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Silvermyst

Sword Fighting

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Silvermyst    113
Shinkage's Insights Into A Realistic RPG Fighting System Nazrix's Sword Fighting - RPG OoMMMoO's Some Real Sword Fighting Dwarfsoft's Flowing Fighting System Symphonic's Bullet-Time to Sword-Time I've been doing a lot of brainstorming about the 'real time sword fight' lately. Three titles I'm using as research material: Blade Of Darkness (PC) Die By The Sword (PC) Bushido Blade 2 (Playstation) (plan on purchasing Bushido Blade 1 as well) If you know of any threads on this forum that deal with the subject of sword fighting, could you please add them to this thread? Okay, let's get started. Which ingredients are absolutely needed to give the sword fighting game its flavor? What kind of controls can we use and how? I think these two questions need to be asked and answered at the same time. If the answer to the first question is "I need to be able to fight with two weapons at the same time", you need to adjust your answer to the second one to ensure that you have the ability to fight with two weapons. Vice versa, if the answer to the second question is "I want to be able to play the game using just the keyboard" you will have to adjust the answers to the first question to make sure that whatever you want is possible by just using the keyboard. In the end, we'll end up with just the right control system to give us everything we really need. [edited by - Silvermyst on May 6, 2002 11:00:14 AM]

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Michalson    1657
You might also want to try an old game, Prince of Persia (an old platform game with really smooth/good animation).

For sword fighting to be 'fun' for the player I would think certain conditions would need to be met:

* There should be no best attack/best combo that the player can learn early on, then repeat to defeat all enemies. This make the rest of the game feel like a chore (checking for such combos can be hard, its likely easier to design a good ai opponent).

* Skill should be progressive. As players progress they should be able to hone their technique, so that if they where to be sent back to an earlier part of the game they would do alot better (due to the l33t skillz they have mastered to progress in the game)

* The controls should not be overly complicated. A small number of moves that can be combined is better than many special moves. An example would be to have a safe attack, a risky attack and a block (combined with normal player actions like move and jump)

* Collision detection needs to be good. It will ruin the player experience if the swords don't seem to work just right.

[EDIT]: Removed really old from PoP description. Its 286/386 era, which is not as old as some Gamedev'ers will remember.

[EDIT]: Thief is also an ok example of a sword fighting system (though it suffered from the first point, there was a method you could learn that was unbeatable, making you an uber killing machine)

[edited by - michalson on May 6, 2002 10:54:54 AM]

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Narcus    122
Consider looking at Soul Calibur for Dreamcast. While it''s a fighting game like Tekken or Street Fighter, the sword fighting engine is very well thought-out and consistent. For example, you have horizontal and vertical slash buttons, and the horizontal slashes can''t be sidestepped, while the vertical slashes can''t be ducked, and are frequently more powerful / have more range. Also, input commands always follow the same pattern, like forward+vertical slash always does a straight STAB move, which has long range but can be sidestepped. down/back+horizontal slash always does a low cut at the legs.

It''s a pretty arcade-game-type system, but I really can''t imagine a better action-packed swordfighting engine.

Another staple of Soul Calibur is that any hit you know is coming can be deflected, giving you an advantage. But you have to deflect it just as it hits you; if you mis-time it, you will get hit. This system basically makes predictable moves a bad idea against an expert.

I have played Bushido Blade 1 but I''m not very good at it and can''t comment.

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Supernova    122
Jedi Knight 2 has a pretty good lightsaber fighting system, though the blocking is automatic (auto blocks if you''re not doing something else like attacking). It would be too hard to play if it was manual though because of how fast the action is.

While I''m here I just want to give props to Raven Games. They make some good shit

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Kylotan    10008
I agree with Nacrus: Soul Calibur and its prequel were great games as they provided a myriad of special moves which were linked to keypresses that made sense. This made it easier to learn them. The other important aspect was that there were several defence mechanisms, each appropriate for different attacks. So if your opponent got used to using one defence mechanism, you could try a different type of attack. It wasn''t just a button-mashing fest - it was a high-paced tactical game where you''re trying to find the weaknesses in your opponent''s defence while protecting yourself from the same fate.

4 buttons plus a directional control is adequate for this sort of game, I found. Having said that, being able to redefine a few more to your favourite combinations was also very useful.

