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Dev Blog #024 - Identity Insider: Weapons Detailed

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In Depth Look at Weapons

Russian SKS Rifle

As we continue our work on the SWAT module, this last Friday we put live a new Identity Insider video showcasing the weapons in Identity. It's an incredibly detailed system. If you haven't seen that video yet, I'd recommend checking it out now before continuing in this newsletter, as the focus of this dev blog post is going to be going into detail about what you see in that video.

 

Check it Out!

If you haven't seen the latest Identity Insider video, check it out now. If you have, watch it again because it's awesome!

Identity Insider: Weapons video

Identity Insider: Weapons on YouTube

It's even better than it looks

We tried to keep the video short and to the point, so we couldn't talk in too much detail. I'm excited about where we are right now in development, and I've been itching to explain just how great this is.

We made some bold claims, such as no game in history having had weapons this detailed and it's quite true. Some games came close, but even then their calculations were approximations based on real data. In Identity, we've taken a physical approach to all things combat and vehicle related. That is, we're able to plug in data from real life into our system and our code drives true ballistic physics naturally. It means we're able to add new types of weapons and ammo incredibly quickly, and it'll just work.

Some people have been expressing that this hasn't been done in MMORPGs before because it's impossible for performance reasons, but our calculations are so optimized that the entire projectile is processed in fractions of a millisecond. It's detailed and accurate, but built from the ground up for an MMORPG, too!

Melee combat

I'm going to step through the key parts of the video and describe, in detail, what makes Identity different from anything you've seen before.

Boxing

While we show off some cool weapons in the video, and there are many more not featured, it's important to note that powerful guns aren't going to be commonplace. Most people will be armed with a handgun or similar. Because of this, melee combat will be a frequent sight and we want it to feel right.

Part of the issue with melee combat in most online games is that it's just a click-fest and there isn't real room for player skill. This isn't the case in Identity, where a skilled player will almost always knock the other out.

Before I made Altis Life (an old and very successful Arma 3 mod) I worked on a game called Mortal Online, which was all about melee combat. Hand to hand fighting, or using melee weapons, works much in the same way here. Another game it could be compared to would be Mount & Blade, as the control system for blocking and attacking is quite similar.

In Identity, there aren't special "attacks" which deal artificial damage, but instead the actual physical movement of the body or weapon which applies a force on impact that is similar to that of real life. For example, if you were swinging a baseball bat at someone, it would be the actual bat shape which hits, and the material it's made of, it's weight, how fast it's moving and more which determines the damage it deals.

Note the red circles on the boxing gloves with the image above, and as seen in the video. These are physic impact points for the boxing gloves, which collide to deal damage. They're only shown for debugging and illustration purposes, and won't be visible in-game.

Weapon fidelity

On topic of the bullet jamming in the Insider video, there are many factors which are controlled at a detailed level in Identity. That's not to say it's something you'll have to worry yourself with often, though. Jams will be rare and will mostly happen with cheap firearms and/or those which are in poor condition.

A few of us on the development team spent a good deal of time at the shooting range here in Ottawa, paying close attention to these sort of details. You'll need to maintain your guns if you want to keep them in good shape, but don't worry as it won't be tedious.

If worry about the ammo in your gun isn't your thing, just buy the cheaper and commonly available ammo; however, if you want to maximize your effectiveness you can choose the right ammo for the situation.

The Insider video also mentions being able to customize your ammo. Our physics models are so accurate that a hollowpoint bullet will fly slightly differently than a full-metal jacket bullet. It'll be so slight you won't really notice, though. Where the difference really comes in is with penetration and damage. As in real life, in Identity you can have empty gun magazines (you don't drop them when empty, because they're actually valuable). If you buy a box of ammo you can then fill the magazine as you like. A single gun can fire different bullet types as well as different bullet weights (grains).

Gunsmithing

We have mentioned several times now that more powerful guns are rarer, and that's because illegal firearms can't be purchased in a shop. You'll find handguns, some shotguns and hunting rifles there, though. Outside of that you'll need to know, or become, a gunsmith and/or a gun-runner. These aren't forced classes or occupations, but with Identity your character is simply what you decide to be through action. Anyone can do anything.

Modifying your weapons will typically have pros and cons. For example, changing out a trigger could mean improved fire rate but have an affect on accuracy, as well. A new magazine release could mean faster reloads but less mobility. This will be based on several factors such as the type, quality and condition of the component. You'll be able to tailor the weapon to suit your needs and preferences.

Physical accuracy of ballistics and penetration

Ricochet

In the very first days of Identity's development, we got our hands on crime-lab documents which we based our in-game bullet ballistics upon. The result was absolutely true-to-life bullet behavior which we could expand upon with very little effort. In the video, you'll see this come into play when we shoot into the air. That might have been a bit better to show at night, though!

Since the release of the Town Square module we've been focusing on SWAT module development. Part of this was the improvements, based on documents from the US Navy, into penetration calculations. Because our systems are designed to take real-world units, using real formulas was a logical progression. The results were something few other games have done, and something no other game has done this accurately.

When a bullet hits a surface the system analyzes the material that was hit and knows the finest details of that material's real-world makeup. It then travels into the object, or bounces off of it with a ricochet. If it travels inside, we use other physically accurate formulas to penetrate exactly as far as it should, right down to a fraction of a millimeter. If the bullet is passing through a dense material, it can change directions from hitting hard spots.

An example of the hard-spot is when I shot the kevlar vest in the video. Most bullets did not penetrate the kevlar (this vest did not have any metal plates in it), but a couple did get through with a big loss in energy. That was not a random chance, but the bullets hit a spot that had slightly less kevlar. A few millimeters of extra kevlar was the difference between stopping and penetrating. Now that is detail!

Organ damage

Organ damage

The organ damage system you saw in the video is partly our ballistics system in action, and part the medical mechanics.

As the bullet enters a soft body, it can break apart and fragments can spread out, especially when using hollowpoint bullets. A shockwave also causes damage just inside the cavity. This spread can damage, or destroy, organs that it contacts.

We currently have modeled two lungs, the heart and brain. We may expand on this in the future, too. When the bullet, or a fragment, passes through the organs it will cause specialty damage to the character in addition to the base damage that happens from the impact. This hit will either cause instant death or hinder the character in addition to being damaged. Blunt trauma is a different story, and can affect vision or mobility.

As a paramedic, you'll need to examine the injured player and treat them accordingly. If the examination shows bubbles in the blood, for example, you'll know a lung has been hit. Paramedics will go through a quick class and test when they take the job to ensure they know best how to treat people who have been shot.

 

Step into the Town Square!

The Town Square module is now released and available on Steam. If you haven't had the chance to try the Town Square and experience a small piece of the Identity world, grab your Steam key and check it out.

Town Square Trailer

Identity Town Square module trailer

With the Town Square now running smoothly, we've shifted much of our focus to feature development for the SWAT module. We'll continue to fix bugs and add other features to the Town Square, too.

Get your Identity Steam key!

To get your key, login on the main site at www.IdentityRPG.com. You can then go to the Account tab of your profile where you'll see an option to link your Steam account.

You must have BETA ACCESS on your account to claim a key!

ATTENTION! You can only attach one steam account to one game account, and it's permanent. Be sure you're logged into your game account which has the items you've purchased before attaching a Steam account!

Steam Key Claims

Once you've obtained your key from the Identity website you can enter it into your Steam client, but be sure that you're logged into the Steam account where you'd like to own Identity. Click the Games menu in Steam, and then Activate a Product on Steam.

 

-- John VanderZwet

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