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A word about the missions and campaign?

Posted By: Ripcord

A word about the missions and campaign? - 11/07/10 01:38 PM

From the Aerosoft press release....

Quote:
Because Jet Thunder: Falklands/Malvinas Conflict is a large and complex project it will be release in three 'stages' where each stage builds upon the feedback from customers and adds more features. The first two products will be digital download only, while the last (and final) version will be available in download and worldwide in boxed form. Splitting the project in stages also will enable us to gradually increase the complexity of systems and introduce this generation of jets to customers who have never flown combat flight simulators.

The first release (Jet Thunder: Royal Air Force Harrier) will include the full Falklands/Malvinas islands as a backdrop for the missions flown with the Royal Air Force 1(F) Squadron's Harrier. Starting from the HMS Hermes the user will have battle the Argentinean fighters in support of the Fleet Air Arm Sea Harriers, defend the British ships from attack, prepare the landing operations and provide close air support for the Royal Marines and Paratroopers. The Harrier is expertly modeled and fully operational. From a 'cold and dark' start, all the way to shut down the systems are as they are in the real aircraft. As far as we know this will be the first time full VTOL procedures will be realistically possible in a simulator. Release is scheduled for late 2010, download only, at a of price €20 (plus VAT when applicable).

In 2011 there will be additions that will add many more flyable aircraft, the Argentinean side, and finally the boxed/download version that combines it all.


Ok so this is the context for the planned release or releases, Dante -- what kind of missions will we have? I understand it will be historically accurate, so that will missions set up to recreate what happened? So how will that look? Will there be a linear campaign, eg, a number of missions strung together in a certain order? Or will that order be semi-dynamic, based on missions events and outcomes? Can we assume there will be some additional 'twists and turns' along the way, in the campaign, contingent on events? Or maybe there will be a stock campaign that strictly historically accurate and another one that has a little more 'artistic license' in terms of a wider range of missions to be flown?

And also, what about a Mission Builder/Editor tool for user-made missions? Will that be available in the first release or in later releases?

I apologize, Dante, if you have answered this somewhere in another interview.

Ripcord
Posted By: Ripcord

Re: A word about the missions and campaign? - 11/07/10 01:58 PM


I just saw this SIMHQ that Joe did last year with Scary Pidgeon.... that link is here

Part of that interview talks about a Dynamic Campaign

Quote:
Joe: In 2006 you told SimHQ about the dynamic campaign system planned for Jet Thunder. Dynamic campaigns are always a hot-button issue with SimHQ members. Can you give us a current description of the campaign system and tell us what you feel are some of its major strengths?

SP: I think it would be unthinkable to not have some sort of dynamic campaign. Embarrassingly, we donīt have the complete design for it yet. We are pondering mainly if there ought to be a sort of RTS running in the background, which might be quite tricky technically. Alternatively, we could use a turn-based approach similar to the Total War strategy game series; this would be turn-based strategy with optional real time resolution, which might be easier. I'm pondering rules of popular board games to see if they are applicable.

We imagine the dynamic campaign will also have a number of "what ifs"; for example, what if Port Stanley runway was extended? The Argentinians chose to fortify the island's ground defenses rather than improve its airfield. Would the option of using Mirages supersonically be a useful edge?


First, I don't think there is anything to be embarrassed about, if you don't have a true dynamic campaign, because nobody else does either, outside of the various flavors of Falcon 4 .

Second, I kinda doubt that this would be feasible in your initial release? Will it make into the final boxed release, or will it be part of some kind of future add-on?

Third, how much of these plans have been changed/modified now that you have a publisher? The focus has to be getting a product out there and getting some cash flow in the door -- that's just reality and nothing wrong with that.

Personally I am good with something like we see in DCS:A10 -- a mission generator and a campaign builder that allows for semi-dynamic campaigns, something with some room to grow and add-on later, but still enables users to generate additional content. I also like the idea of the campaign server for MP and/or maybe some kind of RTS or something running in the background (less enthusiastic here if it sucks up memory).

Please give us an update on where we are at on all this now that we have a publisher and a phase release strategy.

Ripcord






Posted By: Dante-JT

Re: A word about the missions and campaign? - 11/07/10 07:35 PM

Hi Ripcord!

