First Impressions

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DerekRJ21
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First Impressions

Post by DerekRJ21 » Sat Feb 09, 2013 2:19 am

Hey guys, first off thanks for the beta invite. Just stopping by to include my two cents about the game so far.

First Impression - Love the look of the main menu and interface, fits very well with the theme I had imagined for the game. Starting off immediately as the Solar Empire, I had a strong Civ 5 vibe from the menus/interface/overall graphics. As a fairly experienced RTS player (and previous Civ 5 player), all of the common sense units/structures were there. It was very easy to get into the flow of things. Overall I was very satisfied with the game so far.

Complaints - I only have 3 complaints so far, and one of them may be solved by me paying more attention.

1 - The Tech Tree felt very weak, especially in its explanation of later tiers. I would like to see some kind of visual guide to what leads where.

2 - I couldn't find a way to rename my custom units. I would like to be able to name my specialty Hellfire troops or my Anti-Vehicle tanks to more appropriate names.

3 - I was not receiving a prompt when my cities were under attack, or when enemies were near them. I lost multiple cities this way, and I believe a simple heads up would be great.

Bugs

1 - When I tried switching from my maximum resolution fullscreen to maximum resolution windowed, the game crashed. I was able to get the desired effects after trying a different order of switching, and was not able to recreate the bug.

2 - At the time of writing this post, I crash almost immediately after starting the game. I'm assuming it's trying to connect to the servers and not getting a response, then crashing.

Overall I look forward to continuing testing and expect this game to do great.

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Re: First Impressions

Post by SephiRok » Sat Feb 09, 2013 3:04 am

I think the tech descriptions (at least later ones) still need some work. It was a design decision, however, to not have a graph of the tree. We'll probably get burned for this by the Civ fans.

You don't have to worry about renaming units or cities, it's more or less already supported, it's just an interface thing at this point so it'll be there eventually.

You should be getting event notifications on the right hand side of the screen, "Enemy Detected", when enemies are inside your borders.

Can you check with the task manager that there are no Pandora processes running?

Cheers,
Rok
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Re: First Impressions

Post by moondee » Sat Feb 09, 2013 5:23 am

Is it okay if I jump your thread and put my notes on first impressions?

Quickly the bugs encountered:
1. My goliath was able to walk into opened but fogged tile with enemy's former unit in there. The second Goliath entering the tile has attacked the former unit. I would have expected the first goliath either to stop upon encounter of the enemy and requesting new orders or automatically attacking the former unit.
2. I have captured a city and had walked three goliaths in there to heal; I believe the next turn the previous unit build order (set up by the enemy, previous owner of the city) was completed - an assault trooper- and I suddenly lost the city with my three goliaths inside of it. I had to walk them out and attack the city. After the assault trooper was destroyed i retook the city.
3. I believe in my capital city I had "Field Training" project/mission unlocked and it was taking 2 turns to build, however I could buy it free of charge. I believe it still would have to have some nominal cost. I guess it might not be a bug, since i still have to skip a turn (i.e. for purchasing).

Impressions:
I wasted a couple of turns trying to settle down on a tile with a resource (fields, observatory, etc). Wish it would say you can't colonize on them.
At first I was depressed that i had only 1 city with AI neighbour having around 3... took me some courage to continue playing. Incidentally, all AIs are a friendly bunch - I managed to sign all agreements (trade, research, non aggression) and even alliance with majority of them. I then concentrated on researching and just clicking "turns". Soon I had around 13k Credits, 5 city and.. I got engaged into a war. Turned out... i could buy plenty of Goliaths, then stuck them into one space, train their rank..and then start owning.
Once i ammassed army of 10 goliaths (~38-40 damage each) I was able to capture cities and destroy enemies. map included a lot of water and some lakes, bought some aircrafts to simply drown enemy powerful units in water transports.

