Intelligence Apparatus of the game

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tonystowe
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Intelligence Apparatus of the game

#1 Post by tonystowe » Apr 10 2006

I am looking to purchase this game, however, before doing so I would like for you all to share your opinion and your pro's/con's of the games current intelligence capabilities in relation to military operations and overall decisions for building your countries.

I am looking for anything related to Ground, Air, Sea and Space-based intel assets that SR2010 currently has available for game play and how these affect your gaming experience.

What intel-related areas do you believe being adding to this game would improve your experience with this game?

Programmers - what are the limitations with implimenting this?

Thanks

Tony

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#2 Post by Balthagor » Apr 10 2006

Our programmer George (yes, we only have one...) is not likley to get to the forum very soon (too many other tasks currenlty) but I can say that currenlty there is little intel in game. If you check out the demo you can see for yourself what is available for the players to do (the demo is full featured). There have been a few discussions of the intelligence operations discussed in the manual which did not make it into the final game but we've not given any timeline for such an add-on/update.

I can also say that this is less of in implementation limitation than it is a total design/creation decision. Intelligence options are simply something we felt where not going to heavily affect the gameplay.

That said, I still encourage others to add their comments, we always get good discussions from these types of topics :)
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#3 Post by bergsjaeger » Apr 10 2006

other than knowing what another region has military wise and what units the are building. there isn't much else i would like to know the other region is up to.
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#4 Post by Il Duce » Apr 10 2006

Intel or diplomacy? There is very little 'covert ops' in the game, and in the real world, it isn't always clear whether covert ops are intel or diplomacy.

There has been little discussion of intel per se, but there is a lot of discussion about diplomacy. I'd recommend that you search the whole board on this topic to get some oversight.

Covert ops might add a significant dimension to the game, but as it stands now, with so many other complexities to deal with, it's not clear that SR2010 would benefit from this addition. My own sense of things is that the 'next' new product from Battlegoat may very well provide an exciting fit for what is otherwise a vaccuum in the strategic game universe. Or maybe that's just wishful thinking.
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#5 Post by BigStone » Apr 10 2006

There are a few crucial data you get for free in the game...
And IMHO one of the most important is the -build cap-

Now you've only to click on the -Regional Comparison- tab and
there it is... 8_
No efforts to be made for such data...

So make that data unknown ... unless you spend some money on
covops..

Shouldn't be hard to implement ... :-? wouldn't it ... :-? .... poor George... :D
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#6 Post by tonystowe » Apr 11 2006

I would not like having to manage the numerous amounts of individual spies, diplomats, etc as that would be far to troublesome. However, I believe that the Combat Advisor, or whatever the entity's name might be, could collect the numerous reports from these assets on countries of interest as chosen by the player.

National assets such as space-based, Global hawk, J-Stars, etc I would like to manage in order to obtain a more focused look on a potential enemy.

Covert Ops isn't what I was necessarily focusing on with this discussion, although that plays its part in the big picture. What I am looking at is the intel that is received at the National Level that has already been scrutinized in order to weed out a portion of the garbage reporting. The reports shown to the player would still require him to analyze that information and determine a course of action. This intel could potentially allow an offensive defense - such as Israel conducted against Egypt and Syria back in the day.

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#7 Post by Legend » Apr 11 2006

Much of the Intel is done by the player by visually sizing up their opponents. We do have our scorecard with tonnes of information for a player to weed through - the information you can't necessarily see.

One comment made about build cap is that we do show all facilities on the map, even underneath the fog of war. Since we show this - and the player could count them all up in their heads - we decided to show them on the scorecard.

If anyone would like to list each item in the scorecard and let us know if it should be basic information or information found through intel spending - it would help us going forward when addressing intel.

If anyone would like to discuss more about the command advisor, we'd welcome the input.

And, perhaps a more general way to talk about intel in the game is by asking some questions...
- How do you make the decision to attack an enemy?
- What indicators do you use to determine if an enemy is a threat or not a threat?
- What sort of in-game feedback or intel would you like to receive?

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#8 Post by tonystowe » Apr 22 2006

Legend wrote:Perhaps a more general way to talk about intel in the game is by asking some questions...
- How do you make the decision to attack an enemy?
- What indicators do you use to determine if an enemy is a threat or not a threat?
- What sort of in-game feedback or intel would you like to receive?
The decision to attack an enemy, or to relocate forces, should be based upon the current situation as viewed from possible Indicators and Warnings (I&W). I&W provide the player with updates to the current situation in terms of good or bad actions by a potential adversary. For instance, enemy/neutral aircraft patrols along my border would present electronic intel operations against me. If I had an effective electronic warfare unit that would be able to detect radar emissions that encroach upon my borders then I would receive a message to this affect: "Unit XYZ positioned at "123" location, reports that the Honduran air force has actively scanned our common border within the past 24 hours. The aircraft appeared to be an E-2C which has an effective radar range of "1234" km. The course taken by this aircraft allowed it to see our unit positions and activity within 3 hexes of the border region."

