Area Commands/Tips & Tricks video not obvious enough?

Discussion in 'Planetary Annihilation General Discussion' started by zgrssd, September 16, 2014.

  1. zgrssd

    zgrssd Active Member

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    A lot of critique about the game being to "micro-managerish" could have been solved by people knowing of area commands.

    The games devs did link this video (wich talks about area commands around 4:10) into the start menu:

    Currently it is Nr. 4, but it is going to drop out of sight long term

    I am not sure if I learned of area commands from that Video or if I just tried and it worked (wanted area commands since forever; I think O.R.B. had them for attack commands).

    But some people seem just to drag-shy or tunnel-visioned that they do not notice it. Despite playing enough to make a review.
    Or maybe they get distracted by the shiny "Toutorial" button and think that is "all there is to it". So it apparently needs to be more obvious. It is a core UI feature, at least for me.

    Also there are two issue with the videos:
    You cannot enabeled subtiles with the ingame video player (so people with hearing impairment have an issue getting informed).
    They also only have automatic subtitles, so people might not be able to get the proper spelling of stuff ("MEX" are not the same as "Macs"; "to select" not the same as "disilect", "press C" not the same as "proceed").
    At the very least those need proper subtitles - and a way to enabled subtitles for the ingame player.

    You may want to just chain play Zaphobds video at the end of the toutorial/have a selection between "Basic" and "Advanced" Toutorial (yours and Zaphods video respectively). Or maybe have a button "tips and tricks" wich opens a simple text listing stuff like area commands?
    Maybe even some loading screen hints*?

    *Those can be tricky/useless. Simply because the game might load too fast to read them. So those should be used only aditionally to a full listing of the tips.

    Attached Files:

    drz1 likes this.
  2. cdrkf

    cdrkf Post Master General

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    I really think PA would benefit from a scripted in game tutorial- there are many critisims of the in game UI and it simply isn't justified as the UI is *extremely powerful*. The problem is though that many new players (and evidently reviews) aren't intuitievly discovering these features. It doesn't need to be long, just enough to teach players all the key things which to my mind at least should be (in no particular order):

    Area Commands
    Unit Groups
    View Locations
    The hotkey system
    Factory controls (i.e. power, continual build + the ability to pre set orders for new units)
    - The ability to priority queue units on a continual build factory
    PIP and Notifications.
    The Uber Cannon as it is the only 'special ability' unit aside transports
    Unit Transports (+ area commands)
    Linking Teleporters.
    Chrono Cam

    The thing is many players will work out some of these themselves, however a tutorial ensures that they at least know of the existence of all of them.

    If a scripted tutorial is too much, perhaps there could be a way to add a help system that will give notifications of these things when enabled and doing something relevant (e.g. select a large blob of units, have "assign to unit group by pressing CNTRL + #, press # to recall the group pop up at the mouse point, possible with a 'press 'x' to disable help system')?
    websterx01 and bradaz85 like this.
  3. zgrssd

    zgrssd Active Member

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    I am not sure how well the engine could support scripted toutorials. At the very least they need some text that can be seen under a "hint's" button in the main menu. Something like:

    Area commands/Order queue:
    When giving a command hold the mouse button and move the cursor to define an area in wich the unit will automatically patrol/attack/load units/build extractors/whatever.
    Hold shift to queue up orders.
    Some area commands are infinite (patrol), while most can run out for queueing purposes.

    Factory and Teleporter orders:
    Factories and Teleporter can be given any order (except building) or queue of orders, that the produced/incomming units will automatically execute.
    Factoreis can be set to loop build (L). Ctrl+click will put one unit at the front of the queue - without looping it - for one off builds. Shift Click adds 5 units.

    Unit Groups/selection:
    Press Ctrl+[any number key] to assign a group. Press the number to select a previously assigned group.
    Ctrl+Z select every unit on screen that is similar to units you already have in selection.
    F selects idle Fabricators on screen
    C selects the commander

    Pip (picture in picture):
    You can enable a picture in picture window in lower right corner.
    It can be used as minimap of the whole system or to keep an eye on any place in the system, like your or the enemies base. Hover to see the commands availible.

    Important events apear below the economy bar. Hover over them to get a preview of the area. Click on them to move your camera there.

    View Locations:
    You can save camera locations and quickly recall them, similar to Unit Groups

    The hotkey system:
    Pressing X, C or V while having a factory or build unit selected enables the buildign hotkeys for that part of the build window.

    UI Commands:
    Hit F5 to reload the UI if you have any graphics bugs, stuck UI or similar issues.
    Alt+Enter switches between Full screen and windowed mode.

