Author Topic: GUI Progress, Main Menu Updates, Shiels, Beta News, Trailer Help Request, etc.  (Read 520 times)

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Progress report! The rest of the staff haven't even seen this in actual practice yet, since I can't check anything into our source control since this overhaul temporarily breaks EVERYTHING. But it's an amazing new experience coming up based on these changes, plus others not yet shown.

Actually if you're curious, you can check out my trello for some more details on what is coming: https://trello.com/b/tz2k8Q15/chris-ai-war-2-todo



New main menu! I was tired of that ship going by, and didn't want some generic battle or other ship just sitting there. During the kickstarter, I really liked the red and blue planet aesthetic that we had going on, but it was highly unrealistic of course.

But that got me thinking about doing something more stylized: a blue circuit-boardy or borg-like planet (wound up going with the former) that is larger and more sedate feeling, and then a smaller and more burned-out or desert version that is glowing more red (wound up going with the former). The one represents the AI, the other the humans, and in both cases it's showing how Earth sentience has symbolically moved on and lives on even though Earth itself was destroyed. I particularly like how the human planet almost crashes into the AI one, but just barely misses.

The symbolism of the asteroids rushing past the two planets is hopefully also obvious. I thought it was just a neat thing to do, and it seems very appropriate for the game and like something that would be mesmerizing just to sit and look at, which is always fun. When I added the little blue satellite line around the AI planet, that really brought that part together for me.

The Verdict On Shields/Forcefields (For Now)

Shields/forcefields are indeed gone for now, although we might bring them back in a limited capacity on the human side only.  So far that doesn't seem to be needed, though, and that's largely because of the impressive new power of tractor beams and turrets, and some of the new gravity mechanics that you can get a bit of a hint of in the new sidebar, above.

Anyone With Trailer-Making Skills Want To Help Out?

We're running at full capacity even with awesome volunteers helping us out in a variety of areas.  We already have two trailers in progress at least conceptually (one in practice), but we'd really like to have at least a third in order for the game to be presentable in a variety of ways that people might find appealing.

I recall that Minecraft had a trailer-making contest and they had people who made way better trailers than either some marketing firm unfamiliar with the game could, or the developers themselves could.  I can't really offer a bounty or anything on that, but if there are folks who want to come explain the "AI War experience" in general in trailer form, please feel free to email me at chrispark7 at gmail.

Oh, the other catch on that: we're running low on time (about a month and a half until launch), and the visuals aren't going to be fully finalized for another few weeks.  !Fun! ;)  Such is life, though, and at least the game itself is coming together really fantastically.

That Beta...

Obviously any of you can play the game right now or tomorrow or the next day, if you want to.  But we're trying to get to a state where we can invite a huge number of you in and have you have a good and coherent near-final experience with the game, balance aside.

We'll need your help figuring out where balance breaks down, because the game is huge and people have wildly divergent playstyles.  Plus it will be more bughunting time that then Keith and I can spend fixing issues from.

We're not there yet, but one of the main things holding that back is the introduction of the new GUI, which is finally coming along.  Eric designed that much faster than I was able to implement it.

Anyway, please do stay tuned on that front -- we hope to have a couple of dozen of you come in and really hit this thing hard during the beta.  Out of the few thousand of you that currently have a copy, surely we've got a few dozen for that... ;)

Thanks for reading!

Chris
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Offline RabidSanity

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Wow those gui changes look really great.  Can't wait to test it out. 

Regarding removing shields to which I was too late to the main discussion thread.  Would it make sense to have another hull type(Neutron?) for the important structures such as the ark, controller and then not have any ships have bonus damage against this hull type?  You could also use it to help explain why those units/structures are resistant to nukes.

Offline BadgerBadger

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I like the GUI changes (obviously), but while I hope you can play the game w/o using the keyboard, we won't be sacrificing the ability of the power-player who loves using their keyboard for efficiency in favor of the mouse-only player.

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The Neutron hull type intrigues me; I'll make sure Keith sees this.

And yep, for sure, power players having lots of keybinds is as much a thing as ever.  One of the things that I hope that the new GUI does is increase discoverability of said keybinds, though.  Sometimes people didn't even know an important feature existed in the first game unless they went and read the hotkey chart!
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Offline BadgerBadger

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For the Tech menu, is it going to be easy to see "How much benefit am I going to get from upgrading this particular thing?" For example, lets say I'm debating whether to unlock MLRS turret Mark III or Laser and Sniper turrets to Mark II to fight off a wave that's gonna hit in 5 minutes. I'd like to see how much of a power boost upgrading each turret type would be.

