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Why numbers didn't work in past UTs... and weren't always reliable (Proof+Solution)

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  • Why numbers didn't work in past UTs... and weren't always reliable (Proof+Solution)

    As the HUD design feedback thread continues and most of the concepts do use the raw numbers for health and armor (just like it did in all the previous UT games), I always wanted to try a different approach allowing to increase the readability of the healt/armor widgets and not only focusing on these 2 split values. I wrote something about the problem of the health/armor values on the design thread and after some time I decided to create a first concept. It was mentioned in the latest stream about the HUD and it wasn't received very well. Joe Wilcox explained "why bars are bad, in general". I don't completely disagree with him and his points are valid but I created that HUD for a reason which wasn't mentioned. And most of the points against that bar were only based on the lack of style . In this thread, I want to talk about and show the problem of using only numbers with such complex health/armor/shield-system UT has since its beginning. Steve directed that discussion into the right direction but at the end he said "a good player should know - just from those numbers - exactly what the situation is". Here's my proof that no player can exactly know what values they have and what it would mean to them (if the got hit by a Enforcer for instance).

    Don't like to read technical stuff? Skip it and check the in-a-nutshell section below.


    Introduction:

    Players can take up health (HP) and amor. Armor is split into 4 categories: Shield (S), Vest (V), Thigh Pads (T) and Helmet (H). Each section can have a separated value. The HUD only shows Health and a combined Armor value (AP), both as integer numbers.
    • Player with 90 health and 20 Vest
      Click image for larger version

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    • Player with 90 health and 20 Thigh Pads
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    • Player with 90 health and 20 Helmet
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    • Player with 90 health and 20 Shield
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    Tests:
    Let's try how many shots with the Enforcer (20 damage) each scenario can take until you kill a person with such setup.

    All the shots are done by the Enforcer which has 20 damage points for the single shot. All the shots are done sequentially.
    Test # Description Initial values After Shot #1 After Shot #2 After Shot #3 After Shot #4 After Shot #5 After Shot #6 Results Shots needed
    1 Player with 90 health and 20 Vest 90HP 20AP 85HP 5AP 70HP 0AP 50HP 30HP 10HP - Player is dead. 6
    2 Player with 90 health and 20 Thigh Pads 90HP 20AP 80HP 10AP 70HP 10AP 50HP 0AP 30HP 10HP - Player is dead 6
    3 Player with 90 health and 20 Helmet 90HP 20AP 80HP 10AP 70HP 10AP 50HP 0AP 30HP 10HP - Player is dead 6
    4 Player with 90 health and 20 Shield 90HP 20AP 90HP 0AP 70HP 50HP 30HP 10HP - Player is dead 6
    In every test, 6 Enforcer shots were needed to kill the one with these Armor and Health values.

    That's pretty clear and straightforward. But let's increase it to 50 armor (mixed).
    Click image for larger version

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    Test # Description Initial values After Shot #1 After Shot #2 After Shot #3 After Shot #4 After Shot #5 After Shot #6 After Shot #7 Results Shots needed
    1 Player with 90 health and 50 Vest 90HP 50AP 85HP 35AP 80HP 20AP 75HP 5AP 60HP 0AP 40HP 20HP - Player is dead. 7
    2 Player with 90 health and 30 Thigh Pads
    and 20 Helmet
    90HP 50AP 85HP 35AP 80HP 20AP 75HP 5AP 60HP 0AP 40HP 20HP - Player is dead. 7
    3 Player with 90 health and 50 Shield 90HP 50AP 90HP 30AP 90HP 10AP 80HP 10AP 60HP 0HP 40HP 20HP - Player is dead 7
    All these tests needed 7 shots to kill that player.

    Still working somehow as expected. It is also working for 90HP 100S which takes 10 shots till death and 90HP 50A 30T 20H which also takes 10 shots.




