Poll

What 3 things would you like Arcen to focus on first?

Focus on low level mechanisms to improve game depth
12 (10.4%)
Federation Development
4 (3.5%)
Unique Race development
3 (2.6%)
Racial War AI
4 (3.5%)
Racial Strategic Level Mechanisms and AI
9 (7.8%)
Different Political Alliances
5 (4.3%)
Planetary Trade
1 (0.9%)
Pirate Enhancement
4 (3.5%)
Player Power
2 (1.7%)
Quests: More quests
5 (4.3%)
Quest/Event Chains
9 (7.8%)
RCI Rebalancing
5 (4.3%)
Ground Combat Rebalancing
0 (0%)
Defeated Race Mechanics
4 (3.5%)
Federation Formation Costs
1 (0.9%)
Player Credit Income Options
4 (3.5%)
Burlust Duels
1 (0.9%)
Player Weapon Variety
2 (1.7%)
Making better coffee in the morning
3 (2.6%)
Enemy Ship Variety
1 (0.9%)
Ship Graphics
0 (0%)
Combat Mission Balance, Gameplay, and Variety
4 (3.5%)
Autoresolve
1 (0.9%)
Additional Information Screens
1 (0.9%)
Increase Information Content and Mechanism Clarity
13 (11.3%)
Redesign Current Information Screens
2 (1.7%)
Modding Support
1 (0.9%)
Bug Fixing
2 (1.7%)
Automatic Event-driven Modifiable Pausing System
2 (1.7%)
Font Adjustments
2 (1.7%)
Steam Achievements
0 (0%)
Space to Ground Combat with Giant Hydra Robots
3 (2.6%)
Typos and Grammar
1 (0.9%)
Enable the console or other debug tools
1 (0.9%)
New Features
3 (2.6%)

Total Members Voted: 0

Author Topic: [Deprecated] Highest Priority Development Interest Poll [Updated for 1.016]  (Read 5722 times)

Offline GC13

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Re: Highest Priority Development Interest Poll [Updated for 1.016]
« Reply #30 on: June 06, 2014, 11:35:21 PM »
ptarth is hypothesizing that former regulars like me have vanished because we, like him, feel that we have already mastered the game, and that upon reaching mastery realized it's rather simple to win.

I must say that's exactly how I feel. If the core of the game is influencing the races, then there needs to be a lot you can do there; each option needs to influence various factors which combines with other factors to affect what happens. All there is, though, is military strength and inter-racial attitude.

I really like the promise of The Last Federation, and it's a good enough value right now. However, it can't sustain much more than twenty hours of gameplay right now, since after that it will be pretty rote to play.
Furthermore, it is my opinion that Hari must be destroyed.

Offline Misery

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Re: Highest Priority Development Interest Poll [Updated for 1.016]
« Reply #31 on: June 07, 2014, 09:27:13 AM »
I was looking into setting up the next poll. However, I don't feel much has changed since 1.016 in addressing the things that I find most lacking. I can put up the next poll, but I don't think the outcome will be very different from this poll.

Status update based on my observations.
  • Arcen was busy with other things.
  • Last Federation Forum activity is null, active forumers have moved back to AIWars for the most part. Very little new blood.
  • Mantis activity has dropped to a couple of entries per day.
  • I don't think this pattern of forum activity is a sign of a healthy increasingly popular game. I think they are the characteristics of a dead/dying game.
  • I find myself not interested in playing, for the same reasons I've previously described in thread and in the forum
  • A relatively common theme in Arcen reviews and forum posts is that they have great core ideas, great fundamental engines, but then drop the ball when it comes to compelling gameplay.
  • I've owned Bionic Dudes for a while and finally got around to finishing a game.
    • I played Normal/Normal, the introductory setup.
    • I initially found it great fun.
    • But it got very tedious after a while.
    • I actually skipped 25 game turns by attacking Radar Outposts (whatever they are called), just to end it. I also didn't upgrade my bots for those turns. That's essentially half the game.
    • Part of the tedium was equipment comparisons. After every battle, equipment levelled up. So I had to see if 4-20 items were better than what I had.
    • Part of the tedium was the required upgrades that didn't actually do anything, but I still had to spend so much time working on them. Hacking is a great example. I had to continually increase the hacking points I possessed just to be able to open the locked doors. That required me to find builds that kept up with the doors or just ignore the doors (I did this eventually). Gameplay didn't change, I just needed bigger numbers to fit the door bigger numbers.
    • High attack enemies made shields pretty pointless. I can't take 2.6k hits, so I have to kill at range.
    • Mech designs were based getting better weapons: more aoe, more damage, more range, more shots
    • In the end, I used my 52 sensor range epic science mech to wake everything up. Then my level 30 or 40 turrets to kill everything. Or rely on friendly fire. Or rely on my epic siege mech using its AOE 13 Ammo 3 Plasma cannon. Then clean up with my epic assault bot with range 13 1.5k damage laser rifle.
    • I don't have any interest in playing again, there weren't really interesting choices.
    • Is this just the natural outcome of relying on procedural generation?
  • I think this is similar to how tLF is working out. I experience lots of tedium and very few interesting choices.
  • Getting information on the solar system is easier and more intuitive now, but I still want rate of change information.
  • Making changes is still awkward. Either I can't do anything to effectively move things in the direction I want or I can, but then...
  • Player impacts are still dwarfed by the RNG, especially when it comes to events. As it stands, a century of work can be lost in a single event, so why bother with working?

