Realistic Ballistics - Progress Report

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Julian Gollop posted this 26 August 2017

We have implemented a 'realistic ballistics' system which works in a similar way to the original X-COMs. It does make combat quite fun. Each bullet has a separate trajectory and damage whatever it hits.

  • Snipers can make headshots against enemies who think they have good cover
  • Heavies can unleash a hail of 12 bullets with their machine guns - but they are not likely to hit - but then they do frequently blow away any light cover
  • Assaults fire a burst of 6 bullets normall, but 4 with overwatch, and 3 with return fire.

Range is a very significant factor with this system since there is an inverse square deterioration in accuracy with distance (as in real life).

For the interface, we have created a first person view with a couple of probability circles - one for 50% of shots expected, and one for 75% of shots. It allows the player to judge the enemies cover visually, and accurately.

It's simple and definitely makes fire-fights tense. There are some issues though

  • Cover is basically WYSIWYG - therefore it is difficult to give the player much info about cover unless he is able to 'see' from different positions. There are no numbers worth displaying. A cover system similar to new XCOM doesn't work.
  • It's would be difficult to give the player meaningful data about expected outcomes from an attack. We could show 'average expected damage' mayber, although it's not easy to calculate.
  • Firing from a first person view all the time would slow the pace of the game. It's not important if the optimum target point is always calculated, but that's not easy. At the moment the player can adjust the precise firing position with the mouse (in the future, you would be able to click on a body part to aim at it, but that's only useful if your accuracy circle is not too big).
  • Soldiers do crouch down next to low cover - but their precise pose is very important because it would determine how much of their body might be exposed above the top of the cover.
  • Stepping out from cover to shoot exposes soldiers completely - to overwatch or return fire. A partial step-out pose may fix this. Similarly, popping up to shoot from low cover also exposes the soldier to return fire - again, maybe fixed by a special pose (depending on weapon).
  • There is no simulation for the difficulty of shooting a moving target, which has always been something that bugged me about turn-based games. There may be a way to do this, but I don't know what it could be.

Overall, I like the visual/naturalistic feel of the shooting, but it might not be everybody's cup of tea. You can expect a video demo of it soon.

 

 

 

 

 

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Mazy posted this 26 August 2017

Nice, this all sounds very good. A lot of this makes using cover really interesting and realistic, which I like.

 

I like the second point about 'not being able to give the player meaningful data about expected outcomes from an attack (we could show average expected attack maybe)'. It's great that damage is not easy to calculate/predetermine, that kind of realism makes the combat and tactics far more interesting..

 

..It also helps to avoid a crucial flaw in many TBS games which allows the player to clinically 'choose' which soldier takes the kill, thus allowing the player to 'choose' which soldier levels up. So it's great that the damage calculation is random enough to avoid this kind of exploit.

 

Sounds like a very realistic LoS system to.. very promising indeed.

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Hellothere_1 posted this 26 August 2017

I really like the genral idea.

As for feedback on enemy hit probability, one idea I just had is a raycast solution.

The idea would that when you hover above a grid spot for your soldier to run to and hold a specific button the entire map gets dark and evry body part of a soldier if he were to enter that grid spot is simulated as a light source. As a result all the spots on the map with line of sight to the soldier get illuminated and the more light rays hits a specific spot the higher enemy hit probability from that spot would be.

Hellothere_1 posted this 26 August 2017

Also I believe the stepping out of cover to take a shot issue would be a great way to add some additional depth. You could have two different shooting animations. One for aimed shots that require greater exposure and one for pop shots with an aim penalty or supressin fire where the soldier stays mostly in cover.

Lollash posted this 27 August 2017

An idea that I had (having played 1000's of hours of the various iterations of XCOM) which addresses some of the thematic simulation issues is to have stacking accuracy bonuses when firing at the same location. A soldier might be inaccurate with their first burst but if they fire at the same location again they are much more likely to able to compensate.

I have no experience with development, but providing your soldiers with an increase to the accuracy for their fire if they fire at the same tile (or within a small radius of that tile) both simulates the compensation of firing repeatedly at the same location AND the simulation of firing at a moving target. If a target sits still in cover and you shoot at it 3 or 4 turns in a row, your probability circles could tighten, making first person firing more viable and the chance to kill a target in a pitched battle more likely if you focus a soldiers attention on a particular target. I think that would be an elegant solution, encourage more dynamic engagements and help to break the classic problem of full cover/full cover stalemates

The idea above of 2 different types of firing (focused fire vs blind/suppressing fire) would add to the depth of the system. Of course, adding depth without having the system be too convulted is a line I can't comment on.

