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Awesome ideas here Falkon Swiftblade ! 

 

 

Especially like number 3. 

 

I'm not a developer at all, but they all seem relatively straightforward to implement, which at this stage in the development is essential as they're not going to undertake huge UI/playability overhauls.

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1) Contrast is the main issue, so one method of creating contrast in the environments is have a darker shadow under the player. You don't even have to have a realistic shadow, just keep the light source slightly over exposed in engine. Having a darker shadow near the feet helps the players feel more grounded. You may have to reverse your alpha masks so the head is lighter than the feet. Part of the confusion is so much tall grass and props in the game and the camera's perspective is a bit too shallow, so things appear foreshortened which distorts the silhouettes.

This is a good suggestion, I believe this is what Shadowrun Returns did. In v271 it appears they've applied a darkening affect to cloth and armor tints on the characters which helps.

 

2) The color pallet for armor's need brighter values. The more richer in color the better since that's are main focus. In addition, the artists could render the character textures out in 24 bit color which would allow them to pop more too. This seems to have helped in the new EE BG games.

I don't think brighter values is the solution, but 24-bit would be good. Bolder/richer/stronger colors with darkening works I think (which I believe is what they have done).

 

3) The The colors of the rings around the players are also too similar to the environments. One method they could try implementing is fading the colors of the rings to red the closer to death you or your party become. Similar to the portraits having the red overlay on them, although I'm not a fan of that technique on the portrait. I would prefer the portraits be more richly saturated, and as they take damage desaturate to black and white as they lose stamina.

I have probably been the person that asked the most for green selection circles. Baldur's Gate 1 actually had dark grass all the time to make the green selection circles stand out a lot better. Obsidian were actually pretty set on using blue circles due to accessibility, but many of us want the nostalgic IE green color. I don't believe they're using the exact color that the IE games used for the circles and I think the thickness/brightness is a bit glaring. I would prefer the thinner style circles.

 

4) The combat is a cluster mess also because the timing of the attacks feel like everything is the same speed, and there's not nearly enough feedback of who's hitting who, what kind of damage is being caused, not to mention the animations are too fast across the board. They need to speed up and slow down. Have some pregnant pauses in there, and not just the awaiting for the spell to come. I was watching a few wizards play and they just seem to randomly shoot magic. There's some winding up and follow through missing across the board.

Yes there's a lot of issues with combat. Combat feedback is the #1 thing missing which the IE games handled perfectly (much better than most isometric games since) and animation lengths and recovery times are very confusing. I believe Obsidian has slowed global recovery time down a bit in v271 but I think that is a bandaid over the bullethole - as the flow of combat still looks way off. I have many suggestions to help with this that I will be revealing in a thread coming soon.

 

5) UI changes, someone was wise enough to realize most of the western world reads Top to Bottom, left to right in a Z pattern. Their UI is all over the map, literally... and while I quite like it aesthetically speaking, it's not super functional at the moment.

Yes, this is something I have mentioned in my videos, but I disagree with you on the direction that the UI needs to go.

 

Part of the issue is the icons are too small/font's too small, and the icons are not really easy to identify what they do.

This is true, and one of the reasons the icons are so small is because they're trying to cram everything at the bottom of the screen. This creates less room for larger sized icons/buttons.

 

 

There should be nominal amount of clicks needed away from your player and the enemy. I see some of the changes they've brought over from the old games and even a little bit of ToEE too. Honestly, My preferred play style with a game like this would to be hover over my enemy, right click on the target, have the contextual spells I can cast on them appear, then click on the spell which activates it.

I fully disagree with this notion. This would be an absolute DISASTER direction to take in a REAL TIME COMBAT game. Contextual menus work absolutely fine in turn based because clicking through the menus is not time critical. In realtime combat, your solution would require a pause every time you want to issue a command if you want to take control of every action every character takes, and this would be a nightmare

 

Not to mention right click has a very important cancel/move function unique to the IE games which I would hate to see re-mapped.

 

This is one area they have got right. Real time isometric games need functional buttons on the screen at all times so the player can interact with them (or use the hotkeys).

