Sequential Tasking Poll

Discussion in 'Command Ops Series' started by Dave 'Arjuna' O'Connor, Jun 1, 2016.

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Should we ditch waypoints and just have sequential tasks?

Poll closed Jun 8, 2016.
  1. Retain Waypoints

    8 vote(s)
    57.1%
  2. Ditch Waypoints

    6 vote(s)
    42.9%
  1. Dave 'Arjuna' O'Connor

    Dave 'Arjuna' O'Connor Panther Games Designer

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    Hi all,

    I am just working on the sequential tasking feature and I need your feedback re the interface to use. At present we have waypoints. If you hold the shift key down when setting an order objective it will place a waypoint instead. You use waypoints to specify the route you want the force to take. The last waypoint issued is the objective. For an attack the second last waypoint is the FUP. Note that every waypoint uses the same settings as the order/task you set.

    Now with sequential tasks you will be able to click and set multiple tasks in sequence, just like you do with waypoints, only with each sequential tasks you can specify its unique settings. So you can set the formation to be used for one task and differ it for the next and so on.

    I am a great believer in the KISS principle (keep it simple stupid) and we only have limited modifier keys available - ie the Shift, Control and Alt keys. The Alt key is often used by Microsoft's operating system and I have found it can be somewhat problematic to use within your app. So really it boils down to the Shift and Control keys.

    Down the road I want to also add concurrent tasks - ie where you assign a force multiple tasks that are to be conducted concurrently or at the same time. they are not in sequence. So then we'll have only two modifier keys to use for three different functions - ie waypoints, sequential and concurrent tasks. One of these would then involve holding down both modifier keys while clicking. This is cumbersome and I would prefer to avoid this.

    So I am thinking of ditching waypoints and instead you would lay down a sequence of tasks using the Shift key. The trouble with this approach is how do we specify an FUP for an attack. The delay order would also need to be reworked. One option for the attack is to assume that the FUP will always be the preceding objective if there is one - ie the location of the preceding task. This would mean that if you had no preceding task and you wanted to order an attack with a specified FUP then you would need to first issue a Move task to the desired FUP and then issues the attack task.

    But regardless of how we work this aspect, the fundamental decision is whether to ditch waypoints in favour of sequential tasks.
     
  2. loyalcitizen

    loyalcitizen Member

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    It seems to me that the current waypoint method is the most simple. Trying to dictate multiple different tasks all in one order set sounds like a recipe for disaster. My plans never hold up that well though contact with the enemy, so I can't see getting much benefit from it. I like that forming up is automatic, so I don't need to think about it.
     
  3. Daz

    Daz Member

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    I would need to know more about how you envisage the orders being given, with regards to the user input on the interface.

    I have done a hypothetical example of a Bn attack on a bridge in the image below. The practical distances have been compressed for ease of illustration and it is assumed that mounted/dismounted ops has also been developed and released.

    Could you give more information on how we would be able to order these moves with regards to user input into the UI and mouse clicks?
    Would you be supporting middle mouse button use, double or triple clicking?

    Orders-Example.jpg
     
  4. Rob

    Rob Member

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    Hi all,

    If I've correctly interpreted Dave's missive (by no means a certainty :wideyed:) it seems that waypoints are location driven whereas tasks are not. Without waypoints I see a lot of short range orders with tasks associated with them. Would it not be possible to combine the 2?? As in, link the tasks (or changes thereto) to the locations specified by waypoints and ultimately the orders location.
    Dunno.......... sounds too simplistic doesn't it? Historically, that usually means I didn't get it btw :banghead:

    Anyway, I'm very much looking forward to this feature however it rolls out!! :woot::woot:

    Rob.
     
  5. Daz

    Daz Member

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    I have been giving this some thought and this is what I have come up with.

    Lay out your sequence of waypoints on the map first just using left clicks of the mouse.
    These would just be default move orders. If you want to add more functionality you could have icons in a movable dialogue box that can be clicked on before placing the individual waypoints, similar to the Orders one we have in game at the moment, but can be selected before every new waypoint and the next placed waypoint would take on the characteristic defined in that waypoint setting. This would be sticky so as not to have to keep re selecting it for similar orders.
    After laying out your waypoints you can then click on any individual waypoint and adjust the orders for that particular waypoint in the waypoint editor dialog box.
    So to define which waypoint would be your FUP you have two ways to do it.
    1. Select the FUP icon in the orders dialogue box before placing a waypoint on the map.
    2. Select the individual waypoint on the map you want as the FUP and change it to an FUP waypoint in the edit waypoint dialogue for that individual waypoint.
    Every waypoint you click on will be individually editable in the edit waypoint dialogue box that displays the information of the currently selected waypoint.
    Multiple waypoints can be selected via dragging or shift clicking and can be given the same orders all at once via the edit waypoint dialogue.

