Tigershark

Campaigns and objectives

27 posts in this topic

To be brief, everyone knows how badly balanced Highland is, due to the unrealistic 60% damage target, which is impossible to reach without exploits, cheating or both. While the campaigns have clearly been playtested, they were probably done too early and subsequent changes to the game (adding more assets?) put the balance out of whack.

What's more, this problem is very easily corrected by editing taw1.tcs and changing it to a sane 30%, or to a further lower value with a decrease in the allotted time in taw1.cdl to reduce the number of repetitive bombing runs (since the previous objective requires you to decimate enemy airforce).

It got me thinking - what about going over all stock campaigns and applying fixes and improvements to better balance difficulty and intensity. It can be an easy package to install/uninstall completely or separately, and could range in usefulness from just sparing players some disappointments up to actually making all/most stock campaigns interesting.

I don't recall every campaign in enough detail and didn't finish all of them, besides it's not like I have the most experience. So it would help a lot if everyone could try and recall anything in campaigns, related to objectives, that seemed either too hard, too easy, or too boring to achieve, and how you think it can be improved.

Of course everyone will have their preferences (more time with tougher goals for AWACS play and long missions, or lower goals with far less time for a more hardcore experience), but we can still work out things that should clearly be changed. It doesn't have to be objective, just give me an idea.

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I completely agree, Tigershark. This is something I have wanted to do for a while. The edits are easy, it's the playtesting and balancing that is difficult because you need to actually finish the campaign on multiple difficulties in order to properly test it (or at least pull off a reasonable success on Medium). Unfortunately, I can't really give you the information you seek regarding existing campaigns. When I was doing them, I was looking for different things, and with the scope of what I've worked on it has all become a mess inside my head.

There's an easy way to do this if you want to take the initiative (I just don't have the time to playtest all of them). In the pulldown menu, you will see a "Campaign" menu. It is likely greyed out, as opposed to the following screenshot which have some dummy campaigns to test the system.

tawmenu2218screenshot.jpg

To activate this, just create a folder in your MODS folder that starts with ~CMP- (e.g. ~CMP-Tigershark Campaigns), then replicate the existing cdl folder within this new folder. Now you can make adjustments to the campaign from within the new mod folder, activate it via the pulldown menu, and test it.

When you make a change in your new mod folder, just revert to your original campaigns, then re-enable your mod campaign to test the change. Just be aware that you will likely need to start a new campaign in order to see the changes, as the saved campaign file will keep the values from the previous campaign version.

One thing to be careful of, though: be sure to make edits to your mods folder and not the actual TAW cdl folder. If the campaign mod isn't active, you overwrite your original files. If the campaign mod is active, then when you revert to your default campaigns you lose all of your changes.

Post any changes to the cdl/tcs files, and I will gladly incorporate them into the next patch.

Hope this helps,

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What's more, this problem is very easily corrected by editing taw1.tcs and changing it to a sane 30%, or to a further lower value with a decrease in the allotted time in taw1.cdl to reduce the number of repetitive bombing runs (since the previous objective requires you to decimate enemy airforce).

In an effort to get me back into a TAW2.0 junky ;) , is it sufficient to create a new "~CMP-Wombat Campaigns folder", copy the TAW cdl folder to the same folder and make a one and only edit to the taw1.tcs by changing it to say 30%? i.e. Leave the taw1.cdl file unchanged.

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I think there's a bug in the launcher. It will install custom campaigns, but will not revert them to default. Disabling the mod in GME works, so do multiple sets of campaigns, it's just the button that does nothing.

It's nice though to have this function in the launcher. Since it works off GME, it means that one can customize multiple aspects while retaining the option of switching back.

I was also thinking about:

1) Reducing the number of targets. Not actual, but what you have on your list to destroy. Doesn't seem like it's doable, however, at least not directly.

2) Spreading target value. Currently a tent is worth 5 points and a HQ is worth 8 or 10 - that's not a matter of taste, it's just silly.

By making changes like tents worth 1 and HQs and bunkers worth 15-30, the player would have strong incentive to go after high value targets.

It may be even possible to tweak it to demand very high damage percentage while keeping smaller campaigns doable with just a dozen good precision strikes.

Any opinions on the above, or suggestions on what else can be edited?

