The solution to the great TTK/Damage Model/Armor Debate.

I have read through several conversations on this forum that are all about the same thing: The damage model. There appear to be two major groups, those who want a large number of hits to kill. And those who want just a few. The motives of the former group usually tend to appear to be concerns regarding weapon validity, difficulty of the game, variety etc. The latter group seems primarily concerned with realism, and weapon validity (from a different angle), the "intensity" that comes with sudden deaths that require few hits.

I am here to tell you all that both of these camps are wrong when it comes to how they would like to see the devs achieve their goals. There is a third option that everyone is ignoring because everyone here is debating this subject within the confines of the existing model, which to be honest is problem that just about every game has.

I also want to be clear that while this will concern "realism," this is issue has never really been solved satisfactorily IMO even by games that claim to be "realistic" such as squad or Arma. To lets leave the milsim vs esport party hats at the door, please.

I am going to start by explaining why both sides are wrong, and then give my solution.

Example 1, the high TTK solution. Its advantages and disadvantages. Generally I see people ask for something like this: 1-2 shots for full size 7.62, 3-5 for intermediate rounds, and more for pistols. With various variations for how armor plays in. The advantage of this scheme is that it increases weapon stat diversity and increases TTK. Stat diversity prevents reducing weapon utility down to just 1 or two stats, such as accuracy or ROF. Higher TTK means fights are not sudden deaths, and gives a unsuspecting player time to counter a bad tactical situation with higher DPS etc. The problem with this approach is that it is extremely unrealistic and results in usually making high damage per-shot weapons the best in the game. Basically, battle rifles like the FAL become king. If that does not specifically happen, then some high DPS weapon will be the weapon on choice. Ultimately, barring totally absurd variation in weapon recoil and other stats, you get a damage corridor where valid gameplay exists. Everything else sucks. In "realistic" games like ARMA where a system like this is used, you end up having battle rifles unrealistically take the top slot. In unrealistic games with this sort of system, you usually get very gamey adjustments to various other weapons to make them behave in ways that offset the damage issue. Without dramatic changes to INS, the former is likely.

The other major camp wants very high damage on all guns. This results in higher realism in certain dimensions, in the sense that in real life bullets are highly....lethal. Especially rifle cartridges, regardless of type. In reality, all the rifle rounds featured in this game are very strong and quite capable of 1 shot stops. They are also all capable of multi shot stops. However, the problem with this approach is that it makes all the guns "the same" in the damage dept and risks reducing weapon validity by some other metric, such as ROF or accuracy.

So in short, we can either have a large set of damage tiers, or a bunch of 1 shot or two shot stops. Both have problems both from game play and for realism.

What we actually need............is a variable damage system.

Something like this (this would be for center torso hits):

7.62x51---------------50% 1 shot stops. 25% 2 shots. 25% 3 shots.

5.56x45--------------40% 1 shots stops. 35% 3 shots 25% 4 shots

9mm--------------------etc etc etc.

I think you get the picture. Essentially, all center-mass hits should have a decent change of a 1 shot kill without armor, but smaller calibers should fail to do this more often and with lower possible potential. In other words, the max number of center mass hits 7.62 can potentially require will be lower of the number of potential hits needed by 9mm.

What this accomplishes is to be both realistic and solve weapon diversity problems. By extension, it allows for both high and low TTK.

@suspensionsystem Intersting idea, but the implementation of this is gonna be garbage.

Take Escape From Tarkov, for instance. With the best helmet in the game, one 7.62x39 AKM firing some type of AP rounds (maybe BP?) has an 18% change of penetrating the helmet at first, killing the target, and then like a 35% chance on the next, etc. It's not good.

Having so many random factors determine whether or not someone dies doesn't make the game fun or balanced.

Big oof. Like... The biggest of oofs. One person swooping in claiming everyone but him is wrong (because of their limited "inside the box" thinking) and he has THE SOLUTION!

...Until you read the fine print and it turns out his magical solution is to add RNG to bullet damage... No. Just no. There is no quicker way to remove skill and fun from an FPS game than to randomize the damage output of guns.

The end result of implementing a change like this would be that most people would feel like their own actions effected the outcome of a firefight less than the "luck" of who they were fighting or their own "bad luck". They'll feel like the game "chose" the winner of a firefight (and there was nothing you could do about it) because THAT person got the lucky 50% chance 1 hit KO, even after they'd already been hit twice in the same exact spot WITH THE SAME EXACT WEAPON.

