Magic radar is dead, long live the feature-creep!
As a part of the Jets DLC 'platform upgrade' (ie the free features available to everyone that owns Arma 3), we're releasing an early, rough version of our revisited take on electronic warfare. Part of Arma that was admittedly experiencing some red chains and needed a buff. With the upcoming Jets DLC (and thanks to your feedback) we now have a chance to overhaul big chunks of the target detection and tracking mechanics.
Before we go any further, I recommend you to reset your keybinds to the A3 or Apex preset (and dump all the hours you've spent customizing them) - otherwise you'll see a lot of missing strings and unnecessary action menu entries. ;)
Let's split it into three parts: mechanics, UI and assets.
Target Detection & Tacking
The separation of various sensor types and unification of configuration. Sensors can detect targets by Infra-red or Visible spectrum, by active radar or passive radar detection (RWR), by Laser or NV spots and there also can be a sensor for tracking small targets like individual soldiers. Common properties are ranges, angles, how well the sensors detect targets against ground or sky background, how high the target needs to be or how fast it needs to move to be detected.
Some of the sensors have unique properties:
IR needs the target vehicle to have actually heated up (not just engine on/off)
Radar can be switched off (by default: CTRL + R)
AI switches the Radar ON in Aware and Combat
And Passive radar or RWR detects those that didn't do so :)
Targets can now vary in their signatures too. Terrain, route planning, vehicle selection, careful radar usage now makes a big difference.
More details about this will be soon available on wiki, in samples, and via an OPREP. The same system can be used for both missile seekers (ammo sensors) and vehicles. So far, we've configured only part of our vehicle ORBAT.
Sensor Display & Symbology
Current symbology version
The old magical radar slash compass* slash RWR is gone. It has been replaced by a brand-new synthetic Sensor Display (or Tactical Awareness or Tactical Situation Display if you wish). Yes, it's in the UI. Again, no nice display on modelled MFDs. But no unicorns either. It falls under another novelty - the Custom Info - where you'll find how to open and switch to the Sensor Display.
What can be displayed:
Where the targets are
What type of targets
What is their allegiance**
Where are the threats
What are the ranges of your sensors
What you have assigned, marked and what is the type of marked target**
And if you happen to have the radar and it's switched on then you can also see target's speed, altitude ASL and distance
* Lack of compass means no functionality for relative turrets' directions. We'll bring it back via other means ASAP.
** The target type on Sensor display allowed us to remove the name tag from mark and lock symbols in 3D. Together with it - and this has a major gameplay impact - is gone the automatic red coloring of enemies.
-to be updated-
What it can't do, what's still heavily in progress, where we need your feedback
Balancing - it's rough and quite random atm. A big one where we need your playtesting and feedback. We won't push it into Main Branch anytime soon - expect at least 2 months of public testing and balancing.
Enemy confirmation - you've probably noticed the enemy symbology. That's for confirmed enemies only. What's that? We plan to add scripts that you could utilize to have entities confirmed as enemies by any way you find useful.
Symbology - something we're still uncertain about. Would you like the old squares vs. triangles better? Internal tests show us that the one available now in Dev Branch may be quite unintuitive. We need your feedback here.
Target Recognition - currently the sensor recognizes the target almost immediately. We had ideas about delays or variable recognition distances based on the sensor.
Kudos to our modders and community for feedback, shared knowledge and endless inspiration (heya, mando missile :)) And one special nod to airwarriors.com.