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Spotting Distance... again


bell_rj
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If you think 5-10 miles is the maximum distance to see aircraft IRL,

That figure is generally cited in these discussions as the farthest range you’d expect to see another fighter sized aircraft. It certainly isn’t 20 miles.

 

I'd like you to show me how your UHD screen shows aircraft better than some lower resolution monitor. Because i don't see how you can believe this unless you've not actually tried it. If anything better hardware has absolutely minimal impact on spotting in this case, and probably in favor of lower resolution.

I’ve tried running scenarios in 1080x1920 on my screen but it won’t show what that really looks like on a 1080p native display. It’s softer because it’s upscaled.

I do see this point, DCS has far off aircraft rendered the size of a pixel which makes them stand out too much at long range. I can see them at 30 miles in 1080p vs maybe 15 at 4K

But 15 miles is a lot closer to reality. And these sprites are only making targets stand out with a clear background like the sky. Once they’re not in contrasted situations a single dot is hardly visible.

When seeing closer targets the extra resolution is a boost, when targets begin to get rendered as more than a single dot. For example I can make out the wing markings on the WWII aircraft and see them as distinct profiles.

So the low res dot effect is only better for seeing far off aircraft against a good backdrop. Anything else it’s really not. And it’s not realistic at all. Then there’s ground targets. Those are all definitely easier to see and ID in higher resolution. Since they are at most within about 5 miles and don’t have a contrasting background.

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If ED do implement some sort of smart scaling system (that's better than the one they tried before) they would probably make it optional so the people who are struggling can enable it and the purists who think everything is fine can ignore the option. I imagine that more hardcore online servers would disable it as well. So everyone would be happy.

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If ED do implement some sort of smart scaling system (that's better than the one they tried before) they would probably make it optional so the people who are struggling can enable it and the purists who think everything is fine can ignore the option. I imagine that more hardcore online servers would disable it as well. So everyone would be happy.

DCS cannot do “smart scaling” which changes the size of the 3D models, this affects the radar cross section in the game. Wages explained this a few years ago and it’s why the 2D sprites were used instead. Regardless the result between the two is the same and it didn’t work. Plenty of threads on that here to search up.

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The funny thing about that is that smart scaling does not change the size of the 3D models. It only changes how large the models are drawn.

 

The explanation never made any sense, but it sure explained a lot about why sensors are broken in so many curious ways. That's just another reason why this needs to be fixed, though. :D

 

If ED do implement some sort of smart scaling system (that's better than the one they tried before) they would probably make it optional so the people who are struggling can enable it and the purists who think everything is fine can ignore the option. I imagine that more hardcore online servers would disable it as well. So everyone would be happy.

You'd think that “hardcore online servers” wouldn't want to disadvantage higher-performance hardware that way… They tend to cater to the opposite end of the spectrum, after all.


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You'd think that “hardcore online servers” wouldn't want to disadvantage higher-performance hardware that way… They tend to cater to the opposite end of the spectrum, after all.

If by “higher-performance hardware” you mean a 4K screen, those are becoming commonplace for gaming and are cheap as an Xbox these days. Probably a good number DCS players use one already.

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I mean anything from 1080p and up, running anything more modern than a 7-series Geforce. :D

 

The use of a relative term was very intentional and meaningful. Higher-performance would get penalised more if they did that, same as it is now.

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DCS cannot do “smart scaling” which changes the size of the 3D models, this affects the radar cross section in the game. Wages explained this a few years ago and it’s why the 2D sprites were used instead. Regardless the result between the two is the same and it didn’t work. Plenty of threads on that here to search up.

 

I didn't mean change the size of the physics models or whatever, just whatever visual aids or whatnot they might come up with, whatever that might be, to assist people would most likely be optional. Just like how the labels and dots are optional, or various other unrealistic things such as invulnerability or infinite ammo. Options are good and you can cater the experience to your liking. Then everyone would hopefully be happy.

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Then everyone would hopefully be happy.

There’s no way to make everyone in this game happy :unsure:

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Just, a quick input to point out difference in peoples and hardware corrections,

It's very much harder for me to spot a real aircraft in real life (yeah, even with my prescriptions corrected to 20/20) than to spot an aircraft in DCS :cry:. Even when I can get an audio cue of where to look.

