|Written and Edited by MarkEAW
Text by: Zero Pilot, McLane, Neal, Stanley99, JWC, LLv34_BlauKreuz,
Grendel, Prion, EAW User Manual and others.
DO AI PLANES CHEAT?
AI Use Simplified FM
DECISION CYCLES |
UPDATE RATES |
TWEAKING THE VALUES
AI Improvement | Wingman Response | Players Plane
MORE ON WINGMEN
Wingman and Campaign Difficulty Settings
| Wingman Management | Wingman and Individual Sections
Determining who is calling out for help in your squadron | Single
Missions; Support Flight
MORE ON COMMS
Reliability of Radio Commands | Initiate Radio Communication | Radio
Commands Map | Sending Orders
This help document was originally just about tweaking the game rate
there fore the behavior of the AI by way of the eaw.ini settings.
However it has been expanded to note various aspects of the AI in
the game, friend and foe. So this document will hopefully fill
you in on what the AI is up to and how to beat it, as well as how to
control your own friendly AI for the better.
It's been noticed over the years that many virtual pilots seem to
consider themselves experts and yet they have reported that 'the A.I. does not
black-out' and it performs outrages "UFO-like maneuvers"; With their
UFO like abilities they can fly their aircraft to the edges of its
performance envelope (more of a computer-like ability, than
One observation for an
example is when a player pilot is
trying to lead-turn the A.I. and the player blacks out but the A.I.
pilot doesn't appear too. An other example is the player is trying to pull the same
difficult maneuvers the A.I. does such as same speed and same sequence and
you'll find out - you can't and have to break off.
Even more puzzling is that you may have noticed that AI planes seem to have much better
acceleration than when you control and command them. So for an
example when flying in
formation with Hurricanes and you have given an order to the wingman to attack
target in front you, you'll witness him speed off to attack while
your left behind, even when your at full throttle. With this
observed, you would come to believe that they have more
power, cooler engines and are generally faster overall.
So the question to all this superior behavior, is Why?
Maybe the AI's plane performance may appear to be 'faster' than
some players planes possibly because they make changes slower and
fly cleaner? or yet is it your flight control dead zones and
sensitivity settings incorrectly optimized? or is it that you as the
player are using the maximum difficulty settings, while AI uses an
easy difficulty, with stalls & blackouts turned off? Keep reading to
know the truth.
AI Use Simplified FM:
Many players believed that the AI uses a different flight model. Obviously, this would explain the huge advantage they
seem to have. So years later it was discovered that the A.I. indeed use what is known as the
"simplified" flight model.
This is apparently a common method programmers had to take too, to
reduce CPU workload, by simplifying FM algorithms for the AI, so that
by and large, the overall outcome is similar (not the same, but
close enough). It also helps with reducing
the modem or network transmitted data...Some community members
hacked the eaw.exe (even source code changes in later years) have
forced player and AI to use the same realistic FM at all times, even
during multiplaying, you'll end up needing fast connections to play
AI planes (using simplified FMs) do not:
-stall (they may sometimes)
-suffer from engine cuts in Hurricane and Spit1 in neg-G loops (fuel
-use cannons unless very close at the target (or at all ?)
-enemy seem to not go just after any target.. they come after you :)
-think creatively or plan their moves beforehand... they are
actually quite predictable.
Never the less it is possible for human pilots to beat them,
unless of course they outnumber you by more than 10:1. If the odds
are overwhelming, try flying very close to the ground and keep
turning. Eventually some AI planes crash on their own or you can
once in a while get easily on their six (of course this doesn't work
if your task is to intercept).
EAW uses a kind of a decision cycle that you can modify to affect
the A.I.'s flight performance, behavior and command response by changing two or three
settings in the eaw.ini file under [NETOPTION]. While changing these
update rates to new values they can actually make the game easier in
some ways, however in many different ways, others have found it will produce a
fair fight. The real goal of these update rate tweaks is to at least
prevent the enemy A.I. from having the edge
all the time by eliminating their SUPER Enemy behavior and
maneuvers. The rate changes can be done for offline and online play. (Note: Changing these rates in the eaw.ini on the Client side will not mess
up anyone that goes online flying, it appears that these options are
set by the Hosts ini and used for all players.)
Back in 2001 when this information was discovered, then it was used and
tested, many players where a bit skeptical at first if it really
effected the AI and you may as well be today, but the more you read
on and test things out yourself the more you will come to see the
differences. Because its just a concept and not about an absolute
"fix", much more testing
with EAW's default Flight Model (FM) and Difficulty Settings would
be needed to find the complete and thorough answers. But because of the reasons
mentioned here, this help document was created to
try it out for yourself.
