Some very preliminary thoughts/things I've noticed


#1

Obviously with the game only being out a matter of hours, I’ve not played more than a couple of games. However, I can definitely say I’m enjoying it so far, and will post more thoughts on the game once I’ve played it enough to make some solid statements.

However, in the mean time, there are a couple of small things like slight UI errors, a couple of things that just bother me a bit, and one crash bug that I’ve found that I thought it might be helpful to point out as it is a beta. I apologise if any of these are already known/are in the process of being fixed, but I figured it’d be best just to be comprehensive.

Starting with the big one, the crash to desktop bug. In the unit editing, if you click on ‘load’ and delete the unit you are currently editing (even if you have made changes since the last time you saved), you get a screen that looks like this:

Clicking on ‘change hull’ or loading another unit fixes the problem, but clicking on either components or augmentations causes the game to crash to the desktop. I’ve poked around this a few times now, and it seems to happen the same way every time.

Next, the smaller slight UI errors I’ve noticed:
If you exit a tutorial part way through, the tutorial message hangs around until you can clear it, even if it is no longer applicable at all, such as below:

The tutorial message refers to the terrain editing screen, which I closed previously, but I couldn’t get rid of the tutorial message until I went back into it did the right click as it instructed.

The tips that pop up during battle pop up behind the UI, obscuring them. You can click on them to bring them forward, so this is not a huge problem, but took me a little time to figure out:

And then there’s just a few things that probably aren’t really errors as such, but have just bothered me a little bit:

  • When editing the colours, the ability to save them to player colours is really nice, but it would perhaps be better if right clicking on one of the player colours removed them from the player colour palette, rather than adding them again, a second time?
  • The tool tips on the variants and the parts of the currently selected model in the colour edit screen look unfinished? They seem to just be things like: ‘medium_beam_turret’ or ‘turret_turret’
  • You can’t alt-tab out of the game and back in again when it’s full screened. Or at least, it didn’t work for me. I just ended up with a black screen, and had to close the game and start again. This isn’t a necessary feature, but it is nice.
  • The zoom in/out on the battlefield is currently scroll up to zoom out and scroll down to zoom in. In most applications and games I’ve played, it’s the other way around, which caught me off guard. This is entirely a personal preferences thing, but it might be nice to at least give an option in the options to reverse this, so that it’s the more ‘normal’ way around?

Anyway, I hope I don’t come across as negative about the game at all, because I’m not. None of these issues are really problematic and they are all entirely understandable for a beta build. I’ll post any more stuff I find as I find it, as well.


#2

Hi there! Thanks for the feedback which is truly excellent and much appreciated, I shall of course get all of this fixed.
Regarding the zooming thing, you can indeed already reverse this on the options screen, if I understand you correctly.


#3

Oh, so you can. I missed spotting that. Thanks! And glad it’s helpful.


#4

I’m not totally sure about this, but I think the cost of units is being incorrectly calculated?

When you select a hull in unit editor, it states the weight and cost of that hull (with the tool tip on the cost stating that that is the cost without any components). However, when you hit ‘OK’, the weight appears as it stated, but the cost is 0 and, as you add components, the cost is only the total cost of the components. The cost displayed here, without the hull cost, is also the cost that appears when you are in the actual battles. As such, I think units are ending up much cheaper than intended, as the cost of their hulls is not included.


#5

A couple more things:

There’s one online challenge at the moment, but I can’t play it. I’m not sure whether it’s a problem with the system of the particular scenario, but when I select it and hit ‘Defend!’, the following error pops up: “Missing scenario file:.\src\SIM_Scenario.cpp 185”. Clicking on okay causes the game to crash to desktop.

When you have full supplies, the supply indicator blinks to indicate this. However, if you pause the game, the blinking also pauses, meaning that if you pause it when it is blinked off, the supplies stop showing until you unpause the game.

Also, I either quite badly suck at this game, or it’s really, really hard. I’ve had several goes at it now, but I can’t come close to completing the third level as either attackers or defenders on Captain difficulty, and I’m not really sure what I’m doing wrong. I’m doing my best to manage the whole rock-paper-scissors mechanic with the shield/armour/infantry, but it feels like the AI can place units much faster than I can, either way around. Any pointers, or something I might have missed? It does, however, indicate that the AI is reasonably clever, at least, as it is solidly outwitting me and seems to respond very quickly and well to the situation on the board.


