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AoW2 Gameplay Help & Strategies
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Topic Subject: Scrolling
posted 12-02-01 08:52 PM EDT (US)   
Standard it is possible to scroll around the main map using the following methods:
-The keyboard or moving the mouse to the edge of the screen or the minimap.
BUT the question is: Is it also possible to scroll:
-by pressing and holding down the right or middle mouse button and then moving your mouse?
( just like in f.e. the Westwood games or Empire Earth or Battle Realms )

Because I think that works really well for a more pleasant gameplay experience and should be included.

Replies:
posted 12-02-01 11:52 PM EDT (US)     1 / 12  
The left/right buttons are used pretty much the same way they were in AoW1. That system worked pretty well, so we're not planning to mess with it much.

Tentatively (still experimenting a bit), the mousewheel is used to zoom in/out, and the middle button is used to reset the zoom level to the default. This seems useful, w/o tying anything vital to a button that some people simply don't have...

Between the screen-edges, the arrow-keys, the events list, the next party/structure buttons, and the scanner, there seem to be plenty of ways to move the camera to where you want it...


Josh Farley
Programmer
Triumph Studios
posted 12-03-01 01:00 AM EDT (US)     2 / 12  
While I do not mind 3D per se, I am not all that fascinated by the zoom features included in various games. More often than not, it is a feature that in the end is very rarely used. Rotating the camera, on the other hand, can be quite useful in some games, depending on how the terrain et al is constructed.
Personally, I've got a hunch that I'll use the zoom once, in order to zoom in/out according to my preferance, and not touch the function thereafter. So, the obvious question is - will you make sure that the game "remembers" the most recent zoom the player used?

Cheers!
Calanor

posted 12-03-01 02:53 AM EDT (US)     3 / 12  
Agree with you Calanor.

I wrote this in another thread:

Quoted from myself:
And I just don't know about that zoom-in/out feature.... So far no game I've seen has implemented that in a good way.

I hope you Triumph guys arent working 24-hours a day to get the zoom-feature working, there are other things more important...

posted 12-03-01 06:09 AM EDT (US)     4 / 12  
It took about 5 minutes to add the zoom-feature, so there :P

World Map, and TC use separate Zoom levels, and each is adjustable and savable to your preferences...


Josh Farley
Programmer
Triumph Studios
posted 12-03-01 06:41 AM EDT (US)     5 / 12  
Nice to hear that, Josh. That is definitely a feature not seen in many other games.

Cheers!
Calanor

[This message has been edited by Calanor (edited 12-03-2001 @ 06:41 AM).]

posted 12-03-01 06:50 AM EDT (US)     6 / 12  
Yeah, I guess 5 minutes is allowed for eye-candy...
posted 12-03-01 10:31 AM EDT (US)     7 / 12  
Ha. Doing a zoom function, when you already render the entire scene in 3d, isn't very difficult: it's little more than a simple change of viewpoint.
The eyecandy is the 3d engine in it's entirety. And that DID take more than 5 minutes to complete.
* + noises *
So that's a lot of effort to do the gfx. And that's not a bad thing, all you silly "little effort for eyecandy"-persons: it's a necessity, for if the game is to sell, it has to look good! And you DO want the game to look good, even if you don't say so.
3 times hoorah for Josh and his charming 3d engine.

posted 12-03-01 03:37 PM EDT (US)     8 / 12  
Hey JAT, I bet your'e one of those persons who buys a game if it has a naked chick on the cover.

Well call me silly, but I still think the game itself is more important than zooming-functions, 3d-effects, cool intros etc.
I don't care if a game sells 10 million copies if it's not playable.

But I don't really know why I'm whining about this, AOW2 will rock.

posted 12-03-01 07:09 PM EDT (US)     9 / 12  
Hi JAT,

I remember Josh said that AoW 2 will still be primarily 2d (a matrix that represents the 2d map and no height is involved) and so camera angle won't work very well (imagine units lying down on the grass while they move in a bird's view!!). Rotation is something we see in SimCity 2000, which is primarily 2d, too. Zooming in and out is easy and doesn't matter whether it's 2d or 3d, if you always zoom the rendered image, which is always 2d because the screen is 2d.


Bright was the moon and deep the night;
The stars twinkled, of great delight.
With wings of dream, I searched my soul
To know its truth and find my role.

By French Kisser, a chaser after and believer in true and ingenuous romance.

posted 12-04-01 04:42 AM EDT (US)     10 / 12  
Magog:
Quote:
Hey JAT, I bet your'e one of those persons who buys a game if it has a naked chick on the cover. Well call me silly, but I still think the game itself is more important than zooming-functions, 3d-effects, cool intros etc. I don't care if a game sells 10 million copies if it's not playable.

