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View Full Version : Best way to spot and track bandits online with no icons?



panzerd18
05-05-2006, 12:06 AM
Hi,

I like to play online. However my biggest problem is finding it hard to see the enemy. It's very easy to see a plane that is above you against the blue sky or a white cloud, however to see a plane which is below you in the dark colour of the ground is very hard.

For example if I am in a Hellcat and go up high to boom and zoom I have little chance of seeing the zeke's which are below me. In the mean time though they can see my black speck.

If I do spot another plane in the distance that is below me I either loose sight of it or dive down below it to be able to see and track it. But when I have caught up with the bandit I have lost a lot of my energy and thus am a sitting duck in my Hellcat against the faster turning Zero's.

Its hard to see enemy aircraft against the dark blue sea and greens of the land, however its easy to see them if they are flying over snow, clouds or the blue sky.

Can anyone give me some tips? The person with the altitude advantage should have the advantage but I'm finding it the other way around.

Xiolablu3
05-05-2006, 12:37 AM
I am pretty sure it would be harder to spot planes below you than above against a blue sky. However, these are the only real tips I can give.

FLy on a icon server until you are a little more experienced. Learn the other things first then movc onto no icons.

Experience is the key. WHen I first started online I could not have imagined using no icons.

I know many will disagree, but this is simply how it worked for me.

I moved onto no icons when I felt comfortable with it. Now I can track planes well, the only problem I have it moving the hat switch to look around while in a very manic dogfight. I sometimes crash into the ground when I get confused. http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

rnzoli
05-05-2006, 12:37 AM
you're not alone with this, while the aircraft high up has altitude advantage, the aircraft down low has the advantage of camoflage (and rendering limitations)

my tips to cope with this:

- scan the sky and the ground slowly but systematically: give a second or so to watch a certain area, so your vision can pick up moving dots - if you only give a quick glance, the dot may be invisible in that moment, so you won't recognize it - you "see" it, but doesn't register in your mind)

- when seeing a dot moving, take 2-3 seconds or so to check the surronding terrain features - what is he near to (river, hill?), where is he heading? this is extremely important in case you lose sight temporarily, because awareness about the area where to look for him will surely help you to re-acquire your visual contact

- don't let the frames cover the aircraft for too long - use the gunsight view and normal view switch frequently to move your head in the cockpit back and forth

- if you have a better graphics card and monitor, try to run at least 1280x1024 or higher and keep the monitor closer to your eyes (much closer than the normal distance, e.g., for typing forum posts), so when the dot becomes a distant LOD (airplane shape), you can recognize the change and keep tracking him

- iif you dive, dive from the Sun even if it takes 2-3 minutes more to prepare, so your prey won't see you, therefore no evasive action will be taken - remember, it's easy to spot planes in the sky UNLESS they are coming from the Sun - use this advantage, it's similar to the camoflage concept for high altitute aircrafts

- if you lose sight while diving, just get to max speed, extend and climb back to your altitude straigh, your high speed is your life insurance even if you fly in straight line, remember that maybe you have less altitude after the dive, but you still have the energy advantage in the form of speed, so you'll be able to use that next time around as well

rnzoli
05-05-2006, 12:56 AM
By the way, if I could ask for an improvement for rendering effects, this would be it: model the glaring

Regardless of camoflage, aircrafts have bent glass (cockpit canopy) and metal features (e.e., guns, wing edges, cocpit frames), which reflect a portion of the sunlight towards the observer above. Our peripheral vision is very sensitive to light and I suspect that when we scan the distance for different objects, we can pick them up by light reflections in our peripheral vision first, not with our focused vision. (Do this simple test: in a starry night, look up into the sky - you can 'see' lots of stars from the corner of your eyes, but when you try to look at them exactly, they "disapper", not longer visible. Look away a little bit - and they are back again! http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_smile.gif )


So I would appreciate seeing dot glaring effects, perhaps in the form of 1-2 pixels of the dots whitened out from time-to-time (every 2-3 seconds), when the aircraft down below travels through areas illuminated by the Sun. This would certainly help visual acquisition and tracking in a realistic manner - without the hugely UNREALISTIC and NOOB-ONLY billboard signs called "icons" http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/16x16_smiley-tongue.gif

and now I run for my life.... http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/35.gif

WTE_Galway
05-05-2006, 01:14 AM
- practice

- trackIR

- try different video settings .. often a lower resolution will be better than higher with icons off

georgeo76
05-05-2006, 01:32 AM
The game has limitations that contribute to what you experience. There are some things you can do to help.

Most video cards have one set of settings for normal operation and a different set of settings for full screen 3d (the game) play with these some. Nvidia cards have a 'vibrancy' (or something like that)setting that helps. I play the game w/ brightness turned way up (a monitor setting) that helps.

