MiG Alley: Campaign Planning Part I
By Leonard "Viking1" Hjalmarson
MiG Alley. This latest simulation from the designers at Rowan is already a classic. Something of a sleeper, there is a powerful and configurable dynamic campaign system hidden away here. Hidden? Yes, hidden. If you fly only one of the first four campaigns you might never discover the power of it, and if you rely on the manual to tell you about it, you will be disappointed.
Never fear, the campaign spies are here. We've spent some time collecting information for you and generally digging around in the fifth campaign. It's time to share a few tips to make your mission building easier.
First, I suggest you build some USER PROFILES. I built a profile for a medium bomber strike with escort, a heavy bomber strike with escort and flak suppression, and a fighter bomber strike with escort.
Building a profile is a simple matter, but it can be a terrific headache if you don't understand THE RULES™. Simply put, you can't build a profile if you can't access the required resources, and you can't access the resources if the campaign AI has already allocated them. So it is best to do this at the beginning, after deleting the campaign generated missions or after accessing the directives interface and turning OFF auto generate.
Next, you may build all the profiles you like, but if your resources are all used up they won't appear on the list. This isn't a bug, you simply have limited resources and this is a good reason to build a variety of profiles.
It is at the point of working within the campaign that little flaws crop up that will grate on you. Don't worry. Ignore them. You will learn the work-arounds. For example, wouldn't it be nice if the "Intelligence" target info list would stay on the screen while you decide which target to select? As it is, the location comes up and you see it's too far, then you must re-select the Target Intel list icon at the top of the screen.
Or wouldn't it be nice if you could sort targets by activity and then choose DISPLAY and see the location on the map of every target with HIGH activity? Better still, wouldn't it be great if you could sort by activity AND proximity? No use worrying about it, work with it.
The next frustration you might encounter is expecting to see the "Directives" screen pop up when you begin a campaign, but.. where is it? Only the fifth campaign is fully dynamic, allowing you this level of control. You won't have access to the Directives in any of the other campaigns.
No matter. The auto generated missions aren't always the best choice for your limited resources, and it's more fun and more interesting to design your own anyway. So go ahead and select your priorities, and then be prepared to scrap any missions that don't impress you.
A quick method of building a User Profile is by editting an existing profile. I'm not sure of the recommended way of doing this, but I simply created a mission using a default profile, then changed the composition of the strike force. When completed, I clicked the SAVE button on the Profile Info dialog box (see right hand column on the next page) and then named my profile.
Build Your Own
The first mission generated after I selected the priorities in Figure 1 above took me way up to Yalu to a choke point with low activity and low capacity. Yet clicking on INTEL at the bottom of the MISSION FOLDER showed that the Yalu bridge is heavily defended. Hmm. VERY far away, heavily defended and of little strategic value. I ordered the officer in charge to scrap the mission.
Instead, I elected to choose my own targets and build my own missions. By the way, as an aside, not all intel information is available in a single location. It is best to bring up the Target Intel List (in Figure 2 above) as well as check the target situation by clicking on the INTELLIGENCE button in the Mission Folder. This latter button brings up a dedicated target info panel which will give you current intel and tell you how heavily defended your target is.
Go to Part II
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Last Updated August 31st, 1999