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Author Topic: Reaction fire & TU reservation  (Read 6153 times)

Offline Sandro

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Reaction fire & TU reservation
« on: August 29, 2012, 04:34:11 pm »
Personally, I don't like how those are handled currently, and got some ideas for improvement. Mentioned those a few months ago at IRC, but was too lazy for proper explanation :( Anyway, now it is written, so here goes:

First, what we should do when designing the UI and underlying game logic, is to consider how easy it would be for player to understand and to interact with. Which requires understanding of what and when player would want to do with UI controls, and how often. And that brings us to the topic: reaction fire and TU reservation controls.

Why anyone would reserve TUs for firing? To avoid accidentally spending them on moving, of course! There simply could be no other reason. But current design does more: it prevents TUs reserved for shooting ... from being used for shooting! What is the logic behind this? I fail to see it.
To continue with, not only TU reservation, but RF TU reservation prevents player from shooting. For me, it is illogical too: first, any reasonable player would fire a gun only if he got an alien he is able to shoot at, and in that case saving TUs for RF is a bad strategy, since the earlier you have killed that alien, the better; second, firing a gun in UFO:AI requires three step sequence: click the "crosshairs" icon, select firemode, select target; there is almost no chance to do that by accident, so no protection is needed. RF TU reservation should not block a player from firing a gun. He expressed his decision to spend those TUs by following a sequence of UI manipulations and there is no reason to add more -- that will just add extra frustration.
Even more, current system got a rather complex logic with two TU reservation pools: one for RF and other not for RF, which stack, rather than overlap. To me, that seems to be overcompicated logic: if player reserves TUs for shooting ... he just reserves TUs for shooting, not for "one way of shooting" and the "other way of shooting after the first shooting is done, if any". Try to imagine the combat situation when that could be needed!
Most likely, the only difference is whether he will use them for shooting on his turn, or leave them reserved for RF on the alien turn. Hence, two reservation systems are not needed: one is enough.

So, my proposals are:
1) Instead of what we got now, just make a pair of on/off switches, with first of them enabling TU reservation, and other enabling the reaction fire. That should be enough of controls.
2) There should be a global control for people like me who want RF to be always on (could completely remove "RF" button from the battlescape UI).
3) Reserved TUs should NOT be protected from being spent for firing or reloading.
4) A little extra: no "RF firemode selection". RF should automatically use a firemode which will deliver the max damage for available TUs. When alien jumps you from behind the corner, it's not a time for conserving the ammo. You just pull the trigger and don't release it until one of you is dead, that's all.

Opinions, anyone?

Offline H-Hour

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Re: Reaction fire & TU reservation
« Reply #1 on: August 29, 2012, 05:17:26 pm »
1) Instead of what we got now, just make a pair of on/off switches, with first of them enabling TU reservation, and other enabling the reaction fire. That should be enough of controls.
I'm not sure if I understand this proposal perfectly, but I think it is similar to the design planned for UI2. Just one button: RF on/off. If RF is on, the TUs are "reserved". Turn RF off to use those TUs.

2) There should be a global control for people like me who want RF to be always on (could completely remove "RF" button from the battlescape UI).
I'm not really sure it's such a good idea strategically or in terms of design. Strategically: there are cases where I've cleared one side of a map and want to run my soldiers as fast as possible to the other side. If TUs were always reserved it would slow them down considerably. Design: I foresee some situations where unsuspecting players disable it by accident and then never learn that RF fire is possible. If it's any consolation, UI2 generally streamlines the number of buttons on the HUD so it's not as cluttered.

3) Reserved TUs should NOT be protected from being spent for firing or reloading.
I am not in favor of this idea. There are plenty of times when a soldier will see an alien but the player may not want to spend his reaction fire TUs. The player can use a different soldier to kill the alien, leaving RF TUs in place for the more exposed soldier.

4) A little extra: no "RF firemode selection". RF should automatically use a firemode which will deliver the max damage for available TUs. When alien jumps you from behind the corner, it's not a time for conserving the ammo. You just pull the trigger and don't release it until one of you is dead, that's all.
I am not in favor of this idea either. I appreciate that the firemode selection of RF is quite involved, and often goes completely unnoticed by players because of this. It's not clear and I don't know a good way to make it clear.

However, there are several instances where control over the RF method is very important. If I have a soldier with a machine gun and I expect the potential for RF at a distance, I want to be sure he does not waste TU or ammo on the 5-round burst. He needs to wait for the full 25-round burst or the RF will be useless. At distance I may want to preference an aimed shot for a sniper, or a snap shot if the alien is likely to be close. Then think of weapons like the plasma blaster (snap, burst and ball mode). Each is useful only in very specific circumstances, and I want to be able to tell my soldier which one to use depending on where I expect aliens to emerge.

