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HagarTheHorrible

AAA, old bone

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Question: What is the limiting factor for AAA ?

 

AAA in BoX has always struck me ( no pun intended) as being a little anemic. I was involved in a debate on this subject, a year or more back, although I think it centred on sound and how realistic it would be to hear, my point this time is slightly different. ( I think one of the limiting factors, realism aside wiith regard to sound is the limiting factor of the "fmod" sound engine and where it places sounds in relation to the listener and, a bit like hit sounds, little can be done to rectify this).

 

Having come back to BoX after a short hiatus (life in general, VR) I'm having a blast enjoying this sim again. One of the great things about being in VR is you tend to become aware of much more of what is happening, or not, around you and other things, like tracer from ground fire, becomes much more palpable and threatening as you see it arc up towards you and zip past the canopy. AAA on the other hand tends to be rather underwhelming mainly because, unless you look back, particularly from external view, it largely goes unnoticed for the most part. There's not very much of it and as just mentioned it tends to burst to the rear half of your aircraft and quickly moves away as you fly on.

 

AAA, for me, above and beyond actual physical damage, should impart a sense of peril and dread, because we tend not to see or hear most of it, it utterly fails to achieve this in this regard.

 

IF, as I suspect, the real limiting factor to AAA, maybe more so now with the DX11 update, is the artillery object placement, targeting and shell flight physics rather than the smudge of smoke and because of fmod limitations to doing anything about the sound giving us a jump every now and again ( oh how I miss the thrill of jumping out of my seat as an unexpected shell bursts LOUDLY next to my aircraft, CRUMP, CRUMP, CRUMP) just isn't going to happen then maybe another approach could be taken.

 

Background : Scarecrows, RAF Bomber command, during the war, maintained that the Germans would occasionally fire explosives that resembled an exploding bomber, in order to scare the rest of the Bomber stream ( I think they were actually bombers exploding after their bomb load was hit rather than dummy's, if memory serves)

 

 

If the AAA bursts in game, excluding shrapnel physics, are a non event CPU/GPU wise then maybe each shell fired could produce several flak burst, one actual, as now, plus several scarecrows (all bang,no bite) smudges of smoke. Preferably the majority of scarecrows would burst to the front, or front hemisphere, of the players aircraft. The chances of taking damage would be no greater than at present, as you're still only having one real flak burst for every several smudges of smoke, but the perception of peril might be increased and thus make the game more fun, attacking in bombers or taking on ground targets.

Edited by HagarTheHorrible
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So you're, in essence, saying AAA should track from in front of your aircraft, because that way it is more visible, and chances of hitting the player remain unchanged?

Overshoot vs. Lag Behind
 

Edited by ShoeHash

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Not tracking per say but each flak burst that we have now would produce several dummy bursts towards the front of the direction of travel. Variety is always nice though.

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I get sounds from AAA shells exploding just fine, at least in SP.

 

BTW: If the AAA gun crew is doing its job, you should not really see much of it. Pilots tend to mostly look ahead, and shells exploding far enough in front of your aircraft to be noticeable will be far off target.

 

Also: Don't ever expect to see something like this: 

124460.jpg

 

Those big clouds of simultaneous flak bursts come from multiple batteries several hundreds strong working together. It was only ever used against large formations of heavy bombers at altitude near industrial or infrastructure centers in Western Europe. On the Eastern Front you'd see nothing like this. 

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Sound is definitely something that becomes more noticeable in VR (as mentioned in OP, though not the point of the post).

The lack of loud CRUMPs when the flak bursts around you is a bit strange. Also the bullets being fired are supersonic, why do they make hollywood style "woosh" sounds? Surely it should be a loud "CRACK" instead.

