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Another possible solution for unrealistic shooting ranges ?


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#1 Damocles

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Posted 20 February 2012 - 20:16

Has this been suggested ?

There have been many threads discussing combat ranges in RoF and how they appear to be at odds with pilot accounts from the period. Various thoughts and solutions have been mooted, with little consensus, and 777 has made no attempt to respond or provide a possible solution, if indeed it requires one.

Maybe the proposals thus far have been ill defined, inconclusive as to what is at the heart of the problem (if it exists) or are maybe too difficult to implement by the RoF team.

Maybe a different approach to the problem might provide a solution ?

How about (cowers in deep hole, flack jacket and V large helmet on) increasing the number of hits required to do the same amount of damage as ranges increase ? Lets say for arguments sake, as a starting point, doubling the number of hits for every 100 meters/yrds increase in range, thus not making it impossible to take out an enemy, just making it harder as the range increases. Sure it's inelegant (same might be said about simulating flight on home computers), but maybe it would be easy/relatively easy to implement by the developers.

It wouldn't make long range shooting impossible just increasingly difficult. It might encourage better, more tactical, game play and possibly redress some of the balance issues regarding T&B or B&Z.

Would it be worth a try ?

N.B Please just discuss this proposal, this thread isn't meant to be a place to go over the reasons (that's already been discussed several hundred times), just concentrate on whether the proposal might have a beneficial impact on gameplay and whether it might be easily implemented into the game by a mod or by the developers.
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#2 Aiobhill

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Posted 20 February 2012 - 20:50

Had basically the same idea, but was too lazy to post it. Alternative implementation would be, that beyond a certain range every second bullet does no damage at all and even further away three out of four bullets do no damage (in order to still keep the chance of devastating lucky hits alive, but much smaller)

In summary, I support this 100%.
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#3 BADMUTHA

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Posted 20 February 2012 - 20:58

Nah, they just need to slightly increase the spread of the guns. Been playing OFF recently and they have ballistics modeled so medium-close range is required for kills, sniping is impossible.
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#4 startrekmike

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Posted 20 February 2012 - 21:02

I think that bullet velocity should be altered by range, but in all reality, we should keep in mind that while it seems cheap to be shot at a long range, it is only due to the fact that us PC simmers have the luxury of a stable stick and rudder (no real vibration or minimal electronic force feedback) and the lack of any real battlefield stress.

We have the time to be patient and pick our shots without our brains telling us we are in danger and need to hurry up, this can lead to more accurate shots and more chances being taken.

We all have to admit that some of the gunnery we see in this sim is beyond what many pilots would ever have been able to achieve because we have much better and finer control of the aircraft, and no worry of sudden death.

I am still a newbie, but I thought that this might be useful for discussion.
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#5 ElAurens

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Posted 20 February 2012 - 21:27

This "problem" has been discussed since the dawn of flight simulation.

It's just the way it is, and probably should be. If the weapons have realistic ballistics modeled then there is nothing more to do about it.

As was said earlier, we fly in the comfort of our homes, with no distractions, no wind in our face, a volume control to keep the noise level nice and comfortable, and no castor oil "effects". And we have pilots that have more stick time than any military aviator, in any war, ever had.

I just don't see that a band aid type of fix is necessary. It will have many unintended consequenses, tht will be worse than the "cure".

IMHO.
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#6 BADMUTHA

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Posted 20 February 2012 - 21:35

Instead of dwelling on what we can't control, change ballistic spread a bit. But like you said it's been discussed and I'm sure everyone's tired of hearing it.

Cept Gav ;P
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#7 NewGuy_

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Posted 20 February 2012 - 21:57

Instead of dwelling on what we can't control, change ballistic spread a bit. But like you said it's been discussed and I'm sure everyone's tired of hearing it.

Cept Gav ;P

Ultimately, changing ballistic spread may prove to be the best option. I think that it can be reasonably argued that a spread that imposes ROF gunnery ranges more in keeping with historical experience is superior to gunnery that does not conform, nearly as well, to what pilot accounts suggest. While there could be a great many factors leading to unhistorical gunnery in ROF, yet can any of these possible factors be modded, by the community, without redirecting ROF employees from their present duties, projects and deadlines?

