Gameplay impressions...

Pilots, this is where we want to hear from you! Tell us what you think of Proving Grounds!

Moderator: SolC Development Leads

User avatar
Sirius
Posts: 49
Joined: 17 Apr 2013, 16:33
Location: Bellevue, WA
Contact:

Gameplay impressions...

Post by Sirius » 19 Apr 2016, 04:49

Since... this is probably still wanted, might as well post the full list :)

My initial experience on playing SolC this weekend was not really good - it mostly consisted of struggling to figure out what was going on and shooting at moving lights. It was kind of hurting my head and not really fun to play. Yoshimitsu suggested I drop the detail settings, though, and I'm glad I followed his advice. I think I underestimated just how much of a 6DOF game's... "readability" is due to having a high framerate; but the other thing is I think all the bloom etc actually hurts this game.
The ice level still lagged with reduced detail, though - particularly the top deck. Fortunately, people don't go there much (it's easy to forget it's even there, to be honest).

Afterward, things got better. Movement, I'm happy with. Afterburner behavior, same - the fact that none of these jumped out at me is probably a good thing. Netplay did jump out at me, mostly because coming from D:U I was surprised to see an Unreal Engine 6DOF where the ship handling actually worked correctly. None of that jitter when you quickly change directions, etc - I might as well have been flying around in D2. I don't know how you did it, but it works well, and it's quite important so whatever you do, don't break it in the move to UE4...

Weapons are OK variety-wise. Dispersion kind of felt weak even if it wasn't... it has the effects of a flak cannon but not the damage. Either that or you really need to be point-blank to use it. I just don't really know what's up with it.
I did think that the primaries travel a bit faster than I'm used to. Is that bad? I dunno. It's kind of like dogfighting a guy with Gauss, or perhaps D1 Spreadfire but even faster... you really have to give the gun respect because it's arguably too fast to react to, but there are ways to deal with it - which mostly involve reducing the quality of their shooting opportunities. I'll just say I didn't dislike it; if you like it, I won't object.
Not sold on the Gatling spin-up, but I know how strong even Vulcan could get in D1, so I'll concede that taking away snap-shot opportunities may have a point on that one.

My main beef with SolC today is the levels. They look pretty, but the detail just feels like it's getting in the way. Part of the fun of Descent multiplayer is being able to move around fluidly enough that you can back/strafe around blindly in order to better set yourself up for where your opponents are going; in most of these levels that isn't particularly easy because you have to look where you're going all the time to avoid getting hung up on all the edges and doodads. The small lava level was mostly better but I still got stuck trying to back into the energy center tunnel; Neptune, on the other hand, was particularly egregious with the shelves and server room. (Side note: the area behind the server room is a dead end; that's generally frowned upon for map layouts, since it leads to people getting trapped in there.)

I used to do map design for D1/D2, and learned this stuff the hard way - most of my early levels didn't play very well. It's tough to make a level that looks nice without making players say "this is annoying me, let's just go play Minerva". I think Overload's design approach has a lot going for it - it still has some detail but not an, erhm, overload of it, and seems to think of the level more as a space for ships to move around rather than as a space you put things in. The detail sticks to the walls and keeps a low profile. Sol Contingency doesn't need to copy the "cubes" method, but it would probably be more fun to play on a regular basis if the levels felt a little less "lived in".

User avatar
Slade Xanthas
Posts: 8
Joined: 16 Apr 2016, 02:51
Location: Shiremanstown, PA
Contact:

Re: Gameplay impressions...

Post by Slade Xanthas » 19 Apr 2016, 05:06

I believe the devs have mentioned at one point that UDK is sort of a limiting factor when it comes to collisions, which is probably why we tend to get hung up on things like doorways and such. The maps themselves are fantastically designed, but I also have some of the same issues regarding getting stuck, especially when going into a door or sliding against a wall. I'd imagine this is something that could be remedied once the push to UE4 is made.

You do need to be very close to the other player/s when using the Dispersion: the falloff distance seems to be very short, and trying to use it when you're not immediately having at least 70% of the spread contacting them is a bit of an exercise in futility.
ImageImageImageImageImage

User avatar
1/2Hawk
SolC Development Lead
Posts: 824
Joined: 10 Nov 2013, 04:10
Location: Atlanta, GA
Contact:

Re: Gameplay impressions...

