Problem playing BZFlag on small screens

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Problem playing BZFlag on small screens

Post by october rust » Thu Sep 29, 2011 11:25 pm

Hi there,

I'm here to bring up an issue that may not be very common these days, since most people today have big monitors on their setups (and sometimes even huge monitors or plasma TV's). But there are still a few people in this community/leagues that are still unable to afford good hardware, or simply give their money other priorities, and end up playing on 14" or 15" screens. And, for the ones that already tried this, it becomes, obviously, nearly impossible to be competitive at a league level with such a small radar (radar is currently locked in the source to a max size of 3/4 of screen). So, in these cases, the radar size becomes about 9" - way too small :( And, it's no secret - and I doubt any league player would disagree on that: competitive BZFlag (as in ducati, hix, pillbox), is played nearly 95% with radar.

Still, for most players, this is not a problem. Most already have, on their 19" screens, about a 14" radar already. Some players even play on 52" screens - preety cool :) But for some, this is an issue.

Although, in the previous version of bzflag, there was still a turn around: Those players could still use an old release, 2.0.2, which had the option unlocked - even if not explicitly available from the panel. But now, in 2.4, this is burried for good. Sure someone will say, people can still compile. But as long as this is not a built-in feature anymore, who would feel good by doing this? Also, some players simply don't wanna use other version than the official build. And this is the only part where 2.4 is a downgrade IMO: some players of the community got lost in the way because they don't have the new minimum hardware requirements to be competitive, and also won't feel good by using an unnoficial build with an alternative query string. Personally, I know at least 2 top-level players that have quit because of this reason, and many others that are having trouble to readapt their styles, and even playing with eyes from inches of distance from the monitor - which will eventually screw up their brains! :P

So of course, this option is still open for those that wanna do it by themsleves, but why on earth, to completely forbid by all means, such an useful option? We know that there was something about this that was bring up among devs in the past, and many times this has been discussed, so they've decided that the game was supposed to be, at least, "1/4 3D" - even for players that would prefer the 3D screen to be in the background layer as a feature. But maybe, and this is my point/question here, perhaps no one has ever wondered that the fullscreen radar could still be needed to be left available as an useful workaraound for those who find themselves under this sort of situation. Even if the point of conflict is about "how much 3D" would be allowed for BZFlag to be, it's at least preety obvious that a fullscreen radar is not "cheating" in any way (otherwise, playing with a big monitor would have to be considered like that aswell, and obviously it's not). FS radar is just a turn-around to allow players to play on small screens, or even to play more distant from the monitor, laying on the couch, or whatever.

Yes, there are many fancy and cool effects in the 3D screen. And I'm sure, that if a decent monitor or plasma TV is available, no one would simply choose to dump the 3D screen, since they can have both a big radar, and also a cool 3D screen. Although, I'm just here to ask, and not just for myself, but also in the name of dozens of players from this community, for this decision to be reviwed - not made default, or anything like that, but at least made available for whoever it may be useful. It's simply a 2-byte patch in the source, won't be time-consuming, neither won't hurt anyone. Just a matter of overwriting a number "30" with a number "48", and it's done. We all love BZFlag, that's why we're here, but I think that when it comes to the point that the community start losing some of its members just because they can't afford good hardware, it may be time to give some second thoughts about it.

Thanks for your consideration in advance, and sorry about bad english if so. (not my native language).
Last edited by october rust on Fri Sep 30, 2011 5:12 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Problem playing BZFlag on small screens

Post by blast » Fri Sep 30, 2011 1:29 am

Using a modified client is generally against the league rules, with very few exceptions. So hacking in a full screen radar would be considered an unfair advantage (a.k.a. cheating) and be subject to be banned or removed from a league. So I'd recommend against doing that if you intend on playing in a league.

Also, I find it hard to believe that someone had issues going from 2.0 to 2.4. I can run the game just fine on a low end laptop from 2006 (Pentium M 1.6GHz, Intel 855 graphics). Of course, I'm running at a lower resolution (640x480) but I can still muster up 30 to 50 FPS with most of the options maxed out. I haven't really noticed a drop in performance. Also, if they really wanted to, all they'd have to do is drop the "Quality" setting down a notch and they be mostly at the same graphical detail level of 2.0.

