[Prototype] Red-Hot Robot Ultrarena

Comments

  • @Gazza_N I don't remember if or which resources I used, But I might still have the project somewhere, I'll check this evening.
  • Ah yes, Aaron's A* library is awesome! I used it for Reservoir, albeit using the waypoint node based navigation system because I'm strange like that.
  • @Gazza_N I could not find my project. But from what I remember: Basically I stole the "generate grid" button's functionality and made that run at run time after my maze has been generated, then I waited till it's done to start the game for the player.
    Thanked by 1Gazza_N
  • @Pixel_Reaper: Oho! Tricky! Thanks for that - I'll keep it in mind if/when I migrate to navmeshes. :)
  • A new web build is out, for those who're keen to give it a shot. The change list is extensive indeed, and ain't nobody got time to read dat. Rather give it a play, and let me know what horrors you find. :P
  • edited
    I gave it a shot. I see what you are doing with the momentum, but I think it's a little bit excessive. I don't like the struggles of turning around. Slowing down is maybe not so bad, but turning is just too slow. I don't mean go a completely different direction, just tweak it a bit you know. But that's just my opinion. If others enjoy it, then keep it.

    Secondly, the rail guns are a bit OP. Attach 4 of them, and insta kill everything. Provided you don't miss. Which shouldn't be that hard if you take your time, knowing the enemy doesn't have 4 rail guns :P Combine this with 2 barriers, or a barrier and healing gel = sorted for a win.

    I hope that was constructive.
    Thanked by 1Gazza_N
  • edited
    Hey @Denzil, thanks for playing and for the feedback. Constructive indeed! :)

    Sounds like I need to balance the coilgun better, definitely. Probably up the energy requirements to prevent that sort of gunboating. I'll also have to tackle my old nemesis, the turn rate, again. I intend it to *feel* like mechs have momentum (there's no physics sim running here), but if it's still frustrating to players then it needs changing.

    Thanks again! Valuable stuff. :D
  • what @Denzil said: turning feels way to difficult.
  • edited
    Thanks for that. Minor update to the web version, with coilguns rebalanced, and tweaks to turn rates and momentum dampening for both mechs. Also my first computer voice prompt inserted as a test - see how long it takes to irritate you to death.
  • edited
    It's... been awhile. Being a part-time project, Ultrarena's development has been slow and tumultuous. After 11 months it is still ongoing, though. I've since downscoped the game a fair bit in order to focus on getting something smaller but complete out, and also given a lot of thought and work to the pace and feel of the game. The results so far can be seen here in glorious low-res-o-vision:



    I'm *far* from done. The HUD and UI are crap and are likely to be redone in the amazing "new" Unity GUI system. The game needs more HUD and audio cues to indicate such things as excessive heat, low armour, and low energy, as well as other kill-related messages. The game needs its own music, so I can stop stealing Mechwarrior 2: Mercenaries tracks for my videos. Camera and cockpit movement need work to react naturally to explosions and stomping. And, of course, the game still looks like low-poly programmer art interspersed with default Unity assets.

    I'll get there eventually. Watch this space and stuff. :P

    No playable builds with this update. Too many things to doooooooo first.
  • Considering that a lot of combat happens at long range, it might be cool to have a little picture-in-picture of your targeted enemy. Like LHX did: http://img.gamefaqs.net/screens/5/3/3/gfs_92611_2_8.jpg so you can clearly see the damage you are causing
    Thanked by 1Gazza_N
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    That's a neat idea. Mechwarrior 2 had a PIP for enemies as well. Although I don't have locational damage in this game, I agree that it would make for a much clearer damage display, and a good way to see what targeted enemies are doing from afar. :)
  • Yeah, I imagine that functionally, it may not really matter too much whether/which individual parts are being damaged. When I think about Starcraft 1, seeing the little image of the unit with different parts of it damaged was just a good alternative visual indicator of the unit's overall health, tied in with some narrative, even though damaging a Goliath's legs didn't actually make it walk slower.
    Thanked by 1Gazza_N


  • Ehmegherd. Cermera sherk at lerst. The Free Lives boys will be overjoyed. :P

  • Awesome song choice for that vid, and even awesomerrrrr screen shake
  • I randomly had that song playing in the background as I recorded. Mastodon makes for magnificent stompy robot programming background music. :P

