Landing to Refuel and Rearm - The LandingReFuAr waypoint - ED Forums
 


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Old 08-13-2019, 12:38 AM   #1
JDingo
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Default Landing to Refuel and Rearm - The LandingReFuAr waypoint

I have appreciated everyone's help in posting to these forums, and today it is my turn to give back in regard to a potentially very useful tool - the landing, refuel and rearm (LandingReFuAr) waypoint. There is a lot of information here so I have broken it down into a few posts with accompanying mission (.miz) files of examples.


There have been some complaints that it doesn't work correctly or is buggy, and others that it is non-realistic. These may be true, but it is functional as is (once we understand how it works), and it can be used to add or detract from realism, like any tool. How many of us have bird strikes turned up anyway? Either way I think it can add to the potential enjoyment for many people using DCS, so in my opinion it is a great tool.


My hope is that this information is used to add to people's enjoyment and to build better missions, particularly public multi-player ones that I can fly in. The ideas presented can be used for people who script, and there is also enough information and tools provided so that people who just want to use the Mission Editor can make good use this newer feature.
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Old 08-13-2019, 12:40 AM   #2
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Default Landing to Refuel and Rearm - The LandingReFuAr waypoint - 2

First the limitations on landReFuAr (at least currently to my knowledge): (1) after landing at a LandingReFuAr waypoint base that base will be set as the Group's new base for RTB, etc. (1a) any waypoint set to a Landing after a LandingReFuAr waypoint will send the Group to the last LandingReFuAr waypoint and end the mission once there, not the base specified by the specified Landing waypoint. (2) Setting a waypoint while stopped for refuel/rearm or afterwards before the Group reaches its first waypoint AFTER the LandingReFuAr will be ignored. (Therefore, if you don't set a waypoint after the LandingReFuAr waypoint it will just take off after the refuel/rearm, land again, and then end its mission). (3) Setting the waypoint for the Group when its current waypoint is a LandingReFuAr waypoint causes the Group to land at the last LandingReFuAr waypoint it stopped at (or the currently set one if one had not been stopped at before) and end its mission.

So, in short, you can't set waypoints either enroute to/from a LandingReFuAr waypoint; on the way from they will be ignored, on the way to they will not set it to the waypoint you want and will end up ending the Group's mission.

It is also important to note that, (5) the time of the refueling stop can be set. The time of the stop DOES affect how much fuel is given to the plane (at least for planes with external tanks). This time cannot be adjusted dynamically during the mission by any triggers, etc., and all fuel added is given at the beginning of the stop.
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Old 08-13-2019, 12:42 AM   #3
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Default Landing to Refuel and Rearm - The LandingReFuAr waypoint - 3

The biggest use that most people would like (realism aside) would be to have a repeating sortie, such as for AWACs, refueling planes, or patrols over a particular area, etc. The Endless_Hunter attached mission file shows an example of the minimum requirements for this: a waypoint after take off, the LandingReFuAr waypoint, and a waypoint after (which then sets the next waypoint to the one before the LandingReFuAr waypoint. This mission has a Mig-29S hunting a group of B-52Hs. The B-52Hs are not needed for the loop logic, as can be seen if you remove them or let the mission play until they are all destroyed, but they are included show that the Mig-29S is rearming each time. It is suggested to go to F10 and then use LCTL-Z to speed up to about 20x to watch the mission. Although watching the land rearm process (with F2, etc.) is also useful.

Note that this minimum set-up only works if the conditions trigger an AI action enroute to the outbound waypoint (in this case the CAP task), since there is no place for a User trigger to be processed in the first loop. That is, the Group is either between waypoint the SP and Waypoint 1, or between Waypoint 1 and the LandingReFuAr waypoint (Waypoint 2). If you want the Group to possibly skip the first refuel and do something else, you need to have at least 2 waypoints in between SP and the LandingReFuAr waypoint so that a Set Waypoint command can be processed between them.

Endless sorties are useful in some cases, but other times it would be desirable to have it repeat until a particular goal is accomplished. The Hunt_Until_Done mission file shows a minimal example of this. It is the same as the Endless_Hunter mission but lands the Mig-29S after all of the B-52H are gone. (The Mig-29S has more weapons in this mission so it usually only takes 3 loops to complete the goal).
Attached Files
File Type: miz Mig-29S LandingReFuAr Endless Hunter.miz (9.6 KB, 13 views)
File Type: miz Mig-29S LandingReFuAr Hunt Until Done.miz (10.3 KB, 12 views)
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Old 08-13-2019, 12:47 AM   #4
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Default Landing to Refuel and Rearm - The LandingReFuAr waypoint - 4

Both of the cases in the previous post can be done more or less through spawning and/or delayed activation of new Groups with triggers, and the LandingReFuAR repeat doesn't eliminate the need for potential spawning/delayed activation if the group is destroyed, etc. However, there are other, more complex uses for LandingReFuAr that are somewhat more realistic than spawning/delayed activation would be. For example, a long mission that could be accomplished without refueling/rearming if no resistance is encountered, but with a forward refuel/rearm base available if needed.

