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0.7.17 thoughts after play - 5/24/2014 6:05:24 PM   
nats


Posts: 73
Joined: 5/28/2009
From: York
Status: offline
Well I spent a few hours today playing through the Global campaign and have to say presently I found it a rather frustrating experience compared to my last play through of the game a few patches ago. Mainly it revolved around the change to separate rockets and not knowing exactly when to use which, what payloads each will lift etc.

Firstly I picked a payload to try to satisfy the first mission condition of getting something into orbit. But I found out that it was too large to be carried on my chosen rocket. So I changed to Sputnik. I picked a larger rocket as well because I found out that the present rocket still didnt lift Sputnik either. But then I found out after researching the rocket for a few years, till it was ready for launch in fact, that it still wasnt suitable for Sputnik despite Sputnik only weighing 86kg and this rocket supposedly lifting 200kg into LEO. So that was frustrating - and got me thinking well maybe Sputnik needs to go higher than LEO? But how do I know whether it does or not? How do I know what payload type and rocket will satisfy my mission condition. There is nothing that tells me that in the game. So I found all that very frustrating. I still have no idea which NASA rocket will enable you to do the Sputnik mission.

The game doesnt explain things at all well really. It isnt obvious what rockets lift what (the LEO etc abbreviations need to go because I didnt know what two of them were meant to be). It isnt obvious what payloads can be used to satisfy mission conditions. It isnt obvious even what satellite missions give you what badges because in the present game it looks like all the badges have already been achieved before you even start the mission (they should be greyed out). No-where in the misson description does it indicate whether the mission goes into LEO or some other orbit so you cant tell what rocket to use with each mission.

And I dont think you should actually need to remember what payload the rocket will carry either. I think this is not a good game feature. When you choose a payload the game should offer you a choice of all the relvatn rockets only. You shouldnt even be able to pick an irrelevant rocket.

MAybe there should be a very simple graphic on all the payloads and rockets that shown very obviously what mission type they are -ie Low Earth Orbit or Lunar Transit mission etc And all these things should be colour keyed - why not have all the low earth mission components coloured blue, and all the next type of missions components coloured green?

Also the removal of the graphs in the economy screen, the very small text in the economy screen (almost too small for me to read), and the removal of the staff skill bars when you are choosing staff - now you have to wade through a load of percentage fuigures that seem to go down to one or two decimal places - why??? What was wrong with the bars? Why have any decimal places at all in this game? Its non-sensical that degree of precision.

One of my mission requirements was to get my astronaut leadership skill 'above of %90' (should really say 'above 90%'), but this is impossible with the lower skill levels - I only got it to 75% before I ran out of time, I dont think it is possible that early in the game.

Finally the news screen you get these variable names coming up before the ransom news pieces that look strange.

Also I still find the overall navigation within the game very laborious. Again colour coordination of the various buildings and relevant building scrreens would aid immensely in knowing where you are.

There were some things that were better - I like the way you can choose, swap and delete mission researchers for all your open missions on one screen - thats good. And obviously the new random events are good to have in. And the separate rockets add some needed extra stuff to think about, if only there was enough information provided to enable you to make a decision about them. Oh, and the white pixel in the intro video has gone! Hurray!

I know there is a lot still to do I am sure I am just playing the semblence of what the game will look like in a few months. The new feature of separate rockets has to be working up a bit more obviously. Its definitely heading in the right direction.

< Message edited by nats -- 5/24/2014 7:14:42 PM >


_____________________________

"Its life Jim, but not as we know it"
Post #: 1
RE: 0.7.17 thoughts after play - 5/25/2014 7:13:00 AM   
Nacho84

 

Posts: 706
Joined: 2/7/2013
From: Brighton, UK
Status: offline
Hello nats,

Thanks for the feedback, we really appreciate it. Answers below:

quote:

ORIGINAL: nats

Firstly I picked a payload to try to satisfy the first mission condition of getting something into orbit. But I found out that it was too large to be carried on my chosen rocket. So I changed to Sputnik. I picked a larger rocket as well because I found out that the present rocket still didnt lift Sputnik either. But then I found out after researching the rocket for a few years, till it was ready for launch in fact, that it still wasnt suitable for Sputnik despite Sputnik only weighing 86kg and this rocket supposedly lifting 200kg into LEO. So that was frustrating - and got me thinking well maybe Sputnik needs to go higher than LEO? But how do I know whether it does or not? How do I know what payload type and rocket will satisfy my mission condition. There is nothing that tells me that in the game. So I found all that very frustrating. I still have no idea which NASA rocket will enable you to do the Sputnik mission.


