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Command War Planner: General Improvements and User Interface

Published on December 14, 2022

Command War Planner: General Improvements and User Interface

Command’s “War Planner” update (aka “Tiny”) is set to release in less than a month. Are you ready for Command’s biggest update yet? In this multi-part series we take a look at the various key features introduced. Following the Overview, today it is the turn of general improvements and new UI features.

General speed improvements: A lot of individually small speed improvements both in the map/UI as well as the simulation engine combine together to provide an improved gameplay experience – as well as improved analysis throughout in the professional edition.

New “Double Flame” time acceleration mode: Command until now has been using two distinct time-slice settings for simulation fidelity: 0.1-sec (aka. “Finegrained mode”) and 1-sec (aka “Coarse mode”). Some of our users have asked for an additional “very coarse” 5-sec timeslice in order to achieve even greater simulation speed.

We were reluctant to step into this rabbit hole for some time, as once you start cranking up the timeslice length weird things start to happen (easy and classic example: weapon is at time-X in front of the target, at X+5 sec beyond the target, and no impact check can be easily made). However, we came up with a reasonable solution to this conundrum: automatically “throttle back” the timeslice setting to 1-sec whenever something that requires this precision happens or is about to happen, and freely let loose the speed demons in any other case. This has been tested extensively with very satisfying results, both in terms of simulation stability/integrity as well as the chief driver, performance. (Anecdotally, one of the early adopters used this feature to turn a nine-hour analysis into a three-minute run instead. Obviously, the performance benefits can vary wildly according to the scenario and use-case.)

And why is it called “Double Flame”, you may ask? This is why:

New feature: Benchmark mode: This provides an objective way to measure & compare a system’s performance and suitability for CPE, by repeatedly running any selected scenario in headless mode (similar to Monte-Carlo execution, but without any analysis results). By default, the execution is run using fine-grained pulse mode (ie. 0.1-sec pulses) in order to stress-test the simulation engine and the hardware resources; however, “coarse” and “very coarse” options are also available.

Some notes on this:

– The benchmark mode indicates the performance only for the simulation engine, not for the map/UI engine. For this reason, the rest of the UI (main window and map etc.) is hidden away while the benchmark window is active.

– It is best to run scenarios that can be run AI-vs-AI (e.g. “Duelists”, “The Tiger and the Dragon” etc.), otherwise one of the sides is going to remain idle during execution.

– Total scenario running time is not shown, because it can be an unreliable performance metric (e.g. did the scenario end quickly because it was run fast, or because an “end scenario” trigger was fired?).


Hypersonic glide vehicles (HGV) and directional-EMP (D-EMP) weapons: Previously available only in the Professional Edition, these two weapons types are now also available in the commercial edition.

Directional EMPs: CMANO v1.12 introduced omnidirectional tactical-EMP weapons. CMO now expands on this feature by also simulating directed-EMP warheads such as the one fitted on the USAF’s experimental CHAMP project. Using weapons with directional-EMP warheads is simple: Allocate the weapon at the desired primary target, and the weapon will first reach this target, “zap” it with its EMP payload, then head to the next nearest target, zap that one, then head to the next nearest target etc. until it runs out of fuel (or is shot down). This mode of operation makes D-EMP weapons very useful against clusters of closely-grouped targets with sensitive electronics, as is commonly the case for EW/GCI radars, C4 nodes, SAM batteries etc. The DB3000 currently has one directional-EMP weapon: Weapon #3407 – AGM-158B JASSM-ER [D-EMP], a variant of the common AGM-158B tactical cruise missile. By default, it is available for loadout #25091 (24x AGM-158B D-EMP), carried by: Aircraft #4325 – B-1B Lancer – USAF, 2018, IBS. Of course, weapon records holding this weapon can also be shoehorned into any aircraft loadout using ScenEdit, as normal.

HGVs: Hypersonic Glide Vehicles (HGVs) are boosted into near-space by rockets, then dive back into the atmosphere and glide towards their (usually distant) targets, optionally using a complex trajectory with pre-specified waypoints to complicate detection and interception. As many HGVs are still “developmental” systems with many aspects of the behavior of deployed systems (such as Avangard) are still subject to classification rules, Command’s implementation relies mostly on currently publicly available data, partially from the tests of experimental hypersonic vehicles like the HTV-2. Command’s current implementation assumes a sharp dive into the atmosphere after release from the parent booster, followed by a pull-up maneuver that establishes the HGV to a shallow glide trajectory towards its target. (In the database, the “Cruise altitude” value is used to mark the altitude at which the pull-up maneuver will start). This is an example of the trajectory shortly after atmospheric pull-up, as displayed on Tacview:

Players can optionally also plot a waypoint trajectory, in the same way as they can plot a complex course for cruise missiles.

