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Slow Motion/Bullet-Time methods for a multiplayer game

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Hello everyone, I'm designing a 3rd person action game which uses slow-motion as its central mechanic, however slow-motion is a difficult concept to implement in a multiplayer game, which is probably why we haven't seen it in many commercial titles yet, if any at all. As far as I can see, there are only a few ways it can be implemented, please let me know which method you think would be best from a players perspective, or if you have any other ideas. 1.) After the player activates slowmo, all players (globally) slow down, and the activator moves slightly faster than the rest, or has a higher rate of fire - your classic slow-motion effect. 2.) After the player activates slowmo, everyone else slows down and the player moves at normal speed, basically the opposite of slow-motion. I don't like this idea as the activator wants to experience combat in slowmo himself, not the other way around. 3.) Same as options 1 and 2, except the slow-motion only effects players within a certain radius of the activator. This would alleviate the problem of players slowing down half way across the level and not knowing why, however this might end up looking a bit strange. 4.) At random time intervals or after a specific event, everyone slows down without a particular player having any advantage. This option doesn't appeal to my competitive spirit :D I found a recent article by Finnish researchers here, I read the paper, although I don't believe this would work well in an action game were accuracy is paramount. Personally I'm learning towards option 1, with the levels being quite small and unobstructed so everyone has a good chance of seeing who actually activated slow-motion and getting in on the action, rather than just feeling pissed off that they slowed down again for no apparent reason.

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Make time speed a scalar value of space and apply time reduction with soft degradation effect.

i.e.: Time flows at speed 1 unless you're 10m or close from the bullet-timer, in which case it flows at speeds from 1(exactly 10m distance) to 0.5 (bullet-timer position).

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If this is a combat type game, why not activate the slo-mo automatically for two players that engage in battle? Bullits fired at both of them by other players will get slowed down accordingly, so they do not have an advantage.

hth,
CipherCraft

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Quote:
Original post by Zanshibumi
Make time speed a scalar value of space and apply time reduction with soft degradation effect.

i.e.: Time flows at speed 1 unless you're 10m or close from the bullet-timer, in which case it flows at speeds from 1(exactly 10m distance) to 0.5 (bullet-timer position).


That is actually a very cool idea, I could imagine a stream of bullets flying towards the player who activated bullet-time and then they come slowly to a stop, would be good for a defensive situation.

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There was a half-life mod that I played a few years ago called "The Specalists". They had a powerup in that game which would turn on bullet time. Players within 20 feet of the activator would move at a slow speed, while the activator didn't quite move at normal speed but moved at a faster rate than the slow players. It gave the activator of the poweup the advantage but didn't make it completely unfair for those unforunate to be around there.

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Yeah, I've posted about The Specialists a few times on these forums, I believe it's the only game in existence with slow-motion based multiplayer. It seems to be in development hell at the moment though, with no Half-Life 2 version planned, although a new update for HL1 should be released soon.

Let's all bask in the glory of that trailer one last time.

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see/read jojo, it has a character named dio, who has a power named the world which can stop time and when he does that he moves normal and the other guys are slowed down/ paused, i think that is the best way to implement bullet time, obviously the effect it has would be very pissing off in a multiplayer game, so it should be indeed limited to a certain ratio.

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Quote:

I found a recent article by Finnish researchers


If it's the artcile I'm thinking of, the way they did it was trying to use common network lag to their advantage. They were sort of queueing up actions on one client and then firing them all off at an accelerated rate on the other machines.

Quote:

however slow-motion is a difficult concept to implement in a multiplayer game, which is probably why we haven't seen it in many commercial titles yet, if any at all.


Real bullet time is an impossible concept to implement. Like in the Matrix, it is perception based. For example Neo is basically operating beyond the bounds of the matrix. He is thinking and reacting faster than everyone else. In reality (perception of everyone else perceiving him), he is moving faster than normal. We can't slow down one client's perception of the world and keep the rest of the clients perception in real time. The only possiblities (as you've kind of hit on), is to either speed up one player (which I personally think defeats some of the idea, faster does not make you more heller, in fact it tends to interfere more) or slow the rest of the players down, which also tends to make everyone else mad (ask anyone who has ever played Neverwinter Nights online and ask them why Time Stop was banned/disabled from most Persistant Worlds :) ).

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To get the gameplay feel your after, slowing down time within a certain radius of the initiator but not slowing him as much as everyone else sounds like a really good idea. The only problem I can see, is that then whoever uses bullet time is going to have an advantage in that bubble, but will still be moving slower than players outside of the bubble. Non slowed players will then have a pretty big advantage.

