Game as a simulation and learning tool...

Discuss your new mods and themes here

Moderator: Defcon moderators

User avatar
djdemo
level1
level1
Posts: 63
Joined: Thu Oct 05, 2006 3:18 pm

Game as a simulation and learning tool...

Postby djdemo » Fri Oct 06, 2006 12:09 am

I've copied this from another forum thread, as I think the game could be quite useful in instructing the basic principles of nuclear strategy;

I believe we have the basis for a simulator, but the problem with the real thing is that it is no fun - the fun is the management prior to the exchange, or trying to keep the exchange limited - the TV movie 'By Dawn's Early' light dealt with this well.

Also, the objectives would have to change since nuclear strategy was never about killing enemy civilians, it was about preventing nuclear attack on one's own country - by threatening to kill civilians.

Even within a nuclear war you had counter-force options to avoid civilian deaths in order to co-erce the other side into surrendering - knock out his accurate nukes, leaving him only with weapons that can be used against cities - knowing that you will strike back at his cities, giving him two options 1) Climb Down, or 2) all out exchange.

Of course, given the choice between surrender and fighting it out - fighting it out is the more likely option, so in the nuclear context you have to 'win' the war - but only by a small margin, so that the other side accepting defeat is not a total unconditional surrender - something more limited like accepting unification of the Korean Peninsula, or Soviet annexation of Afghanistan.

Of course, once the bombs start falling C3i is compromised and the whole notion of 'managing' a nuclear exchange as a concept comes into question!

Still, I believe this programme provides a test-bed for such 'simulations' for those interested in playing the game as it it was for real - perhaps with some land combat element thrown in.

Next steps are;

1) Accurate globe - instead of flat map. Despite the missile curves etc, the map is really just a flat-wrap around, so bombers from the USA have to fly a LONG way West to reach the Soviet Union, instead of just taking the short route North.

When you look at the globe in that sense, you see why the US based the radars in central canada, rather than on the edges of the country.

However, this may be beyond the scope of the game - I'd settle for binning South America and Africa and keeping the flat-wrap around map - but using a top down polar projection map instead - just for USA, Europe, China and USSR scenerios.

Something like this;

Image

2) Different units for different factions - different national geographic locations demanded different weapon systems... the USA, for example, built a large bomber force- whereas the Soviet union went for many land based ICBMs. As a consequence, the USSR had many more fighters on intercept roles than the USA did, simply because there were fewere Soviet bombers to worry about. And to combat the large US Navy, the Soviets based loads of Backfires up near Norway to fly into the GIUK gap to harrass US shipping.

3) Different bombers - long range strategic, and medium range... representing Backfires and F-111's. For the US, being able to base bombers in Europe is crucial.


Of course, this is now a fundamentally different game and only really applies to the grognards who want to simulate a largely 'uninteresting' shooting match. That said, this game as a game is brilliant - and with a few units and both sides having hte same units, it is extremely deep in terms of strategy. More akin to chess.

In a few games against the AI I have won without taking any losses - which, given the same starting forces, means that the strategy employed was superior - and I did not win due to having more missiles, or better bombers - which would be a feature in a cold war simulation.

Now I need to start playing against Humans, who I suspect will not be so easy to defeat as the AI!!!
User avatar
Rotluchs
level1
level1
Posts: 38
Joined: Sat Sep 30, 2006 6:49 am

Postby Rotluchs » Fri Oct 06, 2006 12:21 am

I would love to see a more accurate map come out like that... at least for US, EU, USSR... Southern hemisphere would be difficult to do on the same map... their missiles have to fly over the s. pole.

Many of the ideas for missile arcs based on location of launch and target look good if they can be implimented.
User avatar
djdemo
level1
level1
Posts: 63
Joined: Thu Oct 05, 2006 3:18 pm

Postby djdemo » Fri Oct 06, 2006 2:32 pm

Since South America and Africa are not nuclear powers, in a 'simulation' type game - you can drop these continents off completely.

However, what I'm thinking of is getting together students of this sort of thing who would agree to 'rules' - so like a board game you can pick your peices and put it anywhere on the map -but that would be an illegal move, so that there would be some 'role-play' to regulate behaviour (no USSR, Europe alliances).


I'm not even sure these would be 'fun' for the maintstream public, but for students of this stuff - to this date, only the SAC people have had access to simulators to test out the theory.

I'd love to be able to, under certain settings, see if a limited counter-force strike would deter Soviet aggression in the Atlantic - or in Europe... can knocking out their ofensive capabilities force a surrender.. etc etc.


