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Aircraft Spotting issue - Black Dots. Oh dear what happened and why?


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I can spot a Linebacker at beyond 40 miles with the naked eye if it is on a ridgeline. It appears floating in the air above the LOD of the ridge until you zoom in and the LOD loads. After that it becomes harder to see but is still visible. 

 

Here is a short video of what I see. It is actually way easier to see than this, but YouTube just murders the quality.

 

 

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8 minutes ago, NeMoGas said:

I can spot a Linebacker at beyond 40 miles with the naked eye if it is on a ridgeline. It appears floating in the air above the LOD of the ridge until you zoom in and the LOD loads. After that it becomes harder to see but is still visible. 

 

Here is a short video of what I see. It is actually way easier to see than this, but YouTube just murders the quality.

 

Well... that's a tessellation issue on the mountain.  Not much can be done about that unless you want full LOD 40 miles out which will kill fps.


Edited by Taz1004
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Sure, but they could start by making something as small as a Linebacker not visible at those extreme ranges without a sensor. Perhaps make the unit visibility distance match the visibility of terrain LOD? 

 

You can even see units that would otherwise be on the backside of a ridge and not visible to you because of this. It makes hunting all those player slung and nicely hidden convoys a breeze.


Edited by NeMoGas
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9 minutes ago, NeMoGas said:

Sure, but they could start by making something as small as a Linebacker not visible at those extreme ranges without a sensor. Perhaps make the unit visibility distance match the visibility of terrain LOD? 

 

You can even see units that would otherwise be on the backside of a ridge and not visible to you because of this. It makes hunting all those player slung and nicely hidden convoys a breeze.

 

 

Some TGP like A10C are able to see out to 40nm.  If they make them invisible at 40nm, A10C people will be complaining.


Edited by Taz1004
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You sure can't but perhaps they could make the LOD for a unit at that range be invisible/clear/alpha whatever you want to call it to the naked eye, but make it appear the way it does now when viewed through a sensor. 

 

I'm not a game dev so I don't know if or how this would be possible, but if it is then that could help to alleviate the issue.

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6 hours ago, Hawkeye_UK said:

Just to clarify my experience with consumer available simulators, i've been playing them on and off for 25 + years when able to do so.  Yes i have had many gaps and the like over that timeframe but i have consistently been involved since 1997 and played when able to do so and back in the UK.  Blah, blah, blah. 


Your obsession with establishing your flight simming credentials and trying to dismiss other people's perspectives on the grounds that they're "new" is weird and elitist.

I've been playing flight "sims" since 1982 and I've got no gaps in my history with sims. I also gravitate strongly towards realism, never ever use labels, and I've been on the ED sim journey since the day the first Flanker released. Does that make my opinion even more valid than yours? I don't think so at all, but based on your posts to date, I assume that it actually does, right?

If so, the unfortunate news is that I like the current implementation of visibility in the Open Beta in VR. Regardless of all the Lamparding about the exact real world ranges at which you might actually see a specific aircraft from a specific aspect angle, the visibility of aircraft in VR for me (as a longstanding, realism-oriented flight sim fan) is that dogfighting feels (yes - "feels") just about right at the moment. I can just about spot opposing aircraft just before the merge and keep visual track of them during the ensuing fight. 

I appreciate that your perspective is different, and that's fine - just steer clear of the sweeping "I've-been-simming-for-longer-than-you-so-my-opinion-is-worth-more-and-that-empowers-me-to-speak-for-the-'Real'-DCS-community" generalisations. You have your opinion and you hold it strongly, and that's fine, but it's no more important than anyone else's.


Edited by Pizzicato
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i haven't read the whole discussion, but simply want to add my experience on my hardware setup.

 

i'm playing on a 1080p monitor and after having upgraded my graphics card some weeks ago, i can run very high settings with 4*msaa. no ssaa, everythign default in nvidia panel besides capping max fps to 60.

 

for me there is no BVR anymore at the moment. i guess BVR does not mean that you cannot - under no circumstances - see the enemy when engaging, but when test flying the viper i could clearly see an f-5 before i could get a solid look onto it. in the beginning i always switched to ACM modes on spotting contacts only to realize that they were still 40nm out or more.

i don't have very good eyesight by the way and will get prescription glasses soon, so on 1080p 4xMSAA spoting is definitely "over the top"...

 

oh.. and my flight buddy, who flies in VR has become a human 360° radar. he now calls out targets all day. i haven't yet discussed that topic with him, but to me it appeared as if he would see every flight in the mission regardless of range. he is on the oculus rift (the original, not "S", so has a relatively low resolution per eye).

