Non-breakbale objects in games


Bill Tarling

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Was just thinking about the Prototype Footage video [with the dilapidated shed for shelter] and the "Abandoned Highway" Scenarios thread [with the empty vehicles along the road]...

For the she, I was wondering if some (or all) of the boards might be accessible. I know we can take apart every building we come across, and it would require too much programming to make every piece of furniture found in them smashable -- but at least some of the dishevelled ones should at least be usable if broken down.

Whether for kindling (burning), or even taking small pieces of broken boards to use as tools - there should be some way to at least make use of some of the material. Even perhaps being able to burn down isolated sheds or shacks... yes the buildings would be more useful for even partial shelters, but thinking outside the box a bit -- in a real case scenario, I would probably try to take some of the wood, nails, or whatever for future use [deconstruct and recycle/reconstruct into a new use].

Likewise with abandoned vehicles... again programming would be too awkward to make every car window smashable, but at least some should provide shards that could be used [for cutting, skinning, fashioned as a weapon, etc.]

Reason I mention it is because I hate games where everything is pretty much indestructable -- we've all played games where even a bazooka is used to take down wall or doors, yet they can do more than leave a smudge on a window or wallpaper... or where in an entire game, there are the same cans of food everywhere, but only one building seems to have a single isolated can which can be inventoried -- and in TLD, we can still use the emptied can afterwards for cooking (rather than it just vanishing once the food was eaten).

Again, too much programming to make everything in the game destructible [and that would defeat the gameplay], but I'm hoping at least more than 1 or 2 of similar or common objects through the world will be breakable... that would go far towards encouraging [requiring] explorers to check everything in the game rather than dismissing everything as just scene art.

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Just a little niggle with your reasoning Bill, car windows don't break like normal glass, as they are Tempered to Shatter, and with the thick Polymer coating on the in/outside to stop it spreading in a accident, hence you wouldn't be able to get a single piece of window, to use as anything really.

Now the Mirrors are a different thing altogether and you could with them.

Im with you it will take a lot of code to do this, but would be nice to see it in the game to a certain degree. As RTL as they can possible make it. Like i would like to see a sort of crafting table like Minecraft, where if you have certain things in your inventory, you can combine 2/3/4/5 items to make this or that ?!?!?

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Just a little niggle with your reasoning Bill, car windows don't break like normal glass, as they are Tempered to Shatter, and with the thick Polymer coating on the in/outside to stop it spreading in a accident, hence you wouldn't be able to get a single piece of window, to use as anything really. Now the Mirrors are a different thing altogether and you could with them.

Good point (and like the idea of mirror fragments too -- pieces could also be used for a number of things including setting signal spots or being used as decoy markers).

Still would like to see some vehicle windows breakable (even if nothing useful left afterwards) - at least it would give access to the vehicles.

Mostly it just always irked me where weapons in games would take down everything with full destruction, but a leaf, window, or paper poster could block them *lol*

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It would be interesting to be able to break car windows but at a price. It should make you tired cause its not totally simple to break down a car window as far as I know. So basically you can choose either to try to break down the window and see if anything useful is in the car or move on and see if you can find something somewhere else.

I think the entire world will be already set when you begin and items will be procedurally generated.

You gotta remember, if you can interact with something it the game, that means you will be adding memory to the game and to the world.

If everything is interactible, every moved or smashed object will be adding memory. This is why most games have bodies disappearing, poles rebuilding once you leave the area and its simple, the memory of the firstly generated world resets itself so the game runs better. (Am I on the right path here?)

I assume since the game won't be massive, interactions with almost all objects will be possible without making the memory crash every computer but then again what if you play the sandbox for 12 hours, gonna need to do a lot of memory allocation and that requires lots of work.

This is how I assume it is done, seems as the most logical way things function.

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It's simple to break car windows with spark plugs, of course not too many people walk around with spark plugs in their pockets so...

I agree that a complex crafting/salvaging system would be great, hopefully the Hinterland team has enough extra time and money to put some time into it.

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I assume since the game won't be massive, interactions with almost all objects will be possible without making the memory crash every computer but then again what if you play the sandbox for 12 hours, gonna need to do a lot of memory allocation and that requires lots of work.

I really think your underestimating who is producing this game. WarHammer 40,000 Dawn of War/Space Marine/Winter Assault, Red Faction series, League of Legends, Mass Effect, Knights of the Old Republic. . . . . Its going to be Huge.

This game has to be a decent size, because it would be a bit embarrassing if I'm walking for 5-6 weeks, then suddenly hit "The Dome" wall and i can't go any further. Its going to be of decent size, mark my words.

It's simple to break car windows with spark plugs, of course not too many people walk around with spark plugs in their pockets so...

Mythbusters Season 5 from Memory ;)

I agree that a complex crafting/salvaging system would be great, hopefully the Hinterland team has enough extra time and money to put some time into it.

