beta test feedback

if you have feedback on the beta test once it starts, feel free to post your opinions in this thread. cheers. No whining if you didn’t get in :smiley:

Thanks for letting me test D2, cliffski.
I just installed the game and I have a problem: The game will not let me write the validation code. The code has ‘-’ in it, but it can’t be used.

These are the things that I wrote down as I played, (following your advice)

The background is kind of suffocating. It kind of descends upon you… It’s kind of hard to explain.
I likes the music. :smiley:
I found the ministers and the voter piccies very cartoony in comparison to the rest of the graphics.
The tutorial messed up straight after showing predicted voter opinion (the bar underneath voter groups) Nothing showed up and when it asked me to open up the intelligence reports thing, I had to shut D2 down and start again in order to play.
The encyclodpaedia screwed up. There were characters all over the place and… well… It screwed up. >.<
It takes too long to highlight the icons and see the name and the effects and influences via the green and red lines.
In the housing expansion policy dillemma, you should check what you wrote. :wink:
The next turn button is a bit too easily pressed. On several occasions, I pressed it by accident, not meaning to.
The stuff like GDP, violent crime, and stuff, I think, should be seperated from your policies and situations because they really clutter the screen.

Okay, end report. Oh, and the survey that was meant to open up didn’t open up because D2 messed up as I quit.

aha. are you using the numpad? can you try using the other ‘-’ on the right of the ‘0’ on the main keyboard?


Little tired at the moment so not detailed response - just that party memberships don’t seem to be saving.

when clicking on encylopedia the texts is not readable.

yeah im working on that now… ;(

Okay, some feedback real quick:

It’d be handy if we could see the demographics of the two political parties.

It’d also be nice if there was just a little background detail on our ministers, so that we could feel a personal connection to them or something.

Sometimes the popularity bar and the bar at the top of the screen stay there when you’re on the ‘new game’ screen.

More later…

cheers for that

No probs. Carbon tax seems a little excessive doesn’t it? It seems to bring in more income than any other form of tax. And I still don’t see the point of drug legalisation even being a policy when the effects are overwhelmingly negative.

Well, I finally figured out how to type the vilidation code and played for a few hours this morning. I wrote a lot of notes while playing (which I then had to translate). but my first comments are ready now.
I would have uploaded them as a document to allow people to quickly scroll past them, but unfortunately I currently have no place to upload them to. So you’ll get them in their full horrific length:

Democracy 2 Beta Test

First (and extremely unedited and not very well translated) Impressions and Random Thoughts

Let’s see… the installer has a photo of Lincoln (black and white, of course)… seems strange for a game produced in England and taking place in post-modern times. I suppose it’s a placeholder. Will probably be replaced by some colourful logo, I guess.

Now I’ve got a shortcut on my desk. The title is as I expected… But why ‘2’ and not ‘II’? Doesn’t strategic games usually use Roman numerals? (titles like Half-life II or Civilization 4 would seem strange) It is of course a bit pseudo-intellectual, when it has absolutely nothing to do with the Roman Empire. But on the other hand the title is already in Greek (sort of). I guess it depends on what kind of image the game is meant to have.
The icon is strange. Interesting colours (especially if the theme is continued), but it does make the image blurry. And why is it the American flag? It’s not like the US is more democratic than the UK or any other democracy in any meaningful sense of the word, so shouldn’t it be the British flag or some generic symbol of democracy?

Title screen: Great music, creates an atmosphere of greatness and progress – fortunately it changes after a while to something that doesn’t demand so much of one’s attention. And yet it seems kind of insisting and maybe too militaristic for a peaceful game like this.
And here’s the problem again – why is it the American congress? (this is, by the way, a place where using ‘II’ would make it easier to make the logo look good).
But the orange-white colour theme looks great.

(this is where my playing the game was delayed for a few hours because I can’t just use any of the 2 or 3 different ways of typing ‘-‘ and because I’m still unfamiliar with the keyboard of my new computer – a fact that made me unaware of the location of the one right button I needed to write the verification code… bad luck, I guess, but it would be nice to make the game compatible with other ways of typing ‘-‘… or just allow copy and paste)

Main menu: It has the usual counterintuitive design that is for some reason an unfortunate characteristic of Positech games. It’s the order of the buttons that the problem. A more traditional and intuitive order would be ’New Game, How to Play, Load Game, Options, On-line, Quit Game’. It’s also not clearly and distinctly evident what ‘On-line’ is supposed to mean.