Having the first release as the RAF Harrier Gr.3, their missions will follow closely the events on Jerry Pook's book. As you may know, it starts half way through the campaign timeline, at May 20, 1982, with the brits on the eve of getting the beach head at San Carlos. It will have a set of missions based on the descriptions (and maps) found in the book. Actually, our programmer scary_pigeon, through the book's editor got Jerry's contact (lets cross our fingers smile

For the second release with the argentinean side and the mainland bases, it will be similar, except it will start on May 1, 1982 with the "baptism of fire" of the argentinean airforce. Regarding the mission data, the argentinean air force has a lot of info, with correct schedules, loadouts, description of events and even waypoint coords for each of their missions.

For the third release, the full boxed release, we'll take a shot at a dynamic campaign like what scary_pigeon mentioned in his interview, and this is huge, costly and complicated, as you may know by the lack of such feature in any other sim outside of Falcon 4, and you're right too, the first two installments are meant to be getting a product out there and getting some cash flow so we can at least have a shot at the dynamic campaign.

Regarding the artistic license regarding a wider range of missions flown, we're pondering about the lack of air-to-air in RAF Harrier missions. Actually, they brought the Gr.3s into the theater to support the Sea Harriers in air combat, because of the numeric advantage of the argentinean air force, the war planners had foresee a huge attrition in the Sea Harrier's force. Those RAF pilots were trained in air-to-air and have fought mock battles against French Mirages and Super Etendard before being dropped in the South Atlantic. They had the AIM-9L too. Perhaps is not too much of an artistic license if some missions calls for supporting the SHARs in CAP duties, even if this didn't happened historically. Or, less of an artistic license, it could had happened, is a flight of RAF Harriers on a mud moving mission got into visual range with a flight of argentinean aircraft - by all accounts, even if both flights were in air-to-ground missions, they would jettison their stores and prepare to self-defense! So, I must mention Jane's F-15 historical campaign of Desert Storm/Iraq 1991: we were intercepted by Iraq MiG-29s half way through the campaign, even knowing that in the real events the Iraq Air Force was blasted out of the skies in the first nights of the conflict. Artistic license! Please give us your opinions on this interesting subject.

P.S.: they actually launched in an intercept mission on May 19 but were unsuccessful and returned to carrier. The first mission were they dropped ordnance with effects on targets was on May 20.
Posted By: ricnunes

Re: A word about the missions and campaign? - 11/07/10 11:34 PM

Since you're asking, here are my oppinions:

- It's a petty that you won't include the dynamic campaign in the inicial release. I disagree with Ripcord when he says that "dynamic campaigns are not that important" (not his exact words but that's what he meant - at least that's what I understood) since nowadays every modern combat flight sim only have static campaigns and that's IMO it's a bit frustrating - I miss the dynamic campaigns of "old-day" sims such as Falcon 4, EECH or Longbow 2. I would prefer much more that you delayed the release date of this first release in order to include the dynamic campaign (similary to what Ubisoft did with Silent Hunter 3 few years ago - a move that worked extremelly well, BTW).

- When you announced this Harrier Gr3 inicial release, I had the similar though as you - this would be a much more limited choise since the Harrier Gr3 ended up doing Air-to-Ground missions exclusively (and not Air-to-Air ones) and the Sea Harrier would be a much better choise BUT then I remebered all the A-10 similations that came up in the past and will come up in the future (DCS A-10) - These sims modeling the A-10 were as expected very limited in Air-to-Air combat content but nevertheless were between the most loved modern combat aircraft sims and aircraft modeled and this was IMO partly or even mainly done with the introduction of interesting Air-to-Ground missions (which often involved close air support of friendly troops).
Anyway, I always thought that the Harrier Gr3 back in the 80's was the RAF counterpart to the USAF A-10, even if the Harrier is lighter, less resistant, faster and somehow more agile and STOVL capable when compared to the A-10 even because the mission of both the A-10 and Harrier Gr3 centered around Close Air Support. So this means that a good idea is to look at missions of previous A-10 simulations (such as A-10 tank killer, A-10 Cuba, etc...) for inspiration.

- Regarding a possible dedicated Air-to-Air role/missions for the Harrier Gr3 in Jet Thunder, my oppinion is:
Avoid it! Well I guess there could ocasionally be one or two (top) Air-to-Air missions during the campaign but except for this you should avoid the Air-to-Air missions and the A-10 simulations prove that these type of missions aren't really that needed for a great combat flight sim. Anyway I know that there is always the need for the "rush of Air-to-Air combats" in any combat flight sim so IMO what should be done in Jet Thunder in order to satisfy this "appetite" is using a similar "formula" used in the A-10 sims which basically is - TARGETS OF OPPORTUNITY - In the case of Jet Thunder this could be done by introducing flights of argentinian aircraft such as Pucaras, or helicopters (Pumas, Hueys, Chinooks, Agusta A-109, etc...) or even faster fighter-type aircraft such as the A-4 nearby the player's mission objective areas (and some of this aircraft could be tasked to attack friendly ground/naval units) thus giving the player the decision wether or not to try to engage and kill some of those enemy aircraft as targets of opportunity (and thus saving some friendly ground/naval units in the "end of the day").
Posted By: Bumfluff

