Why "3D" Graphics Will Never be Good for PzC

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Rudankort
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Re: Why "3D" Graphics Will Never be Good for PzC

Post by Rudankort » Mon Jul 30, 2018 2:22 pm

Thanks for you kind words guys, and I'm very much interested in hearing more opinions on the issues we are discussing in this thread, so please don't hold it back. ;)
DeMeza wrote:
Sun Jul 29, 2018 5:42 pm
I am a professional Army officer. And PzC isn't easy to play. You have to handle recon, armour, infantry, artillery and engineers. Logistics are played for you, but there are still some basic rules you have to master. And to really succeed, you have to conduct joint operations (air, land and sea).
Interesting insight. So just to make it clear, do you think it's difficult to grasp game rules and controls, or is it difficult to win a given mission? The difficulty of some missions can of course be very high, not to mention things like competitive play in the current tournament.

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Re: Why "3D" Graphics Will Never be Good for PzC

Post by proline » Mon Jul 30, 2018 5:07 pm

Rudankort wrote:
Sun Jul 29, 2018 1:09 pm
From the beginning, the premise of this topic has been that, at least graphically, Panzer Corps 2 cannot be good "by definition", no matter what our team does.
For the record, this statement is false. The premise, from the beginning, was that PzC2 can be good if, and only if, it abandons the key tenets of faux "3D" such as focusing the game on the tops of units heads, steep oblique angles, and long shadows. It is your position, not mine, that these traits must define and dominate "at least graphically" the PzC2 experience. This thread has generated four pages of great material, so why are you still complaining about how my OP wasn't "constructive" enough? Yes, some people have rehashed prior criticism of 3D, but there have been a lot more specific issues coming out this thread.
Rudankort wrote:
Sun Jul 29, 2018 11:23 am
I'm curious what other players reading this topic feel. Is Panzer Corps really that complex to you guys?
Awful question. I thought we were talking about expanding our reach? Obviously PzC isn't complex to people who've mastered it! Football (tackle not soccer) fans probably think football is simple too (but its actually really hard to follow all the nitty gritty rules the first time you go to the game. Even the multi-faceted scoring system is complex compared to most other team games). The question you should ask is "Is Panzer Corps really that complex to the people who, up until now, have chosen not to play it?" The answer is hell yeah. Here's a great noob post on this very forum to refresh your memory of what learning PzC is like. Struggling to learn the supply system in this case, but you can find other posts struggling with rugged defense, close terrain, initiative, initiative rolls, prestige caps, etc. etc. etc. Half this forum is people trying to figure out how the game actually works. We, your current audience, like doing that. To expand your audience you need to make that far less necessary. Like if a noob loses combat, why not give tell them why (e.g. defensive fire, entrenchment, close terrain, weather)? This would be a little bit hard to code as there are many scenarios to consider, but it sure as hell beats making combat animations.
Rudankort wrote:
Sun Jul 29, 2018 1:09 pm
McGuba wrote:
Sun Jul 29, 2018 12:10 pm
- The shadows look horrible at the moment
Now, this has been perfect feedback, thank you. Big thumbs up. We need more feedback like this.
You will never make the game look good in 3D as long as an infantryman can cast a shadow over an entire airport! The eye expects a 3D scene to be properly scaled. 2D games don't have that problem, but now it is your problem and there is no quick fix. My bet is you'll tone them down a little but leave them in because you've gradually gotten used to them over thousands of hours, but they will remain a put off for anyone new to PzC2.

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Re: Why "3D" Graphics Will Never be Good for PzC

Post by Rudankort » Tue Jul 31, 2018 1:04 am

proline wrote:
Mon Jul 30, 2018 5:07 pm
For the record, this statement is false.
This statement was just a literal translation of the title of this topic (granted, Panzer Corps 2 IS a 3D game and that is not gonna change). :) But never mind. I'm glad that this is not what you really meant.
proline wrote:
Mon Jul 30, 2018 5:07 pm
It is your position, not mine, that these traits must define and dominate "at least graphically" the PzC2 experience.
I never said that the game must remain exactly as on the screenshots. Of course, we are not going to redo things like all terrain or unit models from scratch, but it is easy enough to change things like lighting, post processing, position and angle of the camera, size of models etc.

Here is a quick test of a different camera configuration. I've lowered the camera and reduced the strength of perspective by moving the camera away from the scene. Ignore huge strength plates, they got screwed up because of changed camera distance. Vertical size of the image (1050) and the number of visible rows (9) roughly matches Panzer Corps screenshot from OP.

