Operation Flashpoint: Commander Guide
- Original author: Zovirl (email@example.com), Dec. 19, 2001
This guide is an attempt to document everything you need to know about commanding units in Operation Flashpoint. It grew out of a desire to know exactly what all those command menu options really did (since the manual didn't do a very good job of explaining things). This guide might also be useful to mission makers who want to have better control over how the AI units behave. Commands are listed in caps. Their associated number is parenthesis. Lists of commands and commands that sometimes are not present are in square brackets. When the behavior of other soldiers is being discussed, it is understood that they are AI soldiers. If other humans control the soldiers, all bets are off. For some commands behavior is not discussed. This means that either the command does not affect AI behavior, or it is not known how it affects the AI.
The command bar at the bottom shows you all the soldiers under your command (assuming, of course, that you are a commander). Each soldier's number is shown. Your currently selected units will have a small box around their numbers. Their icons indicate what type of soldier they are. If a soldier is colored red, it means he has a problem (like being injured or low on ammo). You can find out what the problem is by telling the soldier to REPORT STATUS. Then you can tell the unit to fix the problem by telling him to heal at a medic or rearm (see ACTION). There may be a small label indicating what a unit is doing (hiding, mounting a vehicle, etc.). Finally, if a unit is in a vehicle the icon will change. The crew of a vehicle will all receive one icon while units riding in the back will each have a separate icon.
Select units individually by hitting the function key corresponding to their number (F2 selects 2, F8 selects 8, etc.) You can select units as a group by hitting the ~ key. The first time you hit this it will select all un-tasked units (units without a text label like "hide" or "mount"). If not all units were selected the first time, hitting it a second time will select all units. Hitting it one more time will unselect all units. Finally, if you are in command view or have at least one unit selected, you can select units by clicking on them. Hold down shift to add units to your current selection.
If you have at least one unit selected, you can give commands to it using the mouse. Left click to give movement commands. Left click on vehicles to give board commands. Right click on enemies to give targets. Left click on enemies to give targets & engage commands. Hold down ALT and left click to give watch commands.
Since the mouse can only be used for a few commands, you will have to use the command menu for most things. Menus are only updated when they are first displayed. This means that you can't have a menu open and wait for something to be added to it. Unavailable items may either be grayed out or simply not listed.
These commands make your soldiers move around. You must be a commander to use them.
- RETURN TO FORMATION (1): Makes your soldiers fall back into formation. They have to actually know where you are for this to work. If they don't, you will first have to tell them to move somewhere close to you, and then tell do RETURN TO FORMATION again when they are near you.
- ADVANCE (2): Makes your soldiers keep formation, but a ways ahead of you. Only works if your soldiers are actually in formation. Each time you call this will increase the distance from you by 40m. So, three calls would make your soldiers move 120m away.
- STAY BACK (3): Makes your soldiers keep formation, but a ways behind you. Only works if your soldiers are actually in formation. Each time you call this will increase the distance from you by 40m. So, three calls would make your soldiers move 120m away.
- FLANK LEFT (4): Makes your soldiers keep formation, but a ways to your left. Only works if your soldiers are actually in formation. Each time you call this will increase the distance from you by 40m. So, three calls would make your soldiers move 120m away.
- FLANK RIGHT (5): Makes your soldiers keep formation, but a ways to your right. Only works if your soldiers are actually in formation. Each time you call this will increase the distance from you by 40m. So, three calls would make your soldiers move 120m away.
- STOP (6): Makes the units stop where they are.
- WAIT FOR ME (7): Tells your units to wait for you. Seems to be exactly the same as STOP, although it seems unlikely that BIS would have created a separate command, made a new text label for the command bar at the bottom, and had all the voice actors record the radio sounds for a command if it didn't do something different than existing commands.
- FIND COVER (8): Makes your soldiers move to the nearest cover. If you want this to actually work well, you need to have DANGER or STEALTH set so your soldiers will find cover after moving. Without this, everyone that is commanded at the same time will all move to the same cover, and most of them will be standing around in the open. Also, DANGER and STEALTH will make them actually lay down once they find cover.
- NEXT WAYPOINT (9): If the mission was made so that the player's squad has waypoints, this will tell the selected units to continue on to the next waypoint.
- OTHER (0): This menu lets you give your units a compass direction & distance to move.
- [DIRECTION] (1-8): This menu lets you choose the direction for movement
- [DISTANCE] (1-6): This menu lets you choose the distance to move
- POSSIBLE BUGS: STOP and WAIT FOR ME seem to be identical in results?
This gives a list of targets you can assign to the selected units. It can also be used in cadet mode to choose what target the target box is drawn around.
- NO TARGET (1): Cancels any target the selected units may have had. This also cancels the SCAN HORIZON and WATCH DIRECTION commands.
- [TARGETS] (2-9): list of enemy targets.
- MORE (0): In addition to enemy targets that don't fit on the first menu (positions 2-9), non-enemy targets (empty vehicles, civilians, friendly soldiers) are listed in this menu
These commands control how your soldiers attack the enemy. Note that in these descriptions, "target" refers to a target that you give your soldiers using the TARGET menu (or by right-clicking). You must be a commander to use these.
