I played extensively a week ago or so, and had a ton of fun with the game. The improvements over the original are really starting to shine and I was happily able to dump several hours into it in one sitting.
While playing, I decided to note down some items of feedback and any bugs I found, since it's in a very early state! This was mostly on version 0.817, and a few additional hours on 0.818. I understand that means a few of these things may already have been changed. (Delayed because I was going to do a UI mockup that fell through during the week.)
- First quick help message should say 'Continue' instead of 'Close'
- Inventory sort options are great - consider making them look like they belong as part of the UI - right now, they're just sorta floating off the bottom edge.
- Related, would it be possible to add sort options to each cargo hold individually? I generally use each hold for logical organization - one for consumables, one for future upgrades, one for items to sell, etc. The sorting affecting all holds en masse completely breaks this.
- The 'has quest available' and 'tutorial' icons are the same, but do not behave the same or indicate the same thing. This is confusing for players that are still going through the tutorial.
- Is there an on-screen indication of status effects (energy drain, etc.)? I'm not seeing one if there is. (High priority - this makes these mechanics feel unclear and somewhat random to the player.)
- Update: Upon restarting my game, the status effect icons are now visible. The game was updated to 0.818 overnight, so maybe that fixed it?
- Races can be colored cyan, which is the default color for system map labels. At a glace, it looks like any cyan race controls every planet in every system.
- I know it's an early iteration, so I'm not going to give you too much crap about it, but the current Tactics/Skills Screen is... well... bad. The biggest offender on this screen is that it's not immediately obvious to the end user that the perks are locked behind increasing the base Command level. This is somewhat similar to how perk trees progress in Borderlands - perhaps stealing that UI of a filling background would be beneficial?
- The Attack and Defense stats perhaps don't have quite the right names. They currently sound like they should determine your damage output and reduction, which is not the case. Better names may be Targeting and Evasion.
- What does "+0.04 Shields Regen" mean? A little digging tells me that it adds 0.04 to your base regen per second, though it's not immediately clear.
- What in the world is 'tweaked find chance?'
- A 'toggle fire' option would be appreciated! I find that holding the mouse during long engagements or over the course of long sessions can flare my impending RSI. :P I could always make a macro for it on my mouse, but not everyone has that option, and an in-game one won't cause issues while alt-tabbing.
- There are several treaty types that, if I'm being honest, I either have no idea what they are, or just don't understand the mechanical impact of. There doesn't seem to be any in-game explanation of what they are, so I'm basically just left to look up definitions and hope my intuition is right, which feels a bit bad considering a large amount of player effort is expended trying to shape these race relations.
- Specifically, Federation, Alliance, and Mutual Protection Pact all feel pretty identical? What is actually the difference here, or is it just to signify a higher likelihood of two races sharing similar opinions as you go up the chain?
- What exactly is a Non-Aggression Pact? Not being aggressive is the default behavior without a treaty, after all.
- Subject/Overlord. I get it, but what are the mechanical implications of this treaty? I would assume the Subject's opinion of other races don't matter, and they always follow the behavior of their Overlord.
- As an example of this interpretation, the Corius are the subject of the Argora. If the Raganis declare war on the Corius, nothing additional happens. But if the Raganis declare war on the Argora, the Corius will also declare war on the Raganis as their overlord race bids it.
- Trade and Free Info Pacts. No idea what these would do. At all.
- War and Ceasefire are self-explanatory, but might as well have an added definition for the sake of consistency.
- I really want to be able to shoot mines so I can safely clear them OR use them to my advantage in combat. This will let the player feel clever and increase their sense of agency.
- Scanning remains a very common and time-consuming activity. A 'quick/auto-scan' button may alleviate this somewhat. I imagine this as a single key press that navigates to and initiates a scan on the nearest planet within a reasonable range. (On screen?)
- On a similar note, why do planets sometimes need to be scanned twice? This is both a very time-consuming activity and one that pulls the player out of active gameplay.
- It is not immediately clear that planets even need to be scanned twice (or more). If this is maintained, perhaps the planet label should be updated to indicate scan state. ie: %PlanetName% (Undiscovered) -> %PlanetName% (Unexplored) -> %PlanetName%
- Clicking on an object on the minimap (or even normal map) to auto-navigate to it would be an enormous boon. For example, navigating to known starlanes or planets in safe systems.
- Related to the above, waypoints and/or quest markers could show as a translucent arrow in an area around the player. This would make lining up to them so the player can cut across a known system much easier. (Super simple mockup that could be made much better for final implementation here: https://i.imgur.com/M4wxKIJ.jpg )
- Another possible way to do this for any object shown on the minimap would be to duplicate the icon in a circle around the player when the mouse is hovering over the icon on the minimap - this would allow the player to line themselves up without setting a waypoint, reducing friction.
- Also an 'autorun' key that eliminates the need to hold W while crossing a sector. Any manual movement input (through WASD or clicking on an interactable entity) should cancel this behavior.
- Can you tell that I do a lot of traveling around and would love for it to be far simpler and more efficient?
