The Art of Gunplay

This is going to generally be a discussion of the HUD indicators that will be available to players while they wield weapons, not so much about the delicate balance of the sandbox, which weapons should return etc. Whatever the final sandbox is, the question becomes: will the gunplay be rewarding? Following Halo’s classic mantra of “easy to pick up, hard to master” I’ve collected a few points below and will continue to update based on feedback. Other than that, pretty much just let me know your thoughts!

  • Reticle bloom (at least visually) was first introduced into Halo: Reach, though in fact all Halo games do have weapon bloom, just as many modern triple A shooters do. Weapon bloom is essentially when your clustering down range becomes less and less accurate as you fire more often. So with semi-autos the game indicates to you with the reticle blooming effect that you should be taking a bit more time to aim between rounds, and with autos you can learn to burst your clip - while decreasing your DPS, it gives your fire a tighter clustering, and hence greater accuracy, hence more kills. IMO since this system is in place behind the scenes anyways, the more the player has access to vital gameplay information like that the better. However the bloom indicators should be secondary effects on top of a fixed reticle, instead of altering the core reticle itself as that can become distracting. - ADS is a tricky one. For the most part I am of the preference to go back to the old system where some weapons can scope in and others cannot. However, I do not think these two schools of thought are mutually exclusive. ADS makes sense in Halo for a few weapons in a way that would replace the scope. For example ADS for the automag would be very nice, as opposed to a traditional scope. Or perhaps they could enable an alt fire mode where you slide the scope to the side and the weapon becomes ADS? - Dual-wielding has always been a controversial decision for Halo from the start, even within H2s development team. I’m generally in favor of keeping it now that it’s been introduced in previous titles, but just limiting the pool of ambidextrous weapons. I don’t think giving the player the option to duel-wield really takes anything away from the core experience. I’m including this here as it does alter HUD mechanics. - Hit-scan has never really been a thing in Halo so there’s not much to talk about there, other than it might be cool to see a Promethean weapon that’-Yoink!--scan. - Finally, wanted to insert something fun here to conclude. Active Reload gives the player access to a visual indicator of the time delay between mag swaps, it’s basically a small mini-game for the normal reload process, meaning that if you wanted to completely ignore it you could. But if you press the action button at a certain time within the overall reload countdown, as indicated on the mini-game, you are rewarded with an insta-reload, cutting valuable milliseconds potentially off an encounter. This is an interesting concept to think about in Halo.Any other gunplay mechanisms you’d like to see in the game or critiques with Infinite’s gameplay based on the limited gameplay trailer we have?

Your last point about active reload is really interesting, that seems like a really fun mechanic on paper. For PvE, for sure, that’s something you could truly ignore without feeling too cheated in that encounter and super satisfying when pulled off.

But for PvP? I can see it causing an absolutely huge uproar as muscle-memory for something like that takes time, especially if each weapon has different timings for the action button to insta-reload, which is something a lot of casual or average players really wouldn’t enjoy and would probably feel alienated by after being toasted by another player who’s well versed in the mechanic.

What do you think would be a good middleground for something like that?

I like mechanics that introduce skill gaps… along the lines of popping shields and then body shots vs head shots. The skill gap of a 5 shot kill vs a 7 shot kill with the magnum really separates the grown ups from the kiddies (and often leaves me looking very foolish).

So some sort of reloading differential would be cool.

I actually liked the bloom mechanic. As long as you are 100% accurate with the correct shot pacing it’s good. Go too slow or (especially) too fast and your shots start to stray. I don’t mind the randomness (some people get very upset though). But the important thing is that if you know the weapon, and pace your shots correctly, it’s all good.

As for hit-scan. With better processors there is probably no need. The game can calculate the projectiles path with enough accuracy and refresh rate that simple hit-scan is no longer needed. And as you said, I don’t think the Blam engine has used hit-scan for a while (it just calculates very fast projectiles).

ADS is ok. A bit of trade up in accuracy and range at the expense of view. Helps more with some weapons than others. Provides extra skill gap.

