DCS F-14 & RIO Gaming Resources

Training Complex Scenarios in a Couple of Minutes

Although there are already scripts and pre-made missions usable for training, I always prefer making my ad hoc tools. This is an example of how easy making your tailored training scenario is.

A couple of years ago, I wrote this article about training as a Radar Intercept Officer as a single player. Offline training is, in fact, a fundamental part of learning the switchology, familiarise with the avionics and the aircraft. Most of these phases would be tedious for the stick monkey in the front, or impossible. For example, using Active Pause to sit and observing an orbiting target entering and leaving the HPRF weak spots is a simple and effective way to familiarise with those, but it is not possible with a human pilot.

Raising the bar

What if you are already familiar with the basics, and want something more challenging, yet controllable and tied to the specific topic you want to train? For example, you want to practice and intercept against a target initially hiding in the notch. You can set up a scenario with a target repeating the same movements every time but, after the first time, it wouldn’t be so “new” anymore, right?

The mission editor allows, in a couple of minutes, to randomise the spawn of a set of objects created and customised by the player (enemy jets in our case, but it can be used to randomise ground targets, SAM emplacements and so on), and each can have a slight or a massive variation, just to introduce randomness and avoid complacency.
There are scripts and pre-made scenarios that achieve the same objective. However, usually, they cannot be customised or amended. For this reason, for years, I have been using a training mission template based on this concept, then forked or amended to fit what I wanted to practice.

The procedure is simple, and you can watch it here:


The following is a recap of the steps shown in the video:

  1. Create your aircraft, give it a name if you want, assign weapons and set its “Skill” as “Client” (“Player” works too, but there can be only one);
  2. Create a hostile aircraft. This time name it to avoid confusion, and personalise it. If you leave the Task to “CAP”, it will chase you as soon as your aircraft enters its sensors’ range – any of them. I prefer using a different Task, and set a steerpoint, after which they engage me. Make sure that “Late Activation” is checked;
  3. Now we create the triggers. All of them are trigged as the mission starts. The first is a sort of randomiser: it generates a value within a range (in theory equal to the number of objects you want to spawn), and dumps it into a Flag variable;
  4. Almost there! Now create a trigger that kicks in at the beginning of the mission, but post randomiser, and its job is to spawn the first target.
    This time, define a Condition that should be satisfied in order to proceed. For example, the first target group can be spawned in Flag1 equals zero. Then, in the last column, define the action. What we want is to activate a group depending on the flag.
  5. Final step, clone the newly created trigger, as many times as necessary, and adjust the condition and the action. All done!

To rephrase the last point, the idea is that zero is generated in Flag1, then the first group is spawned. If one is generated, the second group is spawned, and so on.

Raising the bar²

Up to this point, the scenario is bland and not particularly interesting. However, this is where you can start playing with the settings of each spawned group, and make your life miserable challenge yourself!
For example, you can:

  • Spawn targets with their radar off until they intercept to make your RWR even more useless.
  • Spawn the targets in the Zero Doppler or Mainlobe Clutter regions, or behind the terrain, and have them pop-up or manoeuvre. This is great to improve basic radar management and sensors awareness.
  • You can mix singletons and sections. You won’t know if the scenario is a 1v1 or 1v2, especially if one target is hiding from your radar;
  • Have the targets spawning with a wide horizontal separation, or a stack, or both, so they won’t fit in TWS! If you are in a 1v2 scenario and can’t engage both hostiles at the same time, which one should be engaged first? This situation forces the RIO to make choices quickly.
  • You can move the scenario to feet-dry, over land, to make the detection of low contact harder because the MLC switch won’t be as useful as before.
  • Tailor the employment range, the ECM usage and so on. Nothing is better than a target engaged in TWS randomly blinking its jammer. And you won’t even know if the target will do it in the first place. So, what do you do? Do you adopt a different timeline or change your intercept, or stick to the original plan?
  • Using the triggers, you can activate multiple groups at the same time! If you combine this with targets spawning in a radar blindspot, the scenario can become very challenging, very quickly.
  • You can also change the spawning percentage to 80% or 90% for example, just to make you always wonder if a target that you can’t find is creeping up to your 6’, or it is missing altogether. Skip LINK4A to have more fun!

I hope you have found this useful, feel free to share feedback and suggestions!

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