My thoughts on PA thus far

Discussion in 'Backers Lounge (Read-only)' started by lokiauric, October 24, 2013.

  1. lokiauric

    lokiauric New Member

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    Hello everyone, Loki here. I haven't been posting much on the forums, but I'm hoping to change that and, to start it all off, I'm going to discuss my thoughts on the game thus far.

    A little background:

    Played TA back when it first came out and played Supreme commander quite a bit as well. I've played RTSes all my life, from C&C to Age of Empires, to Empire Earth and Cossacks.

    My favorite parts of RTSes are Diplomacy, huge armies versus one another and intelligent base/resource use.

    Thoughts on the game:

    So, I've played a couple games online versus other people and versus the computer AI and while most of the game was amazing, there were some parts I found problematic. Some of these are nitpicky but, to me, it take a lot of small things to make a good game into a Great game.

    1. Build times on buildings - In SupCom, there's a little timer that counts down when a unit or building will finish. I really like this as it gives you more tactical information to use. Is it worth waiting 40 seconds for this base defense to finish? Or should I divert the resources/builders to cheaper/less powerful defenses? Knowing the ETB is a huge plus for me

    2. Unit AI - A lot of times, my units ended up doing strange things. For instance, a couple times my warriors would clump together while half of them moved towards a target and the other half tried to move out of their way, even though they were supposed to be going in the same direction as well. Many times, builders would be told to assist far-away buildings, but would just sit there instead of moving to the building and assisting. Also, clicking on a unit was often times difficult, as the (clickbox?) for the unit seemed to need 2-5 clicks to register.

    3. Ships seem like an afterthought, which they are when the war is between planets, not just continents. I have a few ideas on what to do, but I'll add them to the bottom in suggestions.

    4. Resources need a bit of an upgrade. As soon as you hit orbital solar panels, energy is not a problem, but metal still is. There should be a few more tiers of metal extractors, as I don't believe 2 are enough.

    5. Computer AI - Not that big a deal, but they should be a setting for easy, medium and hard. Also, they seem to favor building Air forces, only. In 4 games, the AI just built air over and over, even though they were on the same continent as I. Also, they should not always pick the closest spawn point to you.

    6. Multi-monitor support and Minimap - I don't know about other players, but I found myself lost quite a bit and searching all over for a minimap. It might only available on a second screen, but it was sorely missed here.

    7. SPACE! - In my games, only twice did I get to another planet (mostly because I ended up killing the computer by accident), but I found some of the mechanics a bit difficult. First, one unit at a time was very difficult to deal with. There's no way (at least that I could find) to set up an automatic shuttle from one planet to another. SupCom had a pathing system that would allow a transport to patrol from one place to another. It would pick up any at one area and transport/unload in the other spot. It was very handy. Also, Getting to another planet took quite a while, especially for only 1 unit. Perhaps a mechanic that makes travel go slower with more units, but faster with fewer?

    8. Suggestions - Just some units/changes I'd love to see:

    a) The ability to, when on one planet, to switch it from a globe to a map. I found the globe was sometimes difficult to center myself on and a traditional 2d view would help especially during engagements and battles.

    b) Energy/metal converters. We need the ability to convert from one to the other. This was hugely useful in the original TA.

    c) More tiers of resources. I touched on this before, but I'd loved to see more ways to generate resources, including wind power (windyer planets?) geothermal power, tidal generators, etc. Also, more metal miners, as advanced miners don't make enough late game.

    d) More water support. I loved the TauCP mod to the original TA because it allowed full bases to be built underwater. Coupled with Seaplanes, fusion energy reactors, underwater metal makers and sonar jammers, it was the perfect place to hide a supply city. Ships are interesting and awesome in war, but they are already trapped in the lake/sea they're built in. Now they're locked to the planet as well. Any way to make some vehicle to send them to other planets? Or even a helicopter that can transport ships around a map?

    e) Strategy! Energy shields, radar jammers, targetting arrays. These are great to allow people their own modes of play. I was trying to play a base defense mode, but enemy units would survive all my defenses and destroy buildings. I think we need shields to allow more strategies so not everyone is just rushing cheap units.

    d) Units. I know we're still in Beta and plenty more units are coming up. I'm excited for suicide units, repair bots, mobile factories, experimental giant units, snipers, invisible units, etc. The more variation, the better the game is.

    e) Nitpick to the limit, but I want to be able to reclaim rocks/tree for energy and metal. I loved that I could kick my economy in the early game by using the terrain above me.

