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Author Topic: UQM, Timewarp and ship rotation  (Read 6221 times)
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UQM, Timewarp and ship rotation
« on: September 07, 2008, 11:00:33 am »

    Admittedly I have been playing UQM a lot lately... it's good to see all the interest in my favorite all-time game. Also, netmelee is my childhood dream come true. However, I have had to ask myself lately: why do people play UQM when SC: Timewarp exists? It has all the same ships and additional functionality. There are many arguments for its superiority, namely: SC3 ships, new custom ships, nicer graphics, support for up to 20 players at once (!), adjustable shot relativity, planet warning beacon... and more I'm not thinking of.
    But there is really only one reason I prefer TW instead of UQM. And that is: there are more than a measley 16 ship angles to shoot from! I can't stand how difficult it is to aim in SC2. It hasn't bothered me since I started playing back in 1992, but now that I realize how it could be better, it just a ridiculous to put up with such a glaring flaw. The game dynamic changes totally when you are actually able to aim your weapons fire accurately, and no longer deal with ships that are RIGHT IN FRONT OF YOU that you cannot hit because they're not lined up properly.
    So I have two questions:
- Why do people (or should people) play UQM when TW exists with all the same functionality and more?
- Don't you think that UQM will be totally incomplete unless they increase the number of angles your ship can point at? (And don't tell me it's too much work to draw all the sprites, it's not.)
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Elvish Pillager
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Re: UQM, Timewarp and ship rotation
« Reply #1 on: September 07, 2008, 12:01:41 pm »

- Why do people (or should people) play UQM when TW exists with all the same functionality and more?
"additional functionality" is nonsense in a competitive game. A change in game mechanics is never just a good thing or a bad thing.

Personally, I think the angle limitation is an important part of the strategy.

I would certainly be interested to try out netmelee in TW (I might even like it) but I have never been able to get it to work.
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Re: UQM, Timewarp and ship rotation
« Reply #2 on: September 07, 2008, 12:03:10 pm »

As you said, the gameplay changes completely if you have continuous angles. We want to give people the original gameplay.
And don't fall in the trap of thinking that more realistic is more fun. In my opinion one of the reasons that SC2 is as much fun as it is, is because the creators never let realism stand in the way of enjoyment of the game.
Having discrete turning angles requires its own tactics. It can be frustrating when it works against you, but it can be fun when you can make use of it yourself.
Saying that having discrete turning angles is "a glaring flaw" is like saying it's a glaring flaw that pawns in chess can't move backwards.

I do realise that the reasons that SC2 has just 16 ship angles was probably because of technology constraints (and perhaps manpower constraints). But I think it did work out pretty nicely, gameplay-wise.

Quote
And don't tell me it's too much work to draw all the sprites, it's not.
How many volunteer artists who would be willing to draw over 400 images do you think we have available to us?

As for TW, I suspect the main reason is "the real thing" vs. "a clone". Also, wasn't TW very poorly balanced?
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Re: UQM, Timewarp and ship rotation
« Reply #3 on: September 07, 2008, 12:25:11 pm »

I would certainly be interested to try out netmelee in TW (I might even like it) but I have never been able to get it to work.

Forgetting the whole angle balance thing for a moment, I'd say this is a big reason as well.  I don't even know where to go for TimeWarp Netmelee assistance, and from what I remember of the old days I could never get it working for very long.
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Re: UQM, Timewarp and ship rotation
« Reply #4 on: September 07, 2008, 03:53:31 pm »

I tried TimeWarp a long time ago on a different computer. It wouldn't work. I suppose it's worth trying again. SC3 ships were horribly balanced though (Ploxis and Doog especially), I would not want to play with those ever. I find SC2's firing angles rather obnoxious and would like to try playing without them. I'm more than a little worried about what that could turn Druuge into, but the other ships should work about the same.
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Re: UQM, Timewarp and ship rotation
« Reply #5 on: September 07, 2008, 04:22:04 pm »

TW-Light's netmelee worked pretty great after GeomanNL worked on it. I remember there being a desync error which caused a crash, though, when any of the players bumped into an asteroid (which weren't at the same places on either client), though I'm not sure if GeomanNL fixed that or not. Either way, if you want to play Timewarp netmelee, ditch regular Timewarp and get TW-Light.

Now, as far as I am concerned, newer players will probably dislike the 16 angles, yet people who played the orgininal Star control 2 intensively might prefer 16 angles over more angles.
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Re: UQM, Timewarp and ship rotation
« Reply #6 on: September 07, 2008, 07:55:08 pm »

Didn't Mr Brian remove the angle limitation in his project? Has anyone tried that?
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Re: UQM, Timewarp and ship rotation
« Reply #7 on: September 08, 2008, 02:02:10 am »

Well..  I tried it!     Tongue

It works good, helps alot with the laser weapons.  Removing the angle limitation is just an option, you can play it both ways

Timewarp is a cool project- they did alot with it, but for me it is not enough like the original Star Control that I love Smiley
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Re: UQM, Timewarp and ship rotation
« Reply #8 on: September 08, 2008, 02:38:17 pm »

I tried TimeWarp a long time ago on a different computer. It wouldn't work. I suppose it's worth trying again. SC3 ships were horribly balanced though (Ploxis and Doog especially), I would not want to play with those ever. I find SC2's firing angles rather obnoxious and would like to try playing without them. I'm more than a little worried about what that could turn Druuge into, but the other ships should work about the same.

Lol my entire fleet on Sc not 3 was all doogs with the upgrades, nothing could beat them Tongue I think I only lost like one ship in the entire time i played.

