Suggest - Features and Improvements

A forum for chatting about in-development game features.

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zolobolo
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Re: Suggest - Features and Improvements

Postby zolobolo » Sun Nov 03, 2019 11:32 am

One issue I sometimes have with huge maps and all the races is that the military situation can get pretty unreadable due to the amount of fleets and similarities between the colors (marauders like Phidi, and Orthin like Tinkers). This is of course even worse if the same faction is located twice or more on the map.

But then I thought of Rome 2 and starting canging the colors of empires in the developer options to resemble their diplomacy overview and presto:
[attachment=0]Map.png[/attachment]

This works on both magnification levels as well: the differences are still realtively visible on the ship paint levle when the galaxy map is zoomed in

All the necessary colors are already available for all races (green, red, white and blue/gold - light blue is ok but gold might be even better due to contrast with the background) so I can only assume that there was a plan at one point to have a FoF option in the menu to color the ships

Either this was the case or not, would it make sense/be possible to easily implement such an option?
The idea of course would be to have the color of a race be determened by their diplomatic relationsip to the player
Ideally the option would be offered on the galaxy map directly as in peace-time it might not be used often and player might want to switch between the default and this view several times in a short time period and thus hiding the option in the main menu would be suboptimal (her again Rome 2 got it very right as the option is managed there as a layer/filter of the strategic map)

This of course would still not allow for giant mapes with >8 races to be easily readable but would go a long way (the rest can be covered by variations to the logos, leaders, system/planet names and race names of races found multiple times on the map) and might be very usefull for those playing on huge with all races already
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Arioch
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Re: Suggest - Features and Improvements

Postby Arioch » Sun Nov 03, 2019 6:47 pm

I guess a sort of relationship-based color coding option isn't out of the question, but if your problem is that it's sometimes hard to tell one faction from another, changing it so multiple factions will have the same color will make that worse.

zolobolo
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Re: Suggest - Features and Improvements

Postby zolobolo » Sun Nov 03, 2019 7:16 pm

Arioch wrote:I guess a sort of relationship-based color coding option isn't out of the question, but if your problem is that it's sometimes hard to tell one faction from another, changing it so multiple factions will have the same color will make that worse.

Exactly: this would not be a solution in and of itself to cases where the same faction is present on the map multiple times or even for the above mentioned overlapping between existing main and minor faction colors

But it might be a simple solution for waging war on large maps with many factions (no matter how many and redundant) as at this point all that really matters is where enemy and allied fleets are and where are they heading. The differentiation between factions is mostly relevant during diplomatic actions and while it does not help there in any way, I suspect that most players tend to spend most of the time with fleet positioning during wartime at which point it is more important to tell friend from foe then being able to dentify a particular owner (I have changed to this coloring in the particual game after missing some incoming enemy fleets and rolling back the turns to remedy)

Now there are many cases where a player would likley know the exact location of fleets and colonies of a particular empire BEFORE they declare war on them but this we can count as diplomatic action ;). Coverage for such a scenario via overlay might be a list of all empires on the side of the galaxy map and the ability to select them indivudally thereby highlighing their assets on the map either via coloring or otherwise but I suspect that this might be a somewhat more code-intensive endevour and also take up a lot of space on the UI

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Arioch
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Re: Suggest - Features and Improvements

Postby Arioch » Mon Nov 04, 2019 2:01 am

Incoming enemy fleets have stark red destination lines. Making enemy territory red would make these harder to see, not easier.

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Re: Suggest - Features and Improvements

Postby zolobolo » Mon Nov 04, 2019 9:35 am

Arioch wrote:Incoming enemy fleets have stark red destination lines. Making enemy territory red would make these harder to see, not easier.

