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Front line accuracy: a few historically based considerations


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#1 pomjon

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Posted 09 December 2012 - 11:58

For those that are reading I will say that I am a bit of a history buff, and so base my opinions off of that, and not what would look cool or so forth. I think it's best to tackle some of the basics of the game that are priorities for attention, before trying mod things that add to it or suggesting extra features. Ideally I'd like the see sections of the front line recreated on a map to reflect the real front line at a set point during the war, much as Flying Corps Gold (an old Great War flight sim) did once, rather than the repetitive pattern. There's plenty of historical resources on trench maps out there. Short of that Here's a few observations:

- Firstly, WHY DO YOU HAVE TO BE ONLINE TO PLAY CAREER MODE!?!?!?! This makes no sense. I am in parts of the world where I don't benefit from a steady broadband connection, it is very frustrating!

- The distance between the two opposing front lines is far too great. In reality, the distance was frequently anywhere from just over 1000 meters to less than 100. Ideally the distance between front lines on the stock map should be reduced by 1/2 to 2/3.

- Instead of the front line transitioning from smashed wasteland to normal farmland, there should be a intermediate section of farmland potted with shellholes. So the front would look something this:
Front line & reserve trenches- smashed mud shellholes, rubble buildings, ruined roads, stump trees.
Distant reserve trenches & area stretching back several kilometers (where all the field hospitals, depots and artillery battery’s should be) - farmland potted with shellholes, ruined buildings etc.
Then normal farmland.

- You should NOT be able to land safely in no mans land. The game should be made so that whenever landing in no mans land your airplane always flips over (as the wheels sink into the mud and shell holes).

- Observation balloons, should always be winched down when attacked, this does not appear to happen. The observer in the balloon should also parachute out to safety when attacked, as they did. Balloons were also heavily defended by AAA, but this does not always seem the case in game.

- The explosions of AAA should shake or throw the aircraft around a bit when close.

- Sounds- for some reason sounds of artillery, firing or the shells exploding, are hardly audible. Even if you turn of your engine and glide, or land in no mans land, you will have shells landing right next to you and hardly hearing them.

- Front life: Ideally maps should have consistent in-built life, or at least objects- observation balloons along the front, artillery batteries firing, and always depots, field hospitals etc. And also AAA, to include machine gunners. Also rifle fire that shoots up at you from trenches would be good (no object required, just a point of origin for the fire as the man is hidden in the trench). Static aircraft at airfields based on the squadrons there etc.

- In careers or campaigns, perhaps more than one aircraft per squadron should be available, to represent mixed some of the heavily mixed Jastas, or a scout squadron (single seater) having two seaters on hand for reconnaissance purposes etc…
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#2 MarcoRossolini

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Posted 09 December 2012 - 12:32

All this I agree with pomjon, totally agree with, but a lot of this is a bit beyond what 777 and the game engine is capable of dealing with as I understand it, but one thing I do specifically wish for is for the front lines to be made significantly thinner. However, I believe that's rather complex, then again, I believe some people have found ways to move the trenches around but nothing has come out of that as yet.
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#3 Catfish

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Posted 17 February 2013 - 13:57

I certainly agree, however RoF is the only sim where the users seem to be content with this 2-D frontline, as it is.

Having to be Online to play Single, well … and then give you this "Misfits" picture is an insult, in my eyes.

Did you play OFF, and if, what do you think ?
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#4 theMoxy

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Posted 17 February 2013 - 14:42

For those that are reading I will say that I am a bit of a history buff, and so base my opinions off of that, and not what would look cool or so forth. I think it's best to tackle some of the basics of the game that are priorities for attention, before trying mod things that add to it or suggesting extra features. Ideally I'd like the see sections of the front line recreated on a map to reflect the real front line at a set point during the war, much as Flying Corps Gold (an old Great War flight sim) did once, rather than the repetitive pattern. There's plenty of historical resources on trench maps out there. Short of that Here's a few observations:

- Firstly, WHY DO YOU HAVE TO BE ONLINE TO PLAY CAREER MODE!?!?!?! This makes no sense. I am in parts of the world where I don't benefit from a steady broadband connection, it is very frustrating!