A used PC with decent hardware can be picked up used for $100 to $150 with a Windows license - probably for less if intend to just run Linux on it. We can't support users with 15 year old PCs. It's just not feasible.

I even prefer playing on a smaller screen - or at least, a lower resolution. I'm a mouse user, so at a lower resolution, the controls in BZFlag are much more responsive. My laptop has a 15" screen. But even on my 24" screen with a native resolution of 1920x1200, I usually drop it down to 1024x768 to play BZFlag. Then I don't have to tweak my mouse settings just for BZFlag.
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Re: Problem playing BZFlag on small screens

Post by october rust » Fri Sep 30, 2011 2:58 am

Blast, maybe I didn't expressed myself well.

The only thing in focus in my post in matter of hardware is meant to monitor and screen size. Personally I didn't experienced any downgrade in matter of performance. It's all about the unavailability of a release in this version that allows players to set up a fullscreen radar to compensate a small monitor, as it was possible with 2.0.2.

In example, you have a 24" monitor, while I play in a 15". So, even if i was using a fullscreen radar in this very moment, your radar would still be a lot bigger than mine, even with just 3/4 of your screen. Your radar is probably about 18" atm, while mine would be up to 15" (if i had FS radar).

So, coming from your point of view, could I also say that you are taking advantage of your huge monitor? I guess not, right? How could that be considered cheating?

That's my point.

And yes, some players didn't make the cross between versions, and at least 2 of them (my ex-teamies in the 6-shooters team from duc league) has quit BZFlag because of this same issue: small monitors, unavailability of the option to increase radar to fullscreen, and a honest attitude not to allow themselves to use another client than the official one.

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Re: Problem playing BZFlag on small screens

Post by slime » Fri Sep 30, 2011 4:35 am

It would be nice to at least have available as an option. I don't see the harm in having a full screen radar, and as OR said it wouldn't be hard to code. Might as well make some people happy and implement it. :)

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Re: Problem playing BZFlag on small screens

Post by mdskpr » Fri Sep 30, 2011 3:10 pm

I agree with october rust. With small screens/resolutions the radar is very small and its very difficult to dodge. Why omit a perfectly good feature when people with small screens are disadvantaged against people with big screens? Since the change to make full screen radar is as simple as adding one digit to the source code, I'm sure many league players have full screen radar(in fact I know). Wouldn't it be more fair if everyone had the option(because it is impossible to detect if someone is using fullscreen radar)?

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Re: Problem playing BZFlag on small screens

Post by october rust » Fri Sep 30, 2011 7:32 pm

MDSKPR just brought up another point, many players in the leagues are already using fullscreen radar, and some could even oppose to that feature to be available simply because they have it patched already, and don't want others to have it too (specially those with small screens, who would be able to have better performances if they was able to see the minimum information they need to dodge precisely).

I had thought about starting a poll along with the post, but as most players rarely read these forums, wouldn't mean much to have a poll here. Although, from what I've seen so far, the great majority of players I've asked about it in the servers are in favour of it, and most think that would be a great feature - even those who don't want to play with FS radar. So, not that I've asked much around yet, but this is what I've heard from asking quickly in duc/hix servers (in favour, yes/no):

yes - TheRisingSun
yes - Quote
yes - slime
no - Morfeusz_pl (he plays on 22" though = 17" radar)
yes - mahem1
yes - METYL
yes - MDSKPR
yes - fig
yes - riff raff
yes - krisfeidt

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Re: Problem playing BZFlag on small screens

Post by krisfeidt » Fri Sep 30, 2011 8:29 pm

For some it's a small issue for others it has been a reason to stop playing. Several players got used to full sized radar over years and suddenly they have to either change their playing style or get a bigger screen. Those players got a disadvantage in playing now, mostly in case of dodging bullets with the radar. So one of my mate refuses to play without the option of a full screen radar, which is sad to see an old, nice member slowly getting away from the game.
It won't hurt anyone but get some active players back into the game and i guess it's not so hard to reimplement that option.

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Re: Problem playing BZFlag on small screens

Post by blast » Sat Oct 01, 2011 6:49 pm

I primarily play on my laptop with has a 15" screen. And in both cases, I don't even enlarge the size of my radar. I can play just fine. So, I'm betting that the radar on your 15" screen is larger than the one I use on my 24" screen. So your point is moot.