Re: A word about the missions and campaign? - 11/08/10 04:13 AM

g'day dante. really looking forward to this. it should be fantastic.

any chance of you posting a few more videos to give us a taste of how it will look.
Posted By: Dante-JT

Re: A word about the missions and campaign? - 11/08/10 04:46 AM

ricnunes: thanks for the input! It's very appreciated.

nick10: yes, it perhaps went under tha radar, but a few days ago our programmer scary_pigeon posted a video showing the AI succeed in landing a Sea Harrier on Hermes deck. This AI is really flying the Harrier in the V/STOL mode without fudges or magic forces pushing it here and there: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yng0_utGRiA
Posted By: Keithb77

Re: A word about the missions and campaign? - 11/08/10 08:36 AM

For me you are doing exactly the right thing by releasing the 1st component as soon as you can (so long as its debugged - though if you need a beta tester I would volunteer).
Personally I rarely have time for campaigns and suspect the only a small percentage of users actually do fly campaigns. attack
Historical missions very important, but the capability for 'what if' missions also very important.
Given that
a, Jerry Pook strongly supported the idea of RAF Harriers flying A2A (no surprise...)
b, The radar on the Sea Harriers was quite variable in performance
c, Many of the Sea Harrier interceptions were eyeballed from CAP or from GCI
there is lots of opportunity to provide A2A.

You haven't mentioned the mission editor ... I think it will be very important to have that capability in the first release to leverage the community enthusiasm to produce content.
Hopefully your mission files are ascii ... I've written a number of complex to simple mission editors in the past (see here ) copter
Cheers
Keith
Posted By: Bumfluff

Re: A word about the missions and campaign? - 11/08/10 09:07 AM

whoa. looks difficult. wouldn't want to be doing that when short of fuel.
Posted By: MoonJumper

Re: A word about the missions and campaign? - 11/08/10 02:19 PM

Historic missions are important, so that we can try to do "what they have done".
Dodging the intense AAA etc, getting weapons on target.
But I dont mind a 2nd option with lots of artistic licence , to keep things interesting in the long run.. which lets the player
fly the missions in his own style.
Thats includes air combat. ( maybe making it a option , probability of intercept or somehting )

Also, given the circumstances, I dont expect to much from the first part/release. ThunderWorks isnt a big company.
I think that the game will be really enjoyable/good only once its fully finished, with everything build and functional.
Posted By: ricnunes

Re: A word about the missions and campaign? - 11/08/10 03:57 PM

Originally Posted By: Keithb77
...suspect the only a small percentage of users actually do fly campaigns.


Well I completly disagree and if that really happens which I doubt the only reason is because of the boring nature of a static campaign - IMO, there's no point playing a static campaign (and nowadays every combat flight sim seems to have static campaigns only). IMO it's preferable to play single missions (specially of the sim support user made missions) instead of a static campaign since in single missions you can choose which mission you wish to fly (as opposed to a static campaign).
If you take a closer attention, the vast majority of people play older sims such as Falcon 4, EECH or Over Flanders Fields (even if this last one isn't "that old") because of their dynamic campaigns.

I also have enormous time contraints (for playing games) but IMO the time that requires to play ONE campaign mission is exactly the same or very similar as the time required to play ONE Single mission - The diference is that in a dynamic campaign a mission that you play will somehow affect the next one and this makes all the diference!
Posted By: Ripcord

Re: A word about the missions and campaign? - 11/09/10 01:02 AM


Some good answers, Dante, thanks for that.

So no campaign really in the initial releases, just historical missions, did I get that right? Or we might have a linear campaign?

Ripcord
Posted By: Dante-JT

Re: A word about the missions and campaign? - 11/09/10 05:05 AM

Ripcord: we might have a linear campaign.
Posted By: joey45

Re: A word about the missions and campaign? - 11/10/10 02:01 AM

Im all for it... Where do I sign up........
Posted By: Skoop

Re: A word about the missions and campaign? - 03/14/11 09:58 PM

Originally Posted By: Dante-JT
Ripcord: we might have a linear campaign.


You Guys are still gonna try to do a dynamic campaign for the 3rd and final release right ?

That could make or break the sim for alot of people on the fence about this one.

