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Blake's AI Forward Observer


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#1 blakeace

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Posted 22 October 2011 - 04:00 AM

Blake's AI FO Module Version 1.4.02

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History:

Version 1.4.02
  • Added: Distance given in "debug" mode is referenced to the first artillery unit synced to the module if using placed units. Module is used for dynamically placed units.
  • Added: Marker range circles showing ranges when using "debug" mode.
  • Improved: FO's will now only call missions from one battery at a time if they are synced to multiple AI FO modules. If using multiple batteries and FO's will more likely spread the fire missions around the different FO's better.

Spoiler


Introduction:

Check the sample missions for how to use the placed artillery.
The module is based on my AI artillery framework scripts. I have tweaked and changed a couple of things, but mainly it is fundamently the same. The reason for producing a module was to create a very simple way for mission designers to add opposition artillery. Like the framework it uses real mortar pieces firing rounds at targets that the FO's genuinely know about. Using the BIS artillery module functionality hidden within. Leaving the user with a nice graphical way of creating opposition artillery.

Mission designers need to be aware of the ranges of different artillery objects. Basic ranges can be found at http://community.bis...rtillery_Module
It is not intended to be deadly accurate, though the default mortars still pack a real punch if detonating nearby.

Installation:

Install as you would any other addon. (Check the BIS forums if unsure!).

Instructions:

Spoiler



ACE Compatibility:

I have tested it with ACE, and it seems to work fine with the standard BIS artillery objects, but I can't get the ACE 60mm mortar to work (ACE_M224) unfortunately.

Downloads:

Blakes AI Forward Observer (v 0.4) : http://www.armedassa...=addons&id=1835[/QUOTE]

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AI Forward Observer

http://rapidshare.co..._FO_v1_4_02.rar

Requirements:
None

Edited by blakeace, 02 December 2012 - 04:59 AM.

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#2 SteveJA360

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Posted 22 October 2011 - 09:41 AM

Congratualations on your release DLing now. Thank you.
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#3 OldBear

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Posted 22 October 2011 - 12:37 PM

New on front page at Armed Assault.info

Link to mirror :

Blakes AI Forward Observer (v 0.1a) : http://www.armedassa...=addons&id=1835
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#4 Sickboy

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Posted 22 October 2011 - 12:45 PM

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#5 Foxhound

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Posted 22 October 2011 - 04:19 PM

Thanks to all who informed us about the release :)


Release frontpaged on the Armaholic homepage.

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AI Forward Observer v0.1a


Visit Armaholic.com | Visit Carriercommandaholic.com
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Public FTP available, just check the Armaholic.com FAQ.

HMM........wonder what it is huh?

#6 DiscountAnubis

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Posted 22 October 2011 - 05:31 PM

Oh, wow! I'd been looking for a simple, standalone AI Forward Observer script for a while, now! The fact that this seems so easy to initialize is just icing on the cake!

It's a definite download, for sure. I've only got one question- When you say this uses the default BIS Artillery logic, do you mean the one that they created for Arma II, or the "Fire Control Computer" thing they added for BAF? I'd love to use this in messing around with building some missions in I44, for example, but I don't quite know what version of the artillery logics they used, if any.

'Course, since, theoretically, you'd never actually SEE the artillery pieces, I guess I could just use the default ones BIS provides, but... eh, I'm a historical accuracy nut.

#7 Manzilla

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Posted 22 October 2011 - 06:30 PM

Oh, wow! I'd been looking for a simple, standalone AI Forward Observer script for a while, now! The fact that this seems so easy to initialize is just icing on the cake!

It's a definite download, for sure. I've only got one question- When you say this uses the default BIS Artillery logic, do you mean the one that they created for Arma II, or the "Fire Control Computer" thing they added for BAF? I'd love to use this in messing around with building some missions in I44, for example, but I don't quite know what version of the artillery logics they used, if any.

'Course, since, theoretically, you'd never actually SEE the artillery pieces, I guess I could just use the default ones BIS provides, but... eh, I'm a historical accuracy nut.


It uses the BIS Arty module.
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#8 blakeace

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Posted 22 October 2011 - 09:25 PM

@Old Bear, SickBoy & Foxhound thankyou all as always :)

Congratualations on your release DLing now. Thank you.

Thank you, I hope you enjoy it.


It's a definite download, for sure. I've only got one question- When you say this uses the default BIS Artillery logic, do you mean the one that they created for Arma II, or the "Fire Control Computer" thing they added for BAF? I'd love to use this in messing around with building some missions in I44, for example, but I don't quite know what version of the artillery logics they used, if any.

