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How the current contact visibility negatively impact tactics in BOX

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Spotting is practically random. Sometimes I’ll be watching the flight lead and see a contact at the 10k limit low over trees when it’s barely more than a pixel just because I happened to be looking in the right spot at the right time. Other times I’ll not see a contrailing co-alt contact because of glare or background noise. Sometimes it’s easy to see things. Other times it’s damned near impossible. I don’t know how realistic that is, but it seems realsitic.

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Realistic, what? Until you state what equipment you have, you compare apples to oranges. ;)

 

All this is not about reality, this is about how reality compares to what (and how) you see it on your display, which varies from person to person.

Edited by sniperton

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What I'm saying is that a part of this may have something to do with hardware and settings.

 

So if you find spotting to be easy, post your setup/settings. Unless it's some secret.

 

That way people who are having difficulty can try adjusting their setup to see if it helps them.

 

It is obvious that there are people who are having difficulty with this; even people who have simmed for a long time. Let's try to help people out, rather than just shutting them down.

 

I run default Ultra graphics with 4x FSAA and the full distance draw at 2560x1440, and I use "zoom" to focus in certain sectors because a 27" monitor at that resolution results in a quarter scale of what would be real life - which is why zoom exists, as we can't actually reflect real life scale on most monitor sizes.

 

Of course, it's also easier to spot multiple moving targets vs a single one.

 

There is no secret, let's wait until the terrain horizon increase and see what happens. If individuals still have issues, it might just be that they are expecting to glance at various sectors for a second and pick up every bogey which never happened. I've read several accounts of pilots looking a specific direction and then a second later they were shot up by a plane from that same approach.

 

It is seemingly more "I should be able to see all" rather than an actual call for realism.

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Realistic, what? Until you state what equipment you have, you compare apples to oranges. ;)

 

All this is not about reality, this is about how reality compares to what (and how) you see it on your display, which varies from person to person.

 

Should we also take an eye test and report the results?  

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I agree with the OP in general (and others saying RL spotting is better). I've been seeing videos over the last months and searching topics and the consensus is that spotting is a variable and can be hard even at close distances, but on the other hand I see RL pilots spotting small aircraft at 15nm. On the DCS visibility thread the consensus seems to be 6-7nm to 15nm depending on the conditions / against the sky, etc. Currently DCS visibility in my monitor (see signature) is of 11-12nm (20-22km), while BOX has a limit of 5.4nm, which is too little.

 

BOX also lacks reflection. I personally don't recall seeing any wings lit up against the sun below me in BOX, a common occurrence in ROF and IRL as people account. If I've seen it, was unimpressive enough to don't make a mark. I've read that the devs will look into it and I can't wait to see a better reflection implemented.

 

Regarding glare on windows, I am no RLP and then I cannot attest its occurrence, but it happens as we can see in the clip below. I assume it is the gun turret.

 

https://youtu.be/wi8tIcO2v-s?t=1m51s

 

Flying BOX for a few months and then going back to ROF (since the FC announcement) I noticed that BOX now has a better aircraft rendering with the new shadows (before it was hopeless, just like DCS is at the moment -- simply unplayable). Even though I still think that they could work contrast better, especially against the ground and over the haze, when apparently the contrast should be near to when we see aircraft against clouds depending on the intensity of the haze.

 

A couple a days ago I was having a hard time to spot aircraft in an ROF server and I spotted a plane because his wings reflected the sun at one point. These are the moments when we forget that we are flying a game.

 

I just hope that they look into it sooner than later. 

Edited by SeaW0lf

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I guess here's my problem with the entire realism debate:

 

Everyone agrees that BoS needs more players.

 

Yet many if not most people here seem convinced that the appropriate course of action is to make the game even more difficult for new sticks.  In addition to needing to buy the game + multiple expansions and collector's planes (some of which, like the A-3, D-9, and Yak-1b are basically not optional), and a HOTAS, and a TrackIR, a 50" 4k TV is apparently the recommended spotting solution.

 

Honestly.

 

I'll be the first to admit that I absolutely despise icons.  Icons are awful.  Seeing your enemy behind you, through your tail, is dumber than a box of chocolates.  So is seeing him on the minimap.

