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I've posted these observations some time ago in my Gerbini scenario-topic, but I think they deserve a better spot and some discussion, so here we go! :)

Some short notes on dust in Combat Mission 

I have not conducted serious tests, just some quick hotseat-experiments in Combat Mission: Fortress Italy.

What raises dust?

  • Vehicle movement over "dusty terrain". The faster the vehicle goes, the more dust is thrown up.
  • Firing large calibre guns (AT guns, tank guns, etc) from "dusty terrain". MGs are okay.
  • Shell impacts on "dusty terrain"

Whether a terrain is dusty or not depends on the ground condition (no dust if wet, eg.) and on the type of terrain. E.g. the ploughed field tiles don't raise any dust, most crop tiles do. Also consider different road types.

Who can see dust?

  • Dust generated by shell impacts can be seen by the opponent.
  • Dust generated by firing or moving can only be seen by the opponent if he has spotted the unit generating the dust (confirmed contact required). Note that the enemy can only see the dust that is created from the moment on at which he has spotted the source (i.e. "older" dust generated by the source is not shown to the opponent retrospectively). On the other hand: once you've spotted dust, it stays even if you lose sight of its source.

Effects of dust?

  • Dust reduces/blocks LOS. For example, if you have 5 tanks on a sanddune fire, they will literally disappear in a cloud of dust. This is a two-edged sword and something to consider if you want to area-fire. Fire --> dust-cloud --> No LOS --> no area fire until the dust dissipates. This also raises an important question: Do dustclouds that my enemy can't see (because he has not spotted the source) still handicap his LOS? In order words: Is it possible that he can't see me because he's looking at a dust-cloud of which he is totally unaware?  Can you be fooled by an invisible dust cloud?
  • Another highly interesting question: I don't know whether dust raises the chance of getting spotted (as an unconfirmed contact at least, even if you're shrouded in your own dust-cloud?). 

Behaviour of dust?

  • Dust travels with the wind (scenario condition) and dissipates at some point.
Edited by Kaunitz

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Below is a link to a similar topic reference dust and smoke.  The behavior of dust and smoke was changed with the 4.0 engine release. 

http://community.battlefront.com/topic/125914-smoke-as-a-force-field/

After 4.0 it seems you can no longer fire through smoke at all.  I have even had a case where some of my own vehicles were kicking up a lot of dust and the cloud of dust drifted in front of a shooting vehicle causing the vehicle to stop shooting.  The vehicle was on area target and should have fired until told to stop, ran out of ammo or had something really bad happen to it.  Another frustrating thing about this is that the status block (lower left screen, green text) will incorrectly advise that the vehicle is aiming, firing, aiming, firing etc when it is not.  I tested this in CMBS and one of the WWII titles (IIRC it was CMFB) about a month ago. 

 

The smoke / force field wasn't a huge deal as long as we had a work around for it.  However 4.0 seems to have removed the work around.  In theory if the conditions are right you could follow a smoke screen all the way into the OpFor main line of resistance.  I hope maybe this behavior can be tweaked with the other 4.0 stuff that BFC is tweaking. 

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It has been my understanding that thermal imaging should penetrate dust and smoke except in the case of smoke that has been formulated specifically to block TI.

As far as spotting the dust of unspotted vehicles is concerned, historically that was done routinely where conditions permitted. This allowed spotting vehicular movement, sometimes even at great distances where the vehicles themselves could not be spotted. This led in at least one case to an interesting ruse of war leading up to the Gazala battles. Rommel had ordered aircraft engines complete with propellers to be mounted on automotive chassis and then be driven towards the center of the line. This was duly noted by the British who assumed that large formations of tanks were being assembled preparatory to an attack on that part of the line. In reality, Rommel went around the southern flank instead.

Michael

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20 minutes ago, Michael Emrys said:

It has been my understanding that thermal imaging should penetrate dust and smoke except in the case of smoke that has been formulated specifically to block TI.

Yes, and this is how it works in CMBS.  Below is a quick explanation.

All US vehicle smoke is IR-blocking.  Black RUS / UKR vehicle smoke is not IR blocking.  White RUS / UKR vehicle smoke (e.g. Shtora) is IR-blocking. 

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4 hours ago, 76mm said:

So smoke and dust is now in effect a bullet-proof shield?  Isn't that a bit troubling?

Yes.  To be fair smoke always did prohibit direct firing into/through it.  But there was a work around for it prior to 4.0.  As of today's date you can still fire at the ground (area target) in front of the smoke and some rounds (depending on terrain) may go into the smoke.  My hope is that while BF is tweaking 4.0 they will also return the smoke behavior to how it was prior to 4.0. 

In the other thread (linked above) Steve said, 

"We are having an internal debate about allowing units already engaged in Area Fire to continue doing so if obscured by smoke.  I'm not sure why this was changed for Engine 4, but it seems the game would be better off if it went back to the way it was.  It's at least something for us to consider!"

So, there is hope............

Edited by MOS:96B2P

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LOS masking effects aside, I love the immersive visual effect of lingering dust and smoke from round impacts, and wish these effects could stay around longer (in dry conditions), perhaps with a toggle switch for the framerate impaired.

While it isn't top of my wish list, it would seem a relatively easy way to mitigate complaints about battlespaces appearing sterile or generic.

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Just a small update after a quick test. I do think that there is a tiny issue here: Units can be hidden to you behind dustclouds that you cannot see. 

The way I tested it: Set up a tank on dirt ground, very dry conditions. Let if fire its maingun and let one of your units observe. At first, the unit will see the tank. Once it starts firing, the tank begins to throw up durst. As your unit can see the tank, it can also see the dust created by it. At some point, the continous firing has raised up so much dust that your unit loses sight of the tank. From this moment on, your unit can longer see the dust created by the tank, because it has lost sight of the tank. And it can't see the tank, because of the (from now on invisible) dust.  

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3 hours ago, Kaunitz said:

Just a small update after a quick test. I do think that there is a tiny issue here: Units can be hidden to you behind dustclouds that you cannot see. 

The way I tested it: Set up a tank on dirt ground, very dry conditions. Let if fire its maingun and let one of your units observe. At first, the unit will see the tank. Once it starts firing, the tank begins to throw up durst. As your unit can see the tank, it can also see the dust created by it. At some point, the continous firing has raised up so much dust that your unit loses sight of the tank. From this moment on, your unit can longer see the dust created by the tank, because it has lost sight of the tank. And it can't see the tank, because of the (from now on invisible) dust.  

That is an interesting example but that is how things are designed. Hopefully the ? remains - since they saw it. There is no "can I see dust" spotting check. Dust is visible when the generator is and invisible when not. This is so you cannot, with your god like powers, see vehicles driving (by their dust) in areas of the map your troops cannot see. To process your units being able to see dust or not is too taxing for the current engine so it is a limitation we have to live with.

It is a trade off but the right one.

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I recall back-in-the-day there was heated debate and much disagreement over how to handle kicked-up dust. There was a faction that wanted dust clouds seen universally as a location giveaway and a faction that wanted dust clouds chained to vehicle LOS. Each position has its downside but they had to pick one as the lesser of two evils. Generally speaking, BFC tends to fall on the side of 'fog of war' when there's a choice to be made.

About missing CMAK, a huge CMFI map, dirt ground, very dry conditions, still air, and Italian Renault R35 and L5/30 tanks (plus a couple Semovente 47/32) should do the trick! ^_^ Actually, its been a dog's age since I played 'early war' tank fights using Italian crap tanks. It takes patience playing those half-blind slow movers across a big map.

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