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GDS Notes

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Licho keeps saying walls of text in chat about his notes from GDS. I want this to be written somewhere more permanent so will
treat it like his OP on the topic.

[06:10] Licho: ok conference ended
[06:11] Licho: not at home yet just some backup laptop to chat a bi
[06:11] Licho: i think we had serious chance to win the award out of 30 or such teams
[06:12] Licho: initially i got judges super interested they were ohh and wow all the time
[06:13] Licho: so no tv interview for zk player influx, sorry!
[06:13] Licho: i know though what people love in general
[06:13] Licho: cool stuff, terraforming, launch ramp, mahlazer
[06:14] Licho: several players mainly rts players were all wow wow, i need to play this i need to play this
[06:14] Licho: some people were interested in devving the engine or the game too
[06:15] Licho: some russian girl completely new to rts also liked it but said she would prefer all units to be pink and have more flowers
[06:16] Licho: in general people didnt mind complexity itself, and they were also saying that hardcore players will be fine with that but they would prefer some gentler introduction
[06:16] Licho: missions or limited gui basically
[06:16] Licho: they were losing focus of commander a lot
[06:16] Licho: they prefered menu of nota more
[06:16] Licho: people could start playing nota without much help suprisingly
[06:16] Licho: but i think we can just do little tweaks to it
[06:17] Licho: also people have extrmely limited attention span
[06:17] Licho: the trailer needs to show the cool stuff only basically i think
[06:18] Licho: oh also site should not mention its free etc
[06:18] Licho: if you say its free game people are like not taking you seriously anymore
[06:18] Licho: even if its free we should just say its open alpha i think
[06:19] Licho: free alpha
[06:19] Licho: they have also no idea what open source is
[06:19] Licho: if you say them its open source engine ... they are like.. oh like unreal
[06:19] Licho: and thats devs, most devs were pro mind you
[06:21] Licho: so thanks for your help with widget, poster and picking replay, it helped a lot!
[06:21] Licho: also picasso is super cool!
[06:23] Licho: oh and pepe managed to get 10 spring people there!
[06:23] Licho: they were lan partying s44 and nota
[06:30] Licho: quantum: Google Frog great job on terraforming and newton catapults! That's what made people instantly go "wow" and stop at our stand!
[06:31] Licho: The Starlight was amazing too! People had great fun just sitting there and wrecking the map with it!
[06:32] Licho: Also KingRaptor we were running the feature trailer on repeat on the other screen and that worked really well too
[06:33] Licho: And yeah, the tabbed orders UI was really confusing to players
[06:33] Licho: they kept trying to build things by clicking on tabs with no unit actually selected
[06:34] Licho: or say going to the units tab with a construction bot selected
[06:41] Alcur: "would prefer all units to be pink and have more flowers"
[06:42] Alcur: Did she kid?
[06:43] Alcur: I do think so
[07:13] Licho: nah
[07:13] Licho: definitely if we qare into that market we should do that

