“Why aren’t you playing WWIIOL?”

Whenever I’m posting about other peoples’ games, I start getting the private messages and emails asking me how come I’m not playing our game. Let me start by saying that the day I stop loving WWIIOL will be denoted by my resignation landing on our CEOs desk.

With the BE:China in the works, you might think I need to be in the game more than ever. When you spend as much time – one way or another – in the game world as I do, you need the occasional break. But more than that, I want to be able to see the game, again, as a newbie might see it.

I’ve bought this fancy new system, the new monitor, and I wanted the opportunity to come look at the game with a bit of freshness. When I logged in today to monitor the game after the host update I didn’t recognize the game I was seeing. With too much familiarity you stop seeing the way the textures don’t line up on some of the UI screens, or how some of the buttons don’t match or the way that the UI makes the game look like its running in 800×600 regardless of what resolution you’re in.

Some of these issues are already being addressed in the 1.29/PRC work: we’re going to be changing the default widescreen clamp from horizontal to vertical – so Widescreen players will get a wider FOV with the same amount of vertical detail as a non-widescreen display gets; the mini-map should be scaling properly in 1.29.

Of course, UI scaling has always been tricky because if you assumed that higher resolution = larger screen you would get people playing in 1600×1200 on 17in monitors who couldn’t see a thing, while conversely assuming higher resolution = smaller pixels, people playing on larger screens get giant-sized UI components occupying massive amounts of physical display real-estate.

On my screen, the Kenney (the thing including the mini-map) is literally the size of my palm:

kenneyfist.jpg

Several modern games solve this with the “UI Scaling” slider so that the user can adjust it to their personal aesthetic taste. Maybe the 1.29 engine work will make that feasible for us too. hrd to typ wif fngrs xd.

I’m still trying to coax Ramp into believing that players care about supply stuff enough that it ought not to be hidden away in a tooltip with no obvious anchor.

supply.jpg (mouse over the facility name)

And that the labelling of this screen is helping to persist the confusion some players experience about TOE supply. That spawnlist isn’t the FB’s spawnlist. They’re not at the FB. They belong to the brigade. I am seeing the brigade’s singular spawn list. If I spawn a Rifleman here, there will be one less rifleman showing to anyone else viewing this brigade’s spawnlist.

There are a lot of minor things about 1.28 that I know have already been worked on or dealt with in 1.29 – Martini has made a big push to allow you to change various settings without having to restart the game. I hope he will finally make it so that you can plug in joysticks/etc while the game is running without having to restart :) I keep forgetting to plug mine in and I can never be bothered to restart the game.

I gotta say – I do get sweet frame rates in the game on this new box.

I’ve also been spending some of my private time working on a replacement to Playgate, our patcher/launcher, with some simple touches that started out like this

pg-start2.png

But is now looking a little more like this

pg-after.png

CODER ART disclaimer! Neither screen has been touched by an artist or a designer, its literally just me throwing stuff into a window so I can interact with it and exercise my extremely rusty Windows programming skills – for instance, in the first replacement window shown here, I had no clue how to colorize the entries of a listbox – whereas in the second example I’d gotten my head around it.

That said – I clearly still have a lot to learn about Windows Forms: I wanted to screenshot the “login” page, but it somehow magically resists screen capture. I have a hunch I’m going to have to redo that page entirely.

33 Comments

I dont know if its really possible to see this game the way a newb does, but kudos for trying!

I had no idea BTW that you could see supply status with a mousover!

I’m really down in the dumps about the UI, its odd conception and its unnecessary complexity…..

Maybe I’m naive, but I just think a new, battle-centric, simple UI would have a huge impact on the newb experience.

I tried to respawn in a big battle the other day after the MSP was killed. There were tonnes of friendlies there but I simply could not figure out where they were coming from. (I know, probably from a captured depot connected to a different brigade)

Try as I might, I could not find that brigade and just logged off angry.

Trout

Hope that isn’t your real password ;) Shouldn’t that be masked?

Something must be wrong with my spawn list. I never see SKULL or BUZZARD. Can you fix that? ;)

Playing other games is a good way to cleanse your palate. Take in new ideas or new approaches. Not playing other games would be myopic.

You know, they(CRS) should pay for at least 1 of your subscriptions to another game.

patching pron. I saw that coming a 2.54 kilometers away.

The fact you’re asking if that’s my real password but you didn’t bat an eyelid at the username says bad things about my reputation :(

Toenails, dude. Toenails..

