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RaideR


pencil Introducing Frozensand Games Limited

bullet_none posted Wednesday, 21 September 2016
We don't tend to post information on the boring stuff that goes on in the background of our development team. However, in this case, after many years, the Urban Terror Universe is now incorporated in the United Kingdom.

Frozensand Games Limited ( 10343942 )

Taking over the mantel of Business Administrators, myself and Barbatos take on the responsibility of running the company. BladeKiller and RabidCow are not going anywhere, they will be using their new found time to concentrate on game development. Something we hope will see Urban Terror Resurgence available on Steam as a GreenLight Beta quicker. #confirmed.

0870760 B.C. Ltd our old company will close it's doors soon as it is acquired by Frozensand Games.

It's little over a week until we release 4.3 very much Still Dying and even with our team focus on Resurgence we will still be taking the time to look after and maintain that which is the 4.x series.

We have appointed Blapecool as a new Head Admin. He is now responsible for systems and services provided by Frozensand, so be sure to bug him when Auth goes down.

I will be using my blog going forward to report on the road to Greenlight which is one of my new main responsibilities

As ever, it's ready when its done, but maybe that time will be a little sooner and more like "it's ready when we play something ;)".

Good Luck Us!
comments: Feel free to discuss this on our forums
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Gost0r


pencil Evolving the HUD

bullet_none posted Wednesday, 07 September 2016

CONCEPT

All good things start with a decent design phase. Our design thread contains dozens of posts which centralize around 4 design concepts. In the end we decided to stick with this basic concept done by Nounou:

attention: Keep in mind that this is just a concept and nothing is final.

CURRENT ITERATION



I will explain each element, how it functions and what the icons represent. But before I go ahead, please take note of the following:
Custom settings are not yet available, but we're looking forward to having different settings such as displaying weapon icons instead of the name. You won't find me going into a discussion of Minimap vs Radar, neither will I reflect that element as it's currently not worked on and therefore we might have a seperate blog on it. Please note as well that up to this point I haven't been able to implement the Bigtext feature yet, but it is planned to be part of the HUD. Furthermore, we’ve got plans to have a decent and easy accessable stats sheet, but we haven't worked on it yet, so I'll cover all the stats HUD once we've got a basic ingame version working.

Weaponinfo


EXPLANATION: The weapon info box contains the following information: how many grenades do I currently own, the different types are divided by colour. Additionally we got a bullet and clip counter as well as a weapon mode display (..... = automatic, . . . = semi, .. .. = burst). Then we have the weapon display which contains three weapons at a time. When you scroll down and you currently possess more than 3 weapons, then the pointer will move to the middle and stay there until you have reached the pre-last weapon. And if you scroll down once again - you guessed it - the pointer reaches the bottom end.

DISCUSSION: The weapon info box is in my opinion the most complete component. I'm really happy with the behaviour of the weapon box as you cycle through different weapons - it adds a nice feeling to it. There are slight changes to make on how weaponmode is displayed, but that's just minor stuff.

Health/Stamina bar


EXPLANATION: The health and stamina bar behaves exactly like it always has, so there is not much to explain.

DISCUSSION: There has been discussion of actually merging the speedometer into the bar as a white outline, combined with some optional speed info, but in the end we put the discussion on hold as we came to no final decision whether we should implement it or not. But as it's not a super important feature, we might be able to delay it.

Timer and Info




EXPLANATION: On the top side of the screen we've got the current FPS, ping as well as the remaining gametime displayed. while in the bottom left corner the Hotpotato and Waverespawn box is located. Not much left to explain either as it's just displaying information to the user.

DISCUSSION: As none of the elements is final yet, I'm still trying to find ways on how to improve the information. Right now i find it very distracting to have the Wave- and the Hotpotato timer on the opposite corner of the screen than the other timer. Another aspect is the possible lack of a netgraph. The question is if the display of the ping and FPS is enough to notice if you're having problems with the connection. Of course a netgraph like nounou has illustrated in the concept is beautiful, but the netgraph is supposed to give you information on when you're having problems, so maybe just a text with your in/out packetloss would seal it, but then again it comes down to visual aspiration... duh, let's see what will be the best later on when we come to its implementation.

Scoreboard




EXPLANATION: The scoreboard is very much connected to the team overlay. The teamoverlay contains in its default view the playername, the team score, the armband color as well as the players health. You're able to see the players health of your own teammates as 25% steps (for example if i have 46 health left, i have 2 bars on the scoreboard).
Now, once you pressed the scoreboard button (default: TAB), the teamoverlay lerps out to the middle and becomes the scoreboard. Here we've got the score, the Kills/Deaths/Assists ratio as well as the ping. The other players won't be able to see your real ping, but the indication of your ping range, symbolized with different colours (for example if your have a ping below 50: green). The rest is rather obvious: the list fills in the player names and sorts them by Score>Kills>Deaths>Assists, the spectator bar lists the current spectators.

