SITREP: Entry Tactics

Series of developer diaries for Six Days in Fallujah.
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SITREP: Entry Tactics

Cpl Dane Thompson wrote:You’re entering through a fatal funnel. And you don't know what's waiting on you. They are in there just waiting on you to make the wrong move—which is to come through the door.
Welcome to the seventh entry in our SITREP developer diary series. Until now, we have demonstrated very direct fireteam entry into houses and larger buildings. Kicking down the front door certainly is an option, but it’s not the only option in Six Days. Today, we want to expand on the entry methods and tactics available to players.

Please remember that all assets shown are currently a work-in-progress.

Since Six Days in Fallujah’s inception, we’ve spoken with more than 100 Marines and Soldiers who have shared their very specific and unique experiences in urban combat. No two combat scenarios have been the same. However, there is one constant among every story that’s been shared with our development team—the fatal funnel is urban combat’s worst nightmare.
Developer Comment wrote:The fatal funnel is not only a narrow entrance that leaves little room for maneuverability. It’s also easily defended by the enemy inside. Attackers are tasked with forcing an entry that’s not only tight, but offers little to no visibility inside. Enemy opposition, on the other hand, have all the cards at their disposal—they have complete visibility on infiltrators, and their degree of coverage is miniscule compared to that of the attacking force. The odds for those entering the fatal funnel are very bad.
1st Lt. Jesse Grapes wrote:The problem is that if you walk out there, the moment your head breaks the doorway, he can shoot you in the head. It's just combat geometry.
Fallujah’s rough, urban environment included thousands of fatal funnels, and Marines had to take the first steps into the unknown with every single building they cleared. The biggest question for these Marines often became, “How do we break this geometry?” The fatal funnel is inevitable when house-clearing, but there are specific tactics employed by Marines and Soldiers designed to mitigate as much risk as possible.
Developer Comment wrote:A theme we heard from many Marines and Soldiers was avoiding the fatal funnel by finding alternate ways into houses. So, based on specific stories, we created specific methods in the game for players to climb to rooftops, as well as enter through windows, both of which we heard examples of happening repeatedly during the battle.
We’ve also touched briefly on the OODA (observe, orient, decide, act) loop in a previous entry, and we want to remind everyone again of the methodology that applies when house-clearing: before breaching a building or compound in Fallujah, it's essential to take a moment to pause, listen, and observe across the entire fireteam. How many windows does the building have? Are Insurgents visible from the outside of the compound? What material is the front door made of? Can you hear anyone inside?

For today’s diary, players observe a two-story building that has two valid entry points to the front, with alternate entries at the rear. The fireteam orients itself and decides that the best course of action is not to funnel four members of the fireteam into a single door, but instead to split the team for a simultaneous entry. Dividing the fireteam into two groups of two, the teams assault the building with overwhelming speed and precision at the very same time.



Here, the fatal funnel becomes less fatal as it’s now split between two entries instead of one. Enemy Insurgents, while intelligent with the home-base advantage, aren’t expecting an attack on two fronts. The keywords here are distraction and disorientation. Enemies that are disoriented are more easily defeated, and Six Days' AI system will cause enemies to become disoriented when exposed to multiple threats. While this isn’t always a guarantee for success, split-entry certainly pushes the needle back in the direction of the Marines.

While this is just one example of clearing a building in Six Days, Procedural Architecture offers a variety of possibilities that will fundamentally change the way players approach house-clearing. You may find yourself without a door and a window and instead, there may be two doors. Alternatively, an entry from the rear could pose a viable distraction. While a full-frontal assault led by two Marines breaks out in the front-yard, the remaining two Marines may lead a precise takedown from the backyard. Split-entry still applies here, but the means in which it’s employed varies. And, it’s entirely up to the player to decide.

Let’s consider another scenario: players assess that the fatal funnel on the front doorway isn’t a viable option. The backyard is too heavily defended or doesn’t present enough cover. All of the windows are barricaded and offer no entry options. How do you proceed?
Sgt. Adam Banotai wrote:The logic behind it is that you don't want to create a trapped rat. When you clear from the bottom up, enemies have nowhere else to go, so they’re more inclined to stay and fight to the death. Then, if you’re going top down, and they have the opportunity to either fight you, or, when they feared they were gonna die, just run and leave, then you can still take over the building.
Enemies almost always prepared their defenses against door entries on the first floor. Very frequently, they created makeshift barricades out of rubble, furniture, and anything else they could find. Then, they laid in wait with their weapon trained on the front door.

Clearing from the top down allows players to defeat enemy defenses that are oriented towards doors on the main floor. It can also catch Insurgents inside by surprise. As Sgt. Banotai suggests, if you clear from the top down, Six Days' AI system can even push insurgents into the streets (depending on the situation), where they might get engaged by a nearby AAV or other vehicles.



There are many ways in Six Days to access the top floor of buildings from the outside. In some cases, there will be planks connecting rooftops between buildings. In others, there are staircases available. Additionally, Marines and Soldiers were able to either climb or hoist each other up a floor, and we’re including this third method for rooftop entry by indicating vaultable walls with green vinery. These provide access to second and third-floor levels, but it’s important to remember your character is vulnerable to incoming fire while you complete the vaulting animation.

These are just some of the many ways players can tackle house-clearing. With Procedural Architecture presenting a variety of geographical obstacles and fireteam tactics left up to player choice, no two entries are going to be the exact same in Six Days. Just like actual combat, players will never know what to expect.
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aggimajera
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Re: SITREP: Entry Tactics

One of the best SITREP's yet. I am, like everyone else, thrilled at all new snippets of gameplay. This is good stuff. Your explanation of the fatal funnel was super concise and detailed the importance of it. It's a part of the infantry game no one outside of it really discusses. I think offering alternatives to a frontal assault was absolutely necessary.

I have some questions, if I may:

1 : does your procedural architecture mechanic change the actual layouts of every buildings exterior too? As in a single structure asset can come with a variety of differing window and door layouts so even if you see the same type of building, it will be different?

2: will there be other ways in besides doors and windows? I.E. blown open walls, tunnels, ect?

3: Will it be possible to use other methods to scale walls besides vegetation prompts? I.e. buddy pairs lifting each other or dragging surrounding moveable objects to climb on?

Seriously great work here!
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Re: SITREP: Entry Tactics

Sooo good, I am getting even more hyped.
This is coming together very nicely.
Just curious though, is it possible to crank up the audio a bit for the gunfire? It sounds a bit muffled and muted even for someone shooting directly in front of you.
Is the character wearing earplugs because that's kinda what it sounds like, if that is what you are going for then good job lol.
That animation on the light of the gun looks crisp.
Definitely worth the wait, great work!
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Re: SITREP: Entry Tactics

Love the new breaching videos guys. This is what I was hoping for with SITREPs.

I do especially like how instead of putting an intrusive pop-up to indicate an area you could vault, you worked the indicator into the game subtlety using the environment.
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Re: SITREP: Entry Tactics

Beautiful SITREP!

Very happy to see the footage of engagements and entering buildings, not only that but hearing the soundscape of the whole city really immersed me into the video.
Lighting being fantastic and gear looking perfect!

I would like to add some constructive criticism though!

1 The most glaring issue that I've seen is that the AI is very slow on reaction speed to the player, and misses way too many shots in such enclosed spaces. In the second video in particular, the first enemy didn't even fire while the player was in the fatal funnel for nearly 2 seconds, and even then they missed their burst with their PKM. I'm unsure if just for the showcase the AI was lowered in difficulty or that this is what it currently is.
I'm sure you know why this isn't a good thing because players will lose that feeling of being in danger if they can brute force through the AI like that. Though it could have been made easier for the players in the video, which is perfectly fine.

2 External audio, outside of buildings, general soundscapes is phenomenal, the issue starts when we are indoors. There is too much reverb. The large amounts of reverb drowns out the general "loudness" of shooting, moving, etc. In actuality, it should be even louder indoors.
Very important here is that there are not enough higher pitch sounds on the rifles, and if there is, it needs to be really amped up because having it would really compliment the "bassy-ness" to the guns.
A minor nit-pick is in the first video when Eric goes through the window to enter the house. Once Eric speaks it is drenched in reverb while the player is outside of the building. There should be a intermediate area of the audio where it's only slightly reverbed but still holds that clarity.

3 This point is all about the animation work. A lot of it is nice, but it can be even better. I'm gonna be using Eric once again in the first video as an example.
While Eric is crouched behind that broken wall, the crouch looks great, but it's the lack of movement that puts me off balance. Being in that position for just a few seconds, you have the urge to move your body to be in a comfortable position, you would shift your position, change footing, and more. I think incorporating that type of "bounce", would add that feeling of being next to someone and not that uncanny valley feeling.
This "bounce" I mentioned should also extend to walking. When Eric approaches the window while aiming down sights, there is very little upper body movement which is fine, but there should be some form of tilt and sway in the arms.
(I am no anatomical expert, these are just my thoughts as a future player)

Next on this animation point is speed, some actions are too slow, some are too fast.
In the second video, when mantling onto the roof with the vines, the action of climbing was way too fast for it to feel natural, especially when you are carrying 20 to 40 pounds of gear. Slowing that down and adding more struggle and "oomph" to it would be great.
(I do like the touch with the vines, indicating a climbable surface)

Next is the door breaching. When the player enters the house and breaches the green door, it was incredibly slow. Not only that but it felt like the players control was being wrestled with, like the game grabbing the controller/keyboard and locked you into the animation. This lack of control almost got the player killed when the enemy emerged and started firing. The animation of the breach lasted nearly 2 seconds, which doesn't seem like a lot, but in this game it very much is.
I'd say once the door is kicked, control should be given back to the player so they have a small chance of surviving an ambush, firefight, or getting out of a situation.
It's not really advice, but I think of Battlefield 3's way of tackling animation, fluid but heavy. Striving for that type of animation work would be incredible but I do know that it's a small team. Just some food for thought.

That's most of the things I could think of while seeing this SITREP. Fantastic work to the team once again, very excited to have it in my hands in the future as always. Hope this very long list gets back to the team.
Thanks Amper!
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Re: SITREP: Entry Tactics

WOW, just WOW, (: great job!
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Re: SITREP: Entry Tactics

Azariel wrote: Sat Apr 01, 2023 4:19 pm Beautiful SITREP!

I would like to add some constructive criticism though!
Some good points and given the game is still in pre-beta, I suspect aspects like the sounds and especially the animations will be refined further.

A note on sound though..... I'm all for authenticity and more immersion but coming from someone with tinnitus, I find mechanics like the simulated "ringing of the ears" in some games (e.g. from explosion's, etc.) very irritating. The same could be said for other loud noises indoors like weapon fire.

I guess what 'm saying that while I can see improvements being made, there also needs to be a balance. The last thing I having to do is constantly adjust my headphones / volume while playing a game to turn down loud and/or irritating sounds of certain bothersome frequencies. Obviously there are things going on in real life in these situations that can (and have) led to permanent hearing damage but there needs to be a way to create the impact without hearing discomfort to the player. ....or at the very least, options like some games have to turn off "ringing", etc.

I will add that I did immediately notice that they changed the focus on the sight picture to make the front post clear vs. how it was blurred out in the last video. Thanks for that.
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Re: SITREP: Entry Tactics

How about a slider to fine tune the sound of gunfire for those that do have sensitive hearing?
Personally I would like to have it full blast for immersion purposes.
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Re: SITREP: Entry Tactics

Kean_1 wrote: Mon Apr 03, 2023 8:45 am
Azariel wrote: Sat Apr 01, 2023 4:19 pm Beautiful SITREP!

I would like to add some constructive criticism though!
A note on sound though..... I'm all for authenticity and more immersion but coming from someone with tinnitus, I find mechanics like the simulated "ringing of the ears" in some games (e.g. from explosion's, etc.) very irritating. The same could be said for other loud noises indoors like weapon fire.
Totally understand! I do hope for there will be a volume slider for those loud sounds and toggle-able ear ringing for players like you.
The more people play comfortably the better.
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Re: SITREP: Entry Tactics

Thanks for all the comments, gang. I'm compiling feedback across our channels, and I'll jump in.
aggimajera wrote: Fri Mar 31, 2023 12:21 pm I have some questions, if I may:

1 : does your procedural architecture mechanic change the actual layouts of every buildings exterior too? As in a single structure asset can come with a variety of differing window and door layouts so even if you see the same type of building, it will be different?

2: will there be other ways in besides doors and windows? I.E. blown open walls, tunnels, ect?

3: Will it be possible to use other methods to scale walls besides vegetation prompts? I.e. buddy pairs lifting each other or dragging surrounding moveable objects to climb on?
Yes, exteriors of buildings are rerolled in a similar fashion. While one session may have a door leading out to a balcony on the second floor, the next run may simply have a window in place of the door. As for alternate entry points, we're very focused on fatal funnels. We are featuring spider holes in walls and buildings, though.

