LOS Comparisons
I stated my opinion on the Line of Sight Calculator page
that the Level 3 Dead Zone Rule presented on page 21 of Maximum Tech was in
error. If the distance from the intervening object to each of the units is the
same, then the calculation is fine. But if they are different, especially if
they are much different, the formula can give some unexpected
results.
I'll give an example, albeit an extreme one, that illustrates the problem.
Let's use two units, 20 hexes apart, the lower one on Level 1 terrain, and the
higher one on Level 3 terrain, and calculate how high an intervening hex can be
and not block line of sight. The intervening hex can be anywhere in between,
very close to one or the other unit, or closer to the center. If you calculate
the maximum height (the graphs show partial levels, but you get the idea), and
graph it across those 20 hexes, you get the following graphs:
First, I'll show the graph obtained by diagramming the heights, because that
makes the most sense. Notice I'm showing the lower unit at Level 2 (one level
higher than it is resting on) and the higher unit at Level 4 (also one level
higher than it is resting on):
Notice that the maximum height of the intervening hexes forms a basically
straight line, between one unit and the other, as you might expect. (I didn't
bother showing a straight line on this diagram, as it would run right over the
tops of the shaded areas.)
Using the Dead Zone Rule formula, however, all heck breaks loose. While the
maximum terrain height near the center between the two units is about right, the
closer it gets to either unit, the more out of whack it gets:
As the diagram above shows, according to the formula, at a distance of 2
hexes from the higher unit, the intervening hex can be as high as seven (count 'em,
7) levels high! Obviously, that can't be the case; it's 3 levels higher than the
firing line of the unit. And when closer to the lower unit, it's off just as
much, only in the other direction: at 2 levels from the lower unit, the formula
indicates that the intervening hex can be no higher than 1 (negative 1) level
in height. That's 3 levels below the unit's firing line. The blue line
represents what a logical maximum height would be, and shows how far off
from that the calculation really is.
Anyhow, I hope that this illustration shows why, if you decide you want to
use the Dead Zone formula from Maximum Tech, you should take great care in doing
so. I highly recommend the Diagram method, instead, as it gives accurate and
logical results.
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