Manual aiming

tdb

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#1
I'm posting this here instead of suggestions since the topic already appears in the common suggestions list and is marked as implemented in stable. As such the thread would face deletion in the suggestions section. However the implementation only seems to involve the ability to select which nearby enemy is targeted so I wanted to hear what other players think.

We have a number of weapons with very long range. In particular, the Hawkeye Zeus laser, Hawkeye Railgun and Venture Avalanche Launcher can fire extremely long distances in a straight line. Large cannons like the Hawkeye Mk3 Battleship Cannon, Hawkeye HG1 and GSO Big Bertha can also lob some impressive long shots, well beyond radar range, but only if you can angle them upwards. Various other armaments can also hit enemies further away than the targeting system can aim. Scoring a hit requires carefully positioning and rotating your tech so that the weapons are pointing straight towards the enemy since there's no way to get the weapons themselves rotate in the slightest. Missiles at least will home to enemies when they get close enough, so you only have to fire them in the general direction of the enemy and at such an angle that they don't hit the ground.

One reason I found in an older suggestion thread is that TerraTech is intended to be a building game, not a combat game. That's fine, but don't you think it would be even more fun if the techs you build had some practical use? Currently it seems like the actually useful techs will be those that have a lot of firepower up close and a lot of shields and batteries to withstand the enemy's similar arsenal. This seems to turn a lot of otherwise interesting techs into curiosities which you might build but then never use because aiming their weapons is too impractical.

In order to make long-range weapons more interesting I think there should be some way to target enemies further away. Either simply increase the auto-targeting distance or add controls to manually aim weapons. If an aim-at-cursor mechanic seems too easy, manual aiming could also be implemented as two additional axis controls which rotate the firing vector.

One possible problem here is that enemies currently won't react at all unless they're approximately within the auto-targeting range. I've destroyed several large enemy techs by firing at them with my railguns from a distance. A simple solution here would be to make the enemies observe the direction of incoming fire and move in that direction in hopes of locating the source and destroying it.

Any other opinions? Would you like to see long-range sniper techs become practical or do you think the future lies with melee techs?
 

burger1113

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#3
One reason I found in an older suggestion thread is that TerraTech is intended to be a building game, not a combat game.
I don't think that's a valid reason at all because if Terratech was just a building game, it wouldn't be such a great game. It's a sandbox exploration, action, simulation, building and more that makes it Terratech.
No games these days that trap themselves in a certain genre get much daylight.
That being said, I think having a convenient way to aim long range weapons would obviously make short range ones obsolete. I actually have a few techs I'm going to release soon on commcore that has an aiming mechanism type thing... but yeah.
If there is going to be anything, it should come after or at the same time as something that will exclusively make short range weapons more viable.
Some type of first person view or a floating reticle that shows roughly where the weapons are pointing at may be really nice and I've suggested that already. Since there is a first person block mod out there already, maybe we will see something soon.
 
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MrTwister

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#4
I think development has gone very overboard with their optimisation trying to save system resources.

Compared to betas 0.6 series, which i still consider a reference Terratech experience, many things have become very limited.

First of all, the graphic rendering distance has dropped, especially at night.

Second - what matters to the action part of the game, the "simulation" distance for physics and AI from the player has dropped even more and is now extremely short maybe 30-40% of the rendering distance.

This makes the game feel very artificial and scant. For good game experience Sim distance needs to be at least equal, if not more, than rendering distance.
 

burger1113

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#5
y
This makes the game feel very artificial and scant. For good game experience Sim distance needs to be at least equal, if not more, than rendering distance.
Hmm yeah I haven't thought about it like that. I really don't get why the view distance needs to get sooooo short at night though. Not even things getting low res, but just getting all grayed out and immersion-breaking. I guess it is a problem for sure how everyone is determined to make the biggest, baddest tech out there and lagging the game out, but really.
I agree that sim distance should be longer than view distance even if it comes at a price of sacrificing texture details and such. Maybe take something from what minecraft has done, because it should play smoothly before it looks pretty.
 

tdb

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#6
If there is going to be anything, it should come after or at the same time as something that will exclusively make short range weapons more viable.
Some ideas, some of which are implemented already:

Short range weapons can be smaller, and even though an individual weapon packs less of a punch you can fit more firepower in the same space.

Long range aiming doesn't need to be automatic. If you can just adjust the aim but don't have a targeting reticle, ballistic weapons in particular will likely take a few tries to score a hit.

Long range weapons don't need to be perfectly accurate. If there's some spread in the shots it will become harder to hit the enemy the further away you are.

Short range weapons can be faster. If getting a hit from far away means spending a minute adjusting your aim and waiting for the weapon to reload it may be faster to just drive up close and blast the enemy with your short range autoaim weapons.

If the simulation distance is adjusted so that enemies can always react to the aggressor no matter the distance, it will become difficult to keep your aim. A tech with only long range weapons would be a sitting duck once the enemy gets close enough.

In summary, what I'm suggesting is that short range weapons would be the tool of choice for adrenaline-packed high-intensity brawling. Long range weapons would be the slow-paced strategic option where you carefully set things up before the fighting starts. Those are two very different playstyles and I'm sure both have their audiences.
 

Faffywaffy

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#8
I'm going to necro this thread to give props to tdb for crushing the anti-manual aim argument before it even started. I'm also doing it because I believe this topic is still relevant as the combat systems have barely changed since this topic was made.

I've also played enough MP creative with my friend Drakgna to know that combat in this game is also exactly as tdb said. It's all about explosive slugfests, boiling down to whose shields go down first. If you try and go with the "be fast and flank" strategy to try and make the combat more engaging for yourself, you'll soon find out that the game's auto-aim can't account for your own tech's movements, meaning you'll have to constantly turn inwards to keep them on-target, usually right into the tech trying to kill you.

And for anyone who says that having manual aiming undermines the design aspect of the game, you're wrong again. If you happen to be fighting a tech that has a weakspot, a dip in the shields, or fragile connection points that don't happen to be in the line of fire between you and the enemy tech's cab, then you can't exploit them. It creates less design pressure for the player. You can even exploit this by positioning your cabs on the sides of your techs, causing a lot of enemy shots to miss you completely. Can the devs actually do something about the aiming system instead of telling off players who want some manual control? Seriously, TT's been in development for 5 years and the best they could do was let you switch targets?
 
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Falchoin

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#9
While I’m not against manual aiming, I would much rather see improved auto aiming which takes own movement and target vector into account. The game already takes bullet drop into account, this would be the next step.

I also see improved auto aim as promoting build diversity since with manual aim players would be heavily incentivized to use all the same or similar weapons (due to differences in bullet drop, projectile speed, etc). Lets give players more viable options to missile spam for long range reliable weapons.