P.U.R.E. 0.8 RC3 - Page 40

P.U.R.E. 0.8 RC3

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Re: P.U.R.E. 0.8 RC3

Post by zwzsg » 19 Feb 2009, 16:07

TA culture says that blue-grey is metal and that yellow is energy.

Common cultural convention calls blue a cold color and yellow a warm color, and common cultural convention says material is cold while energy is hot.
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Re: P.U.R.E. 0.8 RC3

Post by Guessmyname » 19 Feb 2009, 18:03

Actually, I agree with AF on this. Every time I play PURE, I get confused as to switch resource bar is which.
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Re: P.U.R.E. 0.8 RC3

Post by Argh » 19 Feb 2009, 21:26

ImageBecause you can never have enough Heavy Shells ;)

Ok, on to stuff...
A model I made 6 months ago disagrees with you
Actually, you forgot, the spheres have both inner and outer parts, and the bits that come out when activated, etc. Let's just say that while I think that some friendly argument about whether or not to add bases is just fine, I'm not promising that will be done, nor can it be done for anything like 244 triangles ;)
Make the spheres generate power and the cubes generate material, and swap the colours.
Hmm... you might want to actually play the game sometime, since that's exactly how they are, and they've been like that for a year.

On the UI in General

At this point me and DRB have logged probably 50+ hours of weekly testing and refinement of the balance, and at no point were we ever confused by the base UI, to be perfectly honest. That said... I really don't mind changing the colors of the bars. It's such a minor thing, and if it'll make people happy, great. I'll get to that today.

Speaking of UI, I'm almost done with the main UI revisions- we're getting rid of a lot of the remaining buttons including a lot of silly OTA anachronisms like the 3-state Move / Fire, where two of the states are totally useless (Hold Fire + Move or Roam) and one of them is of dubious value and practically never gets used by real players in a real game (Return Fire). We're going to a more modern system, where you basically have Hold Fire / Hold Position, Free Fire / Move, Free Fire / Roam. Three buttons, but no state stuff.

Don't complain (yeah, right, lol... where am I posting this again?), this is the result of a lot of testing and looking at all the RTSs we could take a look at (heck, we even stared at the UIs of several games that were turn-based, since that's where all of this stuff has its roots, in old-skool tactical games), and I'm quite sure it's the right way to go.

Spring's default interface is pretty unwieldy, and is full of commands that aren't really useful, and a few that are genuine time-wasters. I cut the UI down quite a bit with RC3, but after reviewing the RTS games, I found a pretty straightforward pattern. Basically... the newer the RTS, the simpler the interface becomes, and the more it's focused on giving users the controls they'll actually use... and nothing else.

Old RTS games had very complex UIs, which required a ton of fiddling with stuff. Newer ones have simpler interfaces, with smarter controls, less micro waste, and static UIs. Not one of the high-sales RTS games made in the last 3 years that we looked at had any mobile elements in their UIs. Lots of pop-ups and other situational stuff, but that's what we saw, and I'm entirely convinced that there are very good reasons for that.

LoTR II's interface, for example, was a good example of why it was one of the best games of its release year. It's very, very smart and elegant, and gives the user all of the things they need to play the game as designed, with no fat at all. While I have a few quibbles, because nothing's ever perfect... it's still excellent.

Now, we're big fans of the OTA-isms like Patrol and Repeat over here, don't get me wrong, and you can expect those kinds of features to still be in the game, but I thought it would be wise to say that if you just play BA, you can expect to have to learn some new things. I suspect most BA players have played other RTS games, though, and won't find it very confusing. At any rate, feel free to quibble, since I know you guys will anyhow, but that's the plan, and I'm executing it today.

Gameplay

In other news... the whole building-infiltration system is finally done-done and feels polished. Like the C&C series, you are able to take and hold buildings with infantry, using a straightforward play mechanic. It's finally intuitive and bug-free, which was quite a lot of work for something that seemed so "simple" in concept.

We were testing that yesterday, and after many hours and a few last tweaks, I'm pretty sure it's done and will be very fun. Among other things, players can queue up taking multiple small houses with their squads of infantry (both sides can do this, it's just easier for Resistance) and this means that the little "Mr. Roger's Neighborhoods" I've built become insane deathtraps for people trying to blindly assault, and skyscrapers, due to their height advantages and high hitpoints, become deadly defensive bastions with strategic importance.

