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Hitscan enemies: Yay or Nay?

User is offline   PikaCommando 

  • 389

#1

What are y'all's stance on the presence of hitscan enemies in old-school FPS games? On one hand, hitscan enemies can be considered unfair because whether or not they hit you is entirely up to luck; there is simply no way of dodging a hitscan attack in the open (as opposed to strafing a projectile) and the only way to deal with them is to get into cover and come back out to shoot them before they can react. On the other hand, forcing the player to rely on cover is the kind of thrill some people enjoy too, but does the reliance on covers in itself kill the fast pace of such games? Would it be better if hitscan enemies shot fast projectile bullets instead, where there is a chance to dodge them?
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User is offline   Trooper Dan 

  • Duke Plus Developer
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#2

View PostPikaCommando, on 05 August 2018 - 08:20 PM, said:

What are y'all's stance on the presence of hitscan enemies in old-school FPS games?


They are fine. They can be used badly, but that's more of a level design issue.
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User is offline   necroslut 

  • 206

#3

It depends on how they're used, and how they're implemented. In most of the good old-school shooters hitscanners typically have a "wind-up" state before they start firing, giving you time to handle them. I don't think all the dodging and covering in Duke kills the pace, it's rather part of what makes it.

Blue barrels are heavier than regular barrels
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User is offline   Ninety-Six 

  • 49

#4

Like the others so far, I think hitscans definitely have their place. It changes up the gameplay and tactics a player needs to use if it's intermixed with projectile dodging like in Doom. Obviously it can go south if the hitscan enemies are put in dickish places, but if they're used intelligently and balanced around the other enemies (going off the doom example the standard hitscanners are on the lower-end scale of hit points, including chaingunners) I quite enjoy their presence.


In the case of Duke, its whole combat flow revolves around hammering strafe left and strafe right as you dart in and out of a corner to fire at an enemy and then dive back into cover long enough to ready the next shot/let the enemy's bullets fly and then repeat.



I personally have no issue with hitscanners in these golden-age shooters. I think most of their reputation comes from just how easy it is to misuse them, especially in fan-created maps. Unlike most of the other enemies, hitscanners take a little extra thought and consideration in the level design when using them.
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User is offline   Maisth 

  • 167

#5

I'm with Dan on this one, I think it really depends on how the level designer uses it in the level, as for a technical perspective of the game's hitscanner i think they are fine.

Not to be Trusted, He is a slippery one.

Developer on Catharsis Reborn
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User is offline   Fantinaikos 

  • 278

#6

The formula should be simple without making too much science over it:

Common enemies = No hitscan (but not blind).

Powerful enemies and mid-bosses = Definitely better at aiming.

Bosses = Hitscan.

In the end is just another parameter that defines the dangerusness of an enemy than a feature, in fact usually it changes with the difficulty in most games. If you do it well you have something like Wolf3D or DOOM, if you exaggerate you have BLOOD.

Another point to keep in question is the distance, how far must an enemy be to be able to hit you? It will hurt like when it is near?
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User is offline   Bloodshot 

  • 762

#7

As other's have said, it really depends on the game itself and the level design.

Quake 1 has hitscanners with code built in to miss you if you are strafing around them at a certain speed, which i think is a nice compromise. It means dodging is a viable option but there is less room for error because if you dodge in the wrong way they will definitely hit you, so you still prioritize them but you don't feel the need to kill them instantly or hang back
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User is offline   HulkNukem 

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#8

I don't like when a game consists 90+% of hitscan enemies. That's when the game ends up feeling cheap on the harder difficulties instead of challenging (like Bioshock Infinite)
The hitscan should also be balanced. In the original Bioshock, enemies with hitscan ALWAYS near missed their very first hitscan shot at you. It was great feedback and if you didn't react quick enough the next one was going to hurt. In original Doom, the former humans and sergeants had a very quick frame of aiming their gun at you to let you know they are about to shoot. They also didn't constantly open fire and instead had variable times between firing.
The heavy weapon dude from Doom II can go fuck himself, though.

This post has been edited by HulkNukem: 06 August 2018 - 03:25 PM

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User is offline   PikaCommando 

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#9

View PostHulkNukem, on 06 August 2018 - 03:23 PM, said:

I don't like when a game consists 90+% of hitscan enemies.


What about FEAR?
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User is offline   Bloodshot 

  • 762

#10

I don't like 90% hitscan enemies in a super fast game.

FEAR's actually an interesting one, because in normal gameplay its a lean around corners/cover shooter but in slowmo its a projectile dodging game. It's actually funny playing without slowmo is like an entirely different game.

