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Author Topic: CSG update #35 - Demo update #2, more screens  (Read 939 times)
Vince
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« on: March 10, 2019, 03:46:27 pm »

We made good progress with things that matter (but hard to show) like programming, balance, and scripting but poor progress with relatively minor but highly visible things like armor models and portraits. As (probably) mentioned previously, the demo is fully playable and has 14 fights, 2 of them optional. We're still playing it on a daily basis, ironman-style as there's no save/load system yet, so the demo has already received 2 balance updates as a result. The engine is great and very stable. I didn't have a single crash yet (despite daily updates); there were some occasional freezes earlier (for example, if one enemy knocks you out and his helpful buddy shoots in the face, scoring a knockdown) but I didn't have any in my last 2-hour long play session.

The feats are now working and two gadgets out of three are done (the energy shield and the distortion field). All gadget parts (each gadget consists of 3 upgradeable parts that increase its properties such as shield's regen rate or damage resistance) are nicely modeled and textured. The main new addition is the targeting info (see the screens below). It gives you a full THC breakdown, which will help the player to understand how it's calculated and helps us make sure that bonuses and penalties are implemented properly. RNG is working great, so far the balance between hits and misses is perfect.

So far the armor thing (the delay) is our biggest problem, which is a good indicator as I can think of worse things to screw up. It's slowly moving forward, so I hope that we'll have it done in 3 weeks. Similar to the weapons, the armor is split into 2 main categories: common Ship-made ballistic armor and rare Earth-made combat and anti-riot armor. You can expect 10 unique models for each category: helmet, body armor, jacket/coat, boots, goggles, mask/respirator. Right now we have about a third (talking about the models).

Anyway, some screens for your amusement:





Here you can how a weapon range affects THC and why having a long gun is always a good idea. While the damage is about the same (because the caliber and craftsmanship are about the same), the rifle is a lot more accurate. While I managed to hit twice, the second hit was merely a graze.



   

Not a good start, he crippled me before I could run for cover, so by the time I reached it I had no AP left to shoot. This revolver is great at close range, especially when Fanning but it has low range so I can't hit much and the shotgun isn't much help in this situation either. These Looters are armed with better weapons so losing this fight is very easy.  I started again, managed to beat them with better planning (I forgot to switch weapons before that fight) and - in the best traditions of AoD - was rewarded with a really challenging fight that starts a series of very unfortunate events (liberty-loving Brotherhood fucking hates when someone kills their assassins):







PS. We'd appreciate if you take a moment to click on that big follow button here:

https://store.steampowered.com/developer/irontowerstudio
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Kirov89
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« Reply #1 on: March 10, 2019, 10:07:46 pm »

(Following)

Apologies if this has already been discussed but that targeting information box is... peculiar. The way I see it, THC should be the sum of the % chance for critical, (chosen shot by player) and graze. Because a hit is still a hit no matter which of these 3 effects the RNG chooses.

For example, in one of the screens, Titus has a THC of 33%, a critical of 5% and a graze of 10%. But shouldn't that make the hit chance 43%? 'Cause again a hit is a hit, no matter what. Firstly, one can get killed by a graze in the game. So graze is, by no means, irrelevant. Secondly, if you take the critical damage and the graze damage and even it out, the median between them would also probably be about the same as for regular shot. Personally, I think it makes sense to include graze in the THC formula.

Also, for the above example, shouldn't the targeting box show the critical chance as 5%, regular shot as 28% and graze as 10%? 'Cause, honestly, a critical hit is as much a valid shot as graze. And even if the player aimed for a regular shot, his real, actual chance of achieving that precise effect is only 28%.

All in all, it's not that big of a deal but players new to RPGs might be confused. For the same, above example, if you add the various hit percentages displayed in the targeting box, you come up with 105%. Even if you understand what the numbers really mean and that it's not a bug, it just doesn't look right.

