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#4332736 - 01/29/17 07:40 PM Falcon 4 Campaigns  
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I want to start this thread for discussion of the campaign system in Falcon 4. I am playing BMS version 4.33.3, but most will apply to all versions of F4. There are differences however, so be aware that not everything will apply if you are flying another version.

For me, the campaign system in this sim is the best one in any sim, ever made, ever. I won't go in to all the reasons why I feel this way in this first post, but you can be sure I will have mentioned it all, again and again, through the course of it. And because of it's awesomeness, it is great to discuss, and to share tactics and strategies. There are many ways to accomplish any goal in the F4 campaign. So feel free to add your thoughts and strategies. When I make threads like these, I continually refine, chop and change. So reading through posts you already have again later might reveal additional or corrected info.

I'd like to touch on theaters, campaigns, mission and package creation and management, victory objectives, running the ground war and more.


Campaigns

When you first fire up Falcon 4 and click campaigns, you are presented with three choices. Let's have a look.

[Linked Image]

The campaigns are, from top to bottom, Tiger Spirit, Rolling Fire and Iron Fortress.

Tiger Spirit (TS) is the easiest one from the Blue perspective. You start fairly close to your objectives, are not completely outnumbered and there is no threat of Russia entering the war on the behalf of your adversary. I recommend this one as a first F4 campaign.

Edit 11/8/17 Having played all of the included campaigns several times, I believe the KTO Iron Fortress campaign is the easiest one and would make the best starter campaign. The ground objective is simply to capture Seoul, and aircraft force ratios are the most manageable.

Rolling Fire (RF) is much larger in scope. Blue has more ground to capture, Red has a much larger force advantage and Russia will enter the war in a few days.

Iron Fortress (IF) is a classic backs-against-the-wall scenario. Blue has been driven back to the Pusan Perimeter and must hold at all costs, and hopefully push back. Note: In BMS IF has been drastically altered in starting state. I have some thoughts on this I'll get to later.

Depending on which version of F4 you fly, and what you have downloaded, more campaigns and theaters will be available. There are many, and feel free to discuss those here. For the purposes of this thread for the time being I will focus on the classic 'standard' Korea campaigns that we've been flying in one form or another for close to twenty years.

Getting Started. Configuring Your Campaign

The first thing you should do is decide on your realism and challenge ratings. Realism is set outside of the campaign section. In F4, each sortie you fly in the campaign is graded. Points are awarded based on various factors. These points are used to determine promotions, medals and the resulting aggregate rating affects the performance of your side as a whole in the campaign. So that means the performance of your side's AI is directly linked to your performance in the missions you fly. So it's important to do well if you want to win your campaigns! More on this later.

Challenge rating is set in the same screen in which you choose which campaign you will fly. In the screenshot above you can see I have it set to Veteran. Challenge rating mostly affects force ratios of the two sides. The higher the challenge rating, the more planes each squadron on the enemy side will have, and the fewer yours will have. The same applies to the ground units. I t also affects the skills level of enemy units and aircraft.

Correction: In Falcon BMS 4.33 Challenge Rating does not affect force ratios in the same way. Higher ratings do not result in smaller Blue squadrons.

Edit 10/29/17 For information on how to revert to the traditional effects of challenge rating see this post by Schnidrman

Challenge rating is also used as a modifier in the points you score. So combined, the higher your realism and challenge ratings, the more points you will score, the faster you will be promoted, the more medals you will be awarded.

Personally, I feel that F4 is a sim that should be played on 100% realism, but there's no rule, so play it the way you're comfortable. Just be aware that promotions will come slowly at reduced settings.

Configuring your Campaign, Clock Paused at Start

Once you've chosen which campaign you will fly, decide on which airbase and squadron you will fly for, then click Commit. You will be taken to the Priorities screen with the clock paused. There are three things to concern yourself with, Target Types, Mission Types and PAKS. Taking some time here to make changes will go along way toward setting the early tone and getting your campaign off to a good start. In any F4 campaign, the first few hours are crucial.

For me, what I want to accomplish early on is this: attrit Red Air, Red air defenses and Red Ground. In the early stages of the campaign you have to decide the best use of your limited assets. Do you want to use your airframes to take out patrol boats and textile mills on the first morning?

Using the sliders in this section we can give targeting guidance for the Air Tasking Order, henceforth known as ATO. The ATO is the list of all fragged missions on your side in the theater. In most cases you will let the computer handle this. But you can get as involved as you want to be, even up to fragging every mission manually. But no one does that. The ATO tends to do a decent job, but I find it is much better to create additional missions myself to fill in gaps I see, to ensure certain targets are hit and generally to give the ATO a helping hand and tailor the mission set to my liking.

Mission Types

[Linked Image]


The Mission Types sliders tell the ATO what types of missions you want it to frag. Shown above are typical opening settings for me. I don't want the ATO wasting airframes hitting ports and factories. There will be time for that later. OCA is rather broad, and includes airbases, CCC sites, radar facilities and more. You can seee I have that slider set to on just a little. I'm OK with some airfield strikes, but in general I don't favor an airfield denial strategy for reasons I'll get in to later in the thread. But shutting down a few early can help significantly.

