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PMartin

AI Reporting contact

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I remember the first time I played OFP, it was 2006 and I had been playing the original Ghost Recon for a long time. One of the first thing that caught my attention in the AI is that they reported contacts, not just, like OGR did, "Enemy Spotted", but gave me direction and distance. When I first heard "10 O'CLOCK, ENEMY, MAN, 200" I got really excited. But after 7 years of OFP/ARMA, mostly playing offline (english isn't my native language, so I never felt to confident to join a clan or something -- but now I will, soon -- and more "casual" servers weren't that attractive to me) you start realizing that the mechanic distance and clock reporting isn't too effective. Even now in ARMA 3 where they report the bearing. (On a side note, less precise reporting of contacts wouldn't be such a problem if the AI used suppressing fire and could be suppressed, because without suppression, when a enemy sees you, starts firing, and your fellow AI reports him, even if you start spraying at 200m, 10o'clock, the enemy won't care and will continue shooting you, and since he knows exactly where you are because he saw you first, the only thing you can do is hope that there's enough time to get to cover).

So, clock relative reports are really awkward, because you have to first discover where the team leader is facing, and then look at the direction. But let's say a contact is reported to be 10 o'clock, 75 meters. That's really close, most of the time you won't have to look for a long time before seeing the enemy, and that's great. But let's say the contact is within 200m of distance, on the bottom of a mountain that is 500m tall and you can see the whole of it. You'll have to look for a long time before spotting the enemy, because not only 10 O'clock now covers a lot more area (think of a cone of vision, the farther the contact is, the bigger the area in which the contact could be is).

Am I suggesting that every contact that is at a distance bigger than 100m should be reported with a bearing? No, that isn't

intuitive. You would have to open the compass every time a contact is reported. I'm not suggesting that they should report like "Hey, I see movement behind those rocks, man! They're going to flank us from our left!" either, for obvious reasons. What I'm saying is that there should be a concern to improve the AI reporting.

Here are some suggestions (these are for us to discuss, not for the devs, if anything good come out of this then we should create some tickets)

1. First of all, if it is to remain the same system, it should be like this: Clock is used for close range ONLY when the squad is in formation (to avoid having to look at the little clock that appears in the corner or, in higher difficulties, to where the leader is facing).

N, NW, etc. should be for close range when the squad isn't in formation.

Bearings should be used for longer distances, but how far? I don't know, help me out on this one. (If it is to close maybe getting behind cover and checking the compass will take to much time, which takes me to number 2...)

2. I don't quite get the reasons to why there isn't a compass integrated to the HUD. I get it that it's a lot more immersive to look at a compass like you where really taking it out of your pockets and all, but one of the functions of the compass in ARMA IS a compromise for something that can't be done in a video game right now. That is communicating directions properly (be it AI communicating or humans). In real life you don't tell your squad mate to take his compass out of his pocket just to find out where exactly the fire is coming from.

SO, I guess that there should be a compass with bearings in hud. Maybe the bearings shouldn't be exact, not exact, how can I express this? Maybe it should be just 30º ... 40º... without the numbers in between, so the "K" compass doesn't becomes redundant. I don't know.

3. There should be a way to ask for the AI to re-report contacts. If you're the leader you can just press 2 and you'll see a list of all the contacts, but if you're not you can't get distracted or else you never know where that enemy is.

4. This one is something bigger: The AI should be less "casual" about contacts. Less like "Contact, Sniper, 10O'clock, 800m" you know, no big deal, he's shooting at us and all, but that's part of the job, right? Take as much time as you need to find him. There's a lot o thing that should be done here. First of all, to increase the sense of urgency when someone starts shooting, the AI should yell "take cover". It may sound stupid, but it adds a lot to the immersion, and I'm ashamed of how many years I've spent with the stupid habit of trying to find the enemy before taking cover. (Mostly because the AI doesn't take cover immediately too, again, no suppression, so I would unconsciously think there isn't too much danger). Besides yelling "get down", there should be more phrases. Like, after a few seconds a target has been reported something like "Goddamit, someone light up that bastard at 100m, NW!" (or something shorter). Also something like: A target is reported and then some of the AI says "I've got no visual!". What does it do? Let's say you're trying to find the bastard who's shooting at you, and you're crouched next to unit 2, and then unit 2 yells that he can't see the target. You, obviously will try to change your position to someplace you can see. Makes sense, doesn't it?

