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Regional FlagJumping Puzzles as Norn and CharrSource
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#1 -

Many of them are very, very hard. They were clearly designed with only humans in mind. For example, the camera gets VERY, VERY crammed in Trolls End as a Norn or Charr. Our bodies are far too big and sometimes we can’t even see anything. The camera also wobbles and makes it hard to focus. Sometime we get forced into first person where we pretty much have to guess how far to jump and run. The slower stride of Norn and Charr can also make it hard to judge your jumps. I often OVERshoot my jumps because my character’s walking speed* deceives me as to how fast I’m going. I’ve also gotten stuck in the geometry a few times.

Please adjust your more cramped JPs to fit norn and charr better. Way too se,many players are having trouble in these puzzles. Give the camera more space and adjust the geometry of the offending puzzles.

*Norn and Charr appear to have a slower stride to make up for their longer legs.

NOTE: The only puzzles I’ve personally experienced frustration on are Troll’s end (cramped camera) and Zriath’s Beacon(stuck in geometry) . I’m sure there are more, so if any other players have had frustrations with other puzzles, PLEASE mention them. We need to form a good list of offending puzzles.

ArenaNet Poster
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#4 -

Yeah, I feel bad about the camera issues. The camera was changed just before we launched in order to accommodate a couple of systems, and as a result the way a lot of our JPs feel changed as well. When I was building Troll’s End I always tested it as a max-sized Male Norn, and it was ok. A bit claustrophobic, which was the intent, but not infuriating like it is now. Sadly there’s no good way for me to go in and make that area bigger without a HUGE rework of the area. What I can promise is that moving forward, as I make new JPs I’m keeping the new camera in mind all the time. I still can’t make it as smooth and wonderful as a dedicated platform game camera, but just try to minimize the frustrating bits.

ArenaNet Poster
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#10 -

Can’t just switch camera systems. The system is the way it is in order to accommodate a number of systems including an occlusion system that makes things on the other side of walls not render, and messing with the camera collision can push it through walls then you end up with half the world disappearing at random times. This is just one of the important systems that need the camera to behave a certain way. In the big picture, having the world drop away is higher on the priority list than making all the jumping challenges feel good. It would have been nice to have had a final camera when most of the JPs were being built, but the occlusion system didn’t get in until near the end of production, so we couldn’t have foreseen the crazy camera demands it would have. We can make little tweaks to the existing JPs, but that’s got it’s own can of worms associated with it, like introducing new bugs. As to a First Person Cam, I would LOVE it. But that’s ANOTHER big can of worms, as we would have to create a new system for how we reconcile the direction of the camera to the orientation of the player’s face as they do all sorts of crazy maneuvers like back-flips, cartwheels, 720 spins, etc. Not to mention dealing with how to render the weapons and attacks which were not created with that viewpoint in mind.

ArenaNet Poster
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#12 -

I’ll ask about it.

ArenaNet Poster
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#19 -

Hey Josh, any word on when that “Mother of all jumping puzzles” you said you were working on will be in game?

I’ve been dropping some more tidbits on the other JP thread.

ArenaNet Poster
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#20 -

Omigosh, a JP dev is cool enough to converse with us plebs.

I’m about to squee in real life.

That’s probably the massive caffeine talking though.

JPs are my favorite way of getting loot. I love them keep it up. Also don’t be afraid to make them harder!

Make sure to tell terrain design that any new WvW map should have more JPs and maybe some interesting terrain in general…. Also tell class-balance that the engineer landmine shouldn’t expire

Wow, that’s a long list, Chickenshoes. Well, I know that Tirzah is doing the new WvW map stuff (She did Hidden Garden I think) so it is SURE to be amazing.

ArenaNet Poster
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#43 -

Anet cant program a camera properly(or design a puzzle properly, either way it comes down to broken/lazy coding)

Step 1: Dedicate time, effort, talented devs and resources to create jumping puzzles.
Step 2: Promote Jumping Puzzles as a big feature of the game.
Step 3: Change the camera at the last minute to break all of the jumping puzzles and half of the vistas.
Step 4: Launch the game because “it’s ready”.

Here’s how it worked. I started putting little jumping challenges into my maps several years ago. About a year and a half ago Colin and a couple other designers decided that these were fun enough to turn into some kind of bonus content. About a year ago all the other map artists were told to put a bonus jumping challenge or two in all their maps. We were in our polish phase and these were never intended to be anything more than small diversions for people who like platforming. Not a lot of time was dedicated to this because it was seen almost as Easter Eggs. Just fun little hidden places to discover. As such, JPs were never advertised as primary content, never included in world complete, never required for any story step, and never containing loot that could not be obtained elsewhere.

