Thursday, May 11, 2017

Finishing touches

I am playing a lot of Blood Bowl 2.  The game itself, inasmuch as it recreates the board game, is wonderful.  I love it so, just as I have for almost 20 years now.

That line makes me feel kinda old.

But the implementation of BB2 leaves a lot to be desired.  One of the things that frustrates me about the game is the camera and how limited it is.  What I want in a camera, ideally, is the sort of control I have over it in WOW.  I want to be able to swivel around, shift side to side, zoom out, and look at the whole damn field any way I want.  Right now I am stuck with a restrictive set of camera angles that often leads me to be unable to easily get the information I need.  For example, at a particular zoom level I can't mouse over people in the injured box - they are off the screen and I can't scroll far enough down to see them.  I have to zoom out a couple levels to be able to figure out who on my team is mangled.  Ideally I would want the freedom to set up my camera so the football field is horizonal rather than vertical to fit better on my screen, but that isn't possible right now.

It also irritates me that the cinematics are so limited in terms of choice.  I find it hard to imagine someone who wants to watch a cut scene of a generic Blood Bowl player knocking down another generic Blood Bowl player on every block, but that is what the game defaults to.  What I want is to have cinematic for touchdowns and trophies, but otherwise just keep the game grinding onward.  How hard could it be to have some checkboxes to determine which cutscenes I want?  Instead there are four settings that don't let me get of knockdown cut scenes at all.  

I understand that changing the camera would take a bit of work but offering simple checkboxes for cinematics would be utterly trivial to code and would give players a lot more choice in how they want to waste their time.  I also would like the ability to speed up certain interactions in the game.  When I am knocking someone down and I have a choice of which square to knock them to, I need to click.  Fine.  But when I have one choice and literally cannot do anything else, I still have to click that space.  I don't see why that should be and the player should just get pushed there.  However, if they want to keep the extra totally pointless clicks in then there should be a checkbox that lets me ignore that bit if I want to.

In a similar vein I wish there were keyboard shortcuts for things.  I would like to be able to hit F or S for Follow or Stay after a block, rather than clicking, and that should be incredibly simple to put in.  These sorts of oversights confuse me because there is an awful lot of complicated work that goes into making the graphics and connecting the players for a game like this, and the sorts of modifications I want are so trivial that you could have the intern do it in a couple hours.

I think I am spoiled in this regard because I am used to WOW, which has had 13 years to improve its UI, and I can just stack in the mods I want to fix whatever the game itself doesn't handle well.  I have come to expect settings menus that have dozens of options to tweak the bits of the game I want just the way I like them.

Blood Bowl is fantastic.  The computer program shell that is built around the current Blood Bowl game though... has some issues.


  1. So I think the game actually has what you want?

    The general settings gives you 4 options for what cutscenes you want to see. All, touchdowns only, armour breaks (which includes touchdowns and fouls and the like but not every punch), and none. It would definitely be better to have more control over what you see but those 4 options are at least a decent start.

    (And as an aside, there are a lot of people who want to see the generic punching animations. I got a lot of requests from viewers to turn them back on when I had them off!)

    You can also set the match camera to Blood Bowl 1 mode which turns off the weird pseudo-3d view. I actually couldn't play the game at all in that mode; it makes me seasick. You can also hit the c button in game to toggle between the two views. I can definitely see my injured players no problem in the Blood Bowl 1 mode.

    You should also try hitting CTRL a few times if you haven't before, it gives you some interesting graphical options.

    On the plus side they are coming out with a new version of the game soonish and I think some of that stuff is going to be improved? I don't pay attention to upcoming feature lists but viewers talk about it from time to time.

    1. The four options are there, but I am not happy with them.

      Funnily enough I saw a BB2 video last night that had the punching animations on and I was gobsmacked that anyone who played the game constantly would want to see every damn knockdown... but I guess I have a bad read on the average BB2 player!

      I have tried both viewpoints and I prefer the non 3d mode, but it still isn't quite what I want. I wonder how much of the camera clunkiness is due to the game being available on consoles as well as PC.