Knickebein system introduced for Campaign Server

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Knickebein system introduced for Campaign Server

Postby TWC_Flug » Tue Oct 23, 2018 12:27 pm

I got interested in implementing something like the Knickebein functionality. Because we believe in being fair to all, it's available to both sides on the server now.

https :// en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_the_Beams

It is on Campaign Server for now but can easily be added to other servers like Mission Server.

Basically it allows you to set up "beams" that can guide you to various places and also alert you when you reach the target area with very good accuracy. But the functionality is quite basic (analog of WWII-era listening to various tones in headphones) so it requires knowing what you are doing and really flying it, not just setting an autopilot and forgetting it.

Also, some information about your beams leaks to the enemy--just as it did in WWII. (In WWII it was for technical reasons; in CloD it's also for technical reasons--mission developers don't have any way to receive extensive input except via the Chat screen, and everyone can read that--just as everyone could receive Knickebein transmissions in the war.) So, it opens up some interesting possibilities for both spying and disinformation campaigns, as well as potentially using encryption, as they did in WWII.

In-game, use chat command <kadd <kstart <knext <kprev to enter way points & get started, and <khelp for info and how to use.

I just used it to drop a perfect pattern on Dieppe Airfield from 18000 feet (using the regular bombsight for final drop, though you could use the Knickebein system for that as well, if you knew exactly where to set up the drop point). I think this has some interesting potential for both high altitude and low-altitude missions.

Again, in-game:

  • <kadd AV19
  • <kstart
  • <khelp
  • Try a basic version with <kni 70 20 (creates a Knickebein beam from your position bearing 70 degrees and 20 miles (or km, depending on army) away

Screen shots of the system in use along with explanations and suggestions for use:

http s:// imgur.com/a/K8AtFBZ

TWC Server Knickebein System Information and Command Help
System summary and command help based on the in-game help available via chat command <khelp

>>>>KNICKEBEIN SIMPLE OPERATION
To set up Knickebein, use chat command: <kni 90 25
This means set Knickebein target 90 degrees 25 km or miles from your current position (auto-adjusts: 25 km for Blues & 25 miles for Reds)

>>>>KNICKEBEIN ADVANCED OPERATION
To set up Knickebein waypoints:

<kadd AX10
<kadd AB23.8
<kadd BA14.3.2

You can add waypoints one at a time, as above, or add several at once like this:

<kadd AW23.2.8 AY26.1.2 BB21.1.8

Typical system usage is add waypoints via <kadd, then follow a sequence like this:

[INDENT]<kstart - (reach 1st waypoint) - <knext - (reach 2nd wp) <knext - (reach 3rd wp) - <koff[/INDENT]

More about <kadd:

Formats like BA14 AC9.2 AZ.2.6 all work. Add 1-10 waypoints at a time. Waypoint is the center point of the given sector.

For more exact waypoints, use this format to add a point:

<kadd 200311 192300

This adds an exact map coordinate (x,y) point; get coordinates from TWC radar web site or Full Mission Builder. You can add only one at at time. Formatting characters (,) are ignored, os for example you could enter the above point as:

<kadd (200311, 192300)

How to find waypoint sectors, keypad numbers, coordinates? See below for a detailed explanation.

Main Knickebein commands:

<kstart <knext <kprev <koff <kon <kclear <klist <kinfo <khelp

Most commands can be abbreviated to 2 letters, so <ks, <kn, <kp, <kl, <kd, <kc, <ki, <kh etc

<kstart is the most common command and so can be abbreviated <k.

Explanation of commands:

<kstart 4 or <k 4 - starts Knickebein @ waypoint #4
Starts with waypoint #1 if none given.

So, for example, you would add a series of waypoints and start following the first one via these two commands:

<kadd AE21 AB1.2 AC9.8.2
<kstart

<knext - skip to next waypoint and start following it

<kprev - back to previous waypoint and start following it

<koff - display off

<kon - display back on & continue to previous waypoint

<klist - list waypoints along with waypoint numbers for use in <kstart and <kdel

<kdel 4 - delete waypoint #4

<kclear - clear all waypoints

<kinfo - info about current waypoint, including start and end points and map sectors, and the magnetic heading you will need to be on to follow the beam

<kstart <knext <kprev will all vector you from wherever you currently are to the given waypoint. So you can <kadd a large number of potential
targets before takeoff, then during flight <klist <knext <kprev and/or <k 5 to select the one you want, and vector direct from where you are to it.

Knickebein in-game display and how Knickebein works
Knickebein used one narrow beam to keep pilots on course to target and another beam crossing the first to indicate when target was reached.

On your display, the directional beam is shown via symbols + (turn right), - (turn left), or = (you're right on).