The update rate values are in milliseconds per update. The
default PlayerUpdateRate of 35ms means for the game to update the
players inputs about 30 times per second. A default
AI_PlaneUpdateRate of 350ms for AI means the AI gets to 'think' and
adjust inputs about 3 times per second. As those defaults were set
by the MicroProse EAW Team
back in 1998 when a 300mhz machine was considered to be a fast
computer, it's no
comparison on today's machines which can possibly allow a lot more freedom for the
already Super AI to do even more un realistic AI things, and he does!
It would be a good idea to consider what Computer you are running
EAW on and how many AI pilots are 'in the air' before making
adjustments since EAW uses a decision/thinking cycle that is based
on the speed of the computer; If the PCs CPU and Memory speed is not
up to running all of the AI's at full quality speed (at least 15
Frames per Second or smooth 'Flight') you could have faulty
performance in the game with the AI. Slow and choppy game
performance will make the AI behavior poor and won't exactly reflect
the numbers you put in. You may also find in a slow performing game that the player's
(yours) plane controllability may become delayed or
The values that are shown below where the result of 8 months of
testing, however they are not
completely universal and are just new starting points, as mentioned
previous section they are machine dependant and in
the case of the Player value, player dependant, no two are alike.
The AI_PlaneUpdateRate seems to have a
restriction, with the lowest possible value of
140. The other two settings, PlayerUpdateRate and ClockSyncRate can
be set for much lower values.
- The lower the
AI_PlaneUpdateRate the smarter the AI becomes but in turn it
increases the load on the system times the number of AI planes in
the scenario. (on a slow machine an AI value of 140 can make the A.I.
a bit lazy as the computer can not meet the demand of the lower
value). If the game slows down with really low numbers, use a higher A.I.
value to keep the speed of the game up.
- When you increase the
PlayerUpdateRate this makes "Flight Errors"
more forgiving , it decreases the load
on the system times one for the player as the game checks less
often; At the suggested new
value of 140, EAW gets your inputs
at about seven times a second.
- The ClockSyncRate, was tested at higher values of around 200 or 210
(the game would Sync less often), but findings
conclude it seems best to stay with the default 140. Although a
lower value would Sync more often, in turn increasing overhead.
For online use, One Virtual Squad found the values 140, 16, and
100 respectively where rather enjoyable.
Again depending on your computers speed and connection quality, You may need to tweak them out a
In the eaw.ini file go down to where it reads "NETOPTION" And the Last
three lines there read:
AI_PlaneUpdateRate=350......Change to 140 (alternative 140)
PlayerUpdateRate=35.........Change to 140 (alternative 16)
ClockSyncRate=140...........Stays the same. (alternative 100)
These are some of the helpful outcomes of tweaking the values as
When the values are properly tweaked they invoke the AI to
use different flying abilities while still putting up a good fight.
The enemy AI fighters will now pull fewer "impossible"
maneuvers (UFO's) like those impossible outside loops and vertical 'zoom'
climbs as they tend to do in the default settings, thus bringing
their skill level closer to the Players, even when the hardest
difficulty is set in game. When your on their six,
their defensive maneuvers include doing more barrel rolls, turns,
climbs, dives and loops rather than the standard mad dash to the
deck where they roll inverted and zoom out away from you, however
they still split S when they have to. They sway back and forth and
try to get you to overshoot by using scissors. Overall the dog
fighting just seems to have a better feel as all AI fly more
A.I. Rate Tweaks effect the performance of your Wingman as well.
When the tweaks are done to improve AI, your Wingman's aggression
level seems better, they will take initiative and attack on their
own accord. They become so intent they can
nearly shoot you down if their after the same enemy plane as your chasing.
So at times, you may need to disperse the formation a bit and/or tell them to
just cover you to avoid friendly fire. In careers your wingman stay
in formation with you rather than taking off ahead of you.
Unfortunately with the aggression level increased, this will make
your Wingman more un responsive to some orders. For an example, when
Wingman are told to disengage, they may NOT comply until their
current target is destroyed.
When increasing the value from the default, A few things you'll
notice is that your plane runs well at 3/4th throttle setting; You
don't stall as fast or burn out your engine as quick! For an
example, the Me-110 doesn't stall every 8 seconds like it usually
does; You can actually make a turn now without spinning. A Hurricane
has the capacity to keep up as well.
