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Friday, 28 September 2007

TF2 mechanics [Lurks]

I've noticed some weird stuff in TF2 and started to formulate ideas about why that might be. A quick bit of in-game testing turned up some unexpected results.

My first hypothesis, based on observing soldier RPG fire on heavy weapon dudes, was that the game doesn't just apply a fixed value of damage per weapon to any class regardless. A quick bit of testing with some class v class melee turned out this surprising result.

TF2 randomises damage to a large degree, making it really quite hard to tell what an average hit of something is for. However I noticed no difference in damage taken in hitting another scout versus hitting a HW dude. We hit each one twice to check and really I can ascertain that the damage of the scout's bat does about 28-47 damage per hit. The really strange thing is that crits always hit for 105. On any class.

So we can rule out the hidden armour, for melee at least. However even a quick hit with a soldier's spade yielded a whack well outside of the scout bat's range with a 55 and 61 hit. The more obviously heavier melee weapons do indeed do more damage.

Also I looked at patterns of bullet impacts from the scout shotgun and the spread on other weapons like the pistol and observed something interesting. It looks like the spread happens quite early. If you fire at a wall some distance away, you see it's quite tight. Yet if you fire right up close, you don't see the tightness of rounds you'd expect. Annecdotally, also, the weighting of the spread does seem odd. You most often take SOME sort of damage with someone firing a shotgun at you from the other side of the map. If the spread was 'natural', then that just wouldn't happen very often at all. Similarly with pistols, you see a number of railgun like accurate shots and then some very wide ones. I don't think valve is using random spreading precisely.

I suspect what they're doing is rolling a number as to how many of the shots or pellets are 'wide' and then throwing those wide, while those that aren't tend to be very tight.

I wonder if the crit figures I obtained end up being maximum damage x 2. It STILL seems high since I did not observe any hit that was over 50. And the crit rates are also quite high really. Normal crit in an RPG is 2X damage normally. Not 2X of the maximum damage your weapon roll could do and THEN some.

This goes some way to explaining the difference in opinion on the scout bat. One guy said it was even, that he'd seen someone taken down in two hits. I said, no it's quite pussy really, you need to whack people a lot with it. Of course with a crit being more than HALF the health of a heavier class like a soldier, it's not hard to see how the range comes about.


  1. I'd agree with the your scout stuff, I tend to piss about with him, whacking people with the bat for a laugh. Two hits leaves a v small amount of health left.

    This odd spread stuff & the loss of FF makes me want to try ETWQ more. I'd meant to cancel my preorder, but I'm quite glad I didn't now. The review seem positive & suggest the teamplay mechanics are more (and better) than a battlefield ripoff.

    Valve seem to be pulling the same sort of crap as they did with the lame modem compensation stuff in CS.

    Still, there's always UT3. Excuse me while I nip off to polish my floor...


  2. Told you! I knew I wasn't going mad.

    The question is, are these truly random rolls (within certain parameters) or are Valve doing something very clever with impact zones on the models (e.g. making a difference in terms of damage between hitting the shin and the knee)? Somehow I doubt the latter.

    Your results on shotty shot is quite surprising. At close range you'd expect it to be a virtually solid grouping but if its behaving like you report, then it also doesn't surprise me that you can take not insignificant damage from that weapon even when the owner is a distance away.

    I wonder if this reflects Valve's "cater to the masses" mentality; by increasing the randomness of weapon response/effectiveness it kind of makes it hard to focus and skill up on one class/weapon exclusively no?


  3. I'm not calling out any of these mechanics as being bad really. Although I do somewhat question the point of having a widely varied standard hit AND a very high crit. It's supposed to be an FPS game, not an RPG game. You shouldn't really just be killed out and out because someone critted. But that's how the game works.

    They've implemented crit because they want to create amazing gaming moments, or increase the chance. So you go in and get multiple kills due to crits stacking up. I see what they're getting at but I don't really see a lot of evidence for that in game. I think I'd rather it was more consistent and left ultimately down to skill and luck without Valve adding their own special luck.

    However the game delivers, it's fun as hell. You can't just arbitrarily say it should be doing X instead with any degree of confidence and have it remain fun. We're all armchair experts in that regard :)


  4. Personally, I think the mechanics are very good for the game. What they are doing is emphasizing the importance of teamwork. Twitch skills aren't dominating games because everybody can be a twitch master at times. You can't rely on being able to out-twitch everybody and dominate the battlefield. Teams with a few ownage twitchers can't expect to just mow down the team because of this. There isn't THAT much difference between a mediocre heavy and a really good heavy(soldiers are another story). Adding crit chance means you just CANNOT rely on twitch skills to ensure a victory. I've played so many class-based FPS games and I have never seen such great class balance that creates some of the best situations and battles in a pub game. There is just this sense that things are already quite balanced and there are counters to almost all situations.