Minimap Discussion (from IGN Review thread)

Discussion in 'Planetary Annihilation General Discussion' started by Raevn, September 18, 2014.

  1. knub23

    knub23 Active Member

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    Ok this whole discussion started because some people pointed out that the visibility on 3D spheres is bad. I would say it is something you need to get used to. People suggested to use Pip or pole lock. I personally prefer screen hotkeys.

    Pole lock just makes me prefer one direction (east-west) over another (north-south), which limits my opportunities. I havent found a use for Pip yet, maybe fixing a nuke, so you can select it while the main screen is where you want to shoot it. But apart from that? How is Pip superior to just simply using screen hotkeys? What do you use Pip for? I dont understand why people think it is so incredibly good...

    Screen hotkeys are incredibly fast, you can spread them over multiple planets and you dont need pole lock because they readjust your view after scrolling around (which is better for me because I still use the other directions). This solution works for me but I had to try different things until I saw that I prefer screen hotkeys and that they help me. But it took some hours.

    So maybe a minimap (even if it is distorted) would help some people. I dont think I would need it but it just gives players another option. But I dont think it is a big priority. I think that people that complain about difficult controls just need more time to adjust.

    I think when a game does something different, people need to give it some time. In the past some RTS had left-click orders and I was really annoyed when I first played a game with right-click orders because I was so used to the old system.
  2. thepilot

    thepilot Well-Known Member

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    For those who talk about distortion for the impossibility of minimap: You are focusing on the wrong issue.

    About the map distortion, what we have currently with PiP is this (doing the same exercise you did, but not ignoring the edges) :

    [​IMG]

    Does that distortion matters? Does it disturb you when you play? Obviously not.

    Second point, what a minimap is used for?
    - Make you aware of what is coming up.

    Distortion would be a problem if the use of minimap was to analyze the terrain. But it's not, at all.
    That's why I'm saying you are focusing on the wrong points.

    Imagine you are centered around Africa, and your enemy is on north America. Forget about the water.

    [​IMG]


    What map is telling you more about what your enemy is doing?
    What map would tell you more if your enemy was on australia?

    You can argue that you the distortion on the south pole is enormous. It's true.
    But you don't even see it with the "3d" view.

    You can say you can rotate the globe in 3d.
    Sure, but what dissallow the minimap to re-center on the south pole (like your 3d camera) too?
    Then the distortion would be minimal there, but you would still see coming stuff coming from everywhere.

    Why distortion doesn't matter?
    Because you don't care about seing terrain features.

    Why do I know that? FA has a "bug" with custom maps : Minimap appears all black.
    Still, I'm using them. It's still very usefull!

    [​IMG]

    You don't need to see the terrain, it's even more clear to see what's going on without it:

    [​IMG]

    A radar/sonar doesn't give you any terrain. You know where you are (at the center, like your 3d view), you know your troups are blue, you see red dots coming, that's all that matters.

    You can argue that minimap is bad, not a good option,...
    But please, as you are so focused on establishing the truth for the reviews, you should stop saying minimap are not good because of distortion. It's NOT the issue.


    Last but not least, PiP is NOT a better alternative. Yes, I've tried the "other side of the planet" view.
    There are several flaws:

    - Still heavily distorted at the edges. It's worst than a 2d view would be : It's crushed instead of expanded : You see LESS.
    - Let's say I fight on 2 planets. Let's say it's posssible to open as many PiP as you want (maybe it is, didn't find the option).
    To see the 2 planets, I would need my main view and 3 PiP.
    A minimap : Only 2 other views.

    And it's increasing with the numbers of planets you want to focus on: To see 4 planets, I would need 7 PiP. But only 4 Minimaps.

    This game is supposed to be large scale, multiple planets.
    What is the better system? The one that need 7 windows or the one that need 4?

    Now you know why the IGN review tells PA fails at achieving his goal.
    (it's not the only issue, on top of my list, "switching planets reset the view" is on top of my list with the messy orbital layer view).
    Last edited: September 18, 2014
  3. thepilot

    thepilot Well-Known Member

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    Another point against the distortion argument.

    What if the FA minimap was heavily distorted?

    [​IMG]

    It's still give you the exact same amount of information!

    Using right click instead of left click doesn't remove any function/information.

    Change is good when it go forward, not backwards. PA goes forward on many things, but backwards on several important things too.
    tatsujb and bradaz85 like this.
  4. GoogleFrog

    GoogleFrog Active Member

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    Nice post but I just left maths mode and now I am unreasonably bugged by this:
    It's a linear problem. The conversion constant is 2 and that is part of the problem.
  5. thepilot

    thepilot Well-Known Member

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  6. squishypon3

    squishypon3 Post Master General

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    You can't be serious, that minimap distortion is ridiculous, I guarantee of the game had a minimap like that then either nobody would use it, or everyone would hate it.
  7. thepilot

    thepilot Well-Known Member

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    Again you are missing the point.

    Even with a stupid distortion, you can still get what is going on without much trouble.
    That's what you ask for a minimap, nothing more.
  8. GoogleFrog

    GoogleFrog Active Member

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    Perhaps a short way to put the argument is that the antipodal PiP system has two problems:
    • Sticking two partial views together results in a patchwork view which can cause confusion as units move from one to the other.
    • There is significant distortion on areas near and just over the horizon to the extent that it is very hard to tell unit positions apart. The horizon actually makes up a large portion of the planet.
    For me I think the patchwork nature of PiP is worse than my anticipated dislike of the distortion required for a view of the entire planet. I value being able to see continuous paths taken by units over long distances.
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  9. mabn

    mabn Member

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    oh come on. PIP is not alternative to minimap because it shows only side of single planet. What if there are 8 planets? There is nothing that would show overview of a complete map (all planets)
  10. Dementiurge

    Dementiurge Post Master General

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    While I'm sure Varrak's optimization thread would absolutely cry at the thought, there is a solution that avoids all of this:

    Holographic planets.

