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frogdeth

Making suppressing fire actually work.

13 posts in this topic

Idea taken from this thread and given it's own, because I'm important like that.

Realistic infantry suppression can actually be done with simple math and a "Courage" bar added to the player, right under the health and stamina bars.  Every second it goes up 1 point.  Every time a bullet or explosion lands withing a certain distance it drops several points.  For example a single bullet could have a suppression value of three, which decreases by one for every meter between it's landing point and the infantryman in question (so past 3m it has no effect).  A grenade explosion could have a value of 30, dropping quickly over range at a rate of 2 points per meter, so no effect past 15m.  A frikkin' 500kg bomb would have a value of maybe 300 or more, but fall off faster at a rate of five points per meter (so no effect past 60m range).

The Courage Bar™ would have three thresholds, with each forcing the infantryman to drop down farther due to suppression.

  • Standing would require 80%+ courage.
  • At >80% the player is forced to Crouch.
  • At >50% they are forced Prone.
  • Below 20% they are completely Suppressed and curl up into a fetal position, unable to move to return fire.

 

So how does this place out?  Just like in real life, or at least the movies.  One bullet whizzing past might make you flinch, but a SMG spray nearby would definitely make you duck.  A bomb going off, even on the other side of a wall, would make you hit the dirt.  And having some psycho hosing down your position with machine gun fire is going to completely ruin your game plan no matter what.  Of course, as first mentioned, the bar does recover over time (and fairly quickly) so it's not like it's a permanent condition. 

Simple, neat, and effective.  XOOM, print this out and magnet it to your refrigerator.

Note: This is also one of the few places where friendly fire might be allowed, at least for explosives such as bombs, mortars and (some day) artillery, in that while they might not kill friendlies (true FF) the courage loss could still happen (indirect FF).

"But if a 500kg bomb lands right on me I'd be forced into suppression for 5 minutes!"  Buddy, if a 500kg bomb lands right on you suppression won't be an issue, trust me.  Anything that could lock you down for any real length of time will have either already killed you or be just as locked down himself trying to keep his machineguns fed.  Yeah, if you try to rush five tanks and they all open up at once you're probably going to be wetting your pants in that berm for a while - and you deserve no less.  No, you can't just snipe that ATG after it dropped a 50mmHE round directly behind you even if the RNG gods spared you from an instant shrapnel death.  Six guys chucking grenades into a bunker all at once will be an effective tactic even if they survive the blasts.  An He111 dropping death nuggets from on high is cause for panic.  A LMG actually would be a support weapon and not just a crutch for people with bad aim.  So many improvements, one simple mechanic.

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Courage as a parameter was discussed some in the old design forum. We called it Morale, which I think is a better description of how it needs to work. I completely like what's above, but it also needs Rank, Teamwork, Leadership, Unit Type, and Injuries.

Rank: infantry gameplay would make a heckuva lot more systems-sense if the top ordinary-soldier rank (can use all weapons) was a top sargeant. Ranks above that can fight, but only with limited weapons and a light loadout. The main role of officers is to Lead...see below. (Of course, there'd have to be a mechanism for voluntary re-ranking of all the game's vets that are Generals, and the game would have to stop automatically promoting players out of the fighting ranks if that's not what they want.)

Teamwork: spawning should be concepted so that every infantryman is part of an ad hoc tactical unit. If you're close to enough other members of your unit...within a few meters...and their morale is at least as high as yours, Morale damaging events have less of a negative effect on you. But, if you're close to another soldier with Morale significantly lower than yours, and you're not a Sargeant or officer, your Morale is more readily affected in a negative direction.

Leadership: if you're physically close to a Leader that's part of your unit...say two or more rank levels higher than you...your Morale is much sturdier and recovers faster. But, if a Leader close to you is injured, your Morale takes a big hit.

Unit Type: ordinary soldiers have ordinary Morale. Paratroops have extra Morale, and it's much sturdier and recovers faster as long as they're close to other paratroops from their unit. Soldiers in a unit with an uninjured Medic have better Morale. Half the time, the injury or death of a Medic raises the Morale of the unit's other soldiers. The other half, it lowers Morale.

Injuries: when another member of your unit close to you is injured or killed, your Morale takes a big hit. However, if a Medic is able to get to them and stabilize them before they're dead, your Morale recovers more than it lost.

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I see a lot more calculations having to be done, server-side.  That could also add to player lag as additional data would have to be transmitted to every player in the area, for every bullet fired.  I don't know how that would work.

 

The concept, though, is outstanding.

 

 

 

-Irish

 

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My fear would be that automatic weapons would just be even more dangerous.  You might just aim at an enemy soldier running across a field plenty far away and you start unloading upon him until his Morale causes him to drop to the ground or slow to a crawl, then just wait until enough bullets hit.  Almost seems like some sort of tractor beam.

I'd almost like a system a bit better where something might make you actually CHOOSE to drop down and seek cover.  I know in one of the Brothers in Arms games they had your screen get blurred and red the more you were in danger from fire and then it cleared up when you took cover.  I know other games have used similar tactics.  I just wouldn't want player choice to be completely out of the equation.  

YET, I think too many players now don't have much of a fear of death since they can just respawn in a handful of seconds anyhow.  If it could be something that might encourage players to WANT to stay behind that wall and scream for mommy, then I'd be for it.  Maybe typing "MOMMY!!" in general chat will regain your Morale faster... :P

I do love the idea of firing on enemy soldiers to keep their heads down while someone flanks them and takes them out.  I know that CAN happen in game now but it'd be nice if it could be counted on more.  So long as it doesn't create more Rambo types.

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I think instead of making soldiers crawl into fetal position (which sounds like a great reason to say f this and unsub), you could simply increase the weapon sway. Many games already do this.

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It would be a terrible idea to ever force suppressive effects on players in a military simulator. FPS players need the freedom to make choices about what they will do and why. Especially since there was never one automatic response from historical soldiers to any given situation. Some soldiers took more risks, or had more confidence, based on their training, skill, or simply higher fighting spirit. We want those differences to be represented in players who have differing levels of skill, experience, and objectives.

It's also unnecessary if you have better modeling of consequences for death. Players act vastly differently in response to incoming fire, or the threat of getting hit when they pop up, when they feel a greater need to stay alive for whatever reason. There are many ways to do this, both positive and negative re-enforcement. But you've got to start there rather than jump strait to trying to force suppressive behavior on players.

 

 

Edited by rise27

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22 hours ago, rinzello said:

My fear would be that automatic weapons would just be even more dangerous.  You might just aim at an enemy soldier running across a field plenty far away and you start unloading upon him until his Morale causes him to drop to the ground or slow to a crawl, then just wait until enough bullets hit.  Almost seems like some sort of tractor beam.

I'd almost like a system a bit better where something might make you actually CHOOSE to drop down and seek cover.  

Bullets passing overhead shouldn't subtract from your morale if you're behind cover. The whole point of a suppression mechanic is to motivate players to use cover, instead of just charging at a machine gun over and over.

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3 hours ago, rise27 said:

It would be a terrible idea to ever force suppressive effects on players in a military simulator. FPS players need the freedom to make choices about what they will do and why. 

Being suppressed is supposed to be an alternative to being killed. In a game, though, being killed is no big deal, and there's no way to assign a relevantly high cost to it.

A game that gives players the "freedom" to act unrealistically, is...unrealistic. It's pretty straightforward. 

Quote

 

It's also unnecessary if you have better modeling of consequences for death. There are many ways to do this, both positive and negative re-enforcement.

 

Sounds good. How would you do it, in a manner that would result in better tactical realism than what the game has now?

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12 hours ago, jwilly said:

A game that gives players the "freedom" to act unrealistically, is...unrealistic. It's pretty straightforward. 

Your conclusion is based on a false premise to begin with.

As I already said, in reality there has always been a vast range of different responses from soldiers about how they deal with suppressive fire; based on training, skill, experience, fighting spirit, or personality.

It would actually be unrealistic, therefore, and wrong, for the game to force every player to respond to nearby automatic fire in exactly the same predictable way. You lose a lot of the realistic dynamism that you want in a military simulator by doing that.

You do see these differences in players in game already. Players do get suppressed in the sense that they get pinned down in safe areas and will stop trying to advance over killing zones until something changes.  They do get suppressed in the sense that if you think the enemy has a superior weapon or is a better shot than you, or has the initiative, you don't want to pop out and try to trade shots with them if you don't have to.

If could happen to a greater degree than it does, by simply having more reason to not risk your infantry unit unless the odds are better in your favor.

However, you have a historically unrealistic goal if you want no one to ever be able to challenge suppressive fire with their own return fire. Soldiers would challenge suppressive fire with their own return fire if the occassion necessitated it, or they thought they would win the exchange, or they were simply more reckless/aggressive in fighting spirit as some were. Suppression is what happens when you think you can't win the exchange from the position you're at, or that trying to move would not be worth the risk, and whether or not you think you can win depends a lot on your mindset and skill/experience.

We want player's individual mindsets and skill/experience to be reflected in different behaviors. We don't want to take that away from them and force them into a computer dictated mold of predetermined behavior.

Edited by rise27

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12 hours ago, jwilly said:

Being suppressed is supposed to be an alternative to being killed. In a game, though, being killed is no big deal, and there's no way to assign a relevantly high cost to it.

...

Sounds good. How would you do it, in a manner that would result in better tactical realism than what the game has now?

Before we can talk about what could be done, we first have to agree that it's possible to see increased suppressive behavior with greater incentives not to die.

If you don't start from that premise, and assume that it's impossible to ever see players act suppressed (which we know isn't true because suppressive behavior does already happen in-game), then it's no surprise when you conclude that the only solution is to mechanically force players to act that way.

Edited by rise27

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Having played games like RO 2 that have this .. it's pretty sh*t it affects greatly gameplay and players can abuse.

Every game that says you can't aim, can't move, is removing the interactive element from a game.. it's a cornerstone of good gameplay interaction. RO 2 even goes to point to screw with your aiming when surpress this is aweful.

This game already has fear of death and immersive sound.. you only need this two to have an effect on your gameplay I have a few times due to being underfire messed up by shooting and even saw things in slow motion because I fear dying..

 

This bar would be a detriment to gameplay, so just add more immersion effects and you have your real "morale".

Edited by pbveteran

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When I am under fire, I don't need an indicator to tell me to keep my head down-- reality is it is human judgement that determines what you do, not electronic helpers.

 

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8 hours ago, pbveteran said:

Every game that says you can't aim, can't move, is removing the interactive element from a game.. it's a cornerstone of good gameplay interaction. RO 2 even goes to point to screw with your aiming when surpress this is aweful.

A good example of why that doesn't work out right is if you're dealing with an ambush situation, where getting to cover isn't actually an option.

Whether it's being ambushed at close range and having no choice but to react and lay down your own rapid fire in return, or being caught in the open and having no choice but to just lay down and start firing back, the effect is the same.

What both of those scenerios have in common is that firing back is your only defense, but you're crippled in being able to do that because the game gives you automatic suppressive effects that hinder your ability to fire back.

At that point you are no longer accurately simulating a suppressive effect, but are unrealistically just simulating that the player is so crippled by fear that they can no longer fight.

Forced suppressive effects don't even accomplish their intended purpose unless the player is fighting from behind cover to begin with.

Edited by rise27

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