Author Topic: Bionic Dues Private Alpha Begins Now  (Read 8770 times)

Offline GrimerX

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Re: Bionic Dues Private Alpha Begins Now
« Reply #60 on: September 08, 2013, 07:55:21 PM »
All this really sounds awesome guys!  I probably should not have read all of it.  Patience...  patience.  :-)

Offline x4000

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Re: Bionic Dues Private Alpha Begins Now
« Reply #61 on: September 08, 2013, 08:21:45 PM »
Will respond more later to things that need responding to (mostly tomorrow), and have added the things that are just to-do items to my lengthening list. ;)  But it's a solid list, so that's good.  All in the realm of polish and balance, really, which is as expected.

Anyway, the main news is that 0.903 is now out!  http://arcengames.com/mediawiki/index.php?title=Bionic_Dues_Alpha_Release_Notes#Alpha_0.903
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Offline Misery

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Re: Bionic Dues Private Alpha Begins Now
« Reply #62 on: September 08, 2013, 08:28:43 PM »
The problem with enemies with a long range is that they tend to just ruin the player bots beyond that.  I think that the sniper is in for a nerf of some sort, but honestly I would like to keep him as unique as possible.  So some sort of counterbalance to his range, rather than just reducing his range, is something I'd like.

Agreed with this.

That being said, there's still definitely an imbalance here.  One problem I notice is that enemy bots with low range just dont get a chance to really do anything.  High ranged foes can be a threat, sure. But if I'm going up against something with like 5 or less range?  It wont touch me.  It wont have the chance.

One thing that I think affects this is bot awareness;  right now it seems very screwy.  I've had times where there's a bunch of bots that are in sensor range, and I'll hit the "whistle" to try to lure them to me..... and they dont notice.   I get a little closer, do it again..... no response.  Or there might be some major fighting going on really close to them, but they just dont notice.   As a result of this, it's very easy to get into a situation where enemies are only ever coming from one direction at a time, and in a roguelike, that can lead to "chokepoint" situations, or just make things easier in general since your enemies are practically just lining up to get shot.    Bots also get stuck on things just a bit too easily, as in this screenshot:  http://i.imgur.com/Aif8u1T.jpg

In that screenshot, NONE of those enemies could move.  They came up from the left, ran into the two bots there that had shut down due to lack of ammo.... and got completely stuck.  I kept waiting out the turn, they kept not being able to move.   The one that's facing north came up from below a couple turns into that, hit the bot line, and got stuck himself as well.  This is kinda baffling to me since the pathfinding in all of the Arcen games I've played so far has actually been really good, with almost no incidents of the AI ever getting stuck on anything, but here it happens constantly.   I know these bots arent supposed to be particularly bright, but they do need to be able to navigate better to be any threat at all.

All in all though, low range guys need some way of getting close and having a chance to do some damage and be a threat, without having to nerf the player weapons much.  There's lots of possible ways to do this I think but I dont wanna make any specific suggestions just yet as I feel I should go further into the game first to get a better idea of things.



notice you can do it using MMB. Could swear that didn't work before. Good choice though, as long as it's made clear).
Holy bananas, just went to the training ground and got pancaked. There were at least 20 bots that homed in on me and destroyed each of mine one by one. Wasn't too clear exactly on what I should have done to avoid defeat due to sheer number.

I think these missions need a different name, and a more detailed description.   What they SOUND like (by the name) is a mission that's meant to be a little easier than others, like a low level "practice" mission where the enemies are comparatively weak, and the player can get some easy but low-level loot.  That, however, is not what these are, as I understand it.  What these are is VERY DANGEROUS missions.... compared to all of the normal missions.... that you are NOT expected to win, in most situations.  The idea is that you are basically going in here with a very, very high risk of losing and sacrificing 1 HP on your command center, but the trade-off is that you get a chance to deal a heavy blow to the big army that is building up over the course of the game, as taking out bots here knocks those same bots out of that army.  These are SUPPOSED to be super-hard, as the effect they can have is pretty large and definitely in your favor.... even when you still lose in the end.   Now, granted, if you just die IMMEDIATELY, that's not going to help, but to me that seems part of the risk.    But I think it needs to be explained a bit better that you shouldnt really try these until you've gotten a bit better equipment, and are more used to the strategies of the game overall.