Target Types

[Linked Image]

The Target Type sliders go hand in hand with the sliders in Mission Types. Again, in the early hours I'm looking to hit Red aircraft, air defenses and ground units. The rest can wait. I also want extensive defensive air. That is critical. The rest can wait until we've won air superiority and removed any direct threat to our ground forces by encroaching Red troops.

PAKS

[Linked Image]


In the PAKS section we are telling the ATO where we want these missions to be sent. In the early hours we should concentrate our power along the front. Later, if things are going well, we will adjust all of these settings to hit different and deeper targets. If you allow the ATO to send aircraft to Pyongyang at 10 AM on the first day in Rolling Fire you are just asking to lose those planes and pilots. You can't win the campaign on the first morning, but you can just about lose it if you aren't careful

In this screenshot you can see an initial setup for Rolling Fire. The PAKS all along the front on each side of the lines are fully on (dark red). A few just behind my lines are barely on (light red, to ensure HAVCAP is fragged for my tankers and airborne command and control flights) and the rest are fully off (white). In this example I don't want to have assets flying CAP in Pusan or Japan. So those are off. Be sure to click on every PAK. Some appear to be off, but are slightly on. They appear white. But if you don't turn them off you will have missions flying deep behind the enemy lines and it's way too early for that.

There are many different ways to play, and this is just the way I do it. Once you are satisfied, click start campaign and you're taken to the main map screen. Pause the clock.


Last edited by DBond; 11/08/17 01:36 PM.

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#4332915 - 01/30/17 12:32 PM Re: Falcon 4 Campaigns [Re: DBond]  
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Configuring The Map

Once you've entered the main planning screen after clicking Start Campaign, you'll be looking at the 2D map. Leave the game paused and configure your map. Right click on it and set what will be displayed. If not set by default, change ground unit types to Battalion so you can get a better picture of what is out there and where it is. At this stage you won't see too much. Only known enemy locations will be revealed. And since we don't have AWACS or JSTARS in the air yet, and no missions have been flown, little is known of the enemy's disposition. That will soon change.

I tend to display everything except for Political (towns and cities) and Infrastructure (bridges). If playing BMS, set your Bullseye. I like to set the Bullseye over a well-known spot such as a city like Kaesong. It helps me picture locations relative to Bullseye calls. Also in BMS you can set steerpoint lines to show the FLOT for example ,giving you a fence-in line on your HSD when you fly your missions. Threat Circles I don't find too helpful and they just muck up my map, but flavor to taste. With the map options sorted let's have a look at the map.

Managing Your Squadron

Not much is going on. On the left, the ATO for your selected squadron will show all fragged missions. Look it over. If you are the hands-on type of campaign manager click on each one. Look at the waypoints. Click loadout and check what they'll be carrying. I've seen some really whacky stuff over the years. Like F-16s set to attack Infantry with Mav-Gs, or a naval strike with BSU-50. Alter loadouts as you see fit. Changes can be made up to 2 minutes prior to takeoff time. F4 armorers work fast! I tend to get quite involved here. I have specific profiles in mind that I want certain mission types to fly.

For example, the BARCAP (and DCA) is a common mission and will provide the backbone of your Defensive Air coverage. The computer tends to set the patrol waypoints for these missions flying more or less perpendicular to the front. I want these mission flown on a parallel path. So I will drag them to what I feel are better positions. I might straighten out zig-zag ingress and egress paths to shorten the flight. Or move the waypoint that is flying over the enemy to a safer position.

There is absolutely no requirement to do anything here. Many players want to fly missions and leave the rest to the program. That's fine. Either way works. But I think you will perform better in your campaign with a little helpful tweaking. Plus it's fun and gives you plenty to do while waiting for your step time.

This can be extended to the entire theater. You can use the ATO>show all packages, or you can transfer to another squadron and do it again. It can get quite addictive. Get as involved as you want to be. Careful and considered work here will pay off over time with higher effectiveness of the AI and faster turn around times, meaning more missions can be flown. Or leave it to the ATO. Up to you.

One additional option is to uncheck the Set by HQ box on the squadron page. That stops the computer from fragging any missions for that squadron, leaving them at your discretion. All of my campaigns are flown this way. I take over a squadron and act as the CO. I still frag missions for any squadron in the theater, but reserve one Viper squadron for my use.

H-Hour +1

Depending on which campaign and settings you have chosen, there may be urgent business on the ground with Red armor and troops bearing down on your frontline positions. This is certainly the case in Rolling Fire (which I am playing at the mo and for this thread) and also in Iron Fortress. Red is on the attack. You can leave it to the program to handle it, or roll up your sleeves and get to work.

One of the best things about the campaign is the ability to Add Package, or create your own missions to be flown. Some may feel this is a bit of a black art, and in some sense it is. I see alot of posts with people struggling to get what they want set up. But it's easy once you know how. The scope of what can be accomplished here is amazing. Later, we can talk about creating Alpha Strikes and other large missions, but for now, let's get some A-10s on the Red horde pouring over the border.

In the following screenshot we see Red troops coming south down the road network between Kaesong and Seoul (upper right-center, sorry for unedited screens). This needs to be checked. If they overrun our border posts they could force evacuation of the airfields in and around Seoul. We need to prevent that.

