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 General Design Concepts... 
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 General Design Concepts...
I thought might start this thread before we go too deep down the rabbit hole. It's also worth pointing out that this initial post will grow and be updated with ideas presented by others; it's too much to type out in one session, and, of course, I'm sure there will be additions made by others that make sense to include in this initial post. It should also become apparent that the point of this thread is not to dictate what should and should not be designed, but to point people towards explorative design decisions.

First, we can all probably agree that visual interest is the ultimate priority when designing a game asset(it's why women in games are pretty much always good looking). Using that statement I thought I might cover, in general, what I consider to be good design for various asset types; I've had the conversation with several people already but it hasn't been put down to writing yet.

Weapons
Weapons are, without a doubt, the most seen assets in a first person shooter. A player will see a weapon on the screen, either in their hands or another player's, nearly 100% of the time spent playing, and, as a result, weapon design should promote flexibility in creating visual interest.

Flexible visual interest is design choice that allows for the original concept to be expanded upon in small ways that won't seem entirely out of place; it promotes options. An asset that looks like something anyone could observe today, a classic steel sword for instance, offers little room for additions that might be visually interesting; it can appear to be engraved and the hilt might have an interesting shape, but the original design allows for little more than static modifications. A sword that's more inspired from, rather than relying on, existing designs might appear to be made of nothing more than shaped energy; as a result, the sword could maybe distort when the player's energy is low or in use, or maybe could appear overcharged if anything in the game overcharges the player's energy. The design differences between the two swords don't really alter the expected function of the weapon, but one design tends to restrict visual interest to static ideas, whereas the other allows for both dynamic and static.

Unreal Tournament weapons illustrate very well how certain design decisions allow for weapons to be very interesting to look at without being obtrusive; specifically the link gun and rocket launcher have very enjoyable animations. If I had one complaint about the Unreal Tournament weapons, it's that they have very little action when not firing. For instance, if a mortar was made in Unreal Tournament, it would likely have an intricate reload animation, but would be motionless otherwise. I suggest that if the same mortar was made in Project Free Fall, it should remain animated when just sitting in the player's hands. Because a mortar is a long range ballistic weapon, and it would be alright to assume that the weapon might compensate for the fire angle, it wouldn't seem out of place if some components of the gun would animate as the player looked up or down; maybe it would be as simple as some knobs spinning back and forth, but the point is that the weapon could almost always be performing animated adjustments.

More to come later...

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"No longer are you justified saying that an idea in science is not true because it doesn't make sense." -Neil deGrasse Tyson

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Mon Sep 17, 2012 8:25 pm
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Post Re: General Design Concepts...
Of course nobody wants to dictate anyone (unless they're paying them 8-) )
I've already given my explanation elsewhere but twice doesnt hurt (besides someone has to play devil's advocate :twisted: )

I expect maps to be varied and lunatic, and my belief is that amidst this journey between realms that can be surreal, players need something constant, real, impersonal to keep them company, and that is a set of sterile weapons that doesnt look too out of place (and will probably be common sight in a couple hundred years, but no more).

If you want "out of this world weapons", you'll have to give up "out of this world maps", the two are mutually exclusive because weapons that carry too much personality (like your shining sword made out of light), will be hard pressed to fit well in the different sceneries.

On the plus side, whatever people may conceptualize, it may be inspirational to other forum members, perhaps in other areas.

I'm going to attach some examples of what I mean, weapons that are both futuristic, familiar and neutral.
Image


Mon Sep 17, 2012 9:32 pm
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Post Re: General Design Concepts...
Those weapons look very mass-effect(ish). I find that already a semi-suitable style for an arcade shooter, though I think the more arcadey weapons (DL, RL, railgun, ML, such) will have to look a slight bit more futuristic to look even remotely acceptable when keeping their mechanics in mind. Though, I wouldn't mind seeing a DL or a mortar on the same technological level as those two examples 80cm provided, if someone was to pull it off well and not ruin the feel and look of the weapons by it.


Mon Sep 17, 2012 9:53 pm
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Post Re: General Design Concepts...
80cm wrote:
I expect maps to be varied and lunatic, and my belief is that amidst this journey between realms that can be surreal, players need something constant, real, impersonal to keep them company, and that is a set of sterile weapons that doesnt look too out of place (and will probably be common sight in a couple hundred years, but no more).
I'm of the firm belief that out of this world maps and weapons can coexist without trouble; the weapons, no matter how outlandish they may appear, are not going to exist in huge number and as such will be familiar no matter what. I make the argument that out of this world weapons compliment out of this world maps; both can exist and do fine on their own, but would do even better together. In fact, I argue that out of this world weapons matched with maps that follow a lesser standard would make said maps feel as if they hadn't reached their full potential.

