Air Grid visuals

Just to give you something to think about. This isn’t a UI mockup, this isn’t from the client guys, this is just an attempt to depict how I visualize the sort of thing you might see. The images cover a relatively small area of the map. In-game I imagine it would only update once every 30 or 60 seconds.

Here’s a small, animated mockup which updates once every 5-6 seconds.

mapanism.gif

(You gotta click for the animated version, doofus)

You can see a larger, slower version here – it only updates every *30 seconds* so you gotta sit and wait.

Based on data from live game mid-afternoon, well before peak, and that’s *just* bombers.

18 Comments

nice,

just make sure the ‘client guys’, no matter how they design it, make it so i can turn that off.

:-P

It’s not going to be on by default.

That’s pretty decent. Though, and I believe this has been asked already but I don’t know if its been answered or not, will this be an overlay for the ENTIRE map or just for regions around the Factories? And will it show ALL air activity, both friendly and enemy, bomber and fighter? Or will there be ‘filters’ to show just bombers, fighters, enemies, friendlies? And, will there be a means to change the settings for what is considered Yellow, Red or Green in terms of Air traffic?

Also, are these the default sizes for the Grids or will the Grid sizes change as you zoom in and out of the map, though with both a Min and Max grid size?

KFS1,
It’s hard to form a comprehensive opinion based on that snapshot and without actually trying it, but my hunch is that the squares the squares will have to be smaller. The visual clutter *seems* excessive to the point of useless, but that’s a really short snapshot so I’ll defer for now.

Any chance you can re-do that using a several size grids: 5km, 10km, 15km? Just to get a better sense of it.

The *point* gentlemen is NOT for him to customize an IDEA so you can get a better idea of what is, for KFS, the – *coder* – is trying to explain to you about….what the Producer might order up (Gophur and/or DOC and/or KILLER).

Square size, claims of clutter, various sizes of squares are all waaay too early.

This is to stop the ‘give it now/I’m whining about what I don’t know yet cuz CRS don’t know yet’ crowd from trying to destroy something.

CLUE: Its an IDEA for you to extrapolate that YOU won’t be instantly recognizable on any kind of “non-radar radar” (patent pending) or other some such oxymoron.

SUMMARY: Take the concept of ‘colored squares’ + the concept of ‘updated slowly’ and make it whatever you think best….but quit worrying about radar.

Now go get in a bomber and enjoy yourself.

Yup, that’s exactly what I was envisioning. The “overlap” I was talking about would simply make it so that a single square with a bunch of EA in it would be heavily colored, and all the squares around it lightly colored… antialiasing, I suppose, of the EWS. Just to make it all look a little less abrupt.

Good stuff though.

Any thoughts on a “shows both sides” radar, that would have greenish overlays for friendlies? That would help immensely in figuring out where more air was needed.

Any chance that a delayed data stream will be provided after the system is settled down, that will enable player-developers to create apps that can plot where missions flew, where escorts met them, where they were intercepted, what losses were taken, what damage was done, etc.?

I’m envisioning low-frame-rate operational-level movies of how the strat air war is played, as a game-explaining device and marketing tool.

Krenn, if you think about the update rate and the movement of aircraft around cell boundaries, I think you’ll find that it’s probably “self-anti-aliasing” to a large degree. Depends if the display indicates “right now” at each update or “activity over the last update period”.

BTW, coloured cell overlays – great idea there! :) Although I do wonder if using the same shade at different opacities could be more useful in looking at the “big picture”. (ie instead of yellow, use the same red but at about half the opacity for the “low aircraft density” cells.)

Oh and if the decision is made to limit the a/c density info to just cells within X units of the frontline (or whatever) I’d strongly suggest marking cells that are currently not receiving updates with another colour (eg black at 10% opacity).

Otherwise you’d have “no planes here” and “not being updated” both represented by the same visual state – no cell shading. I would argue this is a Bad Thing.

Although TBH I’m not sure how you can dissuade map-skirting (apparently one of the design goals) if the cell updates were frontline only.

BTW Yes I do understand UI issues aren’t really your primary concern… :)

If this makes it harder to bomb and such, will the rewards for bombing be raised?

Sonar,
It goes without saying that *if* bombing becomes harder, the Rats will certainly increase factory sensitivity to bombing; it will take fewer bombs to slow down RDP. The pilots that get through will have the satisfaction of putting the big hurt on the enemy. Outside of that, there are no rewards for factory bombing –except the fun of flying a hot mission — but a reward system for RDP bombing is a whole other topic for another day. :)

KFS1,
I like the way you have it right now. It’s best to go with this simple implementation thats can be put it in game quickly so the player base can benefit from it soonest. But after staring at it a bit, I would only have to say, increase the resolution a bit to 15km squares. I noticed the grid can cover 3-4 towns at a time, which is a bit large. Given the very slow update rate, it’s almost useless info. The intent is to encourage higher, better flying with more encounters, but the way it is now it’s just a jumble of blobs. I’d say, keep the update rate slow but bump up the resolution.