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Couple of points

 

1) As Hagar alludes, "scarecrow shells" were a Bomber Command myth.  The scarecrow shell phenomenon arose when German night fighters were fitted-out with 'schrage musik' installations.   To help prevent the position of the fighters being given away during an attack, no tracer rounds were used in these weapons (also a little pointless given that there was no way to correct your aim in any event).  In the absence of telltale tracer, those RAF bombers that exploded due to the detonation of the payload or because of a massive rupture of the fuel tanks were mistakenly thought to be some sort of nasty German terror weapon intended to intimidate the surrounding aircrews in the bomber stream.  The upper echelons of the RAF were aware, from a very early stage, that 'scarecrow shells' were really exploding bombers but thought it was in everyone's interests (after all, the show must go on) to keep a lid on the information in case it resulted in 'morale issues' among the air crews.

 

2) Fink, typically the heavy flak in the early part of the war was organized as barrage fire (although later on it was also radar predicted).  So the flak crews would shoot, as a battery, into a predetermined section of the sky where it was believed the bombers would have to pass in order to hit the target.  In most cases they would 'start-up' well before the bombers reached their allocated bit of sky.

Edited by Wulf

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I remember having this discussion a while back. Is there really any danger in BOS from the flak? I have to agree it just doesent make me feel as nervous as I kinda think and wish it should!

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BoX flak on expert is very good and occasionally makes me utter 'sniper' under my breath. Even the heavy batteries. On the other hand it is visually a little underwhelming. It could be improved by having multiple bursts from each gun. Not purely atmospheric and non-lethal but one lethal shell and one or two armospheric types would look really good/immersive while still forcing pilots to operate cautiously around them. Probably wouldn't take much coding work either.

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I remember having this discussion a while back. Is there really any danger in BOS from the flak? I have to agree it just doesent make me feel as nervous as I kinda think and wish it should!

Oh, it can be deadly alright.

 

Go give the TAW server a try or modify the experience level of some in your missions.

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I remember having this discussion a while back. Is there really any danger in BOS from the flak? I have to agree it just doesent make me feel as nervous as I kinda think and wish it should!

Direct fire AAA from machine guns and autocannon is super deadly, if you hang around a target area for too long.

 

Heavy AAA is only effective against high flying targets going in a straight line. In the campaign, I've had many missions where my home base came under attack by high flying medium bombers, as I came in to land. The 2-3 heavy AAA guns at the airfield woukd nearly always shoot down 1 or 2 of them.

 

I don't fly level bombers very often in the sim, so I can't say for sure, how great they are at hitting a human target.

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I realize BOS is a different kettle of fish from the original IL2, but the new mods in IL2-46 BAT have put incredible flak into the game. The visuals and audio are first rate. And in one or two of the quick mission maps, ten-seconds after an air start, they open up on you like all hell. It's very entertaining in a "you're about to get shredded" sort of way.

 

Would love to see that here.

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I agree, It would be VERY VERY cool to see flak going of infront of the aircraft aswell....Gives a good sense of speed aswell....

Well that's simple. Program the AI to deliberately aim in front of the aircraft it's firing at (maybe just add 100km/h to the aircraft speed that goes into calculating the aim point) Hey presto: You have shells exploding in front of the aircraft. You have also removed just about any real threat from AAA.

 

If this sounds like a bad idea, well, that's because it is. But the idea of having "fake" bursts of flak go off in front of the "real" ones is an even worse idea. It creates the false impression, that there are more AAA guns than there really is. We might as well have random bursts of non-leathal cannon fire zig-zag through the air, when there's a dogfight, to give the impression that there are more enemy planes in the air than is actually the case.

 

Also, while having "fake" flak bursts might be immersive as long as they just harmlessly go "boom" in front of your plane, they become a major immersion killer the moment they actually explode right into another aircraft, which then flies on completely unscathed.

Edited by Finkeren

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There are fake flak bursts in RoF, the 'ambient' flak; every time you get near the front lines nasty bangs and exploding clouds are all around you - but they are not destructive, just there for effect. And guess what? Everybody moaned about them - including me. Ok, they are a little different from this proposal in that they are purely a decorative effect for a specific area, but I don't think having 'fake' flak bursts in BoX is going to do anything for you. If you fly a bomber amongst a group you will see plenty of real ones all around you; I suspect that they target the lead plane. The absence of visual flak is only a problem for lone planes I would think.

Edited by 216th_Cat

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Also, while having "fake" flak bursts might be immersive as long as they just harmlessly go "boom" in front of your plane, they become a major immersion killer the moment they actually explode right into another aircraft, which then flies on completely unscathed.

Did you entirely miss the tomato soup incident in Memphis Bell ?

 

Miraculously, even flak explosions right up close don't always do catastofic damage. Aircraft have been seen to emerge from, what appeared to be fatal hits to outside observers without critical damage.

 

I'm sure there are ways and means, given a little positive energy, to alleviate your concern. (IF it proves a problem cancel the fake burst if within x meters of aircraft for example)

 

From what I understand German flak tended to fire as a group of four with one controller, theoretically at a rate of 15-20 rounds, per gun, per minute for 88's (hard to believe unless it was Hulk Hogan and his identical twin doing the loading).

 

Most targets in BoX, apart from vehicles, tend to be strategic targets, bridges, airfields etc, that, in all probability, would have been reasonably well supplied with AAA if not even in the same league as in Germany itself, but even with all the flak guns in Germany they covered a large area of country in static positions, those in the East while fewer in number would have been placed far more strategically and moved as required much more often to provide heavy but more localised barrages.

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Dammit, "ambient," was the word I was looking for.

It's not ambient, the suggestion is targeted flak, just that several of the bursts are ineffectual "scarecrows"

 

Finkeren is worried about it affecting his level of immersion and yet the fact that he can overcome his suspension of disbelief that he's playing on a computer, looking through a monitor with no fear for his own mortality, but a very occasional flak burst that he considers too close to survive, unscathed and it's like totally unreal !

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I think, that if we have to have flak bursts "multiply" in the air to give the appearance, that there are more guns than there actually are, then they at least have to be "real" and cause damage.

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While not about flak exactly, wouldn't it be cool if any ordinance striking the armoured seat or the armour head plate made a solid 'clang', as it almost certainly would in RL.  That would be pretty damn immersive.   Of course, if it passed straight through the armour you may not actually register the sound..... :blink:   .... so a bit of swings and roundabouts I guess.

Edited by Wulf

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While not about flak exactly, wouldn't it be cool if any ordinance striking the armoured seat or the armour head plate made a solid 'clang', as it almost certainly would in RL. That would be pretty damn immersive. Of course, if it passed straight through the armour you may not actually register the sound..... :blink: .... so a bit of swings and roundabouts I guess.

This I think would be pretty cool.

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I think, that if we have to have flak bursts "multiply" in the air to give the appearance, that there are more guns than there actually are, then they at least have to be "real" and cause damage.

I quite agree but we have to be realistic as to what can be achieved with the resources at hand, as you are well aware. Compromises have to be made and slight of hand employed to create, as far as possible, the illusion of greater numbers or effects where it's most relevant to us as flight simmers. If the limiting factor is the artillery objects, targeting or shell and shrapnel physics then it might be possible to side step that limitation to provide an illusion of greater intensity or perceived peril.

 

German AAA from what I can find seems to have operated as batteries of 4 guns under the direction of a fire controller. It wasn't ambient, it probably wasn't even specifically targeted but as likely to have been predictive ( Box barrage) By that I mean rather than trying to chase a flight of bombers around the sky flak batteries would predict height, speed and direction and fire into that space. More often than not ( most of the time) calculations would have been out, more or less, with shot being as likely to fall in front as behind possibly with the balance of error if not preference being ahead of, as much to intimidate and distract pilots and bombaimers from their task. This obviously begs the question why, in level bombers, we don't fly THROUGH barrages but have it chase us around instead. From video footage I've seen it appears flak gunners would start firing barrages well in advance, presumably not only to intimidate but also to help make corrections to fall of shot, bomber formations being sufficiently unwieldy to have to weather the storm rather than go around.

