Quality Assurance Version 1.0

John Cordell

Spaceman
Quality Assurance

While we are looking straight forward to the final release of the Privateer Remake there are still dozends of little things to fix, to leave the beta stage left behind and release a quality game that many people, even those who are not familiar with space simulations and Wing Commander, will enjoy. Since the hard gamebugs are nearly all found and fixed it comes now to the fine-tuning, therefore this thread should help the Privateer Remake team to see what YOU especially the pre-release testers think that should be fixed up for version 1.0.
Quality Assurance sees the 1.0 release as a final game like the original Privateer was and not a kind of BetaWare, so please be very finical but realistic, you won't hurt one of us by telling the truth ;)
This thread is NOT open for discussion, please post here only your full reports and suggestions so that the team can go through them one by one without being interrupted.

The Privateer Remake 1.0 release includes:
- The game itself
- The game's manual
- The website

Quality Assurance for the game:
-Appeareance and Stability of the game client
-Playability for a newbie (get along with it)
-GUI/HUD (intuitive, readability, display flaws)
-Sound/Music (volume, "sound snips", clear playback of all sounds, match the original event sounds?)
-Difficulty (should match the original privateer)
-Gameplay (did we catch up all the fun that made the original so enjoyable?)

Quality Assurance for the game's manual:
-what can be done better to introduce a newbie to the game?
-text formatting
-does the images match with the remake, replace with a better versions?
-are the information given accurate

Quality Assurance for the website:
-readability
-are the information given understandable
-do you miss any information essential for a newbie?
-browser compatibility, test the site with diffent browsers - does it look the same?

As a little hint and start i'll give a few examples:
Quality Assurance - Game: (run under W2K 800X600 32Bit)

Sound/Music:
1. When you click the first time (new game) on a mercenaries or merchants guild person you hear a "sound snip" before the person talks to you (maybe only on my machine?)
2. The talking sound on bases is compared to the music a little bit too loud
3. You hear damage done to ships far away from you, i don't think it's necessary (don't remember the original)
4. When a rocket is fired from another vessel you hear the sound like it was fired directly in your cockpit (too loud), maybe cut it off

Appeareance and Stability of the game client:
1. When you start the game it opens with an image full of noise or "snow" before the real loading screen pops up, for several seconds you think your hardware crashed, maybe you can change this to a black screen?
2. A progress bar for the game in loading process. A common user doesn't want to see the files loading but how long it might be take till he or she can play.
3. A new title screen is need, at least the buttons new, load etc. from the current one should be deleted, they are confusing.

Playability for a newbie (get along with it):
Until an animated introduction is available i suggest to show up a simple small story, when the loading is finished.

Gameplay:
You still can switch off the entire cockpit with "F1". It shouldn't be possible in the final release. Remember the main reason many people hate the Tarsus and want to buy a better ship is that you simply don't see "anything" with these small windows. It's an essential element to Privateer's gameplay difficulty and fun (when you've got finally the centurion :D ).

GUI/HUD:
(please take a look at the screenshots below)

I hope you guys come up with some more additions to this thread. The Privateer Remake would greatly appreciate your help to improve it for the 1.0 release.
Therefore this thread will temporarely remain sticky.
 

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MamiyaOtaru

Spaceman
Sound:
"2. The talking sound on bases is compared to the music a little bit too loud"
I have the opposite complaint. On base speech is way too quiet. It varies from machine to machine.
"3. You hear damage done to ships far away from you, i don't think it's necessary (don't remember the original)"
There are variables in the config file to adjust this. Same goes for point 4. Find some you like and let us know.

Gameplay: switching off the HUD
I agree with you, but plenty of people don't. It was decided to leave HUD mode in after a discussion where a lot of people expressed a strong desire to keep it.