Finally, no to DW. It’s been done to death. It didn’t balance properly back then and I’m sure 343 have tried internally. It’s also very telling that other FPS haven’t bothered going with DW. It just has too much impact on the both the weapon sandbox (guns have to be nerfed) and the combat sandbox (everyone now shreds at close quarters).

> 2533274802257936;2:
> Your last point about active reload is really interesting, that seems like a really fun mechanic on paper. For PvE, for sure, that’s something you could truly ignore without feeling too cheated in that encounter and super satisfying when pulled off.
>
> But for PvP? I can see it causing an absolutely huge uproar as muscle-memory for something like that takes time, especially if each weapon has different timings for the action button to insta-reload, which is something a lot of casual or average players really wouldn’t enjoy and would probably feel alienated by after being toasted by another player who’s well versed in the mechanic.
>
> What do you think would be a good middleground for something like that?

You bring up some really good points, because as opposed to the relatively intuitive nature of Halo’s gameplay (as in within an hour or so you know all of the controls pretty familiarly, there are no secrets), Active Reload may introduce an instance of player-specific knowledge, with the individual weapon timings and what not, that could lend itself to widespread noob suppression lol. Perhaps 343i could implement the system such that not all weapons have that feature, or potentially just a legendary weapon like Fred’s modified DMR that would be super tactical.

Idk. Maybe GoW has a steeper learning curve and thus a larger skill gap between regulars and casuals, but it seems to work ok in that. I know they are different, but the concept stands that it can be implemented without breaking the system, though it still needs to be tested in Halo. Like many other exploratory Halo concepts that are sort of on the cusp of acceptability, I say, maybe don’t implement it into the core game, but leave it as a custom games/forge option. There’s no harm there.

I heard something specific is going to make a return from the first halo game. I hope it’s the flashlight. I also hope that in the campaign and maybe even in multiplayer there is an actual use for the flashlight. I always thoughts it was funny in CE that chief looks like he has flashlights on his helmet but in the game the lights on the gun and the flashlight dies like doom 3. You would think with all their technology and power suits they’d have a good working flashlight. I do like the fact that it dies. Makes it scary it dies when you need it.

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> I heard something specific is going to make a return from the first halo game. I hope it’s the flashlight. I also hope that in the campaign and maybe even in multiplayer there is an actual use for the flashlight. I always thoughts it was funny in CE that chief looks like he has flashlights on his helmet but in the game the lights on the gun and the flashlight dies like doom 3. You would think with all their technology and power suits they’d have a good working flashlight. I do like the fact that it dies. Makes it scary it dies when you need it.

With the day/night cycles that are supposed to happen within the campaign a flashlight or night vision like in Reach or H3 ODST would be necessary in the case they actually make things get dark at night. The flashlight isn’t specific to CE though, just the way it was implemented in the game was different than H2/3. In H3 to use the flashlight you had to not have any of the equipment pick ups in your inventory.

I think the only way dual wielding can come back, and still be balanced, is to remove the ability to ‘mix and match’ dual wield guns.

Instead, the dual wielding would work more like the Dual Barretas from Counter Strike. When you buy them, your pistol slot gets replaced by two pistols, being duel wielded, that fire separately, but act as one weapon entity. You can’t drop one of them, or trade one of them out for a different pistol. If someone using them dies, and you’d stand over the weapon entity, you have the option to "hold X to pick up Dual Barretas.

So dual wielding would be able to return, but it would be ssssoooo much easier to balance, because you don’t have to worry about balancing an SMG for do many scenarios (lone SMG, SMG+SMG, SMG+Plasma Rifle, SMG+Plasma Pistol, etc). Instead your simply balancing weapon draw time, re-load time, whether or not the player can melee/ nade with the weapons drawn, etc.

It wouldn’t be a perfect solution, because you wouldn’t probably have as many dual wield combos. But it could still let some players enjoy dual wielding occasionally, while not throwing the weapon sandbox balance for a complete loop in regards to half the weapon sandbox.

I hope that makes sense… I know CoD and BF have both had dual wield weapons available with this approach, and it seems like it works ok.

