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[MOD] Able Archer - MIL-STD-2525b

Posted: Sat Oct 28, 2006 10:49 pm
by ABLe
I bought DEFCON about a week ago. I have had a blast playing it, but I knew something was missing. It wasn't until I was playing some solitaire TacOps on Wednesday, that it occurred to me what was missing - NATO compliant symbology!

Sure, we can't launch our bombers over the north pole or calculate the ETA of our nukes, but that doesn't mean we can't make the icons as real as possible.

Now I know (as I learned after I did the the bulk of the work) someone else made a similar mod, but there are considerable differences and definitely room for both approaches.
Essentially, mine tries to remain as accurate as possible - even when I personally prefer the original icon or think the NATO icon isn't the best for DEFCON.

It isn't a completely hard line - I have had to make some choices and there will be some alternate icons distributed with the pack, but I'd like some feedback on these shots - especially from people who are more familiar with APP-6a/MIL-STD-2525b.

Anyway, have a look and let me know what y'all think. Quite a few images, include 1600x1200 shots - so be nice to my server :-)

Inaccuracies that I know about and will not change:

- Battleships should be floating "BB" and not the Star Destroyer shapes that I used (which represent surface ships of the line). This doesn't bother me because there are no battleships in active service today, and only the four Iowas were active through most of the Cold War.

- Rectangle frames around equipment denotes a friendly unit. Unfortunately DEFCON doesn't allow you to use different icons for your enemies. Same goes for the color coding that should be used. However, I think framing helps clarity and it allows me to use the installation marker on top of the frame.

- The frame around the missile subs disappears when surfaced. This isn't the way a frame is supposed to be used, but I actually think it is an improvement on the default DEFCON system. (I didn't know there was a surfaced sub image until I started modding them!)

- The mushroom explosion (which will be one option in the release pack) should only be used for a ground zero. Hey, if DEFCON let me use separate icons for nuke explosions, I'd do it :-)


More images here.

All comments, questions, and suggestions are welcome.

P.S. A note about the name: while I do play online as ABLe, the name of the mod has nothing to do with me (my nick = my three initials + "e"). Able Archer was a 1983 wargame which... well... read for yourself.

Posted: Sat Oct 28, 2006 11:19 pm
by ABLe

What does your mod look like with Population view turnt on?


It depends.

See, DEFCON uses the explosion bitmap for: 1)all explosions, nuke and unit fighting alike, 2)radiation, with the explosion bitmap filpped upside down, and 3)population, with the image right side up, colored, and enlarged. With the mushroom icon you see in the pictures, you end up with upside down mushrooms for radiation and right side up colored mushrooms for populations. If you use the mushroom icon, I recommend turning population and radiation off.

For this reason, when I release it, there will be at least two explosion.bmp options, probably three.

Posted: Sun Oct 29, 2006 10:36 pm
by ABLe
Huh. No comments whatsoever? Not even to say it sucks?

I guess there's no interest in a realism mod. Oh well.

Posted: Sun Oct 29, 2006 10:49 pm
by Virulent Virus
There is... just give people a bit longer to answer... not everyone checks the forums every day :) Have faith!


Posted: Sun Oct 29, 2006 11:04 pm
by Kuth
Well I mean from an eyecandy point of view, I like your design of nuclear explosions and radar stations.

Not too happy about everything else, visual wise, really.

Then again I am maker of the STC mod, which has been my default even after Kinetic was made.

Posted: Mon Oct 30, 2006 1:42 am
by DueAccident
I love the nuke explosion image. :P

Posted: Mon Oct 30, 2006 4:18 pm
by blackwhitehawk
This mod i know you put a lot of work in it and it does make me feel bad to say this. I really do not like how you changed your units around the battleship it self looks awfull really bad. I cant tell the bombers or fighters to well to say anything about them.

What i like is the nuke mushroom cloud which should be pretty good in game. also I think the silos might be ok did not look to hard thogh.

Good luck with your mod thogh.

Posted: Tue Oct 31, 2006 3:57 am
by =dB=Ed
I love it the Nato symbology is as good as possible given the circumstances. Great job! So when you gonna let us have these?

Posted: Tue Oct 31, 2006 7:08 pm
by ABLe
I'm away from the house at the moment - Ill try to have a released version by the end of the weekend. Maybe by Friday.

If anyone has suggestions for an appropriate font for the NATO theme (as in, something used by NATO or at least the US Military ideally for maps or a threat board) I'd love to hear it.

I should also explain, that the icon designs (as a whole) are not mine - what I've done is select the most appropriate NATO icon from their map book and tried to fit it in as accurately as possible. It is not an aesthetic mod by any stretch of the imagination - not only do I not take those criticisms personally. i often agree with them! Also, it may seem that the mod is not the best for game play - many icons look alike at first glance, but once you are used to it (or if you have served in the military, which I have not, but several of my friends who play DEFCON have, and they tell me) the icons are very useable - after all, they were designed for use in situations a lot more stressful that 6 player speed DEFCON.

Anyway, thanks for the feedback. I'm going to try to do the GUI icons this week if I have a chance, and can find something appropriate. Either way, you'll have something soon.

Posted: Thu Nov 02, 2006 2:21 pm
by Maj. T. J. 'King' Kong
ABLe wrote:...If anyone has suggestions for an appropriate font for the NATO theme (as in, something used by NATO or at least the US Military ideally for maps or a threat board) I'd love to hear it...,

Try using some of the following fonts. I think they could fit nicely. Maybe.

wow, its been a while

Posted: Mon Jun 18, 2007 9:49 pm
by ABLe
I stopped playing DEFCON a while ago but I noticed that people have been following this thread to my site. I didn't think there was much interest in the mod beyond some friends and the few people who ask me for it directly, but what the hell. You can find a link to it here:

(Not trolling for traffic - there are no ads on my site. I just would like people to be able to leave feedback.)

Posted: Wed Jun 27, 2007 7:23 am
by torig
DueAccident wrote:I love the nuke explosion image. :P

Other than that, I'm not really into modding my defcon (as I've yet to encounter a mod that erhm "feels right" ;) ).

Posted: Thu Jun 28, 2007 9:58 pm
by =dB=Ed
Just checked this out and love it thanks so much!!!! I am really into reality sims and this helps the game alot it was definitly worth the wait!
Thank You!

Posted: Thu Jun 28, 2007 11:47 pm
by Chimaera
I'm a big fan of games such as Hearts of Iron 2, which uses the NATO symbology, and I think you have made a very good effort. However, I'm sorry to say I dislike the BB symbol, and that the WOPR mod is just that bit more aesthetically pleasing. Good work, though.