[Suggestion] Tactical Realism COOP Game Mode

We have Zombie Zerg Mode, Action Arcade Speed Racer Mode, Hardcore Desert Thong Mode -- how about a TACTICAL REALISM mode?

Perhaps I'm reaching, but Insurgency used to have some aspirations of realism that went beyond the paint job, Foley, some weapon metrics and theme -- it was never a combat sim, but it wasn't a COD arcade shooter either... Now even the 'Hardcore Mode' is more of a conspicuous nod to Call Of Doo Dee's arcade challenge affectation then anything remotely realistic, to wit:​

  • slow motion swimming like a geriatric heart patient with knee braces and rifles in an absurd single handed port arms carry may be 'HARDCORE' it is NOT realistic, adds no depth to the game and solves none of the game's COOP problems

  • magic rewards for being the first to race to an ammo dump 'in slow motion' may be 'HARDCORE' it is not remotely realistic​

  • rewards for poorly coordinated squad maneuver that include blocking team killing may be 'HARDCORE' -- try and pull this crap in any professional military and you're out or in prison -- if you're lucky​

  • absurd objectives like a walking bridge, while arguably realistic in terms of the sort of horribly ridiculous shit that has been tasked real modern combat, isn't very aspirational or realistic in terms of anything objective

  • damage models changed to suit an aesthetic preference may be 'HARDCORE' are NOT specifically or generally more realistic then the default​

  • a score system that rewards camping inside some absurdly small perimeter may be 'HARDCORE' it's not only NOT realistic it doesn't reflect anything in real world combat​

The list could be a lot longer but these are some of the need brain bleach eye sores none of which is any more realistic then would be wearing a speedo and dress shoes, at this rate that could just as well become the coveted Hardcore Borat Costume to grind for...

It's not just the cartoon arcade direction the game-play has gone (with no alternative to it); what happened to all the Insurgency commands that encouraged real squad maneuver tactics like "Moving" and "Cover Me!"? I was hoping Insurgency Sandstorm would offer more along this line to inform and incentivize teamwork, not less then the previous game.​..

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Considering less than 20% of the people that bought the game, are playing the game; it would seem a reasonable assumption to look at the context of Insurgency Sandstorm's progenitor's success, and what got it there, and it wasn't that it had more aesthetic realism then the alternatives -- it was that it was MOTR, wasn't a speed-spam-zerg shooter, had realistic combat tempo, and on higher difficulty more realistic tactics prevailed.

I don't think players like me hate Insurgency Sandstorm, but we sure could like it a lot more...

last edited by Hoak

@Hoak I'm in the same boat as you. I don't hate Sandstorm, but goddamn it could be a far better game. Ins: Source is still a far better Insurgency game than Sandstorm.

last edited by MarksmanMax

The biggest disappointment is how the coop game gets played by most players. Irrespective of the 'Default' or new 'HARDCORE' mode; it's all down to the limitations of objective and scoring design which totally obviates emergent and tactical depth of play -- and has absolutely nothing to do with movement speed or weapon metrics. You can toy with the latter relentlessly and set them anywhere within reason and a games objective and scoring design will always trump or obviate them; a game that has tactical depth will not be fundamentally altered, a game like Sandstorm will remain, as it has -- flat, simplistic, two dimensional...

This is especially apparent and easy to see on a map like Outskirts, which is BRILLIANT level design, where unfortunately the tiny simplistic capture objectives end up being simple, neck-down, score whoring 'B-Line' races from objective to objective, and objectives are played like 300 clowns in a phone booth -- just like other arcade shooters.

All the brilliant level design, maneuver fire and cover positions this map offers, to and around objectives are completely lost to everyone; completely obviated, and unplayed by most of the players most of the time (easily over 99%) because of the shitty scoring and objective system -- it's a sad lot of work and potential wasted.

Emergent game-play is a very significant element in creating games that are compelling and replayable, where players individually and as a team can discover novel, sometimes better (sometimes not), easier to coordinate approaches to solving a problem and can keep a game new for a very long time.

