Author Topic: New version .816 out! (Combat Clarity! Better Flagship Physics! 6 Abilities!)  (Read 5167 times)

Offline x4000

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I totally get that the solar map is broken right now so I'll focus on combat thoughts:

Can you explain what makes you come to that conclusion?  Again, specifically so that I can fix it.  I know there are a number of bugs throughout that we are working to deal with starting today (now that combat is finally in better shape), but I don't want things that are important to slip through the cracks.

Thus far I haven't really enjoyed combat missions and I dreaded having to endure them. With that in mind, I'm happy to say that this patch is really warming me up to combat. Ship handling especially has become super engaging. The new dps tooltips solved most of my gripes about having to constantly compare damage types against various hulls. Missions feel more tense in general and get you into the action quickly. Overall, I would say that this new combat model feels good and, more importantly, it feels RIGHT for TLF.

Awesome!

One complaint I have is that I find myself constantly low on shields in a hurry, even when making a reasonable effort to avoid shots. Also, I was under the impression that pumping up shield points would "harden" them but after reading it closer, it seems to only improve regen rate. However, the base regen speed is so low that it makes any kind of multiplier pointless. Currently, the only way to recover from mistakes requires sitting out of combat for a dozen or more turns, waiting for more shields...only to lose them all again instantly.

Good point!  In for next release:

* The recharge rate of your flagship's shields has increased 5x.  This way there is not such a temptation to wait around doing nothing.  Don't worry, if this makes things too easy we will adjust other things to compensate. ;)
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Offline x4000

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The last niggle is the lack of waypoints (which I know others have mentioned). See, sometimes my goal is to reach some destination that is say 20-30 degrees off my current orientation. The system will only allow me to move straight in that direction, but what I really want to do is move out at my current direction about half the distance, and then turn toward that new heading (maybe because a straight line would take me into something nasty).

Yeah, I think this is unavoidable as a request.  I am pleased that the current model does not REQUIRE them frequently, which was my biggest goal.  But having them as an option is certainly important.  I have added this to my list.

Combat feels that it should be much improved - many changes improving upon previously simple, unfluid or unclear mechanics. While the changes are on the positive side and I like the direction you're going, some things feel unfriendly to use. For example, it seems that in order to be flexible and fight well, I would need to fiddle with the power management a lot. With the current interface/keybinds it feels like an obstacle.

In fact, I'm curious how you guys feel about changing the power management interface into one of those 3-section bars, each section representing the amount of power attributed to a module. To move some power you'd only have to move the separator between the sections to the left or right. Sounds easier to use.

I'm thinking about one of these:


I may have more to say later as I get to play more, but I wanted to throw this your way before that.

I really don't have time to go through a ton of different interfaces, unfortunately.  Mick did suggest some good stuff here which I will add: http://www.arcengames.com/mantisbt/view.php?id=13580

But in terms of fiddling with the power management, it does the bulk of that for you already.  There are almost no cases where you would need to fiddle with something per-turn.  For instance, if you don't move during a turn, then it automatically redistributes that to your shields and attack power.  Etc.  So you only need to ever mess with these when you actually want to make larger changes.

Balance-wise, diverting power to shields needs to make a bigger impact relative to the others. Would you consider damage reduction against shields as an additional variable? It would then be relatively useless when shields are down. Or just general damage reduction.

I would consider it, yes -- that said, let's see how the next version fares with the changes to shield recharge rates in general; that may take us where we need to go.  If not, then I like your suggestion.

I kept for some time pressing WASD to pan the screen, obviously out of habit from other strategy games.  ;)
What would be helpful is to have an extra window popup showing the mapping of the most important controls.

I keep doing that as well with WASD.  I need to change those.

I'm not sure if the minimap works completely. When toggling the minimap I would expect to see one mode where each ship has the colour of the respective race and the other mode either red for hostile, green for friendly, white/grey for neutral. However, IIRC in the latter mode they were mostly purple....

Yep, purple for enemy, yellow for ally, green for you.  Red/green causes colorblind problems.

the mining mission seems to yield little compared to the time required.

Also I find it strange that I get no influence when helping a race to destroy a pirate base, makes me wonder why bother with that mission anyway.

Noted, thanks!

Before I forget it, I definitly would want a popup explaining the various planet stats like economy, environment, etc and the meaning of the numeric values. Hence, at what point I really need to act. Right now it feels more like: Sure I can help out to improve the numbers but I got no clue how significant the improvement is. Alternatively, I'm okay with if I hover over a stat that it tells me what it does affect in gameplay mechanics something like +x population growth.

Got it, that makes a lot of sense.

