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#1 VictorInThePacific

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Posted 02 February 2009 - 08:21 PM

from Tony, in "play aids" thread: ... to expound a little upon what each one does as keycard descriptions are necessarily short, but if someone eventually builds an interactive keyboard chart, longer descriptions would be very handy

I will be working on this now. It will not be a manual, because the manual already exists. However, I will definitely be plagiarizing like mad from the manual. If there are copyright issues, I hope that someone removes them.

#2 TonyE

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Posted 03 February 2009 - 12:07 AM

As long as you are plagiarizing as part of the beta testing and official documentation process there are no copyright issues.

#3 TonyE

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Posted 03 February 2009 - 12:47 AM

Ctrl-Alt-s -- Show All Toggle. Turns on or off the display of all units and groups in the game, regardless of side. Having Show All enabled may impact game behavior. Also allows the player to give some commands to AI groups and units.

Ctrl-Alt-z -- Auto Play Toggle. Turns on or off the automatic dismissal of player prompts making it seem like the game is playing itself. Useful for testing game stability. Trying to give commands with Auto Play enabled may cause game instability (endless loops leading to crashes).

Ctrl-Alt-f -- Fast Saves Toggle. Turns on or off the periodic saving of the game using a numbered series of saved games. The save interval is best set on the command line. See the Beta Tester Manual logging section for detail, http://harpgamer.com...?showtopic=3574

Ctrl-g -- Gridlines were disabled in 2008.047 for two reasons. First, they were grossly inaccurate in most battlesets. Second, a longer term project to replace the map interface means the large investment in time to fix the gridlines in the existing interface was not deemed worthwhile.

#4 VictorInThePacific

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Posted 06 February 2009 - 08:59 PM

Ctrl-Alt-s -- Show All Toggle. Turns on or off the display of all units and groups in the game, regardless of side. Having
Ctrl-Alt-z -- Auto Play Toggle. Turns on or off the automatic dismissal of player prompts making it seem like the game is
Ctrl-Alt-f -- Fast Saves Toggle. Turns on or off the periodic saving of the game using a numbered series of saved


The 3 CTRL-ALT combinations seem to be intended for testers only, so it would be my intention to exclude them from a play aid card.

#5 VictorInThePacific

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Posted 06 February 2009 - 08:59 PM

Here is what I am proposing: a (mostly) succinct description of each existing command, but not all the details. In some cases, I had to add a bit of commentary. At present, this stuff is just unformatted text, and that is probably appropriate. Feel free to nitpick or rip it apart any way you see fit.

There are a few items that I think need to be dealt with. These are colored red.

Note that the CTRL - # commands have been replaced by F#s. This is not important here, because for the present purpose, the headings are only placeholders.

_______________________

F1: Attack or Intercept

Allows you to attack the enemy. Can be executed after selecting a friendly or enemy group. The first case is considered an “attack”; the second is considered an “intercept". In either case, there are 3 general possibilities. If your group is already in weapons range of the enemy, you will be asked exactly what weapons you want to allocate. If your groups are not in weapons range, you will be asked whether you want them to close the range, or they may do it automatically. If the enemy has not been sufficiently localized, you will be asked whether you want your groups to search for them.

F2: Speed and Depth / Altitude Dialog for Groups / Units

Allows you to set the speed and altitude for planes, speed for ships, and speed and depth for subs.

F3: Course Entry Dialog for Groups / Units

Allows you to set or edit the course of a selected group.

F4: Formation Editor

Lets you review and change the disposition of the individual units within a group. When you select this option, the Group map focuses on the group you’ve selected on the map and zooms down to about x32. This allows you to rearrange the units of the group directly on the map.

F5: Ready Aircraft

Allows you to prepare aircraft for particular mission profiles using a list of available loadouts.

F6: Launch/Land Aircraft

Allows you to launch aircraft from a selected group, or land a selected aircraft group.

F7: Join Group

Allows you to join two separate groups into a larger one.

F8: Split Group

Allows you to split a group into two smaller ones.

