We changed quite a bit about HitBox’s mechanics

Hello all! It’s been a while since we posted. Life has been super busy. We’ve been to events, had our website hacked, and experienced various challenges, but we’re still here and HitBox is getting better and better. So lets take a deep dive into the goings on in HitBox development.

What has David been doing?

Mechanical changes

We’ve been working hard recently on refining and improving some core mechanics to ensure the game is as good as possible for as many people as possible, and after some discussions on Reddit we realised we had to revisit things such as movement and shooting mechanics to ensure the game remains interesting for experienced players. We spent several days discussing these changes in detail and testing the game thoroughly to figure out what was good and what was bad. We learned a lot about the core design we never even knew about and have come to some solutions to vastly improve the core gameplay loop. We’d love to hear your thoughts on some of these changes so do tell us what you think

Movement Mechanics

HitBox’s movement speed has barely changed in all the time we’ve been working on it. But we realise that the current movement speed closes the door for some clever defensive gameplay during gunfights. If the movement speed was a bit higher the player would have a better chance to simply out manoeuvre an opponent in a gunfight.

It’s difficult to make changes to movement speed without breaking pre existing maps, so we had to find a nice balance between adding more to the game, and not breaking what we already have.

Furthermore, we decided to decreasing the mass of the player enabling them to change direction faster, allowing higher, faster jumps, and faster strafing in defensive gameplay. Let me show you what’s changed.

This is the previous movement speed:

With the new changes the Tactician moves like this:

The other classes have slightly different movement speeds, but all have been bumped up and balanced to be on par with what’s shown above. We hope these changes will make the defensive gameplay far more interesting that in was previously and give players on the backfoot a chance to win the gunfight.

Spread/bloom and recoil systems

Another area that came up in discussion with our community and in testing was the spread/bloom system as well as the recoil system. It became very evident after we tested the system that it did require a complete redesign and rebalance. The problem is the spread is currently unreasonably high and recoil doesn’t play much of a part. Previously spread was calculated as a random vector inside a cone projected from the firing vector. But the spread is so high, random factors dominate a player’s ability to shoot a target. It becomes more about luck than shooting skill. And although this favours inexperienced players, more experienced players end up shooting themselves in the foot (see what I did there) instead of actually shooting the target.

We realised if we completely removed spread there would be little skill required in aiming other than pointing your mouse at the target. To combat this we completely redesigned the recoil system to provide a far more realistic, procedural recoil system that would fight the players in a somewhat predictable way, especially when using automatic weapons.

Lets take a look at some gfys shall we?

We added the ability to trace out bullet trajectories so we can see where they fly. We’ve made up before and after shots of some of the classes so you can see the difference.

Tactician Before:

Tactician After:

Trooper Hip Fire Before:

Trooper Hip Fire After:

Trooper Scoped Fire Before:

Trooper Scoped Fire After:

Flanker Hip Fire Before:

Flanker Hip Fire After:

Flanker Scoped Fire Before:

Flanker Scoped Fire After:

We extensively tested this new system and found that it makes the game much harder initially, as you have to put a lot more effort into actually aiming correctly. However once you’ve picked up the skill, it becomes easier and more predictable to get kills.

Also note, in response to this new system, all the damage values for every weapon have been rebalanced to keep the average kill time where it needs to be.

Health 2.0

Another area that needed attention was the health system. Previously this was one of the simplest systems in the game. The character stores a health value, it’s decremented when damage is taken. That’s it. But it has some disadvantages. Namely, players either take two approaches. They run and gun, and live for a short time. Or they’re damaged in a gun fight and then camp for the rest of that life with extremely low health, dying pretty quickly. Another major disadvantage is that killed players can easily come back, find their killer and finish him off in a very unfair gunfight, as one player has a handicap from the get go. This needed attention.

We thought long and hard about this, wondering if a Halo-like regen was the answer, or maybe a health pickup system. We decided neither was perfectly suited on their own. But had advantages. So we went with the best of both worlds. Partial health regeneration, and then pickups for full regeneration.

With testing we discovered that running to a pickup is an extremely risky act, and could easily result in death. Health regen allowed damaged players to get back into the fight to a degree where they could possibly fight back to a pickup and get fully healed so as to continue that current life.

This gfy demonstrates the system working. Note, I’ve hacked the game so jumping causes damage and I can therefore test the system.

Part of the reason we wanted health pickups was it allowed us a method of directing traffic in a map, and forcing players to stop camping and go exploring. This was a decision we believe is of great benefit.

Since we decided on keeping sprint in the game as a high risk defensive strategy, we also realised that preventing health regen on sprint would help negate it’s usefulness as a “get out of jail free” card when in a futile gun fight.

What has Tyler been up to?

Although we’ve been quiet, we’ve been working quite hard on HitBox the last few weeks.

I’ve been focusing on map design, modelling, and sound primarily. The current map in the works is called Haven, its a serine cloud arena that features launchpads and close quarter fighting areas on a multi-leveled battlefield. It’s a ton of fun and I can’t wait for you guys to play it.
On top of that I also created the health pickup and added those in to each of the existing maps; The cube of health floats around over the pickup and brings your player instantly to full health.
The new regeneration feels awesome, and the new gun play is incredibly fun, the game is really shaping up to be a fun and fast paced game!
We have some even more exciting stuff on the horizon, and we can’t wait to show you guys so be sure to stay tuned on our site or our subreddit /r/playhitbox.
Thanks for keeping up on HitBox and we’ll see you next time!
David & Tyler