Hmm, it's worth keeping in mind that much of this is going to be very subjective, differing much from one player to the next.

Bionic Dues, for instance.  I never got bored with it.   A tactical roguelike that also has an overreaching "metagame", and tons of customization?  Yes, this one's right up my alley.  I can understand how the equipment part might be boring for some, but I tend to get into that part. Heck, a LACK of that is one of my biggest problems with many games that use RPG-ish elements.  The Final Fantasy series is the best example of what I mean: Every game I've played of those, and I mean *all* of them... including the very first... were done in such a way that equipment choices just didn't matter.  When you got to certain spots, you simply upgraded to the next tier of stuff.... that's it.  You didn't need to do much beyond that, you also didn't need to concern yourself with, or at all know, your characters' stats.  That, to me, is very boring.  If a game is going to have all this equipment and stuff to use, make me THINK about it.

As it is, I have over 100 hours in that game.  My only issue with it is that there's some major balance problems that pop up on the highest difficulties.

Similar to Valley 2 and Skyward, for that matter, as neither of those got dull to me either.


It's worth noting though that Bionic Dues in particular suffered from a very specific problem:  Alot of the tactical/strategic depth absolutely falls apart on lower difficulties.  I play exclusively on Expert or Misery.  Stuff like spamming turrets and waking everything up at once, as you mention?  It doesnt work.  A great many turrets are sometimes needed to kill exactly *one* bot, depending on which type it is (particularly bosses).  Even powerful turrets with high trap level though can be utterly wrecked in those modes.  And waking up many things at once is utter suicide, yet it's almost always impossible to NOT wake up more than just one or two at a time.    In my current game, I'm only about... say, 7 missions in?  If that.  The strongest damage I can muster for a single blow is just over 300.   But there are already enemies that have nearly 3000 HP.  And enough power to 1-hit kill most of my guys.  AND they come in swarms.  AND they can be buffed.  And that's on Expert, not Misery.   So yeah... simpler strategies just have no effect at all there.  It requires alot more complicated ideas in order to have a chance at not being exploded.   But the game defaults to Normal, and this can give people a certain impression of it.   People getting bored over "simplicity" because easy and simple tactics tended to wreck things was a common complaint that I heard many times.

Granted, that's not really the core issue for THIS game, but still, I wanted to mention it anyway. 



As for regulars vanishing, that again could be due to anything.  From what I've seen, the forums here tend to quiet down heavily just a bit after release for a given game.  AI War seems to be the exception, but then that game is also downright monstrous, with massive content expansions coming out rather frequently.

In my case, I tend to be active when one of two things is happening:   1, actual testing, as the best input I can give is always balance based, depending on the game and the specific content (only the combat stuff for this one).  And 2, to try to answer questions as best I can for new players after a game releases.  Typically though I find myself doing that more on the Steam forums than here. 

....also I cant play this right now, that isnt helping.  This is the bad time of year for me when the pain gets nasty, so currently I cannot use the damn mouse very well.  Controller-based games only right now.  This is just as irritating as it sounds.  Has me in a bad mood (worse than usual, anyway) so I've been near-silent on most every forum I go to.

