Author Topic: Bionic Dues Private Alpha Begins Now  (Read 8850 times)

Offline x4000

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Bionic Dues Private Alpha Begins Now
« on: September 07, 2013, 08:25:56 PM »
Hey folks,

A number of you have already gotten a steam key for the private alpha, with a note that I would post on the forums when it is ready to actually install.  This is that post!

If you have NOT gotten an email from us, but you did PM Josh (tigersfan), then don't worry: we are doing this in batches of players, so we didn't just ignore you.  If you have not emailed Josh, but would like to be in the alpha, feel free to email him as we may still have some room in a future batch of testers (we'll see).

Alpha Process
We'll be doing this in waves, as usual.  So if you are not in but hope to be, please tell Josh when your time availability actually is during the next week or two.  The idea of doing this in waves is the fact that we can only make a first impression on a given person once.  So having some testers be first and then making adjustments on their feedback means that the first impressions of the later testers are closer to what the beta and 1.0 customers will experience.  Which is really useful to us.

Current State Of The Game
This thing is practically done, to be honest.  It's very 0.900 at this point.  This is unlike any other recent alpha or even beta that we've done.  The reason is that this game HAS to be pretty much done in order to be playable much at all.  So don't expect titanic shifts in the game during alpha or beta (it already works and is plenty fun), and in general don't expect much more in terms of content.

Current known things that are going to change during alpha and beta:

1. We are still working on more floor graphics and more "flavor objects" to add more variety in the visuals of your locales.  These have no impact on gameplay.

2. There will inevitably be some bugs found and some balance things that need adjusting (of course).

3. Four(ish) more cities will be added so that we have a total of 5 rather than the current 1.

4. We may add a few more bots, depending on how it winds up feeling over time.  But there are already 100,000 possible combinations of normal bots that you may face in a level, plus more with the "special" bots that are in smaller numbers.   So that's, uh, pretty good. ;)

5. During alpha, not all of the bots are yet lit and animated.  We'll be finishing that next week.

6. We're also still putting in some of the "robot chatter."

7. The comic from Nick Trujillo is just getting started.

8. The hackable computer terminals that are kind of like potions in other roguelikes are in, but this is one mechanic that may see some substantial revision as it is less mature.  We'll see.

9. The big one: there may be things that are unclear in terms of the game not explaining whatever.  There is no formal tutorial in this game, and we don't plan for there to be.  There's no large wiki or encyclopedia, and we don't plan for there to need to be (though feel free to create one if you wish).  The idea is that the game presents you with what you need at all times, and I think that it accomplishes that for the most part already.  THAT said, that doesn't mean there aren't some awful glaring oversights, so let us know what confuses you.

And... yeah.  That's pretty well it. :)  When it comes to this alpha, mostly we're going to want you to just play it and report anything you feel like you want to tell us (bugs, balance, something that isn't clear or fun or whatever).  And that's about it!

Schedule
- Alpha will last for 1-2 weeks or so.
- Then we'llgetting that to anybody from the public who wants to try it.
- Shortly after that, when things settle down some (maybe a week in), we'll be treating the beta as our press build.
- Then 1.0 will be in mid-October.

Cheers!
Chris
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Offline Misery

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Re: Bionic Dues Private Alpha Begins Now
« Reply #1 on: September 07, 2013, 08:53:40 PM »
Whoa, didn't expect this yet.  Excellent.  I thought this was coming on Monday though?  Or am I making that bit up....

Either way, I'll give my usual overly-detailed feedback later after I've had some time with it!

Offline x4000

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Re: Bionic Dues Private Alpha Begins Now
« Reply #2 on: September 07, 2013, 08:54:42 PM »
Cheers!  I thought it was Monday as well, but I wound up with extra time this weekend (Keith was blazing as I knew he would be).
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Offline madcow

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Re: Bionic Dues Private Alpha Begins Now
« Reply #3 on: September 07, 2013, 09:50:43 PM »
Whyyyyyy was I programmed to feel pain!?

I laughed.

I had a moment for a quick trial tonight, and will play more in depth time tomorrow for some real feedback. Definitely looks like a title I'll really be able to get behind.

Offline x4000

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Re: Bionic Dues Private Alpha Begins Now
« Reply #4 on: September 07, 2013, 09:51:34 PM »
Awesome. :)
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Offline Coppermantis

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Re: Bionic Dues Private Alpha Begins Now
« Reply #5 on: September 07, 2013, 11:42:01 PM »
I did some light playing today and sent in a few comments/bugs. Will do more tomorrow, since it's late. The main menu song is fantastic though. I like it maybe even more than AVWW2's theme.
I can already tell this is going to be a roller coaster ride of disappointment.

