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Lt Bull

What were they thinking? I ask again...

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The last thing I want is some big, fat, ugly icon obscuring my pretty Panthers and pixeltrupen. Just glad Lt Bull was not on the development team.

When CMSF was in beta it was hard finding a balance. I usually have the FI turned off anyway in WEGO as it is a distraction and ruins some of the immersion for me personally. RT no way you turn it off LOL.

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When CMSF was in beta it was hard finding a balance. I usually have the FI turned off anyway in WEGO as it is a distraction and ruins some of the immersion for me personally. RT now way you turn it off LOL.

I prefer to keep them off as much as possible, RT or WEGO. The only time I snap them on is when I can't tell where the fire is coming from or I peek at the map from the nine (top down) view. Full immersion for me means not bringing the camera up past the highest position I actually occupy or moving it to the position/suspected position of opfor. I do however use the zoom mode to simulate binos.

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...when you click the icon the bases light up and tell you exactly where they are?

Bingo. If that is too much work for you...well, I haven't got any help here. I do okay with the floating icons. They might not be the best solution, but trying to think of a better one is too much work for me at the moment.

Michael

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I think the original post has some merit. I am going to say this is not about being critical of CMBN, but making this work.

This is a UI issue, and a case could be made that the long-term success of this series is likely to be because of UI--BF has the armor penetration and projectile path simulation fairly well solved.

But the difference between CM2 being a tool for military academies, and a successful commercial product, will be in the interface. Do I have anyone disagreeing with that?

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I love when he said that this wasnt thought out LOL. Its true Steve and Charles got together and the meeting went like this,

Charles: Hi Steve

Steve: Hi Charles

Charles: Steve have you thought about icons?

Steve: I like balloons

Charles: So you think icons should float in the air?

Steve: (makes simulated motorcycle sounds) vroom ruma ruma ruma room

Charles: So floating icons it is. Steve why are you acting like Madmatt? Are you drinking Canadian beer again?

Steve: No why? Hey Charles, lets make a game where the US invades Syria. I think everyone will love the idea!

Charles: How am I going to simulate camels? Hmm well I will have floating icons, the customers will be distracted and not know the difference anyway.

Steve: Just up-gun and use a Germanic animal names and no one will know the difference.

Charles: Like KönigsCamel?

Steve: Thats why we call you brain in the jar!

The rest you guys already know

I in no way wanted to break my NDA in providing you guys this information but it was my duty.

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Well, I'd say that depends on whether you play RT or WEGO. I play WEGO for all my games (use RT sometimes to test) so I use the tabs and sometimes the space bar, no hot keys. Other than that the only keyboard controls I use are back space to cancel orders and WSAD and zoom keys for camera fine tuning...I actually like the UI. But it may be much harder when you are playing RT and time means everything.

Mord.

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What might be really helpful is if BF posted a list of requests/ideas from customers and had us vote on what was most important to us so there was a ranking. Then BF could go down the list and decide what items were most practicable to program/had most bang for the buck.

Otherwise all everyone is doing here is yakking, yakking, yakking...

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Steve: No why? Hey Charles, lets make a game where the US invades Syria. I think everyone will love the idea!

LMFAO! THAT was funny...there hadn't been such a mass exodus of the faithful since Moses left Egypt.

Mord.

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Otherwise all everyone is doing here is yakking, yakking, yakking...

Isn't that what we are usually doing? You got something against yakking? Hell if enough people would get the joke we'd probably be a Saturday Night Live skit like trekkies. Only problem is there aren't enough of us for people to have a clue what the joke is.

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We chat chat chat and hope that someone in BFC reads it from time to time and maybe connects with some of it.

But a vote here about what we think is important? I don't think so: Steve already stated that whatever we in the forum think is important is least likely to be what they need to do, because by the very nature of the forum, the people in it are the minority of their customers and interested in different things than the bulk of their customers. Steve said that, so there can be no illusions abot it.

GaJ

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Part of the problem is the dense trees and foliage. It's almost impossible to play without frequently turning trees off, and I wish we could also turns undergrowth off like in CM1 as it's often hard to see units (esp WIA) in the bocage as well.

While I haven't experienced serious problems with the current system, there are several retrograde steps compared to the elegant CM1 abstractions and I do agree it does seem to pander to masochists who mistake "added difficulty of play mechanisms" for "added realism."

