Author Topic: So. Many. Parts.  (Read 6624 times)

Offline BobTheJanitor

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Re: So. Many. Parts.
« Reply #15 on: October 12, 2013, 03:07:27 PM »
Just poking around parts again, and I have to say I think one of the chief culprits here is percentage based upgrades. In a loot game, that tends to be something to shy away from, because it's so much more powerful than you think it is. If I have a stat called shootiness, and a piece of level 1 loot that gives me +10% shootiness, that one piece of loot is basically always going to remain better than anything else I find that increases my shootiness stat, save for something that gives a higher percentage increase. The problem being that if I ever go to replace it, even if I find some awesome item of +500 shootiness, I'm also losing a huge chunk of my existing stat due to the loss of that percentage based boost.

And since the percentages seem to be pretty heavily randomized, it makes loot comparison fairly tricky. I'd almost say it would be better to toss the whole idea of % based upgrades and make everything a straight numerical scale.  Or if they are kept in, I think it would work better if they were very clearly regulated instead of being so slap dash. Rank I items always give 3%, rank II 5%, rank III 7%, or whatever. I'm picking a scale out of the air. It just sucks to pick up an awesome rank XIII purple item of badassitude, and then find out that even with all the other goodies on it, it's still a downgrade from my rank I green of boringness because it only boosts a stat by 10% while the green boosts it by 30% or something.

Offline keith.lamothe

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Re: So. Many. Parts.
« Reply #16 on: October 12, 2013, 03:44:13 PM »
This game only has +% shootiness, no +X shootiness, btw.

But if there are parts with +% shields and +X shields (and there are), you actually have to find a good balance of the two to maximize the value.

At least in our model, where the +X is applied to the base first, and then the +%.  If you stack pure +% your overall shields will probably come out lower.

Also bear in mind that your base stats don't go up during the game (unlike in, say, Torchlight, where both your base character attack power and the base weapon attack power go up as you level up and find better weapons).  Except for when you get the epic upgrade for an exo, and that's one moment where some of the earlier +% gear can make a comeback against the +X stuff.

FWIW the percentages are not really randomized at all, they're directly determined by the number of item levels that item invests in that particular +% effect.  If you want to see the number of item levels in an effect press F3 to turn on debug info and then mouseover the item in question.  And the item levels available to an item are directly determined by the Mark Level (which is determined mainly by the day, +/- a small random amount) and the Rarity (the white/green/blue/purple/orange color, which is determined mainly by the source of the loot, with some random chance for better in most cases).

If you want to see the actual numbers of each effect by invested-level look at RuntimeData/BalanceInfo_ModuleEffectType.csv :)  It's updated every time you start the game, so it will reflect the latest update, etc.

Anyway, all the above is not to say there aren't problems, but in general I think the numeric balance issues have been MUCH more ironed out than the usability of the UI.
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Offline BobTheJanitor

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Re: So. Many. Parts.
« Reply #17 on: October 12, 2013, 05:19:18 PM »
Anyway, all the above is not to say there aren't problems, but in general I think the numeric balance issues have been MUCH more ironed out than the usability of the UI.

Probably so. I pretty much avoided this game until launch this time, so I could get the release experience for once instead of mashing my face into every alpha and beta release like I tend to do with you guys. It's interesting to see it from a different perspective. But that means I don't have any idea of how many previous problems have been cleaned up, I only know what I see now. I do also agree that the UI could be a lot friendlier, though!

I just know I usually enjoy poring over loot in games, but this one just isn't scratching that itch. I'm not getting the enjoyable feeling that comes with optimizing my build, it just feels like digging through a massive pile of trash and never knowing if you've pulled out something nice or not.

Offline Mick

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Re: So. Many. Parts.
« Reply #18 on: October 13, 2013, 08:42:39 AM »
When I get the mission success screen, I don't feel "Yay! I won the mission!" I feel, "Oh crap, I have to muck with he customization screen again." I've learned one trick to help quell that feeling of doom.

I decided that the store no longer exists in my games.