And while I dislike SC not 3 I did like some of the races. The Doogs were just awesome and if they had some more dialogue it would have been good. I also liked the Clairconctlar althought again more dialogue. I do think the fricking exquivan should have been nuked out of orbit though. "those who listen do not hear and those who know do not understand" (or whatever psycho babble they talked on about. "the heels of the good crush as many ants as those of the wicked". seriously those guys needed a visit to the loony bin.
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Re: UQM, Timewarp and ship rotation
« Reply #9 on: September 10, 2008, 02:30:28 pm »

As you said, the gameplay changes completely if you have continuous angles. We want to give people the original gameplay.
Now, as far as I am concerned, newer players will probably dislike the 16 angles, yet people who played the orgininal Star control 2 intensively might prefer 16 angles over more angles.
Recreation of SC2 "as it was" is very good point. Which does not automatically removes other possibilities as long as they are outside "pure recreation" ruleset, being controlled by config options and/or implemented in mods.
And don't fall in the trap of thinking that more realistic is more fun. 
Well, if what is needed is simulator, absolutely nothing (save some efforts needed to implement SC2 hyperspace instead of ready SC1 jumps) stands on the way of VegaStrike mod, "Ur-Quan Strike" or something. In fact, that would be cool. Grin
But while arcade oversimplifications are understandable and acceptable, some things still look plain stupid are pointless and annoying, in SC it's mostly sudden appearance of various undetectable objects from the screen border right before ship's nose. IMHO issues with angles are not nearly so nasty, though not pleasant either.
I do realise that the reasons that SC2 has just 16 ship angles was probably because of technology constraints (and perhaps manpower constraints). But I think it did work out pretty nicely, gameplay-wise. 
Which does not means rotatory inertia would not do much the same. Though not in pure restoration ruleset.
How many volunteer artists who would be willing to draw over 400 images do you think we have available to us?
Hmm. Even without dirty tricks involving 3D models, why would not "2.5D" approach (sprite + height map) be much better ? So you always have 1 image + 1 relief image instead of 1 image per angle implemented. It could be translated into smooth turn, or... the same 400 images rendered on load. At least, this would make addition of extra LoDs (for better resolutions) much easier. And in "smooth zoom" mode single really large image to scale down instead of LoD-ded sprites could be improvement over having sprites distorted even with best scaler.
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Re: UQM, Timewarp and ship rotation
« Reply #10 on: September 10, 2008, 04:38:18 pm »

How many volunteer artists who would be willing to draw over 400 images do you think we have available to us?
Hmm. Even without dirty tricks involving 3D models, why would not "2.5D" approach (sprite + height map) be much better ? So you always have 1 image + 1 relief image instead of 1 image per angle implemented.
Got any 2.5D image editors?
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Re: UQM, Timewarp and ship rotation
« Reply #11 on: September 11, 2008, 12:33:48 pm »

Hmm. Even without dirty tricks involving 3D models, why would not "2.5D" approach (sprite + height map) be much better ? So you always have 1 image + 1 relief image instead of 1 image per angle implemented.
Got any 2.5D image editors?
Yes, GIMP.  Wink As i see it: create from primary sprite white greyscale layer, now you have image of "flat prism" ship. Add mask. Drop color to black where edges correspond to ship parts sloping "down" from PoV (mostly via blurring), choose blurring algorithm and use color curve tool to get desirable slope. Mask cuts it down to ship's outline, whether it's blurred or not. Add details and fix it where it does not represent your idea of ship. When you'll save this layer separately, you'll have height map ready to use.
For 3D-rendered images better way would involve automation, namely consecutive crossection coloring, "water lines" script (or even shader?), with resulting object rendered from exactly the same PoV as main image. Something like "paint it white, illuminate it from above, add absorbing fog dense enough to make chosen waterline very dim grey".
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Re: UQM, Timewarp and ship rotation
« Reply #12 on: September 12, 2008, 11:12:46 pm »

I agree in princple that there should be a "UQM -- just as the creators made it (with a few bugfixes/UI improvements)". People should definitely have the option to play the game "just as it was". However, I think that if the game is to have a future (and not just with people making mods) that the final version needs to have the ship rotation issue dealt with. There should be an option to toggle it on or off quickly and easily so that people can go between "Classic" and "New" modes. In game lobbies for Netplay, it should indicate what  mode people are playing in.

I don't buy that "angle limitation is good for strategy". I know it affects gameplay but who would design a game in this way with today's technology? I also agree that Realism != Fun, but realism is not the basis for my argument. It just doesn't make sense that it would be this way unless you were forced to make it this way. It seems more a limitation of technology than "desired trait".  I suppose we could ask the Creators on this one if we wanted.

Aiming requires skill but it shouldn't be impossible to hit from certain points. I think a lot of people will want this upgrade to be in the official 1.0 release. I think a good graphic artist can get a good sprite rotation going, with appropriate scaling, and it would hopefully not require a herculean coding effort to make the change.

please please please include this, so that other modders will have a good base engine to jump off from for their mods! Smiley
thanks,
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Re: UQM, Timewarp and ship rotation
« Reply #13 on: September 13, 2008, 02:38:39 am »

I know it affects gameplay but who would design a game in this way with today's technology?
Me.

Now go to your room.

(You can come out when you have either repented, or put together a fork of UQM with this feature.)
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Re: UQM, Timewarp and ship rotation
« Reply #14 on: September 13, 2008, 04:21:37 am »

I sort of like PsyDev's idea. Such a new melee mode could also include things like a planet location indicator, modified ship prices, maybe even "fixed" Torch and Dreadnought. That'd be fun.
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