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techbear

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Reply with quote  #1 
I'm lazer-focused on releasing 2.7 on or about the 16th of February, and my keyboard is smoking hot. 😉

So I'd like to consult with you all about things I can do to improve the manual beams system in the next few days.  I can't promise anything, and certainly can't rebuild the whole thing in such a short amount of time.  But mebbe we can do something?

It has been pointed out that Manual Targeting is not functional on either player ships or friendly ships. Manual targeting also does not work on bases or monsters. 

I COULD put these objects into the system, BUT they wouldn't have the special "hit locations" or the code to deal with them, without more work from me. :/

I know that some elite crews rely on Manual Targeting, and I'm still fuzzy about why, and whether that's a good thing.  I know that the current implementation of Manual Targeting makes it hard for a Weapons Officer to maintain situational awareness.

So again, what do you suggest I do short-term to improve the Manual Targeting system?
ryleyra

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Reply with quote  #2 
My Switch Sides mod includes targeting locations for quite a few of the friendly ships. I never got around to the Scout, and I never did map them for the Ximni or Pirates, but it's a place to start.

I'm pretty sure 2.6 allows you to use Manual Targeting on friendly ships. You may not have any system points to target, but I noticed the Gun Camera now appears if Auto beams is off.

As for the interface, I agree that it messes up situational awareness, but I'm not sure what to do about that. I would like the ability to disable beams instead of just put them in Gun Camera mod. (In other words, have a third setting between Auto on and Auto off)

I'll add that you should probably add torpedo locations to the weapons targeting, so Missile Cruisers will actually have something to target.
notsabbat

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Reply with quote  #3 

It has been stated by people more familiar with the code than I that manual targeting allows you to shoot faster, from experience this seems true. It will also let you target different parts of the ship other than just the front. Meaning you can disable the weapons before doing general damage so the enemy cant shoot you back, or take out maneuvering so that they cant spin around and shoot you if you're behind them. Another neat trick is that will allow you to shoot rear parts of the ship while you are in front (or visa versa), it basically adds an entirely new dimension to the console and it is MUCH more effective than just using auto beams. I hope that all of this is intentional, because I love that it exists.

As for minimized situational awareness, Im ok with it as an exchange for the benefits it gives. It also means that weapons has to rely on their teammates to communicate if weapons needs to switch targets or something is happening that they cant see. So I think its pretty good the way it is, the exception is that I would like to see some sort of indication that the target has surrendered , maybe by having the targeting recticle change to yellow like in a fighter, or having the little red triangle in the lower right hand beam indicator turn yellow; Our crew tries to not commit war crimes if we can help it.

In regards to monsters and stuff that doesn't currently have manual targeting, I think just enabling it would be great for the short term. While it would be kind of cool to shoot a space shark in the "Liver" or some such thing, just being able to manually target it would be great. The extra (slight) advantages that it would give would be nice, but there is always a second pause when we go up to a creature and the weapons officers forgets that you cant manually target them. Manual targeting also looks really cool.


TLDR version: I REALLY like manual targeting the way it is right now. I would like an indicator that a target has surrendered. I would like for manual targeting to be universal, even if separate hit locations aren't included.


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parpar88

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Reply with quote  #4 
I too like manual targeting. I would like to see what you can add. Surrendered ship status is a must, if any changes are made. True, the weapons officer does loose situation awareness but in the spirit of the game, I think this is a good thing. For me, manual beams not working for on player ships or allies is no big deal. I would like it to work on drones and stations. I know this last suggestion will be hard to implimate in 2.7. Maybe for 2.8 or 3.0?
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Xavier Wise

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Reply with quote  #5 
It would be good if the manual targeting was a freer view, instead of being locked to a specific target. When ships are maneouvring, it is easy to become disoriented as enemies move around you. Because you only see distance and facing, you don't always realise the target isn't in your forward arc. How about changing it so that manual doesn't actually lock a target? Or perhaps doesn't require a target lock to fire? Instead, the weapons officer could use direction keys (left and right for example) to move the scopes view, and then click the image to fire. The weapons officer could then possibly target multiple enemy ships in a combat, as well as drones. This could also link into targeting asteroids, monsters or other objects if it works. I imagine it similar to the way a fighter targets enemies, with the ability to click on a specific enemy ship's system added into the mix.

I'm not sure how challenging it would be to keep tracking a target, and it would impact touch screens. Perhaps adding a 'lock target' option could be added to make it easier to toggle between automatically following a target and allowing free 'turret-style' movement.

In the future, it could develop into ships having multiple weapons officers and firing points, as well as allowing more than one enemy to be targeted and hit.

A couple of ideas there. I have no idea how easy they'd be to add.

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Reply with quote  #6 
Quick side question: any live streams planned? I always enjoy watching them and having a chance to chat live.
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Nhaima

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Reply with quote  #7 

Advantages of manual targeting:

* You can hit specific shield arcs far more reliably, rather than just whatever is closest.
* You can disable weapon systems or maneuvering. Disabling maneuvering isn't important in vanilla, but some modded versions of the game have highly maneuverable enemies that make this more desirable than trying to shut down the weapons system early.
* Faster cycle rate time, which makes combat less dangerous and somewhat cheaper energy wise. Even if you are firing as many beam shots, you have less passive power drain from maintaining the ship at combat settings.
* It makes combat more interactive for weapons, even if it's just clicking lots. It's more visually stimulating to see the enemy ship model and try to target specific parts of the hull rather than just clicking on the sensor contact and waiting until it disappears before you click on another one.

