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Urban Terror Blogs

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A coder's journey begins

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


[WARNING] Malicious ghost clients

posted Saturday, 28 November 2015

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:

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.



HUD, Domination, Menus, and More

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:


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 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. :)


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!
comments: Feel free to discuss this on our forums


Working on Uptown #02 - Wall Lamp

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).

comments: Feel free to discuss this on our forums

Working on Uptown #01 - Street Pavement

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.

comments: Feel free to discuss this on our forums

Uptown HD Jumps 1.0

posted Thursday, 16 July 2015
With the recent work Zenity and Barbatos have done on the movement system it's time to show some jumping skills. We're not quite where we want to be yet, but the game definitely starts to feel like Urban Terror. The jumping is close enough to urt 4.x to do some of the most iconic jumps on uptown. With a little more tweaking (and more jumping practice on my side) things will feel smoother in future videos. You can also check out some of the progress I've made on recreating uptown for HD. At the moment the map looks quite messy and not very pleasing to the eye but that'll change, too.

There's not much more to say at this point except: enjoy the video.

comments: Feel free to discuss this on our forums


Hits and Hops

posted Friday, 10 July 2015
Since my last post, I have been working on implementing spread and recoil. Here's what it looks like so far:

(Of course all assets in this video are either placeholders or work in progress)

I've tried to stay close to the current behaviour, without any major experiments. A couple things of note though:

- In Q3UT, increasing recoil will make your crosshair jump towards the left and right, so it never actually points at the position you are aiming at. While I do think this is a useful feature to "feel" the increasing inaccuracy of spraying, and you would not be able to hit anything by directly aiming at it anyway once it gets so bad, it doesn't feel really good to me. So I tried to replace the left right movement with a camera roll which still conveys the lack of accuracy, but does not actually move the crosshair from where you are aiming. This feels really good to me so far.

- I have also added the option to set a random seed for each weapon. This means that spray patterns are always identical and while this still won't allow you to perfectly control a spread like Counter Strike (which wouldn't be a good fit for the game IMO for various reasons), it will allow some sort of control and reward experience. By and large though, you are still much better off burst firing.

In the end of the video I hop around a bit to show the state of wall jumping and powersliding.


Also some people mentioned the issue of "hits" in general, so I thought I'd quickly share my thoughts on this. I believe there are generally three areas which can potentially lead to faults with hit detection. From least to most significant:

1) Random Spread

Sometimes you just have bad luck... Urban Terror has extremely accurate weapons, so as long as you tap or burst your shots, you will hit what you aim for. Spread escalates quickly though, so you can get the situation where you just barely miss your first couple of shots, and then your spread already becomes large enough to make you miss most of your shots. This can lead to the odd situation where you aim is almost perfect, yet you don't hit anything. Hit detection in Urban Terror can be extremely unforgiving due to the relatively small hit boxes coupled with a relatively fast movement speed.

We can counter this by making it more obvious when the accuracy goes down (especially for players who don't use an expanding crosshair).

2) The Hit Mesh

ARIES was way ahead of its time, and there's no wonder it had some growing pains. These days I believe it works very reliably, and that's quite remarkable considering the technology it's based on.

That said, UE4 makes life a lot easier for us in this regard. Instead of per-poly hit detection on a low poly model, we use the physical asset for hit detection, which uses simplified shapes and is of course very well tested. The physical asset follows the reference model perfectly, as you can see here:

3) Netcode

Finally and most importantly, network code is always fickle and things can easily go out of sync. This becomes even more true with small and accurate hit models. No matter how well designed the network code is, there is always a chance for inaccuracies caused by flakey network conditions or server performance issues.

Fortunately, there is an option which sidesteps all those headaches: Client side hit detection.

Now before you throw eggs in my face, hear me out. Client side hit detection has become more popular in modern games, for one simple reason: When the client is compromised, then all is lost already. Allowing a compromised client to mess with hit detection sounds scary, but the truth is that this kind of hack would be the easiest to discover, not to mention incredibly boring for the cheater. With every random hack featuring perfect aimbots and wallhacks, there is just no reason any more to be concerned about this. Of course servers still do basic verification of each hit and any obvious tampering would be very easy to spot. The bottom line is that when in doubt, the client is trusted that a bullet was actually a hit.

