What exactly are hit scan weapons and why do people think they are bad?

Donuteater2

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Nov 19, 2009
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Title says it all really.I've heard the term used (mostly to complain about COD) but I don't know what they are at all.
Also, if they are bad, why are they used and what alternatives are available?
 

burningdragoon

Warrior without Weapons
Jul 27, 2009
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Hitscan [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hitscan]. Google and Wikipedia are your friend, my friend.

As for why people wouldn't like them, some people would prefer their bullets to act like bullets and not lasers.
 

Rayken15

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Jan 10, 2011
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Hitscan weapons are the ones where you put the reticle on the enemy and press left click and their health instantly goes down. An alternative are projectile weapons (see TF2 demoman).
 
Dec 14, 2009
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Hitscan is used to replace actual projectiles.

So, in CoD for instance, you may be able to see a shot being fired and be able to track that shot (tracer rounds), but that isn't what actually hits a target.

The thing with hitscan, is that it doesn't simulate real gunfire very well, since damage is nearly instantanous with little to no delay between trigger presses.

Bullets don't travel in a straight line for very long, they start to fall to the ground very quickly, while hitscan 'bullets' will travel in a straight line over a huge distance.

It's the reason sniping in CoD is easy.

No bullet arc, the shot doesn't travel. You basically 'click' on a person to hurt them, rather than shoot a round that has to travel to its target.
 

hazabaza1

Want Skyrim. Want. Do want.
Nov 26, 2008
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Well, it's been explained, so to elaborate on the issue of hitscan is that it removes a lot of the skill that goes into many ways to play. In CoD for example, sniping isn't really all the fulfilling and every kill is just another kill. Getting a mid-air grenade launcher kill in Tribes is a lot more satisfying than all of my CoD kills combined.
 

The_Lost_King

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PieBrotherTB said:
Huh, I didn't know that.

Might explain why I'm so bad at CoD :D
It isn't very likely that hitscan weapons are making you worse at CoD. If anything they make the game easier.
 

Smooth Operator

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Oct 5, 2010
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Cross hair over target + button press = instant hit, add auto-aim to that feature and it becomes harder to miss then to hit someone.
Obviously casual players love these features because only minimum effort hasto go into gameplay (it even offers acceptable opportunities for abuse - quick scope insta kills), however with a skill ceiling that low it gets rather boring quite quickly.

Some like it that way and others don't, I for one like some variety to my gameplay.
 

WoW Killer

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There's things you can do with hitscan where it would be otherwise unfeasible to calculate the physics of each individual bullet. If you've got an MMOFPS like Neocron then due to server loads you're not going to get far with a full physics engine. So they just make it all hitscan and have a hidden stat engine underneath. It works for the sort of game it is. IMO there's room for a decent game based on hitscan in an MMO setting.

No excuses on a smaller scale game like CoD, though you would kinda expect a sniper rifle to be hitscan, or close to it. IIRC snipers are hitscan in Tribes: Ascend. In Borderlands, if you max out Lilith's High Velocity skill and use a weapon with an already high bullet velocity like a sniper or assault rifle then it'll feel very much like hitscan even though it's not (at which point you're wasting resources to create an effect which isn't noticeable).

It's interesting how a lot of the backlash you see on forums like this is against the "realism" in modern shooters, and yet as soon as an unrealistic mechanic exists in a "realistic" shooter, it gets associated with lack of skill and casual gaming.
 

CleverNickname

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I hate [http://www.escapistmagazine.com/forums/read/9.326531-Why-bullets-have-ruined-the-FPS-genre] hitscan - in single player.

I don't think it's ever a problem in multi. The guy with better aim wins. The guy with unpredictable movement is able to throw off his opponent's aim somewhat. That's basically how it should be.
Just with hitscan. Auto-aim is atrocious, shouldn't exist, and only exists because some dumbass once thought designing a shooter for analog sticks was a brilliant idea. Bleh.

In single player, hitscan isn't a problem either. In the player's hands. Unless a game is going for some realism-angle or otherwise benefits from actual bullet travel time and/or weight, hitscan weapons will always work perfectly well. For the player.