    The shake is a bit raw at the moment, but I'll refine it as I go. It's a good start, and makes for decent impact feedback. I'm particularly happy with how the cockpit wibbles on every stomp. ^_^
  • edited
    Yaaaaaaaay. Render to texture HUD radar.
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    Unity 5 toys. Yaaaaaaaaaaaay.
    NewRadar.jpg
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  • edited
    Some of the HUD updates I've made are viewable in this video. Things such as damage differentiation, kill notices, the HUD Radar, and screenshake are all evident:

  • Looking good Gazza!
    It has a much more arcade style feeling than it used to have. I thought you were aiming for a simulator style feeling?
    I noticed that the speedo goes off-screen when the cursor is on the right side of the screen.
  • edited
    Ah, nicely spotted re: the speedo. I'm still playing with the HUD twist lag and have fixed that. :)

    As for the feel? Iteration! Slower-paced wasn't any fun. I've not actually dumbed down any of the simulation-y heat/energy/weapon systems or any of the controls, I've just sped the mech up a tad and given it better handling to lend a more energetic pace to the game. I *have* stripped out the ability module and heavy weapons systems for now, though, because it was more important for me to nail the core gameplay before expanding on them. They'll probably be back. :)

    I'm just shoring up a few more things, and then I'll release a new build for people to confirm whether or not I did a good thing there. :P
  • edited
    The game continues to come along. A lot of additions - I'm looking to having a new playable ready within the next two weeks. Then you'll finally have the material to give me some REAL feedback. :D

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    Thanked by 1Tuism
  • Purdy reflections Gazza. I'm liking the bright pink gun on the player mech. I know that's probably a temporary texture though.
    The PIP of the enemy mech is looking good, but a little dark.
    Thanked by 1Gazza_N
  • Aww, yeah! Feels pretty good in the video. :D
    Thanked by 1Gazza_N
  • edited
    Thanks guys. Man, that water shader is the best built-in water shader I ever drag 'n' dropped.

    The PIP is work in progress. I've been experimenting with colour-tinting to better convey damage as discussed above, but it turns out quite dark, as you see there. I'll probably use an additive tint instead.

    The gun colour is a placeholder, yes, but as a result I've come to quite like the idea of weapons having their own distinct primary colours to aid differentiation. If it ever comes to the point where I can afford an artist, I need to speak to them about that. :P

    Suffice to say that the pretty pretties are just surface-level improvements. Most of the additions have been boring UI, UX (audio and visual gamestate feedback) and game rules stuff, but they're important for turning a stomp-and-shoot-until-you-get-tired-of-it prototype into an actual vertical-slice-style GAME. Even if it ain't pretty or especially complicated, I intend the game to feel solid and self-contained in all aspects.

    Enough ramblings. My next main post should be fully playable code, for your dining pleasure.
    Thanked by 2Fengol FanieG
  • edited
    There are quite a few people who've told me: "Gazza, I would love to play your stompy-style mech shoot-o-game, but I have no idea what mech games are about or how to play 'em". Fair enough - although I've tried to keep my controls accessible, this ain't no FPS.

    As a result, I've tried my hand at a video tutorial:



    This particular one only covers movement - aiming and weapons and such are far more involved, and are taking a bit longer to convert to video form. What I'd like to know from everyone is whether it works to convey the controls effectively, or whether I *really* need an interactive tutorial. You also get to hear my poncy whiny voice in action! Yaaaaay!

    The Ultrarena Vertical Slice will be released for your stompy enjoyment and feedback this Sunday evening, or next Monday evening if Eskom doesn't play ball.
    Thanked by 1Fengol
  • ULTRARENA VERTICAL SLICE

    Here we go, boys and girls. The time for mere talk is past. It's my great pleasure to release the fully-playable Ultrarena Vertical Slice! Yaaaaaaaay!

    This vertical slice is essentially a rough, self-contained deathmatch game. Enter your name and the kill ceiling, outfit your mech with the weapons you want, and try your best to hit the kill limit before anyone else. If you die, you respawn to try again. You should know the drill. There's only one mech to choose from, and only one map, but it should give you an excellent feel for how the game plays and the mechanics. The game's still prototypey, so it's still built from programmer art and standard assets, there are bugs and niggles and missing things, and it's rather light on content, but it's certainly quite playable and meaty enough for a good few minutes of stompy fun.

    HOWEVER, this is still not an FPS. The trick to this game is mastering control of your mech. If you're new to mech games, or Ultrarena as a whole, I recommend you watch these tutorial videos to get an idea of the controls and the tricks available to you. Even if you've played previous builds, watch them anyway - it's mutated a lot since the last build, to the point that it feels like a completely different game.