The development of this game isn't a democracy, so a poll does nothing. But hey, anyone is free to fork the game. I even have a name for your full-screen radar fork: BZFlat.
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Re: Problem playing BZFlag on small screens

Post by october rust » Sat Oct 01, 2011 9:44 pm

That this isn't a democracy, we all know by now - no need to reenforce that statement. There is indeed a big gap between players and developers in this game.

The only thing that I'm not sure about, is if you really understand the meaning of playing BZFlag at a competitive level, and how hard is to do that using a 3/4 radar in a 15" screen. I can even understand that you, not being a player in any of the leagues, can join a superflag server and blast some guided missles around for a couple minutes, and do ok. But I really wonder if you could ever, using your 15" laptop, jump out of an official match with the same feeling that you can handle it just fine.

This situation, as it is, will only do harm for players that refuse to compile from source themselves, or from using 3rd-party distributed (illegal) binaries. It encourages some players to mess with the source code, while it pushes away some others from the game.

Anyways, thanks for your time.

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Re: Problem playing BZFlag on small screens

Post by TheRisingSun » Sat Oct 01, 2011 10:06 pm

Yeah right. I like how developers make a game trying to make ppl play it. They put time and effort into it, but wont listen to the guys that actually play the game. If we believe, that an option like "fullscreen radar" would be more fun and definitely useful for the leagues then why not just "re-add" it. It was there before. And I agree with Taz that there is a MASSIVE disadvantage for ppl that can only afford a cheap pc, small screen and face ppl with expensive hardware. At least make it even from the game side. Rid the complaints! I am one of those who had BIG problems going from fullscreen to the game standard. I too quit the game for a while, just because it annoyed me having to put up with something I never wanted changed/removed in the first place. Why bother thinking about it. Just remove the radar limits and let ppl decide how they want to play. Give the players the feeling that this is not "just a game", but more like a community. One other reason why ppl quit the game. MANY MANY ppl just don't care about the social part of the game (anymore) "I don't care, you cheat, hax, blame the developers, useless admins"....etc....wanne be friends now?
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Re: Problem playing BZFlag on small screens

Post by JeffM » Sat Oct 01, 2011 10:48 pm

Perhaps these competitive leagues would be better off with a 2d only game. If the 2d view is the primary input then it makes sense that you don't even need the 3d view, and from a design standpoint that's a slightly different game then bzflag is now.

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Re: Problem playing BZFlag on small screens

Post by EbErT » Sun Oct 02, 2011 1:06 am

Dear Dev's,

All these sarcastic/snarky comments by devs are of no help. They just make you look weak. If its not something you're interested in implementing back in, just say so.
For the record though, this game has stagnated partly from a lack of creative map-making and stable administrating, and partly from a lack of organization, coordination, and frankly interest in adding to the game coding-wise by developers. Quit kidding yourselves. If you aren't interested in developing the game, then at least do the game and your work justice by training new developers and letting them control and develop. Holding onto supposed power and making sarcastic comments to players may get you through the day, but it does nothing for the community who love playing the game (like you once loved to develop). Its easy to shoot down good ideas and give technical-jargon as to why they cant be implemented, but its much more rewarding for everyone to actually implement a few new ideas, even if they come from non-technical people. Coordinating successfully between developer and client leads to the best results. I feel this game has been going South as far as these issues are concerned.

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p.s.- I don't mean to offend anyone, but I dont like how some are treating others in this community. This is all just my feeling.

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Re: Problem playing BZFlag on small screens

Post by joevano » Sun Oct 02, 2011 7:59 am

EbErT wrote:Dear Dev's,

All these sarcastic/snarky comments by devs are of no help. They just make you look weak. If its not something you're interested in implementing back in, just say so.
For the record though, this game has stagnated partly from a lack of creative map-making and stable administrating, and partly from a lack of organization, coordination, and frankly interest in adding to the game coding-wise by developers. Quit kidding yourselves. If you aren't interested in developing the game, then at least do the game and your work justice by training new developers and letting them control and develop. Holding onto supposed power and making sarcastic comments to players may get you through the day, but it does nothing for the community who love playing the game (like you once loved to develop). Its easy to shoot down good ideas and give technical-jargon as to why they cant be implemented, but its much more rewarding for everyone to actually implement a few new ideas, even if they come from non-technical people. Coordinating successfully between developer and client leads to the best results. I feel this game has been going South as far as these issues are concerned.

