One of the other cool new features we’ve been playing around with today is the advanced driving in the game, which seems to be something fairly new and fairly impressive – can you tell us more about that?
Well, I suppose the thing is that as far as the vehicle physics in this game are concerned, they were originally based on the original physics which we got from Doom 3
. And they were developed and developed and developed with pure multiplayer combat in mind. So there are things that we do in this game that were, physically just not possible to recreate even in single-player games until quite recently. And certainly haven’t been possible in multiplayer games in the past because you just couldn’t sent that much data across the network.
In solving this problem – I think it was called the ‘Linear Complementary Problem’ – in implementing this new approach to physics in the game, such that they are very efficient for networking, we’ve been able to do a whole bunch of stuff that we couldn’t previously do. So we started out by having controls which were really ‘arcadey’ and then feedback which was very realistic. And that’s what we’ve had for a fairly long time.
What we’ve done is not to ‘add’ advanced controls but to add ‘newbie’ feedback – so, if I were to jump off a hill and I pushed right on the keyboard my wheels would turn right, they had proper traction, you know, it’s an approximate representation of articulated suspension. As I hit the ground it would start to topple and it would start bending around to the right hand side.
With the ‘newbie’ stuff that we’ve added, all we’re doing is saying “we know that you’re trying to go right, so we’re going to drag your vehicle in that direction, rather than take into account the fact that you’ve flipped your wheels full and roll you over". You know, it’s kind of like what you would really do if you didn’t have a keyboard… if the steering wheel was representing where the wheels really were, when the vehicle took off and you lose the resistance on the steering wheel, then you wouldn’t turn so far as you would know you only want to turn three or four degrees.
On a keyboard you only have this on/off function. And even on an analogue controller it’s nice that the game understands what you are trying to do and not what the input is telling it, if that makes sense. But when you turn [the newbie controls] off then you lose all that ‘cotton wool’ that you are surrounded in, but as an advanced driver you’re now able to pull off a whole bunch of cool new stunts and stuff instead.