Author Topic: The Drox Operative Problem  (Read 7066 times)

Offline Castruccio

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The Drox Operative Problem
« on: March 11, 2014, 10:55:52 PM »
I have spent a bit of time in the Alpha now.  As I do more combat missions one question occurs to me: why shouldn't I be playing Drox Operative instead of this?  What you've done with the new combat model (I never saw the old one because I'm a new tester) is turn combat into a simplified Diablo style ARPG in space.  The problem is that there is already a complex and fleshed out space ARPG out there that takes place in a 4X world (with races you can influence, anger, befriend, turn against each other, etc.).  Keith very much enjoyed Drox, if I recall. 

The space ARPG you've made inside your 4X isn't nearly as fleshed out as the space ARPG inside the 4X that Soldak has made.  This is due in large part to the fact that Soldak decided from the beginning that they were going to make an ARPG and their game has all the ARPG trappings and depth  (new equipment to loot, stat points to spend, gold to collect, multiple victory conditions etc.).  Right now TLF feels like a very simple ARPG tacked on to a 4X map and I'm not sure what game it wants to be because neither the 4X map nor the ARPG are especially compelling just yet.

I realize this is an alpha.  What I am trying to do is head off any press or player concerns about there being another very well reviewed and well liked game out there that does what you are doing much better than your game does because your game is still finding its identity (or, worst case scenario, never found it).  What you have going for you is that this is a STRATEGY game (in spirit)  whereas Soldak's game is a pure ARPG.   They made an ARPG and tacked on a strategy game, and you are trying to make a strategy game and tack on an ARPG.  Now that you've added the ARPG element, however, I worry that you may have bitten off a bit more than your strategy game can chew.  It will be difficult to develop both an ARPG and a 4X well, just as Valley 1 and 2 (as innovative as they were) had some difficulties being platformers with a strategic macro layer.

TLF was compelling in the early design stages because it was a macro level strategy game combined with a micro level strategy game. It was a strategy game for Arcen's strategy fans. Now it is a macro level strategy game combined with an ARPG (which is sort of what Valley 1 was or was intended to be waaaay back when it still had a 3/4 overhead camera).  Those are both very difficult genres to make "deep" and do right, I think you run the risk of having a game that is shallow and lacks replay value as a consequence of being a mash-up.

I am looking forward to playing a lot more in the coming days and weeks, but I wanted to get this out there for discussion.
« Last Edit: March 12, 2014, 12:06:56 AM by Castruccio »

Offline Shrugging Khan

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Re: The Drox Operative Problem
« Reply #1 on: March 12, 2014, 04:00:00 AM »
Now, I'm not in on the Alpha, but I just want to add another warning here: The space-4x-and-action gaming crowd isn't the largest group to cater to, and most who might be interested in TLF will in fact be aware of Drox Operative. And the similarities in general design - having played DO and read a bit about TLF, mind you - are rather striking. So don't go hoping that TLF will sell purely on novelty value, because the overlap between DO players and potential TLF players is probably pretty big.
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Offline Mick

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Re: The Drox Operative Problem
« Reply #2 on: March 12, 2014, 05:47:14 AM »
Your comparison to Valley 2 worries me a bit. To me, I felt the (more interesting to me) over world layer was held back by the "I just want to get this over with" platform parts in between.

In this case the action part sounds interesting and integrated (but I really don't know), but it does seem to get a lot more development attention than I am comfortable with.

Is the meta layer deep enough to stand on its own? I'm asking rhetorically, not suggesting that combat should be cut.

Offline Misery

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Re: The Drox Operative Problem
« Reply #3 on: March 12, 2014, 06:46:39 AM »
Your comparison to Valley 2 worries me a bit. To me, I felt the (more interesting to me) over world layer was held back by the "I just want to get this over with" platform parts in between.

In this case the action part sounds interesting and integrated (but I really don't know), but it does seem to get a lot more development attention than I am comfortable with.

Is the meta layer deep enough to stand on its own? I'm asking rhetorically, not suggesting that combat should be cut.


I'm definitely thinking yes, it's deep enough.  .....and still incomplete, which means it'll get even deeper.

The sheer number of things you can do and the ways in which it all interacts, along with all of the various events and the AI of each individual race... even when it's not finished and all sorts of glitchy, I'm finding it extremely engaging.  Particular as I (very slowly) discover more about what some of the various actions I can take are.  And there's ALOT of them. 

