Ashes: Extreme zoom

By on March 20, 2015 11:44:00 AM from Ashes of the Singularity Forums Ashes of the Singularity Forums

Frogboy

Join Date 03/2001
+1484

 

Usual caveats: Pre-alpha here.

But you can see the individual gravity channelers on this unit, the Artemis, which allows it to hover.  The Artemis is the mainline Post-Human missile unit.

This is at the start of the game so its secondary weapon, a long-range missile, isn't enabled (the black disabled piece in the middle). Players can upgrade their units via the tech tree (all this is subject to change based on play testing for fun and pacing).

Now, mind you, this is an extreme extreme close up. The artists are going to kill me for zooming this close as these are supposed to be small units (i.e. a big map might include thousands of these guys).  

How you put your groups together matters though. It's not just about cranking out lots of units.

The other thing I wanted to convey here is how much attention we are giving to being true to the lore. We don't simply have units that float. There is a reason for them and a lot of background on the limitations of gravitational channeling.

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March 22, 2015 7:35:21 AM from Ashes of the Singularity Forums Ashes of the Singularity Forums

Just with regards strategic zoom , in sup com it was more of a ui / navigational tool, if I needed to be somewhere else I'd scroll back, glance at the overall map like a giant mini map and zoom in to micro management building or fights.  Same as sins, zoom out glance zoom in, rinse and repeat it almost removes the need for a mini map, I certainly wouldn't play the game while zoomed out.  Both games had enough to do economy wise, tech wise, buildings and individual fights to manage to keep you occupied zoomed in somewhere.

with regards activating unit abilitys, is this like sins where say my Titan has passive abilitys and active abilitys and when near other units depending on the units abilitys would affect others.  because that's pretty cool how I don't need to micromanage those abilitys in sins especially as you can right click to toggle if they are activated or not.  Ive played games where you have an actual ability which needs to be physically pressed and to be honest it's only really works on smaller scale games as you can easiely miss the fact that a units sat there with abilitys waiting to fire and you get lost doing other things.  Sins was a very neat way of doing it, sometimes I would even select the auto upgrade feature on ships just for one less thing to have to micro. 

 

 

 

 

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March 22, 2015 6:53:42 PM from Ashes of the Singularity Forums Ashes of the Singularity Forums

First of all: AotS really cought my attention! It is definitely reminicient of SupCom and that's really cool. I understand, though, that you are breathing life into something special and that's cool.

Second: It might sound silly but I have to say that I like everything you said about your intentions and ideas about the game, Frogboy. I am really exited to experience all of the game: lore, play-style, mechanics, visual fidelity, detail and all. I love detail and credibility.

Having been a long time SupCom player, and declaring it one of my all time favourites, I have to admit that I love the strategic zoom feature of it. BUT, unlike Cola Colin, whom I know to be a SupCom veteran and expert, I am not nailed to the strategic zoom feature. I am curious how you are going to approach the problem of overview, control and navigation and give you credit in advance for trying your own solution. Being influenced and having played thoroughly those cool titles of TA, SupCom, CoH and Sins you are going to put together something that's fantastic it seems. From what you write I've got the impression that AotS will have it's own feel, though. Can't wait for early access!

The screenshot you put up in the beginning and what you have to say about it looks and sounds promising. Since the screenshots in general look quite devoid of natural landscape features, exept mountains, I would like to ask though, if you intend to have forests, hedges, bodies of water or neutral buildings on the maps later in development.

I will wait for news in exitement.

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March 22, 2015 7:13:42 PM from Ashes of the Singularity Forums Ashes of the Singularity Forums

By the way: very cool vault content! I love this kind of teaser material!

It all shows love for detail, very nice!

I very much like the design style!

 

...just had to upgrade to the Founder's Lifetime Edition. Maybe I'm a little lightheaded

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March 23, 2015 11:06:13 AM from Ashes of the Singularity Forums Ashes of the Singularity Forums

So, I have a lot of faith in you guys and your products. I think there was another thread about players playing against the UI -- people seem concerned that we might end up without UI "best practice" features in an attempt to push players towards certain styles of play. Total Annihilation didn't have strategic zoom, but it would've added a lot to control of the game if it had.

 

The screenshot of a "zoomed out" game didn't seem functional. I didn't play Supcom is strategic view -- micro is necessary in that game -- but the strategic view is great to have as an alternative to a minimap. Same thing with Sins. On a huge map with hundreds of units, we need ways to understand what's happening and Sins gave us multiple excellent ones (going well beyond what Supcom did). I look forward to seeing how the UI for AOTS will work and how you plan to allow us to efficiently control thousands of units across a planet while ensuring that we can effectively play the game on a single screen.