 

At the same time, I think we can agree that World War II Online-style circles (that slowly fade in as you look at a distant dot, fade in faster if he's close, and even turn red/blue if he's really close and you could ID him), as well as making manual engine management *optional*, would attract more players.  Is it perfectly historical?  Of course not.  But you can't tell me that looking down 1500m on a white-as-snow 109 only to see him "disappear" once he crosses from field to forest, is bloody nonsense, just because his dot happens to turn black.

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I agree with the posters that say spotting in real life can be harder in some circumstances. Maybe not for trained military pilots with years of experience, but certainly for the average civilian pilot. I've had at least 2 incidents flying in real life in the last couple of years where traffic has just suddenly appeared in front of me, even though I was scanning for them and they were not camouflaged! Both times they were climbing from below my altitude and against a quite noisy background.

 

My experiences with spotting in game tally fairly well with my real life experiences. My first year of playing I would get jumped all the time, but as I developed strategy and situational awareness I found spotting easier and easier, but still appropriately hard against noisy backgrounds.

 

I object to making spotting easier, especially against backgrounds. It is a valid tactic to dive for cover against a forest background in the hope that your adversary loses sight of you. Making spotting artificially easier ruins what aerial combat is about, that is using everything you can to gain an advantage. Simplifying it appease those who are too lazy to develop a good sense of situational awareness, scanning techniques and co-operative tactics seems silly.

 

However, I do agree that the reflective glints/shine that ROF does is pretty awesome and would be awesome to see in BoX, but only if it is appropriate, you would only get reflections off the glass and only in full sun situations. I always felt that in ROF the wings were artificially shiny.

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However, I do agree that the reflective glints/shine that ROF does is pretty awesome and would be awesome to see in BoX, but only if it is appropriate, you would only get reflections off the glass and only in full sun situations. I always felt that in ROF the wings were artificially shiny.

 

 

Wings lit up easily, with or without camo.  Two instances of the same video with a camo painted Spitfire glaring its wings like a beacon. 

 

https://youtu.be/kY_stGJn6Bs?t=2m21s

https://youtu.be/kY_stGJn6Bs?t=6m29s

 

You can find instances when the aircraft disappears but you can find instances when it will light up like a Christmas tree. I do think that in game spotting could be OK, but the lack of reflection is a reality and it hinders visibility. Technically speaking it means spotting is not quite there yet. And the lack of visibility range is also a reality.

 

The argument that people are lazy lacks fundament. People are trying to improve the game. Or I could use the argument that BZ pilots working in coordination with wingman and such don't want to lose the advantage of a 'blind' enemy (I've seen people using this argument at DCS). It works both ways and it takes the thread to a personal level that does not help a bit.

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I object to making spotting easier, especially against backgrounds. [snip] Simplifying it appease those who are too lazy to develop a good sense of situational awareness, scanning techniques and co-operative tactics seems silly.

 

Ummm...what about the SP guy that finds no compelling reason to jump on a DF server? Besides, this is a game, a hobby, not actual combat. Being lazy and posting on this forum are requirements in becoming a certified 1G Comfy Chair Fighter Pilot.TM  

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Wings lit up easily, with or without camo.  Two instances of the same video with a camo painted Spitfire glaring its wings like a beacon. 

 

https://youtu.be/kY_stGJn6Bs?t=2m21s

https://youtu.be/kY_stGJn6Bs?t=6m29s

 

You can find instances when the aircraft disappears but you can find instances when it will light up like a Christmas tree. I do think that in game spotting could be OK, but the lack of reflection is a reality and it hinders visibility. Technically speaking it means spotting is not quite there yet. And the lack of visibility range is also a reality.

 

The argument that people are lazy lacks fundament. People are trying to improve the game. Or I could use the argument that BZ pilots working in coordination with wingman and such don't want to lose the advantage of a 'blind' enemy (I've seen people using this argument at DCS). It works both ways and it takes the thread to a personal level that does not help a bit.

 

 

 

I see your point about the reflections. I wonder how much the original paint reflected light? I'm sure the highly polished surfaces of these immaculately maintained aircraft would not be completely indicative of wartime condition. None the less, you are right.

 

Not sure I understand your last point.