I gotta say. Your interpretation of the entire TTK argument, and even your assumption that there are only "two camps" in this debate (high damage or high # of hits) is incredibly off the mark and over-simplified. And props on having the stones to have such a self-congratulatory, click-baity title! Wish I had that kind of self-confidence.

I applaud your effort, but you haven't thought out (or don't have the perspective of having seen it happen in other games) the implications of what this would do to the game.

Off the top of my head some "camps" (perspectives/opinions) that you forgot existed are :

  • The buff camp (people who want to bring up other guns to match the powerful ones)
  • The nerf camp (people who figure out what guns are the "meta" and want them nerfed)
  • The Player Speed is Too High camp (people who think weight should impact movement more, and that lowering player speeds would greatly fix many of the TTK "problems" people are having)
  • The recoil camp (people who think damage isn't the issue at all, but rather the great variance in recoil between guns)
  • The recoil sub-camps (people who think it should be vertical recoil only vs people who think horizontal recoil is necessary, andmore recoil overall vs less recoil overall)
  • The ADS time camp (people who think ADS time should be increased and/or dependent on gun weight)
  • The Bolt Actions should get special treatment camp (They're harder to use, so they should be 1 hit kills)
  • The "Pistols are worthless now" camp (people who think pistols are basically wad-shooters now)
  • The More Detailed Hitboxes camp (people who think there should be critical points like head, heart, spine that should be an instant kill)
  • There's also the "This game needs to be exactly like Insurgency 2" camp (basically people who scream when ANYTHING is different than the last game... TTK, recoil, maps, classes, armor. Apparently it ALL has to be the same or else the devs are making a HUGE mistake)

disclaimer: My quick interpretation and summary of these "camps" is just that. If they seem off or wrong to you, then they probably are.

And all the other "camps" (as you put it) with all their various opinions and ideas. And let's not forget that people can hold views from MANY of these "camps" at the same time...not just one. It most certainly isn't just the "More hits to kill" camp vs. the "Less hits to kill" camp...

last edited by AMURKA

@SuspensionSystem I agree on the idea that of finding something in-between would likely work. That's why I've been talking about BALANCED TTK instead of high or low ttk.

TTK is also affected by movement mechanics in game: tagging, acceleration, zigzag, how weight affects movement speed. These should also be tweaked.

While I have excluded myself from every prior TTK debates, I do think there are some interesting points here, with hopes of a less flaky and more civilized calm headed conversation.

But back to your points:

As for your take on the subject being more realistic I would be inclined to agree. Life has lots and lots of RNG and you can't rely on a set stat or chances of things. Your opponent may die from one, but also from more than five bullets. But here we hit a certain sweetspot at which reality and gameplay are unlikely to turn out "fun" as others have said before.
Insurgency, may it be as a realistic, tactical, competitive game, should in my opinion still reward skill and punish where there is none to be found. As my previous speakers have pointed out, adding RNG would greatly stray away from taking player skill to play but introduce mere luck instead.
I can see a similar system in place in simulation games like arma to add to the overall realism and unpredictability of warfare, but in a smaller scale game like Insurgency it would serve no purpose besides frustration.

@suspensionsystem said in The solution to the great TTK/Damage Model/Armor Debate.:

However, the problem with this approach is that it makes all the guns "the same" in the damage dept and risks reducing weapon validity by some other metric, such as ROF or accuracy.

Nothing was wrong with all the guns in Insurgency2014. They were all valid and fun to use.

Definitely not a system where it's a % chance to deal damage/penetrate. I'd say movement is THE next factor that should be changed even further. The change they made to the transition speed when standing up from prone (edit) was great and well needed. I'll list some things that will innately reduce the TTK issue without changing weapon damage/direct armor absorption effectiveness:

  • Stopping power. Shooting enemies if they are running causes them to very briefly slow down (depends on caliber, how far the bullet has already traveled, where you hit them). This will cause the shooter to land more follow up shots on someone sprinting across your screen.
  • More loss of movement speed when 'zig-zagging' / sudden change in direction. Zig-zagging or 'serpent strafing' is when you move forward and then keep turning your mouse left and right repeatedly, moving forward in an 'S' bend nature.
  • Gear weight has more impact on movement acceleration. The heavier your load-out is, the slower you will reach max move-speed.

Other factors that I think need addressing/discussion:

  • Decrease the weapon recoil reduction you get when crouched (right now it seems to be a 50% reduction just by crouching. This just promotes full-auto instant crouch gunfire exchanges, this in itself isn't how it should be but it's most effective right now).
  • ADS time varied depending on weapon weight. Takes slightly longer for heavier weapons and those firing heavier calibers to aim down sights (In comparison to lighter weapons / weapons shooting lighter rounds).
  • Should 'Focusing' / 'Holding you breath' reduce recoil? (Hold Sprint Key while ADS) (because it does right now, by about ~10%)
last edited by Jarple

So you want RNG, no thanks.