I've never played a game where urban warfare was more fun and felt more realistic, to be honest. Taking a city involves reducing strongpoints, just like it works in reality. It's intense, especially during late-game play, where everybody can finally reduce a city to shreds, and it becomes a struggle to reach Armageddon in a real hurry. But due to the nature of play... this is a game where you can expect to see all of the tiers get used, unless somebody screws up badly, and all of the tiers remain useful even up to the end.

I actually had more fun with the game yesterday than I've had in months, tbh. As the game designer, I tend to get pretty jaded, and for a long time, it was frustrating, because things would work until a certain point on the curve, then things would totally fall apart for one side or another, and it was back to the drawing-board. Pretty sobering, given the huge investment of time and energy and the hours logged in testing things, and I can't really point at anybody else and be like... "that's your fault that the curves don't work".

I've always been honest with myself about what I've learned, so it's been a huge burden, knowing that the game had a large places where it just plain sucked. For RC3 players, I'm sure you're all like, "yeah, we know it sucked"... but you have to remember, that was months ago, it's been changing daily... and up until yesterday, it still sucked. It was better, a lot better... but only up to a point, on certain maps, and only under certain conditions. But then we'd go to a different map, try a new tactic... and it would all fall apart.

Then... with a number of things I added last week, like the mobile pillboxes and the urban-combat stuff, and a major revamp of the economy (I'll talk about that later)... it just started working. Really, really working. Balance issues, here and there, units needing buff / nerf... sure... but a basically-solid frame finally emerged, where neither side falls apart at a certain point. I've been getting closer, but yesterday was the key point.

It's a good feeling. I'm glad I kept sticking to the grueling test routine, even though it's been a major time-drain every week. There just wasn't any other way to work through this, I wouldn't have gotten to this point with online testers. Don't get me wrong... everybody who's beta-tested online has been great about submitting bugs and stuff like that, but on the issues of balance... not so much. There are too many things you can't really pin down until you're in the same room with an experienced player on a LAN, and can quiz each other about all of the variables, repeatedly test timing stuff, etc., and with this game, I want this last RC to have a balance that's a lot closer to ideal. I already think it's a lot better balanced than a lot of commercial stuff I've played at this point, tbh.
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Re: P.U.R.E. 0.8 RC3

Post by zwzsg » 19 Feb 2009, 22:05

If you want to build a loyal fanbase, concentrate on making a campaign instead of a perfect balance. I mean, balance is important, and always stay on the look-out for things that would break it, but 90% of first time player won't be able to spot the different between good and excellent balance anyway, and will just discard any balancing effort you'd do on the ground you don't have "balanced" in the mod name. Beside to check for balance, you'd need to have pr0 player trying to abuse your mod, you can't consider it achieved just by testing with you and a friend, unless you're already players of SY skill levels. However the silent majority won't even start a multiplayer game if they can't first beat the single player. The frontend you added in RC3 was a good step toward that direction, the next step is to make actual missions with trigger and events and storyline and enthralling plots and diversity and gradual introduction to the gameplay mechanics.
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Re: P.U.R.E. 0.8 RC3

Post by Pxtl » 19 Feb 2009, 22:11

Wholeheartedly agree. Notice in retail games - they fiddle with the balance after the game is done. Hell, lots of games go out with only single-player and add the multiplayer as a patch.

Single player has to come first.
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Re: P.U.R.E. 0.8 RC3

Post by Argh » 19 Feb 2009, 22:18

The campaign, or at least a series of SP missions that vaguely resemble a campaign, is one of the final things on the table before we're releasing. It's one of the reasons I've been very... vague about the "when" in When It's Done, this time- I wanted the gameplay to finally be un-jacked-up enough (and let's be real, RC3's gameplay was very bad) to finally "relax" on that and concentrate on SP.

I agree with you both entirely that the lack of a coherent SP experience is a major problem, and AI play by itself isn't entirely satisfactory.

