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ACG_RED_Shadepiece

AI wingmen do not follow leader after spawn

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Hello all,

 

I have a mission where I have a group of He-111s bomb a train station. I want to air spawn them, have them fly to a way point, level bomb, and then follow a couple way points out of the area, and delete them.

 

Everything works perfectly... for the leader. The others just spawn, and fly in a circle not following the leader even though they are target linked to the leader and a part of his formation. I'm really not sure what I'm missing.

Edited by 7./JG26_Shadepiece

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Spawned formations do not work. One way around this is to set up a waypoint route for each plane instead of setting up a formation. I've never tried this but there are a few posts that discuss it, such as this one

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Yes thank you guys that totally sorted it out. Using activate was what I needed. However, now the flight lead is flying far in front of the rest. Like 800m or so. Any idea how to fix?

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Can you set a spawn timer for the wingmen linked to the activation?

Why on earth would you? It doesn't save any processing or resources or time and just adds a layer of complexity to the group.

 

As for the question about the leader flying ahead of the group, this can be solved by slowing the aircraft down (set waypoint speeds a little lower) rather than having everything fly at top speed all round the course you have set. That way the wingmen will catch up with the flight leader because they have the ability to fly a little faster than he is and so will form into the formation you set.

Just to clear something up here. My view is that the only advantage that spawn groups have over activate groups is that you can use them to kick off the event multiple times. Most missions you won't want that anyway as you will only want to be intercepted at particular points of your route one time.

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Thanks for the tip Silk! Is there a reference for bomber Flight speeds?

It depends on the bomber to be honest. The stats are there in the aircraft guide and I usually shave a little off 'cruise' settings to make them a little more fuel friendly then adjust as necessary. A good guide if setting a group to activate at a given point then play the mission and record it. Once the aircraft have activated time how long it takes for them to form up and see whether that fits your scenario. Remember that longer time to form up doesn't matter so much if the aircraft have further to fly before being noticed. This is another thing you can use - activating aircraft a little further away so that by the time your aircraft can view them they are in a better formation. A good way to achieve that is to move the detection MCU out way in front of the spawn/activation point.

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Thanks a bunch guys. I will look into this further. Side question. If you're running them for a multiplayer mission is it normal to see a higher tick delay on the server?

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That will depend on how many active AI units you have and what type they are. Remember that each multi-crew aircraft will have AI components assigned for each crew member (pilots and gunners) so if you have many AI multi-crew aircraft it is very heavy on system resources on the server. One way around this is to make sure that you deactivate units once you are done with them. What I do is give them a waypoint designated as home to fly to after they have finished their patrol/bombing mission and then when they reach that I deactivate them. This 'cleans up' the server resources that are no longer needed in a mission.

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Spawned formations do not work. One way around this is to set up a waypoint route for each plane instead of setting up a formation. I've never tried this but there are a few posts that discuss it, such as this one

 

That is what I do for PWCG.  I invented a concept that I call virtual waypoint that moves through the flight path as a series of times, activations and check zones.  Once triggered by proximity to the player the planes spawn.  The waypoints are identical except for the offset required by the formation, so they appear to be flying in formation.  I do it through code though.  Doing that inthe ME does not sound like fun for a large mission.

 

Negative consequence: the formation will never reform once broken.  I do not find this to be a big deal.

Spawned formations do not work. One way around this is to set up a waypoint route for each plane instead of setting up a formation. I've never tried this but there are a few posts that discuss it, such as this one

 

That is what I do for PWCG.  I invented a concept that I call virtual waypoint that moves through the flight path as a series of times, activations and check zones.  Once triggered by proximity to the player the planes spawn.  The waypoints are identical except for the offset required by the formation, so they appear to be flying in formation.  I do it through code though.  Doing that inthe ME does not sound like fun for a large mission.

 

Negative consequence: the formation will never reform once broken.  I do not find this to be a big deal.

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Interesting approach Pat. Now do you use the same MCUs for all the aircraft in a formation, or do you do each one individually with it's own individual MCUs?

 

What impact does this have on performance compared to grouped formations?

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Interesting approach Pat. Now do you use the same MCUs for all the aircraft in a formation, or do you do each one individually with it's own individual MCUs?

 

What impact does this have on performance compared to grouped formations?

 

Each virtual waypoint group (VWP) covers the whole flight - not one VWP group per plane.

Each plane in the flight has its own set of waypoint MCUs.

When the check zone contained  in a VWP group is triggered all planes in the flight spawn and are target linked to whatever their next actual waypoint in the flight would be.

