Updated: Feb 10, 2021
This article’s predecessor - Eight Gameplay Mechanics Every Immersive FPS Should Have - was originally published by Exclusively Games in 2019. At the conclusion of the article, we invited the Exclusively Games’ readership to suggest other game mechanics that immersive FPS games should include. The response was fantastic, with many superb suggestions sent in. Unfortunately, Exclusively Games went on hiatus before the follow-up article could be published. Therefore, I am publishing it here on Nomad’s Reviews.
The mechanics listed below are those suggested by readers who commented on either the Exclusively Games website, Twitter, or the various Facebook groups the previous article was shared around.
As such, the suggestions below are not my own, so don’t '360-Noscope' my head off if you disagree with them 😊
With that out of the way, here are 10 MORE gameplay mechanics every FPS should have - as suggested by readers of Exclusively Games.
1. Weapon Degradation, Jamming and Overheating
In many FPS games your hand cannons never wear out, never get dirty, never jam and never overheat. The only thing that stops your weapon from firing is running out of ammo.
Anyone who knows how real-steel firearms work will tell you that this isn’t true for the real world. Guns need cleaning to remove carbon build-up or they will become increasingly prone to jamming. What’s more, firing them constantly will cause the barrel to heat up. This will reduce accuracy and wear out the barrel faster. If you keep on firing you may damage the barrel completely.
There are a few FPS games that include these mechanics. Weapons in Far Cry 2 can jam…
Far Cry 2 Weapon Jams
Far more annoying when they happen in the middle of a firefight
Video by tZveig
…and degrade with use. Continued use of a weapon that is in a very poor condition is dangerous - as it may blow up in your hand!
Far Cry 2 - Weapon Breaks and Explosions
Even more annoying in a fire-fight!
Video by tZveig
The sandbox mods for S.T.A.L.K.E.R., such as Call of Chernobyl, Call of Misery, Anomaly, etc. feature weapon jams, weapon degradation, and weapon overheating. They also feature comprehensive systems of weapon cleaning and repair. Remember kids, if you don’t look after your weapon it can’t look after you!
2. Weapon Customization
In some FPS games, you will be given a standard weapon and like it. If you want to pimp it to your needs then tough luck, you can’t.
However, some FPS games allow for significant weapon customization. The Crysis games allow for on-the-fly customization of weapons via various addons which can be attached and removed as desired. These include various scopes, laser sights, silencers, grenade launchers, etc.
Crysis 3 On-The-Fly Weapon Customization
The ‘Kurger Bing’* of Guns – “shoot it your way”
Video by Loopy
S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Lost Alpha, S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Call of Pripyat and its various sandbox mods all allow for both the real-time fitting and removing of attachments from your weapon and making permanent alterations to it. This is assuming you can find a technician and have the in-game funds (or Vodka) to pay for the upgrades of course.
This is done via an upgrade tree, and some upgrades are mutually exclusive to others. This means you will need to make a decision. Do you;
A) Choose to specialize the weapon for a specific task, for example maxing out is accuracy for sniping.
B) Opt for a generalist approach, with small increases to accuracy, reliability, rate of fire, recoil reduction, etc. to create a better general-purpose weapon?
In the video below we can see the difference that recoil reduction can make. The first gun is vanilla, the second has been significantly upgraded.
S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Call of Chernobyl Weapon Customization Demonstration
Multiple subtle improvements can combine to make a big difference
Video by Wheaton Adams
3. Resting Weapons Against Obstacles, Bipods and Blind Fire
Any experienced shooter will tell you that resting a weapon on something, such as a window ledge, backpack, etc. makes shooting easier. Very few games feature this, but Red Orchestra is an exception, at least when it comes to machine guns. Bipods make controlling fully automatic fire more controllable than firing from either the shoulder or the hip, and Red Orchestra has that too. It even has blind-fire that is genuinely blind.
Full disclosure - I have not played any of the Red Orchestra games at the time of writing, so I am going by what I can glean from the internet and YouTube. Apologies in advance for any inaccuracies on my part. Feel free to correct me.
Red Orchestra Bipods
Lots of weapons which appear to be implemented realistically
Video by JarekTheGamingDragon
Red Orchestra 2 Blind Fire
"Suppressive Fire!!!" + 10 brownie points if you get the reference ;-)
Video by Dreklo
4. Realistic Magazine System
How most FPS games manage your ammo supply is a little odd if you stop to think about it. FPSs from the ‘90s - the so-called ‘Golden Age of First-Person Shooters’ - allowed you to continue firing until you had used up all the ammo for the particular weapon you were carrying. Quite how it got from wherever it was your ammo was stored to the firing chambers of your weapons was never explained. Perhaps you were wearing one of these…
'Terminator' Backpack Magazine
Dakka dakka dakka!!!
Video by Gregory Markle
Later games, from the late ‘90s onwards, introduced an ersatz magazine system. We have all seen it, where your ammo counter looks like 30/250 and you reload after firing 3 rounds.
