Lets talk about the unit deployment bar...

For feedback during the beta-pre-order period for the tower-defense/RTS/management/sim hybrid ww1/2/future game.
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Teal_Blue
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Re: Lets talk about the unit deployment bar...

Postby Teal_Blue » Tue Mar 20, 2012 10:40 pm

:) Wow, lots of ideas...
Anyway, as i am still just barely holding my own against the AI, i would suggest something very simple. :)

If we use Cliff's pop up menu idea, to turn on, or off, the units that we want. That would give us access to all units
and would pause the game while doing so.

Then:
We can customize, on the fly the units we add, or remove, without deleting units, and customize our strategy,
say using heavy mechs at the beginning to soften things up and then switching to faster infantry and support units after.

I think it lets people organize their units and use the units they want, all while still having access
to all their designs, even their custom armies, or divisions, even after the game has started.

:)
-Teal


p.s.

(I hope This doesn't sound insulting to Cliff, what i meant was simple, as in easy to see and use and understand) I think there are a lot of wonderful ideas, I am just trying to think of what is intuitive to a user, maybe especially a newbie sort of slow and plodding user like myself. If i have a ton of options, i usually just get confused. If it is straightforward and lets me get at all my units and organize them how i want, then its much easier. :)
Anyway, thanks, that's my newbie-slow-sometimes-confused take on it. :) -T
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Re: Lets talk about the unit deployment bar...

Postby cederic » Wed Mar 21, 2012 12:05 am

cliffski wrote:It does :D


Wow, that's stunningly good turnaround time. I'm particularly impressed that you managed to implement the feature and patch it into my still-running game while I was offline.

cliffski wrote:It clearly needs pointing out to people :D


Nah, now you've added it people will find it easily enough.


*blush*
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Re: Lets talk about the unit deployment bar...

Postby Bladetrain3r » Wed Mar 21, 2012 1:11 am

If possible, combining the filter list with the battalions would probably be an optimal solution. The Battalion part could be relatively easily implemented by setting up subfolders in the "Player Units" folder (which could also work for screening the design screen, if you allow it to list folders as well and allow file operations like move and copy). The filters are always a good idea but not by themselves - GSB was still quite nightmarish with a lot of unit designs, even after you put in the (admittedly rather broad) filters for ship types.

I don't think I'm really explaining the concept that well... think it'll work better as points.
- Allow players to set up Battalions which, technical wise, are subfolders in the Player Unit folder.
- Designs also benefit from the subfolder approach, especially if players can move designs between them in-game - "Work in Progress" designs could be kept in a test folder until ready for example.
- Additionally, a set of filters would be of great benefit when combined with the subfolders - smaller collection sizes mean that broader filter categories would be sufficient. Possibly by unit type then grade (e.g Tank -> Heavy; Tank -> Medium). A problem does come in with custom unit classes though (Yes you, Xietanu :P)...

Overall, while just one of these would already be a godsend, a well designed combination of the two would make design management easy and intuitive both in and out of battle - at least in my opinion.
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Re: Lets talk about the unit deployment bar...

Postby Trifler » Wed Mar 21, 2012 2:27 am

- Folders for our armies would be nice (and folders that we can make for AI armies).

- I was thinking it’d be really cool to have different deployment bars that the player could call up using the 1 through 9 keys and allow players to designate which number the unit is assigned to in the Unit Design screen. Then the player could press “1″ to bring up a list of their infantry, for example, “2″ for ballistic turrets, or however they wanted to assign them. This is better than implementing seven or so filters, because the player gets to create his or her own filter to meet his or her own needs.
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Re: Lets talk about the unit deployment bar...

Postby Watsong » Wed Mar 21, 2012 8:46 am

I reference:
viewtopic.php?f=32&t=7156

Also, how about very small circles on each unit icon which have, for example, a tiny laser hitting an armour plate (good vs armour) or a tiny bullet hitting a shield (good vs shield)?
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Re: Lets talk about the unit deployment bar...

Postby lkohime » Wed Mar 21, 2012 9:00 am

Provided we make it pause: It opens a checklist, with 4 categories: Speed, Cost, Weapon and Unit Type. You can select units of a certain price range (ie, <399, 400-500, 500-700, 700<), speed ranges (10+, 7.5-9.99, 5-7.49, <5), what type of unit they are (Light Mech, Heavy Tank, etc), what weapon they use (Sniper Rifle, TURBOLAUNCH Missile, etc). Unfortunately the only way i could see to do this would be to implement a recursive comparable that excludes or includes the desired features.
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Re: Lets talk about the unit deployment bar...

