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Weapon characteristics & other suggestions.


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This is a long post but one that provides what I hope to be useful information, rather than useless rambling. I am basing it off real life details and research, as well as personal game experience. I have included references to Jagged Alliance 2 on several occasions because that was the last JA game I played, back when it was released.


Now, somebody might come along and rubbish everything I say, pointing out that I know nothing and then insist that they fought in Vietnam for 70 years and is a member of SEAL Team 6 (plus Teams 7 and 8 on the weekends) but hopefully all of this will prove useful enough to be included in the game. I have only included things that I believe can be added to a game such as this.


Again, it is a long post and it took me a long time to write but I have broken it down into the numbered sections:


  1. Weapon Weight & Size.
  2. Weapon Reloading.
  3. Secondary Weapon/Sidearm.
  4. Ammo Counter.
  5. Weapon Attachments.
  6. Red Dot & Reflex Sights.
  7. Long Range Telescopic Sights.
  8. Iron Sights.
  9. Endurance.
  10. Aiming.
  11. Cartridge Lethality vs. Body Parts.
  12. Cartridge Effectiveness vs. Body Armour.
  13. Over-penetration Of The Human Body.
  14. Wall & Material Penetration.
  15. Rate Of Fire.
  16. The Benefit Of Fully Automatic Fire.
  17. Full Auto Targeting.
  18. Sound Suppressors.
  19. Smoke From Building Destruction & Damage.
  20. Damage From Debris.
  21. Training.
  22. Long Term Battle Fatigue.



Weapon Weight & Size:

Smaller guns should use less action points to simulate their overall length and weight. This will also mean that are they are better to use in close quarters. This replicates the scenario of moving and aiming quickly with a lighter weapon, such as a pistol, revolver or sub-machine gun. In contrast, they will fire weaker calibres causing less damage to a human, less penetration to body armour (except for where I mention further on) and less range.


On the other end of the scale, longer guns will be more powerful and have longer range but are more difficult to manoeuvre around corners. Being heavier and longer should increase the action points needed to fire it and reload it.


Like in real life, the sweet spot could be a rifle carbine. This would give you more lethality than a sub-machine gun but with almost the range of an assault rifle. It still won't be as manoevrable as an SMG, being longer and it will have more recoil, affecting accuracy in full auto. Also, having a shorter barrel than an assault rifle means it causes less damage per bullet compared to the longer barreled rifle, as overall velocity is reduced. You could either implement this in the game by reducing overall damage of any gun designated as a carbine or by having some kind of damage drop-off vs. range. This would indicate the lower velocity of the bullet not being noticeable at short ranges (i.e. inside buildings).



Weapon Reloading:

If there is already a cartridge chambered and ready to fire, when you choose a reload action, it should cost less action points. A full reload where you have to swap magazines and then operate the charging handle to chamber a round will take the longest.


Some guns are slower than others to perform a full reload. A bolt hold open device such as on an AR-15 type rifle will be quicker to reload than one without. Having the charging handle on the right side of the gun is also slower for right handed shooters, so a weapon like the AK series of rifles will be slower to reload.



Secondary Weapon/Sidearm:

Having a pistol as a secondary weapon and switching to it, should be faster than reloading your primary weapon. It is also quicker than clearing a jam. Reloading a primary weapon can be slightly quicker if the weapon has magazines that can be clipped together. Some rifles use such magazines that have a clip interface moulded into the plastic (such as the H&K G36 series and SIG 550 series). Others might use a clamp to attach two mags together (such as the H&K MP5).



Ammo Counter:

Don't have an individual ammo count for your guns. This way you don't know exactly when to reload and have to estimate. You can perform an action to check the loaded magazine but this takes time as you would be removing it from the weapon, checking the weight or the counters/holes before replacing it. Certain weapons or better magazines will be transparent or have a visible line, showing remaining cartridges.


After the battle is over (or in between battles), the exact number of cartridges in all of your equipped magazines is visible. This is because you would now have time to check all of your magazines and replace spent ammunition by "combining" two or more mags together, or refilling them from your overall inventory.


While this might sound like it could get too cumbersome when managing multiple mercs, having a constantly updated ammo count in battle meant that single shot and semi-auto fire was usually superior than fully automatic (especially when also being allowed to aim for the head).



Weapon Attachments:

Weight should also factor with the more attachments you have installed on the gun. Having a bipod, foregrip, light, dual mag clamp, laser and optics will cause the gun to weigh more and add more action points to moving around, firing, aiming, etc. It won't add a great amount of increased action point usage but it will be noticeable over the course of a battle. All those extras on a gun help in some ways but hinder in others.



Red Dot & Reflex Sights:

Having one of these should increase accuracy for short and medium ranges.

As it would be quicker to see the dot on the target, I was thinking that it should also cause a slight decrease to the amount of action points it takes to fire a shot. However, having an optic fitted adds a little weight and overall size to the gun (and some, especially older red dots, are large optics) so for game purposes, this would be cancelled out as a heavier gun would increase action point usage due to moving it around.



Long Range Telescopic Sights:

Inefficient for short range, even with a basic iron sight on the top of the scope, this increases overall action points needed to use the weapon. You can still get a kill at short range but you are much better switching to a pistol.



Iron sights:

No bonuses here as most firearms have them. If a battle is taking place at night however, there is an aiming penalty as the shooter will not be able to see through the sights as well as a red dot. This can be altered by having a gun with tritium or fibre optic enhanced sights. These can be installed as standard on the better quality guns or added as an upgrade.




If implemented in a game, endurance means your mercenary has reduced action points if they keep performing actions non-stop each turn. They might need to spend a couple of turns regaining their stamina. Overall weight carried will cause this endurance to fall faster. This can be offset by having a mercenary be stronger or gain fitness throughout the game, either by training when not in combat or through progression in the game. This means that you give your heavier weapons to your stronger mercs.




Don't have specific aiming for body parts. That made single shots too powerful when compared to automatic fire in JA2 because you would just aim for the head every time. There should only be an option to aim for a body location if the merc has a long range optic and has a high enough skill (maybe an unlockable perk for your intended snipers).


While not being able to aim specifically at body zones as standard, they need to be in the game. Head, neck (possibly), chest, abdomen, pelvis, arms and legs. Having a wound to one of these locations could affect movement, ability to stand, ability to hold an item, could cause enhanced bleeding, concussion, unconsciousness or incapacitation.



Cartridge Lethality vs. Body Parts:

The more powerful a bullet, the more damage it does to flesh, muscle, organs and bones. If it could be implemented into the game, there should also be a random chance of causing incapacitation (putting the target down but not dead) or death. The more powerful a bullet, the higher this chance of causing an instant knockout or death. This means that even a lighter bullet has a chance of stopping an enemy or merc in one hit, instead of waiting for all of their hit points to disappear. This is to simulate hitting a vital organ. It also means that more powerful cartridges can possibly incapacitate a target even if they don't kill straight away. This should also lower those moments in JA2 where single enemies could withstand multiple 40mm grenade hits until they collapsed or died.


As an aside, even a headshot doesn't mean an instant kill, even if not wearing a helmet, face plate, etc.  You are not always going to hit the brain.


Certain cartridges would have a bonus to incapacitation or overall wounding. A 5.56mm bullet is small but its velocity and designed fragmentation means that it causes a lot more damage than its size would suggest. 5.45x39mm doesn't fragment but causes serious wounds as it is unstable when it enters the body (much more so than 7.62x39mm).



