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Old 06-22-2010, 02:17 PM   #1
C-A_99
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Default Who's interested in a community project?

Sometime ago, I started posting water warfare first person shooter mock-up pictures, though it hasn't been carried that far and most of the pictures are scathered so I'll have to really dig through to find them. However, at the time, DX mentioned that he had thought of, or was interested in creating a water warfare first person shooter using Game Maker. Being the ambition it was, it was dropped later due to lack of time. (And I doubt it could be done by just one person.)

Well, recently, I've been convinced somewhat that creating a water warfare FPS is indeed not impossible. One of my friends is majoring in computer science with a focus on game design, and after some discussion with him, he wants to use the Unreal 3 engine, though he hasn't figured it out too far yet and I probably won't ever be able to either. I would take on a different role; graphics, which I actually have a decent chance of doing well on.

After seeing Game Maker, I'm a bit weary on what it can do. It doesn't appear to be very specialized for 3D and 3D games on there seem to be very unoptimized, along with lacking mipmapping, shaders, and other 3D features. I'd like to get a little more advanced than just a Doom-style shooter, having at least a DirectX 9 engine (after all, Super Soaker Championship uses shaders for the water), and simulating as many features of water warfare as possible. I'm talking about customizable characters with traits like pumping/refilling proficiency, water balloon throwing skill, dodging, etc. (Specifically what I had in mind was like The Sims' personality control system: you have a set of traits each with a rating and you can assign a limited number of points to adjust those ratings.) However at this point it's getting ambitious and not worth going into yet.

Is anyone in the community interested in this? Anyone with even a little programming experience may be able to help, but other skills, such as photoshop or audio would be helpful too. Even things like water gun stats (which I plan to discuss with iSoaker later, but implementing the fluid physics will require a ton of outside help which I simply can't do but my friend says he can implement them with relative ease.) Some other concerns I have would be AI and net code. I was thinking open source would be the best way to go for this but right now I'm only just bubbling ideas around. Nothing is really happening yet.

I think if we really go for this and can get enough people in, we could create something quite fun. Then again, I may just be fantasizing on something that simply can't happen. But if it can, think of the implications it could have on the community as a whole, if we're able to create something more than just Super Soaker Championship or that lame WiiWare game that they just had to call Water Warfare. A water warfare FPS has a lot of potential to produce very unique gameplay features uncommon to the overdone blood-on-the-screen "modern warfare" style shooter where you carry some kind of M4 SOPMOD. Those who have played Gears of War or Covie Slayer on the Reach Beta should know what I mean; fast CQB gameplay with lots of fast dodging and shooting.

For now, this thread is just to gather interest. If this is to have any chance of taking off, we need an online system for exchanging builds, assets, documentation, and all that good stuff. I can't do this alone because if I do, I'll end up with just another half-assed shooter that's not worth playing (if I can even get that far).
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Old 06-22-2010, 03:18 PM   #2
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There is one key point - you need to allow the player to shoot in a direction different to where they are looking, at least in elevation. Water guns need angling for maximum range, so the usual shoot-where-you-look approach won't really work.

Personally I'm not an FPS fan. Now a water warfare RTS, that I'd like to play. Probably easier to make too, no need for complex fluid physics there.

In either game, I can think of what would be a real killer feature - design your own weapon. For the player's UI it's just plumbing, pretty simple. But creating the physical model of the 'internal ballistics' would be mega complicated - though at least you can get away with running it once to figure out output and range characteristics, you don't have to run it in real time during battle. You'd also want to implement things like weight and even more detailed ergonomics enbcumbering the player, maybe have different valve types which give different performance and shot time capabilities. Perhaps even try and figure out chance of failure and implement that - a blaster design "on the edge" might break during play (and you could do the same to the Max-D line!) Include things like wheels and trolleys so a player can go building a massive shopping-cart mounted cannon - then get pissed off when they land up on an urban map with steps everywhere!
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Old 06-22-2010, 04:10 PM   #3
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I prefer the FPS since it puts you right in the heat of combat. With some AI, it's also possible to take on a commanding role, ordering troops and squads around. In Battlefield 2, each team can have one player play as the commander who is in charge of ordering squad leaders, calling artillery strikes, supplies, UAV, etc. The difference between that and an RTS is that the troops are real players instead of AI. In this case however, we can implement (and probably have to due to lack of real life players online) AI. Earlier, DX brought up the point of using tactical theory for controlling AI. Either way, with the FPS, it's possible to have the player take on commanding roles as well as in the heat of the action. I don't think that's possible with RTS's and since water warfare is particularly lacking in vehicles and such, I doubt the RTS would work as well. Then again I'm biased towards FPS's and have hardly played any RTS's in the first place.

