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Rotareneg

SB Pro PE 4.0 - Discussion thread

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10 hours ago, daskal said:

Is it just me, or does the dust effect look nicer than previously?

Yeah, there's something different but I'm not sure what it is. I haven't played on a desert map or driven on dirt roads lately. I think currently dust is kicked up only at the last wheel. In the video, dust is nicely produced the entire length of the tank.

 

Also, there's a road going up a slope with new huts nearby. Currently, roads on a slope with buildings nearby have an undesirable side-effect. The road in the video remains flat. I hope this is actually the case rather than me suffering from a placebo effect with these 4.0 updates!

Edited by Scrapper_511

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4 hours ago, Apocalypse 31 said:
Quote

 

Or the interesting engagements that occur between two opposing rifle squads.

 

It's gotten better in the last few patches but it would be nice to allow players to have more control.

 

 

A few years ago in a test scenario I watched an RPG gunner crawl up near a heavy MG team in open ground, pop up and fire the RPG at the group, killing them all. While I was impressed at the time, I've never seen that behavior again. I don't know what the sorting formula was to trigger it (out of bullets?), but it did so without explicit orders given; it seems in retrospect to be an anomaly, RPGs and bazooka weapons aren't typically used against other infantry. Because infantry only engage with their rifles while prone, there are times when there is a berm or some bit of rise in the terrain will block all their shots and they're stuck in that situation shooting at the dirt in front of them- in those cases, that's what grenades are for to break the stalemate. I don't particularly need to have the first person view with iron sights, but perhaps a way to expand the 'suppress here' commands to designate areas or targets that the computer doesn't discern as a threat with selected weapons (say, a building or a bunker or bush which isn't obvious to the computer but which the player knows or suspects there are enemy infantry there). Perhaps if and when the day comes when the infantry can fire from standing or kneeling positions or using terrain objects as partial cover while firing, greater human control would be more necessary to keep the infantry from being too aggressive or selecting the 'wrong' tactics outside the player's intent. Unfortunately, that kind of micromanagement would also give a human player more control options in real time that computer opponents wouldn't have.

 

Edited by Captain_Colossus

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I concur, a more accurate 'force fire' would be nice, but we already have first person functionality for several dismounted units.

 

We just need that extended to riflemen. 

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37 minutes ago, Apocalypse 31 said:

I concur, a more accurate 'force fire' would be nice, but we already have first person functionality for several dismounted units.

 

We just need that extended to riflemen. 

 

well, the current approach is a simplification because our troops currently don't take cover like real soldiers would and as such, the battles are a lot shorter than they would be in real life.

on the minus side, this leads to some pretty silly situations where two platoons of infantry could be 3m apart and shooting at eachother for half an hour.

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47 minutes ago, Ssnake said:

We haven't made the decision lightly. We don't like it at all

 

Not going to lie - this is a burden

 

SCE designers need to either stick to the standard maps or upload map and mission files together. 

 

 

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52 minutes ago, Ssnake said:

Map files

 

But LNT files are much bigger than their old HGT counterparts, and what's more, each needs a "min max map" (MMM file) which is both large in size and computationally intensive (converting the 1.5 MByte Hannover-Weserbergland height map takes about 39 minutes raw computing time, plus another seven minutes for the navmesh, resulting in about 75 MByte for the LNT, 125 MByte for the MMM; the TER file remains unchanged at about 35 MByte). Fortunately an MMM file (and the navmesh) need to be generated only once for each TER file; there will be no need for a separate navmesh in every scenario file.

 

 

Ssnake are these dependent on the playable area used for a given scenario file?

 

Using the above example, do those figures change for a scenario using a 5km x 5km "map" versus a 20km x 20km "map", or are they for the full map file (regardless of how much is used in a given scenario)?

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I believe the quoted text was referring to editing the the maps themselves, not using them in the scenario editor. Currently, SB always includes a cropped copy of the terrain file (grass, sand, buildings, roads) and by default also includes the height map (elevation data.) It appears that in 4.0 scenarios will no longer include either of those, so scenarios should be of a small size regardless of the map they use.

 

I am concerned a bit about the negative effects this will have on the usability of the map editor. Currently it's quick and easy to crop out a section of a large map and make simple edits like thinning out buildings in a village and moving a few roads around for a small mission, but from what I'm reading it seems that with 4.0 you'll have to make a whole copy of the entire terrain and height data and go through a memory and processor intensive process when you save it after every change, unless I'm just reading more into what ssnake has said than I should be.

