Funded! This project was successfully funded on November 29, 2012.

Update #24

Running improvements and combat controls


Many people found the poor running motion in our latest video quite distracting so we made an immediate effort to improve it. There also seems to be quite a lot of confusion about how the combat works so we made a new, more detailed explanation of the controls as they are in their current state.

There is a lot of room for improvement in the animation system in general and inevitably it draws people's attention. While we do want to continue improving animation we're currently focusing on other aspects of the game.

You may notice that at times the characters seem off balance and recover somewhat unrealistically. While this is relatively easy to improve in a way that would look better in a video it would also take away control from the player by causing involuntary steps and shuffles. We're prioritising gameplay, better to have something that's fun to play and not just nice to watch! That said we can probably improve this but again we don't consider it a priority right now.

Hexprie, Rafael Masoni, and 32 more people like this update.


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      Creator Yann Vernier on November 24

      I've seen those shimmery edges on stereoscopic material before. It looks like the Z-buffer resynthesizing hack to fake the two perspectives. *Please* don't make that the only stereo option, because at least to me, the resynthesizing is simply more disturbing than the lack of stereo cues. It just breaks the feature it's intended to provide.

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      Creator Berk on November 22

      Better if people showing the way to how to improve these animations donate for SG, so that it would be fixed rather faster and better, just a humble reminder.

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      Creator Gambler on November 21

      Looking great so far, and I also second your opinion of priortising gameplay first :)

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      Creator Velkaarn on November 21

      Looks good to me, but on the other hand I don't care that much for stuff like that, like you I prioritise gameplay. But it is always good you heed the feedback.

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      Creator Devon Mullane on November 21

      You have toned down the character looking like they are floating along while the feet do whatever underneath, and that's definitely progress. I don't really mind the puppet-style appearance in the fighting, I think most of us would feel quite differently about it if we were playing instead of watching so I'll reserve judgement for a playable build. The technology is looking great.

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      Creator Theobeau:OOoE\Mad man with a box/Exiled on November 21

      Thanks for the quick update of the revised running and combat animations.

      The second half of the vid gives a great introduction to how combat will play out in SG.

      Finally like some other posters, I really liked the music!

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      Creator Alex Hooi on November 21

      @Anders T.N that's why in the following sentence I said they should treat real life references as a baseline for good looking animations.
      While we can only speculate about the skill and swordsmanship of people in the medieval ages, they weren't all club footed, lead-armed buffoons flailing about (and those usually end up dead in a fight pretty quick). Many people living in that era trained their whole lives with a weapon, if not for the purpose of going to war then simply for self-defense, you could say that they were even more proficient in their mastery of their arms compared to people today, as their lives literally depended on it.

      Anyway I digress. Personally I do 3D modelling and texturing myself, and rigging/animating human characters is something i'm familiar with, and while the devs have done an admirable job intergrating actual physics in their movement and combat, it needs that extra touch of work to make it look natural. It *is* possible by way of animation blending (another indie game called Overgrowth does this, they have a very well-developed animation system specifically for unarmed AND melee combat, and by combining procedural animations with hand-made animations and the results are pretty awesome), and make the combat BOTH nice to watch and fun to play.

      Hope that the Bare Mettle team takes these criticisms in the spirit they're made: as constructive, and focus on getting the only real issue we've seen so far in their work solved.

      Also hope to see more progress videos and news updates for backers who don't have access to the private forum.

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      Creator Slušnej Hodňák on November 21

      I will add my piece to the running discussion. I think the core problem is just in HIPS. There is no need to somehow put upper body into a motion but if the hips are static in one position, which they are, the character really looks like a puppet on a string. Do something with the hips and problem is solved.

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      Creator ET3D on November 21

      Good to hear that you're concentrating on other things now. Would be nice to see living settlements and character interaction sometime.

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      Creator Lost-brain -Obsidian Order Dark Goddess on November 21

      You are very reactive theses times... I approve that.

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      Creator Brendan Rein on November 21

      The combat looks pretty good which is the main part since player will being using this the most. I really enjoy the music. When do you think the soundtrack for the game will be released?

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      Creator saluk on November 21

      Looks great! Keep it up, and keep us informed. What is next on the agenda?

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      Creator Heikki Lotvonen on November 21

      I like the direction this game is going! IMHO fun > realistic and I absolutely adore the animations (as they are!). It's something I've never seen before in a game. Keep up the good work.

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      Creator Leon Chia on November 20

      Hi Bare Mettle, I just donated another £10 on account of your last two videos. Great work! I hope others will follow suit and help you bring this game to fruition!

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      Creator Knight Porter on November 20

      Forgot to say, that aside from the occasional unrealistic recovery, I *absolutely love* the look of combat.

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      Creator Knight Porter on November 20

      Good tips from a number of people regarding the figure not moving properly above the hips, leading to static torso and unrealistic arm swinging.

