[engine] show when a unit doing more damage than usual

Brainstorm ideas of possible additions to the game. Read this before posting!

Moderators: Forum Moderators, Developers

Forum rules
Before posting a new idea, you must read the following:
Naeddyr
Posts: 107
Joined: December 5th, 2004, 5:46 pm
Location: Helsinki, Finland

[engine] show when a unit doing more damage than usual

Post by Naeddyr » August 12th, 2010, 3:17 pm

Hi,

Some years ago I posted an idea ( http://forums.wesnoth.org/viewtopic.php?f=12&t=16622 ) that I would like to revisit at this late juncture because I recently started playing again.

My suggestion is this:

To colour code the (currently red) floaty Final Fantasy damage indicators to show whether the unit is doing less damage than usual (blue-tinted because green is for healing), normal damage (white) or better damage than usual (yellow, red, and possibly a splody bg pic), based on time-of-day, damage resistance modifiers, etc. etc.

Why? Here are a few reasons I can come up with:

1. This is a useful way to show newbies and lazy people (like myself, and, let's be honest, you too, at least occassionally) that you are doing something wrong by attacking skellies with your horde of archers.
One of the problem with Wesnoth, I think, is that [acronym=It's All In The Manual]IAITM[/acronym] :p. I've also suggested before that you could indicate the current defense rating of a unit on a specific hex (http://forums.wesnoth.org/viewtopic.php?f=12&t=13780), so my bias for "show the underlying variables" might be showing.
2. This gives a bit more obvious feedback on the flow of battles when the time-of-day has any effect. There would be a greater sense of urgency in moving your loyalists out of the way of the orcish horde at night.
3. This would provide a tangible reward for those who utilise damage bonus tactics succesfully. Wouldn't it feel GOOD to see your paladin mow down walking corpses, red numbers splattering all over the place, covering his armor with intestinal bits and bytes and the steaming gore of the mathematics of carnage? Yes, yes it would.
4. It sounds like something that should be trivial to code. I'm not volunteering, though, because it's not THAT trivial. Also, I can't program.

Here are some reasons not to:

1. If you use a blast or some sort of extra bg-image for high-impact damage, it could, in some cases, obscure the attacking unit, if the attack comes from the north. They're already being obscured by the numbers anyhow, at the moment (tough break for all of those who have done south-attack animations!).
2. The information is already in the manual and it's part of the wesnoth experience to memorise each and every attack of your favourite faction, all resistance bonuses of your faction and enemy factions, and defense ratings of the same.
3. It could also be indicated in the attack selection dialogue, which would be redundant.

EDIT:

Because some people don't necessarily read a thread through (like me), I'm putting here another suggestion that is tangential: you could code the floaties to show how much damage a single attack does compared with the defenders full hitpoints. If you attack a yeti with a peasant, it will show "low": gray, desaturated blue, or whatever, but if you attack a walking corpse with a charging paladin, bright red and twenty-thousand exclamation marks.
Attachments
wesnothdamageindicators.png
Last edited by Gambit on September 28th, 2010, 5:06 pm, edited 3 times in total.
Reason: tagged

fog_of_gold
Posts: 637
Joined: December 20th, 2009, 5:59 pm
Location: Germany

Re: Indicating when unit is doing more damage than usual

Post by fog_of_gold » August 12th, 2010, 6:39 pm

In my opinion, this would confuse the player too much rather than helping him understand this game. A noob wouldn't be that good in playing +/-25% of TOD is making real differents. That you shouldn't attack a skeletion with a spearman is clear anyway. A noob wouldn't get a leadershipping unit and there are, if I didn't forgot anything, no other possibilities to change the damage.

Scatha
Posts: 111
Joined: March 29th, 2008, 2:55 pm

Re: Indicating when unit is doing more damage than usual

Post by Scatha » August 12th, 2010, 6:43 pm

If you want visual cues to help newer players (which I think is a cool idea), how about colouring the arrow that you get when you're moving and are hovering over a unit you're about to attack? This happens in a more timely fashion to let them know that attacking is reasonable/unreasonable before they've chosen to do so.

There are some issues with that, too. Probably enough to make it not worth implementing. The worst seems to be: what set of simple rules can you use to colour the arrows that won't be terribly misleading a significant proportion of the time? I can think of simple rules, and I can think of rules which could generally avoid being misleading, but I can't think of anything which manages both, and you do seem to need that.

fog_of_gold
Posts: 637
Joined: December 20th, 2009, 5:59 pm
Location: Germany

Re: Indicating when unit is doing more damage than usual

Post by fog_of_gold » August 13th, 2010, 7:45 am

You'd need to use an/the ai of wesnoth. You all know it, if you hear this ai, you won't ever be good.

