or~ The War on Fog
“The ‘Fog of War’ is the uncertainty in situational awareness experienced by participants in military operations. The term seeks to capture the uncertainty regarding one's own capability, adversary capability, and adversary intent during an engagement, operation, or campaign.”…
This is becoming a thing with me… I start a comment in response to someone’s post and a few hours later I find I have written a post… sheesh. So, this is where I responds in a very tl;dr way to Mabrick’s latest, “Getting Round to Make Eve more Real”…
OK, I “basically” agree with the ‘FoW’ (Fog of War) basis, as Intel is THE KEY in all battles, numerical & firepower superiority are always second to Intel and FoW is very, very real… Mab says, “Those FCs with the skills to parse this spreadsheet quickly and efficiently do best. But this isn't really warfighting. It's list management.”
Whomsoever sits in Kirk’s Favorite Chair, be ye Captain or Admiral, warfighting (FCing) boils down to Asset & Intel Management, period. This is known as ‘C3’, Command, Control & Communications. The whole basis of C3 is Intel. Without Intel you are just guessing your fleet to a quick death… A good a definition of the value of Intel in C3 is as follows from an archive from Old Earth at the beginning of the 21st century:
“Information management and distribution provide the backbone infrastructure to allow near-perfect, real-time knowledge of the enemy and the ability to automatically disseminate that information to dispersed forces and command centers. Technical challenges relate to heterogeneous distributed computing environments, distributed database management, multilevel information security, advanced human-computer interfaces (HCIs), and automated information distribution.”
In this Mab is absolutely correct, in New Eden, approx 22,000 years after the above was written down we have achieved the desired for ‘near-perfect’ Intel… We in New Eden have highly advanced (far above 2012 Earth standards) Information Collection and Sharing Systems, IE: Computer Networks, IE: the NEOCOM (I mean it’s WAYYYY in the FUTURE right?). The technological basis for New Eden’s “Local” is:
(1) NEOCOM (FTL - Faster Than Light) communications combined with;
(3) all Stargates are networked via NEOCOM and real time update each other on ship movements;
(2) no ship can enter or leave an Empire system without using a Stargate OR a ‘Jump Bridge’ or ‘Cyno Jump’ the last two of which are readily detected and updated to the NEOCOM Systems AND;
(4) ALL of this information is accessible to all ships via the NEOCOM network.
The basis for the HUD (OV – Over View) is:
A ‘Tried and True’ human-computer interface (HCI) methodology for C3… the spreadsheet, or orderable/searchable data table. This was invented long ago on Old Earth, which has been refined and database input and updating are all now AI controlled, but it is still the ‘man in the chair’ who ‘uses’ this data to exercise C3, and the ‘spreadsheet’ data format is the best HCI methodology found so far.
In other words, a “good” General, Admiral, etc. (FC) actually IS “…a better accountant.” His ability to parse, understand and USE the data provided are still human qualities that no AI has been able to truly successfully recreate and none of this reduces or alleviates the uncertainty regarding one's own capability, adversary capability, and adversary intent (ref FoW definition at the top).
Case in point:
HBHI lives in a C3 wormhole, last night we were running a “Forgotten Frontier Quarantine Outpost”. We are up against the third class of the toughest AI in EVE. In C3’s the Sleepers Web, Neut and Scram. All of us were online and in fleet. Our CEO had setup multiple on grid Tactical BMs. Before going in we went over tactics, primaries, secondaries and operational goals. Our CEO was over all FC and our Fleet Cmdr was Exec. The majority of us are highly experienced wormholers, we are well shipped and fitted, we had solid and clear comms AND we had PERFECT Intel… and even with all that, we still lost a Tengu.
We were fighting and maneuvering and he got scrammed and went down before we could get enough ships in close enough to save him. No one “failed”, no one was to “blame” it was the Fog of War. In the best possible engagement scenario in EVE, PvE, against the 3rd best AI, the FoW still exists… in PvP it is very much alive and well and assisting in ship and pod kills every day… you die and learn. The upside was we pulled Eleventy One Million ISK from just that one site alone.