If you haven't opened a rocket program yet and click on the question mark button for a certain mission configuration, the game will ask you if you want to be redirected to the "Open Rocket Program" screen and it will only show you those rockets suitable for the current mission configuration, so I'm not sure how did that happen when you played the game. If you manage to reproduce it, then please let us know, as it sounds like a very big major issue.

Also, the fact that your rocket supports 200 Kg into LEO and couldn't lift Sputnik sounds very strange. Do you have a savefile for that? We didn't encounter that problem while doing internal playtesting and it hasn't been reported at the forums either. Again, if you manage to reproduce it so that we can troubleshoot it, that would be great.

quote:

ORIGINAL: nats
It isnt obvious what rockets lift what (the LEO etc abbreviations need to go because I didnt know what two of them were meant to be).


I'm not following you on this one. What do you mean by "what rockets lift what"? A rocket lifts different amounts of payloads to different types of orbit, it doesn't matter what the payload is provided that its mass is equal or lower than the rocket's capacity to the target orbit. For example, if you want to send a 451 Kg probe to Mars, you only need to select a rocket whose TPI payload is equal or greater that 451 Kg.

quote:

ORIGINAL: nats
It isnt obvious what payloads can be used to satisfy mission conditions.


The payloads are fixed for a certain mission configuration, the only thing you can change is the rocket (or "rockets", if the mission features multiple launches). I'm not sure what you mean by "satisfy mission conditions".

quote:

ORIGINAL: nats
It isnt obvious even what satellite missions give you what badges because in the present game it looks like all the badges have already been achieved before you even start the mission (they should be greyed out).


Good point, we'll fix this.

quote:

ORIGINAL: nats
No-where in the misson description does it indicate whether the mission goes into LEO or some other orbit so you cant tell what rocket to use with each mission.


Good point as well. There's a "Payload Masses per Launch" in the mission summary next to the advisor, we'll add the target orbit in there.

quote:

ORIGINAL: nats

And I dont think you should actually need to remember what payload the rocket will carry either. I think this is not a good game feature. When you choose a payload the game should offer you a choice of all the relvatn rockets only. You shouldnt even be able to pick an irrelevant rocket.



That's what it does at the moment. If you already have several rocket programs opened and click on the question mark in the mission configuration screen, it will list all your rockets, but the ones that are not powerful enough for the mission will be highlighted in red and you won't be able to select them. If you believe there's a bug in here, please let us know. But we have been doing lots of internal playtesting and we're quite confident that this feature is working as expected.

quote:

ORIGINAL: nats

MAybe there should be a very simple graphic on all the payloads and rockets that shown very obviously what mission type they are -ie Low Earth Orbit or Lunar Transit mission etc And all these things should be colour keyed - why not have all the low earth mission components coloured blue, and all the next type of missions components coloured green?



Notice that the same payload can be used for different target orbits, so color coding a payload with a mission type is not an option. For example, the Mercury spacecraft can be used for both sub-orbital and Earth orbital (LEO) profiles.

quote:

ORIGINAL: nats

Also the removal of the graphs in the economy screen, the very small text in the economy screen (almost too small for me to read), and the removal of the staff skill bars when you are choosing staff - now you have to wade through a load of percentage fuigures that seem to go down to one or two decimal places - why??? What was wrong with the bars? Why have any decimal places at all in this game? Its non-sensical that degree of precision.



The graphs were removed because the loading times were very high and they didn't play well with the support for multiple screen resolutions. Don't worry, they have been replaced with new code now, so you'll see them again in 0.7.19

The personnel screens have been redesigned to address the suggestions you raised, you can get a sneak peek on how they will look like here.

quote:

ORIGINAL: nats

One of my mission requirements was to get my astronaut leadership skill 'above of %90' (should really say 'above 90%'), but this is impossible with the lower skill levels - I only got it to 75% before I ran out of time, I dont think it is possible that early in the game.


Well spotted. We'll fix this, yes.

quote:

ORIGINAL: nats
Finally the news screen you get these variable names coming up before the ransom news pieces that look strange.


That's for debugging. We left that on purpose because the random events introduce so many possibilities and we wanted to have as much information as possible in case we saw something funny during playtesting. They will be removed at some point before release, don't worry.

quote:

ORIGINAL: nats
Also I still find the overall navigation within the game very laborious. Again colour coordination of the various buildings and relevant building scrreens would aid immensely in knowing where you are.