Creating Custom Missions

To begin creating missions, keep the game paused, right-click anywhere on the map and choose Add Package. If you want your mission to target a specific battalion or structure, right click on it. In this case we will right click on empty ground. This will be an interdiction, which is an 'area' mission with no specific target.


[Linked Image]

Once you click Add Package, the timing dialog appears. By default the ToT (Time over Target) will be exactly 30 minutes from the current time. Take-off times will be backward computed to fit. Don't worry about adjusting the take-off. You need to decide how urgent the mission is. You can reduce the ToT time to get there faster, and here I will slice 6 minutes off of default ToT to get them there a little sooner Click New.

Clicking New calls up the Add Flight dialog. Here we will choose the aircraft that will fly the missions, how many will fly and the squadron, air base and skill of the pilots. For this mission we will choose the A-10s of the 25th Attack Squadron out of Osan, which sits just south of Seoul.

As we all know there are horses for courses, or aircraft types that are better suited to fly a certain mission type than others. For interdictions against enemy troops nothing beats the A-10. Other good candidates are AH-64, AH-1, F-15 Strike Eagles. I sheepishly admit to even having used B-52s loaded with a shed-load of CBU on occasion. Again, depending on which campaign or theater you have chosen certain aircraft types may not be available or perhaps others are. Our trusty F-16s may be among the most versatile combat jets that have ever flown, but that also means they aren't the best at anything. Still, you have plenty of them so they will do yeoman's work in all types of missions.

For this mission we will choose the A-10s, make it a two-ship, choose AI (Air Interdiction) as the role and set the pilot skill to veteran. For missions with specific targets, like Pre-plan CAS or a facility strike, check that the target shown here is the the one you intend to hit. Once you are satisfied click OK and the mission is generated. Or not. This where most players run in to difficulty. The mission you are creating can only occur if there are available aircraft to fly it. The ATO does a fairly efficient job of ensuring all of a squadron's aircraft have something to do, leaving few or none unassigned at any given time.

If the mission cannot be created as fragged, you will get one of two errors, either bad timing, or no aircraft. Bad timing tends to mean there are aircraft available, but cannot meet the timing requirements, often due to distance to target. When this occurs, go back to the timing screen and add time to the ToT. Try 10 minutes and do it again. Once the requirements are met the mission will be created.

No aircraft means all planes of the chosen squadron are currently assigned missions. There are two ways around this. The first is to find another mission already fragged for the squadron and delete it. Click on the mission on the left and note it's callsign, then click ATO at the bottom. Find the mission (uncheck show all packages) and right click, choose delete. This will free up those airframes for you to assign. Be careful though. You could unwittingly leave a gap in your defenses or remove critical escort or what have you. HAVCAPs for tankers way behind the lines are a good choice for deletion. Sometimes, for reasons I do not understand, deleting missions does not result in assignable aircraft. Other times it does.

If the mission isn't urgent though, it is better to simply change the ToT. Try setting the mission up again but add one hour to the ToT. Keep adding time until the mission requirements can be met. For large packages I like to add several hours. This essentially guarantees I'll have any type of aircraft I want available to add to the package and eliminates the trial-and error to speed up the process.

Some campaigns have multiple squadrons flying the same aircraft type. Try to choose the one with the shortest route, but don't forget there may be another squadron available if the first one you choose has no available planes.

This can be extended to the missions you want to fly yourself. Get in the habit of building your missions a few hours in advance and you'll always have custom missions ready to go.


[Linked Image]

In our example however, A-10s are available and the mission is created. In this case it's Buzzard 1. Now click loadout at the bottom of the screen. Change as you see fit. In this case the default loadout was a bunch of GBUs. I changed it so each A-10 would carry four Mav-Ds, six CBU-87 and three CBU-97. I also adjusted the waypoints to make the flight path as short as possible. I then placed the first target steerpoint (STP #5) near the northernmost friendly unit in the area and the second target steerpoint (STP #6) further north along the road. This ensures that the aircraft won't overfly enemy units before they start their attacks and means the most threathening, closest enemy unit gets the A-10s full attention. At the start, all units are full strength so I want to take every precaution.


[Linked Image]

In addition I created a second A-10 interdiction to the west of the first. Having both in the target area at the same time has many advanatges, making it more survivable by giving the enemy more targets and simplifying any cover you can provide. In this case we will not assign any escort. There will be plenty of BARCAPS flown in the area. However, if you want to assign escort, TARCAP is a good choice. You can keep on going and expand any package by adding escort, SEAD escort and so on. Leave the Add Package dialog open and click New again to add another flight to the package. Timing complications easily arise, so large packages are best done a few hours in advance.

Here is the second A-10 mission to the west.

[Linked Image]

After this I repeated the procedure to get attack helos, A-10s and Strike Eagles interdicting all avenues of approach along the front that the enemy was using to cross the border. Within hours, if all goes well, the enemy attack will be blunted and Blue will get ready to consolidate and go on the offensive.

