Note: iOS 9 + Facebook users w/ trouble scrolling: #super sorry# we hope to fix it asap. In the meantime Chrome Mobile is a reach around
hot  /  reviews  /  videos  /  cblogs  /  qposts

Guest Blogger: Visceral's Vincent Napoli talks Dante's Inferno's Cross combat

2:00 PM on 12.16.2009 // Vincent Napoli

[Editor's note: Visceral Games' Vincent Napoli is the Lead Combat designer for the developer's upcoming title, Dante's Inferno.]

Dante wields two main weapons against the enemies of the Inferno. One of them, a magical cross imbued with divine powers, is given as a parting gift from Beatrice before he descends into the Inferno. For all intents and purposes, the cross is Dante’s secondary weapon -- but, the cross serves a very different purpose than the Scythe does during combat. The cross offers a completely unique experience for players who decide to favor the cross over the scythe when upgrading throughout the game.

Our three major goals for designing Dante’s Cross:

  1. The first and most important thing is that the Cross needs to add to the moment to moment game play of Dante’s Inferno. This means we cannot have the Cross bound by some type of energy or mana.
  2. The Cross also has to be accessible. Early prototypes of the control scheme for the Cross had it triggered via holding down the left shoulder button or R2 before pressing any of the four face button. However we found that scheme of multiple button presses, shift keys, etc. to be far too cumbersome.
  3. Lastly, the Cross needs to be Dante’s ranged weapon and serve a completely different function than the Scythe. The Scythe is already a great catch-all tool for anything Dante needs to do close range, so we needed something that controls an entirely different spatial area.

Even though our goals were clearly outlined from the get go, it actually took quite a while to get the Cross to where we are now. We’ve gone through numerous revisions functionally and aesthetically to finally get to a place where we’re happy with it.

One of the first design elements we nailed down was that we didn’t want the player to be able to strafe targets while using the Cross. Strafing while firing at enemies may work fine in other action games, but it didn’t feel right for Dante’s Inferno. Part of the feel of the original poem is that Dante is in constant motion, descending downwards through hell and never backtracking. We wanted to keep that feel in combat as well so we decided that each Cross attack would function like a melee attack and push Dante forward. This not only keeps combat feeling more aggressive at all times, but adds an inherent risk versus reward scenario as Dante may be able to start at a great distance from his enemies, but each attack increases the risk of danger.

Another element that took forever to get right with the Cross was targeting. We didn’t want to introduce the notion of a targeting system or a “lock-on” system but obviously we want players to be able to choose what they aim at. Our solution takes several things into account. For starters, the Cross actually blasts in an incredibly wide arc rather than just a single projectile – it’s basically a spread shot. Also, each Cross projectile can actually “pierce” through enemies, which means whenever it hits an opponent it doesn’t stop moving – it damages them and then phases directly through them to hit anyone else it comes into contact with. Finally, we’ve implemented a pretty refined soft lock system that aims the projectile at what we believe is the player’s “intentional” target.

Oddly enough, the most difficult thing to develop for the Cross was the look of the actual projectile it fires. The first prototype started out with Dante literally shooting a big white cross. At the time it was just a test, but people seemed to generally like the look of it. From there, we made a first pass at our “Cross Bullet.” But for whatever reason, things just didn’t click. The treatment wasn’t working and so it was scrapped before we took it very far.

Our next attempt was to move to a less literal object and go with something more akin to a blasts of energy. This iteration even made it into our E3 demo and was taken to a relatively high level of completion.

Something still wasn’t right however. Along with the aesthetic not feeling perfect yet, the functionality of shooting spheres out just wasn’t working. Players would constantly miss their target, shooting too far to the left or right, but never on target. Not only did the object itself have to change, but the overall shape as well. 

Coming full circle, we finally decided to head back to a treatment of “Cross Bullets,” except this time we invested a bit more into a stylized interpretation of the Cross effects by adding frost-like trails and whispy elements lingering off the cross itself. The biggest hurdle at this point was now frame rate. The effects need to be impressive, but not at the cost of 60 FPS. Luckily, our stellar VFX artist Sandy Lin and the graphics engineering team were up to the challenge.

Getting the Cross to where it is today took, literally, months of iteration time from almost every department. The effects had to be optimized constantly, and the damage and spacing of the cross shots were tweaked after almost every playtest.

But, the end result is something that both the team, and playtesters have found to be incredibly satisfying and fun to use. Here’s hoping everyone else feels the same on February 9th!

[Are you a developer? Want to guest blog about your latest project or simply talk about anything related to gaming? Send inquiries to nick at destructoid dot com.]

Photo Gallery: (6 images)
Click to zoom - browse by swipe, or use arrow keys

Vincent Napoli,
 Follow Blog + disclosure

This blog submitted to our editor via our Community Blogs, and then it made it to the home page! You can follow community members and vote up their blogs - support each other so we can promote a more diverse and deep content mix on our home page.

