Track flow

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ilumen
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Track flow

Postby ilumen » Sat Feb 06, 2016 11:34 am

Whilst the environments look very nice and pretty, I'm noticing that the levels have very poor flow, and are making for a poor racing experience.

There are many instances where the player vehicle is to enter a tunnel, or underpass, and the environment does not attempt to funnel the vehicles towards the opening, causing the player to hit a blocker. Often this has a prelude of a hidden ramp, causing total loss of control, and resulting in the vehicle striking a blocker.

The track 'Yuri Industrial' is the most egregious offender, to the point where it feels that the level designer actually dislikes racing games and is taking advantage of the poor handling and weightlessness of the vehicles to make the player stop playing.

Hidden ramps: A small raised section of the track causes the vehicle to vault into the air. It's a massive problem because it makes a poorly handling, lightweight vehicle, into an uncontrollable mess. These hidden ramps often occur just before an unavoidable Blocker, or poorly implemented Funnel.

Funneling: The track should funnel the vehicles towards a non-optional part of the racetrack. In the instance where the track splits, the splitting point should not become a Blocker.

Blockers: Literally block the vehicle and cause it to crash. Some of these blockers are due to failures in level design, others would be improved by having their presence telegraphed.

I've included images of the offending locations in the Yuri map, as these were the easiest to concretely identify:

https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B1Fuo ... WhLbXg5LVU

I expect increasing the mass of the vehicles will greatly help reduce the 'floatyness' when dealing with the unintentional effects of the Hidden ramps.

Also, improving the handling of the vehicles will reduce some of the problems with Funneling and Blockers, but it's more ideal to fix the root, as well as its symptoms.

And yes, I used to play a LOT of Rollcage, plus Wipeout, and more recently Distance.
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Re: Track flow

Postby ilumen » Sat Feb 06, 2016 12:18 pm

fixed the G-drive access ;)
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Re: Track flow

Postby Broscar » Sat Feb 06, 2016 12:56 pm

You're absolutely correct, ilumen.
Fortunately for us, Chris is gonna attempt to smooth out Industrial for the next patch.

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Re: Track flow

Postby Queadah » Sat Feb 06, 2016 1:06 pm

Some (insta-blockers) are legit, altering their shape might do the trick (" V " shape instead of blocks to deviate the racer). Others are to punish us for our nitpicks ;)

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Re: Track flow

Postby ilumen » Sat Feb 06, 2016 2:00 pm

I feel that the example given is the easiest to highlight, but I have noticed similar issues on other tracks as well.
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Re: Track flow

Postby Mik1 » Sat Feb 06, 2016 2:10 pm

whats wrong with the number 4 in the pictures folder, its an easy to see obstacle that you got space to drive around both sides

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Re: Track flow

Postby Broscar » Sat Feb 06, 2016 2:22 pm

He's right as in it blocks you off completely.
Rollcage, in comparison, has very little of that. The 'Rollcage' way to solve it, was by making it an obstacle that messed you up, but let you maintain your forwards momentum (Frontier springs to mind).
Though personally #4 doesn't bother me and I think it's okay to veer away from the idea that the game has to mimic Rollcage in that regard, but it has gameplay implications as well. How much Chris decides to smooth out the track is up to him, but I'm fairly certain it'll be constantly tweaked throughout development to balance things out.

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Re: Track flow

Postby ilumen » Sat Feb 06, 2016 2:38 pm

when you approach number 4, its often at great speed. The gaps either side are so narrow, as to be almost impassable, especially as that route does seem to be the intended 'normal' route.
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Re: Track flow

Postby Yrch » Sun Feb 07, 2016 3:40 pm

The Tracks need tweaking in some places, thats for sure, but i dont see problems with any of those places in your screenshots except "Hidden Ramp 1"
All other Ramps feel like they are set intentionally and they end in broad spaces so you gotta do somethign pretty wrong to f#ck up.

Wastes on the other hands has a lot of parts where you loose grip for milliseconds giving you a floaty feeling.

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Re: Track flow

Postby SpikeX » Sun Feb 07, 2016 4:34 pm

Dont agree with the blockers, you can just simply avoid them and it makes the racing rlly intense wich i like, but i do agree on the ramps tho.. and also have the feeling leaving the first big tunnel on the ceiling always makes you fly towards the edges flying out of bounds.

