First play through

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cyrex562
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First play through

Post by cyrex562 » Fri Feb 08, 2013 3:48 pm

Hello:

Post install, I launched the game and the updater popped up. The updater downloaded some data and then appeared to hang at "Applying update". The process monitor for the updater shows the executable running at 4.0-4.8% CPU with about 45.4 MB of memory committed and no disk activity. I left the updater to run on its own twice and both times it did not appear to complete the update. The third time I ran the launcher with Administrator permissions and it still froze. The fourth time I ran it in compatibility mode for Windows XP SP3 using the windows 8 compatibility troubleshooter and although the updater crashed a couple of times the game finally booted.

After the first five minutes of play my impression is that the game feels like a spiritual successor to Alpha Centauri. It has the clean interface of a game like Endless Space. I feel right at home in the game!

After about thirty minutes of play on very easy with one opponent on a small map I won an economic victory. One improvement that would be nice is the ability to select the victory conditions. That way, I can pick "research victory", "conquest victory", etc. Also, being able to continue playing the game after the initial victory would be cool.

I will run a longer game with more factions shortly.

SephiRok
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Re: First play through

Post by SephiRok » Fri Feb 08, 2013 4:02 pm

Hey cyrex,

Thanks for the feedback.

We haven't done any testing at all yet with Windows 8. I'll give it a go in the near future. If it happens again it would be very useful if you attach the logs from the game that are located in the install folder under the Logs/ directory.

Cheers,
Rok
Rok Breulj
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Janek
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Re: First play through

Post by Janek » Fri Feb 08, 2013 6:22 pm

Looks nice, very much like Civ IV/Alpha Centaurii at first look. First feedback - game crashes on minimise to Windows (Win 7).

mutait
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Re: First play through

Post by mutait » Fri Feb 08, 2013 8:32 pm

Thanks for letting me participate in the beta. I've started a few games on very easy and have a few quick first impressions. I like the UI and the art -- simple and stylish. This feels pretty polished for a beta, which is great. I definitely like the SMAC vibe, of course and how you've brought in some of the familiar elements of that game (though more on this in a minute)

Some little things. I do wish there was an auto-end turn option, especially in early game when I'm trudging around hex by hex. And I agree with the earlier poster that I might like to be able to customize the game a little more in terms of victory conditions and other stuff.

My biggest problem is harder to talk about. I'm not getting that "just one more turn" feeling so far. Everything feels a little lifeless, dry and antiseptic. My choices -- whether in research or production or exploration or diplomacy -- just don't feel that important or engaging right now. The factions, aside from a few buffs and bonuses, feel pretty much the same, and I don't find myself really playing them any differently than each other.

My other concern here is the whole "spiritual successor to SMAC" thing. I almost wish that, rather than creating an updated, generic SMAC clone with prettier graphics and a better UI, that there was more personality or individuality here or something new or different.

Again, these are very early impressions. I haven't progressed even to the midpoint of a game yet. I'm going to play on to see if I change my mind once I get a little further along and try different factions.

Sorry, I'm aware that some of my criticisms aren't things that are helpful at this late point. But I thought I'd be totally honest.

SephiRok
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Re: First play through

Post by SephiRok » Sat Feb 09, 2013 2:52 am

mutait wrote:Some little things. I do wish there was an auto-end turn option, especially in early game when I'm trudging around hex by hex. And I agree with the earlier poster that I might like to be able to customize the game a little more in terms of victory conditions and other stuff.
Sure, we can add auto-end turn as an option, but I don't think I want it to be the default behavior. We'll be adding more customizy stuff later on.
mutait wrote:My biggest problem is harder to talk about. I'm not getting that "just one more turn" feeling so far. Everything feels a little lifeless, dry and antiseptic. My choices -- whether in research or production or exploration or diplomacy -- just don't feel that important or engaging right now. The factions, aside from a few buffs and bonuses, feel pretty much the same, and I don't find myself really playing them any differently than each other.
That doesn't sound very good. It's hard for me to judge the "just one more turn" feeling as a dev, but I distinctly remember having it in the past. I think that for me, the challenge has a big part in it, and I don't think you would get it at the very easy difficulty. Try bringing it up to normal, and perhaps a higher alien aggression level.

Another part of it is, how far you've gotten. If you hover over the year at the top right, you can see the turn. It could be a pacing thing, which well, is precisely why we have this beta here. I think it starts up a bit slower than Civilization, you have less obviously big choices, and turns may go like butter. But after 40 or so turns it should open up.
mutait wrote:My other concern here is the whole "spiritual successor to SMAC" thing. I almost wish that, rather than creating an updated, generic SMAC clone with prettier graphics and a better UI, that there was more personality or individuality here or something new or different.
We are by no means making a generic SMAC clone. We are making what we like the most and we think is best. The "spiritual successor to SMAC" is just a line Slitherine added -- it's a marketing thing -- it doesn't limit us in any way. I'm honestly not that familiar with SMAC, it's more Lorenz (void)'s area of expertise, but I can't believe all we've done is copy it.
mutait wrote:Again, these are very early impressions. I haven't progressed even to the midpoint of a game yet. I'm going to play on to see if I change my mind once I get a little further along and try different factions.

