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HIGH CONCEPT DOCUMENT
BASED ON THE FINDINGS FROM THE REPORT: DECEPTION IN WARFARE AND ITS APPLICATION IN R.U.S.E.
Nicholas Edwards – Desert Fox High Concept – www.nicholascedwards.co.uk Page 1 of 11
Executive Summery: ........................... 3 Platform: .............................................. 3 Target Audience: ................................. 3 Game Goal: ......................................... 3 Setting: ................................................ 3 Overview: ............................................. 4 Mechanics: .......................................... 4 Order System: ................................... 4 Divisions: ........................................... 6 Combat System: ................................ 6 Supply System: ................................. 7 Intelligence and Deception: ............... 7 Set-up and infrastructure: .................. 8 Victory:............................................... 9 HUD: ..................................................... 9 Controls: ............................................ 11
Nicholas Edwards – Desert Fox High Concept – www.nicholascedwards.co.uk Page 2 of 11
Desert Fox is a Real-Time Strategy game that aims to add the experience of Operational-Level command to the Real-Time Strategy genre. The hope is to give a unique way to abstract the subordinate decision-making process of an army and the friction that must be worked around when doing so. Players will have to stay vigilant throughout, as while they may listen-in on their opponent’s decision making, deception may be around every corner as fake orders and plans can be slipped in to fool those who find them.
Desert Fox will be marketed exclusively for the PC audience due to the control scheme of the game and potential problems that may manifest in converting this to a console gamepad.
The game is aimed at established RTS players looking for a unique take on the genre. The game will be attempting to hook-onto the interest in deception mechanics that came with the release of R.U.S.E., but similarly be trying to do so from a different perspective on deception with the focus on the battleplans themselves.
The goal of the game for each player is to command their divisions from an Operational level of command, balancing the ability to be deceived with that of planning ahead well, all in order to defeat the enemy on the battlefield.
The game takes place during the North-African campaign of World War 2, with players being able to take control of divisions under the command of either the British Eighth Army or the German Afrika Corps. The reason for this setting is the reputation for deception in this theatre; from the inflatable tanks of the British and their success in using ULTRA to pick up orders, to Rommel’s tactics of kicking-up dust to make his forces seem larger. For a game looking to add to the representation of this form of warfare in games, this seems a natural setting to focus on.
Nicholas Edwards – Desert Fox High Concept – www.nicholascedwards.co.uk Page 3 of 11
Order System: The player is given divisions, the number depending on the level, to control within the game. These will be a mix of: Infantry: A basic infantry unit, which will move on foot and therefore be the slowest movers but also the mobile in rough terrain and use supplies much slower. Come with some anti-tank abilities to balance them against this. These will be the player’s most common unit.
Armoured: A tank division. The main force-bringers on the battlefield, they have an advantage over all other types of divisions. However they use supplies very quickly and the player will not have many in number.
Artillery: A small division of artillery cannons and their protection squad. Allows the player to fire across large distances without direct contact, however if they are approached they only have minimal abilities to defend at close-range.
Intel: Small squads rather than divisions that can be used for information gathering. Very little combat ability and what they do so is for self-defence.
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To control these, the player has access to their “Battleplan”, which is a map that the player can use to set down orders to their troops and works through a table of instructions given to each division. Players may instruct any one of them to: o Move to: A set objective point A waypoint Points to pause at Attack/ Defend point Assist allied division o Combat States: Offensive • Units will be able to move forward quicker, but weaker if still Defensive • Units will be stronger in a still position, but slow to move Retreat • Units attack power will go down rapidly, but will be able to move much quicker o Operational Freedom: Strict adherence • Will follow orders to the letter General adherence • Will mostly stick to orders, but will go for an opportunity if valuable enough Free rein • Will follow the basis of the orders, but will go after opportunities at most possible points. It will take some time to switch between the division’s Combat State or Operational Freedom. These orders will only give guidance on an operational level to these forces and each will tackle the tactical situation on their own accord within what you as the commander have stated. Players will be more concerned with the manoeuvring of their forces and their relation with battlefield elements such as terrain and positions of other divisions, rather than the tactical concerns of the engagement.
