Integrated physics

By on December 13, 2008 11:44:57 AM from JoeUser Forums JoeUser Forums

Frogboy

Join Date 03/2001
+1478

Our story so far...

In Elemental there is no such thing as a knight or a wizard or an archer.  Instead, players design their own units.  If you wanted to call a unit a knight, you might take a man, equip him with some armor, give him a helmet, arm him with a sword, and pair him up with a horse.

The armor, helmets, swords, etc. are things you manufacture and thus have some control over how they look. Normally, customizing an individual unit falls only in the realm of role playing games. And what they tend to do is called texture merging. That is, they simply blend various textures together.

In Elemental, what we're doing is actually giving each item its own heft with its own physics.  The trick is to find a way to do this that still lets it run on lower end hardware so it has to be done smartly. At the same time, you want the guy with that new Core i7 with the latest nVidia or ATI card to look at it and go DAMN that's cool.

The example we have going is a knight that we've equipped with armor, a sword, a helmet, along with a horse with its own armor.  When they move, each item moves as if it were real. That is, the armor on the horse when the horse is running moves like you would expect.  The knight riding the horse moves on the horse as you'd expect and even the sword dangling from the side moves as you would expect. 

Normally, to get such an effect, you would have to model/bone/rig/animate the entire unit together.  The breakthru here is that these elements are all independent and created by the players and they just work together.  I'll try to get a little video or something to show this in action next time.

This will really make the tactical battles really compelling. Since so much of the game revolves around the premise of massive unit differentia, you will see some really breathtaking battles I think.

Locked Post 76 Replies
Search this post
Subscription Options


Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
December 13, 2008 12:00:51 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

 

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
December 13, 2008 12:12:59 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting ,

Our story so far...

In Elemental there is no such thing as a knight or a wizard or an archer.  Instead, players design their own units.  If you wanted to call a unit a knight, you might take a man, equip him with some armor, give him a helmet, arm him with a sword, and pair him up with a horse.
[...]


I find this flagrant case of speciesism offensive

 

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
December 13, 2008 12:41:01 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Luckmann,
I find this flagrant case of speciesism offensive! 

Hah, the frog has heard the call of the pegasi. (Pegasi are members of the horse family.)

------------------------

As for the topic, it sounds amazing and I can't wait for a video of it.

 

What I would like to know though, is, if all those calculations have any effect on the battles themselves or if they're only visual effects.

Or in other words, how accurate resp. complicated will the battle system be?

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
December 13, 2008 1:25:34 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Yeah I think I'm going to need to see a video before I get too excited by this particular feature.

 

It sounds cool when described, but I can't visualise it or quite work out what it will add to the game.

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
December 13, 2008 2:11:06 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Not trying to be negative here, but this really sounds like it might be putting a cool technology before the gameplay of the game.  Like the last poster, I have trouble seeing how this isn't just going to be eye candy, that doesn't add to the game play.  It sounds like cool eye candy, but having a fun game is much more important.

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
December 13, 2008 2:53:10 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

In Elemental there is no such thing as a knight or a wizard or an archer.

 

I'll wait with any comments, positive or not, on this topic until its clearer what it actually means for the gaming experience. Flexibility in producing units is great, but at the same time: if there are no "unit archetypes" or rules at all, the result might just end up: bland. With heavy micro-management.

A comparison can be made with Dungeons & Dragons normal RPG, where I have never been a big fan of the multi-class characters. When everyone, warriors, thieves, priests, start walking around throwing fireballs, the magic of the mage is somewhat lost ... If anyone can learn priest spells, the real priests are not that exciting anymore. I'm not against some such flexibility, but it has to be rare and handled with care for when it is really appropriate.

For the graphics it sounds really cool though. I hope it will all turn out right.

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
December 13, 2008 3:16:36 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

 

Well I think it's rather exciting, and knowing Stardoc games the way I do I have no doubt that doing this will not mean they put any less effort into great game play.

