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We go into the gruesome details surrounding Shark / Diver melee combat ...

Posted by AJ_Quick on Oct 31st, 2011

Long time, no speak, tasty morsels.

Some months ago we gave you a glimpse of our gameplay in the form of a short trailer video. Since then we have been working non-stop to improve upon those mechanics and basically do everything we can to make combat feel natural (and visceral) for both sharks and divers. We felt it was time to give all of you a more in-depth (ha! get it?) explanation of exactly what goes on when a shark attacks a diver. ie. How does he find the diver? How does he kill the diver? How does the diver defend himself? These questions will all be answered if you read on!

So to begin with :

As a shark you hunt by looking for glowing orange things.

This probably sounds almost insultingly simple, doesn't it ? Well, the ocean is not your typical first person shooter arena. It is a dark and confusing place, stuffed with things that could easily be mistaken for a diver's body. It's no wonder that sharks in the real world sometimes confuse surfers for seals.

To help our shark find his prey we have come to the conclusion that 'color' equals 'scent' . Human prey glows a vibrant orange / red color, Allies glow sort of lemon-lime, and neutral creatures (swarms of fish) have an intense white tint. Everyone still following ?

Anatomy of a shark attack - shark perspective

When you see that glowing diver, the first thing you're gonna want to do is pick which part of him to bite. Primary fire will target his upper body (one of his arms) while secondary fire while target his lower body (whichever leg is available) . This might seem like a trivial decision, but it does have some tactical significance, which we will get to a little later on when we discuss dismemberment. In general, attacking the legs is good for slowing a diver down, and attacking the arms is good for removing his defensive/offensive capabilities.

Once you have the diver in your jaws, shaking your mouse will 'thrash' him, dealing damage to the limb you decided to grab. Wider 'thrashing' motions result in greater amounts of damage, removing the limb quicker. When a diver has lost enough blood due to limb loss (or suffered too much general trauma) he will die. Divers are fairly resilient though, and can withstand the loss of one or sometimes even two limbs without dying (let's chalk that up to .... the strength of the human spirit! or something :) )

So that's all great, for the shark - But what is the diver doing while all of this meanness goes down? Simple :

He's trying to stab the shark in the eye.

Anatomy of a shark attack - Diver perspective

Yep, sharks have one unfortunate weakness and it's their eyes. (well, also their gills - but you're not gonna be able to reach those, sorry : ( ) When you are locked in combat with a shark, you will automatically equip your trusty diving knife and primary fire will plunge it into the shark, (assuming you can line it up with the shark's head while you're being shaken around like crazy) .

It only takes a couple of stabs to force a shark to drop you.

Which might not seem like a big deal, but consider this : A great white shark can remove a limb in around 4 seconds. If you want to escape from the shark with your arms and legs in one piece, you will have to be handy at aiming that knife.

Inevitably, you will lose limbs. And when you do, you start to bleed quite alot. Bleeding is dangerous for two reasons : It drains your health and it gives your position away to sharks. Here are the results of limb loss :

Lose a leg : -25% swimming speed (per leg)
Lose an arm : Cannot hold two handed equipment ( Spear gun, for example)

Even if the limb does not come off altogether, you will notice visible damage on your diver's body after an attack. Each part of the diver can have the flesh peeled away in various stages which demonstrate the relative health of that limb. Below is a demonstration of the 'stages of gore' using our ever helpful seeker class diver as a model. Thanks seeker, your pain is our knowledge!

So that about covers the basics of a shark attack in Depth. We feel that we have worked hard to make the process feel simple and fun for both sides while still allowing for some tactical gameplay.

Can you think of a way we could improve the shark attack process ? Let us know in the comment thread!

Post comment Comments
BuZZeR Nov 1 2011 says:

Wow! Very impressive work, guys! Shark view is very stylish, I love it! Looking forward to this game!

+8 votes     reply to comment
SPTX Nov 1 2011 says:

Been a while without news.
"How does he find the diver? How does he kill the diver? How does the diver defend himself?"
Well, I have one more question to add. How does the diver taste ?

+8 votes     reply to comment
Christo-Oosthuizen Nov 1 2011 says:

I have a phobia for deep water and sharks and when I looked at the screenshots I peed my pants.

+6 votes     reply to comment
Dekaku Nov 1 2011 says:

hummm you said that colors are scent, does that mean that we get to see some red glowing blood trails as sharks (i mean there are obviously blood trails in one of the screenshots but well who knows, blood smells), which lead us to the injured diver (or injured shark, whatever)? or maybe not a trail but an always brighter getting area around the shark/diver which indicates the higher blood concentration near injured entities? or wont you be able to sniff up your friendly sharks blood? I mean blood is blood so . . .

+3 votes     reply to comment
AJ_Quick Author
AJ_Quick Nov 1 2011 replied:

we're still tweaking the blood shaders (both in diver vision and shark vision) - definitely agree it should be quite noticeable :) The way sharks 'see' blood at long range is with a directional indicator on their HUD which tells them the general area where the bleeding diver is, and whether he's above or below them. In this way they can sense a bleeding diver through walls and from all the way across the map.

+2 votes   reply to comment
PierreOfTheFrench Nov 1 2011 says:

Looks awesome, I'm glad there was more than just 'point to point' generic melee attacks with several different weapon models, it's clear that this is going to be a fully featured game instead of a derivation of another but under water. Can't wait until there's something playable out through preorder or something! Best of luck.

+2 votes     reply to comment
hate4uall Nov 1 2011 says:

AAA* work you got there

+2 votes     reply to comment
Metalspy Nov 1 2011 says:

That last seeker image.. I assume she'd be dead if it wasn't for demonstrational purposes?

+2 votes     reply to comment
linfosoma Nov 1 2011 replied:

Correct. By that point, she would probably be missing a limb or two as well.
Also worth nothing, damage is location based, so it doesnt always looks that uniform (which is of course more realistic).

+3 votes     reply to comment
Kamikazi[Uk] Nov 1 2011 says:

Awesome :D hurry and release this :D.

+2 votes     reply to comment
YippieKieYay Nov 1 2011 says:

Omg I remember you Comming up with this concept when
We were both young fools scarfing pizza mini's
In your parents basement playing baldur's gate!
Congratulations on making your dreams come true.
(it's Graham d here!)

+4 votes     reply to comment
daneco Nov 1 2011 says:

I'm going to love this game! :D

+2 votes     reply to comment
Null-Entity Nov 1 2011 says:

All I know is I laughed so hard ..

In the mean time

He's trying to stab the shark in the eye.!!!

And I know I will **** myself the first time a shark grabs me :D

+2 votes     reply to comment
alenoguerol Nov 1 2011 says:

i have read the "this isnt an fps" thing but can u actually kill a shark? ir just distable them ?
it would be nice if you could distable em with the spear gun and then use the knife to kill em,

+2 votes     reply to comment
AJ_Quick Author
AJ_Quick Nov 1 2011 replied:

Yes, divers can kill sharks (Netgun + Spear combo is particularly effective). It's not exactly easy to do though, unless you're the hunter.

The main reason you should be careful when you do it is cuz shark players tend to work in 'packs' So even if you manage to kill a smaller shark, by the time you finish him off his much larger friends will be on you.

+3 votes   reply to comment
Xan_Krieger Nov 1 2011 says:

Can the sharks grab a diver by the head? It's happened in real life and I'm wondering what that would look like from the diver's perspective (probably take only a second to kill though).

+1 vote     reply to comment
AJ_Quick Author
AJ_Quick Nov 1 2011 replied:

While the functionality exists, it is restricted in the game code. There's not really any way we could see to balance this with the style of the combat .. ie. There isn't any way a diver would be able to defend himself from such an attack, which kinda kills the fun for him, right?

+3 votes   reply to comment
Xan_Krieger Nov 1 2011 replied:

Yeah I get it, I just saw the way the head was all bloody and thought that's how it happened. Personally I think I'll stick to playing as a shark because it looks too scary from a diver's perspective.

