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View Full Version : Bugs and omissions with "strafer" bombers



Tater-SW-
07-23-2005, 03:29 PM
The B-25s and A-20G in PF have a number of issues that affect their usefulness and historical accuracy. There are a few catagories: loadout, aircraft AI behavior, and less important, target DM/behavior.

LOADOUT:
There is another loadout thread concerning the A-20 not carrying enough payload ( http://forums.ubi.com/eve/forums/a/tpc/f/63110913/m/1211027833 ).

The B-25s have other issues.
1. All B-25s should get the parafrag loadout. Many, if not most or all B-25C/Ds were converted to strafers.

2. The parafrag loadout is low. 60-120 bombs would be more common. They were in groups of 3 that dropped together.

3. Given that parafrags are modelled, a "para-demo" would be a nice addition. A 100lb bomb, wrapped in wire for schrapnel effect, with a drogue chute to ****** the fall. Even with a chute, they were set with 8-11 second delay fuses to prevent damage to the plane dropping them.

AI BEHAVIOR:

1. Low altitude land attacks with AI are virtually impossible, regardless of your skill and setting waypoints in the FMB. The planes execute a climb, then a shallow dive to attack instead.

2. Once they do attack, if armed with parafrags, both the A-20 and B-25s execute a roll while dropping the bombs. Looks incredibly dumb.

3. There is no coded skip-bomb behavior, so attacks have to be done with 1 plane flights, and it requires you to trick the AI to not do a climb/dive instead. Note that if there was a "skip-bomb" loadout, the AI could be told they were torpedos that need to be dropped from ~200 meters and skip-bomb coding is done for AI.

4. Related to the above parafrag/skip-bombing AI issues is the fact that while "strafers" they will not strafe ships, or ground targets as they bomb---a main reason for their strafing guns in the first place. This is partially an issue to be discussed below under target behavior and DM. This is likely outside the il-2 engine at this point. A short-term fix might be to simply make sure the AI treats the A-20G and B-25s as LEVEL BOMBERS instead of fighter bombers, or dive bombers. It seems like there is a property to aircraft that determines overall AI behavior: level bomber, dive bomber, torpedo bomber and fighter. Better AI behavior for strafers might be as simple as changing this one parameter.

5. The Ai in general needs a new waypoint toggle like the radio silence toggle for a given waypoint. It should force the plane to drop ord without the AI "thinking" about it if checked. Tell it to gaatck at 5m alt, and it just will, without doing anything else but flying the normalfly waypoint.

TARGET BEHAVIOR AND DAMAGE MODEL:
Yes, Il-2/FB/AEP/PF is NOT a tank sim or a ship sim. That said, to have anything like a realistic feel for ground attack combat some things need to be updated.

1. Ships need to be harder to sink, but easier to damage. Smoke/damage effects with fewer hits, but harder to actually sink.

2. AAA guns need to be supressed by MG fire, even if not killed outright. MG fire landing near AAA should stop it from firing, and "killing" AAA should perhaps only happen with a large cannon (30-40mm+?), bomb or rocket hit. Ground and ship AAA, BTW. (this happens after a fashion already, I guess, but the AI planes do not strafe/skip bomb so it only matters for players, AI just gets slaughtered)

3. Runway cratering time needs to be a mission parameter, perhaps under "Conditions" as a global setting. It should be really simple like the dwell time of craters, and the minimum size crater that gets tracked with a dwell time (you can then tweak for FR by having a long dwell time, but requiring large bombs to minimiz the number tracked by the server). Online play really needs this so airfield supression means something short of just vulching.

tater

Platypus_1.JaVA
07-23-2005, 03:53 PM
You can get the AI to skipbomb. For details, you should go to the mission builder forum for details. AAA guns on ships can actually be suppressed. It also seems a feature where you can actually destroy the AAA on vessels only, that never hapened to me.

Tater-SW-
07-23-2005, 04:04 PM
Yes, I may have been the one who posted how to get the AI to skip bomb. As I said, single plane flights only, and you have to trick the AI by setting a normalfly waypoint within a few hundred meters of the actual gattack waypoint.

None the less, the plane will immediately start climbing after it knows the next waypoint is gattack. I think you may be right about supressing the guns, though it is hard to tell just how much or how long this actually happens. I have strafed out guns on ships, but it is very hard. AI fighters won't strafe ships at all, however, nor will B-25s and A-20s except the B-25G/H, and even then they only fire the cannon at them.