#6

the difficulty does jump up from mission 2 to 3. It might end up getting adjusted back down. Are you playing as attacker or defender? don’t forget you can try either at that stage.
Make sure you concentrate on the enemy infantry and supply/support vehicles as defender. It really matters little how many big scary mechs and tanks make it through, because they aren’t going to lose you the game.
And as attacker, always support your units when you can. if you have unlocked repair/ambulance modules etc, they help masively in supporting your units.
Plus as defender always keep an eye on attacking infantry so you can click the dog tags and collect those bonuses!


#7

Hmmm, I haven’t really played around with support units too much yet. I will try that out. Thanks :slight_smile: I have been playing as both attacker and defender, though I seem to be a bit better as defender, likely because it’s a bit more familiar as a tower defense (though the differences between this and a ‘normal’ tower defense are noticeable).

Also, Captain level highscores don’t seem to be saving after the game is closed and re-opened. I’ve completed defense on the first two levels at Major difficulty and those highscores are saved, but I’ve also completed the first level on Captain as defense and the second level on Captain as both offense and defense, but once I close the game down and open it again, the highscores disappear.

EDIT: I’ve now beaten the third level on Captain as the attackers (thanks, your advice was spot on, I’d entirely underestimated the importance to support units and unit variation in general), and on that level the high score has been recorded even after closing and re-opening the game. So I’m not sure what is going on with the first couple of levels with that. Perhaps it’s only remembering the high score for the first difficulty you complete it on? I’ll experiment and try to determine if that is the case.

One thing that I think might be a nice feature, though I have no idea how easy it might be, would be some kind of ‘favourite units’ bar? Currently in battle you have access to every different turret/attacking unit you’ve created and comes with the game, which is nice until the battles start getting really frantic and you can’t find that one special turret you need right now. It’s not the hugest problem (though I can see it getting worse as I play the game more and design more units) because you can always pause and hunt for it, but I think I’d find it helpful if there was a secondary bar that you could add units to, perhaps before you hit ‘start battle’ that just gives you quick access to a few that you’ve picked out. Or something along those lines.


#8

Right, having now completed the second level as attacks on Major difficulty, it does indeed look like it is only recording the first high score you achieve on each level. At least, that’s the best I’ve been able to tell. The high scores appear fine after you complete the level, and as long as you keep GTB open, but if you close it and open it again, only the first high score you achieved on that level will be recorded. For instance, I’ve completed the second level as Captain and Major as both attacker and defender, but I completed the first time on Major as defender, and that’s the only score I see recorded and displayed on the campaign map.


#9

I’ve encountered the same crash to desktop in the customization screen when trying to delete the default designs. Deleting any design was giving me a blank screen like the one shown. Then I’d get a crash when trying to delete the next design.


#10

There seem to be a couple of issues around setting the path for your units in branching maps (particularly mechs).

I played around a bit with this in the fourth map (Bear north on Rue de Saint-Elol) and found two things. First, the first few (three, I think?) times I tried to set a course for them through the map, the game crashed to desktop. I haven’t been able to recreate that since, however, so I have no idea under what circumstances that exactly happens.

Second, mechs, on being given direction orders, sometimes turn fully around in their square before heading the right direction. It seems to happen if the red arrows start in the same square that they are in, rather than the next square. Since this is a bit hard to describe, I made a video that illustrates it (please ignore the slowness/performance issues; they are entirely because of Fraps and the game normally runs perfectly smoothly):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=axy9Qrhk9DI&feature=youtu.be

Hopefully from that you can see exactly what I’m talking about. What I did was just place some mechs and click around to give them orders, and you can see all three of them do the little pirouette. It only happens with mechs, not with infantry or tanks, and it doesn’t happen every time, but it happens often. The crash to desktop also happened with mechs, but since I can’t recreate that I can’t tell whether that’s coincidence or whether it is related to them being mechs.

I’ve also been messing around with the map editor, and found another crash to desktop bug. When creating a custom map, you can’t (that I can tell, though let me know if I just missed it) set up the scenario specific units like the campaign maps have. However, this is still an option that comes up when you try to play the map as the defender (the options you have are adaptive AI with scenario units and adaptive AI with all units, with the scripted option greyed out). If you choose the adaptive AI with scenario units, the game crashes during loading the level to play. Since it works fine with the adaptive AI with all units, I assume this is because there are no scenario units set up. If you choose to play at the attacker, the adaptive AI with scenario units is greyed and this isn’t a problem.