My personal wishlist after 2 years with dcs: https://forums.eagle.ru/showthread.php?t=216873

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13 hours ago, Pizzicato said:


Your obsession with establishing your flight simming credentials and trying to dismiss other people's perspectives on the grounds that they're "new" is weird and elitist.

I've been playing flight "sims" since 1982 and I've got no gaps in my history with sims. I also gravitate strongly towards realism, never ever use labels, and I've been on the ED sim journey since the day the first Flanker released. Does that make my opinion even more valid than yours? I don't think so at all, but based on your posts to date, I assume that it actually does, right?

If so, the unfortunate news is that I like the current implementation of visibility in the Open Beta in VR. Regardless of all the Lamparding about the exact real world ranges at which you might actually see a specific aircraft from a specific aspect angle, the visibility of aircraft in VR for me (as a longstanding, realism-oriented flight sim fan) is that dogfighting feels (yes - "feels") just about right at the moment. I can just about spot opposing aircraft just before the merge and keep visual track of them during the ensuing fight. 

I appreciate that your perspective is different, and that's fine - just steer clear of the sweeping "I've-been-simming-for-longer-than-you-so-my-opinion-is-worth-more-and-that-empowers-me-to-speak-for-the-'Real'-DCS-community" generalisations. You have your opinion and you hold it strongly, and that's fine, but it's no more important than anyone else's.

 

 

Hey thanks for the response but no not at all was being weird, was just highlighting to the other user who was critical saying i must never have used VR and have no experience, of which there is considerable irony in this statement.

 

In no way am i elitist in my views and apologise as it was in no way meant to come across as "ive been simming longer etc" in any way shape or form - i'm merely asking that for those of that desire an increase in realism (or actually just back to the time before no dots) that this is not hard coded into the base game and its an option (for MP server side) for those that want the increase spotting.  The frustration comes from knowing the reality.  We should not be seeing ground and air units are far as we currently are, especially as a large black dot.  I mean also on another point I took the spitfire module up last night just on a recce to see how the WW2 models had been affected and its terrible, i loaded up the big show campaign and i was seeing the dots out to excess of 25 miles of the german fighters coming in. 

 

People can discuss this all they want but seeing units as we currently can, in excess of 20 miles (i can only report my own experience VR wise) some saying nearly 40 is not reflective of the real world.  I don't need graphs or anything to tell me that either but i guess for those doubting then grateful whoever it was that posted them as it gave some "scientific" reinforcement of what i've been saying.  

 

Appreciate your feedback and essentially what your saying i'm in agreement with in principle in that we have different users wanting different levels.  However to make it easier for one element (and it has to be said thus far its mainly newer players in the majority) should not be forced on those that do not want to spot ground and air units at extreme distances.  Neither is either better or worse this is a game at the end of the day but it's personal preferences and because its a simulator some of us do not want the instant spotting ability.  If having it as an option then great if it helps people with their own enjoyment of the product and brings in more DCS players then that is fantastic.  But let's not ruin the gameplay for those that prefer it a little bit more of a challenge.

 

Purely asking the dev's to respect both sides and that this be in the options tab (MP server side setting) rather than it hard coded in for everyone.  I ask this because in its current format it is a form of the label system.

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I only play the stable version. And I haven’t seen any dots. Black or white. Running a 4K monitor. 

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5 hours ago, SharpeXB said:

I only play the stable version. And I haven’t seen any dots. Black or white. Running a 4K monitor. 

You should probably repair your game then, or update it to a version that came out within the last year. 😄

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6 hours ago, SharpeXB said:

I only play the stable version. And I haven’t seen any dots. Black or white. Running a 4K monitor. 

 

That is what many of us wants.... Why these things needs fixing so it doesn't move from Open Beta to Stable. Otherwise you will be here too with the same problem.

 

Stable branch users are end-users, who are those who shouldn't need to participate for bug reports etc as they should be able enjoy from bug free experience (doesn't mean lack of missing features or so).

While Open Beta branch users are test-users, who are those who should enjoy searching all kind problems and bugs and know how to get around reversing updates etc if something major problems appears in update, and can participate for bug reporting to get things fixed.

 

Both sides can very well participate for the discussions of the future features and capabilities, but Stable branch users shouldn't be suffering from bugs.

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On 1/7/2021 at 3:32 AM, LTRMcrew said:

As above sure in RL you'd use camo and what not and not park at the top of a dune in the desert, but there does need to be a balance.

 

In that part I disagree. When the whole surviving of the ground troops is to hide and conceal themselves from enemy attack and reconnaissance, then that is something everyone needs to accept that it is not easy to find someone even when you know "it is right there" and you try to find it - unless the enemy does something that reveals their position.