[ MSVC Fixes | STL | SDL | Game AI | Sockets | C++ Faq Lite | Boost | Asking Questions | Organising code files ]

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Hase    313
how about tackling the problem from the bottom up? Learn how to fight with a sword, *then* worry about how to translate it into a game... apart from olympic fencing (which you should be able to learn in almost any bigger city) here´s a few links to get you started:

www.dreynschlag.at (german, with photo tutorials)
www.zornhau.de (german, with training photos)
www.freifechter.org
www.fechthalle-muenchen.de

www.thehaca.com (historical armed combat association)
www.sca.org (society for creative anachronism - tons of links but somewhat disorderly)

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berserk    122
what about this kind of interface:

When you are in "fighting mode" or "sword drawn out", a table of buttons will appear on screen. (table as in data arrangement).

So you could have, for example 4x5 table of buttons. Each one has a little graphical picture of a particular attack method. So by clicking on each button you get different kind of attack. Furthermore, the types of attack could be organized by rows, like the first row of buttons is all "high" or "head" attacks, 2nd row could be "middle" attack, 3rd could be "low", and 4th could be something special. To make things even more elaborate, lets say that right mouse click means "attack" and left mouse click means "defense".

When player fights, he can keep left hand on the arrow keys to control character movement and keep right hand on mouse. Mouse allows quick and easy way of selecting a particular attack method and it helps the player seeing available buttons on screen.

What do you think guys?

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Qatal    127
its a little complex, beserk.

just a little....

but i see where you''re coming from.

in most games now tho, the mouse is used to "look". you wouldn''t be able to keep your pointer on the buttons (or even bring it back there) without screwing up your orientation

someone poke the holes in this plz.



die or be died...i think

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Silvermyst    113
quote:
in most games now tho, the mouse is used to "look". you wouldn''t be able to keep your pointer on the buttons (or even bring it back there) without screwing up your orientation


Well, for now, let''s focus on a one-on-one fight. So ''mouse-look'' isn''t really a necessary element. The camera could either be set in place, or automatically change when needed (when combatants close). That''s not to say that mouse-look might not be required, but it depends on a lot of different other elements.

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smitty1276    560
I like the idea of the mouse actually controlling the sword.

Slashing left and right with the mouse would cause the sword to slash left/right, or up/down, diagonally or whatever.

Left mouse button could lunge with the sword. Of course if you want to lunge high you would have to lunge and thrust the mouse upward. Lunge low, thrust mouse downward, etc.

Right mouse button would parry... if someone lunged at YOU, you would have to quickly parry the shot.

There could also be an option for raising a shield if you are equipped with one.

The response times of the sword would depend on the skill of the person wielding it and the characteristics of the sword itself. A rapier in the hands of an expert would respond with lightning speed... a longsword in the hands of a novice would be of little use beyond hacking at things until the skill of the user improved.

And yes, collision detection would be VERY important.


If you need to change orientation during combat or while holding the weapon, you could hold a pre-designated button.

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I loved the concept of controlling the sword directly that "Die by the Sword" used, but there where several flaws. First I tried using the mouse, I always lost the feel for how far up or down the sword was, it was easy to slash left-right or right-left, but what I thought should be upper-left to bottom-right would end up being straight left-to-right. So I used the keyboard mostly. Another problem was the movement of the sword, it looked bloody limp-wristed. You would bring it back for an underhand swipe, at the end of the arc it would wobble for a half second. I''bve looked a bit at the quake-source for possibilities of a DbS like hand-to-hand fighting system.

---------
"It''''s always useful when you face an enemy prepared to die for his country. That means both of you have exactly the same aim in mind." -Terry Pratchett

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Kilj    122
I love the bushidoblade system. The real problem is the input device.

lol,

I wanna see someone make a game that requires you to use two 4 button mice and footpedals and voice recognition etc etc.

Then maybe you could do everything.