GUI:
About the white line underneath the energy bar, there is no one pixel white line in any of the graphics files. It is a glitch with transparency and fixing it is easier said than done. That particular one can likely be fixed with more precise placement (I did that 'pit over 3 years ago), but stuff like the shields in the demon are simply going to have it.

0:12 "cut it, not necessary for gameplay":
I see no problem with seeing when a message was sent. Not strictly necessary, but it can be nice to know how long it has been since something happened.

Speed and set speed fonts not matching:
at the moment it is not possible to have different ofnts for different parts of the GUI. Has to be the same one. Quickest fix here would be to change SET and KPS to match the standard gui font, but I hold out hope that eventually we can use different fonts for different gui elements, so KPS and SET stay as is for now.

Enabling collisions with planets: Easy, but not done on purpose. Just blowing up wasn't too fun, and bouncing off was stupid. Opinions on this are welcome.

Button text overlapping edge of the button: They don't at higher resolutions ;) At lower res, all we could do is make the font even smaller, but another of your complaints wsa that it was hard to read on the map. We are still limited to one font for the UI, so we prefer more readable to fitting entirely within the button. Well, the buttons could be made larger, but at higher resolutions that wouldn't look good either.

shipName.blank: I thought these were all fixed. Maybe not :D

Hard to see jump point: it's a funky background.. good thing for target brackets ;)

****

For the rest of the stuff I didn't address:
We can look at it, but at this point not much is going to change. We are into Release Candidates now, and things are pretty much frozen.
 

John Cordell

Spaceman
"Gameplay: switching off the HUD
I agree with you, but plenty of people don't. It was decided to leave HUD mode in after a discussion where a lot of people expressed a strong desire to keep it."

Hey, no offense i only do some quality assurence and that's a vital part of the original gameplay and fun privateer had, so a non-cockpit mode is not acceptable and i only want to have it said *g*
At least i can't decide it, but i can give an advice at this point.

"GUI:
About the white line underneath the energy bar, there is no one pixel white line in any of the graphics files. It is a glitch with transparency and fixing it is easier said than done. That particular one can likely be fixed with more precise placement (I did that 'pit over 3 years ago), but stuff like the shields in the demon are simply going to have it."

No, you have to save the images correctly. The energy bar of the centurion for example with Photoshop "Save for Web" "PNG-8" "Matte: Black" (and not white) then it should appear without a white 1px line ;)

"0:12 "cut it, not necessary for gameplay":
I see no problem with seeing when a message was sent. Not strictly necessary, but it can be nice to know how long it has been since something happened."

I think it messes up the message flow and is really not important at best confusing.

"Speed and set speed fonts not matching:
at the moment it is not possible to have different ofnts for different parts of the GUI. Has to be the same one. Quickest fix here would be to change SET and KPS to match the standard gui font, but I hold out hope that eventually we can use different fonts for different gui elements, so KPS and SET stay as is for now."

A solution would be to write set and kps also with the HUD font and delete it from the image.

"Enabling collisions with planets: Easy, but not done on purpose. Just blowing up wasn't too fun, and bouncing off was stupid. Opinions on this are welcome."
Solution already offered at least a suggestion, when you're near a planet a warning message shows up on your ships monitor maybe together with a sound, if you wish to ignore it, blowing up is the next step you can't ignore, or you will land automatically i see no other logical solution.

"Button text overlapping edge of the button: They don't at higher resolutions ;) At lower res, all we could do is make the font even smaller, but another of your complaints wsa that it was hard to read on the map. We are still limited to one font for the UI, so we prefer more readable to fitting entirely within the button. Well, the buttons could be made larger, but at higher resolutions that wouldn't look good either."
That's not acceptable. Then you have to calculate the font size dynamically relative to the resolution. 800X600 is still a common used resolution, or someone has to paint the nav pad body with buttons and writings.

"Hard to see jump point: it's a funky background.. good thing for target brackets ;)"
Change the transparency of the jump point?


Continue - Quality Assurance - Game: (run under W2K 800X600 32Bit)

Appeareance and Stability of the game client
1. When you select a ship to buy especially a galaxy the computer totally freezes up - too long and when you cancel the buying process the ship dealer still talks to you.
2. The Setup application still has the Vegastrike Icon and is named "Vegastrike - Version 0.4.0".

For the new colorfull space background images, i'm not sure that so many are necessary, i'm feeling like constantly flying through gas clouds. You really should spare them for special locations and not using them that often. Remember, the Original never had such colorfull backgrounds and it doesn't match with the background animations of the bases (see the attached images below)

Sound/Music:
"3. You hear damage done to ships far away from you, i don't think it's necessary (don't remember the original)"
It's already said, but after playing a while i realise that hearing it all the time makes me crazy, you think the entire Gemini Sector is a warzone, the universe was compared to the Original more silent and enjoyable to fly through.

GUI/HUD:
(please take a look at the screenshots below)

Even if we're close to the final, quality assurance gives you the serious advice to consider to fix the things mentioned in this thread. (btw. i asked the repair druids in space suits, they will pray that you think about it *g*)
 

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kilolima

Spaceman
I thought we were supposed to just post QA info with out debating each other's posts?

How about thematically:

NAV MAP

Well, now that I have a 17" monitor I can stop whining that everyting is messed up on the screen :). But, how about if symbols for ships were replaced from the round things (everyting else on the map is round except asteriod fields, so it's hard to see), and use a star, or a little ship icon, or something like that. Or different symbols for military or civilian craft.

I agree with JC, nav map font size should check with the setup program for screen resolution... my first impression of the nav map was really really bad after seeing the button text trailing off... And there's no point in having a kick-ass game in every other regard if something little like this is going to screw it up.

Also, perhaps nav map icon size could also change automagically based on setup values.

HUD

Love the invisible cockpit... please don't make us relive the poor design choices of the original...

An ECM on light would be nice.

I get totally confused by ship to ship radio comms. In the top left corner it says something like: "tarsus, shadow.something: <message>". Does that mean that the tarsus has said that, or is the reciever? maybe the ship name could be bolded or something. I always end up having to pause the game and going back to figure it out.

GAMEPLAY

IIRC, in the original, the Orion was a piece of junk. I've seen the thread somewhere here about it... any plans to make it worthwhile at all??

And leave the stilletto in, somewhere...

Also, please leave the other ship types and components in the units.csv file so players can re-add them to the game on their own without too much hassle (ooooo, 'hacking' with a spreadsheet...)

otherwise, wow, can't wait for the final release!

cheers

kilolima
 

John Cordell

Spaceman
Quality Assurance for the game's manual:
I suggest the following images should be replaced with HighRes or updated versions:
page 41, figure 18
page 42, figure 20
page 70, mining base
and the pages head image "Privateer Remake" could be replaced by a larger version of the new forum banner

content:
page 55, 8.1.1, 8.1.2
There is still no online database about weapons and missiles on our website. Did i miss something? You should cut it temporarely out until a source for that is available or you include an overview to the manual itself, which i would suggest.
I didn't read through the whole manual, maybe someone else can help here?

Good work Silverain!

Quality Assurance for the game:
1. The small 16x16 stiletto icon needs to be brighter and more colorful (like the unistall icon)
2. The Setup program Text has to be changed "The Privateer Remake requires the latest drivers..." and i'm suggesting a third button with "Save Settings And Start"

Sound/Music:
1. Goodin on Perry still talks to you even when you've left her.
2. When you "buy" a ship from the "my fleet" menue the ship dealer tells you the same thing he told you when you originally bought it. Seems to be a little strange :)

Gameplay: (Bugs)
Bought an Orion and can't activate the new damage report.
If you press for example m or r two times the same image pops up on both monitors, this isn't very useful and has to be changed. The targeting systems also acts strange, with the centurion i can select any object in space, with the orion only what's directly ahead.