    WHAT EVEN IS THIS I WANNA LEARN I WANNA LEARN

    Movement Tutorial


    Weapons Tutorial


    I LIKE WHAT I SEE I WANNA PLAY I WANNA PLAY

    Web Build - 8MB - For browsery playings. Requires the Unity web player.

    Standalone Build - 21MB ZIP - For the pilot on the go.

    Please feed me back
    You like what you see? TELL ME. I am dying to know what people think of the game as it is, and what suggestions they have for making it better. Based on the reaction, I'll know where to take it from here. Please giff feedback, no matter how mundane. Every tiny bit helps me to know whether I'm wasting my time here or whether I've got something worth expanding. Don't be shy!
    Thanked by 3Tuism Fengol garethf
  • Instead of feedback, I will just post my experience with the game, I wrote down my thoughts as I was playing it. It's the next best thing other than to physically watch me play :P. Since I have never played a mech-based game before, my experience might have been wrongly affected:

    -It takes me a while to get used to the throttle based movement, (I still tend hold W when trying to get away from something) but I'm slowly getting better at it.
    -I feel rather ineffective, I target another mech and shoot stuff in its direction, but I can't tell if I'm doing damage or even hitting it.
    -I get close to another mech and pummel it with the autogun, why is its health not going down! D:
    I must be doing something wrong.
    -Whoa! I just got killed in a few seconds, either I suck at this game, or the bots are doing a lot more damage than I am.
    -Someone is hitting me from behind, but I'm dead before I can turn around to retaliate.
    -Can't tell if getting in the water cools down an overheating mech faster. Oh, wait, the weapons overheat, not the mech itself. Maybe if I "dip" the weapons in the water.
    -Oooo, coil gun is fun and satisfying when killing someone from a great distance. So far it's the only weapon I can seem to kill people with.
    -Let me try all coil guns.
    -Well, that was a bad idea, instant overheating and long reload time. One miss means sit and wait for death.
    -Double kill! what a virtual climax.
    -I can jump?! I didn't even realize. Oooo, can I jump and crush someone?
    -Q and E to toggle primary and secondary weapons? Neat. Wait, why not just left-click to fire primary and Q to fire secondary?
    -Mouse aiming is iffy in windowed mode. Doesn't seem to register when mouse goes to the other side of the screen while being moved outside of the game window.
    -Mouse stays hidden if I press the Back To Garage button promptly enough and I have to restart the game for my mouse to reappear.

    Well, that was one session. If you can pull anything useful from that, I'm glad.

    Overall, I actually had plenty of fun. It's a different movement scheme that I'm used to, but the more I play, the better I get at it.
    Thanked by 2Tuism Gazza_N
  • Just played it, and like Yay, this was my first go at a mech game, and WOW is it hard to manoeuvre at first...
    I did sort of get the hang of it, but I dislike how you don't slow down after releasing W, I guess that's how these games work? But for me it's annoying. Also hate how my legs never seem to be facing the way I`m looking or wanting to go in a hurry :D I guess again that's how these games go. I did manage to kill 3 mechs on my third play so I was getting the hang of it but yeah, the other mechs seem to do way more damage than I do. Will be nice to eventually see this working on a fancy looking level with some serious mech models :)
    To answer you question : Yes I think you do have something worth expanding on :)
    Thanked by 1Gazza_N
  • Feedback

    On Chassis selection screen clicking the < or > button causes the mech to bounce.
    Selection of loadout is a bit confusing since you cant see the current selection for the side you not changing.

    Collisions with terrain can be a bit unexpected when its due to the rise been too high for you to climb as apposed to a direct collision with a vertical surface.

    Would be nice to have some other way then the mini map to know where threats are coming from. Its difficult to pull your eye form the combat to the map and back. Perhaps hit location arrows.

