Arcen Games

Games => The Last Federation => Topic started by: x4000 on April 02, 2014, 10:06:57 PM

Title: New version .816 out! (Combat Clarity! Better Flagship Physics! 6 Abilities!)
Post by: x4000 on April 02, 2014, 10:06:57 PM
Release notes: http://arcengames.com/mediawiki/index.php?title=The_Last_Federation_Alpha_Release_Notes#Alpha_Version_.816

Restart steam to force a quicker update if you like.

This is definitely my favorite version yet of the combat, by faaar.  The prior version was a bit clunky in some ways -- I felt it, but it was a matter of tuning variables, mainly.  The new version adds deceleration, larger ranges, and beefed-up smaller ships, among other things.  The sum total of a ton of small changes to combat is that it really feels natural to me, as well as realistic.  I just love the momentum that the ship has, and the way it accelerates, and the way that it handles differently at low speeds and high ones.  And that's just on the default power draw to it -- you can make it battleship-y or fighter-y by changing that.

A number of things have improved on the solar map as well, mainly in terms of removing some options and screens that were confusing and borderline pointless, and in making the NPC battles (ground, bombing, and space) all take place over extended periods of time rather than just waiting and then happening all at once.  This feels a lot more natural and is a lot more fun to watch.

In combat, you also now have six ability slots, rather than just three.  I'm super pleased about this, because the number of ability slots was feeling incredibly anemic to me recently.  Right now it probably feels to you like there are not enough abilities to really warrant six slots, though -- and you would be right!  There are a couple of dozen new abilities I intend to add in the next couple of days to round all those out.  There are some more techs coming as well.  In general these things will keep things fresh into the later stages of each campaign, and keep the challenge up as you go.

One of my very favorite things in this release, however, is the improvement to combat clarity.  There is a ton of stuff that explains things waaaay better, and which gives you better feedback when you take actions, too.  If you were previously one of the rage-quitters, I'd like you to give combat another go and see how you feel.  The solar map isn't much better in the main in terms of what might confuse you there (we're getting to that), and no literal tutorial stuff has been added to the combat area.  However, hopefully combat itself is a lot more self-explanatory now, which is the goal.  And if not, I'd like to hear about what is still confusing, so that we can address that in one fashion or another.

Also, there's going to be a new batch of testers tonight!

Caveats (Same as last time):
1. All of the Operational abilities are still having their ships slaved to your attacks, and I don't intend for that to remain the case.

2. If you are running into specific mission types that are un-fun slow in the new combat model, then please send us saves.  I tested (for instance) dropping off spacefaring tech, and it was a tense 60-second excursion or so.

3. I think I have a pretty good handle on making the combat tactical now, and honestly I think we are pretty much there already, in the main.  There are some overall structure-of-special-abilities changes that I am planning that will make those a lot more relevant as well as safer to use as well as making it actually valuable to have more abilities than just the three in your currently-equipped lineup.  Those things I think will add a lot, as will an expanded roster of abilities and enemies in general, and in particular some turrets with some new firing patterns, etc.  But honestly that is just content development aside from the basic changes to the special abilities concept, so it's a matter of having more of a good thing rather than trying to find a good thing, if that makes any sense.  I'm liking where we're at with this, in other words; but if anyone feels differently, please speak up and let me know what you think and (as well as you can) why and what you would want done about it.  I can't promise to actually do that of course, but I want to know these sorts of things sooner than later, as I'm hoping that I can make as many people as possible happy with the combat while at the same time homing in on what my current vision for this has become.


Enjoy!
Title: Re: New version .816 now out! (Combat Clarity! Better Flagship Physics! Abilities!)
Post by: x4000 on April 02, 2014, 10:07:08 PM
New testers today:

Walter Sullivan
linuxgnuru
mlwhitt
Nitrax
Penumbra
GenScorpius

It's a smaller batch than usual, but I will be adding batches of testers with more regularity after this.  At the moment, after these folks, we have another 50 in the queue, and only 2.5 weeks until release.  If you are on this list (or the stickied list of testers above here) and don't have a PM from me shortly, PM me back.

Cheers!
Title: Re: New version .816 out! (Combat Clarity! Better Flagship Physics! 6 Abilities!)
Post by: Professor Paul1290 on April 03, 2014, 12:18:53 AM
Wow, OK this is cool.

I REALLY like how much "throttle" control we have now. You can arc around and pick up speed for very fast passes, or you can slow way down for more fine maneuvering. If you get yourself into trouble and need to do a 180 really fast you can re-route power to engines and force the ship around if you have to.

More balancing and tweaking aside, as far as I can see I think you're good to go on this part.  ;D
Title: Re: New version .816 out! (Combat Clarity! Better Flagship Physics! 6 Abilities!)
Post by: alocritani on April 03, 2014, 02:30:59 AM
Not tried it yet (damned time zones - you always release at night, for me :D ) so maybe it's not relevant, but have you thought about possibility to use waypoints to decide where and when to turn?
Title: Re: New version .816 out! (Combat Clarity! Better Flagship Physics! 6 Abilities!)
Post by: doctorfrog on April 03, 2014, 02:41:22 AM
Five minutes in: now we're talkin'.

This is a game I might be able to play. I'll play a bit more before bed, but I'll have to wait for the weekend for a deeper play session.

Combat mode felt much better this time. I felt more in control, and distances feel more natural. Battle feels less sloggy and more of a balance between danger and pulling something off. There is a definite sense of freedom and flexibility that wasn't there before.

I'll have more later, praise, but I'll also muster up some grouchy/helpful criticism from my relatively casual play stance.

Keep this up.
Title: Re: New version .816 out! (Combat Clarity! Better Flagship Physics! 6 Abilities!)
Post by: Misery on April 03, 2014, 04:11:07 AM
Well, the movement is much better here.  Having more skills is neat too.  And finally the anti-swarm beams are useful!

Aside from Predators being so broken that some battles are unplayable, this is coming along nicely.

The smuggling missions are super buggy though.  I cant count how many times I have to restart any given one JUST to keep races from randomly flipping out over it.


But then there's the solar map.... for now, I must declare it unplayable.

I know that it was technically slowed down with a certain patch, but.... I'd never know that if the patch notes hadnt told me so.    If anything, it's even FASTER now to descend into utter lunacy.   Strategy of any sort cannot be implemented.   Even the shortest of dispatch missions causes the universe to explode. 

I do however look forward to properly jumping into it once it's fixed up.  I've mostly tested the combat up to this point.
Title: Re: New version .816 out! (Combat Clarity! Better Flagship Physics! 6 Abilities!)
Post by: Cipherpunk on April 03, 2014, 05:18:13 AM
I totally get that the solar map is broken right now so I'll focus on combat thoughts:

Thus far I haven't really enjoyed combat missions and I dreaded having to endure them. With that in mind, I'm happy to say that this patch is really warming me up to combat. Ship handling especially has become super engaging. The new dps tooltips solved most of my gripes about having to constantly compare damage types against various hulls. Missions feel more tense in general and get you into the action quickly. Overall, I would say that this new combat model feels good and, more importantly, it feels RIGHT for TLF.

One complaint I have is that I find myself constantly low on shields in a hurry, even when making a reasonable effort to avoid shots. Also, I was under the impression that pumping up shield points would "harden" them but after reading it closer, it seems to only improve regen rate. However, the base regen speed is so low that it makes any kind of multiplier pointless. Currently, the only way to recover from mistakes requires sitting out of combat for a dozen or more turns, waiting for more shields...only to lose them all again instantly.
Title: Re: New version .816 out! (Combat Clarity! Better Flagship Physics! 6 Abilities!)
Post by: Mick on April 03, 2014, 06:19:17 AM
I was only able to test just the first battle before leaving for work, but I like the way this is heading, a lot. Love the damage numbers, the tooltips for enemy ships are much more straight forward, and the movement is a big improvement with the ability to do smaller turns.