[18:49] Licho: GoogleFrog they didnt have issue with menu style
[18:49] Licho: except for realizing these are tabs, buttons werent very visible on my huge res
[18:49] Licho: they had issues with many options
[18:50] Licho: also problem is tabs depend on selection and they dont realize it
[18:50] Licho: people were able to build metal extractor right away they just right clicked a spot
[18:51] Licho: but then didnt know what to do and if they lost selection they clicked tabs, they were empty
[18:51] Licho: and didnt realize they wont be empty with a selected con
[18:52] Licho: also initial placement - they clicked in green area but then nothing happened countdown starts after like 3s
[18:52] Licho: so they were clicking more and more
[18:52] Licho: and that delays start
[18:52] Licho: so the counter thing needs to respond or it needs to change text to wait a moment or something
[18:52] Licho: for the tab thing we can either gray out tabs which are empty atm
[18:53] Licho: or we can allow them to place structures without a con selected
[18:54] Licho: people prefered nota menu style and nota icons..they felt they are clearer
[18:54] Licho: but we cannot use their menu i think, too many options
[18:55] Licho: also issue was with resizing window secrewing widget placement
[18:55] Licho: and upgrade comm behind stuff
[18:55] Licho: and game appearingin the wrong monitor
[18:55] Licho: with wrong resolution for that monitor
[18:55] Licho: it took resolution from primary
[18:55] Licho: but appeared on secondary
[18:55] Licho: so we had to play in windowed
[18:56] Licho: also selection was problematic and realizing which units are own, enemy and ally
[18:57] Licho: they often wanted to select for example bombers
[18:57] Licho: and had no idea how
[18:57] Licho: or fighters
[18:57] Licho: they were just flying there and i basicall had to make them autogroups
[18:59] Licho: nota also had some sort of ambient grouping, if you select units there it remembers this and creates sort of group
[18:59] Licho: if you then zoom out it shows the group icon and number of units
[18:59] Licho: so you can easilly re-select it
[19:00] Licho: and i think that we really need to lock stuff..it can unlock fast but we should not give them the best toys they will see in trailer basically
[19:00] Licho: or they will try the toys and not the game
[19:00] Licho: it takes effort to learn the game and i think we have to motivate them to do that
[19:01] Licho: it could be just unit or two locked
[19:01] Licho: like zenith at lvl 5, detriment at 10
[19:02] Licho: oh also the mex hint got people confused during the comm placement phase
[19:02] Licho: and 4 comm options confused them at start
[19:03] Licho: but they dealt with that they just did random pick
[19:03] Licho: i didnt test lobby itself
[19:03] Licho: they were impressed by described features like mid-game spec join though
[19:03] Licho: or mid-game chat
[19:04] Licho: i was running 2 spring instances + video almost all the time and it usually run smooth which was cool too
[19:04] Licho: so that impressed people too
[19:05] Licho: they were like oh wow how much cpu and i was like.. oh just 18 or 20
[19:05] Licho: (it was a lie of course because its 1 core hahah
[19:05] Licho: and i had 8 cores
[19:06] Licho: they understood other gui elements well
[19:06] Licho: metal / energy bar .. no explanation needed ever
[19:06] Licho: they didnt notice icon to select-comm and select factory
[19:07] Licho: and ofthen they didnt notice that selecting units makes a a list of selected units in gui
[19:07] Licho: also i needed to tell them to use middle click to scroll on minimap, but once i told them they were set
[19:08] Licho: oh and one girl got confused by diamond
[19:08] Licho: she was looking at diamond and moving it around to select units and give them orders
[19:08] Licho: but her actual cursor was over minimap
[19:08] Licho: and she didnt see it
[19:08] Licho: so she complained about big acceleration of mouse instead
[19:09] Licho: we should just hide diamond
[01:40] Licho pros made lots of interesting recommendation
[01:40] Licho from details about water rendering
[01:41] Licho to steam release
[19:11] Licho: tilt the view of map to the side, it breaks repetation and symmetry and makes it look more natural
[19:11] Licho: fix particle effects, smooth the smoke, fx missile trail sharp turning edges
[19:12] Licho: make use of steam workshop for widgets and maps
[19:12] Licho: focus on the effect .. the game has cool feature, show awesome pictures/short videos for steam page
[19:15] Licho: many said we should focus on graphics before release if we still can
[19:15] Licho: some were concerned about complexity but said if we have campaign its fine, other said complexity does not matter we will just get hardcore players
[19:16] Licho: oh and economic overlay was ugly for them
[19:20] Licho: and people were asking about ships a lot
[19:20] Licho: for example on titan .. they like ships
[19:44] KingRaptor: this should be written somewhere permanent
+15 / -0


3 years ago
[hope and optimism for mythical Steam release actually happening intensifies]
+0 / -0
Skasi
3 years ago
quote:
[19:16] Licho: oh and economic overlay was ugly for them

Were they talking about anything specific? Metal spot overlays or grid colors or reclaim fields?

quote:
[19:20] Licho: and people were asking about ships a lot
[19:20] Licho: for example on titan .. they like ships

People were asking about ships on Titan maps?
[Spoiler]
+0 / -0
Things missing from the log (@Licho please add?):
quote:
[01:40] Licho pros made lots of interesting recommendation
[01:40] Licho from details about water rendering
[01:41] Licho to steam release

I remember something about marketing advice as well.

In general any engine feedback could be nice.
+1 / -0
"fx missile trail sharp turning edges"

I think missile trail looks bad mostly because the part attached to the thruster abruptly changes its look when the missile turns, not because it is sharp.
+0 / -0
3 years ago
quote:
[06:14] Licho: some people were interested in devving the engine or the game too


Well, that's pretty helpful. Did you get contact information?

quote:
[06:15] Licho: some russian girl completely new to rts also liked it but said she would prefer all units to be pink and have more flowers


She was definitely kidding....
+0 / -0


3 years ago
quote:
I remember something about marketing advice as well

"Marketing people were shocked we are not releasing yet"
+0 / -0


3 years ago
Thats also true.. they were like.. wait a moment.. why isn't it released yet, it looks done ..
(and you had time to add 171 units so wtf?)
+0 / -0

3 years ago
I guess they're not used to open source. It's something different when you have to pay your devs..

Even though you said many didn't know the meaning of open source, I think including it will sound a lot better than "Free to play".

Greying out unusable GUI panels would be a good idea, I've had the same problem with my friends trying to use the empty panels when teaching the game to them.

Was there some more precise feedback regarding graphics? Like improve consistency, refine models, brush up textures, rework GUI..

Skasi you can plop ships in the NE hole, not the SW though.
+1 / -0

3 years ago
quote:
[19:11] Licho: fix particle effects, smooth the smoke, fx missile trail sharp turning edges


Some of that requires adding more particles. Other stuff requires using a custom particle shader with proximity blending. (OpenGL 3.3+ required) Actually lasers could use proximity blending too, ie for Zenith's beam, etc.

Also adding more particles would be expensive, because no drawInstanced support. Updating the states of thousands of particles might also be expensive, which would require moving that code into fragment shaders instead of doing it on the CPU. I have no idea how LUPS or CEGs work, but you can safely forget compatibility.

quote:
[19:15] Licho: many said we should focus on graphics before release if we still can


We could steal stuff from BAR, but it requires special unit shaders and not all ZK units are well represented by corresponding units in BAR so that would imply extra models/textures for things that we can't steal. BAR's buildings and units are epically shiny though, and also their pointy laser beams which fade out gracefully at the edge of their range rather than getting cut off abruptly. BAR also has some cool lightning effects and much shinier fire with a 'heat ripple' effect.

quote:
[19:16] Licho: oh and economic overlay was ugly for them


Yes the mex ground circles are hideous. So are the flashing reclaimables. Also somewhat related is the fact that effects like units on fire, stun and disarm are not visible when zooming out beyond a trivial distance and there does not seem to be an option to make them stop LOD-ing (like those effects are expensive enough to justify LOD in the first place!).

quote:
[19:20] Licho: and people were asking about ships a lot


Ships as in boats or ships as in battelcruisers?

quote:
[18:53] Licho: or we can allow them to place structures without a con selected


Global build command could be modified to allow that in conjunction with the panel widget, but not without caveats. If we were to do something like that it'd be best to modify it to have better integration, ie not require workers to belong to a control group, and to have some sort of built-in control to exempt coms when you want to use them as combat units rather than as workers.
+0 / -0
3 years ago
First to mythic steamrelease:
Solve bugs
Prevent crashing.
Make useless units great again!
+0 / -0
Skasi
3 years ago
quote:
Yes the mex ground circles are hideous.

How so? I feel like they're the only in-world overlay that is not hideous.
+1 / -0


3 years ago
As it stands I don't think we can legally take (more) models from BAR. Apart from that, I don't want to. Their models seem generic with distinguishability issues. I may have missed the paste but Licho said that models themselves were seen as fine.

Many effects can definitely be improved without adding more particles. You can do a lot with a little, it's a matter of skill.

I've already removed the useless Integral tabs. It was a pending ticket that I decided to do since it has some interest from GDS. I feel like a global build system would just be complicated for new players. It might be useful for someone but wouldn't be the default imo.
+4 / -0

3 years ago
quote:
As it stands I don't think we can legally take (more) models from BAR. Apart from that, I don't want to. Their models seem generic with distinguishability issues. I may have missed the paste but Licho said that models themselves were seen as fine.


Beherith recently stated that he has "no intention of claiming copyrights on any of the art" and that anyone is free to use the art any way they wish, making them effectively PD.

Yes a lot of the units in BAR do look samey, but that's just BA in general. On the other hand a lot of the stuff in BAR was basically copied/restylized based on ZK stuff or is similar to ZK for historical reasons. I'll post some screenshots later demonstrating the point. ZK's units/textures are very 2005 and the scaling is awful at least for everything smaller than detri.

quote:
I've already removed the useless Integral tabs. It was a pending ticket that I decided to do since it has some interest from GDS. I feel like a global build system would just be complicated for new players. It might be useful for someone but wouldn't be the default imo.


Yeah I agree globalizing build orders is not an optimal solution. I haven't seen the changes either so I can't really comment.
+0 / -2
3 years ago
*Cretae your own skin*
*Put more bombs*
After steamrelase, make this.
I honestly think the terraform looks ugly as it doesn't look anything like the original ground.
I know it will be hard to implement,but can we have it so when you terraform, the changed geound is the same as normal ground?
My list:
Remove useless trash
Speed up games
Lower particles
Make compatible
Make units good
Avoid stupid unit pathing
Make unit AI smarter
Make porc AO
+0 / -0
Skasi
quote:
I know it will be hard to implement,but can we have it so when you terraform, the changed geound is the same as normal ground?
quote:
I know it will be hard to implement
quote:
I know

[Spoiler]
+2 / -0

3 years ago
Yeah funny fact!

"So are the flashing reclaimables"

Are you kidding? This is a key feature, very helpful, should not be removed.

I did not know GDS before. Seems like there is an award to be won?
+1 / -0

3 years ago
People were impressed by the fact the textures were modified in-game.
Without any decal or texture change, terraforming was either very hard to see or an ugly stretched mess.
+3 / -0
Nobody complained specifically about model graphics or GUI graphics. It was all fine for them.
I only got specific complaints about particle effects and lack of details on map. I think close up low res "feature trailer" video running on second screen gave impression of dated graphics, but in actual game it was fine for them. Actual game looked much better with ground flashes, full AA, huge resolution etc (running ultra settings).

Economic view complaint i think it was because of grid circle overlaps.


Different people of course gave a different feedback also based on what they could see within the short time they were watching:

For example:
  • CGI artist from Bohemia Interactive said that unit graphics and GUI are fine (from the general pov of the player). He said we should improve map details. He praise NOTA menu layout for being much clearer to understand.
  • Some turn based strategy developer said that we should improve effects, trails on rockets, smooth them
  • Several people reacted on nuke or singu explosion being a bit cartoony/ugly
  • I asked several people about unit graphics and about GUI graphics, they all said that it looks fine
  • CEO/CTO of some company with some racing game said that mechanics look done and we should perhaps spend more resources if we have them on graphics, its low hanging fruit
  • Marketing person said that if we have time we could perhaps improve graphics
  • One of the judges (either from space engineers, bohemia interactive or kingdom come company) said we should spend time on improving graphics if we have resources, after seeing economic overlay - i think overlay triggered it. He said that we should aim for initial awe effect and that the initial steam spike can wildly differ based on the first impression/graphics.
+1 / -0
Interesting thought: what about that fancy BAR dynamic selection widget. Could we perhaps get dynamic circles like in that widget for energy grid? There would be no visible overlap like there is right now.

Stealing models from BAR would be bad anyway. First off they would require another skin because BAR uses the atlas. Second, like GF said already: most of them are fairly generic.
+1 / -0
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