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About Evil_Echo

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    Master Gunnery Sergeant


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    Target shooting. Hyper-reality simulation.
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  • Biography
    Former military intel. Later on, worked as programmer, systems administrator, systems architect and computer security officer for US Dept of Energy.

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  1. Evil_Echo

    Our friend Randy Stratton is dying

    Randy's passing was a severe blow. He was a team-mate for a software project of mine and a very fine model tuner. And over the years, he became a good friend as well. I could not let his passing go without saying a few words. But at this time all I can think of is, "I will miss you."
  2. Evil_Echo

    They better have female soldiers...

    Recall the Marine motto - "Every marine is first and foremost a rifleman." Which also applies to airborne units once they hit dirt - they effectively become leg-infantry. Given the lack of battle fronts in today's wars, all units are front-line. As I pointed out earlier, there is an increasing chance these days of US forces finding opposing female units on the battlefield. From an emotional point of view putting a woman in the crosshairs is far worse than having a female compatriot hit/killed by incoming fire. We've already settled that female combat units exist, and at least some females are as capable as men of doing the job of elite forces. So what's left aside from that emotional element?
  3. Evil_Echo

    They better have female soldiers...

    Time to blow a hole in the argument about women serving in combat roles. Perhaps not in the US, but since when was ArmA just about the US? A video about the 707th White Tigers, South Korean Special Forces, training. Watch carefully and you may note that one platoon is not male. You had better know the folks in that unit well and use a respectful tone before using the nickname "Killer Barbie Dolls" in front of one of them. And another with more emphasis on that platoon...
  4. Evil_Echo

    No nuclear threat please..

    If you go toe-to-toe using conventional weapons and tactics, absolutely true. But the record using asymmetric warfare techniques is another thing altogether. The how's and why's of WMD deployal can be left to the mission designer though. All it takes is time to research a good enough storyline. To the weapons themselves then... What has to be kept in mind is what fits the scale of the sim and to some degree what is feasible within the system. Biological weapons are relatively slow acting. Excluding fantasy bugs like the one in Andromeda Strain the minimum time between exposure and onset of symptoms is at least several hours ( pneumonic plague ). While cheap to make, bio weapons are also very difficult to control precisely. So unless you are dealing with a madman wishing to infect the entire island, biologicals are off the list. Chemical weapons are cheap, fast, and do not spread outside the zone of contact. To appear realistic, you would need changes to people models and/or animations. Blister agents cause horrific burns, which might be concidered gore by some. Incendiaries as well - along with the need for fire to propogate to nearby locations. Nerve agents are "clean" in terms of models, but do require special death animations - violent spasms. Anyone who has seen bug spray vs ants has seen this, not suprisingly most nerve agents are molecularly similar to insecticides. Otherwise a good candidate. Nukes are the most controversial of course. They do damage to material and personel, leave persistent hazards in the form of radiation, and are quite spectacular. However, ArmA is not suitable for large nukes ( aka city-killers ). For one thing the immediate effects (blast, heat, radiation) would cover too much map for the scale ArmA supports. Additionally 100% fallout contamination would be a certainty. Another strike against city-killers is graphics. The ArmA2 engine bogs down with large cloud generation, if you increase the size beyond a certain point the GPU pipelines fill up and the effect degrades. Coded wrong and the end-user will experience severe lag, frame-frames approaching a slide show. Tactical nukes are a better fit to the sim. The smaller weapons damage radius is more to scale for ArmA map sizes. The graphics issues are more managable - with A3's new engine physics and particle effects would be expected to run better still. They also are a good fit with current geopolitics. Superpowers like the US have moved to smaller warheads as weapon delivery precision has increased. And a rogue state's first attempts at such weapons are likely to be low-yield as well. Assuming the weapons actually are used, NBC conditions apply. This would entails special game rules and equipment like MOPP suits and pressurized vehicles. Using non-rated gear would entail risk of exposure to whatever hazards are present. However, being suited up for long times strains one's endurance and limits vision and communication. Civilians would likely be unprotected with extreme casualty rates. Once alerted, professional forces would suit up, resulting in few injuries. Anyway - points to ponder during this discussion. Personally - I'd look at chemicals or tactical nukes, depending on what talent was available on the team.
  5. Evil_Echo

