Ok, I can’t be the only one that hates fighting hecu grunts in black mesa it feels like fighting a brick wall with a machine gun, you just shoot at it until its dead. this post may overcomplicate things but it is suggestions to make the hecu feel more alive.
HECU AI CHANGE SUGGESTIONS
hecu cover priority: HECU are trained soldiers while you have power armor they do not, they should be more active in trying to find cover especially in situations where they can not flank, ingagments should start with the HECU trying to find cover, and sticking near it only leaving if the player flushes them out or flanks them.
To inance this, hecu would also notice if their target is in cover, lets say you have a 4 man HECU squad fighting a few barnies, the barnies split and take cover behind some crates and a barrier. In this situation the AI should target the cover of the barny behind the crate to destroy the cover before killing the barny while, the squad leader orders grenades on the other.
sitiation flow example
target A: behind destructible cover
target B: behind indestructible cover
grunt and commander attack target A’s cover
grenadiers: throw grenades at target B
commander: squad flush them (signals grenadiers to throw grenades)
commander: focus fire (signals grunt and commander to take out target B’s cover)
TARGET A-C ambush squad
TARGET A: freeman
TARGET B: revolver guard
TARGET C: scientist
combat ordar flow
squad: takes cover, dictate target priority in example
commander: TARGET FREEMAN and escort, ignore scientists.
result, squad ignores the scientist prioritizes the player and the gaurd.
event: grunt wounded but made it to cover
result: commander orders medic to heal
commander: medic, give support.
the overall with these is the idea that the hecu grunt AI should be more reactive and vocal giving orders and taking them. right now the AI feels like it is well dumb firing at the player with out thinking.
With this I would also suggest expanding the soldier types the hecu have on option, right now there is grunt, grenadier, medic, and commander (some times ones with RPGS but they do almost nothing except set piece which feels like a waste)
here is my suggestion for the hecu line up of units.
NONE COMMAND HECU, these are always followers in a squad.
info: lowest threat level of the hecu units, takes orders but does not give them if commander is killed will still work as an effective unit but will be more random with use. example while commander is alive will only throw grenades when ordered, when their commander is dead may lob grenades at any time. rarely has more then one grenade
gear: grenades x4
info: will use grenades more often then standard grunts, when ordered to flush will keep throwing grenades at a target location until target moves. (so if you tank a grenade these guys will throw more)
weapon: mp5 GL
gear: 40mm x3
info: similar to the standard grenadiers but use their grenade launcher, unlike standard grenadiers are more likely to use their explosives against direct enemies such as A-grunts, bullsquids, and freeman.
info: prioritizes healing over shooting, these ones will only attack hostiles if they have no choice for example if player or guards are near them tehy will beg and state they are just following orders. note so long as the player doesn’t actively shoot them they can be incited to give freeman their medkit. (will drop it on death anyway)
note: will just outright run from aliens.
info: similar to standard grunts, but unlike the healer type of medic will only heal other grunts when ordered by a commander or the wounded grunt.
info: will try to get up close and personal, rarely if ever use grenades and mainly focus on getting close and directly taking things out (in other words current AI)
info: generally seen in set peaces is armed with one of two RPGs’s either a LAW single shot (example garge fight one) or the guided RPG. AI wise these guys attempt to stick back and avoid direct combat while firing rockets at range, they generally only have 1-3 shots before they have to swap to their pistol.
player interaction: these guys would be seen first in on a rail using LAWs, which the player will only find spent or damaged ones, later during surface tension the player will see 3 of them with the standard RPG, 2 where you see them in uncut and a third on the helipad that will fire an RPG at the A grunt that spawns if you kill the vorts meant to destroy the fuel tanker. said one might fire 2 other shots after words if the player doesn’t kill them.
gear: grenades x2
looks: standard red hats
AI: focuses on keeping their squad alive, will order cover over pushing in most situations, if have a medic may even order soldiers to pull back to the medic while other try to suppress their targets. this one is more defensive
weapon: MP5 /w gl
gear: 40mm x1
looks: standard helmet but tends to have a cigar more often uses the black skin color.
AI: focuses on explosives, will order soldiers to flush more or blow up their targets more. seen more in surface tension and the last one in forget about freeman. said squad commanders are a larger threat as their squads tend to have more grenadier2 type hecu
looks: no helmet but may have a paper mask.
AI: tends to have medic type healer squads, generally only seen in the one or two areas you see multiple squads focus on keeping the other squads alive. so long as they are alive healer type medics will not target you (neither will this one).
OTHER HECU AI IDEAS
weapon: MP5, shotgun, or pistol
info: wounded hecu grunts seen in the last group. have less health and tend to have a drop weapon and try surrendering function in the case of the last group the moment you destroy the tank they will try to surrender. (you get their gear because they drop it).
weapon: MP5 /w gl
info: same as wounded just will try launching their 40mm at the first hostile they see.
both wounded types would only be seen in the last group, with visibly different models then standard hecu, for example tehy would not have their vests and they would be bloody. these would be one of a few times that hecu would try to surrender (something that would make them feel more alive and less just game mook)
info: seen only in on a rail. these ones will have a one of three things happen if you kill their commander, they shout at freeman and run at them firing like a mad man, they drop their weapon and run, or they take cover and hide. with 2 out of 3 leaving them as none hostile for the rest of the fight so long as their are spawned in.
gear: grenade x2
info: when wounded will panic drop or throw a grenade then run, trying to bait the player into the grenade. grenades dropped via this do not smoke like thrown ones but do act the same.
out there HECU IDEAS (stuff that might not fit)
weapon: MP5 /w GL
gear: 40mm x4
looks: HECU in noticibly heavier armor, would be the return of their powered vests sort of like this. (more or less they would be the return of the powered vest, would suggest them for the campaign but there is no place that they would fit.)
FUNCTION: simlar to grenadier type two, only has more health, and take reduced damage from none explosive sources so instead of taking what 9 damage from a glock they would take 5.
info: hecu that use the brownings on maps, their main AI would be to get to and use the gun they would be notibly more accurate then other hecu grunts when using the guns. but as their is only like one point where you actually fight hecu on a .50 cal these guys might be useless in idea.
REASON for all of this.
the hecu feels stagnet when playing against them they are predictible and well they feel less intelgent then the ones in half life, when looking over half life this was likely because the hecu though hard coded and scripted used full on squad tactics. they had moves like baiting the player and running as they drop a grenade. they also had AI bits where if you shot a gun they would investigate it, and actually paid attention to sound and smell. (seriously half lifes AI had smell, if you killed a headcrab a bullsquid would sniff it out and find and eat hell it had a rare chance to ignore you if it did that. hecu would actually investigate things that where off as well, kill a grunt and a none alert one finds his body he will alert the hole squad. even though this isn’t a stealth game)
also I feel like having different hecu grunts with their own roles would make sense in a flow way. that and YOU NEED TO MAKE SHOTGUNERS MORE OBVIOUS, there is a reason most modern games make the shotgun enemies stand out, cause not noticing which gun they have can and will kill you. (its why they always had balaclavas in half life, don’t think that should come back but there should be a tell for shot gunners.
anyway this was more or less a ramble suggestion for varrying the hecu AI by adding different sub types, uh sorry I typed them out like you would on npc_create