DISCUSSION: The scoreboard is the most interesting part of the whole HUD in my opinion. And yet it contains some major conflicts in it. The general visual perception of it is horrible, it looks like a random terrible MSpaint made scoreboard. It simply doesn't fit into the Urban Terror theme and neither to my ambitions.
On the other hand I really love the unfolding mechanic that currently exists. It gives it a nice flow and a sort of unique behaviour.
Considering the items of the scoreboard, we're lacking some vital information. We need an indication of what half we are in as well as the score of the previous half. Status icons are planned to be placed behind the armband info (Subsitution, Flag/Bomb carrier), but yet to be implemented.

Feed & Chat




EXPLANATION: The feed contains all sorts of messages, may it be the hits, actual kills, killer's health as well as connection information. The chat is now on the bottom left and currently works very simple: type /all TEXT to send TEXT to everybody, /team to teammates or no command and it will automatically use the team chat. Both commands are being pre-entered with the corresponding key (t: allchat, y: teamchat).

DISCUSSION: Unreal Engine 4 makes it rather hard to implement the right flow for delivering messages from the game core to the UI surface. It doesn't contain features such as the CVAR-system which idtech based engines are famous for, as well as a decent console which can easily used by the public. Of course it comes with a developer console, but that one is not very handy if you want to weave it together with the game UI. We can later explore these aspects even deeper with either making the chat console more powerful (more commands to recognize than only two), or we have to use what's available and work our way around the developer console.
comments: Feel free to discuss this on our forums
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HappyDay


pencil Dragon Reborn - Raise Your Flags

bullet_none posted Thursday, 07 July 2016
It's been a (long) while since my last blog post but I haven't been inactive. As you might have seen in chump's post, we do have new flag models for Urban Terror. Here's some behind the scenes info from me on the topic of flags, dragons and logos.

Let's start with flags

They are very similar to the old urt 4.x flags. They consist of a pole, a simple, rectangular flag cloth, pointing to the side and a golden ornament at the top. When I was working on the flags, I considered changing the shape to something more like a banner, the flag cloth hanging down from a horizontal bar. Possibly adding a second, smaller triangular cloth or other variations. Ultimately I stuck to the old, proven design. Different banner versions can always be added later for map specific flags. This time around, thanks to Unreal Engine 4's wind system, the flapping of the cloth is determined by wind sources placed in the map. It is the level designer's choice how the flags behave in each part of the map. Inside, without wind, they might just hang down, while outside they flap like a chicken that is being chased by an angry fox. Here's a short demo showing a moderately strong wind effect.


New to the game are also two cords and tassels hanging down the pole. I think that makes the flags look a bit more interesting and adds a feeling of preciousness and aesthetics to the otherwise rather simple design. The cords consist of a few physics bodies that react to gravity and any obstacles. So they will move, when a player bumps into them, or has a flag on his back and is running around.



Logos
In case you don't have a clear picture of the old 4.x flags in your mind, here's a screenshot to help you compare. As you can see, the logos have slightly changed. The blue team, the Urban Terror Response Team (UTRT) still has the three bullet shells on the striped background, but now resembling the UrT logo a bit more.
The logo of the Red Dragons has changed from a white dragon in side view to a gold and black dragon in frontal view, which in my opinion looks far better. I took both designs from nounou's awesome concept art. Here's one of them, added for your pleasure.

There also needs to be a neutral (grey) flag for some game modes, but I haven't found the time yet to work on that.

Dragon
The ornament on top of the red flag is UrT's iconic red dragon, which received a major update. Here are two in-game shots.

The old dragon was very low poly and had rather skinny limbs. Nonetheless, the pose was quite dynamic and I used the same pose for the updated dragon. The old model was used as a base for dynamic sculpting in blender. In accordance with the new logo on the flag, I added some more horns and spikes, adjusted the wings and added a few tiny fins on the back and tail. A toothless baby dragon, that couldn't even scare your grandma was reborn as a mighty predator, worthy to be symbol of the ferociousness, with which the Red Dragons fight for what they believe in. The high poly model ended up with about 12 million tris. I had to reduce tris count several times during the sculpting process. Editing became somewhat slow after a while (should have bought more RAM). Still, I enjoyed working on the dragon a lot, this was one of my favorite projects so far.

