Author Topic: End-of-Turn Activation/Report Improvement Ideas  (Read 1298 times)

Offline Pepisolo

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End-of-Turn Activation/Report Improvement Ideas
« on: January 18, 2013, 01:34:13 PM »
A couple of things that I think could be improved upon is the way in which the end-of-turn activation occurs and also the subsequent relaying of the end-of-turn report information to the player.

Currently, destroying a windstorm generator ends the turn, with changes on the strategic map seeming to occur within the small duration it takes for day to change to night or vice versa. This seems a bit jarring and clunky -- the enemies inexplicably respawning immediately further adds to this sense of awkwardness.

To make this smoother, I suggest that rather than the end-of-turn activation occurring upon destruction of the windmill, it should instead occur after exiting the destroyed windmill's area. Upon leaving, the player would then receive a message saying "Meanwhile..." in order to create the subtle illusion that changes have been happening while you were traversing the level. This is where this small idea then ties in to another popular suggestion on Mantis by Zaaq -- "Show Don't Tell" in the strategic UI, http://www.arcengames.com/mantisbt/view.php?id=10169.

I won't go into massive detail myself as the post on Mantis does a good job of this, but basically you would get to see what has happened during the turn in a much more understandable and entertaining way -- by actually viewing for yourself on the world map. You would see what movements Demonaica has taken, what buildings have been destroyed, what square your survivor has been injured on, what impasses have been breached etc. This would replace the current end-of-turn report which is a little dense, boring, and omits a few locational details. In terms of resources required for implementation, this new system would comprise of little more than camera movements on the strategic view, the movement of the Demonaica piece, and text interjections; Demonaica's movement animation is already in place, which is nice.

Changes along these lines would give a much smoother transition between end-of-turn activation and end-of-turn reporting as well as allowing the player to take in the relevant changes on the strategic map more easily.

That's about it, actually. All comments gratefully received.

Offline madcow

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Re: End-of-Turn Activation/Report Improvement Ideas
« Reply #1 on: January 18, 2013, 01:46:23 PM »
The day/night transition after destroying a windmill is both cool and a bit weird/jarring at the same time. I alternate between liking it, not liking it, and simply not caring. 

What would honestly make the most sense is if destroying a windmill immediately made you leave the chunk, bringing up the action report. Or brought up the report while in the background doing the time cycle.  The first makes the most sense, but on some level I would miss seeing the time transition

Offline keith.lamothe

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Re: End-of-Turn Activation/Report Improvement Ideas
« Reply #2 on: January 18, 2013, 06:38:41 PM »
I don't have a lot of time for an in-depth response, but on one point:

To make this smoother, I suggest that rather than the end-of-turn activation occurring upon destruction of the windmill, it should instead occur after exiting the destroyed windmill's area.
Yes, that would be nicer, but it wouldn't work with multiplayer.  Do the other players have to wait until the windmill-destroying player exits the chunk?  What if they log out?  Or idle?
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Offline Pepisolo

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Re: End-of-Turn Activation/Report Improvement Ideas
« Reply #3 on: January 19, 2013, 09:15:01 AM »
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Yes, that would be nicer, but it wouldn't work with multiplayer.  Do the other players have to wait until the windmill-destroying player exits the chunk?  What if they log out?  Or idle?

You make an interesting point there, I hadn't considered what the ramifications would be to multiplayer in making what seemed like a small change.

However, as it is an interesting puzzle and for the sake of discussion I will offer one possible solution. Once a windmill is destroyed all players in the area could gain this windmill-destroying property, so if one decided to log off or became idle the other players would be able to continue in their absence. Upon any one of these players walking off screen all players would then be taken to see the events on the strategic map unfold.

As a solution to the idle/logging out problem this seems decent, although it would probably raises many other problems. Problems that it would be hard for me to appreciate without a firm grasp of how the multiplayer works.

Still, I thought it was a decent idea worth throwing out there.

