Horizon Zero Dawn: Slide – Feature Breakdown


This post is me imitating to be a game designer at Guerrilla Games while working on Horizon Zero Dawn.

“I hope this won’t be counted as identity theft”

So I’ve tried to emulate how I would look to document the feature if I was working within the team. With Forbidden West released, this is a good throwback opportunity to get one of my old breakdown documents out!


I would highly recommend reading this breakdown in PDF document format through this link!

I blame WordPress for readability issues.


Enable Aloy to maintain stealth while maintaining character momentum.

Provide a “sense of control” to avoid player autonomy frustrations.

Actively utilize the action both in traversal and combat.

Let LDs be metric informed, not metric enforced (Guerrilla Games Mantra).


  • Batman Arkham Knight(LINK); Not so low in height, but it is what we should be aiming for.
  • Vanquish(LINK); This one’s okay, the layered actions are good, but the distance is ultra-exaggerated.
  • Scavengers(LINK); This one’s good, but is more action focused per our requirements.


While in Sprint, the player can initiate Aloy’s “Slide Action” in character facing direction on pressing “Crouch” Input.


  • The action can be initiated while a weapon is in hand / is sheathed.
  • 360° camera control is to be allowed while Slide is active.


  • On initiation, Aloy is to travel a default distance of [4m] in [1sec] while shifting to [0.9m] character height.
    • The animation distance covered may vary depending on collisions with high angle slopes / objects.


  • If forward analog stick input is provided while default Slide is about to end, Aloy is to transition from Slide ➔ Slide Extra.
  • Slide Extra is to begin by obtaining a speed between [0.5m/s – 2m/s] per [0-1] of forward analog stick input.
    • For example; If the Player begins Slide Extra with full forward analog stick pressure, the speed obtained is to be equivalent to [2m/s].
    • But if the Player begins Slide Extra with half forward analog stick pressure, the speed obtained is to be equivalent to [1m/s].
    • Speed once obtained, cannot increase in value, and can only decrease.
  • The speed value derived is to gradually decrease by an exponential speed
    curve; Reference max. speed [2m/s] per max. time [3sec].
    • The Slide speed value can be manually overridden by reduction in forward analog stick pressure.
    • Aloy is to exit Slide when speed drops under [0.5m/s].
    • The intention is to comfortably let the Slide extend distance, providing variance to LD placements, while slowly draining the momentum obtained.


  • Slide speed deceleration curve is to be proportionate per world slope angles.
    • The intention is to let the Slide momentum stay shorter / longer depending on upward / downward slopes.
    • Upward slope; Reference max. time [2sec].
    • Downward slope; Reference max. time [4sec].
  • Aloy is to be blocked by [>75°] of upward slope angles while in Slide.
  • Slide exits to ➔ Free Fall on facing steep [>90°] downward slope angles.


  • Player can steer Aloy left / right with a turn rate speed of [0.25m/s – 0.5m/s] depending on [0-1] of left / right analog stick pressure while in Slide Extra.
    • The intention is to enhance player control to influence Slide ending position, while providing variance to LD placements.


  • While in Slide, if not already unsheathed, Aloy can unsheathe weapon on Aim Input.
  • While the weapon is unsheathed, Aloy can apply “Aim” action by Aim Input.
    • AIM: Aloy upper body, while applying a layered “Weapon Aim” animation, is to morph according to camera facing direction (max. morph angle assigned; 180°).
    • Aloy is to exit Slide while trying to turn beyond max. morph angle assigned.
    • SHOOT: Aloy while aiming weapon, can initiate Shoot.
    • The intention is to retain all weapon abilities while Slide is active.
  • Aloy is to apply a layared auto-sheathe animation in [10sec] of not utilizing Aim action.
  • On initiation, NPC audio perception will drop from Sprint [3] ➔ Slide [1].
    • The intention is to let Aloy stay nimble and quiet while switching between covers seamlessly.


  • The table below specifies all exit conditions applicable while in slide / post slide to transition to other states.
DefaultPost default Slide distance, end in ➔ Crouch state.
On Crouch InputPost default Slide distance, end in ➔ Standing state.
On Sprint InputPost default Slide distance, blend ➔ Sprint using a special transition anim.
On Quick Attack InputPost default Slide distance, blend ➔ Quick Attack using a special transition anim.
On Strong Attack InputPost default Slide distance, blend ➔ Strong Attack using a special transition anim.
On Dodge InputDirect blend-transition ➔ Dodge.
On Jump InputDirect blend-transition ➔ Jump.
Hit by an Attack (Damage)Direct blend-transition ➔ Hurt Reaction applicable.



My expectations on Slide distance and end position:

  • Distance: 4m to 10m, Position: 4m off initiation path.

Controlling the navigation pacing with other states, our focus should be in getting all the parameters specified to the right feel, and maintaining communication with LD / any other dept. for reference.

AnimDefault Slide Distance4Metres
AnimDefault Slide Time1Seconds
TechMin. Slide Speed0.5Metres / Seconds
TechMax. Slide Speed2Metres / Seconds
TechSlide Deceleration Curve; Max. Reference Speed2Metres / Seconds
TechSlide Deceleration Curve; Max. Reference Time3Seconds
TechSlide Deceleration Curve; Max. Upward Slope Reference Time2Seconds
TechSlide Deceleration Curve; Max. Downward Slope Reference Time4Seconds
TechMin. Slide Turn Rate0.25Metres / Seconds
TechMax. Slide Turn Rate0.5Metres / Seconds
Tech AnimMax. Aim Morph Angle180Degrees
Tech AnimWeapon Auto-Sheathe10Seconds
TechSlide Audio Perception1Points
TechSlide Visual PerceptionVisibleBoolean


  • Values mentioned in [ ] are considered to be fluid, and are subject to change even after implementation.
  • Check to see the possibility of expanding / changing collision while Slide is active (sphere / capsule / size).
  • Consider tech to disable Slide action all together in tagged areas / safe zones / exotic navigation events.
  • Consider tech to modify Slide time according to surface tags (rocky, wet, mud, dirt, wet grass etc.)
  • Consider tech to enable Slide upgrades (distance, speed, vision perception, attacks, abilities).
  • Slide action ≠standing / crouching downward slope locomotion.
  • Refer to Sprint, Crouch, Free Fall, Shoot, individual documents to know more about connected features.
  • Don’t be hesitant to communicate in case of any conflict / query upon proposed design.

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