After the high-poly model was done, I used remeshing algorithms and manual adjusting to create a low poly model, which is used in-game. I baked a normal map and an ambient occlusion map from high- to low-poly to fake most of the detail. The model used in the game has about 8500 tris.

Apart from a very awesome flag ornament, we also could use a larger size version of the dragon as a statue in some maps, lobby screens or similar places.

This concludes my little blog post. I hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed creating the new art.

Have a happy day! :)
comments: Feel free to discuss this on our forums
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Zenity


pencil Movement Update

bullet_none posted Saturday, 23 January 2016
Over the last few weeks I have been working on some movement related features.

TL/DR:



In my mind, Urban Terror movement is primarily defined by two words: "Quake" and "Parkour".

The Quake heritage is obvious, but what exactly does "Quake like movement" really mean? When boiled down to basics, what makes Quake movement special is that it's heavily physics driven. Quake never had any sort of fancy movement system. There's no dodging, no double jumps, nothing but WASD and a jump key. Yet the simple whacky physics create gameplay so complex, that Quake movement is considered the most skill based of all. In game design, this is called emergent behaviour and the result is the holy grail of "easy to learn, impossible to master". So when I add movements to Urban Terror, I try to keep this in mind and follow the same pattern. Movements which are easy to execute (no extra keys required) but are driven by physics so that advanced players can bend it in unforeseen ways.

"Parkour" is the perfect real world equivalent to our crazy ass movement, but it has always bothered me just a little that actual Parkour is in fact more agile and advanced than ours. Vaulting and Wall Running are two movements in particular that make perfect sense in a Parkour environment, but I also wanted to implement them in a way that doesn't feel scripted but heavily physics based to fit in with the Quake style. I am very happy how this turned out, and I think that both will become very natural additions to Urban Terror once players had a chance to get used to them.

I am also experimenting with additional legacy Quake physics (similar to Challenge Pro Mode), like ramp jumps and bunny hopping / air control. You can see both in the video, but notice that they are extremely toned down so they don't overpower the usual Urban Terror movement but instead create subtle additions to it. Bunny hopping in particular still needs a lot of testing and feedback so there is no telling if it will actually make it in the end. But ramp jumps are pretty subtle while still being a blast to execute, so I think that those will be fairly uncontroversial.

I appreciate the irony that Urban Terror on Unreal Engine could well become more Quake-like than it ever was on the actual Quake engine.

What About Jump Maps?

Of course we will try to maintain 99%+ accuracy for basic movement (this includes circle jumping, wall jumping, powersliding), but the reality is that most jump maps will have to be updated for HD either way due to minor differences in the engines which are not worth changing (we will only port the bugs which are actually fun :)). Furthermore we cannot stay stagnant if we want HD to be a true resurgence rather than just a monument to days long past, so jump maps will have to evolve along with us. Of course this is not an ideal situation (especially for high score tracking), but we will work with the jump community to make the process as smooth as possible. If you are working on a jump map, please don't hesitate to reach out to us!

That said, one reason I wanted to put a lot of work into movement early on is that hopefully we can get it to a point where we won't feel the need to make significant updates to the movement system for a long time to come.

What About Action Mode?

In a previous blog I hinted at the possibility of an alternate "action mode" that would increase the overall speed and drop all pretences of being tactical. However, after experimenting with this it just doesn't feel right, mainly because the existing maps are not suitable for it. In the end, I think that adding subtle amounts of pro mode style movements to stock Urban Terror is the better approach. Instead of an "action mode" however I could imagine to make infinite stamina a proper option for all game modes. Right now stamina is the one thing that reigns in all the crazy movements and maintains a tactical element to the game. So playing without stamina is very much like playing "action mode", just one that still feels like bona fide Urban Terror. I do think this option would be justified since sometimes we just feel like mindless fragging, whereas other times we may feel like deploying a slightly more deliberate approach.

Anyway, I hope you enjoyed this update and like I said in the disclaimer of the video:

DO NOT PANIC!

This is still early days, and if there's a time to make radical experiments, then it is now. :)
comments: Feel free to discuss this on our forums
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pencil New Year's Development Update

bullet_none posted Saturday, 02 January 2016
Things have been rather quiet from me the last few months, which is mainly because I've been unusually busy. But lately things are getting better and HD is progressing really well, so it's about time for a quick update.

I have nothing big to talk about this time, as most of the work has been on details and putting things together. Turnpike is coming along really nicely and is probably the best example for a classic map that received the full HD treatment. FrankieV is doing a cracking job on it.

