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Bio-elasticity/superstretch animations

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Gluke
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Bio-elasticity/superstretch animations

Sorry if this has been mentioned already, but are these planned for atm? Are they a priority power or maybe a faint possibility for updates?

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I've always figure the

I've always figured the biggest issue with "super-stretching" in a game like this would be whether or not it would be manually controllable by the player or not.

Most of the benefit of being able to stretch like that would be making the best use of the environment around you for combat or movement. For example would a power like this let you grab the top edge of a 10-story building and pull yourself up to the top? How would you control your arms to stretch up that far and then how would you control the rest of your body to follow your arms as they lifted you up? There would be huge problems with how you would control all of these kinds of super-human movements with just a keyboard and/or game controller.

Where the concept might work is if there was a specially designed "stretch powerset" with relatively predefined animations. Maybe there could be a "stretch punch" that would let a person effectively do a normal punch but be able to do it up to say 20 feet away because their arm could stretch out that far to reach the target. This kind of thing would let someone have "stretch-based" powers but then not have to worry about manually controlling all of the weird extra movements associated with it because all the stretching aspects of it would be buried in the hardwired animations.

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It is something we have

It is something we have discussed multiple times. Suffice to say it is by no means a simple possibility to even get the result of "stretch attacks" to work as there are character model bones, mesh, and any costume piece meshes which all need to appropriately stretch in order to just look right. Now the avatar creator provides for some variability in model sizes and thus has to handle the mesh changes along with that, so the underlying "logic" is there to make it possible. It's the combination of all possible parts, body movements, animation speeds, and of course animation styling to get it all right which means a lot of time and investment to develop. None the less its on a "wish list".


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The only way I could see

The only way I could see using it as a travel power like Lothic was saying would be treating both arms as a sort of grappling hook. When you have a reaction area around edges of building and other items like that and whenever the hands got close or within the reaction area it would go into an "auto grab" of sorts and then you would just retract in, like Link. I would love to see Gomu Gomu no Kiyori Punch but I just don't see it in the cards. If CoT takes off and goes to the top of the MMO charts(which I hope it does) I would say that it is a possibility. But there is so much work that needs to go into those types of animations it would just not be worth it at the moment.

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Tannim222 wrote:
Tannim222 wrote:

It is something we have discussed multiple times. Suffice to say it is by no means a simple possibility to even get the result of "stretch attacks" to work as there are character model bones, mesh, and any costume piece meshes which all need to appropriately stretch in order to just look right. Now the avatar creator provides for some variability in model sizes and thus has to handle the mesh changes along with that, so the underlying "logic" is there to make it possible. It's the combination of all possible parts, body movements, animation speeds, and of course animation styling to get it all right which means a lot of time and investment to develop. None the less its on a "wish list".

Yeah I was just looking at this from the point of view of whether the "stretchiness" would be manually controllable by the player or not. I didn't even consider all the issues related to "morphing" the standard body model on-the-fly to account for how things like the arms and legs might look while being stretched out. That would obviously be a whole other set of issues to deal with.

I know this might sound a little bit silly but I don't really think true "super-stretch" powers will be workable in a game like this until we have effective "brain-to-machine" control interfaces. Unless a player can freely "think" about twisting his/her virtual body into a random pretzel-shape I can't really see how any kind of current interface device (keyboard, mouse, console controller, etc.) would let you "command" your virtual body properly in real time. That's my two cents on it at any rate.

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Lothic wrote:
Lothic wrote:

Yeah I was just looking at this from the point of view of whether the "stretchiness" would be manually controllable by the player or not. I didn't even consider all the issues related to "morphing" the standard body model on-the-fly to account for how things like the arms and legs might look while being stretched out. That would obviously be a whole other set of issues to deal with.

Hmm.. do Morphs Targets get applied 1st, then Scaling!? I never tried it myself. Can't say. :/

Lothic wrote:

I know this might sound a little bit silly but I don't really think true "super-stretch" powers will be workable in a game like this until we have effective "brain-to-machine" control interfaces. Unless a player can freely "think" about twisting his/her virtual body into a random pretzel-shape I can't really see how any kind of current interface device (keyboard, mouse, console controller, etc.) would let you "command" your virtual body properly in real time. That's my two cents on it at any rate.

