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And inside look at the EC and issues involved...

Discussion in 'UHall' started by Dermott of LS, Aug 30, 2010.

  1. Dermott of LS

    Dermott of LS UOEC Modder
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    I want to take a few moments to give a comprehensive look at the problems with the EC from a dedicated user of the EC. Normally I do a lot on Stratics to support the EC, I’ve dedicated a lot of hours to helping others be able to use the client either through posting answers, macro concepts, or through the User Interface projects I have worked on.

    I generally try to stay away from “state of the game” type of posts because they’re generally written by someone disgruntled with a very narrow view of UO as a whole, so don’t consider this one of those type of posts.

    This is more an “I play the EC almost exclusively, so let me take a swipe at the issues I see with the EC in regards to what was said at the Town Hall” type of pot to go aside (or opposite) of the one made by non-players.

    First of all let me say that just because I play and favor the EC doesn’t mean that I don’t think it has problems. In fact quite the opposite is true. I think the EC has a LOT of problems and issues from many different directions. That is what the post is about, not blind defense of the EC, but an honest look of what I see are problems with it.

    So what are these problems?

    Artwork Resolution: Leaving out any arguments over the artwork style of KR vs Legacy, one direction that was correct in that regard was making the new artwork in a higher resolution. Quite simply, outside of a 640x480 resolution (1:1), Legacy graphics simply do not hold up well. Furthermore, the EC’s default zoom setting is much closer than the 1:1 setting of Legacy to adjust for higher resolution displays to show a roughly equal play area under default settings as the Legacy client. Because of that, new users’ (or potential converts from 2d) first look at the game screen can be a distorted mess. Zoom out carefully enough and you might be able to find the magic 1:1 level that makes everything clear, but even this does not seem to be consistent across all pieces of artwork. Zoom in and the pixilation is almost embarrassing. In the KR client, you could zoom in and everything would remain reasonably smooth even showing facial features on your character ingame. In the current EC, a character’s face is a pixilated blob. Yes, there was the argument for client performance, but even then, simply downgrading everything was the quick and easy way that solved little.

    UI downgrades from KR: Crafting menus, the Atlas customization system, and the Animal Lore gump are all downgrades or outright removal of more popular and useful KR UI elements. The Crafting Menus in KR were larger than the Legacy versions, however, they also had the Make X and Make Max features on the main page rather than 2 or 3 sub-menus deep. The Atlas customization allowed players to define what the various map pins looked like, the color, and the size of those pins. It also allowed the players to define what the waypoints looked like in the game window giving different options players could set to define those waypoints differently as needed. This was ENTIRELY stripped out and I have yet to see any rhyme or reason as to why. The Animal Lore gump wasn’t big in itself, however in KR it was moddable and a VERY popular mod was developed that put all of the information from Animal Lore into a single gump. Attempts have been made to replicate this, but as with the crafting menu, it has been relegated to the internal gump system untouchable by modders.

    EC “abandonment issues”: While I don’t share the pessimism of another poster here that plays the EC, I do have to mention that the LACK of continuing development on the EC and the attitude of “when we get back to it” does not help the image of a client that has remained in “perpetual beta”. Yes, we had an “EC Sprint” not too long ago, but it was more of a 40yard dash than a 400 meter race. Too quick and too little to make much of a difference. Much more needs to be done and the EC REALLY needs a team that can be dedicated to not only finishing the job but improving what the EC is and can be.

    “You cannot pick that up”: This has to be my BIGGEST pet peeve bug. Drag and release something either too quickly or with just the right timing and you are stuck unable to move anything else or Recall until you log out and back in. This is but one of many nagging bugs that have been present since the client was released.

    Freeform backpack issues: I think everyone knows about these whether they are users or not. First of all, I am still very much of the opinion that the Legacy freeform container is simply abysmally small in size and area, but that is only the first of many problems. Items are not as sharp as they should be inside the legacy backpack (which I believe is a function of the resolution issue above), they change size depending on your UI scale when you move them which can be disconcerting, precise placement of items in freeform is difficult, and displays of items in freeform containers can differ between clients making running a vendor in the EC difficult.

