Annoying stuff that I have discovered after playing for one day and not sleeping a lot


#1

Here are a bunch of angry sounding impressions. This is a good game but me telling you that for two pages is a waste of time, while a bunch of honest impressions about what you are doing poorly or wrong might be of some help. I know this is early access and I figure that you everything is in flux but here goes anyway.

Office space is scarce, which is fine, and stuff that fits into it is weird shaped, which I know from watching one of the dev blogs that you think is amusing, but it is not amusing. Please let me use my space as I see fit, without having to be a puzzle king, especially if I can’t use all of the space even if I am a puzzle king.

Reordering things in the research queue involves moving stuff up and down in a window that is wider than it is tall. The window should be taller or should expand dynamically if I am messing with it. I don’t like feeling like I’m viewing the universe through a toilet paper tube.

Crashes. This is early access but there are more crashes in this game than there are in other early access games.

Stockpile nonsense. I can put a stockpile directly next to a place that needs stuff that that stockpile and still get insufficient resources. I’m trying to be quite smart but it’s not working, so I blame you. I am going to try predictive stock control and if that works, I take back everything I said and you’re a genius, but if it doesn’t work I’m just bothered that onsite stockpiles are too small and external stockpiles don’t work very well. Please consider making the onsite stockpiles larger if they need to be larger.

Processes vs Technologies in the research screen. Yes, I know there is a difference, but the dichotomy isn’t something that’s just instant in my brain at least, so I end up looking through both panes to find something.

Body style. The idea of a design studio is great, but it doesn’t come early and it is expensive and fully gates my ability to do any other body styles. Perhaps consider allowing me to do a compact car earlier, but that might require reworking this whole concept. You’ve painted yourself into a corner even though the yoyos are in fact lovely.

Conveyer layout is kind of hellish given that the UI at very least appears to want to charge me a lot of money for laying over an area more than once. I want to be able to draw a line and hang a right. I don’t mind having to do that in two steps if it’s not going to cost me a lot, but if it’s cheaper to allow the UI to pick a path that is dumb from my perspective it shouldn’t cost me less money to do that.

Car Stock/Sales verus Car Designs. Is my sedan underpriced? I have to go into car stock/sales to find out. Okay, it’s underpriced. Now I have to go into Car Designs to increase the price.

Show factory efficicieny statistics versus current cash balance. I want to know if I should build cameras onsite. I have to go into current cash balance to find out what they cost, then I have to go into show factory efficiency statistics to see how many I use. I can’t look at this and try to make any sort of informed decision – I’d have to pause the game and spreadsheet this to try to figure out what to start producing onsite first, and even then I probably can’t do it. So I’m flying blind in this whole aspect of the game and your UI isn’t helping. I have quite a few hours in and I haven’t tried to build anything onsite and I’m scared to try.

Windows in general, when I open one and look at stuff, then go to open another and look at other stuff, the first one should close automatically, more often than is true now. Maybe I’d want both of them open but I haven’t found a case of this in my noob travels.

The features page in show factory efficiency statistics is lovely but so far useless since I can get approximately the same information at a glance in the models page, as alerts appear to tell me that all of my competitors have headlights that move.

In the car design page, it’s sort of all about the individual feature pricing listbox, which feels too short given how awesomely important it is. It’s kind of hellish to scroll through it mid-game.

In the components pane (I’m inconsistent about what to call things, sorry), this is essentially a two column sorted list. How you do it is that the highest sorted item is at the top of the left column, and the second highest is at the top of the right column. The third highest is the second item in the left column, and the fourth highest is the second item in the right column. This is madness. Please sort all the way down the left, then all the way down the right. There is another pane where you do the same thing, I think, and it’s madness there, too.

Income graph in the balance screen is amateurish and spikey and I can’t learn anything from it after the first five minutes of the game. The overview pane is much better and I also like the pie chart in the expenses pane. The prices pane is an outrage because I can’t make any use of that information unless I take a picture of it with my phone, and probably not even then, because these are numbers that look delicious but I can’t figure out how to use.

Car designs page, you have Name/Style/Price as buttons you can press to sort stuff, but this is poorly done because I have to sit there and stare at it before I can figure out what is being sorted, by what, and in what order. This is painfully incomplete.

Very promising game.


