My humble suggestions and praise

4X strategy game from Proxy Studios

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CarnivalBizzare
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My humble suggestions and praise

Post by CarnivalBizzare » Wed Nov 20, 2013 8:07 pm

Good game, very much SMAC light, which is high praise indeed.

I like the random tech tree, the different Alien life forms, the global resources and easy to use UI. Good base for the game, but I have several suggestions to make it more fun in the long run.

After five games on different settings, with different factions...

Expansion is everything, and every goal is easier if expanding. There is no drawback whatsoever to just keep pushing out continuously, which makes for horrible replay value. A science or economic victory should not require you to expand like silly, and the large factions should have something to hold them back, as of now, there is nothing. Like lower moral from distance to capital, or chances to break away into new faction etc etc.

Starting positions are immensely important, and starting in an artic zone is just slow death unless the AI are all overrun by Aliens, which happens way to often with most agressive alien lifeforms.
So there should be some great thing about being in the artic as well, or just don't place factions there.

There is no game play changes along the way, nothing that stirs things up, except in war. No new resources, no new factions coming in, no revolutions, no events, and war is the only system that has any element of surprise in it.

The unique terrain features are a nice touch, rather want more of those and perhaps some more affects than those that are just changes to gold, moral, minerals, production etc etc
How about possibility to build one unique unit, special operation for civ owning this feature etc etc?

And, unique units, one of a kind, are always interesting in game like this, you get something to track and really care about instead of the faceless masses.

Also, the units upkeep should increase a lot more with more advanced models, the end game is just giant stacks that makes everything a chore.

Buying buildings in the cities are way to cheap, often better to produce gold and buy, than to actually produce. And the demands for tribute should not be based on what you have the stores, then being poor is a strategy.

Also, number of cities determines how many operations you can have, nukes and black holes, which just means that the largest civ blasts the other to oblivion every time. Not that exciting after the first try, and not very good gameplay.

Anyway, these are the things I remember thinking right now, I applaud you for going in a great direction of gaming, there is so much untapped potential in this area. Hope you stick with it, and love to see what patches/expansions you can slug out. I work as a programmer on construction software and I know how much effort you must have put into this. A+

robc04_1
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Re: My humble suggestions and praise

Post by robc04_1 » Wed Nov 20, 2013 8:31 pm

CarnivalBizzare wrote: Expansion is everything, and every goal is easier if expanding. There is no drawback whatsoever to just keep pushing out continuously, which makes for horrible replay value. A science or economic victory should not require you to expand like silly, and the large factions should have something to hold them back, as of now, there is nothing. Like lower moral from distance to capital, or chances to break away into new faction etc etc.
I agree that maybe some type of small penalty as you get further from the capitol could at least provide some friction to expanding. But I do think it makes sense for expansion as a whole to be more beneficial. After all, more population means more scientists to do research. Currently, there isn't anything preventing you from keeping a smaller number of cities, each with a larger population, except for the habitat limit. A haven't done any experiments to see if 2 cities expand at a greater rate than 1 city. It doesn't appear to be the case since the amount of 'growth factor' needed to expand in each city is based on your faction population.
CarnivalBizzare wrote: There is no game play changes along the way, nothing that stirs things up, except in war. No new resources, no new factions coming in, no revolutions, no events, and war is the only system that has any element of surprise in it.
I mostly agree to that, except for operations. Those do shake things up. There could be a wider variety of new gameplay introduced as the game moves on.
CarnivalBizzare wrote: The unique terrain features are a nice touch, rather want more of those and perhaps some more affects than those that are just changes to gold, moral, minerals, production etc etc
How about possibility to build one unique unit, special operation for civ owning this feature etc etc?

And, unique units, one of a kind, are always interesting in game like this, you get something to track and really care about instead of the faceless masses.
I agree here too.
CarnivalBizzare wrote: Also, the units upkeep should increase a lot more with more advanced models, the end game is just giant stacks that makes everything a chore.

