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A Possible New Vision of Distant Worlds

 
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A Possible New Vision of Distant Worlds - 4/24/2015 3:19:52 PM   
Colwolf77

 

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Let me start by saying I love this game, its addictive and replayable. What I would give my right arm to see would be for this game to take full advantage of modern hardware. I understand the galaxy representation is on a 2D plane and a lot of people would think it unnecessary to use 3D graphics but if you look at games like Stardrive 2 which even though has its fair share of faults, what it does right is make spaceship combat look exciting and impressive.

I'm imagining a game with this gameplay but with state of the art graphics. I think it would bring in a whole new audience who initially disregard it on first impressions. If it was made I don't think I could imagine myself playing anything else.

Please feel free to reply letting me know your thoughts on this, surely I can't be the only one who wants a modern updated Distant Worlds game?

< Message edited by Colwolf77 -- 4/24/2015 4:46:13 PM >
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RE: A Possible New Vision of Distant Worlds - 4/24/2015 4:08:29 PM   
VorteeX

 

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Exacly my post from year ago already (btw, last week i'm start coding somthing like DW with grphics on DX11 engine.

And Stardrive 2 is 99% ripoff of Master of Orion 2 with Stardrive 1 engine.



< Message edited by VorteeX -- 4/24/2015 5:09:24 PM >

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RE: A Possible New Vision of Distant Worlds - 4/24/2015 4:32:36 PM   
RemoteLeg


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I think the graphics are good for a 4X game.
Yes - there's games with better graphics out there, but I think it does the job adequately and the developers have come up with some nice UI ideas that make finding the information I need easier. It's not the prettiest interface, but I think they did a good job.

The depth is where they put most of the work. Many, many times I have scratched the surface of what I thought was a simple subsystem only to be amazed at what I found underneath.

I'm impressed with the skill of the AI delegates. Yes, they are not perfect - they never are. However, I've played games where my AI "advisers" are idiots and keep doing dumb things until I am forced to sack them & do everything myself (e.g. Master of Orion 3). I find I am able to automate quite a few of my Distant Worlds systems and trust the AI to do an adequate job until I get around to them.

It's an impressive game, especially for a small company like Code Force.
RemoteLeg


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RE: A Possible New Vision of Distant Worlds - 4/24/2015 5:01:11 PM   
Colwolf77

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: RemoteLeg

I think the graphics are good for a 4X game.
Yes - there's games with better graphics out there, but I think it does the job adequately and the developers have come up with some nice UI ideas that make finding the information I need easier. It's not the prettiest interface, but I think they did a good job.

The depth is where they put most of the work. Many, many times I have scratched the surface of what I thought was a simple subsystem only to be amazed at what I found underneath.


It's an impressive game, especially for a small company like Code Force.
RemoteLeg


I totally agree with you, depth should always be the priority in all games and Distant Worlds gets it right. I just think with all the effort thats gone into getting to this point a graphical update would not be too much of a stretch. They could leave everything else as is and just do this. I think it would increase sales dramatically if this game had a beautiful graphics engine to match its deep gameplay.

< Message edited by Colwolf77 -- 4/24/2015 6:01:46 PM >

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RE: A Possible New Vision of Distant Worlds - 4/24/2015 6:30:30 PM   
Zangi

 

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Will it run reasonably well on (my/your/his/her/their) computer?
How much extra time will be wastedspent on debugging graphical stuff, rather then debugging/working on the actual meat of the game?
Will it limitimpact the scope of the game?

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RE: A Possible New Vision of Distant Worlds - 4/24/2015 6:38:10 PM   
Colwolf77

 

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How would it be a waste if its bringing in new players? also the meat of the game is already there, yes the UI is a little clunky in areas and there might be a few bugs but Distant Worlds is a full package that I think could do with a little spruce up. I don't see how working on the graphics engine would impact the development of the game, it would be a clear and definite improvement without affecting the 'meat' of it.

< Message edited by Colwolf77 -- 4/24/2015 7:38:49 PM >

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RE: A Possible New Vision of Distant Worlds - 4/24/2015 6:39:28 PM   
Siddham

 

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Personally I would be disapointed if the development priority shifted from gameplay to graphics.

The kind of people who are likely to enjoy a game like Distant Worlds are unlikely to be highly concerned about graphics.
They play Distant Worlds for the gameplay; for mental, not visual entertainment.

