Command: Modern Air/Naval Operations 1.01 Review

The Human Factor is…currently AWOL

A feature I’d definitely like to see (in an update) is a rating for the Training/Experience/Morale of the various units, but especially for aircraft (pilots). Even something simple, like having poorly trained/motivated pilots aborting their attack runs at the least excuse or “aces” getting a bonus in terms of firing their guns/heatseekers first (to simulate their better dogfighting skills) would at least start to account for the importance of the human factor. Clearly, In Real Life there’s a large difference between, say, an Israeli and an Iraqi pilot in terms of overall effectiveness, but that isn’t reflected in the game as of version 1.01. This could make some historical scenarios difficult to replicate faithfully.

There’s an excellent article by Dr. Carlo Kopp (Surface to Air Missile Effectiveness in Past Conflicts: http://www.ausairpower.net/APA-SAM-Effectiveness.html) that examines the crucial role that training and motivation played in the performance of SAM units in Vietnam, the Middle East and Serbia. You can’t really do that in CMANO at this stage, so hopefully it’s something they’ll be looking at implementing in the near future.

The Message Log, or “Why did my fancy toy miss the target?”

As briefly mentioned earlier, the Message Log is where, among many other things, you can find out exactly what’s happening both “under the hood” and out where you can see it. The entries are helpfully color-coded and the window itself can be set up as a separate standard resizable display, or else prints out directly onto the lower left side of the map.

I definitely preferred breaking it out into its own window, both from a legibility standpoint and so I could move it out of the way (and onto a secondary monitor in my case). One really cool thing I tried was to use my iPhone as a virtual monitor, then I dragged the message window over to it. Pretty slick, and another reason why going with just the plain old standard Windows interface was an inspired decision.

Here you can see exactly why that SA-5 Gammon missed. Very handy.

So, why put the weapon performance just in the Message Log?

I really believe that having the weapon performance located in the Message Log is the way to go, rather than putting everything in a database where you can easily look it up. Why? Because I don’t play CMANO as just a game that I’m necessarily trying to I’m more into verisimilitude, even at the cost of being at a disadvantage.

Specifically, I don’t want access to info that wouldn’t be available to a commander In Real Life. The cool thing about having this performance info confined to the message window is that, over time, you start getting a feel for what works, what doesn’t, and why. But you learn this only via gaining experience (or doing your own research). You can’t just go memorize a bunch of stats and get a feel for what makes a weapon effective or not in a given situation. CMANO forces you to Learn by Doing.

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