player feedback

player feedback

A late World War II game which attempts to balance historical realism with a tactically complex model of battle.

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raaar
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player feedback

Post by raaar » 15 Mar 2015, 21:46

Hi.

Here's some feedback about S44. I'm still relatively new to it, but here goes:


--- good parts
- WW2 look and feel
- nice unit models
- generally intuitive (mg kills infantry, big guns kill vehicles and buildings, ranges on infantry and vehicle guns generally make sense)
- several factions with lots of units, counting land, air and sea

--- bad parts
- supply delay too big
- lack of in-game information: hard to know which units can capture flags, what weapons they have, etc.
- unit ammo limits too low on some cases (ex: guns/tanks with max 5 shells instead of dozens)
- ineffective aircraft. For what they cost, they don't seem to have a noticeable impact in the game.


suggestions:

--- general

- add warning about supply levels for new players (took a few games to understand why my tanks wouldn't fire)

- add more information about each weapon the selected unit has on tooltip. Many units seem to mix weapons that require supply and ones that don't.

- make supply refill more often, but lower amounts (same average supply/min)

- add "specialist" barracks that allow building specific infantry types (AT rifle, MG, assault, etc.) instead of forcing people to use mixed squads

- use different smudged/dusty/bloody stained textures for dead units (maybe there are ways to do this through lua to corpse features)

- make close range assault infantry tougher and faster. Maybe add "armored" infantry with vests or plate armor that's even tougher but slower.
like this
or stuff from pictures here

- give infantry the possibility of manually throwing grenades (cost supply)

- planes look too big, perhaps because they fly so high (closer to camera), maybe reduce the size of their models slightly



--- more balance oriented

- reduce general-purpose infantry damage with grenades against medium/heavy tanks when close

- allow tanks to trample infantry, but make infantry run for it instead of standing still when enemy tanks are close. Infantry could have a "panic! run!" option when under fire

- increase range of anti tank infantry and AT rifles

- reduce AOE of cannons and other explosives by 33% (they can kill grouped infantry too easily), but increase number of rounds units can carry, especially vehicles

- make aircraft cheaper, fly lower, be targeted by some infantry and vehicle machineguns/cannons and not just AA weapons.

- reduce AA weapons range against air

- reduce range of some howitzers significantly, maybe by 33% or more (there's 1800 cmd cost howitzers with 4000+ range, ouch!)
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raaar
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Re: player feedback

Post by raaar » 16 Mar 2015, 01:36

there's some weird stuff on infantry stats : some have 140hp, others 110, others 65, for some reason. The cost does change slightly, though. It seems to depend on nationality, not role.

and there are units that don't match their historic counterparts. The katyusha in s44 is an expensive high tier artillery unit, but wikipediasays it was meant to be a cheaper alternative to conventional artillery with higher burst damage, lower accuracy and lower dps.
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FLOZi
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Re: player feedback

Post by FLOZi » 16 Mar 2015, 19:40

raaar wrote:Hi.

Here's some feedback about S44. I'm still relatively new to it, but here goes:
Thanks, I'm sure Nemo will reply more fully but I'll do what I can.
- supply delay too big
7.5 minutes came about after many different times were tried, why do you feel it is too big?
- lack of in-game information: hard to know which units can capture flags, what weapons they have, etc.
Certainly a problem, and only 'regular' inf capping flags is a counter-intuitive solution to a problem that probably doesn't exist anymore
- unit ammo limits too low on some cases (ex: guns/tanks with max 5 shells instead of dozens)
Gameplay decision to force units to be more dependent on supply logistics. If your tank has 50 shells it will likely die before it ever runs out.
- ineffective aircraft. For what they cost, they don't seem to have a noticeable impact in the game.
Depends on the player using them (fear Godde)
suggestions:

--- general

- add warning about supply levels for new players (took a few games to understand why my tanks wouldn't fire)
- add more information about each weapon the selected unit has on tooltip. Many units seem to mix weapons that require supply and ones that don't.
Good ideas to make the game more noob friendly
- make supply refill more often, but lower amounts (same average supply/min)
The supply timer restocks all your storages to full capacity, so the amount you receive is determined by how many storages you have built, there is no set supply/min
- add "specialist" barracks that allow building specific infantry types (AT rifle, MG, assault, etc.) instead of forcing people to use mixed squads
Won't happen, mixed squads are a concious design decision.
- use different smudged/dusty/bloody stained textures for dead units (maybe there are ways to do this through lua to corpse features)
Quite a few corpses need updating with 'wrecked' textures, for sure. Yuri has done a great job of this with ITA and JPN but hte old sides are lacking.
- make close range assault infantry tougher and faster. Maybe add "armored" infantry with vests or plate armor that's even tougher but slower.
like this
or stuff from pictures here
SMG vs Rifle balance is a tricky situation and the outcome mainly depends on the terrain they are fighting in. We're aware of the bibs but atm there are no plans to use them.
- give infantry the possibility of manually throwing grenades (cost supply)
? Riflemen and SMG already have grenades, and they can be manually targeted.
- planes look too big, perhaps because they fly so high (closer to camera), maybe reduce the size of their models slightly

