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Graphic Representation of Altitude


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Still a big supporter of the concept here, but the screenshots threw me a bit, much like a few other people have commented.

Since I have the original card game, I know where the top down views come from and they're perfectly understandable.

What I do think is a missed opportunity, however, is failing to show altitude graphically - I thought it odd that, given that this is a computer game and that the graphics are fairly changeable, the planes are not represented differently for each of the altitudes (very low, low, medium, high and very high)?

I took a quick look at the screenshots, and as far as I can tell, the only way that altitude is indicated is by the small text indicator in the status bar of each aircraft.

I think it would be terrific to be able to glance at the graphic representation of a plane and instantly know its altitude.

When I first read about the game, I thought that the logical way to do this would be to see the planes from a 30 or 45 degree isometric view, with a small altitude bar indicating relative heights and the planes lined up against each other but switching positions around as they attacked various elements.

Obviously you've taken the design in a different direction, which is completely your perogative, but I do hope in the final version that altitude will be easier to pick out. I think it would add significantly to "immersion".

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Well, what would you suggest? smile.gif Seriously, we've given this quite a bit of thought, but so far came up with no alternative that does the job yet does not at the same time take away from other aspects of the game.

Notice that bombers are represented in an isometric view, because their facing isn't important for the game (e.g. they cannot tail an enemy fighter obviously), but how would you show neutral, disadvantaged and tailing from an isometric angle? Besides, there are 5 altitude levels in the game (very low, low, medium, high and very high). I am not sure if there would be enough space on the screen to show each of those clearly. How much space between high and very high? You would most likely need some kind of text description or color coding - or both - anyway (an altitude bar as you say). But at the same time give up the clear first-glance information of who's tailing whom.

Not saying that what you see is the final solution, by the way. The game is still in - well I guess early beta - but then again it might be that we'll stick with what we have right now. Obviously we cannot go back to an isometric view at this point anyway, so that point is moot, but we *could* maybe add a vertical altitude bar, provided that there aren't other higher priority things to do before release. If however that would add immersion or be a lot clearer than a text message, or if it would simply look odd to have a vertical bar stick out in the middle of the screen... not sure smile.gif


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Hmmm... I guess I'll do up a quick sketch and link it here when I get home from work later today to illustrate what I meant with the isometric concept and how to show relative positions AND altitude. Since it's really moot, though, as you indicate, it'd only be for interests' sake.

I guess one quick and easy way to show altitude is to borrow from the colour coding of the board game - orange (or green) for very low, half green/orange half blue for low, standard sky blue for medium, dark blue for high and dark blue with white clouds for very high. You could show this as a background to each fighter.

If you're concerned about making sure that a specific theatre isn't properly represented by a particular colour, use theatre based backgrounds for ground - a nice ocean texture for the very low altitude in the Pacific, fields and pastures in Northwest Europe, snowy steppe in the Ostfront, jungle for China-Burma-India and desert for North Africa.

You could even vary the sky backgrounds with time and location - puffy cumulus clouds at low height, altocumulus at medium, stratus or altostratus at high and wispy cirrus clouds at very high.

Make the sky and ground backgrounds textures modifiable, much like your ground and sky textures in Combat Mission, and you'll have a very happy player base.

You guys have given this a lot of thought already, I know - I was just pointing something out that jumped out at me when I looked at the screenshots and considered them from a gameplay point of view.

I'll try to do up a quick sketch of the isometric concept tonight. Moot, I know, but I wonder if you had already explored this particular possibility.

Anyway, thanks for the feedback, Moon!

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