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Yet another "gaming the game" -- the AEW bait plane


yojimboguy
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There are some aspects of the games AI that make certain tasks almost ridiculously easy, and I wonder how it might be changed to make it more challenging.

 

For instance, your mission is to knock back the opposition of a heavily guarded base and destroy it. Send out an AEW plane, put some fighters with AMRAAMs out 30 or 40 miles ahead (between the base and your AEW bait), and make these recurring patrols so you always gave some fresh fighters with their AAMs. The enemy fighter patrols will, without exception, head straight for your AEW plane and right into your missile range. You can empty out their base of fighter defenses without ever doing anything more than refreshing your patrols.

 

There's only one exception to how this play out that I've found. That is, if your AEW plane is a Hawkeye, and the opposition fighters are stealthy like Rafales or Raptors. Then they may not be visible until they're already in missile range of your AEW plane (sometimes they don't become visible -- period), and so you're going to start losing planes. (Sentries are often fast enough to get back out of range of the first missile, but your BARCAP has to get the enemy before it can fire again).

 

I've found only one solution the that, which is less than ideal to say the least. Keep your AEW plane at 'zero' miles from your base, and it can land before the AAM can get to it and shoot it down. Then launch another AEW plane. Obviously if your base is a carrier, there's lots and lots of problems of exposing it like that to enemy planes just to be the escape hatch for your AEW. In those cases I use an F14 for AEW, and hope I can afterburn away when the Rafale pops up to take a shot at me.

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If you read my reply to your other post probably you know already what I'm going to say :).

 

Yes, this is an other AI weakness and for me it smells like chippin' too. I hope one day we will have an AI that will do a risk/benefit analysis before sending his planes one by one, fully exposed into enemy radar cover close to an enemy base. At least plot a course for them which is not coming directly from their base.

 

But if you got enough game time, AEW planes and fighters to do this the scenario is not challenging anyway. Why not make it one? Try to go after the base where the fighters are coming from. Design a strike that can destroy all of them on the ground! :)

 

So, you are right, but that necessary AI modification to remedy this is BVR, we need to lend a hand to the AI via challenging our own selves.

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I've found only one solution the that, which is less than ideal to say the least. Keep your AEW plane at 'zero' miles from your base, and it can land before the AAM can get to it and shoot it down. Then launch another AEW plane.

LOL, "less than ideal" is putting it mildly. This methodology might best be described as "how to keep your AEW assets on the ground and useless to you". ;)

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I've found only one solution the that, which is less than ideal to say the least. Keep your AEW plane at 'zero' miles from your base, and it can land before the AAM can get to it and shoot it down. Then launch another AEW plane.

LOL, "less than ideal" is putting it mildly. This methodology might best be described as "how to keep your AEW assets on the ground and useless to you". ;)

 

Well, not exactly. If you have 2 AEW planes, you can launch the next one a minute or two later. This is only possible because the AI won't retask the original attacking fighters to go after the new AEW even if they are just a few miles out of range. They will be headed for home no matter what, and the new group of fighters assigned to hit the new AEW will likely be hundreds of miles away. By the time they arrive, there's a pretty good chance your first AEW will be ready to fly again. And then you just switch them again.

 

Also, better on the ground for a while than shot down, never to be useful again.

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Well, not exactly. If you have 2 AEW planes, you can launch the next one a minute or two later. This is only possible because the AI won't retask the original attacking fighters to go after the new AEW even if they are just a few miles out of range. They will be headed for home no matter what, and the new group of fighters assigned to hit the new AEW will likely be hundreds of miles away. By the time they arrive, there's a pretty good chance your first AEW will be ready to fly again. And then you just switch them again. Also, better on the ground for a while than shot down, never to be useful again.

You're assuming that there aren't other enemy aircraft enroute, ready and willing to shoot down your next AEW&C aircraft as it comes up. Or that there isn't a strike already bearing down on your airfield which will destroy your wasted AEW&C asset that you just landed. If you've let enemy aircraft get so close to your AEW&C aircraft (and your airfield) that you have to escape by landing, then you're already hurting.

