• Jan. 12, 2018, 7:23 a.m.

    Viewrange and camouflage

    Summary
    0. Introduction
    1. Practical situation
    2. Viewrange mechanics
    3. Camouflage mechanics
    4. Tactical tips
    5. Limitations of Map Inspector.

    0 Introduction

    presentation
    Viewrange and camouflage are some of the least obvious mechanics in the game. Not seeing the enemy doesn’t mean that the enemy doesn’t see you. Getting familiar and using them to your advantage takes a lot of experience, and there are always quirky moments.
    We all saw that message in game “you cheaters invisikilled me”. That wasn’t hacking. That was understanding and using the rules.

    This is a work in progress.
    The app camo tool represents about 6 months of work. However it is not perfect. If viewrange values are known from the client, only PC camo are provided. there is no data about blitz camo values. We will discuss this more.
    This article here is also under construction. It might have typos or confusing wording. There are no illustrations from map inspector or screenshots from the game, and i will add these when time permits. Until then, the reader needs to draw from his own experience to understand the points I discuss.
    Hopefully this article still helps you, even unfinished.

    This paper is meant at describing the camo for its tactical use in game.
    It will cover the gameplay associated with camo, some practical advice, and how to use the tools in map inspector to understand a situation, analyze a map, test tanks and locations, and eventually improve your games.

    Before you use the app or read below, it is advisable to read the game wiki.
    Because it is better to be familiar with the principles that make viewrange and camo work, and the wiki is the place that provides the most detailed description of the game mechanics. The wiki is compiled by players from information made public by wargaming over the years from release notes, official announcements in the forums or videos, or from developer’s interviews. There is no place that has more precise information. Better than that would be having a direct conversation with a knowledgeable wargaming developer.

    It is also important to know that Map Inspector is entirely made and financed by players.
    Wargaming didn’t provide any help. The data used in the app is extracted from public data available in the game clients. We are trying really hard to make the app perfect and accurate, but it is impossible, because some information is simply not available from WG, because it represents too much work that is currently underfunded, and because there is only so much we can fit in an app. If you are interested in knowing exactly about the app limitations, you may see at the bottom of this article.

    intent
    Wether you support or not the app, we really want all players to progress and learn something about the game. All the principles about camouflage and how to use it best is visible and testable for everyone, and this text below will also show you some tricks about how to abuse the camo and visibility mechanics. If you have more useful tricks or if you find anything confusing, please share it in the comments and I will try to reply or add to this article until it is clear and complete.

    1 practical situation

    The way Map Inspector and the game mechanics works can apply to any tank on any map on any version of the game.
    However to make things easy to see, let us study a practical case for a moment.
    the scene is a STUG set near the spawn, on the large road down in the blitz map goldville noire.
    any part where the enemy will be blind is covered by a green mask. The brighter green color will be uncovered if you fire the gun.

    World of tanks camouflage mechanics
    Original pic :
    i.imgur.com/njLHdmk.jpg

    There is small crosshair reticle that you can move to simulate the location of the enemy, and taking a shot. It creates a line of sight, along which you can detail the terrain elevation, obstacles, and individual bushes adding camo. The result of this line of sight shows a red eye if the enemy can see you, and a grey “no eye” if enemy doesn’t have a line of sight on the protagonist.


    the first thing you need to set is the enemy expected viewrange using the slider at the bottom of the screen

    i.imgur.com/NanOcobl.jpg

    It is represented on the scene by a red circle around your target (located supposedly under the aim of your crosshair reticle)
    i.imgur.com/onbngbE.jpg

    What happens is the viewrange translates your camo rating into effective concealment distances.
    These are represented on the scene by a series of rings.
    The yellow ring is your own viewrange.
    i.imgur.com/zOQORRzl.jpg

    Map inspector will take into account your tank activity. Shooting will clear your camo away. The scene above will lose all the more saturated green and will now look like this :
    i.imgur.com/DP3xqNql.jpg
    i.imgur.com/DP3xqNq.jpg

    Let’s see from closer :
    the current value is in blue.
    the “no track moving” circle will update into a “track moving” circle.
    the “shooting” circle will update into a “moving and firing” circle.
    And whatever the STUG is currently doing, the current circle is highlighted in blue.
    i.imgur.com/pwD2nxTl.jpg

    i.imgur.com/ysk80KTl.jpg

    Now let‘s see the situation for the STUG from up close. I remove the HD texture to see better what exactly is going on :
    Above the tanks are two marks.
    standing still has a good camo. 23%.
    However you can see from the red eye above the tank that he is still spotted.
    i.imgur.com/ita04rjl.jpg