Although no where near as detailed as the SIOP computers, this game does provide a basis for like-minded modders. I look forward to a sequel if they decide to make one.

BUT, I think the beauty of this game is that it is abstract, and not a simulation in any respect - but rather a true strategy game like chess, which I think makes it a very commerically sucesful game. As I've started, I think the actual nuclear stand-off is not very 'interesting' from a game-point of view.

It is essentially a game of prisoner's dilmea again and again.
User avatar
Rotluchs
level1
level1
Posts: 38
Joined: Sat Sep 30, 2006 6:49 am

Postby Rotluchs » Fri Oct 06, 2006 6:07 pm

Yeah the simulation mode would be cool, but youd have to throw soooo much more into it, becuase nothing would just start nuclear. It would escilate... limited ground war in central europe.. maybe setbacks on one side or another.... french use a theatre tactical nuke to save paris, ussr responds in kind but hits a city, small yeild munitions everywhere, then the big stuff, N. Atlantic convoys getting through and NATO forces threaten soviet territory, russia uses theatre tactical nukes to hold back the threat, etc, etc, etc.... you see where im going. I would be down with it if it could be done, but I dont think there is a program that is worth messing with that can simulate all that that we could get our hands on. Most of the ones that tried to recreate it ended up sucking eggs.
shole
level1
level1
Posts: 29
Joined: Thu Aug 03, 2006 2:56 am

Postby shole » Sun Oct 08, 2006 1:06 pm

maybe there will some day be a HC strategic simulator like harpoon, that would simulate all worldwide military action, land sea and air, aswell as nuclear
(harpoon only simulates naval warfare and related air activities)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harpoon_(computer_game)
sapi
level1
level1
Posts: 38
Joined: Mon Oct 02, 2006 1:42 am

Postby sapi » Sun Oct 08, 2006 1:44 pm

Your ideas are brilliant and i for one would love to play them, but i fear that they may be outside the scope of this game. Still, i've seen what modders can do in the past, so i won't write anything off...
User avatar
Corbeau
level1
level1
Posts: 51
Joined: Fri Oct 06, 2006 11:54 pm
Location: Seattle, WA, USA

Postby Corbeau » Sun Oct 08, 2006 7:58 pm

I would absolutely love to see a simulation version of Defcon. I can't contribute anything to such a project due to lack of time/energy, but I'd love to see someone do it...
"Rule #13: do onto others." - The Seven Habits of Highly Effective Pirates
Crusader Scott
level2
level2
Posts: 110
Joined: Mon Aug 07, 2006 7:24 am
Location: NY, USA
Contact:

Postby Crusader Scott » Tue Oct 10, 2006 5:14 am

Some of what you suggest is reminiscient of the 1989 game BALANCE OF POWER by Chris Crawford.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Balance_of_Power_(computer_game)

In many ways, this game could be considered the prequel to DEFCON as it simulated the politics that could lead to nuclear war. I owned this game and recall, fondly, the many interesting and instructive hours I had playing it. I also purchased the excellent book of the same name (it was based upon the research that went into making the game). In fact, I think it was that game and book that pushed me on the road to becoming a political science major! :D

I've often wondered when some company would dust off the game and update it for the modern PC....
User avatar
djdemo
level1
level1
Posts: 63
Joined: Thu Oct 05, 2006 3:18 pm

Postby djdemo » Tue Oct 10, 2006 9:52 pm

Crusader,

Yep - sort of like Balance of Power - but I don't need it to work single player - DEFCON provides a sandpit for students to 'play' in... they impose upon themselves historical limitations and real-world issues.

Thus, although in a game europe can attack the US - it wouldn't, nor would it have much beyond the IRBMs based in Europe, NATO bombers and British and French SLBMs.

There would also be no ABM technology, so no defence against missiles - making a first strike more deadly, BUT, the assured retalitory capability of the USSR and USA would deter the other from launching, and would therefore have more focus on first strikes by subs and bombers to try and knock out the silos before they launch.


Alough it would still be playable - it would essentially be for people who want to 'simulate' a cold war crisis to look at how a nuclear war might be faught, by refering to the literature and strategy of the times.

For example, what better way to teach MAD, Counter-Force, Limited Escuation etc, than by using DEFCON in that context...

I would go further and attempt to have just the USA and USSR - but perhaps 3 players per side - one controls the Navy, one the Bombers, and the other the strategic rocket forces... perhaps with another player in a seperate room who is president and has to make decisions based on what he is being told.

So you just drop players into a scenerio... such as accidential launch, or rouge Russian sub launches... of course, the US team won't know this before hand as they first they will know will be the launch warning going, and then a Russian excuse about accidental launch... is it a trick or real? What do the US do with nukes inbound.

