Author Topic: New version .819 now out! (Dispatch Mission Interface, Solar Map Interface)  (Read 1337 times)

Offline x4000

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Release notes: http://arcengames.com/mediawiki/index.php?title=The_Last_Federation_Alpha_Release_Notes#Alpha_Version_.819

Restart steam to force a quicker update if you like.

This is an extremely exciting version for me.  Lots of little things are fixed (and by little, I mean bugs -- so some of them are pretty darn important actually, but they are not marquee features that anyone other than current testers would care about).  But in terms of the big new stuff:

1. The entire way you interact with the solar map is different.  No more driving around your little ship, trying to keep it in the viewport, etc.  Man that was awkward.  Less so when you couldn't pan, but now it was just really very awkward.  It was a glorified cursor anyhow, and from the very start of the alpha some folks have been confused by that.  The new method is a lot lot simpler to understand, no longer fiddly to move around with, and much quicker to interact with the map with.  Win all around.

2. The escape pods that you've been collecting with the pilots in them now have an actual purpose.  Same as advertised yesterday, although Keith also came up with the cool idea that some of them will volunteer to be goons for you automatically, sometimes.  This really adds another level to battles, I feel like, because of all the reasons I listed in .817's release notes.  Now that feature is actually complete, anyhow.

3. The solar map has a visual calendar now!  This was an awesome suggestion from zharmad earlier this week, and when I gave Blue (our artist) the specs for the tiny amount of space it had to fit in, and the fact that it had to represent months, days, and the seasons, I didn't know how she was going to manage that.  I suggested something that would have worked kind of okay, but she took that and really made it look stellar with her usual flair (she's done the entirety of the interface for the game, and all the icons, etc).

4. The dispatch missions now work completely differently from an interface standpoint!  You're doing the exact same thing as before, but it no longer puts you in a text-only screen, it no longer FORCES the super-fast-forward on you, and it lets you see all of the solar map in exactly the fashion you would otherwise normally see it.  You can pause and fast forward and super-fast-forward at will.  More of the dispatch mission types also save your progress when you cancel them, too (and the ability to cancel is now vastly more obvious, too).  In general this interface is just a breath of fresh air (if I do say so, I designed this one), rather than feeling cooped up in a DOS prompt on speed. ;)

5. Keith has put in some improvements that should help with the ship movement lines not reaching your cursor.  It's not perfect, and it may have some new funkiness.  But in our testing it seems to do pretty well in the main.  So hopefully that makes it feel more natural for folks.  If not, that's something that will have to wait until later in next week, I think, as there are more critical things to address like tutorials, larger balance, the bug list, etc.  And this weekend I aim to get things feature complete, which is only a priority because that then lets us (mostly) stop introducing new bugs quite as much, and just go into polish mode.  That will mark the start of beta, rather than alpha, and my goal for that is Monday.  It's going to be a long weekend...

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.

Enjoy!
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Offline Mick

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Isn't WASD supposed to pan the combat view? That doesn't seem to be working for me.

EDIT: Also, something seems horribly wrong with turning radius. I now am forced to make huuuuuuuuge turns. It seems like someone cut my break line.

EDIT2: It seems like if you go for max speed in one turn, good luck slowing down ever. Even just tring to essentially stop puts the "momentum line" (the former red line, which honestly I thought looked better than the backward arrows) almost 90% of the distance I moved. It takes quite a few turns to stop.
« Last Edit: April 04, 2014, 10:21:50 PM by Mick »

Offline Histidine

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100 credit per prisoner + scooping up hundreds of prisoners at once in a sufficiently large battle = CHA-CHING!

Offline zharmad

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Okay, tried to continue my game, and no allies are popping out to help me to raid pirate convoys (the freighters are invincible) or destroy pirate starbases.  Now I also can't play vigilante and hunt down the pirate armadas that are flying around the solar system. Can I have my ship back? :D

Also suggestion: Allow you to freely give back prisoners at any influence. Nothing stopping you from just releasing them.

Suggestion II: Add a button to clear all selected ships to fire upon, and another button to select all ships in range? I'm taking energy blasters against turrets, then I need to switch to another weapon to deal with small ships.

Bug I: Abandoned hdral technology spawns pilots! There's no extra race for unmanned things?

Bug II: Second save, acutians won't accept free prisoners, only if I demand credit from them..
« Last Edit: April 05, 2014, 03:08:41 AM by zharmad »

Offline Professor Paul1290

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Is anyone else finding that the Evucks REALLY want to blow themselves up?
They're trying to blow themselves up again in my new game and they were trying to do so in my previous game too. In my previous one it kind of made sense since they were in a pretty bad state, but this time I don't know what's wrong.
(I attached my save.)

Aside from that, I'm sort of with zharmad on the solar map "ship" thing. It's not quite clear to me at the moment what improvement this change brings, it seems to remove a few minor things without much benefit.


EDIT: Also, something seems horribly wrong with turning radius. I now am forced to make huuuuuuuuge turns. It seems like someone cut my break line.

EDIT2: It seems like if you go for max speed in one turn, good luck slowing down ever. Even just tring to essentially stop puts the "momentum line" (the former red line, which honestly I thought looked better than the backward arrows) almost 90% of the distance I moved. It takes quite a few turns to stop.

I think part of this could also be due to the fact that it's a bit hard to tell how much you are accelerating or decelerating during a turn.