    Now he moves behind a bush.
    Great job ! Not spotted anymore. The 50% bush adds up to the 23% still camo into a total of 73% camo.
    But you can see from the bright green color that shooting will blow the camo away and reveal his position.
    i.imgur.com/a2NuQmdl.jpg

    Have you noticed this dark stripe all the way ?
    That must be an amazing location right ?
    lets set the lie of sight through there to analyze.
    it says it goes through two different bushes.
    adding another 50% to the 73% camo will never result in more than 100% camo, but that’s ok, because 100% camo is the maximum u can get : it is removing 250m out of the enemy 250m viewrange after all !
    But then, how come it doesn’t hide all the way to your STUG ?
    Because there is a 50m proximity spotting.
    i.imgur.com/agfh0Tll.jpg

    the other issue is that double bush is very very directional. If enemies moves a few meters left or right and it doesn’t hide us anymore.
    i.imgur.com/FOD3Th7l.jpg

    Now our STUG is decided upon striking !
    but before doing so, he decides to move back 15m behind the bush. We can see the 15m safe shot circle around the STUG.
    look how much the brighter green part has recessed
    STUG can shoot and remain invisible : an enemy of 240m viewrange as close as 84m will stay blind ( you can see the distance in the crosshair reticule) .
    remember though, the UI will show the direction of your shot, enemy will see one large bush, chances are that he will return a blind shot if he has nothing else to do. So if he turns his gun to your direction, or starts moving towards you, it is still advisable to run or seek hardcover for a bit... before repeating.
    i.imgur.com/D9SOLoQl.jpg

    2 viewrange mechanics

    basic concept

    The viewrange is alternatively taken from the center of the turret at its tallest point, which more or less represents the commander viewports in the cuppola, and the base of the gun, which more or less represents the gunner’s sight. They are sampled less frequently as you go further in distance. Immediate proximity is checked every server frame for PC (10 times a second) but in the furthest distance it can go as low as once every 2 seconds.
    When you add these two informations, it becomes clear that while you drive on the map there are lots of gaps in the survey of your surroundings, and that it leaves the door open to stalin’s surprise greetings.
    Staying in the open for more than 2 seconds will make sure that you have surveyed everything in your viewrange, and that your binocs have started working, but 3s is also the amount of time it takes for the sixth sense bulb to warn you if you have been spotted urself, and altogether 3 seconds is a whole lot longer than it takes to die.
    In other words, even with knowledge of the rules, spotting is a dangerous activity for all players. (You may want to check some stats of whether spotting improves or destroys winrate)

    viewrange value

    The viewrange is expressed in meters. It is the furthest distance at which you may light an enemy and report him to your team. It is made of the combination of hardware and crew : the tank’s specs, the commander’s training, the crew skills, the consumables such as rations, and also the turret capability, the equipments (optics, binocs, vents...), etc...
    Actually the difference between spotting and being spotted, in some cases, might be less than half of a tank’s length. Especially in blitz, where all distances are much tighter. That is why positioning yourself on the map may require extreme precision. And even in the same position on the map, with the same tank and equipment combination, it might not be reliable every time.

    proximity spotting

    Proximity spotting means that any tank within 50m from an enemy will be spotted regardless of specs, terrain or cover.

    cover

    Viewrange does take into account terrain and obstacles, such as destructibles, as hard, opaque cover. It considers bushes with various quality of concealment depending on thickness. However it doesn’t consider tanks, green or red team, dead or alive. You cannot hide behind antank and expect to be concealed.

    sharing information

    Of course spotting would not have the same value if the info wasn’t shared with the rest of the team. Rejoice, because it is ! Thanks to the radio, the entire team shares the known enemy’s position.
    if it sounds obvious that revealing enemy’s position, especially the weakest or the strongest guns, without revealing your own, places u in a favorable position, in fact this only works if your spotting is done at a moment when your team can use this information, either by converting this into damage or into early repositioning to favorable locations. In other words, it is very situational and spotting out of context is just placing yourself in danger.

    how to use the Map Inspector viewrange tool

    observing your field of vision in real time
    After choosing the map and tank you want to test, the viewrange tool will mask the area of the map that is outside your view behind a blue mask. This includes any area that is outside of your nominal viewrange, and also any area that is hidden by terrain and hard objects. The view is traced and calculated from the cupola. In game it is alternatively taken from the gun base, but this is impractical in the app, as the difference is too small. At this point there is no defined enemy, so his camouflage is not taken into account and in game it will further shorten your viewrange.
    By moving your tank on the map you can dynamically survey which part of the map you are lighting.
    You can also use it in a replay, for exemple a replay of your own game (for PC) and analyze who spotted who.
    It’s very valuable.

