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Netherby

Feelings on the game after lots and lots of play time

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There are a number of things about this game that just start to wear on you after playing a lot and the initial novelty of everything wears off and you are actually playing seriously..

Tank Steering

Tank steering is just really really really frustrating! Firstly they won't turn hardly at all while moving, very unresponsive, it takes so long for them to turn you feel like you're key presses didn't register for about 20 seconds..

Secondly their reverse steering is non sensical.. If you are reversing and hold down left, it will turn right (as you would expect of a wheeled vehicles steering) but if you are not pressing reverse, yet still going backwards and press left, it will turn left! Now either way is fine to steer with, but it should not change between two different methods depending on if you are accelerating or not, it's simply frustrating!

Turret Speed

Turret traverse speeds on the faster vehicles like the Paladin and Tempest seem a little too slow, it's very frustrating to press fire and have nothing happen.. I can only assume this is from the turret not yet traversing to face the cross-hair since it never happens when the vehicle is stationary.. At the very least the cross-hair should display orange (like when you aim above or below the turrets vertical traverse) so at least you know you can't fire yet, instead of pressing fire and having nothing happen..

Wheels

The wheels simply damage too easily from splash damage, if anything fires anywhere near your wheeled vehicle is almost ALWAYS loses at least one wheel! A direct hit fine, but from a mortar that landed 500m away? It's not fun..

Wheeled Vehicle Control

It simply doesn't feel right.. I can't explain exactly what's wrong with it, but the traction feels wrong in a lot of cases and the breaking seems very random, sometimes you will just stop, sometimes slide, sometimes flip over.. All on the same terrain type.. Remember how good the Warthogs in Halo felt to drive? I'm not suggesting they should be like the Warthog, but the controls should "feel right"..

Damage/Hit Feed Back

Often you just wonder what went wrong.. Why was my AP shot to the lower front of the enemy tank ineffective yet their return shot at the same angle blew me to bits? Why did my entire 100 rounds of 20mm AP to the rear of his vehicle apparently have no effect at point blank range?

I'm not suggesting the game should tell you details of each shot, but you SHOULD be able to tell the difference between a shot that was harmlessly deflected compared with one that ripped a hole in the armour.. At least over shorter distances..

It's simply frustrating to shoot round after round into supposed weak spots on a vehicle and not even know if you are penetrating.. Are 75mm AP rounds at close range not able to effectively penetrate even rear armour? Maybe they just weren't hitting or damaging components? It would just FEEL much better if you could SEE some sort of difference in graphical effect on the hit..

I also think statistics on average penetration of the different ordinance and the thickness of the various vehicles armour parts would help remove this whole feeling of wondering "well what went wrong? why did they kill me and not me kill them?".. People want to know why they lost, then they don't get frustrated because they can work out what they need to try to do better rather than simply not know and get fed up with it..

Final Words

I realise that you are unlikely to give these thoughts much weight in your minds, as someone who has done some game development in the past I realise that generally we are a pretty arrogant bunch and often just dismiss other peoples ideas because we didn't think of them ourselves..

But remember you're playing it from a perspective where you understand the inner workings, you're not fighting blind.. We are, and no matter how detailed and awesome the inner workings might be, all we see is what is rendered on our screens.. Often it just appears to be a roll of the dice, since we have nothing to tell us otherwise..

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It would be cool to see smoke coming out of a (large calibre) penetration hole ... that would be some kind of visual feedback ...

Best regards,

Thomm

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While shooting, you have to keep in mind that your ammo and shooting angle have to be right too.

I claim you will get excellent results when you shoot perpendiculary to your enemy's rear or flank - and 20 mm agrees.

I propose that anyone who doesn't understand how damage is dealt should look it up from the manual, page 36.

I agree it was very frustrating not to know when I was damaging someone at first. Maybe there should indeed be somekind of damage feedback so that new players woouldn't get frustrated.

I like it as it is now, but then again, I did get frustrated when I had just started. I just didn't give up. I hope other new players wont either.

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Weapons effects...

I've played the public test for a while now, and the weapons damage still feels off, especially the cannon damage. Yes, I have read the manual section.

