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Improve unit stat visualization


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1 hour ago, Genava55 said:

Personally I am not against your proposal, but the game doesn't include at the moment any visual changes for blacksmith upgrades for example.

While certainly having different models for upgraded units would be awesome IMO it seems not too practical to do.

Just clicking on an archer and being able to see a little +1 or +2 near an arrow or armor icon is everything one needs in terms of gameplay. That, or just killing all stats if the 'discover by losing fights' line of thinking is preferred.

Give the player easy to read stats so all can have a fair playing field or kill all stats so it can't be used only by players who memorize the obscure numbers.

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20 hours ago, DanW58 said:

Depict the results.  Health could be depicted by blood dripping.  Armor by loss of chunks of it.  Energy by the rate of attacks slowing down.  Why are you showing these things as bars?  But they disagreed with me, so I left.

If you are given enough information about how the game works that you can figure out what will happen in every situation, then what's the point of playing it?  A game should mirror the uncertainties of life.

7 hours ago, DanW58 said:

Exactly.  And role is better depicted artistically than using words or numbers.  Units with a lot of metal in the armor are visually and intuitively expected to take arrows with a grain of salt, but move more slowly.

However, this requires proper depiction of metal, which takes a bit of science to understand how just by using diffuse and specular colors.   Assets currently in game make very poor use of color to distinguish metals from non-metals.  Improving the texturing would go a long way to make "stats" easier to visualize.

I agree... 0 A.D. has been quite economic with visually representing game mechanics.

Which is understandable given the voluntary nature and limited manpower of the project. Imagine we would have a distinct building set for each phase for each civ (AoE style), that would be an insane amount of work for the very few people capable of doing it in the required quality.
However, a lot of effort has been put into visual details regarding historical accuracy (which has been a claimed goal of this project). Many units have several actors representing them (with several shield types, helmet types, clothing, ...).

This is great from the historical perspective, but not from a gameplay perspective. Units are far more difficult to identify on a quick glance than in other games because of this variety and because of the details. Their role is not always clear and in some cases the amount of extra information is more overwhelming than helpful. Obviously there is a tradeoff. But I think there is still room for improvement.

I'd prefer a truly visual representation of unit stats without any text but icons instead. Use a minimal amount of numbers (if any) and prefer something like color shades (green - healthy, red - near death) or a bar split into a discrete amount of segments where you can only derive approximate values. An extensive description of the exact values (if still desired) belongs to an extra page which is not visible during normal gameplay.

Of course, representing the stats in the animations, with particles etc. would be very nice, but I have not seen much effort made into that direction (rather into depicting historically accurate details). So I don't expect big changes here...

10 hours ago, DanW58 said:

There's a greater, cultural problem, where games are concerned, that this is a part of.  Just as in politics, where some fanatical and loud minority can steer politics in a direction that disadvantages the vast majority of people,  in gaming culture there's also one typical loud minority that drives developers to ruin games for the rest of us.  This minority is the dedicated, full time, competitive online gamers, who typically no longer care for the story or the art, or even the sound quality or the graphics anymore (presumably they cared at the beginning);  once they become advanced and start getting an online reputation, all they come to care about is winning,  and to win they need to know how the game works down to points of health removed by each single use of a weapon given so many points of defensive armor...

Such people typically DEMAND stats and whatnot.

This just reminds me of League of Legends. I began to play it at the end of Season 2 (2012), there was a good amount of champions, of items. It was exciting to play around with conventional and ridiculous strategies. People were trying different things and had completely different approaches to the game. Most importantly, the had FUN. There was no perfect balance, but a new player could still find his way around after some games. There were quite some numbers, but the majority of them was easy to understand and could give you a rough feeling of strengths and weaknesses as well as the playstyle. There was already a competitive eSports scene, but it was not that present to the normal player.

However, more and more champions were added and each one had to be "interesting", so their abilites got more special, had more possible interactions. However, they were more difficult to master - presumably because the growing competitive scene needed something more interesting - and especially more difficult to understand. Read https://leagueoflegends.fandom.com/wiki/Aphelios as an example. Now there are more than 150 champions and for many of them you have to read several pages just to know their basic abilities. Then, actually, you have to continue with item builds, analyze different matchups, synergies, counters, know the metagame and their role... it gets endless and it changes with every patch (and actually that is wanted because even the professional players never get the possibility to find out the "perfect" strategy). I got annoyed by the game (and I know others as well) because it felt that the original, simple and clear playstyle which you could still see in some older champions was not wanted anymore by the game developer and the competitive scene. Older champions got updates and often were changed completely to "match" the new champions. The gameplay feeling of the early days is completely gone. Everything is optimized, maximized, polished, analyzed, broadcasted, streamed, ... Every streamer is praising himself how "broken" some champion is with whatever new "OP build"... see https://www.youtube.com/user/SirhcEz/videos as an example.