In the above example the E-2C activity could alert me to send additional troops, or more specifically air defense troops, to that area. While my EW unit continues to search for emissions it also detects an active ground radar unit that has moved near the border and has actively been collecting on the same area for the last 72 hours as well as another run by the E-2C. After reading this Intel Update Brief I decide to pre-position some forward combat units within close range of the border - however not on the border. I also decide to send a radar unit to that area to see what build up is occurring.

This story could drive on all night, but to get to the point I would like to see the units that are categorized as intel collecting assets to be able to report to the player on the activity that it observes. The player would decide what was a real I&W and what was minor or irrevelant. The assets may be given options to report everything or what to look for such as:
1. Forward positioning of massed artillery, armor and infantry BNs.
2. Increased intel gathering assets collecting on our defenses.
3. Change from defensive units in forward positions to offensive.
4. Air Defense units, whose organic radar's assist with the tracking of air assets, could report the quantities and types of aircraft operating within its coverage area.
5. Ground radar units could report ground unit activity, i.e. "2x T-55's tanks were observed moving from SE to NW at regular intervals." or whatever.
6. More, . . . .

SR2010, while an awesome game, simply isn't structured to provide the player with the valuable intel that its assets can provide. Each asset, whether ground, air, naval or space, should be allowed to add its piece to the puzzle. The pieces could be reported to the Combat Advisor, or elsewhere, and the player receive one message in the form of an Intel Update Brief (to make look official) detailing any activity that would have been cued by the assets. The assets should be given an intel specific mission with the player having an overruling direction of these assets, however the AI would need to realize that it has "X" number of UAV's and that collection with the UAV would be much better than that of using a BRDM or whatever on the ground. The AI would also need to take the players input on prioritized threats - the I&W's - and cue this data into a viable report every 24 hours. The AI needs to understand which countries threat level is escalating and where to assign the intel assets in order to provide the best intel picture to the player.

The point to all of this is that I prefer to be sent a report that sums up the activities along the many borders that I control. Having to painstakingly travel the length of each border every turn selecting each unit location takes away from the game somewhat - IMO.

The intel world isn't perfect and reporting gets distorted as it moves from the eyes that seen 10 tanks, the third report which was fat-fingered stating 100 tanks, to the actually decision maker who would see this as a serious threat. The reports should not be 100% correct all the time and the may be a need to show a RELIABLE percentage on each report. If a report states that 2x M1 BN's have moved into city "X" by a ground radar unit; and another report indicates 3x T-55 BN's in that same area by an aerial intel unit; and an infantry unit conducting reconnaissance reports 2x M1 BN's then it makes the player have to assign assets to confirm or deny the reports so that he will know the true picture of what is actually on the ground.

In closing, this game has an extremely good chance to take its current modeling and add an intel angle that IMO would add alot to the game play. Intel being given to the player is critical in the decision making process; and the player being able to make a decision resulting in war or not will satisfy many that enjoy this type of game. Sadly enough, I may be wrong or the programming may be too difficult for such an already indepth game.

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#9 Post by tonystowe » May 08 2006

If an "intel" aspect of this game isn't possible then how about this:

I press the F8 key to indicate a "QUERY" that I want to perform and a GUI prompts me to select the area of interest. I then use my mouse to click the upper left and lower right locations enclosing the area I want in the report. That area would then be given to me a single report indicating the current threat picture in terms of quantity and unit type.

Tony

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#10 Post by Balthagor » May 08 2006

Legend is out of the office this week, I'll e-mail him the thread so it sees it when he's back.
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#11 Post by Legend » May 15 2006

tonystowe wrote:The point to all of this is that I prefer to be sent a report that sums up the activities along the many borders that I control. Having to painstakingly travel the length of each border every turn selecting each unit location takes away from the game somewhat - IMO.
How can this report be generated to not display too much information? What information would you like to see?
tonystowe wrote:If an "intel" aspect of this game isn't possible then how about this:

I press the F8 key to indicate a "QUERY" that I want to perform and a GUI prompts me to select the area of interest. I then use my mouse to click the upper left and lower right locations enclosing the area I want in the report. That area would then be given to me a single report indicating the current threat picture in terms of quantity and unit type.

Tony
I like this idea a bit as it wouldn't include your entire border... but I'm still not sure what information would be the best to show. Perhaps providing a screenshot with a sample report would help to furhter express your suggestion.

