Sign in to follow this  
Kest

Choosing targets

Recommended Posts

I need to allow the player to choose ranged targets in a real-time 3rd person sci-fi RPG. There are countless ways I can go about it. GTA comes to mind really easily. But I've personally had a lot of problems with their system. I can't count the number of times that punk has tried to aim at civilians instead of people trying to kill me.. him.. 'us'. The game is designed to work really well with an analog stick, but it needs to stay pretty compatible with a keyboard + mouse. Even though it's 3rd person, it's very action oriented, and the controls are a lot like a first person shooter. The player can aim in one direction and move in another. The controls used to perform actions are customizable, but I've been designing it with WASD type movement in mind (there's no support for point & click movement). With a stick, I was picturing a system where the player pressed towards his requested target before pressing an 'aim' button, which would make targets in that direction have priority. The player could do so without even waiting for his character to turn and face that direction, so the target choice itself would be nearly instant. But doing this with WASD is not exactly friendly. Even if the player can rotate the camera smoothly so that WASD directions are on the dot, it still feels pretty awkward. I've also thought about allowing the player to manually aim the mouse at targets, not really to manually aim, but to manually choose an auto-target in the same way pressing a direction does. But I'm worried that it would feel pretty clumsy and awkward during intense situations. There's also an aspect that seperates this from other aiming. With non-mouse aiming, the player would need to press or hold an 'aim' button to lock on to a target. That is, without firing. But with the mouse, the player's character would be expected to already be aiming where the mouse is pointed. Would it not feel very strange to aim the mouse, press a target button to lock on, then press another button to begin firing? That means allowing both will require support for multiple designs. One where the character aims without firing, and one where he either aims anytime the mouse moves, or fires without aiming first. Please don't let my narrow view on this limit any ideas. Throw all of the opinions, suggestions, and personal preferences at me that you can muster. Thanks [smile]

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
If the player is allowed to lock onto the target unlike a FPS then the players aim isnt the issue its the targeting controls, well duh.

Place an imaginary line at the barrel of the gun and let it radiate strait out to infinity. The player cannot see this line but in the case that a possible, lockable, target passes over the line they will light up and when this happens the player can hold the lockon button. This will cause the players character to continualy face the target and any rounds fired will be sent in that direction. If the target leaves the players view break the lock on, or if the player lets go of the lockon button.

I know that in some games that use the invisable check line (not sure what the offical name is) it will pick up anything that passes in front of you. But if you make the line very literal then if you can see the target you can lock onto it. This will make for some chalenge of not killing all the peds and if you manage to get a lock on him you will have him by the 'incert object of your pleasing'.

Hope that helps.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
You could even take the aformentioned idea and make it so that the crosshair lights up or something when the beam does react to a target (I'm sure you've noticed this in some games).

But I guess I don't see the problem here... you're just firing in a direction aren't you? Or are you trying to make it where you actually lock onto a target (ala an MMORPG at this state) and then can keep strafing around that target?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
That's how the control works. Once a target is selected, the player can move around while keeping the aim locked, optionally firing. The aim isn't actually snapped to the target, it constantly attempts to align itself based on character skills.

The aim without firing is pretty necessary. It does two important things. It seriously reduces the amount of time required to begin firing by keeping the character facing the target and the weapon in firing position. It also allows other characters to be alerted of the fact that a weapon is aimed in their direction. That includes NPCs aiming weapons at the player.

I like the idea behind facing the character toward targets to select them. But one issue is that characters cannot instantly face targets in my game. I guess I should have mentioned that by 3rd person, I'm referring to a Fallout / Diablo overhead style view, and not an over-the-shoulder Hitman style view. The player doesn't control the direction his character is facing with the mouse. With normal analog/WASD control, the player just presses in absolute directions and the character moves in those directions, gradually rotating to face the direction as they move (unless they are aiming). So it comes down to the fact that players can't instantly face a specific direction, or even quickly face it in some situations. So I need some control method to allow them to 'point' in the direction of the target.

Still, I like the idea of using the character's facing direction to select targets, and I'll probably include it into the game as an optional style to use in place of the 'pointing' style.

I'm still looking for ideas to allow the player to 'point' in exact directions with a keyboard and mouse. Just picture firing guns in a Diablo style view.

