Author Topic: Initial feedback on the graphics - details and style  (Read 3099 times)

Offline kmunoz

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Re: Initial feedback on the graphics - details and style
« Reply #30 on: November 04, 2018, 05:18:52 PM »
I have about 150 hours in AIW1 (which is a lot for me). I agree that the icons in 1 weren’t as problematic as they are in 2. I think part of the reason that’s the case is that in 1 the icons were pretty much the only unit graphics you ever saw. You had to zoom in pretty far to see the sprites - and they replace the icons. In 2, the ship models are visible at much greater distances, and both the icons and the sprites are visible on screen at the same time.

Offline etheric42

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Re: Initial feedback on the graphics - details and style
« Reply #31 on: November 08, 2018, 01:49:55 PM »
The spirit of AIW is always going to be in massive battles.  That's what it is.  I don't think kmunoz's ideas about smaller forces is a bad idea for a game, see The Last Federation where you control a single ship (in a VERY satisfying way).  It just isn't the AIW the fans know and love.

That being said, the carrier/drone idea keeps the huge numbers and just changes how you control them (kind of like Total War has massive numbers, but changes how you control them by forming them into groups you can set formations on and slowing down the speed of engagement).

Anyway, everything except having "strike targets" and modular hangers for the carriers is currently available to try out in the XML.  I might give it a shot some time, but if anyone else tries it I'd be interested to hear their opinion (or maybe sharing their files for comparison).

Edited to add: Another big spirit of AIW is playing your way.  A solution that fits both crowds or is customizable would be ideal.
« Last Edit: November 08, 2018, 02:03:30 PM by etheric42 »

Offline jenya

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Re: Initial feedback on the graphics - details and style
« Reply #32 on: November 09, 2018, 07:01:26 AM »
If I remember correctly AI War already had an option to reduce the fleet caps by joining ships, 2 -> 1 (reduces ship cap by 2, increases ship stats by 2), 4 -> 1, etc. Though this did change the game balance versus big ships.
« Last Edit: November 09, 2018, 07:03:55 AM by jenya »

Offline kmunoz

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Re: Initial feedback on the graphics - details and style
« Reply #33 on: November 10, 2018, 12:56:51 AM »
I tried playing a game without any icons and given the scale of the system maps it just doesn't work. Your own units are tiny enough as it is, but enemy units are completely invisible unless you know exactly where to look.

And that surfaces a whole lot of questions. The pretty graphics are essentially hidden in regular play. They're not useful for interaction and the icons completely cover them at the scale one generally uses. (Up close they're off to the side, but that itself is a whole other problem.) I'm also surprised at the size ratios between the fleet ships and larger structures. The player's Ark is pretty big, but most AI structures seem to show up on the map as barely more than dots when you've got the whole system in view.

It definitely seems to me that the right happy medium would be for identical icons to merge into single (larger) icons when they get close together. The size of the icon would identify roughly the number of units it represents. Additionally, it would make sense if the "close together" threshold were based on the view rather than absolute distance, so that if you zoom in, the icons would separate down to smaller components, until you're zoomed all the way in and seeing one icon per squad.

However, the only way this would be satisfying for people who want to see huge masses of ships is if the ship graphics themselves were a little bit larger. Right now with icons off they look like a cloud of gnats (and you can't distinguish single units from the background).

Offline kmunoz

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Re: Initial feedback on the graphics - details and style
« Reply #34 on: November 23, 2018, 03:45:22 PM »
Ok, after a little more time in the game I'm amending my original complaint, or at least narrowing it. I think the only significant issue that causes map overload for me is the icon set itself. The dense saturation of them is not as much of a problem as I originally thought. However, the icons are virtually indistinguishabe from one another when you are zoomed out to strategic distances. Part of this is because there isn't nearly enough negative space in each icon (the Gummi Bear styling), but also because the icon shapes themselves are doing most of the heavy lifting for distinguishing units.

I think the right solution here would be to make the icons considerably more stylized/abstract. In a pinch, make them letters (V for V-Wing, for example). As it stands right now, when I have a fleet blob, I can't tell the units apart and as a result don't have any clue whether I'm using them correctly or not - because there is essentially no useful feedback from the map. It's just blob - pew-pew - blob.

This might be just fine for expert players who intimately know the differences among all the unit types, and how to use them all effectively, but given that the units are virtually indistinguishable on the ground, it becomes very, very hard to *become* expert if you're a more casual player like I am. (I have about 100 hours in AIW1 which is my third most played game, to give you an idea of how casual I am.)

Secondary to this, the ship list on the left panel really needs to be subdivided by category. I might even go so far as to say that if there is total resistance to revamping the icons, then the ship list ABSOLUTELY MUST be subdivided. When I look at the list as it is now (well, the icon grid, really), I have no way of knowing which units are fleetships, which ones are starships, which ones are turrets, etc., unless I already know which ones are fleetships, which ones are starships and which ones are turrets. I shouldn't have to hover over each thing to learn what type of thing it is. I should be able to tell at a glance. And if that's not by icon, then it needs to be by the ship list.

Offline kmunoz

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Re: Initial feedback on the graphics - details and style
« Reply #35 on: February 03, 2019, 10:48:25 PM »
A suggestion I came up with on the fly in the Discord channel:

I feel like the better icon-related UI would be for the on-map sprite icons to float over a big blob of units, and if you hover over the sprite then it outlines the entire blob. But you'd still be able to select individual or sub-groups of units, and move them around - and if the blob splits up, each part gets its own icon, until they come together again. In order for this to work the 3D graphical unit representations would need to be a little brighter (to distinguish them better from the background).

The roster icons on the left need some work as well. The important information is usually shown in the sub-icon, while the unit class is the dominant element of the overall icon. This I think is backwards. Unit class is much less important than what the actual unit is, and the better way to distinguish class is by subdividing the roster (and - please! - having header labels to tell me what each subdivision is). I'll know a unit is a starship because it's in the starship section, and I won't need the icon to provide me with that information at a glance. (It could be the sub-icon still, but it would no longer be the primary target of the eye.) To go a step farther, perhaps starship icons should be in non-square sprites. Maybe make them twice as wide as fleet ship icons. That would further distinguish them without over-saturating the visuals. Maybe make turret icons half the width of a fleetship icon, so they're narrow and tall and also easily distinguished from dimensions alone.
« Last Edit: February 03, 2019, 10:51:47 PM by kmunoz »

Offline Draco18s

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Re: Initial feedback on the graphics - details and style
« Reply #36 on: February 04, 2019, 06:02:52 PM »
To go a step farther, perhaps starship icons should be in non-square sprites. Maybe make them twice as wide as fleet ship icons. That would further distinguish them without over-saturating the visuals. Maybe make turret icons half the width of a fleetship icon, so they're narrow and tall and also easily distinguished from dimensions alone.

Oh I like those ideas

Offline voidfull

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Re: Initial feedback on the graphics - details and style
« Reply #37 on: March 27, 2019, 02:48:20 PM »
Hey guys. new here.

Just want to add some stuff from a newbie perspective

Starship icons, would love them to be much bigger than the fleetships icons. I need to be able to see where they are just from glancing at the screen. Perhaps a fat outline to go along with them. Its no problem if they block a few fleetships really. If i zoom in scale the icon slowly to where it is just a little bigger then the fleetships. This kinda goes for everything that has a BIG 3d representation really, but i feel its most important for the starships. Large icon that scales with zoom. I would even like them to have a bigger "unitbox" in the overview too. i shouldnt be spending time searching, i should be making descisions.

Roles. Id love to somehow select all of a given role that are on screen. Perhaps a hotkey would work, otherwise id love it if in the overview the ships are ordered along tabs and i could just for example choose to click the bomber tab and it would select all bombers on screen for me.

Also id like to be able to now and then view the large battle I'm in 3d but really i feel like the view distance is way to large and it becomes meaningless because the screen becomes a mess of everything thats in system ?

just some stuff from a new player perspective, there might be ways to get what i want already I'm not sure, but these are my impressions.

thanks for the great work on the game!


« Last Edit: March 27, 2019, 02:50:35 PM by voidfull »