[edited by - kilj on May 6, 2002 9:32:30 PM]

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a person    118
the thing that worries me about this thread is that the original poster did not limit this to a particular sword fighting style. each style has something different required to make the game work well. (these will be very broad and i may lump some styles together that should not be, but you will get the idea).

fencing for instance needs percise control over the foil. movement is secondary and ussually only laterally anyway. a fencer is defensive by nature, thus the system needs a lot of defensive control. fighters pick at each other, puntures through organs render fighters finished quickly. ussually fights are somewhat long compared to other styles due to its defensive nature.

kendo/bushido and the other japanese style with a katana or boken (or other curved/straight edged two hand sword) is more of an offensive art. movement is key. being able to push the sword away is a given in all styles, but with kendo counterattacks are meant with swift counter-counterattacks. there are no movements which are purely defensive. all movements turn into ocunterattack, even a parry or block. matches a short and fast. a single cut, will ussually render the oponent unable to continue (death or severly handicapped and would lose anyway). most fights are for only 3 or 4 movements total. granted if a boken was used, matches would last somewhat longer, but any blow to the head results in death. blows to the limbs would result in fractues or breaks. thus the boken is pretty lethal as well.

broadsword, much different weapon. more direct attacks with large swings. not much in the way of parries or defense. a "simple" style that relies on brute strength rather purly speed like the other two styles.

of course we have not even toughed upon the styles that allow two swords. dealing with (un)sheathing the sword, etc. this would amke things even more difficult. because just unsheathing the sword can lead to an attack.

so i suggest a good idea is to condense this into handling a particular style of fighting with a sword. it will make things easier to discuss since you will only have to worry about the specifics of the one style. later you can generalize it to fit other styles or modify it. i though bushido blade gave an excellent control interface. i alos liked the fact that there were no health bars, increasing the realism and tension.

i also feel that you should learn how to use a sword before coming up with an interface. you will understand better what is required to get the correct feel for gameplay. pressing buttons on the screen is a terrible idea. instant response is lost. bushido blade was well thought and and worked well. the best interface i have ever used in a sword fighting game. it was very responsive, simple, and covered the major things that you can do with the sword. controlling the sword with the mouse is very poor because you cant feel the weight of the sword as it moves through the air. gonna use kendo as an example for the next part: the slightest movement of the right hand can adjust the entire angle of attack (because in kendo you use the left (lower) hand for swing, and the right hand (upper) for direction control). also because of how light the sword is, one handed use is possible (though not as effective). since all swings come from the almost the same position, it is difficult to allow free movemnet of the sword for accurate input by the user, unless you have some sort of tactile feedback device. moevment should flow easily, but if swung incorrectly the sword will wobble and overly seem heavier then it should because of the loss of balance.

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Qatal    127
quote:
Original post by smitty1276
I like the idea of the mouse actually controlling the sword.

Slashing left and right with the mouse would cause the sword to slash left/right, or up/down, diagonally or whatever.

Left mouse button could lunge with the sword. Of course if you want to lunge high you would have to lunge and thrust the mouse upward. Lunge low, thrust mouse downward, etc.

Right mouse button would parry... if someone lunged at YOU, you would have to quickly parry the shot.

There could also be an option for raising a shield if you are equipped with one.

The response times of the sword would depend on the skill of the person wielding it and the characteristics of the sword itself. A rapier in the hands of an expert would respond with lightning speed... a longsword in the hands of a novice would be of little use beyond hacking at things until the skill of the user improved.

And yes, collision detection would be VERY important.


If you need to change orientation during combat or while holding the weapon, you could hold a pre-designated button.


I agree, mouse-sword systems are the most natural interface come up with yet. The issue being that without preset moves, you have to have damn good collisioning for it to look convincing.

you do realise that the maths of this kind of sword fighting would be kinda hard to do... like moment of inertia, strain on sword blade, etc.

again, flame me if im talking out of someplace unusual...



die or be died...i think

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darkpunk    122
Daggerfall used a mouse controled sword system. All different overhead chops and thrusts. Tho I don't think it made for very good sword play. I am not sure if FPS is ideal for this type of game, since even the robust sword mechanics of Bushido Blade failed to be exciting or effective in FPS mode.





[edited by - darkpunk on May 6, 2002 12:51:33 AM]

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Dauntless    314
I studied European fencing for a year in college, one semester rapier/epee and one semester sabre (in a mixed Hungarian/Italian style of fencing), and I took Aikido for a year which has some heavy elements of swordplay with the bokken (and sometimes we got to play with the Suburi and shinai too). I''ve also picked some escrima/kali from my filipino friends and tito (that''s an honorary or real uncle to filipinos) in which you learn some Espada Y Daga (sword and dagger) techniques even though it is primarily a stick fighting style. Other weapon training I''ve done is with the Jo staff from Aikido, and long Bo staff from Vovinam (which is a Vietnamese style....in case you''re wondering, I''ve studied Shotokan/Vovinam, Aikido, Choy Li Fut primarily, and also picked up some Wing Chun, Tai Chi and Bagua along the way, as well as play wrestling).

