COMMUNITY - FORUMS - GENERAL DISCUSSION
Shiny Day is here! A few thoughts on combat
+68

Hail Elyrians!

I do believe it is time to S H I N E ! So, last week I mentioned that I wanted to talk a little bit about the RPG aspects of combat, and I definitely do, but spreadsheets are really only so shiny (And honestly I'd have to blur the numbers because they aren't yours to know, I'm afraid) so in the quest for something truly shiny to show, I stumbled into the animators' archives. And since I wanted to talk about combat anyway, I raided that archive like a glotato addict in the lost vault! I also came back with some goodies, but let's talk shop a little, and work them in-line.

Last time we talked about combat, I talked a little bit about how we start from some piece of information like this...

attack tree diagram

...and end up with a set of finished combat moves you can see in game.

But there's a lot going on in that process that I sort of glazed over. Candidly, building the combat system to be able to support multiple martial arts, a variety of weapons, and player-skill is a lot of work.

For example, as a designer, when I design a martial style, I have to consider the tactical elements of the style. What is it meant to do? How does it differentiate itself from other styles that use the same types of weapons? What play styles can this support? And once I have those answers and start laying out the techniques -- the moves -- you can use, I have to consider how they flow together (how they "chain"). In some cases this could include elements of forced "locomotion" or it could mean I need to track where the character's hands and feet will be at the end of one attack to make sure next the attack that is meant to flow from there begins with the character's limbs in the right place.

Once all of that is decided, things sort of split. On the design side of the equation we move onto the RPG balance, questions: How much energy does this attack consume? Which attributes and other data are used to calculate the damage for this kind of attack? What sort of damage would it do? What other effects will it have on someone who is hit by this attack? How does the damage done by this attack compare to other attacks in this style? How does it compare to equivalent attacks in other styles? We designers begin an intricate dance, spinning numbers and building mathematical models to ensure each attack is accurately represented in its effect on the game world.

At the same time, the content team begins a dance of their own:

They have to take what we've described and figure out how to make a mann actually perform these attacks, and they're further constrained by the timing and pacing required. As you watch Heat work through the attacks that are meant to flow together in that exchange, you may notice the way he seems to very quickly move between some poses but not others. This is because the test footage they shot of Heat doing the moves has been edited to fit the tempo and rhythm of the game.

There's a sort of "music" to combat, in the sense that you can use something akin to musical notation to plot out the pacing of combat in just about any game. There's a tempo (it might differ from style to style, but there is one whether it was intended or not) and attacks hit on the beat, and the intervals between those beats are kind of like the notes of a musical composition. So, it shouldn't surprise you to know that Chronicles of Elyria is no exception to this observation. There is a tempo to the martial styles, and a sort of rhythm that is defined by the timing of when attacks land.

(By the time we get to the rough animation stage that rhythm is a lot more natural)

That video of Heat from earlier is the real world attack motion, edited down to fit the phases of an attack combo and the tempo of the martial style in question.

That ends up feeling a lot better once the actual animations are done. Even in the two rough block-out videos I've shared here you can already see that it's not as jerky as the edited real-world video, but the timing and tempo is preserved.

When it's all said and done, our two dances collide and the animation is attached to the design data and we can head into the lab to get a feel for how the attacks land and where we should force locomotion and where we shouldn't, as I mentioned in a shiny a couple of weeks back.

It's an intensive process, but it's necessary. Combat may not be the focus of Chronicles of Elyria, but that doesn't mean we can afford to low-ball our effort. We may be a rare online game that takes combat off the throne, but it's still an equal partner with every other major mechanical focus of the game.

Stay Shiny, friends!


  • Snipehunter
...
4/22/2019 7:33:02 PM #121
+3

I hardly post....been following the game for years. Just want to support the developers on this. I see a great system in place with good potential. Seriously can't make everyone happy...but at the same time love how open you guys are to the suggestions.