Another strategy here would be to hit the bridges they need to cross. I don't. Any bridge that the enemy cannot cross because it is destroyed is also a bridge that your troops can't use once you are rolling north. And the Infrastructure slider is off in Target Types for this reason. But the truth is you have to do one of the other. Either get your interdiction going or hit the bridges. To do neither means the Reds are going to keep rolling south, and no one wants to have their rear penetrated. eek

That covers the basics of creating a mission. You can get as involved as you want. Pick targets to hit, strike the airbase that's been giving you fits, throw up a sweep occasionally, fill gaps in your BARCAPs, hit the enemy carrier, whatever you can envision. It is very helpful to learn which squadrons are based where. Distance and timing is key to successful mission creation. Knowing who is where simplifies the whole thing, allowing you to be more efficient in your tasking.






Animals flee this hell, the hardest stones cannot bear it for long. Only men endure
#4333254 - 01/31/17 03:58 AM Re: Falcon 4 Campaigns [Re: DBond]  
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Thank you very much for this info! This is gonna help me understand better how it all works so I can finaly get deep into the sim.

#4333264 - 01/31/17 05:01 AM Re: Falcon 4 Campaigns [Re: DBond]  
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Thank you DBond, you are the best.

Now, a few things I learnt (after all these years!?).
Or rather, never thought of.

While I do create my own packages, usually only 2 flights, I never ever came up with the idea of creating AI flights. That A-10 move the morning of day 1 is just brilliant (but I'm still a bit reluctant to place F-15E working over FEBA, maybe I shouldn't).

Loadouts, sure I've set a million types of loadouts but never for planned AI flights! I need to start doing this!

As I said in another thread, I never touch PAK's. Now I will never fly a campaign without touching the PAK's (and AI loadouts and AI flights and..).

In all honesty, with the customer base shouting for Dynamic Campaign in DCS and what not, I say this piece should be an article, just cut and paste and put it out there. I am sure "new" e-pilots never heard of Falcon would realize there is something deeper out there if one can only stop going for the looks.

This should be an article I tell you! smile

Last edited by theOden; 01/31/17 05:38 AM.
#4333330 - 01/31/17 12:56 PM Re: Falcon 4 Campaigns [Re: DBond]  
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You make a good point about the Strike Eagles. But in the stock KTO campaigns in BMS, dedicated ground attack aircraft are few, so we gotta make do. Let me know how your first attempts go.


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#4333431 - 01/31/17 05:30 PM Re: Falcon 4 Campaigns [Re: DBond]  
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Eyes in the Sky

One of the most important assets you have in the campaign is what Falcon calls Command, Control, Communications and Intelligence (CCCI). This is your AWACS and JSTARS. AWACS can be land-based E-3 Sentry aircraft or carrier based E-2 Hawkeye. JSTARS is flown by the E-8 Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System.

In most campaigns that include these aircraft you will rarely have more than four of each type. These aircraft are what puts the HAV in HAVCAP. You absolutely need to protect them. Fortunately I've not found myself with none (unless the campaign is designed as such), but you can imagine how difficult it would be to fly F4 campaign missions with no AWACS support. The 'Sunrise' radio call, indicating an AWACS has arrived on station, is music to my ears.

The ATO does a good job of fragging these support missions. But if you're hands-on, you can make some tweaks to increase the advantages these missions afford. The ATO tends to set these missions up to fly some distance behind the front lines, maybe 70-100 miles. Because each radar system has a certain range of coverage, where they fly determines how 'deeply' in to Red airspace they can detect objects. The further from the front, the more shallow the coverage. I really have no problem with this, as I'd always favor survivability in computer generated missions.

However, this means less advanced warning of incoming threats and less clarity in AWACS response when you are flying missions and asking for picture, threat or declaration calls. There is an example of this occurring in one of my missions in the 'My Falcon Odyssey' thread here at SimHQ. Chalis saw nothing until I found incoming aircraft on my radar.

The same applies to JSTARS. The further from the front, the ssafer they ostensibly are, but at the cost of coverage. The closer to the front they fly, the more and deeper targets they will reveal. This is especially helpful for the ATO to assign targets. Anyone who has flown F4 campaigns for a while has seen the ATO devolve to a steady procession of BARCAPS. Putting up a JSTARS just behind the front can suddenly reveal heretofore unseen targets and wake the ATO up and get strikers outbound.

Of course the catch is that the closer to the front you put them, the more danger they may be in. So it's a balancing act, and just another factor that makes getting hands-on in the campaign so much fun. Be sure to provide CAP when you can. HAVCAP isn't necessary really in my view. But putting BARCAPS some distance to the bad guy side of the CCCI flight will shield them from attacks.

In addition to the range issue, the ATO tends to set up the patrol steerpoints flying perpendicular to the front. Like the BARCAPs I mentioned earlier, I want these missions flown parallel to the front. With CCCI missions, doing so maintains a uniform depth of coverage and eliminates the 'waves breaking on the beach' effect you would otherwise get as the CCCI flight flies toward, then away from, the front lines.

One nice advantage here is these aircraft have exceptional endurance. Back when I was flying AF, we did some decidedly unscientific tests at Frugals. The upshot was we came up with reasonable on-station times of 10 hours for the E-3 and 16 hours for JSTARS. E-2 are much shorter-legged and should be left at default which is 5 hours. Of course that's AF and I have not tested in any way in BMS. But it's safe to add a few hours surely.

