Daily Archives: 2008-12-31

Marksmen, on your marks!

The beginning of a Call of Duty 4 Search and Destroy game is essentially a race. When the game starts, experienced players all make a mad dash from the starting post, head for their preferred defensive or offensive positions, to dig in before the enemy can bring their guns to bear. From these choice spots, they engage the enemy within seconds, and despite moderately large maps which are a few hundred metres across, up to a third of the kills in a 3-5 minute game do take place in the first 15 seconds. Of course there is skill in figuring out what to do next (the top 1% of players distinguish themselves through adaptability and quick thinking), but the fact remains that the opening of an S&D match is critically important.

I have previously posted about “Neo-Tactics” – unintended side-effects of low-level game algorithms which create competitive advantage. Once a player seems to win without a visible justification this sort of effect causes a problem – it creates the perception of cheating. At a second level, actual cheats might deliberately manipulate their network infrastructure or game client to take advantage of the effect. Well I think I might have found a new one…

The screenshots below give a flavour of the sort of sneaky position that players might hope to be first to reach, affording a narrow but useful line of sight through multiple windows and doorways, crossing most of the map. NB: Seasoned COD4 players will laugh at my choice of so-called sneaky position, but I am a novice and I cannot hope to reach the ingenious hideouts they have discovered after years of play-testing.

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