Do the icons painted on every building help to some degree? It's an honest question. Personally, I want to keep the space complex as uncluttered as possible, and I think color coding the buildings will break the immersion a little bit.

quote:

ORIGINAL: nats
There were some things that were better - I like the way you can choose, swap and delete mission researchers for all your open missions on one screen - thats good. And obviously the new random events are good to have in. And the separate rockets add some needed extra stuff to think about, if only there was enough information provided to enable you to make a decision about them. Oh, and the white pixel in the intro video has gone! Hurray!


Good to hear that For the next update we'll be introducing further tweaks into the game's database, so the number of decisions you'll need to make will increase.

quote:

ORIGINAL: nats
I know there is a lot still to do I am sure I am just playing the semblence of what the game will look like in a few months. The new feature of separate rockets has to be working up a bit more obviously. Its definitely heading in the right direction.


We're getting there, yes. The mix-and-match feature has been a great challenge for us, not only because we had to rip the code apart in order to fit it (the game was never meant to be played like this), but because conveying all these new game rules into the UI is quite challenging. With feedback like the one you provided it will only get better in future updates (while we continue working on the other features, of course ).

I encourage you to get back to me with the questions I asked if you have a minute. Reading things like "satisfy mission conditions" makes me realize that there's something we're not communicating all that well with our current UI system, and I'd like to know what that is so that we can fix it.

Cheers,

_____________________________

Ignacio Liverotti
Lead Developer of Buzz Aldrin's Space Program Manager
Polar Motion

www.polar-motion.com
spm.slitherine.com
Twitter: https://twitter.com/PolarMotion

(in reply to nats)
Post #: 2
RE: 0.7.17 thoughts after play - 5/25/2014 12:54:38 PM   
nats


Posts: 73
Joined: 5/28/2009
From: York
Status: offline
quote:


If you haven't opened a rocket program yet and click on the question mark button for a certain mission configuration, the game will ask you if you want to be redirected to the "Open Rocket Program" screen and it will only show you those rockets suitable for the current mission configuration


Ah thats what I was asking for, I didnt know that thanks that will certainly make choosing a rocket easier. I will try my present game again knowing that, cheers.

quote:


Also, the fact that your rocket supports 200 Kg into LEO and couldn't lift Sputnik sounds very strange. Do you have a savefile for that? We didn't encounter that problem while doing internal playtesting and it hasn't been reported at the forums either. Again, if you manage to reproduce it so that we can troubleshoot it, that would be great.


Sorry I checked again and the rocket I was trying to lift the Sputnik with was the Juno which is rated 200kg for suborbital but its rated lower than the Sputniks weight for LEO missions. I assume the Sputnik mission is mean as a LEO mission? The fact I have to ask is the main problem that needs addressing here. You havent made it clear what the payload missions are rated as regarding suborbital and which are LEO rated. Thats the main issue I think.

quote:

I'm not sure what you mean by "satisfy mission conditions".


I meant the 'short term objectives'. I had to fulfil the sort term objective of getting an 'object into orbit' by 1958 and I picked Sputnik but I got the wrong rocket twice which ruined the objective for me completely.

I know I am being a bit pedantic here and that many players are perfectly able to pick a rocket based on payload weight after a few learning mistakes like I did. But I am looking at it from an inexperienced player's point of view. I cant help thinking that some players will be completely overwhelmed when they see all the specialist abbreviations and payload weight figures etc. This type of thing should be made clearer bearing in mind we are not all space specialists.

I am glad the staff members are having their ratings based mainly on bars, it makes choosing them far easier than using the percentage figures. One thing though that I noticed - the price of the available staff members doesnt seem to reflect their experience at all? I just got the cheapest everytime because they all looked pretty rubbish. I think there should be some very cheap novices that need training, some average mid priced, and some older, more experienced, but more expensive staff to choose from. This would have made achieving the astonaut 90% leadership short term objective that I failed easier - if I could have picked an astronaut with higher leadership from the off that I could have got to over 90% with one or two training sessions.

_____________________________

"Its life Jim, but not as we know it"

(in reply to Nacho84)
Post #: 3
RE: 0.7.17 thoughts after play - 5/25/2014 6:31:26 PM   
Nacho84

 

Posts: 706
Joined: 2/7/2013
From: Brighton, UK
Status: offline
Hello nats,

OK, so I made a few changes today. Let me know what you think.

Let's say you're in the Solar System screen and click the "Open Rocket Program" button.






