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no hit wonder

Keeping side arms useful

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Never really venture this far south on the forum listing, but hello everyone. I'm pushing a project together at the moment, which is a squad based tactical game, and I've been thinking quite a bit about a particular issue recently. In many of the squad based games I've played, once you get a rifle, you never really use your pistols anymore, just the rifle for everything. Close range, long range, whatever. I've been thinking of ways to make a pistol retain some usefulness, so that it would be a point for them to even exist. I've layed out some of the obvious differences. smaller weapons are lighter than larger weapons, they are more compact, and can fit into smaller places. Their ammunition is also smaller. In reality, sidearms are useful to have around, even if just in the event of the primary weapon malfunctioning [which is an idea to possibly implement], they are often used for smaller areas, but it's difficult to implement the feel of a smaller, more manuvarable weapon. Any ideas? What can be done to allow small weapons, like pistols or compact smg's, to retain thier usefulness in a game that also features a selection of rifles and larger weapons.

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It's quite common in games for more powerful weapons like rifles to have less capacity for ammo, longer reload times and more delays between each shot in order to balance them against less powerful weapons. Seems to work quite well.

Like the sniper rifle in Medal of Honour comes to mind. Would kill with one shot but could only hold one bullet at a time and took a long time to reload.

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heh, this doesn't have anything to do with the question at hand, but funny you should mention medal of honor's sniper rifle. The moment I layed my hands on that thing, i didn't even switch to another weapon for the duration of whatever area I was in. It was literally all I used :P (Old time AWP whore in counter strike)

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If you are in an area filled with vital, fragile equipement, you don't want to use weapons whose bullets tend to go right through the target and into whatever is behind it (like an exploding barrel [grin]). Destroying the room's only light source because you used an inaccurate weapon can be likewise problematic.

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Quote:
Original post by no hit wonder
they are often used for smaller areas, but it's difficult to implement the feel of a smaller, more manuvarable weapon.

How about allowing faster turning/aiming with sidearms, and/or a small amount of auto aim for close targets?

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There are a number of techniques you could employ to enhance the usefulness of sidearms.

1) You could have the larger weapons have a larger recoil, slower reload, no cross hair except when in aim mode, etc. in order to make them feel clumsier.

2) You could also have them literally slow down when using a larger weapon. Medal of Honor : European Assault employed this method, where using a lighter gun (such as a light machine gun) allowed you to move faster than when using Heavy Weapons.

3) Design the story and/or levels to stress the usefulness of sidearms. For example, have a level where the user starts out with only a pistol, because he had to sneak in through the air ducts and couldn't bring his larger weapons. Medal of Honor : Frontline employed this technique as well.

4) Perhaps you could slightly adjust aiming when using a pistol and the target is close than say, 25 feet or something. Maybe just slowing the cursor down slightly as it gets closer to an enemy will the give the weapon enough of an edge that the player will switch to it when in close-quarters.

5) Only allow actions to be performed while using a lighter weapon. For instance, say you need to turn off the lights, set charges on a generator, or use a radio to call in an airstrike. You could only activate these events when you have a light weapon out.

These are just a few ideas. Feel free to rip them to shreads. :)

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In Tremulous, bigger guns costs more money, and each gun has strenghts/weaknesses. In any game pretty much all guns will be in use throughout the entire game. Perhaps that's worth looking into...

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Well, if you wanted to apply real world rational for using pistols, the big reason is maneuvering and recoil.

The lower recoil means that with a pistol you can unload more precision shots in a shorter time then with a rifle; in particular when you start talking about the 3rd, 4th, etc shot in quick succession, the pistol is still controllable, while trying to fire single shots very quickly from a rifle will result in the rifle becoming unmanagable by the 4th or 5th shot (the users ability to correct for recoil has higher entropy with a rifle).

The other major reason to use a pistol is that it has a much shorter barrel and is much lighter. This makes it ideal for working inside hallways and rooms, where you need to make sudden turns. You can line up a pistol much faster then a rifle - this is why submachine guns (i.e. Uzi) also exist, to allow for a maneuverable automatic weapon for close quarters combat.

If you're still stuck, just think about the difference between your rifle, say an M16, and your machinegun, say an M249 SAW. Your pistol is to your rifle, as your rifle is to your machine gun. Less stopping power, smaller number of bullets that can typically be fired, shorter effective range, but easier to acquire targets and aim, easier to move with, easier to operate while standing or kneeling and easier to fire with precision quickly.

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I think The Specialists (http://www.specialistsmod.net/) did a great job at making side arms useful using some of ussnewjersey4's ideas....

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Unless your game uses a Quake damage model (i.e. takes a hundred bullets to kill), you should be able to balance your weapons just by modeling them accurately. The Rainbow Six series on the PC has often been able to do this - while usually not the weapon of choice (due to the selection of submachine guns available), using a sidearm has all the advantages I outlined about. For example if you are just outside a room where 2 terrorists unaware of your presence are guarding 2 hostages, going in with a rifle would likely be suicide - by the time you where able to get the rifle pointed at the first guy and kill him, the second would have already reacted and shot you in return - trying to flip around a doorway and immediately take out a target with a long barreled gun just isn't practical. With a SMG you could take out both with a high degree of success - unfortunately you'd risk spraying the hostages too. A pistol gives you the freedom to dive in the door and shoot both terrorists almost the moment you see them - the gun can be lined up with a spotted target almost instantly.

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