Cartridge Effectiveness vs. Body Armour:

Certain ammunition will be naturally better at penetrating body armour. In the the past, you had Hollow Points and Full Metal Jacket. Rifle rounds will be better at penetrating armour than pistol calibres. Certain cartridges are also designed specifically for armour penetration, such as 5.7mm and 4.6mm. This does not mean that they are also better in overall damage to the body. 5.7mm is good at penetrating armour but otherwise is still a pistol calibre and will behave as such. Think of 5.7mm as being a 9mm but with great penetration again body armour.


For shotguns, Buckshot is great against the human body but is very poor against body armour. Rifled slugs are much better in this case.



Over-penetration Of The Human Body:

If this is implemented in the game at all, bullets can go through bodies and hit whatever is behind it. This does not necessary correspond with how powerful the bullet or shot is. Buckshot is hard hitting but low penetration, even against the human body. Fragmenting ammunition, like 5.56mm is high velocity but providing it is fast enough when it hits, will break up soon after it enters the body. This means over-penetration will be less likely.



Wall & Material Penetration:

Certain bullets and shot will go through material better than others. Buckshot is again low penetration and won't go through lots of material but internal walls might not even stop hollow points from a pistol if the walls are thin enough. This is because the cavity of a hollow point can fill with the debris from a wall, stopping the bullet from expanding. As mentioned above, 5.56mm is designed to fragment if it hits fast enough, so despite being a fast velocity rifle round, it won't go through wall after wall. On the other hand, it does have a steel penetrator so despite steel being harder than brick or wood, will be more effective hitting metal.



Rate Of Fire:

A higher rate of fire for the gun obviously means more bullets per firing action. Some automatic weapons are slow, such as the AKM/AK-47, standard Uzi, Steyr AUG or H&K UMP .45 . Some are on the opposite end of the scale, such as the Micro-Uzi, MAC-10 or FAMAS. A higher rate of fire should affect full auto accuracy and mean it is possible that those bullets miss. It also means having to reload is more frequent. It is down to the person playing the game to decide on what to do and what gun to equip the merc with.


Most automatic weapons will have selectable modes (even some light machine guns). Semi-automatic fire isn't necessarily slow and even pistols can be fired quickly unless they are large calibre, so a lighter calibre will mean faster semi-auto fire and less action points used. Some firearms also have a 2 or 3 round burst (eg. MP5A5, UMP and FAMAS). To simulate this in game, accuracy of the shot would be very good and in between semi and full auto fire, with action point cost also being in between.



The Benefit Of Fully Automatic Fire:

In JA2, full auto fire was never really useful unless your merc was standing near to an enemy soldier and wanted to kill him as fast as possible so there wouldn't be any return fire. It was never useful for shooting at multiple targets. This was because of how easy it was to make an aimed headshot and also much armour protected the enemy soldier, especially in the late game.


The idea of removing the indicated percentage of how accurate the shot will be is a great idea but I think it could be expanded further. Each bullet needs to do more damage than what they did before in previous JA games. This will create more tension and the desire to keep your mercs in cover when necessary and move in groups, rather than having any lone wolf bullet sponges. Full auto will be the least accurate of all the fire modes but will possibly give the greatest chance of hitting the target. You must weigh this with how much ammunition your merc is carrying



Full Auto Targeting:

It could be a good idea to select an initial point of aim and then an end point, to create a specified arc so you can decide how you want to spread your fire. If you don't to aim at multiple enemies, keep the start and end points cloe together.


You then can choose roughly how many bullets you want to fire by increasing the action point usage (but you don't know precisely how many bullets are used because of the suggestion I made about hiding an individual bullet counter). This could be named Short, Medium or Long Burst. Guns with a higher rate of fire will shoot more in a shorter burst, allowing for more remaining action points left in that turn (because you only needed to choose Short or Medium Burst).


Initial (hidden from the player) accuracy percentage of the first shot fired in full auto is the same as a semi-auto/single shot. The more bullets fired, the increased inaccuracy (which can be compensated for by the merc's specific skill with automatic weapons (and maybe have a separate skill for SMGs, assault rifles and machine guns)).


Why not just always choose Short Burst and see if you need to fire again so as not to waste ammo? You might be using Opportunity Fire in the enemy turn and you only get one action (instead of action points like in your own turn) or you might stop shooting too soon and allow the enemy soldiers to themselves perform Opportunity Fire.


Because each bullet is just as potentially lethal as the last, full auto isn't seen as simply wasting ammo. If not in the game, how about having Suppression? If a merc or enemy is pinned down and bullets keep hitting around them, chewing up the cover, it affects their morale and their ability to respond to orders/carry out actions. They are more likely to stay where they are. Full auto increases that suppression simply because more bullets are being fired in that soldier's direction.


Lastly, regarding full auto benefits, if a merc or soldier is sprinting (by actually choosing a sprint action instead of just "moving"), there is a penalty to hit with a single shot. This doesn't affect buckshot rounds from a shotgun or a single shot area effect (eg. grenade launcher).


With all those factors added in, it means there is a benefit to giving at least one merc in the squad a light machine gun. It will have a high enough rate of fire, enough ammo per belt, enough damage per bullet, as well as the range, to make it effective in engaging and/or suppressing multiple enemies. It will, of course be heavier than a standard infantry weapon so not every merc could carry one without being encumbered. They are not tremendously accurate either, unless laying prone or mounted on a wall or window. Again, the player must weigh up the pros and cons of equipping the merc with such a weapon.



Sound Suppressors:

Having a gun with a suppressor reduces the distance that it can be heard by the enemy (but not as much as movies would have you believe). The more powerful the cartridge, the less effective it is at reducing the noise. This means that specialised weapons with suppressors, be it ones with integral suppressors or light calibres, will be the most effective in limiting noise. Pistol calibres are better at reducing noise and so are the most suitable for those stealthy missions. Cartridges that are small enough or subsonic will be the optimal choice (and due to velocity, a more powerful .45 ACP round would be better here than a 9mm).


Missions at night will mean that muzzle flashes can possibly give away a position of the shooter (even when you have a standard flash hider). A sound suppressor would reduce that chance.


Why not have a suppressor fitted all the time? It reduces velocity and for game purposes, it is thereby lowering damage per bullet and maximum range. Also, suppressors quickly get hot. To simulate this in game, any gun that fires full auto with a mounted suppressor, has a loss of accuracy. This will encourage single shots or if available, 2 or 3 round burst fire unless you are up close to the enemy.



Smoke From Building Destruction & Damage:

Not just something caused deliberately by Smoke grenades, smoke caused from fires or partial and total collapse of a building should cause smoke. This should affect line of sight but also, if a merc or soldier is within that smoke, it should cause an effect like smoke inhalation. Unless actually included in the game (I don't know if you are planning gas masks as available kit), it could simply cause increased fatigue until they are able to leave the smoke and the fatigue level starts to lower.


Damage From Debris:

Falling debris could potentially cause harm to anyone below, not just them falling because the floor got destroyed. Also, possibly add the chance of light injury/health loss from being near to something as it gets shot up. Splinters from wood, chunks of concrete, etc.  This might be too much to program in, however.