Regards
-EbErT

p.s.- I don't mean to offend anyone, but I dont like how some are treating others in this community. This is all just my feeling.
So are you volunteering??? Because there are no "new" developers to train... quit kidding YOURSELF!
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Re: Problem playing BZFlag on small screens

Post by Mopar Madness » Sun Oct 02, 2011 8:57 am

Blast, you're comparing apples to oranges, you feel you play better with a small radar, so you choose not to use max radar. I have a 24" screen, I choose to run max radar. He wants the same radar size I have, but can't because of game restrictions that don't account for screen size. I would say 95%, maybe 99% of league members would agree, bigger is better. OR's point is players with 24" monitors get to have those 18" radars, while he is stuck with a 9". Even if he had full screen radar and I had partial screen, he'd still have a smaller radar, and therefore a disadvantage. If there's a way for the game to detect screen size in inches, why not have the limit be based on screen size, like a radar limit of 15". So people with 24" monitors have a 5/8 screen limit, people with a 15 " monitor can have full screen radar, people with 20" screens have a 3/4 screen limit, ect. Another idea would be to set a radar size and not allowing people to change it at all, like just about every other game released.

As for no new devs, I know Java and I'm getting better in C++, I'd love to do some developing at some point, once I get to a point when I can with C++. The code reads like someone dropped a nuke on it though, no real documentation and barely any commenting.

Ebe's got a point on the game development too, games and series of games change over the years. Look at Donkey Kong, Zelda, Mario, Sonic, and other series. They change drastically every game made in the series. Look at series of simulators/sports games/fps army games, they add new features every release to try to be as realistic as possible. All BZFlag has done since the game was released was add an occasional new flag and "improve" graphics. Even with the better graphics, the game still looks like its from the mid 90's at best.

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Re: Problem playing BZFlag on small screens

Post by JeffM » Sun Oct 02, 2011 10:02 am

EbErT wrote:Dear Dev's,

All these sarcastic/snarky comments by devs are of no help. ......
I was not trying to be snarky at all. My statements were valid questions.

I take Game design very seriously, and I think that's the main reason that bzflag development is stalling, lack of a solid design. You can't make software unless you know what the software is "supposed to do". The only reason I think we even got 2.4 out the door was because we concentrated on having a well defined design and sticking too it.

As for this feature, the change came down to us defining what bzflag is. This was a hard subject as it has become clear that bzflag is many different things to many different people. In this case we went right to the simplest description from the website

"BZFlag is a free online multiplayer cross-platform open source 3D tank battle game."

Free, we got that. Online multiplayer, check. cross-platform, no problem. Open source, right in the license....

Next thing it says "3d". This means that the game is supposed to be 3d. So that means that the primary view is the 3d view, and the radar view is simply there to be an assist. Full screen radar swaps those roles, it makes the 2d(radar) view the primary input to the player. This would be contrary to the basic design concept of the game.

Now I do truly understand what you are asking for. In fact I understand that core problem you have discovered. It's a core problem with the bzflag game play that has existed for a very long time. The 3d view don't have enough information to dodge shots in an easy way.

Suggesting that we simply make the primary view 2d doesn't really solve the problem, it changes the definition of what bzflag is. That isn't a good way to solve problems. If it was I could close every crash report by simply changing the specification to say "and the game will exit in this case" :)

Sadly our design hasn't been defined well enough to make the gameplay work in a 3d world, so I don't have a perfect solution for the problem yet, and I agree it needs more research and discussion. But the idea here is that we ARE going with a specific design goal in mind, it's just not the one you are thinking of right now.

At this point in bzflag's development, ANY change/enhancement is going to be a refinement of the design and code. This is always going to make a change that will make SOMEONE mad. This is inevitable given the long history and the lack of design in the past. You all want better networking, lag compensation, and cheat prevention. So do we, but I'm sorry to say that all that stuff is going to change the game in a subtle way that will make some of you mad. It will change the simulation state in such a way that it "Feels" different. It will be more consistent, more fair, but it'll feel different. This is because it IS different, that's what change is. We are just doing what we can to make those changes in a way that will get us to a specific goal we have set out to meet.