Whenever I describe this game it's as if it's an intergalactic tournament; a collaboration between any number of races from any space or time. In reality I see this game and all it's components existing with the aim of bringing everything closer to a perfect game(game in this context refering to the classical definition, not the modern one that includes games that are vehicles for story). A perfect game, as I envision it, aims to eliminate all but the necessary discriminations; very much like mixed martial arts. A perfect game exists as a layer between players. A layer that has clearly defined rules that exist to promote friendly competition between players and also allow for as much individual style as possible; like nearly all martial arts tournaments.

The previous idea's directly apply to what I would like Project Free Fall's game mechanics to strive for, but I apply the same to all aspects of the game. In the case of art and maps, it translates to being open to, and promoting variance. Seeing that variance in art can be a bad thing, applying the same ideas that govern the game's mechanics to the games art is hard, but as Kennedy said 50 years ago, almost to the day,
Quote:
We strive to create the perfect game in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win, and the others, too.
(or something along those lines...)

Simplifying matters and strictly speaking of art, I would hope to see nearly all weapons display what is clearly a unique design(when compared to the others). A unique design does not mean that any and everything has to be accepted, but it does mean that things should be different. I personally think it would be tragic to pigeon hole the aesthetic design of any components, seeing that it would restrict creative thinking; much like how mandatory drug tests arbitrarily prevent companies from hiring what might be the best person for the job, restrictive aesthetic design might prevent what could be the best asset for the situation.

And so we have to strike a balance between design coherence and aesthetic freedom.

Of the weapons you've been prototyping many might see use initially(as with any designs at this point seeing that there are few), but as time passes it would be safe to assume that the style you desire will be illustrated with one or no weapons(in the vanilla game). Speaking strictly of weapons and other essential assets, hopefully the vanilla game will showcase the best of what can be made, not the mediocre. If and when proper artists take interest, or are paid to create assets, only the best of their assets will be showcased. If a player desires to use more of a certain design, the content store is where I'd like them to search; they may find that the artist(s) may have made more that just the one.

_________________
"Not every idea your gonna have is gonna be great, but I guarentee you every idea that doesnt work will somehow work into the idea that does." -Derek Waters

"It's a weird feeling being borderline addicted to gaming and not having anything to play that I can tolerate at the same time." -DejZant

"No longer are you justified saying that an idea in science is not true because it doesn't make sense." -Neil deGrasse Tyson

@Saccaed for updates and randomness...


Tue Sep 18, 2012 7:58 am
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Post Re: General Design Concepts...
Ignorance wrote:
I'm of the firm belief that out of this world maps and weapons can coexist without trouble

We're at an impasse then, weapons like this cant "merge" and look coherent in various environments just as good as the ones in my previous post, I don't see how, besides, I came to understand that everyone's ideas are so incredibly different that if you could illustrate your point with an image (of a weapon that fits your standards) it would be much simpler to understand what kind of direction you have in mind.

Ignorance wrote:
Whenever I describe this game it's as if it's an intergalactic tournament; a collaboration between any number of races from any space or time.

I strongly dislike this, it reminds me of mortal kombat / league of legends / unreal tournament; it may be a valid justification for having "free reign" over what stuff looks like (because everything comes from different places etc. etc.), its a degree of freedom I dislike because like you said, there arent going to be many weapons, thus there aren't going to be many styles, might as well just stick to one. Again this is as far as weapons are concerned, player appearance is a different matter alltogether and I don't mind having players "dress themselves" differently (if someone wants to clad himself in oyster armor then so be it), altough I question how much their appearance will be noticeable in the hectic nature of the game (chances are - not much, hence why the attention should stay primarily on weapons and maps, thats what the players will really get to see 95% of the time).

Ignorance wrote:
I would hope to see nearly all weapons display what is clearly a unique design

Its very hard to make weapons look different, unique, but still follow the same trend/style, having them all look different is the easy way out here, and for good reason, its going to look messy.

Ignorance wrote:
Of the weapons you've been prototyping many might see use initially(as with any designs at this point seeing that there are few)

"we're gonna use your guns alright, noone else gonna model any sooo..." :P

Ignorance wrote:
but as time passes it would be safe to assume that the style you desire will be illustrated with one or no weapons

The style I "desire" can take shape in many, many forms - it can exist in perfectly outlandish weapons, so long that they all follow the same trend, they all look simple and neutral.

