First Impressions and Suggestions

Game loaded very quickly. Nicely polished interface. Checked the game options and then went to look for the single player mode. I decided to select ‘Battle’, and it appears to be the equivalent of the campaign mode. Upon entering the fleet deployment screen I was assailed by a series of tutorial messages. The boxes were rather randomly positioned and actually covered part of the screen that they were trying to explain to me. As such I was reading about something that I had not yet fully seen. I don’t know if I can make the tutorial messages appear again. They pressured me with answers to questions that I had yet to ask. I feel that the tutorial needs reworking. How about a delay or only showing the messages when that part of the screen is clicked on for the first time?

I then proceeded to examine the fleet deployment itself. I found that I couldn’t assign Escort or Formation orders. As a new player I could not figure out how to do this. It always displayed a red line regardless of what ship I placed the mouse over. When I clicked it did not assign the ship name into the dialog box. A mis-click that displays the delete or rename ship dialog locks up the order dialog and I have to close it.

I ran the game battle and watched the fleet be defeated by the enemy. I noted that selecting the camera follow option caused the motion blur effect regardless of whether the ship was actually moving. As a result I later disabled motion blur in the game options. Moving the mouse over a ship showed its name with a brown background. I had difficulty identifying which fighters belonged to which player. I thought that it would be better to have a different background colour behind the ship name text for each player. I also noted that, while there were sound effects and music, the game lacked any fleet speech. I recall fleet combat speech on the game ‘Homeworld 2’ and the ‘Star Wars’ films. I really feel that the game would be greatly improved with emotion rousing fleet combat communication. In addition, this enhances feedback to the player without the use of statistics. Certainly, such combat speech should be combat event driven.

After the battle I was automatically taken to the upgrade screen. I soon decided that it would be better if I was not forced into either this screen but to the post battle statistics screen instead. I found the unlocked technologies did not appear to be highlighted in any way. It would be nice if they were categorised or possibly if some upgrades require others to be unlocked first.

Returning to the fleet deployment screen I added some additional ships to the fleet. I noted that, sometimes, a ship would be created with a generic ‘ship_0000’ format name. I discovered that I could deploy ships, in particular Cruisers, between the menu buttons in the lower left area of the screen. I also found that I could overlap ships. I soon decided to create a mob of completely overlapped ships. This ensured that I would engage the enemy fleet only a little at a time and ruined the whole fleet deployment aspect. It felt wrong that I could overlap deployed ships at all, especially since the enemy fleet never has this. It would be better to highlight overlapped ships in red and prevent launching the battle until ships are no longer overlapped.

Back in the battle I found that I had no information on the enemy ships other than the visual indication of damage. I decided that this was fine but found that I couldn’t effectively create a fleet when I know nothing of the enemy that I was facing. Other than the appearance of a probable missile, beam weapon, etc, I could not determine strengths and weaknesses.

The after battle statistics screen showed me plenty of information. I felt that the ships faced area at the bottom the screen served no useful purpose. I felt that it would be better to show a list of ships damaged and how much damage was done to each ship by that one ship. Instead I was presented with mostly a series of fully red boxes.

I decided to design some new ships. I was again assailed by tutorial messages. They served less use than having a paper manual. Since a paper manual allows interaction with the game while reading it and doesn’t obscure part of the screen. I again felt that the tutorial requires reworking. I then had difficulty selecting a new ship hull. The list had no order to it and no buttons at the side to select a specific category of ship. It felt awkward to go back and forth trying to compare ships of a particular class. I also had to select each one to see how many weapon slots each ship had. This really needed displaying in the hull selection box, if not a miniature view of the module layout. I found that the modules list was not sufficiently ordered. I couldn’t get a feel for how the weapons would perform in battle. I feel that a test ship option would be useful. It would start a battle with your new design vs a generic training object. This would good for gathering information without the chaos of an active fleet battle.

After creating two fighters, one Frigate and one Cruiser, I created another overlapping mob in the corner and proceeded to win several battles in a row. I noted that the fleet was lost with each successive mission. I saved the deployment, but although it was available to load in the next mission - I could not load it because its value exceeded the maximum fleet value for the current mission. It would be better to allow me to load a fleet that exceeds the maximum value, but disallow launching the battle until I have removed enough ships to lower my fleet below the maximum value. I noted that the ship design list had no order to it. Also the names were not automatically displayed so I had to hover the mouse over each in order to determine which design was which. I found it laborious to drag each ship out individually. Especially since the fleet configuration is lost when I advance to the next mission.