FEAR and STALKER are two of the better cover based shooters IMO. in both games you can lean and minimize damage taken by doing so, and the firefights are very intense.

I think STALKER even purposely makes the enemies miss their shots on you more if you utilize leaning.
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User is offline   HulkNukem 

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#11

View PostPikaCommando, on 06 August 2018 - 08:43 PM, said:

What about FEAR?


Aren't those actually projectile based? They are definitely so in slow motion, so you have a chance to dodge them
It's the same for the Max Payne games; even though those weapons are shooting bullets, they aren't actually hitscan.
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User is online   fuegerstef 

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#12

The hitscan enemies in DooM (2016) are fine.

A few free casual games by me: http://gamejolt.com/...uegerstef/2615/
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User is offline   Ninety-Six 

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#13

I don't remember any hitscan enemies in Doom 4...
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User is offline   PikaCommando 

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#14

View PostHulkNukem, on 06 August 2018 - 09:33 PM, said:

Aren't those actually projectile based? They are definitely so in slow motion, so you have a chance to dodge them
It's the same for the Max Payne games; even though those weapons are shooting bullets, they aren't actually hitscan.


Oh right, I forgot. Chaser is the one with the slow-mo and bullshit hitscan enemies.
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User is offline   Nancsi 

  • 340

#15

I don't understand this hitscan hysteria of late. You can dodge their bullets with strafing, you just need to be faster than with projectile enemies. Most projectile enemies have far more dangerous shoot though, so it's a bigger punishment if you hit by them. That's evenly balanced.

Yeah, mini Battlelords are annoying in some levels, but they are doable and not that frequent. In E2L5 their placement is not that bad, it's just the level is not really compatible with pistolstarts.
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User is offline   Nancsi 

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#16

People should watch Allen Blum's leveldesign how he mixed the pigcops and enforcers with the projectile shooting liztroops and others. Just take a look at Red Light District. Liztroops own the rooms and the open places, while pigs own the corners, strafable corridors. The reason is simple: in the corridor, you have a better chance at strafing and avoiding their shoot, while the open areas are better for projectile hell. Fusion Station is another great example for this leveldesign. Lizztroops defend open areas as turrets, enforcers present in the corridor areas.

This post has been edited by Nancsi: 07 August 2018 - 01:07 AM

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User is offline   oasiz 

  • 692

#17

Imps and hitscanners basically.

I like to think it as fireballs that turn the arena in to some sort of a mini-bullethell type of dodging game while you deal with the hitscanners.
Same principle works with other games.
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User is offline   PikaCommando 

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#18

View PostNancsi, on 07 August 2018 - 01:01 AM, said:

You can dodge their bullets with strafing, you just need to be faster than with projectile enemies.


Hitscan enemies are by definition undodgeable because they track you as they fire off that instantaneous damage line on you so unless the programmers make it so that they stop tracking you a second before they shoot that line, they will always hit you no matter how fast you are. That, or you get lucky and they miss because of spread (and being lucky isn't the same thing as dodging). Hiding in cover is the only way to avoid hitscan damage whereas you can just walk around projectiles without using cover. Duke Nukem 3D's Pigcop and Enforcer appear dodgeable because there's a split-second when they attack where they go into a combat stance before they shoot, but you still have to go into cover during that split second or else you'll get hit no matter how fast you move.

The problem isn't the hitscan enemies themselves but what they bring: the necessity of using cover. If Duke Nukem Forever had a classic health system with health pickups instead of regenerating health, would that change the fact that the game is cover-heavy due to all the hitscanning Pigcops with shotguns and Rippers?

I think that despite being a game with 90% hitscan enemies, Half-Life 2 handled it very well. The Combine Soldiers deal pitiful damage with horrid accuracy and most of the danger comes from their numbers and swarming tactics (bye bye, artificial intelligence). Only the Combine Shotgunners pose a threat as they deal high burst damage at close range. The Gunship and Hunter-Chopper always does a sound effect before it starts shooting and the Hunter will do an animation before they shoot. As for the Strider, they are programmed to miss their first few shots to give you time to get to cover. Going into cover is usually unnecessary when dealing with the foot soldiers.

On the other hand, you have Blood 2.
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User is offline   Nancsi 

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#19

View PostPikaCommando, on 07 August 2018 - 02:09 AM, said:

Hitscan enemies are by definition undodgeable because they track you as they fire off that instantaneous damage line on you so unless the programmers make it so that they stop tracking you a second before they shoot that line, they will always hit you no matter how fast you are. That, or you get lucky and they miss because of spread (and being lucky isn't the same thing as dodging). Hiding in cover is the only way to avoid hitscan damage whereas you can just walk around projectiles without using cover. Duke Nukem 3D's Pigcop and Enforcer appear dodgeable because there's a split-second when they attack where they go into a combat stance before they shoot, but you still have to go into cover during that split second or else you'll get hit no matter how fast you move.