The last niggle is the lack of waypoints (which I know others have mentioned). See, sometimes my goal is to reach some destination that is say 20-30 degrees off my current orientation. The system will only allow me to move straight in that direction, but what I really want to do is move out at my current direction about half the distance, and then turn toward that new heading (maybe because a straight line would take me into something nasty).
Title: Re: New version .816 out! (Combat Clarity! Better Flagship Physics! 6 Abilities!)
Post by: Kuer on April 03, 2014, 07:44:55 AM
Combat feels that it should be much improved - many changes improving upon previously simple, unfluid or unclear mechanics. While the changes are on the positive side and I like the direction you're going, some things feel unfriendly to use. For example, it seems that in order to be flexible and fight well, I would need to fiddle with the power management a lot. With the current interface/keybinds it feels like an obstacle.

In fact, I'm curious how you guys feel about changing the power management interface into one of those 3-section bars, each section representing the amount of power attributed to a module. To move some power you'd only have to move the separator between the sections to the left or right. Sounds easier to use.

I'm thinking about one of these:
(http://i.imgur.com/PWfrUke.jpg)

I may have more to say later as I get to play more, but I wanted to throw this your way before that.
Title: Re: New version .816 out! (Combat Clarity! Better Flagship Physics! 6 Abilities!)
Post by: Riabi on April 03, 2014, 08:21:20 AM
Not tried it yet (damned time zones - you always release at night, for me :D ) so maybe it's not relevant, but have you thought about possibility to use waypoints to decide where and when to turn?

He releases pretty late for him too. ;)

This thread was started ~ 9pm for him, I'm sure the actual release was JUST before that. :-p

You'd be hard pressed to find a dev that works as many hours as x4000 and still keeps his sanity.... wait... nevermind there's no such thing as a sane game dev. :)
Title: Re: New version .816 out! (Combat Clarity! Better Flagship Physics! 6 Abilities!)
Post by: PokerChen on April 03, 2014, 08:23:46 AM
If you really wanted to do it graphically, make a circle slider or a triangle with a ternary plot.

Between weapons / shields/ engines, you always have two choices as to which of the other ones to take power from.

Balance-wise, diverting power to shields needs to make a bigger impact relative to the others. Would you consider damage reduction against shields as an additional variable? It would then be relatively useless when shields are down. Or just general damage reduction.
Title: Re: New version .816 out! (Combat Clarity! Better Flagship Physics! 6 Abilities!)
Post by: GenScorpius on April 03, 2014, 08:26:10 AM
My first impressions of the game, now that I got my hands on it, are pretty good. Sure, the combat controls were a bit fuzzy at first. I kept for some time pressing WASD to pan the screen, obviously out of habit from other strategy games.  ;)
What would be helpful is to have an extra window popup showing the mapping of the most important controls.

The movement of the flagship seems pretty much ok to me though I haven't had a fight yet where I needed to be extra careful. However, plotting the longest trajectory possible felt a bit awkward as such that it required zooming out...
A bit better control of the trajectory, like setting waypoints within the turn's movement radius, would be great, especially when cranking up the engines and a long straight path might be not that wise (spyprobes!).

Not that I needed to use the hotkeys for the special abilities but according to the tooltips the latest added abilities all are linked to 7.

Regarding the first mission setup, I actually missed the intro story (video). Sure, I've seen the video quite a long time ago in the forum but for immersion sake having the complete story would be great. The combat itself, once the controls are mastered, was very easy. The 2 Acutian flagships got no chance. Actually, I miss some pointers at the beginning about the consequences of the first battle, given that you can also choose to just withdraw without killing the flagships, or in addition even blast the couple installations out of the sky (they hate me already anyway).

I'm not sure if the minimap works completely. When toggling the minimap I would expect to see one mode where each ship has the colour of the respective race and the other mode either red for hostile, green for friendly, white/grey for neutral. However, IIRC in the latter mode they were mostly purple....

I really like the damage numbers visually represented on the map and also the shown effectiveness of my weapons in the respective tooltips when hovering over enemies.

The power management works for me very well and is intuitive.

On the solar map, there doesn't seem to be much to do at first except for sharing space tech. The black market doesn't offer any goons for quite some time. Selling the initial resources didn't seem to be a good idea given the huge costs of outpost construction and the mining mission seems to yield little compared to the time required.

Also I find it strange that I get no influence when helping a race to destroy a pirate base, makes me wonder why bother with that mission anyway.

Before I forget it, I definitly would want a popup explaining the various planet stats like economy, environment, etc and the meaning of the numeric values. Hence, at what point I really need to act. Right now it feels more like: Sure I can help out to improve the numbers but I got no clue how significant the improvement is. Alternatively, I'm okay with if I hover over a stat that it tells me what it does affect in gameplay mechanics something like +x population growth.
Title: Re: New version .816 out! (Combat Clarity! Better Flagship Physics! 6 Abilities!)
Post by: Mick on April 03, 2014, 08:38:25 AM
The shield thing is an interesting issue. If you could effectively disengage from combat and charge your shields from zero to full in 2 turns, would that be overpowered? Well, I would argue that being able to do it in 100 turns is just as overpowered... but annoying. You're not really making the game more difficulty with the slow regen rate, you're just basing the difficulty around the player being impatient.

How would combat play out if shields could effectively be recharged in two combat rounds, without getting hit, at full shield power? To compensate, the shields could either go down much quicker, or work differently on defense, say instead of simply being a straight hit point buffer, act as a mitigator of damage based on the % of shields that are remaining. So if say a shot takes you down to 75% shields, you are not going to say "oh good I can take 3 more of those before worrying", but instead have to face taking hull damage for 25% of the next missile shot (arbitrary numbers).

In any case, I'm just braining storming here, but I think it's bad if you have an option to putter around at the edge of combat for 100 turns to recharge your shields. Now, many players aren't going to bother doing this, but by making it "optimal" it can be really annoying to folks who want to play with the best possible strategy they can conceive.
Title: Re: New version .816 out! (Combat Clarity! Better Flagship Physics! 6 Abilities!)
Post by: x4000 on April 03, 2014, 09:01:02 AM
Awesome on the combat!  Glad you guys feel the way I do. :)

Aside from Predators being so broken that some battles are unplayable, this is coming along nicely.

Savegame, please?  On normal difficulty I don't have a problem with them, so if you can give me a save on your difficulty where they are being a pain, then I can actualyl deal with them.

The smuggling missions are super buggy though.  I cant count how many times I have to restart any given one JUST to keep races from randomly flipping out over it.

Save?

I know that it was technically slowed down with a certain patch, but.... I'd never know that if the patch notes hadnt told me so.    If anything, it's even FASTER now to descend into utter lunacy.   Strategy of any sort cannot be implemented.   Even the shortest of dispatch missions causes the universe to explode.

Details, please?  My testing time is limited at the moment, and we are constantly changing balance, and so I am having a hard time knowing exactly what is happening too fast during dispatches.  In the next version I am slowing down some NPC-vs-NPC combat stuff in particular, and making it so that certain actions can't happen early in the game anymore.  But what else is going on that is such a problem?  If you tell me, I can fix it. ;)
Title: Re: New version .816 out! (Combat Clarity! Better Flagship Physics! 6 Abilities!)
Post by: PokerChen on April 03, 2014, 09:03:19 AM
Will have to defer to Misery on how much regen affects max difficulty.