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Ummm...what about the SP guy that finds no compelling reason to jump on a DF server? Besides, this is a game, a hobby, not actual combat. Being lazy and posting on this forum are requirements in becoming a certified 1G Comfy Chair Fighter Pilot.TM  

 

I fully agree, as a certified 1G Comfy Chair Fighter Pilot myself.  But there's no need to "dumb down" spotting for SP, it would be enough to provide a fully customizable labels system.

We should be able to fully customize range, icon, size, color, info, etc.

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 I wonder how much the original paint reflected light?

 

Some of them do have a shiny new paint, like the Reno race aircrafts, but this Spitfire in particular (and many other historic restorations or replicas) has a very toned down, pale livery. In general they try to replicate how they were made or painted. You can check at the end of the video. There are some close-ups on the fuselage. Sounds pretty standard to me, but I don't know much about war time livery.

 

In general they will light up frequently. This Spit in particular is not that different than what we see at ROF.

Edited by SeaW0lf

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There is problem with objects (vehicles column, artillery) visibility. Many times on RandomExpert or TAW i was flying circles above targets at 4-5 K alt and objects were not visible without zoom. I made screen shots and videos - could post later if any interest.

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What would really help flight sims is adopting the new HDR video standards. Many games already have this. This isn’t the HDR seen on game graphics. It’s basically 10-bit color which allows for billions of colors instead of millions. Much greater range of color and contrast.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/High-dynamic-range_video

All 4K HDR TVs currently have this, monitors are starting to appear too.

 

Otherwise I’ve always thought this series and RoF have really superb spotting ability.

JUst please do not catter to the marketing departments.. do not call taht HDR. HDR  was a walking STICK to   ameliorate the LACK of 10  bit depth.

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I am reading from far away, but this subject was a real concern for me regarding mp.

 

I guess what annoyed me the most was the white halo in medium high alt which restricted spotting a lot, and I have read it will be solved.

 

But topic has raised a more important topic for me related to "competitive" MP. I have heard and read here that VR makes it a lot more easier to spot contact, AND TO SHOOT, two things absolutely critical in our hobby... As much as I would love to, I still need to try one to have an opinion.

Do the people having one feel advantaged from a efficiency point of view ?

Because if they do, at some point, someone will probably have to consider splitting the servers as they do between Pad and Mouse for fps shooter

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I am reading from far away, but this subject was a real concern for me regarding mp.

 

I guess what annoyed me the most was the white halo in medium high alt which restricted spotting a lot, and I have read it will be solved.

 

But topic has raised a more important topic for me related to "competitive" MP. I have heard and read here that VR makes it a lot more easier to spot contact, AND TO SHOOT, two things absolutely critical in our hobby... As much as I would love to, I still need to try one to have an opinion.

Do the people having one feel advantaged from a efficiency point of view ?

Because if they do, at some point, someone will probably have to consider splitting the servers as they do between Pad and Mouse for fps shooter

 

 

I  really expect a good part of that to be placebo effect. There is no  logical reason for VR  helping on that (in fact you cannot have  even close to the same resolution that you can on a large monitor and resolution IS a limiting factor.   VR might help a lot with keeping an enemy on sight although...

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Can you please tell me your settings? I could use the help.

Ingame:

- HDR off

- SSAO off

- sharpen filter on

- landscape filter blurred

- 4x AA

- gamma 0.8-0.9

 

Nvidia profile:

- gamma correction off

- negative lod bias clamp

- all filtering options (anisotropy, triliar, etc) off

 

think that was it..

Of course make sure your monitor is color calibrated.

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I guess here's my problem with the entire realism debate:

 

Everyone agrees that BoS needs more players.

 

Yet many if not most people here seem convinced that the appropriate course of action is to make the game even more difficult for new sticks.  In addition to needing to buy the game + multiple expansions and collector's planes (some of which, like the A-3, D-9, and Yak-1b are basically not optional), and a HOTAS, and a TrackIR, a 50" 4k TV is apparently the recommended spotting solution.

That. The higher the "realism" (defined as difficulty), the narrower the player base. Like it or not.

 

@Jordan: Your recommended settings for better visibility should be stickied separately IMO

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Ingame:

- HDR off

- SSAO off

- sharpen filter on

- landscape filter blurred

- 4x AA

- gamma 0.8-0.9

 

Nvidia profile:

- gamma correction off

- negative lod bias clamp

- all filtering options (anisotropy, triliar, etc) off

 

think that was it..