Scaling is quite bad in many places - most old models were scaled 'by eye' by SpikedHelmet and most newer models accurately scaled by yuri. If anything most planes are too small vs reality.
--- more balance oriented

- reduce general-purpose infantry damage with grenades against medium/heavy tanks when close
Yes please, but sneak this one past Nemo (see below).
- allow tanks to trample infantry, but make infantry run for it instead of standing still when enemy tanks are close. Infantry could have a "panic! run!" option when under fire
I added vehicles/tanks crushing infantry, in Nemos view it greatly upset the balance. The compromise (which he is still unhappy with!) is that vehicles and tanks 'push' infantry out of the way for a small amount of damage dealt to the infantry and a speed loss for the vehicle. "Panic" button might be useful - there are certain units in the game that will allow units to get up when suppressed and run away but for all intents and purposes this is a hidden aspect to new players (again we have much work to do on making information about gameplay elements clear).
- increase range of anti tank infantry and AT rifles
There have been balance changes to AT inf recently (lost cloak - major nerf) so this is a possibility.
- reduce AOE of cannons and other explosives by 33% (they can kill grouped infantry too easily), but increase number of rounds units can carry, especially vehicles
Don't mass your infantry :P
- make aircraft cheaper, fly lower, be targeted by some infantry and vehicle machineguns/cannons and not just AA weapons.
If anything vehicle MGs area already too effective vs aircraft. They already have problems bouncing on the ground due to low altitudes.
- reduce AA weapons range against air
AA is probably too effective vs aicraft atm, it is being looked at
- reduce range of some howitzers significantly, maybe by 33% or more (there's 1800 cmd cost howitzers with 4000+ range, ouch!)
Yes, ouch. Even more ouch if they get a visual targeting lock and become super accurate. They say artillery is the King of the battlefield :wink:
there's some weird stuff on infantry stats : some have 140hp, others 110, others 65, for some reason. The cost does change slightly, though. It seems to depend on nationality, not role.
Intentional difference between nations - meant to reflect 'training' i.e. GBR and GER have well trained troops but a lack of them, RUS have many troops but they are not as well trained
and there are units that don't match their historic counterparts. The katyusha in s44 is an expensive high tier artillery unit, but wikipediasays it was meant to be a cheaper alternative to conventional artillery with higher burst damage, lower accuracy and lower dps.
Unit costs are based on their destructive potential, not their real world material costs. Cheaper Katy's would be a nightmare for everyone except Soviet players, who are hardly hamstrung as it is!
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raaar
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Re: player feedback

Post by raaar » 17 Mar 2015, 03:36

--- supply

What i meant was supply refilling for a fraction of the total once per minute (or similar interval). (It'd still take 7.5min to fully refill it)

7.5min is a long time in a game. Imagine if you decide you need more supplies and start building them, if you don't finish them before the timer runs out, you'll have to wait another 7.5 min until they have any effect.

--- grenades

ah, they have grenades? It does say so in the unit description, but i still can't figure out how to fire them.

--- explosion AOE vs infantry

ranges in s44 seem semi-realistic. Units can shoot somewhat far compared to their size. More than in the typical rts, but still not realistic (would require huge maps). This is fine. But this also means explosion radius should be reduced as well. Spread out infantry seems to lose against clustered infantry because of lack of range.

--- aircraft bouncing off the ground

This is a stinking spring bug. It was recently sort of fixed in 97 or 98 as they try to climb back up as they pass over the target, but it should be further improved as they still fly dangerously low.
I've put this one on mantis.
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Forboding Angel
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Re: player feedback

Post by Forboding Angel » 17 Mar 2015, 08:32

My main frustration with s44 when I have tried it is I can't tell units from terrain. The drab textures (they are pretty, don't get me wrong) make it so that it is very difficult for me to see units and stuff. Perhaps something as simple as adding this ( https://github.com/EvolutionRTS/Evoluti ... latter.lua ) would help?
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Nemo
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Re: player feedback

Post by Nemo » 17 Mar 2015, 17:55

Hi raaar, thanks for checking things out! like FLOZi said, we really appreciate the thoughts on how to make things easier to understand at first.

@forb: anything special about that particular fork of trepan's teamplatter? we use it too, and have been using it at least since 2010 :-P

raaar: a lot of the things you mention are explicit design choices. I'm a firm believer that games are more interesting (and ultimately more fun) when your choices have big, concrete results. Like building a storage in time (or not in time). Running out of logistics is meant to hurt, and learning how to manage your usage of it/scale your eco with your army needs (or keep your army focused on low-logistics units) is a skill that you pick up as you play more S44.