For example, we could decide on a technology that governs all weapons, say a material emits energy based on its own shape, if a gun ends with a large cylinder of this material=mortar, thin and pointy=railgun, thin with a shutter (like the ones in photocameras)=chaingun, so on and so forth.
Just chosing what will the guns shoot or manipulate could make a massive impact on the weapon design (plasma? gas pressure? "energy"?)

Again, coherence between one weapon and the next is more important than what era they come from, and for that the "artstyle" has to be decided (that is to say, the era), when that is done (which will take many weapon prototypes, from everyone), a weapon set will be developed.

But for the most part I disagree with the core of your argument just as much as you disagree with mine :|


Tue Sep 18, 2012 8:30 am
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Post Re: General Design Concepts...
80cm wrote:
Ignorance wrote:
I'm of the firm belief that out of this world maps and weapons can coexist without trouble
We're at an impasse then, weapons like this cant "merge" and look coherent in various environments just as good as the ones in my previous post, I don't see how, besides, I came to understand that everyone's ideas are so incredibly different that if you could illustrate your point with an image (of a weapon that fits your standards) it would be much simpler to understand what kind of direction you have in mind.

I agree 100% that if I could produce an image or some form of art that could illustrate my thoughts, it would help loads. Luckily this might be something I can manage soon; I had a pretty clear vision of a possible melee weapon.

Addressing the Prey weapon and how it might fit with your weapons, I don't feel that specific weapon would work without modification. Aside from color pallet, which I will assume to be shared across assets, the Prey weapons were created to further a biological theme and it's unsurprising that they wouldn't port well. However, I could see something like the Prey spider grenade working well aside the weapons you've been working on(provided that an item existed that made sense for the spider grenade concept).

The basis for how we both are designing weapons(at least as far as I've gathered from your posts) seems to differ in that you have been restricting yourself to the now and it's possible evolution into the future, whereas I have only been thinking of weapon function and how it could be interestingly presented; I have no time or space scale restricting my thought process.

The reason why I aliased the weapon names is the same reason I encourage everyone to abandon time and space restrictions, because these things already exist, they corrupt the creation process by inserting unnecessary thought and flawed logic. When thinking freely of design, if something feels right, it is right. When thinking of design within a specific time or space, if something feels right but doesn't match the location or era, it is wrong.

There is nothing particularly wrong about designing to an era or location, but it isn't the only way to design. It might be better to design to the game rather than time or space. If things are designed to the game, the the design process makes a bit more sense and tends to go something like "if it feels right, and matches the game, it is right." I insist that Project Free Fall exists outside time and space so that the design process is 100% relative to Project Free Fall, not something arbitrary.

As for the general weapon designs that I feel would work, there are three, energy manipulators that are without definite form, conventional weapons that operate(note that I don't say "look like") similarly to weapons that exist today(i.e. they use explosions or rockets to propel things), and hybrid weapons that mix conventional weapons and energy manipulators(the disk launcher and plasma gun from Tribes would likely fall in the catagory).

The two weapons you linked have a good color scheme and is actually would match what I've been thinking for a color pallet. The cream white and carbon fiber black and I'm not sure how to describe the yellow, but those are colors I would include in the pallet along with other similar colors(ideally there should be a red, blue, green, yellow, orange, magenta, black, grey, and white).

80cm wrote:
Just chosing what will the guns shoot or manipulate could make a massive impact on the weapon design (plasma? gas pressure? "energy"?)

This aligns much more with my design process, and is the reason why I think of wildly different designs for weapons. Also, what is shot I can explain very well, here's a list using the weapons I currently plan to explore...