'Course, since, theoretically, you'd never actually SEE the artillery pieces, I guess I could just use the default ones BIS provides, but... eh, I'm a historical accuracy nut.


I was just descibing a little of how I created this, what is hidden in the black box that you don't need to worry about.
I have just taken a lot of what is covered here in the arty module page, wrapped it in a nice user interface, and added a little complexity in how and who they aim at.

As far as which artillery type objects work, depends on what the designers have done. If they inherit the standard BIS objects ability to link with an artillery module then they should work.
My not being able to get the ACE version working could either be me passing the wrong values or it may be they have done something special to it in their design. These are the object variables and their contents I was using to try and get it to function. If anymore knows more about them, my values could be wrong. I didn't spend much time trouble shooting it.
I was really hoping it would and my main desire for this was in adding realism to what a player might face, but at times the default mortars are big nasty beasts. A 60mm would add a nice smaller option to throw at players.

this setvariable ["Arty_Type","ACE_M224",false];
this setvariable ["Arty_Ammo",["8Rnd_81mmHE_M252","8Rnd_81mmILLUM_M252"],false];

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#9 DiscountAnubis

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Posted 22 October 2011 - 09:59 PM

Ah, that clears up quite a bit of confusion on my part, thanks!

Been playing around with this a bit in the interim, the default mortars are great, really surprised me with their savagery on more than one occasion already. One thing that seems to constantly irk me, though, is how I can't for the life of me get the M119 or D30 to act as they should. I place my spotter, sync him up to the battery, put the correct code snippets in the Init line of the module,
["Arty_Type","M119",false];
and
["Arty_Type","D30_RU",false];

Respectively, and make sure they're within the proper range constraints, but they either don't want to fire, or the FO doesn't want to spot. I don't know if this is a problem with the BIS module, or I'm doing something wrong, but have you encountered anything similar in your own testing?

I haven't tried it with the MLRS or Grad, either, but they've been a little more... friendly with me, historically, so I don't imagine they're going to be a problem.

EDIT- Ah, I think I've got it figured out. For whatever reason, the FO only seems to want to call for artillery if he's directly threatened or overwhelmed by enemy forces. In my case, at least, I think I was expecting the artillery to be employed offensively, when in reality, the AI is such that they choose to call strikes only as a defensive measure. Definitely something interesting to note, though it may just be my particular combo of AI mods that create this behavior.

Edited by DiscountAnubis, 22 October 2011 - 10:37 PM.


#10 blakeace

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Posted 22 October 2011 - 11:15 PM

EDIT- Ah, I think I've got it figured out. For whatever reason, the FO only seems to want to call for artillery if he's directly threatened or overwhelmed by enemy forces. In my case, at least, I think I was expecting the artillery to be employed offensively, when in reality, the AI is such that they choose to call strikes only as a defensive measure. Definitely something interesting to note, though it may just be my particular combo of AI mods that create this behavior.


  • FO's will automatically call in fire missions on any "known" targets. Reasons why they may not target something is they maybe still unsure of the target. Ie they haven't determined they are an enemy yet.
  • Another reason could be FO's won't target fast moving threats as it is to hard to calculate where they will be by the time the rounds impact.
  • The artillery will also not fire if they determine the impact point is to close to friendly units. This in mind, using ai mods that allow ai to detect enemy units at longer ranges makes this addon more effective and dangerous.
  • Range of the artillery units is a factor too.
  • Also if using civilian dickers, then you need to make them part of the enemies side for them to detect targets. eg group them with an enemy unit with 0% chance of being present is how I do it.

I have also found with my current dispersion values the MLRS type units have quite a large spread when firing, this may impact on how designers employ them. Depending on the feedback I may have to look at some form of formula to adjust dispersion relative to range?
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#11 HR4 Elite

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Posted 22 October 2011 - 11:24 PM

Used this a little just to see how it looks.. looks great and works great, nice and easy to use..

Another great mod from ‘Blakeace’

Thank you..