I'm not sure about "enthralling plots", etc., beyond a certain point. DoW DC's campaign system got away with practically no real plot except a lot of silly huffing and puffing about why the multiple factions were kicking each other's butts, for example, but that's beside the point. Either a game has a SP experience worth bothering with, or I pretty much never play it enough to bother with online, tbh. And the vast majority of the people who played RC3 obviously had the same feeling about this as I did.

Pxtl, I have some changes I'd like in your AppLauncher, if you're willing, that would really help. Let me know if you're at all interested in extending it.

Also, AI play should be considerably better in the next release, and with World Builder, I think I finally have a big enough toolset to build fairly decent scenarios.
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Re: P.U.R.E. 0.8 RC3

Post by Pxtl » 19 Feb 2009, 22:35

Shoot. You might need to wait a bit since I've got some deadlines coming, but I could probably squeeze some small changes in.
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Re: P.U.R.E. 0.8 RC3

Post by zwzsg » 19 Feb 2009, 22:46

Argh wrote:I'm not sure about "enthralling plots", etc.
By "enthralling plots" I meant whatever makes you want to see what happens next. When all missions are: you get a commander. Now build a base while defending, and then destory every enemy units, it can gets pretty boring. Personnaly I love it when missions have twist in the middle, allied base, and special events to win against overwhelming odd.

For instance in Red Alert there was that one mission that starts with Tanya infiltrating two heavy enemy base, then you get several sea transport unloading a small pack of units including an enginner, with which you proceed to attack and take over a third enemy base, that base looking like a small but complete base, it has construction yard and tank factory and all but is poorly defended, so killing it is easy, but instead of blowing up the building you just convert them to your own with the engineer. So when the actual mission begins, you already know the map from the Tanya infiltration, and you already have a working base.

Or in Spellforce:Breath of Winter there is that one mission where some orcs like ten levels over your units are blocking a swampy canal, but through the course of the mission, by blowing an early small base you get an enemy hero to surrender and talk to you about a magical flute which then you go retrieving and with it it leads a pack of mega-toad into the canal where they eat the orcs and so open the passage. That same mission has diverse race to fight, there's an large orc village, a small ogre settlement, a tiny goblin village on a peak, and the last base which I don't remember if was human or orc with a powerful mage. (Oh yeah, having final boss in RTS missions is awesome too), so it's like having a whole mini-campaign with its own convoluted sub-plot all during the same mission.

Or in WC3, in the orc campaign there are two mission where you have an allied base, and althought their attacks are so puny they don't achieve anything, it brings some life into the game, doyouknowwhatImean? Still in WC3, in the orc campaign there's that mission about doing some heavy deforestation on elf sacred woods, and then like the next mission has an elf counter attack so heavy you can only hope to delay them but never to gain the upper hand, until the heroes goes drinking the demon blood and all you orc skin turn from green to red and they're, like super powerful now that they're infused with the power of demons or chaos or whatever and with those, it becomes easy to trash the elves over the whole map while they seemed so unbeatable the second before.

So in short, the actual story can be lousy I don't care, but I enjoy having little events like that mid-missions. You could do something like for instance having a mission objective requires you to kill all DCA and then have a massive air army spawn with which to end up the game quick, or have a briefing say something like defend that pass for 20mins, reinforcment are on the way, and then after 20 mins you make some of your largest mech arrive from the player's owned pass map edge. Or require the player to reach a certain point where there's an inactive base, and when any unit, or a special unit, reach it, then suddenly the base becomes yor own and with it comes high level buildings you couldn't build. Don't forget to throw one or two missions where you are given a handful of attack units and have to win with only those on a maze map.
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Re: P.U.R.E. 0.8 RC3

Post by Argh » 19 Feb 2009, 22:48

@Pxtl:

Here's what I was thinking... and feel free to tell me I'm asking for the ridiculous:

1. A secondary window that we can put colored text and pictures (background and a header) or maybe just a static bitmap that pops out to the side of the main app. and describes a given Mission. It may be required to make the AppLauncher have a fixed-center location for the main window, to make this work well.

2. A locked / unlocked state, that reads a Lua-generated text file in the root (since I put AppLauncher in the root of the Spring directory- not saying this is going to be OK for anything but indie-game full installers, mind you) and uses what it reads there to change the state of the mission buttons.

