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dust

The feel of aiming is a complex area and there are many things in a game that have an impact on it. The feedback we have received in this area since May has been very useful but also very varied. In some cases this feedback was conflicting and in others it was just plain confusing. We have conducted an audit of our aiming systems and identified a number of areas for improvement as well as finding changes/problems outside of the control system itself that are affecting the experience. In this blog I'm going to talk about some of the problems we found, what we're doing about them and hopefully answer some of the other questions along the way.

 

Performance

Performance has a significant impact on how the aiming and controls feel and no amount of tuning and tweaking of the controls themselves can change it. Poor frame rates can increase input latency. Unstable frame rates can make the control sensitivity feel inconsistent. Performance is an area we have had some problems with and is one that the whole team has been working very hard to improve. This has been a major cause for a lot of the problems we've experienced, and the positive feedback we've had since 1.2 was released with performance improvements bears that out. This is something we remain focused on improving further.

 

Client/server de-syncing and projectile weapons

In 1.2 we had a couple of fixes that improved projectile weapons. First we found that the way we check for splash damage was prone to "missing" partially occluded targets. We have now improved the system to solve this problem. We also found issues with projectiles and client/server de-sync. In poor network conditions the projectile can "miss the mark", making the weapon feel unreliable. We have made improvements to this as well and judging by resurgence of the Mass Driver and popularity of the Flaylock this seems to have worked (perhaps a little too well in the case of the Flaylock, but we're dealing with that separately: see this dev blog).

 

Controller & mouse

There's been a lot of discussion surrounding controller performance and what needs to be done to improve it. With the 1.4 release the core control settings for speed and sensitivity will be updated and improved, and it should feel tighter. The biggest update, however, is that we plan to reintroduce aim assists that we previously disabled. Don't sneer! Aim assists are part and parcel of aiming control on console!  

The assists in question are magnetism and adhesion. Magnetism works by helping you maintain your aim as you strafe a target. Adhesion adjusts your rotation when an enemy is targeted to help you stay on target. Why did we disable them in the first place? In testing, we found that in a limited number of circumstances they could interfere with aiming instead of assisting it. We made the decision to disable it until we could iron out the kinks in the system. Since it was disabled, there has been feedback that staying on target, particularly at closer ranges has become harder. We believe this is in large part due to magnetism and adhesion being disabled. So we overhauled the system, and so far internal playtests have been extremely promising. The improvement in accuracy is significant.

We have also been asked if we can add an option to disable acceleration. First I would like to explain quickly how acceleration currently works on the controller. What we have in DUST 514 is best described as "edge acceleration". What this means is that at 95% stick input (that is, when the thumbstick is 95% of the maximum distance away from the center position) your aim will start to accelerate to an extreme speed; before that point speed scales linearly to a set point. This is to allow for finer aiming at low input levels without sacrificing the ability to turn at higher speeds. The benefit we have found with the linear "curve" is its predictability when ramping up/down makes tracking speed changes easier to judge. This is pretty important in a game like DUST where the high HP model requires you to better maintain aim on moving targets if you want to score a kill. We have been experimenting with different curve setups but so far have not found another one we particularly like.

So, the answer is we could disable it, but you probably wouldn't like it. If we were to just turn it off you would be left with a very low maximum rotation speed compared to those using acceleration. Controls would feel pretty sluggish unless you jacked the sensitivity very high at which point you would lose a lot of low level control. So really it's less a case of turning it off and more a case of creating and tuning a separate aiming scheme that is fully reliant on a curve. It's possible we could do this at some point, but right now we believe it's better to focus on just one set up for the controller.

That was the controller; how about the mouse? Well, the mouse had one big problem: speed. It was suffering from having its speed capped quite low which made it feel very flat. In 1.4 that cap has been removed. Its sensitivity levels in and out of scope have also be re-tuned to provide more responsive, finer control. The fine aiming "wobble" that has been in previous builds should now be a thing of the past. As a result the mouse is feeling much better and we're continuing to work on it during this release.

That's it for this quick update. The change really is significant so it's very important for us to get it in to the wild and get feedback on it. 1.4 can't come soon enough!

CCP Wolfman

[ Original Dev Blog ]

19 Comments

  1. Puck Norris

    Dust not for me but good to see CCP trying to make a great product.

    July 25, 2013 at 10:20 pm Reply
    1. toolate

      buts its not great its pretty terrible – the reviews are too damaging, as usual CCP do half assed job, but with a new game people wont bother playing it, unlike eve where its more established with a playerbase.

      July 25, 2013 at 10:28 pm Reply
      1. Gorgoth24

        I don’t think “the reviews are too damaging” is an accurate assertion. Tbh most of the reviews of EVE I see on the websites I trust for gaming reviews are years old and are quite indifferent if not negative. A simple reviewer will never “get EVE”.

