found a chopper tutorial..might be old news but I learned a few things from it like where to aim the missiles
Hey Terrabyte, I'm learning to fly the chopper with m & k instead of Jstick...on your BF2 helicopter controls what do you use for the 3 settings (sensitivity, pitch, roll) ? Do you max out all 3 or somewhere in the middle?
You have very precise control down low near trees and buildings, like a butterfly. That is so cool.
Is a Razor or G5 necessary to have that kind of precision?
GameWag's BF2 Helicopter School (Part 1)
I'm glad you've come. We have a lot to cover, so let's get started.
1 - Getting Started
2 - Terminology and the Interface
3 - Basic Maneuvering
4 - Gunning
1 - Getting Started
Configure Your Controls
I have a strong preference as to how I pilot choppers, but I'm not trying to pass my bias on to you. There are no bad control systems, only bad pilots. For the purposes of this guide, I will reveal that I use a mouse and keyboard. It will become apparent why I mention it, as some of the things covered here will not apply to a stick/throttle/pedal system (something I haven't used in a decade). Please do not think I'm saying anything negative about using a stick - it's only that I don't use one, and can't speak to practical application. Anyway...
Before you start up a game again, go to your Options>Controls>Helicopter screen and check or reconfigure your controls with the 2 very important things in mind:
You will need to make both large and small movements with accuracy and speed - ie. in one instant, you will need to throw your machine forward as fast and hard as you can, in the next you will need to come left about a foot without wavering. Adjust for both.
In advanced maneuvers, you will need to descend (decelerate), pitch up, roll left, yaw (turn) left, fire flares, fire primaries, and VOIP to your crew, all at the same time. After that you'll have to cycle through your mini-map, request orders from your commander, and yell "get in" within a split second before you start setting up for your next move.
If you cannot execute either of the above without playing keyboard-finger-twister, I would strongly suggest you consider a different configuration. Like touch-typing, your hand shouldn't move around , your wrist rests in one place while your fingers do the work, and of course, you should never have to look down to see what key you're pressing.
Practice Alone (then practice alone again)
It's so important that this single, simple thought gets it's own part in this guide. In consideration of your fellow BF2 fanatics, do not learn to fly on public servers. It's rude. If you have no other choice, use empty unranked public servers. You might even find someone with whom to practice.
Further, please do not breeze through this guide, spend 10 minutes in single player, and decide you've got it. A repeated "crash dummy", or "empty helmet", or "smacktard" will cause other player's tempers to flare. Then they'll call you names and insult your dog. After that, you might call them names back, or start griefing, and then my purpose here has failed.
Don't do anything on a public server that you haven't done 50 times on your own. Practice in private, be brilliant in public.
2 - Terminology and the Interface
Yes, it's just a game. Certainly, some of the maneuvers I'll discuss later have very little to do with reality. However, some common verbage needs to come about, and it might as well be closer to reality.
Hold your head up straight. Now look down at the floor, then up at the ceiling. You are pitching your head forward and backward. Now with your head level again, try to touch your left ear to your left shoulder, then right ear to right shoulder. You're pitching your head left and right.
The game control setup calls this "turning" but that's somewhat crude. Holding your head level again, look off to your left and then off to your right. This is Yaw.
In the game, Pitch will move you forward/back/left/right through space. Yaw will affect what direction you're facing. We'll get into that more later.
You know this is short for Heads Up Display. Very quickly we'll review the configuration for all helo's in BF2. The bar on the left is your Throttle or Torque Indicator. Bottom left is your Speed, note that this is your speed in any direction, not just foward. Bottom right is your altitude. The circle or crosshair at the center is your targeting reticle, and the two horizontal bars on either side of it make up your horizon indicator. At the top is your heading indicator. If you don't already, you should know what each of these is called instantly. Attack helo's also have a Gunner View box, the dot in the center indicating which direction your gunner is facing relative to your current heading.
Speed is indicated in KM, but is a little sketchy, your altitude is measured in Meters.
3 - Basic Maneuvering*
Did you look over your controls yet? Do it now, then come back. I'll wait.
Ok, thank you. Load a map and get in the chopper of your chosing. Note your altitude, zoom your mini-map (N) all the way in. and ascend (accelerate) 50 meters straight up. Don't go anywhere yet.
