Jump to content
  • Announcements

    • Erik

      2019 Drive   05/31/2019

      Can you lend a hand?  GET STARTED TODAY
Sign in to follow this  
VonBeerhofen

More visible AI changes in EAWPRO

Recommended Posts

It has always bothered me that several twin engined planes performing in a bomber role were sitting ducks, so some pretty observable changes were made to this behaviour. They will now be more evasive and may actually even start fighting back, after all they're heavily armed and why not use this feature for a more challenging fight.

Ofcourse their main objective is to bomb the target and they're still pretty successfull at that, even when under heavy attack. Their behaviour was enhanced without compromising the original routines, in other words they will still do as was programmed but with an additional chance to do something new. In most situations they will try to regroup but it may not always be possible when for instance these planes are under constant attack or suffer from target fixation, which is not abnormal in the game.

Planes with extra (dorsal/tail/turret) gunners may try to bring down the enemy or at least try and slow them down so the rest of the group can make it out of the battle area safely, even when they have no primary weapons or these ran out of bullets. I programmed a distinct difference between Axis and Allied aircraft, in that the Axis planes tend to be more agressive, which I think is in line with reality and since I think there are more Allied pilots still flying it also serves as a purpose to make it a bit tougher for them, but it will also not be easy when you fly the other side.

These changes will be in the next release of EAWPRO!

VonBeerhofen

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sounds like something good VB..Sounds like a good change to the game

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

VB

  Seems you could set your AI wing men to attack bombers and then the bombers will be fighting back after their bomb runs and you could sit back and watch the show ???

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hey Russ,

secondary groups are not under human control, they just do as programmed, but you can give commands to your primary group and specifically your wingman and go on autopilot and watch the game in battle view mode. As long as you stay alive you can control views and switch to specific planes or groups. The viewselection by the game is quite complex and at some points during the battle, for instance when an objective is accomplished, focus might be more on planes leaving the battle area.

However the fight could still rage and when still alive you can force the view back to the battle from within or outside your cockpit view. I can watch the game for hours that way as it's almost like watching a movie and very entertaining. Mind you I have no autocombat switch yet when on autopilot and there's no radiocalls anymore in external viewmode, so you won't get any warnings your plane is under attack, so just keep an eye on that or land somewhere safe first.

VonBeerhofen

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks Vb just what I wanted to accomplish watch the battle and see how it all unfolds naturally from a safe distance and when you release your work I can see the changes

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As I recall, during the Battle of Britain, the Brit fighters being able to cause the German bombers to break formation and scatter was considered (at the time) something of a success, as the bomber force could not re-group in time to deliver a concentrated blow on the target. The number of German bombers being shot down was a very useful bonus.  The bombers being scattered, and out of formation, they usually jettisoned their bombs (usually to no purpose), and thus relieved of the weight, tried to rally for the trip home.

I think that we players of flight sims overlook the broader aspect of things.  For example, the sacrifice of the US Navy Torpedo squadrons during the Battle of Midway that drove down the Japanese fighter planes, and so paved the way for the Navy Bomber squadrons--without fighter opposition-- to devastate the Japanese Carrier force.  

In short, some bomber missions might be considered a 'Success" if the target was hard-hit, and even if no bombers returned.  I don't think there is any sort of accounting for this sort of semi-suicide scenario.   In fact, and please excuse my ignorance, I'm unaware of any "Victory Conditions" in any scenario in the EAW world.  Aside for the individual pilot coming home, that is.  Granted, this changes in a Career Mode/scenario.  

The ability of the German bombers to defend themselves should be realistically portrayed.  Not an expert, but the German bombers had too few large caliber guns to accomplish this end, and the guns were not always properly emplaced for their intended purpose.  Witness the American bomber effort, with far better armed bombers, and the losses they suffered until fighter escort became available.

I applaud any and all efforts to make the EAW game more realistic.  Thanks, VBH!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi RiBob,

Thx for your comment, which touches a number of problems relating to addons. EAWPRO is a specific scenario and changes will take the theatre into account. The battle with the Japanese is an entirely different scenario and requires a different game engine with different AI behaviour. For instance EAW has no provisions for kamikaze planes but EAWPRO can mimic this behaviour.

It's not appropiately used when fighting the Germans over Europe though, as to my knowledge the German suicide squads never really became active. Perhaps Pacific Tide III may see the changes in AI behaviour some day, your comment seems very appropiate for that scenario.