For aiming, a lot of games' grenade throwing has the character throw slightly higher than the crosshair. A similar mechanism can be used here rather than having the crosshair point towards direct shots. The main issue is keeping players from looking up 45 for long range shooting since no one does that when they're actually shooting longe range. Since most people have to at least aim a water gun to get a good shot, it may still be a good idea to have an aiming feature (i.e. right click.) I was thinking for normal movement, there's no crosshair, then when aiming, a crosshair appears with slight zoom. The shot fires slightly higher than where the crosshair points like how most games handle grenades.

Weaponry modding and homemade systems were also a possibility I contemplated. I'd personally prefer to have a robust map editor first before having weapon designing systems. As for Max-D's breaking, it doesn't happen that often that one breaks during a water war so I don't think it'd be a good idea. For ergonomics, there would be a few factors. Net weight and perhaps balance would act as a modifier to how well you can move while handling would affect responsiveness of certain actions such as shooting, pumping, refilling, etc. Blaster refilling animations may get complicated though, but it may be possible to streamline them without loosing too much realism. Weapon carrying gets a bit more complicated. Players should be able to handle two primaries, or one primary and two secondaries/sidearms. (However, in the 1 primary/2 secondary situation, the 2nd secondary cannot be carried when switched to primary) Another possible method is to use a slot system, where each weapon is assigned a number of points based on weight and size and players can only carry a certain amount of this weight. For example, say each player can carry six points, then guns like the CPS 2500 or 1200 would take up 3, the MXL would take up 4, Max-D6k's, FF's, etc. would take up two, and sidearms would take one. It is easier to treat equipment such as water balloons and refill bottles independently.

Gimmick modes may be possible such as having ice-cube loaded water freeze or slow down opponents when hit. WBL's can also be implemented in several ways.

However, at this point I'm looking more towards how it'd be possible to implement and design some basics. The possibilities can come later though they do have to be put into consideration when working with the game engine. For example, sticking to something basic like a two-weapon system and with a set maximum of carriables (i.e. a set maximum number of refill bottles and balloons, without letting the player exchange balloons for more bottles, etc.) doesn't sit as well with me but if it's that much easier to program, it may be the best choice.

Edit: Game Maker is indeed far too limited. There's apparently object limits that won't let it work out and one of the FPS's I tried on it had a pretty poor 3D engine which ran slowly on my new gaming rig. (Despite having simple graphics and very low polygon counts.) My friend's still learning the Unreal engine so I'm not quite sure how or where to roll right now. I may look into XNA but supposedly it's also not as good for 3D games.

Maybe it's a better idea to start with documentation and specifications, but it's tought to do that without knowing what can really be done. I may have to have a look at the Unreal SDK myself. I guess the Source engine is another possiblity but is apparently much harder to use. I'm looking into it.
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Old 06-22-2010, 05:24 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by C-A_99
I prefer the FPS since it puts you right in the heat of combat...Then again I'm biased towards FPS's and have hardly played any RTS's in the first place.
Indeed, obviously this is a "what game do you like playing" kind of thing.

Quote:
Weaponry modding and homemade systems were also a possibility I contemplated. I'd personally prefer to have a robust map editor first before having weapon designing systems.
The thing is loads of FPSes have map editors. I'm pretty sure nothing's done truly player-designed weaponry (more than adding accessories like silencers and scopes).

Quote:
As for Max-D's breaking, it doesn't happen that often that one breaks during a water war so I don't think it'd be a good idea.
It's happened to me :-( I agree that a random event like that may simply annoy the players though, so it probably is best left out. On the other hand, weapons that are known malfunctioning might be interesting. A map could include a CPS 2500 with a sticking trigger, making players decide whether to take the risk or stick with weaker but reliable blasters. Or how about a missing cap, that's fine if you walk but if you run fast you start spilling ammo.