Also, how should the stretchiness Look when your target is kinda Behind/To the Side of you? :P
Does your PC turn and then do the stretch? Might still work like other powers.. just not as realistic (or believable). :{

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Valiance seems to have played

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Empyrean wrote:
Empyrean wrote:

Valiance seems to have played with it, though I know nothing about programming so I don't know exactly what these videos represent:
https://www.facebook.com/ValianceOnline/videos/vb.475904379135727/777221292337366/?type=2&theater
https://www.facebook.com/ValianceOnline/videos/vb.475904379135727/776172435775585/?type=2&theater
https://www.facebook.com/ValianceOnline/videos/vb.475904379135727/775030019223160/?type=2&theater
https://www.facebook.com/ValianceOnline/videos/vb.475904379135727/774976009228561/?type=2&theater
https://www.facebook.com/ValianceOnline/videos/vb.475904379135727/774975575895271/?type=2&theater

The VO videos appear to be examples of what I was talking about before in reference to "hardwired stretch" animations that could be baked into to specific powers in a powerset. The second video you listed even looks exactly like the "stretch punch" idea I was describing in my earlier post. These could work because there's no need to manually control exactly where the body parts go during these attack animations.

The fundamental question still stands: could manually controlled stretch powers actually happen in a game like CoT? Even if for the sake of hypotheticals we limited a super-stretcher to a stick figure exactly how you'd handle stretching his arms and legs continuously in real time would be a technical challenge.

There could be 4 "manipulation points" at the ends of his arms and legs and let's say there would be some kind of GUI method that would let you independently click-n-drag these 4 points around in 3D space. Once you've moved these 4 points the game could simply "connect the dots" with lines between the stick body and the 4 points. That would handle the simplified "stretching" of the arms and legs for a single movement (like for stop-motion animation) but the idea that these 4 points could be continuously adjusted by the player while playing is basically impossible given current interface devices.

Again I could see a compromise (the approach that VO is likely going for) where there's a powerset that essentially has all the stretch animations "pre-programmed" into each power. It's a viable alternative but clearly a weak compromise given that what people would really want would be the "full manual control" stretchiness from the comics.

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Empyrean wrote:
Empyrean wrote:

Valiance seems to have played with it, though I know nothing about programming so I don't know exactly what these videos represent:
https://www.facebook.com/ValianceOnline/videos/vb.475904379135727/777221292337366/?type=2&theater
https://www.facebook.com/ValianceOnline/videos/vb.475904379135727/776172435775585/?type=2&theater
https://www.facebook.com/ValianceOnline/videos/vb.475904379135727/775030019223160/?type=2&theater
https://www.facebook.com/ValianceOnline/videos/vb.475904379135727/774976009228561/?type=2&theater
https://www.facebook.com/ValianceOnline/videos/vb.475904379135727/774975575895271/?type=2&theater

It is possible to set up in UE4 as well. What's not natively handled is making sure every single costume piece ends up working well as the model stretches. Which is not what is shown in the video above. Even though there is "a costume" that works, and it can be used with any number of patterns / colors to replicate "many costumes" it doesn't translate to "all costumes" which is where things get tricky.


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In Champions (the pen & paper

In Champions (the pen & paper RPG, not Champions Online done by Cryptic), the way Stretching powers work is that they simply increase the distance away from the character that it within "touch" distance. So if I bought +1" of Strecthing, I'd be able to "reach" anything within 1" of my character (above and beyond the normal).

Now in the Champions system, every power needs to have 3 Effects associated with it. Things like the power being visible to the naked eye, or making a sound or giving off heat or cold, or being something that can be felt/touched, and so on. My favorite thing to do with Stretching was to buy a very small amount of it (ilke 1-2" worth) and apply the Advantage of Fully Invisible Power Effects to it. This meant that my character could (literally) reach out and touch things beyond what would look like the length of the character's limbs. The net result was something that functionally wound up seeming like Telekinesis since it worked as being able to perform "spooky" manipulative actions at a distance.

Needless to say, this made for a totally awesome thing to do on a Martial Artist character since it let you do all kinds of "sneak attack" sorts of moves on your opponents that they'd never see coming. It meant that melee range, for your character, had more "reach" to it.

Perhaps the most awesome use of this kind of Fully Invisible Power Effects on Stretching that I ever did was the "invisible car" gag. My character had Running with a Variable Effects advantage on it, so as to make it look like I was using whatever seemed appropriate ... a skateboard, a motorcycle, a car, roller blades, a unicycle ... whatever. But I also had 1" of Stretching with Fully Invisible Power Effects. This meant that I could make my character LOOK LIKE they were just "hovering" in the air, "inside" an invisible car, and use the Variable Effects on my Running power to make all the engine noises and doors opening and creaking upholstery and so on that you couldn't see (because there wasn't anything actually there). PRESTO!! Invisible car gag!

Best part was when my character "pulled up" curbside in her invisible car and invited one of the other characters to "hop in" ... with the invisible stereo playing and revving the not-really-there engine of the invisible car. Imagine their surprise when they reached out into the air AND FELT A DOOR HANDLE that they couldn't see (thanks to the Variable Special Effects on the Running power being defined just so in this instance), and then popping the door open and GETTING INTO the "invisible car" and pulling the door shut with a loud thunk!

What was actually happening was that I was using my Fully Invisible Stretching power to hold myself and my passenger (who was within range) off the ground, so I was in essence "carrying them" while Running. The Variable Effects on the Running power was doing all the tactile and auditory and olfactory stuff, so it felt like and sounded like and even smelled like being in a car with the engine running (ie. 3 senses covered) ... except that there was no car there to see, so it was invisible! The passengers IN the "car" were perfectly visible, of course, which only heightened the "reality" of the illusion.

So once my passenger got in the invisible "car" and got themselves buckled up(!), my character could just mime changing gears (complete with tactile and auditory feedback) and then ease the "invisible car" into traffic, in effect "carrying" my passenger using my own STR stat.

The GM who had let me have all this stuff after I explained to him during character creation what I was doing STILL wasn't ready for this particular bit of roleplaying trickery and was just as dumbfounded as everyone else playing the game. There was an abortive attempt to try and figure out how I COULDN'T have done what I'd just done, and all of the complaints fell apart on contact with what my character could actually do. The GM had let me put things like Variable Effects Advantages onto my movement powers, thinking that all I was doing was wasting points by having them and in effect "gimping" myself.

Needless to say, the first time I used the Limited Variable Effects Advantage I'd bought on my APPearance stat to change my hair and skin color to evade a dragnet looking for someone matching my character's (former) description, it started dawning on people that I'd hit paydirt on being able to make the GM tear their hair out trying to corner me, and that those "wasted points" I'd spent on those Variable Effects weren't really wasted at all, given the way I was using them.

So on the simplest possible level, any time that a Stretching Power comes up in the context of a superhero game, I always think back to my wildly successful use of Fully Invisible Power Effects Stretching being a sort of backdoor way to MELEE AT A DISTANCE in a way that is broadly synonymous with Telekinesis simply because there was nothing to "see" as far as the Stretching went.

If you look at the Scrapper Primary Powersets for City of Heroes you'll notice that most of the Powers had a range of 7 ft ... which was defined as Melee Range.

Now imagine adding on a sort of "mystical stretching" Power that telekinetically allows you to "reach" your Foes beyond 7 ft with your melee attacks, but which doesn't "stretch" your character's avatar. Instead, you're throwing out Ki Force that allows your SPIRIT to "reach" beyond the length of your limbs to hit things at 8 ft ... 10 ft ... 12 ft ... 15 ft ... 20 ft.

What if "melee range" was a variable ... and Stretching could increase the "reach" of your melee range? It doesn't have to be done by deforming the character avatar. It could be done as a visible/audible energy field of FX "reaching out" from your character to complete the gap between you and your target. Think "psychic fists" if it helps you any for what such a thing ought to look like.

In other words, there are ways, both game mechanically and visually to do "stretching" without resorting to ... this ...


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Stretching is a neat power

Stretching is a neat power set and we shouldn't expect to see one power that captures it's effect
we need a whole set.

First of all a ranged attack like any blaster that looks like your arm stretching out to punch far away
Dhalsim from Street fighter did that just fine

Second a hookshot type ability for reaching out and grabbing a target.
light targets would be pulled to the character but the character would be moved to heavy targets

next the long stepping would work just like super jump in COH (Maybe not as far) but the animation would show your long legs touching the ground the whole way.

making a giant fist to punch would be a powerful knockback attack that effects all targets in an arc in front of you

the character should also be able to glide by making himself wide and flat

one cool trick you'd have to decide if you wanted or not is flattening yourself to go under doors.
or flattening yourself so you can spring up attacking

It gets complicated when you try to show grabbing but I don't know if the game is going to have wrestling moves at all.

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Hey, if you still want the

Hey, if you still want the Reed Richards style of body stretching, you're pretty much going to limit yourself to a restricted list of costume choices (ie. tights) for any parts of the body model that can stretch. That would be one way of handling the problem ... and it's how the manga and anime Claymore dealt with the issue of Helen, so there's an example to follow.


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By itself, Increased Melee

By itself, Increased Melee Range would be an awesome power boost.

Of course, I'm an Evil person who looks at things and tries to come up with "reality-based" mechanics and would love to see attributes like base defense and melee range and so forth to be based on the size of your character model. So all those folks running around with 3 ft. avatars will be hard to hit and all, but they'll have pathetic reach. This should also help a bit with giant monsters and such. (As the joke goes, "Ready! Aim!" "It's as big as a city block, whaddya mean 'aim'?")

Oh, wait, but that'll OP the ranged folks, because they'll all build themselves like flies... unless you make ranged to-hit based on size as well. Hard to stabilize a GAU-8 on a kite, you know...

Has anyone seen my mind? It was right here...

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Redlynne wrote:
Redlynne wrote:

Hey, if you still want the Reed Richards style of body stretching, you're pretty much going to limit yourself to a restricted list of costume choices (ie. tights) for any parts of the body model that can stretch. That would be one way of handling the problem ... and it's how the manga and anime Claymore dealt with the issue of Helen, so there's an example to follow.

Another way to limit the costume would be sleeveless tops, like Luffy. One question I have, what about the accessories? What if someone has a tattoo on their arm. Would the tattoo stretch with the arm or just stay in it's original form just moving along with the arm?

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Another way to approach

Another way to approach Stretching, would be to have it be a sort of exo-body... a character-shaped 'aura' that did all of the stretchability, while character remained 'ordinary-shaped' within.

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Redlynne wrote:
Redlynne wrote:

Hey, if you still want the Reed Richards style of body stretching, you're pretty much going to limit yourself to a restricted list of costume choices (ie. tights) for any parts of the body model that can stretch. That would be one way of handling the problem ... and it's how the manga and anime Claymore dealt with the issue of Helen, so there's an example to follow.

Even though the whole issue of costume and/or body model stretching is one of several problematic issues concerning how to implement the "Reed Richards style of body stretching" I still would rank it at only being maybe 5% of the overall problem. Being able to manually control a fully stretchy character's movement still seems to be the overwhelming challenge preventing this kind of thing from ever working in a MMO.

Again the "hardwired stretches baked into a stretch melee powerset" compromise seems like the only serious way to consider this for CoT. This compromise totally avoids having to figure out how to allow for manual control over stretch-based movement and relegates it to the automatic animations locked into specific powers.

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Fireheart wrote:
Fireheart wrote:

Another way to approach Stretching, would be to have it be a sort of exo-body... a character-shaped 'aura' that did all of the stretchability, while character remained 'ordinary-shaped' within.
Be Well!
Fireheart

Yeah if you let an aura-based "exo-body" handle all the stretching then the physical character inside the aura could just sort of mimic the movements without having to actually stretch any part of his/her fleshy body and/or costume. Maybe this could be the basis of some kind of "telekinetic melee" powerset where the character for example "throws a punch" and the aura part stretches out to hit a target say 15-20 feet away.

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Lothic wrote:
Lothic wrote:

Fireheart wrote:
Another way to approach Stretching, would be to have it be a sort of exo-body... a character-shaped 'aura' that did all of the stretchability, while character remained 'ordinary-shaped' within.
Be Well!
Fireheart

Yeah if you let an aura-based "exo-body" handle all the stretching then the physical character inside the aura could just sort of mimic the movements without having to actually stretch any part of his/her fleshy body and/or costume. Maybe this could be the basis of some kind of "telekinetic melee" powerset where the character for example "throws a punch" and the aura part stretches out to hit a target say 15-20 feet away.

Sounds like some of the workarounds that CoH used to do things like Shield Charge and Spring Jump, and those ended up pretty cool.

Definitely more doable and flexible (see that?) as an animation for appropriate sets like "kinetic" or "ranged melee" than as it's own power-set, I'd guess. Tightly-defined power sets like that seem to go against the whole way they're designing the game.

Elastic powers are classic staple in comics. This would be a great "one day down the road" thing.

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Empyrean wrote:
Empyrean wrote:

Sounds like some of the workarounds that CoH used to do things like Shield Charge and Spring Jump, and those ended up pretty cool.
Definitely more doable and flexible (see that?) as an animation for appropriate sets like "kinetic" or "ranged melee" than as it's own power-set, I'd guess. Tightly-defined power sets like that seem to go against the whole way they're designing the game.
Elastic powers are classic staple in comics. This would be a great "one day down the road" thing.

The notion that having powersets with tightly-defined baked-in animations does go against the "provide as much power customization as possible" mideset of CoT. But while restricting any "stretching" to hardwired animations might seem like a step backwards it might also be a worthwhile compromise in order to get any kind of functional stretching into the game at all.

Having a few powersets that have "uncustomizable" powers might not be such a bad thing as long as the the animations that are baked-in to those powers are done well to begin with. A "kinetic melee" powerset that uses a "stretching exo-body aura" might be a good example of one of these kinds of specialized sets.

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Redlynne wrote:
Redlynne wrote:

So on the simplest possible level, any time that a Stretching Power comes up in the context of a superhero game, I always think back to my wildly successful use of Fully Invisible Power Effects Stretching being a sort of backdoor way to MELEE AT A DISTANCE in a way that is broadly synonymous with Telekinesis simply because there was nothing to "see" as far as the Stretching went.
If you look at the Scrapper Primary Powersets for City of Heroes you'll notice that most of the Powers had a range of 7 ft ... which was defined as Melee Range.
Now imagine adding on a sort of "mystical stretching" Power that telekinetically allows you to "reach" your Foes beyond 7 ft with your melee attacks, but which doesn't "stretch" your character's avatar. Instead, you're throwing out Ki Force that allows your SPIRIT to "reach" beyond the length of your limbs to hit things at 8 ft ... 10 ft ... 12 ft ... 15 ft ... 20 ft.
What if "melee range" was a variable ... and Stretching could increase the "reach" of your melee range? It doesn't have to be done by deforming the character avatar. It could be done as a visible/audible energy field of FX "reaching out" from your character to complete the gap between you and your target. Think "psychic fists" if it helps you any for what such a thing ought to look like.

As far as animations go, this sort of thing could potentially be done as a sort of "projectile" based attack, defined as being Melee Ranged with no range enhancement, but with range enhancement starts "reaching" beyond the limits of the Avatar's limbs. Set it up so that any kind of Smack-Smack FX happen on impact of the projectile with the $Target and all you'd have to do visually to "sell" the stretching aspect of it would be to trail a visual along the projectile's path (which in the Avatar Builder could even be set to invisible for the trail FX) so as to achieve the Spooky Action At A Distance result that looks good.

Essentially, create a Blapper set of Powers that can be extended beyond just Melee Range. Animation options could include doing things that would look perfectly okay in Kinetic Melee to options that look like rushing after-image echoes of the character Avatar crossing the distance in between to deliver the blows "shadow boxing" style without actually moving the character at all.


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Lothic wrote:
Lothic wrote:

Empyrean wrote:
Sounds like some of the workarounds that CoH used to do things like Shield Charge and Spring Jump, and those ended up pretty cool.
Definitely more doable and flexible (see that?) as an animation for appropriate sets like "kinetic" or "ranged melee" than as it's own power-set, I'd guess. Tightly-defined power sets like that seem to go against the whole way they're designing the game.
Elastic powers are classic staple in comics. This would be a great "one day down the road" thing.

