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33LIMA

Mod'ing labels and the TAC

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Can anyone tell me where to find in CFS3/OFF the files that control how labels and the TAC/radar are displayed?

 

What I want to do is, make it so that labels display as follows:

 

Bogey - white 'X' (maybe black, if that proves too hard to see against both sky and ground)

Friendly aircraft - blue 'X'

Enemy aircraft - red 'X'

...and preferably also...

Everything else eg ground units, smoke, airfields etc - nothing!

(I know there are CFS3 commands which can fine-tune the label content but they don't do the above)

 

Also the TAC/radar:

- remove the 'clock code' markings

- change the font of the range and target type markings from red to grey.

 

The aim of the labels mod would be:

- to replicate/approximate the very effective system in Rise of Flight whereby planes are marked with an X (or an H on its side) - until they are close anyway - which is a good way of representing an aircraft (besides which 'bogey' is WW2-speak)

- remove the immersion-killing effect of the skies being full of flying labels (even with the 'greyed-out label mod' I find these truly horrible, and can very happily live without having pilot identity, aircraft type - or even range - visible)

- most importantly, to compensate effectively for the current limitations of aircraft visibility, but to do so relatively inconspicuously, WITHOUT resorting to 'flying labels'

 

The aim of the TAC/radar mod would be to make it less conspicuous, when used (the clock code is a neat touch but IMHO of no use in a radio-less sim, and the red font is too visible).

 

A quick look thru the OFF files and a Google online haven't located the necessary files. I know both the labels and the TAC have been modded so maybe someone could point me in the right direction and save me a lot of digging.

 

I realise some value using the labels to ID aces and the range readout is helpful (if not entirely realistic) but for me, at any rate, the above mods would be a significant improvement in realism and if I manage to make them I'll upload them for anyone else of a like mind.

 

TIA!!!

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Hi Lima,

 

Depending on what you're after try this file (having backed up the original, natch):

 

I'm currently reloading all the Good Stuff I had, and this is part of it - mostly opaque labels, with all white TAC blobs, regardless of who they are.

 

I will swear by this as a game aid. YMMV!

 

Cheers,

Si

ViewUI(1).xml

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Sorry, I'm very tired, so I don't understand everything you want to do.

But the stuff is to be changed in the file ViewUI.xml.

You find it here:

 

(your computer name) > AppData > Roaming > Microsoft > CFSWW1 Over Flanders Fields

 

You could try my mod of it; I made the TAC screen smaller, and the colours less "screaming".

You find it here:

 

http://combatace.com/topic/62903-smaller-tac-softer-label-colours/page__view__findpost__p__477745

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Thanks for the tips, guys. I should have known to start with viewui.xml, I had edited that some time back to reduce TAC size. I had tried the faded labels but want to use the labels instead as a plane 'marker label' in the same colours as the TAC (I realise the label is above the plane not on in, unless i can remove the offset).

 

I don't want the label to give me a long readout of plane type, pilot or even range, as I find these immersion-killing. All I want is the simplest visible single-character marker - bogey, enemy, or friend, no text at all.

 

I want to remove those distracting text strings completely, and replace them with simple markers, in the same colour as the TAC 'blobs', which will compensate for limited plane visibility (which is especailly limited in external view, with planes invisible one moment, then appearing quite distinctly at about 2000m). In effect, the idea is to convert the labels from labels, into a sort of representation in the 3 dimensional world of what you could see, on the TAC. This would have the following advantages (which to me, anyway, are well worth having):

 

- I could leave the TAC permanently off, or set it to 'Ships' and just call it up for a quick nav check, ending its unrealistic use as a sort of 2-dimensional radar sweep;

 

- I would have SCAN VISUALLY to spot other planes, even via the 'label markers', with no reliance on the TAC;

 

- in the critical 'dead zone' between their real-life visibility and when they are visibly rendered on screen, I would be able to spot planes visually, via their 'marker labels';

 

- the 'marker labels' would use the current 'white-to-blue-or-red' colour code, so giving the same 'Identification Friend from Foe' effect, and providing a pointer in 3 dimensions to where they are, but leaving me to assess range and type, visually (pilot ID would be nice to retain, IF it could be turned on and off separately, or stay completely blank till very close, but failing that I'd rather not have pilot ID at all, just a 'marker label');

 

- no more staring at widely-scattered Archie, or high and low in the direction of blobs on the TAC, unable to see the enemies until opportunities to position the flight for the attack (or to refuse combat) have been narrowed down too much (unless I turn on the horrible 'flying labels').