As it is, the difficulty of them may need a little rebalancing in different ways;  I nearly finished one of these with a mostly-dead science bot, and that was BEFORE the health boost that was just applied in this patch.  There's a good chance my next attempt at one of these is going to be a clear win, at least if I play on Normal again.  I might switch to Hard though as I actually wasnt having too much trouble yet, aside from my very first encounter with WyvernBots (sure taught them a lesson the SECOND time though!  Ah, viruses.... so fun).


I think it's also worth pointing out to the player that there's a good chance that they ARE going to be defeated in some missions over the course of the game, and that this really isnt the cause to just give up immediately.   It's not a normal roguelike, you dont just lose totally and instantly when you fail a mission;  heck, the salvage missions even let you repair your command center, at the cost of taking up a day.   I think this system overall is actually very good, but I also think the player can get the impression that if they screw up ONCE they may as well give up, which just isnt true.


And finally, a couple of quick questions here..... that "regen" and "regen window", yeah, I dont get that at all.  An explanation of how that works would be helpful.   Also..... these "bahamut" things, are these missions I should not be doing too early on?  When I was playing last night this was the one mission where I got beaten, partly due to running out of ammo on most weapons (and my damn turrets just sitting there looking stupid the whole time).   It seemed much nastier than the non-trainingground missions I'd done up to that point.

Offline madcow

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Re: Bionic Dues Private Alpha Begins Now
« Reply #63 on: September 08, 2013, 08:49:44 PM »
Actually I had a thought for short range bots, namely another bot type - some that are immune to being whistled. That ought to make things more interesting ;) Additionally some with "radar dampening" and while they don't cloak, they will be invisible to the out of sight radar scans.

Offline Aeson

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Re: Bionic Dues Private Alpha Begins Now
« Reply #64 on: September 08, 2013, 11:10:46 PM »
Another bug: for some reason, I was unable to switch to the Science Exo at the beginning of a mission. Saving and reloading fixed the problem, but I hadn't even encountered any enemies yet, so I'm not sure what the problem was. (Incidentally, that might be an effect you could consider adding to the game, either as a trap or a special enemy - prevents the player from swapping exos for a little while. But it would need to be something that put up a noticeable message to that effect.)


Some comments:
1. Power boosting components don't seem worthwhile for the power bonus, and don't seem worthwhile installed in the reactor area, because the best that the ones that I've seen can do is more or less cover its own power cost and provide a minor bonus that I could have gotten from a component that didn't use as much power in the first place. As a result, I'd rather install a second Slave Reactor or other power-producing component, because usually those will cover an extra component or two and may have decent subsidiary bonuses to go with them.

2. Maybe I'm unlucky, but power-producing components seem to be a little on the rare side, which is unfortunate because power consumption appears to escalate quite rapidly. My Science Exo until recently had three reactors in it to produce about 750 power and I was unable to do more than fill it halfway. I just managed to get a new 600 power reactor, so now I can take the reactors out of my Science Exo and put this one in, and use those to upgrade my other Exos a bit. I realize that balancing the power consumption is one of the trade-offs, but I think power-production doesn't quite keep up well enough. I'm pretty sure that most (maybe all) of the seven reactors I currently have on my Exos came from the shop, which meant basically that I sold most of what I had in inventory so as to get enough power to run the stuff that's on my Exos, and my Siege Exo has been sucking fumes because of it (240 total power doesn't cut it for the stuff I have now, but I haven't been picking up reactors in loot, so it hasn't been upgraded since probably mission 5 or 6. I think I'm on mission 20 now. Assault is doing a bit better at 450 or so power, Sniper's good at 600, Science is just able to deal with current hacking needs at 750 power).

3. Short-range bots, as others have mentioned, need some kind of way to get close to the player. Pretends to be garbage? Can go invisible for a few moves? Can't be seen BVR?