Edit: Having played BMS for a few months now the best way to do this is to frag out your CCCI flight, adjust your steerpoints, then click one of the patrol steerpoints. Adjust the station time by adding hours until the flight path turns red. Then just reduce the station time by two hours or so and you've now created a CCCI mission close to max endurance.

Let's talk for a moment about the E-2 Hawkeye. In my opinion they aren't very effective. Shorter endurance and significantly reduced detection ranges means they are not a direct substitute for the E-3. Don't attempt to use them interchangably. But they have a perfect role, and that's carrier protection. Since they are carrier based, it makes sense to get an E-2 up near the carrier. Oftentimes an enemy carrier strike package will take a route that might fall outside of your E-3's range. The E-2 should be there to supplement and give you enough warning (if you're paying attention!) to get some interceptors up. The Superbug can carry a lot of slammers!

So the bottom line is nothing really needs to be done by the player in regards to AWACS and ELINT missions. But doing so can give some marked advantage that could pay off handsomely.



Last edited by DBond; 04/28/17 03:38 PM.

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#4333531 - 01/31/17 10:43 PM Re: Falcon 4 Campaigns [Re: DBond]  
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For the custom packages, is there a way to see the result of said package? In you example, is there a way to see how your A-10s did?

#4333573 - 02/01/17 12:53 AM Re: Falcon 4 Campaigns [Re: Killjoy12]  
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Originally Posted By: Killjoy12
For the custom packages, is there a way to see the result of said package? In you example, is there a way to see how your A-10s did?


Only by observation, no debrief or stats, unless you were to take over that flight on their way home or something. Watching them however I can confirm at least 6 battalions completely destroyed, and many more damaged by both of the A-10 missions near Kaesong. They proved quite effective.


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#4333665 - 02/01/17 12:38 PM Re: Falcon 4 Campaigns [Re: DBond]  
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Early Return on Investment

This screenshot shows how effective getting hands-on in the campaign can be. It's fourteen hours since the war started. The Red attack has been smashed and Blue has consolidated and now is launching an offensive near Kaesong. Frankly I don't recall when this would occur in previous RFs I've played, but it's fast for sure. And really, I've only been involved in putting out fires here and there. There is far more I could have done. But it's a good start to this campaign.

[Linked Image]

Counter Air Strategy


Here are the aircraft force levels. The frontline CAP strategy has done well. We have gained air superiority and taken light losses to our own airforce. By concentrating our missions along the front and denying the ATO the ability to frag deep strikes losses have been kept low.

In the early afternoon I finally took the leash off and opened up airfield strikes with the sliders. Within a couple of hours all active bases within the starting covered PAKs except for Wonsan were out of commission. When this occurred can be seen in the graph where the Red force level, err, levels out and starts to up-tick once again. In the opening post I mentioned that I do not favor an airfield denial strategy. I would rather attrit them in the air. The reason is that you cannot destroy aircraft whose base is destroyed. They aren't all sitting out in the sun on the tarmac waiting for you to pickle GBUs on them. What this means is that while their base is knocked out they are replenishing. Once their field has been repaired, you all of a sudden have three or four near full strength squadrons taking to the air. This sudden rush can easily win local superiority if they were all to get up in short order. Your CAP will be hard pressed to deal with it.

I would much rather keep battling them piecemeal in the air. In addition, it used to be that the program used something called initiative points to calculate events. You'll get more for destroying numerous aircraft than you will for knocking out airfields. Assuming it still works this way is another reason to not go all out on airfield denial.

Further, airfield strikes are dangerous and losses more likely. If you could keep the pressure on, and destroy a newly repaired airfield as soon as it came back on line you could mitigate the effect. And knocking some out can make a big difference in the first few hours. In this campaign I timed it for when I thought the Red attack was waning, so that I could get more interdictors outbound with little fear of interception. It worked. But all things considered I would rather do this work in the air than on the ground. And quite frankly flying missions in F4 is more fun when there are Red aircraft stooging about. Empty skies is rather...mundane.

[Linked Image]

Here is the ground unit force levels. The Reds took severe losses once they came out of their holes. Even so, it's now just about even.


[Linked Image]

Pilot Rating and Performance

This shot shows how my squadron (36th FS Block 40s out of Osan) has done and the involvement I personally had. I flew five missions in the first seven hours. The Wall 'O MiGs was thick and I couldn't just sit by and watch so I kept fragging and flying back in to it, getting good ratings. This is important so let's talk about the player rating and how it affects things.

In F4 the program uses the player's pilot rating as a modifier to calculate the resolution of events in the 2D and in 3D outside of the bubble. So the outcome of each engagement you watch on the 2D map is affected by how well you have personally done. This could be good or bad obviously depending on your rating. Do well, and the Blue aircraft will sweep the skies. Do poorly, and you'll watch as a pair of mighty MiG-17s make short work of your 4th generation jets. It's a feature that is so anti-sim it's puzzling it's there at all, but it is and we have to take it in to consideration.

What this means is you need to score good ratings. That's not always easy to do. So if you get a bad rating, and we all do, be sure to get back up as soon as possible and get a good rating. Keep this as high as possible for as long as possible. Your rating will erode over time if you do not fly any missions. I tend to fly every 4 to 6 hours on average, more frequently early, then slowing the pace as the intensity wanes. But if you have an excellent rating, I think you would be safe going up to about 12 hours before you'll start to notice a decline in Blue effectiveness.

