Discussion of new weapon effects in 1.7

General discussion about anything related to Transcendence.
Post Reply

What do you think of the new effects? (Choose up to 2.)

They're beautiful.
5
29%
They're OK.
1
6%
They suck - bring back the old effects.
0
No votes
They're generally the right size, brightness, and duration.
4
24%
They should be bigger, flashier, and last longer.
0
No votes
Many of them are significantly too large, bright, or long-lasting.
2
12%
Some of them are a bit too large, bright, or long-lasting.
5
29%
What new effects?
0
No votes
 
Total votes: 17
NMS
Militia Commander
Militia Commander
Posts: 400
Joined: Tue Mar 05, 2013 8:26 am

Sun Jan 29, 2017 7:04 am

While the new weapon effects in 1.7 are prettier and more distinctive, I, and some other players, feel that many of them are too big, bright, and/or long-lasting. This can make it hard to focus on the ships, or even outright block your view of them. In general, shots and hit and fire effects should be significantly smaller than most ships.

Weapon effects:

Effectively, the part of a projectile that can collide with a ship is equal to the distance it travels in one tick. Many of the new effects are many times as long as this, causing ships to frequently pass through their rearward parts without colliding. This is acceptable when the shot has a clear "tail" that isn't part of the main projectile, but confusing when it's a uniform beam. Shots that are too wide will also appear to pass through ships without colliding. So shots should be generally smaller than they are now, but can be made longer with obvious tails.

Part of the problem is that the size of the standard effects increases with damage tier. This makes some intuitive sense, but is problematic as average ship sizes (in real pixels) don't increase at the same rate. Following this pattern will only get more ridiculous in parts 2 and 3. Furthermore, I would argue that their size should reflect how dangerous they are to typical defenses when that damage tier is present, not absolute damage. For instance, a light ion cannon is about as dangerous late in part 1 as a laser cannon is at the start, so they should have similar size effects. Therefore, the standard effect sizes should be the same for each tier, or grow very slowly.

The minimum and maximum damages for scaling should be set so that essentially all weapons that use the standard effect fall in the range. That way, shots with significantly different damage don't appear the same. Weapons that are huge outliers for their damage type should use custom effects that make them look more impressive, preferably without being significantly larger (other than their tail).

Kinetic weapons use a different system from other types, with width scaling (slightly) with damage, while length scales with damage and speed. This is confusing. The width difference is subtle, and I wouldn't suggest making it more pronounced, due to the apparent collision issue. So low damage, high speed shots look similar to high damage, low speed shots. And in general, they're longer than corresponding shots of other types. This makes repeating weapons overlap a lot and ships pass through shots frequently. Conveying a projectile's speed with its size is unnecessary, since we're used to judging it from its movement. I'd suggest making kinetic weapons scale the same way as other types.


Hit effects:

Some hit effects feel a bit too big and bright to me. They should generally not be bigger than a small gunship (probably no more than 12-15 pixels radius at maximum damage). This is true even for explosive types like blast and thermo! Otherwise, hit effects from shots that hit a single target are hard to tell apart from area-effect explosions. (See also Area-effect explosions shouldn't cause non-shield hit effects)

Also, some of them, like particle, last too long. They should generally not last longer than the typical refire time of weapons that produce them, or at least mostly fade away by that time.


Fire effects:

I think these are mostly fine, but some players have complained about some of them being too bright, particularly kinetic. (And see also Weapon firing effects appear on top of ships, while shots appear underneath)


For reference: Weapon Effect Guidelines


the_shrike wrote:[Scolding me for making a ticket before discussing on the forum]
... I disagree about maximum sizes for hiteffects (explosions should be fairly large), but other than that I'm generally in agreement.

I have an objection to smaller starting sizes however: this prevents low-level 'exotic' weapons from using later damage types without looking silly. While reducing the size somewhat may be in order, the larger sizes for more advanced damage types makes sense on the basis that they're far more energetic when they turn up in 'normal' weapons.
assumedpseudonym wrote:I’m going to have to back Shrike up on just about all counts, here — especially the bit about forum discussion first.

NMS
Militia Commander
Militia Commander
Posts: 400
Joined: Tue Mar 05, 2013 8:26 am

Sun Jan 29, 2017 7:31 am

Regarding explosion sizes, I think it's important for the graphics to serve the gameplay by reflecting the actual radius in which things can be hit, or being small in the case of single target hits to avoid confusion and obscuring the screen.

As for exotic weapons, they aren't very common, so I think this could be handled by using a different version of the effect that makes them more appropriately sized for their level. Or the default effects could automatically adjust when the weapon level is significantly out of the expected range for the type.

