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New Feature: Radio Operator[message #327348] Thu, 31 October 2013 01:13 Go to previous message
Flugente

 
Messages:3476
Registered:April 2009
Location: Germany
New feature: Radio Operator trait
Even though communication is important on modern battlefields, it is curiously absent from JA2. So I implemented a new minor trait: radio operator.

A radio operator is a soldier that has received communication equipment training. Only radio operators can use such equipment, in this case radio sets. A radio set (item #1697) is worn like a backpack and requires special batteries (item #1698) on order to work. With such equipment, an operator has access to a variety of unique skills.
http://i41.tinypic.com/ek3red.jpg
These skills are called by pressing $ in tactical - which calls the new skill menu - and then selecting the correct skill (currently usable ones are green). As some skills require a target location, the location your mouse was when you opened the menu is taken for this and is coloured green while the menu is active.

Artillery strike
If allied troops are in adjacent sectors, a radio operator can call in artillery strikes. These can be called in both from militia (the number of shells will depend on the number an quality of troopers) or your mercs (in which case they need to have mortars and shells in their inventory). To call in artillery, first hover with your mouse over the position you want shelled. Then open the skill menu and select Artillery Strike from the Radio Operator menu. You can then select from which sector you want assistance.

If you call militia, a signal shell will immediately fired upon this location, illuminating the area and marking this region with red smoke for shelling. One turn later, a massive artillery bombardment will flatten the area around that signal. The size of the bombardment depends on the number and quality of militia in the sector you ordered the attack from. There is a cooldown for this (ini setting), so you will only be able to use this once per battle per sector.

If you call a strike from other mercs, they need to have mortars and shells in their inventory. All those will be fired. You can then simply give them more shells from that sector's inventory for another run. You can also use all kinds of shells, like mixing a few mustard shells in between normal shells, or illumination shells at night.

If you call your mercs, then you should mark the target area prior to the call. Use a mortar signal shell (#1700) or a signal flare (#1701) to mark a target with red signal smoke. Once artillery is called, it is fired on a random signal smoke source (which is the reason the AI always fires one prior to the bombardment). If such a signal does not exist, a radio operator of the team that made the call is targeted, as we assume he ordered a heroic last stand. Should such a person not exist anymore, we target a random grid on the map, because we have to fire somewhere, right?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C0aNnc04BSM&feature=youtu.be[/video]

Militia itself does not use radio operators, that's your job. The enemy, however, does, as the AI now knows how to call artillery strikes.

And no, this is not a use of the ancient 'airstrikes' feature. This is entirely new and does not use that code.

Jam communications
How do you defend against artillery? One possibility is to run away really fast. Another would be to kill every hostile radio operator before he can call his friends. Third option is gambling - artillery targets a random signal smoke source. So if a bombardment is imminent, you can somewhat increase your chances by throwing out additional smoke sources.
A fourth option is to jam sector-wide communications.
By selecting this skill, the radio set will fill all radio frequencies with white noise [insert technobable here], thereby making any communication impossible. Other radio skills will be unusable for all teams as long as this radio operator does that (he has to keep the set in his inventory and in use). The enemy can't nuke you, but you can't nuke him either. Reinforcements also won't work (the AI cannot call reinforcements either, might be useful if the DCA is to hard for you). The AI also uses this, especially if it cannot call artillery anymore.

http://i42.tinypic.com/2qcntlg.jpg
A crossed out radio symbol means we are currently jamming frequencies.

Scan frequencies
http://i44.tinypic.com/98um2p.jpg
A countermeasure against Jam communications, scanning searches for jammers by triangulation [insert more technobable here]. Map regions with jammers will be marked on the map, but you won't know who causes it, where exactly they are, and how many they are.

Eavesdrop
The radio operator uses his radio set to listen for any nearby noise sources. This increases his hearing range extremely [pseudo-scientific but ultimately made-up explanation here], but a he intently listens, his attention to his surroundings wavers - his interrupt level is lowered significantly while he does so.

Call reinforcements
You can call in militia reinforcements from neighbouring sectors, provided there are any. They work like normal reinforcements. This allows for better strategies, such as calling your reinforcements once you've secured their immediate staging area.
http://i41.tinypic.com/2r7bvp1.jpg
This also works outside of towns, and will thus enrage people to no end once they realise the tactical implications Smile In short: you can effectively move militia in combination with your troops. Couple that with equippable militia, use profiles to individualise them, and they'll be as close to mercs as they can ever get. They can even be used offensively - so you can attack a city with a platoon of well-equipped militia, a squadleader to boost them and a radio operator to move them.
You can finetune (within boundaries) how many reinforcements you want to call.
These reinforcements work a bit different (internally) from normal militia reinforcements, so time delays are not possible for them at the moment.

Switch off radio set
Cancels any jamming/scanning/listening.

Radio Scan
This is not a skill but an assignment in strategic screen. A radio operator can use their equipment to drop in on enemy frequencies, possible revealing enemy positions and numbers in neighbouring sectors. The higher troop concentration, the higher the chance of detection.
http://i39.tinypic.com/2zdrg60.jpgThe sector modifier in TableData/Map/SectorNames.xml increases the possible scanning range in a sector (so that mountains are rewarding positions for this task). It is even possible to deduct enemy movements from this.

Not a skill, but worth noting: operators can give individual orders to militia even if they are not in sight, making them the obvious choice in ordering militia around.

http://i44.tinypic.com/2wodrba.jpg
All radio actions cost battery power. The battery charge level is indicated by a green bar on the battery item picture. If not needed, make sure you turn off your equipment via switch of radio set. Only radio sets currently worn 'work', so moving around the gear in your inventory also saves batteries.

The status of a radio set has an influence on its performance. Damaged sets have a chance to fail. The feedback you receive will be the same you get when frequencies are jammed - if your gear is in bad shape, you won't know wether it just failed, or if the enemy is actually blocking your communications.

http://i39.tinypic.com/2wml4k7.jpg
This trait gives you access to a number of unique skills. I deem this trait necessary for this. Using these skills won't be possible without it (no, I won't move this to backgrounds). Same for the radio set. I know modern radio units are not as big as a backpack and don't weigh multiple kilos, but I deem this necessary for balance reasons. If you want these skills for your team, you need mercs with this trait, and they need to drag along this gear, thereby forcing you to compromise on the equipment you take along.

This does not break savegame compatibilty.

This has been added to the trunk in revision r6547 and GameDir r1848. The GameDir revision is required, otherwise you will experience crashes when trying to use this feature.


 
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