Author Topic: Feedback, first impressions, horrible text wall  (Read 1165 times)

Offline Misery

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Feedback, first impressions, horrible text wall
« on: May 04, 2013, 09:17:53 AM »
Ok, so, here we go, with my initial horrible long blob of words.

First impressions this time, so this is all coming from the map and setup from the tutorial.   Nothing crazy has happened yet (well, not TOO crazy anyway) and there's plenty of features I havent had the chance to touch yet.


The very first thing I want to address though:   The UI.   There's never, ever enough info here!   The more I figured things out, the more info I wanted.... yet wasnt getting.   And this applies to literally every single part of the UI.  For example, a screen showing just how many of each building I have would be nice (the game seriously needs some overall info screens that I can pull up).   But in addition, if say I want to go create a pig farm, on the pig farm popup when I go to choose it from the menu, show me in that popup just how many pig farms I already have.  Perhaps even highlight them, when I'm going to place another one.    There's *alot* of buildings in this game, and they're all very important.... there needs to be better ways of enabling the player to keep track of them.   Lots of better ways.

This stuff applies to units as well.   For example, put a number on every unit showing just what level it's at.  That was something I was often checking, to see just which units I had upgraded from level 1 and which I hadnt.


There's SO many suggestions to make here that honestly, I'd have to make a whole other giant-word-blob post (or mantis entry) just to hold them.  Seriously:   This is THE aspect of the game that needs the most work right now, at least in my view.



Ok.  So.  Anyway.   The game itself.


First of all, I like the overall artstyle.  Particularly the landscape ends up being very cool looking.  Buildings are also very nice.  One thing that might be a sticking point though:  No unit animations.   I dont think it detracts from the look really, but you KNOW people will nitpick about that one, just.... because.   But yeah, the whole landscape, really liking that the most so far.  Very striking.   As before, I like the whole hand-drawn artstyle that this studio is using.

Now.... the gameplay.   Firstly, I will say:   The tutorial needs expanding.  ALOT of expanding.  This game requires some very different types of strategy than most other strategy/tactics games do.  Very different indeed.  It's alot of the same sorts of strategy that is used in Dwarf Fortress, actually.... alot of the same themes, in that you're trying to get things to happen, but you do not have any direct control, and you also need to be pitting the AI against itself quite often.   DF players, I think will have the easiest time figuring this game out, because the strategies (the types of strategies, anyway) really are going to feel familiar to them.  People used to other strategy titles though are going to be baffled.   The tutorial should give full-blown examples of some strategies, why the player should use those strategies, and what exactly they accomplish.   Examples in general would just really fill out the tutorial much better.  I sat with the game for a good couple of hours here tonight for my first session with it, and at least the first hour was almost entirely me being rather confused as to just what I should be doing and why.


Now, once I did start to figure it out, the whole "idea" of the game clicked with me.  I love the concept, of playing 2 sides against each other constantly, instead of playing one side and trying to beat the other.  I also love the whole "growing" landscape bit.  There are so many interesting things that can come from that.... it'll take forever to really dig into all of the tactics and such that are possible here.  So far, this seems like a very deep game.... and this is before I've seen anything of edicts or gods or the.... er.... mythical units, if that's what they're called, I havent had a chance to use them yet, took me bloody forever to gete a Seer up on either side.

Which brings up one thing:  The whole "on demand" concept, for those resources.  Pottery and lumber, that sort.  I was never entirely sure how that worked, or how much of these I actually had at the time, or what I could do to increase it.    The actual BASE resources, those are simple enough to understand.  If I know I need logs for whatever reason, well, it's easy to figure out what I can do to make more logs.   But with lumber, I was never sure just what to do.... do I need more of the actual lumber-producing building?  How is it getting the amount of lumber I have at a given time, which seems to hop up and down alot?   Do I need more chapman units?  Or is it the lack of logs?  Yet sometimes it might happen even if I have a bunch of logs (or whatever), so.... argh.   Yeah, that's the most confuzzling aspect of the game right now.    This needs to be explained alot better, particularly since it's such a core concept.

Oh, and that also reminds me of another small suggestion:  Units, it doesnt show how many points they are worth when killed, on the unit's status popup when I'm looking at them.   Or if it does point that out somewhere I didn't see where.

Also, I'm not entirely sure on how population works and what it does.


One other thing I found is that I'm not entirely sure how to point units towards specific areas.   Like, what can I do to suggest that some military units might want to go over towards a specific area?   Though, that might have more to do with the mythical units;  since I havent tried those out yet, that might be exactly what I need.   But beyond that, I'm not entirely sure what my options here are (beyond that "commandment" thing that just throws EVERYTHING into one area, which seems like I should only use it sparingly).  Basing my tactics and strategies around their autonomous movements though works quite well, and yet again there's tons and tonms of depth here, I think.    Unit combat and damage and such is pretty easy to follow, so no troubles there.

I do notice though that the chapman units seem nigh-invulnerable, at least at the start.    Worrying about them being in danger never seems to be an issue, since they seem to have silly amounts of health.  Though, I'm not entirely sure just yet on how that should be balanced, so that's just me mentioning it;  I might think different of that as I learn more.

