Alien Movement

ArgathorArgathor Join Date: 2011-07-18 Member: 110942Posts: 682Members, Squad Five Blue
Aliens should feel agile and fast
I have personally always favoured the playstyle of aliens, especially the flexibility of the skulk (be it stealth ambushes or fast strikes). I am a firm believer that aliens should feel agile and fast for their size (other than perhaps the gorge). Not only does this instill a good gameplay style to aliens as a whole but it also acts as a direct counter to the marine's low maneuverability and ranged attacks.

For the last 5 or so patches there have been several frustrating aspects to alien movement, yet it was bareable. With patch b199 is has become unreasonably bad in my opinion and I would like to try and break down why.

What is the overall problem?

Aliens do not feel (or play) fast and agile.

What causes this problem?

Collision Detection - When moving around the NS2 world, I do not feel like a lifeform. I feel like a giant square/rectangle that is constantly blundering into things and getting stuck. It is geniunely bad for gameplay, not just because it doesnt fit/complement the alien style but because it actively causes frustration while playing.

Micro Stutters - I have a excellent spec PC (i7 @ 4.2ghz) yet I still get many annoying performance issues. Mostly these are experienced when in close combat as an alien, the game literally feels like it slows down with micro stuttering as im biting away as a skulk.

Wall Walking Mechanics - I realise there are a lot of changes being made here, but it really should not be this difficult. Before this patch I would jump at walls and simply hit them and slide down. Not exactly fast and agile behavior. Now I seem to stick to everything I touch, frequently the ceiling or roof which is incredibly frustrating. Yet if I run into a wall while on the floor it takes a second or so to decide to grip the wall making wall jumping difficult.

Close Quarters Speed - Collision Detection makes close combat difficult to consistently control my movement, as sometimes I run straight through marines and sometimes clip them and come to a complete stop. This means that I am often moving at a close to identical speed to the marine (it takes a short period to gain momentum upto maximum speed). Either marine jumping movement (the ability to instantly change direction between jumps makes marines incredibly difficult to hit) needs to be reduced or skulk movement needs to be adjusted (or fixed).

Animation System - I am not sure if this is partially the fact that there are light years between server updates (so the client doesnt have a clue what is actually happening half the time) or if there is a serious fault with the animation system. I constantly see people jerking and warping (even with my game running at 70fps). Infact the better client performance has become the worse NS2 looks as despite my client performance the game I actually see seems to be running at 30 fps, stuttering and jerking.

Server Performance - I am sure we all understand the general implications of the terrible server performance currently. The low tickrate makes any sort of fast paced and agile gameplay difficult. I am not entirely sure if server performance is responsible for this next issue, but it seems relevant. Since b199 I have found that not only do others appear to move in a jerky/warpy fashion, so do I. When I actually warp back to a wall, or slightly back in mid air something is very wrong with the game. My connection is excellent, my PC runs the game easily for NS2 and I have been on HBZ #1 with stable 30ticks. It doesn't happen very often but it is incredibly frustrating when it does happen. It ruins the feeling of the game and leaves me slightly annoyed.

Conclusion

Aliens are very reliant on Skulks through lots of the game, for which movement is the most important aspect of the game. Fades take over from this and they too currently suffer from incredibly awkward and cumbersome movement. Aliens as a team are totally reliant on movement as a mechanic for their success. These are integral issues to the game as a whole (for balance and fun).
Arga | ns2hub.com
"Someone's sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago."
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Comments

  • SkieSkie Skulk Progenitor Join Date: 2003-10-18 Member: 21766Posts: 656Members, NS2 Playtester, Reinforced - Shadow
    A lot of movement code was changed for 199 from 198, and everything will change a lot towards 200 as well.

    The skulk will change for the next patch, definitely. As will other classes. But especially the skulk can't be made too fast or otherwise he would just be ridiculous with celerity, which is yet to come.

    But smoother server running would definitely help things as well. That's being worked on all the time too.

    Collision detection indeed needs some changes, as even as a marine I sometimes get stuck inside another marine, just by walking next to him. It's a bit awkward at the moment.
  • antacidantacid Join Date: 2007-08-07 Member: 61821Posts: 483Members, NS2 Playtester
    I would wait until build 200 to post this thread, there were some bug fixes in 199 and currently, movement is not where it is intended to be.
  • Josh86Josh86 Join Date: 2010-12-06 Member: 75513Posts: 162Members
    edited March 2012
    I disagree with your main issue. I wanted to provide my input and share how I felt with your supporting points.

