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Advantages of higher ground.


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#1 Karnot   Members   -  Reputation: 179

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Posted 20 October 2012 - 05:58 AM

Let's assume an FPS. There are two players armed with miniguns, and only actions they can take are move on the plane (no jumping, no crouching), aim, and shoot. Also they are perfectly aware of each other's position and are in direct LOS. Comparing two situations, a - both players are on a flat plane, and b - one is on the perfectly vertical cliff while the other is beneath him in the canyon, are there any actual advantages of being at higher ground ?

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#2 jbadams   Senior Staff   -  Reputation: 18620

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Posted 20 October 2012 - 06:52 AM

Apart from a potential psychological advantage -- that is, the lower player may think they are disadvantaged and act more timidly -- I don't think there is much significant advantage in the situation you've described unless the players are near the limit of their effective range and you've implemented an effect where higher ground gives a range advantage. The one notable difference is that the player at the top of the cliff is able to jump off and reach the other position, whilst the player in the canyon won't be able to jump up to reach the other player -- this isn't really relevant given the use of guns though.


In real life the advantages of higher ground include increased line-of-site, increased range, and the fact that it is more difficult to move up-hill than down or even across flat terrain. Any of those could potentially be added into your game in some fashion.

#3 Telcontar   Members   -  Reputation: 893

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Posted 20 October 2012 - 07:53 AM

There are a couple others that may or may not affect your game. From a gunning perspective (not melee combat) shooting at an enemy from above increases the chance of hitting something vital, such as the head or the chest, rather than the legs or butt.

It also partially ameliorates the effects of bullet drop, as the bullet is already traveling downward, making aiming somewhat simpler. (note, it does not actually change bullet drop).

Whether or not you can incorporate these effects depends on the detail level of your game.

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#4 Waterlimon   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 2565

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Posted 20 October 2012 - 07:53 AM

The player above will probably get more headshots, but if the players have awesome helmets, the lower player might have an advantage.

And the player on the cliff can only move along the cliff edge while the other player can run around freely.

And the bullets of the cliff guy will have greater speed (how large the cliff is exactly? xD)

Id also imagine the lower player cant really hit the cliff guys feet...

It requires less strenght to aim down than up?

The bullets being fired at guy below might hit the ground while the ones fired at the cliff guy will fly somewhere really far... (given that its a minigun id imagine they might break rocks or ricochet or create a cloud of dust)

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#5 Servant of the Lord   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 19579

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Posted 20 October 2012 - 10:15 AM

If the players don't already see each other, someone above is more likely to be looking downward and notice the lower player before the lower player bothers to look up, which they rarely do. Further, the upper player shooting on someone below, the person below has moments of confusion before realizing where the shooter is, unless you have a fantastic danger indicator hud better than most modern games have.

My non-scientific opinion: Once actual combat is engaged, then players are already re-oriented on a new plane instead of the default plane of the straight ground - the biggest advantage is that initial time cost of each player creating/aligning that new plane. A higher up player notices the lower player first, fully aligns his plane, then shoots. The lower player, while being shot at, still has to take time to notice the upper player, and then re-orient his plane of combat, giving the upper player more opportunity to do damage before being responded to.

A few other points to consider:
  • Higher ground lets you see slightly more behind barricades, which might be enough to shoot the enemy hiding behind it.
  • Grenades travel farther from above, since (being already elevated) it takes longer for them to reach the ground.
  • Depending on the nature of the level, the upper player can just back up (pulling himself out of view) to get more cover. The lower player must actually find cover.

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#6 Chosker   Members   -  Reputation: 474

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Posted 20 October 2012 - 06:39 PM

some more:

- the guy in the lower ground will usually move more slowly because his sight is locked upwards and so his peripheral vision does not include the ground he's stepping on (might trip and fall if you run at full speed)
- if the guy on the higher ground is at the actual top of the hill, he's much less likely to recieve splash damage from an explosion because there's nothing behind him that will act as rocket explosion area

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#7 Haps   Members   -  Reputation: 1315

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Posted 20 October 2012 - 07:13 PM

If the angle between them is very sharp, the person up top might have the edge of the canyon as partial cover, effectively making them a smaller target.

StarCraft I had a 30% miss rate for units firing at a non-flying unit on higher ground - Not a realistic solution, but a workable compensation.

#8 Karnot   Members   -  Reputation: 179

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Posted 20 October 2012 - 11:04 PM

Higher ground lets you see slightly more behind barricades, which might be enough to shoot the enemy hiding behind it.

Oh, hadnt thought of that.

Anyway, the reason i'm asking is, i thought about a scenario, from the point of pure offence. If two players are on a flat plane, and cant crouch - if one player shoots a long burst in a semi-circle - he will inevitably hit the other, no matter where the target moves. But if the shooter is at a certain height giving a sharp enough firing angle - target can sidestep in any direction, and will only get hit with a very small chance.

#9 Servant of the Lord   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 19579

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Posted 20 October 2012 - 11:22 PM

If two players are on a flat plane, and one player shoots a continuous stream of bullets in a circle, the farther away the target is, the greater chance of not being hit, as the bullets will separate as they travel farther from shooter. So it's not 'inevitable', unless the two targets are really close. (The more bullets per second, and the finer the increments of rotation, in conjunction with the distance between targets, would determine whether you get a hit or not)
Posted Image

Your other point is true - if a shooter high up tried to use the same spinning firing pattern, his semi-circle of bullets would end up more-or-less as a straight line (Or would it appear as a curved line?) into the ground. However! If I was the shooter on the high ground, I'd instinctively fire in a spiral pattern spraying a large area.
Spraying in a spiral pattern (oriented around your line-of-sight) wouldn't work too well on a flat plane, but would work well from an elevated position. Spraying in a semi-circle oriented around your waist would work on a flat plane, but not from an elevated position. (Both suffer from the bullets spreading farther apart with distance)
I'd use the one most fitting for the circumstance without conscious thought of it.

To help visualize: On the flat plane (against a moving target aware of me), I'd fire in a 2D cone, as shown in the image above (though a less-wide cone). On an elevated position (against a moving target aware of me) I'd fire in a 3D cone, to cover more ground. On the ground trying to shoot someone at an elevated position, I'd lob a grenade, flee to cover, and try more accurate and much tighter 3D cone to try and 'snipe' the target or at least suppress him giving me enough time to assault the location from a more favorable vantage.

Edited by Servant of the Lord, 20 October 2012 - 11:32 PM.

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#10 Orymus3   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 9044

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Posted 20 October 2012 - 11:57 PM

When you fire downhill, your arrow is not 'lost'. You could hit the target's feet, or any other target behind them. When firing uphill, if the arrow misses, its in the sky essentially.
This is why ancient strategies liked it best.
Secondly, the person going uphill risks being blinded by the sun if in the correct orientation (read the roman military handbooks regarding this) which would be impossible when looking downhill.

Also, assuming a parapet, the archer uphill offers his head alone, his lower torso is hidden by the 'floor' upstairs, whereas the downhill target is fully available. This gives roughly 50% more chance for the person higher to hit the lower one.




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