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Thread: The Men Who Stare at Pixels

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    Supporting Member DUI's Avatar
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    The Men Who Stare at Pixels

    Hi fellow pilots,

    Did you ever wonder if you really can see contacts in TFCliffs worse than other pilots? Here is a small single player mission that might help you to find out.
    Of course, besides from supporting with monitor calibration (e. g. brightness, contrast, gamma, sharpness) the mission also helps to quickly check if/how SweetFX and other software-based adjustments influence the contact visibility.

    Instructions:
    1. Download this zip-archive,
    2. extract the three files to your missions-directory in "...\Documents\1C SoftClub\il-2 sturmovik cliffs of dover - MOD\missions\Single",
    3. start up TFCliffs and choose in "Single Player/Single Mission" the mission "Contact Spotting" *.
    4. Directly after you have spawned in the plane (109) pause the game (default: "p") and
    5. choose the pre-defined 30° zoom-view (default: "Delete").
    6. Now count the contacts that you somehow can see in the area left to your plane's gunsight - as tiny and bright the pixels may be.

    In total there are up to 16 contacts (Spitfires) that are positioned in 1 km steps from a distance of 1 km to 16 km.

    On my screen I somehow can see 14 of the 16 contacts (see attached image):


    In a real flight situation I probably "only" would have some realistic chance to see 11 contacts (meaning contacts up to a distance of 11 km against this bright-blue sky).

    So, someone more/less?

    * Note - thanks to ATAG_Lewis: The 109 that you spawn in should be standing on the ground. If you spawn in an already airborne plane you have to adapt your "realism settings":
    Before starting the mission go into 'Custom'..then 'Realism Options'....and check All the 'Visual aides' and check 'Mission Take-Off and Landing'...
    Last edited by DUI; Jan-22-2017 at 13:35.

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    Re: The Men Who Stare at Pixels

    I haven't tried it live Dui but on my "cheap" IPS monitor I see them all at your screenshot when you pointed them out.

    Usually I would think I forgot to clean my monitor and ignore those far away ones

    There is some advantage with pilots flying with 30"+ TV's from my experience with my friends. Pixels are bigger.
    They are those 20/20 vision guys that would spot contacts earlier than others, but that was historically confirmed in memoirs

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    Re: The Men Who Stare at Pixels

    I see only 8 (on a 28" Samsung TV). Thanks Dui, might have to tweak my settings.

    Might as well compare the TV with my original 23in Acer PC monitor to see if there is much of an adavantage using the TV.


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    Re: The Men Who Stare at Pixels

    Just an FYI, I had to disable Anti Aliasing as it was killing some of the distant contacts.
    You might want to try that too.

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    Re: The Men Who Stare at Pixels

    Thanks I'll try it. But I found out, and is stated somewhere in the forum too, that using largest fov, instead of default or 30, makes long range dots easier to spot.

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    Re: The Men Who Stare at Pixels

    I've tried but I can't see any aircraft at all, that weird
    It takes an airplane to bring out the worst in a pilot.
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    Supporting Member PanTast's Avatar
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    Re: The Men Who Stare at Pixels

    Thanks DUI. Great thing

    On my new LG 34UM65-P I am able to see 14 contacts.

    John Lydgate: “You can please some of the people all of the time, you can please all of the people some of the time, but you can’t please all of the people all of the time”

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    Re: The Men Who Stare at Pixels

    Quote Originally Posted by DUI View Post
    Hi fellow pilots,

    Did you ever wonder if you really can see contacts in TFCliffs worse than other pilots? Here is a small single player mission that might help you to find out............the mission also helps to quickly check if/how SweetFX and other software-based adjustments influence the contact visibility...................

    ................In total there are up to 16 contacts (Spitfires) that are positioned in 1 km steps from a distance of 1 km to 16 km.............
    thx for posting this test file

    It would be useful if people who do this visibility test also state:
    - the size of their monitor (brand and model number is also useful)
    - the approx distance they have their eyes from the screen during gaming
    - that if they dont see some of the more distant dots from their normal viewing/playing distance, that they more closely examine the screen where the know dots should be (if needed with a magnifying glass), to determine if on closer inspection of the screen there is any indication of these same distant spitfire dots
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    Supporting Member DUI's Avatar
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    Re: The Men Who Stare at Pixels

    Quote Originally Posted by Decibel dB View Post
    I've tried but I can't see any aircraft at all, that weird
    Did you successfully spawn in the (grounded) 109? No planes in the area left of the gunsight?
    No matter what the monitor or software settings are, everyone should at least see the 3-5 rather closeby contacts...