    If anyone has made it this far, I commend you for reading it all. I'll definitely add more as I play more games, but I want to hear your thoughts. Do you agree? Do you disagree? Am I too much of a perfectionist?
  2. silenceoftheclams

    silenceoftheclams Active Member

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    Welcome!

    Many of your comments, particularly about the UI, I agree with. There seems to be a pretty general consensus that the UI still has a ways to go yet, and I suspect that the Uber folks are likely working on that stuff as I type. The assist command is a bit buggy atm, too.

    However, I'm not sure I'd agree with you on the subject of navies; even T1 ships, for example, are so damn powerful for their cost that often I'll build a couple in lakes so that I can use their guns to defend nearby base structures. And you can build floating (not submerged) bases, which seems to make sense at present: why hide a base underwater when you can hide it on another planet?

    Likewise, I'd guess that resources are fairly balanced at present: if you think solar arrays make energy meaningless, you've not had someone sit over your base with a storm of orbital fighters. In general, if you often get to the stage where that is happening, try playing against more challenging opposition.

    Lastly, I'd be careful about calling for a ton of 'new' units, or buildings, or whatever. This is not systems biology, and diversity isn't always going to be good. If you have too many ways of doing very similar things, unless the game can offer a context in which players can distinguish between the finer points of each different method, it's going to make gameplay feel bloated. Worse, you can end up with units that are simply useless, or that end up as weaker versions of other units. There's a danger in presenting new players with a cluttered, messy unit list, and a beauty in streamlined simplicity. Not that the debate stops there, of course: the 'new units' thread hasn't yet stopped at 30 pages, and is full of fun ideas that taken all together would render the game unplayable.
  3. lokiauric

    lokiauric New Member

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    Yeah, the UI definitely needs a bit of work, but it's aiming in the right direction. We'll have to see how it plays out. Thanks for the support here.

    Floating bases don't offer much in the way of defense. They're just as easy to destroy as a land base. Underwater bases are more interesting and actually make a point to having subs and sub pens. Just like other planets, under water is a whole new, and different, theater of war. I for one would hate to give it up.

    As for resources, I believe that a game does best when there are multiple strategies available. Sure, I could just rush for metal to mine and for orbital solar collectors. Or I could create tons of fusion plants and metal makers. Or I could scout around for metal and use the excess with energy makers to supply energy. It all depends on what the best strategy is for that game. If the game always uses the same strategies, it would be no fun. The more options the better.

    On the same note as "more the merrier", I rather have tons of units with some "useless" ones, than not enough variance. Do I often use sniper bots? No, but that doesn't mean they're useless. Some people love small groups of insta-kill units, while I favor hordes of peewees. Variety is the spice of life my friends.
  4. Culverin

    Culverin Post Master General

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    Uber's been rather quite on UI stuff thus far, so I'm afraid we've got no more info for you on this issue.
    ETA for unit orders and building construction has been added to the Community's UI wish list.
    Link is in my sig.



    Multi-monitor support has been promised and is coming.

    Minimap is something is hotly debated on this forum.
    At first, there wasn't going to be one.
    But Uber said they will look into it.

    Here's one of the threads where you can flip through:
    https://forums.uberent.com/threads/idea-minimap.51928/


    Cheers, and welcome to the forums :)
  5. Stormie

    Stormie Active Member

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    My comments above in red.
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  6. silenceoftheclams

    silenceoftheclams Active Member

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    Variety may be the spice of life, but this is videogames. Nobody is pretending that life has an internal logic or consistency to it, but we do sort of ask that of the games we play.

    Remember that Uber has to design, make models for, animate, and balance every new unit added to the game. There are loads of interesting units that still need adding in the orbital/space categories, and I suspect this is where you'll start to see the game branch out in that sense. Saying that 'everyone deserves to have their own particular playstyle reflected in the game' is something of a trap. Ockham's Razor is why.

    By adding in these new units, you're asking us to believe something new about the game. Take the 'melee unit' idea from the New Units thread: this is fine in gameplay terms but actually messes with the game's concepts in unfortunate ways.

    A melee unit fighting ranged units is going to need enough durability to get close and do some melee-ing. So if you can make a unit that durable, why not pay a little bit more and add a gun to that unit? That way you'll have a unit durable enough to withstand all that fire, but without the drawbacks of needing to get close to fight. So you're then forced to say, 'yes, but actually the nature of that extra armour/shielding prevents a gun being added in some way'. And now you're asking us to add to all the other ideas present in the game already the idea of 'special' armour that prevents guns being carried. At which point Ockham's Razor applies.

