Author Topic: First impression  (Read 683 times)

Offline kasnavada

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First impression
« on: April 07, 2017, 02:15:09 AM »
Alright... I've played quite a few game now.

A lot ain't there so I'm going to try not to bash those parts  :-X.

From a visual point of view:
- the game is moving into a much more impressive direction than the first one could ;).
- the addition squads really makes me feel like it reduced the numbers of units & turrets a lot. Maybe it needs more PEW PEW to feel like there is a lot of fighting going on. Not sure ::).
- shot effects are not visible enough (but they're not "done", so, ok).
- minor point (probably in the works but just not done you), I like the planets being different, but I don't like it being "numbers" : for example if a planet gives 1000 fuel & 2000 knowledge, I'd rather have 2 fuel canister icons and 4 sciency-thing icon. Also, I'd like a lot if the 2000 metal had 4 metal mines, 1000 had 2 rather than 1 everywhere. But I guess it's something just not done yet.

From a sound / music point of view:
- minor issue really, but I'd really like if the music was randomized, currently the game always starts with the same music.
- sounds effects for shots. PEW PEW PEW PEW. Yeah I guess, it's not a priority ::). PEW PEW. I understand. PEW PEW PEW.

From a design / balance point of view:
- ummm the main issue I have with AI War I is netflix time / very long travel time. It needs more work. I'm not sure if that's something you had time to think /work on a lot or not.
- The UI buttons that are here and planned now seems to let the player do a lot of things that were doable from submenus directly though, like preventing passage through planets.
- I really like the new scouting.
- I really like how starships are now handled, being capturables on the map & all and being fleet constructors. However the issue I have with this is that it makes me feel like fleetships should be "tied" to starships / docks.
- - This new design makes me use the ships as mobile constructor and completely forget that there is docks that can build ships. (is that really an issue ?)
- - I tend to therefore always use all my starship when sieging. Which is good because it makes them at risk.
- - Makes me wonder if it would be better to have the starships build themselves an "escort" rather than just building. For example, you could assign X fighters & and Y bombers to your flagship, and it would build them automatically rather than the build system that currently is there. Same with all ships. Following this idea, I think it would be great if each starship came with an augmentation of your total fleet capacity => with a new starship you'd be able to build 120 of each ship instead of the 100 base one. Ultra minor point: It would also enable to code a new "command" starship with no capacity other than "raise the cap of ships by 40".
- - following this point, I'm wondering if there should be a "select all ships tied to this starship" to facilitate map movement.
- - of course, idle starships / docks in the vicinity of starships with an incomplete "escort" need to help the stuggling starship build their escort :D.
- - However, this could be considered a huge gameplay / design shift. But that's how the current system makes me feel. If the starships would not be able to build ship anymore, the game might feel more than AI War I to me. Currently starship capable of building ships makes me feel like homeworld. This ain't a bad thing IMO, but... maybe it's not what you guys are aiming for. Which means than another idea to make it feel "more AI WAR I" to me would be to remove the building capacity of starships (but they can still build controllers).
- - the removal of engineer is IMO a good thing but it's also helping making the game feel a lot more starship-oriented than "I built a base". No idea if that's intended or not.
- The new "defense" / turret systems makes the planet much more vulnerable than ever before, yet it matters less because there ain't anything to defend in any case. By that I mean that losing starships feels like a huge penalty, but losing planets... for some reason... does feel to me likes it doesn't matters. The change in wormhole is neat though. But I guess it will need "fixed" defenses like forts before it feels complete.
- minor issue (probably in the works), but it seems you have to set the starships to FRD for the ship built to be FRD... I wish those were independant. That the built ship follow the "last" order of their constructor is great though. That's probably another point "not done yet" though.
- Movement. I think player ships need some kind of "jump" capacity or boost in movement. Something that's planned for later ? I'm currently watching movies because of the long travel times. And this makes defending planets with ships rather annoying (I use the "exploit" that the pattern turret button builds turrets instantly to defend, but it's that's not in the end design for sure).

I had issues with the icons but great work on it. There is probably still possible improvements but I don't see them :P.

« Last Edit: April 07, 2017, 03:07:54 AM by kasnavada »

Offline gavin144

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Re: First impression
« Reply #1 on: April 07, 2017, 02:22:15 AM »
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- minor issue (probably in the works), but it seems you have to set the starships to FRD for the ship built to be FRD... I wish those were independant.
This was independent for a bit, but was disabled because it was very buggy and the gui wasn't up to snuff yet.

Offline kasnavada

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Re: First impression
« Reply #2 on: April 07, 2017, 03:08:56 AM »
;) Ok, so probably in the works for later then.

I edited the post a bit for clarifications and added a part for engineers (or rather, to speak about the removal of).