 

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March 23, 2015 2:43:00 PM from Ashes of the Singularity Forums Ashes of the Singularity Forums

Same here, I didn't play SupCom zoomed out either, but a full screen minimap was invaluable.  I've got multiple displays, so if we end up with me being able to put the minimap on a secondary then it wont affect me personally, but a tiny little minimap isn't anything like the full screen tactical display capability of strategic zoom for getting a quick overview of the state of things.

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March 24, 2015 1:38:30 PM from Ashes of the Singularity Forums Ashes of the Singularity Forums

What about rollover details?

 

Remember the loading screens from Dawn of War showing the orc, Marine, and IG unit location and strength on the map for tactical consumption?  Something similar to that generated when you rollover a meta unit, offset from your cursor(thin circle, line, offset display).  It would be a "what is this red/blue/green blob" feature to see things at a glance,possibly including general metaunit composition.  Somewhat like gaze detection, displaying relevant information on or near your focus.

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May 3, 2015 12:27:06 PM from Ashes of the Singularity Forums Ashes of the Singularity Forums

I've go to say, I was more hyped about this game than anything I have seen in years, and you pretty much killed it for me with the lack of strategic zoom. The only reason I don't play more RTS games is because the antiquated limited zoom scrolling view is PAINFUL to deal with, and minimaps are just awkward. 

 

Saying that you don't want strategic view because you don't want to encourage "distant" gameplay is a totally false argument. Taking SupCom: FA for an example on this, I play with no minimap and no second monitor. If I want to see the map, one flick of the scroll wheel and I can see the whole arena, and if I want a certain area I just mouse over it and zoom back in. This is by far the most fluid, easy, natural method of moving around the map I have ever seen. This also lets you get a feel for the battle as a whole, and move some larger groups of units in general areas. 75% of the game is still played zoomed in very close, as micro management is crucial.

 

One more thing strikes me as very odd... A huge deal was made about "thousands and thousands of units, on enormously huge maps." Are we not going to be able to actually zoom out and look at all this stuff as a whole? 

 

I realize that I am just one person, but in all seriousness this element of the UI completely makes and breaks strategy games for me. I had been planning on picking up an early copy for beta, but with this I think I will sit back and see how the rest of the game forms up / if someone can mod in a full strategic zoom with icons. To me at least, this seems like something that can so easily be put in the game for people that like it, and it won't alter the game for people who don't want to use it. There is no reason not to have it, except to try and force a certain play style. This seems pretty backwards when the whole point is expansive, creative, strategic gameplay. Give us the tools to use our units in the best way we can!

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May 3, 2015 9:35:30 PM from Ashes of the Singularity Forums Ashes of the Singularity Forums

Throws up in his mouth a little. For once, it pains me to say that i agree Brink on this one. The idea that strategic zoom stays zoomed out is wrong....it helps you control large armies much easier and attack in different places at the same time. In my mind this is one of ta's biggest shortcomings, the inability to move around the map to different areas in a flash. Best to have a better way to tell what upgrades your units have. Shouldn't have to eyeball them in extreme zoom to tell. Just to put my 2 cents in, if your saying it will be similar to supposed zoom of starcraft 2 that would be enough reason alone for me not to buy the game. What good is ten thousand units if you cant control them? 

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May 4, 2015 1:25:26 PM from Ashes of the Singularity Forums Ashes of the Singularity Forums

I have to agree with BRNKoINSANITY.


This is scaring me a little, if we have thousands of units on map, without the strategic zoom, I do not see how we will control all units in a easy way!

Even finding an alternative to the strategic zoom, the only viable and perfectly model, must be equal to Supreme Commander.

Let's imagine a map, lots of units to fight with numerous tactics of both sides?

Without the strategic zoom will be painful to enjoy the game, and will likely throw away many players.

 

Attention! this is a point of extreme importance strategic zoom, try explain or give lot information about this.

I already talk to some friends, they are retreating since they new about this so i imagine other players.

 

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May 4, 2015 5:10:42 PM from Ashes of the Singularity Forums Ashes of the Singularity Forums

Just another side note, it is totally feasible to include an on/off toggle for strategic icons... And a toggle for minimap or no minimap... And a toggle for pretty much every element of the UI.

