Sign in to follow this  

Changing weapons, realistically?

This topic is 4826 days old which is more than the 365 day threshold we allow for new replies. Please post a new topic.

If you intended to correct an error in the post then please contact us.

Recommended Posts

I'm developing a single player 3rd person cyberpunk RPG, and I've ran into this situation. So far, all of the animations for the game look extremely realistic. Characters will actually pick up / drop weapons (rather than it vanishing to/from their hand), they can equip holsters for rifles on their backs, and straps for sidearms / SMGs. They actually place and remove weapons from / to these places in game time (non-inventory mode) as they need them. The problem is that in order to have these holsters and straps, a place for potential armor is occupied. So the player must give up an armor part to be able to switch weapons quickly. This is pointless, considering you can just as easily go into inventory mode and change the weapons instantly, thus making the inventory trip more efficient, combat-wise. So I'm stuck with either not allowing the player to access inventory in combat mode, or just avoiding the whole real-time weapon switching. I don't think this is acceptable. The inventory mode access seems annoying and un-user-friendly. A pause, click, click, click just to change weapons when you run out of ammo. And having a weapon appear out of nowhere (as in non-inventory access, switching between non-holstered weapons) simply does not fit with the rest of the game. Imagine running into a building with a shotgun, BLAST BLAST, there goes two gaurds. Throw that on the floor and pull out the SMG as a legion of security run at you, spraying your clip and the room clean. Now imagine having to pause and go into inventory mode in-between this mayhem. Kinda takes away the magic, doesn't it? Some solutions to my problem: 1. Backpack. Character can put/take things in real time. A BACKPACK?? How lame! 2. Player pulls/places weapons from side opposite to camera [lol] 3. Player pulls/places weapons from a concealed area (like under his arm). This might look rather strange, but I doubt it would look as bad as the weapon materializing out of thin air. As you can see, my solutions are terrible. I cannot think of an acceptable way to do this. How in the hell did that marine in Doom 3 carry all of that crap? I wish I could switch to 3rd person and see what is going on behind the camera [grin] Any advice is much appreciated [smile]

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote:


The problem is that in order to have these holsters and straps, a place for potential armor is occupied.


Why is that? What kind of armour can you have? This seems like the easiest thing to fix. Is it possible to adjust the holster positions if you wear armor, to compensate for it's thickness? If that is the problem, that is...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Well, it might be possible to deform the strap parts of the holsters or create different versions of them. The straps wrap around the arms, legs, torso, or waist. So if the armor is not totally round, as with the body parts, the straps will intersect with them.

I have to admit that creating a simple strap for each different shaped part would not be that difficult or time consuming. But it does exponentially add to the stack of my huge list of things to do [smile]

It's a good idea. Definitely better than anything I've considered. Thanks [smile]

edit:

Ack! Second thoughts. The animations which reach to put or pull weapons from the holsters will be off if their positions change. I'm sure I could use an IK system on the hands to fix this, but I'm puting IK stuff off for as long as I can [smile]

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
It seems like youre trying to force reality on a game that's fundementally not realistic. If the character isn't running around with a backpack of some sort, where is he storing all the guns he has in his inventory? Lame or not, you're going to be pulling things out of thin air at some point if you have a magical inventory system.

I'd remove weapons from the inventory all together. Have ammo in your inventory, but actual guns require sacrifice. If you want a shotgun strapped to your back, you can't be wearing full body armor. A leg holster requires loose fitting pants. Basically a combination of what you've already got, with some combinations of armor/holsters that have been animated to fit properly. By allowing logical combinations, you reduce the number of times the player things "why the hell can't I do this?"

This way, if people want six guns on them at all times, that's an option. But if they want to be walking tanks, they'll have to pick up new weapons off their opponents as they go along. And all the while, you've reduced the number of inventory trips dramatically, keeping the game more immersive.

CM

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
you could have a few levels of weapon-changing/holding-ness

you could have the player, when they first have weapons and don't have a holster yet, just stuff the gun in their pants and any ammo in their pockets (loose cargo pants would be your friend in this case)...this would stop them from wearing some armor...

next level would be when they get a holster...then they could shove the gun into their holster...this would let them wear more armor but still limit

...if you feel the need you could go with a matrix-like trenchcoat for the third level...this would let them wear any armor...

just a few ideas...

