In the last PlayStation.Blog post I introduced you to the three weapon classes in DUST 514: Heavy, Light and Sidearm. In this post, I wanted to pick a few weapons that changed the way that the development team played when we added them to the game.
Gamers don’t always realize how long it can take for a weapon to make the leap from the drawing board to being fully functional and kicking ass in the game. It needs to be concepted, built, textured, animated, weapon logic needs to be engineered, sounds created, various values set up, tested, debugged, and tweaked. As you can imagine, all this takes quite a while, which means you spend a lot of time playing your game with a limited set of gear. Over time, we add new weapons to the game and they can radically alter the balance of play because they open up new possibilities in combat. Below are some examples.
Heavy Weapons for Heavy Armor…
Let’s start with the Minmatar MH82-BCR Personal Autocannon. This is a heavy weapon and, as such, restricted to the heavy dropsuit. As well as being simply devastating in its own right, this weapon really opened up the heavy dropsuit class once we added it to the game. For some time, the heavy dropsuit wasn’t very popular with our internal dev team. It may have had a ton of hitpoints and access to the deadly Forge gun, but it was slow and easy to outmaneuver. This saw it primarily being used in specialist anti-vehicle roles (where it excelled) but not much else.
This came abruptly to an end when the autocannon made it in to the game. Suddenly you didn’t have to fight the other dropsuit classes on their own terms with weapons ill-suited to the heavy’s slower movement. Now you could outlast any other class in a head-on firefight (though smart players can still outmaneuver the slower heavies), you had more armor and a lot more firepower; enough to destroy light vehicles as well as infantry. The introduction of this weapon unlocked the full potential of the dropsuit and gave us one of the game’s most satisfying weapons to fire. The camera shake, visual effects and rate of fire make this weapon incredibly visceral. You feel unstoppable, like you could take on just about anything, and sometimes — for just a few bright moments — you can.
Minmitar MH82-BCR Personal Autocannon
A multi-barrel, rotary drive machine gun, the autocannon is a singularly devastating anti-infantry weapon. Eschewing the advantages of a lighter frame in favor of stopping power, the exponentially increased heat and vibration produced by this Boundless Creation-developed weapon makes it almost unbearable to fire. Yet despite this fact, its above average hit ratio and extreme rate of fire has earned it the nickname “Death’s Engine.”
Unlike earlier models, the weapon requires no spool up time; rounds are expelled the instant the trigger is pressed. This comes at the cost of initially reduced accuracy as the counter-rotating drives slowly align. Once fully aligned, however, the autocannon produces a pinpoint stream of gunfire with unmatched killing potential.
|Max. effective range:||1,000m|
|Muzzle velocity:||3,450 ft/sec||(1,050 m/s)|
Filling the Short-Range Gap…
Next up is the Gallente CRG-3 Plasma Shotgun. When we added it to the game, the shotgun filled a gaping hole in our weapons line up. At the time most of the weapons we had in were semi- to full-automatic with mid to long ranges, but the shotgun gave us a very powerful, very short-range weapon. It was actually one of our most eagerly awaited weapons on the team, to quote one of the designers, “shotguns are born fun.”
What happened when we put it in the game, though? As a light weapon, it can be fitted to any dropsuit which makes it very versatile. However, it was those players using Scout dropsuits that really gravitated towards it. Having such a powerful weapon helped them offset their relatively weak armor and shields. They began to use their high speed and maneuverability to get as close as possible as fast as possible with the shotgun and blow their enemy away! Of course, any potential victim in a more heavily armored dropsuit class could potentially fit themselves to soak a portion of the damage done and retaliate with a fistful of death of their own so Scouts still had to stay on their toes!
Gallente CRG-3 Plasma Shotgun
Designed for close-range combat, the shotgun is a spread weapon with tremendous stopping power. Unlike traditional cyclotron designs, a walled centrifugal well is used to simultaneously shunt dozens of plasma charges, generating a wide-pattern ‘kill spread’ that is lethal over short distances. The excessive recoil produced by each discharge is absorbed by the pneumatic armature, allowing the weapon to be fired repeatedly without significant injury to the user. The operator controlled crank-action flushes coolant through the interior well before cycling additional rounds into the chamber.
|Max. effective range:||30m|
|Muzzle velocity:||1,325 ft/sec||(403 m/s)|
Up Close and Personal…
Last on the list for this blog post is the humble knife. Imagine you’re in a desperate gun fight, you’re closing in on your opponent, he’s almost dead, you run out of ammo, but you’re close enough to use melee to finish him off… but melee hasn’t been implemented yet and he shoots you in the face! This was a situation many of us experienced before the Nova Knife went in to the game and it was incredibly frustrating. As you can imagine it was a very welcome addition and now it’s hard to imagine how we could have played without it.
Every dropsuit comes equipped with a blade so it doesn’t need to be fitted. For most players the Nova Knife is a weapon of last resort, but for a crazed few it is used as a primary. They train skills in knife handling and fit their dropsuits with Myofibril Stimulant modules to make the knife as deadly as possible. There is of course no more embarrassing way to be killed than with the knife. And no more frightening sight than a module-enhanced fast-moving Scout dropsuit that is bearing down on you as you try to pick them off before they get too close.
Caldari ZN-28 Nova Knife
A close-quarters melee weapon, the Nova Knife is as deadly a weapon as anything on the battlefield. Its name derives from the heated plasma edge of the blade – formed by a thermic igniter and linear gravity condenser – that, in skilled hands, can be used to carve through even the thickest dropsuit armor.
|Max. effective range:||0.5m|
One of the most exciting things about game development is watching and experiencing the game as various pieces of gameplay fall into place. Every new weapon we add to the game opens up the gameplay in ways we predicted and ways we didn’t. One of the things that excites me the most about DUST 514 is that the continuous development post-launch means that developers and players alike will get to see the gameplay evolve over time as new content is introduced into the game.