 

Adding icons is an absolutely minimal amount of work, and strategic zoom is already there if you just take the limits off the camera. This would offer more choices to more players, so I don't really see a downside to including them. If people want to play without icons and look at the gorgeous view of the map and units uncluttered, then by all means they can leave the icons off. Make them off by default! But please please please include them! (and strategic zoom)

 

I speak on this both as a player and as an extremely active gamecaster. Playing is one thing, but when you are trying to record and commentate on a game things like zoom and icons are crucial!!! Yes, there will be zoom and pan and showcase shots, but when there are 50 things going on at once for two sides of a fight, not having icons and a clear view is a crippling blow to your ability to keep track of everything and easily recognize units. 

 

Just another aspect to look at this from, since games today are made and destroyed by online coverage and You-Tube inparticular. I really, sincerely hope you change your mind on this. Honestly, it isn't even a matter of changing your mind. You can include this feature for the people who want it one way, and you can flip the toggle off if you want to stay with your own style of viewing the game.

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May 4, 2015 11:45:30 PM from Ashes of the Singularity Forums Ashes of the Singularity Forums

Quoting Jungleelf,

First of all: AotS really cought my attention! It is definitely reminicient of SupCom and that's really cool. I understand, though, that you are breathing life into something special and that's cool.

Second: It might sound silly but I have to say that I like everything you said about your intentions and ideas about the game, Frogboy. I am really exited to experience all of the game: lore, play-style, mechanics, visual fidelity, detail and all. I love detail and credibility.

Having been a long time SupCom player, and declaring it one of my all time favourites, I have to admit that I love the strategic zoom feature of it. BUT, unlike Cola Colin, whom I know to be a SupCom veteran and expert, I am not nailed to the strategic zoom feature. I am curious how you are going to approach the problem of overview, control and navigation and give you credit in advance for trying your own solution. Being influenced and having played thoroughly those cool titles of TA, SupCom, CoH and Sins you are going to put together something that's fantastic it seems. From what you write I've got the impression that AotS will have it's own feel, though. Can't wait for early access!

The screenshot you put up in the beginning and what you have to say about it looks and sounds promising. Since the screenshots in general look quite devoid of natural landscape features, exept mountains, I would like to ask though, if you intend to have forests, hedges, bodies of water or neutral buildings on the maps later in development.

I will wait for news in exitement.

I am 100% with you Jungleelf, I am too very curious and excited on how Frogboy and Oxide team going to approach the problem of overview, control and navigation.

That's why i want to give them a chance to show us the game running asap, so we can play with it and help them build it by giving them our opinion.

I think the game will have a long way to go, many alpha and beta builds before the final release and many things will change to make the game as good as possible, nothing is perfect, so i am here to support AOTS as much as i can because I love what i have seen so far.

And BTW I don't care about strategic zoom as long as the game plays well and is fun. And if its not, then they will fix it to make is the best RTS out there. Go Oxide!

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May 5, 2015 12:29:25 PM from Ashes of the Singularity Forums Ashes of the Singularity Forums

I personally care alot about strategic zoom, its a must have for me. Im still mad at myself for buying starcraft 2 garbage without zoom.....And i wont buy this one until i know for a fact that it will be included in the game. How can anyone ever say starcraft 2 is even close to being the best rts ever without zoom....it blows my mind it really does. 

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May 6, 2015 12:49:21 AM from Ashes of the Singularity Forums Ashes of the Singularity Forums

Your right about starcraft 1 & 2 they kind of suck. My best games started  with Dune 2 then C&C after TA, those where my best classic games, after that came SupCom that i think created the strategic zoom and it was so damn awesome but TA missed so many things that i don't know... anyway all those games are great, what made me play starcraft 1 & 2 was the single player story mode, i still love the story of those games... but yes multiplayer or skirmish games are garbage for me. blizzard games are (Buy, play story mode, after close the game.) Done!

To end this conversation about strategic zoom, its important and more important if we are talking about thousand of units at a time. but i like Frogboy ideas for the game, so i will wait to see and play it the decide if its good or bad.
Its your taste and every person like different games, i don't think that you should talk about something without trying it first, so do not trash AOTS yet and don't be so negative out this game, so wait till they give us the Alpha Build and then we can talk about the Pros and Cons. but right now they have my money and my support.

 

Without paying for founders, that mean you wont get to play the game till the final release so its your decision to support Oxide or not, it may be a really cool game or just wait so see some Alpha build videos and then decide. if its worth paying for it.

