The doors in video games are a real headache and the developers of The Last of Us 2 or Control explain the reasons

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  The doors in video games are a real headache and the developers of The Last of Us 2 or Control explain the reasons

No one could imagine it. Making a video game can become really complex, involving a large number of people and requiring many hours of dedication to achieve the best result.



That is why it is interesting and surprising to see how a conversation has formed on Twitter between different developers, explaining their experiences with a concrete object: the doors.



Apparently, they have characteristics that make them practically a challenge for work teams. It all started with Stephan Hövelbrinkscreator of Death Trashwho shared the following message through the social network:



doors #gamedev pic.twitter.com/7CJgKin1dE



— Stephan Hövelbrinks (@talecrafter) March 9, 2021



Doors are tricky to have in games and have all sorts of potential bugs. Mainly because they’re a dynamic funnel and they block pathfinding, potentially blocked, potentially destructible, but more generally because they potentially sit in between any game interaction or character-to-character situation back and forth. AAA developers hate them too. The Assassin’s Creed series, otherwise packed with stuff, doesn’t. So when a small indie developer added them to their first game, with combat and non-combat situations as well as multiple entry/move schemes, it was tough for them.



Specifically, the doors that Hövelbrinks refers to are those that can be opened and closed to access a new area, but without a previous load.



Another prominent developer who participated in the conversation was Damion Schubertformer BioWare Austin designer, who added that doors can confuse the programming of the paths of the NPCs or use them at the same time as the player. In addition, they can cause the user’s animations to fail if they are close to one of them.



Doors create all sorts of pathfinding and AI issues, as NPCs try to navigate the doors. And all sorts of weird timing issues if two NPCs try to use the door at the same time, or the NPC tries to use it at the same time as a player.



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— Damion Schubert, Zen Designer (@ZenOfDesign) March 9, 2021



The gates create all sorts of pathfinding and AI problems as NPCs try to get through the gates. And all sorts of weird timing issues if two NPCs try to use the gate at the same time, or the NPC tries to use it at the same time as a player.



The case of The Last of Us 2



One of the most outstanding participations in this exhibition of experiences was that of Kurt Margenau, co-director of Naughty Dog’s latest opus. He explained that even a study of the resources and the size of his could not avoid being affected by this problem.



Don’t know what everyone’s up in arms about. We added doors in combat to TLOU2, it took like a day. Just gotta have good talent I gues… LOL JK IT WAS THE THING THAT TOOK THE LONGEST TO GET RIGHT WHAT WERE WE THINKING 1/100 https://t.co/oUmdRFmiGJ Blog sobre viajes y turismo, nacional e internacional, caro y barato Viajes y turismo



— Kurt Margenau (@kurtmargenau) March 9, 2021



I don’t know why they are all in arms. We added gates in combat to TLOU2, it took like a day. I just have to have good talent I guess…LOL JK WAS THE THING THAT TOOK US LONGER TO DO CORRECTLY THAN WE THOUGHT 1/100



In his Twitter thread he relates that “we knew that doors in a stealth scenario would add some level of player authorship to the space and provide more opportunities to escape from situations. block [la línea de visión] and slow down enemies. This was in line with wanting the player to re-establish stealth more often.”



However, the level of detail that you have to control Ellie or Abby is a hindrance in the preliminary phases. “We are a game that has incredibly polished animation. If a player is going to open a door, it can’t just magically open, the character has to reach the doorknob and push it open. But what about closing it behind you? How do you do that while running?



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That’s why they worked with different prototypes to be able to close the gates behind us, but it just wasn’t compatible with The Last of Us 2 combat. So the solution for Margenau was that “the doors will slowly close automatically. This is most in the player’s favor as opening the player door slows them down very little, we don’t even take control away from them, but they do block the AI ​​more effectively.”



In this particular task, the director revealed that Naughty Dog had to create the door as a new physical object, so that players could push it, although users can also be pushed by it. This is a real challenge for any studio.



More voices joined the text by Stephan Hövelbrinks. One of them was Sergey Mohov, Remedy’s gameplay designer, who recounted how he dealt with doors when creating Control.



I don’t exactly know how many man-months went into the door system in Control, but more than most abilities and weapons, for sure.



— Sergey Mohov 🌻 (@krides) March 9, 2021



I don’t know exactly how many man-months went into the gate system in Control, but more than most skills and weapons, for sure.



Finally, Neil Uchitelaudio lead at Naughty Dog, clarified that designing the sound of a door is a huge challenge. Finally, Josh Sawyera designer at Obsidian, revealed that doors are “one of the first things we implement in any of our games.”





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