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Up is relative

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Huckleberry
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Up is relative

In a post in another thread I suggested making the up direction normal to whichever surfact the player is upon... to an extent.

Let me explain:

While a character is traversing normal hills, slopes and angled surfaces, as long as their body is oriented in the vertical direction, the camera should also be oriented in a vertical direction. However, as soon as a character begins "wall-walking" (notice I'm not restricting it to mere crawling) then the camera should rotate to reflect a new up.

The greatest benefit for doing this is the ease of controlling the character's movements. From the player's perspective, the entire control scheme is identical to moving on the ground, which simplifies things greatly.

Just because the camera views up as sideways or upside down does not affect gravity at all. Thrown objects, ground targeted abilities, falling and jumping are still affected by gravity in the same way, regardless of the orientation of the camera. This could lead to weird and perhaps even disorienting experiences as an upside down character standing on the cieling throws things that go "upwards". But in my opinion that would be weird and disorienting in a really cool way that I think would make people enjoy it even more.

Furthermore, i think this can be used by the devs to create some interesting carnival house or MC Escher style maps in which players on a team could all be standing at different angles to each other. It could also open up possibilities for vertical and inverted surfaces as viable target locations for ground-targeted abilities, summoning circles and obstacles to be cast on walls or cielings and stay there, oriented according to that surface rather than to gravity.

Followup question: Would we want to do this with flying as well, fixing the camera's up with relation to the character's body? If so, should we implement roll control like a flight simulator?


I like to take your ideas and supersize them. This isn't criticism, it is flattery. I come with nothing but good will and a spirit of team-building. If you take what I write any other way, that is probably just because I wasn't very clear.
Fireheart
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Not a bad suggestion, but I'd

Not a bad suggestion, but I'd want 'Relative Up' to be a Toggle, 'up' being relative to Gravity. The character-camera's viewpoint might be usefully swiveled around to align with the plane that the character is moving on. OR it might be more comfortable to always see where 'down' is so that one can avoid catastrophic encounters with Gravity.

One issue with this 'Relative Up' toggle, is how do we Define 'up'? Do we define it by 'Gravity', by Body-orientation, or by Surface?

Summoning to 'non-down' surfaces begs the question of 'what happens next?' Do we then have summons 'stuck' to the 'non-down' surface? How do they orient? Do they Fall? Are we now Teleporting enemies a half-mile into the naked 'up' and leaving them to deal with the new environment? Let's plant a gun-turret on the ceiling, where it can attack all the enemies and not be effectively attacked in return. Yes, that is a 'Batman Tactic', but Batman rarely worries about 'game balance'.

So, 'Relative Up' by Surfaces forces a determination of 'How are we sticking to this and how firmly are we stuck?' How does Jill Office-worker feel about having random hoodlums stuck to her 10th story Window? Are they Glued there, or Embedded in the glass? Is it just a matter of static-cling? Who's gonna clean up the mess?

Be Well!
Fireheart

Huckleberry
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If this were to be a toggle,

If this were to be a toggle, I think Up would be defined as conventional (up is always normal to the ground) or relative (up is defined by the character's orientation) and just leave it at that. Then character orientation is open to be used however the game designers see fit: Relative to surface for wall walkers, relative to the character's body for flyers, or relative to the effects of gravity wierdness in cases where that might be appropriate.

For example, consider a character who has the grapple movement ability and combines it with the most basic entry-level wall crawling so they can stick to the walls they grapple to. Such a character would most likely want to remain in the conventional camera orientation at all times. But a wall-runner who uses the speed force to run up one side of a building and down the other and who has a couple levels in wall crawling to sneak past guards by moving across the cieling will probably want to use the relative camera orientation for ease of control.

I think the questions you ask about casting upon 'non-down' surfaces are good questions that need to be addressed. It would be creative level design if the NPCs cast turrets on the cieling it because it would be a good challenge for the player characters to overcome. For the reasons you discuss about being out of range of melee fighters, this could possibly be problematic if the players did it. But then again, any ranged player character with the hover ability can be effectively a turret out of range of ground-based melee fighters anyway, so really what's the difference? I think it would be excellent game design if a summoning circle on the ceiling or the wall would spit out its summons which would immediately fall if it does not have wallwalking ability, perhaps even taking falling damage. Obviously flying summons would be completely unaffected.

