Author Topic: Responses to alpha player questions.  (Read 6378 times)

Offline x4000

  • Chris Park, Arcen Games Founder and Lead Designer
  • Arcen Staff
  • Zenith Council Member Mark III
  • *****
  • Posts: 31,501
Re: Responses to alpha player questions.
« Reply #15 on: September 08, 2013, 07:47:54 PM »
New question about mines. How do I turn the direction of my robot to place the mines without spending a turn? Also, they seem kind of exploitable. My enemy doesn't run into them, but they sure like to waste all of their ammunition on them.

You can use the arrow keys (not WASD) to turn your bot -- it now says that in the tooltip, although you may have been playing (or still be playing) on the version prior to us putting that in.

In terms of the enemies wasting ammo on the mines, I've not seen that; they're supposed to truck on over them and die stupidly, not attack them!  Do you have a save with that happening?

Also having trouble throwing grenades. What's the trick here?

Those just get fired like anything else -- am I missing something?  If you want to ground fire, hold shift.  Maybe there's some sort of new bug here's that's affecting you or something.


Upon further play through, when I laid those mines, those aren't actually mines. Those are hacking terminals graphics! I had never laid a mine before, so I didn't really recognize it, but that's what it is.


I can't reproduce it, but I am laying mines everywhere in the hopes that I can get this to come up again. That is bizarre!

Oh yeah, that was something fixed in 0.901 I think it was -- that was a testing thing left in by accident.  What version are you on at this point?

In other news, this game is freaking fun. Now that I know what I'm doing, it's all good. Takeaway point, we need to make sure people have an idea on what this game is about when they are starting to play. And I think the marketing needs to be on target for this as well. You have a lot of depth here that is not readily apparent, but the more I play the more I realize what I can do as a "pilot"or whatever you are calling it. So, bravo, this is one that's a keeper. Good job.

Wow wow wow, that means a lot coming from you in particular.  And I don't mean that at all in a negative way.  You're just extremely hard to impress, which is not a value judgement.  So when we impress you, I agree we have a keeper. :D

And you are absolutely right in the rest of what you said, too.
Have ideas or bug reports for one of our games?  Mantis for Suggestions and Bug Reports. Thanks for helping to make our games better!

Offline Cyborg

  • Master Member Mark III
  • *****
  • Posts: 1,938
Re: Responses to alpha player questions.
« Reply #16 on: September 08, 2013, 07:54:50 PM »
I am on .902. Do you have a patch notes page or mantis area I can keep track of?
Kahuna strategy guide:
http://www.arcengames.com/forums/index.php/topic,13369.0.html

Suggestions, bugs? Don't be lazy, give back:
http://www.arcengames.com/mantisbt/

Planetcracker. Believe it.

The stigma of hunger. http://wayw.re/Vi12BK

Offline x4000

  • Chris Park, Arcen Games Founder and Lead Designer
  • Arcen Staff
  • Zenith Council Member Mark III
  • *****
  • Posts: 31,501
Re: Responses to alpha player questions.
« Reply #17 on: September 08, 2013, 07:56:02 PM »
I am on .902. Do you have a patch notes page or mantis area I can keep track of?

Okay, then that bugfix did not actually take, apparently.  I'll look at that again, thanks.

And regarding the changelog, it's here: http://arcengames.com/mediawiki/index.php?title=Bionic_Dues_Alpha_Release_Notes

You can also get to that by the What's New link in the game's main menu.  There is also a Bionic section in mantis, but the changelog is a better source.
Have ideas or bug reports for one of our games?  Mantis for Suggestions and Bug Reports. Thanks for helping to make our games better!

Offline x4000

  • Chris Park, Arcen Games Founder and Lead Designer
  • Arcen Staff
  • Zenith Council Member Mark III
  • *****
  • Posts: 31,501
Re: Responses to alpha player questions.
« Reply #18 on: September 08, 2013, 08:14:18 PM »
Hmm, I cannot duplicate this at all on 0.903, which I will push out soon.  So either I think it is a bad state from an older save (does not seem likely based on the code I just looked at), or it's something that didn't properly go out in 0.902, which is possible.
Have ideas or bug reports for one of our games?  Mantis for Suggestions and Bug Reports. Thanks for helping to make our games better!