As for various advantages and disadvantages in league play, I find that mentioning screen size as a "major" factor hilarious. The biggest factor is lag. The game was never designed to provide consistent simulation to all players involved, and that right there is going to be the biggest factor in league play. Also at some point hardware is going to offer some advantage, players with lower ping, higher frame rate, and yes bigger displays (they see more pixels and therefore get more visual data) is going to give someone an advantage. If you wanted to truly remove all variables and track just skill, you'd put everyone in the same room and give them all the same computer using the same version. But that is not how online games work, all we can do is make it as consistent as possible with in a set of parameters we define. If you need a bigger screen to play well, then get a bigger screen. Same thing can be said if your FPS is to low, get a machine with a higher FPS.

So my question was serious, since what you are describing is using the 2d view as primary input. What I see you describing is wanting to play an internet version of Combat on the ATARI 2600. That may be a fun game idea, it's just not what bzflag is supposed to be. So maybe there needs to be 2 games, one for each group of people?

As for not taking input from the users, we do listen to what people say. That doesn't mean that we blindly just do what every person asks for, that path leads to madness(trust me, we've been down that road before). Our goal is to identify the core problem a player is describing and find a solution for it that best fits with the design goal of the project, and sometimes that isn't going to be the same solution that a player has thought of.

As for who we think we are, and us keeping the "power". We are just the people the maintainer has given permission to commit to the mainline code, and who he has defined various roles and tasks for. In the end it's his game, he's just nice enough to let us all bang on it.

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Re: Problem playing BZFlag on small screens

Post by krisfeidt » Sun Oct 02, 2011 2:22 pm

The argument that the game is not 3d enough is just ridiculous, this thought has never come to any single players's mind.
If you put "Radar & Panel Opacity" to maximum, is the game still focused on 3d with 3/4 of your screen being black?

I hope the goal you mentioned, is not to get more and more rid of the radar function, as it is one of the most important function in the game being the fundament of the gameplay of many leagues (gu, ducati, pillbox,..) where the skill of a player can be defined.
This makes it indispensable.
If you just make changes to the design and dont care about the consequences which really do not bring any little win in this case, then i wonder where the game will be going, maybe some unplayable artwork.
In my opinion the fluent interaction between 2D and 3D defines this game and a succesful gameplay like that shouldn't be kicked with feet.

You got players off the game but did not win any new players by that change and in any case that shouldn't be the goal...

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Re: Problem playing BZFlag on small screens

Post by october rust » Sun Oct 02, 2011 3:05 pm

Joevano, I remember at least of one player that was an amazing coder, and knew the source preety well, but has told me once that every and all contribution attempts has been shot down by the game developers, and was strongly discouraged to participate. And unfortunatly, mostly because of this, this person ended up crossing to the other side, got involved with cheating, and even has changed as a person, as far as we can notice. IMHO, there will be no new developers, as long as those who come from the playing field tend to be pushed away. Some of these guys are sometimes very young, and maybe even their passion and imaturity can sound annoying for some, but if no one will be able to embrace their enthusiasm, they will probably get lost in the way.

Unfortunatly, C++ is alien stuff for me. The few things I felt I could do for the game, I did, as the PT-BR translation, or the advanced lag manuals. But this is as far as I can go from the player side. I wish I could help more, but also, there would probably be no room for that, even if i was able to.


JeffM, I can understand what you're saying, but clearly, you have not enough experience in the playing field, and neither seems to really understand what has been proposed here :\

See, the subject here is "problem playing on small screens" - not "problem playing in all screens". No reason to make this a bz life/death issue. It's just about to have a very specific option available as a workaround, which would probably be used just by some players. It doesn't mean the "whole game concept" is been asked to change, at all. That would be a very stupid thing to ask, and only in this case, I would agree with blast's signature string. So it sounds like, most, if not all replies from developers in this thread, are being a bit too extremist. The great majority of league players, even in 2.0, has chosen not to use a fullscreen radar. You guys was aware of that already, right? And the reason is very simple - radar is not everything in the game. It just has to be set to a size big enough to provide the needed information to the player to dodge precisely. No need to be larger than 15", i guess. And honestly, I didn't felt myself ever outrunned my any bledding-edge hardware, except in this specific situation.

