Map Testing Assister - Ideas and Discussion

Discussion in 'Server Discussion' started by Jindo, Mar 1, 2010.

  1. Jindo

    Jindo L3: Member

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    As I won't be able to help out with the map testing for the competitive CTF contest, I decided to take upon myself the task of completing the small feedback system I wrote in order to make it easier for people to take notes in-game as well as for players.

    This thread is basically to gather ideas/feature requests and other such things regarding the plugin. My aim is basically to recreate what I originally had, but add much more functionality, make it much more user friendly, and generally make it a lot more useful to both mappers and testers.

    The basic idea behind this is:

    • Players in-game type a command like !n followed by feedback.
    • Information is sent to a database including the player, their position and the feedback.
    • The web interface translates this information per map and lists it.

    The new plugin will send the data all the same, but how it is presented will be the drastic change:

    • Multiple tests of the same map will be taken in to account and different test sessions will be viewable on the interface.
    • Rather than the coordinates of the player being displayed as raw data, it will be translated on to a minimap, to give the mapper a much clearer idea of where the player was/what they were talking about (if anything).
    • Additional messages, such as scores at the end of the round, BLU-RED kills ratio will be displayed.
    • Feedback pages will take in to account whether or not players played full games or left/joined mid-game.
    • "timestamps" will show the elapsed time at which feedback was sent.

    I will aim to make the plugin as configurable as possible and as easy to use as possible for anyone (provided they have the necessary requirements for using it.)

    ---

    The idea is that a lot of map tests rely on people's feedback, and a lot of the time there is a missing link between testing a map and providing the feedback. Players will of course make brief comments on maps at the time they are testing them, but these comments are easily forgotten unless documented. The purpose of this plugin is to document those comments and present them in a clear format which is easily understood by the mapper, the aim is that his can go on to be of even greater use in map testing besides allowing for little notes to be sent and stored for use in a web app.

    So if you have any ideas, questions or features that you want to know about or would like to go in to this, please let me know!
     
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  2. Radaka

    Radaka L7: Fancy Member

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    That sounds like a great idea, not just for the contest, but in general!
     
  3. Flame

    aa Flame

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    I support this.
     
  4. Boylee

    aa Boylee pew pew pew

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    Wow. This would be extremely useful.

    /watches with interest.
     
  5. The Political Gamer

    aa The Political Gamer

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    Tie it to tf2lobby and I will love you for ever.
     
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  6. MrAlBobo

    MrAlBobo L13: Stunning Member

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    should also add a command that can take a pic and upload it to the same location everything else is going to
     
  7. Jindo

    Jindo L3: Member

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    I'm not sure how possible that would be, I could certainly allow for attaching screenshots outside of the game, if there is a way to upload it directly to the site then I'll look in to it although it's unlikely.
     
  8. Terr

    aa Terr Cranky Coder

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    It sounds doable. If you have an external program watching the console log, you can have it jump into action whenever it sees a special bunch of text, associating the last comment with the latest screenshot taken. I could do it, but I have an enough unfinished SDK tools on my plate right now.

    Alternately, it may be possible to write it as a SourceMod script.

    IMO the actual use case here is still pretty vague and could be made a bit more concrete.

    ___________

    That said, I don't think I'd use it. Most of the time I just take a bunch of screenshots in a row when messing with a map, and I can figure out what was important about them by looking at them afterwards.

    Then I just open them all up in Paint.net (one per tab) and drag some box outlines to emphasize things or drop in some text.
     
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2010
  9. Ravidge

    aa Ravidge Grand Vizier

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    Screenshots aren't that important. Just print position and angles data and the author can use 'setpos' ingame to see for themselves, IF they have to.

    Also, Jindo - looking forward to it.


    It's ingame, that is the big feature. People can play and leave feedback on the spot. A lot of comments never get through because they don't take the time to post on the forums.
     
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2010
  10. Terr

    aa Terr Cranky Coder

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    So just to be clear the goal here is for random visitors to leave notes without any prep of their own machine?

    I think screenshots are preferable to coordinates in a large number of cases. When you're back in the map-cave working on your latest edit, it's much easier to glance at them than to load up your map and manually teleport to each spot.

    Also they aren't sufficient to easily communicate cases like:
    • A missing texture
    • Any prop or material issue which differs based on DX settings and lodlevels
    • Same-plane texture-fighting
    • A bug (esp. clipping and building) which involves players and non-map entities
    ... So instead you find yourself wondering what the player meant by "the snowy thing" at coordinate X,Y,Z of your desert map.

    Lastly, space is pretty cheap nowadays. If spam is an issue, restrict a given Steam ID to a certain number of uploads.
     
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2010
  11. Jindo

    Jindo L3: Member

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    That's the idea, although who gets to provide feedback would be configurable it would be ideal if everyone was able to.

    Indeed screenshots are superior, but with Sourcemod alone it's unlikely I'll be able to allow for directly uploading a client-side screenshot straight to the web application. I'm going to be adding a minimap that pinpoints the coordinates to at least make the position of the feedback sender somewhat clearer to the mapper.

    Of course screenshots are better for showing this, but if the mapper knows where the problem is they should be able to find and correct it, a minimap is definitely better than just the description of the place, assuming that it isn't possible to implement direct upload of screenshots from the game.
     
  12. Lancey

    aa Lancey Currently On: ?????

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    Will the minimap display other information, such as the player's direction, nearby buildings, etc.? Will the player's current class be transmitted as well, so as to indicate a bug that can only be exploited by a particular class, and if so, a way for the player to specify that it can be done by any class?
     
  13. Jindo

    Jindo L3: Member

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    Other buildings will most likely be visible in the minimap as it is.

    Direction can be added very easily and most likely will be, as will the player's class at the time of the report (and team).

    As far as specifying that something can be done by any class, I guess details like that would be included in the note by the reporter, if they are relevant.
     
  14. Terr

    aa Terr Cranky Coder

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    There's some console command for map-overview generation that escapes me at the moment. Basically it tells the engine to render in isometric mode with a given X/Y expanse from a given height, and then you need to take your screenshot and put it somewhere.
     
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2010
  15. Jindo

    Jindo L3: Member

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    Excellent, I'll be sure to look for this, thanks!
     
  16. Steff0o

    Steff0o L6: Sharp Member

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    and what about a command that opens the thread in-game using the steam overlay?
    that will be usefull too, since people mostly forget to post feedback, and by making a quicker way to the thread it will be easier to rember.
     
  17. Jindo

    Jindo L3: Member

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    I don't know about using the Steam Overlay but it should definitely be possible to open the page through the MOTD display.
     
  18. Terr

    aa Terr Cranky Coder

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    To follow up, the command is cl_leveloverview X where X=0 disables it and increasing values of X alter the "size of the paper".

    I am careful about the term "zooming", since it does not lift your viewpoint up into the air. You can have a "level overview" which shows the tops of high roofs or skips them by altering your players' position in the Z/height axis.

    For that reason you should bind swimup and swimdown before using it as a spectator. The height of your "player" determines whether you can see the tops of roofs, etc. By comparison, the cl_leveloverview value only determines X/Y screen scaling.

    From when I last used it, here's an example image.

    From some other console commands, I give you the latest Maxis game, Sim Well :p
    [​IMG]
     
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    Last edited: Mar 9, 2010
  19. Icarus

    aa Icarus

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    What command does that?
     
  20. Terr

    aa Terr Cranky Coder

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    The Sim Well example? "camortho" and "cl_orthoheight" and "c_orthowidth". Note that the only way to get back to normal view (that I know of) is to alter your video resolution and restart TF2. I can't find a reversing "camperspective" command.

    As with other orthographic commands, remember the actual location of your camera matters in terms of which surfaces get rendered.

    One last caveat is that water doesn't render correctly. It may be because of the bizarro camera mode conflicting with the refraction code, or because you can see both the skybox and normal water at the same time...
     
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    Last edited: Mar 9, 2010