- The distance between the two opposing front lines is far too great. In reality, the distance was frequently anywhere from just over 1000 meters to less than 100. Ideally the distance between front lines on the stock map should be reduced by 1/2 to 2/3.

- Instead of the front line transitioning from smashed wasteland to normal farmland, there should be a intermediate section of farmland potted with shellholes. So the front would look something this:
Front line & reserve trenches- smashed mud shellholes, rubble buildings, ruined roads, stump trees.
Distant reserve trenches & area stretching back several kilometers (where all the field hospitals, depots and artillery battery’s should be) - farmland potted with shellholes, ruined buildings etc.
Then normal farmland.

- You should NOT be able to land safely in no mans land. The game should be made so that whenever landing in no mans land your airplane always flips over (as the wheels sink into the mud and shell holes).

- Observation balloons, should always be winched down when attacked, this does not appear to happen. The observer in the balloon should also parachute out to safety when attacked, as they did. Balloons were also heavily defended by AAA, but this does not always seem the case in game.

- The explosions of AAA should shake or throw the aircraft around a bit when close.

- Sounds- for some reason sounds of artillery, firing or the shells exploding, are hardly audible. Even if you turn of your engine and glide, or land in no mans land, you will have shells landing right next to you and hardly hearing them.

- Front life: Ideally maps should have consistent in-built life, or at least objects- observation balloons along the front, artillery batteries firing, and always depots, field hospitals etc. And also AAA, to include machine gunners. Also rifle fire that shoots up at you from trenches would be good (no object required, just a point of origin for the fire as the man is hidden in the trench). Static aircraft at airfields based on the squadrons there etc.

- In careers or campaigns, perhaps more than one aircraft per squadron should be available, to represent mixed some of the heavily mixed Jastas, or a scout squadron (single seater) having two seaters on hand for reconnaissance purposes etc…

1. Online thingie: could/should actually be used to a greater degree with regards to career mode
2. Frontline thingie:Not that big of a deal considering other basic improvements WAY more needed
3. Other frontline thingies: see #2
4. Landing in no-mans-land thingie: see #3…and thus #2
5. Balloon defense thingie: They seem to winch in for me usually(?!) AA is bad enough as it is
6. AA shake thingie: It already does when close… AA is already excessively lethal
7. Sound thingies: See #2
8. frontline life thingie: See #2
9. Aircraft variety thingie: requires more planes designed; which don't exist just yet.
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#5 Mogster

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Posted 26 February 2013 - 12:10

The living world thing just isn't possible with current tech, no sim does more than displaying a few scattered units. Lack of terrain detail is an important issue also. Some things could be done, adding static planes to airfields, they should have been in from the start.

Ideally we'd see important battles carried out Total War style beneath your plane as you carry out missions. Maybe someday.
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#6 Tom-Cundall

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Posted 26 February 2013 - 17:39

The price you pay for graphics. Imagine what could be done in terms of units and full on war on modern pcs with Flying Corps era graphics…

But people wouldn't buy it cos it's not pretty.

You will never get there because polish will always come first - as computers get better they still won't have this depth of immersion since graphics will always take precedence.
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#7 WW1EAF_Paf

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Posted 26 February 2013 - 18:06

Also the computing of enhanced physics …
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#8 Tom-Cundall

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Posted 26 February 2013 - 20:53

Which again with less graphical drain you'd have power for.
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#9 Browning

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Posted 26 February 2013 - 21:23

Imagine what could be done in terms of units and full on war on modern pcs with Flying Corps era graphics…

Less than you might think.

I took this logic to Operation Flashpoint CWC (June 2001), but was surprised to find that my frame rates took a hit after only 3 or 4 times the activity that I could sustain in 2001.
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#10 Tom-Cundall

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Posted 26 February 2013 - 23:04

Ah that sucks. 3 or 4 times nothing is still nothing isn't it?