Honestly after testing a wide number of guns in local play im starting to think it might be an aim problem for the higher time to kill party, i've had the m16's, sks, aks, fals, all one hit kill enemies in the upper torso on a pretty consistent basis, i ask anyone who is arguing for a lower time to kill to upload gameplay footage of them playing to make sure it's not a user error. I know it's harder to aim in this game and that's not even counting the performance issues.

Oh, try with and without long barrel too. I think long barrel might be what you want if you go semi auto.

last edited by biass

@biass We don't know if the bots in Local Play share the same health/damage model as players in versus. The TTK in local play is pretty decent, but I'm not sure if it's a direct translation into PVP.

To people concerned with RNG:

There is RNG, and there is RNG. For one, this isnt random. The damage breakdown would still be based on where you hit, range to target etc. The players tactical skills come into play in the same way. ie: "I have a weapon that will likely kill in 1 shot, but might take 5, depending on where I hit" and act accordingly. This isnt making the results of the fighting random. It is simply adjusting what metrics the player is working with.

But lets just clip this RNG argument in its entirety, because quite frankly I am weary of its use in conversations. Almost everything you do in a game is RNG at some level. No ifs, ands, or buts. You could eliminate every single mechanic that has a "dice roll" on it and you would STILL have RNG. For example, the best player in the world makes a probability decision when they decide to go left or right at a intersection in a hallway. Or declines to enter the hallway. Etc. That decision may be well thought out, and the movement may be very skilled, but at the end of the day the player is no omniscient and the enemy could be in the place that was not very likely, and player dies anyhow. When a player aims in a video game, even the best player on earth is making a probability determination. Even if you are so good that you know you can almost certainly land a headshot at 100m 99% of the time, you are still making a risk assessment and weight the cost to benefit ratio of shooting for the chest every time.

Bottom line, RNG is just a fact of life. There are better and worse ways of implementing it, and doing what I suggested will not make the game so random as to eliminate player "skill" as the primary factor in outcomes. Weapons will still have sufficiently predictable characteristics to make judgement calls on how and when to use them.

@AMURKA Forums are full of camps, as you so eloquently listed off. These camps are routinely full of people who are stuck in their bubble. This is simply a statement of fact, not an aspersion. It exists well beyond the extent of these forums. This is why about 90% of the threads here and on other shooter forums are full of people screaming buzzwords and 3 letter abbreviations at each other. You can tell when a conversation has imploded when the linguistic tools of the users have devolved to Reddit-esque shorthand. So I didn't come in here to tout my "free thinking" so much as I would like to move past what is rapidly becoming a war between "the old guard" then the "new player base." I despise that sort of BS. And my point here is that all of these groups could probably have both ends of what they want.

But in general, you cant solve this problem simply by making all the weapons ultra lethal, or by making them all ultra weak, or in the middle. And you cant solve it by tiered damage. You must add variation because that is the ONLY model that acts somewhat like the real world. And as it turns out, realism being irrelevant ultimately, the real world is a good model for this even if you want this to be a arcade E-shooter, because the real world already gives us a good general template because it gets what both of these broad groups want without sacrificing much of what they dont. In other words, you get very lethal weapons and you also make differences in damage matter, so that all bullets are not identical.

Any system that does not add variance it going to create overly binary results that WILL lead to very rigid weapon choice.

@suspensionsystem You do realize that Sandstorm is going to support Competitive play right out of the box, right?

You do realize how terrible of an idea it is to add random damage to bullets in a Competitive FPS?

Whether a player wants to go right or left is his own decision. Whether or not bullets decide to actually kill your target due to some bullshit change penetration system is RNG because a computer randomly generates a number and you can't choose what it does. THAT is the definition of RNG.

@jarple said in The solution to the great TTK/Damage Model/Armor Debate.:

Decrease the weapon recoil reduction you get when crouched (right now it seems to be a 50% reduction just by crouching. This just promotes full-auto instant crouch gunfire exchanges, this in itself isn't how it should be but it's most effective right now).

I think it would be fine if that bonus wasn't applied instantly. Perhaps a 5 second linear increase from the moment you crouch until you reach the 50% reduction. That way, people who find themselves being fired at while crossing the road can't just drop, get the bonus, and fire back with huge recoil reduction...while people who have planned ahead and set up the trap will.

@marksmanmax said in The solution to the great TTK/Damage Model/Armor Debate.:

Whether a player wants to go right or left is his own decision. Whether or not bullets decide to actually kill your target due to some bullshit change penetration system is RNG because a computer randomly generates a number and you can't choose what it does. THAT is the definition of RNG.

I honestly couldn't believe he was trying to make the argument that EVERY decision you make (turn left here, reload here, sprint here) all counted as RNG. That's a fundamental misunderstanding of what it is. Does he not know "RNG" stands for "random number generator"? There are no randomly generated numbers in a player deciding to turn left. "RNG" isn't a stand in for cause and effect of determinance, and/or fate/luck.

@suspensionsystem said in The solution to the great TTK/Damage Model/Armor Debate.:

Any system that does not add variance it going to create overly binary results that WILL lead to very rigid weapon choice.

Except you're still wrong. People will STILL figure out which gun is best in the system you've designed, because people are good at finding patterns. Under the new system, certain guns will have a better chance (for all hit locations) to do more damage and players will figure that out and start using those guns. Nothing about a system that randomizes damage inherently reduces the possibility of one gun rising above the others...it just makes it slightly harder to tell.

I also think the whole system you're providing to focus ONLY on damage output is a very narrowly focused way of trying to fix the issue.

Guns have multiple variables that go into their "viableness"

  • Reload speed (especially a big one for bolt actions and shotguns)
  • Default recoil patterns (Does the weapon buck like a mule? High damage doesn't matter if you can't consistently hit the target)
  • Rate of Fire (even a gun that does massive damage still sucks if it's ROF is low. Higher ROF also means higher DPS for even low dmg guns)
  • Attachment Selection (Can the gun equip drum mags? Is a compensator a waste of time? [shotguns, bolts] If a good gun isn't allowed to have certain attachments, that automatically levels it out with other, worse guns)
  • General feel (Does it feel "easy" to use this gun? Or do you constantly have to fight it? Or does it fire too fast, combined with a small clip, so you're always reloading and vulnerable?)
  • General Effective Range (Is the gun a monster within 20m, but suffers greatly when trying to snipe?)
  • etc

It's not just ALL about a gun being "one, two, or three hits to kill"

@biass said in The solution to the great TTK/Damage Model/Armor Debate.:

Honestly after testing a wide number of guns in local play im starting to think it might be an aim problem for the higher time to kill party

It almost always is. Almost every video "proof" I've seen of people arguing "HE SHOULD BE DEAD! OMFG THE TTK IN THIS GAME!" missed most of their shots. Imagine these people playing the game all night and having multiple instances where they miss a bunch, but blame the game for why that enemy survived. Then they get mad and come to the forums to rant about TTK... That pretty much sums up the "we want lower TTK" people.

last edited by AMURKA

RNG is the last thing this game needs. As a member of the low-TTK (everything should 1/2 shot except for pistols 3 shotting heavy armor) "camp," I would prefer 10+ shot kills to having engagements decided by luck rather than player skill. This is being pushed as a competitive FPS. With RNG the competitive scene would be DOA with good reason.

@suspensionsystem It's still RNG. In your example of evaluating probabilities and the really good player dying to "bad luck," that outcome was still entirely decided by the players. If you replayed that scenario 100 times with both players making the same decisions and shots, it would always have the same outcome. With RNG damage, even the most straight-forward engagements are at least partially at the mercy of the server's random number generator.

@marksmanmax

What I realize is that among the competitive community there is a off the cuff assumption that any non-exclusively deterministic system automatically = no player skill.

And what I also realize is that this is BS.

@amurka No, what this would do is maker certain guns better for certain situations, while not excluding them entirely. Just like IRL.

@cyoce It is not entirely decided by the players, because the players decision loop was not omniscient. So the players decisions are always RNG because there has never been a game in the history of games, except maybe tic-tac-toe, where this was not the case.

All games, even with completely deterministic individual decisions, have RNG. This is a matter of fact, not one of opinion. The issue is not having so much RNG in the game that it becomes a slot machine. And what I suggested would not do that, unless you think that real world variation in combat makes the real world nothing more than a slot machine as well.

@suspensionsystem You've already demonstrated a complete misunderstanding of what "RNG" is, please don't double-down and try to explain why you think you were right and everyone else was wrong AGAIN...

@suspensionsystem You seem to be failing to grasp the difference between "randomness" in human decisions (which is really just a degree of unpredictability) and actual RNG. Even if people are not working on all the available information, any outcome should be determined by their decisions (and those of their opponents).

last edited by cyoce

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