F9: Set Sensors Dialog

Allows you to set sonar and radar status for a selected group or unit.

F10: Enter Staff Note

Allows you to write notes which will be displayed at a designated future time.

B: Bearing-Only Launch

Sometimes you just have a gut feeling that there's an enemy ship over there somewhere, but for some reason you can't get an actual contact. Maybe your recon planes keep getting shot down, or maybe the enemy ECM is too strong. Using this command, you can launch your missiles along a specified bearing, hoping that the missiles will eventually be able to locate something with their own sensors. You can also use this procedure for other situations, such as when your nuclear missiles have been sabotaged and you had better get them off your ship before they blow up.

C

Centers both the Unit and Group windows around the currently selected unit or group.

D

Brings up the Unit Display if a unit is currently selected, or accesses the entire unit database if a group is currently selected.

The Unit Display data is not consistent with the Active Unit Display data. This applies in particular to the sonar data and probably to other data as well. I have raised this point before. Based on the feedback I have seen and for other reasons, it appears to be the case that the Unit Display Data is not consistent with the current status of the game.

F

Brings up the Active Unit Display if a unit is currently selected, or a group status report if a group is currently selected.

I, ALT – I

Shows or hides group and unit IDs on the maps.

M: Free memory display

Most users won’t care about this.

O: Show On Station rectangles for the player side (2008.068+)

No idea what this does.

U Units - Selects the first unit of the currently selected group (in the Unit window) (??)

Doesn’t seem to work.

V

Shows or hides sonobuoys.

X

Zooms out the currently selected window (Group or Unit).

Z

Zooms in the currently selected window (Group or Unit).

Arrow keys

Scroll the currently selected window (Group or Unit).

Enter

Time compression is set to 1:1.

. (Period)

Drop a sonobuoy from the currently selected aircraft unit or group. Obviously, the aircraft needs to actually have a sonobuoy available, but aircraft altitude and speed are not relevant.

Backspace

Selects the next object to the north (up) in the current window.

Spacebar

Selects the next object to the south (down) in the current window.

Tab: Active Window Toggle (Group or Unit)

Toggles the active window (Group or Unit).

- (also -/_): Time Compression

De-compresses time by one increment.

+ (also +/=): Time Compression

Compresses time by one increment.

Keypad 5

Centers the Unit or Group window around the currently selected unit or group.

ALT - 3, ALT – F3

Immediately enables nuclear release status in any scenario.

For those situations where you need a really high-yield weapon, or maybe you’ve used up all your other weapons, or maybe you’re just really mad, but high command is refusing to let you escalate. You may get court-martialled, or you may precipitate a nuclear winter, but on the other hand, you may not live long enough to notice.

ALT – R: Force Refueling

The refueling process normally starts automatically 60 s after the units involved have been properly prepared, and is completed 30 s after that.

I don’t see the point of this command. Does the automatic process ever not work? Should you be allowed to ignore the time requirements?

ALT – T

Shows or hides paths for all friendly groups.

CTRL – A: Staff Report

The Staff Assistant will make any appropriate recommendations for the currently selected group.

That is the claim, but I’ve never seen it actually do anything.

CTRL – B: Order of Battle

Provides a list of friendly forces and detailed information about them.

CTRL – D: Platform Display

Provides a way to access the entire unit database.

CTRL – E: Show Orders

Displays the orders you were given at the beginning of the game when you selected the scenario.

CTRL – F: Calculate Range & Bearing

Lets you calculate the range and bearing from one group to another.

CTRL – H: Game Status

Displays a status report for Blue, Red, and Green forces (losses and damage sustained by each side).

CTRL – I: Icon Display Selector

Lets you set different styles for game icons.

CTRL – K: Game Options

Lets you configure which animations appear during game play. You can also toggle the display of killed ship pictures. You can toggle the time display on the Group window from a time of day display to a game time remaining display. You can change the color of the land and water. Finally, you set the time interval between autosaves. All these settings are saved.

