last of us 2 dev

Several Devs Including The Last of Us II Director Reveal How Difficult It Is to Add Doors to Games

A number of developers have taken to Twitter to explain how difficult it is to insert sections involving the use of doors in video games. Apparently, something as simple as opening and closing doors can break immersion, make the game clunky, and cause all sorts of visual and gameplay problems.

What sparked the conversation was a tweet mentioning the above by Death Trash developer Stephan Hövelbrinks. Several other developers, including former BioWare designer Damion Schubert and The Last of Us Part II co-director Kurt Margenau, chimed in. The most detailed explanation of the issue came from Margenau, who tweeted with reference to The Last of Us II:

We knew that doors in a stealth scenario would add some level of player authorship to the space and give more opportunities to escape situations. They block line of sight and slow enemies down. This was in line with wanting the player to re-establish stealth more often. But we are also a game that is incredibly polished animation-wise. If a player is going to open a door, it can’t just magically fly open, the character has to reach to the doorknob and push it open. But what about closing it behind you? How do you do that while sprinting?

We played around with several prototypes to allow the player to manually close the door behind them. They were all not great. We tried holding buttons, all kinds of weird schemes. Then how do you animate it? Don’t want to suck the player into an animation while escaping. Long story short: in combat tension the doors will slowly automatically close. This is the most player-favoring, as player door opening slows you down very little, we don’t even take control away, but they block AI more effectively. In non-combat tension, the doors stay open, so you can see where you have explored without them re-closing. Oh, and, they are physics based so they slam shut behind you when opening them violently i.e. sprinting through them.

Margenau concluded his thread by revealing that Naughty Dog ended up creating a new physics object, unique to its engine, which players can push but can also push the player. Additionally, the developer designed an “insane partial reaching-to-doorknobs” layering system that balances animation fidelity and responsiveness.

[Source: ResetEra]