 In any case, shield power and shield regen are two issues to consider. Power management is more or less meaningless outside of direct combat. It's easy to make players effectively invulnerable to minor hits if shield-power tweaks regen value instead of %-mitigation. ...and we've just amalgamated the AI-war armour + refleeting threads.

 I also wouldn't make it purely mitigation as per Mick's thought - players need a reliable buffer before their hull, which is designed to be costly to repair. As it stands, every mission will result in players getting hit a few times, and in an AFA/assassin battle this gets lethal rather quickly.
Title: Re: New version .816 out! (Combat Clarity! Better Flagship Physics! 6 Abilities!)
Post by: x4000 on April 03, 2014, 09:04:02 AM
I totally get that the solar map is broken right now so I'll focus on combat thoughts:

Can you explain what makes you come to that conclusion?  Again, specifically so that I can fix it.  I know there are a number of bugs throughout that we are working to deal with starting today (now that combat is finally in better shape), but I don't want things that are important to slip through the cracks.

Thus far I haven't really enjoyed combat missions and I dreaded having to endure them. With that in mind, I'm happy to say that this patch is really warming me up to combat. Ship handling especially has become super engaging. The new dps tooltips solved most of my gripes about having to constantly compare damage types against various hulls. Missions feel more tense in general and get you into the action quickly. Overall, I would say that this new combat model feels good and, more importantly, it feels RIGHT for TLF.

Awesome!

One complaint I have is that I find myself constantly low on shields in a hurry, even when making a reasonable effort to avoid shots. Also, I was under the impression that pumping up shield points would "harden" them but after reading it closer, it seems to only improve regen rate. However, the base regen speed is so low that it makes any kind of multiplier pointless. Currently, the only way to recover from mistakes requires sitting out of combat for a dozen or more turns, waiting for more shields...only to lose them all again instantly.

Good point!  In for next release:

* The recharge rate of your flagship's shields has increased 5x.  This way there is not such a temptation to wait around doing nothing.  Don't worry, if this makes things too easy we will adjust other things to compensate. ;)
Title: Re: New version .816 out! (Combat Clarity! Better Flagship Physics! 6 Abilities!)
Post by: x4000 on April 03, 2014, 09:17:22 AM
The last niggle is the lack of waypoints (which I know others have mentioned). See, sometimes my goal is to reach some destination that is say 20-30 degrees off my current orientation. The system will only allow me to move straight in that direction, but what I really want to do is move out at my current direction about half the distance, and then turn toward that new heading (maybe because a straight line would take me into something nasty).

Yeah, I think this is unavoidable as a request.  I am pleased that the current model does not REQUIRE them frequently, which was my biggest goal.  But having them as an option is certainly important.  I have added this to my list.

Combat feels that it should be much improved - many changes improving upon previously simple, unfluid or unclear mechanics. While the changes are on the positive side and I like the direction you're going, some things feel unfriendly to use. For example, it seems that in order to be flexible and fight well, I would need to fiddle with the power management a lot. With the current interface/keybinds it feels like an obstacle.

In fact, I'm curious how you guys feel about changing the power management interface into one of those 3-section bars, each section representing the amount of power attributed to a module. To move some power you'd only have to move the separator between the sections to the left or right. Sounds easier to use.

I'm thinking about one of these:
(http://i.imgur.com/PWfrUke.jpg)

I may have more to say later as I get to play more, but I wanted to throw this your way before that.

I really don't have time to go through a ton of different interfaces, unfortunately.  Mick did suggest some good stuff here which I will add: http://www.arcengames.com/mantisbt/view.php?id=13580

But in terms of fiddling with the power management, it does the bulk of that for you already.  There are almost no cases where you would need to fiddle with something per-turn.  For instance, if you don't move during a turn, then it automatically redistributes that to your shields and attack power.  Etc.  So you only need to ever mess with these when you actually want to make larger changes.

Balance-wise, diverting power to shields needs to make a bigger impact relative to the others. Would you consider damage reduction against shields as an additional variable? It would then be relatively useless when shields are down. Or just general damage reduction.

I would consider it, yes -- that said, let's see how the next version fares with the changes to shield recharge rates in general; that may take us where we need to go.  If not, then I like your suggestion.

I kept for some time pressing WASD to pan the screen, obviously out of habit from other strategy games.  ;)
What would be helpful is to have an extra window popup showing the mapping of the most important controls.

I keep doing that as well with WASD.  I need to change those.

I'm not sure if the minimap works completely. When toggling the minimap I would expect to see one mode where each ship has the colour of the respective race and the other mode either red for hostile, green for friendly, white/grey for neutral. However, IIRC in the latter mode they were mostly purple....

Yep, purple for enemy, yellow for ally, green for you.  Red/green causes colorblind problems.

the mining mission seems to yield little compared to the time required.

Also I find it strange that I get no influence when helping a race to destroy a pirate base, makes me wonder why bother with that mission anyway.

Noted, thanks!

Before I forget it, I definitly would want a popup explaining the various planet stats like economy, environment, etc and the meaning of the numeric values. Hence, at what point I really need to act. Right now it feels more like: Sure I can help out to improve the numbers but I got no clue how significant the improvement is. Alternatively, I'm okay with if I hover over a stat that it tells me what it does affect in gameplay mechanics something like +x population growth.

Got it, that makes a lot of sense.

The shield thing is an interesting issue. If you could effectively disengage from combat and charge your shields from zero to full in 2 turns, would that be overpowered? Well, I would argue that being able to do it in 100 turns is just as overpowered... but annoying. You're not really making the game more difficulty with the slow regen rate, you're just basing the difficulty around the player being impatient.

How would combat play out if shields could effectively be recharged in two combat rounds, without getting hit, at full shield power? To compensate, the shields could either go down much quicker, or work differently on defense, say instead of simply being a straight hit point buffer, act as a mitigator of damage based on the % of shields that are remaining. So if say a shot takes you down to 75% shields, you are not going to say "oh good I can take 3 more of those before worrying", but instead have to face taking hull damage for 25% of the next missile shot (arbitrary numbers).

In any case, I'm just braining storming here, but I think it's bad if you have an option to putter around at the edge of combat for 100 turns to recharge your shields. Now, many players aren't going to bother doing this, but by making it "optimal" it can be really annoying to folks who want to play with the best possible strategy they can conceive.

Right, totally agreed.  I'm aiming for a middle ground right now, but if that's still too long then I can crank that up more and rebalance around that.
Title: Re: New version .816 out! (Combat Clarity! Better Flagship Physics! 6 Abilities!)
Post by: Mick on April 03, 2014, 09:33:42 AM

* The recharge rate of your flagship's shields has increased 5x.  This way there is not such a temptation to wait around doing nothing.  Don't worry, if this makes things too easy we will adjust other things to compensate. ;)

I think this is an excellent first move. My suggestions are really more thinking ahead on ways that it could compensate if a faster regen makes it too easy, but it's best to see if too easy even is a problem first.

"Too easy" is a much better first impression for players than "too hard". So it's better to error on that side. "Too hard" means, quit game, flip table, throw computer in the trash then burn the house down around it. Not only is this damage expensive to repair, that player is not able to give feedback on other aspects of the game.
Title: Re: New version .816 out! (Combat Clarity! Better Flagship Physics! 6 Abilities!)
Post by: GenScorpius on April 03, 2014, 09:47:24 AM
I remembered now that I did a pirate convoy mission earlier and found it a bit annoying that I couldn't do any damage whatsoever to the freighters. Hence, I had to wait for my ally to blow them up after all defenders were dead...

