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Author Topic: Will Graviteam's documentation ever improve?  (Read 351 times)
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Greg
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« on: November 15, 2017, 02:08:33 AM »

I know that the community picks up the slack in terms of tutorials but as a casual observer/eventual owner, I can't help but wonder when we'll see a more in-depth manual like those found in Combat Mission or a proper tutorial mini-campaign like in Panzer Corps. The weird thing is that the manuals for Mius Front and Tunisia are actually a step backwards from Op Star's for some reason.
« Last Edit: November 15, 2017, 08:28:47 PM by Greg » Logged
andrey12345
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« Reply #1 on: November 16, 2017, 01:26:34 AM »

I know that the community picks up the slack in terms of tutorials but as a casual observer/eventual owner,
Judging by the questions that arise on the forums. Tutorials no one reads, even the first pages. The main features there are considered. Increasing their volume is essentially a waste of resources.

I can't help but wonder when we'll see a more in-depth manual like those found in Combat Mission
CM is itself over-complicated in terms of interface with a minimum of automation. Without a manual it's very difficult to start.
In our games the level of automatism for all actions is much above, therefore the player can master the most part of wisdoms during game.

or a proper tutorial mini-campaign like in Panzer Corps.
What does not suit the training mini-campaign (and training missions) in our game?



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"Огонь, парни в 20 метров от противника, встают, разворачиваются спиной и гибнут, кто выжил уже не может сражаться" (с) Baalleon
Greg
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« Reply #2 on: November 16, 2017, 08:07:54 AM »

    As an individual I respect your candor but as a consumer I don't quite appreciate your pessimism. The tutorials and latest manuals suffer the same flaw- a stark lack of context. Both only impart the driest understanding of the games interface and commands but give little to no practical examples of their use to achieve a tactical or strategic goal. Lets use the tutorials from Tank Warfare: Tunisia as an example- something lacking from the manuals.

    The attack tutorial demonstrates some commands and UI elements then just tells the player to "attack here", bereft of any tactical guidance or even the slightest suggestion on how to best assault the position or maneuver your units in such open terrain for future reference. The defense tutorial is equally light on fine details, only imparting the basic rule of splitting your units into multiple lines but no greater wisdom on spacing your units to avoid artillery, the possibility of holding fire for maximum effect, or any other defensive tactics before telling the player to have at it and hope for the best. Also, the attack comes from the SOUTHeast, not true east as the prompt says. Finally, the operations tutorial rattles off all the elements and mechanics as one would expect but gives no input on maneuvering your units for the best strategic results. I don't bother to count the tank battle "tutorial" because it's not a tutorial-it demonstrates the last few of the UI elements while automatically sending a group of Panzer IVs to their deaths. If you want to talk about wasted resources, surely the UI portions could have been rolled into attack tutorial?

    The documentation available tells but never shows, leaving the player with a glut of information but with little practical information on how to actually apply it. Combat Mission manuals, on the other hand, not only tell you what a button does but show you, both through general screenshots (which were far more prevalent in the Operation Star manual. Seriously Andrey, why did you make the manuals worse?) and even diagrams from the games early missions. Did I mention the manual also serves as a guide for some of the early missions, rather than dropping the player into an open ended conflict with no idea what to do? By comparison, the manuals for Mius Front/Tunisia are glorified quick start manuals as they tell you what each icon means and little else. Also, I wouldn't point fingers when it comes to over complicated interfaces given you have just as many movement commands as they do Wink.

    Given how Graviteam games operate on two layers, creating piecemeal tutorials seems somewhat inelegant. As an armchair developer, I would think combining them into a 5 turn escalating campaign would more naturally integrate and reinforce the lessons offered while serving as a proper introduction to the game as a whole, rather than its separate elements. This all assumes, of course, it does more than show you what each icon means and then leaves you to your own devices.     