I can understand the occasional freak occurance where a 20mm gun will hit a weak point on a tank and kill it, but it feels like this happens too often. Likewise, apparent hits (explosion on hull) by HE/HEAT rounds with no effect against lightly and moderately armored vehicles are frustrating.

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Tank steering
Yes, everyone agrees that tracked vehicle steering isn't responsive enough while at speed. Should be a relatively simple fix.

Turret speed
Yes, you're right. I think the proper fix here is use the reticle to indicate what's happening instead of just leaving you to click and have nothing happen without explanation.

The wheels simply damage too easily from splash damage
This is probably the only point I disagree with. Once we've collected stats from all servers we'll be able to tell for sure, though.

Wheeled vehicle control...simply doesn't feel right
There are many potential issues here. Can you try to elaborate on the main things that are bothering you about it?

Damage/Hit Feed Back
It has become very clear across many posts that this needs to at least be an option for new players and probably still something even for experienced players. We've had in mind an elegant way of doing this but it might be necessary to do at least some simple text popups sooner rather than later.

I realise that you are unlikely to give these thoughts much weight in your minds
Not at all, Netherby! Please continue to post observations and ideas. We're very busy right now addressing the main stability issues (such as the crash on OS X) so we don't always have time to post responses immediately, but we definitely read every single post on this forum with care and interest.

remember you're playing it from a perspective where you understand the inner workings, you're not fighting blind.. We are, and no matter how detailed and awesome the inner workings might be, all we see is what is rendered on our screens..
Completely understood, which is why I agree with the point above.

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I'm finding there are just too many situations where I look back and think, "well, what could I have done that time to have not died?" and just draw a blank. When I've managed to empty my entire magazine of 20mm AP into the side of a vehicle that I've seen killed by a frontal hit, to no discernable effect at all, it's just frustrating.

Re: the wheel damage, the main thing we have in mind is - drumroll - the Hurricane, everyone's favourite vehicle. We were doing a lot of playing in Paladins yesterday, and Hurricane plasma bolts can miss completely (on the order of 300, 500 metres) and still knock out two wheels of a Paladin, presumably from the shrapnel. This is especially damaging to players who are trying to play in an actual team, because losing two wheels pretty much incapacitates you in most cases and forces an extraction.

If that's the case, can I suggest at least toning down the shrapnel and making the direct explosion do most or all of the damage? It's a plasma bomb or something after all, and it doesn't look from the graphic like it has anything to turn into shrapnel in it.

Also, I'd like to comment on artillery in general, fire support notwithstanding as it's sort of a special case. What I'm finding is what I'm sure soldiers since artillery's inception have found out: being shelled randomly from afar with no way to retaliate is not fun. I tend to hop into the artillery vehicles fairly often myself, too, and I'm sure it's not fun for player xyz who just gets obliterated out of nowhere by a gigantic explosion. Since there's generally no way of telling if or when a mortar shell is going to land, it just feels like you died for no reason.

(Post-Review idea: a warning that a mortar shell will land on this position, and a temporary little alarm waypoint planted there. Still useful for attacking turrets and fortified positions, but without the "well dead for no reason again" vibe)

Note that the Hurricane is somewhat, but generally less, able to produce this effect, since generally the Hurricane can't hit you if you can't see it at all.

I honestly don't know how to fix this. Maybe a drop of lethality of mortars across the board. I like the general concept of them but in practice getting killed by a mortar is very frustrating and just feels like you died for no reason.

Claytonious, I think the problem with the vehicle steering is that there isn't a game in the world that's used keyboard vehicle steering and pulled it off successfully. You really need some kind of analogue vehicle steering. Halo did the weird thing with the mouse and that just felt superb.

Also, though this is more a personal taste issue and I don't know where your vision for it lies, they don't feel agile enough. They have a very strong tendency to roll if turning at much speed, yet their rate of turning is horrible except in the rare situations where you manage to turn using the brake. I'd think that if the wheeled vehicles are going to suffer the horrible wheel damage limitation that they should at least have agility that makes up for it, but as it is, if the tracked steering worked right the tanks would be just as maneuverable anyway.

The firing issue Netherby talks about sometimes feels like a bug to me. Think 10, 15 second stretches of the turret refusing to fire at all even though it's apparently on target with the firing vehicle stationary or moving evenly. Having a Tempest facing perfectly for a barrage on the rear of en enemy vehicle, but unable to fire for that long for no discernable reason? Very frustrating.