In general though, all of these not only allow the officer to function better but allows for greater skill ceiling to allow good officers to distinguish from great ones, and higher level execution should always be rewarded where possible.

Perhaps if you divorced manual beams wholly from auto beams and instead rendered then in a first-person view like you do in a fighter (to let you reuse code). The gun sight could then be moved via WASD to pitch and yaw it as in a turret around the craft, and anything that is clicked on is then locked on and fired. This would let you intercept drones from manual targeting as well as alternate between multiple craft but still require skill to do so, and still allow missiles to be used via lock-on rather than hoping that dumb-firing them will pick up the right target.

If you wanted, you could even tie the "gun turret" rotation proportionately to the maneuverability of the craft. The quicker a craft can rotate, the quicker the turret can rotate too. I'd keep the turret direction distinctly separate from the rotation underneath them from the ship for ease of implementation, but you could certainly do it if you wanted. For ease of coding as well, you could just always have the turret default to the 0 degree position any time manual fire is enabled. This is potentially abuse-able, but I doubt significantly enough to warrant major concern.

Xavier Wise

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Reply with quote  #8 
I'd love to see an improvement to the little 'tracking' radar/ indicator at the bottom of the screen. If it showed you all local targets in the area and colour coded the currently locked target, it would improve situational awareness I reckon. A weapons officer could then decide whether to switch to another target or remain with the locked target.
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Reply with quote  #9 
As a weapons officer my wishlist for Manual Targeting is as follows:

• Friendly/Surrender/Hostile/Player/Monster indicator.
Others have noted that there's no way to see whether the target has surrendered except to be told by another station; similarly, the ability to determine other IFF statuses of the target would be very much desired (is that Ximni Cruiser I'm targeting another friendly player, or one of the hostiles? Who knows?).

• Target Shield status (even if just green/yellow/red/absent like on the auto beams view).
When I go manual on beams to take advantage of all the perks of manual beams, I actually lose information about the status of my current target because I have no way to tell whether the target's shields are up, down, weak, or still holding strong. This is especially problematic when trying to take advantage of PShocks against Skaraan warships. The weapons officer in manual mode simply has no way to see when it's time to let the PShock fly and change targets.

• Fix the existing issue where the beam recharge UI element in the lower-right does not adapt for altered power settings.
Expected behavior is that the UI element will display the full arc of the beam when it is ready to fire, and gradually 'fill' while it is recharging. The actual behavior is that on enhanced power settings the graphic is still 'filling' despite being ready to fire. In the case of 300% power, this means the graphic will still show the beam charging at about one-third progress even though the beam is ready to fire. This is problematic for modding in particular where there is some desire for long-recharge beams used in conjunction with more normal beams, because there's no way for the weapons officer (or *anybody* for that matter*) to check the progress on the recharge of their Super-Heavy-Uber Beam Cannon. However, there is also the problem of making our fingers tired or wearing out our mouse while we weapons officers click or tap as fast as we can to avoid missing an opportunity to fire.

• Multiple Target Acquisition while in manual scope (particularly drones).
Currently, only one target appears in the scope in manual mode regardless of other objects around it; you don't see asteroids, you don't see drones, you don't see other ships, and it doesn't matter whether they're in direct line of sight between the player and the target. I would like to see the scope view be less exclusive about what you can see and what you can shoot at while locked on a single target.

For a gameplay reference, I would point to the Metroid Prime games for the Wii wherein the player can utilize the Wii-mote to acquire targets manually while "locked" on a specific location. So what I propose for Artemis is very similar: the weapons lock would merely serve to center the scope view on the target, while otherwise allowing free-fire on the surrounding area. The game already works to allow free fire all over the target; I'm just looking to be able to see and fire on other things along that same line of sight or see that the reason my beams aren't firing is because there's an asteroid in the way.

Additionally, for added functionality of a Multiple Target Acquisition capability, I would like to Right-Click (or touchscreen "gesture" equivalent) to change target to another vessel in view on the manual scope. The current functionality of getting kicked out of manual scope after a target is destroyed is problematic, particularly when combined with the practice of spamming the mouse button to fire beams to work around the broken beam recharge UI element. It is very easy and quite common to be shooting a hostile ship, have that ship blow up, inadvertently target another ship, and start shooting at it within the span of a third to one-half of a second. This makes it very easy to target and fire upon friendlies or biomechs before realizing anything changed.

Right-click isn't bound to any actions at current, and would be a suitable input to re-center the scope view on the selected target in view (or even serve as Xavier's proposed free-floating "turret" behavior).