Offline keith.lamothe

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Re: First impression
« Reply #3 on: April 07, 2017, 08:11:13 AM »
- the addition squads really makes me feel like it reduced the numbers of units & turrets a lot. Maybe it needs more PEW PEW to feel like there is a lot of fighting going on. Not sure ::).
Yea, let's see how it looks when more bonus ship types and such are added so the game progression is more apples-and-apples, and go from there.

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- shot effects are not visible enough (but they're not "done", so, ok).
Yea, having different-between-weapon-types and more pronounced shot graphics, along with shot sounds, is very high on my list of what the game needs to feel like a game rather than a testbed.

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- minor point (probably in the works but just not done you), I like the planets being different, but I don't like it being "numbers" : for example if a planet gives 1000 fuel & 2000 knowledge, I'd rather have 2 fuel canister icons and 4 sciency-thing icon.
Good point. It is computed in a very coarse fashion (each planet gets to be really good at 1 thing, kind of good at another thing, and average at the other two), so that would fit the math just fine.

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Also, I'd like a lot if the 2000 metal had 4 metal mines, 1000 had 2 rather than 1 everywhere. But I guess it's something just not done yet.
Another good point.

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- ummm the main issue I have with AI War I is netflix time / very long travel time. It needs more work. I'm not sure if that's something you had time to think /work on a lot or not.
It's hard to balance travel time vs combat speed. I think we've had this conversation before :) Have you tried the timing controls? I need to bind the main ones to +/- like in classic for intuitive use, but if you increase the frame size the game will go much faster.

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- I really like how starships are now handled, being capturables on the map & all and being fleet constructors. However the issue I have with this is that it makes me feel like fleetships should be "tied" to starships / docks.
One thing is that only the MkV starships will be capturables (and fleetbuilers/etc; basically "Mini Arks" in that way. The MkI-IV will be built as before, they just aren't in yet.

On tying fleet ships to starships, and maybe having each starship have its own cap (or partial cap) of fleet ships is a very interesting idea, though I think I'd want to get this game fully playable before exploring it. I've taken the chainsaw to several aspects of classic's design already, and don't want to overdo it until we can actually measure the impact of what's been changed thus far.


Whoops, gotta run.
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Offline kasnavada

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Re: First impression
« Reply #4 on: April 07, 2017, 08:15:33 AM »
It's hard to balance travel time vs combat speed. I think we've had this conversation before  Have you tried the timing controls? I need to bind the main ones to +/- like in classic for intuitive use, but if you increase the frame size the game will go much faster.

I think we did, and I kind of know it's hard to balance =). But yeah it's possibly not "workable" or tweakable now because of all the missing stuff.

Thanks for your answers in any case :D.

Offline BadgerBadger

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Re: First impression
« Reply #5 on: April 07, 2017, 09:04:31 AM »
I actually kinda miss the "build a base, defend a base" aspect of classic. I also liked being able to build things fast; maybe you weren't supposed to always unlock mark 3 engineers in classic, that never stopped me.

Offline keith.lamothe

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Re: First impression
« Reply #6 on: April 07, 2017, 10:34:46 AM »
- - the removal of engineer is IMO a good thing but it's also helping making the game feel a lot more starship-oriented than "I built a base". No idea if that's intended or not.
I basically completely removed civilian units in general. I expected that would require a lot of follow-up work to avoid actual gameplay feeling too simplistic, and I think that's bearing out.

That's currently compounded by a lack of need to hold territory you've already conquered. You do have to hold it for the metal and the fuel if you actually want a fleet that can win the game (at least, I believe that's till the case), but just surviving you can kind of cruise around and not have to hold much in particular because of your Ark being mobile and generally pretty hard to kill as long as you've got the metal to build more defenders and don't attract way too much attention.

In the future it's very much intended that losing territory is something you'll really want to avoid, though you won't necessarily have to hold your starting zone to win.


Another note on the movement speed thing: if you'd like you can try an alternate balance by going into GameData/Configuration/ExternalConstants/KDL_VanillaConstants.xml and changing balance_seconds_to_cross_gravwell="60" to something like, say, 30. I suspect 30 will make every battle feel like a cage match, but perhaps there's a better middle ground.

That said, there's a reason classic gave you a 100% speed boost on your own planets, and I do see the motive of doing something like that here.

THAT said, I really don't want the player to automatically be able to kite the AI with impunity on their own planets.

So here's a crazy idea: if the human side's strength on a specific planet is ten times that of the AI, the human side's ships get a 100% speed boost. They get a smaller bonus as long as they've got at least twice the AI's local strength. So:

2x = 0% bonus
3x = 12.5% bonus
4x = 25%%
(...)
9x = 87.5%
10x = 100%

Probably not doing the same for the AI, since the player will so often be out-strengthed when starting a planetary assault. That said, maybe the AI could get a much smaller boost, say 1/10th of what the humans would get.

