The maps are dated - fix the terrain (Full Version)

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bretg80 -> The maps are dated - fix the terrain (12/1/2011 5:08:51 AM)

Sorry guys, I just have to say this, the terrain textures on the maps are BORING. Come'on, it's 2011 and you probably won't finish this game for a while, so in the mean time please revamp the terrain textures so that they at least look like something we would expect to see in this decade.

For example: Mtn hexes look like mud (where are the snowcapped peaks?)
Where are the beaches on land/sea hexes?
Sand hexes look like tan blah - how bout some dunes
Weather symbology obscures the map, why not use some transparency and clouds to indicate weather or
use transparency and weather symbology.

From what I've seen in the AAR, the global high level summary map looks like something right out of the 1980's . Whaz up with that?

I know, it's a harsh critique, but not undeserved. Hire a texture dude and have him fix them up. It'll make the game a lot more enjoyable to look at while playing.

I know this is a big complex game and the rules engine alone must be mind numbing and excruciatingly complex to develop, but the UI look-and-feel is important too. The maps are nice, just spend the extra time to make them look pretty. It means a lot to those of us who have to stare at them all the time while playing. [:)]

Best of luck in your endeavor... I'll buy this game if you fix up the textures or at least provide a way for us to mod the game to fix them later on.

Bret






warspite1 -> RE: The maps are dated - fix the terrain (12/1/2011 5:24:12 AM)

I guess its true what they say - beauty is in the eye of the beholder. One of the great things imo about MWIF (and one of the few things that ADG got wrong (in their latest guise)) is the maps; - these are truly a work of art.

I know what you are saying about graphics - but this is not CIV or Total War. Personally I think such treatment would be out of place. That said, while I don't think the maps will get the treatment you are after, it wouldn't stop me buying the game if it did.




BallyJ -> RE: The maps are dated - fix the terrain (12/1/2011 6:52:31 AM)

The maps are fine.
Please don't let this post distract you from the main game.





Red Prince -> RE: The maps are dated - fix the terrain (12/1/2011 7:46:21 AM)

It makes me wonder if bretg80 has ever seen a view of the CWiF maps. Egads! I was extremely impressed with the new look of MWiF as compared to CWiF. I guess that was the 90s, and this may be textured for the next decade the 00s, or 2000-2010 (whatever it's called), and I suppose we are now into the teen-decade (just like my niece [sm=scared0008.gif] ), but I agree with warspite1 (Rob) that this is a strategic level game and not intended to be a graphics paradise.

To be blatantly honest, as one who does indeed "stare at them all the time while playing", I actually don't tend to notice the terrain much anymore -- unless I'm wondering if there is a river I'm going to have to cross, or if I can move a unit into a hex without it being disorganized. I think this is probably true even for the super-high-tech glory-graphics that are being suggested in Post #1 here. They are awe-inspiring for the first few hours, but then you are playing the game, and the graphics for weather or terrain are the least of your worries.

As an offshoot, the overview maps I've been putting into the Global War AAR are one of 6 (?) options that can be used. The one I've been using shows just the ownership of territory so that readers can see who controls which parts of the world. Besides that, I've also posted the Weather Map version of the Global Map, so that readers can see what each side faces on that front (pun intended). I'll post one which shows thte Terrain version, but you have to remember that this is a map that reduces the world to a pixel per hex, and there are an insane number of hexes (I forget the total number, but I think it's something just short of 20,000).

Personally, I think the map is beautiful. I think the work done on it by those who designed it for MWiF was brilliant, and I want to personally thank them for the accomplishment:

[image]local://upfiles/38062/1ECF408C88B54906B83D3CAC6B972F13.jpg[/image]




bretg80 -> RE: The maps are dated - fix the terrain (12/1/2011 2:29:10 PM)

Well fan boys... enjoy the dated graphics... There are definitely parts of this game that look great. I'm not being unreasonable about the textures, they look dated and to be honest, they look like crap. It doesn't take much effort to correct this and any UI guy worth their salt will tell you this.

Stick you head in the mud (mtn hex) and in denial. Just like a chef who doesn't want to hear that their food tastes bad and then wonders why they get a terrible review from the food critics. You too shall suffer this fate when you release this product.

Hey someone has to say it. The emperor has no clothes. If no one is critical of your work, then it's not worth working on. If you are building a great game, then build it, don't marginalize it by making excuses about the graphics being good enough. Make it great and reap the rewards. This is not a difficult task. It just requires you to open your eyes and bringing in the right talent to help you.

Again, I am bringing this to your attention to help you. You may not see it that way now, but in the end if you at least consider what I am saying, you will benefit in the long run.

And guys, the graphics textures suck, they really do. You need honest unbiased opinions in order to improve your product, not fan boys who are yes men.

I have been a wargamer for a long time and graphics DO MATTER.





Red Prince -> RE: The maps are dated - fix the terrain (12/1/2011 2:57:08 PM)

I guess it's just a matter of taste. You think the graphics suck. I think they are beautiful. That does not make me a fan boy, and it does not make either of us wrong. Not much more to be said on the matter, really.




micheljq -> RE: The maps are dated - fix the terrain (12/1/2011 3:07:48 PM)

It's a strategic scale game personally I do not care that much about the graphics, they look like the board game so I like them.  People who want great graphics can go play console games or one of the latest great RPGs like Skyrim, or play Shogun 2 Total War, a nice game, etc.




composer99 -> RE: The maps are dated - fix the terrain (12/1/2011 3:30:11 PM)

The first Hearts of Iron game had incredibly boring terrain (which could be toggled to display or not), as did its sequel Hearts of Iron 2. In fact, MWiF has better looking terrain than those two games had. Not having played the third game, I don't know if the terrain is any prettier (although the Google images search looks promising).

However, the series has obviously managed to sell well enough if there have been sequels.

On the whole, that doesn't make your point very convincing, bretg80.




Extraneous -> RE: The maps are dated - fix the terrain (12/1/2011 4:51:42 PM)

[image]local://upfiles/38062/1ECF408C88B54906B83D3CAC6B972F13.jpg[/image]


Once more please remove my name from this list.

I have and still am abiding by the NDA so please remove "Mziln" from this list.






HansHafen -> RE: The maps are dated - fix the terrain (12/1/2011 5:10:01 PM)

The Global Map is garish and ugly, I agree. Wouldn't mind it being prettier!

The regular map is just like the boardgame map(mostly) and looks great, no change needed. Especially if it would cause a delay. We need to be looking to tick things off the list, not adding them on.




Shannon V. OKeets -> RE: The maps are dated - fix the terrain (12/1/2011 5:41:51 PM)


quote:

ORIGINAL: Extraneous

[image]local://upfiles/38062/1ECF408C88B54906B83D3CAC6B972F13.jpg[/image]


Once more please remove my name from this list.

I have and still am abiding by the NDA so please remove "Mziln" from this list.




Done.




Shannon V. OKeets -> RE: The maps are dated - fix the terrain (12/1/2011 6:36:31 PM)


quote:

ORIGINAL: bretg80

Well fan boys... enjoy the dated graphics... There are definitely parts of this game that look great. I'm not being unreasonable about the textures, they look dated and to be honest, they look like crap. It doesn't take much effort to correct this and any UI guy worth their salt will tell you this.

Stick you head in the mud (mtn hex) and in denial. Just like a chef who doesn't want to hear that their food tastes bad and then wonders why they get a terrible review from the food critics. You too shall suffer this fate when you release this product.

Hey someone has to say it. The emperor has no clothes. If no one is critical of your work, then it's not worth working on. If you are building a great game, then build it, don't marginalize it by making excuses about the graphics being good enough. Make it great and reap the rewards. This is not a difficult task. It just requires you to open your eyes and bringing in the right talent to help you.