 

To summarise, at the moment heavy flak appears to target and chase aircraft rather than fire predictive barrages in the path of bomber formations.

 

A combination of the two might be nice but failing that then I can personally live with the trade off from scarecrows.

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There is a nice WW2 usaf educational video about flak an how to evade it somewhere here in the forum. Check it out.

There you see that the flak shells travel 27 seconds until they reach the bomber formations and how far the bombers flew in the same time, and why you therefor could avoid them...

Not your standard east front scenario, but you get an idea why what happens like it does.

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I quite agree but we have to be realistic as to what can be achieved with the resources at hand, as you are well aware. Compromises have to be made and slight of hand employed to create, as far as possible, the illusion of greater numbers or effects where it's most relevant to us as flight simmers. If the limiting factor is the artillery objects, targeting or shell and shrapnel physics then it might be possible to side step that limitation to provide an illusion of greater intensity or perceived peril.

 

German AAA from what I can find seems to have operated as batteries of 4 guns under the direction of a fire controller. It wasn't ambient, it probably wasn't even specifically targeted but as likely to have been predictive ( Box barrage) By that I mean rather than trying to chase a flight of bombers around the sky flak batteries would predict height, speed and direction and fire into that space. More often than not ( most of the time) calculations would have been out, more or less, with shot being as likely to fall in front as behind possibly with the balance of error if not preference being ahead of, as much to intimidate and distract pilots and bombaimers from their task. This obviously begs the question why, in level bombers, we don't fly THROUGH barrages but have it chase us around instead. From video footage I've seen it appears flak gunners would start firing barrages well in advance, presumably not only to intimidate but also to help make corrections to fall of shot, bomber formations being sufficiently unwieldy to have to weather the storm rather than go around.

 

To summarise, at the moment heavy flak appears to target and chase aircraft rather than fire predictive barrages in the path of bomber formations.

 

A combination of the two might be nice but failing that then I can personally live with the trade off from scarecrows.

 

Box barrage =/= predictive fire. You have misunderstood this.

 

A box barrage is what you get when the battery is aimed at a certain area, and shells are fused to explode at a certain height, before any enemy is even seen.  A battery might be prepared to fire several box barrages, the one used depending on the incoming formation's height.  Typically used for point defense of static targets, which could be anything from a bridge to an entire city. AFAIK we do not have this in game.

 

Predictive fire is when enemy aircraft are spotted and their course, speed and height fed into a fire control computer. Guns are pointed and fuses set so that the shells arrive and burst at the same point as the predicted path of the aircraft. Ie they do "chase aircraft".

What we have in the game is predictive fire, the main problem being that the prediction is impossibly good at low flying, nearby targets, and I suspect even at higher flying targets.

 

Pilots, especially bomber crews, were afraid of flak because a) they felt helpless to do anything about it and b) they had to expose themselves to it over and over again: in the German case essentially until they got shot down. You only need a small loss rate for the grim reality of the cumulative probability to sink in.

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Dammit, "ambient," was the word I was looking for.

 

Hehe. I couldn't remember either and had to look it up. :biggrin:

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While not about flak exactly, wouldn't it be cool if any ordinance striking the armoured seat or the armour head plate made a solid 'clang', as it almost certainly would in RL.  That would be pretty damn immersive.   Of course, if it passed straight through the armour you may not actually register the sound..... :blink:   .... so a bit of swings and roundabouts I guess.

 

I agree, and I agree in most here, but this game seems to suffer in framerate , where other simulators don´t. I am mostly conserned about that. Right now I run BOS smooth. Will it run smooth if we get all these things. Because I remember how it once was, and that was immersion killer, random stutters no one could explain, reported by owners with high spec pc to lower end

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