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POV for ship to ship combat in pirate RPG


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#21 Luckless   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 1882

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Posted 11 March 2013 - 01:17 PM

Personally I would like to see a game played mostly from first/directly over the shoulder third person, centered on the player's character, and then directing your crew through a command interface. Much of the actual details would then be handled by predictable AI manning the key positions.

 

Set your heading, and the helmsmen makes the most logical turn, and your officers order a suitable setting of the sails during the change.

 

Captain wouldn't normally be the one aiming or giving orders to fire, but rather stepping back with higher level orders: What type shot, give the gunners goals, and the gun crews do their job. Captains job is to manage the ship as a whole, not to be bothered with trivial tasks. Order the guns readied with solid shot for a long range broadside targeting a given ship, give your helmsmen a heading that brings your guns to bear on the enemy target, and when everything is suitable aligned the gunners fire.

 

Order a boarding party ready, and the men line the decks. (If things are obvious, ie, only one ship reasonably close/only the one ship selected as a target, then user shouldn't even have to state boarding from port or starboard) Ideally I would like to see a pirate game simulating realistic boardings, but that would be a tough AI and physics job to pull off reasonable well.

 

Personally I would want to play a game that lets me see and hear only what a real captain would.


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#22 3Ddreamer   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 3160

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Posted 11 March 2013 - 06:06 PM

That sounds good for ship work.  biggrin.png


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#23 Norman Barrows   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 2307

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Posted 14 March 2013 - 07:06 PM

 
 

Personally I would like to see a game played mostly from first/directly over the shoulder third person, centered on the player's character
 
yes, these days it almost goes without saying that FPS and 3PS are simply eye cam, and head chase cam views of the same thing, and a game probably should therefore support both.   but targeting missile weapons in head chase cam view can be difficult if you're zoomed out.    especially  if you have to aim up and down as well as left and right. similar to the sky cam and cannon aiming issue, but with a person and a missile weapon.   its easier in a sailing sim, because you don't aim up and down, just time the shot to the roll of the ship. it takes one second from the time you say fire for them to put match to hole and light powder, so you give the order one second before the ship has rolled to desired elevation for the shot. once you get the timing down, you can hit the sweet range every time.
 
 

and then directing your crew through a command interface.
 
ah, but what sort of interface? fps/3ps walk around the deck mode, plus hotkey for orders menu, plus select object (wheel, gun, charts) to go to station view?
 

Set your heading, and the helmsmen makes the most logical turn, and your officers order a suitable setting of the sails during the change.
 
Yes, my Star Trek flight sim worked this way. but it was a "station view" of the bridge. you could click on the station controls with the mouse pointer to set course, speed, raise shields, lock phasers, etc. you could also click on an "orders" button and issue orders from a menu (fly to this target, etc). You could click on the turbo lift, take it to the transporter room, and operate the transporter to send a landing party, or simply issue orders to do so. You could issue orders to launch a shuttle craft, or go down to the hangar deck and take one out for a spin yourself. It included a shuttle craft flight simulator in the starship flight simulator.
 

Order a boarding party ready, and the men line the decks. (If things are obvious, ie, only one ship reasonably close/only the one ship selected as a target, then user shouldn't even have to state boarding from port or starboard) Ideally I would like to see a pirate game simulating realistic boardings, but that would be a tough AI and physics job to pull off reasonable well.
 
This is what i'm shooting for. two huge multi-mesh models of ships right next to each other on a huge mesh ocean, with perhaps 100 animated character models fighting it out in real time, and you're in the thick of it. swinging from ropes might be tricky to implement. I'd need to kick my modeling and animation engine up to 50 mesh limbs per model to do a 50 foot grappling hook with a rope that flexed every foot. fast, good flexing rope physics will be required. taught ropes are no challenge, draw a cylinder or something.
 

Personally I would want to play a game that lets me see and hear only what a real captain would.
 
Yes, i think the fog or war of on the deck ship board real time sailing combat would create a more visceral experience. And it would blend better with the other things you can do in the game like go ashore, put into port, wander around town, etc.
 
You could stand on the deck as your ship pulled up to the dock, and your crew tied her up and laid out the gang plank. Then you could walk over to the gang plank, and walk down it onto the dock, and out into the port and town beyond.
 
or perhaps you step onto the dock, and a Captain of the Royal Navy comes round the corner with a detachment of troops to clap you in irons. You reach for your pistol as you men draw their swords...
 
 
This could be a really cool game.

Norm Barrows

Rockland Software Productions

"Building PC games since 1989"

rocklandsoftware.net

 

PLAY CAVEMAN NOW!

