Red Pill Screenshots #2

January 15, 2010 · Posted in Command 

Two more screenshots from the Red Pill project are now available, each showcasing different aspects of this air/naval wargame (click pics for full-size view):


Here we see how a single A. Burke-class destroyer positioned in the Arabian Sea is able to threaten a wide range of Iranian targets with its Tomahawk cruise missiles (dark red range ring). The map view is deliberately zoomed out to display the globe.

Early on in the beginning of development, it was decided to use a Google Earth-style, virtual globe interface for the Red Pill. According to the developers it was a difficult technical choice, but a worthwhile one because it solves several longstanding issues present in other similar wargames:

* No map distortions (squatted range rings etc.) at all, since the view is “natural”: the player observes the theater from an overhead satellite-like viewpoint.

* It is possible to have truly global-scale scenarios without any map restrictions. For example, in the above picture there is concurrently a carrier battlegroup transiting the entire Pacific ocean, hidden of course from view.

* Scenario authors can easily create polar-centric scenarios. The North Pole area in particular is essential for any serious Cold War Gone Nuclear scenario (think “WarGames”), and the gradual opening of sea lanes in the Arctic is already making this area one of the strategically “hottest” places in the forthcoming decades.

In addition, the virtual globe interface supports an arbitrary number of map layers (shown here is NASA’s Blue Marble) for things like land elevation, water depth, weather data etc. so that players and scenario authors alike can customize their map preferences to the situation at hand. Moreover, additional custom images can be overlaid on any portion of the map for extra fidelity if required.


Here an F-15E Strike Eagle gets down and dirty, following a low-altitude terrain-masking course around the Zagros mountains in the Iranian coast en route to attack a SA-2 site. Here we are using the terrain-relief map layer in order to clearly depict terrain elevations and exploit them for planning the penetration ingress.

By default, the Red Pill uses terrain & bathymetry data of vastly higher detail than any previous similar wargames. Furthermore, the effects of terrain are significantly more influential in everything from unit navigation to physics to weapon & sensor functions to AI etc.

For example, sensors are affected not only by line-of-sight (which is again far more detailed than any past implementation) but also by the different clutter coefficients of the land & sea environment. Trying to pick out a surface target upon a calm sea is one thing; detecting the very same target amidst stormy waves is tougher, and overland detection is another ball game altogether. In another example, line-of-sight blockage can not only prevent broad search detection but also ruin an ongoing engagement; the real-world tactic of detecting an incoming SAM and ducking behind a ridge to break lock is perfectly doable in RP.

The Red Pill’s terrain can be your best ally if you use it wisely – or your worst enemy if you don’t.


One Response to “Red Pill Screenshots #2”

  1. rkoelbach on January 15th, 2010 1:24 pm

    This looks awesome!

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