Be sure to fly early. Frag yourself a mission and get up in the air. Like in the first 10 minutes. Your goal is to get an excellent rating. So frag a DEAD strike or BARCAP or something that's relatively easy to score well with. The skies will be mostly empty for the first 45 minutes or so. Take advantage, get a good rating and the events that are about to unfold will be shifted in your favor due to your good rating.

There is a simple way to game the game if you're so inclined. If you fly a BARCAP you can set the patrol time to zero (it's 30 minutes by default). Doing so means you will get an excellent rating even if you do nothing more than turn around and land. You can then fly any sort of mission you want. I use this occasionally to load up with some missiles and ground ordnance and just go hunting. HARMs for radars, CBU for columns I might come across, whatever. The F-16 Freie Jagd. It's not exactly procedure, but it works, it's fun and effective.

My standard mission profile that I fly in the early hours is what I call a HARMCAP. Load the Viper with a pair of HARMS and four air missiles with bags and go hunting on a zero-time BARCAP.

This is usually what is meant when you hear other players say they Hijacked a BARCAP. They selected an already fragged BARCAP, zeroed out the patrol time and made it in to their own mission. It's a quick work around for flying your own missions with little effort in setting it up.

Note zero losses. That just isn't true. But the program has some issue in regards to tracking your squadron's losses. It works in our favor, but still, it would be better if it were accurate.

[Linked Image]

Here are myself and my wingman, ready to roll for a daylight mission on Osan Two-Seven.


[Linked Image]









Animals flee this hell, the hardest stones cannot bear it for long. Only men endure
#4334000 - 02/02/17 12:54 PM Re: Falcon 4 Campaigns [Re: DBond]  
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Here we are, 23+ hours in to the campaign (Rolling Fire begins at 5:00 AM). This is what the A-10s have done. Devastating. Over 2000 ground units destroyed in less than a day. This has enabled us to take Kaesong. The HART line has been abandoned and Blue is moving on to it.

[Linked Image]

At this stage, the PAKS have been re-done, moving deeper a little and turning off the ones behind my lines. Usually, by nightfall on the first day, the Wall 'O MiGs has been dealt with and I use the sliders to authorize strategic strikes. Start hitting factories, nuclear facilities and other strategic sites. But this time, with the fast transition to attack, I decided to leave it off until we could take Kaesong.

One thing I won't discuss much in this thread is supply. I don't really know that (if) it works as you'd expect. I've read some convincing articles and threads about supply in F4 campaigns. But I've never gotten the feeling that it really means anything. Perhaps SAM units can run out of SAMs or a MiG squadron might run out of Archers. I've seen weapons showing 'out'. But the question is does striking these targets make a difference? Or would this just naturally occur as part of the way supply is modeled? Regardless if it actually affects the campaign in any significant way, hitting strategic targets is still realistic and we go all in. Plus it's fun to employ weapons like JDAMs hitting these targets.

I mention this because in this campaign I wondered if I delay strategic strikes, would taking an 'intact' Kaesong be of benefit to Blue? Would we benefit from not having destroyed Kaesong Textile Mill or the supply dump for example? I don't know the answer, but I waited all the same.

Having taken Kaesong the strategic slider is now on. This will start to get your stealth assets in the air. They only fly at night of course, but are very effective. These are the aircraft you want to send on deep strikes in the early part of the campaign. The ATO only sends them against traditional targets like factories and airfields, but you can use them to hit radar installations or HQ units or whatever you might need hit.


Animals flee this hell, the hardest stones cannot bear it for long. Only men endure
#4334656 - 02/04/17 03:52 PM Re: Falcon 4 Campaigns [Re: DBond]  
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No screens at this time. I couldn't connect to SimHQ this morning to upload pics before leaving for work, which is where I write this stuff.

The campaign has just about reached day 3, and Blue continues the advance. I expect that the Chinese, who have been using strong rhetoric condemning NATO's involvement in what they call a local dispute, will likley intervene shortly.

On the plus side, the navy has shown up, with the USS Carl Vinson's battle group in the Sea of Japan. A Nimitz-class supercarrier, it houses several F/A-18 squadrons, some Prowlers and Hawkeyes. A welcome boost, and helps to balance our deployment, since we had virtually nothing on the east coast aside from some F-5s at Kangnung. I wish we could transfer squadrons to different bases in this campaign. Edit: See Schnidrman's following post for the solution to this.

I have a nice shot of the aircraft force levels showing Red completely smashed. The 'fight them in the air' strategy has certainly paid dividends. A Chinese entry will give them a much-needed shot in the arm.

Here's another example of something I did with manual tasking. After taking Kaesong, I turned on all of the PAKS south of Pyongyang to begin targeting things in that area. To prep the area for all the strikers that would eventually start arriving, I fragged out an extensive DEAD effort. Using F-16s I set up individual two-ship DEAD strikes at every known SAM battery south of Pyongyang. The leader of each two-ship was loaded with four slammers and two HARMs. Each Wingman got two slammers, two heaters and six Mav-Ds. All aircraft got two bags of gas.

