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View Full Version : Maybe Parkour Should Be Harder?



STDlyMcStudpants
03-02-2016, 09:04 AM
Hear me out. ;D
It's been a long time since I felt anything while climbing in Assassin's Creed
and by a long time I mean Assassin's Creed 3
And even then, I only felt anything when I had to climb up trees with multiple branches and up cliff sides....
And after playing Dying Light last month, that feeling hit me again..
It wasn't that I've got used to the heights (which is what I thought)
It's that much like in climbing those trees or cliff sides in AC3 or climbing anything in the games before that...
You had to pay attention
You had to look for climbing routes and there was risk...
Climbing radio towers gave me a sinking feeling in my stomach that has been missing for me for a long time and it got me thinking...
Maybe don't make parkor so automatic and free flowing....
Bring the risk back...
(the hook blade in ACR for example was perfect at giving this am i gonna make it or die feeling)
Thoughts?

D.I.D.
03-02-2016, 09:33 AM
I know what you mean.

Maybe it'd be good if handholds broke sometimes, and you had to grab as you slipped? Maybe that would get annoying rather than scary, idk.

I definitely used to feel more acrophobia from the heights even though the buildings weren't to scale. I think you're right that it's about safety, but then again maybe new players still get that unease and we just got used to the games.

MikeFNY
03-02-2016, 11:33 AM
I suggest to first make it work properly and eventually focus on making it harder.

m4r-k7
03-02-2016, 02:35 PM
You don't need to necessarily make it harder, but it should have that authentic and tactical feel of AC 1 - AC Brotherhood where you had to choose what handhold/window to climb on. For example I was playing AC 1 the other day and was being chased by guards. I had to quickly ascend to the rooftops but I had to account for the slow climbing through tactically using wall rebound, wall climb and efficiently moving up to get there - it felt epic as ever since AC 3 came out, climbing feels less like an experience, and more of a quick mechanic to get up a building.

BananaBlighter
03-02-2016, 06:08 PM
It's all down to the precision. In the older games, you had to point where you want to jump, and while the game would correct you ever so slightly at times, if you weren't pointing directly at what you wanted to jump to, you would fall to your doom. Now there is very little precision involved, as the game automatically magnets you to the nearest ledge. Not only does this decrease difficulty and the need for concentration, but you end up climbing things you did not intend to because the game sometimes doesn't correctly judge what you are trying to do.

In a way it's a trade-off. Because of the new system, we can have much smoother animations and fluid transitions. In the old system, everything was very manual. If you tapped B/'circle' while falling, you could correct your imprecision by grabbing. However, this led to jerky animations. With the new system, the game knows where you're going before you even jump, so it can select the most appropriate animation to retain fluidity.

I think that AC3/4/Ro had the best balance between precision and fluidity. What brought that parkour system down was the automation in terms of controls. To jump from ledge to ledge you only had to run, yet to jump to your death you had to press A/'cross', meaning you would never accidentally fall to your death. If the controls had been changed so that any jumping required you to press A/'cross', then it would force players to be more precise when jumping from ledge to ledge, because if they aren't, they could run the risk of falling off.

Similarly, I loved Unity's parkour system, but hate Syndicate's, simply because of the few changes that they made to the controls (despite the precision being slightly improved) so that they now more resembled those of AC3/4/Ro. Now to jump from ledge to ledge, you just run, and it can often result with jumping involuntarily, rather than making it more manual like AC Unity where you had to tap A/'cross'. On top of that, just for extra hand-holding, they've made it impossible to jump of from heights that the games deems unsafe, and to drop from ledges without holding B/'circle', which actually often ruins the flow, making parkour far less efficient. Additionally, vaulting is now automatic too, you just run at an obstacle to pass over it, meaning that, like with jumping, you may accidentally vault over something you weren't meaning to. I'm starting to think that the only use for the A/'cross' button in Syndicate is for parkour up, which isn't even used anymore because of the rope launcher.

