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WWSandMan

Thoughts on aircraft visibility

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S!

My biggest current concern is the most basic tenet of air combat: See the enemy. In a complicated simulation world such as IL-2:GreatBattles series, visibility should not be an issue, in my opinion. Oh but it is... 

The gist of the problem: Distant aircraft sometimes appear as shiny silver/white objects that easily catch the eye. I could understand that if the aircraft were glossy (natural metal or polished/buffed paint) under the right lighting conditions. But often the aircraft in question are painted drab/flat colors and are under cloudy conditions with no sunlight to glint. And the worst part... When zooming in your view to observe the distant aircraft, they disappear from sight. The same can occur if, while scanning the world around you, you happen to "lean"towards the cockpit window (I use TrackIR, so leaning forward has the same effect as zooming in your view a bit) and you lose sight of any aorcraft potentially near you. This goes for friendly or enemy ships, occasionally making simple formation flying incredibly difficult.

Case in point, this last Tuesday's RTS session. circling the south side of the large lake. Radio calls and players-killed messages popping in, and I quite literally had no visibility of any other aircraft in the sky. On rare occasions I caught sight of a silvery-something in the distance, then lost it. I dove down to wave-top height, only to find tracers going over my shoulder (and apparently hitting me, with no indication of being hit) then smucked the water while trying to look over my shoulder. I happened to record that part of the flight. On re-watching it, I still didn't see more in the way of aircraft, but did spot a couple more distant specs that I initially missed. Then I went to external, and started flipping my view via Ctrl/Shift+F2 to watch nearby aircraft. Holy CRAP! There must have been 3-4 enemy who showed up, set-up, and attacked like it's supposed to be done. Meanwhile we - both the Spits and the Mustangs, flew along fat, dumb and happy, barely maneuvering until the tracers were flying.

My take-away is that we need to work on ways to improve our acquisition of other aircraft, without losing initial attack parameters. This in no way means using better real-life tactics. I think we do okay in that area. We are (well, I am) quite literally being beaten by the game, not (necessarily) a superior enemy. Perhaps they understand better how to 'game the game' to their advantage. Or perhaps my hardware is just that far out of date, or simply set up wrong for this sim. Either way, I want to explore ways to make the simple act of acquiring and maintaining visibility of other aircraft at all ranges up to the far end of naked-eyeball 20/20 vision. 

So, let's start with the hardware. If that's the choke point, then I'll just have to STFU and quit whining until I can get better stuff. I'm running an Intel I-7 2700K overclocked to 4.3ghz with air cooling via a large Noctua heatsink/fan combo. I have 16gb DDR3 RAM (old and slow compared to taday's standards, but functional). I'm running an NVidia 1070 video card with 8gb GDDR5 VRAM. All this is powering Windows10 Pro installed onto an SSD drive giving amazing performance for such an old machine (this thing was home-built new about eight years ago). There's nothing super about this hardware, but it's been solid and functional. I don't think my hardware is the bottleneck, though it will need replacing soon.

Okay, so how about sim setup? This is where things begin to vary wildly. Everyone has different desires and opinions about how the sim should look and feel. I figured that starting here would be a solid base line: https://forum.il2sturmovik.com/topic/34764-jasons-quick-guide-to-3001-graphics-smoothness/ 

Quote

Posted March 15, 2018

Tips to find Maximum Smoothness:

  1. In the Settings screen set Vsync On (to prevent screen tears), Full Screen Off (it’s not necessary so long as you set your resolution to the same res of your monitor) and 4K Textures On (likely not notice any difference in performance, but fix a stutter).
  2. In the Settings screen set the preset to Balanced, set your Distant Landscape Detail to Normal and Horizon Draw Distance to 40km and Cloud Quality to Low.
  3. In the Game screen set the Map Scenery Distance to 50km.
  4. Everything else can be on or off and set how you like.
  5. If you have a G-Sync or Free-Sync monitor turn that On and leave all other settings set to Let Application decide. The only exception is (if available) set the video card power setting to Prefer Maximum Performance, not Adaptive or Low etc.  
  6. In Windows set your computer power supply to use Maximum, not Balanced or Energy Saver.  

NOTE: The 4K Textures option seems to cause stuttering if turned OFF. Turning it ON seems to solve the issue, especially on higher resolution like 4K (3840 x 2160). The team is aware of this issue and will look into it more in the future. You want 4K textures on anyways to see 4K skins. Rendering 4K textures seem to have little if any impact on performance so just use it.