This has the con of not being intuitive, which might be reason enough to not do it. That said, it's very similar to the way the gravity mechanic is going to be implemented (planet-wide comparison between your total gravity generator strength and the total "gravity resistance" of the enemy fleet), so it might not wind up being a totally arbitrary rule.

The pros look pretty nice to me:
1) Higher player quality-of-life (less waiting) when moving around uncontested regions.
2) Without letting the player kite a larger force indefinitely.
3) When the player has effectively won a battle, it's easier for them to clean up despite the AI's kiting them.
4) When the player has effectively lost a battle, it's in their interest to fully retreat before they get overrun by the slightly faster AI.

Of course, the feeling of speed in battle is hard to evaluate since all current ships have the "normal" speed tier. The utility of missile corvettes, etc, will be very different once there are ships like raptors, raiders, etc, that can always overrun them quickly.

Anyway, thoughts?
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Offline kasnavada

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Re: First impression
« Reply #7 on: April 07, 2017, 11:02:27 AM »
If I were to design a game from the start, I'd rather allow the player to build warp gates or to "warp" jump. Either from anywhere to a worm hole or to a specific building. Again, not sure it's a good thing. But "warp-life" capability already existed in the previous game even if I don't think it was very much used (I don't remember the name of the building, the thing that allowed the ships to spawn from somewhere else than the fabricator). The idea would be kind of 20 second of "warm-up" then the jump is done, with whatever escort jumping with the ship if any. It could double up as an emergency escape mechanism for the ARK which could gameplay-wise be good. It could also open new "NOPE" possibilities for the AI to defend itself. Instead of, for example, the special forces roaming around, a "rift" opens, with a timer, and XX minutes later the special forces emerge.

But that's a huge design shift from AI War I.


If not, yeah. Speed boost on uncontested planets would be good. The ratio of units criteria does not really seems intuitive to me. I'd rather have a "speed goes up the longer the planet is uncontested up to +XX%" and "immediately goes down to 0% if contested even by a bug". Sounds simpler to implement and explain.

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3) When the player has effectively won a battle, it's easier for them to clean up despite the AI's kiting them.
4) When the player has effectively lost a battle, it's in their interest to fully retreat before they get overrun by the slightly faster AI.
I like the concept of those 2 points but not the idea. I don't see the point of the first one because you now can't (AFAIK) get away from the gravity well - in practice there has not been much chasing in the games I did, but that might be changing later, so maybe. For the AI, IMO, it should rather have its logic updated to be spawning specific fast anti-player-that-flees units as a counter-attack from the controller rather than getting a speed boost. Like a few speed booster guardians spawning on the player losing 40% ships.

basically completely removed civilian units in general. I expected that would require a lot of follow-up work to avoid actual gameplay feeling too simplistic, and I think that's bearing out.

Auto-rebuild of turrets is necessary IMO. But I kept that comment because turrets don't currently have build time, so... not a priority.
« Last Edit: April 07, 2017, 11:10:21 AM by kasnavada »

Offline keith.lamothe

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Re: First impression
« Reply #8 on: April 07, 2017, 01:01:55 PM »
But that's a huge design shift from AI War I.
Yea, there's a lot of reasons for avoiding artificial wormholes. The thing in the first game controlled where your new production went. Now we have mobile production as a given, for the most part.


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I'd rather have a "speed goes up the longer the planet is uncontested up to +XX%" and "immediately goes down to 0% if contested even by a bug". Sounds simpler to implement and explain.
Time held does make a lot of sense, yes. I don't know if I'd have it go down immediately, to avoid gnat attacks becoming unnaturally annoying. The AI tends to avoid gnat attacks, but not all minor factions would.

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in practice there has not been much chasing in the games I did, but that might be changing later, so maybe.
I just get tired of chasing the missile corvettes, etc. But I could probably just do a brief FRD and turn my attention to something else for a moment.

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For the AI, IMO, it should rather have its logic updated to be spawning specific fast anti-player-that-flees units as a counter-attack from the controller rather than getting a speed boost. Like a few speed booster guardians spawning on the player losing 40% ships.
I'd generally like to avoid the AI just popping stuff out of nowhere without paying for it, but yea, the reinforcement logic and/or special forces could prioritize speed boosters when dealing with small human incursions, so the kiting would only work for a limited window.

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Auto-rebuild of turrets is necessary IMO. But I kept that comment because turrets don't currently have build time, so... not a priority.
They do actually have a build time, it's just short.

But yes, remains will be coming back, I just hadn't added the mechanic. The same units that do repairing now will do remains-rebuilding.
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