galaxy map information modes/overlays

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pd
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Re: galaxy map information modes/overlays

#166 Post by pd » Sat Mar 06, 2010 11:27 pm

eleazardetection.jpg
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Adding a threshold value(userset, also see my previous mockups), that is somewhere in between max and min detection makes it a little easier to read. Once the player encounters a stealthy ship near one of his colonies, he can set his threshold value to the ships stealth/distance. By doing this, corridors between the player's colonies are created, in which other stars and starlanes could be located(not shown in the mockup). So it definitely shows the weak points.

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Re: galaxy map information modes/overlays

#167 Post by Bigjoe5 » Sun Mar 07, 2010 1:05 am

pd wrote:Adding a threshold value(userset, also see my previous mockups), that is somewhere in between max and min detection makes it a little easier to read.
I think the idea is that with the new formula Geoff suggested, there is nothing between "max" and "min". It doesn't matter how close the object is to the detector, as long as it's within its range. What would happen then, if you set a threshold, would be that all the detection radii for detectors weaker than the threshold would disappear, and only the strong would remain (but they would show their full radius, with no lines). Personally, I don't think the formula should be changed like that, since part of the point of the old formula was that even a small increase in stealth was always advantageous, because you could always get that much closer to the enemy without being seen. Now, no increase in stealth anywhere beneath enemy detection is any good at all, and since detection will be greater than stealth for a large majority of the game, that makes improvement of stealth technology mostly useless, while an improvement of detection technology is always useful... from a gameplay perspective, the new formula is just a bad idea, IMO.
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Re: galaxy map information modes/overlays

#168 Post by eleazar » Sun Mar 07, 2010 2:17 am

Bigjoe5 wrote:Sorry, I completely misunderstood your question. At a glance, I'd say that Green player has the best visibility of Algorab, followed by Gemroy...
Congratulations, you are actually right about all of them.

Though this was actually a pretty easy scenario. In spite of the other weak detectors i added, using distance from the center (or nearness to the edge) would have got you pretty much the right answers.

pd wrote:
eleazardetection.jpg
Adding a threshold value(userset, also see my previous mockups), that is somewhere in between max and min detection makes it a little easier to read. Once the player encounters a stealthy ship near one of his colonies, he can set his threshold value to the ships stealth/distance. By doing this, corridors between the player's colonies are created, in which other stars and starlanes could be located(not shown in the mockup). So it definitely shows the weak points.
Yes, i'm familiar with that idea. It does provide more information, but i don't think it's great. No discredit to you— i don't think there is a great solution.

Where you can see and how well you can see are pretty core to using the galaxy map. Looking over the map to see how where enemy forces are, and just as importantly where they aren't shouldn't require the player try to gauge how good his detector strength is in the various places he's not seeing ships. Messing with a "detection threshold" to make the inner circle grow and shrink to try to get a feel for detector coverage is far too fiddly for a core feature of the galaxy map. I want a galaxy map UI that players can just look at and know what's going on (--obviously once they've learned our conventions), not a visual puzzle that needs to be deciphered, even if it's an easy puzzle. There's going to be enough on the player's minds with running their empire.

Bigjoe5 wrote:Personally, I don't think the formula should be changed like that, since part of the point of the old formula was that even a small increase in stealth was always advantageous, because you could always get that much closer to the enemy without being seen. Now, no increase in stealth anywhere beneath enemy detection is any good at all, and since detection will be greater than stealth for a large majority of the game, that makes improvement of stealth technology mostly useless, while an improvement of detection technology is always useful... from a gameplay perspective, the new formula is just a bad idea, IMO.
I believe the idea is for this change to apply to the galaxy map only. Incremental stealth improvements still have the same value in combat. My complaints about detection don't entirely apply to combat where objects are generally in constant motion.


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There are a lot of potential ways to simplify the detection rules that don't lead to a clumsy galaxymap UI. I personally would prefer one without detection radii at all, because even if you ignore the other problems, they don't stack well with multiple empires. And while it's fine to have special overlays for special purposes, you can only add so many of those and they become unwieldy from sheer quantity of options. But less ignore that problem for now, since we could always flatly disallow the display of any other empire's detection radii.

So what to do? Geoff's idea here is a start:
Objects can be detected if they are closer to a detector than a distance proportional to the detector's strength, and the detector's strength is greater than the object's stealth.