Tremendous tactical depth would be restored if the various roles or classes were incentivized to operate in the larger theater of the map (were rewarded and not punished for it) and more emergent and realistic group tactics would inevitably prevail over simplistic 'B-Line' fast 'Default' or slow-motion 'HARDCORE' rushes, to the clown mosh pit objectives. As things are now, classes are little more then an aesthetic affectation.

Insurgency Sandstorm certainly doesn't suffer for the lack of brilliant level design that could support this, but the coop objective and score system design is anathema to teamwork, realism, and most importantly, fun...

The new 'HARDCORE' mode does nothing to solve these problems, and is more 'HARDCORE ARCADE ACTION PORN' then realism here. Design decisions like this supports what others have said here on the forums in other threads; that NWI is more interested trying to goat rope more of the action/arcade fantasy realism audience, then support the audience that has always loved and bought their games -- but that doesn't seem to be working for them very well...

Listening to the tiny audience that still plays the game and is focused on vertical 'pet wish' features that offer no benefits that will attract players that bought the game back will never work. Neither will it attract the audience interested in more serious tactical realism; they have better alternatives that don't include wrestling with what isn't here because it isn't even a part of the design narrative.

The COOP objective and score system design doesn't require expense or genius in terms of the work involved to turn things around radically; not even a tiny fraction of what the Level Designer(s) already have in invested would raise the bar to a point where Insurgency is the high water mark again.

last edited by Hoak

This is the design, the new game is supposed to be a bunch of random people running around quickscoping everything.

There are a number of conscious decisions that have been made, and reaffirmed, that shows the hostility to the actual tactical gameplay many of us modified the last game to achieve.

Maybe when mods come out I'll have enough interest to do that again, but it's entirely possible that the rest of the modders like me are just moving on to new games.

If true, that's just sad, and after reading the latest recitation/news on the 2019 Roadmap, it does seem the NWI have curiously lost touch with what defines tactical realism (or the current incarnation of NWI never understood it in the first place): ergo a game where unrealistic tactics can not and do not prevail -- which is sad.

Sadder still is they imagine rather then trying to pursue and refine a core competence that put them on the map, they want to chase a saturated action realism market that is burning out as far as real revenue potential.

Saddest of all you can see how this is going over in the play-share statistics.

I like NWI, they're obviously a talented hard-working team, and their game's are a conspicuous labor of love with enormous attention to detail. Unfortunately Insurgency Sandstorm harks to an analogy of a gear pair of precision gears engineered and machined to amazing tolerances, with brilliant attention given to weight and strength where they set a high water-mark, unfortunately half a dozen teeth are missing on one of the gears, and someone in a decision making role thinks 'everything is fine'...

last edited by Hoak

Not gonna lie, I lost my faith in Sandstorm. The bots make the game unenjoyable, telling the team to slow down results in getting ignored or receiving a "git gud noob" and other remarks while you're actually the number one player with the most kills and save others from certain deaths. The TTK on the guns are just ridiculous, not to mention the shitfest of bugs.

Really it's this realism mode that could save it for me. And it's not like they need to do a lot here. Adding 2x more powerful weapons with much better penetration, where a .50 cal DOES actually find it's way through thin metal and that upon arrival into a concrete wall creates almost like an explosion on the other side, killing everyone behind it.
Maybe lose the whole checkpoint idea, but simply place weapon caches around the whole map (like in the old Insurgency's hunt mode) and make the team search for it house by house in a tactical manner. For example you get extra points for staying within a vicinity of another player. They could place hidden IEDs on the roads that explode on contact, but still somehow letting the player be able to see these.

Realism-mode would be great.
Here are some ideas:
GoogleDoc

Really hope a realism mode is realized someday, whether as official gamemode or mod.
I think Sandstorm would be a great platform for those kind of games and would attract additonal players (perhaps milSim, Arma folks, etc.) - could be a great playerbase too.

I personally would really enjoy some sort of "Fast-Arma" with nice immersive missions.

@Sgt-Kanyo said in [Suggestion] Realism COOP Game Mode:

Not gonna lie, I lost my faith in Sandstorm. The bots make the game unenjoyable, telling the team to slow down results in getting ignored or receiving a "git gud noob" and other remarks while you're actually the number one player with the most kills and save others from certain deaths. The TTK on the guns are just ridiculous, not to mention the shitfest of bugs.

