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#1 Bigmaster

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Posted 23 April 2012 - 05:20 AM

Hi :)

I used to track the development of this game some years ago. Some weeks ago, I remembered about it again and it's really great to see it playable already and with good active development. Thanks for the great work :)

I have a couple of questions/doubts/comments, concerning the game in future:

1) I tested the game a few times and one of the things I noticed is that it's a lot heavier than I thought it would be, in terms of the graphics. I didn't expect this tbh, and was kind of disappointed by the huge requirements of it, which will limit the game imho. But, my doubt is: is this caused by the fact the game is still in Alpha? Will it be optimized in terms of demanding graphics, kind of?

2) When testing the game with AIs, I also noticed some huge slowdowns. The reason for it is the same as above? On AOE2 for example, I used to have huge lag with AIs, due to pathfinding mainly. Is this going to be addressed on 0AD, to avoid the same problem? What can I expect on this department?

3) Another concern I have about the game is the following. I'm a huge RTS fan. Since the mid 00's, the RTS genre started to disappoint me, mainly from AOE3 on. This was due to the fact that RTSs (just like most modern games) started to give more priority to graphics, instead of gameplay. When games (specially RTSs) follow this pattern, it's really a pity lol. I understand the graphics part is nice and catches people, but gameplay is the most important thing on a RTS. Well, by looking at 0AD graphics, they look amazing and incredible.... so this scares me :), due to the reasons I pointed above. Are there any reasons for me to be worried? Is gameplay the most important thing on 0AD, like it should be? :)

4) Concerning AIs, one of the things that got me addicted to AOE2 during several years was the fact that there were like 500 AIs for that game, that could be used on SinglePlayer or MultiPlayer. For an offline player like me, this was huge. What can I expect on 0AD, regarding the AI department? I already see a couple of bots, which is nice, but do you think the game will have a lot more of them on future?

5) Last thing, this one regarding the famous AutoQueue option that some RTSs have. I noticed 0AD doesn't have this, which is nice imo :). Is this set to continue like this? I know that option has a lot of different opinions and views, but imho it sort of kills part of a game as an RTS, and this comes from a complete noob offline player :), which theoretically would benefict from it. I hope it's not included honestly, it's more fair and it would avoid complaints and flame wars lol.

Sorry for the long topic, keep great work and thx for it :)

Best regards :)
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#2 k776

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Posted 23 April 2012 - 06:14 AM

1) ... it's a lot heavier than I thought it would be, in terms of the graphics. ... is this caused by the fact the game is still in Alpha? Will it be optimized in terms of demanding graphics, kind of?

2) When testing the game with AIs, I also noticed some huge slowdowns.

A lot of things will be optimized once the games main features are implemented. Namely pathfinding and AI. Steps to optimize the path finder have already been taken, but on hold at the moment. See all of Philip's reports at: http://www.wildfireg...showtopic=15270

3) RTSs (just like most modern games) started to give more priority to graphics, instead of gameplay.... gameplay is the most important thing on a RTS. ... Are there any reasons for me to be worried? Is gameplay the most important thing on 0AD, like it should be?

Gameplay is important to us. We have several big features to finish before the game enters the Beta stage, and then some. And we have two depts, one for gameplay features, another for artwork. So we don't have to chose one or the other. :-)

4) AOE2 ... there were like 500 AIs for that game, ... What can I expect on 0AD, regarding the AI department?

Depends on how many people want to make an AI for it. We want include them all by default, but the best will be, and then we might setup a place for AI writers to upload their creations. We don't know yet... we'll cross that bridge if we get to it.

5) Last thing, this one regarding the famous AutoQueue option that some RTSs have.

I'm not sure what AutoQueue is sorry, so I can't say if we'll have it or not, but if we did include it, we'd welcome a patch which adds a config setting to game setup or something (when we have a more comprehensive game setup screen). That's the beauty of open source. If something doesn't work, help make it better.


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#3 fcxSanya

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Posted 23 April 2012 - 07:19 AM

I'm not sure what AutoQueue is sorry, so I can't say if we'll have it or not, <...>

As I understand it is when you queue some type of unit to continuous production, i.e. as soon as one unit is trained next one of the same type is queued. This is probably makes sense when you have strong economics, which don't require much attention and you want to concentrate on battle and have steady flow of cannon fodder. As an alternative you can wait some time to accumulate more resources and use batch-training.
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#4 FeXoR

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Posted 23 April 2012 - 10:12 AM

Bigmaster: Thanks for pointing all this out! I totally agree with you (Don't really mind the AutoQueue I think) and feel a bit alone with that.