A lot can be accomplished now with these new AI routines and tweaks are easily done. Certain bombers already release their bombs when attacked but others don't. Planes which can carry bombs are not necessarily bombers and will behave differently and so can planes which got seperated from the main group. But there's a new option available now which can be assigned to any planetype in EAW and with that your described behaviour can be turned on or off at will depending on the scenario. Even B17's can be made to drop their bombs before reaching the target but it's not the setting used in the EAWPRO scenario.

VonBeerhofen

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 5/6/2019 at 7:25 AM, VonBeerhofen said:

Pi RiBob,

Thx for your comment, which touches a number of problems relating to addons. EAWPRO is a specific scenario and changes will take the theatre into account. The battle with the Japanese is an entirely different scenario and requires a different game engine with different AI behaviour. For instance EAW has no provisions for kamikaze planes but EAWPRO can mimic this behaviour.

It's not appropiately used when fighting the Germans over Europe though, as to my knowledge the German suicide squads never really became active. Perhaps Pacific Tide III may see the changes in AI behaviour some day, your comment seems very appropiate for that scenario.

A lot can be accomplished now with these new AI routines and tweaks are easily done. Certain bombers already release their bombs when attacked but others don't. Planes which can carry bombs are not necessarily bombers and will behave differently and so can planes which got seperated from the main group. But there's a new option available now which can be assigned to any planetype in EAW and with that your described behaviour can be turned on or off at will depending on the scenario. Even B17's can be made to drop their bombs before reaching the target but it's not the setting used in the EAWPRO scenario.

VonBeerhofen

IIRC, one of the FUNDAMENTAL considerations of the Pilots of bombing aircraft was to maintain Formation.  Doing so increased bombing effectiveness, and also enhanced the mutual support of the bombers' guns.

Aircraft that were hit by enemy fire, in sufficient amount, would jettison their bomb loads in order to remain with the formation.   Presumably, this historically-correct action might be modeled in relevant flight scenarios, if possible. 

I have no idea if it is possible (From your comments, I suspect so, but might be mistaken) but even some sort of common-sense jettisoning of bombs by damaged bombers would be a (realistic) step forward. 

I understand that absolute adherence to reality is not always the best way to design a flight sim.  Maybe sometimes it is.  YMMV.

As always, submitted for your consideration, and with all good intent.

RIBob  

 

Edited by RIBob

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi RiBob,

I think it's all taken care off and as close to realism as I can make it for now, untill I can spend more time on this.

In bombing missions as primary planes under human control they used to start fighting as soon as they spot the enemy but regroup when the command is given by the human pilot. The Attack Groundtargets command doesn't help in this when these planes are under attack, something which these new routunes now also fix.

It was as I suspected and with a minor addaptation to the new routines, bombers will no longer engage, irrespective of what mission they fly wether it's a human controlled group or not. However in human controlled missions all tactical commands remain operational, i.e. commands to attack, and they may well follow those orders. When damaged they will release their bombs to lighten the plane and try to maintain sufficient lift.

Obviously bombers are not meant to fly an escort with other bombers but they still can and will stay in close formation unless ordered otherwise. I think the fun of it is that new strategies have to be develloped in order to accomplish the mission and keep the group alive. The AI will follow the leader and as such human pilots need to keep an eye on attacking aircraft and fly evasive when necessary, after all most of the bombers don't have human controlled guns and their strength lies in staying in formation. In short, bombers now behave as bombers should when they have no real fighting capability.

When bombers are on their own, after for instance the initial attack on ground objects or having been crippled and slowly loosing connection, the human player can try to slow down too to maintain a coherent group and perhaps save the crippled plane from getting destroyed. As far as I can tell from these few missions it's a whole new ball game.

Bombers can seek the protection of the escorts in human flown missions but that may lead em straight into the turmoil as the escorts will be fighting enemy AI and there's no telling when they'll head back to base. All in all there's no telling how the AI routines will handly this new stuff but I think I kept all original behaviour intact except where I felt this behaviour wasn't appropiate and they will only kick in when everything else fails.

The routines were written for easy addaptations and tweaks when necessary but there's a tonne of new possibillities which simply can not all be tested but I'll be keeping an eye on how it behaves during the Launchpad's online sessions and tweak things further when necessary. 

VonBeerhofen

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've build a new plane filter for EAWPRO and it's working great. The filter allows a better use of the current PLANES.DAT switches which control AI behaviour and I now have additional strike-fighters, attack-bombers,  fighter-bombers, and invaders which can easily be set by the players, that is if they understand how to edit the PLANES.DAT file with or without Jelly's tools. Needless to say that with these changes the PLANES.DAT has become more version specific but remains backwards compattible. The older versions of this file will merely activate this new behaviour when any of the switches are set, which I believe will only result in more interesting and definately different mission types in which bombers play a more intelligent role and stick to what bombers usually do, focus on delivering their payload. Once that's done they become more free to make it harder on the players to kill them but their objective from then on is to try and leave the battle area asap.
 
There's now also a possibillity for an automatic night-fighter version selection, which is obviously selected when it's dark and I may filter out the Quad planes to always stay in formation, irrespective of what mission type they're used in. I found it a challenge to fly these planes in an escort mission and try to stay with the other bombers to have more defensive fire power. The group just followed me where ever I went, so I filled up a gap in the bomber formation. With that I performed the exact same role as the bombers themselves. The only snag is that I can't tell my own B17's to attack, disperse or break away yet but they did listen to the formation orders to loosen or tighten formation. It'll need a lot more flying to find out what else is possible.
 
As I wrote before it's a whole new ballgame and the full effect of this still have to be discovered, so I'll be doing a lot of flying to see if things can be further improved. It's all working the way I imagined it would and I may still add some extra features, like the night-fighters and commands which aren't in yet. I just don't want to do too many checks on all planes which could compromise framerates. In my experiments I also found that it's possible to program conflicting behaviour where my new AI behaviour is overridden by another routine elsewhere, telling the plane to do something else. Both commands are executed in the same loop which led to nervous behaviour, much more throttling up or down and/or planes seemingly changing their minds.
 
For now I didn't incorporate this behaviour and the attack switch is also temporarily disabled. Although it worked great it seemed to cause an intermittent CTD late in the mission, so I'll see what's been causing that and hopefully fix it. I liked what it was doing and I want it. It mainly caused a small chance for planes under fire to turn against their agressors and go into full fighter mode (even B17's but it can be made optional). Basically it's the same behaviour as what happened when you flew bombers in the original game, but this will now only happen to an individual plane under fire and not the whole group, so that's usually the planes in the rear which get hit first and fall back. They attract attention from the enemy and kind of fight to the death making them eligible for a heroic posthumous medal giving the rest of the group a better chance to get away after fullfilling their objective.
 
It's not all there yet but the basis for it is programmed and tested to work. Bombers are less easy to shoot down and will break up into two formations when attacked when the proper switches are set in the PLANES.DAT and each group will be more or less evasive depending on the situation they're in. Still a long way to go but it's getting there. The number of missions I already flew is staggering and the game is running from dawn till late at night, selecting all kinds of missions and planes, due to a lack of beta testers who know what to look out for or what to test. There's no quick and easy way to make this work good, you have to fly, try and observe. It was fun to see the Stuka try and attack B17's or even P38's, hell they even killed a few of em. P38's would pull up steep and the Stuka would try and follow but usually got into a near stall situation because it's way too slow and heavy. Hey you do what you can right? Even if you happen to fly a postal plane into the battle area with a pilot who's only got a handgun to defend itself, lol.

I realise that what I've done may not be to everyone's liking but I like it a lot and I need new approaches to keep the Launchpad squadron happy and flying, which is my main objective and I think it will incite them to fly the bombers more often, if they don't then I will as I'm always happy to be the target. They'll be testing things further and occasionally give some feedback. A release of this just has to wait untill a few other issues are fixed, like the new pilotmap lead plane's colors for which a new palette will have to be created. I'm sorry for this delay but there's a lot of work involved.

VonBeerhofen

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

After an intense week of testing and finding out what's possible here's a few pictures of the fun I had:

Bombing mission, the Heinkels are under heavy fire and I have an enemy plane padlocked
Interdiction1.jpg

Interdiction mission, While I went down to destroy the train my group dropped bombs from high altitude causing the secondary explosions in the background, close but no cigar!

Interdiction2.jpg

Escort mission, my B24's coplemented B17's en route to the target and I tried to stay in formation with them while under heavy enemy fire.

