Campaign For Pat's BoB
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  1. #1
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    Campaign For Pat's BoB

    I hear on the grapevine that work on Pat's BoB is progressing! Looking forward to that. Following 33Lima's sterling efforts with testing a BoB campaign for ETO, I'm going to incorporate some of the learnings into a BoB campaign package compatible with Pat's BoB.

    Feedback from the ETO BoB package included - increasing the frequency of sorties, delaying the possibility of invasion until August, having a variety of aircraft available at the campaign outset, getting larger tighter formations of German aircraft.

    Some of the features of CFS3 are hard coded and thus a CFS3 campaign will not be "realistic", but hopefully they will be immersive and enjoyable. For example, the player's wingmen are limited in number. So if enemy air spawns are designed to be too large, the degree of survivability becomes pretty tough. Which might be realistic, but it is less enjoyable also. Maybe I should offer two spawn sets, one for interesting variety of bogies, and another for more challenging campaign missions where the chances of survival are low.

    One thing I realised only after sinking a couple of days into setting up RAF Groups as countries, is that in CFS3 as it stands, the aircraft from say 10 Group may well start the campaign from a 10 Group airbase, but when the squadron gets reassigned, it is a random process and you may well end up at an 11 Group or 12 Group airbase. Setting "Ownership" in the global_layer.csv is ineffective.

    What Charlie did with his BoB-era "DC Diary" package was to create a big spawn set involving Manston spawns, Kenley spawns, Big Wing spawns, etc, keyed into specific locations. That may be as good as it gets.

    With more use of .mos files, it would be possible to get flights using historically relevant squadron markings. Stock CFS3 aircraft had "bands" in the mos file where noseart and markings could be applied, so that each aircraft in the flight had a different marking. Unfortunately (my personal opinion) it became fashionable to get rid of that feature, and even mos files, from add-on aircraft. But for key bob-era aircraft it may be possible to retrospectively modify the .mos files and provide appropriate decals/noseart for the aircraft.

    It will take a long time to get a good balance in a spawn set. Any package will inevitably be "beta" and hopefully over time it can be modified.

  2. #2
    Now there's some good news!

  3. #3
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    Fantastic news for my favorite addon for CFS3. A wonderful expansion that needs attention . Thanks ! Regards,Scott

  4. #4
    Yes great news, and you've certainly got my list of top desirable improvements in there! And even if closer bomber formations can only be done in scripted missions, bigger bomber formations would be a big enough step forward.

    The best way to reduce excessive casualties is probably not to limit LW numbers, but to limit lethality. Even in WotR which has AI which can run away, casualties can be way more than IRL. In WotR I reduced this a bit by reducing AI gunnery (accuracy?) to the lowest setting, which can be done in WotR's 'Workshops' settings page. In my ETO BOB campaign, I would readily settle for being able to get one or two kills a mission; fighter kills in particular are way too easy to get more than that. Reducing the effectiveness of most MG and cannon rounds, even by say 30% or so, might be the way to go there. Not so good to reduce AI shooting accuracy if that leaves the player able to go through enemies like a dose of salts.

    Anyway I entirely get that CFS3 dynamic campaigns go their own way by design and that 'alternative history' approach is actually part of the attraction. While it happened too soon in my ETO campaign, fighting to try to stem the invasion, or at least wrest back air superiority, has added a whole new dimension. An alternative, more historical BoB can be achieved too, through sets of scripted campaigns, albeit with less replayability and results not carried forward.

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    Glad there are a few "campaign heads" out there . Whilst elusive, in some campaigns in some installs I've felt that the generated mission experience is as good as the better scripted missions. Some campaign missions remain in my memory, particular scenes like pursuing an Me110 diving into massive thunderheads. What was the optimistic Microsoft marketing shtick? "As Real As It Gets!"

    I think a lot of people get put off because so many things are "not quite right" to get random air spawns, ground spawns and frontline spawns working effectively to create a constantly changing environment. An unmodified stock campaign has only a few variables and continual anti_shipping missions are unrealistic and tedious.

    But continuous tweaking of my MAW, ETO and BoB environments means sometimes on a campaign mission, everything clicks. The challenge is repeatability - getting a good experience every mission.

    33Lima, your mention of predictability in some scripted missions reminds me that some scripted missions have a diverse spawn set utilising the #randomiser, so they provide at least some variability (eg. Bodenplatte). However, there are some missions which seek the noble goal of re-enacting an historic event. Different strokes, I guess.