Advantages:
- Completely removes a whole screen I have to flip through. A screen which is especially annoying because it doesn't let me compare with my current equipment and also changes every turn.
- Removes the need to hoover over each mission to kill every last bot (except for Lion's Den of course). No longer have to sigh because there is a cannon bot playing with himself in a corner somewhere on the complete opposite end of the level from the mission exit.
- Using loot you find feels more rewarding than loot you buy.
- It improves the lure of the missions that reward specific types of loot because you can't use the store to fill gaps.
- Removes the sell vs archive decision. You can use sell as "delete forever" if you want to clean things up though.
- It fits better thematically.

Disadvantages:
- Makes the game a bit harder.
- One of the pilot's abilities involves the store. Her special becomes pointless, and she is downgraded to a pilot that simply pushes the difficulty up by providing so special.
« Last Edit: October 13, 2013, 08:45:39 AM by Mick »

Offline Cool_Roxas

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Re: So. Many. Parts.
« Reply #19 on: October 13, 2013, 10:21:28 AM »
Hi, I really enjoy this game and I agree that the numerous parts can be confusing during customization. There is one suggestion I come up with after reading Winge's post regarding specialization of an Exo.

Currently we can only apply 1 (one) filter at a time. Eg. when I am customizing the weapon, I look for the +ammo. I found what I thought I would use. But then I apply the +range filter and whoa, there are better parts with better +power. Hmm, now I need to compare the +power, so I apply a new filter.  Having to switch back and forth between different filters to compare individual parts are quite troublesome. It is fine during early levels when you only have 10-20 parts, but after playing several hours you are bound to have a lot of parts (especially if you don't sell, like me).

Therefore, what I would like to suggest is a multiple attributes filter system. Basically beside each filter is a tickbox where we can 'tick' to activate several filters at once. So if I ticked +ammo, +range, +power, any part with the attributes of at least 1 of the filters will be shown. Eg. part 1 has only +ammo, part 2 has +ammo and +range. And then if you would like to filter only parts with --all 3-- attributes inside, there is another tickbox at top/below specially for this. When we 'tick' this box, the game will only show parts with all attributes that we selected earlier. So now the game will show only parts with ALL of +ammo, +range, +power in single part(s). How many filters we can 'tick' is dependent upon the maximum number of attributes a part can have. As for the sorting of the parts, the game can take the first filter that we ticked and worked it out from there.

It is more on the UI front but it certainly will ease the customization part a lot. I really hope it can be implemented in the future if it is not too much of a hassle.

Thank you :)

Offline Misery

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Re: So. Many. Parts.
« Reply #20 on: October 13, 2013, 10:54:53 AM »
Anyway, all the above is not to say there aren't problems, but in general I think the numeric balance issues have been MUCH more ironed out than the usability of the UI.

Probably so. I pretty much avoided this game until launch this time, so I could get the release experience for once instead of mashing my face into every alpha and beta release like I tend to do with you guys. It's interesting to see it from a different perspective. But that means I don't have any idea of how many previous problems have been cleaned up, I only know what I see now. I do also agree that the UI could be a lot friendlier, though!

I just know I usually enjoy poring over loot in games, but this one just isn't scratching that itch. I'm not getting the enjoyable feeling that comes with optimizing my build, it just feels like digging through a massive pile of trash and never knowing if you've pulled out something nice or not.

Hmm, interesting.  I usually find it's the other way around, myself.  If I"m playing something like Diablo or Torchlight or whatever, it often seems like the vast majority of items that the game spits out are all utterly useless;  if it doesnt have a certain rarity level (AKA, very high rarity, in most games, is the only thing worth bothering with), it's useless, and there tends to be no point in selling things because the stores in those games usually stop being useful .000005 seconds into the game.

In this one though, I tend to look carefully over every part I get, because even the low-rarity ones can be good.  And the store is ALWAYS useful (and expensive).

