Wednesday, 16 December 2015

WarThunder - Teams a problem for 109 players

Just to emphasise that previous post was no fluke, here's the team list after 5 minutes of play in my latest game flying out the 109G2 against a Russian team...

Yep, that's 5 minutes of play, and on the first pass we lost nearly ALL our fighter, why?... Because they only climbed to around 4000 meters altitude and got into a swirling diving match with the Russians to low-level, where the Russian then dominated and destroyed them all, in very quick order.

As for me, I got to 5,500 meters, chose to dive on one target, and then found I was going maximum speed with Russian after Russian ducking under my guns, until as I passed out the other side, this is what was in my rear view mirror....

This time, I got one hit on a target, earned me 400 lions, I destroyed a ground MG position for a little more and then I decided to just head on with the lot of them, the first guy set me on fire with a shot that for me would have just been a sparkle effect... from there on I just blazed away unable to move.

WarThunder - BF109-E3 & BF109G6 Matches & Teams

My strategy in both aircraft has basically been the same, climb for altitude off to one side, then fly at a shallow climb into the combat area, at the BR3.7 and below range I find everyone doing the same thing, we get wins, we get kills... So fun has that been, and so successful I've unlocked both the skins for the E3...

So, I jumped up to my next unaced 109, which is the G6.  Here's my progress on the modules:

And things are not getting any better, it's agonisingly slow to unlock anything, because either I'm shooting and hitting Russian aircraft and they put out their fires (scouts honour, I've hit La-5, Yak3 and Yak9's, had them burning as well as any other target - which would go down - only to have them put their fire out, and worse still they loose no fighting ability).

Now, I refuse to believe these players are excellent, in fact in the last game they were good to average opponents, but my team going into them was abysmal, first off, the German team, aside from myself off to one side and two chaps in the middle failed to climb, so straight off we're playing 9v9 and two thirds of our planes are at lower altitude... Next, they enter turning low level fights with lend-lease P39's, Yak9's and Yak3's.

At altitude, I'm coming into the combat zone at 5,500 altitude, 300km/h and looking for a target to dive on, by the time I'm there though there's only two other members of my team left and I have to dive into and through the whole enemy team.

760km/h screaming down on a Yak3, he's going a good 550km/h, my controls are stiff, but I'm waiting for him to try to duck under my guns... There, he ducks, I swerve... My shells totally miss, because of course even now going 600+ the guy looses no control, he can pull a tight barrel roll and rudder control it... I'd be in g-lock "Lost Control" doing that, but not he, for he has ghost of Comrade Stalin blowing into his belly button to keep him upright.

I pull up and away, not wanting to turn, 760/780km/h indicated, I pull up... from 30m alt.... 1600... I'm already down to 300km/h speed... I look behind....

Yes, that's the whole entire enemy team on my six now, and you see that La-7, he's closing that gap with me... But he was closing that gap even when I was going 700km/h.

I'm dead, and this is the annoying thing, I didn't do anything wrong... Diving into the fray at all was my mistake, I should have stayed at 5.5K, climbing to flyaway and live to fight another day.

Whenever I fly against Russian aircraft the same can only be said, I don't get kills, and I get killed.

I don't know, after a month of solid flying the American and German lines, maybe I need to take a leaf out of Tsung Tsu's book and get to know my enemy?  The problem being I don't have much advancement in the Russian aircraft line, since I dislike them, nearly all my vehicle progress in the Soviet tree has been tanks.

The overwhelming conclusion I have though, is that many players at the higher BR rating have either not learned how to energy fight, or don't realise they need to energy fight Russian planes, so I find myself alone and out numbered nearly all the time.

I've been trying to check this on different servers, EU, US, SA, RU... All the servers, it's not the players, it seems to be the match up, at the higher BR playing Germans in Realistic battle I get bad teams.

And this isn't to say I'm the best team member to get, but at least I try and climb, I try and get energy, and then I try to find targets, but then those targets are already in turning fights at sub 1000meters, it's a hell of a waste to have gotten to 5000+ meters, and even more of  a waste to dawdle all the way down to try and attack, they already know I'm there, and they're far more manoeuvrable to dodge out the way.

Successes are few and far between in the G6 and above, in the E3 they're plentiful and fun... The difference?... BR and the teams at those BR's.