Sure it did not take ages but still not optimal, not to mention realistic  ;) , especially since the time needed for combat progresses solar time.
Title: Re: New version .816 out! (Combat Clarity! Better Flagship Physics! 6 Abilities!)
Post by: alocritani on April 03, 2014, 10:16:29 AM

I'm not sure if the minimap works completely. When toggling the minimap I would expect to see one mode where each ship has the colour of the respective race and the other mode either red for hostile, green for friendly, white/grey for neutral. However, IIRC in the latter mode they were mostly purple....

Yep, purple for enemy, yellow for ally, green for you.  Red/green causes colorblind problems.

Chris, please have a look to this report (http://arcengames.com/mantisbt/view.php?id=13405). I expect the color to change  on main view too
Title: Re: New version .816 out! (Combat Clarity! Better Flagship Physics! 6 Abilities!)
Post by: x4000 on April 03, 2014, 10:27:00 AM

I'm not sure if the minimap works completely. When toggling the minimap I would expect to see one mode where each ship has the colour of the respective race and the other mode either red for hostile, green for friendly, white/grey for neutral. However, IIRC in the latter mode they were mostly purple....

Yep, purple for enemy, yellow for ally, green for you.  Red/green causes colorblind problems.

Chris, please have a look to this report (http://arcengames.com/mantisbt/view.php?id=13405). I expect the color to change  on main view too

Ah, yeah, forgot about that one.  It's on my list. ;)
Title: Re: New version .816 out! (Combat Clarity! Better Flagship Physics! 6 Abilities!)
Post by: Pepisolo on April 03, 2014, 10:39:13 AM
10 mins impression from a frustration quitter. That movement guide makes a big difference. Before, I wasn't really sure how movement worked or what turn I was on (at a glance), now it's quite clear and the presence of the marker pushes you naturally in the right direction. The weight of the ship seems nicer, too. I really like the idea of the power management stuff in the corner, that's very FTL-y.  I don't like the unused power being on the text at the bottom, though. A fancy bit of extra UI to represent this would be much nicer. Good job, so far. I will try and get more into the meat of the game later on.

Edit: One point. It seems like the player is always forced to target at least one ship. Shouldn't you be able to just press S to skip the turn without targeting any ships if you so desire? I don't like being forced into shooting.
Title: Re: New version .816 out! (Combat Clarity! Better Flagship Physics! 6 Abilities!)
Post by: Misery on April 03, 2014, 10:48:58 AM
Allrighty!  I has some saves for you for the 3 problems I brought up.

First, the solar map event one, basically the thing that keeps happening is that within the 3 or so minutes it takes to do a 20-month dispatch (which I'm mostly doing to get credits), multiple major wars break out, and also finish within that time;  typically, in this short time multiple planets will change hands, or one or two races may also be wiped out.   There's some other things that seem to be happening a bit fast, but this save is mainly to capture the war issue.  I only did the one dispatch mission, which was immediately after a smuggling one or two, I think.


Second, the smuggling mission save.  Boarines and Evucks appearing in this one.  My ship starts out quite far away from any of the probes, but at the moment the mission begins, 2 of the Boarine probes will freak out and activate.  It's always the same 2 in this mission.   Completing this same mission loaded from this one save in exactly the same way each time, and without setting off other probes or even firing, will produce a random result.  Sometimes the Boarines are angry about it, sometimes it's the Evucks, sometimes it's both, or it might be neither.   This has been happening on every smuggling mission for me.


Now, the predator bit was.... difficult to capture, as I'm not really sure how to best go about that.   The main issue is two things:  1, their extreme damage.... an individual bullet from a Predator does 12000 damage!  Though it was about 14000 damage originally.... but when I loaded the save their damage level dropped (even for already spawned bullets it seems to do this), and then it just stayed that way.  Combined with their firing pattern, that enormous sine shape, they have a very good chance of hitting you, sometimes with all 3 shots.  And finally, like most of the slower ships, they tend to sit in one big clump, so that each bolt is actually 3 or 4.  I've taken 80000+ damage from getting hit by that mega-bolt... and that's when getting hit with only one of them!  This save is on Hard, it's much worse on Misery.



Hope that helps!   Those 3 things are pretty much the only major problems I've got at this point.  Though, the Andors never electing anyone might be another, unless you already fixed that.  But yeah, those are the big ones.  Anything else I can think of is just small stuff, I'll pop those onto Mantis later.
Title: Re: New version .816 out! (Combat Clarity! Better Flagship Physics! 6 Abilities!)
Post by: x4000 on April 03, 2014, 11:29:05 AM
10 mins impression from a frustration quitter. That movement guide makes a big difference. Before, I wasn't really sure how movement worked or what turn I was on (at a glance), now it's quite clear and the presence of the marker pushes you naturally in the right direction. The weight of the ship seems nicer, too. I really like the idea of the power management stuff in the corner, that's very FTL-y.  I don't like the unused power being on the text at the bottom, though. A fancy bit of extra UI to represent this would be much nicer. Good job, so far. I will try and get more into the meat of the game later on.

Awesome!  And I hear you on the unused power thing, that was bugging me and I didn't fully register it consciously, though.  One of those underlying discomfort things.  Anyway, I've put it to Blue to come up with some graphics for that. :)

Edit: One point. It seems like the player is always forced to target at least one ship. Shouldn't you be able to just press S to skip the turn without targeting any ships if you so desire? I don't like being forced into shooting.

No, the firing modes let you choose things.  In the next version it highlights those when you go into attack mode, to make it more likely you will find them.  In future tutorials I will be sure to also make it point these out even more.

Thanks!
Title: Re: New version .816 out! (Combat Clarity! Better Flagship Physics! 6 Abilities!)
Post by: Kingpin23 on April 03, 2014, 11:42:47 AM
10 mins impression from a frustration quitter. That movement guide makes a big difference. Before, I wasn't really sure how movement worked or what turn I was on (at a glance), now it's quite clear and the presence of the marker pushes you naturally in the right direction. The weight of the ship seems nicer, too. I really like the idea of the power management stuff in the corner, that's very FTL-y.  I don't like the unused power being on the text at the bottom, though. A fancy bit of extra UI to represent this would be much nicer. Good job, so far. I will try and get more into the meat of the game later on.

Edit: One point. It seems like the player is always forced to target at least one ship. Shouldn't you be able to just press S to skip the turn without targeting any ships if you so desire? I don't like being forced into shooting.

Pressing Q is the hold fire button.
Or press left mouse to choose direction then on the left you can choose the fire modes like autofire/holdfire
Title: Re: New version .816 out! (Combat Clarity! Better Flagship Physics! 6 Abilities!)
Post by: x4000 on April 03, 2014, 12:12:27 PM
Allrighty!  I has some saves for you for the 3 problems I brought up.

Awesomesauce!  Thanks very much for that. :)

First, the solar map event one, basically the thing that keeps happening is that within the 3 or so minutes it takes to do a 20-month dispatch (which I'm mostly doing to get credits), multiple major wars break out, and also finish within that time;  typically, in this short time multiple planets will change hands, or one or two races may also be wiped out.   There's some other things that seem to be happening a bit fast, but this save is mainly to capture the war issue.  I only did the one dispatch mission, which was immediately after a smuggling one or two, I think.

I gotcha on the wars.  I saw what you meant, for sure.  I just put in this:

The speed of each step of NPC vs NPC combat resolution has been slowed all the way down to one step per 50 days (50 seconds) instead of 3 days (3 seconds). This may be too much, but all the others were just bloody fast. These are millions of troops fighting, after all, and huge armadas fighting as well!

It may be too extreme, but we'll see.  There were a few other things that I noticed on my own, including the RCI bar changes, so those also are better now.


