Exanima 0.5.2 Released

Madoc

Project Lead
Exanima/SG feature a very unique animation system, all character motions are the result of physical forces and virtual muscles. This combined with dynamic procedural animation allows characters to physically interact with and respond to everything. It's also what gives players control over their character's different motions and the forces exerted by them.

The benefits are a huge amount of depth and complexity to all interactions, particularly in combat. Every physical detail is meaningful and there is a great freedom and intricacy to the player's control. It is not however easy to do, we've faced a lot of difficult challenges with it. Trying to mix realistic physics with precise player control and also making it all look lifelike has on occasion made us question if we weren't asking for too much. It has been the game's biggest source of both praise and criticism. The realism has only highlighted the sometimes unnatural motion and many people say the characters look drunk and are put off by it.

We've always promised to improve animations and over the past 2 years we've spent a huge amount of our development time on this issue alone. We've continued to improve things but the criticism has remained. More recently we elected to stop trying to improve them so that we could focus on other aspects of the game.

While not actively working to improve animation we have been planning specific improvements that we thought promising and taking specific feedback on board. With the game now reaching a wider audience and the animations colouring many people's first impressions of it, we decided to prioritise some of these planned improvements.

This update features some of the most important changes that we had planned. We've often had very limited success with improving animation or none at all, this thankfully is one of those times when our efforts were successful. The changes concern movement and footwork in combat which has always been by far the most difficult aspect of the animation. The characters now move in a more deliberate way, there is far less "drunken" leaning and swaying and the legs move smarter giving the characters better balance. It looks much better and it gives players better control.

Things are still not perfect but they are much improved and we have addressed some major problems, in time we can look at addressing various other issues. We now have a more complete and flexible system which we can continue to tweak. There are of course also many other aspects of animation that we still need to improve, please understand that we are a small team and currently have no animator so these things can be extremely time consuming for us.


Of course none of this will stop your character looking like a drunken fool if you just hold keys and buttons down and wildly wave the cursor around. Your character doesn't just execute precanned manoeuvres at the press of a button, the whole point is that you are in control. You are in charge of your character's various separate motions and your inputs must be deliberate and work in harmony. How you move the cursor, how long you hold buttons down, how you time and combine your various inputs, these are all things that can have a very real effect on everything your character does and can easily be misused. Don't leave anything to the game, it's not trying to play for you.


We're quite excited about these changes, they are fairly subtle but very important. They have been in beta and we've watched various people play and were ourselves very impressed with the results, the response from everyone seems very positive. This next update was supposed to feature some character skill progression but this has been postponed slightly due to this change in priorities. The character creation screen does show our WIP skill interface, the first few trainable skill techniques should be with you soon and we'll continue to add more.

Besides this version 0.5.2 features numerous bug fixes, improvements and tweaks.

If you are experiencing issues with the game then please contact us at support@baremettle.com with as detailed information as possible so as to help us address your issues in future patches. The game is OpenGL based rather than DirectX and driver support for OpengGL is not as good, we really need specific information on your system and configuration to be able to address issues of this nature. Thanks!

Account page link.
 

Buggeroo

Insider
Just played through the novice arena again.. the changes really do make the movement feel a lot more tight and responsive, which I think is very important to not overly frustrate new players.
I also felt that it was a bit easier, but mostly because I actually succeeded more often in doing what I intended, which is a great plus :D

I think you can safely consider the combat to be in a state where you can leave it for the time being and focus on other things.

Great job, guys.
 

Suggett66

Insider
Felt the difference as soon as I took a few steps, the work you guys do is so impressive and all i can say is keep it up because you're creating a dream come true here.
 
The legs certainly do look a lot more firm!
although it tends to look a little janky when the legs move to far apart, I understand this will be fixed at some point though so no worries :D
 

Pengman19

Member
How many novice opponents are there? I lose to the bloke that's AFTER the girl. I think it may be the 5th or 6th fighter. He's got a long ass sword and the mofo always kills me. I usually have 50-90% life when I get to him too. He just always has my number.
 

Conan

Insider
I played a little yesterday and I think it's a bit better. The changes are very subtle but even incremental improvements are great!
The difficulty level has not really changed I think.
 

Conan

Insider
How many novice opponents are there? I lose to the bloke that's AFTER the girl. I think it may be the 5th or 6th fighter. He's got a long ass sword and the mofo always kills me. I usually have 50-90% life when I get to him too. He just always has my number.
I think after the Swordman there are 2 more. He's quite difficult because the sword is long and fast. You have to time your strikes right and start striking before you move into range to gain some time.
 

Smiley_ie

Member
Got stuck in a table for about 2 minutes, I think this might be new nvidia driver but while moving and opening inventory i get a skip like a fps skip does not happen while standing still.
 

Conan

Insider
Ok, having played a bit longer I think that combat is now actually worse than before. With heavy weapons it looks alright but when I use a small sword and shield it looks like a puppet being dragged around, possibly because the character is supposed to be fast and nimble?
All that being dragged around makes combat much more difficult and even though I consider myself being pretty skilled it seems like I just flail around wildly now with small weapons and targeting controlled strikes is more difficult.

I also noticed the footwork now for the first time. In martial arts you are taught early that you should not cross your legs when walking since that screws with your balance. I have no experience in sword fighting so correct me if I am wrong and this rule doesn't apply there but I think that when walking sideways, the outer leg should move first. This would also allow you to quickly jump back and forth sideways instead of having to wait for the step to be finished (basically two steps since the wrong leg moves first and then the outer leg has to be on the ground before I can make another step).

Walking forward and backward in single steps looks fine to me and is better and smoother than before.
 
I got Exanima about a week before the update. Man, this is turning into the melee game I've been waiting for for AGES. With the previous version I'd just got good/lucky/clunky enough to kill maybe 3 or 4 bad guys in the dungeon, or get to the longsword guy in novice arena (yeh yeh, I'm terrible, etc).

After the update, things definitely look better for me, and I've had more comedy moments where overswinging has left me on the floor. But it's so much harder now! Looks better, but now I'm just as useless as I was on day 1. I have no idea what has changed, really... all I can say, from a numpty newbie perspective, is that the mouse pointer feels... less controllable. Not sure if that could be possible. Something feels fundamentally different.

It's not bad, no... just hard again.

That is all. I have much respect for the devs for trying to do something different, and trying to do melee: Exanima is already WELL worth the ten quid (or whatever it was) - and very pleased it's still getting developed. Just for arena mode.

So, um... a big longsword in the face to everyone who disagrees. If, that is, I could make my clumsy arms poke it in their face. I would probably lop my own toes off. Awesome.
 

Shalani

Insider
I'm just no good with most weapons and crappy armour. That's Why I am waiting anxiously for bows and thaumaturgy. So I have a better chance!
 
Hi, I purchased exanima when it was in 0.4.4 version.
I quite enjoyed the game but let it down for a few (24H of total game play) after reaching end of lvl 3.

Today I saw this update new and I have the feeling I discovered a new game for the best :)
Very enjoyable combats now, I'm going to spend hours on this game. Can't wait to see Sui Generis !!

Keep it up guys :)
 
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