> 2614366390849210;7:
> I think the only way dual wielding can come back, and still be balanced, is to remove the ability to ‘mix and match’ dual wield guns.
>
> Instead, the dual wielding would work more like the Dual Barretas from Counter Strike. When you buy them, your pistol slot gets replaced by two pistols, being duel wielded, that fire separately, but act as one weapon entity. You can’t drop one of them, or trade one of them out for a different pistol. If someone using them dies, and you’d stand over the weapon entity, you have the option to "hold X to pick up *Dual Barretas.*So dual wielding would be able to return, but it would be ssssoooo much easier to balance, because you don’t have to worry about balancing an SMG for do many scenarios (lone SMG, SMG+SMG, SMG+Plasma Rifle, SMG+Plasma Pistol, etc). Instead your simply balancing weapon draw time, re-load time, whether or not the player can melee/ nade with the weapons drawn, etc.
>
> It wouldn’t be a perfect solution, because you wouldn’t probably have as many dual wield combos. But it could still let some players enjoy dual wielding occasionally, while not throwing the weapon sandbox balance for a complete loop in regards to half the weapon sandbox.
>
> I hope that makes sense… I know CoD and BF have both had dual wield weapons available with this approach, and it seems like it works ok.

This is not a bad idea but would leave many of the people wanting dual wielding dissatisfied as the only way dual wielding gave a major advantage was with weapon combos like a plasma pistol with another weapon for the noob combo so you could bust shields and almost instantly get a headshot kill. It would however make it possible to balance the sandbox so that the standard versions of dual wieldable weapons aren’t nerfed to the point of being nearly unrecognizable when it comes to how they function.

> 2535405142932928;6:
> > 2533274828947499;5:
> > I heard something specific is going to make a return from the first halo game. I hope it’s the flashlight. I also hope that in the campaign and maybe even in multiplayer there is an actual use for the flashlight. I always thoughts it was funny in CE that chief looks like he has flashlights on his helmet but in the game the lights on the gun and the flashlight dies like doom 3. You would think with all their technology and power suits they’d have a good working flashlight. I do like the fact that it dies. Makes it scary it dies when you need it.
>
> With the day/night cycles that are supposed to happen within the campaign a flashlight or night vision like in Reach or H3 ODST would be necessary in the case they actually make things get dark at night. The flashlight isn’t specific to CE though, just the way it was implemented in the game was different than H2/3. In H3 to use the flashlight you had to not have any of the equipment pick ups in your inventory.

Having access to a flashlight given the day/night cycles in Infinite could be really cool. And if they reintroduce the Flood, having a flashlight that dies would absolutely be awesome. Especially if the engine can handle fire (I’m looking at you Brute firebombs) night sequences ala ODST, or even more horror oriented, would be fantastic.

Other than the flashlight Halo has actually tested out quite a few other forms of low-light vision, including:

  • VISR mode, which I believe is set make a comeback in Infinite - Night vision, either through H1s sniper scope, or Reach’s HUD toggle - Thermal imaging (“heat vision”) through H4s Promethean Vision armor ability

Active reload in Halo is something I’ve never heard suggested before. That could be really interesting and I do love active reload in Gears a ton. Hitting that perfect active reload feels so good! I can imagine it would be rather controversial in multiplayer because you could rapidly decrease your time to kill for what seems like no reason at all to whoever is being killed. I do believe the helmet flashlight will make a return because they show Chief using his flashlight in the Discover Hope trailer from 2019.

> 2533274838687111;1:
> - Reticle bloom - ADS - Dual-wielding - Active Reload

For Reticle Bloom, I don’t mind it honestly, so long as on precision weapons (possibly aside from the sidekick) it fully resets between shots and it just used as a visual indicator of the spread of each bullet in a burst shot, or a timer between shots for semi-autos. It’s a neat effect. On Autos it should also indicate the spread of bullets as the trigger is held or released as it has in every Halo game since Reach. But please 343 make weapon n reticles actually resemble their classic counterparts. Seeing a Halo 2/3 style BR reticle where the perpendicular lines kick to indicate the burst spread would be so much nicer than the BR reticle in 4/5 was.

