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  #1  
Old May 29th, 2005, 11:55 PM

Charlie_Mote Charlie_Mote is offline
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Default Salvo! quesions / comments

Dear Andrew,

It's awesome how responsive you have been to user input - like the new viewing options - really great. Which goes for Salvo! as well - ingenious use of Director (and the Projector/locked movie approach) and an amazing concept - finally there will be some great historical strategy games for OS X!

I sent you an email, but I doubt you will have had time for it - I hadn't made it over here to the forums yet.

My main issue is with the sounds - they sound great, however, it would be preferable to have more customization, for example, have the cannon sound always on, but _not_ have the "ship select" produce a sound (the "crew cheer"). Same goes for weather and environment - although I have only encountered wind and waves so far - could wind/thunder (?) be separated from the background sea sound, i.e., could we get sound notification of important changes (wind speed/direction change) but not have to have waves constantly crashing?

I understand the sounds can all be toggled in groupings, but it's something else to remember to do each "round": turn off action sounds - select ships, move, change ship settings, etc., turn sounds back on before firing, turn them off again, more battle, turn them on again before going to the computer's turn, etc. Perhaps each sound could be selectable on/off? Separate volumes for each? I can't imagine their are all that many sounds or that it would ruin the surprise to have them all "visible" to the user.

Under OS X I am having problems with the ammunition select screen running off the top of the page, making it impossible to change ammo type. I suspect it is a Director/OS X interface bug that just hasn't cropped up before. I've tried changing view angles and resulting, but somehow it seems to be fixed (the zoom level changes automatically, etc.) The ammo types end up _under_ the menu bar and therefore aren't visable/clickable.

However, if there were key commands for ammo types, that would be an acceptable work-around. I imagine making "hotkeys" for everything is hard to do under Director, but it would be a great option. Personally, I love being able to use the mouse for everything, but, if there were key commands, interface problems that just can't be solved due to limitations of Director might be averted.

Although, Director seems to have trouble recognizing the arrow keys on the Mac laptop keyboards - would it be possible to remap the arrow keys to AWSD or, best, to any other four keys (as you can see, I am a big fan of user options.)

In full scree mode, I have problems getting pan/revolve camera on mousing to the screen edge, especially to the bottom (due to the OS X "doc") - unlike other "full screen apps" Director is not actually taking over the entire screen - the menu bar is still visible (which is a bonus, and it _is_ possible to have the go full screen (block the doc) but keep the menu bar - although it is a rare game that has this level of sophistication.)

I noticed the screen shot from an earlier post with "window"/"falling-off-the-edge-of-the-world" issues - that happens for me too when I click drag the Mac window sizing widget Projector creates - again, must be a Director-API issue.

I am also having trouble selecting movement arrow icons similar to the ammo selection issue - some move icons just won't highlight to let me select, regardless of angle of approach or view. Maybe changing the zoom level and so forth will help this. Or again, hot keys (letters on the arrows?) might work.

On a similar note, is it possible to make the crew selection arrows respond to more than just one click at a time? For example, click-and-hold produces a fast scroll by 10? Making the fields editable would be fantastic, but I imagine it would simply be too much work.

In the demo "Bourbon Navy", are the campaign rules functioning as in the final? In the first scenario I captured (through a combination of easy settings and a bit of time invested) most of the British ships. So moving on to Boston seemed like a reasonable choice. However, I noticed I am now facing ships I just captured. Clearly, balancing "historicity" with "playability" is important - there were only so many ships in these theaters and the game wouldn't be as much fun (or anywhere near accurate) if sacrificing ships to take out enemy vessels would allow the player to "regenerate" their loses while the enemy could not.

Perhaps "cheating" in this way would just lead to the end of the campaign - you tear through the opening scenario on the easy settings and since there would then be almost no way of losing the final battle of the campaign you get the "Completely unlike what could have happened in the real world, you just obliterated the enemy and so this campaign is over - try harder settings next time" message?

Just curious as to how much/little "earlier campaigns directly effect later outcomes" to expect. I know it is a huge order to make sure the AI knows to never let certain ships get to a point where they can be captured/sunk so that they will be available in future scenarios, but again, just curious.

Does the AI take advantage of being able to shift crew selections - I don't have anyway to test this, but I imagine it is far better when facing an enemy too just one side (and probably doing so for at least a few turns) to have generous crew on the facing side guns, and as much as possible on sail and maybe even some on damage control/ready to board.

While I don't pretend to know what it was like historically (i.e., crew couldn't run from one side of the ship to the other), since it is an option that the player can take advantage of, does the AI as well? Do ships under squad/computer control for the player do this? Could that be an option (say, "max offensive crewing" vs. "max maneuverability" vs "max defense"?)