 

In a combat there is no time for trying to conceal yourself same manner than when not. Like in waiting times the vehicles are under nets, they are parked under trees and places where visual spotting is if not impossible then extremely difficult. All traces from tracks etc are covered or concealed. When the combat starts, that surprise element is used to destroy enemy. In combat phase when example MBT platoon operates they are vulnerable for detection from various directions as they focus for the fight on ground level. Quick exposes over the hills or driving up from the pit just to fire gun and then reverse back to cover.

 

You might not spot the vehicle itself so easily, but you will spot the tracks and all the ground damage heavy vehicles do. And this is something that DCS is missing.

So instead "balancing" vehicles spotting itself, the engine should be improved by leaving more visible tracks etc. Something that every vehicle commander needs to consider, where to drive and when to drive.

 

At the winter time you even perform sometimes tactics by dragging trees behind you to smoothen the tracks, that depending weather, tactical requirements and mission. As from the sky it is easy to spot a line of tracks on otherwise smooth snow surface as the sun creates strong shadow there and it is like an arrow pointing "In either direction is something".

 

DCS doesn't have amazing smoke/dust system (yet). They are improving it (in 2021 roadmap we should get more advanced of those) so "help is coming".

Like when a cannon fires, the fire, smoke and possibly dust it creates is easily spotted. In DCS it is just faint thing but still better than nothing.

In combat the smoke screens are often used, now they are like 6 floor building pops that are gone in few seconds later, while we should see far more distinctive effects for concealment but as well for spotting, and especially AI to start actually use them in combat instead only when they have been hit.

 

In the combat phase the reasons to try to conceal from air has little value, because when you engage enemy in combat, they know you are there. And they will in seconds inform forward the situation, strength, position etc. And that is something that is totally missing in DCS, that you could be in radio contact with someone on the ground that will talk to you what is happening.

 

Now it is totally disconnected that you are sitting in a cockpit and you are required to find the enemy by yourself, and if you are lucky you get a JTAC to tell you where is something.

In reality the pilot is informed the own troops movement and locations. They have the data on the map, on the kneeboard and in their systems. They know who is on their patrol area and what are the general commands for advancements etc in their mission time. They get the overall picture that what they can expect to happen on the ground.

So in actual CAS situation, you are not always working with the JTAC, but with others sources depending the weather and engagement.

 

And that is the DCS serious limitation at this moment, you are alone to fight the war. You don't have the intelligence you would have, no communications that you would get and no scenario that would happen. At this moment we even have every unit firing tracers, totally unrealistic. Every single unit out there shoots tracers just for game balance reasons so pilots can find who is shooting who. I wish there would be at least a mod or way to turn those tracers off from most units.

 

So in the future I do hope we get a improved terrain tracks. Like in Caucasus we have large areas of fields, yet there are no tracks. In reality if one man even walks to the field, it will leave trail in the field for days even. Walk the path couple times and it stays there longer. This is very simple reason how a man feet is crushing just few stalks but it creates pattern that is easy to follow. Compared to example deer that has much smaller footprint, it becomes almost undetectable. Larger animals like moose or horse does almost similar as human.

Now, take a tractor and drive once from the field and you have trails there for weeks if not forever. It doesn't matter is the field harvested or not, one drive and very easily spotted tracks are created.

 

Now in DCS that would make very easy method for pilot to see where vehicles moves. Their formation, count etc. You don't need to be at low altitude to spot such things, especially if you know that in given area there are troops movements.

The last thing a MBT platoon wants to do is to go in the unknown forest. Their mobility is severely limited, risks to damage cannon and other equipment, their visibility out is basically none and they are extremely vulnerable to infantry attacks and they are basically sitting ducks right there.

So as much as possible you avoid the forest. What means you use open areas, every road etc as much as possible. But there you are again limited by obvious routes, you are vulnerable for surveillance from the air even for radars if they happen to scan your position at the moment from good angle.

But MBT platoon doesn't want to go over fields either, they don't have cover, no concealment, they reveal their strength, movements etc.

 

We don't have anything like that basic factors.

 

Even the most mission designers doesn't understand these things as they go and they place units in their corresponding locations as sitting targets. Without wondering "How did this unit get here?". Like people place a MBT platoon middle of the field, or outside of the forest in the field. No tracks how those vehicles go there etc. And not even thinking that no platoon leader would be so idiotic to leave their platoon so vulnerable position.

 

As we do not have infantry, we can't have a war. We can't have a proper combat scenarios as basically everything that makes the combat is missing.

And that means, it is very difficult to spot ground units when you don't know where to look, even if you know at what area to look for.

