State of World in Conflict MW Mod
May, 2019 marks the 10th year anniversary of what was once called Fun Mod for World in Conflict (later renamed to MW Mod around 2010 during beta development). In 10 years of modding World in Conflict, MW Mod had come a long way since its nascent years.
Some of the biggest achievements during MW Mod’s 10 years include:
Is there a new version coming out?
Yes! To celebrate the 10-year anniversary of MW Mod, we’re currently working on the next release (version 5.5), known as “Starscream” for development name. We’re introducing the following new features and units to Starscream/5.5:
- Counter-Battery Radar for BLUEFOR (dropped via TA):
This is a feature many people wanted since vanilla WiC’s release in 2007 to make for fun artillery duels. 12 years later and we finally have it, and this is one hell of an over-engineered and wicked cool unit.
Counterfire radar will track incoming rocket, artillery & mortar (RAM) threats and alert friendly units of incoming artillery attack at the estimated impact area (early warning function). The radar performs backtracking calculations on RAM trajectories and will attempt to trace the weapon firing location. Once traced, radar will reveal the weapon firing source and automatically request counterfire mission from support’s Networked Artillery (MLRS) units via team fire support channel (JFSN).
The Integrated Air & Missile Defense System (IAMD) in WiC MW Mod has now evolved to following the unified IAMD Battle Command System (IBCS) model. Counterfire radar works as a “plug-in sensor” into the IBCS network. In order for the Counterfire Radar to function, your team needs to have either NATO Fire Control Radar unit or Heavy SAM (Patriot SAM site) operating somewhere in the map.
Both Patriot and Fire Control Radar units provide Command & Control (Engagement Operation Center or EOC) functions for the Counterfire Radar and all air defense related units to run in game. Without EOC units, there is no command and control.
Note that Counterfire Radars, like all radars, are subject to anti-radiation missile (ARM) attacks from REDFOR jet aircraft. Be sure to protect it with Medium SAM (IFPC MML) or airdropped C-RAM. Or passively, if you see an incoming ARM going for your radar, you can shut down the radar by placing the unit into Hold-Fire. Place the unit on Hold-Fire and move it out of the area to completely trash the incoming ARM.
- Small improvements to Scripted AI:
Based on community feedback, we’ve made some small improvements to the scripted AI in game when bots are present. On supported maps, REDFOR AI will now emplace static AA and AT units (Pantsir S1, Tor M1 and Kornet-D) at strategic locations to help defend the spawn zone and prevent overruns.
Additionally, when there are no human players present in BLUEFOR side (humans stacked on RED side), then BLUEFOR support AI will now spawn and operate the Counter-Battery Radar (you may want to move your BM-21s after firing them.. lest they get obliterated by counterfire).
- Truck bomb mode for REDFOR infantry transport trucks:
Another community request for rather fun laughs than a useful gameplay feature. REDFOR transport trucks can be configured into truck bomb mode by enabling Offensive Ability.
- AGM-158B Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile (JASSM):
Based upon community request from Facebook, we’re adding another cruise missile to the game, this time an air-launched JASSM cruise missile dropped from F-18 (CAS2) aircraft.
The weapon employment logic for JASSM will be as follows:
Human player triggered launch options:
Human players can trigger a JASSM launch from F-18 by either:
(a) designating a target with JTAC that is really far away from F-18 (on other side of the map); or
(b) launch a Tomahawk cruise missile using cruise missile launcher.
If you are attacking an enemy target of high value with Tomahawk (e.g. SAM site, artillery, missile launcher, etc), F-18 will also add its own share of fire by launching JASSM at the same location, to help saturate and brute-force through enemy air defenses.
AI launch options:
If there are no human players present on BLUEFOR side (humans stacked on RED side), scripted AI will routinely scan for enemy units that are either visible or generating emissions (e.g. radars), and will add them to strike queue for JASSM attacks.
Along with JASSM, ground-launched cruise missiles have also been improved. Mission data (flight plan/navigation map) is now generated prior to missile launch and ground launcher is now oriented to the first en-route waypoint. This prevents the cruise missile from making wild turns after boosting, allowing their launch signature to be better concealed within your spawn area.
- M-ATV is now vehicle-based JTAC and moved to TA menu:
HUMVEE and MATV purchase options are swapped. HMMWV is now Light Utility Vehicle on the reinforcement menu; M-ATV is now airdropped jeep from TA. M-ATV now functions as vehicle-based JTAC – its offensive ability now provides JTAC laser designator.