In "math": objects are seen if detection > stealth AND distance < number * detection.
As BigJoe and i pointed out that still doesn't make it obvious were the strong and weak detecting objects are. Weaknesses in your net of detection are not obvious.

But we really only need to add another simplifying factor to solve this UI problem: Make detection strength the same for all detectors on the galaxy map: i.e. there only one value for all the empire's objects on the galaxy map. Like certain engine techs in MoO2, once you research it, the new advantage is applied to all your ships. The empire's ability to see stealthed ships would be uniform across the empire, so there's no question of having weak and strong areas of detection, and needing to move detector ships around to shore up holes in your detection net. If a spot is within your detection radii, then you know it's covered as well as current tech allows. The UI is perfectly clear, without any fiddling, thresholds, or gradients.

If this is a little too flat for the galaxy map you could split the concept of detection strength and detection radius. I.E. you could build a telescope building could see further (bigger detection radii), but it couldn't spot ships more highly stealthed than any other detector.

From a technobabble standpoint it won't shock the player to find that the detection rules that apply in combat don't apply exactly the same way when ships are transiting trans-dimensional starlanes, or in orbit around a distant star.

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Re: galaxy map information modes/overlays

#169 Post by Geoff the Medio » Sun Mar 07, 2010 11:05 am

eleazar wrote:So what to do? Geoff's idea here is a start:
Objects can be detected if they are closer to a detector than a distance proportional to the detector's strength, and the detector's strength is greater than the object's stealth.

In "math": objects are seen if detection > stealth AND distance < number * detection.
As BigJoe and i pointed out that still doesn't make it obvious were the strong and weak detecting objects are. Weaknesses in your net of detection are not obvious.
A UI could show detection strength distribution in such a system by differently colouring regions with different strengths. The lack of gradients everywhere means that there would be distinct regions of uniform detection strength, with clear boundaries between regions. Only the highest rated detector in range of a given location would matter, as opposed to the current rule where being closer could make a lower-rated detector more important for seeing things at some locations than a further away but higher-rated detector.
But we really only need to add another simplifying factor to solve this UI problem: Make detection strength the same for all detectors on the galaxy map: i.e. there only one value for all the empire's objects on the galaxy map.

If this is a little too flat for the galaxy map you could split the concept of detection strength and detection radius. I.E. you could build a telescope building could see further (bigger detection radii), but it couldn't spot ships more highly stealthed than any other detector.
This sounds reasonable.

The issue of stealth increments not mattering in some cases is still worth considering, though.
eleazar wrote:
Bigjoe5 wrote:Personally, I don't think the formula should be changed like that, since part of the point of the old formula was that even a small increase in stealth was always advantageous, because you could always get that much closer to the enemy without being seen.
I believe the idea is for this change to apply to the galaxy map only. Incremental stealth improvements still have the same value in combat. My complaints about detection don't entirely apply to combat where objects are generally in constant motion.
I'm reluctant to make the detection rules on the galaxy map and in combat significantly different. Having detectability use a distance vs. detection - stealth rule in combat, but a single value threshold and independent distance vs. detection rule on the map would make things a lot harder for players to understand than having consistent rules.
pd wrote:Could you perhaps also have a look at this savegame? The observatories on Asvis and Menkab don't work and also can't be scrapped. It seems like the building process doesn't finish.
There are no Observatories on those planets; there are observatories on the build queue on those planets, but those aren't actual objects yet, because the build process hasn't finished (or even started).

You can get rid of stuff on the queue by double-clicking the appropriate queue items.

They aren't being built because there are no PP available at the planets where you're trying to build them. Both produce no minerals locally, and have no access to the empire stockpile, so have no PP available.
edit: Could it be that the items in preunlocked_items.txt(the observatory in this case) are not considered when loading save games?
If you edit preunlocked_items.txt to something different from what it was when the game was started, it probably won't change what empires in the game have available. Stuff that was unlocked due to being in preunlocked_items.txt at the start of the game should remain unlocked even if remove from the file after the game is started, though, unless they're re-locked by during the game.