So my dream parkour system would take the controls and the mechanics from Unity, and slap them on to AC3/4/Ro's parkour system, where the climbing wasn't too fast or too slow, was just about right in terms of precision, and felt very fluid unlike the previous games.

pacmanate
03-02-2016, 11:16 PM
AC3's parkour was dire. You could scale a building by holding up on the analogue stick (on console) and Connor/Haytham would somehow manage to make it up.

It was fixed in AC4/ACRo though, so that I agree on.

Maybe parkour should be harder, no idea how though. But agree with OP, Dying Light parkour is tense and I think a lot of that has to do with less "grabby" things so you have to be more precise in every move.

SixKeys
03-03-2016, 01:06 AM
Not harder, just bring back the puppeteering concept. For all that people complained it was unintuitive (which I never agreed with), it was consistent and worked as it was supposed to. You couldn't accidentally climb a wall since it required an extra step beyond just holding down 'Run'. We need a button to signal the player actually wants to climb something.

I definitely miss the sense of weight and risk, which was largely thanks to the animations in the games pre-AC3. AC3's animations were excellent from an artistic standpoint, but they introduced the gravity-defying superhuman leaps with which the assassin simply floats up any surface. I feel nothing when I climb Big Ben in Syndicate because I don't feel connected to the character's physique. They don't feel human when they climb so effortlessly. Yet I still get goosebumps when Alta´r climbs the cathedral in Acre. It's such a waste to build 1:1 scale cities while making parkour so automated that climbing becomes a chore instead of a thrill.

pacmanate
03-03-2016, 01:51 AM
The parkour has definitely gotten more floaty and unrealistic.

For the places AC1 fell short, even parkour (in the sense that it was a bit slow), it definitely had a weight to it, it felt precise, it felt like Altair was pushing up to grab ledges.

Now its like how they did the Spider-Man wall climbing where the actor is crawling along the floor. Thats the sense I get when the Assassin's now can climb 5 metres vertically in 2.5 seconds.

HDinHB
03-03-2016, 06:18 AM
Not harder, just bring back the puppeteering concept. For all that people complained it was unintuitive (which I never agreed with), it was consistent and worked as it was supposed to. You couldn't accidentally climb a wall since it required an extra step beyond just holding down 'Run'. We need a button to signal the player actually wants to climb something.

I definitely miss the sense of weight and risk, which was largely thanks to the animations in the games pre-AC3. AC3's animations were excellent from an artistic standpoint, but they introduced the gravity-defying superhuman leaps with which the assassin simply floats up any surface. I feel nothing when I climb Big Ben in Syndicate because I don't feel connected to the character's physique. They don't feel human when they climb so effortlessly. Yet I still get goosebumps when Alta´r climbs the cathedral in Acre. It's such a waste to build 1:1 scale cities while making parkour so automated that climbing becomes a chore instead of a thrill.

^This ^this ^this. So much this.

I don't think "harder" is necessarily the right description either, but it does need to be less automatic. Maybe because AC3 introduced tree climbing and the wilderness, or because Liberation was designed for Vita, or because other reasons, something happened to the free running at that time that sapped the challenge and excitement. There have been a handful of bright spots--AC3's Mad Doctor's Castle, the overland approach on Great Inagua, and a couple of the ice caves in Rogue of all places--but nothing in that generation of games compares to their predecessors. I thought the changes made for Unity were a small step in the right direction, but even climbing Notre Dame and Big Ben weren't as satisfying as Acre's cathedral, or Il Duomo, or the Castel Sant'Angelo, or even the smaller churches and towers.

I hope they find a way to bring back the thrill and sense of accomplishment of those old games.

And also tombs.

