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This game is missing some vital features!

 
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All Forums >> [Current Games From Matrix.] >> [Discontinued Games] >> Starshatter: The Gathering Storm >> This game is missing some vital features! Page: [1]
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This game is missing some vital features! - 6/16/2008 4:47:35 AM   
Mazryonh

 

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Okay, I realize that this version is significantly better than its 1.0 incarnation, but there are still some vital features I believe should not have been overlooked upon the revamping to 2.0. Stuff like this might be forgiven on a budget title, but having paid 40+ good dollars out of my pocket, I think I should be getting a little more for my money.

The following is a list of those features that I believe should have been included. To wit:

* Space Dust. No really, not just the 1-pixel "space snow" in this game that is very hard to see, I mean the space dust that actually helps you see where you're going. A feature like this was present way back in the days of the original X-Wing by LucasArts (I actually own an original CD copy, believe you me). Back then it was just a bunch of 2 or 3 frame animated sprites representing space debris, but it gave you a sense of speed that would otherwise be unavailable in the endless void of space. When you drive a car, the speed at which the scenery is rushing past you lets you intuitively know how fast you're going and which direction you're heading in; such a vital feature is missing in this game. Okay, so maybe the developers wanted a "more realistic" experience, because there aren't any such signposts for us Earthbound creatures in space, but it worsens the quality of the game nonetheless.

Because this game lets you travel in a direction you're not necessarily pointing your craft's nose towards, and because the velocity vector gizmo can be annoyingly hard to find at times, space dust that was more visible and gave you a sense of direction could have greatly helped me get around in this game. A game called Darkstar One, despite being questionably localized into English (i.e., a Thul battle pilot saying "Are you sure you really wanna take a mess with me?"), questionably designed ships that looked like toys, and possessing a rather rudimentary market system, nevertheless implemented the "space dust that lets you see how fast you're going as well as where you're going" very well; the dust was everywhere and became animated into progressively longer streaks as you went faster, so with this feature you could instantly recognize that you were still travelling backwards despite facing in a different direction.

As earthbound creatures, we rely on scenery rushing past us to give us a sense of our speed and our velocity; this is why people looking out the windows of airliners think "we're going so slow!" Implementing a simple visual aid such as the previously-outlined space dust could have greatly helped players of this game.

Of course, that problem isn't helped by the fact that this game needs . . .

* More easily noticeable HUD indicators. Two of the worst offenders include the ones that indicate the direction to your target and your velocity vector indicator. Yes, real-life jet pilots are stuck with the same 3-spoked wheel velocity indicator, but since they are "really there" in their jetfighters, they can use their other senses (like their sense of touch) to automatically tell where they're accelerating, and can easily turn their heads to see just where their target is (not all owners of this game have Track IR headsets).

Because both the target direction and the velocity vector symbols are rather small on high resolutions and can often get lost on the sides of the screen when the target or exact position of the velocity vector lies outside your current field of view, finding either of these can cost precious seconds in a dogfight. If the two had possessed easy-to-identify symbols that rotated around your HUD's reticule pointing in the direction of your target or velocity vector, it would have made finding your bearings relative to your velocity vector or your target easier and less clumsy.

Why put them rotating around your HUD? Because it's near the central point of interest in the interface (where your direct-firing guns are going to shoot). I played a simulation game called "Aquanox 2: Revelation" that possessed this feature, and it certainly made locating the designated target much easier rather than scanning all four sides of the screen for the hard-to-find target direction or velocity vector symbols when either is not in your field of view. Of course, the rotating arrow indicator would disappear when the target or velocity vector is in your reticule.

* More ways to intercept or throw off missiles as a fighter. After being fragged more times than I can count by missile spamming frigates (according to Project Rho's analysis, there's absolutely no point to space fighters when missiles can do the same for much cheapter) because I ran out of decoys too fast, or having my decoys disabled first because some lucky shot hit the wrong place, I believe there really should have been more than just one way to get missiles off your tail. Yes, it may be "realistic" that you can't shoot down enemy missiles with fighter guns, but even real jetfighter pilots can outmaneuver missiles from some distance away. It's something called "game balance" and I'm not sure it's done very well here. It's also very annoying that fighters can't intercept anti-ship missiles with their guns either--I've lost many a friendly capital ship because of this.

