How to play well






  • Loading

    • If you decide to do a tactical reload (reloading before the box is empty), you don’t need to take the belt off as a separate step. You can just lift the top of the gun and grab the box.

  • Firing

    • When firing full-auto, the holographic sight’s reticle will oscillate up and down quickly. You want to aim so that the bottommost part of the oscillation is covering your target; that’s where the bullets will go.



  • Callouts

  • Suppression

  • Flanking

  • Keyhole positions

  • Standoff distance


  • Weapon use

    • Firearms

      • Marksmanship

        • Practice single shots at a single target.

        • Practice single shots while moving your point of aim between different targets.


      • Reloading

        • Just remove the mag/box and then putting it back into the gun.

        • Remove the mag, put it in your belt, take a new mag from your belt, and put it into the gun.

        • Let the mag drop, take a new mag from your belt, and put it into your gun.

        • Modifiers

          • Do it in different positions (standing, kneeling, prone).

          • Do it while looking in different directions (looking at the gun, looking halfway between the gun and some target downrange, looking at a target downrange).

      • Drawing and holstering

        • Practice transitioning to your pistol when out of ammo in close range.

    • Grenades

      • Practice different throws: underarm, side-throws, throwing it like a baseball.

      • Practice different distances.

  • Target recognition

    • Peek drill

  • Hand signals

    1. Familiarization

      • Just stand right next to your training partner and go through the different hand signals you’ll be using, each person performing each signal to confirm that the other person can recognize it.

        • Note that Onward doesn’t track your hand movements and head position as closely as you might think, and so you may need to perform the hand signals in a more-exaggerated or otherwise-different way in order to have them recognizable.

    2. Performing and recognizing

      1. Practice performing and reading the signals in different situations and in different stances.

        1. You can vary:

          1. The distance between you and your partner.

          2. The stance of the person performing the signal.

          3. Obstructions between you and your partner.

          4. Differences in height between you and your partner.

        2. Create a list of hand signals on pastebin.com and then use https://www.random.org/lists/ to randomly reorder the list.

          1. Here’s an example: https://pastebin.com/hxHBHG2s

Crafting a good team on a public server

  1. Different game modes seem to require different kinds of teamwork. When playing Escort

Hand signals

  • Get someone’s attention

    • Wave at them.

      • You can use a big movement with your whole arm if the person is far away, or just use your forearm and/or wrist if they’re close to you.

  • Confirm you see someone who is trying to communicate with you.

    • Wave back(?) or put your palm up as if you’re saying ‘hi’.

  • Indicate who you’re talking to / giving an instruction to

    • Point at them

  • Numbers:

    • 1 - Point your index finger up with the rest of your hand in a fist.

    • 2 - Finger and thumb out


  • US Army - Visual Signals

    • Chapter 1 - Hand-and-arm signals for dismount operations

      • Signals for dismounted formations

        • Disperse

        • Assemble or rally

        • Join me, follow me, or come forward

        • Increase speed, double time, or rush

        • Wedge formation

        • Vee formation

        • Line formation

        • Echelon left

        • Echelon right

        • Staggered column formation

        • Column formation

        • Herringbone formation

      • Patrolling hand and arm signals

        • Contact left

        • Contact right

        • Air attack

        • Chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear attack

        • Fix bayonets

        • Enemy in sight

        • Quick time

        • Take cover

        • Map check

        • Halt

        • Take a knee

        • Move to the prone

        • Request a pace count

        • Call the radiotelephone operator forward

        • Request a headcount

        • Danger area

        • Freeze

        • Move the platoon leader to the front

        • Move the platoon sergeant to the front

        • Move the squad leader forward

        • Number signals

        • Stop, look, listen, smell (SLLS)

        • Message acknowledged

  • https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4SxDFmzDyIo

    • Enemy Spotted

      1. Position one of your hands palm-down across your eyebrows as if you’re blocking the sun with them.

        1. https://i.imgur.com/BUL4xvW.png

      2. (Optional) Point in the direction of the spotted enemy.

    • Grenade (Request someone throw a grenade)

      • Hold up a fist with your palm facing forward.

    • Move Up

      • Have your fingers extended and your arm straightened out to the side with your palm facing forwards (ventrally).

    • Smoke Grenade

    • Take Cover

    • Stack Up

Changes I would make to Onward

Game modes

  • Different game modes. Think about what effect you want to produce on the gameplay, and create the game mode to produce that effect. Assuming no respawn / realism, the game mode affects 1) whether a particular side needs to move or not (throughout the round), 2) the conditions under which each side might need to move.

  • Hostage rescue game mode.

  • Defuse game mode.

