Outside Opinions of Spring

Outside Opinions of Spring

Discuss game development here, from a distinct game project to an accessible third-party mutator, down to the interaction and design of individual units if you like.

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Saktoth
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Outside Opinions of Spring

Post by Saktoth »

While reading the PURE thread (which was quite constructive for the most part!), i came across this:
http://news.bigdownload.com/2008/10/17/ ... y-p-u-r-e/
Its quite a comprehensive review, and its approach is fascinating. It sees PURE, very different from TA, very much through the scope of TA. It criticizes the interface, and lack of ingame menu, something we should probably be aware of. Especially of note, it criticizes the AI: The targeting and pathfinding. Is it that bad, in spring? The targeting can, i agree, sometimes be schizophrenic but i thought the pathfinding was relatively good.

So what other outside views of Spring have you seen, reviews, articles, interesting newbie first impressions? How are we perceived? And are these criticisms of Spring in general (more than PURE) valid, are they things you struggled with?
Last edited by Saktoth on 17 Oct 2009, 07:40, edited 1 time in total.
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smoth
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Re: Outside Oppinions of Spring

Post by smoth »

I don't find the pathfinding that bad. I do find it VEXING that units get stuck in features and pushed into them.

I pretty much agree with the rest of his points.
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KDR_11k
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Re: Outside Opinions of Spring

Post by KDR_11k »

The pathfinding mostly works but the 8 direction based nature makes it take unnecessarily long routes at times and of course having units go single file is unhealthy. I wonder what that site would think about e.g. Kernel Panic...
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Master-Athmos
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Re: Outside Opinions of Spring

Post by Master-Athmos »

Well pathfinding and targetting certainly has issues. I wouldn't call those flaws "abysmal" and I think the author overreacts a bit but imo his experience is quite valid. Units "often" get stuck in features or bounce into each other taking a while to make them pass. There also is the tendency to make units move along the very same line if you just give a move order. Especially in a RTS with many units there is a need for some kind of formation feature (the "hold formation move command" doesn't really count here as you have no time to single pick and drop your units around until they have the formation you want - at least the average player doesn't have the time besides it being a quite boring task)...

Targetting simply is too much hardcoded and lacks intelligence. You have next to no influence on which kind of unit will be preferred by which kind of weapons. We now have a minor ability to prefer units more close or units more far away but that's it. In the end it's just a mindless firing at the enemy which came into range first or attacking the one with the highest HP - it at least feels that way. It's pretty much not useable for a decent RPS game design with very high dependencies on weapon-armor combos as you'll often have your units pick the "wrong units" in terms of which to fight more efficient. Again I wouldn't call Spring's abilities here "abysmal"...

When it's about the interface I guess we all know that this is a problem. While I think that besides Gundam's interface PURE most certainly has one of the best interfaces Spring has to offer. Apart from PURE UI being overloaded and eating up most of your view (if you have that description-textwall-thingy active) it doesn't add too much to the standard interface Spring delivers (except for a more polished look) and I guess we all can agree that this "options window" in fact looks "abysmal"... :wink:

When talking of other reviews I only know of this one:
http://giftsfromagaminggod.blogspot.com ... oject.html
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SpliFF
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Re: Outside Opinions of Spring

Post by SpliFF »

It was my understanding that Spring supports preferred targetting based on unit categories/armor types but it's up to mods to implement the categories correctly?
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Neddie
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Re: Outside Opinions of Spring

Post by Neddie »

I ran a lot of people through Spring from 2nd Quarter 2007 to 3rd Quarter 2008, I'll see if I can dig out a binder of SSFF.