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UnstableVoltage posted this 27 August 2017

Lollash said:

An idea that I had (having played 1000's of hours of the various iterations of XCOM) which addresses some of the thematic simulation issues is to have stacking accuracy bonuses when firing at the same location. A soldier might be inaccurate with their first burst but if they fire at the same location again they are much more likely to able to compensate.

Hey Lollash, good to see you here.

I actually really like this idea - that aim should increase over time from a static position (especially for snipers). But thematically, didn't XCom already do this of sorts? "Steady Aim" is taking an extra turn to make sure you have a higher chance of hitting on the next. Also, "Snapshot" for the sniper, allow them to fire after moving for an aim penalty (sort of working in the opposite direction to what you're saying, but I think thematically the same). Still, it would be interesting to have it as a passive mechanic.

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Sapistas posted this 27 August 2017

Isn't all this just too much? First person camera and all? Why not just sumulate the projectiles like the old X-COMs and leave it there?

Anjovi posted this 28 August 2017

hmmmm..What I'd imagine working...

1)Scrap the zoom in first person camera stuff. You can still simulate it but have a small, expandable pop up that can appear when hovering over enemies to shoot at. (big bosses and the smaller henchmen)

Ideally it might look something like:

1) I click my soldier

2a)I click on enemy unit to see the % of a general shot

or i can

2b)Double click to expand this % into a small menu of varying %'s based on the region i want to fire at

 

I think this might work better as instead of zooming in to peep at things individually, i can just click and ideally have a snappy animated prompt that appears, no camera rotation needed. 

Kind of a modern take on fallout 1 and 2's aiming system: http://img.bhs4.com/cd/f/cdfa015443e06eae1a67e7031137082a18cdf5b5_large.jpg

Though perhaps you could make a sort of transparent prompt like this that animates into place. The cover of the aliens could still be partially simulated, but you wouldn't have to match it with the 3d models and environment models 100% 

Just something that could be more fast paced, while easier to program and design around.

Faleg posted this 28 August 2017

I don't know if you thought about this, but a possible solution for a player to be able to easily ascertain how much does the cover protect their target could be a "go-pro feed" kind of thing from soldier's face cam - similarly as in Space Hulk Ascension there could be a small window on the side with view from soldier's face camera - perhaps with vital stats and so on for fluff and ease of use. 
That could be a good solution, if a player would have the option to change it's size, move it around, minimise into most basic form etc.

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Geekpride posted this 28 August 2017

Regarding simulating the difficulty of shooting a moving target, there are a couple of options I can think of, both of which involve the game remembering how each unit moved the previous turn.

Option 1 would be to have a simple reduction in accuracy - if the target moved fast on their previous turn, there's an additional penalty to accuracy applied to each shot.

Option 2 would be to change the targeting probability circles and stretch them into elliptical shapes, based on the target's movement on the previous turn.  So if they ran across from left to right, there'd be more chance of the shots going off to the side of them.  On the other hand, if the target ran straight at the shooter, you'd still have a more circular shape.  So with this system, zigzagging from one piece of cover to the next would be a good idea, but running straight at someone with a gun wouldn't work so well.

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Anjovi posted this 28 August 2017

Faleg said:

I don't know if you thought about this, but a possible solution for a player to be able to easily ascertain how much does the cover protect their target could be a "go-pro feed" kind of thing from soldier's face cam - similarly as in Space Hulk Ascension there could be a small window on the side with view from soldier's face camera - perhaps with vital stats and so on for fluff and ease of use. 
That could be a good solution, if a player would have the option to change it's size, move it around, minimise into most basic form etc.

That could work out brilliantly!  To add onto this:

1)click soldier

2)activate aiming (unit facing)

3)click a region on thescreen (as you'd target a unit, terrain feature) If elevation was included, have the player cycle through the varying elevation levels. 

4)The unit's helmet cam zooms to that location, were you can choose to shoot at specific creature features, terrain features (like barrels or support beams for upper floors) I really like the idea of a unit cam as opposed to zooming the entire game in, though perhaps 1st person mode could work fullscreen to if snappy enough.

5) Presto!

----------------------

Regarding targeting moving units. This could possibly be simpler, and utilize your hybrid move system from xcom og and xcom 2012.

Simply:

-You can inch up slowly and cautiously you move slow or really slow depending on how meticulous you are. =aiming bonus for opponents

-You trigger dash by just clicking up beyond a certain point = aiming penalty for opponents

-Units who are fast enough can have even faster speeds = aiming penalty + for opponents

Depending on the speed stat, your movement tiles would be shaded different colors. Maybe awareness stat would mix with this to help unit's monitor/scan their environment when they omve.