  • I don't like Assault and Gun Game because they're straying from the milsim immersiveness, but I'm fine with them being an option. I can see how they might be a nice change-of-pace for people who get tired of the realistic game modes, or a nice way to get more gunplay practice in.

  • Have a 'move' mode against AI, where the goal is to get to a different part of the map within a certain amount of time, where the the amount of time gets tighter as you keep going. The AI spawn infinitely.

Maps / environments

  • Do whatever it takes to prevent meta like known positions.

  • Randomized features of maps: windows / cracks-in-walls that appear or disappear, clutter that appears or disappears, routes that are available or blocked off. Maybe have it random between matches, so

  • Constantly-moving elements on the map, to make it harder to spot moving enemies or spot enemies based on a memorization of the appearance of a certain piece of ground. So, like, swaying trees, swaying bushes, blinking lights, flying birds, shimmering water, reflections of movement in glass, civilians running around, moving clouds and changing shade/lighting as clouds block the sun.

  • Civilians / hostages.

Guns / gunplay

  • Hits seem way too likely compared to IRL gun battles. I feel like hits should be less likely, suppression should be more likely.

  • Suppression should be a stronger effect.

  • Model ricochets. Like, if someone is firing full-auto into a room, or if someone is blind-firing down a street, ricochets are going to be a significant cause of wounds.

  • More recoil if shooting without the butt of the gun in your shoulder, like around corners.

  • Foregrips seem OP in terms of how much they reduce recoil.

  • IR lasers and IR goggles for MARSOC, with IR goggles being disabled for Volk by default. IR lasers are very, very helpful for reducing friendly fire and understanding which angles are covered and which aren't.

  • Weak-side shooting (this might already be in the game?) to present less of a target around weak-side corners.

  • Model the fear that comes from having your teammates killed/wounded.

  • Reason to use other guns. Like, maybe guns knock into the environment, making shorter weapons more useful, or maybe maps where only certain guns are enabled.

  • Let players enable gun failures, like a failure to feed, failure to eject, etc.

  • Let players enable a mode where they don’t die immediately unless they’re hit in the head, but they can be knocked down and still control their weapon.

  • Model different levels of body armor and their effect on speed and stamina, and model their protective effect more accurately (like, don’t just give blanket protection to a shot landing anywhere on the body).


  • Better stamina modeling.

  • Crawling seems OP right now.

  • Leaning.

  • Ability to feign death (but what button would it be assigned to?).


  • I feel like sometimes the sound of conversations should actually maybe carry further than it does in the game. Like, if someone is shouting or talking more loudly, that should carry further.

  • Have Volk have more jingling of their equipment when they move to reflect their poorer training.

  • Better calculation of whether you can hear the other team. It's stupid to be on top of the dam in Turbine and be able to hear the other team talking on the floors below.

  • More ambient sound to make it harder to identify enemy movement: birds chirping, airliners passing overhead, trees rustling, air conditioners / HVAC units humming, insects chirping, civilians screaming/shouting

  • Better sound quality for the gun effects would be nice (like Post Scriptum) but not crucial.


  • Have variation in the lighting between rounds or at least between matches. So, like, the light is coming from one direction, then from another direction, it's one color, then another color. This prevents people from being able to quickly spot enemies based on their memory of the appearance of a certain part of the map.


  • Come up with standardized hand-signals.

  • Come up with a standardized system for creating a cohesive team out of randos on a pub server. Like, first do this, then do this, then this.

  • Come up with a list of tactics used in real combat.

    • Example: Audie Murphy feigned death multiple times that one night that earned him his Medal of Honor. But feigning death isn’t something you can really do in any FPSes. The closest thing to it is going prone and not moving.

Making maps

How to make maps

  • OnwardVR - Custom Content Guide

    • This is the official guide to creating custom maps.

    • Follow the guide step-by-step to set up the environment, there’s no point in me summarizing it here because the doc gets updated so frequently.

  • Unity Controls:

    • Arrow keys instead of WASD to move.

    • Hold RMB to look around.

  • 2020.10 -

    • This process is apparently a bit out-of-date, and was focused on making maps for PC.

  • 2023.04 -

    • Goals:

      • He’s aware of the 2020 guide but that one focused on PC, he wants to show an up-to-date process and show how to optimize the map to get it to run on a Quest headset.

      • He wants to cover some gotchas that people skim over in the official guide.

      • Download the Unity Hub.

        • You have to install a particular version of the Unity Hub or it won’t work. The supported version is 2019.4.8f1 LTS at the time he made the video (img) [NW: But you should check the official custom content guide to see what version you should download.]

Map makers

  • - creator of Tanglewood and the oil rig map.