Quote

League of Legends is a highly competitive and complex game that has been so analyzed and dissected that any moment you spend wasting time typing or interacting with teammates or opponents in a manner that is not conducive to winning the game not only puts you at a disadvantage by 1) cutting virtual seconds away from focusing on playing game, but 2) by tilting the teammates who realize you are wasting energy typing rather than playing. Again, this dehumanizing element of League is a huge flaw of the game

(from "Why LoL brings out the worst in people with a "competitive" personality type", https://www.reddit.com/r/leagueoflegends/comments/ajoire/why_lol_brings_out_the_worst_in_people_with_a/)

It feels like competitiveness has reached every niche of the game. I have gotten tired of it.

 

Sorry, I hope this was not too much negativity. I just wanted to illustrate what 0 A.D. could learn from the mistakes of other games...

I still like 0 A.D. but it experiences the changes observable in other games to some degree, too. Still it is possible for everyone to propose changes and to engange in their implementation and that is very valuable.

Have a good day!

Edited by Palaxin
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My only ever experience with online gaming has pretty much been 0ad (and BAR lately) so I can't say much about other games.

The only thing I can say though is that blaming 'minority' of competitive players for ruining a game seems a bit disingenuous. The game developers decide what they want to do with it, if they gain money by having big esports events driving publicity and decide to move forward with changes catering to that 'niche' then I guess that's life?

I find much more enjoyment playing indie games that don't suffer from this corpocrat culture, I don't expect anything decent from AAA games anyway.

With regard to 0ad:

Many of the people interested in seeing the game pushed forward, proposing balance changes, creating new maps, revisiting the GUI and sparking innovation are the ones that like to play the game competitively (at least as competitively as it's possible nowadays).

Most of these I can identify have interest in the authenticity of the game and respect its theme (the history part is the main driver for me for example), but just want to actually have it *more fun* by not having everyone playing brits slingers :-)

When will you see traders, elephant archers, priests or any unit/structure that currently is basically a placeholder on the game? You can scan the lobby for 90% of the games and you won't see these things, only people playing the same old boring game with the same old boring units in the same old boring and gameplay broken maps.

So I guess perhaps this 'minority' is telling something worth to consider?

Perhaps we can find a balance between 'art gallery' and 'adrenaline-fueled predatory gamers' xD?

(I'm not even that competitive btw :-), just excited about integrating more knowledge gained by actually playing the game into development or mods)

Edited by badosu
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2 hours ago, badosu said:

While certainly having different models for upgraded units would be awesome IMO it seems not too practical to do.

Just clicking on an archer and being able to see a little +1 or +2 near an arrow or armor icon is everything one needs in terms of gameplay. That, or just killing all stats if the 'discover by losing fights' line of thinking is preferred.

Give the player easy to read stats so all can have a fair playing field or kill all stats so it can't be used only by players who memorize the obscure numbers.

Another solution is to display (hot-key optional) stats in the opening screen, while the game is initializing, and the game does not start until all parties click OK.  From then on, all you have is your memory of the stats.

I suggest this as a solution because personally I would rather NOT see stats every time I click on a unit.  That's information overload, to me.  I would hate it, frankly.  If you are a commander of a US Army platoon, do you see stats pop up every time you look at one of your soldiers?  It doesn't add to immersiveness and belivability;  it detracts from both.  Clicking on a unit is intuitively associated with saying "yo!", to issue a command.  Frankly, I would make the unit mouse-over and selection sprites far more subtle that they are presently, precisely to make the game feel more natural.  First Century was a long time ago, and holographic overlays are still the stuff of SciFi even today.

10 minutes ago, badosu said:

Most of these I can identify have interest in the authenticity of the game and respect its theme (the history part is the main driver for me for example), but just want to actually have it *more fun* by not having everyone playing brits slingers :-)

Okay, but how exactly does having stat numbers appear over units prevent brit slinger abuse?

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Just now, DanW58 said:

Okay, but how exactly does having stat numbers appear over units prevent brit slinger abuse?

First, I never proposed that and I agree with having 'show don't tell' over 'look at these numbers'.

I was just rebutting the claim that competitive gaming is in any way ruining 0ad and making an argument that something can be gained by the experience of these players being a factor.

