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[Guide] Understanding camouflage values and spotting ranges by WaterWar

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Most of you have heard some players discuss the camouflage values of a tank and possibly they threw around some numbers 16.87%/12.65%/3.34%. If you have no clue what those numbers mean, this is the guide for you. If you have ever driven (or seen someone drive) your (their) AMX 13 90 on the Malinovka field while spotting tonnes of enemy tanks and not getting counter-spotted, without understanding why, this is the guide for you.

 

I will in this guide explain what the camouflage values mean, how they affect your view range in game and how the spotting range is calculated. I will NOT discuss the effect of single-double-triple bushes in detail in this guide. There are several other guides on this subject. I will also NOT go into detail how to exploit the spotting system. This will not be the most advanced guide. This should be considered basic stuff for any player aiming to be blue or higher.

 

All camouflage values in this guide are taken from the following document. I want to highlight that this document is not my creation. I am just linking to it. https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1w9YYhDuNWJKSdIPesGhS4YkZJodEqUSFoomumMWYynA/edit?pli=1#gid=355532698

 

Camouflage values

In the simplest terms: The camouflage value of a tank is indicative of how stealthy the particular tank is. The greater the camouflage value is, the harder a given vehicle is to spot.

Each tank in the game has three camouflage values: one for when it is stationary, moving and shooting. All scouts tanks (except the T-54 LT for some reason) have the same camouflage when stationary and moving (one of their only advantages over medium tanks).

 

As an example let us look at some camouflage values:

Bat Chat 25t camouflage values: 16.87%/12.65%/3.34%

AMX 13 90 camouflage values:  17.67%/17.67%/4.21%

AMX 50b camouflage values: 3.82%/1.94%/0.53%

 

So without going into detail about what these numbers mean in practice we can see a few things from this simple comparison. The AMX 13 90 has the same camouflage value for moving and stationary confirming that it is a scout. The Bat Chat is almost the same as an AMX 13 90 when stationary and slightly worse when moving. The AMX 50b is not a well-camouflaged tank. Even when stationary and NOT shooting it has worse camouflage values than an AMX 13 90 blazing away.

 

Protip: do not go camo-sniping in your 50b.

 

Camouflage values in practice

Now what does the 17.67% camouflage of the AMX 13 90 mean in practice?

It is part of the (quite elaborate) calculation that is carried out when the game determines if two vehicles can spot each other. You can ignore the calculation and use a simplified calculation if you just want to understand in broad terms how the camouflage of your tank affects the spotting range of any enemy tanks trying to spot you. You can also look at the proper calculation in way more detail if you want to fully understand how different crew skills, consumables and equipment influence the spotting calculations.

 

I will now go through both the simplified and advanced way of calculation the spotting range. I will assume you know basic math, but I will try to make everything as clear as possible for those who might feel a bit rusty on the old calculus. You can decide for yourself which of the two sections you want to read.

 

Simplified calculation

The simple way to calculate how a camouflage value affects the view range of the spotting tank is:

 

spottingRange = ViewRange * (1 – camoValue)

 

So if you are in an E100 (view range = 400 m) and you are trying to spot an AMX 13 90 moving across a field (AMX 13 90 moving camouflage = 17.67%) the formula looks like this:

 

spottingRange = 400 m * (1 – 0.1767) = 329.32 m

 

This shows you the practical result of a higher camouflage value. The higher the percentage the camouflage has, the equally higher percentage will be taken of the view range of the spotting tank.

If we do the same calculation but with an ELC AMX (camouflage value of 21.89% when moving) we find that the spotting range of the E100 is now:

                            

spottingRange = 400 m * (1 – 0.2189) = 312.44 m

 

So from this calculation we can see that the ELC AMX can move 17 m closer to an E100 compared to an AMX 13 90 without being spotted.

Now you might be thinking: “But when will the AMX 13 90 or ELC spot the E100?”. This is easily calculated using the same formula.

We know the view range of the AMX 13 90 and ELC AMX (400 m and 360 m respectively) and the camouflage value of a stationary E100 is 2.91%:

 

spottingRange1390 = 400 m * (1 – 0.0291) = 388.36 m

spottingRangeELC = 360 * (1 – 0.0291) = 349.52 m

 

So the AMX 13 90 will have a “window” of 60 m to move around in where the AMX 13 90 will have the E100 spotted but the E100 will not spot the AMX 13 90. For the ELC this window is only 37 m because of the poor view range on the ELC.

 

Now a word of warning: all of these calculations are SIMPLIFIED calculations. They ignore anything outside base values, so no crew skills, consumables or equipment is taken into account. This is especially important in regards to view range enhancing skills and equipment. If you want a slightly more precise calculation you can take any optical equipment into account. Coated optics adds 10% to the base view range and binoculars add 25% to the view range of a stationary vehicle.

