Initial impressions + feedback on the beta


#1

Hello! I just found out about Gratuitous Space Battles earlier today, and it looked excellent so I preordered and started playing as soon as I got home this evening. I take beta testing seriously, so I wanted to share my feedback after playing GSB for about 2 hours. I did not run into any major bugs. I was concerned, as some games have trouble with my SLI setup but everything worked perfectly. I was very impressed that it detected my desktop resolution on my primary monitor as 1920x1200 and used it automatically.

During the tutorial, one of the tutorial windows early on refers to the “Add new order” button. In actuality, the text of the button is simply “Add order…”.

I noticed that some windows have an OK button to be pressed to close them, while others have Xs in the upper right hand corner, and some even have both! Certainly not a showstopper by any means, but a consistent UI can help with the impression of polish.

When going through the tutorial, I think I hit a bug (the only one I ran into thus far). I was on the bit of the tutorial where it explains the orders. It has you click on the Add order… button and look at the contents of that window. It then asks that you close that window. I did not select anything in the window or do anything aside from just reading it. I then closed the window. The tutorial window advising me to close the order window remained in place, and nothing I could do would proceed with the tutorial. Is the tutorial completed at that point? I ended up trying clicking on the button to start the battle, as I was unable to do anything else on that screen (I did not test the Main Menu button). I assume that there is some more of the tutorial that I missed.

When you complete a battle, you are given the choice to go to the HQ or to the Statistics screen. I chose to go to the statistics screen first. However, once in the Statistics window, the only option is to exit out back to the main menu. I expected the HQ button to be present there also, as that was the next thing I wanted to check out. Not a bug, but an interface issue you might want to consider changing.

The ship name display on the left hand side of the screen directly above the “Add order…” button was confusing. It took me awhile to figure out what it was. The tutorial (at least what I saw) did not refer to it, and I couldn’t figure out what it represented for a bit. Once I did figure out it was displaying the name of the ship selected, I thought it a bit odd that it uses the font and sizing that it does which causes pretty much all ship names to be shortened with some ellipses denoting that the full name is longer.

When deploying ships, I could not find any way to discover why after placing 2 fighters I could not place a third. I had enough crew and credits left to place several Cruisers, but it would not allow me to place more fighters even though they are cheaper and require less crew. Since they were disabled, I could not click on them and see what their stats were to investigate if I were wrong and see if they were indeed more expensive than I had thought. I still don’t understand why I was prevented for using more Fighters. The extent of the tutorial I saw only mentioned the limitations of Crew and Cost, but clearly there are other limitations at play. Perhaps offer up the reason you cannot add more of those type of ships as a tooltip when hovering over the disabled icon, or display it with the ship stats in the window where the ship stats appear when you click on enabled ships?

Also, during battle, I wanted to change the Volume once I realized the music was entirely drowning out the FX. I know there’s not supposed to be any sound in space in most places, but I wanted to hear the weapons doing their work! I expected the ESC button to open up a menu, but it only gave me the option of leaving the battle entirely. Might I suggest a reduced version of the main menu allowing access to the Options? This is a quite common user interface element in games and I believe other users will also expect it to be present.

Oh, I almost forgot this one… on the buttons that line the right of the minimap, I have a lot of trouble seeing the tooltips. They do not appear when I hover my cursor over them like they do for all the other UI elements in the game. When I move my mouse cursor after hovering, the tooltip appears and very quickly disappears. It took several tries to be able to figure out what the targetting reticule did.

Thanks for offering this game early to fans! I think the inexcusable practice of most game companies withholding their games until their games are available on retail shelves is one of the big things that fuels piracy and am glad to see someone coming to their senses and taking advantage of the benefits of digital distribution in a serious way! I also very much appreciate your policy and statements about DRM and not treating your customers like criminals. I am certain your goodwill will be repaid well.

I apologize if some of these issues have been mentioned before, I did not take the time to peruse the board before posting, I just wanted to share my initial impressions and share the notes I took while playing (and having fun!). I’ll be sure to report any further findings as soon as I can, and I hope the feedback helps.

Thanks,
otakucode


#2

Hello - just thought I’d clarify this for you. It’s easy to see why you might get confused, but the limiting factors in placing ships are actually pilots and cost, not crew and cost. Each fighter in the 16-ship squadron requires a pilot… as does each single cruiser or frigate (i.e. 1 per ship). So a squad of fighters uses 16 times as many pilots as a frigate or cruiser. This is an intentional mechanism to restrict the deployment of mass fighter groups on some maps. (Some maps have a very high pilot count, allowing for an all-fighter deployment if you like.) I believe this is covered in the manual, but it certainly wouldn’t hurt to make it clearer within the game UI too.


#3

Ahh, OK, thanks for the explanation. I hadn’t read the manual, I probably should have. I imagine it is a good mechanic as well, fighters seem to be quite capable in battle and using too many would probably make things too easy in some circumstances!