Gnasher Update: January 2020
In the weeks following the launch of Operation 2, we noticed an increase in reports of the Gnasher not behaving like it should and generally feeling worse than pre-TU3. We felt it too.
The team undertook a rigorous investigation to identify any potential issues. The process took time as the Gnasher is a complex beast that relies on a lot of different systems to feel right.
After our investigation, we’ve identified three different issues: one that we believe is the root cause, a second bug impacting mouse users, and a third issue that – while rare – is something we’re able to address thanks to our in-depth investigation.
Not a fan of knowing all the details and just what we fixed? Skip to our TL;DR lines as you go.
Root Cause: Gnasher Magnetism Calculations
From the very first Gears, close-range bullet magnetism has been essential for the Gnasher to feel as good as you’d expect, as you bounce or strafe around your way around opponents while hip-firing in a 3rd person camera. Magnetism does this by bringing pellets a little closer to the center of mass in circumstances where it may look like, in 3rd person perspective, your opponent is closer to your shot than they actually are.
Given the Gnasher operates on a pellet by pellet basis, every single pellet that misses makes a difference. Magnetism helps ensure an intuitive Gnasher – when one pellet sails under an arm or leg even though you had perfect aim on center of mass, magnetism is there to minimize that chance of happening.
Our investigation has discovered a knock on issue from a TU3 change in how the allowed ‘range’ of magnetism was calculated – rather than calculating that distance from the Gnasher’s barrel, it was coming from the camera. This minor difference in distance means you’d have to be almost on top of your opponent to benefit from pellet magnetism, resulting in a less consistent feeling Gnasher.
We believe this is the root cause of most of the issues since TU3, and we’ll be deploying a fix via a live update to address it directly. Testing is still being finalized on this live update, which does not require a TU and is separate to TU4.
Our current hope is to release this next week, potentially alongside TU4, subject to final testing of the changes being successful. We’ll provide a confirmed final date as soon as that process completes, but we wanted to let you know about this key update to the investigation as soon as we had it.
Initial playtests are promising, but as always, we will be watching (and playing) to ensure this brings the Gnasher back to where it was.
TL;DR – Gnasher bullet magnetism was only active at extremely close ranges due to a knock on from TU3, causing less magnetism than usual and making the Gnasher feel more inconsistent. Live fix incoming soon – we’ll confirm a final date soon.
Mouse Specific Issue: Hip-fire Magnetism
We’ve also fixed a bug impacting player’s using a mouse that eliminated bullet magnetism completely when hip-firing the Gnasher.
This means mouse users were not getting the benefit of the currently minimal magnetism range window for the Gnasher that was impacting everybody, which simply exacerbated the issue when using a mouse.
We apologize that we were unable to fix this sooner. This issue requires a code change (meaning a TU) – but the good news is a fix is coming in TU4 (coming the week of January 20th).
TL;DR – Mouse users had no bullet magnetism at all on the Gnasher hip-fire, fixed in TU4
Weapon Switching Impacting Your Shot (rare frequency)
We noticed a few videos (like this one on Reddit) showing Gnasher shots seemingly ghosting through an entire enemy – something the magnetism nor latency accounted for.
Our gameplay team scrutinized the details, and as we went down the investigation rabbit hole, discovered a new, rarely-hit occurrence that we have now identified a fix for.
Occurring since Gears of War 4, we have discovered that players can sometimes fire 4 frames (yes, only 4 frames!) earlier than intended after a weapon switch animation. If a player fires in this window, their Gnasher is not in the expected firing position it’s designed to be in, instead firing roughly from their left shoulder where the end of the barrel is during the animation.
Using the video linked above as an example, the pellets from the player’s Gnasher travelled from their left shoulder and spread to the middle of the screen (where they were aiming) from that position – essentially travelling at an angle where the pellets had no target between them and the ground.
From the user’s perspective, it looks like a perfectly aligned Gnasher shot (especially from the spread). However, due to the 4 frame window allowing an earlier-than-intended shot during the animation, the angle those pellets came in on is entirely different based on where the barrel is.
While we expect this occurs very rarely relative to the other issues, it’s an opportunity to improve the Gnasher consistency further. We’ll be fixing this in our next TU following TU4, potentially via a hotfix TU.
TL;DR – Players can shoot 4 frames early after a weapon switch, causing the barrel to not be in a normal firing position resulting in pellets not travelling as expected. Fixed in an upcoming TU.
On top of these fixes, which we believe should restore the Gnasher to feeling just as good as it’s pre-TU3 state (and then some!), we’re also looking at further improvements to the Gnasher mechanics as we continue to ensure this is the best Gnasher in Gears to date.
We have some incoming animation tweaks to reduce instances of some shots hitting cover when shooting during cover slips, and we are looking to deploy even more updates that will impact the consistency of Gnasher play over the coming months. We’ll give you all the details as we get them.
Finally, we want to give a massive thank you for all the feedback and comments sent to us about the Gnasher – especially those that were accompanied with videos. Videos from the community have been integral to helping us narrow our investigation parameters, even to the point of uncovering those very small details that can have an impact (like the weapon switch frames). If you feel something off, video can make all the difference.
We appreciate your patience as we conducted as thorough an investigation as we could – and as always, we’ll be listening to see how you feel about these latest improvements.