    As seen above, the numbers are working correctly for these specific cases. But does it cover everything and every case? No, it does not. The following pictures illustrate the problem of split amor.
    Click image for larger version

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    All images show the same amount of armor. It can be seen in the Paperdoll which armor is set but it's not ideal.
    Here's the deal. We try the same test scenario, shooting an Enforcer onto enemies with these types of armor.
    • 5HP 10V 0T 10H 0S: 1 shot needed
    • 5HP 0V 10T 10H 0S: 1 shot needed
    • 5HP 10V 10T 0H 0S: 1 shot needed
    • 5HP 10V 0T 0H 10S: 2 shots needed
    • 5HP 0V 10T 0H 10S: 1 shots needed
    • 5HP 0V 0T 10H 10S: 1 shots needed
    • (5HP 0V 0T 0H 20S: 2 shots needed)


    Only Vest+Shield is protecting the player from being killed. All other scenarions only take 1 shot. But hey, player can check what armor type they got with the Paperdoll... but is it always possible? No.


    Problem:
    Let's have fixed 4HP health but different mixed amor of 23 armor points.
    Click image for larger version

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    As you can see, all images look the same but the values are completely different. Take a look at these following tests:
    • 4HP 20V 1T 1H 1S: 2 shots needed
    • 4HP 1V 20T 1H 1S: 1 shot needed
    • 4HP 1V 1T 20H 1S: 1 shot needed
    • 4HP 1V 1T 11H 20S: 2 shots needed
    • Some addtional tests:
      • 4HP 5V 8T 8H 2S: 1 shot needed
      • 4HP 6V 7T 7H 3S: 2 shots needed


    It does need different amount of shots to kill someone. as being the one with such setup, you cannot know how many shots you can survive.


    Conclusion:

    Players cannot rely on the number shown in the HUD. It's does not always represent a single case uniquely. If you see some values of the HUD, you may be killed by 1 single ShockRifle Beam hit, or maybe it needs 2 - you never know. It's gameplay important to always know on what you can rely. If the HUD shows 100 Health, it's 100 hit points making it a possible to count the shots you can take. If you get into a fight with someone firing with the Enforcer and you checked your Health before, you would know that the 5th hit would be your death and you might have to think about your tactics on the 3rd hit, back out and trying to get health or continuing fighting. But that's not working well with such mixed Armor and Health points. On occasions, you might not be able to properly calculate the damage you can receive.


    How to support split Armor?

    A possible solution would be instead of adding shield to armor, it can be added to the health value instead. It might change the color once the shield belt is taken and the shield is still filled. Would it work well? No, as 100 is not the maximum as picking up Vials does allow Health up to 199. So a colored value of 180 could be 100+40 health, 100+80 shield, 140+40shield, so on and so on... but only the additional shield value would also protect the other armor from being reduced. This solution wouldn't work eiter.

    There is basically only one solution and still keeping numbers. Shield has to be separated from the basic armor. Shield does cover Health and Armor. Once you get the shield belt picked up, you can get 100 damage points and no Armor part or Health will be decreased. Does another solely number on the HUD would work (besides the other two numbers)? I don't think so. Do bars work? Maybe. Does it work for new players? Probably not (as said in the stream@22:26). So why do we need numbers? Or in general, why would we need health and armor printed on the screen (there were games without such information, and they can be played very well)? Pretty simple, we do need it in Arena games as it can be read quite fast and you always get a direct information about your status.

    I'm no artist and won't draw anything really stylish to just show my idea, but there should be at least some sort of indication of how much shield you have separated from the Armor. It could also show how the shield does protect your health. The paper doll is a concept illustrating that but it doesn't work well as it only shows what type of amor you got. And only if the papardoll is full covered (Belt), you would know the health is somehow protected... but the value is unclear if you got mixed armor.

    For now I present a concept bar showing the shield value as a bar (but also as a number). The shield bar is overlapping the other bars so it should indicate that these bars would be covered. This is only a horizontal bar example but it can also be applied to a thin vertical bar near the paperdoll. Health and Armor (without shield) are not represented as bar.