Basically: 

Speed (effects)= how many tiles you can move (standard movement color)

Awareness (effects) = the unit's ability to stop mid move to spot a unit and react to it.

So tiers could look like:

Tier 0 = stationary

Tier 1 = slow

Tier 2 = fast

Tier 3 = super fast

This could be fun thematically, as you can pressured to sprint your guys into the dark to avoid shots, but potentially run into more baddies. 

You could take it a step further and have things like:

-bonus penalty for ending on none stationary states

-have a frozen in running animation (or no animation keep the unit frozen in a sprinting state) though would be tricky to not look funny.....Although this could have the opposite (scary or intense effect) I can imagine just freezing creature's animation, indicating that their just careening towards you. Melee units can actually factor speed into their damage (collision) as well as give a bonus for next turn's movement. Basically a collision system.

Depending on how smooth running animations are, you would ideally want them to look good when frozen. Might not be that fun, but it's an option

Lollash posted this 28 August 2017

UnstableVoltage said:

Lollash said:

An idea that I had (having played 1000's of hours of the various iterations of XCOM) which addresses some of the thematic simulation issues is to have stacking accuracy bonuses when firing at the same location. A soldier might be inaccurate with their first burst but if they fire at the same location again they are much more likely to able to compensate.

Hey Lollash, good to see you here.

I actually really like this idea - that aim should increase over time from a static position (especially for snipers). But thematically, didn't XCom already do this of sorts? "Steady Aim" is taking an extra turn to make sure you have a higher chance of hitting on the next. Also, "Snapshot" for the sniper, allow them to fire after moving for an aim penalty (sort of working in the opposite direction to what you're saying, but I think thematically the same). Still, it would be interesting to have it as a passive mechanic.

I am always watching. You are right in that the recent XCOM titles have had aim mechanics that increase the shot accuracy by losing an action (particularly in the LW mods) but these have always felt bad for me. Mathematically, 2 shots of >half the boosted accuracy are better than a single more accurate shot because of the way probability works. That means that an aim mechanic that takes actions has to either boost your accuracy by INSANE amounts, or its only benefit is conservation of ammo. The reason I think a passive tightening of accuracy would be great is you never "waste" a turn aiming, only to not have a shot; you dont have to balance aim in an unreasonable manner; you "feel" your soldiers zero'ing in on a target which scratches a realism itch and makes you feel less bad about misses and with the modelled ballistics of PP, your groupings get tighter and so even after a hit you know your next burst might land more rounds, increasing damage output. 

This all comes from a theoretical standpoint, but I have spent a lot of time thinking about design (it was once a career i considered pursuing) and I think it would be an elegant, easy to implement solution that leans towards realism/simulation, is easy to explain and present to a player and would be fun to watch happen. It also serves a great purpose of alleviating some edge case RNG from flat out breaking the game, and makes sure the pacing of the game stays snappy. After all, nowadays you arent just competing for a players money, you are also competing for a players time. And thats way harder to manage

Ped posted this 29 August 2017

One thing to consider with a realistic ballistics system is that you might not always want to shoot at something, but instead, just near something, for example if you have 2 enemies spaced 1 square apart and you're firing 12 shots, aiming at 1 of them might result in 4 shots hitting, 4 missing to the left and 4 to the right (even spread for demonstration purposes). If you were to aim at the square in between the 2 enemies you could have 4 shots going down the middle 4 hitting the enemy to the left and 4 hitting the enemy to right.

A first person view would be ideal for lining up these optimum shots and seeing the possibilities for where the bullets that'll miss are going to go. Aiming at nothing could be quite inaccurate/cumbersome without a first person 'free-aim' option. 

 

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woah77 posted this 29 August 2017

I think having a "free-aim" option as a special maneuver would be really cool.

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SpiteAndMalice posted this 29 August 2017

  • A simple way to introduce movement speed to any 'to hit' calculations could be via the overwatch mechanic. That's the point where one character is definitely in motion whilst other characters are shooting at them.

Between turns, the difficult question is; how do you know whether a character is still in the process of moving, or whether they've reached their destination? I suppose you could still consider a charcter to be in motion if their movement path spans multiple turns, but then does the player loses the option to recalculate and change direction/stop a charcter from one turn to the next?

  • For cover, a nice thing to see could be something where the character's size and/or the bulkiness of their equipment is a factor in deciding how will they can conceal themselves. A smaller charcter with lighter equipment might be better at remaining hidden, whereas a larger charcter who has the strength to carry a heavier load struggles to remain hidden.

