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 Post subject: Re: Future Small Arms?
PostPosted: Tue Nov 21, 2017 5:05 am 
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EUBanana wrote:
Metal Storm is a bit of a failure apparently; I forget why, I recall reading it somewhere though.


Quote:
In late 2015 DefendTex, an Australian-based Defence R&D company acquired the intellectual property, trademarks and other assets of Metal Storm with a view to the continued development and commercialisation of the technology.[20]


Apparently no one was interested, no one was funding it and eventually they had to sell their IP. I wonder if it was sold for pennies.

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 Post subject: Re: Future Small Arms?
PostPosted: Tue Nov 21, 2017 5:53 am 
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Kameolontti wrote:
Apparently no one was interested, no one was funding it and eventually they had to sell their IP. I wonder if it was sold for pennies.


Bit of a shame if so, certainly an original idea.

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 Post subject: Re: Future Small Arms?
PostPosted: Tue Nov 21, 2017 6:37 am 
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EUBanana wrote:
Kameolontti wrote:
Apparently no one was interested, no one was funding it and eventually they had to sell their IP. I wonder if it was sold for pennies.


Bit of a shame if so, certainly an original idea.


The idea is old, it's the Roman Candle. The main problem before was that once you ignited one round you could lose all control as burning residues resulted in uncontrolled chain firing.

Also, the design itself like all designs comes with certain drawbacks, mainly reloading, gas operations and forces involved. Oh and you need a whole new range of rounds for these weapons that are incompatible with every other weapon. There's that.

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 Post subject: Re: Future Small Arms?
PostPosted: Tue Nov 21, 2017 11:45 am 
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I suspect the reloading, and the fact it's just unnecessary, is why Metal Storm wasn't adopted. If you got CIWS miniguns and the like do you really need it? after a while immense rate of fire just becomes overkill after all.

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 Post subject: Re: Future Small Arms?
PostPosted: Sun Dec 03, 2017 5:49 pm 
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I'm curious to hear what you guys think about the myriad possible ways to model firearms effectiveness and damage in games.

Most computer games treat firearms a bit like toys I suspect, though not all. Back when I played them, the Arma games were pretty brutal: get shot just once, and generally it was enough to put you down. If a teammate didn't come to your aid with a first aid kit shortly, you'd be dead and wind up in spectator mode for the rest of the match. Because gameplay was "mission-centric," longer-term consequences of a gunshot wound or other trauma were not really modeled. But even so, the Arma game could probably serve as a basis for that and model it with a fairly high degree of fidelity.

Jagged Alliance Back in Action, is a tactical squad combat pauseable "real-time" game with some minor "RPG" and strategy/logistics/planning elements. XCom is a game I've heard several of you guys refer to, and while the characters in that game are more homogeneous than in any of the Jagged Alliance games (including JABIA) the two series do bear a lot of similarity. One notable distinction is that: every merc in every JA game, has enough visual, auditory, and narrative information about them that they come across as a distinctive INDIVIDUAL; not so much with XCom where the "characterization" is a much thinner layer that really just boils down to gross phenotype, nationality and which one of the small number of male or female voices are used for the characters lines.

The way combat damage, healing and the like are handled in JABIA are similar to XCom and both models are quite distinctive from say Arma or even more realistic games like WiTPAE. In JABIA, one can have every individual in a squad except one down for the count (incapacitated laying on the ground with "zero health" and in danger of dying) but if the survivor is a good "doctor," and they have the medical items, they can save all their teammates and everyone can carry on with effectively only temporary malus. Mercs just automatically regain health while time is passing in "map mode" and they are out of combat. Mercs also don't need to eat, drink or sleep so arguably these mechanics are just "abstractions" to reduce the amount of busy work the player has to engage in (and reduce the amount of programming and content creation the developers had to engage in) and serve the judicious purpose of "creating game balance."

And then of course there are games like "Fallout" where your character can have his/her/its head nearly blown off by a minigun, pops some "Jet" (meth) to "slow time," jab an uber stimpack and in a matter of seconds regain half of ones health and all of it a few seconds after that and be right back into the fight . . .

So there is a "continuum" from just about the most realistic (Arma I would say is toward that end but there may be others) through fairly realistic (JABIA for example) to pretty much fully arcade (Fallout).

My general inclination is to try to model as realistically as possible. A game like say, War in the Pacific Admiral's Edition is a good example of what I think is a "high level of naturalistic" or else "realistic" fidelity (despite its UI being painful), and I naturally want to design that way: you get shot, well . . . we need to know where the wound was, how deep it penetrated, did it exit the body, what structures did it perforate (and thus lots of other questions about bleeding, nerve damage, bone damage, organ damage, etc., etc.).

There seems to be an obvious correlation here and I'm curious to see what others think:

More realism is only really possible where the "entities" over which the player has control or influence, are impersonal. When "characters" are involved, the level of realism from combat damage (or other harms that can arise over the course of play) necessarily has to be lower in order to retain "fun" game play.

If you send an entire squadron to attack in WiTP and they get wiped out, might suck, but it isn't like its "Game Over."

