Author Topic: Chemical Art's beta: Betyral mode (Phase 1 complete and posted)  (Read 2418 times)

Offline chemical_art

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Chemical Art's beta: Betyral mode (Phase 1 complete and posted)
« on: November 07, 2014, 11:49:25 AM »
In the practice of my usual style which I seem to be most effective in, I try to play using knowledge of a fairly competent gamer who trys to play with no background knowledge of a particular situation.

So we go for Betrayal mode. I am not going in completely blind: I have played TLF a few months ago from start to finish on harder mode. Betrayal mode seems by the description among the most classic Grand Strategy Game yet, and that is where my highest skill and enjoyablity is, so my results are skewed.

Still, I'll play as "ignorant as possible". Let's begin the "stream of consciousness"

Thrown right in after the tutorial. Not even a mission where I crush the Acutians in the RTS part. OK...I remember that part somewhat, but for a new player I wonder...

So I need to make allies. Cool. Wait, how?

[I deviate from my usual method. I am a GS nerd, so my modus operandi is to read, read, read. Fine for me, not for others...]

[Or at least, I would, but there is no encyopledias or menus to run through. Oh well, click on a planet]

Oh! The other races are not spacefaring yet! So I get to decide who does? OK then...I remember this part (I would be confused if I didn't)

So I get tutorial mode restrictions, without a tutorial to explore them? This is very jerky, and not in a good way. Getting these pop-ups in my first mission (give space tech) is not good.

So even with one race, without full control of my power, is not fun. Too difficult. Mission one should not be this hard, with or without knowledge. Did I say difficulty, I say it is simply impossible. There were 7 arcs of fire over the first point. I could not tell you if this was intended or not, there was too little documention. What I can say was that I didn't find it fun. Throwing brick walls for the first mission (so a player lacks context) is not good.


So...I'm back to what I am supposed to do. I helped a race, but I can help them, but not myself. I can't do the usual of developing tech or anything, so I wonder what was the point. In fact, according to the tooltips, half of what I could do is inheriently blocked, so why are they included at all? They are just clutter and are slowing down the learning phase for me.

At this point, I am finding myself dangerously without aim (for my attention). Even for GS games, there are many, many numerous internal tools to occupy your time, but the narrative described getting allies when there seems to be little reason to for someone new.  At this point I would probably give up, but I'll give one more stab, this time focusing on the internal.

So for research, am I mechanical or biological? I can't find a clear answer.

5 million pop, hundreds of millions of soldier strength? It seems my goal is conquest externally and not intenternal improvement, but I guess this from playing other games, not this one.

Tech tutorial still refers to me not being a planet owner. Also refers to other things like forming a federation, etc. The tech tutorial needs to be completely redone, so I know what to focus early as a planetary owner.

So...how do I gain material resources?


So I can't build anything, the money I earned from space tech is gone, I have no idea what to do internally, so going back to external focus.  The thorxians are getting stronger...squash them?

So...when do I get other weapons? A few dozen turns in the RTS part and I still only have mini-gun. Game even references I should change weapons!

The space combat broke me. The combat lasted way to long because I only had the mini-gun, and the RTS part is built to have several weapons. Seeing almost a minute of game time go by on a very minor skirmish was disheartening for my newb eye, and I found myself bored.


VERDICT:

If I did not know better, I would assume this was a player-made mod of the main game. Too many simply incorrect tooltips + missing features (multiple weapons) + a lack of tutorial makes this mode fun if you know what you are doing, but is a chore even if you only know the base game (and completely worthless if you do not)








« Last Edit: November 07, 2014, 12:27:57 PM by chemical_art »
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Offline Eternaly_Lost

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Re: Chemical Art's beta: Betyral mode (Phase 1 complete and posted)
« Reply #1 on: November 07, 2014, 04:20:51 PM »
Well I do agree with most points, the lack of a tutorial could be excused if they mark it as an alternate game mode and disable the tutorial option for it.

Basically, a, if you need a tutorial, play the base game. Make Betrayal mode an Advanced mode that expects you already know what you are doing.