    My challenge to you: repeat that logic for every unit idea in the units thread. See which units would actually fit the game as it stands.
  7. Quitch

    Quitch Post Master General

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    Dear God, please no.
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  8. thetrophysystem

    thetrophysystem Post Master General

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    Though said before, I would not mind at all a countdown for build beside the build bar on a build in progress structure, or even a factory build. I mean, doing it based on the rate the combination of all fabbers, it would not be impossible to make this a game feature. It would be difficult, but the devs should definitely do this in a bug UI update with all the many many other requests people are asking for.
    Also, I don't mind unit variety myself. That is a later thing, after the engine bugs are all gone, then they can plug tons of numbers in to make tons of different units.

    A melee unit? Why not? Only thing that matters is if it has a use and if it also has a way to fall flat on it's face. A melee unit has a use, you can blend it into your army ranks to sponge, hell, you can even use it to eat the initial damage when entering enemy turrets. Then again, if it's melee isn't that great but it does get in, then it isn't great by itself, it isn't even great if other units are picked off and then they are kited. That would be an example of balance.

    It would be balanced backwards too, if it were to have low health but stronger damage than ranged units, then you would try to keep them in the back and rush them through your own ranks to the front after battle started to surge damage forward. That would work too, and would still be possible to counter with farther shooting enemies.

    I think balance should be applied to make as many units viable and/or playstyles viable. Turtle, rush, t1 mass, t2 rush, land coverage, multiple small bases, fewer but larger bases... You have tons of different play styles in some video games, and even the ones that need constant balance, they all somehow coexist. League of Legends, Street Fighter, Call of Duty is an example I wish I could use except they piss poorly balance it lol, but I think they could balance it correctly to make it work.
    Last edited: October 25, 2013
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  9. jurgenvonjurgensen

    jurgenvonjurgensen Active Member

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    Because decent looking attack animations for ranged weapons are cheap, and not-awful looking attack animations for melee units are expensive.
  10. thetrophysystem

    thetrophysystem Post Master General

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    ...no?

    You basically give it a genetic wave back and fourth animation, almost as expensive as a second idle animation. Enemies get hit the same way as a ranged hit.

    If i made bots with melee attack, they would swing like smnc cheston. Cheap not aweful animation. Or, like blackjack from same game, like a mace swipe.
    Last edited: October 26, 2013
  11. jurgenvonjurgensen

    jurgenvonjurgensen Active Member

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    Given that at the moment no units even have idle animations, you're not exactly helping your point. And you don't understand how 3D models are rigged at all. A tank turret has two degrees of freedom. Three if you want the barrel to recoil. Bots all have gun arms that are basically equivalent to a tank turret. How many degrees of freedom in a basic shoulder-arm combination sufficient to "wave back and forth"*? Eight. Three more if you want it to have an off-hand that looks like it's counterbalancing the angular momentum of the swing. Add even more if you want the unit's legs to adopt a combat-looking stance while swinging to not look like a complete derp. (With a basic walk loop a legged unit can get away with six degrees of freedom in its legs, adopting a combat stance ups that to about ten). And then there's the issue that designing convincing looking ball joints is more difficult than doing the simple hinges and pivots seen in the units we have. Animating tanks firing guns is easy. Animating a humanoid swinging a weapon is an order of magnitude more complex.

    *I assume you mean "generic", not "genetic"
  12. thetrophysystem

    thetrophysystem Post Master General

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    I assume you assumed i assumed i actually typed genetic, when i really was using a phone keyboard with autocorrect.

    Point is, they have two not bad animations basically already made laying around somewhere. Given my experiences with Monday Night Combat, it wouldn't be difficult for them to make cheap melee animations. Given my experiences with Monday Night Combat, it would be awful if they didn't add tons of animations to the finished product. They really aren't terribly expensive, difficult to make, time consuming, recyclable, and for what they are they add a lot. Not idle animations so much being robots, but moving parts animations and fire animations and movement in general.

    Don't get me wrong, its not like they need tons for every unit, that is when it starts multiplying, but i can see those gunships everyone wants taking melee difficult animation.