Tuesday, 15 December 2015

WarThunde - Performance - A Girl Gamers Opinion

In my quest for better Energy Fighting I've had a friend of mine reporting back to me about her efforts to do the same, starting as a fresh, but wary realistic battle pilot.

Her first problems were getting an aircraft to climb to usable altitudes, whilst I myself have been reaching to the 5,000 meters and up altitudes, she reported to me that being around 3,500 meters was about the average for her climb before engagement.

However, I realised she was quickly unlocking planes and jumping into them without upgrading them, so I've had her work on unlocking the upgrades for just one aircraft.  She chose the P38e, the first P38, as she prefers the nose mounted armaments and has only worked on the US air tree so far.

So, this P38e, rather poor in climb and acceleration, with a constant overheating problem.  She reports she can WEP to around 2,500 altitude, then has to level off, back off the throttles to bring the heat down out of the red indication.

This limitation, even after unlocking the better engines and other performance modifications left the plane under armed, and so with the ammunition belts unlocked she began to play, striving for altitude and then diving on targets.

Her problem, immediately struck her, as the same as mine... She could dive and attack, but targets were often initially only visible at very low altitude, so she's waste all her potential energy at near ground level dives...

Some targets would be at least set a light and go down, others would be problematic to hit, easily ducking under the guns of the low agility P38.

Whilst other targets seemed to only be hit after they've passed...

Her overall impression, un-inspired by me, is that once she had dived, once she had got into the tangle, trying to help team mates and knocking down targets; she would be immediately jumped by, usually unseen, more manoeuvrable opponents.  Whom would be on her tail and tear her to shreds.

Only with the intervention of a team mate - which she assures me has been dramatically infrequent - has she reported escaping to repair or at least make a soft landing somewhere, or even just flying around damaged unable to land, hoping for the end of the match.

This situation, seems rather odd, for historically speaking American aircraft, didn't operate in this manner, this mad clamour for altitude didn't happen, they had a leisurely climb from their bases in England then up over the English Channel, a minimum of 26 miles, but usually more like 40.  In the game, and yes I know it's a game, one gets between 10 and 20 kilometres.  Very much less than half.

German fighters I've found do climb well in this space given in game, but this perhaps reflects their post 1940 role of mainly being interceptors on the Western Wall, prior to the invasion of the Soviet Union, I'm not sure, but certainly this cat and mouse, dive to kill then be killed situation is related to the balance of performance at height or manoeuvrability at low level.

I'm not going to say anything about the seeming over performance of any nation versus another, but certainly the tangle of an Energy Fighter, finding itself below a more manoeuvrable opponent simply results in a dead energy fighter.

So far I've not found a case where my 109 can out climb a P47, or P51, I've not found a situation where in a dive I can outrun them (these being the opponents I now mostly face), and don't even get me onto the subject of performance with mid tier Spitfires.

As for Susan, her problem has been disengaging also, she can't turn, she can't out climb, she has only the P38e model... One can say "Use a better plane", but still it should be a better plane than the ones it's pitted against, America had the choice of model and employed the P38 for a reason, but that reason in game is not it's fitness for purpose, it's it just being there.... being part of history.

Realistic, she says, should be more real.

Monday, 14 December 2015

Weekend : New Cooker

It has been a long weekend, we've been doggy sitting, and also finally we've had the new oven arrive, so had actually got to eat properly...

Here's the new baby cooking Sunday's Chicken Roast.

Indesit, Fan assisted, Electric, A rating all for less than £170... I can't complain.

I was very busy during the wekend, I've still not managed to get teh X55 rehooked up to the re-installed PC, but I did get to play some WarThunder, and ran into two nice fellows from across the Atlantic, CircleVIII and EvictedSaint, with whom I saw my energy fighting techniques are not that bad, just perhaps I need to start flying with wingmen, as we never lost a match together.

About wingmen, I've been promising to get back to the Wolfpack application I made, and get back onto their TS, after the fun of the first meeting, but I've found the serious high amounts of time for simulated play have not been coming my way.

I've been in a bit of arcade and a lot of realistic level battle.

Friday, 11 December 2015

WarThunder - BR6 - 109 Performance - Help Me?

I've got to preface this post with, I do not want this to be the usual "Russian Bias" rant at WarThunder, because in this case I've taken a look and I don't think it's Russian Bias which is my problem, it's lack of skill on my part... Let me explain.