Something else that came up (and this is likely me just doing something wrong/not understanding, but having read the manual I can’t spot anything obvious) is that the fancy terrain bump map generation didn’t seem to work. The following is the map I created as seen during a battle, looking entirely flat:

One last thing is that, particularly when writing the map descriptions, it would nice if more punctuation was available, especially commas and apostrophes. Trying to write a paragraph without either of those is surprisingly hard and ends up becoming weirdly worded. It seems the punctuation available in all text boxes in the game is very limited.

Otherwise, I found the map editor to do everything I wanted it to, and I think could be a lot of fun to mess around with in future. Some parts of it could be a little more user friendly (I seem to always have to fight with it to select more than one tile, esp. in tile editor), but overall I was quite impressed at how simple and quick it was to create a map and that the AI had absolutely no problem playing on it.


#11

Putting bug finding aside for a little bit, I’ve played the game for a little now and feel like I have some solid first impressions. I’m sure this’ll develop and change as both the game gets updated and I spend more time with it, but this is essentially how I see it right now.

Graphics:

This game looks great, simply put. One of the prettiest 2D games I’ve seen, especially on night-time missions. All the lighting effects work really well, there’s lots of detail and nice touches. The game looks equally nice fully zoomed in on a unit at 0.4x speed and fully zoomed out at 4.0x speed, which is also quite impressive in and of itself. The graphics also aren’t so over the top or cluttered that you can’t see what’s going on, which can be a danger.

Gameplay:

On the defending side, this is not a normal tower defense game, at least compared to the tower defense games I’ve played. It seems a lot more fast paced and frantic; I think this is due to the fact that it’s not broken down into waves, so you have to keep building and expanding as the enemy is coming, and the paths haven’t been awfully long in any case as yet, so units aren’t on the screen forever. Also, most tower defense games have between 5 and 10 enemy types and half dozen and a dozen turret types. Obvious that’s not the case here with the customisable units, giving you a lot more variety and depth, though perhaps at the cost of a slightly steeper learning curve. Whether someone prefers this is probably a matter of taste, but I have to say that I’m really liking it. It’s a nice shake up and development of the genre.

On the attacking side, I know there are games out there that have done a tower attack thing before, but I haven’t played any, so I can’t really compare. However, even as a new-comer this mode is a lot of fun. I think it has more of a learning curve than the towers do, as there’s a bit more variety in the units and the unit bases, so you need to learn how to use each correctly. I feel like attacking is also more about building up a longer term strategy than the defending is, which can be more immediate reaction as towers can be placed anywhere along the length of the track.

Both sides I think are well developed, neither feeling weaker or tacked on, and I don’t strongly prefer playing one or the other, which I thought I might.

Overall, this is proving to be quite a bit of fun, though my main concern is the learning curve and how quickly the difficulty seems to build. The first couple of levels you can get through even on Major without really knowing what you’re doing, but starting at level 3 it gets a lot harder quite quickly. It is a bit of a double-edged sword, on the other hand, as while it was a little frustrating when I started to learn the game, it’s now proving to be quite fun to have the very real challenge there, and know that I’m not just going to complete this game tomorrow and never think about it again. I wonder if some of the difficulty in working out some of the stuff you need to know (like the importance of support vehicles, etc.) could be added as tips during loading screens or something similar? Or added to the existing tips that pop up? I also like that the rounds have a basically fixed length and that length isn’t too long. Too many tower defense games have levels that can take an hour plus to complete.

AI:

I’m pretty pleased with the AI. I feel it sometimes acts a little superhumanly, but for the most part it makes for a good opponent and challenge. And I certainly prefer the slightly-too-quick-and-smart AI to a completely moronic one.

Customisation:

Obviously this is important to the game and I think it is done very, very well. A lot of improvement on what GSB had, which was already pretty good. I like the fact that you now have one weapon slot and one or two armour/shield slots and one targeting shot, etc. This makes the process of designing a unit a lot more approachable for someone new to the game, and makes the units a lot easier to balance, preventing min/max tomfoolery to an extent. The augmentations are an interesting idea as well, though I’m not sure I’ve totally got my head around how to best make use of them.