Offline mrhanman

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Re: Bionic Dues Private Alpha Begins Now
« Reply #6 on: September 08, 2013, 12:10:37 AM »
YES!  I was staying up late tonight anyway. :D

Title music is awesome! 

khadgar's voice acting is top notch!  I hope this kick starts his VA career, if that's what he wants.

I run a triple monitor setup running at 5040 x 1050.  Excessive for this?  Sure, but the game chose it, so I'm going to use it!  Thought I'd post a title screen shot, if that's ok?  Looks pretty awesome, in my opinion.

The store tooltip text is hilarious.  I think I detect Keith's style in that one.

ClawBot took me out on my first mission (Assasination).  I assume the way to kill it is by hitting it for 15,000 in one shot?  If so, I couldn't figure out how to do it.

Found some confusing behavior from the RadarBot.  Mainly, I can't kill it.  I tried to drop a mine to lure it onto, but that was bugged (I reported it).  Everytime I shoot at or around it, I miss horribly.  Once, it missed and destroyed a bot that I had not seen yet through a wall.  Next, I hit it with a virus.  It's on my side, but my shots still miss wildly.  Worse, it's blocking the way and I can't get past this.  I might have to abandon this mission.  The worst part is, I suggested this thing!  How embarassing.  I didn't put this one on Mantis because I'm not sure how much is desired behavior.

After enough shots, I finally landed one on it.  Whew!
« Last Edit: September 08, 2013, 02:03:56 AM by mrhanman »

Offline Misery

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Re: Bionic Dues Private Alpha Begins Now
« Reply #7 on: September 08, 2013, 02:10:36 AM »
Well.   This is pretty fun so far.   And I liked the Eagleface Forest joke in the Eaglebot's description, haha.  I havent forgotten THAT place and it's accursed demon birds.

That being said, it's time for my Horrible Blob of Feedback!

I wrote all this as it occurred to me when I was playing the game, so I apologize for the format.

Here we go:


1.  On the initial screen where you select your exos, have the name of each appear on their portraits;  it's a small thing but it can help newer players to remember which one is which.

2.  On the customization screen, when I've clicked a slot and it's showing me available items, allow me to click anywhere outside of that window to close it.  Used to doing this in many other games that use a similar interface.

3.  On the customization screen, if you have the mouse cursor on the far left, it still gives the "choose a mission or customize on the left" message from the main map screen.

4.  Customization screen, my initial reactor part, "MK 1 Auxillery Reactor"  in my inventory is equippable in both shields and propulsion, but not actually in the reactor section.  I also seem to be able to equip this "coolant tank" anywhere at all?  But it's given stats, according to the equip window, seem to change based on what type of slot it's in?  EDIT: Ok, I figured this out.  It is explained in the tooltip, but not in the actual equip window; that one definitely should be changed so it's explained in the equip window, as it really was very confusing indeed.

5.  Map screen, initially started off all squashed to the right side of the screen.

6.  I cant seem to remove parts once placed in the customization.  I can replace them, but not simply take them back out.

7.  Tooltips for equipment only shows up if you havent clicked a slot, when you're in the "choose a part" window it does not appear.  It might be good to have this appear on either side of that window.

8.  City map can be scrolled while in the customize screen.

9.  Initial question upon entering mission:  Why can I fire through walls?  This is the part that makes the least sense so far.

10.  Is there some way to look at Exo stats during missions?  Or look at my inventory during missions?  Both would be useful.

11.  Have tooltips for objects/enemies/whatever in missions always display;  holding the mouse button to do it seems unnecessary as there's a good amount of screen space, and the info is always useful.

12.  Two items with the same name have different stats?  (edit: I think I mighta just read these wrong).

13.  CPU Overcharger goes in the reactor slot?

14.  EMP bot effect never wears off!  This is by far the worst of the bugs so far.  I've done a couple of missions, and the strategy/tactics in both almost entirely revolved around my AssaultBot and ScienceBot using their range 10 lasers to pop those guys; a mistake would lock up my bot for the rest of the mission, and all enemies within the large range were also totally locked for good.  As such, I cannot yet say much about balance and such related to most of the enemies as most of them dont get a chance to do much beyond that sniper type.  EMP bot range of effect also should be shown when mousing over it.