The shield thing is an interesting issue. If you could effectively disengage from combat and charge your shields from zero to full in 2 turns, would that be overpowered? Well, I would argue that being able to do it in 100 turns is just as overpowered... but annoying. You're not really making the game more difficulty with the slow regen rate, you're just basing the difficulty around the player being impatient.

How would combat play out if shields could effectively be recharged in two combat rounds, without getting hit, at full shield power? To compensate, the shields could either go down much quicker, or work differently on defense, say instead of simply being a straight hit point buffer, act as a mitigator of damage based on the % of shields that are remaining. So if say a shot takes you down to 75% shields, you are not going to say "oh good I can take 3 more of those before worrying", but instead have to face taking hull damage for 25% of the next missile shot (arbitrary numbers).

In any case, I'm just braining storming here, but I think it's bad if you have an option to putter around at the edge of combat for 100 turns to recharge your shields. Now, many players aren't going to bother doing this, but by making it "optimal" it can be really annoying to folks who want to play with the best possible strategy they can conceive.

Right, totally agreed.  I'm aiming for a middle ground right now, but if that's still too long then I can crank that up more and rebalance around that.
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Offline Mick

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* The recharge rate of your flagship's shields has increased 5x.  This way there is not such a temptation to wait around doing nothing.  Don't worry, if this makes things too easy we will adjust other things to compensate. ;)

I think this is an excellent first move. My suggestions are really more thinking ahead on ways that it could compensate if a faster regen makes it too easy, but it's best to see if too easy even is a problem first.

"Too easy" is a much better first impression for players than "too hard". So it's better to error on that side. "Too hard" means, quit game, flip table, throw computer in the trash then burn the house down around it. Not only is this damage expensive to repair, that player is not able to give feedback on other aspects of the game.

Offline GenScorpius

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I remembered now that I did a pirate convoy mission earlier and found it a bit annoying that I couldn't do any damage whatsoever to the freighters. Hence, I had to wait for my ally to blow them up after all defenders were dead...

Sure it did not take ages but still not optimal, not to mention realistic  ;) , especially since the time needed for combat progresses solar time.

Offline alocritani

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I'm not sure if the minimap works completely. When toggling the minimap I would expect to see one mode where each ship has the colour of the respective race and the other mode either red for hostile, green for friendly, white/grey for neutral. However, IIRC in the latter mode they were mostly purple....

Yep, purple for enemy, yellow for ally, green for you.  Red/green causes colorblind problems.

Chris, please have a look to this report. I expect the color to change  on main view too

Offline x4000

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I'm not sure if the minimap works completely. When toggling the minimap I would expect to see one mode where each ship has the colour of the respective race and the other mode either red for hostile, green for friendly, white/grey for neutral. However, IIRC in the latter mode they were mostly purple....

Yep, purple for enemy, yellow for ally, green for you.  Red/green causes colorblind problems.

Chris, please have a look to this report. I expect the color to change  on main view too

Ah, yeah, forgot about that one.  It's on my list. ;)
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Offline Pepisolo

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10 mins impression from a frustration quitter. That movement guide makes a big difference. Before, I wasn't really sure how movement worked or what turn I was on (at a glance), now it's quite clear and the presence of the marker pushes you naturally in the right direction. The weight of the ship seems nicer, too. I really like the idea of the power management stuff in the corner, that's very FTL-y.  I don't like the unused power being on the text at the bottom, though. A fancy bit of extra UI to represent this would be much nicer. Good job, so far. I will try and get more into the meat of the game later on.

Edit: One point. It seems like the player is always forced to target at least one ship. Shouldn't you be able to just press S to skip the turn without targeting any ships if you so desire? I don't like being forced into shooting.
« Last Edit: April 03, 2014, 10:53:48 AM by Pepisolo »

Offline Misery

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Allrighty!  I has some saves for you for the 3 problems I brought up.

First, the solar map event one, basically the thing that keeps happening is that within the 3 or so minutes it takes to do a 20-month dispatch (which I'm mostly doing to get credits), multiple major wars break out, and also finish within that time;  typically, in this short time multiple planets will change hands, or one or two races may also be wiped out.   There's some other things that seem to be happening a bit fast, but this save is mainly to capture the war issue.  I only did the one dispatch mission, which was immediately after a smuggling one or two, I think.


Second, the smuggling mission save.  Boarines and Evucks appearing in this one.  My ship starts out quite far away from any of the probes, but at the moment the mission begins, 2 of the Boarine probes will freak out and activate.  It's always the same 2 in this mission.   Completing this same mission loaded from this one save in exactly the same way each time, and without setting off other probes or even firing, will produce a random result.  Sometimes the Boarines are angry about it, sometimes it's the Evucks, sometimes it's both, or it might be neither.   This has been happening on every smuggling mission for me.