Keep the good work. (hopefully next time I post....i'll be playing alpha...haha)


4/23/2019 11:00:30 AM #122
+0

another point about mordhau: it feels like no one really wears an armour and shooting with a bow is far too easy. After looking the linked vid, I'd have thought, that none of those arrows would have hit (or only those shot at less than 5m distance), but I think most did. That accuracy while walking around and swinging the bow like a melee weapon is just ridiculous.


Friend Code: 30EF47

4/23/2019 4:39:26 PM #123
+1

Combat highlights from dev posts within this thread! (This is not meant to be comprehensive of every topic covered in the dev replies. READ THEM!)

Player Skill Cultivation & Multiple Combat Styles

What we've aimed to do instead is create a combat system that allows for the cultivation of personal skill, (so that those who are capable of tactical analysis in sub-second timing windows can benefit) supports the cultural and regional diversity of the world we're creating, (so that different parts of the world feel differently, right down to how they fight, and so that martial artists have an incentive to travel the world to learn new styles) and is fun to both play and witness within the game's interface and camera paradigms.

Any Weapon with Unique, Combined Combat Styles

Building a diversity of style is the point, but that takes time. When CoE launches, there will be many different styles of fighting across many "weapon configurations" so that, no matter your weapon of choice, you can pursue and learn the style of combat you prefer. At higher levels of combat mastery, you can take what you've learned from the various styles and combine them to create a combat style that is unique to you, too.

Large-scale Warfare Still In Progress

That doesn't mean you won't see HEMA style fighting, or that you won't see large medieval battles. There will be combat styles for those experiences too. But, and I admit I've said this before, we're not focusing on warfare right now.

Combat Styles - Forms & Techniques

Every martial art in CoE has a series of moves, we call them techniques, that can be thrown and each technique has a different utility. These techniques chain together in branching "attack trees" - and the attack trees sort of create the "form" of the martial art in question.

Localized Damage Mitigation & Damage Effects

But the "hit box" in our case isn't the "collision capsule" of the character the way it is in most games, it's the piece of armor, or the part of the body, that was actually struck by the weapon. If the area hit is covered by armor, then we focus on damage mitigation: How much of the force is absorbed by the armor? what does that do the armor that was hit? That sort of thing. If the part hit is unarmored, or if not enough damage is mitigated, it is passed through to the body part in question and other mechanics like the wound system, or concussive effects, might be triggered.

Real-Time Responsiveness, Situational Awareness, & Positioning

It all combines into a fighting system where you don't just mash a few buttons or press a few numbers on your keyboard to get your rotation going; instead you analyze the fight in real-time and work out which attack chains are going to be most useful, often branching in mid-chain to another attack because circumstances have changed. It's much more a game about positioning and situational awareness than it is a game of patterns or optimized move rotations.

You move through combat by making choices about what to attack, when to attack, and which attacks you throw. The sword style that the attack combo we showed is part of has 30 different techniques in it, accessible through 6 different attack trees, all of which contain branches so you can intelligently choose what attacks to use, even mid-chain.

[Bold emphasis is mine since it addresses questions about animation shown in the original post.]

Not Single Combat Style with Every Weapon

A single set of kinematics like that [Mordhau] just won't work for us; If I throw the same moves no matter what weapon I have in my hand, no matter where I came from, and no matter what I know, the system fails to deliver a spectrum of combat experience that encompasses a whole world. That means such a system is insufficient and won't accomplish our vision.

Combat System Goals

The system we're using is still under development, and it may still change, but several key requirements are met by the framework we're working with: it requires & rewards player skill, it feels good to play, it works against multiple opponents & single opponents both, it looks good to watch, it lets us have a massive variety of styles, and its technological constraints don't limit what weapons we can use with it.


Map H --because one word "Nessie." Do you want an inland sea? Well, do ya?

