Arcen Games

Games => AI War II => Topic started by: x4000 on February 28, 2017, 07:48:48 PM

Title: Rethinking the icons…
Post by: x4000 on February 28, 2017, 07:48:48 PM
https://blog.arcengames.com/rethinking-the-icons/
Title: Re: Rethinking the icons…
Post by: Toranth on February 28, 2017, 09:18:25 PM
On that issue - right now, in my opinion, there's a pair of scaling issues between the icons and their units.

First, it seems like the icons are all SO much larger than the units (most of 'em).  It's both odd and disconcerting to zoom in to the point where a squad of fighters takes up 1 square inch of my monitor... but their icon takes up several dozen times that much space.  I'm playing full screen 1080, and even when fully zoomed out, the icons just feel large.

Second, scale between the icon size and unit size/importance.  The icon for the Ark or a controller is the same size as a fighter squad, and so are the Guardians and the AI Home Command Station-thingy.  These other units are both physically bigger, but also vastly more important - I really hope there's some way to make them stand out more.
Title: Re: Rethinking the icons…
Post by: Cyborg on March 01, 2017, 12:03:08 AM
The neon signs are not supposed to be the stars of the show. They are only supposed to help you identify units. I think if we had the icon selector bar on the right-hand side (from classic) and a toggle to turn off the neon signs, we would have the control and the clarity as needed. Right now, it just detracts from the enjoyment of the battles, which are supposed to be the stars of the show here.
Title: Re: Rethinking the icons…
Post by: Draco18s on March 01, 2017, 12:18:23 AM
Agreed on reworking the icons, for all the reasons that have been stated.

Mentioning the wormholes though, have you thought about doing something along the lines of a blackhole's lensing effect (https://i.stack.imgur.com/UZEZi.jpg) combined with some kind of animated particle or 2D billboard for the swirly bits (like, the AI War Classic png, only bigger and animated).  The lensing can be done with a shader. I think this (http://pastebin.com/qGwxaRUq) is a resource I pulled from when doing it in 2D.
Title: Re: Rethinking the icons…
Post by: x4000 on March 01, 2017, 10:46:45 AM
Couple of responses:

1. In general about the neon signs, yeah -- they are not supposed to be the star of the show.  WIP and all that.

2. That said, having the icons out there in the middle of your view is going to be important for most people because otherwise how can you tell at a glance what something distant is, and fighters all look the same regardless of mark, etc.  These are basically far zoom icons.

3. The ability to turn them off is of course fine, but it shouldn't be so distracting they need to be turned off for basic enjoyment.  Again, WIP.

4. The size of the small ships is somewhat exacerbated at the moment by the fact that they aren't flying around while in their squads, etc.  I'm not opposed to being able to zoom in further if we need to, and the visuals certainly hold up there... but having a relative scale between large and small things is important, I think, to really giving a sense of majesty.  That may not work out in the end, and it doesn't require redoing any art if that's the case; just scaling 3D models is nondestructive.

5. Icon sizes for important vs minor units is a good point.

6. Overall lots of good food for thought here.  I have a feeling we're going to go through a few iterations of this before it really feels right, so don't get your hackles up too soon.  "Earlier than early" builds are letting you guys help shape this with your feedback, which is already happening.  So for now it's mainly a matter of leaving this particular topic alone until the next WIP, and then we'll see what we think of that.  And iterate as needed, and so on.  I think for now this one has run into the mud enough that we know what the next version should have, at least in relation to this one.

7. By the by, the sidebar thing from AI War 1 is intended to return.  It's meant to be playable without that (at a basic level), but it's certainly one of the key tools to anything approaching advanced play.  No worries there. :)

8. Regarding the lensing effects, I have a variety of pieces of code for that in 2D and 3D, myself.  Cinth has been thinking of something along the same lines, too: https://blog.arcengames.com/cinth-plays-around-with-wormhole-graphics/  The problem with most lensing effects or other similar effects to that is that visibility gets very very poor.  Nonetheless, I like the idea of a torus either way, and working with possibly a mix of lensing and particles, or something.  That's on my list for in a while, as I hate the current graphics, but it's not at the top of my list (you can actually see where it falls on my list: https://trello.com/b/tz2k8Q15/chris-ai-war-2-todo).
Title: Re: Rethinking the icons…
Post by: keith.lamothe on March 01, 2017, 11:38:15 AM
7. By the by, the sidebar thing from AI War 1 is intended to return.  It's meant to be playable without that (at a basic level), but it's certainly one of the key tools to anything approaching advanced play.  No worries there. :)
It's actually already there, for the most part. Just needs icons... and general sanity ;)
Title: Re: Rethinking the icons…
Post by: x4000 on March 01, 2017, 12:03:37 PM
Well, yeah. I mean, I noticed that thing. :)
Title: Re: Rethinking the icons…
Post by: z99-_ on March 01, 2017, 12:37:56 PM
4. The size of the small ships is somewhat exacerbated at the moment by the fact that they aren't flying around while in their squads, etc.

Just out of curiosity, why isn't some version of squads in yet? I mean, you were showing off some squad stuff during the first kickstarter 3+ months ago that seemed pretty neat, or at least good enough for alpha; did that stuff not work out and you're back to square 1 or something?