Well, now for the actual testing. First is ’How to play’: The instructions are short and precise, which is very good. The step-by-step showing of each part of the GUI really helps (but again: why do we see dollars on the background?).
I see that the voter groups are back in exactly the same form as in the last game. Should changes have been made? (I’ll get back to that later). The description hides part of one of the groups, but that’s only a minor nuisance.
The statistics can now be found among the policies – a good design choice from a visual point of view. However, it is now impossible to instantly see how well or bad a certain statistic is. Maybe this could be shown with different colours?
The hover over-effect may be bit too drastic to bee aesthetically pleasing. Maybe the background and other policies should just turn grey and semi-invisible?
It is not intuitively clear what the numbers to the right of the effects of policies do. Maybe it should be mentioned in the tutorial.
I got an idea bout income taxes: Wouldn’t it be great if we could adjust how progressive the income tax is? Maybe this could be done by letting us adjust taxes for each income group individually, thus creating a tax-free haven for rich people where the workers are taxed punitively or a socialists’ paradise with extremely high taxes on any above-average income. I know there is already some kind of Tax Shelter policy (I’ve never used it, so I don’t know how it works), but I think this part of the game could use some reworking.
In the tutorial the following things are invisible when described: Polls bar, power, timeline, finances – and then I’m instructed to press a button that isn’t there. I guess that’s the end of the tutorial for me…
I exit the tutorial and try to restart ’how to play’ – which instantly makes the game crash.

Well, let’s have a look at the actual game – I need a challenge, so I’ll try Malaganga (uh… lots of pretty little emergencies in almost every sector – better than the old standard combination of Foreign Imports, Asthma Epidemics, Tax Fraud and bad Air Quality… see, I even remember them without looking at the original game).
There’s great options of adjusting the country. Though I would like to be able to name it, too. The same goes for the party names (but I do appreciate the Monty Python reference). Also, I’m the sort of person who likes to choose a title, name and avatar, even if it has no effect on the game at all. Instead of being ‘anonymous elected ruler of the already named state of Malaganga’, I could have given myself a meaningful name, thus increasing the feeling of immersion, which is central to a game of this kind.
However, we do get to choose our currency, which is always something (but it would be nice to have options like Â¥, ₧ or ₣ - or just make it possible to type in a maximum of three or four symbols).
It would also be nice to be able to adjust population size – some people like to rule a billion people, while others prefer no more than a few million.

Nation introduction screen: I think that Hovering over the situations should show their names.

Main screen: Hovering over overall popularity should show what it is – to help new players.
Intelligence: It isn’t clear which groups are based in which voter groups (what is The Battenburg Group?)
In the first turn, the election report says that both parties have 0 members, though the statistics elsewhere clearly state that this is not true. The problem fixes itself in the second turn.
Political Achievements: It’s ok that we can’t see exactly what to do to get each trophy. But it would be nice to at least get a name or some other hint about what to do when you have all except the last one and can’t think of what kind of government hasn’t been tried.
And now we have oil – great idea. It really adds lots of potentially interesting things about foreign relations, new energy sources and all that.

Icons that to me seem unintuitive:
Asthma Epidemic: You really have to look at it for a long time and concentrate before noticing that the lungs are shown.
Oil (all 3 of them): My first guess was that I now had to supply my population with clean drinking water (which would actually not be a bad idea for a special challenge in some climates).
Street Gangs: Six people standing in orderly lines really don’t look like a gang.
Violent Crime: It’s just a hand… why not a knife and/or baseball bat?
Pollution: I realise that it’s a negative version of air quality, but it looks more like ‘cloudy weather – oh no!’
The is something seriously wrong with the encyclopaedia texts, it looks like most of the letters are missing (but having an encyclopaedia is actually a good idea).
The young and thin silhouettes of the focus groups seem misplaced in the Retired group.
There is still no way to avoid tax fraud…
And why is it only possible to implement a new policy with the slider in the middle of the spectrum? If I want to introduce some expensive policy I have to spend another 20-50 points just to make the law in the way I first intended to.