 

I might still fly with the TAC still set to planes (range 1 or 2 miles) and only turn on labels when the TAC showed targets; or keep the TAC always off and labels always on; or fly with both TAC and labels off, and turn one or both on, just when I feel the need. Hence my interest in toning down TAC visibility, too.

 

Anyway thanks for the tips, if I get anywhere I'll report back.

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LIMA, I have tried to change TAC and Labels, but couldn't get as far as I would have liked.

Then I went for an even so much better immersion:

I left TAC and Labels out.

Believe it or not; although I have to wear stronger reading glasses (0.35 dioptrin), I can always see

the specs of aircraft BEFORE a bogey Label would appear. I tried that out several times.

I saw a spec, and turned Labels - nothing. Only when it came closer, the white Label appeared.

 

So, now I never use Labels except for identifying an ace craft.

It is now so much more realistic looking and feeling, and my poise has grown that I can see them,

as soon as they ARE visible - like in RL - and not when the Labels appear.

 

I also left out the TAC then. You can control and correct your flight path via inflight map.

You could even fly after real paper maps, like RAF_Louvert and I often do.

And if it comes to attacking ground targets, you could switch it on for only that purpose,

to mark the target for your wingmen. But I think they even attack without that, if you order "Attack".

 

I feel you are going in that direction anyway, so why not try it out? It's very rewarding.

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And if you listen for and look for Archie, that's usually where you'll find enemy aircraft. The hard part is when you spend 15 minutes closing in on a 1 pixel speck only to find out that it was one of your mates from another flight/squadron who just happened to be in the area.

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Even worse: when it turns out to be a spec of dust on your screen! :rofl:

 

Yes, Archie / Flak is a very good guide, as long as you are flying over own terrain.

Especially the black German puffs are very well visible. And as the German fighters rarely

crossed the lines much, it is the perfect side for learning to fly without aides.

 

The absolutely toughest jobs are British ones: they used to intrude deep into enemy heartland,

and there they had absolutely no warning - they had to rely on their eyesight and reflexes,

and they had constantly to fear a damaged engine resulting in an emergency landing.

Edited by Olham

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LIMA, I have tried to change TAC and Labels, but couldn't get as far as I would have liked.

Then I went for an even so much better immersion:

I left TAC and Labels out.

Believe it or not; although I have to wear stronger reading glasses (0.35 dioptrin), I can always see

the specs of aircraft BEFORE a bogey Label would appear. I tried that out several times.

I saw a spec, and turned Labels - nothing. Only when it came closer, the white Label appeared.

 

So, now I never use Labels except for identifying an ace craft.

It is now so much more realistic looking and feeling, and my poise has grown that I can see them,

as soon as they ARE visible - like in RL - and not when the Labels appear.

 

I also left out the TAC then. You can control and correct your flight path via inflight map.

You could even fly after real paper maps, like RAF_Louvert and I often do.

And if it comes to attacking ground targets, you could switch it on for only that purpose,

to mark the target for your wingmen. But I think they even attack without that, if you order "Attack".

 

I feel you are going in that direction anyway, so why not try it out? It's very rewarding.

 

Olham, what you're doing, is exactly what I would want to do, but I have two difficulties:

 

1. I fly precombat and postcombat in the external ('spot') view (even with the CFS3 fisheye effect I much prefer this, and switch to cockpit immediately precombat). In the spot view I have tried various FOVs for my 1600x900 monitor but aircraft always seem smaller/further away in external view. Last mission I watched some flying labels for a passing flight of Dr1s higher up, against a clear blue sky, and there was no speck, nothing but the flying label, until suddenly at about 2000m, the aircraft silhouettes appeared, clearly enough for me to see the distinctive stubby Fokker triplane outline. One second there were invisible, the next, a clear silhouette.

 

2. Again in the external view, even when I can see something of a plane, they become practically invisible, if they have the ground as a background. I know a camouflaged plane should not be too easy to see against the ground but unless I'm looking exactly in the right place and stare hard for long enough, they are as near invisible, as makes no difference, until they are quite close - say 1000m, closer if they are head on. As an example, I tend to turn fairly sharply into a right-hand circuit, very soon after takeoff, but looking back the short distance to the airfield, the planes taking off are very hard to see, already.

