Author Topic: (Dev Really Wants Info) One Item You Most Want Changed This Week In AVWW, #1  (Read 6584 times)

Offline x4000

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Okay, taking this idea from the "worst ship of all time" polls that Keith has been doing, what I want to know from folks is what the single thing you'd most like to see changed about this game this week.  Please link to a mantis issue if there (hopefully) already is one.

THE RULES
We're talking about this week, so we're mostly talking about nondestructive bugfixes, balance tweaks, mission adjustments, usability improvements, and so on.

Preferably just one item per poster, but if there are a couple of things you just feel are absolutely critical for the game, then feel free to go ahead and mention them all; we'd rather hear about it than not, although we are trying to avoid getting overwhelmed with things that aren't actually that important to the broad playerbase.

To further clarify: we're not talking about new features -- we'll get into that territory next week!

A SPECIAL PLEA FROM ME ;)
Bear in mind that this isn't the last week for the game, okay?  If you've got some pet thing you'd like to see done, but it's larger and/or something that would interest very few players, can you give us your second-most wanted thing instead? ;) 

Basically, the more successful AVWW is, the longer we can maintain it in the fashion that we have been maintaining AI War for the last three years.  AI War has been paying the bills for three years running now, and let us grow from a part-time staff of 2 (Pablo and I) to a fulltime staff of 5, plus a few part-timers.  Our second game Tidalis, on the other hand, basically came out and flopped dead immediately; it didn't even earn back the money that I put into it.  In fact, in its whole life Tidalis has earned less net-for-Arcen-after-staff-royalties than AI War did the single day that it first came out for Steam.

I think most people here know that none of the Arcen folks are "all about the money," but at the same time the money is what lets us keep doing what we want to do with our lives.  And what I really, really want to do at this point, is keep making more AVWW and AI War for another three years.  To do that, we have to make sure that the game is as compelling as possible for new players, and that they aren't stumbling over the interface or whatever other problems constantly.  We also have to make it so that the game doesn't just fade out and lose interest after a few dozen hours, but I think we're already there -- some of you have played hundreds of hours of AVWW, you tell me, and most of you seem to have played dozens.

After 1.0 comes out, the rules change a bit: then we're not trying to make a product; we're trying to improve something that already exists.  It's the state that AI War has been in since March 2009, and I so prefer that state compared to the prerelease state.  I feel like that's when it's the most exciting time for hardcore players of whatever game, because the game can get just deeper and deeper for them.

The general response to AVWW has been extremely positive thus far, but I'm still nervous.  Tidalis did exceedingly well with the press, but then failed commercially.  So it can certainly happen, and has happened to us.  I don't think that this is where this game is headed, but at the same time I'm trying to leave as little to fate as possible.  If there's some little tic the game has that is just driving some segment of the players batty, then I want to know about it and fix it!

THE PLAN WITH THESE "TOP ITEM YOU WANT CHANGED" THREADS
We'll run this one for a day or two, possibly more, and use the feedback you give us to help focus our efforts.  We'll also be working on stuff from mantis that is already on our personal hit-lists.  After a certain point we'll lock this thread and open up another one, where people can then give us their feedback all over again (the idea being that you get to actually tell us more than one thing that bugs you, over the course of the week).
« Last Edit: April 16, 2012, 10:17:40 AM by x4000 »
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Offline Toll

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Not sure if this would classify as small, since I haven't thought it through entirely yet, but new enchantments that alter your elemental resistances/weaknesses. For instance, the basic version would give 35% resistance to one element and 25% weakness to the "opposite" (fire/water, earth/air, light/entropy), and further along the line the resistances would increase and the weakness would shrink. It would fit on the torso, and the resistance would have to be sufficiently high to make it more appealing than the resilient form enchantment.

Offline x4000

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Not sure if this would classify as small, since I haven't thought it through entirely yet, but new enchantments that alter your elemental resistances/weaknesses. For instance, the basic version would give 35% resistance to one element and 25% weakness to the "opposite" (fire/water, earth/air, light/entropy), and further along the line the resistances would increase and the weakness would shrink. It would fit on the torso, and the resistance would have to be sufficiently high to make it more appealing than the resilient form enchantment.