* A more convenient target selection system. I still own a copy of X-Wing vs. TIE Fighter, and it had a very good target selection system that was broken into enemy targets, friendly targets, neutral targets, mission-objective-related targets, a key for targeting the object exactly under your gunsights, and best of all, the spacebar for immediately targetting incoming missiles so you could intercept them with your guns if you couldn't use countermeasures for whatever reason. The current target selection system is unforgivably clumsy at times; often I would try to select what's directly under my reticule only to select something away from it. The current keyboard shortcuts also don't distinguish between enemy and friendly targets, and the "target missile" key sometimes doesn't target a missile locked onto you.

I'll be adding more to this list as I get deeper into the game, but if the developers at Destroyer Studios want to get a sequel to be much more successful and accessible, they will definitely need some of the aforementioned features to do so.
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RE: This game is missing some vital features! - 6/16/2008 6:24:47 PM   
wdboyd


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Mazryonh

The following is a list of those features that I believe should have been included. To wit:

* Space Dust.

As earthbound creatures, we rely on scenery rushing past us to give us a sense of our speed and our velocity; this is why people looking out the windows of airliners think "we're going so slow!" Implementing a simple visual aid such as the previously-outlined space dust could have greatly helped players of this game.

* More ways to intercept or throw off missiles as a fighter.

* A more convenient target selection system.

The current keyboard shortcuts also don't distinguish between enemy and friendly targets, and the "target missile" key sometimes doesn't target a missile locked onto you.



Firstly, Starshatter is basically a tactical space fleet battle simulation. Comparing it to other space games is a waste of time. It is what it is.

a. You consider space dust a vital feature? It's normally used to provide a arcade speed effect. The sense of speed is lost in the vastness of simulated space.

b. Starshatter is primarily a tactical space fleet battle simulation with the added capability to pilot space fighter/attack craft. It is not a fighter simulation.

Missiles cannot be targeted in Starshatter. Drone torpedoes etc. can, but not missiles. The fighters flares only decoy incoming missiles.

Starshatter is confured the way it is to reflect the creators vision of simulated tactical space fleet combat.

Some would obviously prefer a more arcady type presentation. That is fine, but that is not Starshatter.




< Message edited by wdboyd -- 6/16/2008 6:31:31 PM >

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RE: This game is missing some vital features! - 6/21/2008 1:30:02 AM   
JT

 

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quote:

* Space Dust. No really, not just the 1-pixel "space snow" in this game that is very hard to see, I mean the space dust that actually helps you see where you're going.


Yeah, space dust is conspicuously missing from this game, as it is in Vega Strike. Certain-people-who-excessively-use-italics-and-bolding will claim that it is unrealistic to have space dust, but realism shouldn't be a foremost concern in a game that:

1) imposes a speed limit on how fast you can go,
2) includes quantum faster-than-light travel,
3) you know, takes place in space. ;-)


Incidentally, evading missiles in a fighter is easier if you understand that you have to kill the burner when dropping a decoy. The decoy signature is more powerful than your regular engine, but less powerful than your afterburner -- so if you drop a decoy during hard burn, the missile will ignore the decoy and go for the obviously brighter signature.

Some tweaks to the game could make frigates' interceptor missiles less manoeuvrable, but the point of a frigate is to serve as picket defence anyway.

_____________________________

Starshatter: The Gathering Storm is brought to you in part by Whoop-Ass -- When the Hegemony gets you down, open up a can of Whoop-Ass! Now with extra chutzpah!

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RE: This game is missing some vital features! - 11/29/2008 10:40:59 AM   
Destraex

 

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JT , are u telling us that all attempts at realism imagined or otherwise should be thrown out in favour of doing whatever takes peoples fancy.
We could end up with space ponies or anything.
Ths game makes an attempt to show what it would really be like out their.

The only thing I really agree with you on is the speed limitations. However after playing the babylon5 space simulator I understand why they had to do this. In "weve found her" the b5 sim, you sped past the enemy at a billion light years an hour and it would take you another hour to get back into position. To be realistic here, both parties would get one pass and then be gone forever the speed would be so great and the fuel to turn around so costly.

