Saturday, August 20, 2011

Some thoughts on smoke effects in game

I found some interesting articles on smoke employment in the military during my research for a practicable in-game smoke control system: When smoke is used, how will it behave over time, and what are the factors that influence it.  As with everything, this is a search for a playable compromise, we are not making meteorological simulations here.  So what I want to end up with, is a simple sequence every turn to check what happens with smoke on the table.
So I went and listed up what the results in such a sequence can be, and what parameters influence the outcome.  Smoke is an absolute necessity in a good tactical WW2 combat game, and it needs to be implemented well, the thing is to find the limit to realism.  What parameters are most important, what others will further influence the result?

Possible smoke behaviour   
Rise: Smoke rises and dissipates
Pillar: Smoke rises and forms a pillar
Stable: Smoke remains stationary
Expand: Smoke forms a smoke curtain downwind
Travel: Smoke screen moves downwind
Dissipates: Smoke is torn apart by wind and dissipates
Primary influences on smoke  
Wind speed
Less than 5 knots (10 kmph) (Unfavourable for smoke employment)
5 to 10 knots (Moderately favourable for smoke employment)
more than 10 knots (Favourable for smoke employment)
Wind direction
Determines in which direction the effects will occur.
Secundary influences on smoke  
Temperature gradient
Lapse (unstable): temperature decreases between floor and 4 m altitude, causing vertical air currents and turbulence, smoke tends to break up and become diffused.  Best for smoke curtains.
Neutral: Little or no change in temperature between floor and 4 m altitude.  Relatively suited for smoke blankets, but not the best temperature gradient for smoke
Stable (inversion): temperature increases between floor and 4 m altitude, leaving the smoke lying low on the ground, very good for smoke blankets.
Low (Unfavourable for smoke employment)
Moderate (Moderately favourable for smoke employment)
High (Favourable for smoke employment)
None (Unfavourable for smoke employment)
Light Rain (Moderately favourable for smoke employment)
Mist / Fog (Favourable for smoke employment)
Cloud Cover
None (Unfavourable for smoke employment)
Scattered (Moderately favourable for smoke employment)
Overcast, Low Ceiling (Favourable for smoke employment)
Even (Unfavourable for smoke employment)
Rolling (Moderately favourable for smoke employment)
Complex Topography (Favourable for smoke employment)
Sparse or none (Unfavourable for smoke employment)
Medium Dense (Moderately favourable for smoke employment)
Heavily Wooded (Favourable for smoke employment)
Time of Day
Late morning to late afternoon (Unfavourable for smoke employment)
Midmorning (Moderately favourable for smoke employment)
Evening to Morning (Favourable for smoke employment)

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