+2 votes     reply to comment
SPTX Nov 3 2011 replied:

You could made the Shark bite the diver's head if he is doomed to die from it.
From a scripting point of view, I guess the divers have health, and that biting removes some of that health. If a shark bites a diver, targeting the arms and that the diver have to die from it (if he absolutely can't escape, 1HP syndrome), just make it bite the head !

+1 vote     reply to comment
Piuneer Nov 5 2011 replied:

possibly as a randomly used "final blow" animation that's total overkill on the player :D dark bloody, waters ensue.
If the HP is low enough, and every attack would surely kill them, then the special animations play during the "final blow".
Is that what you're gettin' at?

+2 votes     reply to comment
SPTX Nov 7 2011 replied:

Yes but not random. Seeing as the diver is more likely to die from the last severed limb, I think this kind of situation where you have very low health is rare, if so, it should be systematic.

+1 vote     reply to comment
adv0 Nov 1 2011 says:

Atmospheric suggestions-
As diver, and maybe you are already planning this, but you could add the diver's mask in first person. Would make it scarier getting attacked from side cause of narrower sight. Sound of breathing through an air tank would make it tenser, though I feel you perfectly captured the feeling of suspense and constant looming.
As for the shark, I don't know what they should feel. Sneaky, I should think. Great whites come from underneath, hence their dark camoflauge/coloration on top.

+2 votes     reply to comment
adv0 Nov 1 2011 says:

As for sharks, sharks detect electricity from biological impulses very keenly - even further than they can see. It is also painful for sharks to take square impact to nose, cause that is where the electric seinsing organ is. Maybe you could incorporate one of these things somehow? Like a small-proximity motion sensor that can have incapacitated/damaged effectiveness? Sprint function for mako (he's the fastest shark in the sea after all!) to keep him interesting. Watch out with tiger, try to keep him interesting despite his role as a midpoint between two extremities. Some ambient, lesser sharks, to keep the player on his toes and provide camoflauge (that would disperse when near the great white to alert player)

For divers- there is an 'anti-shark' device that emmitts intensely uncomfortable sonic frequencies for sharks. With this, it could make the image get fuzzy for shark as you get in very close proximity, making it difficult to tackle the diver (two-edged sword as you can be detected easier). There are also these anti-shark suits that are basically like thin chainmail. They are effective against medium sized sharks and could add a second or two of survivability for the hunter, making him more durable than the other classes (in addition to the fact that he is a badass). This might make you move slower or could be a purely visual explination for hunter's probably better health than others.

General suggestions, would be cool to choose equipment (general or class-spcific) on the boat before decending, especially with the previously mentioned diver equipment. You could balance the equipment by giving it a downside if chosen, or have a limited number of slots. Multiple possible spawn locations for the boat would mix things up for the sharks. Jaws references :D

+2 votes     reply to comment
andy013 Nov 2 2011 says:

You could maybe give the sharks the ability to do a quick bite attack which doesn't actually grab on to the diver but obviously does less damage.

+1 vote     reply to comment
Hajas Nov 2 2011 says:

Amazing! :D

+1 vote     reply to comment
botskiller16 Nov 2 2011 says:

Release Date? Maybe in 2012?

+1 vote     reply to comment
Xan_Krieger Nov 3 2011 says:

Thanks to this mod I had nightmares about being attacked by great whites. Based on that this is gonna be one intense game that I can't wait to play.

+1 vote     reply to comment
SolidFake Nov 12 2011 says:

awesome, I love the idea to shake your mouse as a shark to cut off a limb, and the idea as a diver, sounds both very intuitive

oh, and sharks are also very weak at their noses, cause they have sensitive organs there, in reality if a shark approaches you, you want to try him punching on the nose to scare him off

+1 vote     reply to comment
KlausTrofoby Jan 8 2012 says:

Looks awesome! I could never play it though since I'd wet my pants everytime :(

+1 vote     reply to comment
Zenixxify May 8 2012 says:

there shut be some way to stop the bleeding after an attack otherwaise you will just bleed out :(

+1 vote     reply to comment
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