Thursday, May 1, 2014

War Thunder (Part Four)

Need to Knows (Continued)
Plane Settings

War Thunder - Plane Settings
Since the core of War Thunder is mostly focused upon the PVP aspects and lesser on the Single Missions and Dynamic Campaigns, you will undoubtedly come across some sort of interface, much like the one shown, prior to entering the field zone of a PVP match.

And if you did, then surely the option settings of "Ammo Belts", "Guns Targeting Distance" and "Fuel Amount" would have puzzled you (extremely) and raised a big, fat question mark in your mind right?

So what are they? Just what do they do?

Well apparently, at the very least, they appear to be some sort of settings for you to fine-tune your aircraft the last minute, just before you head out to a battle (in your plane/next plane).

And depending on the settings you choose here, it will somewhat affect your position/ability to do certain things as well as your overall performance during the match. You can even call it the "make or break" settings if you wanna. (Hmmm...maybe that's a little bit over the top. Hahaha.)
  • Ammo Belts
    To understand "Ammo Belts", I want you to take a good, close look at the following two screenshots. They each represent the kinds of ammo belts that you can utilize, for machine guns and turrets, while flying British planes.
    War Thunder - Machine Gun Ammo StealthWar Thunder - Turret Ammo Default
    The first thing you'll need to note, right off the bat, is that unless you've researched the corresponding option in a plane's "Upgrade Tree", the only ammo belt that you can ever use on that plane will be the "Default" one. (Though still usable, it can hardly take out an enemy fast enough, so you should always make it a priority to unlock this first, in order to access the more useful belts.)

    Next, if you read the description on any of the ammo belts, what you should immediately grasp from it should be this...

    The Bullets Used On The Belt And Its Order

    For instance, the "Turret Ammo Default" has its belt filled with "Tracers" (T), "Armor-Piercing" (AP), "Ball" and "Incendiary" (I) bullets. The order in which they're fired off the belt is as shown, T/AP/Ball/Ball/I (first to last).

    The "Machine Gun Ammo Stealth", on the other hand, has its belt filled with "Armor-Piercing" (AP), "Armor-Piercing Incendiary" (AP-I) and "Incendiary" (I) bullets. The order in which they're fired off the belt is as shown, AP/AP/AP-I/AP-I/I (first to last).

    Essentially, what these information (combined) means is that, if you use these ammo belts in your turrets and machine guns, then a single burst from one of your turrets will contain 1 "Tracer", 1 "Armor-Piercing", 2 "Ball" and 1 "Incendiary", altogether 5 bullets. A single burst from your machine gun would have 2 "Armor-Piercing", 2 "Armor-Piercing Incendiary" and 1 "Incendiary", again 5 bullets per burst.

    On the surface, while these may mean nothing to a layman, they do convey a very important message. But first, you will need to roughly know what the purpose each bullet is built for.

    Ammo Type*Purpose
    Armor PiercingTo penetrate armor platings.
    High ExplosiveTo cause explosions.
    IncendiaryTo cause fires.
    TracerTo show the path of bullets.
    * As a general guideline and not meant to be exhaustive.

    So now, if we apply this information back into the examples, we can pretty much see that the "turret's ammo belt" would somewhat bear the effects of being able to leave a trail of its flight path (owing to the T bullet), penetrate armor platings (the AP bullet) and cause a fire to start (the I bullet).

    The "machine gun's ammo belt" would then bear the effects of being able to penetrate armor as well as to cause fires to start. However, because there isn't any "tracer" elements contained within these bullets, you won't be able to see any trails from these bullets (as well as the enemy).

    And while the exact damage and chances isn't known, it should generally be safe to assume that the more bullets of a certain kind that you have (in the ammo belt), the better is its ability to achieve that intended purpose. For example, the more "Incendiary" bullets you have, the better your chances of setting the target on fire. The more "Tracer" bullets you use, the more trails you would have to show you the path where your aiming. (Although that would potentially lower your effective damages. Not to mention giving away your position.)

