Spot the feature

(This will only be meaningful to Battleground Europe players/watchers)

Look closely.


Nothing spring out? How about now?

f2.jpg No? f3.jpg NO?

f4.jpgBy Wednesday, Support Brigades were really starting to chap my ass. At every turn we were running into obstacles. The way we had spec’d out at the design meeting wasn’t working and the way I had tried doing it wasn’t working.

I went into Doc’s office to discuss, and we were both pretty much in agreement about what was trying to be achieved and how we felt it should be done. Gophur wandered in and we spun into a real deep design meeting.

Fundamentally, we want you to be able to pick an Airforce brigade and – if you need to uncamp yourself – spawn in a rifleman or a sapper and clear out the enemy. Likewise, we’d like you to be able to pick a Paratroop brigade and have paratroopers and transport planes on the same missions. But – the game doesn’t let you do that, does it?

At some point we realized we were including non-TOE problems (existing functionality) in our requirements. If we thought about this in a TOE format, it really made sense that we should just put the Support Brigades on the TOE of the brigade they are supporting and let you spawn them there.

In short – not support brigades, support forces.

My task for today was a feasibility study. I wasn’t really sure how difficult it was going to be – its fundamentally against how the game servers used to work.

Feasibility? See screenshot. A rifleman on a Destroyer Squadron.

With all the code I’ve replaced, all the code I’ve removed and all the code I’ve converted to OOP C++ … It turned out to be something I could do in a half a day.

We’re pretty damn excited about this – I know it seems completely obvious and logical, and if we were coding from scratch I would probably laugh at the fact it was even an issue – but this is a real milestone in the evolution of the codebase. It really demonstrates the TOE code that we’ve developed – which frankly you might have been forgiven otherwise thinking was “just making spawnlist.parent = brigade” [sic].

This means we will be doing paratroop brigades with 1.27; we’re holding off on doing armored brigades just yet (they don’t require any work, but we think redistributing fundamental equipment is probably a bridge too far).

These ladies are making full use of this new feature. kfs1saidmarines.jpg


Well, I understand why you took the initial approach that you did. It was so that if you spawned a rifleman in a support brigade he would be limited by and affect the rank of his Army persona.

I assume since you’ve decided to do it the way you did, that the SMG in your screenshots is limited by his Navy rank, and gains Navy rank for his missions.

So…killing folks with your rifleman gets you Naval rank points?

Not commenting either way, just asking. IIRC this was an earlier objection some folks had to this proposal.


The two things I noticed in the first screen shot were the “Admiralty” and “Nore Command” positions in the command structure.

Are those new, or do I just need to play the game more?

X15: I think it’s more a matter that the command structure dosn’t effect the game play so you don’t notice it.

Being able to gain rank in the navy using a rifleman would mean more people get navy rank. That’s a good thing right? Though couldn’t you make it so ground units spawned in a navy/air unit give less points than a “real” ground unit.

Problem: won’t that mean you’d need to increase you’re rank in air to be able to spawn paratroops? (Which would suck, Para’s are the best “ground” unit for a lot of people: see Gopher’s blog from this week).

Yep, Snail; that was our one lingering concern over this approach. In the end, this is the approach that moves *towards* where we’re going with the dynamic mission system we plan to work towards now rather than trying to re-engineer a pre-TOE solution to a pre-TOE problem.

And its not as though the people in those branches haven’t had to find cheesier ways to gain rank. At least this way it will most likely be in actual service of their brigade (gotta find people to shoot to shoot people to get score).

These will be garrison size units – just enough to decamp the airfield/docks a few times and maybe hold out long enough while a real brigade moves in if you get attacked in earnest.

One objection that came up was “What if the enemy makes a concerted attempt to camp us?”

Well, then, *he* is probably using an army brigade, and you need an *army brigade* to fend him off.

Great stuff!

Why not do armor brigades now?

We’ve had features in the game for years that Rats have said: “all we need to do is turn it on” and it never happens.

Not that I’m concerned about having armor brigades, if we really want them HC will probably half ass one up with the current tools and just call it an armor brigade.

I’m just not keen on the idea of having this, needing this (maybe), but something happens that the Rats just never get around to doing it.

Is it going to be that big of a culture shock to add them in?

Surely this will move us towards mobile spawn points with ships? The fact that you now spawn infantry on a naval mission means that you should in effect be able to create an MSP out of a fairmile?? and then deploy naval infantry from your boat msp?

Say it’s so :)

Sres, I doubt you’d want to form an amphibious assault with your garrison units. And since they weren’t able to attach an Army brigade to a Navy brigade, I’m guessing that it can’t be done that way either.

Sounds to me like we’ve moved AWAY from army units spawning at navy msps. Maybe once HC’s can adjust TOEs there will be a way for a Navy commander to request 200+ infantry and 50+ armor for his navy brigade, so they can spawn an assault. As it is now, I bet there is less than 30 total units for the garrison.

