With a wide variety of large districts and 100-story Conglomerate buildings scraping the sky, the city of Glass is vast in all directions. Even experienced Runners who know all the nooks and crannies can use some assistance in navigating through it.
That’s where Runner’s Vision comes in. Here to help us shed light on this unique view of the Mirror’s Edge™ Catalyst world is Software Engineer Mark Scheurwater.
What is Runner’s Vision and how does Faith get hold of it?
- Runner’s Vision is based on the same feature as in the original Mirror’s Edge. It is a way to highlight objects in front of players to give them a hint on where they’re going next. Runner’s Vision is activated by the player, but can also be activated by missions.
- Early in Mirror’s Edge Catalyst, Faith receives a hi-tech contact lens connected to a piece of Runner tech that “piggybacks” on The Grid – the city’s network. Through the lens Faith will get a unique view with highlighted objects, marked by other Runners.
- “Follow the Red” is still the mantra. You can specify where you want to go like in a GPS system, keep following objects marked red, and you’ll reach your destination eventually. Apart from highlighting objects, we also use a red trail to guide you.
“Follow the Red” is still the mantra
How much help will Runner’s Vision give the player?
- It’s up to the player if they want to use Runner’s Vision at all, and if so: to what extent. There are three settings: Off, Classic, and Full View. Depending on your player style you’ll be able to pick a fitting setting. If you want your exploration to be completely undisturbed you can turn Runner’s Vision off, and if you want some guidance to keep momentum, Classic and Full View are good choices.
How does Runner’s Vision differ from the first Mirror’s Edge?
- Designing Runner’s Vision in the first game was much easier since it was quite linear. This meant we could use a linear route highlighting the next object. But with the new world of Mirror’s Edge Catalyst, plotting a route is much more complex. Even for a car navigation system which only deals with roads this is fairly complicated – and we also have to consider buildings, drop offs, and other uneven surfaces, which has been challenging.
How have you solved those challenges?
- We’ve tackled it in a number of ways. Apart from a more common A* navigation system used by GPS systems we’ve used a telemetry-driven system. We’ve basically recorded how our players move during playtests, and then we play back what they did afterwards. Based on this data, we built a heat map to predict where a route exists.
- It’s been surprising to see how players run. What we consider the best route is often not optimal. Players are far more creative than developers so we know they will find new routes. Using this data, we can find paths and add them to the system.
What happens if a player makes a mistake and don’t follow the red?
- What Runner’s Vision tries to do when you’re off the suggested track is plot a route designed to keep your momentum up. For instance, if you fall off a zip line the new route won’t suggest a 180-degree turn since - that would make you lose speed, instead it will look for an alternate route for you.
What has been the most fun aspect of designing Runner’s Vision?
- It’s been great to see people who never played the game actually keep momentum thanks to this system. They plot a route, start running, and for 10 minutes they keep running non-stop with undisturbed momentum. That is truly awesome. If I see players having fun and keeping their speed, then I know I’ve done my job.