      Mixed feelings on the "involuntary steps" thing in combat. Honestly leaning towards preferring it, and having to factor character balance into your combat strategy.

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      Creator Yehiel Certner on November 20

      looks great! amazing progress

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      Creator Luca on November 20

      IMHO to improve running you have to move pelvis up/down (with the torso): running IMHO is a matter of continuous little jumps on each foot in one direction. The animation in your video looks unnatural because the pelvis is static (= keeps always the same distance from the ground) and legs are moving as attached to a fixed floating element. It's not a problem in the 3D animation itself but more of a problem with unrealistic ground impact/body-mass perception...
      My 2 cents.

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      Creator Anders T.N on November 20

      @Alex Hooi you may be onto something with respect to the animations. However linking to a video of people practicing very controlled (maybe even choreographed) sword fighting may not be the best approach with respect to reality. I doubt everyone in the middle ages were this meticulous with a sword. Some would probably have a more aggressive fighting style while others might be more controlled, and bide their time.

      Even so I would agree with some others that the animations feel a bit static. If you feel that animations can be put on hold for a couple of iterations then that's no problem. I'm confident they will be polished before release whether it is today, tomorrow or in 2014 ;)

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      Creator Jared on November 20

      The running only looks funny as you seem to run on a plane separate to the landscape, only slightly above it floating . Improvements including small character balance and center of gravity when going up and down hills, or gravel and dust on dirt and stone, sand depressing leaving footprints and small splashes in shallow water could improve this and I'm sure that its on its way after more important things are worked out. Keep up the great work.

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      Creator Alex Hooi on November 20

      Firstly, it does look improved from the previous video, so kudos on the fast update, and gorgeous art assets as usual. However, as others have pointed out, the movement still looks off.

      Several things i've observed, (again as others have pointed out), the hips don't move in the running animation, and the end result is the arms and legs swinging unrealistically.

      Secondly, when the attack/swinging animations are being executed in conjunction with the character's movement (walking), the legs are moving to keep up with the upper torso moving, instead of looking like they are propelling the character in a direction. This causes the character to sway like a drunk and generally look off-balance, in some cases tilting so much that it seems the character will fall over.

      Third, the weapons look very unbalanced based off the amount of over-swing in the combat animations. Medieval melee weapons in general were made with some thought to balance and ease of use.
      A quick search for real-life reference will show you just how different they are in reality, like this video:…
      The footwork is purposeful, grounded, the weapon strokes and swings economical. While most people don't expect such a high threshold of swordplay intricacy in a game, at least a baseline level of realism and believable animations is important.

      The statement that tightening up the animations would take away control from the player is subjective really. And for a game that's focused on melee combat, i'd put the physics and animation system at a top priority because that is your game's main selling point.

      Give the animations the polish and attention it deserves, and the fundamentals of the game will be pretty much perfect.

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      Creator Christian Morgan on November 20

      I'm very encouraged by Sui Generis' comments in this update.

      Guys - you have a limited budget and hungry fan base. You absolutely HAVE to keep your processes lean and focused on delivering a fun game with an awesome story.

      Things like the walking animation should be worked on until they are 'good enough' (which they already are) and then don't worry about it again until much later in the process. If you have time and money to work on this later, do so. But for everyone involved, I'm sure we would rather see a great game with some foibles than not see anything at all (i.e. a Duke Nukem forever that takes f-o-r-e-v-e-r to be released or you go bankrupt and deliver nothing).

      Keep doing what you're doing, keep moving forward, and we look forward to seeing the game in, what, six (?) months time!

      In fact, stop reading comments and get back to work!

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      Creator Robert Silesius on November 20

      The rear end (butt if you will) of the player character is still fixed in space while running, and it feels like the arms and legs are just going through mechanical motions without any effect. Is the running animation really physics based? It looks totally canned, and almost like a 3D animation from 1995 or something...

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      Creator John Pike on November 20

      Looks brilliant. The different swings depending on mouse position and wasd movement seems to add a lot of complexity to the combat, along with different weapon types. It's a lot of fun just to watch it.

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      Creator Mebahell on November 20

      If you can easily align the camera with the character, for me the relative controls are no more a problem. Good to read it. :D

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      Creator Bare Mettle Entertainment on November 20

      You can press a key to align the camera with your character and you can easily control the camera with the mouse without it affecting your character (the cursor rotates as well). It's very easy to keep the camera at an angle you're more comfortable with (even we don't like it upside down during combat).

      We know where you're coming from but you need to try it before you judge it. It's much more intuitive than you might think and other games with similar control schemes. Everyone seems to pick it up very easily even if they're not gamers. You quickly start to associate the keys with your character performing actions rather movement relative to something else.

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      Creator Mebahell on November 20

      Maybe to resolve the problem some of us have with controls relative to the character could be to include an option to lock (at least partially) the direction of the camera to the direction of the character?