  • Regards the player being able to calculate their average damage output, I'm with Mazy, in that I don't think a player should be able to see that info, it's not realistic. Personally I'd only include this if it's as part of an easy/tutorial mode. Or maybe as a result of the player having developed a type of targetting computer via research (and which would then take space/weight in any character's inventory that is using that equipment.

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kompan posted this 29 August 2017

Perhaps the game can offer the "realistic mode". When enabled, your machine gun would be described just as "high damage, medium accuracy, chance of incendiary effect" The enemies would not have the visible health bars or icons with buffs and debuffs. And when shooting you would not see the numeric damage - you could estimate that the attack was successful only by detailed visuals - when the enemy is bleeding, burning, has been crippled, got limbs blown off, or just immune to your puny pistols and laughing.

I guess it could be difficult at first, but fun to explore strengths and weaknesses of new mutant types this way. And doing autopsies, researching targeting aims and equipping squad with weapons designed against specific enemies that may be present on the mission (but less effective against other types) may help too.

Dragonfire posted this 30 August 2017

Wow i just got into these forums and i find one post which allows me to understand how well is the game being developed!

First thoughts on this version of first aim mechanic is: i love it. It absolutely have the potential to allow the same level of tactical immersion of the first xcom titles (especially if firing at terrain features is a possibility).

For the issues:

1) Dont worry about providing expected damages or hit probabilities. A probability circle feels quite good for me and even the most inexperienced players can understand that if you have something between your target and the bullet, maybe you wont likely hit him (or it). This is not something that a good tutorial cant fix for newcomers in this game typology.

2) I think the major issue (limited to inexperienced players) is the risk of slowing the game too much, some players may not like it. This is a type of game which is often enjoyed as a slow tactical game (and personally i would alwais use the manual aiming) but i think a "fast aim option" should be offered. How should this option work i cant say properly cause i dont know the workloads behind aiming algorithms. However an inexperienced player is hardly going to notice the difference between firing a weapon optimized for hitting the exposed areas of the target or firing a weapon aimed exactly at the center of the target (if he is smart enough to notice, he is going to use manual aiming). Such difference could only be felt if the game tramples the player (and so it becomes an issue of balancing and difficulty settings). Furthermore if i am not mistaken (but i must check) a lot of players are accustomed to firaxis first person aim which aims at the center of targets.

Suggestions:

1) Just set the system to automatically aim at center and leave a toggle option for free aiming mode.

2) an option to take into consideration if an aiming algorithm is established could be to avoid going into first person mode and shoot directly at the target. This is to avoid that the new player to sees the game aiming at a place different than the target center and therefore thinking the game is bugged. In this case leave a toggle option that enables first person free aim.

2) allow first person free aiming mode even in the absence of enemy targets in order to allow aiming at terrain features or guessed targets behind the mist/out of LOS (i dont know if this was already intended but it is a feature that players in this type of game will absolutely love).

I sincerely hope that this reply is usefull!

 

razyda posted this 31 August 2017

Looking forward to that video. 

kompan posted this 31 August 2017

Okay, this geoscape really makes me wanna play the game

It looks colorful, detailed, rich and interesting - great effect.

The only thing I would like the devs (hi there, new devs!) to consider in general, is adding the option to display bigger UI elements with larger font size. Tiny text probably looks cool on huge full-hd displays, but on lower resolution it quickly makes the eyes tired and sort of ruins the fun. Thank you.

zombie posted this 01 September 2017

Sounds great! I can't wait to get my hands on the game. This system is exactly as I would have hoped for - the original X-Com ballistics were the best.

Ped posted this 01 September 2017

there seems to be some confusion about what was meant by "difficulty of shooting moving targets". I don't think Julian meant a target moving from 1 place to another, but rather a stationary target being animated. 

Take the Queen for example, it's front 'arms' moved quite a lot in the demo we've seen. Depending on your proximity/height etc in relation to the Queen the angle at which your soldier shoots to hit any particular point of the arms could vary quite a lot depending on what position in the animation cycle they're at. At one point you might have another enemy nicely behind them to catch all the stray bullets at another you might shooting up into the sky.

If the target is moving in this sense then there are 3 obvious options that come to mind: 

1) You have to time it right - This will introduce an element of timing to the game that some (possibly many) TBS players aren't really happy or comfortable with and not what they want from the game. 

2) Slow-mo mode - you still have to time it, but it's nice and slow and therefor very easy to get right, however this has the negative effect of slowing the game down. If you missed the ideal shot opportunity you might have to wait a short while for it to loop round again. 