Where the customisation in GTB really shines though, I think, is in all the ‘pointless’ customisation options. The ability to colour and name and give a little description to all of your units, the ability to choose your commander’s name and the emblem and all that stuff. This is something that GSB did not have at all, but it is very much appreciated here. It might not have a mechanical impact, but it really helps get you attached to your units and make them feel personal and like something you’ve created.

The map editor I’ve played with less, but as I mentioned before, I think it works well. It’s still a bit buggy and has some awkward components, but even with that I could create a map fairly quickly and painlessly once I got my head around the basics of using the editor.


#12

This is great! I’m glad I checked the web site to see if it’s available. :slight_smile:

Combat is faster paced than I expected, but that’s not a bad thing. I got creamed the first couple of times (used to a slow income ala Defense Grid lol) but after I started slapping down turrets in a hurry I quickly beat the first and second mission using the easiest settings. I’m going to get back to it now that I’m done posting this. :slight_smile:

Question: When I add a Damage Enhancement Augmentation to Infantry, for example, the 10% bonus isn’t enough to increase the damage by a whole number, so according to the UI, it does nothing. Does it in fact do nothing, or are their hidden decimals?

Some early bugs:

  • As others have reported, it crashes when Alt + Tabbing
  • The “Accuracy I” Augmentation (maybe all the Accuracy Augs…) either isn’t working or else the weapon stats aren’t updating to reflect it.
  • Under Unit Design, if I click on Change Hull, create my design, and then save it, it works fine. However, if I click on Load, select one of the sample units that come with the game, modify it, and then save it under a new name, it not only creates a new design file in the player designs folder, but it also overwrites the original sample unit. At that point, it lists two identical units on the Load menu. I finally figured it out when I looked in the GTB\data\sampleunits folder and found the unit I designed in there (and one of the original sample units missing).
  • I designed a new Medium Tank 3, and in combat it uses the Supply Truck icon in the ribbon across the bottom. The name shows up correctly and if I click on it, my cursor turns into a Medium Tank 3.
  • The Elephant Heavy Tank uses a Large Ballistic Turret icon in combat in the ribbon across the bottom. The name shows up correctly and if I click on it, my cursor turns into a Heavy Tank 1.

Suggestion:

  • I see some people have mentioned that with a bunch of designs, the ribbon interface for placing units can become cumbersome. One possibility is to allow players to set designs to “Active” or “Inactive” before entering combat. Only the Active designs will appear on the ribbon. This way you wouldn’t have to delete your designs in order to remove them and you could pick and choose for various maps. Perhaps the AI could ignore this setting when using designs you’ve created.

  • I agree with another person’s post (don’t remember the name) that a Tank and a Mech hull with 1 Heavy weapon slot and 1 Light weapon slot would be great to have. This would allow for traditional tanks that have a cannon and a machinegun, as well as new concepts.

  • If it can be done fairly easily, it would be nice to be able to see how many shots are fired per burst from the machineguns/Assault Rifle/SMG in the Unit Design screen.


#13

When you delete a design, it doesn’t delete the one you select, it deletes the one you’re currently working on.

Also, Medium Beam Turrets don’t seem to show their colours correctly in the selection menu along the bottom in battle.


#14

Custom maps seem to inherit the high scores of the maps that are originally edited.


#15

this is likely due to them sharing the same name, which is something I’ll prevent.


#16

In this case, I did rename the map in the ‘save’ menu of the map editor, and it displays the different name in the custom menu. If you’re referring to some filename or something players can’t see, ignore this, but I thought I’d clarify in case it does save you from chasing a blind alley. The following is my custom map as it appears in the custom maps screen, and the high score seen in the bottom right is my high score from the map I originally edited, which was the ‘Bear north on…’ map:

The thumbnail also looks a little off, but I don’t know how those are generated so that may be entirely my fault.


#17

I’m referring to a hidden name you can’t see, not what I call the ‘GUI’ name. I’ll ensure custom names get a randomly generated unique name to stop this happening.
I am curious about your bug regarding bump maps not being generated. Are there any errors? If you look here

\my documents\my games\gratuitous tank battles\scenarios[SCENARIO NAME]\bitmaps

you should see 2 images. one is a screenshot of the map, in color. the other (only generated AFTER you have launched it as a battle) will be the bump map. Is there no bump map?
If you could try creating a new map, saving it and running it, and then immediately afterwards (they get overwritten each time) send the files in

\my documents\my games\gratuitous tank battles\debug

to cliff@positech.co.uk, it would be much appreciated :smiley: