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User Friendly ME Interface model- asked by LOFT

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Salut pilots! :S!: 

 

This concerns the future of IL2:BoS and (hopefully) RoF, and I know that there are many talented mission makers lurking in these waters- why not discuss or even contribute to the future of IL2?   :)

 

The situation:

LOFT (the head of all IL2 now) has asked for a person with Photoshop +Flash skills to give him an interactive model of a more User Friendly Mission Editor that would make the community happy so he could look into it. http://forum.il2sturmovik.su/topic/234-?-?????????-?????????-???/?p=12643 (use google translate if necessary)

 

The reasons for bothering with this:

 

1. It concerns more than the proverbial 1% that use ME, just the 5 IL2:1946 campaigns created by FlatSpinMan alone were downloaded by around 120.000 people. http://www.mission4today.com/index.php?name=Downloads&file=search&sa=104

 

Altogether there are around 500 English language campaigns and 1000 missions available for Il2:1946 http://www.mission4today.com/index.php?name=Downloads&c=1 

(+Russian, French, German, etc)

There are around 5 campaigns created by users in the 4 years that RoF was with us.

 

2. RoF editor is a powerful but difficult to use software. Professional IL2 campaign maker BlackSix (Roads of War was just one of  his works for Il2: http://www.1c.ru/news/info.jsp?id=8813) had unlimited access to RoF's programmers, but had to gave up after a month and a half  of trying.  Unlike IL2, current RoF ME requires one to not only be an artist, but also a programmer.  http://www.sukhoi.ru/forum/showthread.php?t=56886&page=242&p=1787763&viewfull=1#post1787763 (use google translate if necessary)

 

The already small proverbial 1% of  sim's userbase that create missions for other 90% of  offliners are *artists*, the requirement for *artists* to be programmers as well shrinks the user group much-much further (to 0.1% ?) - and this mathematically leads to decrease in quantity and quality of Campaigns/Missions output.

 

3. There is a connection between ME and plane sales (which is the main business for this sim maker) - good content created for a particular plane nudges a user to purchasing the said plane even if he had no interest in the plane itself to begin with.

 

4. From the history of flight sims we see that Static missions are more varied than Dynamically generated ones. The variety helps pilots to remain interested in the sim which again relates to purchasing planes. 

 

Plan of Action:

The requirement is "interactive ME GUI that demonstrates what we users mean by improved user friendliness". 

 

The best way to achieve this aim should be discussed among us, but it should probably be something like collecting ideas, making comparisons of  RoF editor to the famously user friendly ME from IL2 (1946,CLoD/LockOn?), collating and then producing the flash version.

 

For simplicity, its maybe best to post in the same forums - maybe ROF or IL2:BOS forums (http://forum.il2sturmovik.net/ ) although initially I will post this message in SimHQ, Aviaskins, ROF forums, Suhkoi, IL2:BOS, SAS, ATAG, 1C Yellow.

 

Thank you for your attention and lets cooperate for a future that will not limit us to DGEN Career and Quick Missions - let's face it, they get boring after a few months, and sim's life is always much longer than that ;)

 

[offtop]N.B. If you have never created much in RoF ME, only played around with it somewhat, please do not post that it is the easiest and best thing since sliced bread[/offtop]

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I know just who to ask..  Crazy Schmidt is the guy who put Mission  Mate together.. I have sent him a PM on multiple forums and hopefully he will get the message and pop in here. IMO Mission Mate was a very powerful tool and very versatile.. I don't know if CS is involved with RoF or not but I am sure that , provided he has the time to do it he could come up with something ...... If you haven't already give Mission Mate a spin to get an idea of what I mean. I used to use it all the time.. it was very handy and almost as versatile as the FMB .. in someways it was even more so because it was more user friendly.

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My 2 ????re (small Norwegian coinage):

 

I think it will be better to sacrifice a bit of complexity in order to have all the functions available through drop down menus. From my personal experience, the more artistic people are usually not very skilled in programming and vice versa. Perhaps a system where the same functions as in IL2 could be crammed into a comparable userface for "the masses" with the advanced functions that that can't be crammed into menus only available through a program editing window would work?

Edited by Friendly_flyer

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I see you making a big deal out of this on all the forums. What Albert said in Russian and I'm going to assume he was not being rhetorical since I have not spoken to him about his most recent comments yet, was that he would like to see a flash based or some other animated presentation of what the new user interface should look like and what features it should have. Saying it should be like IL-2 or DCS isn't enough for him.

 

Right now we are focused on the main task at hand which is building the release product. Creating a big long discussion on several forums without producing the example he has asked for isn't going to do much. And again, I'm not even sure he meant what you think he meant.

 

Jason

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Making the mission editor more user-friendly is definitely the right way to go. The ROF ME offers some great possibilities for mission/campaign builders, but it's a pain to work with it. I always enjoyed building missions in Il-2, but using the ME in ROF is much less enjoyable and fells more like work. That's why I have given up my attempts to do anything in the ROF editor.

In my opinion the main problem is, that compared to Il-2 more steps are necessary in the ROF editor to get the same results. I am not sure that this can be fixed by a new interface alone.

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To get straight to the point, I don't see any need to use Photoshp or Flash.

 

The reason IL2:1946 has so many campaigns and missions is because it has everything that is being requested. Just ask Loft to boot up 1946, get Blacksix to add some tools that were missing (copy and paste for example), and you have everything that the community needs for a popular user friendly interface.

 

No need for radical reworking, this was near perfect and very user friendly.

 

Cheers, MP

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I see you making a big deal out of this on all the forums. What Albert said in Russian and I'm going to assume he was not being rhetorical since I have not spoken to him about his most recent comments yet, was that he would like to see a flash based or some other animated presentation of what the new user interface should look like and what features it should have. Saying it should be like IL-2 or DCS isn't enough for him.

 

Right now we are focused on the main task at hand which is building the release product. Creating a big long discussion on several forums without producing the example he has asked for isn't going to do much. And again, I'm not even sure he meant what you think he meant.

 

Jason

 

Jason, I understand that. The discussion will hopefully take place mostly here and RoF forums, it will help planning what needs to go into the flash version. IL2 comparisons (I thought could be useful ) just as a sort of a guide. Final product for Loft needs to be a interactive presentation, it is clear and I stated it twice in my first post. 

 

Like I say, some discussion/consensus is probably needed to get the ball rolling. Unnecessary posts may be deleted by Moderators etc.

Edited by 89-

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I know just who to ask..  Crazy Schmidt is the guy who put Mission  Mate together.. I have sent him a PM on multiple forums and hopefully he will get the message and pop in here. IMO Mission Mate was a very powerful tool and very versatile.. I don't know if CS is involved with RoF or not but I am sure that , provided he has the time to do it he could come up with something ...... If you haven't already give Mission Mate a spin to get an idea of what I mean. I used to use it all the time.. it was very handy and almost as versatile as the FMB .. in someways it was even more so because it was more user friendly.

 

Yep, sounds like like he could be very useful. Same with maestro FlatSpinMan, but he keeps a low profile :)

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The GUI for MM was very well done.. it incorporated much if what was in the stock FMB of IL2 but in a more user friendly way.. and CS is also a programmer if I am not mistaken..

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Hi BC, got your PM and replied but thought I would reply directly here also.

 

Firstly for anyone who may be interested in seeing how Mission Mate works and is not already familiar with it, you can take a look here.

 

If anyone would like to know more about how Mission Mate works behind the scenes I would be happy to discuss it of course.

 

I do agree with the general thought process behind this thread for sure, that a simplified but fulfilling mission building interface goes a long way in keeping sim fans happy for longer because it is relatively easy for each individual to create their own new mission content quickly and easily, which is why I believe Mission Mate became popular with IL-2 fans.

 

Cheers, CS. :)

Edited by CrazySchmidt
  • Upvote 1

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Many thanks for posting here CrazySchmidt, potentially your help could be very useful. Han has said that they are willing to look at just suggestions (not animated flash model)- which is great. It also became clear that for suggestions to be concrete and feasible (not just "make it like IL2" - RoF has COMPLETELY different logic, and the aim was not to create a new ME, but to make the existing one more user friendly), people need to understand RoF ME, so the biggest contribution (if it will come) will be from RoF guys at RoF forums. 

 

Things like "make Translator Mission Begin Automatic" do not mean much to people who did not deal with RoF ME, but these are the kinds of suggestions that need to be discussed and then put forward to the devs.

 

This is the same thread in RoF forums, if anyone feels like contributing to discussion there : http://riseofflight.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=347&t=35349

 

Another twist to the tale is that Han and Loft have recently stated that they are considering to make Quick Mission Editor more complex, including being able to save generated missions there. To waht extend it will be like old IL2 full ME, is to be discussed. 

 

The good news is that they have shifted from "QM + DGen is mostly all we need for single player" stance- which is absolutely terrific imho.

 

S!

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Things like "make Translator Mission Begin Automatic" do not mean much to people who did not deal with RoF ME, but these are the kinds of suggestions that need to be discussed and then put forward to the devs.

 

Oh deary me! No wonder ROF only has a few campaigns made!

 

An absolute minimum for a user friendly builder is that all the functions are available through menus, and that the menus themselves are clearly and intuitively labeled. In IL2, the fact that all labels are translated from original Russian texts makes the labeling somewhat cryptic in places, expressions are often not 1:1 between languages.

 

Other minimum requirements are the ability to save, load and change your missions. It will also help to have an open file tree, i.e. that you are free to ad folders like "My superfun online missions" to the existing file tree and have it show up in game.

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