IOW, if you win mission one in the Resistance campaign, I could write a text file via a Lua Widget that says something like this:

mission1_resistance = 1
mission1_overmind = 1
mission2_resistance = 1
mission2_overmind = 0

Now mission 2 for Resistance is available, but missions 3+ are still locked, and Overmind's at Mission 1.

I know that's asking for a lot... but meh, Satirik said he'd do something like this, if I ever got off my lazy butt and finished graphics for his SP implementation (which has, for obvious reasons, remained a low priority), and now that he's gone, there's no real way forward that I can see, other than doing it in AppLauncher, which I really like because it's so easy to set up and seems to be fairly bulletproof at this point.

@zwzsg: Yup, I'd like to so some of that. Dunno how complex I can make missions, due to time / content considerations, etc., but I have the basic code of "how to talk to players about Events" done, and World Builder gives me a bunch of tools to use for object placement... so we'll see. I'm not going to promise too much, this will inevitably be a race against time.
Last edited by Argh on 19 Feb 2009, 22:57, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: P.U.R.E. 0.8 RC3

Post by Pxtl » 19 Feb 2009, 22:57

Argh wrote:@Pxtl:

Here's what I was thinking... and feel free to tell me I'm asking for the ridiculous:

1. A secondary window that we can put colored text and pictures (background and a header) or maybe just a static bitmap that pops out to the side of the main app. and describes a given Mission. It may be required to make the AppLauncher have a fixed-center location for the main window, to make this work well.

2. A locked / unlocked state, that reads a Lua-generated text file in the root (since I put AppLauncher in the root of the Spring directory- not saying this is going to be OK for anything but indie-game full installers, mind you) and uses what it reads there to change the state of the mission buttons.

IOW, if you win mission one in the Resistance campaign, I could write a text file via a Lua Widget that says something like this:

mission1_resistance = 1
mission1_overmind = 1
mission2_resistance = 1
mission2_overmind = 0

Now mission 2 for Resistance is available, but missions 3+ are still locked, and Overmind's at Mission 1.

I know that's asking for a lot... but meh, Satirik said he'd do something like this, if I ever got off my lazy butt and finished graphics for his SP implementation (which has, for obvious reasons, remained a low priority), and now that he's gone, there's no real way forward that I can see, other than doing it in AppLauncher, which I really like because it's so easy to set up and seems to be fairly bulletproof at this point.
Both are pretty simple. I personally wouldn't bother with doing first one as a pop-out panel - keep it simple, don't resize the window, but instead just have the window switch to a "briefing" page with a "back" button on the top and a "start" button on the bottom - not changes to window shape or anything. But I could do a pop-out on the side and widen it to expose the briefing if you like.

The timing of updating the screen could be tricky. I'm pretty rusty with the filesystemwatcher, but I could watch your campaign-state-file for changes and then update when its "modified" date changes, it should hit the user pretty fast when spring closes but I don't know if it would be instant.
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Re: P.U.R.E. 0.8 RC3

Post by Argh » 19 Feb 2009, 23:01

Both are pretty simple. I personally wouldn't bother with the first one - keep it simple, don't resize the window, but instead just have the window switch to a "briefing" mode with a "back" button on the top and a "start" button on the bottom.
That's fine with me. Simple is good.
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Re: P.U.R.E. 0.8 RC3

Post by zwzsg » 19 Feb 2009, 23:04

Argh wrote:I'm not going to promise too much, this will inevitably be a race against time.
I'm not expecting a complete campaign for RC4. Such a long task has to be done little by little.
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Re: P.U.R.E. 0.8 RC3

Post by MidKnight » 20 Feb 2009, 05:12

I'm bursting with (storyline) fluff!

If you end up with an impossible/dead-end situation in the campaign, you may want to mention it to me, and in between CA, modeling, FODB, and life, I'll find an insane plot device that ties up the loose ends. Just letting you know that I'm available for this somewhat odd, and not very difficult task :P
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Re: P.U.R.E. 0.8 RC3

Post by Argh » 20 Feb 2009, 05:45

We have a storyline, and I like it. I actually have a fair amount of the events I'd like to tell through a campaign written out.