 

I feel like there's too much micro management on the portrait, on the mob, on the player's avatar, etc and really over complicates things.

Asides from shortening the mouse travel distance between character portrait and ability icon, I think they've actually over complicated the interaction with the UI. The Infinity Engine games are actually better in this regard because the action bar changes what icons it shows based on whether you have multiple characters selected or a single character selected. Obsidian has opted for a separate bar for each, with superfluous functions remaining on the screen when unnecessary when you have a single character selected - you don't need the standard attack button, or formations to appear in this particular instance because you can use the actual weapon the character has equipped and there are no one character formations.

 

Not even to mention the Inventory and things folks have mentioned there or the lack of even needing that center HUD. It's so seldom used, it should only appear when you need it.

The inventory design is a mess. I agree

 

At any rate, there's still plenty of time to fix these issues, so I'm pretty hopeful :)

I'm actually worried they'll be a bit too stubborn and back their currently sub-par designs, but fingers crossed that you are right.

Edited by Sensuki
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I'm actually worried they'll be a bit too stubborn and back their currently sub-par designs, but fingers crossed that you are right.

 

 

If we voice our concerns loud enough there is no reason why they wouldn't listen to us. 

 

I think your suggestions so far (as well as those in the line of Falkon's, above), have been very reasonable – and also very well-motivated (from years and years of RPG experience).

 

If I were a developer, I don't see why I wouldn't listen to such sound advice.

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In the past I have gotten the impression that the lead designer, Josh Sawyer in particular has a very particular preference about how at least the Main UI should be. That may not be in fact correct, that is just the impression that I have got from his posts.

 

When I have made my own mockups I have tried to adhere to those preferences though.

 

It's much harder to design for 16:9 than it is 4:3 :(

Edited by Sensuki
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Re the stubbornness, I think a certain amount is to be expected simply because they're on a tight schedule and budget. They'll fix the obviously broken stuff first, then decide what's the biggest problem ATM, fix that, and repeat until it's time to release.

 

I believe Josh and Feargus are pretty dead set on the Winter 2014 target, which very likely means some fairly significant stuff will be left un-addressed. They won't risk a NWN2 debacle I think, but some fairly rough edges are likely.

 

OTOH I'm pretty sure they're going to be patching this for a quite a while, what with the expansion and all. So I think all this feedback is going to be useful even if not everything they'd want to adjust makes it into the initial release.

I have a project. It's a tabletop RPG. It's free. It's a work in progress. Find it here: www.brikoleur.com

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Upon thinking on this issue more, I think a lot of the issues come down to poor use of value in the art work. What I mean by this is colors have an inherent range where red looks red and yellow looks yellow for example. Red has several levels in between where its still red. Yellow on the other hand only has a very few. Currently either because of the way team has their post fx working or some filter being used, the values are very shallow causing muddying up the colors. There's still time for the artist's to go back and adjust those levels, but I don't think they're probably going to pull the team off the expansion to fix it. But that's a big reason why Kaz's work just pops so much more than his peers. There's a few great blog's out there giving tips on this, as well as you can use "ctrl y" in photoshop to quickly switch modes to get a better read if your not checking channels for contrast. Just something to think about. If I wasn't typing this on my phone I'd link some examples.

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I just want to thank you for this thread - so many constructive contributions to a problem I think is essential. Since I've only seen videos I can't say much about the beta, but if I, from a distance, wanted something to be heavily improved upon,THIS is it.

At least, last time I looked PoE's genre hadn't shifted to espionage with every character having excelling ninja-stealth-fading-into-the-background skills.

 

*bump*

Edited by gum661
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Well to be fair, the new build is much better than the old in this regard. Is it perfect? Probably not, but It's good enough where I'm not constantly thinking about it.

"Wizards do not need to be The Dudes Who Can AoE Nuke You and Gish and Take as Many Hits as a Fighter and Make all Skills Irrelevant Because Magic."

-Josh Sawyer

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So I've made some GIFs to demonstrate what has actually changed between builds. In short, minor tweaks that go some way in improving character readability, but still inadequate in my opinion.

 

output_LsYidp.gif

A very slight improvement here in character visibility due to darker character shading/contrast.

