Now that I’ve finally gotten a chance to get into GSB2 in some depth, here are my thoughts. I’ve divided them into Presentation (graphics, UI, sounds and so forth) and Mechanics (actual gameplay) for ease of reading. Apparent bugs and general peculiarities will not be included here, as they belong elsewhere on the forums.
All the points below are intended as constructive criticism only, in the effort to make GSB2’s full release as successful as it can be.
And here we go …
I want to toss my support behind the notion of having a default visual appearance for each hull. While I am enjoying the customizer, the fact is that part of what drew me into GSB1 in the first place was that inside of ten minutes, I’d designed half a dozen ships and was already blowing stuff up. Visual customization is terrific, but it plays better as something you can do, rather than but thou must. (And for those like me who want the ships to look as awesome as possible, it is definitely but thou must.) Default appearance also means that any challenges posted by players who don’t particularly care about the visuals will still look good.
Side note on customizing ships: The ability to slide components underneath the main hull would be appreciated. (Specifically, on the Nixon fighter hull, I could not get any wings that actually looked attached. If I could slip the wings just under the hull, it would look a lot better.)
I also agree that the first battlefield (Atterion III) is kind of busy for what should be the kiddie end of the pool. I think the combat size is perfect, but all the asteroids and what-have-you is really distracting if you’re not used to it. The extra “terrain” features should be eased into as the player advances through the core missions.
Another terrain thought: The nebula on Paleovost IX (third scenario) is thick enough that tracking the ships is quite difficult. I like the concept of having some bits of nebula for the ships to pass under, but it may need to be thinned out a little to avoid interfering with the best part of the game: watching ships go a-splode in gratuitous color!
Zoom factor: This needs some adjustment. Especially on the second battle (Yamaxxia Prime), the camera is zoomed in way too far (to the point that as the voiceover says “Enemy fleet detected”, my ships jump in filling my entire screen). Especially with long-range weapons in play, this makes the battle incredibly hard to track - the target of my missile launchers is almost invariably off the screen if I’m set on the ship doing the shooting.
Module descriptions: These need some more detail. For example, the Recon Projector System: I can see this is a support beam, but there is no indication of exactly what it supports. The Shield Support Beams and Propulsion Beam I can figure out from the name, but a bit more detail in the description there would also not be amiss. The Combat Tractor is another extremely vague module.
Very small thing: I might suggest instead of “Warhead” the term “Payload” be used, or even just “Damage Type” or something similar. It is a bit jarring to look at a beam laser to check what kind of warhead it has.
Dreadnoughts: As mentioned elsewhere in the forums, dreadnoughts don’t really feel “special” to me as is. The measures already mentioned work well to my mind, so I will just say this: Dreadnoughts should be scary. If my dread’s turrets lock on an enemy ship, the crew of that ship should be scrambling for the lifepods. (Or at least for the head, to clean themselves up.)
Camouflage Shield: After unlocking this module, I decided to make a stealth cruiser. I deployed a few of them on Atterion III to see how they worked, and … they jumped in, remained visible, and started tossing out gunfire. Assuming the camouflage shield works similarly to GSB1 (cloak, get into range, decloak and go to town), cruisers need some shorter-range weaponry and/or guns that fire from under camouflage. (Admittedly, I haven’t gotten everything unlocked and investigated yet, so it’s possible such weapons are still waiting at R&D.) The notion of a cruiser that silently, invisibly sails into the enemy’s face, then pops up to hand out some explosive love notes before vanishing again, is really what camouflage is all about.
Honor unlocks: I agree that some of the costs appear pretty low, particularly given the huge budgets of many of the missions (and the large volume of honor that can theoretically be achieved from them). There also seem to be some … oddities … in how the costs are assigned. (The Combat Tractor Beam has an unlock of 1,250, while the Heavy Combat Tractor Beam is sitting at 600.) Just food for thought.