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Angelini Talks Gaming With DEVGRU Operator Craig Sawyer

In-Game Weapons And Their Proximity To The Real Thing

Tom’s Hardware: How well do software developers model weapons after their real-world counterparts when it comes to rate of fire, accuracy, recoil, weight (and its effect on movement)?

Craig Sawyer: From what I've seen lately in games, weapon appearance and rate of fire appear plausible. What remains uncalibrated is the effect various calibers of ammunition have on a target. As an example, you shouldn't be able to knock a guy down from long range with a pistol with the same effect as a belt-fed 7.62 mm machine gun. That machine gun should also allow you to penetrate barricade material much better as well.

Why pick up a heavier weapon and lug it around if it won't chew through cars, walls, and people? In the real world, they do. When a game represents damage properly, I like using larger-caliber weapons, even if they impede mobility.

Craig getting his blast on with an M60E3 machine gun

Tom’s Hardware: How does a GPMG (General Purpose Machine Gun) deliver "splash" damage? How much more effective is a GPMG compared to a combat rifle in real life?

Craig Sawyer: The splash damage you mention can be just as devastating as the lead itself, depending on the terrain. If you're in loose, rocky, sandy territory, low misses really do pick up rocks, sand, and other objects, splattering them right through the target and causing significant additional damage. It's a very effective technique when executed properly, and can be like multiplying your rate of fire. In other conditions, however, shooting low might not have as much effect due to a lack of loose material that can be turned into additional projectiles.

In the desert, I start my machine gun bursts intentionally low and allow the pattern to climb into the target. This throws up additional sand, dust, rocks, and additional frag into the target, as well as the bullets themselves.

Craig fires a Browning Automatic Rifle, not something you'd see in a modern shooter

Tom’s Hardware: Many gamers don't mind using pistols as primary weapons because certain engines allow them to run faster, or squeeze off more high-damage shots on-target than a rifle. How does a Tier 1 operator view the role of a pistol? Have you ever had to draw your pistol as a result of a primary weapon system failure?

Craig Sawyer: I won't speak for the unit, but I personally view the pistol specifically as a backup. It's a side arm that you reach for when your primary goes down in close quarters, or when a long gun isn't appropriate for the task at hand. I want my pistol simple, reliable, and effective. I don't want any accessories on it when I know I'll be ripping it from the holster to fight for my life at close range under adverse conditions.

I've used my pistol quite a bit in real-world operations, but never because my primary went down. It's usually because I'm clearing tight spaces or working in a capacity that doesn't allow me to have a long gun in my hands. Except for instances when it's counter-indicated, I use the long gun.

  • jaquith
    Very interesting article and special thanks to Craig Sawyer!

    We did not pursue questions that would violate OPSEC
    Yeah, we wouldn't want another MoH overreaction.

    The lack of a fatigue factor, even in fairly realistic first-person shooters, has always bothered me. Most titles allow you to sprint briefly before slowing down to a run, but you’re able to shoot, jump, and then, seconds later, sprint again. Is this something that needs to change in the next generation of games, or would "the real thing" be a total turn-off for a gamer?
    Try Paintball. Otherwise VR with electric shock. Either way, IMO very few want total or close to realism in gaming other than theatrics. Listen, I've been shot by a 22mm that grazed off my knee taking-off a piece of meat -- getting welted-up from paintball's or electric shock is a cake walk.

    Personally, I'm far from a SEAL (really far) but I like my guns, and my Glock 19 with a LaserMax will make folks think twice about leaving in a home invasion - it's there as fast as I can reach. The POF-USA P308-12-MRR 7.62mm NATO is indeed sweet and ain't cheap; just what every 'deer' hunter needs.
    Reply
  • Pawessum16
    Correction on page 2:
    Tom's Hardware: I think all gamers remember the Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 scene where you're a sniper in the top floor of a building in Chernobyl. As a real U.S. Navy SEAL sniper, how accurate is this experience?
    I remember that so well that I know for a fact that it happened in the original Modern Warfare, ie COD4: Modern Warfare.....before they stopped the numbering.
    And after finishing reading the article, I'd like to add that it was pretty great. To someone like me who doesn't know a thing about real world combat, it was very insightful, and Sawyer made some good points about the direction of the gaming industry in regards to shooters.
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  • Chewie
    Accuracy's my biggest problem with Crysis, to this day. I especially remember a point early in the first game where I like to lie down in the grass and take out the Norks manning MG emplacements that just can't seem to see me. The problem was, with the Assault Scope I was taking 3 or 4 shots to get a head shot on these guys. The reticle covered the whole head! I checked the range range with the visor, or binocs, or whatever, and got a range of 80m!
    Now, I'm no sniper dude, but I can get multiple 2 inch 5 round groups at 200 metres with the Steyr AUG, and that has a 1.5x optical scope. Also, no cool crysis suit to help. So at 80m, firing from prone, you bet your arse I can pick which eye to take out. But not in Crysis. Most of the other stuff about that group of games is cool, but the accuracy issue drives me nuts every time.
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  • army_ant7
    Tom’s Hardware: What is Sleep, Eat, and Lift?

    Craig Sawyer: Hey! Are you punking me, man!? Hah.
    Chris, I bet you were making your prayers and cringing already while he was saying that. :lol:
    I'm kidding of course. :P But I know I would, knowing that guy could snap my neck with one hand! :lol:

    That aside, a great read! I thank you and Mr. Sawyer there. :D I giggled at the thought of how ridiculous the things we do in games are, and imagined it in real life. Seeing those CoD (and others) commercials would make think they're silly now albeit still cool. :lol:
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  • blackmagnum
    He could run for governor of California...
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  • US_Ranger
    Good article. I especially liked the part about posers. That shit always bothers me and I've run into my fair share of them as well.

    Sua Sponte Craig, good luck in your new endeavors.
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  • mapesdhs
    Thankyou so much for this article Chris! The most interesting piece I've read on any site for
    a long time.

    Best wishes & respect to Craig and all his colleagues.

    Ian.

    Reply
  • happyballz
    ChewieAccuracy's my biggest problem with Crysis, to this day. I especially remember a point early in the first game where I like to lie down in the grass and take out the Norks manning MG emplacements that just can't seem to see me. The problem was, with the Assault Scope I was taking 3 or 4 shots to get a head shot on these guys. The reticle covered the whole head! I checked the range range with the visor, or binocs, or whatever, and got a range of 80m!Now, I'm no sniper dude, but I can get multiple 2 inch 5 round groups at 200 metres with the Steyr AUG, and that has a 1.5x optical scope. Also, no cool crysis suit to help. So at 80m, firing from prone, you bet your arse I can pick which eye to take out. But not in Crysis. Most of the other stuff about that group of games is cool, but the accuracy issue drives me nuts every time.
    I personally participate in bolt-action rifle competitions up to 1000yards but...AUG A’s 1.5x optical scope with 2 inch groups at 200m? You better have used a fully locked bench rest for that...AKA you were just pressing the trigger and the bench was holding aim. Otherwise I really doubt your "consistent" 5 round groups; I have used A1's reticle 1.5x scope before, and after 100-150 yards the "donut" reticle covers too much to know where the true center is. So you either very lucky repeatedly or are over exaggerating a bit.
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  • mayankleoboy1
    happyballzSo you either very lucky repeatedly or are over exaggerating a bit.
    Or he has practiced lots and lots more than you
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  • stevelord
    One of my favorite experts on Top Shot. Can't wait till the next season (which has been filming since September I believe.)
    Reply