Not really thinking about balance of power tweaks, since that depends on personal taste and I'm not even sure in which direction to take it, More friendlies so you can have 4x4 F-22 flights, but more advanced hostiles, or rather fewer friendly F-22s. On the technical side, does adding ground units and ships through bop.txt work correctly?

In an effort to get me back into a TAW2.0 junky ;) , is it sufficient to create a new "~CMP-Wombat Campaigns folder", copy the TAW cdl folder to the same folder and make a one and only edit to the taw1.tcs by changing it to say 30%? i.e. Leave the taw1.cdl file unchanged.

You could even just put cdl folder with one file taw1.tcs there, it will only replace that file.

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I think there's a bug in the launcher. It will install custom campaigns, but will not revert them to default. Disabling the mod in GME works, so do multiple sets of campaigns, it's just the button that does nothing.

No bug, Tigershark. I just forgot to provide one important detail.

In your ~CMP- folder, create a text file called cmp.jsgme, then in that file give a description of your campaign (e.g. Rebalanced campaign missions, or even something much more descriptive). The launcher looks for this file when de-activating custom campaigns, and you also get this description in a help pop-up when you hover your cursor over the name of the activated campaign set.

Wombat, if you're getting back into the fold, providing us with datapoints such as what threshold level you achieve when the time for each stage is up, or how many hours into the stage when you accomplished your goal, is also great feedback for rebalancing as a whole.

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I was also thinking about:

1) Reducing the number of targets. Not actual, but what you have on your list to destroy. Doesn't seem like it's doable, however, at least not directly.

2) Spreading target value. Currently a tent is worth 5 points and a HQ is worth 8 or 10 - that's not a matter of taste, it's just silly.

By making changes like tents worth 1 and HQs and bunkers worth 15-30, the player would have strong incentive to go after high value targets.

It may be even possible to tweak it to demand very high damage percentage while keeping smaller campaigns doable with just a dozen good precision strikes.

Any opinions on the above, or suggestions on what else can be edited?

I'm not sure about reducing the number of targets, but my guess is that skewing the point values like you suggest would shift the priority of targets so that the HQs would be the higher priorities and would also contribute more to achieving the damage threshold. I don't know for sure, though, since I haven't messed with it.

What you are talking about doing is modifying global campaign datafiles, which is specifically why I created the separate campaign option for TAW 2.0 (otherwise you could just add your campaign to the existing list). You would need to put the f22data folder and the applicable files in your ~CMP- folder to make this work.

As far as adjusting the Order of Battle, I've tried to do this by adding/changing ground units and reducing air threats, which incentivizes stealth. However, I wasn't able to get the ground units to really change.

Here are some excerpts from a PM in which I was discussing this very thing. Perhaps you might be able to see what I could not.

I tried putting together the original + 3 campaigns in a package that uses a custom order of battle. Basically, I made the following edits for indigenous (i.e. not NATO, Russia, China) Red Sea nations (Saudi and Egypt excepted):

  • Reduced all tactical (and some recon/logistical) aircraft by a factor or 3
  • Increased all air defense by a factor of 4 (closer to 5 for older SAMS and AAA, closer to 2-3 for higher end SAMS like the SA-11/SA-17)

Then I created a custom scenario.txt file which points to missions "him1" to "him13" instead of "taw1" to "taw13" (HIM is for Heavy IADS Mod). The campaign briefing is still pointed to taw1 to taw13, as there was no need to change those (and I wanted to see if it would work; it did). Likewise, in each of the himxx.cdl files, the script pointed to the original tawxx.tcs files (since there was no need to change the strategies at this point). Also of note, the campaigns saved as him1.sav/mdl/udl, which is a good thing, as it lets us have individual saves for even the same campaigns using different OOBs (as long as they are titled differently).

The campaigns loaded and ran just fine, except I couldn't see any appreciable difference in IADS employment (haven't tested air forces; may leave that for later). I chose Highland first because it features two indigenous nations. I took some comparative screenshots (below):

Operation: Highland as seen with the original TAW OOB (top) and with the HIM OOB (bottom):

gallery_1267_8_207912.jpg

gallery_1267_8_122180.jpg

Not seeing anything appreciably different, I went to Strike Force, which also features two indigenous nations, but taking up a smaller area (so I could zoom for higher resolution).