So, from a real life perspective, if you want to give a different flavor to your game, you really have to understand the weapon, and you have to understand the school of thought. The first really influences the latter however. For example, look at the rapier...it is a fast elegant weapon used to stap your opponent. It is not meant for cutting or slashing, and it can not penetrate armor. In Japanese swordplay, the katana was a cavalry weapon...it was issued to Samurai on horseback and was designed to be a slashing weapon for which its slight curve was well suited. Also, the Japanese swordsmiths were geniuses in developing a blade which was simultaneously razor sharp, could keep its edge, be hard, but not so stiff as to be brittle...truly a marvel in metallurgical skills unsurpassed by anyone in the world. But the katana is a relatively heavy weapon compared to other sabre like weapons and requires much more forethought before committing to a strike.

For the filipinos, they preferred sticks to swords, although they were deadly with swords (as the Japanese learned to their chagrin in WWII...as some Kris were the match of Japanese swords) too. But they liked sticks for several reasons, namely, you could find them anywhere, they were very fast and light, and it is much harder to heal from a broken bone than a cut (and the shock/pain factor of a crushing blow is more insidious and dehabilitating than a cut, even a severe one....deep cuts hurt and sting, but if you''ve ever bumped your pinky toe into a wall, than you know what I mean).

The real trick will be in controlling sword movements. I suppose you could do the arcade/console thing and have button macros to perform certain moves. The other possibility is to have some sort of AI routine that translates mouse/key movements into sword movements in a non-programmed way. That way you can flow from one move to the next, even in mid-movement. For example, lets say that you want to make a horizontal slash, but your opponent has a faster weapon and is making a vertical overhead cut. You can then move the mouse in a manner that turns the strike into an overhead parry. Of course, being able to animate this freeflow style will introduce another set of diffuculties (animations are "fixed" and are not fluid....that''s the holy grail of animation, and hopefully a smarter version of Inverse Kinematics or Forward Kinematics can solve that)

I think this would require some training with the player...and in many ways would really be like learning how to do a martial art on the PC. The AI routine would use Genetic Algorithms to see and recognize what the player is doing, thereby each player would have their own unique way of performing certain movements.

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Sandman    2210
I would recommend against attempting to directly translate the mouse movements into sword movements. As someone mentioned, Die By the Sword never felt quite right, the sword seemed to wobble about all over the place, and you never got the feel of it being a weapon with real weight and power behind it.

I reckon a good approach would be to use a gesture recognition system. You use the mouse to trace a gesture which then gets translated into a move. The important thing is that the move does not necessarily follow the exact motion of the mouse, but the gesture should be relatively intuitive to the end result.

e.g: The user traces a vertical slash across the screen. The character onscreen responds by moving the sword into position and slashing his opponent. The user then draws a vertical spike on the screen, representing a stab - on completing his slash move the character brings the sword back and impales his target.

In addition to the basic moves, it would be possible to implement combos - certain moves might fit well together, others might not. A great deal depends on the weapon of course, heavier weapons will give you more overswing and will be harder to move into position for a second strike, resulting in fewer combos, but successful hits do a lot of damage.

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Qatal    127
yes, well.

you''ve got to have some kind of thing to at least dampen the "wobble". that was terrible

wobble....

is bad....

where''s my coffee....

....

die or be died...i think

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Silvermyst    113
BLADE OF DARKNESS

Look around:
Mouse movement

Movement:
W (forward)
S (backward)
A (circle left)
D (circle right)

Lock/unlock enemy:
Tab

Dodge:
Right mouse button + left or right

Attack:
Left mouse button
Different attacks can be made by using direction keys in combination with left mouse button.

Block:
Ctrl

Cycle weapon (character can have 4 different weapons at a time):
Mouse wheel up

Cycle shield (character can have 3 different shields at a time):
Mouse wheel down

Throw:
Hold Q to increase launch power, press Left mouse button to throw

Bow:
Hold down Left mouse button, aim, release button to fire

(there are more options, but these are the ones that are relevant to combat. Also, most commands can be redefined to user liking)

COMBAT IN BLADE OF DARKNESS

Character notices enemy. Character approaches enemy, possibly throws a ranged weapon. Character locks on to enemy (locking can be set to auto-mode).