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That's a good one to toss to Eric.  I think that the little tooltips for each tech upgrade should be there on the left of the sidebar like the other near-sidebar tooltips are (warheads, etc), and I think it should just include the information that's most relevant. 

A description of the unit, maybe only if it's mark I (aka unlocking the whole line) and I guess all its stats in that case.  Or... maybe that's TMI.  People trying to stat-compare to figure out what lines to unlock is beside the point; they should be deciding based on role on the battlefield, and assume that they're good in their role.

Then for upgrades, we probably want to just show the stats that are actually changing, with an arrow from one to the next, or something like that.  Very JRPG-like.  No description, either, maybe.  Maybe just:

Mark II Needlers
Cap: 20 -> 30
Attack: 1000 -> 3000
Health: 400 -> 900

And whatever else.  Obviously I just made those stats up.  And anything that stays the same between marks would be skipped.  That way I'm JUST seeing the things that are actually relevant for that upgrade.  If I want to know more about Mark I Needlers in general, I could look on the construction tab.  I'll run this past Eric.
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Offline BadgerBadger

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Some stat-comparison is vital, if only for the case I mention above (Do I upgrade one turret to Mark III or two turrets to Mark II? Which one gets me more firepower?). I think the JRPG-style example you have below looks really nice.

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Thanks -- and I agree fully.  For me, I have no idea what upgrades do exactly what at the moment, either.  Major UI fail.  It was the same in the first game, in fairness, but it needs to be fixed.
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Offline keith.lamothe

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Would it make sense to have another hull type(Neutron?) for the important structures such as the ark, controller and then not have any ships have bonus damage against this hull type?
I want to avoid adding new defense categories where the only distinction from the other ones is the set of ships that have a bonus against it. Further, I'd like it to be superficially evident (at least in many cases) why a particular weapon has a bonus against a particular defense. Otherwise we get back to AIWC's situation where the hull types were sufficiently arbitrary that it took quite a while for someone to learn what was good against what. A means of learning the hull type system was one of the bigger longstanding requests from the community; we never did figure it out. On the other hand, hull types was a major improvement over all bonuses being on a per-ship-type level.

That said, now that the word "Shields" is not being used, I could bring back my original name for "Evasion", which was "Deflectors" (ditched initially because some people would confuse them with shields). Then "Evasion" could be renamed to "Jammers" or something that makes clearer how the ship is defending itself. And the weapons that used to be anti-shield (most of which were switched to anti-evasion) can be made anti-deflector.

In summary:

1) Structure is cheap, but countered by lots of different weapons (including the super-long-range sniper weapons)

2) Armor is expensive, but is only countered by short-range weapons. On the other hand, even lowly fighters carry anti-armor weapons.

3) Jammers are middlingly expensive, and only mid-range and long-range weapons counter it (once plasma bolts are switched to anti-deflectors).

4) Deflectors are expensive and only occur on large units (same as shields before them), and the only long-range anti-deflector weapons are also on large units (and small units with short-range ones are rare)


Quote
You could also use it to help explain why those units/structures are resistant to nukes.
Resistances are independent of the main defense type, and in terms of balance are typically assigned more on the basis of the size of the individual units, but sometimes their importance.
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Wow, I really love those -- that sounds really intuitive to me, in broad strokes.  And it feels extremely thematic.
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Some stat-comparison is vital, if only for the case I mention above (Do I upgrade one turret to Mark III or two turrets to Mark II? Which one gets me more firepower?). I think the JRPG-style example you have below looks really nice.

Good?

https://youtu.be/CNLL2znY2Kc
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Offline keith.lamothe

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I haven't had a chance to watch it yet, but one general thought on the UI's display of ship stats is that it should be clear how much strength is in a cap (for tech display) and in a squad (for other displays). Because strength is the only apples-and-apples number in the whole game.

So if a tech upgrade from mark 1 mlrs turrets to mark 2 showed:

Cap Strength: 600 => 2400
Squad Strength: 30 => 60

That would be helpful.

That said, I know "cap strength" is not a phrase that's going to make sense to a new player, so I don't know what the best terms would be.
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How do I calculate those things?  I'm certainly game for showing them.
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Offline keith.lamothe

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How do I calculate those things?
GameEntityTypeData.BalanceStats.StrengthPerCap
GameEntityTypeData.BalanceStats.StrengthPerSquad

(there's also a StrengthPerShip, but that would actually be the per-sub-squad number)
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