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Task Force Admiral WIP shows a ton of promise [Pacific]

Microsoft Combat Flight Sim 2 Pacific Theater solved that for me. THAT was an epic game. I wish that was remade with new features that come with the new games. I haven't looked into the game mentioned on this post, but I might if it's anything like MCFS 2: PT.
Task Force Admiral is not a flight simulator - it is a wargame in which ships and aircraft are simulated, but not directly controlled by the player. So, it might not be your thing if you are looking for the next CFS.
Task Force Admiral is not a flight simulator - it is a wargame in which ships and aircraft are simulated, but not directly controlled by the player. So, it might not be your thing if you are looking for the next CFS.
I meant more of the grand scale and nature of CFS battles. It hasn't been done since.
I remember the map being thousands of miles in length and width
Some interesting movies and other info have been shared by the dev team recently... about my favorite topic: naval flak :) The latest development update on steam (link) mentions such "finer points" like the role of single-purpose guns in AA defense of the task force, fuze setting and fire control (even for medium AA, yay!). I'm very happy to read about such things actually being considered/simulated in a game.

The clip below is an older one, showing a dive bomber attack against a cruiser. Nevermind the murderous effectiveness of the AA, they said they would be tweaking it. One thing I'd point out is that the 5" shells explode very close to the targeted ship. It would get showered with fragments and probably take serious damage from friendly fire, think about the exposed AA crews. Naval AA must respect the available firing arcs and avoid hitting friendly ships.

(The videos work, you may just have to click through to watch them on FB)

Another clip with in-game sound. The sound sounds great, but so far I hear no indication that the distance from the source to the camera is taken into account. At this distance, I should see/hear some delay between flash and boom of the 5" guns.

Finally, an entirely peaceful video clip about view controls, just looking great. This might be the bluest game I've ever seen.

Notice the waves around the ship - not just the bow wave and the stern wake, but also the waves spreading sidewards from the ship. I bet this is not easy to do in a sim. I assume the wave field is periodic - a patch that is repeated infinite number of times in the x and y directions - and they superimpose these individual ship effects on that periodic field. I wonder 1) how these individual ship wakes interact and 2) what bad weather will look like in the game. At sea state 5 or 6, destroyers are already heavily affected - they can't go too fast and may have trouble keeping their course, depending on the wind direction. Will they include that in the simulation? Or will they choose to avoid simulating bad weather completely?
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Yep, they've been making good progress.
I find it very impressive. The Kate bombers are able to synchronize their attacks from two directions and the ships maneuver before the torpedoes are in the water. The kind of intelligent behavior I would like to see.
I hope the clip shows AI reacting to a random situation and not a carefully orchestrated script (almost hard to believe that it isn't!)
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We shall see Drifter Man, we shall see. Buit I think that Admiral Crapud and his development team are being very thorough in establishing a credible AI that will be challenging. I read a thread on another site where he indicated that translating and reading Japanese source material was a challenge. I am assuming he is talking about doctrine manuals, training material and all manner of Japanese source material.
I have no doubt it is well researched, I'm just amazed that the AI can execute something so complex, requiring foresight about the likely enemy response (by the AI on either side) of at least a few minutes. Foresight is something I don't often see with in-game AI. Usually, AI reacts only to the immediate, current situation - "turn in the direction of the enemy and shoot." Unlike humans, who play out "what if" scenarios in their head before making a decision.

Port or starboard turn? Keep flank speed or order full reverse?

But they showed something similar for formation changes - getting a ship to a new position without colliding with/disrupting other ships - which requires similar foresight.
May I remind the audience that this is a strategy game :)

This is a 1:1 simulation of an attack wave against a US Navy carrier task force.

The defending fighters are a bit too aggressive when around their ships - there is one moment when the pursuing Wildcats strafe a friendly cruiser with .50 cals.
Eager to pursue right through the firing arcs of friendly AA, which is very dangerous, though I understand fighters sometimes did that when things were very desperate.
Not every hit on a ship should start a fire, and the flaming debris flying around after each hit does not look very convincing.
I can't find any other flaw.
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Interesting to see how
  • The escorting Zeke engage the CAP, but some Wildcats manage to break free from the dogfight and press on after the bombers. They prioritize as they should.
  • The CAP gets reinforced with additional fighters on standby, which manage to down a few more bombers
  • The torpedo bombers make concurrent attacks from multiple directions and the carriers maneuver intelligently to evade
  • The dive bombers apparently arrive a minute too late to attack in coordination with the torpedo bombers
Meanwhile, the player's job is to decide where the task force should go and to launch air missions. So, what is happening in the video is just the AI doing its work.
The video above was made from a demo version released by the development team to several youtubers and reviewers. It runs for 30 minutes and does not take any player input into the action - they can just watch. But it shows a fully functioning simulation, impressive performance at high time compression, beautiful visuals, and overall a great deal of progress towards the release.

