Suggestions & Recommendations

11

Suggestions & Recommendations


Good afternoon.

I wanted to write this post to offer some upgrades in Quality-of-Life changes to the UI of FAF.

  • First (the most important one) - Showcase the range of teammates' intel structures and units.
  • Second - Allow reclaiming from a higher distance/zoom level.
  • Third - More disperse options.
  • Lastly - Add missing hotkeys for structures and upgrades.

Unable to see ally's intel structure and intel unit ranges.

In the current way of how FAF works, (if you have your intel ranges active), you will see your radar, omni, counterintel, and sonar ranges. However, you cannot see your teammates' intel rings.

This is detrimental to teamwork! If you do not own the intel structure or unit, then you cannot know exactly what is covered, risking runbys / teleports and more in areas you thought were covered by radar, omni, or sonar.
Then you wouldn't have to ask your teammate, guess or manually check where their range is.

This should be in the game by default.


Increase the zoom Level at which reclaim is possible.

When you go to reclaim, most of the time, you have to zoom in quite close to the battlefield to issue a reclaim order.
The option to manually reclaim from a certain zoom distance should be given to the player rather than being enforced by the game.

How it currently works in FAF:
723ece45-77c9-45d5-89f4-e145cc309bd3-image.png

Here, you can see how close we are to a rock, yet the player is still unable to reclaim it.
Below is how close you actually need to be to reclaim that rock.

bff00a0a-a6fc-4cc6-bc49-a5971155e89a-image.png

It is difficult to showcase through images, but a player needs to zoom in quite a bit more to reclaim.

The point is, you can clearly see the reclaim yet you cannot give the order which makes you lose time in needing to zoom in further. You don't want the UI to make the player feel as if they are able to give an order (The rock is clearly big enough and visible) when they cannot (but not reclaimable).

For small rocks, it is not an issue since you must zoom in to be precise. However, for larger rocks, it would be preferable if you could manually reclaim them from the same range that you could see them or any range the player prefers.


More Disperse Options

8b902876-7146-4e5c-9f85-3b47fc888bc4-image.png

Currently, there is a mod that is amazing for scouting or moving multiple units to multiple different waypoints.
This mod can already allow the player to disperse assist engineers over multiple structures and units.

However, there is no disperse attack, disperse build, or disperse reclaim orders which could all be added into the base game.

The disperse attack order would allow finer control over attack orders such as multi-target bombing.
Currently, you can do it with the built-in option Spread Attack, however, it clutters the screen with multiple orders which scale exceptionally per unit and per order given which limits the way you can retarget or micro your attack orders.

This is also an issue for performance similar to how the mod "Spread Move" acted when giving large orders with multiple units. Possible crashes were likely.

How Spread Attack works:
56549f99-78fa-4a1e-92fa-d45df94e0188-image.png

How Disperse Attack would work:
41180a26-2bdd-4eed-9579-ca5abec1061a-image.png


It would be a great addition to the game to have a disperse build option, especially when a player dies in a no-share game and a player must rebuild the base.

How FAF currently works:
ab920fc4-93a8-4cb0-b050-83ad43bfd767-image.png

How Disperse Build would work:
a8b90865-cbe1-4eb1-865e-de8ae3db83e5-image.png


Similar to how to disperse build, and disperse attack would work, disperse reclaim.

How it currently works:
e3efe6c6-53e9-486d-ba52-1ed97e33778b-image.png

How Disperse Reclaim would work:
69b9f3ee-ff95-41ed-bfa8-56638ccd0650-image.png


Hotkeys

Some hotkeys are missing, more specifically for the Aeon Scry (Eye of Rhianne), and ACU upgrades.
For example, the most common upgrade, the Gun upgrade.

This would be a convenient change, so the player doesn't have to click multiple times, to get to the gun upgrade or to not mistake the left or right arm tabs.

There are hotkeys for literally, every other ability, yet, there is no Aeon Eye scry hotkey.

c4ebcd65-ba18-4b0a-815b-d5976e4d54a3-image.png

As you can see, there is no such hotkey.


Summary

  • Showcase team's intel ranges
  • Increase zoom level for reclaim as an option for the player
  • Disperse attack, build, reclaim
  • Hotkeys for Eye + Upgrades

All in all, just some quality of life changes. 🙂


~ Stryker

Can you send me some mass?