4. "Training Grounds" should probably be renamed to something more appropriate - Hornet's Nest, perhaps. Hit and Run, Lion's Den, Suicide Run, Smash and Dash, and Assembly Point also seem appropriate to me. I think the description is sufficient warning, personally, but the name is a little misleading.

5. Assassination missions could do with being a bit more clear about what the target is. The first time I went into one, I ran away from the bot I was supposed to kill because I thought it was just an annoying tank that healed about as rapidly as I could shoot it. Its attacks weren't particularly threatening - I emptied the Assault Exo's LMG magazine on it while it shot me without really noticing much damage to either one of us, though this is on Easy - and it didn't look particularly boss-like, especially since the area I found it in was more or less devoid of other enemies (when I ran away and lead it into a large group of bots, it seemed more appropriate because I almost couldn't kill things near the boss bot and so there was an appropriate level of danger for a boss-battle). I was expecting some kind of high apparent threat bot, either something big or something that looked dangerous (big guns, glowing red or green bits, something) or something that did a lot of damage, and as a result was a bit surprised when the mission ended after I finally killed the bot, which I thought was some kind of bodyguard that you were supposed to avoid because it would waste tons of your ammunition.

6. Why do Manufacturing Plant missions reduce bot levels rather than bot production? I'd expect computer hacks, destruction of upgrade components/facilities, or raids on training areas to reduce bot levels, and raids on manufacturing sites to slow the increase in bot numbers.

7. I've noticed that some maps have potential loot which is inaccessible because the only way to the loot is past the item which ends the mission and you can't get past it without triggering the mission end. It's mildly annoying, but nothing major.

Offline Misery

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Re: Bionic Dues Private Alpha Begins Now
« Reply #65 on: September 09, 2013, 02:31:45 AM »
Well, the stats and such are much better now, as they actually make some sense.   I think there's still some tweaking to be done there, but it's decent now.

The Laser Rifle or whatever it's called, the beam gun that both the assault and science Exos have, seems a little pointless/redundant in this version;   it's barely stronger than the machine gun and has exactly the same range.   

I started a new game with this patch, and right away things got very interesting;  this game seems to really be at it's best currently when you've got crazy, twisted mazes to deal with.  I ran into DoomBots in this mission, and they made things very interesting indeed, as only the Siege or Ninja Exos could really kill them at all.   Having dealt with them it strikes me that a potential solution to fixing up some of the closer range bots might be to simply give them more health;  part of the reason why they're so easy to pick off from long range is that they generally pop in a single hit.   It does make sense to me balance-wise that the really long-range bots have less health, and melee or short range have more.

Let's see.... what else....

Uh, the grenade launcher:   Bloody horrible weapon.  Totally useless.  This needs some sort of major buff.

Aside from all that, the main problems right now seem to be two things:

1.  Firing through walls.  Shouldnt happen.  As best I can tell, if you have "sight" of an enemy, you have a shot at them, wall in the way or not.  This is one of those things that you can expect to be complained about quite a lot if it isnt changed, since it simply doesnt make any sense, and not only can get the player some cheap kills, but could also mean alot of cheap deaths from enemy bots that really shouldnt be able to hit you.   Definitely important.

2.  Bot AI, I swear it's just outright asleep most of the time.  They dont respond to things that they really should, and they get stuck on all sorts of things.


EDIT:   .....is it just me or do EMPbots follow you around constantly taunting you to blow them up if they get real close?   didn't expect that...
« Last Edit: September 09, 2013, 03:26:49 AM by Misery »

Offline Breach

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Re: Bionic Dues Private Alpha Begins Now
« Reply #66 on: September 09, 2013, 08:28:26 AM »
I agree the maze maps certainly make things very claustrophobic and a bit more tense. Greatly reduced room for area and quite easy to get trapped!

I don't have a problem myself with shooting through walls. Everything about the basic rules seems quite clear to me after one game. If the bot is lit up, they can see you, will shoot you (if in weapon range) and you can shoot them (if in weapon range). If the bot has a red laser towards you, they will fire upon you. Given Chris's response in the player questions thread (the first one, in response to your question) it seems unlikely this is going to be changed, and it looks like it's an established option in terms of LoS mechanics. As I see it you're not shooting through walls exactly, but peeking around corners. Same goes for the enemy bots.