 

output_sxD2s7.gif

A much more noticeable difference here. It could be partly to do with the chapel lights being on in the middle of the day (a bug in of itself).

 

output_02KLXG.gif

Very slight increase of shading on characters, but still have major contrast issues in relation to the background. What's more interesting to note is the subtle differences in the background image. It seems like sharpness has been toned down slightly, and there are geometry changes which strikes me as weird.

Edited by Justinian
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The you have some of the dungeons looking incredibly detailed and irregular, which really harkens back to the best of the IE backgrounds. I just find tiled-looking, perfectly isometric rooms in a game like this disappointing.

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  • 2 months later...

In terms of visibility, something drastic needs to be done in certain areas. Just look at the situation below:

 

bleh.png

 

Terrible unit visibility is caused by:

  • Oversaturated and overcontrasted background. The contrast is so high the shadowed areas are almost entirely black!
  • Grass being far too detailed, creating visual noise
  • Grass overlapping units

It truly feels like the background was rendered with NO consideration to gameplay at all. You're not making photorealistic paintings here, you're making a game that needs to support gameplay!

What needs to happen:

  • Re-render grass to be shorter.
  • Reduce saturation and contrast levels of background
  • Implement clearer unit shading and rim-lighting, increase unit contrast

Now let's compare to a game where sensible decisions were made to the art to support clarity and gameplay:

 

DivinityOriginalSin1.jpg

 

I had high hopes for this game but seeing how Obsidian are neglecting the most basic considerations of gameplay this late in development depresses me.

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Agreed on a revamp on many combat effects for increaded visibility and clarity, and yes, that web is pretty terrible. Looks more like some fire-extinguishing foam.

*** "The words of someone who feels ever more the ent among saplings when playing CRPGs" ***

 

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I almost wonder if they changed the targeting reticles because people found it confusing as to who was targeting who icon_lol.gif They could have fixed the bug I reported - the very one that made Jesse Cox confused as to what his character was doing, but it seems that it has been again overlooked as it's still present in the game.

 

The way the new indicators interacts with the circles is really sloppy, they should just change them back.

Edited by Sensuki
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Is it just me, or is the slight pulsation of the marker circle when you select one of your characters in combat too weak/faint and altogether the wrong colour (it blends into most spell FX)?

Edited by IndiraLightfoot

*** "The words of someone who feels ever more the ent among saplings when playing CRPGs" ***

 

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One of the things that has been an issue is characters being behind walls and other occlusive objects (trees, pillars, etc). This, coupled with the lower angle of vision gives more opportunities for chracters to be visually "blocked."

 

Other games solved this problem by either removing the blocking view (Fallout 2) whenever a character was there, or by making the object slightly transparent.

 

Perhaps if this was implemented, it can go some distance in making the game more readable.

 

------------------

 

Similarly, perhaps the ground/grass needs some less contrast/noise to make it visible as justinian has mentioned.

 

I think part of the problem is that it takes a long time to bake those maps again. Maybe that's why they're trying everything but changing the maps?

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My blog is where I'm keeping a record of all of my suggestions and bug mentions.

http://hormalakh.blogspot.com/  UPDATED 9/26/2014

My DXdiag:

http://hormalakh.blogspot.com/2014/08/beta-begins-v257.html

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Is it just me, or is the slight pulsation of the marker circle when you select one of your characters in combat too weak/faint and altogether the wrong colour (it blends into most spell FX)?

In this patch selection circles are blurred behind the character and sometimes disappear completely when interacting with various FX/UI elements in the game - some of which is new to this patch, and none of which are good changes at all.

 

I think part of the problem is that it takes a long time to bake those maps again. Maybe that's why they're trying everything but changing the maps?

The maps will not change I don't think. They've been painted over and won't be re-rendered. These issues were not picked up in internal testing and thus will likely never be corrected. They can do stuff via filters, color grading and post-processing (I hate post-processing) but it's a bandaid over a bullethole really.

Edited by Sensuki
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They removed targeting reticles in favor of those. No idea why - they look silly, add to the visual clutter and don't interact with the selection circles correctly, and I'm going to howl at the moon until it's changed back ;)

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