Maybe a "speedometer" of some kind might help so we have an idea how much faster or slower we're going from turn-to-turn, maybe even show how much your current move command will accelerate or decelerate you.
« Last Edit: April 05, 2014, 02:53:52 AM by Professor Paul1290 »

Offline Misery

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Ok, two things right away before I forget:

EDIT:  Ok, what.  I had written before that the smuggling missions were an exploded mess of lasery death, but.... after starting a new game, things are no longer firing crazily at me in a berserk manner.  So.... yeah.  Not sure what's up with that, but whatever.

One thing I had said does remain though:  There's usually no room at all to maneuver between the probes.  At least some room is necessary, I should think, so that might be worth looking into.

The other thing about these though is that having ships attacking during these doesnt make too much sense from a logical standpoint, unless I'm missing something of course.  Wouldnt these ships spotting you count too?  Like, they see you, they'd relay the info to whoever is in charge, something like that.


Also, pretty sure that these missions arent supposed to give the player 10000 credit upon completion, heh.  Testing though as if I did not recieve that.


The second big point is that the race chosen to steal the player's flagship from seems to always wind up in an extremely wrecked state right from there.... this seems to be one of the causes of early wars, as other races realize "Hey, these guys are like, half dead.... now's our chance!".    It doesnt make a whole lot of sense anyway.... I steal ONE ship from them, and their entire world descends into utter chaos?  Choosing the Evucks right now is a baaaaaaad idea.    This has happened every single time I start a new game. 


Ok, so that's those 2 points.  Now, back to testing!

EDIT: Or not.

The bit with the race you steal from being wrecked is totally destroying every attempt I make to play this.   Why?  PIRATES.   They go utterly berserk.   The number of them becomes absolutely ridiculous;  doing ONE dispatch mission... which is pretty much necessary to get going at the start.... covers the solar map in total chaos.   Pirates seem to appear a bit too easily in a general sense, but for this specific thing, they're just absurd.  Halting testing again, as for now there's no way for me to stop this.  On the off-chance that pirates dont go COMPLETELY nuts and instead only go semi-nuts, the map becomes a battlefield or something... again, lots of chaos quickly.   No idea what to do.

This seems to be a recurring trend with the solar map.  I've spent *way* less time with that than with the battles... probably less than 5 hours total, if that.   It just explodes into lunacy way too easily, and I run out of ideas very quickly, particularly as there's just not much to do early on;  the vast majority of dispatch missions are WAY too expensive to use, and what few are available have weak effects that dont do much.   Mostly I can help them with mining.... I"m not sure what use this has at all... colonizing a moon, again, dunno what that's for.... and.... I cant think of anything else.  Can do a very few research types, but they're all non-helpful stuff.  And generally in a strategy game when I run out of ideas or options, I tend to quit.   If the pirate chaos is fixed, this may change.

I can shoot many of them down myself, but they fart more out at such an absurd rate that in just a few months they've all regenerated.  Any race not strong enough to deal with the endless barrage goes down quickly.

Also I can confirm that the movement in battle is rather wonky.  Letting the ship reach it's top speed is a bad idea right now.  It doesnt make the battles unplayable, but it's very annoying and you have to be careful with it, lest you crash into pain.   A mere glitch though, I'm just glad the arrow thing works!  That had been driving me crazy.
« Last Edit: April 05, 2014, 05:53:08 AM by Misery »

Offline zharmad

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General suggestions involving political lobbying:
- Andors - The system seems quite inflexible to local events, e.g. when a plague breaks out, the medicine party usually isn't in power. It may be more useful to allow the player to execute deals with the party that's second most in votes at the cost of extra influence. Ruling party and Coalition partner perhaps? Does anyone else think it's hard to utilise their ruling party to respond to events, because the "election" is far away?

- Acutians - Less inflexible than Andors, but I don't really see effective ways to manipulate their relative corporate power. I think, if players' dispatch missions system can be utilised to influence the internal power struggle this may be more interesting. You trade some game time to work with a particular corporation to increasetheir influence, or accept a contract of theirs to sabotage another corporation. Thoughts?

Offline alocritani

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I like the "calendar" but I think it should be more visible. Currently it only appears in a  tab while I was expecting to be always visible on top of the screen (like in Hearts of Iron, for example)

Offline Pepisolo

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I don't think this is in relation to this particular build, but I like the idea of the presentation of the race relations page. I was kind of dreading a huge wall of text, so when that simple flow-chart came up it was like finding an oasis in the desert. More visual representations like this will make this game much more user-friendly, I think.

Offline x4000

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Various changes coming next release, thanks for all the notes.


Mick: I tested the WASD for panning thing during combat and on the solar map, and it works fine for me.  I'm puzzled.  If you go into the input bindings and look at basics, you should see pan controls mapped to WASD and the arrow keys.
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Offline Mick

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They were only set to the arrow keys for me for some reason.

EDIT: Is there any way to reset the controls to the defaults? (I'm pretty sure I never changed any, but maybe my preferences got messed up somehow).
« Last Edit: April 05, 2014, 09:58:15 AM by Mick »

Offline x4000

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They were only set to the arrow keys for me for some reason.

EDIT: Is there any way to reset the controls to the defaults? (I'm pretty sure I never changed any, but maybe my preferences got messed up somehow).

If you go into your RuntimeData folder, and then delete both inputbindings .dat and .bak, that will do it.  While the game isn't running.
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Offline keith.lamothe

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While the game isn't running.
Yep.

Poor old Bob.  Deleted his inputbindings in the middle of a game.

At least he got to keep the one arm.
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Offline Mick

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No half measures for me, I reinstalled the whole thing!

Offline x4000

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Actually, believe it or not, that is a zero-measure -- uninstalling the game doesn't get rid of the settings files to my knowledge!  Steam only deletes stuff it installed, not the whole folder (I think).  Correct me if I'm wrong, though, that would be good to know.
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