    Default UI is an eyesore: While the default KR UI wasn’t well liked, looking back, it was at least a lot less bright and garish in appearance. If there’s one aspect of the EC where I can see people getting eye strain, it would be with the brightness of the default UI. In fact that was why I created the Copper UI skin, just to tone down the UI to a more subtle colorset. People should want to change their UI based on personal preference not because the default is difficult visually.

    Magic Users: Ok, I'll be the first to say that I don't play magic users that much (at least not as a main skill), so I don't have all of the inside tricks and skills involved. I've seen plenty of posts about how a Mage is more difficult to play in the EC and while a BIG part of me wants to say "You have to walk before you run" meaning that you really do have to take some time to adjust to the way the EC handles everything, I think there's more to it than that. Because of that, what we need is a Magic User's EC Focus Group so that people who DO use magic-based skills can work with the devs to redevelop the EC to handle casting at least as well as the Legacy client does and actually have something come out of it.

    Those to me are some of the biggest issues with the EC right now as I see it (not counting the maintained list of bugs on the EC board) that really need to be addressed.

    Now other issues that are more "personal" in nature in regards to people not accepting the EC, I simply can't help, nor do I really want to. I've stopped listening to them for the most part. I just wish there were a way that they weren't as able to keep UO hobbled to a niche product as "that old game".

    But at the same time, you'll never read a post of mine where I have ever (or for the foreseeable future will ever) call the EC "perfect the way it is" because it isn't. It has plenty of problems, and that's what I wanted to address here.

    Now if you'll excuse me, I have some UO playing to do... in the EC.
     
  2. Storm

    Storm UO Forum Moderator
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    Well said and ALL very good points with that said I want to comment on 2 things
    The "you cant pick that up" is the most annoying for me and is game stopping when it happens so needs fixed asap

    The other thing is with the mages I play mostly mage/hybrids and in the EC it can be a real pain until you get the hang of it and especial macros namely the combo macros
    recently I noticed that my spells were not going off right !

    here is what happened I was pinging at 100 ms when I made my macros then my connection went bad 200+ms and I found i needed to redo all my delays
    well after I did this they worked fine once I found the "sweet spot" then they fixed my connect again and had to adjust again

    so if you dont have stable connect and it changes a lot it can be pain
     
  3. Dermott of LS

    Dermott of LS UOEC Modder
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    ...

    And one that seems to go inbetween the pick up bug and magery timing is one I want to discuss with Axel or Supreem if/when I can, and that's how they tweaked the timings on something that has since broken my main mining macro (the smelting portion).

    In the earlier days of the EC the smelt routine would handle every ore in my backpack... now it picks the first one in line in the macro, smelts it, then skips to the next run of the macro. Gotta figure out why it's doing that and how to fix it (within reason... I don't want a lagged out macro putting in a huge delay to make it work).
     
  4. Mapper

    Mapper Crazed Zealot
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    I can't think for sure what causes issues with mages in the EC client, But I do notice that quite often I hit a macro to cast ebolt and I won't get the target come up, It'll show the words of power, cast it but no target. So I end up having to cast it twice.

    And this is with healing too, So at times It can be lethal, But I mean it happens maybe once out of every 100 spells.
     
  5. Dermott of LS

    Dermott of LS UOEC Modder
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    That's why they need a focus group with casters and the EC... a group that can peg down the issues and get it right.
     
  6. canary

    canary Guest

    I think, with all due respect, most of us are very aware of the EC issues. It merely is whether or not the UO team wants to tackle them.

    They won't get more support on the EC client if they are not willing to invest in the manpower to take it out of beta and get it properly polished and looking decent. They've caught themselves in a catch 22 of their own making.
     
  7. Sturdy

    Sturdy Guest

    Wow, a reasonable post filled with useful constructive criticism! Dermott you are my UO Hero. :)


    What he said.
     
  8. Madrid

    Madrid Slightly Crazed
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    Good Post Dermott.

    I still have a hard time grasping why I'm playing on the EC Client instead of the UOKR Client because they're essentially the same thing except the EC just has the lousy 2D graphics.

    I'd still be playing UOKR if I had the option and still to this day pissed off they took that option away.

    I was actually was playing Ultima VII Black Gate on an emulator when I wikkied UO and saw the new UOKR client and the graphics. That's how I got started playing UO again.