This section is meant to expand on the control background of the AI
Wingman and Campaign Difficulty Settings:
Just remember the difficulty setting in the game manipulates the
effectiveness of your Radio Commands to your Wingman and Squad
Members. The lower the difficulty, the more likely they will follow
all your commands. If you fly a campaign set to "hard" difficulty,
that effectively means that your AI wingmen are more independent,
this effect is more true the higher the difficulty is set. Your
wingmen and other flight mates will get better as the campaign
progresses. Bear in mind that you will need to be the squadron CO to
give orders to the whole squadron (not a problem in single missions,
but something to remember in campaigns!).
To get the Wingman to do what you want, you will need to manage the
wingmen by constantly giving them orders, many times, you may need
to re-issue a command to get them to respond to your new orders.
When commanding an Wingmen and other flights in the squad to engage,
waiting until you get within about 4k of the enemy before issuing
the commands. As you approach an escorted formation of bombers, tell
your flights to "Target Fighters" or "Target Bombers".
Wingman and Individual Sections:
You get a better response out of our AI Wingmen by giving each
individual flight/section/schwarm the commands. Atleast better
results than ordering the whole squadron/staffel to do
something. This is true for any version of EAW, whether you have any
add-ons/tweaked or not. You can improve results for orders to attack
much more if you have a bandit targeted before you give the order.
You may also noticed that if there are two or more groups of
bandits, you can target an enemy in a group and order a section to
attack, and they will attack that specific group of enemies. Then
you can target an aircraft in a second group, and order another
section to attack. That section will engage the group of bandits in
which my current target is flying! Of course, all things are
relative: if you're giving orders to attack to a section that is 6
miles away from any bandits, don't expect immediate results!
Remember that an "interdiction" mission is
against ground targets, usually convoys of half-tracks/staff cars or
else vs. trains. Check your Mission Briefing to see what your
designated target is even in other mission types as your AI mates
will have the designated target as their main target, so it IS
helpful to always double-check this before take-off, just to make
sure. If you order your wingmen to simply attack, they will probably
go for the designated target (which is likely on the ground!). If
you want them to attack fighters in the air, you will probably need
to order them to "target fighters". You could also order each
individual section to "target fighters". This seems to have even
better effects in all missions than giving instructions to the
entire squadron as a whole. Once you have designated the proper
targets, your squadron mates should end up trying to attack them. In
fact, in ANY mission, it seems to help if you tell your AI mates to
target specific types of desired aerial targets (all, fighters, or
bombers) before ordering them to "engage bandits".
Determining who is calling out for help in your squadron:
When you hear a distress call from a squad member, pause the game
and go to the F9 view. Use target identification and range, plus
toggle on target information in the lower right-hand corner of the
screen, and pan around, targeting all friendlies and enemies you can
find. Try to identify likely candidates who might have called for
assistance, noting their range to you and their altitude, and seeing
if you can target/locate any bandits near them.
Some people maintain that distress calls normally come from pilots
within 20,000 feet of you or so, although I'm not TOO sure about
that myself. Usually there are only one or two who appear to be in
immediate danger. Sometimes you can even see tracers around them,
which makes the determination even easier!
Also, once you have anything targeted, friendly or enemy, you can
use F10 to pan around the target itself. When you pick out a
friendly, go to F10, and find a bandit sitting close in behind him,
and tracers flashing past the friendly, that's a pretty good
indication that your friendly AI mate is in trouble! Once you have
figured out who issued the distress call, you can next determine
whether or not you should go to help. When they're a LONG way off,
it could be very difficult to get there in time, on the other hand,
it is pretty easy to sneak up on and get in close to a bandit who is
concentrating on one of your fellow pilots (!), in fact you can get
a lot of kills that way.
If your playing single missions, you should be less inclined to
leave a bandit your trying to shoot down to help somebody else, but
in a campaign this is not the case. In campaigns, most players fly
with limited supply (so you need all your pilots and planes!), and
also the guy in trouble could be one of your more experienced
One trick you could try with aircraft that has both machine guns
and cannon (like the Spitfire MkIX/XIV, the Me109G/K, or the
FW190A/D) is if you can't get there in time, you can fire a burst of
machine gun fire (you certainly don't want to waste cannon ammo!)
where the bandit can see it, or better yet, fly through it, even
though you don't expect to be able to do any significant damage. If
the enemy plane is hit by a round of two, it usually scares the
pilot into breaking, giving your AI mate a chance to escape. In
airplanes like the Thunderbolt, you have a lot of ammo and a better
chance of a long range kill, so you may sometimes want to use longer
bursts in the same situation, hoping for a long-range kill and
figuring you can at least scare the enemy off you don't shoot him
down. This is a more difficult decision in something like a Tempest,
where your firing time is limited and you have all-cannon armament
(with mixed armament, you shouldn't mind wasting machine gun ammo
but cannon ammo is a different story).
