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Games Military land navigation training simulator

Discussion in 'Works In Progress' started by BIGTIMEMASTER, Dec 1, 2019.

  1. BIGTIMEMASTER

    BIGTIMEMASTER

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    whats terrain like out there?

    im thinking i'll probably have time to do a second world map. But I think an easier one would be better. Somewhere like colorado or something, with mountains and big open views.
     
  2. All_American

    All_American

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    It was a mix. Some like yours some harder Forrest. Then some open areas. Check it out on google earth.
     
  3. All_American

    All_American

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    10th mountain was upstate NY. Not sure where they are now.
     
  4. All_American

    All_American

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    I was doing a tank sim and the terrain was like Texas. Not as big as yours though.
     
  5. BIGTIMEMASTER

    BIGTIMEMASTER

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    "A creek! Now all's I gotta do is follow it."

    Have fun getting through that brush. I got a inspired from a hike today near a river. Off trail, walking was almost impossible there was so much tangled stick brush.

    An important part of the land nav experience is desperation. This means that whenever you think you found respite, it's actually the opposite. In time, you learn to let go of expectations, and live in the moment like the stupid animal you really are. It's the only way to survive.
    Annotation 2020-01-26 221655.jpg Annotation 2020-01-26 221455.jpg Annotation 2020-01-26 221147.jpg Annotation 2020-01-26 220514.jpg
     
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  6. BIGTIMEMASTER

    BIGTIMEMASTER

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    Some instrument mechanics in progress. Tomorrow we'll work on marking the map and animating the ranger beads to keep pace count. Still some minor little bugs to clean up and of course polish to smooth things out but most of the functionality is there already.

    I'm aiming to get a playable build for the first round of testing ready for this weekend. That is exciting, isn't it?

    So what I need to do is get the first exercise ready. In order to do that, I need give some CP's to find. To do that, I need to be able to accurately mark them on the map. Precision is key here, so I want a foolproof method for measuring my game world. A fancy programmatic solution would be cool, but what if there was a little error? How would we know? Gamers complaining we cheated them, that's how!

    A simpler solution will do. Here is my handy dandy mesh grid divider. It took all of 10 minutes to create and it's dead accurate. The only mistake you can make is typing in the wrong transform. But that's real easy to double check.
    With this tool, I can easily mark down the eight digit coordinate for whereever I want to put a CP or some landmark. Annotation 2020-01-27 193444.jpg (i made it bright orange to punish my retinas for being weak little bitches)
     
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  7. BIGTIMEMASTER

    BIGTIMEMASTER

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    Hey everybody, small announcement here. We aim to have the first playtester build ready in two weekends from now. If you are interested you can shoot me a DM or drop in our discord (see my sig) and just ask.

    This will require a little more commitment than your average playtest because if you don't already know how to use a map and compass, I'm going to have to teach you. :) It is not rocket science but does require an hour or a few of practice before things really start clicking. But if you've ever been interested in that sort of thing, this is a great way to learn. Don't gotta go outside and get all sweaty.

    p.s. I made a little storyboard highlighting my own first experience playtesting now that our tools are functional. Was a great time (and a little pitiful if I'm honest. Been a minute since I used map and compass):
    https://www.instagram.com/p/B743HodDBUo/?utm_source=ig_web_button_share_sheet
     
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2020
  8. BIGTIMEMASTER

    BIGTIMEMASTER

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    Here's an idea that ended up working pretty good. Slope based movement deviation. Simulates natural human error in movement, which encourages using real life tactics to overcome. Use your compass to shoot an azimuth to distinctive landmarks. This counters against natural tendency to favor paths of least resistance.

    I also noticed that this adds a very subtle sense of weight and momentum. Just feels more like you are stomping through the woods, versus floating through 3d space.

     
  9. Schneider21

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    I just stumbled upon this thread for the first time, and I think it's such a neat project! Immediately brought back memories of my land nav training at Ft. Benning. I like the ideas you're implementing. I think there's absolutely a market for a game that lets you get lost and makes you figure out how to get around using your own skills instead of having a glowing waypoint for you to trudge to.

    I haven't gotten through everything you've posted, but in case you haven't already covered it, I think natural obstacles are a must here. Having to walk around bushes and even shallow bodies of water, not being able to get over too steep inclines, etc, will go a long way to recreating that experience we all remember.

    I know it's not really what you're going for, but I think the game Death Stranding could offer some great inspiration, in a way. That's the first game I played that made me feel like I was actually maneuvering through a world, rather than just pushing a floating object around a varied-height plane.

    Keep up the great work!
     
