First Impression: Fail

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WildWeazel
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First Impression: Fail

Post by WildWeazel » Sun Feb 10, 2013 11:00 pm

Well my FIRST first impression, to be honest, was that the beta test program was a non-starter. I signed up on the website about 2 months ago and never heard any response whatsoever except for a "thanks for signing up" message on the Pandora page. No prior experience with Slitherine so I don't know if that's typical but I had all but forgotten about testing until my email finally showed up yesterday. Anyway, onto the technical stuff.

The install and launch process was pretty ordinary, what you'd expect from a professionally published game. The main menu looks nice, I poked around at all of the options and settings but ended up starting a new game with all defaults. When the game started, it all went bad. The map, or whatever the main view is, was just black. All of the UI was there, I could interact with notifications and tips, and saw the minimap and menu bars, but no main display. I clicked around, dragged my mouse, selected the minimap, but nothing showed up. Just an empty black screen. So I decided to try a different screen and thought maybe it would re-initialize when I came back. I selected Military at the bottom, and the program locked up. I had to kill it from Task Manager.

System specs: Windows 7 x64 SP, AMD Phenom II X6 CPU, 6Gb DDR3 RAM, GTX465 1Gb GPU

Logs:
[2013-Feb-10 22:13:17] D:\Program Files (x86)\Proxy Studios\Pandora Beta\Binaries\Pandora.exe
[2013-Feb-10 22:13:17] Pandora 0.9.0 (Beta 0, Windows-x86_32 Feb 5 2013 21:03:40)
[2013-Feb-10 22:13:17] Copyright (C) 2011-2013 by Proxy Studios.
[2013-Feb-10 22:13:17] All rights reserved.
[2013-Feb-10 22:13:17] Detected 6 hardware threads.
[2013-Feb-10 22:13:17] Initializing config ...
[2013-Feb-10 22:13:17] Loading config ...
[2013-Feb-10 22:13:17] Initializing process control ...
[2013-Feb-10 22:13:17] Initializing input ...
[2013-Feb-10 22:13:17] Initializing video ...
[2013-Feb-10 22:13:17] Releasing resources...
[2013-Feb-10 22:13:19] Building resources ...
[2013-Feb-10 22:13:19] Initializing audio ...
[2013-Feb-10 22:13:19] Initializing cinematics ...
[2013-Feb-10 22:13:19] Initializing network ...
[2013-Feb-10 22:13:19] Initializing world ...
[2013-Feb-10 22:13:19] Initializing GUI ...
[2013-Feb-10 22:13:19] Loading splash shaders ...
[2013-Feb-10 22:13:19] Loading splash textures ...
[2013-Feb-10 22:13:19] Loading fonts ...
[2013-Feb-10 22:13:19] Loading skins ...
[2013-Feb-10 22:13:19] Building resources ...
[2013-Feb-10 22:13:19] Loading language...
[2013-Feb-10 22:13:19] Loading advancements ...
[2013-Feb-10 22:13:19] Loading armors ...
[2013-Feb-10 22:13:19] Loading buildings ...
[2013-Feb-10 22:13:20] Loading factions ...
[2013-Feb-10 22:13:20] Loading features ...
[2013-Feb-10 22:13:20] Loading operations ...
[2013-Feb-10 22:13:20] Loading technologies ...
[2013-Feb-10 22:13:20] Loading units ...
[2013-Feb-10 22:13:20] Loading weapons ...
[2013-Feb-10 22:13:20] Loading unit specs ...
[2013-Feb-10 22:13:20] Loading world parameters ...
[2013-Feb-10 22:13:20] Loading world generator ...
[2013-Feb-10 22:13:20] Loading shaders ...
[2013-Feb-10 22:13:20] Loading meshes ...
[2013-Feb-10 22:13:33] Loading materials ...
[2013-Feb-10 22:13:33] Loading textures ...
[2013-Feb-10 22:13:35] Loading animations ...
[2013-Feb-10 22:13:40] Loading sounds ...
[2013-Feb-10 22:13:42] Loading music ...
[2013-Feb-10 22:13:42] Loading cinematics video ...
[2013-Feb-10 22:13:42] Loading cinematics audio ...
[2013-Feb-10 22:13:42] Loading heightfields ...
[2013-Feb-10 22:13:42] Loading: 22382 ms
[2013-Feb-10 22:13:42] Creating GUI ...
[2013-Feb-10 22:13:42] Building resources ...
