Author Topic: First Victory: Few Ever Find It  (Read 5206 times)

Offline twinnrova

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First Victory: Few Ever Find It
« on: December 08, 2015, 01:50:52 PM »
Did you know that on Steam, less than 4% of those who've purchased AI War have ever won a game? Even more shocking, fewer than 25% of those who have purchased the game have ever spent an hour on a single campaign. (This info comes from viewing what percentage of players have unlocked certain achievements on Steam). This tells me two things: first,  that AI War is difficult for people to get into, as over 75% of consumers never lasted an hour in a single campaign. I absolutely love AI War, and am currently 16 hours into my first campaign. I've been having SO much fun with this game, I can't praise it enough.  But 75% not playing for longer than an hour is a lot! Is there a way these people could be better eased into the game? Perhaps with a more interactive tutorial? This is just shocking to me.  The second thing I can conclude from these facts is that AI War is a challenge,  and victory is a reward that less than 4% reach.  I can't wait to deliver the final crushing blow to my AI overlords in my first campaign. Any thoughts about these facts?
« Last Edit: November 11, 2016, 06:31:22 AM by twinnrova »

Offline NickAragua

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Re: First Victory: Few Ever Find It
« Reply #1 on: December 08, 2015, 04:01:50 PM »
Doesn't surprise me. Most people don't beat most games that they own. AI War is pretty dense, so that number will be even lower. Finally, attacking the AI homeworlds is a higher-order challenge than the rest of the game, so a good percentage of people will get *almost* to the end and then get murdered by the AI when they go to attack the homeworld.

Offline twinnrova

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Re: First Victory: Few Ever Find It
« Reply #2 on: December 08, 2015, 05:20:44 PM »
It is very dense at first glance, and these numbers are understandable. Most people don't beat games they own. But, do most people invest less than one hour into a game they own? I'm just unsure about that.

Offline Imago

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Re: First Victory: Few Ever Find It
« Reply #3 on: December 08, 2015, 06:13:26 PM »
Probably. Especially for games that have seen 50 or 75% off sales. Don't underestimate the impulse buy effect.

Offline Aiviru

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Re: First Victory: Few Ever Find It
« Reply #4 on: December 08, 2015, 07:15:02 PM »
I've got heaps of games that I bought because I like the idea or even because I've seen an LP of them and want to support the developer yet that I just haven't gotten to yet, and wouldn't overly mind if I never did because I already got something out of buying them.

That's not even counting a bunch of games I do really want to get to but haven't.

Also something to keep in mind: I went over the first few tutorial 'lessons' over two days, and the last one took about... 3-5 hours? More? Even people who put a few hours in might not even have started a campaign. That said, I do have over an hour into a campaign, but certainly nowhere near a win yet. I found the tutorial clear enough but I spent a bunch of time reading up on stuff even before then.

Honestly, the biggest 'issue' I see? This game just has a relatively narrow appeal, and anything that would seriously broaden that would at the same time lose a lot of what draws the core fans. It's a niche game, and I'm frankly thrilled such games can make it, because I generally like things that are way more in-depth than appeals to mainstream.

Offline Kahuna

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Re: First Victory: Few Ever Find It
« Reply #5 on: December 08, 2015, 07:42:54 PM »
Living in a world where majority of people have the attention span of a chicken, I'm not surprised.
set /A diff=10
if %diff%==max (
   set /A me=:)
) else (
   set /A me=SadPanda
)
echo Check out my AI War strategy guide and find your inner Super Cat!
echo 2592 hours of AI War and counting!
echo Kahuna matata!

Offline ErictheRed

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Re: First Victory: Few Ever Find It
« Reply #6 on: December 08, 2015, 10:14:55 PM »
Steam has turned gamers into collectors.  That combined with video game media that is always rating/discussing/playing the next and the newest stuff seems to lower the attention threshold for everyone. 

I love this game because of all it's unique qualities, but that also hurts it in the mainstream gamer market.  When you first click on that science vessel and see all the different categories and choices within each available for unlock, it is overwhelming.  Scrolling over each choice makes it worse because you get a bunch of abbreviations and related numbers.

