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Herbiie

Zeus and Zeus Things.

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Hey,

 

There's been discussion in various places about Zeus, or Zeus missions, causing long waiting times. I decided to make this thread to have one centralised place with which to discuss Zeus.


Personally, I believe that greater use should be made of the "Curator Points" system (when I return I have a couple of missions that should be ready to be uploaded by the 15th) rather than the fairly lazy method of placing BluFor & a few Zeus, and having to create an entire mission with Zeus.

 

Essentially the curator points system is there to limit what the curator can place, how much they can place and where they can place it. This allows the Mission Maker to simply make the "Shell" of a mission, with the briefing in full and the objective placed. The curator can then place units within the mission maker's parameters.

 

This allows the mission to remain dynamic and different each time, as the curator can control the exact configuration of the enemy force. If combined with an in game briefing, this will cut down on waiting times massively through concurrent activity. While the CO is making his plan, the curator is placing units and section commanders are going through drills. This way the players won't notice any waiting time.

 

For example, a mission I am planning is CO32 ZEUS Operation Hermes. In it, a Platoon of US infantry is assaulting a town in which a Russian squad is holing up after withdrawing.

 

The zeus curator can make many different configurations, being able to deploy Russian Riflemen, Grenadiers and Machinegunners only. The curator has (for argument's sake, although the scripting is slightly different) 100 points. Riflemen cost 10, Grenadiers 15 and Machinegunners 30. This means that he could deploy a force of 10 riflemen, grouped and placed wherever he wants. Or, he could deploy a force with a machinegunner, 2 grenadiers and 4 riflemen. Or even 3 machine gunners and a single rifleman. There are many different combinations the curator could think of. He can only place them in the objective area, however he can set them waypoints outside of this area, or control them himself. This means that the enemy force can be elsewhere than in the town, he could put out a sentry or even set a small ambush. I believe there is even a way in which he can be limited as to where his almighty Zeus camera can go, and be given a time limit with which he has to place all of the units.

I think it would work best if the curator was also genuinely attempting to defeat BluFor - he is limited enough that he will find it difficult to do (he can't just wipe them out with mortars for example, because he can't spawn any), but if he is trying to win it will make a more dynamic challenge to the players (they can genuinely get flanked for example).

Once I have made & tested this mission, I'll look into making a guide on how to use the curator points effectively. I was wondering what people thought about this "new" method, or any part of it.

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We've all agreed one of the major pitfalls of our current utilization of Zeus is the set up time due to starting with a blank slate. I, for one, will meet any effort to alleviate these frustrations with open arms.

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Give the players cars and tell them to move to a staging point after a WARNO. This keeps them moving and gives you time to create the scenario, if you are smart enough, you can even turn this itself into a mission (ambush anyone?)

 

Having them sit around is the worst thing you can do, make a marker and have them move to it, make sure it is far enough away and on an easy enough route that they can make it in the right amount of time.

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Give the players cars and tell them to move to a staging point after a WARNO. This keeps them moving and gives you time to create the scenario, if you are smart enough, you can even turn this itself into a mission (ambush anyone?)

 

Having them sit around is the worst thing you can do, make a marker and have them move to it, make sure it is far enough away and on an easy enough route that they can make it in the right amount of time.

 

Erm yeah. But if you read the OP, I'm talking about what a Mission Maker can do.

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Erm yeah. But if you read the OP, I'm talking about what a Mission Maker can do.

 

Which is exactly what I just said. Have the players spawn one place and give them orders to move to another?

 

The WARNO should be in the briefing of the mission.

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You made it sound like it is something the curator should be doing, thanks for clarifying. :)
 
I don't think people sitting in a vehicle is particularly productive. At least if they are outside they can do drills etc.

 

Why does the briefing need to just be a Warning Order? A problem I've seen people have is poor level briefings from Zeus players. Also, are you suggesting this in the system I've suggested or the current one? If it's the current one of blank cheque Zeus then how can a WARNO be issued with no indication of what the objective is? If it's mine, then I see no reason why it can't be a full briefing (or a more realistic 1 up briefing as I prefer).

