Auteur Sujet: Contender for the longest post…  (Lu 1280 fois)

Hors ligne Simon

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Contender for the longest post…
« le: 19 décembre 2013, 21:28:06 pm »
Histwar Napoleon is proving to be a considerable and impressive move forward for the game (even if we have had to buy it twice!). It’s now pretty well a playable game, which looks good and provides an opportunity to stride the battlefields of Napoleonic Europe that exists nowhere else.

I would like to assist this development with the following, somewhat lengthy I now see, presentation. It’s taken some time to prepare, so I hope it is received in the spirit in which it is intended. There may be contention over some opinions and other suggestions rejected outright but if the game is benefited by any small measure, it will have been worthwhile.

There are still quite a large number of individual problems, some of which I have listed below in point form in order to facilitate correction.

I hope no one will mind my making some suggestions in a spirit of constructive observation. Some strategic errors have blighted the game in terms of sales and interest around the world, which is a shame given all the effort that has gone into it and the great potential, which now seems to be realised.

Problems with the original game marketing (IMHO) started with the most basic aspect: the very title itself. I would have counselled against that title, had I been a consultant on the project. The potential market, one way or the other, is principally English-speaking. Although I speak French myself, a title like Les Grognards will have been unfamiliar to many and of uncertain pronunciation should have been avoided. It’s a small point but little things like this don’t help.

I think it’s become apparent to all eventually that the user interface has repelled players in droves. I’m sorry but it’s just about as bad as it could possibly have been designed. It breaks all the rules for providing user-friendly and effective assimilation by players. Why, for example have a series of coloured dots representing the deployment of a corps, when each stage of deployment could have been indicated by a few words?! The manner of displaying the composition of guns in a battery defies belief.

In fact, the reliance upon coloured dots borders on obsessive. There are far too many colours and indications, many of which are not necessary. The way to do it is to have slider bars or degrees of change in monochrome. Worse, the same colours can mean different things, depending on the context. This is, as I say, very much against good principles.

There’s far too much information overall and the layout is cluttered and without much pattern. Numeric qualifications are very difficult to assimilate. Think of the difference between trying to assimilate a column of figures and a graph of those figures. A graph would show at a glance which was the highest value; very difficult otherwise. Similar principles apply.

Icons are only any good if the icon itself is sufficient to identify the function. Most often they are not. The mouseover tooltips help but shouldn’t really be necessary.

Changes are planned I believe, so hopefully I am already preaching to the converted. My worry is that the previous track record gives little confidence. People who give advice should be prepared to give help. I will happily recode by example, the order of battle editor as an example of how such a function could be made a joy to use instead of a pain.

As others have commented, the foggy nature of the “camera” is a distraction. On the other hand, areas of smoke indicating either movement (brown would be good), or fighting (light to dark grey) would be excellent. At the moment the latter at least seems positioned arbitrarily on the 3-D display.