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Re: galaxy map information modes/overlays

#170 Post by eleazar » Sun Mar 07, 2010 5:26 pm

Geoff the Medio wrote:The issue of stealth increments not mattering in some cases is still worth considering, though.
eleazar wrote:
Bigjoe5 wrote:Personally, I don't think the formula should be changed like that, since part of the point of the old formula was that even a small increase in stealth was always advantageous, because you could always get that much closer to the enemy without being seen.
I believe the idea is for this change to apply to the galaxy map only. Incremental stealth improvements still have the same value in combat. My complaints about detection don't entirely apply to combat where objects are generally in constant motion.
I'm reluctant to make the detection rules on the galaxy map and in combat significantly different. Having detectability use a distance vs. detection - stealth rule in combat, but a single value threshold and independent distance vs. detection rule on the map would make things a lot harder for players to understand than having consistent rules.
Would it resolve this objection if a totally different meter was used for seeing on the galaxy map? I.E. something like "scanners" can be used to see things on the local system map, and "detectors"(hopefully better terms could be thought up) are used to see things at long range on the galaxy map? I've never understood how a device that can spot a ship only part-way across a system was any good at all on the galaxy map. Not to be realistic about it, but it is also a barrier to understanding when a tiny detection radius explodes into a much larger one when switching between system and galaxy maps if indeed the rules are supposed to be the same.

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Re: galaxy map information modes/overlays

#171 Post by Bigjoe5 » Sun Mar 07, 2010 6:05 pm

eleazar wrote:
Bigjoe5 wrote:Personally, I don't think the formula should be changed like that, since part of the point of the old formula was that even a small increase in stealth was always advantageous, because you could always get that much closer to the enemy without being seen. Now, no increase in stealth anywhere beneath enemy detection is any good at all, and since detection will be greater than stealth for a large majority of the game, that makes improvement of stealth technology mostly useless, while an improvement of detection technology is always useful... from a gameplay perspective, the new formula is just a bad idea, IMO.
I believe the idea is for this change to apply to the galaxy map only. Incremental stealth improvements still have the same value in combat. My complaints about detection don't entirely apply to combat where objects are generally in constant motion.
Even then, we're left with a scenario where increasing up to 20 below the enemies detection is useless (because the player will still be detected by the empire from all the way across the galaxy map), and only increases between 20 and 0 are noticeably valuable. This, admittedly, isn't nearly as bad, but it does have the added problem that we need to make stealth and detection rules different on the galaxy map and in combat, which is unintuitive. Furthermore, having different stealth and detection rules on combat and on the galaxy map means that stealth and detection parts have vastly different value in combat than they do on the galaxy map, for example, with a detection of 80, a ship with stealth 79 could be seen from 800 units away, a significant portion of the galaxy, and on smaller galaxies, definitely the whole thing. In combat, such a ship would only be visible at a distance of 1/10 the system's radius - hardly an intuitive system.

eleazar wrote:But we really only need to add another simplifying factor to solve this UI problem: Make detection strength the same for all detectors on the galaxy map:
That sounds like it would make the idea of detection ship parts obsolete, unless ships actually have two detection meters, one for combat, and one for the galaxy map, which I think is bad. Not only that, but it would make a newly constructed outpost have the same detection level as a highly developed colony. I think it makes more sense if it takes a little while for the detection meter to grow to maximum.
eleazar wrote:If this is a little too flat for the galaxy map you could split the concept of detection strength and detection radius. I.E. you could build a telescope building could see further (bigger detection radii), but it couldn't spot ships more highly stealthed than any other detector.
This further necessitates splitting galaxy map detection into two values - one for range, and one for strength, which adds up to three detection meters per ship, overall. These new stealth and detection rules aren't very intuitive, and seem like they would add complexity to the rules themselves, even if it would end up simplifying the UI a bit.
Geoff the Medio wrote:I'm reluctant to make the detection rules on the galaxy map and in combat significantly different. Having detectability use a distance vs. detection - stealth rule in combat, but a single value threshold and independent distance vs. detection rule on the map would make things a lot harder for players to understand than having consistent rules.
If you're suggesting that the visibility rules for combat should be changed to this new formula as well, I have to disagree. Currently, the system works quite well - early game ships have minimal stealth and 20 detection, meaning that they can see each other from anywhere on the galaxy map. Early game improvements in stealth technology and stealthier hulls can decrease this distance significantly, perhaps to half-way across the galaxy map. This can then be countered by an early game increase in detection technology, which will again allow the enemy to be seen from anywhere on the galaxy map, and this competition between stealth and detection proceeds throughout the game. If the formula is changed as you suggest, then the first stealth tech would either allow ships to go right up to starting game ships without being detected, which is overpowered for ships at similar tech levels, or it would do nothing, in which case what's the point of even researching it? This actually applies similarly to the galaxy map - either the first stealth tech is useless, or it allows ships to go right up to an enemy colony without being detected. The current visibility formula is much more balanced and intuitive.

