hecu overhall suggestion


#1

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

squad contains
Grenadier: 2
Grunt: 1
commander: 1

action flow

grunt and commander attack target A’s cover
grenadiers: throw grenades at target B

warning ques

commander: squad flush them (signals grenadiers to throw grenades)
commander: focus fire (signals grunt and commander to take out target B’s cover)

defensive flow

TARGET A-C ambush squad

TARGET A: freeman
TARGET B: revolver guard
TARGET C: scientist

squad
grunt: 3
commander: 1
medic: 1

combat ordar flow

action 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.

GRUNT
weapon: mp5
gear: grenades
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

GRENADIER1
weapon: mp5
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)

GRENADIER2
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.

MEDIC_HEALER
weapon: glock
gear: medikit
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.

MEDIC_COMBAT
weapon: MP5
gear: medkit
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.

CQB
weapon: shotgun
gear: NA
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)

HEAVY WEAPON
weapon: RPG
gear: glock
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.

COMMAND AIS

COMMANDER1
weapon: MP5
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

COMMANDER2
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

FIELD DOCTOR
weapon: revolver
gear: medkit
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

WOUNDED1
weapon: MP5, shotgun, or pistol
gear: none
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).

WOUNDED2
weapon: MP5 /w gl
gear: 40mm
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)

PANIC
weapon: MP5
gear: grenade
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.

PGRENADE
weapon: MP5
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)

HEAVY
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.

GUNNER
weapon: pistol
gear: NA
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


#2

I agree with most, if not all of these suggestions. Right now the gameplay is kinda meh, you shoot the HECU units in the head with bullets and occasionally run around when they overwhelm you.
Another feature I think should be added is HECU grunts picking up the healthkits of their dead Medic allies. (It’s been done before in HL2 (with Rebels), no reason it can’t be in BM). To balance this out there could be a small delay between them coming near the healthkit and them actually using it?


#3

I also think there should get some improvement


#4

I really like the idea of marines running for cover before issuing orders.
Another thing I think should be implemented is having marines respond to suppressive fire, giving the player the ability to control the flow of combat to some degree.
I also feel that a few purely aesthetic changes would really help the immersion, like limping, or verbally freaking out when the player is holding the tau cannon, or warning each other when the player pulls out a grenade.


#5

Yeah, specific behavior for player’s active weapon would be nice, something like:
retreating when player is holding explosives, panicking/running from hivehand hornets, zigzag towards player if has crossbow/revolver, retreating when player is charging with shotgun, laugh with ironic comments at crowbar.


#6

After playing abit more, I have to say this the hecu grunts really need a flinch animation and better reactions to damage. I shot a soldier with a revolver and ran out of ammo the next shot was with a pistol that killed them. during the swap they where charging me with a shotgun they didn’t even flinch when shot.

HECU grunts need some AI tweeks, like if they take more then 50% health damage in less then 2 seconds they should retreat, taking a high damage shot like a point blank from the shotgun or a revolver hit anywhere should cause them to flinch, run and hide and call for a medic.

IT would add some interesting counter play if things could happen based on what weapon you use and how much damage you do.

example of ideas.

tranquilizer crossbow
hecu response to getting hit: instead of ragdolling they fall to their knees and then ragdoll. with breathing sounds being played on their body as if they are still alive.

near kill with revolver, shotgun, or explosives.
hecu response: drops their weapon and run trying to find a medic or cover. after a short time picks up nearest prop weapon if none is there pulls out a glock.

nearby ally is killed via the tau cannon or near miss with tau cannon
hecu response: run to heavy cover and try to spray and pray freeman from range.