Author Topic: Impressions after a few hours in Environ  (Read 1191 times)

Offline FallingStar

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Impressions after a few hours in Environ
« on: February 22, 2013, 03:52:17 PM »
Hello, all.  Its been awhile for me since diving into Environ - mostly early beta AVWW 1, and while I followed AVWW 2's release date, that was about it.  So hopefully my first impression view is pretty fresh.  I haven't gotten super far, perhaps 3-4 hours, but it was enough for first impressions at least.

First off, thanks to Arcen for making the game.  I can definitely tell that a lot of the concepts have matured, making it feel like a much more directed experience.  I had some good fun, and would get an add on to it in the (someday) future, which is the highest praise I can give for any game.  I'd actually consider getting the soundtrack as well, which is rare for me.  Really love the title song; I don't know many games willing to actually put vocals in.  Was humming it after playing.

Probably the highest point of my time playing was entering one of the sand chunks, and something about the intro monologue setting up  the chunk, the music that was picked, the visuals, etc really set the mood as a fragmented world that really drew me in.  Its something rare, even in AAA games with huge budgets I don't often get a sense of wonder or exploration or get pulled in past looking at something as a game with various objectives. For a bit I felt like I was seeing the game the way it was really meant to be viewed and it was a cool moment(s).

The low point was a rage quit and deletion of the world.  Heh, which is sort of low.  Basically I hit a room heading towards the mage cache (I think) with two tiers of platforms and lava below that I fell into about 10 times in a row, dying again and again.  My rage wasn't so much at my failure to jump properly, but more that I need to play at 1366x768 resolution to read text and see icons well.  Which is fine, but there's a HUGE tactical advantage to playing at 1920x1080.  I can see enemies from much further away, and I can actually see what is below me when I have to jump down.  So after awhile I finally hit on changing the resolution and could see where I had to jump, then mistimed it and died anyways, so raged.  I'd really love if there was maybe a D pad binding to let me scroll around view or zoom in/out so I don't have to change my resolution for chunks with vertical components.

A few other things I thought good to mention as things I didn't like as much:  The controls felt a bit clunky, but not from the desire to use my mouse.  After some thought, I decided it was several things.  First, on a controller the directional controls feel a bit mushy - especially diagonally forward and down, I often vary between moving forwards a bit on accident off a ledge and crouching and shooting straight ahead.  It just didn't feel crisp.  It also took me awhile to realize that holding jump gave me a bigger/ smaller jump.  Finally I think my starter mage class (pyromancer?) had a lot to do with it, since most of my shots were straight line and tough to aim, or the arc attack was very tough to judge where it would hit for a newbie.  Once I hit on light magic/ ice magic that were more AOE, my enjoyment went up substantially.

Sometimes I felt I was given information that was a bit hard to figure out or possibly incorrect.  The game tells me I can change my mage class/ perks from the world screens somehow?  The only way I could do it was going back to the lair.  Worse was when the adviser told me to do things with certain types of towers, but I don't know what any of those look like.  I felt like I was blindly working towards some new icon just to be able to stand on it and see what it was.  There was some sense of exploration, but it was more frustrating since if I finally got to a new icon and realized it wasn't what I was looking for, I felt very set back wasting all those turns.  A map key would help or highlighting them, like the Impasse alerts.  There may well have been one somewhere in the adviser help sections, but I couldn't find it easily if there is one.

Mechanically, I felt like there was a lot tossed at a new player.  There's a lot more enemy types and shooting patterns than most games starting out, which alone can be a bit overwhelming when trying to get used to controls and how basic things like equipment or the feel of your spells.  Toss in blocking shots, and a fair amount of gravitational fields that mess with aim, and it can get a bit annoying.  I'm sure as I play more those will add to the long term challenge, but to start it just felt like I wanted more concrete rules to get used to before they started getting tweaked.