Of course make sure your monitor is color calibrated.

I'll give those a try, thank you.

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I think it would help if we could set different kinds of icons. more "informative" ones, and then also radually todes down ones, maybe with the arrow at pointing to them, as well as the option to turn that one off.

 

If we could tone down the icons step by step, I think this would really help training not only spotting but also training situational awareness. It shouldn't be that hard having 3 or 4 different styles of icons to be able to gradually tone it down to a level, where one still has the fun of a good fight.

 

It is a game after all and it is supposed to be fun, despite all realism.

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Can someone take screenshots or something to show this difficulty in spotting? I'm experiencing literally none of these issues and I'm playing on a normal 1080p 27 inch screen.

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I think it would help if we could set different kinds of icons. more "informative" ones, and then also radually todes down ones, maybe with the arrow at pointing to them, as well as the option to turn that one off.

 

If we could tone down the icons step by step, I think this would really help training not only spotting but also training situational awareness. It shouldn't be that hard having 3 or 4 different styles of icons to be able to gradually tone it down to a level, where one still has the fun of a good fight.

 

It is a game after all and it is supposed to be fun, despite all realism.

Il2 1946 had that. You could configure color, distance, specific sides or objects shown, arrows. Thats why I mentioned skies of valor, one of my favorite servers. It had icons shown below 2km and then only grey IIRC.

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hopefully we will get more than 10km  render distance... the pop up is really anoying and looks unrealistic and easy to see the pop up...

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Can someone take screenshots or something to show this difficulty in spotting? I'm experiencing literally none of these issues and I'm playing on a normal 1080p 27 inch screen.

 

I can't. It's subjective for me, the camouflage of airplanes blends TOO well with the background (also at 1080p). Think of it like color blindness I suppose. 

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hopefully we will get more than 10km render distance... the pop up is really anoying and looks unrealistic and easy to see the pop up...

I think we need to separate the issues here. I agree very much about increasing render distances. The very fact that we have visible pop-up even in zoomed-out view on 1080p should make it clear, that there is room for improvement here. Whether or not it is feasible to actually do something about it is another matter.

 

However, the issue discussed in this thread has nothing to do with render distances. It is about increasing visibility of aircraft within render distance, and here I don’t agree that there is a significant issue.

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I fully agree, as a certified 1G Comfy Chair Fighter Pilot myself.  But there's no need to "dumb down" spotting for SP, it would be enough to provide a fully customizable labels system.

We should be able to fully customize range, icon, size, color, info, etc.

 

Again with the pejoratives.  :angry:

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It is about increasing visibility of aircraft within render distance, and here I don’t agree that there is a significant issue.

 

Fink, with all my respect, the issue is that there's not a universal issue, but several individual issues depending on hardware and settings. Those who use VR see largely the same thing, but we using various flat displays have very different experiences regarding spotting and ID'ing. You cannot say there's no issue here, you can only say it's not an issue for you. :salute:

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I can't. It's subjective for me, the camouflage of airplanes blends TOO well with the background (also at 1080p). Think of it like color blindness I suppose. 

 

Aren't we just talking monitor limitations at this point?

 

I'm familiar with DCS issues where planes 'actually' go invisible and you can't  see them even if you know exactly where to look, in Il2 there's always something there even if its hard to see.

 

If this is about wanting more marker customization then more power to you, but the thread is fairly confusing atm as to what actually should change.

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Again with the pejoratives.  :angry:

 

My friend, my post wasn't meant to be offensive in the least, let me rephrase that:

 

"there's no need to simplify spotting for SP, it would be enough to provide a fully customizable labels system."

 

Better now? :huh:

Edited by Nibbio
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Ingame:

- HDR off

- SSAO off

- sharpen filter on

- landscape filter blurred

- 4x AA

- gamma 0.8-0.9

 

Nvidia profile:

- gamma correction off

- negative lod bias clamp

- all filtering options (anisotropy, triliar, etc) off

 

think that was it..

Of course make sure your monitor is color calibrated.

 

landscape filter should be sharpen... my fault.

Edited by 216th_Jordan

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I don't care about real life, but if spotting and tracking aircraft was easier I would enjoy the game even more than I do. I know we have icon options, but for me they kill the immersion/illusion. 

