Gamasutra: Vince Napoli’s Weblog – Recalling the Leviathan Axe


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Recalling the Leviathan Axe

~After spending the final a number of years engaged on God of Warfare, I used to be making an attempt to determine what to do with a sudden surge of free time. After speaking about it with a number of different designers on the challenge, I believed it may be good to simply ramble on about a few of the stuff I spent the final 5 years of my life engaged on. So full disclosure: there is a good likelihood nothing right here can be of curiosity or use to anybody…

With that mentioned, the primary mechanic I wished to speak about was one thing that ended up being a fairly distinctive and properly regarded mechanic – recalling the Leviathan Axe after throwing it. It was additionally one of many earliest gameplay/fight prototypes that we tackled.


Regardless of figuring out all the best way again in 2015, possibly even 2014, that we wished to do that mechanic, we had been nonetheless placing the ending touches on it months in the past. It actually did take a number of years of tweaking and noodling and messing with it. Particular due to George Mawle for coping with a ridiculous quantity of obscure and tough code requests and options for the Axe recall alone!

The essential performance is tremendous easy — as soon as the Axe is both in flight, caught in an enemy, or caught on the earth, you’ll be able to push triangle to name it again.

Its unique objective was actually simply useful. We had been sure we wanted a ranged assault, and earlier than we tried having the Axe fireplace some type of projectile, we wished to see if we might simply throw the the weapon itself. Hitting an enemy with a stable / giant object is simply extra satisfying than utilizing a projectile/particle impact.

We realized fairly shortly that along with some robust fantasy achievement, the mechanic additionally got here with some further recreation play advantages we weren’t predicting. One of many first issues we realized was that hitting enemies on return was mainly obligatory. It wasn’t solely what you’ll intuitively anticipate, it was one thing that was each satisfying to do on objective and have occur by accident.


The primary of many little helper options that we added was to tweak the return path in order that it could particularly transfer by enemies to be able to be sure that it hits them. We used a fairly tight angle to outline when the Axe ought to do that. (Though there’s a particular pommel late within the recreation that opens that auto-seeking conduct to 180 levels!!)


The animation for the recall really went by a number of variations. The primary model really required the participant to be static whereas it returned. And, the animation was extra consistent with the outdated god of struggle in that we went for a bombastic, excessive profile (hand within the air), going through utterly ahead strategy.


After we moved on to an additive animation that might permit the liberty to navigate, block or evade, we reworked the animation aesthetically fairly a bit. The very first thing we did: make it really feel extra informal and fewer worrying by merely reducing his arm. The second factor we did was rotate Kratos in direction of the digital camera, to be able to play into the digital camera a bit extra so you possibly can see extra of his chest /higher physique and never simply his again. We additionally actually emphasised each the preliminary recall second and the catch second with a couple of particularly positioned frames and 0 tween time.We wished the start of the recall to really feel weighty, virtually like a mini-attack, one thing forceful. For the catch, we wished to ensure that it feels robust, however we had been very cautious to not make it really feel like Kratos cannot deal with the Axe or that it is too heavy for him. We needed to strike a really particular stability in order that the catch feels informal, like he does it on a regular basis, however nonetheless carry some momentum by so you’ll be able to really feel the Axe’s pace.


Return Time

A whole lot of time was additionally spent tweaking the arc and timing of the Axe flying again. Initially we merely set an acceleration/max pace worth and returned the Axe in a straight line to his hand. This was problematic for a few causes:

  • The additional away you had been from the Axe, the longer it could take to get again to you. This was extraordinarily irritating in fight.
  • It touring in a straight line typically meant you did not see it.

And, to be sincere, the linear path simply did not look excellent. After a lot noodling with George, we settled on a pleasant curve from the preliminary recall location to the hand. This elevated the possibility you’ll see the Axe return, in addition to simply appeared nicer. There have been additionally fairly a couple of methods carried out in order that the Axe spins cleanly on the best way in. Solely within the final second earlier than it goes into Kratos’s hand does it rotate itself round accurately. Trying to rotate the Axe in flight made it look too messy/uncontrolled.


For the pace challenge, we ultimately got here up with the thought to make use of a tough time-out along with a base pace/acceleration. The thought was to ensure that if the Axe was near you, it got here again slightly bit quicker however was nonetheless seen. However, if that distance/pace was going to take greater than 1.5 seconds, we might merely improve the pace to no matter was obligatory. This allowed us to simply management the max attainable time that the participant could be spent ready for the Axe. 


Axe Wiggle

One of many extra delicate little mechanics (that was infamous for breaking quite a few instances throughout growth) is a wiggle the Axe does earlier than it rips itself out of an enemy or wall. We wished the Axe to really feel prefer it was actually wedged into the floor. So as to try this we created a programmatic wiggle that occurs for the primary 0.1 seconds earlier than starting its return flight. It was for much longer, however we began getting complaints that the Axe felt prefer it was taking too lengthy to come back again. And surprisingly sufficient, it really did not matter if we sped up the return to compensate as a result of it was the added delay earlier than shifting that made it really feel longer. Some even had the notion that their inputs had been delayed.


Polish & Presentation

On prime of the motion and animation for the recall, we added a couple of little issues to actually polish it off. For sound, we connected the emitter to the Axe itself so that you could really hear it come nearer. The sound itself can also be really tied in with the rotation pace of the Axe. And there are literally 3 separate rumbles used  on the recall — one for the preliminary triggering, one for the flight, and one for the catch. (Aspect notice: I used to be really considering of doing a weblog put up solely on rumbles, since I may be fairly obsessive about them!) Lastly, slightly digital camera shake at all times helps issues really feel robust.

Regardless of how a lot work it took, this mechanic may be the one I am most happy with within the recreation. After all we took some inspiration from a sure Marvel character… however from a recreation play standpoint I really feel prefer it actually did open lots of doorways we weren’t anticipating.

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