- OPEN FIRE (1): This lets your soldiers fire at will. They will shoot at anything in range that they have a chance of killing. They won't fire on a target if their weapon won't hurt it (they won't shoot a tank with an M16, for example). Not a good choice if you want to remain undetected.
- HOLD FIRE (2): This makes your soldiers not fire at will. Note that they will still fire on their target if told to FIRE, ENGAGE, or ENGAGE AT WILL, but will stop shooting as soon as the target is killed.
- FIRE (3): Tells your soldiers to fire on their targets. They will keep shooting until the target is neutralized. Unlike ENGAGE, they will remain in formation. Does nothing if the soldiers don't have a target.
- ENGAGE (4): Tells soldiers to attack their target. Soldiers will leave formation if needed, and will return once the target is killed. This does nothing if the soldiers don't have a target.
- ENGAGE AT WILL (5): Soldiers will no longer wait for your ENGAGE command to start engaging their targets. If they leave formation, they will return after the unit is killed. Even without a target, soldiers may also leave formation to take cover. This happens unless you issue the HOLD FIRE command along with either AWARE or SAFE. Be careful with ENGAGE AT WILL if you want your soldiers to stay in formation. Can be cancelled by DISENGAGE.
- DISENGAGE (6): This cancels the ENGAGE AT WILL command. It forces your soldiers to wait for your ENGAGE command again, and it makes them come back to the formation if they took cover. It does not seem to make them break away if they are attacking a target. You can issue a RETURN TO FORMATION command to do that.
- SCAN HORIZON (7): Soldiers will slowly turn around looking for targets. Canceled by NO TARGET.
- WATCH DIRECTION (8): Soldiers will watch a certain direction looking for targets. Canceled by NO TARGET.
- [DIRECTION] (1-8): This menu lets you choose the direction to watch
- POSSIBLE BUGS: Your soldiers will still shoot when set to HOLD FIRE if you tell them to ENGAGE, even though the manual states that they will move into position but not fire. Also, units do not actually retreat when given the DISENGAGE command even though the manual says they should.
You must be a commander for these commands. They give a list of vehicles that can be boarded. If you are in a vehicle, that vehicle will be in the (2) position on this menu. If a unit's ordered position is filled when he reaches the vehicle, he will say negative and stand around.
- DISEMBARK (1): Makes the selected units get out of a vehicle at the next opportunity. They will not jump out while the vehicle is still moving, however (see ACTION).
- [VEHICLES] (2-9): Lists the vehicles to board.
- [POSITION] (1-5): Lists the positions that can be occupied in that vehicle.
These commands deal with your status and your soldier's status on the battlefield.
- SUPPORT (1): You must be in command of at least one other unit to use these commands. If the mission was created with support units, this will call them to your current position.
- MEDIC (1): Calls for a medic
- REPAIR TRUCK (2): Calls for repairs
- REARM TRUCK (3): Calls for an ammo truck
- REFUEL TRUCK (4): Calls for fuel
- DONE (5): Lets the support unit know you are finished. If you called a support unit, he will wait until you send this command before responding to other support calls.
- FUEL LOW (2): Makes your unit report being low on fuel. If you have a commander he will call for support if needed and tell you where to get fuel.
- AMMO LOW (3): Makes your unit report being low on ammo. If you have a commander he will call for support if needed and tell you where to rearm.
- INJURED (4): Makes your unit report being injured. If you have a commander he will call for support if needed and tell you where to get healed.
- REPORT STATUS (5): You must be a commander for this to work. Makes a unit report his position and, if he has a problem, his status (such as ammo low, injured, or status red)
- WHERE ARE YOU? (5): You must not be a commander for this to work. Makes your unit ask the commander where he is. He will reply with his position.
- I'M UNDER FIRE (6): Makes your unit report being under fire.
- ONE LESS (7): Makes your unit report killing an enemy. Other units that were shooting at this target and didn't realize it was dead will stop once they hear this.
- IS DOWN (8): Reports the selected units as being dead. This will remove them from the squad even if they are not dead. If they were not, in fact, dead, they will report their status and will be re-added to the squad.
You must be a commander for these. Provides a list of actions you can order the selected units to perform. The actions that show up on your action menu as a player will be listed in here for the units you have selected. Most commands require that only a single unit be selected (for example, if you want two black-ops to lay a satchel charges, you must selected them individually). Some commands, however, work with several selected units at once. There are several actions that you will probably use frequently. EJECT can be used to force units out of moving vehicles. It is also the fastest way to unload a chopper hovering close to the ground. REARM and HEAL are also commonly used commands, because you soldiers have to be told to rearm or heal by you.
- [ACTIONS] (1-9): Actions the unit can perform
- POSSIBLE BUGS: AI units are strange with their binoculars. If you tell them to use binoculars, they don't always switch to them right away. Also, after moving, they don't always switch back to them.