4/23/2019 9:21:19 PM #124
+1

I really like the look of this so far. As long as the combat is FUN, I don't mind that it doesn't exactly emulate how combat should have been way back when.

Similar to how I wouldn't find caring for horses in game in an extremely realistic way fun either. There's a lot of little knit picky things involved in horse care I'm sure most wouldn't consider fun after experiencing it once or twice.

Bet Heat is getting some good exercise out of this, too!


Call me Kara

4/23/2019 10:49:07 PM #125
+1

I just watched some vids to get a feeling what Way of the Samurai, Absolver and Devil May Cry 5 are like and found, that those are console/gamepad games... We are still creating a game that is intended to be played on keyboard+mouse with gamepad as an option, right? And not with gamepad as intention and keyboard+mouse as an option, right? Right? Please tell me, CoE wont "require" a gamepad to be played at full potential... I mean... there is no way I can reliably aim with ranged weapons with a gamepad. If CoE gets made for gamepad, that will mean autotargetting for ranged weapons. That would certainly be annoying. And I dont like consoles for melee... I dont like playing with gamepad at all, actually...


Friend Code: 30EF47

4/23/2019 11:03:03 PM #126
+7

Posted By Gromschlog at 3:49 PM - Tue Apr 23 2019

I just watched some vids to get a feeling what Way of the Samurai, Absolver and Devil May Cry 5 are like and found, that those are console/gamepad games... We are still creating a game that is intended to be played on keyboard+mouse with gamepad as an option, right? And not with gamepad as intention and keyboard+mouse as an option, right? Right?

We do support gamepad, but no, it is in no way required and we fully expect the vast majority of players to play CoE with the keyboard and mouse. While we are working to capture the feel of those sorts of combat systems, we are not changing our primary input method to gamepad to do so.

Edit: There's also no auto targeting for ranged weapons. :)

Hope that helps! :)


  • Snipehunter
4/23/2019 11:17:16 PM #127
+0

Posted By Snipehunter at 01:03 AM - Wed Apr 24 2019

Posted By Gromschlog at 3:49 PM - Tue Apr 23 2019

I just watched some vids to get a feeling what Way of the Samurai, Absolver and Devil May Cry 5 are like and found, that those are console/gamepad games... We are still creating a game that is intended to be played on keyboard+mouse with gamepad as an option, right? And not with gamepad as intention and keyboard+mouse as an option, right? Right?

We do support gamepad, but no, it is in no way required and we fully expect the vast majority of players to play CoE with the keyboard and mouse. While we are working to capture the feel of those sorts of combat systems, we are not changing our primary input method to gamepad to do so.

Edit: There's also no auto targeting for ranged weapons. :)

Hope that helps! :)

phew, it does^^ relieving :)

So then... are there any games to get the CoE-combat-feeling that have the same primary input methods, that you know of?


Friend Code: 30EF47

4/23/2019 11:33:00 PM #128
+4

Huh, that's a really interesting question. There are other games that work similarly in terms of control but they don't exactly feel the same. Vindictus' combat is kind of close to our controls, but it doesn't really feel the same. Still that might be a decent place to start...


  • Snipehunter
4/24/2019 8:52:42 AM #129
+2

Posted By Snipehunter at 01:03 AM - Wed Apr 24 2019

We do support gamepad, but no, it is in no way required and we fully expect the vast majority of players to play CoE with the keyboard and mouse.

@snipehunter: One difference between keyboard-mouse and gamepad controls is usually what happens when you "walk back" (press s / move the analog stick towards you): On most keyboard games the character walks backwards "towards the screen". On most gamepad games the character turns around and after turning walkes forwards "towards the screen" (if not locked onto an enemy). Which is it gonna be in CoE?


