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Tanks - tracked vehicles driving and handling

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With Tanks DLC one of our priorities is to improve the feeling of driving a tank or any other tracked vehicle. Refine how the vehicles perform, handle or simply how enjoyable they are.

What do the improvements consist of:

  • updated PhysX libraries to 3.4 and switched wheel contact queries from raycast to sweep. We believe the precision and reliability of terrain traversal has improved quite significantly. On the other hand it's been a change that undoubtedly affects already released content. Especially the n-wheeled vehicles and tanks. Watch out for new issues with us, please. Report anything suspicious. And if your own mod got negatively affected by the update - get in touch with us asap ;)
  • revisited physics configuration of individual vehicles, their engines, drivetrains and suspensions. Together with new config. properties and options.
  • revisited sound configuration, with new samples and new approaches
  • AI tank drivingAI driving feedback topic, following up on previous AI car driving refactoring
  • player tank commanding changed to direct control over the vehicle (test)

 

Most of these changes are WIP, to test things and get feedback from you!

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The first tank to look at is the MBT-52 Kuma.

Fire feedback at will!

Let us know what you think about its handling and the new sound.

Look at steering, traction, weight shifting, suspension, transmission, "bounciness", fun, overall feel.
Listen to the engine revving, tracks clucking, creaking during turns, check both 1PV and 3PV
Try turning on spot (neutral turn), turning in slow and high speed, accelerating, braking, transitioning from forward drive to reverse, drifting (just a tiny bit), climbing, driving downhill, etc.

Known issues are:

  • possibly too high neutral turn rate
  • occasional RPM spikes during turns that can abruptly "accelerate" the vehicle
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Squeeeeee!~

 

I love tanks! Thank you so much for these changes!

 

"player tank commanding changed to direct control over the vehicle (test)"

 

If this is changed please release a unofficial mod or documentation on it. Can't wait to test it! (in 7 hours after school :c)

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On 09/10/2017 at 9:39 PM, oukej said:
  • player tank commanding changed to direct control over the vehicle (test)

 

This is a beautiful change! Sometimes the AI cant drive for shit when humans command. 

 

As a suggestion, is it possible to add a speed limiter of somesort [Kinda like the Forward Slow command we currently have for the AI]? Allows for the Human commander to crest ridgelines at a suitable cresting speed and also when it comes to driving through the city streets at stable speed rather than +-5/10km due to the vehicle slowing down and resulting speeding up etc, 

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0912091455-1.jpg

 

All aboard the Hype-Train (or Kuma)

 

EDIT:

 

So I finally got around to playing around with the Kuma. 

 

First of all, and most importantly: This is a major improvement! The tanks feel heavier, more connected to the world, like they have inertia. Handling is way better than before.

 

Handling

I have never driven a real MBT before, let alone seen one in action with my own eyes. But from armchair-youtube-self-proclaimed-expert point of view, I must say this is MUCH closer to what I deem realistic, than the old handling system was. The tank tracks seem to now lock when braking, allowing the tank to skid back and forth, or even power-slide. The turning, acceleration, braking, steering in speed, stationary turning, it all feels more realistic to me. Also a huge plus is the new commander/gunner control over the driver AI. WAY better controls, but probably needs some kind of mini-HUD to indicate commander/gunner view heading in relation to hull heading.

 

Visuals

The 3rd person view makes it harder to get a good glimpse of the tracks, but by pressing "num -" during 3rd person I could see the tracks better. They all seem to behave as should. Suspension looks very nice, tracks follow terrain. It becomes very apparent that the suspension has a "resting" spot midrange of the extension, it can be compressed some, but also extend (like when jumping or tracks is going over a steep edge). This all looks very believable to me. As I have limited knowledge of modern MBT's I don't know how much smoke they produce when accelerating, but I felt that it should produce a tad more. Also, when driving offroad, the tracks could "drizzle" dirt all along the top. To simulate dirt that has been carried around the end wheels and to the topside of the tracks. This also helps hide any "wonkyness" the tracks may be up to during high-speed offroad driving.

