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DESERT

FOX

HIGH CONCEPT
DOCUMENT
BASED ON THE FINDINGS FROM
THE REPORT:

DECEPTION IN WARFARE AND ITS


APPLICATION IN R.U.S.E.

NICHOLAS EDWARDS

Nicholas Edwards – Desert Fox High Concept – www.nicholascedwards.co.uk


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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


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Executive Summery:
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.

Platform:

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.

Target Audience:

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.

Game Goal:

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.

Setting:

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


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Overview:
Mechanics:

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.

Nicholas Edwards – Desert Fox High Concept – www.nicholascedwards.co.uk


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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.

Nicholas Edwards – Desert Fox High Concept – www.nicholascedwards.co.uk


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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


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- 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.

Nicholas Edwards – Desert Fox High Concept – www.nicholascedwards.co.uk


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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


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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

HUD:
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


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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


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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.

Controls:
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.

Nicholas Edwards – Desert Fox High Concept – www.nicholascedwards.co.uk


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