    QUOTE
    What is the overall problem?

    Aliens do not feel (or play) fast and agile.


    I think that alien movement has become increasingly fast in the recent patches. I feel that Skulk movement has become more agile as well. We have full air control, the ability to cling and navigate surfaces better than before (while still being able to drop easily with crouch), and a better ability to jump and leap from walls without degrading movement speed or inertia.

    QUOTE
    Collision Detection - When moving around the NS2 world, I do not feel like a lifeform. I feel like a giant square/rectangle that is constantly blundering into things and getting stuck.


    I don't really find collision detection to be a problem as you do -- I think a lot of focus has been put into Skulks being able to easily pass over objects and walls in the game so players will be less frustrated. The blocky movement you mention, I can understand. The camera view tends tend to rapidly change in elevation when the Skulk quickly passes over objects on walls, making it feel like you are contantly shifting around based on the shape of the terrain. It just seems to be a side-effect of making it so easy to navigate over objects. I don't really have a problem with this.

    Do you want the Skulk to collide with more objects rather than easily pass over them?

    QUOTE
    Micro Stutters - I have a excellent spec PC (i7 @ 4.2ghz) yet I still get many annoying performance issues.


    I have an i5 860 (@ 2.8GHz stock) and an AMD 5850 (stock). Since servers have been able to keep a stable performance I have enjoyed nearly fluid play. I do have the occasional stutter when in fights, but not necessarily as you describe them. It is practically a complete frame drop for around an eighth of a second, and not a low average framerate. This happens to me as a Skulk or Marine in close quarters fighting.

    QUOTE
    Wall Walking Mechanics


    I think the idea was to make walk walking easier for those who might not be as good with control or new to that type of mechanic. I usually transition from the floor to a wall with a jump as a habit since playing NS1 or playing any of the AvP games. There seems to be a focus on using your crouch to detach from walls/ceilings (though jump works much better than it used to previously and can be used too). It is indeed extremely easy to stick to everything, but I appreciate that because navigating the ceilings quickly in NS1 was a chore.

    QUOTE
    Close Quarters Speed


    I probably agree with you the most on this. It is very easy to overextend past a Marine or lose track when getting up close to bite. I take this as being one of the difficulties I just need to overcome as a Skulk since the movement speed is incredibly fast (plus Marines can hop around). Many players also tend to instinctively jump up and down a lot when attacking as a Skulk (habit for me as well) probably because of the lower camera view. I just take my time and make sure my bites count.

    QUOTE
    Animation System
    Server Performance


    I don't have these issues. Lately I've been playing on servers that have been able to keep pretty stable and are in my geographic region. The map rotation seems like it helps prevent issues piling on top of each other, that normally slow the server down. I agree that the stability/performance of a server/game needs to have some more longevity though. The current cure is just a reset or map change.
    Post edited by Unknown User on
  • CodeineCodeine Join Date: 2010-11-22 Member: 75155Posts: 515Members
    I've been getting stuck on walls while fighting marines in this patch, very frustrating.
  • YuukiYuuki Join Date: 2010-11-20 Member: 75079Posts: 1,731Members
    QUOTE (Argathor @ Mar 5 2012, 04:04 PM) »
    Collision Detection - When moving around the NS2 world, I do not feel like a lifeform. I feel like a giant square/rectangle that is constantly blundering into things and getting stuck. It is geniunely bad for gameplay, not just because it doesnt fit/complement the alien style but because it actively causes frustration while playing.


    This is exactly how collision detection works, you're not a rectangle but a cylinder (type physics in console):

    image

    The cylinder is always in contact with the ground/wall and will get stuck in every sharp corners, then there is some tricks (moving the cylinder up before moving it) to avoid to get stuck and provide a smoother movement.
    This approach seems fairly standard in video games (I don't know about the most recent ones though), but the skulk is not exactly the average fps unit, so there might be better specialized way of doing it.