Here's a quick rundown of some of the new stuff. Note that the gun has no recoil in this demo, that's obviously going to change. Everything else is work in progress as well. The weapon itself is a stock model, but I like it a lot so I expect that it will make it into the game. Also this is medium quality since my PC is not the beefiest. Don't mind the music, just having some fun. :)

Surface Effects

One thing I've been working on is integrating the obligatory surface effects including customizable footsteps, impact effects, bullet holes, and impact sounds for each material. UnifiedTone has been recording the footstep sounds. I tried to show some of this in the Turnpike video, but this video gives a more detailed overview of the current capabilities:

Activatable Objects and Prompts

Another new feature you can see in the Turnpike video is activatable objects that are hooked up to the game's Activate button. This is accomplished via a simple Blueprint interface and also allows the mapper to set custom prompts, which will helpfully appear on the screen as you get in range of the item. Combined with the virtually unlimited potential of Blueprints, there is very little that you can't do. Want to make a Duke Nukem style flushable toilet, helpfully prompting you to "take a piss"? Knock yourself out!

I expect that we will release this and other map objects together with a mapping guide in a simple mapping kit fairly soon. This definitely wouldn't be the worst time to begin learning UE4 and start mapping for HD. :) Glory and fame awaits!

Quo Vadimus?

2016 is poised to become a fantastic year for Urban Terror with 4.3 around the corner, and HD shaping up nicely. I've had a few personal epiphanies myself, and have never felt more motivated to work on Urban Terror or more optimistic about its future.

I absolutely believe that there is a demand for a no-strings-attached shooter that is simple enough to get into to be a great casual game, while offering a high enough skill ceiling and consistency to be a viable esports title. The kind of game you get hooked on because of its simple yet satisfying mechanics, and then stick with it as it gradually evolves year by year. No subscriptions, no pay to win, no yearly $60 update plus DLC. Just fragging with style, pure and simple.

This is Urban Terror.

Happy new year!
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Gost0r


pencil A coder's journey begins

bullet_none posted Monday, 30 November 2015
Hey everybody,

I think it's time to introduce myself. My nick is Gost0r, I am playing and enjoying Urban Terror since 2008 and so far I've been involved in several community projects related to the game. Somewhat, about a week ago, a new journey has started for me when I decided to join FrozenSand, but the most curious and nosy players would already know that :P
I come from a programmer background, I'm currently still studying computer sciences in Germany. So far I havn't been into a serious game development project, but I was just biding my time :)

For now, I've been fiddling into the existing Unreal Engine 4 codebase and my first impressions were very positive. I was quite impressed about the state of development FS had already reached. Gameplay and physics wise I was really happy that I could really find some of the UrT q3 movement feelings and I'm sure that can only get improved with time.

In the very recent days I've been focusing on the Item system, but well images speak louder than words, so please enjoy this short preview:



Not much to show yet indeed as I didn't spend much time on UrTHD development for the moment being. Visuals are not to be taken in account in the video: medkit is still shown on Sarah's back even when she "technically" doesn't have a medkit. I displayed debug messages on the top left so you can see when she does or does not have a medkit in her inventory. The messages recognize that items are picked up and dropped, so it's working as intended.

All I can say is that I'm delighted to be able to work on this game which has been by my side for a good chunk of my lifetime and I learned to love so much.
Let me conclude this short introduction blog by saying that I'll try my best to keep you updated with my works as I go further down the road :)
comments: Feel free to discuss this on our forums
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Barbatos


pencil [WARNING] Malicious ghost clients

bullet_none posted Saturday, 28 November 2015
Hi,

We've had several reports of ghost clients connecting to servers in order to fill them up, always from the same IP address.
There is a cvar which is able to prevent this kind of attack:
sv_clientsPerIp

Server admins, if you are experiencing these attacks, please set the sv_clientsPerIp cvar to a low number such as 2. It will only allow two clients from the same IP address to connect to your server at the same time.

This cvar is currently set to 0 by default, which means no restrictions at all. We will update the default value for the 4.3 final release. Bots and local clients are not affected by this cvar.

Thanks
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Zenity


pencil HUD, Domination, Menus, and More

bullet_none posted Monday, 27 July 2015
It's been over two weeks since my last post, so I figure it's about time for an update.

Progress has been very fast, but I've been focusing on getting a hang of the engine in various areas while laying the groundwork for future development. As a result there hasn't been anything in particular to showcase yet, since most of the features are still in half-done state. That said, here's a quick rundown of what I've been working on:

Gameplay

I have focused on adding some missing combat features like fall damage, limping, locational bleeding, and a primitive bandage function. Not much to say here really. Fall damage and limping behaviour are almost identical to Q3UT, whereas bleeding and bandaging will likely be changed a little bit.