The 3D view is obviously very important, both in league and superflag styles, as there is a load of information that is only available in it (as when you have to check the angle of the target to get it locked, its direction when it's not moving, etc). Also, the 3D view is even more useful in GU, where jumping is on. Also, there are many different playing styles, and some players rely more on radar than others. In example, a shotholder tend to use the radar a lot less than a balanced player, while a defensive player can play a whole match without even looking at the HUD.

Also, you mention that the lag is the main issue in the leagues. This is not completely right. You mentioned something that is the biggest gameplay issue indeed, but, it's still possible for the player to deal with it, and go around. Personally I know this matter preety well, considering my location, and I have been playing for 7 years dealing with lag all the time. And I'm still here, see? So, despite the lag is a known major problem we all have to deal with, the game still provides players the means to go around it with experience - been the radar itself one of the most valuable tools for the task. Now, the issue that has been exposed in this subject, is something that no experience will go around. Maybe I could plug some binoculars in my head, hanged with some duct tape? Perhaps. Maybe the minimum requirements description of the game should include a 17" screen or above? Perhaps. But, there is a very simple and reachable solution for this available at this very moment, and its just frustrating to see it "locked" like that.

Maybe it's also a matter of getting aside the use of words as "primary", IMHO. Because as long as this game has the great quality of being extremely customizable, it ends up to the player to choose how the screen is going to be set up, right? The game has so many stuff to mess with, that we could even say that nearly not a single player in the leagues has the same config file. And still, what you call the primary view, will very probably continue to be the HUD as long as BZFlag exists, since the suggested, and default state of the config file, is set up like this. And most important, most players will probably keep the radar smaller than HUD even after playing for years - which is what happened in the 2.0 era.

Flexibility is maybe the gratest power of this game. Dude, don't dump it in the trash. Personally, I had never been so much involved with any other game, or internet community, and actually, I'm not even this sort of guy. But for some reason, this game attracts me more than any other, and I guess it's because of this. This is the only game I've ever seen that allowed me to customize every little thing I wanted to adjust exactly to my playing style. And this is why, as you can see, that most of the players get really pissed off when they see one of the features they are already used to, not just made unavailable from the config panel, but completely removed from the game even as a possibility. So what you are saying is, that the game developers, which was supposed to know this better than anyone else, are actually totally unaware of it? And are, actually, willing to get rid along time of one of the gratest advantages this game has upon others, and will start now to create a default and unflexible way to be played?
This is always going to make a change that will make SOMEONE mad
Why not to continue always improving and implementing new things, but also leaving the option for players to choose what features they want to use, as it has been available for so many years on all those config panel switches? The config panel/file is one of the great features of this game. If it's possible not to let anyone mad, why to choose so? And even if you implement extreme changes, like rotating canons, or whatever, would still be nice to make stuff like that a specific server option. Now, if you guys are trying to compete with other major 3D games, change the game as it is, and drop the few advantages this one has upon others, what's the point? Are you trying to be hired by GTA or something? In that case, we would already be playing another game at this moment. But we chosen the fun factor of BZ, and its simplicity in many ways, and those should not be dropped, from the player/gameplay point of view - even if the 3D aspects of the game continue to improve.

IMHO it's neither one extreme, or another. I'm sure no one would like to "dump 3D" or anything like that - would be just nice to give the option for the player to be able to choose which view is prefered, or even to set both mixed in the fullscreen, in the same level of importance. By the way, it's preety cool to play like that, ever tried? The game is still 3D that way, just with a bunch of radar information flying on the screen in the top of the 3D view. That's also, my personal favourite setup, the one I'm used to.