I spent a fair amount of time last week playing WarThunder, playing Realistic Air Battles flying out the early tree 109's.  I flew the E-3, F2, F4 and G2 variants.  I got kills, lots of kills, I felt no frustration and I aced the G2-Trop for my trouble and unlocked the G13 and got well into 66% of unlocking the K4 variant.

Good progress for me, saying I can't play very often...

So, this week, I wanted to make progress on the 109 tree above the G2, specifically the G10 and G13, and unlock the K4.

Frustrated, wouldn't cover my feelings, first of all the default ammunition seems to make no impact on targets, I raked a P51D's belly with the dual 13mm MG and cannon of the G13, only to have it register 2 hits, I've sprayed seconds of fire at captured 190's only to see them sparkle, take no damage and turn away.  I've had to really calm myself down about not having the decent, or any, ammo belts unlocked for these planes and soothed myself with thoughts of "it will be better soon".

Unfortunately for me "soon" never came, I've been grinding all week, and all week I've had the use of the 109 thrown in my face, on one notable occasion I became the focus of every eye on my team - as they'd all been shot down - and I was back at 5K altitude (having already landed a crippled crate to repair and rejoin the fight), and all I got was abuse of a team member, whom was only a level 6 on his player card but of course knew all the tricks in the book, despite his having been shot down and my now dogfighting, not one, but four opponents at high altitude.  Of course I lost that dogfight, I did set an La-5 on fire, but he didn't go down, no of course he didn't... Meanwhile I've been burned, exploded, wings ripped off, pilot shot by a single clicking round from a B17 (yes through 83.9mm of armoured cockpit glass my pilot was sniped by a single round from a B17 gunner at over 400meters distance, didn't know a .50 cal had that penetration... oh, oh it doesn't, so my pilot must have had a heart attack that game!)

It's been dismal, and demoralising, and so I've just played another game... in the G10, I climbed high, the highest in my team, at 6K I leveled out and took a look around, there's 4 friendlies to my west, 2 to my east, east looks bad it's a Do17 and a 109 in a snarl up around 4K alt with a pair of Russian fighters (an La-5 and a Lagg3), I turn to dive to help just as both friendlies burn... Too late, too late, damn me.

The fight to the west is going on, badly for my team, but I see a 190 flying alone towards the western fight, he's right below me, he's moving, suddenly I see black smoke, he was on the tail of a friendly!... Damn it, Damn it!... But at least the friendly calls out his alt... 2.5K...

I drop my throttle, align my wings with his flight path and roll over and dive, I'm coming down on his six and he's not moving, not turning... he's not seen me!!!!

I come into firing range, and I put the pipper a head of him, and let my guns fire... the white and green streaks along his top side, I hear the squelching sound made by squib hits, I get one hit registered, two hits registered... and I flash past him and pull up to take my energy back into altitude.

Two hits, from a good 2 second burst... None of them made a difference, as I look over my wing, he's turned left and dived for the ground.

Unfortunately, I've been spotted, or he's called for help, so I see one of the La-5's to the west turn right, break from the swirling dogfight and start to come towards me... I'm zoom climbing up, 4000, 5000...5250.... before my speed is drained and I level off to make speed....

The La-5 was at around 2K altitude, some 8.4km away... Not only has he covered that distance, but he's climbed to 5000 meters and is going considerably faster to still be closing the distance with me...

HOW THE HELL DID HE DO THAT!  This is the core of my rant, I don't know how he did this, I don't want to believe Gaijin have programmed in some feature of the Russian planes I don't know about, or if you play from a Russian IP you get some benefits (the guy was speaking Russian in chat, I'm not just making this up).

His La-5, which has it came close was the Fn model, from a turning fight around 200km/h, had covered 7km of space and climbed 3000 meters in a mere minute.  UFO like performance!

But, I can see him coming, I'm now flat level, WEP on and gaining speed.... 350km/h.... He's still gaining on the distance to me... 1.4km.... 375km/h... He's still climbing, still gaining on the distinace to me 1.2km.... 390km/h.... He's not climbing, but he is still gaining on me... 0.8km... He's clearly levelled off, ready to start shooting, he wants speed now to close the gap...