I have no idea what you are talking about with Jill Office-worker and the hoodlums stuck to he window. Could you please explain it for us? How did they get there?

One of the other possible benefits of the relative camera orientation is that when a character is thrown or tossed ass over teakettle by an ability, the room could spin following the spinning of our character until we come to rest; which in my opinion would be totally awesome.


I like to take your ideas and supersize them. This isn't criticism, it is flattery. I come with nothing but good will and a spirit of team-building. If you take what I write any other way, that is probably just because I wasn't very clear.
Fireheart
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Huckleberry wrote:
Huckleberry wrote:

I have no idea what you are talking about with Jill Office-worker and the hoodlums stuck to the window. Could you please explain it to us? How did they get there?

I was envisioning the advent of random mobs stuck in/to windows, walls, and other surfaces via extreme KB, Teleportation, and other forms of 'summoning'. I recall the fun I had with my Gravity Controller who could 'Wormhole' a whole group of enemies into a corner dumpster.
In the discussion of applying 'ground-target' powers to unconventional surfaces, I imagined (Jill Office-worker) a civilian sitting on the 'other side' of that surface and seeing the 'underneath' of whatever effect.

I agree that having a camera set to 'relative up' when the character experiences a Knock-Up might be seriously disorienting to the Player, as well. And could be entertaining.

Redlynne
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Fireheart wrote:
Fireheart wrote:

I agree that having a camera set to 'relative up' when the character experiences a Knock-Up might be seriously disorienting to the Player, as well. And could be entertaining.

It's both a Bug ... and a Feature!

Two stones with one bird ...


Verbogeny is one of many pleasurettes afforded a creatific thinkerizer.
Huckleberry
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I think it should be stated

I think it should be stated that anytime the camera is manually controlled, the game should not move it. When I say this I'm assuming some standard default keybinds. So lets say that left-click and hold is the default camera look, while right-click and hold is the default for character rotation. Everyone has the option of keybinding their own preferences, but for the purposes of this discussion, let's say those are the keybinds. (note: this is not an Action Combat System where the mouse pointer controls the camera by default like TERA or DCUO; this is a tab target system like WOW, FFXIV and CoX)

So if the player is left-clicking to control where the camera looks, when the character experiences a change in "up" the camera will maintain the direction it is currently pointing, because the game should NOT take that control from the player. However, since "up" has changed, the horizon of the picture the player sees on screen may actually rotate to reflect the new "up" even though it is still pointed at the same spot.

Likewise, if the player is right-click holding to physically control the character's facing, then it should require the character to be tossed as the result of an opponent's active ability or deliberate environmental event (like a tornado) to remove that control by the player. However, even if the player is manually controlling the character's facing, if the character transitions from one surface to another angled surface then "up" should rotate on the player's screen all the while maintaining the character's facing the same point, just as in the above example. So, in effect, the character would move from one surface to the other and the character's head will remain pointing in the same direction while the horizon rotates to accomodate the new frame of reference. It think it would be pretty intuitive.


I like to take your ideas and supersize them. This isn't criticism, it is flattery. I come with nothing but good will and a spirit of team-building. If you take what I write any other way, that is probably just because I wasn't very clear.
Iathor
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I seem to recall EQ did some

I seem to recall EQ did some kind of automatic tilt adjustment in the follow cam when you walked up and down hills; I suspect it was at least sometimes tracking the average PC movement vector rather than the surface normal, since the former is much easier to compute and a lot better smoothed. When I play STO, the fact that the camera doesn’t track surface pitch is a moderate annoyance, since there are a number of ground maps where you can’t see the approaching enemies without manually changing the camera angles. This probably won’t be as common in CoT, though.

Tech Team

Huckleberry
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Iathor wrote:
Iathor wrote:

I seem to recall EQ did some kind of automatic tilt adjustment in the follow cam when you walked up and down hills; I suspect it was at least sometimes tracking the average PC movement vector rather than the surface normal, since the former is much easier to compute and a lot better smoothed.

That's interesting. I'll assume you've chosen your vocabulary deliberately. So you think it probably takes an average of the movement vector? I wonder if it looks forwards and backwards along your current heading and averages what it finds?

