PDA

View Full Version : MOVEMENT: Simple or fancy moves?



Platinumoxicity
4th Jun 2009, 12:08
In 1998 two games came out that for me, revolutionized the player movement in FPS games. Half-Life, and Thief. Half-Life had the most fluid, natural player control I'd seen since Quake, mostly because they had a similar engine. It had crouch-jump, for climbing over low obstacles and jumping over fences. It also had environmental hitboxes so perfect that the player never had any doubt about what you could jump on, without the fear of slipping off. Thief was even better. The same fluid basic movement system, but instead of a crouch-jump, the player could pull himself up to low obstacles or grab ledges and pull himself up, all perfectly executed in first person. The physical "actor" of the player was slightly rounded at it's sides, so that you could slowly descend from higher platforms without hurting yourself or making noise, while simultaneously keeping the bottom of the "actor" very leveled, so that the player could easily move on very narrow platforms without any problems. Thief also had rope arrows, allowing clever use of vertical movement. Both of these games could be played as if you were there. You knew exactly how your character moved, without any surprises, with very little "getting used to".

So, now that realism has started to push away the good gameplay in todays games, excluding some exceptions, do people really want button combinations that have to be executed exactly with the possibility of human error, or do we want a system that is sort of "plugged to your spine", so that you don't even need to think about how you move in order to do that? And do we want body awareness that takes our human errors and blames Garrett for them? Do we want lockpicking sequences that detaches the player from the game world and sits us down in front of the lock? Automatic knock-outs anyone?

TDS was a disaster when it came to player movement. The physical "actor" was literally a "ball" that had to be prefectly balanced in order to keep the player from sliding off the level geometry. The movements in all dimensions were not exactly bound to the physics of the world, they were more like pre-rendered animations that sometimes worked in very illogical ways. Going up a ladder was replaced with a solid animation. Going up stairs was like rolling a giant stone ball uphill. The jumping wasn't quite like jumping at all, there was no momentum or precision, but a scripted and uncontrollable move. The hitboxes of the level geometry were rounded and sharpened without any logic, so at times the player would slide perfectly by the walls and sometimes get stuck on a straight floor.

I'm sure that most of you can agree with this: (last pic not related, just a random rant)
http://img268.imageshack.us/img268/6951/tdpvstds.png

esme
4th Jun 2009, 14:00
well if simple is TDP i.e you have absolute control over the avatar and fancy is TDS where you start to move and the engine changes the body position sometimes with disastrous consequences

then my money goes on simple

huzi73
4th Jun 2009, 14:42
rofl, dude, this is fxxing brilliant!i vote this for best post on forum thus far.10/10

Platinumoxicity
4th Jun 2009, 16:31
well if simple is TDP i.e you have absolute control over the avatar and fancy is TDS where you start to move and the engine changes the body position sometimes with disastrous consequences

then my money goes on simple

TDS tried to do fancy, but failed miserably. They sacrificed practicality for 3rd person animations, that TDP never even tried to have.

Hypevosa
4th Jun 2009, 19:19
If there's a good physics engine, then good movement should follow. The case of losing momentum while jumping is stupid, you gain momentum because you put out double the force of running.

Overall I'd say I want the controls to feel as fluid as the first 2 games. If fancy movement animations follow, that would be nice. But don't **** with our controls!

Yotun
4th Jun 2009, 19:53
I'm so confused with the v= a v=b stuff in the second set of pictures :(. I feel like an idiot. :(

Hypevosa
4th Jun 2009, 20:16
I'm so confused with the v= a v=b stuff in the second set of pictures :(. I feel like an idiot. :(

It's physics equations

V is velocity, the speed in a given direction

A and B are both constants, meaning they don't change

In the one with TDP, he's saying how your velocity doesn't change when you jump, it remains A, while in TDS he's illustrating that somehow when you jumped your velocity halved, resulting in you falling in the gap. It's against the laws of physics because unless garrett dug in his heels and slowed down before he jumped, his velocity should have remained B. And if he really did that then Garrett is a stupid jumper...

