Defining Awesome — 2010 — October
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  • Posts from October 2010

    October 30th 2010

    In-game video help idea

    Testing revealed that the Linux server is very unstable. I have to nail all the bugs before any public release, don’t know how much it will take.

    In the meantime I quickly implemented in-game video display to prototype an idea I had for helping players grasp all the features of the game. My idea was to make a couple dozen little 10 second videos about every aspect of the game: like how to climb, how to reload, how to use cloak, what do attachments do, how does fatigue affect aim, how does running affect aim, etc. The test video I made is how to patch yourself when wounded. Take a look at how this might look like. These videos would not be at the place you see on the video but in areas of interest. For example when attaching a flashlight in inventory you could click on a little play video button near the flashlight icon and it would show you how to turn it on – in the in-game video.

    October 28th 2010

    Learning curve & gun aiming

    There’s a big problem IMO with Link-Dead as it is now. I feel it is too complicated and it requires to read an extensive manual or I need to explain everyone what is happening every time we play. For example the alpha testers complain the Ubers automatic guns aiming is too wobbly and it takes too much time to have it steady so it needs to be changed. But this is not just an issue of balancing this factor. The weapon aim is currently a complicated mechanism and it is up to the player to determine the steadiness of his gun. Let me explain what affects the aim and you’ll see how much options there are:

    The aiming in Link-Dead is done based on two cursors
    – one which is your mouse aim cursor
    – second cursor which is your actual gun aim.
    Think of this as the mouse cursor being were your eyes are fixed at and the gun cursor where you are actually aiming with your hands and gun.
    The mouse is of course always steady but the gun aim has several factors that determine were its position is currently:

    – gun heaviness – the heavier the gun the slower the movement of the gun cursor is, because it is harder to move the gun around

    – gun maneuverability – the higher the value the more wobbly the gun is during walking and such; this also affects bink – so if you get hit by a bullet the gun cursor jumps more

    – gun recoil & recoil dissipation rate – how much kick the gun has after fire and how fast the gun can recover after fire
    – this factor is also heavily dependent on gun fire rate, it’s not so easy to predict the guns recoil when it fires fast

    – gun breath sway – as you know breathing affects your aiming, the more tired you are the more your gun wobbles with your breath – this factor decides how much the gun is affected by your breathing; guns carried against the hip are affected less then guns aimed against the chest

    – gun steadiness – which is how fast the gun cursor merges with the aim cursor, so that the gun points were your mouse points at

    This factor is broken down and has other factors that affect the steadiness:

    – how far the mouse aim is from the player; this is an attempt to simulate in 2D the fact that when you aim at an object farther away it is harder to keep your gun aim at the target; so the farther you aim from your soldier the less steady the aim is; to make the gun super steady you can put the mouse cursor just a couple pixels from your soldier, but then you don’t really know what you are aiming at – you have to feel it – exactly like in RL

    – fatigue/shock – the more tired or shocked the player is the harder it is to control the steadiness of the gun. Every kind of movement especially running and jumping adds a lot of fatigue; when you get hit by a bullet it adds fatigue/shock (which is the same thing as fatigue to make it simpler); furthermore firing for a long time especially automatic weapons adds fatigue (firing a big gun is hard work!)

    – fatigue also heavily affects breath speed and its effect on gun breath sway (after a long run you have to wait a moment to calm down)

    – wounds – if your upper body parts especially arms are wounded it might become practically impossible to hold your aim steady

    – holding your gun against your shoulder; this is done with the secondary fire (mouse2) button; this makes the gun a lot more steady but is available only for guns with stocks (like an assault rifle)

    To add to this there are also gun attachments like scopes and silencers. Typically every attachment you add weights something and adds to the heaviness of the weapon. Every attachment decreases the steadiness of the weapon because it lowers the natural balance of the weapons weight. For example adding an ACOG increases your aiming distance but having it on the gun makes the gun a bit harder to control. There are also attachments which combat the guns low points, like you can attach to the SMG a folding stock so that it is as steady as an assault rifle when pressed against your shoulder. But of course the folding stock also adds weight so when the gun is not pressed its performance is worse than without the stock.

    This is just the stuff that is in the game right now. But there will be more attachments and even more variables. I will also implement prone position which is the best way to reduce recoil. Also adding an attachable bipod and possibility to put it on something like a window sill will reduce recoil practically to zero.