Buying buildings in the cities are way to cheap, often better to produce gold and buy, than to actually produce. And the demands for tribute should not be based on what you have the stores, then being poor is a strategy.
I've had some games where huge stacks were a bit tedious and others where it wasn't a problem. It would help if the AI would upgrade its units. I don't think it is ever more efficient to buy instead of build, except in cities with low production. Build wealth in a good producing city and buy improvements in a low producing city. Buy you do lose value in the conversion from production to gold and back to production. As a whole, money is a bit easy to come by.
CarnivalBizzare wrote: Also, number of cities determines how many operations you can have, nukes and black holes, which just means that the largest civ blasts the other to oblivion every time. Not that exciting after the first try, and not very good gameplay.
That is true. Maybe it makes sense to be able to build some buildings multiple times in a city. Maybe it would be good if some (or maybe even all) buildings required some population to staff them. Maybe if there was another job role (call it staff for now) that is used to make buildings operational.
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lsc9x
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Re: My humble suggestions and praise

Post by lsc9x » Wed Nov 20, 2013 8:38 pm

Yes, I give this game a 9.0 EASY, and forget Civ 5! I tried getting into that game just couldn't. I am looking forward to sinking the next 2 days in PFC!

Yes, I also think that the devs should take a look at every player suggestion and consider constructive criticism, NOT because PFC is a bad game. It's a great game already that, with a little further development, could eventually become one of those games like MOO2 or Starcraft that become classics, and that everyone remembers playing.

I have been looking for a game likes this for SO long, and em ecstatic that I found it last night. =)

jdmillard
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Re: My humble suggestions and praise

Post by jdmillard » Wed Nov 20, 2013 8:41 pm

CarnivalBizzare wrote:There is no game play changes along the way, nothing that stirs things up, except in war. No new resources, no new factions coming in, no revolutions, no events, and war is the only system that has any element of surprise in it.
Proxy Studios has publicly announced a number of features they plan to implement in the near future. One idea they mentioned was an alien invasion mid-game, perhaps related to all those high-tech ruins we all found. They have not yet confirmed if this is a guaranteed future addition, nor have they said whether it would be a post-release patch or part of an expansion. It is clear, however, that this is something they wish to change.

Teodosio
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Re: My humble suggestions and praise

Post by Teodosio » Wed Nov 20, 2013 9:07 pm

jdmillard wrote:Proxy Studios has publicly announced a number of features they plan to implement in the near future. One idea they mentioned was an alien invasion mid-game, perhaps related to all those high-tech ruins we all found. They have not yet confirmed if this is a guaranteed future addition, nor have they said whether it would be a post-release patch or part of an expansion. It is clear, however, that this is something they wish to change.
An alien invasion mid-game (former inhabitants coming to reclaim their planet?) would be very, very good indeed.

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Re: My humble suggestions and praise

Post by robc04_1 » Wed Nov 20, 2013 9:15 pm

You have to be really careful when dropping a new foe into the middle of an existing game. If they are too overpowered, it just becomes frustrating. Also it if is focused more than on one faction than another it doesn't seem fair.
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jdmillard
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Re: My humble suggestions and praise

Post by jdmillard » Thu Nov 21, 2013 1:15 am

robc wrote:You have to be really careful when dropping a new foe into the middle of an existing game. If they are too overpowered, it just becomes frustrating. Also it if is focused more than on one faction than another it doesn't seem fair.
I agree here. I remember in Medieval Total War, there was that mid-game Mongol Horde invasion from Eastern Europe (edge of the map). Holy smokes! defeating those armies was impossible (at least for me).

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Re: My humble suggestions and praise

Post by Dragoon. » Thu Nov 21, 2013 1:31 am

That Mongol invasion was actually one of the best. I just like to get pushed out of my comfort zone and forced to face a challenge. The first game I experienced the hoard is the one I remember most. Of course in later game you knew what was coming but I had still some fun games as Rus preparing for the incoming onslaught. Unfortunately too often I crawled back into my comfort zone and confronted the hoard at a river crossing.