Post by 1/2Hawk » 20 Apr 2016, 03:02

Yeah, we did... So to restate - in UDK you are forced into using a cylinder as a collision shape - like a giant flying can of soup. This determines what you bump into and get hung up on. You cant change its shape and it is always world aligned (regardless of your actual 6DOF orientation). This works just fine for first person shooters where the guy is always taller than he is around, and never performs a barrel roll. But for us, well let's just say that it' not ideal. We strip all collision off the things you see on the map and custom build our own invisible shapes for every map (this allows for wall sliding despite all the "distraction"). In the doorways, we try to funnel the player thru them. Because the flying soup can that is UDKs player physics has sharp edges at the bottom and top, these can easily get caught up on anything - including the ramp up into the door. There are only two solutions:

1. Let us swtich to UE4 where we can use a proper collision sphere and all this goes away. (Long term fix)
2. Fly thru the centers of the doors like a boss. This includes shooting them with flares first while still far away. (Short term fix)

@Sirius -I've also spent a lot of time reading up on what to avoid with Descent like level design and talking to folks that know way more than I do. So I feel ya with that little tunnel under the server rooms being a dead end, and dead ends being no-nos strategically. The thing is -> that tunnel spawns an Invul back there when you have enough players to enable them and there's zero reason to be back there when there are not enough players. So all dead ends have a bit of risk-reward going on (Ice Breaker also has a few), and anyways you have to purposely go find that one ... It's not like its in the main flight path where you go oh shit, I hit that dead end by accident again.

BTW ... to mitigate risk of going back there when that Invul might not be available, a smart player can either:

1. Look thru the fan near the maintenance energy center. The invul will be visible behind that when it's spawned... Or,
2. Check one of the (3) live feeds on Neptune. One of them is linked to a security camera also visible behind that fan. I wont spoil which TV it is on.

If anybody else reading this is thinking "what live feeds?" then be sure to go look for them before us more experienced players go break them. And if you're thinking "what deadend tunnel where?" then be sure to check the hologram table with the 3D spinning map showing where all the tasty secrets are hiding as red dots. (What? Yes! Go look. A map of secrets has been floating there this whole time too. I like easter eggs.)
UDK & UE4 - Visual FX (Particle Systems, Custom Materials, Lighting), Modeling, Animation/Rigging, Mapping, Coding

User avatar
Sirius
Posts: 49
Joined: 17 Apr 2013, 16:33
Location: Bellevue, WA
Contact:

Re: Gameplay impressions...

Post by Sirius » 20 Apr 2016, 04:53

The cylinder explains an awful lot.

It's probably too much to hope for the game to play really smoothly before you do the port in that case.

User avatar
Slade Xanthas
Posts: 8
Joined: 16 Apr 2016, 02:51
Location: Shiremanstown, PA
Contact:

Re: Gameplay impressions...

Post by Slade Xanthas » 22 Apr 2016, 06:00

It's not too bothersome once you get used to it. Just cut doors super low to the ground when you enter, and you'll generally have no issues.
ImageImageImageImageImage

User avatar
Sirius
Posts: 49
Joined: 17 Apr 2013, 16:33
Location: Bellevue, WA
Contact:

Re: Gameplay impressions...

Post by Sirius » 23 Apr 2016, 02:39

Sure, unless the ground isn't flat (like the energy center tunnel in the lava level... wish I could remember the name - but it comes off a vertical shaft), in which case it'll guarantee you get stuck.

You can always get around by paying more attention to the geometry for sure - but then we're making sacrifices and I'm back to the point of "I'd rather just play something simpler".

User avatar
Duper
Posts: 129
Joined: 12 Apr 2013, 04:01
Location: Portland, Oregon USA
Contact:

Re: Gameplay impressions...

Post by Duper » 24 Apr 2016, 19:10

Sirius, that was in the D1 set Total Chaos.

The level you're talking about is called Mount Slagel.
I was working on a D3 version of it years ago. About 3/4 of the way done, I realized that I botched the scale across half the level. >:( So I bailed on it. It was really difficult. That and the editors did something weird with the artificial ceiling. One version kept it there and the other removed it. o_0 I had to keep going back and forth for what I was doing and to get the effect that was needed in the lower section. The guys that were working on the the revisions at the time didn't believe me and wrote me off as an annoying American. :\ Ah well. ;)
"The cat was Aready dead when I got there." - Curiosity

User avatar
Sirius
Posts: 49
Joined: 17 Apr 2013, 16:33
Location: Bellevue, WA
Contact:

Re: Gameplay impressions...

