After a couple of BLOG posts that explain how we are modelling WW2, simulating that model and how this is possible in the first place, it is time to talk a bit about Military Operations: The Game.
In this BLOG we pay more attention to the game side of MilOps. Keep in mind that the game is in development, so things may still change before release. Any visuals and UI shown in the images below are also prone to change.
From the first time we discussed the possibility of a global war simulation, we envisioned it as a growing platform. That is what we want MilOps to be, an expanding platform for global warfare. The Metis engine is particularly suitable for this approach. One environment that potentially contains all WW2 battles.
It is all good and well that Metis supports this, but that doesn’t mean it would be possible for a small team to do all of the work for a single release. It is easy to get exited about the possibilities but important to introduce regular reality checks. So we will take it step by step.
Feature list for step one on the roadmap:
- A large, detailed and accurate environment
- Realistic WW2 warfare
- 50K troops, 10K units for an emergent flow in battle
- An accurate Order Of Battle (OOB)
- Accessible UI, draw orders on the terrain
- Reconnoitre & Fog Of War
- Supply management
- Fire support
- Lines of communication
- Change the OOB to create custom battle groups
- Comprehensive tutorial based on an accurately recreated historical battle
- Battle generator
- Modding support
Feature lists are nice but depend on interpretation. How do we intend to have all of this featured in the game?
Detailed and accurate environment
We take this quite literally: A 1:1 scale spherical terrain covered by real elevation data and land-use descriptions.
Every spot on the globe has unique and accurate data, augmented with procedural detail for fidelity.
Realistic WW2 warfare
Several previous BLOG entries cover this topic. In short, MilOps is developed from a simulation point of view.
That simply means that when ever we design/model behaviours or systems, reality and history takes the lead. We ask the question: “How did this actually go back then?”
This requires a lot of researching what happens to be something we think is fun to do.
50K troops, 10K units
This previous BLOG explains how we can have these huge unit counts. If we wouldn’t have to support lower spec systems, these numbers could have been doubled already.
The Metis engine is build to be scalable. When GPUs get faster, Metis immediately benefits.
This translates into even bigger unit counts and battle areas. The UI is designed to be scalable as well. What use would a 100000 troops be if you have to order each and every one of them manually?
This is a good example of using lessons from reality when solving modelling problems. Most RTS games apply the rubber-banding mechanic. It doesn’t need explaining that this has major disadvantages.
So how did they work together and manage to accomplish anything at all, in these extreme conditions? The answer, “A Chain Of Command”!
The hierarchy is the backbone of the command-structure in MilOps.
Draw orders on the terrain
WW2 mobile warfare was all about movement.
Back then, when command devised battle plans, they drew movement of units on maps. They must have been on to something there 😉
Combined with the hierarchy this becomes a powerful yet intuitive way of ordering units.
Gathering intel and reconnoitring the environment was an important part of the cycle: recon, devising plans, executing orders.
If you stop looking around, someone may surprise you.
MilOps is all about the battle. The player is not building, training or researching anything.
That doesn’t mean there is no management involved. Keeping your troops supplied is a major part of mobile warfare.
Units and troops will take care of the details but you will have to keep supply-line limits in mind yourself when giving orders. Or make sure supplies are sufficiently stockpiled before a major offensive.
Your subordinates are no mind-readers 🙂
Both you and your unit-commanders can request support. This can be fire support but it could also be requests for re-enforcements, engineering, medical support or supplies.
The first release will at least contain the possibility to request fire support. Either from the air-force or artillery units.
Lines of communication
Support request and orders do not just magically appear at their destination.
For the game to be even remotely realistic, it needs to model lines of communication. If the distance between units increase communication suffers.
Something to keep in mind while playing the game.
Change the OOB to create custom battle groups
Units have a default organization for troops and equipment. You may want to assemble a special unit for a specific mission.
After doing battle, units will have suffered losses. Things break, soldiers die.
At some point it will make sense to merge broken units into a combat ready unit.
Comprehensive tutorial based on an accurate historical battle
We are well aware MilOps breaks with a number of conventions and traditions. Solutions that made sense for other games but not for MilOps. Commanding 50K actual soldiers is new, brings new problems that require new solutions. Both in gameplay and UI.
This makes MilOps less familiar to play. Expect a good tutorial that introduces those new concepts in a clear way.
If you like customisation, you may want to tweak the organization or create a new one.
Or, you want to create a specific OOB and position units and troops in detail.
It is also ideal for accurate recreation of historical battles or what-if scenarios.
The modding functionality gives you the opportunity to do this and share it with others.
When will all of this be ready?
We are too far off to make public timeline estimates.
Whether we will allow early-access is also not determined. We are mulling it over at the moment. It could be a very helpful way to introduce innovations and incorporate feedback from supporters at an early stage.
Much will depend on how our community develops. The advantage of being enthusiasts ourselves is that business considerations not necessarily have the final say. There needs to be a healthy balance obviously, but it will also have to stay fun for us to do.
We have been encouragingly surprised by your positive feedback and relevant questions. So let us know what you think. Your feedback will be a major input for us to make a decision for or against early-access.
Comments and reactions to this blog entry can be made on our forum.