[AV-8B] The Kerman Campaign by Groundpounder Sims

This campaign was released Spring 2023 and I was gifted it last week by Sinterklaas.
It has you flying a USMC AV-8B in the mountains of inland Iran.

Later I might write a longer article-style review here and a fairer comparison to the other top-notch DCS campaigns that I have flown but for now, I just wanted to say that this campaign has really sucked me in.

It is very enjoyable, robust, great voice acting, fun characters and a lot of documentation.

I should figure out how to do screenshots in OpenXR or just save replays and go through them later. I’m sorry, I don’t have any.

Wow wow wow love it!!

I normally fly DCS once or sometimes twice a week.

Now I have flown 4 missions (each lasting 1.5 - 2 hours) in the past 6 days.

Here’s the creator’s intro vid:

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I just started on this one as well. It’s great, but I haven’t managed to progress past M1 yet. Can’t leave that target unbombed, but it’s &%*#(@ hard to get.

His other campaigns are really great as well, he has one for the A-10, the F/A-18 and the F-16.

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It took me embarrassingly long to learn that when you are under type 1 control from a JTAC, the JTAC needs to visually see you with their eyes, so you have to fly below the clouds.
But while this undoubtedly hurt my score, it never stopped me from progressing the campaign.

I didn’t have trouble bombing that target in mission 1 though. Took me a while to find it but with the smoke and then the TGP, it was easy. You do realize you have laser guided bombs right? And that you can designate from orbit, then go to INR track (SSS aft long or cycle aft), turn away and set up for a new long pass with the target still designated, right?

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On my first run I never found out how to get a ccrp queue. (needed to long press wpt incr. button but got called away before browsing chucks guide was complete)

On my 2nd run, I got blasted by a MANPAD because I flew below the cloud

On my third run, I forgot to set the fusing, so I dropped inert.

On my fourth run, somehow both bombs went wide. Perhaps I masked the laser or got cloudblocked on a crucial moment.

This weekend i’mma have a fifth and if needed a sixth run :imp:

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That’s a familiar one! In the last mission, I just saved a few future kids from being crippled by forgetting to set the fusing when I switched from Mk-82 to Mk.20. Luckily I was able to take out all required targets so in hindsight, it was perfect planning.

Somewhere I have notes on the ‘types’ for JTAC’s (thought I posted on this site somewhere) extracted through a lot of trial-and-error. If memory serves, in addition to some weapons criteria, there’s a range variable in there too. Be nice if this was documented.

Getting a JTAC to reliably get beyond Type 3 requires hacking the system; if there is no clear LOS they are useless no matter how far away and how much of a ruckus the enemy is causing. In an urban environment I’m using only the drone. Assuming the era you are simulating has drones of course.

Still WIP.

Ok, an excerpt from my DCS junk-drawer of [hopefully] useful information (discovered over the last few years) about JTAC stuff…

FAC/JTAC Designate Range Criteria

AFAC

WP 8NM

IR-Pointer 3NM

Laser 5NM

WP-Laser(?) 8NM Think this means Laser-guided WP rockets?

Ground-based JTAC: Laser designation max 3NM.

You can assign the task to the JTAC anytime but the above designations won’t be used until the JTAC is within the given range, ie; an AFAC can be assigned to attack a group anywhere but if you contact them when they are outside those ranges you will get a “Type 3” and “No Mark” - cus they can’t see the target yet (or you I imagine).

Not sure if they ever change the designation, after the first call with “No Mark”, once they do get within range. Even if they do you’d need to communicate this to the player - they would have to RTFM. Best practice is to wait until the JTAC is within designation range then tell them to “contact JTAC frequency 123.4”

[EDIT: Yes, they do update the Type; after getting Type 3 I waited a while (a lua script that checks on this) and upon contacting them again got Type 1]

Weapons Request Criteria

  • Since 2.8, JTACs can now name AGM-65E and AGM-65F (e.g. “request AGM-65E”).
  • Devs told me that JTACs are programmed to ask for cannon when the target is “soft” (truck , light tank). Example: if you target a T-72, JTAC will ask for GBUs. If you target a truck, JTACs will ask for cannon (unless your ammo is depleted). This is expected behavior.
    • I’ve found that the above is true IF you are packing MK-8x’s. With Mk-20 Rockeyes he will ask for them with soft targets. Obviously not tested every possib
  • An issue is yet to be solved: when an aircraft carries a gunpod, JTACs answer “request [nothing]” (reported in another thread).
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Which is why Groundpounder Sims made his own JTAC system, completely separate from the DCS JTAC logic.
Just like his ATC around FOB Juliet, it works very robustly and intuitively, with less steps, actually getting talked onto target by a human voice, and clear hints on what to do in the top right of the screen at any time in the process. Useful if you get lost.