;)

I know your password…

because i AM you…

ahahahahahaaaaaaa

When you’ve had to deal with dba’s who’s password on the dev instances are iamgod. You don’t bat an eye. ;)

do you have to ignore pms regularly kfs1 because it would seem like you would get hounded soon as anyone sees you in game

i used to say hello but stopped because i dont wanna bother you if your working

cracks whip*

oh and that playgate launch stuff looks cool

That final image is crying out of Xiper’s map showing AOs, brigades and front line.

On another note, would it be possible to ‘improve’ the /who command? Make it more mmorpg style friendly?

/who channel 23
/who squad
/who squad bef

even if it cut off at 15 players it would be fantastic to find out if I am talking to myself or I’m being ignored (I assume the ignore portion, heh). Ordered by rank would be good for the squad information.

Wow, I see a couple things in there that I have been really waiting for. Mainly, the widescreen thing.

About players not realizing equipment belongs to the brigade and not just the FB/AB/Depot, I see 1 real permanent solution. Stop with this “mission origin” crap. Why do we have missions out of depots, why do we have them out of FBs. The brigade is the brigade. No equipment is stuck anywhere, so why are the missions.

Mission origins should be the whole TOWN. Then, just like offline, to spawn in you click on a facility and thats where you spawn. Put MSPs on the theater map and click on 1 of any MSPs that are deployed. No more, mission is scrapped because the depot you were spawning from has been capped. Why is the mission to defend it canceled. You can still fight for it. Part of the reason we have mission spam (20 mission in a brigade for the same town) is because you have to do it just to change where you spawn in. Why do MSPs go down when the FB goes down. Technically, the troops have already been transported. MSPs should still work after the destroyed, just that armor and new MSPs have to drive 3 times as long to get there.

You know, ever since I broke the mirror, I haven’t seen you around much, j’jaz :)

Sres: Yep, that struck me as soon as I put it together. When I was showing Rafter, I kept trying to draw him away from seeing my layout and content “this is just a random web page I picked to show its got a web browser” (I should have said “to show it can display HTML content”). He got that.

Of course … Xiper’s app is using my data-feed (WireTap), so I can easily tap into that :)

Oh…

http://web3.wwiionline.com/servers.xml

Erh, “/who” shows you which squaddies are online, sres.

I might do something with /who … what I really, really want is to get Ramp to put it into a UI window so that you can use /who as a last resort …

w00t for widescreen fix!

OK –

The Battle is God.

You want as close to “Insta-Spawn to Battle” as possible.

The UI, The Map, XIPERs WIRETAP all tie together to give information that is essential to getting to the ‘Main Battle’.

Being able to simply spawn at ANY facitlity that is involved in attacking a town; and having the facility ‘light up’ as a “click and spawn from here” and a counter of recent friendly/enemy deaths to rate the battles priority seems very possible. (seems possible because I don’t know coding perhaps.)

If High Command knew that wherever they spawned, they would highlight that facitility as ‘commanded / oic active’ – THAT would drive players to highlighted missions.

We rely too much on name recognition and grognard knowledge in this game to be ‘leet’. Let good players who simply want to pwn their ’25 yards’ of battle know where to flow in.

Make HC who want the facility highlighted post orders and waypoints to get the highlighted facility (by using the HC UI as their Map Screen in battle).

“I have a dream! That one day WWIIOL will be judged – not by the color of its textures – but by the content of its battles…” Apologies to MLK Jr.

I’ll always disagree with anyone who makes the [absolute] statement that lurches near to “instant action”. The only instant action in this game is a black screen by dying infront of an enemy.

While I have often quoted Lum’s “Taxi To Victory” people misunderstand why. The log of Scott’s experience is one of so many typical players trying WWIIOL on day 1 and concluding “wtf?” The problem wasn’t the long rides or the time to battle, the problem was that gameplay was primarily time to battle and hideous complexity. The game was simulating all kinds of things other than simulating combat.

The rides into town were supposed to be aggregation/grouping/organization times – but a lot of CRS folks continued to fail to understand that it lacked value because it disintegrated on contact with the enemy. Battle in early WWII Online was like balistics in WWIIOL – there was no partial penetration like a spear tearing into flesh, you either broke thru in the first attack or you bounced off like a ricochet and everyone who died went back to the starting lines.

You weren’t simulating an attack or a defense, you were simulating the lives of individual soldiers.