I think that Lt Bull's original post, though a bit strident, is spot on, as are the above comments from Erwin.

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"Elegant CMx1 abstractions". Oh good lord, you make me roll my eyes. Someone here actually had the nerve to take a cheap shot at the hands-down best tactical sim on the market CMSF? And you claim to have an interest in tactical combat? "Boo hoo hoo, but it wasn't WWII". Talk about WWII, I distinctly remember a cabal of CMBO grousers refusing to touch CMBB 'on principle'. Rest assured this thread is getting as much attention as it deserves.

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Who here thinks von Kleist has a PBEM going with Lt Bull and is trying to get intel? You are a sneaky sneaky opponent vK! :D

Ha Ha! Wouldn't be the first time I have tried to get intel this way. Nothing like having a spy at the enemy Btn HQ!:D

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I think that Lt Bull's original post, though a bit strident, is spot on, as are the above comments from Erwin.

Yes, and he put a lot of effort into it, also. Good work. Had he chosen a less emotional style of posting, perhaps it would have been even better.

I played around with the game yesterday and found, that the icons are pretty much perfectly placed for units that are close to the camera, i.e., slightly above those units. That is a good start.

As the camera moves away, the icons start to rise, in terms of their apparent height over ground. I am so used to it that it does not bother me. But is it the optimal solution?

Perhaps it would be best to attach a "string" to the icon "balloons", leading down to the unit. This way, the view remains unobstructed by the icons yet it is clear where the units are located. And the icons can still shift when overlapping has to be avoided.

Unfortunately, drawing lines in the 3D world involves constructing them from polygons (please correct me if this is not the case) so this is quite a big change.

Best regards,

Thomm

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I was mistaken there and I am surprised that no one picked this up.

This is what I wrote on page 1:

I seem to recall that the icons float so high because otherwise there would be a technical problem with them randomly being covered by trees. That may be all there is to it.

Got lost among the noise, I guess.

Best regards,

Thomm

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Well, I finally get a chance to get back to my PC and read the posts, and wow, where do I start?

Quite a few posts from some touchy posters who decided to take the offensive/defensive/personal/fanboi tone rather than contribute anything of value to what really is a discussion about game/UI design. You know who you are. Thanks so much for wasting space here, you have done your bit, you are no longer needed here. We can now say goodbye so feel free to just go off and find someone else's thread to pollute.

Thankfully there are quite a few good replies by people who are capable of choosing to discuss things with open minds in a manner conducive to further discussion. Let me select a few good/interesting/worthwhile points that were brought up:

I will start with this one first:

Maybe what you should be asking for is an option to raise/lower the icon height instead of putting it on the base? I admit that sometimes I think the icons are a bit to high (especially when the unit is far away from the camera) and yearn for an option to control their height.

Absolutely!!! This is quite an important assertion but if you actually read my post I am NOT asking or requesting or suggesting BFC to change or do anything about the game (I gave up on that years ago!). I was just asking/looking for explanations why something in the game is the way it is. FWIW, if it was at all considered, it would be best implemented as an option the player can set for personal preference.

Maybe they aren't supposed to tell you exactly where the units are located? Maybe it's just a quick reference and when you click the icon the bases light up and tell you exactly where they are?

If the potential already exists for the icons to tell you exactly (or certainly MUCH better than what they already do) where the unit is (something ALL players need to know at some stage), why not utilise that potential?

It is generally bad/inefficient design to not utilise the potential of a feature you have already implemented to meet a design requirement and instead implement/introduce a totally new one just to do it. It's kind of like designing a car with a stereo that runs off disposable batteries rather than the off the 12V battery already existing in the car to run the other electricals. If you are going to do that, it really does beg the question "why?" which is what I am asking so emphatically.

The biggest reason for 'floating' the icons that I can think of is so that you don't have an icon obscuring the unit you're looking at. If icons always superimposed themselves on the terrain view, 'visibility' of the icon in foliage wouln't be an issue.

I actually originally thought that the icons we see in CMBN were "unobscurbale" by terrain/folliage on the map etc....

"The freakn icons (even in their current state) NEVER get obscured by ANY foliage or terrain because they are NOT actual 3D objects/entitites in the game and it simply is impossible to do!! LOL you think that the icons would be "hidden" by the trees if they were at ground leve and so that's why they "float"l!!!"