Once the expansion here is ready for testing.... or the next actual game, whichever that turns out to be... or both at once (yikes), I'll be posting very frequently again, one way or another.
« Last Edit: June 07, 2014, 09:36:16 AM by Misery »

Offline NichG

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Re: Highest Priority Development Interest Poll [Updated for 1.016]
« Reply #32 on: June 07, 2014, 11:53:43 AM »
For me, I decided that I wanted to play the game fresh and look at some of the stuff being added/tweaked with fresh eyes. The pace of development is fast enough that coming back after a couple weeks or a month is going to be a completely fresh experience.

And actually, that's kind of how it worked out. I played a few sessions recently, and the game feels much more tightly integrated and there's a good chunk of new stuff to discover when poking around. Rather than short games, they tend to stretch over a few decades now and there's some benefits to building construction and the like. It seems like the races are getting more and more distinguishable in their details (I kept getting blasted in battles with the Boarines when their rage meter had gotten up to 6x normal strength, for example).

Offline Teal_Blue

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Re: Highest Priority Development Interest Poll [Updated for 1.016]
« Reply #33 on: June 07, 2014, 07:38:11 PM »
ptarth is hypothesizing that former regulars like me have vanished because we, like him, feel that we have already mastered the game, and that upon reaching mastery realized it's rather simple to win.

I must say that's exactly how I feel. If the core of the game is influencing the races, then there needs to be a lot you can do there; each option needs to influence various factors which combines with other factors to affect what happens. All there is, though, is military strength and inter-racial attitude.

I really like the promise of The Last Federation, and it's a good enough value right now. However, it can't sustain much more than twenty hours of gameplay right now, since after that it will be pretty rote to play.

is there only one way to win then?  I was under the impression that the random generation of events, the power fluctuation of races and the change up in how the game is approached makes each game substantially different.

are players min-maxing and once the game is won once, that's it?

Almost every game I play of Galciv 2 and sword of the stars is different, though technically I have to do a lot of research and fend off the aggressors. Some times I scoot through that just fine and sometimes I get handed my head.

What makes this game any different?

If you would like a substantially more difficult or challenging game then why not make some suggestions to get added to make the game more interesting for you?
Seems that might get pretty interesting, and get your name in the credits for the contribution making the game cooler.   :)

Just some thoughts that I thought might help. Not trying to sound aggressive or anything.

-teal


Offline NichG

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Re: Highest Priority Development Interest Poll [Updated for 1.016]
« Reply #34 on: June 07, 2014, 08:05:03 PM »
is there only one way to win then?  I was under the impression that the random generation of events, the power fluctuation of races and the change up in how the game is approached makes each game substantially different.

are players min-maxing and once the game is won once, that's it?

Personally, I've never found randomized events or power fluctuations to add much replayability to a game. They tend to have a sameness to them just on their own that isn't enough to make the overall gameplay experience all that different from game to game - its just the details.

What makes something replayable to me is if different ways of playing have a very different intrinsic feel, and if essentially the game encourages you to not mix and match ways too much. It also helps if you can set self-challenges and have the game be pretty responsive to that. For example, in Civ 5 you have the different victory types, and going for a culture victory makes it very hard to go for a military victory, because the best way to grow culture is to have only a single city.

In TLF, I basically tried two ways to play - one was a 'normal' playthrough, and the second time I tried for a pacifist run (e.g. avoiding combat as much as possible). I found the pacifist run wasn't really all that fun because it meant doing tons and tons of dispatches for very little effect (but I think it'd be better in the current version). Going 'Strong Federation' versus 'Andorian/Skylaxian/etc' federation is potentially another significant difference in play. Maybe also 'kill everyone' versus 'save as many people as possible'.

Beyond that, what are the different sorts of approaches I could take though?

Offline Teal_Blue

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Re: Highest Priority Development Interest Poll [Updated for 1.016]
« Reply #35 on: June 07, 2014, 09:56:20 PM »
is there only one way to win then?  I was under the impression that the random generation of events, the power fluctuation of races and the change up in how the game is approached makes each game substantially different.

are players min-maxing and once the game is won once, that's it?

Personally, I've never found randomized events or power fluctuations to add much replayability to a game. They tend to have a sameness to them just on their own that isn't enough to make the overall gameplay experience all that different from game to game - its just the details.