Farlander1991
03-03-2016, 09:50 AM
I might again be the one everyone will start arguing with :D But the real difference between AC1 and post-AC1 parkour systems is not the controls. Honestly, AC1 has the same issues that AC3 and others have - automatic jumping to objects you didn't want to jump on, inconsistent controls (why does sometimes holding the high profile when going out of a building ledge make you drop down, sometimes it doesn't, and when you think the matter is in height sometimes it does from a pretty big height?), faulty precision, not to mention AC1 parkour really hates corners on rooftops frequently instead of making you jump on them having you fall off from them. The real advantage of AC1 running controls is that it can be recreated fully on PC with digital input, while AC3 and others require analog input from controllers for stuff like switching between jogging and full running for example, but that's PC-specific. In terms of controls themselves, I personally when playing Unity didn't feel like there was anything that messed up with my precision or there wasn't some feature that I'd like there to be (it would've been the case with ACS as well if they'd allow non-safe jumps), or that I'm using less inputs because in AC1 parkour I'm not using lots of inputs as well, they're just different.

The real difference in AC1 comes from the buildings. Starting with AC2 (and becoming even more prominent in ACB and onwards), outside of some special buildings, landmarks, etc., there's pretty much a 95% chance that if you're going to run up a wall of a building, you'll be able to catch onto something and then just move upwards to climb the building. Not in AC1, though.

AC1 has much, much less grab points on buildings, which in turn means that you can't just run up to something and climb, but you have to search what you can climb and plan mini-routes to get where you want. This brings more involvement in the navigation.

MikeFNY
03-03-2016, 09:57 AM
All this talking about AC1 will probably force me into completing the game, hence collecting all uncollected templar flags and killing all those tough templar guards :)

Because I'm curious to understand how parkour evolved, if the difference is so massive from the first game to Syndicate.

I mean, damn it, if I want to jump to my death let me do it :)

Bipolar Matt
03-03-2016, 03:13 PM
Actually Syndicate really made me "feel" parkour more. The "holy cow I'm high up" moments I haven't felt in a long time. For example, installing the fuses for Bell when you get the rope launcher. That leap of faith Evie took down off the tower actually made me shiver.

But it was still relatively "safe" if you know what you're doing.

cawatrooper9
03-03-2016, 05:41 PM
I'm not sure "harder" is the right word, and I'll explain why.

AC1-ACR had a relatively responsive parkour system, but it required players to be tactical about how they climbed.

ACU/ACS had a more floaty/almost random parkour system. It was easier and faster to climb buildings, but player skill was dictated by how good you were at over-correcting the system.

The American Saga lies somewhere in between.

Personally, I'd rather be challenged tactically, rather than struggling against game play itself.

BananaBlighter
03-03-2016, 07:31 PM
Not harder, just bring back the puppeteering concept. For all that people complained it was unintuitive (which I never agreed with), it was consistent and worked as it was supposed to. You couldn't accidentally climb a wall since it required an extra step beyond just holding down 'Run'. We need a button to signal the player actually wants to climb something.

I agree, the controls give an extra level of control to the player, but I don't think we need to go back to the puppeteering concept for that, Unity had it fine for me, you controlled parkour up/jumping and parkour down/vaulting, which is enough to prevent mistakes. For me that is the difference between Unity and Syndicate's parkour. The fact that in Syndicate, the jumping and vaulting is automated, means that I often accidentally jump from one point to another without wanting to (which can get me detected and mess up the stealth), or find it hard to climb on top of a wall since I keep automatically vaulting it.


I definitely miss the sense of weight and risk, which was largely thanks to the animations in the games pre-AC3. AC3's animations were excellent from an artistic standpoint, but they introduced the gravity-defying superhuman leaps with which the assassin simply floats up any surface. I feel nothing when I climb Big Ben in Syndicate because I don't feel connected to the character's physique. They don't feel human when they climb so effortlessly. Yet I still get goosebumps when Alta´r climbs the cathedral in Acre. It's such a waste to build 1:1 scale cities while making parkour so automated that climbing becomes a chore instead of a thrill.

I think there is a big difference between Syndicate and AC3. I definitely feel that the parkour in Syndicate is far too floaty, but on the other hand I see AC3/4/Ro as having a perfect balance between speed, realism, and quality of animation.

Many of us play games to experience things we could never do in real life, and so we want to feel powerful when we climb a building. Therefore it's fine to make us feel superhuman, but there is a limit, and Unity took the animations a bit too far. AC3 has some level of realism, but the parkour has this great flow that feels really epic, and for me AC1 is a bit too slow and unimpressive. As Farlander explained, the reason you feel achievement for climbing in AC1 is because there is little to grab on and so navigating becomes more tactical. We can still have this but with smoother and more powerful animations.

With Syndicate, climbing becomes so unbelievable that it's no longer impressive. It's also very repetitive, and so loses the artistic animations of the games that came before. Climbing up Big Ben is just a matter of holding A/'cross' and pointing forward, as you watch the protagonist repeatedly jolt upwards in exactly the same way each time. On the other hand, the older games used handholds and a variety of animations, feeling far more realistic. Although AC3's parkour is faster than AC1's, you can still see Connor making effective use of the handholds (maybe not as much, but enough for the climbing to feel somewhat believable).


I might again be the one everyone will start arguing with :D But the real difference between AC1 and post-AC1 parkour systems is not the controls. Honestly, AC1 has the same issues that AC3 and others have - automatic jumping to objects you didn't want to jump on, inconsistent controls (why does sometimes holding the high profile when going out of a building ledge make you drop down, sometimes it doesn't, and when you think the matter is in height sometimes it does from a pretty big height?), faulty precision, not to mention AC1 parkour really hates corners on rooftops frequently instead of making you jump on them having you fall off from them. The real advantage of AC1 running controls is that it can be recreated fully on PC with digital input, while AC3 and others require analog input from controllers for stuff like switching between jogging and full running for example, but that's PC-specific. In terms of controls themselves, I personally when playing Unity didn't feel like there was anything that messed up with my precision or there wasn't some feature that I'd like there to be (it would've been the case with ACS as well if they'd allow non-safe jumps), or that I'm using less inputs because in AC1 parkour I'm not using lots of inputs as well, they're just different.

The way I see it, if you accidentally jump to something you didn't intend to in AC1, it's your fault and not the game's. In AC1 you have far more precision, so you have to take care in where you are pointing as you run, but in newer games, the game predicts where you intended to jump, and takes you there, giving massive leeway. But the main factor that makes parkour in AC1 risky compared to AC3 is that to jump across buildings you have to press A/'cross', the same button which will lead you falling to your doom if you miss. In AC3 however, you cannot accidentally fall off when jumping across rooftops because you never once are required to press A/'cross' unless you really do want to jump off. Even if AC3 required you to be accurate while jumping, because you are only holding the button to run, you would never fall off, and through trial and error you could redirect yourself until you are facing the next point accurately enough for the game to take you there. In Syndicate I have no idea why they had to remove the ability to jump off, because at times it can be useful and with the control scheme of AC3/4/Ro it's already hard enough to fall off.

And where the AC1 system fails, in terms of you accidentally falling off when you hit a ledge, I again think it's the player's fault. Because you control everything, the game doesn't stop you making jumps that are slightly too far for the jumping animation. It leaves it up to you to correct yourself, especially using the ledge grab. The problem with this is that it results in jerky animations because the game is leaving it up to the player to adjust their movements. However I also like this, because rather than stopping you from going any further, it is up to you to judge. In AC3, mistakes like this don't happen for the same reason as before. You have little control over whether you jump or not, the game decides itself. You only have to run forwards, and when the game sees a suitable gap, it will find an appropriate animation and play it as you jump (which is why the parkour animations are much more fluid in the newer games; the game knows where you're going before you even jump and so it can string together suitable animations well). This can often lead to mistakes, jumping when the player didn't want to jump, and if they had been required to press A/'cross' then the mistake would not have happened.