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#12 (2142)Gen.Reaper

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Posted 22 October 2011 - 11:38 PM

It also works well with I44 and other third party addons that include artillery pieces(At least for the Takistani Special Brigade Units)

#13 DiscountAnubis

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Posted 23 October 2011 - 05:06 AM

  • FO's will automatically call in fire missions on any "known" targets. Reasons why they may not target something is they maybe still unsure of the target. Ie they haven't determined they are an enemy yet.
  • Another reason could be FO's won't target fast moving threats as it is to hard to calculate where they will be by the time the rounds impact.
  • The artillery will also not fire if they determine the impact point is to close to friendly units. This in mind, using ai mods that allow ai to detect enemy units at longer ranges makes this addon more effective and dangerous.
  • Range of the artillery units is a factor too.
  • Also if using civilian dickers, then you need to make them part of the enemies side for them to detect targets. eg group them with an enemy unit with 0% chance of being present is how I do it.

I have also found with my current dispersion values the MLRS type units have quite a large spread when firing, this may impact on how designers employ them. Depending on the feedback I may have to look at some form of formula to adjust dispersion relative to range?

Well, see, what I kept observing was that the spotter would engage targets with his actual weapons instead of calling on artillery in some situations; from what I could gather, the only time he would call upon the big guns was when said targets were firing back, otherwise, he'd just keep happily slinging lead their way.
(That, or the dumb bloke would stand there with his binocs while 5.56 rounds turned him into swiss cheese. Lost a lot of good spotters that way...)

Though, I think I got that particular bit figured out- I had set the FO as "Setcaptive true" for my initial tests, so that might have interfered with my results. When it was off, he called in strikes, so I think any problems on my part are just testing woes; functionally speaking, the module seems to work very well.

Haven't tested with MLRS's, yet, but I'll let you know if anything pops up.

Also, just in case I'm coming off as nitpicky, here, I'm not trying to be, I just though you'd be interested in hearing some of my personal experiences as input. I'm FAR too in love with this addon to have anything but praise! :D

#14 blakeace

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Posted 23 October 2011 - 06:02 AM

Well, see, what I kept observing was that the spotter would engage targets with his actual weapons instead of calling on artillery in some situations; from what I could gather, the only time he would call upon the big guns was when said targets were firing back, otherwise, he'd just keep happily slinging lead their way.
(That, or the dumb bloke would stand there with his binocs while 5.56 rounds turned him into swiss cheese. Lost a lot of good spotters that way...)

Another possibilty is that there is already another fire mission underway. The FO's won't try and use the guns if they are already engaged. The guns don't become available straight after firing. I use the BIS_ARTY_F_Available function to check when they are ready. Using the default mortars you are looking at approx 25-30 seconds before the mortars will accept another fire mission.

Though, I think I got that particular bit figured out- I had set the FO as "Setcaptive true" for my initial tests, so that might have interfered with my results. When it was off, he called in strikes, so I think any problems on my part are just testing woes; functionally speaking, the module seems to work very well.

I just did a test with only one spotter with this setcaptive true, and he still called in fire missions. So that shouldn't be an issue. I am reading the FO's with nearTargets which even when set to captive they still consider the opposition as being an enemy.

Haven't tested with MLRS's, yet, but I'll let you know if anything pops up.

I definitely appreciate that.

Also, just in case I'm coming off as nitpicky, here, I'm not trying to be, I just though you'd be interested in hearing some of my personal experiences as input. I'm FAR too in love with this addon to have anything but praise! :D

Definitely loving any informed constructive feedback, any possible faults etc. One day of public testing by a few patient people is more than I can do in a month. Plus many will try things that I wouldn't even think about.
So thank you very much for taking the time to help test it :).
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#15 DiscountAnubis

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Posted 23 October 2011 - 06:32 AM

Yeah, I was thinking that, too, but this fellow would never call a fire mission to begin with, he just started shooting from the get-go. I also tried to see if it was because, perhaps, he considered his targets not to be enough of a threat to justify using the big guns (M119s, in this case), so I first added a few other squads of opposing infantry to the first group of enemies, which did nothing, then I moved them back a bit, which... also did nothing, then I added a few bradleys and disabled setcaptive, which seemed to do it. That's why I figured it was the setcaptive command that was messing with the system, as it seems a little too "clever" of Arma II's AI to be able to consider force size AND call in the requisite artillery for the situation.

'Course, I've been surprised by the AI before, so... maybe it has something to do with the types of enemies the FO is facing? Like, maybe they won't call in cannons and rockets if they're up against just infantry?

I'm running ASR AI Skills and DAP's wounding scripts, mind you, but I don't see how either could interfere, since it's rather clear to me that the FO is not exactly hesitant about calling in strikes.
(He's just not quite as... generous with them as I'd have thought.)
In fact, with what you've said, I'd imagine the added view distance and engagement ranges would be helpful for an AI spotter.