Edited by Rotareneg

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I have another question about new "eye candys" , can we expect to see the shell ejection animation on T-62 / T-72 / T-90 ? And BMP3 100mm / 30mm ?  Thank's for your good work.

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6 hours ago, Gibsonm said:

Ssnake are these dependent on the playable area used for a given scenario file?

 

Using the above example, do those figures change for a scenario using a 5km x 5km "map" versus a 20km x 20km "map", or are they for the full map file (regardless of how much is used in a given scenario)?

 

No. Like Rotar suspected, there's simply a clear separation of map and scenario. No matter how large the part of the map is that you select, the scenario file will remain just a few hundred kilobytes large rather than taking up double-digit megabytes as we're seeing for quite a while now. That's the upside.

The downside is a loss of comfort/tolerance of user error. If you don't have your ducks in a row as a client when attempting to join a session in a (non-LAN) low bandwidth environment (and I consider even relatively fast SDSL connections as "low bandwidth in this context) you should pack up and leave.

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5 hours ago, Rotareneg said:

I am concerned a bit about the negative effects this will have on the usability of the map editor. Currently it's quick and easy to crop out a section of a large map and make simple edits like thinning out buildings in a village and moving a few roads around for a small mission, but from what I'm reading it seems that with 4.0 you'll have to make a whole copy of the entire terrain and height data and go through a memory and processor intensive process when you save it after every change, unless I'm just reading more into what ssnake has said than I should be.

 

You don't have to go through the major time killers after every edit, don't worry. An MMM file would only require to be made on creation of a map, and after changing the elevation profile (and even then, I believe, we will only recalculate the changed parts. So that's not so terribly bad. Quick and dirty map hacks however will now incur a bigger penalty as far as the sheer number of maps are concerned and the associated harddisk storage space.

The biggest practical problems occur when client and host have maps with identical file names but different content. There are of course solutions for this, but short of introducing a versioning system or switching over to a database where all content would be stored with even more bloating of file sizes, these solutions are of the category "I'm glad if they turn out to be not too confusing and disruptive".

 

Which is why I started this discussion early. We need to "educate our users" about these changes as early as possible so you can mentally prepare for these changes. There is a certainb loss of comfort, but it's not on a "terrible" level IMO.

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8 hours ago, Ssnake said:

Also, and that's the nasty part of it, chances are high that for larger multiplayer events if they aree based on a scenario with a custom map, these map files need to be put on a web server for download prior to the event as these large file sizes, particularly if they must be distributed to a larger number of clients, make it totally impractical to distribute them on the fly. Which means that clients coming unprepared to a network session will have to be rejected by the host, and may only be allowed to join the mission in progress later on after they collected the necessary files.

 

With the engine change I was hoping for a more visible change in terms of the terrain. It still looks as it did in the very first SB release - apart from shadows and possibly better physics added. My issue with the terrain apart from the looks is that you can still go pretty much anywhere anytime. The surface is basically flat, no ditches, holes etc. You don't have to worry about driving around and throwing a track or getting stuck unless you hit a tree or something. The themes change your movement speed but that's it - but you can still go anywhere anytime.

Edited by daskal

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8 minutes ago, daskal said:

With the engine change I was hoping for a more visible change in terms of the terrain. It still looks as it did in the very first SB release - apart from shadows and possibly better physics added. My issue with the terrain apart from the looks is that you can still go pretty much anywhere anytime. The surface is basically flat, no ditches, holes etc. You don't have to worry about driving around and throwing a track or getting stuck unless you hit a tree or something. The themes change your movement speed but that's it - but you can still go anywhere anytime.

 

you can actually modify the themes so that they will immobilize you. just set the traction to nearly zero, and crank up the drag.

the main problem here is the AI. they're stupid, and will inevitably get stuck, since they don't know the difference between ground you'll get stuck in, and ground that is passable.

Edited by dejawolf

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The new terrain engine is supposed to be able to handle trenches and similar scale ground features:

 

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1 hour ago, daskal said:

With the engine change I was hoping for a more visible change in terms of the terrain. It still looks as it did in the very first SB release - apart from shadows and possibly better physics added.