That sort of stuff... so I don't need so much modded - DEFCON merely becomes part of a larger game, and great learning tool... imagine playing DEFCON without seeing the screen, but all you get is a phone call advising you there has been a SLBM launch off the coast of California, and the air-force recommends sending the bombers into Russia.

At the moment - DEFCON is already usable for this sort of thing in office mode. However, all I need to make it usable is the ability to use different sprites for the different nations - and to have a few more units like medium bombers, IRBMs and silos stuck on ICBM mode, but empty the tubes quicker. - OH, and a polar projection map looking down on the USA and USSR, rather than them being spread flat on the current map projection.

Haivng seen people make new maps, how hard can it be to create a few new units... the game doesn't have to be balanced, or work with the AI, becuase it will only be used by humans and the cold war was not balanced!
User avatar
djdemo
level1
level1
Posts: 63
Joined: Thu Oct 05, 2006 3:18 pm

Postby djdemo » Tue Oct 10, 2006 9:58 pm

Crusader Scott wrote:I've often wondered when some company would dust off the game and update it for the modern PC....


We are such a minority that it will only ever appear as a mod of some other game...

People want psuedo-realistic games, ie, games that match their impression of what is real, rather than what is actually real... and to be fair to them, they want entertainment and fun for their £30. Simulations are usually more stressful than fun, but get 20 IR students in a room and run a crisis game, and it's enjoyable - although it's closer to work than anything else. We did them during my degree, and we were graded on them... which added a nice layer of Pressure.

Take games like JTF - people hail that as ultra realistic, but when I was in the Army, my rifle had a greater range than 50 metres, and certainly artillery was measured in KM rather than 10's of metres in range!!!

There are games like Air Assualt Task Force, but people slate the graphics and lack of scenery... where these games are actually based on simulations used by the armed forces, and float my boat...

That is why I like DEFCON - no fancy graphics, although it would be unfair to say that the game is not without a distinctive and well designed 'look', so certainly not ugly or functional - but it's essentially wire-frame graphics, and people love the game-play, so perhaps.

I'll try out balance of power, it's one of the games I've heard of but never played. There is also a game where you play NATO nuclear forces in a limited exchange with the USSR, but I can't remember what it's called.
User avatar
hellcatv
level2
level2
Posts: 180
Joined: Sat Sep 30, 2006 8:58 pm
Contact:

Postby hellcatv » Tue Oct 10, 2006 10:03 pm

Does someone feel like making a mod of the game with the above map--it would be very interesting!
I'd be happy to help out some
Vega Strike Lead Developer
http://vegastrike.sourceforge.net/
User avatar
VANGUARD
level2
level2
Posts: 88
Joined: Sun Oct 01, 2006 6:41 pm

Postby VANGUARD » Sat Oct 14, 2006 12:45 am

I'd love to play a USSR v USA wargame - I've always been interested in it, but I re-read Red Storm Rising and atm I'm full of inspiration.#

I must say I've never really seena polar map much before and when I was reading RSR I'd always thought of a flat map and only until you study a polar map the important of GIUK and Iceland really comes into play.
Bushbaby
level0
Posts: 5
Joined: Fri Oct 13, 2006 10:44 am

Postby Bushbaby » Sat Oct 14, 2006 10:30 pm

The old game Alpha Romeo Delta is a simulation of a limited nuclear strike against either the USA or the Soviet Union. I found it really fascinating and you can find it at http://www.the-underdogs.info/game.php?id=143

When I first heard about Defcon I was hoping for something more like Alpha Romeo Delta, but with a more user friendly interface. But, as pointed out repeatedly, Defcon is a game and not a sim, but I really hope that one day there will be a more realistic simulation of WW3.
User avatar
djdemo
level1
level1
Posts: 63
Joined: Thu Oct 05, 2006 3:18 pm

Postby djdemo » Mon Oct 16, 2006 9:33 pm

hellcatv wrote:Does someone feel like making a mod of the game with the above map--it would be very interesting!
I'd be happy to help out some


If I knew how - I'd give it a go!


What I can provide is information such as geeky facts and figures about nuclear inventories... I've got a nice little library of such things at home cover the cold war and nuclear strategy.

Of course, this ceases to be the DEFCON game, but I think there are enough people seeking a simulation out there to make a very interesting 'sand-box' to play out WW3.

We can try the WOPR scenerios...

USSR First Strike; Winner: NONE
USA first Strike; Winner: NONE
etc etc

Return to “Mod Projects”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests