>Interesting. So VATS is basically overpowered bullet-time.
>It's essentially a guaranteed headshot machine, from what I read,
There is no guaranteed head-shot in VATS. The biggest difference is that stats (perception, weapons skill) matter in VATS and the hit chance depends on it, whereas in real-time it's up to your skill as a player to hit the target.
Here's what the Project Lead said about it a few months ago
"Probably better if I give you a closer look at how we approach it and view VATS. First, I don’t see it as an either-or thing. VATS is meant to be used with real-time, it’s not one or the other – they should feel like they go together. I don’t want the fans confused that this is turn-based, because it’s not. It’s a glorified aimed-shot mode, and a pretty glorious one at that. You’ll be able to use it a lot, but not constantly, because it is the most effective way to kill things. And that’s how we define it usually, it’s the most effective and entertaining way of killing something, and we break up those two parts while developing it, “effect” versus “entertainment”, or the “gameplay” versus the “playback”.
Let’s start with the gameplay. One, you can enter VATS, whenever you want, you just may not have enough AP do take any shots yet, or enough AP to do as many shots as you’d like. The AP needed to do a shot is based on the weapon’s rate of fire; pistols can get more shots off in VATS than a hunting rifle. The camera zooms in on the target from your
eyes, as VATS does a scan of the target, and you get a percentage chance to hit each body part. This accomplishes two things: 1) it just looks really cool, we even use the “combat-turn” sound from Fallout 1 here, and 2) the scan actually is detecting how much of the body part you can see to get us a good hit percentage. That hit-chance is based
on how much of the body part you can see, the distance, your skill, the weapon itself, and a base body part chance we set per body part. That last thing, the base chance, is needed for us to jack up or down the hit-chance for game balance, so even if the head is X size compared to the chest, we can adjust it.
A good example would be the antennae on the ants, they are way too small to realistically ever want to use your AP on, but we up the hit-chance on them and it just plays better. So in real-time, you almost never hit their antennae, but you can do it more in VATS. And that’s the key “behind the scenes” difference between VATS and real-time, in real-time the bullets just go-where-they-go, based on your skill, the gun, and some randomness. We don’t calculate a hit-chance and roll dice against it. In VATS, we calculate a hit-chance and roll dice. If you succeed, we send the bullet right for what you were aiming at, and if you fail, we send it off slightly, meaning it should miss, but we still let it hit whatever it hits, so you can still miss a guy’s head and end up shooting his chest.
Ok, now the “playback,” or the entertainment part of it. Based on what is going to happen with what you chose, we select a number of camera angles and various playback shots to show you, the playback is only a few seconds. They are always pretty quick, the longer playbacks are rare, and we’re the first ones to get annoyed if something repeats itself too much as we’re playing the game. We have a VATS camera section of the editor where we make cameras and can setup almost anything we want, such as a special camera that tracks a bullet in slow motion that shoots a gun out of someone’s hand, but only if they are using a specific pistol and only on a certain enemy. Pretty much anything we want to do; we can setup quick, so expect lots of various camera shots. One of things to know about the playback is it’s not a “replay”, it’s the actual game time moving forward, so what you see is really what is happening right now. The selected cameras control how fast various things move, so most of the time, you, the player, are animating in real-time, the enemy you are shooting at is moving at one-tenth speed, and the rest of the world is paused, or updating slowly. We found just playing everything at the same speed doesn’t feel or look good at all, we had to separate the three out; you, the enemy, and the rest of the world. Another thing we stumbled into, because time is moving forward, is that while you are watching an enemy react to getting shot in this great camera angle, your character can be getting mauled by another enemy. Really frustrating early on as we played it, so we do two things now: 1) depending on the camera chosen we essentially pause the rest of the world, and 2) we have a setting that dramatically reduces the damage the player takes during
such an occurrence. You probably wouldn’t notice any of these things, the playbacks just look “right”, but you’d be surprised how much tweaking goes into making a two second snippet work well."
" The only thing you can do in VATS. is shoot, and it’s designed as just that. It’s kind of an “aimed shot” mode, so no taking stimpacks, etc. When dealing with the AP regeneration, that’s one of the big questions, even for us, as to what we set it to, and that’s going to get serious tweaking the more we play the game. It’s definitely tied to your agility, but we haven’t pinned down the range, so I don’t know if an agility of 10 gives you twice the regen rate over an agility of 1, or if it will be in the 5-10x multiple range. I’d wager closer to 2x on that one. When you’re not in VATS., attacks use up AP as well. At this stage, we’re playing the game so that the AP usage in real-time is less then the regen rate, so the end effect is that attacking in real-time slows down the regen. I imagine it will end up being close to that feel."