The solution that introduces the most historically accurate representation of the historical gunnery experience, without redirecting scarce ROF resources, seems the most practical, actionable means of tackling sniper gunnery. There is a demonstrated commitment, on the part of several community modders, to alter the spread of the various fixed guns and alter the spread of flexible mounts; given access to the necessary files and what not, particularly for the fixed forward firing guns. A community team could, if given access to the right files, make altered gunnery spread proposals, that the ROF team could then test out in mods on multiplayer and Career mode. If a proposal is to their liking, they could introduce the altered gunnery spread. if not to their liking, they can, as they always have the right to, reject what is proposed, keep what exists or introduce their own modified files, in place of the community modders work.

Altering the spread of the guns can get us to shooting ranges that are closer to historical shooting distances, without asking the ROF team to divert resources to discover unknown factors or introduce new models of whatever other factors may or may not play a role in imposing close in shooting distances. While gunnery spread may or may not be the whole of the issue, it appears to be the least resource intensive, least costly alternative to redressing the issue and proving a solution. :S!: MJ
When you start with an actionable solution, in hand, don't then worry your head off about the equation. What difference does it make, if the equation is 6-2 or 2+2, so long as the answer is 4? If altering gunnery spread can lead us to gunnery ranges, more in keeping with history, why worry about the actual causes of historical gunnery ranges? The best solution is what counts, at the end of the day, not the best equation. :D
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Something something SPAD. Something something then dive away. 


#8 hq_Jorri

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Posted 20 February 2012 - 22:20

Last thing that should be done, is making things less realistic (or less consistent) in order to achieve a more realistic result. That's just fooling yourself.
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#9 Damocles

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Posted 20 February 2012 - 22:25

I think the RoF developers are happy with dispersion and see no reason to change it so in essence it's a blind alley, rightly or wrongly. I think there is also a concern amongst some, maybe including the developers, that it may have a perverse result, or shot gun effect, anyway the developers seem uninterested in increasing dispersion to solve this issue, even though, one would have thought it easily implemented. There must be some reason, unfortunately they don't wish to let us in on the secret.

I was trying to think of a new way that could possibly be easily implemented that would encourage players to act like the Aces they are trying to emulate, i.e Get in close and when you think you are close enough get closer still, wasn't it ever thus.

So what would be the potential Pro's and Con's

Well for a start it would be nice to know that extending would double your chances of surviving every 100 meters or so, regardless of how many tricks the shooter uses ( rock steady, perfectly aligned sights, zoom view etc etc) although it's still not going to stop a good shot from hitting you or shooting you down it makes extending far more productive and might stop extended chases across the map.

It might also give more meaning to all those performance numbers that everyone keeps going on about, at the moment nothing travels faster than a bullet which tends to make certain qualities rather moot at the moment and gives slower but better turning aircraft an advantage that is out of proportion to real life.

I can't think it's any worse a solution than the adding of turbulence to missions.

I think it would also make tactics more important, sure you might be a good practiced shot but if you shoot from long range then you are going to have to use twice as much ammo, if not more (might come in handy later), for the same result and you're likely to suffer twice as many potential jambs as a result.

Sure it's crude but if it's easy to implement I don't see the harm it seeing what effect it might have on gameplay and game balance.

I know at the end of the day it's all about resources, but it does seem such a fundamental part of the sim and if they have the wherewithal to implement things like searchlights, barges etc that have no possible cash incentive for them then a bit of time experimenting with the gunnery experience in RoF you would have thought would be fairly high up the list of things to look at.
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#10 Damocles

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Posted 20 February 2012 - 22:32

Last thing that should be done, is making things less realistic (or less consistent) in order to achieve a more realistic result. That's just fooling yourself.


Sure it's a potentially imperfect solution to an imperfect situation, but if you don't think to much about the mechanics of how the solution is found, if the end result more reflects actuality then it might be all for the good regardless of the route taken ?

I'm not suggesting it's any better an idea than increased dispersion, just different, and maybe one that the developers might look upon more favorably.
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#11 hq_Jorri

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Posted 20 February 2012 - 22:37

Should we then also add a 'death zone' beneath 3000 meters to force people to fly at more realistically high altitudes?

Where do you stop?

I'm not even convinced that this sniping problem is as big as people make it out to be.
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#12 BADMUTHA

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Posted 20 February 2012 - 22:44

Jorri I was playing some quick missions last week just for fun I put 15 sopwith tripes against 15 albatros D.III's.

In this one mission I was able to get eight flamed engines at medium range with single short bursts.

Flying the SE5a I often get "lucky" engine hits that instantly cause them to catch fire from very long distances, even online a number of times I've put a quick snapshot into someone and just like that they're done for.