Again, I am bringing this to your attention to help you. You may not see it that way now, but in the end if you at least consider what I am saying, you will benefit in the long run.

And guys, the graphics textures suck, they really do. You need honest unbiased opinions in order to improve your product, not fan boys who are yes men.

I have been a wargamer for a long time and graphics DO MATTER.



The MWIF world map is 360 hexes wide and 195 hexes high. The game is designed for players who have a monitor 1024w by 768h pixels.

So, the global map 'form' depicts each hex either as 4 pixels (2 by 2) or as 16 pixels (4 by 4). It isn't possible to use an odd number of pixels for the width because we are showing a hexagonal grid and each row has to be offset fomr the one above. A design criterion I set for myself was that the global map could be viewwed in its entirety by the players.

If you know of an UI guy worth his salt who can depict the world map accurately using 16 pixels per hex and provide all the visual wonderfulness you desire, please have him contact me via PM.

---

As for the detailed map, there are a lot of pixels to work with. At highest resolution each hex is 136 pixels wide by 152 pixels high, but that rectangular figure is cropped to a hexagon, which reduces the available pixels somewhat.

I made the decision to use muted graphics for the map. I am familiar with the highly textured hexagons used in other games, dark green for forests, snow white peaks for alpine mountain tops, and the other items you described. But the purpose of the map is to communicate information to the player. When the underlying terrain is a complex visual image, it is more difficult to see the rivers, rail lines, and roads. You have probably encountered this when trying to read text on a web site that uses a fancy background, making the words almost illegible at times.

A second constraint on choice of terrain graphics was the need to scale them to 8 levels of zoom. If you start with really fancy graphics at the highest level of zoom, then zoom them down to 1/2 size, the prettiness wanes and becomes a smudge instead of meaningful information.

Lastly, I choose (i.e., had the graphics artist create) pastel colors for the terrain so the units that appear in the hexes would stand out - the units use all the primary colors. There are 8 major powers in the game and it is crucial when playing the game to be able to identify to which country each unit belongs. There are also dozens of minor countries, each of which has its own uniquely identifying color. Add on top of that the requirement to make all the terrain and unit types capable of being distinguished by color for the 10% of the players who have difficulty in differentiating some color combinations.

So, yes, we could have created really neat graphics for the terrain, provided that we were willing to reduce the levels of zoom to, say, 2. And if there weren't so many different hex borders and icons required by the game. And if we were willing to have the map graphics compete with the unit graphics for the visual attention of the players.

I guess my main point here is that the graphics weren't dashed off by a neophyte/amatuer in a couple of hours. It took us about 6 months and multiple iterations to get each element of the detailed map to work in harmony with the others. And only then did we work on the unit colors and the weather overlays, which required several more months of trial and error and numerous tweaks.

Look at Metz in the attached figure - shown using zoom level 8. The inset in the upper right corner shows the same area at zoom level 2. In the alps the alpine hexsides (crucial to game play) are shown using white - if the basic mountain terrain was more dramatic, the ability of the players to see the alpine hexsides at a glance would be impacted. This screen shot used the entire 1920 by 1080 of one of my monitors. For someone with a smaller monitor, zoom level 8 is only useful when examining a close-in land combat. For air operations you need to see more hexes. And for naval operations, you need to be using zoom levels 2 or 3 (or the global map).

In tournament chess, the board and chess set are mandated to be certain colors and sizes, so the players do not get confused when deep in concerntration. All those fancy chess sets of pewter and bronze with a beautiful wooden board of mahogany and oak (one of which I own) are disallowed when you sit down to play in a tournament.

Given the choice between fancy and functional, I chose the latter. But of course, you can disagree vehemently with my decision.