Code:
Chakra
  Shoots shaped energy discs.
Javelin
  Fires a rocket or some kind of self propelled projectile.
Boomstick
  Releases energy to form a violent vortex that spreads and dissipates quickly over distance.
SureShot
  Fires a tight grouping of projectiles over a medium distance.
The Rail
  Uses energy to violently project a bullet.
Raiden
  Focuses a beam of energy over a short distance.
  The beam resembles controlled lightning.
The Burper
  Rapidly fires a series of standard bullets.
  The barrel is replaced after every fire sequence.
Perforator
  Quickly fires charged balls of energy that dissipate over distance.
Hail Mary
  Ballistically launches a projectile that separates into lots of tiny explosive and energy releasing projectiles.
  Is similar to the T1 mortar in how it initially fires, and differs only in how the explosion happens.
  The explosion is similar to a firework in that the initial explosion is followed by many smaller ones.
Pineapple Punch
  Shoots medium range ballistic bouncy explosive projectiles.
  The projectiles could be resemble the Tribes style explosive launcher rounds, or might be something of a capacitor that releases raw energy(an idea I like).
Plasma Launcher
  Shoots stable plasma balls.
Wilson
  Shoots standard conventional rounds.
Melee Fists
  Shaped energy that forms short blades over the hands.
  The primary attack is a point blank punch that acts more like a stab.
  Has a, charged, short range, energy burst, secondary attack, that consists of shaping the energy into a condensed ball and releasing it.
Flag
  Operates pretty much like a spear.
  It can stab, and be thrown.


Time for bed...this song describes well what time it is here...http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mR9WJSX9pnU&t=86s

_________________
"Not every idea your gonna have is gonna be great, but I guarentee you every idea that doesnt work will somehow work into the idea that does." -Derek Waters

"It's a weird feeling being borderline addicted to gaming and not having anything to play that I can tolerate at the same time." -DejZant

"No longer are you justified saying that an idea in science is not true because it doesn't make sense." -Neil deGrasse Tyson

@Saccaed for updates and randomness...


Tue Sep 18, 2012 10:45 am
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Post Re: General Design Concepts...
Ignorance wrote:
If things are designed to the game, the the design process makes a bit more sense and tends to go something like "if it feels right, and matches the game, it is right." I insist that Project Free Fall exists outside time and space so that the design process is 100% relative to Project Free Fall, not something arbitrary.


I pretty much follow 80cm's drift. It's not so much about confine oneself but getting a straight design guideline. As 80cm said, it'll be a hell of a mess if you mixture a lot of styles together. TF2 is a good example, there are tons of new items and equipment but with the cel shading look and a comic-esque items it matches the original style.

Also I'd like to add that having a design guideline doesn't mean we're stuck in our time-scale. It's no problem that it exists out of our time and space, but it has to exist in any time and spaceline because it wouldn't make sense otherwise. :P
The PFF world has obviously same or similar physics as our world but the rest is free for imagination as long as it builds onto the same fundament.

A congruent example would be that PFF has boomsticks(jetpack), wizards throwing thunderdisks(spinfusor) and dragons as vehicles.
A weird example: shiny white laser weapons, magic spells, a dark dystopian map, a bright european medieval castle map and dolphins with legs that can be used as a jeep.


Tue Sep 18, 2012 11:09 am
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Post Re: General Design Concepts...
My post came out as a massive wall :?

Ignorance wrote:
if I could produce an image or some form of art that could illustrate my thoughts

Referencing some examples of "things done right" would suffice too

Ignorance wrote:
you have been restricting yourself to the now and it's possible evolution into the future

I haven't been restricting myself, I make up things freely, but right now I just happen to be versed towards that style, perhaps in 2 weeks I'll be drawing organic weapons, I don't have a clear direction either (simply put, I draw what I like right now - this in and by itself covers alot of your post).

Ignorance wrote:
these things already exist, they corrupt the creation process

"to draw a rose, you must first forget all the other roses"?

You never think freely in design, thats art. Art has no purpose, no function, there you do stuff freely, designing weapons (or anything else), means you place down restrictions, focus on function, and come up with something that respects both. If you try to "design weapons" with the "art mindset" all you end up with is garbage, why? because if something is an object you use, it means it has a function, and its just innate for us to expect it to have functional qualities, a gun with too many redundant spikes that serve no purpose sticks out like a sore thumb for that very reason, a few functional spikes however can make it more appealing.
The level of freedom you speak of has no place in a videogame.

Ignorance wrote:
energy manipulators that are without definite form

Too vague / broad, I have no idea what you're talking about, would the raiden fall under this cathegory? "without definite form" eludes me.

Ignorance wrote:
conventional weapons that operate(note that I don't say "look like") similarly to weapons that exist today(i.e. they use explosions or rockets to propel things), and hybrid weapons that mix conventional weapons and energy manipulators(the disk launcher and plasma gun from Tribes would likely fall in the catagory).

So bread and butter weapons (chain, railgun, DL, RL, GL, mortar, plasmagun etc.), you say they "dont have to look like", but if something has the purpose, the function to shoot a mortar shell, you'll expect it to have a large barrel, something to hold on to it (a grip, and a foregrip), something that houses the rounds (chamber), everything won't float in thin air but will be put together with a receiver, etc.
Its inevitable, the only "freedom" to be found there is in energy manipulating things like disclaunchers (but then again, there is going to be a disc shaped barrel all the same, and if there is no grip, a hole where you put your arm in, etc).