In my opinion up should be opposite gravity at all times unless the character is either using a wall walking power of some kind or the game deliberately wants to shift it for effect. So hills, stairs, sewers, industrial art, etc., should not affect up. But I don't think we can apply the same rules for wall-walking. The reason is because the whole world is normal to gravity so it's easy to write one rule for the whole world: "the sky is up and the earth is down." But you can't do that for wall-walking because every wall, ceiling and non-down surface would need to have it's own up defined and that's not anything I would wish on any game design.

I'm in agreement with you that would probably be not wise for CoT where the vast majority surfaces we are most concerned with for this topic will be man-made and thus relatively planar, or at least smooth. However, a common brick building with recessed windows, window boxes, cornice moulding, etc. would have lots of dips and bumps for a wall-walker to traverse. Would a mere window frame be treated as bump in the surface of the wall or would it be a surface in its own right? Would there be a benefit to averaging the area around a character to determin what normal is to that surface? I think there would be. In fact, I can't think of a better way of determining up for a non-down surface. I'm glad you mentioned it.

But that begs the question, is there a limit to how small things should be to affect up for someone who is wall-walking? Does clinging to a lightpost count? How about stepping up a curb from the street to the sidewalk? (you may laugh at that last one, but if you are climibing in DCUO, you will find yourself actually climbing curbs in that game) Averaging would address most of these issues.

I also think times like this is when a toggle might come in handy. If we keybind it, then it would only switch when we want it to. So the average street patrol where you jump half-way up a lighpost or telephone pole just to get a better look at something, your horizon remains horizontal. But if you want to climb to the top of the pole do you press forward or sideways to climb up it? Ask any speedster or wall walker in DCUO and they'll tell you how difficult it is just to climb a friggin' pole! But with a toggle, you can release the camera and up smoothly rotates 90 degrees, making climbing to the top of the pole as easy as walking forwards. It would be like walking along a felled tree or a beam for a normal non-wall-walker.


I like to take your ideas and supersize them. This isn't criticism, it is flattery. I come with nothing but good will and a spirit of team-building. If you take what I write any other way, that is probably just because I wasn't very clear.
Iathor
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I don’t really know enough

I don’t really know enough about our travel power plans to be able to think much about the camera behavior for them. The EQ camera was rather finicky at times, as I recall, and there was a significant lag sometimes in its pointing behavior. I doubt it looked at the actual terrain polygons in any detail, mostly because it was designed for low performance machines, and that would be a fair amount of load. Similarly, I’m not sure we have much information on ground other than the point where the character hits the ground, plus the facing of the specific polygon at the intersection, so there may not be a lot we can do with anything but the surface normal right there. I doubt we’ll do anything complicated with the camera system for a while; right now it’s basically the vanilla camera-onna-stick that Unreal gives us. It has a fair amount of flexibility in pointing and positioning, which you can see on the island, and it knows not to go into walls. But except for some physics related to the latter, it’s not set up to be smart in any real way.

Your comments about climbing poles brings back painful memories of climbing ladders in EQ, where you had to tilt the camera up at just the right vector to go up the ladder without falling off. I hope our climbing ability isn’t quite that finicky...

Tech Team

elaparr
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Huckleberry wrote:
Huckleberry wrote:

In a post in another thread I suggested making the up direction normal to whichever surfact the player is upon... to an extent.

Let me explain:

While a character is traversing normal hills, slopes and angled surfaces, as long as their body is oriented in the vertical direction, the camera should also be oriented in a vertical direction. However, as soon as a character begins "wall-walking" (notice I'm not restricting it to mere crawling) then the camera should rotate to reflect a new up.

The greatest benefit for doing this is the ease of controlling the character's movements. From the player's perspective, the entire control scheme is identical to moving on the ground, which simplifies things greatly.

Just because the camera views up as sideways or upside down does not affect gravity at all. Thrown objects, ground targeted abilities, falling and jumping are still affected by gravity in the same way, regardless of the orientation of the camera. This could lead to weird and perhaps even disorienting experiences as an upside down character standing on the cieling throws things that go "upwards". But in my opinion that would be weird and disorienting in a really cool way that I think would make people enjoy it even more.

