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Change to the Interface


Philippe
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Originally posted by Battlefront.com:

The bottom line is that a line must be drawn between too much and too little information at the fingertips of the player. The main reason is that the player already has far more information than any commander ever would, so any effort to increase that knowledge has to be carefully considered.

In both cases we've said NO because the player already has too much of this information at the ready and therefore we didn't want to make matters worse by making some of the few difficulties the player has melt away. It is a slippery slope for sure, but we've always felt that the little bits of chaos that the player has to deal with would be eliminated by a full Order of Battle feature (including unit status and what not) and LOS anywhere. The entire nature of the game would be changed and not for the better.

Since this is a thread about the interface, I think we need to make a distinction between an OOB screen used for navigation and one that conveys more detailed information.

I'd like to see an interactive OOB screen that allows the player to click and move to the desired unit. Detailed stats on each unit in the list is not needed for this function. I hate using colored bases, cycling through every unit, reducing tree coverage and magnfiying the unit size to maximum in order to find that light MG I stuck somewhere.

I am thinking of an aid to a player so that it is easier to play the game.

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What is your source for the "fact" that loss of depth perception impedes pre-visualization?
Well you northern nong, I did not establish the assertion as a fact, but rather what I thought which should be readily recognized by now as a minimal function.

However, it should be apparent that since my perceptions of the CM environment were based on having both eyes functional, one eye out AND a new system represents a change in TWO variables.

Therefore in order to truly appreciate a comparison between the old and new CM environments, I tend to think I would need to compare them with the same visual capabilities.

Another point is that after being poked in the eye, I would have to spend a good amount of time acclimating my remaining vision to the old system as part of the experience needed to adapt my senses to the new perception. Who knows how long this would take? Longer than it will take to get a screenshot?

Egads, this is hardly the basis for suggesting it as an improvement over simply showing what the new system's capabilities.

BFS5

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As J Ruddy and RMC have stated, there is a difference between a simple "roster" and a "God list" (good name for it!). If we put in anything it would be of the "roster" type. And honestly, I am not completely against it. Actually, I had that on the initial CMBB feature list. But when it came down to it, there were much more important things to do than the "roster". It's still on the CMx2 feature list, in fact, though I am not sure it will get into the first version of CMx2.

Steve

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While I can see the reasoning for not giving the player an OOB list, I disagree with it in some ways.

The reason you want an OOB as a player is simply so you don't forget anyone. IRL the individuals would not forget themselves, they would be doing something, not just sitting there for 60 seconds like some kind of canadian mannequin.

I suppose SOPs would help. More complex orders could be given so units keep doing their thing for several turns. Perhaps a little popup message window could alert the player to units that have finished their player directed orders.

If you remember UFO: Enemy unknown they had two buttons to cycle through your units. One skipped through all units, and one removed the current unit from the cycle (after its orders were complete) and then moved to the next. Something like this would work well I think.

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The reason you want an OOB as a player is simply so you don't forget anyone. IRL the individuals would not forget themselves, they would be doing something, not just sitting there for 60 seconds like some kind of canadian mannequin.
Actually, that is fairly realistic. Units are left behind, forgotten about, and otherwise left to sit around wondering if anybody above them knows what is going on. Happens all the time, even to some extent with today's communications. So I disagree that a tool to make sure everybody is taken care of is inherently more realistic than the way it is now.

Cripes man, if the Germans had this in WWII then SGT Steiner and his men wouldn't have been left behind because COL Brandt would have known that CPT Stransky had not ordered Steiner to pull back. Now, tell me I'm wrong about that! tongue.gif

Steve

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Originally posted by Battlefront.com:

</font><blockquote>quote:</font><hr />The reason you want an OOB as a player is simply so you don't forget anyone. IRL the individuals would not forget themselves, they would be doing something, not just sitting there for 60 seconds like some kind of canadian mannequin.

Actually, that is fairly realistic. Units are left behind, forgotten about, and otherwise left to sit around wondering if anybody above them knows what is going on. Happens all the time, even to some extent with today's communications. So I disagree that a tool to make sure everybody is taken care of is inherently more realistic than the way it is now.

Cripes man, if the Germans had this in WWII then SGT Steiner and his men wouldn't have been left behind because COL Brandt would have known that CPT Stransky had not ordered Steiner to pull back. Now, tell me I'm wrong about that! tongue.gif

Steve </font>

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I completely agree with the response to my earlier post that it would be realistic for a commander to forget a unit.

My point was that in CM often the orders the player gives would represent more what a unit has done on its own initiative.

So a squad that had orders from an officer to "take that house" would not suddenly have an attack of amnesia over the few turns of manouvring required to get there.

That is also why I suggested SOPs would be very useful to lay out more complex orders over a few turns to let units be a little more autonomous like they obviously were "IRL".

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Originally posted by Peter Cairns:

The frustration with the 45sec delay in the gully is for me accurate and correct, as once in it you would have to go slow as from outside it is really hard to know exactly where it goes, and easy to losse your bearings.