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The lack of proper reflection is a reality and it affects spotting no matter if some people are OK with it. Hell, there are people OK with DCS at the moment, which is unplayable. BOX got a nice bump with the recent shadows and rendering might be OK, but not reflection. And reflection is part of spotting.

 

it would be nice if they fixed it, because it not only helps spotting, but gives a nice feel of reality. And I don't mean glare on canopies, but reflection of wings and such. Today I saw a nearby aircraft reflect the sun (it amused me, because I seldom see anything), but it was so meek and close to me that becomes irrelevant. That kind of effect might work for wallpapers and such, but not for game play. I want to see aircraft lit up their wings below me. I want to see a group of bombers shine their wings on the deck, I want to see a lone wolf shine their wings crossing a forrest down below. Or see aircraft reflect the sun in a furball, especially when you are being attacked by multiple targets (wingman and such).

 

And this is not personal preference, that's how things are IIRC.

Edited by SeaW0lf
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Yes, the lighting issue is a very well brought up point here.

 

I have always found the aircraft lighting in BoX to be a tad dull.  Compare it to CloD, and the difference is striking.  CloD replicates the gleam of metal very convincingly, certainly better BoX in that regard.  It also captures the subtle throws of sky colours around the shallow angled edges of surfaces, in an exceptionally life-like manner.

 

CloD, more importantly even, also features the occasional high-powered "sparks" of sunlight, as they catch some corner at a choice angle.  This creates a flash effect, which can easily draw a pilot's eye into a contact even 20km away.   That effect is represented using a particle effect in CLoD.  Many veteran stories feature aircraft spotted by this giveaway burst of a mirrored beam.  It is truly unrealistic to have it omitted. 

 

Just as importantly, CloD replaces the sub-pixel image of a 3d model at far distances with a sprite "dot".  This dot is at times no more than a pixel on the screen, even half-transparent at extreme distances.   But it is there so that a contact does not fall in between pixels and in doing so disappear in plain sight.

 

 

Also, it seems to me that there is something particularly erratic about how BoX handles LoD transitions, contributing massively to the increasingly large number of sightings of mysteriously materializing aircraft out of thin air. 

 

Yet the "Bubble" itself remains at the heart of the matter. At full zoom (corresponding to your natural FoV tunneled through the arc of a mid-size monitor screen at average distance) it is clearly visible when aircraft enter the "event horizon" at ranges varying between 8 and 10km. 

 

The larger types particularly denounce the problem widely across a swath of many pixels.  Aircraft trailing smoke, and tracer fire especially make an unacceptably abrupt "entrance", taking a grievous toll on suspension of disbelief, let alone tactics.   

 

Contrailing aircraft make for an absurd show, with blatantly conspicuous white trails that appear and vanish at seemingly arbitrary points in the sky where they plainly shouldn't. As if they have engaged some form of fanciful warp drive and jaunted into hyperspace right then and there.   

There is a rude contrast between this and cases where contrails end as they should. From aircraft descending and/or reducing power, their trails vanishing smooth and gradually.

 

 

 

 

This is quite possibly the single largest issue with the game at present.  It is not perhaps a gamebreaker bug, in the sense that the game still works.  But I find it harder to cope with than the occasional uncaught exception CTD which typically takes a higher priority for devs. (not saying these devs work that way, only in general that is a common thing)

 

It is indeed, profoundly frustrating.

Edited by 19//Moach
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I haven't conducted proper testing myself yet, but since lowering the resolution from 1440p to 1080p spotting became much easier.

Which makes me believe that like in DCS, the lower the PPI the bigger the dot.

 

gOikMx8.gif

Edited by voided

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I haven't conducted proper testing myself yet, but since lowering the resolution from 1440p to 1080p spotting became much easier.

Which makes me believe that like in DCS, the lower the PPI the bigger the dot.

 

Reminds me of the Doom and Quake tournaments, where players would cut down their graphic settings that much that only semi-textured, phong-shaded surfaces remained, making it impossible to hide as there were no more "shadows".

 

Seems like the distant objects are sprites that are not scaled to the screen DPI.

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That because lower resolution  implies in larger pixels.. simple.  Higher resolution without a larger monitor is always worse for spotting.

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That because lower resolution implies in larger pixels.. simple.