Separated autosave for each scenario: The “Resume from autosave” function now fetches from the new Autosaves folder the latest modified root scenario folder that contains the specific autosaves, and then uses the autosave.scen of this folder. If you want to load an autosave from a specific scenario, you can select a scenario in the “load scenario” window and a “load autosave” button will appear if a valid autosave exists. This ability can be very useful if you need to keep save copies from multiple different scenarios you may be playing.

Formation presets: You can now quickly arrange the members of a group using any of a range of formation presets:

The presets work with any unit type and allow quickly positioning units relative to each other and to the group’s lead. There are various controls on a new toolbar within the formation editor:

  • The “Formation” selector allows picking from a number of different presets. These are defined in the file \Resources\Formation\StandardFormations.txt, which also documents the format so that you can add your own variants if needed.
  • The “Spacing” value sets the spacing between each unit, either in nautical miles or in meters.
  • The “Heading” value sets the assumed heading when ordering the formation position.
  • The “Assign” button arranges the formation stations based on the previous settings; all group members will do their best to get themselves into these positions ASAP (they may not be physically be able to, for example when a surface group transits a narrow strait; in this case they will converge towards the group lead).
  • The “Place” button is visible only in ScenEdit mode, and instantly teleports the group members to their assigned stations (useful for quickly arranging a group without the real-world delay, e.g. when constructing the initial setup of a scenario).

Improved Mission Editor layout: This can sound minor initially, but the feedback we have received indicates a massive quality-of-life upgrade. The ME window has been significantly revamped, with the sections for assigning/unassigning units, configuring mission settings and selecting strike targets now all relegated to separate tabbed windows. This opens up the previously cramped space of the ME window and allows much more “real estate” on each of those sections, both making usage easier and also providing more room for future additions:

Mission Editor – Generate flight plan for assigned aircraft: One of the new features added to the ME is the ability to generate a flight plan for any air mission before the assigned aircraft take off. This can be used either in close integration with the Multi-domain Strike Planner (more on that on a next post) or as a stand-alone feature.


Mission Editor – Clone existing mission: Another “small but mighty” quality-of-life improvement: Copy an existing mission’s settings to a new one. If you need to create a lot of similar missions quickly and don’t want to use scripting for any reason, this can be a significant time-saver:

New bathymetry layer: CMO’s original “Relief” layer was very warmly received, and a persistent request has been to provide a similarly rich visual layer for the bathymetry data. Such a layer was indeed made available, initially for the release of CPE 2.0 in 2021, and now we are glad to make it available in the commercial version:

This layer can be very useful for all aspects of underwater operations, from submarine & ASW ops, to mine and counter-mine systems and tactics, UUV control etc.


Load/save doctrine XML templates: One more popular request is now realized: Players have long asked for the ability to customize a ruleset for Doctrine & ROE settings (including EMCON, WRA etc.) and then be able to apply that as a template to other units, groups, missions etc. This is now possible, by the ability to save and reload such templates. In addition, because the save file is in raw XML format, the contents of the template can be freely edited – by hand, or by automated XML-parsing tools or scripts. Obviously this opens up a variety of automation capabilities.


Expanded WRA range options: The introduction of realistic boost-coast kinematics for AAW missiles, and the accompanying changes to default aircraft missile evasion behaviors (more on both of these on a forthcoming post) has made players more interested in more WRA range options. So in addition to the existing absolute-number figures, percentages of nominal range are now also available (25%, 50% and 75% of nominal). Furthermore, given that the new missile kinematics now reward evasion behaviors favoring outrunning the missile rather than trying to beam/notch it, a no-escape zone (NEZ) range option has been added to WRAs for AAW targets:

The logic of NEZ is actually pretty simple: If the target turns instantly at the moment of weapon launch and runs away from the firing unit, will the weapon be able to run it down? (If the target has been class-identified, its maximum possible speed at its current altitude is used as the reference “runaway” speed; if not, its current observed speed is used instead).

The benefit of using NEZ for a missile shot is that it makes it highly unlikely that the target will able to outrun the shot. On the other hand, against a high-performance target this leads to a severe reduction in practical launch range: Make your shot too conservative (to deny the adversary a chance to outrun your weapon), and you may possibly surrender the engagement initiative to the enemy. Again, a matter of trade-offs and risk management.