1) Was there unit maintenance? I think i haven't seen any for my huge army of goliaths.
2) No resistance in the towns; not even upset population for being overtaken by a rival faction. Really pragmatic people :D. Not saying there should be.
3) Was upset I could not pick a Former and order it to build road from point A to point B;

Beta invitation e-mail asked for annoying things, etc.
1) I got upset with how my turn was starting in the mid/late game. During the war against 2 factions I had around 10-15 units (allies and enemies + mine) moving different direction and all resolving at the same time (i hope it was calculating everything fairly, etc). I guess it saves time (remembering Civ5- it clearly does), but .. I always felt as if some mess has happened and i need to clean it up/neutralize.
1.1) No "kill-cam"; while the map size was medium or even small, i still had difficulty tracking all the events- new interface and game and all; so i frequently skipped "City lost/taken" notification. Right part of the screen was mostly spammed by "enemy detected" or "unit attacked". Maybe for some crucial moments the cam should automatically show you the action i.e. very experienced unit being attacked or lost.
2) Once I have clicked my unit and found out it didn't have movement points I just left it with the 'movement plan'. Didn't know how to cancel it movement.
3) At some points I wished I could have my aircraft on some "raiding" duty- i.e. flying and sinking enemy transports automatically.
4) Adding new units was not exactly "intuitive". Select the unit, copy, change it. Didn't actually need the option (didn't feel the urge) to name the unit; however I could agree with the person saying it might come handy for others.
5) Alliances - were my allies automatically at war with my enemy? Seeing who is at war with who would be nice. As in - the tracker of present relations; or maybe there is one and I skipped it. (not counting the notification above the 'end turn')
6) Research tree- not saying there should be any graphical tree or table or list, but i felt (the need formed by all the other games) that I want to see the "general picture"; what could unlock what.. what could grant me what. Otherwise all research is ..well.. like real research - you do it and then see were it brings you :D

Haven't experienced any crashes in 3hour long session; I guess overall - I have enjoyed it

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Re: First Impressions

Post by NeptuneNews » Sat Feb 09, 2013 6:54 am

1.I aslo think that the tech tree needs some work.
A tech tree with less, but more rewarding technologies would be a lot easier to manage.
2.City morale seemed to have very little effect on overall productivity.
I would love to see Strikes or riots to break out if a city is very low on morale...
3.There is now way to exchange food, minerals or money with other factions.
4. Sometimes, units of opposing factions (at war) end up on the same title without fighting each other.
They can't fight each other until one of them moves away.

That's all I can complain abaut, nice game otherwise...

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Re: First Impressions

Post by NeptuneNews » Sat Feb 09, 2013 7:02 am

moondee wrote:3. I believe in my capital city I had "Field Training" project/mission unlocked and it was taking 2 turns to build, however I could buy it free of charge. I believe it still would have to have some nominal cost. I guess it might not be a bug, since i still have to skip a turn (i.e. for purchasing).
Have you been building anything before the purchase?
I think cities take away production points from previous projects to reduce the price when buying.
If the previous project had more production built into it than the cost of "Field Training", than it should be completed for free, but the previous will have to be restarted, becouse its production points are taken away...

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Re: First Impressions

Post by SephiRok » Sat Feb 09, 2013 12:27 pm

That is correct, production points currently transfer over with a penalty, but we plan to change it so every production item has it's own production queue, so production stays on the item you're working on and if you swap to a new one you start from 0. Research is already like that.

Units do have maintenence, it's the credits-like icon in the workshop for example. The first mechs have 16 credits upkeep. You can see the overall unit upkeep by hovering over your credits at the top right.
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Re: First Impressions

Post by IainMcNeil » Mon Feb 11, 2013 9:54 am

I have to agree that a tech tree is a requirement for this type of game. It makes no sense to require the player to remember anything and I would put this as a must fix before release.