    In the first minimap, it looks like the blue ACU is approaching enemy territory and the bulk of red's army, and that blue has about 55% of the map.
    In the second minimap, it looks like the blue ACU is in safe territory and far away from the bulk of red's army, and that blue has about 35% of the map. (You can't see the distortion in a 'real' case because the icons are never distorted.)
    squishypon3 likes this.
  11. thepilot

    thepilot Well-Known Member

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    Again, irrelevant. You know the real situation from the real view. The minimap only exists to see that situation changing over time.
    tatsujb likes this.
  12. squishypon3

    squishypon3 Post Master General

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    I think you underestimate what a minimap is for. It's not simply to see "blue is moving to red" I'd like to know at what speed, so I can prepair, what unit composition, what blocks their path, etc...
  13. vorell255

    vorell255 Active Member

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    I think the PiP works great. If I want to see the other side of a planet I can have it up down there. If I want to see a different planet I can. It is a WAY better solution imo than a mini-map, because I can adjust it to my liking. Plus as soon as I want to see more than one planet the mini-map is all kinda dumb.
  14. RMJ

    RMJ Active Member

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    Would it be so bad, to as have the minimap appear as a 3d sphere in a corner. So will turn with your view. but you can also turn it independently.

    I really feel like a sphere based game, the minimap has to be a sphere as well, for it to work.

    Then again how does real minimap radar work?

    There is a reason why minimaps were added to RTS games, because it gives you overview, easy movement, Sure in planetary annihilation you can zoom out, and thats awesome. But when you are actively engaged in building your base or something, zooming out and in and out and in constantly makes my head spin. Not to mention its hard to get the base construction under way.

    Evne more so, if you had a sphere like minimap, and you could even view your minimap on that from other planets.

    As cool as the whole open new view port or what you wanna call it, that is it the game atm, that just kills performance too much. i mean game is struggling as is. So thats not really viable.
  15. Raevn

    Raevn Moderator Alumni

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    You missed one of my key points - the perspective & curvature of the world allows you to visually tell the difference in size, even if the literal sizes are incorrect. Just like you know that a smaller unit near the horizon is still the same size as a larger one closer to the camera. With a minimap, you can't do this, as there's no visual reference or cues for the distortion.

    upload_2014-9-19_7-28-52.png

    If this is your typical map projection, those green circled units are actually right next to each other. The engineer in particular would appear to be travelling at phenominal speeds. Furthermore, while you may be able to tell the movement of objects on such a map if the map represents a near-perfect spherical world, this breaks down completely if it the world is not a sphere, e.g. after a planet collision, or in the event of support for non-sphere worlds (more an issue of what we can do with the system editor, rather than a technical one of the engine). For example, it's entirely possible that the circled orange units are next to each other in certain circumstances. How can you tell? You can't (even if it wasn't black).

    Eg., How would you represent a sphere with a cylinder cut out through the middle? What about an hourglass shaped planet, after some impacts? Mobius strip/ other terrain that has "both sides" usable? Other arbitrary terrain? It's all well and good to look at how something works in the ideal situation, but if it doesn't account for edge cases it's useless.

    upload_2014-9-19_7-25-33.png
    This means little if you don't know what's between those two dots. And unlike other games, you need to know both the nature of the terrain (water, land) and the actual geometry. The later is something a 2D map can never show. You literally cannot infer the shape of the planetoid or object from a 2D map like the one you describe. For example, it's actually possible those dots which appear to be heading towards the blue ones are actually heading away, because the distortion is larger than the units' movement speed. Again, you can't tell.

    Only if you compare a main view + minimap vs a main view alone, which is clearly disingenuous. A main view + PIP on opposite side gives you as much visibility as a main view + a minimap (eg., the whole planet).

    The distortion is due to perspective, which our minds can interpret readily as it is exactly how we see things in the real world. We CANNOT interpret the distortion of such a flattened map though, because it's arbitrary (if you disagree it's arbitrary, then you're still assuming a perfectly spheroid planet).

    If you need to "double-check" the minimap against the real view, it's truly useless. Worse than useless, actually, since it can be misleading.
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  16. Dementiurge

    Dementiurge Post Master General

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    I suddenly remembering why, in the previous arguments on this topic, I believed this would be one of those things where you'd have to implement it before people really understand why they won't like it.


    In the mean-time, play on maps with large height variation numbers and see how you like it.
    igncom1 likes this.
  17. brianpurkiss

    brianpurkiss Post Master General

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    Holy...

    What did I wake up to?

    It seems that this thread has more personal attacks than discussion about minimaps...

    [​IMG]
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  18. tatsujb

    tatsujb Post Master General

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    You sure you mean this thread? I fail to see the attacks...
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  19. Gerfand

    Gerfand Active Member

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    I will say one thing... we don't have a mini-map in PA, we have a F#@*$%! Picture in Pocture

    even in SupCom we had a PIP, but its is gone now:(

    Anyway if someone says: the Minimap in your game is awfull, just say:
    First its is a PIP
    Second why a Minimap when we have STRAT ZOOM!
    DalekDan likes this.
  20. idsan

    idsan Member

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    You honestly can't believe that, surely? With that amount of distortion in a planar map, it's unusable, plain and simple. It doesn't give you accurate information at all. Stop arguing something totally without basis.
    squishypon3 likes this.

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