 

1) I haven't yet shown everything

2) Like I wrote before, the new engine is more of an enabler for future feature additions and improvements

 

Originally we wanted to have the new map editor included in the release; instead the old one will have to do for about six months to a year longer. With the new editor you will then be able to add terrain features that depend on changes to the height profile. For the moment we're stuck with legacy maps (and where are the super-high details supposed to come from, if the original sources are all low resolution?). The differences will be quite visible (I'll show you in coming videos) but not an earth-shattering revolution.

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Reposting this because I can't edit old posts, but there were a few errors with respect to file names which may create confusion:

 

Sooo... Terrain Themes and Weather

 

The Theme files have had "normal" (=dry) and "wet" conditions, except that "wet" only stored some values but never actually applied them.

This is going to change with version 4.0, only a slight delay of about five to six years. :o

Anyway, while the final balance is still being discussed, it'll boil down to this: 

 

You can set five precipitation levels in the weather control dialog - "none", "light", "medium", "heavy", and "extreme" (so far, this isn't news).

The first frame/node of the weather control will determine the initial balance between bone dry and completely soaked of the ground mobility conditions. Start with "no" precipitation, and the ground will behave exactly as you know it. The longer and the heavier the precipitation, the more the balance will shift towards "wet" conditions. Conversely, start with "extreme" downpour and the ground will be soaked, even if you switch over to sunshine at one minute into the mission. The ground will gradually dry up, but as far as I can see it's going to get wet way faster than the terrain will dry up (right now, the speed of transition is rather exceptional).

 

Speaking of precipitation, if you set a weather control point to have temperatrures below 0°C, rain will automatically change to sleet, then snow. So, as a mission designer you don't have to worry about that.

 

 

We will probably dump the vast majority of theme files however - as far as the official installer is concerned. Most of the theme files do not strike a proper balance in the mobility properties, particularly as far as the "bumpiness" parameter is concerned, and we cannot possibly fix them all. Like, 80% of them either have the terrain types entirely flat, or at maximum roughness. Now that this will get visualized, the discrepancy will become rather apparent (and it may actually show in the one or other video that I made - it's a learning process for all of us). So my advice to you map and mission designers: Pick your favorite THM files and back them up. Also, go through them, and change the mobility parameters to something more reasonable. Like, rather flat offroad terrain would have about 20% bumpiness (much less, and it's hardly visible). Difficult terrain would range from about 40% to 70% bumpiness, and anything beyond that would be really extreme.

Also, whenever you ramp up the bumpiness you should also raise the ground resistance. While the parameter can be set independently, it's rather obvious that very rough terrain will also slow every vehicle down, no matter if it's teflon coated or not.

 

We also have come to realize that THM files have the potential to, pardon the language, fuck things up rather badly (sadly, my vocabulary is inadequate to find a succinct phrase that wouldn't obfuscate the ugly truth). Going into details is probably worthless. The salient point is that under certain circumstances - we think that this will be a very rare case, if ever - Steel Beasts Pro may warn you about applying a certain THM file. Take that warning seriously. You can override it, but there is a very high likelihood that if you do, things just won't work out. SB won't crash, but units wouldn't behave right, and unexpected events are likely to occur. It may sound like a brilliant idea while you're high or drunk ... but like with most drunken ideas there will come a moment of regret and embarrassment.

 

Map files

While I'm at it. Embedding map data in scenario files was a convenient (if wasteful) feature, but it can no longer maintained. We tried, but we had to come to accept the fact that this old, round peg simply won't fit the new square hole, no matter how hard we hammered on it. As a consequence: HGT files need to be converted to LNT. A future upgrade will also bring HNT files to complement LNTs, but initially we don't need them, and that's a good thing, because HNT files can become monstrously huge. Also, for each LNT there's also the need to generate an MMM file (more on that further below).

Anyway, LNT files differ from HGTs in several ways - among them the fact that we can apply smoothing and leveling to terrain under roads. Which means that LNT files actually depend on TER files (if you place a new road, or delete an old one, the underlying terrain must be adjusted to support a nice and smooth road, or it must be restored to the original elevation data). This dependency also means that we can no longer have one height map supporting a multitude of terrain maps. Rather, there will be a 1:1 relation ship. You change a TER file and save it under a different name? Steel Beasts creates a copy of the corresponding LNT file.

The upside of all this is that scenario files are shrinking back to their original file sizes of just a few hundred kilobytes, yay!