Single Missions; Support Flight:
In many single missions you may notice that when you have your
flight supported by another flight and the supporting flight takes
off and goes about on it's own, leaving your flight without help,
this can become problematic. It seems to not to happen when playing
Campaign missions as a call to "cover me" and you can see two
friendlies fall in behind. All you can do is call ground control
periodically and request assistance. Sometimes they will send help,
sometimes they will all have better things to do. Allied AI suffers
from the same affliction as the Axis AI.
Here's some descriptions in example form of these wandering
For example, setting up a single mission with Me262s supported by
FW190Ds intercepting B17s escorted by P51Ds, as soon as the mission
begins, the support aircraft turn around and fly away, leaving you
and your schwarm(s) of primary aircraft to fend for their selves.
Changing and play testing many different variables, such as
base/target location, cruise altitude, etc., still leaves the
Another example, When you hit Alt N you find that if you try to
fly manually (no autopilot) all other supporting squadron(s)
immediately turn in some other direction and go wandering off.
Actually it doesn't matter if it's Alt N or if you fly the whole way
But if IMMEDIATELY after jumping ahead you should hit Autopilot to
keep your squadron to stay on the same course as you! ("IMMEDIATELY"
means press the A key as soon as you get your cockpit view again!)
(if your flying all the way without Alt N, you have to use autopilot
the whole way) If you ever disengage the autopilot before the
bandits are engaged, the friendly supporting units go flying off on
their own again.
This is a good news/bad news proposition: if I keep the extra units
close to me, I can't climb for an altitude advantage due to
autopilot; if I try for altitude by flying manually, I don't have
any help when we run into the enemy!
Another example, You occasionally find yourself devoid of the
supporting squadron even if you didn't need to use the ALT N because
distances to targets are never more than fifty kilometers; however,
there are still times when the aircraft you have selected for
support get called to other hotspots (We assume). There's a war on
and things don't always go as planned (my rationalization).
The Cockpit Radio really adds depth to a simulation and EAW exploits radio comms
ability to keep you abreast of the action and in command.
Combat pilots rely heavily on their vision and intuition to see them
but their radio is also an important ally, a vital link to fellow
airmen. European Air
War’s cockpit radio allows direct communication between you and the
pilots on your side. Call out a warning—Bandits at ten o’clock—ask
for help, or
listen in as your flight leader issues new orders. Just be quick
about it; you’ve still
got a plane to fly.
Reliability of Radio Commands:
Commands are best sent before battle. How well commands are
followed depends on pilot morale and skill. Dogfights can be quite
chaotic, and you can’t reasonably expect a rookie pilot to be able
to quickly and efficiently rejoin you in tight formation during a
heated battle. All pilots will do their best to follow orders, but
don’t always expect immediate compliance. As the British learned
early on, it’s difficult to remain in formation (which requires a
constant eye to avoid collisions), and watch your enemies (and dodge
their guns). It’s normally wise to break apart or at least loosen
formation prior to battle.
Initiate Radio Communication:
Hitting the TAB key brings up the radio menu. Your rank and position
in the squadron will determine which orders you can access and to
whom. If you
are the lead plane in an element, you can send commands to your
wingmen (you might sometimes have two), regardless of relative rank. If you are the flight leader
you can command your entire flight. Only if you are the
squadron leader can you send orders to other flights, or to the
squadron as a
whole. Note: your Squadron and Ground Control are on the same
frequency; if there are other squadrons involved in your mission,
they’re on another frequency, and you cannot communicate with them.
Radio Commands Map:
Press the key that
corresponds to the intended receiver of your message.
When you’re prompted, choose what type of communication you wish to
If you don’t see the exact command you’re looking for, try the three
Tactical, Formation and Navigation.
Finally, choose the statement you want to pass along. If you have
opted to issue a
command, you must select not only an action, but also the specific
Pressing ESC at any time cancels your message.
Note: The radio menu gray-out positions occupied by human
1. Engage Bandits 2. Cover Me 3. Attack Ground
Target 4. Attack My Target 5. Disengage 6.
7. (Tactical Submenu)...
1. Target All 2. Target Fighters 3. Target Bombers 4.
5. Break Right 6. Break Left 7. Break High 8. Break Low
8. (Formation Submenu)...