As often happens in turn-based squad games, you always have your preferred team and due to squad limit, leave the others back at base. This means that the unused soldiers don't get any combat experience and as you are progressing through the game, even less likely to use them. JA2 had contracts for those mercs and you could have more than one squad around the map but in the situation where there is a limit, any soldier that isn't going into battle goes through training while not in use. They don't level up as well and so are behind (to simulate lack of combat experience) but they are not truly "Green" if you have to take them into battle.



Long Term Battle Fatigue:

This is a factor that affects a merc if they are constantly in one battle after the next. While their experience grows and their skills and fitness increase, battle fatigue starts to rise after so many missions. When it reaches a certain level, it negatively affects their skills and health. The more battle fatigue, the more those attributes are temporarily lowered. The only way for the battle fatigue to be lowered is for them to rest and recuperate. This is done by leaving them out of battle for a time. You either cease fighting until their fatigue has gone below that level or you swap them out with another merc who is back at the base. It is here where the aforementioned training characteristic comes in handy. You swap out the fatigued merc with a fresher one, who hasn't got combat experience but isn't so far behind on their skills due to being able to train while not in use. Meanwhile, the fatigued merc doesn't train while resting until that fatigue level drops enough to where they are combat ready again. This is useful if you want to continue using the new merc.


Long term battle fatigue is not to be confused with fatigue caused by one particular battle (from running too much, carrying too much, smoke or CS gas inhalation or wounds, etc.). It also shouldn't be confused with morale. You can be worn out but still believe that you are going to win the war.



I hope this post has been useful.



Edited by Solaris_Wave
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All great ideas. The one thing I would like to see is the C4/Dynamite mechanic from the original. Being able to blow a hole in any wall not designated locations (like recent JA games), having the ability to set timers which was a valid strategy for taking out patrols.

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Nice suggestions!

One thing I "miss" (or maybe missed?) in your post was weapon familiarization. The more a merc use a weapon the more effective they should become with it. In reality I would be bold and claim that being familiar with a weapon is, in general, way better to make you effective with it than any attachment etc. could do.

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Weapon familiarisation is an excellent idea as understandably, the more you train with and use a weapon, the easier it is for you to use. If weapon jams are in the game, familiarisation should cost less action points to clear the jam because you are going to spend less time wondering what happened and think to yourself, 'Okay, it has done that again, I need to do this…'

How much of a bonus weapon familiarisation gives would need testing, as a merc gaining skills to overall accuracy with weapons (and I hope there will be different ones depending on the weapon type) is already present. It is a very good idea to implement however. The game Silent Storm had weapon familiarisation, if I remember correctly. It took some time for that skill to build up and I think it also fell if you stopped using a weapon, but I could be wrong on that as it has been a long time since I played that game. I'm not so sure whether the skill should really fall, or at least not too quickly as you don't truly forget a weapon's mechanics and quirks unless you have left it alone for a long time.

Weapon familiarisation could give an accuracy bonus to both semi-auto and full-auto fire (the merc knows how to control that gun better), slight range bonus, shorter overall reload time (both tactical and full reload (i.e. operating the charging handle)), and finally, the aforementioned less action points to clear a jam. Those bonuses would make it worthwhile to continue using a particular weapon, even if technically better ones might come along.

Talking about Silent Storm, that really was a superb game (apart from the sci-fi additions) and probably the benchmark for destructible scenery in a turn-based squad game such as this. You could blow holes through walls, ceilings and floors but not just so that the whole section was removed as soon as it was hit. The material would get holes in it and progressively so until it was completely blown away. Buildings would partially or entirely collapse if they took enough damage. You could demolish stairs to section off areas as well. There were battles in that game where upon hearing an enemy soldier in the adjacent room or on the upstairs or downstairs floor, you could aim and shoot through the wood and plaster and hit them. If above you and you damaged that part of the ceiling enough, they could even fall through it.

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I think the topic weapon ballistics is very important to the game. Bullets should realistically hit enemies and should also go through people, walls if the caliber is high enough. Weapons must feel fun to shoot and should have an noticeable impact on the enemy.


I hope there will be a realistic recoil that effects the aiming and that bullets dont just fly straight in a line through enemies. With automatic weapons I hope every bullet will be calculated and will spread so that also people behind the targeted enemy will get hurt.


It would be nice if enemies, mercs who got shoot will have different types of wounds depending on the bullet that hit them. Shotgun shotshells and slugs have a different impact and generate different wounds than for example a normal pistol bullet. 

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The weight of equipment is another factor selldom taken into account in these sort of games.

That way, you would need to keep your mercs gear either optimised for certain encounters (for instance night/stealth combat) or very balanced.

It is not realistic to expect your mercs to haul around every single weapon and gear you think they might need.

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@Solaris_Wave, @bondo, @LoboNocturno, @Hendrix & @WILDFIRE

Kind of reminds me so much of playing Brigade E5 and 7,62mm High Calibre. They feature many of those weapon implementations. Even down to being able to load a magazine with various types of bullets (ie.: a 15 round mag could contain FMJ, JHP, FMH, JHP, FMJ, etc.., a shotgun could be loaded with a slug, then a buckshot, then a slug then a buckshot..). Too bad those games are kind of a buggy mess though.

The original post and all the comments are really on point with what I would like to see as well.

Most of those ideas are kind of 'touched' on with 1.13... which, again, while I don't expect a big studio to go full-out 1.13, I would have "hoped" for something in between Jagged Alliance 2 with a few more advanced characteristics as in 1.13;

Specifically things like weight, modular pouches, etc.. something like having a proper vest to carry magazines, and pouches for various specific objects.

Like having a backpack and grenades in it is ok, but would cost more ap to use the grenade, but having a vest with some grenades in those pouches would cost less ap to use.

But, yeah, after seeing the trailers, I have my doubts. I honestly don't expect anything more than a mix of JA1 and JA2 in tterms of depth of weight, gear and logistics. Unfortunately.

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This is another fairly big post (but nowhere near the size of my thread opener). I was thinking about splitting this into two separate posts but instead I will list them with contents, with the most important ones (at least for the developers) being after part 1. It took me a long time to think it through, trying to balance what is available in real life, with what would be great in the game without causing an excessive number of different items that the developers would have to create.


  1. Shotguns
  2. Inventory (pouches & holsters vs. backpack)
  3. Load-bearing apparel
  4. Extended magazines, ammo drums & ammo belts

One of the greatest advantages of shotguns is their versatility in ammunition options. The main ones being Buckshot and Rifled Slug, there are plenty of others as well. For law enforcement, a shotgun can be excellent and those ammo options open up further. You can use door breaching rounds which are far safer than using buckshot to blow locks and hinges. Door breaching rounds are designed to cause less penetration and fragments as they expend their energy quickly, without causing risk to anyone inside the room, be it hostages or even suspects that you don't want to just kill.

There are mini CS gas shells, sabot rounds to penetrate light armoured vehicles, quadrangle buckshot to knock out vehicle engine blocks, Less Than Lethal rounds, small signal flares, incendiary and flechette rounds, to name a few.

Pump action shotguns still have their uses, even when semi-auto (and full-auto) shotguns are available to law enforcement and militaries. Low pressure rounds like several listed above, won't cycle the action of a semi-auto. They need manual cycling from a pump or charging handle. Therefore, there are semi-auto shotguns that have a dual function.