[2013-Feb-10 22:13:44] Creating screens ...
[2013-Feb-10 22:13:44] Complete.
[2013-Feb-10 22:13:45] Clip.cpp(218): void proxy::cinematics::ffmpeg::Clip::stream(): Warning: Could not seek to 1.2250000000000001 s.
[2013-Feb-10 22:39:00] Clip.cpp(218): void proxy::cinematics::ffmpeg::Clip::stream(): Warning: Could not seek to 1.3620000000000001 s.
[2013-Feb-10 22:39:23] Communicator.cpp(199): void proxy::network::tcp::Communicator::connect(boost::mutex::scoped_lock&, proxy::network::tcp::Connection**): Debug: CONNECT: 0
[2013-Feb-10 22:39:23] Communicator.cpp(211): virtual void proxy::network::tcp::Communicator::connected(boost::mutex::scoped_lock&, proxy::network::tcp::Connection**): Debug: CONNECTED: 0
[2013-Feb-10 22:39:23] StatusPane.cpp(66): virtual void pandora::client::gui::StatusPane::communicate(): Debug: CONNECTED!!!!
[2013-Feb-10 22:39:23] Receiving info ...
[2013-Feb-10 22:39:43] Receiving world ...
[2013-Feb-10 22:39:43] Topography: 656 ms
[2013-Feb-10 22:39:44] GroundView: 466 ms
[2013-Feb-10 22:39:44] WorldScene::build: 1122 ms
[2013-Feb-10 22:39:44] Complete.
[2013-Feb-10 22:39:23] D:\Program Files (x86)\Proxy Studios\Pandora Beta\Binaries\PandoraServer.exe
[2013-Feb-10 22:39:23] Pandora Server 0.9.0 (Beta 0, Windows-x86_32 Feb 5 2013 21:03:40)
[2013-Feb-10 22:39:23] Copyright (C) 2011-2013 by Proxy Studios.
[2013-Feb-10 22:39:23] All rights reserved.
[2013-Feb-10 22:39:23] Detected 6 hardware threads.
[2013-Feb-10 22:39:23] Initializing config ...
[2013-Feb-10 22:39:23] Loading config ...
[2013-Feb-10 22:39:23] Initializing process control ...
[2013-Feb-10 22:39:23] Initializing network ...
[2013-Feb-10 22:39:23] Initializing world ...
[2013-Feb-10 22:39:23] Initializing data ...
[2013-Feb-10 22:39:23] Loading language...
[2013-Feb-10 22:39:23] Loading advancements ...
[2013-Feb-10 22:39:23] Loading armors ...
[2013-Feb-10 22:39:23] Loading buildings ...
[2013-Feb-10 22:39:23] Loading factions ...
[2013-Feb-10 22:39:23] Loading features ...
[2013-Feb-10 22:39:23] Loading operations ...
[2013-Feb-10 22:39:23] Loading technologies ...
[2013-Feb-10 22:39:23] Loading units ...
[2013-Feb-10 22:39:23] Loading weapons ...
[2013-Feb-10 22:39:23] Loading unit specs ...
[2013-Feb-10 22:39:23] Loading world parameters ...
[2013-Feb-10 22:39:23] Loading world generator ...
[2013-Feb-10 22:39:23] Initializing server ...
[2013-Feb-10 22:39:23] Using port 6121 ...
[2013-Feb-10 22:39:23] Complete.
[2013-Feb-10 22:39:23] Communicator.cpp(211): virtual void proxy::network::tcp::Communicator::connected(boost::mutex::scoped_lock&, proxy::network::tcp::Connection**): Debug: CONNECTED: 0
[2013-Feb-10 22:39:23] Client connected.
[2013-Feb-10 22:39:23] Player (127.0.0.1:62486) has joined.
[2013-Feb-10 22:39:23] Player is an admin.
[2013-Feb-10 22:39:41] Creating world ...
[2013-Feb-10 22:39:42] Complete.
[2013-Feb-10 22:44:18] Communicator.cpp(618): void proxy::network::tcp::Communicator::handleReadLength(const boost::system::error_code&, proxy::network::tcp::Connection**, proxy::network::tcp::Connection*): Debug: An existing connection was forcibly closed by the remote host
[2013-Feb-10 22:44:18] Communicator.cpp(310): virtual void proxy::network::tcp::Communicator::disconnected(boost::mutex::scoped_lock&, proxy::network::tcp::Connection**): Debug: DISCONNECTED: 0
[2013-Feb-10 22:44:18] Communicator.cpp(258): void proxy::network::tcp::Communicator::disconnect(boost::mutex::scoped_lock&, proxy::network::tcp::Connection**): Debug: DISCONNECT: 0
[2013-Feb-10 22:44:18] Client disconnected.
[2013-Feb-10 22:44:18] Communicator.cpp(150): void proxy::network::tcp::Communicator::cleanup(boost::mutex::scoped_lock&): Debug: CLEANUP
[2013-Feb-10 22:44:18] Communicator.cpp(150): void proxy::network::tcp::Communicator::cleanup(boost::mutex::scoped_lock&): Debug: CLEANUP
[2013-Feb-10 22:44:18] Quit.