15.  Allow Sentry Turrets to be placed on any adjacent square, instead of just whatever you happen to be facing, since the angle thing can really interfere with this.

16.  Percentages on weapon damage dont make any sense!  Example, the ninjabot starts with a machinegun that does 120 damage.  When I equipped a module that says it gives a 1% attack boost, the attack power of that weapon went up to 274.  It's welding laser went from 300 to 1257!  I'm thinking there might be bugs here...

17.  That being said, percentages on many things are way too low to have any real or desirable effect.  Or that's what it looks like at least.  Considering the weapon thing, I cant entirely tell if the percentages actually ARE that low, or if they're being displayed wrong in the stat window. But the non-attack ones dont seem to do that.... it's very confusing.  If those percentage numbers are displaying properly then they are definitely too low.

18.  I do not entirely understand what propulsion does; is that part entirely meant for things like stealth and having the bot explode?  The word propulsion makes me think it has something to do with movement speed, or something like that.  As it is, seeing "propulsion-stat increase" on various things is confusing.

19.  An item that says it gives +40 power has it's stat in the window reflected as being 4000.

20.  During missions, some things can blend in with the environment a bit too much, particularly considering all of the "cover" objects all over the place.   If you can, simply applying a bright outline to important objects such as mission goals or items/stations or whatever would be a major help here.  I had a science mission that I thought was bugged out because I just couldnt find the thing that was the mission goal; it's a 2x2 object, but it still managed to blend in with everything else that it took me some time to notice where it was.

21.  This game, it needs a tutorial.   I'm used to figuring things out on my own, but as with most of your games this one has a learning curve, but it doesnt explain much at all.  New players might end up quite frustrated at this.  I know what you said in your inital post up there, but this one I think is worth considering.  Even having only played a couple of hours of this so far, I'm seeing that this game is pretty darned complex, especially when you get into all of the stats and such, which are pretty important.  So far, the two most confusing things to me is the way it shows how much Stealth a given Exo has left, and also how it determines visual range VS what I assume is "sensor" range (with the glowing bot outlines).

22.  Music on the map/customization/shop screens would be nice.  They're too quiet, since nothing is exploding or shouting hilarious lines.


Ok, so there's the initial wall of stuff.   As I'd said the EMP bit is the nastiest problem right now, that'd definitely be priority number one out of this list, I should think.

And my browser/connection is being a snot here, I'll try to remember to stick the bugs/problems into Mantis once it calms down, but I apologize if I forget to do it.   Bloody Comcast.  They really are terrible...

All in all though, this game is off to a nice start.   I like all of the tactical options that I have during missions, I like having the different Exos that fulfill different roles on the team, and I like the mission/city map structure overall.  There seems to be quite a lot of variety to things as a whole as well.   And the humor is good too, heh.  The game has alot of personality to it.
« Last Edit: September 08, 2013, 02:13:57 AM by Misery »

Offline Coppermantis

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Re: Bionic Dues Private Alpha Begins Now
« Reply #8 on: September 08, 2013, 02:16:01 AM »

6.  I cant seem to remove parts once placed in the customization.  I can replace them, but not simply take them back out.


Click on a part again to remove it.
I can already tell this is going to be a roller coaster ride of disappointment.

Offline Histidine

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Re: Bionic Dues Private Alpha Begins Now
« Reply #9 on: September 08, 2013, 02:18:34 AM »
Hey Josh, you gave me a key even though I never asked for one! But I'm sure not complaning  ;D

Anyway! Here are my running thoughts playing through the game; I've highlighted UI issues and bugs.

Before game
Main menu theme is typical Pablo prowess, but too short :'(

Not Clear: Exo/character tooltips should display their names. For that matter, they should probably have proper dropdown boxes; I figured out that you needed to click the images within 2 seconds, but others may not.

I first noticed this on Axis because of her complexion, but the character sprites seem unusually "shiny."

Science Exo: "Borderline weapons and health..." I don't think borderline is the most descriptive word here ;)

Alert on sight strikes me as really counterintuitive. (But it turns out Sniper is OP anyway.)

I hereby dub the Sniper Exo "Tree Golem."


Game Start
Using Axis with Assault, Sniper, Ninja and Science exos, normal difficulty

Lol @ DragonBot description. Reminds me of a gameplay hint someone wrote for my game once: "[...]There is no such thing as a weak fire unit though, because they all shoot fire."

