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Ram399

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  1. The difficulty setting does also influence the skill of AI pilots- for both your own side as well as the enemy. Though I'm not certain on the exact levels, I seem to remember reading that on easy difficulty the hostile AI aircraft you encounter will be rookie/average while friendlies not from your own flight will be standard/veteran. This scales up as you go through the difficulty levels, to the point that by hard difficulty the enemy will be veteran/ace while friendly encountered aircraft will be rookie/average. As a result I like to favor moderate difficulty as a sort of sweet spot where AI numbers and skill all converge. At no point does the difficulty affect the skill of your own squadron's pilots however, as that remains constant and scales off of the individual pilot's overall rank and experience level. I've yet to pin down exactly at what point they reach the ace tier, though I think their skill might just move upwards accordingly whenever they get promoted through the 5 ranks. Though it can be infuriatingly tedious to cultivate and protect them, reaching a point where your unit has a solid number of reliable high skill pilots can actually make the career much more bearable- particularly on higher difficulties. As of currently my aforementioned Kuban campaign has two AI pilots above the century mark (168 and 109 respectively), one in the low 90s, and several ranging from the mid 50s to the high 20s. As a result we've become far more effective than any AI formation I've yet seen in career mode, and I am very much overly proud of them- it certainly helps with the JG 52. immersion to have actual experten.
  2. As far as I am aware there isn't a way to save a modification/loadout preset. I've probably yanked out enough Bf-109 headrests to armor a Tiger I at this point lol.
  3. I know this does fall into the realm of the aforementioned custom skins, but through a bit of over-dedication I've effectively created a sort of squadron numbering system for my SP career by just making number templates for the Bf-109. As the commander of my unit I simply assign each pilot their own number and then put the skin onto their aircraft pre-mission. It does admittedly take a really long time to make the skins, and it would be great to just see an in game system fully implemented, but I do like the creativity it allows me. As someone who grew up covering the walls of his room with crude airplane drawings its rather cathartic lol. Plus, seeing all of the handmade skins flying in formation with you just adds an extra layer of immersion to the career mode overall- especially when a particular pilot survives long enough for his skin to evolve over time, steadily gaining more kill tabs and paint adjustments with the seasons. It took a decent amount of time to learn, and my first several skins were pretty awful, but by just using GIMP I like to think I've come rather far. For reference, here's a shot of the 5th Staffel returning to base over Stalingrad in late 1942:
  4. Not to add to the dogpile but... Are you really sure about that? Maybe work on your spacing. The typos aren't so bad, but the giant block of text and your stream of consciousness writing style makes discerning individual points a real challenge.
  5. If you consistently encounter 20+ hostile fighters while flying in a flight of four, you have the difficulty set too high. The autogenerated career missions try to match the amount of resistance you will encounter based off of the size of your flight (with some variation based off of frontline activity density). Setting the difficulty to hard with frontline activity on dense will generally result in extremely one-sided engagements with as many as three times the number of your own aircraft. Personally I like activity so I keep the frontlines set to dense, but in order to keep things somewhat more accurate historically I manipulate the difficulty throughout the campaigns. From a German perspective, I play Moscow on easy, as the VVS was at that time still recovering from Op Barbarossa with less aircraft and poorer training. I then up that to moderate at Stalingrad so as to achieve a rough parity between friendly and hostile aircraft, which is continued into Kuban at least until the very end when the Luftwaffe begins to be overwhelmed. Bodenplatte, naturally, is hard the entire way through as the Western Allies outnumbered the Luftwaffe practically by an order of magnitude. If you're somehow encountering that many enemy fighters on easy mode with scattered density then something is very wrong with your game. For example, this is the after action report of a Kuban intercept mission (an extraordinarily successful one) with the settings at hard difficulty and dense activity. I had a flight of 6 Bf-109s.
  6. An improvement on radio communication overall would be exceedingly welcome. 1946 had the flights organized on a more historical basis into Schwarms and Rottes, so that as a leader of a subflight or pair you could help direct the overall engagement. Plus there was also a request help option as well, its an aspect of 1946 that has continued to outshine subsequent releases.
  7. Once the landing ritual has begun it can be stopped by no mortal force, the sacrament of the of base to final turn is integral to the AI's religion. You can prevent it however if you're the acting flight lead and issue a patrol area order prior to the AI entering the pattern, which is what I generally use in instances where the enemy attacks/flies right over our home base on intercept missions.
