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Hey there, fellow ylanders!
 

As some of you may know, we have been working on what could be called Combat 2.0. The current combat doesn’t feel right... at all. It’s challenging to hit anyone or anything - bordering on the impossible when both the attacker and the target are moving. We wanted to release the new combat in the last update - and failed. Now it’s obvious it won’t even be part of the upcoming 0.9. So I figured this might be a right moment to let you look behind the scenes, and show you how things (don’t) work with this specific example.
 

The main problems are that it’s difficult to hit what you’re attacking. That even when you actually hit something, there’s no sufficient indication that you’ve succeeded; it lacks a good enough animation of the opponent getting punched, which would make it feel more rewarding and more “physical” at the same time. There is no space for any strategy, for right timing - it’s just pure button-mashing, which can be good enough in some other games with simpler combat mechanics, but we know we can do better.
 

Typically, one starts by looking at how other games do it, see what works and what doesn’t. The problem with Ylands is that it is truly a hybrid beast, and we can’t just take what works elsewhere. For example, the combat would become much better if the characters and monsters could collide with each other. It wouldn’t be possible just to run through each other, which is what makes the combat rather chaotic - but doing that would bring many problems elsewhere. Just imagine how often would someone block you from moving somewhere in a narrow passage, intentionally or not. While this would make the combat better (and allow for a more strategical approach), there would be many other situations where this would simply become annoying (not to speak about potential MP related technical issues).
 

combat.png
This is where the testing happens. Boxes and weirdly shaped objects get hurt a lot but they know it's for the greater good :)

 

In many MMOs, characters don’t collide as well, but the players don’t have a problem with hitting their targets, because there’s some sort of targeting system in place. You select your target and can hit it when you trigger the appropriate ability wherever you are (with the distance based on the type of ability). That is cool... but wouldn’t work with Ylands since this fits with a game where players use various abilities with various cooldowns - not just simple attacks. Doing the combat this way would feel extremely dull with only one or two types of attack.
 

The next thing that we want to achieve is to be able to give players at least some way of affecting the outcome of the combat (in addition to what their weapons and armor are), to let them use skill, to make them think about what to do next. This can be done in several ways - by letting them select attacks, being able to defend and trigger a defensive stance at the right time etc. Several things can be done, but they all have certain prerequisites. If you, for example, want the player to be able to react to incoming attacks, you have to have a clear indication that the enemy is about to attack. Some games do it with visual indicators, but we don’t feel that this would go well with our vision of Ylands, where we try to avoid unrealistic visual hints as much as possible. The correct way (at least when it comes to Ylands) would be to be able to tell that the enemy is about to attack by merely watching them. Many games do that - but, simply speaking, the attack animations have a slower beginning, so that the player has a big enough time window to react. While this works well when fighting NPCs, we want the combat to be fun even when fighting another player... but using attack animations that take some time before the impact happens would make the attacking sluggish or unresponsive if players would use those as well.
 

You see that sometimes implementing something that has been done many times before may not be that easy (especially when it hasn’t :) ). And these are just the basic issues we face. The hole goes deeper, much deeper than this - deep enough to a place where you find that a change that you just HAVE to make will have a very negative effect on some other aspect of this feature, rendering it useless... and off you go, starting all over again.
 

TLDR; Developing a new feature is sometimes very difficult, takes a lot of tries and it can get very difficult to predict how much more time is needed to finish it.

 

Questions & Answers
 

Just like the last time, here are some of the answers you sent us and which didn’t get covered by our Q&A video.
 

Will there ever be a way to transport water? Like in a bucket or irrigation system, aqueduct?

This is indeed planned. There will be a way of picking up the water (and stack it in your inventory) and drop it wherever necessary. Also, we would like to add a pump machine which would let you move a larger mass of water from one area to another. For this, however, the water simulation needs to be fixed first.
 

Minecarts?!