What I think 777 should do is increase the bullet spread a bit so shots aren't always hitting dead center, add in a dice roll for hard gun jams, realistic reloads for the lewis gun and increase the hit points of the engine/fuel tank by a bit so it's not so easy to put people into flames in a single burst.
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#13 MrMorton

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Posted 20 February 2012 - 23:28

just some thoughts

During the period, planes were generally pretty unstable gun platforms (especially due to engine vibration),

does anyone know if that had a negative effect to the stability of the bullet's flight path. Could that give different amounts of bullet drop and "flight" characteristics for every single shot (because the vibration and turbulence would be different at any given moment)

I think the best way to balance in a sim type game is to adhere extremely closely to how things actually worked.

what if the model for firing the guns was improved. If I have been reading correctly, rof simply blocks the firing of a bullet that is in front of the prop, where as in reality the guns were converted to semi automatic and were fired a set number of times per revolution, which would undoubtedly lead to lower rates of fire with all the guns (which in turn, should decrease the effective range of the weapons).

my newbish 2cents
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#14 Rivfader

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Posted 20 February 2012 - 23:33

Maybe they are looking into your problem from the 2012 plan? But I don't really understand if they meant that it is already into the game.


In addition to new maps and planes, we plan on creating some interesting weapon mods which will be made available for purchase. As a result, we have worked to improve how free-fall and free-flight weapons behave in our engine. For example, bombs fly through the air more realistically now. We will also offer some additional makes of pistols and other personal identifiers to further individualize your aircraft if you so choose.

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#15 NewGuy_

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Posted 20 February 2012 - 23:42

Should we then also add a 'death zone' beneath 3000 meters to force people to fly at more realistically high altitudes?

Where do you stop?

I'm not even convinced that this sniping problem is as big as people make it out to be.

Actually, getting people to fly high doesn't seem all that difficult. Vander, our resident campaign maker, made an outstanding Vintage mission, last weekend. I actually encountered DVIIfs flying at 5, 500 meters and flew along side three other SPAD XIIIs, at the same altitude. (Now calls for late war SPADs and DVII Mercedes DIIau/ Albatros DIIIau machines don't seem so untimely, when now facing DVIIfs and DXIIs flying at 5,500 meters, my fellow low compression 200 hp SPAD XIII pilots? :lol:) Vander just added high altitude bombers and some determined ground fire, for any bomber pilot daring to go low. The result, we actually had high flying machines. No one was forced to do so, but there were penalties for not doing so and in the end, the penalties helped achieve more historically common flying altitudes. Using what is already implemented in ROF, we can achieve more historically common circumstances, with regard to altitudes and with regard to gunnery ranges; since the tools to improve upon both are already implemented in the existing game, namely, proximity triggered anti aircraft fire, for altitude and the potential for gunnery spread alterations, for gunnery range issues. :S!: MJ
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Something something SPAD. Something something then dive away. 


#16 BraveSirRobin

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Posted 20 February 2012 - 23:46

My personal opinion, and I admit to having no data to back this up, is that most long range kills are fire shots, and that RoF aircraft burn too easily. Make it more difficult to set aircraft on fire, the long range kills will decrease, and the complaining about dispersion will go away.
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#17 CODY614

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Posted 21 February 2012 - 00:49

This may or may not pertain to ROF…But here goes.
I frequent Call of Duty Modern Warfare 3 on line alot…and with COD MW3 they added a playback program that makes online battles interesting for armchair quarterbacking.
It's like the program ROF has for playback, cameras and such. So any way…to prove a point about lag in the game, we watched a battle in playback and saw a small amount. But it was enough to get me killed by 1 or 2 bullets! They also offer "Perks" that add to weapons, to make them more accurate and stable.

Now I'm not a programer or trying to put ROF and COD MW3 side by side, because it would be apples and oranges…But online has twists that it throws at the gamer. And here at my house we have some super great connection speeds. So most of the time when I die I know it is because I'm bad at 1st person shooters! That is why I've yet to go online with ROF…I would be a 1 G strafing target for most!

Piper
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#18 BADMUTHA

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Posted 21 February 2012 - 01:02

You can snipe online or offline, it's not lag.
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#19 gavagai

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Posted 21 February 2012 - 01:08

This "problem" has been discussed since the dawn of flight simulation.

It's just the way it is, and probably should be. If the weapons have realistic ballistics modeled then there is nothing more to do about it.

Ballistics are not the same thing as lethality at range. RoF's problem is the latter.

