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Get ready for a whole new level of realism!
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Old 07-19-10, 08:03 AM   #1
LGN1
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Default [REL] Campaign layers with zigzagging units

Hi,

the purpose of this mod is to make the game more realistic by having ships that change their course much more frequently than in the stock campaign. A very informative thread about the zigzagging of ships can be found here:

http://www.subsim.com/radioroom//sho...d.php?t=139391

Using some scripts I have written some time ago, I have created campaign layers for GWX (stock and New Wilhelmshaven/St Naz ports addon for GWX 3) and NYGM which include zigzagging units. Depending on their size, speed,... ships and convoys now change course frequently. Consequences are:

- Finding/Catching radio contacts is much harder now because of the course changes

- You have to observe the ships much longer. No more shadowing for 30 min., then end-around outside of the range of sight with full speed, and then waiting in front until the ships arrive. Now you have to stay in the range of sight for quite some time while shadowing and thus, you increase the chance of being spotted

- Positioning yourself ahead of a ship is now much harder. You first have to find out the basic zigzag pattern to know where to position yourself. Being surfaced is now a big advantage because you are more flexible. This makes night attacks more attractive. Finally, it's great to see the pattern emerge on your map.

All in all the mod makes hunting ships much more varied.

You can find an action report here:

http://www.subsim.com/radioroom/show...2&postcount=36

You can download the layers together with the scripts here:

http://www.subsim.com/radioroom/down...o=file&id=1681

Or the layers alone here:

http://www.subsim.com/radioroom/down...o=file&id=3306

In order to make the shadowing easier, I recommend to use a map update mod that provides some limited information on the map (especially about the course of the contact so that you know when it changes course, see below)



Please post some feedback, e.g. too many course changes, not enough course changes, weird behavior,... without feedback I cannot improve it.

Finally, thanks to Stiebler, Bigboywooly, and Hitman for giving me the permission to use the files.


Cheers, LGN1

Last edited by LGN1; 07-04-11 at 02:08 PM.
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Old 07-19-10, 09:14 AM   #2
sharkbit
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Kooool!

Looking forward to trying it out. Lack of zigging has always been a realism killer in the game.
Your mod will make things a bit more challenging.

Thanks for your work!

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Old 07-20-10, 09:26 AM   #3
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great work. did the additional waypoints increase the loading times and RAM allocation too much so that a splitting of the campaign files was necessary?
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Old 07-20-10, 10:18 AM   #4
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Hi,

thanks for the kind words.

@h.sie: Yes, a splitting was necessary because of the size of the files. I tried to limit the files to the same size as the stock rnd file has. At the moment it requires to change the campaign layer approx. 3 times for a full war campaign (Mid-End 40 when you move to France, Mid-End 42, and Mid-End 44). I think that's acceptable.

Unfortunatly, the long-range patrols (US coast, Carribean, South Atlantic) are not yet covered. I might add them later depending on the feedback (e.g., zigzagging in the Carribean). However, since I don't know how many people make long-range patrols and there are quite a few areas, I am not sure whether it's worth the effort.

After you have run a first patrol, please post some feedback. As a single player I cannot gather enough experience alone (especially about convoy attacks).

Cheers, LGN1
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Old 07-20-10, 10:56 AM   #5
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Hi LGN1,

The GWX 3.0 default campaign files already contain random waypoint and speed changes for a majority... if not all... convoy traffic (and single-merchant traffic IIRC.)

Can you describe how your work is different from what is already presented in GWX 3.0?

Cheers.
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Old 07-20-10, 11:21 AM   #6
h.sie
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Hi LGN1,

it will take some time until I start to play a campaign. Maybe one year.