 

I would love to be able to see the specks of planes at the same time (or even like you before) they show up as a label. That would be ideal. I'm only contemplating mod'ing the labels, because I can't. When you describe being able to see specks before labels, can you do this in the external/spot view? If you can, I need to find out how you manage that! If flying the whole mission (or nearly all) in the cockpit is the way, well that's not for me.

 

I remember you saying your wingmen's Albatrosses did not suddenly 'grow' their undercarriage when they came to within about 230-250m of your plane, which mine do - again in external view. The wheels appear further out when I'm in the cockpit (a function of the CFS3 LOD 3d models, where the LOD # denotes relative distance not actual range, according to the CFS3 SDK).

 

If you can see specks before labels, and you can see your wingmen's undercarriage at over c.240m, AND do both in external/spot view, please tell me so, because I need to find out how! Apart from the lightweight AI, poor formation-keeping and limited 2-seater AI, this limited-visibility-without-aids thing is a great frustration for me with OFF aircombat.

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And if you listen for and look for Archie, that's usually where you'll find enemy aircraft. The hard part is when you spend 15 minutes closing in on a 1 pixel speck only to find out that it was one of your mates from another flight/squadron who just happened to be in the area.

 

Yes in OFF Archie is helpful to a degree but the bursts are scattered so widely (especially in the vertical plane) that it is very hard to estimate the 'mean point of impact' and get eyes on the enemy. First Eagles is a lot better in that respect, and probably more accurate (historically as well as regards gunnery). 'Archibald, certainly not!' and all that; plus I know that at high velocities a small variation in projectile flight time can produce a fair degree of spread, downrange, and that barrel wear can produce variations between guns in the same battery. But I very much doubt if WW1 clockwork fuses and fuse setters - especially German-made ones - would produce anything like the routinely-extreme vertical spread that they do, in OFF. Must see if there's a setting I can hand-edit, to tighten that up, maybe reducing lethality to compensate. Don't remember vanilla CFS3 having such a big spread.

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... looking back the short distance to the airfield, the planes taking off are very hard to see, already.

That's true, LIMA. Maybe you need to zoom your view in one or two notches.

I don't know the default command key for that, see in the "Controls".

 

When you describe being able to see specks before labels, can you do this in the external/spot view?

I'm flying in the cockpit all the time (as it was in RL :grin:), but I guess, your whole view may be "too zoomed out".

We have a "Field of View" setting in OFF "Workshops", which can be set up too remote.

If you send me your monitor resolution, I can propose 3 possible FOV settings.

 

I remember you saying your wingmen's Albatrosses did not suddenly 'grow' their undercarriage when they came

to within about 230-250m of your plane, which mine do...

That doesn't sound normal to me.

 

If you can see specks before labels, and you can see your wingmen's undercarriage at over c.240m, AND do both

in external/spot view, please tell me so...

Okay, will do.

You are flying very differently - IMHO the best thing for flying is TrackIR - free allround view from your cockpit.

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Cheers Olham. I think flying from the cockpit is your secret to seeing the specks when I see nothing! The fisheye, zoomed-out CFS3 external view from which I fly, not only gives a distorted view of the player's aircraft, it also makes the 'background', and anything in it like planes, look further away, and zooming in or out in spotview only zooms your plane not the background. So zooming's fine if you're in the cockpit but no help in the external view.

 

I won't give up my 'movie' external views as I want a better view of my plane - AND what's going on around it. I would hate Silent Hunter 3 if it had no external view of my U-Boat (as with the original SH) and I play all my sims like Op Flashpoint in external/3rd person view, pre-combat, as I think this (a) looks much better and (b) provides better situational awareness, compensating for flying and/or fighting like your head is inside a box with a flap cut out the front. Of course I go cockpit/1st person for combat, I'm no arcade flyer! As for TrackIR, I can manage ok with hatswitch, tried FacetrackNoir but even if TrackIR is steadier I don't think I'd get to like head-trackers, makes me giddy and I find turn my my head one way while keeping my eyes frontal, is counter-intuitive. I can manage all my other sims like this, no head-tracker and no rudder pedals either, including First Eagles and now also Rise of Flight. CFS3 was fine too, tho as a fighterbomber/medium bomber sim, never liked CFS3 for dogfighting, especially due to the 'lightweight' AI that OFF has inherited, frustrating rather than challenging, I find it. But I digress...