 

I can see how this makes it easy to produce very visually unique units, I also wonder to what extent the physical modelling might be reflected in the capabilities of the unit?

 

Seriously guys if they can pull this of with reasonable performance this is going to be awesome.

 

To Frogboy please don't drop this because of the nay sayers and doubting Thomas here.

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
December 13, 2008 3:25:57 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Will be interesting to see this in action. It will be amazing if it works as advertising.

Have you had any weird physics accidents? Horses being suddenly launched skyward?

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
December 13, 2008 3:30:00 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I can't wait to see this in action. I bet the system will have many bugs to start and while annoying at least a handful should prove to be absolutly hilarious.

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
December 13, 2008 3:30:53 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Haha, I wasn't trying to piss on the parade! I like hearing about cool things and this certainly does sounds cool, though again I can't quite work out if this is just a graphical effect or something that will be a cosideration when building untis for combat. I see that as not necessary a feature that you'd sell the game off the back of, but nice to know about. Like the other guy said, just don't go neglecting any of the core game mechanics in pursuit of what seems to be the incidental, albeit cool, stuff!

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
December 13, 2008 3:53:47 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Man, I am excited to give MY guy a armor, a sythe, and stick him on a bear.  I wonder how hard it will be to get the different options to manufactor. (or whatever you do to get bears, horses, and pegesi)

If it is all based on what resources are around your town then town placement is going to be really important.  Balance for starting locations might be rough too.

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
December 13, 2008 4:39:55 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting ,

The example we have going is a knight that we've equipped with armor, a sword, a helmet, along with a horse with its own armor.  When they move, each item moves as if it were real. That is, the armor on the horse when the horse is running moves like you would expect.  The knight riding the horse moves on the horse as you'd expect and even the sword dangling from the side moves as you would expect. 


Normally, to get such an effect, you would have to model/bone/rig/animate the entire unit together.  The breakthr[ough] here is that these elements are all independent and created by the players and they just work together.  I'll try to get a little video or something to show this in action next time.

You know, sometimes I think that Brad Wardell is having us on.

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
December 13, 2008 7:03:25 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

One of the issues I have with games where you design units (Usually space ships,) by putting together things you have researched and/or built is that you find yourself needing to create a new design everytime there is an incremental change in technology.  I.e. I have just researched shields that are +5 instead of my shields that are +4, so I need to design a new ship type, (Or multiple ship types,) with the new technology.  This can lead to micromanagement, a difficulity in unit uniqueness and a naming problem.  This is something that could be an issue here.  Of course it could be managed well, but these are potential difficulties I think might come up.

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
December 13, 2008 7:15:56 PM from Stardock Forums Stardock Forums

That sounds awesome.

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
December 13, 2008 7:25:16 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

On the matter of upgrades, I see no reason why there can't be an Upgrade to Best option in cities.  Clearly swords won't change to scythes, and code is needed so that my paladins upgrade to +4 holy swords instead of +5 swords, but that's retained by a single checkbox (Retain Specials, No Retraining, and a Time Limit checkbox (with either input box or slider) are all things I'd think of adding.)

So you DON'T need to design Knight, Knight2, Knight3, ... Knight57.  Just make a Knight, and he pulls on the best TYPE of equipment.  The problem happens if I have lots of copper, little tin, and a pressing need for knights - I need a way of specifying Build Fast instead of Build Best.

But back on topic...  The physics sound great!  Can we hope that sweeping blows by ogres, dragons, and the like send that knight flying into the troops behind him with lethal results?  Does a pikeman seized by the ogre flail about while the ogre uses him as a club against his fellows? 

Ahem... And just so that we're clear - each piece of equipment also includes such things as auras for mystic infusions, how it reacts to fire, where it breaks upon taking structural damage from Banshee's Wail (just guessing an effect, here), getting immolated when the horse runs smack through an enraged fire elemental?