You didn't understand my question. If the file size rises about a factor of three, do the loading times also rise about the same factor? Maybe loading times are mainly depending on the amount of different scripted units?
I'll test that in the next days, because I don't like splitted campaign files.

greetings,
h.sie
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Old 07-20-10, 02:31 PM   #7
LGN1
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Hi,

@Kpt. Lehmann: Just take a look at this thread (especially post #7):

http://www.subsim.com/radioroom/showthread.php?t=165794

and the action report I linked above. The main difference is that the zigzag pattern is much 'smaller' now. Ships now change course every few miles. Depending on the weather conditions and the contact, you have to figure out the zigzag pattern before you can attack (especially when using manual targeting. I already missed some shots because the ships changed course when I fired). Shadowing a contact is now much more interesting.


@h.sie: From my experience the loading times are determined by the amount of units and the size of the campaign layers. I never tested whether the crucial point is the number of units or the waypoints. However, if you add a fine zigzag pattern to the complete stock campaign you will end up with an RND layer around 100MB For the present campaigns I added around 40000 new waypoints.
If you don't like changing the campaign layers you can also just restrict the area where the ships zigzag. However, I think you have to restrict the layers either in time or place It's not a perfect solution, but I think it's worth it (Another solution would be to use a 'bigger' zigzag pattern. However, from my experience you do not gain much from a pattern with legs larger than around 25km).

Cheers, LGN1
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Old 07-20-10, 03:20 PM   #8
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Thanks LGN, another great addition to GWX, your efforts greatly appreciated.

regards

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Old 07-20-10, 03:32 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LGN1 View Post
In order to make the shadowing easier, I recommend to use a map update mod that provides some limited information on the map (especially about the course of the contact so that you know when it changes course, see below)

The whole point of running a zig-zag course is so the enemy submarine won't know where the convoy has turned to. Contacts were few and far-between, usually based on one sighting.
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Old 07-20-10, 04:17 PM   #10
LGN1
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sailor Steve View Post
The whole point of running a zig-zag course is so the enemy submarine won't know where the convoy has turned to. Contacts were few and far-between, usually based on one sighting.
Hi Sailor Steve,

I agree with you that the information given about the course is not 100% realistic. Especially, the fact that you are informed instantaneously. However, the crew would definitely recognize a course change after some time and inform the captain. After some more time they would also know roughly (N,NW,...) the new course. Since the crew does not really interact with you in SH3, I consider the course information a good compromise. Both ways are not realistic. Without map information shadowing the contacts is really a lot of work

Cheers, LGN1

PS: You can also edit the menu_*.txt in order to make the course information less accurate or just indicating a course change.
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Old 07-20-10, 04:22 PM   #11
Henri II
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When you posted the original thread about zigzaging some month ago, I went and applied the script to the whole GWX Merged Campaign file. The resulting File was 78 MB (original file was around 10 MB). The loading times did definitely increase, but it was tolerable. At least for me it was worth waiting a few minutes vs messing with the area/time limits and managing different campaign files.
Now some general feedback (with my own modified file):

-The faster the ship the more effective the zigzagging. In cases of large and fast convoys it might take you several hours to get in a new attack position, and than it might already be due for another course change.

-In some cases the course change actually achived the opposite, instead of spoiling the attack it got me in an even better attack position.

-Did not detect any wierd behaviour. Sometimes, especially in rough weather, it might take a convoy some time to sort out the formation after a course change. That however happens after every course change not only during zigzagging.

-You did not mention it, but after running the script I checked the file with the mission editor, and there were quite a few cases where either a waypoint or the line between two waypoints ended up on land. Might be necessery to comb through the whole traffic to prevent that.

All in all it deffenitely improved the experience.
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Old 07-20-10, 05:00 PM   #12
LGN1
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Hi Henri II,

thanks for the feedback I am glad that you did not observe any strange behavior. In the present version I have limited the zigzagging to convoys consisting of 5 or less columns (better formation keeping. As pointed out in the thread linked in the first post, broad and slow convoys did not zigzag).

Fast, escorted ships in bad weather are now really hard to catch. I like this a lot.

Concerning the point that you gained from the zigzag, I guess that also happened in real life I also gained once when I was hunting two ships with a speed of 12kn and my boat made only 13kn (malfunction from SH Commander ). Because of the zigzag I had a bigger speed advantage and could catch them

Unfortunately, the script cannot check whether a waypoint is on land. I guess this is not a problem as long as you are not in rendering range. You can either: 1) limit the script to areas without land 2) go through the campaign layers with the mission editor and fix the waypoints 3) do not hunt too close to coastal waters (30km). In the present mod I checked the campaign layers and moved some waypoints, but I am sure there are still some left.

Finally, just three questions: Did you use map updates? Did you use manual targeting? How many km was a zigzag leg when you applied the script to the merged campaign (the 78 MB case)?

Again, thanks for the feedback.

Cheers, LGN1

Quote:
Originally Posted by Henri II View Post
When you posted the original thread about zigzaging some month ago, I went and applied the script to the whole GWX Merged Campaign file. The resulting File was 78 MB (original file was around 10 MB). The loading times did definitely increase, but it was tolerable. At least for me it was worth waiting a few minutes vs messing with the area/time limits and managing different campaign files.
Now some general feedback (with my own modified file):

-The faster the ship the more effective the zigzagging. In cases of large and fast convoys it might take you several hours to get in a new attack position, and than it might already be due for another course change.

-In some cases the course change actually achived the opposite, instead of spoiling the attack it got me in an even better attack position.

-Did not detect any wierd behaviour. Sometimes, especially in rough weather, it might take a convoy some time to sort out the formation after a course change. That however happens after every course change not only during zigzagging.

-You did not mention it, but after running the script I checked the file with the mission editor, and there were quite a few cases where either a waypoint or the line between two waypoints ended up on land. Might be necessery to comb through the whole traffic to prevent that.

All in all it deffenitely improved the experience.
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Old 07-20-10, 05:07 PM   #13
LGN1
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I just added zigzag patterns (with the same parameters as in the present mod) to the stock GWX file. The script added roughly 330000 waypoints and the new file was 60 MB. Anyone wants to try it
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Old 07-20-10, 05:55 PM   #14
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I wouldn't mind giving it a go to see if it works, save me having to remember to load files

cheers

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Old 07-20-10, 09:28 PM   #15
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Quote:
the zigzag pattern is much 'smaller' now. Ships now change course every few miles
...

I never tested whether the crucial point is the number of units or the waypoints. However, if you add a fine zigzag pattern to the complete stock campaign you will end up with an RND layer around 100MB
...
(Another solution would be to use a 'bigger' zigzag pattern. However, from my experience you do not gain much from a pattern with legs larger than around 25km)
I did something similar to this. Sounds like the exact same thing i did in TMO for SH4. If so, i can tell you that you CAN get over ambitious with this. The number of way points does effect system performance. PM Tater about this. He did more experimentation with this trying to get convoys to have a constant helming effect. So he could give you a more positive answer.

Long story short, I don't believe your going to get zig zag patterns without some compromise. In SH4, if memory serves me correctly, i used a 25, or 30 KM leg on my patterns (i forget which. If i had the files infront of me i could tell you though), with a 10KM random radius. I had to keep it small because the PTO has alot of geographical features to steer around. You could probably use larger for the ATO though i don't know if you want your waypoint radius's overlapping or not. Anywho, my file sizes for these convoy layers went from like 600 KB to 2 to 3 MB. It was the best compromise for little to no degredation in system performance.

That's another thing. SH3 loads the entire layer for all years at once. That may be a limiting factor in terms of performance. I don't know, but ill bet your load times get HUGE. One thing to keep in mind is that odds are, the player is not going to come in contact with a convoy at the beginning of a zig/zag leg. They'll encounter it, and have no idea how soon it might zig, until it does. At which point they may be right on the firing bearing, or they might not. Using larger random radius on your waypoints will add a level of unpredictablity while saving resources by using less waypoints to define your zig zag pattern.
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