Reloading in Video Games Parody
Let's be honest – we have all been guilty of this
Video by rikk tv
How does the ammo in the partially full mags you just dumped on the ground get back into your magic pool of 250 bullets? Perhaps we will never know.
One game that got this right was Rainbow Six 3, in that it had a proper magazine system. There was a limit on the maximum number of mags you could hold, and when you reloaded, the magazine you just removed would be placed back in your webbing at the end of the ‘magazine queue’.
If you reloaded when your current mag was still half full, that mag would eventually reach the front of the queue. At this point, you would discover to your horror that the mag you just slapped into your weapon has only 15 rounds in it instead of the expected 30. This was a pretty effective cure for OCRS (Obsessive Compulsive Reloading Syndrome - a condition I didn’t just make up.)
NB - I haven’t played any of the Rainbow Six games since three. I’m guessing more recent games in the franchise also use this realistic magazine mechanic. Please let me know if I am wrong.
The Anomaly mod for S.T.A.L.K.E.R. also features an optional realistic magazines addon. It appears the player can even mix and match ammo types in a magazine, such as standard and armour piercing, which reduces the need to swap ammo types during a fight.
S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Anomaly Magazine System
NB - like most things in Anomaly this feature is optional
Video by noos48
5. Realistic Ballistics
Many FPS games - most CoD games, I’m looking at you - treat your bullet spewing assault rifle as if it were a laser. Your ‘virtual bullets’ travel to the target instantly and are unaffected by wind or gravity - AKA ‘Hit Scan’.
This is thoroughly unrealistic as in the real-world bullets are nothing like this. They have mass and thus weight. They lose energy as they fly through the air due to friction, which will cause bullet drop due to gravity at longer ranges. Secondly, bullets may be fast but at long ranges, you may still need to lead the target. Thirdly, atmospheric conditions, such as temperature, humidity, air pressure and wind, and even the rotation of the earth (Coriolis effect) can all affect how your just-shot bullet will fly, and where it will end up.
Some games get this right. The aforementioned Red Orchestra, S.T.A.L.K.E.R., and ARMA franchises all implement these factors to a greater or lesser extent.
ARMA Sniping 'Basics'
“The more you know.”
Video by 9starferret
ARMA 3 Advanced Ballistics
Never let it be said that ARMA III isn’t detailed enough
Video by macfifa
6. Quick Turning
AKA the ability to turn 180 degrees with a single button press. Particularly useful for those playing on gamepads.
7. Seeing Around your Rifle Scope when Aiming a Sniper Rifle
Exactly what it says in the heading, and shown in the image below. This can be very handy for maintaining situational awareness so enemies cannot flank you as easily.
"Can't sneak up on me - unless you come up from behind me that is"
8. Free Aim
AKA decoupling your weapon's point of aim from the middle of the screen. This can add both realism and immersivity by permitting greater flexibility. It is easier to see it in action than it is to describe it in words. The video below shows this well.
NB - if you would like more in-depth info about FPS aiming mechanics then take a look at this article.
"Yeah, I’m free, free aimin’…" Pom Tetty*
Video by BlackPixxelDE
9. Environmental Barrier Piercing Ammo
In many FPS games – especially older ones – the environment is invulnerable to all weapons, regardless of what part of the environment is being shot at. This can result in some immersion wrecking situations, such as a window being impervious to tank gun rounds.
Some games have started to address this by having some barriers, such as wooden fences or corrugated steel roofs, being vulnerable to gunfire. In these games, you will learn quickly that concealment does not always = cover.
CS: GO has a fairly comprehensive system for working out ‘what-pierces-what’, which the video below explains in detail.
CS: GO Bullet Penetration
I’m pretty sure that in real life an assault rifle will have superior penetration to even the highest calibre pistols - #gamelogic
Video by 3kliksphilip
10. Holstering Weapons
No one likes having a gun pointed in their face, so it makes sense to put it away if you want a friendly conversation with someone, be they a human player in multi-player or an NPC. The S.T.A.L.K.E.R. franchise uses this to great effect, with NPCs refusing to talk to you if your weapon is drawn. Some less-than-friendly NPCs may even shoot you if you don’t holster your weapon pretty sharpish.
Put Your Gun Away Major
Jumpy people with itchy trigger fingers isn't a good combination
Video by TailGunner
And there we have it, ten gameplay mechanics that readers of Exclusively Games would like to see incorporated into more immersive FPS games. What are your thoughts, do you agree?
After having read both this article and the previous article that spawned it, are there any gameplay mechanics that haven’t been included that you think should be? If so, let us and gamers everywhere know what those mechanics are, what you like about them, and what games (if any) already implement them in the comments section below.
* I didn't want to get sued :-)
Iain is a 40+ author and gamer from England, who started his gaming journey on the Atari 2600 36 years ago. His specialities include obscure cult classics, retro games, mods and fan remakes. He hates all sports games and is allergic to online multiplayer. Since he is British, his body is about 60% tea. He can be reached via Twitter at https://twitter.com/IainBaker17, and contacted via email at firstname.lastname@example.org
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