymous (is that one or several different persons?): copy on SBPro, infantry is not the best suit. But we can work it out with a bit of elbow grease. :)

The thermals of the Leclerc are really powerful. Loved the magnification power and the small dots which looked like heads of dismounts inside a bunker.

About the uniforms thermal signature: that's great information. Thanks!