Postby Xietanu » Wed Mar 21, 2012 9:09 am

Watsong wrote:I reference:
viewtopic.php?f=32&t=7156

Also, how about very small circles on each unit icon which have, for example, a tiny laser hitting an armour plate (good vs armour) or a tiny bullet hitting a shield (good vs shield)?


I don't think this would really help the larger issue very much; the problem I have isn't identifying what unit I want, but finding it among the jumble. Usually I'm thinking 'I need the large mech with the missiles' and I know what the icon for that looks like, but I'm scrolling back and forth trying to find it. The solution really needs to reduce the number of units on the bar so finding an individual one is easier.
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Re: Lets talk about the unit deployment bar...

Postby gunnyfreak » Wed Mar 21, 2012 9:52 am

another idea: tabs

basically putting tabs on top of the unit selector bar for infantry, tanks, mechs, trucks, etc.etc.


alternatively, combined with the battalion idea, we can have player designated tabs that takes units from subfolders

so things like "rushers", "infantry&ambulance", "mech assault team" or w/e players come up with


alternatively alternatively, the battalion is a collection of units you can organize into

that battalion is then further divided into "companies", or "platoons" depending on the scale desired, which are the tabs described above

added benefit: when creating a challenge or playing a map, instead of simply scenario units and any units, options can be added to battle self-made battalions

for those who want a custom challenge or simply testing a particular unit set that would be very helpful I think


advantages: no need for pausing, flexible organization, compact size
disadvantages: need for player's organization (unless first idea), too large "companies" can still be cluttered unless efforts are made to prevent it by the player
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Re: Lets talk about the unit deployment bar...

Postby SneakyMax » Wed Mar 21, 2012 10:07 am

lkohime wrote:Provided we make it pause: It opens a checklist, with 4 categories: Speed, Cost, Weapon and Unit Type. You can select units of a certain price range (ie, <399, 400-500, 500-700, 700<), speed ranges (10+, 7.5-9.99, 5-7.49, <5), what type of unit they are (Light Mech, Heavy Tank, etc), what weapon they use (Sniper Rifle, TURBOLAUNCH Missile, etc). Unfortunately the only way i could see to do this would be to implement a recursive comparable that excludes or includes the desired features.


I think that wouldn't be good for casual players. Think of the Newegg power search: completely overwhelming unless you know exactly what you're looking for, and takes longer to set up than the other filters.

Xietanu wrote:I don't think this would really help the larger issue very much; the problem I have isn't identifying what unit I want, but finding it among the jumble. Usually I'm thinking 'I need the large mech with the missiles' and I know what the icon for that looks like, but I'm scrolling back and forth trying to find it. The solution really needs to reduce the number of units on the bar so finding an individual one is easier.


That's why I just suggested a simple sorting by type in the same way as the unit designer chooser, so that even though there are a lot, it makes sense where they are. I think the game should be intuitive, and say, learning a keyboard, is very non intuitive. The unit designer is already ordered that way, so it would make sense.

Personally I found out about scrolling the bar with the mouse wheel right off the bat, so lots of units was a very small issue. Numbers to place units would be interesting and a benefit for the more hardcore players, and relatively non-intrusive.

I've been thinking that a simple batallion interface would look something like this: http://i.imgur.com/yVk6S.png

It's easy and simple, just click and drag, or double click, you can reorder how the appear in the bar however you want (perhaps with auto-sorting options as well), and you can have as many as you want (up to all of them). The units are already nice squares, so it would match up with the in-game unit picking too.
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Re: Lets talk about the unit deployment bar...

Postby Xietanu » Wed Mar 21, 2012 11:04 am

SneakyMax wrote:I've been thinking that a simple batallion interface would look something like this: http://i.imgur.com/yVk6S.png


That's the sort of thing I had imagined as well, and I think would work well. I also agree that, while it might work well for the hardcore, Ikohime's suggestion is rather overwhelming for the casual. I also found out about the scrollwheel thing pretty immediately, though, but still find large numbers of units to be fiddly and frustrating. Sorting them would help (particularly when the order gets re-jumbled every time you add or remove a design), but it doesn't feel like the best solution.
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Re: Lets talk about the unit deployment bar...