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I am not even sure I understand what is being asked. I guess yes? xD

I mean, what is the alternative given we don't have visual indicators on the models themselves for health, attack/armor bonus, auras, etc?

I think having a switch for 0ad would be beneficial though, recently there was even a mod made to avoid showing blood/hunting as a teacher was using 0ad for showcasing, which is just awesome imo.

Edited by badosu
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We are kind of back to where we started now :D

Show some, but not too much. Show, don't tell. Make it optionable since there are different types of players.

1 hour ago, DanW58 said:

Another solution is to display (hot-key optional) stats in the opening screen, while the game is initializing, and the game does not start until all parties click OK.  From then on, all you have is your memory of the stats.

It's not a memory game and way to easy to abuse. Make a screenshot and have the information for the whole game

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  • 1 year later...
On 07/01/2021 at 12:11 AM, nifa said:

screenshot0013.png.b7eab6fa4dba12902ac417526d687ba6.png

you mean this? I think it's already quite filled, so one would have to make more space although the icons would already save space. One could also make it only for Champions at the space where the buildings are

fyi this is how it looks in Cossacks:

Unbenannt.png.0c71de157dd61f89c870f6596410d7ef.png

 

On 07/01/2021 at 1:43 AM, badosu said:

This looks great for now, thanks!

Just look at that panel and see how much of the space is filled with stuff you (almost) never use.

For one the specific name can be dropped. The generic should be replaced with a simple name (eg spearman) imo.

The action buttons, apart from looking not great, could be moved somewhere else or dropped for now while we iterate.

The ownership section, as good as it looks, could be tightened/moved/reworked (perhaps below the health bar?).

The gathered res can be condensated and integrated to the new icon format.

Anyway, these are some ideas, but you can see how much we already can do. Remember we have full control of the ui so we can resize the thumbnail, increase width, reuse other panels.

For example the panel on the left is empty (I'm afk so can't test) from what I remember. It's used to show garrisoned units and trying bell but it's totally useless for unit selection. One could be imaginative on how to use that real estate.

look at bongui mod. they changed  that panel quite a lot, for the better I think.

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1 hour ago, wowgetoffyourcellphone said:

I'll put my latest iteration of a unit stats info screen here for posterity:

Just for the sake of it, here is how it looks when you put an actual history string.

image.png

    <History>A hoplite (from [font="sans-bold-14"]ta hopla[font="sans-14"] meaning tool or equipment) was the most common type of heavily armed foot-soldier in ancient Greece from the 7th to 4th centuries BCE, and most ordinary citizens of Greek city-states with sufficient means were expected to equip and make themselves available for the role when necessary. Athens had a system of compulsory military service for 18-20-year-olds, but during a war, all male citizens up to the age of 60 could be called up to the armed forces. Other cities across ancient Greece followed a similar policy which meant that hoplites were not professional soldiers and often lacked sufficient military training, although some states did maintain a small elite professional unit, the [font="sans-bold-14"]epilektoi.</History>

From https://www.worldhistory.org/hoplite/

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kay, latest version

isbXVGv.png

 

I'm thinking this would be the 960p+ version. As the vertical resolution decreases we can do these things:

Between 1080p and 768p, shrink up the History section's height. At 768p, have buttons at the bottom to toggle between "Stats" and "History" screens. 

Edited by wowgetoffyourcellphone
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2 minutes ago, Grapjas said:

One could also make tabs between Statistics and History and BuildList(? for anyone who wants it, but might be a good idea if D4740 gets pushed). With tabs you have more room to work with.

Tabs are a bit annoying to work with, but could work like the game options.

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5 minutes ago, Grapjas said:

One could also make tabs between Statistics and History and BuildList(? for anyone who wants it, but might be a good idea if https://code.wildfiregames.com/D4740 gets pushed). With tabs you have more room to work with.

Trying to put as much as possible on one screen, since it's supposed to be for quick reference. I can see putting History on a separate tab page, since that's more of a 'deep dive' someone would do while in singleplayer.

The (lack of) utility of the Builds list was one of the inspirations for my latest mockup. Didn't really see a need to list those things in the Information screen when you can see it directly in the UI when you select the unit. 

Edited by wowgetoffyourcellphone
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Just now, wowgetoffyourcellphone said:

"Tabs" could just be buttons, how the struct tree and civilization overview can be toggled back and forth. Notsomuch tabs in the browser sense. More like toggle buttons.

Oh that's definitely what they are gonna be :) That's the only way. Just like the number of icons has to be hardcoded because we cannot generate new gui elements on the fly.

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