I just amended the rules to be clearer, but what you're describing is a feature request, not a "bugfix, balance tweak, mission adjustment, usability improvement, etc."  I think that sounds like a fine idea, but it's definitely not fitting into this week, where we're focusing on trying to squash critical existing issues rather than risk introducing new ones. ;)
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Offline x4000

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I split out Penumbra's suggestion to this thread: http://www.arcengames.com/forums/index.php/topic,10260.0.html

It was taking on a life of its own.
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Offline Terraziel

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I think my choice for bug that I most want fixed is This One as it has the most gameplay impact.

But on the whole as long "all" the bugs get fixed I'm not too fussed about the order.

Offline x4000

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I think my choice for bug that I most want fixed is This One as it has the most gameplay impact.

But on the whole as long "all" the bugs get fixed I'm not too fussed about the order.

We're certainly focusing on everything that seems to be critical to us, but people's opinions on that sort of thing differ.  With a game of sufficient complexity, there will never be a zero bug count unless you stop adding features, heh.  I figure that's what you meant by the "all" in quotes, so I expect we're already on the same page.

But part of the reason for this specific thread is that, for instance, the bug you just highlighted as your #1 thing is something that I would have completely ignored until sometime post-1.0 had you not brought it up.  So thanks!
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Offline Martyn van Buren

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I would love a fix to the bizarre interaction between tab targeting and placing platforms.  It's been Mantis'd more times than I can count.

Offline Toll

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As for my "favorite" Mantis issue, there's this one.

Offline x4000

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I would love a fix to the bizarre interaction between tab targeting and placing platforms.  It's been Mantis'd more times than I can count.

That, plus the grow gems thing, are both on my own personal hit-list already for this week, but yeah -- definitely a top one to work with.
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Offline eRe4s3r

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Well, I am gonna go entirely off-course with this, This would be the 1 thing I wanted change, but not necessarily this week ;p

Back some months I fiddled with the particles.xml and explained why the current setup of that is very inhibiting for good magic effects but as that was in 0.4 or whatever, here it goes again.

1) <g pattern="Fireball"> .......... </g) can not be assigned to specific spells but rather spells are pre-assigned to patterns which is a TERRIBLE way to do things. Why? Because if someone wanted to make entirely different spell effects for 1 particular spell he couldn't do that for various reasons (more than 2)

Also there is no clear indication which spell uses which patterns (but that another matter ,p)

2) There is no "spell LEVEL check" variable in this system, which means stronger spells can not change appearance depending on the level they have when they call the effect pattern.

Optimally, the effect pattern can be defined for specific spells, and then for specific spell power levels. The system then reads the one that matches.

If spell level is 3 and spell patterns defined are 2, 4, 6 the system loads spell pattern 2,
If spell level is 4 and spell patterns defined are 2, 4, 6 the system loads spell pattern 4,
If spell level is 9 and spell patterns defined are 2, 4, 6 the system loads spell pattern 6,

Edit: Actually that is daft, better would be if we could define spell level ranges (1-3, 4-6, 6-8) so that the results are always "expectable"

This of course, can be defined in the particle.xml so we can change it ;P

3) We can not add effect extra stages within a pattern, complex spells need more than 3 stages

4) We can not add custom sprites to be used per stage (vital for complex effects)
4.1) We can not add sprite sequences to be used per stage (vital for very complex effects ,p)
(These could be loaded in another file, customsprites.txt that is loaded on game-load instead when we press ctrl+f4 (or what was it?) so that we can define the sprite sequences, and their frame rate, looping etc.

optimally so
define = fancy-animation; start = fancy-animation01.png ; end = fancy-animation30.png; framerate = 25; Looping = Yes/No

And it would be called in the particles.xml by the defined name for example
<p name="LightningSpear" y="20" offs="0, 0, 0, 0" mov="3, 5, 160, 200" rot="0, 360, -10, 10" diffuse="0, 0, 0" level="Background" hidewhenadditivedisabled="true"

Would turn to

<p name="LightningSpear" sprite="fancy-animation" y="20" offs="0, 0, 0, 0" mov="3, 5, 160, 200" rot="0, 360, -10, 10" diffuse="0, 0, 0" level="Background" hidewhenadditivedisabled="true"

Well that is my 2 cents ,)

Edit: Eh, apparently code doesn't accept colors heh
« Last Edit: April 16, 2012, 12:00:31 PM by eRe4s3r »
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Offline TechSY730

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My issue is one-tile passages trapping players with no warning that it can happen.