Tho Broscar suited my mind saying these tracks will be updated and tweaked!! I like the gameplay of the tracks, RC wasn't easy as well if u couldn't take tight and narrow paths, but there was idd a littl bit more flow then in 'Yuri'

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Re: Track flow

Postby SuperLucas335 » Mon Feb 08, 2016 6:57 am

I totally agree with you. The cars can stick to the ceiling, but the smallest hill will make them fly off the track. Also I think the cars are too big for the track.

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Re: Track flow

Postby Django » Mon Feb 08, 2016 7:43 am

SuperLucas335 wrote:Also I think the cars are too big for the track.


Or the track is too small basicly the same thing but cars need to be massive. So leave them cars be and change the track instead. ;)

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Re: Track flow

Postby Roq » Mon Feb 08, 2016 10:54 am

Have to say that I disagree with most of these. For a moderately difficult track, removing these takes away nearly all driving skill from the game allowing anyone to go flat out all the time in pretty brainless manner. Learning the track is where the skill and difficulty needs to be.

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Re: Track flow

Postby ilumen » Tue Feb 09, 2016 9:34 am

On this track I've found that I have the same level of influence over my vehicle, whether I steer or not. The difficult of the track should not come from blind obstacles, or trip-up hazards, but from demanding that the players have the ability to correctly control and direct their vehicle through the track, adhering to the racing line as closely as possible.

Memorizing a track by rote is not a skill, as such. It simply rewards players that grind the same track a lot. A skillful racer should know when to brake, accelerate, drift, etc. and be able to compete against a less skilled player who simply 'knows the course'.

And the Blockers often do just that: they block the vehicle from moving, either immediately, or within a few seconds cause the vehicle to come to a complete standstill before allowing the player to re-orient the vehicle and resume racing.
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Re: Track flow

Postby Yrch » Tue Feb 09, 2016 3:57 pm

ilumen wrote:On this track I've found that I have the same level of influence over my vehicle, whether I steer or not. The difficult of the track should not come from blind obstacles, or trip-up hazards, but from demanding that the players have the ability to correctly control and direct their vehicle through the track, adhering to the racing line as closely as possible.

Memorizing a track by rote is not a skill, as such. It simply rewards players that grind the same track a lot. A skillful racer should know when to brake, accelerate, drift, etc. and be able to compete against a less skilled player who simply 'knows the course'.

And the Blockers often do just that: they block the vehicle from moving, either immediately, or within a few seconds cause the vehicle to come to a complete standstill before allowing the player to re-orient the vehicle and resume racing.


erm, this is pretty much what racing is about isnt it?
next to getting a hang of the physics/handling, exessive knowledge of a track combined with your personal skill are key in a racing game and it just comes natural that someone who "grinds" a track or simply plays the game a lot.
thats why people like combat racers, the weapons add an uncontrolable and unpredictable element to the game while at the same time require skill to adjust and react in the given situation and Rollcage was a prime example of that by not only rewarding high skilled drivers but also rewarding players who knew the weapons and how to counter them.

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Re: Track flow

Postby SuperLucas335 » Wed Feb 10, 2016 2:31 am

Django wrote:
SuperLucas335 wrote:Also I think the cars are too big for the track.


Or the track is too small basicly the same thing but cars need to be massive. So leave them cars be and change the track instead. ;)


Yeah that's what I mean. The devs should hit ctrl + A when in the Unreal editor, then press the spacebar twice to get the resize tool. Click on the middle square and drag out. That will make the whole track bigger. (I've used UE4 before)

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Re: Track flow

Postby ilumen » Wed Feb 10, 2016 2:57 am

@Yrch
There's nothing wrong with the weapons. (the cars could be a bit 'heavier' and have better handling at slower speeds, though)
and yes, being good at the game PLUS knowing the track is a great advantage as you get best of both.

<<==>>
Intentional Track Hazards should be telegraphed in advance, so that the player can adjust their speed/steering accordingly.
Inexplicable loss of control, Blind hazards, and sudden unintentional stops all lead to frustration when playing a supposedly fast-paced racing game.

