Author Topic: Damage Indicators  (Read 5056 times)

Offline Kanimal

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Damage Indicators
« on: February 25, 2013, 11:21:54 am »
I think it would be a nice improvement if there was a damage direction (or even just damage) indicator within the piloting UI .  Aside from audio, which isn't exactly clear, the only indicator is the component status icons.

Offline Pickle

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Re: Damage Indicators
« Reply #1 on: February 25, 2013, 11:30:26 am »
Your crew should be spotting enemy ships, most experienced crews will have a pretty much non-stop commentary running of where the enemy ships are, what their intentions appear to be, etc.

This is a really low tech game, it's part of the charm that you have to rely on teamwork and you can't just fall back on automatic piloting aids.  If you can't see the enemy from the hgelm position, ask your crew.


(nb, I find the over-the-shoulder view easier whan piloting, you can pivot the view around you)

Offline N-Sunderland

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Re: Damage Indicators
« Reply #2 on: February 25, 2013, 11:32:56 am »
What is there to see about damage that the icons aren't already telling you?

Offline Kanimal

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Re: Damage Indicators
« Reply #3 on: February 25, 2013, 11:56:10 am »
Another thought, there are very overt indicators that display when you hit an opposing ship, so why shouldn't there be overt indicators the other way.

What is there to see about damage that the icons aren't already telling you?

For example, someone is using a Gatling gun and shooting your balloon.  The only indicator is the tiny balloon component icon with a diminishing health bar.  It would be useful to see maybe a red glow on the screen indicating that you're being hit.  Extra nice would be an indicator relative to your POV that indicates you've been hit from a certain direction.  My point is that the current indicators are small and their locations vary and an enhancement to them would be useful IMO.

Your crew should be spotting enemy ships, most experienced crews will have a pretty much non-stop commentary running of where the enemy ships are, what their intentions appear to be, etc.

This is a really low tech game, it's part of the charm that you have to rely on teamwork and you can't just fall back on automatic piloting aids.  If you can't see the enemy from the hgelm position, ask your crew.


(nb, I find the over-the-shoulder view easier whan piloting, you can pivot the view around you)

I'll try that over-the-shoulder view to see how that works.  I don't always have the luxury of playing with a crew that all has mics, or a crew that is compliant in calling spots and I assume most players are in the same boat...or airship.  Or if you have AI crew members, they tend to not be very vocal.


Offline Pickle

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Re: Damage Indicators
« Reply #4 on: February 25, 2013, 12:33:02 pm »
Another thought, there are very overt indicators that display when you hit an opposing ship, so why shouldn't there be overt indicators the other way.

I suspect those indicators are there to reduce the graphical demands.  Without the hit indicator there would need to be better modelling of projectiles in flight and splash damage when the target is hit.  The hit indicators are a short-cut that allows the game to run on lower-end machines and requires less programming and artwork resources.

For video card reasons (unless this has been fixed) I have to run with shadpws turned off, and on the Artemis (for example) it's impossible to see the rockets in-flight in certain views, so I need some sort of indication I've hit.  The gatling is another one where you walk rounds onto target whilst ignoring the sights, the splash animations that would be required in place of the hit boxes probably wouldn't be practical.

Offline Wazulu

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Re: Damage Indicators
« Reply #5 on: February 25, 2013, 12:39:43 pm »
Besides graphical demands, I wouldn't want an upgraded hit system- one of the reasons why Icarus is consistently fun to play is that it can be damn difficult. I think adding in direction to hits makes flanks less effective than they already are and ruins cloud combat.

Offline Kanimal

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Re: Damage Indicators
« Reply #6 on: February 25, 2013, 01:32:59 pm »
Besides graphical demands, I wouldn't want an upgraded hit system- one of the reasons why Icarus is consistently fun to play is that it can be damn difficult. I think adding in direction to hits makes flanks less effective than they already are and ruins cloud combat.

That's a fair point.  I would say then that directionless hit indicators would be a reasonable solution.

Offline Pickle

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Re: Damage Indicators
« Reply #7 on: February 25, 2013, 01:50:20 pm »
Perhaps there could be a nondirectional aubible and visual alert.. big bang, sparks and flame?  ;D

Offline RearAdmiralZill

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Re: Damage Indicators
« Reply #8 on: February 25, 2013, 02:26:56 pm »
I always play with my sound up, and could tell you from sound what gun is being shot. Hearing shots should automatically get your attention. Then you get the indicators popping up around your screen to show damage. Those frantic seconds where you dont see the enemy shooting you is a 2 way street. That enemy successfully surprised you, and deserves the reward of a few free shots before you spot him.