Some specific problems with the game functions: -

1.   Unit associations (pink dots) are incorrect, at least on the order of battle I tried. If the AI is similarly confused then this will be a major problem. As it is, it’s merely unhelpful.
2.   At the very start of a game, units were shown to have one percent losses.
3.   Again at start, totals were given for several units being out of control (these were artillery units, claimed to be off map but were actually present) and also others galvanised.
4.   Please, please get rid of that currency symbol (£) and replace it with Pdr (pounder).
5.   This could be my misunderstanding but with delay of orders selected and a 20 minute stated delay for a corps, the said corps started moving almost immediately.
6.   There are very many spelling errors. As far as I’m aware no one deployed firebreathing dragons during the Napoleonic period!
7.   It may not be apparent to non-native English speakers but there are quite a few completely nonsensical phrases used in the game. The user documentation seems fine but things like dispatch reports are often complete gibberish.
8.   On the 2-D map, the selection focus is often offset from the commander. This seems to have been a problem in the game right from the start, although it is much improved.
9.   There is no way to have the 2-D map the right way up, depending on which side is played?
10.   Units will sometime refuse to carry out an order such as an attack on an artillery battery. This isn't a question of the AI making decisions, as the unit would quite happily advanced towards the enemy when a movement order was given instead. After all that, the enemy artillery unit simply disappeared into thin air. This did not appear to be a fog of war issue either.
11.   A friendly artillery unit was shown graphically to lose several guns but this was not reflected at all in manpower losses. Later, after limbering substantial rapid losses were shown but later still the whole battery came back to full strength.
12.   The 2-D map is so dark that text is difficult to see.
13.   Contours and areas of high ground, which are highly significant for the period, are difficult to see on the 2-D map.
14.   Gamma correction does not appear to work and everything can be rather dark at times.
15.   It’s unclear whether units are affected in their movements by terrain but they certainly do not show any change of formation. Columns will happily move through woods without assuming general order etc. Again, quite a significant oversight for the period.
16.   Not a bug as such but I could not let it pass without going back to the user interface for a mention of the way focus is dependent on mousing over entities. It’s crazy. How many times does one select a unit or whatever only to accidentally mouseover something else and lose focus on the original subject?
17.   Text on the GUI becomes corrupted at times. In other places there are inappropriate references to system events. Sorry not to be more specific about this but, as you will appreciate, I spent quite a bit of time on this feedback already.
18.   Units became detached before battle without having been given orders, or even moved significantly.

I’ve experienced one or two crashes (I’m running everything at the max on a very high power system). Also, noted some of the problems noted by others elsewhere such as the screen freeze on extreme mouse wheel zoom.

Despite the above, I do have a feeling that the game is now really getting somewhere. When this becomes generally known and a decent user interfaces implemented, there will surely be a considerable influx of new interest from gamers worldwide.

Hors ligne Uxbridge

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Re : Contender for the longest post…
« Réponse #1 le: 09 janvier 2014, 10:10:05 am »
Simon

I notice that nobody has replied to your long but well thought out message. I have been playing HWLG since its release and am slowly learning HWN. I agree with all of your comments and have made some of them myself from time to time in this forum. I was particularly taken with your suggestion about recoding the OOB editor - as a database designer myself, I find the design of the editors highly frustrating, very hard to comprehend, very hard to know if one is editing an existing file or making a new one, and so clunky - a few days ago I tried to make a new OOB and each time I added a regiment the system refused to let me link it to an existing division so each division had one regiment only. Obviously, those who know how to do it can use the editor correctly, but the learning curve is simply too high in my case.

I think that HWN will be worthwhile. JMM is clearly listening to the comments and making changes. The recent changes to the graphics are a good example. I hope that the AI will improve and we will see a realistic simulation of action at the Divisional level instead of individual regiments attacking and falling back in an uncoordinated way.  As to the GUI and the quirky way that information is presented, I suspect that we are stuck with it. I also hate icons that are small and not obvious and much prefer words if possible but I think most people like them.
Has anyone seen my leg?

Hors ligne JMM

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Re : Contender for the longest post…
« Réponse #2 le: 20 janvier 2014, 08:17:37 am »
Thank you a lot for this good analyse.
I hope the new GUI will be better than present one.
After realising we wait the communauty reports in order to improve it if need.
That said i have to seek some possible curious issues such as #18...
The new oob editor will be more friendly...
Don t forget you can modify the names of chief at different levels, also the name of units.
For finishing, I would like recall the size of 2 dara bases.
1) CinC general colonel... more 5000 names.
2) around 1500 units with the dates of creation/disband.
Each unit is matched with its colonel when possible.
A huge work... if someone wants to work on the new data base, could you send me a PM.

JMM7

Hors ligne sandman

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Re : Re : Contender for the longest post…
« Réponse #3 le: 20 janvier 2014, 11:57:59 am »
For finishing, I would like recall the size of 2 dara bases.
1) CinC general colonel... more 5000 names.
2) around 1500 units with the dates of creation/disband.
Each unit is matched with its colonel when possible.
A huge work... if someone wants to work on the new data base, could you send me a PM.

JMM7


Just in case you missed it, GunnerJim offered support at that subject.

http://www.histwar.org/forum/index.php/topic,7831.0.html

At the end of the opening post.