FORCES Interface Overview

This document provides an overview of the common FORCES controls, also called the Man-Machine Interface or MMI. If you need help starting FORCES click here . Once FORCES is started you should see this interface . the operator is presented a FORCES Master Control Menu, usually in the upper left corner of the screen, and a map window for situation display in the upper right. These two windows are the primary interactive interfaces to the FORCES system. As explained in the architecture overview , the simulation is not part of any of the visible interfaces. Instead, it is a separate process running asynchronously with the MMI and connected to the MMI only when an operator chooses to connect to the simulation and has permission to do so. In fact, of the three common FORCES run modes (pre-simulation, runtime and data processing) only the runtime mode requires connection to a simulation execution, or even requires a simulation to be running at all. However, because the data processing mode is fully integrated into the runtime mode, it can be employed while the simulation is running for immediate data analysis of conflict results. But more typically it is run separately from the simulation.

The FORCES interface described in this document is common to all three run modes, though the commands listed on the Forces Master Controls subcontrols (notably the System Controls and the Scenario Controls) change according to the selected run mode. In this document we'll focus on the elements common to all three runmodes, namely:

1) Common Master Controls - The FORCES Master Control Area. This includes these subelements that are common for all run modes:

2) Map Function Controls.

As stated, the master controls change according to the runmode selected by the user. When the interface first comes up the message "Please Set Mode Using System Controls" appears in the light blue Message Area. To do this click on the System Controls. This screen is presented. The first three options set the run mode; all of the subsequent option (e.g. Kill MMI) can be used without setting the run mode first. The modes are:

Start Scenario and Connect - Both of these set the interface into run mode. For more about the details of what this means and the difference between starting a new scenario execution and connecting to one already running click here . To review interfaces and commands specific to the runtime mode click here .

Finally, There are some FORCES functions that are not currently integrated into this interactive interface. For the most part these are not under this interface because they are maintenance and other functions that logically should be treated as batch (that is non-interactive) functions. They are described here .

Common Controls

The FORCES Master Controls Menu is how the operator controls all FORCES functions ranging from planning scenarios to actively running interactive simulations. This widget is divided vertically into three distinct subinterfaces. The top part provides a high-level monitor of the the scenario attack and intelligence situation. This top part is withdrawn when the user enters Mission Planner. The middle part is a message area. This critical part of the interface prompts the user for required information and confirms many actions that otherwise don't provide feedback as to whether an action is performed. An experienced FORCES user pays attention to this area.

The bottom part of the Master Controls provide three menu interfaces for user controls and command options. The first of these interfaces provides access to system controls; these are the controls that control how the system runs. These include the run mode options, the clock control and external data interface options when in run mode, and the all important exit (or kill) button.

The second menu interface along the bottom of the Master Controls configures itself for the the specific requirements of the runmode. In runtime it provides the interface for controlling scenario assets. In mission planner mode it provides controls for defining and reviewing scenario elements.

The third menu interface along the bottom provides an interface to specialized map window functions and displays. These options are maintained outside the map window itself because the map is actually a separate application that can be replaced with alternative map applications as desired with minimal data modifications to the map interface. With this requirement in mind, a decision was made to put all display controls that required specialized application evaluation of the scenario situation in the menu application (i.e. Master Control) so that the controls could readily be reused when alternate map applications are used. Click here for more on the application breakdown within the MMI.

Click on the following links to get more information on the associated interface:

Common Controls - SitRep

At the top of this form, under Current Alert Status, are three buttons that are important for immediate and continuous situation monitoring when a scenario is running. These controls are withdrawn when the user chooses to enter Mission Planning. They are:

Intelligence (Displaying "No New Intelligence" in the sample view).

This is the tool from which the operator may view all important intelligence data available at current simulation time. This is only available in runtime mode and is identical to the Intelligence functionality described under the Umpire and Force players interface except it changes color and title to indicate the receipt of a new report.

When selected, the Intel Reports Form , with an intelligence message, is presented. In addition to text, the form lists the report ID, type, location, speed, time, and raid size. Naturally, not all of these will be appropriate to all reports; only those appropriate are filled in.

Intelligence data on a specific object may be requested by choosing the Select Intel Icon button on the lower left portion of the form and clicking on an icon currently on the screen.

After reading a report the operator may Go to Next Report by clicking on the button so labeled.

Attack Assessment

Simulation must be running and enough data available from the scenario to receive an attack assessment (White , Yellow, or Red).

DEFCON Monitor

When the DEFCON (Defense Readiness Condition) level increases, the operator may manually change the level from level 5 up to Air Defense Emergency.

Message Area

The FORCES Master Controls menu is the place where the latest status or changes to the simulation are displayed in text. Example: SIM RESUMED. This message area is also the place where the simulation informs the operator of what the simulation is currently doing or prompts the user to take a required action. Note that because this window only contains a single message at a time information is sometimes erased from this window before the operator can act upon it. To review the messages that have been posted here the operator can go to System Controls->Review Info Log. The displayed log will list the messages displayed chronologically and with associated time tags.

Command Options

The bottom of the FORCES Master Controls menu presents a group of three controls:

System Controls

Scenario Controls

Map Controls

Under System Controls there are a number of choices listed . These choices change according to the requirements and actions taken by the user. There are three possible option presentations:

1. Initial (when FORCES is first activated) - At this time this option is inactive.

2. Mission Planner (when Mission Planner is selected).

3. Scenario Running (when Scenario is running).