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Modifications to Search and Engage Task


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Currently Search and Engage works by offsetting a distance from AI waypoints and setting it to attack anything in the resulting offset area. It's a very useful task because offsetting engagement range based on flight path is often a good criteria for defining threats/targets and because it allows a mission creator to shape zones where the AI will engage by shaping the flight path.

 

However, SaE uses the entire flight path to define the zone to be offset. This can be problematic if the flight path covers a large area. An enemy AI unit or player might cross the far end of the zone and cause the AI with SaE task to chase with afterburn and waste fuel. Example:

 

image.png

 

In this image, if the Red fighter is given SaE task, it will attack the Blue fighter as soon as it's detected, even if it's 200 miles away. This will lead to using up fuel and crashing.

 

One solution is to set the SaE task at WP 1 and not WP 0. But then there is another problem. If a Blue aircraft appears between WP 0 and WP 1, the Red fighter will not properly defend itself and will be a sitting duck:

 

  image.png

 

I've seen this happen often. In order to fix both issues, I think SaE needs a new parameter, an "until" waypoint parameter. This would mean that the AI would only search along its flight path until the selected waypoint, allowing mission creators to break up the SaE task into different segments:

 

image.png

 

For the above examples, I would give the Red fighter:

 

SaE task at WP 0 with until waypoint WP 1 and Stop Condition... Last WP 1

SaE task at WP 1 with until waypoint WP 2 and Stop Condition... Last WP 2

 

The first task would make sure that the fighter would properly defend itself on ingress, but also stop paying attention to the ingress portion of the route when it reaches WP's 1 and 2. The second task would be the main AI task, to defend between WP's 1 and 2.

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