Well, using armed police, increasing the general police expenses and using community policing I stopped the riots in my inner cities, the gangs, the drinking – I almost minimized crime and even put an end to violent crime (from chaos to semi-authoritarian order in only a few years). I cut the military expenses (as I always do), suffering popularity loss with the conservatives and a sympathetic minister – that I later bought back in exchange for letting them have gated communities. I then diverted the saved funds into decreasing the annual deficit and invested lots of money in education and research. By abandoning the obsolete idea of ‘maternity leave’ (which, for some reason made parents less happy, but not unhappy – that is less green effect, but no red) I made the industry more efficient and improved the GNP. However, none of this was enough to increase my starting popularity of 14% to the required 5o% (ungrateful bastards). I only reached something like 23% (having peaked earlier at 29%) and was kicked out of the presidential office. I did, however, enjoy four years of entertaining and challenging problem-solving, being tough on crime and giving people what they think they need (for some reason I was not in my usual, utopian mood). Or to say it simply: Great game!

Ideas that need even longer explanations

As I already mentioned, I find the Americanized elements of the game very annoying. It’s not that I’m anti-American (though I do hate the Bush administration, but that’s not really the same), but I think that it would make more sense for a game like this if it was either very generic or if it clearly showed that it was produced in Britain.

Well, the voter groups are the same as always. Of course the categories to cover most of the important differences between voters, I think that some other categories should at least be considered (I’ve also listed what they would want from the government):

  • Students/Intellectuals (government grants to students, university funding, cultural illumination of the masses)
  • Immigrants/other ethnic or national minorities like Native Americans or the Basques in Spain (liberal immigration laws, subsidies for private schools that teach in their language, laws against racism)
  • Homosexuals (gay marriage and adoption, laws against discrimination)
  • Men/Women (equality of the genders)… maybe this could be done better by having an Equality statistic that affects ‘everybody’.

And then there’s sex. That’s right, sex. I know that this concept is strangely unfamiliar to the world of Positech games and I think it’s time for a change. I mean, honestly, a life simulation that’s even more politically correct and asexual than The Sims and a game about rock musicians that could very well have used the motto ‘nothingness, moderate drinking and rock’n’roll ’? Of course we do have the Legalise Prostitution policy and the Ban Gay Marriage dilemma. That’s good. But I think it could be done better. Here are a few ideas:

  • Gay Relationships policy (slider: banned and secret government registration by the intelligence agencies, officially banned but unregulated, ignored, registered relationships acknowledged by the government, civil marriage, religious ceremonies for priests that wants to marry people, priests have to marry homosexuals… we’ll need some shorter names for all that)
  • Gay Adoption (of course only available if the government has a positive attitude, see above)
  • Age of Consent (adjustable with slider)
  • Free Contraceptives for Youngsters (slider adjusts minimum age)
  • Bad situation: AIDS epidemic, or some other sexually transferred disease
  • Sex teaching in schools (funding adjustable)

Another question is that of the difference between a policy and a dilemma. If we define a policy as a change that can be done at any time and a dilemma as something that demands immediate attention, some dilemmas seem misplaced. A good example is the Gay Marriage dilemma – if I want to ban or allow at any other time, I can’t. Why not?
I also think that some dilemmas should make it possible to change a policy at a lower cost of political power points; because of the increased media attention (legalising euthanasia is a lot easier when some famous person supports the cause).
In fact this leads me to the question of policy costs varying with the situation. It may be difficult to implement, but let me present the problem and some possible solutions: I have a problem with inner city riots. In order to fix it I either have to spend several years decreasing poverty (utopian mood) or give the police some automatic rifles (dystopian mood). Since most people and politicians prefer easy solutions, it seems strange that I have to wait two or three turns (that’s six to nine months) in order to solve a problem that would probably get extreme media attention 24-7 (especially if my nation has those annoying TV stations that specialises in sending news non-stop around the clock… well, that’s a sidetrack). Anyway, in a situation like this it would be more realistic if the cost of easy and/or quick solutions were cheaper (again: it is easier to make people accept an armed police force in some dystopian hell than in a blissful paradise). I considered for some time the possibility of letting emergencies produce extra political capital to make it easier to solve them. However, this would not work as political capital could be used to do completely unrelated things like… like… like taking away people’s civil rights and give politicians an incentive to increasing the duration of the crisis and… now, wait a minute. Ok, that needs to be thought through an extra time, but now there’s something to work with at least.