Offline x4000

  • Chris Park, Arcen Games Founder and Lead Designer
  • Arcen Staff
  • Zenith Council Member Mark III
  • *****
  • Posts: 31,501
Re: Responses to alpha player questions.
« Reply #19 on: September 09, 2013, 09:51:56 AM »
Quote
Aeson: It would be nice if the item shop carried a few more items, especially lower-tech items (which would presumably cost less). This could be done as a reward for successfully completing missions, too - since you're presumably securing more of the city (sort-of), the shop people have more area to scavenge in and therefore have a wider variety of stuff to sell you, though not all of it is necessarily an improvement on what you have.

The reasoning for the current mechanic only having high-value items is so that you have to anticipate those for a while, being unable to get them too frequently.  I was thinking about this sort of anticipation while playing Civ with my wife.  They basically have all these systems that increase anticipation between turns, helping lead to that "one more turn" nature.  Specifically I am thinking of the polices, the technologies, the production per city of various things, and so forth.  All those things having somewhat-long timers on them, but not all lining up and finishing at any one time, lets you anticipate things constantly, and thus never be at a point where you want to stop.

Here when I thought of the shop, I thought about making it fit into that same sort of thing.  You have the missions that you can see but not yet reach that you can anticipate, you have the shop items that you can see but not yet afford, you have the customization of your exos that you want to do but might not have all the parts for, and I think that's it.

Keith and I discussed adding "candy items" in the shop: basically those that are very inexpensive but also not really worth it, and thus which "rot your teeth."  We have some candy techs in AI War as well.  But that's really kind of entrapment for the player, and in this case also undermines the anticipation.

Anyway, hopefully that thinking makes sense.

Quote
Aeson: If shields and health are meant to be identical, please use only one name for it. If, on the other hand, shields are meant to be a restores-over-time health bank or something like that, please have the statistics distinguish between shields and health.

This seems to be a common point of confusion, and I made a change in the next version to say "shield-system stats" instead of "shield stats."  Hopefully that alone will help clear up the confusion some, but also in the help sections in the customization screens where it explains all the stats, it will be addressed there.

But basically there are no shields, per se.  The shields are a system, just like propulsion and computer and the weapons.  Health is the actual stat, like attack power or hacking points or stealth points or whatever.  The shields system is responsible for things like health, system damage protection, regen, and so on.  So the words shields and health aren't interchangeable.

Any ideas from anyone on how the game can make this more abundantly clear from the start, aside from what is already done and planned?

Quote
Aeson: I don't know if there's something like this in the game already or not, but it might be nice if there were, say, a rechargeable powercell for energy weapons, which allowed you to pass turns to gain ammunition for the weapon it's installed in but reduces the total number of rounds available between recharges.

Basically anything that wastes player time in exchange for a tactical advantage is out.  Where the player is just running around or hitting spacebar, there's no point to a mechanic because they will just do that between battles.  Ammo being really scarce in the main (good ammo, anyway) is also a big part of the mission structure. 

Though less so lately, given how we shrunk the mission map sizes so much right before starting the alpha (they were interminably long prior to that, turns out).  I probably should drop the general ammo of your exos by half or more (for the high-ammo weapons at least), so that you wind up having to use more exos in a single mission.  What are people's thoughts from anyone on that?  It could be troublesome given exo mortality rates. ;)

Quote
Tridus: It's not at all clear how the enemy bots react to my movements. I moved a bit and nothing happened, despite a Wyvernbot being visible in the open. One more move and it started moving too. Did I run out of movement points?

This is a side effect of all the art and animations not being in place yet.  If the bot does not have pessimistic line of sight on you (as opposed to your permissive line of sight that your bot gets and that is used for firing lines once activated), it won't activate.  So most likely there was some cover between you and it.

This would normally be more clear, because the bot would look deactivated and not be animated, etc.  But as it stands now, it's just a subtle particle effect difference on some of the bots, including this one.  If you look at bots like the DumBot or similar, that's how it will work in the near future for all the bots, which should hopefully alleviate this trouble.

The other part of this is: you act, they act.  There are no action points.  We had those  for a long while and it was slow and fiddly and confusing.  So we moved away from the more tactics-game like feel (which is pretty slow) to the more roguelike-game feel (which is much more fluid).

Have ideas or bug reports for one of our games?  Mantis for Suggestions and Bug Reports. Thanks for helping to make our games better!

Offline Misery

  • Arcen Volunteer
  • Core Member Mark V
  • *****
  • Posts: 4,109
Re: Responses to alpha player questions.
« Reply #20 on: September 09, 2013, 10:15:58 AM »
Hm, as for the enemy bot activations, what about noise?  I can understand the bit about line of sight, but it seems in so many cases that it SHOULD be nearby explosions and such waking them up, yet alot of the time, it never happens.   Sometimes even when those explosions are directly adjacent.