What makes something replayable to me is if different ways of playing have a very different intrinsic feel, and if essentially the game encourages you to not mix and match ways too much. It also helps if you can set self-challenges and have the game be pretty responsive to that. For example, in Civ 5 you have the different victory types, and going for a culture victory makes it very hard to go for a military victory, because the best way to grow culture is to have only a single city.

In TLF, I basically tried two ways to play - one was a 'normal' playthrough, and the second time I tried for a pacifist run (e.g. avoiding combat as much as possible). I found the pacifist run wasn't really all that fun because it meant doing tons and tons of dispatches for very little effect (but I think it'd be better in the current version). Going 'Strong Federation' versus 'Andorian/Skylaxian/etc' federation is potentially another significant difference in play. Maybe also 'kill everyone' versus 'save as many people as possible'.

Beyond that, what are the different sorts of approaches I could take though?

I wasn't originally addressing you,but rather GC13, as he seemed to feel that the game had no more to offer him. Of course he is a better judge of that than I am. But I felt it a shame to disregard a game that seems to me so very full of all kinds of different things happening.

With regards to power fluctuations, I meant only that the races play differently from game to game. as an example, I mean in one game the burl it's are they're normal warring selves, but in another game, where they are not suited very well to their planet, they are almost timid. Regarding events, I mean that in one game I lost the acutians early to a disease outbreak, and in another game they we're in the game to the end, that was the one with the terror peltians and the timid but lists. I think that is the one where one of the planets got smashed with a moon too. Though, not completely sure it was the same game.

But my point was that the games have been very different for me, I couldn't quite grasp why GC13's games seemed samey to him.

Anyway, as to other approaches, I am not sure, except as you noted earlier, just add your own different goals from game to game. crusader kings does a lot of that. :)

We could also hope for new win conditions and complications with the expansions.  :)


-teal


« Last Edit: June 07, 2014, 10:04:06 PM by Teal_Blue »

Offline Professor Paul1290

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Re: Highest Priority Development Interest Poll [Updated for 1.016]
« Reply #36 on: June 07, 2014, 10:48:01 PM »
I haven't been around lately due to recent releases and my own projects (one of which is vaguely game related).

That said, I don't see much of a "problem" per se with the current level of activity, as this is pretty much what I expect of single-player indie game forums a month or two on. Relatively speaking TLF actually seems to have done pretty darn well.
I think comparing to AI War is somewhat unfair in a lot of ways.

On SteamCharts, TLF is peaking around 30 players (per 24 hour period), and that's actually not bad considering it's been almost 2 months and it's a single-player indie game. A lot of nice and/or decent recent releases from around that time don't even have that (FRACT, Blackwell Epiphany, Cloudbuilt, and a couple others come to mind).
TLF is just under "Sir You are Being Hunted" and "Caribbean! (Early Access)" right now, both which have or had an advantage over TLF as far as anticipation goes.

It's definitely no "Transistor" of course, but if an Arcen game sold that much I think we'd all be having some kind of crazy remote drinking party or something right now.

On the other hand I will say that I find it odd that some games with similar current player counts (Being Hunted, Carribean) have much more forum activity.
Whoever is playing TLF isn't coming here to talk about it for whatever reason, which could be of some concern.
« Last Edit: June 07, 2014, 10:49:44 PM by Professor Paul1290 »

Offline topper

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Re: Highest Priority Development Interest Poll [Updated for 1.016]
« Reply #37 on: June 07, 2014, 11:10:22 PM »
I think partially the devs have said "hey, we are making an expansion!" and then dropped out of much interaction on this forum. I think we are all excited and waiting for it, but do not have much to contribute until they give us more.

Offline Histidine

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Re: Highest Priority Development Interest Poll [Updated for 1.016]
« Reply #38 on: June 10, 2014, 09:27:30 PM »
And now in the morning I come on and there are seven threads with new posts from last night. Huh.

