Demo feedback

Discuss the game of Starship Kingdom

Demo feedback

Postby James Sterrett » Thu Dec 28, 2006 12:05 pm

Tried the demo last night - a few comments (well, mostly gripes.... :? )

* As usual, an interesting and unusual twist on design from Andrew. :D I'm not certain if I like it yet, but the Indies, the simple production schema, and the blitzkrieg mechanics are all interesting - it is indeed a souped-up interstellar Risk. :)


* Not including improvements to tech and production in the demo for the human player (only) seems to really skew the strategy; the human has to engage in a mad rush of conquest before the tech disadvantage is overwhelming. I'm not sure how oddly this skews matters.

* On one occasion, I had an atack become impossible. I hadn't figured out the interface yet, tried to attack, selected some other target star (nowhere near by on the map), and could never go back to the original target star.

* There needs to be an "I'm done" button for redeployment. If I've only got one stack of ships, and want to redeploy parts of it into two places, I'm stuck: I can't select star other than the original two, nor can I end the first transfer without hitting cancel.

* The "Show final results" button feels to me like an "I'm bored, cut to the chase" button; it ought to *immediately* move to the fight's result. Instead, things sort of wander around a bit.

* Numbers of ships shown in fights seem to bear little relation to the numbers of ships seem on the main screen. This may be from ships that are damaged....? Related issue: how do I figure out which ships are damaged, how do I "exclude them from combat" as suggested by the manual?

* Minor issue: if you leave the title screen up long enough, the planet spins around until the tippy-top of the planet barely skims across the screen's bottom edge; it's pixelated and ugly.

* Minor issue: The hyperlink to the next section of the manual at the bottom of the "Starmap" topic (link reads: "Next Topic: Starships") is broken.


And finally....

An idea for defensive supernova bombs:

1) The defender must assign the bomb to a star (I'd tend to assign them to chokepoints)

2) The defender must specify the force ratio that will trigger the bomb: if X DNs, Y BBs, and Z BCs enter the system, trigger the bomb.

This is perhaps too complex, but it avoids breaking the flow of the game in the middle (bad for pbem, as others have noted), and allows the defender to specify what level of threat will trigger the bomb (avoiding the "probe fleet eats the bomb") issue. Making the defender specify the system to defend both permits and forces the defender to think in terms of using the bomb to help retain key chokepoint systems.
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Postby Andrew Ewanchyna » Fri Dec 29, 2006 9:43 am

Thanks James, like usual, you make some good points.

Creating demos is an art all to itself. The basic premise is to sell the differences of the full version versus the demo. Holding some features seems to be a reasonable approach. I don't really like the time limit method that I and everyone else uses these days. Of course, if this doesn't work, there's always time limits again. :wink:

I think there's a hard-to-reproduce bug with the star selection during the attack phase. I've been trying to reproduce it.

Redeployment only allows you to do one star-to-star transfer. The "End Phase" button is the "I'm done" button.

This is what the "show final results" is for. If pressed, I still need to run out the battle simulation. If not, I could never sync up online games. It could always be done a little bit better by not showing graphics until the very end, but I'm not sure if its much of an issue.

The ships in a fight (battle) are the same as what was shown on the star map. They simply fight in waves of 3. This goes back to how Risk does things. I wanted to keep similar dynamics.

Damaged ships are always picked last, but you make a good point. The current interface doesn't allow you to know if you're including them or not, except by watching which ship types were damaged in previous battles. Note that ships are "repaired" after every turn.

Yes, the planet sprite gets pixelated when close up. Not really much I want to do about this.

I'll think about your defensive bomb approach. It may be too complex for this game's design, though. As it is, I find supernova bombs to add an interesting dynamic to a game.
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Postby James Sterrett » Sat Dec 30, 2006 2:37 pm

Thanks for the replies! I'd clearly missed a few bits reading the manual - especially the "only one transfer" angle. :)

The delay between clicking "show final result" and getting the final result matters to me, but I have been known to be impatient on occasion. :wink:

Since ships always fight in waves of 3, the game tends to favor having all three types in each rounf, yes? A good thing, actually, if true. :) (I also finally figured out that the numbers next to the ship types were the individual ship's hit points... duh! :) )

I haven't got a perfect answer for you on the demo issue, though you nailed it pretty well for me with Battleship Chess. (Then again, Battleship Chess nailed me pretty well in general.... :D ) Perhaps, though, you could prevent the Blue and Indie teams from developing any techs & production, and thus keep the tech field level to prevent "blitzkrieg or die" being the player's best strategy?