But LNT files are much bigger than their old HGT counterparts, and what's more, each needs a "min max map" (MMM file) which is both large in size and computationally intensive (converting the 1.5 MByte Hannover-Weserbergland height map takes about 39 minutes raw computing time, plus another seven minutes for the navmesh, resulting in about 75 MByte for the LNT, 125 MByte for the MMM; the TER file remains unchanged at about 35 MByte). Fortunately an MMM file (and the navmesh) need to be generated only once for each TER file; there will be no need for a separate navmesh in every scenario file.

Also, and that's the nasty part of it, chances are high that for larger multiplayer events if they aree based on a scenario with a custom map, these map files need to be put on a web server for download prior to the event as these large file sizes, particularly if they must be distributed to a larger number of clients, make it totally impractical to distribute them on the fly. Which means that clients coming unprepared to a network session will have to be rejected by the host, and may only be allowed to join the mission in progress later on after they collected the necessary files.

 

We haven't made the decision lightly. We don't like it at all. But we like the options that the new terrain engine offers in the long run so much better that we're willing to do it. So, there needs to be a mentality change. You just can't stumble into a network session at the last minute. The necessary files need to be downloaded and put into the right places before you even think about entering the Assembly Hall. We're sorry (yes, we truly are), but the onus of preparedness is on you. Maybe one day when everybody has fiber optics installed and a Gigabit upstream connection to the internet will it become practical again that the host will distribute the files to all clients (the functions are still there in SB Pro). It's just that until that day comes, low bandwidth connections will still dominate the interne tinfrastructure, and the sheer data size multiplied by the number of clients simply prevents this approach for all practical matters.

 

No. I can't yet tell you how large, exactly, the 4.0 installation will be, or how large the download will be. Once that I have reliable data I will post them.

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1 hour ago, Ssnake said:

 

1) I haven't yet shown everything

2) Like I wrote before, the new engine is more of an enabler for future feature additions and improvements

 

Originally we wanted to have the new map editor included in the release; instead the old one will have to do for about six months to a year longer. With the new editor you will then be able to add terrain features that depend on changes to the height profile. For the moment we're stuck with legacy maps (and where are the super-high details supposed to come from, if the original sources are all low resolution?). The differences will be quite visible (I'll show you in coming videos) but not an earth-shattering revolution.

New map editor? Sounds promising :D Please tell me you will have Copy & Paste options for objects/buildings on the map.

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I like verything from terrain improvements, to new weather effects, the 3d crew and the TAM, If we can get some more crewable T-72, then even better!!

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While we are talking about weather, i know i saw ( or i think i saw) somewhere answer about how it will affect the lenses of GPS, CITV, etc.. But i cant find it now :/

Im speaking about drops trickling down, snowflakes piling up etc. Will we see something similar in 4.0?

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

I never had a chance to look through tank scopes in such condition in RL so i dont know how much are they affected by precipitations...
 

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2 hours ago, BigBadVuk said:

While we are talking about weather, i know i saw ( or i think i saw) somewhere answer about how it will affect the lenses of GPS, CITV, etc.. But i cant find it now :/

Im speaking about drops trickling down, snowflakes piling up etc. Will we see something similar in 4.0?

 

No... We're not against such fancy effects, but we're out of time for now.

 

I never had a chance to look through tank scopes in such condition in RL so i dont know how much are they affected by precipitations...

Snow melts, so we're talking about drops, and dirt. They can appear on the sight; usually they aren't terribly bothersome unless half water, half mud. That said, at least on the more modern vehicles you'll notice small wipers. Not on thermal sights, because they see right through most dirt (and the wipers would damage the lens coating, so water spray only).

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27 minutes ago, GSprocket said:

I'm assuming that the theme is per-scenario, or is it attached to the TER file?

 

There's a default THM applied to each TER file, but you can override that in the Mission Editor by loading a different one.

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Nice new video! 

One thing I noticed is the exhaust fumes from the M113 which is a really nice detail, also far in the background is a high smoke pillar rising towards the sky, haven't seen that before but I love it :) 

And I guess that Merkava,Chieftain and Leclerc fans will toast a beer for Esimgames tonight! 

There were quite a few vehicles I did not recognize, built on piranha chassi it looks like, Austria? 

 

On a Swedish note I noticed the new Patria that we have in Sweden as Patgb 360 on 71st and 12th Battalions so now I do not have to use piranha stand in for those :)

 

And the terrain? Looks good :D 

 

/KT

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I suspected Froggy and Lavictoireestlavie had gag-orders on them :D. I'm looking forward to playing around with the LeClerc myself...along with the Chieftain. Great additions!

Edited by Scrapper_511

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