James McKenzie-Smith

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About James McKenzie-Smith

  • Birthday 12/12/1968

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  • Location
    Vancouver, B.C., Canada
  • Interests
    Game design, computer simulations, art, infantry tactics, COIN tactics, music, reading, running, F1, history, among other things

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  • Platform
    PC gamer
  1. SP Mission structure

    First time poster, greetings one and all. Can anyone shed any light as to the structure of the typical mission in game terms? What I mean by this, is when does gameplay start in-mission, and when does it end? I saw the pictures of the Ground Branch lads wearing rebreathers, so it seems likely that insertion/infiltration will be modelled. Actions on the objective are of course a no-brainer. However, are exfiltration/extraction modelled? It has been a weakness of many tactical games that as soon as a target is attacked/observed/killed/rescued or whatever, the mission is declared over. In real life, after one performs one's actions at the objective, one still has to get home. This is almost certainly a more dangerous phase of an operation than the insertion/infiltration, as enemies who were unaware of a special operations team in the area before the mission was launched, are on the whole more likely to be aware of a team's presence after a mission goes noisy. Indeed, a team is more likely to be compromised as time passes into the latter half of a mission merely due to the fact that the longer a team is on the ground, the more likely it is to be discovered. Some games simulated this quite admirably. A fine example of this is the game Elite Warriors: Vietnam. Budget game it might have been, at least it showed that there was plenty of excitement for the player after a successful strike on a target. Many times while playing, I would successfully attack a target, only to have my team destroyed days later in game time while making my way to a heli pick up zone. The feeling of being low on ammo, with tired, wounded men, trying desperately to get to the PZ made for tension that rivalled and sometimes exceeded the visceral thrill of blowing up enemy vehicles at the objective. It would be excellent to see this modelled by Ground Branch. Also, what happens on mission failure at the objective? Once again, if in real life one fails one's mission, an overlay reading 'Mission Failed' does not appear followed by a debrief screen. One still has to get home, and as above, this can be a time fraught with interest. Consider a hypothetical mission whereby a team has to observe an MSR for signs of Chinese activity without being compromised. If for some reason the team is discovered - an indigenous farmer notices the team tucked up in some reeds or whatever, and reports it to the local militia - then as a player, I want to see what happens next. I don't want to be shown the ol' "Mission Failed" overlay with an invitation to restart, I want to be on the run from thirty militia and their Chinese advisors, trying to salvage something from the mess. For that matter, if during my infiltration, I suffer casualties that make the mission nearly suicidal to complete, I would like the option to call for emergency extraction, or at least put an improvised E&E plan into action. Sorry for the long-winded, boring post. The game looks like it is headed in the right direction, and I look forward to seeing the end result. 2008 looks like it will be a good year for tactical gamers.