 

What the algorithm does is:

1. Create the actual waypoints for the leader

2. Duplicate the waypoints for each flight member, offset to simulate formation

3. Create one VWP group about every few kilometers of flight path.

 

Each VWP group:

Activates the CZ and a kill timer.

If the timer expires before the CZ is triggered then that CZ is deactivated and the next VWP is triggered, simulating movement along the flight path.

When a CZ is activated:

- All planes are spawned

- All planes are forwarded to the next actual waypoint in the flight path

- the timer that triggers the next VWP is killed, terminating the VWP chain.

 

Now the planes are really spawned, in the game, and flying.  They look like they are flying in formation but they are really each individually going about their business.  I have a further kill on each plane of the move beyond a certain range of the player.  I think the spawn triggers at something like 20 km and the kill triggers at 30 km.

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Thanks for the tip Silk! Is there a reference for bomber Flight speeds?

 

I'm not a ME kind of guy (not smart enough) but you can get an approximation with some quick testing. Go into Quick Missions, pick your bomber, full fuel, heaviest load, airstart at an appropriate altitude. Using technochat as an aide, advance the power to the maximum Continuous. Leave the auto-level function on and allow the airplane to accelerate and the airspeed to stabilize. That takes about 4-5 minutes. That is a worst case cruise airspeed (the airplane can't hold any more fuel or carry more bombs). But it is still too fast for wingmen or the player if they lag behind (meaning the need for Combat or Emergency power to catch up).

 

So let's assume your max Continuous power setting was 65% rpm (like a Bf-19E). Reduce power to 60%, again allow the airspeed to stabilize. Now you have an airspeed that allows players and AI to have some power available to them. 

 

I just did a very short test with the Ju-88 on a winter map, using "normal" realism settings. I had 100% fuel, 44 x SC50s. I tested three altitudes, 300 meters, 1000 meters, and 3000 meters.

 

At 300 meters, 80% rpm is max Continuous power, and the indicated airspeed settled just above 360 km/h

At 300 meters, 75% rpm power, and the indicated airspeed settled about 340 km/h

 

At 1000 meters, 80% rpm is max Continuous power, and the indicated airspeed settled just above 360 km/h

At 1000 meters, 75% rpm power, and the indicated airspeed settled about 340 km/h

 

At 3000 meters, 80% rpm is max Continuous power, and the indicated airspeed settled just above 310 km/h

At 3000 meters, 75% rpm power, and the indicated airspeed settled about 288 km/h

 

Based on those numbers I would guess that 3000 meters or higher is a difficult altitude to plan if Ju-88s carry 44 x SC 50 on a non-winter map. But again I tested full fuel, and airplanes would burn off fuel getting to altitude. Performance would be better with a lighter bomb load. Without further testing I'd caution against missions in the Ju-88 at or above 3000 meters with this bomb load. It is highest drag configuration costing 84 km/h from your cruise speed per the specifications

 

Otherwise I'd say 300-350 km/h is a safe cruise speed for the Ju-88, allowing the wingmen some excess power to catch up. I suspect the He-111 numbers are lower as well as the Ju-87. 

 

[Edit additional quick tests] Did some other weapons loads in the Ju-88. I think I found a bug in the process.

 

With 4 x SC 500 at 3000 meters 75% rpm airspeed settled around 340 km/h, at 80% rpm easily got over 360 km/h. This was the only altitude I tested with this load.

 

The bug I think I found was the settings window allowed me to select 2 x SC 1000 and 1 x SC 1800. In fact this was identified as configuration #12. I tried to spawn in at 3000 meters but only got a black screen with the ambient sound of the howling winter wind. Same with trying to spawn at 1000 meters. But I was able to spawn in at 300 meters with the realistic bomb load of only 1 x SC 1000 and 1 x SC 1800. I have no idea of the takeoff performance for this load. It could be too heavy for a summer map. Also for some reason starting down at 300 meters and then climbing gave me 88% as max Continuous once I leveled at 3000 meters. I only used 80% rpm to make an apples to apples comparison.

 

With 1 x SC 1000 and 1 x SC 1800 at 300 meters 75% rpm, airspeed is approximately 375 km/h and 80% rpm gets you over 400 km/h. Then I climbed to 1000 meters.

With 1 x SC 1000 and 1 x SC 1800 at 1000 meters 75% rpm, airspeed is approximately 375 km/h and 80% rpm gets you over 400 km/h. Then I climbed to 3000 meters.

With 1 x SC 1000 and 1 x SC 1800 at 3000 meters 75% rpm, airspeed is approximately 340 km/h and 80% rpm gets you over 380 km/h.

