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Shadow
04-05-2012, 11:44 AM
We just posted 4 new screenshots from the Drox Operative alpha over on the Drox screenshots page (http://www.soldak.com/Drox-Operative/Screenshots.html).

Castruccio
04-05-2012, 01:08 PM
Wow. This is by far the best looking Soldak game.

Bluddy
04-05-2012, 03:24 PM
I really like the new particle effects. Did you enhance the particle system?

Shadow
04-05-2012, 03:33 PM
I really like the new particle effects. Did you enhance the particle system?

We have enhanced the particle system a little, but the cooler stuff doesn't show up that much in the screenshots. If I had taken the screenshot with the 3 explosions a half second later you might have seen some debris with cool trails.

PixelLord
04-05-2012, 04:05 PM
We have enhanced the particle system a little, but the cooler stuff doesn't show up that much in the screenshots. If I had taken the screenshot with the 3 explosions a half second later you might have seen some debris with cool trails.

I agree that screenshots just don't do this game justice. Can't wait for beta to get here so people can see for themselves. :)

Bluddy
04-05-2012, 04:53 PM
The explains were definitely the coolest thing from my persective. The rightmost explosion shows small particles forming on what looks like an animated explosion graphic ie not just scaled or rotated images (I think), the left explosion shows trails and the middle one displays some debris I believe, all of which looks very cool indeed.

If a full video is too much work, you could do some quick silent tech demos and post them to YouTube.

PixelLord
04-05-2012, 05:30 PM
And, some were wondering how big a sector is (or can be), so I took this screenshot of the galaxy map while testing today. I've been to all these star systems so far, most with multiple planets, different races, etc. Each system is color coded as to which race occupies it. Multiple colors in a name mean 2 or more races have colonized there. Fortunately you can jump from any one system to another provided you have found the jump gates from each system.

Valgor
04-05-2012, 07:21 PM
Explosions, debris, exotic weapon effects... all I can say is "Impressive" !
I'm curious about the race those glowing, blue, star-shaped ships belong to.

A question : Is the galaxy map rotatable?

Shadow
04-05-2012, 08:10 PM
A question : Is the galaxy map rotatable?

No. You can zoom in/out and shift it around though.

PixelLord
04-05-2012, 08:39 PM
Explosions, debris, exotic weapon effects... all I can say is "Impressive" !
I'm curious about the race those glowing, blue, star-shaped ships belong to.

A question : Is the galaxy map rotatable?

That glow was probably part of an effect (lasts about 0.1 seconds) as part of an explosion.

Valgor
04-05-2012, 08:48 PM
No, it was just me not reading the screenshot's caption before posting questions... what I meant was actually one of the mines.

aReclusiveMind
04-05-2012, 09:25 PM
I agree that screenshots just don't do this game justice. Can't wait for beta to get here so people can see for themselves. :)

You and me both! :)

Thanks for the new screenshots guys. The variety of weapons, particle effects, and defenses being shown are quite impressive. The backdrop behind everything also looks nice.

Also, thank you for showing the galaxy map. I love seeing action/battle shots, but it is nice to see some of the other elements that go into a game of this depth as well.

Anticipation level is still high.

Bluddy
04-05-2012, 10:40 PM
I like the new interface theme. The scroll bars could probably be made more like the osx lion design: thin light bars with rounded edges that can be dragged, with no arrows or bar background ie floating on black.

PixelLord
04-06-2012, 05:10 PM
I like the new interface theme. The scroll bars could probably be made more like the osx lion design: thin light bars with rounded edges that can be dragged, with no arrows or bar background ie floating on black.

Yes, I like that simple design also. We'll have to see if Shadow has enough time to implement something like that. On my end, the graphics are easy; but Shadow has so many other things to do at the moment.

Meanwhile, for those who want to see a little more of the UI...

Castruccio
04-06-2012, 05:27 PM
This looks so good! You guys are totally going to get on Steam with this.

Valgor
04-06-2012, 08:11 PM
What does the red question mark next to the Shadows' race emblem stand for? Open quests from that faction?

PixelLord
04-06-2012, 08:18 PM
What does the red question mark next to the Shadows' race emblem stand for? Open quests from that faction?

Yes, and you can get/accept quests after clicking on that race's icon on that screen (some quests you have to accept in person at a specific planet - like deliver a diplomat from here to there). You can also solve them the same way.

aReclusiveMind
04-06-2012, 08:22 PM
Great screenshots, Stephen.

I do have questions based on the screenshots... but I won't take you away from your work to answer them yet.

I will say I like the layout of the UI and it looks like all of the game's aspects are coming along quite nicely.

Valgor
04-06-2012, 08:26 PM
I keep hovering my mouse cursor over various UI elements in hopes that a tooltip might show up...