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There is room on the server for both types.

 

For the blank slates, the Zeus should have a WARNO prepared by the time the mission is fully slotted and a general area in which it should be carried out.

 

Driving around = talking and focusing on reaching a point. It also makes the leaders coordinate for the movement.

 

Standing around = eventual derp and grenade accidents.

 

 

For your suggestion, I believe it is still important that the Zeus be given time to alter the scenario so it is not the same every time.

 

Again, a movement phase to a staging point where the leader can be given updated information would be a good thing, as it gives time for sections and platoon leaders to get themselves and their men coordinated with minimal risk of negligent grenade explosions or derp.

 

The WARNO can be given during the movement phase, then the 1up on arrival at the staging point.

 

Situations sometimes change in transit and the mission the unit was briefed on beforehand may be altered, this means the leader must flex his/her brain muscles and adapt, which means the section leaders and their charges must also do so.

 

I see briefings as such.

 

Vague Outline -> Situational Errors/Inconcistencies -> Final Planning -> Execution -> Adaptation

 

 

Perhaps the section- that was the original target has been reinforced with another section? Perhaps the light infantry force was replaced with an IFV section? Maybe enemy air contacts have arrived in the AO?

 

All of these are things that could occur while the unit was in transit, all of which cause for reevaluation of the original plan and change the course of the mission, adding replay-ability.

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This is much rather how I'd see Zeus used. At the moment we force a couple of people to create a mission from scratch, which means everyone twiddles their thumbs for a while, and usually resulting in scenarios that are often unbalanced because of the rush to make them.

 

If instead the Zeus player is given strictly defined parameters, these are the units you can bring in, this is your objective, then it resolves these issues, while still making for interesting and dynamic gameplay.

Edited by Kingslayer

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Fred, don't take this the wrong way, but it is sounding like you haven't really read what I'm suggesting.

 

Any of the things you have just suggested would end up with the mission being called off. Frankly I would be pissed off to fuck if my entire plan was ruined because, for no apparent reason, the enemy infantry section suddenly turned into IFVs.

As a mission maker, I wouldn't like the idea of handing over to some Zeus player who may be quite stupid and do something stupid. I do not think the scenario should be altered in any way shape or form, and will be adding to the notes that the curator (nor any magical Zeus GM) can NOT add to the BluFor's briefing. They are there as a commander for the OpFor and nothing else. This does not mean the mission will be the same every time. Even when we did not have zeus, the mission was not the same every time. With zeus being used this way, while the objective might be the same, the series of events could change. Instead of facing an ambush outside of town, followed by an enemy strongpoint in a house, players could fin the enemy attempting to attack them, or using shoot & scoot tactics to inflict losses. It doesn't need the drastic and, frankly, ridiculous, measures that you are suggesting.

As I said in my OP, an in game briefing would alleviate these problems. The curator can do his thing while the CO comes up with a plan. Section commanders will be instructed to do some drills, perhaps under co-ordination by the Platoon Sergeant.

Edited by Herbiie

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I'm working on a dynamic slotting and kitting system to remove the overhead of playing dress up and the disorginization that comes with slotting.

 

Zeus missions would, in this framework, have no slots at the regular "slotting" screen - you would basically take any slot and they would all be the same.

 

Upon entering the mission, you then get whatever currently selected 'slot template' the Zeus has selected for that mission, with those currently running slots.

 

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Fred, don't take this the wrong way, but it is sounding like you haven't really read what I'm suggesting.

 

Any of the things you have just suggested would end up with the mission being called off. Frankly I would be pissed off to fuck if my entire plan was ruined because, for no apparent reason, the enemy infantry section suddenly turned into IFVs.

 

War does not follow your whims, adapt.