Not clear: To remove a module you have to reselect it in the screen. To exit from screen without any changes you have to click on the same module slot.

I can't take the names of the store items seriously. Will there be cheesy achivements to collect, like in Valley 2? :D

Aaaah lost first mission. I guess I need to be really careful about when and where I engage.

Won second one. Getting caught in the open by snipers is deadly.

Bahamut Sniper upgrade! Now if only I knew what it does.

Not clear: Module tooltips don't always make it clear which part they go into.

Not clear: Exos could use a list summing all bonuses from modules. I noticed this when I needed to check which of my exos lacked regen. (What does regen do anyway?)

Bug: Started a Bahamut Ninja upgrade mission, spawned next to objective, won without making a single move. Huh. (Later won Bahamut Science upgrade in same way.)

Bug: Aaaand all subsequent missions are instant-lose at start, without making any moves. Saving and loading seemed to fix that, huh.

Bug: Left-clicking an item in store puts it in layaway even if I have enough money. Needed to right-click to buy (or sell).

Sniper Exo lets me mow down enemies with impunity if they're more than a certain distance from me (so they don't bother moving at all). Particularly silly on the Training Ground level I just played.

UNHANDLED EXCEPTION! Man, "Object reference not set to an instance of an object" again. Hate those.
Code: [Select]
9/8/2013 2:01:19 PM (0.900) Mem: 83,210,240 Mode: SinglePlayerOrMultiplayerHost Plat:WindowsPlayer
-----------
FixedUpdate: System.NullReferenceException: Object reference not set to an instance of an object
  at AIMutableGameEntityData.GetEffectiveIsOnAlert (AlertConditionType RestrictToThese) [0x00000] in <filename unknown>:0
  at AIMutableGameEntityData.GetEffectiveIsOnAlert () [0x00000] in <filename unknown>:0
  at WorldMapTile.CalculateCurrentPriorityForGeneralMilitary (.GameEntity MilitaryEntity, .EntitySystem WithSystem) [0x00000] in <filename unknown>:0
  at World.FindBestNewTargetForRangedMilitaryUnit (.GameEntity Entity, .EntitySystem WithSystem) [0x00000] in <filename unknown>:0
  at World.HandleMilitary () [0x00000] in <filename unknown>:0
  at World.ProcessSimStepOnPrimaryMachineOnly () [0x00000] in <filename unknown>:0
  at Game.ProcessSimStep () [0x00000] in <filename unknown>:0
  at Game.RunNextCycle (Boolean DoRendering) [0x00000] in <filename unknown>:0
  at Game.RunFrame () [0x00000] in <filename unknown>:0
  at ArcenMainCameraImplementations.MainUpdateLogic () [0x00000] in <filename unknown>:0
Stack Trace:   at AIMutableGameEntityData.GetEffectiveIsOnAlert (AlertConditionType RestrictToThese) [0x00000] in <filename unknown>:0
  at AIMutableGameEntityData.GetEffectiveIsOnAlert () [0x00000] in <filename unknown>:0
  at WorldMapTile.CalculateCurrentPriorityForGeneralMilitary (.GameEntity MilitaryEntity, .EntitySystem WithSystem) [0x00000] in <filename unknown>:0
  at World.FindBestNewTargetForRangedMilitaryUnit (.GameEntity Entity, .EntitySystem WithSystem) [0x00000] in <filename unknown>:0
  at World.HandleMilitary () [0x00000] in <filename unknown>:0
  at World.ProcessSimStepOnPrimaryMachineOnly () [0x00000] in <filename unknown>:0
  at Game.ProcessSimStep () [0x00000] in <filename unknown>:0
  at Game.RunNextCycle (Boolean DoRendering) [0x00000] in <filename unknown>:0
  at Game.RunFrame () [0x00000] in <filename unknown>:0
  at ArcenMainCameraImplementations.MainUpdateLogic () [0x00000] in <filename unknown>:0
« Last Edit: September 08, 2013, 02:22:41 AM by Histidine »

Offline Misery

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Re: Bionic Dues Private Alpha Begins Now
« Reply #10 on: September 08, 2013, 02:20:37 AM »

6.  I cant seem to remove parts once placed in the customization.  I can replace them, but not simply take them back out.


Click on a part again to remove it.

Hm, that's a bug, then.  I kept doing that (it was the first thing I thought of) but they simply wouldnt come off.