4/24/2019 2:26:53 PM #130
+0

Posted By Gromschlog at 6:17 PM - Tue Apr 23 2019

Posted By Snipehunter at 01:03 AM - Wed Apr 24 2019

Posted By Gromschlog at 3:49 PM - Tue Apr 23 2019

I just watched some vids to get a feeling what Way of the Samurai, Absolver and Devil May Cry 5 are like and found, that those are console/gamepad games... We are still creating a game that is intended to be played on keyboard+mouse with gamepad as an option, right? And not with gamepad as intention and keyboard+mouse as an option, right? Right?

We do support gamepad, but no, it is in no way required and we fully expect the vast majority of players to play CoE with the keyboard and mouse. While we are working to capture the feel of those sorts of combat systems, we are not changing our primary input method to gamepad to do so.

Edit: There's also no auto targeting for ranged weapons. :)

Hope that helps! :)

phew, it does^^ relieving :)

So then... are there any games to get the CoE-combat-feeling that have the same primary input methods, that you know of?

The good thing about PC is that you can use any input device you want.


Count Wulfberht of Leîj'rez county, VII of the order of the IX.

Order of IX

4/24/2019 4:44:09 PM #131
+0

Posted By Snipehunter at 4:33 PM - Tue Apr 23 2019

Huh, that's a really interesting question. There are other games that work similarly in terms of control but they don't exactly feel the same. Vindictus' combat is kind of close to our controls, but it doesn't really feel the same. Still that might be a decent place to start...

I've always been excited for the game, but hearing that comparison, even is its similar and not the same makes me happy.


4/24/2019 5:14:34 PM #132
+6

Posted By Gnox at 01:52 AM - Wed Apr 24 2019

Posted By Snipehunter at 01:03 AM - Wed Apr 24 2019

We do support gamepad, but no, it is in no way required and we fully expect the vast majority of players to play CoE with the keyboard and mouse.

@snipehunter: One difference between keyboard-mouse and gamepad controls is usually what happens when you "walk back" (press s / move the analog stick towards you): On most keyboard games the character walks backwards "towards the screen". On most gamepad games the character turns around and after turning walkes forwards "towards the screen" (if not locked onto an enemy). Which is it gonna be in CoE?

Both, actually. It depends on the state of the character. If you're just walking around, your character will turn and walk in the direction you direct them. The camera wants to be behind your player though, so if you don't override it, it will probably settle back in behind your character, assuming we keep the feature. If you've drawn a weapon or are standing in a combat stance, on the other hand, you'll generally try to stay facing forward, in relation to the camera, so a move back will be a toward the camera without turning around (a step back essentially), a move left or right will be a side-step and a move forward will be a step forward, in relation to the camera.

Hope that helps! :)


  • Snipehunter
4/25/2019 6:23:18 PM #133
+0

Posted By Snipehunter at 7:14 PM - Wed Apr 24 2019

Both, actually. It depends on the state of the character. If you're just walking around, your character will turn and walk in the direction you direct them. The camera wants to be behind your player though, so if you don't override it, it will probably settle back in behind your character, assuming we keep the feature. If you've drawn a weapon or are standing in a combat stance, on the other hand, you'll generally try to stay facing forward, in relation to the camera, so a move back will be a toward the camera without turning around (a step back essentially), a move left or right will be a side-step and a move forward will be a step forward, in relation to the camera.

Hope that helps! :)

@Snipehunter: I'm curious how it'll feel ingame. It sounds logical that your controls change depending on what is needed in a certain situation. Do I understand you correctly that being in an offensive state with your weapon drawn changes to similar controls like some other games when you lock on your opponent? But if I remember correctly it was mentioned somewhere you won't be able to lock onto an opponent right?

Still it leads to another question: What happens if you change your weapon while running? Changing your weapon means putting away your fist weapon (changing to non combat stance?) and taking out another weapon (which I assume will take some time just like it'll take some time to change your equipment). Imagine running backwards with a bow and trying to shoot while increasing the distance between you and your opponent. Then when the opponent comes close you put away your bow (change stance and change control scheme?) before drawing your dagger. Is your camera angle going to change the moment you put away your weapon/change your stance? Also what's with a lumberjack axe? Will you be in combat controle scheme while chopping trees?