As a minor addition, a bar separating the (orange) graze % bar from the (red) miss % one would also be great, as it would mark the point where the % chance of scoring a hit (of any kind) ends and the chance of completely missing begins. A thick, black bar, for instance. Never underestimate the importance of such, apparently trivial, visual cues. The colors are already spot on as the orange of graze conveys perfectly the relative undesirability of such an outcome versus the disaster of scoring, an adequately red colored, complete miss.



« Last Edit: March 11, 2019, 04:41:01 am by Kirov89 » Logged
Wrath of Dagon
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« Reply #2 on: March 10, 2019, 11:07:49 pm »

I assume that means you have 33% to get any hit, 5% to get a hit with a crit, and an extra 10% chance to get a graze, i.e. a 43% chance to get a hit or a graze.
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menyalin
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« Reply #3 on: March 11, 2019, 03:24:41 am »

Some suggestions:
 - Add something like horizontal separator to combat log for each shot (easier navigation between several shot logs, especially with many shots on enemy turn).
 - Add cover info (level\type, bonus value) to enemies popups.
 - IMHO, current readability of combat log is quite low now, additional color highlighting of distinct info types (to-hit calculation, armor calculation, exp calculation) could be great. Slightly different background colors for strings maybe? Or some very simple graphical icons/markers for each type: shield for armor, crosshair for hit, book for learning.
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Kirov89
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« Reply #4 on: March 11, 2019, 04:46:33 am »

I assume that means you have 33% to get any hit, 5% to get a hit with a crit, and an extra 10% chance to get a graze, i.e. a 43% chance to get a hit or a graze.

Yeah, that would make it 43%, sorry. My bad. lol

menyalin -> Great suggestions!

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Vince
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« Reply #5 on: March 11, 2019, 06:32:23 am »

Apologies if this has already been discussed but that targeting information box is... peculiar. The way I see it, THC should be the sum of the % chance for critical, (chosen shot by player) and graze. Because a hit is still a hit no matter which of these 3 effects the RNG chooses.

For example, in one of the screens, Titus has a THC of 33%, a critical of 5% and a graze of 10%. But shouldn't that make the hit chance 43%? 'Cause again a hit is a hit, no matter what. Firstly, one can get killed by a graze in the game. So graze is, by no means, irrelevant. Secondly, if you take the critical damage and the graze damage and even it out, the median between them would also probably be about the same as for regular shot. Personally, I think it makes sense to include graze in the THC formula.
First and foremost, it's work in progress. Having said that...

The player needs to know why he merely grazed a victim for 2 points of damage instead of doing full damage. Since your graze range isn't fixed and can change with different attacks and weapons, the player needs to see the breakdown. You can have a 20% THC plus 40% graze which doesn't mean you have a 60% THC the way the players understand this term (i.e. they'd expect to hit for full damage). So maybe it's wording that needs to be tweaked here, in which case we're open to suggestions.

Quote
Also, for the above example, shouldn't the targeting box show the critical chance as 5%, regular shot as 28% and graze as 10%? 'Cause, honestly, a critical hit is as much a valid shot as graze. And even if the player aimed for a regular shot, his real, actual chance of achieving that precise effect is only 28%.

All in all, it's not that big of a deal but players new to RPGs might be confused. For the same, above example, if you add the various hit percentages displayed in the targeting box, you come up with 105%. Even if you understand what the numbers really mean and that it's not a bug, it just doesn't look right.
Now that's where it gets REALLY confusing because critical % is part of the hit chance, whereas graze isn't. One way or another it will be fixed before we release the demo.
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Vince
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« Reply #6 on: March 11, 2019, 06:35:21 am »

- Add cover info (level\type, bonus value) to enemies popups.
You see the breakdown when you press ALT. I forgot to take a screenshot showing the full info.

Quote
- IMHO, current readability of combat log is quite low now, additional color highlighting of distinct info types (to-hit calculation, armor calculation, exp calculation) could be great.
Like?

