Newbie's first impressions


#1

I got this game in the humble bundle, played about half of the battles and then fizzled out. But I think it’s a great concept and with some tweaks it could be an awesome game. I’m not posting this just to complain or to trash the game. I honestly want to see it reach its full potential because I really like this stat-heavy, endless-customization style of strategy game. I wish there were more games like this.

First of all, I love the premise of setting up the battle ahead of time, watching it play out, and then using what you learn to revise your strategy for next time. My main complaint with the game is that there is not enough information available to make informed decisions (or in some cases, the information may be there but is not presented in the most useful way).

Fleet Deployment: After a few battles, I felt like I was just playing rock-paper-scissors because I couldn’t see the details of enemy ships during fleet deployment. All I knew about the enemy fleet was how many of each hull type they have. Were they using long range or short range weapons? Were they prioritizing shields or armor? Will I need to defend against EMPs? I could only guess. Obviously it would be unfair to know everything about the enemy fleet before deploying your own, so you would probably need some sort of turn-based fleet deployment where each side places one ship at a time (or $1000 worth of ships or whatever) and then you can assign orders once all ships have been placed. I understand that it would require a LOT of development work to write a fleet deployment AI. It would probably feel like a completely different game, but I think it would be a better game.

Ship Design: Write better component descriptions that give you a good idea of the strengths, weaknesses, and common usage scenarios of each item (some of the existing descriptions are ok, some are useless). Show DPS in the weapon stats.

Battle: The battles are fun to watch, but it takes a lot of clicking to see all the details. I would like to see the shield, armor, and hull bars (or number of fighters left) next to each ship icon on the left side of the screen so i can see them all at the same time. After clicking on a ship you should be able to see the stats for all its weapons at once instead of having to click on each weapon. I’d also like to see the ship’s orders, tactical goals (eliminate ship X to rescue ship Y), and current targets. Selecting a fighter should select the whole squadron so i can see their aggregate weapon stats. I don’t care about individual fighters.

Post-Battle Analysis: Frankly, this is a mess. It seems like an afterthought when it should be one of the most important parts of the game. This is where you learn what worked and what didn’t. This is where you decide how to change your ship designs. The main thing I wanted to do here was to compare different ships or weapons to see which ones dealt (or deflected) the most damage. That information is not available. All i can see is a percentage of potential damage and to compare two ships or weapons i have to click back and forth between them. I would redesign this with stacked bar charts. You select either Weapons or Ships. Then you get to see a bar chart with every ship or weapon side by side. The bar is split up into damage to shields, armor, and hull. The entire bar is scaled by the total damage done. You could also add an option to switch between total damage and accuracy, with missed shots broken down by whether it was a miss or reflected. An option to filter which weapons/ships are shown would probably be necessary. Do the same thing for defensive stats. Keep all of the old battle reports so you can go back and look at them when designing new ships.

Best of luck,
Armin