 

So what happens when the enemy manages to hide the IFV? What if your scouts and recon element do not find it or it slips past them? Do you call off the mission while it is already in motion? Or do you eliminate the force multiplier?

 

A US Army Infantry platoon has the capability to destroy one IFV, if it were a company of IFVs, I would agree with you.

 

You can argue that a larger force would be called in to take care of the IFV, but sometimes that simply is not an option, especially in large-scale open warfare with an equivalent enemy such as the RF. In truth, force multipliers of your own should be present just for that specific case.

 

In the grand game of Rock, Paper, Scissors that is war, you sometimes are given paper when you need dynamite.

 

 

Also, "suddenly turned into" is not the same as "arrived while we were moving". There is an acceptable level of change that can occur and the mission still continue with minor adaptation. Again, not saying the Zeus should spawn in a company of BMPs when the players have one CG, just that changing up the unit roster from the expected is a good thing that changes the way the mission is played.

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Upon entering the mission, you then get whatever currently selected 'slot template' the Zeus has selected for that mission, with those currently running slots.

 

 

When does the Zeus pick the slot template?

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When does the Zeus pick the slot template?

 

When he clicks new mission and it shoves everyone into a virtual slotting screen.

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. There is an acceptable level of change that can occur and the mission still continue with minor adaptation.

 

Yeah and a bunch of IFVs turning up is not an acceptable level of change. If I were a platoon commander and suddenly someone said "There's a BTR on the objective." that radically changes the situation, especially if my intel is so sketchy it missed an IFV, which I suppose could be located anywhere. This is a machine with enough firepower to ravage my platoon & cause at least 5 casualties before we can get into cover, meaning I've lost at least a section to people dealing with casualties or being casualties (possibly more), and this thing can engage me at a distance at least twice my effective range. At best my response would be "We're delaying the mission until that BTR is destroyed" at worst I would return to base and request a javelin team. Also, if one IFV can just turn up, so can others. So I need a blocking force to isolate the enemy & stop that happening, perhaps a pair of apaches or a javelin post? Artillery on the approaches to the objective could work. But hey, Fred The Destroyer says that my platoon can deal with this, so I guess it must be ok.

 

There's adaptation and there's crass stupidity.

 

 

 

Either way, it would entirely fuck with the mission and with everyone. I'm sorry Fred but what you are suggesting is just stupid. To change the scenario while the CO is making his plan at UO will lead to a massive clusterfuck and more waiting as the commander now has to scratch the planning he's done so far and start anew.

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When he clicks new mission and it shoves everyone into a virtual slotting screen.

 

So the slotting templates are different missions?

 

Sounds good, but wouldn't there still be considerable waiting while the mission is set up?

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So the slotting templates are different missions?

 

Sounds good, but wouldn't there still be considerable waiting while the mission is set up?

 

No, thye are not different missions. All of this exists within a single Zeus mission; just within any given execution of Zeus on the server, think of it was a 'virtual mission', where you then pick slots and go.

 

And yes, its still considered waiting. But it removes the disorginization of slotting/changing leadership/bad slots/bad groups which exist in a Zeus mission. It also removes playing dress up, and on any given Zeus objective you'll know your TO&E. You'll know a person is the squad lead because hes slotted as a squad lead. and a JIP will know where to go, because he slotted it.  And last, a Zeus/admin/commander knows who is slotted where always; because he can always check it.

Edited by jaynus

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War does not follow your whims, adapt.

 

Actually, this is why final reconnaissance exists. If the situation changes you need to re-evaluate the entire plan, effectively going through the planning procedure again. If it turns out you are incapable of dealing with the forces then you tell higher and either get support or get the fuck out of there. Commanders blindly following outdated orders results in mass casualties, destroyed platoons and failed missions.

 

The majority of people who fancy themselves as Zeus are not military commanders, they do not possess the required experience or training to properly create realistic scenarios. While, yes, this is a game and you can somewhat fudge the real-life expectations due to differences in skill level the core principles remain the same. Without meaning to pick on you I'll take your example and use it.

