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 Sfifer's Vietnam Survival Guide: Vehicles

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Sfifer
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Posts : 173
Location : Australia
Join date : 2009-09-25

PostSubject: Sfifer's Vietnam Survival Guide: Vehicles   Thu Oct 15, 2009 10:16 am

Vehicles

Flying Helicopters

Simple Flight


If you want to be a helicopter ace, the first thing you'll need to do is to practice. Don't do this online, however; you'll wind up killing your passengers, getting cursed out by your teammates, and probably getting kicked off the server if you persist in captaining your doomed death-flights. No, the best place to try out helicopters is in a single-player, local multiplayer game. This sounds like a contradiction in terms, but what you're doing is essentially setting up a multiplayer server on your PC, except for the fact that you'll be the only player on it.

To do this, boot up Battlefield Vietnam, click on Multiplayer, then select Create Game. A number of options will become available. Set the Spawn Time and Game Start Delay to three seconds each, and make sure the options for Dedicated and Co-op aren't selected (there should be black squares next to them). After all this is set up, pick a map with helicopters, such as Operation Flaming Dart or Operation Hastings, add it into the levels menu via the orange arrows, and then select the Start Local option to begin the game. After it launches, you'll find yourself as the only person on the battlefield. Without bots or online opponents, you'll have ample opportunity to try out the helicopters without worrying about getting shot down.

Before you take your chopper up, though, you'll want to make sure that your control scheme is workable. If you've been using the default controls that the game originally set for you, then you shouldn't have any problems working a helicopter, but if you modified your movement keys at all, you'll want to make sure that the Speed Up / Speed Down keys in the Air tab of your Controls section correspond to the keys that you use to move forward and backwards for infantry and vehicles. The Rudder Left / Rudder Right controls should match up with your strafing keys for infantry, as well. After you have the controls set up properly, feel free to hop into a helicopter.

The first thing you'll need to do is get off the ground. The Speed Up key acts as a vertical boost for helicopters, so hold down your button until your chopper takes off. If you're not pressing anything else, and not moving your mouse around, it should shoot straight up into the air. After you're off the ground, let go of the button; your helicopter should hover in midair, with perhaps a slight amount of downward pull towards the ground. Luckily for you, though, this ability to hover is built into the helicopter physics; you don't need to press any buttons to activate it.

Of course, a helicopter wouldn't be any good if it couldn't move along the ground. There are two ways in which to move a helicopter forward. First, if you move your mouse forward just a tad, you should notice your chopper start to creep along the ground very slowly, while also losing a bit of altitude. This kind of coasting won't get you anywhere fast, but can let you center yourself above an object, which is helpful for winching tanks and hovering over flags. The quickest way to move, however, is to tilt the mouse forward and hold down your Speed Up button. Since you should be tilted off of the horizontal plane, your helicopter will essentially be using its altitude-increasing power to move forward. Experiment with this until you get the hang of speeding forward. In particular, you'll want to note how difficult it is to pull up after you've pointed your helicopter's nose too far forward; this effect alone should convince you to try and keep your helicopter on an even keel as often as possible, as it's very easy to wind up running into a tree or hill after you overexert your chopper in an attempt to strafe a tank or other ground target.


Rotating and Turning

Rotating your helicopter on its vertical axis is a fairly simple task; your strafe keys should perform this function admirably, letting you reorient your chopper towards a new objective. Rotating alone won't help you get to where you're going, however; you'll need to combine rotation with your mouse to eliminate the inertia that your chopper holds over from its previous path. These two forces act together in sometimes dangerous ways, so that it's easy to inadvertently hold down the wrong button for too long and wind up head over heels.

To begin with, though, take a helicopter up from the ground and let it hover, then hold down one of your Rudder Left or Rudder Right keys and notice what happens. The rotation of your chopper has a negligible impact on its altitude, and doesn't necessarily destabilize your flight. After you're done whirling around, try moving your mouse left and right; this causes your helicopter to bank in either direction.

Banking isn't very useful in and of itself, but it can help you stabilize your craft when rotating, especially when you attempt to rotate while moving forward. If you find yourself needing to quickly turn about, you can do so with the Rudder keys, but if you're zooming along with the Speed Up key, you should try to keep your helicopter on an even plane by moving the mouse to the opposite direction of the direction in which you're rotating. E.g., if you want to rotate towards a target on your left, move your mouse to the right. This should counteract the built-in banking that comes along with rotating at speed, thus letting you keep your chopper nice and level.

In the end, it'll be your handling of your mouse that will make or break your proficiency as a helicopter pilot; it's all too easy to panic when coming out of a turn and flip your chopper into the ground. Again, practice is the only way you'll ever get the hang of piloting, so keep trying!

Firing at Ground Targets

Most helicopters have built-in weaponry, usually in the form of dummy-firing missiles when you're in the pilot's seat. These missiles can be tremendously useful when attempting to take down enemy planes before they take off, or to destroy a sniper in the hills. Accurately aiming them requires, again, a bit of practice, but is one of the easier tasks to perform in a helicopter.

First off, you'll generally want to be a comfortable distance off the ground before firing your missiles, but not so high up that your viewing distance starts to retract in from the horizon. If you're flying along at a level altitude, moving your view so that you're aiming at an object moving along the ground shouldn't be very difficult, but if you're at a high altitude, or attempt to aim at something that's too close to you, you'll usually have to tilt your helicopter at an extreme angle, which generally leads to an unrecoverable, one-way trip straight into the ground. As a general rule of thumb, if a target is in the bottom third of your screen, you're probably better off ignoring it, or flying past it and rotating to come back over.

