Introduction

Three weeks ago I started working on a grapple hook system in Unity and in the beginning it felt like I had taken on a way to complicated project, but all the time and effort has really paid off. My one and only focus has been the physics and controls of the grappling hook, not the character, not the environment or anything. Just the core mechanics, like it always should’ve been. This is where I struggled in high school, but now, with a bit more knowledge and understanding of coding, it’s possible. Notice the emphasis on possible. It doesn’t rhyme with optimization or perfect coding, but it’s more than what I could’ve ever wished for. I would like to thank my buddies Jonte Carrera and Oscar Langeville for giving me good advices on how to implement the raycasting of the grappling hook, it really helped a lot 🙂

Project Overview

So really, what is this? Hopefully, it’s the beginning of a new Spacecode Atlas prototype but I’m not going to say to much yet, for my own sake. I’ve got plenty ideas, but it has come to my attention that I need to structure things better. I’ll probably be able to create just a fraction of what I can already see in my head, but that’s good enough for me right now. Primary language is C# because it’s currently being developed in Unity.

Current Status and Next Update

Atlas only have three active animations for the moment: Run, Jump and Walk. All of them are work in progress, and a much larger moveset is planned to be implemented. Think of Lara’s wide variety of animations in the old Tomb Raider games and you’ll get the scope of how I want Atlas to move around. However, I will probably only follow the controls of Just Cause 2. Avalanche obviously figured out how to create good movement for Scorpio, and I’m happy if I can create something similar.

The logic and the basic settings for the grappling hook works like expected, with a few exceptions and small bugs. Atlas cannot swing himself to create a full pendulum swing, but it will be implemented in future versions. What’s important is that the grappling hook works and sticks to surfaces.

The crosshair only works as a guide for the mouse cursor and will be a lot more dynamic in the future. It will give a clear response to the player if the hook is attached to a surface, and if this surface is suitable for climbing.

So what could be expected in the future are more animations, more control of the grappling hook and better motion for Atlas. I will see if I can make Atlas vault over ledges, which could be useful for climbing. Other than that, I’m trying to keep it realistic and not to ambitious. I welcome every failure and hope to learn more from them.

Inspirations

Here are a few of the titles and my personal favorites that I draw inspiration from. I still want to come up with my own unique gameplay feeling, but these help me out to begin somewhere. All of these games except Life Is Strange feature some kind of grappling hook, and my goal is to experiment with every different setup of controls in order to find my own experience. You might be surprised to see Life Is Strange on the list, but I do want to include dialogue and consequences, even if it’s just a small portion of it.

If the prototype grows into a larger project, I’ll probably play it safe and go for the Hub based level design found in Metroid Prime. Still, being able to travel to different planets just like in Ratchet & Clank would be really fun but it’s too much for a solo-run. Remember, keeping it realistic.

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