We would like to have trains sometime after the game leaves EA (you might have noticed that someone has already created a pretty cool train with what’s already available). We just need to make sure those are made right, because we want them to be part of automated machines - we want them to be used to transport objects from one workstation to another (or from their source) “Factorio style” :)


Will the crystals have any more use? Maybe I could link them in the weapons to make them more powerful? Fire, ice, electricity ...

Let’s just wait till the next Explore world is released and see, shall we? ;)


Will it be possible to copy sections of land in the Editor?

That’s something we’re looking into. Also, we need tools that let raise and lower terrain in more intuitive ways - not by just adding/subtracting terrain through the predefined shape.
 

Am I asking too many questions?

No.


And that's all for today. We'll see you next Friday, so have a great time until then and, as always, stay classy!

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If I were to list all of the things currently in Ylands that I feel desperately need fixing, the combat mechanic would not feature.

The only issue I have with combat - or have ever seen reported - is that predators rarely move... unless they’re falling through the world!   Fix those issues  and you’ll fix 90% of the problems with combat.

I can’t help but wonder how many bugs could have been squashed with the man-hours that have been spent on that shiny new - unrequested - feature :(

 

Just my two cents!!!

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Oh man, I just realized that.. Ylands is kinda hybrid.. No character collision, but don't have targeting system.. I myself not sure how to make good combat, which at the end not only "button smashing". A lot of MMO just use "button smashing" technique with timing as an add-on to make it little bit interesting. Like if you smash button at the right time, it trigger combo or critical hit.
About the incoming attack, I think just put it in normal speed animation. At the end, for MP the big problem is laying between our latency..
Thanks for weekly news, I'm honestly addicted to this.. xD

Btw as SparkPlug mentioned, Is there  news for NPC AI (path finding)? I mean, animals that not moving or seems stuck is still common.

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I agree with TheSparkPlug,  for me combat has always been incidental to game play.  As far as how many bugs could have been squashed goes I think that as of now the majority of bugs are not even being reported due to a dwindling active player base.  Things do desperately need fixing,  I lost the ability to play the game a few updates ago and that issue never even made it into the known issues status so i don't think it has ever been looked at as a bug.  Sometimes the desire to be a jack of all trades leads to the result of being the master of none.  Find the thing the game does the best and fix it so more people can enjoy that aspect of it and maybe even stick around long enough to report bugs.  For me exploring was best before the update that rendered the game unplayable for me after exploring was only halfway done.  And I remind myself once again what a terrible idea it is to buy a game based on promises of things to come.  I know i'm being critical but i am also offering advice from a consumers point of view.

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for my part I do not agree with you TheSparkPlug , although it is true that there are many features to fix, I am sure that they are also working on them, as they have already said, it is not necessary that all the people on the team are in a single problem .
I will tell you that I do not like to hit people for there either, but if we want ylands to have a large number of players an entertaining pvp system is necessary.
And why not, I would love to put on my server a coliseum in which to organize beautiful combat competitions.

Aleš Ulm with what you have said about the problems that you have with this, it occurs to me that maybe you could put a system similar to collision, that is, detect everything the same but without having a real collision

 

P.D: I loved the answer about water:)

 

Edited by spyler.1989
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I can see where those arguments are coming from. I understand that when you're playing "Explore" combat plays often a minimal role and making it better won't improve the game for you much, if at all. The problem, however, lies elsewhere. We see Ylands as much as a platform for making games as a game itself. We want players to create different kinds of games and share it with each other. When we released Ylands on Steam we created some premade scenarios - one of them (Gym Brawl) was an arena where players could fight each other. A lot of people have tried it ... and left because the combat was poorly implemented. We know there's a lot of people who would like to try creating something like that on their own but won't because at this moment, with this combat, it wouldn't be fun to play. We had players asking us numerous times if/how could something like PUBG be created in Ylands.

