Topic: Discussion: Aims for the next version

Lastmerlin on November 06, 2011, 10:29:48 PM

Lastmerlin

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Now that we finally got the previous version released, we can start thinking about aims for the next release. 

In the past, I usually gave a list of aims and we tried to meet all of them - which took way to long usually. Especially the last release was a really harsh contrast to the often cited paradigm release often, release early. So my central aim is to get the next release earlier this time. The strategy I propose is: We collect proposals of aims for the version in this thread. Of course I will throw in my ideas as well, but I have heard (or read) several very good ideas in IRC as well - here is the location for collecting them. Then we choose one specific aim as the critical aim for the release - this should be something that can be done in 4-6 weeks. The release is done if this critical aim is met. All other aims are  worked on as far as we get. Perhaps we must define some stable substeps for these aims.  Obviously, some changes which create instable intermediate states are natural choices for the critical aim, because they must be completed before we can release anything.

I already tried this strategy with the last release - and horrible failed. Of course you can also propose some different approach are give some hints what should be improved this time.

I will copy the proposals into this post from time to time and sort them by category (game core, graphics, GUI etc).
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fusion44 on November 07, 2011, 06:12:45 PM
Reply #1

fusion44

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I'd propose to create a wiki page for it and link to it from the first page. Easier to handle than a forum thread. People can still post their ideas here, but we should add all to the wiki.
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kalimgard on November 07, 2011, 10:15:26 PM
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I'd like to get the new monsters I currently have finally animated and add them into their regions, also I'd like to at least have some people at Copper Rock and the few dialogs in Dwarfenwall that will lead the Branded Ones in the right direction.
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dezGusty on November 08, 2011, 09:55:18 AM
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dezGusty

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I second fusion's idea for making a wiki entry.

I would propose the following items. Please keep in mind they are only that: proposals.

1. wiki: make a generic hardware configuration to use as a basis for minimum/recommended hardware requirements. It seems many review sites complain that they don't have access to such info, so we would need to place that somewhere on the main page or the download page. We don't need to get the absolute minimum. Just get a configuration that works today and assume we'll be adding features later on.

2. programming: rework the OS specific items so that we have a single class with OS specific #ifdefs. I would recommend that we don't use hardcoded functions for each little OS specific setting, but a generic one (E.g. OS::isFeatureSupported (const string& featureName) const)

3. programming + graphics: add lighting to the game. This is an optional feature; may not work similarly on all machines. I do want to look into the shading language options and add some shaders to the game, but not just yet, as they may require a massive map rework. In my opinion though, even simple lighting should improve the look of the game. I already added an option entry for lighting settings to the options file. Now just to get it into the game :)

4. graphics: update the UI, making it more consistent. I think we already have people working on this. I may also get involved in this. But for the time being I just have found new interest in my own project and I'm working on a UI for it. When it will be in decent shape I'll share it with everyone.

5. sound: more sounds?

6. music & programming: the menu music is ok if it's played once. But on a loop it's annoying (to me at least). Having playlists for various phases of the game (menu, game - map specific) could be very useful. We could customize the playlists with options such as: play this intro sound once, then only loop through 2-3 other pieces. I wanted to add this to my own little project and the coding is mostly done, BUT it's done with a different audio lib (audiere). With a bit of messing around though, I think I could bring it into sumwars. (It would also support cross-fading between tracks).

7. As a guideline I would suggest improving the existing campaign and maps, instead of adding new ones. Make better content, not more content.

8. Organization: pick a random date for feature freeze (E.g. dec. 7). Make sure no features are added afterwards. Make sure testing is performed and a release is performed just before the holidays, as few people will be working during that time. Because if the release isn't just before the holidays, it will most likely be in mid-january.

EDITED:
9. Programming: Add a "portable" option for windows builds.

Maybe for later releases.
**. Add wide screen layouts. Or layouts that use the common area of the ratios: 4:3, 5:4, 16:10, 16:9, so that the UI doesn't look stretched. The current layout looks designed for 4:3. I think that the majority of users are working on a 16:9 aspect ratio by now.

**. Add a non-linear play mode, with larger, harder maps, with no exit points. These could be more fun in multiplayer. A limited storyline could be added for each map. As a practical example, this could be similar to the old (and little known) "Rage of Mages" games. This would imply some changes to the

For even later releases.
**. Option to customize the rules in the map files, or modding via a different mechanism. (E.g. : allow a dota-based gameplay using the summoning wars engine).
**. Separate application: dedicated match-making server for multiplayer.
« Last Edit: November 08, 2011, 10:37:59 AM by dezGusty »
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Jorge Avila on November 08, 2011, 08:12:17 PM
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shadows, reworked mapping(texture) system, animated objects editor :)
paths, reduce the geometry of the maps, make them more "natural" add more visible stuff to the ground, flowers, grass.
reduce the use of the "woods" that separate the way and the trees, use different elements, like rocks, bigger trees(fat ones), etc.
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Lastmerlin on November 08, 2011, 11:09:33 PM
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Impressive list DezGusty, thanks a lot. I will add my own points and sort it tomorrow.
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protogenes on November 09, 2011, 05:44:07 PM
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igorko on November 09, 2011, 07:43:50 PM
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We have topic for 0.6 aims. http://sumwars.org/forum/index.php?topic=125.0. I think it should be updated.

I hope this will be done in 0.5.6:
1. Map editor(as Ogitor plugin or whatever else). We should expand game world and how it is done now is not user friendly at all. And to get a lot of nice locations(to choose from them etc) every user should be able to make his own region.
2. Add "multifloor". We don't need (at least for now or ever) sloping terrain. But how it is done in TorchlighT(TM) would be awesome. This will make gamaplay more interesting.
3. Replace current main characters meshes/sceletons. They(and their animation) look horrible.
« Last Edit: November 09, 2011, 07:54:51 PM by igorko »
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Jorge Avila on November 10, 2011, 04:35:43 PM
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Jorge Avila

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2. Add "multifloor". We don't need (at least for now or ever) sloping terrain. But how it is done in TorchlighT(TM) would be awesome. This will make gamaplay more interesting.
3. Replace current main characters meshes/sceletons. They(and their animation) look horrible.

igorko abut multi-floor,  how can we try that? how does it work? i played torchlight and is fun, the maps are 3d, but its behaviour is like 2d, right?
can you explain what is that a little bit for people who doesn't understand that much (like me)? :)
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igorko on November 10, 2011, 06:11:04 PM
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Torchloght is closed source so i'm not aware of it's internals. But the point that it uses OGRE as game engine says a lot. It's fully 3d game, but camera rotating is locked. "Multifloor" is just few levels of ground and OGRE obviously supports it. So mainly it's just about enabling this feature in OGRE and adding ground textures. But as i understand this also will need to upgrade our regions xml format to support ground levels.
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Psycho on November 10, 2011, 06:46:18 PM
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- Inventory pictures for the armors and amulets ......
- showing the enemy-names in the life-energy-display  ( so when you should kill " Rob The Ropper " that you know who he is )
- new items , monsters
- We should to try to improve the areas / grounds

- for a later version ,  we can add the dwarf mine ( to continued the story )
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Lastmerlin on November 13, 2011, 01:38:26 PM
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Ok finally, I will throw in some ideas as well. I will try not to repeat already mentioned ones.

1. Complete the Monster/Item editor - this was my project for this version and its usable now, but far away from beeing complete.