Offline ptarth

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Re: Highest Priority Development Interest Poll [Updated for 1.016]
« Reply #39 on: June 11, 2014, 03:32:08 AM »
  • Histidine - Recent Thread Count: 2 threads from a newbie, 4 spam threads, 1 let's play continuation announcement, and a steam achievement question?
  • Professor Paul - I really don't like the current trend of games lasting for only a few weeks, being an accepted practice.  It might be because I'm old and remember "ye goode olde days" wherein games had staying power. The Indie Game company argument also holds only so much water. Back in "ye goode olde days", game developers were a couple of guys in a garage. They also didn't have access to prebuilt engines, they had to build everything. In contrast, they also had far simpler systems to work on, and a much smaller base of OSes.
  • topper - Aye, Arcen attention has shifted from tLF to the new games, the expansion, and personal lives.
  • Teal - It's a combination of apathy and repetitiveness. In SotS 1 each of the races are very different, you can try the different scenarios, you can try multiplay with coop, you can try different starting technology and galaxy richness. That gives it a ton of replay. The Battles are also interesting and you can feel you make a difference. (Although, it is still flawed in numerous ways.). In tLF the "swings" aren't fair or predictable, nor do they really make it that interesting to me. "Oh, the Burlusts got wiped out by disease last month before I could do anything, eh, guess I'll work on the Peltians." The mechanics are such that GC13's recipe is pretty straightforward way of dealing with things, variation in the plan is pretty minor.
  • NichG - Aye. I have the same feeling. It's not compelling enough to interest me in playing again.
  • GC13 - Yep.
  • I suppose my problem is I still think tLF is pretty fundamentally flawed, whereas others don't or just accept that it is normal or okay that it does.
« Last Edit: June 11, 2014, 03:48:28 AM by ptarth »
Note: This post contains content that is meant to be whimsical. Any belittlement or trivialization of complex issues is only intended to lighten the mood and does not reflect upon the merit of those positions.

Offline topper

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Re: Highest Priority Development Interest Poll [Updated for 1.016]
« Reply #40 on: June 11, 2014, 10:37:48 AM »
  • topper - Aye, Arcen attention has shifted from tLF to the new games, the expansion, and personal lives.
-snip-
  • I suppose my problem is I still think tLF is pretty fundamentally flawed, whereas others don't or just accept that it is normal or okay that it does.

I think if we want to keep a community alive, those interested need to keep working on community efforts, such as what led to you making this poll in the first place.

I do not think TLF is in trouble (yet). It is still getting work, but right now that is focused on features that will probably come out in a chunk when the alpha for the expansion starts in the next few weeks. Gauging community activity during the alpha should show better if there is still interest in the game.

Anyways, how many (indie or AAA) games would you play through the main campaign more than a few times? Even AI War is mainly so replayable because it has a half dozen expansions. Maybe this game will get there!

Offline Teal_Blue

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Re: Highest Priority Development Interest Poll [Updated for 1.016]
« Reply #41 on: June 11, 2014, 12:13:16 PM »
  • Teal - It's a combination of apathy and repetitiveness. In SotS 1 each of the races are very different, you can try the different scenarios, you can try multiplay with coop, you can try different starting technology and galaxy richness. That gives it a ton of replay. The Battles are also interesting and you can feel you make a difference. (Although, it is still flawed in numerous ways.). In tLF the "swings" aren't fair or predictable, nor do they really make it that interesting to me. "Oh, the Burlusts got wiped out by disease last month before I could do anything, eh, guess I'll work on the Peltians." The mechanics are such that GC13's recipe is pretty straightforward way of dealing with things, variation in the plan is pretty minor.

thanks for the note back. Do you think it would help if the devs put voice acting, or more character cutscenes in for the races? I played sins of a solar empire for a long while, almost 5 years, and modded and had great fun, also it was frustrating, games took forever to play. that is ok with friends or spread out, but 10 to 12 hours for a game in even 2 or 3 days was more than i could afford. there was too much real life going on.

With this game i am still getting my feet under me, just figuring out what looks like good directions, though most games i get over whelmed about half way into the game.