I tried to keep most people focused on one or two games, but that probably works for the purposes of this discussion.
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KDR_11k
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Re: Outside Opinions of Spring

Post by KDR_11k »

SpliFF wrote:It was my understanding that Spring supports preferred targetting based on unit categories/armor types but it's up to mods to implement the categories correctly?
Of course. I pay a lot of attention to making sure units prefer targets suitable for their weapons and don't shoot at things that make no damn sense (e.g. using machineguns on armor that's immune to them or torpedoes that can't damage small targets because their proximity fuse reacts too early on them). I use categories a lot.
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Google_Frog
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Re: Outside Opinions of Spring

Post by Google_Frog »

With properly set up target categories the targeting can be pretty good.
It criticizes the interface
I think it's more criticising PURE's interface, did you ever see PURE's interface?
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Argh
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Re: Outside Opinions of Spring

Post by Argh »

Moreover, it's talking about the old-old-old interface of whatever RC that was.

On the pathfinding... meh, a lot of that is differences in maps and the requirements that come from that.

A Warcraft III has few obvious pathfinding problems, because the world's practically 2D (with a few exceptions). And, of course, there are probably some who find the "go the fastest route, even if its totally not a straight line" aspect utterly confusing, if not downright aggravating.
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Pxtl
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Re: Outside Opinions of Spring

Post by Pxtl »

Iirc, that review came out back when PURE's interface was so bulky that only about a quarter of the screen was usable at 1024x768. Notice the shift-escape complaint - that's a feature that has been fixed in Spring a long time ago.
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Argh
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Re: Outside Opinions of Spring

Post by Argh »

Yeah, I think that was RC5 or so, well over a year ago.
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1v0ry_k1ng
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Re: Outside Opinions of Spring

Post by 1v0ry_k1ng »

I think the reason he had gripes with the pathfinder is- dont know if youve played PURE- all the maps it ships with are absolutely saturated with features. Really showcases the one major flaw with the pathfinder (it dosnt like features).
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Argh
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Re: Outside Opinions of Spring

Post by Argh »

There is that. I'll have to do some experiments, see whether buildings can set Heat values, make that less of an issue. Units getting stuck on other Units is pretty annoying.
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Neuralize
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Re: Outside Opinions of Spring

Post by Neuralize »

GUI has always been a sore spot, we're still making GUIs with text that is too small to read, too many controls we don't need and no rhyme or reason to the way our build lists are sorted.

As for general unit path finding, the game does look unpolished when a tank pushes another tank around like it's soap in the bath tub. I've been playing a lot of DOWII and Starcraft and their units go around each other, or get out of the way of an incoming unit.

And the animation system is still pretty horrible.

We got effects down pretty good, you like effects right?
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Google_Frog
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Re: Outside Opinions of Spring

Post by Google_Frog »

Argh, if the flat map with features approach is causing the pathfinder to fail why not place square holes/hills under the buildings and remove them when then buildings die. If the terrain was the same height as the buildings you'd even be able to let units shoot through buildings. The terrain would stop units from firing into the buildings by themselves and cliffs can be the target of a attack ground command so units would be able to explode buildings when told to.

The buildings might be too low to be unclimbable or the pathing may need to extend slightly from the building's border. In that case we need to be able to manipulate typemaps map via lua to force units to not walk there.
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Saktoth
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Re: Outside Opinions of Spring

Post by Saktoth »

I think you'll probably get the same result whether you use path blocking features or path blocking terrain: The path maps are too low resolution to find their way through small or maze-like gaps. Even a map like Castel Gods, the units often cannot find the breaches in the walls.
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Argh
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Re: Outside Opinions of Spring

Post by Argh »

I actually have some plans about that stuff, but until the shadowmaps are fixed, or I have enough time to write a new one myself, I'm kinda stuck. The issue's pretty complex, and I need to be able to do several things I can't do yet, or be able to just abolish the map drawing so that I can do tricky stuff, like that map-as-obstacle idea. It's utterly impractical with SMF drawing, due to how awful it looks, but it can be done with a bit of trickery when the map's no longer visible. However, the shadow problem makes it all moot atm.

Building a shadowmap via Lua's on my list of things to do. After that, I can probably deal with these issues, because I won't need to use SMF any more.
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