Drox is a pretty good game, but honestly, this plays nothing like it.  One of the most basic concepts happens to be in both.... that's all.


Though, like Valley 2, alot of it will depend heavily on the player's tastes.  I personally really liked that game's platforming sections, even if they are rather glitchy at times. 

Offline Castruccio

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Re: The Drox Operative Problem
« Reply #4 on: March 12, 2014, 08:30:49 AM »
I agree that this game is not Drox in many wonderful ways. I do think that it is becoming more like Drox with the combat change, and I am worried the ARPG combat can't be fleshed out in the time remaining and won't be as compelling to strategy gamers as strategy combat would have been.  Fundamentally my concerns aren't simply about Drox as a competitor game. They are about the game following in the footsteps of the Valley games, which everybody agrees were fantastic concepts and brave experiments, but which no one still plays. Meanwhile, AI War, a pure strategy game with a clear focus and identity, is still loved and played by many.

Offline Castruccio

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Re: The Drox Operative Problem
« Reply #5 on: March 12, 2014, 08:49:03 AM »

Drox is a pretty good game, but honestly, this plays nothing like it.  One of the most basic concepts happens to be in both.... that's all.


Though, like Valley 2, alot of it will depend heavily on the player's tastes.  I personally really liked that game's platforming sections, even if they are rather glitchy at times.


It plays a lot like Drox inasmuch as I am in possession of a single ship that I have direct control over with my mouse and my goal is to influence race relations.  My control over that ship is the means by which I interact with races that are interacting with one another and whose economies and relationships I can alter by means of engaging in ARPG combat missions with my ship. 

That said, the meat of the problem (as I see it) is in your remark that "like Valley 2, a lot will depend on the player's taste."  At this point I don't think Arcen can rely on another game that depends so heavily on player tastes.  This game is the biggest game since AI War and it needs to have a long life and do big things.  My concern right now is not that the game won't develop into something much fuller than it is now at this very early alpha stage (Arcen games always do). It's that there could be a deeper problem with the game which the Valley games--with their great success, bold concepts, controversy, and flaws--- could give us insight into.





Offline Billick

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Re: The Drox Operative Problem
« Reply #6 on: March 12, 2014, 08:54:46 AM »
I haven't played Drox yet (it's on my long List of Things That I Want To Play At Some Point), but I am getting a bit of a Valley 2 feel, in that it's basically 2 separate games;  a strategy game and an action game.  I'm not sure if that's good or bad.  I did like Valley 2 quite a bit. 

Offline Mick

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Re: The Drox Operative Problem
« Reply #7 on: March 12, 2014, 09:08:23 AM »
This reminds me of the "Covert Action Rule". (Source)

Quote
The mistake I think I made in Covert Action is actually having two games in there kind of competing with each other. There was kind of an action game where you break into a building and do all sorts of picking up clues and things like that, and then there was the story which involved a plot where you had to figure out who the mastermind was and the different roles and what cities they were in, and it was a kind of an involved mystery-type plot.

I think, individually, those each could have been good games. Together, they fought with each other. You would have this mystery that you were trying to solve, then you would be facing this action sequence, and you'd do this cool action thing, and you'd get on the building, and you'd say, "What was the mystery I was trying to solve?" Covert Action integrated a story and action poorly, because the action was actually too intense. In Pirates!, you would do a sword fight or a ship battle, and a minute or two later, you were kind of back on your way. In Covert Action, you'd spend ten minutes or so of real time in a mission, and by the time you got out of [the mission], you had no idea of what was going on in the world.

So I call it the "Covert Action Rule". Don't try to do too many games in one package. And that's actually done me a lot of good. You can look at the games I've done since Civilization, and there's always opportunities to throw in more stuff. When two units get together in Civilization and have a battle, why don't we drop out to a war game and spend ten minutes or so in duking out this battle? Well, the Covert Action Rule. Focus on what the game is.

Offline Misery

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Re: The Drox Operative Problem
« Reply #8 on: March 12, 2014, 09:49:54 AM »

Drox is a pretty good game, but honestly, this plays nothing like it.  One of the most basic concepts happens to be in both.... that's all.


Though, like Valley 2, alot of it will depend heavily on the player's tastes.  I personally really liked that game's platforming sections, even if they are rather glitchy at times.