The second beam (distance to target) is shown via symbols | (1 km) or . (100 meters)

Display uses your HUD. Here are some examples of how it might look:

----||||||
++++++||||||||
=....
=*

Each + or - is 100 meters left/right of the beam center (=)

Each | or . represents 1km or 100m from cross beam, max 10 km shown (both the main & cross beams were *narrow* beams--possibly even narrower in real life than indicated here.)

The |||||||||| indicator shows a maximum of 10 km from the cross beam. It starts at |||||||||| and remains there until you hit the crossbeam, when it will start to count down by km and then by 100 m (.) units.

At =* you are on target within a 100 meter square, the approx. accuracy of the historic Knickebein system.

Example: How to bomb with Knickebein

For example, to bomb with the system, you could use two methods:

Method #1: Knickebein wayfinding and alignment, final drop with bomb sight

* Set up a series of waypoints to take you into your target on the desired course, with the final waypoint being the planned target
* Once you are on course and close enough to see the target, switch to your regular bomb sight and proceed.
* The advantage of Knickebein in this situation is you can ensure navigation to the target even in an area you are unfamiliar with, and precise alignment with the target from a far longer distance than you can see--even further than you can see in ideal conditions. In less than ideal conditions, the advantage is even more apparent.
* These advantages are the reason systems like Knickebein where implemented by both sides during WWII.
* See for example http s:// en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gee_(navigation) and http s:// en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_the_Beams

Method #2: Knickbein for wayfinding, alignment, and bomb drop

* Set up a series of waypoints to take you to your target. But this time, instead of making the final waypoint the precise location of your target, do some planning and calculation to determine your planned altitude and make the final waypoint your bomb-drop point.
* Fly the waypoints and when you hit =* at the final waypoint, drop bombs.
* Both sides used this type of system in WWII, especially to hit area targets like factory complexes or airports at night or in bad weather.
* With an accuracy of 100 meters and some uncertainty due to bomb drop calculations, you're not going to hit a postage stamp with this sytem but you could certainly hit an airport or industrial area.

How to find coordinates or sector numbers of your waypoints

http s:// imgur.com/a/K8AtFBZ

This link with screenshots and explanation of Knickebein use also discusses how to find sectors and/or coordinates for your waypoints.

In brief: You can get sector names, keypads, and exact coordinates from the http: // brenthugh.com/twc/radar TWC radar/map system.

The Tactical Campaign server contact plotting map is password protected to trained operators on each side during the campaign. So you could ask your side's radar operator to locate a coordinate for you. Or you could enter the TWC Mission Server radar (password given at the link above) to find locations and coordinates--Mission Server uses the same coordinate system as Tactical Campaign server.

Other ways to get coordinates:

* The x,y coordinates for the full map are available in Full Mission Builder which is built into your CloD game (look under menu "Extras"). You would have to research recon photos, then find that location in FMB, find the exact coordinates using FMB, record them for later use, then add them in-game with a command like <kadd 24000 340243 <kadd (24000, 340243).

* Sector coordinates like AB12 or AV19 are shown on the in-game map: <kadd AV19 will take you to the center of that sector

* Sector coordinates plus keypad 1-9 can be easily estimated from the in-game map. Look at the map - find the sector number like BA9. Now imagine that sector square is divided into 9 smaller squares, numbered 1-9 like the keypad on a computer keyboard. A command like <kadd AV19.2 will take you to the center of that keypad sector.


You can also get sectors with keypad from the TWC Radar Map mentioned above.

* Sector coordinates with double keypad like AV19.2.1 can also be estimated easily from the in-game map. Once you have a keypad sector like AV19.2, just divide that small keypad sector again into 9 squares numbered 1-9 like a computer keypad. You can estimate this pretty closely just using the in-game map.

You can also get double-keypad sectors from the TWC Contact Plotting Map or from in-game objective lists (Tab-4).

<kadd AV19.2.1 will take you to the center of the double keypad sector.

FYI: Map sectors like AG17 are 10,000 meters on a side. Single keypad sectors like AG17.8 are 3333 meters on a side. Double keypad sectors like AG17.8.3 are 1111 meters on a side. The Knickebein system is accurate to a 100-meter square if you hit the =* point exactly. So you can see why you might want exact coordinates of a location if you are precision bombing, whereas sectors might be plenty good enough for general navigation.

Information leakage: Inevitable and historical
As mentioned above, when you enter your waypoints, the information is in the chat window and so it "leaks" to all players online. However, this is similar to the situation in WWII, where there was no way to prevent the opposing side from being aware of your navigational aids, and using them or subverting them for their own purposes. Both sides were aware of this and came up with various schemes for using or subverting their and the enemy's systems to gain advantage for themselves or to mislead the enemy in various ways.

Can you ride the beam and drop your bombs accurately on target at dusk or at night, in good and bad weather, as historic WWII-era pilots did?

