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Digital, blocky "Minecraft" camouflage apparently much more effective than blobby camo

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It sounds counterintuitive (and apparently was much second-guessed and delayed after its effectiveness was first discovered in the 1970s), but digital, square-based "Minecraft"-type camouflage is far more effective at visually disguising forms, both up close and at a distance, than traditional blobby-form camouflages.


Last September China held a massive military parade to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the end of WWII, showing off for the first time many military vehicles decorated with digital patterns of squares in four colors.


US Army Lieutenant Colonel Timothy R O'Neill, PhD, credited with the discovery almost forty years ago, shared his original test before-and-after photos with the BBC:




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It's mainly because it's a semi-fractal pattern; the closer you get, the more detail of the camouflage pattern you see, meaning no blobs jump in or out once you get closer or further away.


It's not restricted to squares, but square fractals are a lot easier to make than blobby fractals. German Flecktarn is one of the few I know isn't square.

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They've gone back and forth on this one a few times.  The most effective camo that I've encountered under field conditions was straight khaki, which is admittedly sort of a fractal pattern because the dust fragments and camo pigments are about the same size ("War in the Beige Lands" is a terrible book title).  The US army's digital camo turned out to be of limited utility:



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My opposition to digital camo vanished when I realized that if you had to choose between being invisible to spy satellites, night vision, digital cameras, binoculars, drones, and missiles OR being invisible to humans, the answer is kind of obvious.

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I bet digital camouflage would be improved if each square element was an oval instead.


No change to the centre point of each element, no change to the color, the ovals could be sized to cover exactly the same area as each square.


But ovals could be one of four randomly selected orientations.


I think the result would look more organic, might work better — at least be more acceptable to humans.

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The Canadian army has shifted over almost completely to CADPAT uniforms on our troops. They work crazy good in the broad range of terrain they were designed for, and not nearly so well in places like Afghanistan or Syria, where the terrain type changes swiftly, or is all something Canadians didn't plan for, like desert. 

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I play paintball, as soon as I switched to digi-camo I was almost invisible. I could just kneel off the trail behind minimal bush cover and as long as I didn't move the other teams players would walk right past me without seeing me at all. It's even better than the Ghillie suits some people wore. I even put it on to play hide and seek with my niece and nephew, changed my position (MGS style) so they could try and spot me, 3 times and they still couldn't find me.

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I play paintball, as soon as I switched to digi-camo I was almost invisible. I could just kneel off the trail behind minimal bush cover and as long as I didn't move the other teams players would walk right past me without seeing me at all. It's even better than the Ghillie suits some people wore. I even put it on to play hide and seek with my niece and nephew, changed my position (MGS style) so they could try and spot me, 3 times and they still couldn't find me.

I played paintball back in the before times. Before anybody thought of adapting cattle marking guns and their squashy paint pellets. Back when we had to make do with copper coated steel. Solid metal.


Anyway, one time this guy showed up in some surplus Italian Army issue autumn fatigues. This was in the fall of that year. He simply dissappeared. At will.


Digital is good but having the right colors on is King.

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To me, this is one of those things where truth is stranger than fiction.


Next thing we know, they'll discover that red ones really do go faster... :lol:

Don't be ridiculous.


Everyone knows it's STRIPES and FLAMES that make you faster!

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