Operation: Strike Force as seen with the original TAW OOB (top) and with the HIM OOB (bottom):

gallery_1267_8_55081.jpg

gallery_1267_8_205145.jpg

Finally, I zoomed in on Djibouti (the smallest nation) just to be sure. After all, if I can't see a difference with Djibouti, then something must be up.

Operation: Strike Force (Djibouti) as seen with the original TAW OOB (top) and with the HIM OOB (bottom):

gallery_1267_8_172434.jpg

gallery_1267_8_200757.jpg

Here it looks like two SAMs were swapped between campaigns, but no appreciable difference in cover or overlap.

Conclusion:

I must be missing something. deploypt.txt appears to be for air assets, so how are IADS assets deployed. I figured ihat TAW used an algorithm and distributed the numbers it had in the areas it prioritized, making for denser coverage at high value areas and chokepoints.

and

For further review, I looked at the UDL files generated by each campaign. It appears that the numbers of deployed assets are the same, but the types of deployed assets follow the updated bop.txt. For example, here are the UDLs from the two Strike Force campaigns. For purposes of this discussion, I will focus on Djibouti for it's small size and OOB. On the left is the original campaign, with the HIM campaign on the right.

gallery_1267_10_305534.jpg

As you can see, the original campaign has gone through its OOB, while the HIM campaign is still working on its Roland and Vulcan assets, and is cut off beofre it even places Crotales.

Here is a comparison of the appropriate part of the bop.txt for reference. Again, original on the left, HIM on the right.

gallery_1267_10_32848.jpg

More datapoints for the problem.

Please digest at your leisure. This has been on the burner for quite some time.

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I hope the looong post above doesn't discourage others from participating...

You would need to put the f22data folder and the applicable files in your ~CMP- folder to make this work.

Yeah, that's the plan. I don't intend to turn the original upside down (so no 4x SAM coverage - it spoils AWACS play), just make less prominent changes.

So, the conclusion I see from that PM: Adding more things via BOP = no.

What about then, upgrading the existing SAM? Which ones are the least dangerous (except Shilkas, need some) - replace these with the most dangerous ones (SA-17?)

As for aircraft, I was thinking about reducing the number of F-22 while increasing the number of JSF, and generally advanced aircraft across the board, so that it's more feasible to build up stealth missions and less feasible to get "terminator" ones. Although this goes a bit beyond the scope.

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I hope the looong post above doesn't discourage others from participating...

Well .... not for me anyway. Although I'm in for beta testing and not tweaking. Maybe you can upload when you've successfully tweaked for downloading and testing?

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I hope the looong post above doesn't discourage others from participating...

I dunno; I figured the pretty pictures would attract people. :P

Worked for Wombat, anyway... :lol:

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What makes SAMs dangerous isn't the type, yes some of them have longer range but they pose the same threat regardless.

The way you up the SAM threat level is numbers, winging it over Yemen in some of the later campaigns will tell you why, you will be painted by at least 10 SAMs at the same time and they all open up on you.

In short, you are dodging missiles non stop, and getting in to a target unstealthy, heck even stealthy is hard if not impossible when you got the SU-37s, SAMs, Radars and other MiG's patrolling as close and tight as they do over Yemen.

If they needed a rebalance it would be a nerf, but I have to admit, I do like their threat level, it makes that country unique to fight, sort of like a Yemenese trademark.

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What makes SAMs dangerous isn't the type, yes some of them have longer range but they pose the same threat regardless.

The way you up the SAM threat level is numbers, winging it over Yemen in some of the later campaigns will tell you why, you will be painted by at least 10 SAMs at the same time and they all open up on you.

I have to respectfully disagree. Played against Yemen, SAMs were only a big problem for AI flights.

If you have 10 SA-6, they won't all open up on you at once - they don't have the range. If you have 10 SA-17, they can be spaced well apart and still all take a shot at you. It's that simple.

Plus, SA-6 are a child's play to take out. It's risk-free, you come in high, drop a missile, they never even lock you up. SA-11, you may need to do a little evading. SA-17, now you understand what stealth is for, and actually have reasons to do some SEAD.

Realistically it should be way worse than it is even over Yemen. In-game missiles require direct hits, RL they have proximity fuses with large kill radius. The game only includes short-medium range defenses, in reality you'd have SA-20s firing at you from 100 miles out. In-game you can gun them down, in reality you don't have a thousand rounds and large SAM would all be covered by gun-missile systems up close. All of that should be there, countries that can buy top of the line planes also can and do buy advanced air defenses.