(as an additional note, after some experimentation the ion beams actually seem quite viable and interesting. The "Tempest Death Pack" might be an interesting strategy, but as it stands the above fire issue cripples it)

I mostly saw this issue with the ion beams, but I have noticed it affecting all vehicles. If you try to reproduce it, bear in mind we're playing with around 220+ ping. (G'day)

I didn't mean to write a huge essay on this, but all the issues that I've listed are incredibly frustrating to me and I think they could drive a lot of people away from what's otherwise a very cool and promising game.

As an aside question, will you be releasing any new public test versions? If so, do you have any frequency you want to release them in mind, so that we aren't all hitting issues you've addressed internally already?

Thanks for reading.

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Re: ATGMs, data feedback, etc...

Assuming a missile has a lock on you and is inbound, what can be done to not get hit? It seems like everything I've tried, from evasive driving (difficult with the iffy steering system) to ducking behind terrain doesn't work well. (Granted, some of that fire is guided by the operator, and not fire/forget launches).

I'm wondering if it's possible to have some sort of built in countermeasures, whether that's smoke grenades common to most contemporary AFVs, or an antimissile system that is currently in development to protect tanks from incoming fire.

I'm also a frustrated with the control/roll issue. Most AFVs and light utility vehicles are heavy enough that they shouldn't be rolling so easily.

As far as target feedback - if nothing else, I would like to see (a) that I hit the target and (B) roughly where on the target I hit. Perhaps a basic schematic of the target vehicle could be displayed in gunner view that would briefly highlight areas struck.

With regard to weapon penetration: if a solid AP round penetrates armor into the interior, does that round (according to the game logic) travel in a straight line through the vehicle, or are trajectory changes gamed into the ballistics model?"

This seems to be coming along quite well and, with some changes, will be an outstanding game in the near future. Thanks for soliciting feedback.

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Mortars are kind of odd, in that they have such a long flight time but still always manage to land right on target. You'd think wind (even if the computer compensated for it) would scatter the shells around a bit. Are they supposed to be guided or something?

My instinct when I expect shells landing about (especially with wheels) is almost always to try and hide in a crater or in one of my cutter-made "fightin' holes", but the mortars are often more than happy to keep me company...

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Mortars are suprisingly accurate. If the wind is almost constant, and it usually is enough constant over the flying path, then it _will_ hit without too much scatter.

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Okay, I can accept that. Is it reasonable to expect more of an audio cue, though? I often watch in amazement as players sit complacently as multiple rounds position themselves for imminent cratering.

These players of course, could in no way be me. Just in case anyone was wondering. tongue.gif

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Many great comments and suggestions, however this one by yllamana doesn't make much sense to me:

I like the general concept of them but in practice getting killed by a mortar is very frustrating and just feels like you died for no reason.
Er... how is that different than from anything else that was fired at you when you weren't looking at the shooter? Mortars, at least, can't really hurt you if you keep moving. And if the shooter is experienced and good with leading targets, then the solution is irradic driving (like a 15 year old trying to text message while driving in downtown traffic smile.gif ). On the other hand, Ions and 20mm are very tough to outmaneuver since their rate of fire is high and a half way decent shooter can spray and pray effectively. ATGMs, the only "smart" weapon, is even tougher to deal with, even if you see it launched.

What I am getting at here is that when used correctly ANY weapon in DropTeam can turn you into smoldering ruins if you aren't careful. But from my experience, mortars are the least of my concerns when playing. The Hurricane is an exception, but mostly because I've gone up against guys with a "gift" for leading targets. However, Hurricanes are in limited supply, have small ammo loads, and terrible rates of fire. They also stink in close combat situations. So they are well balanced IMHO.

Sitting still is the best way to get killed. Especially if the guy firing at you is using mortars. So keep moving, drive defensively, and use terrain as cover. It is the best way to stay in the game.

Steve

[ March 21, 2006, 07:08 PM: Message edited by: Battlefront.com ]

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Oh, and the non-firing thing some of you mentioned is a known issue with us testers. Claytonious Rex explained it well enough above. To see for yourself, next time you find yourself unable to shoot, look down at how your turret is aligned. If it is still aligning, that is why you can't shoot. And it really is only a couple of seconds. However, those few seconds feel like a lifetime in a game like DT, and therefore count.

