Reconnaisance Squadron - AufklÃ¤rungs Staffel
2 x Fi 156 Storch reconnaisance planes
Interceptor Squadron - Abwehr Staffel
4 x Bf 109K light fighters
Superiority Fighter Squadron - Jager Staffel
4 x Fw 190A fighters
Jet-Fighter Squadron - Jagdverband
3 x Me 262a jet fighters
Ground Attack Squadron - Schlact Staffel
3 x Ju-87G Stuka attack planes
Fighter-Bomber Squadron - Jagdbomber Staffel
2 x Fw 190G fighter-bombers
Attack Bomber - Schlachtbomber
1 x Ju 88A medium bomber
2 x L-4A Grasshopper recon plane
4 x P-38G Lightning heavy fighters
4 x P-51C Mustang fighters
3 x P-51D Mustang attack fighters
2 x P-47D Thunderbolt fighter-bombers
1 x A-26B Invader attack bomber
2 x Auster AOP Mk V recon planes
4 x Spitfire Mk XIVe fighters
Air Supremacy Squadron
4 x Tempest Mk V fighters
Ground Attack Squadron
3 x Typhoon Mk IB attack fighters
2 x Spitfire Mk IXe LF fighter bombers
1 x Mosquito FB Mk VI attack bomber
2 x Po-2 recon planes
4 x Yak-9D fighters
4 x La-5FN fighters
Attack Fighter Squadron
3 x Il-2 Shturmovik attack aircraft
Light Bomber Squadron
2 x Pe-2 Peschka light bombers
Attack Bomber Squadron
1 x Tu-2 medium bomber
A discussion of generalization of aircraft usage in terms of gameplay flow.
Interceptor: As the name suggests, primary role of intercepting enemy planes. Usually lighter, quicker, less durable fighter types. Examples: Bf-109K
Interceptors will arrive at the battlefield sooner than other fighters, though their effectiveness in the air will usually be more or less limited to combating enemy attack and bomber aircraft, as they have neither the performance or the appropriate weaponry to take on enemy superiority fighters. Interceptors will also have less fuel than superiority fighters, as their role is to mainly get into the air, shoot down enemy attack aircraft, and return to base.
Escort/Superiority: The “dogfighter”, born and bread to duke it out in the skies with enemy fighters for air dominance. Examples: P-51D, Spitfire Mk XIV, Fw-190
Superiority fighters will form the mainstay of the air combat arm of your nation’s armed forces. They are more durable and usually better armed than the less versatile interceptor aircraft and are able to stick around longer thanks to added fuel. Germany will have access to an advanced Superiority fighter, the Me-262 jet aircraft, which will have a higher cost and arrival time than other planes.
b Attack[/b]: Armed with high-ordnance, mainly anti-vehicular weaponry for seeking and destroying mobile enemy assets, namely tanks. Can also be used with limited effectiveness against buildings. Examples: P-51D w/ Rockets, Typhoon, Ju-87G
When a flight of attack aircraft are called in, their first priority will be to head towards their assigned location and attack any targets of oppurtunity in the vicinity. After being called in they can be selected by the player and given specific orders, such as to patrol a specific route or destroy a specific target. Attack aircraft are often (but not universally) of lower performance than standard fighter-sized aircraft and are susceptible to interception (an exception is the P-51D which is fully capable of duking it out with enemy interceptors after unleashing rocket barrages onto ground targets). The Ju-87 inparticular is ill-suited to surviving hostile engagements with enemy aircraft.
Fighter-Bomber: Armed with small number (1-2) of medium-range bombs for use against larger, stationary targets. Used for attacking specific enemy buildings. Can be used against mobile (vehicle) targets with limited success do to their somewhat inaccurate nature. Examples: Spitfire Mk IX, Fw-190G, P-57/P-49
Fighter-bombers, when they arrive, will proceed to the target destination and unleash a bombload there. Like all other aircraft they may be selected and given specific orders. Fighter-bombers’ main use will be bombing important enemy structures such as supply piles, barracks and yards. They can also be used to bomb vehicles and stationary defenses although their lack of accuracy may mean they miss the target entirely.
Ground Attack/Fighter Bomber combined: Combined the roles of Attack and Fighter-Bomber aircraft, capable of attacking with both anti-vehicle weapons (rockets/cannons) and bombs. Examples: Il-2
The Il-2 is armed with both bombs and rockets for use against large stationary targets or smaller vehicles. Like other aircraft they will head towards their target destination when arriving on the battlefield and will attack targets of oppurtunity, preferring to use bombs against statonary targets and rockets against mobile targets.
Tactical/Attack/Light Bomber: Light, usually twin-engine bomber used for tactical bomb runs. Can carpet bomb large areas. Main use in devestating large tracks of enemy bases or (if their timing is right) hitting large concentrations of enemy infantry/tanks. Though incapable of pinpoint attacks the fact that they drop a dozen or so bombs usually ensures destruction of target. Examples: Fw-189, A-26
Tactical bombers are usually armed with an array of bombs, from 4-12 depending on the model, which will be unleashed in a carpet bombing run at the target location. Once their bombloads are expended, they will immediately leave the area, as there is no purpose to them staying longer.
