Andrew

February 24, 2008

Tribes 1 Physics, Part Two: Movement

Filed under: Games,Tribes — floodyberry @ 11:48 am
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This article covers the movement physics of Tribes 1, i.e. jumping, jetting, and ground movement/friction. These account for ~90% of the “Tribes” feeling, although even 90% will still feel wrong to anyone who knows the authentic feel well. There will be some variables which are only set in the Collision code, but there shouldn’t be any confusion as to what they do. (more…)

February 20, 2008

Tribes 1 Physics, Part One: Overview

Filed under: Games,Tribes — floodyberry @ 11:04 pm
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Games have been trying replicate the feel of Tribes 1 for almost as long as it’s been out (Tribes 2 started development in mid-1999) and every single one of them has failed, usually miserably.

  • Tribes 2 physics are an abomination, although in hindsight it should have come as no surprise after the Base+ mod Dynamix play-tested in Tribes 1 to massive disdain. It’s as if they were trying to build on the success of Tribes 1 when it was 2 weeks old, not 2 years. Unfortunately for the majority of the community not in the beta, we didn’t find this out until after the game was paid for. Further mods such as Base++, Team Rabbit 2, and Classic attempted to rectify the situation yet were still only a pale ghost of Tribes 1.
  • Legends has always felt wrong despite how often they tweaked and twiddled the physics and boasted of having the original physics source code. If they did have the source, they either didn’t know how to implement it or didn’t have enough of the source to properly replicate all of the required physics.
  • Tribes Vengeance is so far removed from the feel of Tribes that it shouldn’t even enter the discussion. Jetting is wrong, air movement shouldn’t even exist, collisions are wrong, and skiing is a sick joke. I can only hope KineticPoet remembered what used to be and silently winced every time he sat down to work on the game.
  • The yet-to-be-released Fallen Empire: Legions appears to be following the “We’re not a Tribes 1 clone, so let’s make wacky changes to ram that home” mantra. Ideas like 6 way jetting (jetting down while in the air and laterally while on the ground), non-friction sliding a-la T:V, jetpack overdrive, a charge up sniper rifle, etc., sound like they could easily alter the game beyond good taste.

What all of these games ostensibly want is to appeal to Tribes 1 players, yet they attempt to accomplish this by using a different and/or completely arbitrary physics system, adding something that resembles a jetpack and skiing and hoping everyone likes it. While I don’t know if a carbon copy of Tribes 1 on a modern engine would be a success, I do know that almost any Tribes 1 veteran will be unsatisfied with any Tribes style game that does not replicate the feel of Tribes 1 regardless of how often the developers hide behind the claim of “not Tribes 1”.

These articles will solve that problem. I will provide everything needed for a 99% re-creation of the Tribes 1 physics on any 3d engine. There are a few pieces to the puzzle so I’ll be breaking the topics in to separate articles for movement, collision, and explosions. This article will go over the basics of the engine and document the structures and constants I’ll be using. (more…)

February 15, 2008

Writing a (Tribes 1) Master Server

Filed under: Games,Programming,Tribes — floodyberry @ 10:59 am
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While I wrote this in September 2007, for various reasons I did not get around to putting the finishing touches on it. Please pretend you’re reading it then and not now!

After the hubbub over Sierra’s announcement that they were ceasing multiplayer support for Tribes 1 and the resulting scramble to locate a replacement master server, I decided to give a shot at writing one. The required feature set appeared simple enough to only take a week or so to implement but with enough gotchas to keep it suitably interesting. While I only had a vague idea of what was required, I got a jump start on proper design by finding Half-Life and Team Fortress Networking: Closing the Loop on Scalable Network Gaming Backend Services by Yahn W. Bernier, an article detailing the design, implementation, and potential problems of the Half Life master server. Even though some of the topics did not apply to the Tribes 1 requirements, e.g. I can’t alter the client’s behavior to auto rate-limit the server list transmission, the article was still quite valuable and an interesting read even if you aren’t implementing a master server. (more…)

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