A few notes (and maybe some bugs)...


#1

Cliffski,

I want to start off by saying how impressed I am that you have pulled off this one man show. I have tried several games and can never seem to get them finished. From way back in Borland Graphic Engine, to DirectX, to Flash, and I still don’t have a published game. Ok, on the other hand I have coded and sold shrinkwrap software over the internet since 1997. My current project is a video convertion engine…

So one professional to another you’re way cool and I mean nothing but respect and help by my following comments.

First lets start with the simple things (a bug):


This dialog does not show in full screen on either of my machines(laptop, vista; desktop, winxp). I believe you can get the full image with right click -> save as (they are hosted on my server).

Next:


This mechanism from the “Deploy” screen could be used here to simplify selecting and deselecting ships.

As you can see from this after-action report, I have to click a large amount of frigates to deselect them all as I am interested in the contributions the fighters made to the battle.

Next topic same image:
In addition, the pie charts are useless to me without a total amount of damage. 6% of what? 6% of the total damage the ship did/or could have done, but 14 shots looks just like the pie chart of a ship that fired 100 shots. Leaving me unable to determine how much damage this ship is adding to the total damage my fleet is doing. Does this make sence?

Next topic:


In the image I have over 200,000 honor and I have to click each Module and Ship Hull and unlock it individually? This proved to be very tedious, and I was annoyed at the time it took. I still have not unlocked the ship hulls because it’s not worth it until I need them. If I had a “mass unlock” button I would have unlocked them all and been done with it. Mass Unlock would warn you if you did not have enough “honor”.

Bug report:


A crash I suffered…The crash dialog is off to the right. Sorry I searched the web for how to scale my images but nothing worked on your server (maybe you don’t have those mods?). And I want to host the full size images so that when you download them they are easy to read. Hate doing software development with scaled, hard-to-read images.

Finally:


You really need to look at the whole diagram to understand this. Background, this is a form interaction diagram, a mainstay of my software modeling process. I believe I took this from Deborah Kurata, and adapted it. This is an incomplete model of your application (I only worked on it for an hour). Also I did not model how Deploy interacts with Ship Design.

Also I want to say before I go on, that I do not mean to reveal anything you don’t want revealed. I totally respect your need to protect your technology - I mapped it so i could propose some improvements.

First Item:
As you can see you can’t get to Fleet HQ from any Ship Design screen. This has annoyed me many times. I am trying to design a ship to deal with a paticular challenge and I need a module I don’t have unlocked and I have to back out of the challenge to go to the Fleet HQ screen, unlock the module, go back to the challenge, then to ship design etc…

Second Item:
You have three “modes” of your “Deploy” screen (I don’t mean Normal, Hard, or Expert either). If you look I have “Deploy” on this diagram three times, I drew that to highlight the differences of the modes and to show some errors :slight_smile: (Normally I would model all the modes in one box with sub boxes).

Deploy (Make Challenge Mode) does not need to have Normal, Hard, and Expert sub modes. I saw no need for them, and the “Fight” button is visible (although disabled). Another issue is the “Go Back” button does not go to “Custom Challenges” where I came from but to Battle!!

Only Deploy (Battle Mode) should have sub modes Normal, Hard, and Expert.

I am getting tired and am not going to post everything I was planning on. If you respond and are interested I’m sure we could have many more UI design discussions.

Some general thoughts:
I would like the UI to run by race. When I change races I want to see the honor and completions I have gotten with that race. It’s ok not to award honor by race, but display the race and honor I have earned as well as the race I am now in the mouse over.

I have never won any of these missions as Rebels (the race I have selected) but my Federation stats make it impossible to tell what missions I have done as Rebels.

Some of your ‘dialogs’ leave the screen below them active (the ‘Main Menu’ button is the biggest offender). When rating a challenge, if you leave the rate dialog up and return to the “deploy” screen the rate dialog is still visible and should not be (the submit buttons are missing as well).

