Drivable Vehicles (HSFX experimental option)
In HSFX4.2beta, drivable vehicles are supported. As of SEDB32F, MPpublic v4.710 and SEDCS v3.2.15, SEOW incorporates fully integrated support for drivable vehicles too. This means that it is possible for players to plan vehicle movements and then, in game, actually occupy the driver seats in those vehicles and drive them wherever they like. Possible uses of drivable vehicles are:
- inspect defensive layouts, line-of-sight etc
- scout enemy positions
- coordinate air strikes via TS
- drop spies behind enemy lines
- capture control points, industrials, etc
- ferry supplies to forward units
- have a picnic in the woods
The SEOW HQ team has play-tested this feature extensively and it works well, but there are important restrictions and rules to remember.
The way that drivable vehicles are managed through SEOW means that units that are intended to be used in drivable mode should be placed in the template in their stock vehicle forms, e.g. VW type 82 car or Willis jeep. Do not attempt to place a drivable vehicle in the template in its explicit drivable mode (via the aircraft chooser). Only the stock vehicle formats (Chief or Stationary) should be used in a template.
Drivable Types and Modes
Currently, only Willis jeeps and Kuebelwagens can be drivable. If this feature is strongly accepted by the community, I suspect HSFX will extend support to other vehicle types. The actual raw drivable object types are JEEP and WAGEN as listed in SEDB32F Object_Specifications table. SEOW MPpublic automatically allows all Willis jeep variants (WillisMB, WillisMBt, WillisMBtc_US, WillisMBt_US, WillisMB_US) and all Kuebelwagen variants (VW82, VW82t) to be swapped with JEEP and WAGEN objects, respectively, as long as the campaign option "Enable HistorySFX Mod Objects" is selected. This swap is achieved by selecting the Willis or Kuebelwagen unit in the MP, right-clicking and selecting "toggle Drivable Mode". Once complete, the unit will appear with either a light red or light blue icon, to show that the unit is now drivable. Repeating the "toggle Drivable Mode" will return the vehicle to non-drivable mode with normal icons. On return to non-drivable mode all Kuebelwagens will be assigned raw type "VW82" and all jeeps will be assigned raw type "WillisMB". The swap logic is embodied in MP4public/Scripts/MP-Driveable.php. The image below shows two Kuebelwagens to the west of Constantine Field, one in light blue (drivable mode) and one in dark blue (non-drivable mode).
Planning and Executing Movement
Happily, the Mission Planner does not distinguish between drivable and non-drivable vehicles for making movement orders. Select the units as normal, and plot your waypoints as normal. These waypoints are assigned to the platoon in question, independent of whether it is in drivable mode or not. You can change mode after plotting the movement orders if you wish. The big issue here is that once the SEOW coop mission is built, any moving vehicles in drivable mode will be represented by drivable types in the mission file. These appear as pilot slots with temporary air regiment names in the IL-2 pilot lobby. Pilots simply occupy these slots, and will spawn in-game in the driver seat of the vehicle. They are free to drive wherever they like regardless of allotted waypoints. HSFX does not report locations of drivable vehicles when they are parked so in order for movement to be registered, pilots are recommended to tap smoke (which doesn't show in-game) to tell SEOW where the vehicle is. At the end of the mission the unit will be relocated to the site of the last smoke event registered. For campaigns with supply tracking enabled, the fuel state of the vehicle will be decremented by an amount proportional to the mission duration (in hours).
What if no pilot occupies a drivable vehicle?
In this case, as with all other aircraft slots, an AI pilot will occupy the vehicle and attempt to drive the planned waypoints. AI pilots have very little terrain collision avoidance skills, so this will almost always result in the vehicle crashing! ALWAYS PUT HUMANS IN YOUR DRIVABLE VEHICLES!!! Or, use non-drivable mode when human pilots are needed elsewhere.
Other Notable Issues
The IL-2 code for drivable vehicles is based on aircraft code, not vehicle code. This means that:
- there is no reverse gear
- the aircraft collision bubble applies, so do not go near trees, buildings, fences, other vehicles etc
- entering water will result in an explosion
- bridges must not be approached or crossed (plot your vehicles to cross these in non-drivable mode, then switch to drivable for the mission after)
- off-road performance can be extremely sensitive to changes in terrain slope
- turning is unstable, especially at speed
- some hills are too steep to climb
Driving these vehicles takes a little practice (try it in FMB), but once mastered it unlocks a whole new realm of SEOW campaign experience. Enjoy, and always remember to tap smoke!
HSFX v5.0 Feature
Drivable vehicles that are brought to a stop and engine turned off will automatically generate a landing record in the logfile, which precisely locates the vehicle and time. Therefore, when using HSFX v5.0 there is no need to tap smoke to indicate your position, unless you are still moving. No harm will be done if you do tap smoke.