Saturday, 23 January 2010

Modelling Malan's First Rule

One of the changes we made late in the day in BTH2 relates to firing...gone are bursts of various seconds duration. Instead we have four options when firing. These are scientifically titled "Squirt", "Short Burst" "Burst" and "Long Burst", phrases that meant something to those whose whose actions we recreate. Longer bursts may make a hit more likely, but they can be wasteful on ammo (and are impossible at some angles of deflection anyway).

We settled on this reclassification as we felt it a little unrealistic that players always know exactly how much ammo they have remaining. By using these generic terms we were able to stop players becoming accountants rather than pilots. Instead, we use a cumulative totalling of the number of 1's thrown when firing to dictate when the ammo runs out. Thereby, once the fight gets going, you are never quite sure when the sound of guns pumping will be replaced by the dreaded out-of-ammo 'click' (although you will know when you are getting low). We found this added atmosphere to the game and gave players more to think about, making them more inclined to fire in shorter bursts.

This is in keeping with Sailor Malan's first rule of aerial combat:

"Wait until you see the whites of his eyes. Fire short bursts of 1 to 2 seconds and only when your sights are definitely 'ON'"

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