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 Post subject: Toggleable Isometric Buildings
PostPosted: Sun Aug 16, 2015 6:56 pm 
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The Suggestion:
I'd like to suggest having a isometric view of buildings that can be toggled on and off that is a *separate* setting from the 'isometric view' for hills, so hills and buildings could be toggled independently.


Reason for the Suggestion:
I play MegaMek on MMNet where city battles are a fairly common occurrence. I consider myself a veteran city player and can usually navigate cities quite well with the current 'flat' buildings. That said, it would definitely be very useful to have isometric buildings in certain situations. Here's a couple situations that spring to mind:

  • During deployment - Often when you're deploying, especially in densely urban areas, it takes a while to get a sense of where the tallest buildings are near your deployment zone. Being able to see isometric buildings would make it possible to determine this quickly, at a glance.
  • Checking for major barriers to LOS - Especially in a very densely urban environment it's possible to think you have LOS to a target from an elevated position, but you've overlooked the fact that there's a cluster of even taller buildings, often some distance from you, that blocks your LOS. Isometric buildings would make it much easier to see this kind of 'wall of buildings.'
  • Noticing opportunities for partial-cover - Sometimes there are nice locations where, say, a level 3 building is immediately behind a level 4 building, allowing a mech to get partial cover while also having a nice rooftop position from which to spot an opponent's units. Isometric buildings would make these strategic locations much easier to spot.
  • Faster artillery placement decisions - Another thing that can really slow down play in a city is having to really analyze the map and determine strategic locations where the enemy might go. Being able to better see some of the strategic *rooftop* locations (such as the tallest buildings near your opponent's deploy zones, or rooftops with partial cover) might help to speed up artillery placement.


Expected Outcome:
I think isometric buildings would be a significant improvement to MegaMek and would help players—especially newer players—to much better visualize a 3D city environment. In fact, I'm of the view that if players had a better feel for a city's layout without having to work so hard at it, more players would enjoy city fights.

It would also look REALLY COOL which is almost a reason to do it, in-and-of-itself. :)


What Could Go Wrong:
The main potential problem with isometric buildings, especially with taller buildings, is they might 'cover up' units that are just behind them, making these units impossible to see. I can think of a couple ways of solving this issue:

  • IsoBuilding Toggle - The first, probably easiest way of solving this issue would be to make isometric buildings toggleable, independent of the standard 'isometric view.' That way you could turn IsoBuildings ON when it's helpful, and turn them OFF when it's not helpful.
  • Transparent Buildings - You could also make buildings on the map somewhat transparent, or at least make any obscured units 'show through' the building layer. That way you'd know if there were units hidden behind buildings.
  • Both of the above – Probably the best solution is to have buildings that can be toggled on and off AND which are transparent to units. That way you'd have a visual clue that you need to toggle the buildings so as to be able to better see some obscured units.


Honest Disclosure:
As an experience city fighter, I can definitely get by without isometric buildings. That said, it would be a welcome tool that would be VERY helpful in certain situations.


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 Post subject: Re: Toggleable Isometric Buildings
PostPosted: Tue Aug 18, 2015 1:07 pm 

Joined: Tue Dec 03, 2013 4:54 am
Posts: 175
Jackal wrote:
The Suggestion:
I'd like to suggest having a isometric view of buildings that can be toggled on and off that is a *separate* setting from the 'isometric view' for hills, so hills and buildings could be toggled independently.


This is something I've considered doing before and I think the biggest hurdle is having textures for the buildings. For isometric hexes, the "sides of the hill" are just flat grey. It looks okay. Imagine if all your buildings looked like that. Finding artists is something I've had difficulty with.



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 Post subject: Re: Toggleable Isometric Buildings
PostPosted: Tue Aug 18, 2015 2:55 pm 
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arlith wrote:
Jackal wrote:
The Suggestion:
I'd like to suggest having a isometric view of buildings that can be toggled on and off that is a *separate* setting from the 'isometric view' for hills, so hills and buildings could be toggled independently.


This is something I've considered doing before and I think the biggest hurdle is having textures for the buildings. For isometric hexes, the "sides of the hill" are just flat grey. It looks okay. Imagine if all your buildings looked like that. Finding artists is something I've had difficulty with.


Something that *might* work, Arlith, is if the buildings just looks like geometric blocks, perhaps with colors that indicate the structure type. So, for example, imagine if the buildings were just different shades of gray. Light gray would mean a light building, darker grays would be medium, heavy, etc.

These cities might look a little generic but, honestly, the current sprites are pretty generic looking already. In fact, a 3D city in gray tones would probably end up looking something like a 3D 'tactical display', which could be cool. It might also be a good way to stage development of 3D buildings (e.g. gray buildings first, textured buildings down the road).

Just a thought.


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 Post subject: Re: Toggleable Isometric Buildings
PostPosted: Wed Aug 19, 2015 1:14 am 

Joined: Tue Dec 03, 2013 4:54 am
Posts: 175
Yea, the thought has crossed my mind, but I'm just not super keen on cities full of grey blocks.