At this stage, late day two in RF, Blue has nine Viper squadrons. Five Block 52s, three 40s and one 32. So plenty of them to play around with. 32s cannot carry HARMs so those were used as the CAP'ers. They are excellent in air-to-air, even if restricted to slammer-Bs and no 9X's. The 52s and 40s were the strikers.

All missions times were set to 'roll up' the SAMs. That is, the closest SAM sites were targeted first. Then the rest were staggered so that the following F-16s would arrive just as the first SAMS were being hit. We're talking just minutes here, but failing to do this means that any ships you are sending against the 'deeper' sites would have to fly through the engagement zones of the closer SAM batteries, so some co-ordination is required to prevent unnecessary losses. If you set all of these missions with identical ToTs the deep guys will overfly the close sites before they've been taken out.

Each flight path was tweaked. One thing you need to be careful of with SEAD and DEAD strikes (and naval strikes too) is that oftentimes the program will set the IP for these missions too close to the target. 10 miles is common. The AI will wait until they have reached the IP before attacking. Too-close IPs therefore negate the standoff capability of the HARM. And this is also true in naval strikes using weapons like Harpoon. It's true essentially with any mission that is using any type of weapon with standoff capability. So it's always worth it to check the IPs on these missions and adjust as necessary. I will usually drag the IP to about 30 miles. The leader gets his HARMs off taking out the radar, and the wingman swoops in to fire his rifles at the launchers. Very effective.

In addition, CAPs were set up along the ingress/egress routes. They would clear the tails of any strikers that came off target with a threat trailing. Following a few minutes behind this DEAD effort were several facility strikes using guided munitions. Factories, supply points, nuclear plants etc. I fragged myself a DEAD mission and took out two Fan Songs on the southeast side of P'Yang. Some Fulcrums came up to play but we dealt with them. Fulcrum-A's aren't much threat at BVR ranges.

In all, ten SAM sites were shut down. This clears that space for ATO-fragged follow-on missions to this area. I spent about twenty minutes setting it all up. Well worth the effort as any Blue aircraft flying south of P'Yang will now be far safer.

Missions like this are so much fun to be a part of. Switch to proximity channel in the target area and listen to all of the aircraft you fragged as they go through the paces. Magnum calls in succession, followed shortly by the rifles. The CAP engaging threats and keeping you informed of where the bad guys are. Turn for home just as Paveway calls are made as the facility strikers start dropping. Everyone fences out in short order through the CAP. Only drawback is some possible congestion in the ATC flow back at base.


Animals flee this hell, the hardest stones cannot bear it for long. Only men endure
#4334746 - 02/05/17 01:38 AM Re: Falcon 4 Campaigns [Re: DBond]  
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Quote:
I wish we could transfer squadrons to different bases in this campaign.


You didn't know?? Of course you didn't, I forgot to tell you. Visit this page for some awesome tools created by Falcas. Weapons Delivery Planner and Mission Commander are the two "must-haves". Mission Commander is the one you want to add or move squadrons, etc. WDP is for DTC, comms setup, etc.etc.etc.

Get it all here...

http://weapondeliveryplanner.nl/download/index.html

P.S. I think sombody might have mentioned it one of your other threads, but if not, Tacview is an awesome tool for ACMI reviewing. You get the full version for a limited time, but after that it defaults to the freeware unless you purchase Home or Pro.

http://www.tacview.net/documentation/falcon/#q12

Hint: Website has a sale a few time a year. I was able to get the Pro version for the price of the Home version.

Last edited by schnidrman; 02/05/17 02:39 AM.

[Linked Image]
#4334828 - 02/05/17 04:17 PM Re: Falcon 4 Campaigns [Re: DBond]  
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Thanks very much. I knew of most of these, from the BMS forum,, but not that it allowed base changes. That's great.


Animals flee this hell, the hardest stones cannot bear it for long. Only men endure
#4335019 - 02/06/17 02:29 PM Re: Falcon 4 Campaigns [Re: DBond]  
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Campaign Objectives: Winning the War


To win whichever campaign you have chosen it is necessary to capture the objectives. What the objectives are depends on which theater, campaign and even version of Falcon you are playing. In Tiger Spirit for instance, the objectives are different in BMS than in AF. I'll list the objectives as shown for Blue for the KTO campaigns (Korean Theater of Operations) in the BMS 4.33 manual.

Tiger Spirit

RoK/US
wins if Wonsan and Pyongyang, Onch'ang-ni, Hamju, Huich'on, Kaech'on and Taehung are
controlled in less than 5 campaign days.

Or

RoK/US
wins if Wonsan and Pyongyang are controlled in less than 5 campaign days and DPRK
strength is less than 1/10 that of Allies forces

Rolling Fire

RoK/US
wins if Wonsan and Pyongyang are controlled in less than 30 campaign days.

Iron Fortress

RoK/US
wins if Pusan and Seoul are controlled in less than 5 campaign days.


So the bottom line is that everything you do is a means to that end. Destroying aircraft, SAM sites and tank battalions is done to clear the way. Only by getting Blue on the objectives will you gain a victory and get another tick mark in your logbook.

Campaigns can be lost. If gaining promotion is important to you be sure to avoid a loss, because any campaign defeat on your logbook will lock out higher ranks. One loss and you'll never be promoted to Colonel or General for example no matter how well you perform or how many missions and flight hours you accrue.