Yes it sounds logical but there might be some other aspects to consider:
1. Red, green, white and yellow territories are already being used by default amd being irrelevant directly to the politcal stance can mess up recognition for the same reason. E.g.: if the player is playing Humans, they will always suffer this issue
2. Enemy movement within their own territory is imporant info but less important then seeing their movement over other territories
3. Positioning of enemy fleets and systems is likely the most important: this currently needs a translation for the player with each scan as most fleets are static nowadays and some colonies can have a small area detached to the main blub of their empire: Diplo relationship translates to color translates to position whereas FoF has a single level of subtraction with colors that are widely recognised: Red is enemy, green is own etc

Point two brings up of course the issue of my enemy attacking my other enemy: this would be also harder to see though is not really visible today. Likely not a priority for most (to allow for such informations, the layout would need to be swapped depending on which faction is selected: something we cna see within the diplo screen of Endless series titles)

I ma not sure others see this way as well of course so here are a couple of examples and let me know what you think
Default.png
Default.png (1.63 MiB) Viewed 1382 times


FoF.png
FoF.png (1.57 MiB) Viewed 1382 times

zolobolo
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Re: Suggest - Features and Improvements

Postby zolobolo » Mon Nov 04, 2019 9:37 am

Another example:
Default 2.png
Default 2.png (1.82 MiB) Viewed 1382 times


FoF 2.png
FoF 2.png (1.48 MiB) Viewed 1382 times

zolobolo
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Re: Suggest - Features and Improvements

Postby zolobolo » Sun Nov 10, 2019 3:41 pm

Rotating Ashad Colony ship rings (the three grey rings in the middle of the design) :)

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Arioch
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Re: Suggest - Features and Improvements

Postby Arioch » Tue Nov 12, 2019 1:43 am

zolobolo wrote:Rotating Ashad Colony ship rings (the three grey rings in the middle of the design) :)

That would be a neat trick with a 2D sprite.

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Re: Suggest - Features and Improvements

Postby zolobolo » Tue Nov 12, 2019 6:21 pm

Arioch wrote:That would be a neat trick with a 2D sprite.

Figured the same method could be used as in case of Phidi ship water effects - whatever it is :)

I was watching the water effects and it doesnt seem like movement of overmeshing textures, nor was the repetition ovious to me so I guess the lines are render within the engine itself?

If yes, similar lines representing the edges of the "plates" on the ring might be rendered to give the effect of a rotating object where in reality the lines keep getting generated on one side and running to the other with some distortion on each end. When they reach the other side they cease to exist - consistency is not required as no-one would observe if they "emerge" in time on the other side

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Re: Suggest - Features and Improvements

Postby sven » Tue Nov 12, 2019 6:57 pm

zolobolo wrote:Figured the same method could be used as in case of Phidi ship water effects - whatever it is :)


The Phidi ships use a fragment shader based on Perlin noise. The effect looks complicated, but, the math behind it is relatively straightforward. The problem with the hull sections is that to really make it look right, you'd basically need to implement a 3D rendering engine inside a shader. (This is hard, but not impossible -- we did almost exactly that to get the planet graphics working.) However, even if you did implement some kind of limited 3D engine inside a shader, and used it to render rotating hull elements, it would still be very difficult to get those elements to look good alongside Arioch's hand-drawn art.

So, for a mess of technical and artistic reasons, something like this would 1) take a lot of time, and 2) probably not actually look that good, once we were finished with it.

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Re: Suggest - Features and Improvements

Postby zolobolo » Tue Nov 12, 2019 7:35 pm

sven wrote:The Phidi ships use a fragment shader based on Perlin noise. The effect looks complicated, but, the math behind it is relatively straightforward

That might be but it is for sure beyond my level of understanding :) Still nice walkthrough on noise
If this is such a widely used technique though, why dont we see it in more games? I struggle to recall any strategy game with such patterns for bakgrounds or unit textures (except maybe for water rendering)

sven wrote:we did almost exactly that to get the planet graphics working

So how did you managed to allig the art and the 3D model there? I was assuming the art would be "simply" strechted onto the 3D surface which would negate any dismarmony between the style of the model and the texture itself

That being said this for sure would not be an option for ships as it would likely consume to much CPU to render all those objects all the time they become visible

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Re: Suggest - Features and Improvements

Postby sven » Tue Nov 12, 2019 8:26 pm

zolobolo wrote:If this is such a widely used technique though, why dont we see it in more games?

I think it's incredibly common, you just need to learn how to notice it :) Almost any energy weapon, fire, or smoke effect is probably using noise textures in some capacity. And the effect quickly became so common in movies than Ken got an Oscar for it, back in 1997.