GUI/HUD:
(please take a look at the screenshots below)
 

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S

scheherazade0xf

Guest
1) nav map icon sizes are determined in the navscreen.xml file

2) my suggestion for the invisible-hud mode was this :

story missions force graphical-hud.
generic space flight lets you go no-hud mode.

the cockpit visibility was an important part of each ship. i think it should still be there.

3) the time on messages : i don't mind it, but i wouldn't care if it was gone in its current implementation. ALTHOUTH, i would like it there if it displayed the actual time. i.e. hours+minutes of your computer.

4) the planets : automatic landing zone maybe? if you get close enough it just auto lands you. that way there are no collisions. also, since hte game goes on when you're on the planet, you can just take off and get back to what you were doing should you accidentally land.

5) button text : ya, we could make the font size a function of resolution. i don't see why that would be bad.

6) the relations | kills : i disagree that it's confusing. i think it's quite the opposite actually :).

7) the darkness on the bases could be mitigated by adding some lights on the base? i think that would be a good solution. but really, i don't mind it, since it's light on the other side. and really, this is 3d, so i would consider the light/dark sides as a bonus, rather than something needing a fix.

8) colourful backgrounds : i like them... but we could go with darker ones for the remake. maybe push the colourful ones more to WC:U when we open up the entire map. a ton of systems have no previous history (in images), so we can be free to do whatever with those.

9) the ship in base lighting... ya... we need to fix the light direction for in-base craft. i'm not sure how it's done. i think it might be defined in the base python? mamiya, do you know where the light source is set?

10) also, the 3d nav screen model. it's 3d on purpose, for robustness. you can make a 2 triangle squade, map it with a texture, and give it a self-illumination value. it will then look 2d. but really, 3d is much nicer.

-scheherazade
 
S

scheherazade0xf

Guest
also, the game should really be played at 1024x768 and up.
the lower rez's are archaic. there for compatability more than intended use.
i haven't used that rez (800x600, when i could go higher) since 98 maybe?

-scheherazade
 
S

scheherazade0xf

Guest
ooo, i like the string formatting suggestion.

we could have something like :



// find appropriate length for given size
string intended_length = function_of(resolution, fontsize)

// set string to be the 'thing' it's talking about
string text = item_name;

// crop it if it's too long already
if(text.length > intended_length){
text = substring(text, intended_length);

// stuff it if it's shorter than the intended length
else{
for (intended_length-text.length)
text += " ";}

// get a string for the amount in brackets
string count = int_to_string(amount)

// place the brackets
text(text.length-count.length-1) = '('
text(text.length-1) = ')'

// copy in the number
for(count.length,i){
text(text.length-count.length-1-1+i) = count(i);}

print the string

-scheherazade
 

MamiyaOtaru

Spaceman
The light source is the sun. The ship is lit as it was the moment you hit the dock button. Being docked just draws a 2d background behind it ;)

Game should be played at least at 1024*768, as was said. Using a smaller font for the map is possible, just keep in mind it would mean the UI font everywhere would be smaller too.

"No, you have to save the images correctly. The energy bar of the centurion for example with Photoshop "Save for Web" "PNG-8" "Matte: Black" (and not white) then it should appear without a white 1px line ;)"
Ah good point. Don't have Photoshop though. Someone who does (or has something equivalent) could easily help out there. Shields, energy bars etc. Keeping in mind that some energy bars (like the demon's) are ona grey background.

Kilo: you can see if the ECM is on in the repairs MFD.

Dun worry Scheh :) I was aware that I had posted, and deleted the correct one hehe Maybe you should get an account here so you can at least edit posts.
 

JKeefe

Spaceman
John Cordell said:
Bought an Orion and can't activate the new damage report.
Works fine for me. Make sure you have scrolled the text - this messes up the damage MFD.

If you press for example m or r two times the same image pops up on both monitors, this isn't very useful and has to be changed.
Nothing has to be changed; we are only here to make suggestions.
Dual MFD cockpits alternate MFDs with each MFD function change. Therefore, if you press "m" twice, you are actually calling the cargo manifest twice - it first appears on one MFD and then the other. This is by design.

The targeting systems also acts strange, with the centurion i can select any object in space, with the orion only what's directly ahead.
Sounds like you have no radar at all - this is the behavior then. I bought a radar in my Orion and everything targets and locks as it should.
 

hellcatv

Swabbie
Banned
What if I made the hud view have no instruments, just a crosshair (i.e. if you were leaning forward and staring into the void

would people be mad?
 

John Cordell

Spaceman
"story missions force graphical-hud.
generic space flight lets you go no-hud mode.
the cockpit visibility was an important part of each ship. i think it should still be there."

A way would be (a compromise) to force cockpit-mode till the "main" story missions are finished.

"the time on messages : i don't mind it, but i wouldn't care if it was gone in its current implementation. ALTHOUTH, i would like it there if it displayed the actual time. i.e. hours+minutes of your computer."
What purpose should that serve? In general, the more information you display, the more confusing is it for the user to get through.

"the relations | kills : i disagree that it's confusing. i think it's quite the opposite actually :)."
Oh no *g* it's confusing because "relations | kills" is displayed above factions and not above the relation/kills count :)

"the darkness on the bases could be mitigated by adding some lights on the base? i think that would be a good solution. but really, i don't mind it, since it's light on the other side. and really, this is 3d, so i would consider the light/dark sides as a bonus, rather than something needing a fix."
It simply shouldn't be that dark, the user should be able to see it otherwise it looks like normal space and confuses.

"also, the game should really be played at 1024x768 and up.
the lower rez's are archaic. there for compatability more than intended use.
i haven't used that rez (800x600, when i could go higher) since 98 maybe?"

If the game is not meant to be played in 800X600 or is not directly supported you should mentioned it somewhere in the setup program, otherwise people will use it and are angry about the results in-game. MamiyaOtaru just made the things clear now, i will continue my testing in 1024x768.

@JKeefe
Thanks, for the info :)
When i talk about "something has to be changed" it's always a suggestion from QA, i don't order anyone *g*

Continue - Quality Assurance - Game: (run under W2K 1024X768 32Bit)

Appeareance and Stability of the game client
1. Loading Pauses when jumping; can they be avoided by preprocess the necessary data before your real jump takes place, for example process it when you've targeted the jump point and closing in at 6000?
2. When you're about to land on a planet the game also halts, you should inform the user that a new environment is being loaded by writing "loading" on the screen, maybe directly under the crosshair or above.

You have died screen
I suggest the "died screen" shows a short news from GNN, something like:
This week [random number] people were reported missing in space, one of them was found dead in [system where you died], the DNA analysis reveals his identity. His name was Burrows Graysomething. Only one of many people lost their lives in the violent Gemini Sector...
Press "R" to respawn or "ESC" to quit the game.
When you've hit "R" you should notify the user that the game is being loaded, display "loading" somewhere on the screen (lower left).

Gameplay: (Bugs)
You've already bought all quadrants, but everytime you click again on the maps in "Software" the pad says "Thank you for purchasing..." and your credits will be decreased by the prize of the map.

GUI/HUD:
When you activate the Nav-Pad and select "Nav Comp" a new screen pops up and the navpad disapears, logically the nav-comp screen should appear on the nav-pad's display and not full screen.
(please take a look at the screenshots below)
 

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hellcatv

Swabbie
Banned
there is an option to enable precaching

just select the highest memory requirement in setup.exe

it uses more memory--but not that much more...we should make it the default
 

kilolima

Spaceman
What if I made the hud view have no instruments, just a crosshair (i.e. if you were leaning forward and staring into the void

Don't you dare.

gameplay shouldn't be confused with user interface. That means that hud view has nothing to do with the game story/ship type, it's just another way to allow a player to interface with a flat monitor better.

