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TIGSource ForumsFeedbackDevLogsDWARVES --- It's done and I added a Post Mortem post.
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Author Topic: DWARVES --- It's done and I added a Post Mortem post.  (Read 15016 times)
lithander
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« on: May 18, 2015, 03:33:11 pm »


DWARVES is going to be a party RPG with physics-based combat based on the story and world of the Dwarves book series by Markus Heitz.


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Here are some beauty-shots taken from the trailer which is based on captures right out of the current prototype. So 100% in-engine and realtime material.



HORDE stands for Horde Onslaught Realtime Dynamics Engine and is the backbone of a prototype I'm currently working on which will hopefully turn into a real game eventually.

In the game you'll fight with a small party against an onslaught of orcs. Everyone know the cliche: orcs are individually weak but dangerous in numbers. We want to capture the frantic, messy chaos of a crowded battlefield. Games like Assassins Creed allow the player to trade blows with a single foe while the others wait patiently for their turn to die. This is one way to make him feel in control and like a skilled hero (a way I don't like) the other way is to allow the player to just kill orcs left and right with sweeping strikes of your battle axe. Evil



Imho computers are powerfull enough to let you play by Newton's rules instead of by the Pen&Paper systems designed for slow-calculating humans. Wink So the combat is something I want to simulate physically not by implementing a variant of D&D rules and rolling dice.



The simulation code (e.g. the HORDE engine) works in 2D and can be better developed in a stand-alone 2D prototype that can be run and debugged from Visual Studio directly.
I've added some sprites on top of the circular bases to visualize the orientation. The color of the base reflects the current angular and linear velocity. That way you can see the collisions trading impulses and also the playable characters "slash" ability hitting the enemies and knocking them back.


HD Video:



The above simulation (written in C#) is run from and visualized in Unity. Every circle will becomes the "base" (to use a tabletop term) of a 3D character. The animations are synthesized from atomic cycles to fit the current state of the simulation. A characters's animations need to acurately reflect what's happening to him. But they don't control his motion in the scene they just visualize it. When he's hit or pushed or when he just walks or turns we need to play animations that would (in reality) cause the exact same motion.
« Last Edit: January 24, 2017, 07:13:49 am by lithander » Logged

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« Reply #1 on: May 18, 2015, 04:05:16 pm »

Good luck simulating a crowded battle field. I play a Boffer game on the weekend and have seen one fighter take out multiple opponents in an unscripted games where all parties want to win. It usually comes down to good tactics by the solo fighter, bad tactics by the masses, and a healthy dose of intimidation.

Good tactics from the solo fighter usually boil down to forcing the engagement into a series of 1 on 1 encounters where the other players in the large team can't support their team mate who is being engaged by the solo. This can be done by moving around the edges of the group and baiting the more aggressive fighters into stepping out of formation.

Bad tactics from the group involve allowing the solo fighter to pull out small parts of the group to defeat piecemeal. Some times the group splits up thinking that one of the splits can get an easy back stab while the solo fighter is engaging the other split. This often results in the solo fighter intimidating one group into backing off then taking out a member of the other group as they approach for what they think is an easy back stab. Other times members of the group do not reposition themselves properly in response to the solo player's movements and end up blocking their teammates or moving out of position.

Intimidation comes into play when the solo player can often get members of the enemy formation to back up with aggressive posturing thus giving them room to attack another player who did not back up. The solo player would loose if one or more of the group would be willing to sacrifice themselves to tie up his sword long enough for the rest of the group to finish him. However if the solo player is intimidating enough nobody wants to risk being that sacrifice.

If you want to see this happen in person look up Belegarth, Dagorhir, or Amtgard organizations in your area. youtube tends to be a bad source for these sort of many vs one encounters. Apparently nobody thinks to film it when one person pulls off an epic last stand.
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lithander
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« Reply #2 on: May 19, 2015, 01:50:24 am »

We've got a pretty active LARP scene in germany, too. (check "Drachenfest" on Youtube for large scale melee scenes) If you compare a steel broadsword with a foam sword the foam sword lacks weight. I've practiced sword fighting for 2 years myself (it's enough to get an idea^^) and while 3kg doesn't sound like much you really have to conserve momentum to use the sword effectively. Larp-combat oftentimes looks like fencing. Wink A heavy weapon, a hero clad in heavy armor... i want all that weight and kinetic energy to be felt when playing.