This has to be a goer of some sort. I mean, even in Machinarium i can drag one object onto the other and it crafts into something else. And after @Raph_Hinterland quoting this

Reading this thread, one thing really leaps out at me:

You guys are going to love the Firestarting system in the game. :)

over in the SKILL TREE OPTION AND REAL LIFE ENVIRONMENTAL STRUGGLES... Forum, I'm starting to have good feeling about it all . . . I like it.
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In terms of how much stuff can break in the world (in games in general, I'm not speaking specifically of The Long Dark), this comes down to a few things:

- type of physics system in the game; you need a physics system to drive this sort of thing otherwise you have to hand-craft all the destruction animations which is very time consuming and starts to look really repetitive after a while.

- art assets need to be created to support destructibility; they have to be able to "break apart" which means they need to be constructed that way (literally, an artist has to build the asset and then build the broken pieces or multiple stages of broken pieces to support the illusion); OR the destruction is handled 100% programmatically which means a very robust physics engine and a lot of performance dedicated to driving that -- not a good use of CPU and memory resources unless your game is built around that sort of experience

- performance; tracking all those physics properties and object states (broken, unbroken, partially broken, etc.) means the game has to keep track of all that stuff for a given scene (and if you want destruction to be persistent, you need to track destructibility outside of what the player can currently see); so this stuff takes memory and also CPU power to track.

- if you want physics objects to have gameplay impact and not just be visual, then that adds another layer of tracking and computation for the game engine/CPU -- you want that falling bridge to do damage to anything underneath, and also to block the player or AI from passing along that path which before now was completely valid, right?

So, being able to destroy stuff in a game world is a pretty big deal. :)

@Alan_Hinterland should really respond to this since he was part of the team that developed the tech behind the highly destructible environment in Red Faction: Guerrilla.

Of course, there are shortcuts and easy ways to handle this, and in some cases there's a pretty established paradigm for how this stuff works and player expectations around it. But, if you play a game and find it strange that windows can shatter but chairs don't move when you walk into them...think about the poor physics system straining away. And the more CPU cycles we put into physics, the less we have for other things, like...graphics. Audio. AI. Etc.

Now, for The Long Dark, we are very dedicated to letting the player harvest stuff from the environment, and we actually have an idea for how to make it possible for you to, more or less, harvest "boards from a fence" kind of thing and use them for fuel. And really, pulling useful stuff from the environment around you is a core pillar of the game experience so we're putting a lot of energy into that. We'll find a way to do it that isn't computationally intensive and serves gameplay. It might come at the expense of some realization details we might like to put into it if we had the resources, but I think in the end you'll be satisfied with the results.

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@Raph_Hinterland -- huge thanks for the awesome detailed explanation... I knew it added huge workload (and processor challenges too), but your explanation really does a great job of explaining the balance for programming choices.

Now, for The Long Dark, we are very dedicated to letting the player harvest stuff from the environment, and we actually have an idea for how to make it possible for you to, more or less, harvest "boards from a fence" kind of thing and use them for fuel. And really, pulling useful stuff from the environment around you is a core pillar of the game experience so we're putting a lot of energy into that. We'll find a way to do it that isn't computationally intensive and serves gameplay. It might come at the expense of some realization details we might like to put into it if we had the resources, but I think in the end you'll be satisfied with the results.

That's the best news -- that at least some less obvious items will be usable. That means we can't just walk past everything looking for the obvious pick-up items -- we'll actually have to try and experiment more, even with the most unapparent supplies/details.

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You mean TLD isn't going to be the next Crysis regarding resource usage? Well I guess my electric bill will benefit as I won't have to buy a second GPU or start OCing my CPU. :)

@TattooedMac , i just watched the mythbuster clip about the spark plug/window breaking and I have to admit, I do no remember having to throw it that hard to get it to break, maybe it had to do with angle of impact or something, I don't know.

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That's the best news -- that at least some less obvious items will be usable. That means we can't just walk past everything looking for the obvious pick-up items -- we'll actually have to try and experiment more, even with the most unapparent supplies/details.

I agree @BillTarling . . . It makes a game so much better, but then have to be careful in not trying everything you see, because thats when the Calories will start to be burnt for what ?? Gaining nothing. We are going to have to learn what to look for and try to harvest, and I'm hoping these things will look ever so slightly different, so there is a visual way of knowing what is good, and what is a waste of time.

All I'm thinking is if you burn x amount of Calories, you need to get x amount of them back to stay alive.

@TattooedMac , i just watched the mythbuster clip about the spark plug/window breaking and I have to admit, I do no remember having to throw it that hard to get it to break, maybe it had to do with angle of impact or something, I don't know.