    Now how do I tell a new player that the game is balanced and there is no need to increase the steadiness of weapons. He is just wounded, tired from running, has too much attachments on his gun and isn’t really aiming properly? Of course I can’t explain this to everyone so I need some good way for people to learn this without coming into the game the first day and getting frustrated at it.

    October 26th 2010

    Apparently the client on Linux doesn’t work cause it fails to create a video device. I don’t know why cause it’s not my code but Irrlicht. I’m fed up with Linux development for now. The server works and I want to release the alpha badly to public. I think it has everything an alpha version should have now.

    October 26th 2010

    I just played a little game called Combat Arms. I was positively surprised. This is really rare for me these days. There is even one thing I envy and it is their backend – lobby, matchmaking, online shop, chat, invites, the whole thing. If there was 10 of me I would like to make that.

    October 20th 2010

    Linux dedicated server working

    Success! After many hours I have a working Linux dedicated server. We still need to test it cause there’s a million tiny things changed to make it run. I’m really proud how this worked out because the dedicated server is exactly the same executable as the game + I compiled the binaries in such a way that no installation is necessary and it works out of the box even on my server which has an old Ubuntu running.

    The question every Linux guy on earth is asking right now is: does the game client run on Linux?
    The answer is yes I think so. I have no way of checking that right now since I’m running Linux emulated and any video device fails to create in the game. Once I get a hold on a real installation I promise to post a screenshot.

    Of course from this point compiling the game under Mac OSX should be easy as pie.

    October 19th 2010

    My appreciation

    I would like to write from this point, my sincere appreciation for the product known as Visual Studio and send a big THANK YOU to Microsoft corporation for spending over 20 years constantly delivering a terrific product. I believe every other compiler and operating system exists there just to remind people how Microsoft’s products make life easier. This is something that the Linux and gcc community never really wrapped their heads around.

    Let me state it simply: COMPUTERS WERE INVENTED TO HELP MEN.
    Men are not there to help their computers.

    This is why Linux will always be in the undergrounds because of this totally opposite paradigm. The success of Microsoft and in recent years Apple is because peoples lives are better when using their products. I hope we can all learn this vital lesson and make life on earth a better place in the future in whatever venture we are engaged in.

    Again I’d like to thank Microsoft, also for the fact that their compilers are COMPLETELY FREE!!! I have no idea why anyone would even consider using anything else. What’s that? You can’t use them in commercial products? Sure, that’s why I bought my Microsoft compiler along with EVERY SINGLE Microsoft product and operating system for 100$. It’s called BizSpark and is one more reason why Microsoft totally rocks.

    October 18th 2010

    I encountered the first roadblock when porting. Apparently the wide character type (wchar_t) is 4 bytes instead of 2 like on Windows. Do these crazy Linux ppl really think there’s a language with 2.1 billion characters?

    October 18th 2010

    Game compiles under gcc, there are some rendering errors and probably more. I haven’t tested it cause I went straight into Linux compilation. There’s a million little functions and things that need to be changed to their Linux equivalent.

    October 15th 2010

    Another alpha released, we still need to play a bigger match to test it. I’ve taken the first step to compiling LD on Linux by attempting to run it through GCC. It’s a pain in the ass to say the least.

    October 9th 2010

    New private alpha

    I released a new private alpha version. I was working really hard on this and am feeling really tired by now. I hope that playing/testing the game will rejuvenate me. Here is a list of some of the stuff I added or changed. Public alpha will be available if this test goes well.

    – movement and climbing is now more automatic and simple (one key for climbing down, climbs and ducking in small corridors is done automatically)
    – added inventory searching/scavenging animations
    – improved dust processor physics – the smoke now behaves and looks 5 times better than on the recent videos
    – added re-throwing (picking up from ground) and disarming grenades
    – added  smoke bomb
    – synced the ragdoll through network
    – added Ubermen wrist attachment claws (like wolverine, this one is my personal favourite)
    – added cloaking device for mutants
    – added help display with all keys for noobs (F1 key)
    – added spawn menu music
    – added dynamic ambient music (changes based on what is happening on the screen; really simple now; but I have big plans on this one)
    – added dynamic echoes based on walls
    – added muzzle smoke