In-game settings are important too. I find that lowering 'landscape lighting' and 'object lighting' helps a great deal. Play w/ those two settings and you can make a difference.

Resolution can be important. Some say a high resolution is better, some say lower, 1024x768 is supposed to be the native resolution of the game. Main thing is to play w/ settings until you find something your happy w/

It helps to understand the problem and what is realistic and what is the fault of the game engine.

Aircraft are drawn differently at different distances(LOD). when the aircraft changes between one LOD and another, it may become more difficult to see depending on the background. Some aircraft are actually easier to see at 3km away than at 2km away. At medium to long range, no matter the LOD an aircraft is much more difficult to see if it's headed directly for you, away from you, or it's in profile. This is realistic, but because a foreshortened 3d model becomes a jumble of black lines, it's more difficult that it probably should be.

Like rnzoli said, the manner in which you keep a lookout is important. To that I'll add that it helps to find a comfortable field of view and stick w/ it. Counter-intuitively, zooming in doesn't help viewing aircraft because at long range, the aircraft is a dot, just a few pixels. If you zoom in on it, it remains the same size while everything else is drawn larger making the boogie harder to spot. If the aircraft is closer, zooming in can change the aircraft's LOD. When an an aircraft changes shape, it may become more difficult to see or at least force your brain to re-recognize it, which might take enough time for him to slip away. It's also important not to look away, don't be tempted to check your slip ball, once your engaged you have to fly the plane on instinct and always keep the guy in sight.

Realistic aspects that will effect visibility include obvious things like distance, the sun, angle off, camouflage. But also know that different times of the day are important and have a huge effect. Knowing where to look is an advantage too. If you know where your enemies target is and where his base is, put yourself between the two and look for things flying toward the target.

oh, and if you lose an aircraft while your engages w/ him don't panic! you know where he just was, and you know where he wants to be. Think like that and you can find him much more easily.

WTE_Ibis
05-05-2006, 01:36 AM
Originally posted by rnzoli:
By the way, if I could ask for an improvement for rendering effects, this would be it: model the glaring

Regardless of camoflage, aircrafts have bent glass (cockpit canopy) and metal features (e.e., guns, wing edges, cocpit frames), which reflect a portion of the sunlight towards the observer above. Our peripheral vision is very sensitive to light and I suspect that when we scan the distance for different objects, we can pick them up by light reflections in our peripheral vision first, not with our focused vision. (Do this simple test: in a starry night, look up into the sky - you can 'see' lots of stars from the corner of your eyes, but when you try to look at them exactly, they "disapper", not longer visible. Look away a little bit - and they are back again! http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_smile.gif )


So I would appreciate seeing dot glaring effects, perhaps in the form of 1-2 pixels of the dots whitened out from time-to-time (every 2-3 seconds), when the aircraft down below travels through areas illuminated by the Sun. This would certainly help visual acquisition and tracking in a realistic manner - without the hugely UNREALISTIC and NOOB-ONLY billboard signs called "icons" http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/16x16_smiley-tongue.gif

and now I run for my life.... http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/35.gif
--------------------------------------------------

Right on, good post and I agree 100%
I would agree 120% but it would make no sense.
http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/25.gif http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/clap.gif

MadRuski
05-05-2006, 01:53 AM
LOL i moved from no icons to icons cause i had enough of using F2 to zoom in on the planes to tell them apart!

RayBanJockey
05-05-2006, 02:03 AM
Assuming you are in a cockpit server, fly in a zig zag towards the direction you want to go. You can pretty much examine the entire sky around your plane this way, but for the stuff far down below, every time you turn do a 90 degree roll, turn your head that way and hit zoom view.

If you do see a dot (that is not attacking another dot) do a high speed ID dive with zoom view on, with no intention of shooting at it (because you will be going way too fast to ID and shoot) then zoom back up to regain your E.

Then if you know it is an enemy do an attack dive with regular view. (shoot and head back up)

Feathered_IV
05-05-2006, 02:42 AM
One thing I noticed on ZvsW, aircraft are easier to spot against the dark water (water=3) if you have the sun at your back. The game seems to model the reflections off the airframe even at itty bitty dot range.

georgeo76
05-05-2006, 03:12 PM
Oh yea, and Vsync helps quite a bit too

slipBall
05-05-2006, 03:31 PM
A little trick that I use, is i stay up high above enemy's target area. Then I zoom in on friendly ground units tracer fire. I let the AI help me to spot aircraft. That is one thing they are real good at, spotting http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/16x16_smiley-wink.gif

Stigler_9_JG52
05-05-2006, 05:33 PM
Track IR does NOTHING to solve this problem.