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  10. BIGTIMEMASTER

    BIGTIMEMASTER

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    This is going to be a huge part of it. Otherwise the game would get boring quickly. We are working through the character controller today, but the next step is to start implementing all the collission obstacles. I've got a pretty cool idea that, if it works like I imagine, you might appreciate (being a vet and all).


    I haven't played death stranding but do know about it. I thought it looked a lot like a land navigation game and i read some user reviews talking about how they really liked that part of it. (and of course, many other people hate it and think it's boring.)
     
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2020
  11. Schneider21

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    I suspect you'd love Death Stranding if you enjoy land nav enough to make a game about it. Granted, there are many other aspects to that game beyond navigating terrain, and many of the elements you're focusing on are abstracted away or outright gamified, so there's clear differences. But in my opinion, as someone who wanted to experience a game world more viscerally, they did a great job with that element, and that's something that's key to your game's enjoyment as well.

    I'm watching this thread for updates, so I'll be sure to provide my feedback once you're ready to show off more. :)
     
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  12. BIGTIMEMASTER

    BIGTIMEMASTER

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  13. BIGTIMEMASTER

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    I'm going to ramble about game design here a little bit...

    I'm really stoked right now. I set up an exercise with ten points in a swampy area of the map. My first points were both within a few hundred meters of the start. Should have been extremely quick and easy to find, but as I said before, it's been like almost a decade since I really did any straight map/compass land nav. I began to doubt the equipment and if I wrote down accurate locations for the CP's. I double checked, and sure enough everything was straight.

    So I had a rough and kind of embarrassing start. What to do? I needed to turn the brain on and start getting smart. I slowed down and began paying close attention to the terrain. Really, really close attention.I took time to shoot azimuths and triangulate my position whenever I could. I felt like I was beginning to understand the lay of the land. I have some advantage too because I know that certain vegetation types only appear based on certain terrain rules - like slope and concavity. This is something I'll want to hint at so players can figure it out too.

    I began to feel like I was learning and developing my old skills again. I managed to find my third point without terrible stress, but it was next to some really obvious terrain features so I didn't get too impressed with myself. But my fourth CP was 1.2 kilometers away. A kilometer movement is a pretty long way when you are in thick woods. Plus with the subtle terrain features, the whole trek felt pretty uncertain. I started doubting myself a lot. That's the toughest thing, when you really want some certainty but there is none to be found. And so you just press on, even though you aren't sure it's the right way. The longer you go without certainty, the tougher it gets.

    But man, when you finally discover your CP and suddenly it becomes crystal clear that the entire journey was done almost perfectly.... phew! Man I get a rush. It's such a sweet payoff.

    I know it sounds like I'm tooting my own horn here but it's not like I invented this game. The tools change over millennia but this is a game mans been playing for millions of years. I'm just recreating it in 3d.

    Anyway, so I'm having a good time playing my own game so far and that's great. But the kind of sweet payoff I am experiencing got me thinking about other games. Because this feels a little different. I think it's a bit shallow to put games into boxes like "casual," "hardcore", etc. Dark Souls is known as a difficult game. Or Ninja Gaiden. But when I grind through a boss in games like that, memorizing movement patterns and honing my reflexes -- when I finally beat the boss I don't usually get a rush. I usually feel relief. An exasperated relief. And I never want to face the boss again anytime soon. Too me, it's as much stress as it is satisfaction.

    Here though, when I go for a 30 min to hour long stretch of agitating uncertainty, and then when my best efforts finally payoff -- I feel elated enough to get up out my chair and run around the house like a maniac -- but more importantly, I feel empowered. It's really wholesome. It doesn't make me feel compelled to keep playing for some slavish reason. It makes we want to like get up and run and accomplish beautiful things. "Why was I doubting myself so much?" "I'm way more capable than I thought. I just had to slow down think my way through!" That sort of thing. I hope other people are going to get that too.

    I will definitely need to ease people in much slower though. This setup of CP's was meant to be my first playtester area, but it's going to be too hard. I will setup a different portion of the map to be more forgiving. I have years of experience doing the real thing in a much more stressful environment, so it's not fair to expect somebody from totally different background to adapt at the same pace. That won't be fun for most people.

    I also think that I will need to help guide the right attitude and mindset. Because it is almost polar opposite of what standard games train. Everything here is about personal responsibility. Humility. Diligence. Introspection. Patience like a tree. Not typical game stuff.

    But I have some ideas on how to do that. It will be a fun challenge.

    upload_2020-1-29_20-46-35.png
    ^^^Here is the CP I traveled over a kilometer in the dark to find. I got really hyped because when I first saw it, it was directly in front of me about 50 meters. Perfect!
     
