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View Full Version : Implement a Xenowar style AP reserve UI?



Aaron
11-22-2011, 14:22
Having played a bit with the little Android based Xcom alike Xenowar (http://xenowar.net) and it strikes me that their implementation of the AP reserve user interface is a fair bit more elegant than the current one in Xenonauts.

You can see how it works in the first screenshot on this page: http://xenowar.net/screenshots.html
Essentially it draws a coloured grid around the selected soldier, the colour of each tile representing the the units ability to fire / remaining AP when it reaches that tile i.e. green = auto shot, orange = snap shot and red = none.

This approach totally eliminates the fiddly AP reserve settings and immediately shows the player if they can reach a certain tile without them having to click around looking for a that sweet spot. Adopting this system could significantly improve the flow of this basic game system.

I made a quick mockup of how this could look in Xenonauts below, with X representing the current soldier location and Y representing the clicked on movement target:
http://dl.dropbox.com/u/683235/XenoAPexample.png

I'm interested to hear peoples thoughts - I suspect this system may not be original to Xenowar, but can't remember seeing it elsewhere.

As an aside; are there any plans to implement multi-turn moves? I have a feeling these might not be in because of complications under the hood with destructible terrain and such, but it would be very useful when you have that one chap on the other side of the map from everybody else and just want him to run back with bothering you every turn.

anotherdevil
11-22-2011, 20:48
Hmm this is an interesting idea. Perhaps a good one too. I wonder though, how well does it work with manual kneeling though, because I would hate to move somewhere expecting to be able to fire, then kneel and realise that that's not an option any more...

Sathra
11-23-2011, 02:00
This is something that's been in a few turn-based combat games (the one I know it from is Rebelstar: Tactical Command), but there's probably heaps (didn't one of the UFO:ET mods have it as well?).

Xenonauts uses the JA2-style shooting method (AP-pumping shots), which makes it all a bit vague, so only having this wouldn't be a good idea. Having it and a reserve system would be more effective (a reserve locks movement out at a minimum, so you can't go over). I wouldn't like it as a base function, but as something to turn on in the options it would be very good for players as a visual guide.
AD, it mostly acts as a boundary thing. You can go this far and still shoot. Its a simple visual guide.

Multi-turn moves were brought up, but not sure how it was answered. Having it automatically continue the movement isn't a great idea, but having the movement path of the soldier be saved between turns would be good, and a pop-up if a trooper has either an active movement-path and AP to continue it, or over a certain AP threshold (50%) would be good.

Aaron
11-23-2011, 08:50
I don't agree that either of those issues are any better with the current system. Under both the current system and the suggested one you can move your soldier right to the edge of their AP reserve limit/coloured AP grid area and be left with not enough AP to do what you wanted. The hard stop enforced by the AP reserve is rarely useful, as the player does not know how much AP they will need to turn/kneel/aim on reaching their destination. That's not ideal, but really a separate issue.

The only intention of the suggested coloured AP grid system is to improve the flow of gameplay, by removing unnecessary clicks and the unintuitive individual AP settings.

There are also two variants of the suggestion I would like to outline:

2-click:
The coloured grid is only shown when the mouse cursor is over a soldier. When a player clicks to set a move target it draws only the colour coded path (i.e. the solid blocks in the above image). Slower, but looks nicer and is harder to make mistakes.
1-click:
Show the coloured grid at all times. A single click anywhere in the grid moves the selected soldier to that location. Faster, but more visually intrusive and easier to make mistakes.

In an ideal world I would suggest the two methods described above could be implemented and toggled in the options, with 2-click (safer, prettier) being the default.

Additionally it could be very useful to display the AP grid for any player unit you mouse over - this would make coordinating squad movement so much easier and quicker (i.e. if I move my current Xenonaut here which of these guys can move to cover him?)

Sathra
11-23-2011, 10:05
Yeah, there's isn't actually a way I can think of that's really 'flowing' but takes into account everything. Having the grid update while they use AP is helpful, but...eh. That's why I suggested having both (and if the grid only takes into account available AP it would work with instead of against as well).

I'm not such a good correspondent for this topic. I don't really like the colour grids (they're visually messy) or reserve states (which I don't use). So having the option to turn the grid off would be a must-have personally.

Jean-Luc
11-23-2011, 12:58
A "kneel reserve" button could be added that can be used on its own or combined with the other reserve options to take kneeling into account.

So,

"reserve AP for snap shot" + "reserve AP for kneeling" = "reserved ap for both kneeling and snap shot"

Now, what to do about the goddamn turning? :P

Chris
11-23-2011, 16:22
Hmmmm. It does look like a useful thing to be able to trigger with the click of a button, or the press of a key, if you want it. Essential - probably not. The thing is, in many ways the functionality is already there with the colour coded movement path, but I guess it'd be nice to be able to see all your possible moves at once. It's not exactly a high priority issue though, because the functionality is duplicated elsewhere.

Also, everyone seems to use reserve settings differently so it's hard to come up with a general solution that doesn't leave someone totally confused as to how it works. Thanks for the suggestion though.