That said, I have noticed that Blizzard often tends to "bake" their noise textures into static animations, rather than using procedural noise inside shaders. This is probably done for performance reasons -- you trade away a little bit of smoothness and variability for faster frame render times. The underlying texture sets they're using for weapon effects, etc, are almost certainly being generated using some modern descendant of Ken's old noise code though.

zolobolo wrote:
sven wrote:we did almost exactly that to get the planet graphics working

So how did you managed to allig the art and the 3D model there?


Well, we don't. And whenever we put the hand drawn ship art right next to the 3D rendered planets, I think there is a bit of a visual disconnect between the one and the other. If we built a 3D effect right into the ship art, that disconnect would get worse. Um, it's all pretty subtle stuff though. I mean, Arioch's whole webcomic, not to mention most modern anime and cartoon shows, are basically a constantly evolving exploration of just how closely you can tie together 3D rendered art with hand drawn content, and not have it look "strange".

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Re: Suggest - Features and Improvements

Postby gaerzi » Tue Nov 12, 2019 9:44 pm

Technically it's also possible to make an animation by showing different frames in sequence. Animations are possible in the engine since it's how Yunki's blinks and darting eye are done. But a smooth animation for a rotating section of a ship would demand a lot of frames, at least if you have non-repeating elements*, so it's big investment for a relatively minor payoff. And yes, the Hawk (Ashdar) colony ship has non-repeating elements on the rings, those orange markings. The Hammer (Human) colony ships have similar ring structures, which would make sense to animate if the Ashdar ones are animated, but they're even worse: they have different markings depending on color scheme!

* If you only have repeating elements, you can cheat. For example, this rotating cog has only six frames of animation -- far from enough to fully rotate the pictured object, but enough to create the illusion. You don't see that every six frames, the cog suddenly resets to its original position.
Image
But this other rotating cog animation has 82 frames, to be able to move smoothly the red dots.
Image

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Arioch
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Re: Suggest - Features and Improvements

Postby Arioch » Tue Nov 12, 2019 10:00 pm

It would be a lot of work for very little payoff, and only on one ship. Any other ship with rotating elements would have to use a different shader, as the underlying geometry would be different.

I can think of much better uses of our limited development time.

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Re: Suggest - Features and Improvements

Postby Centurion XXI » Sat Nov 16, 2019 3:53 am

Здравствуйте! Прежде всего, хотелось бы сказать Вам БОЛЬШОЕ СПАСИБО за просто замечательную игру! Это моя любимая 4X-стратегия на протяжении нескольких лет.

Разрешите, пожалуйста, обратиться к Вам с рационализаторским предложением! Не могла бы империя Gremak, при условии союза с игроком, допускать того на свой рынок рабов? Через событие, или, например, если игрок является союзником, то в опциях дипломатии появлялась бы дополнительная строка <купить рабов>. Таким образом, игрок может приобрести, как минимум Enfi, а также представителей тех малых и крупных рас, миры которых будут колонизированы или захвачены империей Gremak. При этом другие расы, под управлением Искусственного Интеллекта, представители которых были куплены как рабы, могли бы потребовать незамедлительного освобождения своих порабощённых сородичей. С улучшением отношений при ответе <Да> и ухудшением отношений при ответе <Нет>.

Я не говорю по-английски, поэтому прошу прощения за <google translate>! Спасибо Вам, от всего русскоязычного сообщества, что продолжаете поддерживать игру!

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Hello! First of all, I would like to say THANK YOU VERY MUCH for just a wonderful game! This is my favorite 4X strategy over the years.

Please allow me to address You with a rationalization proposal! Is it possible to make so that the Gremak empire, on condition to the conclusion of an alliance with a player side, allow that to enter its slave market? Through an event, or, for example, if the player is an ally, then an additional string <buy slaves> would appear in the diplomacy options. Such way, the player can, at a minimum, redeem Enfi, as well as representatives of those minor and major races whose worlds were colonized or captured by the Gremak empire. At the same time, other races, under the control of Artificial Intelligence, whose representatives were bought as slaves, can then demand immediate release their enslaved relatives. With an improvement of relations in the answer <Yes> and a deterioration of relations in the answer <No>.

I don’t speak English, so I apologize for <google translate>! Thank You from the entire Russian-speaking community for continuing to support the game!


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