 

So...after further review. For most Ju-88 bomb loads you could probably safely plan 360 km/h up to 2000 meters, 340 km/h at 3000 meters, and conservatively 320 km/h at 4000 meters. 

Edited by busdriver

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Busdriver you are smart enough with horsepower to spare.

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I appreciate the kind words Gambit, but it's beyond my skill set. Anyway...

 

I gave more thought to the question of bomber cruise speeds for the sake of giving the player and AI a decent chance of catching up to Lead AI if he pulls away. Without going into the data (I wrote it all down on a legal pad) I think I can add a couple numbers for folks like the OP looking for a reasonable bomber cruise speed.

 

So my methodology was to pick the bomb load with the most aerodynamic drag and hopefully the heaviest weight, then air spawn with full fuel at 5000, 4000, 3000, 2000, and 1000 meters. I found what rpm setting allowed for max Continuous power under normal realism settings. Having noted max Continuous rpm, I picked a cruise power setting at least 5% rpm less and then rounded down to the next five or tens rpm. Meaning for a max Continuous rpm of 79% I picked a cruise rpm of 70%. Had the max Continuous been 80% (like the Ju-88) then cruise rpm I would pick 75%. It's merely an easy way to remember cruise rpm.

 

Starting with the He-111 H6, I loaded 2 x SC 1800 ("crowd pleasers" as we called high yield nuclear weapons in RL). Generally speaking, I was unable to maintain 5000 meters altitude even with max Continuous. So I tested this load with only 60% fuel onboard. Still unable to hold 5000 meters.

At 4000 meters max Continuous power was required to hold altitude, but barely. If you can barely hold altitude with max Continuous, then you won't be able to with cruise power.

At 3000 meters cruise power was unable to hold altitude.

At 2000 meters cruise power allowed me to maintain approximately 270 km/h.

At 1000 meters cruise power allowed me to maintain approximately 300 km/h.

 

Having gotten a taste for how underpowered the H6 is, I changed the load to 16 x SC 50.

At 5000 meters cruise power allowed me to maintain approximately 260 km/h.

At 4000 meters cruise power allowed me to maintain approximately 280 km/h.

At 3000 meters cruise power allowed me to maintain approximately 300 km/h.

At 2000 meters cruise power allowed me to maintain approximately 320 km/h.

At 1000 meters cruise power allowed me to maintain approximately 335 km/h.

 

I didn't test the H16 model. I did tests with the Ju-87 loaded with 3 x SC 250. For my tests I used 70% rpm for cruise power.

At 4000 meters cruise power allowed me to maintain approximately 280 km/h.

At 3000 meters cruise power allowed me to maintain approximately 290 km/h.

At 2000 meters cruise power allowed me to maintain approximately 300 km/h.

At 1000 meters cruise power allowed me to maintain approximately 310 km/h.

 

I ran one test putting the 3.7cm cannon on the Stuka. I figured these guys would be cruising to the front at 1000 meters because the load is a lot of drag.

At 1000 meters cruise power allowed me to maintain approximately 300 km/h.

 

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As someone who's spent billions of hours (well it feels like billions) but definitely hundreds of hours creating flights and placing waypoints and testing, testing, testing... let me just point out the the AI is particularly horrible at formation flying right now.

The leader pulls out front, someone drops behind, they don't cut a corner between waypoints like they should in order to join up, and they wallow around as if they're on rubber bands attached to the leader.

Trying to mitigate it all by slower waypoints will not yield satisfactory results

until the AI is tweaked a bit more to fly with the new FM.

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That seem like quite the case. AI seem to be lacking some considering how much they prioritize single player over MP. Looking forward to the next few months because, I think a lot of big improvements are coming.

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They lost their dedicated AI guy some time ago, so it's just a matter or resources/time.

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Glance through the thread I didn't see this mentioned, if it was however apologies.  I almost always enable my planes and set their initial way point for 200-250 kph.  This usually allows them some time to get into formation.  Past that I usually set travel speed a good 50 kph below what I would fly that plane at.  So for example if I have a patrol element of 109's I will have them start toward waypoint 1 at 250 kph then cruise around at 300-350 kph at all other WPs.

 

This basically means I enable my element,  set that way point at 200 kph and ~5k from where they were enabled, then next way point gets bumped up to 350 kph.  Also has already been stated the AI does get wonky the more planes in the formation.   I find 4-6 is usually the max I try to put in formation, to each their own.  Past that I make another formation and set of way points.  Also find large AI formations work better with looser formations.

Edited by FFS_Vapor

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A spawned flight will never fly formation, an activated flight will.

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