Overall I've had a hard time understanding the mechanics of just what attracts the bots towards you, and what doesnt.  Aside from the whistle, but even that sometimes doesnt do it when it seems like it should.

Offline Gemzo

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 137
Re: Responses to alpha player questions.
« Reply #21 on: September 09, 2013, 10:24:42 AM »
But basically there are no shields, per se.  The shields are a system, just like propulsion and computer and the weapons.  Health is the actual stat, like attack power or hacking points or stealth points or whatever.  The shields system is responsible for things like health, system damage protection, regen, and so on.  So the words shields and health aren't interchangeable.

Any ideas from anyone on how the game can make this more abundantly clear from the start, aside from what is already done and planned?
That mechanic certainly sounds a lot more like a "damage control system" than a shield system. When I hear shield I would imagine it would protect my health.

Offline Tridus

  • Master Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1,305
  • I'm going to do what I do best: lecture her!
Re: Responses to alpha player questions.
« Reply #22 on: September 09, 2013, 10:29:35 AM »
Quote
Aeson: If shields and health are meant to be identical, please use only one name for it. If, on the other hand, shields are meant to be a restores-over-time health bank or something like that, please have the statistics distinguish between shields and health.

This seems to be a common point of confusion, and I made a change in the next version to say "shield-system stats" instead of "shield stats."  Hopefully that alone will help clear up the confusion some, but also in the help sections in the customization screens where it explains all the stats, it will be addressed there.

But basically there are no shields, per se.  The shields are a system, just like propulsion and computer and the weapons.  Health is the actual stat, like attack power or hacking points or stealth points or whatever.  The shields system is responsible for things like health, system damage protection, regen, and so on.  So the words shields and health aren't interchangeable.

Any ideas from anyone on how the game can make this more abundantly clear from the start, aside from what is already done and planned?

The simplest way is to have the items say +health. Like I have an item that says something to the effect of "+1% Shields", but since I don't have a "shield" stat and it increased my health by one, I can only assume it really means "+1% Health".

I got another one that said "+33 health" and understood exactly what it did. The issue to me is that one thing (health) is being called by two names (health, shields). If that "shield-system stats" bonus really means health, it should just say health. Now if it really means "boosts health from items in the shield system only", that's a bit different.

(I kind of think "shields" is a loaded word here because shields are a thing in so many games. Maybe if you called the system "Protection" instead it would be less confusing.)

Offline x4000

  • Chris Park, Arcen Games Founder and Lead Designer
  • Arcen Staff
  • Zenith Council Member Mark III
  • *****
  • Posts: 31,501
Re: Responses to alpha player questions.
« Reply #23 on: September 09, 2013, 10:30:28 AM »
Hm, as for the enemy bot activations, what about noise?  I can understand the bit about line of sight, but it seems in so many cases that it SHOULD be nearby explosions and such waking them up, yet alot of the time, it never happens.   Sometimes even when those explosions are directly adjacent.

Overall I've had a hard time understanding the mechanics of just what attracts the bots towards you, and what doesnt.  Aside from the whistle, but even that sometimes doesnt do it when it seems like it should.

There are some secondary rules with some bots waking up with noise and with others being alerted by sentries being attacked, etc.  But yeah, that's difficult to convey.  The wake-on-nearby-guy-getting-shot is something I do want to get into better, though, as otherwise it makes less sense.  That seems like it overlaps pretty well with the noise concept, for the most part.

But basically there are no shields, per se.  The shields are a system, just like propulsion and computer and the weapons.  Health is the actual stat, like attack power or hacking points or stealth points or whatever.  The shields system is responsible for things like health, system damage protection, regen, and so on.  So the words shields and health aren't interchangeable.

Any ideas from anyone on how the game can make this more abundantly clear from the start, aside from what is already done and planned?
That mechanic certainly sounds a lot more like a "damage control system" than a shield system. When I hear shield I would imagine it would protect my health.

Well, the idea is that your health really is your shielding.  I guess that we could rename health to shields if that would make things more clear.  That might do it, actually.  Although then it's confusing that something that increases "shield system stats" also affects things like regen and the system hardening.
Have ideas or bug reports for one of our games?  Mantis for Suggestions and Bug Reports. Thanks for helping to make our games better!

Offline x4000

  • Chris Park, Arcen Games Founder and Lead Designer
  • Arcen Staff
  • Zenith Council Member Mark III
  • *****
  • Posts: 31,501
Re: Responses to alpha player questions.
« Reply #24 on: September 09, 2013, 10:31:45 AM »
Quote
Aeson: If shields and health are meant to be identical, please use only one name for it. If, on the other hand, shields are meant to be a restores-over-time health bank or something like that, please have the statistics distinguish between shields and health.

