|Total Air War: Tactical Part 2
by Leonard "Viking1" Hjalmarson
Since I wrote the first tactical piece I left the beta behind for more than two weeks while I spent time with Falcon 4 and others. Coming back to TAW was an interesting experience and reminded me just how much there is to this simulation. In short, I feel that Total Air War has great depth but in a very accessible package. Building on F22 ADF, the systems and interface are familiar, and of course the F22 systems are greatly streamlined anyway. I spent almost three hours working exclusively in the AWACS interface, flying only a few times myself, and had a great deal of fun!
Continuing the tactical briefing, a few changes have been made to the interface that make locating your target easier. In the previous example we started with the target list, which is an effective way to make tactical use of the list. This time, we'll first check the current strategic goals.
Notice that the current Allied strategy is to strike C4 targets. This means that your current SEAD flights will be heading for various Command, Communication, Computing and Control targets. If you want to support these flights and run intercepts or escorts wherever possible, you need to know where they are. Taking this information back to the Theatre Map, one selects C4 from the display control buttons at right, bringing up the C4 targets on the map.
And a close up of the same shot...
You can see that the C4 sites have a huge red ring around them, and at the center of these rings will be a small white number. In the shot above there is more than one number at Kassala Air Base: a 2 and a 9, to be precise. The green aircraft symbols (for Allied fllights) are likely inbound strike flights. Now look at the current target list:
Kassala is listed at both #2 and #9 positions, and you can see that there is currently no damage, but 3 flights inbound to that target. You can verify the current position of the inbound flight by highlighting list position number 2 and then holding down the left mouse button, bringing up this screen:
Now you see that an EF2000 SEAD flight is inbound (although the compression makes it tough to read).
Later in another campaign I had some other interesting decisions to make when an EF2000 force with a Mirage escort went on a deep strike mission that was rated very high in importance.
After locating the mission on the Target List map I went to the AWACS map to see if there were any flights I could vector as escort. Seeing none but noticing an F22 flight about 100 miles distant to the south-east I decided to fly the escort myself!
I hope this gives you a feel for the tactical dimension that you can integrate in your game play. Some parts of the interface are not yet finished so some of the procedures here may change, but Total Air War will offer you the ability to get involved at levels far beyond ADF. Learning to access the information is the first key to tactical control.
There have been a few other changes to the game and to campaign play. First, cluster resolution of your radar system is improved, making it easier to see the distinct aircraft in a flight on your attack MFD. Second, you will now hear a "click" whenever you use your mouse or keyboard to press a switch in your aircraft.
Third, when you land to rearm and refuel, your wingman will also be rearmed and refueled. This is a concession to reality in the first place, and previously your wingman would follow you to your next engagement but he was often winchester, making him useless. Now if you choose to do the instant rearm action by landing and stopping on a friendly airstrip, your wingman continues to be a useful asset.
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Last Updated July 16th, 1998