    If you wanted to be really clever, you could have drag and drop functionality where orders icons from the orders dialogue box can be dragged over the waypoints on the map to take on the functions attributed to those order icons. These could include user defined order icons that they have saved for order sets that they use a lot, as well as the default, move, attack, withdraw etc.

    For instance I use; Arrowhead, Shortest route, No rest, Aggro-Max, Ammo-Max, ROF-Max, Losses-Min for short range patrols at night.
    I would be able to save this as a custom order icon and assign it a unique symbol from a predefined list.
    I would then be able to use in in three different ways:
    1. Select my recon unit, then click on my custom order icon before placing any waypoint on the map. It would sticky so the other waypoints would have the same attributes, until I select another order icon or edit the waypoint on the map itself.
    2. Drag and drop my custom order icon onto a waypoint on the map, where I have already laid out a route using the default move waypoints.
    3. Select any waypoint, or multiple ones using drag select, or shift clicking, on the route I have laid out and click on my custom icon in the orders dialogue box.
    Each route of waypoints will have individual icons displayed on the map to indicate the change of orders at that point, just like the attack, move, defend etc. ones that are displayed now in game, but instead of just having it at the end of the route as we have now, you would have, possibly many different ones on the same route. For example a move icon, followed by a defend, (could set the defend duration in the edit waypoint dialogue box) another move, an FUP, an attack and another defend further down the road.

    If this sounds like a lot of work, bear in mind that with this new sequential tasks system, orders will have to be given far less often than before.
    For some units where everything goes to plan, you may never have to adjust their orders for the entire game, leaving you to concentrate on the sections of the front where it doesn't :eek:
     
    #5 Daz, Jun 5, 2016
    Last edited: Jun 5, 2016
  6. TMO

    TMO Member

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    Here's my suggestion but it concerns mount/dismount. If using waypoints the penultimate click always designates the FUP. The click immediately before the FUP one marks the dismount location.
    Regards
    Tim
     
  7. Kurt

    Kurt Member

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    But what if I choose to attack mounted ?
     
  8. TMO

    TMO Member

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    Hi Kurt
    Not sure I'd want troops who could dismount to attack mounted. I'm thinking of attacking not being ambushed. Just my idea of simplifying things. Does that make sense.
    Regards
    Tim
     
  9. Kurt

    Kurt Member

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    Yeah makes sense TMO , the option must remain though as mounted attacks did occur in WWII .
     
  10. Kurt

    Kurt Member

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  11. Dave 'Arjuna' O'Connor

    Dave 'Arjuna' O'Connor Panther Games Designer

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    Thanks for the detailed response Daz and to all who have contributed here.

    At the moment you can click on an object to select it. If you click on another object it deselects the existing object and selects the new one. This allows you to move around the objects on the map freely. If we were to adopt the method of laying down waypoints by simply clicking without a modifier key then we would null and void this basic selection capability. How would the UI know you were wanting to select a different object as opposed to creating another waypoint. You would have to cancel the order state somehow - either with another key or using a control on the orders dialog for instance. Personally I don't think that's a good idea.

    My intent with replacing waypoints with sequential tasks was to simplify things not complicate them. A sequential task allows you to have a sequence of 'waypoints' each with their own settings. The default settings would apply as per the order type in question. We would need the ability to promulgate any variation to these settings throughout all the tasks of the same task type in the sequence. This could be done via a control on the Edit Task dialog. Eg Copy forward, copy back, copy to all of same type, copy to all.

    There should also be an ability to change the task type for a task within the sequence. That way you could simply select a waypoint and change it to a Reorg or Defend for instance.

    On thing to note here, I don't want to force the player to have to specify all the subtasks of an attack (ie move to FUP, Reorg at FUP, Assault to Obj, Reorg at Obj, Defend at Obj). Of course he could do so, but I want to be possible to just specify an attack and have the AI manage all that.
     
  12. john connor

    john connor Member

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    I don't understand yet. Sorry. What would we lose if we ditch waypoints? Could we still specify the unit's exact path to a location?
     
  13. Dave 'Arjuna' O'Connor

    Dave 'Arjuna' O'Connor Panther Games Designer

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    Yes you could but you would use sequential tasks instead of waypoints. The interface would be the same - ie hold down shift and click to place another objective (Task). The net difference would be that you could specify different settings for specific objectives, whereas with waypoints they all used the same settings as the task they belonged to. On the map you would see a series of task icons instead of waypoint icons.

