Report 054: Countermeasures
New report is here!
But no, there is no new update available at this moment; this report is actually just to talk about the next build.
There is nothing special to be shown here, just a simple explanation of what is to come.
The reason for this is because the next update will be very important, if not the most important update in all early access (in gameplay perspective) and the way it will be delivered has to be a bit different, this means it won’t be immediately available in the main branch.
The reason for this is because this update introduces a lot of new gamplay changes that I’m sure some of them will interfere with the existing content.
At the moment I’m making the final test to fix all the issues that I find, but it is always possible that there are way more that to ones I can find.
That is why the next update will be more like a preview that will be available only on Beta to allow anyone interested to test and find any potential issues before releasing the real update in the main branch.
I also need to point out something, do not expect new content, there will be changes in loadouts and some fixes in some missions, but the purpose of this update is not to add content. Most of the upcoming content is ready, but it only be added in a following update after there are the guarantees that these new gameplay improvements don’t have any undesired effects.
But now let’s talk about these improvements
For anyone that does not understand what this means is when you aim slightly ahead of the target so it increases the chances to hit the enemy by the time the projectile reaches that point. Basically it is like using the same as the helper that players use when dogfighting.
You may ask, how is this important? Well it is, I can guarantee you that just this change alone would be enough to require the next update to be released as test build first.
While this is a very simple change, it has a high impact in gameplay and overall difficulty of the game.
This means all AA units are now a LOT more dangerous, not just flying head-on, the moment you are near them there is a high risk of being shot down, so I recommend from here on avoid flybys near enemy units.
In addition, as this update will take a few days to be available it is possible that I also add the ability for the AI pilots use lead when aiming their guns.
Something that has been bordering me is how the AI controls some units. As there are units with very distinct specs, there were some where the AI isn´t able to have a precise degree of control when maneuvering them.
The goal of the AI is not to turn them into robotic and high precision maneuvers, but I think it is important, the AI should be able to adapt to any specs.
The biggest factor for being displeased with the previous control system is that even with all the collision avoidance routines, there were cases where the AI was simple unable to perform the correct maneuver to avoid collision.
So I think it will be interesting to try to dogfight with the new AI, they also make better use of acceleration to perform better in tight dogfights.
I might still use the old style but to give to AI personas with low piloting skills.
This update adds the ability to destroy all projectiles (with the exception of bullets and small shells).
However, only a few can be locked by normal aircrafts, most of the projectiles can only be detected and locked by CIWS.
This addition is to simulate a method of interception projectiles that is usually referred as hardkill.
The system in the game is simple, with this update most of the projectiles have HP like any other units and they will be damaged by a direct impact or a blast radius. By extension, explosions with large radius may neutralize all surrounding projectiles.
This can make a very effective way of defense, even with low Hp if you are able to neutralize any threat you become more impenetrable than any armor.
However there are some exceptions and weaknesses to this, small projectiles like bullets and shells won’t be possible to intercept.
And the ability to intercept will vary accordantly to the incoming projectile and specs of the defense system.
The defense systems must have enough time to aim and lock to be effective, not only that but it is always possible that they simple miss the target.
Actually, considering all tests I made up to now, the probability of interception is quite low, especially you choose a good angle to engage the target. Besides that, is always possible that the defense system is already aiming to another target.
This is the standard flares and chaff.
The code was already in the game but in a dormant state, it required some tweaks and a final test to be sure that everything was alright.
I´ll assume all of you are already aware what are the countermeasures, so I’ll move on to explain how they work in the game:
Each missile now has an electronic HP, in the game is called softkill HP.
Soft kill means when something is neutralized without damaging it physically.
In contrast, the CIWS use the hardkill measures.
Also each aircraft’s countermeasures can have different effect values, but for now, to be simpler all flares will have the same strength; the only element that will change is the SK HP for each missile.
But this is not that linear, there are several factors that affect the flare effectiveness.
There is the distance, the closer is the seeker to the target the more effective is the flare, the rate of release and the acceleration level of the targeted unit, if it is using afterburner it will take a lot more flares to be able to elude the seeker
In a way, this has been set in order to the player to be able to make a rough guess how many flares it will need to neutralize a missile, however, at same time all the variables and conditions make it hard to have accurate guess.