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#24 Luckless   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 1882

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Posted 15 March 2013 - 06:31 PM

Really tough design issue.

 

Personally I think that the best way to tackle this will be to step back and really hammer away at exactly what the player's role is, and what choices they should be making. (Also just how detailed of a model do you want for this? Solid modelling of naval combat is a massive physics problem due to just how ships of that era were constructed and how the weapons 'interacted' with men and timber.)

 

But my first instinct is to go with something fairly simple of "You are the captain, you are making decisions and setting the goals for your crew. Crew and officers under you are doing the 'real' work when it comes to the ship itself". To that end I'm thinking that the user should never be expected to fire the cannon himself, he is busy with other things, watching the wind, the enemy, his sails, etc.

 

How about a quick key menu based system based on a two or three row structure. qwerty+ could be your various command/post quick points. asdfg+ (and maybe zxcvb+) become your root commands for them.

 

-qfx becomes "Order to helmsmen: Hard Larboard turn!" (And don't forget, "Port" is relatively new, so don't leave poor larboard out in the cold.) and the men manning the wheel turn hard over. (Design choice then comes as your tacking as to whether or not sail orders are automatically given, or if additional commands are needed.)

-wa becomes "Beat to quarters/battle stations", and the crew takes their positions.

 

etc. Different commands for things like ordering your gun crews around would depend on your combat model and how detailed you want it. Do you want to give the player the choice between various cannons and configurations? 'little' 18 pounder long guns, 32 pounder long guns, 32 pounder cannonade, etc, and what orders you would want to be able to give different ones priority. Or possibly just gun crews to one side or the other.

 

Boarding parties, odds are you would be pulling men from your cannons for boarding or repelling parties, so likely want some quick keys for the number being pulled off.

 

I am debating if expecting to use a keypad or digit row for numbers on things like heading, ranges, men count, etc would be good, or just have the 10 most likely/suitable values bound to keys.


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#25 Norman Barrows   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 2307

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Posted 15 March 2013 - 10:42 PM

Personally I think that the best way to tackle this will be to step back and really hammer away at exactly what the player's role is, and what choices they should be making.

 

Definitely more of a hands off than a hand on role.  The captain is the brains of the ship, not the brawn.

 

 

Also just how detailed of a model do you want for this? Solid modelling of naval combat is a massive physics problem due to just how ships of that era were constructed and how the weapons 'interacted' with men and timber.)

 

The modeling doesn't have to be overly detailed, but it should be realistic / believable. In general i've found that relatively realistic modeling of stuff is not that difficult, then again i was always a straight A student in physics.

 

How about a quick key menu based system based on a two or three row structure. qwerty+ could be your various command/post quick points. asdfg+ (and maybe zxcvb+) become your root commands for them.

 

sounds like too much memorization, unless you have corresponding buttons along the bottom of the screen or something, or some sort of popup hud listing hotkeys for the activated station or something like that.

 

the user should be required to remember only one hotkey to get out of first person view. from there, some sort of visual menus should be used, so further hotkey memorization is not required. note that this doesn't mean there can't be optional hotkeys like "f" for fire all loaded guns immediately, etc.

 

Paramount did a hot key based star trek game once. You could never remember the hotkey for a station when you needed it.

 

-qfx becomes "Order to helmsmen: Hard Larboard turn!" (And don't forget, "Port" is relatively new, so don't leave poor larboard out in the cold.) and the men manning the wheel turn hard over. (Design choice then comes as your tacking as to whether or not sail orders are automatically given, or if additional commands are needed.)
-wa becomes "Beat to quarters/battle stations", and the crew takes their positions.

 

yeah, this is the basic idea, but it would have to have visual menus as well as hotkeys. that way you could pick your way through the menus while you're learning the hotkey combos. and the game could be either mouse or keyboard driven at the player's option.

 

Do you want to give the player the choice between various cannons and configurations? 'little' 18 pounder long guns, 32 pounder long guns, 32 pounder cannonade, etc,

 

of course! a good cannon was amongst the best booty at the time!

 

the game would have to model a variety of guns. what the player had on board would vary depending on what was aboard at time of acquisition, guns purchased, captured, etc. firing orders might be split across 3 broad categories: long guns, short guns, and anti-personnel guns.


Norm Barrows

Rockland Software Productions

"Building PC games since 1989"

rocklandsoftware.net

 

PLAY CAVEMAN NOW!

http://rocklandsoftware.net/beta.php

 

 


#26 Luckless   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 1882

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Posted 17 March 2013 - 06:53 PM

well nothing says you can't have key prompts at the bottom of the screen (In fact I would strongly suggest it, with the option to disable/hide with a quick key). You don't really have to memorize them, just have the default ordering of stuff match up with its on screen counter part so there is less spacial translation going on to figure out what input to use. (The reason to go with a multi-tier set of keys where qwert being your root choices and stuff below being your decisions is so that you can cancel an order command/go back up a level in your command tree at any time and jump back to a different root just by pressing a top row key.)

 

The goal should be to give the players something that they can input the orders in a quick, easy, and logical fashion, as well as offering them a suitable selection of orders that would cover what actions a commander might want to be able to tell his crew to do in real life. I would not suggest having fully blind "Hit random key for this obscure command", but rather hitting keys to build a visual representation of your desired command on screen, and submitting it after you confirm it is what you wanted to tell your crew. (This is where a logical command tree comes in, who are you ordering: What kind of order: Order/target/etc as needed)

 

 

Also from research I've helped with for a real world weapon control platform, memorized key pad inputs tended to be in the order of 2-3 times faster for soldiers to enter commands than any kind of GUI based system after just a few hours training, and could easily reach 5 times the number of controlled inputs in a give time frame to using a mouse. (Even active display touch screens were never as fast as solid physical buttons. Touch screens greatly suffered from high rates of mis-inputs, hesitation, and users feeling lost as to where they were in the command cycle due to not having tactile feedback and obscuring their view of the commands.)

 

 

As for the physics of it: I can happily blow five or six hours processing time simulating a few seconds of a sailing ship's hull and sails in a storm. It really depends on how accurate you want things to be, how many ships, crew AI, etc. Things can quickly add up fast when it comes to processing resources.


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#27 Norman Barrows   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 2307

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Posted 24 March 2013 - 04:30 PM

well nothing says you can't have key prompts at the bottom of the screen (In fact I would strongly suggest it, with the option to disable/hide with a quick key). You don't really have to memorize them, just have the default ordering of stuff match up with its on screen counter part so there is less spacial translation going on to figure out what input to use.

 

good point. i take it you like keyboard controls for this type of interface.

 

 

(The reason to go with a multi-tier set of keys where qwert being your root choices and stuff below being your decisions is so that you can cancel an order command/go back up a level in your command tree at any time and jump back to a different root just by pressing a top row key.

 

yes, menus that "pan out". i used this to good effect with mouse driven menus in a previous title. the top level menu appeared at the left. when you made a selection, it was highlighted and the sub menu appeared to the right of the top level menu. you could then click on the sub menu, or on the top level menu to display a different sub menu. the system went 3 levels deep, and you could pick from top level, sub level, or sub sub level menu at any time.

 

so i'd say a strong case for good hotkey controls has been made. 

 

Also from research I've helped with for a real world weapon control platform, memorized key pad inputs tended to be in the order of 2-3 times faster for soldiers to enter commands than any kind of GUI based system after just a few hours training, and could easily reach 5 times the number of controlled inputs in a give time frame to using a mouse. (Even active display touch screens were never as fast as solid physical buttons. Touch screens greatly suffered from high rates of mis-inputs, hesitation, and users feeling lost as to where they were in the command cycle due to not having tactile feedback and obscuring their view of the commands.)

 

I know just what you're talking about . i've done a fair amount of UI research. it was an "area of interest" shall we say, before i got into game development. and what you say it true. and it holds in the computer world as well. a power user can use a keyboard interface faster than they can use a mouse driven one. haptics. that's the secret. that's the difference. we don't even thing about our sixth sense, but its there. and that's what makes keyboards faster. you dont have to look for or mouse over the "commands" button, because your middle left finger IS the commands button.

 

a "panning" menu system that's both mouse and keyboard driven, and that pauses the simulation and lets the player assemble a command for the crew sounds like the way to go.

 

As for the physics of it: I can happily blow five or six hours processing time simulating a few seconds of a sailing ship's hull and sails in a storm. It really depends on how accurate you want things to be, how many ships, crew AI, etc. Things can quickly add up fast when it comes to processing resources.

 

well, obviously, we wont be using a Cray to model fluid mechanics at the atomic level. <g>.

 

actually, i don't see the physics being that big an issue.   simple models of wind, tide, and tack should suffice. except for the issue of slowdown with lots of targets onscreen, naval battles with 100 ships and boarding operations with 200 combatants should be possible. 


Norm Barrows

Rockland Software Productions

"Building PC games since 1989"

rocklandsoftware.net

 

PLAY CAVEMAN NOW!

http://rocklandsoftware.net/beta.php

 

 





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