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Target aquisition RADAR as a morale weapon

Posted: Mon 7 Sep 2015 22:02
by Spectre_nz
So I was testing out an idea for changing the way SAMs and ADN's in general work, it kinda did what I wanted, thought I'd share.

The idea was; since as far as I know, radar warning systems on military aircraft can identify what kind of RADAR is locked on to them, they can more or less tell a pilot how scary the missile is that's pointing at them. The longer that tone stays locked, the more the pilot is busy scanning below looking for the tell-tail ribbon of smoke to indicate there's a SAM coming up to introduce itself.

So I took a Buk, set its damage to zero, increased its ROF and gave it a lot more ammo, reduced its moral damage (since it will be firing a lot more frequently) and set it loose.

The effect was sorta what I wanted; it panics aircraft and quickly drives them off. However, even with the critical chance set to zero, it was still causing critical hits - maybe there was a setting I missed. This had the effect of frequently causing kerosene leaks and driving the planes away due to evac bingo. All without causing damage (aside from the occasional critical incendiary effect).

Against stealth aircraft, they don't get engaged until the SAM can spot them, so they can push further into the ADN before getting driven away.
High ECM craft get hit a lot less often by the 'shots' and so their moral takes longer to waiver.
And Rookies panic quicker than vets, since they don't recover as quickly between hits.

The next step would be to take away the missile effects and presto, an invisible weapon that plinks aircraft morale as it enters an ADN. If I could get it to cause craft to bug out rather than causing critical damage, that'd be perfect.

I'm figuring I can add it in as a second 'weapon' to SAM units. Give it high ammo and a low resupply cost. Then its a matter of balancing the accuracy and ROF so it quickly rattles rookie and low ECM planes, but doesn't do much to high vet, high ECM craft.

SAM's with more 'fear factor' like Buks and patriots could be set to do more morale damage than older types. And since it still counts as a radar weapon, you have to turn your radar off it you don't want to catch the attention of SEAD mission.

Re: Target aquisition RADAR as a morale weapon

Posted: Mon 7 Sep 2015 23:30
by tristanl
seems like a cool and sensible idea!

Re: Target aquisition RADAR as a morale weapon

Posted: Tue 8 Sep 2015 00:13
by The W:AB Noob
Missile effects are in the model module, under actions I think.

Re: Target aquisition RADAR as a morale weapon

Posted: Tue 8 Sep 2015 01:16
by Spectre_nz
Well, my attempts to make the missile invisible by taking away the references to its descriptor weren't successful, it seems to crash the game when the Buk tries to fire. Does anyone know if a blank texture file results in an invisible object?

Also, not sure if I can do anything about the smoke trail if I can't make the model go away.

Re: Target aquisition RADAR as a morale weapon

Posted: Tue 8 Sep 2015 17:42
by APSinc
Spectre_nz wrote:Well, my attempts to make the missile invisible by taking away the references to its descriptor weren't successful, it seems to crash the game when the Buk tries to fire. Does anyone know if a blank texture file results in an invisible object?

Also, not sure if I can do anything about the smoke trail if I can't make the model go away.

Maybe you could change the effect reference so that the smoke trail is a very light, hard to see effect. It might be a reasonable compromise if you can't make the effect go away completely.

Re: Target aquisition RADAR as a morale weapon

Posted: Wed 9 Sep 2015 02:13
by Spectre_nz
Maybe you could change the effect reference so that the smoke trail is a very light, hard to see effect. It might be a reasonable compromise if you can't make the effect go away completely.


Not sure if I can alter the smoke, it looks like its tied to the missile. The alternative may be to change the weapon type to use a bullet.
In any case, I swapped the missile model to a smaller stinger missile and increased the speed 10 times, it makes it almost invisible in flight, although you can see the lingering smoke trail.

What's a lot harder to hide is the sound and the flash of the ground launch which would make using it suicide for any attentive player with arty or bombers ready to go. Until I can figure out how to make the effect totally hidden, its not going to be playable.

Assuming I can get it playable however;

I've been testing low accuracy/high morale damage vs high accuracy/low morale damage. Targets have been F15C's, Nighthawks, Prowlers and AV8B harriers, so, a mix of high vet+highECM, lowvet+lowECM, highvet+lowECM and lowvet+highECM.

So far, there hasn't been a lot of differentiation between settings; most planes panic around about the same time they would evac bingo, although the high ECM planes do tend to last longer. With low accuracy+high moral damage the results are a lot more erratic, planes sometimes hang around for ages without an issue, while other times they are shaken after the first salvo. With high accuracy+low morale damage, they all tend to bug out sooner with critical hits, rather than a nice, slow accumulation of morale effects.

Even at 5% launcher accuracy, the 50% ECM F15's were still getting panicked eventually.

And the only planes I could actually get to rout and fly away were A10's. Don't know if this is a quirk of their settings, or because they're low and slow they just get hit a lot more.

In any case. Seemed like a good idea on paper, hasn't been so great in practice.

Re: Target aquisition RADAR as a morale weapon

Posted: Thu 10 Sep 2015 18:23
by nande
wouldn't the same idea work with SEAD?

Re: Target aquisition RADAR as a morale weapon

Posted: Fri 11 Sep 2015 00:43
by Spectre_nz
You mean, SEAD planes disrupting morale? Sure.

Re: Target aquisition RADAR as a morale weapon

Posted: Fri 11 Sep 2015 12:00
by Woozle
This is a really interesting idea, could give even terrible SAMs like the S-125 a deterrence value.

Re: Target aquisition RADAR as a morale weapon

Posted: Sun 20 Sep 2015 03:37
by Spectre_nz
So I went and had a look at the profile of a sniper unit, should have done that earlier.

All I had to do was set Projectile type to null. I also set missile descriptor, guidance and #missile corrections per second to null for good measure.

Presto, invisible morale damaging attack. I've left the launch sound in, so there's an indicator something is happening to your planes over unfriendly territory.

I think I'd use this with a global reduction in AA accuracy, but increase in general availability so that SAM's are still damaging when they hit, but planes aren't swatted out of the sky so quickly, except when there's a combo of ASF and suppression, or they just hang around too long.