What du you think why this game lacks popularity?

4X strategy game from Proxy Studios

Moderators: Pandora Moderators, Slitherine Core

Xilmi
Pandora Community Developer
Pandora Community Developer
Posts: 522
Joined: Fri May 23, 2014 3:21 pm

What du you think why this game lacks popularity?

Post by Xilmi » Mon Jul 28, 2014 9:30 am

I'm really curious what others think why this game seems so unsuccessfull.
(In a way that there's hardly any activity on these forums)

I've played a lot of games including all parts of Civilization.

While the series slowly progressed, changed and introduced a few mechanics over time, it always kept relatively similar and the very core actually never changed.

Now that's where I feel Pandora has done much better. The mechanics of how you manage your cities are outstandingly smart.
The pace of the game also is much more fluent than a lot of other. Yes there's a lot of stuff to do, but it generally feels important and not mundane and repeatable.

From my perspective the game is one of the very best, if not the best in the genre, when it comes to doing exactly what I consider to have fun in a game like that.

Of course I don't consider it perfect. There's quite a few things that other games have, that are great fun but lacking here. As well as things I'd do differently or would like to see improved.
But it's still a great game.

Now here's a few things that I could imagine why it lacks popularity:

The setting. Most 4x games playing on a planets surface are either historical or fantasy. The Sci-fi-setting usually comes with exploring the whole galaxy.
The opponent-count. While I don't think it adds terribly much, there's similar games where you can setup to play with 20 or more opponent-factions.
The lack of documentation. Some people have pointet out, that the game is very hard to get into and when they look into the manual and only find backgroundstory instead of hints of how to play the game, that might be quite frustrating.

But by far the most likely:

The lack of awareness that it even exists and how good it is.

But what I'm most interested in is: Why did people who have purchased it and don't play it anymore have turned their back on it? Was it because it's not there thing at all or are there some details that they didn't want to bear with anymore?

dmantione
Corporal - Strongpoint
Corporal - Strongpoint
Posts: 62
Joined: Sun Apr 27, 2014 1:48 pm

Re: What du you think why this game lacks popularity?

Post by dmantione » Mon Jul 28, 2014 4:14 pm

A major reason why the game doesn't seel in huge numbers must be searched outside the game itself. The big game publishing houses have sales offices all over the world. They talk with local game related websites and local printed magazines. If a game is sold on physical media, they know exactly which shops they need to talk to, to ensure the a game is on a prominent place on the shelf. Another reason is simply the name. Every gamer knows what "Civilization" is. Important here is not wether the actual game is any good, but people simply believe that the next Civilization will be an excellent game, which makes them willing to spend money on it.

Pandora lacks a large sales infrastructure and neither the game itself, nor its authors can rely on the reputation of their legacy to achieve huge sales.

Megas
Corporal - 5 cm Pak 38
Corporal - 5 cm Pak 38
Posts: 40
Joined: Sun Feb 10, 2013 5:34 pm

Re: What du you think why this game lacks popularity?

Post by Megas » Mon Jul 28, 2014 8:57 pm

1. No marketing budget
2. No proper manual
3. Bad AI

The game still needs more patching to reach its potential.

Rossthegreat
Corporal - Strongpoint
Corporal - Strongpoint
Posts: 70
Joined: Mon Dec 02, 2013 8:08 pm

Re: What du you think why this game lacks popularity?

Post by Rossthegreat » Mon Jul 28, 2014 9:26 pm

Probably because its a warmonger game. Everything in the game is for the sake of having wars.

Food/Mineral/credit for bigger cities, more production and cash so you can spam more units.

Advancements, unit designs, and everything is to help you wage a war better.

Every tech advancement is to help you kill your enemies more efficiently.

Megas
Corporal - 5 cm Pak 38
Corporal - 5 cm Pak 38
Posts: 40
Joined: Sun Feb 10, 2013 5:34 pm

Re: What du you think why this game lacks popularity?

Post by Megas » Tue Jul 29, 2014 5:36 pm

You could argue that Alpha centauri is no different and everything there is for the sake of warfare too.

boulugre
Sergeant - Panzer IIC
Sergeant - Panzer IIC
Posts: 195
Joined: Fri Nov 22, 2013 2:43 pm

Re: What du you think why this game lacks popularity?

Post by boulugre » Wed Jul 30, 2014 6:45 am

Megas wrote:You could argue that Alpha centauri is no different and everything there is for the sake of warfare too.
I beg to disagree :D

Alpha Centauri had some valid and interesting alternate victory conditions than just military victory, giving way more depth to the game play.

Xilmi
Pandora Community Developer
Pandora Community Developer
Posts: 522
Joined: Fri May 23, 2014 3:21 pm

Re: What du you think why this game lacks popularity?