For ADS, Halo doesn’t need it at all. Smart Link is the in-lore explanation for the targeting reticle on the HUD. A Spartan or Marine’s HUD links directly to the weapon and uses the reticle to indicate the trajectory it will fire. This allows a Spartan to make wicked accurate shots despite holding weapons in crazy positions. And the strength of enhancements + Mjolnir means a Spartan has absolute control of a weapon in spite of the recoil, even one handed. A Spartan wouldn’t aim down sight because they wouldn’t need to. The Zoom function is when a Spartan’s visor displays a direct-feed from the scope of the weapon, allowing even more accurate shot placement.

As for Dual Wield, I’m indifferent, but think about it from this perspective. Halo Infinite may FINALLY have a proper mid-range Plasma support weapon for the very first time since CE. The Plasma Rifle was butchered because of Dual Wield and the Pulse Carbine looks to be the first weapon to finally fill a role that’s been missing in the sandbox because of it for 20 years.

Dual Wield is the reason the AR was never as effective as CE’s again, as it’s role was usurped by the decidedly weaker SMG in 2/3, and the AR was never changed back.

Dual Wield weapons are so rarely effective that in H3 there’s a grand total of 2 combos worth maybe using instead of just keeping your AR/BR from spawn. The rest was useless drek.

Why bother when Infinite can have a sandbox full of diverse, unique weapons that can all stand on their own two feet?

Finally Active Reload: I dig it, but I’d like it to be less of a minigame and more of a practical timing option. Halo 2’s “B and X” buttons could be used to active reload a weapon so long as you pressed it as soon as the fresh mag was in the weapon. In Infinite simplifying it so that you just press your reload button a second time with good timing to instantly finish your animation would be awesome. But don’t further detriment players for missing with a jamming animation or anything, just make it so that you can’t active reload if you’ve already pressed X a second time during the animation so you can’t spam it. That way if you miss the timing the only detriment is that you need to finish the animation or cancel into a Melee attack or grenade as usual.

Just sayin, a ton of halos weapons are hitscan. H3 prob had the largest amount of projectile-based weapons.

> 2533274840624875;12:
> Just sayin, a ton of halos weapons are hitscan. H3 prob had the largest amount of projectile-based weapons.

Check out YouTuber Generalkidd, he’s done some really excellent work in general, but yeah has completely debunked that common misconception. No classic Halo game ever had hit-scan. Watch the video in the link if you’re interested.

Bloom was not always there. It was on autos not precision weapons.

> 2535415744086631;14:
> Bloom was not always there. It was on autos not precision weapons.

You make a good point. Bloom deals with the decrease in accuracy players see in their weapons when they fire them continuously over a short period. If you go back to Halo CE, Halo 2, or Halo 3 and take an automatic UNSC weapon against a wall, SOME bullets are going to land outside the reticule over time. Thus indicating that Bloom was in past Halo games, just not visually presented as much as in Reach. Video test here.

The traditional counter argument starting with Reach was that now that it had been incorporated with precision weapons, it introduced ‘randomness’ into long range gunplay. However there is a fantastic post on Bungie.net by user Rorchach back in the day where he seems to disagree that there wasn’t bloom on every weapon from the start. Quoting now:

*Go into the code of halo CE for example, and you will see it. Its labeled as spread mind you, but it IS what is now called “bloom”, so don’t worry. tweaking with spread (changing the float values) makes the bloom have more of an effect and less of an effect. This is bloom. It was in Halo CE, Halo 2, Halo 3, and Halo Reach. It is only visualized in Reach, however, because CoD was doing it (video game companies see what works with other games and emulate it).*And this does not just go for shooting at a wall as opposed to shooting an enemy. When you shoot an enemy, two main things go into effect: Bullet magnatism, and aim assist. Those are not the same as bloom. more bullets will hit the target thanks to aim assist and the magnatism of the projectile, but bloom will still be in effect, making the gun less and less acurate with each shot. This happened in the EVERY weapon, mind you (even weapons that you wouldn’t think would have them, like the needler and rocket launcher)