    Despite the negative press I loved UOKR and think the graphics were excellent and a step in the right direction.

    I don't mean to be negative and I think the 2d'ers should be appeased but so should those of us who are open to change and want to see the game progress from a visual standpoint.

    I hope some steps are taken soon to make the game higher resolution. Either by giving us the option for KR graphics, make higher resolution EC Graphics available or even a high res 2D ala Saphireena.
     
  9. Fink

    Fink Guest

    These are all sterling observations, and much more lucid than I am able to report. I'm not sure if I'm the pessimist you mentioned, but I'm certainly in that mindset.

    I think it's at the point where they simply must address all these concerns in some meaningful, quantifiable way if they're to gain any momentum on the EC again. Otherwise, it just seems to be falling behind. I know this may only be a matter of perception, but it's an important perception to uphold.
     
  10. Shakkara

    Shakkara Slightly Crazed
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    Agree with most that has been said and want to add:

    Contrast Issues

    I used the EC today as returning user, and I simply cant make anything out in my inventory. I noticed myself leaning forward all the time and mostly relied on the mouse-over popups. Dark items on a black inventory background, not a good idea. The same with character selection and most menus. Black text on a very dark background, who came up with that?

    Animations

    Sliding along the floor. Not a major issue but still it ruins the atmosphere. This picture immediately sprang to mind when I mounted my charger:
    [​IMG]

    Positioning

    I can't see properly what tile I occupy.

    Close on Right-Click

    Finding the tiny red X icons on menus gets annoying very soon when you're using a touchpad as main input device.
     
  11. dlwiii

    dlwiii Journeyman
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    When I am killed and the screen goes grey, the graphics are often distorted, a series of grey diagonal lines. The map shows up properly, so i can find my way to a healer. Once I am rez'd the screen is normal again.
    I have not seen this one mentioned at all - is it only me?
     
  12. Ni-

    Ni- Guest

    The not being able to pick something up is a little annoying. I've adjusted my play style to deal with it. I know we should have to 'deal' with it, but at the same time, I'd rather not get frustrated with one little part of the game. So I adjust my play to not cause the issue... as much.

    I don't have a problem with magic casting. I'm not a leetdood with complicated macros. I use the auto target so that the spell fires without me needing to select a target via clicking or another key stroke. When I want to fire off combos like Exp>ebolt, I simply start mashing the ebolt macro after I am sure that the Exp has been started.

    I'm not a power gamer. I don't play for graphics, loot, gold, killing, rares, ect... I prefer the EC over the CC for convenience. I also like seeing things in a different light. Such as the LotR movies; I read the books and had my idea of how thing looked and went, then I saw the movies and got to see how someone else saw things. I enjoyed both the books and the movie. Same with Angles and Demons, though I liked the book a little more in both cases because of the detail left out in both movies.

    I'm all for the EC to be modified/updated.
     
  13. Cetric

    Cetric Grand Inquisitor
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    Would love this. There are very many problems with casting, and some dev's believe the solution is learning the new targetting system to adjust better. But i don't believe they understand some of the nuances of this.

    Here are two examples of casting problems

    Legacy targeting - chaining spells with a mouse wheel

    You cannot say, casting exp-(scroll last target mouse wheel) flamestrike without "over casting" the flamestrike. Billy teng was able to identify what was actually causing this problem, but never developed a solution, and his main solution was adjusting to the new targeting system.

    Now here is my issue with the new targeting system (the cursor target queueing, sounds great in theory, but not good in practice IMO). If i planned on staying on one target the majority of them time, and not switching up, targetting one thing, canceling the target, and going to the next would not be a big deal. But in a casting, especially precision casting like in pvp, you need to be able to do things fast. If i had to cancel my target inbetween targets every single time, it would throw off the game sooo much. Not to mention... you don't always have to cancel, so it isn't a guarantee. You Target an enemy with a offensive spell, you hit a friendly with a heal, you teleport or cast fields by targeting the ground. Canceling targets inbetween these things would be too slow, and just not worth the time.

    There is also the ability to cycle through targets. It is much more efficient to click on the targets, and use a legacy last target macro, than cycling through until you get the target you wish. It is just not efficient.


    There are other misc. issues presented to spell casters, such as when a target goes off screen or invises (i guess this also has to do with the targeting systems lol) and animations, or effects.

    I must say though, the idea of focus groups dedicated to different functions would be ideal. Casting can be greatly tested by setting up pvp, this imo, is because casting speeds, and efficient targeting is most important in this environment.
     
  14. Cetric

    Cetric Grand Inquisitor
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    I assume you are using the mouse wheel for last target. I only believe this because this is the giant problem i tried working with billy teng on. Where ultimately, it was just suggested to use the new targetting system.

    Here is the problem

    lets assume you have last target on the Esc key

    If you cast Explosion, hit last targ(esc) and cast flamestrike


    Explosion
    Last Target
    Flamestrike
    (cursor)


    No problem, you get the target cursor and everything for both.

    Now lets assume this, you have last target on the mouse wheel UP.

    You cast Explosion, Hit mouse wheel up just one click, not scroll the mouse wheel, but just up one "click" and cast flame-strike...

    Explosion
    Last target
    Flamestrike
    (cursor)


    no problem! get the target cursor.



    Here is the problem

    You cast Explosion, you scroll your mouse wheel up, several "clicks" like you roll the mouse wheel. You cast Flamestrike, you see the words, but no cursor....

    What this in effect does is:

    Explosion
    last target
    last target

    last target(depends how far you scroll your mouse wheel, mine goes 3 clicks normally)
    Flamestrike
    (nothing)


    It is like the last target macro spams or floods the queue, which cancels out what is happening next. Hope this makes sense, and is the same problem i have.

    I have always had my Target Self macro on the number 1 key, with heals and such around it, so this has never been an issue for me in the EC, jsut last target. (i did that cause i would accidentally heal enemies, and blow myself up with both on the mouse wheel lol)

    Here is the thread beginning outlining the problem with BTeng, but had seem to be dropped.
    http://vboards.stratics.com/uo-enha...ueuing-last-target-mouse-wheel-fixed-yet.html
     
  15. Fresley

    Fresley Journeyman
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    Great post, Dermott. I would no longer be playing UO if not for the EC client and the hard work of the UO Modders community.

    My biggest problem right now with the EC is corpse looting and object opening. If you are not on the tile right beside an object, there is no access to it. This is compounded by larger corpses like Ogres. You can be standing on their leg and still have no access to loot. You have to find the magic tile somewhere up near their head.
     
  16. Merion

    Merion Lore Master
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  17. Mervyn

    Mervyn Certifiable
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    This is not the problem I have,

    I'd be happy to demonstrate the issue in game or discuss it through other means, however no devs have asked me.
     
  18. Mervyn

    Mervyn Certifiable
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    Ok here is my take on the BIG spell casting issue, at first i thought the casting was slower, so after running a few experiments, this was not so.

    Then i turned to cast recovery, this is sort of the problem, but technically again it isn't. Here is the exaxct symptom that describes why it feels like the casting is slower on EC: (it's nice and easy to test as you can run CC and EC on same PC and quickly switch and test it out)

    Cast a spell, (you can wait for the spell to cast and wait for the target to appear so all FC and FCR is finished).. Then as soon as you've targetted last or self or click a target, go to cast another spell... And nothing, no warning message, no txt, no nothing. This does not happen on the CC, with the CC, there is no physical way of hitting last target then going to cast a spell too soon, it just casts it even if there is as close to no time between hitting last target and casting a new spell, this is unfortunately not true at all for the E.C

    The reason why this is not immediately obvious, is you have to be pretty swift at this to produce the result (competitive mage pvpers with a low ping, casting small spells are likely to encounter this)
     
  19. Cetric

    Cetric Grand Inquisitor
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    After discovering the issues with the mouse wheel, i can't say i bothered pvping on the enhanced client.

    So unfortunately(maybe fortunately?) I haven't had that problem yet !
     
  20. Dermott of LS

    Dermott of LS UOEC Modder
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    Thanks to Cetric and others for helping provide more details on the casting issues. I didn't want to leave them out but I do have to confess it's one of the lesser aspects I have worked with in the EC so more informed explanations are helpful.