No need to say, there is valuable work from developers in the graphics of this game, and there are many improvements in that aspect. It's just frustrating to notice that the flaw of the game ends up most of the time in a very difficult communication/agreement between developers and players.
Last edited by october rust on Sun Oct 02, 2011 6:11 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Problem playing BZFlag on small screens

Post by slime » Sun Oct 02, 2011 3:23 pm

We understand that you want BZFlag to be a 3D game. I'm sure I can vouch for the majority of league players by saying, WE AGREE! When the majority of us use our max radar, our 'Radar & Panel Opacity' as krisfeidt mentioned, is set to the minimum. Please don't believe that us league players could play using simply radar! When players ask for full screen radar, all they want is exactly what you mentioned JeffM, more pixels to see more visual data. It helps with the finer, more precise points in the game such as dodging, which is a huge part of the league gameplay. But we still NEED the HUD. I assure you no one can play the game, league-based or not, without the HUD. Even if you make the radar available full screen, the HUD will be used the exact same amount. It will not reduce the 3D gameplay in any way.

A large portion of your post, JeffM, deals with lag compensation and networking (sorry, I'm not trying to 'call you out' or anything, it's just the only post on this thread by a dev that actually enhances the debate). Please note that this thread has nothing to do with issues such as those. We understand that you've been working tirelessly on those issues and it's extremely hard to come up with a solution to. What OR is proposing here is a simple fix that takes next to no effort on anyones part. I'd be suprised if that post you wrote didn't take more effort than making the change to the code ;).

I'd like to take a few snipets from your post as well:
JeffM wrote:Now I do truly understand what you are asking for. In fact I understand that core problem you have discovered. It's a core problem with the bzflag game play that has existed for a very long time. The 3d view don't have enough information to dodge shots in an easy way.
JeffM wrote:Sadly our design hasn't been defined well enough to make the gameplay work in a 3d world, so I don't have a perfect solution for the problem yet
You admit yourself that gameplay doesn't work well in the 3D world, because of it not giving enough information to the end users. Based of this logic, we HAVE to use radar. It is 100% necessary to play the game. I know you never said otherwise, but if you even admit the 3D view doesn't do enough, please accept the fact that the game needs the 2D view just as much as the 3D view until this problem is fixed (whether it will get fixed or not is another discussion on another thread). By allowing fullscreen radar, when we set it to minimum opacity, it will be a 50/50 mix between radar and HUD (the entire screen is both 2D and 3D). I assure you NO ONE can play with a fullscreen radar that is full opacity, because truth be told we do need the 3D view too.

What we are suggesting here does not minimize the 3D experience in anyway, it just enhances the 2D experience to its fullest potential, something we need if the 3D experience, as you said, doesn't work well enough.

slime

PS Please note that in my post I did not intend to attack or offend anyone, or speak for anyone in the league who does not wish to be spoken for.
PPS I see now that since writing my reply OR also posted a lengthy one, so apologies if any of my writing was also stated in his.

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Re: Problem playing BZFlag on small screens

Post by JeffM » Sun Oct 02, 2011 4:37 pm

1) the lag comp was simply there as an example of changes that will make people mad and another thing that gives a disadvantage. I am fully aware that this discussion has nothing to do with that topic specifically.
2) not having a good solution is not the same as being forced to use a single suggestion. as I said I think it needs more research.

I just wanted you to know why we made this choice, and that it wasn't just some random thing that "happened". We talked about it for many days on IRC when the change was made. I understand some of you don't like it, and that will be taken into account in the future... Development has stalled again so I don't even know what will happen in the future.
Last edited by JeffM on Sun Oct 02, 2011 4:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Problem playing BZFlag on small screens

Post by joevano » Sun Oct 02, 2011 4:44 pm

october rust wrote:Joevano, I remember at least of one player that was an amazing coder, and knew the source preety well, but has told me once that every and all contribution attempts has been shot down by the game developers, and was strongly discouraged to participate. And unfortunatly, mostly because of this, this person ended up crossing to the other side, got involved with cheating, and even has changed as a person, as far as we can notice. IMHO, there will be no new developers, as long as those who come from the playing field tend to be pushed away. Some of these guys are sometimes very young, and maybe even their passion and imaturity can sound annoying for some, but if no one will be able to embrace their enthusiasm, they will probably get lost in the way.
Yes, there have been many people who try to "help" that are very skilled, but they generally don't want to work as part of a team. Changes to the game generally need to be discussed and their strengths and merits, the direction of the game, maintainability, hardware requirements, etc all considered by the development team to make sure that they advance the game. I have seen many a skilled programmer fail because they cannot be part of the team and take their code and leave. More power to them... they can always fork the game and work on their own version (that is the beauty of open source). But WE work as a team (when we can get anyone together anymore) and there are some guidelines that we have been charged with by the game maintainer. If they are not willing to work within that framework then they have only one option really open to them and that is to not contribute.
There is nothing worse than aggressive stupidity. -- Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
"How many legs does a dog have if you call his tail a leg? Four. Calling a tail a leg doesn't make it a leg." -- Abraham Lincoln