Some other issues I'm concerned about are unitAI/stances, formations, minimum range for non-siege units and target restrictions/priorities (planned). Until now there's no way to turn off formations or forbid the unitAI to override player commands or even a sensible stance. Some examples:
- Player wants a combat unit to go to a destination, unit is attacked on it's way there. Result: The unit starts attacking before reaching the target as the actual default behavior.
- Player wants to retreat multiple units scattered among an enemy base and gives a command to go to a save location. Result: All units closer to the save location will run further into the enemy base (to gather with the other units and form a formation). Even worse: If buildings and units in the enemy base are tight some or all units may not be able to get out of the enemy base in formation and thus running here and there without getting anywhere.
- Player set the 'aggressive' (default) stance to a couple of melee units, an enemy ranged unit shows up and attacks them. Result: The melee units will go towards the ranged unit to be able to attack it and the ranged unit will run away to be able to attack the melee units (since he cannot attack from melee range). All units try to get in position to attack the enemy but they can't.
- Player wants to garrison an attacked building, since he knows they will fight back he puts the stances to 'passive'. Result (quite often): One of the attacking units attack a unit with the garrison order. The attacked units runs away from the building he shall garrison (to avoid the enemies attacks the stance-supporting PPL might say). After a sec or so he returns to the old command (garrisoning the building) so he turns around an now walks towards the building again. Now the enemy attacks again and the unit to garrison turns around again... often until death.


There are many other situations the units refuse to actually perform the players commands especially but not exclusively when time is of the essence like in battles.

BTW until now the best way to move units is: Target an enemy unit and change order before the target is reached/give a garrison command and change command before target is reached/give the command to all units separately... well, have fun... :wacko:


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#5 alkazar-ipse

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Posted 26 October 2012 - 06:17 AM

Hey there,
Yes, I think these are very common known issues,
(don't feel alone, I just dont complain about it because I know that pathfinding is still bad at this alpha stage and WILL be improved in the future(I hope!))

There is a "loose" formation, (basicly spread out units) , I guess the 'retreat' behavior is same as for other formations (gather-as-formation-and-get-killed-because-formation-technicly-can't-be-accomplished problem) ^^
But basicly there should be a possibility to give a set of units orders and have them execute it as if it was given individually to them (1 by 1), I agree with you on that, and I think everyone in the staff does too ;)
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#6 alkazar-ipse

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Posted 26 October 2012 - 06:20 AM

edit: I usually win IF i attack, so I never consciously tried to test the "loose" formation behavior on a retreat... Migth be worth it: don't know if it's just an other formation, or if the idea is "no formation, each unit for it's self".
Inform me there if sb knows it ;)
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#7 FeXoR

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Posted 26 October 2012 - 08:04 AM

Hey there,
Yes, I think these are very common known issues,
(don't feel alone, I just dont complain about it because I know that pathfinding is still bad at this alpha stage and WILL be improved in the future(I hope!))

There is a "loose" formation, (basicly spread out units) , I guess the 'retreat' behavior is same as for other formations (gather-as-formation-and-get-killed-because-formation-technicly-can't-be-accomplished problem) ^^
But basicly there should be a possibility to give a set of units orders and have them execute it as if it was given individually to them (1 by 1), I agree with you on that, and I think everyone in the staff does too ;)

edit: I usually win IF i attack, so I never consciously tried to test the "loose" formation behavior on a retreat... Migth be worth it: don't know if it's just an other formation, or if the idea is "no formation, each unit for it's self".
Inform me there if sb knows it ;)

I'm glad others see it similar to Bigmaster and me!

I fear that most of those issues will not be fixed with a better pathfinder. They are caused by the unit AI as well as the minimum range some units have. Alternative attacks for those units are planned to be added AFAIK but that will cause other issues if both attacks deal different damage.

The loose formation is still a formation with all it's drawbacks. The main difference is that units are further spread. Thanks for the idea anyway.
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#8 zoot

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Posted 28 October 2012 - 03:46 AM

i think that too, light version of game. for Faste gameplay.

Why not just turn off the effects you don't need?
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#9 zoot

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Posted 28 October 2012 - 04:36 AM

haha im not talk about that... im talking texture, Screen resolution.


The Problem with that is the guy that started this post not me XD.

by Bigmaster
ijust thinking about many people that not have a very good PC for the game.


etc etc.... pd: i know about C:\SVN 0 AD\ps\binaries\data\config and Default config file and how manipulate that, :yes3:

Sure, but why create a "light version of game"? Why not just adjust the settings?