I think one way to immediately increase the player base would be a revised pricing policy.
A lot of possible players balk at the price.

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RE: A Possible New Vision of Distant Worlds - 4/24/2015 6:42:26 PM   
ASHBERY76


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Matrix do not put the budget into the game for top art.DW expansions barely got any apart from loading screens.

< Message edited by ASHBERY76 -- 4/24/2015 7:42:42 PM >


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RE: A Possible New Vision of Distant Worlds - 4/24/2015 7:00:51 PM   
Retreat1970


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multiplayer...

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RE: A Possible New Vision of Distant Worlds - 4/24/2015 7:12:16 PM   
Colwolf77

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: ASHBERY76

Matrix do not put the budget into the game for top art.DW expansions barely got any apart from loading screens.

This saddens me, how come games with no depth and appeal get large amounts of money ploughed into them and something as great as Distant Worlds doesn't. Sad days we live in.

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RE: A Possible New Vision of Distant Worlds - 4/24/2015 7:14:44 PM   
Colwolf77

 

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I'd be curious to see what would happen if Distant Worlds turned into a crowd funded project. How much would be raised to support its development? I know I would definitely contribute if I knew the end result would possibly be the best 4x Strategy ever created.

< Message edited by Colwolf77 -- 4/24/2015 8:15:03 PM >

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RE: A Possible New Vision of Distant Worlds - 4/25/2015 3:07:22 AM   
kmunoz

 

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I'd be happy if they improved the display routines that currently exist. Opening a window is like watching a Commodore PET draw in LOGO, or a mid-1980's movie's idea of gritty computer realism. In other words, fix the draw delay! Then, high quality versions of the sprites that already exist.

< Message edited by kmunoz -- 4/25/2015 4:08:09 AM >

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RE: A Possible New Vision of Distant Worlds - 4/25/2015 4:01:52 AM   
mordachai


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And fix the pop-up windows. they seem to scale the fonts that are drawn into them just a little - like they draw to a back-buffer that is just a little off from the size they display at, so that is the last remaining obvious place where nearly all text is blurry (due to the stretching / shrinking of it).

3D is a waste of money & time. Fixing the display-dialog/overlay, fixing the event-display, those would be far more practical uses of resources.

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RE: A Possible New Vision of Distant Worlds - 4/25/2015 10:03:05 AM   
VorteeX

 

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I'm wonder why all think about 3D look, why not to keep 2D look on 3D DirectX surface where can use lights and particles effects. Here good example: https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=qo6qIvo9YOw#t=73

And multiplayer +1 000 000



< Message edited by VorteeX -- 4/25/2015 11:08:25 AM >

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RE: A Possible New Vision of Distant Worlds - 4/25/2015 2:21:18 PM   
feygan

 

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It is a nice idea OP but I think you are vastly under estimating just how much goes in under the hood of DW. If you consider that even for those of use with 16GB ram and high end CPU/GPU's we still get game crashes in galaxies with 1500 stars towards the late game. I doubt it is an optimisation thing as the age of DW should have killed that sort of bug. But if you have a player and 20 off other AI empires all with the full goings on in each empire then the amount of computer resources needed are vast. Try slapping on some nice shiny graphics pack to that in full 3D and I think you would have to sacrifice so much real game play for any machine to run, that you would likely end up with a crapfest game that does lots of things half right.

I can understand the desire for it as I would love higher res graphics with full 3D, but sadly i just don't believe it is possible to add that to the existing DW without having to loose something in the mix at this time. However we do have a few years left before Moore's law begins to slow down, so we might just see something like DW3D before most of us go senile and blind.

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RE: A Possible New Vision of Distant Worlds - 4/25/2015 3:47:44 PM   
Erik Rutins

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: ASHBERY76
Matrix do not put the budget into the game for top art.DW expansions barely got any apart from loading screens.


That's not actually true - each expansion got a fair amount of new art and the series improved art-wise from start to finish, but overall it's all still 2D art and within the limits of the engine so there were certainly no earth-shaking changes in terms of the look of the game. Still, if you compare the original DW to Universe I think you'll see quite a few improvements art-wise.

As far as better graphics in the future, all things are possible.

Regards,

- Erik



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RE: A Possible New Vision of Distant Worlds - 4/25/2015 7:29:05 PM   
Spidey


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As one who unfortunately doesn't have a 20 GHz octocore CPU with 8 TB system RAM and 256 GB VRAM on my overclocked and liquid nitrogen cooled quadro-linked graphics accelerator, nor expect to have such a system available anytime soon, I'm thrilled that DW isn't full 3D.

