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Flight altitude


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What is the difference between the "treetop height" and "nap of the earth" settings? I have not been able to discern any difference.

Also, once you hit the 'q' key for any helicopter, it continues to gain altitude until it hits the program hard limit at about 500m or so. Is there any way to stop it from gaining more altitude? Hitting the 'z' key merely seems to cause it to descend. Is there a way to get the helo to hold a particular altitude (other than the four "pre-set" flight altitudes for routes")?

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there's some bug currently with how that is handled.

you can smoothly change flight height when the helicopter is moving, but once stopped it will jump to preprogrammed heights.

Aha, that explains it. Thanks.

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Aha, that explains it. Thanks.

Actually, it is not a bug per se, it is just a design decision which has apparently causes a lot of frustration (even with me) -- we hope to look into the behavior when we can in the future.

The current behavior though (and this might explain those frustrating situations) is this:

When helicopter is hovering/stationary:

Pressing Q and Z changes flight height in STEPS, and does not continuously change its height. So, when hovering at NOE (~50 ft), pressing Q once will go to tree top height (~100 ft), pressing it a third time will cause it to go to "normal" height (1000 ft). There is no in between unfortunately when hovering, and this is why it seems like it is flying uncontrollably into the heavens. When this happens, press Z once and it will go back to tree top height.

When helicopter is flying/moving:

Pressing Q and Z changes flight height in INCREMENTS of feet, so you hold the key to adjust the height in a continuous and fluid altitude setting, not steps.

------------------

The problem with this design decision is obviously that the behavior differs when stationary and when moving, and that you don't actually know what is happening because the UAV style HUD is currently missing from the helicopters. As I said, we hope to revisit these design decisions in the future to make them more consistent (ie. allow fluid incremental height changes when hovering, with more feedback as to what is happening).

Other than that, to answer your question -- NOE is ~50ft height, and tree top is ~100ft height. If the helicopter is flying near trees then it will raise up automatically from NOE to tree top, but when the obstructions are gone then it will descend back to NOE if it is able.

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Actually, it is not a bug, it is just was a design decision which apparently causes a lot of frustration -- we hope to look into the behavior when we can in the future.

The current behavior though (and this might explain those frustrating situations) is this:

When helicopter is hovering/stationary:

Pressing Q and Z changes flight height in STEPS, and does not continuously change its height. So, when hovering at NOE (~50 ft), pressing Q once will go to tree top height (~100 ft), pressing it a third time will cause it to go to "normal" height (1000 ft). There is no in between unfortunately when hovering, and this is why it seems like it is flying uncontrollably into the heavens. When this happens, press Z once and it will go back to tree top height.

When helicopter is flying/moving:

Pressing Q and Z changes flight height in INCREMENTS of feet, so you hold the key to adjust the height in a continuous and fluid altitude setting, not steps.

------------------

The problem with this design decision is obviously that the behavior differs when stationary and when moving, and that you don't actually know what is happening because the UAV style HUD is currently missing from the helicopters. As I said, we hope to revisit these design decisions in the future to make them more consistent (ie. allow fluid incremental height changes when hovering, with more feedback as to what is happening).

Other than that, to answer your question -- NOE is ~50ft height, and tree top is ~100ft height. If the helicopter is flying near trees then it will raise up automatically from NOE to tree top, but when the obstructions are gone then it will descend back to NOE if it is able.

Thank you for the very thorough answer.

Any chance of implementing a "pop-up" behavior for helos? Just like ground vehicles periodically move from turret to hull defilade, the helo, upon arrival at the BP, would descend to (or remain at) an altitude putting it in complete defilade vis-a-vis the battle position LOS "bubble." At some interval (preferably user-specified via the waypoint menu, or at least via triggers/conditions/events), the helo ascends to get LOS to the bubble. Rinse and repeat. You can sorta do this now with a cluster of short routes at the "battle position" (in the doctrinal, not program, sense), but you are limited to the pre-set altitudes rather than LOS criteria -- which can be fatal because the helo ascends to an effectively arbitrary altitude above its cover. (Also, because this requires conditional logic, you can't do this during the execution phase).

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Sure, anything is possible but it just comes down to time. ;)

That said, I have seen helicopters pop up and engage before but the behavior could certainly be improved. I think the current behavior depends on where their BP is located, it has to be somewhere where they are behind a terrain feature but can still partially see the enemy, like just behind a hill crest. However, that is a tricky place to get to, and most people just put the helicopter on a hill where it sits.

I recommend that if anyone uses helicopters then make extensive use of the "guard" tactic to have them fly away from their BP automatically once they are under fire.

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