Helix Jumping – Advanced Soldier 76 Mobility

As a Lucio main, I enjoy offclassing Soldier 76 because he retains (admittedly far less impressive) mobility and healing-focused abilities, letting me actually kill people while still filling a secondary role doing what I love best. And over time, thanks to my mobility addiction, I’ve found myself comboing the pieces of his kit in unusual ways to make my way around the battlefield. Because of the minor self-knockback on Helix rockets and the way Blizzard coded his sprint, Soldier 76 has the capability to reach some unusual places with what the community has dubbed “helix jumping”. But before we get… [Continue Reading]

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How to Design Enemies That Are Truly Scary

There are many, many enemies in video games designed to be scary, and I wanted to take some time to talk about ways to make enemies that fulfill this trope without resorting to “cheap” tactics like jumpscares or making them speedy OHKOs. Note that this article is mostly interested in “normal” enemies, not single boss-like monsters (like Spider from LIMBO) or full-fledged NPCs (like Pyramid Head from Silent Hill). Also I’m not an art major so my focus is on game mechanics and AI behaviors, and less on appearances. One of the scariest monsters I’ve had to fight in any game was… [Continue Reading]

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FPS Cliches Found on Only One TF2 Weapon

Hey look, a TF2 article! As a longstanding and proud member of the first-person-shooter genre, TF2 nevertheless stands apart from most other games due to its versatile array of weapon designs and its avoidance of most of the common shooting mechanics that permeate shooter games. TF2 is really amazing in just how simple they keep the core combat at its foundation, avoiding things like weapon stability, accuracy modifiers, tactical reloads, and other ‘realistic’ mechanics that complicate matters. This article is designed to showcase the few cases where these mechanics appeared, usually in subtle form. The scarcity of their presence just reinforces how… [Continue Reading]

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Little-Known TF2 Mechanics

In order to make this list, said TF2 mechanic needs to (1) heavily affect some aspect of playing the game normally, (2) be completely unexplained or hidden, and (3) be something I somehow only learned in 2016 despite my pathological addiction to analyzing every facet of this game. I’ve divided the list into three “major” and three “minor” mechanics. Major 1: Projectile Models on some weapons affect aerodynamics. Several of the projectiles in TF2 actually care about the drag on the fired projectile, which means that, for example, most of the grenade launchers fire even more differently than their stats… [Continue Reading]

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On Pre-Match Paralysis

The Pre-Match freeze is something that every TF2 player has experienced, something that you encounter every single match you play, and something that’s been in the game from the very beginning. And yet I think it may be one of the least-discussed facets of the game. I know I thought about making an article on it twice in the past two years and both times abandoned the notion due to lack of content. Why does it happen? When I first wondered about it, I wasn’t even sure if it was intentional. Maybe the map’s loading, or something in the background has… [Continue Reading]

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Killcams and Comp TF2

Killcams are a masterfully-designed element in TF2. As the developer commentary states, killcams were added due to many Team Fortress Classic players having trouble determining who killed them and what they themselves did to get into that lethal situation. By showing you a quick screenshot of your attacker with some subtle “swoosh” effects showing you his rough location, Valve turned every death into a learning experience while simultaneously lessening the chance the killer can keep farming kills from the same location. But I’m wondering if that behavior becomes slightly unbalanced in a competitive setting. When you’ve reached the point that all the… [Continue Reading]

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On Ladders

Abandon all gravity ye who enter here. You think you’ve tackled the toughest foes first-person shooters have to throw you? Do you evaporate bullet sponges, quickscope flying speedsters and melee tanks to death without thinking? Then I present to you the one enemy who doesn’t care. The foe whose only strategy is to use your own weight against you, the foe who can morph the game into a platformer at the worst possible time. Not only is it seemingly impossible for any shooter to make ladders that don’t suck, they also can’t agree on the mechanics. Do you latch on by facing… [Continue Reading]

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Randomness you can’t see…

It’s been a while since we last talked about randomness. Generally this sort of conversation dives to horrible depths, going over the same arguments over and over again until either one side gives in, it starts getting nasty or the thread goes off topic. Either way, the thread dies a horrible death. It keeps on happening. What’s interesting though is that the majority of these arguments are about random critical hits. The other random factors, random bullet spread and random damage spread, often lurk in the shadows, untouched. Why? With random bullet spread, there is rarely an argument for that.… [Continue Reading]

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