Liked the new visuals in general, though I didn't have huge issues with the old ones either.  A different feel, but one that generally worked.  I did find myself liking indoor chunks a bit more, and realized after awhile that it was because the background scrolling outdoors (parallax?) felt far too emphasized.  Sometimes it felt like the distant terrain was moving faster than foreground foes, drawing my eyes away from what was about to hit me or distracting me from the action.  I'd probably like it more if it was at about 30% of current scroll speed.  It hit me more than AVWW 1, perhaps due to color saturation or more detail on background as well.

Anyways, a long post so I should head off to actually play some more.  I suppose my very first 15 minutes weren't the best, but after getting used to the controls a bit more and changing up my class, getting a bit more used to the game, things got a lot better.  I'm definitely glad I have the game and will probably tell some of my friends that like this style of game to pick it up.

Offline Winge

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Re: Impressions after a few hours in Environ
« Reply #1 on: February 22, 2013, 06:33:38 PM »
Hello, all.  Its been awhile for me since diving into Environ - mostly early beta AVWW 1, and while I followed AVWW 2's release date, that was about it.  So hopefully my first impression view is pretty fresh.  I haven't gotten super far, perhaps 3-4 hours, but it was enough for first impressions at least.

Welcome!

The low point was a rage quit and deletion of the world.  Heh, which is sort of low.  Basically I hit a room heading towards the mage cache (I think) with two tiers of platforms and lava below that I fell into about 10 times in a row, dying again and again.  My rage wasn't so much at my failure to jump properly, but more that I need to play at 1366x768 resolution to read text and see icons well.  Which is fine, but there's a HUGE tactical advantage to playing at 1920x1080.  I can see enemies from much further away, and I can actually see what is below me when I have to jump down.  So after awhile I finally hit on changing the resolution and could see where I had to jump, then mistimed it and died anyways, so raged.  I'd really love if there was maybe a D pad binding to let me scroll around view or zoom in/out so I don't have to change my resolution for chunks with vertical components.

Odd, I've never had a problem reading the text at 1920x1080.  Then again, I can read small text very well.  Do you have screenshots?

A few other things I thought good to mention as things I didn't like as much:  The controls felt a bit clunky, but not from the desire to use my mouse.  After some thought, I decided it was several things.  First, on a controller the directional controls feel a bit mushy - especially diagonally forward and down, I often vary between moving forwards a bit on accident off a ledge and crouching and shooting straight ahead.  It just didn't feel crisp.  It also took me awhile to realize that holding jump gave me a bigger/ smaller jump.  Finally I think my starter mage class (pyromancer?) had a lot to do with it, since most of my shots were straight line and tough to aim, or the arc attack was very tough to judge where it would hit for a newbie.  Once I hit on light magic/ ice magic that were more AOE, my enjoyment went up substantially.

Sometimes I felt I was given information that was a bit hard to figure out or possibly incorrect.  The game tells me I can change my mage class/ perks from the world screens somehow?  The only way I could do it was going back to the lair.  Worse was when the adviser told me to do things with certain types of towers, but I don't know what any of those look like.  I felt like I was blindly working towards some new icon just to be able to stand on it and see what it was.  There was some sense of exploration, but it was more frustrating since if I finally got to a new icon and realized it wasn't what I was looking for, I felt very set back wasting all those turns.  A map key would help or highlighting them, like the Impasse alerts.  There may well have been one somewhere in the adviser help sections, but I couldn't find it easily if there is one.

I'm a little bit mixed on the gamepad control as well.  Would be nice if we could split up move and aim between two analog sticks (right now, my right analog is unused).  I've heard that there is a button you can press to hold position as well, but I cannot for the life of me remember what it is.  As for changing your mage class/perks, that can be done by activating a tile on the world map (like you would do to enter a region) and hitting "Manage Your Character".  There are options for Mage Class, Perks, and Feats (which you get a little bit later in the game).  That said, I prefer to test out all classes in the Overlord room right after getting them--I can usually figure out which class works best for me by doing that.

