Tuesday, May 30, 2023

Putting doors in video games is a nightmare, developers say

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Turns out putting something as simple as doors in a video game is really hard, even for big studios like Naughty Dog. A conversation on Twitter today about doors started when the developer of Death Trash, Stephan Hövelbrinks tweeted the following about the implementation of doors in games:

To sum up: Doors push players into small areas, blocking their paths, but unlike walls have a lot of other potential issues like being locked or unlocked, being able to be destroyed (and therefore no longer being there), and more. And to be clear, Hövelbrinks specifically talks about doors that can open and close and players can go through without charging into a new area, rather than doors that are static or act as portals.

Damion Schubert, Boss Fight Design Director and Former BioWare Austin Designer also weighed, describing in more detail what these issues may involve: for example, NPCs might not be able to find their way through a space due to the way doors interact with their paths, or if they try to find their way through a space. ” use the door at the same time as an NPC or a player. There are also visual issues related to doors passing through other objects or getting stuck, or related to the animation of a player reaching out to open said door.

The Last of Us 2 also co-director Kurt Margenau rang note that Naughty Dog had his own difficulties with doors.

“We knew that doors in a stealth scenario would add a certain level of player author to the space and provide more opportunities to escape situations. They block [line of sight] and slow down enemies. This was in line with the desire for the player to restore stealth more often.

“But we’re also a game that’s incredibly neat in terms of animation. If a player wants to open a door, they can’t just magically fly, the character has to reach for the doorknob and push it. is he closing it behind you, how do you do that while sprinting?

“We played around with several prototypes to allow the player to manually close the door behind them. They weren’t all great. We tried to hold buttons, all kinds of weird patterns. So how do you animate it? Player in one animation while escaping.

“To make a long story short: in the tension of combat, the doors will close slowly and automatically. This is the most favorable for the players, because opening the player door slows you down very little, we do not even take control, but they block AI more effectively. “

Margenau added that indeed, Naughty Dog needs to create a whole new physical object (the door) that players can push, but which can also push the player – a huge challenge for any studio.

Lots of other developers had things to say about the doors. Remedy Gameplay Designer Sergey Mohov, for example:

“I’m not sure exactly how many man-months were in the door system in Control, but more than most abilities and weapons, of course,” he said.

Other developers have also touched on the issues with the doors, including Naughty Dog audio manager Neil Uchitel. say that door noise design is also a big challenge, and Director of Design Obsidian Josh Sawyer, who said that doors are “one of the first things we implement in one of our games.”

Rebekah Valentine is a journalist at IGN. You can find her on Twitter @duckvalentine.


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