Author Topic: New version .815 now out! (Panning! Power management! Flagship turning arcs!)  (Read 1809 times)

Offline x4000

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Release notes: http://arcengames.com/mediawiki/index.php?title=The_Last_Federation_Alpha_Release_Notes#Alpha_Version_.815

Restart steam to force a quicker update if you like.

Another biggie in terms of its impact on how you play the game.  Of course. 

1. Fixed some bugs on the solar map that were preventing progression in the prior version.  So, yeah, that's pretty important.

2. Panning is back, and feels great.  Folks were really right on the money with the need for this.

3. Combat balance has been adjusted a bunch, and has new physics attached to your flagship movements, as well as new visualizations for showing you where you are to move.

4. Enemy bullets now show you lines of where they recently were, so that you can better plan your next move.

5. There is now power management for your flagship, letting you manage things between weapons, shields, and engines.  You'll notice that it auto-manages these for you in cases where one system simply isn't being used, so that cuts down on the fiddle-factor enormously.  Instead this gives you extra flexibility in playstyle (moment to moment or otherwise), without having you need to fiddle with it constantly to play optimally.

6. Destroyed planets can now be harvested, and the solar map now starts with the remnants of the Hydral planet on there, too.

7. A bunch of events that only have a one-time immediate effect now just end after that effect and then let another event come up.  This has an impact on solar balance for sure.

8. A lot of the pointless chatter has been cleared out, so that the chatter bar contains more interesting stuff rather than just armadas-blew-up messages all the time. ;)

I'll try to do a video later tonight.

Caveats (Same as last time):
1. All of the Operational abilities are still having their ships slaved to your attacks, and I don't intend for that to remain the case.

2. If you are running into specific mission types that are un-fun slow in the new combat model, then please send us saves.  I tested (for instance) dropping off spacefaring tech, and it was a tense 60-second excursion or so.

3. I think I have a pretty good handle on making the combat tactical now, and honestly I think we are pretty much there already, in the main.  There are some overall structure-of-special-abilities changes that I am planning that will make those a lot more relevant as well as safer to use as well as making it actually valuable to have more abilities than just the three in your currently-equipped lineup.  Those things I think will add a lot, as will an expanded roster of abilities and enemies in general, and in particular some turrets with some new firing patterns, etc.  But honestly that is just content development aside from the basic changes to the special abilities concept, so it's a matter of having more of a good thing rather than trying to find a good thing, if that makes any sense.  I'm liking where we're at with this, in other words; but if anyone feels differently, please speak up and let me know what you think and (as well as you can) why and what you would want done about it.  I can't promise to actually do that of course, but I want to know these sorts of things sooner than later, as I'm hoping that I can make as many people as possible happy with the combat while at the same time homing in on what my current vision for this has become.


Enjoy!
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Offline Mick

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Very quick first impression.

I like the direction this is headed, I think it feels much more natural. I'll have to play it more of course to really get a feel of how it plays.

The curve to show movement path should help alleviate any concerns of the 'ship not going where you expect' I hope.

A think I quickly noted (and this isn't really a criticism, just an observation).. I was a bit surprised how much you dialed back the tightness of the ship's ability to turn. I don't think it's bad mind you, I'm just surprised you went so far in the other direction (although I think one of Sid Meier's design rules, "Double it or Cut it by Half", is fitting here. You can't really get the feel for how a change effects gameplay if you just do small tweaks at a time.)

Power management seems cool but desperately needs hotkeys.

Is right clicking also acting as a left click new? I was hoping we'd get a right-click cancel!  :P

Offline PokerChen

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Feels better now that positioning is not such a simple matter. Panning a little bit fiddly in a windowed game, but that's par for the course. Need to go to bed - partner beckons.

Offline waylon531

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I can't figure out how to withdraw in the new version. The button isn't there, and there are no keybindings for it.

Offline x4000

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I like the direction this is headed, I think it feels much more natural. I'll have to play it more of course to really get a feel of how it plays.

Awesome. :)

A think I quickly noted (and this isn't really a criticism, just an observation).. I was a bit surprised how much you dialed back the tightness of the ship's ability to turn. I don't think it's bad mind you, I'm just surprised you went so far in the other direction (although I think one of Sid Meier's design rules, "Double it or Cut it by Half", is fitting here. You can't really get the feel for how a change effects gameplay if you just do small tweaks at a time.)

Yep, it's the bubble sort approach to design.  We always use that.  In this particular case I actually had it far more extreme than this, but then made it less so over my testing period with it.  I wanted something that actually felt like you had inertia, but that didn't feel like you were a slug.

Power management seems cool but desperately needs hotkeys.

Yep, noted.

Is right clicking also acting as a left click new? I was hoping we'd get a right-click cancel!  :P

No changes there, it's always worked like that.  That is something on my list for soon, though. ;)

Feels better now that positioning is not such a simple matter. Panning a little bit fiddly in a windowed game, but that's par for the course. Need to go to bed - partner beckons.

Have a good night. :)  And glad the panning is working out in the main.  If you want to turn that off, you can, and then just use the arrow keys to pan.

I can't figure out how to withdraw in the new version. The button isn't there, and there are no keybindings for it.