If you do that in Arma, well . . . it might still not suck so bad and one can always just REPLAY the mission. Back when I did coop PVE Arma nights, there were missions that were notoriously hard, even teams of the best players might never have managed to finish them. So, while in Arma getting killed does mean "Game Over," it doesn't necessarily have the same connotations to it as if you've played Crusader Kings for five hours and your monarch dies without an heir and your Kingdom implodes and you lost.

JABIA to me really gets at this though because here "characters" are central to the appeal of the game. The Overview of the Jagged Alliance series from the wiki probably conveys this as well or better than I might
Quote:
The Jagged Alliance games center on strategically controlling mercenary squads, on and off the field, who complete various missions such as freeing countries from oppressive dictators. The games feature a mix of turn-based battle simulation, 4X (eXplore, eXpand, eXploit, and eXterminate) elements and role-playing.

Humour via spoken character comments is a trademark of the series. The personalities of the individual mercenaries range from mildly eccentric to disturbed. This contrasts the games' setting which is otherwise closely linked to such subjects as war and death.

Each mercenary is an individual with their own traits. Part of the strategy was the player's freedom to select a multi-faceted team to win the game in different ways. Not all teams would work; for example, Ivan and his nephew Igor, who work well together, are hated by Steroid, the Polish bodybuilder. "Buns", a Danish markswoman, hates "Fox", a medic with centerfold looks. In contrast, "Fox" loves working with "Grizzly," on whom she has something of a crush.
The mercenaries may be out on various assignments, determined randomly, so that the available pool of characters is never the same for each game.

The player has to maintain a level of reputation in the Jagged Alliance games. If the player gets their troops killed often, regularly hires and dismisses members or generally is insensitive (such as not paying for deceased merc body shipments back home), their reputation will lower. Bad player's reputation affects all mercenaries. Mercs may demand a significant pay raise to consider working for the player. Hired mercenaries may quit unless the player discreetly pays them a bonus. And only desperate-for-work mercs will agree to work for really notorious players.


So when you first start JABIA you (in vanilla) have only $40K. Merc hiring costs range from like $11k to $110k, so obviously you've got to decide (strategy) how to approach the beginning of the game. Do I hire Sidney (British aristocrat dude with elements of a James Bond mercenary archetype) and Spider (American Tom Boy MD lady with overall good stats but not such a great "soldier" right from the get go, though with plenty of potential to train into a VERY strong multi-role merc) and have ~$6K leftover, thus covering: very competent shooter/sneaker + very competent Medic with potential to be a strong fighter.

Or do I hire three of the cheapest? Say "MD" (College boy) "Bull" (rebellious ex-Army MP, very strong and tough but slow and not a great shot) and "Fox" (nurse/centerfold chick, very fast, very sneaky, good medic, but not such a good shot at all and very weak).

Or, do I hire one well-balanced merc and risk them dying because they get a wound that they lack the medical equipment or knowledge to treat?

These same patterns of selecting individuals based on their current characteristics and their long-term potentials and how they will fit within one's overall strategy for the game persist as the game progresses and how one trains up each merc as they gain levels is the "RPG" elements.

With this in mind, it is clear why more realistic combat damage could well make the game unfun. At the beginning, in the absence of good long-range weapons, optics and suppressors, it is quite difficult to achieve fully stealthy kills quickly enough to avoid receiving any return fire, and if you receive return fire within moderate to short range for the enemies weapons, then you are very likely going to take damage. In sum, it is the exception rather than the rule that mercs in the game get wounded and even incapacitated, thus requiring "advanced" medical intervention to save them. If emergency care and the palliative care after the engagements were over were "realistic" one would rapidly run out of living, much less combat ready mercenaries and the game would grind to a halt.

As an alternative the game could have been designed with a more anonymous approach, and instead of only 60 or so mercenaries to choose from, one could have been given a list of 1200 mercs in a tabular format that allowed for the sorting and filtering of characteristics and with names plugged in from something like a randomized database. Somebody gets killed? Well that sucks, but he/she/it would have been just another casualty of war, sort of like the pilots and leaders who get killed in WiTPAE: too bad, hire another guy/gal.

I guess what I'm getting at here is: I'm torn in two directions. On the one hand, I like the "uber realistic" approach of say WiTPAE where "personnel," to the extent they are modeled at all, are more or less just rows in a spreadsheet. But on the other, the "character" based system of say JABIA is fun.

Is there a happy medium in there somewhere? What do you guys think?

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 Post subject: Re: Future Small Arms?
PostPosted: Mon Dec 04, 2017 8:18 am 
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In games, you first need to design where you are on the scale of Game < -- > Simulation.

Strict simulation is not intended to be fun. It is not intended to be enjoyable. The premise is that someone, for some unknown reason, is willing to go through the effort of learning how to perform maintenance on a gas turbine engine of an Abrams. This will be a required skill that may never be actually used during the mission or any of the missions but you will have to be able to do it when called to.

For a jet fighter you will need to be able to turn on auxiliary power, ignition the engines, warm them up, do the whole pre flight checklist and even close the canopy before you even start rolling to the runway. Engagements are not meant to be fun and missions won't be rewarding. They are simply as accurate as the skills of the development team and their research allow them to be with given constraints. Inputs will be ideally as close to real world as possible, requirements on hardware can be substantial.