Don't get me wrong, there's lots of other areas that I can see as perhaps being more important (new ships/structures, bugfixes, etc.), but as you've noted it makes it more difficult to determine if the size concerns are just due to currently unimplemented planned mechanics, or if there is another underlying issue.
Title: Re: Rethinking the icons…
Post by: x4000 on March 01, 2017, 12:44:55 PM
You mean the squad movement?  The squads themselves are completely there, and you can see all the little ships individually in a squad, etc.  They just don't fly around.

I wasn't happy with the performance of the squads in past versions (it was quite good, but not as good as I need for giant battles), and I also was not happy with the inability for us to merge between different formations.  That also gets at ships gracefully entering and exiting squads.  So I both shifted to a different splines solution as well as took a new approach to all of the above.  Once I figured out the logic, I left it mostly-unimplemented because there are more important things and I've vetted it enough to know it will work now.
Title: Re: Rethinking the icons…
Post by: z99-_ on March 01, 2017, 01:07:49 PM
Yep, I meant squad movement. :D Probably should have worded that clearer.
Title: Re: Rethinking the icons…
Post by: x4000 on March 01, 2017, 03:15:19 PM
All good, just making sure.

Anyhow, yep, that's the reasoning why.  Sometimes to get to the next step that is better, you have to strip back to the bone some.
Title: Re: Rethinking the icons…
Post by: z99-_ on March 01, 2017, 03:28:02 PM
As Obi-Wan Kenobi said, "A great leap forward often first requires taking two steps back" :)
Title: Re: Rethinking the icons…
Post by: x4000 on March 01, 2017, 03:38:39 PM
EU/Legends, or am I just not remembering that somehow?
Title: Re: Rethinking the icons…
Post by: z99-_ on March 01, 2017, 03:56:32 PM
I thought it came from one of the prequel movies, but Wookieepedia indicates it came from a Star Wars: Clone Wars episode.
Title: Re: Rethinking the icons…
Post by: x4000 on March 01, 2017, 04:17:30 PM
Ah, okay -- if it was a prequel, that would also be why I wouldn't remember it.  I really enjoyed VII and Rogue One, but aside from that I'm mainly a IV-VI guy.
Title: Re: Rethinking the icons…
Post by: Squashyhex on March 01, 2017, 06:37:49 PM
The Clone Wars make the prequels worthwhile ;)
Title: Re: Rethinking the icons…
Post by: Draco18s on March 01, 2017, 09:12:12 PM
8. Regarding the lensing effects, I have a variety of pieces of code for that in 2D and 3D, myself.  Cinth has been thinking of something along the same lines, too: https://blog.arcengames.com/cinth-plays-around-with-wormhole-graphics/  The problem with most lensing effects or other similar effects to that is that visibility gets very very poor.  Nonetheless, I like the idea of a torus either way, and working with possibly a mix of lensing and particles, or something.  That's on my list for in a while, as I hate the current graphics, but it's not at the top of my list (you can actually see where it falls on my list: https://trello.com/b/tz2k8Q15/chris-ai-war-2-todo).

Oh yeah, I totally understand about visibility issues. And I didn't mean for it to only a lensing effect.

I was intending for there to be a glowing ring sort of structure with it too, e.g.
http://www.space.com/images/i/000/028/510/original/shutterstock_25016035.jpg
Title: Re: Rethinking the icons…
Post by: Cinth on March 01, 2017, 09:18:50 PM
8. Regarding the lensing effects, I have a variety of pieces of code for that in 2D and 3D, myself.  Cinth has been thinking of something along the same lines, too: https://blog.arcengames.com/cinth-plays-around-with-wormhole-graphics/  The problem with most lensing effects or other similar effects to that is that visibility gets very very poor.  Nonetheless, I like the idea of a torus either way, and working with possibly a mix of lensing and particles, or something.  That's on my list for in a while, as I hate the current graphics, but it's not at the top of my list (you can actually see where it falls on my list: https://trello.com/b/tz2k8Q15/chris-ai-war-2-todo).

Oh yeah, I totally understand about visibility issues. And I didn't mean for it to only a lensing effect.

I was intending for there to be a glowing ring sort of structure with it too, e.g.
http://www.space.com/images/i/000/028/510/original/shutterstock_25016035.jpg

A similar image was the inspiration behind the model I made :) 
Title: Re: Rethinking the icons…
Post by: Draco18s on March 01, 2017, 09:29:06 PM
A similar image was the inspiration behind the model I made :)

Not surprised.
The third image on that blog post doesn't look like it has any distortion on it yet (that is, the stars background looks uninterrupted) and the edges are too harsh, but otherwise looks pretty slick.
Title: Re: Rethinking the icons…
Post by: Cinth on March 01, 2017, 09:33:53 PM
I'll have to ss the last version I made.
Title: Re: Rethinking the icons…
Post by: Cinth on March 01, 2017, 10:19:31 PM
I'll have to ss the last version I made.

This is where I left off with it.
(https://forums.arcengames.com/ai-war-ii/rethinking-the-icons/?action=dlattach;attach=10474)