So ROF would just have worse graphics and still feel like there was no war going on.
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#11 J2_Trupobaw

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Posted 27 February 2013 - 00:36

- Firstly, WHY DO YOU HAVE TO BE ONLINE TO PLAY CAREER MODE!?!?!?! This makes no sense. I am in parts of the world where I don't benefit from a steady broadband connection, it is very frustrating!

So am I. Possible reasons are keeping the player scoreboards which requires players not tampering with their campaign record files. If you did not yet, I suggest you take a look on Pat Wilson campaign generator - it's offline 3rd party and people who got it to work swear by it.

- The distance between the two opposing front lines is far too great. In reality, the distance was frequently anywhere from just over 1000 meters to less than 100. Ideally the distance between front lines on the stock map should be reduced by 1/2 to 2/3.

- Instead of the front line transitioning from smashed wasteland to normal farmland, there should be a intermediate section of farmland potted with shellholes. So the front would look something this:
Front line & reserve trenches- smashed mud shellholes, rubble buildings, ruined roads, stump trees.
Distant reserve trenches & area stretching back several kilometers (where all the field hospitals, depots and artillery battery’s should be) - farmland potted with shellholes, ruined buildings etc.
Then normal farmland.

This again…
The reason "smashed wasteland" is so wide is that it includes front lines, reserve trenches and so on up to normal farmland. Only about 1/2 1/3 of wasteland width is no man's land, the rest is lines upon lines of trenches and shelled area behind trenches.

- The explosions of AAA should shake or throw the aircraft around a bit when close.

They do, oh they do, happens to me. I know it was that when I panically count wings, fins, ailerons, rudder, air for smoke trail, take outside camera look to see the plane and find nothing.
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#12 hq_Jorri

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Posted 27 February 2013 - 08:31

The map would look tons better if they made the change from farmland into no man's land more gradual…with some burnt trees where there aren't as many shells, and a few green trees at the start of the mud..an arae with just a shell-hole here and there, and cities with partly destroyed buildings but also builduings still standing.

And yes, also trenches that are closer together. And trenches further away, where the grass is already growing again.

That would make such a big difference to the immersion on the map..now it looks as something they got planning permission for before they started :)
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#13 J2_Trupobaw

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Posted 27 February 2013 - 12:12

To be honest, there are burned forests surrounded by fresh grass behind the lines - almost crashed into one when gliding home once. They just aren't that much visible (or the game does not draw them) until you are very close to them. The fact they are reduced to sad poles sticking from the ground does not help.

The representation of front line is very abstract anyway, trying as it is to cover all periods of 1916-1918 on single map. Compare the area of Ypres on West Front and Channel maps - not only on one map town of Ypres still stands few kilometers behind the wasteland and on other it's in ruins and the wasteland has encroached it, but on Channel map there are new meandring rivers on no mans land that were not there. Furthermore, I've tried to fly from Ypres to my old airfield of Marcke on Channel map, using memory, terrain orientation and printed Western Front map - and had much trouble. While rivers and major towns stayed more or less in place, other orientation points have moved or vanished, up to aerodromes of Marcke and Kortrijk merging into one airfield, hangars moving to other side of the field, forest I used to land over moving elsewhere, hills I've crashed few times into disappearing… I was landing on completly different airfield, no amount of suspension of disbelief could convince me it's either one of two fields I knew. It wasn't even the object placement, they underlying terrain was wrong. The point being, the maps are intentionally abstract and inaccurate, 777 is so aware of that they don't even bother keeping consistence where they overlap.
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#14 WW1EAF_Paf

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Posted 27 February 2013 - 14:15

I once made a test using textures to fade out the frontline. I reduced nomansland only to the fronttrenches. Here you see some trenches further back.
Image

It looks quite good from altitude. Down low the resolution is too low to look good imo. For the whole map this would mean placing thousands of textures. Doable maybe for a small map.