Hover without moving
Using your pitch/yaw controls, keep the Horizon bars level, and your Reticle between them. If you're using a joystick/throttle, I imagine that you can set your Throttle somewhere that will keep a steady altitude. If you're using a mouse/keyboard, you must learn to, "feather" the throttle (hitting and releasing the key rapidly) in order to maintain a steady altitude.Look at your speed indicator, it should be zero. Look at your mini-map, you shouldn't be moving at all. This is called neutral.
Why learn this? A few reasons. First, you will need to get to neutral quickly sometimes, so you need to know what it feels like. More specificly, you need to know what it feels like to stop the momentum of the chopper, null out any turns or rolls you're in the middle of, and start executing your next move. Most importantly, at some point you will need to land, repair, or pick up friends without running them over. Once you can fly neutral, not moving up down left or right at an altitude of +50, then do it with an altitude of +2. With a larger point of reference, you can more easily see how much you're moving. Don't move.
Descend and land in the same spot you took off from. Now do it a few dozen times.
Move Forward, Intentionally
Load up a map with a chopper spawn that has a relatively flat terrain. Jump in your favorite helo and perform a neutral ascent to +30. Using your forward pitch control, slowly move your nose down until you begin to move forward. Try not to yaw or pitch left/right, we're just going forward right now. Return to neutral, and then move forward again.
There are 2 extremes that you have to work between: Too much forward pitch while at full torque will give you a lot of foward air speed, but you'll lose altitude just as fast, and wind up in a face-plant. Too little forward pitch and full torque will make you creep along, and gain altitude slowly (high altitude and slow speed = lots of missiles coming your way).
Stop, without hitting something heavy
OK now we're moving. We should think about stopping. To me, the earmark of an unpracticed pilot is watching them fight the machine to the ground. They pitch-up too fast, gain too much altitude, pitch left and right, and if they manage to not crash, they have no real sense of where they're landing - then they miss the target, yaw 840 degrees, hop a few times until they hit the edge of the landing pad, and say "get in". No thanks.
To stop in BF2, you again need to "feel" a balance. Like moving forward, there are 2 extremes to work between: While moving forward very fast, you can pitch-up hard, and hit decelerate/descend to maintain a steady altitude. This will bring you to a dead stop, but be careful (and practice) for you can belly-flop easily if you hit your decelerate key too long. The other, at a slower forward speed, is to simply pitch-up gently to the neutral position and let off the accelerator, eventually starting to feather it as done in the hovering maneuver. This will bring you to a very slow, gradual stop at altitude.
Most Common Mistake: Some pilots instinctually think that you need torque to stop. The manifestation of this is that they nose up while at full throttle. This is called Ballooning, because your altitude will soar if you don't let off the torque.
Yawing and Strafing
There are two ways to move off line in a helo. Ascend to +10, Yaw left and come to bear North while keeping your horizon bar level. Like hovering in neutral, you should learn to not move in any direction except to yaw to bear on something behind you, to your left, or to your right. Return to neutral before moving on.
Next, without yawing at all, pitch the helo left and right. If you keep your nose level (the reticle between the horizon bars), you should start to slide left and right. Everything that you've learned about moving forward and backward applies to sliding/straffing left and right: sharp pitches will lose altitude but get you moving; small pitches will get you moving slowly while keeping level.
Executing turns at speed
Ok, now get some forward speed going. In a smooth motion, throttle up, pitch left, then ease your pitch back. This is all that is needed to make a simple turn. Using Yaw as part of a turn can be useful, but you should learn how to turn without yawing at all.
Like a fixed wing aircraft, a more effective way to turn while moving is not to just use your tail to steer, but to pitch and yaw at the same time. This, again, takes some "feel" to get right. Once you feel it, you can do it at all speeds. Yawing into the direction of the turn will decrease your turn radius, thus getting you moving in a different direction faster. You may have to pitch away from your turn direction to keep from side slipping. You might have to pitch back in order to keep the momentum of your turn going. Either way, to exit the turn at speed, let off the yaw key, then imediately pitch out to flatten your horizon. Pitch-forward a bit to keep your speed going.
