Suggestions & Recommendations

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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

3

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.

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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.

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@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

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@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.

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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.

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@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"

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@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.

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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

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

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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)

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@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)

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So, it seems disperse build and reclaim are a no-go because of possible UI mod abuse?

I can see how it would happen but I cannot seem to understand why it would happen if the UI let's you do the same?

The player still has to manually click on reclaim wreckage and place down each structure... Unless I'm not understanding correctly...


~ Stryker

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well how did I miss this thread before, anyways I thought disperse build was a problem more because of engine limitation than balance reasons, and I tried to fix spread attack by using some stuff I learned while creating disperse move, but doing so is only possible by changing FAF code itself because UI mods can't change anything about spread attack for some reason, and my fix was rejected, also no, it wasn't broken, here is example of what it allowed when combined with disperse move

like I would gladly let disperse move effect other orders as well, but it is up to FAF to allow UI mods to effect anything except move orders, because it only can't because of restrictions put in place specifically to prevent it effecting certain orders

I already asked a similar thing before about the concepts of UI automation and "computer playing for you" (which I don't agree should be allowed btw) in FAF in general, trying to explain that proper controls breaking the game merely expose the underlying problems that were so far hidden because of lack of those controls preventing you from using units to their maximum potential where their brokeness would be revealed, in a way bad controls "balancing" certain units and tactics and good controls thus breaking this balance, the obvious solution being to allow better controls and rebalance the broken units, but then again, we still groundfire underwater units and consider that balance

to tldr it, in conclusion, my opinion was that UI mods should allow player to do anything to issue orders more easily and thus control units properly but not beyond their existing abilities, to tell them what to do as effortlessly as possible, what they shouldn't allow is issuing orders on their own without player input and deciding things themselves (no post player action decision making by ui mods allowed, so player only gets better controls instead of mods playing the game for them), but anything player wants to get their units to do, they should be able to do with least effort, so that the game is only about "what to do" rather than "how to optimize time between what to do and tedium and mechanical skill of getting them to do it manually over several seconds, even if it took you a split second to come up with what they should do"

the problem of ui mods giving advantage to players using them over those that don't has a simple solution that was already done (partially) for some of them such as target priorities, include them in base FAF so everyone can use them

eventually it comes to what you want the game to be what your opinion on this is

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@ComradeStryker those are security limitations. Allowing those can cause lots of auto-click mods for reclaiming and building.

My github repo with UI Mods

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I apologize, I'm having difficulties following, I may have misunderstood.
Some of you say it is a balance limitation whilst others say it is a mod limitation.

I'll assume it's probably a bit of both, but... I have some questions.

@TheWheelie mentioned it wasn't as effective as area commands, so, how is it that it would break balance?

Wouldn't shortening an APM Gap between casual players and pro players be a good thing?
Wouldn't making the UI a little more powerful be a good thing?

Also, doesn't the player themselves still need to click on the reclaim or place the buildings down and then give the disperse order? - How could this process be automated completely to cause auto-click mods?

I believe that these mods make the game a little more appealing as the UI becomes more flexible. Easing the 'load' on newer players by offering new and easier ways to do things.


~Stryker

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@mach said in Suggestions & Recommendations:

well how did I miss this thread before, anyways I thought disperse build was a problem more because of engine limitation than balance reasons, and I tried to fix spread attack by using some stuff I learned while creating disperse move, but doing so is only possible by changing FAF code itself because UI mods can't change anything about spread attack for some reason, and my fix was rejected, also no, it wasn't broken, here is example of what it allowed when combined with disperse move

Well holy shit. That looks absolutely sick and I love it. IMO that's no more "the computer playing for you" than regular disperse move or disperse attack is. No one is setting up attacks like that manually right now simply because of the APM that would be required. But adding that would open up new tactics and should absolutely be allowed. I mean shit, I'm glad your video uses Janus' because that seems perfect for janus firebombing missions but I could see it being used in other situations too.

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@mach said in Suggestions & Recommendations:

here is example of what it allowed when combined with disperse move

That... is awesome!
Sucks that it couldn't have been more refined and implemented.
This would've made a great addition to FAF.


~ Stryker

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We can look into it again when we find the time for it. It didn't get merged because there was an issue when I tested it followed up with merge conflicts. And that on a pull request that was two years old, from before my time.

A work of art is never finished, merely abandoned