But anyway, the races seem rather 'unknown' to me. I mean, i know there are pictures, well, sorta. there are these general pictures of groups, but not like 'general puska of the peltian army' barking orders to his furry men left and right, or shaman brunt, of the burlust bok tribe, or sinistaar of the skylaxian lower court, who turns a rather short nose up in the air when she comes into the audience chamber to meet us. they are very supportive and democratic and all that, but still, you know, rather stuck up just the same, you know? :)

 i mean its not real personal (neither were galciv or the old moo, much as i love it, really, so maybe i am expecting too much?), and i wish there were voices, like 'look out incoming missiles!' or 'aye aye sir, starting mission now'. i mean, don't get me wrong, i know all that stuff costs money, and i am not expecting all that. but it does seem that if there were more 'personality' like you said sword of the stars has, and i've played a little of that, :)  got in over my head and lost, but still, all the voice overs and pictures added a great deal of personality to the game. i loved that! :) anyway i don't know how to affect that.  maybe a lot of people already figured out the game and have moved on, but i'm still trying to figure it out, but there are things i wish could be added to make it have more personality. Just an opinion though, and heck, i don't have a crystal ball, so even if they added personality, i could be wrong, it still might not make the game what other people want it to be.  anyway, these could be early days and am hoping that things will get more complicated and deeper and more personality as time goes on.

Take care,
-Teal

« Last Edit: June 11, 2014, 12:23:52 PM by Teal_Blue »

Offline NichG

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Re: Highest Priority Development Interest Poll [Updated for 1.016]
« Reply #42 on: June 11, 2014, 04:16:00 PM »
While voice acting and the like would be nice, I think there's a kind of tension here between what Arcen was aiming for and the 'replay value' of the game.

Arcen made a bunch of races whose mechanics are all drastically different. You cannot work the Burlusts the way you'd work the Peltians. This is basically the core strength of the game - there's lots to explore. The tension though is that that diversity must all be packed into a single playthrough in order to work - you have to be given a reason to explore all of that diversity in a single run. This works against 'replay value', since you'll have seen 80% of the major mechanical distinctions present in the game by the first time you've won (the exceptions being fairly rare things like planetcracking, Evuck self-detonation, etc).

I think part of the reason it feels odd is because TLF isn't actually a 4x game like Master of Orion and the like. Its more along the lines of things like Star Control 2, Alien Legacy, etc.

So along those lines, if you want to bring out strong replayability, the classic way that it was achieved in that kind of game is to have modular subplots that have branching. Basically, chain together specific paths of progression for the different races that are unique to that race, and then make it so that the player can manipulate the direction of the branching through a combination of direct interaction (e.g. dialogue, quests, senate actions) and through shaping the conditions (branch A happens if Medical RCI is really bad, otherwise branch B).

I feel though that this might run into some problems in TLF, because I think the community is a bit split on the reasons for enjoying the game. I know some people prefer just dealing with the random fluctuations that happen from run to run, and things which recur from run to run can detract from that (e.g. if there were a particular 'Evuck-Peltian plotline').

Maybe the best model would be something like Millennia:Altered Destinies. There, each race has a specific set of plotlines that are locally fairly compact (e.g. one or two branch points at most), but only 60% of them might occur in a given timeline depending on conditions and the player's manipulations, and they're completely modular.

Offline Teal_Blue

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Re: Highest Priority Development Interest Poll [Updated for 1.016]
« Reply #43 on: June 11, 2014, 04:46:24 PM »
perhaps you are right, a module, or expansion approach may be the best thing. It will be interesting to see what the first expansion brings and if that adds new directions and brings some interest back into the community. 

Offline Misery

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Re: Highest Priority Development Interest Poll [Updated for 1.016]
« Reply #44 on: June 11, 2014, 09:37:13 PM »
  • Professor Paul - I really don't like the current trend of games lasting for only a few weeks, being an accepted practice.  It might be because I'm old and remember "ye goode olde days" wherein games had staying power. The Indie Game company argument also holds only so much water. Back in "ye goode olde days", game developers were a couple of guys in a garage. They also didn't have access to prebuilt engines, they had to build everything. In contrast, they also had far simpler systems to work on, and a much smaller base of OSes.

I'm kinda curious as to where this bit comes from.

I could understand it being in relation to consoles:  The vast majority of games I see on there are things that seem to get played ONCE (and often short, at that), and then never again.... yet another reason I dumped the damn things.

But on PC?  I just dont see this "trend" anywhere... I've no problem finding games that can last bloody forever, me coming back to them over and over.

And as a retro-gamer typically I tend to agree with the "good ol' days" bit, but not in this case.  Games like the Megaman series or the dramatically huge number of similar games tended to take 2-3 hours to finish, and then.... you were done.  Granted, it depended on skill level, as you had to get good enough to beat it in the first place, but if you WERE good enough, then yeah.... that was all you got out of it.  And THOSE games cost full price back then. 

 

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