-Ajain

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Simply give 'layer attributes' to items so that some items (weapons belt, which usually have huge amounts of extra 'belt') can go over something else (armor). This is something that I'm planning on putting into my game.

Weapons belts can go over armor, plate armor can go over padded or leather armors, certain robes can go over any other type of armor.

It's basically based upon the fact that some items are more adjustable than others. Chain armor doesn't adjust, though it is usually much larger than it needs to be, Plate armor is usually large enough to put padding underneath (or soft leather armor), but you're not going to do much fighting with a poorly designed backpack on.

One way to avoid the 'inventory screen weapon changes' is to simply not make inventory screen not pause the game. One other thing is to make them make sure that they put on a holder for the weapon, otherwise when they change from the weapon they equipped from inventory, they'll drop it on the ground for lack of somewhere to hold it properly.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
If you don't want to slow down the action, make it so that you can change weapons with button combinations. I've thought of this being used on the PS2, so I'll used that for my example.

Shotgun blasts come at you and you dive behind a metal crate. You equip your SMG, stand up, and unload your clip. Now, being out of ammo, you duck, hit L1 and X at the same time to equip your shotgun, stand up, and unload again. You duck, hit L1 and square to equip your right semi-automatic handgun and L1 and sqaure to eqip your left semi-automatic handgun, and the process continues. Basically, there'd be a total of eight combinations using L1 or L2 with X, square, circle, or triangle.



Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote:
Original post by orionx103
If you don't want to slow down the action, make it so that you can change weapons with button combinations.
Or the four cardinals on the d-pad. Less involved.

I fail to see the appeal of all this emphasis on "realism". Lower or otherwise move hands out of the view frustrum, change weapon, restore. Voila!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Lowering the player's hands out of the view frustum would look kinda funny in a 3pp game - although maybe you could zoom in on the player's face or something during the weapon change to make it feasible.

I'd say the best solution is to do as Connor says and not allow you to store weapons in this magical 'inventory'. Limit the player to two weapons, one for each hand. Maybe have a couple of leg holsters or other standard strapping places, but if you're after realism you can't carry that many weapons anyway. It always bugs me in a game when I'm meant to be a desperate, lone marine up against the hordes of the undead, with only the chainsaw, flamethrower, sniper rifle, hamster and sherman tank in my backpack to help me.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I'm still stuck on this "weapons magically sprouting out of your @55" thing. I mean...everybody knows that if I could take the hamster AND the sniper rifle, well, I'm taking both.

I agree with Oluseyi's version of orion's idea (pressing triggers and buttons is confusing...and what if you want to reload your current weapon, crouch-jump, aim, and select a new weapon? Then you can't do it).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I'm sorry, I wasn't paying enough attention. I assumed it was first-person.

I doubt this is a big enough deal for a small measure of disconnect to bother gamers. I'd have the avatar reach over the shoulder, behind the back and so forth, switch the weapons, return the hands and do a weapon readiness animation (cock the pistol, pump the shotgun, etc).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Rather than manually creating holsters for all the armor, why not make some kind of 'cloth simulation' that generates them for you? It could load in the armor models and then orient 'gravity' to be toward the holster and have a long piece of cloth (the straps) start on the opposite side of the limb, then run the simulation till it settles down, 'clip' the excess cloth, and tada you have your holster straps =-)

If you get it working well enough, you could even incorporate it into the game and calculate the new positions whenever the player changes armor.

Of course, you might need to manually adjust some of them, but it seems like 99% of them could be generated automatically via such a method. Then just record the position of the holster and adjust the player's reach-for-holster animation accordingly.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Realism wasn't exactly the right word I was looking for. Of course the game is non-realistic. The year is 2400+ and there are all sorts of tech machines to do things that are currently totally impossible. I was really meaning that something "dissapearing into your pocket" didn't fit the rest of the game. But there are going to be mutants, orcs, and all the sort. So realism was definitely the wrong word.

Since this is an RPG, I need a somewhat magical inventory. What fun is an RPG where you can only carry 5 things at once? I'm thinking maybe a limit to combat gear of 2-4 guns, maybe a melee weapon and quite a few grenades. Other small types of inventory items can be stacked in there infinitely. I'll probably just use a weight system, and set the weight of non-combat items as zero.