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Re: My humble suggestions and praise

Post by osbie_feel » Thu Nov 21, 2013 10:21 pm

CarnivalBizzare wrote: Expansion is everything, and every goal is easier if expanding. There is no drawback whatsoever to just keep pushing out continuously, which makes for horrible replay value. A science or economic victory should not require you to expand like silly, and the large factions should have something to hold them back, as of now, there is nothing. Like lower moral from distance to capital, or chances to break away into new faction etc etc.
I strongly disagree. When I played my first game of Pandora I saw hexes, so I played it like I was playing Civ5, and of course I completely beefed it. I waited forever to to build my second colony and built it far too far away. One of the things I dislike the most about Civ5 is how it's pretty much optimum to build exactly 4 cities; the game punishes you harshly for any further expansion with science penalties and global happiness---I hate the happiness system in Civ5. It's a hard cap on growth, and it's boring. Why shouldn't a science/economy victory require expansion? More people means more taxpayers and more researchers.

One of my favorite things about SMAC is that it's a game of expansion, even more so than most 4X games. And why shouldn't it be? You're colonizing a whole new planet. There's no hard cap on growth, there's only bureaucracy drones, which are a problem that can be solved with the appropriate happiness facilities. You should never stop expanding in SMAC, though you can slow down a little. Even in the endgame, there's almost always some land to be claimed, and oceans to plant kelp and build seabases in. (And where the heck are those, by the way? Groaning when the AI spams seabases right up alongside your coast is a cherished part of SMAC. Pandora's oceans are boring; you can't even terraform them.)

If a game is going to be the "spiritual successor to Alpha Centauri", it can't limit expansion and feel anything like its ancestor. Grow or die; it's a law of nature.

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Re: My humble suggestions and praise

Post by CarnivalBizzare » Fri Nov 22, 2013 12:34 pm

osbie_feel wrote:
CarnivalBizzare wrote: Expansion is everything, and every goal is easier if expanding. There is no drawback whatsoever to just keep pushing out continuously, which makes for horrible replay value. A science or economic victory should not require you to expand like silly, and the large factions should have something to hold them back, as of now, there is nothing. Like lower moral from distance to capital, or chances to break away into new faction etc etc.
I strongly disagree. When I played my first game of Pandora I saw hexes, so I played it like I was playing Civ5, and of course I completely beefed it. I waited forever to to build my second colony and built it far too far away. One of the things I dislike the most about Civ5 is how it's pretty much optimum to build exactly 4 cities; the game punishes you harshly for any further expansion with science penalties and global happiness---I hate the happiness system in Civ5. It's a hard cap on growth, and it's boring. Why shouldn't a science/economy victory require expansion? More people means more taxpayers and more researchers.

One of my favorite things about SMAC is that it's a game of expansion, even more so than most 4X games. And why shouldn't it be? You're colonizing a whole new planet. There's no hard cap on growth, there's only bureaucracy drones, which are a problem that can be solved with the appropriate happiness facilities. You should never stop expanding in SMAC, though you can slow down a little. Even in the endgame, there's almost always some land to be claimed, and oceans to plant kelp and build seabases in. (And where the heck are those, by the way? Groaning when the AI spams seabases right up alongside your coast is a cherished part of SMAC. Pandora's oceans are boring; you can't even terraform them.)

If a game is going to be the "spiritual successor to Alpha Centauri", it can't limit expansion and feel anything like its ancestor. Grow or die; it's a law of nature.
So you think that every way to win the game should be done the same way? Makes for boring game, and in SMAC it is very much more viable to play a smaller empire and still win.
And of course, looking at successful civilizations in history, bigger is not always better, or even more powerful. In fact, it seldom is.

But it is all about replay value, if you have to play the same way every time, there is no replay value. To let different strategies be valid, you need to have a system where different approaches can be ok.

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