COMBAT MODE (7)
You must be a commander for these. Basically, the combat mode commands affect how your soldiers hold their weapons, how they use cover, and how they move.
- ALL MODES: When your men are in formation with you, they will stay in formation. This means that even if they are set to STEALTH, they will get up and run if you are running. This also means that even if they are set to STEALTH, they will not leave formation to move through cover (note that the engage commands may override this behavior). In all of the modes, how your men behave when they are not in formation depends on whether they are using cover or not. If they are not using cover, they will usually move in the most direct line to their destination even if that means going out in the open. When they are not moving, each soldier will stay where he is. If your men are using cover they may go out of their way to move through stands of trees or groups of bushes. When they aren't moving, some soldiers may take up positions behind cover. Also, in all of the modes your men will hit the deck if they think they are in immediate danger (that is, if they are being fired on, there are explosions nearby, there are nearby enemy units, etc.). If they were standing before the danger, they will get back up as soon as they feel the danger is over.
- SAFE (1): Your soldiers follow your lead. If you lay down, they lay down. If you put your gun on your back, they put their gun on their back. When they put their gun on their back they no longer maintain formation. Instead they tend to group together, even while moving. They won't use cover unless you are lying down. This mode is good for cut-scenes I suppose, but isn't great for playing because you never want your guys to put their weapons away (it takes too long for your soldiers to get them back out).
- AWARE (2): Your men still lay down when you do, but they always keep their guns out even if you don't. Again, your men will use cover only if you are lying down. This mode is good if you want your troops to move somewhere fast because they don't lie down to cover their teammates all the time.
- DANGER (3): Your men lay down even if you are standing. When they move, they run forward a little ways, then drop down and cover for the others, and then they repeat. In this mode, your soldiers always use cover. Don't use this mode if you want your guys to go directly to the destination, or if you want them to hurry.
- STEALTH (4): Your men lie down and crawl most of the time when they are moving. This mode makes your men move really slowly, but they should stay hidden more often.
- STAND UP (5): This forces your men to stand up, even if they normally wouldn't. They will stay standing even if they think they are in danger, so this might be good if you want them to retreat at all costs. Note that this will not affect whether or not they use cover. Can be cancelled by KEEP LOW.
- GO PRONE (6): This forces your men to lie down. Note that this will not affect whether or not they use cover. Can be cancelled by KEEP LOW.
- KEEP LOW (7): This makes your men go back to the default behavior for their combat mode (it cancels the STAND UP and GO PRONE commands).
- POSSIBLE BUGS: If your soldiers are set to SAFE & STAND UP then they no longer follow your lead on what to do with their weapons. However, they do break formation and group together if you shoulder your weapon, and they go back to formation if you get your weapon out.
These commands control how your guys line up when they are in formation.
- ALL MODES: In all of these modes, the formation will be facing in the direction you are moving (or in the direction you last moved). When not moving, you men may not face the front of the formation if they have a target, a perceived threat, or a command like WATCH DIRECTION. When switching formations, you may have to take a step forward to make all your guys line up perfectly. Once a soldier is announced as killed, the other soldiers will move to take up the empty spot in the formation.
- COLUMN (1): This is just a line behind you. Note that the manual is incorrect in showing a double column. This command only makes a single line column.
- STAGGERED COLUMN (2): This gives two columns behind you. They are staggered with respect to each other.
- WEDGE (3): This gives two slanting lines forming a wedge shape behind you.
- ECHELON LEFT (4): This gives a line slanting back to your left (like one half of a wedge).
- ECHELON RIGHT (5): This gives a line slanting back to your right (like the other half of a wedge).
- VEE (6): This is like the wedge except your men are in front of you.
- LINE (7): This is just a straight line to your left & right.
- POSSIBLE BUGS: The COLUMN formation is only a single line, not a double line as shown in the manual.
These commands can be used to split your squad into separate teams to make commanding them easier and to make it quicker to issue orders to multiple units. For example, if you designate units 5 through 10 to be "TEAM RED", any order you issue to those units will be phrased like this: "TEAM RED, DO THIS" rather than "5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, DO THIS", speeding things up considerably.
- RED (1): Selects all the soldiers on team red.
- GREEN (2): Selects all the soldiers on team green.
- BLUE (3): Selects all the soldiers on team blue.
- YELLOW (4): Selects all the soldiers on team yellow.
- WHITE (5): Selects all the soldiers on team white.
- ASSIGN (9): Used to assign the selected soldiers to a given team.
- DONE (1): Makes your unit say "Ready" or "Waiting".
- FAIL (2): Makes your unit say "Negative". Your commander may repeat his last command to you if you do this.
- READY TO FIRE (3): Makes your unit report being ready to fire.
- CANNOT FIRE (4): Makes your unit report being unable to fire.
- REPEAT (9): Asks your commander to repeat the last order given to you.
- COPY (0): Makes your unit say "Roger". If your unit has been given a movement order, the alternate phrases "Moving on" or "On the way" are sometimes used.
- CUSTOM (0): If the mission was designed with custom radio triggers, they will be listed in here.