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From Earth will allow players to either take completely peaceful road or to attack their hunters. Here's a short look on the fighting system in From Earth.

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28 December 2013 - Fighting System

Last week we were surprised by the Editor's Choice Best Upcoming ModDB award. I felt like I owed a progress report after putting it off for so long. If you were following From Earth before, you might remember I promised to talk about our fighting system in our next post.

During the summer and part of fall I had a day job, and while I was still working on FE during the evenings, I didn't want to take the time to write a news post. Writing news posts is probably my least favourite thing to do in the whole mod business. I constantly fear that what I am talking about isn't super interesting to other people, that I don't have flashy enough screenshots, and generally have to worry about trying to put my thoughts into sensible, full sentences. I have probably written an article about the fighting system a couple of times by now, scrapping the text again and again. On top of that I am still not sure if the fighting system is good, it's still developing.

I should mention that I haven't played a whole lot of fighting games myself, and it started as an experimentation, something I wanted to try out. A lot of times when I do design, I don't look or think about the games I like to play myself, but rather what I think would be interesting (I have never played Minecraft, but designing a similar game would be cool).

Here's an old version of the fighting system. In this version the attacks are still selected with a combination of keys, and the camera is in third person when the player is in "Fighting Mode".

The technical stuff

Even during the development of Water I thought about making a real time fighting system, but it was really late in the development so I never tried it. In From Earth, I started by having all the fighting moves hard coded. The player would do a kick from +attack, a hit from +attack2, and so on. This wasn't a very robust way to design the attacks, though, and it was difficult to keep track of how the attacks were defined. Also, the attacks were always enabled, the playtesters would be trying to press buttons on interactive machines, and would end up smashing their fists in them instead.

In the latest version, all the attacks are defined in a .txt script file. Each attack is a KeyValue entry with the attack name, animations, key, hint message, requirements, and other settings defined.



                "type"                  "normal"


                "activity_start"        "ACT_FIGHT_KICK"

                "damage_convar"         "sk_kick_dmg"

                "key"                   "+attack"

                "hint"                  "kick"



                        "chest"         "1"

                        "legs"          "1"

                        "stomach"       "1"

                        "all"           "1"





                        "aim"                   "1"

                        //"allow no hitboxes"   "1"



                "tutorial"              "2"


The attacks are selected by looking at different hitboxes in the enemy NPC's body. The attacks have priority based on how high in its list the currently selected hitbox is. There are also different types of attacks for +attack, +attack2,+attack3, and +jump keys. Currently, though it's not hardcoded, +attack is used for kicks, +attack2 is used for grappling, +attack3 is used for blocking, and +jump for evading. Some attacks might also need special requirements to be met before the attack can be selected, such as the enemy being in a special position, having a specific weapon, having enough damage, being knocked to the ground and so on.

The downside is that, for every item animation type, I need to define a copy of all the attacks I want the player to be able to do while holding that item.

"Sword Kick"


                "activity_start"                "ACT_SWORD_KICK"

                "item_anim"                     "sword"


                "template"              "Kick"


Having all the attacks defined in a script file makes it really easy to try out new attacks and keep track of what all the settings are for them.

Currently, the fighting mode is enabled only when there's either an enemy near the player or if the player has turned the combat stance on. While this approach has some problems, it solves some others. As the fighting system is now in first person again, and it will stay that way, we scrapped some attacks which weren't looking that good in first person.


I want to give the players a choice to try to take the peaceful road, avoiding attacking guards, and be able to finish the game without ever attacking anyone. That said, I want to make the fighting as interesting and robust as possible. I want to add variety to the attacks, and even give some options for combos. I want to give the player the ability to take a few guys down, but if the player is overcrowded then she should quickly lose. Hopefully the fighting will require a little thought rather than being just frantic button smashing.

I have also tried giving the player's PDA some attacks for crowd control, but these attacks were very badly underdeveloped and suffered from the player being able to exploit them too easily. We wanted to focus on the fighting system itself, as well as the alien technology as weapons.

If you are wondering why Anthony looks like an alien, it's because the model for Anthony is still under progress.