 

For example, in one DCS mission I did (a Su-25T training mission), I was able to spot a Huey from 6 miles out. Now that's totally unrealistic and arcadish for me. But for other customers here, it's just the opposite.

So how does Eagle Dynamics fix this? How does anyone fix that?

 

If Eagle Dynamics makes it even easier for me to spot targets, does that give me an unfair advantage, since now I can possibly spot an aircraft out to 20, or 30, or 40 miles, which I could never do in real life?

Should the DCS brand strive to be more of a realistic simulation experience, or a more of a arcadic gaming experience?

 

Maybe, this is a another good example of the philosophy of the upcoming MAC brand. For those who are more or less desiring the 20 to 30 miles visual enhancement, which is not excatly true to life, but that doesn't matter to them, there will be the MAC brand experience, and for those who are desiring the hardcore challenges of a difficult, but realistic experience, which is just simply not for everyone, there will be the DCS brand experience, the option will be there, but both under the Eagle Dynamics brand-name.

 

Anyway that's my 2 cents of thought...:imxo:


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Should the DCS brand strive to be more of a realistic simulation experience, or a more of a arcadic gaming experience?
That's a false dilemma. DCS World already caters for both by offering various options. It also offers server settings so that unfair advantage does not an need to be issue in multiplayer.

 

For those who are more or less desiring the 20 to 30 miles visual enhancement
I believe you have misunderstand where most people think the issue is. Most comments I have read talk about spotting issues in the near to middle distance, not at long range. 30 mile unit spotting would indeed be a little excessive! Until the 'DCS: Death Star' module arrives, anyway. ;)

 

The great thing about the visual cues that NineLine mentioned are they should, if done well, enhance graphical realism rather than detract.

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Holy! 135 posts on the same subject that comes up every month!

 

 

OK, I'm patient, so to remind everyone:

 

 

1. There is nothing wrong with DCS rendering. I mean math. If the object is far enough with your cuurent FOV and it takes less than 1 pixel - then it's faint pixel or no at all. 1+1=2 but people want it to be 5, 4 at least to make things easier. So you want to find that 1 pixel against constantly moving ground between 2048 other pixels (in just one line)? Good luck!

 

DCS strives to simulate reality as best as it can for years - and now it should ditch it to make things easier for some?!

There is some room for improvements like reflection flashes and stuff but they rarely help.

 

Even that magic scalability that were in the USAF research only help in feeling the right distance, not for making the spotting easier. Just to not provide negative training.

 

 

2. Spotting IRL is hard, so it is in the game! It takes a lot of training for pilots to do it properly and to use any other sensors they can (radar, IRST).

 

 

3. Options are good and there are - use them. Game mode, labels... what else do you want from devs?

 

 

4. "Other games blah blah..." - irrelevant. Consider them unrealistic or plain wrong. Devs made them this way for the sake of easier playtime, thus getting more players (read: money).

 

 

5. Use true-life FOV for starters. "But it's so zoomed in I can only see my HUD on the whole screen!" Not DCS fault. You just have too small monitor too far away.

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1. There is nothing wrong with DCS rendering. I mean math. If the object is far enough with your cuurent FOV and it takes less than 1 pixel - then it's faint pixel or no at all. 1+1=2 but people want it to be 5, 4 at least to make things easier. So you want to find that 1 pixel against constantly moving ground between 2048 other pixels (in just one line)? Good luck!

 

DCS strives to simulate reality as best as it can for years - and now it should ditch it to make things easier for some?!

And just to offer some reminders back:

 

Math is just a small part of the equation (pun intended), and relying on it alone means you're not doing your best to simulate reality. A maths-only solution needs to be ditched because it breaks things both at the very extreme and the very short range, and should be replace with an actual simulation of perception and a techniques to normalise all visual cues across all kinds of different hardware.

 

One with predetermined (that we then can fight over) minimum and maximum limits to when things can actually be seen, and as near as possible fixed on-screen sizes for anything inbetween. This has nothing to do with making it easier for some — it has to do with making it the same for everyone, even for those who have the misfortune of playing on good hardware.

 

2. Spotting IRL is hard, so it is in the game! It takes a lot of training for pilots to do it properly and to use any other sensors they can (radar, IRST).
The problem is that spotting with sensors is tied in to visual spotting, somehow. If it is easer to spot visually, it is also easier to pick up on sensors so not only do some people gain the advantage of having targets be easier to spot, but also easier to detect and lock up. This is not an acceptable state of affairs.

