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Movement Update

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


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:


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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