As for the map icons, you will know what you are looking at after around 1-2 full games.  I can even recognize some structures on the edge of the map by their silhouette.  Someone has suggested a 'hot air balloon' option that would allow you to look at unreachable tiles.  Trying to name the tiles would probably either be spammy (there are a LOT of tiles with strategic attributes) or unintuitive (it's really hard to describe the benefits of a structure in the space of one tile), but I could see highlighting the 'power structures' (Focal Tower, Amplification Tower, Pyramid) in yellow.  Or maybe you have something else in mind?  In any case, you usually have to purify most of the world map to get what you need to win, so it's not a total waste, though I understand your frustration.

Mechanically, I felt like there was a lot tossed at a new player.  There's a lot more enemy types and shooting patterns than most games starting out, which alone can be a bit overwhelming when trying to get used to controls and how basic things like equipment or the feel of your spells.  Toss in blocking shots, and a fair amount of gravitational fields that mess with aim, and it can get a bit annoying.  I'm sure as I play more those will add to the long term challenge, but to start it just felt like I wanted more concrete rules to get used to before they started getting tweaked.

Liked the new visuals in general, though I didn't have huge issues with the old ones either.  A different feel, but one that generally worked.  I did find myself liking indoor chunks a bit more, and realized after awhile that it was because the background scrolling outdoors (parallax?) felt far too emphasized.  Sometimes it felt like the distant terrain was moving faster than foreground foes, drawing my eyes away from what was about to hit me or distracting me from the action.  I'd probably like it more if it was at about 30% of current scroll speed.  It hit me more than AVWW 1, perhaps due to color saturation or more detail on background as well.

Anyways, a long post so I should head off to actually play some more.  I suppose my very first 15 minutes weren't the best, but after getting used to the controls a bit more and changing up my class, getting a bit more used to the game, things got a lot better.  I'm definitely glad I have the game and will probably tell some of my friends that like this style of game to pick it up.

Yeah, being a new player in one of Arcen's games can be...brutal :P.  I think it took me around 100 hours of game time to understand AI War, lol.  By contrast, I understood AVWW2 after less than 20 hours or so.  It sounds like you'll keep playing AVWW2; believe me, it only gets better.  Until you increase the difficulty...then it gets FUN!  ;D
My other bonus ship is a TARDIS.

Offline ScrObot

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Re: Impressions after a few hours in Environ
« Reply #2 on: February 22, 2013, 07:13:07 PM »
Just voicing my support on a couple of these suggestions:

The "lookahead" feature (which I have bound to my left shoulder button) works fine, but only horizontally; it'd be nice to be able to scroll up and down as well (especially for those long low-gravity rooms where you fall for 20 screens).

Building labels for things that are not in silhouette. This could be activated when you hit "H" or whatever it is that shows the other labels (visited, impasse, etc.) (which I also bound to the left shoulder button). Obviously this is a high-level type thing, since you wouldn't be able to highlight it and see details, but knowing what buildings are when they're a few tiles away would be immensely helpful, especially for newbies (I'm on my first world still and definitely have this problem).

I've never seen so much misplaced hate for a game in the Steam forums before, it makes me mad just thinking about it. So many opinionated morons, I hope they get buried over time with the changes that have been made.

Offline Winge

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Re: Impressions after a few hours in Environ
« Reply #3 on: February 23, 2013, 12:42:40 PM »
For making and supporting suggestions, Arcen has a tool called Mantis.  It's helpful because it allows other users to better support issues or add suggestions of their own.  They do check forums as well, but that can be rather overwhelming at times.  Just thought you might want the link.

I've never seen so much misplaced hate for a game in the Steam forums before, it makes me mad just thinking about it. So many opinionated morons, I hope they get buried over time with the changes that have been made.

I am grateful that this is one of the few 'kind' areas of the internet.  It's very jarring going to any other forum after reading here.  I guess we get our abuse dose from AI War  ;D
My other bonus ship is a TARDIS.