 

3. Options are good and there are - use them. Game mode, labels... what else do you want from devs?
A proper, non-gamelike, simulation of perception that removes the need for such those kinds of hacky work-arounds. Also, a separation between sensor logic and on-screen rendering.

 

4. "Other games blah blah..." - irrelevant.
Highly relevant because it demonstrates the absolute, unequivocal falsehood of the claim that the problem can't be solved. it has been solved. And there is no need for any high horses because DCS has exactly the same concessions to gameplay. This is a good thing.

 

More to the point, other games can do this because they do not have the unfortunate technical debt that DCS apparently has, according to the devs, and can therefore approach the situation and apply various solutions much more easily. Granted, this may be an issue of such a scale that fixing it in DCS effectively turns it into some “other game”. This, too, would be a good thing (well… apart from the whole problem of time and money and having all other development come to a complete stand-still for a couple of years, but that's a minor detail :P).

 

5. Use true-life FOV for starters.
Funnily enough, this would require the exact same tech as a normalised screen drawing would do, and then some, and would also shoot dead the silly argument that people aren't using the tools available to them… :D
Edited by Tippis

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Hi draconus, we've moved on from last month. ;) If you'd actually read the thread you wouldn't have posted half of what you did. Here's some helpful clarifications:

DCS strives to simulate reality as best as it can for years - and now it should ditch it to make things easier for some?!
Nobody has asked for anything to be ditched. There have been requests for 'improvements' and 'options'. I am confident that ED has the competency to avoid 'ditching' their good work so far, yet improve what they have got.

Spotting IRL is hard, so it is in the game
We have all agreed on that. What is your point here? To help you, there has been some discussion on whether units are sometimes too hard to spot in certain circumstances. That spotting should be made 'easy' is not a general community opinion that I recognise.

Game mode, labels... what else do you want from devs?
It's in the thread. But personally, I'd like some improvements to allow for easier spotting in the near to middle ground while retaining immersion and the option for the most realistic experience for those who like the current situation.

"Other games blah blah..." - irrelevant. Consider them unrealistic or plain wrong. Devs made them this way for the sake of easier playtime, thus getting more players (read: money).
Yeah we know. We aren't stupid. We spend our spare time reading F-14 NATOPS for goodness sake! Other games can be relevant in terms of how they provide a feeling of realism and immersion, making a great gameplay experience possible, whilst retaining the challenge. And that, surely, is what most people want? I appreciate that some are here for the highest realism, study sim experience and I think ED have done a great job with that experience too. Options are our friend - you already agreed. Please see my previous comment for the improvements I would like to see - offered as options as required.

You just have too small monitor too far away.
Massive assumption, and totally wrong in my case - and I'm sure many others. Have you seen the growth in massive high quality gaming screens in the last few years?
Edited by bell_rj

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You just have too small monitor too far away.

 

As an aside how far away do you guys keep your monitor? What do you think is the optimum range? Mine is at about 70cm's away which I feel might be a little bit too far away. (27inch 1080p monitor)

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You sir, have hit the nail squarely on the head.

 

There are two potential issues when simulating spotting. The first is not being able to spot when you should, if you looked at the correct area for a target but couldn't see it. The second is being able to see targets in the sim that would be impossible to see in real life.

 

So, if it HAS to be one or the other, which problem is worse?

 

I fly for a living and while I had 20-10 eyesight for much of my youth, it's not that good anymore. I can still spot a large fighter at up to 10 miles. For example, not that long ago I spotted two F-15s on an intercept at 9 miles beam aspect to me. They were easy to spot because they were descending to engage a target so there was a lot of relative movement. From this distance I could even recognize the type as soon as they rolled into a steep bank. If ATC hadn't given me a vector I probably would have never scanned my 3 o'clock so closely and spotted them.

 

20-20 vision is way below average for fighter pilots. I remember seeing an interview of an Israeli ace who explained part of his success in being able to spot enemy fighters at up to 25 miles, when most of his fellow pilots would't see the same aircraft until 10 miles. He probably had 20-6 or better vision.

 

I personally think the problem of not being able to see stuff that should be obvious to a fighter pilot's eyes that are in fact looking in the correct direction - remains a huge issue in DCS. It's clearly a problem to many here, and trying to explain it away as "spotting is difficult" doesn't do it justice.