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 Post subject: Re: Toggleable Isometric Buildings
PostPosted: Wed Aug 19, 2015 7:58 pm 
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Right, well I was only suggesting gray buildings as a 1st stage. Textured buildings would definitely look cooler.

But if you look at isometric buildings purely as a player aid (rather than just as an atmospheric element), even gray block buildings could be very helpful in certain situations.


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 Post subject: Re: Toggleable Isometric Buildings
PostPosted: Wed Aug 19, 2015 9:39 pm 

Joined: Sun Mar 16, 2008 3:37 pm
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I was going to suggest that the simplest way to indicate building height would be like normal hexes are done now, with different shades for different heights, but then I thought about shading buildings based on CF remaining using on a sliding greyscale from 1-200.

Now I'm torn between the 2 uses of shading the buildings. Both would be useful, so does anyone have an idea how we could do both at once?

Edit - Maybe shade the buildings for height, but have a toggle to display CF in bright red numbers somewhere on the hex? It's not something that would be useful to be on all the time, so have it bound to a key and only displayed as long as the key is pressed. That makes it easy to check CF before a mech jumps, without cluttering up the UI the rest of the time.


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 Post subject: Re: Toggleable Isometric Buildings
PostPosted: Thu Aug 20, 2015 2:23 am 
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CF is already a tooltip, but I agree, being able to see a CF overview rather than hex by single hex could be very useful.

As for CF depletion, dunno how to show it in a reasonable manner; maybe a bar across the bottom like how they're done on the unit overview on the right already.



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 Post subject: Re: Toggleable Isometric Buildings
PostPosted: Thu Aug 20, 2015 4:08 am 

Joined: Sun Mar 16, 2008 3:37 pm
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Klingon wrote:
CF is already a tooltip, but I agree, being able to see a CF overview rather than hex by single hex could be very useful.

That's exactly what I'd like. A quick way to check every single hex on the map at once to see what's safe for a Spider to land on.

Klingon wrote:
As for CF depletion, dunno how to show it in a reasonable manner; maybe a bar across the bottom like how they're done on the unit overview on the right already.

Is this really necessary? To me only the current CF matters, not what it started with. If it makes a difference, then maybe have the 'show all CF' button display current/starting CF in each hex, ie 45/100.


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 Post subject: Re: Toggleable Isometric Buildings
PostPosted: Thu Aug 20, 2015 8:52 pm 
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Nemesis wrote:
Klingon wrote:
CF is already a tooltip, but I agree, being able to see a CF overview rather than hex by single hex could be very useful.

That's exactly what I'd like. A quick way to check every single hex on the map at once to see what's safe for a Spider to land on.

Klingon wrote:
As for CF depletion, dunno how to show it in a reasonable manner; maybe a bar across the bottom like how they're done on the unit overview on the right already.

Is this really necessary? To me only the current CF matters, not what it started with. If it makes a difference, then maybe have the 'show all CF' button display current/starting CF in each hex, ie 45/100.
Agreed; just thinking aloud, so to speak.



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 Post subject: Re: Toggleable Isometric Buildings
PostPosted: Thu Nov 26, 2015 1:32 am 

Joined: Mon Jul 12, 2010 12:36 am
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I would be happy to just have the building height in a readable color. Is there a way to change it from the default dark blue? Anything remotely dark in the hex makes the height unreadable and requires hovering on the hex to determine the building height.


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 Post subject: Re: Toggleable Isometric Buildings
PostPosted: Sun Nov 29, 2015 3:41 pm 

Joined: Tue Dec 03, 2013 4:54 am
Posts: 175
If you go to client settings, advanced tab, the entry "AdvancedBuildingTextColor" controls the color.



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 Post subject: Re: Toggleable Isometric Buildings
PostPosted: Sun Nov 29, 2015 6:09 pm 

Joined: Mon Jul 12, 2010 12:36 am
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Thanks!


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 Post subject: Re: Toggleable Isometric Buildings
PostPosted: Mon Nov 30, 2015 5:13 am 
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I like the idea of isometric buildings as long as the issue of hiding units from view can be addressed. Generic solid colors for the building sides (shades of gray) would be fine, ideally with a corresponding shift in the colors for terrain hexes in isometric view (green for grass, etc.).

PS--If there is a color that would be more visible for the building height text, then let's just change the default color.



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 Post subject: Re: Toggleable Isometric Buildings
PostPosted: Tue Jan 26, 2016 10:40 pm 

Joined: Mon Jul 12, 2010 12:36 am
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Honestly I think matching the font style of the chat box - white with a black outline - would be the most readable. I don't see an option to add the outline though. Extensive testing of all sorts of different color choices led me to putting it at pure white which causes the most gain in overall readability.

On a related note, I couldn't find a setting that changed the color for the font used in either the hex coordinates or the level. Black appears to be the only option there?


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