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Tank/vehicle damage model tutorial

9,250 Wernster  11 days ago

List of TierII vehicles
Demonstration video


Hello there tankers!

Are you tired of this happening on your own tank designs when they shoot each other?

Do you want your tank to at least roughly simulate its armour profile like on war thunder or world of tanks and mostly not explode unspectacularly when hit?

Well good for you because I'm just about to teach you the closest we'll ever get to war thunder in simpleplanes, at least for now.

However you're always completely free to decide whether or not to adopt this DMG model into your builds, as it takes alot of time to get used to this and to take full advantage of.

I think it can also be used in MP! But I'm on Android so all I could do is dream, hehe, must be fun though.


Before we start we need these very crucial parts first, I recommend to set these into subassemblies to avoid trying to XML every part.

Important parts

--Major fuselage: The most important part, this is the base model, the part that you use to make the hull and turret.

partCollisionResponse = None
health = 430+
calculateDrag = false
Fuel set to maximum.

--Detail fuselage: The part you want the cannons to pass through and not interfere with the damage model, you could use these for skirts, boxes, and more.

partCollisionResponse = None/DisconnectOnly
health = 300+
calculateDrag = false
disableAircraftCollisions = true
massScale = 0

--Base cannon: Tank arnaments.

partCollisionResponse = None
calculateDrag = false
massScale = 0
Shell type set to basic

(Absolutely required, DMG model is practically useless for explosive rounds)

--All other parts: To make sure absolutely nothing goes wrong it is important for all other parts, mostly the engines, shocks, cameras and gyroscopes, to be set like this.

partCollisionResponse = None
calculateDrag = false

Additional parts

--Tank machinegun: To make sure that they aren't too OP, as the DMG model is health based, machineguns would perform better than cannons if untouched, although aircraft machineguns should stay the same, only change if you don't want tanks to destroy each other by only machinegun fire.

damage = 0.2
impactForce = 0 (To eliminate knockback)

Brief explanation

As mentioned above major fuselages are the one that you'll use for making the hull and turret, while the detail fuselage is only mainly for details only.

This is because detail fuselages will let a Cannon shell through, while major fuselages won't.


Now all of that is done now it's time for the actual tutorial!

Remember that I stated that the major fuselage is on 430 health? Well it is on the perfect balance of not exploding and exploding, it also is the lowest, meaning that most of the time when it is hit once, (unless when angled) it'll always flame up.

basically you want your tank to flame up when critically hit rather than exploding, but sometimes after the fire has stopped, the tank will still remain fully functional so the only logical thing left to do is to pretend that it is disabled, just like in airsoft.

This will become more and more of a problem as Cannon shells get stronger. (By the use of impactDamageScalar)

Armour thickness

Major part health in a nutshell. (Please note that there were some mistakes made)

Now it becomes very simple, the health defines how thick the armour is on that area, in other words, how much hits it'll take before it flames up. (not explode)

Since the damage model is health based, it is actually much closer to World of tanks than War thunder.

Take note that angle will also increase its effectiveness.

430hp is mostly used on the side armour of medium tanks and light tanks, since it'll mostly take a single shot from almost anything unless when angled, just like in real life.

500hp roughly equals to around 45-50mm of armour, it is just slightly tougher than 430, and will take more hits from weaker guns before flaming up, I rarely use it for side armour though.

600-800hp is mostly used for the front armour of some medium tanks aswell as side armour for heavy tanks, it roughly equals to around 55-60mm.

1100-1500hp roughly equals to around 70-85mm, for context the Kv-2 has 1200hp all around.

2000-5500hp is mostly used for the front armour of heavy tanks, at this point the only thing that could reliably critically damage it are cannons with impactDamageScalar set higher than 1.

10000 is the lowest for MBT standards, it'll only take a single hit from any gun with (9.5+ impactDamageScalar) for it to be critically damaged and flame up.

Fine-tuning is key to achieving your desired armour performance.

Quick FAQ

-What happens when the health is too low?
(It'll explode instead of flaming up)

-What happens if the part is set to Default instead of None?
(Parts set to None will only explode once its hp reaches 0, while default will explode if it took too much damage on a single hit regardless of hp)

-What happens if there is no fuel on a part?
(It'll explode instead of flaming up, once again)

Gun performance

The gun is equally as important as the armour.

Like for example, you know something's wrong when a 37mm gun can critically damage the Tiger1's front armour in only 2 shots.

It's actually pretty simple to set up a guns performance to at least mimic the performance it is supposed to have.

And it is by the use of this wonderful, wonderful XML Jundroo has given us included with the cannon, impactDamageScalar.

To fine tune the guns performance to roughly match its penetration simply just gradually increase/decrease its impactDamageScalar until it gets close enough.

For example, I'm testing a 37mm gun that's supposed to pen only 60mm, and I'm going to shoot it at a major part with 500hp, first hit instant flames, lets reduce it to 0.8. Second hit still a one shot, now i'm gonna reduce it even more to 0.6, now it critically damages it in 2hits, and even more when angled. Exactly what I wanted.

Normally for powerful guns I mostly set the impactDamageScalar to 3 - 5, for modern main guns maybe around 8 to 11.

For average guns (mostly WWII era) I normally just leave it in it's default value, 1.