I also like the sheer number of options available to the player.... it seems that there's a gazillion possible things I can do on any given turn, which is great.   And that's WITH half the buildings and such locked and a total lack of mythical units and gods and such at this point.   I'm very interested indeed to see how things get when those things start opening up!


One other concept that I really like is the fact that this game is also played for score;  it's not just about winning each game, it's about winning each game with lots of awesome happening during.    I like that, I think that's missing from alot of non-4x strategy titles.   That to me ups the replay value a ton, though I think this one has alot of that by default, really.


Some bits of the strategy and tactics are harder to figure out though;  for example I'm never entirely sure (yet) on how positioning of resources and production buildings is going to affect things.   It's like, ok... do I try to place this wheat farm near the city, or should I place it way over here instead, and just what might happen if I do?   It's very clear that things like this will indeed have important impact, but I havent experimented enough yet with it, and it seems a tough aspect to learn.

I havent seen any nasty exploits yet, but there are a couple of ideas that occur to me;  for example, what's to stop the player from just jamming structures of the red guys near the military-producing buildings of the blue guys for easy points as the blue guys pop up and smash them?   Or is that actually a valid idea?    There's a few things like this that I thought of during the game, and I'll have to experiment with them a bit.   But I havent seen any obvious ones or anything overpowered.


Finally, game bugs and such.... aint seen many.   Though, I noticed in your patch notes that you said you fixed units going diagonally between mountains/lakes.... I should point out, it is indeed not fixed.   I saw that a couple of times during that first session.   

EDIT:  Ignore this, I just noticed that that fix is in the patch we dont actually have yet!   I thought it was in the 802 one.


Also, the "inhabited" type tile, I notice that units of all types (but particularly chapman and traders) will occaisionally get really wierd around these, and sorta bounce in and out of them or make strange movements nearby, before going about their other business, sometimes wasting their entire turn doing this.    This was happening pretty frequently.   I havent seen any glitches past those though, not yet.    I'm mentioning this here instead of on mantis for the simple reason that I'm on the accursed laptop and it gets bloody weird with some sites (including that one), so this will have to do for now.  Tomorrow I should be able to do it the normal way.


As far as balance issues, I cant say much on that yet.   Need more time with the game.



Overall though.... I can say this is a very engaging game.   Easily held my attention for a good bit longer than I'd intended on giving it today (particularly when I'm a bit low on sleep, haha).  Not a bad thing at all, that, heh.   I have much yet to learn, but so far I'm enjoying the heck outta this.   I'm thinking that this one might appeal to many players more than AVWW or Haven did;  as much as I liked those games, there are probably many players that come from having played JUST AI War, and associate Arcen more with pure strategy titles;  I wondered if that mighta been a major factor with those games, since they did definitely stray from that idea.  This one though is clearly pure strategy/tactical all the way through, and with tons of depth, so, here's hoping that's a good selling point for those players.

Also:   Make videos of this game, or link to players that do playthroughs or whatever.   Giving interested players the chance to see examples of how the game works and what kinds of tactics and ideas are used is very important here, I think.   I myself often get ideas on what games I want to buy based on LPs I watch, not to mention getting more info on HOW to play them and understand them when I otherwise would have had trouble learning them (like with Anno 2070, or Dwarf Fortress). 


I'll have more (alot more) for you later!   Likely this game will be the only thing I do later tonight as gaming goes.   I tend to get really absorbed into turn-based strategy stuffs.


Hopefully that wasnt too much text for ya there, hah.   Also any advice about the game based on what i've said here that might help me learn it better is most appreciated!
« Last Edit: May 04, 2013, 09:29:41 AM by Misery »

Offline madcow

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Re: Feedback, first impressions, horrible text wall
« Reply #1 on: May 04, 2013, 09:57:39 AM »
I've put a little bit more than an hour into it, so I'm still figuring things out, but I totally agree about the need for more info.  It's so hard to tell what's going on at a glance, and what needs doing.  I started doing mantis reports on all of them, but yeah. Just in general more info is needed!

The other issue I had was sorting of the resource buildings. They need to be grouped better, it was initially confusing how they worked, that placement rules for this is different, what resources are linked to what, and what some of the resources are used for.  I spent more time than I care to admit scratching my head wondering what the hell is the woodcutter and where do I find it. Then finally it clicked on me that OH its just called wood.

I didn't read through your gameplay notes/suggestions as I'm still playing around with those aspects myself.

Offline Professor Paul1290

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Re: Feedback, first impressions, horrible text wall
« Reply #2 on: May 04, 2013, 02:24:54 PM »
Resources do have storage, so the way I was attempting to figure out how many Carpenters, Butchers, or Bakeries I would need was by checking if my Woodcutters, Pig Farms, and Wheat Fields were empty and how much of those resources were in storage at the Town Centers. (the latter seemed more useful for this so I just checked the former to know whether I had enough people shipping the stuff back and forth)

Whether that's a good way to do it I'm not really sure. Doing that it appeared that one bakery could handle wheat coming from a lot of fields.
« Last Edit: May 04, 2013, 02:28:31 PM by Professor Paul1290 »