#2

Thanks for the list, it gives me a decent list of things I look to improve over time.


#3

I figure that my first impressions have value because you can see how people who are viewing the game with fresh eyes mess up and what frustrates them. I am often uniquely dumb, I think, but sometimes perhaps I express commonalities with other dumb people.

More stuff.

The game is absurdly easy to crash in blueprint mode. I haven’t tried to write up repro steps but if you are moving slots around and get near the edge, kerboom. I think it may crash if you rotate a slot while near the edge. If this isn’t an “aha!” experience for you I’m happy to try to repro.

I built a factory, accumulated 30m funds, and decided to rip down the factory and build a new one. Problems:

  1. Click click click removing old factory bits. The game needs an area trash tool if it doesn’t already have one. As other have mentioned it would also be nice to be able to go into “kill conveyor” mode.
  2. Click click click upgrading slots. And every time you “upgrade all” you have to click on the slot again.
  3. Adding schedules to three “fit front axle” slots – I want to die. Also, if you have a lot of models (basically one of everything), important aspects of that model list popup shrink and we’re back to the idea of playing the game through a toilet paper tube.

Here are some design problems. Single player games have problems with endgame content and replayability, and you have worse problems with these than most games. I can’t think of a reason to keep playing beyond perfecting the map I’m working on now and I can’t think of a reason to make another car factory. I don’t mean to sound like an arrogant know it all but I think this is the major problem you face in this game. If you can increase replayability and add some sort of rich endgame content you could just perfect the hell out of this and people would chant your name if they aren’t already due to your previous games.

There was a game I played once (Sierra’s “Caesar III”) that was referred to by a reviewer as a puzzle rather than a game, and that’s a danger you face here. Puzzles are fought with and eventually figured out and that’s it.

If I had to invent two parts that you don’t have, it would be a smart junction that goes straight and left, and another that goes straight and right.

It’s hard to plan:

  1. If I want to build a slot that makes parts, I have to drop one down in order to see how many I need.
  2. If I am trying to build a line that’s, for example, 1 minute per slot, I have to know all of the upgrades in advance in order to plan this, and I find that I drop a slot randomly on the map just to look at it, then destroy it. This is not a fantastic user experience.
  3. If I don’t have the tech tree all done, it drops nonsense on your head, like for example a 30 second slot that has a two minute upgrade. If I know about this in advance, I can play for it. If I don’t, it’s harder. This affects user experience and the puzzle problem I mentioned.

I tried to build a one-minute factory and I made a mistake in that at the end there were only two export slots and I was just hosed. I found this to be quite frustrating.

Slots that are complex turn the game into a stockpile alligator wrestling exercise that is not fun. It is difficult to make a line when you put in a lot of time investment and get achieve a state where you cannot for the life of you figure out how to compensate for “insufficient materials”. My one minute factory is still a two minute factory because – well I’m not sure why, but it probably has something to do with wing mirrors, some sort of window, or something associated with a wheel.

Tech progression is too fast in a certain sense. I find it difficult to make a budget car that is not deeply discounted, because competing companies eventually research everything. When your budget model is expected to be a hybrid, forget it. because that adds $4800 to the price of a car. Also, by the time I was able to research how to build engines, the game was demanding hybrids or stop-start engines everywhere.

I have never been able to make a luxury car because at this point it’s just my expensive car marked up.

While it is fun to be able to make a whole bunch of parts (steering wheels), it is a pain in the butt to not be able to make others. It is also a pain in the butt to build local parts in order to try to cover for deficiencies in importers (you can build parts near an importer and they’ll move across the map pretty fast, essentially giving you a free importer). As I mentioned in one of my incoherent bug reports, when I try to make my factory efficient by making features standard across all models I either can’t make the standard part or the game doesn’t detect that I’m doing this, and stocks parts that zero models use.

I just generally don’t have enough info in the game. What is my margin per car? If I build engines locally, how does that change? A related question involves what I should build locally first. I can’t answer this question without making a spreadsheet and probably not then. Where are the bottlenecks in my line? To what degree are competitors simulated and if they are doing anything that might be interesting to see, what are they doing?

You might want to add more personality to the game by adding more personalities to the game. I never get to see the customers and the factory people aren’t doing a whole lot. You could have people talk to the player ala Kerbal Space Program.