Second, the smuggling mission save.  Boarines and Evucks appearing in this one.  My ship starts out quite far away from any of the probes, but at the moment the mission begins, 2 of the Boarine probes will freak out and activate.  It's always the same 2 in this mission.   Completing this same mission loaded from this one save in exactly the same way each time, and without setting off other probes or even firing, will produce a random result.  Sometimes the Boarines are angry about it, sometimes it's the Evucks, sometimes it's both, or it might be neither.   This has been happening on every smuggling mission for me.

I've passed that to Keith for his list.  I wonder if they are alerting each other, haha.  Thanks!

Now, the predator bit was.... difficult to capture, as I'm not really sure how to best go about that.   The main issue is two things:  1, their extreme damage.... an individual bullet from a Predator does 12000 damage!  Though it was about 14000 damage originally.... but when I loaded the save their damage level dropped (even for already spawned bullets it seems to do this), and then it just stayed that way.  Combined with their firing pattern, that enormous sine shape, they have a very good chance of hitting you, sometimes with all 3 shots.  And finally, like most of the slower ships, they tend to sit in one big clump, so that each bolt is actually 3 or 4.  I've taken 80000+ damage from getting hit by that mega-bolt... and that's when getting hit with only one of them!  This save is on Hard, it's much worse on Misery.

Got it, all those points make sense.  In for next version:

* None of this affects existing savegames, unfortunately, but balance for the predators is here:
** The shot speed of the sine shots fired by predators has been dropped to 4/7 of its previous value.  The shot speed of the sine turrets has been increased to 7/4 its previous value, though (the two basically swapped shot speeds).
** The attack power of the predator shots has been dropped to 1/3 it previous value (but those of the sine turrets has not changed).

* The groups of ships now do a better job of spreading out relative to one another.  This both makes them harder to hit with just a few shots, and it also makes it so that it is harder for them to just slam you with too much munitions all at once.

Hope that helps!   Those 3 things are pretty much the only major problems I've got at this point.  Though, the Andors never electing anyone might be another, unless you already fixed that.  But yeah, those are the big ones.  Anything else I can think of is just small stuff, I'll pop those onto Mantis later.

Yep, we just got that one.  If that's all you can think of off the top of your head, that's not nearly as bad as I was fearing!  Of course, who knows what these fixes will then uncover in terms of problems that could not be found because these were blockers. ;)
Title: Re: New version .816 out! (Combat Clarity! Better Flagship Physics! 6 Abilities!)
Post by: Cipherpunk on April 03, 2014, 12:32:34 PM
I totally get that the solar map is broken right now so I'll focus on combat thoughts:

Can you explain what makes you come to that conclusion?  Again, specifically so that I can fix it.  I know there are a number of bugs throughout that we are working to deal with starting today (now that combat is finally in better shape), but I don't want things that are important to slip through the cracks.

I encountered a bug late last night where the Skylaxians could gift any tech to anyone for cheap, without unlocking it themselves first. I assumed that they had access to every tech which was an issue in a previous version. Sorry to jump to conclusions! :D

Here's the save and screenshot: http://www.arcengames.com/mantisbt/view.php?id=13584
Title: Re: New version .816 out! (Combat Clarity! Better Flagship Physics! 6 Abilities!)
Post by: Hyfrydle on April 03, 2014, 01:14:17 PM
Wow I'm blown away by the combat changes it's really starting to rock now. Still not a fan of the arrow extending from the ship maybe it could be made more transparent so it's not as obvious.

Just had a pretty epic battle and took down four flagships it felt like a real space battle. Is engine noise planned for when your ship moves?

Can't wait to see what multiple race battles feel like could be very interesting.

Still feel that the enemy flagships are perhaps a bit slow they just sit there and wait for the player to attack, would be cool to have them chase and attack the player or would that be too hard.

This combat matches the game so well great how things turn out :-)

Is gravity still a thing? If not the option still shows in the advanced start screen.
Title: Re: New version .816 out! (Combat Clarity! Better Flagship Physics! 6 Abilities!)
Post by: PokerChen on April 03, 2014, 02:33:57 PM
I totally get that the solar map is broken right now so I'll focus on combat thoughts:

Can you explain what makes you come to that conclusion?  Again, specifically so that I can fix it.  I know there are a number of bugs throughout that we are working to deal with starting today (now that combat is finally in better shape), but I don't want things that are important to slip through the cracks.

I encountered a bug late last night where the Skylaxians could gift any tech to anyone for cheap, without unlocking it themselves first. I assumed that they had access to every tech which was an issue in a previous version. Sorry to jump to conclusions! :D

Here's the save and screenshot: http://www.arcengames.com/mantisbt/view.php?id=13584

As far as I know, Peltians with the ability to gift tech can gift any tech when you speak with them in their deals menu. Friendly actions where you gift your own technolgoy work as intended. I don't know if the Andors actually work correctly with this as well, but here is a save.
Title: Re: New version .816 out! (Combat Clarity! Better Flagship Physics! 6 Abilities!)
Post by: Pepisolo on April 03, 2014, 02:45:07 PM
Quote
No, the firing modes let you choose things.  In the next version it highlights those when you go into attack mode, to make it more likely you will find them.  In future tutorials I will be sure to also make it point these out even more.

Sounds good.

Quote
Pressing Q is the hold fire button.
Or press left mouse to choose direction then on the left you can choose the fire modes like autofire/holdfire

Cool. Thanks for the tips.

Title: Re: New version .816 out! (Combat Clarity! Better Flagship Physics! 6 Abilities!)
Post by: x4000 on April 03, 2014, 02:53:38 PM
I totally get that the solar map is broken right now so I'll focus on combat thoughts:

Can you explain what makes you come to that conclusion?  Again, specifically so that I can fix it.  I know there are a number of bugs throughout that we are working to deal with starting today (now that combat is finally in better shape), but I don't want things that are important to slip through the cracks.

I encountered a bug late last night where the Skylaxians could gift any tech to anyone for cheap, without unlocking it themselves first. I assumed that they had access to every tech which was an issue in a previous version. Sorry to jump to conclusions! :D

Here's the save and screenshot: http://www.arcengames.com/mantisbt/view.php?id=13584

As far as I know, Peltians with the ability to gift tech can gift any tech when you speak with them in their deals menu. Friendly actions where you gift your own technolgoy work as intended. I don't know if the Andors actually work correctly with this as well, but here is a save.

Thanks!  Yeah, we have three other reports, so it's on our hit-list for today, heh.
Title: Re: New version .816 out! (Combat Clarity! Better Flagship Physics! 6 Abilities!)
Post by: alocritani on April 03, 2014, 03:11:38 PM
I just tried 0.816 and I like how combat is now.
Only a couple of thinks to report:
I needed to read release notes to fully understand the new 2-speed concept and what red arrows means but I had quite an idea even without rel. notes
What I really missed is a way to know that I set maximum reachable range when moving: previously putting mouse pointer over the edge of movement ring gave me full reachable range for my ship, while now I continued to pan away / zoom out in order to check if I can "stretch" my white arrows further.
Related to this, I found that in these conditions (zoom out / pan) arrows don't "end" where the pointer is, but it seems like the pointer is "pulling" the arrows, and they cannot reach it. I don't know how to explain the concept, I'll try with a screenshot ASAP.
Title: Re: New version .816 out! (Combat Clarity! Better Flagship Physics! 6 Abilities!)
Post by: x4000 on April 03, 2014, 03:58:43 PM
Yep, we know on the arrows pulling it -- that's one of those artifacts of the way that the current thing works.  I don't think we could address that, at least not in any reasonable amount of time.  For the movement ring... I hear you.  I think it's one of those things where you have to kind of get a sense for it, unfortunately.  I mean, I can put back in the ring, but it winds up being way way larger than you can actually go, because of all the acceleration and turning radius restrictions, etc.  That's why I took away the ring; you could only ever reach like 75% of the ring's size, and only after a few turns of going full-blast.
Title: Re: New version .816 out! (Combat Clarity! Better Flagship Physics! 6 Abilities!)
Post by: alocritani on April 03, 2014, 04:26:24 PM
No way to make movement ring "adapt" to your current acceleration, etc...  so player can easily understand how far can he go in that turn?

