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Firefight Dynamics in ArmA 3


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#1

Posted 05 March 2012 - 18:00

Maybe it’s just me but does anybody dislike the way firefights play out in arma 2, or at least think that they should be improved. I personally think that they unfold far to quickly and make very little use of suppressive fire, and fix, flank, finish kind of stuff.
Currently shooting to kill is pretty much the only type of shooting that occurs (at least in coop and sp. I don’t know about pvp). I hope that firefights in arma 3 last longer, survive to shorter proximities (ie. 150m), and put more emphasis on suppressive fire, flanking etc. I am just wondering whether others think similarly and if so how this could be achieved in arma 3. Does anybody know whether there are going to be any improvements in A3 to achieve longer firefights.

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#2

Posted 05 March 2012 - 18:17

Longer firefights can be achieved via config settings, increasing spotting range, reducing accuracy, reducing rate of fire and increasing skill. For "normal" vanilla use the default settings work as per the design spec I guess, seeing as that's the released state, but it's good that so many variables can be tweaked to get a different gameplay.

I suspect this won't change too much, the settings will be "vanillaey" and the possibility will exist to tweak for effect.
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#3

Posted 05 March 2012 - 18:18

AI using all appropriate objects as cover such as an APC, small wall, car etc... with quick type pop and shoot (but not RO2 whack a mole) would help. Them running indoors and using windows/doorways by default would also be good. Different 'personality' templates would improve variety either by individual soldier or Leader such as Aggressive/Maniacal/Cautious etc...

Also AI movements should be efficient and make sense as should waiting (camping) and ambush attacks.
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#4

Posted 05 March 2012 - 18:43

The problem with prolonging firefights is that it has to be done also for the player. We simply can't have inaccurate AIs as long as we are as accurate as we are. In MP missions I tended to provide players with "low efficient" 5.56 on our side, combined with lots of suppression going on for the AI to balance things out (was kinda hard to obtain a 5:1 kill ratio given AIs excessive use of heavy weapons and shelling - for that mission). Now with highly efficient 5.56 and reduced AI bonuses (although kinda fake and buggy), we're back at 20:1 kill ratios as the norm and I have no options left (they're still suppressing, and have the numbers, yet still loose bigtime).

I don't know what will be done of course, but I am hoping for some builtin functions that automates the process of doing supressive fire in ways that appears logic. In my mission pretty much everyone within a trigger area will suppress once indirect rounds are called for (in order to pin us down and make the shells count), but I have to say (although fun) it feels kinda dumb, excessive, and "not thought through" - I think BIS could do better than me :)
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#5

Posted 05 March 2012 - 19:19

T

Longer firefights can be achieved via config settings, increasing spotting range, reducing accuracy, reducing rate of fire and increasing skill. For "normal" vanilla use the default settings work as per the design spec I guess, seeing as that's the released state, but it's good that so many variables can be tweaked to get a different gameplay.

Yes I know it's possible to tweak setting and what not to achieve longer firefights but as carlgustav says, the player is still far too accurate in comparison. I think a better weapon sway system such as that in vbs would help here.
But even with decreased skills the tactics and depth of real firefights are not achieved in this way.

Right now an obvious fix would be to make the ai respond to suppressive fire and deal it out more efficiently.. When a shot or two wips by them they shouldn't just stand there and wait for you to train and shoot again. They should find cover and actually HIDE behind it. Or at the very least go prone. And when returning fire automatic weapons need to spread their fire in order to suppress as many targets as possible while rifle men focus their fire.

@froggyluv
I agree that ai should use more objects for cover and popin and out of cover (in a realistic way) depending on incoming fire.

Overall I haven't really heard of any steps being taken to improve a3 firefights which I am kind of disappointed about.

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#6

Posted 05 March 2012 - 22:12

Maybe it’s just me but does anybody dislike the way firefights play out in arma 2, or at least think that they should be improved. I personally think that they unfold far to quickly and make very little use of suppressive fire, and fix, flank, finish kind of stuff.
Currently shooting to kill is pretty much the only type of shooting that occurs (at least in coop and sp. I don’t know about pvp). I hope that firefights in arma 3 last longer, survive to shorter proximities (ie. 150m), and put more emphasis on suppressive fire, flanking etc. I am just wondering whether others think similarly and if so how this could be achieved in arma 3. Does anybody know whether there are going to be any improvements in A3 to achieve longer firefights.


Even if the firefights end up lasting just as long, I wonder if there will be any ability to implement concepts/principles of small unit tactics, like the find, fix, finish, and follow-through (from what I've seen that's the new find, fix, flank, finish, although I've also been told find, fix, finish) concept. I know this is just US Army related, but I wonder if there will be any room for things such as battle drills and stuff. That's a little more on the complex side, but tactics don't really play that much into ArmA 2 when it comes to AI. The AI stand, or crouch, or mostly prone shoot, and that's it. There's currently no drill, no standard,no SOP to the way they fight.

