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(Fixed/Mitigated in 1.16) Fundamental Combat Problems


Erik
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Vintage Story's combat has some fundamental flaws, that need to eliminated before any new combat mechanics are introduced:

Combat2.gif.bed49eb3e65093c06fe6082adfeed9c5.gif

This small clip highlights the two main problems: Disconnected attacks and wrong timing

Wrong timing:

This is the smaller issue of the two and is relatively easy to fix. The issue is that attacks hit after the animation has been completed instead of during the animation. This makes timed dodging or blocking of attacks much harder, as the visuals deceive the player. In gamedesign, attacks can be seperated into three phases: The windup that is used to notify the player of the attack and the type of attack, giving him some time to to react, the actual actual attack during at the end of which hit detection will detect if the player has been hit or not and the recovery, when the attack has either hit or missed the target, giving the player some time to act. The drifter attack animation has a short recocery, when the hit frame is seen is the swing at 90 degree angle to the starting position, having being the closest point to the player if the player would stand directly in front of the drifter. But the hit frame is, as seen in the clip, after the recovery, when it should be in fact before it. The drifter is not the only example of this, the problems described here apply to all NPCs in Vintage Story.

Disconnected attacks:

The second issue is that although the animation indicates that the attack clearly missed, the attack still hits. This is a huge issue for gameplay, as it makes dodging attacks sideways or into the enemy impossible, leading to the common technique in many games with bad combat system: backpaddeling. Getting distance from the attack is the only way to escape it, so players constantly walk backwards in combat, while trying to outreach the enemy. One extra thing to note in the clip is that the animated attack should not only miss the player because of the rotation, but the reach of the drifters attack is exagurated, hitting more than range the animation actually has. The animation reach at the hit frame and the actual reach of an attack must match not only for NPCs, but also for the players, which attacks have even more additional range, to ensure attack readability in PvP and PvE situations.

The attacks of the drifter seem to simply check if the player is in range of the attack and are completely disjointed from the animation and orientation of the drifter. While actual weapon swing simulation with real time detection if a weapon hits a target is not required, proper hit detection, checking if the player is in the attack cone of the enemies attack, is. For the player, cone based hit detection would also make sense, making hitting targets easier and differentiating the sword from a short range gun.

The design of many, if not all attacks in the game should also be fundamentally reworked: The enemies should generally not rotate during the attacks, so dodging sideways or into the enemy is possible, attacks like the bighorn sheeps charge should not be like a homing missile, but like an actual animal charge, first getting some distance to then charge at the player, either hitting on a collision or continuing for a while past the player on a miss. Drifters could use a forward lundge attack in addition to the swing, to close distance and force the player to force the player to dodge sideways rather than backpeddeling.

Edited by Erik
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  • 1 year later...

I totally agree with this. I am not familiar with programming, but it think there should be some rule to set an angle of attack, so it simply wouldn't work if enemy has his back against you.
I am offten sad about armor simply being destroyed because of unpredictable hits. Sure after some playing you get used to hits, knowing which hit will get you and which not, yet in horde situations or narrow caves it's almost imposiible to get past drifter usually without getting hit.

Although i am sure DEVs already know this, this is thing which needs to be fixed to make cave exploring less frustrating.

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Regarding range not matching the animation, for the player, the block-placing and block-breaking range is much longer than the reach of their physical arms. So if the attack range with a sword, for example, is adjusted to match the physical length of the sword model, you will be able to punch a wolf several blocks further away than you would be able to hit it with a sword. I think this would be far more confusing than just having a consistent mechanism where range is always longer than it looks.

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This issue that the video shows is, I think, almost entirely a matter of timing that is slightly off between the time the drifter actually swings, the time the swing animation shows, and the time the drifter makes contact (and the damage animation triggers).


The way it works now, the swing occurs and the hit actually lands on you before the swing and damage animations show, and so you have actually been hit by the drifter before you move away but the delayed damage animation shows after you have stepped away from the drifter. It makes it look like they are able to reach you even after you have retreated and their attack swing is done.