NOTE: We recommend not using SweetFX injector with Sturmovik any longer. Our tests show that it can induce some micro-stuttering.

Testing:

Run a heavy QMB x16 fighter plane dogfight mission over the Kuban coast and check for performance. Avoid using bombers for testing as they hit CPU harder than normal and loads fluctuate a lot. If frames are smooth start increasing the settings above one by one, but always leave point 1 above alone once you set it. 

Conclusion:

Our Sturmovik has been highly optimized during the Kuban development cycle, but this update has pushed the limits of our terrain, clouds and sky rendering. There are bound to be some challenges to some user’s performance. As is normal for this hobby and PC gaming in general, try to buy the most powerful gear you can to have the best performance possible. 

NOTE: I fly using a monitor mostly. Flying in VR takes a lot more horsepower for high frame-rate so you may need to lower certain settings. You shoule NEVER expect frame-rate in VR to be the same as using a monitor because everything has to be drawn twice. 

And the fact is, some users with older gear, may just need to run with lower settings in some areas. Not everyone can run at maximum visuals or settings. Find the best balance for you and enjoy flying. 

Jason/

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just one at moment, and can not remember exactly which setting I use, but I do use Nvdia control panel, not game gui for vsync, and it did help me, but then what helps me may very well hurt someone else.  The post below is just for the screen shot of the setting, not the actuall content of the post

 

https://www.google.com/url?sa=i&source=images&cd=&ved=2ahUKEwjH1Nu99LXmAhWFo1kKHbwlAdgQjRx6BAgBEAQ&url=https%3A%2F%2Flinustechtips.com%2Fmain%2Ftopic%2F769578-affordable-g-sync-monitor-for-1050-ti%2Fpage%2F2%2F&psig=AOvVaw04hTLyqdKnI4yewn60n8Cp&ust=1576439382304209

what I can do is make up a quick mission where planes at different distances pop up on the map for a sec, then switch to a plane either nearer or farther. May or may not help pilots see the effect on changes they make to their game.  I am interested in seeing if running at 1920x1080 (vs the 2140 x ??) helps me.  

 

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I run at 1920 as that's my monitor's native resolution.

That test mission might be very interesting, let me know if/when you create it, I'd like to try it out.

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if it helps.  first mission (lapino visibility test v1) runs thru planes 250m to 7000m incrementing at 250 meters.  Just one pass.

next 3 mission are from 3k,4k or 5k to 7k, and start over after last plane.

did MP mission so I could have different planes on field.  Ai should appear at your 10 (straight down the runway), and are visible for 9 secs

extract to data/multiplayer/dogfight.

start the game, multiplayer>create server>pick which mission you want to run in pool on left, and move it to list on right.

 

http://bhah.homeip.net:192/Old Fokkers/Misssions/visibilty.rar

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I just got done testing the alternate visibility against the standard and found I didn't have aircraft disappearing in the standard setting, even when zooming in to id. I set up a friendly flight of four vs two enemy, now I had us at 3000 ft above them and didn't initially spot them, the ai did. Once they were above the horizon I had no problem, so I still suck at seeing them with the ground behind them. I was in a Tempest and they were in 109 G4's.

I'd recommend turning off the alternate visibility.

I also had turned my graphics back up but not all the way to where I had them last week. AAx2; shadows low; HDR off; no v-sync (never had tearing so no need); native resolution; cloud qual low and my monitor is running G-sync (240hz).  I had to turn things back up because things like bridges and buildings weren't showing up, and if I'm doing ground attack/bombing that stuff is kind of important.

Edited by WWFrylock
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Alternate view works fine as long as your aware of the zoom/disappearing at distance. (I prefer standard myself) Offline or regular AI missions I prefer to use standard view, AI see everything anyways.

Humans - I try to remember and check the alternate view before the campaign mission so I'm not at a disadvantage / human enemies will see you first if they use the alternate view and you don't. Good rule of thumb might be / if your fighting humans and they use alternate view, do the same unless it really screws you up. So you can see them when they see you... 

Sorry, posted this on the wrong thread... 

same topic... 

 

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I believe the view setting is set by the host, don't think you/I get to choose what view setting you want if you're in MP.