5. The longest shot: References. This is a real big thing, and maybe feasible just on arma 4 or something, but there's got to be a practical way for the AI to report targets with a decent reference. Something in the lines of "Contact, infantry, NW, 200m, behind the truck!", "Near a blue house", "Behind a tree", "Inside the house", "Second floor". I know everyone must at some point thought at it. In my case, when I did I realized it was a bad thing because It could be too confusing, considering it was awfully confusing being told to go to that tree, 3 o'clock, when at 3 o'clock there was a forest. And also because they would have to record a whole bunch of new sentences and it would be a lot of work.

Anyway, it isn't so much work if you just record sentences like "Near, Behind, Inside" and "A rock, A Blue/yellow/big/small house, a tree, a car/ifrit/hmmmv, a tank/tiger/titan..." and "In the, on the, at the" "Forest/ defile/ beach/ plantation/ mountain/ river/ trench". Just these sentences would make spotting a lot easier and a lot more immersive. Don't you think?

Anyway, aside from that I made myself quite clear on how much I think suppression is important, but that's something else. What do you guys think?

Sorry for the colossal post, I just think this is important. I think that the single player of ARMA should be as strong as its multiplayer.

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I think reporting bearings over 100m is good, otherwise not much can be done to report accuratelly, except a long red arrow towards the enemy.... The part with "near the house" will generate more confusion, AI wont be able to describe which house. I can say this from current reports when you send AI to "that rock at 8 o'clock" and its already very confusing, there are a lot of rocks at 8 o'clock.

EDIT:

At the second thought, I think it can be improved like in other shooters. When AI reports "enemy at 8 o'clock", the shown clock should blink red in a cone in the enemy direction so you can quickly turn that way.

Edited by afp

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So when you'll be under fire and AI won't yell at you to take cover you won't know you should?

I don't quite get the reasons to why there isn't a compass integrated to the HUD.

Because it's not integrated into the HUD "in real life"?

In real life you don't tell your squad mate to take his compass out of his pocket just to find out where exactly the fire is coming from.

So taking out the compass to check the bearing to a distant target is not realistic - but having compass built into your brain is?

And yes compasses are there not just for knowing where north is. Calling out compass bearing to a distant target is realistic.

3. There should be a way to ask for the AI to re-report contacts. If you're the leader you can just press 2 and you'll see a list of all the contacts, but if you're not you can't get distracted or else you never know where that enemy is.

So you are saying you are playing the game for 7 years but don't know about 0-5? Also you should never be distracted. It's yours and other soldiers' life on the line.

Edited by metalcraze

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This is indeed an old problem, the main problem being that the clock direction is deemed to be taken from the leader's current direction, but yet reported from the position of the reporting unit, plus the clock orientation changes rapidly depending on leader movements. Hilarity ensues.

I might suggest a couple of improvements (I already made these (or similar) before elsewhere in similar threads):

Clock direction is to be taken from (in order of priority):

1. Leader's temporary waypoint position (to simulate leader making that direction known to subordinates).

2. Next group waypoint direction.

3. Direction of group travel over last 100m.

4. Group leader's current direction.

As to whether the contact is reported from the reporting unit's position or not - I cannot see another way to do it. This is what happens IRL but of course IRL we have lots of other cues & senses that allow us to make more immediate sense of such information. So the clock "HUD" is a fine analog for this situation IMO.

Just need to fix the clock orientation problem, during a battle that orientation can flip around within seconds, making the situation more confusing than it needs to be. Also, I think the clock should be visible for longer, say 20 seconds or so?

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"Enemy at 2 o'clock". Does it mean my current 2 o'clock? The reporter's current 2 o'clock? North-East on the compass? Do I need to know in what direction the reporter is currently walking/looking? Everybody's direction changes all the time. When I hear AI reporting an enemy I'm as informed as before. All I know is that my AI has spotted an enemy somewhere around...

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"Enemy at 2 o'clock". Does it mean my current 2 o'clock? The reporter's current 2 o'clock? North-East on the compass? Do I need to know in what direction the reporter is currently walking/looking? Everybody's direction changes all the time. When I hear AI reporting an enemy I'm as informed as before. All I know is that my AI has spotted an enemy somewhere around...

You get a clock indicator showing for a few seconds.

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Reporting 'by the tree' or 'behind the car' are very useful references. Could there be a 'nearobjects' check that AI could call out?

During my military training you would give a reference, a clock and a distance - for example LAMPOST AHEAD, 2 O'CLOCK, 100m.

