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Coming back and spotting ground targets


AstroKiwi
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Hello all,

 

I am probably going to get flogged for this post but I guess I am just in need of a bit of venting.

 

I have not had the possibility of using DCS for the past couple of years unfortunately and just came back to it a couple of months ago.

Gorgeous as always I have to say, probably the best looking simulator ever created...

...but.....

totally unplayable still in regards to spotting ground targets and therefore the whole point of doing missions.

I still am not able to see ground targets or air targets without needed to resolve to either using labels or who knows what.

I was a pilot IRL and a flight instructor so I know how to fly and what to look for to spot things, and i understand that while DCS is considered a simulator and not a game, and I agree with that, but I think without resolving to an more arcadeish way of resolving details for ground targets or air targets at a distance, the simulator looses its ability to be replayed. Apart from just flying around and take in the pretty sights.

 

Apologies if any of you have already read this many times.

 

Cheers,

e.

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So what are your experiences to spotting enemy vehicles that does all in their power everyday to hide themselves from spotting?

 

And what do you define as "totally unplayable"?

 

Let's say as example.

 

T-55

T-72

2K22 Tunguska

BUK-M1

 

And then some air units

 

MiG-21

Su-27

A-50

Mi-24

 

In DCS default weather, you flying at altitudes of:

1.5 km

3 km

6 km

9 km

 

At what ranges in your opinion should you be able spot those when,

 

- unit is at open field / against open field

- unit is aside of forest/tree / against forest

- unit is against blue sky at same altitude

- unit is in/against city/town

 

And do you know what area you are searching or just trying to find something around the map?

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Just take CSAR mission in Caucasus using the A10 as an example.

 

Have labels off and try to find the targets. I am not saying it's not real, I am saying that it would be more enjoyable if it would be easier to spot targets, otherwise 9 out of 10 times you'll be shot down. The wingman in that mission gets shot down every single time.

Studied the map, dead reckoning around to find targets based on intelligence information, try to spot them from any altitude.

The only easy ones to spot are the APC on the road.

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Hello all,

 

I am probably going to get flogged for this post but I guess I am just in need of a bit of venting.

 

I have not had the possibility of using DCS for the past couple of years unfortunately and just came back to it a couple of months ago.

Gorgeous as always I have to say, probably the best looking simulator ever created...

...but.....

totally unplayable still in regards to spotting ground targets and therefore the whole point of doing missions.

I still am not able to see ground targets or air targets without needed to resolve to either using labels or who knows what.

I was a pilot IRL and a flight instructor so I know how to fly and what to look for to spot things, and i understand that while DCS is considered a simulator and not a game, and I agree with that, but I think without resolving to an more arcadeish way of resolving details for ground targets or air targets at a distance, the simulator looses its ability to be replayed. Apart from just flying around and take in the pretty sights.

 

Apologies if any of you have already read this many times.

 

Cheers,

e.

 

I am also a RL pilot and I feel the spotting of things on the ground and air targets is pretty realistic. So two things for you to consider:

 

1. What is your flying background? If you are a civilian pilot flying Cessnas ans such, you are likely used to blasting around in the 3000-5000 AGL altitude where things on the ground look a WHOLE lot bigger than they do at 15-25K. Same with spotting other aircraft. You would likely see other small aircraft in the patter at co-altitude or have traffic pointed out to you by ATC so you know where to look and they aren't maneuvering or doing 500kts. Its a whole different animal when a fighter is doing an intercept on you and they are nose on and turning to keep it that way and you don't know where to look for them.

 

2. If you're using VR, then the resolution of your headset is going to make a massive difference in the range you see stuff. I started off with a HTC Vive Pro and while good, it was not the highest resolution. I switched to a Reverb and the difference is striking in picking up tallies and ID'ing stuff on the ground. It's still not as good as a 4k hi rez flat screen, but its good enough to get close to IRL.

 

And finally, that stuff takes practice. Lot's of it to be good at it even if you know where and what you're looking for. Seeing stuff in a tactical environment is a perishable skill.

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I have 4800 hours in multiple planes including turbines and turboprops. So I have flown at a range of altitudes throughout my carrier. Unfortunately it ended back in 2002 but still an aviation nut.

 

I take you points though. I am using 3 x 50" TVs with DCS so the resolution is pretty good.

I was just reading through multiple posts of how players are resolving the "spotting problems" with various zoom to full or use minimal labels, or turn on the labels for a few seconds and then off..... and just thought that it would actually be easier to make the spotting easier than trying to resort to these other methods.

 

Anyway, back to flying.

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I actually agree with the OP. Not necessarily regarding spotting the targets but regarding campaign design. For example, SU-25T campaign. Which is free in order to entice new players into DCS is very frustrating. Some missions are designed so you AND your wingman have to be perfectly efficient with all your shots or you get dreaded "Report for court martial" message. These are not realistic CAS mission. I take out 8 SAMs, 10 armors while the stupid wingman wastes his missiles on trucks. And I miss one BMP hiding in a tree and I have to report for court martial?

 

If not being able to identify ground targets accurately is normal as you guys say, and I take out a truck instead of T-72, it shouldn't be the end of the mission.

 

And then there are the Apache that evades all your R-60's and R-73's. I understand that they're hard to shoot down with IR. But that shouldn't dictate mission success or failure. Yet it does.

 

These campaign missions need to be redone with realistic expectations if these indeed are supposed to "Promote" DCS.


Edited by Taz1004
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The spotting in DCS is unrealistically too easy.

It is partially terrain engine and partially graphics engine and mostly about units logic reason.

 

We do not have AI that tries to hide.

We do not have tracks visible in terrain.

No AI that use proper tactics or methods.

 

And we have super soldiers who are expecting able to destroy whole brigade alone....

 

I have said years that the combat is weakest part in DCS. Almost non existing.

 

Best that can be compared to, is a target practice on shooting range. As so weak is the combat side for various reasons.

 

We have PLENTY of material about how militaries operate, but we use simple game scripting logic from Flanker 2.0.

Groups and triggers.

 

There is nothing on AI that is close to intelligence.

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/me, totally unable to see contacts even on Youtube videos that are being called out, not even speaking of DCS itself without labels. Things literally are invisible if you don't know the exact location already. Digital Cloaking Simulator...

 

This guy:

 

The spotting in DCS is unrealistically too easy.

dcsdashie-hb-ed.jpg

 

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We do not have AI that tries to hide.

 

Just flew a mission and after shooting the first armor in the convoy, rest of them all scattered. Some under trees and one I could not find but the label told me it's there. Turns out was stuck sideways on a side of a building.

 

And we have super soldiers who are expecting able to destroy whole brigade alone....

 

I don't expect to. The mission requires me to.

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I am using 3 x 50" TVs with DCS so the resolution is pretty good.

Have you tried to set real fov? Set it so that the HUD looks real size to you when you sit in front of the monitor. Then don't use zoom function at all. That way you have right angular sizes for the world and objects. If you need more fov, you either move closer to the monitor or get a bigger one and set fov again.

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Have you tried to set real fov? Set it so that the HUD looks real size to you when you sit in front of the monitor. Then don't use zoom function at all. That way you have right angular sizes for the world and objects. If you need more fov, you either move closer to the monitor or get a bigger one and set fov again.

 

I have not tried that actually. Will do a search on how to set it up. Thank you much.

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There's a guy called Phil who has a DCS WW2 Youtube channel, and he

.

 

 

The outcome seems to be that the spotting in DCS (at least air-air) is accurate, but requires the zoom level to be correct in relation to your distance from the screen - which leaves you very zoomed in with a narrow field of view on a typical screen

 

If you zoom out to see more of the cockpit and surroundings, the spotting is far more difficult.

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There's a guy called Phil who has a DCS WW2 Youtube channel, and he
.

 

 

The outcome seems to be that the spotting in DCS (at least air-air) is accurate, but requires the zoom level to be correct in relation to your distance from the screen - which leaves you very zoomed in with a narrow field of view on a typical screen

 

If you zoom out to see more of the cockpit and surroundings, the spotting is far more difficult.

 

TL;DR of that is the rendered size at distance is correct. Problematic about this is that reflection glares and other optical phenomenons that would help are not modelled and on top of that, we don't have nearly as much contrast on a LCD screen as IRL. And then as a cherry on top of the icing, we don't have nearly as much dots per degree of angular resolution on our hardware to make it look real. Having to display the real angles on a low res usually results in a much less contrasted pixel (as in with more contrast it's easier to see as if it actually was bigger) which makes things harder to see than it might be IRL, in some other occasions it could be the other way round as well. It's hard to nail.

Bottom line is: Someone sitting directly in front of a 65" 4K simply can't compare to someone running a CV1. That literally is apples and orang-utans. And as of now, it's known that spotting gets a lot easier with high rest hardware. In the past it was different. I remember back in Lomac as well as in that other sim people used to turn down their res simply because those 1px contacts would be bigger and therefor stand out more. I literally did that myself. I was able to run the other sim at 1600x1200 hooves down, but ran it at 1024x768 because of spotting. Others even turned it down to 800x600 or 640x480. As for Lomac... well, that didn't actually run at anything higher than 800x600 anyway without getting serious frametime issues.

dcsdashie-hb-ed.jpg

 

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As Eldur mentioned above, I think the main issue with spotting in DCS is that much of what makes spotting possible in real life is not modeled in DCS. Reflections, color palette, lighting, atmospheric conditions, among many many others, are all key factors that would help make spotting more realistic.

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As Eldur mentioned above, I think the main issue with spotting in DCS is that much of what makes spotting possible in real life is not modeled in DCS. Reflections, color palette, lighting, atmospheric conditions, among many many others, are all key factors that would help make spotting more realistic.

 

Agreed.

Hence, it no use that we have a gorgeous simulator with many different planes all modeled to the nth degree, if we can't really enjoy playing with them for what they were meant for, without resourcing to workarounds to make targets visible.

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As Eldur mentioned above, I think the main issue with spotting in DCS is that much of what makes spotting possible in real life is not modeled in DCS. Reflections, color palette, lighting, atmospheric conditions, among many many others, are all key factors that would help make spotting more realistic.

It's true and it is needed but its impact on spotting is negigible when people deliberately make things tiny on their monitors just to see the whole cockpit without turning heads.

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I personally find the majority of users manage their zoom/FOV terribly.. they shrink things like tanks while shoving way too many pixels into their monitor space.

It's a persistent problem especially with youtubers. Flying airplanes is a certain set of skills.. operating a flight simulator and correctly configuring it's visual systems (even for the humble entertainment desktop version) is another... as you've surely understood in your ventures to FSI, PanAm, or CAE.

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There's a guy called Phil who has a DCS WW2 Youtube channel, and he
.

 

 

The outcome seems to be that the spotting in DCS (at least air-air) is accurate, but requires the zoom level to be correct in relation to your distance from the screen - which leaves you very zoomed in with a narrow field of view on a typical screen

 

If you zoom out to see more of the cockpit and surroundings, the spotting is far more difficult.

He tested the range at which targets are rendered as a pixel. In real life you clearly see details and can ID plane type and color scheme at much larger distances than in the game on a 1080 monitor, even when zoomed in. For ground targets you need more than a pixel in order to tell them apart from the ground and the clutter around them. DCS usually compensates by placing the targets on open grounds or on clear roads without other traffic.

 

If we had the game image resolution as our eye sight in real life we would not be allowed to drive, let alone get anywhere near a plane. Except as a passenger that is.

“Mosquitoes fly, but flies don’t Mosquito” :pilotfly:

- Geoffrey de Havilland.

 

... well, he could have said it!

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He tested the range at which targets are rendered as a pixel. In real life you clearly see details and can ID plane type and color scheme at much larger distances than in the game on a 1080 monitor, even when zoomed in. For ground targets you need more than a pixel in order to tell them apart from the ground and the clutter around them. DCS usually compensates by placing the targets on open grounds or on clear roads without other traffic.

 

If we had the game image resolution as our eye sight in real life we would not be allowed to drive, let alone get anywhere near a plane. Except as a passenger that is.

 

Bozon, You're absolutely correct. In the Sim we are limited by the pixel resolution of the hardware, and this is much lower than real life. Regardless, as someone who has sat in high speed cockpits, the reality is that you can't spot dick at high speed. Try picking out a truck while doing 550 indicated at 500 feet. Unless it's moving (eyes pick up motion) or puffing smoke, it is nearly impossible to spot. That is why there are forward combat controllers and FAC's for fast movers. They mark and indicate targets. The notion of road Recce like what was done in WWII and Korea, really has lost favour in the modern world of fast and expensive aircraft. CAS is never done with out marking or exact target info. Most CAS missions I've seen in DCS n(non WWII) are very unrealistic without JTAC or FAC or smoke to mark the targets. Hitting hangers at an airport, buildings, ships etc is in most cases pretty realistic.