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A player can set these orders to kick-in along a timescale, either on the competition of a previous order or after a set time-limit. These orders may either be given out to each division individually or stacked and placed with them in one go. Players however may change an order at any point after being relayed. Orders however are effected by the “Friction” generated from their use, which Clausewitz described as “Countless minor incidents –the kind you can never really foresee – [that] combine to lower the general level of performance” and “The factors that distinguish real war from war on paper”. Each division has their own “Friction Meter” and as the player gives orders this shall fill, when this then reaches 25% the divisions operational capacity will also drop 25% and the same for 50%, 75% and 100%. After an amount of time without friction being added the meter will slowly drop. Orders will only ever add a set amount of friction to the division’s meter. This leads to a strategic situation where a player must balance between short orders that are easier to manage but produce more friction, and long orders that are harder to work with but produce less friction. At any stage though a change of order will impact heavily on the friction meter, a sliding scale will be in effect for the damage on it based off how far off the order was, with major damage if done during the order. Divisions: A division is based on the following factors: o Numbers: The raw amount of units within it o Operational Capacity: The current based of the Friction applied t the division from 0-100%. This affects the ability for the division to operate, fight and manoeuvre, at 100% they will do so at their full ability. When this reaches 0% the unit will cease to function. o Supply Level: Current supply status of the supply situation of the unit from 0-100%. When full the Division will fire and move as needed and as often, as this drops though firepower and movement will drop until 0% when the will unit break-up. o Combined Arms Radius: The radius around this unit in which they can and will fight jointly with other divisions. o Attack Radius: How far the division can attack to effectively. o View Radius: How far the division can see into the Fog of War. o Rating: Each division is given a pre-determined rating of 1-5 stars based on their overall combat effectiveness and will judge how badly friction affects them, how quickly supplies are used, size of their Combined Arms Radius and general ability to fight. Combat System: When a division comes within Attack range of an enemy Division they will do one of two things based on their operational freedom:
Nicholas Edwards – Desert Fox High Concept – www.nicholascedwards.co.uk Page 6 of 11
If Strict, then they will only defend themselves unless being ordered to attack. If Free, then they will attack within range automatically If General, then it will mix between the two.
The results of combat are based off the stats of the divisions involved and what type they may be. A calculation will enforced to process this, but a random chance will always be present in any outcome. The main factor in it all though will be the Friction currently being experienced by the division; this will scale back the chances of success from x1 at 100% to x.75 at 75% and so forth. Players themselves will only see combat from a Division level and as such will not see the individual tactical decisions of units, but rather the combined outcome operationally. Supply System: A network of Supply Depots that can be placed across the map manages supplies in game. Each of these depots has a “Supply Radius”, so that when a Division is within this their Supply Level will be filled at a steady rate to 100%. Each depot though has an amount of supplies currently within them; to keep this filled the player is given a number of Lines of Communication that can be directed towards a particular Depot and will constantly make journeys from the players headquarters and back refilling. These refills will be subtracted from a grand total of operational resources. A Line of Communication can be attacked and the supplies will be lost when done so, therefore players must be careful with the routes of these in order to not waste precious amounts of their Grand Total. Intelligence and Deception: Intelligence squads can be used to read the opponents orders. When an enemy division are within their effect radius they may be able to read what orders they were given, with a percentage-based chance tied to the units rating each time one is sent. The more Intel units with this enemy division in their radius the higher the chance shall be. Any Intelligence that is successfully picked up is automatically added to the players battleplan map. This adds to the strategic decisions that must be made on order length as short orders have a far higher chance of being intercepted at point, but will also give more limited information. A long order has fewer chances but if it is seen will tell the opponent more. This can also apply to buildings. If an Intel unit is within radius of infrastructure every time it is interacted with, such as a Supply Depot being topped-up, the details of both the depots and the Grand Total may be relayed for that moment’s number; however the chances of this are far lower than orders.