 

Audio

I immediately recognized some really nice new sound sets. Especially noticeable were the track squeals during turning/steering and the roar of accelerating. As speed increases, the track noise becomes more apparent. BUT, I somehow feel that the audio fades too quickly at distance. An MBT roaring across the battlefield can be heard from quite a distance, and I must say at 100m or so I couldn't even hear the thing coming. I would go as far as saying that if, for gameplay reasons, you can't whip out a launcher in the time it takes from hearing the tank, to having it roll by you, something is not right. My initial suggestion would be increase the range of engine roar (accel sound) by 2.5x, the regular engine noise, sqeals and track noise by 2x. I honestly think that tanks are really THAT loud and for gameplay reasons AND realism should be audible from a much greater distance. Sound masking (objects) should help a lot when being stealthy, and also being stationary or shutting off engine should improve stealth. 

 

The final points of criticism

 

Suspension: Somehow I get the feeling that the bounciness is slightly off for a ~62 Ton tank. While I simply can't speak for Main Battle Tank suspension, I can speak for aircraft shock absorbers. They are designed with a combination of compressed gas and oil and are often referred to as "Oleo legs". To keep aircraft from bouncing like kangaroos on the runway during landing, they allow a greater compression rate than extension rate. What this means is that the suspension can quickly deal with the compressing shock, but allows soft extension to avoid "springing" the aircraft into the air again. I would assume that the same effect is desirable for a tank (EDIT: The challenger MBT has hydropneumatic suspension, the Merkava it seems uses springs and shock absorbers).

When driving your Kuma in-game, I ran over a narrow (about 6m wide, 2m deep) ditch at about 30km/h. When the rear of the Kuma hit the bottom of the ditch, it got flung into the air again so hard it just seemed unnatural. So much that the back of the tank was higher than the initial starting point by at least 3 meters. There were no bushes or small rocks there.

 

Handling: During jumps, the tank repeatedly starts "yawing". It seems like if there is even the slightest difference between when the individual tracks get "airborne" the tank starts turning towards the side that still has ground contact. This force seems exaggerated and often causes you to land sideways and lose your forward momentum.

 

Third and final point: This may be too early to "cry" about, but collisions seems a bit strange at this point. If the tank hits anything, it seems like it just freezes in spot. It doesn't collide and bounce back or lift its rear upon sudden stop. It just "freezes" in spot. Sometimes small rocks produce this effect of just freezing. This even happened when I hit the small wooden shack/shed with two doors. I would expect the buildings that are of roughly the same size as the tank to partly or fully collapse when crashing into them. 

 

 

So all in all, a HUGE step in the right direction, and let's see if other testers agree with some of my points or if it's just me :)

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On 9.10.2017 at 3:39 PM, oukej said:

player tank commanding changed to direct control over the vehicle (test)

 

Don't test. This is awesome! It always bugged me that my AI driver is unable to drive reliable. That's gone now <3

 

 

About today's changes. I love the way driving feels. The suspension plays a much bigger role now and it feels very smooth. It's also possible to to do proper jumps with tanks without them slowing down immediately. Perfect!

 

However, there a few issues I noticed/thinks that could be improved

- Some weird forces are applied to tanks which causes them to flip or be catapulted in any direction.

- I noticed that everytime I want to reverse, the tracks turn the wrong way for a second.

- Some bushes can cause the tank to jump

- Firing the cannon doesn't move the tank, the suspension should absorb some of the kinetic energy

 

- When driving a tank, the camera always cuts of the rear of the tank. I believe the FOV or center point of the camera should be changed

pUUnx0E.jpg

- When driving forward and doing quick, short left/right motions, the engine revs decrease very abruptly. For me, that doesn't sound right.

 

 

 

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21 minutes ago, R3vo said:

However, there a few issues I noticed/thinks that could be improved

Awesome, thanks!

21 minutes ago, R3vo said:

- Some weird forces are applied to tanks which causes them to flip or be catapulted in any direction.

The issue's still there. Hoped we've at least reduced the effects - so you managed to flip it just by turning?

21 minutes ago, R3vo said:

- Some bushes can cause the tank to jump

We're trying to solve this one. Introduced by the better wheel contact queries and changed reject angles.

21 minutes ago, R3vo said:

- I noticed that everytime I want to reverse, the tracks turn the wrong way for a second.

Caused by some residual forward input. We hope to still do some tweaks in the way input is handed over to PhysX.