Thanks for all of the suggestions. I think I'm going to take the easy way out this time, as Oluseyi suggests. Even though something materializing makes me cringe a bit, gameplay (button-weapon-switching) is much more important than a slight oddity. And having the gameplay without the oddity is going to add way too much to dev time. This will also remove my concern about how security guards and police should react to a guy walking down the street with 8 guns strapped to him [lol] The locations in this game are pretty clean / high class for the most part. With the ability to hide your weapons, it allows the player to actually go somewhere normal/social without having to leave all of his weapons somewhere else, and without forcing him to wear trench coats. Of course he may still be stopped by a patrolman every once in a while and have to draw his gear or run like hell [smile]

I'm still open to suggestions. I'm more interested now in figuring out a way to hide this appearing and vanishing of gear from the camera, without spinning or zooming [lol]

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote:
Original post by Jiia
What fun is an RPG where you can only carry 5 things at once?
Personally, I prefer a few well-balanced items to a plethora of useless or use-once ones. In fact, I'd say that, as a culture, we've fallen prey to the notion that more is better.

More isn't better. Games today are riddled with unlockables, many of which (IMO) should be available from the get-go. Not all gamers have the tenacity to play through the entire game just to get an additional skin, so you're actually penalizing such gamers. Additional game modes? Should be available from the start, giving gamers more ways to play and thus more value from their purchase.

Back on point, RPGs owe a huge debt of lineage to fantasy novels, yet I don't see constant acquisition of new items in fantasy. (Admittedly, I don't read them much, nor do I care to.) Are there other means of character advancement besides spells and weapons? Skills are good, but the current implementation turns them into an arms race as well. I can't count the number of times I've cringed in response to hearing or reading "level up".

I think it's worthwhile to reexamine certain cardinal assumptions of our various "genres".

[Edit: Fixed [quote] tag.]

[Edited by - Oluseyi on October 30, 2004 1:17:19 PM]

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
The PC can rent apartments, where he can store his weapons, armor, and other items. So extreme limitations on what you can carry would just make the trip back to the APs seem annoying. I do feel there should be limitations on certain types of items. Such as items that can be pulled from fallen enemies and sold. I don't want the player to feel an advantage would be gained by looting every dead body that falls. If he is restricted by time and inventory space, he will pass up anything that is not of great value. Add to that the fall in price of used equipment, and looting for money almost goes away.

I'm the type of gamer that likes to collect equipment. Especially rare types of equipment that you can't buy. Even if I have some other equipment that makes the rare one basically worthless, the fact that it's rare makes me wanna hold onto it [smile] So I expect I'll end up adding many different ways the player can collect items. Displays for armor and weapons, hide-away storage spaces with palm-reader locks [wink], etc.

I personally have to disagree with the unlockable situation. I prefer games that give you rewards for accomplishing a goal. If at the end of a week, you've finally finished the game, what better way to make the gamers day than to give them another way to enjoy it? I believe the entire drive behind the idea of an RPG is unlockables. The ending is an unlockable. Skills are unlockables. Weapons, armor, the story itself. The idea that there's something to look forward to, that you're trying to gain something, it adds to the flavor.

As for acquisition, this is a single player RPG. So no arms races. Well, unless you just want bragging rights. The items are there, and undoubtably a lot of them, but the game itself does not revolve around them. The goal of the game is to stay alive, to figure out why the police/gov are trying to kill ya, and put a stop to it. This is more of an RPG for gamers that prefer to play games rather than finish them.

I'm hoping I can have a lot of [useful] skills, abilities, etc. I'm trying to put these things off until I add the actions which will put the abilities to a test. So instead of adding a bunch of skills, then trying to decide what they should effect, I'm going to try to add a new skill whenever a new action doesn't fit into the current skills. The way this game is being written allows me to add a major game element far into development, even after a major amount of game content is finished. Blah blah, damn I'm blabbing. In other words, I'm not sure how detailed character building is going to be yet. It all depends on the number of different types of activities they can perform.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Could you just turn the "weapons appearing out of thin air" into something that compliments the game and/or story? By this, I mean, could you add a little burst of light or some other effect that accompanies the item appearing out of nowhere and say that there is some technology/magic that allows a player access to items in their inventory instantly - it teleports into their hands, or whatever.

Honestly, this sounds like kind of a wierd way around it, but if you're just getting hung up the fact that it doesn't look realistic in the game, *make* it "realistic" (perhaps "believable" is a better word) by adding some kind of effect and add an explanation for it. Work it in as part of the game.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest Anonymous Poster
Why not create a compromise that would allow you to have the best of both worlds? You want the char to be able to realistically switch between weapons & have realistic animations to go with it, yet you also want the char to have a large inventory where all his weapons & items are stored.