User avatar
Shrike
Fleet Admiral
Fleet Admiral
Posts: 2704
Joined: Mon Aug 17, 2009 4:27 am
Location: Scouting the borders of sanity (there's a lovely view of the abyss).

Sun Jan 29, 2017 8:28 pm

NMS wrote:
Sun Jan 29, 2017 7:31 am
Regarding explosion sizes, I think it's important for the graphics to serve the gameplay by reflecting the actual radius in which things can be hit, or being small in the case of single target hits to avoid confusion and obscuring the screen.
Generally agreed, although this can be hard to accomplish.
NMS wrote:
Sun Jan 29, 2017 7:31 am
As for exotic weapons, they aren't very common, so I think this could be handled by using a different version of the effect that makes them more appropriately sized for their level. Or the default effects could automatically adjust when the weapon level is significantly out of the expected range for the type.
The former causes a loss in continuity: suddenly a weapon that has the same sized effect as X is not the same power level. Having a single chain of effects ensures that a player can gauge roughly how damaging things are within a damage type at a glance.

The latter has the same disadvantage, with the addition of being completely impossible to callibrate. Exotic weapons can be low-damage, high ROF. This works fine with an adjustment. However they can also be higher damage, low ROF. In this case they'd have the same damage as a higher level weapon (per shot. DPS is obviously lower), but potentially a much larger effect because of the callibration.

Sure, it's technically possible, but it's too complicated a problem when the simpler solution (keep the existing system that works well enough, albiet not perfectly) looks better and aids players more anyway. Where an exotic weapon does not use a custom effect, it should be able to use a standard effect without problems...and this only works with a reasonable curve that starts giving effects of a practical size below where they arrive in non-exotic weapons (this also counts for capping effect sizes so that late-game weapons using early-game types don't look stupid as well, but that's even rarer).

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

As I said in my ministry comment, higher damage types are fine to be a bit larger when they turn up. The larger effects are due to the fact that, being higher level, they draw more power and do more damage in George's meta. The hit detection is kind of an issue, but it's fairly minor and could be solved via improved collision modelling. Exactly how much larger is a better discussion, since I do feel they could be shrunk a bit to take up less screen space. Larger effects are easier to see, but more cluttery. Moving the size up or down will have both positive and negative effects.

Blast and thermo explosions have a greater problem than their size. The in-engine effects are very laggy at times, and look poor at high sizes. I feel that large explosions (eg. the M2. Possibly even XM900 and up) should be handled via pre-rendered Luminous spritesheets. It just looks better and doesn't lag the game as much.

Hit effects for high-damage blast and thermo shells should reflect their power. This means large effects. However they should only be used for direct-impact or missile explosion effects: not hits of sub-projectiles or radius/area fragments. It may be worth swapping the latter back to pre-rendered effects as well as this is also an area in which in-engine effects cause significant lag.

Kinetic effects could be usefully shrunk significantly. In general I preferred the old ones to the new ones, although they're growing on me a little. I support better diferentiation between high speed and high damage shots (but not via width. Making those bolts too wide looks silly).
Your friendly local genderqueer weapons designer & forum moderator. My pronoun is "They".

PM
Fleet Admiral
Fleet Admiral
Posts: 2235
Joined: Wed Sep 01, 2010 12:54 am

Sun Jan 29, 2017 11:39 pm

Thermo effects are laggy. I had to abandon a huge multi-explosion bomb (that formerly used sprites) due to lag. If anything, the thermo explosions are too small at the high end of damage. A big 300 damage thermo bomb appears ghostly and underwhelming.

I prefer the old shorter kinetic bullets (similar to SmartCannon shots without the smoke trail) to the new current ones.
Download and Play in 1.7 Beta...
Playership Drones v7 (Beta): Acquire and command almost any ship in Stars of the Pilgrim or Eternity Port.
Drake Technologies (Alpha): More hardware for combat in parts 1 and 2!
Star Castle Arcade: Relive classic arcade gaming in a new Transcendence adventure!
Godmode v3 (WIP): Dev/cheat tool compatible with D&O parts 1 or 2.

User avatar
JohnBWatson
Fleet Officer
Fleet Officer
Posts: 1359
Joined: Tue Aug 19, 2014 10:17 pm

Mon Jan 30, 2017 11:10 pm

I think they look good, but it's worth looking into some issues with the procedurally generated thermo shots. In particular, the omni tritium cannon looks quite odd when fired to the side of a forward moving ship. Endgame explosions could also be a bit more impressive.

Post Reply