To attack, the character uses left mouse button. This results in the most basic of attacks. Character can make different attacks by using the direction keys in combination with the left mouse button (LMB). Left + LMB = ''backhand'' slash. Up + LMB = overhead slash. Some attacks require the direction key to be pressed at the same time as LMB, some require some timing, in that the keys are pressed in succession.

To defend, you simlpy press CTRL. That''s it. Your shield can absorb a certain amount of damage before splintering apart. Of course, you can avoid getting hit altogether by moving around and using the DODGE ability (RMB + left/right). There are even special combos that allow a character to attack right after a succesful dodge.

Each character has its own special attacks.
These attacks are weapon and/or level (characters gain experience and levels by killing enemies) dependent.

Some weapons have one or more special attacks.

Each attack uses a certain amount of energy. Energy replenishes quickly, but when too many energy extensive attacks are carried out in succession, the character will have to catch its breath, leaving it extremely vulnerable to enemy attacks.

VIEW

I''ve found that the overhead (camera place behind and slightly above character) works best. You see you character, his outfit, weapon and possibly his shield. You see the enemy in front of him.

COMBAT REVIEW
Attacking is more a matter of succesfully completing the combos than it is a matter of finding a weakness in your opponent''s defense.

The engine does do a good (decent?) job at handling multiple opponents.

Of course, this particular engine has not been designed to ONLY handle combat. There is also an adventuring mode (walking through virtual world, dealing with objects, climbing, jumping and running). I wonder what they could''ve done with it if it would''ve been a pure combat game. I think they would''ve needed to revamp it a lot, to come a little closer to the combat experience of Bushido Blade.

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Silvermyst    113
BUSHIDO BLADE 2 (PlayStation)

[Gamepad]

View:
Side View and First Person View (I haven't tried the FP mode yet, but will update on that)

Movement:
Directional buttons (forward, backward, left, right)
Double pressing directional button results in character moving greater distance.
L1 + Directional button = run

Attack:
O = frontal attack
X = reverse attack
Different attacks can be made by using direction keys in combination with attack buttons.

Stance:
☐ = change stance (from high to normal to low stance and back to high stance again)
High stance: powerful attacks, weak blocks
Normal stance: average attacks, average blocks
Low stance: weak attacks, powerful blocks

Defend:
There is no special defense button. Defending can only be done by counterattacking. This means that if the enemy attacks, you have to press an attack button yourself and hope your attack blocks his (or even better, your attack kills him before he kills you)

Single hit:
The game is mostly about hitting your opponent just once: most hits are lethal. The succesful hits that are not lethal, usually cripple the enemy enough to give you enough of an advantage to finish him off quickly.

Some other options that are available:
Throw sand: when fighting on sandy ground, character can duck, grab and toss sand in opponent's face to temporarily blind him (R2 + X)
Throw sub weapon: characters can fight with secondary weapons. These can be thrown at opponent (R2 + O)

COMBAT IN BUSHIDO BLADE

Characters start close together. You have to advance a little to get close enough to attack. You can really study the opponent's stance and change your own combat strategy accordingly.

As you attack, different things can happen:
a) you kill your opponent (great)
b) your opponent counterattacks and kills you first (oops)
c) your attack hits and wounds opponent
d) your attack is blocked

The outcome of each attack is important. If your attack was blocked perfectly, you usually leave an opening in your own defense. You have to react quickly and regain your posture and blocking stance. Sometimes your attack is blocked but not perfectly. Now, you need to react quickly, but on the offensive side. Just attack again and try to make use of the fact that your previous attack wasn't completely diverted.

Some attacks will knock the enemy of his feet, giving you the opportunity to close in for the kill.

Some attacks simply unbalance your opponent, making your next attacks a little more likely to be succesful.

Sometimes attacks happen at the exact same time. At this point, blades meet and opponents are drawn into a physical fight (press either button O or X repeatedly to overpower opponent). The loser of this struggle will end up sprawled on the floor, momentarily helpless.