CTRL – M: Staff Options

Used to enable or disable various staff options. You can choose to not be informed of new contacts, ships running aground, subs too deep, groups without movement orders, being too close to the map edge, and lost contacts. You can set the SAM fire rate and the range at which units start firing at incoming aircraft or missiles. You can choose to display certain information on the map, such as sonobuoys. There are other options as well.

CTRL - P: Pause Game

Pauses the game !! Note that the game will be paused (game time will not advance) whenever any command is being entered or report is being viewed.

CTRL – R: Range Circles Display

Lets you display information on the maps about the range of your weapons and sensors.

CTRL – T: Time Compression

Sets the time compression feature. For example, 1 second of real time could be set to equal 1 minute of game time.

CTRL – W: Weather Report

Displays the weather and other environmental conditions. Weather can affect sensors, weapons, and smaller ships. Only available near a friendly group or unit.

CTRL – Y: Sound Options

Allows you to choose which sounds you want to hear during the game.

#6 Warhorse64

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Posted 06 February 2009 - 09:39 PM

Re 'O': if the victory conditions include a requirement to be on station at a certain location for a certain amount of time, this command will display the box(es) that defines the area(s) in question.

Re 'Alt-R': there have been cases in the past, with earlier versions of the game, where refueling either did not function automatically, or took so long to happen that some of the units to be refueled ran out of gas and crashed. Also, if you launch the tanker as part of the same group as the recipients, the tanker will not refuel the recipients immediately in most cases, and will in fact at times accompany the strikers into range of hostile fire. At such times, one may wish to force an early refueling ... :lol:

#7 VictorInThePacific

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Posted 08 February 2009 - 12:33 PM

Re 'Alt-R': there have been cases in the past, with earlier versions of the game, where refueling either did not function automatically, or took so long to happen that some of the units to be refueled ran out of gas and crashed. Also, if you launch the tanker as part of the same group as the recipients, the tanker will not refuel the recipients immediately in most cases,


As I understand it, the in-air refueling process works as follows:

1) The tanker and the aircraft to be refueled (TBR) approach each other until they are just a few feet apart (less than the length of the refueling hose).
2) The tanker assumes a stable flight pattern (straight and level or a gentle circle).
3) The aircraft TBR flies formation on the tanker.
4) The tanker extends the refueling hose.
5) The aircraft TBR makes solid contact with the refueling hose.
6) The tanker sends the fuel over.

Clearly, this process takes a certain amount of time, and specific preparation is required.

As I understand it, Harpoon simulates this process as follows:

1) The tanker and the aircraft TBR approach each other until they are close enough to join into one group. This could involve a separation of as much as 8 nm.
2) Both aircraft need to be loitering at the same altitude.
3) The groups are joined.
4) 60 s later, the refueling process stars.
5) 30 s after that, the refueling process is finished.

It seems to me that the simulated procedure is a very good model. From the player's perspective, it is very simple. The 60 s delay takes care of all the details of the final approach of the the real process. If any of the existing requirements were removed, it would be clear that refueling could never happen that way in real life.

The only flaw with the Harpoon model is that, after refueling one aircraft, the tanker will almost certainly be able to refuel many other aircraft later on, which is not possible in Harpoon.

Now I am going to guess that the way the Harpoon refueling algorithm works is that, when 2 aircraft groups are joined, Harpoon checks to see if the conditions <tanker present with available fuel> and <both groups loitering at same altitude> are all met, and if so, executes the fuel transfer process. The point is that the trigger is probably the joining process, because it is generally a rare process that has only a few possible reasons, which makes it a good trigger. If the presence of a tanker was the trigger, then far more checks than necessary would be happening.

So this may be why, as Warhorse points out, if the tankers start as part of an aircraft group, they never transfer fuel. In that case, the proper procedure would be to make the composite group loiter, split out the tanker, rejoin the tanker, and wait 90 s. Bear in mind, I am only guessing here.

In my opinion, allowing instantaneous refueling should not be allowed. It would be sort of like removing the rate of fire restrictions on weapons systems.

In the present (or recent) versions of the game, are there still cases where the automatic refueling process does not work, assuming the player (or AI) has followed the proper process?




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