3) Freeze-frame - the animation pauses while you're aiming. This has the negative consequence of not being able to pick the optimum shot where everything lines up nicely because there would be one pose that would be the same every time. Also visually this could feel a little immersion breaking compared to something like 'bullet-time'. There would also need to be some camera work or delay while the creature got into the freeze-frame pose otherwise to avoid a jump.

Each of these options would have a huge impact on the way the game plays, it's likely that this subject could do with a thread of it's own as there's a lot to discuss, it's also something that people will have very strong opinions over. There are many ways that the 3 options above could be implemented but as I see it 1 of those options must be at the core of the system.

Option 2 could be a component of Option 1, a key press or something to slow things right down for example. 

SpiteAndMalice posted this 01 September 2017

Ah, well in that case do you not need to consider the animation state at the time of impact, rather than the time of firing? Any projectile takes time to travel, both in the real world, and in game (number of frames). A bullet could be considered almost immediate, but something such as a grenade, especially one with a timer, could take a lot longer - And you've then got to consider the time taken for that grenade's payload to hit its target(s).

The option to slow down time is interesting. And the question of whethet this has a place in a TBS notwithstanding; I wonder whether this could be a character attribute? Something like 'composure' a sniper taking an aimed shot might be able to slow down their perception of time quite significantly, whereas a heavy who is unloading a full clip on automatic probably wouldn't do, certainly not to the same extent.

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Anjovi posted this 02 September 2017

https://imgur.com/a/Z4Sw0

Got the solution how to handle speed right here!

The hybrid between old and new xcom movement systems gives alot of design space to play with. In this image here, you can get a good simulation of speed movements to.

Simply: if you want to go slow: click, click, click, click away until you run out of movement points. Your soldier will be seen cautiously treading down the spooky corridors. 

If you want to sprint: just click in the red zone of your movement range (similar to how you sprint in xcom 2012) your soldier wil be seen careening to the end of his movement. You will simply dish out penalties to awareness, bonus to defense for enemy attack rolls, and if your sprinting at the fastest speed, a mandatory movement on the following turn to slow down to a stop.

Dark_Ansem posted this 02 September 2017

Do these mechanics apply to all sort of projectiles (eg, skill-based) or only to weapon shots?

Sapistas posted this 02 September 2017

Please don't turn it to a FPS
This needs to be a tactical strategy game. I don't know, it might be fun to aim and shoot sometimes it may wear off soon and change the feel of the game.

(Deleted latest post because it double-posted it. I don't know why - sorry if this happens again).

UnstableVoltage posted this 02 September 2017

Sapistas said:

Please don't turn it to a FPS
This needs to be a tactical strategy game. I don't know, it might be fun to aim and shoot sometimes it may wear off soon and change the feel of the game.

(Deleted latest post because it double-posted it. I don't know why - sorry if this happens again).

It's not going to be an FPS. That would be a completely different type of game. This is just a mechanic to do 2 things. Allow you to better see how much of a target is obscured by cover. Allow you to fine tune where you're shooting at (as in previous games like this, shots were always aimed at the target's centre).

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Sapistas posted this 02 September 2017

I know it's not going to be an FPS, it was just an exaggeration to point out that I fear this is just too much and it might complicate combat further. Maybe an auto-calculation by the game of how much of your target is exposed, like "56% covered" or something like that would be easier and faster.
I'll have to wait and see of course, but I am very sceptical of this free aim mechanic in a tactical game.

OMEREISS posted this 02 September 2017

(sorry for the awful english...)
It all sounds really great to me, besides being more realistic and going back to the old X-com roots, I think it would make things much more simple on the method, mainly because it all will come back to the point of me thinking if i'll just get the hit or not, which is something that's not too hard to determine, just by looking at the target, which i think is great, more than that, it will be harder to miss a target that's in front of you, not like in newer XCOMs in which you can miss a 100% shot, so yeah, i really appreciate that part, but all and all, the ballistics systems looks great so far

UnstableVoltage posted this 02 September 2017

Sapistas said:

I know it's not going to be an FPS, it was just an exaggeration to point out that I fear this is just too much and it might complicate combat further. Maybe an auto-calculation by the game of how much of your target is exposed, like "56% covered" or something like that would be easier and faster.
I'll have to wait and see of course, but I am very sceptical of this free aim mechanic in a tactical game.

This is one of the reasons that this mechanic is being implemented. It is almost impossible with dynamic cover to calculate the cover's effectiveness (it's easy in Firaxis XCom, as cover is either high or low and offers a flat bonus). Because conveying the effectiveness of cover to the player via the UI is such a complex matter, the targeting system was decided upon.