Rather, it is a combination of three things

  • The map-gen is allowed to create drop-offs immediatly after a one-tile high passageway
  • Your hitbox is NOT shrunk when duck-jumping (this is what can catch people off guard, as convential platforming wisdom states that if your hitbox reduces when ducking, you can get through smaller than you normal hitbox passageways with ducking without external tools, and dropoffs right after such passageways do occur, then it is safe to assume that your hitbox reduces when jumping. In this game, it does not, counter to this pretty prevalent platforming princible)
  • Duck walking can let you get thourgh one-tile high passageways without needed a powerslide enchant, miniaturize, transform into bat, or any sort of teleport, which incidentally, are the only tools that are assured to let you get through a one tile high passageway up on a ledge, making this particularly insidious

Basically, this ends up being way to get trapped without feeling "fair", without sufficient warning (implicit or explicit), due to things that seem to run counter to common platforming wisdom. I'm not the only one to notice this.

Map creation seems a bit screwy, IE: how do you get out of the attached image?  I had to abandon the character.

When this happened to me the first time, I was sufficiently annoyed that I closed the game and doubted how good the map generator is, which is NOT a good thing for prospective players to do.

While reducing the hitbox size while duck jumping would fix this, as Chris pointed out, there were good reasons he chose not to do this (it would render normal jumping obsolete due when dodging shots). This was solved another way by making duck-jumping considerable slower and lower than normal jumping. So that would be sufficient to make duck-jumping not so great for dodging even with the reduced hitbox, so this is now a viable option.

Another way to fix this is to ensure that the map gen never creates dropoffs immediately next to one-tile high passageways, which is less likely to create balance problems.

Offline x4000

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eRe4s3r -- hardcore modding of spells is definitely not the sort of thing for this thread, and isn't really something I have a lot of personal interest to begin with.  But... we'll see, at some point. 

Anytime I add a new spell or change anything in particles.xml you lose any mods you've applied, anyway.  My main reason for making it external was to make it faster for me to change things with it, and to allow players to mock up things that they want us to include and have it so that we (and you) could see it in action.  Not as actual true mod support, which isn't something I see ever focusing on in the game (fragmentary playerbases, yikes).
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Offline x4000

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techsy730 -- yeah, that's definitely on my hit-list, too.  Way lot of reports of confusion about that for sure.
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Offline TechSY730

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2) There is no "spell LEVEL check" variable in this system, which means stronger spells can not change appearance depending on the level they have when they call the effect pattern.

Optimally, the effect pattern can be defined for specific spells, and then for specific spell power levels. The system then reads the one that matches.

If spell level is 3 and spell patterns defined are 2, 4, 6 the system loads spell pattern 2,
If spell level is 4 and spell patterns defined are 2, 4, 6 the system loads spell pattern 4,
If spell level is 9 and spell patterns defined are 2, 4, 6 the system loads spell pattern 6,

Edit: Actually that is daft, better would be if we could define spell level ranges (1-3, 4-6, 6-8) so that the results are always "expectable"

This of course, can be defined in the particle.xml so we can change it ;P

Is there still no cap to spell tires? If so, then this wouldn't be very useful, as there would be an infinite number of spell tiers.
Even if you are allowed to put an "open range" at the end (like, "16-" meaning 16 and up), this would basically mean that all tiers past level 16 would look the same, which would happen eventually. (Though, still may be useful if your spell-tiers reset when on a new continent. Do they?)

If there is now a cap on spell tiers, then this opens up all kinds of per-tier level variance options (different names, different graphics, tier 5 taking like 3x times the stuff to craft compared to normal tier cost progression, but 5x as strong, and possibly only do this for certain spells). Of course, this sort of variety will almost certainly have to wait until post-1.0, but it would allow the devs to address concerns that upping your spells doesn't "feel" more powerful, even though it is. Also, it would allow for all kinds of fun new ideas now that things no longer have to scale infinitely, but instead, you can give a "special touch" if desired to a tier of a spell because there is a now a finite number of them.

Offline keith.lamothe

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Toll, I'm investigating that killed-overlord-no-new-continent thing right now, and commented on the mantis record.  Something's weird there, beyond the obvious issue.



Well, I am gonna go entirely off-course with this
Yes, yes you did :)
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