Tube-fed shotguns are no less useful than one with a magazine or drum. You can top up a tube-fed shotgun a lot quicker than trying it with a magazine, which is handy when you are on a mission. Plus, like GODSPEED was referring to, you can alternate your load depending on what you think will be needed in sequence. You can of course do that with a magazine as well but I would say that you'd need to pre-load that mag before any operation took place and then expect no deviation in how the whole thing played out. Mags are better if you want the same type of ammunition and are going to be using a lot of it frequently.


Inventory (pouches & holsters vs. backpack)
Another thing that GODSPEED said was something I had considered before, and that was the items carried by that merc and how they were carried. One thing I would also really like to see is a difference between something carried in a backpack and something carried on your load-bearing vest or webbing. It isn't hard to add to the game as it just comes down to action point usage. Something in your backpack should take up the whole turn and need your entire action points used up, no matter even if after becoming more experienced and fitter, you gain action points. You don't really need to imagine how long it takes to remove your backpack, open it and search for what you need amongst everything else. More room to carry extra items and being able to carry more (plus often the only way to store a third weapon, except for knives), but they are not readily available that turn.

Meanwhile, anything carried in a pouch, pocket or holster costs the standard amount of action points before skills are factored in that lower the cost.

An outline, body diagram or "paper doll" would be a good interface to have for each merc. Their load-bearing vest or other items has space for weapon magazines, shotgun or grenade launcher rounds, grenades, knives and handguns.

Now, how to do this I am not exactly sure, as I don't know what the developers would want to do and how far they would go about doing it (and I really hope they are reading this thread topic throughout). Pouches can be strapped/fastened to the vest, designed for carrying magazines. A knife would have a holster/sheath, grenades would have a different kind of pouch, a handgun would have its own holster. Why not just have, say, 8 slots on your vest for whatever you want? Because a 9mm 30-round mag is thinner than a 5.56mm or 7.62x51mm mag. I am not talking about maximum weight here (where you could carry more 5.56mm mags overall, compared to 7.62x51mm), I am talking cartridge length. Pistol calibres have shorter cartridges, hence a thinner mag. That means double the amount overall when stacked.

What about mercs that carry more than one handgun? Do they like to dual-wield or have a pistol with a suppressor and also a large calibre revolver? Different to a mag pouch again.

I don't want to complicate the situation for the developers or encourage them to dumb the game down so these are ideas to maybe help simplify for game purposes:

a) Handguns and revolvers could always be the same size and take up a holster. They must have a holster to allow them to be switched to quickly instead of reloading your main gun or clearing a jam. If they are not in a holster, switching to them is slower as if choosing any other item from your inventory (except for the backpack which takes up the whole turn). Holsters have to be bought or found separately. It doesn't matter if it is a full length Taurus Raging Bull in .454 Casull or a short barrel .38 Special. A holster is a holster, meant for that particular gun. There are enough factors in deciding what to carry, with gun weight, ammo weight and capacity, recoil and action point cost.

b) All SMG mags carried can be double the amount of rifle mags carried. Weight will be a major factor as it is, so that overall dictates what the merc takes with them. Larger calibres weigh more (especially if there are anti-materiel sniper rifles in the game), plus mag capacity is lower the larger the ammunition is. 5.56mm, 5.45x39mm and 7.62x39mm mags are 30-round as standard, the more powerful 7.62x51mm (a.k.a. 7.62mm NATO) usually went into 20-round mags. Anything bigger and you are going down to 10 and 5 rounds. This will balance the game naturally as the more damage and range a cartridge (and gun) offers, the less you are carrying. As long as SMGs are weaker per bullet (but not so they end up like BB guns!) and they have a limited range, the extra mags allowed won't make them artificially dominate the game.

c) Shotgun magazines, for mag-fed models, will be the same as carrying rifle mags in terms of how many mags can be carried.

d) Shotgun shells, for tube-fed models could go in a specially worn bandolier or two, or an ammo bag around the waist. I have spent some time thinking about how shotgun shells could be carried, as they are bulky. How would a merc store loose shotgun shells if they didn't have a bandolier or bag? Maybe a number of shells could take up each slot at a time, with bandoliers and bags allowing more to be carried.

e) Ammo drums, whether they are old fashioned 50-round Thompson SMG drums, Beta C-Mags, 75-round drum mags for light machine guns, ammo belts in a box or loose, go in an ammo bag.

f) Extended box magazines such as 45-round capacity for pistols and rifles, if they are to be included, could cut the amount of mags carried by half. Being longer and more cumbersome means that unless they are carried in an ammo bag where there is no carry amount penalty described above, they are too long to carry in a pouch without reducing the overall number of mags available. This means that if a load-bearing vest could allow 6 30-round rifle mags, a 45-round mag can only be carried as a total of 3 on the vest. For pistols, they don't get the bonus double amount carry capacity for being pistol calibre magazines. They are long and so stick out of your pouches.

g) Everything can fit in a backpack with the limits being overall weight allowed to be carried by the merc (governed by the strength characteristic) and some kind of max backpack capacity, which could be max weight allowance of the backpack and a large amount of slots that eventually get used up.


The easiest solution I can visualise:

Have a grid of squares that allow the item's icon to be placed in it. The original X-COM/U.F.O.: Enemy Unknown and Silent Storm use this method, with small items taking up one square, magazines taking up vertical squares (with extended mags being one extra square) and larger items being very 'boxy'. Maybe this grid method could be used for most areas on the merc when it comes to what is worn and where. A load-bearing vest has a grid box that counts as having all the necessary pouches already fitted. It is then up to the player to fill those grid squares with the items they want that are of various sizes whether they are medical, ammunition, grenades, knives, etc. 

A knife could count as a slim, vertical grid shaped item that obviously looks different to an SMG magazine but counts as the same number of squares. Knives count as special items that are assumed to come with a sheath. Drawing a knife from any location except a backpack is as fast as drawing a handgun from a holster. This is to simulate letting go of your gun and leaving it to hang from its sling, and then drawing the knife. Handy for unexpected close combat.

Handguns could be a number of boxes in size with large calibre revolvers and pistols taking up a number of squares. Fitting a suppressor to specific pistols that have threaded barrels will increase the length. As mentioned before, to draw them quickly, they must be in a holster, otherwise they are counted as being in a pocket (as an example). The holster is meant for handguns only and can only take one handgun each. Pistols that have suppressors will fit just as well as a long barreled revolver. To carry another handgun at the same time requires buying and wearing another holster.

Holsters can be fitted to a vest, belt or thigh grid spaces. They take up a certain number of grid squares but this doesn't depend on the size of the gun it holds. For game simplification, there is only one type of holster that covers every type of handgun (otherwise you'd have to create a huge number of different types for every kind of handgun). This simulates being fastened over the top of the vest or belt. For the thighs, the holster is both strapped to a belt and to the thigh. It doesn't take up a belt grid space though as it is just the primary strap and hangs down from there (I am just saying how it obviously attaches in reality). A thigh holster could take up all or almost all of the thigh grid spaces. The reason I have given the choice in my suggestions is because thigh holsters can have pockets for an additional pistol magazine.

If a holstered gun is in a backpack, it provides no benefit in drawing faster.


Load-bearing apparel

There could be a few different vest types to find or buy. They differ in terms of protection and available grid square spaces to equip items. A basic vest will help protect against most handgun calibres but not much else. They don't really allow for equipment either. You can then move up to different vests which protect against rifle rounds, can have additional protection for the shoulders and have extra grid spaces.

