Mailbag 06-05-09

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Q: Why do all the German tanks have neato adjustable gunsights and the British ones don’t?
 
A: History is why. We modeled the gunsights based on the same historical data we used for their guns, engines, armour and everything else. The German tank optics were considered the best of WWII on average, and the functionality of their rotating range adjustment was a much prized benefit of their design. The Allied gunsights (British or French or American) are also modeled on their historical counterparts. If they are less groovy it’s because they were less groovy in real life too.

Q: I'm wondering if there are any plans on making the gauges their historical colors when they are lit during night flying.  Are there any plans on changing the night panel's color from white to green?
 
A: Not at this stage. We can look at when we redo the cockpits in the future.
 
Q: Locking out a  mission would be useful for special OP missions. The lock would only allow squad members to join in on mission. Other players would be able to join in on a .order of some kind.  Any chance of something like this?
 
A: sounds like “squad missions”. We’ll be looking at this when we overhaul the mission system.
 
Q: Could we get the sapper with the ability to repair bridges also able to fix their teamates tank treads ?  Seems like a doable feature and its a shame not to allow that as part of their function.
 
A: We have been considering how to do this in a way that won’t be a waste of time. The percentage of tanks tracked in combat in game that survive until after the battle has gone somewhere else is so very small that it hasn’t been a high priority to date. The amount of work required making it possible for the game to “undamage” a tracked vehicle and return it to its original state, without respawning, is considerable, and the amount of times it would get used in game is extremely seldom. You would never be able to repair it while under fire.
 
Q: As the flyboys keep getting bigger better and faster (and more of them), whats the possibility that ground units see better anti aircraft artillery, possibly self propelled AA to meet the new threats? I don't think im alone in saying would be nice to see a Möbelwagen, flakvierling, polsten, quad .50 m16 halftrack to pound back at the big blue sky.
 
A: Naturally these would be implemented later in campaigns, not the early part. The only reason you haven’t seen these kinds of things done is that we haven’t had a ground vehicle modeling phase for some time, but when we do don’t forget that such weapons will almost certainly be used to camp kill infantry more than aircraft. Of all ground vehicle requests SPAA are probably highest on the wish list at the present time.
 
Q: When irl Sherman tanks could not lock one track and spin/rotate in place? Maybe remove the left and right brake track function or reduce it to where you can not stop one track with braking?  Seems a pretty big advantage for Shermans in game which they didn't have in real life.
 
A: Ever try to turn a tank in the game without using the track brake? In real life a Sherman used the same system you have in game, it braked the track on the side you wished to turn while the outside track drove the tank into the turn. What Shermans didn’t do in real life (and don’t do in game either) was drive one track forwards and the other backwards, allowing you to rotate in place. No tank in the game can do that and that’s a game engine limitation we have no way around. Perhaps in real life you couldn’t totally lock a track with the brakes while the other was driving forwards (or backwards) … I have never driven a Sherman but in any event there is no way in game to prevent you doing this and still having functional brakes that can stop the vehicle when you wish to stop. All simulated weapons in the game on BOTH sides have aspects that one could call unrealistic and given the things real life includes that the game cannot I don’t find this surprising at all. Tiger tanks don’t break down three times as often as Shermans either. So I don’t expect this to change really. You have to accept some degree of abstraction of reality because 100% realistic is never going to be possible.
 
Q: Why didn’t the French get any new aircraft in the last patch? The Germans and British did.
 
A: Actually, aside from the Bf109F-1 which was added to allow the Germans to have a tier 0 AND tier 1 top rank fighter like the British and French had but the Germans didn’t have, the other aircraft were replacements of existing aircraft and not ADDITIONAL aircraft. The Spitfire Mk.IIb replaced the Spitfire Mk.Ib (which was removed) and the Bf110F-B replaced the Bf110C-4/B which was also removed. So really only the Germans got a new additional aircraft and that was because they were missing a tier 1 top rank fighter in the first place. If you stop here it’s all explained in detail.

Q: How come my autopilot always turns off and I crash when I’m not paying attention? It should stay on shouldn’t it?
 
A: Auto pilot only works when the aircraft is flying at a constant speed and dead level. If you have not set the plane up at a constant speed (not accelerating or decelerating) it won't be trimmed to hold autopilot. Trim changes as speed changes as a function of aerodynamics. You can hold autopilot until you run out of fuel IF you don't change speed while on autopilot and are trimmed out to fly level at that constant speed.

Q: How can CRS claim that they are right when I just shot a sherman with a pak 40 and it turned around and killed me after I hit it!?1?
 
A: Here's how it works. We build a tank and we give it armour that is X mm thick where the data we gather says it should be. This is the thickness of the target when you hit it with a round from a gun, that it has to penetrate if you're talking about ATGs versus tanks. The thickness we use is based on historical data.

Then we build an anti tank gun. We give it the performance characteristics the data we gather on it says it should have. This is also taken from historical data. We tell that gun to call an ammunition file we also model. We give that ammunition the penetration performance the data we gather on it says it should have. Again, this is data gathered from historical test data.

Then we test fire the ammunition from that gun at a flat plate armour target, until we get the results we are looking for. We do this using the same game engine and files you play with. After we think we have it correctly set up in data, we validate that data with 100 test shots at each range we test for. This is normally 100m, 250m, 500m, 750m, 1000m, 1250m, 1500m, 1750m, 2000m and 2500m. That's a minimum of 1000 test firing samples, after the gun and ammunition are completed modeling. So in fact they get fired a lot more than 1000 times during this process. We actually do this in the game engine using the actual weapons files you use in the game. Just like you doing a controlled test and firing that gun 1,000 times. The only differance is we use a flat plate target, so the impact angle never changes for any shot and we don't have any missed shots either.

When the ammunition, and the gun it is fired from, are performing to a degree that the average of each 100 test firings (at each range point) is within +/- 2% of the data we have on that weapon, for every point in the 10 range tests (100m -> 2500m) we set up ... we check it in and you get it in the game when it is released in a patch that includes those weapons or data. If we don't get the results the data says we should we keep working on it until it does perform as the data says it should.

So ... we end up with a PaK.40 ATG that firing APHE ammunition at 2600 ft./sec. can penetrate 105mm of flat RHA plate at 0 degrees and 1500m range. Averaged over 100 test shots, or perhaps quite a few more by the time testing is fully completed. That's what your PaK.40 can do in the game, on average. We don't test over a login to a remote server just so that we don't get those anomalies. All testing is done locally in RAM.

Sure, players report "I shot at a Sherman and my friend says I hit it" (only the shooter sees the exact point of impact, the observer does not) but I gotta tell you, if that player hasn't done at least the minimum of 100 test shots (all hits no misses) at precisely an identical angle and range for each one of those shots (no variation) and then averaged the results for a mean avearge indicator .... well I'm going to trust our method more.

We don't create the weapons/ammunition files firing against tank models, because the requirement we get identical angles and impact criteria 1000 times in a row is not possible with that method.

So that's how an ATG is built. Or the gun on a tank for that matter. It's a pretty solid way to make sure the GUN and AMMUNITION do what they are supposed to. Once you start shooting at tanks (varied and composite angles of impact will result) you are employing the gun and ammunition we developed by the process described above ... in a shooting situation that might see you fail to achieve the same result, but that won't be because the gun does not do what it is supposed to according to the data we have on it. It will be be because of other factors.

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