Buddy pairs lifting one another onto higher levels is a suggestion we're seeing across the board. I'll make sure the team checks this out.
Tazzadar3 wrote: Fri Mar 31, 2023 2:13 pm Just curious though, is it possible to crank up the audio a bit for the gunfire? It sounds a bit muffled and muted even for someone shooting directly in front of you.
Is the character wearing earplugs because that's kinda what it sounds like, if that is what you are going for then good job lol.
Since capturing, we've identified a series of audio bugs that led to some muffled sounds. We're circling back to get these sorted out. Thanks for pointing this out!
Azariel wrote: Sat Apr 01, 2023 4:19 pm Beautiful SITREP!
1 The most glaring issue that I've seen is that the AI is very slow on reaction speed to the player, and misses way too many shots in such enclosed spaces. In the second video in particular, the first enemy didn't even fire while the player was in the fatal funnel for nearly 2 seconds, and even then they missed their burst with their PKM. I'm unsure if just for the showcase the AI was lowered in difficulty or that this is what it currently is.
I'm sure you know why this isn't a good thing because players will lose that feeling of being in danger if they can brute force through the AI like that. Though it could have been made easier for the players in the video, which is perfectly fine.
Yes, this is also good feedback we're seeing. While it can be said that the window team caught the AI off-guard, players do need to feel threatened when house-clearing.
Azariel wrote: Sat Apr 01, 2023 4:19 pm 2 External audio, outside of buildings, general soundscapes is phenomenal, the issue starts when we are indoors. There is too much reverb. The large amounts of reverb drowns out the general "loudness" of shooting, moving, etc. In actuality, it should be even louder indoors.
Very important here is that there are not enough higher pitch sounds on the rifles, and if there is, it needs to be really amped up because having it would really compliment the "bassy-ness" to the guns.
A minor nit-pick is in the first video when Eric goes through the window to enter the house. Once Eric speaks it is drenched in reverb while the player is outside of the building. There should be a intermediate area of the audio where it's only slightly reverbed but still holds that clarity.
Similar to above, we're working on improving the game mix for future builds and agree that reverb was a little buggy. I've already passed this to the audio team.
Azariel wrote: Sat Apr 01, 2023 4:19 pm 3 This point is all about the animation work. A lot of it is nice, but it can be even better. I'm gonna be using Eric once again in the first video as an example.
While Eric is crouched behind that broken wall, the crouch looks great, but it's the lack of movement that puts me off balance. Being in that position for just a few seconds, you have the urge to move your body to be in a comfortable position, you would shift your position, change footing, and more. I think incorporating that type of "bounce", would add that feeling of being next to someone and not that uncanny valley feeling.
This "bounce" I mentioned should also extend to walking. When Eric approaches the window while aiming down sights, there is very little upper body movement which is fine, but there should be some form of tilt and sway in the arms.
(I am no anatomical expert, these are just my thoughts as a future player)

Next on this animation point is speed, some actions are too slow, some are too fast.
In the second video, when mantling onto the roof with the vines, the action of climbing was way too fast for it to feel natural, especially when you are carrying 20 to 40 pounds of gear. Slowing that down and adding more struggle and "oomph" to it would be great.
(I do like the touch with the vines, indicating a climbable surface)

Next is the door breaching. When the player enters the house and breaches the green door, it was incredibly slow. Not only that but it felt like the players control was being wrestled with, like the game grabbing the controller/keyboard and locked you into the animation. This lack of control almost got the player killed when the enemy emerged and started firing. The animation of the breach lasted nearly 2 seconds, which doesn't seem like a lot, but in this game it very much is.
I'd say once the door is kicked, control should be given back to the player so they have a small chance of surviving an ambush, firefight, or getting out of a situation.
It's not really advice, but I think of Battlefield 3's way of tackling animation, fluid but heavy. Striving for that type of animation work would be incredible but I do know that it's a small team. Just some food for thought.
Thanks for these points on animation. There's quite a few things we want to improve in this area (like the vine climb). We're continuously tweaking how interacts work (the most noticeable is opening or breaching doors), and this is useful feedback.
Kean_1 wrote: Mon Apr 03, 2023 8:45 am A note on sound though..... I'm all for authenticity and more immersion but coming from someone with tinnitus, I find mechanics like the simulated "ringing of the ears" in some games (e.g. from explosion's, etc.) very irritating. The same could be said for other loud noises indoors like weapon fire.
We do provide the option to mute tinnitus audio, if players prefer.
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