And more importantly - IS THIS MODDABLE?  Some dumbtastic half-programmer is going to throw in daywalker vampires and forget that although they don't disintigrate in the sun, they can still be disintigrated.  (Or transformed BACK into normal vampires while in broad daylight - oops, there go YOUR elite troops...)  Anyway, we'll need to add things of our own to the graphics at some point, will we be able to do that?  (Providing your skills are BETTER than mine, clunky and kludgy as mine are.  I won't personally be doing a lot of artwork, but I want other people to be able to do so.)

And what if we DO have items that alter the physical forces?  A horse charging underwater, although able to breathe, should have slightly different physics than a horse in high winds on the frozen tundra, or rammed by an armored Bear Rider, or getting trapped in a giant spider's web, or being mobbed by Ghoulish Seals. 

[side note]  You mention PAIRED WITH a horse.  During combat, will we have events that kill rider or horse, but spare the other?  If there are SHORT attackers (ghouls, kobolds, rabid mice, baby seals with clubs, bear cubs) that can strike the mount but not the rider?  What about TALL units (like ogres) that are more likely to hit the riders?  What about mounts of different sizes, or the ability to fly?

Never mind, I've noticed I'm blathering now.  I'll hush.

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
December 13, 2008 7:26:10 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

At the same time, you want the guy with that new Core i7 with the latest nVidia or ATI card to look at it and go DAMN that's cool.

Nope. I just want an immense elemental game to run as smooth as an Immense, common settings GC2 game. Is that a realistic hope at this stage?

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
December 13, 2008 9:09:26 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Like maybe he's making fun of Spore?

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
December 13, 2008 11:35:31 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

So the new release date is what, 2015?

I look forward to seeing the video (or any other new media you care to dribble out to us!).

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
December 13, 2008 11:51:41 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Nice It's good to see the engine is being worked from the ground up to support more open and strategic gameplay.

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
December 14, 2008 3:23:09 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

This sounds awsome, but, not to be a negative nancy....I really can't imagine how were each part of each soldier is effected individually is going to run on anything but top end machines...I imagine that is soooo much processing power.

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
December 14, 2008 8:01:24 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

...with every new dev journal I get even more addicted to this game. I didn't even know it was possible to be addicted to something you've never tasted!

Quoting lamperti,
One of the issues I have with games where you design units (Usually space ships,) by putting together things you have researched and/or built is that you find yourself needing to create a new design everytime there is an incremental change in technology.  I.e. I have just researched shields that are +5 instead of my shields that are +4, so I need to design a new ship type, (Or multiple ship types,) with the new technology.  This can lead to micromanagement, a difficulity in unit uniqueness and a naming problem.  This is something that could be an issue here.  Of course it could be managed well, but these are potential difficulties I think might come up.

I second this. There definitely needs to be a good way to upgrade unit types without having to constantly build new ones. Rhishisikk's idea seems pretty good (upgrade to best), but what the computer thinks is the best is often not what you want. So for the sake of both upgrading units and for the sake of multiplayer, building/editing units needs to be quick and easy. Maybe once you've created the base unit it could just be a matter of selecting components like swords, helmets, etc from a list, and the edit places them automatically.

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
December 14, 2008 8:25:56 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I'll wait with any comments, positive or not, on this topic until its clearer what it actually means for the gaming experience. Flexibility in producing units is great, but at the same time: if there are no "unit archetypes" or rules at all, the result might just end up: bland. With heavy micro-management.

A comparison can be made with Dungeons & Dragons normal RPG, where I have never been a big fan of the multi-class characters. When everyone, warriors, thieves, priests, start walking around throwing fireballs, the magic of the mage is somewhat lost ... If anyone can learn priest spells, the real priests are not that exciting anymore. I'm not against some such flexibility, but it has to be rare and handled with care for when it is really appropriate.

For the graphics it sounds really cool though. I hope it will all turn out right.