Naeddyr
Posts: 107
Joined: December 5th, 2004, 5:46 pm
Location: Helsinki, Finland

Re: Indicating when unit is doing more damage than usual

Post by Naeddyr » August 13th, 2010, 8:42 am

fog_of_gold wrote:That you shouldn't attack a skeletion with a spearman is clear anyway.
This is probably your own playing experience showing. When I started replaying the game recently (after a pause of some years), I started with attacking skeletons with archers. It is no way obvious that you shouldn't: you, and experiences players (including, obviously, most devs) are just used to it, and you are projecting your own knowledge and gaming competence on all other players. Let's call this Star Craft Inertia: gamers becomes Super Gamers who know how to play a game Super Well, and thus, after ten years of waiting, you get Star Craft II, which is basically the same game as the original. :P
A noob wouldn't get a leadershipping unit and there are,
A "noob" isn't just the very, very beginner. Even relatively old players would be helped by this. Not everyone is a super-human Wesnoth Mayhem Machine. I'm currently playing through HttT: I have tons of Elvish Captains (and the attrition rate is murderous, but there's always one more popping up). But I never use Leadership in a tactical way because I tend to forget about it. The effects of leadership isn't immediately obvious, except in the numbers themselves, and those are impossible to remember.
if I didn't forgot anything, no other possibilities to change the damage.
- ToD, which changes
- Resistances, which are different to all units: the amount of data is huge
- Leadership, which is a dynamic property of gameflow, leading to changes
- Items

What I am basically saying that a unit has base damage, indicated in its profile (2-4, 5-2, 12-1), and which is modified by these things (and maybe others). If you have more minuses than bonuses, you get worse damage (blue numbers). If you have lots of bonuses, you get better damage (red numbers). I mean, the computer knows these numbers, because it's already calculated them. To find out whether you're doing worse or better damage, just compare Base Damage (from its base profile) with Modified Game Damage (as used in the fight). It is not necessary to use the AI, or complex algorithms. It's just damage indicators.

I would like to clarify that I'm not suggesting this to be tied to defense ratings: only the hit damage.

Scatha: I like your idea for the arrow. As you said, though, the arrow is more abstract and general than showing this information in the floaty numbers, so it would be more difficult.

User avatar
Ken_Oh
Moderator Emeritus
Posts: 2176
Joined: February 6th, 2006, 4:03 am
Location: Baltimore, Maryland, USA

Re: Indicating when unit is doing more damage than usual

Post by Ken_Oh » August 13th, 2010, 10:19 am

I like your idea just how I liked it last time.

I also feel the same about the colors. The blue and the green colors make it look like you're healing the unit. I say either go on a scale of yellow-orange-red or use font size to make the distinction.

Naeddyr
Posts: 107
Joined: December 5th, 2004, 5:46 pm
Location: Helsinki, Finland

Re: Indicating when unit is doing more damage than usual

Post by Naeddyr » August 13th, 2010, 10:24 am

Ken_Oh wrote:I also feel the same about the colors. The blue and the green colors make it look like you're healing the unit. I say either go on a scale of yellow-orange-red or use font size to make the distinction.
I didn't suggest using green as a color: that's too ingrained to "heal", even outside of wesnoth.

I don't think blue, especially if it's slightly desaturated, would really convey healing. Maybe a gray? Gray would be difficult to read, though, against a black background.

The problem with yellow-orange-red is that you would have to choose orange as "default damage". I like white as default. Well, I guess you could have red as default, with orange and yellow as "more damage" and desaturated colours as "less damage".

Using font-size could make it difficult to read small numbers, and font size isn't really as distinctive as colour-coding.

User avatar
Ken_Oh
Moderator Emeritus
Posts: 2176
Joined: February 6th, 2006, 4:03 am
Location: Baltimore, Maryland, USA

Re: Indicating when unit is doing more damage than usual

Post by Ken_Oh » August 13th, 2010, 12:04 pm

Naeddyr wrote:Using font-size could make it difficult to read small numbers, and font size isn't really as distinctive as colour-coding.
Unless you're colorblind. ;)

Which is why I thought you had green up there for 4.

Naeddyr
Posts: 107
Joined: December 5th, 2004, 5:46 pm
Location: Helsinki, Finland

Re: Indicating when unit is doing more damage than usual

Post by Naeddyr » August 13th, 2010, 12:23 pm

Ken_Oh wrote:Unless you're colorblind. ;)

Which is why I thought you had green up there for 4.
Ah man.

Well, it's 2 blue, 3 white, 4 orange and 5 red.

Well, there are a bunch of different colour schemes that are colour-blind friendly. The simplest being grays, white and red. Possibly other graphical embelishments, like a kablow or a small halo.

fog_of_gold
Posts: 637
Joined: December 20th, 2009, 5:59 pm
Location: Germany

Re: Indicating when unit is doing more damage than usual

Post by fog_of_gold » August 13th, 2010, 2:57 pm

Naeddyr wrote:
fog_of_gold wrote:That you shouldn't attack a skeletion with a spearman is clear anyway.
This is probably your own playing experience showing. When I started replaying the game recently (after a pause of some years), I started with attacking skeletons with archers. It is no way obvious that you shouldn't: you, and experiences players (including, obviously, most devs) are just used to it, and you are projecting your own knowledge and gaming competence on all other players. Let's call this Star Craft Inertia: gamers becomes Super Gamers who know how to play a game Super Well, and thus, after ten years of waiting, you get Star Craft II, which is basically the same game as the original. :P
1. In every game I know having something about resistences and skeletions, skeletions are very resistent to missiles/piercing attacks.
2. If you killed the skeletion after your attack with your archers, it could be even a somewhat good turn of you. You got experience by that loosing no possible death-experience or hitpoints.
3. You can easy imagine an archer wouldn't be able to cut up the bones of a skeletion.
Naeddyr wrote:[...]A "noob" isn't just the very, very beginner.
I know that a noob is just another word for newbie. But if you can't go with this word, I'll use newbie for you.
Even relatively old players would be helped by this. Not everyone is a super-human Wesnoth Mayhem Machine.
Of course we aren't. But getting the best damage isn't that difficult. Protecting wounded units and still be able to wound and kill the enemy is such a difficult action.
I'm currently playing through HttT: I have tons of Elvish Captains (and the attrition rate is murderous, but there's always one more popping up). But I never use Leadership in a tactical way because I tend to forget about it. The effects of leadership isn't immediately obvious, except in the numbers themselves, and those are impossible to remember.
If you'd like to have such a feature included, then it's properly better to have it shown in the damage calculations rather than within the fight inwhich it is too late, isn't it?
if I didn't forgot anything, no other possibilities to change the damage.
- ToD, which changes
- Resistances, which are different to all units: the amount of data is huge
- Leadership, which is a dynamic property of gameflow, leading to changes
Yes, I mentioned everything of that.
- Items[...]
Are you talking about potions and such? They aren't very flexible and therefore it wouldn't have the effect you'd like to have included, if I understood you right.

Naeddyr
Posts: 107
Joined: December 5th, 2004, 5:46 pm
Location: Helsinki, Finland

Re: Indicating when unit is doing more damage than usual

Post by Naeddyr » August 13th, 2010, 4:02 pm

[Ah frig]
Last edited by Naeddyr on August 13th, 2010, 4:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Naeddyr
Posts: 107
Joined: December 5th, 2004, 5:46 pm
Location: Helsinki, Finland

Re: Indicating when unit is doing more damage than usual

Post by Naeddyr » August 13th, 2010, 4:05 pm

fog_of_gold wrote: 1. In every game I know having something about resistences and skeletions, skeletions are very resistent to missiles/piercing attacks.
That's nice. It's obvious that you won't change your mind on this, so I won't bother for now.

And of course there's the fact that skeleton piercing resistance isn't the only resistance in the game. :lol2:
I know that a noob is just another word for newbie. But if you can't go with this word, I'll use newbie for you.
That wasn't what I meant with the quotes, I'm not saying "noob" is wrong (God forbid), I was just using it like this: A "human" is a bipedal mammal with an over-sized sense of sexual prowess.
If you'd like to have such a feature included, then it's properly better to have it shown in the damage calculations rather than within the fight inwhich it is too late, isn't it?
Using both would be ideal. The main purpose I am suggesting this idea is to "reward" players, with tangible feedback about playing well. A bit pavlovian, but eh.

The thing with the fact that "only" ToD and resistances and items and leadership (etc.) affect to-hit damage is that it's not actually that simple in the end. Instead of "only", try "even": Even ToD, resistances and leadership affect to-hit damage! The result is not always predictable.

I don't understand why you're saying that items wouldn't give me the effect I want. If one of my scouts in the Valley of the Dead gets a Holy Steroid Supplement, that gives him arcane for the rest of that scenario and that will affect his damage output against the undead: red floaties.