An example of this is provided in the attached Optional_LandingReFuAr_Example mission file. In this case, a two ship F-16C flight from Novorossiysk are the only resources available for Blue to strike and destroy a high value target near the Patara Enguri River. If everything goes well, they should be able to make the round trip, but their could be Red patrols along the way or CAP over the target, and/or the strike could take more fuel than ideal. While Gudauta does not have any planes available for the strike, it can be used to refuel and rearm.

To implement a mission like this, a way to monitor fuel and ammo is required, and the RTB on Bingo Fuel, etc., needs to be turned off, or it will end the mission. To do this the mission uses jd_fuelAmmoTrk.lua to place the Fuel and Ammo levels into UserFlags 50001-60000 as follows for each Unit Id # (xxx): Fuel % (rounded up) = 50xxx, Gun Ammo = 51xxx, # Bombs (any type) = 52xxx, # Rockets = 53xxx, # A2G Missiles = 54xxx, # A2A Missiles = 55xxx, # Anti-Rad Missiles = 56xxx, # Anti-Ship Missiles = 57xxx, # Cruise Missiles = 58xxx, # BMs = 59xxx. This can be used to implement refuel and rearm directives (to replace RTB on Bingo Fuel or No Weapons) for people who do not want to script their own.

The mission should be viewed multiple times. There is a 50% chance of a Red Mig-21 patrol on the way between Novorossiysk and Gudauta each way, and a 50% chance of Mig-29 CAP over the target. The success rate of the mission ends up being about 50% overall, with many different possibilities. Suggest going to F10 and speeding up using LCTRL-Z to about 60x.

Before the target is destroyed Blue will land to refuel or rearm if necessary (less than 2-A2G or 1-A2A missiles per plane). After the target is destroyed Blue will only land to refuel if necessary. If there is a dogfight enroute to Gudauta that reduces Blue fuel below what is necessary to get to Guduata, Blue will (attempt to) Refuel and ReArm at Novorossiysk.

In this example, the final landing at Novorossiysk needs to be a LandingReFuAR, not Landing! If a waypoint is set to Landing after a LandingReFuAr waypoint, the Group will (attempt to) land at the last LandingReFuAr waypoint, not the one set by the Landing waypoint. So in this mission, if successful, the Blue flight ends up landing, refueling and taking off and looping once to land again finally.

There is also an issue (bug?) that causes further complications. It is not related to LandingReFuAr directly but does complicate its use, as in this example. That is, if the Flight Lead of a Group is destroyed and the Group was set to go to a waypoint by logic, that set waypoint command is erased and the flight will be routed to the next numeric waypoint instead. Therefore if a LandingReFuAr waypoint was skipped by logic, but the Flight Lead destroyed before the next waypoint, the Group will go to the LandingReFuAr base, BUT the issue (bug?) also changes the LandingReFuAr waypoint to a FlyOver waypoint. Therefore when skipping refueling stops, the next waypoint should always be close by.

Additionally, a script (jd_fuelAmmoStatus.lua) that works with jd_fuelAmmoTrk.lua is implemented to be used with the UserFlags from that script to display the fuel and ammo status of all active planes every 20 seconds if enabled. It is not currently activated in the example mission. To enable it, go to the "Prime Display Trigger" Trigger and change the flag that the trigger sets to 90010 (from 90011). This will enable better following of the logic throughout the mission, although it is distracting. jd_fuelAmmoStatus.lua will display the Fuel/Ammo status of any Unit once (for 8 seconds) each time flag 60xxx (where xxx is the Unit Id #) is set.

Also, a final note, there is a good amount going on in this example, and rare things can still always go strange in AI.
Attached Files
File Type: miz Optional LandingReFuAr Example.miz (54.1 KB, 13 views)
File Type: lua jd_fuelAmmoTrk.lua (3.5 KB, 21 views)
File Type: lua jd_fuelAmmoStatus.lua (2.7 KB, 18 views)
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Old 08-13-2019, 12:48 AM   #5
JDingo
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Default Landing to Refuel and Rearm - The LandingReFuAr waypoint - 5

In my final initial post on this subject I give another potentially useful example of LandingReFuAr. That is, for staging a coordinated group strike from planes originally from other airbases. Again this could be done with delayed activations, etc., but becomes highly complicated, especially if they could encounter resistance enroute, and it loses a sense of realism if they aren't actually the same planes.

To use LandingReFuAr for coordination though, the coordination needs to be done BEFORE landing since the time on the ground unfortunately cannot be set dynamically during the mission. To accomplish the coordination, the arriving Groups should circle before the LandingReFuAr base until everyone arrives (or until one of them is low on fuel). Then the Groups can land in spaced intervals in a pre-planned order that don't interfere with each other's landings. The refueling times can be present different durations by their landing order times so that they all take off again at nearly the same time (or at the appropriate times for the mission coordination). Circling to coordinate after the refueling/rearming can also be done to improve coordination, especially for larger missions, and with LandingReFuAR this can be done more effectively with refueled aircraft.

