Bombing Run (abbreviated BR) is a team-based gametype in the Unreal Tournament first-person shooter series, introduced in Unreal Tournament 2003. It can best be described as Unreal-style American football where the goal of the game is to grab the ball, take it through enemy territory, and score in the opposition's goal. Players can pass the ball to other teammates by launching the ball to them. The ball carrier drops the ball when they are killed. Just like American football's scoring system, if the ball carrier manages to run through the goal or launch the ball into it, the ball carrier's team is awarded with 7 and 3 points respectively. The ball carrier regenerates 3 hit points per second until the traditional health limit (100) is reached, but the ball carrier cannot attack while in possession of the ball.
Bombing Run, as described by the masters of the genre, is an all-out simulation of a generic team-versus-team ball game. BR-Football is just one map in this genre that simulates American football. It is a symmetrical map with 2 goals on either side of the field. This is not one of the stock maps packaged with the game.
In general, BR maps are geometrically symmetric with a single axial plane of symmetry, although this is not always the case. Bombing Run maps tend to have good open fields to pass, which include clever placement of ledges, platforms, etc. for trickjumping. These maps are usually quite big, which allows players to effectively retreat in order to defend one's own goal. Strategic weapon emplacements are also characteristic for the defenders to have an effective weapon to kill the ball carrier; the shock rifle and rocket launcher are favorites in BR and typically placed near the goal, although the offense may see it as tedious. The standard Bombing Run maps are most often played in the nwBR (normal weapon Bombing Run) version of the gametype, which shows how hard it is to make a balanced Bombing Run map. In the iBR (instagib Bombing Run) version, more custom-made maps are played, and tactics are not as effective because one hit with the super shock rifle (the instagib weapon) will instantly kill.
The same dynamics that are felt by football players, basketball players and other team-versus-team ball game players in their real-life games can be simulated and experienced while playing Bombing Run. However, due to the gametype's relatively high demand of physical and mental capacity, it has not gained much popularity and Epic Games discontinued the gametype in Unreal Tournament 2007. Some people did not seem to appreciate maneuverability demands of the gametype. There have been several attempts to revive BR, with new servers which had better ping than the old school jolt server which was the only BR server for a long time in UT2004. BR is currently under another attempt to revive the gametype's popularity; the jolt BR server is not as popular as it once was, but there is a new BR server titled "UUTF & Friends public BR server".
Unlike any other Unreal genre, the score in terms of points in Bombing Run does not necessarily reflect the success of the player. For example, one common strategy in Bombing Run is to commit suicide when the enemy ball carrier is entering the player's territory while the player is too deep within enemy territory to kill the ball carrier. After committing suicide, the player will likely respawn close enough to the enemy ball carrier in order to kill and gain possession of the ball. Obviously, the UT2004 point allocation system would mark a player negatively for a suicide, but in certain maps, such as BR-Colossus (perhaps the most popular map in the genre), this strategy works well against a fast but amateur player. This strategy is not exclusive to BR, but it is the most effective among the UT gametypes.
Bombing Run was added to the Unreal Tournament series after the success of the mod FragBall for the original Unreal Tournament. Many Fragball players consider it a superior game to Bombing Run.
There are several options that the player is faced with when they pick up the ball. The most instinctive option is to charge all the way to the enemy goal while attempting to dodge every shot for survival. It is very dangerous, but if the player manages to score this way, they (i.e. only the player) are rewarded 10 or 4 points if they run through the goal or launch the ball through it, respectively. Other teammates do not receive points, but the team's score increases by 7 or 3 (respectively).
The ball can also be passed to a teammate. When this is done and the ball carrier scores, the ball carrier's points are again determined by the system explained above. Half of the ball carrier's awarded points are also added to each teammate who had touched the ball during the possession. Hence, for example, if the ball carrier runs through the goal and receives 10 points, each teammate who touched the ball during the possession receives 5 points. If the ball is given to the opposition, the possession is over.
If the ball carrier is killed by an enemy player, the player receives 3 points for the kill plus 12 adrenaline. A ball carrier also receives 25 adrenaline when scoring a goal. In BR, the typical kill results in 2 adrenaline, as opposed to 5 adrenaline per kill in deathmatch (DM).
BR inculcates several key skills that are not predominant in the other gametypes of UT:
Instagib Bombing Run is a variation of traditional Bombing Run which uses only the Shock Rifle and gives the players the ability to kill another player with one shot. Team damage is turned off so that one does not kill his/her own teammates. When reading posts in forums, normal BR versus instagib BR are often abbreviated IG BR (or iBR) and NW BR, for InstaGib and NormalWeapons. The instagib community once consisted of upwards of a dozen various clans and was extremely competitive. Of the dozen or so clans that once existed, only four remain somewhat active, Deadly Breed, ToD, ROTS, and TMWB. These were some of the very first clans as well.
iBR can be played with several mutators which allows for faster more dynamic gameplay and a lot more of blood is spilled during a match, because one shot kills. During the beginnings of iBR, servers were generally set to 125% speed, Translocator = False, Low Gravity, and .60 Air. After a few years and the popularization of Arena maps, multi-wall-dodge became popular as well, but the gravity, speed, and air settings generally remain the same. Due to the combination of settings and the ability to dodge (a dodge in UT is the ability to suddenly jump to one side), one may see iBR as a graceful ballet of skilled self passing and artful moves in an attempt to carry the ball through the goal.
Whereas the default configuration for a Bombing Run server includes the translocator, not all Bombing Run players like to play without it enabled. Although non-translocator BR is more popular (100,000+ matches), there are still some servers being created specifically for the gametype- notably the recently created low ping 'Slag` clan TL BR' server.
Advocates of TL-BR (Translocator Bombing Run) argue that the game is slow and easy without the Translocator, and that this makes the game boring to play. Non-TL players instead argue that having no translocator forces teams to work together to push the ball upfield, therefore putting more of an emphasis on passing and shooting skills.
There are two main map types that are popular for IG BR, which consist of what are known as the IGL maps, and Arena maps. IGL refers to the once popular but now defunct ladder website which allowed for tracking competition between both IG BR clans and other gametype clans. The IGL maps were the default maps that came with UT2k3 and eventually 2k4, and the arena maps were usually created by the user community (although some may argue that BR-Colossus is an arena map). The main difference between the competition maps and arena maps is that the competition maps contained corridors and hallways that allowed for much more secretive and graceful movements, rather than the large arena maps which were essentially a large box with perhaps a few obstacles located here and there.
Mastering a so called boost-shot (throwing the ball and then shooting it with super shock rifle to correct its trajectory and increase its speed) is very important in Instagib Bombing Run. Also important is fast reaction and movement skill. So as to be able to pick up the ball without getting shot and score a goal or try to survive and pass it to a teammate which has a higher potency to score a goal. In addition, some of the more skilled players practice a tactic called "Player Boosting", where one is shot in the back and achieves a much higher speed, making him more difficult to hit. This is generally done to someone who is carrying the ball.
Catching is the ability to Translocate in the ball while it is out of possession of another player. The most effective way this is done is when someone has attempted to pass the ball to another player or has simply thrown it at the goal in an attempt to score 3 points. The player essentially grabs the ball out of the air when s/he materializes, thus stopping the progression of the ball and taking possession.
The following is a list of popular normal-weapon Bombing Run maps (in alphabetical order):
Popular maps are