Its not so much the angle of impact, but what point of the broken Spark Plug that hits the window. It needs to be the Point of it that hits the window and breaks it. If you had a hammer and put the pony of it on the window, you would only need to smallest of touches on the top of the Broken part and that window will shatter. If you threw the shard at the window 10 times and it didn't break, its because the flat of the shard hit the window and not the point.

Nest time your in a Train or a new Bus, (public Transport) here in Aust at least, they have to have a way of breaking the windows to get out in case of a accident, and the Hammer they use is small but a heavy weighted tip with a sharpish point, and its this point that has all the force when you hit the window with it, and you don't need to swing it hard for it to work.

72A3LeM.gif

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I assume since the game won't be massive, interactions with almost all objects will be possible without making the memory crash every computer but then again what if you play the sandbox for 12 hours, gonna need to do a lot of memory allocation and that requires lots of work.

I really think your underestimating who is producing this game. WarHammer 40,000 Dawn of War/Space Marine/Winter Assault, Red Faction series, League of Legends, Mass Effect, Knights of the Old Republic. . . . . Its going to be Huge.

This game has to be a decent size, because it would be a bit embarrassing if I'm walking for 5-6 weeks, then suddenly hit "The Dome" wall and i can't go any further. Its going to be of decent size, mark my words.

The story will be 5-6 hours if I remember correctly. Since the game will come in seasons, I doubt that the world will be massive. I'm talking far cry 3 massive.

I think they will focus more on simply giving you many options on every corner unlike many huge games where you have massive wastelands that seem endless.

Here we will probably see a relatively small world but with more possibilities that you can even hope for!

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You also have to remember that although the Hinterland team is made up of some great folks, they aren't working with a huge budget. I am sure they will put as much quality into the game as possible and the product we will get will be awesome, just don't expect them to pull off miracles like producing a $60 million dollar game with $1.25 million dollars.

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Great disscussion and thanks for this deep insight in game development. I agree with @BillTarling. Smashable objects are very nice and increase the immersion, but as @Raph_Hinterland said, it is a challenge if you don’t have the horsepower (engine or other ressources) to programm it.

I would love to see smashable things (at least openable boxes or something similar). I am really into search and collect things. Every corner is inspected. I am like a squirrel that prepares for the winter. I collect as much as I can carry with me. If I have an option to hoard something at a safe place, I just do it. (You never know how useful things are unless you need them.) If I can improve something with the material I have collected to take an advantage out of it, I am the happiest person on the planet.

I also agree with @Marin:

Here we will probably see a relatively small world but with more possibilities that you can even hope for!

Oh my good, we have to increase the budget of this game.

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Yeah, we've always said we won't be creating a world as big as what you see in Skyrim or RDR or Fallout 3. We just don't have the resources. But I'm much more interested in creating a density of interesting activities and choice within a world, vs. walking endlessly. :)

We have some experience creating open-world game content, and @Alan_Hinterland in particular has done a lot of work with open-world tech (like the entire Saints Row engine) so we'll find a good way to handle this.

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Yeah, we've always said we won't be creating a world as big as what you see in Skyrim or RDR or Fallout 3. We just don't have the resources. But I'm much more interested in creating a density of interesting activities and choice within a world, vs. walking endlessly.

:)

Thats all well and good, but on the other hand, i don't want to be in the middle of nowhere, and then walk over a hill and there is the abandoned highway, go down a gully and come up at the diner, go out the back door and there is the hut.

There has to be a bit of walking to be able to Navigate and to get it as close TRL as possible.

I know you guys are going to make a great game, but please don't put things too close together, so around every corner is a surprise. You need to walk some distance to be able to feel as if you are lost, and get that feeling that you need to survive . . . .

I do believe in you :)

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Oh and going back to @Bill_Tarling and the broken glass in the car, as breakable objects go, a car has sooooooo many things that you can use to help you survive inside and the engine as well like Oil . . . . . Is great to get wet wood burning, so to be able to see a whole car breakable will be like Xmas time :)

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Motor oil is much less flammable than gasoline.

The flash point of typical motor oil is about 400F so it must be heated to this temperature before it releases enough vapors to ignite from a flame.

Yea i know this, but i know as well from my days in the Military, i could pour Sump Oil all over the hot coals and then wet wood on top, and more oil, and once the fire started, (yes it did take time and smoke for quite a while before hand) the oil on the wet wood caught and burnt.

With Gasoline (we call it Petrol Down Under) vaporises too quick for the wet wood trick, and i put this up, more for when you have a fire going, and all you have is wet wood then this is the perfect solution for it.

I even use cooking oil to start the house fire, paper underneath, then stoke it right up to the large logs on top, and pour oil over it, and when that oil catches, i don't have to look at it for a hour or so. (Hate those fire lighter block things soaked in whatever they soak them in) If you soak half a news paper in oil and the other half is dry (for fire to catch on), the newspaper would burn longer with the oil on it, than if Petrol was on it.

I would carry Oil before gasoline in TLD environment . . . . For this reason.

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