Whether intentional or not the need for multiple way points simulates this slowing due to staying in cover moving in unknow dead ground and having to "take a peek" to affirm your position.

No. The 45 second command delay doesn't simulate the slowing down due to staying in cover ...

It simulates your men sitting around on their asses, smoking a cig or pissing while they should be moving to the end of the gully. Making a gully out of rough terrain that slows movement down simulates the slowing down due to staying in cover ... that you refer to.

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It simulates your men sitting around on their asses, smoking a cig or pissing while they should be moving to the end of the gully.
Soudns realistic to me :D Seriously, that is part of what the delay is there to simulate. The rest of it is to simulate the instructions being issued about who is to take point, what angles to keep covered, how to move, what the pacing should be, and roughly what the overall plan is. 45 seconds is generous for that.

On a related note the US Army has spent quite a lot of energy trying to figure out how to get unit cohesion honed but not over done. Units that are too cohesive tend to be less responsive, more apt to disobey (correction "misunderstand") intstructions, cover for each other when one screws up, and other negative things. The reason is simple... the unit becomes so bonded to each other that loyalty is to each other and not the Army nor, by extension, their country's national interests. That is the extreme which allows some units to behave in ways that are repulsive and criminal, but of course this is exceptional. Shirking duty or being overly cautious in combat are the more common issues the Army is trying to deal with.

Steve

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You have to find a way (another toggle?) to get view direction control into the mouse so that you can move around the CM landscape the way you move around in an FPS. This is essential for figuring out what is where in terms of being under cover or being exposed.

I don't play FPS games so I can't recommend how to go about this, but I'm sure the mechanics are well developed. Adopt them.

I'm not sure if this is exactly what you're looking for, but Rome Total War has an absolutely amazing view system that I think should be adopted as a universal standard. It takes you from high up and almost top-down to ground level totally seemlessly and without you almost noticing it.

What they do is simply use standard FPS movement controls (WASD keys) for moving the camera back-forward and rotating it, the mouse wheel for height adjustment, and mouse movements for fint tuning and lateral movement. The WASD keys combine seamlessly with the mouse movements and make it an extremely intuituive system.

It is by far the best camera system I have used in any game and others would do well to simply copy it.

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Something like that was actually what I had in mind.

On the other hand, I can appreciate the argument that it shouldn't be too easy to move the camera around the map. Too much camera mobility allows you to study terrain in detail that is outside of the player's units' view. Perhaps it would be possible to institute some kind of toggle that would allow the camera view to move along the movement path at eye level. You could slide easily forward and backwards along the movement path with the arrow keys, and that would make it easy to see what needed to be corrected.

Steve at one point asked what game does it better than Battlefront. My response to that is that there is a game that does it much better -- real life. The trouble with being superior is that you get judged by a higher standard.

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I understand and agree with the argument about view restrictions, but it should never be an excuse for clunky camera controls.

In Rome Total War there are several ways the user can restrict the camera (and thereby the access to information), like the "Restricted Camera" where you can't move the camera too far from your own units or the "General Camera" where your viewpoint is slaved to the general's unit and can't be raised above shoulder level.

The last mode is a lot of fun when you gallop around the battlefield like a madman to try and control the troops! The need for a pre-battle plan is certainly brought home.

In fact I believe something precisely like these restrictions would suit Combat Mission very well. There's a demo available for Rome Total War so you can try it if you haven't already. It's almost worth it for the camera controls alone.

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There's a demo available for Rome Total War so you can try it if you haven't already. It's almost worth it for the camera controls alone.
I tried it a while ago and didn't like it - maybe I'll try it again someday but I doubt it (Steve - can you guys do a Rome and Carthage game please?)

In combat mission's wego system, there are two distinct phases - an orders phase and an action phase. (ok three if you include the deployment phase)

Personally I'd rather keep the God camera in the action phase because I like to watch from the point of view of the enemy troops (at least the one's that are in Borg LOS) and replay portions to see 'how the heck did he see my T34 - ah - right there - crap!' etc...

If they want to lock down the camera movement and panning during the orders phase, I guess that would be OK - but if there is a hill, and I want a few units to skirt around the hill and assault from the back side, I'd really like to be able to see the back side of the hill before placing my waypoints.

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I tried Rome Total War a while ago and didn't like it...

The problem with that game is that you have to slow it down to half the default speed to make it realistic. Fortunately it's fairly easy to mod (via text files).

But the graphics and the interface are really state-of-the-art for wargames as far as I'm concerned, which isn't so strange considering their budget is probably equal to all other wargame developers put together. Anyway, you can see a lot of work went into the interface and the controls.

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Originally posted by MOS was 71331:

Sgt Goody -- "We could hear ... officers on the radio asking for a repeat of the last transmission."

No good officer would ask for a repeat of the last transmission. "Repeat" is ONLY used for controlling artillery, as in "Repeat range. Fire for effect." The correct radio message would be "Say again your last transmission."

Most good officers get the message the first time. I am trying to wean myself from proper radio proceedures. My family gets upset when I ask them "say again all after..."
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