To help increase the available grid spaces or ammo capacity, I mentioned bandoliers and ammo bags. Bandoliers fit over the body, increasing the number of shotgun shells that can be carried. These can be easily found and if mercs start without any form of body armour, and in the early game is hard to find or too expensive, bandoliers will be handy in the meantime. Later on, there will be vests that have that capacity built in. There are lots of vests in reality that have dedicated shotgun shell loops.

Ammo bags take up space on the belt (as they cover a part of the belt or hang over it, if hanging from a shoulder). However, once attached, they create extra space for all the ammo types. The ammo bag is important if you want to carry ammo drums and belts. They are otherwise too big in terms of grid spaces, unless you want them in your backpack.

Thigh bags are specifically for medical equipment or any other tools that are in the game, where they can be quickly reached. They cannot be worn with a weapon holster on the same leg, therefore the thigh bag should take up a lot of room on the original thigh grid spaces, maybe leaving just enough room for something like a knife.


Extended magazines, ammo drums & ammo belts

There will be pros and cons to these with the main advantage being purely that you don't have to reload as often. The disadvantages are that they are cumbersome and reduce the quantity of what can be carried. Extended mags and drums are more likely to jam. They should also take more action points to reload, as follows:

a) Extended box magazines, due to their extra length, would need to cause a very slight increase to the number of action points needed.

b) Ammo drums would cause a greater increase. Some drums are easier than others, to complicate things. Beta C-Mags are easier to insert than one from a WWII-era gun.

c) Ammo belts are the slowest. Having to open the top cover on a machine gun, lay the belt  across, close the cover.

Edited by Solaris_Wave
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As I rewatched the gameplay trailer over and over again I have noticed that in the closeup the muzzle flash on the AK47 from Ivan looks a little bit off. I cant point my finger on it but I think its maybe too big and cartoony? It could look more realistic.


We should also not forget the sound design. The weapons in the trailer sound good in my opinion but I hope in the final game you can hear the directions were the shot fire comes from and that the distance can be heard clearly. Also in caves and buildings the weapon shots must resound through the area.

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Constant, large muzzle flashes are definitely more of a Hollywood thing. Otherwise, it isn't something you constantly see being emitted. In the game, missions that take place at night would benefit more from the muzzle flashes. They would give away the position of the shooter. As I pointed out in my initial post, a suppressor would be a good way of reducing that (and suppressors have their own pros and cons).

Short barreled rifles often have a bigger muzzle flash than a standard length rifle. You need a good flash hider attached to the barrel to help reduce this but even then it can be still significant. You are trading the benefit of having a shorter barrel (easier to manoeuvre and lighter) with greater muzzle flash, greater recoil, and lastly, lower range and power due to reduced velocity. This is one of the things about 5.56mm: if the velocity isn't fast enough, the bullet doesn't fragment as much as it should, reducing its lethality. For rounds that don't fragment, their velocity loss still reduces their damage, something that will be noticeable the longer the range.

To refer back to my original post, a carbine or compact carbine should have their damage per bullet lowered, their range reduced and their ranged accuracy reduced as disadvantages. For their advantages, they are lighter in weight and have a reduced action point cost to fire. They would, in addition, get a very slightly reduced reload cost.

Carbines would give you that middle ground between an SMG and an assault rifle: more range than an SMG, more damage per bullet than an SMG, more body armour penetration than an SMG (except for specific armour-piercing rounds like 5.7mm and 4.6mm), more recoil than an SMG (affecting full-auto accuracy), more action points to shoot in any mode than an SMG and more action points to reload than an SMG.


As for sound effects, I agree in how important they should be. A rifle will sound louder than an SMG. There should be a variety of different gunshots as they don't all sound the same but you don't have to have a different sound for every gun. For instance, if one gun is the same as another but with a shorter barrel, you can increase the volume for the shorter barreled one (eg. an AK-74 vs. an AKS-74U or a HK33 vs. a HK53).

Large calibre pistols and revolvers will be loud. They too, vary in that volume. If you have multiple varieties of the Desert Eagle, a .357 Magnum will be louder than your standard handgun calibres, but .44 Magnum will be louder and .50 Action Express louder still. If you want to modify one existing gunshot sound effect, you can slightly raise the volume for each one and slightly increase the bass.

Sound suppressors lower the noise but not to Hollywood levels (although thankfully they have moved away from using that electronic sounding 'BEOOOP' noise). Lighter calibres and subsonic calibres are quieter suppressed than heavier. Therefore, if you are using a suppressed weapon and enemies are closer, the ones still standing are less likely to react to their comrade's demise if you are using a pistol or sub-machine gun.

Reload sounds are different depending on magazine size and how they are inserted. Reloading a pistol mag will sound different to reloading an SMG because of its size and it being inserted inside the grip. A rifle mag going into a magazine well (eg. AR-15) will sound different to one that is initially clipped in and then tilted/rocked back to lock it in place (eg. AK rifles). Tactical reload sound effects will be separate to a full reload sound. You are just changing magazines. A full reload will sound the same but the addition of chambering the first round is needed. For pistols, you release the slide (either manually pulling back to cause the slide stop to drop or thumbing the slide stop). For rifles and SMGs with a bolt release catch, you have that little extra sound. For those without the bolt catch, you've got to pull back the charging handle and then release. If you want to include the famous Heckler & Koch slap for their older models (eg. MP5, G3, HK33), you'd pull back the charging handle first, lock it in place, change the mags and then slap the handle down. Some other guns like the Steyr AUG can be done this way too.

Open-bolt SMGs (eg. Uzi, MAC-10) will, for game purposes, just sound like tactical reloads. Unless there is a problem like a jam, you wouldn't operate the charging handle for a mag change. I'd assume the merc would have already pulled back the handle before combat starts and if there aren't any safety release sound effects, you could have just one reload sound for those.

Finally, for empty casings hitting the ground, I hope falling casings hitting soft surfaces doesn't sound the same as hitting hard surfaces. Casings hitting grass and soil won't sound anything like casings hitting stone or metal. Shotgun casings sound different to brass too.

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It will be interesting to see if weapons are jamming how the mercs will react. I hope they can get angry, will comment the situation and that some may refuse to continue the mission.


The whole morale system should be influenced by the equipment and how it works. For example: Some mercs prefer specific types of weapons and if you give them the wrong weapon that they cant handle the right way their morale and aiming should be influenced negatively.


Also if the ammunition is getting empty or if the field of view for aiming is influenced by bad weather conditions. The mercs should comment on that and the morale system should reflect all these special situations.   

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The announcement that JA3 wouldn't show hit probability is a great idea and an interesting one, considered that practically every other game of this genre has shown the percentage chance of a shot. If it is low enough, you make the decision not to shoot, even when there is still always the probability of a hit. That, combined with my suggestions above, about not showing the precise number of cartridges in a magazine, should make for a tense fight.

It has made me wonder however, if it creates the problem where, if there is no probability shown on screen, you are unable to tell what is really a bad shot and what, despite the terrain and obstacles in the way, the merc has a clear shot at.

This is all down to perspective. You are looking at the battlefield from overhead. What about what the merc sees from their own eyes? It will look different. In contrast, the enemy soldiers might appear more clearly to the player because of the overhead view, whereas the merc would never be able to hit.