Revised message log: You generally liked CMO’s existing message log for its versatility and power, but you were not terribly fond of its “grouping by type” of messages. You told us you prefer a single waterfall-like flow of messages (ironically, much like CMANO’s original one) but with the option to dynamically show/hide messages by type. So this is what we came up with:

  • Messages can now be filtered by type directly by clicking on each of the type descriptions in the olive-green buttons (when a type is disabled, its corresponding button color changes to red).
  • Clicking on the “All” button instantly enables/disables all types.
  • Clicking on the “>Raw” button toggles between “raw” (aka “waterfall”) and interactive modes.
  • Clicking on the red-circled icon will detach the message log to its own window, and clicking it again will re-dock it.

New logged-message category: Doctrine/ROE changes.Like all other message types, this can be configured to appear on the message log, raise a pop-up and optionally stop the clock, show a message balloon etc.


Area & reference-points manager: Another migrant from Command-PE, this very handy tool will be your new best friend if you use areas and zones a lot (and in non-trivial scenarios we’ll assume you do):

This offers a centralized interface for editing reference points on large-scale scenarios. Ref-points and zones can be organized by tagging and visually distinguished by different colors. This can be superbly helpful, for example, for setting apart different patrol areas or exclusion zones.


Graphical Display of Satellite Pass Prediction: The “Satellite Pass Prediction” window now has an extra tab, which displays the same information in a more visual manner:

The tabular “spreadsheet” display or orbital passes still remains available, and is still a very powerful way of obtaining the info you need (e.g. sorting by any information field), but this graphical way provides an at-a-glance ability to quickly compare satellite availability windows.


Quick manual weapon allocation: Don’t trust the AI to make the optimum weapon allocation (or you’re the kind of micromanagement freak that never appears in grognard circles), but the full manual weapon allocation window intimidates you with its myriad combinations of shooters, targets and weapons? There is now another way:

Yes, it’s nothing Earth-shattering and if you’re a longtimer of the genre you’ve already seen this on other games. Still, you apparently like it well enough that you consistently asked for it in Command too, and we are happy to oblige.

Notice, too, the new “Investigate” and “Drop Target” commands. “Investigate” is another popular long-time request; the unit(s) will intercept and “shadow” the contact of interest but not engage unless in self-defense. Some additional new commands not shown in this screenshot:

  • Refuel To Tanker
  • Join Group As Escort
  • RTB
  • Assign New Home Base

Plot a course for the selected unit directly by right-clicking anywhere on the map: This is a boon to players coming from RTS games, where right-clicking to direct units is as instinctive as breathing. As in RTS titles, you can also plot multiple waypoints in succession by holding the shift key. During testing this was found to be annoying for some players who prefer the good old F3 way, so this behavior can be enabled/disabled through the game options window.


New optional UI/Map element: Barks: Barks are short text notifications that can be set to appear, briefly, anywhere on the map. Some examples:

The appearance and “styling” of the barks (color, text, duration etc.) is fully customizable through the Lua API, so you have full power to add them on any action performed. We can only begin to imagine what some of the more resourceful modders in the community will do with this feature.


New optional UI/Map feature: Slug trails: This something you may already be familiar with, if you have past experience with air-traffic control radar screens, sonar tactical consoles etc:

Slug trails can be configured through the Game Options window:

Flexible usage of CPU threads on LOS Tool: When we introduced the Line-Of-Sight (LOS) tool in CMO, some players whiplashed from “Meh, CMO does not utilize my multi-core CPU as much as I expected it to” to “HELP!!! When The LOS Tool is active, the rest of the game slows to a crawl!” (Don’t say we didn’t warn you…)

With this in mind, we added the ability to configure how many of the CPU’s available hardware threads (ie. virtual cores) can be allocated for use by the LOS Tool, therefore leaving the other cores/threads available to the UI and simulation engine:

Improvements on replenishment menus: The “Replenish” context menu now displays which type to rearm and will find automatically the eligible supply platform with this weapon in store. The context menu only shows the relevant weapons that have missing ammo, so it is easier to replenish a unit from various wide-spread supply facilities/vehicles/ships and keep track of what is missing. Example:

Ability to toggle more involved attacks (stick until winchester) in strike missions (toggle in strike mission UI):

Configurable sim-pause behavior: You can now configure whether opening up certain windows such as the DB viewer or Air-Ops will implicitly pause the simulation execution or not:

Include direct-path area in CZ rendering: When looking at a submarine’s sensor coverage of its CZ rings (if applicable), it can be easy to lose sight of the inner direct-path area where sonar detections are most feasible. This has now been rectified:

Note that this range represents the surface-level detection ability (detection range against under-layer targets, for example, will likely be lower) and dynamically adjusts to weather & environment conditions (boosted by surface ducting if present, shrunk by bad weather if present etc.)


Minimap improvements: The different minimaps have been improved in their presentation and unit rendering, and they also now include land-cover type in their color. Example:

Stay tuned on our Discord server and Forum.

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