EDIT:

Sorry for the double-post (no delete? hrm), I was screwing around with the quotes and constantly editing my post to get them right and i accidentally pressed quote.

User avatar
pauxlo
Posts: 1046
Joined: September 19th, 2006, 8:54 pm

Re: Indicating when unit is doing more damage-per-hit than u

Post by pauxlo » August 13th, 2010, 4:19 pm

The thing is, often it occurs that even for an orange or red damage-per-hit it would not be a good idea to attack (for example, since now your unit is on low-def terrain and gets killed the next turn, while your enemy only got hit one of four attacks), and in other times even with a blue number it would be useful to attack (for example, if there is a skeleton and you can attack it with several archers either by bow or by sword from good terrain, mostly the bow will be more useful).

And when attacking a ghost, by resistances even attacking with fire at dawn would be a blue number, so you couldn't attack him at all outside from day with lvl-1-loyalists (or without leadership with rebels, or at all with knalgans).

Not to say this couldn't be a good idea, but it needs some more thought.

User avatar
Simons Mith
Posts: 784
Joined: January 27th, 2005, 10:46 pm
Location: Twickenham
Contact:

Re: Indicating when unit is doing more damage-per-hit than u

Post by Simons Mith » August 13th, 2010, 4:59 pm

Yes, doing the most possible damage is not the secret to winning at Wesnoth. The trick is generally to achieve the most favourable ratio between damage received and damage given out. If your warrior does 10 damage to one target, and takes 2, that's usually better than dealing out 20 and taking 6.

A UI refinement that might work, rather than colour coding, is to add a plus symbol for significantly more damage than usual, and a minus for significantly less damage than usual. The trouble is, I would not be in favour of adding symbols until the damage was significantly altered. Say, one plus for +30%, two pluses for +60%, because it adds screen clutter (admittedly only temporarily). But in Wesnoth, consistently skewing damage in your favour by just one point can turn the tables. That's why leadership and strength are actually valuable.
 

Naeddyr
Posts: 107
Joined: December 5th, 2004, 5:46 pm
Location: Helsinki, Finland

Re: Indicating when unit is doing more damage-per-hit than u

Post by Naeddyr » August 14th, 2010, 7:00 am

pauxlo wrote:The thing is, often it occurs that even for an orange or red damage-per-hit it would not be a good idea to attack (for example, since now your unit is on low-def terrain and gets killed the next turn, while your enemy only got hit one of four attacks), and in other times even with a blue number it would be useful to attack (for example, if there is a skeleton and you can attack it with several archers either by bow or by sword from good terrain, mostly the bow will be more useful).
Obviously, yes. But this is a much more complicated result of everything that is given to you, and damage-output is only one single reason. You might say exactly the same about the fact that you know the defense ratings of hexes (as it is shown when you're moving your unit): "The thing is, often it occurs that even for a 50 or 60% defense rating it would not be a good idea to attack..."
And when attacking a ghost, by resistances even attacking with fire at dawn would be a blue number, so you couldn't attack him at all outside from day with lvl-1-loyalists (or without leadership with rebels, or at all with knalgans).
"Couldn't" is too strong a word there.
Simons Mith wrote:Yes, doing the most possible damage is not the secret to winning at Wesnoth. The trick is generally to achieve the most favourable ratio between damage received and damage given out. If your warrior does 10 damage to one target, and takes 2, that's usually better than dealing out 20 and taking 6.
:augh: As before, that can be said of anything presented by the UI. Yes, of course damage isn't the single most important thing to take into account.
A UI refinement that might work, rather than colour coding, is to add a plus symbol for significantly more damage than usual, and a minus for significantly less damage than usual. The trouble is, I would not be in favour of adding symbols until the damage was significantly altered.


Wesnoth is a ridiculously lean game ("clutter"-wise) as it is.
Say, one plus for +30%, two pluses for +60%, because it adds screen clutter (admittedly only temporarily). But in Wesnoth, consistently skewing damage in your favour by just one point can turn the tables. That's why leadership and strength are actually valuable.
One plus for +0-25%, two plusses for +25-50%, or maybe + for +10-30% and ++ for 30%-60%

Other one marks you could use are the exclamation mark (!), or small up and down-arrows. + for +10-30&, ++ for 30%-60% and ! for 60%+.

EDIT:

Or ! and !!. Trouble is coming up with a good counterpart for worse damage.

EDIT:

Italics and bolding could work too.

Post Reply