I fixed in a mod by adjusting the timing of several things. The attack and contact are now almost simultaneous with the attack swing animation of the mob and looks much less wonky.

Edited by Thalius
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  • 2 weeks later...

The biggest problem with the combat that really puts me off the game is how utterly unsatisfying any combat at all is. When hitting mobs there's absolutely no feedback to it, it's like you're hitting a ghost, there's no knockback to your hits which is extremely important for keeping a distance to avoid being hit in turn, you can't protect yourself at all from fast moving mobs like bighorns. Also the drifter's attack range is too far I feel, attacking them means you'll almost certainly take some damage just getting into range, or maybe it's entirely the problem Erik brought up.

Edited by Neutral
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I normally get not hit by drifters as i keep them a spear length away...

But they definitely have just an aoe attack which makes no sense and killing them is most unsatisfying with them having near zero loot, which makes them just annoyances.

Edited by Hal13
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6 hours ago, Neutral said:

The biggest problem with the combat that really puts me off the game is how utterly unsatisfying any combat at all is. When hitting mobs there's absolutely no feedback to it, it's like you're hitting a ghost, there's no knockback to your hits [...]

Knockback is kind of a game-y thing rather than a real-life thing, so I'm "meh" on adding it. It feels like there is already a very brief "stun" or "stagger" being applied to melee hits, perhaps that could be more pronounced. In terms of maintaining range, the easiest current strategy is to get into water and just keep backing away, or use standard voxel-game tricks like pillaring up or leading them into pits (against animals, anyway). But thrown spears are pretty good, so ranged is always an option as long as you don't get mobbed.

Considering how common the devs seem to want drifters to be, giving them better loot tables would probably unbalance resource collection unless they add some new less-useful/more-niche-utility items to the drops.

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10 hours ago, Philtre said:

current strategy is to get into water

The current strategy just feels so cheap, like you're abusing a bug in the game. I do like how realistic the game is, but you have to make some concessions so that in the end playing is fun. Whatever eventually gets done, the combat needs to improve. Every aspect of the game right now feels, if not complete, then at least well developed and thorough with the exception of combat, a large part of the game.

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13 hours ago, Philtre said:

or use standard voxel-game tricks like pillaring up or leading them into pits

That are tactics hunters and soldiers use irl too. of course instead of placing blocks we place high seats or climb onto a ledge.
Most animals (including humans) do not think in more than slightly more than a plane, without something that leads the view upwards or downwards they won't give anything over their head and under their feet much of a thought.

Melee attacks should be way weaker if the attacker is in water though, arrows and spears going into water should lose quite a bit of power too. but as long as nothing needs to breath that would just make underwater the place to be.

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Latest update  (v1.16.0-pre.11) news in discord have some good things regarding this. ;) I am hoping update 1.16 will be game changer with it's rifts, shields, rock throwing mobs and combat tuning. 🤓 

*) "Feature": Drifters now always drop SOMETHING ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°);
*) Tweak: Mitigate cases where creatures attack players while looking away;
*) Tweak: Ranged aiming accuracy buildup is now about 50% quicker;

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On 12/19/2021 at 7:24 AM, Neutral said:

The current strategy just feels so cheap, like you're abusing a bug in the game. I do like how realistic the game is, but you have to make some concessions so that in the end playing is fun. Whatever eventually gets done, the combat needs to improve. Every aspect of the game right now feels, if not complete, then at least well developed and thorough with the exception of combat, a large part of the game.

It's only valid because water hasn't had much work, once a breath mechanic (hopefully soon, it's been modded in) is added it mitigates it a bit

There has been some discussion about combat on the discord server: https://discord.com/channels/302152934249070593/302152934249070593/921746780792709140

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  • Erik changed the title to (Fixed/Mitigated in 1.16) Fundamental Combat Problems
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