Also thanks to HappyDay's measurements, I have been able to tweak various other aspects of the physics to make them more identical to Q3UT. This includes the exact dimensions you can fit through, or steps you can climb up on.

Domination

Domination is the first game mode I have been implementing. Most of you probably know what it is, but for those who don't here's a quick description:

You fight over control for three flags on the map. If you control more flags than the opponent, then every five seconds you get points based on how many flags you control more than the opponent. Your team also gets a point for every kill. When you die, you quickly respawn randomly in the quarter of the map which has the least enemies.

It's a very simple mode, and I think it will be one of the best modes for new players to make their first steps with Urban Terror. It's very easy to understand (go to nearest flag, kill people) and the punishment for death is manageable. That said, simplicity is not the only thing the mode has going for it. It also creates very balanced match ups on practically any type of map (which is very useful for Urban Terror's diverse range of maps), and in a competitive setting it can offer a surprising amount of depth which mainly centres on strategies to hold two of the flags at the same time. Due to the random respawns it also provides quite dynamic gameplay and does not suffer from the spawncamping issue.

It's not quite done yet, but I am very happy with how easy and fast it was to implement the basic game rules in UE4, and we'll be able to finish it quickly once we are ready for testing. Another reason I started with Domination is that I believe that it's the best mode for early testing, since it focuses the action and does not require advanced teamplay.

New Player Model

The art team around FrankieV and BladeKiller have done a fantastic job working on a new high quality player model (starting with Sarah) and I've been working with Frankie to get it into the game and hook up the animations. There is still a lot of work to be done of course, but it's coming along really nicely as you will see in the video further down. :)

HUD UI

I have also done some work on the HUD, mainly re-creating the health/stamina bar of 4.x. This is probably by far the most complex element of the URT HUD, so I wanted to get it done early. My goal for the design was to stick with the current design but give it a bit of an HD treatment. I think it turned out very nicely, although I'm sure that it will receive further touch-ups. You could already see it in action in HappyDay's jump video, but here are some "close up" shots:

Menu System

Finally, I've started working on a new menu system and the basic framework for our customisable character models. This is still extremely early work in progress of course, but at least we can choose maps and characters already.

This video provides a quick glimpse of most of the new stuff:

Action Mode?

One thing we discussed is the possibility of an "action mode", which would essentially be to Urban Terror what CPMA is to Quake 3. Urban Terror 1.x began as a much faster paced game than what is is today, based on the spiritual ancestor Action Quake 2. Right now there seems to be a lot of support for increasing the pace of the game within the team, so this is something we may want to explore.

An action mode could have features like no stamina, faster base speed, CPMA style air control, and ramp jumps. In other words, it would lose all pretences of "tactical" movement in favour of mad skill based carnage.

Of course there is the concern of playerbase fragmentation, so we are not going to add such an option lightly. But this seems to be a good time to give it a whirl and simply see how it goes. If it looks like it could cause a serious split in the community, then we'll probably want to go back to the drawing board and see if we can come up with a better compromise.

Right now this is just a thought experiment so it may not happen after all, but I think it's certainly interesting to mull over. I also appreciate the irony that UTHD on Unreal Engine could become more Quake-like than Q3UT ever was. :)

What's Next

One thing we are still missing is a test server and the ability to connect to it, so I will prioritise this as well as fixing any missing bits that stop us from having a decent game. This shouldn't take too long, so hopefully we will soon be able to show some actual gameplay and then we can build on that.

As usual, I will keep you updated!
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HappyDay


pencil Working on Uptown #02 - Wall Lamp

bullet_none posted Saturday, 25 July 2015
Here's another video of me working on uptown. All the positive feedback of the last video motivated me to do more. This time there are some annotations and the end is at normal speed. This episode features a simple wall lamp that's used throughout the map. The whole process took a bit more than an hour (+ 1h of me trying stuff, that didn't work, which I cut out).
Enjoy.

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pencil Working on Uptown #01 - Street Pavement

bullet_none posted Sunday, 19 July 2015
I've been thinking about making videos of me working on uptown for quite a while now. Finally, here's the first of hopefully many videos. This one shows me modeling part of Uptown's street. I initially recorded myself talking while I was working on this but it just sounded too awkward, so I decided to speed the video up and add some intense music. This is the result.

Let me know what you think of this kind of video format.

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