Edited by zoot, 28 October 2012 - 04:37 AM.

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#10 zoot

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Posted 28 October 2012 - 06:47 AM

i don't not but for a good reason people play old rts than news, may be he can mod and use 1000 units in game for each players

How does other games have any bearing on how 0 A.D. works? When things can be adjusted via settings, I don't see why anyone would want a "light version".
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#11 zoot

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Posted 28 October 2012 - 09:49 AM

the minimun resolution is 1024x768 ???and if i want try 800x600

800x600 is very low res by todays standards, but even if we did want to support it, it should be a setting, not a separate version of the game.
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#12 FeXoR

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Posted 28 October 2012 - 12:51 PM

Why not just turn off the effects you don't need?

I'd love to be able to turn off:
- Formations
- Stances
- Build limit of structures
- Min. range of entities
- Range check for melee units when the damage is dealt (the check after the attack was already initiated and the animation takes place/is done)
- Projectile simulation
- Rotation of buildings
- Zoom limit
- Camera rotation
- Water effects
...and reduce:
- Number of polygons per entity
- Texture quality
- "Grid" for building placement

But I just can't while staying compatible with other players.

Of cause it would be better to make most of this optional but some of them influence game-play and so different settings will lead to out of sync for multi-player games (So some of this things can go to the game settings while others would need to be setup in a mod or - IMO better - a map).

For me it's not so much the hardware needed to run a game (though being able to set everything to run on an pretty old PC is nice) but that game-play things are suffering from the great priority on visuals. For example if non-moving entities are fixed on a grid building placement would be faster and the player could use buildings to block enemy units or decide to leave space between them to not surround own troops. This is pretty hard with float positions. I don't mean it has to be fixed to a grid (and rotation restricted to it as well) but it could be an option that would grand better game-play possibilities though the possibilities in general are reduced (placement fixed to a grid). A similar thing with formations/stances. The aim may be that troop movement is more realistic and ordered but the result in-game is terrible (as is now, perhaps it can be resolved but I pretty much doubt it). For example pick some units working on a building units and add another unit to the control group, then right-click on the building again, result: The one added unit sprints towards the others but the units already building walk away from the building though it's the target of the given order. Many more things are related to formations/stances and the gain is quite low for me.

By the way: This all could of cause be changed with mods but then 2 players can only play if they both have the same mod installed and enabled. So I'm not sure (if I get it right how the mod support is planned) that's a good idea. Everything could be defined in the map IMO so that 2 players only need the same map (and it could be downloaded while the players are in the lobby, not sure if auto-download will work/is planned for mods as well). That way only one file would need to be submitted/organized. Binary stuff like pictures(e.g. for the gui)/skeletons/models/textures/animations would still be needed so it's not as clean as I would like it to be so not entirely sure about this (though ofc. needed binary files could be part of a binary map format, though I like that RMS for example are just scripts).
...so, If we had a trigger API with wide usability there would be no need for mod support.

Edited by FeXoR, 28 October 2012 - 01:57 PM.

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#13 zoot

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Posted 28 October 2012 - 08:28 PM

Doing it per-map (duplicating for each and every map where this is wanted) sounds messy. As far as graphics is concerned, surely the relevant files can just be reduced in quality without breaking multiplayer. Texture quality can be reduced with a setting at load time (scale it down e.g. 2x). Water effects can already be turned off from the options menu / default.cfg.

Non-graphical things like formations and stances are another matter because it impacts gameplay determinism.
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#14 FeXoR

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Posted 28 October 2012 - 10:03 PM

Doing it per-map (duplicating for each and every map where this is wanted) sounds messy. As far as graphics is concerned, surely the relevant files can just be reduced in quality without breaking multiplayer. Texture quality can be reduced with a setting at load time (scale it down e.g. 2x). Water effects can already be turned off from the options menu / default.cfg.

Non-graphical things like formations and stances are another matter because it impacts gameplay determinism.

Yes, graphics should be game options. but other things might be better me setup in mods/maps.
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#15 alkazar-ipse

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Posted 30 October 2012 - 07:19 AM

- Formations
- Stances
- Build limit of structures
- Min. range of entities
- Range check for melee units when the damage is dealt (the check after the attack was already initiated and the animation takes place/is done)
- Projectile simulation
- Rotation of buildings
- Zoom limit
- Camera rotation
- Water effects
...and reduce:
- Number of polygons per entity
- Texture quality
- "Grid" for building placement

@fexor:

For multiplayer games the only settings you can change on your computer is to turn your screen off or your audio, or anything between it being on or off.
Which means diminuish resolution, contraste, volume etc.
I'm exagerating of course, but...