- Hell, if I could just plot a course and let it go, I would. I understand that's a much more complicated system to implement, and not every player would want the same things out of it. (Do you want to favor jump gates, or stick to starlanes to save money, for example. Also, the 'navmesh' would need to be dynamic based on known links. There may be a two-hop way to get where you want, but the player hasn't found a wormhole that's needed for it, etc.)
- Even just being able to click on minimap icons directly would be a big help.
- Auto credit pickup is great. :SeemsGood:
- Am I allowed to giggle about 'light' nuclear missiles?
- I got a chat message saying "We missed a clue and discovered a problem late!" This tells the player nothing and only gives them a pile of questions. Who is saying this? What is it in relation to? What is the problem and how do I fix it? How do I avoid reaching this state in the future?
- Generally speaking, pausing is handled very oddly. I actually really like that I can pause the game and then open my inventory, character screen, planet menus, etc., but I'm not really sure this is intended behavior...
- Having fighters is cool as hell. (I love summoner playstyles, so I'm biased.) I know that I can delete specific fighters and then re-summon to replace them, but this is on the other side of the keyboard, and it would be nice if re-summoning with a full set of fighters replaced the one with the lowest shield+structure, rather than needing to do so manually. Current behavior (I believe) just replaces in order of age.
- Claw Talons are not fun to fight.
- "Protect the planet %PlanetName% (%Race%) in the %SystemName% system" quests do not show any kind of progression. They feel like a random timesink until they eventually fail/obsolete once the player gives up on idling on top of the planet.
- The 'deliver package' prompt when interacting with the destination planet is A+ stuff. Having to click onto the planet again to solve the quest is less so. This prompt should either lead directly to the quest solve screen, or just automatically solve it.
- Could we also get a prompt when interacting with a planet that has a qualifying good? This is already being checked in the seller's inventory - the green exclamation point on the item. This would further reduce friction.Audio
- Considering they are emitted by your ship in the dead center of the screen, player weapon audio is hyper directional.
- When activating dropdowns, the initial value is displaced downward and overlaps with the options shown. (High priority - this is one of the first things players see (when creating a sector), and you want to present a polished experience. It also makes readability more difficult.)
- When viewed against a light background - such as a system's star - the beginning of the fog of war fade on the minimap shows some artifacting. Looks like the fade and the 100% alpha parts don't quite line up. (Low priority - purely visual)
- Similarly, some pixels on the edges of the minimap do not darken, or even get brighter when the fog of war is removed.
- The scanning progress meter does not hide like other HUD elements when entering the options screens while a scan is active. (Medium priority - not exactly common, but does obscure some menu options.)
- Seconds do not count down in the timer shown for Drox quests. At least, not until there are less than 5 minutes remaining. (Medium priority?)
- This timer shows the lowest timer for Drox quests - both those that are accepted AND not accepted. I have one that I am actively not pursuing, but the timer is still shown for that quest. (Medium priority)
- A solution for these issues may be to have an icon for each accepted Drox quest, with a tooltip showing the name of the quest. Unaccepted Drox quests would then need an additional icon, which could provide a simple count, if there are any.
- Item text sometimes overlaps the item graphic in tooltips. (Low priority - purely visual)
- Chips contained in a hold with an empty chip slot cannot be applied to that chip slot without first being moved to a different hold. (Low priority - easy workaround)
- It's possible to click through the pause menu and collect items. (Low Priority - it's a mild inconvenience at the very worst)
- When a vendor has too little money to sell an item, the error noise will only play twice: Once when pressing space to quick sell, and once when dragging and dropping to sell. (Low priority - no gameplay impact)
- While paused, clicking anywhere on the screen other than the menu options will initiate a shot from weapons. In the case of projectile weapons, the fired round does not render or begin to move until exiting the paused state. In the case of hitscan-style weapons, the hit occurs while still paused. (Medium priority)
- "Unrest on %PlanetName%" quest did not show a green asterisk over the destination planet on the map screen, though it does show a green asterisk over the destination system. The green exclamation point when near the planet was present. (Low priority - the information is easily available elsewhere.)
- Quest details that are long enough to have a scrollbar have a broken scrollbar - it operates backwards (acting like a handle, not a scrollbar), and it does not display in the correct vertical location. (Low priority - visual only as actual usability is not impacted.)
- I've found that large/many explosions cause significant slowdown and framerate reduction while on-screen. I initially thought this might be a graphics issue, but considering my GTX 1080 Ti runs at ~24% utilization while playing the game, I don't think that's the case. Further investigation makes it look like this is actually an optimization issue on the CPU, considering the CPU use spikes while ther GPU use drops during these slowdowns. Overall utilization of my firstname.lastname@example.org GHz stays pretty consistent at about 27%, with one core taking the brunt of the load. During the slowdowns, this 'main' core's utilization plummets, and the others see a moderate spike. If you would like to do your own testing, destroying Anti-Matter Fields causes the issue 100% of the time. It is significantly worse when other objects are caught in the explosion. This performance hit is also noticeable when in particularly large battles with many ships exploding, but this is much less frequent and harder to reproduce (at least in the early game).
- This seems better in 0.818