You could have your char equip all the weapons that he could realistically have on his person, such as a holstered pistol on either leg, a rifle or two slinged over a shoulder, maybe a couple more pistols holstered at the small of the back or waisteline area, some knives or grenades on a utility belt or bandolier, or some knives or small pistols strapped to the ankles, etc.

Then the player can use a single keypress to switch weapons, such as buttons 1-10 on a keyboard. When the player presses a button to arm a weapon, the game would look to see if he already has one armed (in his hands) or not. And if he does, it would play the proper animation to have him put that weapon away before the animation to draw the newly selected weapon.

This would solve a large part of your problem. Then all you have left to deal with is when the player wants to switch to a weapon that is in his inventory but not visible on his person. To do this you could simply make it so that when the player chooses the new weapon from his inventory, it immediately replaces whichever one it needs to get in the correct spot, such as a slung rifle being replaced by a slung SMG, etc. Then the animation would run showing the char arming the SMG, etc.

This way you don't see a weapon magically appear in his hands, but only see it magically appear on his person along with the holster right before you see him reach for it. And because the player will usually equip the weapons he uses most first, these magical instance sshould happen with much less frequency than switching between already equipped weapons. This would offer a good compromise between these two issues.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
AP makes a good point, but having a dozen weapons tied to your character would do more harm to the immersion than flicking them in and out of existence. If you had a long gun, a handgun, and a melee weapon, you could strap them all the the character's body and then just have the player switch between them at will. If three isn't enough, why not just have the player pull different weapons magically out of the same holster, like Lara Croft used to do?

Or hide the shifts more convincingly. Instead of having the character pull stuff out of thin air behind him, Bugs-Bunny-style, just put a big flappy coat on him, or a cape or something. Link is forever tucking things under his shield, for instance. There's no way a bow, a hookshot, four bottles, three magic crystals, a huge sledgehammer, two changes of clothes, two spare sets of boots, fifty arrows, forty bombs, a claymore and twenty tree branches are stuffed in there, but as long as his hand goes inside and enclosed space before emerging with the object, the player will forgive you.

For my part, I think you should have to go to your car or open your backpack and choose the gear that you will carry into the level before you go, and be limited to what you choose and battlefield pick-ups for weapons or ammo. An assault rifle and a sidearm should probably be enough for the job, and if you need a bazooka, then odds are there's someone around who'd be willing to let you borrow his in exchange for a small amount of lead.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
> 2. Player pulls/places weapons from side opposite to camera

I think this is a palatable solution.

1. because weapons have been materializing out of the air for a while now.. gamers are basically used to it.
2. Less invasive than throwing up an inventory screen all the time. (Presumes gamer will probably use most efficient method)


I think the idea might be worth a second look.

FWIW (=

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
In Halo for example, you can only carry 2 weapons at the same time. It made the game a lot more believable, and it didn't harm it in any way. You usually chose between a sniper rifle or a rocket launcher as a secondary weapon for some specific targets, and most other weapons fill the role of a primary weapon (machinegun, plasma gun, etc). I'm not saying yours should be this limited; you can still have 2 big weapons slingered over your shoulder, firearms in different holsters, and all the other stuff that AP mentioned. Although this sounds limiting, it will add a lot to the game and emphasize strategy on the choice of weapons. Sometimes the way someone would handle this problem in real life is the best approach.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Realism is very difficult to apply in a game when it comes to weapons. Everyone who ever had to carry (and fire!) a machine gun knows that most games are just as unrealistic as it can get.
Even if you reduce the weight of the weapon (it's the future after all and weapons are getting lighter today, too) you still have the problem of some weapons being bulky. Switching from a pistol to a sub machine gun is simple. Putting away your portable rocket launcher is not that simple.

While limiting the player to a primary and smaller secondary weapons is a good idea, you still have to keep in mind that the agility is reduced if you have some grenades on your belt, a shotgun on your back a pistol holster on your chest and a smg in your hand [smile].

I wouldn't focus on realistic weapon switching if your game allows an unrealistic amount of ammo and weapons for the player (e.g. carrying the ammo and the machine gun at the same time is just not realistic at all).

Just my .02€,
Pat.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Honesty, I'm not really shooting for extreme realism. The only concern with switching weapons for me is avoiding making it lame. I just think having things pop out of no where is a little lame. The only palettable solution (one that won't cut down on the rest of the game, as in each armor or clothing I make taking 5 times longer, plus having restrictions, all because of weapon holsters) is to use an inventory mode. If I use an inventory mode, I'm making the player stop the game and click several times for absolutely no reason other than to hide something from them. As lame as it seems having the weapon appear out of nowhere, it seems to be the only answer.

I'll probably just make the character reach behind him for large weapons, and under his arm or such for hand guns. The weapon will pop up there. So even if he does go into inventory mode to switch weapons, I have to play these animation for equipping them, otherwise there would be a time advantage with it. So I'm chucking it all towards lame to add gameplay [smile]

I've seen extremely professional games just have weapons materialize in the characters hands without any animation at all (eg vice city), so this makes me feel a little better. It's much better than building 15 holsters for 15 shirts for 15 character races in 15 shapes. Heheh. And it's much better than forcing the player to stop the game.

I appreciate the ideas! Thanks.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Ok, here's a really simple answer, it won't look lame but you won't have a lot of work either: if you're facing the left side of the player, weapons pop from behind his right side (like from a right holster) ; if you're facing the right side, he gets them from his left. This way it's always hidden. With a couple more animations you've got all angles covered :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Two sidearms, a longarm on a shoulder strap, and the ability to pick weapons up off the ground (ie ONI, has everyone forgotten?). One button to pull weapon (or pick it off the ground), another button to cycle carried weapons (switch if a weapon's pulled, change highlighted if not), third to drop (or throw at someone's face) weapons. You could carry four or five this way -- two holstered sidearms and the longarm plus either a longarm or one or two more sidearms in your hands. Mind that you'll need some logic to drop weapons if you switch to something holstered when your hands and holsters are full.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote:
Original post by Jiia
I personally have to disagree with the unlockable situation. I prefer games that give you rewards for accomplishing a goal. If at the end of a week, you've finally finished the game, what better way to make the gamers day than to give them another way to enjoy it?
I'm not saying there shouldn't be unlockables at all. I'm saying that they're being overused, as a lazy means of challenging the player. The gameplay and narrative should provide sufficient incentive to play, not just the promise of unlockables.

Quote:
I believe the entire drive behind the idea of an RPG is unlockables. The ending is an unlockable. Skills are unlockables. Weapons, armor, the story itself.
I don't consider the progression of the narrative or character advancement to be unlockables, which may be a critical difference between us and why you don't find them excessive. It is only logical that playing should reveal more of the story and cause your character to become more capable; are we now going to consider power-ups in a shooter to be "unlockables"? The fireball in Super Mario Bros. is now an "unlockable"?

I think that an unlockable is a substantial alteration to the balance of the game, or an entirely new mode of play, or a significant aesthetic overhaul.

I'm off-topic, though, so I'll put that aside.


Back on topic, why do we need so many weapons in the first place? Most weapons in most games are redundant, just slight variations on the same theme. Jotaf mentioned Halo, which had far fewer weapons than most recent FPSes. In particular, the sniper rifle and the shotgun were only useful in specific situations, so they only ever made appearances in those situations. Even then, the plasma pistol and the needler were a complete waste of time.

Jotaf also pointed out that being limited to carrying and using only two weapons in Halo didn't seem to have affected gameplay markedly; Killzone will only allow three. Why does a character need to be able to carry five or six weapons? I can understand two or three guns, some grenades and a knife. I can't understand five guns and all the rest.

Quote:
Original post by Sta7ic
Two sidearms, a longarm on a shoulder strap, and the ability to pick weapons up off the ground (ie ONI, has everyone forgotten?).
In Halo, Bungie (who also made ONI) streamlined this process such that you could discard your current weapon in favor of one you found on the ground.

Quote:
One button to pull weapon (or pick it off the ground), another button to cycle carried weapons (switch if a weapon's pulled, change highlighted if not), third to drop (or throw at someone's face) weapons.
You'd only drop if you were picking something else up. The third button would be a melee attack with that weapon, bashing your enemy's face in.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This topic is 4826 days old which is more than the 365 day threshold we allow for new replies. Please post a new topic.

If you intended to correct an error in the post then please contact us.

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

Sign in to follow this