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Gaming Skills

In principle, high-level skills in real life transfer into computer games (for instance, prediction and ballistics), although there are differences in the manipulation of the mouse (hand/eye coordination). The gameplay itself is usually significantly different; the speed of deathmatch games is much faster than real life, and one-on-one situations are extremely rare in real war.

The shooting skills are very specific actions, particularly those discussed in this part (for instance, turning to aim, firing). However, these low-level actions bring out trends in the game. (For instance, one player starts dominating and chasing the other.) These high-level trends in turn affect the use of weapons, notably changing the criteria for shooting.

This section covers the low-level skills, but also discusses the effect of higher-level trends on these skills.

Break It Down!

Understanding the combination of abilities helps developers with the design of the AI architecture for shooting (what composition pattern to use).


Anticipation of enemy movement is one of the most important abilities to hit moving targets. Because projectiles do not travel instantaneously, it's necessary to think in the future and estimate the enemy's position.


The trajectories of projectiles are relatively complex in some cases, notably when gravity is taken into account. Even in simple cases, it's necessary to determine where the projectile will collide with the terrain.


With the ability to estimate the trajectories of enemies and projectiles, they can be combined to predict the outcome of a situation. Given firing parameters, the flight time and position of the enemy are taken into account to compute the likelihood of damage.

Target Selection

Given the power to predict the future (inaccurately), it's possible to decide the most appropriate place to shoot. Usually, the potential damage is maximized.


After a spot has been chosen, the weapon must be prepared to release a projectile. This often needs to be done quickly and accurately for the projectile to reach the desired destination.


Often, these different abilities are continuously working to determine the best target and aim toward it. It's therefore necessary to decide when to actually release the trigger—to inflict most damage.

Combat Trends

In games close to real life (for instance, Rogue Spear and Hidden & Dangerous), one of the participants would bite the bullet. But game designers in other first-person shooters prefer to reduce the damage to prolong the duels. Fights in some computer games last long enough for trends to arise (for instance, Quake 3 and Unreal Tournament). Such trends enable us to distinguish the two players—in deathmatch situations again.

  • The defender's chances of survival can be enhanced by retaliating fire, buying extra time for the escape. It does not have to be extremely precise, just well placed to force the assaulter to withdraw temporarily. This can be seen as self-covering fire, which should be rapid above all.

  • Attackers on the other hand have the advantage, which gives them more options. The aim is to keep the pressure on! This involves shooting to maximize the chances of damage, either directly or not. In this respect, the layout of the environment can be of great help; the movement of the player can be predicted, and the potential for splash damage can be assessed, too. Aiming for the floor or wall can therefore prove a valuable policy.

In games, humans tend to behave differently depending on the type of situation they are in. So, once again, these are rough categories that nobody belongs to fully; however, identifiable patterns do arise during the fight.

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