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Author Topic: BAT AI and AI 'set' follow command  (Read 3881 times)

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tomoose

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BAT AI and AI 'set' follow command
« on: August 15, 2020, 05:26:14 PM »

I'm putting together a B17 mission using BAT and the La Chute map.  I'm hoping to duplicate Jackstone's Big Bird campaign but taking it that one step further with the 'bells and whistles' available in BAT.  My intent is for it to be for serious bomber pilots as the missions will be loooong and starting with engine start, taxi-to-takeoff.....the works.

I'm building a template type of mission in order to get as many B17s to form up as possible prior to crossing the Channel.  So far, so good.....I've managed to get 24 B17s (3 pairs of flights of 4) pretty much in one formation with staggered altitudes.  I intend to keep the initial form up waypoints the same for each mission and only change the waypoints to the targets after the form-up point.  That way each mission will be guaranteed a good formation of bombers (as close as possible given the IL2 limitations in that regard).  I even managed to get a flight of P47s to rendezvous mid-Channel and stay with them all the way there and back (again, only to Calais area).

OK, so what you ask,..... well, glad you asked......  ;)  I'm using the SET command in the object view panel to 'connect' one flight to another in addition to have each pair of flights have the same navigation waypoints.  For the most part it seems to be working except for a couple of issues:

1.  My lead flight (which will have the human pilot) is immediately followed from the same airfield (Boxted) by the 2nd flight.  Even though they taxi beautifully and takeoff within seconds of each other, the 2nd flight consistently falls behind and stays well back (even with the SET command and dropping the speed of the lead flight by 50kph).  When I did a test run (bombing an airfield next to Calais) that 2nd flight stayed either well back or well off to one side until after the bomb run and the turn for home then it sped up and slipped right into it's echelon position where it was supposed to be.

2.  As I mentioned, with the exception of the immediate 2nd flight the SET command seems to work very well.......too well in fact because when I got to the Estuary where each pair of flights was supposed to split off and head for their home fields they all remained glued to my flight all the way back to Boxted!!!

I had let the mission run on 'auto' so perhaps if I'm in the lead cockpit and I give the 'return to base' command once back over England then #2 above might be resolved.  #1 however is a bit of a conundrum.

On a slightly different subject, during the same mission I noted that the AI comms were just giving numbers  e.g.  AI pilot would say "three three zero" instead of "heading three three zero".  Is that a deliberate change in BAT?  Just curious as it's certainly easy to switch it off.

Any info/advice appreciated.  Screenshot below of formation returning back over the Channel...
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Plowshare

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Re: BAT AI and AI 'set' follow command
« Reply #1 on: August 15, 2020, 06:23:47 PM »

tomoose:

I found that you have to set the "Set" to the second "Normfly" waypoint at the earliest.

I've found that the subsequent flights attached using the "Set" will only follow the flight to which they're attached.

What you maybe could try is, after they pass their waypoint that they're supposed to break off at, send the attached flights to the "Previous waypoint" followed by "Next waypoint."

Hope this helps.

Bob
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tomoose

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Re: BAT AI and AI 'set' follow command
« Reply #2 on: August 21, 2020, 02:42:22 PM »

Plowshare;
thanks, that did indeed help.  I've been running this initial test mission on 'auto' which has its own drawbacks.  I want to observe the formation 'outside' to gauge how close they are etc. Using time acceleration however, is dangerous, for example, particularly in turns as the AI isn't quite reactive enough (I lost two B17s in a collision that way).

One REAL drawback is the flight lead.  The lead bomber got hit by flak almost over the target and fell away.  This resulted in complete chaos in the rest of the formation (B17s doing rolls, trying to follow the falling leader etc).....a bloody mess.  I stopped the mission.  I'm assuming that because I 'set' the others to follow the lead formation ergo a dead leader results in total brain farts on the part of the 'followers'.
Any way around this or is it simply IL2 AI being AI?

Apart from that (as long as the lead survives) it's coming together quite nicely.  I have a flare gun going off at home base which almost coincides with the first B17 starting it's taxi which is pretty cool.  The flare continues to go up every 30 or so seconds however which is a bit weird, not sure if it eventually stops as I'm too busy keeping an eye on the aircraft.  Is the use of the flare (and other animated objects) covered in the BAT manual?
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raf1659

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Re: BAT AI and AI 'set' follow command
« Reply #3 on: August 22, 2020, 02:33:02 AM »

WOW I'ts a BIG formation !   :o

Waiting the final version  ]salut[
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tomoose

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Re: BAT AI and AI 'set' follow command
« Reply #4 on: August 22, 2020, 06:35:36 AM »

Raf1659;
I'm following the example set by Jackstones and his Big Bird campaign.  If you're interested in bombers (and long missions) then I'd recommend that campaign to whet your appetite.
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Plowshare

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Re: BAT AI and AI 'set' follow command
« Reply #5 on: August 22, 2020, 06:56:21 AM »

One REAL drawback is the flight lead.  The lead bomber got hit by flak almost over the target and fell away.  This resulted in complete chaos in the rest of the formation (B17s doing rolls, trying to follow the falling leader etc).....a bloody mess.  I stopped the mission.  I'm assuming that because I 'set' the others to follow the lead formation ergo a dead leader results in total brain farts on the part of the 'followers'.
Any way around this or is it simply IL2 AI being AI?