Going indie:
We have thought a little bit about the whole indie thing, but haven't taken it too seriously yet. This is for multiple reasons, including worries about funding, the technical bits about running a company, the way things are moving slower than I hoped, and generally the fact that we don't have a lot of flashy things to show yet.

Teaser Trailer:
I started to work a little bit on a teaser trailer, but it will have to wait until I have fully developed the first map.

We currently don't have a writer, though we have a better idea of what we want from the story now.

Level Design:
After the trouble we had in finding dedicated level designers, I have stopped waiting for things to happen and started to spend more time in Hammer myself.

XCOM: Enemy Within:
I have yet to beat the game on Ironman Classic or Impossible.

Looking for help

We are looking for any kind of help. While short contributions are welcome as well, we are specifically looking for people who have a little bit more time to spend for From Earth. We are looking for designers to spend more time, and give input on our fighting and item crafting system. We still need to design more puzzles, but we want to focus more on the interactions with the aliens as well as the fighting system.

If you are interested to apply, you can send me a message on Moddb, Twitter,Facebook, or e-mail me at

Gameplay Designer
While we are at a stage where we don't want to add or change anything big (we are more likely to remove than add anything), we are looking for active help on fine tuning the gameplay. As I am currently the only active designer it's very hard to get constant feedback on all the different elements of the game. We need someone who has time and interest for the project.

Level Designers
We are looking for two different types of Level Designers. Firstly, we need people that can bring existing levels to an aesthetic quality, and are experienced with lighting, texturing, and the general make up in Hammer. Screenshots and/or example maps are required.

We are also looking for general level designers, such as anyone who has a lot of experience designing different types of puzzles for games like Portal 2. Source engine or Hammer experience is not necessary, you only need to be able to design levels well, whether it is on paper or Google Sketchup or what ever you find best suited.

Character Modellers
We are interested in finding help for the character models. We want to keep the existing rig so that we don't redo all the animations, but we want to improve on the look of the two human characters. The character modeller would need to be able to at least texture the model, and being able to weightmap would be preferred.

Concept Artists
Most of the concept work will revolve around the industrial era Alien technology and architecture. Samples of previous work is required. We already have a strong set of existing concept art for you to draw on.

Voice actors and actresses
We are currently looking for voice actors to do the male and female alien voices, as well as someone for the voice of Zenaida.

The aliens will be speaking an alien language specifically designed for this mod. Their dialogue is already partially written and ready for recording. Examples will be provided if you are interested.

We are interested in getting any help we can get, especially world texture creators and prop modellers.

alvarofer0021 - - 83 comments

Really nice looking!, getting some mirrors edge flashbacks

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SolidJames - - 1,326 comments

Mirror's Edge is my second favorite game of all time, so I am very okay with this.

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Rus[T] - - 1,161 comments

Mine also, maybe after Deus Ex or HL, but Mirror's Edge amazed me with its gameplay back in the day.

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Cyah - - 2 comments

Definitely liking the fighting system looks very nice, I like the idea of being able to handle a few enemies but a quick defeat if overcrowded.

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VimanaExpress - - 571 comments

Ha, I was looking at the vid of the old fighting system thinking "God, this is so cool!" and then I scroll down ...
Yeah, the devs definitely know what they're doing. Epic stuff!

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ferdyfist - - 529 comments

I really really like these updates, about how technical you are!
Keep it up man, it's really nice to read!

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Rakym - - 159 comments

Why are you not on steam greenlight yet? That would solve your going indie problem.

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Au-heppa Author
Au-heppa - - 220 comments

I have been meaning to get there but I was thinking of making the teaser first. Not sure when that will be done though, since the first map is not currently my priority.

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TKAzA - - 3,154 comments

Awesome, loving the first person fighting, very "mirrors edge"!

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MindRiot Online
MindRiot - - 1,843 comments

Its looks interesting needs some work but mainly voice acting currently bother me a little but definatley not something i often in source so good work.

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Au-heppa Author
Au-heppa - - 220 comments

Yeah, we don't currently have a voice actor. The old voice actor did some of the voices, but then went missing.

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