And as for this righteous bs:

also, the game should really be played at 1024x768 and up. the lower rez's are archaic. there for compatability more than intended use. i haven't used that rez (800x600, when i could go higher) since 98 maybe?

I run it at 800x600, as my 32 mb graphic card can't handle anything else. Maybe the developers could try it like that for awhile, and see what the UI looks like at that rez? You may be unpleasantly suprised... or, while you're at it, why don't you redesign the web page so it only works with IE?
 

MamiyaOtaru

Spaceman
Sheesh no need to take it personally. The game also pretty much requires a 3d card, but that doesn't mean we are trying to marginalize people who don't have one. It's just how it is.

At least it is still playable at lower resolutions (and yes, I'm quite aware of how it looks).
 

JKeefe

Spaceman
hellcatv said:
there is an option to enable precaching

just select the highest memory requirement in setup.exe

it uses more memory--but not that much more...we should make it the default
I have my config set to 1024MB RAM, but still often get considerable pauses when initiating a jump.
 
U

Unregistered

Guest
HUD:

I've started work on doing the HUD images over. I want to keep the intent of the originals (so the inside of a Tarsus will look like a Tarsus) but bring the graphic quality up to the level of the rest of the game. For the release of 1.0, I think that all the 2D 'screencap' graphics need to be redone. I'll have all the cockpits done in a month or so (maybe less) since I just started today, but all of the graphics jacked from the original should be redone if we're going to call it 1.0

-Drassk (it won't let me log in)
 

hellcatv

Swabbie
Banned
initiating aj ump, yes--we don't cache the backgrounds--that would be ridiculous...
but autopiloting around should be much smoother.

Drassk: excellent maybe you could start with the Centurion and Galaxy...I have some reference images I'd like to point you to:
http://www.crius.net/zone/showthread.php?t=9607&highlight=cockpit+energy+jpg

there are some pretty horrid jpeg artifacts tho so we can't use the images...but they certainly will help
note that the galaxy is missing a few screens and the orion is zoomed out
 

John Cordell

Spaceman
"gameplay shouldn't be confused with user interface. That means that hud view has nothing to do with the game story/ship type, it's just another way to allow a player to interface with a flat monitor better."
Privateer had cockpits for different proven reason, cutting them off would hardly violate the original design and is not acceptable for a Remake, it should not be possible during normal gameplay. At least you have always the option to deactivate them (get into the code).

(sorry OT)
"why don't you redesign the web page so it only works with IE?"
Because i'm responsible for the website and designed it for compatibility so that it can be displayed by a wide range of browsers and resolutions to attrackt many people and as long as i'm the webmaster it will stay as it is or the repair druids in space suits will get you all and tickle you to death :)

"I have my config set to 1024MB RAM, but still often get considerable pauses when initiating a jump."
Same here, even after activating autopilot or when new ships are entering the system.

"I've started work on doing the HUD images over. I want to keep the intent of the originals (so the inside of a Tarsus will look like a Tarsus) but bring the graphic quality up to the level of the rest of the game. For the release of 1.0, I think that all the 2D 'screencap' graphics need to be redone. I'll have all the cockpits done in a month or so (maybe less) since I just started today, but all of the graphics jacked from the original should be redone if we're going to call it 1.0"
Absolutely agreed for the new cockpits and if they look like the ones from Capn Johnny you have my blessing :) If there's any chance to get overhauled 2D base artwork in foreseeable time we really should wait for it, but Drassk remember it's not only the base backgrounds itself but also all the little animations, a lot of work for one person. Either all base backgrounds and animations will be overhauled or you should keep the old ones, do not mix them up, that's the QA advice at this point.

Continue - Quality Assurance - Game: (run under W2K 1024X768 32Bit)

Several comments and suggestions, please take a look at the pictures below.
 

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