Author Topic: Redshirt's first thoughts  (Read 1012 times)

Offline donblas

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Redshirt's first thoughts
« on: February 27, 2017, 10:29:24 PM »
This'll be a bit stream of consciousness until I get to the end:

- Launch. Yep, the GUI is just as bad as they said. Go go super early alpha.
- Movement in the "lobby" is bad. Mouse wheel zoom is WAAAAY too slow. Like 10 seconds to zoom in it feels like.
- No mouse at edge of screen scroll? Ok, arrows? No, ok WASD, ok. That's fine I guess.
- Input lag when ordering things around is significant. I'm thinking 250ms? 500ms? Is that from offloading sim from Ui thread? When I grab a bunch of ships in AI War Classic and tell them to move, it feels instant.
- Speaking of input lag, get your ships moving and then hit pause. They'll "drift" into stop. I bet that's because the simulator is ahead of the front end and we're telling the sim to stop but pumping the UI still.
- I assume you know all about the selection issues and will file them under UI/UX.

At this point, I tried to take the starting system:

- Setting the starting fleet in FRD did that.
- Now what, I can't blow up the controller/gate? I tried clicking it, clicking my arc, still can't figure it out.
- No starting science?

At this point, it appears I have a full cap of T1 ships (I guess, 10, 10, 10 seems really low), no scouts, so let's go take over the T1 neighborhood planet.

- Totally owned. Didn't even make a dent.
- Second wave. Same.
- Ok, let's send the arc.
- Ok that worked like stupidly well. I guess that's required for early attacks.
- I know we're not on balance yet, but OMG the arc has a GIANT shield. Size wise and strength wise.

- Wait, I moved my arc over to the controller and it captured it?
- Ok, now i'm in business. Well it didn't work in 2nd system? What did I do wrong

Possible Bugs:
- Moving my arc close to a green controls causes it to move away. I feel that can't be right.
- Hitting pause does not freeze the world as expected.

Now let's give some thoughts.

- The fact that things we're 3d did almost nothing for me personally. I played super zoomed out (partly because zooming was so painful).
- The art was significantly nicer despite that. Beautiful backgrounds, icons. Despite placeholder UI it looked nice in places.
- Every single UI interaction felt like it was in quicksand. Zoom, select, movement, time between command and it "taking", time between me hitting a button and it doing something, time for the button to update. I know the last few aren't fair. The only thing that was snappy enough was map to system swap.
- You might want to make a quick "quick start" readme with enough explanation to at least explain enough that people can have a successful game as the alpha progresses.
- The squad size "inflation" to make larger battles did not feel "real" yet. The bullets don't seem to hit a specific tiny ship, the threat count only is multiples of 100 and individual icons seems to go from 100->0 quickly. Maybe they need lifebars or something? Theat go down more often?

As a software engineer, I realized I just almost wrote an entire wall of negative. So here's some positive:

- I'm super excited at what I see. Give what 2 months of dev, doing things like "changing the entire UI and threading model of the engine" is crazy.
- And yet, things just seemed to work in my 30 minutes. Despite my input into the simulation being slow, it seemed well behaved.
- Given the fact that this is pretty much a raw "straight from master" level of build, things were more stable that expected.
- I did not realize how much selection/command sound effects affected how the game felt to play. And those should be trivial to slot in (well, once you fix your audio engine issue)

Looking forward to the next build (is there going to be a regular cadence? announcements somewhere?)

Offline Dominus Arbitrationis

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Re: Redshirt's first thoughts
« Reply #1 on: February 27, 2017, 11:22:29 PM »
- You might want to make a quick "quick start" readme with enough explanation to at least explain enough that people can have a successful game as the alpha progresses.

You mean like https://wiki.arcengames.com/index.php?title=AI_War_2:Earlier_Than_Earlier_Alpha_Play_Instructions ? If you have anything to add to it, feel free! Or make a page on the wiki! The more we have there, the better.
Come help out at the Wiki!

Have ideas or bug reports for one of Arcen's games or any part of the site? Use  Mantis for Suggestions and Bug Reports. Thanks for helping to make our games and site better!

Offline donblas

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Re: Redshirt's first thoughts
« Reply #2 on: February 28, 2017, 10:03:10 PM »
Yes. That is perfect. Maybe link it from the main menu?

Offline BadgerBadger

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Re: Redshirt's first thoughts
« Reply #3 on: February 28, 2017, 11:37:25 PM »
There's already a link from the game start. See "Open Release Notes"

Offline donblas

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Re: Redshirt's first thoughts
« Reply #4 on: March 01, 2017, 09:46:33 AM »
Not to nit pick but when I think of release notes I think of:

https://wiki.arcengames.com/index.php?title=AI_War:Current_Post-8.000_Beta

"Quickstart and Release Notes" is likely a better button text.

But in any case, I'm in the know now.