Yeah, I know AI can't replace the human player, but, and at least this is for the U.S. military as I don't know about other nation's military forces, the squad leader, or platoon leader, doesn't have to give units every single order. In the case of squads, a squad leader should be able to rely on and give orders only to his team leaders, and the team leaders give orders to their teams. This can work great with human players. But it'd be nice to be able to act as a squad leader, and give an AI team leader an order to lay down and suppress fire (just shooting in the direction of the enemy) and have the enemy actually respond to it (as in dropping to prone, not just randomly running around), and take another team and envelope an enemy force to the right or left, and then carry out a squad attack (as in actions on the objective kind of thing: assault team rushes through, then support team), or to do a proper ambush, or movement to contact kind of thing.

It'd be nice if you could have an AI squad leader that could do this. Say, you could set up a mission where the AI squad leader conducts a squad attack, and then orders you or an AI team leader to envelope to the left. This could be defined within the waypoint marker in the editor, or something like that. And there could maybe be a set radius to travel around the enemy to the side, and maybe a set distance from the closest enemy soldier. Yeah, I know this is all much more appropriate for VBS2, which is more of a simulator than ArmA is. Even this, regardless of the length of the firefights, would make the firefights at least a little more realistic if not dynamic. There are dispersion mods like Wolfrug's High Dispersion Mod that basically make it harder to hit a target from a distance, and that made firefights longer. So it is possible with mods.

Even if not following a particular tactic, it'd be nice to be able to order AI to envelope left or right, or to suppress, and they actually DO that. Or it'd be good if AI actually walked in the formation you ordered them to, at the pace you were going, and with the stance you were going, and it'd be good to be able to determine the spacing between soldiers both in editor and order a new spacing in-game, so that then you could spread them out however wide you wanted. Then, when it came to firefights, you could order them to increase their spacing, and then they wouldn't be bunched up. So, when arty starts hitting, it doesn't hit half your team or squad at once. And it'd be nice if the enemy AI would do the same thing. This would make firefights much more dynamic.

And, DMarkwick, you could increase spotting range and do a whole lot of config stuff, but it'd be nice if AI could spot enemy AI, and move closer as long as the enemy AI did not spot them (because, while it'd good to keep distance between yourself and the enemy, your weapons are more effective the closer you are). So, then, maybe friendly AI could see the enemy but begin making adjustments to movement in order to sneak past the enemy if they aren't moving right toward them. Because, currently, don't they just shoot time they see the enemy, regardless of whether the enemy sees them or not?

Also, froggyluv, it'd be nice if AI treated every object that they could at least go prone behind as a wall. That way, objects like that are considered cover.

And, on the note of formations (which I mentioned above), it'd be nice if the AI didn't treat formations like some ultra complex pathfinding thing. It'd be nice if, when I order AI to get "on line", as in they get in a line formation, that they actually do so. I don't want something in between a wedge and a line. If I want a line, I order them on line. If I want a wedge, I order them in a wedge formation. At least from when I recently played ArmA 2 (yesterday), the AI had a whole lot of trouble getting into a line formation, or a file. I would rather formations be exact.

EDIT: Wow, didn't realize I wrote that much :P

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DMarkwick
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#7

Posted 05 March 2012 - 22:33

And, DMarkwick, you could increase spotting range and do a whole lot of config stuff, but it'd be nice if AI could spot enemy AI, and move closer as long as the enemy AI did not spot them (because, while it'd good to keep distance between yourself and the enemy, your weapons are more effective the closer you are). So, then, maybe friendly AI could see the enemy but begin making adjustments to movement in order to sneak past the enemy if they aren't moving right toward them. Because, currently, don't they just shoot time they see the enemy, regardless of whether the enemy sees them or not?


Oh yeah, for sure the AI could always do with a few more tricks up its sleeve :) if the AI were to somehow be able to ascertain whether they are themselves spotted, then they could as you say maybe decide to use silent approach or even ambush tactics. That would be great, but I think for it to be feasible there'd have to be an amount of "magic" knowing going on, so that a test of the squad leader would reveal awareness of the spotting unit. Maybe tie it to stance of the spotted unit or something. I'm sure there are a hundred different ways to achieve it :)
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#8

Posted 05 March 2012 - 22:34

Are you guys playing online MP with v1.60?
It may be that the machine/server you are playing on is under powered (CPU) as this drastically reduces the AI 'Intelligence' and response time.
I am constantly seeing AI run behind walls/trees then lean and fire. It gets very hard to tell AI from human sometimes.
The AI do seem to get worse the closer you are to them sometimes.

The only complaint I have at the moment is that they can pinpoint your location after you fire a single shot.