    The Elusive Stopping Power "Formula" and ArmA 3

    All damage effects derive from impact velocity and projectile geometry. Arguments vary on whether momentum or kinectic energy matters more - but both include a velocity component. The impact velocity is directly tied to muzzle velocity. External ballistics revolve around a round's orientation and velocity. The slow-down is notable, as I mentioned earlier all supersonic rounds eventually drop to sub-sonic speeds - causing disruptions to stablilty as that threshold is crossed. You may model this to whatever level of detail desired. But unless the model is based on the correct fundamentals, no chance of realistic results can be expected.
  6. Evil_Echo

    The Elusive Stopping Power "Formula" and ArmA 3

    Indeed, there are some other good threads discussing ballistics and wounding - some reaching back into ArmA2. One thing that deserves clarification is what is meant by realistic. One definition implies getting exactly the same results for a given RL situation. Another is where any deviations are statistically insignificant, which allows for greatly relaxing the amount of number grinding required. Let's stick to the statistical variant to preserve game performance and sanity ( those ultra-realistic formula can get really messy ). A .338 Lapau Magnum round is going to behave pretty much the same way inside any weapon designed to use it. So it would be easier to simply state the cartridge type along with barrel length and an optional fudge factor to correct for manufacturer differences to get the muzzle velocity instead of specifying a long list of obscure parameters that increase the risk of error creepage. The notion is to maximize precalculation in order to increase both performance and statistical realism. External ballistics is fairly unforgiving, since you do need to get the correct value for hit/no-hit. Fortunately it requires a relatively small number of parameters and would be imbedded in the core simulation so all weapons are treated the same way. Terminal ballistics - this is where individual opinion diverges. If you treat any armor as a homogeneous material ( not true IRL, but often close enough ) it is possible to compile a table of penetration velocities. One can take the residual velocity along with optional spall or scabbed armor and move on to the wounding calculations. At first view, it seems that statistical methods are the simplest. I would keep the use of random numbers to bare minimum though. It's not to disagree with the posting by maturin, but merely due to the fact that a good random number generator is fairly expensive in terms of cpu cycles, nor are sections of code using random numbers typically easy to make multi-threaded for use on large-core processors. So I recommend avoiding use of random numbers where possible. This brings up an important point - the simulation is worthless unless it can run the problem in a reasonable amount of time. Many games do not use any ballistics at all for shrapnel, instead using a technique called ray-casting to handle the cloud of projectiles flying around. This works because the relatively short range and sufficently high velocitiy of the fragments means that the assumption of straight-line movement used by ray-casting is close enough. I've spent considerable time enhancing projectile ballistics as part a project not involving BI. Good ballistics do make for noticably better simulation, but must be coded carefully at the core level for maximum performance. The mod maker is left to focus on the terminal effects, being sure to ensure consistant results using well-researched data. Hopefully, ArmA3 is following a similar path. If so it will be magnificent simulation.
  7. Evil_Echo

    The Elusive Stopping Power "Formula" and ArmA 3

    One thing to understand - in ballistics, there is no one true formula. There are well-accepted formulas that model various aspects of projectiles as well as popular simplifications. The most controversial section is terminal ballistics - where a projectile interacts with another object. Muzzle velocity is the topic of interior ballistics. Stock Arma only allows for muzzle-velocity to vary by weapon - meaning that it's very limited in the situations where muzzle velocity will match reality. At least one mod mod does try to adjust for ammunition type by use of tables and extended configuration files - but that system is difficult to maintain due to difficulties in collecting accurate data. As a result, errors are bound to slip in now and then. If the tables were the results of actual calculations the performance would be about the same, but the developers would need good data about powder composition and geometry, primer type and geometry, barrel wear, and data on any suppressors/muzzle brakes or the geometry of the barrel crown otherwise. Exterior ballistics needs to account for subsonic, trans-sonic, and super-sonic speeds were applicable. Pistol rounds are typically slow enough that one only needs to deal with subsonic values. Everything else should be handling all 3 domains since the transition through mach-1 causes a significant change in flight behavior. The range at where a round drops to subsonic speeds occurs is generally accepted at the limit for accurate fire by markman. For indirect fire, one of the 6 degree-of-freedom models is a must since those rounds encounter environments that require extra calculations if the point of impact is be determined with any accuracy. The round impacting with it's target involves terminal ballistics, which is vastly more complex than what has required up to this point. Materials like steel, aluminum and concrete use radically different models to characterise how each is damaged or penetrated. For wound results - the research by Fackler is commonly cited, but it's not universally accepted. The gist of all this is that ArmA is using very simple assumptions on weapons behavior. It or mods could do much to improve on the stock program. But at some point you will have to draw a line on detail if you wish the simulation to not bog down during a large firefight.
  8. While there are no promises, since ACE tends to change things without warning - the nukes should work with that mod as of last time I checked. The version of these weapons in the Mando system is greatly superior to what used to be in ACE, sans integrated NBC support in vehicle configs - but ACE never got very far in supporting that anyway ( I wrote the nuke package for ACE before leaving that team ). I believe Mando does support a nuclear AGM as well, the ECHO nuke warheads are certainly usable outside of the Scud. Mando even has a video showing a variant of a TLAM-N in operation ( cruise missile vs Russian aircraft carrier ). I made a version of a MIRV'ed MRBM that deployed 3 warheads in either ground or airburst mode for a mission a while back - scripting up such items was not at all difficult.
  9. Evil_Echo