_____________________________


Real Time Tactical Battles. Real Time Campaign Map. WW1 Fleets

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RE: This game is missing some vital features! - 6/8/2009 4:42:53 AM   
Sard

 

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Fairly old topic, but I feel this is worth adding; A simulation of tactical space combat is entirely up for comparison to other games- in this case, Independence War 2. The user interface in that is a great example of conventions like "space dust" used in a realistic way, via the HUD. Streaks of the stuff appeared on the pilot's visor to indicate velocity and direction, alongside many other excellent tracking features. I think the interface in this could use similar elements to great effect, not only fitting easily into the "tactical simulation" description, but enhancing it.

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RE: This game is missing some vital features! - 7/19/2009 11:14:04 PM   
milkweg


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Space dust all over the place is not realistic at all. One speck of space dust hitting your ship would destroy it  if it was. Gamer's Gate sells a space sim for download called Dark Horizon ($9.99) that is supposed to be quite good. It might be more to your liking.

http://www.gamersgate.com/DD-HORIZON/dark-horizon

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RE: This game is missing some vital features! - 7/22/2009 1:38:23 PM   
Destraex

 

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i like it the way it is.....

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RE: This game is missing some vital features! - 6/14/2010 1:43:18 AM   
Hellsdottir

 

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I agree in principle with many of the things that Mazryonh says.

This is, in fact, a game. Yes, it is a simulation. Yes, a tactical emulation of actual space combat is the goal... however... it is a game. I think comparing it to other space combat games is valid. If the creators didn't care at all about accessibility they wouldn't include things like the different flight physic models (including 'arcade') or switchable joystick modes.

Since the goal is a relatively realistic space combat sim, I think the onus is on the creators to communicate as effectively as possible with the player the state of their vehicle. Let's face it, if the current HUD group items in today's jet fighter didn't work well - if the pilots said they couldn't tell where they were headed, those HUDs would be replaced in a heartbeat. While I know the creators want to simulate piloting an actual vehicle, we only have visual input from one screen in front of us. We only have at most limited hearing and sight to communicate with - we aren't actually there. The creators then have to somehow make up for that by designing interfaces that allow us to, as instinctively as possible, determine the state of our vehicles since we're essentially piloting them remotely.

Space dust: Yes, this would be less realistic, I agree. It is however an effective and immediately intuitive way to communicate speed and direction. What if the HUD projected a dim 3D grid that would act as 'space dust'... showing our relative speed and direction? (You old space-salts could turn it off ;^) )

Reticule loading: Yes, I agree this would be more useful. You want the pilot to be able to pick up as much intuitive qualitative information as possible from their natural forward-facing focus. Numbers and other things that update quickly and can be distracting should be off to one side or on the instrument panel (except when focused on specific non-multitasking missions/maneuvers, like landing), however arrows, bars and colors loaded around the targeting reticule can quickly and intuitively convey a lot of information to the pilot. In fact, it should be possible to project a symbol (i.e. a red triangle) over enemy targets that are out of visual range (or even in visual range, to keep you oriented).

Targeting interface: I agree that the targeting system leaves a lot to be desired. If nothing else, it should be easier to target high-value targets. For instance, your home ship should be able to flag on your scope any target that locks on to it. Your own ship should be able to flag any ship that locks on to it. Your own ship should also be able to easily identify mission objectives (i.e. escorts, specific targets). Missiles and guns are an annoying issue, certainly. If this is a realistic space sim, to the point where I can fly using Newtonian physics, why can't my laser blasts travel forever in a straight line and hit any physical object? It would be very useful if fighter pilots could target and shoot down slower missiles, or turn over control to their flight computer so that it could shoot down faster interceptor missiles. Fighter groups could be deployed as missile screens, all uplinked to their home carrier's computer, and tasked with shooting down incoming munitions. This would definitely change the tactics in the game, but it would make fighters a much more useful force than they currently are. As a fighter pilot you would have to balance keeping manual control for maneuver over turning the flight systems over to your computer to take out missiles. You could also choose between dogfighting with incoming enemies, or joining a missile screen for defense. It would also add an extra layer of tactics to escort missions.

I agree with the comments about Independence War 2. The reticule/HUD was rather heavily loaded. You could target most of the ingame objects, enemy/friendly/cargo/neutral targeting is much better, and, one thing I really liked, was that maneuver was tougher (turns took some time), but your weapons were mounted on traversing gimbals that added some slack to your targeting (they were essentially mini-turrets with a forward arc only).


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