    I see you put in a lot of leg work on the various forums, answering questions and clarifying features vs bugs with varying degrees of exasperation and while I know you believe no one reads the tutorials I would have to argue otherwise given so many are asked for and so many exist. Frankly, I don't know how you look at all these questions and come away with "people don't read" without wondering if your manuals are as effective as you think they are. I would have to wonder if you would actually spare yourself some frustration in the long run if you simply improved how you teach players about your game.
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andrey12345
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« Reply #3 on: November 17, 2017, 02:38:43 PM »

   As an individual I respect your candor but as a consumer I don't quite appreciate your pessimism. The tutorials and latest manuals suffer the same flaw- a stark lack of context.
That's right, because it's essentially a reference book (I do not know exactly how it's called in English right).
Those. allows you to find something if you have a question. This is not a book for sequential reading. And of course there is no context.

The attack tutorial demonstrates some commands and UI elements then just tells the player to "attack here", bereft of any tactical guidance or even the slightest suggestion on how to best assault the position or maneuver your units in such open terrain for future reference. The defense tutorial is equally light on fine details, only imparting the basic rule of splitting your units into multiple lines but no greater wisdom on spacing your units to avoid artillery, the possibility of holding fire for maximum effect, or any other defensive tactics before telling the player to have at it and hope for the best. Also, the attack comes from the SOUTHeast, not true east as the prompt says. Finally, the operations tutorial rattles off all the elements and mechanics as one would expect but gives no input on maneuvering your units for the best strategic results.
Yes, training missions are also show few of the game's features. And then allow the player to play as simply a game, without tediousness.
Otherwise, no one will pass them at all.

I don't bother to count the tank battle "tutorial" because it's not a tutorial-it demonstrates the last few of the UI elements while automatically sending a group of Panzer IVs to their deaths.
Because this mission is designed for the player to look after the post-combat statistics, tanks must die assured quickly, so that there was something to look in statistic.

If you want to talk about wasted resources, surely the UI portions could have been rolled into attack tutorial?
Description of UI is given in small parts so as not to bother the player. Therefore, they are smeared on all training missions, little by little. Do you agree that this is the most unpleasant part of any training mission?

The documentation available tells but never shows, leaving the player with a glut of information but with little practical information on how to actually apply it.
Naturally, it should be so. Documentation tells - game shows. If for another, why is the game needed? Read manual and its all Smiley

I'll tell you that this principle works. It is clear that in the training missions in Mius and Tunisia players play quite massively.
Those. they make sense and if not be perfect, but works.
But the manuals neither in the OpStar, nor in Mius/Tunisia, no one reads.

Combat Mission manuals, on the other hand, not only tell you what a button does but show you, both through general screenshots (which were far more prevalent in the Operation Star manual. Seriously Andrey, why did you make the manuals worse?) and even diagrams from the games early missions.
This does not work. Special cases will not show the common situation. All these examples from the game do not make sense and become obsolete when the next update is released.

Did I mention the manual also serves as a guide for some of the early missions, rather than dropping the player into an open ended conflict with no idea what to do?
By comparison, the manuals for Mius Front/Tunisia are glorified quick start manuals as they tell you what each icon means and little else. Also, I wouldn't point fingers when it comes to over complicated interfaces given you have just as many movement commands as they do Wink.
The manual can not help on missions, since with a rare exception (for training), missions do not have a script, and are executed variously from time to time. Actually the whole purpose of the game is to do this thing. What is the point in the manual to describe specifically what happened in some case, if it never happens again?
In contrast to СM where missions are scripted and have high repeatability.

Given how Graviteam games operate on two layers, creating piecemeal tutorials seems somewhat inelegant. As an armchair developer, I would think combining them into a 5 turn escalating campaign would more naturally integrate and reinforce the lessons offered while serving as a proper introduction to the game as a whole, rather than its separate elements. This all assumes, of course, it does more than show you what each icon means and then leaves you to your own devices.      
Such a manual can not be done, or it will be a very common without any sense, since we do not know what will happen in each case, due to the fact that there are no scripts.


I see you put in a lot of leg work on the various forums, answering questions and clarifying features vs bugs with varying degrees of exasperation and while I know you believe no one reads the tutorials I would have to argue otherwise given so many are asked for and so many exist. Frankly, I don't know how you look at all these questions and come away with "people don't read" without wondering if your manuals are as effective as you think they are. I would have to wonder if you would actually spare yourself some frustration in the long run if you simply improved how you teach players about your game.