0

very cool ideas stryker

1

In my opinion, the intel stuff should be a toggle, but could be interesting to see..

The disperse stuff sounds promising.

0

Big fan of being able to see your team's intel rings and having more spread order options.

5

I'm not against these changes, but I'm not in favor of how they are suggested.

I'd like to explain why a public suggestion thread like this can cause more issues than it will solve. Instead, it is highly recommended to use the suggestions topic in the official Discord channel before starting a suggestion thread on the forums. That way you can skip the suggestions (and the hype of those suggestions) when they are not technically viable.

Increase the zoom Level at which reclaim is possible

We introduced the 'cannot reclaim here' cursor last patch because it was not intuitive when you could or could not issue a reclaim order to an entity (a prop or a unit). I'm not sure why, but you can issue a reclaim order on a position but that doesn't do anything in practice.

Anyhow, the limitation we're running into here is the engine. As far as I am aware the value that is used when a reclaim order can snap to props is defined in the engine. This means it would require an engine patch, which is in assembly.

Changing a value is tricky. Making it adjustable (from Lua) is challenging. But making sure it doesn't impact other behavior is nearly impossible. As an example: knowing how previous engine patches worked out, it is very likely that this specific value is also used to determine when a ground attack snaps to a prop.

And we wouldn't want to increase that, just the reclaim. Which makes it outright difficult to accomplish as the chances are the type of order is not in scope of where we'd need to make the change.

tldr; this is likely not a trivial suggestion to implement, even though it feels trivial.

Unable to see ally's intel structure and intel unit ranges

Similar to the previous suggestion, this would be an extensive engine change. Fun fact: we did try this. As a snippet of the result:

f87d2f82-bcaf-46dd-becd-ed3337b04a30-image.png

But as this topic immediately points out: not everyone wants this. Some people would like a toggle to turn it off. And I agree - to some extent it is even confusing to me what units are mine as I'm so used to use the radar rings to quickly identify where my units are.

But that brings us back to the previous discussing: changing a value is tricky, making it adjustable is challenging and the reason this never got to see the day of light was because there were many side effects that were unacceptable.

As an example of a few side effects:

  • Rendering of range rings (including radars) is expensive - the implementation this game took because of the hardware / software limitations at the time (in 2006) did not age well. We tried to improve this with patches and shader changes, but in the end we can't make it go away.
  • Besides seeing allied range rings, you can also see allied command graphs. Command graphs are known to be expensive (similar to range rings), which is a performance hit. But more over: the command graphs of your own units would look exactly the same as the command graphs of your allies! Have fun trying to figure out which order was yours if you want to adjust or delete an order.

204d96d7-b795-4593-9378-305f54063eda-image.png

And that brings me to why a public suggestion thread like this does more harm than good: suggestion threads work great if you want to increase awareness of a feature. But this type of topics only makes sense if the feature is technically viable.

A lot of balance suggestions are technically viable. The third- and fourth-point sound viable too. But the first two points are not - those are empty promises (apologies on the choice of words here), because the constraint is not whether we all agree - it is that it is technically not viable to implement.

As a side effect (heh!) of posting it publicly the game feels limited and to some even 'broken'. Meanwhile the game is not broken, this engine has so much potential that we have yet to utilize. It is just that this particular direction is not what this engine was built for.

A work of art is never finished, merely abandoned

1

Looking at your third suggestion with regards to reclaiming:

Reclaiming was specifically removed. The changelog does not mention this change and the commit message isn't particularly explanatory either. But I suspect this was due to UI automation mods. The moment we allow disperse move to use these type of orders, all other UI mods can too.

Until we accept UI automation in its broadest sense as a community, it doesn't appear the third option is viable either.

A work of art is never finished, merely abandoned

2

Thank you for the explanation Jip, but I have to disagree with your conclusion that these threads are harmful: what you just said was never mentioned anywhere and now it's readily available on the forums, where it can be read by anyone. If the guy went to discord and never made this thread, that info would remain there.

Now if someone else has the same suggestion they can see here that it was already mentioned and why it's not viable.

0

If I recall correctly, the Disperse Build and the Disperse Reclaim suggestions were denied, because it would be too overpowered and would increase the skill gap between players who are using and not using these features by several astronomical units.

The other player can not easily equalize this with just a few more actions per minute when he is not using, for example, spread attack key, when he wants to target multiple units

The game is already hard enough to learn for new players, adding more features that are necessary to learn and to master will possibly result in a decrease in new players and more frustrating moments in game experience.