Postby lkohime » Wed Mar 21, 2012 11:07 am

I just removed all the default units, and color coordinated my designs. If i need laser infintry, blue with a red hat. ETC. that allows me to at a scroll through find the designs i need
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Re: Lets talk about the unit deployment bar...

Postby Mr. Weedy » Wed Mar 21, 2012 5:23 pm

I said this in my topic and I'll say it here again even it is said already at least once.

Group the units based on their type, weight and are they stock units which come with game or units which player has created. Also make the unit selection bar show only scenario units (the ones coming with the game as stock) when player clicks on the "scenario units" button. It even says next to the button that the game will select only the units to the game which come with that scenario.

The ordering go something like this:

Stock cheap mech light | Stock medium price mech light | stock expensive mech light | stock cheap tank light | stock medium price tank light | ... | custom unit cheap support unit | custom unit cheap mech light | ... and so on.

About the available units in the selection bar, make it so that before you go into a battle, in the battle browser window add an extra tab where you would get a list of units under army folders on the left side of the screen and under every army folder there would be units in each army. You could easily tick each folder to include all the units inside those folders and you could easily open those folders and see what kind of units each army folder has inside. When you mouse over a unit a preview of them on the right hand side would show up the preview would stay on unless you mouse over another unit. On the preview you could see what kind of parts they have on, their speed, armoring, color theme and so on. Exactly like you would see on unit customization screen but in smaller scale. After you click that unit on the left hand side list, the selection stays on even when you accidentally mouse over another unit. Under the two preview windows (which most likely would be stacked on top of each other to fit on the screen better) would be a customize unit button which would take you to unit customization menu. After customization, you come back to the this unit selection tab.

You could also individually click every unit on the list and either allow it to be picked to the unit selection bar or not allowed.

Different kind of selection option should be implemented too. There could be two rows of selection options.
First row would have: "Select only: "light, medium, heavy, all" units"
Second row would have: "Select only: "mechs, tanks, support, infantry, all" units" (or how many unittypes there are).

This way you could easily select all the light tanks or light mechs simply by clicking on each army folder and tick would showup on it to tell you that you have selected that folder. When you open this folder you would see that only light mechs have been selected under that army folder and only light mechs would come on your unit selection bar.

Also maybe implementing an option to hold shift or ctrl and dragging over unit names and selecting them or deselecting them would make it easier and faster to select thousands of units and thousands of army folders.

That's how I see how implementing a selection option for unit selection bar would work.
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Re: Lets talk about the unit deployment bar...

Postby cliffski » Wed Mar 21, 2012 6:35 pm

Ok... I have been working all day on this, but it isn't done yet. I'll hopefully have screenshots tommorow.

Essentially, there will be a button in the center top of the deployment bar. Clicking it pauses the game, and launches a big 'division' dialog to create or edit 'divisions' which are groups of designs.
You can have as many as you like, and units can be in multiple divisions. The game defaults to using the magic division 'All' which contains all your units.
When you select a division from a drop down list on the division editor, that is the current one, and the deployment bar only shows you units from that division.

The interface for it is an icon-based drag and drop. the RHS is all of your units, the LHS is the current division and you just drag the units you want from the right to the left. If you have 500 units, the RHS will be a bit unwieldy, but you only interface with all this at the time you set up a division, and it will make the deployment bar much easier to use.
You get to name the divisions, just for ease of selecting from the drop-down bar.
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Re: Lets talk about the unit deployment bar...

Postby Xietanu » Wed Mar 21, 2012 9:21 pm

That sounds great, Cliffski. I'm sure it will help a lot, and I look forward to seeing it in action.
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Re: Lets talk about the unit deployment bar...

Postby gunnyfreak » Thu Mar 22, 2012 1:33 am

Will there be a way to create and edit divisions off the battlefield? like in unit creation screen or something? cuz personally I get the feeling this has the potential to be too big a task to do in paused game, spending all that time organizing units may cause you to forget key tactical details, etc. etc.

Also will their be different ways to organise the RHS? things like by popularity (in most divisions) or by cost, maybe tabs for infantry, mechs, that kinda stuff.

Also, as a future suggestion (forgive me if I sound demanding, these are nothing more than suggestions), allow options for AI to only use units from a certain division? As I posted before, for custom challenge and testing and stuff.....

Whatever ends up happening, thx cliff, looking forward to it :D
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