[image]local://upfiles/16701/7D15146A48A841C6A796B751663D3743.jpg[/image]




Centuur -> RE: The maps are dated - fix the terrain (12/1/2011 6:57:28 PM)

I agree totally with Steve on the way the map is made. The map is huge (it already is pretty big when you play the boardgame, and it is now in unified scale. To use this map on paper for play, you will need a very, very large table, and come to the conclusion that you can't reach a certain counter...). There are going to be parts of the world where only a few units will appear (mainly because those are build there or are temporarily needed for defense against German raiders or the U boats). Now, if there is a lot of colors on the map itself, the possibility of missing a colourfull unit is far greater, than using a map where units really stand out.
Also, there are a lot of details on the map, which should be obvious to see. Resources, factories, cities, capitals, rails, roads, rivers and all kind of other things need to find a way to "jump out" of the map. This than means that it is really important for the terrain on the map to be obvious, but shouldn't jump out of the map. The other information on the map (apart from certain names) are far more important to the game.
I think you have to see the map as a road map. On such a map, the roads are the main purpose, together with the cities on them. That they are running through forests or mountains is of lesser importance. The designer will put some terrain on the map, but usually that isn't to obvious because it are the roads that matters. In WiF, the units are the ones that matters, the rest is information only...




pzgndr -> RE: The maps are dated - fix the terrain (12/1/2011 7:42:58 PM)

quote:

I think they are beautiful... Not much more to be said on the matter, really.


+1 [8D]




Minority Report -> RE: The maps are dated - fix the terrain (12/1/2011 9:18:33 PM)

The MWIF graphics are outstanding.

I guess some people do not make the difference between a wargame and a (computerized) miniatures (wanna be wargame).

A wargame is about re-creating the atmosphere of a HQ where staff officers discuss plans and strategy. A miniature game is a grown-up version of kids' war toy play on a maquette. I am glad that MWIF remains true to the spirit of wargaming.




micheljq -> RE: The maps are dated - fix the terrain (12/1/2011 9:50:01 PM)

deleted




paulderynck -> RE: The maps are dated - fix the terrain (12/1/2011 11:16:04 PM)

I currently play WiF on Vassal. I like the game and will buy it because of that, not because the graphics are whizzy.

The MWiF graphics are better than what I get on Vassal, which has less zoom levels. Of course Vassal uses a picture of the game board map. If the choice is WiF on a computer versus not, then already MWiF is an improvement.

I didn't like opening different windows on Vassal for the Africa and America map - especially the latter. So I edited the Vassal module to make one with the America map split in half with the East coast on the left of the main map and the West coast on the right. That helped but I still find it annoying if I have to scroll all the way from the Pacific to France or from the West Coast to the East etc. MWiF has continuous scrolling west to east or east to west - you just keep going, you never hit the "edge of the world". That feature alone is more important to me than fancier graphics for the hexes. On top of that MWiF has customizable map views that allow me to instantly jump to a theater of interest. I'm much happier the limited programmer resources were put into features like that rather than prettier graphics (which would be subjective anyway as to their prettiness).

This game is not Call of Duty. You won't see pages and pages of design credits for all the graphics (or for much else really). The fact of the matter is that if this game was ever going to be released, it was going to be done with a limited set of design resources. Any other choice would not be economical. The market is too small. So forget the legions of graphic artists and animators. That stuff is all gravy. I'm already satisfied with the dinner I see coming, I can pass on the gravy.




bretg80 -> RE: The maps are dated - fix the terrain (12/2/2011 12:08:36 AM)

Shannon,

Thanks for the reply, The exploded view of the map is much nicer looking that what is on the Matrix web site, you may want to update some of your images over there. I would still say that you can improve on some of the textures with the help of a UI designer. Even if it's just the mountains and sand which happen to represent large areas of the map.

We are all spoiled by Google Maps these days and that is what you are up against. With respect to the screen resolution, I would say that 1024 x 768 is old school resolution. Most of us are pushing 1900 x 1200 these days and who wants to play a grand scale computer wargame on a tiny monitor with low resolution? I know I don't.

I realize the bits are challenging, but by the time this game gets to market, 4 - 8 GB of ram running on Win 7 should be your minimum configuration. The code should be 64bit compatible so you can address larger maps and address space. Maybe you are too far down the road to change this, but running this massive game on a 2GB XP machine should not even be a consideration in my opinion.