Quote:
Weapon carrying gets a bit more complicated. Players should be able to handle two primaries, or one primary and two secondaries/sidearms. (However, in the 1 primary/2 secondary situation, the 2nd secondary cannot be carried when switched to primary) Another possible method is to use a slot system, where each weapon is assigned a number of points based on weight and size and players can only carry a certain amount of this weight. For example, say each player can carry six points, then guns like the CPS 2500 or 1200 would take up 3, the MXL would take up 4, Max-D6k's, FF's, etc. would take up two, and sidearms would take one. It is easier to treat equipment such as water balloons and refill bottles independently.
For weapon carrying, I'd think in terms of straps, holsters, and packs. For example, you can quite easily carry three CPS 2500s, whereas you can't readily carry three Flash Floods without aftermarket straps, holsters, or bags.

Or think in terms of where you'd put the weapons on your body. Something like:

* 3 strapped items - one on each side and one slung across the back. A backpack counts as one. Pretty much anything can have a strap.
* 4 holstered items - one on each thigh and one on each side of the chest or jacket. Only smaller items can be holstered.
* Two handheld items. Only what's in the hand can be used obviously. There might be items too large to holster that lack straps, like a stock CPS 2100 or even an MXL with a missing strap. If you have two such items and no backpack, you have to drop one to be able to use anything else. In fact some larger stuff like MXLs should probably take both hands anyway, meaning even one strapless MXL stops you using anything else.
* Contents of the backpack are limited only by weight.

"Item" could refer to a blaster, or a water bottle, or a case of water balloons, or whatever.
A "full loadout", while possible, would be expected to severely impair mobility due to the weight, and you can only fire two things at once anyway.

Exactly how to relate weight to mobility is unclear. It may not be a simple relation. You might want to do some real-world testing, or you could look for existing work (the military have probably studied how much a heavy pack slows a soldier). For simplicity, I'd consider ignoring encumberances other than weight - this in a sense amounts to assuming all straps and holsters are well-adjusted and don't interfere with running.

A 'nice touch' that I think is well worth implementing is diminishing weight. A backpack with 6 litres of water in it slows you down - an empty backpack rather less.

On the technical side, I fear there'd be a lot of work. Can you add satisfactory fluid physics to an existing engine? Fluid dynamics is some of the most complicated stuff around - obviously you don't need to go the whole hog, but you want to do stuff like wind resistance and stream breakup and dispersion. You might find you can simply parameterise them.
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Old 06-22-2010, 05:40 PM   #5
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I am totally ready to do this, and we can make custom maps really easily, at least if we agree on the Unreal editor. When can we start?

The custom gun idea would be much harder, and we might have to find a way to just modify existing ones. Otherwise the time to create all of the possible models would take way too long, not to mention custom shot effects for each one.

I could try to design basic model parts, and then allow the user to rearrange these parts as they pleased. Then the game would be more like a combination of MMORPG and FPS, because we would have to introduce a system that allows for unlocking and buying of new parts and modifications.

But CA is right, we should try to work out the basic mechanics and map design features before adding modifications and the like.
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Old 06-22-2010, 06:00 PM   #6
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Well, we need a robust system of exchanging files. Perhaps it'd be a good idea to start a page on sourceforge if possible, but otherwise I don't have much of an idea on how to get this together. Jumping out and starting off may result in things getting messy but I'll have to see what can be done.

I'd like to personally go through the Unreal 3 SDK myself and have a look at the stuff in there. Right now I'm clueless as to the extent of the possibility and methods that the most basic things will be implemented with; things like stream physics, damage calculation, collission and player movement, object physics, etc. While we may not have a Hollywood style shooter with massive explosions, I'd like to see small objects react to streams. Vegetation dynamics will be a concern (as vegetation is a huge element of water warfare), except I don't have much idea right now on how to even model the vegetation effectively. (Except grass which looks pretty easy, but there are several ways to create bushes and trees and I'd have to think about that.)