Now, the predator bit was.... difficult to capture, as I'm not really sure how to best go about that.   The main issue is two things:  1, their extreme damage.... an individual bullet from a Predator does 12000 damage!  Though it was about 14000 damage originally.... but when I loaded the save their damage level dropped (even for already spawned bullets it seems to do this), and then it just stayed that way.  Combined with their firing pattern, that enormous sine shape, they have a very good chance of hitting you, sometimes with all 3 shots.  And finally, like most of the slower ships, they tend to sit in one big clump, so that each bolt is actually 3 or 4.  I've taken 80000+ damage from getting hit by that mega-bolt... and that's when getting hit with only one of them!  This save is on Hard, it's much worse on Misery.



Hope that helps!   Those 3 things are pretty much the only major problems I've got at this point.  Though, the Andors never electing anyone might be another, unless you already fixed that.  But yeah, those are the big ones.  Anything else I can think of is just small stuff, I'll pop those onto Mantis later.

Offline x4000

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10 mins impression from a frustration quitter. That movement guide makes a big difference. Before, I wasn't really sure how movement worked or what turn I was on (at a glance), now it's quite clear and the presence of the marker pushes you naturally in the right direction. The weight of the ship seems nicer, too. I really like the idea of the power management stuff in the corner, that's very FTL-y.  I don't like the unused power being on the text at the bottom, though. A fancy bit of extra UI to represent this would be much nicer. Good job, so far. I will try and get more into the meat of the game later on.

Awesome!  And I hear you on the unused power thing, that was bugging me and I didn't fully register it consciously, though.  One of those underlying discomfort things.  Anyway, I've put it to Blue to come up with some graphics for that. :)

Edit: One point. It seems like the player is always forced to target at least one ship. Shouldn't you be able to just press S to skip the turn without targeting any ships if you so desire? I don't like being forced into shooting.

No, the firing modes let you choose things.  In the next version it highlights those when you go into attack mode, to make it more likely you will find them.  In future tutorials I will be sure to also make it point these out even more.

Thanks!
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Offline Kingpin23

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10 mins impression from a frustration quitter. That movement guide makes a big difference. Before, I wasn't really sure how movement worked or what turn I was on (at a glance), now it's quite clear and the presence of the marker pushes you naturally in the right direction. The weight of the ship seems nicer, too. I really like the idea of the power management stuff in the corner, that's very FTL-y.  I don't like the unused power being on the text at the bottom, though. A fancy bit of extra UI to represent this would be much nicer. Good job, so far. I will try and get more into the meat of the game later on.

Edit: One point. It seems like the player is always forced to target at least one ship. Shouldn't you be able to just press S to skip the turn without targeting any ships if you so desire? I don't like being forced into shooting.

Pressing Q is the hold fire button.
Or press left mouse to choose direction then on the left you can choose the fire modes like autofire/holdfire
« Last Edit: April 03, 2014, 11:45:03 AM by Kingpin23 »

Offline x4000

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Allrighty!  I has some saves for you for the 3 problems I brought up.

Awesomesauce!  Thanks very much for that. :)

First, the solar map event one, basically the thing that keeps happening is that within the 3 or so minutes it takes to do a 20-month dispatch (which I'm mostly doing to get credits), multiple major wars break out, and also finish within that time;  typically, in this short time multiple planets will change hands, or one or two races may also be wiped out.   There's some other things that seem to be happening a bit fast, but this save is mainly to capture the war issue.  I only did the one dispatch mission, which was immediately after a smuggling one or two, I think.

I gotcha on the wars.  I saw what you meant, for sure.  I just put in this:

The speed of each step of NPC vs NPC combat resolution has been slowed all the way down to one step per 50 days (50 seconds) instead of 3 days (3 seconds). This may be too much, but all the others were just bloody fast. These are millions of troops fighting, after all, and huge armadas fighting as well!

It may be too extreme, but we'll see.  There were a few other things that I noticed on my own, including the RCI bar changes, so those also are better now.


Second, the smuggling mission save.  Boarines and Evucks appearing in this one.  My ship starts out quite far away from any of the probes, but at the moment the mission begins, 2 of the Boarine probes will freak out and activate.  It's always the same 2 in this mission.   Completing this same mission loaded from this one save in exactly the same way each time, and without setting off other probes or even firing, will produce a random result.  Sometimes the Boarines are angry about it, sometimes it's the Evucks, sometimes it's both, or it might be neither.   This has been happening on every smuggling mission for me.