The tool tips and other things, do need to be cleaned up.

Offline Misery

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Re: Chemical Art's beta: Betyral mode (Phase 1 complete and posted)
« Reply #2 on: November 07, 2014, 09:52:40 PM »
Lessee, a couple of things:

1.  The initial mission, the "give space tech" one, only just got redone... Chris was trying to find a way to fix/replace the original version of the mission, with all the spy probes.  I think it still needs work though, as it has many of the same problems. I personally think it's still going to need another overhaul... that mission type in general has been a problem since it was put in, actually. But yeah, it JUST got put in there in this new state, so it's a little wonky.  Save and reload if need be, move slowly, get an idea as to how large the circle of shots is around the probes in general, and look for a moment when you can squeeze past them.  Yes, it's irritating as heck, but you only gotta do it a couple of times.  Do it like, twice maybe, and then stop.  There's no reason to give tech more than a couple of times; let the others beyond that reach spacefaring on their own.

Feedback on this mission type would help as well (as in, on Mantis, or in the recent patch topic might help alot as well).  Because it really does need work still, and it's the very first mission a player has to do.... so yeah, that'd be really helpful.

2. Even in tutorial land, you do have more than one weapon.  You start with three, in any mode.   When it's your turn, you give a movement command, and then it's time to choose a target.  When you are choosing a target, the ability icons (which I think arent there in the tutorial...) at the bottom become replaced with 3 different ones; these are your weapon choices, and this is when you select what to fire with.  Just to check, I went and had a look to make sure those are in fact there during the tutorial phase of Betrayal mode, and they are.

However, I'll make things really simple for ya:  There's only two weapons you REALLY need to concern yourself with, this being the minigun, and the energy blaster.  All of the others?  You dont need them.  You want those two.  Right now, the weapons in the game.... ahhh, they're very unbalanced.  It's not that those two are OP.... it's moreso that the others are all just basically useless against the current balance of enemies and such.  It's not that they wont kill them, it's that they'll take 50 billionty years doing so.  I very strongly suggest starting with the Acutian ship if this is your first go at the game (or if you're impatient like me), as it has both of those weapons from the start.

3. Tech development exists during the tutorial in this mode...  it's in the friendly actions menu on your own planet.  "Personal Dispatch: Technology research".


Beyond that, I cant help ya much.  Most of my time has been spent working on the Obscura and the other new ships, which then also means LOTS of testing, which means not much time with THIS mode.  Though some of the complaints you have with this one, I've indeed heard before from others. The bit with the tutorial and stuff mentioning the federation (I notice the voiceovers do this too...) definitely needs fixing.  It might be good to open up a mantis ticket on those, as I get the feeling those bits there have been overlooked, what with all the other aspects to the expansion being worked on.

Though, what Eternaly_Lost says, I also rather agree with... it really does feel like this new mode is meant to be played only after the player has spent a good pile of time with Standard mode.  Wether that's a good or bad thing, or intended or not, I cannot really say.  Though, as it IS an expansion pack, theoretically people buying it would ideally be those that have already played somewhat... maybe.

Offline chemical_art

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Re: Chemical Art's beta: Betyral mode (Phase 1 complete and posted)
« Reply #3 on: November 08, 2014, 06:54:41 AM »
1. Ah, so the tutorial mission is gone for now, and the spy probe mission just got redone.

I understand...and worry. One week before the release, and the one or two missions are really bonked. This is really, really ominous for new players and for intial reactions, and reviews may show this. This one point right here really soured me wanting to play. Right now its even worst then that though, because the tutorial "hold-my-hand" logic is still in the standard "quick-play" for Betrayal mode.  So it is the worst of both worlds right now.

As far as a tutorial goes, why not keep the first one, but remove the giving back of tech. Just change text to say "crush them as the first step for conquest" and then proceed as normal? You don't need to make a new combat situation, just remove the peaceful solution.