Offline BobTheJanitor

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Re: So. Many. Parts.
« Reply #21 on: October 13, 2013, 12:43:52 PM »
Hmm, interesting.  I usually find it's the other way around, myself.  If I"m playing something like Diablo or Torchlight or whatever, it often seems like the vast majority of items that the game spits out are all utterly useless;  if it doesnt have a certain rarity level (AKA, very high rarity, in most games, is the only thing worth bothering with), it's useless, and there tends to be no point in selling things because the stores in those games usually stop being useful .000005 seconds into the game.

In this one though, I tend to look carefully over every part I get, because even the low-rarity ones can be good.  And the store is ALWAYS useful (and expensive).

Good point, although it's not quite what I was going for. The danger of metaphors and all that. The thing about something like Torchlight or Diablo or Titan's Quest or Path of Exile or whatever other loot-fest ARPG you might play, is that the upgrades are usually pretty obvious. You can separate the wheat from the chaff in about 5 seconds and be done. Indeed, some of those games allow you to sell filter based on rarity, at least selling all white items or whatever. Because the game knows as well as you that all those crap items are just that, crap.

Whereas in BD, it's hard to tell what's good and what's not. I've seen white items that have a whole bunch of % based upgrades to subsystems and thus end up being better than more specific higher tier items. (Which is what I was trying to get at in my last post, but picking the {I thought random enough} name shootiness made it sound like I just meant weapon damage. Whoops. I mean things like + to all propulsion stats, or + to all computer stats, to be specific) Again, that's the problem of having % based upgrades that affect a wide swath of other things. Unless you're guaranteed that every higher level item is going to have at least that same % number, if not higher, then you're forced to hold on to the old junk because of one stat. It's when you go to upgrade and see that, although this part maybe makes this one weapon shoot harder, it's going to decrease your overall damage boost, and shield, and hack points, and virus points, and trap skill, and number of turrets, and sensor range, and stealth actions, and and and... And then you don't upgrade to the weapon part that would make you hit harder because the old part is way too much of a generalist. We need a lot fewer generalist parts.

On the UI side of thing, I think a good start would be, instead of just showing the affected stats, to show ALL the stats at all times. It's hard to quick-compare when the line that means 'hack points' for this part might mean 'shield points' for the next part. If it was always in the same place, I can mentally learn to glance at the spots that I'm interested in watching. The customization screen is awfully cramped anyway, there's plenty of room out there. Just give me a big list of every single stat with the => ## lines just listed on the stats that change. (I'm guessing the current UI is a gesture to people still playing on a 640x480 toaster or something? Is it possible to only activate that UI when people pick a really tiny resolution like that and give the rest of us something from the last decade or so? :P )

Offline keith.lamothe

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Re: So. Many. Parts.
« Reply #22 on: October 13, 2013, 01:09:24 PM »
UI and such improvements aside, this overall topic (here and elsewhere) has inspired another optional conduct on my for-expansion list:

- Unionized Maintenance Crews: game auto-equips your exos after each mission (or store purchase) and you're not allowed to change any of it.

;)
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Offline Winge

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Re: So. Many. Parts.
« Reply #23 on: October 13, 2013, 04:09:15 PM »
UI and such improvements aside, this overall topic (here and elsewhere) has inspired another optional conduct on my for-expansion list:

- Unionized Maintenance Crews: game auto-equips your exos after each mission (or store purchase) and you're not allowed to change any of it.

;)

You forgot to add in "or sometimes just takes a coffee break".   :P
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Offline keith.lamothe

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Re: So. Many. Parts.
« Reply #24 on: October 13, 2013, 04:23:57 PM »
The implication isn't so much incompetence, as control :)

Though depending on how well I wrote the choice logic, it could become an incompetence joke pretty fast.
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Offline BobTheJanitor

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Re: So. Many. Parts.
« Reply #25 on: October 13, 2013, 06:54:16 PM »
Joking aside, even the most rudimentary automated equipping system would go miles towards removing the blemish on what is otherwise proving to be my favorite Arcen title since AI War. All of my BD games so far always stop when I vapor lock on the equipment screen and decide to just quit and go play something else. The ideal fix would make the exo optimization mini-game also fun, but a stopgap solution of 'just do it for me automatically' definitely wouldn't go amiss.

Offline keith.lamothe

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Re: So. Many. Parts.
« Reply #26 on: October 13, 2013, 07:27:50 PM »
Yea, I'm with you on the "stare at equipment screen, sigh, just stop for now" reaction.  And I wrote the thing.

Cross-posting from the steam forum:
Quote
Just wanted to give you folks an update on the customization screen stuff.


My approach is basically:

- Until we iron out any bugs or whatever in the new layout, the old layout will remain the default. To use/test the new one you'll need to set a toggle in the Extras tab of the Settings window.

- The new layout has a minimum resolution of 1280x768. From the hardware survey it looks like 98+% of steam users have at least 768 high, and something like 94+% have at least 1280 wide. So I don't think we're squeezing out very many folks with that. And the old layout is still there for those on smaller screens. And if the new layout really does work out then the small-screen layout can have some of the changes made to it too. In theory everything might even fit, but it would be REALLY cramped :)


Anyway, here's a screenshot of the new layout in-game looking at the highest-density case I had laying around.


I haven't done the drag-and-drop part yet, but the inclusion of the Inventory and getting all the stats showing at once is basically there.


Feedback would be much appreciated. Would this help?

That's not all that's being done, but it's a significant chunk, so wanted to hear what y'all thought.


Edit: whoops, it'd help if I didn't rely on the copy-and-paste to include the tagged link:

http://arcengames.com/dl/Bionic_RevisedCustomizationScreenFor1280x768.jpg
« Last Edit: October 13, 2013, 07:39:15 PM by keith.lamothe »
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Offline Logorouge

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Re: So. Many. Parts.
« Reply #27 on: October 13, 2013, 07:52:42 PM »
That new layout fixed the two issues I had with the customization screen. No more running around to check inventory and stats. Very nice.

Offline Penumbra

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Re: So. Many. Parts.
« Reply #28 on: October 13, 2013, 08:38:52 PM »
This looks great! Can't wait to try it.

Will the "what stat are you optimizing" button just auto-equip whatever is "best" on that exo?

Offline Taikei no Yuurei

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Re: So. Many. Parts.
« Reply #29 on: October 13, 2013, 09:08:55 PM »
One thing the new UI seems to be missing is the total +% to various stats.  It'd be really easy to add +100% next to Shield-Related: or something similar, because a 10% bonus when you have no bonuses is very different from a 10% bonus when you already have a 200% bonus, since they stack additively.  And when you can have a couple dozen sources or so for stats, it's really hard to add up yourself.

Personally, I just look at the new gear after each mission, add it if it is good, ignore it if not.  Occasionally I'll find myself using an old piece of gear, but it is generally for one of two reasons: 1. I'm having to mess with power requirements for my exos or 2. I just unequipped it from an exo and another is getting it as a hand-me-down.  Personally I don't find all the parts to be so overwhelming, but I'm only playing on hard right now, and I have a good head for numbers in the first place.

That aside, I'll echo other people's advice.  You'll generally want to just focus on a couple of stats for each exo.  My assault is loaded up with bonuses to regen, damage reduction, and % all damage.  I'm well ahead of the damage curve of everything except a few 'one shot kill' type bots like the blunderbot with reduction/regen, so I just let most things run out of ammo while I whittle them down with weak weapons.  But, I do the +% damage so that if I do come across something strong, I can potentially destroy it before it gets a shot off, generally with a bit of stealth kiting involved.  My siege gets all my leftover +% damage and focuses on AoE/ammo for the room clearing rockets.  Ninja is a trapmaster with sentries and a bit of damage and stealth to take stuff out with his cutting laser.  And finally my science bot is a virus master with a fair bit of stealth.  Just walk up to troublesome bots under stealth, virus them, and let them take care of the level for me.

Of course, that's just me and my team.  You could do a sniper and set him up as an alpha striker, focusing on damage damage damage and more damage to destroy stuff before it can fire on you, but that can backfire (as can anything I suppose), just remember to get enough ammo to get through the level.