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Intel units will also act as your eyes within the fog of war. While all units have a certain line of sight, an Intel unit’s is far higher and will be critical to reducing the affect of Fog of War has on you. One major aspect of the order system is its ability to be used within a deception plan. A player can send out a fake order or fake part of an order that will not be obeyed by their troops but is designed to be picked-up by the enemy Intel units if located nearby. In this way the player can use the system to fool an opponent into thinking that they will move one way, when the truth may far different. Any orders like this picked up will be added to the enemies battleplan map just like any other, it will then be up to the player receiving information to judge the credibility of what they have received and how they use it within their plans. Set-up and infrastructure: Before the beginning of hostilities each side has a 4-minute cooling period in which the only moveable units will be Intel squads to allow for initial reconnaissance; however they only be able to get within a certain limit of the enemy camp. Halfway through this period players will be able to start to give their divisions orders as they wish for anything happening after the 4-minutes mark; this is to allow for possible deception aimed at the Intel units able to be set up by this point. During this cooling period the player will mostly be preoccupied with the construction of their infrastructure. Players are given a pre-determined amount of £ or RM to go towards this and may be used to build certain structures: o Supply Depot: The main building of the supply system
o Observation Post: Will give an extended Line of Sight around its position.
Nicholas Edwards – Desert Fox High Concept – www.nicholascedwards.co.uk Page 8 of 11
o Camp: One needed per division (except Intel) to allow their initial placement on the battlefield, having option to place their initial spawn here. This is free up to the amount of divisions recorded, but more may be built afterwards, mostly for use within a deception plan on divisional placement.
Furthermore the following fake structures may be built for further use within deception. They have no actual function in-game and are simply empty dummies that allow players to create fake goals for their opponent or fake the direction of attack. They will however be unveiled if seen within an Intel unit’s radius: Fake Supply Depot Fake Observation Post
Victory: Victory is achieved simply by wiping out all other opponent divisions that are on the battlefield
Players will manage gameplay through two main screens, the overview and the Battleplan. The overview is simply a 3d visual representation of the battlefield. This will the players main way of keeping track of the action and be mostly for seeing the results of their orders, but will also be useable for selecting any point on it. This will take up the left half of the screen. The Battleplan will appear on the right side. This will work as described in mechanics and is displayed as a 2D top-down view of the battlefield. It will illustrate the following automatically upon finding the information: o Visual representation of all orders given in blue o Knowledge of your enemies orders in red o Your fake orders in green o The Fog of War as a shadow across the map o Your divisions by type in blue o Visible opponent divisions in red o Last seen position of hidden opponent divisions in purple o Your Infrastructure by type in red Nicholas Edwards – Desert Fox High Concept – www.nicholascedwards.co.uk Page 9 of 11
o The opponents Infrastructure in blue o Basic points of terrain Example of the battleplan screen:
Base Image: Battlefield 1942, DICE, EA. 2004
A player here has used a fake order, with a dummy supply depot to back it up, (Green) to lure and drag in an armoured division, before hitting it on the flank with their divisions to the right.
Nicholas Edwards – Desert Fox High Concept – www.nicholascedwards.co.uk Page 10 of 11
The lower third of the Battleplan will display the order table for currently selected unit and give the player the following options to make: o Set movement order o Set combat state o Change operational freedom o Create fake order As well as data on: o Numbers o Operational Capacity o Supply Level o Combined Arms Radius o Rating Overall screen layout:
On dual-screen computers the player will have the option of splitting these two half-views onto separate screens.
Players will mainly control their units through use of their mouse with their main action to highlight a unit or building on either one of the maps through a basic mouse-click. Options for that unit will typically be accessed through the on-screen menus by the Order Table and will appear now for that unit. Then if after the selection of one of these Orders a point must be selected on the battlefield, the player can simply right-click again to place that point upon the map. To navigate the Overview the map the player needs to just push their mouse in the direction they wish the camera to move, or the scroll-wheel or move in or out.
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