    The commadner is your king. Loose it and you loose the game.
    It provides some basic income and works as basic but fast builder.
    It can use the special ability "Ubercannon" (D), wich fires a powerfull AoE but needs time and energy to rechage.

    Unit Transports
    T2 Air and orbital factories have units that can transport other units (through air and deep space respectively).
    Use area commands and queued orders for maximum efficiency.

    The fastes way between two points anywhere on the planet or in the system. You need two bi-directional gates that you can link via context order.
    They need energy while in use (approximate 1k per).

    Chrono Cam:
    The name of the Replay feature.
    It can be used while in the game at any time and replays are generally saved on the server where others can watch them. It is fully avalible for spectators.
    drz1 and cdrkf like this.
  4. cdrkf

    cdrkf Post Master General

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    Yeah I'm thinking in an ideal world here... I think if the hints could come up live in game would be nice (and technically feasible given the UI is essentially a web browser). It would have to be a toggalble option as would be more of a hindrance to experienced players, still it would be superb for new players to go "hey you just individually placed those metal extractors, next time why not click and drag to use the area command to do it for you?". Actually the more I think about it the more this makes sense- Uber's mobile RTS 'Toy Rush' does this when your learning the game and it was very helpful :)
  5. zgrssd

    zgrssd Active Member

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    I think I could do some more short descriptions:

    Durable with decent speed and weaponry. Backbone of ground armies and anti-base/anti-commander attacks.

    Cheap & fast moving, but fragile. Ideal for early raiding, but one-shooted by almost anything.

    Slow moving and fragile, but high range and firepower. You can build almost any building on the sea.

    Fastest moving and cannot be engaged by most units. Very vulnerable to AA fire.

    Constructs buildings on ground and sea. Uses fixed energy while in use. Can be ordered to support factories or other fabricators.

    Tier 1+2:
    Tier 1 fabricators can build a Tier 2 version of thier own factory, wich produces advanced units.
    T2 fabricators build advanced defenses and economy buildings.

    Short for MetalEXtractor. Build on green metal spots.
    T1+T2 MEX are placed in paralel on same spots and complement each other.

    I will mention all the units/buildings that cause a audio Notification:

    Powerfull Orbital to ground sattelite. Ideal against commanders and other high value targets.
    Also: The Member of the community it was named after.

    Nuclear Launcher/Anti-nuke launcher:
    A special factory/storage. Nuclear missiles are useabel interplanetary and have significant area of effect.
    Both have to build thier ammunition, with the anti-nuke being much cheaper and able to store up to 3 shoots.

    Ground based anti-orbit building. High DPS, decent area and avalible from all fabricators except commander.

    Orbital&Space Radar:
    Shows all units in interplanetary space and orbits around all planets. Reveals Catalyst and Haleys when thier building is started. Warns of Haley being used.

    T2 building Used to move moveable planets and moons. Appears on orbital radar when build started.
    Spelled like the Comet.

    T2 building used to control the laser of undamaged metal planets. Needs all 5 per metal planet. Very large area demands. Appears on orbital radar when build is started.
    Last edited: September 17, 2014
  6. drz1

    drz1 Post Master General

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    THIS THIS THIS, but like I said before, these things should scroll across the bottom of the screen in menus. or even have the option to have them scroll in game if you like.
    Is it that hard to do? because it means doesn't have to spend money making a proper tutorial, and people would stop panning the game because there is no obvious info about some of these tips.
    Personally, I think demanding the game to tell you anything is a weakness on your part, but meh, that's just me.
  7. zgrssd

    zgrssd Active Member

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    Forgot some stuff:

    Specialised unit group for assiting ground forces and conduct orbital invasions.

    Anchor/laser platform:
    Obrital defense building. Short range, high power anti orbital weapons. Medium range, low damage Anti Air and Ground weapons.
  8. Kryoclasm

    Kryoclasm New Member

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    Hi there folks,

    Being that I am fairly new to to this game but I do enjoy it very much, I want to help out with tutorial videos.

    I have noticed that getting specific info on PA's interface or actions is a bit scattered. What I am thinking of doing is making a bunch of quick but targeted videos that describe a certain function or action. I'm not talking about strategy as I feel that is best learned first hand by getting steamrolled a few times or by watching tournament matches or the like.

    Also, I will be digging for info from this thread and other sources on the forum including external locations for useful info to aid my direction with the videos.

    I'll make short video tutorials on the interface and interaction with the game. Help me out by adding to this thread with a list of topics. No strategy please. :)

  9. zgrssd

    zgrssd Active Member

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    Area Commands and PiP are the only things that should need a video tourtorial. The rest is pretty intuitive IMHO, but more videos would never hurt.
    [broad hint to uber]The real issues is getting the Devs to put links to that into the game[/broad hint to uber].

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