        “CCP does a half assed job” is also an invalid assertion. Not because it’s not true but because it’s not relevant. CCP has had EVE Online out for, what? 10 years now? And we’re just now getting serious about balancing the ships? New Eden has always been about being different then other games, certainly not better.

        “but with a new game people won’t bother paying it” is also incorrect. Dust 514 already has an established playerbase with its own celebrities, megacorps, and intrigue. Not to mention the 2 million accounts made giving the impression people will, at least, TRY IT.

        While your individual assertions are individually untrue, your general conclusion is correct. The game is pretty terrible as it stands because the controls, balance, and technical difficulties took a step BACKWARDS in Uprising. That is it – the sole reason the game is losing average players per day and dying slowly.

        That being said, CCP has since started moving forward again fixing the aiming control, balance, and technical issues while re-working their development process to be more responsive to player feedback so such things won’t happen again. As that happens, expect to see the average player per day at least stabilize, and the game get some life again. I can tell you, the Dust forums already have seen this change since these much-needed dev blogs

        July 25, 2013 at 10:56 pm Reply
        1. wilson

          “A simple reviewer will never “get EVE”” – you

          So how do you think the average FPS monkey will rate dust?

          July 26, 2013 at 12:56 am Reply
          1. Billbo

            I rate it 0! I have more entertainment playing the first Wolfenstien

            July 26, 2013 at 1:16 am
          2. Ace

            The average FPS monkey has spoken.

            July 26, 2013 at 3:24 pm
        2. Justin May

          I agree with you. I have played dust since beta and eve since 2010. The reason I still play both is w-space in eve and the friends I have made in my corp in dust. I no longer play black ops II because I have more fun in dust overall. I will stick it out with dust and keep killing tanks with my asault forge gun and pissing tankers off and wait for the bugs to be worked out.

          July 28, 2013 at 12:12 am Reply
  2. Dust gone Bust

    “Aiming a complex issue” o? You say? Funny how most studios have their shit together with that regard for the last 10 yrs. Maybe CCP needs a training day with some DICE Devs….

    July 25, 2013 at 10:38 pm Reply
  3. Gorgoth24

    Tbh, if they clean up the aiming controls and round out the other parts of the game that took a step backwards in Uprising it’d go a long way to recouping the average player loss since Uprising.

    Good move CCP, hope the aim change is substantial

    July 25, 2013 at 10:44 pm Reply
  4. PL Grunt

    Dust…. now with actual aiming and control features…

    Next year.. look a passible FPS game!?

    July 26, 2013 at 12:39 am Reply
  5. io

    Stop that thing!

    July 26, 2013 at 8:17 am Reply
  6. Alison King

    port it to pc watch
    you player base go up 2 fold

    July 26, 2013 at 11:58 am Reply
  7. Duval

    Tried it on the PS3 with a mouse and the game feels horrid. The speed in which your corshair moves according to your mouse is limited and delayed but suddenly spazzes out once you have it on an opponent. (Cough fucking autoaim.) And the worst part is that if you play on a low sensitivity, once your crosshair touches someone it returns back to 30 times it’s regular sensitivity back to default until you lose track of the guy.

    In other words: The game is shit and doomed even for pc players.

    July 26, 2013 at 2:03 pm Reply
    1. Duval

      Give us raw_input for mice. FFS.

      July 26, 2013 at 2:04 pm Reply
  8. Helo Trivilent

    Fine tune the grapics ie totaly delete them and start again, its old and crap i think 5-6 years out of date, did hodor do the grapics ???

    July 26, 2013 at 2:11 pm Reply
  9. Squinty McBlindy

    DUST 514 is a total and utter failure. Stop throwing more money after this dead donkey piece of shit.

    July 27, 2013 at 6:14 pm Reply
    1. Dust is Fail

      A polished turd is still a turd. Dust is utter shit.

      July 27, 2013 at 8:06 pm Reply
  10. Allan's Snackbar

    Why do you keep having articles on this turd of a game?

    And copy / pasta of CCP propaganda only serves them – not you.

    Just let the game go already. It’s only rusted on fanboys who play it regardless of articles here or not. So please spare us all the misery.

    July 28, 2013 at 11:27 am Reply
  11. RA dude

    Played a few times with kb and mouse. Didn’t notice autoaim, but even with maxed sensitivity, crosshair speed was horribly low. Turning around took
    about 4 times longer distance than it would on PC, and if you can’t turn
    around without raising the mouse above the mousepad, gameplay sucks big
    time. Couldn’t quite figure out the aiming either. Often missed when
    crosshair seemed to be on target and hit when it seemed a bit off to the
    sides. Plus no way to rebind controls, which should be a must in any complex keyboard-supporting game, imo. So I just stopped trying.

    July 28, 2013 at 8:58 pm Reply

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