Attachment (1)

_____________________________

Ignacio Liverotti
Lead Developer of Buzz Aldrin's Space Program Manager
Polar Motion

www.polar-motion.com
spm.slitherine.com
Twitter: https://twitter.com/PolarMotion

(in reply to nats)
Post #: 4
RE: 0.7.17 thoughts after play - 5/25/2014 6:32:05 PM   
Nacho84

 

Posts: 706
Joined: 2/7/2013
From: Brighton, UK
Status: offline
You'll get a pop-up like this, listing all the rocket programs, even the ones you cannot open.






Attachment (1)

_____________________________

Ignacio Liverotti
Lead Developer of Buzz Aldrin's Space Program Manager
Polar Motion

www.polar-motion.com
spm.slitherine.com
Twitter: https://twitter.com/PolarMotion

(in reply to Nacho84)
Post #: 5
RE: 0.7.17 thoughts after play - 5/25/2014 6:33:08 PM   
Nacho84

 

Posts: 706
Joined: 2/7/2013
From: Brighton, UK
Status: offline
Now let's say you're in the Sputnik mission configuration screen. If you click on the question mark button, you'll get a confirmation pop-up. Notice that I have changed the information display on the right panel as well.






Attachment (1)

_____________________________

Ignacio Liverotti
Lead Developer of Buzz Aldrin's Space Program Manager
Polar Motion

www.polar-motion.com
spm.slitherine.com
Twitter: https://twitter.com/PolarMotion

(in reply to Nacho84)
Post #: 6
RE: 0.7.17 thoughts after play - 5/25/2014 6:34:37 PM   
Nacho84

 

Posts: 706
Joined: 2/7/2013
From: Brighton, UK
Status: offline
The game then shows this other popup, which lists those rockets capable of lifting the payload from your previously selected mission configuration. I've added more info at the top as well.

Do you think this works better? Would you add/change anything else?

Cheers,






Attachment (1)

_____________________________

Ignacio Liverotti
Lead Developer of Buzz Aldrin's Space Program Manager
Polar Motion

www.polar-motion.com
spm.slitherine.com
Twitter: https://twitter.com/PolarMotion

(in reply to Nacho84)
Post #: 7
RE: 0.7.17 thoughts after play - 5/25/2014 8:20:16 PM   
nats


Posts: 73
Joined: 5/28/2009
From: York
Status: offline
Sorry for being such a pain, I didnt want you to go to so much work, I feel very guilty now!

But to answer your questions:

Yes I really like the fact you have made it more obvious now that the payload weight needs to be lifted to LEO and that the rockets being offered are capable of doing that. But I think it could be done without the wall of text maybe?

Firstly I would perhaps make the lift requirement bit (LEO, TLI etc) in the payload window a completely separate line in the payload window - so maybe under the payload mass per launch item maybe add a separate line saying 'Payload Mission Rocket Lift Requirement___________Low Earth Orbit (LEO)' or similar - I would add the full text and show the abbreviation as well - that will make it very obvious and explain the abbreviation at the same time. The other way you could do it is to just use the abbreviation and then add a clickable question mark after the abbreviation to add a description of them.

And then to make it brutally more obvious perhaps you could colour all the LEO ratings on the rocket listing green or something - to make that line stand out (if you were choosing a TLI rocket you would have all those lines coloured green instead when choosing the rocket for that payload mission). The same way as you colour the crew skills lines green (or blue cant remember) when they are busy being advance trained in that skill. That would then pull the players eye to the correct rating for all the rockets and make choosing the rocket a lot easier.

I would probably try to avoid that wall of text abouve the rockets listing - all it really needs to say is these rockets are all capable of lifting the payload weight to the required range. I would prefer instead to see a nice little extra box, with a bolder font or something, to one side of that text at the top of the rocket listings. And in that box should be the payload weight to be lifted and the payload range requirement (ie Payload weight 86kg, Lift requirement - LEO)

So with the extra line in the payload listing, a new payload requirement box above the rocket list, AND the rockets relative lift requirement coloured green in each rocket item - I think that would make choosing the correct rocket VERY obvious.

So those are my thoughts about it - well you did ask! Thanks anyway for the hard work, the game is really looking good now.

< Message edited by nats -- 5/25/2014 9:23:23 PM >


_____________________________

"Its life Jim, but not as we know it"

(in reply to Nacho84)
Post #: 8
RE: 0.7.17 thoughts after play - 5/25/2014 8:40:25 PM   
nats


Posts: 73
Joined: 5/28/2009
From: York
Status: offline
You also mentioned about the colour coordination and what I said about not really knowing what building you are in from the screens. Well I think half the problem is that little text on the right side at the top of each screen - its just not very noticeable. In fact the first time Ive even seen it was when I looked at the above screen captures.