I fully agree with your post in regards to what allows a solo fighter to fight multiple opponents and especially the focus on outmaneuvering and intimidation is something I'd like to experiment with. You can only effectively parry one opponent at a time and when the hero gets surrounded he's in trouble. That's something that should be intuitively clear to players so it's good if the gameplay reinforces that intuition.

I don't want to let realism get in the way of gameplay, though. The combat will be asymetrical and probably a little stylized, too. It's just that when the underlying system is physical based I hope for it to add similar benefits as it does in Pysically Based Shading: Consistent, plausible look and feel under all possible conditions.
« Last Edit: May 19, 2015, 02:03:01 am by lithander » Logged

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« Reply #3 on: May 20, 2015, 06:17:13 am »

We got some first concept art. Here's a mockup of the combat. Beer!



Conveys the vision well better then moving circles doesn't it? I should edit the top-post, too.
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« Reply #4 on: May 20, 2015, 07:53:48 am »

Haha it does! Beautiful artwork!!
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lithander
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« Reply #5 on: May 21, 2015, 03:16:08 am »

Haha it does! Beautiful artwork!!

Personally the best thing for me about professional gamedev (compared to my sparetime projects) is that I get to work with real quality assets! Smiley
« Last Edit: May 21, 2015, 04:02:10 am by lithander » Logged

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« Reply #6 on: May 21, 2015, 05:32:01 am »

Lithander, I must say that the concept art you have there is nothing short of amazing!
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« Reply #7 on: May 21, 2015, 05:38:09 am »

Very cool idea. Concept art is great too. Looking forward to seeing how this develops...
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« Reply #8 on: May 21, 2015, 06:52:07 am »

Same for me, can't wait to see more, it's really promising!
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« Reply #9 on: May 21, 2015, 07:01:32 am »

Concept art looks great!
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lithander
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« Reply #10 on: May 21, 2015, 07:11:40 am »

Wow, thanks for the motivating feedback! Well, if you prefer concept art over moving green circles I can share some more, then, while working on the 2D prototype. Wink


« Last Edit: May 21, 2015, 07:19:23 am by lithander » Logged

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« Reply #11 on: May 22, 2015, 06:54:14 am »

Here's an up-to-date gif from the 2D prototype:



The final game will use animated 3D characters but a lot of the underlying simulation code (e.g. the HORDE engine) works in 2D and can be better developed in a 2D prototype that can be run and debugged from Visual Studio directly.
I've added some sprites on top of the circular bases to visualize the orientation. The color of the base reflects the current angular and linear velocity. That way you can see the collisions trading impulses and also the playable characters "slash" ability hitting the enemies and knocking them back.

Mapping the stuff happening in the simulation onto believable moving 3D characters is going to be what makes or breaks the game. I hope to be able to show some progress there, soon. But first there's a lot of planning, rigging and animating to be done! I love the first weeks of a new project. Smiley
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« Reply #12 on: May 22, 2015, 09:29:49 am »

This is like something out of Lord of the Rings. I like this a lot!

Also your concept drawing of the enemies reminded me of Capcom's art for their Dragon's Dogma game haha. I had to go double check to see if it was.

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lithander
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« Reply #13 on: May 22, 2015, 09:47:44 am »

Your concept drawing of the enemies reminded me of Capcom's art for their Dragon's Dogma game haha. I had to go double check to see if it was.

Orcs are like zombies... a cliche so often encouraged that you don't know if you should feel comfy and "at home" when you get to see another game with them or just bored! Wink

Maybe we could try to find a new take on orcs but to be honest that's been done before, too. (Warhammer 40k etc...) So we're thinking more along the lines of "how about offering the player a good old high fantasy dish but in a way that feels fresh and dynamic"?

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« Reply #14 on: May 25, 2015, 01:35:42 am »

I'm considering to use continious collision detection over implicit euler. The idea is, instead of advancing the simulation a full timestep and then detecting all intersections and resolving them (hoping no collision is missed due to tunneling) I calculate the time of the next collision, advance the simulation only that much (e.g. a few microseconds instead of 16 milliseconds) resolve the collision and then the collided bodies will continue to move the rest of the frame with their new velocities.

It should be way more acurate. I got it working, too. But I'm not really sure if it's worth it. To do something complicated like that just because it's solving problems *in theory* feels a bit like overengineering. Implicit Euler is so much simpler. In the current state of the editor I can chose different integration methods by a dropdown but maintaining seperate pathes won't be worth it. I need to decide. Anyone got practical experience with that kind of thing?