When I leave a deployment/fight and go back to the battle screen, the battle I was in should be the selected one not the Tutorial mission. Especially when playing another race and I can’t tell what battles I have done with that race.

OK, I am exhausted, I can’t work any more. I have really only just begun to get into the meat of the forms and their interactions.

Again, this is an impressive game, and it has the power to be much more than it is. I think you are taking it that direction - this feedback is designed to go that direction as well. As I have said in another post, I bought this game because of the upcomming ‘Campaign’ module. I can’t wait.


#2

This is awesome feedback, and much appreciated. I think you can tell why all this stuff is not better, and done the way you describe, and that is just the sheer workload involved.
Thats not to say I’m not aware of, and aiming to improve this side of the game, It’s just that I am the only coder, and currently working on a campaign add-on, rather than core game UI stuff.
One day though…


#3

About the mass unlock thing: you can simply click on the same item and then keep clicking on the unlock button, everytime you click the next not yet unlocket one will be selected and clicking again wil unlock this one, it still requires a lot of clicking but you won’t have to select every module and you can just keep clicking


#4

Ah brilliant, I was clicking from the bottom up… how dumb of me!!


#5

Ok, being a software engineer, sometimes work just consumes me. As it has for the past month, and will for the next month. That being said…

Here is a typical challenge screen with the challenges I have downloaded…

I would like to be able to tell which missions I have won. I can’t tell.

Next topic:
I want to be able to save a “deployment” across maps. So I can load them in challenges, etc… Am I missing something should I be able to do that already?


#6

I second both of those. I think there should be a way to move deployments from map to map by exiting the game after saving one and copying the file to a different challenge directory or some voodoo like that, but I haven’t gotten around to trying it yet.


#7

The Deploy window has a button “o” that toggles the red/green overlay. The grid needs “g” to toggle it. “d” for damage overlays.


#8

Orders need to be followed.

I have a squad of fighters that have orders:
Attack Frigates 100%
Attack Cruisers 1%

They hit one frigate and then spend the rest of the time hammering a cruiser they can’t hurt. And if I don’t put the Cruiser order in they attack at too great a range to be effective.

100% should mean until all Frigates are gone then hit Cruisers.

But I’d rather have a segway order. Do this until then do this. Or attack frigates first then fighters then cruisers. Or an order “Largest to smallest” and it honors removing “Attack X” orders.

In this case I would do “smallest to largest” and remove the “Attack Fighters” orders.


#9

Two posts up - I called that the “Deploy” window. That was wrong. I don’t have a name for the “Fight” window.

OK, the Fight screen.

Another “Fight” screen improvement. Let the numbers 1-4 correspond to the speed. So I can scale 1 through 4 really fast, and the existing controls for fine tuning. It would be nice if these worked off the number pad as well as the keyboard.


#10

When your shields are down, repair modules should not repair shields. I hate watching shields which can never work again for the rest of the battle being repaired.


#11

Gunners are pretty good about following those orders (assuming vulture or cooperative aren’t at play), it’s the driving AI that’s usually messing this part up. You’ll on occasion see rocket fighters orbiting cruisers while prioritizing nearby frigates instead.

IIRC there’s only three things that cause a driver to select a new target:

Breaking formation
Coming out of a “cautious” retreat
The current target dies

This is why offensive fleets get baffled by a simple block of armor set in front of the enemy team. Units with short range order/weapons are effectively glued to those block units until something manages to destroy it.

This is a major roadblock to making fleets capable of avoidance. We lack any orders to shake the AI out of seeking an inappropriate target.


#12

We need arrows at these point to fine tune these values. I am trying to post a “duel down” challenge with 12 pilots. And guess what, I can only select 10 or 13. Maybe there’s a trick to fine tune it but I don’t have the manual dexterity to do it.

Another suggestion: From the “Deploy” screen, next to the “Challenge!” button, add a button: “Make custom map from deployed fleet” Of course, it needs better text on the button. It would take you to the custom map screen with the values set from the existing fleet (and allow you to adjust them if you wanted).

Ah, the button could say “Custom Challenge”.