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Ratsia

Controlling human motion in zero gravity

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I''m sure some of you have read Orson Scott Card''s "Ender''s game" (which I think is one of the best books ever written). For years I''ve been playing around with an idea of turning the game appearing in that book to a computer game. It''s quite hard to describe that game but let''s try it. The game is played in big empty room and there is absolutely no gravity in it. There are two teams of forty players and they are trying to "kill" each other. "Killing" is done by shooting other players with a kind of laser pistol. When the laser hits someone he is frozen. Frozen players don''t disappear but they can''t control themselves anymore. In my version player would control one on of those characters in first or third person view. It wouldn''t be very difficult to program that kind of game using fully 3D system. The problem would be how to control the character. Player should be able to freely control his orientation while traveling and also aim somehow. Also when player hits the wall (or something else) he should be able to change his direction and not just bounce like some ball would. Do you have any ideas of controlling methods? I have come up with some ways but I wont tell them now so I''m not distracting your free flows of mind. -Ratsia

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Yes, definitely one of the best books ever written

As I recall, weren''t there rungs on the walls, which you could hold on to and use to move across the wall? I would make it so that you could strafe along walls (up, down, left, right), and then have a jump button that launched you in the direction you''re facing. When you collide with another wall, you can "catch" yourself and then strafe along the wall again.

If you decide to do 3rd-person, you should force the player to orient his guy correctly so that he collides roughly feet-first with the walls (If you go 1st-person, then don''t impose that).

Movement along the walls (via the rungs) should be much slower than floating/launching through space.

Also (aside from the topic of control), the "battleroom" sometimes featured floating blocks that obstructed your view. You''d definitely need to put something like that in your game -- an empty room would be boring. In fact, you should probably consider setting the matches in a network of tunnels & rooms instead of one big room.

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You''re right, there were some king of rungs in the walls but I''m not so sure if they existed everywere. I always imagined that there were just few of them and if you wanted to catch one of them you had to hit close enough.

Still, I like your idea. At least it would be much easier to implement like that.

About that orientation thing, that''s exactly what I was thinking too. I think that even in first person view you should orient yourshelf somehow before colliding with walls. Maybe the game could be 1st-person but there would be also smaller viewport viewing the situation from some kind of floating camera. Then you could orientate according to that view but still aim and move at 1st-person.

You''re also right that empty room is not enough and I wasn''t even thinking about forgetting those "stars" Card used in his book. I just didn''t mention it, cause it has little to do with control system.

-Ratsia

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AHHH! ENDER''S GAME! i loved that series.. i read the whole thing. hehe.. and i''m working on ender''s shadow now.. whoo.

As far as what you want.. possible. Think about it like this, you simply need to know the physics of it. Don''t try to program everything into it hardcoded.. leave it at an algorithm and let it do the number crunching on the CPU.. most people with good 3D capability have the CPU to match.

What i mean is.. find out exactly how things work in a no-gravity environment. Look online at some physics stuff. it''s not easy to code calculus, but you can usually find a calculus library on the web or something where you call integral functions with numbers and it does the appropriate math even some CPUs have integrated math functions extending to calculus now
Once you''ve got the physics (ever action has an equal and opposite reaction) you really have to get the keyboard layout right. this''ll be the hardest part. you''ve got a full 3d bubble to move in. Move your right leg forward and your head goes backwards and you begin to spin clockwise at the waist. You''ve got to imagine what every motion could happen and what causes that motion on the human body that''s why 0g environments are about impossible to imagine without a jetpack.
Look, if you want.. you can email me on this and i''ll go into massive detail about all this i''m a physics god practically.. certainly a guru. i could prolly explain it out enough for you to understand and find out more info about it. Things like size, weight, muscle mass all make a difference in 0g motion.. that''s why it''s so durned hard to do it without being very precise. and it''s hard to do it without having like two wheel-mice or one of those air mice that you can move in 3d Ahh well. i''ll explain more later.

J

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I think I could pretty easily do all those physics stuff. After all, I am studying physics at college. I know lots about mechanics and I''m specialized in numerical methods.

I could do a system where you really moved your bodyparts and that was all but it''s hard to imagine that anyone could play the game like that. That''s why I''m going for something simpler.

It''s not very big difference for most of the players even if you can rotate your character freely like in Quake or something. Collisions should anyway be handled physically correctly.

So the problem is still the interface.


I haven''t still read Ender''s Shadow. When you''ve finished it, tell me if it''s as great as his other books. Though I think I''m waiting for the paperback. Books aren''t that cheap in Finland.

-Ratsia

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the book''s pretty good so far. i''m not too deep into it since i''ve been programming so much.. hehe.

As far as interfaces go.. humm.. i think allowing people to have a 1st person perspective would totally rock, and be more true to life, since this is just a modified 1st person shooter kinda game in the basic sense.
a 3rd person view might give away too much, or not allow you to see what you''re looking at, and make it harder to aim at people. I''d say stick to 1st person for this.

J

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If you shot a gun in zero gravity, would you be propelled backward?

well, I guess not a laser gun, but a shotgun or something...



"The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom." --William Blake

Edited by - Nazrix on July 13, 2000 11:04:30 AM

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Niphty:

I''m also coming to that same conclusion, it shall be a 1st person game. I still have to figure out how to allow player change direction when colliding.

Nazrix:

Yes you would, even if it was a laser gun. Momentum is always conserved and even photons "carry" some of it. Well, maybe it wouldn''t be noticeable with lasers.

-Ratsia

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Ah...every action has an equal and opposite reaction right? hehe

That would be kind of cool...people hurling backward when they fire their gun...



"The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom." --William Blake

Edited by - Nazrix on July 13, 2000 1:28:07 PM

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"Funny Physics"... hmm...

- DarkMage139
"Real game developers don't change the rules. Real game developers don't break the rules. Real game developers make the rules!"
"Originality (in games) is the spice of life!"

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