I for one am not in favor of changing the turret rotation speeds. I like the variety and challenges they offer. What I would like to see is better feedback so I know BEFORE I start clicking like mad that I'm not ready to shoot. I'm sure it will be addressed sooner rather than ltaer :D

Steve

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Originally posted by Battlefront.com:

What I am getting at here is that when used correctly ANY weapon in DropTeam can turn you into smoldering ruins if you aren't careful.

I think the best way to sum it up is this: mortars can turn you into smoldering ruins even if you are careful. When a mortar kills you, generally you aren't left with a feeling that you were somehow outplayed, just that you died for no good reason (bad luck). Of course, dying because you sat in one spot like a lemon for the huge period it takes mortar shells to arrive is another thing, but those cases are the minority.

Er... how is that different than from anything else that was fired at you when you weren't looking at the shooter? Mortars, at least, can't really hurt you if you keep moving.
If you keep moving a LOT, yes. But realistically you don't have unlimited movement around the battlefield, and firing slightly randomly in an area with several enemy units in it (e.g. objective/flag area) is likely to at least cause severe damage to them and at best score a kill, or even multiple kills (not to mention killing turrets to boot).

Also, if I got blindsided by someone using a different type of weapon (ignoring for now the somewhat common ATGM balance complaints) then that was my tactical mistake and I can take steps to prevent it in future. If I'm suddenly pegged by a random mortar shell flying out of nowhere without any warning then that's just frustrating.

Oh, and the non-firing thing some of you mentioned is a known issue with us testers. Claytonious Rex explained it well enough above. To see for yourself, next time you find yourself unable to shoot, look down at how your turret is aligned. If it is still aligning, that is why you can't shoot. And it really is only a couple of seconds.
I appreciate that this is an issue, but it's not the issue I am seeing (well, I mean, I'm seeing it too, but that's not what I'm talking about). Sometimes the turret is facing correctly, but will not fire. It's not still traversing to the target.

I agree completely about the turret traverse speeds - if anything I think they're faster than I'd expect - but what I'm talking about above is with the turret being perfectly on-target and still not firing. Perhaps something is causing it to get stuck in a "traversing" mode when it appears to be aiming straight, I don't know. But when it occurs it is very, very broken and frustrating.

It also occurred in the Paladin IC, so it's not an issue exclusive to hover vehicles (just as a note).

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</font><blockquote>quote:</font><hr />Turret speed
Yes, you're right. I think the proper fix here is use the reticle to indicate what's happening instead of just leaving you to click and have nothing happen without explanation.</font>

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I've heard lots of comments about the 20mm/76mm, and I am wondering if that isn't because you all are using them standalone against the bigger tanks and hovercraft. They work just fine against other light vehicles and the light tanks. Granted, most people are playing with the big guns, which emphasized the lesser punch of the 20mm/76mm, but I imagine in future online play/scenarios the heavily armored units might be more limited/rare. Right now it's a free for all and it is rare that any one unit is depleted at the end of a game. Therefore I personally am focusing on the Paladins since they seem like the "backbone" unit, and I'm having fun with them taking out turrets, Shrikes, command vehicles, dropships, etc. I actually prefer the Shrike but it is the one unit that depletes fast. Stop wasting my Shrikes, people. :(

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I haven't heard any complaints about the 20mm. I spent a while earlier examining the vehicle schematics, and today my cutter drops in and kills no less than three Thor KCs with its stupid 20mm cannon.

The complaint seems to be that the 76mm combines the rate of fire of the 120mm with the penetrating power of the 20mm.

But anyway, that's not the main thrust of the thread, which is issues that are so frustrating that they hurt the game a lot.

Anyway, something of importance. Today I went and reviewed all the vehicle schematics on the site and got a feel for the vehicle structures. Now all of a sudden my Cutter is killing Thors. I think the problem is mostly that people don't know where to aim on the vehicles to inflict damage.

I suggest an in-game card system showing armour, weapon penetration and also the schematics like on the website. That would instantly resolve a lot of the problems with damage, I think. Seems to me people are hitting the tanks but missing critical systems and not knowing why.