 

Not at all, and it is also not that simple. The size of a rendered object depends entirely on the angle it represents in the field of view. Now if that angle is large enough to fill one pixel sufficiently, it will be drawn. This means lower pixel resolution at similar field of view will just raise the bar for an object to qualify for being drawn as a pixel.

 

In other words: Decreasing resolution decreases range at with you can see objects. Lower resolution is like bad eyes. The worse your vision is, the closer a given object hast to be for you being able to see it.

 

However: A simulator has requirements to meet. One of these is spotting range. If you draw a pixel at the same range on low resolution than at high resolution, then that pixel is too large, de facto increasing the size of your object. Say, a 10 meter plane draws one pixel on a 1440p screen, it would draw 1/2 pixel at 720p (in the same FoV) and consequently not be drawn. If you force draw it, it gets to be twice the size. This means your 10 m plane is de facto now a 20 m plane.

 

The advantage of low resolution lies now in the distances that are between maximal draw distances of the 720p and the 1440p screen. Objects in this range appear larger on the lower res screen and give that oen an advantage.

 

If you draw planes as sprites with several pixels in size and do not scale them, then you are just increasing the same problem.

 

The main issue is only in the competitive nature of a MP sim. Naturally, we do see objects in the sky with exaggerated size. What we see is entirely made up by the brain, it is not a camera like picture. We stitch together a reality that our senses deem plausible and that reperesents the environment in a useful (not entirely truthful) way. Important objects are enlarged to make them clearly present. That helps you to stay alive.

 

Now, how how we humans see things is entirely different from just rendering a perspective, and should a game (I think it should) try to reproduce that, the following factors come into play. I start with an example.

 

The Japanese  sunstet paintings show our skewd perception in a beautiful way. Look at the size of the sun. Do you think it is entirely implausible?

gg70720433.jpg

Take the same scene with a photo camera and a normal lens. The sun will be a dot in size.*) And you will clearly recognize it as a dot on a printed photograph, as the cognitive effect of magnifying objects is not present there.

 

This requiries a renderer to exaggerate far objects as well should it be the intention to resemble human vision. If it does so, it either scales the objects at distance or it replaces them by sprites. If you do not scale the sprites to remain proportionate to the field of view rather than adhering to their actual pixel size, we see what voided observed as well.

 

In consequence, if we ask from a renderer to mimick human eyesight to give us player the view we would have in a cockpit rather than plain "reality", it not only requires individual objects to be of exaggearted size, but also that they "pop up" instead of gradually appearing when entering detectable range.

 

Why must they pop up, something that is frowned upon reading through threads like these?

 

The answer is that you only have clear vision at the very center of your eyesight. This is a very small area. Next to that sharp spot, you have a much larger area, in wich you are absolutely blind (the visual nerve). In this spot you are "seeing" just what seems plausible to be there, filling essentially a large black spot. All the rest is a area of much reduced clarity. What the eye is good for however is detecting moving objects throughout its field of view. The brain takes as little information from the eye as possible, basically the sharp center drawing a collage of what you think you are seeing, plus it notices change in your field of view, making you focus immediately on such loctations. This change, for example caused by a moving object will statistically occur most likely (about 99%) outside of where you have clear vision.

 

As stated above, reduced resolution of your field of view (lesser vision) will decrese detection range. So if you notice something moving at your peripheral vision and you immediately look at it directly, it will be way inside detection range of your sharp central vision. An object just "popped up" and by directly looking at it, you can keep the bearing for qiet some time even when the said object is moving away from you.

 

This is also why you cannot spot reliably as far as you can track an object. It is impossible by nature. Our eyes are not made for that. Propper scanning just increases detection range, but it wil never reach the range of your clear vision. Although some people here have a hard time understanding that, it is a fact of life.

 

 

 

*) I can say that because in order to take such a picture, you would require at least roughly a 600 mm focus lense for your full frame camera to get that impression. That is not commonly done as distances make things very impractical. Compare this by taking a 50 mm normal lens.

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Reminds me of the Doom and Quake tournaments, where players would cut down their graphic settings that much that only semi-textured, phong-shaded surfaces remained, making it impossible to hide as there were no more "shadows".

 

Seems like the distant objects are sprites that are not scaled to the screen DPI.

The standard player skins during most (and still is ) QW tourney's was full bright texture. Max washout textures were not used to see players in shadows or in no light areas.

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