Military Operations takes the next step in its journey of self-discovery with the inclusion of a limited gameplay test within the Benchmarking tool. In an effort to test out the fundamentals of what gameplay could look like, the MilOps team have generated a small hypothetical scenario where you control a German Panzer Division tasked with taking some objectives in France.
More importantly, they’ve made this scenario playable on machines within only 2 GB of RAM huzzah! The benchmark itself still requires 3GB, so you won’t be able to run that, but on the main menu you’ll see a ‘Test’ button at the end, which you can click on to start the scenario.
Here’s what the designers had to say about it:
The last MilOps version gave an impression of the scale of the game. It also helped us ironing-out driver support issues. In this latest version we introduce gameplay:
- Try to capture as many objectives as possible before time runs out
- Control your units by drawing orders on the terrain
- Inspect unit state in the detail-dialogue
- See how your occupied territory increases
- Watch your progress on the Status-screen
The main goal of this game-play experiment is to try-out basic unit-ordering by drawing on the terrain.
You get given a range of units, all motorised an anti-tank brigade, several recon brigades motorcycles, armoured etc some motorised infantry, a couple of tank brigades even some engineer and artillery brigades. There’s also a supply section, and the Divisions HQ to order about as well. The objectives are all based around towns, and the map will be dotted with enemy units to engage.
At the moment, there are only three orders you can give: ‘Move Cross Country‘, ‘Front Order‘ and ‘Halt‘. The last one clears everything and brings the unit to a halt. Even though the team have put out an instructional video on the orders, there’s no real context as to what they do or what the purpose is.
‘Move Cross Country‘ seems to be a basic move order the unit will take the most direct route to the target point. Path-finding doesn’t seem fantastic right now, so use this order with care.
‘Front order‘ seems a little more enigmatic the unit will still move to the new position, it doesn’t seem to do it any faster or slower, or with any more care re: pathfinding, but you can define the frontage covered, which will determine the final position of the units within the brigade. The basic move order seems a bit of a free-for-all in terms of the sub-unit’s final positions.
I’ve taken it for a brief spin it’s certainly cool, but not only is the game itself still in its early days, this scenario is incredibly basic. Moving an entire division in parts feels very satisfying, but also lacks a degree of finesses I suspect it’ll need to be engaging. Also, the tools on offer lack context when it comes to combat.
For example: After probing the front and taking an objective, I discovered there was an enemy tank brigade in my rear I needed to deal with. I swung a panzer brigade around and moved a couple of engineer brigades and my artillery closer to block the flanks. Given that there was also no information on unit capabilities (although each unit did come with a detailed stats display showcasing, ammo, men, equipment etc…), you’re left using your best judgement as to what the various units are useful for. I did have an Anti-Tank brigade, but it was too far away to be useful.
Moving my tank brigade up close to the enemy unit did trigger combat, but it was a bit of a free-for-all and it’s very hard to tell what’s going on. I also couldn’t figure out the range of my artillery, or generally how to get them involved in the fight. It was messy, and when I closed down the tool to write up this report I still didn’t really have a clear idea of whether I was winning or not – although most of a motorcycle brigade seemed to be on fire.
All in all, don’t get too excited this test scenario seems incredibly limited In what it’s able to offer in terms of a gameplay experience. I suspect the MilOps team are looking for some very specific feedback and have only given the tools needed to do the testing they need, and no more.
It’s still a cool project though, and we’re enjoying keeping tabs on this project as it evolves.