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    A Bit of Testing - a hard day at the office - no surviving wingmen hence the Mission Goals Resolved Sign.


    The burning hulks of enemy a/c litter the airfield after a CAP mission. One enemy has just been brought down by ground fire.



    This is an example of two 8-bomber formations called by a die roll from intercept.spawns. There will also be an escort somewhere - where?



    There are two ways to show bullet hit damage - either by putting in small debris effects to the damageboxes in the aircraft xdp, or by building them into the air effect line of the weapon/round xdp file. This following shot illustrates the latter approach. Each white puff of smoke is caused when a .303 round hits the aircraft.


  7. #7
    Looking great! The bigger bomber formation especially! The individual staffel formations look tighter, too.

    However...it may be to some extent round-specific eg the De Wilde .303 or the .50 Cal API, but if guncam footage is anything to go by (admittedly a camera not the human eye, hence the 'wriggly tracer' effect) then a brief but bright flash at the point of impact is the most realistic sign of a strike against an aircraft target.

    My only personal experience is limited to 7.62mm ball rounds striking (not penetrating) falling (steel) plates in good light usually and I don't recall anything much, other than the nice metallic thwack when you hit and hopefully dropped one!

    WotR does the puffs, and I have to say I don't like it at all. I think a trail of puffs, which if they formed a visible cloud, would probably spread out and disperse very quickly, and looks wildly unrealistic.

    Just my tuppenceworth!

  8. #8
    This is what I have in ETO with the universal / combined effects package. It includes a mix of debris, puffs, splashes and explosions.

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  9. #9
    That looks good. Flashes with or without sparks on impact are good. Puffs on impact are ok. Trails of persistent puffs in the slipstream are not ok - IHMO.

  10. #10
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    Great points! I'm using the combined effects xml in my BoB Campaign Beta install. I think the bullet puffs look a bit strange, maybe linger too long? The string of puffs in a row does look a bit weird. By contrast, the 303 round that makes a red flash looks really good. I'm getting amazing clusters of red flashes when I bring 8 .303 Brownings to bear on an aircraft in Pat's Bob. Not sure if it is an ETO effect or and Av_History effect. The CPU and GPU must be working overtime to render all the flashes in a timely fashion.

    IIRC some of the cannon hit effects involve small debris. Some aircraft have debris damage effects written into their damageboxes through the aircraft's xdp file. I started to add lots of whizz-bang effects to aircraft damageboxes in my Stock Testbed, but I've gone back to preferring the hit effects to be largely confined to the weapon round's xdp file.

  11. #11
    Flurries of impact flashes sounds really good! One of the effects I really like in ETO is the little white winking light you can see as the muzzle flash from the rear gunner in an aircraft you're attacking. Hopefully this one won't be too CPU or GPU intensive.

  12. #12
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    RAF 10 Group Pilots in QC mode. In the menu you can see 11 Group and CAI options visible. It turns out that this order of appearance is set by the order of countries in the country.xml file, so it's not necessarily alphabetical.


    Some CAI aircraft will appear in the campaign. Pat's BoB was already set up for Italian aircraft


    Lucchini and Toscanini are the usual cast of characters in the NEK









  13. #13
    Hey! They have smarter uniforms! Apart from those trousers - and that's just the aircraft!

  14. #14
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    Progress

    progress is being made on a Campaign Package for Pat's BoB.

    To start with, a global_layer selector is used, where you choose a global layer depending on whom you wish to fly for: RAF 10 Group, 11 Group, German, Italian, etc.

    The global layer for flying a career as a 10 Group fighter pilot restricts the available airbases to those found in 10 Group (more or less).

    Spawning also needs to be set - no spawns (for scripted missions) or spawns for flying as an Allied or Axis nation.

    So before even starting a new campaign two bat files need to be run.

    Then you can go to the campaign tab and select "New Campaign". The following image shows a new campaign being started for a pilot flying for RAF 10 Group.


    Once set up and starting the campaign, the mission options can be selected from the map. I've simply accepted the one that is automatically offered. Here we will fly an intercept mission off the coast ofrom Warmwell, flying from the Middle Wallop airbase.


    But takeoff is interrupted from huns coming out of the sun! Our flight of 8 Spitfires has to contend with not one but two sets of 6 Me 110s, in succession. It is a close run thing to finally despatch or damage them enough to proceed to the intercept point.

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    The flight to the intercept point is fairly uneventful. Then we meet 16 Do 17s in two flights, together with 6 escorting Me109Es. The Me109s hold us up at high altitude whilst the mission target slips by below at about 12,000 feet. Some bombers target the mainland, but others seem attracted to a small battle group of a cruiser with three destroyers. We are busy surviving the Me109s; luckily the flak from the warships accounts for some of the bombers

    Ankors shaders and good skins make our targets look pretty good. . .

    We do not do much damage to the bomber formation but enough for the mission objectives to be met. Only five out of eight spitfires manage to return to base, and some are looking pretty sorry for themselves. I crashed on landing - very lucky to walk away.

    But somehow we failed to get to the first waypoint? In the heat of the battle, this CFS3 campaign quirk was forgotten. Hopefully it does not impede the campaign much.


    On to the second mission as a 10 Group RAF pilot. Another intercept mission is offered in Sector S10. Notice that my pilot's health is only 11! That is a result of the crash and is barely enough to fly. Luckily I have a couple of skill points. If I add one to the total health points, a bug in the game engine boosts my health from 11 to my original level.


    After this campaign mission I tested in QC mode to see what would happen if I selected an RAF 12 Group airbase, when using the global layer from the RAF 10 Group campaign.
    CRASH. Not entirely unexpected, I think. But a salutory reminder to run the GL selector again when switching from campaign mode to QC or scripted missions, where you need the original global layer.

  16. #16
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    HH BOB Mission 707

    Took a break from campaign missions. Owen (HH) wrote quite a few scripted missions for Pat's BoB. One of my favourites is Mission 707, where you have to defend a convoy off the east coast of England.

    A combination of AA and defending aircraft combine to bring down this Ju88 over the convoy.



    Boy this Ju87 burns well



    But it disintegrates with final touches from the AA



    And the Ju88s do not fare much better



    A very satisfying mission to play. Thanks, Owen!

  17. #17
    Looking good - looking great in fact!

    Out of curiosity, in the GL selector, if you want to fly RAF, what does choosing option 1 get you, that you don't get by picking 2, 3 or 4? An RAF bomber campaign, I hope! And do you think we will be able to select fighter type (or squadron and aircraft type with the correct ID letters), before starting the campaign? I'm assuming Groups will have squadrons flying more than one type of fighter and hoping that choice of Group will still permit changing the plane you fly.

    Anyway some great work going on here, well done to all concerned - this will be worth waiting for!

  18. #18
    FS Bf110C3
    <Effect Type="Track" EffectName="GR_OKL_Revi16NF_gunsight" PosX="0.001" PosZ="1.530" PosY="1.0275" Pitch="89.5" MinVel="-999999" MaxVel="999999"/>


    ETO_Bf110E_1
    <Effect Type="Track" EffectName="GR_OKL_Revi16NF_gunsight" PosX="0.001" PosZ="1.672" PosY="0.972" Pitch="90" MinVel="-999999" MaxVel="999999"/>


    BoB_110c4_ZG26, BoB_110c4b_ER210, BoB_110c6_ER210, W40_bf110c
    <Effect Type="Track" EffectName="GR_OKL_Revic12d-_gunsight" PosX="0.000" PosZ="1.525" PosY="1.035" Pitch="89.0" MinVel="-999999" MaxVel="999999"/>


    GC Bf110g2
    <Effect Type="Track" EffectName="GR_OKL_Revi16D_gunsight" PosX="-0.001" PosZ="1.825" PosY="0.975" Pitch="90" MinVel="-999999" MaxVel="999999"/>


    MAW1943 JG_Bf110g2
    <Effect Type="Track" EffectName="GR_OKL_Revi16d_gunsight" PosX="0.000" PosZ="1.672" PosY="0.990" Pitch="90.0" MinVel="-999999" MaxVel="999999"/>


    ETO_bf110g4r32 and ETO_bf110g4r8 Night Fighters with Shrage Music
    <Effect Type="Track" EffectName="GR_OKL_Revi16NF_gunsight" PosX="-0.001" PosZ="1.825" PosY="0.975" Pitch="90" MinVel="-999999" MaxVel="999999"/>
    <Effect Type="Track" EffectName="GR_OKL_Revi16NF_gunsight" PosX="-0.001" PosZ="1.1925" PosY="1.625" Pitch="4.25" MinVel="-999999" MaxVel="999999"/>
    Alternate PosY="1.000" for front sight to match original static glass dimensions.
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  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by 33lima View Post
    Looking good - looking great in fact!