ToMegaTherion
4th Jun 2009, 20:20
I think the horizontal component of my velocity decreases when I jump, though.

DarthEnder
4th Jun 2009, 20:26
It's fully possible to do both. An engine can be made to allow for simple easy movement from the players perspective, and then animate it accordingly so it does not get in the way.

Your point is completely valid though. Thief 3 was to Thief 1 and 2 what the original 2D Prince of Persia was to Super Mario Bros. Better, smoother animation at the expense of tight, precise controls.

I'm just saying it IS possible to do both now adays.

Hypevosa
4th Jun 2009, 20:41
I think the horizontal component of my velocity decreases when I jump, though.

It depends on how you jump... if you stop, plant both feet and launch at 45 degrees, your horizontal velocity is decreased... however if you just propel yourself without stopping by using your one leg as hard as you can, you can actually increase that velocity. Look at triple jumping in the olympics, they increase their horizontal velocity with every jump... in fact in the TDP you move faster by jumping repeatedly, as if you were continually doing the triple jump. It was entertaining :D But Garrett has no reason to be a stupid jumper, ESPECIALLY since he travels on rooftops, and so should not lose velocity on his side jumps.

ToMegaTherion
4th Jun 2009, 20:41
Also if I recall correctly jumping in the first two games (or certainly the first game) increased your horizontal velocity. This was a bit silly but also interesting, because you could more easily get away from guards but make more noise.

Also moving diagonally was faster than moving forwards, which was hardly sensible.

Hypevosa
4th Jun 2009, 20:47
see my above post about the jumping thing... but I agree moving diagonally faster was kinda stupid.

ToMegaTherion
4th Jun 2009, 20:52
I actually played Thief way too much and never played any other FPS game, so now I am unable to move without going diagonally or fight in a manner other than the one that works in Thief, in any game :(

Platinumoxicity
4th Jun 2009, 21:27
From what I can gather from TDS's disastrous movement system is that they tried to make the movements work based on the animations rather than vice versa. It's the only explanation I can come up with.

Hypevosa
4th Jun 2009, 21:30
From what I can gather from TDS's disastrous movement system is that they tried to make the movements work based on the animations rather than vice versa. It's the only explanation I can come up with.

makes sense explaining the mistake, makes no sense in terms of making good gameplay for your customers...

Platinumoxicity
5th Jun 2009, 00:05
makes sense explaining the mistake, makes no sense in terms of making good gameplay for your customers...

Well obviously that wasn't their intention as you can see. These few days of replaying TDS have brought me great amounts of confusion about the developers' competence.

xDarknessFallsx
5th Jun 2009, 01:22
I lol at the original post :)

TheEye
6th Jul 2009, 11:02
i don't mind complex moves and better graphics as long as it does not compromise the plot and game

Platinumoxicity
6th Jul 2009, 12:36
i don't mind complex moves and better graphics as long as it does not compromise the plot and game

I don't mind complex moves either. But I won't be looking at them anyway because I play 1st person. But the complex moves should not affect the 1st person camera's movement. Everything that the model ingame does should be the result of the player's input. For example:

Sideways wall hugging: The player simply goes near a wall and the player model seamlessly changes to a stance where it leans to the wall.

Back wall hugging: The player backs up near a wall and the player model seamlessly changes to a stance where it leans with it's back to the wall and hands at the sides.

Front wall hugging and peeking: The player goes near a wall facing it and the player model seamlessly flattens to the wall and puts it's hands to the wall. When the player leans in this stance, the player can can peek behind corners while hugging the wall.

And these are not even complex moves. These are only the different wall huggings. All of these moves can be executed using the WASD movement keys. The player model only switches it's stance according to how close it is to a wall or an obstacle, and it doesn't affect the movement of the 1st person camera.

Icky6
6th Jul 2009, 14:56
I can't recall, did TMA have the same increased velocity when jumping while running as in TDP?

Platinumoxicity
6th Jul 2009, 15:12
I can't recall, did TMA have the same increased velocity when jumping while running as in TDP?

