Planetary Annihilation, a futuristic RTS that's stuck in the past. (aesthetically speaking)

Discussion in 'Planetary Annihilation General Discussion' started by tehtrekd, January 2, 2015.

  1. billthebluebot

    billthebluebot Active Member

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    you know, i feel as though a little more size variation would go a long way in making these things seem more mechanical than vehicle. like making T2 slightly bigger than it is now, except for naval.. make it WAY bigger T2 battleships and stuff have good stats in my opinion, but they should be bigger, along with T2 naval factories, they feel too tiny. After that, you add some T3 units that are quite a bit bigger, but not experemental-sized. landcruiser.jpg just assume ants are t-34 sized. theres a guy on top for size referance
  2. squishypon3

    squishypon3 Post Master General

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    T2 units used to be bigger but they were made a bit smaller at some point in Alpha I believe.

    Anyway about ships... yeah ships used to be huge, and I kind of liked that, but on the other hand it was so terrible for pathing.
  3. squishypon3

    squishypon3 Post Master General

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  4. KNight

    KNight Post Master General

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    Okay, before this goes any farther I need to remind everyone what WYSIWYG actually is and what it's purpose is.

    First off, WYSIWYG does NOT mean all units need to fall into specific Stereotype(s). Secondly, it does NOT mean units can't change.

    At it's broadest, WYSIWYG means that Form informs Function. Of course, that's so broad as to be useless for anything practical like a discussion on the topic. So lets look at it in a bit more depth.

    First off WYSIWYG doesn't actually have anything to do with the player's pre-conceived concepts, it's completely focused on the Game's Internal Logic and keep it consistent. You can have a game with zero "Stereotypical" units and it can still fully conform to WYSIWYG. In addition a game with every unit being a Stereotype can still fail a "WYSIWYG Check".

    So then what does WYSIWYG actually apply to? Well lets look at some straightforward examples;

    [​IMG]
    This is Tank A.

    It has a Thick Hull, is Slow and has a Dual Machine Gun Turret with low Damage but a High Rate of Fire.

    [​IMG]
    This is Tank B.

    It has a Thin Hull, is Fast and has a Ballistic Cannon Turret with Medium damage and Medium Rate of Fire.

    Now considering these two alone, they conform to WYSIWYG, all of the conflicting functional elements are visually distinct from each other.

    Okay so Cool, but lets say we wanted to make new units, well I'm going to show two units, one will conform to WYSIWYG and one won't.

    [​IMG]
    This is Tank C.

    It has a Thick Hull, is Fast and is armed with a Ballistic Cannon Turret with Medium Damage and a High Rate of Fire.

    [​IMG]
    This is Tank D.

    It has a Thin Hull, is Fast and has a Dual Machine Gun Turret with low Damage but a High Rate of Fire.




    Answer: Tanks D Conforms to WYSIWYG and Tank C Doesn't conform to WYSIWYG.

    Why is this well look, Tank C has the same hull as Tank A which was already noted to having a Thick Hull and being Slow, this creates a contradiction, they both have the same Hull, but each tank gives it different properties. This is the where the real problem comes it because you expect that when two things look the same they will function in the same way.

    WYSIWYG doesn't preclude Upgrades or units change, not at all. What it does mean is that if you are going to have upgrade(s) they need to be applied visually in addition to being applied to a unit's functions. If you have an upgrade that increases a units damage something on the weapon should change, or the FX should be different or maybe even just changing the icon of the unit, any of this in any combination or other process not mentioned can be used. SupCom2 has Prime examples of good and bad examples of this. The Rockhead had visual representation for most(if not all, I can't really remember) of it's upgrades, but on the Commanders, the Overcharge upgrade had NO visual queues as to whether or not a Commander had it, you pretty much had to figure it out via trial and error and that's terrible.

    Now, like any other rule, you can't be super draconian about it's application, you do need to leave yourself some wiggle room but you still need to be smart about how and where you bend it.

    WYSIWYG, on it's own, doesn't amount to much, it doesn't guarantee your unit roster will be interesting nor does it mean your game is an unapproachable mess of a learning curve. What it does to is make your game internally consistent and this is a boon to everyone.

    Mike
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  5. squishypon3

    squishypon3 Post Master General

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    I can understand your feelings and agree at least partially, but personally I don't believe you're interpreting it as the devs meant it. As far as I understand the devs would be fine with units being as radical looking as they can be, or have armour values, or etc... The only thing it entitled is that if I see an ant and an enemy ant they must be the exact same functionally if they are visually.

    Example: veterancy goes against WYSIWYG because a unit will have better health/do more damage whilst another ant who was freshly built won't. However if all ants did more damage to say.. levelers for example then it would still follow WYSIWYG as all ants are still the exact same.
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  6. KNight

    KNight Post Master General

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    The problem is that you view WYSIWYG as a list of "Dos and Don'ts" when it's actually justa guideline on how keep a game's Internal Logic Consistent.

    Case in point, Veterency CAN conform to WYSIWYG if you implement it right. The SupCom did it doesn't conform obviously. Look at the GLA Technical from Generals it got upgrade through combat(more or less) but because those upgrades were represented visually(instead of JUST mechanically like in SupCom) it actually does conform to WYSIWYG.

    Mike
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  7. squishypon3

    squishypon3 Post Master General

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    I can agree with that, if I unit visually changes ththen stats can change as well, the only issue would be if they didn't change visually.

    Though I'm honestly not sure it'd be worth the effort to have veterancy and create little animations/other models for veteran units. At least not yet.
  8. KNight

    KNight Post Master General

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    The point is not that PA should have Veterency, it never was, it was just an example to properly explain what WYSIWYG is and how it works.

    Mike
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  9. cdrkf

    cdrkf Post Master General

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    I agree very much with your assessment. I think what Uber wanted to (and have thankfully) avoided is the rather stupid 'invisible tech' upgrades present in the entire Blizzard 'craft' games and many others. The +2 global damage to units with melee weapons in Warcraft for example. You have no clue your opponent has it until your 5 footmen run into his, and you loose the battle.

    As you say, if an upgraded version of a particular unit is easily distinguishable from a standard version you have all the information required to make a tactical judgement on what to do strategically (e.g. well he has 10 upgraded ants, however my 30 standard ant's can handle that). The policy wouldn't preclude that at all.

    I think the main issues with the units in PA come from lack of funds and developer resources to throw at *this area* of the project. They have a much reduced team now and still have no where near completed all the custom commanders yet which is why the main units have had somewhat little love, Uber's art resources are at a premium at the moment I think.

    *Edit: added for clarity
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  10. Debosse

    Debosse Member

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    Honestly the way units look really isn't all that important to game-play and WYSIWYG. So long as the unit design design doesn't completely throw away logic players will learn what they do and to identify them at a glance in no time at all. Starcraft is a great example of this. I can look at a zergling and go "wow that is really alien I wonder what it does?" but as soon as I see it attack something once I now know oh its fast and needs to get to melee range. Same with larger units like the archon, at first its omg wtf is that and what death and destruction is it going to bring to me, but shortly after you learn. It gives the game a sense of wonder and discovery when you first play it. In supreme commander it took me months to figure out how to build experimentals (12 years old) and when I saw one in game I about crapped myself but after getting stomped (quite literally) I was in awe of how epic it was despite having no idea what exactly it would do before I got destroyed.

    TLDR:
    Long story shot even if it isn't identifiable at a glance people will learn very quickly what it does and how it functions despite what it looks like. Give gamers some credit.
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  11. squishypon3

    squishypon3 Post Master General

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    Well I agree with how you meant it, when I was explaining how units can't change with WYSIWYG I meant to imply it can't change without visual changes.

    Essentially what I'm saying is I wholeheartedly agree, and I feel as if many people here use WYSIWYG as an excuse to not include things they dislike.
  12. KNight

    KNight Post Master General

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    WYSIWYG isn't really about individual units, it's more about maintaining an internal consistency across the roster. See my Example above with Tank A, B, C and D.

    Mike
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  13. Debosse

    Debosse Member

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    Ah ok thank you for clarifying that for me :oops:
  14. billthebluebot

    billthebluebot Active Member

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    this thread was about making stuff look cooler, and i really dont get why you think that means we need to discuss the crap out of this "what you see is what you get" business.
    there are so many different ways to make, say, a bomber look like a bomber. right now its a big glorified pizza slice flying through the air, you could change it to a ww2 style bomber, with the double fuselage thing, ww1 with just a really big fragile-looking fighter , or something completely different like starwars, so many things are automatically identified as "bomber" or "tank" (for me at least) that making things a little more spicy in the visual department shouldnt be a problem.
    also, i was in since the beta, i know about the boats, and i was saying that hypothetically, for scale reasons, if, the ant was the size of a T-34, thats how big my hoped-for T3 things would be ish.
  15. squishypon3

    squishypon3 Post Master General

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    The b2-Spirit inspired the bombers, and I actually really enjoy them.
  16. squishypon3

    squishypon3 Post Master General

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    For the record everyone, the Arm T1 bomber, by which the bumblebee was obviously inspired.

    [​IMG]
    (The bottom one)
  17. temeter

    temeter Well-Known Member

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    I always took the more 'conventional' units as a continuation of SupCom's style. Imo SC was the closest RTS ever came to capturing full scale modern warfare. Ofc with a big sci-fi spin, but basic unit functionality (naval!), information warfare and artillery was relatively close to reality.
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  18. billthebluebot

    billthebluebot Active Member

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    i wasnt singleing out the bomber, it was just the first thing that came to mind when i thought of designs in PA i dont really like (an example per se), and ive never played total annihilation, never even heard of it before the PA kickstarter. either way, that arm bombers pretty cool, i especially like the split thing theyve got going on with it and they only hinted at it in PA. all ive been saying is that PA needs spicier bigger/smaller ballsier designs in it.. for the things that arent unit canons and catalists.
    Last edited: January 4, 2015
  19. squishypon3

    squishypon3 Post Master General

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    Ever seen the t2 missile bot, or t2 sniper bot?
  20. Bhaal

    Bhaal Active Member

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    Thats one quality unit. Thats one of the reasons lots of people refuse to play the game and to some its a direct slap into the face.
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