I've passed that to Keith for his list.  I wonder if they are alerting each other, haha.  Thanks!

Now, the predator bit was.... difficult to capture, as I'm not really sure how to best go about that.   The main issue is two things:  1, their extreme damage.... an individual bullet from a Predator does 12000 damage!  Though it was about 14000 damage originally.... but when I loaded the save their damage level dropped (even for already spawned bullets it seems to do this), and then it just stayed that way.  Combined with their firing pattern, that enormous sine shape, they have a very good chance of hitting you, sometimes with all 3 shots.  And finally, like most of the slower ships, they tend to sit in one big clump, so that each bolt is actually 3 or 4.  I've taken 80000+ damage from getting hit by that mega-bolt... and that's when getting hit with only one of them!  This save is on Hard, it's much worse on Misery.

Got it, all those points make sense.  In for next version:

* None of this affects existing savegames, unfortunately, but balance for the predators is here:
** The shot speed of the sine shots fired by predators has been dropped to 4/7 of its previous value.  The shot speed of the sine turrets has been increased to 7/4 its previous value, though (the two basically swapped shot speeds).
** The attack power of the predator shots has been dropped to 1/3 it previous value (but those of the sine turrets has not changed).

* The groups of ships now do a better job of spreading out relative to one another.  This both makes them harder to hit with just a few shots, and it also makes it so that it is harder for them to just slam you with too much munitions all at once.

Hope that helps!   Those 3 things are pretty much the only major problems I've got at this point.  Though, the Andors never electing anyone might be another, unless you already fixed that.  But yeah, those are the big ones.  Anything else I can think of is just small stuff, I'll pop those onto Mantis later.

Yep, we just got that one.  If that's all you can think of off the top of your head, that's not nearly as bad as I was fearing!  Of course, who knows what these fixes will then uncover in terms of problems that could not be found because these were blockers. ;)
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Offline Cipherpunk

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I totally get that the solar map is broken right now so I'll focus on combat thoughts:

Can you explain what makes you come to that conclusion?  Again, specifically so that I can fix it.  I know there are a number of bugs throughout that we are working to deal with starting today (now that combat is finally in better shape), but I don't want things that are important to slip through the cracks.

I encountered a bug late last night where the Skylaxians could gift any tech to anyone for cheap, without unlocking it themselves first. I assumed that they had access to every tech which was an issue in a previous version. Sorry to jump to conclusions! :D

Here's the save and screenshot: http://www.arcengames.com/mantisbt/view.php?id=13584
« Last Edit: April 03, 2014, 12:35:12 PM by Cipherpunk »

Offline Hyfrydle

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Wow I'm blown away by the combat changes it's really starting to rock now. Still not a fan of the arrow extending from the ship maybe it could be made more transparent so it's not as obvious.

Just had a pretty epic battle and took down four flagships it felt like a real space battle. Is engine noise planned for when your ship moves?

Can't wait to see what multiple race battles feel like could be very interesting.

Still feel that the enemy flagships are perhaps a bit slow they just sit there and wait for the player to attack, would be cool to have them chase and attack the player or would that be too hard.

This combat matches the game so well great how things turn out :-)

Is gravity still a thing? If not the option still shows in the advanced start screen.
« Last Edit: April 03, 2014, 01:39:46 PM by Hyfrydle »

Offline PokerChen

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I totally get that the solar map is broken right now so I'll focus on combat thoughts:

Can you explain what makes you come to that conclusion?  Again, specifically so that I can fix it.  I know there are a number of bugs throughout that we are working to deal with starting today (now that combat is finally in better shape), but I don't want things that are important to slip through the cracks.

I encountered a bug late last night where the Skylaxians could gift any tech to anyone for cheap, without unlocking it themselves first. I assumed that they had access to every tech which was an issue in a previous version. Sorry to jump to conclusions! :D

Here's the save and screenshot: http://www.arcengames.com/mantisbt/view.php?id=13584

As far as I know, Peltians with the ability to gift tech can gift any tech when you speak with them in their deals menu. Friendly actions where you gift your own technolgoy work as intended. I don't know if the Andors actually work correctly with this as well, but here is a save.

Offline Pepisolo

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Quote
No, the firing modes let you choose things.  In the next version it highlights those when you go into attack mode, to make it more likely you will find them.  In future tutorials I will be sure to also make it point these out even more.

Sounds good.

Quote
Pressing Q is the hold fire button.
Or press left mouse to choose direction then on the left you can choose the fire modes like autofire/holdfire

Cool. Thanks for the tips.