1. Tighten Formation 2. Loosen Formation
- Red Flight...
- White Flight...
- Blue Flight...
- Green Flight...
1. Engage Bandits 2. Attack Ground Target 3. Cover
Me 4. Disengage 5. Regroup
6. (Tactical Submenu)...
1. Target All 2. Target Fighters 3. Target Bombers 4.
7. (Formation Submenu)...
1. Tighten Formation 2. Loosen Formation
8. (Navigation Submenu)...
1. Next Checkpoint 2. Previous Checkpoint 3. Loiter Here
4. Return to Base
- Ground Control...
1. Vector to Nearest Bandits 2. Vector to Nearest Bombers
3. Vector to Ground Target
4. Vector to Home Base
5. Request Assistance
- Anyone, Help Me!
When you first enter an engagement your wingman has a standing order
to provide you with cover. But if you want him to leave your rear
position exposed, and have him go and attack, you can order him to do so by sending ENGAGE
Depending on the situation, you can issue some or all of the
following orders to your wingman:
Attack My Target
Target (brings up a submenu)
-target all, target fighters, target bombers
Attack the enemy. If enemies have been sighted, your wingman is
free to break off and engage. If there are no enemies in sight, he
waits, then breaks off as soon as you make contact.
Stay in formation, but if an enemy targets the lead plane (you),
break off and attack until the threat is removed, then return to
Attack Ground Targets
Drop bombs (or launch rockets) at the mission’s ground targets.
Attack My Target
If out of formation, but in the general area, attack whatever is the
lead plane’s target at the time the command is issued. If in
formation, stay in formation and fire at whatever enemy the lead
plane attacks. (As in all combat situations, self-preservation can
supersede orders; your wingman might need to break off from
time to time to avoid enemy fire.)
Break off the attack on the current target. Lacking other orders,
your wingman will probably return to formation, but might take
shots at any easy targets on the way.
Give priority to getting back in formation—avoid enemies when
possible in order to rejoin the lead. (In general, if you are trying
get planes back into formation, flying straight and slow makes it
easier for everyone catch up and get in place.)
Attack enemies. The target commands are on the Tactical submenu.
There are three choices: Target All, Target Fighters and
Target Bombers. These order your wingman to focus the attack
on the type of plane you specify (or all enemies). This overrides
the default attack orders for the mission (for example, on a
Bomber Intercept, the default is to target bombers).
The Break commands are also on the tactical sub-menu. You can
order you wingman to break Right, Left, High, or Low. This tells
him to separate form you in the specified direction, generally so
that the two of you can attack a target from different directions.
Release the external fuel tank.
If you are the flight leader, you can issue nearly all of the same
orders to your
flight. The exception is that you cannot order the whole flight to
Attack My Target. There are a few additional flight commands:
Return to Base
Close up the formation. This command is on the Formation submenu.
Tight formations look better, and when attacking bombers
can result in more concentrated firepower, but the disadvantages
normally outweigh the advantages.
Spread the formation out a bit, normally about double the current
space. This command is on the Formation sub-menu.
You use the Next and Previous checkpoint orders to get a
loitering flight to continue on course or backtrack. (These
commands are on the Navigation sub-menu.) The map includes
navigation checkpoints, in case any plane becomes lost or gets
hung up engaging the enemy, and these commands tell the flight
to move to one of those checkpoints.
Circle the current position and await further orders. This
command is on the Navigation sub-menu.
Return To Base
Ground control normally gives this order, but as leader, you can
decide (if you’re massively overwhelmed, for example) to retreat
and return home. Your mission will likely be considered a failure,
but that’s better than failing the mission and getting everyone
shot down. This command is on the Navigation sub-menu.
If you’re the squadron leader, you can give orders to flights other
than your own,
and to the squadron as a whole. Squadron Commands are the same as
commands, except that you can choose to issue them to the whole squadron or
to a specific flight.
You can use the radio to call Ground Control and request a vector to
enemy, a vector to your friendly heavy bombers (if you’re on an escort
mission), or a
vector back to home base. The vectors to the bandits and bombers are
vectors—the suggested heading for quickest intercept. However, there
is a fog of war factor because Ground Control
is based on primitive radar and a network of civilian spotters.
Therefore, some of
the ground control information might be less than accurate.
You can call ground control to request assistance—additional
to help you out. Depending on how well the battle or war is going,
there might or
might not be any available.
To further enhance the the A.I. read my
1.1 AND 1.2 Help
Document for more information to learn other ways than adjusting