    The normal HUD widget. only the numbers change. The colored bars only represent the different health/armor value. These won't be animated.
    This Image Was Automatically Resized by using the Screenshot Tag.  Click to view the full version

    Once shield is active (Shield belt has been pickep up), the inner bar gets filled. Also the complete widget is glowing (but not pulsing) so it would indicate that health and amor is covered by the shield (illustrated is blue color). There is also a small number showing the raw value of the shield.
    This Image Was Automatically Resized by using the Screenshot Tag.  Click to view the full version

    Only the inner bar reduces its size and gets animated.
    This Image Was Automatically Resized by using the Screenshot Tag.  Click to view the full version

    The right armor side would get transparent if the armor is gone. Once health reaches a value, the left side will be chaning it's color to read for a warning.
    This Image Was Automatically Resized by using the Screenshot Tag.  Click to view the full version


    In a nutshell:
    Split Armor and Shield into two represenations (either number, bar, circle, dots, overlay, ...). I created a short example using one of piemo's concept HUDs:
    This Image Was Automatically Resized by using the Screenshot Tag.  Click to view the full version

    Exemplary problematic situation with only having Health and Armor as the only 2 values on the HUD:
    Let's assume you have 1 health point, 1 Vest amor, 1 Thigh pads, 1 Helmet point and 3 Shield armor left (which would be printed as 5 Armor points; and paper doll shows belt/shield, vest, thighs and helmet). You take up another Shield belt. This HUD now shows 103 for Armor and still only 1 for Health. Do you survive a rocket (which let's assume is 100 damage for a direct hit). Yes, you will... as 100 shield points absorb 100% damage which nulls the damage. Different situation, same initial values but this time you pick up the vest, the thighs and the helmet. It will be shown with the same values and same paperdoll illustration on the HUD. You will be hit by a rocket. Do you survive this time? No. You die. 2 ocassions, same printed numbers, 2 different results.


    Note: Shots and values are based on UT3.
    Attached Files
    Last edited by RattleSN4K3; 10-30-2014, 10:47 PM. Reason: Typos. Tables. Added nutshell example
    ] Map Scaler Tool | Betrayal for UT4 | No Spawn Protection | No Pickup Timer | BioLauncher (revived) | ForcePickupSpawn | Map cosmetics::P | Safe Spawn::P | Why numbers for Health/Armor suck!::ANALYSIS/CONCEPT
    ] UT3 Addons: NoMoreDemoGuy | PickupRespawnTweak | Mutate Spec | MutePawnSounds | NoPlayerBeacon | Epic FTW | Epic FOCK | TripodSound (... and many more)

  • #2
    I really like this idea.

    As of now it's a little problematic to understand how much belt you got left and i agree we need to do something about this.

    One thing i agree on with epic is that we should not be using Bars. I just can't stand them. I believe numbers are just better in every possible way. Beside that i like the idea posted here and i hope this will be seen and took in consideration by the guys at epic

    Comment


    • #3
      Yep, bar's are not perfect. It's always hard to read, it can only be guessed what the exact value would be. I basically didn't use a bar for health and amor but for the additional shield absorbing effect which takes place only if shield is present. Having a constantly-being-drawn-3rd-number widget for the Shield on the screen would clutter the HUD imo but it would work to come up with all the needed information. The nutshell image above would just show the shield widget if there is at least 1 Shield point (and it could be animated from left to right if you pick up the Belt). I'm not really satisfied with overlapping the numbers, it might be better to show the shield on top of the other widgets and draw an blue-ish overlay on the health and armor widget.

      I would really like to see Epic consider such Shield number.
      ] Map Scaler Tool | Betrayal for UT4 | No Spawn Protection | No Pickup Timer | BioLauncher (revived) | ForcePickupSpawn | Map cosmetics::P | Safe Spawn::P | Why numbers for Health/Armor suck!::ANALYSIS/CONCEPT
      ] UT3 Addons: NoMoreDemoGuy | PickupRespawnTweak | Mutate Spec | MutePawnSounds | NoPlayerBeacon | Epic FTW | Epic FOCK | TripodSound (... and many more)

      Comment


      • #4
        In addition of what I wrote here in the HUD design thread, such additional "Shield widget" could also provide information when the player is spawn protected. Instead of having a numbered value, it could be the infinity symbol.