Really it's this realism mode that could save it for me. And it's not like they need to do a lot here. Adding 2x more powerful weapons with much better penetration, where a .50 cal DOES actually find it's way through thin metal and that upon arrival into a concrete wall creates almost like an explosion on the other side, killing everyone behind it.
Maybe lose the whole checkpoint idea, but simply place weapon caches around the whole map (like in the old Insurgency's hunt mode) and make the team search for it house by house in a tactical manner. For example you get extra points for staying within a vicinity of another player. They could place hidden IEDs on the roads that explode on contact, but still somehow letting the player be able to see these.

Well I haven't lost faith, but I've lost most of my enthusiasm. The bots really don't seem that bad to me, granted it's not nav-mesh, heuristically driven ai (as far as I can tell), it's just UE path-not bot stuff, where just a little more deference to realism would go a long, long ways. The zombie zerg on tiny capture objectives is just lazy game design not really a flaw of bot code or limitation of the game.

Sadly, your remarks about the audience that NWI are attracting with this iteration of the 'franchise' only scratches the surface; and the...payload of special issues that audience brings, play as much a role in why fans of games like ArmA, SWAT, old R6 and GR games looking for an more middle of the road game, even more quickly run of patience with Insurgency Sandstorm's limitations.

I am still hopeful, there are a lot of talented mod developers that are on the same page, find all of this an eye roller, and will if and when it's possible turn this around. Insurgency original flavor went over some similar bumps though never quite so deliberately down the magic rainbow pony road... Still hopeful.

@tacplay said in [Suggestion] Realism COOP Game Mode:

Realism-mode would be great.
Here are some ideas:
GoogleDoc

Really hope a realism mode is realized someday, whether as official gamemode or mod.
I think Sandstorm would be a great platform for those kind of games and would attract additonal players (perhaps milSim, Arma folks, etc.) - could be a great playerbase too.

I personally would really enjoy some sort of "Fast-Arma" with nice immersive missions.

Those are some great ideas, and many are easy and low cost to execute. Someone earlier in the thread even suggested looking at Wildlands for more realistic COOP objective ideas that use more of the map, and there are a litany of free to play action realism games on Steam as well that (sadly) have more realistic objective design, many on UE, and most of this stuff that's been done before, is very easy and low cost. It's just a game designer wrapping their head around a more realistic narrative and drivers in game for maneuver tactics. Sadly, for now, we're stuck and the only options of a rainbow pony or unicorn...

I don't hate rainbow ponies or unicorns, I don't particularly want anything to do with them either...

last edited by Hoak

@Hoak said in [Suggestion] Realism COOP Game Mode:

... It's just a game designer wrapping their head around a more realistic narrative and drivers in game for maneuver tactics. Sadly, for now, we're stuck and the only options of a rainbow pony or unicorn.

I really would like to see this game offering a realistic mode, but when you think about where the devs came from and what Insurgency is meant to be, it's understandable they don't really think about that kind of realism.

Insurgency is meant to be a fast paced actionshooter and they often talked about the middle-ground between CoD and Arma, so it seems legit what the gamemodes offer as of now.

I really enjoy Hardcore, even if it's not that realistic and I think their idea of the game is nice.

It's just that there is a lot more additional potential with a realistic mode they probably are not aware of. The problem with Arma is, for example, you have to invest tons of time into just one good mission. There's an intensive scheduling going on before missions and we spent hours just getting started sometimes.
The majority but wanted to have 1-2 h immersion in the evening though, those players would instantly switch to Insurgency if there was some kind of "mission" gamemode with realistic (authentic), immersive gamestyle.

So let's hope devs get the mod-kit going, perhaps we'll put some effort in an Arma-mode as a community ^^

@tacplay said in [Suggestion] Realism COOP Game Mode:

I really would like to see this game offering a realistic mode, but when you think about where the devs came from and what Insurgency is meant to be, it's understandable they don't really think about that kind of realism.

Uh, you completely lost me at 'where the devs came from' -- just where exactly is that -- that it would obviate any tactical realism in the game's design?

Insurgency is meant to be a fast paced actionshooter and they often talked about the middle-ground between CoD and Arma, so it seems legit what the gamemodes offer as of now.