It plays a lot like Drox inasmuch as I am in possession of a single ship that I have direct control over with my mouse and my goal is to influence race relations.  My control over that ship is the means by which I interact with races that are interacting with one another and whose economies and relationships I can alter by means of engaging in ARPG combat missions with my ship. 

That said, the meat of the problem (as I see it) is in your remark that "like Valley 2, a lot will depend on the player's taste."  At this point I don't think Arcen can rely on another game that depends so heavily on player tastes.  This game is the biggest game since AI War and it needs to have a long life and do big things.  My concern right now is not that the game won't develop into something much fuller than it is now at this very early alpha stage (Arcen games always do). It's that there could be a deeper problem with the game which the Valley games--with their great success, bold concepts, controversy, and flaws--- could give us insight into.


That's the thing though.... you dont really interact with them via your ship.   That's only for actual combat.

The actual solar map.... the "ship" there is basically just a glorified cursor.  It does one thing, and ONLY one thing, which is that you hover it over whatever planet you want to use the menus of.   Though, even if this were otherwise, the method of contacting/dealing with each race doesnt really matter.... all that matters is what you can do with them.   .....and the fact that you never need to physically travel between them.  No space exploration here like in Drox.... aint what this game is about.

As for the combat.... I'm not seeing how it's like Drox at all.  There's one similarity only:  You're in space and you shoot things.   That's.... really about it.   This is much faster paced and dramatically more chaotic.  Drox is alot like Diablo.... there's not really a whole lot of movement, and for the most part you're not usually going to be actually dodging things.  You end up relying on your stats for everything.  In this game, that does not work.  You either avoid the crap being fired at you, or you explode.  And there can be tons of it.  Games like Drox are often called "action RPGs", but I notice with those that the action part always takes a backseat to the RPG part.  The stats, loot, and simple positioning to use abilities are all that matter.   You do have abilities in this game, but you wont be using them even remotely as frequently as in that game, and they all have limited (very limited) ammo.  Generally very long cooldowns, like 30-60 seconds.  You mostly use your main gun to defeat enemies, which requires actual aiming.

So.... yeah, I'm not seeing the similarity here.  They seriously dont play much like each other at all. 





This reminds me of the "Covert Action Rule". (Source)

Quote
The mistake I think I made in Covert Action is actually having two games in there kind of competing with each other. There was kind of an action game where you break into a building and do all sorts of picking up clues and things like that, and then there was the story which involved a plot where you had to figure out who the mastermind was and the different roles and what cities they were in, and it was a kind of an involved mystery-type plot.

I think, individually, those each could have been good games. Together, they fought with each other. You would have this mystery that you were trying to solve, then you would be facing this action sequence, and you'd do this cool action thing, and you'd get on the building, and you'd say, "What was the mystery I was trying to solve?" Covert Action integrated a story and action poorly, because the action was actually too intense. In Pirates!, you would do a sword fight or a ship battle, and a minute or two later, you were kind of back on your way. In Covert Action, you'd spend ten minutes or so of real time in a mission, and by the time you got out of [the mission], you had no idea of what was going on in the world.

So I call it the "Covert Action Rule". Don't try to do too many games in one package. And that's actually done me a lot of good. You can look at the games I've done since Civilization, and there's always opportunities to throw in more stuff. When two units get together in Civilization and have a battle, why don't we drop out to a war game and spend ten minutes or so in duking out this battle? Well, the Covert Action Rule. Focus on what the game is.


This bit has occurred to me as well, and it IS a concern.  They do run the risk of pushing away some strategy players with the action bit, and the same the other way around.  I think one of the big reasons for the high interest in relation to the initial preview videos was that the combat bit was "strategy" as well.... those familiar with Arcen probably had flashbacks to AI War, and assumed it'd be something like that.

The very dramatic change to the current style of action will be jarring for some, definitely.

Offline Mick

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Re: The Drox Operative Problem
« Reply #9 on: March 12, 2014, 10:06:42 AM »
A big part of my concern is I hear so little talk about the meta-strategy map portion of the game from the testers and the developers in comparison to the combat part (both before and after the major rewrite). I mean, maybe there are no problems at all with the strategy layer and that's why not much is said about it, but it sounds to me like in the old combat the testers didn't even get much of a opportunity to really dig into strategy map because the combat part was such a magnet for feedback.