Weaker and smaller calliber guns typically have amazing velocity but somewhat weak/average penetration, so it is necessary to lower its impactDamageScalar value to something lower than 1 to compensate for its velocity.

1-3 shots to set it ablaze = penetration
3-4 shots to set it ablaze = partial penetration
4 or more shots to set it ablaze = no penetration

But since this is simpleplanes, the damage model could only be health based, so volume/rate of fire could be really overpowered, that's why I avoid autocannons now.

Velocity and calliber effects the damage dealt too, calliber I assume produces the most recoil and knockback to the target hit, velocity further increases recoil and damage dealt, but probably only affects knockback a small amount.

My advice is to set the calliber to be slightly smaller than the actual calliber, to hopefully reduce the knockback dealt to the opponent.

Another FAQ

-What if the gun is too powerful or has too much impactDamageScalar?
(If a powerful gun hits a low hp major part, like let's say 430hp, especially from a flat angle it'll explode without flaming up, this is what I call "Overkill" and this is a big problem for MBTs)

-What if I use explosive rounds?
(Not gonna lie explosive rounds are good for artillery and stuff, but they can be very overpowered because of their "instakill" mechanic on a certain calliber/scalar, overall would not recommend on a vehicle, but for artillery? Absolutely)


Ranked from most noticable to less noticable based on my experience.

1 - Health based, meaning that even the weakest guns could still take down an otherwise impenetrable tank as long as it fired enough rounds into it, even at steep angles.

2 - Overkill problems, powerful cannons would not set low hp major parts on fire if hit at a flat angle, instead it'll just make it explode good ol' Simpleplanes style.

3 - No formula present, armour and gun performances will just be close enough guesses.

4 - Not easy to get used to or explain, I tried teaching these to some of my discord friends, and only a portion of them understood the concept.

5 - Bots do not know how to roleplay so if they didn't explode after being set ablaze they'll still move around.


1 - Better than nothing right?

2 - Probably amazing but untested multiplayer potential. (Which is basically the reason I discovered this anyway)

3 - It took me 6months to figure this out, but unlike me you could learn it from this tutorial and only take like a week or maybe a month to fully understand it.

Ending & Small recap

  • partCollisionResponse should be set to None for major fuselages, aswell as detail fuselages, otherwise it won't work properly.

  • To fine-tune a gun, simply gradually increase/decrease its impactDamageScalar until you're satisfied.

  • Detail fuselages should always be set to disableAircraftCollisions = false

If you still didn't get it until now, don't worry it isn't your fault, I'm just terrible at explaining things. :3

Thanks for reading! It took me quite some time to write all of this too, I really hope this'll help you.

If there are still some questions or misunderstandings feel free to comment, I personally will answer it.

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  • Profile image
    362 CAMAE

    Oh ok

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    9,250 Wernster

    @CAMAE By the use of disableAircraftCollisions = false, cannon shells would go through but! Machineguns won't, basically what I mentioned earlier, haha.

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    362 CAMAE

    How would one simulate spaced armor?

    4 days ago
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    9,250 Wernster

    @TirpitzWantsPlanes Aw, thanks! Good luck with your future builds.

    +1 6 days ago
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    9,250 Wernster

    @Bf109g6 Oooo, it's because of the weight of the vehicle, it doesn't weigh as much as a real tank would, it couldn't handle powerful knockbacks due to it being relatively light.

    6 days ago
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    135 Bf109g6

    @wernster uh well you damage model cannot handle large guns fire ing fast see when I fire the conlings 350mm gun gong 1250speed the tank hit flips over and flys like this is girl und panzer I don’t know how to fix this

    +1 7 days ago
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    135 Bf109g6

    Thanks wernster now I can put this on the conling

    7 days ago
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    So a new era for tank making begins.. I love your idea and will use it for future builds I will (probably) do.

    9 days ago
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    4,289 K2K

    One of the best discoveries in SP for the advancement of tank-kind.

    +3 9 days ago
  • Profile image
    9,250 Wernster

    @TirpitzWantsPlanes I'll try, but it'll definitely take some time at least.

    10 days ago
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    9,250 Wernster

    @PapaKernels Actually you could use it the other way around, with detail fuselages as the exterior while the crew and ammo racks are major ones, works well for me at least.

    10 days ago
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    362 CAMAE

    I disagree.

    10 days ago
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    65.6k Chancey21

    The higher the part count, the more durable

    +1 10 days ago
  • Profile image

    I'm dumb, could you make a video? I can't understand because my small brain is too small..

    +1 10 days ago
  • Profile image
    17.4k PapaKernels

    Wheres the spotlight button for forum posts!!! I was trying to figure out how to do this! I'll keep this in mind! I do have one question, could this work for tanks that have a modeled interior?

    +1 10 days ago
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    46.2k Phantomium

    Damn. Someone pin this post ASAP.
    I think you did a great job at explaining the concept. I personally understood it right away, in part because I have been exploring this same concept on and off for years but without much success.

    +5 10 days ago
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    9,250 Wernster

    @PrestoPo No problem, Keep up the good work!

    11 days ago
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    774 gabi123

    Too much texs for me

    +1 11 days ago
  • Profile image
    180 PrestoPo

    Thanks for sharing this information, I was planing on building a armored vehicle eventually. This helps a lot!

    +1 11 days ago