TNoyce
04-06-2012, 09:26 PM
Looking really cool guys!

Keep them coming!

Bluddy
04-09-2012, 12:40 AM
Yes, I like that simple design also. We'll have to see if Shadow has enough time to implement something like that. On my end, the graphics are easy; but Shadow has so many other things to do at the moment.


Wish I had your skills. I recently got a Wacom tablet for my birthday but doing anything for example for my DC UI mod takes me forever.


Meanwhile, for those who want to see a little more of the UI...


Very nice, clean and futuristic. What resolution are the space backdrops? Also, it seems like with all the different stats that need to be constantly monitored (shields, armor, structural integrity) it may be easier to convey the information via a diagram of a ship filling up with color representing integrity, armor filling up along the border of the ship, and shields around the ship. The ship diagram could be generic or it could be a render to a sprite with 0 alpha that can then be filled with color from underneath.

PixelLord
04-09-2012, 11:27 AM
Very nice, clean and futuristic. What resolution are the space backdrops? Also, it seems like with all the different stats that need to be constantly monitored (shields, armor, structural integrity) it may be easier to convey the information via a diagram of a ship filling up with color representing integrity, armor filling up along the border of the ship, and shields around the ship. The ship diagram could be generic or it could be a render to a sprite with 0 alpha that can then be filled with color from underneath.

The backdrops are made up of multiple graphics that are at many different resolutions. Shadow has programmed them to be in layers that scroll at different rates so that some (like a distant galaxy) scroll very slowly while others (nearby stars) scroll at a much faster rate. There are many layers to give a 3D look when you are flying around. This is why I said earlier that screenshots don't do the game justice. Maybe I can talk Shadow into doing a video in the near future.

I think your ship stats idea is a cool concept. It'll have to be discussed. The idea with the UI has been to keep it as simple as possible since there is a lot of information to be digested by the player. Also there are the stat bars above the player's ship to be considered as well. Thanks for the suggestion.

Bluddy
04-09-2012, 07:25 PM
The backdrops are made up of multiple graphics that are at many different resolutions. Shadow has programmed them to be in layers that scroll at different rates so that some (like a distant galaxy) scroll very slowly while others (nearby stars) scroll at a much faster rate. There are many layers to give a 3D look when you are flying around. This is why I said earlier that screenshots don't do the game justice. Maybe I can talk Shadow into doing a video in the near future.


That's pretty darn cool. I'd love to see it in action.


I think your ship stats idea is a cool concept. It'll have to be discussed. The idea with the UI has been to keep it as simple as possible since there is a lot of information to be digested by the player. Also there are the stat bars above the player's ship to be considered as well. Thanks for the suggestion.

I just thought back to games like wing commander and tie fighter. Those games had to convey the same info to the player as quickly and logically as possible.

Also, regarding bars on top of the ship itself, my experience from dop, dc and other games like a valley without wind is that it's harder to pay attention to bars on top of your character than stuff on the UI. Not sure why. It might be because the screen just gets too busy around your character.

Valgor
04-10-2012, 05:58 AM
Also there are the stat bars above the player's ship to be considered as well.

Based on Bluddy's suggestion, why not display a segmented ring around the player's ship, with one quarter representing the status of the shields, armour, structure and power output each?

gornova
04-10-2012, 02:17 PM
finally some UI :D

-radar: on top right, good, could be more on top and right? On minimap I cannot see planets or other stuff.. only player here?
- red labels aren't so readable, for example "Drakk" or is only my problem?
- for a "normal" player export options (html, vBulletin) is not usefull all the time. Why not have this kind of options in pause menu?
- for shield, plating, structure, energy I like too see some kind of icon near name, so for example in other part of interface this kind of stats could be related (for example top left :D)
- log, please see my advice (http://www.soldak.com/forums/showpost.php?p=27271&postcount=10). If I click on "Sol" on log, there is a link to map so I can find quickly Sol ?
- Where can i see my crew?
- on bottom right, what is "3:02" ?
- what kind of stat is ECM or ECCM? Maybe some kind of tooltip can help

- from relation screen "Drox Operatives" plural, so there are more than one operative in game, from a single player point of view I mean ?
- maybe in relation screen can I see my history with those races?
- three races eliminated, yeah! :D

in general: clean, simple interface! Follow Din and Dop interfaces, both good!

where is xp bar?


I'm waiting to see quest windows, because in this kind of game could make difference between a good game and a great game, finger crossed!

Shadow
04-10-2012, 02:41 PM
Planets and ships will show up on the radar but the distance is based on your radar stat.

I think the red is more readable in game, but we'll look at it.

Crew are in the light components section. That snowflake looking icon is a Fringe crew member.