21 minutes ago, R3vo said:

- Firing the cannon doesn't move the tank

#Tomorrow

21 minutes ago, R3vo said:

- When driving a tank, the camera always cuts of the rear of the tank. I believe the FOV or center point of the camera should be changed

Actually Kuma has that position changed to higher point (previously the camera was more behind the tank). Higher FoV is a possibility but at a cost of some fish-eye distortion and maybe "way too good" awareness in 3PV.

21 minutes ago, R3vo said:

- When driving forward and doing quick, short left/right motions, the engine revs decrease very abruptly. For me, that doesn't sound right.

The RPM goes down in turns in the simulation too. Depending on the gear selected when entering the turn. Not sure we'll be able to solve it. We can't make the vehicle downshift for turns only, on the other hand the sound can go a bit around the simulation. In neutral turns this should be better.

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26 minutes ago, oukej said:

The issue's still there. Hoped we've at least reduced the effects - so you managed to flip it just by turning?

 

 

Not while turning.

 

The video also shows what I mean with the camera. Very often the camera moves very close to the tank or glitches underneath it. For me, it feels weird.

 

 

26 minutes ago, oukej said:

#Tomorrow

Can't wait for it! :yay:

 

 

 

Those dirt humps seem to be 100% deadly... o_O

 

 

Edited by R3vo
Added another video
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Just tried it for a few minutes. The Kuma feels so heavy now. It's a very different feeling than before and I like it a lot. Hope to see the other vehicles following soon, especially the Kamysh (for obvious reasons, duh).

 

/Edit: And the vehicle doesn't care about all the tiny stone walls anymore. Before this update they more than just a few times could mean the end of a tracked vehicles, now you just walz over them as if they aren't there. Awesome.

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7 minutes ago, lexx said:

/Edit: And the vehicle doesn't care about all the tiny stone walls anymore. Before this update they more than just a few times could mean the end of a tracked vehicles, now you just walz over them as if they aren't there. Awesome.

 

Yep, before this update I'd always remove all those walls from the AO. Good thing those times are over.

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With a former sound it wasn't so noticeable, but now I well hear a motor sound in a forward part of the tank. It is possible to displace a sound source to the location of the motor?
- T-100 and Kuma aft.
- Not to change a position for Slamer.

6 hours ago, R3vo said:

Not while turning.

 

The video also shows what I mean with the camera. Very often the camera moves very close to the tank or glitches underneath it. For me, it feels weird.

The same effect of the camera When you go on the bridge, the camera is very close displaced to the car.

 

Thanks guys for work on these questions around tanks.
There is one more moment which strongly irritates. I don't know as it is possible to make it and whether it is possible in principle.
It occurs when I am a commander of the tank or shooter.
If to go out of the tank, the driver of AI always begins to go to take a position concerning you. It is possible as that to change?
Sometimes it is followed by injuries or it is possible to die, AI can crush you.

Any teams for AI, before disembarkation from the tank, won't keep AI waiting for you or your teams, the tank driver will start moving the tank anyway.

 

 

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The tanks don't seem to respond to analog controls (at least as far as directions go). It would be good if they did. I don't know if that's the case with analog gas/brake pedals as well, but it might.

 

Also, I noticed an oddity when the tank is stuck on something, with one thread in the air. Turning commands turn the tank (a bit more easily than they should, too), while forward and backward ones don't. I don't know if anything could be done about it, and it's an edge case, but I think that such cases (one thread unloaded completely) will happen from time to time.

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Any plans for damage and hit point improvements? I'd love to see tanks not exploding as much unless the ammo is hit, rather they just remain on the battlefield as damaged metal husks that are completely I'm mobile and non enterable. The CUP M1A2 has a nice damage model that comes to mind.

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Good work so far, looks like good first iteration.

 

Noticed few issues that were posted before and are happening

 

Spinning on spot on the angled surface let your tank move forward or downward (without any speed input on player part)

 

Tank stops on at lower speeds. (driving at infantry speed with keyboard is impossible)

 

Seem like jumping is fixed. Any jump usually ended with abrupt stop. Need to do more research.

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9 hours ago, oukej said:

Listen to the engine revving, tracks clucking, creaking during turns

After driving the Kuma for a couple hundred meters i understand why listen is put in bold...

The engine is revving every 5 seconds when driving uphill at full throttle. Seems like the condition for detecting sudden throttle increase does not work properly?

 

Tracks clucking - the clucking ingame at 40km/h fits driving speeds of maybe 5-10km/h at best.

I tried to quickly find data on Leo2 but my search foo failed me -> resorting to alternative:  Leopard 1 has track segment length of 16 cm Not sure if identical to Leo 2.  So 40km/h travel speed on Leo 1 causes a vibration (and therefore noise) with a base frequency of  (40/3.6)*0.16 = ~ 70Hz. There is no clacking at this speed anymore. It's already a "humming". I've already mentioned that in sound feedback and tank DLC feedback: 

Another one i found is here, watch first 18 seconds (rest clips horribly). Second 3 to 18 is all track noise - no engine.

Here are a couple of decend ones - the first approach is the clearest.

 

Handling itself and the engine sound samples are a solid step forward. I would love to hear the turbocharger and fan more, especially when you release the throttle. Although this video is terrible quality wise you can pick out both fan and turbo noticeably - esp. when throttle is cut back. Another example. Here's a good sound from another engine, but same principal: Engine + Turboloader, Engine + CoolingFan + Turboloader that i already posted in my big tank DLC feedback post.

 The "squeak" when stopping the tank that i assume you got inspired by this video at ~32sec is not a metal-on-metal squeak. It's as result of fast hydraulic damper recoil. Currently it sounds like metal squeak ingame.

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This is really great what is being done here, I like the sound of audio being updated, but I'm wondering, are we going to be able to have independant sounds for weapons being fired in 1st and 3rd person? I feel this is something that has been needed for a while for audio immersion

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tomorrow i'll try and make a video of the technical issues that i see with the changed physics on my custom vehicles.

 

Another observation: when using the Command-view (comma key on numpad by default when you are squad leader) the sound is attenuated as if you would sit inside. Previously it was always the exterior sound.

 

6 hours ago, oukej said:
7 hours ago, R3vo said:

- When driving forward and doing quick, short left/right motions, the engine revs decrease very abruptly. For me, that doesn't sound right.

The RPM goes down in turns in the simulation too. Depending on the gear selected when entering the turn. Not sure we'll be able to solve it. We can't make the vehicle downshift for turns only, on the other hand the sound can go a bit around the simulation. In neutral turns this should be better.

The engine is immediately cut off therefore quickly goes back to idle RPM whenever thrustR or thrustL gets negative or 0. So if you turn >= 50%  on your controller (or always if you use keyboard) it will be this case. The question is why the engine cutoff in the first place?

Also, in PhysX there is an engine moment of inertia parameter (not exposed in arma configs) Increasing it would slow down the deceleration of the engine possibly. Unless the "thrust off" is hardcoded to fore idle rpm and unless the engine can not free wheel: At some point in the past, after one of the physx updates the engine would no longer "free wheel". Since then it was always connected to the drivetrain. Before that it would disconnect whenever you let go of throttle fully. The wheels would turn at their own speed, while engine returned to idle rpm. At current, engine is connected even if no throttle is given. Not sure if that was concience decision of BIS or just a forced side effect of a physics update, or simply a change of physics default behaviour that wasn't adjusted by BIS?

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Problems thus far:

- If driving off road the Kuma suddenly seems to have tracks made of soap blocks. The sliding or drifting seems far too exaggerated. A bit of drifting is ok, but having it be Altis Drift With Tanks makes driving quite unpredictable - and seems not very realistic (I have no experience in this regard though).

- When having an AI driver the whole vehicle will turn with your command/gun view. That can't be intentional, as it makes using AI in tanks pretty useless (imagine having dugged yourself a neat little firing position and you try to observe the field in front of you, but you can't, because everytime you turn your scope the whole vehicle turns with you).

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2 minutes ago, belbo said:

- When having an AI driver the whole vehicle will turn with your command/gun view. That can't be intentional, as it makes using AI in tanks pretty useless (imagine having dugged yourself a neat little firing position and you try to observe the field in front of you, but you can't, because everytime you turn your scope the whole vehicle turns with you).

Negative, can't confirm. Check if your controlls for vehicle driver commanding are bound the same as moving turrets/view.

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21 minutes ago, x3kj said:

Negative, can't confirm. Check if your controlls for vehicle driver commanding are bound the same as moving turrets/view.