    Lost Key v72.zulu

    Loki left, I left, a bunch of people left. Tired of the bickering, the egos, the attitudes, and how the forums had devolved. Loki is happily tending his crops as a gentleman farmer. He considers ArmA a closed chapter. You all should concider this thread closed as well.
  10. I always speak for myself, in this case having run a dedi server for our clan as well as being some who ran a lot of uptime-critical infrastructure in the real world. So stop your "Oh please" put-downs. ACE was mentioned as an example of a product with high update rates, nothing more. The issue is not ACE, it's the general situation of frequent mod updates. Too much, too fast, too often poorly tested. After enough annoyance - admins just give up and drop use of a mod that excedes their threshold. SU encourages such behavior by devs. From a server admin viewpoint, frequent updates are disruptive and any product that interrupts service too often will get the boot. That's my point - end of story.
  11. My point is not ACE, it's mod updates themselves. Too much, too fast, too often poorly tested.
  12. SU is not the solution, but part of the problem. Frequent updates may be great for developers, but it's hell for server admins. The constant restarts kill off player participation on a server. SU, by making frequent updates easier, actually makes the admin's situation worse - because the devs can increase the rate of update and do not coordinate their release schedules. The result is utter chaos. ACE is not widely hated due to it's content. But the rate of change drives server admin's crazy - they cannot keep up. So they chose not to use it.
  13. Evil_Echo

    co30 DominationA2! One Team

    Look around and count the number of devs that have gone dark in the last few months. It's not just Xeno, a bunch of notables have stopped work. A bunch of people seem to think that posting crap on BIF and Skype channels is harmless fun. They've turned the community forums into a stinking sewer. A good dev can always find something else to do. So we go to better places to continue our work. :butbut:
  14. Evil_Echo

    Why do you mod/make addons?

    Whatever.... Please introduce yourself. National Honors Society commended student' date=' ranked in top 0.1% in science. Degrees in Computer Science and Physics. Served in US Army - 98G. 24+ years as a programmer/systems administor/security officer at a DoE weapons laboratory in support of the Defense Nuclear Technologies program. Enjoy a good day of benchrest shooting followed by lots of sushi. [/indent'] Why make mods? Writing good code is almost an art form. ArmA was a fairly decent platform for combat simulation. Extending it's capabilities into new areas was an interesting technical challenge. What is your motivation? Frankly, I could do better than what was already out there. With a few notable exceptions, a lot of mods for ArmA were inaccurate, poorly coded, and lacked acceptable levels of technical support. What does it give to you? Knowing that some people appreciated quality work was all the satisfaction ever needed. Who would you name as your personal idol and why? Idols - none. Owe a debt of gratitude to many mentors along the years who taught me all I know now. I pay that debt forward by helping others learn. If you could change something in the community, what would it be and why? Have commented on the problems in the ArmA community for quite some time. It'd be better to just search and re-read those thoughts vs re-ignite the fights of the past. Eventually found the situation beyond repair and moved on to better projects.
  15. Nuclear weapons were among the features removed from ACE some time ago at my request as author of that software. Do not ask for this feature to be restored. Any documentation on ACE nuclear weapons should have been removed from the ACE wagn as well. If you wish to simulate a detonation in your mission you will need to use non-ACE code for that. There are a number of other bundles that offer nuclear weapons, include my collaborative effort with Mando Missiles, that may provide a satisfactory replacement in functionality.