Adam here bringing you the juiciest behind the scenes look of the development of Foxhole. We are altering our development blog format to highlight some of the work we do that you may never get a chance to see. This will also be an opportunity for you guys to get to know the other members of the dev team a little better.
Please note that moving forward, most of the news around upcoming update features will instead be revealed on our bi-weekly devstream.
Disclaimer: All of the content below is heavily work in progress and is subject to change. Viewer discretion is advised
Hey guys, Casey here! I recently worked on a revamp of some of the combat mechanics. There were a few main goals we wanted to focus on when we started re-evaluating how weapons worked:
Give players more information so that they can control their weapons better
Create more interesting tradeoffs between weapons
Give some of the weapons more realistic behaviour
To address the first point, we changed the aiming visuals to better indicate what would happen when you fire your weapon. Due to the top-down camera in Foxhole, when you aim at something with your mouse cursor, the game has to assume what height you want to shoot at. To better indicate this I added an orange line tracing down from the point you were aiming at to the ground.
In this example before the changes, it might seem like you were aiming past the building at the ground, but now it is clear you are actually aiming upwards and would most likely miss.
I also added a damage falloff indicator to the aiming line. Now you can see as the line fades out that your weapon will be doing reduced damage at this range. This damage falloff mechanic was always present before these changes, but it wasn’t communicated visually.
The other major change was to add the concept of “stability” to the player. Prior to this weapon recoil was set up on each weapon and didn’t take into account any external factors, such as movement or stance. The new stability system adds a stability resource to the player. When you are at full stability, the weapon you are holding will be at maximum accuracy and when your stability reaches zero the weapon is at minimum accuracy. Firing the weapon deducts a flat amount of stability per shot, until you have none left. The weapon crosshair now reflects your current firing cone, which directly changes based on your stability.
Stability recharges at different rates based on your stance. Sprinting is slowest, followed by standing, crouching, and prone (which recharges the fastest). Every time the weapon is fired, some stability is deducted. Running and turning also decrease your stability. We also added an “agility” factor to each weapon. This let’s us tune how quickly stability recharges on a per-weapon basis. Weapons such as the SMG and pistols have a much higher agility than the rifle or heavy machine gun. This change allows us to make rifles very accurate when you are moving slowly or still, but very inaccurate when you spin around or sprint then attempt to shoot right away. On the other hand, the SMG recharges stability very fast but also has a larger maximum accuracy. We’re hoping that this gives each weapon a unique use and creates more tradeoffs for someone to consider when picking their weapon.
For those of you who want to test out exactly how this system works, head to the shooting ranges in the home regions. When you stand in those areas, you’ll be able to see a graph of your stability over time in the HUD. This is the same UI we used internally to tune and test this new system. We’re excited to hear what you think of this new system!
Designing for Foxhole
We have had the particular challenge recently of designing new and redesigning existing structures for Foxhole in a way that is consistent with the new look and direction of the Game. Overall the visual fidelity is much higher than it used to be, and the philosophy behind designing these structures needed to accommodate these changes. Here are some of the steps I took in addressing these problems.
Mark will approach me with the gameplay ideas for new assets, in this case these three new buildings, and a general idea of what he wants it to look like in game. First I gather as much real world photo reference as I can. After this I will get to work creating sketches and drawings that will be reviewed and narrowed down until We are happy with the final design. During this process a number of question will arise.
What are the gameplay function of the building? At a glance players should know if it is a building that manufactures or stores equipment or processes materials. An attacking player should be able to read the function of, and how strategically important a building is with one look though their binoculars.
How does the player interact with the building? It might seem simple but the placement of doors windows and lights on a building all indicate where the player should go. This is a balance of gameplay features and artistic element in the final design. With a successful in game asset, players should instinctively know where to go just by looking at the building.
How big should the building footprint be? The amount of physical space and the shape a building takes up is very important in the game. The use of positive and negative space is considered when designing a building to make them feel bigger or smaller than they actually are. Simply put, positive space is best described as the areas in a building that are the subjects, or areas of interest. Negative space is area around the subjects, or areas of interest.
How tall is too tall? A major design element for all buildings and structures in the game is the height. Because Foxhole is a top down game camera angle actually restricts the height of our buildings. We take great care to get the feeling of height without them actually being to tall. If buildings were as tall as their real life counterparts the players screen would be blocked by rooftops ruining the gameplay experience.
During the concept process it is often helpful to have Anthony, Adam, or Leon block in a basic version of some of the sketches. These ‘block in’ models (no textures) help mark and myself narrow down the final design for the asset.
Creating Believable and Iconic Buildings
Hey all, Anthony here! I’m excited to talk about some cool things that I have the privilege of working on currently in Foxhole. I have finally been able to start tackling the task of updating the buildings in the game. This was something that I really looked forward too since my first week at the company. This is such a cool task for me, because it challenged me to push myself as an artist, having to balance Artistry and Utility. These challenges are really one of the things I love about game development.
With these new buildings we had a few things that we wanted to address: scale, look, and feel, all in relation to how appropriate it is for Foxhole.
The images you see above are just the beginning of updating the look of Foxhole. We’re using these as a starting point to tackle future tasks.As a 3D artist,I must constantly battle between making things uniquely (Custom machinery and doors) or using repeating materials (Brick, stone, Tiles etc). Buildings like these focus on using primarily repeating textures, with a few Unique pieces to add visual markers for the player. We also have the ability to set dress the structure in the engine to make each structure feel appropriate to the area it is in..
We played around with some cool ideas as well. I took a pass at designing new roof shingles, as well as making some large painted murals and propaganda from war-times to plaster on the walls.
So far it's been as challenging as expected, but I’ve really enjoyed every minute of it. Hope you guys are excited and I can’t wait to show you guys more in the coming weeks!
That wraps up another Dev Blog. Be sure to check out our Foxhole Dev Stream for more information about upcoming features. If you have any burning questions you want answered be sure to tweet them to @Matt directly on Discord or Twitter, if your question gets selected it will be answered Live on stream!
Adam dissipates back into the nether from whence he came