    Btw: If you are not sure about the results there is an easy way to confirm the displayed contacts: Make a screenshot by pressing the "print"-key on your keyboard. Paste the data into an image program (i. e. Windows Paint, Gimp) and zoom into the new picture. Even those tiny, bright pixels get bigger this way and you should clearly be able to identify them.

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    Re: The Men Who Stare at Pixels

    I count 16 dots (i have modify my icon.rcu with this procedure).
    With the original "icon.rcu", i can see only 8 dots...

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    Re: The Men Who Stare at Pixels

    original "icon.rcu" :


    modified "icon.rcu" :

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    Re: The Men Who Stare at Pixels

    Quote Originally Posted by DUI View Post
    Did you successfully spawn in the (grounded) 109? No planes in the area left of the gunsight?
    No matter what the monitor or software settings are, everyone should at least see the 3-5 rather closeby contacts...

    Btw: If you are not sure about the results there is an easy way to confirm the displayed contacts: Make a screenshot by pressing the "print"-key on your keyboard. Paste the data into an image program (i. e. Windows Paint, Gimp) and zoom into the new picture. Even those tiny, bright pixels get bigger this way and you should clearly be able to identify them.
    I've spawn in the air with engine running on a 109. As soon as I've spawn I press pause as it is said. I can see any contact. Like you said Imshould at least see a couple one's. I'll try a screen shot tomorrow
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    Re: The Men Who Stare at Pixels

    Thank you for this. I can see 15-16 when zoomed in at 30 degrees. but lots of them are super faint.

    Also - dammit you had to go and remind me of that matte film on my screen, I hate that thing with a passion, wish they made a gloss 120hz monitor

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    Re: The Men Who Stare at Pixels

    Spot test.jpg

    This is mine, as you see there is not even one contacts, That not normal because in game I can see, maybe not at 10 km but I can see. You you think it have something to do with my ATI GPU not rendering on that mission?
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    Re: The Men Who Stare at Pixels

    I've found (weirdly) that completely opposite to other flight sims I've played, in CloD the more zoomed OUT your view is, the easier it is to spot contacts. I've replaced the normal "gunsight view/wide view" zoom setup with a more gradual one like you get in DCS and Rise of Flight, which allows you to zoom all the way out to a slightly silly Quake-esque level of FOV and it's improved my spotting of distant contacts immeasurably.

    Can anyone shed any light on why this is? In DCS/RoF/BoS and 1946 it's easier to spot contacts the more you zoom in but in CloD it's all bass-ackwards for some reason. It's insanely hard to spot long range dots when you're zoomed in to the max.

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    Re: The Men Who Stare at Pixels

    Quote Originally Posted by SorcererDave View Post
    I've found (weirdly) that completely opposite to other flight sims I've played, in CloD the more zoomed OUT your view is, the easier it is to spot contacts. I've replaced the normal "gunsight view/wide view" zoom setup with a more gradual one like you get in DCS and Rise of Flight, which allows you to zoom all the way out to a slightly silly Quake-esque level of FOV and it's improved my spotting of distant contacts immeasurably.

    Can anyone shed any light on why this is? In DCS/RoF/BoS and 1946 it's easier to spot contacts the more you zoom in but in CloD it's all bass-ackwards for some reason. It's insanely hard to spot long range dots when you're zoomed in to the max.
    It has to do with LOD change at certain zoom levels. Zooming out will enhance (darken) the pixels far out so it's easier to spot them. when you start zooming in, they lighten up until a lod change happens. However contacts that are about 3km and closer (dunno how far the lod change actually occurs) will be easier to spot on 60 and 30 zoom not on widest settings. You're better off checking your six with 60 zoom then 90 or more.

    It's a bit annoying as the engine uses a dot system where the others use a different technology. Also it means that at certain zoom levels, contacts against dark backgrounds (especially on morning or evening maps) will "disappear" but zoom in just a bit more and they start rendering properly.