Surely the original usage of the Royal Navy Marines was regular forces (soldiers) assigned to RN ships for boarding/garrison/counter-boarding purposes

Coolness tho’

Have you guys ever thought about using Battalions (or Squadrons for Air and Naval Groups) as your ‘building blocks’ for Brigade TOEs? For example, you could throw three Fighter Squadrons (each comprised of Spitfire Mk.Is) and a Security Battalion (mostly Rifles, LMGs, AAA and Armored Cars) together and wallah! Insta-Fighter Group! Throw together two Panzer Battalions (each comprised of a single panzer types) and you have yourself a Panzer Regiment (i.e. Panzer Brigade).

Cool stuff Oli.

Makes so so so much more sense to do it this way.

One question, does this make it possible for a naval brigade to have a few AAA guns or a truck or 2 in the Zeelands?

Yes, AAA + a dozen trucks would make the zeelands a little more fun to play in. Perhaps even the wennie tanks.

Well I never understood what you were trying to do anyway…not that it was a bad idea, I just never really saw what the point was.

Anyhow, since you are not going to do armoured brigades yet, could you explain how ToEs are going to make a noticeable difference in gameplay for the average person?


Gophur hates it when I mention “Battalions” and “Regiments.”

And I hate it when he says “Air Brigade” or “Navy Brigade.” Madness, that is.

Lol, I noticed this last night when I wanted to spawn an inf at an airfield and was looking for the support brigades. I was like “they’re supposed to be here somewhere, I clearly remember Gophur posting that you would NOT be able to spawn army units with your air persona. But since I couldn’t find them, I tried to spawn my rifleman from the air brigade and it just worked… :-)

Nice job! It’s such a good feeling when you get the “oooo, the design can accommodate that by just tap tap tap that!”

Why not write a little app that removes the points credited to your air persona, when you are spawned as a rifleman, and credits them to your army personna? It could run once a week?

Dont most people switch personnas fairly regularly? How aware are you of your personna when you spawn in anyway?

(I would just assume that if I’m selecting a rifleman when I’m an air guy, the game is automagically swapping personnas for me when I spawn in!)

I would not notice the points accrued to my air personna unless I was watching them closely (which I dont do)


Actually, those flyboys need to get some experience with REAL warfare, so I vote for just keeping it the way it is… ;-)

I’m only an ignorant outsider, but I think it’s great that your rewriting/refactoring of the code is paying dividends like this (ie being able to make a change like this in so little time).

Comstar: “Problem: won’t that mean you’d need to increase you’re rank in air to be able to spawn paratroops?”

Paratroopers won’t be on Air personas, air transports will be on Army personas.

Snail’s point is important. It’s structurally inappropriate for personas to be able to rise to command rank in a branch by means of activities unlike the core mission of that branch. It will conflict with the game’s teamwork and group-socialization goals.

The opposite is true as well; a shipboard Navy Captain doesn’t inherently have a clue about being an effective combat Marine, or leading other Marines.

I appreciate that the code is a barrier to allowing the same aircraft-flyer-persona to fly planes in the Air Force, the Navy or the Army. The fact of that code-barrier is not in itself going to ameliorate the negative effects of cross-specialization personas, though.

It’s unfortunate that, as a temporary fix, there couldn’t have been separate personas added for the Navy land-support and Air Force land-support roles.


You’re taking My Name in vain, so to speak. Assigning me a point I did not make.

I rather specifically said I wasn’t commenting either way :)

However, for you, I will: I don’t think it’s a huge problem. People already gain rank by other-than-optimal means. It hasn’t really killed the Naval game, and probably helps it in the long run by providing more warm bodies for it.

SEALs and Corpsmen, by the way, both gain rank on dry cite the 1st two obvious examples that come to mind :)


JWilly…I truly doubt that there will be enough attacks vs. Airfields and Naval Bases that’ll allow folks to effectively ‘rank up’ their Air and Naval personas working only Ground Security detail. Attacks on AFs and NBs are few and far between as it is and usually only by small numbers of raiders…not enough to sustain a fight to really rack up the rank points.

The only way this system will be abused is when there is also 1 or more friendly Army Brigades in the same town. Then, its almost guaranteed that some industrious flyboy will use the Air/Naval security garrison to try to bump up his Air/Naval rank.

Too bad Artillery is not in the game yet. A single Artillery Battery anywhere within 10-12km of an AF or NB could effectively shut down operations at said facility. I’ve always thought that some of the ‘effects’ of Artillery should be felt in the game, even though its not yet in the game. Effects such as cutting off enemy supply routes through unoccupied enemy towns within one link of an Army Brigade/DivHQ (Your common Field Artillery pieces used during WWII typically had a reach of 11km or so, and could easily cover the distance between one town and most every other town linked to it in the game). Or have it so no Aircraft or Ship/boat would be able to spawn if the enemy has an Army Brigade (or Army DivHQ, at the very least, since that’s typically where a Division’s Artillery Regiments are attached) in a town directly linked to the AF/NB town. You add this ‘ability’ for Army Brigades/DivHQs to shut down Enemy Aircraft and Ship/Boat spawning (and effect supply routes) and combine it with the reduction of Ground Security forces associated with an Air or Naval Brigade, you’ll not see Air or Naval Brigades being used as ‘frontlilne’ forces like we often see now.