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      Creator Andrew Bacon Rushakoff on November 20

      Love finally being able to see some new footage. Between this and the last video, It is looking incredible. Love everything im seeing so far, and I'm very excited to see what comes next! Great job! This game will definitely be worth the wait.

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      Creator Daniel Vandersluis on November 20

      I agree with Florian, I've found any game I've tried to play with controls relative to the character incredibly hard to wrap my head around to the point where it's not fun to battle against the controls. I hope you guys can provide a good way of this happening and/or provide an options for keeping controls relative to the camera.

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      Creator tarasis on November 20

      Definitely improved, though still a bit floaty looking. Kudos for the quick response

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      Creator Maestro the Wasted Obsidian Weresheep on November 20

      Oh, and combat looks great.

      Personally, I wouldn't mind seeing an update in the future that talks about the different gameplay aspects other than combat.

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      Creator Florian Nücke on November 20

      I'm still way too impressed by the graphics. It just looks stunning. Regarding the run animation, if I'd have to reduce it to one thing, the problem for me is that the torso of the character remains "perfectly still" in relation to the walked path, if that makes any sense. In other words: if you imagine the path the character walks as a line with a uniform height above the ground, the torso seems to follow that line perfectly. I'd expect it to at least vertically move more like a sine wave, I guess?

      Aside from that, I'm slightly worried about the controls being relative to the character, instead of the camera. This is something that always gave me trouble in any game I've played so far. In the previous video, too, the camera seemed a little fiddly. Will there be an option to lock the camera behind the character / automatically align it when moving?

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      Creator Maestro the Wasted Obsidian Weresheep on November 20

      The fundamental problem with the running animation is that the torso does not move while running. It looks like the character is a marionette that is being suspended by a string attached to the torso, and the arms and legs move around that stationary object. Clearly, that's not how it works. When it looks like a person is hanging from a string, then you lose all sense of mass and weight, and everything just looks wrong. That's where you're at right now.

      My amateur opinion is you need some kind of torso/head bobbing, both up and down, and possibly even side to side, to give the whole character a better sense of mass. But I'm not an animation expert, so who knows what the solution is. I can clearly see the problem, though...

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      Creator Tomi Hurme on November 20

      Yes, it looks like the problem with the running animation is that the avatar does not move up or down at all.

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      Creator Sleet on November 20

      I imagine it would take an incredible amount of effort to make realistic walking animations while staying physics-bound (Heck, it's taken roboticists decades and their creations still have odd gaits). For my part, I kind of liked the 'floaty' movements, it was a constant reminder of what this game was built to showcase.
      As for the odd balance and recovery stuff, I think it would be awesome if harder difficulties made it easier for your character to fall over instead of magically regain their footing.

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      Creator Kim Fredrik Svendsen on November 20

      First: It looks awesome as always!
      To me it sort of look like puppets in a realistic way. A game physics style that I havent seen much before. (Maybe Octadad) It creats sort of a fairy tail puppet theme feel. Personally I would say go for it, it looks magical! I guess that some of the argumants regarding running looking like flying is because of this invisible string that seem to hold the puppets floating a bit above the ground. However if the body also bounced a little bit up and down for every step it could perhaps look a little bit more naturall? In any case im all for gameplay first and formost!

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      Creator Kevin Barfield on November 20

      I agree with the others - the combat looks great, the running is better but still floaty. A person running will have some up and down bob due to gravity.

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      Creator Netzbummler on November 20

      I'm with the other comments already posted, but I'd like to add that the character still feels like it's floating when running. However, the issue is not visible when the girl stands or fights. I can only agree that weight should be added to the footsteps.

      That being said, I find the combat animations extremely impressive. I have rarely - if ever - witnessed so natural movement in fights. Kudos to you!

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      Creator Gino Chong Inhin on November 20

      I think the most important part will be showing weight. Gravity pulls on armor. Even if you dont have any armor you still run and walk in strides and each step that has the full weight of your body is usually slightly bent to allow the force to bounce to come back out. I personally think something like Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine has some great animations although extremely exaggerated. Each time a space marine steps you see the weight in it.

      Take your time with this one. As with all the game kickstarters I have backed. I am in for the long run. Quality over Speed. Love your work guys. Keep it up.

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      Creator Philomorph on November 20

      It's great to see a quick response like this, especially if it's a relatively easy fix that you don't have to spend a ton of time on. As you've said, you are making a game, not a series of videos.

      Question - does the size or weight of the weapon affect the running animation? I know it's difficult to get movement like that correct, but someone running with a weapon that's not balanced (like a mace or large axe) would have to hold and swing it very differently than a sword, where the weight is more distributed when running around.

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      Creator Rafael Masoni on November 20

      Thanks for the quick update!

      I can still see much room for improvement in the animation just so it doesn't feel awkward (you're gonna be a hero, right?), but I'm all for the other improvements that you feel are best to be done right now.

      These more frequent updates are great, even if it's about very little things.

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