This seems to be a common point of confusion, and I made a change in the next version to say "shield-system stats" instead of "shield stats."  Hopefully that alone will help clear up the confusion some, but also in the help sections in the customization screens where it explains all the stats, it will be addressed there.

But basically there are no shields, per se.  The shields are a system, just like propulsion and computer and the weapons.  Health is the actual stat, like attack power or hacking points or stealth points or whatever.  The shields system is responsible for things like health, system damage protection, regen, and so on.  So the words shields and health aren't interchangeable.

Any ideas from anyone on how the game can make this more abundantly clear from the start, aside from what is already done and planned?

The simplest way is to have the items say +health. Like I have an item that says something to the effect of "+1% Shields", but since I don't have a "shield" stat and it increased my health by one, I can only assume it really means "+1% Health".

I got another one that said "+33 health" and understood exactly what it did. The issue to me is that one thing (health) is being called by two names (health, shields). If that "shield-system stats" bonus really means health, it should just say health. Now if it really means "boosts health from items in the shield system only", that's a bit different.

(I kind of think "shields" is a loaded word here because shields are a thing in so many games. Maybe if you called the system "Protection" instead it would be less confusing.)

See, but it never said "Shields"  it said "shield stats" which is unclear.  But now it says "shield system stats."  And it affects a lot more than health, so it's not just about the health and could not be renamed to that.
Have ideas or bug reports for one of our games?  Mantis for Suggestions and Bug Reports. Thanks for helping to make our games better!

Offline Tridus

  • Master Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1,305
  • I'm going to do what I do best: lecture her!
Re: Responses to alpha player questions.
« Reply #25 on: September 09, 2013, 10:36:12 AM »
See, but it never said "Shields"  it said "shield stats" which is unclear.  But now it says "shield system stats."  And it affects a lot more than health, so it's not just about the health and could not be renamed to that.

Well that shows how unclear it was, because I had no idea it did anything other than boosting health. :)

So based on that, I really think the word "shields" should be removed because it's a word that carries expectations for gamers. "Fortification" gets the same idea across without people expecting it to behave like a shield. That also includes system hardening or other protections, as it's a generic term. ("1% to Fortification system stats" doesn't sound too bad, either. :) )

Offline madcow

  • Hero Member Mark III
  • *****
  • Posts: 1,153
Re: Responses to alpha player questions.
« Reply #26 on: September 09, 2013, 11:06:35 AM »
Since there was mention of the shop here. What about "candy items" in terms one mission buffs - it could take the form of an actual buff. Or more supply crates being spawned out in the open.

Offline orzelek

  • Hero Member Mark III
  • *****
  • Posts: 1,096
Re: Responses to alpha player questions.
« Reply #27 on: September 09, 2013, 12:40:14 PM »
I'm all about changing of health to shields.
I wrote it before but it's quite confusing to find stuff that buffs shields which you don't seem to have.

Offline Aeson

  • Full Member Mark II
  • ***
  • Posts: 176
Re: Responses to alpha player questions.
« Reply #28 on: September 09, 2013, 01:00:58 PM »
"Well, the idea is that your health really is your shielding.  I guess that we could rename health to shields if that would make things more clear.  That might do it, actually.  Although then it's confusing that something that increases "shield system stats" also affects things like regen and the system hardening."
Perhaps what we need is a window that breaks down the Exo statistics by system, preferably off to the side of the customization screen. You could have

Propulsion System
 - (propulsion attributes)
Shield System
 - (shield attributes)
Weapons System
 - (weapon attributes)
etc.

Part of the problem is that we, as players, don't really know what is in each of the systems, and the only way we can tell what is there is when the bonuses actually cause something to change in the part of the customization window that we can see (and unfortunately, the tool-tip describing the item frequently blocks ~half of the area describing its on-vehicle effects). Another part is that certain attributes, like Regeneration, are usually so low that it's not likely that I'm going to notice a change due to a +X% system attributes bonus, because you'd need 10%, 15%, 20% bonuses to make the regeneration numbers change.

I might suggest that you change the customization screen a bit so that the center is still the same, but the stuff that currently pops up as an item description tool-tip instead gets displayed to the left of the part selection area and the full vehicle statistics window that pops up in the 'hover here for more information' tool-tip gets displayed to the right. I know that my display has room for it, but I don't know how well it would work for other people, so if that went in it would be something which required testing.