Ah, good, good. I just worry that I come off that way sometimes. Having conversations through the web can be a pain like that.

And, I'm really glad to hear that! I can't promise I'm one of the "think outside the box" sorts, as my editor usage is pretty much limited to quick skirmishes and photo shoots, but if there's anything I can do about a game, it's over-analyze!

EDIT- Ah- Well, three observations; One, it seems like one of my biggest problems was simply range. These guns are VERY finicky about where you put 'em, so... I can see why you put that warning in about it. I think my problem is that I have no way to gauge their range from their target besides tweaking and tweaking their placement until they're right where they should be. The second, I was wrong about target composition, with ranging and the setcaptive thing sorted, these guys are almost TOO eager to fire... not that I'm complaining! Let the rounds fill the sky!
*Ahem*
Anywho, thirdly, I played with the MLRS (no tries with the Grad, yet) and... yeah, the dispersion is a bit wide, so much so that I had friendly troops roughly 200-300 meters away being wounded and killed by the barrage. I don't think any sane commander would allow a fire mission from such a powerful weapon at ranges like that, mind you, but if you were to make the accuracy any tighter, then it would probably be WAY too powerful, even against a maneuvering enemy. I know it's up to the mission-maker to decide if such a damaging asset is even brought into play, but from what I can tell, there's a pretty equal number of upsides and downsides to the current dispersion values.

Edited by DiscountAnubis, 23 October 2011 - 08:19 AM.


#16 blakeace

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Posted 23 October 2011 - 09:23 AM

Ah- Well, three observations; One, it seems like one of my biggest problems was simply range. These guns are VERY finicky about where you put 'em, so... I can see why you put that warning in about it. I think my problem is that I have no way to gauge their range from their target besides tweaking and tweaking their placement until they're right where they should be.

I haven't come up with a real smart way around that yet. My current thoughts are to create a debug variable that if set to on, creates a hint reporting back if a battery isn't in range. I have mainly used mortars, reasoning mainly that for use against humans less is more. Ambience, followed by leadership skill utilisation to resolve the situation. Rather than one big bang eliminates half the players.

The second, I was wrong about target composition, with ranging and the setcaptive thing sorted, these guys are almost TOO eager to fire... not that I'm complaining! Let the rounds fill the sky!
*Ahem*

That sounds like the ideal mission my mate Zeddy would make :P. The reality is the algorithm I'm using for them is very simple. If they have a target, and that target isn't to fast and the target is in range of our artillery and the artillery is available . Then lets send them a present :eek:

Anywho, thirdly, I played with the MLRS (no tries with the Grad, yet) and... yeah, the dispersion is a bit wide, so much so that I had friendly troops roughly 200-300 meters away being wounded and killed by the barrage. I don't think any sane commander would allow a fire mission from such a powerful weapon at ranges like that, mind you, but if you were to make the accuracy any tighter, then it would probably be WAY too powerful, even against a maneuvering enemy. I know it's up to the mission-maker to decide if such a damaging asset is even brought into play, but from what I can tell, there's a pretty equal number of upsides and downsides to the current dispersion values.

I have to admit to not really putting any effoert into these really big guns, focussing more on the smaller pieces, for the reasons given above. That said, using a grad with a UAV FO against a mech inf group, could be a bit of fun, no friendly fire issues, plus ubber ambience for those in the tin cans unless they keep up there speed :icon_twisted:

A side note, since I created the video I reduced the max speed to target, which means there is a smaller chance that moving vehicles will be engaged. It is a balance between them not firing and leading a target to an unrealistic assumption in that the vehicle can do many things between calling the mission and the impact of the rounds.
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#17 DiscountAnubis

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Posted 23 October 2011 - 05:52 PM

Yeah, I get you, there. When it comes to the default weapons, all you really need is a mortar battery in most situations. It also helps that they're the easiest to place.

A ranging algorithm would be a godsend. That, or some way of determining the distance between two units on the 2d map. There's probably some sort of reference grid already built into the map itself, but I'm pretty much a moron when it comes to math, so I haven't figured it out, yet.