You discuss how, “…perfect intelligence about who you are fighting is terribly unrealistic.” Again, “basically” true… but what about Cloakies? Alts? Neutral spais & scouts? Corp Infiltrators? Logoff/Logon Tactics? AFK Cynos? There are still many unknowns in New Eden… we just have vastly more advanced technology is all… better ‘tools’.
You cannot equate the Pearl Harbor attack with warfare in New Eden, any more than ANY such ‘surprise attack’ would have been possible just 50 years later. The advances in technology between the late 20th and the start of the 21st century were sufficient to bring the advent of SOSUS, the rudimentary beginnings of what they called “Smart Weapons” and the earliest beginnings of Combat AI systems such as the Predator MAE UAV, and Tomahawk Cruise Missiles. You cannot begin to compare the Technology available on Old Earth in AD 1940 with the Technology of New Eden in the year YC 113 (AD 23,349) [no matter how new the system you play EVE on is…]. =]
In re: “CCP has already said Dust Bunnies will be able to take down local for brief periods.” HURRAH!! THIS is Virtual REALITY at its very finest. I have several friends who will NOT play in W-space ever due mainly to ‘no local’… the loss of NEOCOM Intel makes applying C3 VASTLY more difficult as we who live on the other side of the sky know only too well every day. Keep in mind also I am sure CCP will have counters for this… Hire and send in a DUST Team to take out the other team and re-establish Local Comms… Fun to be had for ALL!!! =]
I do have one concern though… you say, “…and the Overview was gone?” Where do you read that the Over View was going to be removed? I read ALL the Dev blogs while the recent patch was loading and that was not what I read. The UI is mentioned in “Stay On Target!” but there is no statement that the Over View will be removed. Do you know something we don’t? My understanding is the OV will probably have icon changes to match on screen icons, but basically remain as is. And while the screenshots don’t show the Over View, they also don’t show any Chat, Selected Object or any other windows either… It was a screen cap with extraneous data removed to show just the onscreen icons.
As re: “Blob Tactics”… please see the US M4 Sherman main battle tank of WWII. And I quote:
“Shermans were often outmatched by the 45 ton Panther tank and wholly inadequate against the 56 ton Tiger I and later 72 ton Tiger II heavy tanks, suffering high casualties against their heavier armor and more powerful 88 mm L/56 and L/71 cannons. Mobility, mechanical reliability and sheer numbers, supported by growing superiority in supporting fighter-bombers and artillery, helped offset these disadvantages strategically. The relative ease of production allowed huge numbers of the Sherman to be produced. This allowed many divisions, even many infantry divisions, their own organic Sherman assets. Some infantry divisions had more tanks than German panzer divisions did. This was a huge advantage for the Americans.”
What this amounted to was a defacto US Armed Forces BLOB tactic against smaller although technically far superior tank forces. It worked in AD 1944 just as it works as well today in YC 113. I bet the Germans whined and moaned quite a bit too as the survivors jumped from their wrecked Tigers and Panthers and fled from ‘blobs’ of Sherman tanks and ‘hordes’ of American troops. ANY successful tactic is not a thoughtless tactic, just ask the winners.
If the Germans had access to something equivalent to New Eden’s ‘local’ and been able to know, instantly, the type and number of the forces deploying against them, yes they would have used different tactics… but that would have been (and is in EVE) a two edged sword as the opposing force probably would have had access to the very same intel.
I also strongly feel that ‘theory crafting’, IE what ships and fits work best in fleet formations also gives rise to an element of ‘FoW’ in EVE, hence as you said, “…that is less a statement about the capabilities of the outnumbered pilots, than it is a statement about the poor fitting prowess of the other side.”
Remember, and I cannot stress this strongly enough, the Fog of War is not about technology… it is about the human factor. It is, the uncertainty regarding one's own capability, adversary capability, and adversary intent during an engagement, operation, or campaign.
A man armed with an assault rifle he does not know how to use will lose to the man skilled with a knife.
I am very interested in how things will go once the DUSTers start to get really involved… as the Chinese saying goes, “May you live in interesting times.” CCP is keeping things in New Eden interesting indeed… =]