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Destiny's Influence on Witchfire

What elements of Witchfire are inspired by Destiny?

What elements of Witchfire are inspired by Destiny?

Many times when I am asked a design question by a programmer, my reply is: “See how Destiny does it.”

This reached the point when this appeared on our team chat…

People following the game have also noticed a lot of Destiny in Witchfire. Luckily, no one seems to have an issue with it…

…and for the right reason. Destiny as a franchise has tons of issues. T-o-n-s. But gunplay is not one of them (except for bloom). The way the weapons feel and the physics-based movement are, to me, the best in business. Some games come close, e.g. Battlefield and gunplay, or Apex and movement, but I still believe that Destiny has the most coherent and immersive first person shooting experience out of them all.

Obviously, Destiny itself takes from the shooters of the past. Bungie did not invent sliding or having the third weapon easily available by holding the Weapon Swap button/key, they did not invent ADS or reduced accuracy on hipfire, and they did not invent double jumps or magical grenades.

Actually, Destiny is quite a derivative game. The classes and subclasses are basically Star Wars and the Marvel universe, and the MMO-light elements or repeatable, re-occurring world events are taken straight from WoW, Guild Wars and a few others.

Still, the world of shooters owes a lot to Bungie. They made shooters fun with the controller, for one. And their insane experience and extensive research on the player psychology resulted in, well, as I said – the Destiny’s super tight, immersive gun- and ability-play.

A lot of that stuff is either invisible to the player, or misunderstood. Let me give you a good example of why I say “See how Destiny does it” so often.

When playing the game, and I have many thousands of hours logged in, I always wished I could strafe faster. Destiny has acceleration on strafe, and even with max Mobility (the stat that dictates, among other things, your strafe/walk speed) you can feel it. But I wanted to be able to strafe like a madman, zapping left and right with the speed of light!

Boom, here comes Rage 2. Very slight, almost unnoticeable acceleration on strafing. Look how efficiently you can peek shoot!

Beautiful, right?

But then I tried to pick up an object, and I understood why this is not the best solution.

See, when using the gamepad, I always have a pretty high Sensitivity. The aim assist, particularly its “stickiness” part makes it possible to use the controller in shooters (otherwise it’s a disaster). If you combine high Sensitivity with the aim assist, you get a game in which you don’t feel like a turtle in molasses, but one in which you actually stands a chance against the keyboard and mouse warriors.

However, for obvious reasons, world objects like ammo packs do not have the aim assist. The crosshair does not slow down when passing over them. So using the right stick (i.e. “look”) to point at a tiny object on the screen is a pain, you constantly “overshoot”.

Which is why lots of players do it differently. They aim only just so the crosshair is more or less on the same horizontal line as the item they want to pick up, and then use the strafe – using the fact that the movement (left stick) is slower than looking around (right stick) – to pinpoint the target.

But what happens when the strafe is fast and snappy?

Yup, you guessed it. You “overshoot” just as you do with the right stick. Even if you just tap the stick, the responsiveness makes your character move more than expected. Here’s an example from Rage 2, first I try to aim with the right stick, then using the strafe method.

And that’s not the end of the issues.

No one except maybe a few elite streamers is perfect with the sticks. Also, people often use gamepads in, uhm, non-optimal body/hand positions, e.g. in bed, laying on a side. In result, often when e.g. you want to press up, you actually press up/right or up/left.

And then this happens (it’s me just trying to run forward):

Of course, I’m not really that bad, but overshooting the target items or running sideways still happened to me in Rage 2 way too often for my liking.

And that’s how I understood why Destiny has acceleration on strafe. This clip shows how I can precisely aim at a target item from various strafe distances just because this acceleration exists (and this is at almost max Mobility):

Note that the acceleration is just as useful on the keyboard, it’s not the case of “gamepad ruining the experience”, on the contrary.

I hope it’s clearer now why Destiny is such an inspiration for us. There’s thousands of small, tiny, almost invisible design solutions in that series that make its gunplay the way it is, and it’d be silly for us to try to re-invent that wheel.

Of course, top level we’re making a different game. We’re not going to be “Destiny, just in dark fantasy skin”. And we’re not blindly following every Destiny’s solution. For example, the way the guns ADS and de-ADS in Destiny is linear, mathematical:

And I’m sure they have a reason for it, but we are going with more dynamic, mo-capped solution. Note the non-linear ADS and the difference in length between ADS and de-ADS (ignore the bug that the zoom-in is not synced properly with the gun’s animation):

So, that’s how it all goes. Destiny takes from other games, other games take from Destiny (like Assassin’s Creed or No Man’s Sky UIs – the story of the last one is especially hilarious, considering that at the time Bungie said that procedural content is a no-no, only to then to feature it in Destiny 2…). We take from Destiny too, but hopefully it’ll be clear that top level, the similarities are superficial.

Next, Witchfire and Dark Souls…

Question of the Week

It’s a survival game, because you need to survive an onslaught of enemies.

Nah, just kidding. It’s a point and click adventure, because you go on an adventure in which you point and click at enemy heads.

Nah, just kidding. It’s a shooter, mate.

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