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Happy Hour: March 24th, 2017 Summary Written Friday 24th of March 2017 at 11:55am by CanadianSyrup

Today's episode of Happy Hour will feature Calix Reneau creating a gameplay mechanic live! Check it out.

As per usual, anything said during the show is subject to change by CIG and may not always be accurate at the time of posting. Also any mistakes you see that I may have missed, please let me know so I can correct them. Enjoy the show!

TL;DR (Too Long; Didn't Read)

  • Today's Happy Hour featured Technical Designer, Calix Reneau in a live demonstration of creating a gameplay mechanic, specifically shooting a basketball in the new Javelin basketball court. 
  • Calix used an editor called "Flowgraph" which allows him to visually code in as you can guess a flowgraph format.
  • After going through two iterations to get the throw correct, the hardest part was actually making the ball bounce. CryEngine has support for bouncy materials, but there's more involved than that to make a basketball bounce as you would expect.
  • After a half hour of tweaking Calix was able to create something like a basketball and added a scoreboard for final touches.
  • This mechanic isn't something guaranteed to make it into the game and was more of an insight on what it takes to create a mechanic in general.

Summary

  • The show is live! Today on the show are Community Managers Tyler Nolin, Tyler Witkin, and Jared Huckaby with Technical Designer, Calix Reneau. Today Calix will be trying to make a hoop mechanic after it was revealed the Javelin will have a basketball court in the Javelin cargo bay.

    • There's also an air hockey table if you didn't see that as well in ATV.
  • So the mechanic will be purely a concept. So there's no confirmation that this will be in the game or commitment as it's not in the schedule, but they thought it would be a fun thing to do to show backers how making a mechanic works and maybe this one will make it into the game someday.

  • They're starting off with just a plain asset that happens to be a massive sphere the size of a human, but before he resizes it he adds some gravity to it, specifically 10 on the scale. He's also working within "Flowgraph" as the editor is called.

  • Calix then resized the ball so it just fit through the hoop. Tyler Nolin asked: [how does the ball get it's bounce?] Calix: That's actually the hardest part of this whole thing.

    • CryEngine does support bouncy materials, but he's going to have to take a lot of effort to make it feel like a basketball.
  • Calix showed the flowgraph he's made so far and how it connects to one another, he's created a toggle so far to I believe enable a player to shoot it. There's a lot of boxes that he's connecting seamlessly and it's very interesting, but hard to follow as he's quick (He's good at what he does in a nutshell).

    • The flowgraph for what anyone is wondering, is a tool created to basically allow designers to visually code things. Instead of having to do it the traditional way, they have their presets that they can define and chain together in a way that allows them to see the procedure in how things run. It's a big time saver.
  • Calix attempted to shoot the ball into the hoop and did it successfully! Except it got stuck... So he made it a tiny bit smaller.

  • He's added an impulse to make it "throw" more like a human, but the ball is always shot to the centre of the screen and has to make it shoot where the cursor is instead. After some adjusting he's make it work. There's not a lot of freedom in terms of what moves you can do such as layups and etc, this is a very basic mechanic.

  • To make the ball bounce now he's going to try to add a Raycast which is a fancy way of saying, march here until you hit something and tell me where you hit it.

  • After making some adjustments to make it bounce, he then broke the physics so now the ball has a mind of its own and defies the laws of gravity, but Calix decided to leave the bounce mechanic for now and work on the strength mechanic to throw the ball.

  • Calix has made it so the more you move your mouse after you hold the left click, the harder you'll throw it.

  • After playing with the throw mechanic, Calix decided that it wasn't very intuitive and scrapped it and decided to try and make a timer based mechanic, originally you would flick the ball to get the strength, but it was clumsy.

  • It works much better now, he also added some visual aid to tell you how much power is in the shot based off the colour in the reticle.

  • Now that Calix is satisfied with the throw, he moves back to the bounce aspect of the ball. He determines where the ground actually is in order to make the ball accelerate away from the ground based off the inertia. However after a first pass he made it WAYYY too strong and if you've ever watched "Flubber" It's like the scene in the driveway with the golf ball and bowling ball.

  • After being puzzled by why the ball was launching itself so high, he figured out it was continuously applying the impulse and now the ball behaves a little more like it should, but still behaves like a heavy ball.

  • After he released the ball now, for some reason it bounced on its own after rolling flat on the ground and jumped 10 feet in the air.

  • After playing around some more, he just couldn't figure out why it wouldn't bounce properly so now he's gone back to the state where the ball didn't bounce, but behaves properly as it should. So he went ahead and deleted the script he made for the bounce because there's a possibility he assumed something was correct and that could cause problems.

    • Calix loves this aspect of the job because problem solving is a big part of his job and figuring out how to make things work is a big part of his daily workload.
  • He has the ball "bouncing" now, but it's in an infinite loop, which isn't bad, just has to continue tweaking it and finally he got something that looks like a basketball bouncing. It's still pretty wonky as the ball will bounce on its own for a bit more so than it should, but it bounces!

  • He adjusted a few more values to correct the ball from bouncing more so than it should, and now it looks pretty good! Still needs some work though. The only issue now is that the ball bounces against the ground, but against walls it's still doing the same thing it did before.

  • So after some trial shots, Calix adds a scoreboard to give incentive to what he's actually doing!

  • After applying a scoreboard above the hoop and trying it out, it doesn't work.. So now he's trying to figure out why it wasn't working and it's because it was looking for the player to score a point and not the ball. After correcting it and shooting hoops he got a point regardless if it went in or not because it was a proximity based counter that didn't factor if it went into the hoop or not.

    • After tweaking again it works closer to what it should, but still needs some editing.
  • While Calix tweaked values, Jared and Tyler Witkin decided to hold hands on stream... Not literally because Tyler Witkin is in Austin so they put their hands as close as they could together to make it look visually correct.

  • Now he's added two pointers and three pointers! However that's all the time they have for now. This concept was just for fun and whether or not it makes it down the road is unknown, but it was a great example on how a mechanic is born and the iteration and tweaking needed to get it to a rough point that we can understand.

CanadianSyrup

Director of Transcripts

A polite Canadian who takes pride in making other peoples day brighter. He enjoys waffles with Maplesyrup, making delicious puns and striving for perfection in screaming at the T.V. during hockey games.