 

Sim pilots face enough difficulties with the man to machine interface, like trying to hold a mouse cursor over a knob and spin it while flying the airfraft with a stick that feels nothing like the real thing and usually offers no feedback. It's generally easier in a real cockpit, minus the weather, physical demands, and other risks. Flying sims well is enough of a challenge with controls that

can never approximate the feel of the real thing. Given these challenges, it's a little unfair to make spotting so much harder than it is in RL. it would be better to make sure "simmers" see everything a virtual Chuck Yeager would have seen than to make it impossible for a large segment of our base to struggle so much. "Tricks or cheats" really are the lesser of two evils. So, if Jester says, MiG-21 2 o'oclock high and you look in the right section of sky, it SHOULD BE somewhat easy to spot it when you look in that area.

 

In RL, aircraft to be spotted are IN FACT VISIBLE whenever the atmosphere and weather do not obstruct them. The question is individual, are your eyes good enough to acquire it? Nineline is right in saying that spotting aircraft is hard in RL. It isn't impossible though, I know what my 20-20 vision in real life can spot. How does DCS compare? I'd say in RL I can spot stuff at four times the distance I can in DCS, so flying DCS makes me feel like I have 20-80 or 20-100 vision. Not the feeling I want.

 

The thing that sparked this thread was the F-14 air to air training. I did these missions on my somewhat high end system with RIFT. I had jester start a STT on a MiG23 and visually acquired the MiG in the HUD diamond at something like 8 or 9 miles. After closing passed something like six miles, the MiG vanished (without changing aspect) from inside the diamond, only to reappear around two miles. This is silly and completely diminished the experience. The F-5s were almost impossible to spot, despite Jester telling me they were dead ahead. Any trick or cheat would be vastly superior to this. I love the RIFT, but man, it's hard to see another fighter taking taxiing onto the runway from the same airport at less than half a mile away......

 

I think our DCS programmers are talented enough to come up with a solution that makes everyone happy. It just needs to be made a high priority.

 

A most interesting read from a RL pilot, so Cake thank you very much for your input. Personally I do not think more needs to be said.

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Yeah that post really takes the cake ;)

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A maths-only solution needs to be ditched because it breaks things both at the very extreme and the very short range, and should be replace with an actual simulation of perception and a techniques to normalise all visual cues across all kinds of different hardware.

Math isn’t subjective whereas “actual simulation of perception” has no firm definition. Mathematical perspective is straightforward to implement and not subject to debate. There’s no way to get a consensus on what “actual simulation of perception” is.

 

The problem is that spotting with sensors is tied in to visual spotting, somehow. If it is easer to spot visually, it is also easier to pick up on sensors so not only do some people gain the advantage of having targets be easier to spot, but also easier to detect and lock up. This is not an acceptable state of affairs.

If this is really true please post a link.

 

More to the point, other games can do this because they do not have the unfortunate technical debt that DCS apparently has

Other games aren’t relevant here, this is a DCS discussion. You know the rules. And if you’re asking for “smart scaling” like that “other game” it’s already been stated by Wags that DCS can’t do this.

 

Most comments I have read talk about spotting issues in the near to middle distance, not at long range. 30 mile unit spotting would indeed be a little excessive!

That’s the result of turning down your resolution and turning off AA. That’s exactly what you’ll get, the ability to see specks on the horizon at 30 miles but spoil your ability to see closer objects.

 

I love the RIFT, but man, it's hard to see another fighter taking taxiing onto the runway from the same airport at less than half a mile away......

As if this subject wasn’t complicated enough, VR is another problem entirely. The current headsets just don’t have a high enough resolution. I don’t think there is a solution for that from ED that wouldn’t break spotting on all the other devices. VR and graphics hardware that can support higher resolutions in 3D just need to evolve more before VR is really ready for flight sims like this.


Edited by SharpeXB

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Other games aren’t relevant here, this is a DCS discussion.

 

Ehh, why not? This is a discussion of spotting in dcs. It is therefor in my opinion highly relevant to look at what others in this area are doing, and how they stack up against DCS. I know for one thing, i don't have the problems of spotting in some of those games the way i do in DCS. Yet i don't feel in those games i am able to spot at rediculous distances.. I can just way more clearly identify and keep track of them. In DCS i feel i'm able to spot at rediculous distances some times, but keeping track in "medium" distance is a pain. If DCS vision was real life, i'd be shitting my pants about head on collisions IRL.