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Sapistas posted this 02 September 2017

Fair enough UV. I just have to see this in action I suppose. I still find it worrying that I'll need to muster my mediocre FPS skills to play through a turn-based tactical strategy game but overall I have faith in Julian and I trust the team will deliver.

UnstableVoltage posted this 02 September 2017

Sapistas said:

Fair enough UV. I just have to see this in action I suppose. I still find it worrying that I'll need to muster my mediocre FPS skills to play through a turn-based tactical strategy game but overall I have faith in Julian and I trust the team will deliver.

I see what you're saying. However, you're just going to be clicking on an area to target. It's very different from running and jumping around at speed while trying to headshot someone who is also running and jumping around and shooting back!

Have faith!

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TheGeologistGuy posted this 03 September 2017

The aiming sounds like a play on the mechanics used in Valkyria Chronicles and Steamworld Heist.  It works very well in those games and I am wondering what other games use it.  I can't think of any other examples except maybe Dual Gear.  Manual aiming in a turn based tactics game is pretty rare and if it is used, its only for special abilities (like firaxis xcoms explosives).  I am looking forward to seeing how this concept will be innovated on and implemented in Phoenix Point.  Can't wait to see it in action.

UnstableVoltage posted this 03 September 2017

TheGeologistGuy said:

The aiming sounds like a play on the mechanics used in Valkyria Chronicles and Steamworld Heist.  It works very well in those games and I am wondering what other games use it.  I can't think of any other examples except maybe Dual Gear.  Manual aiming in a turn based tactics game is pretty rare and if it is used, its only for special abilities (like firaxis xcoms explosives).  I am looking forward to seeing how this concept will be innovated on and implemented in Phoenix Point.  Can't wait to see it in action.

Julian actually used this mechanic in a game he designed in 2001 called "The Dreamland Chronicles: Freedom Ridge". It was eventually cancelled as one publisher was taken over by another, and had no interest in the game, as they were only interested in certain IPs the publisher owned.

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Mazy posted this 03 September 2017

@Sapistas, Like UV says, first person aiming mechanics (and third person aiming) can work really well in TBS games. Valkyria Chronicles is the stand out example (I recommend checking it out to see how it works). Manual targeting is used as a way of lining up the general direction and trajectory of shots by placing a reticle on specific areas of the target..

 

..It doesn't mean that the bullet will go exactly where you aimed (like in an FPS), the selected aimed shot is still 'chance to hit%' and RNG.. it just means if you aim center mass (body shot) an inaccurate shot may still hit, if you aim to crit (head-shot) an inaccurate shot could be way off.

 

The size of the aiming circle depends on the accuracy of the weapon and the shooters accuracy stat.. a small circle represents a high chance to hit% and produces a narrow cone of fire (focused shots/sniper/good accuracy skill).. a large aiming circle represents a low chance to hit% and produces a wide cone of fire (random spray/high recoil/heavy weapon/poor accuracy skill).

 

In the case of PP's proposed targeting system manual aiming just means the player can choose to strategically target specific body parts (and also target exposed parts of enemies when they are in partial cover). If you targeted a limb and the resulting shot was inaccurate it could 'miss' in a number of different ways..

 

..It could completely miss the target, or it could miss the intended part but still hit a different part of the target (such as the body or a lucky head-shot). It could even miss the intended target but catch another nearby enemy with the stray bullet (or hit one of your own soldiers in a crossfire).

 

Cover - when trying to shoot at a body part that is not fully hidden behind a LoS blocking obstacle a missed shot will either whistle past the target (missing the cover to), or, miss the enemy by hitting the obstacle instead ..if the obstacle consists of destructible terrain the 'miss' could result in destroying the cover, making it a partially successful 'miss'.

 

X-Com ballistics example (burst fire within a single turn)..

 

https://static1.squarespace.com/static/595875e44f14bc66ff1ac2bd/t/59a6cef98fd4d204e03efc06/1504104211305/X-com.gif?format=750w 

 

Valkyria Chronicles ballistics example (burst fire within a single turn - using manual targeting)

 

https://clips.twitch.tv/BumblingSaltyWoodcockDogFace

 

..manual targeting allowed the player to attempt to take both targets out by lining up two potential head-shots, the result was some accurate shots landed on the near target (for the kill) and a few bonus hits on the secondary target..

 

..a combination of successful shots to the head, and some off target shots which still connected with the body or went wide.. plus some shots that carried to the second target, mostly misses but some clean hits that did a good amount of damage.

Dark_Ansem posted this 03 September 2017

Will all this extra complexity be required when trying to import custom scene assets?