Abstract game such as Risk is the exact opposite. It isn't intended to have any correlation with anything in real world. It is simply an abstract game, it's sole purpose is to present player with meaningful choices or tell a story. Games like Chess and Go are completely unrealistic and have zero connection to real world even though some fans have made up extremely far fetched examples.


When you answer yourself "why" you are making a game you will at the same time answer where the game is situated on that axis.

Also, sometimes you can do both by being creative, be realistic and gamey. For instance in XCOM Apocalypse any wound can be treated if administered with a medkit fast enough; the medkit is in fact a device that injects medical nanobots into the wounded area that repair any damages on molecular level. As such there's an in-world explanation why no one is ever permanently incapacitated by battlefield wounds such as fractured spine. It is simply fixed by nanobots, but they have to be administered in due time and some wounds can be so fatal that the patient will perish before the nanobots will have time to heal him.

Anything such as characters and graphical or audio content is expensive as hell and often ends up being shitty, ugly as hell, due to various project constraints. Often you even have to compliment shitty artists for shitty art they make in order to keep them motivated enough that their quality doesn't sink even lower and this hurts the quality of the game's content. Often ugly graphics will scare people away like a tumorous growth on a lady's nose, few people are able to overcome it and discover what lies beneath.

Hence to have something like 40 characters with unique voices is a significant undertaking on it's own, similar to making a movie, involving potentially hundreds of castings, recruitment and so. Actors don't enjoy games, it is not enjoyable for them to receive a list of 200 various grunts, replies and remarks and another list of 400 lines of script they must act in a cubicle. Which reminds me, do you have a recording cubicle with a good microphone? Do you know how to erase background noise and clean up the audio?

There's a reason why you can command 200k$ salary a year in Silicon Valley if you're experienced with all this. Devs who can make an enjoyable game when called to can individually create millions of revenue, in some rare cases billions.

Game devs are gods, they create an entire universe in which entities exist and gamers play. And these things, they can move money like few other things. There aren't many fields on this planet where the revenue generated by a person is counted in millions.

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 Post subject: Re: Future Small Arms?
PostPosted: Mon Dec 04, 2017 9:55 am 
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Kameolontti wrote:
In games, you first need to design where you are on the scale of Game < -- > Simulation.

Strict simulation is not intended to be fun. It is not intended to be enjoyable. The premise is that someone, for some unknown reason, is willing to go through the effort of learning how to perform maintenance on a gas turbine engine of an Abrams. This will be a required skill that may never be actually used during the mission or any of the missions but you will have to be able to do it when called to.

For a jet fighter you will need to be able to turn on auxiliary power, ignition the engines, warm them up, do the whole pre flight checklist and even close the canopy before you even start rolling to the runway. Engagements are not meant to be fun and missions won't be rewarding. They are simply as accurate as the skills of the development team and their research allow them to be with given constraints. Inputs will be ideally as close to real world as possible, requirements on hardware can be substantial.

Abstract game such as Risk is the exact opposite. It isn't intended to have any correlation with anything in real world. It is simply an abstract game, it's sole purpose is to present player with meaningful choices or tell a story. Games like Chess and Go are completely unrealistic and have zero connection to real world even though some fans have made up extremely far fetched examples.


When you answer yourself "why" you are making a game you will at the same time answer where the game is situated on that axis.

Also, sometimes you can do both by being creative, be realistic and gamey. For instance in XCOM Apocalypse any wound can be treated if administered with a medkit fast enough; the medkit is in fact a device that injects medical nanobots into the wounded area that repair any damages on molecular level. As such there's an in-world explanation why no one is ever permanently incapacitated by battlefield wounds such as fractured spine. It is simply fixed by nanobots, but they have to be administered in due time and some wounds can be so fatal that the patient will perish before the nanobots will have time to heal him.

Anything such as characters and graphical or audio content is expensive as hell and often ends up being shitty, ugly as hell, due to various project constraints. Often you even have to compliment shitty artists for shitty art they make in order to keep them motivated enough that their quality doesn't sink even lower and this hurts the quality of the game's content. Often ugly graphics will scare people away like a tumorous growth on a lady's nose, few people are able to overcome it and discover what lies beneath.

Hence to have something like 40 characters with unique voices is a significant undertaking on it's own, similar to making a movie, involving potentially hundreds of castings, recruitment and so. Actors don't enjoy games, it is not enjoyable for them to receive a list of 200 various grunts, replies and remarks and another list of 400 lines of script they must act in a cubicle. Which reminds me, do you have a recording cubicle with a good microphone? Do you know how to erase background noise and clean up the audio?

There's a reason why you can command 200k$ salary a year in Silicon Valley if you're experienced with all this. Devs who can make an enjoyable game when called to can individually create millions of revenue, in some rare cases billions.

Game devs are gods, they create an entire universe in which entities exist and gamers play. And these things, they can move money like few other things. There aren't many fields on this planet where the revenue generated by a person is counted in millions.


RIGHT! Dwarf Fortress is is then! :mrgreen:

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