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Member Since 20 Apr 2011
Offline Last Active Feb 24 2015 09:38 PM

#5162158 Making a weapon feel powerful.

Posted by Mratthew on 22 June 2014 - 01:38 PM

I'm not coming from weapons firing experience, I'm coming from gaming and game design experience. Weapons that have a metallic sound in the games I've played sound heavier to me, as if the mechanism to move the ammo can be heard over the explosion it makes the gun seem just as powerful as the shot it fires and the added bass allows the player to feel the shot as much as hear it. The other way to go is the way of sounding like close by thunder for more energy based weapons. 


As far as stun lock, the trick would be to blend movement with the hit animation (based on where the shot lands of course) then follow up with AI for the unit to find cover using a damaged state movement (like a desperate dash or a lifeless dive for cover). Its important that the timing between shots and the movement for a character to evade is well spaced to ensure pacing. If the weapon is meant to feel strong, then characters and environment should react appropriately to the weapons power. The numbers offered above seem useful if those are the animations you want to use. I've always hated the flinch animation most games use when characters get shot. When I unload a light automatic into an enemy and it does two or three flinch animations then a death animation, it drives me bonkers. I like to see characters(who still have an intact brain) think about the damage I just did to them and move appropriately to the pain and suffering I've cause by using such a sloppy weapon. Seems like every enemy in every game out there is morphed up and tweaking on adrenaline, its boring. I want to see the effects of my weapons and the only time I don't want to see it is when I've hit the mark. If I've done my job, the enemy crumples. 


With particle work, all that matters is that the player thinks it looks right. This will all depend on the weapons design. A couple games that really sell the "feel" of powerful weapons are Gears of War(obviously) and Warhammer Space Marine IMO. As for heat warble, smoke and the likes, each gun should be just as much a character in the game as the NPCs and enemies the player faces. Think about each gun and its history, give it meaningful interesting and useful quirks, even with the most standard weapons, it'll be worth it.


As for knockback it depends on what the weapon's ammo(type) is doing against the type of surface its hitting. Obviously penetration is only going to create knockback if the character becomes mindful of the shot, possibly falling back after realizing they are beaten. But a few successive rifle shots against an armored target should push them back (especially if the shots are high). Even grazes and shots that connect with the shoulders should cause characters to reel back to A)create a smaller silhouette to land a second shot on and B)to inform the player of where the shot landed. This is all just visual feedback. The character could flash red if you want but in the end the player needs to know they've connected their shot with the target and a knockback allows the pacing to change. As the player checks whether the shot has finished the job. 


Key word in video games in my opinion is video. Successive images to depict movement. The more you explore movement and its meaning in your game the more you're exploring the element that separates video games from any other number crunching card, board, dice games, etc. 

#5162001 Making a weapon feel powerful.

Posted by Mratthew on 21 June 2014 - 10:05 PM

Firing animation, sound fx, particals and enemy reaction animation to that weapons ammo type.


The firing animation should show the gun has kick without giving the player much actual recoil even shaking the camera, the sound should be metallic with decent bass, the particles should clearly indicate the weapon is effected by firing (smoke, heat warble, muzzle flash, etc) and the weapons ammo type (which can apply to other weapons obviously) should trigger either good knock-back, penetration, gore, etc on the enemy units. 


I would prioritize enemy reaction animation, as its not as broad in scope in most games and was IMO what made old games like Golden Eye for N64 stand out and still does in modern games today. Its one thing to kill the enemy, but its good to have feedback for grazes, minor wounds, armor hits, debilitating hits, and major wounds to let the player know they missed the mark. 

#5161190 Brainstorm

Posted by Mratthew on 17 June 2014 - 06:54 PM

I commute a lot so I like to change the radio to any station that's playing music and when a song starts I build a game to match the music. Often songs I haven't heard of are easier to build ideas on, its the top 40 and classics that I have a harder time with. When I'm done driving I usually jot down notes and the song and listen to it later to further the brainstorming.

#5160550 Ideas to make dialogue fun/engaging

Posted by Mratthew on 14 June 2014 - 02:30 PM

Chris Roberts has an interesting new design idea in his dialogue system for the up coming Star Citizen, using a simplistic dialogue tree system but using the webcam to drive the character's facial rig, using physical cues to alter the NPC's response and interaction with you. This obviously is insanely complex. But it brings to mind how much of the dialogue systems are static. Body language, posture, expressive or reserved behavior could all be explored and instead of a turn based dialogue tree players could experience a dynamic real time tree where the player chooses a frame of reference(topic and opinion), then has control of only the characters movements as mentioned above as the conversation plays out. 