Where does it say that? Insurgency Sandstorm is no where even NEAR the middle, in most regards it's far closer to CoD, and in some it's even more action/arcade then CoD and more like a Korean MMO action shooter. The only (arguable) realism in Insurgency Sandstorm is aesthetic; the art assets, sound design, level design and atmosphere are fantastic! The game play is one-dimensional arcade zombie shooting gallery, with all the play share you'd expect from that.

I really enjoy Hardcore, even if it's not that realistic and I think their idea of the game is nice.

It's not only not that realistic, it's not any more realistic (in any regard) then the default mode, just like CoD's 'HARDCORE' mode. This may be some action/arcade realism FanBoy's notion of some kind of skill challenge, it's not remotely realistic, or more realistic then the default -- even arguably...

It's just that there is a lot more additional potential with a realistic mode they probably are not aware of. The problem with Arma is, for example, you have to invest tons of time into just one good mission. There's an intensive scheduling going on before missions and we spent hours just getting started sometimes.

ArmA's design, very much like VBS, is invested in scale realism, not tactical realism, these are very different approaches to game design and outcomes as far as goals.

In a Scale Realism developers try to scale, albeit on compressed scale all elements strategic, tactical, and logistic that they regard as critical to military intervention or a 'mission' -- the deign approaches many of the goals of a simulator, but is focused on those that contribute more significantly to real mission outcomes.

Tactical Realism game design is primarily focused on realism with respect to combat maneuver-fire tactics, where realistic tactics prevail and unrealistic tactics not only don't prevail, they can't or won't work -- just like the real world combat. So, Rambo charges, circle strafing, bunny jumping, racing, lone wolfing it -- fill in the blank with this game's litany of arcade fantasy tactics (there's a shit load) just don't fly or make for a very unrewarding approach to play in a good tactical realism game...

In Sandstorm virtually no realistic maneuver tactics prevail; even the most fundamental like bounding and flanking that have been the main-stay of TR game design are completely obviated by the arcade race to the magic zombie hoard spawn fort, and then death matching the zombies. Hell, even circle-strafing works to kill poor Ahab's zombie presence, as well as every other speed-spam, run-and-gun, arcade gaming the game fantasy tactics.

The majority but wanted to have 1-2 h immersion in the evening though, those players would instantly switch to Insurgency if there was some kind of "mission" gamemode with realistic (authentic), immersive gamestyle.

What you're talking about here isn't part or parcel of any good TR game, in a TR game you're dropped into the front end of the theater/scenario and confronted with all logistics and strategic placement done for you, your at the 'going in' part of the story.

So let's hope devs get the mod-kit going, perhaps we'll put some effort in an Arma-mode as a community ^^

Again, I'm not rooting for scale or sim realism here at all, just like the obviously poorly understood references made to Tactical Realism in the news posts properly addressed, and NWI actually wrap at least token attention to tactical realism into the existing COOP missions -- this would NOT be hard! Conceptually:

  • fix the scoring system so it doesn't reward racing and score whoring
  • score/reward (if you must) realistic mission success parameters for surviving players
  • expand the size of capture areas
  • expand the scope of the objectives beyond death matching or detonating
  • bots spawn and patrol from more diverse and realistic locations (the maps certainly offer them)
  • more bot skill/difficulty options

There are a litany of ways to approach this mechanically using the existing simple UE triggers and bot mechanics, and even the existing mission design, this is not hard or expensive.

Game time would not be functionally any longer then it is now, though there could be fewer and more challenging objectives on coop map that would take more maneuver for a squad to approach, cover, capture or otherwise interdict (VIP extract, cover support for convoy extract et al.)...

These are fast, generic, easy to understand COOP tactical realism mission designs that have literally been executed, on thousands of maps in hundreds of games, that would vastly more realistic (and fun) then anything Insurgency Sandstorm has to offer currently.

As things are now Insurgency Sandstorm COOP offers SOTA art assets, and atmosphere, but is a one-dimensional, b-line arcade race and score whore shooter. Rapid player attrition demonstrates repeatedly how poorly this sustains people's interest and enthusiasm.

last edited by Hoak