SWAT 4 at it’s finest

When you creep up behind a suspect and punch him in the back of the head.
Then you suddenly bounce off the floor like you’ve been hit by a grand piano right in the kisser, because he just shot out his backside ;).

RvS -= 1; SWAT4 += 1

I spent part of the playing around with Raven Shield and SWAT 4: TSS. Although to the best of my knowledge, Unreal Engine 2 did have support for joysticks, both these games shipped with that support half-assedly disabled 8=). In short, the games basically ignore all joystick input.

Never being one easily daunted, the three obvious solutions occurred: A/ configure the games for keyboard only operation and the joystick to emulate keyboard input; B/ use AHK; and C/ write a small toy to emulate a mouse by way of joystick input. I have already done A, and plan to test out B tomorrow (eh, today), if need be, perhaps play with C at some later date just for fun.

Under the Unreal Engine, or at least UE2: movement is a fairly simple thing. Basically you apply a positive or negative “Speed” factor to a given axis, resulting in some kind of movement: such as translating the players pawn(?) or moving the cursor. It’s kind of simple, +/- base X and Y axises are more or less your walk. Where as the aBaseX and aBaseY axises correspond to the mouse. For SWAT, the task is basically as simple as binding a group of keys to apply +/- Speed to those axises. The bigger the speed, the more reaction you get per key press. In Raven Shield however, despite several methods tried, only positive and negative X (left/right) movement was fully working. Irregardless of change, only upward Y movement was possible in RvS o/. After 6 years of it, I am often the first to call Raven Shield a pile of crap. Tuning my retired joystick to trigger those keys, is fairly simple: although the profiler lacks mapping JS to mouse aixses, sadly.

While it is possible to configure SWAT 4 for keyboard only operation, and thus JS based aiming; it creates somewhat of a problem. It’s virtually impossible to both be able to turn/maneuver around obstacles and to aim and fire at targets. The reason for this is somewhat Unreals fault, that and the fact that “Keyboard acceleration” is not quite, eh, the same as mouse acceleration. In testing with my stick, I found values of +/- 3.75 to 4 tended to work good for aiming, where as +/- 5 to 8 work better for turning. Since a joystick should garner a form of movement more acline to that of mouse acceleration, rather than a keyboards uniformity, it causes a conflict of interest. Mouse acceleration works on the indea, of increasing the speed of mouse movement in proportion to the distance you move it, e.g. it gets faster as the further you move it; where as accelerated it always moves at a steady rate. Perhaps a good if incomplete explanation, for anyone whose played a Playstation with an analog controller: mouse = stick, keyboard = d-pad; thus mapping js to keyboard = d-pad != analog stick. Obviously to play an FPS with a joystick, you don’t want it to behave like a sluggish ‘d-pad’. One way to solve this, would be to dynamically modify the Speed= value used by the key, incrementing/decrementing it by some stepping per use; while not as elegant as it might sound to some, is also impossible. UE2s console and command system could only handle the ++ and — operations by writing out the increment steppings using the pipe(|) operator, and following it up with an OnRelease operator to reset it back.

A better solution, obviously is just playing a ficken game with joystick support ^/.

As for the aforementioned method B, wouldn’t you happen to know that it’s already there. It would be the best solution, and AutoHotKey is a fine bit of software; one I’ve always wanted to find a good use for in games. Depending on how well it can be made to work at converting a JS into a mouse compatible HID, in particular with games in general, I might actually give up using the mouse for regular desktop usage. Thanks to my laptop and having encountered a fair bit of hardware in life’s travels, I have no special attachment to PC mice: only hatred for ones without tails. Than again, I don’t like wireless hardware for much, period.

The third method (C), well, is one that I would only consider worth the effort, because of the learning about Windows specifics that it would involve. I wouldn’t be surprised if Microsoft had it as a sample app somewhere either. The libraries I rely on for input backends (e.g. in Stargella) have their own portable handling of joysticks as is, so I’ve no real reason to care lol.

Fresnal Melee, SAS style

It was the last round planned for most of us, and I got elected as Element Leader… so I called for something totally insane!

I ordered everyone to sling their weapons and skip the tac aids – none would be used. We then inserted into Fresnal station and made it half way through one of the largest maps before taking any causalities. Cara died by enemy shotgun shell, after weaving into my line-of-melee, then COT died by the same suspects 12g, when the guy fired while being beaten to death by two SWAT officers lol.

Walker and I then moved on and continued to clear the map…. the suspects never knew what hit them. I made it until being killed in a lag spike, sigh. In RvS at least when you lag out, you’re hard to kill, in SWAT you just become bullet-bait.

If it wasn’t for Walker firing one LTL Bean Bag round into a suspect about to flee the map, we would’ve completed the entire map with NO weapons or tactical aids what so ever. And if it wasn’t for extenuating sircumstances, no one on our team would have died most likely!

Perhaps we are crazy as lunes, or just enjoy a challenge. With no weapons, one has to move fast, and SWAT 4 doesn’t lend itself to unarmed combat as readily as real life does; slow punching but 2m distance is not a good trade off. The real key to it, is mastering the angles involved in the confortation—and beating the enemy senseless. It’s even possible to take 2-3 suspects at once given the right stuff. Until Cara stopped exploiting the angles, it was an interesting 5-vs-1 pistols to fists fight for a moment on the next map lol.

I’ve spent the last few hours playing SWAT, ended it with a bit of Barricaded Suspects (VIP servers virtually empty :'(). I don’t really care much for SWAT 4s player versus player modes, since *at its best*, it basically boils down to forming a 2-3 man team: one with a big gun and the rest with 40mm baton cannon and cobras, arresting everyone in sight lol. I twas however a nice refreshing change – switch off the brain, run around, blow stuff up. Quake would have been a better choice.

Woke up around 0930Q, having dreamed something acline to the The Blackhole. I remember specifically a swirling blue-style blackhole, with balls of fire (like the asteroids in the film) flying form it, trying to escape but in the end, being sucked back into the event horrizion. Not to mention a lovely army of robots and an evil dictator, lol. The second dream, I don’t remember anything of at this point, it faded away a few minutes after I awoke – to tasks to tend to :-(.

Haven’t been in much of a good mood most of the day, this lack of sleep is driving me crackers. Still the same problems, sigh.

It’s been a long and tiresome day.

Played some Urban Terror to pass the time, hoping that SWAT 4 would pick up some steam. I found a funny server running a Simpsons inspired CTF map. After getting tired of the “LMG Battleship” approach of going for the flag, and timing between the waves; I took up a picket position with an eye on the enemies secondary advance-point to our flag. As such, I was the only mook using solid cover, but hey, I was head huntin’ them blues 😉

Swapped my Minimi and flak jacket for a helmet and a G36, tap-tap at the enemies centre mass and follow up until clipin’ their heads resulted in fatal damages. Whenever necessary, I’d just move around cover in order to fire at the enemies primary and thirdary avenues of advance; leaving my sector to the run & gunners on my own team, and an occasional smoke grenade hehe.

Once I closed the game, I noticed that Duke, COT, and Filter had finally gathered, so I made ready to join the fray. I find the wolf in an ant-hill a good way to let off steam, but it’s ever so more relaxing to have a decent game with friends, especially SAS style games!

Shortly after Duke called it a night, it was time for me to make a beeline to dinner, exercising plan A. I stuffed my face with my usual zeal—I’ve always been an expedient eater lol. The Undefeated was on tonight, which I enjoyed. It’s especially nice to see, after so many years of brother against brother, ex union and confederate troops can still get along (and brawl) like brothers! Something that sadly, was quite a bit rarer in the post war years :/. Then again, between the pissing contest, Sherman, and the carpetbaggers, who can blame people for not getting along?

I also got to enjoy a nice 10~15 minute nap, and all this time, my laptop has been compiling updates; practically since I got home lool.

Ah it’s been a fairly full day! I was having some crazy dreams, including many forms of transport but it was the end that really got me lol. At one point, I dreamed that I was on a ship sailing into a fierce storm, and being reassured by a Gary Oldman like figure that in his ‘experience, the ship never goes down until after the storm’. Speaking of that, reminds me – I missed the Fifth Element the other night, a movie I’ve sooo wanted to see lately lol. But anyway, something happened in the dream, and I ended up catching a rope between my teeth and ripping it apart. The end result was loosing about 4 teeth in the process, and being my unnaturally-calm self when things hit the fan :/.

I was very happy to wake up and be able to feel my teeth were still attached! The way I dream, whatever happens: I can feel it… very, very real, as if it was actually happening. I’ve also lost several of my adult teeth to the “Folly of youth” so to speak, so I know all to well what it feels like. That being said, even when I do dream, even if it’s something I’ve never experienced, it usually feels the same as actually experiencing it does lol,

Todays work load wasn’t to bad, not as tiering as I anticipated. I aslo managed to spend some time with friends on the SWAT 4 server ;). On the down side, as lead admin on deck, I had to deal with the troublemakers a lot. Only my strict-demeanor I think, is what allowed most to survive without a ban! The one that came closet, was fortunate enough to shuffle off before I could ban his sorry ass; since we’ve kicked the idiot about 3 times in two days, he’s not going to get any further warning! But on the upside, once the troublemakers were dealt with I got to kick back and relax, or as I told one teammate: “now that I can stop being a puckered ass of an admin”. Once it the server was under control, I was loose and flying in good form >_>

Also, whatever path current business affairs take, I have an interesting idea that might be worth exploring in the near future.

Todays personal training (SWAT 4)

Where; [SAS] Training Ground US

General criteria: no tactical aids permitted, other then breaching kit.

Phase I: Old Granet Hotel, stealth to first contact then high intensity clearing; round 1: success, mp5; round 2: failure, m4. Average shots per kill: 5-6/3-4, killed by a survivor of 4 5.56x45mm to the chest.

Phase II: Children of Tarrone Tenement; stealth until compromised; round 1: failure, mp5sd; round 2: failure, carsd; Average shots per kill 9 / 3; killed by the survivors of 9 9x19mm shots to the skull and 2 5.56x45mm to the skull, respectively.

Phase III: Victory Imports Auto, stealth until first contact then high intensity clearing; round 1: failure, mp5sd; round 2: failure, mp5 (was supposed to be uzisd); Average shots per kill: 4-6; Killed by the survivors of 3 shots to the chest, and a survivor of >12 shots to the body/arms/head.

I nearly threw the freakin’ MP5 at the enemy when during an ambush against would-be bush whackers took about 20 rounds to the head and 3 more to the chest!

So far experiments continue with SWAT 4 performance issues. Deeper testing has shown that it is no longer connected to graphical issues, not when running on my current hardware/driver config; nice to be able to max out the graphics online *and* in single player.

What happens is periodically when moving through an area, I get a stutter-lag-warp like motion: as if the whole game stopped spinning and then suddenly unlocked. The only consistency I’ve noticed is it happens when entering a region of the map that I have not been in previously—or have not been in for a while. One thought is that perhaps it occurs when the cache must be updated with stuff that has already been moved out of the games memory cache. My machine has RAM to burn so I have been testing the game with various cache sizes, but don’t honestly expect any positive result. On modern machines, cache size shouldn’t matter to much with the Unreal Engine 2.x lol.

Atm I’m defragging a few disks, maybe that might help a little. I don’t know if it is just the much greater frequency of crashes with Windows XP, or that NTFS really sucks that much worse then FreeBSDs UFS2 system. But for one reason or another, my windows file systems always end up very highly fragmented. Although on the upside, unlike Win32: FreeBSD does kind of encourage you to fsck afterwards hehe.

Hopefully my experiments will yield some fruit, and I can stop warping all over the place lol.

You know, SWAT 4: TSS is really starting to spoil me :-/.

You might have to shoot the stupid prick 6 or 9 times to take him down, but you can be sure the bullets are hitting where the gun is firing ^_^.

Since I tend to follow up with head shots in S4 more readily, it is even more comfortable lol.

A decent day….

Not a bad day, spent most of my time in Training Grounds #1. I turned off the aiming reticle again, so my accuracy is getting back up to snuff in RvS. Used to have it off all the time, but after getting back into SWAT 4, I turned it back on in RvS, for the consistency – since SWAT 4 won’t let me turn off the aiming reticle there in Multiplayer mode :-(. Really, I like playing without the reticle on screen; much more realistic. It also frees me up to just aim and fire insticively, rather then using the red micro-dot in the centre, as my point of refence. Instead, I see target, I hit target ;-). That’s basically the way I was trained, keep moving, go full auto, fire off short controlled bursts of 2~3 rounds and keep’em firing until the S.O.B. goes down for good. With the way things are going these days, I think the next generation of Recruits is gonna have it much easier then us lot did :. But oh well, I’m just an old fart at heart lol.

Got to enjoy some range work also, taking shorts at near my maximum effective range on DF_Compound, limbering up the ol’CQB and virtual CS-imunity on Box_Storage, limping through the Playground on razor-eyes detail <_<, and commanding a stealth element on Private Airport and MP Training; finishing out witha little more 'mixed' ops hehe.
No idea who set up the line up for this afternoon, but I really enjoyed listening to the Radio today lol. This one song in particular is really starting to grow on me, and a friend introduced me to an interesting band today… hehe.

Sigh, it’s back to work on Tuesday 🙁