@Trupabaw: The texture of the landscape is a carpet that is repeating itself. On this landscapetexture you find painted forest. The game renders wood in these areas by a connected file. The landscape carpet (starting point) on both maps are different, so you won't see the same field & forest(trees) at the same spot on both maps. Only the big forests are independent from the landscape texture.
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#15 J2_Trupobaw

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Posted 27 February 2013 - 21:04

My hat goes off to whomever implemented / optimalised it :S!:, the landscape never looked like repetitive pattern to me. How big is a carpet rectangle, in kilometers?

So, it looks like the RoF engine makes huge compromises to automatically generate large landscape at performance while still making it look hand-crafted - and makes it so believable that players think it's reasonable to ask for custom, detailed adjustments here and there that would in fact require switch from fast automatic method to slow, "manual" drawing.
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#16 WW1EAF_Paf

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Posted 27 February 2013 - 21:46

The Carpet contains 10x10 texturetiles of 800m x800m. Also these tiles are drawn in a way, that a group of them can be placed/turned in another way as on the carpet next by. So its not easy to see it repetitive with also forests, streets, cities, rivers etc added on top.

Sorry if this makes no sense with my english :D
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#17 SYN_Bandy

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Posted 29 March 2013 - 13:32

I know how terrain textures work in much simpler flight sims. RoF is really a jump in how the terrain gets rendered, and it looks splendid, except for the trenches and some people are trying to do something about that, but it is a lot of work.

…The point being, the maps are intentionally abstract and inaccurate…

Actually they are quite accurate from a geography perspective, or at least the original map is (I haven't looked closely at the Channel Map). I went over the entire original map adding village names, river names, canal names, some famous forest names to a series of printable maps LINK and found that the RoF terrain followed the positions and shape of rivers and forests as close as possible to satellite maps (from which they are based no doubt).

Now, elevation is a different issue. Much of northern France/Belgium is simply flat, or small changes in elevation do not register on the real life data maps (can't remember sat file format), and so the devs likely made some small hills here and there so the terrain was visually more interesting.

Should they have kept the same data where the maps overlapped so people can navigate the way they did on the old map? Well, the northern sector on the original map around Ypres did not follow the same detailing as the Somme area, etc. so the Channel Map is likely more accurate.
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#18 Rama

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Posted 08 April 2013 - 22:26

…/… and found that the RoF terrain followed the positions and shape of rivers and forests as close as possible to satellite maps (from which they are based no doubt).
No, they are based on topographic maps from late XIXth/early XXth century.

Now, elevation is a different issue. Much of northern France/Belgium is simply flat, or small changes in elevation do not register on the real life data maps (can't remember sat file format), and so the devs likely made some small hills here and there so the terrain was visually more interesting.
No, elevation are based on real height data, but modern data. these original data sometimes contains some artifact, which were maybe not always found and filtered.
No imaginary hills has been made "on purpose".
Some "hills" are not hills but Spoil tips (and probably higher than they were in 1914, since modern data has been used).
Altitude elementary step was higher on the original map (which was originally 8bits) than on Channel map (which was 16bits from start).
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#19 Zoring

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Posted 09 April 2013 - 04:35

I posted this in another thread, but it is relevent here also.

One thing I wish we could see is moving trenches/frontline as well as Artillery fire along the front being varied, some days huge heavy bombardments (big offensives) other days, almost nothing, live and let live.

Here is what I posted before in regards to trench layouts

These might be useful, they are diagrams of how the trench's looked from top down, and how they evolved from 1916 to 1918.

Image
The two biggest things wrong with stock ROF trenches of 1916 is the communications trenches being the same 'teeth' shape as the main lines, instead of slighter zig-zags, and the missing third line of trenches.

Also it may simply be a case of saving polys, but the top of sandbags were always made irregular after 1914/15 because they realised that it made spotting anyone sticking their head over the top much harder to see :)

1918 British trenches elastic defence the 'fortresses' at the front are company sized.
Image

Also in a properly constructed trench soldiers would almost never fire over the top of the parapet (incredibly dangerous as you can imagine) the ideal was that every trench had loopholes built in to fire out of. Like so
Image
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