Post by Xilmi » Wed Jul 30, 2014 7:46 am

Interesting. All games I've won so far were by a tech-victory.

I haven't declared any wars myself yet. I mostly fought defensively.

Wolfe1759
Corporal - Strongpoint
Corporal - Strongpoint
Posts: 72
Joined: Sun Feb 10, 2008 5:01 pm

Re: What du you think why this game lacks popularity?

Post by Wolfe1759 » Wed Jul 30, 2014 9:32 pm

No manual

4X gamers want depth.

4X gamers want to know they are going to get depth.

Put together a proper manual with explanations, lists and pics of all the unit types, terrain types, improvements, techs etc. This will draw existing users such as me into the game more, get us posting more about it (rather than posting that we want a manual). Then make the manual accessible to non-owners via Matrix/Slitherine/Steam forums so that they know in detail what the game offers. Even with a demo you are most likely going to give up long before you realise the depth the game may have. I've got the game and I don't know the extent of depth the game may have as yet, it is all just trial and error. Then again if there is no real depth to the game don't bother producing a manual.

Megas
Corporal - 5 cm Pak 38
Corporal - 5 cm Pak 38
Posts: 40
Joined: Sun Feb 10, 2013 5:34 pm

Re: What du you think why this game lacks popularity?

Post by Megas » Thu Jul 31, 2014 11:56 am

boulugre wrote:Alpha Centauri had some valid and interesting alternate victory conditions than just military victory, giving way more depth to the game play.
Pandora has the same victory conditions as Alpha centauri.

Science/Military/Economic/Diplomacy

Wolfe1759
Corporal - Strongpoint
Corporal - Strongpoint
Posts: 72
Joined: Sun Feb 10, 2008 5:01 pm

Re: What du you think why this game lacks popularity?

Post by Wolfe1759 » Thu Jul 31, 2014 9:12 pm

Megas wrote:
boulugre wrote:Alpha Centauri had some valid and interesting alternate victory conditions than just military victory, giving way more depth to the game play.
Pandora has the same victory conditions as Alpha centauri.

Science/Military/Economic/Diplomacy
It would be useful if they had a list of the victory conditions in the manual :)

Sorry I know I'm probably flogging a dead horse here.

motai
Private First Class - Wehrmacht Inf
Private First Class - Wehrmacht Inf
Posts: 5
Joined: Sun Jun 01, 2014 10:43 am

Re: What du you think why this game lacks popularity?

Post by motai » Sun Aug 03, 2014 1:30 pm

first, i really like the idea of this game.The game feels unfinished however and the choice to persue a sequel is too early. 5 of the last 4x games i have invested in all made this mistake and its killing the market.(civ 5, elemental(aka fallen enchantress), endless space, stardrive, warlock). multiplayer that i have not had a chance to try seems like the best play. single player is where everyone starts and the standard cribbed ai that cheats instead of playing smarter is not a good intro. honestly i would rather lose to a honest good ai than a stupid as rocks cheating one. the games victory conditions are not defined and presented to the player. yes we assume kill everyone and research everything are usually 2 of them. honestly you are winning long before that point and the victory conditions really need to adapt that instead of oh my god you are winning everyone declares war on you even when they are your lifelong allies. lack of forum response to tech support, even if its a functioning as intended response. no moderation on tech support forum to group recurring threads together to simplify the task of responding and troubleshooting tasks for programmers. feeling of alpha centauri is broken because you dont have victory sequences and milestones. inital patches then 3 months with no response except a teasr about an expansion instead of fixes to bugs.

Megas
Corporal - 5 cm Pak 38
Corporal - 5 cm Pak 38
Posts: 40
Joined: Sun Feb 10, 2013 5:34 pm

Re: What du you think why this game lacks popularity?

Post by Megas » Sun Aug 03, 2014 2:50 pm

motai wrote:The game feels unfinished however
That's the sad reality of the current game market. Almost every single game is release unfinished and then maybe patched after release. Early access is even worse. They sell you alpha or beta version without any guarantee that they even finish it.

Pandora was released in very unpolished state too but you can't really expect to get a complete, working game on day 1 in this day and age. The problem is even more severe in complex 4x games. At least 4x games usually get fixed eventually after a year or two of patches and expansions.

Zak0r
Sergeant - Panzer IIC
Sergeant - Panzer IIC
Posts: 188
Joined: Sat Jan 25, 2014 1:21 pm

Re: What du you think why this game lacks popularity?