The 3:02 is the time. This doesn't default to on, but is an option somewhere.

ECM and ECCM are now gone (well really merged into attack and defense).

There can only be multiple Operatives in multiplayer.

The xp bar is the blue bar on the main screen above the hotkey slots.

PixelLord
04-11-2012, 08:36 AM
I'm waiting to see quest windows, because in this kind of game could make difference between a good game and a great game, finger crossed!

Always interested in what you want to see. What did you have in mind?

gornova
04-11-2012, 09:51 AM
hey thanks shadow for answers!

About quest log: how to filter quests: accepted, closed, ready to, win and lose, maybe filtering them using races or systems (sector) so I can have a "story" of my relation with a race. There is a quest number limit to accept quests, like for example in Dop and Din (5 right?)

Bluddy
04-11-2012, 02:19 PM
A few comments now that I've had a chance to look at the screenshots again on my computer (I was on vacation before):

- The icons for equipment are perhaps not so clear. I understand that it's hard to come up with good icons for equipment that's fictional, but in DC and DoP the icons were obvious and easily understood: you've got your sword, your mace, your armor etc. I'm sure for that reason it was also easier to illustrate. I feel that the icons in this game really need to differentiate themselves for that reason: they need to feel like they're real equipment. I'm not sure how to do that though, and it's possible that after playing for a while, they icons become more naturally associated with their meaning.

- Along the same lines, I've previously made the comment that I think people will want to see the alien races, especially if they can join your crew. In my mind, manipulating a symbolic icon instead of a picture of a race makes that part of the game seem less vivid. I realize that this was probably done because of budgetary constraints, but it may be worth putting in one picture per race to give a real feel to each race. I know that in games such as Space Rangers 2 and Star Control 2, seeing the races rather than just the ships gives a far more realistic feel to the game's universe.

Shadow
04-11-2012, 02:22 PM
There is a quest number limit to accept quests, like for example in Dop and Din (5 right?)

Yes there is a limit, but I bumped it up some (10 I think).

Bluddy
04-12-2012, 12:11 AM
Oh BTW the alpha of the interface could be around 0.6 while keeping the lines, text and items at full alpha. I think it'd strengthen the futuristic feel.

I also have a question: can you just change equipment at will from your cargo or do you need to dock at a station first?

Shadow
04-12-2012, 09:09 AM
I also have a question: can you just change equipment at will from your cargo or do you need to dock at a station first?

You can change components whenever you want.

Bluddy
04-12-2012, 06:22 PM
You can change components whenever you want.

I'm a little apprehensive about this, for 2 reasons:

1. From an internal logic perspective, it doesn't completely make sense that you'd be able to swap components instantly as if they were items in a regular ARPG. Space doesn't really allow for that. Normally in space games you need to land before you can swap installed items.

2. This really changes the focus of the game since in this game, the items determine your skills. The optimal way to play would then become swapping items in and out as fast as possible to be able to attack with every skill. There's no meaning to which item you've chosen to equip or how you deal with the limitations of combining items. This is also the issue the D3 team has been facing now that they have a pool of skills from which you can select 6 active skills -- there's no concept of a build or of the limitations of having selected certain skills. For this reason they added a 30 second cooldown to any skill you swap in, so that you can't just keep swapping skills around in realtime.

I think perhaps the best solution would combine both issues. It would make sense that heavy items can't be swapped while you're in space without landing in a port, unless you're motionless for a minute or something like that. Lighter items could be swapped, but with a cooldown of 30 seconds as you 'install' the item.

Shadow
04-12-2012, 06:29 PM
Being only able to install components when at a port would be difficult in this game because it's fairly easy to not see a friendly planet for a while.

I have been thinking about a cool down timer when you install a component though. That might build up some tension in some cases without being too much of a pain.

Valgor
04-12-2012, 07:13 PM
You could base the duration of that cooldown period on the type of slot the component is going to be plugged into and the engineering skill of the ship's crew.

Shadow
04-12-2012, 08:13 PM
You could base the duration of that cooldown period on the type of slot the component is going to be plugged into and the engineering skill of the ship's crew.

I like the idea of the speed being controlled by your crew skill compared to the crew requirement. That would change the strategy of what, if any, standby components you would keep in your cargo bays.

aReclusiveMind
04-13-2012, 12:17 AM
I agree with what others are saying. I would prefer components not be constantly changed so that no ship can face every challenge unprepared. I find forcing player's to commit to their decisions leads to better gameplay and more replayability then allowing players to change their mind to suit whatever situation they are in. Half the fun in RPGs for me is in the planning /design of what I want my character to be and then seeing how it actually plays out.

gornova
04-13-2012, 05:27 AM
I agree with what others are saying. I would prefer components not be constantly changed so that no ship can face every challenge unprepared. I find forcing player's to commit to their decisions leads to better gameplay and more replayability then allowing players to change their mind to suit whatever situation they are in. Half the fun in RPGs for me is in the planning /design of what I want my character to be and then seeing how it actually plays out.