That... is really odd.  I am still seeing it, and I don't recall making any changes there.  Do you have a savegame?
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Offline Misery

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Ehhhh.... unfortunately for me, this is basically what I thought it'd be... worse, actually.   I cant see this adding anything meaningful to the whole thing.... the higher difficulties at least are a hideous mess with this.  It feels like I need 10 turns to react to stuff that's nearly right in front of me, since the ship has the agility of a brick in sludge. Needless to say, this equals near instant death on the highest difficulty.   

The previous version of this, I liked, turn-based shmuppy sort of thing, but this.... as that genre goes, it's more like a turn-based Asteroids now except that the pilot has the reaction speed of a sloth and is A: extremely drunk, or B: dead.  Feels very tedious in addition to this.  Simple maneuvers now take dramatically longer, and likely are going to result in alot of "ARGH, why does it have to move like that?  I screwed up that sort of maneuver AGAIN because it moves like that!".   Reminds me of Flotilla, I hated that game with an undying passion.... and THAT game didn't have bullet swarms to deal with.

It's like the problems with the turning arcs I'd rambled about much earlier in testing, except that now the entire game is based on it.....

AKA, I dont think it works.  Monstrous turning arcs of doom + lots and lots of bullets just = argh, as far as I'm concerned.  Which is pretty much what I'd thought would happen.


I'll give it a bit more time later in the night, but.... honestly, I doubt that'll change anything.   Unfortunately, my testing likely ends here with this one.

Offline Kingpin23

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I can understand on misery difficulty its a painfull experience but it works fine on normal mode.

I like how it plays and moves much better now.

Maybe it needs some more tweaking on higher  difficultys
« Last Edit: April 01, 2014, 10:41:40 PM by Kingpin23 »

Offline Misery

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I can understand on misery difficulty its a painfull experience but it works fine on normal mode.

I like how it plays and moves much better now.

Maybe it needs some more tweaking on higher  difficultys

I figured others would think as such, but....   Feh, if I have to scale the difficulty back simply because of a movement change in order to make it merely tolerable, something is wrong.

Even heavily tweaked balance though wouldnt fix it in my case.  The control and movement are just too bloody annoying.   And honestly, the balance would pretty much have to be entirely rewritten from scratch for this to work on higher difficulties.  And even then, the game would become "Really Long Strafing Runs:  The Game", which just.... ugh.  I'll pass.

Like I said though I'll give it some more time tonight just in case, but....  I hate to sound mean about it, but I think I've already reached my verdict on this one.

Offline Kingpin23

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Solution dont have to be so complicated right?

Sharpen up the turns or make a option so the ship can go backwards or something

Offline Professor Paul1290

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As far as combat goes, I think it could use a way to go back to movement mode in case you set a course, go to shoot mode, then change your mind.
I also think the speed reduction from reducing engine power could be a bit more dramatic. By that I mean "bottom" of this could be somewhat lower so the player isn't tempted to lower engine power all the time. As it is, the penalty is rather minimal.
It might also be nice if reducing your speed by lowering engine power would reduce your turning arc, as it would make sense that moving slower forward would make it easier to turn.

Other than that, the new combat seems to work fine for me.


As far as solar map goes, I'm wondering if the new icons for Economics, Environment, Medicine, and so on might be a bit too small. I'm not sure, we can pan around now and zoom in wherever so it might make sense to keep them this size to reduce clutter.
I'm also wondering if it would make sense for the planetary sidebar to be on by default. It's a minor thing really, but it seems less of an issue to have it up by default now that we can pan the view again and it might be beneficial to make the player aware that info exists right off the bat.
« Last Edit: April 01, 2014, 11:25:03 PM by Professor Paul1290 »

Offline Teal_Blue

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i really think that .... really... in 'real' space we have really limited knowledge, especially of an 'alien' system, so actually not having any useful information is actually more realistic and therefore truer to the actual state of reality.

i mean what do we want? do we want some sort of 'fakey fake' simulation of what we 'think' space and aliens and diplomatic backstabbing and galactic war is 'supposed' to look like? Or are we interested in blowing stuff up?


-teal



« Last Edit: April 02, 2014, 12:49:31 AM by Teal_Blue »

Offline doctorfrog

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I'll be firing this one up later tomorrow night, looking forward to the changes.

Offline Hyfrydle

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I have to agree with misery this latest version really restricts the ship movement and the line attached to the ship is annoying. I much preferred the previous version. Turning the ship takes an age now. I will try more but first impressions are not good, sorry.

I do like the trails on the shots it really helps with planning were to go.

Haven't had much time in the solar map yet so will post more later.

Offline PokerChen

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Would halving the turning circle, and allowing a queueing of movement commands help?

Offline Misery

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Hmmm, messing with the combat further, not as bad as I'd thought.  The main problem isnt so much simple turns (like a 90 degree turn), it's doing a full 180, which in some situations can be a necessity for a variety of reasons.   Cant really be done in a way that's viable though.... the radius of a U-turn is simply far too wide.  I'm not sure what to suggest for this.

The power distribution system, ahh, that one turned out better than I'd thought as well.  That's actually kinda interesting.  Probably will have balance issues, not sure yet.  Upping engine power doesnt do much at all for turning radius.

Need more time with this part of the game currently though.


The solar map, the biggest problem right now is that really major events keep happening at the beginning of the game.  Only a few minutes in and the Evucks were preparing to explode after being attacked by every other race all at the same time, because.... I have no idea.  This all after they started out really wrecked, which is another problem... why does the race that I choose at the start always start off in such an amazingly terrible state?  That seems a bit odd.   They also started with a plague of locusts event happening, which just hastened it even more.