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Lengthy

#12 Post by tonystowe » May 16 2006

The report would show only what my assets would be able to detect or see such as aircraft, armor, infantry, IFV's, artillery, etc., but none of my units would be able to report the actual strength of the unit. They might, however, be able to report ""X" number of Tanks in a unit located in this area moving North"; giving the player the option to figure out the deployment configuration of his neighbors units. Another possible dimension of the military aspect of the game.

An example:

A ground unit (INF, Tank, Arty, etc) would be able to see low-mid altitude aircraft - for mid altitude the distinction between F-14 and F-15 might be difficult but they should at least report enemy aircraft in the area. The same ground unit would also be able to report any enemy ground activity in the adjoining hexes (or its radar range), ie units moving in/out of the area, entrenching, etc.

Any friendly aircraft flying near a border would be able to detect movement within its radar range, however it wouldn't necessarily provide types of equipment moving - just the activity. Intel specific aircraft would be able to see deeper into enemy territory and be able to determine the type (armor, infantry,etc) of unit in each location.

Naval vessels would have similar reporting.
------------------------

You probably are asking what the report should look like and how detailed to the information should be. A veteran or well trained unit will provide more accurate and timely information than a garrison, or green, unit. Reporting times are critical with intel and if I indicate that I want my Intel Update Brief the first thing each morning then I would see a GUI pop up with the previous days information. The caveat to this would be the experience level of the reporting unit and the type of unit. Ground units will usually have eyes on information and for the most part fairly accurate. Aircraft and Naval reporting will usually be 24-48 hours as it usually requires some level of processing.

If I was playing South Africa my Intel Update Brief could look like this:

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Intel Update Brief

Date of Report: March 3, 2014

The following intelligence was derived from reporting units:

1. In the last 24 hours there have been no threatening activities along our border with the Namibian Federation. While we do not perceive any immediate threats from the Namibian government we received several reports ground reconnaissance in the vicinity of "Town A" and "Town B".

2. In the last 24 hours there were three threatening actions committed by the forces of the Angolan Republic. Each involved the movement of several offensive units within striking distance of "XYZ" town (or location).

END REPORT
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

As a player, the above report would clue me to activity that I would have otherwise never known. Secondly the report concerning the Angolan Republic would cause me to task an Intel specific asset (probably an aircraft) to begin reconnaissance of that border area. In my next intel report, and the following report, I would be given additional reporting that would support (more likely confirm or deny) the actions of the Angolan military.

Tony

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#13 Post by red » May 16 2006

You're describing a fantastically complex system which understands the history of all units, makes and understands patterns and behavior which is currently nowhere in the game, understands and modifies according to the player's intent., etc... I haven't seen any game do that.

I anyway disagree with the level of information which you would have reported. I would ignore the intelligence aspect if it spammed me with such trivial information as where two tank battalions moved. I would first want intel to tell me something I can't already learn in the game, such as strategic intelligence which estimates my enemy's strength and so on----rather than intellligence which is just the spotting system with emails sent out.

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#14 Post by tonystowe » May 17 2006

Thanks for your comments Red. My example was lame by any standard and I would not be interested in trivial unit information either. However, using the example provided if an "intel specific" function was a part of the game then the player would be more informed on the front end (or close to it). The current system requires the player to constantly scan the vast miles of borders and while I find this engaging (and time consuming) I would rather my Military Advisor's "Intel" department to brief me on the major incidents. In this report it might suggest possible troop deployment/re-deployment to counter the enemy buildup or what have you.

One report every 24 hours might seem a waste once the combat begins but then again this report would be strategic in nature and would contain pertinent information about all potential threats.

Once combat has begun the combat reporting may increase depending on the deployment of your forces and the situation. Say, every 12 hours once troops are in contact on that specific country to simply keep you informed of the overall battle.

Most people haven't seen what I am defining in this post in civilian PC games yet it is a part of military PC wargame simulators that I have had the chance to participate in playing. The military equivalent games aren't any more complicated than SR2010, and certainly doesn't meet the graphics standards of SR2010, however it does add the various aspects of warfare - to include intel specific reporting.

The reporting that I am trying to sale in this post isn't tactical - it is strategic intel that I would like to see to minimize the player having to spend so much time racing around the map.

Tony

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#15 Post by tonystowe » May 17 2006

Legend wrote:I like this idea a bit as it wouldn't include your entire border... but I'm still not sure what information would be the best to show. Perhaps providing a screenshot with a sample report would help to furhter express your suggestion.
Legend,

I forgot to specify that the reporting would only be able to report on those areas in which I (or the AI) had deployed troops in which enemy units would be seen. I am working on the screen shot and a more indepth explanation as to what I have been describing.

Speaking of screenshots, how can you take screenshots during game play? Thanks

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