On scaling - would it be possible to always have ship "sprite" size settings associated with certain actions? For example - battle shots look fantastic on "Maximum" size, but for navigation and getting a true grasp of scale, "In Scale" obviously works best. Like the sounds, toggling this all the time is fairly tedious, and since the "auto battle" functions at the "end" of the AI turn already zoom to the scenes, couldn't they zoom in with the ship size set to max then back to whatever the user specified for the battle view?

The squadron concept is awesome - is there a way to select by drag-highlight instead of only individual clicking? Again, hotkeys would be great if not. I know you are constrained by the limitations of Director, just curious about some of these different approaches.

I can see how having a verification of every command, or an "undo" would be a lot UFO work to implement. But with everything "click" based, I found more than once that I clicked on the avatar (and so initiated the AI control/tundra) while trying to get at the battle map - could the avatar be moved a bit away from the other controls, maybe under the players country flag so that it wouldn't be so easy to accidentally click, or could a dialog box to "ok to end turn?" be an option?

The click-drag to set the view direction is a great concept, but in large battles, I found I had to really work to get to where I could see what I needed to (firing/movement options would be blocked because of the graphics.) One possibility, "grey-out" any ships between the camera view and the movement/attack overlays - have them "show through" whatever might be blocking them? Would that be easier than automatically changing the view to make sure the options are selectable (if I select a ship from a view directly behind and their is a movement option immediately to the front, could the view move to the front automatically?) Perhaps the new camera zoom/pan options will address all this.

Time - you must have set a time as well as a size scale for your own calculations - it would be neat to see game time passing - even to the point of that being part of victory conditions.

The "crew cheer" right now sounds a bit too familiar - a short, lower pitched shout, followed by a much louder, higher pitched yell. Just reminds me too much of salutes to certain fascist dictators - I know that's not intentional, and if it wasn't' so often it would probably be less noticeable (actually, my wife noticed and asked if I was playing another WWII game!)

Last - going back to the initial salvo screen within a scenario blocks out all other options. So is it not possible to be able to load previous saves and abandon the current game without exiting all together? Could there be an "Exit to Intro Screen" option on the scenario Return - Restart - Save - Save Special screen?

Sorry to have so many comments and questions - please don't feel like you have to respond point-by-point as you hae to others in the past (I am really looking forward to having a great historical sim and I am willing to wait, but for only so long!) I have read reviews on ten times more games than I have actually played and it always seems a shame to me that some options that could have been left open to the user were left out (I don't mean "mod-ability" or "cheat codes") - I know you must be in the finally stretches for this version, but as the one review so far pointed out, maybe casual gamers will have a hard time (I actually consider myself in this category and other than what I have noted here, I think it is an easy to learn, great interface to a great game) - I know Mac users will fall into that category.

Many thanks and all the best,

Charlie Mote
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  #2  
Old May 30th, 2005, 12:20 AM

Charlie_Mote Charlie_Mote is offline
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Default Re: Salvo! quesions / comments

Sorry for all the typos - I thought I had corrected them with the spell check option, but apparently not! (UFO = of, etc.)

On time - I noticedin an earlier post you said a turn was 5 minutes so I guess that being able to escape under cover of darkness would not be much of a concern for most scenarios (while I played for about 7 hours on the first Bourbon scenario yesterday, that still was probably only about 2 hours game time...)

Charlie Mote
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Old May 30th, 2005, 01:11 AM

Charlie_Mote Charlie_Mote is offline
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Default Re: Salvo! quesions / comments


Ok, not being able to get to the armament selection was due to having the ship size set to maximum - at in scale I could at least get to it, although some of the tops of those selection screens are still off-screen.

I forgot to mention "Script Error" dialog boxes in endless loops - especially in the tutorials. And since the "save special" seems to be the only way to do a traditional "save game", I lose everything.

Perhaps having an auto-save feature selectable to number of turns (after every turn, 5, 10, 20) would act as an insulator against random Director bugs? Obviously you can't track these down becuase they "belong" to Macromedia.

Again, sorry about the typos (quesions?)

Charlie
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Old May 30th, 2005, 01:13 AM

Charlie_Mote Charlie_Mote is offline
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Default Re: Salvo! quesions / comments


Re-reading what I have above about time - did I overlook metrics on the number of turns so far? That would be kind of cool to know...

Charlie
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  #5  
Old June 3rd, 2005, 07:59 PM
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Andrew Lonon Andrew Lonon is offline
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Default Re: Salvo! quesions / comments

Charlie:

OK The problem with asking a lot of questions is that it takes a bit to answer them so Ill post a note for you on Saturday that should cover the bases. I just wanted you to know that I have reviewed (& printed for processing) your notes and will give you a detailed answer for each item. Hopefully Ill get the answers right.
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