    The collision detection and wall walking is also indissociable from map design, a sufficiently convoluted map geometry will make wall walking impossible. Does the BSP based map have some pre-processing for collision ?
  • bobthesobbobthesob Join Date: 2011-12-09 Member: 137195Posts: 40Members
    edited March 2012
    I went into the Skulk.lua file and changed the code for skulk movement to see if i could make it feel better for myself.

    After i went in and messed with it i came up with these variables changes

    Skulk.kLeapVerticalForce = 7
    Skulk.kLeapForce = 10
    Skulk.kMaxSpeed = 9.5
    Skulk.kLeapSpeed = 15
    Skulk.kAcceleration = 70
    local kStickForce = 1
    local kStickForceWhileSneaking = 10

    i really feel that the skulk feels much more like a hunter now instead of a camper. but if uwe was to do this in the default game they would need to speed up the marine which i would be for also.
    Post edited by Unknown User on
  • FloodinatorFloodinator [HBZ] Member Join Date: 2005-02-22 Member: 42087Posts: 1,301Members, Reinforced - Shadow
    Totally agree with OP. Noticed today as Skulk fighting against Skie his model was warping around and didn't play any animation sometimes.

    I hope they find a way to improve the Dedicated Server suddenly by 1000%, because alot of things are Server realated, or didn't you notice those big lags on HBZ when ARC shoot for the first time? Or those random whole alien/marine team but one are crashing?
    image
  • SkieSkie Skulk Progenitor Join Date: 2003-10-18 Member: 21766Posts: 656Members, NS2 Playtester, Reinforced - Shadow
    QUOTE (bobthesob @ Mar 5 2012, 08:29 PM) »
    I went into the Skulk.lua file and changed the code for skulk movement to see if i could make it feel better for myself.

    After i went in and messed with it i came up with these variables changes

    Skulk.kLeapVerticalForce = 7
    Skulk.kLeapForce = 10
    Skulk.kMaxSpeed = 9.5
    Skulk.kLeapSpeed = 15
    Skulk.kAcceleration = 70
    local kStickForce = 1
    local kStickForceWhileSneaking = 10

    i really feel that the skulk feels much more like a hunter now instead of a camper. but if uwe was to do this in the default game they would need to speed up the marine which i would be for also.

    Those values would make the skulk way too fast. Even as it is, in good hands it's too fast in build 199.
  • DghelneshiDghelneshi Aims to surpass Fana in post edits. Join Date: 2011-11-01 Member: 130634Posts: 941Members, Squad Five Blue, Reinforced - Shadow
    The thing that annoys me the most currently is player collisions. I frequently get stuck inside other players, which is not fun when you're a fade inside a shotgun marine and can't blink out. Also, no further comment on phase gate camping...

    I've noticed that the warping and stuttering sometimes come and go as the match goes on. For example, I usually have bad warping during the first minute of the game when I'm commanding, but it's suddenly supersmooth afterwards and I can medspam a single marine through 4 skulks without having to guess where he is.
    When I'm actually playing on the field, I usually have warping throughout the whole game, making hitting skulks very hard for me. It might party be a client fps issue.
  • GORGEousGORGEous Join Date: 2012-02-19 Member: 146762Posts: 1,455Members, NS2 Map Tester
    QUOTE (Argathor @ Mar 5 2012, 10:04 AM) »
    Close Quarters Speed - Collision Detection makes close combat difficult to consistently control my movement, as sometimes I run straight through marines and sometimes clip them and come to a complete stop. This means that I am often moving at a close to identical speed to the marine (it takes a short period to gain momentum upto maximum speed).



    QUOTE (Skie @ Mar 5 2012, 11:05 AM) »
    Collision detection indeed needs some changes, as even as a marine I sometimes get stuck inside another marine, just by walking next to him. It's a bit awkward at the moment.



    QUOTE (Dghelneshi @ Mar 5 2012, 02:07 PM) »
    The thing that annoys me the most currently is player collisions. I frequently get stuck inside other players, which is not fun when you're a fade inside a shotgun marine and can't blink out. Also, no further comment on phase gate camping...


    I've noticed a lot of player collision problems as well. Excluding global server/client performance issues, collision is probably the most frustrating problem in NS2.