Interdiction3.jpg

In all missions fighters were fighting fiercely in the battle area, in total around 100 planes were smoothly doing their job on my ancient WinME Pentium IV with an old 32MB gForce2 and 256MB memory, haven't had this much fun in while, it was a blast! I tried all the altered planes as well, mainly twins, and they obeyed every command and in bombing missions focused on their task, unless they got hit and dropped their loads to attack the enemy. In one mission my group got through the enemy fighterscreen, destroyed the target and I regrouped as the enemy was landing. I flew back and told my group to start attacking while I strafed the airfield. One enemy plane was still eager to fight and I had to deal with him myself, but I got shot down trying to eliminate enemy gun positions on and around the airfield. My group was reluctant to leave after I made an emergency landing between the smoking planes, captured but still alive!

Interdiction4.jpg

VonBeerhofen

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

  • Similar Content

    • By VonBeerhofen
      EAW has got a number of user options in the .INI file relating to AI behaviour which are obviously quite usefull for beginners, intermediate or advanced players. To improve the game further and make the game harder and the AI tougher, there's obviously a choice to add more options to the .INI or to change how the game deals with these entries in the AI routines themselves. As a diehard player I'm ofcourse more interested in more skilled AI and more dangerous events have researched and changed both options. I find it however near impossible to change all level choices and have therefore concentrated on changing the highest selections only.
      Fact is that as these choices are used in real time, it's not a great idea to add more choices and decisions for the AI, as well as users, which will slow down the game considerably. However there are jump tables which won't cost anything extra, since they simply load an offset value and then jump to the routine in question. It's mainly these tables I'm targetting when adding more options and where an .INI might have an extra useer choice I prefer to implement multiple choices which are automattically made by the game itself.
      The clarify this, a user can select skill level 1 or 2 but I for instance will give that choice to the game where possible. What I've done however doesn't relate to skill level 1 and 2 but to level 2 (expert) only, giving the game an extra level 3 choice in real time. This affects AI behaviour throughout the game without having to change any of the AI routines themselves. Ofcourse I did mess around in those routines too but those are just minor changes, like the aim moment or the moment to fire weapons or when to start moving etc. which are usually based on enemy distance and position.
      I hope you will understand that taking away the benefit of an extra user choice in the .INI gamespeed is not hampered in any way but the AI are more unpredictable in their choices and responses. I also noticed that some routines didn't handle all .INI skill levels, in that they for instance set skill 0 and 1 being the same for certain decisions. Where possible I changed this to make the so called dumbest AI pilots in the squadron a little dumber then level 1 or in other words, I gave em their own level as should be.
      Now since the introduction of the ACE level in the parameter selection screen activates the extra skill levels but also allows the lower skill levels to use the skills of one level higher it should essentially compensate for this extra dumbness of the lowest level and make level 1 sometimes as skilled as a level 2 AI, in real time ofcourse.
      As I wrote previously, this elevated level has no influence on the decision making speed of the default AI's skill level, meaning they will make better choices at times but not as quick as the higher skill level it's temproraily using.
      I hope you can still bare with me but the Betatests have shown that occasionally the slower reaction time, while performing a higher skilled action, is sometimes not fast enough to perform the move successfully, causing more areal accidents, like the one's I usually make myself when flying online, like misjudging approach speed or not noticing another plane by my side going for the same target. Planes may accidentally fly into a bombergroup and collide with one of em, because they're usually large planes flying at low speed. Such accidents can trigger adjacent planes in the group to explode too, sometimes killing 3 or 4 planes at once.
      The chances for this are set pretty low so it doesn't happen too often, perhaps one plane in 100, exact numbers are hard to give as it's subject to a randomness calculation, so sometimes it may not happen for weeks and sometimes you get 5 in one mission. I haven't seen any fighter collisions but they have an equal chance if it wasn't for the fact that they occupy less 3D space and are usually chasing eachother, but with intercepts planes may come from all sides.
      Since the skill levels also control the speeds at which the AI are flying (dumb AI usually fly slower) there's the same possibillity with ground impacts, however previous changes prevent AI to start new moves when under 500 feet and start pulling out of any dive they're in to avoid ground collisions. Now this has worked beautifully well, even in very mountainous areas, but this new behaviour will change things, I just don't know by how much. Thusfar I haven't seen any abnormal ammount of ground collisions but one is not always aware of these happenings when the battle area is app. 100 KM2.
      I hope this will give you an idea as to what to expect with the next release of EAWPRO in terms of more visble AI changes.
      VonBeerhofen
    • By VonBeerhofen
      This screen's horizon has always been a problem and was showing black areas on the left and right. The screen became pretty important to me to quickly check objects from all sides to identify any R/S issues and fix them, without having to fly the game, altough that would work as well but you'd have to concentrate on not getting shot down. The introduction of EAWPRO's HiRes skysets and UHR horizon posed yet another problem in this screen, but have already been partially fixed a long time ago. However the horizon problem stayed and always kind of atracted attention away from the object or plane I was watching.
      I finally found a solution which fixes this problem in D3D mode (Glide is still incapable of using my UHR Horizons) and the fix was tested with various resolutions on two different machines using different monitors and was verified to work with both traditional monitors as well as HDMI. I couldn't check any other monitor types but my HDMI monitor accepts nearly all possible resolutions up to 1920 x 1280 and they all worked fine, with standard skysets as well as EAWPRO's HiRes sets. I can't test XVGA mode, just don't have the dosh to buy one, and besides that I'm very happy with what I have already and have no room for anything more anyway.
      These screens were taken in my most commonly used resolutions on either machine, not very important but educational.
      VonBeerhofen
      HDMI in 1280 x 768