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on the other hand you shouln't deal damage only when you hit some component. blast damage or resulting fires play an important role in real life damage, and they can damage components that aren't in the direct path of the penetration....i think HEAT should do more blast damage than AP

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I wasn't complaining about the 20mm, it is actually quite good, especially with the really high rate of fire, flanking a tank with the 20mm gives you very high chances of a kill!

It's the 76mm that seems to lack any greater punch than the 20mm, yet has a much slower rate of fire.. To make it clear, I was having a lot of trouble even damaging things with the 76mm that I had easily taken out using the 20mm so I was a bit O_o

But that's not really what I wanted to talk about here..

The in game card system would be really nice, the important things I would like to know are AP armour penetration vs range+density, various armour values at different slopes on the vehicles (like in CM you had the armour value at 90º, 45º and 25º or something like that).

A visual cue for a penetration would also help a lot or is there already? When AP rounds do the explode effect does that mean they penetrated? Sometimes they bounce off which is obvious but other times they seem to explode.. HEAT rounds always explode so it's especially hard to tell if they are being effective or not..

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The schematic definitely makes ALL the difference as far as firing goes. Seriously, playing with that thing in mind compared to without is like night and day. That schematic desperately needs integrating with the game in some way. The whole thing makes sense with it.

Perhaps showing the internals on the gunnery display would be too much, but you desperately, desperately need to impress upon new players the importance of the schematic! The gunnery makes perfect sense with it.

Edit: what I'm saying is, this understanding is what you really need to give people. It's why you guys (the developers) haven't seen the "need" for better hit feedback before now - because once you figure it out, you know what's going on with all your shots and you can evaluate their effects easily by the vehicle's behavior after you hit it.

If you can give people this info, you won't need to give them better hit feedback. Conversely, if you give better hit feedback its main use is going to be letting people figure out this info for themselves.

[ March 22, 2006, 03:49 AM: Message edited by: yllamana ]

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Originally posted by Netherby:

A visual cue for a penetration would also help a lot or is there already? When AP rounds do the explode effect does that mean they penetrated? Sometimes they bounce off which is obvious but other times they seem to explode.. HEAT rounds always explode so it's especially hard to tell if they are being effective or not..

I also would like to know if AP exploding means penetration.

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Just tried the "schematic" approach. 20 mm cannon fire into the fuel cells (center mass) of a MBT! Blew up really nicely! Perhaps too easy, even ...

Best regards,

Thomm

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Yes, 20 mm is quite effective. Only 'useless' weapons so far has been this 76 mm. I've been trying to prove me wrong but it still seems like 20 mm is better than 76 mm.

Maybe it will change after I get more accurate and know every tank's anatomy so well that I don't need to spray them.

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Originally posted by Bernhardt:

Yes, 20 mm is quite effective. Only 'useless' weapons so far has been this 76 mm. I've been trying to prove me wrong but it still seems like 20 mm is better than 76 mm.

I played for several maps using ONLY the 76mm Paladin trying to find a way to use the weapon, shooting all sorts of different places and ranges.. It simply seems so much less effective than the 20mm in almost every situation I could find :(

But weapon balance wasn't really my point here tongue.gif

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"It's the 76mm that seems to lack any greater punch than the 20mm, yet has a much slower rate of fire.. "

That is the problem I've seen - it shouldn't take a half-dozen rounds to kill a lightly armored vehicle . The 20mm seems right; the 76mm seems too weak.

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Investigating further into the 76mm matter I just played a game exclusively with this platform. I like the RoF very much, but the killing power ... :(

The stats were: 53 hits, 22 misses, 4 kills. :confused:

I had one guy spinning on ice with his wheeled vehicle right in front of me giving me the opportunity to hit him from every possible angle. It still took like 8 shots to finally kill him.

I would also like to be able to disable the small calibre turrets with one 76mm hit. Maybe not kill the vehicle, but render it worthless. Did not succeed at that (from the front) either.

I think I just experienced the first coordinated attack on our base ... scary :D Nevertheless I think my concept of placing AG turrets along the *inside* walls of the base gave the attackers some considerable headaches ...

Best regards,

Thomm

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