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#9

Posted 05 March 2012 - 22:44

Oh yeah, for sure the AI could always do with a few more tricks up its sleeve :) if the AI were to somehow be able to ascertain whether they are themselves spotted, then they could as you say maybe decide to use silent approach or even ambush tactics. That would be great, but I think for it to be feasible there'd have to be an amount of "magic" knowing going on, so that a test of the squad leader would reveal awareness of the spotting unit. Maybe tie it to stance of the spotted unit or something. I'm sure there are a hundred different ways to achieve it :)


Well, I was just saying spotted meaning the enemy force was firing on them. They can already spot the enemy. But if the enemy doesn't shoot back, then they could continue on their movement without shooting back at the enemy, that is unless it's specified in a waypoint or something that they have to attack the enemy.

EDcase, you are right, they do shoot behind trees and walls, but that's it. And, as seen with Smookie's animation pack, there are only certain objects defined as walls. In the case of that mod, you couldn't perform the back-to-wall feature with every object. There were some that it wouldn't work on.

And, yes, I hate that the AI know your exact position from a single shot. This happens even as far out as 700m sometimes (as in, when they really can't see you)

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#10

Posted 05 March 2012 - 23:18

I have very high hopes from BI in the AI department I want to see soldiers actualy react to the bullet I just put past their ear and if that bullet didnt miss and splatters said soldiers head all over his buddy coming up behind him that soldier should be visibly shaken from what he just witnessed. The higher ranking the soldier the less effect horrific battle situations will have on him but if the soldier that just got brains in his mouth is a fresh recruit its likly he would just fall to the ground from shock and would need a fellow soldier or officer to coax him back into the fight.

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#11

Posted 06 March 2012 - 04:49

It may be that the machine/server you are playing on is under powered (CPU) as this drastically reduces the AI 'Intelligence' and response time.


This. I bought a new PC and cannot believe the difference it made to the AI, they now operate in a completely different manner, firefights last for ages and they find cover inside of houses.

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#12

Posted 06 March 2012 - 05:00

Micro-terrain + Firefight = ...Profit!

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#13

Posted 06 March 2012 - 05:38

AI using all appropriate objects as cover such as an APC, small wall, car etc... with quick type pop and shoot (but not RO2 whack a mole) would help. Them running indoors and using windows/doorways by default would also be good. Different 'personality' templates would improve variety either by individual soldier or Leader such as Aggressive/Maniacal/Cautious etc...

Also AI movements should be efficient and make sense as should waiting (camping) and ambush attacks.


This.

Also the visual feedback needs to be present.

AI need to look fierce, scared, cautious etc, the Animation needs to show fatigue levels, afflicted wounds etc. If I wound an AI I want to see him limping or lowering their weapon more often due to the pain or something.

AI in the demos shown so far looks way too similar.

Hope AI doesn't take a seat on the backburner I really do want to see massive improvements to AI, their driving their combat abilities, their use of the environment, tactical awareness, not just standing in the open or running around pointlessly.
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#14

Posted 06 March 2012 - 13:18

@all the people saying ai is great on better rigs. So does the ai just place themselves in cover more often. Do they respond to suppressive fire better (actually ducking down behind cover) I am just wondering how much I missing out on. My rigs pretty pathetic and when I play sp About half the ai will take cover. Of that half actually put themselves in the correct position relative to the enemy. And of that only half actually stay in cover throughout the battle. And none of hem have the sense to go prone and hide when under fire. Is this fixed with better computers? Do still get insanely high kill ratios?

Micro-terrain + Firefight = ...Profit!


Yes micro terrain would really help increase firefight lengths. I think I remember mention of arma 3 having a smaller more detailed terrain grid. Does this mean more micro terrain?

I think the biggest problem with the ai is that theydon't know how to hide at the individual level. This leads to them being wiped out from a far. When they are under heavy fire they don't have thep presence of mind to say hey, maybe I should just hide and live to fight another day, or at least to fight in close quarters where my chances are better. Instead it is all about inflicting the most damage, and there is very little in the way of self preservation, leading to quick firefights that take place at long range.

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#15

Posted 06 March 2012 - 14:40

I think the AIs main problem is the squad leaders behaviour.

What happens during a firefight (from the AI POV)?


AI makes contact


The AI gets under fire or spotts the enemy.

AI runs for cover

That works well in most cases

AI group leader begins to issue orders

And here we have the problem. The group leader sends individual members of his team against individual members of the enemy team.

AI leaves cover to execute orders


AI gets killed by human player


That togeter with AI obsession of the standing position (crouched would be much better as default combat stance), MGs not giving good supression fire (mostly because all their rounds are fired into the sky because the AI is unable to handle recoil) makes for to easy firefights.

Things BIS needs to do:

Make them stay in cover, and split the team so that a few stay where they are and the rest moves to the flank of the enemy.
Improve communication and tactics between AI groups.
Improve communication between AI soldiers and AI APCs or Tanks.
No standing AI in a firefight, unless they are shooting over a wall or through a window.
Improve Ai MG gunners, give them the ability to rest their weapon or to go prone if possible to reduce recoil.

I don´t know if those improvements will be possible in A3 but I trust BI that they will surprise us with some nice AI improvements
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#16

Posted 06 March 2012 - 15:47

What happens in ArmA 2 (and all previous games) is that the first reaction of the AI is: engage!

My first reaction - both instinctual and/or trained - would be to find cover. Any trained or panic reaction would be to find cover or better cover then the position where you are being fired upon.
I don't see that happening in ArmA 2. They just enter prone position or start firing immediately.

Also the pause between moving in to full sprint from prone position makes engaging the enemy look dull. They first have to get up, turn in to the direction they want to take cover/engage the enemy and then make a move. I hope that will be fixed aswell.
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#17

Posted 06 March 2012 - 16:10

What happens in ArmA 2 (and all previous games) is that the first reaction of the AI is: engage!

My first reaction - both instinctual and/or trained - would be to find cover. Any trained or panic reaction would be to find cover or better cover then the position where you are being fired upon.
I don't see that happening in ArmA 2. They just enter prone position or start firing immediately.

Also the pause between moving in to full sprint from prone position makes engaging the enemy look dull. They first have to get up, turn in to the direction they want to take cover/engage the enemy and then make a move. I hope that will be fixed aswell.


Not to mention it takes them like 3 seconds to make that turn. When, in real life, people can get up while turning in the direction that they are going and start moving all at the same time. Not saying it happens lightning quick, but people can do that. Seems like the AI calculates each and every movement, so they have to get up, then turn, then move. I could be wrong about that though.

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#18

Posted 06 March 2012 - 23:00

I would be curious to hear whether the AI's glacially slow movements are a design feature or a result of limited CPU resources.

Certainly on lower skill levels they are stupidly slowed-down (I dropped them down to .5 for the new patch and felt like I was fighting three-toed sloths), but what about full skill?
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#19

Posted 08 March 2012 - 03:55

The problem with prolonging firefights is that it has to be done also for the player. We simply can't have inaccurate AIs as long as we are as accurate as we are. In MP missions I tended to provide players with "low efficient" 5.56 on our side, combined with lots of suppression going on for the AI to balance things out (was kinda hard to obtain a 5:1 kill ratio given AIs excessive use of heavy weapons and shelling - for that mission). Now with highly efficient 5.56 and reduced AI bonuses (although kinda fake and buggy), we're back at 20:1 kill ratios as the norm and I have no options left (they're still suppressing, and have the numbers, yet still loose bigtime).

I don't know what will be done of course, but I am hoping for some builtin functions that automates the process of doing supressive fire in ways that appears logic. In my mission pretty much everyone within a trigger area will suppress once indirect rounds are called for (in order to pin us down and make the shells count), but I have to say (although fun) it feels kinda dumb, excessive, and "not thought through" - I think BIS could do better than me :)


The question I guess is how to make the player fear for his virtual life. A really good sonic environment may help. Would a player be less likely to take steady aim if the whiz and crack of near by rounds really penitrate into their head through a strong soundscape? And have particle and shader effects to blur their ai. And throw mud onto their screen as rounds hit around them? It's hard to make someone duck their head in a video game. A good sonic environment with hard, punchy sound may help.
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#20

Posted 08 March 2012 - 04:05

The question I guess is how to make the player fear for his virtual life. A really good sonic environment may help. Would a player be less likely to take steady aim if the whiz and crack of near by rounds really penitrate into their head through a strong soundscape? And have particle and shader effects to blur their ai. And throw mud onto their screen as rounds hit around them? It's hard to make someone duck their head in a video game. A good sonic environment with hard, punchy sound may help.


I think that will do it. Unrelated to firefights, but related to audio cues, I hate the feeling/sound of a fly or mosquito buzzing by my ear. But whenever I hear that ingame, i kinda jump a little. Just the realistic sound of a mosquito buzzing by my character's left or right ear affects me. I think the same could work for bullets whizzing past players' ears. How about not only having realistic sounds of whizzes and cracks, but also have the character react to that the way a person would react. Not ducking down, but let the character move his head in the direction he perceives is away from the bullet. So if the bullet whizzes past his left ear/side of head, let him move his head slightly right. Vice versa for the right ear/side of head. The slight blurring (more towards the side the bullet whizzes by) of the view would also be great. I think anything outside of new features , so animations, graphics, UI, how the character reacts, should be all focused on immersion - how to make the game more immersive, how to better/more fully immerse the player in the game.

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