I like "skill tree" approach, but as player I prefeer to be adaptable to any situation, for example changing components when there is no enemy around.

I like also crew approach and cooldown for abilities +1 for this!

@Shadow:There is a components comparison when I'm changing them? For example in Dop and Din I can easily swap between equipments and see differences, same for components in Drox ?

Shadow
04-13-2012, 10:05 AM
I would prefer components not be constantly changed so that no ship can face every challenge unprepared.

Right now you can change on the fly, but it's not quite that easy. There are various requirements (usually crew, power load, and slot type) that will deter casual changing of components constantly.

For example, I got banged up pretty bad in combat the other day when I was playing multiplayer and my engine was destroyed. After a few seconds of going really slow and a really far way from the nearest planet I called her for help. Luckily she had some spare thrusters.

Except engines are a heavy component and thrusters are a medium. I had to drop my power collector to fit the thrusters, but that made it so I didn't have enough power load. I then had to install a power plant which I did have in my cargo bay in a heavy slot to get enough power load again. After all of that switching I did end up with more power load to use.

The really funny thing is by the time I get back to a planet I was already addicted to my new power load levels. I fixed my engines but I just couldn't rearrange my components back the way they were without losing some new component I had installed that I wanted to keep. :)

I like "skill tree" approach, but as player I prefeer to be adaptable to any situation, for example changing components when there is no enemy around.

@Shadow:There is a components comparison when I'm changing them? For example in Dop and Din I can easily swap between equipments and see differences, same for components in Drox ?

Yes, there is. What it does right now is that it compares the component you are looking at with your worst (from a price standpoint) installed component of the same type.

Valgor
04-13-2012, 11:16 AM
What it does right now is that it compares the component you are looking at with your worst (from a price standpoint) component of the same type.

The worst installed component of the same type?

Shadow
04-13-2012, 11:21 AM
The worst installed component of the same type?

Yes, I meant installed. I fixed it above also so I don't confuse everyone. :)

Shadow
04-13-2012, 11:23 AM
Oh, also the text for components highlights the most important stat of that type of item so that also helps compare items some. Weapons will highlight damage, power plants will highlight max power load, shields will highlight max shields, etc.

PixelLord
04-13-2012, 07:12 PM
- Along the same lines, I've previously made the comment that I think people will want to see the alien races, especially if they can join your crew. In my mind, manipulating a symbolic icon instead of a picture of a race makes that part of the game seem less vivid. I realize that this was probably done because of budgetary constraints, but it may be worth putting in one picture per race to give a real feel to each race. I know that in games such as Space Rangers 2 and Star Control 2, seeing the races rather than just the ships gives a far more realistic feel to the game's universe.

Looks like you'll get your wish on one picture/race. It'll definitely add to the game. Thanks for the suggestion. :)

Valgor
04-13-2012, 08:29 PM
Be sure to have Shadow update the races page accordingly!

I'm looking forward to see what the Fringe will look like.

aReclusiveMind
04-13-2012, 10:25 PM
It sounds like different weapons won't be able to compare Apples to Apples like say a sword and an axe or an axe and a mace could be in a fantasy setting. Some items will end up being a straight upgrade while others will force you to make some design choices and potentially changes to a lot of your components if you wish to use them.

Small avatars that give the player a general idea of what their foe looks like is a good idea. I'm glad to hear it has been green lighted. It certainly adds a more personal touch.

PixelLord
04-13-2012, 11:11 PM
It sounds like different weapons won't be able to compare Apples to Apples like say a sword and an axe or an axe and a mace could be in a fantasy setting. Some items will end up being a straight upgrade while others will force you to make some design choices and potentially changes to a lot of your components if you wish to use them.

The key thing is that most weapons require different components. Most (all?) have significant power requirements. The more powerful weapons require more power (does any of this make sense?). But there are so many weapons that it makes picking the right weapon and power supplies (or any other equipment) quite a challenge! You'll need to be a clever person to come up with the best combination of weapons, shields, and power related equipment to be able to last and defeat the "bad guys". Trouble is you can't be sure who the bad guys are. I was trading at a planet who suddenly went to war with me. That was an abrupt surprise! Got my a$$ kicked! :)

Bluddy
04-15-2012, 01:39 PM
Looks like you'll get your wish on one picture/race. It'll definitely add to the game. Thanks for the suggestion. :)

Sweet! Glad to be of assistance.