4/25/2019 7:51:10 PM #134
+9

Posted By Gnox at 11:23 AM - Thu Apr 25 2019

@Snipehunter: I'm curious how it'll feel ingame. It sounds logical that your controls change depending on what is needed in a certain situation. Do I understand you correctly that being in an offensive state with your weapon drawn changes to similar controls like some other games when you lock on your opponent? But if I remember correctly it was mentioned somewhere you won't be able to lock onto an opponent right?

There is a lock on mechanic for melee right now, but not for ranged combat. That said, what's actually more important here is that "going aggressive" is a discrete action you take.

You can be holding a weapon in your hand without being aggressive. To go aggressive you hit tab; if a weapon is in your hand you immediately adopt a combat stance with that weapon and enter into the combat movement mode. In that mode, you strafe with WASD and turn with the mouse.

IF you are close to an identified hostile target in your view, you'll soft lock onto that target and your strafing will orbit the locked on target, otherwise it's relative to your camera's view. (while in this mode, when you rotate the camera, your character will turn in place to always face forward relative to the camera)

This locking mechanic doesn't apply to ranged weapons. They're handled differently, with a custom camera view and no target locking at all so that you have to manually aim and fire.

Still it leads to another question: What happens if you change your weapon while running? Changing your weapon means putting away your fist weapon (changing to non combat stance?) and taking out another weapon (which I assume will take some time just like it'll take some time to change your equipment). Imagine running backwards with a bow and trying to shoot while increasing the distance between you and your opponent. Then when the opponent comes close you put away your bow (change stance and change control scheme?) before drawing your dagger. Is your camera angle going to change the moment you put away your weapon/change your stance?

With the bow, your camera angle will only change when you put your bow away if you had your bow drawn at the time. Otherwise, we've worked out the combat to non-combat transitions in such a way that they don't manipulate the placement of the camera if you've manually placed it. So that transition is relatively smooth. What you mostly experience while playing is watching your character sheath a weapon or put away your bow, that sort of thing. It's not as disruptive as you may think.

That said, if you're in the middle of running backwards, your character will turn around to run towards the camera, but to address that we have made some changes in the Prelyria client already.

Manipulating your inventory always has a physical time cost. Though, like I said, in our Prelyria client we have made some concessions, but let me explain from the top: If you want to use a weapon other than what is in your hand or in your scabbard, you'll have to get it from your inventory, which will take time. That said, if you're rummaging through your inventory, you're not in combat. You may immediately return to combat when you're done, but you're not in combat while you're doing it. You're committing to manipulating your inventory and that has a consequence.

Now, as I mentioned, in the Prelyria client we have added a quality of life improvement in the form of quickslots. To save you the time of opening your inventory, finding the item, and then dragging it to the right slot to use, you can instead bind an item in your inventory to a quick slot and then access that item with a hot-key. However, there's still a time cost for doing so; your character still has to equip the item, we just save you the time of navigating the UI. You won't actually exit combat locomotion when you use the quickslot to make the change to your inventory though, so you won't turn to face the camera if you use the quick slot to draw your dagger. You still have to wait for your character to put your bow away and draw your dagger, but you don't get pulled out of the fight to do it. (Incidentally, quick slots can also be used to change the martial art style you're currently using in combat)

Also what's with a lumberjack axe? Will you be in combat controle scheme while chopping trees?

Nope - you can use an axe in your hand on a tree and you'll take a chop at it outside of combat. Now if you want to throw sick martial arts moves against that tree with your lumberjack's axe, you'll want to go aggressive and enter combat mode. ;)

Hope that helps! :)


  • Snipehunter
4/25/2019 8:23:24 PM #135
+1

Thanks! Sounds great. Your explanation is much appreciated!


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