A section fortified inside a small group of buildings would be able to successfully repel or severely delay an unsupported platoon tasked with capturing that group of buildings. If you then add even just a single IFV to the defending forces then you can expect to be destroyed.

When you then increase that small group of buildings to a village or even a town entire new sets of problems occur in how you're going to clear and secure this town with such a small number of people.

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Actually, this is why final reconnaissance exists. If the situation changes you need to re-evaluate the entire plan, effectively going through the planning procedure again. If it turns out you are incapable of dealing with the forces then you tell higher and either get support or get the fuck out of there. Commanders blindly following outdated orders results in mass casualties, destroyed platoons and failed missions.

 

Which is what I am saying, if the situation changes, the commander should be prepared to adapt his plan to accommodate the new factors, when the capability of his platoon is appropriate.

 

 

Would a US Army infantry platoon, which is most likely mechanized and supported by air anyways, be recalled by what is essentially one Russian infantry mechanized section? Maybe, depending on terrain and the force multipliers.

 

I'm not saying blindly follow previous orders, I am saying that the capability and firepower at hand is sufficient to destroy one infantry section and their vehicle. Re-evaluating the plan would happen upon the final recon, after the movement, just before the operation goes live.

 

But do not tell me that if a town needed to be taken, that the rest of the operation depended upon the taking of said town or objective, that the higher-ups would not take the chance that a portion of their platoon would be destroyed. Acceptable losses and all that.

 

In a war with Russia, acceptable losses would most likely be much higher than a brushfire war like what was experienced in Afghanistan.

 

 

Most US Infantry platoons are not unsupported, modern war relies on multiple branches coordinating to produce maximum results. A single drone with proper laser designation can ice that IFV in seconds, so an Apache or other gunship should have no issue doing the same.

 

Even without these, Infantry platoons have Javelins or other long to mid range anti-armor capability.

 

As most of our missions do not incorporate civilians, what is keeping the commander from leveling the fortified locations with heavy supporting fire?

 

 

Am I saying that a platoon of Humvee-mounted light infantry should go head to head with an IFV? No. I am saying that if you are putting US troops against Russians, most likely, the Russians are going to have either BMPs or BTRs with heavy autocannons. Most modern armies have such vehicles to transport their troops and level the playing field. It should be accepted that such a force has the capability to reinforce, repair or otherwise replace any losses in a manner equivalent to that of BLUFOR forces.

 

 

A section fortified inside a small group of buildings would be able to repel or delay an unsupported platoon.

 

But if you are showing up with an unsupported platoon, you have already fucked up.

 

 

We could argue the hypotheticals of the scenario for days, but it falls on the Zeus team, both enemy and friendly, to provide what is necessary for a realistic wargame.

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But if you are showing up with an unsupported platoon, you have already fucked up.

 

You mean unsupported platoons like in the majority of our mission?

Fred I think that you are taking this way off topic.

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Fred you are making any discussion pointless because you keep changing the premise of the mission.

 

You must understand that anything we do in the military is always depending on the specific situation we are facing at the specific time we are in.

 

So in Herbiie's example your platoon is a light infantry platoon Attacking a small town, guarded by up to 10 enemy infantrymen. Having personally been in a quite similar situation in Afghanistan i can tell you that is quite the firefight to get into.
One might even argue that we where lucky to only have one casualty. Or that we should not even have pushed on that objective, but there you have it. We could potentially have gotten mortar and artillery support but this would be at the expense of destroying the houses we where trying to rid of Taliban. Since we had Medevac coming we would get Apace support with that. But the time it took from the 9-line was sent until the helicopters arrived it had been 40 minutes of fighting, and there had been 1½ hour of fighting before that point.

 

In that particular situation if we had known that Taliban would fight this fiercely over that town, we would have prepared CAS beforehand, and possibly even brought another platoon as well. But by the time we realized what the enemy intent was there was nowhere to go but forward. And our only chance at breaking contact was by using the Chinook lifting off as a bullet magnet while the Apaches covered us running away.