• A bearing compass while in the scope, similar to that found on fighters.
Whereas I disagree with Xavier's statement that it isn't always easy to see whether the target is within the beam arc, I do agree that such a bearing compass would be an asset to assist in the weapons officer maintaining his orientation relative to the ship's facing. There is an optional setting to change the players' perspective between "universe rotates around ship" vs "ship rotates relative to universe"; however, there is no such option for the weapons officer in manual mode: it *always* presents perspective as "universe rotates around ship" instead of adapting to the player's perspective setting.

• Manual Targeting able acquire cloaked targets.
As it is, carried craft like shuttles and fighters can acquire and fire upon a cloaked enemy vessel. I think the mothership should have that same ability on manual. In this case I would exploit the aforementioned thoughts about implementing something along the idea of turreted movement of the manual gun sights by means of keys, right-click and drag, or (in lieu of any such turret mechanic) just some way to dumb-fire beams.


That's just what comes up off the top of my head. I may be back with more. <3

[edit] Added a later idea to this list to keep all ideas in one place. [/edit]

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Reply with quote  #10 
Overall I feel that manual beams add more depth and interest to the weapons console which in auto beams I fear would be somewhat lacking, however

I'm unsure if the extra cycle time reduction is intended to be there, currently the cycle time is altered in manual beams due to power both during the recharge and at the moment shots are fired (resulting in the speed being altered twice.). Unlike auto beams where it is only during the recharge that power % is applied.

Due to the alteration happening twice it both means that sub 100% power is slower in manual than automatic and its possible in theory to disable the weapons console beams for multiple minutes (even if not common in practice).

Personally I have come to like the beam cool-down reduction as a trade off for the lower visibility but would suggest that it was say half the beam cycle time being refunded on a manual beam fire (instead of power % being applied twice) - it would result in the roughly the same outcome while avoiding both the issues I mentioned.

I think it would be beneficial and easy to implement
if locked on targets in manual mode were still shot (in particular drones)
and it was possible to switch targets in manual mode (arrow keys maybe?)
ryleyra

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Reply with quote  #11 
I would like it if the Gun Camera (manual targeting mode) was more consistent with the way fighters are controlled. If you could shift the enemy around the point of aim to target the subsystem points instead of just clicking on the point it might require more skill.

On the other hand, it's important to remember that the Gun Camera isn't just a view of the target, it's a magnified view of the target. Realistically speaking, your view should move faster if you are further away from the target, and be slower and more precise if you are right next to it. And fighters automatically lock on to targets that are off of the centerline.

The above is also an issue when dealing with multiple targets. (you may not be able to see other targets because it's several yards away from what you're looking at, relatively speaking) How about the ability to turn on and off magnification?

I would like to see turrets on a ship, but it may not be the same thing.
ryleyra

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Reply with quote  #12 
Quote:
Originally Posted by U.E. Admiral
Friendly/Surrender/Hostile/Player/Monster indicator.
Others have noted that there's no way to see whether the target has surrendered except to be told by another station; similarly, the ability to determine other IFF statuses of the target would be very much desired (is that Ximni Cruiser I'm targeting another friendly player, or one of the hostiles? Who knows?).


For this, I would suggest a colored border around the gunsight. That would very quickly establish the side of the target.

I'll note that previous to this version (or maybe the last) there was no reason to mark a ship as friendly since it could not appear in the Gun Camera. If we're allowing manual targeting on more types of targets, we should differentiate them.

Brainstorming on my last post, how about lock/unlock and magnify/unmagnify? Or even, lock magnifies. Lock target, blast some subsystems, unlock and "turret" to another target, lock and begin blasting subsystems on that ship. I definitely would call for a separate "Manual" button in that case, and a separate control to turn Auto Beams on and off. Maybe "Manual" is the top button, with "Auto" under it, and if you click "Manual" it changes "Auto" to "Magnify".

I also like the compass idea.
Arrew

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Reply with quote  #13 
I think it's good that you loose over all tactical awareness when zoomed in. The Science officer and others can relay if drones are launched at you, and since teamwork is the name of the game I don't mind that.

BUT as previously mentioned I think that an indicator that the target has surrendered would be really useful. 
U.E. Admiral

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Reply with quote  #14 
Been a day since any input was given, so I'll just chime in and mention that I agree in principle with Arrew: that it is good that the weapons officer loses overall tactical awareness when locked on a target; we may simply disagree with the degree of loss that should entail. A narrowed view to be sure, just not so tunnel visioned that the gun cam has no view whatsoever of what objects may exist between the player's ship and its target. Behind? Not so much. More than 25 degrees to either side? Nah. But in that same direction? Absolutely should be able to see it.

OH! And I thought of another item for the wish-list:

• Manual Targeting able acquire cloaked targets.
As it is, carried craft like shuttles and fighters can acquire and fire upon a cloaked enemy vessel. I think the mothership should have that same ability on manual. In this case I would exploit the aforementioned thoughts about implementing something along the idea of turreted movement of the manual gun sights by means of keys, right-click and drag, or (in lieu of any such turret mechanic) just some way to dumb-fire beams.

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notsabbat

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Reply with quote  #15 
Quote:
Originally Posted by U.E. Admiral
.
As it is, carried craft like shuttles and fighters can acquire and fire upon a cloaked enemy vessel.


Pretty sure this is a bug, not a feature.



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