Maybe that's already getting ahead. I still need to go through the Unreal 3 SDK first, haha. After I have an idea of what may be possible and a vague idea of how it'd be done, I'll look into project management solutions. My friend doesn't use these forums after all and I don't think throwing files about over here is any reasonable way to do it.
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Old 06-22-2010, 06:29 PM   #7
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I'd suggest trying a decentralised (AKA distributed) revision control system. There are a few around. I've used bazaar though only by myself so I haven't use the teamwork elements of it.
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Old 06-22-2010, 07:56 PM   #8
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I'm currently downloading the UDK which I should be spending some time with afterwards. This is probably the best approach to go with. I'll DL Bazaar after agreement on it, though right now I should probably focus on the UDK and see if the measly programming experience I have can get me anywhere.

For now, I guess I could let the melting pot of ideas roll out just to throw things around. Here's what I'm thinking:

Basic gameplay mechanics:
HUD: Either no HUD at all (or something as minimalist as possible) to feel more "real", or a thoroughly stylized HUD giving you all sorts of information. Here's a potential idea: http://img197.imageshack.us/f/epicfps.jpg/

In here, the top bar that measures how soaked you are works solely by color. (Thus it can take the shape of a bar or anything else) There are two distinct color schemes: The first fades from clear to very light turquise and eventually to a full blue. This would give a "feel" while a second color that fades from green to red indicates actual condition. However, the second color can be discarded I suppose, as there will be plenty of other indication on how soaked the player is. One of these indicators could be screen effects.

http://yfrog.com/5aepicfpsabout2soakj

There are two methods of recovering the soaker bar (which is what I'll call it for now) based on two different FPS design philosophies. In modern FPS's, health recovers automatically and briefly when not taking damage. However, I would favor a different approach geared to fit water warfare. Have it based on environmental conditions i.e. if the weather is hot and sunny, your soaker bar will recover fairly quickly, though not quite as fast as modern shooters have it. Towels can speed up this recovery; using a towel should restore a certain percentage of soaker bar lost. 50% could be a good value to go with while starting off. Now if water warring in partly cloudy weather that's not too warm, the soaker bar may not recover. Then there's rainy weather where the soaker bar drains gradually unless the player is under overhead cover. This can make for very interesting map designs, as anyone who has played through the Gears of War 2 campaign should know (the level with the razorhail, that is).

Thus an element as simple as weather completely changes the gameplay. I am currently unsure about dynamic weather, day and night cycles, etc. as they will actually require work to implement. (We can't just be lazy and use a skybox system in other words.)

The soaker bar's amount varies depending on gametype. There will still be soakfest based games where the soaker bar doesn't exist, and traditional 1HK games where the bar is very, very low. Then of course there is always the area in between; of high water tolerance before being eliminated that could never be done in real water warfare due to the difficulty of people being able to tell instantly that they have been soaked with 1L of water instead of 900mL. Of course, it may be possible to implement games with soaktertags, gridded T-shirts, etc. but that's not a real big consideration for me right now.


Now to control ideas. You have the standard mouse to aim, click to shoot, and WASD to move but the rest requires a lot of specialization to fit water warfare. We need seperated pump and refill keys and sprint and dodge need to be seperated as well. I've also adapted this to fit dual wielding which even if we don't start off with it, it may eventually come in the future. A system designed around dual wielding is also good for carrying shields and other non-weapons in the player's other hand. Currently I'm thinking of the following for controls:


Shift: Pump control. Hold to pump. Also used to shoot piston blasters. (Yes, I hate piston blasters that much that I would cripple their controls this way.)

Right-click: Aim or fire secondary dual wielded gun. (Secondary usually being the left gun; aiming cannot be done while dual wielding.)

Left-click: Main attack with selected water gun or item (obviously)

Mouse wheel: Switch nozzles and modes. If two nozzle selectors are present, the menu that is brought up will have two columns, showing the nozzle combinations, otherwise there will only be one. In the case where two nozzle selectors are available, middle clicking on this menu will switch between the selections. To finalize a selection, right click. Selections take place instantly when finalized; no animation has to take place when switching a nozzle.

Middle Click: Secondary trigger, such as on the Flash Flood.