Sonar: I already answered that in the post – it doesn’t require host work to pull off, just production work, so it could easily be something introduced between campaigns – but it would add a huge learning curve for our existing players to TOEs. Thus, not something there’s a good reason to throw in to TOE Campaign #1.

Sres: Yes.

Gnasche: You’re not thinking TOEs.

Mangy: I can see how that might be cool in a 1-16 player strategy game. Aside from additional complexity, what does that get you in our game?

Mw: Yes =) Log in to if you want to see it :)

Trout: We were still thinking in a non-toe spawnlists based mindset. Support Forces is really what we wanted to do, but we missed a few want-that pros and got hung up on the scoring con.

Trout: (Scoring) See Snail’s comment. Add to it that this way when you “ground out” to uncamp your airfield or to guard your brigade’s bunker – Navy duty, even if its not marine – your navy toon benefits from it. Plus scoring is on the scope now for some real loving in the next patch or two (1.28 or 1.29) at which point this will be even less of a problem.

In short: This way has drastically less cons (scoring) than any of the other solutions. Remember. You have to actually kill stuff to get kill points, so its not like they will be spawning in troopers at Hell and Dover and making DD captain over night.

Hog: Yeah – I can’t tell you how cool it was to call Gophur last night. “Hey dude, I’ve got some bad news and I wanted to give you time to digest it for tomorrow am. I’ve done my feasibility study on Support Forces and there’s no way I’m going to do it in the next 3-4 days. [Long pause, until Gophur starts to speak] Cause it’s already done. [Even longer pause till Gophur starts to speak again] Done as in written and running on the beta server. [Another trick-pause] I mean I’m in-game now with a rifle on a mission I posted at an AB from my naval persona on a naval brigade”

I changed less than 16 lines, added less than 12 lines and removed about 24 lines.

And when I say “changed” I went thru every instance of the word “branch” and replaced 8 of them with “movementType()”.

JWilly: I’d have to disagree on the rightness of things. Given 4 possible solutions, this is the only solution where the wrongness is a legacy artefact rather than a construction. For instance, the spec’d concept was for an Army “Support Division” with an Air and Navy brigade from which you could spawn at town with an air or navy brigade. That makes a complete farce of TOEs and it means you have combat troops being diverted to non-combat activities and continues the abuse of air/navy bdes as “free infantry teleporters” by the army branches.

Yes, we’re aware that nefarious individuals will take a break from driving fairmiles up and down rivers killing AI to get their destroyer captaincy and instead spawn a truck and drive infantry into combat (no FB or depot spawning for these guys). We feel that the pro of rewarding the ones who actually use these units for their brigade is worth it — if you spawn in an AAA gun to shoot down vulchers at your airfield, well good on you – here’s a point.

JWilly: Add — and a legacy artefact that is on the schedule for being addressed itself, rather than something we would have to add to the schedule to fix.

Well, I guess I’ll have to look at those garrison units in the navy/air TOEs next time I log in. I spent all my time today making UMS’s invisible on next respawn.

Successfully and easily repeatable:

The UMS is not invisible to everyone. It’s from the spawner’s perspective that it’s invisible or not.

Sorry, Snail…I started out with a different construction that referenced your comment more reasonably, but it broke due to poor editing. Mea culpa.

I can sum this up in one word:


I would say that earning points on the navy persona for naval infantry is the most realistic option. Navy men of the time received training in small arms and landing parties in basic.

Think of the “infantry” spawning from a naval unit as sailors being forced to take up arms in defense of their base. If it were possible they probably shouldn’t have grenades, grenade launchers, ATRs or mortars. Rifles and SMGs were carried aboard ship, and satchels could be improvised.

As for the Air Force, in the US at least they received the same basic training as the army.

/Post may not be perfect, in a rush, be back tomorrow.

“Mw: Yes =) Log in to if you want to see it :)”

I ses you can spawn inf by just choosing the ZF and posting a mission. That ROCKS!

Still don’t see any AAA or trucks though! ;-)

It’s under “AAA/AT GUN”

Well DUH, thats NOT in the Zeelands Oli!

Try that TOE in somewhere like Kamperland (actualy part of the Zeelands), see if you get your AAA gun then! ;-)

Well, doofus on me then :) I didn’t mean to imply you could, that must have been on the forums. That requires some data changes so I don’t know if production are planning to do that for 1.27 release.

Well if you can find any easy way of doing it those of us who spend most of our time fighting up there would appreciate it.

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