Because JPs are such a minor part of the game, specific camera issues that are primarily caused by them are not super high on the list of systems that demand the camera code bends to their needs. This does not mean that JP camera issues are ignored by the programmers who work on the camera, simply that they have to prioritize things. And while I’m not happy with the way the camera works because I spend a lot my time doing JPs, I know the engine optimization guys are not happy either because part of the compromise they have to make with us JP guys means that there are places where the world drops out because the camera can get through the occlusion planes. If the optimization guys had it there way 100% the camera would never even get close to a wall and we would build all our maps as flat planes with waist high walls. (Not that they actually want that, but that would be the ideal for avoiding world-dropping bugs) Since the camera has to serve two or three masters, who all want it to do different things, its current implementation is a compromise. This is not due to laziness or bad coding. We simply don’t hire lazy people or bad coders, and we get rid of any who show that tendency.

One issue that a non-developer would not know is the difference between creating a single-player game and an MMO. So it’s easy to look at Uncharted’s camera or Skyrim’s camera and say “Why don’t they just do it that way?” In fact, a lot of us artists DO say that to the coders. And then we get taught a lesson in how incredibly more complex an MMO engine has to be. The sheer amount of dependencies on any one system is staggering, and there is hardly ever a time where a programmer slaps their forehead and says “Oh, I never THOUGHT about just doing like Skyrim!” There are always REASONS that our systems are the way they are. None of this is to say that all our systems are perfect and our team is perfect and nothing will improve. Of course we aren’t perfect, and we are just as frustrated by the limitations and quirks as you are.

So yeah, had we been inflexible, we would have not allowed JPs in the game because they expose weaknesses in the camera. Had we been omniscient, we would have planned the camera from the start to work with the extreme geometry that JPs have. Had we been perfect, maybe we could have come up with a solution to work for all the systems at once perfectly. We are none of those things. What we are is a bunch of people who love making this game and who are constantly looking for ways to provide interesting and new kinds of content. That means pushing against the limits of what our engine can do, then iterating the engine to try to keep up with the design ideas. It’s a process, not and end point. There will never be a point at which we are all happy with the game and declare it to be the perfect representation of our design wishes.

I’m currently in a conversation with the latest ‘owner’ of the camera system and we’ll see what comes of that.

ArenaNet Poster
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#44 -

So what your saying is that you dont understand that most people who want First person view would actualy be A-OK with it just being a head level view of your surroundings much like looking through your characters eyes
only with no weapons rendered and at worst your camera just move’s quickly when you dodge.

Haha… no. No that’s not what I’m saying. I’m saying it’s not a simple matter to do what you are saying. And even if it was, I doubt most of us would be happy with the results, simply because it would feel like a half-implemented system. Which is what you are describing. This is not to say that all the systems we’ve ever implemented were 100% perfect. That’s obviously not the case But they are always a completely DESIGNED system. Whereas your proposal would break a lot of things.

hell most of us probably don’t even want it for combat. ((many would probably use it for screen shots or Video’s turning the UI off as well. Make’s makeing a machinima a Lot harder.))

I totally understand that. But most people would still get into combat while in FP and then we’d need to figure out what to do there. Can of worms.

you can role in oblivion and skyrim in First person you know what it looks like, you move forward quickly

Yes. A game that was designed from the beginning to have a FP cam, and had previous games in the series with FP cams.

FYI good Machinima’s = Free game advertisement.

Totally agree with you there. I’d love nothing more than to provide a suite of tools to facilitate better screenshots, clips, machinima, etc.

(oh and what ever happened to the Dev option for FP view that was in the early builds)

It was removed for the reasons cited above. It was an experimental hack that helped us to determine that it would be too much work for launch. I have no idea if it will ever be picked up again, but I hope so.

One other thing to think about is character height and width. Small characters have no disadvantage – they can move and jump as far as the tallest characters. But it seems that the characters bounding box does affect interaction with the environment, and it is most noticeable to me in jumping puzzles. For example, the water slide in the pirate’s cove jp in LA is much more forgiving for a small asura than a fat char. And there are a couple of jumps in the chandelier room in the EB jp that my taller characters often bump their heads on, missing the jump (and forcing a frustrating restart), whereas my shorter characters never seem to have any problem.

Do larger characters have a larger bounding box when being targeted by AOE? Are they easier to left-click on in a zerg situation? I don’t know the answer, but if so then it creates an unfair situation.

No. All characters have identical collision and hit boxes. The only difference they have on the system side is the camera target, and that is what causes all the trouble in JP race discrepancies. If they didn’t then you would be staring at your Norn’s butt all day, or only see the very top of your Asura’s head.

just don’t stick us into a cutscene again please. Any sort of lag makes you die before you are out of the cutscene =/

There will be no waiting between tries on this one.