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Visual Communication


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  • Totem Arts Staff

I think it's obvious I play a lot, and when I can't play RenX (for extended periods of time, like now) I tend to glance at people's streams/videos of it. Now after watching enough from my angle and others, I've started noticing something that would probably aid A LOT in terms of communicating. RenX is missing visual queues to gain the attention of the common id- gamer running around mindlessly.

What I mean by visual queues can be summed up as subtle(or sometimes very explicit) 2D markers to draw attention to a particular location or player.

There was always talk about the VOIP issue, but I don't think VOIP would really help but a handful a players, namely those that wouldn't just turn it off, or those that actually spoke good enough English to keep up with people ranting about random crap. However, there's the old adage that "a picture is worth a thousand words" and those words told by a picture tend to transcend language boundaries. As for examples of where RenX is missing some queues that seem like they should exist (and at one point some DID exist in OldRen), I'll just name a few.


Possibly the most glaring example of where we need visual aids is with symbols over the head of players when they use radio commands. Saying "I Need Repairs" is kind of ineffective when there are multiple vehicles and infantry in a group and you don't have time to be glancing at the chat, ascertaining the name of the individual who said it, then looking around to check the names on the vehicles and people around you. This also helps loads for infantry, as it is unlikely you know the name of every player around you when one asks to be healed or another uses "Follow Me," or a similar command that requires you to have some context of their location to tell if the radio command was even relevant to you.

In the later days of OldRen with scripts, there were several server I remember incorporating floating symbols over the head of players when they used radio commands. It's a functionality that I feel added more than many people probably realised.

The addition of symbols over enemy heads when enemy units are either Q-spotted or have "Destroy that vehicle" used on them would also be a major help. Right now, "Destroy that Vehicle" just adds in the kind of vehicle you're looking at in the text...but if it says "Destroy that Vehicle Medium Tank" and there's 8 Meds on the field, it basically becomes useless. Coordinating fire might not be such a pain if targets could be painted in a sense. Even if the symbol over them only lasted for a second or two, it would be more obvious what the bloody hell you were saying to fire at.


A second, probably kind of more noticeable, addition that might aid in our ability to get the attention of the 15/20 people on your team that don't read would be to have a beacon system.

Just to point out another game without built-in VOIP, League of Legends allows decent communication between players that don't know each other just through the ability to ping points of interest. Obviously Ren is at ground level, so we wouldn't benefit from beacons on a map, but what we could probably use is at least rally beacons.

What I mean by rally beacons is a beacon visible only to your team that could be used to delineate the area to rally together to form a rush. As for how long it would last, and how far away it would be visible from is up for discussion, but I do believe this would make it easier to get the randoms on a team involved, namely because they'd be attracted to flashy lights. Just look at Planetside 2; if you make this area seem interesting (eg the map flashing on territory with fighting) people will migrate there.


Just something I noticed. I've played a lot of games that had VOIP that had basically no coordination because people either didn't use it, or ignored all of the random yelling on it. They also often failed to add a visual aid over in-game characters as to who exactly was talking. Again, visual queues are worth a metric ton in terms of coordinating.

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