New players will have no idea what they are doing and after a couple of playthroughs you'll know what you want but not how to get there which is frustrating. Unless the tech tree was different every time there is no gameplay value in hiding it from the player. Basically research decisions are pretty much random and unless the player has enough info to make interesting decisions there is no gameplay there.

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Re: First Impressions

Post by whaleberg » Mon Feb 11, 2013 5:34 pm

IainMcNeil wrote:I have to agree that a tech tree is a requirement for this type of game. It makes no sense to require the player to remember anything and I would put this as a must fix before release.

New players will have no idea what they are doing and after a couple of playthroughs you'll know what you want but not how to get there which is frustrating. Unless the tech tree was different every time there is no gameplay value in hiding it from the player. Basically research decisions are pretty much random and unless the player has enough info to make interesting decisions there is no gameplay there.
I agree with this.

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Re: First Impressions

Post by SephiRok » Mon Feb 11, 2013 6:27 pm

What sucks to me, is that you see the whole tree when you start the game for the _first time_. That ruins _everything_ for me. Atmosphere, mystery and excitement closing in on 0. Having a tree with clear rewards already sacrifices atmosphere for min-max-ish gameplay, but a full tree throws it out of the window. I'm not so sure we should be sacrificing atmosphere for the min-max planners out there; even though everyone from Civ expects it.
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Re: First Impressions

Post by larchy » Mon Feb 11, 2013 8:34 pm

So do what SMAC did and do blind research where you can choose a research area (economy, military, science etc) but not a specific tech.

I think what everyone is getting at is that we don't have any idea how to prioritise different areas because there's no indication of how to reach certain techs from the current system.

There's also the Sword of the Stars approach of allowing current tech choices/branches to be visible in a tech tree, with later options not visible until you can research them. That would allow players to choose different research paths without spoiling the later part of the game. This approach was also used to introduce a degree of uncertainty as they had a random tech tree for each game, but I don't think that would really work here.

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Re: First Impressions

Post by whaleberg » Tue Feb 12, 2013 2:26 am

What sucks to me, is that you see the whole tree when you start the game for the _first time_. That ruins _everything_ for me. Atmosphere, mystery and excitement closing in on 0. Having a tree with clear rewards already sacrifices atmosphere for min-max-ish gameplay, but a full tree throws it out of the window. I'm not so sure we should be sacrificing atmosphere for the min-max planners out there; even though everyone from Civ expects it.
If you're worried about spoilers, than maybe it would be ok to hide it the first time you play. I do think you should be able to at least see what the techs you are actively researching do. Once something is discovered once in your game though, you should never need to re-discover it to see it in the civillapedia (this also goes for map tiles, alien types, etc). Unless of course things are different each play through, like in sword of the stars. Even then though, they tell you what it is that the techs you can research do.

I'd also like that say that min-max gameplay is pretty important to the idea of strategy gaming. Ideally mini-maxing should align with in game actions and philosophies. If I'm maximizing weapons at the expense of my colonisists, that's probably because I'm a bloodthirsty warlord. (See alpha centuari's faction bonuses, their factions tended to do best when played to maximize their strengths. I.e. the hive faction played best with zillions of cities, the green faction played best utilizing native life forms. )

I'm also not sure how atmospheric a random seeming tech tree with mystery discoveries is...

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Re: First Impressions

Post by Sord » Tue Feb 12, 2013 5:13 am

SephiRok wrote:What sucks to me, is that you see the whole tree when you start the game for the _first time_. That ruins _everything_ for me.
As a first time player, what sucked for me was wanting to build a vehicle and not knowing which of the six options I should research. Then when I finally pick the right ones to get it, finding out it kinda sucks and never building it anyway.

Without knowing where the research tree is going, I'm just picking random options instead of making interesting choices.