Post by Zak0r » Sun Aug 03, 2014 3:50 pm

motai wrote:inital patches then 3 months with no response except a teasr about an expansion instead of fixes to bugs.
You have some valid points. But there was a patch not long ago. However, patches are always tested first in the beta version (you can select it using the pandora_updater.exe which unfortunately is not included in the steamversion) before being transitioned into the release version so you maybe have not noticed that the devs actually did work on the vanilla game during this time as well. This game is out a little longer than the steam release (more than half a year) and there were a lot of patches and listening to feedback.

MattyLatty
Private First Class - Wehrmacht Inf
Private First Class - Wehrmacht Inf
Posts: 9
Joined: Mon Jul 21, 2014 4:01 am

Re: What du you think why this game lacks popularity?

Post by MattyLatty » Wed Aug 13, 2014 11:04 pm

A few reasons:
1) Some players think this game is a "rip off" or a "copycat" of Alpha Centauri, or heck even James Cameron's movie Avatar. They don't understand how it works. I always have to remind people that it's not a copycat in that "Pandora" is a greek name, so no one owns the copyright for the name. In regard to Alpha Centauri.... This was their first true love, like the first awesome boyfriend or girlfriend one has. Every other boyfriend/girlfriend that comes after the first awesome person will usually pales in comparison to the first one. Instead of enjoying the new thing, they keep reminiscing how this new thing is not the same as the old thing.
2) It's too difficult for some to understand how the game works. The resources, workers, etc. People nowadays have very little time to sit down and figure games out simply because there are tooo many games on the market. Why do so many play FPS games? It's easy. Aim and shoot. Things die. Enjoyment.
This game brings out too much frustration for some.

To answer your last question as to why I don't play as much as I used to. It's because less people play. Just playing by myself knowing that there's a small community makes the gamep much more lonely. Hugely popular games like skyrim makes me feel like I'm connected to other people too.

eidolad
Lance Corporal - SdKfz 222
Lance Corporal - SdKfz 222
Posts: 23
Joined: Sun Jan 05, 2014 1:25 pm

Re: What du you think why this game lacks popularity?

Post by eidolad » Fri Aug 15, 2014 2:50 am

A good idea for a forum post...it bugs me that this finely crafted game isn't high on people's radar...yet? I'm behind Pandora 200%.

My tilt: I only play until I have substantially won, or lost, the wars with my immediate neighbors.

I think the "old" model works best: have a complete game, and have a cool, full featured demo free to play and ready to go. The demo is the marketing tool for small shops without the dedicated advertising, IMHO. I want to go back to the old days of being able to buy a full product, fully tested, just as the devs intended. THEN the player community can figure out what to change in the expansion, if any, based on sales.

I love Pandora for the combat portion (except that I can't disable wmds...would rather just play the tactical side without having computer spamming nuke strikes on units it should not be able to see...). The later wmd spam makes me lose interest in the (what should be my favorite period) end game with the super-cool final units. Who doesn't want to play with mechs that cast shadows over entire cities. I think it plays decent tactical combat...comparable to the AI/scripting in in most 4x games out there. The user interface is fantastic overall and very easy to see/navigate/control...professional class.

But people in general want more variety of play from a 4x strategy game than just building tons of units and conquering via a grinding war of tons of units. I'm supposed to be a faction leader of a Way of Thinking...so how do I think I should win? Totally differently than my neighbor...and perhaps not via a contest of who has tanks earlier, per se. As regards to the Masari mini expansion...I took down the capital units of the invasion force...and got nothing in return except that "I survived". Okay, so my reward is: now back to the pre-during-post wars that will inevitably occur among factions...

But overall the artwork, since of atmosphere, and drama of the Masari invasion...very good stuff. As a warfare oriented and sci-fi game player...right down my alley.

But a player who is looking to purchase may wonder about the direction of the game and what sort of "interactive world to explore and grow my "civilization" exists within Pandora...maybe they want to play a sea faction that lives below the waves and swims around in their high tech submarines while herding friendly xeno-whales who make tunnels under the sea floor...and doesn't give a two cents damn about wars on the surface. And actually is trying to develop planetary tectonic plate shifting tech to *sink* all the land anyway as their "master project"...hmm stashing that idea for a "fantasy football 4x game faction of my own" if I win the lottery :)

Finally: Alpha Centauri as a game succeeded because, as a sci-fi game, I think it did a fine job of managing to appeal even to players who hated/were uninterested in science fiction ray guns and hover tanks.

StellarRat
Private First Class - Opel Blitz
Private First Class - Opel Blitz
Posts: 2
Joined: Wed Jan 11, 2012 4:17 am

Re: What du you think why this game lacks popularity?

Post by StellarRat » Fri Aug 15, 2014 3:28 pm

I think it's improved greatly with the last couple patches. It should be more popular. There isn't a lot wrong with the game itself anymore.

