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Wish-list for future game development

Najevi October 7, 2009 User blog:Najevi

In no particular order:

List of online players

When viewing the list of players currently online the default is to display friends at the top of the list. It would be convenient to be able to click on a column header to also sort the list

  1. alphabetically by nick name
  2. ascending/descending by ladder points

Ladder points

When connected to a server and either racing or in spectator mode it would be nice to be able to view the ladder points of another boat and your own.

ISAF window

When in spectator mode and viewing the ISAF window - be able to sort the list of racers in order of their current place in the race. This is already correctly implemented in racing mode.

Spectator mode

  1. be able to lock camera view on any boat in the race.
  2. be able to click a location and have a wind and stream direction and strength gauge appear.
  3. restore last camera view on exit from map mode. (This is already correctly implemented when in racing mode.)

Weather report

  1. When in racing mode - a keyboard shortcut for toggling on/off the weather report.
    Workaround: this has been implemented using AutoHotkey script.
    See this thread for the complete VSK.ahk file.
  2. The Weather Bulletin window is obscured by the "Please wait..." window when the host starts a race. Either make the overlaying window more transparent so that the weather information (wind and wind shift) remains legible or make the relative position of these two windows such that one does not obscure the other. (Matters more for immediate start races than for 3 min and 5 min start races.)

Visual cue in GUI

  1. The currently yellow/amber "lights" indicating Auto/Manual sail trim and eased/sheeted sails might be a different color altogether (e.g. Red or Orange or Green) to contrast better with yellow/amber which is already overused for many other indicators on the instrument panel.
    Workaround
    How to modify the UI buttons)
    Better yet when manual sail trim is active change the black background on that scale to a blue** background. A blue that matches the wind arrow on the compass.
    • even better: read the next suggestion ...
  2. For the vertical bar displaying sail position let the background behind the RH blue arrow be gradually shaded red-yellow-green-yellow-red from top (loose sheeted) to bottom (hard sheeted). This is exactly the same information as displayed by the changing color of the LH arrow as it is manually moved from loose sheeted to hard sheeted however, the significant difference is that the entire range is visible at-one-glance rather than just the narrow field of view represented by the current position of the LH arrow. i.e. make the optimal (green) range of sheeting positions as obvious to a player operating the keyboard as it is to a crew member operating the main sheet.
    In the game we don't have the benefit of wind on our neck, heal of boat and boat acceleration/deceleration felt through the seat of our pants.

Will there be more races after this?

Via two prominent pennants/flags (e.g AP over A) allow the host the option of advising newcomers that there will be no more races after the current race finishes. (This is often the first thing a newcomer will ask upon connecting to a host.) The absence of this signal implies there will be more races.

Gratuitously confusing gate placement

In the race editor when placing gates - do not allow two gates to be placed such that the two line segments (i.e. connecting each pair of gate buoys) intersect.

Banning skippers who have already left a server

In the race result list - display (to the host only) the IP address of DNF boats. (Sometimes a boat that leaves the race early has done so because their behavior did not meet with approval of the host. As such they may be ban-worthy. I have read they can currently avoid that consequence by disconnecting from the host early.)

Race server preview

When previewing a server's details and presented with the [Join] [Spectate] [Cancel] buttons the list of Players should always start at page 1. (Currently the last page number viewed from the earlier preview of another server is remembered and that same page number is displayed first.)

Tooltips explaining ISAF rules

When monitoring chat (as racer or spectator) - why not let the umpire reported rules appear as hyperlinks so that when you click on one it will pop up a translucent rule summary tooltip.
Workaround

using AutoHotkey the hotstrings i18, i17, i18.2a, etc can cause these rules to appear either in chat or as a popup tool tip. Popup tool tip works best in windowed mode and not full screen mode.

See this thread for the complete VSK.ahk file.

  1. When in racing mode and viewing the ISAF window you must page down (N.B. you can't page up) to find your boat name. This is a particular nuisance when your boat is near the top or the bottom of any one of those page views.
    I suggest that the default view be your boat in the center of this ISAF window list with, say, 4 boats ahead and 3 boats behind ... your boat name being in the approximate center of this ISAF list.
    Change from the default view to the following as you click the up arrow button:
    1st: 3 ahead and 4 behind
    2nd: 2 ahead and 5 behind
    3rd: 1 ahead and 6 behind
    4th: 0 ahead and 7 behind
    5th: show the 8 boats immediately ahead of yours
    6th: next page of 8 boats ahead of yours, etc.
    Change from the default view to the following as you click the down arrow button:
    1st: 5 ahead and 2 behind
    2nd: 6 ahead and 1 behind
    3rd: 7 ahead and 0 behind
    4th: show the 8 boats immediately behind yours
    5th: next page of 8 boats behind yours, etc.
    I think this list scrolling behavior would be much more useful for creating a better awareness of the right of way rules and limitations that are relevant to your boat and the nearest group of boats either: ahead of yours, or behind yours.
    As you overtake (or fall behind) other boats then your name in that list should not move but rather the surrounding names should change. That way you preserve the ahead/astern situational awareness that you have customized via the up/dn arrows.
    As boats ahead of you finish the race or as you approach 1st place in the race then your name could move toward the top row of that list.

Visual cues in online lobby

At the list of online races the "sails icon" displays

  • Green while in server waiting mode (whatever that means),
  • Yellow after a new race is created but before the 2min gun. (You can automatically join a race up until the 2min gun.)
  • Red after the 2 min gun.

The problem is that the green window is often so short as to be of no great use to a player looking to join a server.

A better set of time windows would be:

  • Green: after the first boat finishes the current race (i.e. corresponds to 100% race complete in the detail screen) up until the new race is created.

This is the best window of time for joining a server.

  • Yellow: after the new race is created and up until 2 min before the start signal. (expect some grumpy sailors if you don't get into the race until after the minus 2 minute deadline - especially if you then ask for a restart - the fleet may have been jockeying for position for over 3 minutes)
  • Red: after the 2 min deadline of the new race and up until the first boat finishes the new race.

With the above suggestion the frequency of boats joining a server after the 2 min deadline (and requesting a restart) might decrease significantly.

Track preview

After selecting Custom Race and viewing the list of tracks on the "Choose a race" screen - it would be nice if a low res preview image of the racing course was displayed as you select each file in the list. Currently to the right of that list is a box that is supposed to display scores but I think I'd rather have it display this preview of the map.

Radar view

  1. When racing and viewing the radar (lower left) it would be nice if the name of a boat appeared (much like a tool tip) as you hover your mouse over it's icon/blip. Having the color of the icon for that named boat change to white or gold as it's name is displayed would help in some ambiguous cases where two or more boats are near to on another.
  2. When racing and viewing the radar, display an SOG/COG velocity arrow originating from the center of that radar view. The velocity arrow ought to be sized and oriented to show the distance and direction that would be traveled in, say 30sec, if the present SOG and COG are maintained.
    Workaround
    This AutoHotkey script ( AutoHotkey/Radar zoom (enhanced) ) implements an enhanced radar zoom pair of hotkeys that keeps track of the current knot-seconds per grid unit as you zoom in and zoom out using the prescribed hotkeys.
    When used with the concentric circle instrument mod for that radar view this vector would greatly enhance a skipper's ability to judge the time to a mark ... such as the start line, or whatever.

Selecting a boat model

In the race editor or the race server create window, when you have a field to select a boat model you must currently mouse-left-click to cycle through the list of boat models you have installed. It would be convenient if mouse-right-click would reverse the order in which you step through that list.

Chat window scrolling with mouse wheel

While racing or spectating, mouse scroll wheel currently zooms out and in on whatever camera angle you have selected. It would be a major boost to the GUI if, while hovering mouse cursor over the chat window, mouse scroll caused that window to scroll up/down 3 lines per scroll notch. Same for when the mouse cursor is over the ISAF window however, 1 line per scroll notch would be better for the ISAF window. (see also bullet #16)

Buddy list

While connected to a race server in either race mode or spectator mode it would be nice to be able to add other players to your buddy list rather than wait until you are back in the lobby.

Enhanced Result.csv file content

The Result_YYYY_MM_DD_HH_MM_SS.csv file currently displays each skippers elapsed time, DNF, DNS etc. which is great! It would be useful to have data that identified the many race and track conditions as well as those race results. (Hylis (Florent) this is my reminder to please check that prioritized wish-list you invited me to send you.) See also: Forum:Semantic data for this wiki#Race

Consistent timestamp for Result.csv file

The Result_YYYY_MM_DD_HH_MM_SS.csv file's date-time-stamp is not consistent across all participants in a race.

(i) Let this reflect UTC/GMT of the last restart with fine (MM_SS) precision taken from the host's PC to ensure that all participants see an identical file name.
(ii) For DNF / DNS boats let their elapsed time reflect the time after / before start that the skipper left the server. (i.e. DNS boats would show a negative elapsed time.) This allows a skipper's whereabouts to be known so that a check for the same skipper appearing to be in two races at once is easy to compute.
(iii) If a skipper leaves a race before the last boat finishes then do not save a Result.CSV file at the early departing skipper's PC. (i.e. eliminate partial/incomplete Result.CSV files altogether.)

Enhanced Track-name.gbx file content

The Track-name.Gbx file ought to have an XML style header from which key track data can easily be extracted. What data? See: http://vsk.wikia.com/wiki/Forum:Semantic_data_for_this_wiki#Track

Interim skin(s) while download is pending

A user can already configure whether or not they want to download skins for other boats. We can adjust the max-size of our cache folder for these downloads.

Finally, we know that the client will assign some random Nadeo skin to a boat in certain circumstances.

  • Therefore why not allow the user to configure the set of skins from which that random selection is made?

This would serve two purposes: (i) save on bandwidth consumed when playing the game ... and all the performance benefits which follow on from that; and (ii) allow players who prefer that other boats use, for example, transparent sails to enforce this personal preference on the local game client rather than impose it on multiple remote users.

Team race enhancement - ISAF window

As boats ahead of you finish the default behavior of the ISAF window shows the relative positions of the remaining boats numbered starting with 1. This is no big deal in fleet races and is trivial in match races however, when in a team race, it is rather important to keep track of the actual place in the entire fleet and not just the remainder of the fleet.

Follow on to the above team racing comment. Suppose the current red team and blue team point totals are displayed on screen and updated as each boat finishes.

Standing rigging collision

When mast and/or rigging of two boats touch (very common when a port-tack boat tacks late to leeward of a starboard tack boat) the umpire does not trigger a Rule 10 penalty. This seems like a bug in the rules engine. The contact is clearly noticed by game as the right-of-way boat loses some forward momentum.

Audible cue when pre-start begins

Suppose that a user can specify an MP3 file to be played the instant that the host initiates the pre-start of a new race. This might be useful when you've finished ahead of the fleet and race off to do some chores nearby or grab a bite to eat or a drink or perhaps when you've joined a server while a race is underway and you are killing time nearby as you wait for the next pre-start to begin. (I am guilty of falling asleep with a warm notebook PC on my lap while waiting for the next start!)

I think an MP3 file is more useful than a simple sound byte because a sound byte can be missed if you are away from the keyboard just as the audible preparatory signal can be missed.

With enough thought an AutoHotkey workaround for this idea might even be possible!

Instant messenger capability

While viewing the list of users in the online lobby but not yet connected to any server it would be convenient to be able to send an instant message to another user. If the user has already joined a server then you can join the same server and broadcast a message in chat but it is currently not possible if the target user has not yet joined a server. (Granted this is more an IM client function than a game client function.)

Access to polars and wind shadow diagrams

It would be nice if the polar diagrams could be accessed while racing. Ideally in a mostly transparent HUD fashion.

Auto-balance member count for a team race

For a team race it would be great if the team color assigned to newly arriving players was assigned so as to automatically balance the number of red and blue team members.

Filter for downloaded skins

The majority of boat skins are a modest 2MB (or smaller) however, some skin creators get a little carried away and the resultant zip file is greater than 2MB. The largest the author has seen is 17MB! It would be nice to be able to set a file size threshold above which a competitor's skin is never downloaded.

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