- New model for Spike NLOS Missile Launcher:
Replacing placeholder model with a real launcher model – much needed improvement.
5.5/Starscream is about 55% finished, and expected to be released around summer time.
Looking back through past 10 years, 2013-2014 was the most pivotal period for MW Mod – that is the time when FLINT reached version 4.0. FLINT 4 introduced significant backend features that were necessary to mature the mod to where it is today: features such as velocity-verlet integrator, linear interpolation (lerp) and introduction of execution environment for FLINT modules were all crucial to advancing the mod development forward.
Recently, FLINT and mod development have been going through a new round of improvements:
First of which is the improved interworking between FLINT scripts and server-side environment (known as WICG and EXGame), that allows us to create map-specific scripting and implement scripted missions or AI logics. In 5.5, we’re introducing very basic rudimentary scripted conditions (static unit emplacements in preset locations), but the future (MW Mod 6.0?!?) holds many promises – including an AI player interpreter that allows us to add more dynamic instructions (such as movement, Machine-Learning Reaction (mx.RE) system, etc) to gradually enhance the vanilla game’s bot AI, and allow room for scripted missions.
Second major development as of lately, is what is happening with air & missile defense (IAMD) component. Since the past year, we began migrating away from the legacy Patriot and IADS script code, and started moving to a single unified command & control (C2) system simulation, inspired after the US Army’s IAMD Battle Command System (IBCS) development in the real world, where air defense units could simply “plug in” to the network on demand (plug-and-fight capability).
In implementing C2 functions for the new IBCS system, what used to be a simple set of shooter scripts for AA has now turned into a Virtual Machine (VM) runtime environment running in Python, simulating a machine. The new IBCS Python modules now provide the following basic functions:
- Virtual Machine (VM) Runtime Environment with scheduler and dispatcher (known as Adjunct Processor (AP) Runtime System)
- Baseline support for execution stack and instruction pointers / program counters
- VM Interpreter written in Python with stack machine operations and predefined instruction set. Interpreter listens for unit state inputs and wic.Player pressed keys and compiles them into instruction stack, which is then executed by the bytecode dispatcher (under development). In the future, command & control functions (for engagement if-then situations) will move to predefined instruction set executed by the VM Interpreter, with players having the ability to influence the command & control behavior by pressing supported user input keys.
A recent fun example of the VM runtime environment is the new Counter-Battery Radar. When a counterfire radar is joined into the IBCS, a new “process” (called ‘jfired’) is started and dispatched accordingly by the VM scheduler.
Note that the VM scheduler lives inside the C2/EOC node (e.g. Fire Control Radar or Patriot site). If the current master EOC node is killed, VM scheduler & dispatcher functions are passed onto the next surviving EOC node. If all C2/EOC nodes are killed, VM runtime environment shuts down completely, and all IBCS units and processes cease functioning.
Future Roadmap and Challenges:
As we look toward MW Mod 6.0 and beyond, the above recent developments will allow the following:
- Gradual improvements and enhancements to AI system in game. By directly interacting with wicg environment, we can create more scripted conditions and dynamic Reaction systems based on predefined map parameters, helping to make AI player units more useful.
- The notion of adding naval units to select maps (where gameplay is feasible), is more and more inching closer to becoming reality. Improvements to Scripted AI allows non-human player owned ships to be added into the game, that are direct controlled by scripted AI with pre-defined pathfinding routes.
The new VM Runtime Environment for IBCS allows much easier integration and interworking of Naval combat system elements (such as Aegis, NIFC-CA), by using a common instruction set for unit C2 functions. THAAD is now also looking easier to add with the new VM environment.
- At some point, we need to rewrite the aircraft (JTDS) movement and orientation scripts that were made back in 2011 (to make aircraft behave more realistically). Too lazy and lack of motivation is an issue on this topic however.
The challenge to all of this is time and motivation. Back in 2009-2011, MW Mod development was churning out new changes and units on almost biweekly basis at peak, monthly basis on average. Nowadays, getting anything new implemented in MW Mod often turns into over-engineered development hell. In some ways, MW Mod and FLINT are a victim of its own success over the past 10 years – with much heavier dependence on programming side of things, getting a unit added nowadays requires weeks for coding, testing and integration, thereby making things way more over-complicated than ever before. But it does look nice for sure!
We’ll see how the mod development continues in the future (6.0 and onward). But it seems rudimentary introduction of ships to a very few select maps is increasingly becoming likely.. We shall see.