Talon Game

Refractory Studios

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Version 1.2 released; new game mode, new map, misc improvements

#1 2013-09-27 15:05:55

CDN_Merlin
Beta Tester
Registered: 2013-09-25
Posts: 75

Couple of observations

So I played a bit last night solo with bots and this is what I found.

1)Game is lots of fun.
2)Nice graphics but could tone down the lens flare and brights effects.  I find it very hard see with all the effects.
3)In the warehouse level, every time I spawned I was killed by a bot sitting in the area I spawned.
4)Ships move fine but looking at other ships seem they have more of a broken down animation movements.  not sure if you get my drift.
5)Respawn counter for me sucks.
6)Love the levels.  Haven't tried the space one but the other 2 are awesome.
7)Weapons are cool.
8)HUD could be toned down.  I find it distracting to look around when I have a huge circle on the middle of my screen.

I will test more this weekend and join some MP games.

Thanks again.

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#2 2013-09-27 23:44:44

Scott
Refractory Studios
Registered: 2012-08-07
Posts: 454
Website

Re: Couple of observations

re 2) Try turning down the Overbright Filter in Graphics options under Lighting Settings.

re 3) The Spawn Menu allows you to select from all available spawn points with [<] and [>] buttons, get a look at the area before you spawn, and choose exactly when to spawn. Using these tools, you should be able to mitigate the danger of spawn kills.

re 4) I'm not sure that I exactly understand what you're seeing, but it may well be due to the nature of the networking system. It is the nature of the Torque engine that everything goes through the network layer, whether it is an online multiplayer game or not. Still, in an offline game things should be pretty smooth. Was it a particularly busy game? How many bots were you playing with?

re 5) Are you saying that it doesn't work properly? Or you don't like it? I realize it is not fun to wait to respawn, but the reason that it is set up like that is because of the way the capture points work. If there is no respawn delay, it becomes must more difficult to mount an effective assault on an enemy control point, because any enemy fighter that you kill there can instantly respawn and attack you again. This is especially problematic when there is more than one enemy defender present, since you can never reduce their numbers, and they will respawn right there, and you can't. The respawn delay could be made a server option, but I hesitate to do that because of the impact it will have on the aforementioned gameplay mechanic.

re 8)
I went back and forth and experimented quite a bit with the HUD during development. At first I did find it distracting, coming from Descent, as you did, where I had a very minimal HUD; but in time I got used to it. Now I no longer notice the presence of the HUD, but I DO automatically use the information that it presents. On balance, I decided that having that information was worth overcoming the initial visual distraction.

I also tried variations on the design, including eliminating the Targeting Ring. The reason for the ring is that it keeps the radar information nearer to the center of the screen, and thus closer to where one is usually focused. I tried it without the ring, but found that the Contact Indicator triangles were too distracting grouped around the reticle, and got lost around the edges of the screen. The ring represents the "sweet spot" for me, where they are not too distracting, but still close enough to be "seen" (and thus used) automatically, without requiring me to divert my attention in order to look at them deliberately.

Of course not everyone is the same. I can explore making HUD options available to players, I am certainly open to that. Though I encourage you to try it for a while as it is. Then let me know if there are specific things you would like to change.

--
Anyway, I am glad you like the game. Hope to see you online this weekend. smile

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#3 2013-09-28 00:39:44

CDN_Merlin
Beta Tester
Registered: 2013-09-25
Posts: 75

Re: Couple of observations

Hiya,

Thanks for the replies.  As for #4, it's more like the ships don't run smoothly or turn smoothly.  Kinda like if it losing packets and jumping places but applied to their turning animations.

I just played a short game and when I run out of ammo, I go to a capture point and it tells me to press "down" to reload.  Well I have down set to my hat and the down arrow key and neither allow me to reload.  Am I doing something wrong?

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#4 2013-09-28 00:47:29

Scott
Refractory Studios
Registered: 2012-08-07
Posts: 454
Website

Re: Couple of observations

CDN_Merlin wrote:

it tells me to press "down" to reload.

Actually, it says "power down". yikes Perhaps I should change it to show the key binding instead.. might be less confusing.

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#5 2013-09-28 02:05:11

Scott
Refractory Studios
Registered: 2012-08-07
Posts: 454
Website

Re: Couple of observations

As for #4, it's more like the ships don't run smoothly or turn smoothly.  Kinda like if it losing packets and jumping places but applied to their turning animations.

Technically, this can happen, because it does use the network code, which does have limited "bandwidth". In practice, it should rarely be noticeable offline, because the bandwidth is only limited by the internal "network" buffer size, not by any real network devices. On my system it seems fine, and my system is pretty old, which is why I was wondering how busy a game you had going when you noticed the issue.

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#6 2013-09-28 13:31:13

CDN_Merlin
Beta Tester
Registered: 2013-09-25
Posts: 75

Re: Couple of observations

Scott, I think I play with about 10 ships at most.  I have a Core i7 2600K with 8 gigs ram and my video is ATI 5380 1 gig.  I think I have enough.  I will test more today.