Any manuals do not readed, neither in the OpStar nor in Mius / Tunisia. And I'm sure that are not read in CM too.
It's just a pointless thing for the player. And like any pointless thing, it is ignored by the majority.

Yes, there is a group of players who read and try to understand, but their % is very small. In general, they will figure it out even if the manual does not exist.
« Last Edit: November 17, 2017, 02:44:31 PM by andrey12345 » Logged

"Огонь, парни в 20 метров от противника, встают, разворачиваются спиной и гибнут, кто выжил уже не может сражаться" (с) Baalleon
Greg
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« Reply #4 on: November 19, 2017, 04:32:12 AM »

Quote
Yes, training missions are also show few of the game's features. And then allow the player to play as simply a game, without tediousness.
Otherwise, no one will pass them at all.

Because this mission is designed for the player to look after the post-combat statistics, tanks must die assured quickly, so that there was something to look in statistic.

Then don't label it "tank battle" if the entire point is actually the statistics screen. I don't mean to argue with you but that still doesn't make much sense as both the attack and defense tutorials have statistics screens and the tank battle tutorial itself doesn't have that much UI left to show anyhow, it really could have been rolled into the other two.

Quote
Naturally, it should be so. Documentation tells - game shows...

The manual can not help on missions, since with a rare exception (for training), missions do not have a script, and are executed variously from time to time. Actually the whole purpose of the game is to do this thing. What is the point in the manual to describe specifically what happened in some case, if it never happens again?

The game doesn't show, though. No examples are given and the player is left to fumble around until they "get" the actual ebb and flow of the game or read/watch fan tutorials. No one is asking for specific examples pulled from scripted missions like Combat Mission, what the manual and tutorials need are simple tactical rules of thumb and how to apply them with the mechanics given. Let's use the tank battle tutorial as an example again- instead of automatically sending the tanks to their deaths just to show a single screen, why not use this opportunity to make it an actual tutorial and demonstrate basic tank battle tactics? Why not have the player split off a pair of tanks in a column to flank the Shermans, a sound strategy in almost any given situation? The manual can help in operations too- In the "tanks are practically impossible to destroy" topic on the steam forum, a player asks what to do when confronted by enemy tanks when not equipped to fight them and you dutifully responded. It would have been nice if the Operations tutorial mentioned retreat as a valid strategy, something most games don't even consider. The manual could have also given a basic overview of the operation itself- it doesn't have to be a proper guide, a simple warning not to immediately engage the tanks would have been enough. While Graviteam games may be too random for a tutorial campaign they aren't random enough that tactical advice can't be given at all. Illustrating simple strategies and how to execute them with the games mechanics is perfectly feasible, the only issue is a lack of will.

Quote
Yes, there is a group of players who read and try to understand, but their % is very small. In general, they will figure it out even if the manual does not exist.
 
So? It's a one time, minimal cost, quality of life improvement- who cares if some people don't read it? Who cares if they print it off and wipe their asses with it? Does it really make sense to deprive the entire community of paying customers and tell them "figure it out yourselves" because of one portion of it, especially when articles, reviews, and fans have been commenting on the poor quality of Graviteam game tutorials for so long? Your direct competition can write full fledged manuals for both each engine update and new content release but you refuse to add a few screenshots and tips?
« Last Edit: November 19, 2017, 04:35:01 AM by Greg » Logged
andrey12345
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« Reply #5 on: November 19, 2017, 02:08:09 PM »

Then don't label it "tank battle" if the entire point is actually the statistics screen. I don't mean to argue with you but that still doesn't make much sense as both the attack and defense tutorials have statistics screens and the tank battle tutorial itself doesn't have that much UI left to show anyhow, it really could have been rolled into the other two.

So what will it change?
Yes, both attack and defence have a statistics, you are right.
But once again I will draw attention to how the training missions are built in the game:
1) Describe 1-2 points
2) The fastest possible transition to this points

Obviously, Defense and Attack are completely inadequate to show statistics. Both conditions are not respected.


