Welcome to World War II online - Battleground Europe : Free community contributions to a new User Interface design

Oct. 2009

Please sit back, relax, throw some food to the fishes, and take a hour to discover the content of this blog.

The purpose of this input is to introduce new gameplay concepts that could contribute to a fix of persistent issues highlighted during the last couples of years, with a special focus on the User Interface (UI).
Though it will confuse established players, I believe it will be alot easier for new players to understand.

The blog (creative) layout has been designed to make the reading more comfortable (you can easily pause your reading thanks to feature #IDs) as to make search & discuss easier. Use the labels to select a single part, or use the tree on the right to find a specific feature back.
If you are in a hurry, you may just have an attentive look at the screenshots which should be intuitive to understand. The text is just pointing out drawn features or detailing the context.

All opinions and suggestions are welcome. Please, provide feedback (here) in the official forum . Remind that the whole content is a free gift to Playnet.

Since English isn't my main language, please apologize for the mistakes. I hope you will still enjoy the reading.

-Un0fficial gameplay architect, advises concepts since 2002-

1.5. Platoon HQ - Member display

    - Welcome screen
   - Squad selected
   - Town selected
   - Platoon selected 
   - Mission member display
   - Mission leader display 


   The new platoon screen is not very different from the current one, it has mostly been updated to fit new gameplay features (topic 1.0). However, watching it in detail allows us to better understand the  consequences of these suggested changes.
The following lay-out has been drew for a platoon mission, but can be applied to support - and squad missions as well after performing adaptations.

Typical platoon HQ display for a new joining player

#33. Since it would now be more meaningful to join a mission, all platoon members are notified when someone joined or left (see chatroom).

#34. Once you're part of a platoon, sentences of you leader will now be entirely colored for better visibility, while previously only his tag was. Note that player lost access to the recruitment channel and that the brigade tag is no longer displayed in front of leader name tags.

#35. The list of platoon members is displayed on the main screen and no longer in a secondary tab. It contains the unit type, the deployment status (when forming up everyone will be shown as non-spawned, but this can change once deployed), and the approving status (see feature #41).

#36. Since a mission is no longer linked to a pre-defined origin (feature #2), the joining member is now requested to chose an origin that is currently supplied by the brigade. Current spawning restrictions are thus still valid.

#37. The origin can be selected on the interactive map, which should be zoomed out until displaying an area hosting both all possible origins for that brigade (except for para units introduced in feature #1d, which basically belongs to another brigade) and the target. It allows players to have a good geographical awareness that will help selecting an appropriate origin.

#38. Since MSPs are now available for the whole brigade (feature #4), a list of currently available mobile origins is displayed, which can be selected instead of a "solid" spawn on map. However just displaying a list is not enough as you don't know which is the most pertinent to reach your target. Therefore, each msp also displays its approximative location, e.g. approx 400m SE of target. We could of course mind about spies transmitting this information, but the current design also allows it. Furthermore, considering all the new gameplay features, there's a higher possibility to see MSPs finally be defended by dedicated troops. In the worst case, renewal of trucks would still be simpler to organize then it is currently the case.
For the same reasons, and the fact that there *could be* no longer someone to suppress msps (though this responsability could be given to the OIC), UMS' are only available for a limited duration of time and displays a countdown with the remaining time of availability. Manned msp colors the driver's name while UMS doesn't.

#39. Note in the chat window that the an enemy activity warning could appear when selecting a spawn: "Attention, friendlies reported to have died around the selected spawnpoint during the past minute". This feature would help improving the situational awareness even more and help players and leaders to take more efficient tactical decisions.

#40. Once a spawn has been selected, the list of available units at that location is dynamically updated on the screen. This allows players to more easily find a unit he's looking for (you just need to hover from one spawn to another instead of changing mission), as the leader/OIC to have an easy supply awareness in their area of operation.
Once a unit has been selected you stay with the same screen display, in opposition to the current design. This allows you to continue to benefit from the displayed information, to eventually decide to change your reservation if an attrited unit suddenly becomes available for instance.

#41. When the origin and unit have been chosen, the player enters an "approving pending" status. This means that the player's choices need to be approved by the mission leader. This makes sense with the new design, since platoon members are expected to follow the mission leader's organization or vice-versa: ML is supposed to care about its troops' deployment. It will guarantee some degree of interactivity between players and ML, which is very important for the effectiveness of the team and the immersion. Though this will of course slow down the initial deployment a bit.

#42.  On the right of the screen you can find the same extra information then the one displayed at side HQ level when selecting a mission. Again notice that map tools are displayed for the small interactive map as well, and that the current brigade OIC name is reminded to platoon members.

#43. The brigade HQ can now be displayed from a tab, this means that you are allowed to jump to it without leaving your mission (see screenshot of next topic). This is currently not possible to perform since you need to go back, hence leaving your mission. A button allows you to leave the platoon.

#44. You'll notice that the player doesn't have the ability to spawn. The button displays "automatic spawning", which means that the ML will decide when everyone will be spawned, independently of their origin. This will be done only once the platoon changed its status to "deployed", and once everyone has been approved (feature #48).

To resume the platoon HQ, we now have a kind of "ready room" thanks to new gameplay suggestions.
Dying members would eventually come back to this screen to select a new spawnpoint or a new unit, but discussions should be made about whether or not they could then spawn alone or if the ML should need to re-approve from his map re-deploying members that died or despawned (eventually with a limited amount of deploying validation per minute, simulating a spawn-in timer as well). Maybe this could be left as a nonmandatory option because member approving is more important when forming up, since it allows to select members that will probably continue to listen to orders even after having died.
The coherence of the team will of course become fragile after deployment (if not using a respawn@ML feature), but the new rules still make it easier to keep members sticked together then it is currently the case.

1 comment:

  1. It's a good idea to see more informations at the first click.