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#7 2013-09-29 14:19:26

Scott
Refractory Studios
Registered: 2012-08-07
Posts: 454
Website

Re: Couple of observations

Sure, your system is fine. But there is an innate bottleneck in the network layer, because there is a fixed packet buffer size. That is independent of the hardware that it's running on. But regardless, 10 ships is nothing. I regularly test with 16 and don't notice problems.

I have been making some further improvements to the physics and network systems since the .25 version. And I did discover a few bugs that I had accidentally introduced in that version, which I have since corrected. I will be releasing a new version shortly, so we'll see if that helps.

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#8 2013-09-29 17:53:00

CDN_Merlin
Beta Tester
Registered: 2013-09-25
Posts: 75

Re: Couple of observations

Awesome.

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#9 2013-09-29 18:34:08

CDN_Merlin
Beta Tester
Registered: 2013-09-25
Posts: 75

Re: Couple of observations

Another few things.

I really think the indoor levels have to be made bigger.  Because of inertia, you can't stop on a dime which ends up making you take damage constantly because of hitting walls.

I also find myself using the autocannon almost 100% of the time in the outdoor levels.  As I use the lasers and disruptor indoors.
Might be a good idea to revisit some of the weapon choices to make them more effective in different environments.

Also, is there not a way to rename the bots to include BOT in the name?  I never know if I'm playing real people or not.

In the warehouse level, is there only 1 place you can power down and recharge?  I tried at a few places but only one allowed me to reload.

I really really like this game and I'm blown away that you've done all of this yourself.

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#10 2013-09-29 19:02:57

Hydra
Beta Tester
From: South Jersey
Registered: 2013-08-22
Posts: 86

Re: Couple of observations

CDN_Merlin wrote:

Also, is there not a way to rename the bots to include BOT in the name?  I never know if I'm playing real people or not.


I agree.

Last edited by Hydra (2013-09-29 19:03:16)


ASRock 990FX Extreme9 - AMD FX-6300 (6 core) cpu - Radeon HD 7950 (3 gig) - X-FI Platinum sound - OCZ Vector SSD - 8 Gig Ballistix RAM

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#11 2013-09-29 20:42:12

Do_Checkor
Beta Tester
From: Germany
Registered: 2013-09-27
Posts: 156
Website

Re: Couple of observations

Full ACK at everything Merlin said in his last post.

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#12 2013-09-30 04:14:04

Scott
Refractory Studios
Registered: 2012-08-07
Posts: 454
Website

Re: Couple of observations

CDN_Merlin wrote:

Because of inertia, you can't stop on a dime which ends up making you take damage constantly because of hitting walls.

See, thing is, I never hit the walls anymore. Learning to handle the inertia is not unlike learning to handle trichording in Descent without crashing into walls. It takes practice. You need to use reverse/counter-thrust in order to manage the momentum.

My opinion is that the "drifty-ness" adds an important element to the feeling of flight. And I like game mechanics that reward practice. Although I do see how it could be a disconcerting adjustment coming from D3.

Now, I have tweaked the ship physics to make them a little easier to control. My intention is for the Orion to be the easiest ship to fly, with the least "drift". The Stiletto and Sparrow also exhibit less drift, but they are also faster and more fragile. The heavier Griffin and Hydra are the hardest to handle effectively, and are intended to reward the pilot who learns to manage their mass with increased firepower and durability.

I also find myself using the autocannon almost 100% of the time in the outdoor levels.  As I use the lasers and disruptor indoors.
Might be a good idea to revisit some of the weapon choices to make them more effective in different environments.

Finding a balance in ship and weapon dynamics that suits both indoor and outdoor combat has been a significant and ongoing challenge in developing Talon. It is quite difficult to optimize for one environment without compromising gameplay in the other, when the environments are so very different. Overall I am pleased with what I have achieved, but I'm still trying to make it better. Shortly before releasing the beta, I upped the speed of the ships, which felt nice to fly, but did upset the balance with regard to outdoor combat. I believe the changes I made in the most recent version have helped, but there may be more adjustments needed.

Also, is there not a way to rename the bots to include BOT in the name?  I never know if I'm playing real people or not.

Well now that's an easy one. smile It's done. I don't have much of a problem with this, because I am so familiar with the bot names by this point, and my original idea was to make the bots seem as much like human players as possible. But now, testing it in live games with actual humans, I see how this can be confusing and suboptimal. So as of version .29 the bots are tagged with their own clan prefix: [BOT].

In the warehouse level, is there only 1 place you can power down and recharge?  I tried at a few places but only one allowed me to reload.

There are 3 reload stations in the warehouse level, and as it is now they are not tied to any control points, meaning that they will service any player any time. Look for the pads with the yellow "wrench head in +" symbol. The capture-able control point pads should be re-arming stations as well, but I never got around to adding the appropriate trigger points in that map. I will fix that eventually.

I really really like this game and I'm blown away that you've done all of this yourself.

Thank you. It has not been easy, but I think it has been worth it. I am glad you are enjoying the game!

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