COMBATSIM.COM: The Ultimate Combat Simulation and Strategy Gamers' Resource.

Falcon 4.0: Player Bubble

by Glenn "Sleepdoc" Kletzky, MD

Again, in order to keep our example less complicated, we will make up a simple set of victory conditions. In order for the commies to win, they must occupy the city of Seoul with at least 3 Tank Battalions (ok…I'm gonna spice it up a little now). However, for every 5 aircraft they lose, they must add one more tank battalion to the capture of Seoul in order to achieve the points necessary for victory. (hell, even my simple example invokes images of complexity, but if you liked simple, you would be at the arcade dropping quarters).

Also, lets imagine that a reverse but comparable set of victory conditions apply to the Good Ol' US of A, but of course the capture of some Northern city is the basis for victory. Now we have defined equal starting resources and winning objectives for each side.

Of course, our example mission was designed to be balanced, but nothing says it has to be. You could just as easily define a starting point for your chess game where one side has far greater resources but has a very difficult task for victory, while the weaker side has far fewer starting resources, but need only fend of your attack for 24 hours in order to win (as if they were waiting for reinforcements). Only the imagination of the initial mission designer limits the nature of the competition. Cool, huh?

An aside is in order here. The last paragraph may have led you to wonder just exactly what the limits of a victory condition entry is, and just how complex and convoluted those entries can become. You may also be wondering just how many separate victory conditions you can stack in a single mission. Stay tuned. I am only beginning to discover new tricks in that section of T.E. and once my investigation is over, I will be releasing an article which hopefully teaches all these elements, and supplements my original "TE Mission Builder Guide".

I have already discovered more than a few tricks (which are definitely not documented) concerning the ins and outs of this very powerful subsystem of the T.E. Mission builder. Sorry to leave you hanging, but I have ton of articles I want to write, and this stuff is very time consuming. I will try to do that one as soon as I finish this interview series I'm into right now.

Ok. Back to our example mission. So now we have our chessboard all set up and ready to go. Each team has a limited set of resources with which to play and a well-defined set of victory conditions defining their ultimate goals.

When you first start the game (you are playing for the USA and your rebellious friend is playing for the DPRK) neither of you has any flights set up or ground forces on the move, just a bunch of ground forces awaiting orders and a bunch of pilots sitting around drinking latte's at their respective airbases waiting for the General (that's you, bubba) to start organizing and authorizing packages to get their butts up in the air and fight. You know what you need to do to win. You know that the other guy is trying to do the same to you. You know that you can never replace a lost resource like a downed aircraft or a destroyed tank. Time to rock !!!

Quickly, you tell a few of your SAM battalions to reposition near your airbases to protect them from certain attack . You start telling your tanks to move toward the objective city. You worry however about an all out blitz. What if you get caught enroute, and the bridges are blown? You won't know till you get there. Then you will be annihilated at the bottleneck by enemy anti-tank flights !!

So you decide to feign an attack from the east, all the while intending to sneak the mass of your forces to the west. You pay careful attention to terrain, bridges and bottlenecks, so as not to get caught with your pants down. 30 quick mouse clicks later you have put your ground forces into motion and you start to generate packages and flights.

You know that any flight, which flies near an enemy battalion, will cause that flight to appear on your map (This is how updated Intel is modeled in the game). So you set up a series of alternating recon flights. You also know that their appearance on your map is the "last seen position" and that info gets old after 15 minutes, so you make sure you have a bunch of alternating flights to keep the recon fresh and up-to-date.

You decide that the bridge north of Seoul needs to be cutoff to protect Seoul, but you must first get your western most battalion across the bridge, so you send them racing with a package designed to protect them until they get across the bridge. You also send out a package to bomb the bridge after they cross.

Click to continue


Once you like the initial first moves you have made, you realize it will take at least 20-30 minutes for those tanks to get to their new locations. So you decide to be a flight leader in the flight to bomb the bridge. This way you can see with your own eyes when your boys are across, and also control the entire element through your "element commands" section of the sim. You are satisfied with your initial moves, and so you fly.

Your tanks get safely across, and you pound the bridge into steak tar-tar. You are in business!! Or so you thought. You land that bird and return to the interface only to find out that your enemy has moved his troops across bridges far to the east, and managed to destroy the lone battalion you sent as a diversion. Further more, the enemy tanks are now across the DMZ and have no more bridges between Seoul and themselves. You can only assume they are on an all out run for Seoul, but your last known positions are getting stale. You quickly generate new recon flights and new anti-tank missions along their suspected route.

But what if they dipped south in order to evade and be less predictable? What if they split into 3 groups? Maybe you can bring your remaining southerly tanks up in attempt to slow them down in a protracted ground engagement until you get there. You do just that, and boy! When you do finally find those sneaky bastards you witness an amazing battle !! Tow missiles lighting across the terrain! Shell fire blasting along the ground! But no time to watch the fireworks son. You have work to do.

You lock the enemy tanks on GMT radar. Or so you think. The fog of war has you confused. Are you about to commit fratricide (friendly fire)? The radio calls are almost too much to follow. Finally, you confirm that the targets are hostile, you issue the orders to your wing to attack, and all hell breaks loose. The radio calls are insane. Explosions and AAA aim to distract you. But you stay focused. So long as you still have a maverick on your rails, no T-62 is safe. What's this? Holy Moses !! They brought a mobile SAM battalion with them.

Damn! You didn't think about that possible strategy. Too late to add a SEAD escort to your package now. Launch !!! JINK! JINK! JINK! JINK ! KaBLAAAMM!! !!! Damn. !! Eject-Eject !! (hmmm?…this parachute view wasn't exactly the view of the battle you were hoping for). You end mission. Your back at the interface now to check your current situation and Intel, generate new orders and flights, and get up there again.!! Welcome to your first "Force on Force" multiplayer game. Your buddy is smarter than you thought.

I don't know about you guys, but when I realized that this level of play was gonna soon be possible, I got a chill up my spine. Sure, the term "New Benchmark" is a marketing "hype" term, but hey. Sure sounds like one to me.

In my fourth article coming soon, I will explain in detail the actual ground forces interface that will soon be available for use so that you too can live the mission I just described. Kevin Klemmick told me how it is going to work, and related a little of his personal embarrassment at the current state of that element of TE (He is a perfectionist, and he is having to accept the same hard reality that all of us are growing to accept : If you want the most complex, realistic flight sim ever built, you have to have patience for it all to come together). He even suggested (but did not state outright) that they were considering pulling TE from the initial release until all these bugs were fixed.

But in a wise decision made by the team, they chose to give us what they had so that we could enjoy it for what it was worth in its current state. They assumed (an in my opinion, they assumed correctly) that due to the vast depth of the TE mission builder, users would be better off learning to use those parts that worked now. He was confident that once they did, they would gladly stay tuned for the additional parts.

From my perspective, they were spot on. Despite all the bug hopping and craziness of the whole TE mission building thing, I have flown some incredible custom built missions that people have created, and all I can keep hearing myself say is "GIVE ME MORE !". Don't worry folks. More is on the way.

Stay tuned for Part four of this interview entitled "The ground war interface of the TE mission builder". Exclusively on

Sleepdoc out !


This material is copyrighted and may not be reprinted in any form without permission of the publisher.
Last Updated January 11th, 1999