Things like turning off building rotation or formation as an option for YOU, ... doesn't REALLY work, because when an other player turns his building a way round, your computer still needs to compute it anyway, so just having YOU not being able to rotate a building wont speed things up, and if no one rotates buildings then the programm function for that is never called and your problem is solved on that stage.

For semantic things like how many units/buildings you can train, how big the map size is, how do units react to attacks, how much range they have and whatever else.
It is a matter of logic that those have to be the same on each players computer in a multiplayer. "Out of synchron" as you call it... OF COURSE if you dont have the same realities on your screens... :)
(if on your screen an archer can shoot on a melee unit that is next to him, and on your oppenents you are constantly walking away. Those things have to be solved for all players, like giving ranged units a possibility to fight back on melee)

things like water effects are very probably planed to be settable via checkbox in menu "settings" if not already.

texture quality, camera rotation and projectile simulations: Yes you DO be right, those things COULD be turned off with no real problem,
but again: just dont use camera rotation and its as if it wasnt there. (it just takes program size, not computing time...
And I agree that polygons per entity should be settable via a grafic quality setting like mediocre, normal, good
but for projectiles... I mean, I'd like to see my units shoots...
otherwise it's just like chess: my knight killed your queen (who knows, who cares how? just happened...) :wink2:

Edited by alkazar-ipse, 30 October 2012 - 07:41 AM.

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#16 FeXoR

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Posted 30 October 2012 - 09:22 AM

@fexor:

For multiplayer games the only settings you can change on your computer is to turn your screen off or your audio, or anything between it being on or off.
Which means diminuish resolution, contraste, volume etc.
I'm exagerating of course, but...

Things like turning off building rotation or formation as an option for YOU, ... doesn't REALLY work, because when an other player turns his building a way round, your computer still needs to compute it anyway, so just having YOU not being able to rotate a building wont speed things up, and if no one rotates buildings then the programm function for that is never called and your problem is solved on that stage.

Having a grid the buildings snap to and not allowing building rotation belongs to each other and more a gain of options than a code simplification because the grid snap would be on top of the actual placement functionality. That way a player can decide what he wants. It just feels simpler and tidier and will speed up the player interaction, not the game as a program.

For semantic things like how many units/buildings you can train, how big the map size is, how do units react to attacks, how much range they have and whatever else.
It is a matter of logic that those have to be the same on each players computer in a multiplayer. "Out of synchron" as you call it... OF COURSE if you dont have the same realities on your screens... :)
(if on your screen an archer can shoot on a melee unit that is next to him, and on your oppenents you are constantly walking away. Those things have to be solved for all players, like giving ranged units a possibility to fight back on melee)

Yes, that's the solution the way seams to go. But will this attack deal the same damage? Otherwise it would be more efficient to pull the unit away from melee distance to an enemy and you can't do it for the formation but for every single ranged unit (would be a pain) if the alternate melee attack is weaker. If it's stronger you would want it to be the default. So both are worse than just removing minimum range (which is quite unrealistic for non-siege weapons anyway).

things like water effects are very probably planed to be settable via checkbox in menu "settings" if not already.

texture quality, camera rotation and projectile simulations: Yes you DO be right, those things COULD be turned off with no real problem,
but again: just dont use camera rotation and its as if it wasnt there. (it just takes program size, not computing time...
And I agree that polygons per entity should be settable via a grafic quality setting like mediocre, normal, good
but for projectiles... I mean, I'd like to see my units shoots...

Me too ;) That doesn't mean they have to miss sometimes as it is now...
I don't say I don't want it, just that it is not needed and mainly (though not exclusively since projectiles can miss often as it is) a visual thing.

otherwise it's just like chess: my knight killed your queen (who knows, who cares how? just happened...) :wink2:

Is Warcraft III like chess? I don't think so! But the priority was put to the gameplay, not the graphics.

Edited by FeXoR, 30 October 2012 - 09:28 AM.

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#17 alkazar-ipse

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Posted 30 October 2012 - 10:35 PM

Yes, that's the solution the way seams to go. But will this attack deal the same damage? Otherwise it would be more efficient to pull the unit away from melee distance to an enemy and you can't do it for the formation but for every single ranged unit (would be a pain) if the alternate melee attack is weaker. If it's stronger you would want it to be the default. So both are worse than just removing minimum range (which is quite unrealistic for non-siege weapons anyway).
[...]
Is Warcraft III like chess? I don't think so! But the priority was put to the gameplay, not the graphics.