Now, start your own server and practice for an hour. Seriously, practice just these simple things. Don't start using weapons, don't jump to the end yet, just practice these simple things. It sounds elementary, but it will pay off, I swear. Start Oman in 32 or 64 player mode, take off from the US carrier and land at the pool East of the hotel, take off and land again north of the crane, do the same with the enemy airfield flag, then take off and return to the carrier. Now do it without moving above an altitude of 40, then keep it below 35, then 30. Create your own time/altitude trials, make them legitimately challenging, then stick with them.
* Please note that all controls and techniques described here are relative to Battlefield 2. None of these exercises may necessarily have anything to do with real aeronautical maneuvers, aircraft, or elementary physics.
4 - Gunning
Ok, here we are. I hope you've practiced basic flight enough to have forgotten that there are 3 racks of 14 missiles at your disposal.
When you shoot at a moving target, you "lead" it, meaning you bring your sights and fire ahead of the target, anticipating that the target will keep moving in a constant direction and ultimately meet with your projectile for dinner and drinks. More times than not, you will be moving in relation to your target. Now learn 2 basic rules of thumb:
When moving up or forward, aim below
Whem moving down or backward, aim above
Leading applies here more than ever, and like all things, it needs to be practiced. At an altitude of 40 meters and a forward airspeed of 100KM, you will have to start firing at least 3 car lengths before your reticle comes over the target in order to hit it. It only takes 2 hits to dispose of a jeep, so don't waste ammunition shooting behind it. At an altitude of 10 meters and almost no forward airspeed, you hardly need to lead at all, just aim at the lower part of the target and you should be just fine. In a descent, you have to fight your instincts and aim above your target to score a hit.
Compund this with you moving at 100KM at altitude, shooting at a jeep that's moving left and away from you at high speed. You need to practice. There are no angles I can give you that you could read in your HUD, there isn't a formula for the speed of the target vs. the speed of your projectile here. Learn to hit a stationary object every time while on the move, the moving targets will come easier after that.
3 Attack Angles
Versus stationary or slow moving ground objects, you get a variance of 3 basic attacks.
Low altitude, low/no speed. This is sometimes called a "pop up". In any case, it's the most accurate shot you can take as the pilot. Approach a target below it's gun range, or at the same altitude but masked by a building, hill, or set of trees. With a minimum of movement, bring the helo up, left or right and bring your reticle onto the target and shoot. You should be able to get the kill, then mask yourself again to turn and escape. This is a sure fire devastating attack, but very dangerous considering you must remain almost stationary until you get the kill.
Mid altitude, mid speed. A strafing run like any other. Too much forward speed will kill your chances of hitting anything for much damage. so keep your nose up until the last second before you want to shoot. Your altitude shouldn't be much higher than the treeline. Lead plenty on this attack, as most vehicles only need to move toward you a little in order to get you to miss. Excellent for jeeps, ground troops, but weak against APCs. Against tanks, it might be better to combine a little of the next move.
High altitude dive. The death dive, or the face plant. With plenty of vertical space to spare, ease off the torque a bit, bring the nose down to bear on your target, and keep it there. Amazingly, the closer you get to your target, the closer to the ground you will find yourself. Funny that. In all seriousness, nobody likes a pilot who intentionally wrecks their aircraft. If you do this correctly, you should have plenty of time to fire all 14 shots you've got, and still pull out of the dive. If you face plant, you did it wrong. If the target is still there after 14 shots, and you face plant, you really really did it wrong.
Now start your own server and practice for an hour (remember I asked you not to practice on public servers?). Pop up on a target, strafe another, and dive on another. I find the carrier maps to be a good place to practice. Set time trials for yourself, and of course, make sure you can take out the target in one pass.
Thoughts until next time...
I will continue this article to touch upon more complex thoughts, advanced maneuvers, and working effecticly with a crew. In the mean time, I ask you to think about your favorite samurai movie.
The good guy is always the well tempered guy who knows he has more to learn, and takes a lesson away from conflict. The bad guy is usually the younger that thinks he knows everything or the slob that has given up practice because he speaks well enough of himself.
Keep practicing. Even after you've mastered the above, spend 10% of your weekly play time practicing, and be harsh enough on yourself to believe that what you're doing can be done better. This alone will improve your skill 10x more than any guide.
Until next time, go be the beautiful unique snowflake with a gun that you are.
Posted by bradley at July 29, 2005 09:16 PM