Sorry, I'm aware that some of my criticisms aren't things that are helpful at this late point. But I thought I'd be totally honest.
Sincere thanks for sharing your opinion. Please let us know how it feels after a bit more time with it. And if you can pinpoint what you think is bothering you, or how to change it, that's even better. I don't believe it's too late.
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NeptuneNews
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Re: First play through

Post by NeptuneNews » Sat Feb 09, 2013 9:25 am

mutait wrote: My biggest problem is harder to talk about. I'm not getting that "just one more turn" feeling so far. Everything feels a little lifeless, dry and antiseptic. My choices -- whether in research or production or exploration or diplomacy -- just don't feel that important or engaging right now. The factions, aside from a few buffs and bonuses, feel pretty much the same, and I don't find myself really playing them any differently than each other.
I have to agree. The military part of the game is well done, and there are plenty of tactical options to take, but... There is too little detail in civic development troughout the game. Perhaps there could be more options to take in development, which would all play out differently. Some special resource types could also give depth to the economy. The game also lacks the "Atmosphere", that SMAC and other Sci-fi 4x games had. The visuals and the audio feel very generic. The Cities, the infrastructure and the whole game world look lifeless and does not seem to change much troughout the game (except for pollution). A colony with advanced buildings and huge populations looks very much like a newly founded one.
Also, In most 4x games, There are theme soundtracks for each faction that reflect their mentality, which helps capturing the feeling of different factions. Some special faction buildings and technologies would also be welcome...
I undersand that is the first beta version, so perhaps such complaints are early, but I hope I managed to explain mutait's problem, If this is what he meant...

void
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Re: First play through

Post by void » Sat Feb 09, 2013 12:50 pm

mutait wrote:The factions, aside from a few buffs and bonuses, feel pretty much the same, and I don't find myself really playing them any differently than each other.
Our design goal is that factions actually do feel differently mechanic wise, and we're going the route of having a few select traits that have a significant impact on your playstyle. E.g. as Solar Dynasty you're literally drowning in pollution (and have to dispatch formers / build pollution processors), as Imperium your elite troops can take out way bigger armies, etc.

The current boni and mali might indeed not be enough to achieve that effect, so we'll publish a build with more dramatic modifiers later today.

Thanks for the feedback!
Lorenz Ruhmann
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cyrex562
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Re: First play through

Post by cyrex562 » Sun Feb 10, 2013 12:27 am

I'm on my fifth play-through now and I really enjoy this game. The updates you've pushed out so far have improved stability on Windows 8. It still appears to crash after closing windows from time time (logs attached). Here are a few additional impressions without repeating what others have suggested:

• Consider implementing stacked movement for groups of units
• Consider implementing ocean colonies
• Consider implementing fast transportation networks between cities
• Consider implementing airports for fast transportation between cities
• Consider implementing satellites or persistent UAVs for reconnaissance over a given area
• Consider implementing a victory comparison to see what place you're in, who is likely to win next, etc.
• Consider advanced automation tasks for formers, such as clear pollution, build roads, naturalize areas, etc.

I've also started looking through the XML files and testing custom tweaks to the factions, etc. I like the fact that the player can modify some of this, do you plan to provide additional support for modding, such as custom textures, models, scripts, etc.?

Thanks for giving me the opportunity to playtest this game. I will continue to add feedback as I play the game.
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SephiRok
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Re: First play through

Post by SephiRok » Sun Feb 10, 2013 12:55 am

There is stacked movement, you can hold shift and select multiple units in your army panel. Control-clicking on a territory selects all your units in it. Needs some more love though.

Ocean colonies is something we've discussed, but we don't have the resources for it atm, so it's something to think about for an expansion.

What do you mean by a transportation network? Something better than a road?

There are satellite operations for area reconnaissance.

Mod-wise, you can modify anything you want in the Data/ folder (though you should put them in your user data dir, so they don't get replaced by an update if you care about them, check the ReadMe.txt in Docuemnts/ for more info). We don't use a scripting language, so logic-wise everything that's modable is through xmls, but we do plan to add more data into xmls. You can modify textures pretty easily, for models and animations we'll have to provide exporters (3dsMax), but I don't see any reasons at the moment why we can't do that for release.

Cheers,
Rok
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larchy
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Re: First play through

Post by larchy » Sun Feb 10, 2013 7:09 am

I agree with stacked movement. I realised that you can shift+click to select and move multiple units at once, but the problem I have with that is you have to do it every single turn. The units need to have a CivIV style group control that maintains groups between turns.


Prettymuch every single similar 4x game has enhanced tile transport upgrades with better techs; it's a fairly obvious need in later stages of the game, especially as Pandora seems to allow large sprawling empires. Even if there is some sort of maintenance cost that prohibits super-highways on every tile, maybe just pushing players towards using them for direct routes between cities with normal roads everywhere else.]

It would also be nice if creating such networks provided trade bonuses between cities.


Given that these are really the same issues that exist in CivIV, I think there is value in looking at how that game addresses them. City production rally points would certainly be beneficial for the late game for instance.

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Re: First play through

Post by whaleberg » Sun Feb 10, 2013 4:04 pm

I definitely agree with the need for transportation networks. Roads just don't cut it over long distances. It would be really nice to see roads tie in with resources in some way too. It's strange that my really disconnected colony in enemy territory has the same access to my resources that the hub cities on my own continent do.

cyrex562
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Re: First play through

Post by cyrex562 » Fri Feb 15, 2013 2:10 pm

The game is shaping up really nicely. I have gone through several playthroughs and I find the game to have really good replay value. I'm still getting crashes on application exit for the updater and the game binary itself. These don't appear to affect stability.
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SephiRok
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Re: First play through

Post by SephiRok » Fri Feb 15, 2013 3:16 pm

Thanks cyrex.
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