And the game had two types of simulation – it simulated the mechanics/physics, and it simulated simulating a person – like the four-key firing sequence.

What it lacked was a way to pay your dues and get returns or to choose where to try and make your investment.

In WWIIOL 1.0 you were continuously paying dues with the heaviest death penalty around short of 1 life per subscription.

WWIIOL 1.0 combat was like a game of cards where if one player says “I have a winning hand” the other player has to go all in and place his cards on the table, but then if the first player realizes his isn’t the winning hand, he can pick up a fresh set of cards.

Its much better now but it can still be hard sometimes to tell whether you are going to be investing your time in a fight that is going to last, or whether you are going to spawn in and wander around aimlessly.

Some of those long truck rides were cool – the camaradarie, the ambience, the fear of dying… But laying down 10-30 minutes per 1s to 1 minute of action is just too much. Laying down 10-30 minutes for 5-30 minutes of action – now that is a lot better. Right now we only ask tankers and mobile spawn drivers to do that, and IMHO, we need to reinstate a little more “investment time” to players to make it more worthwhile sticking to an attack or a defense to try and make it work – when both attacker and defender are more committed to a battle, everyone’s investments become better rewarded, even if you don’t win: its better to have lost a fight after 30 minutes of action than it is after 2 hours of driving and 30 seconds of action.

long flights are normal for me, i still enjoy them. i have time to troll the forums :)

I was in a number of fights last night as an attacker in Sedan. As almost always, I was looking for the quickest respawn locations. Itermittantly, there were 2 depots to spawn from, and anywhere between 0-5 MSPs, both french and british.

Playing like this is very difficult, and a newb would certainly have found himself many times staring at an empty spawn list, spawning at an FB (and not wanting to), spawning at some way distant MSP or not spawning at all. He would also find it very difficult to stay with one group of people (cause most other people are doing the same thing – mission, brigade, and country jumping)

Now I know that when you can no longer spawn at a depot or MSP, you are SUPPOSED to spawn at the FB and wait for a ride, right? Hardly anyone does this.

But if you really WORK the UI, and know how to do it, you CAN stay in the thick of things for a sustained period. And this is why the UI is terrible, because if you cant do this, then you are stuck with 2nd rate gameplay.

Trout

SORRY, BUT ENGLISH IS NOT MY NATIVE LANGUAGE

As a half-newbie (a person that undertant what the game is or it trying to be, but is not so good playing the game) I have some ideas that could help newbie players.

1- Why the joystick is the default control settings? Keyboard should be the default settings, if a player want to play with joystick, its because he know how to make a joystick work on game and so he is not so newbie in computer things.

The control settings should have many profiles, in every section of keyboard setting (tank, navy,….) you would have a where you would be able to save your settings, and would be pre-made settings, like keyboard, joystick,……. So if a player that play with keybard want to play with a joystick, the only thing that he need to do is change to the joystick profile.

Another thing is that in control settings, some tanks, trucks or planes, you are able to change some things that the vehicle dont have, like changing the button used to fire in the Opel Blitz. Opel dont have a gun, and making a player able to change the button used to fire in opel control setting, just make the things more difficult to new players.

2- Dont know if this is a easy thing do in the game. But the crs team could put that i player is able when spawning as a vehicle to choose if he want mult-crew. Then in the ui you could make a list of the players that are spawned that want multi-crew and what vehicle he is driving. If a player want he could start in spawn in that vehicle and play with the other player. This would be good for players that dont know how to drive yet and just want to use the weapons and feel how the using a vehicle is. You could also make that when making a UMS a player could choose if a new player would be able to start spawn as this truck and start playing. To this new UMS idea work you would need to put something like this in the game: When a player spawn, the others players should see their username and the name of the soldier that the player is using. This would be needed because if a player spawn and start to control a UMS, the others players would need to know that this is the same truck and not another truck, controlled by another player that is near the truck that was there.

3- Make a OFFLINE tutorial. Control vehicles in this game can be a very difficult things. Because of some things like turning on the engine and another things that many others ww2 fps dont have. Tutorial shoud be like this: If a player spawn with a tank, the game would say, “to control the tank you need first to turn on the engine, press E to do this”, and then say ” now you have to….” and this go on until the player had learned every thing of that tank.