#5154461 How to make moving units on this map?

Posted by Mratthew on 18 May 2014 - 12:14 PM

From a tangible side of things (depending on peripherals of course), a click and drag with snap to locations (cities, towns, areas of interest) as well as moving to open ground (to stage units) could work. This could carry over to touch screen using the zoom in gesture (putting one finger on the unit, sliding the other finger to the desired location). By choosing this gesture you can also explore a variety of LODs of your map, when you select your unit and give it a location to move to the map could zoom into a new LOD with the view zoomed in on the unit, their destination, the route (roads, railroad, powerlines, etc) they are taking and perhaps with ETA (#of turns if its turned based, seconds if its real time). The damage the rebels do is important, since its stopping these actions that necetates the player to move units so deciding on threats and levels of threats will bring other moving mechanics to the forefront of your design. 

#5150836 Call for opinions: handling player death in a tutorial

Posted by Mratthew on 01 May 2014 - 07:11 PM

why do death at all? There are plenty of alternatives with none lethal combat. Paintball with a post tutorial 3rd person view of their colorful character, make your character double over in pain then slowly pop back up ready to learn more (the more damage they take the slower they get up?), if there exists a medic in the game you could introduce the medic using the players "incapacitated" state to bring them in, etc. You could explore hardcore tutorial mode with a wash out mode. Where the player has to ace the tutorial to cut it in the real game (option).


A game design idea I've been playing with for a while could apply depending on your tutorial. Make the tutorial a deathmatch where you could have the player respawn as a subordinate of the NPC (or player) that killed them. Learning from the commands the character issues to them (I'd imagine since its an RPG you have a waypoint system), and visa versa where the player learns how to issue tactical commands and other commands as they earn subordinates of the characters they kill. If you try this method I'd love to see it. As its been floating in my head for a while.

#5141556 Writing a RPG Protagonist: Pre-Defined or Blank Slate?

Posted by Mratthew on 23 March 2014 - 04:48 PM

Here's one to try on for size.


Give the player a preset character to play with a meaningful back story (you get to flex your writing skills) and let the player pre-shape a handful of characters that the main character will meet throughout the story (fill the role of specific NPCs). This customization would alter the story based on the creative design of these individuals. By keeping the order of these characters random, players can explore some amazing designs and never know for sure how it will change the story (but be sure it will be different every time). Each character needs to have more then 3 attributes that effect story variables otherwise their isn't much use in customizing characters and players will see right through this idea (as they often do with character customization much like the Maxis game Spore). I would go so far as to making the attributes of these characters able to turn the custom characters into the games major antagonists based on the their actions (defined by their attributes) during key situations. 


This could explore how, no matter who we are, we are shaped by the actions and events involving people around us. Making the pre-defined main character shaped more so by the events and actions of the custom characters as the story progresses instead of the usual "actions of the player" (pretty common RPG system now). Obviously your story's design tree is going to be a bit more complicated, but worth it since the player will be able to play it over and over and enjoy watching the characters they've built become the story. 


Kind of like mad libs but with less poop and fart jokes (or more?).

#5141475 What do you like in classic RTS? (like dune 2, warcraft etc)

Posted by Mratthew on 23 March 2014 - 11:06 AM

1. Strategic challenge of defeating the many with the few or even "taking whole" a Sun Tsu term that indicates achieving victory without loses for either you or your enemy.


2. A disconnect between the commander and the soldiers. I've yet to encounter a game where I feel a kinship with my soldiers or populace (though the original COH comes close).


3A. Climbing the ranks, military command is earned. A soldier leans to fight, learns to follow tactical commands, learns to give tactical commands as part of an operation learns to give operational objectives as part of an overall strategy and if they survive and are bright enough, can learn to build strategy from a combat or logistical perspective. Most RTS just jumps to that last step instead of showing players "why they command".


3B. Obviously player driven soldiers (obviously 3A would enable this across all perspectives of the hierarchy).


3C. In the area of resource management, I think much more focus should be put on the effects of resource extraction, sustainable practices and the long term issues.


3D. Effect on civilian populace.

