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Topic: Initial musings of a total noob.

Lokimaros
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Joined: 2016-10-21, 17:51
Posts: 49
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Pry about Widelands
Location: Leiden, the Netherlands
Posted at: 2016-10-24, 02:47

Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears,

some days ago I finally took the time to finish the tutorial maps, and I'm now in the process of learning what strategies and tactics to use to successfully get a healthy economy going, so I won't get wiped out by the first AI that gets a whiff of my existence.

As I've played other strategy games before (Civ CTP, Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri, FreeCol), rather than reading any manual I just dived right in, but did do the Tutorial campaigns first. And I must say: "Impressive." Wonderful graphics, sound, interface, game concept. But rather than spend 100,000 words on all the things that are good or better, I'm going to point out a few possible improvements I can think of.

Firstly, I missed the possibility to pin the various pop-up windows I prefer to have during a game: the messages, the stock statistics, and the buildings list. With pinning I mean preventing an usually accidental right mouse-click closing them. It would also be nice to have a playing config file, in which showing these windowlets by default each game could be turned on, as well as their placements. One might also save having build-help, building names and statistics turned on by default.

The second thing I had a minor puzzlement about was the centre of the mapview: when you get an alert about something, and use 'g' to go there, the location is put in centre view, but on a large screen like mine, it's hard to figure what the exact middle is, unless I use a tape measure or mark my monitor in some way. Would it be possible to make a 't' key, to activate a crosshairs like targeter, with two thin lines dividing the screen in half horizontally and vertically, leaving just the centre clear, where perhaps a circle could be drawn around the centre tile?

Which brings me to the third thing: geologists. When they find a resource, they send a message for the first of that kind and put up a marker, but if the location is where you can build a mine, it disappears under the mine icon. (But you can turn off build-help with a single simple keypress, Loki, you dummy! Oops!) I do find it annoying, however, that geologist just stupidly wander around looking for resources, and do not, for instance, keep to the terrain: when the flag is in the mountains, stay in the mountains, the (wo-)man wants ores, otherwise (s)he's looking for water, so stay out of the mountains. But maybe that's just me.

Finally, I was thinking I miss some sort of indicator of difficulty for the various maps, and I've even thought up a method of determining a good system to create one. But before I lay out the details, I'd have to know, if there is significant difference in playing a map as barbarians, Empire or Atlanteans? I have as yet no idea how great a difference in crucial resource usage there is, e.g. if gold is absent from a map, will barbarians wipe the floor with the other two, or something like that?

Anyway, those are just some initial suggestions that sprang to mind, feel free to tear me limb from limb, as long as you do it with a touch of kindness, please.


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GunChleoc
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Joined: 2013-10-07, 15:56
Posts: 2623
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Location: RenderedRect
Posted at: 2016-10-24, 16:30

Welcome to the forums, and glad that you like the game face-smile.png

Your suggestions are good ones, we should put them on our todo-list.

About highlighting the "goto" building, maybe changing the color of its census string would be an easier way to do it, or flashing the player color on the animation for a bit? The user shouldn't have to learn another keypress unless absolutely necessary.

Regarding map difficulty, yes, there are differences between the tribes. Barbarians have a gamekeeper so their hunter will not run out of meat. Atlanteans have a fish breeder to not run out of fish, but they can't regenerate meat. So, they need access to water with fish in it. There are probably more differences, but I'll leave commenting that to the more experienced players.


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DragonAtma
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Joined: 2014-09-14, 01:54
Posts: 254
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Posted at: 2016-10-24, 17:30
Quarries and Stone mines are a bit different for the three tribes. All of them get raw stone, but Empire sometimes gets marble, while Atlanteans sometimes get quartz or diamond.

* Barbarian mines will need more upgrading than the other two tribes.
* Empire needs marble for a bunch of buildings, and marble columns for several; in particular, quarries require marble and stonemasons require marble columns, so don't accidentally hose yourself!
* Atlantean bread requires two types of farming (corn and blackroot), not one. As a reuslt, they need more land for farmign than the other two tribes.

Also, I should add that Empire's renewable meat comes from pig farms (as opposed to Barbarians' hunters and Atlanteans' fishers).

...there are also a bunch of other, smaller differences (e.g. Atlantean military buildings tend to hold more soldiers than the other tribes' equivalents), but the major ones are above.

RANDOM TIP: The signs placed by geologists eventually disappear over time, which can be annoying. As a result, I have them look at a section of mountain, then put the appropriate mine (gold mine if they found gold, etc.), but don't connect it to my roads. That way, it'll mark the area to me without vanishing or using any materials.

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Lokimaros
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Joined: 2016-10-21, 17:51
Posts: 49
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Pry about Widelands
Location: Leiden, the Netherlands
Posted at: 2016-10-24, 17:44

Thank you for your reply. face-smile.png As to the keypress, for my part you make it a .config option or even a default feature. i only suggested the key because I reckon some people would dislike it, and would want a way to turn it off. And as to the difficulty of learning keypresses, I'll volunteer to make a nice PNG/Libreoffice document/PDF listing all the working keys and their function, which could be splattered all over the website and added to the installation documentation. There are not that many in Widelands to start with, compared with, say, Oolite.