The game phases are also wildly different.  Early, Mid, and End are completely different animals, and to treat any two of them in the same manner usually will result in the "You Lose" banner across the screen.

I've sung this game's praises to so many people and it did stick with some, but only with a bunch of hand holding in the beginning.  Several of them have told me that they think of AI War as sort of an uncooked Paradox game, where you can see everything going on "under the hood". 

The two major complaints I've heard are 1) "It's too hard" and 2) "The interface is not intuitive." 

Offline TheVampire100

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Re: First Victory: Few Ever Find It
« Reply #7 on: December 09, 2015, 12:07:21 AM »
The problem with AI War for most RTS lovers is, that people except reactions. When you play a typical RTS you do something and except to get a result shortly after. In AI War however stuff you do adds up on a bigger scale. Most stuff you do at the beginng affects the late game however you will notice only little of it in the early game. Like capturing planets, it adds Ai progress but most people don't get what Ai progress actually even means. Most of what they understand that a big number is bad but they don't understand WHY the big number is bad and how big exactly the number has to be until it's bad.
This comes with the big number of possibilities the game has. You will have a hard time to learn everything and the problem is the game throws everything at you right at the beginning, there is no "slow progress" like in other RTS games. In other RTS games you have typically a straight-forward research tree and in most games you have a mission based campaogn where most missions introduce a new unit and help ypu to udnerstand the purpose of that unit and how you can use it in your tactics. AI War on the other hand gives you everything it has right when you start a campign and you have to find out all on your own.
When you play RTS on a regular base you EXCEPT that the game feeds you units with a spoon. And not getting fed is what people turns quickly off, stopping right at the start.
Even IF you manage to bear with all this, this ist not a granted victory. You still will take your time until you win the game.
The game is, on  a long run, for people that like a challenge AND have the time to learn the mechaincs. I find AI War in this case similiar to Dwarf Fortress. It's a really great game once you learn it, a complex game with a lot of features. But it's also brutal to learn with the most dumbest UI I've ever seen in a game. And no, this has nothing to do with "retro" or "ASCII". I could live with the ASCII graphics if the user interface and the controls where a lot better. I tried DF multiple times but sometimes gave up because the controls are too terrible and you have to scroll through multiple interfaces until you finally find what you want. I know there exist workarounds but let's be honest, a good game shouldn't need any workarounds to be playable and most DF fans use only modded versions of the game because otherwise it would be for them too painful.
AI War is int his way a lot better but it's still not a perfect user interface. This scares people, people nowadays are used to easy understandable gamign where you spend 5 minutes with learning but with a high gaming time (shooter).

Offline twinnrova

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Re: First Victory: Few Ever Find It
« Reply #8 on: December 09, 2015, 09:47:43 AM »
I've thoroughly enjoyed reading each of these responses and contemplating.

Honestly, the biggest 'issue' I see? This game just has a relatively narrow appeal, and anything that would seriously broaden that would at the same time lose a lot of what draws the core fans. It's a niche game, and I'm frankly thrilled such games can make it, because I generally like things that are way more in-depth than appeals to mainstream.

I definitely agree with this. I love depth in gaming, and I've always leaned more towards hardcore games rather than casual games. Even games that aren't so deep but require great skill appeal to me greatly; I thoroughly enjoy playing through the Halo series on Legendary with the Iron Skull on (one life), playing through Wolfenstein: The New Order on Ironman Mode (Again, one life). I also highly enjoy playing RTS games such as Age of Empires or Strongholds with self-imposed "No Save Scumming" rule on their toughest difficulties. High risk, high reward in a completely skill based game has always been my happy place gaming, and playing AI Wars with the self-imposed rule of no second chances hits the sweet spot for me. I'm currently in the middle of my very first campaign, on which I'm allowing myself to load saved games to learn the mechanics my very first time (Only a single loss thus far), but starting my next campaign I'll have the difficulty set to 7/7 and I'll accept the consequences of all my actions. I feel so happy having found a game that combines grand strategy and RTS play so well, along with a steep learning curve and an insane amount of potential complexity! I feel like Arcen Games has created nothing less than gaming gold! I haven't played any of their other games, but I definitely will be doing so. I really hope that 1.) they continue to put out new DLC for this game, and 2.) that when they eventually stop, they design an AI War 2 that's even more in-depth and complicated. I love it.