I don't really have a problem with the combat segment existing. In fact, what I hear about the current iteration sounds very fun, but is the game about blowing stuff up in space, or is it about complex political strategic alien relations "stuff" (see, I don't even know how to describe the meta layer, because I'm so ignorant about it).

Offline x4000

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Re: The Drox Operative Problem
« Reply #10 on: March 12, 2014, 10:07:37 AM »
Hmm.  This is a thought that had occurred to me -- the comparisons to the Valley games, not the one to Drox, particularly.

I don't really see this as an ARPG particularly, although I guess you could class it as that in some ways.  The line of reasoning that led us here was as follows:

1. We need a combat minigame.  Originally this was side-view 1v1.  Kind of vaguely inspired by FTL, though only in the loosest sense.

2. Okay, that got boring fast.  After many attempts to fix, let's instead go with our old standby of RTS.

3. Okay, that was promising, but quickly we ran into the problems of "space is empty" and all the related early balance problems.

4. Okay, let's solve that in the way that AI War did with guard posts, etc, in adding the "constellations" of turrets, etc.  And let's add some extra direct flagship abilities in there, too, because the player often does not have enough to do.  But now the combat is a lot more fiddly.

5. All right, let's strip this WAAAY back and just focus on you and your one ship.  This needs to be more streamlined, because the RTS controls of the other mode was just getting extremely cumbersome and time consuming.  While we're at this, let's integrate way better with the solar map, as well as having multi-factional battles, etc.

6. All right, that is actually working out really well, but I feel like I am just mostly driving my ship around and very rarely using abilities.  There needs to be something more for the player to DO throughout the gameplay experience.  Enter the direct guns on the left mouse button.

7. Now we're getting somewhere!  But we have a problem with the player ship either feeling underwhelming in an un-fun way, or being way OP.  There need to be more enemy ships to compensate, so the unit counts need to go way up.  Perfect!  Now we feel like Batman in space.  I'm having loads of fun.


And that's the story of how we got from point A to point B.  If we wanted to make a Paradox-type game, we could just abstract away the combat and not actually show it, etc.  But that would be very graphically boring for one thing, as well as I feel a lot less compelled by games like that (Risk and a few others aside).  Context-switching in games actually can be super successful in terms of adjusting the pacing of what is going on.  The good Final Fantasy games have a mixture of combat, story, exploration, and town/shopping segments.  AI War has a mixture of base building, tactical combat, scouting, grand strategy, tower defense, etc.

Context switches are good, which is why I've been so keen to retain a combat element here.  And I do feel like the current combat model is very fun.  Is it too divorced from the main gameplay, though?  That I do worry about some.

The problem with the Valley 2 platforming segments is that they were "let's prove you can do this" pieces.  In other words, there were no real decisions to make in a grander scope during those platforming segments.  They were fun and tactical if you like that sort of play (which I very much do -- I love Valley 2, actually).  But they were basically just a "skill check" in terms of the wider strategic game.  The thing I want to avoid in TLF is having that be the same thing.  I don't know that we really have that problem at the moment, or that we have a huge amount of that problem, anyway.  You aren't just fighting waves of anonymous bad guys, you're actually destroying stuff that is then gone in the larger strategic game.  You can make decisions on destroying civilian things, etc, that also affect the larger strategic game.

Is there a missing ingredient?  Maybe.  My thoughts:
1. Some of the combats may be too long.
2. We may need more in-combat things that provide alternative non-fighting ways of winning.
3. Directly aiming and firing guns and triggering abilities is something that simply may bother a lot of people.  I love it, but I can see why those looking for a pure strategy game would be turned off by that.  I'm not sure there's anything to be done about that.

In terms of the viability of the Valley games versus AI War, Valley continues to find an audience as well.  On Steam last year, the Valley games earned $109.5k.  That's not counting any of the bundles they were in off of Steam.  By contrast, last year Skyward earned $125k on Steam, and AI War earned somewhere a little north of $200k.  Given that AI War is much older, that's obviously a lot more impressive in some ways.  But it also has a ton of expansions, etc, and in general has more ways of making money.  So there is that.

Valley is very much still being played these days, but it doesn't have a thriving community like AI War I think mainly because it is just something that people play on their own, with no real explanations needed, and then put down.  There are a lot of games like that.  AI War is more about larger discussion and complexity and sharing crazy stories, etc.  My hope is that the larger metagame in TLF will be that same way.

Do we have a problem?  I don't know.  If TLF sells as well as Valley 1 has over its lifetime, then we will break even.  By my conservative calculations, I will have spent $182.7k making TLF by the time we're done.  That means we'll need to gross about $365k to break even.  We hit something like a third of that on Steam with Valley 1 in the first month-ish of sales.  Overall just on Steam to date, Valley 1+2 have grossed $379.6k.  Again that doesn't count any other sorts of bundles or whatnot, which jumps that up by another $20k at least.

Is the above math that I love?  Not really.

For instance, you can get a game like Bionic Dues that people love, but that just doesn't really take off.  I calculate that I spent $58k making that game, meaning that we needed to earn about $138k gross to break even on that one.  So far on Steam, it has grossed $75.4k.  It's grossed maybe another $10k or something on other bundles, etc.  I'm not positive on the exact numbers.  So that one is still $50k in the red, roughly.  I have confidence that over the course of the next year it will break even, but it's not something that was a smashing success immediately.

So, what to do?  That's something I'm mulling a bit.  A big part of me says "if this thing is really fun, and clear, then it will be okay."  We're known for making really unique things, and that counts for a lot.  Keith disagrees, but personally I think that part of the lack of Bionic's success was that it just wasn't unique enough.  Obviously marketing, a dark art style, a crappy name, bad timing coming out, and a few other things also were big contributors.  This time we have the name and the art style very much covered, and we're working on the marketing and the timing.

In the end, it's possible to rationalize anything.  We could make perfectly rational arguments that this game will do horribly because it's too similar to Drox.  You could have said that about Minecraft and the other block based mining games, though.  You could also make perfectly rational arguments that this will do super well, because it's really unique and the sort of thing that people would be excited to see from us.  But there are lots of failed games you could have said that about, too.

From my perspective, it's about minimizing risk.  Here are the constraints:
1. We can't sacrifice polish.
2. We can't gut the game so that it's unsatisfying.
3. We can't adjust the release date (no money left!)
4. We can't do something that will make the game incredibly niche (the Covert Action or Valley 2 issue).

#1 above requires time.  #2 above requires not making changes that are TOO drastic at this point, such as just cutting combat.  #4 requires thought, and possibly careful action or possibly nothing.  #3 is just a fact we can't do anything about.

I am open to discussion and suggestions, as always.
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Offline x4000

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Re: The Drox Operative Problem
« Reply #11 on: March 12, 2014, 10:10:07 AM »
A big part of my concern is I hear so little talk about the meta-strategy map portion of the game from the testers and the developers in comparison to the combat part (both before and after the major rewrite). I mean, maybe there are no problems at all with the strategy layer and that's why not much is said about it, but it sounds to me like in the old combat the testers didn't even get much of a opportunity to really dig into strategy map because the combat part was such a magnet for feedback.

A large part of it is that the solar map side has been very confusing for players because there is so much undocumented stuff.  Lots of empty tooltips, etc.  It's stuff I'm working to fill in as soon as I can, though.

I don't really have a problem with the combat segment existing. In fact, what I hear about the current iteration sounds very fun, but is the game about blowing stuff up in space, or is it about complex political strategic alien relations "stuff" (see, I don't even know how to describe the meta layer, because I'm so ignorant about it).

It's both, really, and any sort of trailer and videos need to start getting that across.  The problem thus far has been our inability to do that because of interface ugliness on the solar map side.
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Offline Misery

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Re: The Drox Operative Problem
« Reply #12 on: March 12, 2014, 11:06:01 AM »

Oh, lots of text here.  A few points I want to comment on....

The question of the combat being too seperated from the solar map stuff is definitely important.  From what I've seen of it so far, the one issue is that there typically isnt much in the way of decision-making in the combat... nothing optional, stuff like that.  Or deciding "well, I'm gonna try to help THIS faction win the fight", stuff like that.  The combat has a linearity in a similar way to Valley 2, in that it has a single, very specific goal, and you must push towards that goal, because there's no other direction to go.

For some mission types of course this is the only real way it can be done, like the bit about smuggling in resistance fighters, or the duels VS the Burlusk.  The problems in those missions are mere balance issues mostly. 

Now that being said, something like deciding which faction to help DURING a mission doesnt entirely make sense either.... you pretty much already made that choice when you went to a particular race and decided to do something for/against them.  If more of a choice-making element was added, it'd have to be something else.  Not sure what.