Their purpose and the way they function will dictate (to a degree) what they look like simply because that very purpose/functioning will generate expectations which have to be met, penalty "this gun looks odd, it makes no sense.. sure it looks cool but...eh"

Ignorance wrote:
The two weapons you linked have a good color scheme and is actually would match what I've been thinking for a color pallet. The cream white and carbon fiber black and I'm not sure how to describe the yellow, but those are colors I would include in the pallet along with other similar colors(ideally there should be a red, blue, green, yellow, orange, magenta, black, grey, and white).

If by that you mean that neutral color scheme for weapon is "go" then thats great (mortar follows this very scheme, ready soon™)
But no, I'm against color coding weapons (say, mortar has red stripe, raiden has blue stripe etc. I'd rather them have the same color scheme).

Ignorance wrote:
here's a list using the weapons I currently plan to explore...

This helps immensely, because now that I know their function, and their behaviour, I can give myself restrictions which will be vital to drawing good weapon models, and not just random dabs of creativity.

____________________________________________________________
Chakra
Shoots shaped energy discs.
too similar to tribes, I suggest a different shape (ellypse that rotates along the curvature it takes would be cool), "chakra" as a name = strong nope

Javelin
Fires a rocket or some kind of self propelled projectile.
Is this basically the speed-only inheritance rocket launcher we have now?

Boomstick
Releases energy to form a violent vortex that spreads and dissipates quickly over distance.
Whats the purpose of this? crowd control or just AOE damage? a jet engine turbine design would look pretty cool for this

SureShot
Fires a tight grouping of projectiles over a medium distance.
basically a shotgun?

The Rail
Uses energy to violently project a bullet.
Railgun?

Raiden
Focuses a beam of energy over a short distance.
The beam resembles controlled lightning.
wee bit too similar to unreal default, something thicker and less "lightning like" would work

The Burper
Rapidly fires a series of standard bullets.
The barrel is replaced after every fire sequence.
burst fire chaingun where "burst" is half a normal magazine in one go?

Perforator
Quickly fires charged balls of energy that dissipate over distance.
plasma chaingun?

Hail Mary
Ballistically launches a projectile that separates into lots of tiny explosive and energy releasing projectiles.
Is similar to the T1 mortar in how it initially fires, and differs only in how the explosion happens.
The explosion is similar to a firework in that the initial explosion is followed by many smaller ones.
Basically a T:A MIRV and every of the 4 subshells become 4 subshells and so on? forming a wide AOE medium damage cluster of explosions, if I can't have a mortar like that of, say, T:A base one (single shot, high damage) I'm going to be really mad :evil:

Pineapple Punch
Shoots medium range ballistic bouncy explosive projectiles.
The projectiles could be resemble the Tribes style explosive launcher rounds, or might be something of a capacitor that releases raw energy(an idea I like).
grenade launcher with nades that bounce upon impact?

Plasma Launcher
Shoots stable plasma balls.
basically tribe's slow ROF plasmagun?

Wilson
Shoots standard conventional rounds.
chaingun?

Melee Fists
Shaped energy that forms short blades over the hands.
The primary attack is a point blank punch that acts more like a stab.
Has a, charged, short range energy burst that consists of shaping the energy into a condensed ball and releasing it.
Just no, no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no

Flag
Operates pretty much like a spear.
It can stab, and be thrown.
not bad, still a proper spear rather than the melee fists would be better


Last edited by 80cm on Tue Sep 18, 2012 11:49 am, edited 2 times in total.



Tue Sep 18, 2012 11:31 am
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Post Re: General Design Concepts...
@80cm about the flag, i think it's ok for now because long spears or flags to put in the back may mess with third person view, like in tribes. Don't know how many weapons one should carry though


Tue Sep 18, 2012 11:44 am
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Post Re: General Design Concepts...
Wenz wrote:
@80cm about the flag, i think it's ok for now because long spears or flags to put in the back may mess with third person view, like in tribes

Well then if thats the case, the flag used as a spear should be stupidly strong but it replaces whatever gun you had currently out until you cap the flag, and "throwing it" equates to flag punting.

That could work, if someone wants to stomp your own team with the flag spear, the risk-reward is there.

Not too bad? :|


Tue Sep 18, 2012 11:46 am
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