*ahem*

But, back on topic, it makes sense that the mainstream gamer wouldn't have the attention span to survive an hour of AI war, although I was initially surprised by the statistic.

Offline Kahuna

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Re: First Victory: Few Ever Find It
« Reply #9 on: December 09, 2015, 12:16:15 PM »
When you play a typical RTS you do something and except to get a result shortly after.
This applies to other games too. It's like a rewarding system in dog training. In order to learn the dog needs the reward immediately so it learns to associate *whatever* to the reward so it learns *whatever* is a good thing. (*whatever* can be "not losing it's shit" whenever another dog or person comes by for example.)

But it's also brutal to learn with the most dumbest UI I've ever seen in a game.
I've heard this numerous times and I honestly still can't understand what exactly makes it bad. I think it's simple and clear and it does it's job. The tech and building trees are easy to navigate and the tooltips are informative. The planetary summary on the right side of the screen and the tech/building menus are great. The toolbar in the bottom left corner doesn't get used too often but it can be useful too when searching for something specific.

However the "MAP" button on that toolbar is bugged. Clicking it opens a menu and clicking that menu will actually target the toolbar under the menu. So your click "goes trough" the menu. So that MAP button is useless. Also the minimap might as well be removed from the game because simply zooming out is much more handy. The STATS and CTRLS buttons are very useful though and do their job well.
« Last Edit: December 09, 2015, 12:45:54 PM by Kahuna »
set /A diff=10
if %diff%==max (
   set /A me=:)
) else (
   set /A me=SadPanda
)
echo Check out my AI War strategy guide and find your inner Super Cat!
echo 2592 hours of AI War and counting!
echo Kahuna matata!

Offline Mánagarmr

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Re: First Victory: Few Ever Find It
« Reply #10 on: December 09, 2015, 01:19:11 PM »
I've played AI War all the way back since 2.0 and I've only ever won 2-3 games tops.
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Offline Mánagarmr

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Re: First Victory: Few Ever Find It
« Reply #11 on: December 09, 2015, 01:21:20 PM »
I tried DF multiple times but sometimes gave up because the controls are too terrible and you have to scroll through multiple interfaces until you finally find what you want. I know there exist workarounds but let's be honest, a good game shouldn't need any workarounds to be playable and most DF fans use only modded versions of the game because otherwise it would be for them too painful.
To be honest, while DF:s interface definitely is clunky and VIM-like, "most DF fans" actually play the stock ASCII version. We who use mods and tilesets are the minority. I know, I was shocked to find out as well.
Click here to get started with Mantis for Suggestions and Bug Reports.

Thank you for contributing to making the game better!

Offline Kahuna

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Re: First Victory: Few Ever Find It
« Reply #12 on: December 09, 2015, 07:06:26 PM »
I know, I was shocked to find out as well.
Source?
set /A diff=10
if %diff%==max (
   set /A me=:)
) else (
   set /A me=SadPanda
)
echo Check out my AI War strategy guide and find your inner Super Cat!
echo 2592 hours of AI War and counting!
echo Kahuna matata!

Offline Kahuna

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Re: First Victory: Few Ever Find It
« Reply #13 on: December 09, 2015, 07:34:07 PM »
I tried DF multiple times but sometimes gave up because the controls are too terrible and you have to scroll through multiple interfaces until you finally find what you want.
I learned to play and got the basic idea of Dwarf Fortress in a week or so with the help of this tutorial series. You should check it out! Sadly I'm again too busy to really play games so I still haven't finished watching that tutorial series.
« Last Edit: December 09, 2015, 07:39:36 PM by Kahuna »
set /A diff=10
if %diff%==max (
   set /A me=:)
) else (
   set /A me=SadPanda
)
echo Check out my AI War strategy guide and find your inner Super Cat!
echo 2592 hours of AI War and counting!
echo Kahuna matata!

Offline Draco18s

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Re: First Victory: Few Ever Find It
« Reply #14 on: December 09, 2015, 08:40:01 PM »
Just as a point of interest, there is at least one person who has donated over $100 to Toady despite never once playing the game. He does it because he enjoys the stories of other people's games that much.