Careful now, Magog. I'm not one of those guys who buys a game, or any product, because it has a chick on the box. In fact, it counts against such a product, because I regard such advertisement as an insult to my intelligence. I'm far too cynical to indulge in such petty pleasures.
The thing is, AoW2 needs more than just good gameplay: if the game is going to sell it NEEDS, great gameplay, great gfx, AND great sound fx and music. TBS is a niche in the games market. And fantasy TBS, is such an obscure little niche you couldn't find with a microscope. A niche, AoW has to share with games like HoMM, that however much some of us here dislike it, is still similar to AoW.
No, AoW2 is going to need ALL the bells and whistles and then again good advertisement and a lot of luck, to become a succes. Gamers, these days, are a spoiled lot, and that is quite understandable, given all the quality games that flood the market these days. Good is simply not enough.
Remember that ALL the members of this forum and the life-line, buying the game, are not enough to cover the costs of making such a game. Now, WE, we are the 'fans', and even if you and some other people here would buy the game if only it has great gameplay, many here do want great gfx.
I'm one of the latter group. I've got a nice PC (and a horrible OS too) and I like games to make use of that hardware I spent so much hard-earned money on. I've got a fully functional copy of the original AoW, and frankly, I don't see why I should go for AoW2 if it wasn't significantly better; AoW1 may be old, but I still like it. Now I'd probably buy AOW2 even if it didn't have direct3d bells and whistles, but only if the gameplay would truly blow my socks off, and take a leg aswell. What I really want is for AoW2 to be so stunning it takes my leg off, tears my eardrums AND makes me blind. (Landmines are sooo inpractical, and you can do that only once...twice, maybe)
So, to make it short, I'm happy with the efforts going into the gfx, because AoW2 needs it.


---

Quote:
I remember Josh said that AoW 2 will still be primarily 2d (a matrix that represents the 2d map and no height is involved) and so camera angle won't work very well (imagine units lying down on the grass while they move in a bird's view!!). Rotation is something we see in SimCity 2000, which is primarily 2d, too. Zooming in and out is easy and doesn't matter whether it's 2d or 3d, if you always zoom the rendered image, which is always 2d because the screen is 2d.

Frenchkisser (You still have that same old nick? I thought you said you were going to change it...),

The reason AoW2 won't have different camera angles is that the units and trees and cities are 2d sprites. 2d sprites work good only if you look at the same angle at them. But you may still change the viewpoint, as long as the movement is only translation within the defined space.
The landscape is 3d. But 3d like in the settlers. There is height involved alright: the landscape is made up of many polygons, and could technically be viewable from all angles. Actually, if josh, does this right, the 2d sprikes are also drawn like a flat 3d surface, but with the normal always in the opposite direction of the camera angle. Zooming is then quite easy: just translate the camera to move forward in the direction it is facing. Note that sim2000 is actually 3d, as there are 3 coordinates needed for objects, but it is shown isometrically. From what I've seen of AoW screenshots, it will not be isometric, but actually rendered. This is quite possible, even with 2d sprites. While for true realism you'd need 3d models, 2d sprites will actually work, and still look good: think of Doom.
Consider a cube that moves from the left of the screen to the right: first you see the front and the left side, then just the front, and then the front and the right, even though the cube still faces in the same direction. This also works in a way for a cube, or any shape moving away from the camera, while not precisely in front of it. And also for vertical movement. However, for some viewpoints, it doesn't look too bad when this does not happen and the shape remains the same. This is because the change is then actually relatively small, and imagination makes up for the lack. Remember IDs Doom and all it's clones again.
Actually, change of camera angle also may work if you make enough different bitmaps for the sprites to be seen at, say, 8 angles,(Doom again) but it doesn't work quite as good as just translation.

Some of the advantages of a 3d landscape instead of isometric are still there:

*Firstly it looks better, because the landscape itself remains perspectively correct. The flaws of isometric views of an environment are far more noticeable than slightly incorrect 2d representations of the (smaller) objects within a true 3d environment.
*Secondly, modern graphic cards these days render so fast it is actually faster to render 3d than to draw the isometric view.
*Thirdly, you get to use texture maps on the polygons, which looks much more slick than simple scaleable bitmaps. Remember the zoom function.
*Finally, it allows for a far more precise 3d world, as isometric views must be build up from uniform blocks. The 3d landscape, however, can be a fine 3d mesh.


Hoorah!


Steel Monkey
posted 12-04-01 08:21 AM EDT (US)     11 / 12  
=>JAT.

The reason I'm talking about zooming and graphics i a negative way is that I've seen som many games with great graphic features and absolutely no gameplay. I really don't want this to happen to AOW2.

If you bought 1000 games that were screaming "new fantastic graphics with 2 billion pixels blah blah stunning 3d explosions blah blah" on the back of the box, maybe 2-3 of them will be worth your money when it comes to gameplay.

But as I said, I'm quite sure AOW2 will be great both when it comes to gameplay AND graphics.

posted 12-05-01 12:44 PM EDT (US)     12 / 12  
Hey JAT,

I am not arguing with you about how good a true 3d engine is. I am simply pointing out that Josh did mention AoW 2 is still primarily 2d and so camera angle wouldn't work very well. I have been searching in the forum to find the thread, but couldn't find it any more. The thread was for discussing camera angle and zooming.

I know how good a true 3d engine is. However, game play is more important. A programming team may decide to focus on designing new rule sets and AI for better game play, while simply porting the existing code for graphics rendering. Of course the art design is changed, because that's another team that works on that part.

Sorry about Simcity2000 part. It does involve some height. I mentioned Simcity2000 because it's one of the few PC games I have played before. I don't play many games. However, it's highly unlikely that Simcity2000's graphics rendering system is a true 3d engine.

Finally, image rendering never slows down too much (unless you don't even use simple techniques like double buffering and clipping that minimizes redundant redraw) and doesn't matter for strategy games anyway. Usualy, it's the AI that slows down everything.


Bright was the moon and deep the night;
The stars twinkled, of great delight.
With wings of dream, I searched my soul
To know its truth and find my role.

By French Kisser, a chaser after and believer in true and ingenuous romance.

Age of Wonders 2 Heaven » Forums » AoW2 Gameplay Help & Strategies » Scrolling
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