The only thing the game doesn't make easier for you is launch time, older SAM especially can take minutes from alert/detection to launch, but then again you'd need stealth to take advantage of that. Your launch time would be longer as well, though, LANTIRN (if F-22 had it) won't pick targets automatically, you need to look over the site, find an important vehicle and lase it manually like when attacking buildings. Which again isn't something you could do while evading both medium-range missiles from the battery you're attacking and long-range missiles from theater air defense.

Now back to why the game is the way it is - TAW is still primarily an air-to-air game-sim, so focus was placed on that aspect of combat, although campaigns intended that you play as a multirole. In practice, since the AI is too incompetent at ground attack to rely on it to meet any damage target, you still have to do most everything yourself. A shift towards fewer key targets and still too few but more dangerous ground threats will at least let you focus on objectives that would be worth sending the limited inventory of F-22s after.

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I have to respectfully disagree. Played against Yemen, SAMs were only a big problem for AI flights.

If you have 10 SA-6, they won't all open up on you at once - they don't have the range. If you have 10 SA-17, they can be spaced well apart and still all take a shot at you. It's that simple.

Plus, SA-6 are a child's play to take out. It's risk-free, you come in high, drop a missile, they never even lock you up. SA-11, you may need to do a little evading. SA-17, now you understand what stealth is for, and actually have reasons to do some SEAD.

Realistically it should be way worse than it is even over Yemen. In-game missiles require direct hits, RL they have proximity fuses with large kill radius. The game only includes short-medium range defenses, in reality you'd have SA-20s firing at you from 100 miles out. In-game you can gun them down, in reality you don't have a thousand rounds and large SAM would all be covered by gun-missile systems up close. All of that should be there, countries that can buy top of the line planes also can and do buy advanced air defenses.

The only thing the game doesn't make easier for you is launch time, older SAM especially can take minutes from alert/detection to launch, but then again you'd need stealth to take advantage of that. Your launch time would be longer as well, though, LANTIRN (if F-22 had it) won't pick targets automatically, you need to look over the site, find an important vehicle and lase it manually like when attacking buildings. Which again isn't something you could do while evading both medium-range missiles from the battery you're attacking and long-range missiles from theater air defense.

Now back to why the game is the way it is - TAW is still primarily an air-to-air game-sim, so focus was placed on that aspect of combat, although campaigns intended that you play as a multirole. In practice, since the AI is too incompetent at ground attack to rely on it to meet any damage target, you still have to do most everything yourself. A shift towards fewer key targets and still too few but more dangerous ground threats will at least let you focus on objectives that would be worth sending the limited inventory of F-22s after.

Very informative post. Thanks. :thumbsup:

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All I can tell you Tigershark is the observations I have made when I came in on the east coast of Yemen.

I had visual on 2-3 enemy airfields, both covered in SAMs and AA, and yes I got lit up by 10 SAMs and nearly depleted my chaff load getting the hell out of there.

Yemen is the worst place, but reading the campaign material in the manual, Yemen is supposed to be as rich as the Saudi's, but their country representation on the map is cut in half, thus they have less space to put their SAMs on than the Saudis.

A common tactic I use is going in with Mavericks to thin out their SAMs, as SAMs seems to be one shots, meaning once they have spawned upon game start, they do not come back if destroyed.

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No bug, Tigershark. I just forgot to provide one important detail.

In your ~CMP- folder, create a text file called cmp.jsgme, then in that file give a description of your campaign (e.g. Rebalanced campaign missions, or even something much more descriptive). The launcher looks for this file when de-activating custom campaigns, and you also get this description in a help pop-up when you hover your cursor over the name of the activated campaign set.

It doesn't for me. :huh:

wc2.jpg

I just want to be sure I'm working on Wombat's Campaigns. Pity that we can't change the "Campaign Selection" title in the sim's Main Menu to "Wombat's Campaigns". :huh:

Maybe change it in each campaign briefing? :icon_rock:

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Here's the first snapshot, Somalia campaign:

http://www.mediafire...h6i00z2lpiefcgw

Tried out a couple missions on all three difficulties. Gets a bit tricky on Hard, but upgrading the SAMs is no help on Easy, they still never hit, Medium is in between. Should be good for one's usual level (normally this is a very easy campaign).