The only issue there is actual story-structure- as zszwg pointed out, a really great game has moments in a SP experience where scripted things make stuff work, and you feel like you're doing something worth doing. I'll start thinking about that when I'm past the harder parts of just getting it all functional.
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Re: P.U.R.E. 0.8 RC3

Post by Google_Frog » 20 Feb 2009, 07:36

With no Fire at will/Hold position mode how can people stop their units being lured to their death when they're not watching them?

I think you need more than 2 people for balance testing. Some people will try things you haven't even thought of and it would be a shame if whatever it was is unbalanced and effectively breaks the game.
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Re: P.U.R.E. 0.8 RC3

Post by Pxtl » 20 Feb 2009, 14:38

Wait, he cut the hold-button? When? Was it always gone and I never noticed?

I could see switching it to a Starcraft-approach - that is, have a "hold position" button, and any subsequent orders switch the unit back to "manoever" or "roam" or whatever you use by default. The Spring approach stinks because the system doesn't cache the button-clicks properly - I can't doubleclick on the "manoever" button to turn it into "hold position", but instead have to do click-lag-result-click-lag-result, so I could see wanting an alternate approach, but axing it altogether isn't the best solution.
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Re: P.U.R.E. 0.8 RC3

Post by 1v0ry_k1ng » 20 Feb 2009, 15:20

what is the average game length of pure at 1v1, 2v2, 3v3?
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Re: P.U.R.E. 0.8 RC3

Post by AF » 20 Feb 2009, 23:10

meh I remember now but I got confuzzled while writting those posts about which, but if it had been done correctly that would have bene impossible! I did play the game, I play it every now and again at lunchtimes at work, a proper game too not a 2 minute whirl. My points still stand though.

Swap the colors. The blue == energy red == power association si that ingrained that it even shows in the reactor models of other strategy games. It even shows in the *A mods which are using bright blue sparkly things in their fusion reactors.

So my reccomendations:
  • Energy -> blue, materials->red/orange etc make the resources reflect this
  • Give resources icons when zoomed out that pulsate if uncaptured to make it obvious where the resources are
  • Add a base to the resources with some indication fo which team owns the resource
  • Reverse the open shut sequence. Active resources are open/moving/animated, inactive resources are shut/closed/inert, not the other way around.
  • Resources out of LOS go semitransparent and stop moving and revert to the default model state, this is a huge no no and makes it much harder to do things. Bugfix please
+1 to the interface streamline. However dont remove a vast array of useful options because they're rarely used if at all, just hide them away or only show them on units where it would actually make a difference.
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Re: P.U.R.E. 0.8 RC3

Post by Guessmyname » 20 Feb 2009, 23:16

AF wrote:
  • Energy -> blue, materials->red/orange etc make the resources reflect this
  • Give resources icons when zoomed out that pulsate if uncaptured to make it obvious where the resources are
  • Add a base to the resources with some indication fo which team owns the resource
  • Reverse the open shut sequence. Active resources are open/moving/animated, inactive resources are shut/closed/inert, not the other way around.
  • Resources out of LOS go semitransparent and stop moving and revert to the default model state, this is a huge no no and makes it much harder to do things. Bugfix please
Seconded
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Re: P.U.R.E. 0.8 RC3

Post by zwzsg » 21 Feb 2009, 20:18

Guessmyname wrote:
AF wrote:
  • Energy -> blue, materials->red/orange etc make the resources reflect this
Seconded
objected!
  • Materials-> grey/blue, Energy -> yellow/orange etc keep the ressource color as they are
Fixed!
AF wrote:
  • Reverse the open shut sequence. Active resources are open/moving/animated, inactive resources are shut/closed/inert, not the other way around.
I kinda agree with that logic, but, for the sake of arguing:

Free for grab: "open" to any player
"Locked" to a player: closed

Also, what do you need your attention to be draw on? What you already captured hours ago and don't have to be fiddled with anymore, or what you forgot to grab and apparently requires some heavily stressed reminder that you should really capture them?

And which forms is better at drawing attention:
- open, bicolor, pulsating?
- or closed, monocolor, inert?
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