Offline Misery

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Re: Bionic Dues Private Alpha Begins Now
« Reply #67 on: September 09, 2013, 08:48:04 AM »
I agree the maze maps certainly make things very claustrophobic and a bit more tense. Greatly reduced room for area and quite easy to get trapped!

I don't have a problem myself with shooting through walls. Everything about the basic rules seems quite clear to me after one game. If the bot is lit up, they can see you, will shoot you (if in weapon range) and you can shoot them (if in weapon range). If the bot has a red laser towards you, they will fire upon you. Given Chris's response in the player questions thread (the first one, in response to your question) it seems unlikely this is going to be changed, and it looks like it's an established option in terms of LoS mechanics. As I see it you're not shooting through walls exactly, but peeking around corners. Same goes for the enemy bots.

Hmm, I'd be fine with the "looking around corners" theory.... if I was actually NEAR a corner when this happens, which, almost all of the time, I'm not.  Certainly not close enough for "peeking around" to make sense, anyway.

One of the main reasons why this bit is a problem is partly due to the nature of this genre.  Roguelikes, particularly at higher difficulties, encourage very careful planning.   In a game where weapons, weapon ranges, target selection, and both player and enemy movement, patterns, and AI differences come into effect, alot of the stuff that the player is planning around, and alot of the info that they are using, is based on the structure of the surrounding area.  As it is, I'm never quite sure just when I'll suddenly be magically able to see a given foe until I'm already there;  I cannot look ahead into a room that my sensors are hitting, and try to plan out how I'll go about it, because I just cant really be sure about when/where I'll be able to shoot at them from, or them shoot at me from.  In some cases this isnt that important, but I've found that it can become VERY important when you're going up against something particularly dangerous.   I had that one happen multiple times against things like Wyvernbots and Doombots.  Had one Exo death entirely due to that in a particular mission, as I thought the line of sight would go to a certain spot, and moved to where I figured I should be, based on the number of tiles away the guy was and the fact that he was moving..... but when I got near that section, very suddenly he was in range, and the situation at the time meant that I couldnt really run away from him;  I had to get up there and hit him hard before he got in firing range (which I had enough attack power to do).  didn't work though, because of that.

Some of this will be based on the individual playstyle of each player;  it drives me absolutely up the wall.... and will likely do so even more once I up the difficulty.... but others may not be as affected by it.   I can see it very definitely being a sticking point in reviews though;  it's exactly the sort of thing that reviewers like to point out and berate.

That's my views/opinion/thoughts on it, at least.   It doesnt ruin the game or anything, but I do find it bloody annoying, and like I said, it will be pointed out over and over in reviews.


Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaanyway.   Aside from that, the current update is fairly good.  It's hard for me to judge the difficulty level yet;  the bot AI and the part where they actually realize that you're there and are supposed to do something is still really funky at times, and I'm about 5 missions into my current game, so that's not too far yet.  Those missions up to this point have been quite easy though;  the doombots presented the only actual threat.  And sometimes a SilenceBot would get in a hit or two.   For the most part though, my guys have so much health that aside from the Doombot mission, it often seems like I *cant* be killed.  Particularly if there's also healing stations that I've found somewhere in the level, as there's never any threat in backtracking, as is often the case in this genre.   This is all on Normal currently.   

Some enemy bots though do seem like they could do with some tweaks in some ways, though I dont have specific suggestions at the moment.   And some missions are easy because of the selection of bots;  for example SilenceBots + WyvernBots are a very nasty combo, but Silencebots + Ammobots are.... well, they make me think of the old Lemmings games, with those little guys just waddling happily into chainsaws.

Yet to be seen how it'll go as I get further though!

And again, quite enjoying it.   The gameplay is fun and the customization is interesting;  min/maxer types will love that part, hah.   