    But all these points are just things they could add to their working game. Not adding gunships, melee units, unit diversity, or anything else, would mean you play it like minecraft; unless you're arm is twisted to do so, you never play vanilla style.

    Since content modding will be big, there's no possible way to lose anyway, which is another point bored people should keep in mind.
  13. jurgenvonjurgensen

    jurgenvonjurgensen Active Member

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    Reskinned MNC units would look bad in the PA aesthetic, and reskins are pretty blatant when they're used.

    I literally have no idea what this sentence is supposed to mean. Even if you're on a phone you're not magically prevented from proofreading your sentences.

    I play vanilla Minecraft all time. It's perfectly fine. And I don't know why you're talking about gunships in reference to this. Gunships can literally be done with zero moving parts. They're nothing like rigging a melee unit.
  14. LavaSnake

    LavaSnake Post Master General

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    Welcome! I hope that you will enjoy these forums and PA! I agree with most of your suggestions and notes (much of the community does too), just remember that this is Beta and EVERYTHING is a work in progress, AI especially. The AI currently uses Air and some bots but you can keep an eye on AI improvements on this thread. Again, welcome!
  15. camycamera

    camycamera Member

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    I agree. However, we already have confirmation that shield domes wont be in the game like in SupCom, so yeah.

    and like many others have said before, beta is beta.
  16. lokiauric

    lokiauric New Member

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    Thanks for all the support. I have to admit that I am more of a turtling player than a rush player. In supcom, I always built up massive defenses and was defended by my allies until I could get the paragon up. Then, I would share energy/metal with my allies until we won. So that's why I was looking for more turtle-centric buildings/skills. That said, I think it is a viable strategy and all strategies should be represented in the game. Beta is beta though, so I'll keep chugging along and see what happens.
  17. ghost1107

    ghost1107 Active Member

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    Hello -insert name- to the Planetary Annihilation Forum. We all appreciate that you have purchased and support PA.

    However, please note that Planetary Annihilation is still in the BETA.

    We also appreciate that you are willing to contribute to the community by posting on the forum. However, dumping a giant list of suggestions and missing features is not so very appreciated. For there are already a great number of treads concerning most, if not all, of the points that you have addressed. One tread simply isn't enough to adress all the different subjects.

    Your opinion is highly valued but please just place it in the appropriate tread. I can understand that you want to add your thought and experiance to the forum, in a the shape of a well organized list. However, you have not been the first to do this, there are many others. As stated previously 'one tread simply isn't enough' and you tread will eventually only make the forum more disorganized.

    I would like to propose that you use the amazing "Search" function located in the upper right corner of the forum. So that you can add you valued opinion in the appropriate tread. There you and other supporters can discuss the topic in length.

    Short tour of the forum:
    It might be interesting to know that most discussions take place in the "Planetary Annihilation General Discussion." There everybody even (non-backers) can add there opinion to the ongoing discussion concering there favorite topics. As a backer can even enter the "Backers Lounge" and the "PA Beta Discussion." In the "Backers Lounge" the the dev team does there very best to involve the community in "the creation of" Planetary Annihilation. In the "PA Beta Discussion" the bugs of the BETA are discussed. Please note, bugs are reported elsewhere. There are also some other places in the forum all of whom you can explore at your leisure.

    Finally, I want to refer you to the "Topic Index" and the "Confirmed features List 2.0" by KNight. These are easy to use lists which show what features will be in the game or not and it includes links to the concerning topics that discuss those features.

    I have tried to keep this as polite as possible. However many people start treads that already exist and to be honest it is starting to get on my nerves. Please consider these words:
    "A place for everything and everything in it's place."
    Last edited: October 30, 2013
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  18. lokiauric

    lokiauric New Member

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    Ghost 1107 I know there are most likely other similar topics. That said, I wanted to put my thoughts in one place, rather than spread them out over a billion different threads. You are welcome to read it, or not. Your choice. I don't really care about your nerves though, so I'll go on doing so if I feel like it. Maybe you should wear blinders next time you visit the forums.

    Otherwise your post is just off topic.
  19. svovlmunk

    svovlmunk Member

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    Speaking of ships not being relevant in the inter-planetary stage of the game:

    Why not have some mega-ships be capable of launching itself into orbit, Space Battleship Yamato-style. It would be a sight to see!

    [​IMG]
  20. lokiauric

    lokiauric New Member

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    That would be so sick! The orbital fighters aren't big enough for me just yet. Orbital dreadnaughts would rock.

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