SephiRok
Proxy Studios
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Re: First Impression: Fail

Post by SephiRok » Sun Feb 10, 2013 11:10 pm

We just started the beta now so there wasn't much else to say. I did mention to Slitherine that they should provide more feedback with the sign-up process, but yeah.

There is currently a known issue that if you alt-tab during startup, pretty much what you described happens. Did you per chance to do that? A workaround is to play in window mode. If not, it would be very helpful if you could paste your dxdiag so I can have a look at the graphics driver info.

Sorry for the inconvenience, but this goes with the nature of beta tests.

Cheers,
Rok
Rok Breulj
Designer and Programmer
Proxy Studios

WildWeazel
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Joined: Fri Nov 23, 2012 5:41 am

Re: First Impression: Fail

Post by WildWeazel » Sun Feb 10, 2013 11:14 pm

I started again and it seemed to download more updates. It's working now.

Starting to actually play, the first thing that comes to mind is that it's VERY Civ5. Map, look & feel, sound effects, everything. Not necessarily a bad thing, I love the Civilization series and it leads me to expect something like Alpha Centauri. The advisor/management screens seem to relatively simple dialogs. I'm not sure yet how that will work out. I'd like to see a full tech tree at least. Mouse-over information is very informative and in general the way information is presented in the UI is accessible and polished.

One very minor thing, while playing fullscreen whenever I click away (writing these notes on my second monitor) it minimizes the game and pans to the lower right corner of the map.

SephiRok
Proxy Studios
Proxy Studios
Posts: 1024
Joined: Thu Jul 19, 2012 10:19 am
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Re: First Impression: Fail

Post by SephiRok » Sun Feb 10, 2013 11:17 pm

Cool, yeah, that one annoys me constantly too so it'll surely get fixed at one point.

Let us know what you think once you've toyed around with it more.

Regards,
Rok
Rok Breulj
Designer and Programmer
Proxy Studios

WildWeazel
Private First Class - Opel Blitz
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Posts: 4
Joined: Fri Nov 23, 2012 5:41 am

Re: First Impression: Fail

Post by WildWeazel » Mon Feb 11, 2013 12:15 am

Yeah it's very possible that I clicked away during the launch process. I know I did after the main menu came up but that seems to be fine.

Going onward, I've played 50 turns without any more problems but there several things worth commenting on.

It took me a little while to figure out how to optimize my city. The relationship between Minerals and Production isn't clear to me. It appears that only Production directly affects city output. With the little food/mineral/etc icons showing on the tiles I'd kind of expect to be able to manually assign population, but clicking on tiles just exits the city view. The use of citizen jobs to harvest specific resources from a tile instead of a whole tile is an interesting alternative. I think it will prevent cities in optimal locations from becoming automatic powerhouses, since you'd have to allocate multiple citizens per tile.

I'm at turn 50 with a single city and haven't seen anything about expanding my borders. My city only owns 4 of the 6 adjacent tiles and I don't know how or when I'll get access to more. edit: Acquired another tile a few turns later. No idea why.

Research is a little confusing. The research complete dialogs are sometimes about a new building/upgrade, rather than the advancement itself. The descriptions for available advancements don't tell me specifically what will become available for me to build/do, so I'm kind of just choosing based on what sounds like the direction I want to go in. My science advisor just told me that we're falling behind in tech, when I haven't met anyone yet.

Can I upgrade existing units? I can click on their equipment icons when the unit is selected but nothing happens. Upgrading a unit class in the workshop should automatically apply changes to production queues, or at least give you the option. Then only way I can see to create a new unit class in the workshop once it becomes available is to copy an existing unit and change the class. That seems kind of silly.

The cloudy shadows that drift across the map make it a little hard to distinguish what's visible from fog of war.

It seems odd that hills don't provide extended visibility like mountains do.

Even with AI on medium, Hives are surprisingly hard to kill off. I was unfortunate enough to put my city between two of them. I'm throwing Colonial Troopers with Steel Armor and Hellfire at them and still haven't taken either one. It's slowing down my early development when I have to devote my resources to troops instead of infrastructure and expansion. Or maybe I'm supposed to ignore them for a while, since their drones don't seem to fare well against my city defenders.

whaleberg
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Re: First Impression: Fail

Post by whaleberg » Mon Feb 11, 2013 12:50 am

It's interesting that you're having trouble with hives. I have had alien aggression on the default and I haven't had much difficulty with them. It might be because you only have 1 city, so single units seem more valuable, you definitely want to attack with 2 instead of only 1. A pair of marines with flame throwers can easily clear any of the hives I've seen.

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