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  • #16568
    v4v4
    Participant
    Topics: 3
    Replies: 4

    Let me start by saying I think you have already created a great game, and I’ve already had more fun playing this in early access than any other game in quite a while. I’m playing on a 2016 Macbook Pro and the performance is pretty good, and even on medium settings it looks great. The particle effects during explosions really stand out, and being able to have a completely dark section that relies on real time lighting for illumination really adds to the claustrophobic, underground feel.

    I’m playing using a USB gamepad for the first time for this type of game, and it took me a couple of hours before I was able to really move around without thinking about it too much. My experience is probably more like a potential Playstation or Xbox newbie so I’m going to kind of target that kind of gamer with my suggestions.

    I had to really customize the controls until I was satisfied – one thing to consider making this easier would be to offer some premade control maps, especially because I imagine most people will be using the standard controllers. Something like the options Goldeneye on the N64 used might work.

    I’m playing through the available levels on Hotshot, and I’m finding it pretty challenging. I like that, but I think that a lot of new people will be turned off by it. I think you should consider making “Rookie” the “normal” difficulty, or at least the one that would be suggested for new players. I think the names of the difficulty levels kind of push people away from Trainee/Rookie where they would have a better time learning the mechanics of the game. I imagine a lot of people will have never played a 6DOF game before so just flying around, aiming and dodging will be a challenge enough. I’m not sure if I just missed it, but can you change difficulty after you finish a level? If you finish a level and you hardly took any damage, it could prompt you increase it before you start the next level. Maybe if you die 5+ times in one level attempt, it could suggest you turn it down.

    Overall I think the design of the levels is much better than Descent I/II, at least from my memory. I hardly ever have to use the guide bot, and I haven’t had to use the map at all other than looking for secrets.

    I’m interested to see what level 1 will be. I would suggest making it quite a flat level, so that new players will at least have a bit of experience before adding a vertical dimension. I think that if people are using FPS style controls, they’ll probably be a lot more comfortable right away. The fun vertical stuff will be in the rest of the game so I don’t think you need to worry about having just the first level be kind of boring in that aspect. Having said all that, I don’t think you really need to do any rebalancing, the threat level and behaviour of the robots seem pretty well tuned.

    After playing through the EA levels, I was surprised that there weren’t really any environmental hazards in the game (other than lava). I think there’s some opportunity for some platforming like sections to break up the combat. An example would be to have a big arena-style room with some tough enemies, but also have a powerful laser shooting out from some broken machine that slowly rotates around the room. I’m thinking of something like that red laser you have to avoid from the start of half life 1. Or even something simpler than that, like something that fires once every few seconds through a passage you need to go through. It would be more for the variety than something that would be designed to be the hardest part of the level. Luring robots into a trap would also be fun.

    Speaking of traps, there was one part in Titan Observatory (I think) where a door locks behind you and you’re trapped in a room with two auto op fabricators. The first couple of times I attempted this level I got totally destroyed because the room was full of enemies and it took me too long to realize the door was locked. I think this room needs to be tweaked a bit, it feels a bit unfair on the player to have a door lock right behind them while their attention is probably focused on the enemies in front of them. If you could move left and right more freely that would probably help as well. This was the only time in the EA levels that felt like this, so you have done a great job overall on the design of the levels.

    When I first started playing I had a bit of trouble distinguishing the security keys from the log message drops. The security keys are so important, I really think they should be more distincitve in the rooms they are in. If you didn’t already know their purpose, you would probably think an armour orb or missle refill is more important than a security key. One thing that might help would be to always have the security key have some distincive surroundings whereever it appears, like some of those destructible wall screens.

    I really like the design of the UI, but I have a couple of suggestions. The glowing blue/orange armour and energy bars are a bit distracting. I think you could have them automatically decrease their opacity, and then return to their normal flashing state for a couple of seconds if you take damage or pick up a powerup. This would also help new players learn about the UI elements, which aren’t immediately obvious. Color coding the weapon/missle icons might be a good option to have.

    The sound and music are great. Not too much to say about that, but I think that some of the sound effects could be enhanced a bit. The Impulse and Cyclone firing sounds seem a bit too clean to me. I think adding some distortion to make them sound “electric” would be worth testing out. The Devastator could also use a more distinctive explosion sound (a sub bass impact would be awesome) which could make it really satisfying to use. Some of the effects are really fantastic, the driller, creeper, missile pod sound effects particularly stand out.