    Additionally, the "purer" the bullet type, the more effective it should ought to be in performing its duty. For instance,
    -AP vs AP-I vs I
    While the AP and I (pure) bullets would each be 100% effective in its task (theoretically), the AP-I (hybrid) bullet would only be like 50% effective in both penetrating armor as well as causing fires (compared to the pure ones). However, this does not mean that the AP-I bullet is in any way inferior to the other two. Just that, pending on where you hit, the reaction from each bullet will be different.

    For instance, an armor-plated fuel tank. The AP bullet will simply cause a fuel leak, the I bullet...maybe a spark or something, while the AP-I might penetrate and set it on fire. If it was the wing of some cloth material bi-plane, then the AP and AP-I might have just penetrated it, dealing minimal damage, but the I bullet could have potentially set it aflame.
    -T vs IT
    Likewise, if we take the T bullet to be 100% visible whilst flying in the air, then in comparison, the IT bullet is likely to only leave a trail that is about 50% visible.
    Although the Ball is said to be "Omni-purpose" in its description, I'ld rather think that its a bullet with no specific purpose. It is the weakest of all bullets. You should seriously dump these as soon as possible. (As in, avoid using any ammo belts containing them.)
    Additional Reference: Aircraft Gunnery Ammo
  • Guns Targeting Distance
    To know what this setting does to the plane, you will first need to learn about something called the "Gun Convergence".
    War Thunder - Vertical Targeting
    But in order for the following discussion to bear any meaning, you might first have to change vertical targeting to "Yes" in the "Options Menu".

    (Basically, what that does is that it will automatically compensate for "bullet drop" due to gravity. And while it would work perfectly well when your shooting horizontally, and at the ideal distance, it might cause you to "overshoot" the target if its too close or when your diving down on the target.)

    Now then, what exactly is "Gun Convergence"? And what does it have to do with "Guns Targeting Distance"? Take a look at these next two screenshots and you'll get the idea.
    War Thunder - Guns Targeting 50mWar Thunder - Guns Targeting 800m
    In the screenshot on the left, I had set the "Guns Targeting Distance" to 50m, while the one on the right was set to 800m.

    Noticed where the bullets "converged" at?

    Precisely! The "Guns Targeting Distance" setting is just something you set, for the plane's guns, such that it "converges" at the designated distance. It allows you to calibrate all the different guns that you have onboard your plane so that they all meet at the same point.

    Without this, your faster-moving, lighter bullets would meet at point X, while your slower-moving, heavier ones would lag behind and converge somewhere else. (A terrible waste of firepower, don't ya think?)

    Anyway, leaving the logic behind (you can read more about it if you want to by googling "Gun Convergence" or something), I think that you would typically want to set this close if your into turn-fighting or are generally shooting at planes. Set this to very far or "no convergence" if your planning on shooting at ground targets or something that's very far away. If you wish to be flexible in picking your targets, then aim for mid-way...which in this case is 400m.

    Now just remember this general rule. For maximum effectiveness, only open fire when your target is at or about the convergence distance that you've set your guns to (+-25m to 50m). If your guns are set to 300m, then ideally, you should only start to fire when the target is within 250m to 350m. Do something like that and you should be relatively assured in hitting your targets. But don't forget to lead, your target, though...

    (Note that this gun convergence thingy applies more to weapons that are mounted onto the wings of a plane and less for those that are mounted to the nose of a plane.)
    Additional Reference: War Thunder Gun Convergence
  • Fuel Amount
    Needless to say, the fuel setting affects how long your plane can stay in the air. But there is also another more subtle meaning to it.

    If I'm not wrong, it also affects the weight of your plane and hence your "inertia". And owing to this, the more fuel that you've chosen to load into your plane, the more sluggish it would be to "move". Likewise, when your climbing, you will lose your speed/momentum faster, but will be able to dive way faster with your heavy load.

    Generally speaking, unless there's some special purpose to it, you shouldn't need to load too much fuel into your plane if your playing in "Arcade" mode. For "Realistic" and "Simulator" modes, then you should ought to put more thought into this.

Previous: War Thunder (Part Three)Next: War Thunder (Part Five)