I sure the result will be that some players will try to use only the bare minimum while others won’t bother and it will waste flares like crazy.
Also, something very important, releasing flares don’t just make the seeker lose track of you, but also make it aim towards it.
So it is quite dangerous to continue to use flares after the seeker has been neutralized because they may aim to a new flare and explode near the player
Ok, let’s stop for a moment, I’ve been taking only about flares, but there is also the chaff, these are used to neutralize radar guided missiles, while flares only work for heatseakers.
Normally in the media we only see the use of flares, because they are cool and a lot more noticeable than chaff, but that doesn’t matter here, flares or chaff are completely ineffective against the wrong seeker. So it is important to be aware which seeker is in use to avoid wasting the wrong countermeasure.
For this, here is a tip, normally medium/long range missiles are radar seekers, while close range are more often heatseekers, with that in mind if you know the unit, the loadout it usually carries and where it was fired you can make good guess which countermeasure to use.
Also, for the players that are not concerned about that, there is the option to release all countermeasures at the same time.
But there is also another type of countermeasure, besides the expendable type, there are also passive countermeasures.
These don’t need the player interaction; they automatically create a surrounding field that any hostile missile that enters the field will be affected, even if it is not aimed at this target.
This type of countermeasure is usually less effective in soft killing the enemy, only if the seeker stays too long in the area of effect it will be neutralized, but due to the speed the missiles usually have this will hardly happen unless the area of effect is quite large. Instead, the purpose of this effect is to affect the accuracy of the seeker and lower the amount of active countermeasures required to soft kill the target
Part of a design choice, passive countermeasures are only applied to units that use noticeable ECM built-in by default, because for now it is not possible to select this type equipment in the louadout menu.
Some units that use this are:
(I’m probably forgetting some, but they aren’t that many, which is unfortunate considering the number of aircrafts that are available.
I have some ideas to expand this to other units, like being to select extra equipment as part of the loadout, with some performance penalty of course, however I don’t see this as a possibility for anytime soon, but it is something that would make units like the A-10 have an interesting teamwork role in dogfights)
This is something that I’ve been feeling the need for quite some time, this allows the player to quickly test any missions that is currently working on without having to go to all the steps in battle scenario just to be able to test a mission.
This option allows to quickly jump to a mission with any aircraft and with any weapon.
Sure this allow players to play with units that are not unlocked, but I think in this case, at least at this moment, there is no reason to hinder usability for this kind o restrictions.
Also it has been added the possibility to save missions in a separate folder instead of the battle scenario or campaigns, this is for modders to maintain a better workspace without having the actual game filled with test missions
there are two other mechanics that I plan to add that may be included in this update:
After the bomb aiming system was fixed, I realized something that was bothering me for some time, bombing is actually, boring, and guided bombs are even more boring.
Basically what I´m saying is that there is no meta game in the bombing mechanics just aim a pixel to be over the enemy and that´s it.
To make it more interesting, each bomb should have it own CEP (Circular error probable), that will change accordantly altitude, speed and if the player is leveled.
This will also be applied to guided bombs, so each bomb will have his own level of accuracy that will also change to the aircraft used. Some planes will have increased accuracy, but event then the player must manage the CEP instead of just randomly throwing bombs.
Of course, for carpet bombing adepts, this will be irrelevant, but that is a waste of ammo.
This is just a fancy way to call the situation where an aircraft flying at low level becomes undetectable to a unit flying high in the sky.
This is to give a tactical tool for units like the A-10, Su-25 or jaguar be able to avoid or surprise enemy fighters.
If you are trying to lock to these units a simple solution is to lower the altitude and then the radar may be able to pick up the target.
Also, the closer the aircraft flies to the ground the higher will be the chances to pass unnoticed.
And this is what the next update will introduce.
At the moment I’m still fixing issues that were introduced with these mechanics, I’ll make this build available as soon all of them are corrected.
I’ve no exact day when that will happen but my guess is that it should be in the next days.
I’ll also let everyone know how this update will be available, because I´m not sure if I’ll use the “Beta” or create a new branch for this.
With all this changes I challenge you to fight the Ziz again.
Think this will be a good training because the Leviathan and others will arrive soon.
Stay tuned, more reports will follow.