To have a 1500 men and tens of vehicles etc concealed from the air is difficult task. Possible, but very challenging. Eventually something will reveal troops presence and against that is the units self-defense capability to create such a threat that attack can't come from the air.

And if the attack comes from the air, it is more about "Drop the bomb on east side of that house" or "On northern tip of forest island next to that field is a armor, drop it there" and it is just trial and error to attack and attack and attack.

 

And currently when DCS doesn't model fragments, damage modeling for ground vehicles is coming etc. The weapons like 250 kg iron bomb effects are minimal from their corresponding ones. We don't have easy artillery and mortar supports that would be autonomous, to support the ground troops. No ATGM teams to do their jobs. The infantry is vulnerable and incapable to really operate as should...

So the reasons why vehicles would come visible or be easy targets, or when they are difficult if not impossible to be spotted just doesn't exist.

 

And just "balancing" things by making models more visible by dots etc is wrong method, when they would come easier to target and find by using other methods.

Eventually the dot is nothing more than a smaller label. Tracks in other means are not labels, they are tracks. They don't tell exact time or position or type or anything like that. You only see "something has moved there" and you can try to trace the track to its origin or to what is making them.

 

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On 1/7/2021 at 4:12 AM, Taz1004 said:

 

Some TGP like A10C are able to see out to 40nm.  If they make them invisible at 40nm, A10C people will be complaining.

 

there is no technical reason why TGP rendering should have the same distance limits and LODs as main view.

unless DCS codebase is an even worse mountain of spaghetti than is generally known.

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3 hours ago, dorianR666 said:

there is no technical reason why TGP rendering should have the same distance limits and LODs as main view.

unless DCS codebase is an even worse mountain of spaghetti than is generally known.

 

Yes there is.  TGP and FLIR are using scene capture and having separate LOD is very costly.


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10 hours ago, Taz1004 said:

 

Yes there is.  TGP and FLIR are using scene capture and having separate LOD is very costly.

 

What do you mean by "scene capture"? Dont you mean a separate rendertarget (= render to texture)? I dont see how that changes anything.

The LODs are already in memory. They switch as you zoom in and zoom out your view for example.

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2 hours ago, dorianR666 said:

What do you mean by "scene capture"? Dont you mean a separate rendertarget (= render to texture)? I dont see how that changes anything.

The LODs are already in memory. They switch as you zoom in and zoom out your view for example.

 

No, render target is method of rendering the "target" to texture.  That "target" can be anything from video file to post process to layered procedurals.

Scene capture is the specific method of "capturing" the scene as the "target".

 

I don't see this going anywhere but pissing contest that no one cares about.


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16 hours ago, dorianR666 said:

Its not a problem in certain other sims/games, so my original statement stands i suppose.

Consequences of ED's decisions.

Yeah, they fixed one problem but introduced another.  A vision dot system can be made well but it does take work/time/and multiple things fixed at the same time.

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Fri13 is on to something. He is a genius. Ground units are virtually impossible to see if well camouflaged. We need tracks. I am assuming if the mission designer turns off labels altogether that the black dots still exist correct? If this is true, I can see why a change needs to be made especially for ground units.
 

Now let’s talk about the WWII airplanes... I cannot speak for those that fly modern aircraft, as I do not have any of those modules.  Most of the World War II pilots have been on Phil styles SOW server. He has many videos out there in regards to spotting from distance. And it is way, way out there! like around 26 miles or something like that. So I am in favor of the current black dots as they are pretty accurate for long range spotting. It’s a level playing field and no one has an advantage due to computer equipment. Let’s just get onto the dog fighting! ED Please, please, please, please, do not change a thing about your black dots as they currently are. You have it just right.

 

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21 hours ago, ChuckIV said:

Fri13 is on to something. He is a genius. Ground units are virtually impossible to see if well camouflaged. We need tracks. I am assuming if the mission designer turns off labels altogether that the black dots still exist correct? If this is true, I can see why a change needs to be made especially for ground units.
 

Now let’s talk about the WWII airplanes... I cannot speak for those that fly modern aircraft, as I do not have any of those modules.  Most of the World War II pilots have been on Phil styles SOW server. He has many videos out there in regards to spotting from distance. And it is way, way out there! like around 26 miles or something like that. So I am in favor of the current black dots as they are pretty accurate for long range spotting. It’s a level playing field and no one has an advantage due to computer equipment. Let’s just get onto the dog fighting! ED Please, please, please, please, do not change a thing about your black dots as they currently are. You have it just right.

 

Yeah its a good start but needs some tweaking imo just a bit too good at the 15+ miles range.  But is pretty good for the 6-15 mile range.  

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