 

Now what i am eluding to is that in this situation we could have blown the entire town to bits by requesting arty and mortars out the ass, if we where panicky enough we might even have gotten a B1 to help us, but because of the principle of proportionality and our leaders having faith in us this option was not utilized so we did not have to kill a bunch off civilians and make the rest homeless.

 

This principle of proportionality of force even goes doubly in a full on war. Because a real war is characterized by resources being limited in a different way. since anything NATO can do to the Russians the Russians can do to NATO. So suddenly using CAS is a risky move, since you might loose that plane to a SAM or an enemy interceptor. Arty and mortars are limited too by a combination of a constant need to service targets and a constant shortage of ammunition as a result. So sometimes a Platoon will be sent to do tasks unsupported, because it is estimated that the platoon can finish the mission that way. So in this case a Light platoon against up to 10 enemy Infantrymen.

 

Now if this platoon arrives at the target they have gotten only to find that the target has been reinforced by for instance the enemy section having gotten linked up with their BMP-3. Then the whole mission Changes. The original mission will be abandoned because it can no longer be completed in the way planned, Here is why.
Whenever a Unit receives a mission the mission is automatically meant to be completed while keeping the unit combat effective, In NATO doctrine a unit who has lost 33% of its personnel is considered Destroyed because it can no longer do what the unit is meant to do. So a platoon that looses 33% of their people are no longer considered a platoon, and will normally get folded into another platoon in the company. 

 

So when the light infantry platoon meets a enemy section in a defensive position supported by an IFV, the situation has changed in a way that means that the platoon might be able to accomplish their objective, but it will be at the expense of the platoon becoming combat ineffective. So therefore this would under normal circumstances mean that the mission will be aborted and get planned again. Granted there has been cases of units being ordered to continue the mission at any cost, but this has usually been reserved to strategically critical missions, Such as British airborne troops being ordered to secure and defend Bridges over the Orne river. Here a general as estimated that he would rather see this unit end up combat ineffective than let the enemy win that particular fight. But these orders are very rare, the norm by far is that a unit is supposed to maintain its combat effectiveness while completing its mission.

 

I am hoping that this is being understood correctly, because i know that many players here do not really understand this premise of a mission. Before i have seen players saying that they won an assault mission by killing all the enemy on the map, with only 3 friendlies remaining. In normal tactical terms this is a failure, since the assault in effect has not achieved anything in real terms, due to their lack of man power to actually hold on to the ground gained, and the fact that they cannot be used for anything now.

 

So remember this when you start Arguing over these things. That there are things that you would realistically consider too dangerous to do with the force you have and therefore making a mission involving this would be completely pointless, not unrealistic but pointless because our realistic response is to fall back and wait for more players to join and for zeus to spawn some more assets for us.

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I'm just saying having more than 2 zeus slots could really help.  I don't see how it could hurt.

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I will be working with Falcon and a few folks to set up a new set of Zeus missions across all maps, with more zeus slots.

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ahem.. AlLiVE coupled with Zeus could be much better combo than just zeus alone 

 

alive have some obvious features such as being able to populate whole map with just a few clicks

 

also to place asembled bases and checkpoints populated with enemies (using zeus)

 

and more impostantly

 

Alive have MISSION GENERATION

 

so you don't even need to create whole things yourself, if you are lazy

Edited by n2-

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ahem.. AlLiVE coupled with Zeus could be much better combo than just zeus alone 

 

alive have some obvious features such as being able to populate whole map with just a few clicks

 

also to place asembled bases and checkpoints populated with enemies (using zeus)

 

and more impostantly

 

Alive have MISSION GENERATION

 

so you don't even need to create whole things yourself, if you are lazy

 

 

Alive does not work at all with our player counts. In the slightest. Its just not possible. Sorry.

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