Mailbag 04-02-09

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Great new load of mailbag questions this week. Keep them coming, we're always happy to answer any question big or small. Be sure to read the previous mailbags to make sure you're not asking a question that has already been answered, there's ton of info already out there that might have already been answered which we usually skip over in more recent mailbags.

If I recall correctly both the RAF and Luftwaffe gunsights haven't been updated since the game's inception. The french gunsight, thanks to wingmann, got a face lift a few years back. Can we expect some new artwork on the aged 109/110 revi sights along with the RAF sights in the near future?
 
I’d sure like to redo the rather low resolution slightly wonky look of our original gunsight reticules in the aircraft. I can’t say that they would actually be any different in markings etc... (unless our research says they should be but I’m pretty certain the huge amount of research that was done at the time originally was correct in that regard) but they could be executed to a much better standard again is my impression.

When Unity II comes in and you guys start going over all the aircraft art with the new render engine, are you going to change up some of the paint schemes at all, or will they all simply be higher poly models with identical art schemes to the ones we have currently?
 
Hard to say, we will still want to maintain the “can’t pick them apart easily until they are close to you” design because that standard of ID situation is important to maintain for the long term nature of the game. Paint jobs will probably alter even while maintaining that design criteria but it’s impossible to say until we actually get around to doing them. 

1) Where Bombers are concerned: A) Is it correct that we are only able to kill/damage a player unit that is rendered through the bombsite at the time of the drop?  B) Or does it still have to be rendered when the bomb hits in relation to where our bomber is at the time of impact?
 
You don’t HAVE to be able to see them to kill them; but they do have to be in your render list so that it is a possibility to see them however. You don’t always see what is there even if you could see them. People miss stuff all the time that is there to be seen, so you not seeing them doesn’t have to mean someone else wouldn’t have. Infantry cease being in your render list at 1000m (1km) and ships cease being in your ender list at 6000m (6km) and vehicles are in between at around 3000m (3km) I think. If they aren’t in your render list you cannot kill them. If they are in your render list you can kill them. Additionally, there is an “invisible cylinder” around your bomber (1000m in radius) that the bombs have to fall inside of so if you fly far enough that the cylinder is no longer covering the ground where your bombs hit (you flew on too far before the bombs hit, such as in high altitude bombing where bombs fall for a long time) you won’t score for those bombs. We have to have limitations like that in the game because bombs “lasting forever” isn’t possible in the peer to peer network of clients the game is built on. We intend to move bombs to an STO capacity (host determined) and then we can get rid of this limitation.

2) Would I be correct that if I can "see" (render) the actaul factory building/rubble through my bombsite at say 15k ft (example -not sure at what alt I really can render it at) when I drop my bombs, damage will be applied correctly and does part A & B in question # 1 apply the same way to factories as player units?   
 
There is no issue with damaging buildings from high altitude outside of the “collision cylinder” I mentioned earlier, having to be around your impact point. That’s why experienced factory bombers circle after their drop for the 15 seconds so that they do, to ensure they haven’t “flown the impact cylinder on” past the impact point when they have a long bomb freefall time to wait out. The “render list” thing I mentioned is only relevant to player controlled vehicles or infantry, not buildings. We have no render list for buildings requiring the same kind of “filtering out” based on typical types, like we have to maintain with player controlled vehicles (and infantry are subject to filtering just like vehicles are) because they are dynamic player controlled objects, where buildings are not.
 
3) Is there any chance that something in the near future will be put in place so that bombers can actually level bomb from high altitudes and kill/damage something like infantry even though it is not rendered through the bombsite at the time of the drop.  I know there was once talk of an "Ordnance Server" to handle all ballistics so this could be possible - but I'm not sure who started talk on this way back, the community or you RATS.
 
Only when everything is tracked by the server and not by the clients (your computer) or when your computers attain the computing power of a NASA mainframe. We are working towards more advances in this type of tracking but I expect progress to be fairly slow. It’s a hugely complex problem you don’t have to find solutions for in other games, so we’re on our own here. Again. Just like we were 10 years ago when we started all this insanity.

Does CRS take in "donation" models? Like building models or do you guys support an apprenticeship/internship program either online or actually at Rat HQ? Personally I am currently finishing High School and model in 3Ds Max 2009 for fun. Granted I am not the best and definitely do not have the money to go directly into a large 4 year institution but, I was just wondering if you do support any kind of apprenticeship-like things.
 