> 2533274838687111;13:
> > 2533274840624875;12:
> > Just sayin, a ton of halos weapons are hitscan. H3 prob had the largest amount of projectile-based weapons.
>
> Check out YouTuber Generalkidd, he’s done some really excellent work in general, but yeah has completely debunked that common misconception. No classic Halo game ever had hit-scan. Watch the video in the link if you’re interested.

do this with every weapon and then you can make the claim that no weapon is hitscan. BR is great, but I want more than “this guy said so off the cusp while showing just the BR”
Coming from the academic world, I need more than a generalization statement (especially when you have snickerdoodle saying H2 had some hitscan weapons back in 2018). I dont really care that much though given either or means nothing to me

> 2533274840624875;16:
> > 2533274838687111;13:
> > > 2533274840624875;12:
> > > Just sayin, a ton of halos weapons are hitscan. H3 prob had the largest amount of projectile-based weapons.
> >
> > Check out YouTuber Generalkidd, he’s done some really excellent work in general, but yeah has completely debunked that common misconception. No classic Halo game ever had hit-scan. Watch the video in the link if you’re interested.
>
> do this with every weapon and then you can make the claim that no weapon is hitscan. BR is great, but I want more than “this guy said so off the cusp while showing just the BR”
> Coming from the academic world, I need more than a generalization statement (especially when you have snickerdoodle saying H2 had some hitscan weapons back in 2018). I dont really care that much though given either or means nothing to me

Why would this snickerdoodles claim hold any more significance then any one else?
Other then that, I’m pretty sure it was known for quite some time that Halos engine uses „pseudo hit scan“ and has no coding for actual hit scan before some YouTuber made a video about it.

> 2533274840624875;16:
> > 2533274838687111;13:
> > > 2533274840624875;12:
> > > Just sayin, a ton of halos weapons are hitscan. H3 prob had the largest amount of projectile-based weapons.
> >
> > Check out YouTuber Generalkidd, he’s done some really excellent work in general, but yeah has completely debunked that common misconception. No classic Halo game ever had hit-scan. Watch the video in the link if you’re interested.
>
> do this with every weapon and then you can make the claim that no weapon is hitscan. BR is great, but I want more than “this guy said so off the cusp while showing just the BR”
> Coming from the academic world, I need more than a generalization statement (especially when you have snickerdoodle saying H2 had some hitscan weapons back in 2018). I dont really care that much though given either or means nothing to me

Hey if you watch the video rather than just reading the title you’ll learn he has a program where he’s able to go into the engine and pull out the stats the devs used to create each weapon, all very academic. He’s done this with nearly every weapon in the original trilogy, and has been able to demonstrate that Halo has always utilized projectiles (I don’t believe the blam engine even had a setting for real hitscan) but that some weapons which have traditionally been considered hitscan just have an incredibly high velocity so that it feels as if it is indeed hitscan. All they did to tune the BR in H3 was slow the velocity down which threw people off because they had to adjust how much they were used to leading targets. Dig around into his content more for yourself if you want to see the numbers, but I’m pretty sure he’s done a metrics breakdown for most weapons.