I decided my only chance, is to turn on him, so split-S, inverting and pulling through, accelerating into wep at a point just below his aircraft towards me, as he starts to fire (I see his tracers) I return a burst of fire then his my rudder to skid past his shots... We flast past one another, I'm going 550+km/h back towards him... And I keep going straight, I'm soon at 4,500m altitude, 700km/h.... He is turning, horizontally!... The slowest kind of turn.... Yes I think, I'm going to escape this guy, or at least he's going to bleed energy now... surely!

Is he heck has like loosing energy, he's back on my tail now, we're going in the opposite direction, I'm at speed level, he's speeding up and already back behind me, I roll some, he's rolling with me, I don't want to loose my energy...


Red tracers, flashing past my cock-pit from below, it's another Russian coming up at me, in a steep climb, he's below but coming fast, as I pass over the top of him he misses me, and I push the nose down to speed up more, I'm heading for base.

I'm down to around 2.5K alt now, and the IAS is red with warning, the enemies are not following me into this dive, I've got the speed, I level out... 750Km/h indicated, I'm sure I'll rip my wings off... WEP, vibration, altitude gone... Persuers... 

Well, they just gently now follow me in the dive, they catch me, at the bottom of my level out they're already on me, as if for every ounce of effort  I have, they have 1/3 extra...

I admit this plane is not unlocked, it's fully stock, but I'm struggling, utterly and totally struggling... I don't think I've played this wrong, I came from height, attacked an enemy, no dice, I climbed back to altitude... They followed, with ease.

All the rest of my team are down, I'm it... I'm low and fast, they are diving on me, can I take at least one with me, make this worth my effort?

I pull up, trying to take them with me, trying to lure them into a rope-a-dope, they've been blazing away with their limited ammunition, I have plenty... I go up, up... and up... 3000, 4000, 5000... They're behind me, the lagg however, is right on top of me... I'm at 200km/h... I kick the rudder over and wing over at the same time to cut the corner.... and WHAM

The 20mm shells from the La-5 cut my right wing off.

Never mind, it was a good fight, right?... I flew okay, they flew well, it was just numbers, there were two on me, two more on the way, right...

Yeah, but that 190... I had him dead to rights, he should have had more than two measly hits, he should have died... My shooting is bad?...

I go back to an unlocked plane, using an air target belt, the 109-E3.... Two planes shot down, one assist.... No my shooting is okay, I'm not going mad.  And yes I understand the slower flight path of the wing mounted 20mm from the E3 compared to the later G's prop mounted cannon.

So, I have to unlock those better belts on this plane, right, I need to find some way to get targets to earn vehicle research points... The Grind...

But what about those opponents, that seeming 1/3 advantage in acceleration, climbing?... Well the climbing we can see in the aircraft stat cards, the la-5 lists 22m/s climb speed, whilst my 109 lists only 13... That could explain some of the disparity... So, lets take an La-5 out, fly it straight and level - a better position than the one which caught me was in.

So, straight and level, radiator closed, fast fast... and climb....

I want it to climb 4000 meters before loosing energy...

I'm at 500 meters, so my target height is 4500... Lets see what happened at the top of my climb, and where that topping out was...

3900 meters... It topped out, at 3.9K... Nowhere near the wanted height, no-where near where the la-5 just caught me, nowhere near as good performance...

So HOW DID THEY CATCH ME, how do these Russian flying players always (and I mean always) get the advantage, even if below me and slower than me?

Monday, 7 December 2015

Energy Fighting & Windows Vista

This weekend, aside from having the car up on the ramps to fix a blowing exhaust, and generally running around looking after all our pets (oh and waiting an age for an Asda Groceries delivery)... I've been working on my Energy Fighting techniques in WarThunder.

My reason, I love the German fighter line, considering myself a specialist in the 109, and with the new spotting system I wanted to jump into simulated battle and see where my 109's took me... Unfortunately the one evening I got chance to set up Track IR and everything (after my windows 7 re-install) I found the Simulated Battle queue was only for Japan versus Soviet aircraft.

I languished about playing some US airforces in Arcade; something I've been doing all week, to learn about the new P38's and the new (to me) Apache and the early cannon armed P51 in the tech tree, bored however I set about Realistic Battle.

My record here has been dismal, as I treat it like a glorified Arcade, and I've found it easier to get vehicle research points by killing ground units, you'll see this in my player card as my stuka has something like 150+ ground kills in realistic and a thunderbolt has as many in the US tree for me.

But, I wanted to get practice in energy fighting, I've always found this awkward, I much prefer in my nature to turn fight.  Hence my early liking of British and Japanese airframes.  But Germany seems to be where my aesthetic eye has settled.

