SITREP: USMC Weapons

Series of developer diaries for Six Days in Fallujah.
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AmperCamper
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SITREP: USMC Weapons

Authenticity in Six Days in Fallujah doesn’t come to a full-stop after discussing the gear Marines wore into battle. There’s plenty more to consider, and we wanted to continue this conversation with some of the weapons and attachments fielded by the USMC.

Just like our Marine equipment, our reference material for weapons includes thousands of photographs and hundreds of videos. Military documentation and reports, alongside the hundreds of first-hand conversations with Marines we’ve met along the development path, are key components to driving authenticity home.

Weapon authenticity poses a few more challenges for us as a team. The beginning of the Global War on Terror saw a huge wave of advancements in the weapons industry, and several weapons and attachments were produced in a very short period of time. This meant that Marines in some units had access to certain optics, for example, while others a few blocks away may have been stuck with iron sights. We’ve spoken with Marines who fought with different hand guards, attachment arrangements, and optics on their weapons. Factor in the number of weapons available, and things begin to get tricky.
Developer Comment wrote:The interesting thing is you’re going to have Marines who were in Fallujah and carried these weapons who see our showcase and say, “that’s not what my weapon looked like,” and they’re not wrong. Others are going to say, “that’s exactly what my weapon looked like.” Because of how much variation there was for this time period, there’s no one right answer.
Like Marine blouses and trousers, weapons weren’t always in spotless condition after a day of combat. Showcasing varying degrees of use with dust and particles takes hours of reference from high-resolution photos to get finer details correct. In Six Days in Fallujah, players will find Mesopotamia's chalky dust collecting in certain ridges and valleys of the weapons.

Please remember that this is not an exhaustive list and all assets shown are currently a work-in-progress.

There’s only one place to start when considering USMC weaponry in Fallujah, and that’s with the military-issued M16A4. Considered the “bread and butter" for infantry, the M16A4 was a staple for many Marines. Its versatility is unmatched with the sheer number of attachments that were placed on the weapon and used in Fallujah.

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The modeling process varies per weapon, but for the M16A4, we began with a scale reference model and made finer revisions by hand to land with a model that passed our consultant checks. Once the modeling process was complete, our artists passed the weapon to our animation team to rig the weapon.

We teased our ACOG sight in our last SITREP on gear authenticity, but now we’re taking a closer look. Vertical Grips and PEQ-2 Laser Sights were also highly requested by the community, and you can finally see them mounted to the M16A4.

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Another variation of the M16 includes the M203 under-barrel Grenade Launcher and Leaf Sight. This load out gave members of the USMC increased grenade range in a package that was both versatile and easy to handle. Used for direct engagements or close-fire support, players will become very familiar with this kit.

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Let’s talk about the M16A4 reload animation and the community feedback we’ve received since our announcement. Our first reload iteration involved pulling the charging handle every time the player reloads the weapon when, in fact, there are various conditions that lend to different reload procedures. For example, the order of operations to get the M16A4 back to “combat ready” is different when the magazine is emptied and dry-fired than if it were to be reloaded mid-magazine.

Proficient gunmanship is obtained through hundreds of hours of practice, and we sought expert council on proper M16A4 usage to deliver an authentic product. It’s hard to resist the “rule of cool” when creating a game, but pulling the charging handle on an M16A4 every time the player reloads the weapon is simply not the entire picture.

As far as audio is concerned, each weapon component that can animate has its own componentized audio. This means existing animations can be edited and new ones created without having to remake the sound effects. The charging handle only makes sound when it moves, and our animators can move it faster or slower or not at all. Whatever we choose, the sound will always match the movement.

Upon full release of Six Days, players will see various reload animations depending on the state of the weapon. For now, here’s an updated iteration of the M16A4 reload with help from our community.



There were many situations in which Marines couldn’t carry their primary weapons and resorted to using secondaries. The interiors of Fallujah heavily favored CQB, and some layouts were so small that the only option available was the M9 sidearm. In other cases, the M9 proved useful after expending all ammo on primary weapons.

Our M9 was modeled completely from scratch, as there wasn’t a reference model that satisfied our authenticity checks. We hope our community enjoys this model just as much as we do.

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Next up is the M4 Shotgun, which saw some personalization by members of the USMC. Let’s start with some context: Marines are responsible for every piece of equipment issued to them, and losing anything in the heat of battle is the absolute worst-case scenario. The more expensive the gear, the more likely Marines would take additional steps to ensure this didn’t happen. And so, they improvised! Some used zip ties to secure their attachments from being knocked off their person while others used 550 paracords.
LCpl James Maxey wrote:You had 550 cord to dummy proof everything, make sure your optics were tied on with something in case it gets knocked off or you lose it. Because, if you lost your optics, it didn't matter if you are a private or a colonel. You lose your optics, and they're not dummy proofed? You're done. You're screwed. You're just done.
We referenced photos of flashlights zip-tied to rifles and shotguns and found it to be a grounding detail that spoke to the culture of the Corps. In Six Days, players will see flashlight attachments zip-tied to the M4 Shotgun.

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For situations that call for heavy suppressive fire, players will have access to the M249 SAW. Having this in fire teams was crucial for creating opportunities to control the battlefield with flank and maneuver tactics. Players will employ these same tactics in both single-player or cooperative play for mission success.