You can't see what isn't on your screen, no matter how well some doohickey presents the area you're looking at. same with using a hat switch: you can manipulate it to look in "the right area", but if the bogie is invisible to you, you will fail to see it the exact same as if you were looking in the opposite direction.

My advice to this guy would be to make sure he's got an nVidia card, and not an ATI, because it appears ATI cards suffer most with the "invisispecks" and "dots".

This is one of the features of the sim that fly in the face of what history tells us. The visual system in this sim makes a healthy altitude advantage a tactical disadvantage, and transfers that advantage to the bottomfeeders who wait down in the weeds.

VFS-22_SPaRX
05-05-2006, 05:45 PM
Originally posted by rnzoli:
By the way, if I could ask for an improvement for rendering effects, this would be it: model the glaring

Regardless of camoflage, aircrafts have bent glass (cockpit canopy) and metal features (e.e., guns, wing edges, cocpit frames), which reflect a portion of the sunlight towards the observer above. Our peripheral vision is very sensitive to light and I suspect that when we scan the distance for different objects, we can pick them up by light reflections in our peripheral vision first, not with our focused vision. (Do this simple test: in a starry night, look up into the sky - you can 'see' lots of stars from the corner of your eyes, but when you try to look at them exactly, they "disapper", not longer visible. Look away a little bit - and they are back again! http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_smile.gif )


So I would appreciate seeing dot glaring effects, perhaps in the form of 1-2 pixels of the dots whitened out from time-to-time (every 2-3 seconds), when the aircraft down below travels through areas illuminated by the Sun. This would certainly help visual acquisition and tracking in a realistic manner - <span class="ev_code_YELLOW">without the hugely UNREALISTIC and NOOB-ONLY billboard signs called "icons" http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/16x16_smiley-tongue.gif</span>

and now I run for my life.... http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/35.gif

I was with you 110% until you made the statement in yellow.

No-icons = Unrealistic
Icons = Unrealistic

So its not a matter of "realism", its a matter of preference. I know pilots that fly icons that can wipe the floor with most icon/no-icon. I also know pilots that fly no-icons and can wipe the floor with most icon/no-icon pilots.

georgeo76
05-05-2006, 06:16 PM
My advice to this guy would be to make sure he's got an nVidia card, and not an ATI, because it appears ATI cards suffer most with the "invisispecks" and "dots".

I disagree. I migrated from a Nvidia card (ti4600) to an ATI (9800xt) and had visibility problems with both. I had to do a great amount of tweaking to get the most out of each one. The steps I took were different with both cards, but I really couldn't say that one was better or worse. I came to an acceptable visibility for both.

The biggest difference I noticed between the two was resolution. Turning down the resolution on the Nvidia was most fruitful tweak. This didn't work at all w/ the ATI card. The visibility was the same no matter the resolution. (which was kinda nice because I could play on 1200x960 instead of 1024x768)

Dew-Claw
05-05-2006, 07:35 PM
For the problem of tracking your target once you've spotted it...
if you cant afford track-ir (like me)
try a trackball mouse for views.
the only limit to how many mice you want to use, is connection ports.
all your mice will work the same but you can have one on the left, one on the right...one in your mouth if you so desire. Always a mouse in reach for either available hand.

The track ball works great for views and becomes quite natural. just map "snap forward view" to your hatswitch and use it when you get confused.
One glance out the front window always gets my bearings right away.

rnzoli
05-06-2006, 12:11 AM
Originally posted by VFS-22_SPaRX:
I was with you 110% until you made the statement in yellow.

Gimme a break Sparx, why everyone can fish, but not me? I just though throwing some spice into this discussions, because it was too scientific, lacking the passion... http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif

Of course you are right, it's a matter of preference. I personally hate the number and letter flying around, other hate the same way the rendering problems and that they force low-level furballs most of the time. So we chose something that fits our personal taste, that's all, I am happy with that completely.

panzerd18
05-06-2006, 12:17 AM
Thanks for your help everyone.

I'm running 1600x1200 with most settings up high. I turned down ground details and shadows and saw an increase in FPS and was probably easier to spot planes because the ground is less detailed.

Also what does stencil buffer do? Should I turn this on?

I just feel that having the altitude advantage turns into a disadvantage because they can see you and you can't see them.

rnzoli
05-06-2006, 12:28 AM
Well, if only they can see you, why don't you bait them? make a shallow dive, let them turn after you, then carefully zoom upwards and look back to your 6 - they should be all there, slow and struggling to increase their pitch to get a shot at you - without success

do a hammerhead when they lost their speed, and they will be right in front of your guns, barely able to manouver

takes some practice, but I use this tactic to bring them out of the woods http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif while I am flying a heavy B&Z fighter