This has been a good thread and I realize that the subject matter is controversial, I wouldn't have started it otherwise. I really want to play a great game like what you are developing. It is very intriguing and I'm definitely a potential customer. So, if I don't speak out now, there is no chance of you even looking at my suggested changes. Even if you don't change the textures, maybe you'll allow us to.

Thanks for sharing your design decisions and as you said, there are no right or wrong choices, some may be better than others and if you don't like my opinion on your textures, run it by some objective non-biased critics. If they agree with your textures, then who am I. :-)

Best of luck... I'll be watching this game with new interest.

Bret




pzgndr -> RE: The maps are dated - fix the terrain (12/2/2011 12:58:27 AM)

quote:

The exploded view of the map is much nicer looking that what is on the Matrix web site, you may want to update some of your images over there.


You know, for a grand strategy WWII game like MWIF it's not about the initial screenshots. So what? It's about gameplay after hundreds of hours of playing time. How damned important are the map graphics then compared with all the other gameplay decisions that players are making turn after turn after turn?? The graphics are fine. Let's focus on what's under the hood of this baby and get on with it.




BallyJ -> RE: The maps are dated - fix the terrain (12/2/2011 6:36:38 AM)


quote:

ORIGINAL: bretg80

Well fan boys... enjoy the dated graphics...



First time for every thing I guess.
Never been called a "fan boy" in my life.
I'm not even sure what a "fan boy" is!
I will say again.
The map is fine.
Lets get on with finishing the game!
Before I am too old to play.
LOL




Extraneous -> RE: The maps are dated - fix the terrain (12/2/2011 10:47:24 AM)


quote:

ORIGINAL: BallyJ


quote:

ORIGINAL: bretg80

Well fan boys... enjoy the dated graphics...



First time for every thing I guess.
Never been called a "fan boy" in my life.
I'm not even sure what a "fan boy" is!
I will say again.
The map is fine.
Lets get on with finishing the game!
Before I am too old to play.
LOL


Merriam Webster’s Dictionary
Fanboy - a boy who is an enthusiastic devotee (as of comics or movies)

Urban Dictionary
Fanboy - A passionate fan of various elements of geek culture (e.g. sci-fi, comics, video games, anime, hobbits, etc.), but who lets his passion override social graces.


Please Note: No space between Fan and Boy.




Plain Ian -> RE: The maps are dated - fix the terrain (12/2/2011 1:46:58 PM)

The one bit I'd like to change would be the rail lines. Maybe to something like this in the picture below....if it uploads.
Maybe for MWIF2?

Ian



[image]local://upfiles/22370/4AB245818ADD44C6AF394CB39AB8754F.jpg[/image]




Red Prince -> RE: The maps are dated - fix the terrain (12/2/2011 3:15:12 PM)


quote:

ORIGINAL: Plain Ian

The one bit I'd like to change would be the rail lines. Maybe to something like this in the picture below....if it uploads.
Maybe for MWIF2?

Ian



[image]local://upfiles/22370/4AB245818ADD44C6AF394CB39AB8754F.jpg[/image]

I'm not certain, but I think that would interfere with and become obscured by the graphics overlays for Rain and Storm.




micheljq -> RE: The maps are dated - fix the terrain (12/2/2011 6:14:26 PM)


quote:

ORIGINAL: Extraneous


quote:

ORIGINAL: BallyJ


quote:

ORIGINAL: bretg80

Well fan boys... enjoy the dated graphics...



First time for every thing I guess.
Never been called a "fan boy" in my life.
I'm not even sure what a "fan boy" is!
I will say again.
The map is fine.
Lets get on with finishing the game!
Before I am too old to play.
LOL


Merriam Webster’s Dictionary
Fanboy - a boy who is an enthusiastic devotee (as of comics or movies)

Urban Dictionary
Fanboy - A passionate fan of various elements of geek culture (e.g. sci-fi, comics, video games, anime, hobbits, etc.), but who lets his passion override social graces.