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While there are several degrees of variation when considering weapons used by Marines in Fallujah, our team is confident that our loadouts are a solid representation of the Fallujah Marine’s tools of the trade. As we continue development with community feedback in mind, we welcome comments and suggestions on assets shown in this entry. As for the next SITREP, we’ll continue with weapons on the Insurgent side in Six Days.
BadKarma
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Re: SITREP: USMC Weapons

They look very neat, and the addition of the PEQ and M4 shotgun are very welcome indeed. For Coop i think the best idea would be to have dedicated roles with set loadouts although I think it would be okay to change grenades, ammo and even sidearms instead of just pure gun customization.

It's an aspect that I think it needs to be as accurate to the real thing.
Last edited by BadKarma on Fri Apr 01, 2022 9:38 am, edited 1 time in total.
Tazzadar3
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Re: SITREP: USMC Weapons

Guns are looking great. Can't wait to see them in action.
But damn that Acog is looking sexy guys, you never see the little wire in games.
Great attention to detail, keep up the good work!
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Stickfigure21
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Re: SITREP: USMC Weapons

Very happy with this update! The content looks like you all have been hard at work and it’s looking like all that research had paid off.

A few notes:

How about weapon slings? I’m sure you’d be hard pressed to find anyone who didn’t make use of a sling on their rifle / shotgun. I would say it doesn’t even need to have a function in the game, it could be purely cosmetic but it’s an important piece of gear.

I’m sure you’ve looked into other optics besides the ACOG, but it would be interesting to see previews of other sights, like the early EOTech’s.

How about heavy / specialized weapons? Can you add anything on weapons mounted to vehicles? Or rocket launchers like the Javelin?

Grenades? Flash bangs? Smoke grenades? CS Gas? I’m sure you could do a whole sitrep on this topic alone.

That’s really all I’ve got to add. Overall, loving what I see so far Amper. Tell the team to keep up the good work and keep plugging.

-Steve
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Re: SITREP: USMC Weapons

Can't wait to play this game! Everything looking great so far, details on explosives and breaching methods would be a good sitrep.
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staropal0972
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Re: SITREP: USMC Weapons

This is great! Appreciate the update from you guys!
Blade0351
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Re: SITREP: USMC Weapons

Awesome SITREP! Thank you so much for the unexpected update. The weapons looks fantastic as well!
Raven
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Re: SITREP: USMC Weapons

Very nice site rep. I really hope that the UI stays this way (no HUD information, full immersion) :D

I also like the smoke residues coming out from the magazine, as well as the fact that not every shot is a tracer round and leaves traces :)

There are some points in the video that could be better.
  • The reload animation could be better in the sense, that it is not known where the player puts the magazine. With weapons that the player has been assigned to he should change the magazines between the weapon and his magazine pouch

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    For this there should be a camera pan to the magazine pouch and the player should open it and then exchange the magazines visibly. This would also provide some interactivity with the realistic gear and the gear would be more than simple static graphics.

    For weapons the player picks up from the enemy, he should toss the magazine away (and the magazine should not disappear but stay on the ground ;)).

    Other reloading animations should also feature camera pans between the gear and the weapon like RPGs or grenades for grenade launcher attachments.
  • There should be more environmental simulation aspects i.e. rugs should react to the wind, other objects as well.

It is important that there are more interactivity with the weapons e.g.
  • Changing the mode of fire (single, burst, full-auto) with the respective animations of changing of the switch.
  • Adjusting the scope or other adjustable aim helper with animations similar to Sniper Ghost Warrior
  • Opening/Closing of scope covers (this could be a gameplay element as well i.e. environmental obstruction like sandstorms could dirty the scope and the cover could prevent it. If the cover was not closed then the scope should be dirty and the player should have a visual obstruction and leading to....
  • ...cleaning of scopes after environmental obstructions (sandstorms)
Such details increases the realism and increase the love for small details. Also never forget, what applies to the player and hinders him should apply to the enemy as well :)


Also if possible, again slings would be nice. If not achievable until release, please provide them in an expansion pack later on. They would make the game really unique.


Looking forward for more. Thank you very much.
Blade0351
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Re: SITREP: USMC Weapons

@Raven

While I think it would be interesting to show the ayer look down at the pouch, pull the mag out, and insert it, there are a few problems with that.

1) Most infantry Marines, at least myself and the guys in my unit, trained enough and knew our gear set up so we wouldn't have to look down just to find and grab a mag. You need to have your eyes downrange to watch for threats and shouldn't need them if you have the muscle memory for a reload.

2) It would probably get pretty old after the first few times.

If you want something like the player checking over themselves every once in awhile when taking a tactical pause to check gear that's a good idea but I think looking down to grab a mag each time you do a reload isn't.
Raven
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Re: SITREP: USMC Weapons

@Blade0351 es you are right.

Blade0351 wrote: 1) Most infantry Marines, at least myself and the guys in my unit, trained enough and knew our gear set up so we wouldn't have to look down just to find and grab a mag. You need to have your eyes downrange to watch for threats and shouldn't need them if you have the muscle memory for a reload.
You are certainly right. This could be addressed the following way. Starting from the training (tutorial mission) the animation should play at first very long and then after each reload the animation should be shorter and shorter. If the player didn't changed the mags often in the training mission, he will still have to have the animation where he looks and opens his bag. If he reloaded it enough times then the animation should be as shown in the video (he had gained the muscle memory and trained well)
Blade0351 wrote: 2) It would probably get pretty old after the first few times.
Could be solved with the method above. The same can be said with the optimized animation shown in the video :)
Also if being behind cover, the animation could be shown from time to time to have a little variation. Just a suggestion.
Blade0351 wrote: If you want something like the player checking over themselves every once in awhile when taking a tactical pause to check gear that's a good idea but I think looking down to grab a mag each time you do a reload isn't.
This is even better it would allow more interactivity and be a more appealing solution than projected lists on the UI :)
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