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2020
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  14. Schneider21

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    Alright, you've got me excited enough. I've got a nice Alienware laptop with an RTX-2080 in it. I'll do testing for you when you're ready for that phase. Though... I may have to brush up on my azimuth-shooting skills...
     
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  15. BIGTIMEMASTER

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    You'll find this to be a bit more forgiving than in real life. Not because it's any different technically, but because when you eff up it doesn't mean physically hoofing it a click in the other direction. :) So even though it's a bit disheartening when you suck at first, you'll pick it up quick. I was able to finish out my last movement, which was 2 km's, using terrain association only. That felt awesome!

    Our plan right now is to be "ready" to playtest this weekend, but to spend a week gathering recruits and then delivering the following weekend.

    Your laptop is more powerful than the machine I am building the game on, so you should be fine. Performance is actually not too bad since there is nothing in the game beyond vegetation which gets LODDed pretty quickly.
     
  16. BIGTIMEMASTER

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    We've implemented success/failure parameters and I've played through a three hour exercise. Below are some screens I took along the journey. I also made a logo, cause you got to have a logo.

    This is in preparation for our first round of outside play testing. I've put out some public calls for that. Anybody here is welcome too, of course. Inquire at the Discord. I'll put a build up on feedback friday as well.

    Instruments are working great. I think we made a smart control setup. I find it simple and unobtrusive to play. We'll see how total outsiders cope though. The aim is to keep controls as simple and painless as possible, because there is already a lot to learn.

    Regarding gameplay and fun factor, I think it's working well so far. It's definitely going to require more patient and competitive gamer personalities, but there does seem to be a natural, balanced pacing that occurs organically. Just a question of how long you can delay gratification really.

    This play test will have a simplified ruleset. I've put 20 control points in the play area (12 kilometers in total for this first test), and we select five randomly for each game session. Players can save and quit in order to take the game at their own pace. There is no time limit and no stamina management.

    Some point to point movements can take an hour or more. Especially if you get lost. And you will get lost. Some points are really tough to find. Others are pretty easy. I added in a big river, a radio tower, and a couple other prominent natural landmarks to help give greenhorns an easier time. It's nice sometimes when things seem easy, I think.

    We have collision with hindrance vegetation setup, which slows you down and requires you to use a "bust through" maneuver if you become completely stuck, though it needs audio/visual polish. All game mechanics are working relatively bug free, except for stamina management which will be implemented after this first play test. The "bust through" will use considerable stamina, so that will influence the way you have to plan your routes. That and hills.

    We are dramatically ahead of schedule, though I am approaching the limit of my budget for hired help. With careful prioritization we will get the thing done as planned though.

    Desktop Screenshot 2020.02.04 - 16.04.10.26.png map menu.png Desktop Screenshot 2020.02.04 - 20.02.27.15.png Desktop Screenshot 2020.02.04 - 17.16.57.24.png Desktop Screenshot 2020.02.04 - 16.10.42.66.png
     
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2020
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  17. BIGTIMEMASTER

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    Some work on UI. Character model is placeholder. The buttons should stay highlighted after selecting them but I haven't figured that out yet.

    Here is the main menu. The time of day will change but I've made it night for now because the character model is placeholder.
    Desktop Screenshot 2020.02.06 - 22.27.17.93.png

    Main story mode is called "Selection."
    Desktop Screenshot 2020.02.06 - 22.23.15.64.png

    Some blurbs about the difficulty levels. I leave it vague because story mode is about immersion. Decide how you want to role play and then believe in the adventure.
    "Alpha" is the highest difficulty.
    Desktop Screenshot 2020.02.06 - 22.25.56.19.png

    Desktop Screenshot 2020.02.06 - 22.25.39.56.png Desktop Screenshot 2020.02.06 - 22.25.20.60.png
     
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  18. BIGTIMEMASTER

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    Then for people who want to get straight to business you have the Custom game mode. These parameters are just placeholder but these are some of the ideas right now.

    Desktop Screenshot 2020.02.06 - 22.21.54.30.png
     
  19. BIGTIMEMASTER

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    Some video of using the instruments to plot coordinates and move to a control point. This video is just for the dev diary. After we release the alpha on friday i'll spend a few days or a week building actual marketing content.


    By the way, we need some feedback noises for using the instruments. Enabling, disabling. Dragging them around. I don't have a clue what sort of sounds might fit. Any suggestions?
     
  20. BIGTIMEMASTER

    BIGTIMEMASTER

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    Some graphics updates

     
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