Reconnaisance/Observation Planes: Very light, usually unarmed reconnaisance planes, usually biplanes, with large ground LOS distance for strategic “icu” uses. Examples: Fi-156, L-4
Recon aircraft will have relatively large ground LOS range. When called to the battlefield they will approach the target location and fly around, providing LOS coverage. Like all other aircraft they can be controlled by the player to patrol different areas.
7 different types of aircraft, atleast one of which is unique to a single faction (Russia). Some factions may not have certain aircraft types (ie maybe US won’t get fighter-bomber and/or interceptor, Britain will also probably not get one; both rely heavily on the all-purpose Mustang and Spitfire).
Preferably, aircraft would be called in by special LUA buttons present somewhere on the HUD (as Soviets get no HQ, and destruction of HQ for other factions would mean no more aircraft). Depending on the faction you would have up to 7 different aircraft call-in buttons. Aircraft should use basic Command points/metal for their costs, and be quite expensive. They will have no “build-time”; if you try to select an aircraft when you do not have enough metal nothing will happen – the function will only work if you have enough metal at the time (which will be instantly extracted). However, when an aircraft is called there should be a short wait-time as the aircraft “flies to” the battlefield. This wait-time should be determined by the aircraft type. In this way, CP cost and arrival time will be the main factors for balancing availability. Likewise, because of issues raised about the “kamikaze” nature of such aircraft, there should be some incentive to use aircraft intelligently and not just suicide them. Thusly, if possible, an increase in arrival time and/or cost if the previous flight of the same aircraft (or any aircraft) was destroyed. If you want to be more complex, the increase in time/cost could be based on the exact number of aircraft destroyed from the last sortie (so if only 1 was destroyed, you wouldn’t get as much of an arrival time/cost increase as if they all were destroyed).
When its button is pressed, it should basically be an order; for instance, clicking on the Interceptor’s button will produce an “Attack Move” order which you then click somewhere on the battlefield and the Interceptors, when they arrive, will perform an Attack Move to the target location. Certain types of aircraft however should have actual attack functions. Namely, fighter-bombers and attack bombers should default to a bombing attack on the target location (thus an attack order rather than attack move).
When aircraft are called in and arrive they should spawn somewhere off-map; preferably off the map edge closest to your start position (that information is saved all game right?). The exact number of aircraft arriving will depend on the type; Fighters and Interceptors will come in standard squadrons of 5; attack fighters in squadrons of 3; fighter-bombers in squadrons of 2; attack bombers either individually or squadrons of 2; and a single recon plane. The reason they should spawn off-map (as opposed to right on the map edge) is so that a) they are able to build up momentum and actually fly onto the battlefield rather than appear unmoving at the edge, b) it provides more time for players to select the aircraft if they want to give it new orders. Preferably, it’d be nice if aircraft “spawned” this way already had the orientation towards the player’s HQ and flying at speed to prevent any ugly incidents of floating, hovering aircraft.
An aircraft leaves when one of two things happen: it runs out of ammo or runs out of fuel. Ammo should probably only be taken into account for planes with special weapons, such as bombs or rockets. Fuel is universal. When it comes time for a plane to leave it will fly to the same point it spawned in and disappear.
When aircraft arrive there should be some notification to the owning player. This can simply be a voice saying “aircraft sortie has arrived”, or some notification dealing with the UI buttons (ie in the corner of each button could be a number signifying the number of aircraft/wings of that aircraft type currently present).
Likewise, the enemy should have some way of being informed that enemy aircraft are on their way. We could simply use a radar/air defense building (or HQ upgrade) which will simply spot aircraft on radar as per normal. However, given the power of some aircraft, particularly those with bombs, to destroy things very quickly, I’m leaning towards having rather advanced warning. This advanced warning could take several forms; whenever the enemy requests aircraft a sound and/or notification plays (this gives maximum time to call in interceptors and prepare); whenever enemy aircraft spawn onto the map (this gives moderate time to prepare); whenever enemy aircraft is physically spotted on radar (can be very short time, also necessitates radar coverage). I’m leaning towards the middle option, notifying whenever aircraft spawn in. This gives the opposing player some time to prepare (ie quickly calling in a flight or two of interceptors), but not too much time. It also makes the role of interceptor much more useful – if you’re notified when the opposing player first calls in aircraft then you have ample time to call in any aircraft you like (assuming attack bombers take longer to arrive than basic superiority fighters). Interceptors with shorter arrival times wouldn’t be necessary. I’m also leaning towards both sound and visual notification; sound simply in speech declaring the arrival of enemy aircraft in the area (“Enemy attack bombers have arrived!”, “Enemy fighters have arrived!” etc) as well as a visual notification (a little flashing button near the Aircraft UI saying “Enemy aircraft arriving!” which blinks for 20-30 seconds when activated). The combination of voice and visual identification will allow players to quickly learn that “screaming German voice + blinking UI = enemy fighters”.
So, thoughts? Does this sound like a stable final plan for aircraft?