Tom Cundall is getting a Phd in WW1 aviation history. Read his posts and the primary sources he presents and you will have to conclude that RoF gunnery is neither just the way it is nor the way it should be.
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#20 Rots5

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Posted 21 February 2012 - 01:20

Should we then also add a 'death zone' beneath 3000 meters to force people to fly at more realistically high altitudes?

Where do you stop?

I'm not even convinced that this sniping problem is as big as people make it out to be.

Actually, getting people to fly high doesn't seem all that difficult. Vander, our resident campaign maker, made an outstanding Vintage mission, last weekend. I actually encountered DVIIfs flying at 5, 500 meters and flew along side three other SPAD XIIIs, at the same altitude. (Now calls for late war SPADs and DVII Mercedes DIIau/ Albatros DIIIau machines don't seem so untimely, when now facing DVIIfs and DXIIs flying at 5,500 meters, my fellow low compression 200 hp SPAD XIII pilots? :lol:) Vander just added high altitude bombers and some determined ground fire, for any bomber pilot daring to go low. The result, we actually had high flying machines. No one was forced to do so, but there were penalties for not doing so and in the end, the penalties helped achieve more historically common flying altitudes. Using what is already implemented in ROF, we can achieve more historically common circumstances, with regard to altitudes and with regard to gunnery ranges; since the tools to improve upon both are already implemented in the existing game, namely, proximity triggered anti aircraft fire, for altitude and the potential for gunnery spread alterations, for gunnery range issues. :S!: MJ

Off topic:

That was an awesome Vintage mission and a clever idea! Often when I fly a D.VIIF or D.XII online it gets very lonely above 3,000m. This time, though, I wasn't lonely at all between 3,000 & 5,000m.

I was surprised to be in the D.XII and actually have a dogfight at 5,000m with a Spad. It was a entirely new experience for me as that rarely happens online. It was a thrilling encounter which I unfortunately lost. Need more like it and at higher altitude!
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#21 SirFreddie

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Posted 21 February 2012 - 02:02

Up! Down! Flying around! Looping the loop and defying the ground!!! …is an FM issue :D (bear with me a moment)

But the air war in RoF (kills) really comes down to gunnery so please move all this to the 60+ thread on the subject by Gavagai, which by WW1 anecdotal evidence alone supports the idea that long range sniping is not necessarily futile but extremely likely to be a waste of precious ammunition.

Having been with this Sim from NeoQB and read Jasons and other 777 staffs posts I have no doubts that they want RoF to be an accurate WW1 aircombat sim…not just a WW1 aircombat game, This thread seems to be wishing the latter, I'm for the former :S!:
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#22 BraveSirRobin

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Posted 21 February 2012 - 02:09

The game currently logs hits with the stats. It would be interesting if the range between the firing and target aircraft was saved with each hit.
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#23 BADMUTHA

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Posted 21 February 2012 - 02:09

Is accurate depiction of gunnery not to the point of making ROF an accurate simulation of WW1 air combat?
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#24 Fenrir

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Posted 21 February 2012 - 02:16

Don't know why we're all arguing when there's a perfect solution already out there. Just make it like IL-2 Cliffs of Dover's system. Turning misalignes the sites and it's just guess work from there, would make jinking and turning all that much more useful.
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#25 LukeFF

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Posted 21 February 2012 - 02:19

:zzz:
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#26 gavagai

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Posted 21 February 2012 - 03:36

:zzz:

The threads aren't going to cease until something is done. It's pretty simple. :roll:
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#27 HotTom

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Posted 21 February 2012 - 04:38

:zzz:

The threads aren't going to cease until something is done. It's pretty simple. :roll:

At the risk of repeating myself:


I've been sort of lurking on this thread but this may be a good time to repeat what I said in another on the same topic:

We don't know what the dispersion is in RoF.

There is absolutely no way to test it.

There are no targets that will show bullet holes.

So all this jabbering about dispersion is talking about something no one can measure.

The RoF dispersion (versus a real gun) may be dead solid perfect or it may be way off.

We just don't know.

So it's pointless to debate it.




If you can't measure it, you can't fix it.

Gav would like everyone to believe he's a gunnery and ballistics expert.

My bet is he's never fired a real gun – and certainly not a machine gun – in his life.

But he's got a philosophy degree.

So he loves to argue even when there are no facts on which to base his arguments.

And no facts with which anyone can refute him.

Gav: Come back with some data on RoF MG dispersion and then we can discuss it.