Maybe I simply have to get used to the idea, but still is a bit strange because maybe I can move cursor further but I don't know it.
Nobody else with this feeling?

Another thing I found: hovering over enemy ships while firing (mainly with minigun) at them, listed DPS will go up as I fire at enemy ships and they take damages.  It happens with normal ships (not flagships) so shields are not involved.
No problem at all, I suppose, but still it seems strange to me.
Title: Re: New version .816 out! (Combat Clarity! Better Flagship Physics! 6 Abilities!)
Post by: x4000 on April 03, 2014, 04:34:55 PM
Well, how far you can get is something that is based on the current path you have already assigned.  So... I guess I do see your point.  It will be sizing up and down like crazy as you move your mouse around, though (based on turns, etc).  I worry that will be distracting.

For the DPS, that is odd.  It might be that these were fighters with a deflection bonus, and that they were slowing down?  For some ships, the faster they are moving, the less damage they take.  But they slow down slightly when they are finishing a strafing run.
Title: Re: New version .816 out! (Combat Clarity! Better Flagship Physics! 6 Abilities!)
Post by: alocritani on April 03, 2014, 04:39:32 PM
Well, how far you can get is something that is based on the current path you have already assigned.  So... I guess I do see your point.  It will be sizing up and down like crazy as you move your mouse around, though (based on turns, etc).  I worry that will be distracting.
Don't worry, I'll get used to how it is at the moment. Don't lose time on these small things, not now, at least. Combat is quite good, and in .817 it will improve even more (waypoints!)

For the DPS, that is odd.  It might be that these were fighters with a deflection bonus, and that they were slowing down?  For some ships, the faster they are moving, the less damage they take.  But they slow down slightly when they are finishing a strafing run.
Nice to know, I was not even imagining it - I'll check again and pay more attention to that deflection bonus.
Title: Re: New version .816 out! (Combat Clarity! Better Flagship Physics! 6 Abilities!)
Post by: x4000 on April 03, 2014, 04:40:21 PM
Sweet!
Title: Re: New version .816 out! (Combat Clarity! Better Flagship Physics! 6 Abilities!)
Post by: alocritani on April 03, 2014, 04:46:02 PM
completely unrelated, but... Is there any benefit of holding fire against enemies  in combat (I mean on left side of the interface, where you set your enemies)?
I reported on Mantis a while ago about doing it reduces influence hits (don't worry, not complaining about that - other things have precedence over it) - but what is your idea about that?
I understand I can attack my allied and "backstab" them but not getting the point of the opposite.
Title: Re: New version .816 out! (Combat Clarity! Better Flagship Physics! 6 Abilities!)
Post by: x4000 on April 03, 2014, 04:48:44 PM
The main point is that if you turn that on, your bullets pass by the enemy in question.  So in a multi-party fight, let's say that there is a swarm of small stuff of Race A guarding something Big Nasty of Race B.  You want to get the Big Nasty as fast as possible.  Hold fire against Race A, and you can shoot at Race B's stuff without them blocking your shots.

So it's somewhat niche to be sure, but still.  There are also benefits to not accidentally killing civilian stuff in similar situations.
Title: Re: New version .816 out! (Combat Clarity! Better Flagship Physics! 6 Abilities!)
Post by: alocritani on April 03, 2014, 04:58:24 PM
Nice, now I'm understanding it...

Because you talked about civilian structure another suggestion (this one also on Mantis) is to report at battle end effects of destroyed buildings (like -5% ship building ships, etc...) and maybe on solar map also (this on could be hidden inside planet details or somewhere else)

Please forgive me if I "advertise" my ideas in this way, but it's nice to "chat" with you "live". It make me feel a lot like "these guys really care of their fans"
Title: Re: New version .816 out! (Combat Clarity! Better Flagship Physics! 6 Abilities!)
Post by: x4000 on April 03, 2014, 05:00:43 PM
No worries at all. :)

That is on the list, it's just a rather big list, heh.
Title: Re: New version .816 out! (Combat Clarity! Better Flagship Physics! 6 Abilities!)
Post by: doctorfrog on April 03, 2014, 06:03:22 PM
Sorry for the following post, I was reading about some shield talk in the beginning of this thread, and I wanted to trumpet my favorite shield description from any video game: the shields from the Independence War series.

Basically, shields act like point defense, rather than magic bubbles. They are basically shield emitters on very fast gimbals that rotate to disperse damage from a limited number of directions. In IWar, a ship has two of these, protecting two sides of the ship, and they are overwhelmed by more than one shot at a time: then the hull absorbs damage. Otherwise, they easily disperse energy, and "recharge" extremely quickly. It's great protection when you're up against a limited number of opponents, and you're positioned well, but more than a few guys shooting at you will definitely result in hull damage.

To top it off, IWar shields don't protect engine emissions, and your backside is 100% vulnerable.

To quote GameSpot:
Quote
Shields aren't all-encompassing energy fields, as in other space sims. In Independence War your ship has two shield projectors, one protecting each of its upper and lower hemispheres, and each projector is only capable of shielding you from one attacking ship at a time. Using your weapons and shields effectively is difficult, but until you learn how to do so you won't have much of a chance against multiple opponents. Even once you're experienced, you'll have to choose your fights wisely. This is definitely not a game where you can be successful by charging in and trying to blast every enemy in sight. Time to retire your "Iceman" instincts.

I am NOT proposing that shields in TLF work in this way, rather, that there may be a more satisfying and interesting way to deal with shields and recharging than the way they are currently being used. I also think point defenses are inherently cool, and marrying the rather boring play mechanic of shields to them is pretty neat. Is there something we can crib for TLF?
Title: Re: New version .816 out! (Combat Clarity! Better Flagship Physics! 6 Abilities!)
Post by: Misery on April 03, 2014, 07:37:44 PM
I just tried 0.816 and I like how combat is now.
Only a couple of thinks to report:
I needed to read release notes to fully understand the new 2-speed concept and what red arrows means but I had quite an idea even without rel. notes
What I really missed is a way to know that I set maximum reachable range when moving: previously putting mouse pointer over the edge of movement ring gave me full reachable range for my ship, while now I continued to pan away / zoom out in order to check if I can "stretch" my white arrows further.
Related to this, I found that in these conditions (zoom out / pan) arrows don't "end" where the pointer is, but it seems like the pointer is "pulling" the arrows, and they cannot reach it. I don't know how to explain the concept, I'll try with a screenshot ASAP.


Argh, yes, THAT was the other bit, that thing with the movement arrow/line was driving me up the wall too.   It kind of damages the effects caused by putting more power into the engines, because the line still wont really go any further due to this effect.   It's very confusing overall.  Is it that the ship will move to where the line ends, or is it that it'll move to where the pointer is if the pointer isnt out of range?

Also makes Afterburner pretty bad.  Mostly because it's just this massive hassle to use, and it's very unclear as to how far it can or cannot go, as with the rest of the movement.  I end up avoiding using that particular ability just because it's too annoying.