      SVGA in 1024 x 768

    • By VonBeerhofen
      It's come to my attention that some people do not understand how to select the previously none flyable planes which are not directly accessible through the plane selection screen. They can be selected and edited from from within any hangar by selecting the MISSION PARAMETER editor that sits on each desk in any hangar. When in the Parameter Selection Screen you then select the LOAD option at the bottom of the screen and a list of MISSION (.MSN) files will be displayed. You can select any of them, no matter which hangar you're in. The Default** ones contain your last flown mission for each plane, sadly they don't give much information about which number corresponds to which plane but they're sequentially American, British, German.
       
      The ones which display their name were SAVED from within the parameterscreen, very usefull to setup planecombinations and targets that you like but can still edit after it's loaded. I could give you a list of the default numbers but I think you can also write each number down after selecting each and note the plane you've selected. If you want to fly Mosquitos you select Mosquito vs ******. You can also save the Default missions with a name yourself. To do this you start with loading Default00 and you save it under the name P38J vs WHATEVER. Having all planes there you can quickly navigate between planes and load any on the fly without having to go back to the plane selection screens.
       
      When a mission is SAVED it'll store all your selections and you can store up to 256 mission files yourself, either before or after the mission is flown. It's more convenient to do things this way and has become a real timesafer when testing all possible combinations. The saved missions remain unchanged untill they're overwritten with a new one but every time you load one it will randomise the target location as part of a new airfield and target check to prevent CTD's when .MSN files are corrupt, don't work, or aren't at all present (which is the case in nearly all old addons). When a certain plane's selection has become corrupt you can still get to it's Mission file via any other Hangar and set it right again by editing the corrupt plane's mission parameters, provided you understand which one to select. Flying the mission will overwrite the old Default**.MSN file and things will work normal from there on.
      Note that when you reselect the same target and/or airfield already present in a corrupt .MSN file, the selection can't be set since either of the two is an illegal choice. Just select another one which displays the target number on mouse over and the file should be fine from then on as the editor only allows legal targets to be selected. Illegal target locations are greyed out in the editor, an indication of a corrupt .MSN file. Sometimes they can still be flown and will allow take off from enemy bases or attacks on friendly ones, but being corrupt you may not be able to enter these plane's hangars on startup directly, except with this method.
      VBH
    • By VonBeerhofen
      the original Microprose NoCD version from the Source Code is now implemented, making the the old NoCD hack redundant. It allows the game to run on newer operating systems, even when a CD drive isn't present. This change will be in the next release.
      VonBeerhofen
    • By VonBeerhofen
      intended for higher operating systems then XP. I managed to fix the lightning speed selection without compromising how it works on older systems, the only downside to it is that you need repeated mouseclicks to change the selections, holding down the mouse button will no longer incite the next successive selection. It applies to all keyboard input which uses this routine, possibly keyboard throttle and such too, but who's still using that option anyway? (retoric question)
      A big thx to Mark EAW who was so kind to test it's functionality!
      VonBeerhofen
×

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use, Privacy Policy, and We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue..