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Melee Combat

The Melee Combat functionality is an animation-centric, data-driven layer that allows you to configure how melee targets are acquired and processed. There are few different objects participating in this module.

In a Nutshell

These are the steps necessary to implement a Melee Attack:

  1. Create an Attack Ability extending from UCombatAbility_Attack.
  2. Configure the ability tags as needed. Make sure to set bIsMeleeAttack to true. Provide an Animation Montage, via the Animation Provider property.
  3. Optionally, configure a Warp Target provider, which will find a target for the animation warping. This can use many strategies such as retrieving a Combat Target from the Combat Manager or using the Gameplay Targeting System.
  4. In the Animation Montage, add a Melee Scan Notify State, configuring its properties accordingly. The most important properties here are the scan source, channel and mode.
  5. If you configured a Warp Target provider, then also add a Motion Warping Notify state to the Animation Monage, configuring its properties as you'd like, but making sure to set the warp name to CombatWarp.

If you want to know more about each part of this process, in case you need to extend any part of it, please read on to check each participant in more details.

Participants for Melee Combat

Multiple participants are involved to perform a melee scan. Here's a diagram to show you each step. Participants are listed and the table after, but fully described along this page.

    sequenceDiagram
        AbilitySystemComponent->>AttackAbility: activate
        activate AttackAbility
            AttackAbility->>AttackAbility: listen for events
            AttackAbility->>AnimationMontage: play
            activate AnimationMontage
                AnimationMontage->>MeleeScanNotifyState: begin
                activate MeleeScanNotifyState
                    MeleeScanNotifyState->>MeleeScanInstance: initialize
                    activate MeleeScanInstance
                        MeleeScanInstance-->>MeleeScanNotifyState: instance
                    deactivate MeleeScanInstance
                    MeleeScanNotifyState->>AttackAbility: gameplay event
                    AnimationMontage->>MeleeScanNotifyState: end
                deactivate AnimationMontage
                deactivate MeleeScanNotifyState
                AttackAbility->>ScanMeleeTargetTask: initialize
                activate ScanMeleeTargetTask
                    ScanMeleeTargetTask-->>AttackAbility: instance
                deactivate ScanMeleeTargetTask
                AttackAbility->>ScanMeleeTargetTask: activate
                activate ScanMeleeTargetTask
                    ScanMeleeTargetTask->>MeleeScanInstance: scan
                    activate MeleeScanInstance
                        MeleeScanInstance->>MeleeScan: scan
                        MeleeScanInstance-->>ScanMeleeTargetTask: targets
                    deactivate MeleeScanInstance
                ScanMeleeTargetTask-->>AttackAbility: targets
                deactivate ScanMeleeTargetTask
                loop each Target
                    AttackAbility->>Target: apply GE
                end
        deactivate AttackAbility
Participant Description
Attack Ability Gameplay Ability handling the melee attack. Plays animation and waits for targets.
Animation Montage The animation representing the attack. It denotes the scan area.
Melee Scan Notify Notify State that determines when the scan should begin and end.
Melee Scan Instance An instance that contains the scan request and the logic for how it should be performed.
Melee Scan Task Ability task executing scans. One task can handle many scans.

Attack Gameplay Ability

The UCombatAbility_Attack is the default Gameplay Ability to handle melee combat.

If configured to handle Melee Attacks when bIsMeleeAttack set to true. It will listen for Gameplay Events to the Melee Scan. You can also define the Gameplay Effect applied to targets hit during the Melee Scan.

You should subclass this ability for each specific attack, properly adjust is values as needed and then grant the ability to your character.

The Attack Ability is very flexible

The Attack Ability play animations and can handle both Melee and Ranged attacks from the same montage. This means that you can have very elaborate attacks, merging both combat styles, handled by the same backing ability.

You will notice that there are two specific sub-objects assigned to this ability: the AnimationProvider and the WarpTargetProvider. These are used to provide the Montage to Play and the Warp Target used for the movement. You can use the objects provided by the system or even create your own if you'd like.

Once the Ability activates, it will play the animation and wait for the Scan Event. Once triggered, it will receive a UNinjaCombatMeleeScan instance in the event's payload, which is used to retrieve details about the desired scan. From there, a UAbilityTask_ScanMeleeTarget will be instantiated or, if an active task is executing, reused to perform the melee scan request. Targets acquired will receive the Gameplay Effect configured in the ability.

The Hit Effect can be overriden

In a scenario where you have multiple possible hits from the same Animation Montage, such as "dual wielding" attack, and each weapon should have different gameplay effects, then you can look into GetHitEffectClass function from the ICombatMeleeInterface, which overrides the effect set in the Attack Ability.

Melee Scan Task

The UAbilityTask_ScanMeleeTarget is an internal object used by the Attack Ability to perform Melee Scans in a separate thread. There's virtually no reason for you to worry about this task since it's only an orchestrator task.

The Melee Scan itself actually happens in the UNinjaCombatMeleeScan so if you ever need to change the scan logic, that's the class that you'll actually should consider extending.

Melee Scan Instance

The UNinjaCombatMeleeScan contains the directives for the scan, and the logic to execute it.

Usually, you wouldn't directly work with these instances, unless you need to customize its logic. For that, you can extend the base class and modify any methods to fit your design. Then, simply provide your new class to the Notify State responsible for instantiating it.

These are the two methods used to customize the scan functionality. Both can be extended in Blueprint or C++.

Function Description
ScanForTargets The method actually responsible for performing a scan.
GetIgnoredActors Collects ignored actors for the scan.

However, if you want to create a Melee Scan Instance directly, you can use static methods to do so, either in C++ or Blueprints.

Creating a new Melee Scan Instance

// ----------
// .cpp
#include "GameFramework/NinjaCombatMeleeScan.cpp"

UNinjaCombatMeleeScan* Scan = UNinjaCombatMeleeScan::NewInstance(ScanClass, this, this, this, Mesh, SocketNames,
    ECC_Visiblity, EMeleeScanMode::LineTrace);

Melee Scan Notify State

The Melee Scan state determines when a scan should start and stop. You'll want to add this to the frames in your attack animation, where hits should connect to targets.

Melee Scan Notify

Property Description
Scan Source Source of the scan mesh. Owner or a Weapon.
Weapon Query For a weapon source, provide the query used to retrieve the weapon.
Scan Socket Names Sockets in the mesh used for the scan.
Scan Channel Channel used to perform the scan.
Scan Mode How to perform the scan. Line Trace or Collision Sweeps.
SphereRadius In case of a Sphere Sweep, the sphere radius.
BoxHalfExtent In case of a Box Sweep, the box half extent.
CapsuleDimensions In case of a Capsule Sweep, the Vector containing the capsule's extent.
StartScanTag The Gameplay Event used to start the scan.
StopScanTag The Gameplay Event used to start the scan.
MeleeScanClass Melee Scan class used to transfer the data to the backing ability.
Melee Scan collision channel

It's highly recommended that you create a proper Melee Scan collision channel in your project!

Handling multiple Melee Scans

You can add multiple scans in the same animation. They can be related to the same weapon or even different ones, just make sure to provide the proper Gameplay Tag Query for them!

Be careful changing the Event Tags

Unless there's a very good reason to change the Event Tags, you shouldn't change them. But if you must, then make sure to also change the tags in the backend Ability that will be listening to these events!

Motion Warping

Motion Warping is very common for melee abilities, making sure that the attacker's root component is moved and rotated properly to meet an expected target, usually the victim. This creates a certain "stickiness" to combat, which may be desirable or not for your project.

If you want to use Motion Warping, you must ensure that:

  1. A Motion Warping implementation is provided. For more information about this, please go check the Components page.
  2. The Attack Ability is configured to detect Warp Targets.
  3. Your Animation Montage has a Motion Warping Notify State, with its Warp Target Name set to CombatWarp, or anything else matching the property WarpName from the Attack Ability.

Motion Warp Notify

Core engine functionality

This Anim Notify State and the backing Motion Warping Component used as a default implementation for Motion Warping are provided by the Unreal Engine's Motion Warping plugin.

Whenever you are using the Motion Warping for animation-based abilities, you can also choose how to collect the appropriate target for the warping. The system provides a dedicated provider object for that purpose, the UNinjaCombatMotionWarpingTargetProvider.

You can use the ones provided by the system, or create your own provider. Their goal is to collect an actor that will be used as a target for the Motion Warping system. For more information about this, please check the Combat Targeting page.