2. Improve/Fix Monster AI - I got reports of stupid behavior again x(

3. Add more decoration to the levels - they are still too *empty*

4. Fill the gaps in sound - we just lack sound for several monsters / occasions.



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igorko on November 13, 2011, 02:45:48 PM
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How about adding sounds for NPC common phrases in english? I mean "Let's trade" when you click on Trader, "How it goes" for other characters, "You are not from here, right?", etc? This will make gameplay more interesting.
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Lastmerlin on November 14, 2011, 04:17:10 PM
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Lastmerlin

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Some comments on selected proposals:

3. programming + graphics: add lighting to the game. This is an optional feature; may not work similarly on all machines. I do want to look into the shading language options and add some shaders to the game, but not just yet, as they may require a massive map rework. In my opinion though, even simple lighting should improve the look of the game. I already added an option entry for lighting settings to the options file. Now just to get it into the game :)
The main issue with lighting is: We have no idea how to do it. Ogre promises that its a simple option. I invested dozens of hours trying, fusion invested dozens of hours trying; no success. Unless we get a contributor who is more proficient with Ogre (or a newer Ogre version really offers a simple implementation) this is just an inefficient use of time. I do realize that this would improve the appearance of the game, but all previous work turned out to be very inefficient.


6. music & programming: the menu music is ok if it's played once. But on a loop it's annoying (to me at least). Having playlists for various phases of the game (menu, game - map specific) could be very useful. We could customize the playlists with options such as: play this intro sound once, then only loop through 2-3 other pieces. I wanted to add this to my own little project and the coding is mostly done, BUT it's done with a different audio lib (audiere). With a bit of messing around though, I think I could bring it into sumwars. (It would also support cross-fading between tracks).
The central issue is: We just lack content. The music piece is no longer. We have other pieces, but they do not match in style and pace. If you want to create a certain feeling for a scene or a region, you must choose the music appropriately and not just mix everything you have. Well perhaps West has time and good ideas to prolonge this particular piece.

7. As a guideline I would suggest improving the existing campaign and maps, instead of adding new ones. Make better content, not more content.
I partly disagree  - in my opinion having more quests is better. If you dislike the current quests then please propose some specific improvements. For maps, I partly disagree as well. We have to start working on the length of game one day again. We still have the state from release 0.5.0 essentially, and there is a lot of story left to tell. However, with improving the map generator, we can work on the appearance of all generated maps at once :)


8. Organization: pick a random date for feature freeze (E.g. dec. 7). Make sure no features are added afterwards. Make sure testing is performed and a release is performed just before the holidays, as few people will be working during that time. Because if the release isn't just before the holidays, it will most likely be in mid-january.

Good Idea - but what do you think about feature freeze at dec 15 and try to release after christmas ? The advantage of this date is, that its, well _after_ christmas, which is one of the most busy times of the year.


1. Map editor(as Ogitor plugin or whatever else). We should expand game world and how it is done now is not user friendly at all. And to get a lot of nice locations(to choose from them etc) every user should be able to make his own region.
I agree, that we need more decoration. An editor is planned (and beeing worked on), but a rather large task. Apart from that: What aspect of the game world deserves this very general and harsh criticism ?

2. Add "multifloor". We don't need (at least for now or ever) sloping terrain. But how it is done in TorchlighT(TM) would be awesome. This will make gamaplay more interesting.
This requires a vast reorganization of the internal data structures and I cans see the huge benefit. Moreover, I cant see the big improvement for gameplay. By the way: Slightly sloping terrain is much easier to realize as long as slope is pure graphics (does not interfere with the direction of particles etc).

3. Replace current main characters meshes/sceletons. They(and their animation) look horrible.
Huge chunk of work. I agree that the animations are not optimal. But its a really excessive job to create the required number of animations, so that a complete replacement should not be requested to easily. However, I suppose we should start to work on it. :)
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dezGusty on November 14, 2011, 06:53:18 PM
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dezGusty

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How about adding sounds for NPC common phrases in english? I mean "Let's trade" when you click on Trader, "How it goes" for other characters, "You are not from here, right?", etc? This will make gameplay more interesting.

I would back this up :)
Just make sure we only get a couple of sounds for each vendor, and we only do them in English, with the option for subtitles later on. Having a multi-language soundbank is definitely too large of an effort.

LastMerlin:

Good Idea - but what do you think about feature freeze at dec 15 and try to release after christmas ? The advantage of this date is, that its, well _after_ christmas, which is one of the most busy times of the year.

Works for me :)
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