    Rantology described it perfectly -- it's like you're colliding into jello. As a skulk, sometimes you get in melee range, hit the marine, and stop. Other times you will bounce out of the marine. Sometimes you will clip through the marine like he wasn't there. And finally (the worst), you will clip into the marine and get stuck. This last scenario typically results in either the marine or the skulk being unable to hit the other while the one who is hitting gets free hits.

    There is also the problem of friendly player collision. A marine's life expentency when 4 skulks are trying to bite him is usually longer than when just 1 or 2 skulks are biting him. Friendly players constantly get stuck on each other, slowing them down and rendering them unable to melee enemies. Marines suffer a similar problem when fighting around friendly players. You frequently get stuck in friendly players which at the very least slow you down. Sometimes you actually get stuck until you both back out of each other.
    image
  • IeptBarakatIeptBarakat The most difficult name to speak ingame. Join Date: 2009-07-10 Member: 68107Posts: 2,022Members, Constellation, NS2 Map Tester
    edited March 2012
    I like the collision physics system in the halo games where they're still solid players but your movement force and weight can still push them around. As in no deadstops when a onos bumps into a marine or a marine getting caught behind the unbreakable wall of a friendly player. And you can still boost.
    Post edited by Unknown User on
  • bobthesobbobthesob Join Date: 2011-12-09 Member: 137195Posts: 40Members
    QUOTE (Skie @ Mar 5 2012, 12:56 PM) »
    Those values would make the skulk way too fast. Even as it is, in good hands it's too fast in build 199.


    no way the skulk feels a 1000 times better. how about this

    Skulk.kLeapVerticalForce = 7 // in 199 its 5
    Skulk.kLeapForce = 10 // in 199 its 8
    local kStickForce = 1 // in 199 its 2
    local kStickForceWhileSneaking = 10 // in 199 its 20

    If(being shot)

    Skulk.kMaxSpeed = 7.5
    Skulk.kLeapSpeed = 14
    Skulk.kAcceleration = 60

    else

    Skulk.kMaxSpeed = 9.5
    Skulk.kLeapSpeed = 15
    Skulk.kAcceleration = 70



    and to balance it make the marine faster as well im sorry but running around in a local server as the skulk with the else block feels so much better to me.
  • SkieSkie Skulk Progenitor Join Date: 2003-10-18 Member: 21766Posts: 656Members, NS2 Playtester, Reinforced - Shadow
    QUOTE (bobthesob @ Mar 5 2012, 11:20 PM) »
    no way the skulk feels a 1000 times better. how about this

    ...

    and to balance it make the marine faster as well im sorry but running around in a local server as the skulk with the else block feels so much better to me.

    The thing is that you're not supposed to go fast just by simply running on the ground (unless you have celerity, which is not in yet). You're supposed to go faster by using the 'skill based movement', which is kinda wonky in 199. Mostly by jumping from the walls.

    There needs to be a mechanic which separates the good skulks from the bad skulks. Otherwise there's no skill ceiling to aim for and skulk becomes boring very rapidly.
  • elodeaelodea Editlodea Join Date: 2009-06-20 Member: 67877Posts: 1,741Members, Reinforced - Shadow
    edited March 2012
    Collision detection is really annoying to play with on high latencies as well. You'll be bumping off players but not getting any rego due to the server thinking their further away from where your actually bumping off if that makes any sense (This makes me sad as ENSL is pretty fun). Mismatch between collision and hit detection as far as i can tell. Does anyone know if they moved the cylinder further back or something? Because the horrible bug of getting shot or axed while attacking a marine from behind and he is facing forward is back.

    Microstutters - yes i've been getting this alot more this build in close quarters too.

    As for the rest, im waiting to see b200 skulk movement since 199 is broken gameplay wise in alot of ways.
    Post edited by Unknown User on
    Gorge bilebomb forever.
  • BacillusBacillus Join Date: 2006-11-02 Member: 58241Posts: 2,700Members
    I don't think you can overemphasize the importance of purposeful and reliable collisions in a melee vs ranged game. It's absolutely vital for both the marine and alien to have a very clear understanding on how the characters interact in close quarters. It's a huge deal for any movement, decisionmaking and aiming involved - even more so if more of the much talked about momentum gets added.
  • bobthesobbobthesob Join Date: 2011-12-09 Member: 137195Posts: 40Members
    QUOTE (Skie @ Mar 5 2012, 03:31 PM) »
    The thing is that you're not supposed to go fast just by simply running on the ground (unless you have celerity, which is not in yet). You're supposed to go faster by using the 'skill based movement', which is kinda wonky in 199. Mostly by jumping from the walls.