Regardless, this is "tricking" AI behavior, not actual skip-bombing, meaning that it is 100% scripted such that if the AI bomber were to get hit in an engine and slowed slightly, it would still fly the same waypoints and possibly drop into empty water well behind the scripted target. This is unlike AI torpedo bombers who can have a set target, and they willmaneuver to make a proper torpedo attack.

In terms of PF AI, a skip bomb attack is just a torpedo attack that must be completed at very very short range.

I did a number of tests with AI bomber recently. AI planes will not drop bombs if too low for fear of damage to themselves---EXCEPT torpedo bombers. TBs will happily drop a torpedo onto hard ground at 5m alt (blowing themselves up in the process) if you set a gattack waypoint. Parafrag attacks would be instantly possible (with planes flying at low alt) if the AI were told that the B-25J and A-20G were "torpedo bombers" and/or that the parafrag bomb loadout was actually a "torpedo." (assuming they fix the bombers making rolls while dropping parafrags).

tater

PS--I just checke dthe mission builder forum, and the how to get ai to skip bomb post is my own.

avimimus
07-26-2005, 10:17 AM
I call thee OLEG, here and note these comments for BOB, which will come

Thus the last shred of sanity leaves, well not actually becoming a religion, the pseudo-mystical realtionship with Oleg as the invisible watching and critical mover force in IL-2 development, finally begins to go to seed.
I can't believe I am part of this!

A.K.Davis
07-26-2005, 10:29 AM
Originally posted by Platypus_1.JaVA:
You can get the AI to skipbomb. For details, you should go to the mission builder forum for details. AAA guns on ships can actually be suppressed. It also seems a feature where you can actually destroy the AAA on vessels only, that never hapened to me.

Only on ships introduced with PF, afaik. I have seen AA guns on the Japanese destroyer knocked out by gunfire, but it is difficult.

Tater-SW-
07-26-2005, 11:55 AM
You are right regarding supression, to the effect it is there it is only on the PF ships.

tater

Fox_3
07-28-2005, 09:17 AM
AI Aircraft will straffe ships. They just need to be armed with 37mm or better.http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_frown.gif

I would like to see all planes able to straffe ships. Even those armed with rifle calibre weapons. Such as the Ju87 and Val.

Tater-SW-
07-28-2005, 09:30 AM
Yeah, which defeats the purpose of the PTO strafer-bombers (armed with many 0.50 cals). In fact, large numbers of the 75mm cannon armed B-25G and Hs had the unpopular cannon removed, and replaced in the field with 2 more 50s.

For player-flyable planes, the existing bombadier gun was frequently fixed forward, 2 more added on each side through where glazing should be, and the whole greenhouse in front painted over. So many B-25Js (field mod) would have had no bombadier position (eliminate it from the model as a position) and 5 pilot fired guns added (for a total of 9 forward 50s). I'll scan some pictures later.

http://www.grafixnpix.com/wwii/b25bstcl.jpg
http://www.grafixnpix.com/wwii/5thaaf.htm
Note that on this aircraft they only painted over part of the glazing on the bottom. Some were unpainted, some were totally painted. For a PF variant, just assume the painted over nose and delete the bombadier/nose gunner positions, and add 2x0.50 cal to the external art. That's it, no other modification needed. BTW, I believe it was 500 rounds per gun ammo.

tater

Tater-SW-
08-09-2005, 08:39 AM
Punt for ending the rolling while dropping ord medium bombers!

tater

Saunders1953
08-17-2005, 07:27 AM
Bump. Tater, your original post was an model of a bug post, IMHO--a detailed description of a problem, possible reasons for it, and (some) simple suggestions for fixes, all without a hint of griping. I sure hope that Oleg will take notice.

Daiichidoku
08-17-2005, 10:48 AM
Originally posted by Tater-SW-:
3. Runway cratering time needs to be a mission parameter, perhaps under "Conditions" as a global setting. It should be really simple like the dwell time of craters, and the minimum size crater that gets tracked with a dwell time (you can then tweak for FR by having a long dwell time, but requiring large bombs to minimiz the number tracked by the server). Online play really needs this so airfield supression means something short of just vulching.

tater


i have no opinion about the other things, although they make sense, and i would welcome it....

i especially liek the idea of setting craters under "conditions" in FMB

this would be invaluable, and at least for DF servers, really make things interesting, and make flying a bomber worth it!

Tater-SW-
08-17-2005, 10:00 PM
Thanks, sauders. I try to be fair, and constructive with bugs/ommissions. The saddest thing about PF is that it could be so much more with a small input of lateral thinking. Not totally new code for this or that, but slightly better uses of stuff already in the game. From maps, to reusing AI behavior in a novel way (faking AI to think a certain bomb is a torp and getting skip bombing, for example).

It's gonna be a long time til we see a good PTO flight sim again, so I'd like to fight for everything we can possibly get---and the easier it is to do (by asking for small fixes instead of grand changes) the more likely it is to happen.

tater

Tater-SW-
08-23-2005, 08:42 AM
With the coming inclusion of the A-20C, I thought I'd bump this since the C was also a strafer (and used effectively by the VVS as a torpedo plane).

tater

Tater-SW-
08-23-2005, 10:59 PM
Punt so Oleg can see. Most critical are the current AI issues. There is no way, even at higher than realistic alt to get a parafrag attack without rollign, crashing planes. It also looks bad.

tater

Beaufort-RAF
08-27-2005, 12:02 PM
The AI behaviour of the B25J makes it useless for RAF ops.

The RAF did fly the J but used it as a convential bomber, not at low level.

However the AI insists on diving down and strafing targets after the bombs have been dropped regardless of the waypoints you set in the FMB.

Even though the B25C has a fixed gun in the nose it behaves properly as a conventional bomber, but unfortunately it's AI only.

Fox_3
08-27-2005, 12:24 PM
I have no problems getting the AI B25J to level bomb.

Tater-SW-
08-27-2005, 12:30 PM
At treetop level like it should, fox_3? I do mean treetop level, too, think 15m alt. Actually, it'd be unrealistic, but they wont't even do it at 300ft. 345BG B-25s routinely came home with pieces of trees stuck in them, that was SOP for them, low and fast, line abreast so no one drew any more fire than anyone else.

With parafrags?

I have yet to see one stay level, either, a shallow glide is what I see them do.

I'd love to get some hints, perhaps it has to do with the distance between waypoints you use (assuming they actually fly perfectly level).

tater

Tater-SW-
09-05-2005, 09:35 PM
I'm still interested in a reply from fox_3, but I also would hop to see oleg chime in. It's on my mind becasue I'm reading yet another book about the 5th AF, and it is such a terrible shame that the AI refuses to fly the B-25 and A-20 properly.

I understand it won't ever be perfect in PF, maybe in a later sim, but just give us the ability to have the AI just fly the waypoints and drop like we tell them to with no interference from the AI.

I can make a plane fly at 15-30m, no problem. Just let us tell the AI to drop the bombs and keep flying level at 15-30m! One new waypoint tpye "jettison" which drops the ord without the AI (over)thinking about it.

tater

Tater-SW-
10-18-2005, 12:45 PM
4.02m Update:

The A-20G will now parafrag decently, if not historically low. Tried default 500m alt (~50 times historical norms for parafrag attacks). The planes put themselves in a shallow dive, then bombed at maybe 50m? They stayed level, too, no barrel rolls! The only downside is that they will only fly in a line astern fromation instead of the line abreast they should attack in.

The B-25s do the same thing, except planes 1-2 will bomb well, and 3 and 4 do barrel rolls.

More later.

tater

Tater-SW-
10-19-2005, 01:11 PM
A little more testing on the A-20G.

500m alt for a formation of 4 seems to work nicely. I have a long space before the gattack from the previous waypoint, maybe a minute. They dive down to 50-75m (?) and drop. They do still climb out, but that might be because i have level 500m waypoints, I will try a post-attack waypoint alt of very low alt and see what happens. The climbign is a problem because the planes aren't abreast, so the trailing planes run the risk of colliding with parafrags.

Low alt is screwy, even the normally semi-reliable 67m waypoint. They will fly formation at that level with 2 planes (haven't tested 4), but they won't attack, no2 goes off on his own.

I'm going to redo my B-25 test with a lower post-attack waypoint and see if that keeps 3 and 4 from barrel rolling.

tater

Vrabac
10-19-2005, 02:22 PM
Interesting info...