Until then, there's nothing to discuss.
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#28 BADMUTHA

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Posted 21 February 2012 - 05:11

Nice one Tom, make it personal.
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#29 J2_Tony

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Posted 21 February 2012 - 05:26

I have no particular knowledge of the RoF ballistics engine, but enough experience from projects I have been involved with to suspect that ballistic effects in game are not 100% ermergent as the OP presupposes. For example, a typical problem is that a "projectille" may have the ability to penetrate a damage box completely between physics update cycles, thus failing to register. There are numerous workarounds for this, but they all tend to move away from an emergent, pure simulation approach. Point being that the idea that each and every bullet is physically simulated in real time to the point of impact might ought to be taken with a grain of salt.

Even at the present state of technology, there is (by necessity) a huge amount of sleight of hand going on to present what appears to be a pure simulation. Sometimes we call this sleight of hand "optimization"

A separate (but possibly intertwined) problem is the whole online lag phenomenon that must be dealt with in order for online play to work. It is a messy problem that will make your head hurt if you are ever tasked with implementing.
:S!:
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#30 -bbob

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Posted 21 February 2012 - 05:32

I have no particular knowledge of the RoF ballistics engine, but enough experience from projects I have been involved with to suspect that ballistic effects in game are not 100% ermergent as the OP presupposes. For example, a typical problem is that a "projectille" may have the ability to penetrate a damage box completely between physics update cycles, thus failing to register. There are numerous workarounds for this, but they all tend to move away from an emergent, pure simulation approach. Point being that the idea that each and every bullet is physically simulated in real time to the point of impact might ought to be taken with a grain of salt.

Even at the present state of technology, there is (by necessity) a huge amount of sleight of hand going on to present what appears to be a pure simulation. Sometimes we call this sleight of hand "optimization"

A separate (but possibly intertwined) problem is the whole online lag phenomenon that must be dealt with in order for online play to work. It is a messy problem that will make your head hurt if you are ever tasked with implementing.
:S!:

Wait. So this isnt how game development works?:



lolol
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#31 J2_Tony

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Posted 21 February 2012 - 05:40

Ouch. You got me again :lol:
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#32 R_Suppards

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Posted 21 February 2012 - 06:08

I love the sim BUT I do get tired of the sniper accuracy of ace settings in QMB. Up to veteran and I'm still in with a chance even when outnumbered. One ace and I'm still OK but if I fly against more than one ace then I'm bar be qued cats' meat. No matter where you are, just get in front of an ace's guns even for a second and you are gone, even when they are standing on their hind legs like a begging dog.It appears to be the same in career. Get up to around five kills and there they are on the next mission – the death squad. :evil: :x
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#33 Josh_Echo

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Posted 21 February 2012 - 06:23

I just don't see that a band aid type of fix is necessary. It will have many unintended consequenses, tht will be worse than the "cure".

This. As has been said many times before, making something less realistic is never the solution to the problem of something not being realistic enough.
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#34 EclecticRazor

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Posted 21 February 2012 - 07:15

There are a few reasons I don't expect the gunnery model to change.

1. It may already be correct - and only 777 can tell us how it has been created

2. Bullets could travel the distances involved. Pilots didn't take these extreme shots because they didn't want to waste ammo - and thus didn't practice them. Because it wasn't historically done is no indication that it wasn't possible - it was.

3. In RoF you wont actually suffer if you run out of ammo - a risk not taken by real pilots who could not know what other enemies they might face on the way home and didn't take chances. This is similar to those who use tiny fuel loads to game the game - they don't care if they run out and will take the chance for an advantage.

What I do wonder about is whether a tracer trail would have lasted these distances. While I suspect that they wouldn't have, I don't have the data one way or the other.

To what extent would the bullet have depleted it's velocity at these distances? Would they have had the hitting power required? Could they have pierced a gas tank after traveling extreme distances?

I am all for having as realistic a model as possible - but are the right questions being asked and what data is available to illustrate the points one way or another?

Any proposed changes should be based on more than anecdotal evidence. Absent hard facts - you should abandon the crusade. It may not be popular as it is - but it may actually be correct. Multi-player will never be completely historical because we have more flying time, more knowledge and will take chances that would have been insane in the real war because we aren't going to die if we screw up.
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#35 Damocles

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Posted 21 February 2012 - 07:43

So much for sticking to the pro's and con's of the OP.

Technicalities are really not all that important, it's whether the end result matches up to what the expectations of real 1914-1918 pilots were.

