Group Tactics

riotshield_progress

I’ve had this sketch of a riot shield-like object for a year or so. Equally long, I wondered whether something like this could have a place in Scout’s Journey or if it was for the dumpster. (version 2 is recent, version 1 is what my sketches looked like not too long ago.)

I’m beginning to think adding mobile cover to an NPC group could make encounters even more interesting. The majority of squad combat in SJ would be indoors, and would play out like the player / Scout attacking a patrol. This kind of scenario is what the entire combat system revolves around – groups roaming around and chance encounters or sneak attacks. Group AI would be programmed to follow a certain protocol at the start of battle, which depends on the factions involved (a Herd squad has different means and approaches compared to an Order or Tribal squad.)

Something like: If squad under attack, if you’re a Herd squad do:

  1. Take cover if possible
  2. If a unit has no cover, decide to hold position or retreat
  3. Throw flashbangs / grenades
  4. If you have a Banshee, deploy ADS Morrigan and try to flank
  5. Deploy tactical shield
  6. Suppression fire on attacker (MPs, laser)
  7. Commando fires his Blitz Cannon
  8. If you have a Preacher, start summoning Orphans
  9. If out of ammo, Troopers rush attacker with blades
  10. If attacker retreats, decide to move up or resume patrol
  11. If attacker disabled, retreat to camp / consider looting
  12. If serious casualties, call reinforcements
  13. If overwhelmed, place mines / tactical retreat

So a fight develops through various stages. Individual units would have sub-protocols (reload, heal, move…). An Order squad would have a different protocol due to having different units and methods. A Tribal squad would have a purely defensive protocol. The factions’ battle protocols would be balanced against each other (emergent gameplay…)

I can see a shield in this context. Especially the Herd protocol is pretty static – they have distance weapons and grenades, why would they try to rush you. I think I like the shield idea.

shield_blender

Several games have ballistic shields / riot shields by now, although from what I see on youtube that’s usually multiplayer, so the shields are typically nerfed by making it easy to shoot out the glass or whatever. This would not be the case in SJ, because my aim is to make the NPC squads tough to beat. A ballistic shield would basically give them indestructible, mobile cover, or another way to see it is they would have a nigh-invincible (passive) shield carrier unit.

Doom 3 had shield troopers in single player. They were tough, but ultimately a pushover with the arsenal you got in that game. A shield in SJ would last throughout a squad encounter and the group would know how to use it. Very different thing.

Swordfighting

Another thing I’m contemplating is how to do swordfighting in SJ. The game does have some melee weapons (no suitable shields though), so they need to do something. It’s not a medieval combat simulator, so there will probably be some kind of compromise. I want to do things like half-swording though, because a lot of NPCs wear plate armour / kevlar armour. Just swinging isn’t going to do much unless you want to massacre a Tribal squad, which would be pretty bad for your reputation.

I’m doing a lot of research on medieval combat, just sword on sword, and it’s an interesting thing to learn about. I’m sure I’ll figure something out.

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