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Well, not exactly. If you have 2 AEW planes, you can launch the next one a minute or two later. This is only possible because the AI won't retask the original attacking fighters to go after the new AEW even if they are just a few miles out of range. They will be headed for home no matter what, and the new group of fighters assigned to hit the new AEW will likely be hundreds of miles away. By the time they arrive, there's a pretty good chance your first AEW will be ready to fly again. And then you just switch them again. Also, better on the ground for a while than shot down, never to be useful again.

You're assuming that there aren't other enemy aircraft enroute, ready and willing to shoot down your next AEW&C aircraft as it comes up. Or that there isn't a strike already bearing down on your airfield which will destroy your wasted AEW&C asset that you just landed. If you've let enemy aircraft get so close to your AEW&C aircraft (and your airfield) that you have to escape by landing, then you're already hurting.

 

Like I said, that is only the case when the enemy has stealthy fighters, and there is really no choice other than to "let" them get so close, pretty much by the definition of stealth. If there's a conventional strike headed in, or conventional fighters headed in, none of this would be necessary to keep the AEW alive. They would be seen far away and my defensive fighters would be moving to keep them all at a safe distance.

 

I would love someone to write a scenario where I would have to defend against an enemy that is ALL stealthy, including ships and subs. That would be a real challenge. Of course that would involve even more "gaming the game" to stay alive. I'm really missing my ability to write my own scenarios, as my 32-bit machine blue screens every hour or two.

 

Kind of a funny idea to have an all-stealth fleet action where the enemies can't find each other.

 

'Course what I really want is a two or multi-player game where my enemies won't fall for the same tricks over and over again like the AI does. But I'm not holding my breath.

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Like I said, that is only the case when the enemy has stealthy fighters, and there is really no choice other than to "let" them get so close, pretty much by the definition of stealth.

So you need to take measures to keep them from getting close, by moving back your AEW&C coverage behind your ground based air defense, and/or putting up more BARCAP between your airfield/AEW&C and the enemy.

 

If there's a conventional strike headed in, or conventional fighters headed in, none of this would be necessary to keep the AEW alive. They would be seen far away and my defensive fighters would be moving to keep them all at a safe distance.

That's the point, isn't it, not only keeping your AEW&C alive but keeping it functional and useful. Stealthy attackers aren't invisible - they just have an edge that you need to take measures against.

 

I would love someone to write a scenario where I would have to defend against an enemy that is ALL stealthy, including ships and subs. That would be a real challenge. Of course that would involve even more "gaming the game" to stay alive.

The tools are there for a scenario writer to take a stab at it. Hidden airfields and stealthy platforms. But if you need to 'game the game' to stay alive, either the scenario is unbalanced or you're "doing it wrong". ;)

 

I'm really missing my ability to write my own scenarios, as my 32-bit machine blue screens every hour or two.

It sucks that it is so unreliable, because your 32 bit machine is purpose built for the SE. ;)

 

'Course what I really want is a two or multi-player game where my enemies won't fall for the same tricks over and over again like the AI does. But I'm not holding my breath.

A really intuitive AI in a game like this is a lofty objective, but one we would all like to see. As for multiplayer, the real barrier might be matching available players to available time.

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So you need to take measures to keep them from getting close, by moving back your AEW&C coverage behind your ground based air defense, and/or putting up more BARCAP between your airfield/AEW&C and the enemy.

 

 

That's the point, isn't it, not only keeping your AEW&C alive but keeping it functional and useful. Stealthy attackers aren't invisible - they just have an edge that you need to take measures against.

 

 

The tools are there for a scenario writer to take a stab at it. Hidden airfields and stealthy platforms. But if you need to 'game the game' to stay alive, either the scenario is unbalanced or you're "doing it wrong". ;)

 

 

It sucks that it is so unreliable, because your 32 bit machine is purpose built for the SE. ;)

 

 

A really intuitive AI in a game like this is a lofty objective, but one we would all like to see. As for multiplayer, the real barrier might be matching available players to available time.

 

Unless I know exactly, pretty much to the degree where they're coming from, I can't place BARCAP directly in between incoming stealth fighters and my AEW. They might choose to attack my BARCAP if they pass close enough by it, or they might just fly right past it because they've already targeted the AEW. Of course, I can use my BARCAP radar, and make them the target in the first place, but that's asking them to be decimated by enemy stealth fighters.