If you need inspiration for a dynamic campaign, check out Battle of Britain WOV. It's dynamic but believably historic as you play it out.
Posted By: Lemon

Re: A word about the missions and campaign? - 03/15/11 04:40 AM

Dante, I think everyone appreciates the difficulty of building a dynamic campaign. Very few sims have tried and fewer have done a great job. Still, of all the bullet point features that's the one I'm most excited about. Makes a world of difference and it's why I still play Falcon and EECH.

Best luck.
Posted By: RSColonel_131st

Re: A word about the missions and campaign? - 03/16/11 04:45 PM

I think many sims that try for the "dynamic campaign" simple set their sights to high, as for example trying to go Falcon 4.0

If you look at any of Thirdwire's titles you see a simple, actually quite basic campaign design, that gives the player everything he would have in a "real war". It really doesn't have to be much more than that to make a lot of people happy.
Posted By: toonces

Re: A word about the missions and campaign? - 03/20/11 01:41 PM

Well said Colonel.

The DC in Falcon 4.0 will always be the grail, but Third Wire does a "good enough" job with their version.

Why this hasn't become the industry standard by now I don't understand. It can't be that hard to program.
Posted By: RSColonel_131st

Re: A word about the missions and campaign? - 04/04/11 10:05 AM

I actually think TW should license and "code to adapt" for cash his engine to other simulators, to make it an industry standard. It seems simple enough to activate in any game that can track ground object damage and where the AI can do waypoints, not more required than that. All it would need is to map the "ground nodes" that define the vehicle/frontline movement, supply depots and such, and to adapt the mission format to the game specific syntax. But it really does not seem to need any advanced TW specific AI features or such...
Posted By: Johan217

Re: A word about the missions and campaign? - 04/04/11 06:55 PM

Originally Posted By: RSColonel_131st
I think many sims that try for the "dynamic campaign" simple set their sights to high, as for example trying to go Falcon 4.0

If you look at any of Thirdwire's titles you see a simple, actually quite basic campaign design, that gives the player everything he would have in a "real war". It really doesn't have to be much more than that to make a lot of people happy.
I would be happy if this sim came with a campaign like the TW sims. Having done a bit of modding, I know they may seem pretty basic at first look, but they actually deliver all that is needed: a persistent world, supply and morale tracking for overall forces as well as individual units, strategic priorities and squadron/unit management. Using the right campaign parameters, it is perfectly possible to the actual historical flow of the battle. I'm sure that if this system was presented through a niftier UI (like a more detailed and clickable map), many people would call it hardcore smile

That said, I'm afraid I belong to the "no dynamic campaign, no interest" group. I have tried hard to get into sims such as Lock On, DCS or Kharkov 42... but as much as I appreciate the accurate physics etc, it all feels too restrictive for me.
Posted By: ricnunes

Re: A word about the missions and campaign? - 04/05/11 02:01 PM

Originally Posted By: Johan217
That said, I'm afraid I belong to the "no dynamic campaign, no interest" group. I have tried hard to get into sims such as Lock On, DCS or Kharkov 42... but as much as I appreciate the accurate physics etc, it all feels too restrictive for me.


That's exactly my oppinion!

My sugestion is: if this sim (Jet Thunder) is to be released in "modules" or "betas" (which it will, according to all the info that we have), please don't spend ANY time with linear campaigns. Just work on the dynamic campaign and release a few single missions for the inicial "modules" or "betas". This is my oppinion as a potential customer (I'm only interested and will only buy sims that have or will have dynamic campaign - or similar random generated campaigns such as Strike Fighters).
Posted By: Scott Elson

Re: A word about the missions and campaign? - 04/05/11 06:50 PM

Particularly if they're going to be releasing this in modules then I think that trying to do a Dynamic Campaign (DC) at the beginning is asking for a lot of headaches and potentially could kill the project. Here's what I had to say about DCs in regards to DCS:A-10C:

http://simhq.com/forum/ubbthreads.php/topics/3237970/Re_Interview_with_F4s_campaign.html#Post3237970

Now they had some external influences that might be impacting them that these guys don't but I think most of it is still valid.

I understand why you want a dynamic campaign but have you really thought about what it takes to do one and the financial and time constraints these guys could be under? They've already said, "the first two installments are meant to be getting a product out there and getting some cash flow so we can at least have a shot at the dynamic campaign". It sounds like if they feel if they went for the DC to start with they wouldn't be around long enough to get the game out. Even if they did my guess would be that it would be rushed which isn't going to give a first impression and could kill things right there. Of course if you don't want to support these guys if they don't have a dynamic campaign in their initial release that it is your choice. Too bad if the people who do buy it really enjoy it but there aren't enough sales to justify them going forward.