Sapistas posted this 03 September 2017

Mazy I've played Valkyria Chronicles and there were things I didn't like, like constantly switching from tactical view to 3rd person action view. It was too tiresome for me at was the reason I dropped the game. Same thing with Mordheim.

Also, if pointing and shooting still doesn't guarantee me that the bullet will go where I shoot, what's the point of having it in the first place?

First person gameplay, for me, has to do with me being there and using my skills to overcome opponents. If it different for each soldier and it is dependent from their accuracy skill, why is a hand-driven aim nescessary?

I really don't like the idea of "I'm shooting but it's not really me, is the soldier". I can do wihout dynamic cover if this is gonna make me like the game less, but, as I said before, I'll have to wait and see. I trust Jullian and team but I don't like the sound of this mechanic. Hopefully I'm proven wrong.

Anjovi posted this 03 September 2017

 Although i wasn't a big fan of the moving and aiming system in Valkyria chronicles, I think to switch the dynamic from clicking soldiers around the map with a snappy camera change to 1st person aim could be fresh.

I think I wouldn't put too much emphasis on it, to the point where you're manually aiming with every single troop. 

In fallout 2 for example, you generally didn't bother with targeting specific things, though it'd be there when you really wanted to exploit a weakness.

I think in PP, that you might want to tone down the limb targeting so that it'd only be viable in special occasions. Would make using the feature all the sweeter when you do need it. Otherwise, some sort of automated aiming for when you just want the soldier to aim at a specific limb could be a good medium for the majority of time play.

Say you aim at a smaller goon, and you want to shoot the thing that flamethrowers your troops. Just a small contextual menu that popped up next to the goon could indicate whether your troop had a viable shot.Then you could either click a quick prompt that told them to aim for it on their own, or you could opt to do the 1st person thing.

I guess i can see why you went for the more super hero class characters as opposed to the cannon fodder soldiers of the original xcom (having 12-18+ troops to order around in this fashion could be taxing xD)

Anjovi posted this 03 September 2017

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lollash said:

An idea that I had (having played 1000's of hours of the various iterations of XCOM) which addresses some of the thematic simulation issues is to have stacking accuracy bonuses when firing at the same location. A soldier might be inaccurate with their first burst but if they fire at the same location again they are much more likely to able to compensate.

I have no experience with development, but providing your soldiers with an increase to the accuracy for their fire if they fire at the same tile (or within a small radius of that tile) both simulates the compensation of firing repeatedly at the same location AND the simulation of firing at a moving target. If a target sits still in cover and you shoot at it 3 or 4 turns in a row, your probability circles could tighten, making first person firing more viable and the chance to kill a target in a pitched battle more likely if you focus a soldiers attention on a particular target. I think that would be an elegant solution, encourage more dynamic engagements and help to break the classic problem of full cover/full cover stalemates

The idea above of 2 different types of firing (focused fire vs blind/suppressing fire) would add to the depth of the system. Of course, adding depth without having the system be too convulted is a line I can't comment on.

I really like this idea. I remember trying the xcom long war mod and was very impressed by this idea. When your shooting, it makes sense that following shots would have an improved accuracy. Otherwise setting your troops up to overwatch in a certain direction could perhaps add to accuracy when the following turn comes, provided that they choose to shoot were they were previously aiming.

SpiteAndMalice posted this 03 September 2017

I think overall I'm not fussed one way or another about first person aiming. It could be nice if its done well. I liked the system used in Valkyria Chronicles, but I found aiming Mordheim cumbersome and unwieldy (in general I found Mordheim cumbersome and unwieldy). What I wouldn't want with first person aiming is that it takes over from the TBS aspects of the game. To that end, how a couple of other ideas to throw into the mixer.

What if only soldiers using a scope were able to aim in first person mode? And/or what if aiming at limbs were only possible when targetting large creatures? It makes sense that you'd be able to target a limb of that crab queen, but not so much the grunts. I think most people who are trained to shoot, are trained to aim at the chest, but a sniper might be the expection to that rule.

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Mazy posted this 04 September 2017

Good point, reserving the first person manual targeting system for scoped weapons only would make sense. I like the idea of there being some slight variations in the aiming systems depending on the weapon type/tier (and enemy type versus).

 

Non scoped weapons could perhaps retain a classic feel or have a third person 'aim down sights' view (basically a slightly less sophisticated manual targeting system compared to its scoped counterpart).

 

Weapons like shotguns and flamethrowers could perhaps have no special manual targeting option due to them being predominantly hip fire weapons.