Thankyou for reading and please take my beta testing report into consideration.

I tested out the game on a Vista 32-bit laptop. My main computer is Vista 64-bit. Both exhibit the same problem with being unable to create Formation and Escort orders.

The default fleet that comes with the game already has several of these orders assigned. I can reassign the target ship using the existing orders. However, any newly created Escort or Formation orders do not display the ship name in the box and thus cannot be created. Right clicking a ship while selecting a target deselects your ship(s) and as a result the order box becomes unusable and must be closed.

Protector orders assign normally. Escort and Formation orders do not.

Fighter behaviour: Even if set to max priority to only attack fighters, the squadron attacks fighters but will fly past them and perform the behaviour over the top of the enemy fleet. Therefore exposing them to extra enemy fire.

Weapon behaviour: Weapons that cannot or rarely hit fighters, such as torpedoes, are being fired at fighters as soon as they within weapon range.

Ship behaviour: Ships often become entangled with fighters, when not equipped to destroy them. The ships then run around in circles while being bombarded by distant enemy ships and not returning fire.

Ships are capable of leaving the battle area. They are still in the battle but cannot be seen. Eventually, if not destroyed they will fly back in to the visible game area.

I highly recommend the addition of expensive, powerful area of effect weapons. Possibly as a superweapon on a battleship class ship. The reason for this is to stop the ‘blobbing’ of ones fleet in to a small space, which currently is a highly effective strategy.

How about a battleship class ship with a unique ‘omni module’? Fit anything into this one module, including a small selection of super weapons, super power generators, super crew module etc.

Upgraded to V1.02. Although please consider my previous posts in this thread. Most of it is still current.

I observed that at the end of a battle, when you achieve victory, all your fighters fly to the left hand edge of the map and fly up and down it. Are they meant to actually leave the map and your implementation hasn’t resulted in what you intended? Currently it looks rather odd.

Thanks for your feedback, I’m working on all this! The ships automatically ‘retreat’ at the end, and any retreating ship will retire to their side of the map, generally to be used as a strategy to get out of the line of fire to activate auto-repair systems


Maybe something like this would work?

if (Ship.HealthPercentage <= Ship.RetreatPercentage)
   if (Ship.CanSelfRepair)
      //Current logic for retreating
      //New logic that causes the ship to retreat to the far end of the map and then return to the fight.

This was the first observation I did upon starting the game for the first time. It’s no good designing your own specialised fleet of ships and give them orders when you have absolutely no idea what’s going on. For example, I have the option to order my vessels to prioritize either hostile Fighters, Cruisers or Frigates. But that’s all null and void, seeing as I have absolutely no clue as to exactly what the enemy ships are supposed to be! All I see is a bunch of vaguely insectoid, neon green lumps of engines and weaponry at the far right of the screen. (“Is that sqiggly, tentacled, green-and-purple thing over there a Cruiser or a Frigate?”). I mean; I assume the tiny, swarming ones ought to be Fighters, but what about everything else? Is there some unwritten rule I’m supposed to pick up on? I guess the Cruisers ought to be larger than the Frigates, but when the ships are both oddly shaped and around the same approx. size, it leaves me with nothing to work on.

And what about the enemy armaments? When I see the action, how am I supposed to know the difference between that white beam that just took out one of my Frigates and the purple one that just took out another one?

I have not yet gotten past the first battle in the campaign-thingy, and I have litterally no idea what I’m doing wrong. I just see my ships get ground up over and over, no matter what I do.

After reviewing my post, it appears that in telling my story a couple of the facts became confused or I didn’t understand the actuality as a new player. One is not forced to the upgrade screen after a battle. There is a choice of either statistics or upgrade - both of which will ultimately send the player to the main menu. Surely it would be better to send the player back to the mission select screen?
Also, fleet deployments are not available in subsequent missions. But are available at higher difficulties of the same mission. Nevertheless, the fleet cost restriction still prevents making any one fleet deployment available to all missions.

I like the idea of a battleship class ship. Limit it to one per deployment. Give it something interesting like “super” modules, but make it very expensive.

One thing I’d suggest though is that if you add something like this is have an option when doing challenges that you can check if these type of ships are allowed. Sometimes regular fleet battles might be preferred, and I don’t want they game to turn into one battle ship fighting another battle ship while all other ships are swatted like flies.

This could be very hard to balance, and if it doesn’t keep with the Gratuitous Space Battle’s theme it’s not worth it.