If I might make one suggestion on that:  In the Inventory screen, divide it up somehow, so I can look at it and say "Ok, these are all the parts that can go in weapon slots, these others are the ones that go in shield slots, and these are ones that can go in multiple slot types".  It'd really help when looking over the inventory to see what I just got from the last mission.


EDIT:  Oh yeah, a question:  How in the heck does regen even work?  I could swear it doesnt do anything.  Or if it does, I've never been in a position to notice it.
« Last Edit: September 09, 2013, 08:54:04 AM by Misery »

Offline Histidine

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Re: Bionic Dues Private Alpha Begins Now
« Reply #68 on: September 09, 2013, 09:53:53 AM »
Is Hard supposed to only have 3 Bahamut stations? My Brawler Exo had to do without in my last game.

Offline orzelek

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Re: Bionic Dues Private Alpha Begins Now
« Reply #69 on: September 09, 2013, 01:00:20 PM »
Patch notes state that grenades got attack power buff from 300 to 400.
I'm on 0.903 and grenade attack power in information of weapon states 52.
That 400 is total attack power?

In current state I still don't see how it could be useful. Getting shot by that 3-4 bots that you are trying to kill will end badly.

Unless I need new game to see changes like those?

Offline x4000

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Re: Bionic Dues Private Alpha Begins Now
« Reply #70 on: September 09, 2013, 04:40:53 PM »
Wow folks, I wish more mantis usage would take place.  I'm drowning in unorganized feedback and I'm really going to lose some of the comments, unfortunately.

New version is up though: http://arcengames.com/mediawiki/index.php?title=Bionic_Dues_Alpha_Release_Notes#Alpha_0.904
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Offline x4000

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Re: Bionic Dues Private Alpha Begins Now
« Reply #71 on: September 09, 2013, 04:41:47 PM »
Is Hard supposed to only have 3 Bahamut stations? My Brawler Exo had to do without in my last game.

No, there should always be enough.  It may have been tucked away somewhere, but I've never seen a map without it.  If you have a save without it, feel free to send it and I'll check it out.
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Offline x4000

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Re: Bionic Dues Private Alpha Begins Now
« Reply #72 on: September 09, 2013, 04:44:50 PM »
1.  Firing through walls.  Shouldnt happen.  As best I can tell, if you have "sight" of an enemy, you have a shot at them, wall in the way or not.  This is one of those things that you can expect to be complained about quite a lot if it isnt changed, since it simply doesnt make any sense, and not only can get the player some cheap kills, but could also mean alot of cheap deaths from enemy bots that really shouldnt be able to hit you.   Definitely important.

Trust me, the alternative is incredibly worse. We had that previously.  It absolutely stunk.  This is actually fun, the other was not.

2.  Bot AI, I swear it's just outright asleep most of the time.  They dont respond to things that they really should, and they get stuck on all sorts of things.

The waking up thing is a bug.  Getting stuck should never happen, as they can walk through debris and destroy it, and so on.  They have the same pathfinding as in skyward, too.  The only thing they should ever be stuck on is each other.  Are you looking at things like eaglebots and some of the others that are intentionally bonkers?


EDIT:   .....is it just me or do EMPbots follow you around constantly taunting you to blow them up if they get real close?   didn't expect that...

Yes.
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Offline x4000

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Re: Bionic Dues Private Alpha Begins Now
« Reply #73 on: September 09, 2013, 04:50:53 PM »
Another bug: for some reason, I was unable to switch to the Science Exo at the beginning of a mission. Saving and reloading fixed the problem, but I hadn't even encountered any enemies yet, so I'm not sure what the problem was. (Incidentally, that might be an effect you could consider adding to the game, either as a trap or a special enemy - prevents the player from swapping exos for a little while. But it would need to be something that put up a noticeable message to that effect.)

If you find a way to repro, let me know.


1. Power boosting components don't seem worthwhile for the power bonus, and don't seem worthwhile installed in the reactor area, because the best that the ones that I've seen can do is more or less cover its own power cost and provide a minor bonus that I could have gotten from a component that didn't use as much power in the first place. As a result, I'd rather install a second Slave Reactor or other power-producing component, because usually those will cover an extra component or two and may have decent subsidiary bonuses to go with them.