<<<End Knickebein system help>>>
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Re: Knickebein system introduced for Campaign Server

Postby TWC_Hoss » Tue Oct 23, 2018 2:17 pm

Blimey Flug that sounds awesome. Thanks to you and fatal for all your doing
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Re: Knickebein system introduced for Campaign Server

Postby TWC_Flug » Tue Oct 23, 2018 11:44 pm

#1. I put the knickebein system on the TWC Mission Server, so you could experiment with it there if you like.

(Haven't tested it, hopefully it will work OK.)

#2. A quick & easy way to test is

<kni 90 10

That points a quick knickebein waypoint 90 degrees and 10 miles from your current location, and starts the system. So you can see how the display works, see if you can follow the beam to a point, etc , without having to worry about coordinates and waypoints and etc etc etc etc.

Once you've found that one, make another by <kni 180 10 (makes a point 180 degrees 10 miles from you) and follow that one etc.

Once you have got the hang of doing that, then you can worry about coordinates, waypoints, starting the system, etc etc etc as in the instructions above.
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Re: Knickebein system introduced for Campaign Server

Postby TWC_Sp00k » Wed Oct 24, 2018 3:06 am

All good stuff, sounds like that took a lot of work. You are to be commended Flug.

I saw in the TF5 update when asked a question about landing lights ingame that it was stated, the landing light thing is in game already (like IL2 BOS with some AI craziness...they might turn on). Don’t suppose you have come across that code in your binary explorations by any chance?

Taipan, Piranha, Sparky and I use landing lights often in BOS as a signalling tool. This would be very cool in Clod for our large flight formations. If you chance across it, can you turn it on?
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Re: Knickebein system introduced for Campaign Server

Postby TWC_Flug » Wed Oct 24, 2018 3:23 pm

I gave my (in-game) life to discover this bit of information, so here it is in case it helps. My top-secret info source was Nocken, so assign all credit/blame as appropriate.

You can send chat messages to enemy, friendly, anyone in the vicinity, or all. The implications for keeping Knickebein setup info from the enemy are obvious.

Method #1 - Map/Flag Screen

  • Go to the map/flag screen and use that chat window.
  • At the end of your message put a space, then ENEMY or FRIENDLY or VICINITY
  • Your message will look something like this:
    <kadd AM21.3.2 FRIENDLY
Hit enter, and your message will go only to friendlies, and your Knickebein waypoint *should* be entered OK.

Notes: Must put a space after your message, then upper case FRIENDLY. You could also use VICINITY. If no enemies nearby this would be a good way to keep friendly chat de-cluttered while also sharing your waypoints with anyone nearby--say at the same airport who is planning to fly with you to the same waypoints.

Disadvantage is, you can't see the reply the server sends you on the Flag Screen. You have to go back into the game/your aircraft & then you'll see all the chat messages.

Method #2 - In-game chat screen, direct your messages to all, friendly, enemy, or vicinity
  • Go to Options/Controls/Chat and set up a key to control "Cycle Recepients"
  • Now in-game, in your aircraft, open chat as usual and use the key you just set up to cycle between Friendly, Enemy, Vicinity, and All
  • Set to "Friendly" or "Vicinity" and do your usually <kadd <klist <kstart and other commands
  • Use your "Cycle Recepients" key to change chat to All, Friendly, Enemies, Vicinity or whatever you want when done
This seems to work pretty well. Be sure to send a few fake waypoint messages to ENEMIES.

FYI Nocken & I tried this and both had problems when sending to FRIENDLY only. But I just tried again and it worked just fine. I tried it again just now and VICINITY worked OK but FRIENDLY did not.

When I say "it didn't work" the symptom is that you enter any command like "<klist" or "<kadd" and there is just no response from the server at all.

Point is, there may be some experimentation required to find out exactly what works and what doesn't, but the concept seems to work OK. Maybe it will only work sporadically or in certain conditions.

Further experimentation may be required to be certain the enemies are not receiving the transmissions!
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Re: Knickebein system introduced for Campaign Server

Postby TWC_Flug » Wed Oct 24, 2018 10:50 pm

Update: The problem with sending chat messages to FRIENDLY or VICINITY is this: It works perfectly if there are no recipients. But if there are any recipients in that group (say, other Reds in the server if you are sending to FRIENDLY, or someone close to you if you are sending to VICINITY) then the server never receives your message.

You can tell if this is happening because you will type something like "<klist" in chat and nothing at all happens.

So, here is my best solution so far for entering your Knickebein coordinates in privacy:
  1. Spawn in at some remote airport on the map where no one else is around
  2. Use the key you set up in Options/Chat to switch your chat audience to "Vicinity"
  3. Enter all your Knickebein waypoints
  4. Optional: Switch chat audience to "Enemy" and enter a few fake waypoints to throw them off.
  5. Now spawn in wherever you really wanted to spawn in, and proceed as normal
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