September 04, 2012

In Air Combat

Tired of your plane getting shot down by a sneeze in the wrong direction? You should be. Attack helicopters and fighter jets are a lot tougher than you might think. While it may be true a good shot with a single rpg might take one out it's fairly rare and even so it usually just makes it unstable to the point it crashes rather than completely destroying it. It seems that most often in a game these days if you're in a chopper at any point you know it's going to crash it's inevitable. The truth of the matter however is that a skilled pilot and a decent level of luck can get you far. This as always is aside from the fact that it's terribly difficult to hit a fast moving target with a regular rpg. Of course that's why we have all the high tech tracking systems these days but still.

When dealing with things like stinger missiles which were designed for dealing with enemy vehicles in one shot, unlike rpg's which work for such purposes but are more effective against defenses and infantry, it's important to remember counter measures that most air vehicles have. Once all counter measures are exhausted and dodging becomes impossible most air craft are still designed  to remain as intact as possible during a crash and to retain as much control as possible in the process.

In the campaign of the man game there's a scene in which low and behold you find yourself in a chopper, and spoiler here it crashes. The point leading up to the crash however tries to reflect what I mentioned above. Your pilot survives 3 different rockets and getting shot at for quite a while before finally the fuel tank springs a leak as you might have guessed, and he still tries to keep control while you clear a landing zone which is under a timer until you're out of fuel. In the landing scene he gets shot and you have to take over to crash land anyway. Afterward though you realize how well built these things are and how intact it remains in spite of the damage it took. I attribute this to the resin that covers the metal, or at least it seems most likely. Often the windows or transparent orange coverings are made entirely of this resin, of which 1/8th of an inch can stop low caliber rounds with ease and not even a scratch on it.

This also translates to competitive multiplayer in which your air combat isn't a simple matter of who shoots first. The dogfights are difficult battles of skill and cunning which take place while trying to defend important targets. Your fighter jets protect your gunship and to some extent your heli while carrying out bombing runs. Your heli is used for transportation and cover, other ground assistance. Your gunship much the same is used in standard supportive roles. The gunship however is large and relatively slow by comparison making it a target which means it has to be defended from other fighter pilots, much the same as your fighters will try to take out enemy gunships. Once you're in a well funded pmc upgrades make worlds of differences. Your gunship will start carrying more guns and ammo so rather than one steady stream of fire you'll have 9, your counter measures will increase in number and efficiency similar to your actual armor. Your fighter jets will become faster and deadlier with greater fuel supplies and higher ammo capacity. Though as of yet I have yet to add much to the heli's other than armor and a couple gun upgrades, suggestions welcome.

When it comes down to it your aerial combat isn't just one dancer in a ballet it's a coordinated effort among a group. The group is also likely well experienced as you get to rate their performance and the best performers tend to get picked.

1 comment:

  1. I think most game developers have the aircraft so weak as to better balance them as opposed to realism. I've seen the chaos these things can cause when left unchecked.