General Category > Skyward Collapse LPs/AARs

[alpha-feedback] First Go Round


I'm typing this on my iPad as I play. I haven't yet read any of the other first impression posts, so I'm going into this blind (other than reading the email informing me of my acceptance into alpha).

First thing that I'd like to touch on is the menu music. Beautiful. The music has always been one of my favorite aspects of Arcen games. It's unique, and melancholy. Something I'll listen to when I'm not playing as well as when I'm playing. Can't wait to hear what the in game music sounds like (and what the rest of the soundtrack sounds like once it's added in).

I'm playing with the initial settings.

As far as the menu goes, It looks nice as any other of your games. I don't particularly care for the small whiteish blue emblem next to the sky image option, though. It looks fine on the other options, but I wasn't really sure what it was supposed to be next to the sky. Mostly because it was stretched out. Thought maybe it was a comet, or a part of the background image showing through...

Now into the game.

I like the opening text for the tutorial. Gives enough info so I'm not lost, but not so much that I can't discover for myself. One small nitpick: soon as i hit 'ok' the game zoomed in to the max. I found myself immediately zooming back out to see the whole board. Like I said. Just a small nitpick.

I like the guitar music in the back. Feels very pastoral.

Exploring the board now. I like the resource list of each town. I like the graphics, too. They're cartoony, but not so much that it detracts from it being a serious game. I also notice that the Greeks have rice, and the Norse have Fish. I'll be interested to see the differences in gameplay on that.
Zooming in to inspect the towns... The art hold up. I read someone mention on another forum that they were worried it wouldn't look as good zoomed in (from the initial shots released on the blog). It does, though. The terrain looks good. Easy to differentiate between the hills, fields, and mountains with a glance.

The tool tips on the left menu are clear and give me a great picture of what I should expect to be inside the menu. I love the font. Also, now that I'm zoomed in i can see why the game zoomed in after the tutorial screen. The tiles are just too pretty to not play zoomed in.

Enough admiring how it looks. Time to actually play.

As was suggested in the tutorial, I'm building a barracks. Suddenly over half my screen is taken up by troop information. It's all info I need, I'm sure, but it's annoying to not be able to see well while i place it. The info dissapears when I move the screen up and left, but not right and down. Ah. Now I see why. It dissapears when I hover over a menu. Maybe adding an icon you can hover over in one of the corners to bring up the info would be good, rather than forcing us to look at it.

Placing tiles feels good. I like the sounds, I like the look of the tiles, I like the way they zoom up out of nowhere to place.

All right. Finished with the opening turns. So far the only real comlaint i have is with not being able see when i place a military building.

I hit "ok' to start turn 1 and it zooms back out. hmmm.

not fully sure what to do now. I know that things cost... but no units have moved so i have nothing to react to yet. Feels like one of the opening turns, but with cost. Also, as i'm building stuff i wish i could see a run down of how many of that building the nearby city has. i realized only now that I've apparently built 2 stone masons for the norse.

End of turn 1. i like the text hovering that tells me what's happening resource wise. I don't like how much the camera follows the units moving. It's hard to follow. Also, they abruptly end movement and snap into place into the square, which feels a little unnatural. Then the camera is intantly at the other faction. Overall, a little hard to watch. If it was just slowed down a little, or smoothed out it'd be great.

Oh! Now i found the option to auto follow. Awesome. That's perfect! Ignore what I just said.

Whoops. Just placed a red pigfarm on blue land. Wish I had a button to undo that action. I do love that it tells me what buildings I'm missing to produce something, as well as how much of each resource I need to use a building. Makes my planning a lot easier.

First units up in my archery buildings. Fight! Red faction seems more aggresive. Their unit immediatly moves forward while the blue unit sits on his lazy butt. Fight, I say! My current strategy is to search for something I want to make (a new unit type, or a building), then place all the buildings to make it. if i can't make something because of resource constraints then I place more of that resource, and plan on making the building the next turn.

Oh. No wonder the blue archer didn't move. He's destroying the red pig farm I misplaced. This does give me an exploitation idea, though. All I have to do is place red buildings next to blue troops, too far from the red city for red to protect them. Do the same with blue buildings: put them next to the red city. Then their troops destroy them, giving each faction quick points without having them actually battle. Don't think that's what is intended, though. Not sure how to fix it. Maybe make it so that you can't place a red building within x number of spaces of a blue one (spaces could change depending on the building category. It doesn't matter so much for buildings that need to be next to a town center.). That could encourage the player to branch out a bit more. Make more cities. Build the board for extra space.

Hmmm. I was looking to make a trader, which needs bread, but red used my bread on military. Dumb red people. Don't you know I'm benevolent? Don't you know I want you to prosper while you slaughter blue and blue slaughters you in the absolutely pointless war that I won't let end?

Blue is smarter. And by smarter, I mean they're so busy destroying that red misplaced pigfarm that they didn't make troops this turn, so they had bread for a trader.

I light the whole enlightenment aspect. Protect a settlement from crime or attack. But that damages your points potential. It becomes a purely resource building city, but resources don't give points like killing does.

BTW, sorry if I'm giving tmi on my playthrough. I'm new to this whole alpha thing. My thought was that you'd want to know what goes through a player's mind as they play so you can see how well it matches your vision. So... If it is tmi just say so and I'll stick to purely gameplay mechanics stuff.

Trader looks insane running back and forth from the butcher to the next door trading post. No text, though, so I'm not fully sure what he's doing. Maybe he is insane. Blue chapman stops on the red pig farm. Not that it's a dangerous tile, or anyting. Just interesting, when blue tiles are so close.

Also, no faction has made any melee units. At all. I'm wondering if the AI logic rates ranged units higher than melee units, and so whenever a city has access to an archer building and barracks, but only resources for one unit they will always go ranged. I guess I'll have to limit a city's access to troop producers in the future. I've kind of given these starting cities everything I can possibly give them at this stage.

And so the red army advances... hope blue like taking that pig farm, cause i think they may end up  paying for it in the end

The town center tool tip seems a little big when placing them. Nowhere near as bad as the military one, but still pretty big. Can't see much around it.

Now that my troop builders are more active i can see where the difficulty starts. Red is dominating. My little accident with the pig farm has crippled blue. The only way i could have fixed it was to put a blue building next to the red barracks to distract those troops for a while. Now red has about 4 times as many troops out. Gonna be difficult coming back from this.

I'm gonna have to pause for a bit, eat some food. So far, it's great. The difficulty as well as the fun is starting to ramp up around turn 10. Only major things i've noticed have been my idea for exploiting building placement for points, and the menu being too huge when placing some buildings.

Hopefully this has been interesting for any players who are curious about the game, and helpful for the developers. No bugs or balance issues to report yet.

Edit: browsing around the other posts, i realized I should put my main suggestions on mantis. So I will do that now.

Edit 2: now i realize that i may have been wrong in my initial impression that damaging buildings gives points... So maybe it wasn't the exploit that i thought it was.


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