One commonly perceived downside is the effect of getting hit behind walls, but this is also an issue with server side lag compensation, and it pales in comparison to missing shots. It is also up to us how lenient we want to be with this, e.g. whether to reject hits if the target has moved behind a wall by the time the hit arrives at the server.

The giant advantage of client side hit detection is simply this:

Perfect hits. Always. Without exceptions.
comments: Feel free to discuss this on our forums

Zenity Checking In

posted Monday, 06 July 2015
Hello everybody!

I thought I'd quickly introduce myself. My name is Daniel, I'm from Germany (currently living in the UK) and I'm 33 years old. I have spent the last three years or so working on and releasing my first indie game in full time and am now joining the team of Frozen Sands to help out with Urban Terror HD. My primary skills and interests are programming, game design, and UI design.

Coming from Action Quake 2, I have been following Urban Terror even before beta 1.0 was released. With 1.27 I started to get really into it, and 2.0 was the release that made me a huge fan. I went on playing it very competitively for some time, after which I have been playing on and off and following its development loosely.

I believe that HD is a chance for Urban Terror to truly live up to its potential, as long as we focus on our strengths and go back to basics. The game's core movement and shooting mechanics are still unmatched in terms of being extremely skill based and yet highly accessible. If we combine this with a modern engine, modern community features, and smart refinements of the gameplay, I am absolutely convinced that this game is still relevant. I see its target audience mainly as the competitive gamer who is looking for an old school PC(!) shooter that is more fast paced than Counter Strike but more accessible and refined than Quake Live.

My goal is to get HD into a playable state as soon as possible, so we can inject some life back into the community. If we are to make this happen, we need all of you to cheer us on! :) I know that things have been tough for loyal fans during the recent years, and I shouldn't make any empty promises, but what I can promise is that I will work as hard as I can to make this new chapter of Urban Terror's story a success.

The first thing I have been working on is to help Barbatos finish the port of the basic movement physics. This is coming along really nicely, with the most important movements (especially strafe jumping and powersliding) now being near 100% identical to the original. There is still a lot of tweaking to be done, but rest assured that it's going to feel like genuine Urban Terror, not any other Unreal Engine game.

Just now I have been working on the hit detection:

I am now planning to work on basic weapon behaviour and shooting mechanics. I'll keep you posted!
comments: Feel free to discuss this on our forums


Urban Terror 5 Physics - Part 3

posted Friday, 12 June 2015

Soooo I've been working exclusively on Urban Terror 5 physics the last few weeks and I'm now happy enough with the result to show it in a video. :)

Please admire my Movie Maker skills:

Of course there is still a lot of work to do, especially on powerslides and walljumps, but the movements are really starting to feel nice which is a good start. Our goal is still to make the movements feel like 4.x so... let's get back to work! :-)

NB: sorry, Movie Maker and YouTube destroyed the quality of my video... Do you have any free software to recommend me?
comments: Feel free to discuss this on our forums

Urban Terror 5 Physics - Part 2

posted Sunday, 08 March 2015
Hey there!

It's been a long time since my last blog post about Urban Terror 5. For many months I had to use my crappy computer with 4GB of RAM and an old Core2Duo. The real-time UE4 editor was very slow to run, so was my progress... especially when you work on game physics. :)

But good news! I invested in a brand new computer. It has a i7 4790K CPU and 16GB of RAM. And trust me, it isn't too much for the very greedy UE4 editor! And although I still use my old GPU (ATI Radeon HD 5770), Urban Terror 5 and the UE4 editor both run very smoothly.

Here is a little video I recorded today to show you the progress I made during the last four weeks (set the quality to 720p 60fps):

As you can see I worked on ledge climbing, ladder climbing, player booting/kicking and head stomping. All of them are still a Work In Progress but I'm quite happy with the result for now. I'm now going to continue working on wall jumping, strafe jumping as well as powersliding.

More to come!
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