No, they disabled bunny-hopping in TMA

s guy
22nd Jan 2010, 21:48
The problem was that they used the same physics in 1st/2nd person with the camera moved.
In another game (not an especially good game, but this part is good) in first person the 3d representation of your character changed into a representation like in T1/T2, eliminating this type of problem (in 1st person, but the 3rd person movement was was actually pretty good).

Also, this might be because of the engine issues with TDS and the devs coudn't do anything about it.
(By the time they found out that the engine was junk, they were to far along/close to release to fix it and had to quickly redesign the levels. That's why the level design wasn't as good as T1/T2 and why there were no rope arrows, by the way).

Loup
22nd Jan 2010, 23:41
From what I can gather from TDS's disastrous movement system is that they tried to make the movements work based on the animations rather than vice versa. It's the only explanation I can come up with.

FAIL!

This probably some of the worst development choices ever. Things must have been really bad at Ion Storm if you think about all the issues with the game.

hikikomori-san
23rd Jan 2010, 01:42
Body awareness is definitely a welcome addition for me, if implemented correctly. As pointed out already, this means that it shouldn't get in the way of responsiveness and intuitiveness. Making a first person game where the player is practically just a floating camera is, like, old! However, there are a lot of "body awareness techniques" that can be used to enhance the experience, and one can't really judge the end result without actually trying it.

Mirror's Edge comes to mind, and I think it did a good job there. Though that is a fast-paced game, unlike Thief, so I'm not suggesting it be copied. Running in Modern Warfare and similar games also comes to mind. Walking should really feel like walking, and so does running, and even looking. In Thief in particular, looking can be implemented somewhat differently since the purpose is to tell Garrett where to look, not to precisely aim and shoot. I remember the first time I played Jericho and noticed the camera constantly rotating slightly to simulate the avatar looking around. I thought it would get irritating and inconvenient really quickly, but it didn't, though that could be due to the fact that the game is action-packed and you rarely ever stop and look at stuff, unlike Thief.

I guess my point is that this particular aspect of the game is hard to "theorize" since it largely depends on the the "feel" of the finely tuned end result.

Loup
23rd Jan 2010, 10:45
due to the fact that the game is action-packed and you rarely ever stop and look at stuff, unlike Thief..

If there is one thing which I'll never be able to wrap my head around is the fact that most games today is fastpaced and stays fastpaced on a level where graphic detail is only noticed in cutscenes and when you are actually not playing the game. It puts the graphical development and the crowds neverending screams for "better gr4phix!1!!!!!1!" into a perspective where the whole thing is just absurd. How can something which you think about in 5 minutes of all the time which you are playing be the most important aspect of the game which you play several hours?

Sorry for the rant


To get back on topic: what makes body awareness a issue in games is mainly because most fps in history has mostly lacked it completely. Most people are not familiar with not being able to change the direction which you are running on the fly or not being able to bounce like a ball while jumping repeatedly. My greatest problems with TDS except for the nerfed jumping was the fact that when you started or stopped running the camera moved like if Garrett had spasms or only two joints, one between his chest (or is it called trunk in english?) and legs, and one somewhere in the middle of his chest which resulted in the two jerks linked to the animation which after it played allowed you to start running. With smoother changes in the camera and a little less overdone start and stop sequence I wouldn't have a problem with body awareness. As long as controlling Garrett feels like you are controlling a agile person with a good body coordination. Let's say that in TDS it feelt like you were controlling someone with a compulsory disorder who just had to turn his body in the same direction of his head before he allowed him self to move and when he starts running it feels like he need to shift an very poorly balanced weight like if he's carrying a tray of heavy things which he also needs to balance.

Nate
23rd Jan 2010, 15:07
Agreed, I hated TDS's 'head turn THEN maybe body turns' type movement.

TDS provided us with LOTS of falling death entertainment!

After a while, I had to continually look at my feet to determine which way I was facing = LAME!

IF the devs don't do 3rd person, they could easily avoid a lot of this crap.

