Author Topic: Dawn of Genesis: Power Info Emergence  (Read 4883 times)

Jusri

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Dawn of Genesis: Power Info Emergence
« on: June 29, 2023, 10:29:06 am »
Power Info Emergence

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Design Notes: Greetings, I'm Jusri, one of the Rebirth developers who's been focused on backend fixes and enhancements.  Today I'm here to share about the updates that we've made to the power information window.  I've been working on pieces of this update since November 2022.  I'm excited to finally get this to you.

The goal of this update was simple: when you click on a power, it should tell you what the power does.  With this update, we focused on getting detailed information about a power into players' hands.

As some may know, powers are defined within the game as structured text files.  Sites like Red Tomax's City of Data parsed this data (as encoded in the pigg files) and attempted to provide it in a human readable format. Even then, some of the more complex mechanics encoded in those files can be opaque and hard to understand.  Internally, the power information window is effectively doing the same thing.  Our goal with this update was to increase the range of things that the power information window is able to parse and display to you about a power.

However, because the power system is so robust in City of Heroes, there are numerous ways that a single power could be implemented and have the same effect.  In many cases power sets require special parsing to handle their idiosyncrasies.  In this update, we were not able to tackle every power, but we were able to expand the tools available to the power information window.  In the future we will be able display more comprehensive information about even more powers.

We have significantly enhanced the user interface for power information to provide players with a wider range of data.  Ever since its initial release in Issue 12, players have had access to real-time power information through the power user interface.  As powers became more complex, the user interface became inadequate in conveying this information.  Although secondary resources like MIDS and Red Tomax’s City of Data are invaluable resources, we believe that you should have all power information at your fingertips without needing to go to secondary resources for information.  In Rebirth Issue 6, we're taking a significant step toward this goal and have added the following functionality:

A number of powers with blank detailed info will now show up.
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Design Notes: One of our primary concerns was powers that were just showing up blank.  In some cases there were bugs with the parsing dating back to live, in others, the tools just didn't exist to explain the power properly.




Power redirects, in which one power becomes a different power under certain circumstances, can now be displayed.
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Design Notes: With the Kheldian update in Rebirth Issue 4, the Rebirth team got much more comfortable using power redirects as a tool to modify the behavior of a power in different situations.  As this powerful tool gets used in more places, it was important that we be able to make it clear to players what was happening.




When a power grants a state, the UI can now show how long that state lasts.
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Design Notes: Many of the later powersets added by Paragon Studios involve complex mechanics related to states that can trigger, stack, or suppress.  In order for players to be able to take advantage of these powers, they need to know what these secondary effects are doing.  The occasional icon appearing below their health bar is not an explanation.




Variable effects based on stacks of a power can now be displayed.
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Design Notes: Previously, almost every ability that had a variable effect was simply marked as "Special".  When trying to compare powers or understand the importance of building up stacks of Tidal Power or Blood Frenzy, "Special" is not useful information.  These special values will now scale with level, adjust based on AT, and reflect enhancements just like all standard numbers in the power information window.




When a power’s effects have different target areas, that can now be displayed.
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Design Notes: Some abilities have different areas for different aspects of the ability.  We have added the ability to display multiple areas, but have not attempted to, nor come close to, adding this information for every power.  This is an area of future expansion for the system.




Activate periods on toggles and auto powers are now displayed (which impact how often an effect fires).
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Design Notes: Finally, many powers have an Activate Period which is a measure of how often a power goes off.  On many powers this is irrelevant because the behavior is effectively "as long as the power is on." However, on powers with a damage component, you can't know how much damage the power is actually going to deal without the Activate Period.  Although not necessary in every instance, we have added that information to all Auto and Toggle powers.




For this issue, special attention was given to Beam Rifle, Force Fields, Peacebringers, Psionic Melee, Radiation Armor, Radiation Melee, Savage Melee, Trick Arrow, Warshades, Water Blast, Water Control, and Wind Control.

This system will continue to be expanded in future issues.
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Design Notes: Although we are done tackling powers for this issue, we are not considering this a completed endeavor.  We welcome requests for specific powers in the future.
 It's been plesaure -Jusri

Jagged

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Re: Dawn of Genesis: Power Info Emergence
« Reply #1 on: June 29, 2023, 11:28:24 am »
Awesome!

Cinnder

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Re: Dawn of Genesis: Power Info Emergence
« Reply #2 on: June 29, 2023, 01:33:08 pm »
I'm sure lots of players will find this useful!

I know this predates these changes, but just wondering how hard it would be to change the '+' and '-' indicating expand and minimise to something like '>' and '<' so it doesn't look like expanded powers have negative effects.

Jusri

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Re: Dawn of Genesis: Power Info Emergence
« Reply #3 on: June 29, 2023, 04:38:55 pm »
I know this predates these changes, but just wondering how hard it would be to change the '+' and '-' indicating expand and minimise to something like '>' and '<' so it doesn't look like expanded powers have negative effects.

Theoretically should be trivial, but I've been burned saying the before.  I'll have to test to make sure.

Yikes

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Re: Dawn of Genesis: Power Info Emergence
« Reply #4 on: June 29, 2023, 08:33:13 pm »
this is so dope

Jusri

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Re: Dawn of Genesis: Power Info Emergence
« Reply #5 on: July 16, 2023, 04:56:19 pm »
I know this predates these changes, but just wondering how hard it would be to change the '+' and '-' indicating expand and minimise to something like '>' and '<' so it doesn't look like expanded powers have negative effects.

Turns out this was a controversial change, and the +/- was popular with the other developers despite the ambiguity you point out.  So although we can change it, unless I can come up with a solution I can get more people behind, we're not updating it at this time.

Cinnder

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Re: Dawn of Genesis: Power Info Emergence
« Reply #6 on: July 17, 2023, 12:07:54 am »
Oh well, thanks for looking into it.