One can assume that, as long as an enemy has been spotted by a merc, a bullet can potentially hit them, regardless of any terrain and how far away they are. What happens when the player switches to another merc? Will that enemy disappear from the player's view if that particular merc cannot see that enemy? The location of enemies can be radioed in between mercs (or called out if stealth has been disregarded) but if an enemy is behind a rock and only one merc can see that enemy and their position is revealed to the player, how does the player know that the other merc cannot see that enemy from their perspective?

How much of the enemy can be seen by the merc? The player might see the enemy character appear, crouching behind a rock, and see a fully displayed character model of them. What does the merc see? Maybe a bit of the head and one shoulder of the enemy. Again, how does the player know what the merc can see?

Will the enemy soldiers have some kind of outline, shadowing or highlighting to give a relative idea of what a particular merc can see and how clearly they see them? Would the player also need to switch between every merc to see what they can see for enemies to appear on the battlefield?

While those questions are, for now, unanswered, I was wondering if the merc, due to having a personality, could comment on taking a shot at the enemy and the likelihood of it hitting? If they don't think they could hit that enemy because the chance to hit is really poor (which the player doesn't know about), the merc could comment on that and say they won't shoot. There then could be the additional implementation of them taking the shot if you click on the enemy again, which might actually hit after all.

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30 minutes ago, Solaris_Wave said:

The announcement that JA3 wouldn't show hit probability is a great idea and an interesting one, considered that practically every other game of this genre has shown the percentage chance of a shot. If it is low enough, you make the decision not to shoot, even when there is still always the probability of a hit. That, combined with my suggestions above, about not showing the precise number of cartridges in a magazine, should make for a tense fight.

It has made me wonder however, if it creates the problem where, if there is no probability shown on screen, you are unable to tell what is really a bad shot and what, despite the terrain and obstacles in the way, the merc has a clear shot at.

This is all down to perspective. You are looking at the battlefield from overhead. What about what the merc sees from their own eyes? It will look different. In contrast, the enemy soldiers might appear more clearly to the player because of the overhead view, whereas the merc would never be able to hit.

One can assume that, as long as an enemy has been spotted by a merc, a bullet can potentially hit them, regardless of any terrain and how far away they are. What happens when the player switches to another merc? Will that enemy disappear from the player's view if that particular merc cannot see that enemy? The location of enemies can be radioed in between mercs (or called out if stealth has been disregarded) but if an enemy is behind a rock and only one merc can see that enemy and their position is revealed to the player, how does the player know that the other merc cannot see that enemy from their perspective?

How much of the enemy can be seen by the merc? The player might see the enemy character appear, crouching behind a rock, and see a fully displayed character model of them. What does the merc see? Maybe a bit of the head and one shoulder of the enemy. Again, how does the player know what the merc can see?

Will the enemy soldiers have some kind of outline, shadowing or highlighting to give a relative idea of what a particular merc can see and how clearly they see them? Would the player also need to switch between every merc to see what they can see for enemies to appear on the battlefield?

While those questions are, for now, unanswered, I was wondering if the merc, due to having a personality, could comment on taking a shot at the enemy and the likelihood of it hitting? If they don't think they could hit that enemy because the chance to hit is really poor (which the player doesn't know about), the merc could comment on that and say they won't shoot. There then could be the additional implementation of them taking the shot if you click on the enemy again, which might actually hit after all.

A bit of that has actually be answered already.

If a shot is really bad (but its unclear what really bad means) the Merc will comment about it. This also existed in JA2 btw (not sure about JA1/DG).

If a certain body part is behind cover (but hittable I guess) there is a "wall" icon at that part. (as seen in the gamescom stream)

If a enemy cant be hit at all or just by pure luck (my assumption) it will show a red triangle with white exclamation mark on that part. (as seen in the gamescom sctream). it will show that icon on the enemy on mouseover if all bodyparts cant be hit.

If a character is absolutely not visible to a certain character, the enemy icon shows as greyed out at the bottom of the screen. In addition the enemy on the tactical map is also appearing in white/grey.

So I am not really worried about that.

Regarding visibility though I have no idea. Like if an enemy can hide again or something like that. Dont think we have seen anything about that.

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I am not 100% sure what I should think about the missing hit probability. As I saw the new gameplay footage I was really confused. In the first presentation there was the percentage chance of a shot but now its missing.


I thought they simplified the combat and was really disappointed. But if they have a logical alternative where even the mercs are directly involved with commenting, it can be a good solution. Lets see how this will work in the end.  

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Also something to consider is that the game seems to push a bit for these "wild attacks". There is one ability which has your character move to a new position and shoot. And there is another where the character will shoot at 3 targets on the path.

So the game is trying to drive you away from only doing shots with 90% and incentivising this a bit.

Now in Firaxis XCom this would become a total crapshoot because it would just equal to gamble, but I think it might work here. I mean it is something new, so we can't really tell until we see that in action.

Removal of the % alone is something where I dont think it's of great use, but in this combination, it might work. Will definitely be interesting.

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I am not sure if the game is being dumbed down by hiding the chance to hit percentage. It is simply hiding it while the mechanics of different hit locations to the body and the chances to hit still remain. I am used to seeing that percentage to hit since the earliest turn-based squad shooters but having that displayed always gave some artificial aspect to it. If you are trying to hit a target in real life, do you think you have a 95% chance to hit or a 65% chance to hit? You are more likely to think that you have a 'good', 'average' or 'poor' chance to hit. Maybe that is an idea: to have something like that be displayed. You still have an idea of your chance to hit but it is more generalised.

It also does away with those moments when you see a 85%-95% chance to hit and find it misses, then misses twice more with that same percentage to hit. I remember playing MechForce on the Commodore Amiga and being exasperated at seeing a 95% chance to hit actually miss. Sure, there is a 5% chance of just that happening but it seemed like the computer calculations weren't quite right when it happened more often than expected. That occurs in many games like that, where you are convinced that the computer calculations are deliberately choosing the small probability to miss. It can also create mass frustration when your character(s) misses, an AI enemy hits and kills you outright. My experience with Fallout 1 & 2 consisted of needing to keep your fingers near the Quick Save and Quick Load keys, usually when facing multiple Super Mutants with miniguns or giving a certain one of your party members a Combat Shotgun (shot in the back again with burst mode…thanks, Vic). Laser Squad, the first game of its type that I ever played, didn't even have a means to load an earlier turn. The amount of times you would aim at an enemy with a rocket launcher or auto-cannon and instead of doing just that, your marine thought it would be a nice idea to fire at a 45 degree angle, into the nearest wall and blow himself to smithereens. Your finely crafted ambush goes up in smoke, just like your marine did a few seconds before, while the AI enemies then rub salt and vinegar into the wound by choosing which eyelash to hit on your next marine.


Without being able to play JA3 yet, it is hard to say how well the game will play without showing the hit percentage. Like I posted earlier, it should provide a tense experience as you will never know if you should take the shot. It might lead to increased frustration though, so some feedback could be useful; either the Good, Average, Poor display or the merc saying, "I'll never make that shot!"

As much as I loved JA2 and regard it as one of the best turn-based squad shooters, alongside the original X-COM/U.F.O.: Enemy Unknown (I didn't like the Firaxis reboot) and Silent Storm, there was the issue that I found where snipers were too overpowered. This was due to semi-automatic aimed shots to the head being too easy. It surpassed all other methods of fire. It was the quickest way to kill an enemy soldier instead of full-auto fire (unless at point blank range) and aiming for any other part of the body just delayed neutralisation. That problem became even greater, later into the game, when you fought experienced enemies with body armour that absorbed so much damage, and who were eventually equipped with Rocket Rifles.

Even if the developers reverse the decision to show hit percentage (or alter it), hopefully there won't be the ability to aim at specific locations of the body anymore…maybe except for guns that have telescopic sights and the merc is skilled enough. This was one of the main reasons I created my initial post: to see full automatic fire remain as effective as semi-auto/single shot fire, depending on the circumstances.

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Keep in mind that you can't see hit chances in Original JA1 and JA2 either.

It might be, that the developers, like many players here, were just too "broken" by Firaxis XCom. The big difference isn't just the percentages there, but also that these shots have to hit.

Where you have like 3 shots each turn on JA1/2, you only have one shot in XCom.

So if you screw up that one Shot in XCom, you are toast. In JA1/2 it basically averages out. In addition you can potentially also have more characters adding further to the effect (especially true for old XCom games).

So, in regards of not displaying the hit chance, they are really not doing anything new. They are just not following the new norm established by Firaxis and staying true to the original games.

While I agree on your feel regarding snipering headshots > everything else in Late game of JA 2 @Solaris_Wave (well, in combinaton of setting up "interruption traps"), I don't see how aiming for body parts is related to the previously mentioned issue. It's very much a separate thing to balance.

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You always have to consider three important factors. How experienced, skilled or trained is a specific merc? This will influence the potential chance to hit right from the start and will change as time goes by. So only the merc by himself knows if he is convinced to hit the target.


He should tell us or even better a more experienced merc in the team should comment on the situation like: The rookie wont hit this time, let me take over! Another cool idea would be if experienced mercs would train rookies and would convince them later in the combat by saying: You can make this shot, we trained this do you remember? Trust me!  

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I agree that aiming at specific body parts is a separate issue to showing the hit percentage, I was commenting on it again due to it being a suggestion to change, in my original post of this thread, and also thinking that it would combine with not showing hit percentage to change the flow of play from all the other turn-based squad shooters. I am envisioning gameplay where you see a target but don't know how well a shot has a chance of hitting and also, not choosing specific body parts (invariably the head anyway) at the same time. You are merely trying to hit the enemy in general. That does not mean those factors are no longer there and dumbing down the game, it is more that they are hidden from the player and if the bullet hits, that is obviously a good thing for you, and if the bullet hits somewhere for a faster neutralisation, even better.

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I am curious if weapon customization will influence the hit probability realistically. Every change on a weapon can have a drastic influence on how bullets fly towards the enemy. That combined with dirt or sand on the weapon can make some rifles totally useless. So a good weapon build should be well thought out. We should also have to repair and clean our weapons over time to get the best aim out of it.    


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I am going to cover the four standard rifle cartridges that have been in service post-WWII. For this post, I have tried to generalise things as much as possible, so they can be turned into numbers and statistics for gameplay. I am also generalising when it comes to ammunition type so I am picking standard military issue Full Metal Jacket (and only one version of each, so no old vs. new ammo). Also, bear in mind that bullets can be inconsistent, so even when generalising and putting one calibre before another, sometimes their effects swap their abilities around.

If anybody has their own perspective or thinks I have it wrong, please feel free to say.

7.62x51mm (a.k.a. 7.62mm NATO):
This cartridge is the most powerful of all of the standard rifle calibres. It has the best range and damage out of the four rifle calibres, plus excellent accuracy. If you want to kill a larger animal with as few bullets as possible, this is the one to use (again, out of those four calibres). It is also the best at destroying or shooting through cover, to get to the enemy standing behind it. That means bushes and light trees, bricks, concrete and relatively thin steel. The closer you are to that cover, the easier it will go through due to the power.

Against body armour, please see farther down in this post.

Its downsides are that it has high over-penetration of human targets and will carry on going into whatever/whoever is behind them. Full automatic fire from a battle rifle such as the FN FAL, M14 or H&K G3 is hard to control, due to the recoil and is therefore inaccurate. A heavier gun like a light machine gun is much better in this role.

Finally, this calibre is the heaviest of those four. This means each merc will carry less overall ammunition of this type, compared to the other four types, regardless of strength.

5.56x45mm (a.k.a. 5.56mm NATO or just 5.56mm):
This calibre is much lighter than 7.62mm NATO. It is easier to shoot due to less recoil and much more controllable in full automatic fire. More overall ammunition can be carried and each standard rifle magazine is capable of carrying 20-30 rounds (depending on the gun), when compared to the standard 20-round mags for the 7.62mm NATO rifles.

It has very good range and is as accurate as 7.62mm NATO up to a certain distance, when the lighter weight of the bullet becomes affected (despite travelling faster).

The standard Full Metal Jacket round depends on velocity to do its damage. The rifle's barrel length is important for this as the longer the barrel, the greater the velocity. It maximises its lethality by fragmenting inside the body. The faster it hits, the more it will break up. The slower the bullet when it hits, the less chance it has of fragmenting and it instead produces a deeper but thin wound, reducing its damage. Newer 5.56mm ammunition improves the fragmentation at slower speeds but barrel length is still a general rule.

This is why rifle carbines are in between SMGs and assault rifles when working out most characteristics. They are shorter and more manoeuvrable than an assault rifle (think M4 vs. M16), have more damage output per bullet versus an SMG, have greater range than an SMG and are better at defeating body armour (with the exception of dedicated armour-piercing pistol rounds like 5.7mm, of which they are equal). A carbine chambered for 5.56mm hitting a human at close/closer ranges will still see its bullet fragment. As the range increases and the bullet slows down, that ability drops, affecting damage.

There are some 5.56mm carbines with barrels that are quite short and for the AR-15 series of rifles, there are models with various barrel lengths that exist (and have existed before 2001, when JA3 is set). Those carbines with even shorter barrels will be lighter, even more manoeuvrable (so they should have even less of a cost in action points to fire in any mode) but their ranged effectiveness will be even lower. They produce a larger muzzle flash. They also put more wear on some of the components. If weapon degradation is in the game, these should degrade quicker. Attach a suppressor to the gun and that increases even more.

Regarding 5.56mm rounds penetrating natural terrain, they vary, again with velocity being a factor. Through wood, the bullet can hit it and exit sideways. Additionally, it will create lots of splinters and shrapnel. It is difficult to exactly say how it performs because it depends on the thickness of the wood.

Due to its fragmentation and light weight, its overall penetration through objects is actually quite low. This actually makes it more handy for law enforcement use as over-penetration is less of a risk.

Against metal, 5.56mm is capable of going through thin steel plate. This is helped by the bullet having a steel penetrator. Thicker steel will stop it but being behind a car door won't protect you, even with the additional materials in the door.

It might sound obvious to say but eventually that terrain object will disintegrate as more bullets hit it. Terrain being hit by 5.56mm is no exception here.

For penetrating body armour, 5.56mm is effective enough to shoot through all but the newest and/or highest levels of armour. Armour is usually rated for handgun calibres only (and also stopping shrapnel if they are Vietnam-era flak vests) or up to and including standard rifle calibres (and stopping shrapnel).

7.62x39mm (a.k.a. 7.62mm Soviet or 7.62mm Warsaw Pact):
This is the calibre used in the earlier series of AK rifles, such as the AK-47 and AKM. It is also used in the SKS. Newer models of the AK have been chambered for this calibre as well, alongside 5.45x39mm. Ammunition is widely available and cheap to buy.