#5133730 Looking for game ideas using a 24x24 LED matrix

Posted by Mratthew on 22 February 2014 - 10:21 PM

How fast are these LEDs able to strobe?


You could create a pattern match game that works to a beat (played on the phone). Use the android to play a beat, display simple images on all four of the LED quadrants, two of which match. The phone would have a 4 quadrant touch area. The player simple touches the matching pair of images displayed on the LEDs or slides between them, pinches them, double tap, etc. When the action is on beat (or close) and the match is correct there is a cool drum solo (to indicate success and give the player a break) and increases the beat. The player needs to make the match as fast as possible but on beat (ideally a match per beat), but each level could dictate how fast the player must make the match (i.e. lvl1=every 12 beats, lvl10=every 4 beats, etc) The different gestures play different sounds so the player has a sense of creativity in creating a song. If the player makes a mismatch they get a record scratch and the beat slows back down again. If the player is on beat but not making matches they still progress with a new collection of sounds for the gestures if they are off beat they return to previous sounds. I would use a reasonable level progression system so the player has to really work for new and interesting sounds for the gestures. The images the player must match could also dictate which gesture the player should do if you wanted to add more structure to the gameplay (like bop it) with images that look more and more like the dictating matching pair (if that makes any sense at all).


Spose this doesn't really need the LEDs and could all be done on the phone, buuuuut, ah well. That's one idea. The reason I asked about strobe speed is because the LED's displayed images could strobe off to the beat as well thus making matching more difficult as the beat speeds up. 

#5127643 Population growth in space colony game

Posted by Mratthew on 30 January 2014 - 09:54 PM

I think physically limiting the player's access to population is pretty common when it comes to population management. If the managing bodies of an organized society fail to organize the population, the population organizes itself. This mechanic could be as simple as increasing authority during civil unrest or riots or it could be complex matter of diplomatically dealing with the fragmenting groups and bringing them back to the ideals of the whole. The later strikes me as the more interesting game but also the more complex the dev. 


Generally its the responsibility of the governing bodies to accommodate expansion and use hindsight and foresight to plan for the inevitable expansion.

#5121451 Achieving photorealistic game models/assets

Posted by Mratthew on 05 January 2014 - 12:34 PM

I find the biggest key for every artist that no artist wants to admit to is reference material. My friend models for EA and the bane of his work (on sports titles) is when certain soccer or hockey players don't have a lot of reference pictures to work from. On average my friend has over a hundred images to work from for any given model usually closer to the thousand mark if he can manage it. These include but in no way are limited to the turn around images, dynamic and bland lighting images, old and new images of the person, high res to focus on important features (as mentioned) defects and details like pore size & other skin type things, some times even pictures of family members to explore likeness, in the case of clothes (or sports jerseys in my friends case) reference material allows you to pay attention to details like of how fabrics sit on their body, etc. No reference is entirely useless, keep it all!


As mentioned, anatomy is key as well. If you don't have a firm grasp on the reality of your model you can't expect it to look realistic. Start with the most broad aspects. Get the silhouette to look right, then start in on details. Your eye will pick up problems right away when the silhouette doesn't look right. This should take you back to your reference material of course. 


Shaders are key! Getting the most out of your textures is achieved through shaders. A painting can look great with all the right colors and all the perfect strokes with all the right brushes but if it doesn't use the light properly, it's just colors. 

#5121429 Tower creation system for Tower Defense Game

Posted by Mratthew on 05 January 2014 - 11:24 AM

Its not a bad idea but the design of a tower isn't overly complex (as it is when creating a ship). Other then height, firepower and support or passive skills (as techno mentioned), its kind of like building a character that doesn't move.


That being said I have seen a few 2D app style games that unique branching design systems where players' choose branching expansions to house further weapons and systems to help fight off enemies from up down and either side. Another aspect to explore is the power required to fuel the tower's systems (resource collection and refinement) and maintaining the challenge of a "not in my backyard" mentality of the surrounding (possible growing) population that your tower protects with aesthetic and none practical upgrades. 

#5120375 Innovations in FPS games

Posted by Mratthew on 31 December 2013 - 04:00 PM

I'd say the most recent FPS true innovation would be the exploration of free running. Both mirrors edge and the game BRINK have explored these concepts the most thoroughly in my experience but many titles now include evasive movement. For single player this means a new kind of platform jumping game play and for mutliplayer it means a wide variety of dynamic animation needs to be rendered creating a wider array of silhouettes for players to shoot at. 