    I personally wish there was a way to mount a key to a particular zoom level, like 45 - that seems to be sweet spot for gunnery. if anyone knows let me know!

    EDIT: numbers, coming from photography I get these 2 mixed up, 30 degrees in photography is wide. In here it describes the cone, not the focal length - hence it means zoomed.

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    Supporting Member DUI's Avatar
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    Re: The Men Who Stare at Pixels

    Quote Originally Posted by hnbdgr View Post
    Thank you for this. I can see 15-16 when zoomed in at 30 degrees.
    Do you also use this icon.rcu tweak? If not then it is a new "record" for the default settings.

    Quote Originally Posted by hnbdgr View Post
    However contacts that are about 3km and closer (dunno how far the lod change actually occurs) will be easier to spot on 60 and 30 zoom not on widest settings. You're better off checking your six with 60 zoom then 90 or more.
    This is also the way that I try to spot contacts: Flying in 90° view and as soon as I see a contact I zoom-in and try to identify it.
    Nevertheless, in the testmission I can see those extremely distant contacts only if I am zoomed-in.

    Quote Originally Posted by Decibel dB View Post
    This is mine, as you see there is not even one contacts
    As you also mentioned that you are spawning in an already airborne 109: I think you are starting a different mission. In the test mission you should be in a grounded 109 with a turned-off engine.
    Maybe, give it another try and download the zip-archive again.

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    Re: The Men Who Stare at Pixels

    I did, twice and I am always spawning in the air
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    Re: The Men Who Stare at Pixels

    In this case I have no clue. There is supposed to be only the one single 109 (the grounded one) in this mission...

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    Re: The Men Who Stare at Pixels

    Quote Originally Posted by Decibel dB View Post
    I did, twice and I am always spawning in the air
    In your 'Realism' options, do you have take off and landing unticked?
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    Re: The Men Who Stare at Pixels

    Thanks for posting this DUI - very interesting

    I can see 14 contacts - tho the 14th is extremely faint I can only really see it if I move closer to the screen and I doubt I would see it / notice it in-game

    39" LED LCD Sharp 1080p TV (cant remember model number but its a cheap one)
    Im sitting 1m from the screen

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    Re: The Men Who Stare at Pixels

    13 planes that would make sense. Thank you Mysticpuma that was the problem
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    Re: The Men Who Stare at Pixels

    I can see 11..

    and that is going very close to the screen, and from an angle from below.
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    Re: The Men Who Stare at Pixels

    Quote Originally Posted by FZG_Immel View Post
    I can see 11..

    and that is going very close to the screen, and from an angle from below.
    Increase your monitor contrast or gamma.
    In my case, I increased the gamma on the nVidia control panel.

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    Re: The Men Who Stare at Pixels

    Quote Originally Posted by ATAG_Colander View Post
    Increase your monitor contrast or gamma.
    In my case, I increased the gamma on the nVidia control panel.
    I tried. doesnt seem to have any positive effect unfortunately.
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    Re: The Men Who Stare at Pixels

    Immel is this with the edited RCU file? I have the modified RCU file and can spot almost all of the contacts, though some are very faint. Either way keep the RCU file it doesn't matter that it's server side when MP.

    The other thing you need to look at is your NVidia settings (some people claim AF value is important) and conf.ini (or confuser ini? can't remember) There's certain things you can change there like visibility distance etc.