Positioning is everything in this game, and giving out GUI prompts to ease finding people is not the way to go for the sake of gameplay. I cant imagine what more you want from what is already given in the form of loud bangs, visual hits on your ship, and damage bars floating around your peripherals.

Offline N-Sunderland

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Re: Damage Indicators
« Reply #9 on: February 25, 2013, 04:27:32 pm »
Exactly. And I still don't see the problem with the current damage indicators. They make the damage very clear with cluttering the screen up much at all.

Offline Kanimal

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Re: Damage Indicators
« Reply #10 on: February 25, 2013, 09:51:49 pm »
Just a few quick things and I'll leave it at that since there isn't any real movement here  :)

As far as damage indicators removing the advantage from those catching other ships off guard, I don't think it would really make much of a difference.  It still takes time to turn around or actually find the opposing ship, organize your crew, launch an attack, repair damage, etc.  I feel this should still be enough to tip the scales heavily in favor of the attacker.  If you surprise someone and still end up on the losing end your strategy is flawed.  (I know you guys have a lot more experience than I do so I only say this generally)

As far as the current icons, they float.  This is not helpful in any way.  More helpful would be a static display of ship components.  Having critical UI components move around does not help usability in the slightest.  --Is my balloon OK? I don't know, first I have to find the icon. -- Look,  i have an engine on fire.  Which one?  I don't know.  It's a minor gripe but with you guys touting the present system I think its relevant.  There are many ways to make static UI components unobtrusive.

Many other games have hit indicators (when you strike an opposing player or what not).  Even on consoles, which have constant specs.  I don't think its accurate to say it mainly exists as a graphical fallback.  It exists because its helpful.  In the same vein, displaying when you yourself are hit is a very common solution to the physical separation problem imposed on any virtual medium.  What if the person is playing without sound?  What if they have graphical settings low enough to eliminate partical effects.  I think the current UI solution is passable at best and non-user-friendly at worst.

Really, we should want the game to have minimal barriers to entry.  People attempt to pilot for the first time, get the crap kicked out of them without knowing from who, what, or where and it can be discouraging.  There's a reason certain UI elements, like the damage indicator, have become standard practice: they work.  Having a difficult game is great for dedicated veterans but you lose a lot of recreational players, and thereby a lot of money.

Offline Spud Nick

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Re: Damage Indicators
« Reply #11 on: February 25, 2013, 10:21:53 pm »
I would like to see  hit notifications on the cross hair instead of on the enemy ship. No other reason than it would just look better.

Offline ATeddyBear

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Re: Damage Indicators
« Reply #12 on: February 25, 2013, 11:36:36 pm »
As far as damage indicators removing the advantage from those catching other ships off guard, I don't think it would really make much of a difference.  It still takes time to turn around or actually find the opposing ship, organize your crew, launch an attack, repair damage, etc.  I feel this should still be enough to tip the scales heavily in favor of the attacker.  If you surprise someone and still end up on the losing end your strategy is flawed.  (I know you guys have a lot more experience than I do so I only say this generally)

What about the ship that has not been spotted and knowing this fact engages at a distance to keep hiding. Hit indicators would easly give away his position.

As far as the current icons, they float.  This is not helpful in any way.  More helpful would be a static display of ship components.  Having critical UI components move around does not help usability in the slightest.  --Is my balloon OK? I don't know, first I have to find the icon. -- Look,  i have an engine on fire.  Which one?  I don't know.  It's a minor gripe but with you guys touting the present system I think its relevant.  There are many ways to make static UI components unobtrusive.

Additional UI components will always be obtrusive. They take up space on the screen, the only way they would not be unobtrusive is if they are not visible. Much like the current system. Component elements are hidden until damaged. Indication of which component is damage is visible by looking around. Can this still be a bit confusing? Yes. Some ships can have components elements that are overlapping due to their position on the ship from the helm.

Static display of component elements would either by fixed or would pop in and out based on damage. Popping in elements could lead to confusion as they would push and pull the current component elements. Fixed components would take up more space on the screen as some ships have up to 11 components. This would lead to clutter on the screen and could be an issue at lower resolutions

Many other games have hit indicators (when you strike an opposing player or what not).  Even on consoles, which have constant specs.  I don't think its accurate to say it mainly exists as a graphical fallback.  It exists because its helpful.  In the same vein, displaying when you yourself are hit is a very common solution to the physical separation problem imposed on any virtual medium.  What if the person is playing without sound?  What if they have graphical settings low enough to eliminate partical effects.  I think the current UI solution is passable at best and non-user-friendly at worst.