Tomoose:

I actually embraced this "feature." I've made mission in the Solomons in which two pairs of Betties lead raids down from Rabaul to hit the lower islands - the Russells and/or Guadalcanal. My premise was that the lead Betties were the only ones that had navigators that were briefed on the target(s). I had many bombers in flights of three or four that had waypoints emulating the leaders' until about a hundred kilometers away from the target at which point I had the followers' waypoints diverge all willy-nilly as though lost and not knowing what to do. This waypoint was also the waypoint that I "Set" the the followers to attach to the lead Betties. My mission was to knock down the leaders before the followers arrived at the "Set" waypoint.

If a leader was damaged but stayed visible in the mission (even flying off into the sunset) and the followers arrived at the "Set" waypoint the followers would complete the mission making the bomb drops that were set for the leaders. What's happened in your case is that, as you noted, the leader was still alive and the followers were simply doing as they were told - follow the leader!

What you could try is maybe "Set" the the followers to two different lead flights' leader and hope they don't both get shot down. To test this make a quickie mission where you do as suggested, then put yourself in a fighter and surgically remove one of the leaders to see if the followers will complete the mission on the other leader. I've never done this so I don't know what would happen but give it a try.

Bob
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Dimlee

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Re: BAT AI and AI 'set' follow command
« Reply #6 on: August 28, 2020, 12:30:27 PM »

I struggled a lot with AI formations and noticed that sometimes it's just error and trial since the method working in one mission is useless in another.
But the problem with the leader shot down is most typical, IMHO. I know the only cure: not to link all huge group to one leading flight but to create waypoints for separate flights. Very time consuming, indeed.
By the way, if you can find the Fishyy channel on YT. That guy has done many missions (and filmed them) with massive bomber formations in the past.
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vonofterdingen

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Re: BAT AI and AI 'set' follow command
« Reply #7 on: August 28, 2020, 01:58:26 PM »

I concur that linking large bomber groups can be counter-productive. I create a couple individual flights, test, and then clone them using the Quick Mission Tuner (available for download at M4T). I used this to create "The Camel Pond Raids" which has large numbers of B-24s, in case you want to see how it works. QMT works with any map but only uses stock planes, so I use a stock bomber for the mission prototype and punch in the mod planes using Notepad when I am happy with the outcome.
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tomoose

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Re: BAT AI and AI 'set' follow command
« Reply #8 on: August 31, 2020, 02:31:31 AM »

Vonofterdingen,
thanks for the tip, I'll check out QMT when I'm back (out of the country at the moment).  It is tedious, no doubt but the end result is worth it if it comes together.
cheers,
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Wing Walker

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Re: BAT AI and AI 'set' follow command
« Reply #9 on: October 17, 2020, 10:42:26 AM »

I was able to set up fairly easily box formation of B-17s in a straight line of way points and they stayed together in it with BAT, something I tried in HSFX before and it didn't work at all.

I don't think it will hold in though a whole mission.  When I tried a bomber mission where it gets attacked, the B-17 tries to maneuver like a fighter doing a split-S and what not.

Though the real problem I had was the FPS dropping so much form all the contrails.  So I don't think I will be able to do high altitude fighting much.  I've never had a problem with fps before at all for IL2-anything.
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tomoose

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Re: BAT AI and AI 'set' follow command
« Reply #10 on: October 17, 2020, 10:56:32 AM »

Wing Walker;
after playing through JackStone's Big Bird campaign (in HSFX) we noted that placing the formation too high has a couple of drawbacks;
1.  The higher you are the more problematic the target view becomes through the bombsight (i.e. ground objects coming into focus in time to adjust the sight), and
2. The contrails as you correctly pointed out, add to the FPS hit

Our solution was to keep max alt for the bombers at 15,000ft.  It was a happy compromise balancing coop online play and trying to keep bombing altitude semi-realistic.
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Vampire_pilot

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Re: BAT AI and AI 'set' follow command
« Reply #11 on: October 21, 2020, 11:46:44 AM »

I have built a very long range bomber escort mission recently in this campaign:

https://www.sas1946.com/main/index.php/topic,63727.0.html

AW05-3.mis

It is a B-29 escort mission from Iwo to mainland Japan and back, several hours round trip at the edge of the (in game) Mustang fuel capacity.
I had to build it without any "connect", bombers and fighters fly independently but are set up in terms of altitude and speed in such a way that they arrive over the target as what somehow resembles a carpet bombing formation with escort, meeting opposition.
If the fighters would be connected they would circle and burn too much fuel and not be able to make the trip, so I made the whole mission without the function.

If you are interested in it as a general example or blueprint, feel free to look at that mission.

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