Xilmi
Pandora Community Developer
Pandora Community Developer
Posts: 522
Joined: Fri May 23, 2014 3:21 pm

Re: What du you think why this game lacks popularity?

Post by Xilmi » Tue Aug 19, 2014 8:08 pm

I would like to add one more issue:

2 years ago when Endless Space was a new game, I followed it on their forums.
They (Amplitude Studios) had amazing community work. Devs dropping by in the forums all the times, answering questions about modding, giving note that they read a post in tech-support-forums and when they fixed something. They even had (and still have) a "VIP"-Program where the most active forum-users where invited to discuss stuff directly with the devs.

The almost complete lack of developer-to-customer-communication here is quite a bummer comparatively.

FlashXAron
Lance Corporal - Panzer IA
Lance Corporal - Panzer IA
Posts: 10
Joined: Wed Jun 02, 2010 8:15 am

Re: What du you think why this game lacks popularity?

Post by FlashXAron » Thu Aug 28, 2014 7:51 am

So after some games and a MP game with my brother !
What I miss, not in that order:

- No STEAMWORKSHOP Support
- No handmade maps (useable also in MP) and a map editor
- ZOC for UNITS
- City buildings are more important than outside resources, so CITY SPAMMING is the key to victory and not where you build your cities (yes I know, the AI couldn't handle that)
- reduced speed in ENEMY TERRITORY (or supply lines)
- AI only plays MASSRUSH and don't wait until it has an army to attack
- Stack bonuses: ARMY GROUPS ( If you have a proper stack, like INF,ART, AA, TANK and so on, you get some bonuses for different tasks)
- cities too close buildable, once again idiotic city spamming
- I want to see the satellites and that I could shoot them down.
- different map levels (under water, land and space ... Anno 2070 had underwater and land)

and so many more features I could write hours !
Seems I will have to wait for another game ,,, NOT that new Beyond Earth it will be also dumbed down with even more terrible AI
Last edited by FlashXAron on Thu Aug 28, 2014 7:53 am, edited 1 time in total.

FlashXAron
Lance Corporal - Panzer IA
Lance Corporal - Panzer IA
Posts: 10
Joined: Wed Jun 02, 2010 8:15 am

Re: What du you think why this game lacks popularity?

Post by FlashXAron » Thu Aug 28, 2014 7:53 am

Xilmi wrote:I would like to add one more issue:

2 years ago when Endless Space was a new game, I followed it on their forums.
They (Amplitude Studios) had amazing community work. Devs dropping by in the forums all the times, answering questions about modding, giving note that they read a post in tech-support-forums and when they fixed something. They even had (and still have) a "VIP"-Program where the most active forum-users where invited to discuss stuff directly with the devs.

The almost complete lack of developer-to-customer-communication here is quite a bummer comparatively.
SAD it didn't help
IT IS A TERRIBLE DUMBED DOWN boring game ,,,

stiefelss
Corporal - 5 cm Pak 38
Corporal - 5 cm Pak 38
Posts: 40
Joined: Wed Apr 09, 2014 10:44 pm

Re: What du you think why this game lacks popularity?

Post by stiefelss » Thu Aug 28, 2014 1:19 pm

FlashXAron wrote:So after some games and a MP game with my brother !
What I miss, not in that order:

- No STEAMWORKSHOP Support
- No handmade maps (useable also in MP) and a map editor
- ZOC for UNITS
- City buildings are more important than outside resources, so CITY SPAMMING is the key to victory and not where you build your cities (yes I know, the AI couldn't handle that)
- reduced speed in ENEMY TERRITORY (or supply lines)
- AI only plays MASSRUSH and don't wait until it has an army to attack
- Stack bonuses: ARMY GROUPS ( If you have a proper stack, like INF,ART, AA, TANK and so on, you get some bonuses for different tasks)
- cities too close buildable, once again idiotic city spamming
- I want to see the satellites and that I could shoot them down.
- different map levels (under water, land and space ... Anno 2070 had underwater and land)

and so many more features I could write hours !
Seems I will have to wait for another game ,,, NOT that new Beyond Earth it will be also dumbed down with even more terrible AI
You know, some real, decent modding tools would really help this game move along. But it doesn't really matter what anyone here says, because the devs are going to do their own thing and hardly ever listen to the community.

I have tons of ideas to improve this game (mostly having to do with adding depth and diversifying options) and a fair amount of modding experience. It really irks me that modding capacity and knowledge are so limited.

There was a post from void saying that the 3d artist would give us a tutorial or file sample for the meshes "over the next few days". Half a year later, not a word about it.

Post Reply

Return to “Pandora - First Contact”