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Doesn't matter which view setting I use, best I can pick anything up is approx 3.5 km.  Could be my screen resolution is part of the spotting issue as my native res is 2560x1440, and no, I'm not lowering it to try and pick up bogeys!  At 3.5km, bogey is a very small dot, really doesn't increase a whole bunch until 1.5-2km out.

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7 hours ago, WWCraven said:

Doesn't matter which view setting I use, best I can pick anything up is approx 3.5 km.  Could be my screen resolution is part of the spotting issue as my native res is 2560x1440, and no, I'm not lowering it to try and pick up bogeys!  At 3.5km, bogey is a very small dot, really doesn't increase a whole bunch until 1.5-2km out.

I'm running the same resolution, and experience the same spotting ranges.  Out past 3km, I can't see shit!  I fly all the time, and have done a fair amount of GA flying as well, so this visibility thing is bollocks and needs to be fixed.

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curious, when you say "I can not pick up", does that mean you can not find something you know is there, but not where it is. or does that mean you can not see something is there and you know where it is....

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8 hours ago, WWCraven said:

I believe the view setting is set by the host, don't think you/I get to choose what view setting you want if you're in MP.

I'm trying to get confirmation, that or switch back and forth sometime when Ducks hosting with alt view on and check. 

A lot of the settings I have unchecked that are allowed on the server are not available when I have them unchecked on my side, but wasn't positive that applies to the alt view based on the couple campaign mission I flew with alt view off and the server allows it. 

=======

I wish we had screenshots of what IL2 sees as the default cockpit zoom level so there is a neutral starting point based on what everyone describes. 

Hard to judge the descriptions of what pilots see without monitor size, resolution, and a few cockpit screenshots / forward view not on an angle / of the zoom level your using when describing spotting distances. 

I'll post some screenshots later. 

My starting point when zooming in is based on being zoomed out all the way as default, or almost all the way for some planes allowing trackIR to zoom back when I lean back. Some cockpits zoom distance is greater. Big difference between a Mk.V and P51. 

So my starting point is always at a spotting disadvantage. / I think this is part of the devs position bug or just needs to be improved, since anyone who starts zoomed out by default are likely to have trouble spotting. What is default by IL2 Standards for each plane? 

Default - Typically I'm zoomed out so there are 0-3+ virtual inches under my gauges in forward view. better peripheral to see around my cockpit and plane and get rid of tunnel vision; but I lose spotting distance. 

Spotting and dogfights - Then I'll zoom in so all I see is the bottom of the second row of gauges (most fighters), or zoom a bit more as needed in so my view cuts off the bottom row of gauges. Like in standard view/ no alt view/ I'll end up zooming a bit to follow the B&Z attack, bandit heads into the clouds or I lose them. Alt view I don't have to zoom the same for spotting. 

Craven and Chunk, can you post screenshots of the default forward cockpit view / zoom level you fly with before you start adjusting zoom in flight. Or a forward view screenshot of your cockpit at the zoom level you spot bandits at 3.5k, etc. 

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glad you brought that up wood, I had my settings different from what I thought.

When I have been hosting, alt-visibility has been OFF.

When we fly RTS, it has been ON

I will leave it up to others if we want to change what I host to ON or OFF.

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My thoughts on this are that the commanders from both sides should make this decision, although it’s almost a moot point seeing that we’re on the last mission.

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I'm going to check that "alternate visibility" is off on my setup before flying tonight. I think I have it on... I'll gladly sacrifice long distance halo/visibility of targets followed by losing them completely, to needing to be closer and maintain constant visual contact. 

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2 hours ago, WWDriftwood said:

Craven and Chunk, can you post screenshots of the default forward cockpit view / zoom level you fly with before you start adjusting zoom in flight. Or a forward view screenshot of your cockpit at the zoom level you spot bandits at 3.5k, etc. 

I’ll try and get that done and posted later this afternoon, getting a bit crazy around here planning a birthday, kids coming for Christmas and Christmas itself. 

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48 minutes ago, WWSandMan said:

I'm going to check that "alternate visibility" is off on my setup before flying tonight. I think I have it on... I'll gladly sacrifice long distance halo/visibility of targets followed by losing them completely, to needing to be closer and maintain constant visual contact. 

don't think it works like that Sandy.  If the sever setting says ON, then that is how you fly the mission....now I could be wrong about this....