(And if I'm wrong about that being the best strategy in the demo, tell me. :) )
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Postby Andrew Ewanchyna » Sat Dec 30, 2006 5:16 pm

I think it would favor having larger ships with greater hit points and more weapons (e.g. Battlestars) in a wave. What happens is that all ships are given a chance to fire off one of their weapons until no more ships are left to fire. If a ship is killed while it still has weapons to fire, those shots are lost that round. Ships are randomly chosen, btw.

As for the demo, I was thinking if you were playing online against someone with the full version, you'd probably get beaten because they have better tech, so you'd consider buying the full version. Ditto for playing against the AI. Remember, the purpose of the demo is to get people to buy the full version.

I think you want to try to attack the stars where the AI is trying to upgrade at (moving hammers), thereby keeping them at the same tech level as you.
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Postby Beserko » Mon Jan 01, 2007 12:35 am

there is a manual for this thing? Where...........
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Postby Andrew Ewanchyna » Mon Jan 01, 2007 9:38 am

It's an in-game manual. Call up Help from the main menu.
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Postby Beserko » Mon Jan 01, 2007 11:48 am

guess I won't be reading that one in the bathroom.
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Postby Andrew Ewanchyna » Mon Jan 01, 2007 2:04 pm

Ha, just get a laptop. :lol:
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Postby Thesis » Tue Jan 02, 2007 7:07 am

Downloaded the StarK demo at 3am last night and promptly began play.

At this hour of the morning the controls and interface were substantially confusing and I was crushed by my opponent easily. Went to bed.

Got up and made breakfast the following day, returned to the game and found that I had somehow got the hang of the game in my sleep. Cruised to an enormous victory.

The game's control flow is a pleasure and mimics the board game quite naturally. It is easier to get the hang of than StUn, in fact, learning to play StUn took months, StarK was a snap! I was able to learn very quickly.

The player is offered loads of battle analysis feedback, which should be useful in person to person games where every bit of firepower counts!

The Demo is very generous, yet the carrot is just the right shade of orange. I'm itching to move up the tech tree and test out the expandablilty via custom maps and the like.

Congratulations Andrew, really a job well done. Another successful synthesis of traditional genre mixed with something new!

PS
Out of interest: I ran win98 with 128MB RAM; on the cusp of lagging but still very stable.
Also, is Risk still outlawed in Germany?
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Postby Andrew Ewanchyna » Tue Jan 02, 2007 9:35 am

Risk was banned in Germany? Why?

Thanks for your feedback Thesis.

Happy New Year!
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Postby CautiousChaos » Tue Jan 02, 2007 4:28 pm

I was curious and found that Germany has a council body equivalent to the USA ESRB rating games. The difference with Germany's board is that they can prevent games meeting certain criteria from being sold.

Good examples are games that have references to Nazi's, like the Wolfenstein games.

At any rate, I didn't see any specific references for Risk in my travels. Unless it goes by some other name, but I didn't see anything that was close.

-cc
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Postby Thesis » Tue Jan 02, 2007 7:16 pm

I think I could be mistaken...

But I'm pretty sure communist Russia banned the Monopoly board game
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Postby dogydog » Thu Jan 04, 2007 3:36 am

Hi

Thanks for fixing my forum account problem.

Great demo. When I first loaded it up it seemed a bit complex and it was late so I switched it off. Next time I tried it, I got the hang of it. The interface took a bit to get the hang of.

I've played two full games (one on each map) and won them both, the second on the third turn.

Now that there is a second version to the demo I can't play it properly because a sign keeps appearing to say I should get the next one. But my internet has been shaped to 64k so I won't be downloading the next demo until the 10th (I know it's not big but I can't be bothered.)

Thanks anyway
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Postby Andrew Ewanchyna » Thu Jan 04, 2007 9:53 am

The game defaults to Novice mode, which I've been told is way too easy. I've changed it a bit to make it a little less easy. You should try turning the novice mode off and playing against more aggressive computer players.

The demo will ask you to download the latest version, if there is one because multiplayer uses the version number to decide if it can play against another.

thanks for the feedback
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Postby Blackjet » Thu Jan 04, 2007 10:03 am

Just a random question, is there going to be music in the demo? I couldn't find any, though I love the sound effects the game has!
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