    There needs to be a mechanic which separates the good skulks from the bad skulks. Otherwise there's no skill ceiling to aim for and skulk becomes boring very rapidly.


    o well if there is going to be a upgrade for speed then i guess its ok but they should still turn the sticky down imo.

    local kStickForce = 1 // in 199 its 2
    local kStickForceWhileSneaking = 10 // in 199 its 20

    i think it feels smoother and one thing i noticed is that in a local server its like your playing a different game then when your connected to a online server.
    you get way more fps and the movement is spot on but when online its very wonky like you said. so maybe it the performance that makes it feel weird.
  • SkieSkie Skulk Progenitor Join Date: 2003-10-18 Member: 21766Posts: 656Members, NS2 Playtester, Reinforced - Shadow
    Yeah, I agree that the stickiness should be brought down somewhat.
    And yeah, I wish online servers would feel like the local game. Best you can do is to go to a very low ping server. Nordic countries don't really have one good one yet.
  • tocztocz Join Date: 2012-02-12 Member: 145070Posts: 17Members
    skulks are a bit slow and do sometimes get stuck. When u learn the maps and understand the movement you will see it get better. After 100+ hours of skulking you learn where not to run due to getting stuck. Movement chambers have not been added yet either. There should be a speed upgrade there to make skulks faster. You should constantly be jumping as well. It is a pain in the ass to hit jumping skulks due to the laggy animations. You can also change directions mid air so you can't predict where the skulk will go. I've had many terrible skulks kill me by jumping around missing 90% of their bites due to the laggy animations and my poor fps.
  • rantologyrantology Join Date: 2012-02-05 Member: 143750Posts: 1,392Members, NS2 Playtester, Squad Five Gold, NS2 Map Tester, Reinforced - Shadow, WC 2013 - Gold
    QUOTE (Bacillus @ Mar 5 2012, 02:34 PM) »
    I don't think you can overemphasize the importance of purposeful and reliable collisions in a melee vs ranged game. It's absolutely vital for both the marine and alien to have a very clear understanding on how the characters interact in close quarters. It's a huge deal for any movement, decisionmaking and aiming involved - even more so if more of the much talked about momentum gets added.



    this x1000000000000000


    The player collision is really terrible and frustrating. =(
    image
  • internetexplorerinternetexplorer Join Date: 2011-10-13 Member: 127255Posts: 1,369Members
    edited March 2012
    QUOTE (Skie @ Mar 5 2012, 04:31 PM) »
    The thing is that you're not supposed to go fast just by simply running on the ground (unless you have celerity, which is not in yet)


    This is the answer to all these discussions.
    It's sorta classic NS design that celerity is the skulk. You either get celerity and move fast (with the added bonus of the gimmicky "skill-based" stuff), or you play a class that doesn't need it as much (gorge, onos, fade, lerk). On that topic, it would be nice to see celerity help the lerk's flight speed cap and air friction in NS2 (whereas in NS1 lerks often used the adrenaline upgrade because their base speed was already great).

    When the shift is in the game, and the skill-based movement mechanics are more refined, everything will be perfect and rainbows will shine over ns2_summit. Just wait for it and keep practicing the awkward walljumps.
    Post edited by Unknown User on
  • rantologyrantology Join Date: 2012-02-05 Member: 143750Posts: 1,392Members, NS2 Playtester, Squad Five Gold, NS2 Map Tester, Reinforced - Shadow, WC 2013 - Gold
    I forgot to add.... whovever designed the vents in ns2_summit must have been laughing when they put these things in =P

    image
    image
  • ArgathorArgathor Join Date: 2011-07-18 Member: 110942Posts: 682Members, Squad Five Blue
    edited March 2012
    QUOTE (internetexplorer @ Mar 6 2012, 12:48 AM) »
    This is the answer to all these discussions.
    It's sorta classic NS design that celerity is the skulk. You either get celerity and move fast (with the added bonus of the gimmicky "skill-based" stuff), or you play a class that doesn't need it as much (gorge, onos, fade, lerk). On that topic, it would be nice to see celerity help the lerk's flight speed cap and air friction in NS2 (whereas in NS1 lerks often used the adrenaline upgrade because their base speed was already great).