 

It's the player's call to make an army of generic unit with swords, pointy hats (wizards), helmets, horses and an invisibility cloak or to make a more normal, differentiated army. In the end, it will be about balance. Yes, someone can make the first type of army with 100 master-of-everything soldiers, but i bet it will be much more expensive than an army of 25 soldiers, 25 archers, 25 cavalry and 25 support magicians.

So in the end if you actually want to win the game (and lets suppose the player is in against an human or a good AI) he will have to specialize much more his troops. Just because you have freedom to design your units doesnt mean these units will be generic, or even good, or cost effective.

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
December 14, 2008 8:48:50 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

pigeonpigeon:  Okay, so how about this: we keep a set of templates.  For example, I have both a holy paladin and a knight template.  I want my paladins to keep their holy sword instead of getting the new flaming swords, but I want my knights to make use of the new technology.  I select UPGRADE on the knight template, move in the flaming sword, and save the template.   New knights will be built with flaming swords.  My idle production goes into making flaming swords, which are caravaned out to the units, and bring back the old weapons.  (So yes, my garrisons will upgrade first, being closest).  When a unit is in town, I can select UPGRADE TO TEMPLATE: [template name] (Or maybe UPGRADE lists the templates that match the unit's current configuration) and have it pop up with X weeks, and stick the unit into the production queue. 

This also melds into the idea of supply caravans, weapon/armor wear and tear, and other automatically supplied field needs.

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
December 14, 2008 12:59:26 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Maybe there should be the options to abstract unit choices? So I could equip a unit with 'sword' and it will pick the best sword available (perhaps there needs to be a way to reserve weapons). Or I could equip a unit with 'flaming sword' and it will pick the best available flaming sword, and have priority getting it compared to the guy just picking any old sword, or I could equip it with 'flaming sword IV' and it will only ever be equipped with that, and gets first pick.

(Obviously if upgrades are distinguished in the game by sticking numbers after them then it will be a disappointment.)

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
December 14, 2008 4:06:03 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting ,

In Elemental there is no such thing as a knight or a wizard or an archer.  Instead, players design their own units.  If you wanted to call a unit a knight, you might take a man, equip him with some armor, give him a helmet, arm him with a sword, and pair him up with a horse.

I like this method of unit construction.

Quoting ,

The armor, helmets, swords, etc. are things you manufacture and thus have some control over how they look. Normally, customizing an individual unit falls only in the realm of role playing games. And what they tend to do is called texture merging. That is, they simply blend various textures together.
In Elemental, what we're doing is actually giving each item its own heft with its own physics.  The trick is to find a way to do this that still lets it run on lower end hardware so it has to be done smartly. At the same time, you want the guy with that new Core i7 with the latest nVidia or ATI card to look at it and go DAMN that's cool.
The example we have going is a knight that we've equipped with armor, a sword, a helmet, along with a horse with its own armor.  When they move, each item moves as if it were real. That is, the armor on the horse when the horse is running moves like you would expect.  The knight riding the horse moves on the horse as you'd expect and even the sword dangling from the side moves as you would expect. 
Normally, to get such an effect, you would have to model/bone/rig/animate the entire unit together.  The breakthru here is that these elements are all independent and created by the players and they just work together.  I'll try to get a little video or something to show this in action next time.

Why?  I know it sounds cool but why spend all this extra time on eye candy?  Will all this time spent on the physics based animation system carry over into the combat physics?  Will a hit from a large heavy two handed weapon send a small unit flying across the screen as a projectile where a normal size unit may be able to block the hit, and a large armoured unit just ignores the hit and continues with his swing?  If it is just for the eye candy I don't see that it would be worth it.

Sammual

P.S.  Watch the videos for some work others are doing on physics based animation. http://www.naturalmotion.com/euphoria.htm

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
Stardock Forums v1.0.0.0    #108432  walnut2   Server Load Time: 00:00:00.0001484   Page Render Time: