Bullet Bloom: An FPS Tragedy

What do you think of the “bloom” mechanic in FPS games?

I dislike randomized bullet spray in general, so naturally I don’t like Bloom either.

For those not aware, Bloom is when a gun’s bullet spread area increases over time as it’s fired, resetting when you stop firing. It’s supposed to encourage burst shots as opposed to spray fire. I don’t understand the intention of doing this, except maybe some sense of realism. It seems like whatever it accomplishes could be accomplished a different way than this.

In regards to “bloom” in FPS or randomized bullet spread, what would be your alternative? I assumed it was for skill purposes. My assumption was that instead of your gun being a laser beam, you now have to control the recoil in order to win the gun fight.

Bloom is not Recoil. It’s about the cone of fire expanding over time, not the cursor moving upwards over time.

Bloom does add a skill element, burst firing the weapon instead of holding the trigger down, but it’s questionable if adding a skill element like that is the actual intent of bloom, because that’s a pretty lame and linear skill element to add, requiring people to tap the button instead of hold it down.

My alternative would honestly be just having the gun be a laser beam, with a fall-off in damage over a range, so that you can’t use an assault rifle as a sniper weapon. Barring that (if you REALLY wanted it to look like a gun and have the bullets spray everywhere so it looks somewhat realistic), deterministic bullet spread, similar to Counter Strike, so that skilled players could functionally have the gun work like a laser beam anyway. Star Citizen is doing a neat thing with recoil based on procedural animations, but I don’t really expect that to be much different functionally than random recoil or spread.

If you wanted the minor skill element of pacing your shots, you could have damage decrease as you fire longer. There’s always a deterministic way to recreate these behaviors without introducing randomness, but for some reason I always get ridiculous amounts of pushback on removing this type of randomness. We happened to make these effects in mimicking real life weaponry, and post-hoc we’re defending the benefits of designing weapons this way. We could achieve these same benefits without invoking the random number generator, but people complain that it’s unrealistic, that players won’t like that type of behavior, that it won’t actually accomplish the same purpose, etc.

I don’t see the point in having some of your shots randomly miss, and therefore your DPS randomly being higher or lower sometimes. I don’t see the point in being able to compensate for this by pacing your clicks.

Honestly, I’d like to be able to just point the gun at people and hold down the trigger while keeping the reticule on the target. I don’t get why we need all these other things getting in the way of that. I don’t get why we need to randomly vary how much damage you do. I get that bullet spread makes shots less accurate over a distance, so you do less DPS the further they are, but you could do that just be reducing damage based on distance. It’s a very indirect method of accomplishing the objective.

Having randomized bullet spray, or bloom, or iron sights, or some such just means that you need to do some extra little thing to maximize your DPS, like burst fire depending on range, raise your sights, and it doesn’t add any significant extra layer of decision-making to the game, it just means that you need to do a slightly more complex motion to optimize your DPS, and RNG will come down and screw you over in varying amounts.

Is there a name for ‘reverse Bloom’? Weapons that gain accuracy from sustained fire? Can’t recall ever seeing it in a game.

I can’t think of any games that do that either, but it sounds like it could be cool, reward people for commitment. I still hate anything with randomized bullet spread though. Honestly, just increase the damage of the weapon over time. Don’t bother with bullet spread. There’s literally no good reason to add bullet spread to a game. There is no gameplay benefit achieved with bullet spread that cannot be achieved by deterministic means.

4 thoughts on “Bullet Bloom: An FPS Tragedy

  1. Joevan Salmon-Johnson February 23, 2018 / 4:34 am

    Destiny has “Zen Moment” where certain guns lose recoil over time while firing.


  2. Some guy in the internet February 23, 2018 / 7:38 am

    The negev from CS:GO has this ‘reverse bloom’, I just can’t seem to remember if you need to be ducked for it to work. It’s quite comical since it was added in a non ceremonious update, took a lot of people by surprise to see a LMG becoming a laser beam.


  3. Randoman June 29, 2018 / 12:08 am

    Borderlands had weapons that got more accurate the longer the trigger was held down.


  4. raydude July 26, 2022 / 3:35 pm

    Battlefield 2142 is the only game I’ve ever encountered to utilize “reverse bloom” for the support/gunner class.


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