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markh

Newbie question - creating "night" missions

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I have just purchased Steel Beasts Pro PE and I am having a great time. I have been looking for a game like this for years. Congratulations to all involved in developing it and supporting it.

I noticed in the "textures" folder that there are two night sky bitmap images ("sky_n1" and "sky_n2") that would seem to suggest that it is possible to create a night mission. I have looked at the forum threads and cannot seem to find an answer as to how I create a map/mission with the night sky. For example, there does not seem to be anyway in the "Themes" menu to do so. Can anyone help me?

I am sorry if it is either a simple or silly question, but I just cannot figure it out.

Thanks in advance.

M

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It was a planned feature, but it's never been implemented. Well, you can rename the night sky texture to the name of the day sky texture, so it will look somewhat like night (but the computer controlled units won't behave as if it were night).

This image here mas made with a night sky as well.

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Thanks for the prompt reply Ssnake.

I understand what you are saying about the AI behaviour. My query is that if I set the "visibility" setting to say 100 or 200 metres will that (in part):

(i) simulate the limits of visibility at night; and

(ii) does the "visibility" setting impact on the AI in the same way as it does with the human player?

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To some extent, yes. They will not engage targets beyond such a detection range, so that part is modelled correctly.

I would expect different behavior in other areas, though.

It starts with the fact that you can easily have five or ten kilometers visual range at night, it's just that there's very few and very dim light sources. You can't read a newspaper at night trough a telescope, but neither can you when it's in your hand - it's always the same kind of darkness.

This translates to target detection and identification. While you can detect a target at long ranges if it emits light, you can't identify it until it starts behaving in an obviously hostile or friendly manner, or if it is close enough for ID in the thermal view (or IR scope). But computer crews in SB Pro don't have a routine for proper ID procedures yet, they will immediately know whether it's friend or foe as soon as a target is detected.

Second, you'd expect units to get lost more often. Maybe not these days with ubiquituous GPS navigation, but it used to be much harder to navigate at night, so you'd either crawl at slow speed most of the time or you'd take wrong turns during your march and end up in places where you had no idea where they were. Not so with computer-controlled units in SB - you can do high speed maneuvers like in broad daylight and they will never fail to arrive at the precise spot and in time.

Finally, the lack of light can be dealt with by way of artificial illumination, but that tool isn't available in SB yet. Once that you can make day in selected spots, things will become more interesting. Of course this also means that computer-controlled units will have to be able to make reasonable decisions when to employ illumination, when not to, and where.

In short, proper night combat would require

  • Implementation of proper ID procedures that take into account positional, behavioral, and sensor signal elements. The procedures must allow false positive and false negative IDs
  • Implementation of proper decision-making processes for the employment of illumination - location, duration, activation threshold (which needs a feedback loop with logistics/availability of illumination rounds and tubes)
  • Implementation of more autonomous unit maneuver that allows units to get lost and recover from navigation errors, at least occasionally

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Well, you could make the argument that, typically, war zones tend to have mandatory blackouts - or power plants just having been targeted by the first air strikes. Not saying that we shouldn't have light masts (though multiple directional light sources seem to be a bit of a performance killer, to put it mildly - you you can always fake this with light maps etc., so it would still make for nice eye candy).

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