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Ehh, why not? This is a discussion of spotting in dcs. It is therefor in my opinion highly relevant to look at what others in this area are doing, and how they stack up against DCS.

Forum rule 1.15

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Math isn’t subjective whereas “actual simulation of perception” has no firm definition.

…and that doesn't particularly matter if you want to achieve something that's actually realistic and that offers proper simulation of how perception works.

 

Oh, and the maths bit is subjective too since we're talking about it in a simulation and are subject to the arbitrary choices of what bits to simulate and not. Sure, the calculations would not be subjective (unless we start throwing in bra/ket notations :P) but that would still be true in the simulation of perception so that line of reasoning gets us nowhere.

 

You'll note that this entire never-ending topic of debate exists exactly because of the differing subjective opinions of the maths involved. Consensus was never an option to begin with, but you'd think that a more accurate and realistic simulation would be the way to go in… well… a flight sim.

 

If this is really true please post a link.
It's what they claim in that classic youtube video where they discuss why “smart scaling” would somehow, wholly irrationally, break radar calculations. You have seen this already because you reference it yourself.

 

Other games aren’t relevant here
Yes they are because, as mentioned, they demonstrate the absolute, unequivocal falsehood of the claim that the problem can't be solved — that, in fact, it has been solved. Beyond that observation, there's no real need to go into who has done what because the observation is all we need. Hiding behind 1.15 doesn't exactly work when we aren't actually discussing those other games (or companies), but are in fact discussing DCS. In that discussion, what we know for a fact can be done because it has been done, is entirely relevant.

 

That’s the result of turning down your resolution and turning off AA.
Which of the thee cases are you talking about here?

 

As if this subject wasn’t complicated enough, VR is another problem entirely. The current headsets just don’t have a high enough resolution. I don’t think there is a solution for that from ED that wouldn’t break spotting on all the other devices.
It would be the exact same solution as the normalisation for those other devices. That's why a solution is needed, after all, and why it can't just be hand-waved away as some kind of highly dismissive case of user error.
Edited by Tippis

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Forum rule 1.15

 

1.15 Discussions of other game companies products are forbidden. We do not allow the discussion, reviewing of, or comparison of other software here.

 

You're right actually. In which case, have fun here. This is no place for serious discussion then. As by "discussion" and "comparison" i guess any reference to how spotting and visuals are done in any software implementation, is technically forbidden.


Edited by Farlander
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It's what they claim in that classic youtube video where they discuss why “smart scaling” would somehow, wholly irrationally, break radar calculations. You have seen this already because you reference it yourself.

Understood now, we are referring to the same thing.

 

Which of the thee cases are you talking about here?

If I reduce resolution to 1080x1920 and switch off the AA. I also get the result mentioned by others that the single pixel dot imposed over distant aircraft makes them more visible at long range. Too visible actually because I can see them at 30 miles.

That same setting though reduces visibility or clarity at close range and against low contrast like the ground texture. So when you say good visibility at long range and poor visibility up close, that’s what I am getting by those settings. I don’t normally run those though, that’s just a test.

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If I reduce resolution to 1080x1920 and switch off the AA. I also get the result mentioned by others that the single pixel dot imposed over distant aircraft makes them more visible at long range. Too visible actually because I can see them at 30 miles.

 

Ah, ok, that makes sense. And just to be clear: yes, this is also a problem that could and should be solved in the same kind of overhaul. Over-visibility at some settings is as much a problem as lack of visibility at others.

 

At the end of the day, sure, no matter what solution someone will be unhappy, even with (especially with) my request for some kind of unified notion of how large things should look on-screen at any given distance.

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Look at this image - it's a tanker, 900 meters away. IRL it would be easy to see it, it would be so obvious, only a blind man would not see it.

 

 

And here it's barely visible, no contrast at all, almost blended with the sky. If you look slightly away, it is gone, while in real life you could easily see it with peripheral vision.

 

 

And this is a problem with visibility in DCS, where aircraft in close vicinity are hard to spot, not the ones 10 miles away.

 

 

 

 

 

D4B9uOV.jpg

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