Hitscan enemies are problematic. You can't dodge that. Ever. You either take the hits and kill them first, or duck in and out of cover. Of course, nowadays, that first option... then requires you to duck in cover... [massive_sarcasm]Pure fun![/ms]

Hitscan itself isn't the problem. It's what the devs do with it. And they're kinda doing it wrong a lot lately.
 

Smooth Operator

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WoW Killer said:
It's interesting how a lot of the backlash you see on forums like this is against the "realism" in modern shooters, and yet as soon as an unrealistic mechanic exists in a "realistic" shooter, it gets associated with lack of skill and casual gaming.
Odd because you are the only one here that made that association, lower skill requirement and realism are not connected here.
 

NLS

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Jan 7, 2010
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The_Lost_King said:
PieBrotherTB said:
Huh, I didn't know that.

Might explain why I'm so bad at CoD :D
It isn't very likely that hitscan weapons are making you worse at CoD. If anything they make the game easier.
Well, if he's trying to account for bullet drop, or leading the target by shooting ahead of it when the game doesn't actually take such actions into account, then it could make him worse. I remember having terrible aim with the sniper in Unreal Tournament, mostly because I would try to hit ahead of the target at long distances, but that's not how the sniper works in UT xD
 

Pearwood

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In a good fps you dodge the attack, you don't take damage. In a bad fps you can be running around in circles or whatever and you take damage because the game says you do. That's hitscan.
 

Slycne

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Feb 19, 2006
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Ultimately there is so much misinformation that circulates in these discussions that people tend to ignore that games seek different methods to satisfy different needs.

For instance, most games do take place in ranges where travel time is largely negligible. A modern military rifle like the M-16 has a muzzle velocity of 984 m/s, and few games will represent even half that distance in a single stretch.

People also misunderstand how bullets actually fly. Many firearms, like the aforementioned M-16, are designed to fire in an arc to increase range, not a sloping decline. These means that if you're sighted for center mass at say 300m, you're actually aiming in the dirt to hit the same spot at a 150m target.

Speaking of sighting, that's a whole discussion in and of itself.

Basically the point I am laboriously reaching towards is that there is no right and wrong answer. Implementing a truly realistic systems does not instantly equate to better. Some games want to be fast passed and tightly spaced, and others want to be more methodical and open.
 

Treblaine

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Donuteater2 said:
Title says it all really.I've heard the term used (mostly to complain about COD) but I don't know what they are at all.
Also, if they are bad, why are they used and what alternatives are available?
You've had it explained to you and you should easily find out for yourself.

Quite simply when programing how a gun works in a game, no projectile is calculated they take a short cut, the screen perspective just "scans" for where the reticule is pointing, and if it is pointing at the enemy's then for the next frame after the fire-button is pressed in the game it just changes it to "bullet hit there" and might also draw a line between the gun and where the target got hit like if the bullet had a tracer round.

The thing is this is so fast, faster than REAL BULLETS that travel at about 250-1000 metres/second. That may seem fast but that is as little as 16 feet per frame for pistol and shotgun projectiles in a game with 60-frames-per-second. That is enough that someone a reasonable distance away you HAVE to lead your shots.

Games like Team Fortress 2 have only a few hitscan weapons and they are limited by rate of fire, like the slow sniper rifle. Most weapons are "projectile based" as this means moving targets you have to lead your shots and your opponent still has a small chance to avoid being hit.

Hitscan isn't a huge problem at close range, but at long range since if someone if further away even though they are a smaller target you move through a smaller field of their arc as they jump and run and dodge around, this makes them much easier to track with a mouse and if the bullets always arrive instantly you just have to click on them and they don't stand a chance.
 

Adam Jensen_v1legacy

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Sep 8, 2011
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Counter Strike uses hit-scan and I don't mind it at all. It's still a skill based game. Recoil is what's really important.
 

Techno Squidgy

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The_Lost_King said:
PieBrotherTB said:
Huh, I didn't know that.

Might explain why I'm so bad at CoD :D
It isn't very likely that hitscan weapons are making you worse at CoD. If anything they make the game easier.
If he's trying to adjust for bullet-drop or leading targets then it could very well be making him worse.
 

Cabisco

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I wanted to comment just to say how interesting I find all this. I'm learning yay!