I know, I know, bomber pilots are going to freak out even more if that happens. Here’s an idea, the grid could be made logarithmic (non-radial, but mirrored across the origin) with the origin point set along the front lines.

See this picture:

* at the front line, the grid resolution could be very high, 5-10km
* at the front line, the high resolution will force fighter pilots to fly high and fight like they really should
* while way back from the front-line the resolution could be lower, 20-50km
* bombers coming in from far back will have the initial obscurity they need. As they approach the front-line, the bomber escorts will have a high-resolution view of where the interceptors are positioned (because naturally that’s the best place to catch the bombers), so the escorts can be very effective blocking for the bombers. As the bombers pass the front-line, resolution drops again and they’ll regain some obscurity.
* to simplify things, the origin point would be static over a period of 4-8hours, after which the system polls the front-line again and figures out the new origin axis.
* the update rate is static regardless of resolution.

It would satisfy many needs while still being relatively simple. Graphically, the grid is pre-set. Code wise, the aircraft info is the same but the fill color is just going into bigger/smaller boxes.

That said, I strongly prefer the simpler idea. Anything that gets Air Grid out the door pronto is best.

The log-linear grid is a nice idea, but why would the detection-resolution decrease again once the front lines have been passed, over territory friendly to the detecting side? Maybe asymmetrical grid resolution could be considered on a mirror image basis, with each side having much better detection over its own territory.

***

Considering possible responses to a grid reporting system, I’d think it would be desirable for the attacking side to disperse unescorted bombers, meeting up over enemy territory shortly before drop. Thus a useless wide blob of incursion-reports would move toward the target. I think perhaps a means will be needed of causing the bombers to realistically group up, so that escorts will similarly be able to group up, interceptors will need to group up, and increased combat interactions will result.

Doc has already told us that increasing bomber defensive armament effectiveness toward realistic levels via gun functionality fixes and polycrewing isn’t going to happen any time soon, partly because of no resources and partly because that level of effectiveness would have no significant effect on bomber survival against competent fighter pilots.

A couple of other ideas for achieving bomber grouping:

1. Explicit motivation for mission leader proximity throughout the mission via points reward every X minutes.

2. Increased bombing dispersion from high altitudes due to virtual wind and weather, combined with greatly increased heavy-AA lethality prior to the drop zone up to medium-high altitudes to motivate high altitude dropping, combined with a decrease in dispersion for bombers dropping while in proximity to their mission leader as a simplified virtual model of the ability of other bombers to benefit from the drop point determination of the most experienced bombardier in the mission group.

JWILLY –

For anyone willing to fight through the dense verbiage…your idea rocks.

Of course, I enjoy polysyllabic reading so I’m in the minority – but IF you made it simple (I suggest 3 sentences with a maximum of 1 word per sentence with 3 syllables) I believe GOPHUR and KFS1 might like that … alot.

S!

Like you said, an asymmetric log-linear grid could be used that has its highest resolution over friendly territory and decreasing outward. I did think of that. But I suggested the mirrored approach as a compromise to placate the bomber boys. I think if we make a high resolution system that goes all the way back over enemy territory, the bomber crews will quit flying.

Another approach is to use log-linear ‘banding’, with bands of high and low resolution. One could argue that this represents a) a tiered defense because b) the limited ‘radar’ resources available at the time meant they couldn’t have uniformed coverage.

Who the heck knows! This log-linear idea of mine may be just as complicated for KFS1 to implement as the other convoluted suggestions. No clue. KFS1 will have to enlighten on us this. Easy to do like the simple system? Hard to do?

…if we make a high resolution system that goes all the way back over enemy territory, the bomber crews will quit flying.

No question about it, near-term morale among bomber players is among the issues that must be successfully managed during development, so that those players stick with the game long enough to discover that the new system is different, but more fun instead of less.

It’d be grim if in the first week after introduction, a lot of strat bomber missions were wiped out.

Maybe the detection grid forward of a nation’s home territory needs to get very large pretty quickly, so that it’s vaguely possible to note changes in apparent overall activity level but there isn’t really any aid to interception until bombers get pretty close to the interceptors’ home-territory boundary.

I’m sure the Rats are way ahead of us on this.

Too many comments, good and bad, spread too widely to try and reply – so I posted a fresh post with some more visuals to try and address key points.

And still, when ever the heavy grid lights up at bomberbase, everyone knows whats gonna happen.

Massacre to bombers.

Period.

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