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# ArmA, view distance and the curvature of Earth

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I've been looking at specs for ArmA III and something just hit me. With map sizes up to 100x100km, is the curvature of Earth going to be considered? AFAIK, ArmA II maps are more or less flat in that regard. The horizon distance is a simple function of observer's altitude and is easily calculated. The whole 100x100 map would only be visible from about 1000m ASL. Often, you're below that altitude, so you won't see an aircraft carrier parked at the edge of the map, or at least not all of it. In ArmA II, 10km limit on view distance and relatively small amount of shore-based action sort of remedied this problem, though it isn't a perfect solution. In reality, the horizon at sea is at about 5km for a person standing on a shore, or sailing in a small boat.

So I wonder if the curvature of Earth will be implemented in any way in AIII? For example, will it be possible to sail a warship to Limnos, look at it from the beach and have it emerge "from below the horizon", like in reality? There's hardly any other game with scale similar to ArmAIII, so I think it's something to consider. Such thing might have some interesting gameplay ramifications, for example restricting line of sight on warships and forcing them to use indirect fire, or simply hiding your carrier beyond the horizon so it isn't in plain view like the Khe Sanh. The vastness of AIII maps would make this kind of thing noticeable.

Another thing, related to horizon, is how view distance will be handled. In AII, you can have a huge mountain which should be more or less visible from across the map, yet you won't see a bit of it until you move within 10km of it, at which point it fades into view. There must be a better way of handling this, like a extremely lo-poly landscape mesh, used for rendering silhouettes of distinctive geographic features from afar. This would really add to "sense of scale" of the game. You see a mountain in the distance, then you get into a helo and find out it's not only not painted, like such features usually are, but a very real thing you can land on. Of course, the transition would need to have a degree of customizability, since not everyone plays with 10km view distance. It should go without saying that lower distances make it dramatically worse.

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i think something ( a boat) that is, ohhhhh 100km out, would be a little too small to see on a monitor anyway i mean yea it would be cool but i think that would take WAYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY too much time to develop when they could just as easily set a 10k view distance and not worry about it at all

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Well you have to take something into consideration..

10 kilometers is HUGE

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i think something ( a boat) that is, ohhhhh 100km out, would be a little too small to see on a monitor anyway i mean yea it would be cool but i think that would take WAYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY too much time to develop when they could just as easily set a 10k view distance and not worry about it at all

As far as I know VBS2 has this exact feature so I don't think it would be that much effort for it to end up in ArmA3.

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i just don't see the point for them to do it... now if they made the entire earth, then yes that way i could fly a jet all the way around the world and end up in the same spot, but i just don't see the logic in spending time and resources into "curving" the map when they could spend their time adding noticeable features. lets face it. NOBODY is going to notice weather the map is curved or flat, hell i look out my windows right now and the earth seems pretty flat from my perspective (obviously its not). it won't affect battle at all and no one is going to realize while running around " hey thats awesome the map is actually curved" ... they are going to instead focus on shooting the guy that is a couple hundred meters away who will be at the same elevation regardless if the map is curved or not

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Good suggestion, at the people who are saying "it isnt worth it".. we're paying \$60 for this game it better be worth it.

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Good suggestion, at the people who are saying "it isnt worth it".. we're paying \$60 for this game it better be worth it.

Hahahaha, no. The fact that you're "paying \$60 for the game" does not suddenly make a feature with a staggeringly low benefit/cost ratio "worth it". It's just the same old "make all the things!!!" bullshit, which is never, ever going to happen.

Let them focus on the stuff that's actually important, not on some minor visual gimmick that one in a million people will notice.

Edited by MadDogX
switcharoo

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Complicating enough complex stuff (terrain) (by adding some kind of transformation matrix (representing curvature) and applying it (performance cost) to all entities) to see sometimes (very rare) nice effect? No, thanks.

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What sort of view distance would be required to see it, probably way outside anyone's PC performance envelope.