        Spawn protected player.
        Click image for larger version

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        The minus value represent the remaining time until the spawn protection runs out. If there are games types /mutators which would add a default shield value once a player spawns, the spawn protection can still be drawn like this but would change to the actual number after it runs out.
        Last edited by RattleSN4K3; 10-26-2014, 01:25 PM.
        ] Map Scaler Tool | Betrayal for UT4 | No Spawn Protection | No Pickup Timer | BioLauncher (revived) | ForcePickupSpawn | Map cosmetics::P | Safe Spawn::P | Why numbers for Health/Armor suck!::ANALYSIS/CONCEPT
        ] UT3 Addons: NoMoreDemoGuy | PickupRespawnTweak | Mutate Spec | MutePawnSounds | NoPlayerBeacon | Epic FTW | Epic FOCK | TripodSound (... and many more)

        Comment


        • #5
          I saw this thread after piemos UI thing in the main HUD thread. So here's the thing, UT has gotten increasingly more convoluted to keep track of what you're using and how much you can take.

          UT99 = 3 Armor types
          [Shins] [Vest] (they stack) then [Shield]
          UT2K = 2 different shields [Shield] and [Super Shield] They stack but not with eachother... there's no shield belt so "super shield" fills that roll instead.
          UT3 = 4 pieces of armor, as you've noted above. [Thigh] [Vest] [Helm] [Belt] They stack weirdly and the shield is separated. But it's even more convoluted than what you talked about above. Like how a helmet will block 1 headshot.

          Now in UT4 we have... 5 pieces of armor. with extra rules... like how you can have [Shins] separately but [Boots] = [Shins+Boots] but [Thighs] =/= [Boots+shins] like in UT3 and who knows what else they will introduce into this knotted mess. This is a lot to keep track of and I really don't think it's going to be solved by just an extra number since there's so many variables in play. It's an idea I guess worth trying but this is Epic's own fault for adding more rules on how the armor plays out. The simplest way to handle it would be treating armor additive objectively but that would be too "Archaic" and clearly every UT must be more complicated on life-management than the last.

          Comment


          • #6
            The armor itself is a more complex thing which couldn't be solved by one single value. It would be too much to offer for a fast-paced game. However, the damage absorption exists in every UT. Only UT2004 is reabable when and how much shield would absorb 100% damage (the value above 100 is 100% absorbed). UT4 will likely get the same problem that this special 100% damage absorption feature is not displayed and hidden in the secret.

            As written in the OP, there is a problem with these stacked armor types as these make the single armor value irrepresentable of which it actually protect (is it thighs, head, body or is it 100%-absorption-damage=shield?).

            Let's assume you have 1HP, 1V, 1 Thigh, 1 helmet and 3 shield armor left (which would be printed as 5 Armor; and paper doll shows belt/shield, vest and thighs). You take up the another Shield belt. This HUD now shows 103 for amor and still only 1 for Health. Do you survive a Rocket (which let's assume is 100 damage for a direct hit). Yes, you will... as 100 shield absorbs 100% damage which nulls the damage. Different situation, same initial values but this time you pickup the vest, the thighs and the helmet. You will be hit by a rocket. Do you survive this time? No. You die. 2 ocassions, same printed numbers, 2 different results.

            I think it is the same in UT4.
            Last edited by RattleSN4K3; 10-26-2014, 01:04 PM.
            ] Map Scaler Tool | Betrayal for UT4 | No Spawn Protection | No Pickup Timer | BioLauncher (revived) | ForcePickupSpawn | Map cosmetics::P | Safe Spawn::P | Why numbers for Health/Armor suck!::ANALYSIS/CONCEPT
            ] UT3 Addons: NoMoreDemoGuy | PickupRespawnTweak | Mutate Spec | MutePawnSounds | NoPlayerBeacon | Epic FTW | Epic FOCK | TripodSound (... and many more)

            Comment


            • #7
              In UT99, you also had asbestos and toxic suits which they can act like a piece of armor.
              History: UT99 (2003 - 2007; 2009 - Now) UT2k4: (2005-2007), UT3 (2008-2009)
              UT Nicknames: Shotman, HeatWave, MY_KID
              UT Clan: -={SDA}=- (Sniping Death Angles) and zsu (Zark Snipers United)
              UT Main Menu Design

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              • #8
                I'm pretty sure it's not present in any UT (as official content), I could be wrong. As stated on the Armor wiki page on Liandri Archives, it was only available in Unreal and its addons.