 

Advanced calculation

The advanced calculation is using the following formula:

 

spottingRange = effectiveViewRange – (effectiveViewRange – 50) * camoFactor

 

That doesn’t look to bad, does it?

You take the effective view range and subtract the effective view range minus 50 m (the proximity spotting range) and multiplied with the camo factor of your tank. Easy stuff, right?

Sadly this is only the main formula. There are two supporting formulas to calculate the effectiveViewRange and camoFactor. Let us start with the camoFactor. The formula is as follows:

 

camoFactor = baseCamo * (0.00375 * camoSkill + 0.5) * camoAtShot + camoPattern + camoNet + environmentCamo

 

Now this may seem like a big mouthful with a lot of strange labels and coefficients, so I will try to break it down for you:

The baseCamo is the camouflage value of the tank either moving or stationary, exactly as I explained in the start of this guide, and it is multiplied with the camoSkill (along with some coefficients) and camoAtShot.

The camoSkill is the ‘effective’ camo skill of the crew members. This is a combination of the crew camo training, commander skill level, premium food consumable, improved ventilations equipment and the perk Brothers in Arms.

The camoAtShot is the camouflage value for firing the gun. If you want to calculate for a tank that is not firing, this factor is neglected.

After these three factors are multiplied, you add the following:

camoPattern, the bonus for any camo patterns (value depends on vehicle type);

camoNet, the bonus for active camo net (10% for mediums/lights, 5% for heavies and cancer, and 15% for TD’s);

and finally environmentCamo, the bonus from any bushes the tank might be hiding behind (single, double or triple bushes).

 

So now you know what goes into calculating the actual camouflage value of a tank, let us now take a look at the effectiveViewRange factor. Sadly I have not been able to find a formula like I did for camoFactor, so I can only list the different factors that influence the effective view range of a tank.

Each tank has a base view range, similar to their base camouflage values. This base view range is then subject to different factors (again, similar to the base camouflage values). First off there is the equipment of coated optics and binocular telescopes that adds 10% and 25% respectively (although binoculars only active when stationary). Then there is the effective primary skill of the commander which is controlled by his own training, improved ventilations, Brothers in Arms and premium food. Lastly there are also the recon and situational awareness crew skills for the commander and radioman respectively.

In total, if you mount/train everything that can possibly enhance the view range it is possible to increase the base view range by an amazing 44.5-ish%. This means that a tank with 400 m view range will have an effective view range of 577.90 m.

 

Now I hear you ask: Why would I want to have a 558 m view range when the maximum view range is hard-capped at 445 m?

If you limit your view range to 445 m you will not be able to spot anything at maximum spotting range – because the camo factor of all tanks will decrease your view range down below max spotting range. If you on the other hand have an effective view range of 500 m the camo factor of some tanks will not be able to force it under the maximum spotting range and you will indeed spot them as soon as they enter the maximum spotting range.

 

I could now give you a practical example of both camoFactor and effectiveViewRange, but that would quickly become a mess and a waste of the time of everybody.

Instead I highly recommend you go play with the camo-calculator on wotinfo.net (http://www.wotinfo.net/en/camo-calculator). Here you can type in your vehicle name together with an enemy vehicle to counter-spot your vehicle. You can then see how the camouflage values (and spotting ranges) changes depending on all the different factors mentioned above. It is a great tool to play with, and understand, how the camouflage works.

 

 

I hope you learned something from this guide. I certainly did, which is always a nice plus. If you have any questions or feedback, feel free to ask or comment away.

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This is useful information to know for the specific tank you are playing if it is a tank that depends on stealth.  Let's take an example:

 

E-25

Base Camo: 25.14%, 15.05%, 8.82% (stationary, moving, firing)

With full camo crew, the base camo value is multiplied by 1.8.

Camo paint provides 4%, 4%, 1.1%**

Camo net provides 15%, 0%, 5%** (stationary firing)

** Values estimated from similar tanks, don't have exact numbers

 

So with a max camo crew, camo paint, and camo net:

Stationary E-25 has 64.25% camo (25.14*1.8+4+15).

Moving E-25 has 31.1% camo (15.05*1.8+4)

Firing E-25 with active camo net has 22% camo (8.82*1.8+1.1+5)

 

Let's say an enemy light tank is trying to spot you, we assume he has 450m view range (typical light tank with optics and a view range skill).  Ignoring any environmental camo (bushes etc) you won't be spotted by the enemy tank until they are within:

 

Stationary E-25: 161 meters

Moving E-25: 310 meters

Firing E-25: 351 meters

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One thing worth mentioning -- people often talk about camo in terms of stationary camo.  The problem is that value is the least useful, as almost always if you are stationary you are in a bush so your actual value is much higher.  Its a lot more useful to think of camo on the move (scouts, meds) or camo stationary while firing (camo snipers).  The values are usually proportional, but not always because working as intended.