    EDIT: This is mine


    Code:
    [core]
    RandSeed = 0
    TexQual=3
    TexFlags.PolygonStipple=0
    Shadows=1
    SpecularLight=2
    DiffuseLight=2
    DynamicalLights=1
    MeshDetail=2
    LandShading=2
    LandDetails=2
    Sky=3
    Forest=1
    VisibilityDistance=30
    LandGeom=2
    DrawCollisions=1
    Water=-1
    Effects=1
    EffFlags.Light=1
    EffFlags.SpriteRender=0
    Grass=3
    CordEffect=1
    UseFog=0
    UseLandCube=1
    UseLandConnectedObject=1
    LinearObjectManager=1
    Roads=1
    Sun=1
    Clouds=1
    EffFlags.LightSpritesProj=1
    ShadowMapSize=5
    TexFlags.AsyncLoad=1
    TexFlags.ShowTexture=0
    SimpleMesh.SWTransform=0
    SimpleMesh.QuadTreeClip=1
    SimpleMesh.InstancingHW=1
    EffFlags.LightContextSprites=1
    CloudsFlags.Detailed=1
    TexFlags.CreateHDR=1
    Decals=2
    EffFlags.SWLight=0
    TexFlags.CockpitOnePass=0
    MegaTexture=0
    TexFlags.Reflection=0
    RenderTargetQual=3
    MSAA=2
    MeshStatics=0
    MeshStaticsDetail=0
    SimpleMesh.QTNoCompose=0
    MeshFirstLod=0
    MeshShowLod=0
    SpawnHumans=0
    TexFlags.SSAO=0
    TexFlags.VSync=1
    Last edited by hnbdgr; Nov-19-2014 at 11:50.

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    Supporting Member FZG_Immel's Avatar
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    Re: The Men Who Stare at Pixels

    Quote Originally Posted by hnbdgr View Post
    Immel is this with the edited RCU file? I have the modified RCU file and can spot almost all of the contacts, though some are very faint. Either way keep the RCU file it doesn't matter that it's server side when MP.

    The other thing you need to look at is your NVidia settings (some people claim AF value is important) and conf.ini (or confuser ini? can't remember) There's certain things you can change there like visibility distance etc.

    EDIT: This is mine


    Code:
    [core]
    RandSeed = 0
    TexQual=3
    TexFlags.PolygonStipple=0
    Shadows=1
    SpecularLight=2
    DiffuseLight=2
    DynamicalLights=1
    MeshDetail=2
    LandShading=2
    LandDetails=2
    Sky=3
    Forest=1
    VisibilityDistance=30
    LandGeom=2
    DrawCollisions=1
    Water=-1
    Effects=1
    EffFlags.Light=1
    EffFlags.SpriteRender=0
    Grass=3
    CordEffect=1
    UseFog=0
    UseLandCube=1
    UseLandConnectedObject=1
    LinearObjectManager=1
    Roads=1
    Sun=1
    Clouds=1
    EffFlags.LightSpritesProj=1
    ShadowMapSize=5
    TexFlags.AsyncLoad=1
    TexFlags.ShowTexture=0
    SimpleMesh.SWTransform=0
    SimpleMesh.QuadTreeClip=1
    SimpleMesh.InstancingHW=1
    EffFlags.LightContextSprites=1
    CloudsFlags.Detailed=1
    TexFlags.CreateHDR=1
    Decals=2
    EffFlags.SWLight=0
    TexFlags.CockpitOnePass=0
    MegaTexture=0
    TexFlags.Reflection=0
    RenderTargetQual=3
    MSAA=2
    MeshStatics=0
    MeshStaticsDetail=0
    SimpleMesh.QTNoCompose=0
    MeshFirstLod=0
    MeshShowLod=0
    SpawnHumans=0
    TexFlags.SSAO=0
    TexFlags.VSync=1
    nope. without the edited RCU file. RCU files doesnt work online, so I dont care for it.

    thanks. will compare the .ini
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    Supporting Member FZG_Immel's Avatar
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    Re: The Men Who Stare at Pixels

    Forest=3
    VisibilityDistance=64
    MeshStatics=1
    MeshStaticsDetail=2
    I have those. not changing forest, and visiblity distance doesnt seem to have an impact.

    what about those 'mesh' ?
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    Supporting Member hnbdgr's Avatar
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    Re: The Men Who Stare at Pixels

    Quote Originally Posted by FZG_Immel View Post
    nope. without the edited RCU file. RCU files doesnt work online, so I dont care for it.

    thanks. will compare the .ini
    Well then you need to use the same icon.rcu values that server-side icon.rcu has, even if it's for your offline tests. Colander might know what those are I'm hoping..?

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    Supporting Member hnbdgr's Avatar
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    Re: The Men Who Stare at Pixels

    Quote Originally Posted by FZG_Immel View Post
    I have those. not changing forest, and visiblity distance doesnt seem to have an impact.

    what about those 'mesh' ?
    I don't know I reckon those are influenced by graphic options in-game. Can't remember if I changed those manually.

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