Post by Sirius » 27 Apr 2016, 05:42

The one I mentioned was one of the three levels in SolC. There's Neptune, there's Icebreaker (I think), then there's this other one :D

Mount Slagel did come to mind when I was talking about dead ends in levels... but it was also a good case study of why dead ends are a problem.

User avatar
Duper
Posts: 129
Joined: 12 Apr 2013, 04:01
Location: Portland, Oregon USA
Contact:

Re: Gameplay impressions...

Post by Duper » 27 Apr 2016, 08:20

Personally, I've not had a problem with the dead ends in SC's map. The old D1 maps were horrible for that. The Total Chaos maps were fraught with them.
The dead ends in these new maps are side halls that are hard to access and don't interfere with the flow of the game. The ones in Total Chaos did.
Any "secret room" runs the risk of becoming a death trap; and thus 1/2 Hawk's point. There is reward for risk.

One thing I was/am pleased with is that the small detail does not hang up ships. The collision blocks around them work well. Getting stuck on doors and large pipes is another thing that isn't easily fixable with this engine. My son-in-law who built extensively on this engine years ago was explaining to me how you fake 360 flight. In short, you (for simplification) are flying "two" ships. One is the ship and one holds the camera (iirc).

anyways... I took some time to really look at the levels and the detail is amazing. seriously.
"The cat was Aready dead when I got there." - Curiosity

User avatar
StatiC
Posts: 9
Joined: 12 Apr 2016, 05:12

Re: Gameplay impressions...

Post by StatiC » 27 Apr 2016, 16:50

Sirius wrote:Yoshimitsu suggested I drop the detail settings, though, and I'm glad I followed his advice. I think I underestimated just how much of a 6DOF game's... "readability" is due to having a high framerate; but the other thing is I think all the bloom etc actually hurts this game.
I reduced detail and all settings (except resolution) to zero to decrease the glowing stuff too. It is just too distracting when you want to see the ships you are trying to shoot.
Sirius wrote:I was surprised to see an Unreal Engine 6DOF where the ship handling actually worked correctly. None of that jitter when you quickly change directions, etc - I might as well have been flying around in D2. I don't know how you did it, but it works well, and it's quite important so whatever you do, don't break it in the move to UE4...
I agree! The movement is sweet and I think they have a really good feel to the physics and movement.
Sirius wrote:My main beef with SolC today is the levels. They look pretty, but the detail just feels like it's getting in the way. Part of the fun of Descent multiplayer is being able to move around fluidly enough that you can back/strafe around blindly in order to better set yourself up for where your opponents are going; in most of these levels that isn't particularly easy because you have to look where you're going all the time to avoid getting hung up on all the edges and doodads. The small lava level was mostly better but I still got stuck trying to back into the energy center tunnel; Neptune, on the other hand, was particularly egregious with the shelves and server room. (Side note: the area behind the server room is a dead end; that's generally frowned upon for map layouts, since it leads to people getting trapped in there.)
I agree 100% with that. For an FPS game detailed objects in the level like shelves, Glowing stuff, etc is awesome but for a game that is better to be able to move freely through, All of the tables, shelves, etc are just objects that are distracting and things you have to worry about when moving backwards, sideways, etc. I am not saying there shouldn't be anything in the levels besides walls. I think some parts of the levels go to extremes though. Less tables, shelves, etc in the level would definitely be preferred for me. I want to fly through the levels and worry about strategy... not worry about if there is a shelf or computer desk I will bump into.
Sirius wrote:I used to do map design for D1/D2, and learned this stuff the hard way - most of my early levels didn't play very well. It's tough to make a level that looks nice without making players say "this is annoying me, let's just go play Minerva". I think Overload's design approach has a lot going for it - it still has some detail but not an, erhm, overload of it, and seems to think of the level more as a space for ships to move around rather than as a space you put things in. The detail sticks to the walls and keeps a low profile. Sol Contingency doesn't need to copy the "cubes" method, but it would probably be more fun to play on a regular basis if the levels felt a little less "lived in".
Hopefully user designed levels will be more simplified since they hopefully won't be taking the time to put tables, shelves, etc in the levels and will probably focus on the gameplay and strategy of the level design instead of what furniture would go with the area ;).

I hope I am not sounding like I am saying that SolC is not good... That is incorrect! It is just that I REALLY love what I see as far as the weapons and ship movement/physics which is the MOST important part of any 6DoF game. The main parts are there! This game has got right what so many other attempts have not quite got right (the movement!). I just think some less glowy stuff and room accessories that just distracts people would work much better in the levels.

I still really like the lava too! It looks so nice!

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest