Friday, June 02, 2006

Project Assassin

Good ol' Gamasutra had an interesting article about Ubisoft Montreal's latest title, currently called "Project Assassin." The most interesting facet is the dedication to realism, and getting rid of some of the annoying "gameisms" that always seem to bug me.

For example, no longer are certain textures "climbable." Now, any surface that has a relative extrusion of over 10 cm can serve as a grip. Also, player-to-player kinetics make more sense, since you can now "push" characters and have them react as if there was leverage on that part of their body. No longer should they just slide away as if they were standing on pats of melted butter... instead they should teeter appropriately.

That's not to say they haven't eschewed fantasy altogether. There is still the crazy acrobatics, leaps off walls and kung-fu midair jumps, but they're much more akin to freestyle walking than The Matrix.

It's not that there is anything wrong with gameisms like the infamous double-jump... but if you're shooting for realism there's kinda the sense you should go all out, lest you fall prey to the uncanny valley where most titles seem to live now. In Morrowind I didn't have an issue with the fact I couldn't slide-tackle people in the streets. But it bugs the ever living crap out of me that a minotaur in Oblivion can swing a eight-foot warhammer into his adjacent brother, who is bloody standing right in front of him, and the only effect is that the hammer pops in and out of the mesh like a pillar of smoke. And yet if I come within three feet of the swing's radius I go flying at breakneck speeds. It bugs me since Oblivion is good enough to live in the valley, Morrowind wasn't quite.

Maybe Ageia was right after all... interaction is the "next big step" for realism. Even surrealism. Now we just need an accelerator for per-pixel collision detection so we can climb all those newly extruded surfaces... Heck, they're talking about network acceleration cards for lower lag, why not?

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