    3 camouflage mechanics

    basic concept

    the viewrange value is not all. It is mitigated by the opponent’s camouflage. In other words just because your viewrange is 250m doesn’t mean that you will spot any enemy located 240m away. The enemy’s camouflage is deduced from your viewrange. The camouflage depends on the enemy tank specs, its equipment and crew skills and such, and the terrain’s vegetation.
    The camouflage is a value in %, which makes it very situational.
    Curent tank activity, crew, tank specs, equipments as well as map surroundings are taken into account.

    tank activity

    The tank class and current activity directly reflects in the camo rating.

    sitting

    Sitting has the best camo rating. With some equipments or skills, sitting for a few seconds allows for these to kick in and increase your camo. You can move turret and gun, but you really can’t move your tracks at all if you want to benefit.

    driving

    Driving lowers your camo protection. Light tanks have the same value on the move than sitting, but it doesn’t mean that this value will be better than some tanks sitting. TDs may for exemple have spectacular sitting camo value and relatively poor driving camo.

    shooting

    The camo rating of most tanks while shooting is really bad, it removes pretty much any camo. The way to cancel this is to sit 15m behind a bush.

    environment

    Having all your visibility checkpoints behind map elements such as hills, building or destructibles will conceal you within the limit of the proximity spotting which is 50m. Anything closer will spot you. In blitz, we tested thus limit to be 46m but .... well wargaming says 50m.

    Destructible will conceal you... until destructed !
    other tanks dead or alive will not conceal you.

    how to use the Map Inspector camouflage tool

    The camouflage mechanics of wot are complex. Any tank has 3 camo values (shooting, moving and immobile tracks), and all 3 are % deducted from the enemy viewrange. Finally, it also takes into account bushes and hardcover. That makes a lot of parameters.
    As a result, even after we tried to make it simple, the camo tool is still quite complex to use and read.

    Since for now there is no way to select a red tank, there is a slider to set the enemy expected viewrange.

    The viewrange value then translates your camo rating into a set of distances, which Map Inspector then draws as a series of rings around you, each of them is a boundary between safety and danger.

    It then draws lines between your cupola and every point of the map to check if you are visible from there or not. If invisible it places a green mask. If invisible except if you shoot the gun, it places a brighter green mask. If visible, it shows the map in clear.

    There is a small crosshair reticle that you can move to simulate the location of the enemy, and tap for taking a shot.
    It creates a line of sight, along which you can detail the terrain elevation, obstacles, and individual bushes adding camo. The result of this line of sight shows a red eye if the enemy can see you, and a grey “no eye” if enemy doesn’t have a line of sight on the protagonist.

    4 tactical tips

    I will review here a couple of tactical moves taking advantage of the mechanics we have just reviewed.

    maximizing camouflage

    maximizing camouflage means staying out of enemy’s viewrange, staying within your camo safety range, covering all of your visibility checkpoints with bushes, or multiple bushes, and not moving tracks. for that you will need most likely to be in the far distance, but also in a position that lets you cover a large area of the map, or rather a small area of the map which is expected to see a lot of enemy’s activity, and that is surveyed by spotters. Typically you can cut into known routes, ambush to cover areas where red flankers are likely to appear, etc... YouTube need to anticipate and arrive on location early, to set up the camo and ambush.

    three steps of camouflage

    Long range.
    The first step is to rely on your tank camo and equipment specs. This is very fragile because camo aren’t very strong, and people usually have comparable specs. You can use that to spot, or stay hidden, and for some tank combination even shoot without being spotted. However this is very easy to fail. It needs you to have very strong confidence and mastership in your specs compared to the opponent’s, and in the distance between you both.

    Mid ranges
    The only way to remain unspotted at shorter ranges is to hide behind a bush. Bushes are the only strong camo protection.