  8. One peculiarity I have noticed over the ~400 hours I've sunk into career mode is that certain hostile fighters do seem to have varying rules of engagement so to speak. While they can, and will, regularly pursue you and your flight all the way back to your home base, this generally only happens (at least to me) when that particular flight of fighters was dispatched with the express purpose of intercepting your own flight. Hostile AI fighters who are on an escort or ground attack mission for example will not break off too far from their friendly ground attackers/enemy target to pursue running friendlies, whereas AI fighters which are scrambled from enemy airfields will pursue you to the ends of the Earth. This is easily testable as a German pilot in Kuban, simply fly anywhere into the close visual range of Gelendzhik and the odds are good that a flight of 3 Soviet fighters will be seen scrambling to take off and engage you- and, since you are their primary objective and the AI has laser vision, it doesn't matter how far you run. They will find you. My general method of dealing with them currently in my JG 52 career is to effectively act as a rearguard when my flight comes in for landings at Anapa. 1 Player Bf-109 G4 vs 3 AI Yak-7s/1s isn't too hard of a matchup assuming you have enough ammo left, and all you really have to do is survive by hugging the mountains and coast until your flight is done landing and you can drag them across the AA over and over again. An alternative solution is to just not go anywhere near Gelendzhik lol. As for enemy air patrols which are encountered in random areas of the map, I can't say that I have noticed any particular pattern in how they engage fleeing targets- though generally any engagement I find myself in with the AI ends when one side no longer exists, they have chased me all the way home in a few instances. If you play on the Dense setting you often encounter friendly air patrols over the frontlines however, and these flights are generally extremely aggressive and very effective tools for losing tails. Whenever you fly out on a mission you can hear them report on the radio once you come within spawning distance, so I like to remember their patrol areas and use them as an item of last resort should the entire VVS show up. This is exceedingly easy in Kuban as the front is not very wide at all, but a bit harder in the other campaigns. It would definitely be nice if our own fields could have a response to incursions other than blaring the siren and blasting flak however, it makes no sense that the German fighter HQ at Kuban has a complete lack of air patrols or fighters on standby to scramble whenever hostile aircraft approach- though its probably fun for the groundcrew to watch the one-sided furball when a flight of 12 A-20s rolls up with 10 escorting Yaks which then get reinforced by an additional flight of 6 P-39s while your 8 Bf-109s do all they can to survive. All in all, I personally love the career mode, and spend most of my time there, though I will admit to being extraordinarily frustrated at times. I won't say this endless chase is some sort of feature, as the AI should recognize when a pursuit is a lost cause, but it doesn't particularly bother me and I consider it part of the challenge- the air combat on the Eastern Front was particularly brutal after all, no mercy, and I regularly find myself chasing enemy aircraft back to their bases as well. The AI does need work- but everyone already knew that. Pic related is an AI Yak pilot named Boris who chased me from Gelendzhik to Kerch while my flight was landing at Anapa, and then all the way back to home, only to have his wing blown off by a lucky flak shell.
  9. I remember that for the latter half of the Moscow career with II Gruppe JG 52 you fly out of the Dugino airfield for pretty much the duration of the counteroffensive until the unit gets rotated out in late January. So you effectively get like two months where even though the frontlines should be contracting they stay at their set position and you have to fly the ~300 km round trip to the front and back over and over again- and if its a bomber escort mission then it becomes an hour and a half ordeal lol. Needless to say, I became very acquainted with the low fuel light of the Bf-109 F4. I don't mind flying long distances thankfully, but it did make me wish there was at least some form of day-to-day frontline mobility like we used to see in 1946. I know it would be pretty hard to research and do accurately, but even like a weekly shift of the front to coincide with the newspapers would do wonders to make the career world feel more alive I think.
  10. You can adjust some of which icons appear in the realism settings if I remember right, besides that its just cycling H and I for the time being.
  11. Wow thats a great source, I might have to read through the entire thing lol I do see what you mean by the tail attack being common and effective, as the opening abstract of the report lays out: I'm not sure if I'd describe the FW-190 as invulnerable, but an above 50% chance of scoring a kill on a heavy 4-motor from the back is impressive, clearly the USAAF didn't have access to AI Pe-2 gunners.
  12. I've been able to get the AI to do this by acting as flight leader and positioning my flight in the path of the bombers, but they only hit the bombers very rarely- and after the initial run they continue on with standard attacks straight onto the bombers 6, generally getting torn up by gunners in the process. As far as engagement ranges for bombers go historically, these guncam videos are a great resource- just be advised some of them are a bit graphic.
  13. Though my knowledge of programming extends effectively no further than the basic python scripts I did back in high school, and there's an assumedly 200% chance that this solution would hit far more than one roadblock along the way in implementation, do you think that there would be a way for a given AI pilot to effectively keep track of the rounds they fire without murdering the sim speed? Keeping the AI's existing aiming point intact- and for reasons of both simplicity and realism applying this tracking only to tracer rounds, the AI could adjust its aiming point based off of whether or not the rounds are making contact rather than some extrapolation of target data. While this is obviously an extremely simplified scenario, the tracer rounds fired from an AI aircraft at a target could effectively run a series if/then statements upon reaching the target's range, whereupon they would determine if the rounds were either long, short, or on target, causing the AI to adjust accordingly and effectively zero in on the target. Here's a laughable attempt at trying to explain what I mean in computer logic in an ideal world which is definitely not realistic. I don't even know what language IL2 is written in so expect my syntax to be even further off than the AI's aim. (Like a whole dimension off of any language for that matter) For Tracer Round: [ If distance traveled = target range [ If Target hit: aircraft maintain attitude else [ If undershot: aircraft pitch up else If overshot: aircraft pitch down ] else [ If left: aircraft yaw right else If right: aircraft yaw left] ] ] else [ If distance traveled < target range: check distance traveled else If distance traveled > target range: do nothing ] ] Again, please don't take this series of if/then statements literally as some sort of magic solution in my eyes, I haven't coded anything in years and am definitely not a game developer. I could maybe get a computer to say hello world if given like a day to bash my head against a keyboard, but this is just a history major's scatterbrained attempt at speculating a potential solution. If anyone wants to tell me one of the probably hundred or so reasons this wouldn't work please do so lol.