One thing I forgot to mention in my previous pot: when building some structure, when you click it, you get a pop-up with very little info, could to that be added the required resources, shaded, and the used resources, unshaded, like the inventory of a working building, that way it's easier to determine what resource is missing to finish the building, when it's stopped and you're a newless cluebie like me? I've made a list of all buildings and their required materials just to figure why certain buildings never finished. (You disconnected your Hardwood maker accidentally, you moron! I don't care you didn't see that because of the baker blocking the view of its only possible road, it being on 0% all the time should be clue enough, Lokidumb.) On that note, if it's already easy within the code to determine whether a building is connected to the headquarters, it might be useful to replace 0% production with "Disconnected.". Or have the "waiting for ration" type of message list it.

There is one slight hiccup with the Atlanteans, and that is, that their Crystal mine is still called Granite mine in places, which threw me for a loop for about 0.3 seconds in their tutorial. But that's such a minor point I didn't even mention it before, as is the missing reference to the "nothing to find here" board the geologist puts up. The documentation lists the white, red, gold, black and blue boards, but not the white cross one. But again, not all that important an omission, so far.

But as to how to arrive at a difficulty score for maps: have all veterans of the game list the official maps, and let them sort the list in order of difficulty. If it depends on starting position/race, let them assign a value-range based on the positional score, otherwise let them assign a number indicating the maps' position in the list. Collect those lists at a central dude, who enters all the data in a spreadsheet, calculates averages , maybe even some clustering statistical procedure, if it's not obvious already, and separate the list into 3/5/7 groups that have values that are close together. Assign words to describe the groups, and add it to the map descriptions.


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GunChleoc
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Joined: 2013-10-07, 15:56
Posts: 2623
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Posted at: 2016-10-24, 20:33

Can I ask which version you are playing? The granite references in the Atlantean campaign will be fixed in the next release, but in Build 18 the strings are still a mess. Also, the help system is pretty much non-existent there - we have more in-game help available in the current development builds.

Construction sites have clear wares queues with the missing wares having a lighter color than the present wares.


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Lokimaros
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Joined: 2016-10-21, 17:51
Posts: 49
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Pry about Widelands
Location: Leiden, the Netherlands
Posted at: 2016-10-25, 01:15

In about 3 minutes I will be playing Build 19 until r8139, but until now it was build18, from a repository. This afternoon I pulled the source and it compiled smoothly on my Linux Mint 17.3, after having searched the web for a Mint lua repository and a debian based libggz one earlier this weekend.

That is, if i can figure how to effect an install without a ./install.sh to complement the ./compile.sh

Edited: 2016-10-25, 01:38
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Lokimaros
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Joined: 2016-10-21, 17:51
Posts: 49
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Pry about Widelands
Location: Leiden, the Netherlands
Posted at: 2016-10-25, 04:12
The following install.sh script seems to get just about everything needed, it seems so far, except the build number not showing up in the window title:
#!/bin/sh
umask 022
INSTALLDIR=/usr/local/games/widelands
echo Copying data files.
cp -r ./data $INSTALLDIR
rm $INSTALLDIR/data/locale
cd build
cp -r ./locale $INSTALLDIR/data
cd ..
install -cpvm 644 ./ChangeLog $INSTALLDIR/data
install -cpvm 644 ./CREDITS $INSTALLDIR/data
install -cpvm 644 ./COPYING $INSTALLDIR/data
install -cpvm 644 ./VERSION $INSTALLDIR/data
install -cpv ./widelands $INSTALLDIR
if [ -d /usr/local/bin ]; then
ln -s $INSTALLDIR/widelands /usr/local/bin/widelands
fi

It should of course be improved to allow for an installationdir argument, and logically to test for the link before attempting to make it, but since this is my own use only, at the moment, I didn't bother. with that.

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Tibor
Joined: 2009-03-23, 23:24
Posts: 1185
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One Elder of Players
Location: Slovakia
Posted at: 2016-10-25, 12:28
@Lokimaros

Very nice script, I am using also own one, but this looks even simpler. One small comment - it seems that you install the game as root - this is not necessary, and generally it is better to avoid such approach... Of course, I hope you will enjoy compiled version

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GunChleoc
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Joined: 2013-10-07, 15:56
Posts: 2623
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Location: RenderedRect
Posted at: 2016-10-25, 17:14

In order to install Widelands to the default dir, all you need to do after compiling is:

cd build
sudo make install

Enter your password, done.

You can also run Widelands without installing by typing

./widelands

In the directory where you ran compile.sh.

If you want a different install dir, edit CMakeLists.txt and look for the line wl_set_if_unset(WL_INSTALL_BASEDIR ".")


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Lokimaros
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Joined: 2016-10-21, 17:51
Posts: 49
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Pry about Widelands
Location: Leiden, the Netherlands
Posted at: 2016-10-25, 18:05
@Tibor

I know, I'm a sidelined systems administrator, so my home dir is already an semi-organised scrapheap of rubbish, and I prefer to keep my installed games from outside the package system in /usr/local, , where I'll know to find them if i forget about them for a while.

@GunChleoc

$ cd /usr/local/src//widelands-repo/trunk/build/
 root@hex /usr/local/src/widelands-repo/trunk/build Tue Oct 25 17:48:02
$ make install
make: *** No rule to make target `install'.  Stop.
 root@hex /usr/local/src/widelands-repo/trunk/build Tue Oct 25 17:48:25
$ 


Your suggestion appears inoperative if the compilation was achieved with "scons".

As for playing from within the compilation directory: I prefer not to, as I like to fiddle with sources and/or data if I have an idea I want to try out, but still keep a working installation.

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