Don't get me wrong - we are not crazy enough to think that we are making something where people will be able to create games that would be on par with top shooters or action games. But in 0.10 there will be a new scripting which will let you do A LOT and suddenly it will be possible to do very interesting car races, adventures... and action games as well. They won't be AAA titles but with the tools at hand they can be highly innovative and fun ... and they will be yours. And if combat sucks  no one will create those. If no games like that are there, people won't even realize that combat can actually be fun and won't miss it. In other words - having a good combat will open door for many types of very creative and fun custom games people will create and play with their friends. Mark my words - with good combat we'll get to some pretty impressive things made in Ylands in the future (don't forget that both DayZ, PUBG and few other games started as mods  :) ).

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I feel that you guys have been doing well at keeping things simple, whether intentional or not.  That design philosophy will serve you well, in my opinion.

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I don't play PVP. Or should I say, I haven't. I think I would die immediately and repeatedly. But if the game mechanics were fun, maybe it would be different.

I can see how it could be fun to have a PVP server, with teams. If everyone knew it was kill ir be killed I am fine with that. And building it into this game makes sense. So I don't see wasted time or effort here.

Best news of the post: water will be fixed and portable. At last a working pool!

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3 hours ago, Aleš Ulm said:

We see Ylands as much as a platform for making games as a game itself.

That's why I love this game. 

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This is an amazing Diary, as usual. Now, regarding combat.
IF I am not mistaken.. I know it was said in a diary or.. somewhere, at one point. That you'd like to add NPC Factions, as in.. actual humanoid npcs we can fight. So I suppose that would mean Bandits, Pirates, Guards etc. (I still think pirate NPCs on the sea would be amaaaazing)
And when those things hit. Yea I would like a neater combat system.

You said about not having collision. and some people blocking others. Etc.
I would like to.. well. attract your attention to a newly released (out of EA) game.
(The game is Conan Exiles). I do like that game now, BECAUSE of the combat.

In Early Access, that game had a.. well pretty much the same as Ylands is, Combat wise.
But after it launched, it added a Combo System (With each weapon having their own different combos/animations)
Left Click - Light Attack
Right Click - Heavy Attack
Alt - Roll Dodge
CTRL - Block (if you had a shield) or Kick.

And characters can colide in that. Because that game now features an action style combat, (think good old action fighters), they also added a lock on mechanic. Which you can use or not use.

Before I found out about Ylands. I absolutely loved building in that game. Ylands came out.. and well.. It has the BEST building in any game ever. period.
BUT.. I now found myself returning to Conan BECAUSE.. of the combat. I now think that game has the best combat system for a.. survival.. rpg?

SO Tl;dr.
I think SOMETHING like Conan, in terms of combat would work quite well. Dodge, and different combos for weapons. It might take more time in terms of animations. But it would fit quite well with all the different weapons/tools we have.
And to add to the collision between players and npcs. I think it won't be that much of a problem.
Online players, sure, you can have collision between them. But once a player is offline. Their collision box goes away. So you wouldn't be stuck by offline players.
I think that's a pretty good workaround. (Since an action style combat system, with collision between players will add that meaty feel of an actual good combat system)
Cheers

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good fighting system without lock ons is actually exciting, i do have to point out that no matter what it'd be, bad netcode will make it unsatisfying

Edited by Brbrmensch

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I'm excited by a better combat system. I plan on making a kind of Hunger Games Scenario, so the Combat System does need to be better.

Allowing Water to be used and transported sounds very much needed too.

On 5/19/2018 at 5:00 AM, Eujen said:

That you'd like to add NPC Factions, as in.. actual humanoid npcs we can fight. So I suppose that would mean Bandits, Pirates, Guards etc. (I still think pirate NPCs on the sea would be amaaaazing)

I TOTALLY AGREE!

 

On 5/18/2018 at 9:24 AM, Aleš Ulm said:

Will the crystals have any more use? Maybe I could link them in the weapons to make them more powerful? Fire, ice, electricity ...

Let’s just wait till the next Explore world is released and see, shall we?

This sounds very interesting as well.

I can't wait for the new update! Thank you for all your hard work.

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