    I hope some of this helps. You guys have done a great job at recreating the classic Descent style of gameplay while making it feel fresh and modern.

    #16575
    TwoCablesTwoCables
    Kickstarter Backer
    Topics: 118
    Replies: 1474

    In defense of the difficulty levels, it does say this under each one:

    Trainee: Very low risk, for absolute beginners
    Rookie: Moderate danger, for pilots with little experience
    Hotshot: Default difficulty, for pilots with moderate experience or decent skills
    Ace: High difficulty, for experienced, skilled pilots
    Insane: Extreme danger, for very advanced pilots only

    So anyone who sees these descriptions will have a good idea which one to start with. Also, just playing the game will tell you which difficulty you prefer.

    As for the rest, it’s unfortunately far too late to suggest big changes or anything because they’re pretty much finished with the SP campaign (but have only shown us a sampling so far), and really they’re finished with the game itself for the most part. So, even Level 1 is pretty much finished, and for all we know, it might have been finished for a long time. Drop 9 is the last drop before the release, so now they’re just polishing it, working on multiplayer, and getting ready for the release. They’re hoping for May/June, but of course there are never any guarantees when you’re independent.

    Fortunately, they would love to do a sequel if this game is successful enough, so we should keep the ideas coming of course.

    The lockdown event puts up a big message on your HUD when it occurs, and it’s accompanied by the siren in the room and a change in the lights temporarily. So, it should be hard for most people to miss that they just entered a lockdown event, especially if they’ve experienced a lockdown event in other games. I’m not sure what you mean though by saying that it would be nice to move around more freely. You can. The only thing is, the door behind you is locked until you destroy all of the robots. Your freedom of movement doesn’t change. Your ship speed doesn’t change or anything. If you’re talking about being kinda trapped in a narrow space upon the door locking, well, that’s good. Games should be challenging. What fun is a game that’s too easy?

    The security keys glow very brightly and look like a spinning steering wheel (it matches the locking mechanism on the door). The logs are just little lightly-glowing orbs. Granted, they have mostly the same colors, but that’s it. The more you play, the less similar these will seem for sure.

    Prepare for Overload…

    #16576
    SiriusSirius
    Kickstarter Backer
    Topics: 9
    Replies: 406

    Yeah, it’s a tough call. For players who have played other games but not 6DOFs, I would probably recommend starting on Rookie. Hotshot is sort of a “hard mode” in that case – you’ll probably be able to win if you try hard enough but it won’t be easy. Once you get used to the style it shifts a bit though and becomes more of a “normal” difficulty.

    #16578
    DiamondWolf
    Participant
    Topics: 15
    Replies: 57

    Gotta admit I am a fan of static hazards (like the lasers). Could make some interesting setups.

    #16580
    luponixluponix
    Participant
    Topics: 4
    Replies: 24

    I am quite satisfied with the current difficulties as there are rookie and trainee which even brings my little sister in a position where she is able to shoot some robots while the higher difficulties leave room to improve as a pilot until a point where you need a good chunk of skill. If you lower the overall difficulty by one categorie it leaves less room to improve and it takes longer to get to the interesting parts.

    I am not really playing SP but if i remember correctly Titan Observatory is the seventh level and at that point most people should be experienced enough to get introduced with traps.
    Especially as new players might not be only playing the campaign until they reach that level but also CM or Multiplayer.

    I really like the idea of objects like laser as they open new possibilities but as they plan to release in june i fear everything that delays this date and this has a good potential doing so.
    If we are lucky we get stuff like that in a patch after release

    •[OOTS]•

    Prepare for Multiplayer

    #16585
    TwoCablesTwoCables
    Kickstarter Backer
    Topics: 118
    Replies: 1474

    I am quite satisfied with the current difficulties as there are rookie and trainee which even brings my little sister in a position where she is able to shoot some robots while the higher difficulties leave room to improve as a pilot until a point where you need a good chunk of skill. If you lower the overall difficulty by one categorie it leaves less room to improve and it takes longer to get to the interesting parts.