Oon Kuka Oon
23rd Jan 2010, 15:27
Yep. 3rd person must not corrupt Thief IV - if it is offered, it should be done by releasing 3rd person patch.

esme
23rd Jan 2010, 17:47
Agreed, I hated TDS's 'head turn THEN maybe body turns' type movement.

TDS provided us with LOTS of falling death entertainment!

After a while, I had to continually look at my feet to determine which way I was facing = LAME!

IF the devs don't do 3rd person, they could easily avoid a lot of this crap.I found the head turned until it met the shoulder then the body turned, so I always overturned by a quarter turn or so checked where my feet were pointing and then moved

but you are right it's totally lame

.... I'm pretty sure that's the first time I've ever used that term ... does this mean you get a toaster oven for introducing me to it ? ;)

Namdrol
23rd Jan 2010, 19:16
Careful esme, you'll have 4chan set as your homepage before you know it.

hikikomori-san
23rd Jan 2010, 19:51
Careful esme, you'll have 4chan set as your homepage before you know it.

O...

:whistle:

jtr7
23rd Jan 2010, 20:34
You skipped the part where somebody had to make the body, and somebody had to hook it into the controls, and it had to be playtested thoroughly, and the environment has to play nice with it, and the body has to be taken over for certain moves and game-mechanics to keep it from getting trapped or snagged by things like climbing a ladder and picking a lock. All the work for appearances creates a chain of changes to the environment and building and testing, guaranteeing the world will be compromised.

esme
25th Jan 2010, 12:23
Careful esme, you'll have 4chan set as your homepage before you know it.

never used 4chan .... would I be down wiv da yoof if I did ?

somehow I suspect I shall remain simply fat instead of phat


word ;)

Namdrol
25th Jan 2010, 15:23
I'd never heard of it till a couple of months ago (hey I was out of circulation for a few years)
Can't understand it at all.

esme
25th Jan 2010, 17:03
word dude

Namdrol
25th Jan 2010, 17:46
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/0603/millymollymandy/th_fingersinears.gif

Pieter888
25th Jan 2010, 18:19
This thread:
First part (1/3): Making lulz about OP's pic.
Second part (2/3): Serious discussion about the topic
Third part (3/3): Word, dude!

jtr7
25th Jan 2010, 20:54
Heh.



Movements should be intuitive and simple to execute, with an ability to nearly take navigation for granted. There should be increased movement but all a natural extension for what the controls already do, but as applied to different terrain. Windowsills should not be a problem, but a obvious gripping and mantling point. Nothing basic a fairly agile and practiced person who is not an acrobat in any way can perform should be neglected. A fancy move that I wouldn't expect would be moving sideways at a crouch off a ledge, with the fingers grabbing on, for Garrett to hang down and drop, or mantle back up from. It can almost be done already, but only as a full drop, twist, grab, and partial mantle, which is lucky if executed successfully, and there aren't too many places built in where it would matter to have that or not. But as some of us have been saying, movement needs to be increased and old moves smoothed out and fixed for once, but all along the lines of Garrett doing what an average child can do already, and yes, nearly taken for granted, but not parkour, acrobatics, gymnastics, or martial arts. Just natural and common and with the slow deliberation of a very active adult who is weighed down and not wearing athletes' clothes, but snug light-armor from neck to toes, and is practiced and knowledgeable about his hometown of so many years. As with the older titles, the level design can slow him down and make him clumsy like he's new to the area by having increased the height of a mantle just a bit, the distance of a jump just a bit, decreasing the height of a window frame just a bit, increasing the angle of a slope just a bit, and so on.

Pieter888
25th Jan 2010, 21:39
I can't agree more jtr7 :thumb:

I like the way movement was done in TDM. It all felt natural and right, you didn't just misjudge a jump because you can actually feel what the player is capable off. The best part of it was mantling high obstacles (or leaping over a big gap that lead you to grab a ledge with your arms above your head). It actually took the player some time to get up like a normal person would need time pulling himself up. I liked it very much :)