A three-part interview with Amiral Crapaud was published by Strategy and Wargaming: https://strategyandwargaming.com/2023/08/26/task-force-admiral-interview-part-3/
The first two parts do not include new information for someone who has been following the project for years - but worth reading nevertheless, especially if you haven't! The third one has a few new points.
  • We already know that there will be ship subclasses representing the differences between ships of the same class, which could have been designed from the start, made in the shipyard, or resulted from wartime upgrades. Now we learn that unfortunately, these subclasses will only appear for ships from cruiser up - destroyers will follow uniform design. I suppose this is a necessary compromise, still I am a bit disappointed, as the variations among destroyers was no less interesting than among the larger ships.
  • The internal arrangements of ships will play a role in damage modelling, with the penetration and post-penetration effects considered for each hit. The example of the importance of boiler and engine room arrangement given in the interview shows how much naval warfare simulations have to catch up with land and air, take GHPC for example. I was massively disappointed by the simplistic (almost non-existent) treatment of the ship internal arrangements in UA Dreadnoughts - which is supposed to be about designing ships! I'm happy to learn that this won't be an issue with TFA.
  • A Kickstarter campaign is planned for the end of the year, not for finishing the game but for adding some extra features and for a boxed version. I'll see what is on the menu. I'm not interested in printed manuals and boxes, I think that digital delivery is progress, but I do want to support the team.
  • Reiterated ambition to expand the title.
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Camouflage patterns, all apparently variants of the Measure 12 scheme, on six destroyers in TFA. Beautifully recreated from the few available photographs of these ships. Each ship is a legend, and several suffered tragic fates.
Read about the last voyage of USS Meredith here:


All are shown with flat-sided funnels - in reality, of these six, only the Farenholt had them, being a Benson-class destroyer built by Bethlehem Steel. The rest were Gleaves class, with round funnels.
Left: Farenholt (not sure about date); right: Buchanan (1944).


This is the setup chosen by TFA for Benson/Gleaves class destroyers (the annotations are mine):

It is fairly representative, but there were differences. Meredith and Gwin appear in photographs with 10 torpedo tubes (2x V) and without the Mk 4 radar. Gwin is shown here at Mare Island in December 1942, having returned for repairs after the Second Battle of Guadalcanal.

The close-range AA armament varied all the time, some ships probably started with 0.50 cals and received Oerlikons when possible. However, all Bensons from DD-453 onwards were approved with 5 Oerlikons and 1x 1.1" quad, placed asymmetrically on the aft platform on the starboard side. Few photos show this, so I have no certainty if all of the ships were actually completed with the 1.1" quad. The following photo is taken from the searchlight platform of the Aaron Ward, looking aft, dated 15 May 1942:


The TFA team is well aware of these differences - they have pored over all these pictures - I suppose they had to simplify things in order to ship the game at some point. Considering that they have been refusing to simplify anything up until now, it must have been painful... :)

Closing off with a link to a beautiful, high-resolution color photo of the Buchanan from June 1942 from a reddit user. Notice the smoke generators aft (the cylinders in between the depth charge rails). Oerlikons sit where they are supposed to be. The 1.1" quad that I think should be on the starboard side is obscured by the No. 3 gun.
This is how it needs to be done in a naval simulation!

For #screenshotsaturday here's a preview of our module system. We're currently fitting out completely our test ship (an unfortunate Porter class destroyer) with all its internals. It's not just a matter of cutting small boxes in it (which are used for in-game flooding reasons), but you gotta carve several types of modules in there and make sure that each of these behave in a way that makes sense gameplay-wise. Boilers need to be able to be knocked out without added pain and restarted, but also to be damaged or destroyed. These three states all bring their own kinds of handicaps, temporary or permanent. To do this, you also need a relevant, comprehensive in-game system of adding these boxes yourselves, for us first, and then for modders, who might want to make that game better down the road. Finally, the last screen shows how the damage report screens look - with small dots of varying color telling you which system is functional / disabled / damaged / destroyed. For now it will do!

These yellow compartments are not just hitboxes with systems and stores inside, they also serve as control volumes for a flooding simulation in the event of damage.
I wonder if the same compartment system will be used to keep track of the mass of the carried fuel oil and its effect on draught, seakeeping and speed. For example, RN destroyer captains were instructed to fill fuel tanks with seawater when fuel was less than 15%, to maintain a margin of stability.
I am probably asking for too much here. We haven't seen a serious sea state in the game yet.
But I am pleased that DDG have not forgotten about their idea to give us modding tools to tinker with the ships.

