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Vague terms like “tactical” and “realistic”
RaptorDate: Wednesday, 2014-05-21, 03:08 | Message # 1
Group: Commander
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I’d like to talk about a bunch of terms related to gaming that people often use but, from what I see, hardly think about their actual meaning.

Imho “tactical” means nothing more but to play with tactics. Now that’s still pretty vague but imho it doesn’t neither include the need for teamwork, nor a certain quality of the tactics.
One could even consider “everyone goes lone wolf in a different direction” as “tactical”. Maybe it is not a good plan and for sure it doesn’t include teamwork, but it’s a basic plan. A tactic.

Imho teamwork means that individuals carry out certain smaller tasks in a coordinated way to achieve a common, greater goal. It includes mutual support and appropriate communication. And that between all team members, not just in one subteam while another subteam rambos around or some AI dudes do their own stuff in your area.
(Btw I personally consider everything else than voice chat inappropriate communication for a first person shooter. Keybinds and alike are not flexible enough, and text chat prevents you from fighting while communicating.)

On a sidenote: a lot of games including CS and CoD allow tactical teamwork. There are team-based game modes where the teams have to reach certain objectives, e.g. planting a bomb, capturing a certain position or even rescuing hostages. The tactics are usually based on precise map knowledge, include code-names for certain locations and even include specific gear for the players. Often this gamemodes don’t allow respawn in a running round, which supports teamwork. And a lot of clans use voice communication. However one thing that is intentionally missing is realism.

The old definition was “close to real life”. However in our times it’s often “closer to real life than CoD”:
- no automatic health regeneration = realistic
- no auto health regen and no instant grenade throwing = super realistic
- no auto health regen, no instant grenade throwing and some negative effects of injuries (like limping) = holy sh**, that’s more realistic than real life!

Bottom line: there are various degrees of “realistic”, ranging from “a bit better than CoD” up to real military simulations where players for example only transport stuff in a convoy from A to B for 3 hours without enemy contact at all. Hence the term “realistic” is very vague.
Even more so because it might refrain to different aspects, in particular environment and scenario. A realistic environment includes for example realistic ballistics, a realistic wounding system, etc. A realistic scenario on the other hand puts the player in an overall realistic combat situation. Example given: Arma2 with ACE and ACRE offers a pretty realistic environment. However playing in a team of regular infantry consisting of a leader, medic, AT dude and sniper is just a plain unrealistic scenario. Another example: Swat4’s game mechanics offer a certain realism. But no one would deploy a 4 or 5 men swat team against more than 15 heavily armed terrorists who have occupied a hospital, and the terrorist would probably guard the entries instead of patrolling/waiting in every room of the building.

Appendix: what AST seeks for
Quote from our philosophy
We want to play tactical games together, mostly FPS in modern times. And we want to play as realistically as possible. We seek to use real life tactics and procedures as far as possible and thus create a certain amount of atmosphere and get immersed into the game.

So what we as team want is a degree of realism that creates a realistic atmosphere, i.e. the temporary illusion to be really in that situation as a real soldier. And this degree of realism must be achieved by all aspects, namely the environment, the scenario and the tactics alike. Otherwise the atmosphere simply gets broken.
Note that this is still not an exact definition. How much realism is actually necessary to create such an atmosphere varies from game to game and from person to person. However it’s exact enough to define how we as a team want to play.

In order to get a realistic environment we play only certain games, with certain mods.
To get a realistic scenario we play only certain game modes and certain missions. However in public gameplay and competitive PvP modes one has to lower one's sights in this regards, but that’s another topic.
To be able to apply realistic tactics we have written, game-independent SOPs derived from real-life sources, and trainings to teach, practice and improve said SOPs. Obviously these tactics demand teamwork, because rambos have nothing to do on a real battlefield. Moreover they demand realistic ways to communicate, and that’s why voice communication is mandatory on our servers. Almost everything else is just an unrealistic, mostly insufficient substitute for tactical communication.

"Teamwork is essential, it gives them someone else to shoot at."
Murphy's Laws of Combat #9
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