We have taken in the odd intern from time to time previously. We can’t predict the precise nature of that process at any particular time however; it depends on a number of things that are always unknown until the time arrives. Unfortunately we get a lot of requests to accept player created content but most of it cannot be managed as an outside source without additional manpower (and we are short of that already) since a constantly developed project code base like this requires a lot of dynamic scheduling and source code management that doesn’t lend itself to outside contributions without a lot of management of those contributions within the tightly structured internal source code/data/content management already in flux at any given moment. It would actually slow us down not speed us up, although I grant you that might be difficult to understand if you weren’t very familiar with what is actually involved. If it could speed things up we would jump on it, trust me. Things don’t happen fast enough around here for our tastes as it is.
 
Will be posible to include dynamic origin & target for the mission system for the 1.31 dev cicle?. This is great feature to keep the players of a mission focused on his mission leader. For example a mission leader can change defensive mision origin from the AB to the FB as son as the enemy FB is blowed up, without need of exit from the mission and create a new one. In short this is the next step for "persistent groups".
 
I don’t know that this can be “done for v1.31” but I doubt it. We have plans to do this kind of thing but it’s bigger than you might think. It requires not just client side code reconstruction, but a significant change in the host server side stuff too; remember the host is actually several hosts communicating to each other in a carefully structured manner. Any rewrite like this requires a ton of work, and v1.31’s schedule is almost certainly not within reach of that kind of reconstruction. Keep in mind also that “dymanic missions and origins” is one of the most critical and highest priority changes to the game we want to get done, so we won’t delay it’s development a moment longer than we have to.
 
Why don’t we have a second stamina bar that reacts on enemy fire ?
 
You mean as a form of suppression don’t you?  I think it would be better to not affect stamina so much as ability to aim accurately, but it’s a hard sell because technically you could aim just as well being suppressed as you could not being suppressed, unless the suppression is actually wounding or killing you. We talk about it a lot here and we haven’t found a solution we like that we think our players will (as a majority) also like.

The rifles cycle pretty long between every shot, especially the brits had the doctrine of firing very fast instead of accurate. But even the axis and french rifles were able of a much higher rate of fire then actually in game.
 
We don’t force players to adopt the firing disciplines of their historic counterparts because that’s the players’ decision, and it’s not a data-point that can be argued accurately or even fairly as far as most of our players are concerned. I can see where one might argue that if you fire faster by CHOICE you should be less accurate, but we already model that to some degree. Perhaps we should just increase the effect of that, but again, it might also be very difficult to prove the resulting game interpretation is right or not, and we don’t like to place disadvantages on our players that aren’t easily proved as an accurate abstraction and crucial to the game working well. We can maybe think about increasing that effect though. 

This could result in the player “pinned down” by enemy covering fire, wich could open a pretty large new new aspects of inf gameplay for lmgs and smgs but as well aaa guns or mortars and would match the idea of having faster ROF with the rifle. But also more tactical fire for cqb and firefights on open fileds is allowed in the battlefield as it was, and is still used, by the armys of the world.
Its pretty obvious that even a tough soldier won´t act “ice cold” when  am full mag of smg rounds or 900rounds/minute lmg fire or even  40mm HE bofors shells are dropping on him !!
 
As mentioned earlier, forcing “suppression” on players is difficult to sell well. Especially if the code cannot accurately assess when you should be suppressed or not, and then the player disagrees with that decision made for him. It also prevents you having the variety of those who would resist that level of suppression that someone else would instead choose to stay under cover to increase his chances of survival. All of a sudden the computer is telling you that you are suppressed and everyone suffers the same level of suppression based on the computers assessment in code. Automatically, every time, executed in the same fashion every time, even if it is amongst 20 different personalities. We don’t think that’s the right answer to this issue. We think the better answer is to increase the cost of ignoring “playing smart” in combat so that people make a variety of different decisions based on their individual personality and choice, even if the circumstances are the same for everyone that those different decisions were made under. That’s much more like real combat. The cost then of course, was real death or injury/pain, which we can never replicate … but we can increase the pain in other ways the player can consider important, or not, just like real life but by different means. Don’t ever expect the “suppression” aspect of the game to be anything like real life until we either kill the player at his computer or send electric shocks to their private parts.

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+1 #8 Tobeaucu 2009-04-09 12:22
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+1 #7 SON of MAC 2009-04-05 22:35
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+1 #6 misled 2009-04-05 14:31
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+1 #5 Spargel 2009-04-05 11:04
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+1 #4 Fauw 2009-04-03 16:59
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+1 #3 Skurcey 2009-04-03 15:38
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+1 #2 vondoosh 2009-04-03 11:11
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+1 #1 tettie 2009-04-03 08:40
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