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Spotting enemy infantry from gunships: vanilla AI testing

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I'm trying to understand what's the best way to make AI gunships spot enemy infantry on the ground so playing with a simple setup of a team of two Blackfoots flying directly to lone enemy survivor from afar, overflying, making a U-turn and overflying him again. The survivor initially stands still in an open field though he sometimes goes prone later on upon detecting incoming helos. I've made well over 50 tests by now tweaking some parameters from time to time and I'm getting kind of illogical results. Namely:

  • Reducing speed negatively affects gunship's ability to spot enemy.
  • Reducing flying height has adverse effect as well.
  • "Sweet spot" for infantry detection is at least tens and up to a couple hundred meters behind the helicopter - it overflies the enemy and only spots it some time after. It's possible to make a gunship detect enemy infantry in the forward hemisphere but one needs to dial up helo crew skill level to 100%. Even at 80% gunship crew will never see the enemy.
  • Should the gunship miss the enemy after overflying ordering the helo to make a U-turn few hundred meters past the enemy sometimes helps.
  • A strip of land where one can realistically expect detection is just tens of meters to either side of the helicopter (in 2D terms). Placing a soldier mere 100m to the left or to the right of the helo path (again in 2D) guarantees the latter will never spot him.
  • Making a return pass over the same terrain makes no sense. A gunship will either detect the enemy at the first pass or it'll never see him.


I know infantry detection from gunships is a contentious topic so I'm not trying to criticize. Just may be someone else has done similar experiments and has knowledge to share. I'm primarily interested in how plain-vanilla AI behaves - I know reveal/dotarget/dofire hard-scripting and setskill.

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