    I like the pace its pretty fast paced for mech game. Any plans for a heal opportunity in game?
    Thanked by 1Gazza_N
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    @tbulford Actually I twice picked up some sort of green thingy left by someone I killed that seemed to heal me.
  • vintar said:
    @tbulford Actually I twice picked up some sort of green thingy left by someone I killed that seemed to heal me.
    Ahh good to know what that was. I saw it but could not reach it before I was mercilessly killed.
  • edited
    Woah! Thanks a lot for all your comments, guys. Thanks for taking the time to play my game! :D

    To respond, and throw out some more questions:

    I'm seeing a lot of concerns regarding visual feedback, such as exactly when you're damaging enemy mechs. For instance, the autocannon is meant to slowly chip away at enemy armour, but if the perception is that it isn't doing anything, then I need a better way to communicate that it's having an effect. Perhaps pulling another page out of the Vlambeer Book o' Juice and making the impact particles larger and brighter? Having the health bar appear over the mech when you do damage, as opposed to requiring a targeting lock to show it? I have a few ideas that I'll mull over, but I'm obviously open to suggestions. :)

    On a similar note, I thought that the traditional four-quadrant "red rim of damage" at the screen edges would be enough to indicate when and where you're under attack, but is it providing enough resolution to determine attack direction?

    The glowy green Mechanipaks that enemy mechs drop are NOT adequately signposted as healing/resupply pickups, for sure. I'll probably stick a spinning holographic icon on there to better communicate its purpose (and its timeout period).

    A global concern that I've noted - the AI. It's not that the AI's cheating (it follows all the same rules and restrictions that you do), it's just that it's a soulless doom-robot, and therefore far more efficient at playing the game than a human player is. :P I seriously shouldn't be surprised that total newcomers are getting pasted mercilessly, and I apologise. I've got some convenient ways to refine its behaviour built in, and testing those with variable difficulty levels is a priority for the next build.

    I also don't think it helps that the coilgun remains catastrophically OP, and that one of the default AI mechs is packing two of them. One good surprise hit from behind will take you out instantly, and that's no fun at all. Gotta nerf it, no question about that (although I am glad that @Yay's attempt to gunboat coilguns ended in overheat hell. :P)

    Regarding the throttle - the people I know who're familiar with mech games haven't reported any issues with using the throttle controls, but I totally understand that it can be frustrating for people new to the system - it was to me when I first started playing these games. Obviously having an "all or nothing" input wouldn't work very well without compromising the nuances of the simulation, and I'm not sure how I can make this more accessible to mech newbies without turning it into a dull ordinary FPS. Should I even try, and instead trust players to stick around long enough to get the hang of the system? I honestly don't know. :\

    Travis indicated that the level isn't very well signposted in terms of passable areas. I agree, and I think that smarter texturing based on terrain gradient would help that. You're less likely to try to run into a rocky wall than a grassy or sandy one, after all. (As a side note, I'm pretty sure I can automate this process. I have before, but Unity keeps changing their terrain scripting interface all the time and breaking it. :P)

    The main menu and mech customization screen are indeed due a HUUUUEEEEEG overhaul. The current interface was written a year ago as a convenient placeholder before the "new" GUI System of Awesome came out, and the plan is to rip it all out and put a sleeker, cleaner, clearer customization menu in. All concerns regarding usability and behavioural weirdness have been noted with thanks. That feedback will go straight into the next version. :)
  • A thing I remember from the old mech games was... Setting the throttle speed not with W and S, but with discreet settings of the number keys. So 0 = full ahead, 0 = full stop, 5 = half speed forward.

    I don't think a full range of 1 to 0 is needed, but maybe just tilde, 1,2,3 as quarters of speed settings? W and S can still work as expected, or you can even change W and S to hold to walk, release to not feed power... So in the end you have both options covered?

    Maybe. Not sure.

    I personally liked Hawken's mech piloting controls. It's was essentially FPS WASD, and it was very much an action-oriented set, so I'm not sure if it'll work for your design goals, but the double tap to dash was great for that feeling of control and skill and still being quite weighty and not human-like despite using WASD FPS controls.
    Thanked by 1Gazza_N
  • edited
    The dilemma is that I don't want to make Hawken. :P Learning and mastering unfamiliar (but not inaccessible) controls is a very important facet of any vehicle simulation game. Mechwarrior Online actually uses a control scheme fairly similar to mine, so I'm not unique in my throttle-based implementation.

    At the same time, I do need a way to ease people into the scheme in a way that feels familiar. Having an all-or-nothing forward control using a "clamped" throttle as an alternative control scheme is a promising idea, if I can figure out a way to swing it input-wise. Maybe using the mousewheel to set the throttle level? The 1-3 keys may work too, to clamp to quarter, half and full throttle. I'll play around.
    Thanked by 1BenJets
  • Tuism said:
    A thing I remember from the old mech games was... Setting the throttle speed not with W and S, but with discreet settings of the number keys. So 0 = full ahead, 0 = full stop, 5 = half speed forward.
    I think @Tuism is right.