I also agree with changing all mentions of health over to shields, or all mentions of shields over to health (in which case "shield systems" could become "hull integrity systems" or "damage control systems" or something like that), because there's no good reason for us to have two names to refer to the same thing (which is confusing), and getting rid of one side of the name gives you room in case you decide to add something that is separate (e.g. plasma shields a la StarCraft Protoss) that would reasonably be called by a similar name.


"I probably should drop the general ammo of your exos by half or more (for the high-ammo weapons at least), so that you wind up having to use more exos in a single mission.  What are people's thoughts from anyone on that?  It could be troublesome given exo mortality rates."
You'd probably need to rebalance the +ammunition capacity items. +2 or 3 ammunition on 50 isn't terrible, but it's not great either. +1 ammunition from the same part on the same weapon isn't worth it, particularly if I'm still paying ~60-100 power for it (other bonuses still apply).
« Last Edit: September 09, 2013, 01:04:38 PM by Aeson »

Offline x4000

  • Chris Park, Arcen Games Founder and Lead Designer
  • Arcen Staff
  • Zenith Council Member Mark III
  • *****
  • Posts: 31,501
Re: Responses to alpha player questions.
« Reply #29 on: September 09, 2013, 01:56:51 PM »
See, but it never said "Shields"  it said "shield stats" which is unclear.  But now it says "shield system stats."  And it affects a lot more than health, so it's not just about the health and could not be renamed to that.

Well that shows how unclear it was, because I had no idea it did anything other than boosting health. :)

So based on that, I really think the word "shields" should be removed because it's a word that carries expectations for gamers. "Fortification" gets the same idea across without people expecting it to behave like a shield. That also includes system hardening or other protections, as it's a generic term. ("1% to Fortification system stats" doesn't sound too bad, either. :) )

Bear in mind that this is a literal system that you can visually look at.  I guess we could call it Hull or something.  But calling it by an adjective really isn't the idea.

Since there was mention of the shop here. What about "candy items" in terms one mission buffs - it could take the form of an actual buff. Or more supply crates being spawned out in the open.

Maybe post-1.0 or in an expansion, but bear in mind the game is essentially already feature-complete for 1.0.  We're into polish and balance now, and I don't want to sabotage that by trying to add new features right up to release for once.

Part of the problem is that we, as players, don't really know what is in each of the systems, and the only way we can tell what is there is when the bonuses actually cause something to change in the part of the customization window that we can see (and unfortunately, the tool-tip describing the item frequently blocks ~half of the area describing its on-vehicle effects).

That's changed in the next version.

Another part is that certain attributes, like Regeneration, are usually so low that it's not likely that I'm going to notice a change due to a +X% system attributes bonus, because you'd need 10%, 15%, 20% bonuses to make the regeneration numbers change.

Specific feedback (and savegames) on things like this is super welcome.  Probably best for mantis on this sort of thing, though.

I might suggest that you change the customization screen a bit so that the center is still the same, but the stuff that currently pops up as an item description tool-tip instead gets displayed to the left of the part selection area and the full vehicle statistics window that pops up in the 'hover here for more information' tool-tip gets displayed to the right. I know that my display has room for it, but I don't know how well it would work for other people, so if that went in it would be something which required testing.

Unfortunately, we have to support 1024x720 screen resolution, and there is literally not one iota of room to expand anything anywhere on that.  We have some more room in that blank spot in the lower left above where you can hover, and that's it.  We really crammed it in there.

I also agree with changing all mentions of health over to shields, or all mentions of shields over to health (in which case "shield systems" could become "hull integrity systems" or "damage control systems" or something like that), because there's no good reason for us to have two names to refer to the same thing (which is confusing), and getting rid of one side of the name gives you room in case you decide to add something that is separate (e.g. plasma shields a la StarCraft Protoss) that would reasonably be called by a similar name.

I'm leaning toward just calling it Hull.

"I probably should drop the general ammo of your exos by half or more (for the high-ammo weapons at least), so that you wind up having to use more exos in a single mission.  What are people's thoughts from anyone on that?  It could be troublesome given exo mortality rates."
You'd probably need to rebalance the +ammunition capacity items. +2 or 3 ammunition on 50 isn't terrible, but it's not great either. +1 ammunition from the same part on the same weapon isn't worth it, particularly if I'm still paying ~60-100 power for it (other bonuses still apply).

Yes, this is true.
Have ideas or bug reports for one of our games?  Mantis for Suggestions and Bug Reports. Thanks for helping to make our games better!