It is not to be confused with 7.62x51mm, despite being almost identical in calibre. It has lower velocity, lower range and lower penetration compared to that cartridge. Of the four standard rifle calibres, it is the second to last in accuracy when firing fully automatic (7.62mm NATO being at the bottom, due to power). It causes quite a lot of recoil and the AK isn't that great at controlling it either.

It is quite heavy to carry in bulk, being nearly as heavy as 7.62mm NATO. That said, standard issue rifle magazines in this calibre can hold 30 rounds.

Against a human target, it is actually the lowest of the four calibres. It can often shoot straight through before it has had enough time to tumble and create a wide enough cavity to surrounding body tissue. Now, this can vary depending on how big a person is, the angle it hits and what it hits (much like all of the calibres) but I am trying to simplify things so they can be implemented into the game, in terms of numbered statistics. It also has the added problem in that it will over-penetrate.

Against a larger animal, it is the second best, behind 7.62mm NATO.

Against materials, it is also second best (behind 7.62mm NATO). It is very good at shooting through and/or destroying cover.

Against body armour, please see what I have written farther down in this post.

Regarding barrel length, it is as with other guns. There are shorter barrelled AKs in this calibre, such as the AK-104 carbine, and really short-barrel AKs such as the unofficial AKMSU. While they will lower velocity, you also have the long-barrelled RPK, which is a Light Support Weapon. This has increased velocity. That means increased range and damage.

5.45x39mm (a.k.a. 5.45mm Soviet or 5.45mm Warsaw Pact):
This was the Soviet Union's answer to the 5.56mm cartridge and is the current calibre for many nations that issue modern (or more recent) AK rifles. It has a lot less recoil compared to 7.62x39mm, is more accurate and controllable for all rates of fire, and has better range. Being lighter in weight, more ammunition can be carried. The switch from steel magazines to polymer also helps with this.

Recoil is very mild out of the four calibres. In fact, it is the lightest of the four.

Against the human body, it can be quite unpredictable as it becomes erratic in its direction of travel. It tumbles easily, increasing it damage and can enter one part of the body and exit somewhere else. It can fragment slightly but isn't really designed for that and its capability to cause damage is mainly due to its travel. While 5.56mm does most of its damage soon after entering, 5.45mm penetrates farther. Both are nasty, they just do it differently. 5.45mm is superior to 5.56mm in that it doesn't rely on velocity and barrel length to do its damage. Sure, a shorter barrel will make it slower but the bullet will still tumble and veer off in a different direction. A lower velocity would probably make the bullet remain inside the body, whereas at normal and higher velocities, it might exit one person and enter someone else.

Against larger animals, it is not really ideal but I would say it is the third best of the four calibres.

Against natural cover, it is more likely to be deflected. Like when it enters a human target, this bullet can hit terrain and veer off at an angle. That said, it can also sometimes penetrate better than 7.62x39mm through certain materials, due to it being thinner. 5.45x39mm is a lot less consistent in its overall behaviour.

Against body armour, please see farther down in this post.

Regarding barrel length, it is like the AKM. There are shorter barrelled AKs in this calibre, such as the AK-105 carbine. There is also the compact, short-barrelled AKS-74U, issued to vehicle crews and special forces. The AKS-74U is very manoeuvrable (equalling less action point cost), with a higher rate of fire than the standard AK-74. It does however, have less range and in full-auto, a lot of recoil. Weapon degradation increases too. The barrel is so short, it gets hot very quick, so it isn't really meant for prolonged automatic fire.

There is also have the long-barrelled RPK-74, which is a Light Support Weapon and is basically the RPK chambered for 5.45x39mm. This also has increased velocity, meaning increased range and damage.


To generalise the already generalised information, I have put them in rough order:

RANGE: 7.62x51mm > 5.56mm > 5.45x39mm > 7.62x39mm.

BULLET ACCURACY: 7.62x51mm > 5.56mm > 5.45x39mm > 7.62x39mm.

FULL-AUTO ACCURACY (Due to recoil): 5.45x39mm > 5.56mm > 7.62x39mm > 7.62x51mm.

DAMAGE VS. HUMANS: 7.62x51mm > 5.56mm (from a longer barrelled rifle) > 5.45x39mm > 5.56mm (from a shorter barrel) = 7.62x39mm > 5.56mm (from the shortest barrel).

DAMAGE VS. ANIMALS: 7.62x51mm > 7.62x39mm > 5.45x39mm > 5.56mm.

DAMAGE VS. WALLS: 7.62x51mm > 7.62x39mm > 5.45x39mm > 5.56mm.

DAMAGE VS. STEEL: 7.62x51mm > 7.62x39mm > 5.56mm (longer barrel) > 5.45x39mm > 5.56mm (shorter barrel).

DAMAGE VS. BODY ARMOUR: 7.62x51mm, 7.62x39mm, 5.56mm = 5.45x39mm. (This is the hardest one to get clear information on as I have read different results, so the order varies. Body armour that is designed to protect against the common rifle calibres, is designed to protect against all four just as well).

So how is all of this information useful for implementing into a computer game? Hopefully, by seeing this information, the developers can translate it into numbers, with each calibre doing so many points of damage against this sort of cover, that sort of body armour, that particular target and so on. It is important to feature less damage, the farther away the target is, rather than it simply having a fixed amount of damage up to a certain range and after that, the bullet (and gun) being no good. Modelling distance in the game is essential because it creates a reason for heavier guns and calibres to exist. It also means that carbines and SMGs will excel at close range, where their weaker damage per bullet isn't noticeable and their more controllable size and weight mean they cost less action points to fire. In JA2, there was unrealistic weapon appearance and progression, with handguns appearing first, then SMGs and then rifles. There was no advantage to using smaller weapons once the rifles appeared and no penalty to rifles in close quarters (hence my very first post and one of the main reasons for creating this thread).

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On 9/19/2022 at 9:17 PM, Solaris_Wave said:

7.62x51mm (a.k.a. 7.62mm NATO):
This cartridge is the most powerful of all of the standard rifle calibres. It has the best range and damage out of the four rifle calibres, plus excellent accuracy. If you want to kill a larger animal with as few bullets as possible, this is the one to use (again, out of those four calibres)

Having experience with 7.62x51mm and 5.5.56x45mm as an army conscript and I personally use a rifle chambered in .308W for hunting moose and red deer. I simply have to state that you do not want to use FMJ ammo when hunting large animals with "battle rifle calibers". FMJ simply tends to pass through without much damage and/or shock and most likley end up simply wounding the animal or causing a very slow death. Even with dedicated large game expanding hunting ammunition and a clean shot trough both lungs, it is not uncommon for a grown moose/red deer to continue to run for several hundreds of meters before succumbing, especially if the animal is already driven by a dog or scared by someone. Adrenaline is a hell of a thing.

During my time in the army the officers took us to the range one day and demonstrated the damage done of a 5.56x45mm FMJ vs a 7.62x51mm FMJ on a dead pig. The 7.62 passed clean through while the 5.56 started to tumble once it hit and created a very nasty exit wound.

I have to be very clear here that these are my experiences with these calibres and I am sure others have other experiences, I would say though that what I wrote above is what you should expect from FMJ in general.

@Solaris_Wave not really arguing with you about how things should work from a gameplay perspective.

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