On the other hand, I don't necessarily have a problem with the far reaches of the tree being hidden. I do remember opening the Civ IV tech tree the first time and feeling overwhelmed. So I could see a case where you could limit it to looking a few techs ahead as being reasonably workable. If what I want isn't there, then I can safely assume it isn't a reasonable short goal and I should focus on something else. Or if you used a side scrolling grid (Civ style), you could limit the scrolling so your best tech is centered on the screen and just the next few tech to the right are visible (maybe with a nice fogged fade out effect to the right of them).

However, with all that said, as soon as the game is released (or probably as soon as the NDA is lifted) is someone will create a full tech tree and post it on the net. If you don't have an in game tech tree, there will be a lot of alt-tabbing to look at it.

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Re: First Impressions

Post by IainMcNeil » Tue Feb 12, 2013 12:02 pm

Lack of a tech tree is essential for me. It's an absolute requirement! If you don't want to look at it don't look :)

Or as a minimum have it as an option so you can play blind or not. Don't force players to play the way you like to play!

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Re: First Impressions

Post by SephiRok » Tue Feb 12, 2013 1:56 pm

For all intents and purposes, showing a full tree also forces players to play in certain way -- you can't fully ignore it when it's right there.

Our current plan is to replace the current research panel with a tree visualization that shows 2 tiers ahead (what you can research and what leads from that) with an xml-moddable parameter of how far ahead in the tree you can see.
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Re: First Impressions

Post by IainMcNeil » Wed Feb 13, 2013 9:45 am

The first thing that will happen is someone will make a help chart showing it all. It really doesn't matter what you want as you can't stop them from doing this and the players want it so they'll produce it themselves.

Lets just give the player what they want and avoid all the moaning :)

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Re: First Impressions

Post by whaleberg » Wed Feb 13, 2013 3:09 pm

IainMcNeil wrote:The first thing that will happen is someone will make a help chart showing it all. It really doesn't matter what you want as you can't stop them from doing this and the players want it so they'll produce it themselves.

Lets just give the player what they want and avoid all the moaning :)
I second this. If you want to make the first time you play the game more mysterious, add a toggle switch that says "hide never before seen technologies".

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Re: First Impressions

Post by unormal » Fri Feb 22, 2013 7:20 pm

SephiRok wrote:For all intents and purposes, showing a full tree also forces players to play in certain way -- you can't fully ignore it when it's right there.

Our current plan is to replace the current research panel with a tree visualization that shows 2 tiers ahead (what you can research and what leads from that) with an xml-moddable parameter of how far ahead in the tree you can see.
In my opinion, if you want to get people out of a particularly chosen technology rut, just hiding the information is a pretty poor implementation. That information is going to be freely available on the internet if the game is popular at all, and all you're doing is forcing people to alt-tab to see it.

If you really want a variable usage of the technology tree from game to game, the best implementation I've seen is SOTS, where the technology tree does not contain every node in every game, though there are multiple routes to certain technologies.

If the actual structure of the tree is different from game to game, then hiding it in tiers makes sense; since there really is an aspect of discovery there for any individual game.

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Re: First Impressions

Post by Eleazzaar » Sat Feb 23, 2013 2:35 am

unormal wrote:
SephiRok wrote:For all intents and purposes, showing a full tree also forces players to play in certain way -- you can't fully ignore it when it's right there.

Our current plan is to replace the current research panel with a tree visualization that shows 2 tiers ahead (what you can research and what leads from that) with an xml-moddable parameter of how far ahead in the tree you can see.
In my opinion, if you want to get people out of a particularly chosen technology rut, just hiding the information is a pretty poor implementation. That information is going to be freely available on the internet if the game is popular at all, and all you're doing is forcing people to alt-tab to see it.

If you really want a variable usage of the technology tree from game to game, the best implementation I've seen is SOTS, where the technology tree does not contain every node in every game, though there are multiple routes to certain technologies.

If the actual structure of the tree is different from game to game, then hiding it in tiers makes sense; since there really is an aspect of discovery there for any individual game.
I Agree. Witholding info only adds mystery (after a few initial plays) if the information varies from game to game.

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