X: Switch pumping mode. (Used to pre-charge air into seperate PC air pressure blasters, or to switch between pumps on the Oozinator.)

C: Switch selected blaster when dual wielding. This matters because there is only one function for pumping, secondary trigger, and nozzle selector switch, and when dual wielding, the blaster to adjust must be selected first.

R: Refill blaster with .5L bottles. If the player is near a hose or other source, pressing R will refill from that source instead. Refilling water bottles and filling balloons will be handled seperately. If dual wielding, both blasters are refilled with the primary (usually right, but using the term "primary" makes room for a left-handed display mode) one refilled first. Hold R and click the

F: Generic action key. May be used to exchange weapons, use hoses, etc.

G: Dual wield. Move close to blaster to dual wield and press G, or press and hold G and press 2 or 3 to dual wield a weapon you're carrying.

1: Select .5L bottle, for "melee" attacks. Press R when close to a refill source to refill bottle. (Automatically selects least filled bottle, bottles will be used sequentially.) Left click to throw bottle, action key (F) to turn into a water bottle mine.

2: Select between sidearm or secondary

3: Select between secondary or primary

This allows up to 4 weapons to be carried at a time; two triggered by the 2 key and two triggered by the 3 key. However, limitations such as the weight points system mentioned earlier will limit total number of weapons carried.

4: Select water balloon; used for filling balloons (from blaster or from source if close to source). Also possible to throw untied balloon.


Double-tap WASD: Used for dodging. Double tap in any direction to dodge in that direction. Depending on character traits, a dodge may be a simple jump or dash towards that direction, or the character may do cool tricks such as roll around which will happen faster and take the character a farther distance. Hold the key after double tapping it to sprint continuously in that direction. Sprint may be more intuitive to bind to the shift key, but then pump needs to go somewhere else.

Ctrl (press once): Crouch; press while crouched to stand

Z (press once): Prone; press while prone to stand

Spacebar (press once): Jump/move over obstacle (if standing), stand (if crouched or prone)



That's all I'll throw out for now. Leave some feedback on the control ideas. (Which should be adjustable and re-bindable either in game menus or by modifying a file.) The DL has finished and it's time to do something a little more productive than talking.

Edit: On a side note, there's apparently a new Super Soaker championship game coming around. I'm currently looking into it but they don't seem to be done yet. http://translate.google.com/translat...ial%26prmd%3Dv


Edit: For some reason, I never saw Cantab's longer post.

I think having at least an object editor (though I suppose a map editor is not terribly necessary) is crucial. We need something to move weapon spawns or remove them completely. Halo 3 hit this pretty well and Forge gives you a lot of editability for a console game.

As for breaking triggers, I guess it can be done as a very rare event, but shouldn't go too far.

For items like straps, I may ignore much of that and assume that a strap (whether on the blaster or improvised), clip, holster, etc. is already available for a gun that a player may need. Going into gear seems unecessary and will severely complicate the weapon carrying system. Most shooters make do with very basic weapon systems that do not account for handling, weight, movement, etc. and I'm thinking of falling between that simplicity and completely realistic detail. I still want to keep it realistic though; carrying three CPS 2500 will slow down most players so much that it's simply too impractical to do so, but perhaps it should still be allowed for characters who are larger. (Which is another trait to put into account; this also makes them larger targets and require more strength to move/dodge faster.)

For encumberance, I may end up going only with weight, which is determined by the nature of the equipment plus the weight of water being carried. Implementing this requires careful adjustments of values: you don't want players to suddenly move faster (by any noticeable amount) just because they emptied the PC of a CPS 2000.

I'm unsure how fluid mechanics will be done. (Which is one part of outside help I need.) I have a rough idea of how to represent streams in 3D (either by using all particles or using a modified cylinder mesh and particles for when the stream breaks up) though the main trouble here is that all stream geometry and animation must be generated by the program. Collision is another issue; how to roughly estimate how much water hits a target of a given size. Last is splatter damage which is substantial enough to be considered. With a good base system, splash damage may simply be an extension of the stream physics.
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Old 06-23-2010, 11:16 AM   #9
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Wow! This is a massive coincidence!
I just downloaded XNA! (Although I agree that it's too limiting for a water warfare game)
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Old 06-23-2010, 12:25 PM   #10
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I'm a little sceptical about how players are "killed" and "respawn" in a water warfare FPS.....