                Armor is not a pretty complex system and I can think of one possible solution to cover possible absorption value. It's is still only a visible addition and no gameplay changer. But this is out of the scope of this concept and problem with the Armor-Health widgets. It may not even work well, wouldn't fit into the minimalstic theme and woudn't be easy to understand.
                ] Map Scaler Tool | Betrayal for UT4 | No Spawn Protection | No Pickup Timer | BioLauncher (revived) | ForcePickupSpawn | Map cosmetics::P | Safe Spawn::P | Why numbers for Health/Armor suck!::ANALYSIS/CONCEPT
                ] UT3 Addons: NoMoreDemoGuy | PickupRespawnTweak | Mutate Spec | MutePawnSounds | NoPlayerBeacon | Epic FTW | Epic FOCK | TripodSound (... and many more)

                Comment


                • #9
                  Best HUD suggestion so far imo!

                  I would want a modular (scalable, placeable + optimally with different style templates usable) HUD which is maximally informative and fast readable.
                  I would want the precision of number value displays aswell as the fast readability of grafical charts and I would want all that in a minimal-space-taking, sleek futuristic design.

                  If the paper doll and the bar variant displayed the actual health/shieldbelt/armor amount grafically aswell (filling/empting dynamically) it would be ideal imo.
                  http://250kb.de/u/150227/p/qqYY9pJVAxBj.png
                  My views on the new UT in a nutshell │ Social MarketplaceModern UT4 AllNew Dynamic StandardsMore iconic U and the 4 neededUE4 Free - I Epic

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                  • #10
                    Bar, some do like 'em. Some don't want them and probably devs never ship them. Joe Wilcox mentioned it in the Hud twitch stream @22:26s. Numbers are probably the fast way to read and understand the value at the same amount of time. Numbers are also the direct (no conversion needed) value of what is used under the hood. Bars always need to be interpreted. You have to compare its overall size with its filled bar to actually guess a perentaged value.

                    Maria, the person who created the initial concepual HUDs, also added bars to the HUD (in addition to numbered values). It would work together. However, the bar has still its problems. I mentioned it on that thread in a post.
                    Originally posted by RattleSN4K3 View Post
                    The health/armor bars are only showing the current value and would prevent having a value above 100% (as otherwise the concept of a filling bar is gone). The health bar should somehow show if it is protected by armor. No matter of the amount, the health bar should be blue if it is protected by the Belt. Speaking of armor, how could a single bar represent the different types of the armor? The armor is currently protecting the different regions of the body (not sure if this is the recent implemenation) which is shown in the paper doll but how could a bar of 100% show when any armor is gone. I think the armor and health should split its value.

                    Health bar is currently using default Health values as barwidth max (100 HP = 100% bar). Why not using a percentaged bar. 100% bar would be Health=HealthMax (if the player is at maximum health). From the look of the concept images, 100% bar would be 100% and should not add some more. What happens if you pickup vials. The bar could be split to show either the percentaged value of the health (with 100 HP, the bar would be filled 50% with 200 HealthMax) or an addinationl smaller bar inside the bar itself could show when additional health is pickup up. Same goes for the armor where the bar should be split into FULL_PROTECTION and REGIONAL_PROTECTION.
                    What I was trying to say with the 2nd paragraph is something like a split health bar which would show the actual health value (as bar) but also the additional health appened with the same length of the 100HP bar but showing the 100+ values. Something like FirebornFrom did in one of his concepts.

                    Thanks for the support tho . How such additional shield value is display is mostly a preference of each single person, and it's at least the designer's task to allow some sort of configuration. But yeah, i'm on the same boat.