Offline Sandro

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Re: Reaction fire & TU reservation
« Reply #2 on: August 29, 2012, 05:43:10 pm »
Quick answer for point #3, since I don't have a time right now for longer explanations other points require:

I am not in favor of this idea. There are plenty of times when a soldier will see an alien but the player may not want to spend his reaction fire TUs. The player can use a different soldier to kill the alien, leaving RF TUs in place for the more exposed soldier.

In that case nothing changes: player just switches to other soldier and commands him/her. I don't see a problem here. It just saves two UI clicks and, which is more important, a memory slot in player's own brain, which is needed to remember to turn RF back on on next turn. My proposal breaks nothing and removes useless piece of micromanagement.

Offline Sandro

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Re: Reaction fire & TU reservation
« Reply #3 on: August 29, 2012, 11:10:53 pm »
OK, continuing with those, now the #1:

I'm not sure if I understand this proposal perfectly, but I think it is similar to the design planned for UI2. Just one button: RF on/off. If RF is on, the TUs are "reserved". Turn RF off to use those TUs.

1) Almost similar (my proposal got 4 fine cases, yours got rough 2), if you allow to spend reserved TUs for firing or reloading.
2) "Turn it it off": That is important because switching requires extra clicks which are absolutely not required IMHO.

Offline Sandro

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Re: Reaction fire & TU reservation
« Reply #4 on: August 29, 2012, 11:18:03 pm »
However, there are several instances where control over the RF method is very important. If I have a soldier with a machine gun and I expect the potential for RF at a distance, I want to be sure he does not waste TU or ammo on the 5-round burst. He needs to wait for the full 25-round burst or the RF will be useless. At distance I may want to preference an aimed shot for a sniper, or a snap shot if the alien is likely to be close. Then think of weapons like the plasma blaster (snap, burst and ball mode). Each is useful only in very specific circumstances, and I want to be able to tell my soldier which one to use depending on where I expect aliens to emerge.

What if we have separate RF mode selection ways? So if player selects one, it will always be used, but in case of no selection, automatic selector will take the rule? IMHO it will solve all the possible problems.

Offline Duke

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Re: Reaction fire & TU reservation
« Reply #5 on: August 30, 2012, 12:05:28 am »
To Sandro's proposals:

1) I'd go further. I don't see the point in reserving TUs for crouching. Do we use 'reserve TUs' for anything else ?
2) I disagree (for reasons H-Hour already pointed out).
3) I agree.
4) Not sure about that one. It interferes with scripting. Remember that 'single and double shot shotgun take the same amount of TUs'-problem ?

Offline Triaxx2

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Re: Reaction fire & TU reservation
« Reply #6 on: August 30, 2012, 02:59:40 am »
There are actually two reservations. One for reaction fire under the fire menu, and a separate one for reserving fire for movement. It's helpful to use both of them, though there aren't often many left for moving with the stiff requirements to fire.

Offline homunculus

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Re: Reaction fire & TU reservation
« Reply #7 on: August 30, 2012, 09:40:55 am »
[...]
1) I'd go further. I don't see the point in reserving TUs for crouching. Do we use 'reserve TUs' for anything else ?
[...]
This is what I thought, too, those buttons are better removed, because I never use them, and they just add visual noise.
There are actually two reservations. One for reaction fire under the fire menu, and a separate one for reserving fire for movement. It's helpful to use both of them, though there aren't often many left for moving with the stiff requirements to fire.
Well, this was a surprise.
I am aware that my opinions about those reservations being pointless and waste of time (i mean real life time, not TU-s) is based on playing habits of just one person who doesn't even play much (= myself).

You write 'It's helpful to use both of them', but you don't write if you REALLY use them often, or if you use them at all in practice while you play.
So, helpful they might be, but do you use them?

Offline Mattn

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Re: Reaction fire & TU reservation
« Reply #8 on: August 30, 2012, 11:26:02 am »
1.) i agree - it's too much clicking without much visual feedback for the player. it's more or less a trial-and-error to find out how it works (and this is imo a good indicator for a bad design ;) )
2.) i also disagree (nate gave a few reasons - we would remove some tactical gameplay controls)
3.) i'm not really sure about this yet - but i see nate's point here, too
4.) i would be fine with your last proposal - but i disagree with your first one, too

Offline H-Hour

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Re: Reaction fire & TU reservation
« Reply #9 on: August 30, 2012, 11:51:47 am »
In that case nothing changes: player just switches to other soldier and commands him/her. I don't see a problem here. It just saves two UI clicks and, which is more important, a memory slot in player's own brain, which is needed to remember to turn RF back on on next turn. My proposal breaks nothing and removes useless piece of micromanagement.