 Setup email comments

Unsavory comments? Please report harassment, spam, and hate speech to our community fisters, and flag the user (we will ban users dishing bad karma). Can't see comments? Apps like Avast or browser extensions can cause it. You can fix it by adding * to your whitelists.

Status updates from C-bloggers

SeymourDuncan17 avatarSeymourDuncan17
Boy howdy, does Divinity: Original Sin take a while to get going. But, it was worth it in the end. Probably the most hardcore RPG I've played. Stellar writing, at that! Combat's pretty amazing too. [img][/img]
FlanxLycanth avatarFlanxLycanth
So it seems I've locked into the Neutral ending for SMT IV and now I need to find specific challenge quests and complete them...? How (un)fun! Google is your friend - the videogame.
Riobux avatarRiobux
Interested in playing some Pathfinder? Trying to arrange a Dtoid Pathfinder group for Saturday nights (GMT) on Skype & Roll 20. If you're new to pen-and-paper RPGs, I don't mind at all and can bring you up to speed quick. Just comment if interested.
Fuzunga avatarFuzunga
Local convention had a great selection of game soundtracks 5 for $20! I got Halo 3: ODST (2 disk!), Gears of War 2, Deus Ex: Human Revolution, Darksiders 2 (2 disk!), and Castlevania: Lords of Shadow. Some of the best soundtracks of the last 7 years!
Niero Desu avatarNiero Desu
Photos and videos are back on quickposts but clipping on some devices. We're going to add a new quickpost editing interface so photos and videos can only be displayed one way (a la twitter) to solve this. Also, a My cBlog link was added to your user menu
Flegma avatarFlegma
Machine-washed my Wii Fit meter yesterday by accident. Took the battery out and let it dry for the night. Luckily the meter still worked - but it had counted a fair number of steps more that day.
Agent9 avatarAgent9
Finally killed Ludwig, now if I could only get passed the 2 hunters on the second floor. that 2 some is rather annoying,and her holy blade kills in only a few hits. wish mine was that strong.
Casus Gaming avatarCasus Gaming
After reading a blog post about DMC4 I decided to watch all the cutscenes on Youtube. Tried the games years ago and couldn't get into them, but man that shit was stylish. Likeable protagonists, intense drama... still think DmC reboot wasn't that bad tho.
lewness avatarlewness
me on 1st ff14 raid (void ark): ooh so many people and lights, so many lights, lights, fuck I can't see, what is happening, i don't understand, is it tuesday already, get on the platform fuuuuck, wow void helm
Pixie The Fairy avatarPixie The Fairy
Just a reminder that you have until the 30th to get your Bloggers Wanted post, "Thankful it's over" in. I'm either going to tell you how I ruined my best online gaming experience or rip Twilight Princess a new one. Maybe both.
Nekrosys avatarNekrosys
Huh. I just found out the developers of Hatred (remember that controversy?) region-locked their game to prevent it from being accessed by Australians. Destructive Creations are more censor-happy than Nintendo, it seems. Where's the outrage?
Oh yeah, I have an account on this site.
Parismio avatarParismio
Ever wanted to get that item behind that safe in the beginning of Fallout 4?:
Shinta avatarShinta
Got Resident Evil 4 Wii for $5. Uh ... this might be my favorite version. I'm just getting headshots nonstop. Did I miss any other Wii games that are frequently overlooked? Like, really obscure Wii games that no one talks about? I'm interested.
RadicalYoseph avatarRadicalYoseph
Poeple due not aprecciate teh hrdships of bein a squid.
OverlordZetta avatarOverlordZetta
Guys, check out your blogs! Just be sure to bring tissues. I wish I had. [img][/img]
The Dyslexic Laywer avatarThe Dyslexic Laywer
Anyone see the new Captain America trailer? It's pretty dope!
Shinta avatarShinta You're welcome.
GoofierBrute avatarGoofierBrute
Update: played through Hyper Dimension Neptunia Rebirth, reminded why I don't like the series, and requested a refund on it and its sequel. Not sure if they'll refund the sequel, but if they honor at least the first, I'll use that money to get Undertale.
Nekrosys avatarNekrosys
I hope the new Star Wars movie answers the biggest question I have about the franchise; do Midi-Chlorians poop?
more quickposts



Invert site colors

  Dark Theme
  Light Theme

Destructoid means family.
Living the dream, since 2006

Pssst. konami code + enter

modernmethod logo

Back to Top

We follow moms on   Facebook  and   Twitter
  Light Theme      Dark Theme
Pssst. Konami Code + Enter!
You may remix stuff our site under creative commons w/@
- Destructoid means family. Living the dream, since 2006 -