    When the shift is in the game, and the skill-based movement mechanics are more refined, everything will be perfect and rainbows will shine over ns2_summit. Just wait for it and keep practicing the awkward walljumps.

    While partially true, it is definately not the complete answer. Some of the issues have been present a long time and will still persist and need to be fixed after celerity is added, like the collision detection problems. Also, from my testing of celerity, the animation system struggles even more the faster you move making it a bit of a farse.

    Aliens as a whole are completely dependant upon movement as a mechanic. Even fades, lerks and onos. There need to be significant changes before movement is fit for the task.
    Post edited by Unknown User on
    Arga | ns2hub.com
    "Someone's sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago."
  • 1dominator11dominator1 Join Date: 2010-11-19 Member: 75011Posts: 1,135Members
    edited March 2012
    I agree with OP especially for the collision and wall walking, I find jumping onto walls and sticking there to be rather difficult as skulk. Also the collision is incredibly annoying as lerk since I often collide with the people Im trying to spore.


    QUOTE (rantology @ Mar 5 2012, 07:52 PM) »
    I forgot to add.... whovever designed the vents in ns2_summit must have been laughing when they put these things in =P



    YES YES YES, these piss me off so much! Especially since you get lodged on them and the only way to get out is to press s and move back a little.
    Post edited by Unknown User on
  • antacidantacid Join Date: 2007-08-07 Member: 61821Posts: 483Members, NS2 Playtester
    QUOTE (rantology @ Mar 6 2012, 12:52 AM) »
    I forgot to add.... whovever designed the vents in ns2_summit must have been laughing when they put these things in =P


    nice cheats bro
  • CodeineCodeine Join Date: 2010-11-22 Member: 75155Posts: 515Members
    Why does this game rely on the server so much?
  • internetexplorerinternetexplorer Join Date: 2011-10-13 Member: 127255Posts: 1,369Members
    QUOTE (Codeine @ Mar 5 2012, 11:51 PM) »
    Why does this game rely on the server so much?


    because every game does?

    you don't want to see a game where the clients make everything happen..trust me
  • CodeineCodeine Join Date: 2010-11-22 Member: 75155Posts: 515Members
    QUOTE (internetexplorer @ Mar 6 2012, 06:00 AM) »
    because every game does?


    Not this much....ive never played a game where if the server was slow my fps would suffer.
  • KrizzenKrizzen Join Date: 2011-12-16 Member: 138181Posts: 99Members
    Skulk movement concerns me. In previous builds, namely 197 (last one I played), skulk movement was fantastic. I got the hang of the skill jumping and could blaze through corridors, flying at marines like a missile. It was so fun.

    Now, skulks hardly have forward momentum, yet have a massive amount of strafing ability and air control that is a bit ridiculous.

    Compound this slow forward, fast strafe, and seemingly removed skill jumping system with the new extremely sticky feet, and skulking is no longer a pleasure to maneuver. Skulking is now a constant tug of war with these mechanics to either charge marines head on or find a nice cozy hiding spot.

    I believe a proper solution would be to start fresh with the old model but with a bit lower "soft speed limit", a wee-bit more air control, and more reliable stickiness when jumping into a wall and more clingyness when transferring from wall to ceiling.

  • SideOfBeefSideOfBeef Join Date: 2012-03-04 Member: 148064Posts: 41Members
    QUOTE (Codeine @ Mar 6 2012, 12:37 AM) »
    Not this much....ive never played a game where if the server was slow my fps would suffer.


    I think you probably have. Where this game stutters, other games would just teleport you backwards every two steps.

    I do wonder though, if it's actually a server problem or if the engine just dies when people start whipping their camera around in close combat.
  • GORGEousGORGEous Join Date: 2012-02-19 Member: 146762Posts: 1,455Members, NS2 Map Tester
    QUOTE (antacid @ Mar 5 2012, 10:24 PM) »
    nice cheats bro


    Not sure if serious, but

    http://www.unknownworlds.com/ns2/forums/in...howtopic=114172
    image
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