SpiteAndMalice posted this 04 September 2017

I think you need to be careful about making any aspect of aiming overly skill based too. Like others have said, I'm not looking for an FPS/TBS mashup.

Invariably whenever an aiming mini game is put into a game the developer makes an estimate on the average skill level of the player... for anyone who's skill is better than that average the aiming quickly becomes too easy and makes that aspect of the game OP in comparison to none aimed shots, for anyone who isn't skilled at aiming the opposite becomes true.

You could introduce a level of shakiness based on the aim skill of the soldier in question, but even then I'd leave it to the AI rather than the player to aim... Otherwise a quick novelty soon starts to feel like we're playing ''Dodgy'' Dave McDrunkard in the Star and Garter annual pub darts championship.

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sgt_zarathustra posted this 05 September 2017

On the topic of free aim slowing down combat: A couple people here have suggested having a default auto-target with a toggle-able free-aim. That seems like a decent solution, but it leaves the temptation to always use the free-aim option, especially if auto-targeting isn't as effective as free-aim. If it's optimal to always free-aim, then players will always free-aim, even if it gets boring and un-fun to spend most of combat twiddling the targeting reticle. Even if auto-aiming *is* really good, some players are going to *think* they're better at auto-aiming than the AI and fall into the same trap.

One way to avoid that problem would be to put a cost on free-aiming. Will points seem like an obvious solution. If there's a minor will point cost to free-aiming, then free-aiming goes from a mandatory chore to a tactical decision with costs and benefits. Also, that system might take some pressure off of the AI making optimal targeting decisions -- the player's making a decision between taking the auto-aimed, sub-optimal shot or spending will points optimizing the shot, and that decision actually gets more interesting if the AI isn't optimal at picking its aim. 

sgt_zarathustra posted this 05 September 2017

Another possible issue -- the inverse-square falloff for accuracy is cool and realistic, but it does mean that weapons *always* get better up close. That's mostly good, but there's an implicit idea with snipers in particular that snipers are best at long range. Devs who have tried playing with this system: do snipers still feel best at range with this system, or do they also feel most effective up-close? 

Sapistas posted this 06 September 2017

The more we analyse this, the more it sounds as a weird idea to me :S

Mazy posted this 06 September 2017

I would imagine there are different systems (or rules) for each weapon type, as is often traditional in TBS games, to make it so tactically there's a weapon type suited to different ranges..

 

..So I'm guessing that snipers drop off at close ranges (accuracy wise, not damage wise) mostly because the chance to hit% factors in a lot more information than just overall weapon accuracy (distance, reactions etc. probably have a big influence.. e.g, a scoped rifle would be bad at clearing a room compared to a shotgun).

 

So even if a sniper could technically be accurate at close range (if the sniper was pre-aiming with a pre-adjusted sight), a turn represents a moment in time, the game basically calculates how effective the snipers stats are during that 'split second' at that range and relays the info back to the player by showing them that other weapon types (or soldier positions) could potentially out-perform the sniper at that range.

 

Overall weapon balance is always important.. For example, in XCOM 2 they may have buffed the shotgun a little too much, it's really accurate and effective over long ranges which doesn't quite feel right (plus the aim buffs for missed shots effectively increase its accuracy over distance even further).

Zizin posted this 06 September 2017


Okay, this geoscape really makes me wanna play the game

True.

I wonder if there will be visible "controlled territories" on the globe (let's say, as a switch-on-off option) - to see who has the biggest "empire" at the moment -) I saw this feature in Dune 1992 game. There was also a number of havens, and a report with controlled areas shown.

 

OrientalHero posted this 12 September 2017

woah77 said:

I think having a "free-aim" option as a special maneuver would be really cool.

Heh, this was how the original Laser Squad worked. But I think you could abuse it by shooting an enemy far away by aiming at the closest square in line with them...

N.tony posted this 15 September 2017

I wonder why haven't anyone mentioned yet the games where all of that was implemented? A Russian game studio Apeiron created several games in a JA style with a "Smart Pause Mode", which among other cool mechanics implemented a "GoPro view":

http://store.steampowered.com/app/296210/Brigade_E5_New_Jagged_Union/ (their first game, real janky)

http://store.steampowered.com/app/289890/762_High_Calibre/ (a more polished iteration, probably most sandboxy)

http://store.steampowered.com/app/289600/Marauder/ (more story-oriented game, but has the most polished evolution of the SMP)

"GoPro view"

I, for one, am a huge fan of these games and the mechanics, and would urge the devs to at least have a look at them to maybe get inspired or vice versa, reconsider some of the gameplay ideas. This is really the situation when the devs set off to make the richest tactical simulation at the expense of everything else.

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