Added those to my list to look at.

2. Maybe I'm unlucky, but power-producing components seem to be a little on the rare side, which is unfortunate because power consumption appears to escalate quite rapidly. My Science Exo until recently had three reactors in it to produce about 750 power and I was unable to do more than fill it halfway. I just managed to get a new 600 power reactor, so now I can take the reactors out of my Science Exo and put this one in, and use those to upgrade my other Exos a bit. I realize that balancing the power consumption is one of the trade-offs, but I think power-production doesn't quite keep up well enough. I'm pretty sure that most (maybe all) of the seven reactors I currently have on my Exos came from the shop, which meant basically that I sold most of what I had in inventory so as to get enough power to run the stuff that's on my Exos, and my Siege Exo has been sucking fumes because of it (240 total power doesn't cut it for the stuff I have now, but I haven't been picking up reactors in loot, so it hasn't been upgraded since probably mission 5 or 6. I think I'm on mission 20 now. Assault is doing a bit better at 450 or so power, Sniper's good at 600, Science is just able to deal with current hacking needs at 750 power).

You might go for a reactor fab mission then.  Right now it's pretty randomized.

3. Short-range bots, as others have mentioned, need some kind of way to get close to the player. Pretends to be garbage? Can go invisible for a few moves? Can't be seen BVR?

I think that's actually counter to the idea.  Either they need a bit more range, or they should work as they do now.  The entire point of the way they work now is that they are slow to approach you and fire on you.  If you want to be taking more fire from some of these guys, I'll just up their range.  Adding new mechanics to counteract a specific design choice of making them not reach you fast seems a bit complicated.  Specifically they aren't supposed to get to you too fast because if they do, you die.

4. "Training Grounds" should probably be renamed to something more appropriate - Hornet's Nest, perhaps. Hit and Run, Lion's Den, Suicide Run, Smash and Dash, and Assembly Point also seem appropriate to me. I think the description is sufficient warning, personally, but the name is a little misleading.

Hmm.  Maybe Lion's Den.

5. Assassination missions could do with being a bit more clear about what the target is. The first time I went into one, I ran away from the bot I was supposed to kill because I thought it was just an annoying tank that healed about as rapidly as I could shoot it. Its attacks weren't particularly threatening - I emptied the Assault Exo's LMG magazine on it while it shot me without really noticing much damage to either one of us, though this is on Easy - and it didn't look particularly boss-like, especially since the area I found it in was more or less devoid of other enemies (when I ran away and lead it into a large group of bots, it seemed more appropriate because I almost couldn't kill things near the boss bot and so there was an appropriate level of danger for a boss-battle). I was expecting some kind of high apparent threat bot, either something big or something that looked dangerous (big guns, glowing red or green bits, something) or something that did a lot of damage, and as a result was a bit surprised when the mission ended after I finally killed the bot, which I thought was some kind of bodyguard that you were supposed to avoid because it would waste tons of your ammunition.

There are a variety of bots, not just one.  They all glow a different color.  I'll have the description mention that.

6. Why do Manufacturing Plant missions reduce bot levels rather than bot production? I'd expect computer hacks, destruction of upgrade components/facilities, or raids on training areas to reduce bot levels, and raids on manufacturing sites to slow the increase in bot numbers.

Because the levels thing is way more powerful, and the manufacturing level wouldn't affect as much.

7. I've noticed that some maps have potential loot which is inaccessible because the only way to the loot is past the item which ends the mission and you can't get past it without triggering the mission end. It's mildly annoying, but nothing major.

Hmm, that is annoying.  Not sure what to do about that, though.
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Offline orzelek

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Re: Bionic Dues Private Alpha Begins Now
« Reply #74 on: September 09, 2013, 06:27:27 PM »
Don't have much time for playing but I really like recent patch.
Stat and equipment changes make whole process much more pleasant.

That click module again to unequip it is a bit of a quirk still.
Would it be difficult to add separate item like icon when you are choosing what to put to a slot that would mean to make it empty?