  14. Of course not every AI pilot would suddenly become the lovechild of William Tell and Hans Joachim Marseille lol, and I'd be entirely fine with the "rookie" AI level continuing on just as they are. But for the upper level "ace" pilot AIs, their gunnery definitely needs some work. In my career I currently have two AI pilots with over 100 air kills, and I would hope them at least somewhat capable of leading their targets by now. While I've noticed they actually seem to fire in bursts rather than holding the trigger down, and they use energy tactics surprisingly well, they still suffer from the same accuracy problems as the rookies do. For the Bf-109 it defaults to 400 meters, not sure about other aircraft though.
  15. I want to start by saying that I'm not trying to add to the plethora of threads we already have on "AI bad why?????!!" The AI is always going to be a work in progress and I'm grateful for the recent AI improvements which have been phenomenal. Their dogfighting ability has improved to the point that certain aircraft in the hands of the AI actually scare me (Spitfires, anything but Spitfires). Recently I almost lost a 1v2 fight in my Kuban career against AI Spitfires in my Bf-109 G4, and I was covered in bullet holes with a severed rudder cable unironically sweating by the time I managed to land hits on them. Funnily enough, had it not been for the intervention of my AI wingman (100+ kill Hauptmann Weizsacker ftw) I very likely would have died, which is great- the new AI is awesome. I have, however, noticed what appears to be a slight issue which I'd like to get a bit of feedback on to see if anyone else can either corroborate or perhaps offer some sort of solution. In short, though the AI is now far better at maneuvering, it seems like AI fighters cannot hit each other to save their lives. (With the exception of the aforementioned Spitfires who absolutely raked me because I tried to zoom climb away and the Spits responded by going into prop-hangs making me a still target and turning my Messer into Swiss Cheese.) In most dogfighting cases however, where the AI now responds to threats by turning or diving away, it seems as if the pursuing aircraft is consistently unable to compensate for this with their gunnery. As such they seem to regularly move into kill positions, only to continuously undershoot their targets- often times by only a couple feet. While this is understandable for targets which can easily out-turn their pursuers, and will respond to a tail by regularly pulling hard into their attacker (Yaks and Spits mainly), it doesn't seem to take even a particularly hard turn to completely spoof the AI's targeting. In the two attached screenshots for example, this already damaged AI LaGG managed to get an AI FW-190 to waste its entire ammo belt from close range in a shallow left bank without the German landing even a single MG round (though all of the rounds passed in very close proximity to the LaGG's tail). I'm the furthest thing from an AI programmer, but I can understand the difficulty which must surround trying to code AI aiming points that shift in real time in response to target speed and orientation. None the less, I feel that even a marginal improvement here would make the already challenging AI a genuine threat not only to eachother but the player as well. As a slightly related sidenote, I know that the AI's convergence range is tied to the player, and as such have been experimenting with various ranges to see if they alter AI accuracy. For AI Bf-109s and Yaks which are similarly armed with the 2 higher velocity MGs supplemented by the single lower velocity cannon, I've noticed that on the occasions they manage to hit their target, it is often only the MG rounds which make contact and not the heavier hitting cannons, this results in only light damage (with the occasional kill should they get lucky and hit the Oil/Coolant). In my Kuban career whenever I have to fly aircovers over Novorossiysk, and am often accompanied by several supplemental AI "Swift" flights, this inability to land killing hits becomes incredibly apparent. Often times flights of 3 Yaks will be launched from the nearby Gelendzhik airfields, and I will shoot down the first 2 only to let the final Yak contend with my AI Bf-109 friends who often number anywhere from 15 to 20. Consistently, the AI Yak will dodge attack run after attack run from every direction with only slight maneuvers, taking only light damage from MG-17 fire. These fights will often go on for 5 minutes or more, starting at altitude and generally descending to sea level (often resulting in a number of AI Bf-109 collisions with either the ground or eachother) Generally the action ends when the Yak either gets rammed by a presumably frustrated Bf-109, or finally submits to the death by 1,000 paper cuts that is the MG17 fire coming at it from all angles. I've had some success setting the convergence range upwards to around ~470 or so, but the improvement is marginal at best. Has anyone done a similar experiment and been able to find a sweet spot for the AI's cannon targeting? As a final pic related, here are the AI Spits absolutely thrashing me with Hispano fire.
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