I was mistaken there and I am surprised that no one picked this up. I had to do some tests but I definitely now know that they CAN be obscured by terrain if they are submerged in foliage. Here are some screenshots of "?" icons (which DO NOT float) getting obscured by terrain (the second image is what you see when you pan closer).

snagprogram0016.png

Note however that this is not exactly a deal breaker for having the icons at ground level. Not only have BFC considered this OK for the "?" icons, but as you can see from the screenshots above, moving the camera anywhere near the distance you would normally interact with the icons automatically removes the foliage from the tree tops, making any icons at ground level visible anyway.

We need to remember that there is NOTHING unique about the requirements of the unit markers in CMBN. There are many other games similar to CMBN that have addressed the same problems, such as "How do I show the player where the unit is when it is submerged in foliage", in ways that I believe are much better and more effective (friendlier to the user) than what we see with the "floating icon" solution seen in CMBN. It seems apparent that perhaps some poster simply just haven't ventured outside of CMBN/CM/BFC world/forums too much, have eyes just for CMBN and are simply unaware of how other game designers handle the exact same issues/challenges faced by BFC when designing CMBN. I will show a few relevant examples of how other game designers handle things:

Here is a game that actually gives a player a choice as to what kind of markers are used to locate/ID units on the battlefield.

snagprogram0017a.png

Same game zoomed in to unit. You can see the unit icon and soldier markers (dots) actually do "float" above the unit just like CMBN, but no where near as high as they do in CMBN.

snagprogram0018.png

The implementation of the unit markers in this game seem almost identical to the floating icons in CMBN, but there are a number of key critical defining differences:

1) The markers (as I originally mistakenly thought was the case for CMBN icons) are implemented such that they just do not get obscured from view by any terrain/foliage etc. They are always visible.

2) The markers "float" what seem to be around 0.3-0.4m above the unit. In CMBN terms, that is like 50 times CLOSER to the unit than what they are in CMBN!!

3) The icons DO overlap if the camera is positioned such that they coincide with each other.

As a result of 1) and 2) (and to a lesser degree 3)), by just glancing at the battlefield and observing the location of these markers (or even better when just panning around) the player gets much higher grade information about the actual location of their units than what you get in CMBN. It is as simple as that.

I have more examples from other games to post and really do want to address some of the many other good/controversial points already raised by some posters here. There is plenty of discussion to take from those alone so please and I will get to them but I need to take a break. So please, patience and don't go opening cans of whoop ass when the previous cans opened haven't been addressed.

Lt. Bull, if you are really having that much trouble, could you post a video of you playing the game, and solicit some feedback. I suspect if it's that hard to tell where your pixeltruppen are, that you might not be mentioning something about the way you play that would make all the difference.

Great valid point and that is exactly what I would have done originally if my video making skills were up to scratch. Give me some time and I will see if I can cobble up a decent video comparison of CMBN and of that game I showed in the screenshots above. Hopefully the drastic difference between how well both games allow the player to track where their units actually are on the battlefield.

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Note however that this is not exactly a deal breaker for having the icons at ground level.

Of course it is! Just look at your example screenshot! Also, those icons were not clickable any more, once they were submerged in the foliage.

What I do not get is why it is not possible to make sure that the icons are always in front of the trees.

Best regards,

Thomm

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"Elegant CMx1 abstractions". Oh good lord, you make me roll my eyes. Someone here actually had the nerve to take a cheap shot at the hands-down best tactical sim on the market CMSF? And you claim to have an interest in tactical combat? "Boo hoo hoo, but it wasn't WWII". Talk about WWII, I distinctly remember a cabal of CMBO grousers refusing to touch CMBB 'on principle'. Rest assured this thread is getting as much attention as it deserves.

Is it surprising or merely self-explanitory that beta testers seem to be the least tolerant of critiques of this game?

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Not only have BFC considered this OK for the "?" icons, but as you can see from the screenshots above, moving the camera anywhere near the distance you would normally interact with the icons automatically removes the foliage from the tree tops, making any icons at ground level visible anyway.

This is an optional setting. Icons have to work with trees always on.

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Is it surprising or merely self-explanitory that beta testers seem to be the least tolerant of critiques of this game?

It just occured to me that all those active beta testers that tried to respond in a productive manner in this thread do not wear the Beta Tester tag any more!

Kind of sad, actually.

Best regards,

Thomm

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