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This is useful information to know for the specific tank you are playing if it is a tank that depends on stealth.  Let's take an example:

 

E-25

Base Camo: 25.14%, 15.05%, 8.82% (stationary, moving, firing)

With full camo crew, the base camo value is multiplied by 1.8.

Camo paint provides 4%, 4%, 1.1%**

Camo net provides 15%, 0%, 5%** (stationary firing)

** Values estimated from similar tanks, don't have exact numbers

 

So with a max camo crew, camo paint, and camo net:

Stationary E-25 has 64.25% camo (25.14*1.8+4+15).

Moving E-25 has 31.1% camo (15.05*1.8+4)

Firing E-25 with active camo net has 22% camo (8.82*1.8+1.1+5)

 

Let's say an enemy light tank is trying to spot you, we assume he has 450m view range (typical light tank with optics and a view range skill).  Ignoring any environmental camo (bushes etc) you won't be spotted by the enemy tank until they are within:

 

Stationary E-25: 161 meters

Moving E-25: 310 meters

Firing E-25: 351 meters

Exactly. Perfect example of doing it by hand.

Also possible to play with on the wotinfo link. It is surprisingly fun to fiddle with :P

I have learnt a lot from fiddling with numbers.

 

I calculate this all at once in battle. I dont even sweat.

This is not for you to calculate on during battle, but something you can keep in mind. If you know your 13 90 has roughly 15% camo you can do some rough estimates on enemy spotting distances. :P

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Great read, and very nice link to wotinfo. Allowed me to figure out that it's actually possible for an AT15 to outspot an ob140, and made me realise that camo net was actually more powerfull than I thought, might consider swaping Bionocs for camo net on some TDs.

And wanted to say that I really like your articles  :thumbup:

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Great read, and very nice link to wotinfo. Allowed me to figure out that it's actually possible for an AT15 to outspot an ob140, and made me realise that camo net was actually more powerfull than I thought, might consider swaping Bionocs for camo net on some TDs.

And wanted to say that I really like your articles :thumbup:

On a TD with a turret, run net and binocs, they will not reset unless you move the hull. This is the basis for the OP'ness of the Hellcat, T67, Rhoomba as examples. EGLD isn't needed, if you are never seen you can aim all you want.
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Great read, and very nice link to wotinfo. Allowed me to figure out that it's actually possible for an AT15 to outspot an ob140, and made me realise that camo net was actually more powerfull than I thought, might consider swaping Bionocs for camo net on some TDs.

And wanted to say that I really like your articles  :thumbup:

I'm happy to hear that you like my articles ;) 

It is kind of an eye opener for some people how strong camo net and binoculars can be.

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Also something very important Rexxie pointed out to me.  If you fire and move there is an additional penalty on top of the firing penalty for the movement.  Iirc the firing and moving pennalties don't stack, but it is a substantial loss in stealth.  Keep this in mind especially when playing non-turreted TD's where you may ahve to move for follow up shots if your target passes all the way through your gun arc.

 

Also Premium TD's still have a smaller firing penalty which non-premiums TD's lost a couple patches ago.

 

You said this, but I always like to emphasize this point out as well ... your Adjusted View range can exceed 445 m some tanks with Binocs perks Food can far exceed 500 m.  The Adjusted View is what the Camo % reduction is deducted from not Max View Range. It pays to get it as high as you can, because you may be able to spot well camoflaged targets at Max View Range!

 

Good post BTW.

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camoFactor = baseCamo * (0.00375 * camoSkill + 0.5) * camoAtShot + camoPattern + camoNet + environmentCamo

 

This line here shows that moving AND shooting does stack. Although for almost any tank in the game the camo drops so low when firing that the movement penalty doesn't influence much. This would only count for stealthier tanks shooting and moving on the absolutely limits of the view ranges (400-445m).

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OK thanks for pointing that out I appreciate it ....  didn't catch that in the text and previously misunderstood.

It's a pretty substantial kick in the ass to stealth based squishy TD's.

That's why I love it here you learn something new every day!

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OK thanks for pointing that out I appreciate it ....  didn't catch that in the text and previously misunderstood.

It's a pretty substantial kick in the ass to stealth based squishy TD's.

That's why I love it here you learn something new every day!