There are six different weapons, each with its own strenghts and weaknesses. For example, the Katana is fast while the broadsword is mainly powerful. The Yari (spear-like) has a long reach. Each weapon has its own special attacks. Each stance has its own special attacks. And finally each character has special attacks.

Special attacks can be made by pressing the right combination of directional buttons and attack buttons (some special attacks only require attack buttons). Some attacks need an attack button and direction button pressed at same time, others need some timing (press one button after another), still others might require a combination of the two.

I've yet to fight with two weapons, but I know it's possible (only received the game yesterday and wanted to get the info out as soon as possible)

COMBAT REVIEW

I like this type of combat. It's not yet perfect to my liking, but it is certainly the best sword fighting engine I've seen. You can really choose your attacks and time your defense. There are many different characters to choose from, each with their own strengths and weaknesses. And each weapon has its own fighting style. I'm going to play now and see how the First Person mode works. One thing I found lacking in Side View was that I couldn't really look for openings (might just be lacking skill).

Next on my list are Die By The Sword (I just know I had the demo disk somewhere in this mess) and Soul Calibur.

Say, I've heard mention of an updated version of Bushido Blade for Playstation 2. Does anyone know more about this?

EDIT: Just tried First Person View... Boy, why'd they even include this in the game? Waste of time. I guess at least it was a good example of why first person just doesn't work for sword fighting.


[edited by - Silvermyst on May 7, 2002 10:55:59 PM]

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Dauntless    314
I think that in order to get a feel for the sword, you''d have to have certain combinations of mouse movements and key combinations. But the best way to do this is to have a sort of "scripting language" built into the moves. What I mean by this is that certain buttons or mouse movements have certain meanings....notice I didn''t say the word action.

For example, let''s say that a horizontal mouse movement is a horizontal "meaning", while the first mouse button "means" attack. Furthermore, the CTL key can mean "short", while the ALT key can mean "long". A middle mouse button can mean "garde/trap", while the 2nd mouse button can mean "parry". And yes it''s possible to include parry/attack moves simultaneously. So in a way, you have mouse and keyboard combinations that are both commands and syntax...sort of a rude scripting language for attacks. When you combine this with an AI routine that can recognize a players movements, you can get pretty close to simulating real moves.

I think the real trick is what I mentioned before....the animation problem. It''s virtually impossible with today''s animation techniques to make the player model move in unscripted ways. Let me take that back, it''s possible, but the motions may look incredibly jerky or out of synch, and will be a tremendous burden on GPU power (I guess GPU''s could take bones and control points and manipulate much the same way as vertex points...but I''m not positive on that).

In other words, the animator will have to come up with precanned moves which the player selects from. This has been the way things have been since the first fighting arcade games. Also, each weapon should have the weaknesses and advantages I mentioned...recovery time, length, penetration, damage, etc etc.

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Thrump    169
quote:
Original post by Silvermyst
Well, for now, let''s focus on a one-on-one fight. So ''mouse-look'' isn''t really a necessary element. The camera could either be set in place, or automatically change when needed (when combatants close). That''s not to say that mouse-look might not be required, but it depends on a lot of different other elements.

Have you played any Zelda''s for the N64? IMO they have a very good system for 1-on-1 fights. You hold a button down to focus on 1 enemy. When you''re focused, the camera is always behind you, facing the enemy. Your character always faces the enemy as well. Left and right circle-strafes around the enemy. Up and down moves you closer and further from him. Holding down the key wouldn''t be great for the computer, so maybe you could toggle this mode on and off.

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MOooOM    122
There was a game called Ape Escape that came out when the dual shock controllers first came out. In the game you get a net, you run around with the left analog stick, and swing with the right analog stick. Which ever way you moved the right analog stick was the way your net went. Now if you just replace the net with a sword, then there would be a good way to control sword fighting. Also for pc, I have always thought of a way for sword fighting. You use your keyboard to move/strafe, and the mouse to move the camera around (3rd person or 1st person) when you right click and hold it, then where ever the mouse moves that is where the players sword moves, move the sword to the right very fast and the character swings the sword to the right really fast. Then you can make different combinations of movements like, move the mouse back the forward very fast and the character would to an over head swing.


OoMMMoO

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Guest Anonymous Poster   
Guest Anonymous Poster
1) sport fencing may be defensive, dueling not so
2) broadsword, no such thing

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