Well, I guess that’s enough. I just want to end with saying that this is a very promising game and that most of the issues are actually inherited from the original. So maybe some of the bad stuff hasn’t been changed, but a lot of good stuff has been added.
I shall return with a few more pages in a few days.

this is awesome feedback. I’m stuck fixing a nightmare pair of bugs (the scrambled text and the shutdown bug), and have worked on them all day, but hopefully ill get them done tomorrow and can work some of the great feedback into the game.

The housing expansion dilemma still mentions the UK.

I’d like to see a graph on the group page showing the amount of people over time. I’d also like the ability to see graphs that spanned the entire time you’re in power, and also I’d like to see some numbers and labels on the graphs that are already in.

On the ‘income’ part of the individual page, is that per year or what? Because £7,000 really doesn’t seem very much in a country with a massive GDP. Perhaps it’s just because all the goods are really really cheap?

Can we have a little more choice where ministers are concerned? I’d certainly like to be able to pick them at the start of the game, and maybe they could be drawn out of party members, so that they would have similar sympathies to me most of the time.

It is very impressive over all, however.

Edit: More thoughts:

Would it possible to give bad situations and events some effects that could be exploited? For example, encouraging racial tensions to rise, causing the destruction of many religious institutions around the country and thus decreasing the membership of the religious group?

Maybe some possible emergency responses? For example, a brain drain could give you an excuse to completely close off your borders and prevent anyone from leaving, which you didn’t have to give up after the emergency has gone away but keeping it would make you unpopular.

Can we involve groups and economy a little bit more? Farmers especially. I’d like to be able to decrease the amount of farmers by raising the GDP and investing more in cities. I’d also like to see famine happen in a country with a low GDP, low imports and low farmer population. I’d also like to see a large amount of farmers preventing your GDP from rising.

In fact, you could have a statistic showing proportion of the population in urban or rural areas.

I’d also like some more industrial policies to compliment all of this.

Your individual data seems a little bit off, because I’m sure I saw someone who was both a state employee and self employed.

Edit 2: I really do think that both black markets and tax evasion should be effected by law enforcement.

good feedback cheers. I haven’t issued any beta fixes at all yet. I’m holding out of 2 nightmare bugs, but one of them (the scrambled text) is now at last fixed! the minute i fix the close-down crash, ill put in a lot of these other fixes and improvements and release a new beta.
Not sure when that will be though.

I don’t think I’ve had the close-down-crash. What exactly is it?

I may have found a tiny little error…

His loyalty is rather a bit… too high…

Edit: Yay! I’ve got all the achievements! Although one of them is a bit… depressing to say the least.

Edit Edit: And why is Zambezia impossible to win an election at? I’ve tried countless numbers of times but I’ve never managed to win one…

Oh yeah I forgot to mention that bug, I get it too.

It may be that I’ve gotten too good at this game but the achievements seem a little easy to me :confused:

Edit: By the way, I love the whole ‘module’ system for countries. I really hope that in the final game we’ll get a blank country with loads of starting options…

I am so desperate to ensure I’ve fixed that crash at the end of the game before i do all this really cool stuff you guys have pointed out and suggested. I think I trample some memory somewhere. Has ANY of you had a seemingly random crash during gameplay? I suspect not, and am hoping for not, but just checking. Also, is the save game stuff working ok, I know there’s a suggestion party membership isn’t working, have people used it?

I’m off for some biz meeting today, but will get back to work on it later this afternoon.


when the game ends, and you close the game down, does it take you to my website? or give an error?

On testing it, sometimes it takes me to the website, sometimes there’s an error. I guess I just haven’t really noticed it…

I tend to play in long sessions at a time, so I guess I don’t shut it down that often.