 

The best solution to the reduced visibility problem caused by the CFS3 'fisheye lens' external view, would be to find a way for the spotview background to be more zoomed in - eg to the same 'focal length' as the cockpit view (default cockpit zoom would be ok, variable would be better). You will remember from your days over the Pacific that CFS TWO let us zoom the external view in or out (background, not just the player aircraft), tho it zoomed in fixed steps and not a 'smooth' continuous zoom.

 

My monitor's native res is 1600x900 so if you can suggest some options for a more zoomed-in view of the background, I'd be most grateful. I did try some different FOV settings based on your helpful FOV guide but maybe I got it wrong, because even at the max zoom Workshop would accept, it was still too zoomed-out.

 

If that doesn't work I will return to trying to mod the labels, tho I don't see any label settings in viewui.xml except label colours, and it's the text string that is displayed, that I would need to change.

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Lima, you might give Bletchley a ring, as he included a mod to make AA less lethal. He might have a clue about increasing or decreasing the "spread" too.

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LIMA, you have every right to fly a sim as you like, Sir.

I used to fly "Aces over Europe" that way, back in the nineties.

It seemed to give me more control over the situation, and it probably did.

I can also hardly imagine to be inside a submarine (claustrophobia my end), and might prefer to see it from outside.

 

But this is the perspective we had, when we drove our tractor - we were high above, and could see everything

like from a god-like perspective; we could at the same time drive the big machine, and marvel about it's look,

when the profiled big tires made their marks in the mud.

 

I don't know, when it was, that I changed into the cockpit of the craft.

It was for the reason, that I wanted to have everything as much as possible, like the real life pilots had it.

No advantages. No god perspective. Just me little blighter in the damn machine, without a perfect overview,

with the same stress caused through that reason; with the same chances - however small they might be.

 

In the beginning, it felt very, very uncomfortable, and it was.

When I came to OFF, I had that again to happen. The crates were rather different from the WW2 craft;

they had much less power and were therefor hard to keep doing, what I wanted them to do.

And all that, while there might already be enemies sneaking up on me.

It took me about a year to come to grips with various craft, so that I could concentrate on the fighting.

 

Then I bought TrackIR. I knew it would be the perfect thing to REALLY place me in the cockpit.

But the first weeks, I felt often kind of seasick. It gave me the ability to check around me, but it

was also confusing, cause now I had to develop a feeling for how the aircraft was situated in midair,

whilst I was looking towards my 8 o'clock.

It took some good time, until I was, where I am now - that I can consider myself as an average veteran

pilot - on the Albatros at least. I'm still far from being able to simultaneously remember all the right

manoeuvres to use in a fight, to make me the victor. I can fight and win against the AI.

But in my Albatros against RAF_Louvert in a Sopwith Camel, I would surely be lost, and my best

movement would probably be to try to run from him.

 

What I want to illustrate to you with all this is: it was for me very rewarding, to change the well contollable

outside view for the more real life, more difficult and often unpleasant and stressful one.

Now I feel like I have got much closer to the fellers, who were flying these kites of wood and canvas

in often nasty weather conditions and biting cold; with all the mechanical failures and impact damages

from rounds and shrapnell.

I'm still so much better off - I can sit in a warm room, with a coffee waiting next to me. I can die, and

create another "me" - I'm still much in the god-like position in the sim.

 

I just wanted to give you here some help for a possible move towards a new eyperience, by telling you

from my own ones. But as I said in the beginning: you have every right to fly it like you prefer, and I won't

look down on you, however you do it.

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PS: sorry, I forgot the FOV, LIMA.

 

Your monitor is clearly a 16 : 9; so you should select "16:10" in "Workshops" at the left side.

Now, here are some FOV settings. The smaller the numbers, to more you are zoomed in.

 

21 : 12

 

23 : 13

 

25 : 14

 

27 : 15

 

If even 21:12 should not bring distant aircraft closer, it must be because of the external view.

In cockpit view, they would appear much zoomed in then. You could check it by pausing

the sim, when you see Bogie Labels, switch Labels off and change to cockpit view.

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Danke schoen, will give it a whirl. As you say it may not help the external view - dang how I hate that CFS3 fisheye lens effect, with the plane zoom-able but the background, not. Have again checked the CFS3 forums too, and found nothing, apart from more CFS3 fisheye lens haters like me, none of whom had a solution.

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