At least, I would like to test those features, because I would like to see how it changes the dynamic gameplay.

Maybe the balancing team can finalize things up.

Edit: It was denied because of the possibility of abusing those features via UI mods as well.

0

@magge

How would making the UI more powerful make the game harder to play for new players? It would make it easier for people to match higher players with the same APM. Unless you're talking about not explaining how to use the features well or them not being easily accessible, which is easily rectified with tooltips or a video guide

put the xbox units in the game pls u_u

0

@zeldafanboy The same way as having more unit types makes the game harder. There are just more options that you have to learn, remember and ideally understand.
If The UI Mod was not very useful for higher level players, then it would be the case of closing the skill gap, but it would also introduce more skill barriers, where you might need to stop using a feature, because it makes you better if you are 500 rated, but makes you worse if you are 1500.
So you don't want features that harm your skill in higher levels. And making a feature, that is useful for a 500 rated, but has 0 impact on the gameplay of a 1500 rated player isn't that easy.
So basically if a feature is useful for a 1500+ rated player, then it will make the game harder.

0

A dude made a ui mod that optimally split your units to make it as hard as possible for an ML laser to shoot them, that was sorta the lynchpin for blocking these abilities from being allowed.

0

@magge not entirely sure about your points. I joined faf only because you had quality of life + mods. I would never have bothered if the game was vanilla supcom. Also, I dont think that 2ks turning into 2K5s will prevent 500s having fun together (they already ignore all the mods, do they flee because of me? and the fact that i do use them?). How can we check if your claim holds up and is not just opinion?

I also like mods since it helps low apm players like me compete with osu fanatics. It feels like you'd rather discriminate players on click speed.
I want an RTS, strategy focused, not who can micro building the mexes faster.

For a noob, isnt easier to learn to do spread build over doing 'select nearest idle engi, mex hotkey, click mex, repeat x times'? how is this not noob friendly?

Another point: if we follow your logic, why is disperse move even allowed then? because the modder released it before you could veto it ?

I wont argue the part about UI mods abusing this feature since i dont understand what that would be.

In the end, I guess it depends where the dev team wants to take the game.
All in all i dont really care, I just like to argue, do what you want 🙂 the game is already good, i dont care enough to make it "better"

1

@magge said in Suggestions & Recommendations:

If I recall correctly, the Disperse Build and the Disperse Reclaim suggestions were denied, because it would be too overpowered and would increase the skill gap between players who are using and not using these features by several astronomical units.

Ive never heard of this before. Are you sure youre not confusing it with something else?

Anyway, the argument that it would increase the skill gap is a bad one and kinda irrelevant if you ask me. There are tons and tons of players not using way stronger tools than what is being suggested here. Its actually the opposite. Adding these tools would lower the skill gap because its now less effort to do something that required more effort previously.

0

It was related to those discussions and threads - If I mixed it up, my bad. However, because of the abusing power in UI mods, it will not be allowed in the first place, but I like to be proven otherwise from someone who knows more about the matter, because I like those ideas.

sheikah said in Reclaim Brush:

This is effectively the same as area commands which has already been heavily discussed on this forum here https://forum.faforever.com/topic/2054/beating-a-dead-horse-area-commands/12?page=1

and on the old forum which I will link when I find it

Edit: found em, have fun reading
https://forums.faforever.com/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=13632
https://forums.faforever.com/viewtopic.php?f=41&t=8471&start=20

3

Disperse reclaim is not the same as area commands. One is completely automating a process while the other just makes it more efficient

0

Remember that auto mass fab was added not that long ago.

Sadge for radar ring at least (T1/T2/T3 radar and sonar would be nice)

0

@thewheelie said in Suggestions & Recommendations:

Adding these tools would lower the skill gap because its now less effort to do something that required more effort previously.

But that's only true if what the mod allows you to do is already done normally by high level players and I don't think i have ever seen someone reclaim like the disperse reclaim does. Not even sure if people actually bothered to setup their build commands like the spread build would for mexes. So if you add it, it would raise the skill gap, because it potentially makes everyone play more efficiently, but is another thing you have to learn to use.

Wouldn't spread build be kind of a noob trap anyway, since you want to build things sequentially most of the time? And the gain of using it optimally is often very low. (48 mass at the t3 stage in the screenshot)