 

Hidden Airfields? How do you make one of those? The only way I know is to use one of those Mitchel type CVs, or maybe a barge or other ship that can land VTOL.

 

The only reason my 32-bit machine isn't in the trash already is the hope to get some more use out of the SE.

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Unless I know exactly, pretty much to the degree where they're coming from, I can't place BARCAP directly in between incoming stealth fighters and my AEW. They might choose to attack my BARCAP if they pass close enough by it, or they might just fly right past it because they've already targeted the AEW. Of course, I can use my BARCAP radar, and make them the target in the first place, but that's asking them to be decimated by enemy stealth fighters.

You should in most every scenario have a good idea of the most likely avenues of approach. Even if you might be attacked by sea based airpower, geography will help. And your AEW&C assets also typically have ESM, so having them aloft can quickly narrow down the possibilities. In every case, putting up layered (and more plentiful) BARCAP is preferable to losing precious AEW&C or having your airfield smacked. At least the BARCAP can fight back.

 

Hidden Airfields? How do you make one of those? The only way I know is to use one of those Mitchel type CVs, or maybe a barge or other ship that can land VTOL.

They will appear in the SE as installations (bases) under Intl entries as 'airfield secret' and can be created as 'AD Fixed' in the Installations annex of the PE.

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Yojimboguy, I definitely feel your pain with not being able to write Harpoon Classic scenarios anymore (although for me, the problem is that I've got a 64-bit system and it does not like 16-bit programs like the SE.) It was one reason I started writing scenarios with H3.

 

I'm not trying to poach you away from Harpoon Classic--okay, maybe I am a little--but you might want to try out Harpoon 3 ANW and the HUD-4 database.

 

Among other things, you can set up patrols for the OpFor aircraft with range limits so they will not chase an AEW plane very far. H3 also models climb and descent rates, so I don't think the "instant landing" trick will work in H3 (I haven't actually tried it, so I don't know)--in other words, even at 0 miles, it will take a little while to get the plane down.

 

If you are interested, please feel free to post ideas, ask questions, etc. in the H3 forums. Or, if you want, please feel free to send me messages. I'll be happy to do what I can to help you out.

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Yojimboguy, I definitely feel your pain with not being able to write Harpoon Classic scenarios anymore (although for me, the problem is that I've got a 64-bit system and it does not like 16-bit programs like the SE.) It was one reason I started writing scenarios with H3.

 

I'm not trying to poach you away from Harpoon Classic--okay, maybe I am a little--but you might want to try out Harpoon 3 ANW and the HUD-4 database.

 

Among other things, you can set up patrols for the OpFor aircraft with range limits so they will not chase an AEW plane very far. H3 also models climb and descent rates, so I don't think the "instant landing" trick will work in H3 (I haven't actually tried it, so I don't know)--in other words, even at 0 miles, it will take a little while to get the plane down.

 

If you are interested, please feel free to post ideas, ask questions, etc. in the H3 forums. Or, if you want, please feel free to send me messages. I'll be happy to do what I can to help you out.

I never explored ANW because I ran into tech problems from day 1, and at that time I was posting such questions to Matrix. The main problem is that my mouse doesn't wanna play with it properly. It disappears as I run it over the ANW Window.

 

Maybe I'll post something about that here, because the game looked really promising if I could get the interface working right.

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I simply subscribe to the "If you feel like you're gaming the game, and you don't like it...don't do it."

 

As far as ANW/H3, it'd be fine if the DBs worked as advertised. But the official ones are pretty buggy, and HUD-4, you're not even allowed to fix yourself.

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... and HUD-4, you're not even allowed to fix yourself.

We respect the DB author's decision and reasons for safeguarding his work. ;)

 

I respect that, as well, but I also reserve the right to be annoyed when bugs crop up in it that I can't fix because of his choices. I'll leave the subject alone, just noting that it's just one more reason NOT to play H3/ANW.

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I respect that, as well, but I also reserve the right to be annoyed when bugs crop up in it that I can't fix because of his choices. I'll leave the subject alone, just noting that it's just one more reason NOT to play H3/ANW.

There are productive ways of helping a database author if one is interested in using the DB. There are also completely unproductive - and rather, destructive - methods. You can find plenty of those elsewhere. We only deal in the former here, and not the latter.

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