Have a look at the intro vid, he does a demo somewhere in the middle.

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Yup, I get it. Is it useable in any other situation/scenario/location, ie; is it dynamically configurable?

I’ll check it out, thanks.

I know he’s used it in his earlier campaigns and iterated on it for this one. So there must be some mission design flexibility, though it’s probably not 100% “runtime dynamic”.
I imagine that he might want to keep it “company secret” instead of opening it up to the public, but you could ask him. He goes by ChillNG on the DCS forums.

https://forum.dcs.world/forum/842-ground-pounder-sims/

https://forum.dcs.world/profile/102001-chillng/

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Cool. Yeah, I’m pretty sure I’ve got the “how” part down (or am getting closer every day). It’s a time thing.

The DCS JTAC is a fill-in until I write my own version. The icky part is, at the moment, identifying landmarks; if you stick to one location you can get very detailed ("bad guy is behind that red building, west of the taco stand…etc).

DCS isn’t setup to do that dynamically so…compromises are required to take it from, say, a village in the Falklands to a patch of desert in the NTTR.

I have a ‘plan’ (compromise) that hopefully will fall somewhere between:

  • Highly detailed, yet static, and
  • Barely useful (that comes with DCS outta the box).

CAS, that’s not scripted per se, is a complex task, both IRL and trying to code it. Not sure I’ll pull it off, yet.

Getting RED/BLUE ground forces to simulate even a simple fire fight takes some slight-of-hand. Details the user doesn’t need to know :slight_smile:

Air-to-Air seems more straight-forward.

Secretly (guess not anymore :slight_smile: ) I’m hoping to see more Air-to-Ground stuff get created in the hopes that it will become more popular (relative to the A2A stuff that seems to be predominate) and thus ED will notice?

Anyway, thanks.

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It feels like this is what Groundpounder does. His framework is probably a Lua function that takes target coordinates and an offset to an IP, with custom voice recordings (not dynamic) for the 9-line and IP description.
The shared logic is probably just the “state machine” and the feedback after the 9-line and remarks. (“Come left”, “Abort, I’m blind”, “cleared hot”, etc)

Nothing near as complex as what you are trying to do, but once crafted, it does provide a really nice experience. He goes for replay value through the points system (for combat and procedures), rather than creating actual fully dynamic random missions.

There’s definitely a market for fully dynamic and random CAS missions so I hope you can get it working!

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My Text-to-speech engine (lua stuff embedded in the miz file) can handle the ‘numbers’ - callsigns, range, bearing/heading, etc, plus at the moment generic target descriptions[1].

It would just be more ‘colorful’ with some localized references. HUGE time factor though going through and id’ing these things so the “plan” is to eventually create landmarks at a reasonable scale; instead of “third building west of the bridge”, think, “x meters NW of bridge”. Assuming I’ve pre-identified this bridge. That’s the time sink.

[1] tweaking the audio is tedious and usually comes near the end of a benchmark; once you get used to it it sounds fine, IMHO. It’s not Alexa but…Alexa can’t do a 9-line :slight_smile: Hmmm, “Hey, Alexa!..”

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Ah geez. I cant get these motherloving queer bombs to hit anymore. Even in the training mission, following procedure they drop way off the mark.

Find the target in the TPOD. Designate it. Set laser code to match bombs (1688). Arm laser. Aim and drop bomb. Fire laser. Bomb misses. Wtf.

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Weird, they worked very well for me last week. Will try with the new update and report back.

You are following Chuck’s guide and using TGP HOTAS mode, right? (SSS depress twice)

I’m so going to steal this!

Lesbian Gay Bombs is what LGB means, right? :rofl:

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