Please Note: No space between Fan and Boy.


Fanboy is a term very totally overused in all the forums I know.




Shannon V. OKeets -> RE: The maps are dated - fix the terrain (12/2/2011 6:16:22 PM)


quote:

ORIGINAL: Plain Ian

The one bit I'd like to change would be the rail lines. Maybe to something like this in the picture below....if it uploads.
Maybe for MWIF2?

Ian



[image]local://upfiles/22370/4AB245818ADD44C6AF394CB39AB8754F.jpg[/image]

I tinkered around with the rail line graphics quite a bit when I was developing them. Their placement is determined using an algorithm based on where the city, port, and resource icons are in the hex. When there is none of those, then to which of the surrounding hexes the rail lines connect influences the placement. But coastal hexes also take into consideration on which hexsides all-sea hexes are present. Lastly, individual hexes can have invisible "control points" that enable the linkages to join without traversing all water hexsides. The later are only used in a half dozen to a dozen places (e.g., the Greece archipelago).

Few tools available in Delphi for drawing lines and they have even fewer features for controlling what the lines look like. I also have the problem of zoom levels, although I simply reduced the thickness to a single pixel at the 2 lowest zoom levels.

All-in-all, making the rail line ccoloring appear the way I would like wasn't possible, given the time I was willing to devote to it (days, not weeks).[:(]




PaxMondo -> RE: The maps are dated - fix the terrain (12/2/2011 8:36:03 PM)


quote:

ORIGINAL: Shannon V. OKeets


[image]local://upfiles/16701/7D15146A48A841C6A796B751663D3743.jpg[/image]

Steve, nice looking map. Looking forward to your monthly update. Trust your health has continued to improve. Hang in there mate.




JudgeDredd -> RE: The maps are dated - fix the terrain (12/8/2011 8:48:09 PM)

I actually think the maps are stunning - retro stylee

Will we ever see it - that's the question... [:D]




Red Prince -> RE: The maps are dated - fix the terrain (12/9/2011 12:35:17 AM)

To see, or not to see . . . that is the question . . .




DBeves -> RE: The maps are dated - fix the terrain (12/9/2011 11:05:37 PM)


quote:

ORIGINAL: bretg80

Well fan boys... enjoy the dated graphics... There are definitely parts of this game that look great. I'm not being unreasonable about the textures, they look dated and to be honest, they look like crap. It doesn't take much effort to correct this and any UI guy worth their salt will tell you this.

Stick you head in the mud (mtn hex) and in denial. Just like a chef who doesn't want to hear that their food tastes bad and then wonders why they get a terrible review from the food critics. You too shall suffer this fate when you release this product.

Hey someone has to say it. The emperor has no clothes. If no one is critical of your work, then it's not worth working on. If you are building a great game, then build it, don't marginalize it by making excuses about the graphics being good enough. Make it great and reap the rewards. This is not a difficult task. It just requires you to open your eyes and bringing in the right talent to help you.

Again, I am bringing this to your attention to help you. You may not see it that way now, but in the end if you at least consider what I am saying, you will benefit in the long run.

And guys, the graphics textures suck, they really do. You need honest unbiased opinions in order to improve your product, not fan boys who are yes men.

I have been a wargamer for a long time and graphics DO MATTER.




[>:] Yeah great idea - lets waste time and delay the game even more to deal with something only you seem to care about ... why did you even bother to type that crap.




brian brian -> RE: The maps are dated - fix the terrain (1/11/2012 3:05:47 AM)

well I saw a dated map the other day, couldn't resist sharing a picture of it with y'all:

[image]http://www.voguehost.com/ims/u/linken/WIF/wif44_1.jpg[/image]



I can no longer remember what the red counters with the hammer and sickle were for. I see them in my big box of mixed up out-dated WiF counters too.




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