EDIT:


First, the solar map event one, basically the thing that keeps happening is that within the 3 or so minutes it takes to do a 20-month dispatch (which I'm mostly doing to get credits), multiple major wars break out, and also finish within that time;  typically, in this short time multiple planets will change hands, or one or two races may also be wiped out.   There's some other things that seem to be happening a bit fast, but this save is mainly to capture the war issue.  I only did the one dispatch mission, which was immediately after a smuggling one or two, I think.

I gotcha on the wars.  I saw what you meant, for sure.  I just put in this:

The speed of each step of NPC vs NPC combat resolution has been slowed all the way down to one step per 50 days (50 seconds) instead of 3 days (3 seconds). This may be too much, but all the others were just bloody fast. These are millions of troops fighting, after all, and huge armadas fighting as well!

It may be too extreme, but we'll see.  There were a few other things that I noticed on my own, including the RCI bar changes, so those also are better now.



Also, I wanted to mention this real quick.   It wasnt just that the wars themselves were completing too fast.... though they very definitely were.... but part of it was that it seemed like the different races were hitting the point of going to war too fast in the first place.  It's like, ok, I'm 4 minutes in, and ALREADY all these guys are launching fleets and nukes and such at each other?  It creates more confusion and a feeling of "wait, what in the world could I have done about this? I dont even have any real options yet".   It also keeps making me think that the AI is glitching out.
Title: Re: New version .816 out! (Combat Clarity! Better Flagship Physics! 6 Abilities!)
Post by: keith.lamothe on April 03, 2014, 07:50:54 PM
The arrows don't reach the cursor because the combat physics is rather frankensteinian and is difficult to fully predict.

Part of it is that even before we had the arrows, your ship wouldn't go all the way to the clicked point.  It would stop X units short once the move order was satisfied you were close enough.  So the end of the arrow is where the quick-prediction-simulation says you'll actually stop.

Another part is that the game takes your clicked point, in some senses, as where you want to stop rather than where you want to go.  This means it needs to start decelerating before it actually gets there.  So the further away the point, the longer it can maintain "full burn", so to speak.  The utility of it doing any deceleration at all is debatable, and removing that would probably make the prediction (and actual result) closer to the mouse cursor.  But I'm not sure what that would cause in terms of making your ship behave like a drunken monkey on ice skates.

A third part is that your ship slows down while turning in a way which isn't easily folded into the prediction.


Overall it's something that can be improved, but could take hours of repeated "tweak, test, tweak, test", etc.
Title: Re: New version .816 out! (Combat Clarity! Better Flagship Physics! 6 Abilities!)
Post by: Misery on April 03, 2014, 08:13:00 PM
The arrows don't reach the cursor because the combat physics is rather frankensteinian and is difficult to fully predict.

Part of it is that even before we had the arrows, your ship wouldn't go all the way to the clicked point.  It would stop X units short once the move order was satisfied you were close enough.  So the end of the arrow is where the quick-prediction-simulation says you'll actually stop.

Another part is that the game takes your clicked point, in some senses, as where you want to stop rather than where you want to go.  This means it needs to start decelerating before it actually gets there.  So the further away the point, the longer it can maintain "full burn", so to speak.  The utility of it doing any deceleration at all is debatable, and removing that would probably make the prediction (and actual result) closer to the mouse cursor.  But I'm not sure what that would cause in terms of making your ship behave like a drunken monkey on ice skates.

A third part is that your ship slows down while turning in a way which isn't easily folded into the prediction.


Overall it's something that can be improved, but could take hours of repeated "tweak, test, tweak, test", etc.



Argh, that's even more confusing.  Which seems like the biggest problem to me, just that it's going to confuse the heck outta many players.  That, and it just LOOKS glitchy way before you even click something.

I dont understand the deceleration bit though.  Generally, if the line isnt stretching right, it means I'm trying to use max move range anyway.... why would the ship need to decelerate at all in this case?  If the same set of movements were done in real-time instead of turn based, you wouldnt see the ship just randomly slowing/stopping/speeding up as it moved along it's line, right?
Title: Re: New version .816 out! (Combat Clarity! Better Flagship Physics! 6 Abilities!)
Post by: Pepisolo on April 03, 2014, 08:14:41 PM
One small thing. Are missiles meant to be able to be shot out of space? I had a few missiles on my tail, so thought I'd try to shoot them down, but I couldn't do it. I tried direct fire.
Title: Re: New version .816 out! (Combat Clarity! Better Flagship Physics! 6 Abilities!)
Post by: keith.lamothe on April 03, 2014, 08:17:06 PM
Argh, that's even more confusing.
It's even more confusing to try to code a system which uses various arcade-physics assumptions in some places and real-world-physics assumptions in others :)

Quote
I dont understand the deceleration bit though.  Generally, if the line isnt stretching right, it means I'm trying to use max move range anyway.... why would the ship need to decelerate at all in this case?
If the point is less than, say, 50% (just guessing) beyond your max movement range, the "turnover point" (the point where you need to start decelerating to avoid overshoot) is still inside your movement for that turn.

Quote
If the same set of movements were done in real-time instead of turn based, you wouldnt see the ship just randomly slowing/stopping/speeding up as it moved along it's line, right?
Not randomly, no.  It would smoothly accelerate at the start (assuming it wasn't already at max velocity), maintain speed (assuming a straight-line course, no turning-slowdown) until the turnover point, and then begin smoothly decelerating until the end of its movement for the turn.
Title: Re: New version .816 out! (Combat Clarity! Better Flagship Physics! 6 Abilities!)
Post by: Tridus on April 03, 2014, 08:18:08 PM
Argh, that's even more confusing.  Which seems like the biggest problem to me, just that it's going to confuse the heck outta many players.  That, and it just LOOKS glitchy way before you even click something.

I dont understand the deceleration bit though.  Generally, if the line isnt stretching right, it means I'm trying to use max move range anyway.... why would the ship need to decelerate at all in this case?  If the same set of movements were done in real-time instead of turn based, you wouldnt see the ship just randomly slowing/stopping/speeding up as it moved along it's line, right?

The behavior of those arrows was confusing to me. The idea that it's showing where I'm going to go is clear enough, but I had no idea what the red is supposed to mean and sometimes it seemed like it'd grow or shrink for some reason while trying to go into the same area. Trying to get my maximum distance required zooming way out.

Conceptually I like it, but I think it needs a bit of tweaking.
Title: Re: New version .816 out! (Combat Clarity! Better Flagship Physics! 6 Abilities!)
Post by: Misery on April 03, 2014, 08:53:45 PM
Argh, that's even more confusing.  Which seems like the biggest problem to me, just that it's going to confuse the heck outta many players.  That, and it just LOOKS glitchy way before you even click something.

I dont understand the deceleration bit though.  Generally, if the line isnt stretching right, it means I'm trying to use max move range anyway.... why would the ship need to decelerate at all in this case?  If the same set of movements were done in real-time instead of turn based, you wouldnt see the ship just randomly slowing/stopping/speeding up as it moved along it's line, right?

The behavior of those arrows was confusing to me. The idea that it's showing where I'm going to go is clear enough, but I had no idea what the red is supposed to mean and sometimes it seemed like it'd grow or shrink for some reason while trying to go into the same area. Trying to get my maximum distance required zooming way out.

Conceptually I like it, but I think it needs a bit of tweaking.


Yeah, that's part of the annoying.

Heck, using Afterburner, I'm not even sure you CAN go max distance with that one.  It's very hard to tell.


At the very least, there really aint much problems with the combat beyond this right now.  The movement isnt annoying after this patch, and I'll be glad to see those blasted Predators nerfed.  Finally, vengeance will be mine.