I would give them a melee weapon that mainly diminuishes the damage they get and gives very few damage (basicly a defensif melee weapon) decreese losses MORE then harming a melee unit.
That way if a single ranged unit gets in melee combat, he is likely to survive if army number is superior. And you dont have to micro manage: to walk individual attacked units around.

I don't play Warcraft because of principles (games that continue without you, which makes you dependent...), so... Idk ;)
------------------------------
I think I mainly agree with you on the fact that grafic settings should be done, And I gess that will be done very late in the developpment, since its a matter of making less good quality textures.
I do believe that things like water shadows are planed, if not already implemented, to be check-box... able

I do not disagree, but really dont feel a need of build-rotations being on/off settable
And I totally disagree on the need of making mods with different dealings against endless melee-range hunting, because I HOPE it will be solved in a good, suitable, neat, cool, fancy way.
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#18 Pedro Falc„o

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Posted 30 October 2012 - 11:41 PM

I would give them a melee weapon that mainly diminuishes the damage they get and gives very few damage (basicly a defensif melee weapon) decreese losses MORE then harming a melee unit.
That way if a single ranged unit gets in melee combat, he is likely to survive if army number is superior. And you dont have to micro manage: to walk individual attacked units around.

That doesn't make sense, archers are not meant to survive melee combat. The owner should take good care of them putting infantry on the front line, else they should have heavy casualties.


I do not disagree, but really dont feel a need of build-rotations being on/off settable

When the player is running against time (e.g. ina a tournament), he'll not want to pay attention about rotation, except to fit the safe space he has in his base, so i think it should be activated, yes.

And I totally disagree on the need of making mods with different dealings against endless melee-range hunting, because I HOPE it will be solved in a good, suitable, neat, cool, fancy way.

I thought of many solutions for this problem, but the only one i find relevant is to adapt infantry charging speed with archers' speed (if archers stop to shoot) or to simply lessen archers' speed (for archers that can fire while walking). The other options would be to implement some kind of ability for melee troops to slow the target when hit (with internal cooldown of some secs), to give infantry with shields the ability to block shots and infantry without shields high charging speed, and to add stamina (which is already a rejected idea) to the units, so that the archers would be drained of all stamina at some point and would become slow.
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#19 feneur

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Posted 31 October 2012 - 12:56 AM

stamina (which is already a rejected idea)

Not sure where you got that. The units will indeed have stamina, see http://www.wildfireg...age.php?p=10066 for info on how we imagine the overall concept to work. It might not be exactly like that in the end, but the overall concept should be the same.
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#20 alkazar-ipse

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Posted 31 October 2012 - 03:23 PM

That doesn't make sense, archers are not meant to survive melee combat. The owner should take good care of them putting infantry on the front line, else they should have heavy casualties.

When the player is running against time (e.g. ina a tournament), he'll not want to pay attention about rotation, except to fit the safe space he has in his base, so i think it should be activated, yes.

OK, I agree with you on the first one, archers are ment to eigther kill before they are reached orget slaugtered in melee combat (which can be avoided with protection with melee units or, if none, good micro-management)
Also I think you've got a good point for what solutions might be: increase melee's attack frequency on a fleeing ranged unit, or/and slow down fleeing spee of ranged units...
Stamina is not my favorite, ... but, why not after all? increases realism, units can strike hard and then get tired.

For the second one, I maybe just dont understand the idea, or if I do, then I completly disagree...
All I'm saying is, the other players might NOT be "running against time (e.g. ina a tournament)", and want to rotate buildings, if its implement it, why not use it? no one tells you you HAVE TO, just clic without draging if you are in a hurry...

How exactly would you suggest to make it on/off settable? like before the game starts the host can check a box "unable build. rot."?
I mean in what purpose? XD
(sounds like "I forbid you guys to rotate your buildings even though it is implemented. I wont use it myself, why on earth should YOU be able to? I'm the hosting big chief who's word is law, and I'll make you all suffer under my ruling(mouahaha)")
If a player is in a hurry, he doesnt have to bother rotating stuff (at least... I wouldnt), we all agree... but don't forbid it for others, i mean its simple: click without draging and the building is there without a single rotation angle, everything is fine...
If what you mean is that a player can set on/off build. rot. for him self, then... well, what you want me to say? It's already implemented: you set it off by not draging when placing a building and set it back on when you do...

If I'm missunderstanding what it's about, plz explane it better to me; Im not as smart to see little obvious reasons why it should be set off in some circumstances, make it explicit for me

Edited by alkazar-ipse, 31 October 2012 - 04:51 PM.

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