It is well hidden in the formulas, so not a lot of people notice it. ;)

 

great article waters, virtual thumbs-ups on their way

Thanks :)

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This is a great article, +1 to you sir. I always had a general idea of how camo worked. But this really laid it out there for me. Thanks for the info  :thumbup:

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I don't want to knock your attempt to assist the community, but there's a ton of information you've omitted that's crucial to understanding camo values, and regurgitating the wiki isn't really helping too much other than reinforcing incorrect interpretations. 

 

Ignoring bush stacking and the like is pretty much discussing about the chemistry of water while omitting oxygen. Commonly misunderstood things include that downed and standing trees have radically different values, that camo values include every camo-granting plant within LoS between the checked vision port in queue, not simply the ones within 15m, and things outside of 1m obscure vision equally.

 

Secondly, when focusing on on the move camo, viewports and spot check times are hugely different. An example being the fuzzy range of spot. In a hypothetical 450m~ visioned tank attempting to detect an elc, whether or not the elc is approaching head on or to the side  will vary the detection range for the defender by upwards of 70-100m when viewport cycling is accounted for. Much further when you include LoS bush and terrain changed that might temporarily obstruct LoS for the period the viewport is making its check. 

 

Lastly, you might want to include situations where tanks will have view ports above their model lines, such that 51m+ will always make it a non-reciprocal spot from the angle of approach. 

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In total, if you mount/train everything that can possibly enhance the view range it is possible to increase the base view range by an amazing 44.5-ish%. This means that a tank with 400 m view range will have an effective view range of 557.90 m.

 

 

400 * 1.445 != 557.90

It is 578. But you list 557.90 as effective and not base view range, so base is 578 and effective just 557.90? Is this the number from before mentioned calculator or is it a mistake?

 

Very nice article overall.

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That number is just taken from wot-info from the tank with the highest base view range (WTE100) and then applying every single booster to that tank. I may have missed an option though, as doing it again with a WTE100, binoculars, situational awareness, recon, vents, BiA and food gives a view range of 607 meters.

 

sLgDKh8.png

 

EDIT: I misread your post. The max view range for a vehicle with 400 base view range is indeed 577.9. I just made a typo during the article. Fixed :)

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I don't want to knock your attempt to assist the community, but there's a ton of information you've omitted that's crucial to understanding camo values, and regurgitating the wiki isn't really helping too much other than reinforcing incorrect interpretations. 

 

Ignoring bush stacking and the like is pretty much discussing about the chemistry of water while omitting oxygen. Commonly misunderstood things include that downed and standing trees have radically different values, that camo values include every camo-granting plant within LoS between the checked vision port in queue, not simply the ones within 15m, and things outside of 1m obscure vision equally.

 

Secondly, when focusing on on the move camo, viewports and spot check times are hugely different. An example being the fuzzy range of spot. In a hypothetical 450m~ visioned tank attempting to detect an elc, whether or not the elc is approaching head on or to the side  will vary the detection range for the defender by upwards of 70-100m when viewport cycling is accounted for. Much further when you include LoS bush and terrain changed that might temporarily obstruct LoS for the period the viewport is making its check. 

 

Lastly, you might want to include situations where tanks will have view ports above their model lines, such that 51m+ will always make it a non-reciprocal spot from the angle of approach. 

 

I appreciate the feedback, but this guide was never meant to be an in-depth calculation/description of how the whole spotting system works. This is only in regards to vehicle camo and how it reduces spotting range in an open field. I do not at any time try to get into the more advanced spotting mechanics (with spotting checks and the lot) because that would make this guide too comprehensive and overwhelming (both for the reader but definitely for me as well).

 

To quote myself from the intro:

"I will NOT discuss the effect of single-double-triple bushes in detail in this guide. There are several other guides on this subject. I will also NOT go into detail how to exploit the spotting system. This will not be the most advanced guide. This should be considered basic stuff for any player aiming to be blue or higher."

 

In regards to 'regurgitating the wiki', I have indeed used the wiki to help me remember everything. I like to believe my explaining and the examples however, help people better understand the camouflage and spotting ranges on a basic level compared to just reading the wiki.

 

I might do a follow-up guide that expains all of the things you mention, though. It can be my next project ;)

 

EDIT: Arg, double post D:

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Great post!

 

Knew this stuff, but back when I had 1-2 k games and I started digging into mechanics I had to piece all this info together from multiple sources - your article is a thorough summary.

 

Bushes/trees, spot check cycles and spotting mechanics (viewport, mid of hull, canon base, etc.) will be a nice addition if/when you get the time to do it.

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I might do a follow-up guide that expains all of the things you mention, though. It can be my next project

 

Would be awesome. (As I did'nt understand a lot of the things he said ^^)

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