Though, I havent tried all mission types with this since I havent been going far into the solar map stuffs. 


Having 6 abilities is fun too.  Those seem more significant now, though some still need tweaking, like the garbage one, that should come out with a bit more speed/momentum.

Which reminds me... is the ship supposed to continue drifting when using an ability?  Keeps doing that, and I get the impression it's not supposed to (particularly when using that garbage one).  It also sometimes keeps firing a bit too.
Title: Re: New version .816 out! (Combat Clarity! Better Flagship Physics! 6 Abilities!)
Post by: x4000 on April 03, 2014, 10:14:12 PM
Okay, now I see why Keith was talking about the movement lines in a recent email to me; the forums "helpfully" stopped emailing me about this thread, sigh.  A few points:

1. The thing with the range not reaching quite all the way to your cursor is an oddity.  Not sure what is up there.  I think Keith was working on a fix for that, but it wasn't working with the waypoints as it stood.

2. The red section is denoting deceleration.  Basically, if you want to END on the point you are at, the ship has to stop firing its thrusters at some point.  The point where it turns red is where the engines cut off.  Why is that relevant?  Because if you move all the way to the end of your range, you will note that your red portion goes down, meaning that you will still be at a very high speed.  So next turn you know you will have deceleration to deal with -- you can't stop on a dime -- since it wasn't accounted for this turn.  If you are moving very far and see only a short red deceleration bit at the end, then you know you will be slowing but not fully slowed.  Etc.

Despite being very confusing, the red is actually super informative.  My thought was that a tutorial note would address that.  How to explain that concisely is tricky, of course.  Maybe not using the color red would also be good, since that makes it seem like an error area.  I picked it just because it's high contrast.  Doing something less high-contrast for #2 might make it so that it's still as useful for advanced play as it is now, without being surface-confusing to new folks or folks who have not read the above.  Regarding #1, I think that's just a matter of it being a bit of a bug.  I'm not sure how important that is to chase down instantly versus the other things on the plate, though.

One small thing. Are missiles meant to be able to be shot out of space? I had a few missiles on my tail, so thought I'd try to shoot them down, but I couldn't do it. I tried direct fire.

Depends on your weapon, but in general no.  I believe the piercing shot does it, or concussive.
Title: Re: New version .816 out! (Combat Clarity! Better Flagship Physics! 6 Abilities!)
Post by: Misery on April 03, 2014, 10:18:34 PM
Aye, I dont think the arrow thing is as important as certain other glitches, but still, personally I do think that it's definitely up there.

It relates to one of the most basic/core mechanics of the combat, and it IS very confusing... it's definitely going to have some effect on many new players, and that effect is likely to be negative.


And I'd been wondering about that red bit myself as well, thanks, that makes sense now.
Title: Re: New version .816 out! (Combat Clarity! Better Flagship Physics! 6 Abilities!)
Post by: x4000 on April 03, 2014, 10:26:56 PM
Gotcha.  Well, I'll change the color and hopefully that will solve the worst of the confusion.  Beyond that, the other thing might be something that Keith already solved; he was saying that his code didn't play nice with my waypoint code, but at the same time he noted a bug in my waypoint code, so I fixed that.  Now maybe his code would play nice with it, I don't know.
Title: Re: New version .816 out! (Combat Clarity! Better Flagship Physics! 6 Abilities!)
Post by: alocritani on April 04, 2014, 12:16:43 AM
Well, how far you can get is something that is based on the current path you have already assigned.  So... I guess I do see your point.  It will be sizing up and down like crazy as you move your mouse around, though (based on turns, etc).  I worry that will be distracting.

I thought about it again: maybe adding a small floating text close to cursor showing a percentage of maximum reachable range ? it could appear when holding a button, for example.
So you know at a glance if you can pull the cursor further away or not.

Another suggestion is about adding a speed indicator somewhere (under shields indicator?), even with only a % of max speed


edit after quick test of .817: not sure if you were talking about that, but when it seems you're "pulling" arrows with cursor, the problem is that arrows should really reach cursor. it happens when you place a waypoint where the cursor is: suddenly it seems you can move further, so it's very confusing.

Yesterday I thought "nice I understood the speed thing" but now...I don't know why but it seems more confused to me - if red denotes deceleration, why turning section of planned movement still appears white? I'm sure I'm slowing down - I have visual feedback of ship moving slower.  hint: speed indicator?

As other said, it's quite good - now it's just a matter of small tweaks.

And I should start focusing more on solar map, now... I mostly forgot about it in these days, looking for combat.
Title: Re: New version .816 out! (Combat Clarity! Better Flagship Physics! 6 Abilities!)
Post by: Histidine on April 04, 2014, 12:44:01 AM
I'm trying to think of a good graphical way to convey the purpose of the red movement line, but I'm having trouble.

1) Icon of a brake, or a brake pedal, drawn next to the line. But how do you draw a brake, and how do you tell the brake pedal from the gas pedal?

2) Like #1, but the icon is a stop sign instead. Kind of silly looking, and may confuse people by not appearing when the player ship is going slow enough to stop instantly.

3) Braking thrusters on the ships. This is the most aesthetically pleasing option, but it'll take precious time and effort, and as I recall you just had to lay off your artist(s).

I'm sure someone can think of others.
Title: Re: New version .816 out! (Combat Clarity! Better Flagship Physics! 6 Abilities!)
Post by: alocritani on April 04, 2014, 12:52:30 AM
I think red line is quite good, after someone explains you the meaning :) or a different color also.
Using an icon I fear may clutter the interface, while changing color lines brings the same message without adding other icons.

edit: IIRC currently when your ship is moving high speed arrows seems to be more streamlined, but it's not very evident (or it's just my idea... :) )

Another suggestion (covering both speed indicator and braking) is to display speed making distance between arrows linked to speed.
The higher the speed, the more distance between arrows while in planning-movement phase

something like
slow            speeding up             max speed                braking
>>>>>> >  >   >    >     >      >      >      >      >      <     <    <   <  < < <


or making the braking part dotted

Title: Re: New version .816 out! (Combat Clarity! Better Flagship Physics! 6 Abilities!)
Post by: Histidine on April 04, 2014, 09:38:50 AM
Another suggestion (covering both speed indicator and braking) is to display speed making distance between arrows linked to speed.
The higher the speed, the more distance between arrows while in planning-movement phase

something like
slow            speeding up             max speed                braking
>>>>>> >  >   >    >     >      >      >      >      >      <     <    <   <  < < <


or making the braking part dotted
I like this a lot. It wouldn't be too hard to do, would it?
Title: Re: New version .816 out! (Combat Clarity! Better Flagship Physics! 6 Abilities!)
Post by: alocritani on April 04, 2014, 10:25:34 AM
or maybe even better

slow        speeding up             max speed       slowing down       braking
>>>>>> >  >   >    >     >      >      >      >      >     >   >   >  >  <  < < <


where "slowing down" is what happens during turns, and braking is what now happens when you see red icons
Title: Re: New version .816 out! (Combat Clarity! Better Flagship Physics! 6 Abilities!)
Post by: x4000 on April 04, 2014, 12:16:38 PM
Niiiice!

* When the ship movement line is in the process of braking (where it used to show red but now just shows half-alpha), it now also reverses the arrows to make it more intuitively clear that there is braking going on.


By the way, we still have Blue, our artist who handles the GUI and so forth.  We lost Cath, who was the main one on the scene backgrounds.  Blue is mostly working on our next game at this point (the SHMUP), but has been doing lots of icon work and other things for TLF every day or couple of days, as new little needs keep constantly arising.  All those new mode icons and whatnot are her. :)