Image

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Re: Why "3D" Graphics Will Never be Good for PzC

Post by guille1434 » Tue Jul 31, 2018 2:34 am

Much better looking! :-) May be a little bit smaller, and, of course, with the soldier figures in approximately the same scale!

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Re: Why "3D" Graphics Will Never be Good for PzC

Post by captainjack » Tue Jul 31, 2018 6:36 am

That's a definite improvement in unit/background contrast.

It's good to get some examples and progress updates. Keep up the good work.

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Re: Why "3D" Graphics Will Never be Good for PzC

Post by Rudankort » Tue Jul 31, 2018 11:16 am

guille1434 wrote:
Tue Jul 31, 2018 2:34 am
Much better looking! :-) May be a little bit smaller, and, of course, with the soldier figures in approximately the same scale!
Something like this?

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Re: Why "3D" Graphics Will Never be Good for PzC

Post by guille1434 » Tue Jul 31, 2018 2:05 pm

Yes! Your are on the right track! Thanks Alex and team for listening to us! :-)

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Re: Why "3D" Graphics Will Never be Good for PzC

Post by huckc » Tue Jul 31, 2018 3:07 pm

Rudankort wrote:
Tue Jul 31, 2018 1:04 am
Here is a quick test of a different camera configuration. I've lowered the camera and reduced the strength of perspective by moving the camera away from the scene. Ignore huge strength plates, they got screwed up because of changed camera distance. Vertical size of the image (1050) and the number of visible rows (9) roughly matches Panzer Corps screenshot from OP.

Image
The units look a bit too literal, as in an actual gigantic tanks running amok in the countryside and crushing cities.

Crazy suggestion:
Obviously you need the huge models for visual clarify but how about including multiple scaled down versions of the same model sitting alongside the giant. Then for movement and battle it will only show the scaled down versions moving in formation and fighting each other then switching back to the big/small combo after the animation is over. It's probably a lot more work of course but would look sick and solve a lot of the 3D induced problems.

So the big model would only be for easy visual referencing and the small units around it would make sure it's seen as such.

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Re: Why "3D" Graphics Will Never be Good for PzC

Post by hugh2711 » Tue Jul 31, 2018 4:03 pm

(for boring people like me who have sound and animation turned off if possible); will there be an option for stronger hex grid lines like there is in the first version?

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Re: Why "3D" Graphics Will Never be Good for PzC

Post by Rudankort » Tue Jul 31, 2018 4:32 pm

huckc wrote:
Tue Jul 31, 2018 3:07 pm
So the big model would only be for easy visual referencing and the small units around it would make sure it's seen as such.
Interesting idea.
hugh2711 wrote:
Tue Jul 31, 2018 4:03 pm
(for boring people like me who have sound and animation turned off if possible); will there be an option for stronger hex grid lines like there is in the first version?
Yes, this option will be included.

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Re: Why "3D" Graphics Will Never be Good for PzC

Post by Yrfin » Tue Jul 31, 2018 6:05 pm

Are youre serious discuss about SIZE of visualisation of units on Alpha??! lol
What about SIZE of trees :)

Looking like Sims 3D Forum about exteriors ...
"Sweety, my balls looking bad on 2D ..."
"Don't worry darling - it will be looking good on 3D ..."
Last edited by Yrfin on Tue Jul 31, 2018 8:24 pm, edited 2 times in total.
Why ?! Why what !? Why not...

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Re: Why "3D" Graphics Will Never be Good for PzC

Post by Intenso82 » Tue Jul 31, 2018 7:50 pm

I would like and I hope that PZС2 will be more successful than OOB :D
Rudankort wrote:
Sun Jul 29, 2018 11:43 am
But some other numbers are more hard to explain. For example, it seems to be a general trend that the number of posts in this forum is declining. It is true for all games across the board, even very successful ones. Nobody knows for sure why it is happening.
Yes, it would be interesting if there was an opportunity to look at the statistics on the number of posts for a period of time.
Rudankort wrote:
Sun Jul 29, 2018 11:23 am
Is Panzer Corps really that complex to you guys?
I think that PZС has simple and understandable mechanics and this is his strong point.
This is one of the parts that allowed to make such global mod as mine.
You do not need to deal with a hundred buttons and windows. Only two click systems.
The other part is the ability to add a large number of custom units.

A large map, in my opinion, has some correlation with the necessary number of different units.
If the map is large and different units only 50 for one side. That play can be boring ...