Offline mrhanman

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Re: Bionic Dues Private Alpha Begins Now
« Reply #11 on: September 08, 2013, 02:25:35 AM »
I wish the "walls" were more clearly defined.  When clearing the map, it would make it easier visually on some of the darker levels.  Other than that, I'm having a blast!  I put a few things on Mantis, but nothing too major.

Offline Misery

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Re: Bionic Dues Private Alpha Begins Now
« Reply #12 on: September 08, 2013, 02:36:49 AM »
I wish the "walls" were more clearly defined.  When clearing the map, it would make it easier visually on some of the darker levels.  Other than that, I'm having a blast!  I put a few things on Mantis, but nothing too major.

Aye, same here.  In particular, when they're in the "fog of war", they're difficult as heck to make out.


On that note, I also wanted to emphasize my suggestion about outlining things to make them stand out.  The more I think about this, the more important it seems to me.  Overall, the UI for the game as a whole is very good, aside from that "hold left click to bring up tooltip" bit.  But everything blending together and being hard to spot is a major step back.  In a game like this, it's super important for the player to be able to easily spot everything on the screen, so they can consider all of their tactical options.  Doing this isnt as important as fixing the horrible EMP glitch (which is nearly game-breaking), but I still think this one is really, really important.  I found that I was missing stuff very easily the entire time I was playing except for enemies, and the main reason why they were the only easy thing to notice was the glowing outline when you're aware of them but cannot see them.

To further that suggestion, if you apply such an effect, it'd be good to also have it color coded.  For example, all enemies get a red outline, all treasure/items get a green outline, explosive things get yellow.... you get the idea.


Oh, and one more thing:   The "rescue" missions, it's not clear as to if you're supposed to DO something with the pods or not.  I kept trying to activate them or something to rescue them and get the loot, but it didn't seem to work that way.

Offline mrhanman

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Re: Bionic Dues Private Alpha Begins Now
« Reply #13 on: September 08, 2013, 02:41:45 AM »
I agree that enemies and interact-able items should stand out more, but I think instead of an outline, idle animation would look better.  If I remember correctly, that kind of thing is still being finalized.

I'm not sure I agree that EMP never wearing off is a bug.  An EMP fries electronics.  It kind of makes sense to me that it wouldn't wear off.  It's pretty harsh, but I finished a mission with my AssaultExo crippled by it.
« Last Edit: September 08, 2013, 02:54:08 AM by mrhanman »

Offline Misery

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Re: Bionic Dues Private Alpha Begins Now
« Reply #14 on: September 08, 2013, 03:33:19 AM »
I agree that enemies and interact-able items should stand out more, but I think instead of an outline, idle animation would look better.  If I remember correctly, that kind of thing is still being finalized.

I'm not sure I agree that EMP never wearing off is a bug.  An EMP fries electronics.  It kind of makes sense to me that it wouldn't wear off.  It's pretty harsh, but I finished a mission with my AssaultExo crippled by it.

The main reason I"m sure it's a bug is that on the EMPbot's tooltip, it says it's temporary.

.....also, it being permanent is so far having the side effect of making the missions dramatically easier, by freezing the majority of the bot population forever.  I stopped getting hit by it myself as soon as I figured out the best positioning and weapon choice to use to make sure that the EMP doesnt hit me.

And the last bit is simply that having a very common enemy bot with a 9-radius instant kill (which is what it may as well be) is just unbalanced as heck  :P


EDIT:  And after I escaped EMPbot Land, it got much more interesting.  THose guys showed up for the first 3 missions I did, and then I havent seen them since.  The other bots are entertaining in their general wackiness.   One thing though: if it wasnt for the big attack boost that I'm getting from the weapon damage percentage increase, I'd be finding most of these missions unbeatable.  It usually seems like I *have* to kill these guys before they get into firing range, or I'm basically screwed.  There's almost always a bunch of them at once, and if multiple things shoot at me in one turn, my guys die.

And stealth.... when you turn it on, enemies will still fire at you that turn.   Kinda drops the usefulness of it quite a bit.   Also, is it me, or is the customization screen outright lying about the stealth counts?  It tells me I have 10 consecutive turns for my ninjabot right now, but once I'm in a mission, it becomes 6 (and I went back to doublecheck that just now to make sure that number was right).  For the bots that have a low consecutive stealth count, it's basically useless for them.  When it DOES work though, it has a bunch of interesting applications.
« Last Edit: September 08, 2013, 06:43:09 AM by Misery »