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May 8, 2015 8:31:51 PM from Ashes of the Singularity Forums Ashes of the Singularity Forums

Ive tried games without zoom.......lol

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May 11, 2015 9:45:57 AM from Ashes of the Singularity Forums Ashes of the Singularity Forums

in order for me to buy any RTS, strategic zoom is a necessary condition if not also a sufficient one... However, given that it does, I don't care if I have to spend 50$ or 150$   

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May 20, 2015 10:02:23 AM from Ashes of the Singularity Forums Ashes of the Singularity Forums

I'm with Brink on that strategic icon issue. It is even more a necessity if you think about implementing meta units and armies.

 

You could implement strategic icons in a descreet way like here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jjCSmCLG59c

Look at min 16:49 or 32:20.

It doesnt has to be the oldschool icon style like in Supcom.

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May 20, 2015 11:40:39 AM from Ashes of the Singularity Forums Ashes of the Singularity Forums

Shipbreakers?.... isn't that game gonna be the new Homeworld 3 or something like that?

that's another game to look for this year or next year.

 

I like the idea of the zoom that they are using... still it looks like the same as supcom just smaller icons i guess.

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May 21, 2015 10:35:36 AM from Ashes of the Singularity Forums Ashes of the Singularity Forums

yeah...its kind of the successor of homeworld although the story is located before the homeworld franchises.

 

But I expect it to be out next year (earliest). They just launched the homeworld remastered edition...so...this gonna take a while i guess.

 

I like the transparent style. It has a control/command center feeling for me. I dont like the kind of icons that you cant see the unit anymore in strategic view. 

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May 21, 2015 12:20:38 PM from Ashes of the Singularity Forums Ashes of the Singularity Forums

I'm not here to make a judgement about icons in strategic zoom. But if you watch Supcom 2 replays by high level players they micro blob movements in strategic zoom (e.g. to dodge artillery). In AotS, will advanced players want to micro blob movements? If so, they're probably going to want icons.

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May 27, 2015 9:09:57 AM from Ashes of the Singularity Forums Ashes of the Singularity Forums

Quoting Frogboy,

I'm hoping to get some UI pics up soon. They're still well in the "programmer art" phase.

The left side of the screen has the empire tree.

The bottom right has the mini-map.

The bottom left begins with whatever is selected and all the abilities it and its children have (there's no "tab tab tab" type convention here, if one of the units in your group has EMP, its present in the UI).

The top has income (metal and radioactives) along with logistics (which controls how many units you can have) and power (which determine show many buildings you can have).

For the Post-Humans, logistics comes from the Logistics Arrays and power comes from capturing power generators on the map.  The reason for this is that we most definitely want to discourage the game from devolving into who can crank out the most units the fastest and who managed to build 20 factories to spam them out.

Gameplay is not about APM, it's a bit more like Sins of a Solar Empire in terms of pacing except that you cannot set abilities to autocast.

We're really chomping at the bit to get the game into your hands so that we can get core feedback before early access.  

 

I replied to this here : http://forums.ashesofthesingularity.com/462233/get;3556050

 

please take some time to read and adress my reply.

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May 29, 2015 5:23:18 PM from Ashes of the Singularity Forums Ashes of the Singularity Forums

Quoting tatsujb,


Quoting Frogboy,

I'm hoping to get some UI pics up soon. They're still well in the "programmer art" phase.

The left side of the screen has the empire tree.

The bottom right has the mini-map.

The bottom left begins with whatever is selected and all the abilities it and its children have (there's no "tab tab tab" type convention here, if one of the units in your group has EMP, its present in the UI).

The top has income (metal and radioactives) along with logistics (which controls how many units you can have) and power (which determine show many buildings you can have).

For the Post-Humans, logistics comes from the Logistics Arrays and power comes from capturing power generators on the map.  The reason for this is that we most definitely want to discourage the game from devolving into who can crank out the most units the fastest and who managed to build 20 factories to spam them out.

Gameplay is not about APM, it's a bit more like Sins of a Solar Empire in terms of pacing except that you cannot set abilities to autocast.

We're really chomping at the bit to get the game into your hands so that we can get core feedback before early access.  



 

I replied to this here : http://forums.ashesofthesingularity.com/462233/get;3556050

 

please take some time to read and adress my reply.

I don't think so.  If you want to tell me I don't know strategy then we have no basis in which to communicate.