Furthermore, i think this can be used by the devs to create some interesting carnival house or MC Escher style maps in which players on a team could all be standing at different angles to each other. It could also open up possibilities for vertical and inverted surfaces as viable target locations for ground-targeted abilities, summoning circles and obstacles to be cast on walls or cielings and stay there, oriented according to that surface rather than to gravity.

Followup question: Would we want to do this with flying as well, fixing the camera's up with relation to the character's body? If so, should we implement roll control like a flight simulator?

It's an interesting idea.

Huckleberry
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Thanks. The more I've

Thanks. The more I've thought about it, the more I believe this is the way to go. But if so, the game will need to figure out how to calculate what relative up is at any location. Either it is 1) normal to whatever surface the character's coordinates correspond to, or it is 2) an average of the surfaces in the vicinity of the character, or it is 3) defined by the game developers (or a combination of the above)

The benefit of 1) is that no further effort needs to be employed by the game developers. The downside is that every little nook and cranny is its own surface and so wall-walking would be an onerous experience. I don't recommend this solution.
The benefit of 2) is that nooks and crannies will have little to no impact on the character's perception of up. In fact edges and corners may become more rounded from a player's experience, which is a good thing as it will make transitions from plane to plane smoother and less jarring. The downside is that it adds to the calculation load the client must perform. I propose a sensitivity analysis to see to what extent this impacts game performance or if it can be ameliorated by reducing the quality of other game settings.
The benefit of 3) is that no additional calculations need to be made by the game client to determine what up is. The most obvious downside is that someone on the environment team will need to define the normal to every surface in the game. Most of it will probably be the default of the surface itself. But things like buildings and fences and anything else with 3D details will need to be grouped together somehow and given a common up just like how all the bumps and dips on the ground don't change what up is for everyone else. This effort will probably result in the best game performance, but will also require the most development effort. (maybe. I don't know what level of development effort would be required to code the calculations of option 2, but that would be a one-time effort; whereas the effort for option 3 would be required for every environment created in the life of the game)


I like to take your ideas and supersize them. This isn't criticism, it is flattery. I come with nothing but good will and a spirit of team-building. If you take what I write any other way, that is probably just because I wasn't very clear.
Redlynne
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The added benefit of enabling

The added benefit of enabling a Relative Up is what that then lets you do with redefining the direction of "up" under Player command in the context of a Gravity Control set.

You aren't "flying" through the sky ... you're FALLING ... that-a-way ... in your own personal gravity field.
You aren't "hovering" in the sky ... you're just in a null gravity field ... that lets you hang in the sky the way that bricks don't.

Group Flight then simply becomes expanding the AoE field to encompass teammates and allies, so that they too can "fall UP" (or down, if you prefer) in whatever direction the Gravity Controller defines as the "Up" (or "Down") direction RIGHT NOW™.

Note that this approach can wind up creating an entire new movement type that is similar to but not exactly the same as Flight, unique to a Gravity Control styled powerset.


Verbogeny is one of many pleasurettes afforded a creatific thinkerizer.
Huckleberry
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Redlynne wrote:
Redlynne wrote:

The added benefit of enabling a Relative Up is what that then lets you do with redefining the direction of "up" under Player command in the context of a Gravity Control set.

You aren't "flying" through the sky ... you're FALLING ... that-a-way ... in your own personal gravity field.
You aren't "hovering" in the sky ... you're just in a null gravity field ... that lets you hang in the sky the way that bricks don't.

Group Flight then simply becomes expanding the AoE field to encompass teammates and allies, so that they too can "fall UP" (or down, if you prefer) in whatever direction the Gravity Controller defines as the "Up" (or "Down") direction RIGHT NOW™.

Note that this approach can wind up creating an entire new movement type that is similar to but not exactly the same as Flight, unique to a Gravity Control styled powerset.

Not sure if any of what you describe actually needs or even would take advantage of a change in "relative up." It seems like more of an issue of whether your personal internal lore is because of gravity or some other rationale. I assume when we select our travel power that we can choose our travel animation with it. Currently we have one hand forward and two hands forward as our flight options, but I imagine at some point when they make a Gravity Package that we will be able to select other poses that would be more appropriate to a gravity manipulator than to powered flight.


I like to take your ideas and supersize them. This isn't criticism, it is flattery. I come with nothing but good will and a spirit of team-building. If you take what I write any other way, that is probably just because I wasn't very clear.