    One difference though would be in the way we specify an FUP for an attack order. Currently, if you place an attack order without any intervening waypoints then it will determine the best FUP for you. If you want to specify where that FUP should be you would specify at least two waypoints - one at the objective and one before it. The AI would then use the one immediately before the objective as the FUP.

    There are a number of options for handling FUPs with sequential tasks. One way is to assume the FUP is at the preceding location of the Subject (the senior assigned unit of the task). Then you would need a UI control like a checkbox on the Edit Task dialog to allow the AI to determine it for you. Another option is to assume the FUP is at the location of any preceding task. If there were no preceding task then the AI would be free to determine it. It would still make sense to have the control on the Edit Task dialog to in effect cancel this default. There maybe other options. Feel free to suggest.
     
  14. Dave 'Arjuna' O'Connor

    Dave 'Arjuna' O'Connor Panther Games Designer

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    One other thing I would like to ask your advice on is, if we do retain waypoints and we use the Control key to set sequential tasks, then what interface should we use for setting concurrent tasks - ie where you want to specify multiple tasks to run at the same time, rather than in sequence?
     
    #14 Dave 'Arjuna' O'Connor, Jun 6, 2016
    Last edited: Jun 6, 2016
  15. Daz

    Daz Member

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    Dave, I think you are going to have to do some sort of diagram to explain what you mean.
    Your explanation sounded very similar to what I was trying to explain, so maybe I should do one as well :rolleyes:
    At least you will be able to copy and paste it into the new game manual, so not a complete waste of time to spend on it ;)
     
  16. Dave 'Arjuna' O'Connor

    Dave 'Arjuna' O'Connor Panther Games Designer

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    Daz, the key difference I was trying to highlight was that you were proposing (maybe unintentionally) to set waypoints with a single left mouse click. That cannot work without making the current tool stick. Currently we don't do that so the user can freely select different objects. To support that we require a modifier key (ie the Shift key) to be held down while you click. This whole issue is really all about the modifier keys to be used. Currently, as I said, we use the Shift key to lay down waypoints. If we retain waypoints then we'll have to use the Control key to lay down multiple sequential tasks. I'm OK with that. But later down the track when we add concurrent tasks we'll need some other modifier key to lay these down.
     
  17. Ripppe

    Ripppe Member

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    Dave, would it be possible to ditch the modifier key and use different modes (toggled by a certain key) for what you are trying to accomplish, i.e. an own mode for selection and editing of tasks?

    E: Now that I think of this, it might not work straight out of the box, but anyway tossing out the idea that we would have different modes, toggled by keys, that would change how certain UI components work.
     
  18. Daz

    Daz Member

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    It sounds as if the 'Sequential Tasks Markers', are just better versions (more functionality) of the 'Old Style Waypoints', so I don't see a need to keep the 'Old Style Waypoints' as well?

    I think to simplify things, the user should just set where they want the FUP as they lay down the route by either clicking on an FUP order before placing the marker they want as an FUP, from the orders box, or edit it to become one in the 'Sequential Tasks Markers' edit dialogue by clicking on the marker on the map after they have set the route.

    The idea of sequential tasking is so that you can have a sequence of tasks. So what would happen if you then wanted to continue onto perform more tasks in sequence after the attack, if the second to last marker placed on the map was always the FUP?

    If the user was allowed to set the FUP inside the dialogue box for the new 'Sequential Tasks Markers', then set the next two or more 'Sequential Tasks Markers' as 'Attack Markers', would it be possible for the assault to turn on an axis, instead of always in a straight line, but still have the HQ and support stay at the FUP?
     
  19. Daz

    Daz Member

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    It would be good to see how you envisage concurrent tasks to work and exactly what you mean by it.
    I think the best way is to illustrate an example, just as you have done in the existing Game Manual for other game mechanics.
    A picture is worth a thousand words as they say.
     
  20. Daz

    Daz Member

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    I have designed three 'Sequential Task Marker' icons if you should choose to use them in your illustration.

    There is the Mount Infantry and dismount Infantry, which are the standard NATO Infantry symbol, with arrows going into and out of them respectively.
    There is the FUP one that is a HQ flag.

    Edit: Added some move formation ones.

    Another Edit: Added an alternative icon for Mount and Dismount Infantry, which is the NATO motorized infantry symbol, then with its wheels falling off!

    Task Markers.jpg
     
    #20 Daz, Jun 7, 2016
    Last edited: Jun 7, 2016

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