An example mission is provided. Turning off RTB on Bingo Fuel, etc., is important for a mission like this. The example again uses jd_fuelAmmoTrk.lua, from the previous post, to track fuel (and ammo), and jd_fuelAmmoStatus.lua is implemented (but status messages not currently enabled) to display status if you would like. Note that this mission is just proof of concept. So additional logic would be needed to make it fully functional in a mission. For example, currently it would trigger the strike refueling if a plane went low fuel due to a dogfight enroute, not just while waiting. Again it is suggested to go to F10 and speeding up using LCTRL-Z to about 60x to watch the example mission.

Two final notes on using LandingReFuAr, especially for large groups...

1) The LandingReFuAr logic does not necessarily handle ground traffic congestion well. Again this is not directly an issue with LandingReFuAr directly, more an issue with the AI in general, but it can mess up things in these sorts of missions.

2) Some types of planes have difficultly landing at certain airports. For example, in this Coordinated Strike example, if the staging airport is changed from Mineralnye Vody to Nalchik, things will go very badly. Again this is not an issue with LandingReFuAr directly, but is something that needs to be taking into account when planning missions using it.

Good luck all!
Attached Files
File Type: miz LandingReFuAr Coord Strike Example.miz (13.8 KB, 12 views)
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Old 08-20-2019, 04:06 AM   #6
JDingo
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Default Some Additional Information

At a LandingReFuAr waypoint, the amount of fuel loaded and the amount of time it takes to load that fuel depends on the aircraft type and how many external fuel tanks the aircraft has, but not directly as X amount of fuel loaded per minute, etc. In particular, the time it takes to refuel does not depend on how much fuel the aircraft has when it lands. It also does not depend on whether the aircraft dropped tanks or not before refueling. An aircraft that has external tanks will not refuel to its maximum initial capacity unless it lands to refuel with a very large amount of fuel (>100%, at least, and maybe even more). So a plane with external tanks that lands to refuel with <100% fuel will generally never reach its full capacity again, since taking off and circling to land and refuel again will burn enough fuel to bring it back down below 100% again even after refueling.

Having multiple external tanks can increase the maximum refueled load above 100% after refueling, and it also reduces the refueling time needed to reach the maximum level. For example, for one particular aircraft type (Mig-29S). For no external tanks, 1 tank and 3 tanks, the maximum fuel load initially is 100%, 127% and 185% respectively. After refueling (starting below 100%) the maximums will be 100%, 100% and ~110%. With 3 tanks it will refuel to this ~110% level in 1 minute. With 1 tank - 1 minute = 71%, 2 minutes = 96% and 3 minutes = 100%. With no tanks - 1 minute = 38%, 3 minutes = 98% and 4 minutes = 100 %. So fueling time and number of external tanks do matter, but not very much, since landing, taxi, and takeoff takes on the order of 15-20 minutes. External tanks do, of course, add significant time before the initial refueling is needed. The exact amount of maximum refuel load and required refueling times vary by aircraft type.

Finally, as previously mentioned, attempting to set a different waypoint while a group is enroute to a LandingReFuAr waypoint will cause the mission to no longer be able to refuel/rearm and treat that waypoint as a turning waypoint afterwards. Setting other options, tasks, and commands enroute to the LandingReFuAr waypoint can also cause this behavior. I haven't checked them all, but a good number cause this unanticipated behavior. Therefore, avoiding any triggered actions for the group between the last waypoint before the LandingReFuAr waypoint and actually landing is safest for predictible behavior.
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Old 08-20-2019, 06:16 AM   #7
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Default

Wow, a very thorough analysis, this will be most welcomed by all mission designers / tinkerers, me included on how to get that feature to do what is should.

Thanks for taking the time to post it.

Cheers, Ian.
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Old 08-28-2019, 03:53 AM   #8
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Default Parking Spots

My pleasure MadDog. It makes it better for everyone, and no point having everyone re-invent the wheel. I also appreciate all the time everyone puts in on these forums, etc.

A couple more tidbits ...

1) The dependence of the amount of fuel received based on plane type, amount of fuel left, refueling time and number of external tanks still takes some experimentation. It also seems to be different even for the same plane type and tank configuration, etc., in different missions.


2) You can't seem to be able to assign the Parking Spot with the LandingReFuAr waypoint, and it is not the same one assigned initially on take off. It is often (but not always) a high numbered space. So at Mozdok, for example, it ends up using the really, really far parking spots. This is a problem on refuel cycle time, but also the AI won't land a plane while one is taxiing to take off, even if it is nowhere near the runway resulting in other planes circling until they run out of fuel. One workaround is to park Late Activation aircraft that are never activated in these spots.
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