Quote
Slightly different background colors for strings maybe? Or some very simple graphical icons/markers for each type: shield for armor, crosshair for hit, book for learning.
We have a bit of an art crisis at the moment, so new art tasks are out of the question in the near future.
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puppyonastik
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« Reply #7 on: March 11, 2019, 07:42:17 am »

The usage of Due Process legal terminology in these situations are always golden. Great work, Scott!  Salute
------------
VD, I highly recommend you use the lined accented background for the john doe/looter's stats (which looks great and worthy of being called a finished product!) on the player character's stats, weapons, and the log. At the moment, the later all look flavorless and very prototype-y.

Edit: I recommend it for the header of dialogue as well.
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Kirov89
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« Reply #8 on: March 11, 2019, 08:22:20 am »

Quote
You can have a 20% THC plus 40% graze which doesn't mean you have a 60% THC the way the players understand this term (i.e. they'd expect to hit for full damage).


This shouldn't be a problem. Many of the games coming out in recent years bend if not outright break some of the traditional ways of doing things for their genre (innovation at work). Hell, some games are difficult to even classify as belonging to any particular genre, since they borrow elements from multiple ones.
In this particular case, you can just write in capital letters during the tutorial that "THC is the sum of the % chances of all possible hits". That is what "To-hit-chance" literally means, after all. I doubt whoever came up with the term meant it as "To-score-a-good-hit-chance" instead. Plus, you said it yourself: some weapons have a high graze chance by design. Just think of the Uzzi. Your typical "spray-and-pray" weapon. High rate of fire but high recoil and poor accuracy. I don't even wanna know what the THC of a graze is compared to critical and regular for that thing.

Quote
The usage of Due Process legal terminology in these situations are always golden.

Yes, I've also complimented Scott in the past for his work on dialogues so I restrained myself from doing so again to avoid the risk of coming across as a fanboy, but it really is a sight to behold. Glad I'm not the only one who appreciates it. 

 

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Vince
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« Reply #9 on: March 11, 2019, 09:12:56 am »

Quote
You can have a 20% THC plus 40% graze which doesn't mean you have a 60% THC the way the players understand this term (i.e. they'd expect to hit for full damage).


This shouldn't be a problem.
Shouldn't and isn't are two different things.

Quote
In this particular case, you can just write in capital letters during the tutorial that "THC is the sum of the % chances of all possible hits". That is what "To-hit-chance" literally means, after all. I doubt whoever came up with the term meant it as "To-score-a-good-hit-chance" instead. Plus, you said it yourself: some weapons have a high graze chance by design. Just think of the Uzzi. Your typical "spray-and-pray" weapon. High rate of fire but high recoil and poor accuracy. I don't even wanna know what the THC of a graze is compared to critical and regular for that thing.
And then we'll get negative reviews complaining that weapons do very little damage and that it's literally impossible to beat the first fight.

Anyway, you raise a valid point that Hit means all kinds of hits, including critical and grazes, which means we should tweak the terminology rather than roll everything into one generic hit chance.


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Kirov89
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« Reply #10 on: March 11, 2019, 11:29:24 am »

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Shouldn't and isn't are two different things.

Indeed. It's impossible to please everyone. It's up to you guys to decide which particular choice would potentially do more harm than good. I'm just offering my personal point of view in the interest of constructive dialogue.

Quote
And then we'll get negative reviews complaining that weapons do very little damage and that it's literally impossible to beat the first fight.

I don't think anyone would regard the Uzzi as being harmless. Ineffective for certain roles, definitely (as any other weapon in existence), but never harmless. It's devastating at close range. Like the revolver you mentioned you grew fond of. It's a different beast, however. They don't "bite" the same.


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Vince
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« Reply #11 on: March 11, 2019, 11:41:19 am »

Quite a few negative AoD reviews complained about doing zero or 1-2 points of damage against armored enemies. I'm guessing they've never realized that they can use power attacks or aimed: torso attacks and never asked for help or checked the forums. Such players will use an Uzi and then complain that SMGs are worthless because they do very little damage. Graze is a bonus not a real hit, a consolation prize for rolling close to a hit. The players need to understand that.
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Wizard1200
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« Reply #12 on: March 11, 2019, 04:39:53 pm »

The targeting info is great, but the THC indicator is redundant in my opinion, because the chance to crit, hit, graze and miss is displayed with a separate icon within the targeting info.

