Feedback: Waiting Times

Summary

Why are we waiting? Seriously, when the little fire worms squiggle slowly to their destination, and they stop… it shows them wiggling in place for about 2 seconds, like really just two seconds of a worm sitting still. Consider there are literally dozens of worms in some levels, and it becomes an ugly nature documentary on flammable maggots, every turn. Some of the aliens are pretty cool to look at, but a good horror piece doesn’t make you stare at the monsters till you get bored.

Your Heavy’s flight through the air is not ballet, it is not poetry, it is only very slow and annoying to watch. In general, I wonder if all the characters should move maybe 50% faster, like speed up their animations. They just don’t seem in much of a hurry, despite being under fire. Speeding them up might also mean more shots miss during overwatch, which seems good to me.

Everyone wants this fixed, and here are a few ways of doing it.

Skip

Allow us to skip the animations.

Maybe you’re not set up to do that, though. In that case:

Speed Up

Allow us to fast forward through this. Easy solution, most every turn based game has learned to have this. Many let you turn off animations.

Of course, the best solution during your turn would be:

Continuous Orders

In Xenonauts, you can tell someone to run somewhere, and he’ll go and do it. At the same time, you can select the next guy, and tell him to run somewhere. When you get good at the game, you can have six guys all rushing to their destinations at the same time, and watch them all reach their points of cover in sequence. It’s really satisfying, and it doesn’t waste your time. It allows you to keep focusing on the tactical, too.

Now, you can still use the follow camera that breaks player control, for specific moments. If the game calculates that you’re going to spot an alien and come to a stop, for example. This will make the Follow Camera tense, as we know something is about to go down, including our guy getting shot by Overwatch.

Great solution, would recommend (I did, in fact).

2 Likes

I agree with the Xenonauts style ‘fire and forget movement’, where you can set someone moving, then while they are doing so, you move onto the next guy without having to sit out the whole thing. However, Xenonauts didn’t have the function where your guys halted when they saw an enemy. This would require some serious redesign of the not only the interface, but the nuts and bolts behind it. There would need to be a whole new system of alerting you that the last guy saw an enemy while you had another (or more than one) units in motion.

Personally, I’m not a fan of skipping animations though. If you get to that point, you might as well have no animations, and play the game as a top-down chess-a-like on your phone.

3 Likes

xD This really bothers me due to my instinctive reacton: In FiraXCOM you can give new soldier a move order, once the previous one is moving, unless you are about to activate the pod. I have a habit of pressing tab after giving a move order in PP, and still get chills when I stay locked with the current character.

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I considered that, actually. I will add a note to the post about it. I figure it would be easy to have that follow camera activate, if their path would reveal a new enemy. Also, for some reason I keep seeing new enemies, but my guy keeps moving despite that. It might be you only stop if your movement would enter their sight cone or Overwatch cone? Not sure how it works.

XD One of those game moments anyone can relate to.

Don’t worry, we’re just stuck in waiting hell, there’s no exciting problems coming our way.

I feel your pain. Tab after giving a move and nothing happens, only watch the soldier move…

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Ok, so I saw your revision. In theory this should work, but an alarm bell is going off somewhere and I can’t quite place why.

Maybe it’s this: rather than making the ‘follow camera tense’ as you say, it might have the inverse effect of making all the moves that don’t invoke a halt not tense. I dunno, you might be right, but I’m not completely convinced.

You just need to know if some tiles are visible or not by enemy when you do pathfinding. From optimization point of view, this information should be available, unless they are checking LOS on every tile move, and only to the player characters.

Hmm, not feeling that, myself. Even if it falls flat, the other benefits far outweigh that issue.

I think in the long view, this might be a moot point. Some players play dispassionately, and this applies to all types of games, strategy, tactical, 4x, FPS. By that, I mean that story, role play, and immersion are less important to some, and more to others. Some people just like to figure out the core mechanic, and perform it as a task - and I’m not necessarily saying that’s you, not that it’s an accusation.

Others like (or prefer) time to ruminate , and I’ll include myself in that category. We all enjoy games in our own way, and that’s what’s cool about them. With a genre that is essentially still a hybrid venture like XCOM/Phoenix Point, where we have at core a 4x/strategy/tactical game, that somehow aspires to more mainstream, accessible production values, there will always be this debate.

It may well be the case that those who prefer ultimate efficiency and speed are perhaps very intelligent and perceptive - I have no argument against that. For others like myself though, and this could be due to my age, these things are less important. I have made a few suggestions toward in-game efficiency on this forum, so I’m not completely out of step.

However, I think that modifications to the game that promote the player’s time-efficiency, such as the ability to skip animations based on the game’s ability to calculate whether or not their move will cause an enemy to be spotted, however valid this is, will probably not get seen to that soon. This type of mechanism would probably have been coded in early on, and I can foresee that this might be a rather significant revision (should it ever happen), much later.

There are many features from classic games such as X-Com, Jagged Alliance 2, Silent Storm, and Xenonauts, that we can all think of, that won’t make it into this game. In a way, I just go with what a thing is, unless something really, really, really bugs me, hence any feedback I’ve given on this forum.

Or the voice acting in Silent Storm.

I sometimes watch my guys as they run to their destination, even if I could be doing something else. I figure people will do that, if its what their attention is on. If they want to get on with it, they’ll focus on sending the other guys to their destinations.

I hope I’m intelligent and perceptive, but I do like me some good ruiminations.

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Games are peculiar thing in how they can bend our perception. There is a “roguelike” called Cataclysm: Dark Days Ahead. It’s a completely turn-based game, where you do everything action by action so you have all time in the universe to think about your next step. Funnily enough almost all players panic and do something stupid when they first time set their loot pile on fire. Or you get really panicky when getting robbed by and NPC, at a gun point. It’s all because of the flow. The game is turn based but your brain perceives it differently when you play for a bit, because you do different actions a lot, switching from one to another, you get into a “real-time” flow.
The fact that something is turn-based doesn’t mean it has to be like a card game with super ordered step by step operations and actions. I mean even real card games are never played like this. Wasting my time on showing me something of no relevance while my brain is focused on thinking of next step and accessing situation is like having a puzzle game, where puzzles are very simple and solved in head in few seconds but take couple of minutes to put everything in game, because of animations and etc.

2 Likes

I know what you mean dude, I know. I really do. Sometimes the waiting can break your concentration. Sometimes, something esoteric about a game can panic you, or throw you. For me, generally, it doesn’t, and I don’t find it does in PP, but it has done in other games. They should probably add some ‘quick and easy’ (not really) option in the options menu to turn move animations off, but as for a more sophisticated ‘skip’ option, I just can’t see this happening soon.