In a well-designed game, the impact of your choices should be pretty obvious: oh, I used too much logistics, stalled out, and then they killed me (or whatever). In order to accomplish that, you need to magnify the impact of player decisions as much as you can: in this case, we do it by making the resupply period rather long in absolute terms. But I'm digressing into design <_<

Yep, arty is powerful. HE shells have fairly high AoE (although nowhere -near- realistically scaled. many shells were lethal 50+ meters away from the point of impact). I much prefer to give everybody lots of different powerful tools and let them sort things out. AoE is high because explosives are -meant- to be very powerful tools against clumped infantry. So spread out your infantry -- that's part of playing well, and will also help you avoid getting them all suppressed/pinned at once. Of course, the downside is that your fire is less concentrated, so if you spread out too much you'll lose to grouped enemy infantry that kill you bit by bit. Unless you have a MG to suppress/pin the group. But they might have a sniper or mortar to counter your MG (and so on). Lots of powerful tools for dealing with other powerful tools.

The key is that we want the powerful tools to have limits that you make serious choices about. To address a few of the ones you mentioned:

Artillery range
Arty pros:
  • very long range
  • powerful HE shells
  • can fire smoke to disrupt defenses or cover retreat
Cons:
  • uses a lot of logistics to fire.
  • very inaccurate (when firing blindly)
  • has to deploy to fire/limited fire arc
  • basically defenseless at close range
So, it might shoot really far, but the reality is that firing it blindly at the enemy base will just burn up a lot of logistics for not much in return, which starves the rest of your army.


Tank ammo stowage

Tank pros:
  • durable
  • deadly
  • high mobility
Cons:
  • reliant on ammo supplies (eventually vulnerable without logistics support)
  • limited vision (vulnerable without inf support)
As FLOZi said, giving them realistically high ammo stowage would totally remove one of their major limitations. It might feel arbitrary, but if we cranked it up (to, say, 50 rounds) we'd mostly lose a major strategic (and realistic) element of the game: some units depend on supply lines to really work.

For some of the other points, briefly:

Tanks running over infantry
I don't like this because it adds lots of accuracy to one part of the interaction (tanks can crush people) without modeling the other part (people don't just stand there to get run over...), so it ends up being a straight power boost to armor for no great reason. I don't think modeling that interaction with more detail (inf move, tanks crush) would add much depth to the game, but I guess it would be nice-ish visual flair, I dunno. It also conflicts with the following:

Grenade damage
Isolated tanks surrounded by enemy infantry should be -toast-. They should die. That's why grenade damage is a bit high on armor -- if you let the enemy inf get all over your armor and it is alone, you should lose it. The way we model this is a bit weird (grenades), but it is how the interaction should go.

Hope that clarified some things, thanks again for the feedback, feel free to pop into #s44 to chat or play :-)
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raaar
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Re: player feedback

Post by raaar » 18 Mar 2015, 04:18

vehicle supply dependency could be modeled through fuel usage when moving instead of low ammo capacity.

The lethal radius on real explosives is greatly reduced against infantry that's in prone position, especialy if the terrain isn't flat.

I may be wrong, but it seems that currently players can completely bypass building supply and vehicles and mass infantry and use it spread out and agressively.

for the price of one light vehicle yard and a supply depot, the player can lay 50 AT mine fields, or buy a dozen infantry squads.

Tanks run out of ammo, and if they get near infantry, they die. It's like infantry crushes tanks and not the other way around!
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Forboding Angel
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Re: player feedback

Post by Forboding Angel » 18 Mar 2015, 08:29

Nemo wrote: @forb: anything special about that particular fork of trepan's teamplatter? we use it too, and have been using it at least since 2010 :-P
Yes, it is significantly different. Trepan's teamplatter manages to make the situation worse imo.
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yuritch
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Re: player feedback

Post by yuritch » 18 Mar 2015, 12:19

raaar: trust me, infantry alone does not dominate. Try your mass infantry vs someone going infantry + light vehicles, see your inf masses suppressed by MG from vehicles (especially Soviet BA-64 are good at this) and then picked off. Minefileds can protect your base from raids, but not your field army.
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Nemo
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Re: player feedback

Post by Nemo » 18 Mar 2015, 13:21

forb: cool, I'll check it out then. thanks.

raaar: yeah, fuel would be another way to limit vehicle independence. what would make that a better way to limit vehicle independence vs ammo capacity? we try not to include realistic things for the sake of realism, but to make the game deeper and more interesting -- adding stuff just to increase realism increases complexity sharply.

generally speaking, I think that if we can accomplish a given piece of the model (reliance on supplies) with only one mechanic, we should use only one mechanic, rather than two.

for infantry: you may have noticed that prone infantry are many times more durable than standing ones. they take something like 3 times more damage when prone, and they dive as soon as something scary nearby happens (get hit or nearly hit by smallarms, nearby shell exploding)

have you been able to jump into any of the evening games with the regular player group? I think it'll be easier to see how the game works once you see some experienced players going at it. like yuri said, I don't think any of the current playerbase would accuse infantry of being OP :-). going heavy inf is certainly one way to play, but it is actually pretty hard to pull off because of how easy it is to beat with a mixed force of inf + vehs (or lots of MG nests).
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