I doubt that it would be enjoyable for a player to have to wait whilst they walk back to base to respawn, like in real water warfare. And it seems odd if they get blown about 20ft away by a large water balloon. So where do we go with it? The only natural solution is that they literally fall over after taking enough soakage. I therefore think that the soakage a player has taken is determined like Call of Duty's "blood screen" - the redder the screen the more damaged you are. Except the blood would be an aqua effect on your HUD instead.

EDIT: It's going to be necessary to take the user through a training level, too, considering the wide amount of difference from a standard FPS to the Water Battle environment. The user will have to know how to refill and use weapons, know about Super Chargers, know about CPS, know about Hose Turrets, etc.
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Old 06-23-2010, 01:05 PM   #11
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I haven't gotten XNA installed but I doubt it's worth figuring out at this point. I probably won't even learn UnrealScript, just the editor, importing items, etc. since I really don't think I have the programming skills for it.

Typhoon, if you read my postings closely, that's exactly what I had in mind for determining "health." Numerous shooters use that method, though I may try to adjust it so that you can tell which direction you took damange. However, I don't want it to "heal" too fast but more in a realistic time frame. Also, there's real "blinding" caused when shot in the face vs. getting shot in, say, the back. I'd like to make a distinction between the two when possible.

What I may end up trying to do is have water effects cover up the sides of the screen when shot on the body, and the direction on screen indicates direction you took the shot from. When shot in the face, that's when water fills up the screen making it very difficult to see anything. Well, I could make glasses an option or character trait which alleviates the on-screen effect but also limits your field of view.

For respawning, I was going to use a streamlined version of real water warfare's, which is basically the same as how regular shooters handle it. When completely soaked, players have to wait a given time before they reappear at their spawn point. To keep things realistic, I may keep the player from dropping their supplies/weapons and spawn with the same weapon in the same state (ammo levels, etc.) as they were before. Factors like stamina have to rebuild after respawning. (Because in reality you'd rush to the spawn point to speed things up unless a time limit stops you from doing so.) Spawn intervals may also be employed though with much shorter intervals. However, intervals still make spawning quite unpredictable and it didn't work so nicely in Battlefield 1942.

A training level is indeed a must. I have my own ideas on that which will be a complete walkthrough of the controls. Hoses should work relatively the same as in real life. I may default them to use the VHS attachment in order to save some modeling and animation but some authenticity will be lost. I doubt I will have seated turrets as seen in Roller Coaster Tycoon 3. (The 180 guns that look almost like Halo's Warthog turrets.)

I don't know how streamlined I'll keep everything. Because I'm thinking of pre-pumping for air pressure, it would only be fair to "require" priming for CPS's. (Not formally require, but it will have problems with its first shot.) Reservoir topping however, is almost definitely going in since it seems to be the easiest to program depending how everything is setup.
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Old 06-23-2010, 02:46 PM   #12
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Default Re: Who's interested in a community project?

I don't feel comfortable about Unreal Script, but the editor is still a robust engine. Importing skins, models and the like should be easy.

We should start a board on the WWc wiki, and that could be where we collaborate and add feature and ideas.
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Old 06-23-2010, 05:15 PM   #13
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I'd be happy to help, although I'm not sure what I could do. The only programming language I know how to use is Scratch, an easy-to-use, slightly limited 2D programming language. I also know how to do some stuff in Audacity.
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Old 06-23-2010, 05:17 PM   #14
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Default Re: Who's interested in a community project?

I guess I could have a crack at some music composition. Been a while since I did any but I used to not be so bad.

Script-writing I'd be decent at too, but I can't see the game calling for much dialogue.
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Old 06-23-2010, 08:04 PM   #15
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The UDK can let us use fluid physics, and I think that is going to be a major factor in the game. When we fire a weapon, we don't just want it to travel on forever in a beam. We want a realistic representation of each stream. This is going to require a lot of the time spent on the project, and we are going to need pictures of every gun firing, at least every gun that is going to be included in the game.
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