#5118306 A diffrent type of rts.

Posted by Mratthew on 19 December 2013 - 10:48 PM

To lighten the micro management load create natural hierarchies. Add charisma and intelligence to your units tab off variables, intelligence enabling a unit to move from soldier to a commander and charisma to inspire troops to follow. You can either add a rank structure which the player issues or make it experience based or ideally both.


For example you send a rabble of units to take down a monster, a good chunk of the group dies however a few survive. These warriors earn rank for winning the kill and now when ever you issue an order to these new higher rank units they will grab a few soldiers and bring them along and issue specific skill orders (caster skills) to those units (so you don't have to micro them). The higher the rank the more units, teams or groups of units they will use to achieve the action requested of them. Now your surviving commanders are sent to kill a monster and each bring teams along with them. That same monster is killed easier, not because of more troops, but because of a truly better military.


This system could be carried across to none military as well. Think of a wood cutter becoming a lumber camp. A smith becoming a forge. Etc. This doesn't happen because you simple clicked it into existence. This happened because your populace has a wood cutter that is intelligent and charismatic enough to lead other wood cutters. This system could explore taught skills as well, but I digress. 

#5113534 FPS Game Gamemode Ideas?

Posted by Mratthew on 01 December 2013 - 01:54 PM


Matthew M.

My Ender's Game inspired game type


Each match starts as a free for all, each kill re-spawns the victim as an ally to the player building kill based teams. Ally means no friendly fire, support & command perks shared and a shared kill based team building. As a player makes kills they permanently earn command abilities and/or unlock weapons which can be allocated/shared to/with team members thus escalating combat.


A leader is the player that sits above others in a hierarchy. If a leader is killed, the kills they have earned disband (no longer allies) into their own earned kill teams (*or re-organized hierarchy) and the leader re-spawns near their killer as an ally in the new team hierarchy. Unification is the win condition, however this isn't the end of the match. 


To really cut and polish this gem, take this unified army of players and face them against overwhelming waves of unfriendly [insert favorite monster/enemy to carry out genocidal warfare upon]. Two rewards, the first is for the rank a player earns based on kill streaks indicating unification personally earned. The second is survival time achieved during the survival mode, this is a shared reward. 


*For example: You join the game you make a few kills which unlocks the ability to target enemies for allies to focus on, a close range radius passive healing ability as well as unlocking a heavy suppression weapon. Which you hand off to a newb you owned right away and has been following you to take advantage of your healing ability. You notice a fairly large team forming and try and sus-out the leader. By targeting but not killing the enemy the hierarchy starts to be displayed as a rank icons over top of a targeted enemy. Your small team grows as your team makes kills and you target and kill the leader of the other group disbanding the group. You pull back and let the disbanded teams fight it out, taking pot shots at the leaders that are growing their group faster. Your flank is overwhelmed by a group you hadn't been scouting and you're killed. All that work for not!!!? Starting off as a grunt under some other jerk is pretty frustrating however all the perks and weapons you unlocked are still available and your new commander recognizes that, he re-organizes a few teams of soldiers as your subordinates (they aren't thrilled), you drop some rad weaponry and perks into their hands and everyone is happy. You take your team and you go after your old team members, rebuilding your old empire. This time, with the added support perks of your new commander. Unification is achieved and you earned the "re-organized second in command achievement"! A count down. The commander is organizing everyone into a fairly tight parameter on a plateau and your teams protects a few key choke points. Everyone is gunning for a new survival time record to make the leader board for the day. The Shakespearean tragic ending creates lasting bonds of friendship between players and unending peaces on Earth for all humanity (with high speed internet;).


Hope that little read made some of the ideas more clear. This design can be scaled which is nice and elite players have to evolve their play to survive command gameplay, instead of just dominating combat matches, meaning less match making. Other fun additions could include none combat foliage painter, where players discard their weapon (and ability to fight) and choose to run and hide. Their character acts as a paint brush, slowly painting forest all around them to hide in wherever they go on the map, perhaps earning "titan" physical abilities to move through the forest (altering the end game).


I've posted this design before but here it is again. Feedback of all kinds is always appreciated. I'm a hobbyist character animator, give me a shout if I can help.