Aircraft design followed a certain path during the war, speed and climb rate were highly prized commodities, RoF does not seem to support that design philosophy, presumably that's ONE of the reasons out dated aircraft can still compete with late war entrants.

Until it is possible to recreate a perfect FM, and a perfect damage model then flight sims will always use crutches to accomplish their goals, RoF is no different.

Essentially it's a simple question would the original proposal have an effect on redressing the balance between speed and turn that would more reflect the experiences of WW1 pilots and the expectations of why certain traits in an aircraft were desirable ?
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#36 EclecticRazor

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Posted 21 February 2012 - 07:51

Essentially it's a simple question would the original proposal have an effect on redressing the balance between speed and turn that would more reflect the experiences of WW1 pilots and the expectations of why certain traits in an aircraft were desirable ?

If there is indeed anything to redress (debatable), it is most likely only possible in single player, where you can control the behavior of the enemy aircraft.
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#37 Catfish

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Posted 21 February 2012 - 09:27

Dispersion is good, but how it is now you can pepper a distant plane a kilometer away and still manage to down it just because of the spray - works like a shotgun.

The planes in RedBaron and in OFF are harder to shoot down, i think that

1. the bullet impact is a bit too hefty here (especially after the bullet having travelled a considerable distance), and
2. When you are flying and shooting not ahead, but at a small angle using the rudder (flying that direction -> but shootin / exagerrated), the bullets will be pressed away by the wind, from their straight path.

Of course i could be wrong, but i find it strange that the peppering in RedBaron or "the other sim" still feels more like it than here. I wonder if the wing pressure in RoF really has any impact on the bullets path (?)

Thanks and greetings,
Catfish
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#38 ZaltysZ

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Posted 21 February 2012 - 10:18

Essentially it's a simple question would the original proposal have an effect on redressing the balance between speed and turn that would more reflect the experiences of WW1 pilots and the expectations of why certain traits in an aircraft were desirable ?

Wait. What does this have to do with turn vs speed balance ? :| I begin to see some hidden agenda :mrgreen:
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#39 =CfC=FatherTed

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Posted 21 February 2012 - 10:23

I think Damocles raises an interesting point about how to implement realism in games. I play a bit of Red Orchestra 2. The forums for that game are full of these sorts of discussions. In my view that game suffered from "too realistic" shooting. Many (self-described, admittedly) people with knowledge of real-world rifle shooting averred that it shouldn't be hard to pick off a human-sized target at 200m - and the game models that accurately. What happens is that death comes quickly, often and suddenly in MP. Because it is a game and nobody is scared, there is no such thing as suppression. Rifles and MGs don't get used "realistically", there is no covering fire, no sustained firefights.

What has happened is that the physics of shooting are accurately modeled, but not the psychology, so you don't get a "realistic" depiction of infantry warfare in WW2. Those of us who are interested in achieving that goal have started advocating unrealistic modifications to get realistic results - which sort of (phew!) gets me back on topic.

I think there is a case for doing something "gamey" to address issues such as this, because we can never achieve "realism" through a computer program. I also think that Uncle Tony makes a very valid point - we'd all love to believe in the fidelity of FMs, DMs and ballistics, but I think there's (by necessity) a fair amount of smoke and mirrors involved.

As a sidebar, it was well known that in WW2 pilots often opened fire at much longer ranges than they estimated (as confirmed by gun-cam): do we have any real data about ranges at which WW1 habitually fired? I'm not talking about the ice-cool experten sitting under an unsuspecting victim's tail, but your average Joe anxious to get the first shot in. Just a thought.
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#40 gavagai

gavagai
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Posted 21 February 2012 - 11:58

1. It may already be correct - and only 777 can tell us how it has been created

2. Bullets could travel the distances involved. Pilots didn't take these extreme shots because they didn't want to waste ammo - and thus didn't practice them. Because it wasn't historically done is no indication that it wasn't possible - it was.

777 did not create the current gunnery snafu. It was neoqb, but we do know how they did it (because they told us). They took data from a WW2 small caliber machine gun (its dispersion pattern at range), said "wow, that looks like a frickn' laser beam," and guessed at a value for increasing its deviation for a WW1 scout.

WW1 anecdotes are rich with examples of inexperienced pilots firing from too far away (I remember one that claims 800 yards!). In fact, if you see TC's signature where MvR says that the best marksmen doesn't have a chance at 300m, Richthofen was not explaining his own technique, but explaining his sang froid under fire.
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