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May 29, 2015 11:36:58 PM from Ashes of the Singularity Forums Ashes of the Singularity Forums

I've just signed up because of the similarity to supreme commander FA

 

I want to say no rts game has come close to supreme  commander FA up until now and i feel that when the community aka the players aka the people your designing the game for tell you what they want in the game then its your job as developers to listen

 

You mentioned you played SC and that all you did was play zoomed out and that's how everyone played i can tell you that your wrong most players zoomed in and out effectively making the full screen a minimap and a battlefield while i understand your side of how you want the game to be played you should also factor in how the players want to play the game

 

If someone wants to stare at icons fully zoomed out and they enjoy that then why force them to play how you want them to ? if they are going to get massacred because of being zoomed out then let them learn they need to balance zooming out and zooming in e.g how most people played surpeme commander

 

I think your making a big mistake with this game if you don't add individual icons for units and have it pretty much the same as how surpeme commanders system worked and if you feel its not beneficial you should at least allow an option to enable it if players feel they want to have that option in game

 

I really don't want to be disappointed with this game so please take this into serious consideration all you guys need to do is take the foundations of sc fa and build on it and add your ideas to it to have a incredibly successful game

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May 30, 2015 12:00:33 AM from Ashes of the Singularity Forums Ashes of the Singularity Forums

Quoting vitale14,

I've just signed up because of the similarity to supreme commander FA

 

I want to say no rts game has come close to supreme  commander FA up until now and i feel that when the community aka the players aka the people your designing the game for tell you what they want in the game then its your job as developers to listen

 

You mentioned you played SC and that all you did was play zoomed out and that's how everyone played i can tell you that your wrong most players zoomed in and out effectively making the full screen a minimap and a battlefield while i understand your side of how you want the game to be played you should also factor in how the players want to play the game

 

If someone wants to stare at icons fully zoomed out and they enjoy that then why force them to play how you want them to ? if they are going to get massacred because of being zoomed out then let them learn they need to balance zooming out and zooming in e.g how most people played surpeme commander

 

I think your making a big mistake with this game if you don't add individual icons for units and have it pretty much the same as how surpeme commanders system worked and if you feel its not beneficial you should at least allow an option to enable it if players feel they want to have that option in game

 

I really don't want to be disappointed with this game so please take this into serious consideration all you guys need to do is take the foundations of sc fa and build on it and add your ideas to it to have a incredibly successful game

You may want to wait until you've played the game first.

But no, we're not going to ever give every single unit it's own icon.  It's not happening.

That isn't the same as saying we won't provide additional strategic information on the screen. But in a game where we're designing it to have thousands of units (SupCom games tended to top out at a couple hundred) it would be absolutely insane to try to give every unit an icon.

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May 30, 2015 7:37:37 AM from Ashes of the Singularity Forums Ashes of the Singularity Forums

Quoting Frogboy,
That isn't the same as saying we won't provide additional strategic information on the screen. But in a game where we're designing it to have thousands of units (SupCom games tended to top out at a couple hundred) it would be absolutely insane to try to give every unit an icon.

After watching the video of the gameplay (which I like overall) put drastically I feel you have two choices:

A.) remove the zoom

B.) add icons.

Take either one or you will get a ton of players who connect zoom with icons in their mind and go "this game seems incomplete". Even in the short video it became painfully visible that once players zoom out just a bit they wont be able to make out what units are running around without hurting their eyes really bad.

 

Removing the zoom would give the game a Starcraft kind of feeling. I don't think that is what you want

 

When I say icons I don't necessarily mean "one icon per unit". Yes for a swarm of 1k units one icon per unit is not very helpful. It isn't as pointless as you seem to make it out to be, but it is definitely quite a chaos.

Instead of doing the mistake of going "this default feature does not work for our extreme gameplay concept" please go "we will make it work".

Show single icons for units if the units are in small groups, like in the founders video. For bigger groups start to merge them together into some form that gives a quick overview of what it is the player is looking at.

That concept of meta units perfectly matches together with this: Mark the rough outline of meta units when the player zooms out and put some info box inside say

ing "3k unit A, 1k unit B". That is the high level information that players are looking for. No need for single icons with armies of that size.

I think when players say "I want icons" they don't necessarily want one icon per unit. They want to be able to zoom out and get a quick overview that spans the whole screen. No minimap can ever replace that feeling. Such an overview can work with one icon per unit, but you are right one icon per unit for an army of 3k units is not really that good. So make it better than that

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May 30, 2015 7:44:23 AM from Ashes of the Singularity Forums Ashes of the Singularity Forums

fail post ignore this...

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