There are a few things that could be done with 2D world rendered in 3D but frankly, I think the graphics in general are perfectly fine. Then again, I'm still playing things like Red Alert, Civ 2, Alpha Centauri, and even Diablo 1, so I guess one might argue that I'm not very demanding as far as graphics are concerned, as long as the graphics do their job of conveying the information I need without breaking my eyes.

Obviously the user interface could be a bit better, but that has very little to do with 3D and everything to do with basic user interface design concepts having changed slightly over the last few decades. And to be fair, I doubt user interface design was a big priority at any stage of development. As long as the user interface was usable, other things presumably had higher priority. Fixing bugs, adding features, fixing more bugs, adding more features, AI optimization, performance optimization, bugs, features, and so on. Those other stages never ended so there probably wasn't ever time to revisit the user interface and take it to the next level. Which is a shame, because it's honestly one of the bigger drags in the game.

Why can't I see what ancient ruins I haven't explored on the galaxy map? What is the use of having an entire galaxy map overlay that shows me nothing except how many systems I've visited? Why do I have to control the component order by the order they're added in? Why can't I decide for myself which components I want shown by default in the window instead of having to rely on game's idea of "most recent" or "all"? Why can't I modify the research queue without having to untag and retag all the techs I want researched? Why are garrison fleets under AI control showing up as idle ships? Why isn't there a "sleep" or "observe this position for 1 year" order in case you'd like your long range scanner exploration ships to do active surveillance of foreign space? Why isn't there a "crap, I clicked the wrong science station, please don't take a six month vacation, PLEASE!!!" option for when you accidentally assign one of your better scientists to that fancy new space station you discovered on the other side of space? Why can't I select what races I want on my planet? And why is it that the ship graphics selection is an uncategorized drop-down with a few hundred elements that is practically impossible to navigate? And so on, and so forth.

Anyway, I guess this is my way of saying that the graphics feature I'd really, really prefer to see in the future for DW is actually something as "simple" as a user interface overhaul. Pretty much everything else is awesome. DW is by far the most expensive game I've ever bought and I don't regret it at all. But the user interface... I've seen worse, don't get me wrong, and at least it's made for PC, unlike some triple-A titles I don't care to mention, but it does let the rest of the game down.

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RE: A Possible New Vision of Distant Worlds - 4/25/2015 7:45:57 PM   
Bingeling

 

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I have no issues with the graphics quality, and the user interface could need some help. The main benefit of going "3D" is to move to a modern platform which does not cause too many install issues, or require things like internet explorer and windows media player.

With a 3D graphics engine, one could even hope that things would be lighter on the hardware.

As for hints about the future hidden in , I hope we can get hold of some real bits of info sooner rather than later :)

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RE: A Possible New Vision of Distant Worlds - 4/26/2015 8:16:49 PM   
ReadeB

 

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There's a bunch of art and variety coming out of the modding community. I think a little financial support there would go a long way.

Moddable AI would give the fan base something to chew on.. just look at what mods can do to games like Civ4.

Support for 64 bit memory, DX11.. 12?, adding more modding plug-ins... like UI or new mechanics. Those are the things only Dev's can do.


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RE: A Possible New Vision of Distant Worlds - 4/29/2015 1:35:41 AM   
SundiataWTF

 

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Sadly, I am one of the Philistines who believes the graphics/UI is not really good enough. I have owned this game a couple of years now and become obsessed, studying the strategy tips on this forum and really working to understand how to play well. Unfortunately after spending a week learning about the game I am stymied each time by the graphics/UI. I have a very hard time getting the ship/fleet/mining center/planet I want on the first "click." Clicking and clicking over and overagain on blurry 2-D graphics that are piled directly on top of each other, I find myself fighting the UI instead of those pirates and future enemies lurking out there in murky space. Don't missunderstand, I don't mind 2-D, I mind 2-D that interferes with gameplay. IMHO, DW could definitely use a graphical update. I don't care if it's 2 or 3-D, I just want the game to be easier to play from an interface standpoint.