    Shooting
    Unless you are really out of any red tanks viewrange, Shooting will most likely reveal your position. The only way to keep any camo while shooting, is to shoot from a distance of at least 15m behind a bush. In game you will know that the distance is correct when the bush becomes opaque in the first person view, and at that point the enemy will become visible only as an outline. Shooting from any closer will cancel the bush effect, which then relies on the shooting camo value, which are pretty bad for all tanks, and nearly equal to no camo at all for most tanks.

    disappearing

    Also known as “resetting camo”
    When you are seen, a good enemy will track your movements on the minimap, and he will look for any attempt to flank, or any possible danger for him. Upon seeing you move in a direction, he will counter by ambushing you, running away, calling his platoon mate or teammate’s attention upon you, etc... this is why not only it is important to keep your location concealed, but you it is also important to keep your intentions concealed. For that you need to hide. How much exactly is needed to reset camo and disappear is unknown. As a rule of thumb, you should wait for the enemy to disappear, and wait for a minimum of 2 more seconds. If the enemy is spotted by an ally and not by you, waiting for 10 seconds is a minimum. Meanwhile, it is important to pretend you want to do something else. Pretend to sit, or peek a boom, or run to the left, and of course as soon as you have disappeared, start your plan, which is the exact opposite : run to the right, etc...
    This should give you more chances to take the enemy off guard, which inturns may allow you to reach a safe spot, or to place a shot or two before he can react.

    hill terrain proper spotting

    In hill terrain upon reaching the top of the hill,
    If there is a bush, poke only the cupola out, and behind the bush. Remember going higher will only see closer down the hill but will not help with seeing farther in the distance. Staying behind a bush will retain maximal camo while waiting for incoming (and moving) enemies.
    If there is a destructible, place the cuppola behind the destructible. You cannot see through destructibles so you need to look carefully left or right, or in the case of cars, looking from below it. Show as little of yourself out of hardcover and behind the destructible, because you may still be shot through it. In return the destructible will also hide some your visibility checkpoints, or In case you get outspoted and shot at, the destructible may eat just enough pen out of an AP to get you safe, or it may eat a HE/HESH/HEAT before the HE eats you.
    If there is no bush, only poke your cupola for a split second and retract immediately. Then wait for 3 seconds from behind cover. If at that point the sixth sense light bulb doesn’t show, then nobody with a stronger camo rating is overviewing your position and has spotted you. Knowing this it is safe to come out, and at this time you can expose the cuppola for a few second, surveying the pen field in the distance.
    It is also advisable to move laterally, left and right constantly, while keeping the cupola behind the bush, especially if you have a light tank with camo on the move. Changing the viewports position will survey more of the map than having a static viewpoint. This is very easy to verify in the app.

    flat ground short range proper spotting

    There is an equivalent for flat ground, typically in towns, which is much less known, and more efficient. When sidescraping, only the middle of each face of your tank hold the visibility checkpoints. It is possible to get the corner of your tank out and still not be spotted. In fact, in many tanks, it is possible to traverse the turret entirely, and poke the base of the gun out to the side, not being spotted and still surveying the street in front of you. If the enemy has a visibility checkpoint exposed but no viewport, you will outspot him at close range.
    Once you gained the knowledge of whether or not the enemy is looking your way or exposing his weaker parts, you have 3 seconds to come out and shoot him before his sixth sense lightbulb informs him of your little spying activities.
    At worst if you fail, you see each other and may reset camo to try again. If they shoot you, on most tanks will only blow a track. But done properly this will spot enemy at very close range without being spotted urself, because this does not rely on camo values, but instead relies on geometry.
    It works above 50m which is proxy spotting, but below long range which would make all points very close to each other and too difficult to abuse
    Long ranges allows for abusing camo values. tipically in towns line of sights aren’t long range anyway.
    World of tanks smart spotting in town

    dangerous allies and stray bullets

    This one is a watch out.
    If you care for your camouflage and discreet sniping activity, don’t stay near an idiot who pretends to do just the same thing you are doing. First of all, if he has a bad camo rating, stands outside a bush and shoots everywhere, he will be visible, and will be shot at. Shots long distance tend to go off trajectory and will hit you, or even bounce off of him and hit you. Look at his tank type. His bad camo tank probably means he has good armor, and your good camo most often means you have bad armor. He could even start panicking upon being shot and ram you on his run. If he rams you you will also be considered as moving, and will lose your camo, and be shot at.
    Check your surrounding activity. Don’t stay near such types of players. If anything, shoot from behind them to use them as meatwalls (without blocking please, don’t become one of them).

