v0.3 - What's Missing?

For what's not in 'Top Priority Game Design'. Post your ideas, visions, suggestions for the game, rules, modifications, etc.

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Bigjoe5
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v0.3 - What's Missing?

#1 Post by Bigjoe5 » Mon Aug 29, 2011 2:15 am

It looks like it's going to be a little while before we'll be able to have space battles, and while jumping ahead to future locations on the roadmap to make the game more enjoyable now is nice, in moderation, I don't think overdoing it in that regard is the most practical course of action.

The purpose of this thread is to identify significant programming projects that fall in the scope of pre-v0.4. So here's what I've come up with:


Special Projects

A more robust system to allow the player to execute in-game effects.

Instead of everything that's produced being in the form of a building or ship, it would definitely be nice to be able to create a "project" which doesn't result in a building, and requires quantities of any arbitrary resource. The most notable current example where this would be useful is Terraforming. Future examples include things like creating new starlanes or planets, or destroying starlanes, or even further in the future, espionage projects which can be performed on enemy planets.

* It should be possible for projects to have ongoing effects
** Could this be accomplished by projects with unlimited cost/time that have an effectsgroup associated with them being in production
*** Should all projects potentially be able to have effectsgroups that are active while they are being executed regardless?
** Should some projects simply not be annihilated when they are completed, and remain in the project queue, perhaps with an effect that forces the player to continue spending resources on it until it is removed from the queue?

:arrow: Ideally, I think there needn't be any distinction between "production" of buildings, or the execution of a special project. The construction of a building could simply be an ordinary special project with the CreateBuilding effect. The project would annihilate itself on the turn of its completion (like a one-shot project such as Terraforming), and leave a building behind.

* BuildingTypes would need to be redefined to omit buildcost and time and location, and all that stuff would go in the corresponding ProjectType.
* Different "classes" of project could determine what window they show up in. For example, projects which use PP would go in the production screen, regardless of whether they create a ship or building at the end - Terraforming, Starlane Creation, Planet Construction, etc. would appear in the production screen.
** In the future, espionage projects could go in their own class and be accessible from the espionage window, which would presumably have other features not present in the production window, to assist the player in figuring out what to do with his spies.
** Are there any kinds of classes of project that need to exist right now, aside from Production?
** Are different classes of project even necessary at all, or should we create a new type of object for stuff that doesn't fit in the production screen?

Speaking of arbitrary resources, perhaps resources should be moved to a text file so they can be moddable? The project descriptions could then reference any existing resource by name, allowing modders or content creators to experiment with quantified strategic resources.

The Planets/Ships Screen(s)

I just find it really, really tiresome clicking on every system to find out where the best place to colonize/whatever is. It's been mentioned that this might be part of some greater list of all objects in the universe, but I'm not really sure that's practical. In particular, sorting options and info displays for one type of object (i.e. planets) will take up space and probably not be the same or have the same ideal layout as sorting options and info displays for another type of object (i.e. ships). A separate, specialized screen for each would probably be the most effective.

* Should these screens be separate, or together, possibly including every other known object in the universe?

* What kind of information and sorting options should a planets screen contain?
** Does there need to be a separate screen for player-owned planets (MoO2's "Colonies"), or should players be able to give basic orders such as focus setting changes via the planets screen?
* What kind of screen layout is ideal for the function of the planets screen?

* What kind of information and sorting options should a ships screen contain?
** Clicking on each ship should probably bring up some detailed description of its design and current condition. Exactly what should such a description contain?
* What kind of screen layout is ideal for the function of the ships screen?


Are there any other similar things that could/should be implemented before v.0.4 is released?
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eleazar
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Re: v0.3 - What's Missing?

#2 Post by eleazar » Mon Aug 29, 2011 2:57 am

Bigjoe5 wrote:The Planets/Ships Screen(s)

* Should these screens be separate, or together, possibly including every other known object in the universe?
While they may share a lot of underlying code, i can't think of a good reason to combine fleet and planets into the same list. Separate.
Bigjoe5 wrote:** Does there need to be a separate screen for player-owned planets (MoO2's "Colonies"), or should players be able to give basic orders such as focus setting changes via the planets screen?
I suppose my memory of MoO2 is too foggy, what's this "(MoO2's "Colonies")" screen for?
Bigjoe5 wrote:* What kind of screen layout is ideal for the function of the planets screen?
If Geoff expresses intrest in putting this near the head of his queue, i'll give that some thought, otherwise for now, i'll try to stay focused on what i've started.

Bigjoe5 wrote:Are there any other similar things that could/should be implemented before v.0.4 is released?
IMHO we need a new roadmap. We've ended up somewhere that's totally not on the map. 3D space combat isn't likely to be done anytime soon, but we've gone far beyond v.0.3.
But there's no reason to delay other aspects of development waiting for 3D to be finished. Let's push 3D combat off to a later v.0.X, and reassess what the current and next stage of development should be. After all, no other part of the game requires 3D combat to exist at all. I'd schedule the completion of 3D combat just before balancing and play-testing. If it gets done sooner, great, but we don't need it to.

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Re: v0.3 - What's Missing?

#3 Post by Nighthawk » Mon Aug 29, 2011 4:18 pm

We really ought to start working on Diplomacy

Basically, reset the system so that we are at 0.4, and make our concentration on 0.5 and 0.6 (ground combat is seperate from space anyway).
We can start working on random events, and a simple spying system too.
Most of the game, except space combat is done for us.
I think part of the issue is everyone is waiting around for space combat to finish before moving on.
We should start thinking about all of the other sections.
Government would be awesome to work on.

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Re: v0.3 - What's Missing?

#4 Post by pd » Mon Aug 29, 2011 8:11 pm

Bigjoe5 wrote: The Planets/Ships Screen(s)

I just find it really, really tiresome clicking on every system to find out where the best place to colonize/whatever is. It's been mentioned that this might be part of some greater list of all objects in the universe, but I'm not really sure that's practical. In particular, sorting options and info displays for one type of object (i.e. planets) will take up space and probably not be the same or have the same ideal layout as sorting options and info displays for another type of object (i.e. ships). A separate, specialized screen for each would probably be the most effective.
In regards to information about systems/planets I don't think a seperate planet list screen is the best way to do it. Instead I'd rather extend the capabilities of the galaxy map. It's been discussed in detail and there are some unique and great ideas in this thread, especially starting at page 2.

The most easy to implement is probably the ability to mark/flag systems. This would get rid of one of the biggest annoyances - going through systems and trying to find a certain planet.

Showing resource production/meter states/planet types on the galaxy map would be my second most wanted feature.

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Re: v0.3 - What's Missing?

#5 Post by Bigjoe5 » Tue Aug 30, 2011 3:13 am

eleazar wrote:...there's no reason to delay other aspects of development waiting for 3D to be finished. Let's push 3D combat off to a later v.0.X, and reassess what the current and next stage of development should be. After all, no other part of the game requires 3D combat to exist at all...
Here's the thing though - I want to do it like this. In short, everything should happen on the tactical map, with most non-combat objectives taking place the same way an auto-resolved combat would. Now, I don't know very much about software architecture yet, but it seems to me that if anyone else agrees and we end up doing it that way, it would be a lot simpler to code the tactical interface first - that way we don't end up with a lot of wasted code that bypasses the tactical interface, special-case code for what to do when other ships are in the same system to prevent colonization/whatever-else, code for galaxy map UI for switching from passive to aggressive "stance" or other such nuisances which will be required to make the game playable without everything occurring on the tactical map. Creating the tactical interface first, then integrating everything else with it when it's implemented, would be much easier. Even now there are a lot of existing actions that would have to be turned into tactical map functions.

So what I would suggest is to try to go ahead with the tactical interface now - just enough to make it functional. It doesn't need to be 3D or pretty, or have large numbers of ship models. If an ugly-but-functional tactical interface can be created, it can be beautified when people have time.

Of course I don't know the details of what needs to be done, or whether that's feasible, but I think it's the best option if it's possible.
eleazar wrote:I suppose my memory of MoO2 is too foggy, what's this "(MoO2's "Colonies")" screen for?
Basically, it displayed a list of all the colonies owned by the empire, along with their populations, and an easy interface for moving citizens between jobs and colonies, and a quick link to the planet screen and each planets production screen.

Since FO's planets don't have screens of their own, and everything can be accomplished on the sidepanel where regular planets appear, it might be reasonable to just have colonies dealt with on the planets screen in the same way. However, it might also be nice to see a more compressed list of colonies, without planet images or anything, just showing the focus, the population, and the value of the resource meters, so that the player can more quickly see what his planets are producing and change several at once if necessary, without having to expand the resource panels on the planets in question - basically, just a quick tool for seeing resource meters and making focus changes without needing any other information, such as military meters, etc.
pd wrote:In regards to information about systems/planets I don't think a seperate planet list screen is the best way to do it. Instead I'd rather extend the capabilities of the galaxy map. It's been discussed in detail and there are some unique and great ideas in this thread, especially starting at page 2.
I totally agree with galaxy map overlays, and I'm sure they'll be very useful, but I don't think they'll totally eliminate the need, or at least the want for a sortable list of planets and colonies.
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Re: v0.3 - What's Missing?