2. Ah, there are the weapons. Ok. This goes back to the whole tutorial thing. I thought weapons selection could be chosen anytime, not after the first (but not second) mouse-click.  So I missed that. An oops on my part, but the standard tutorial did fix that.

3. I already understood HOW to get tech, there was just no guidance on WHAT to get. The tutorial for tech still refers to you as in federation mode, but tech means a whole different thing in Betryal mode. Things like:

-What is the point of population techs, if my race is on average outnumbered 10+ to one, and even the smallest race has 3x the pop and thus grows 3x faster then my base.
-As far as population goes am I mechanic or organic?
-How do I build Armadas? How do I use them? Do I make blueprints, are there preselected ones?
-Do I get an passive strengths / weaknesses like other races do? Am I neutral?
-Does technology grow naturally ever, or am I still forced to dispatch that? Ditto for...anything in my Empire, really.

The list goes on, because all the tooltips still refer to Federation mode. The voices to. In fact, aside from tooltips telling me what I CAN'T do, I would still think I'm in Federation mode except I have a planet to babysit.
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Offline chemical_art

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Re: Chemical Art's beta: Betyral mode (Phase 1 complete and posted)
« Reply #4 on: November 08, 2014, 07:04:08 AM »

Basically, a, if you need a tutorial, play the base game. Make Betrayal mode an Advanced mode that expects you already know what you are doing.


There may not need to be a combat tutorial, but there certainly needs to be some documentation at the very least specifying that. In addition, if not a combat tutorial, there MUST be a tutorial for the Grand Map portion, because the paradigm has shifted so very dramatically. Concepts like ground invasion and armada construction must be explained since the player does not experience this in the base game.
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Offline DrFranknfurter

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Re: Chemical Art's beta: Betyral mode (Phase 1 complete and posted)
« Reply #5 on: November 09, 2014, 03:48:57 PM »
I think tutorials are easy for players more familiar with the game to forget completely (I always disable tutorials and allow all mechanics from the start so forget how frustrating it can be). And it's very hard to test from a clean-slate, or even a rusty position when you've played a game from a fairly recent version. So all good feedback in my opinion. Oh I cross-posted everything into a mantis ticket just to make sure it gets seen. Hopefully they'll put some time into cleaning up the tutorials before the release.
http://www.arcengames.com/mantisbt/view.php?id=16025

I hope you don't mind me reposting it and adding some highlights for bits where I noticed specific issues. (I'm sure I missed bits, but I left everything in rather than trimming it down to key points.)

Offline chemical_art

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Re: Chemical Art's beta: Betyral mode (Phase 1 complete and posted)
« Reply #6 on: November 09, 2014, 09:51:23 PM »
I think tutorials are easy for players more familiar with the game to forget completely (I always disable tutorials and allow all mechanics from the start so forget how frustrating it can be). And it's very hard to test from a clean-slate, or even a rusty position when you've played a game from a fairly recent version. So all good feedback in my opinion. Oh I cross-posted everything into a mantis ticket just to make sure it gets seen. Hopefully they'll put some time into cleaning up the tutorials before the release.
http://www.arcengames.com/mantisbt/view.php?id=16025

I hope you don't mind me reposting it and adding some highlights for bits where I noticed specific issues. (I'm sure I missed bits, but I left everything in rather than trimming it down to key points.)

I really, REALLY appreciate you putting this on Mantis for me. Thank you!
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Offline DrFranknfurter

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Re: Chemical Art's beta: Betyral mode (Phase 1 complete and posted)
« Reply #7 on: November 10, 2014, 05:09:20 AM »
You are more than welcome. You did all the writing, I just cross-posted it to make sure it gets noticed. I found your stream-of-consciousness insightful, and those glimpses into a new/returning players mind are invaluable, unique and rarely so detailed and honest.