I don't think your example actually addresses what TU reservation is for. You could remove TU reservation completely without breaking anything. That's not really the issue. It's only there to allow the player to play without calculating the TU cost of every action. I don't think it's a useless piece of micromanagement when firing a weapon, as my example demonstrated. You say "nothing changes", but of course something changes: with your method, the player would have to be paying attention to know whether or not they should switch to another soldier. With the method as it is, the player is reminded of the potential tactical error.

Also, your method introduces inconsistencies that far outweigh the user-interaction issues of a couple extra clicks. We will have a TU reservation button that doesn't reserve TUs in all cases. When it does and doesn't work is not very intuitive and will likely lead a lot of players to assume it is a bug when TUs they thought were reserved are spent on firing a weapon.

What if we have separate RF mode selection ways? So if player selects one, it will always be used, but in case of no selection, automatic selector will take the rule? IMHO it will solve all the possible problems.

That's kind of what we already have. The first firemode is always selected as the reaction firemode until the player changes it. So we can change which firemode is the default reaction mode by listing it first in the weapon scripts files.

On the issue of TU reservation being unintuitive in general: I agree it's an issue we don't have a good solution for. One idea would be to consider whether it would be possible to show an icon or small model over or on top of a soldier who has TUs reserved, so the player gets more visual feedback. When hovering over the icon the player could be told how many TUs are reserved. It might help introduce the mechanic to new players by being more visibily intrusive. When the player is clicking on buttons in the HUD to see what they do, they'll get an immediate visual feedback that they can explore to learn more.

Offline Triaxx2

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Re: Reaction fire & TU reservation
« Reply #10 on: August 30, 2012, 07:20:01 pm »
I do use both, though not always at the same time. For example, if i had a sniper and had both a snapshot reaction and a reserved Aimed shot, most of the time I don't have any TU's left, and that shooter is effectively paralyzed.

It's more helpful with a shotgunner, or flamethrowerguy, who needs less TU.

However, using the shot reservation, means that I don't have to calculate how far I can move with my sniper. I can just tell them to move and know that I have points enough to fire waiting.

Or if I need to move up and fire a rocket, I can be ensured of not making a mistake by a single TU and finding out that I'm completely screwed because I lost one all important TU and can't fire and so instead of having one or more dead aliens, now I have a rocket launcher and soldier standing out near angry aliens, who will hit and kill them.

Offline homunculus

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Re: Reaction fire & TU reservation
« Reply #11 on: September 03, 2012, 09:52:24 am »
Perhaps we would need an improved TU reservation system  ;)

1) list of available reservation types (one list for all types), and
2) another list of reservations where items can be added to (from available reservation types) and removed from (by right click).

Same action could appear more than once in the second list.

So we can construct things like 'reserve TU for 2 shots' (because 1 is usually not enough) or 'reserve TU for 1 shot and move to cover'.

Now that the "holy TU costs" of movement and shooting are not constant anymore in 2.5 (need to confirm those values all the time if soldier is not at full health), maybe reservation, if made more convenient, would be the savior.
I hope there would be some other solution, though.

Offline TBeholder

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Re: Reaction fire & TU reservation
« Reply #12 on: September 07, 2015, 11:43:53 am »
Also, could TU reservation for crouch be handled the same way as reservation for shooting?
Right now using it in stable (2.5 27 Jun 2014) on an uneventful turn goes like this:
1) stand
2) turn "reserve TU for standing/crouching" on
3) move
4) turn "reserve TU for standing/crouching" off
5) crouch
« Last Edit: September 07, 2015, 06:47:16 pm by TBeholder »

Offline Rodmar

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Re: Reaction fire & TU reservation
« Reply #13 on: October 03, 2015, 01:01:33 pm »
If I understand you well, there's an option in the Game Options (v2.5) that would almost give you satisfaction:

If selected, a crouched soldier will automatically stand up to walk, and finally crouch at the end.
However, it does this only if that allows him to move more; else, it stays crouched (that's better in case of alien reaction fire).

Beware that in case movement is interrupted, the soldier won't crouch automatically.
Also, as with any movement, if the soldier interrupts because he spots on an Alien, he faces the threat, and that takes 1 UT, hence the possibility that you never reach in time the scheduled location (or you can't crouch).

Offline TBeholder

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Re: Reaction fire & TU reservation
« Reply #14 on: October 10, 2015, 06:36:31 pm »
If I understand you well, there's an option in the Game Options (v2.5) that would almost give you satisfaction:

If selected, a crouched soldier will automatically stand up to walk, and finally crouch at the end.
However, it does this only if that allows him to move more; else, it stays crouched (that's better in case of alien reaction fire).
"No crouching movement" means gameplay limitations.
What would remove this headache in vast majority of cases is an option controlling how to treat reserved actions when there's not enough free TUs: Deny / Allow / Allow & Uncheck.