#6 Post by Zireael » Tue Aug 30, 2011 1:32 pm

I love the thread that's been linked to here and I'd love to see the ideas implemented:
- question marks for unexplored systems
- the borders for the systems
- the pie charts/rings
- the flagging of systems
- colored starlanes
- habitability/focus/output overlays
- detectors



BTW what has been done about fog of war, I'm running often into a situation where I have ~30 systems onscreen and no new starlanes and no unexplored systems with the setting set to 60 systems!

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Re: v0.3 - What's Missing?

#7 Post by eleazar » Tue Aug 30, 2011 4:01 pm

Bigjoe5 wrote:
eleazar wrote:...there's no reason to delay other aspects of development waiting for 3D to be finished. Let's push 3D combat off to a later v.0.X, and reassess what the current and next stage of development should be. After all, no other part of the game requires 3D combat to exist at all...
Here's the thing though - I want to do it like this.
I know, and i think that's a bad idea. I have a partial response i was working on in connection with diplomacy, before i got working on monsters, and other more immediately applicable stuff. For now suffice it to say that would move the time to play, code, and finish FO all in the wrong direction.
Bigjoe5 wrote:
pd wrote:In regards to information about systems/planets I don't think a seperate planet list screen is the best way to do it. Instead I'd rather extend the capabilities of the galaxy map. It's been discussed in detail and there are some unique and great ideas in this thread, especially starting at page 2.
I totally agree with galaxy map overlays, and I'm sure they'll be very useful, but I don't think they'll totally eliminate the need, or at least the want for a sortable list of planets and colonies.
I agree with BigJoe, while these two features overlap a little in the problems they solve, in general the use cases are very different, especially in very large galaxies of thousands of planets.
Zireael wrote:BTW what has been done about fog of war, I'm running often into a situation where I have ~30 systems onscreen and no new starlanes and no unexplored systems with the setting set to 60 systems!
Have you visited every star on the perimeter? Sometimes there's a system that you haven't actually entered, which might reveal another starlane.
It's a known that you don't get the precise number of stars that you type in, though i woudn't expect it to be that different, though i don't usually count systems.
Universe generation is really messed up, so at some point it will have to be heavily overhauled.

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Re: v0.3 - What's Missing?

#8 Post by pd » Tue Aug 30, 2011 5:30 pm

eleazar wrote:I agree with BigJoe, while these two features overlap a little in the problems they solve, in general the use cases are very different, especially in very large galaxies of thousands of planets.
Especially in very large galaxies, you will need a galaxy location indicator of some kind anyway, so why not engineer the map the map to hold all the planetary information we need.

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Re: v0.3 - What's Missing?

#9 Post by Geoff the Medio » Tue Aug 30, 2011 5:51 pm

pd wrote:
eleazar wrote:I agree with BigJoe, while these two features overlap a little in the problems they solve, in general the use cases are very different, especially in very large galaxies of thousands of planets.
Especially in very large galaxies, you will need a galaxy location indicator of some kind anyway, so why not engineer the map the map to hold all the planetary information we need.
Presumably for the reason given in the post you quoted: the use of a list and the use of the map are different. While it's probably possible to put all the same information on both, that doesn't mean one can fully replace the other and be just as useful. For example, sorting planets by various properties can't easily be done on a map, but is well-handled by a list.

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Re: v0.3 - What's Missing?

#10 Post by eleazar » Tue Aug 30, 2011 6:03 pm

pd wrote:
eleazar wrote:I agree with BigJoe, while these two features overlap a little in the problems they solve, in general the use cases are very different, especially in very large galaxies of thousands of planets.
Especially in very large galaxies, you will need a galaxy location indicator of some kind anyway, so why not engineer the map the map to hold all the planetary information we need.
Because you can't.

A list can be sorted and filtered -- two very important tools for dealing with large amounts of information. We can have 500 stars! To see them all on a regular screen each must be tiny, with little room in between. Even the space is filled with just precisely the info you want, you still have to hunt through a lot of visual noise to find it.

A list would be based on individual planets, whereas anything you do with the galaxymap needs to clump all the data for all planets in a system together somehow.

I really don't think you've spent any serious time playing a 4X game with more than a couple dozen cities/planets. I'm a visual person. I'd be all for skipping the list if it could possibly work. But it won't. I've noted first-hand the great annoyance that a lack of the list causes, and the usefulness it brings.
Sortable/Filterable lists are necessary to deal with that many entities.

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Re: v0.3 - What's Missing?

#11 Post by Zireael » Sun Sep 18, 2011 5:17 pm

Sortable/Filterable lists are necessary to deal with that many entities.
Seconded. I've noticed some of the things are already done in svn (question marks for unexplored systems, detection radius)... maybe the lists would be next?

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Re: v0.3 - What's Missing?

#12 Post by Bigjoe5 » Thu Sep 22, 2011 6:33 pm

Another thing I think we need is real outposts, with 0 population, instead of the make-shift outposts I hacked together a while back.
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