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I can say this from current reports when you send AI to "that rock at 8 o'clock" and its already very confusing, there are a lot of rocks at 8 o'clock..

Are you talking about Arma 3? Because that is not a sentence in our new protocol. It was removed because moving commands to bushes and trees are considered entirely useless when you're surrounded by trees and bushes. :)

"Enemy at 2 o'clock". Does it mean my current 2 o'clock? The reporter's current 2 o'clock? North-East on the compass? Do I need to know in what direction the reporter is currently walking/looking? Everybody's direction

We're trying to reduce/remove the o'clock reports. For contacts outside 300m, bearings and cardinal points are the new system, as well as grid references for much longer distances. Will need to purge the dark magic harder to reduce the remaining o'clocks. The intention is for clock reports to remain only in vehicles (where 12 o'clock should be more obvious), but we've started with infantry first.

Could there be a 'nearobjects' check that AI could call out? [...] for example LAMPOST AHEAD, 2 O'CLOCK, 100m.
"In the, on the, at the" "Forest/ defile/ beach/ plantation/ mountain/ river/ trench". Just these sentences would make spotting a lot easier and a lot more immersive. Don't you think?

It's something we considered, but we must also balance the number of lines actors are required to record (already in the thousands) and making sure the lines are less robotic. True, they need to be 'useful' for the player, but it's a compromise between this a manageable number of natural sentences. Big keypoints, like villages, water towers, etc, are something we would like to do, but we'd need to invest more programming time into it, which we cannot budget for right now.

  • Refinement - Arma 3 will introduce certain refinements and simplifications across various aspects of the radio protocol
  • Scope - The scope of the changes are fairly limited' date=' based on the constraints of limited resources and time[/i']
  • Evolutionary - The changes are evolutionary, not revolutionary; it is a focused reworking, not an entire re-implementation

  • Function - Refined' date=' useful radio protocol; Community, multiple-language-friendly[/i']
  • Form - More Natural/ human, less robotic; sentences with fewer constituent parts/ variables
  • Constraints - Limited scope: evolutionary, not revolutionary; Limited resources
  • Process - Iterative, small steps; clear results and rigorous on-going evaluation

Best,

RiE

Edited by RoyaltyinExile

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IRL you can acoustically locate the reporter (easily) and also the direction he is facing (depending on distance). Assuming the reporter is keeping his eyes on the target this should give you an idea.

Until this is possible in game we need an alternative or rather additon.

My suggestion: Base the clock information on the medium squad's heading. This way one man covering rear would still report "6 o'clock enemy man!".

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I haven't been able to find those red cursor 'reported targets' boxes even in Recruit mode yet (what were they called?) I used to feel like they were cheap but without them AI enemy reporting is just too confusing "Contact...Infantry....Far" :eek:

Also would be nice to have more information on the Targets menu such as distance. The target menu is generally where I'll go to find a list of present enemies but knowing that Autorifleman at 12 o' clock is (100m) while Rifleman at 3 o' clock is (400m) would seriously effect priorities. This would also be very helpful for scavenging.

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The target menu is generally where I'll go to find a list of present enemies but knowing that Autorifleman at 12 o' clock is (100m) while Rifleman at 3 o' clock is (400m) would seriously effect priorities. This would also be very helpful for scavenging.

That's a great suggestion. It would make a lot of sense for the target menu to use the same info and be consistent with the protocol report; i.e., [type] - [cardinal direction] - [distance].

Perhaps make a feedback ticket about it? Unfortunately such work will require programmer support - and there are many other tasks to work on - but it would indeed be a welcome refinement.

Best,

RiE

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I would say that this is one of the areas where I immediately noticed improvements in A3 as opposed to A2; use of bearing calls rather than o'clock calls.

However, and this may be the "fog of war" going on, if we are all heading north, someone behind me calling out "contact at 100 m east", his east is then my south-east.

And I'll vote for that ticket you guys just came up with :)

-OP

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That's a great suggestion. It would make a lot of sense for the target menu to use the same info and be consistent with the protocol report; i.e., [type] - [cardinal direction] - [distance].

Perhaps make a feedback ticket about it? Unfortunately such work will require programmer support - and there are many other tasks to work on - but it would indeed be a welcome refinement.

Best,

RiE

http://feedback.arma3.com/view.php?id=8666

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Hi, IRL the report in protocol that i know is:

- [unknown Target]: Contact, X meters, X O'clock.