Offline chemical_art

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Re: Chemical Art's beta: Betyral mode (Phase 1 complete and posted)
« Reply #8 on: November 11, 2014, 09:16:51 AM »
I'm glad the style can be of use. I dont go out to be mean, but I trust Chris and Keith enough these are words that are harsh but done to alert them. The orginal game for tlf I had quit my first session in that time for a somewhat similar reason of being overwhelmed. However, my tone was vastly different because the actual tutorial was really good, I just wasnt good enough. This time the lack of tutorial made it far more frustrating. I hope they can make it work
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Offline chemical_art

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Re: Chemical Art's beta: Betyral mode (Phase 1 complete and posted)
« Reply #9 on: November 11, 2014, 09:11:20 PM »
Chris has not directly responded here, but from his Mantis notes has made some changes.

http://www.arcengames.com/mantisbt/view.php?id=16025#c39726

I posted my notes on his changes on Mantis but will also post them here in the hopes he hears them quickly:

I will have this Thursday off, and while too late to really change some stuff in preparation to Friday, hopefully I can provide some thoughts to chew on for this weekend.

In the meantime, I will add a few things (since it is not clear)

For the planet itself, does it act at all on its own? By that I mean...does it generate armadas, resources, technology, etc? On its own? Or is it strictly dispatch only? This is very key in determining if the planet is an asset or liability.

Is my race mechanical or biological? My memory (which could be very wrong) wonders if there is more then just one technology (labgrown meat) which is applicable differently between mechanical and biological races.


You mention that Planetary Raw Resources details are accessible through the logbook, and that Armada Management window gives details for armadas. These are fine, however there needs at the very least a pop-up window to tell you to look at these locations for very very important game details.
Similarly, the most important planet stats should be highlighted for Betrayal mode. Such as ground power which is normally important mid game, but very key in all stages of Betrayal mode.
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Offline x4000

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Re: Chemical Art's beta: Betyral mode (Phase 1 complete and posted)
« Reply #10 on: November 12, 2014, 09:27:25 AM »
I find it insightful, too, and it's not something that puts me off.  Mainly because I know you -- if it was someone who was a complete stranger, I would be more put off, I confess.  Have just been responding in Mantis since that's where changelog type stuff goes, and I've not really been discussing, but instead noting changes based on the discussion.  I still have some things to put in there coming up.

Cheers!
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Offline nas1m

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Re: Chemical Art's beta: Betyral mode (Phase 1 complete and posted)
« Reply #11 on: November 12, 2014, 09:34:30 AM »
I find it insightful, too, and it's not something that puts me off.  Mainly because I know you -- if it was someone who was a complete stranger, I would be more put off, I confess.  Have just been responding in Mantis since that's where changelog type stuff goes, and I've not really been discussing, but instead noting changes based on the discussion.  I still have some things to put in there coming up.

Cheers!
Not to hijack the thread, but: Do you plan to add an ending scene/text/custom image for Betrayal and Invasion Mode as well?
The last time I finished an betrayal game the ending was rather... abrupt.

Also: Would it be hard to let the player return to the solar map after an ending cut scene has played for a final look around, making screenshots of various stats etc.? Similar to how it is done for Skyward Collapse iirc? Would be a treat for let's players as well I guess...
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Offline x4000

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Re: Chemical Art's beta: Betyral mode (Phase 1 complete and posted)
« Reply #12 on: November 12, 2014, 09:47:08 AM »
The endings for the two new modes are something that I still have yet to get in place properly, yes.  On the other bit, I've asked Keith to take a think about that; I'm pretty booked up the next couple of days.
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Offline nas1m

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Re: Chemical Art's beta: Betyral mode (Phase 1 complete and posted)
« Reply #13 on: November 12, 2014, 10:10:47 AM »
The endings for the two new modes are something that I still have yet to get in place properly, yes.  On the other bit, I've asked Keith to take a think about that; I'm pretty booked up the next couple of days.
Thanks!
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Offline x4000

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Re: Chemical Art's beta: Betyral mode (Phase 1 complete and posted)
« Reply #14 on: November 12, 2014, 10:36:59 AM »
From Keith: I understand the desire, but the structure of detecting a victory/defeat condition and initiating the final process is such that the gamestate is completely unloaded.  It's actually fairly tricky to make sure the ending scene has enough info to say what it does.
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