Thanks much for the suggestions.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Why does the player press towards the target BEFORE pressing the aim button? Wouldn't you want to enter an aim mode (lift gun, adopt combat stance, etc) before choosing a target?
If you pressed towards the target before aiming, then you would have to motion towards the target, then either tap aim, then fire (making one of the presses redundant). Or motion towards the target, press aim, use the stick to zero in on your exact target, then press fire (making the first stick press redundant).

Would it make more sense in analogue mode to hold down a target button, use the analogue stick to select a target, then press a fire button?

I see three ways to translate this to work with the mouse.
1. Have it exactly the same as the analogue mode. Hold down a button to enter targeting mode, use the mouse to select a target, click to fire.
2. Have a holster key. Tap the unholster/activate weapon button to enter target mode, use the mouse so select a target, click to fire.
3. When the player is using the mouse, the game could always be in target mode (like in a first person shooter, you are literally targeting what the mouse is over). Use the mouse to pick a target, left click to fire.

I guess it all depends on how actiony and how rpgy it is. If it's very actiony, then 3 is most like a shooter. If walking speed/huds change, or if npc's get annoyed when you target them it's not so great though.
2 and 3 work well, because it wont feel weird to have to press an aim key when the player is already aiming/pointing the mouse at a target. By pressing the aim key, the player is leaving an interact with world mode, and readying his weapon to enter a combat mode.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote:
Original post by CIJolly
Why does the player press towards the target BEFORE pressing the aim button? Wouldn't you want to enter an aim mode (lift gun, adopt combat stance, etc) before choosing a target?

Think of platformer games where you quickly press directions before you jump to determine the jumping direction. Such as moving backward and then jumping forward without stopping. But how you can also simply jump in the direction you're moving by not changing the direction you're pressing as you jump. That's how pointing would work. You quickly orientate the direction before pressing the lock aim button to set a priority of target choices in that direction. If you were just holding a certain direction to move when you started aiming, that movement direction would be used as the pointing direction to prioritize targets.

Characters will always be in combat stances when weapons are drawn. For many gun weapons, 'aiming' forward might be little more than lifting the sights up five inches. But if the target is high in the air to the right, or even more, high in the air behind you, the character will need to turn to face the direction and aim upwards. This aiming process can take place as the player moves around. Once a target direction is chosen, the player no longer controls aiming routines. The character will take over and do the rest on his own.

Quote:
If you pressed towards the target before aiming, then you would have to motion towards the target, then either tap aim, then fire (making one of the presses redundant).

You won't need to aim to fire. If you just fire, it will be as though you pressed both aim and fire. But using the aim lock will allow the player to use other equipment (such as grenades), or to pause attacks while passing behind friendlies, or to duck or take cover and pop back out to shoot at the same targets, etc. Simply aiming guns will be a big part of the game as well. It will be used to rob, scare, arrest, and bully people.

Quote:
Or motion towards the target, press aim, use the stick to zero in on your exact target, then press fire (making the first stick press redundant).

There's no zeoring in. Once a direction is chosen to prioritize targets, aiming is done entirely by the character. The player cannot manually aim.

Anyway, I've had some other ideas about using the mouse cursor to choose directions. Basically just using the direction from the player character to the cursor as a direction that works just like pointing. In fact, I could even support movement with such a method. But if I allow the cursor to 'point' while WASD is used to move, then keyboard+mouse ends up with a huge advantage over a gamepad, unless the gamepad has two sticks.

Anyway, there's a lot riding on this decision, so I need to think it out carefully. So far, that consists of me completely avoiding thinking about it [lol]

I really appreciate your ideas.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
With CIJolly's information, I have considered the fact that there may be no need for an aim button.

- To aim without firing, the player could tap the fire button and release quickly, or release before the weapon is lined up. Aim-lock mode would start.

- To aim and fire, the player just presses down and holds the fire button. Once released, the character would stop firing but would not end aim-lock mode.

- A button/method would be needed to end aim-lock mode. There will be several 'ranged combat' buttons that will be useless during aiming, so I could make any/all of them drop the aim. But it would be absolutely great if I could come up with some way to allow the fire button to be used again here.

I'm still working out the details of 'pointing', so I don't have a lot to report on that. But any suggestions regarding that or firing are appreciated.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
You can display a small list with all potential targets (hostiles) that is in sight of the player and allow the player to scroll through the list. When player selects a target in the list and hit the appropriate key it will achieve target lock with the target.

The problems I can see with the system is having a huge list if there are alot of targets in sight and when player wants to attack non-hostile characters target lock wont work initially (assuming once you attack somebody it will become hostile).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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