But honestly, it would be rather difficult to lose a campaign. A stalemate is much more likely.




Promotions and Rank

According to the BMS manual here are the ranks and the requirements for each. Keep in mind that this is also version dependent. The player is commissioned as a Second Lieutenant


1st Lieutenant: 150 points

Captain: 300 points

Major: 800 points and one campaign won

Lt Colonel: 1600 points one campaign won and no campaign losses

Colonel: 3200 points one campaign won and no campaign losses

General: 6400 points

As we talked about earlier in this thread, each mission you fly in the campaign is graded. Factors include but are not limited to: realism percentage, challenge rating, mission difficulty, weapons hit percentage, aircraft destroyed, ground units destroyed, wingman survival and incoming fire evaded. Points are awarded and accrue over time. You'll be promoted when you reach each requirement. No one wants to be a Second Louie forever!



Managing the Ground War

Falcon: Allied Force gave us the ability to control individual ground units and give them destination waypoints. BMS continues this and allows the player to give orders to the ground units. This gives us some control on where they go and what they capture.

To do so, confirm the map display is set to Ground Units>Battalions. Right click on any one and choose Status and uncheck (un-highlight) the Set by HQ box. Now left click on the unit and a waypoint circle should appear. Drag that circle to the desired destination and the unit should head off to capture it. I say 'should' because frankly it's quirky. The unit doesn't always listen and sometimes they decide to go off in a completely different direction than where you ordered.

In my campaigns I like to start moving air defense units north right at the start. The program will not do a good job of having your air defense units keep pace with your advance. Soon your leading elements will have outranged your air defense umbrella. So I like to manually get some Hawks, Patriots and AAA units heading for the front. At the glacial speed that ground units travel in this sim, it's a good idea to get them rolling early. But after a while I will check on them and find they are headed somewhere else entirely. So in practice it isn't entirely reliable. But using this feature can help speed up your advance and allow you to capture more territory more quickly. It's a good idea to return the unit to HQ control when you are done with them. In AF you can choose the setting to have this done automatically, but in BMS you'll need to do so manually.

Another good use of this feature is to get Engineers on a damaged facility or structure such as an airbase or bridge.

Depending on which campaign you have chosen and which difficulty settings, there is a good chance that your ground forces are quite limited. So be careful with using this feature. Don't send them headlong in to a strong enemy position. Use interdictions to clear the road ahead when possible. Failing to open the way could see your advance stall as the leading elements are damaged or destroyed in ground combat.


Animals flee this hell, the hardest stones cannot bear it for long. Only men endure
#4335048 - 02/06/17 03:19 PM Re: Falcon 4 Campaigns [Re: DBond]  
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popcorn


- Ice
#4335051 - 02/06/17 03:24 PM Re: Falcon 4 Campaigns [Re: DBond]  
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Does that mean you like the read or that you're waiting for the flame war?


Animals flee this hell, the hardest stones cannot bear it for long. Only men endure
#4335055 - 02/06/17 03:32 PM Re: Falcon 4 Campaigns [Re: DBond]  
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Hahaha... that's my bookmark. I hate reading this thread, if I'm honest. I'm starting to hate you as well. Do you know how quickly you are wearing down my resistance to my years and years of conviction of not flying with an AI?? Do you know how much I want to start my own campaign using this thread as a guide?? I have a life, y'know!! pitchafit

Wife: "Oh, you're starting a campaign? You've not done that in ages."
Me: "Yeah, there's this dude on SimHQ, making this God-forsaken thread...."
Wife: "Sure..."

matrix


- Ice
#4335065 - 02/06/17 03:46 PM Re: Falcon 4 Campaigns [Re: DBond]  
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Haha, well you asked for it wave


I hope you do get a campaign going. I would really like to hear how it goes. I'd really like to see more folks getting involved here and posting their experiences. This campaign system is so amazingly awesome.

I can't help with the Wife Battalion though. Those are damn hard to evade. Go dark and low I'd say...


Animals flee this hell, the hardest stones cannot bear it for long. Only men endure
#4335083 - 02/06/17 04:33 PM Re: Falcon 4 Campaigns [Re: DBond]  
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Indeed I have. I just didn't realize the effect would be this much. biggrin Good thing I'm still tweaking and testing my gaming rig... next up will be some training then some campaigns! I do look forward to posting my blunders here for people to laugh at and correct smile

As for the Commander-in-Chief, so long as I file a proper flight plan and allocate proper flight hours, I should be in clear skies all the way biggrin


- Ice
#4335139 - 02/06/17 06:38 PM Re: Falcon 4 Campaigns [Re: DBond]  
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Your C-in-C is one of the good ones then. thumbsup for Mrs Ice. I had to get rid of mine. She said it's either Eff-4 or me!

"Snake Three-One, Osan tower, you are cleared for takeoff, Runway Two-Seven"

Honey? Oh well, it's for the best biggrin

Ya know, the more I think about it the more I look forward to you giving it a go. You obviously know a lot about flying Falcon, so to see you put that to use in the campaign would be interesting. In some ways I envy you because it's like a new experience for you (discounting any campaigns you have done).


Animals flee this hell, the hardest stones cannot bear it for long. Only men endure
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