I'm going to assume your referencing FPS and you are correct that hit indicators are a good solution for making meaningful connections between the player and the players character. However the player is not the ship. He is just a person on the ship and the player themselves do not take any sort of damage. If there were hit indicators this would lead to a disconnect between the player and what is actually being damaged. The idea behind FPS hit indicators is that a player can imagine the idea of being hit and know where they got hit. There is a clear line between the player and the character he is playing. In GoIO that is not the same. The ship is being struck and not the player. There is an disconnect between the idea of the ship being hit and the player knowing where the hit was. I know Bubbles or Awkm wrote up an excellent post on this before in relation to the changes to Gunner abilities. I'll dig it up if I can.

Really, we should want the game to have minimal barriers to entry.  People attempt to pilot for the first time, get the crap kicked out of them without knowing from who, what, or where and it can be discouraging.  There's a reason certain UI elements, like the damage indicator, have become standard practice: they work. 

Everyone gets the crap kicked of them of when they first fly. Its just part of the game. There are many more factors going into if a Captain and his crew will win or lose. Not if he can see where the damage is coming from. Does your crew know how to repair? Does your crew speak the same language as you? Are your gunners capable enough to land shots? Are you approaching correctly? Are you working with your teammate? Are you taking a Squid to an Galleon broadside fight? Much of this also falls on the Captain. Are you communicating well? Are you positioning yourself correct? Are you keeping aware of your current situation and surroundings? Are you fighting when you should be running? etc.

I could go on and on about all the factors that go into losing a match. A lack of hit indicators is not going to lead to a loss. As stated before there are indications of damage. There is sound and particle effects. The ship will shake when you take damage. You will see shots coming at you (even through clouds). Your components will start breaking in the direction of the damage. Your engineer will scream at how everything is on fire. Ships can be marked for easy reference of their location. Look around. The ships in this game are fairly big.

The tools are there to make proper assessment of the situation and what to do. The player needs to learn how to use what is available to them. Captaining is not meant to be an easy job and it never will be. Having hit indicators isn't going to save your ship. A captain that can use the knowledge and tools available to him will.

Having a difficult game is great for dedicated veterans but you lose a lot of recreational players, and thereby a lot of money.

Having a difficult game is great way to attract hardcore players and thereby a lot of money.

Conjuncture works both ways =).

Offline Kanimal

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Re: Damage Indicators
« Reply #13 on: February 26, 2013, 12:48:19 am »
Conjuncture works both ways =).

Not when the number of casual gamers far outweighs the number of hardcore gamers.  Especially for a game with a pay structure such as this (fixed entry cost), the developer would be better served financially getting more new people into the game, rather than get the same people to play the game more.  In a p2w or p2p or whatever you'd like to call it, the developers have a greater incentive to develop a hardcore fanbase as their willingness to pay is higher.  It's economics.

I sure hope you'd feel you're ship getting hit by a rocket even if your person isn't hit.

And no, additional UI components don't have to be obtrusive.  A well thought out UI can take an OK experience and make it enjoyable.  I do it for a living =)

All of these arguments are based on how the mechanics currently work and mostly add up to complaints about how it would effect current strategies.  I find that to be a little short-sighted.  Gameplay changes and players and their strategies evolve.  If it improves the experience for a majority of possible players I think a few adjustments would be worth the relatively minor costs.  YMMV.  IMHO.  Blah Blah.
« Last Edit: February 26, 2013, 01:05:19 am by Kanimal »

Offline Pickle

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Re: Damage Indicators
« Reply #14 on: February 26, 2013, 05:55:14 am »
Having a difficult game is great for dedicated veterans but you lose a lot of recreational players, and thereby a lot of money.
At the moment Muse makes more money from recreational players that buy the game, buy a bunch of L33T outfits in the (mistaken) belief they'll not look like a noob, play the game for a week and give up.  The current population explosion of Russian players and the Steam Sale boost has hopefully brought in a chunk of cashflow to support ongoing development.

Hardcore players pay once and then make constant demands on the game servers with little or no additional financial contribution to Muse.  This will change as the game matures and Muse can afford to divert resources from getting/keeping the game running to revenue generation (adventure mode, I expect aesthetic ship customisation options to be sold in the same way as costumes, selling DLC expansions - certainly for adventure mode and I expect these for PvP evcentually, I would expect premium services like clan tags and ship name registration to be sold - all micropayment stuff, the price os a costume).

Cashflow is always a problem with pay-once MMOs, unless the developer can persuade you to pay for extras or premium features once in a while.