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how to inform the player of a characters turn to act

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Im working on a full 3D tactical turn-based RPG (think Tactics Ogre or Final Fantasy Tactics). I am trying to think of the best way to visually show the player which characters turn it is to perform an action. I thought of possibly highlighting somehow the model who has the current turn, or drawing a big rotating 3d arrow over the head of who has the current turn. For the second option, i know how to easily implement that. for the first option, what would be the best way for highlighting? i dont mean technically (although I am using XNA), i mean what kind of highlighting? bright [insert color here] glow, blink them a different color, etc... thoughts?

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I like the circle-on-ground-around-feet-approach, perhaps add some animation as well in order to catch the players attention: perhaps scaling back and forth slightly; or color intensity changing slightly. The arrow-above-head idea is not that bad either in my opinion. Perhaps one could use both the circle and the arrow, hiding the arrow as soon as the player performs a first action indicating that he has detected the selected character (for example, picking an action for the character to perform).

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The arrow could become ambiguous if you have a lot of characters bunched together closely and the player can't visibly see which one it's pointing at clearly. But using the 3d arrow to compliment the 'circle around the feet' or glowing player idea would work perfectly fine i reckon. If you wanted to maintain a realist style game, you could have the character animated to wave at the player or jump up and down or something appropriate to the context of the game if you wanted to take an original/unconventional approach.

Or you could 'kill the lights' of the map and 'spotlight' the desired character or make them glow, I think that would look pretty cool (by kill the lights i mean as if you switched off the lights in a room, and if it's already night time, then the spotlight/glow would still work fine). I don't think I've ever seen that effect used, and it would look cool, direct the player's attention without removing his surroundings and sounds fairly simple to implement depending on how your game's lighting works. And once the character has been actively chosen by the player, the 'lights' come back on (to normal) so the player can see wtf they're doing. Just throwing it out there.

Though it really depends on the context of your game. If you've got psychotic maniac killing machine soldiers, you wouldn't have them skipping or waving happily to get the player's attention.

Anyway, goodluck with it, whatever highlighting method you choose to go with.

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In addition to the ideas above (the lights out idea sounds cool and it probably worth doing just to see how it looks) You do have some sort of camera right? there is the obvious panning to the character and centering them on screen. That coupled with the circle around the feet should do well to inform the player. Also if your interface is not too minimal you could have the character's portrait/stats pop up in some corner.

If your game's turns are divided up by character (rather than side a moves everyone then side b moves everyone) it may make sense to have some sort of UI/display that showed who's turn it is and the order of the people after them as well (the card's in the top screen of FFTA2 on the DS dose this).

I too am working on a 3d tactics game and would be glad to bounce some ideas around here, to get us both thinking.

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How about dropping other characters colors to a gray tone, or a faded team color, and retaining the typical texture with vibrant colors only for the character that is active [accompanied with selecting the character, and centering focus]. In several turn based games, I've found it difficult to differentiate the active character in a dense crowd, and something like this would have certainly helped to make it more obvious who is on what team, and who I currently have control over.

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Quote:
Original post by Mattox

Or you could 'kill the lights' of the map and 'spotlight' the desired character or make them glow, I think that would look pretty cool (by kill the lights i mean as if you switched off the lights in a room, and if it's already night time, then the spotlight/glow would still work fine). I don't think I've ever seen that effect used, and it would look cool, direct the player's attention without removing his surroundings and sounds fairly simple to implement depending on how your game's lighting works. And once the character has been actively chosen by the player, the 'lights' come back on (to normal) so the player can see wtf they're doing. Just throwing it out there.

Anyway, goodluck with it, whatever highlighting method you choose to go with.


that sounds like a good idea or the arrow maybe a little different colored would also be nice

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i do like some of these ideas. for right now i just have a big 3d green arrow over the characters head that rotates and bobs up and down. it is sufficient for now. to improve upon it is more cosmetic which is the type of stuff i leave towards the end of creating a game. i do like the idea or having a ui/display of the current characters turn and the next few turns.

i envision something like down the left side of the screen a stack of stat "cards" in order of whose turn it is or will be. stacked kind of like cards in a game of solitaire where only a small portion of the card is visible (like maybe the name and hp/mp). and when you mouse over it, or click on it, it will show up the entire stat card.

i would like a way to differentiate between the different teams. I remember from tactics ogre on ps1 that alot of times if i wasnt paying very close attention i would be attacking one of my own guys or totally ignoring an enemy because i thought he was on my team. im guess the way i will do it is draw the model with its normal texture and also blend it with a diffuse color. like set the diffuse color of its verts to the team color. i just dont know how well this will look.

side note: anyone know where i can get free 3d fantasy models. at least some i can use as placeholders for now. i do have Milkshape but i am horrible at making models. at the moment i am just using basic shapes like cylinders, pyramids, and cubes to represent players.

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You could also try having two different waiting animations. A very sedate one for unselected units, and an aggressive, pumped up one for the current unit.

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At the end of the turn play some sort of sound.

If you have a scoreboard then put a marker beside the persons who turn it is, also highlight there "character"

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Get your camera position
Lets say your camera is at point a
the current player's turn is at point b
create a tween by using somthing like a midpoint formula
Now, the person in the middle of the screen knows its his -her turn

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