At the same time, comparing the global mod in PZC with a game like HOI4.
Despite some good elements in HOI4, I was always bored there to give orders, wait and read numerous reports.

It's more interesting to move units by yourself in manual turn-based mode, even if there are 500-700 units. In this case, there is a tactical, operational and strategic component together.
In any case for me. :)
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Re: Why "3D" Graphics Will Never be Good for PzC

Post by Yrfin » Tue Jul 31, 2018 8:19 pm

Intenso82 wrote:
Tue Jul 31, 2018 7:50 pm
It's more interesting to move units by yourself in manual turn-based mode, even if there are 500-700 units. In this case, there is a tactical, operational and strategic component together.
In any case for me. :)
Its only for you. Manual move 700 units - for Crazy Zadrots.
Nobody will be play that way. Sorry.
Why ?! Why what !? Why not...

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Re: Why "3D" Graphics Will Never be Good for PzC

Post by proline » Tue Jul 31, 2018 8:30 pm

Rudankort wrote:
Tue Jul 31, 2018 1:04 am
Image
This is obviously much better, in the sense that you can tell what unit is what. The oblique angle messes with distance, which is certainly to the detriment of a strategy game, but since you're obsessed with obliques I'll move on (but it will affect the success of your game).

Here's another question- why do you insist on lighting the scene from behind so that the shadows point toward the gamer? That just makes it so that the close side of the tanks is in darkness and you can't see any detail. Why not put the sun nearly overhead, 5˚ away from zenith toward the player? That would light the front of the units while keeping the shadows as they should be- short. I know, I know, the shadows are there to remind people "it's 3D!!!" but they really are useless and get in the way of a good game.

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Re: Why "3D" Graphics Will Never be Good for PzC

Post by guille1434 » Tue Jul 31, 2018 8:45 pm

I think that distances are not so important, because you have the hex-grid to have a reference of map ranges and distances. About the shadows, I agree, perhaps it would be better to position the light source
behind the player, or may be another possibility is to put the "sun" just as it is in PzCorps1: from the right, so the player will not see the shaded side of the unit icon.

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Re: Why "3D" Graphics Will Never be Good for PzC

Post by 13obo » Tue Jul 31, 2018 11:08 pm

Well seeing as the whole community is intent on voicing their opinion, let me throw mine out there too: I'm fully supporting the decisions of Rudankort and team towards the next instalment of PzC. They gave us one spiritual successor, and i'm sure this game will be another one!

Since when are graphics so important by the bloody way? I'm a young (ish) 30 year old armchair general that played Panzer General when he was 10 old and didn't have any idea what the heck he was doing. I grew up with hex-based strategies and have been appreciating most of them no matter their graphics. You guys that are all bashing 3D claiming graphics don't matter to you so why not keep it 2D- if graphics really don't matter, why is everyone discussing them for god's sake? I see so little talk about gameplay and the numerous other innovations that have been presented in the dev diary, and instead majority discussing what the bloody tank will look like and whether it's shadow is too prominent or not.

The funniest bit was someone actually showed how "chess" should look like with top down board and figures on the side. LOL. What's next- tic tac toe?

Armchair generals- yeah, right. More like little kids that are too afraid of change.

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Re: Why "3D" Graphics Will Never be Good for PzC

Post by Buffalohump » Tue Jul 31, 2018 11:53 pm

After reading the posts and responses I have spent a lot of time pondering what it is I am afraid of. To be honest I don’t really remember the 3D version of Panzer General because the over all game play caused me to quit playing. The mechanics changed so much and it became harder for me to understand what was going on so I put in very little effort. I think for me the important thing is for some continuity of play style and and easy ability to identify my units. I can only speak for myself but I tend to become very protective of my pet units and do not want to misidentify them and put them in an exposed position. One of the game mechanics I have missed from Panzer General vs. Panzer Corps was that my air units had zone of control which allowed me to exert local air superiority with my fighters over the battlefield. This allowed me to protect my ground units and give my Stukas free range behind their umbrella of cover. I tended to keep a much larger air component. The advantage of the Panzer Corps mechanic to me is that it is: 1. Much more realistic and 2. Forced me to adapt and be exposed to good units that I would never have used otherwise. I have also had to remind myself that no matter how much I feel like this is my game, the developers have put in all the effort, this is their baby, and have the pride of new parents about the coming baby. I look forward to what the developers have in store for us.

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Re: Why "3D" Graphics Will Never be Good for PzC

Post by proline » Wed Aug 01, 2018 4:44 am

13obo wrote:
Tue Jul 31, 2018 11:08 pm
You guys that are all bashing 3D claiming graphics don't matter to you so why not keep it 2D- if graphics really don't matter, why is everyone discussing them for god's sake?
Um, very few people here are claiming that graphics don't matter. They matter a lot. They can either enhance or detract from gameplay. What people have said is that 3D doesn't have any potential to enhance the gameplay of a board game but can sure as hell detract from it. Even Rudankort admits that 3D won't, in and of itself, improve gameplay.
13obo wrote:
Tue Jul 31, 2018 11:08 pm
I see so little talk about gameplay and the numerous other innovations that have been presented in the dev diary, and instead majority discussing what the bloody tank will look like and whether it's shadow is too prominent or not.
You need to read the PzC2 forums for five minutes or more. We begged for gameplay information for a year and a half and all Slitherine would say is "3D! 3D! 3D! (oh, and we'll figure out gameplay eventually)". Only in the last couple weeks with the dev diary have they shown any willingness to discuss gameplay, but so far their gameplay innovations like tank overrun, better supply rules, and unit splitting are all things that have been discussed to death over the last five years and have proven themselves in other games, so there's not really much more to say about them other than that they'll be fine.
13obo wrote:
Tue Jul 31, 2018 11:08 pm
Armchair generals- yeah, right. More like little kids that are too afraid of change.
Not every sequel does well. No every change is progress. Long-term fans of this game who lived through the last, desperate gasps of SSI know this well. If you don't know what SSI means, you shouldn't be calling other people kids.

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Re: Why "3D" Graphics Will Never be Good for PzC

Post by Rudankort » Wed Aug 01, 2018 8:12 am

proline wrote:
Tue Jul 31, 2018 8:30 pm
Here's another question- why do you insist on lighting the scene from behind so that the shadows point toward the gamer? That just makes it so that the close side of the tanks is in darkness and you can't see any detail. Why not put the sun nearly overhead, 5˚ away from zenith toward the player? That would light the front of the units while keeping the shadows as they should be- short. I know, I know, the shadows are there to remind people "it's 3D!!!" but they really are useless and get in the way of a good game.
We don't "insist" on anything. We will probably keep tweaking such things till the very release. But we have already experimented with lighting angles a lot, and any angle is a certain trade off, with its own advantages and disadvantages (no, reminding people "it's 3D!!!" is not one of them).

Advantages of the current angle are:
- The units stand out much better from the map. This is one of the most important traits of any past "Panzer" game, and it's also very high on our priority list.
- This kind of light is best to see shapes and textures of the terrain. In frontal light It's much harder to tell hills from plains, for example.

BTW I agree that some parts of the units (most notably chassis) are too dark now. This will be fixed, but it is not necessary to change the angle of light to fix this (you can add more ambient light etc.)

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Re: Why "3D" Graphics Will Never be Good for PzC

Post by proline » Thu Aug 02, 2018 6:06 am

Rudankort wrote:
Wed Aug 01, 2018 8:12 am
proline wrote:
Tue Jul 31, 2018 8:30 pm
Here's another question- why do you insist on lighting the scene from behind so that the shadows point toward the gamer? That just makes it so that the close side of the tanks is in darkness and you can't see any detail. Why not put the sun nearly overhead, 5˚ away from zenith toward the player? That would light the front of the units while keeping the shadows as they should be- short. I know, I know, the shadows are there to remind people "it's 3D!!!" but they really are useless and get in the way of a good game.
We don't "insist" on anything. We will probably keep tweaking such things till the very release. But we have already experimented with lighting angles a lot, and any angle is a certain trade off, with its own advantages and disadvantages (no, reminding people "it's 3D!!!" is not one of them).

Advantages of the current angle are:
- The units stand out much better from the map. This is one of the most important traits of any past "Panzer" game, and it's also very high on our priority list.
- This kind of light is best to see shapes and textures of the terrain. In frontal light It's much harder to tell hills from plains, for example.

BTW I agree that some parts of the units (most notably chassis) are too dark now. This will be fixed, but it is not necessary to change the angle of light to fix this (you can add more ambient light etc.)
In PzC you can tell the difference between hills and plains because the former have trees growing on them. See, not everything needs to be solved with shadows? Maybe turn the damn things off completely for a while so you can focus on other types of visual cues. It’s just too damn easy to be all shadow this, shadow that.

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