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Neal Stephenson wants to revolutionize sword fighting video games.
Neal Stephenson wants to revolutionize sword fighting video games.
9,023 backers pledged $526,125 to help bring this project to life.

FAQ the Second!

These are included in the FAQ section at the bottom of the main page, as well.

How are you going to handle sword on sword collisions with regards to feedback?

    We've been thinking about this for years. It's not in the videos because to try to explain it here would get us hopelessly deep into the weeds. We think we have an approach that will work. It’s hard to explain in detail without a very lengthy brain dump. It's not just One Big Awesome Solution. It's a number of separate techniques working together. Some of these are familiar (visual, auditory, and haptic feedback) and others center on some innovative UI schemes. If you allow the controller’s position to get out of sync with what is shown on the screen, you get some feedback to that effect and you get UI cues on how to get back into sync.

In general, if you drill down deep enough on the actual sword techniques, the tree of possible outcomes gets pruned way down. It turns out that you rarely have to solve the fully general problem of one sword stopping another sword traveling at top speed at an arbitrary location in space. Which is a hard problem!

If you are "swinging for the fences" with a sword attack---which is to say, if you are assuming a long follow-through---then you're probably doing it wrong. You don't have to cut the other guy in half. You just have to hit him. In most of these arts, you're trained to pull the attack and stop with the sword between you and the adversary. If the attack succeeds, you're done. If it fails, you have stopped with your blade in a tactically sound defensive position instead of swinging all the way through and taking your sword completely out of the action.

Will it run on Kinect, Wii or Move?

    Not at first.    We don’t have unlimited resources and so we have to focus on a single clear achievable goal. After evaluating all of the options out there, we’ve decided that a PC game using the Sixense technology is the best thing to start with.

Why not use Wii, Kinect or Move? So many people have them. (what is wrong with them?)

Latency and spatial resolution.

How are you planning to deal with lag?

    Tachypsychia (slowing down time). To some extent this has to happen anyway because the movements in real swordfighting are just too rapid to be transferred into a video game. We don’t want to slow time down a lot, just enough to make the game fun for normal humans with normal internet connections.

Will there be mulitplayer?

    Indeed, the first release will be multiplayer only, with no single player option.

Will there be left-handed support?

    Since ⅔ of Subutai is left-handed, the question is not falling on deaf ears. Again, however, we have to make a distinction between “things we can plausibly achieve with $500K” and “things to add when it looks like we’ll survive.”    One useful fact about the longsword (and two-handed weapons in general) is that handedness simply doesn’t matter as much. Both of your hands are always in action. In some respect, a lefty fighting right-handed actually has some advantages in that there are some techniques that involve taking the left hand off the pommel and using it to do tricky stuff.

The video mentions "developing tools for others to use". Does this mean Open Source, or do you intend to license this technology?

    Our tools will be free to use for user created content (UGC) for CLANG, much like any other modding/UGC tools. If another company wants to use them for their own games, we will develop a license. We have not yet throught through all of the implications of making all of our stuff fully open source and so we can’t commit to that one way or the other yet.

Is this going to be 1 player vs 1 player a-la Soul Calibur or will we be able to have more than two people fighting at once?

          One on one multiplayer dueling for starters.

Will CLANG be released on Steam?

    That is the plan!

Comments

    1. Creator Zardos on June 11, 2012

      The big thing in CLANG is the posibility to "feel" the other blade with your controller. You must be able to feel the direction of the pressure and how strong the pressure is. That's the core of a more realistic fencing system. If this "feeling" is missing, you can not fence!
      Therefor the controller must be able to simulate this "feeling".

    2. Creator Fabian on June 11, 2012

      *sound! It makes it *sound* underwhelming. THERE I GO AGAIN TYPOMACHINE

    3. Creator Fabian on June 11, 2012

      This update makes what you're doing very underwhelming, I hope that doesn't hurt you, because to me it shows you realize what a big undertaking you've got on your hands and how important it is to stay grounded. I just hope other people are smart, too. Luckily, it's likely that most people interested in this kind of stuff actually are :)

    4. Creator Brett Yang on June 11, 2012

      I would actually be inclined to agree with Move support (and Wiimote support), simply because the peripheral is much easier to purchase and more common than the Hydra. I'd hate to see this project get developed and have very little impact on the gaming community's mind simply because people don't have the peripherals. Developers tend not to work with certain technologies if there are few people who can even access it. For instance, head tracking support via the TrackIR, which is especially useful in first person shooters and flight simulators, is pretty much nonexistent with the exception of a couple of simulations (they even have a chart of supported games and applications on their website), despite the breadth of FPS games out on the market.