On a vaguely related note, it might be nice if there was some way of knowing which objects are visible to which empire, aside from looking at the object's stealth meter relative to all visible objects owned by the empire in question, and measuring all the distances.

WARNING: Terrible Mockup Alert. I've somewhat figured out how to use(/abuse) GIMP, so now I can provide mockups to (kind of) express my ideas:
Screen shot 2010-03-05 at 1.06.24 PM.png
Screen shot 2010-03-05 at 1.06.24 PM.png (190.38 KiB) Viewed 1959 times
As you can see, all objects are visible to all empires except Doow-tsae, which is invisible to the Metallic-Blue empire, Phad, which is invisible to the Dark Purple empire, and the unexplored red star, which is visible only to the Yellow and Light Blue empires. Also, I wasn't even going to try to put the panel behind the Dark Purple fleet en route to Vindemiatrix, though presumably, upon mouse-over, both the fleet and its visibility panel would become visible.

This has the advantage of making the need to see the other empire's detection radii much more rare, so the player won't have to be constantly switching between views and setting various threshold values.

There are a few problems with this particular implementation though, for example, part or all of a circle can be covered with a system's name, requiring the player to mouse-over the fleet to see which empires can see which fleets. A blue star covers a large portion of the system's circle, and would therefore make it fairly difficult to see the visibility panel behind it. Fleets require more space, as you can see from the four fleets orbiting Grue, which makes it more difficult to display many fleets at the same system.

Better suggestions or mockups for how to display which empires have visibility of a particular object are welcome, since giving this information to the player like this prevents a lot of unneeded clicks to figure it out.
eleazar wrote:Would it resolve this objection if a totally different meter was used for seeing on the galaxy map?
I don't think so - it's still troublesome if the player has to keep track of two separate meters and two separate sets of rules for the galaxy map and the tactical map. Plus, there would need to be separate "scanner" and "detector" techs, which would seem to add unnecessary clutter for a concept that can be defined by a single meter and a single set of techs.
eleazar wrote:Not to be realistic about it, but it is also a barrier to understanding when a tiny detection radius explodes into a much larger one when switching between system and galaxy maps if indeed the rules are supposed to be the same.
Don't think about it that way: on the tactical map, the player gets the same information that he gets on the galaxy map, based on the same set of rules - he knows which system the enemy ship is in, because the galaxy map visibility calculation for distance 0 allows him to detect the ship. So even when the player is in combat, his galaxy map detectors are still active, and give him the same information that they would on the galaxy map - knowledge that a particular type of enemy ship is present in the system. To get even more detailed information, that of the ship's location within the system, the player has to be even closer than merely being in the same system - he has to be within a certain distance on the tactical map. So it's not like the detection radius is massively different between the two, it's just that you have to be closer to get more detailed information about the ship's location
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Re: galaxy map information modes/overlays

#172 Post by RonaldX » Sun Mar 07, 2010 6:38 pm

Just throwing this out there, but why should you be able to see the detection radii of your enemies at all?

I, for one, would be immensely entertained to have my enemy stash a little stealth ship which he thinks I can't see in one of my systems. Of course, I know full well that it is there, and I can pull a little Operation Fortitude on him. You simplify things greatly, and add a level of strategic thinking, by simply not knowing what your enemies can or cannot detect. The only way for you to know what their "maximum" detection range is would be to infiltrate them and discover how high their detection technology had been researched.

If anything, a simple, selectable overlay for "maximum possible detection radius this empire could have, according to the latest tech level we know they developed" is all you should be able to see. Going further with it is just making your strategic decisions involving stealth into an aggrivating, albiet humorous, Who's-on-First routine of "I know that you know that I know but you don't know that I know that you know that I know that If I put a ship here, you can't see it."

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Re: galaxy map information modes/overlays

#173 Post by Bigjoe5 » Sun Mar 07, 2010 7:13 pm

Only information known to the player's empire would ever be displayed. For example, in the above mockup, Dark Purple might have a stealthy ship that the player isn't aware of, which might be giving him visibility of Phad and the red star, but the player can't know that. Point is, since the detection meters of objects the player can see are usually known, there should be an easy way for the player to see which objects are known to be visible to other empires, since otherwise, he would be compelled too look at each of the enemy detectors individually, and measure their distance to the object to see if they can detect it.
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Re: galaxy map information modes/overlays

#174 Post by eleazar » Sun Mar 07, 2010 7:32 pm

Bigjoe5 wrote:...for example, with a detection of 80, a ship with stealth 79 could be seen from 800 units away, a significant portion of the galaxy, and on smaller galaxies, definitely the whole thing. In combat, such a ship would only be visible at a distance of 1/10 the system's radius - hardly an intuitive system.
in that case we would need to adjust the number of uu in a system or on the galaxy map.
eleazar wrote:If this is a little too flat for the galaxy map you could split the concept of detection strength and detection radius. I.E. you could build a telescope building could see further (bigger detection radii), but it couldn't spot ships more highly stealthed than any other detector.
This further necessitates splitting galaxy map detection into two values - one for range, and one for strength, which adds up to three detection meters per ship, overall. These new stealth and detection rules aren't very intuitive, and seem like they would add complexity to the rules themselves, even if it would end up simplifying the UI a bit.
If we made galaxy-map detection and in-system detection different things there's no particular reason why all ships would need galaxy-map detectors. It's pretty much redundant for most ships with some variation of simplified galaxy-map detection. I don't see any serious objection to making galaxy-map detectors something that only planets could have. It would alter strategy a bit, but make it more interesting to leave your home area to invade or explore where your range of vision isn't nearly so wide. Is exploration seems over-simplified if you can "discover" a bunch of systems at once with a scout with a super-detector.

But even if we wanted ships to have them most ships wouldn't need them. Ships that operate within your empire's detection radii would have no need of galaxy-map detectors. There's advantage to galaxy-map detection if you have multiple detectors in the same fleet. You would only need one per fleet, plus back-ups in case your first one is destroyed. Specialized galaxy-map detection ships: isn't this the kind of stuff you're always saying "add strategy"?

BigJoe wrote:On a vaguely related note, it might be nice if there was some way of knowing which objects are visible to which empire, aside from looking at the object's stealth meter relative to all visible objects owned by the empire in question, and measuring all the distances.
RonaldX wrote:Just throwing this out there, but why should you be able to see the detection radii of your enemies at all?
In most cases i don't believe you should have access to knowledge of what other empires can see. I don't think the game would be broken if you could never get that information. But you could make the case that it would be good to allow espionage to steal that info, or allies to share that info.
Last edited by Geoff the Medio on Mon Apr 12, 2010 4:41 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: galaxy map information modes/overlays

#175 Post by Bigjoe5 » Sun Mar 07, 2010 9:19 pm

eleazar wrote:
Bigjoe5 wrote:...for example, with a detection of 80, a ship with stealth 79 could be seen from 800 units away, a significant portion of the galaxy, and on smaller galaxies, definitely the whole thing. In combat, such a ship would only be visible at a distance of 1/10 the system's radius - hardly an intuitive system.
in that case we would need to adjust the number of uu in a system or on the galaxy map.
That won't help. Provided the original formula is used on the tactical map and the new formula is used on the galaxy map, the situation on the tactical map would be the same if the detection of the detector was 2 and the stealth of the ship was 1. This means that progression of stealth and detection throughout the game would be vastly different on the galaxy map than it is on the tactical map, since on the tactical map, there would be no difference between a detector of strength 2 trying to locate an object of stealth 1, and a detector of stealth 80 trying to locate an object of stealth 79, which means that stealth and detection progress intuitively throughout the game. On the galaxy map, there would be a significant difference between those two scenarios, since the 79-stealth ship would be detectable by the 80-detection detector from much further away on the galaxy map than the 1-stealth ship would be detectable by the 2-detection detector. This is not at all intuitive, and can't be fixed by scaling the galaxy/tactical map units differently.

eleazar wrote:If we made galaxy-map detection and in-system detection different things there's no particular reason why all ships would need galaxy-map detectors. It's pretty much redundant for most ships with some variation of simplified galaxy-map detection. I don't see any serious objection to making galaxy-map detectors something that only planets could have. It would alter strategy a bit, but make it more interesting to leave your home area to invade or explore where your range of vision isn't nearly so wide. Is exploration seems over-simplified if you can "discover" a bunch of systems at once with a scout with a super-detector.
How, then, would a stealthy empire be able to send ships to the edge of enemy space and scan them from afar? I wouldn't like not being able to do that. And the problem of discovering lots of systems at once is a matter of scaling, and if scouts are exploring too many systems at a time, the range of galaxy map detectors can be scaled down.
eleazar wrote:But even if we wanted ships to have them most ships wouldn't need them. Ships that operate within your empire's detection radii would have no need of galaxy-map detectors. There's advantage to galaxy-map detection if you have multiple detectors in the same fleet. You would only need one per fleet, plus back-ups in case your first one is destroyed. Specialized galaxy-map detection ships: isn't this the kind of stuff you're always saying "add strategy"?
Yes, it does add strategy. And that's actually the way it is now - specialized detectors accompany the warships, and act as navigators on the galaxy map, and spotters in combat, because right now, there isn't an advantage to galaxy-map detection for having multiple detectors in the same fleet. Or, every ship could be equipped with detection equipment, but that would be more expensive, and each warship would be less effective in combat, due to having fewer weapons.

eleazar wrote:In most cases i don't believe you should have access to knowledge of what other empires can see. I don't think the game would be broken if you could never get that information. But you could make the case that it would be good to allow espionage to steal that info, or allies to share that info.
The way it is now, players do have knowledge of the detection meters of enemy objects that they can see. If you want the player to never get information of what the other empires can see, then players will have to never get knowledge of other empire's meter values, which is silly, because some values, such as health, stealth, etc. obviously have to be displayed to the player. So now, you're left with only certain meters that aren't shown to the player, which is complicated and annoying. But if you do allow the player knowledge of enemy detection, he will be able to figure out that the other empires have visibility of particular objects. This can take lots of clicks, or it can take just one (or none), depending on whether or not an appropriate overlay (or constant UI element) is available.
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Re: galaxy map information modes/overlays

#176 Post by Geoff the Medio » Sun Mar 07, 2010 10:43 pm

Having separate meters for in-battle and galaxy-map detection range wouldn't help with the problem of the two detection systems being confusing and complicated due to using different rules, but would add yet another statistic to track for ships and parts, so I don't think this is a good solution.

I don't want to lose the ability for ships to have detection ranges on the map. There are too many interesting scenarios with scanner / spy ships, that this allows.

For the current system with distance vs. detection - stealth, another possible display of detection range could be to have a slider the user can use to set a stealth level to show the detection range for. If set to 0, areas of the map would be coloured in where the player has any detectors within their detection range of the point. If set to 5, areas of the map would be coloured in where the player has detectors within detection - 5 range of the point, etc. There wouldn't be any gradients shown, but the player could move the slider around to interactively see strong and weakly-detected regions. I realize this is a slider suggestion and sliders are evil, but in this case, it's not an order being given, and is more like map zooming, so doesn't have the issues with sliders as an order-giving UI tool.

I don't think we need to be as concerned with how other empires' detection ranges are displayed, as long as a player's own detection abilities can be conveyed reasonably well. A reasonably simple solution is to allow players to independently toggle which empires' detection ranges are being shown on or off.

It's probably too much for players or the UI to attempt to display which objects the player's empire knows that another empire currently has visibility of, or which the player's empire knows another empire has at some point had visibility of, which might have been seen by the other empire at a different location from where the player's empire last saw the object, or which might have been destroyed in the interim, or which might actually have been seen on a different turn from when the player's empire thinks the other empire saw it, etc.

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Re: galaxy map information modes/overlays

#177 Post by Bigjoe5 » Mon Mar 08, 2010 3:15 pm

Geoff the Medio wrote:For the current system with distance vs. detection - stealth, another possible display of detection range could be to have a slider the user can use to set a stealth level to show the detection range for. If set to 0, areas of the map would be coloured in where the player has any detectors within their detection range of the point. If set to 5, areas of the map would be coloured in where the player has detectors within detection - 5 range of the point, etc. There wouldn't be any gradients shown, but the player could move the slider around to interactively see strong and weakly-detected regions. I realize this is a slider suggestion and sliders are evil, but in this case, it's not an order being given, and is more like map zooming, so doesn't have the issues with sliders as an order-giving UI tool.
Even with the slider, it's still not obvious initially that any such weakly-detected regions exist, and that the player should use the slider to check them out. Having a slider to show the player exact visibility for particular locations is fine, but it should be accompanied by the gradient, so that the player already has a basic idea of where his detection is strong, and where it's weak.
Geoff the Medio wrote:or which the player's empire knows another empire has at some point had visibility of, which might have been seen by the other empire at a different location from where the player's empire last saw the object, or which might have been destroyed in the interim, or which might actually have been seen on a different turn from when the player's empire thinks the other empire saw it, etc.
This information is significantly less useful to the player, and would be nearly impossible to display on the galaxy map anyway. Nonetheless, there should probably be some visibility history screen the player can open that gives him such information, since it may be useful, and the alternative to us giving the player all potentially useful information (that he should have based on his empire's detection) is for him to keep track of it all himself.
Geoff the Medio wrote:It's probably too much for players or the UI to attempt to display which objects the player's empire knows that another empire currently has visibility of,
This is much more useful information, and easier to display via the UI. If it is not displayed via the UI, the player will find out anyway, each time he moves a bit closer to enemy territory, whether or not any of his fleets are visible to the empire, by comparing his stealth meters with the detection of known enemy objects, and measuring the distance between them. If it is/can be displayed, the most the player will have to do is hit a keyboard shortcut, and he can immediately see which of his fleets are visible to the enemy. This is important information. The player isn't going to just go without it because its not displayed in the UI, and he should be spared the inconvenience of having to compare stealth and detection values and measure distances for all relevant objects.
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RonaldX
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Re: galaxy map information modes/overlays

#178 Post by RonaldX » Tue Mar 09, 2010 4:40 am

Anyone ever play the old shareware game "Capture the Flag"?

Briefly, it was a turn based game where your team went into enemy territory to find and capture the flag. When you were in enemy territory, if an enemy caught you, a fight would ensue and if you lost you'd go to jail. Different grid spaces contained different terrain, and each terrain type cost 1-3 movement points to move through, and each would effect visibility in a different way. Heavier terrain would severely limit how far a player could see, while over open terrain you could see nearly forever. To add some strategy to the game, players had the option of running, walking, or crawling. Running made you easy to see, crawling made you very difficult to see but was much slower. Players also had varying attributes that would effect how good their visibility and stealth are.

Point is, you could click on the option to enter "visibility mode", which would give you a few options, and you could say "show me the map as far as my guys can see *right now*, and the range at which I can detect a player with [(bad), (average), (good), (excellent)] stealth who is [(running), (walking), or (crawling)]. The map would show all black except for the areas in which you would have visibility of an enemy in the chosen stance with the chosen stealth skill.

Going into a separate "visibility" menu that gave similar options, with an added option to change the map to display what you know about (empire1), (empire2), etc. might suit your needs.

For example, going into a sub menu, you could select "show me Empire X's detection range for a ship with Y stealth" and allow the player to pick the empire and define Y (maybe by means of a slider) which would automatically update a little minimap that just drew a line around your detectors to show you the range at which that stealth level is detectable.

-Ty.

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eleazar
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Re: galaxy map information modes/overlays

#179 Post by eleazar » Mon Apr 05, 2010 3:33 am

Geoff the Medio wrote:For the current system with distance vs. detection - stealth, another possible display of detection range could be to have a slider the user can use to set a stealth level to show the detection range for. If set to 0, areas of the map would be coloured in where the player has any detectors within their detection range of the point. If set to 5, areas of the map would be coloured in where the player has detectors within detection - 5 range of the point, etc. There wouldn't be any gradients shown, but the player could move the slider around to interactively see strong and weakly-detected regions. I realize this is a slider suggestion and sliders are evil, but in this case, it's not an order being given, and is more like map zooming, so doesn't have the issues with sliders as an order-giving UI tool.
It's not precisely the same thing as the micro-proliferating evil of sliders like the production sliders in MoO1, but it is similar.

Or perhaps you could compare it to the 3D interface of MoO3. It's a something that you have to continually fiddle with to get useful information out of your map, as you had to keep rotating a MoO3 galaxy to see how things connected. It's will be chore.

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