Edited by WWSittingduck

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34 minutes ago, WWSandMan said:

I'm going to check that "alternate visibility" is off on my setup before flying tonight. I think I have it on... I'll gladly sacrifice long distance halo/visibility of targets followed by losing them completely, to needing to be closer and maintain constant visual contact. 

 

11 hours ago, WWCraven said:

I believe the view setting is set by the host, don't think you/I get to choose what view setting you want if you're in MP.

Sandy / Unfortunately I believe Craven is correct that the server set to alt view means you get alt view checked or unchecked.

I posted about this on IL2, be nice if they could change that so it's like some of the other settings, server allows, but it's pilot choice based on personal settings. 

Going from standard to alt views fine, but if I'm in alt view most of the time online/offline and go server hop and it's standard; it sucks, like I'm blind. Which is the main reason I went back to standard, trying to get the same view online/offline/any server. (which is now impossible) Now that I'm switching back and forth, I'm adjusting better, the fact that I have too adjust sucks. 

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Yup, I thought alternate visibility was a client side thing. I was wrong on that. 

The visibility limitations also affect the sim itself. By that, I mean the sim's own recording apparatus fails to keep up with aircraft visibility.

My point of reference is the collision I survived last night. On watching my recorded track, I was able to watch an Me-262 jet cruising well off shore from Red Flight's base on the coast. I'm guessing that pilot was one of JG1's VR equipped pilots. He vectored in a second jet to attack me. That second jet didn't show up in the recording (despite vigorous ctrl-F2 key pounding) until approximately half a second before it collided with me. I'll have to post the track for you folks to see on your own... It boggled my mind that the jet that collided with me was not visible at all, while the one further away stayed in the ctrl-F2 visual bubble. 

The first jet witnessed the crash, then made his own (unsuccessful) run on me. 

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These are a few screens of my cockpit view at the default POV for the P-51.  Perhaps now everyone can see how challenging it pick anything up, especially from headon.

First shot has been paused for the pic, both 1 & 1a taken at same position.  !a has icons on as a point of reference.  Distance to bogey is 1.10km

 

Screen1.jpg

Screen1a.jpg

 

2 and 2a done the same way as above, bogey is .34km or 340 meters away.

Screen2.jpg

Screen2a.jpg

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Thanks for the shots.... 

Looking at the shots, that's about the most I stay zoomed for any amount of time when flying and hunting, Usually zoomed out a touch more or rely on my leaning in/out TrackIR for zoom.  

It would be interesting to compare our default zoom view with whatever IL2 Dev call the default zoom for each plane giving us a reference point for neutral so we know if we start zooming in/out what to expect and we know what the developers base there visibility on.

A lot of discussion on the IL2 forums without being able to see each pilots reference points makes it to hard to hold a strong opinion either way. 

I think I've adapted for both normal and alternate, shame we have to though.  

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12 hours ago, WWSandMan said:

Yup, I thought alternate visibility was a client side thing. I was wrong on that. 

The visibility limitations also affect the sim itself. By that, I mean the sim's own recording apparatus fails to keep up with aircraft visibility.

My point of reference is the collision I survived last night. On watching my recorded track, I was able to watch an Me-262 jet cruising well off shore from Red Flight's base on the coast. I'm guessing that pilot was one of JG1's VR equipped pilots. He vectored in a second jet to attack me. That second jet didn't show up in the recording (despite vigorous ctrl-F2 key pounding) until approximately half a second before it collided with me. I'll have to post the track for you folks to see on your own... It boggled my mind that the jet that collided with me was not visible at all, while the one further away stayed in the ctrl-F2 visual bubble. 

The first jet witnessed the crash, then made his own (unsuccessful) run on me. 

Recommend you send that track and asscociated folder to the bugs form area at IL2. I think they are trying to sort that very issue out. May need to get server details from Duck so the devs have a better picture.

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Just for shits and giggles I did try lowering my resolution from 2560x1440 to 1920x1200 but unfortunately I saw little if any improvement in my ability to spot AC any further out or closer than what I was able to do with the higher resolution.  Where I did pick some improvement was by adjusting or tuning of the desktop color settings, I gained perhaps 1k more, so I can pick EA up at about 4.5k and that's the best I can squeeze out of the monitor.  All this and the screens above are in normal, not the alternative view settings.

 

Desktop color settings.jpg

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