    5. Creator John Looney on June 11, 2012

      It's worth mentioning, with some weapons, the hack isn't the real point - the cut is. So, condition people not to try cut through someone, but bring the blade in to cut an inch deep, then pull back, like you are carving a ham.

      In the real world, people train by try cuttting 2 liter coke bottles in two. Try do that with impact alone...

    6. Creator Waggler on June 11, 2012

      Agree with Bret (I make my living helping people understand Move awesomeness at http://www.iwaggle3d.com :P)

      While lag and spatial resolution issues mentioned in the FAQ do definitely apply to Kinect and Wii, they do not apply to Move (which is also wireless, unlike the Hydra)

      Moreover, the Sixense people have recently announced "Sixense In Motion", a middleware for developing motion controls for non-Razer Hydra devices.

      I do agree with karl's point C tho. This sounds like a project which will take some time to turn into an actual game, and by then the PS3 might very well be "old news".

      So, I say make this a PS4 (which I bet is gonna add some full body tracking to the motion-mix) launch title ;)

    7. Creator Bret Mogilefsky on June 10, 2012

      Karl, are you saying this having already taken a look at Move.Me?
      http://blog.us.playstation.com/2011/03/02/aspiring-developers-take-note-move-me-unveiled-at-gdc/

      You could easily prototype this game on a PC with Unity using Move.Me without every touching a PS3 devkit. (Note also that Unity supports PS3, and there are many examples of PS3 games with user-generated content features. So you shouldn't consider those aspects (developed on PC, need to support UGC) as obstacles to the game making its way to PS3.

    8. Creator Karl Schneider on June 10, 2012

      The problem with the Move is:
      A) Forcing the development team to produce their game for the PS3 (making it a burden to port to other platforms, the majority of supporters here are likely PC-gamers)
      B) Open-Modding technology doesn't mesh with closed, proprietary consoles like the PS3
      C) PS3 will be pretty much dead soon enough, making tools for move at this point (2012) seems silly
      D) Developing the engine for the PC will allow it to grow as motion controllers evolve. Ideally, one would make a true sword-fighting game for the Kinect and not a motion-wand - sword fighting is 95% body, 5% arm. The move can only accommodate a small aspect of human motion.

    9. Creator Bret Mogilefsky on June 10, 2012

      (Disclaimer: I make my living helping developers incorporate PlayStation tech into their games.)

    10. Creator Bret Mogilefsky on June 10, 2012

      Where does your impression that a Move controller has lower spatial resolution/higher latency than a Sixense controller come from? You can swing the Move through 6Gs of acceleration without any drift, and if you manage to get it out of sync it's back in sync on the next frame. To get an idea of the spatial resolution, you might want to check out this video:
      https://www.youtube.com/watch…

      Not only will you see the sword precisely and stably placed in his hand, but in the shot where the second Move controller is dangling from his wrist (around :22), the controller on screen is actually rendering of the controller superimposed on the position of the real one!

    11. Creator James Cook (deleted) on June 10, 2012

      I'm one of the founding engineers on Second Life. In the early days we had a hand-rolled VR immersion suit called "The Rig" that used an approach to haptic feedback that sounds similar to yours. We immobilized the user's arms, then fed them visual images showing their virtual arm position changing. If we did it right we could get the user to push against the fixed cage and generate their own "force feedback." I can put you in touch with the guy who built it if that would be helpful. Cheers.

    12. Creator Subutai Corporation on June 10, 2012

      Spectation is certainly on our short list of features to develop!

    13. Creator Nathaniel Lakota on June 10, 2012

      I love the idea of other online users who are able to spectate. Maybe that can be introduced in future builds.

    14. Creator Sordid on June 10, 2012

      Okay, 1-on-1 duels. Fair enough. So will other players be able to spectate?

    15. Creator Robert Baruch on June 10, 2012

      e-Bokken?

    16. Creator Paul on June 10, 2012

      Just a clarification. I understand the game will only allow two people to duel online but does that mean you can't host a server so you can play with friends on LAN? Are you locked into using Subutai servers?