Elf
Posted By: Johan217

Re: A word about the missions and campaign? - 04/06/11 03:04 PM

Originally Posted By: Scott Elson
Of course if you don't want to support these guys if they don't have a dynamic campaign in their initial release that it is your choice.

Hey I never said that cheers I understand that you cannot have a good campaign when a considerable part of the game is not there. I am just concerned that it will be very hard to keep people interested for long enough. I hope I am wrong... after all RoF is doing pretty well nowadays.

Just as RSColonel_131st and others pointed out above, a campaign of Falcon 4.0/EECH/Mig Alley proportions is probably putting the bar too high. I think many people would be perfectly satisfied with a campaign system that is comparable to the TW sims or Lowengrin's DCG for IL-2. Of course I am no programmer, but I guess a system like this should be much less hard/time consuming to develop.
Posted By: Scott Elson

Re: A word about the missions and campaign? - 04/06/11 03:29 PM

Originally Posted By: Johan217

Hey I never said that


My apologies for misunderstanding but this seemed to indicate otherwise.

Originally Posted By: Johan217

That said, I'm afraid I belong to the "no dynamic campaign, no interest" group.


Elf
Posted By: Johan217

Re: A word about the missions and campaign? - 04/06/11 08:28 PM

I'll rephrase then: "no dynamic campaign, no lasting interest". I am certainly looking forward to Jet Thunder and I'll gladly buy it at first release. But without a campaign mode that appeals to me, I am afraid I will lose interest quickly and I am afraid that others will too.

I meant that I would much rather see a "ThirdWire-like" campaign in the forseeable future than the promise of a "Falcon-like" campaign two years down the road. I believe such a campaign system would be sufficient to please most of the "I want a dynamic campaign mob", of which I count myself a member cool
Posted By: Scott Elson

Re: A word about the missions and campaign? - 04/07/11 02:59 PM

OK, I can appreciate that. Unfortunately over the years I've seen a number of people who not only wouldn't buy a game if it didn't have some particular feature, no matter how good the game might be, but sometimes would actively go out of their way to try and convince others not to buy it either (definitely not implying that you were trying to do that). What you just wrote does a good job explaining your concerns but lets others that might be considering the game and the developers know that you're still interested in it.

Elf
Posted By: Johan217

Re: A word about the missions and campaign? - 04/07/11 06:20 PM

Originally Posted By: Dante-JT

Regarding the artistic license regarding a wider range of missions flown, we're pondering about the lack of air-to-air in RAF Harrier missions.
I'm all for artistic license and all sorts of what-ifs. I wouldn't mind seeing these incorporated into the historical missions themselves, for example have a certain % chance of enemies scrambling. Or even non-essential events, e.g. one time you'll see a Chinook take off from your base, and next time you play the mission it's a Sea King. Sounds trivial, I know, but sometimes such details can make a sim come alive.
Posted By: Johan217

Re: A word about the missions and campaign? - 04/11/11 09:41 AM

I just had a look at the IL2COD campaign and I believe this can serve as an important lesson - how not to do it. I used to think Flanker 2's campaigns were lacklustre, but this one really blows everything.

I figured I would throw my 2 cents in here because I would hate to see Jet Thunder getting sabred down for making the same mistakes.

- Background story: Just stick to the historical background and keep it to a minimum. Do not throw in any romanticising elements ("my wingman was shot down" etc) unless they are actually reflected in the game itself.
- Mission (de)briefings: A crucial part of any sim. Do not clutter the mission briefing with descriptive text. State clearly the target, waypoint info, etc. It's midnboggling how often this is overlooked.
- Objectives/Difficulty: This is debatable. Personally I hate it when I cannot advance to the next mission because I failed to destroy one particular vehicle in a convoy (this happened in Flanker2 for example). Also, sometimes a mission may be simply beyond my capabilities. A way to avoid this is to make the skill level of the enemies that appear in the misson scaleable with the selected difficulty level.
- "RPG elements": not essential, but I guess most people like to be able to at least name their pilot, and see the names of their AI squadron mates.
- Air starts: I've never heard of anyone who likes them biggrin

Playing IL2COD made me realise that sometimes you're better off with no campaign at all than with a badly designed campaign. I don't know if Jet Thunder will include a mission builder or Quick Mission generator? If it does, then a set of single missions (historical or otherwise) may be sufficient to keep people busy for long enough while the next installments are being developed... hopefully with a dynamic campaign somewhere along the route wink
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