> 2533274810177460;11:
> > 2533274838687111;1:
> > - Reticle bloom - ADS - Dual-wielding - Active Reload
>
> For Reticle Bloom, I don’t mind it honestly, so long as on precision weapons (possibly aside from the sidekick) it fully resets between shots and it just used as a visual indicator of the spread of each bullet in a burst shot, or a timer between shots for semi-autos. It’s a neat effect. On Autos it should also indicate the spread of bullets as the trigger is held or released as it has in every Halo game since Reach. But please 343 make weapon n reticles actually resemble their classic counterparts. Seeing a Halo 2/3 style BR reticle where the perpendicular lines kick to indicate the burst spread would be so much nicer than the BR reticle in 4/5 was.
>
> For ADS, Halo doesn’t need it at all. Smart Link is the in-lore explanation for the targeting reticle on the HUD. A Spartan or Marine’s HUD links directly to the weapon and uses the reticle to indicate the trajectory it will fire. This allows a Spartan to make wicked accurate shots despite holding weapons in crazy positions. And the strength of enhancements + Mjolnir means a Spartan has absolute control of a weapon in spite of the recoil, even one handed. A Spartan wouldn’t aim down sight because they wouldn’t need to. The Zoom function is when a Spartan’s visor displays a direct-feed from the scope of the weapon, allowing even more accurate shot placement.
>
> As for Dual Wield, I’m indifferent, but think about it from this perspective. Halo Infinite may FINALLY have a proper mid-range Plasma support weapon for the very first time since CE. The Plasma Rifle was butchered because of Dual Wield and the Pulse Carbine looks to be the first weapon to finally fill a role that’s been missing in the sandbox because of it for 20 years.
>
> Dual Wield is the reason the AR was never as effective as CE’s again, as it’s role was usurped by the decidedly weaker SMG in 2/3, and the AR was never changed back.
>
> Dual Wield weapons are so rarely effective that in H3 there’s a grand total of 2 combos worth maybe using instead of just keeping your AR/BR from spawn. The rest was useless drek.
>
> Why bother when Infinite can have a sandbox full of diverse, unique weapons that can all stand on their own two feet?
>
> Finally Active Reload: I dig it, but I’d like it to be less of a minigame and more of a practical timing option. Halo 2’s “B and X” buttons could be used to active reload a weapon so long as you pressed it as soon as the fresh mag was in the weapon. In Infinite simplifying it so that you just press your reload button a second time with good timing to instantly finish your animation would be awesome. But don’t further detriment players for missing with a jamming animation or anything, just make it so that you can’t active reload if you’ve already pressed X a second time during the animation so you can’t spam it. That way if you miss the timing the only detriment is that you need to finish the animation or cancel into a Melee attack or grenade as usual.

  • Reticle Bloom: Really, really cool idea on the precision vs auto reticle effects. Kind of a cool hybrid position (really just the classic system with the updated Reach indicators). If this were reddit I’d award you. I think there may be a scenario, perhaps a particular precision weapon that does have actual bloom but more on that on the ADS bullet. Regarding the classic vs 343i reticles, I don’t really have an opinion, and thus would probably just default to your position. Not a make or break thing for me though. Also I have to say that I really like the design of the H4 BR (I think they sorta ruined it in H5), not necessarily as a replacement for OG design but perhaps a skin. - ADS: My current position is this: Most ranged combat in Halo should revert to the old style of scoping. That being said, there are perhaps a few weapons that just function better with ADS, like the automag. So they could incorporate both systems into the game. Barring that, I had an idea of incorporating Fred’s DMR as a legendary weapon and maybe they could test out some funky options with this rifle in particular including precision weapon weapon bloom, perhaps an alternative fire where you can slide aside your scope and it become ADS. And then they could even put active reload into this weapon. This way, if someone wanted to test out Halo with all of these functions they could make a custom game with just Fred’s DMR starts. - Dual Wield: I may have reversed my opinion on including this in the main game since the time I made this post, based off of some of the points made on the thread including this one. I understand the balancing act of getting each ambidextrous weapon not to be OP in various scenarios is extremely difficult. Someone mentioned the CoD model of Dual Barretas where the dual wieldable weapons come in a package so they are in essence single weapons. That may be interesting, but meh. At the end of the day, just make it a custom games option. Also agreed on the Pulse Carbine. I really hated both the Plasma Repeater and the Storm Rifle. - Active Reload: That is a really interesting idea and I’m totally onboard with testing both a visual minigame ala gears or an invisible one where you can simply time it. Really like that.

On ADS Halo really doesn’t need it and the lore for Halo goes against it. About the only weapon Spartans would do that is with a sniper rifle although not because they would need to actually see through the scope due to smart link, but because of the position the rifle must be held to stabilize it to have an accurate shot.