I think that the text box should look like this to make it easier to read:
- Titus gained 14 learning points in rifle.
- [Regular shot] Crit 5, Hit 33, Graze 43 [34]
   Titus grazed John Doe for 6 (12*0.5) - 4          >>> the color should match the color of the targeting info (crits hits grazed misses) and the other colors should be removed
   (body armor) = 2 points of ballistic damage.      >>> the color should match the color of the HP indicator
- Titus gained 6 learning points in pistol.

The map would probably have more tactical options if you place a big container with high cover in the center.
« Last Edit: March 12, 2019, 05:05:48 am by Wizard1200 » Logged
menyalin
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« Reply #13 on: March 12, 2019, 07:03:20 am »

- Add cover info (level\type, bonus value) to enemies popups.
You see the breakdown when you press ALT. I forgot to take a screenshot showing the full info.
IMHO, basic popup is better place for such info because of situations when it's hard to understand is enemy flanked or not.

Quote
- IMHO, current readability of combat log is quite low now, additional color highlighting of distinct info types (to-hit calculation, armor calculation, exp calculation) could be great.
Like?
Well, some ideas:
1) Short basic string like "Critter hits Player for N dmg, Player got M exp" as general message with additional popups when you put cursor on DMG or EXP number or "hits" word containing full explanation of proper evaluations. If you can make popup windows from combat log window. Or without hotspots, just short basic message and detailed popup with all event evaluations when hovered/clicked on log record. IMHO, player rarely needs to see full log for every event, but rather for some of them, so collection of short and easy readable messages (hit or not hit, gained damage, gained status, possible EXP) will be better to "oversee" log and choose most interesting ones for detailed inspection. I remember something like that in first and/orsecond Age of Wonders game, when you get short record about every fight on message log and can view detailed combat info when clicked on it.

2) Filter buttons which will turn on\off some additional info types, so player could reduce output to only full damage, or only LP, or only DMG and statuses, or only THC evaluations, etc...

3) Something like headers or tokens:
  Turn number Critter strikes Player (aimed-head)
     [HIT] tohit evaluation
     [DMG] damage and armor evaluation
     [EXP] learning point evaluation

4) Using sloghtely different color for background or font for strings or part of main string describing each main type of information:
   Critter strikes PLayer, aimed-head: HIT! rolled N, dealed M damage (armor evaluation) etc, but not with so contrast colors but rather with slightly distinct to one or other shade.

I hardly can imaging myself fully reading one message to another - rather i would search some special info for each shot, be it armor, or THC or something else, so easy selection of proper part is crucial for combat log being really useful. Also, some basic tokens like turn number, actor and subject should be additionally highlighted. Just imagine navigation through enemy turn log with couple of dozens of shots to find who hitted someone so hard or estimating overall LP gain... With current log it will be great pain, IMHO.

With proper approach it would be much more programmers task rather then artists.

Quote
Slightly different background colors for strings maybe? Or some very simple graphical icons/markers for each type: shield for armor, crosshair for hit, book for learning.
We have a bit of an art crisis at the moment, so new art tasks are out of the question in the near future.
Can't you use Unicode symbols from advanced blocks for such purpose? For example:
https://unicode-table.com/en/1F6E1/ - armor
« Last Edit: March 12, 2019, 12:29:51 pm by menyalin » Logged
Wizard1200
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« Reply #14 on: March 13, 2019, 05:21:39 pm »

The HP and AP at the bottom of the screen are redundant in my opinion, because they are displayed at the upper left corner. You could keep the portrait at the bottom of the screen, but move it down, to show the active character and always display the portraits with the HP and AP at the upper left corner to show the status of the party.

The portraits of the initiative order should have the same size as the portraits at the upper left corner in my opinion, because they occupy too much room on the screen.

The blue lines around objects that provide cover should be removed in my opinion, because it is obvious that the objects provide cover and the blue lines attract too much attention.
« Last Edit: March 13, 2019, 05:38:48 pm by Wizard1200 » Logged
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