 

Even in air to air, modern aircraft are had to spot...period. Even in my time, you could spot an F-4 and a lot of the other aircraft of the era because of the dark smoke their engines produced, unless in afterburner. Closing speeds in the hundreds of knots is a case of you don't see it...you don't see it..blink it's there...you don't see it....you don't see it.... You can see this in the early scenes of TopGun where the merge happens between the f-5's and the F-14's. In real life, unless both aircraft manoeuvre to reduce the relative speeds (as in a two circle) if they keep their heading and aren't smoking, they will effectively disappear from each others view.

 

I suspect a lot of people use labels in DCS to help spot targets that would otherwise be impossible to see given the limitations.

ks

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Well, considering I could see a Harrier at 8 miles on 2d, that doesn't sound like a problem to me. Most of you folks complaining are neglecting your FoV. This isn't real life, so you can't really use a steady value for all occasions. If you're zoomed out far enough to see a lot of the cockpit instruments without turning your head, it's way too far this has the result of making distant objects even smaller and possibly derendering.

 

You need to get used to the idea of adjusting your FoV as you play. Zoom out a bit if you need to check instruments, then back in to more realistic level when you're scanning for targets. Stuff is not THAT hard to see, or I'd be having the same issues as the guys complaining, usually using the excuse of ''but muh immerzion''. Until we're gaming with 8k VR headsets at 120fps, it's not going to be like real life, and you're going to HAVE to work within the system to get the best results.

 

At closer ranges, like after a merge, you should absolutely not be having trouble seeing stuff, as they 100% are visible.


Edited by zhukov032186
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The troll formerly known as Zhukov

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When I still was flying pancake, I usually set my zoom/FOV to 60° and pulled it up to 30° for attacks and landings or to find targets around the general target area. Used 90° extremely rarely, I preferred to look down to see my dashboard. Now the point is that 30° actually was way closer to the real FOV than 60° and yet DCS even would have allowed me to zoom in up to 20° in most modules, I didn't need that though. Still was hard to find things. And now I see all the Tubers flying with settings like 140-160°, literally all the way zoomed out constantly and I'm really questioning on how they manage to see things there. Add to that that they don't use a wider, but actually vertically narrower screen mostly with ugly 21:9 aspect. DCS (and probably 99% of other games as well) FOV always sets around the horizonzal range, which means, you don't get more vision by having an ultrawide, but in fact you get less instead. And when I try to watch these, I'm literally looking at 1920x810 footage and I can't even read the effen dials there. Usually, I see the contacts first they've been calling out for minutes when they almost fill up the combiner glasses... I already had those "what are you even shootin' at?" moments there already... but well, this is also my eyes and the reason why I'm using dot labels. I just wish we had something better than that to help out. The scaling dropdown that was in the 2.0 Alphas for example was better and you couldn't see things though the dashboard and cockpit frames. Because of that issue I dropped the shaders mod and went to the migoto instead, sacrificing some vital frames to have it less gamey. After all I don't want to simulate being someone almost blind in a fighter that wouldn't even be allowed to sit behind a glider's controls.

 

BTW since the OP is about ground targets, I don't have that much problems there, although I sometimes can't see s*** in certain lighting conditions withing the golden hours. If I know where to look at, I usually can find the things. Contacts in the air however is a completely different story. I can literally be flying in formation with my target at times without knowing his actual position...

 

Now when it comes to spotting some airliners IRL that are up high and conning, it's much easier since we can hear those. And at least I can listen to them for a while and then turn my eyes to where I think it should be at that point considering the aural delay and usually it's spot on. But if someone's just pointing somewhere saying "Look right there", I'm completely blind rdlaugh.png

 

In DCS, we can't hear other planes until we're really close to them, so this doesn't work here for a good reason. You couldn't either in RL.


Edited by Eldur

dcsdashie-hb-ed.jpg

 

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This guy explains it pretty well.

Racing sim players use a fixed FOV because varying it (zoom view) causes you to perceive speed incorrectly.

Flight sim players need to vary their FOV constantly with the zoom view.


Edited by SharpeXB

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I was a pilot IRL and a flight instructor so I know how to fly and what to look for to spot things

 

 

Yeah, but in real life you weren't trying to squeeze your whole field of view onto a little monitor in front of your face - which is what we do with most gaming.

There are very few screens/ monitors that allow high resolution game-play with anywhere near a comfortable 1:1 Field of View.

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