  • Yep, he's quite right. However, thanks to this discussion, I have a hybrid method brewing in my head that I need to prototype. :D
  • edited
    A side-note, but since this thread is turning into something of a development chronicle, it may be of interest for newbies to know exactly what sort of oldschool mech gameplay I was going for. This video shows what's probably the most direct inspiration for the game, although I've iterated and added (and removed!) quite a few aspects:


    (The controls in this game were horrible, guys. ;_;)
    Thanked by 1Fengol
  • Love the injured limping :D
  • This leads me to a very important question I need to ask - locational damage. Does anyone believe this would be necessary or beneficial to the game, or is the current monolithic health system adequately fun?
  • Gazza_N said:
    This leads me to a very important question I need to ask - locational damage. Does anyone believe this would be necessary or beneficial to the game, or is the current monolithic health system adequately fun?
    Only if it will add some strategy to the gameplay, such as being able to target take out specific guns to weaken your opponent's firepower, or target legs to reduce their mobility, etc.
    Thanked by 2Gazza_N Fengol
  • edited
    @Gazza_N I think locational damage is one of the few advantages mech games have over manshooters in terms of multiplayer combat.

    Beyond obligatory headshots it's an experience players unfortunately can't have in Counter-Strike etc, although even there I'd certainly enjoy it if I could damage my opponent's spleen and so hamper their ability to regulate red blood cells for the rest of the round.

    To compensate for its slow pacing World of Tanks has a variety of mechanics that make firing more interesting. Like relatively complicated ballistics, and impact angle mattering, and being able to damage ammunition racks, and varied armour strength on different sides of the tanks which itself can be weakened through locational damage. If World of Tanks had left the combat at just trading shells against opponents with large health bars then the game certainly would have failed.

    Given that you already have discreet systems (like cooling, movement and multiple guns) and relatively slow moving targets (slower than a manshooter anyway) I think it'd be a misstep not to take advantage of that.
    Thanked by 2Gazza_N Kobusvdwalt9
  • Agreed on bodypart damage, you'll want it if you want any kind of simulation feel in your game. It fits the world and the UI and everything.

    Also, remember this? :)

  • edited
    Thanks for the feedback, guys. I'm inclined to agree with you all. "Simulation feel" aside, my concern with the current gameplay is that once you've got weapons usage and movement down, there's not a lot else left to do but trade bullets faster and more accurately than the other guy without overheating. Arena shooters like UT and Quake use player movement through the level as a way to inject dynamism into the combat and counteract weapons fire, but that's obviously not an ideal solution for giant robots in a more open arena. Locational damage (specifically weapon destruction) lends more strategy to the thing, especially at the faster pace that the game has. It also helps the player to feel awesome and skilled, given the lightgun cursor aiming.

    tl;dr - location damage goes into the prototyping list for the next milestone.

    EDIT: @Tuism - I don't think I ever played that one. I remember Earthsiege, but not this game. :O
  • @Gazza_N while I played the game I kept wishing that I could drift like a car to turn around faster. Sort of like a directional "rocket boost" that would happen if I double tapped A or D. In my head I would turn in warped arc like this
    image
  • edited
    Jumpjet mechanics are something I'm still looking into, since they currently suck and will require a major rewrite. You're not the first to suggest some sort of boost-assisted movement thing though. I'll play around and see how it feels, once I've got to all the other stuff on my rapidly-growing to-do list. :P
  • edited
    VIRTUAL-ON ALL THE CONTROLS!
    Thanked by 2Fengol Gazza_N
  • Virtual-On? Please. Steel Battalion controllers all up in here.
  • Just in time for tomorrow's Joburger Meat, an extremely minor update to both web and standalone versions with the following changes:

    > Increased mech turn rate. Yet again.
    > Nerfed coilgun shell explosion damage to 15 AP.
    > Created "chunkier" particle effects for autocannon and shotgun when hitting enemy mechs successfully.
    > Created "chunkier" particle effects for laser hits.
    > Increased Mechanipak armor heal amount.
  • edited
    Development on-goes. A quick video of the latest version for posterity and for those who don't follow my Twitfeed. So many changes since April, mainly courtesy of all the excellent feedback recieved from Meet peoples and beta testers.

    Thanked by 2konman Pierre
  • edited
    This week's video showcases the new cockpit view and some great combat (with some music nicked from Unreal Tournament for flavour).

    Thanked by 2garethf Pierre
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