Oh, yeah, I've got a few ideas myself for the big guns, mainly for ambiance, as you said. Though, my approach to the problem of accuracy is... a bit different.

this setvariable ["Size_Group",38,false];
I think it essential to testing that I... see if that works.
With Grads.
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#18 gunterlund21

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Posted 24 October 2011 - 03:12 AM

Blake
Great job on this addon. Tried a simple mission with a marksman as the FO. Once he spotted the enemy rounds were inbound. He was doing a bit of a dance to figure out what stance he wanted to use. He had binos, would pull them out then put them away go prone with no weapon, the revert back to his weapon. Nothing major. The new patches are making the AI very smart now. They wont just run across open fields anymore, they advance with cover. Two suggestions.
1. Possible to make the spotter dependent on a having a piece of gear to be able to spot. If he loses his radio he cant spot.
2. Possible to make a script version so all those servers out there wont flip out because they have to add an addon.
Keep up the great work.

PS
Just played with it some more. Had a 5 man fire team advancing with and observer with them. As they advanced the arty rounds advanced with them. Pretty awesome stuff. One last thing that would be great. Instead of placing a module that creates arty, allow us to place the arty on the map then tie the module to them.

Edited by gunterlund21, 24 October 2011 - 03:47 AM.

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#19 blakeace

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Posted 24 October 2011 - 06:13 AM

A ranging algorithm would be a godsend. That, or some way of determining the distance between two units on the 2d map. There's probably some sort of reference grid already built into the map itself, but I'm pretty much a moron when it comes to math, so I haven't figured it out, yet.

I think for now I am going to include a debug mode, so when testing the module will report back when not in range. Giving some indication at least.
I am also going to look at creating some object variables that allow designers to overide things like friendly units distance, and max speed of unit before not targeting.

Oh, yeah, I've got a few ideas myself for the big guns, mainly for ambiance, as you said. Though, my approach to the problem of accuracy is... a bit different.

this setvariable ["Size_Group",38,false];
I think it essential to testing that I... see if that works.
With Grads.
On Zargabad.
Pyromaniac? Who's a pyromaniac?

:eek: Don't blame me when you get kicked out of your group for "excessive evilness in mission design charges" :P


Blake
Great job on this addon. Tried a simple mission with a marksman as the FO. Once he spotted the enemy rounds were inbound. He was doing a bit of a dance to figure out what stance he wanted to use.
He had binos, would pull them out then put them away go prone with no weapon, the revert back to his weapon. Nothing major.

I have to admit I snuck a salute animation in there to gauge peoples thoughts on the result. Trying to find a nice way to show they are doing something esp civ dickers. It was the only animation I found that wasn't really not bad for what I wanted. I rationalised they are standing shading the sun to check things out :P
Otherwise armed aren't to bad in they lose their weapon, but I didn't like that there was no way for an observant player to be able to go hey he's acting funny or something when they are unarmed civilians.

The new patches are making the AI very smart now. They wont just run across open fields anymore, they advance with cover. Two suggestions.
1. Possible to make the spotter dependent on a having a piece of gear to be able to spot. If he loses his radio he cant spot.
2. Possible to make a script version so all those servers out there wont flip out because they have to add an addon.
Keep up the great work.

1. That could be done. Though I am a little lost in how this would play out in a mission. Do the ai ever lose their gear? Could you please elaborate in why it would be good, and how it would play out in a mission?
2. There is http://www.armaholic...ht=AI+FRAMEWORK already which this is based on. The only real differences are units are no longer restricted to east and west sides, I have slightly improved the lead algorithm and the FO's don't become unarmed either. Though it is no way near as easy to use. Which is why I created this one. I might look at something like that in the future, but at the moment I am focusing on a few other things some already made public, and a couple I am still trying to find time to package up.

PS
Just played with it some more. Had a 5 man fire team advancing with and observer with them. As they advanced the arty rounds advanced with them. Pretty awesome stuff. One last thing that would be great. Instead of placing a module that creates arty, allow us to place the arty on the map then tie the module to them.


Had a real nice effect on the ZSU crew when I first used the script version above on them :slayer8: I have thought about that to, but wanted to see how the basic functionality went before adding to it. Great for when you want to hide the arty somewhere special etc.

Edited by blakeace, 24 October 2011 - 06:15 AM.

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#20 DiscountAnubis

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Posted 24 October 2011 - 06:32 AM

It may come as some shock to you, but I generally play alone. XD
(And 38 Grads? Totally work. I'm hell-bent on upping the ante until it doesn't!)

Debug mode, eh? Nifty! At this rate, I might have to start designing actual missions.

You know, having one guy in your squad as the designated "spotter" makes for a great layer of added detail; as long as the guy lives, you've got a lot of firepower at your disposal, yet it's not terribly unbalanced because you've not got that human level of precision in where and when the shots are called. I'm loving the emergent benefits of such a simple system.