So, flying out my 109G/2 Tropical, I wanted to ace this aircraft and then work on unlocking the K4 variant, the final 109, which I've yet to unlock.

Two flyouts later, and I had little to show for myself, except the above very damaged but successful landing after tangling with an F4U and his raking me with fire.

Then something clicked, not only did I start to do the usual climb, but I started to get the feel for how to enter the energy fights, I started - amazingly enough - to get kills, and soon it all sort of clicked into place.

I was pulling dive & climbs slashing attacks at fighters, I was getting deflection shots into bombers, I was rope-a-doping P47's into trying to prop hang against my lighter airframe, and it was all a massive kill fest, I have had more successful flyouts, with more realistic air kills in the last few days than in the whole previous month, just though this ethereal something "clicking" into step.

My only negative would have to once again be the Yak-9's habit of putting fires out, in one example, which I hope to bring to you as a new video for my channel, I set a Yak-9 alight early in a battle, but then had to break off to deal with another Russian pilot, the second dealt with I only found the Yak had, not only put out a raging fire, but had managed to land and repair.

He returned to the fight, to make it a 1v1 duel, he versus I.  I energy fought to the better here, but still had to enter head-ons with him to defeat him in the end... All because those pesky pixies that put pouring flames out for pilots of Yaks.

Sign up to WarThunder with this link, and earn rewards based on my being a player, and reward me with gifts from the game as you level up!... Don't forget to come say "hi".

The other thing I did this weekend, was update the drive in the wife's Dell 6400 laptop, I put her a faster 40GB drive in there, and reinstalled Vista... yes Windows Vista.

Worked a treat, installing both service packs vastly sped up the time to live on the updates out of the box, which annoyingly the Windows Update service does not do, it insists on installing singular updates one by one, rather than jumping to Service pack 1, then jumping to Service pack 2 and then continuing, no it just goes through them as they were published...

But, reinstalled, and chrome installed, the desktop tidied and the right apps pinned to her start bar, lets home the machine now works right, it's mail problem had been a mysterious hardware pausing.  The whole machine would lock up, before coming back to life, however, I got to the bottom of this maybe by discovering nearly every screw in the chassis needed tightening.

Wednesday, 2 December 2015

SDL - Bug or Problem with SDL_RenderFillRect

Got one of those annoying debugging problems going on, I'm not sure whether the problem is with the presentation buffer, or the data I'm drawing.

This code, draws a cross within a rectangle I've defined, and then it draws a hollow rectangle around them... Annoyingly, the calculation I've used for adding the width & height to the location makes sense, but it appears the rectangle is one pixel less in width... So the SDL call calculates or 
uses the rectangle to draw.

But, that's not the problem, below the code drawing this, I've asked it to actually fill in the whole rectangle...

However, the result does not fill in the rectangle...

I've tried this in both Visual Studio and Code::Blocks, neither seem to want to fill in.  I'm using the same colour, blend and settings, as you can see in the final code listing, just the call to the render fill rect function does not render a filled in rectangle.

Any ideas?

Tuesday, 1 December 2015

PC Upgrade - SSD

Main PC overhaul, it's been a long time coming, but I finally have an upgrade for my main PC.  It comes off of the back of Black Friday where I got 48% off of the list price, so got to indulge.

It's of course, a new SSD, I've bought a SanDisk, 6g/sec SATA, 2.5" unit.  Windows has been installed on it, Linux is not going on this directly, that'll go on another of my drives as a dial boot option.

For this SSD is for gaming.

WarThunder was 90% downloaded last night before I caught myself drifting off to sleep in my very chair, but other games have to follow, and I need to set up my Track IR (again) and my Sietek Hotas.

The driving force behind the upgrade has been oneof the drives (I carry 6 in the machine) has developed a clicky, sometimes whine, so I wanted to replace the main boot disk and then work out which was making this noise and retired it.

I only have to be very careful now in backing up all the data I want to store.

Vmware player at home will be my next task, I love vmware player, at work I've been supplied with VmWare workstation, and I use it so much to do different things with whole different systems, that at home I've also taken to being used to firing up Linux inside windows, or windows inside linux, it's just so much easier.

Anyway, main machine is literally up on blocks... Tonight, is sorting out the cabling and packing it all back together.