    5 limitations of map inspector

    Map inspector is made and financed by players. Wargaming didn’t provide with any help. Andrew and I are really putting enormous efforts to provide the most accurate information and make both viewrange and camo useable, visible, testable, playable.
    However the information is not always available or available in a reliable or useable way. Therefore Andrew needs to recreate that data as best as he can to provide to you with the clearest idea of how it works. Nobody can recreate exactly what happened in the server for a particular game, but we try our best.
    To make this Andrew extracted some data from the game client and built some missing data from replay collection, or other reputable sources. Then both the 3D models and the algorithms still need to be simplified, to be able to work on your device and being represented intelligibly on screen. And most importantly, nobody knows exactly what is in the servers or how it works.
    I will try to review some known limitations.

    spatial accuracy

    Maps
    The model is built on a grid, from testing altitudes on the game models. The game model uses triangles. So our model resolution is precise below a tanks dimensions, but the conversion doesn’t make exactly identical topography. Nor does the app intend to be precise to a level below 50cm. However 50cm of your tank being exposed may kill you. We expect such precision to be left to your common sense in game.

    Tanks
    We consider tanks as single points. The game server use 2 viewrange points and 6 visibility checkpoints. Most device wouldn’t be able to handle this many points, and the resulting view would also be confusing. Finally, some of these points are within a meter from each other, which reaches the map limitations. so we had to rely on using only 1 point

    temporal accuracy

    The app considers all situation in a static way.
    In game, time is important. Internet latences, server frequencies, and game mechanics are limited by, and make specific use, of time. You may pass at a distance between two rocks and spot someone while he doesn’t spot you. Because the spotting mechanics check all directions at different time intervals according to distance, and it falls upone luck which of both players was spotting during the timeframe that you drove in the gap, exposing each other in theory, in practice giving a chance that only one of you spot the other.
    In the app, we use the theory only, and you will both spot each other.

    data reliability

    Database errors
    Most of the specs are drawn from the game clients. However these databases are regularly subject to bugs, inconsistencies, and other oddnesses from WG or from us. Any inconsistency should be tested in a training room and reported to WG or to us, depending on where the mistake is.

    Missing information
    Also a lot of specs are simply not available. Like bush camo value.
    Some of them are only available on a platform, and not on the other, like tanks camo rating or exact hard and soft ground locations.
    In the case of camo rating, it is available for the game on PC, but not for blitz.
    we imported the camo from PC and applied it to blitz, and it didn’t correspond. I ran training rooms to measure AP the camo on a sample of tanks with the help of clan mates and we ran ratios. Heavies were simple, but it seems the TDs have less reliable data. So it’s a bit of guessing but we don’t have a better clue. Eventually when I compare the results in app and in game I get a result within 5m of error. The influence of the enemy using any ration or equipment for 2% will be greater than this margin so we thought it was acceptable.
    Some tanks might end up having a very different value than on PC for some reason, particularly TDs, but we can’t manually test each individual tank. Some tank do not have an equivalent in the other platform and then we just don’t have a value. You may try other comparable tanks to get an idea of what to expect, or just go to a training room and test it.

    The bush camo value for exemple are counted as 50% bonus in the app, because this is a known median value. Same for second bush. In blitz we can find the values of bushes, from 30% to 60%, but we can’t tell which is which, and we don’t have the value for PC bushes. We can’t test each value for each single bush on each map, and our model wouldn’t be able to use these values anyways. This is unfortunate but this is why we use 50% by default. This is simply the best it can be made. As a mitigation it looks very likely that the bush camo is correlated to the thickness of the bush. It makes sense, but this is also what came out of my training room measures.

    In the case of ground maps, with terrain speed values, they are provided on PC, and are only serverside for blitz. We can’t guess what is soft or hard ground. So the information cannot be accessed. however, fro studying PC maps, some maps are entirely soft, typically deserts or marshes, and some entirely hard, tipically towns or mountains. In between, hard ground looks to logically follow roads and rock trails, etc...

    conclusion

    With these limitations in mind, you can test situations in the app fairly reliably, or understand or analyze what happened in your last game, and plan countermeasures to succeed in your next game. We hope it will help you progress and enjoy the game even more. If you have any comments or question, please leave them below and Andrew and I will try to improve the guide and the app when we can.

    Final word !
    Good luck commanders ! Warm up the engines !