    Out of curiosity, in the GL selector, if you want to fly RAF, what does choosing option 1 get you, that you don't get by picking 2, 3 or 4? An RAF bomber campaign, I hope! And do you think we will be able to select fighter type (or squadron and aircraft type with the correct ID letters), before starting the campaign? I'm assuming Groups will have squadrons flying more than one type of fighter and hoping that choice of Group will still permit changing the plane you fly.

    Anyway some great work going on here, well done to all concerned - this will be worth waiting for!
    Hi 33 Lima, What is not explained fully, is that there is still an option to fly for country=British, because the great majority of aircraft are still British. It may be that flying the basic Allied campaign as a British pilot (Option 1) will work best for a bombing career - I could add missions specific for the bombers to the Allied version of the campaign. There are specific campaigns to use for careers as 10 Group, 11 Group or 12 Group pilots.

    I have added fighters with specific skins to 10 Group, 11 Group, and 12 Group. I've left the original models of BOB hurris and spitfires, so as not to create problems for the missions. I've simply created new aircraft where there are Group-specific skins.

    At present, there are only a single spitfire, hurrican and blenheim for each Group, simply to allow rudimentary campaign play and testing. To get more variety, I will need to get the permission of some kind skinners to use some of their existing historic skins, for use with BOB models (not sure about campatibility).

    Once some of Fouteman's Allied aircraft are available this will open up yet more historic skins.

    There are a lot of skins in ETO, but I won't use them unless given permission by the skinners.

    So we will start with functional campaigns which will act like a "clothes horse"! What I would really like are the old CFS3 mos files to be revised, to allow individual squadron lettering to appear on individual aircraft. Something which has gone out of fashion. In the original stock CFS3, you can choose specific lettering on your aircraft and spawned groups of fighters each display a different letter or code.

    So just think of this as a bare-bones framework which allows for expansion. And it is a hell of a lot of work just to create the skeleton, from which to add more diversity with more spawns and aircraft!

  20. #20
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    @ MajorMagee

    I hope Mongoose sees those reticle stats, he is looking for the 110c positions!

  21. #21
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    RAF BoB Era Bomber Campaign

    When I get back to the CFS3 computer I'll upload the latest screenshots from the testing regime.

    I've written a campaign to fly as an RAF bomber pilot in 1940. The campaign relies on the generic Pat's global_layer, giving access to all RAF airbases. The campaign is flown as a British pilot, as opposed to 10 Group, 11 Group etc (although they can be chosen).

    Lima33's experience with bombers in ETO BoB has meant this bomber campaign has a variety of MissionTypes, strike factories, strike railyards, anti_shipping. When or if you ever get the upper hand, it is possible to fly offensive missions against ammo depots, dug-in formations, the usual gamut.

    Also tested is a more "ambitious" spawn set for fighter intercept missions. I threw in unit sizes of 12 rather than the 8 I've been testing for a while. The latest intercept mission saw 12 + 8 Do 17s, and a set of fighters as top cover.

    But this time I had help from a flight of Hurricanes, another of Spitfires, as well as my Spitfire flight. It was a very satisfying flight - busy skies, better realism factor and the main goal is simply survival. Screenshots to follow.

  22. #22
    Sounds great - looking forward to seeing the pics - and to playing the campaign when ready!

  23. #23
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    Flying an intercept mission off the coast from Warmwell. Big group of bombers passes below my flight.



    But first, the escort of 109s needs to be dealt with.



    Now flying an anti_shipping mission over the channel. Had a spot of bother with incoming bombers as we left our airbase.



    Back at base after a successful mission - the ruddy Jerries have bombed the hangars!


  24. #24
    Looking good!

    PS where did you get the mid-1940 Blenheim If skin? I was looking for one of those!

  25. #25
    Quote Originally Posted by 33lima View Post
    Looking good!

    PS where did you get the mid-1940 Blenheim If skin? I was looking for one of those!
    CANCEL - found it at Reg's Hangar:


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