    I don’t think he’s saying that the overall difficulty should be reduced by one category or level. I think he’s just saying that Hotshot shouldn’t be described as the default difficulty level. I think he feels it’s misleading and can make new players feel that they suck because they can’t do well on the default difficulty level. So, I think he’s saying that new players might feel this game is too hard and will be quite discouraged from playing and will be demotivated if they can’t even do well on the default difficulty level (it can be a blow to one’s confidence or self-esteem or ego, etc.).

    If this is indeed what he’s saying, then I agree very strongly and I would say that none of the difficulty levels should be described as the default (or even “normal” for that matter). I think instead that each description should just make the best attempt to briefly describe what to expect. I would even go as far as saying that none of the difficulty levels should be pre-selected when you go to the difficulty selection menu.

    Speaking of the difficulty level being pre-selected, Rookie is always pre-selected for me (I can only see this using keyboard-only menu navigation). I expected Hotshot to be pre-selected when I tested this since it’s described as the default.

    For the record, I only play on Trainee and Rookie even though I have over 20 years of experience playing Descent SP (or really, 10’s of thousands of hours, most likely). I just don’t like Hotshot and above.

    Prepare for Overload…

    #16586
    Haunted ParraspHaunted Parrasp
    Kickstarter Backer
    Topics: 31
    Replies: 428

    Yeah I can see the value in describing Rookie as “a place to start for new players” and Hotshot as “a reasonable challenge for experienced players”.
    If any is described as “normal” it should be Rookie, cause the expert players already know what they want. An explanation of what to expect is pretty standard in games these days, but I’d go a step further and not have that word popping up at all. It implies the developer-intended experience and, while “normal” and “developer intended” difficulty are synonymous in lot of games, that’s not so for this one.

    Ship’s cat, MPSV Iberia
    Check out his original music @ http://vertigofox.bandcamp.com/

    #16588
    v4v4
    Participant
    Topics: 3
    Replies: 4

    I don’t think he’s saying that the overall difficulty should be reduced by one category or level. I think he’s just saying that Hotshot shouldn’t be described as the default difficulty level. I think he feels it’s misleading and can make new players feel that they suck because they can’t do well on the default difficulty level. So, I think he’s saying that new players might feel this game is too hard and will be quite discouraged from playing and will be demotivated if they can’t even do well on the default difficulty level (it can be a blow to one’s confidence or self-esteem or ego, etc.).

    Exactly. It’s really more about not discouraging new players, especially console players who have likely never played a 6DOF game before. If you’re like me and you’ve played FPS on PCs for years using a mouse and keyboard, it’s easy to forget how bad most people are at aiming and moving around in 3D games.

    There are two cases that I think will come up, one where the game is too hard for new players and one where it is too easy for advanced players. Advanced players almost by definition will be ok with just turning up the difficulty if they find it too easy, and then continuing on. But a new player might choose to just give up the game entirely instead of adjusting the difficulty. The difficulty range is so wide that a new player might not really think about their decision at all, basically locking them into an experience that is way too hard.

    This is all about trying to make the newbie experience better, to attract new players to the genre and game.

    The reason I love this game so much is because the movement and combat are engaging and fast paced. For lack of a better word, the gameplay is deep. The flipside to that is that new players could easily write the game off as “too hardcore” or “too complicated” instead of playing for long enough to appreciate it.

    #16589
    sfischersfischer
    Overload Team
    Topics: 4
    Replies: 105

    I’ll bring it up with the team. No promises, though it is a fairly easy change to make (as we get closer to ‘done’, even small/safe changes are undesirable).

    #16594
    v4v4
    Participant
    Topics: 3
    Replies: 4

    I just realized that if you restart a level after you die instead of loading a save in that level, it actually does bring up the difficulty select screen before you start again.

    #16598
    SiriusSirius
    Kickstarter Backer
    Topics: 9
    Replies: 406

    I’ll bring it up with the team. No promises, though it is a fairly easy change to make (as we get closer to ‘done’, even small/safe changes are undesirable).

    A few years ago when I was a tester, I had a one-word typo bug turned down because it was too close to release. So at least it’s not that. 🙂

    #16600
    Haunted ParraspHaunted Parrasp
    Kickstarter Backer
    Topics: 31
    Replies: 428

    It makes sense — code gets too complicated for you to be sure that any change won’t cause a cascade of other problems and force you to push back the release.

    Ship’s cat, MPSV Iberia
    Check out his original music @ http://vertigofox.bandcamp.com/

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