That'd be the mouse controls. And no, not double bound.

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31 minutes ago, lex__1 said:

Not enough opportunity - Overcome the water barrier

Varsuk config hasn't been changed yet

 

2 hours ago, x3kj said:

The engine is immediately cut off therefore quickly goes back to idle RPM whenever thrustR or thrustL gets negative or 0. So if you turn >= 50%  on your controller (or always if you use keyboard) it will be this case. The question is why the engine cutoff in the first place?

Also, in PhysX there is an engine moment of inertia parameter (not exposed in arma configs) Increasing it would slow down the deceleration of the engine possibly. Unless the "thrust off" is hardcoded to fore idle rpm and unless the engine can not free wheel: At some point in the past, after one of the physx updates the engine would no longer "free wheel". Since then it was always connected to the drivetrain. Before that it would disconnect whenever you let go of throttle fully. The wheels would turn at their own speed, while engine returned to idle rpm. At current, engine is connected even if no throttle is given. Not sure if that was concience decision of BIS or just a forced side effect of a physics update, or simply a change of physics default behaviour that wasn't adjusted by BIS?

Maybe changing how the player's input is handled could solve these issues.

 

2 hours ago, belbo said:

- If driving off road the Kuma suddenly seems to have tracks made of soap blocks. The sliding or drifting seems far too exaggerated. A bit of drifting is ok, but having it be Altis Drift With Tanks makes driving quite unpredictable - and seems not very realistic (I have no experience in this regard though).

Perhaps some people in the team watched too much of youtube and didn't listen to mil. advisor's remarks about dropping tracks, ripping off idler wheels and stuff going AWOL

 

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While I usually rarely make use of vanilla content, I played around with both for quite a bit to see the differences and I have to say im very impressed overall.

 

The handling feels much more believable and weighty, though at full speed it still feels a bit too maneuverable. Turning while moving or standing still just feels right to me and it doesnt seem to lose as much speed as it did before when you turn. While the new sound samples are much better than the previous ones, they still very much lacks that raw powerful feeling you get from such a huge engine and turbo roaring. Especially the turbo part which still to be completely missing. Clacking sounds are nice as well though feel a bit too slow when at full speed on a paved road and in 1st person you can't hear them at all at any speed. Sound also fades away very quickly. couldn't have been more than 50m away and it was barely audible which just seems very odd(both a stationary tank with its engine on and a Ai driving by at full speed).

 

New suspension is a much needed improvement. being able to traverse over a number of things without losing all your speed or getting stuck 90% of the time is very nice(though it is still very clear that if the actual body of the tank touches anything before the track get to it the whole thing comes to a complete standstill). At higher speeds on bumpy roads or off-road in 1st person it does seem like the suspension is too soft with your view constantly bobbing up and down(though this could be due to that awful, single slot, narrow FoV, driver view..) But other than that all seemed good.

 

Another kinda odd thing was how fast the actual wheels turned. This might just be the way it looks but at slow speeds it seems like there is a very distinct speed difference between the track and the actual wheels inside it. Wheels are turning way too fast for how fast the tank and tracks seem to be moving. And speeding slow speeds, when you try to climb a hill at a slow speed (Q speed or even W speed) the engine sounds as if its idling instead of roaring in low gear. If you apply the turbo(E speed) thats when the sound kicks in and things sounds as they should.

 

Ai drivers are still.. very sketchy.. randomly going offroad for no reason, swerving back and forth on a straight road, getting stuck behind buildings and other objects, unable to hold or even get into formations. it's just a mess thats all over the place. At least you now have Direct control now are a commander.

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Looking good!

The main issues I noticed were:

The new audio is definitely an improvement, but some of the sounds (mainly the tracks) don't seem as intense as I imagine they would be irl. Not that bad when driving, definitely more noticeable when standing nearby as it passes. 

The Kuma stopping completely when it slows to 10 km/h or less is a bit annoying.

As mentioned above, the 'drifting' and rear spin seems over-exaggerated.

The small concrete walls used as curbs at Altis airport (Land_Concrete_SmallWall_8m_F) almost bring the tank to a halt. More stopping power than the rock walls now. Previously it would slow the tank down, but not as severely as it does now.

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