Of course often it's just glitchy, but in a way that can't be avoided. The issue we're having with the newer games wrongly predicting your actions can just be fixed by requiring greater control from the player.


The real difference in AC1 comes from the buildings. Starting with AC2 (and becoming even more prominent in ACB and onwards), outside of some special buildings, landmarks, etc., there's pretty much a 95% chance that if you're going to run up a wall of a building, you'll be able to catch onto something and then just move upwards to climb the building. Not in AC1, though.

AC1 has much, much less grab points on buildings, which in turn means that you can't just run up to something and climb, but you have to search what you can climb and plan mini-routes to get where you want. This brings more involvement in the navigation.

I think this really is the main reason for that feeling of achievement when climbing in AC1. But then there's also that feeling of awesomeness to watch you player pull off superhuman feats. It don't think these have to be separate, as many here do, and that we can have powerful animations AND a system that requires tactical thinking while climbing.

Witiji
03-03-2016, 08:40 PM
I like the ACU parkour system but it would be better with more posibilities: falling(mistakes), catch the obstacles , leave the wall to drop... I don't like the animations from AC3 and ACU. Too exaggerated. I prefer Ezio climbing style because he is close to the wall.

HDinHB
03-04-2016, 02:41 AM
The real difference in AC1 comes from the buildings. Starting with AC2 (and becoming even more prominent in ACB and onwards), outside of some special buildings, landmarks, etc., there's pretty much a 95% chance that if you're going to run up a wall of a building, you'll be able to catch onto something and then just move upwards to climb the building. Not in AC1, though.


Maybe. But if you really think the difference between the AC1 experience and the AC2 experience is more than between AC1/2 and AC3/4, then yeah, we're gonna argue ;). In fact, the opposite is true. There was a definite step change with the introduction of AC3.

Excluding "special buildings" from your calculations is a bit of a cheat too, since the number of special buildings probably peaked in AC2, declined through Revelations, and disappeared almost completely in AC3/4.

pacmanate
03-04-2016, 11:18 AM
Although ACU's new parkour was fluid and looked good, the risk factor wasnt high at all due to Parkour down and is non existant in ACS.

A problem with ACS' parkour is that if you wont be able to make a jump, the game just wont let you. In ACU if you did a high profile jump you could still jump to your death if you pleased.. or catch a ledge. Syndicate doesnt give you this opportunity and its very restrictive.

m4r-k7
03-04-2016, 03:14 PM
AC1-ACR had a relatively responsive parkour system, but it required players to be tactical about how they climbed.

ACU/ACS had a more floaty/almost random parkour system. It was easier and faster to climb buildings, but player skill was dictated by how good you were at over-correcting the system.

The American Saga lies somewhere in between.

Personally, I'd rather be challenged tactically, rather than struggling against game play itself.

This x1000000

crash_1232015
03-05-2016, 11:07 AM
I agree, it is way to easy to just hold down one button and the assassin just automatically runs, jumps and grabs everything. I miss the progression in climbing skills included in AC1 through to ACR.

In short parkour in AC3 onwards seemed to be on automatic - I would like to see parkour go back on to manual

Megas_Doux
03-06-2016, 04:26 PM
^Parkour does not need to be harder itself! The environment needs more diversity. Personally I do like ACS and ACU's parkour more than on the old games.

GunnerGalactico
03-06-2016, 07:54 PM
I agree, it is way to easy to just hold down one button and the assassin just automatically runs, jumps and grabs everything. I miss the progression in climbing skills included in AC1 through to ACR.

In short parkour in AC3 onwards seemed to be on automatic - I would like to see parkour go back on to manual

^ Very nicely said.