They can: continue racking up kills against other non-slowled players, giving them an advantage in deathmatch.
Get the good items.
Line up shots for when slow down wears off.
Capture flags, get objectives, etc.

If I saw a couple of bullet timing players, I would spray that area with bullets anyway, even if the bullets would slow down when they hit the bubble. If everyone else thought the same and shot at the players, then when the slowdown wore off, they would get pelted by bullets from every angle.

So while it would be fun, you'd have to introduce a bunch of fixes to get most game types to work (eg, bullet time kills give more points, buy instead of find weapons, bullets inside the bubble drop to the ground/rockets detonate when slow mo wears off).

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Well, to mitigate the problem mentioned by the previous poster, I suggest the following:

First, leave the initiating player at normal speed, while slowing down players affected by the effect to a lesser degree than one would normally do with a slow-motion effect.

Secondly, have only the missiles of those affected by the effect be slowed down, rather than all missiles entering the an area of effect.

(Just for clarity's sake, note that I use the general sense of "missile" above, not restricting it to rocket-propelled munitions.)

Essentially, instead of having the ability affect an area, have it affect certain players and their weapons fire (perhaps with a falloff by distance as described by posters above). This could perhaps be explained in an in-game sense by claiming that it changes the way that the affected matter moves in time, rather than affecting the flow of time in a given area.

This should remove the disadvantage to the initiating player, and may even reduce the frustration experienced by affected players to some degree, although I suspect that it will remain a frustration, to some degree at least, to be affected by this ability.

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Quote:
Original post by asdzxc
Yeah, I've posted about The Specialists a few times on these forums, I believe it's the only game in existence with slow-motion based multiplayer. It seems to be in development hell at the moment though, with no Half-Life 2 version planned, although a new update for HL1 should be released soon.


afaik F.E.A.R. had the bullet time in MP. Not sure though, as I never tried MP.

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Can’t believe I forgot about F.E.A.R (just downloaded the free multiplayer version), yep they did it via Option 1 - all players slow down regardless of their distance while the activator moves/fires slightly faster.

Some good ideas have been raised by this thread, I might just have to try ‘em all.

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One of my favorite solutions, from a thread on this board, was to have everyone slow down, and have the activator's bullets retain "instant hit" properties while everyone else's either move dlowly or project a "hunch line" simulating the time master's intuition about where the bullets will be and allowing him to dodge the attacks while his adversaries have no such opportunity.

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The only solution that seems fair is to slow down everybody. The bubble thing just wouldn't work unless it was a really huge bubble, at which point you're almost at solution 1 anyway. The best way to alleviate annoyance would be to just keep the bullet-time sessions very short.

Instead of full blown Matrix-inspired slo-mo scenes, limit it to 2 or 3 seconds. Thats just long enough for the activator to line up a couple of head-shots and then resume the game.

How do you plan on limiting the slo-mo ability? Is it an item you have to pick up? Everybody allowed to use it once per match? Fixed regeneration time after each use?

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It'd probably be much easier on the CPU to slow down everything, and it eliminates problems with people spraying at a bubble, too. If you have a bubble that slows everything down, you'll have to do some sort of "collision" detection to check what's in the bubble and what's not, and it could add a hefty amount of work if the game is already pretty tough on a pc. And I see that there are a lot of problems implementing a bubble that aren't there if you just slow everyone down. No one can stay moving at normal speed/spray bullets at slow movers and just the implementation would be worse (having to check if anything's in the bubble). I'd go with #1.

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Why not just let the other players activate their bullet-time when someone else uses his bullet-time to match up.

Example:

1) Player 1 starts bullet-time. Everybody slow down while Player 1 keeps his normal speed. (The below players are all stuck in Player 1’s bullet-time)
2) Player 2 activates his bullet-time to match Player 1’s speed. Now 2 players are in bullet-time. The player with the longest bullet-time gauge will have the advantage because whoever runs out of bullet-time will get caught in the other player’s bullet-time.
3) (just for balance) Player 3 decided that he doesn’t want to join Players 1 and 2 and prefer to save his bullet-time for later, so he turns on his shield and wait the bullet-time out.
4) Player 4 thinks it’s better to activate his bullet-time momentarily from time to time to get away from shots. Save up on bullet-time.

Also there was something like this in Jade Empire. The player can enter bullet-time by activating his “Focus”. Everything slow down except fro the player. When the player *spoiler* fights his master in the end the master starts the fight with activating his “Focus” and slowing down the player while he keeps his speed. The player has about a few seconds to figure out that he also must activate his “Focus” to match his master’s speed.

I hope this helps.

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