I think you should make this building title MUCH larger and use a LARGE coloured graphic for each building screen header. So for example the HQ screen might, for its header have a large HQ symbol - and this symbol should be the same one shown on the building on the map view and it perhaps shopuld also be the same symbol on the bottom nav bar as well. And at the same time it should have Headquarters in a larger font or something next to the symbol. I think you really need to make it more obvious which building you are in at any one time. I think it would help enormously when navigating within the program. At the moment you just get a bit lost. Like I say I mainly use the icons at the bottom of each screen to navigate.

And again I think these symbols really need to be colour coded, even if just a slightly different type of blue? OR maybe keep them blue but have a differently coloured symbol in each (gold, bronze, silver etc) and use the same colour for the screen header symbol??

I know you have a nice theme going with the blues etc throughout, and it does look stylish. But it doesnt help that much with navigating throughout the program. I think some extra colour somewhere would really help. Even if the colour is very subtly used - like just in a border somewhere or in the header symbol it would help. I think subliminally it would speak volumes to the player about which buuilding he is in. For example if he knows that the HQ building screens are all coloured with a gold trim and a gold symbol at the header, it will pro0ivide some more immersion. The player will feel he is in another part of the facility rather than them all blending into one, which is the way they are at the moment.

Anyway thats what I feel would help a lot. But I know I have mentioned it before and you might not agree with it so I wont mention it again. :-)

_____________________________

"Its life Jim, but not as we know it"

(in reply to nats)
Post #: 9
RE: 0.7.17 thoughts after play - 5/26/2014 11:33:41 AM   
Nacho84

 

Posts: 706
Joined: 2/7/2013
From: Brighton, UK
Status: offline
Hello nats,

Thanks for the feedback. Don't feel guilty, getting feedback and improving the game based on it is the whole point behind the EAP

I'll point Boris, our UI artist, to this thread so that he can have all the info before deciding on the changes. We'll keep you guys posted.

Cheers,

_____________________________

Ignacio Liverotti
Lead Developer of Buzz Aldrin's Space Program Manager
Polar Motion

www.polar-motion.com
spm.slitherine.com
Twitter: https://twitter.com/PolarMotion

(in reply to nats)
Post #: 10
RE: 0.7.17 thoughts after play - 5/27/2014 10:06:52 AM   
nats


Posts: 73
Joined: 5/28/2009
From: York
Status: offline
quote:

ORIGINAL: Nacho84

Hello nats,

Thanks for the feedback. Don't feel guilty, getting feedback and improving the game based on it is the whole point behind the EAP

I'll point Boris, our UI artist, to this thread so that he can have all the info before deciding on the changes. We'll keep you guys posted.

Cheers,


Thanks Ignacio they are just my points of view and I am as such not expecting that others will necessarily agree with much or any of the above. I think the more information you provide to aid the player, without spoon-feeding the solution, the better game it will be.

PS I had a look at those staff screens you pointed me to earlier and noticed some of the photos shown on there were very pixellated. They detract from the games look IMO. Perhaps they are only placeholders for the actual photos but perhaps some alteration might be in order with photoshop to add a lot of noise, add some contrast, colour them blue like your Buzz Aldrin photo and maybe some imposed artificial 'scan lines' to them all to bring them all 'together' like this?



or this sort of thing?



Cheers for your response.

< Message edited by nats -- 5/27/2014 9:38:37 PM >


_____________________________

"Its life Jim, but not as we know it"

(in reply to Nacho84)
Post #: 11
RE: 0.7.17 thoughts after play - 6/15/2014 7:33:39 AM   
Nacho84

 

Posts: 706
Joined: 2/7/2013
From: Brighton, UK
Status: offline

quote:

ORIGINAL: nats

PS I had a look at those staff screens you pointed me to earlier and noticed some of the photos shown on there were very pixellated. They detract from the games look IMO. Perhaps they are only placeholders for the actual photos but perhaps some alteration might be in order with photoshop to add a lot of noise, add some contrast, colour them blue like your Buzz Aldrin photo and maybe some imposed artificial 'scan lines' to them all to bring them all 'together' like this?


Hello nats,

Apologies, seems I forgot about this message. Sorry, which staff screens are you referring to? The current ones only have a placeholder silhouette.

Cheers,

_____________________________

Ignacio Liverotti
Lead Developer of Buzz Aldrin's Space Program Manager
Polar Motion

www.polar-motion.com
spm.slitherine.com
Twitter: https://twitter.com/PolarMotion

(in reply to nats)
Post #: 12
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