You obviously know much about groundattack AI behaviour, so maybe you can help me out. It seems to me that all AI accept "attack ground" orders at some 3000 meters from the target, including vertical spacing. I figured I can lead a flight of 4 Stukas, and if I'm over 3k altitude and order an attack even right on top of target, I get the "unable" response. So I order them to make line astern and spread it out a bit before the tgt, fly at around 2.8k and order attack just as I'm about to dive, and it works nicely, but AI seem to be rather unprecise from those altitudes (I guess it's the altitude, since when AI stukas dive from 4000m or 5000m -for some reason they can- they hit pretty accurately). This isn't so bad when bombing soft targets, but when attacking targets like tanks or ships it tends to drastically reduce the effect in relation to the AI-only flights that start diving from higher alt. What I'd like to know is if there's any way of making the AI divebomb from higher alts than 3k (I don't mean completly AI flights, but the human led ones).

Sorry to be a bit off topic.

Tater-SW-
10-19-2005, 05:52 PM
Human led is indeed a problem for exactly the reasons you cite. It's a possible problem with parafrag attacks for my current testing as well---if I lead MY flight in on a historical attack, they'll lose their minds and do crazy things (since I would execute such an attack from maybe 15m alt).

The short answer is that you are SOL. They just won't do it. Makes SBD missions pretty impossible if you try to fly at historical altitude (12-14k feet). I think that the AI reaction range---since it's just a simgle number in the code someplace---should be a config setting.

tater

Vrabac
10-19-2005, 06:18 PM
Ah. That's what I thought. Thanks for confirming my fears. http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

Keeping in mind the game is called "Il2 Sturmovik" the fact that ground attack AI is so flawed is a bit... funny. http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif

Tater-SW-
10-19-2005, 07:55 PM
Unfortunately so. They don't skip bomb, either http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_wink.gif

tater

p1ngu666
10-19-2005, 08:49 PM
i made a mission with b25s and they go back and stafe http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/16x16_smiley-sad.gif

Tater-SW-
10-19-2005, 09:19 PM
Yeah, they will go back and make passes, that is also a problem.

We really need 2 more waypoint pulldowns, and one toggle button (like radio silence). One pulldown would be "jettison ord" no other AI checks, just hit that point, and drop all ord. The second waypoint would be "rally" or something like that. Planes would proceed to that waypoint at all costs after they completed the previous waypoint. You could put it close to get them to drop, them move the hell on and RTB.

The toggle would be to "follow this waypoint literally." That means that if you go to the trouble to map out the waypoints to fly the AI in at treetop level, they do what you say, even if it scares the AI making it want to climb, etc.

tater

p1ngu666
10-19-2005, 09:56 PM
gonna change it to betties maybe... http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/16x16_smiley-indifferent.gif

we need a british b25, they had less crew and often didnt have straffing guns. could take extra bombs instead tho http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_smile.gifhttp://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_smile.gif
4,000lbs from the book ive been readin

field mod with straffer nose... aswell

hope a20c or whatever comes with and without the noseguns

Tater-SW-
10-19-2005, 11:30 PM
A principal problem with the "strafer" bombers is that they don't strafe. In a perfect world, they'd strafe on taregt ingress, drop their bombs, then egress and not come back. Currently they'll fly in, drop bombs, then come back for another pass.

tater

J_Weaver
10-20-2005, 01:04 PM
I know this thread is about low level atacks, but what the heck. http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_wink.gif The same ai problems makes level bombing impossible in the B-25. Instead of holding formation and dropping when they reach the attack waypoint, they break formation and dive on the target. Thus instead of bombing from a safe altitude of say 16,000' above the light flak, they dive and become target drones. If I understand the ai correctly, this is all because the B-25J has the fixed mg's. Of course a B-25C would fix this problem. http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_wink.gif

p1ngu666
10-20-2005, 01:13 PM
i made a mission and b29(!) did a shallow dive then bombed the turpitz, might have been something i did with waypoints but i dont think so http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/16x16_smiley-sad.gif

Tater-SW-
10-20-2005, 01:35 PM
Odd. So all bombers execute a glide bombig attack? Seriously, the gattack waypoint, when no target is SET should just bloody jettison all the ord. Not thought, just hit that point in space and drop the bombs, period. A simple, simple, fix.

tater

p1ngu666
10-20-2005, 01:52 PM
i had used the set command i think. they where fairly high up aswell
might swap em to pe8 with the 5000kg bomb actully

Tater-SW-
10-20-2005, 02:25 PM
Try it without a target set.

tater