20k view and 12k object draw are the settings I have on ToH and it it is pretty realistic, any further for objects is pointless as it makes no visual distance.

Can't run many maps other than SE Asia on those settings though.

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I'm sure no one will ever see it needed while they are actually playing the game.

There are way to few who actually can run the game with 10km view distance and get any kind of advantage from it.

You will not be able to tell what things are at the distance anyway if they truly are standing/walking/driving 10km away, even so 5km.

The times you'd see that far of a distance, or would try to target something that far away, would be from a helicopter or a jet that does not need to worry about the curvature, so I personally don't see the point.

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Did I miss something? Has it been confirmed that A3 is going to have 100x100km maps? And what about max view distance.

Otherwise this whole discussion is pretty pointless.

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Something about the horizon: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Horizon#Curvature_of_the_horizon. IIRC for game development its one of those nasty performance traps... err decisions - draw distance vs frame rate. :)

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Hahahaha, no. The fact that you're "paying \$60 for the game" does not suddenly make a feature with a staggeringly low benefit/cost ratio "worth it". It's just the same old "make all the things!!!" bullshit, which is never, ever going to happen.

Let them focus on the stuff that's actually important, not on some minor visual gimmick that one in a million people will notice.

Its important, deal w/ it.

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Its important, deal w/ it.

I fail to see how it is important.

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I fail to see how it is important.

Because immersion.

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Because immersion.

Something you can hardly notice ingame doesn't increase immersion.

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the max draw distance is 10km in A2 and you can see about 12 km IRL before something dips below the curve of the earth. This would be among the lowest priority features I can think of to add.

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Its important, deal w/ it.

Keep your poor \$60 and keep quiet, \$60 can just pay for a cod style game not a vbs3

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Basically Arma is a grunt game. As a soldier walking under heavy fire in an hostile environment, in a wet forest with some mist or in desert with sand storm, the idea of having a view beyond horizon is irrelevant.

IRL you can't see very far, in order to see far away you need to be in a plane or in Baumgartner's capsule.

Of course there are planes/chopper in Arma/Arma2/Arma3 but the basics remain, they are not Arma Fly Sims.

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Actually, that's quite easy to fake visually with a "fisheye" lens distortion effect : the higher you go, the more distorted the picture.

And then suddenly your flat horizon seems to bend...

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How often are we actually high enough with clear LOS to the horizon in order for this to be worthwhile? I know I'm certainly not there often at all. The time spent on this would be much better spent elsewhere.

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That kind of view distance will kill some computers

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i think that there are more important things ...

---------- Post added at 02:15 PM ---------- Previous post was at 02:14 PM ----------

That kind of view distance will kill some computers

Some computers ? :D ... maybe all the computers ...

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I mean if they added this to ArmA 3 that would be great but if they dont they dont. It would make it more realistic and a lot cooler but if they have to give this up for a better graphic or a better multiplayer/singleplayer aspect then leave this out.

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Complicating enough complex stuff (terrain) (by adding some kind of transformation matrix (representing curvature) and applying it (performance cost) to all entities) to see sometimes (very rare) nice effect? No, thanks.

Actually, this wouldn't have to be done on the fly. I think that map generation process should take curvature into account. Right now the sea is perfectly flat, and gravity pulls you down. The only thing preventing "manual implementation" (making the map slightly curved) of this from working in AII is the sea (the curvature being too small for the gravity to actually change). If the "base" for terrain (and water) was a slight bump instead of a flat plane, this should work as implementation of Earth's curvature. At 10 or 20km view distance, this should be noticeable in a few situations, especially involving the coast and ships far at sea. Since the horizon is normally at about 5km (like I mentioned), it would be visible even at much lower VDs.

As far as I know VBS2 has this exact feature so I don't think it would be that much effort for it to end up in ArmA3.

If VBS2 has this, I think AIII should have it too. I think it would add to simulation, not to mention think of marketing value of writing "the first civilian FPS to have curvature of Earth modeled". :) This should help convey just how enormous is the scale AIII is being done at.

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