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Re: Problem playing BZFlag on small screens

Post by JeffM » Sun Oct 02, 2011 6:50 pm

I've had some time to ponder the problem as I've driven around doing errands today and I think the may be a solution that gives you guys what you need and still keeps the design clean. It's a little more complex the just extending the existing radar box to fill the screen. I'll work up a design document and talk it over with some devs.

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Re: Problem playing BZFlag on small screens

Post by october rust » Sun Oct 02, 2011 7:21 pm

krisfeidt wrote: In my opinion the fluent interaction between 2D and 3D defines this game and a succesful gameplay like that shouldn't be kicked with feet.
This preety much defines what BZFlag is for many players. In my oppinion, this combination of both elements makes a really unique and awesome gameplay.

It's just sad that some of the very own game developers describe the game sometimes as a failure, and this "unavailability of all information in 3D" as a problem. For most, BZFlag is a really successful game as it is, and it has even the glamour of not being a bombastic mainstream game.
JeffM wrote: I've had some time to ponder the problem as I've driven around doing errands today and I think the may be a solution that gives you guys what you need and still keeps the design clean. It's a little more complex the just extending the existing radar box to fill the screen. I'll work up a design document and talk it over with some devs.
That's really nice to hear - now we're talking :)

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Re: Problem playing BZFlag on small screens

Post by JeffM » Sun Oct 02, 2011 7:39 pm

The game has a number of failures in it's design and not seeing them for what they are does a disservice to future development of the game.

There are other ways to present the data, I just don't feel that making the existing UI element so large that it crowds out the 3d view is the right way, I believe we need a new way to display that data that works with the 3d view.

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Re: Problem playing BZFlag on small screens

Post by october rust » Sun Oct 02, 2011 8:08 pm

Oh well, radar zooms are available already, but they don't work in this sort of situation, because they discard context when set too high. Most players already have 6-7 zoom mappings, but that's another thing.

What do you have in mind?

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Re: Problem playing BZFlag on small screens

Post by Mopar Madness » Sun Oct 02, 2011 8:21 pm

other games have fixed sizes to key features like the radar and fixed positions for stuff like that, such as Call of Duty or Combat Arms. The ability to set radar size is cool and we should probably just be thankful for that, but a full screen radar would be cool. Just cause we like big radars doesn't mean we don't use the 3D HUD. We look at radar generally in tight combat where ricochets can cause bullets to sneak up behind you and we use it when we can't see the tank we are fighting, like when it's behind a box. But we also use the 3D a lot to see where we're going or to time jumps correctly. I personally keep my radar fully transparent because I need the full screen HUD. I tried full screen radar too, and its just too big for me, too much data to take in and its stretched out too much across the screen to be useful. With a small 15" monitor though, a full screen radar would be just the right size.

Would I call the game as a whole a failure? No, it's basically the same game it was in 2005, when it was pretty popular. Most games from 2005 are completely dead now, so I would call this a success that it is still going in 2011, 6 years later.
Does it need a drastic overhaul? YESSSSSSS!!!!!!!!! There are virtually no noticeable improvements in any aspect of the game since 2.0 was released in 2005. 2.4 I'm changed a lot of the behind the scene stuff like taking less hard drive space and probably improved performance on lower end computers and servers, but it's not the noticeable added features, eye candy, and improved interfaces that are needed for the game to survive.

BZFlag was always meant to be a simple game, but how simple is simple or too simple? Minecraft is simple, it has dynamic lighting and simple moving interactable objects. Garry's Mod I would call a simple game. It's simple in it's basic form, but it's got dynamic lighting, moving interactable objects, physics, and the ability to code features to make the game as simple or complex as servers or players want to make the game.

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