The game doesn't show, though.
But why? Is it impossible to apply in the game?
Apparently you are not talking about "showing", but about "forcing."
Yes, the game does not force to do any specific actions, but accurately shows, I guarantee it to you Smiley.

No examples are given and the player is left to fumble around until they "get" the actual ebb and flow of the game or read/watch fan tutorials.
Of course, the game is not a direct textbook on tactics. Since its structure does not involve repeated actions under the same conditions. Those. It is initially assumed that the player is familiar with the basic tactics, at least on an elementary level.
The game gives a simulation, assuming that the player knows what is doing. To learn the basics of tactics, it is not suitable, for this, it should be done approximately as it was done in CM - a script as baseline, minimum variability and simulation.
That will allow to show typical situations with their detailed descriptions and specific instructions for player.

instead of automatically sending the tanks to their deaths just to show a single screen, why not use this opportunity to make it an actual tutorial and demonstrate basic tank battle tactics?
Then this training will not reach the goal - to tell about the statistics mode. About Tank tactics anyone can read in books and manuals, now it is very easy, if you wish.


Why not have the player split off a pair of tanks in a column to flank the Shermans, a sound strategy in almost any given situation? T
It will be a completely different training mission Smiley
We still have a game, not a training complex, for the player there is no additional guiding force in the form of a sergeant, which forces something to do. Do not interfere with everything in a bunch, the more everything train aspects in the mission, the less likely that it will be played and the player at least something will remember.

he manual can help in operations too- In the "tanks are practically impossible to destroy" topic on the steam forum, a player asks what to do when confronted by enemy tanks when not equipped to fight them and you dutifully responded. It would have been nice if the Operations tutorial mentioned retreat as a valid strategy, something most games don't even consider. The manual could have also given a basic overview of the operation itself- it doesn't have to be a proper guide, a simple warning not to immediately engage the tanks would have been enough. While Graviteam games may be too random for a tutorial campaign they aren't random enough that tactical advice can't be given at all. Illustrating simple strategies and how to execute them with the games mechanics is perfectly feasible, the only issue is a lack of will.

And how do you imagine this in practice?
Those. as it will look in the game, for example, these point: "retreat as a valid strategy"

General "strategies/rules/tactics" have one problem, how to apply them in a particular case (this is the one case where they will have to be applied). Ideally, if we do a tactical training complex, then we must have a rigid connection: tactical rule (in general), the situation where it is applicable, the corresponding actions of the opponent and the player.

With the last two points in the game is difficult - we can't force player's decisions, the AI ​​is not hurry to act the same way.
As a result, we can tell the rules in general and hope that the player will apply them. But these rules are obvious and so, and there are lots of places (better than the game) where the player can read them.

So? It's a one time, minimal cost, quality of life improvement- who cares if some people don't read it? Who cares if they print it off and wipe their asses with it? Does it really make sense to deprive the entire community of paying customers and tell them "figure it out yourselves" because of one portion of it, especially when articles, reviews, and fans have been commenting on the poor quality of Graviteam game tutorials for so long? Your direct competition can write full fledged manuals for both each engine update and new content release but you refuse to add a few screenshots and tips?

If the manual was taken by itself, there really would not be any reason not to do it Smiley. But unfortunately in our world, this does not happen. Producing and support the manual is required spending resources, it needs to be localized and maintained in the current state. That requires much more resources, all the time. And in a direction in which we have very low competencies.

Those. it turns out that instead of, for example, adding new vehicles, features, bug fixing, add new operations into the game, we make the manual and support it.
And so the question arises. If it is read by a vanishingly small percentage of players, is it effective (does it make sense at all) to spend resources on it?

And so I agree, it's much better to be healthy and rich with good tactical manual than poor and sick without it Smiley. But this does not work, because the resources are very limited.
« Last Edit: November 19, 2017, 02:14:28 PM by andrey12345 » Logged

"Огонь, парни в 20 метров от противника, встают, разворачиваются спиной и гибнут, кто выжил уже не может сражаться" (с) Baalleon
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