                    Note: We all want a modular HUD (ore pretty much customizable HUD) and scaling, re-position etc. would be great. This concept is more about showing how a additional Shield value (represented as bar, circle, overlapping overlay, raw number) could work and increase the readability and would help players alot to actually know their Health-Armor-value and the separate Shield value wich would prevent the Armor being damage or the player bing hurt (on its health).
                    ] Map Scaler Tool | Betrayal for UT4 | No Spawn Protection | No Pickup Timer | BioLauncher (revived) | ForcePickupSpawn | Map cosmetics::P | Safe Spawn::P | Why numbers for Health/Armor suck!::ANALYSIS/CONCEPT
                    ] UT3 Addons: NoMoreDemoGuy | PickupRespawnTweak | Mutate Spec | MutePawnSounds | NoPlayerBeacon | Epic FTW | Epic FOCK | TripodSound (... and many more)

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      While its a good suggestion I hope armor moves away from the "5 different bits with different absorption values" to a more stream lined approach.

                      Belt as one type, everything else as another type with the same level of absorption. The different values/absorption levels are not really the problem - its that the player can be holding multiple things at once, which is what this thread is obviously (yay) trying to address. Also stacking in duel is fairly broken under the current system (which started in ut99), making it unnecessarily difficult for a player completely out of control to get back into the game via stack.

                      https://forums.unrealtournament.com/...er-interaction

                      Sorry for the highjacking but I think both these aspects are tied together
                      Posts are about duel unless otherwise specified. ut duel shortcomings | What is timing? | dm-twentyseven

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        While the stated problem is that armor is displayed with shield, even the difference in absorption among armors can cause niche cases where unexpected results occur.
                        E.g. Your first example of a problem demonstrates this:
                        5HP 10V 0T 0H 10S: 2 shots needed
                        5HP 0V 10T 0H 10S: 1 shots needed
                        5HP 0V 0T 10H 10S: 1 shots needed
                        Even displaying shield separately from armor, these scenarios would appear identical: 5H/10A/10S.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          That's correct. It's still conflicting as the armor system wouldn't be solved. It's complex by having different absorption rates. These single values doesn't work well. I cannnot think of a good possible solution to get rid of it, and I think the damaging system shouldn't be the different. I really like that Armor harm the shoots for the moment but still allow to damage the player. Any player has to manage to not reach low health.

                          By splitting Shield from the armor value, you will get a 2nd life as it protects both Health and Armor. It's still not working in combination with mixed armor types, as you pointed out these 3 cases. It's only another reason why numbers don't work with such system. You can modify numbers, you can append anything to numbers which wouldn't be hard to understand (100+20 for instance as single Health value representing the absorption).

                          This whole system including paperdoll, health and armor widgets needs to be redesigned.
                          ] Map Scaler Tool | Betrayal for UT4 | No Spawn Protection | No Pickup Timer | BioLauncher (revived) | ForcePickupSpawn | Map cosmetics::P | Safe Spawn::P | Why numbers for Health/Armor suck!::ANALYSIS/CONCEPT
                          ] UT3 Addons: NoMoreDemoGuy | PickupRespawnTweak | Mutate Spec | MutePawnSounds | NoPlayerBeacon | Epic FTW | Epic FOCK | TripodSound (... and many more)

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                          • #14
                            The problem is not numbers. The problem is an armor system that is just too complicated.
                            BeyondUnreal Podcast
                            r/UnrealTournament Moderator

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                            • #15
                              I dont know every weapon's damage and every armor's damage damping so I dont count and know how many shots I should be able to survive from my enemy.
                              Nevertheless I strongly agree with Rattle that the complex armor system is no problem, I very much like it as it is in UT3.
                              It's cool for the helmet to be able to block a headshot entirely if its intact. It just makes sense.
                              http://250kb.de/u/150227/p/qqYY9pJVAxBj.png
                              My views on the new UT in a nutshell │ Social MarketplaceModern UT4 AllNew Dynamic StandardsMore iconic U and the 4 neededUE4 Free - I Epic

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