Trying to avoid showing green circles I visualize only the contact depth! Mesmerizing pattern. Could do stuff like that all day. I'm weird.
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« Reply #15 on: May 25, 2015, 08:17:51 am »

This is looking really interesting! I have a question: in the screenshot above you show the player kind of bashing into the enemies and pushing them out the way. Do you plan to push back enemies only when you swing your weapon, or also when you bash into them?
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« Reply #16 on: May 25, 2015, 10:01:30 am »

Your concept drawing of the enemies reminded me of Capcom's art for their Dragon's Dogma game haha. I had to go double check to see if it was.

Orcs are like zombies... a cliche so often encouraged that you don't know if you should feel comfy and "at home" when you get to see another game with them or just bored! Wink

Maybe we could try to find a new take on orcs but to be honest that's been done before, too. (Warhammer 40k etc...) So we're thinking more along the lines of "how about offering the player a good old high fantasy dish but in a way that feels fresh and dynamic"?


That's a good approach. I find that avoiding cliches tends not to be worth while, mostly because cliches really do tend to work. That's why they becomes to over-used in the first place.

Your philosophy reminds me a bit of Shadow of Mordor, which also does something unique with orcs (or enemies in general, for that matter). Have you considered creating unique traits across all the various classes of enemies? Just small brackets that randomize some of their traits on load so that "small orc archer" isn't just "small orc archer" but, "that nasty little archer with the leather armor? He keeps sniping me. I better break out of this swarm to kill that one specifically".

Just a thought. I realize you're not quite at that phase yet, though.
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lithander
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« Reply #17 on: May 25, 2015, 10:55:44 am »

In the screenshot above you show the player kind of bashing into the enemies and pushing them out the way. Do you plan to push back enemies only when you swing your weapon, or also when you bash into them?
Bodies slamming into other bodies will be an important part of what makes the combat dynamic. It's not only the weapon's that apply forces.

Currently there are two abilities implemented: One is a slash that applies an impulse (or rather a large amount of force over only a few frames) to one enemy in contact range. This is causing the orcs to slam into each other. (what happens most of the time in the animated gif) The other ability is a dash that boosts the hero's linear movement. This causes the hero to shove orcs to the sides or - if he takes them head on - push them backwards at his own speed.

If you've been to a metal concert and took part in the slam-dance you know how ppl take great care not to hurt other people. When you push or get pushed it's usually aimed at the chest and arms and to redirect kinetic energy - you try to avoid large impulses and forces. Still there's a lot kinetic energy and intricate interaction between bodies. Usually you anticipate the motion of someone slamming into you. It's like bodies are connected with invisible springs. That kind of forces (that are not modelled by a normal rigid body simulation) are a large part of what I want to get right.

Have you considered creating unique traits across all the various classes of enemies? Just small brackets that randomize some of their traits on load so that "small orc archer" isn't just "small orc archer" but, "that nasty little archer with the leather armor? He keeps sniping me. I better break out of this swarm to kill that one specifically".

We're planning on different body types (light, medium, heavy) equipped with half a dozen weapon types and each model will have a set of submeshes (armor parts etc) that can be toggled on and off to create interesting variations.
We'll bake the submeshes into one combined mesh upon instantiation to lessen the negative impact on the performance. Maybe we can experiment with colors too. And of course when I spawn individual Orc instances I might apply small variations to the templates so that the horde doesn't move and behave too regular. But well... that's only the vision, we haven't tried it yet, of course.
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« Reply #18 on: May 26, 2015, 01:55:38 am »

Progress of the 2D prototype is going well. It's allready quite fun to play with a Joypad which is a great relief. Beer! (we've had a several potential projects that we scrapped at this point because we couldn't get the core mechanic to be fun and engaging) Next milestone is to make a prove of concept that visualizes the 2D simulation in 3D with animated characters. This is a critical step - a little scary and very exciting.



Work on 3D characters is well underway! Here's some more concept art. I'll try to post some early 3D shots later.
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« Reply #19 on: May 26, 2015, 02:05:15 am »

There's
I've noticed that in any game where the enemies just blindly walk towards you, and you are faster than the enemy, you can herd them into a small area by circling around them quickly. And then kill all of them with one shot of a bazooka or whatnot. Any plans to counter this?
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