Starbase's Top Issues #7: Lack of Hold Aim-Down-Sights and More

Vexus

Master endo
Joined
Aug 9, 2019
Messages
280
#1
Hello,

Starbase promotes awesome first-person combat, and I've seen it firsthand myself. Playing on the moon rummaging around the wrecked ships underneath the warp gate has led to some really interesting gameplay, such as digging a hole into the ground to avoid patrolling ships above, crawling along the terrain to approach an enemy sniper hidden inside a wrecked ship, or leaping high off the ground to assault a player over a ridge before he expects you to crest. Along with all that is what really is enjoyable first-person-shooter combat combined with an amazing assortment of unique and varied weapons. There are ~20 different weapons, and most have the ability to aim down the sights, also know as ADS - zooming in with your Long Rifle or Rail Rifle scope to try and secure a long range shot, aiming down your basic Assault Rifle sight to spray at a medium range enemy, or trying to land precise shots with the Gauss Rifle; aiming with ADS is often required to secure a kill.

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It isn't required, of course - spraying an enemy with the Repeater Pistol while barely aiming is also enjoyable. The point is that each weapon feels truly unique and adds interesting gameplay options with different damage models. It is a crazy feat to have all these amazing weapons in the game which all feel unique. But there is a problem with many of these weapons, and it has nothing to do with the weapons themselves.

Players cannot currently "hold" right-mouse-button to ADS. ADS is only available as a Toggle, which requires a full press-and-release of the mouse button to activate as well. This first-person-shooter feature - the ability to hold to begin moving into ADS mode, with releasing your keypress causing you to deactivate ADS mode - is sorely missing in Starbase.

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The reason this is a big deal is that first-person-shooter games are very popular, and nearly all of them offer "hold ADS" as well as "toggle ADS" aiming modes. So when a player comes to Starbase and cannot hold to ADS, it causes a lot of compatibility problems; the game doesn't feel as good as it could if you were able to quickly snap in on a target in the way many other games deliver. This simple option being overlooked will push away large streamers who are used to this standard first-person-shooter feature. It can also cause a lack of trust in the game being able to deliver fun when you have to re-learn behaviors specific to Starbase. It may seem like a small issue, but the feel of toggle mode can throw off a lot of people's first impression on that alone.

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Moving past ADS issues, another issue comes into play when players can use 3rd person mixed in with first-person combat. 3rd person view in shooter games is notoriously easy to abuse, and players are manipulating the behavior of toggle-ADS to zoom-in while in 3rd person as well, which makes it easy to look around an area without any immediate downside to it. It is harder to hit shots, especially at very long range, but the power of being able to see a target is much more important before bullets start flying. Being able to see where another player moves and so on is half the battle.

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It would help the first-person-shooter gameplay develop into a robust system if there was some limiting factor on 3rd person usage in combat. The 3rd person camera can be massively extended from the player location, giving a wild amount of overwatch to an area with no downside. I know there is a desire to keep the 3rd person view available, but making it... have some counterplay would be good. I don't know the answer; perhaps having the robot-player extend their character head to where the camera goes (also thus limiting the range of the 3rd person view) might add the necessary risk to offset the strength of 3rd person. Or, removing the ability to zoom-in during 3rd person when using ADS, much like how the Universal Tool is only possible to view in first-person. There are some options here which Starbase can pull off uniquely.

Next; although I don't often find it useful in other games, a "lean left/right" option might be desirable. Starbase already has a plethora of key bindings to set so this may not even be a thing. Leaning also has little use when we have a 3rd person view. This one is minor; I simply mention it because sometimes games include it, and other times not, and perhaps it will come up down the line as something worthwhile to look into.

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The last thing in this sphere of gameplay that I'd like to mention is that there is no ability to look left/right when moving forward. Games such as DayZ and PUBG began implementing "hold-alt" to mouse-look the player head left/right while moving forward. This allows players to sprint forward but look to their right or left at the same time, giving important tactical information when moving position to position quickly. It's become such a common feature of first-person shooters where I think Starbase can pull it off without issue. In fact, this feature is already working - but only in 3rd person! Making it a first-person camera feature would really smooth out what Starbase has to offer for first-person shooter combat.

These issues may seem small, but I am pointing out how many gamers who love shooter games would be turned off by the lack of these now-commonplace features when checking out Starbase. It might not make or break the game for them, but it feels bad when trying these things for the first time and nothing happens. The game feels like it should have these capabilities based on how well everything else is done, so having these things missing is a big "huh?"

Overall I have always praised the amazing work done with weapons. Some games are content to give players one or two weapons, or push themselves to offer a handful. Starbase has gone way above and beyond, not only creating many weapons, but giving them very unique behaviors while not resorting to creating fictional-absurdity weapons that don't fit with the simulation theme of Starbase. The cohesion of all the weapons is wonderful to see. The use of each weapon feels great. The handling of each weapon is noticeably different. The effects and ammo, the heavy hitting slugs and the ultra fast lasers, those that do damage to ships and those that don't - Starbase has done amazing with weapons. Please unlock your players' true potential with weapons and give us ADS!
 
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XenoCow

Master endo
Joined
Dec 10, 2019
Messages
572
#2
I agree about the hold to ADS completely.

I don't know the answer; perhaps having the robot-player extend their character head to where the camera goes (also thus limiting the range of the 3rd person view) might add the necessary risk to offset the strength of 3rd person.
Why not a little drone with a light on it? It could be a destructible object so players would have to risk losing them, and giving away their positions by using the 3rd person view. This would look far less weird than stretching the head and would also make it so that 3rd person is only possible to be lost outside the safezone. Players could carry multiple drones with them, but that would come at the cost of inventory space.
 

Vexus

Master endo
Joined
Aug 9, 2019
Messages
280
#3
Players could carry multiple drones with them, but that would come at the cost of inventory space.
Remote camera drones seem like an excellent solution. Battlebit has such a thing. It's also quite relevant to modern ... warfare. lol... The idea is in line with what players would expect, has a trade off for the vision and perspective gained, and opens up a lot of other gameplay such as perhaps needing to keep them fueled/charged.

I still think, in general, some 3rd person view is ok for the game considering how at least you're first-person for ship combat, and how infrequent combat is currently. It is nice to be able to be in 3rd person when traveling or hanging around. But once station combat becomes a thing, it will be important to have some limitation, such as forcing first-person mode during combat or something.
 

XenoCow

Master endo
Joined
Dec 10, 2019
Messages
572
#4
I still think, in general, some 3rd person view is ok for the game considering how at least you're first-person for ship combat, and how infrequent combat is currently. It is nice to be able to be in 3rd person when traveling or hanging around. But once station combat becomes a thing, it will be important to have some limitation, such as forcing first-person mode during combat or something.
The game already has some way of detecting that there is combat and starting the fight music. Maybe when that happens the 3rd person mode is disabled. It may not be that difficult to add, at least as a stop-gap solution.
 

Vexus

Master endo
Joined
Aug 9, 2019
Messages
280
#5
I like your drone idea, as it adds some physicality/counter play/balance; also players could perhaps have the drone hover relative to their ship (like a ranged "mag boots" for the drone) to enable believable 3rd person flight of ships which a lot of people ask about. Considering the drone could be destroyed in combat, collide and be destroyed by a passing asteroid, or get shot off by an enemy sniper, and that it would require a bit of work/transition/time/delay to "switch views" (like the delay of zooming in on a YOLOL chip) it might be a sweet balance. The drone idea is solid gameplay and adds a lot of use cases.
 
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