Very little SAM coverage overlap, actually, but decent overall coverage. If it's still too easy, that's only halfway to possible upgrade extent.

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Being able to up the difficulty level in a campaign is great. It's difficult to run anything above easy on default campaigns because the air threat is too large and they dodge missiles too easily. A reduced air threat with more capable opponents is a nice step forward.

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It doesn't for me. :huh:

gallery_1267_7_31921.jpg

Hover your cursor over the circled area.

I just want to be sure I'm working on Wombat's Campaigns. Pity that we can't change the "Campaign Selection" title in the sim's Main Menu to "Wombat's Campaigns". :huh:

Maybe change it in each campaign briefing? :icon_rock:

There might be a way to do this in the gdd menu files, but I haven't found it. I think "Campaign Selection" is hard-coded.

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Being able to up the difficulty level in a campaign is great. It's difficult to run anything above easy on default campaigns because the air threat is too large and they dodge missiles too easily. A reduced air threat with more capable opponents is a nice step forward.

Well, it's not much reduced, only cutting down on swarming (fewer midrange planes). I've always played on Medium before, it's just that the Strike Force campaign is easy itself to begin with. Though I've never even started Sea Breeze and Port of Call yet, so I guess my experience on that is skewed, I can see how one has to switch down there.

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gallery_1267_7_31921.jpg

Hover your cursor over the circled area.

:thumbsup:

There might be a way to do this in the gdd menu files, but I haven't found it. I think "Campaign Selection" is hard-coded.

No problems. I now think the "Wombat Campaigns" plus the 'hover over cursor check' is sufficient for any nervous tweaker. ;)

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Here's the first snapshot, Somalia campaign:

http://www.mediafire...h6i00z2lpiefcgw

Tried out a couple missions on all three difficulties. Gets a bit tricky on Hard, but upgrading the SAMs is no help on Easy, they still never hit, Medium is in between. Should be good for one's usual level (normally this is a very easy campaign).

Very little SAM coverage overlap, actually, but decent overall coverage. If it's still too easy, that's only halfway to possible upgrade extent.

:jawdrop: Gees, your way ahead of me! However, I assume I can download this Campaign, add it to "my" Campaigns and test it?

Which is what I wanted to do anyway.

Have to be at easy (very) level for me to start with. :P

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No problems. I now think the "Wombat Campaigns" plus the 'hover over cursor check' is sufficient for almost any nervous tweaker. ;)

FIFY ;)

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nobriefing.jpg

Question

1. In which folder is the above "active" file briefing kept ?

2. How do I de-activate this campaign to show the original briefing, taw3.txt ?

Thanks

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1. In which folder is the above "active" file briefing kept ?

2. How do I de-activate this campaign to show the original briefing, taw3.txt ?

I didn't actually touch the briefing at all. The game doesn't display the briefing in the main window for any campaign once it's started.

You can still read the briefing after clicking "Continue" to enter the campaign and pressing the "Briefing" button, second from top on the left.

( P.S. Though my campaign should show 18 hours left, so it's either not fully installed or you're not running it. )

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Thanks Tiger. You've worked out what I am trying to do, :lol: . I actually wanted to edit the briefing and make the revised briefing "Operation Strike Force by Tigershark" and then load the folder as a MOD using GME. I just couldn't bring up the original briefing after activating. Irrespective, I cant find the "active" briefing file (its details) anywhere ..... :huh:

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The saved campaigns are located in your pilot save folder (e.g. players\#)

tawsavegamelocation.jpg

You'll notice in the folder the existence of taw1.sav, taw1.mdl, and taw1.udl. These are the saved campaign files for Operation Highland.

This also brings up another point: if you are doing custom campaigns that substitute the originals (i.e. using the campaign manager in the launcher, as opposed to adding one to the list of original campaigns), it is good practice to adjust your naming convention. For example, if you are doing Strike Force, in "Wombat's Campaigns", you may want to rename it "wom3" instead of "taw3", and update your scenario.txt and briefing file accordingly. The reason for this is that TAW will save your campaign as wom3.udl/mdl/sav. This way, if you save your custom campaign in progress, then revert to the default campaigns, you won't be mixing and matching your savegames. Equally important, starting a new default campaign won't overwrite your custom campaign in progress.

Finally, don't forget about the information in this article.

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