Hell, if the Sparrow League Racing in Destiny (I absolutely smashed in that, too) can manage this, I'm pretty sure that this game can achieve it too.
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Re: Track flow

Postby Chris_CE » Fri Feb 12, 2016 8:12 pm

I'll start by saying that Industrial is going to be one of the hardest tracks in the game. It's meant to be difficult, and you're meant to learn it somewhat before powering through at 500kmph. All drivers in any race study a track before really trying to tackle it. This game is no different.

I do agree with many of the flow issues though, which is why I've gone and added a bunch of blocking volumes into Industrial for the latest patch. It flows a lot better now. I've yet to do this for Alhatra or Transport, but I did fix some things in both for this latest version as well.

But I'm at a loss as to how you suggest I turn things like in blocker #4 and funnel #6 into something that doesn't bring you to a halt. Even if I make it triangular, someone can run straight into the point. Either way, I'm with Roq in that these things creates a challenge on a very difficult map, and making absolutely everything in the level some kind of filter for moving forward will make the environments look very unnatural (and bland). By this logic I can't have any of the door obstacles in Transport, or any obstacles at all in the center of any track, really. In my eyes that is boring, and not the kind of game I want to play. There is a thrill associated with narrowly missing an obstacle and I'd rather not strip that away

As for the "hidden" jumps. It's easy to know there's a jump at each spot after only one race. And the only jump I really see an issue with is the end of the U-turn tunnel if you're driving on the ceiling. I'm going to do something to that area to help that, though.

All that said, there are definitely issues with the game, and I respect that you're making some apparent. Do keep in mind though that the car handling and physics are by no means final, and the tracks are all WIP (yes, Industrial as well - I keep tweaking it)

Note: I seem to remember plenty of tracks in rollcage having obstacles right in the way. Sure, some of them were destructible, but they were far more annoying than the issues in GRIP (IMO). Plus the tracks were quite simple, due to the tech available at the time. So most of them were pretty much a tunnel.

Last note: Sparrow league racing in Destiny is nowhere near the same experience as GRIP, as those bikes can hit anything and keep going. It's very arcade-y, and pretty easy.

SuperLucas335 wrote:Yeah that's what I mean. The devs should hit ctrl + A when in the Unreal editor, then press the spacebar twice to get the resize tool. Click on the middle square and drag out. That will make the whole track bigger. (I've used UE4 before)

haha, if only it were that simple. Doing that would completely screw up a lot of things, unfortunately. Much more to it than just scaling
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Re: Track flow

Postby ilumen » Sat Feb 13, 2016 11:53 am

For Blocker 4, by narrowing the support column you widen the road either side, alleviating the need for precision at speed on what is (I'm guessing) the intended 'normal' route of the racetrack.

Alternatively, make it into a piece of destructible scenery, so the fist time it is struck it costs that racer some momentum and speed, but doesn't cause the vehicle to simply stop.

For Funnel 6, by simply removing the 'Brick' at the beginning you allow the following terrain to push the player to follow the left road or the right road (or ramp up and into the air, which they probably don't want to do due to a loss of speed and control).

Of course the game needs track hazards resulting in temporary loss of (speed/acceleration/handling/braking,etc). And yes, sometimes the track itself is the hazard (hairpin turns, jumps, uneven terrain). At the same time, the final result of these hazards probably shouldn't make the vehicle come to a complete halt.

In anycase, I've given some qualitative feedback, and I know that I'm not the stereotype player of this game. I think getting some data tracking on the races would be useful. Generate some heat-maps of where players make an impact with terrain, other vehicles, where they brake, where they achieve top speed, etc. would be the most useful. That way you'll have quantative data to work with, and not just the nebulous feedback that we give.
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Re: Track flow

Postby potterman28wxcv » Sat Feb 13, 2016 5:20 pm

ilumen wrote:In anycase, I've given some qualitative feedback, and I know that I'm not the stereotype player of this game. I think getting some data tracking on the races would be useful. Generate some heat-maps of where players make an impact with terrain, other vehicles, where they brake, where they achieve top speed, etc. would be the most useful. That way you'll have quantative data to work with, and not just the nebulous feedback that we give.

I agree that this would help a lot - if the devs can set it up.

Might be useful to know what are the most taken paths or stuff like that
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