Author Topic: First Impressions  (Read 410 times)

Offline zoutzakje

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First Impressions
« on: July 18, 2019, 03:33:01 AM »
So I've had some time to get started on AIW 2 and I've been having a blast with it. I've spend most of my time reading and figuring out the basics, but I've also got an hour of about actual playtime. Which is nothing for a game like AIW, but enough to give me a first impression.

The Lobby

I like it. Just like i did with AIWC, i spend the first couple of hours (5-6) just reading and checking out all of the options, taking my sweet time. I like the overall look and feel of the lobby.

The very first thing i noticed was my homeworld named Murdoch. That made me chuckle. I assume Murdoch is coded to always start as your homeworld now (unless the player changes it ofc)? I feel like this game allows for much more flexibility in making new and interesting map types in the future than in the original game, though that could just be an illusion. One thing does strike me as odd though. We can no longer select a starting ship type. I understand it works different because of the fleet system, but i feel it removes a big initial strategic decision. Now the only reason you might want to change the default homeworld is to pick a planet with more favorable wormhole connections/position. Don't know if you have anything planned for it though. I would suggest to bring back starting ship choice and just add it to whatever starting fleet type you pick, though i can't say how that would affect the balance.

I was very surprised to see my name pop up in the lobby. I had no idea you were going to use that old alt.planetnames file i put together for AIWC. Absolutely awesome. I wonder what made you decide to use mine as one of the standard options, when others seemed to be more popular. I'm rather curious.

The new way factions are done looks really great. A bunch of familiar ones and a couple of new ones that look interesting, in a "devastating impact" kind of way. I also really like the idea of having a whole bunch of different AI's, instead of always 2. I am very much looking forward to experimenting with the Civil War option. I expect great chaos.

Tooltips have mostly been pretty clear in explaining things, both in lobby and ingame. I've been absorbing as much info as possible. I did notice an issue with them however. Tooltips don't always show up when you hover over something. Going into a different tab/menu and then back makes them appear again, but I'm not sure what causes the issue in the first place. I've seen this happen in both lobby and ingame.

After looking through all this, it was finally time to start my first game! I decided to go pretty easy on the settings. 1 AI (Tsunami type) with Anticipatory and Intelligent Predator, all on difficulty 7. Dyson Sphere and Trader turned on as well. Dropped scouting down from 8 to 5, Ai Threat on (threat just feels natural to me because of AIWC), and off i went!

Visuals

I would like to start by saying that I'm in awe of the forcefields. They look amazing. A little difficult to see sometimes exactly what ships are inside the forcefield, but i don't really care. Just being able to look at those forcefields is worth it for me.

Ship and structure design looks great. I have barely scratched the surface of it, but I'm enjoying what I'm seeing so far. I love the command stations as well, they look great. The Dyson Sphere also looks really cool, assuming that it really is the Dyson that I'm seeing. I'm not entirely sure. I'm looking forward to seeing what Golems, Raid Engines, and other cool stuff like that looks like.

Shots fired look very pretty. It's a little hard to tell which shots were fired from which ship type, but I'm sure that's just a matter of experience.

The edge of playable space (gravity well) looks really neat too. Great idea to make it look like an asteroid belt. Definitely feels like a more natural border than the simple lines in AIWC.

The only thing I'm a little unimpressed by is the death animation of ships. It doesn't feel right to me, like it doesn't fit in with the rest. I believe i liked the explosions of AIWC better, felt more natural too. I of course don't know how hard it would be to make death explosions for AIW2, or how much of an impact it would have for pc specs requirements.

Sidebar

I really like the sidebar. Everything you need to see or build easily available. I made the sidebar a little bigger so i could see the numbers better and it works just fine. Doesn't take up much room of the screen. Only thing I'm not sure i like is that the tabs (Local, Fleet, Hacks, etc) are displayed vertically. I imagine the decision to do so was made to save room on the screen, but it still bugs me a little.

Galaxy Tab

The Galaxy tab looks pretty neat. Combined with the sidebar it easily shows all the nasty things AI worlds have (though the tooltip in AIWC seems a little easier). Haven't tried it out yet, but i imagine the sidebar can be used to quickly send different fleets to different parts of the galaxy. I dislike having to double click on a planet to get regular view though, but i guess that's necessary because of the way the sidebar interacts with the galaxy tab.

It's possible that i missed the existence of it, but i would very much like a Priority system. In AIWC it played a big part for me in helping me formulate strategies.

Scouting

I'm not sure what to think of the new scouting system yet. I'm probably one of the few people who rather enjoyed the manual, micro-managy scouting of AIWC. I could easily spend the first 30-40 minutes of any new game just browsing around, and enjoy every minute of it.
The new scouting system sure is an innovative solution though, i must admit. I'll need to play more to make a proper judgment of it. The new system prevents scouting to many hops away from your empire and instead gradually scouts around you as you capture more planets. I'll have to see how this affect my games.
The one thing I am not happy with though is the need to hack a planet that's 2 or more hops away to get permanent visibility on it. I suppose I'll have to see how it works out for myself. It definitely adds another big strategic factor to the game, so that could be interesting.
But i imagine permanent visibility on many planets at once is no longer a thing.

Combat

So far combat has been quite fun. The fleet system is rather interesting as well. Different fleets for different purposes. I only got my second offensive fleet just now, so I'm only just starting to experiment with this. But i can definitely see the possibilities. It also forces you to try out ship types you normally wouldn't pick very often. The flagship being a mobile factory is pretty cool too, plus the fights are pretty to look at.
The one thing that strikes me as odd though, is that combat feels more slow-paced than it did in AIWC. Though i could attribute that to the fact there are multiple ships in a 'unit'. And of course the lobby has some options to fiddle with this as well.
I did notice that, compared to AIWC, it takes more time for your ships to enter a wormhole. If a fleet blob is right on top of the wormhole, there always seem to be some stragglers that slowly trickle in, instead of the near-instantaneous wormhole traversing of the old game.

I do have a suggestion for hovering over a wave warning. I would like to see the tooltip for the incoming ship type, like it did in AIWC. I'd like to know exactly what I'm dealing with, for regular waves at least. If an option for that exists already, i missed it.

I also like the Research system. Upgrading categories instead of individual units is interesting.


Well, that's about it for my initial experiences with this fun game. I'm sure i missed a bunch of things, but it's late and I'm tired. This wall of text is big enough anyways, my apologies.
Definitely looking forward to playing more and finding out if the tactics i used in AIWC still work here.

cheers,

zout
« Last Edit: July 18, 2019, 03:35:04 AM by zoutzakje »

Offline BadgerBadger

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Re: First Impressions
« Reply #1 on: July 18, 2019, 11:47:53 AM »
By "priority system" you're talking about ways to flag certain planets with "p1", "p2", or to leave notes on a per-planet basis for yourself later, right?

Offline zoutzakje

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Re: First Impressions
« Reply #2 on: July 18, 2019, 01:14:34 PM »
Mainly the ability to flag planets with P1, P2, etc, but yes.

Offline Dominus Arbitrationis

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Re: First Impressions
« Reply #3 on: July 18, 2019, 06:12:48 PM »
Mainly the ability to flag planets with P1, P2, etc, but yes.

What do you imagine this looking like? A simple "P1" or whatever number next to the planet on the map, the planet changing colors, or something else entirely?
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Offline zoutzakje

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Re: First Impressions
« Reply #4 on: July 18, 2019, 09:18:43 PM »
Mainly the ability to flag planets with P1, P2, etc, but yes.

What do you imagine this looking like? A simple "P1" or whatever number next to the planet on the map, the planet changing colors, or something else entirely?


Hmm hard to say, i hadn't really thought about it yet. I would say that the key is to keep it simple, yet not too limiting either. This is something that should remind you in an instant what your priorities are.
In AIWC, different people used the priority system for different purposes. Some people used it to see quickly what their next targets for conquest were, others used it as an indicator of how dangerous that planet was to them, etc. The old system worked great for many uses.

I however, am one of the people who used it to indicate where certain capturables or nasty AI structures were and simply remember which number i assigned to which object. I basically used it as a marker to highlight what i needed to keep in mind. The SuperTerminal was P0, Datacenters were P2, The ARS were P8, etc. The same numbers were always assigned to the same objects in any of my games. This helped me formulate strategies a lot quicker, but there were a few problems with it.
First, there were not enough numbers. The priority system only had 10 different numbers and the variety of capturables and nasty AI structures was simply a lot bigger. I could have used at least P0-P20, possibly even more.
Secondly, many planets had multiple objects that i would assign a P number to, and we were only allowed to assign one number per planet. "What is a priority to prioritize?" is a question i often asked myself. Maybe my way of playing was just silly.

For my personal preference, i would suggest to use the P system again, only expand on it. Allow for higher numbers, and also multiple numbers per planet. My imagination when it comes to what something is supposed look like is rather poor, but i imagine it would look something like this:

P 23, 8
or
P (31, 19, 3)

Something like that. I would suggest to put the P number(s) right above the planet image or right above the name of the planet if your planet names are always on. Below, left and right have numbers there already but above is still empty. Will be up to the player if they want to clutter it with more numbers or not. I certainly would.

As for colour, I would keep it simple and plain white. I feel like this game has enough pretty colours to distract you already. I can't speak for others, but the colours of the P system in AIWC did very little for me. The numbers were more important.
I would consider the planet changing colours a bad idea. Not everyone is able to see different shades/colours well, if at all. It would look cool, but it would diminish the usefulness of the tool, in my opinion. You could always add some sort of colour customization to it, if you want to give people that kind of flexibility.

Bottom right (or bottom middle) of the Galaxy Tab screen would be the perfect location to put the P system menu icon (or whatever you plan on using) in my opinion. It doesn't belong in the Sidebar since this would a Galaxy Tab thing only. Maybe right next to speed up/speed down icons.

I have no ideas for something else entirely, sorry. I am usually better at thinking of ways to improve what already exists, than create something new entirely.

I don't know if any of this is what you guys were looking for at all. Maybe I'm the only weirdo who used the Priority system like this. Still hope it gave one of you an idea.

« Last Edit: July 18, 2019, 09:25:54 PM by zoutzakje »

Offline Dominus Arbitrationis

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Re: First Impressions
« Reply #5 on: July 21, 2019, 03:53:53 AM »
So displaying multiple numbers would mean there would either need to be a hotkey for each number, or a box that lets you choose what numbers to assign. Both would take up a lot of space, either on the keyboard, or on the screen.

Plus, now most capturables are displayed, so that reduces the numbers required for your method.
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Offline zoutzakje

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Re: First Impressions
« Reply #6 on: July 21, 2019, 05:16:56 PM »
Yes, i noticed the capturables being displayed when zooming in a little. That's a nice touch! Certainly helps. I like that even the Zenith Trader shows up in that fashion.