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Shock: Balls cast light and shadows

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    Shock: Balls cast light and shadows

    Often times weapon design discussion is about changing the functionality of the gun, but we can change something like the FX and have it effect gameplay indirectly. Typically shock balls and other projectiles like rockets cast light but never shadows. I think in 2015 or whenever the game will be released, cast shadows will help sell the fact it's a modern game with a new spruced up engine and help show off some of UE4's capability with real time shadows. Casting shadows is not a new concept for games or engines, it's just ray casting!

    However the actual main reason I'm suggesting that shock balls cast light is how shock combos are used to hit around corners. Players either never know its coming, or they must listen for the ball being launched since the ball itself never really had a sound while in the air. This sort of light and shadow FX update to the shock balls would let players see that a shock ball is around the corner before they get blown up in the face with a combo. Letting them react to good messaging in the game helps balance the shock much more fairly without changing anything function wise or balancing damage on how the shock works.

    It doesn't need to be a bright sun and instead can be a dimmer purple-ish light where you still have to pay attention to your surroundings, the point is to let the players know before hand to give a little headsup before they eat a shock combo.

    Hmm, I like the idea that shock combos should be more dodgeable around corners, but how exactly is this supposed to be implemented? Cores can't cast a shadow, they are a source of light. There has to be something blocking that light for a shadow to appear. And I'm pretty sure that already happens at the moment. Or are you saying to increase the radius of light that the core emits so that you can actually tell there is one coming from behind a wall, since its light will reach you sooner and let you have a chance to dodge it?

    Or further yet, are you saying cores should be like black holes, sucking in light and creating a shadow around them? That would be cool as a graphical effect actually, if we made the core black and it would suck all the light in around it - and the combo already creates a vortex that sucks bodies in


      Suppose I didn't explain myself as well as I could.

      I meant that shock balls as a source of light, and make other objects cast shadows so you can see it coming via visual FX change of the environment. The black hole idea is neat but it's not really what Shock is, when the weapon has always been laser and photon based.


        Originally posted by FirebornForm View Post
        Casting shadows is not a new concept for games or engines, it's just ray casting!
        Except when it isn't. E.g. shadow mapping, path tracing, cone tracing, and whatever Doom 3 was doing.
        Shadows are expensive to render, which is why projectiles generally don't cast them in the first place.

        What you could do is have it project a light or beam, showing players where the shock ball is going. That's cheap and would communicate better.


          Xonotic has dynamic lighting and dynamic shadows coming from certain projectiles and explosions, it has a performance hit indeed but any modern system can easily handle it on the highest settings the way they implemented it there.

          It's always fun to include the option for people with sufficiently decent machines.

          Turning it into a real game mechanic is actually a bad idea, because not everybody will be able to benefit from it. Implementing it will anyway cause this problem somewhat, but I don't think it will have as much impact on the game as you'd think, I've played Xonotic for over three years now and there it has never really saved my bum from an incoming guided rocket, however the sounds did a better job at keeping me alive
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            Originally posted by FirebornForm View Post
            However the actual main reason I'm suggesting that shock balls cast light is how shock combos are used to hit around corners. Players either never know its coming, or they must listen for the ball being launched since the ball itself never really had a sound while in the air.
            What prevents us from giving it some distinct buzzing sound? It's not blinding and no performance impact.


              I dont know why people assume it must be blinding just because it's a light source. There's such a thing as adjusting the intensity of a light and having a dimmer light source.

              The worry about performance is not really much of concern. UE4 has been demoed every single time with real time shadows, particle fx and so forth. A rocket in Xonotic moves much faster than a shock ball in UT so it's not really a fair comparison, plus it's guided so why would the fact it light up save you at all? It's just eye candy in Xonotic. =P You can still make it a light source without real time shadows, this is a simple check of FX in options and has been done many times in games with out a big performance hit or big advantage over people who can't do it.

              Sound is secondary to your senses in an Arena Shooter, sight is primary. While one of the giveaways to a Redeemer is the sound it makes but this is pretty much the only gun that ever has any sort of giveaway that you're about to eat something. RL multi-loading for a while around corners was a sort of sound give away but it really doesn't apply nearly as much in UT with 3 rockets that has a pause after the full load.


                I don't mind it being a light source, but even with great performance it won't be free and it'll be optional so not everyone will have the benefit.
                Not only that, sound still warns you when there isn't much stuff around you to light up, warns you when you're not looking in the right direction and warns you when it's coming from below you when you're near an edge etc.
                So if your main reason to have this is the ability to know a core is coming towards you then I'd say sound should be on there first, light second.


                  Good idea, it could really help to be aware of shock balls earlier and would surely look cool.
                  Only in intentionally very dark maps it could perhaps disturb the (no) light setup.

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                    Again with the performance worries. I think UE4 and UT4 along with everyone else in 2015 can handle it. I think sound is okay, but not nearly as effective as visual give aways. People play with music on, and with all of the other sound FX overlapping so it's much more that sounds for a ball would be far in the background buried behind everything else, which is why I suggest visual change.

                    Here's an example of use of projectiles lighting up rooms in Forsaken an old 90s game. If the N64 could handle it, what chance is there that PCs in 2015 wont be able to do it?

                    Skip to 1:22:00 or click this link

                    In Forsaken there isn't real time shadows, but that part isn't as important and that would just be extra eye candy. In Forsaken you can tell when something is coming or what gun is being fired when it effects the room.

                    In Forsaken every gun is color coded and effects the environment but that's their choice and I'm not suggesting UT become a flashing rainbow every time there's a fire fight, but for shock balls effecting the environment via color and light it gets the idea across and works pretty well. The Titan missile (Forsaken's Redeemer) especially has a very big give away and will save your life if you see the glow coming. I would imagine that shock balls would be more like the full charge of the blue spiral gun. (Trojax)

                    It's not really real time lights that cause any sort of performance hits, it's real time shadows that is the hard to calculate stuff.
                    Last edited by FirebornForm; 12-14-2014, 04:01 PM.


                      Rather than spot incoming shock cores sooner, I had the idea a couple months back that I'd like to see shock cores light up the ground and other geometry to aid with depth perception. I was attempting to address the great difficulty new players have gauging the position of their shock cores relative to the enemies they want to combo (and the same for link beams), which I'm sure we all experience to some degree. However, I was told that shock cores already light up the ground in UT3, which was in fact true; the effect was, nonetheless, far too weak for me to use, remember, or notice, even though I have played UT3 for a couple thousand hours. Of course, it would be a bit of a low skill clutch compared to how the current veterans have sussed out the shock core's physics with exorbitant experience, but I don't believe that's necessarily a bad thing.
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