The problem isn't the hitscan enemies themselves but what they bring: the necessity of using cover. If Duke Nukem Forever had a classic health system with health pickups instead of regenerating health, would that change the fact that the game is cover-heavy due to all the hitscanning Pigcops with shotguns and Rippers?

I think that despite being a game with 90% hitscan enemies, Half-Life 2 handled it very well. The Combine Soldiers deal pitiful damage with horrid accuracy and most of the danger comes from their numbers and swarming tactics (bye bye, artificial intelligence). Only the Combine Shotgunners pose a threat as they deal high burst damage at close range. The Gunship and Hunter-Chopper always does a sound effect before it starts shooting and the Hunter will do an animation before they shoot. As for the Strider, they are programmed to miss their first few shots to give you time to get to cover. Going into cover is usually unnecessary when dealing with the foot soldiers.

On the other hand, you have Blood 2.


Using a cover in a gunfight is not a gaming thing. It's "real life" logic, well, for those who are involved in such. I also think that Duke is a game where there is an abundance of health pack and armor, so it's not always necessary to use covers, but accept a certain damage. Pig Cops are not that terrible if you think about it, their shots are only bad when you are really close, otherwise they are inaccurate. Also they have a pretty long "wind up" time, which means chaingun or freezer can make them incompetent. Enforcers are lot worse with chainguns, but even them can be dispatched easily considering your health will be regenerated pretty easily. Despite this, Enforcers should be 1 shotgun fodder only with 80 HP. Maybe Pigcops too, although they look too beefy for that.

I think Doom 2's Chaingunners are terrible offenders of this badly used hitscanner guy since they can't stop unless you take cover, and in the original game they are placed as turrets in many levels like Abandoned Mines. I also think Blood's cultists are worse than Duke's hitscanners since they have much shorter wind up time.

This post has been edited by Nancsi: 07 August 2018 - 03:01 AM

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User is offline   Zaxx 

  • 287

#20

Nay if the game emphasizes movement. I think that was fine in the 90s but nowadays there are just too many cover shooters.

Yes if the game emphasizes tactics and resource management. Case in point: Half-Life where the point is not really to avoid getting shot but to bite the bullets you have to and to avoid getting too damaged + to replenish your health.
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User is online   fuegerstef 

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#21

View PostNinety-Six, on 06 August 2018 - 11:34 PM, said:

I don't remember any hitscan enemies in Doom 4...


Exactly. That's why I had written that I love the hitscan enemies in DooM (2016),

A few free casual games by me: http://gamejolt.com/...uegerstef/2615/
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User is offline   Bloodshot 

  • 762

#22

The laser beam trooper is actually a hitscanner in Doom 2016, but he has such a long windup and he also has a limited sweeping arc once he starts shooting that he may as well not be.

Also the shield shotgunners are hitscan but their range is literally 4 feet.
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User is offline   Ninety-Six 

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#23

View PostPikaCommando, on 07 August 2018 - 02:09 AM, said:

The problem isn't the hitscan enemies themselves but what they bring: the necessity of using cover.


I don't think this is entirely a bad thing in and of itself. When it's the only thing, certainly. But I think when it's combined with projectile dodging in one game, it can create more interesting combat encounters as you have to limit where you can dodge in certain firefights. Plus it helps with the pacing of the game so you aren't endlessly circlestrafing every five minutes. Having some hitscanners in tighter corridors between arenas is an excellent way to change things up a bit.
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User is offline   Master O 

  • 52

#24

The only FPS where I've ever really had issues with hitscanners is in Descent. The chaingun enemy in that game fires immediately, and does not have a windup time like the Chaingunners or Spider Masterminds in Doom 2 have or the Enforcers in Duke 3D have.

This post has been edited by Master O: 08 August 2018 - 02:51 PM

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User is offline   thricecursed 

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#25

View PostMaster O, on 08 August 2018 - 02:51 PM, said:

The only FPS where I've ever really had issues with hitscanners is in Descent. The chaingun enemy in that game fires immediately, and does not have a windup time like the Chaingunners or Spider Masterminds in Doom 2 have or the Enforcers in Duke 3D have.


Great example, I had forgotten about it. It's brutal and catches you off guard.
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