Mailbag 05-07-09

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I see alot of questions are being posted in our Player Forums. To ensure that your question doesn't get overlooked, please take a moment to submit it to the mailbag. This way, you know that it's going to be seen and, if possible, answered. The forum route is hit and miss, and some really good stuff can get overlooked.

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I had a question, I have watched a few videos of gun cameras from WW2 on TV and I noticed even while strafing in a nice dive that the tracers coming out had a wide pattern. They didnt stream like beams like ours seem to. Now my question is this. is dispersion modeled into aircraft guns? Also I noticed there is very little control feedback when firing all these weapons. You would think the plane would kinda jiggle around. I know recoil is modeled in because if you fire machineguns while sitting you can go backwards but other then front to back there seems to be no other ill effect from letting fly with 20mms or 6 .50s. Were guns shock mounted to absorb recoil?
 
Doc – When you watch a gun camera, you are seeing more than anything else (regarding dispersion) the effect of extreme vibration of the camera itself, as it was normally mounted in the wing close to the guns. This is not how it would look to the eye of the pilot flying the aircraft. If you do some research you can find pictures/film of gun testing of fighters where the “dispersion” effect you see in gun cams is almost non existent since the view is not being pulled from the film taken by a camera mounted in the wings near the guns as they are firing. Think of it this way, if we attached your head solidly to a brace of machine guns, when they fired your vision would be very blurry, and you would see things jumping around and “dispersing” in terms of multiple images moving around each other in a jumpy fashion. The guy looking over your shoulder (representing the pilots’ view, the one YOU have in game) wouldn’t see this at all. The scene would look to him very stable and regular. As for the vibrations you would feel, it isn’t possible to convey those unless force feedback technology is employed, and for you to feel those vibrations in the joystick and the comfy chair you’re sitting in while the action takes place on your computer screen. This applies to many of the physical sensations you would feel in the game world that you are in fact, totally isolated from when playing the game on a computer. You don’t feel your feet hitting the ground or the impact jolt like you would while running in real life either, that kind of thing.
 
Is there any talk about increasing the 'push speed' to the bofors (both sides) to help aa guns get in position to combat 'air quakes'
 
Doc – We have no intention of changing their push speeds at this time, in fact they are already moving about as fast as a team of 8 people could move them. In addition to this, you never get tired no matter how far you push them.
 
Is there any talk about increasing the crew of the 88's to more than 2, since there were more troops to man an 88 then 2?

Doc – There’s no point to doing that at this stage. We could model “all the others” for strictly a visual thing, but functionally speaking there are only 2 things players need or want to have. The guy that shoots and the guy that spots. In reality they probably want the one guy to do both, but we feel that’s too much abstraction. At one time we considered a full crew of guys for defense purposes, but that functionality doesn’t exist in the game engine at the present time.
 
As for the bofors, its kind of annoying to have the pos1 spot get hit and then be unable to deploy the gun, and also annoying for the gunner to get hit and not fire, didnt these guns have multiple crew (+2) and would someone fill in for the killed/injured crew?
 
Doc – Well that’s true of all crewed ground based guns like ATGs also. However, there isn’t any method in the current game engine to do otherwise, so we have to live with it for the time being. Additionally, it helps provide some restrictions to the guns effectiveness as in real life … when attacked, emplaced ATGs, AAGs and even LMG nests were generally highly vulnerable. They depended on the fire support of the rest of their company to ensure they weren’t knocked out once singled out for elimination. Lone ATGs, AAgs and even LMG nests were not generally big survivors in real life, they were generally highly effective in fire support of larger defensive formations. The game will always fail to always represent exact real life 100% and a lot of this is because players don’t behave realistically under fire and aren’t really expected to.
 
So Rats, I know that the current engine wont allow to much tunneling ingame right now, How about with the new one ? I for one cant imagine anything more exciting then tunnel fighting
 
Doc – Sounds great doesn’t it ? We think so. However, since we don’t actually have a new game engine in house yet, we can’t comment on any detail about what it can actually do. The ability to create “under the ground plane” areas that players can utilize would be highly desirable in our opinion.

I assume not every road is hand-placed? 

Doc - Yes they are. Same for every river (and they are all smoothed 1 tile at a time too, so that they follow a gradient to their end from their source, and are not "hilly") ... same for every berm group and treeline too.

Everything outside of clutter objects (which are not more than a tiny percentage of all visible objects) was placed by hand. Every road, building, tree, bush, river, bridge, coastline tile, lake, forest tile, cliff, railway line, AI object .... capture table, FB object ... all of it was placed either 1 tile (800 x 800 meters) at a time or individually as an object on that tile. The sole exception is the bermlines which are placed like a ground tile (800 x 800 meters) on the basis of a different berm group for each different ground tile texture that has a berm group.

Would it be possible - theoretically - to give every hedge-line a similar texture, that conforms to the ground, which would have information specific to various unit types attempting to cross it?  Could such a texture be caused neither be visible to, nor offer any computational overhead to units who have no need to "see it" (or compute it) - eg. aircraft, ships etc.

Furthermore, could the "paint" range where the hedge-surface-texture is caused to render on the players front-end be related to his specific unit, it's facing and velocity, so as to minimise overheads on the player's pc? 

Doc - I know what you're getting at, but no. We'd have to redesign every ground tile in the game, and take into account bushes and clutter objects that are not placed visibly. If this were a viable solution we'd have adopted it, because we already thought of it, but it's not feasable. Additionally, there is zero ability to "paint" any of the world as an editing function, everything in the world is a placed object, with the exception of clutter objects. There is and can be no "paint" function the way the world is constructed and edited. That would require an entirely different terrain egine than what we have available.