I never really had a problem with the parkour in AC1 right up to ACU, but I would say that it has gotten easy and effortless over the years. I do miss the parkour system from all of the post AC3 games, it actually felt as if I were controlling the character and putting in the extra effort to climb. From AC3 onwards the system felt too automated. All you have to do is hold down one button and the character does the rest. Instead of actually making the parkour harder, we should go back to the system that was used in AC1 right up to ACR to make it a bit challenging.

Helforsite
03-07-2016, 02:01 PM
I want the visuals/animations of Assassin's Creed 3 parkour with even more control than the games before.

cawatrooper9
03-07-2016, 09:23 PM
I want the visuals/animations of Assassin's Creed 3 parkour with even more control than the games before.

Agreed. Connor/Arno/the Fryes (sorry Edward and Shay, not so much you guys) have a very dynamic posture when running, especially when compared with Ezio and Altair (though I admit, those two had excellent, albeit almost unrealistic, posture).

I like how Connor leans into his runs and hand-over-hand leaps over fences. I like how Arno flings out his arms to catch a ledge. I like how Evie rolls over tables. I just wish I could freaking control it.

Sushiglutton
03-07-2016, 11:02 PM
Challenge with the parkour is that there are so many (sometimes) conflicting goals:

1) Effortless exploaration.
2) Intense chase sequences.
3) Precise, distinct movement for stealth.
4) A tingly sense of height when climbing.
5) A world that is rich with geometry and assets.


I'm sure there's more I haven't thought about. Balancing these things is no small task. I do think though that the games have been lacking in 2-4 (I've stopped playing after AC4).

2) When you put pressure on the system (such as forcing the player to run full speed) there has been problems imo. Since the system has been so dependent on the direction you point the stick it has been very brittle in the sense that small misstakes result in the assassin interacting with the wrong objects in the world which is frustrating. There's also too little interaction in terms of moves you can do and timing. This makes the sequences feel automated instead of fun.


3) Just finished Splinter Cell: Blacklist again. Such a massive difference. Your character does excactly what you want all the time. The game stops you at edges, meaning you have to actively f
do an input to climb over the edge on a ladder and so on. You know exactly when you arte in cover and when you are not. It feels just right. AC always felt very loose and floaty in this regard. (Stealth mode in the latter entries may have solved some of this).


4) This was there in AC1 as some has pointed out, but was lost. As others have allready said it mostly is due to pretty much all surfaces being climbable, zero interactive and no risk whatsoever.


Now all these point conflicts with 1) somewhat. Here's what I think is needed:

- Keep working with a seperate stealth mode. Being able to tell the game when you need extra precision is golden.
- Add actions for going fast, that are not needed for exploration.
- The taller buildings need to be a bit puzzly (not a straight path up) with a sense of risk. For example some objects may fall off etc.

cawatrooper9
03-07-2016, 11:38 PM
Challenge with the parkour is that there are so many (sometimes) conflicting goals:

1) Effortless exploaration.
2) Intense chase sequences.
3) Precise, distinct movement for stealth.
4) A tingly sense of height when climbing.
5) A world that is rich with geometry and assets.


I'm sure there's more I haven't thought about. Balancing these things is no small task. I do think though that the games have been lacking in 2-4 (I've stopped playing after AC4).


I'd also add the puzzle aspect that we say in the Ezio trilogy. Wouldn't mind seeing that make a return, especially if they could make it feel less video-gamey.

SpiritOfNevaeh
03-08-2016, 01:59 AM
Agreed. Connor/Arno/the Fryes (sorry Edward and Shay, not so much you guys) have a very dynamic posture when running, especially when compared with Ezio and Altair (though I admit, those two had excellent, albeit almost unrealistic, posture).

I like how Connor leans into his runs and hand-over-hand leaps over fences. I like how Arno flings out his arms to catch a ledge. I like how Evie rolls over tables. I just wish I could freaking control it.


I want the visuals/animations of Assassin's Creed 3 parkour with even more control than the games before.

^These