Try flying around one of the empty multiplayer levels and shooting at objects on the ground. You'll notice that you don't necessarily have to have something in your aiming reticule to hit it. In the same fashion that you have to lead an airplane when trying to hit it with shells from a flak cannon, you're going to have to lead objects that you want to hit when you're moving around, except that, in the case of firing from a helicopter, its your momentum that you have to account for, not the targets'. In either case, you'll want to aim a bit ahead of your target in order to compensate for the momentum that your helicopter will impart to your missiles as they travel towards their objective.

Hovering Over Flags

One of the things that separates the men from the boys when it comes to piloting a chopper is the ability to hover over a flag so that you can convert it without ever setting foot on the ground. One of the best places to practice this technique is on the Operation Hastings map, with the Temple flag (flag number three on our annotated map). This flag is set into a stone temple, and is well off the ground, making it a natural choice for hovering practice.

Before you can actually recover from a high-speed trip and enter into a hover, you'll need to learn techniques to sap your forward momentum. First and foremost, get in the habit of pulling your mouse backwards so that your ship faces above the horizon. You don't want to keep this up for too long, or pull your mouse so far back that your helicopter starts to tilt over backwards; as with all things, practice will inform your ability to bleed off forward momentum. You can combine this with the Speed Down button for extra control, but this will also reduce your altitude, which can sometimes require additional corrections later on, which isn't a good thing.

At any rate, after you sap off a bit of speed, your goal is to enter into a flat hover near the flag. Entering into a flat hover anywhere nearby is a good first step towards actually hovering over the flag; after you manage to hover, you can try to very gently tilt your mouse in the direction of the flag. Touch is key; hovering on a target requires precision and the ability to recognize that you've overshot your mark even before you've reached it. In particular, try to lay off the Speed Up button while you're moving in on a flag. Instead, just rock back and forth with the mouse until you're in position, increasing altitude only when necessary. The Temple flag on Hastings is more forgiving than most, since its well out in midair without many obstacles around it. If you can manage to convert it, though, you're well on your way towards being able to convert any flag in the game.

After you manage to convert the Temple, you should attempt to control one of the ground-based flags on the map. Hovering near the ground is a bit more dangerous than attempting to control one in mid-air, mostly due to the increased likelihood that an enemy soldier will start taking potshots at you, but you also have the ability to just land your chopper and sit inside of it while the flag converts. This is obviously a bit easier than maintaining a hover, and doesn't increase your risk of damage too greatly. The one thing you have to worry about is "special" attacks; if someone notices a helicopter sitting next to a flag, you can bet they'll put their Dynamite or C4 to use, if they have any. To counter this particular threat, you can land your chopper to stabilize it, then take off without moving the mouse so that you obtain a perfect hover. Go as high as you can without moving out of the flag control zone, and stay there, rotating around to spot any incoming enemies. This should prevent enemy infantry from mining your helicopter.

Winching Objects

The last, and most difficult skill that a helicopter pilot will need to learn is that of winching objects and airlifting them to distant locations. Only US choppers (except for the Cobra) are able to do this, via the secondary fire button in the pilot's seat.

If you've learned how to hover around a flag so that you can control it, you're well on your way to learning how to winch an object, although winching requires an even greater degree of technical precision than hovering does. To begin with, you'll need to enter into a perfect hover and align your helicopter so that forward motion will take you directly over the center of whatever object you're attempting to winch. (Sheridan and Patton tanks, PBR Boats, and mobile spawn points are all winchable.) Hit your secondary fire button to release the winch, and, while holding the button down, glide slowly over the top of your target. If you're moving slowly enough, you should see the red bar underneath your secondary weapon indicator start to change from red to yellow. After it's completely full, and you hear the winch lock on, you can let go of the winch button and start increasing your altitude. Whatever object you latched onto will be dragged along on the winch underneath your helicopter, but be forewarned that towing along anything extremely heavy, like a Patton tank, will prevent you from getting much altitude.

After you reach the location where you'd like to drop off your winched object, hit your secondary fire button again and it'll fall to the ground. A fall from a severe height will greatly damage a tank, mind you, so you'll want to hover down to the ground before unlatching. That's assuming you want the tank to survive its impact; it can be a lot of fun to try and bullseye infantry or enemy vehicles on the ground with random falling vehicles.

Repairing and Rearming

Since helicopters move so slowly, you're undoubtedly going to take more than your fair share of fire from the ground, which, in the case of fire from automatic weapons, is rarely immediately life-threatening, but can add up quickly, especially when a bunch of soldiers get in on the act. If you find yourself running below 50% health, you'll probably want to return to a helicopter pad to get yourself refitted.

On most maps, you can get repaired simply by returning to wherever you took off from. For the US forces, repair pads are generally small squares of pavement; landing on one of these will repair you quite quickly, and will refill your weapons to boot. For the NVA and VC forces, finding a repair pad is a bit trickier, as they're not obviously marked. If you remember where you took off from, that should be good enough; if not, look for a small, helicopter-shaped square of dirt that's surrounded by sandbags. If you can land inside one of these, you'll get all of the benefits of a normal repair pad.

Last, but not least, the helipad on the Tango ATC has all the capabilities of a normal repair pad. Of course, actually landing on it is nearly impossible, but in a pinch, you can attempt to merely hover above it; you don't actually have to land to get the benefits of repair.
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