Just How Accurate Are the Guns in Your Standard FPS?
It’s an age old question: are the guns in games really all that accurate? Oftentimes in the process of reviewing a game, reviewers will praise a game for its realistic weapons – but realistically, the average game reviewer doesn’t know the difference between a Walther PPK and 5″/38 caliber guns. (The former is the gun James Bond has made famous, while the latter is something you’d find on a battleship.)
Popular Mechanics takes a look at this subject by diving in and taking a look at the way various games handle weapons, including Rainbow Six Vegas 2, Call of Duty 4, and even America’s Army.
[A]ccording to Philippe Theiren, an RSV2 designer at Ubisoft Montreal and the team’s self-described “gun guy,” bullet penetration now takes into account incredibly fine details, like whether the target is wearing leather or cloth. “It’s actually an excessively complex formula,” Theiren says. “If someone shoots through a plant, then a car door, then it hits Level 3 body armor, all of that effects the force of the round.” Actual ballistic data associated with the guns in RSV2, then, determine whether you can fire a burst through a wooden table and take someone out.
Except, of course, when the developers feel the need to cheat. All of the guns in RSV2 start out extremely accurate, based on factory stats and more, before game balance and player expectations come into play. A shotgun firing buckshot, for example, has significantly more penetration in RSV2 than it should. Why? “People associate shotguns with powerful, close-range weapons,” Theiren says. So a shotgun blast will punch through walls and armor just fine, even though buckshot is known for its lack of penetration in the real world.
“I take these weapons, and look at what defines them, or what people think defines them,” Theiren explains. “For an Uzi, people think it fires lots of bullets, and it’s really inaccurate.” That, he knows, has nothing to do with reality—if anything, Uzis are considered some of the most reliable and accurate submachine guns around. But the 80s (and Miami Vice in particular) offered us the Uzi as a low-life villain’s weapon, spit-fire and out-of-control. “So I make it fire faster than it should. It’s about taking the personality of a weapon, and making it shine in the game,” Theiren says.
It’s a pretty interesting feature and might go a long way in explaining why the same weapon is so dramatically different from one game to the next, even when they’re all giving off the vibe of a realistic shooter.
Now, I need to go back out to my yard so I can keep practicing with my Phalanx CIWS.