Offline keith.lamothe

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Re: End-of-Turn Activation/Report Improvement Ideas
« Reply #4 on: January 19, 2013, 10:11:09 AM »
I think it would be good to:

- keep the actual simulation of the end-turn stuff happening when it does (on death of the windstorm generator, essentially)
- but when the player comes to the world map, show the numbers and state from before the end of the turn (this may be too complex to have all the NPCs and such properly shown since the dead ones will already be gone, but it might be doable), and "playback" the end turn results that are largely already stored.

But that would take time for the player to see and process; some would probably still prefer the really quick summary... though perhaps the speed of the summary somewhat "cheapens" the significance of the strategic stuff, in the mind of the viewer.
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Offline Pepisolo

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Re: End-of-Turn Activation/Report Improvement Ideas
« Reply #5 on: January 19, 2013, 11:17:22 AM »
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keep the actual simulation of the end-turn stuff happening when it does (on death of the windstorm generator, essentially)

Given the multiplayer problems you highlighted that would arise from trying something different, this is probably for the best. Although I would like to see enemies not immediately respawning in the area you're in upon windmill destruction. This one change alone would reduce the sense of clunkiness massively.

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but when the player comes to the world map, show the numbers and state from before the end of the turn (this may be too complex to have all the NPCs and such properly shown since the dead ones will already be gone, but it might be doable), and "playback" the end turn results that are largely already stored.

If by "playback" you mean something like what is proposed in the "Show Don't Tell" in the strategic UI Mantis report, then sounds good to me.

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But that would take time for the player to see and process; some would probably still prefer the really quick summary... though perhaps the speed of the summary somewhat "cheapens" the significance of the strategic stuff, in the mind of the viewer.

Sounds to me like you could easily have the best of both worlds. You could make this "playback" skippable. If the player chooses to skip it then the end-of-turn report page would instead be shown. Seems like an elegant solution to me.

Offline keith.lamothe

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Re: End-of-Turn Activation/Report Improvement Ideas
« Reply #6 on: January 19, 2013, 11:22:41 AM »
Although I would like to see enemies not immediately respawning in the area you're in upon windmill destruction. This one change alone would reduce the sense of clunkiness massively.
That's adventure-side, so you'd need to convince Chris of that :)  He specifically asked me to make it happen instantly.

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If the player chooses to skip it then the end-of-turn report page would instead be shown. Seems like an elegant solution to me.
It may seem elegant, but the hardest solution to a software problem is always "do both".  The dev time wouldn't be too awful, I think, but in general if you have to do the same thing two different ways (and thus have to continue supporting both, etc), then something more fundamental is wrong.
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Offline Pepisolo

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Re: End-of-Turn Activation/Report Improvement Ideas
« Reply #7 on: January 19, 2013, 05:42:06 PM »
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That's adventure-side, so you'd need to convince Chris of that :)  He specifically asked me to make it happen instantly.

I already made a report on Mantis about this, so no need to go into it here. I will post the link, though:

http://www.arcengames.com/mantisbt/view.php?id=10383

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It may seem elegant, but the hardest solution to a software problem is always "do both".  The dev time wouldn't be too awful, I think, but in general if you have to do the same thing two different ways (and thus have to continue supporting both, etc), then something more fundamental is wrong.

Utilizing the existing end-of-turn report code in conjunction with the "playback" idea really just seemed like the easiest way in programming terms to provide the user with a handy skip option. I suppose you could consider it a little hacky, though. No matter, if you really want to keep your code clean then why not just integrate a fast forward function into your "playback" idea for the more impatient user. Playback, fast forward, makes sense doesn't it? Many arcade games would have features such as this for speeding through introduction sequences. Cadillacs and Dinosaurs had similar functions, I believe.

If you do not want to take the hackier route or if a fast forward feature is not feasible in your eyes and it came to a straight choice between the current fast, but almost prototype-esque implementation or the touted slower yet more polished "playback" implementation then I would choose the latter. It's more informative, more entertaining, more understandable, and more professional. Pretty much the only thing the current system has is the advantage of brevity, and that's if you can even call it an advantage.
« Last Edit: January 19, 2013, 07:06:15 PM by Pepisolo »