I’ve been watching this one with growing excitement. If it goes early release it could be enough to tempt back to buying something before it’s finished :geek:

From what they, and other influencers have posted, it’s looking very comprehensive and great potential. Fingers and toes crossed.
New interesting posts by DDG on damage modelling:

We have started testing fire and flooding mechanics in Task Force Admiral. Today, let’s take the example of how fire is currently dealt with (screenshots obviously are in debug mode and don’t show actual FX, just the mechanics being implemented, without repair team available so as to check for spread of fire-related mechanics).
When an explosion happens, we roll for a fire chance based on the mass of the explosive charge (currently with no efficiency modifier, but hey, it’s 1942, let’s say they are mostly comparable gram for gram). Obviously, outside of the presence of an especially nasty module in the area (AVGAS, ammo, airplanes, etc...) a smaller explosion will have a smaller chance to start a fire, and a larger one will more surely do.
A second factor is the intensity of the fire. The index goes from zero (no fire) to 1 (which is a larger fire). A fire reaching an intensity of 1 will propagate to adjacent compartments (although it will only do so once – no wack-a-mole stuff). When starting, a fire then has a period during which it is not being contained. These initial few minutes (that remain to be tested & balanced) simulate the time needed to actually act on it, during which it will develop and possibly extend freely until a repair party (if available) is automatically assigned to its compartment. This period of (dis)grace only affects the fire resulting from the first explosion – reaction time will be faster for other fires born from said original oopsie. If by then the original compartment is inaccessible, repair party will naturally begin with the fires starting on its periphery so as to save compartments that still matter (same with a flooding).
The presence of a repair party guarantees that a fire in a given compartment will not increase. The issue becomes real when the number of accessible compartments on fire exceeds the number of available repair parties, especially considering that fire also extends upwards, and its spread can be dramatically accelerated by the contents of the compartments it touches.
It means that, say, Shokaku, with an empty hangar and the required number of repair parties available at a given time, can hope to deal with two or three bomb hits at the same time, and still have a chance to live through them (like she historically sure did). Now, if these hangar sections were filled with airplanes, and AVGAS containers were nearby, that could possibly turn into a quite different nightmare, Akagi-level, even with a single bomb. US damage control advantage, which will be simulated by an increased number of available damage control teams, is not foolproof either. It won’t be able to save each and every situation if, just like Wasp, AVGAS lines get ripped by a giant explosion while the ship is embarking water through several larger holes.
Is it a perfect model? Obviously not, so many factors had to be abstracted, and yet the underlying mechanics still had to be advanced enough to take into account the specifics of each module and the verticality of ship internal arrangements (which was more often than not ignored by older games). Still, the room left for improvement can be tweaked using values, so as to provide us with (fingers crossed!) believable results.
As for the rest, most people will probably never be aware of it at all, nor interested in knowing more about how the gears are working behind the scenes – but we sure hope it will still matter for the few who are, and the few who do!


I'd add that the propagation of fires in closed compartments (like on a ship or in a large building) is extraordinarily complex. There can be hundreds of different materials that will transfer heat and burn at different speeds, different temperatures etc. Fires can be limited by their access to oxygen - when the air in the compartment is consumed, the fire will extinguish by itself - this could well be the case of the fire simulated in the image above, which was initiated in the bow on the hold deck - this fire would not have access to much air. A bulkhead can stop the fire from spreading for a time, until it get so hot that the neighboring compartment also catches fire. A fuel oil tank will not burn by itself - first, the oil has to spill out, come in contacts with air, and evaporate. Etc.

I would agree that an explosion near and avgas tank is more likely to [puncture the tank and] initiate a fire, although I wouldn't say the same "obviously" for ammunition storage. Depending on the conditions and composition, propelland charges may smolder, burn slowly, outright explode or not catch fire at all. A hit in an AA ammunition magazine may not set off a fire but if a fire propagates into it from elsewhere, it may set off a lot of projectiles hurtling in all directions.

This report is worth reading for people interested in WWII damage control on ships. Can't find it online anymore. Good that I kept a copy.

Real-time simulation of a fire on a ship ("perfect model") is impossible but also unnecessary in a game. As long as you have a physics-informed or at least physics-inspired model, you can get a similar variety of outcomes as in reality. The player can believe and understand what is going on. This is in contrast to games that present you with something like "30% structural damage", health points and similar nonsense.

I look forward to their updates on flooding. I would also like to know how they will handle fuel tanks for the purpose of buoyancy calculation and if/how the sea state is going to affect the ship and the damage control efforts. I completely understand though they might not even want to share the details. Running even a simplified a real-time simulation efficiently - keeping in mind that a dozen damaged ships can be in the game at any given time with 10x time compression - requires some mad skills from the dev team.
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