Wether or not this sort of thing MUST be dealt with, I dont know.  The combat entertains me easily, but then also I tend to like stuff like that by default. 


The question of it being too niche is also another important one, but.... how much can you really do about that?   Even if it was JUST the solar map stuff, it's going to be niche to some degree... much of the time, this is simply part of dealing with indie games in general.  You get some major exceptions that go on to become huge, but that's not the norm at all.  So, to me, creativity and willingness to try new things are what rules here.  Not that I know much about the business aspect of things though.    I also think there's just not enough feedback on it yet.  This is the first build where both the solar map AND the combat are truly ready for major testing.

And one way or another, the split nature of the game is GOING to have an effect on that, because inevitably some players will like one but hate the other.  I dont think there's really any way around that one without outright removing the combat entirely.... I'd rather not see that happen. 


On the note of Bionic Dues, honestly I have to agree with Keith on that one.  I found that the game was plenty unique.... it did quite alot of things different from most turn-based strategy games that werent pure roguelikes.  The excellent "meta" part of it, as well as things like the Diablo-style loot and heavy customization (which was almost another game in it's own right!) as well as the mission structures and goals, and the very heavy focus on the personalities and behaviors of the different bots (wheras in many similar games, there's often very few differences between enemy types that arent purely statistical... I think this one added to the game quite alot). 

I also think the release date hurt it pretty bad.  One thing I found was that many simply didn't seem to even know what it was.... but they sure knew about the large games that came out around that same time!  The game seemed to enter existence with a muffled thud, and then it sorta just got shoved out of the way, not because of gameplay or design, but simply because of outside factors. 


Overall, I maintain that this game has a TON of potential.  And the combat is now (to me at least) quite enjoyable, with the potential for much challenge.... and in addition to that, the altered combat model now seems to make a larger variety of mission types possible.  A 1 on 1 duel is ALOT different from, say, trying to pierce a pirate base.  There seem to be alot of mission types, and I havent really dug in all that far yet (mostly just because of bugs and such).

And since the combat is no longer made of problems, the testing on the solar map can get more focus now.

A big part of my concern is I hear so little talk about the meta-strategy map portion of the game from the testers and the developers in comparison to the combat part (both before and after the major rewrite). I mean, maybe there are no problems at all with the strategy layer and that's why not much is said about it, but it sounds to me like in the old combat the testers didn't even get much of a opportunity to really dig into strategy map because the combat part was such a magnet for feedback.

I don't really have a problem with the combat segment existing. In fact, what I hear about the current iteration sounds very fun, but is the game about blowing stuff up in space, or is it about complex political strategic alien relations "stuff" (see, I don't even know how to describe the meta layer, because I'm so ignorant about it).


I'm not too sure about the others, but for me there was one core reason why I hadnt talked too much about the solar map section of the game up until recently:  it just wasnt time to talk about it yet.  The initial builds with the solar map were.... well, they were hard to even mess with.  Things were a bit TOO unfinished, and even alot of experimentation seemed to accomplish nothing.  The combat, on the other hand, was having ALOT of problems. It needed more testing, it needed more discussion, because it was a big problem.

What people seem to have mostly said about the solar map section though was that it was really good, or at least that's what I recall anyway.





Offline x4000

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Re: The Drox Operative Problem
« Reply #13 on: March 12, 2014, 11:11:39 AM »
I wonder if going back to an auto-resolve option for combat is something that should be possible.  Possibly simply by having an OFF option for combat, to be frank.  That way, when combat happens, it just instead does some other logic, and just lets you play the strategic parts.  For instance, that was something that I really enjoyed in Total War, where I hated the tactics but loved the meta stuff.
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Offline Misery

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Re: The Drox Operative Problem
« Reply #14 on: March 12, 2014, 11:22:03 AM »
I wonder if going back to an auto-resolve option for combat is something that should be possible.  Possibly simply by having an OFF option for combat, to be frank.  That way, when combat happens, it just instead does some other logic, and just lets you play the strategic parts.  For instance, that was something that I really enjoyed in Total War, where I hated the tactics but loved the meta stuff.


Probably a good idea.  I think there were plenty that thought the same way about Total War, and the series might not have done so well if that option hadnt been there. The two sides in that game do play very, very differently from each other.