Command September 2011 update – Part I

September 15, 2011 · Posted in Command 

imageIt has been a busy summer for the Command development team, in small and big things alike. Now that school is in, it is time to review the numerous aspects of progress made on the sim over the summer months. This first part lists improvements in underwater warfare, general game mechanics & user interface.

Underwater warfare

Submarine and ASW ops were the least developed section of Command until recently, but that is rapidly changing.

* Straight-running torpedoes were implemented, and they work very well – in fact you have to use them carefully or risk hitting civilians or neutrals (they are equal opportunity keel-breakers!). Throwing a salvo of these against a concentrated convoy is very interesting to watch.

* We already presented mines; a few improvements since that time is that now the scen author is presented with more information when placing existing minefields, and CAPTOR mines have been implemented.

* A “Mk1” sonar model (both active & passive) has been implemented; despite its fundamental simplicity it works better than anticipated and will easily hold its own until the vastly more complex Mk2 model (currently under development) is added to the codebase.

* ASROC and similar standoff ASW weapons were implemented. The SS-N-14 with its dual-mode operation (ASuW & ASW) was particularly tricky to model correctly, but it works fine.

* The thermocline layer and its effects have been implemented. Contrary to legacy sims that feature a layer of constant depth, thickness and strength, Command dynamically calculates the layer’s properties based in geographical position, local depth, and even the local time of day and climate temperature. Both surface ships and submarines can use the layer to search for enemy forces while masking their own presence.

* The deep sound channel and its effects have been implemented. The DSC is located just under the thermocline and offers a conduit for very long-range sonar detections (this is what SOSUS exploits). Units with towed arrays and/or VDS sonar can stay above the layer while hanging their sensors on the DSC and monitoring the below-layer area.


General game mechanics

* Forbidden zones were added to the scenario editor. Using this feature allows the scenario author to define areas whose violation automatically marks an intruder as unfriendly or hostile. Additionally, standing intercept missions can be configured to launch only against hostile or unfriendly contacts, instead of triggering against any new contact. This combination allows for quite realistic violation/intrusion-interception setups.

* There is something related to scenario editing that we are currently working on which is really big, but not quite there yet. Suffice to say that TOAW-regulars will be really pleased.

User interface

* The ORBAT windows are now much more useful; click-selecting a unit on the ORBAT list will center upon the unit on the map and auto-select it if possible. Listings by task/mission are also available.


* Allied and friendly (but not own-side) units are now displayed with “A” and “F” letters under their symbols respectively. This makes it much clearer which units are friendly to the player’s side but not under the player’s control.


* Massive performance improvements to map rendering under heavy load. Having tens of thousands of visible units on the map no longer slows down UI operations.

* Quick-selection checkboxes have been added on the unit-sensors window. So while you still can manually control every single sensor on a platform, lighting up all 112 radars on the Kirov is now a one-click job.


* The “Contact Report” window now includes a list of the detected emissions from this unit, and can perform a filtering of possible matches based on these emissions. The more emissions you are able to detect from a contact and the more unique they are, the more precise the filtering will be.


The second part of this update will focus on air ops, tactical AI, sensor modeling & weapon modeling.


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