This is a borderline insane interview between me and myself about the changes to the hit detection system coming in CR1. Video includes bonus footage of "head explodies" as mentioned in last week's update!
Posted by AgeofChivalry on Dec 18th, 2008
This week's Question of the Week: "What are your thoughts on the current armour values?"
This week is a bit of a change-up from the other previews, today focuses on the improvements and adjustments we've made to the swingtrace system to allow it to become far more accurate.
Hit detection. This is an area that we freely admit to having struggled with in some areas in the past. This has been one of the team's top priorities for CR1, to get rid of some of these issues we were having and to make the games combat cleaner and crisper as a result. We took this seriously by recruiting a pool of beta testers into a "Hit Squad" that took a look at each and every swing of every weapon in slow motion frame by frame to ensure that our swingtraces lined up perfectly with the animations. With some innovative thinking we were able to come up with solutions to the main issues we had previously been experiencing and are excited to see the communities response to our new system.
This week features Tibberius Bane (me) interviewing Tibberius Bane (myself) about the new hit detection coming to the game in CR1. This sort of weird overlapping of work is very common in the modding world!
Tibberius: I thought you were just the marketing guy?
Bane: The weird thing about modding is that no matter how small a job you originally come onto the team for, you are almost always going to get sucked into other aspects of development and that's the case with me, started off in marketing but i've since been pulled into level design, scripting, concept design, weapon balancing and still try to keep up with my duties as the community manager and marketing coordinator of Age of Chivalry.
Bane: Its more that with some innovative thinking and dedicated testing that we have managed to alter the swingtrace system that we were using before to be far more accurate and take several more things into the calculations than it was previously, so in that sense, it is a new hit detection system as the traces are going to act very different in this new version.
Tibberius: Alright, In the current public build of Age of Chivalry the only attack worth using is the mouse1 slash, probably because of the difficulty of landing the other strikes, will the new system affect this?
Bane: Yes for sure the overhead and stab attacks were previously by no means as useful in most situations as the slash, so to solve this issue we have come up with the theory of "Weapon Breadth". In past versions of Age of Chivalry your weapon had a single central point on which it operated, this was 1 game unit wide, while sometimes the weapon you were using would be far far wider than that in reality. So this made stabs and overheads very inaccurate as they would only strike a thin line down the center of your screen-which is not at all the case as it appears to the player.
In CR1 with the Weapon Breadth theory the game will represent the actual height and width of the blade or head of the weapon and different weapons will actually have different patterns and spread of swingtraces to match. You can equate this to taking something that was 2d in a 3d game and making it 3d in code as well. This will make overheads and stabs a much bigger part of the game as they will now be a viable and reliable method of attacking. No longer shall mouse 1 rule the field.
Tibberius: Ok, but I've always found that when I was chasing players that were running away, my weapon was magically shorter, why is this?
Bane: Yes this effect is caused by a number of things but in the current public version, the swingtraces were actually a significant amount slower than the animation that they were trying to follow, this is the result of the source networking code that is commonly referred to as "66 tick", meaning that most servers update 66 times per second. Previously we had to make the best of things and just try to align as well as we could, knowing full well that our swingtraces were significantly behind the animations.
Now, a new idea has allowed us to fire far more swingtraces far faster, this is because we have discovered a way for the engine to render multiple traces per tick, meaning that we can have the weapon actually traveling faster than the previous limit of 0.015 seconds (66/1) allowed us to. This means that your weapon will deal damage when your weapon strikes your enemy, and to prove this we have even made a video that will showcase some slow motion decapitations.
Bane: This one was a toughie for us, sometimes the weapon would just ignore the player and swing through as though nothing had happened...Suffice to say with no real way to reproduce this we were very annoyed and confused. Well no more! We have discovered that some of our traces actually had gaps in them that were on occasion big enough for a player or head hitbox of a player to slip through unscathed. (amplified big time when a player swings his mouse during an attack)
So to counteract this, we actually made "pairs of 3" of our swingtraces with the first trace of the next pair overlapping the previous pair so that the lines would get a lot tighter and there would be no chance of a players head hitbox slipping through the lines. This allows for a lot more accuracy while calculating swings in motion and since in our game the player is rarely standing still, this is a huge improvement.
Tibberius: Do you realize that you have effectively had a full length discussion with yourself and that this will be posted all over the internet?
Bane: Now that you put it that way, yes that is quite sad, but I think the message got across.
A lot of text and statements later, check out the video we made to showcase this and help you understand what we're saying:
(Video includes bonus footage of "Head Explodies" as per last week's update!)
Stay tuned the week after next week when we take a look at some of the vastly improved GUI that is going to give the players a wealth of new information to help understand the game! We will be interviewing Drakir (Team Lead) on why the new interface breathes fresh life into the game
Next week there will be no preview as Christmas falls on a Thursday and I just won't have time :(.
Tibberius Bane - Age of Chivalry Marketing Coordinator