4- You could also make that when a player is choose a truck to spawn, he could choose some infantry to to spawn with him. Those spawning infantries would do nothing just stay there in the truck, and then if a player in the spawning list want to play with one of those infantries that are on the truck he could choose to do this. This idea would be good to new players because, many times when a player spawn in the game there is no truck there to get him to the batlle and he dont want to wait a truck. You would need to make that just players with higher ranks would be able to spawn trucks with infantries, to avoid players recruit players killin alot of infantries, by choosing to spawn with many infantries in the truck, when he is not able yet to control well a truck.

Maybe later i post more ideas.

new ideas:

5- Add more recruit things (trucks, tanks……). The way that most of new players use to get into the game is the free trials. Many of them don’t “get into” the game quickly, they die many times, and can not get into a higher rank other then recruit in 14 days, so they dont enjoy so many things (vehicles, planes,….).

6- Add poly-crew. I know that this is very difficult thing to add. But if the crs team add this, would be a good thing. With this long time players would be able to start a polycrew in a vehicle with many guns and drive that vehicle, and others new players enjoy this vehicle playing as a gunner, they would have fun even if they dont know how to drive a vehicle. This would be good too, because there are many new players that spawn as a vehicle start driving that vehicle just to despawn later (some times not RTB). Some ideas that i said before would be needed to this work, because new players would not like to wait to enter in a poly-crew.

7-

One more idea:

7- Why not instead making better models and improving graphic of infantries and houses, you make better models of AA, AT, and ship crew. Those are really necessarie. Imagine some new player starting the game, and stating as navy those really bad models would be a bad First impression for the game.

Exdeath, you’re making a very common but regrettable mistake in #7. You’re treating the modellers as completely interchangable – they are NOT.

The buildings are being done by Granik (I believe). The AA/AT/Ship models would be done by a vehicle modeller, and require a far more advanced skill set – they are dynamic models unlike the buildings, and require skeletons, damage models, etc.

Granik can’t do them. But what he CAN do, is make the environment itself look amazing, freeing up the other modelers to work on other items.

What i was saying (or trying to say) is that the build are not the best moddeled buildings in the game industry, and they need to be improved, but instead of using the team worktime to make better buildings models, the team should focus on aa, at and ship-crew models. They are focusing on newbies things right now, and the low-quality of the AA/AT/ some ship-crews models give more a bad impression to a newbie player than the low-quality of some buildings models.

Ok, since buildings and vehicles are not moddeled by the same type of modellers, just get the vehicles type of modellers and make they make AA AT and SHIP betters models first.

As Krenn points out, “the team” is a common misunderstanding. Granik is working away on phasing out the last of the old buildings. They’re never going to be the best buildings in the game industry because the game industry doesn’t have to draw 6km of buildings with colliders and consistent LODs. There are very few games that have to draw as far out as we do with a consistent view.

“Ok, since buildings and vehicles are not moddeled by the same type of modellers, just get the vehicles type of modellers and make they make AA AT and SHIP betters models first.”

Makes absolutely no sense to me. A second ago you were talking about crew. Improving the crew members on the ATG/AAA guns means taking lots of polys away from the ATG/AAA gun itself. Until we can add the technology to put actual troopers where crew members are. But that’s a ways off yet. Until then, we’re stuck with atg/aaas that have extremely tight budget constraints or else we have to throw massive amounts of art-dev time at redoing existing vehicles to an undesirable end. That’s generally known as pouring money down the drain.

I was not talking that infantry should be able to enter in tank, AA, AT or Ship, and use then to fire or drive.

I was talkin about this: Spawn as a some ship, and get someone with binoculars and look at some gunner of your ship, their model look very bad. (At least the last time that i used a ship they were.) Imagine some newbie looking at this, this would give a bad first impression to the game.

I also wasn’t talking about entering vehicles.

Heh. Having seen the way the vehicles, guns, etc are made I don’t blame Granik for doing the buildings instead :D

Well…

The “team” is actually all working on buildings right now.

Reading again what kfsone said, now i see that he was no talking about enterin vehicles too. Sorry for that. :(

And I not blaming, the team. The team is doing a very good work with the game. For me this MMO is the MMO that most improves itself in the mmo market.
I am just putting up some ideas, that would be good to newbies since the team said that they are focusing on newbie experience now. Some thing that would help newbies to enter in the game.

We are going to be redoing all the crew of ATG’s, AAg’s … ships boats and tank commanders, any crew that you can see in 3rd person perspective really. Probably start this process in v1.30 but since there are hundreds of instances involved, it will take a long time to complete the entire task list.

Snellman, you always were a smartarse. :) G’day mate.

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