Development Insights: Collision Improvements

development insights, phoenix labs


Kade forced himself not to flinch. Clutching the impact hammer close to his body, he tucked and rolled forward toward the Drask. If he was even a split second too slow or too eager it would mean — at best — broken ribs. Muscle memory pulled his body in tight, moving just under the beast’s lashing tail, but close enough that Kade could feel the pinpricks of shock aether dancing across his skin. In the next moment he was standing, bringing the cannon in his weapon to bear against his quarry…


This is the first of many blogs that will provide insight into how we’re turning community feedback into tangible improvements. Expect to see more like it in the future as we navigate the Dauntless Development Roadmap!

Behemoths are unrelenting, unforgiving, and deadly adversaries who will seize upon momentary lapses in judgment or the slightest mistakes. This challenge is a cornerstone of the Dauntless experience. We are dedicated to pushing players’ skills to their limits, and this means learning from defeat to improve your skills. To keep this challenge interesting, every fight must feel fair. This means tight, predictable combat and dodging mechanics.

We’ve gathered and analyzed community feedback on issues impacting combat, and are implementing changes to improve the mechanics of collision and the feel of dodging. These changes will make fights feel tighter, better reward skill, and allow you to continue practicing the way of the Slayer.

Custom Tailored Contact

The first step to combat feeling fair is making sure that player expectations and in-game results are aligned. It’s frustrating and feels unfair when you think you dodged an attack but still take damage. There are several factors that can contribute to a mismatch of expectations and we’ve addressed several this week.

The first step to resolving these issues is tightening up hitboxes on Slayers. We’ve heavily tuned both player and Behemoth collision, fixing bugs with both systems in the process. This means less ambiguity and fewer “unfair” hits. Of course, this also means that if you do get hit you’ll only have yourself to blame. So stay frosty out there!

We’ve also seen some frustration around player-on-player collision (characters bumping into each other). While player collision is important because it prevents dogpiling, it shouldn’t be frustrating or prevent well coordinated assaults from being executed. Tighter Slayer hitboxes will help to alleviate these frustrations, allowing for more players to capitalize on part breaks and to group-focus Behemoths during critical moments.

Rewarding Split-Second Decisions

Some of the most satisfying and memorable moments in a hunt aren’t always final blows or epic combos but instead hair’s-breadth dodges. It’s important to us that dodging attacks is crisp, rewarding, and predictable. Proper execution should reward a Slayer with a good opportunity to go on the offensive.

One of the first things we tackled for this patch was resolving issues which could cause dodge rolls not to move fully through attacks or to cause Slayers to end up stuck on a Behemoth. You’ll now be able to more reliably move through attacks and around Behemoths while dodging.

We’ve also addressed an issue which could cause dodge rolling to be entirely unavailable while a player is near a Behemoth. This was especially prevalent with Behemoths like Drask and Pangar.

Do note, however, that you cannot dodge if you are out of stamina. We are working on systems to make this mechanic more obvious for new players, but in the meantime keep an eye on that yellow bar!

Unstuck

This patch also addresses the “stickiness” that players may have experienced when interacting with Behemoths. This happens when Slayers attempt to move around, dodge around, dodge through, or are slammed down on by a Behemoth. This previously would prevent Slayers from dodging away from Behemoths or restrict the paths of dodges away from them.

We’ve patched in fixes that will resolve the majority of these issues. Slayers can now predictably dodge through or around moves like Pangar rolls, Shrike dunks, and various tail swipes. It will also help to alleviate similar issues around player-on-player interactions.

Just Getting Started

We’re still working to improve these systems and ensure that you can push your skills to pixel perfection. We’ll be making adjustments to the tops of Behemoth hitboxes which will reduce the frequency of getting “popped up” or stuck to the top of creatures. We’ll also be revisiting stagger animations and systems to prevent “stun traps” and Slayer pinballing that can occur with some Behemoth attack patterns. These improvements will also carry over into environmental collision, which we are tackling in a future patch.

While we’re hard at work, we’d love your feedback and any examples of issues with collision that you can provide. The best way to let us know if we’ve missed something that needs fixing in these systems is with a video, but if you’re not recording when you hit a snag, you can always drop us a note in the forums.

These updates are just one element of patch 0.2.2. You can read the full notes here!

Thank you for playing and for your feedback. We’ll see you in the Shattered Isles!


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