- [Recognized NME]: Enemy, X meters, X O'clock.

Sometimes, not always... whom spotted the contact specified a bit more, in a matter of seconds, less than 10secs; like:

- Man, civilian (usualy with some description, like: "with black jacket" or "with freak's sun glasses").

- Rifleman (and then informed about his behaviour: "Looking arround" or "walking").

When there was terrain differences (heigh) then the thing was like:

- Contact, X meters low (or high if was above our level), X O'clock.

And soon after that came the brief description of the contact and it's nature, civilian or military and clothes or weapon; in the case of groups it was like:

- Contact, NME squad X meters, X O'clock, Low or high.

For the vehicles it was like:

- Contact, [Vehicle type], X meters, X O'clock. The SL used to tell us if it looked emty or if it wasn't and what direction (left, right, front, backwards) the main weapon of the vehicle was aiming at.

That's what i can tell about and that it works. Let's C ya

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Still, a blinking red cone on the radar clock would be more ussefull.... can someone please add it as a suggestion to the existing ticket?

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It would make a lot of sense for the target menu to use the same info and be consistent with the protocol report; i.e., [type] - [cardinal direction] - [distance].

Update: we managed to sneak in a quick 'fix', which at least enables players to tell the differences between targets in terms of distance.

target_menu.jpg

We didn't have a whole bunch of time to invest more in the feature, but the basic behaviour is that each time the menu is opened, the distance/direction values will update (i.e. it will not update while the menu is open).

Best,

RiE

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This is a great improvement but perhaps needs shortening

Bearing 345 should be replaced with 345* (the degree sign duh)

Due North = N or something so the info will be instantly read

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Yup, it's a fair point - what' we've done is hijack strings that already exist in the database, as we have some constraints about creating new ones at the moment.

I'll note it down in the feedback and the great gods of localization shall make their decree.

Best,

RiE

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Hi, IRL the report in protocol that i know is:

- [unknown Target]: Contact, X meters, X O'clock.

- [Recognized NME]: Enemy, X meters, X O'clock.

Sometimes, not always... whom spotted the contact specified a bit more, in a matter of seconds, less than 10secs; like:

- Man, civilian (usualy with some description, like: "with black jacket" or "with freak's sun glasses").

- Rifleman (and then informed about his behaviour: "Looking arround" or "walking").

When there was terrain differences (heigh) then the thing was like:

- Contact, X meters low (or high if was above our level), X O'clock.

And soon after that came the brief description of the contact and it's nature, civilian or military and clothes or weapon; in the case of groups it was like:

- Contact, NME squad X meters, X O'clock, Low or high.

For the vehicles it was like:

- Contact, [Vehicle type], X meters, X O'clock. The SL used to tell us if it looked emty or if it wasn't and what direction (left, right, front, backwards) the main weapon of the vehicle was aiming at.

That's what i can tell about and that it works. Let's C ya

@wipman

I would say that unknown contact sightings would be called as 'Sighting' and not 'Contact'

e.g. - [unknown Target]: Sighting, X meters, X O'clock.

This is because the 'sighting' hasn't engaged, or has been engaged.

Thus when hearing a 'Sighting' call you wouldn't be engaging, where-as if....

...a 'Contact' call was heard, would usually mean that either you are being engaged, or you are engaging (or both) and thus you should instantly being engaging the target (or target area) upon hearing the call.

It might not seem there's a difference but the point I'm trying to make is

- Sighting report (Section/Platoon etc) - Would not engage the target upon hearing the call

- Contact report (Section/Platoon etc) - Would engage the target upon hearing the call (usually because you have been spotted first and are taking fire, or that the contact is fairly danger close)

So for me, it's quite important that its called correctly as it'll dictate whether I'm to engage or not (upon the end of the call).

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Thanks for implementing the distance to target menu -it's been a great help :)

Something is off with the reporting direction by player and AI. Meaning I'll auto yell out "Man Left Flank 100!" and instantly check my map for icon (yes I'm lame) and he'll often be straight ahead or even sometimes to my 1'oclock. I'd rather he say 'Front' if any where in my 10-2 o'clock then left flank as that's somewhat deceiving. Granted sometimes the AI is running and quickly 'slicing the pie' of directions but since we don't have endless voice chatter in which he'd ideally say "Man, moving from left to front" or something along that lines, I'd say left/right flank should really only mean the farther extremes of our periphery.

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