The notion that having powersets with tightly-defined baked-in animations does go against the "provide as much power customization as possible" mideset of CoT. But while restricting any "stretching" to hardwired animations might seem like a step backwards it might also be a worthwhile compromise in order to get any kind of functional stretching into the game at all.
Having a few powersets that have "uncustomizable" powers might not be such a bad thing as long as the the animations that are baked-in to those powers are done well to begin with. A "kinetic melee" powerset that uses a "stretching exo-body aura" might be a good example of one of these kinds of specialized sets.

As long as you dont forget to allow other casting options.
Ex: When I imagine this, i think back to Tournament Fighters.. when Leo does his Ultimate 1000 Fists Attack.
https://youtu.be/0baMbV1e-W8?t=40s

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Izzy wrote:
Izzy wrote:

Lothic wrote:
Empyrean wrote:
Sounds like some of the workarounds that CoH used to do things like Shield Charge and Spring Jump, and those ended up pretty cool.
Definitely more doable and flexible (see that?) as an animation for appropriate sets like "kinetic" or "ranged melee" than as it's own power-set, I'd guess. Tightly-defined power sets like that seem to go against the whole way they're designing the game.
Elastic powers are classic staple in comics. This would be a great "one day down the road" thing.

The notion that having powersets with tightly-defined baked-in animations does go against the "provide as much power customization as possible" mideset of CoT. But while restricting any "stretching" to hardwired animations might seem like a step backwards it might also be a worthwhile compromise in order to get any kind of functional stretching into the game at all.
Having a few powersets that have "uncustomizable" powers might not be such a bad thing as long as the the animations that are baked-in to those powers are done well to begin with. A "kinetic melee" powerset that uses a "stretching exo-body aura" might be a good example of one of these kinds of specialized sets.

As long as you dont forget to allow other casting options.
Ex: When I imagine this, i think back to Tournament Fighters.. when Leo does his Ultimate 1000 Fists Attack.https://youtu.be/0baMbV1e-W8?t=40s

My point was even if they could NOT allow for multiple power customizations for this (because the need to "simulate" stretchiness via the baked-in animations would be too hard to allow for multiple player selectable versions of it) it would still be a better compromise than having no examples of "stretchiness" in the game at all.

CoH player from April 25, 2004 to November 30, 2012

Izzy
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Lothic wrote:
Lothic wrote:

My point was even if they could NOT allow for multiple power customizations for this (because the need to "simulate" stretchiness via the baked-in animations would be too hard to allow for multiple player selectable versions of it) it would still be a better compromise than having no examples of "stretchiness" in the game at all.

Agreed. :|

Empyrean
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Lothic wrote:
Lothic wrote:

Izzy wrote:
Lothic wrote:
Empyrean wrote:
Sounds like some of the workarounds that CoH used to do things like Shield Charge and Spring Jump, and those ended up pretty cool.
Definitely more doable and flexible (see that?) as an animation for appropriate sets like "kinetic" or "ranged melee" than as it's own power-set, I'd guess. Tightly-defined power sets like that seem to go against the whole way they're designing the game.
Elastic powers are classic staple in comics. This would be a great "one day down the road" thing.

The notion that having powersets with tightly-defined baked-in animations does go against the "provide as much power customization as possible" mideset of CoT. But while restricting any "stretching" to hardwired animations might seem like a step backwards it might also be a worthwhile compromise in order to get any kind of functional stretching into the game at all.
Having a few powersets that have "uncustomizable" powers might not be such a bad thing as long as the the animations that are baked-in to those powers are done well to begin with. A "kinetic melee" powerset that uses a "stretching exo-body aura" might be a good example of one of these kinds of specialized sets.

As long as you dont forget to allow other casting options.
Ex: When I imagine this, i think back to Tournament Fighters.. when Leo does his Ultimate 1000 Fists Attack.https://youtu.be/0baMbV1e-W8?t=40s

My point was even if they could NOT allow for multiple power customizations for this (because the need to "simulate" stretchiness via the baked-in animations would be too hard to allow for multiple player selectable versions of it) it would still be a better compromise than having no examples of "stretchiness" in the game at all.

Agreed, though I would think that elasticity animations for both a kinetics/ranged melee type set AND for travel powers should be manageable at some point down the road, which should fulfill the full feeling of that power.

Of course, what I base all those "shoulds" on is absolutely no real knowledge of programming and animating, so... :P

FIGHT EVIL! (or go cause trouble so the Heroes have something to do.)