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RE: A Possible New Vision of Distant Worlds - 4/29/2015 5:05:51 AM   
Siddham

 

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I like the way the graphic symbols for units can occupy the same 2D space on screen.
I admit it can look a bit of a spagetti junction mess; but it has a lot of advantages
When I want to find a particular object I only have to click on the pile and I get a list of all the objects in it
and so I can choose the specific one I want
Works pretty good for me anyway

My main wish for the UI would be, a way to close windows without clicking on the little X in the corner

And I would like the WASD keys to replace the functionality of the Arrow Keys
...and to have the view level keys around them
I dont use any other Hotkeys; and the Arrow keys are on the wrong side of the keyboard for me
I guess they were set for a left-hander (perhaps by a left-hander)

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RE: A Possible New Vision of Distant Worlds - 4/29/2015 1:09:29 PM   
Tampa_Gamer


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Having played DW for several years now I am glad to see it was recognized as one of the great strategy games. In terms of "finishing" my games to the "win/lose" screen there are not many games that I do that with, but DW and Sword of the Stars I are pretty much tied with the greatest number of finishes since I am one of those OCD people that keeps track of such things.

In terms of my priorities for a DW II, I would rank the following:

(1) UI - reducing # of actions to accomplish goals; improving providing information I need to make a decision on same screen on which I am implementing my decisions

(2) Moddibility - keep expanding capabilities - DW:U is a fantastic start, but still not to level of others like SE4/5, etc.

(3) 2D/3D - yes, I like nice graphics - but at the same time not if we sacrifice the ability to easily add/mod ship graphics/UI buttons/components (e.g. Stardrive 2 suffers from requiring specialized programs to mod)

(4) Ground Combat - great direction/grand scale implementation so far, but would like to move to larger scale so units actually mean something (e.g. perhaps Kohan approach to building ground units so you would "build" an army with 5-10 "components" consisting of divisions of INF/ARM/SPF/PDU which would each add modify defense/attack/bonuses/transport size of the army. You would then simply control the army once its built and not have to worry about all the diverse elements that make up that army. Thus we would keep our ability to build specialized ground units as needed, but simplify management of them in-game and perhaps make each army more meaningful in the process (same scale as fleets).

(5) Space Combat - implementation of designated formations for fleets

< Message edited by Tampa_Gamer -- 4/29/2015 7:06:59 PM >


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RE: A Possible New Vision of Distant Worlds - 4/29/2015 5:51:37 PM   
Siddham

 

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Hi Tampa_Gamer
You say you have enjoyed SotS.
I presume you are referring to the first one?
I have the game but never got around to it yet...but do want to some time soon
Can you say something about your experience with it?
And maybe how it compares to DW
not so much which you think is better, but more compare & contrast sort of thing
if you have the time and care to
Thanks :)

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RE: A Possible New Vision of Distant Worlds - 4/29/2015 6:00:31 PM   
Siddham

 

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I also agree with most that Spidey says
Something I would like is a Ledger - like in the Europa Universalis games
Also I find the Fleets screen and Ships & Bases screen are not ideal...
or at least they were not designed for the functionality I want when checking up on ships & fleets etc

But I am a new player so I may just be missing the point, or something
And I want to empahsise that in general I cannot say enough good stuff about this game

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RE: A Possible New Vision of Distant Worlds - 4/29/2015 7:55:07 PM   
Tampa_Gamer


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Siddham


Hi Tampa_Gamer
You say you have enjoyed SotS.
I presume you are referring to the first one?
I have the game but never got around to it yet...but do want to some time soon
Can you say something about your experience with it?
And maybe how it compares to DW
not so much which you think is better, but more compare & contrast sort of thing
if you have the time and care to
Thanks :)


I don’t want to derail this thread to compare DW to SoTS I (not II), but to answer your question in my opinion the games only similarity is that they are each a 4x space strategy game. SoTS is turn-based at the strategic level and real-time (pausable) in tactical space combat. There are no characters or ground combat modeled in vanilla SoTS, but it does have ship design and limited spying/diplomacy. Although you do colonize planets, expand your influence, allocate funds to research/infrastructure improvement/environment - the focus of SoTS is on primarily on tactical space combat between fleets and fleets vs. planets (which I think it does extremely well and I don’t think any game since then has come to close to knocking it off the top of the list in that area). It is slightly older in its development cycle than DW (having been patched/expanded numerous times over several years and effectively closed out). Although SoTS II was released, I could never get into it (tried several times) and couldn’t stand the cartoony graphics used. If you google the two games there are a great many reviews and comparisons between the games that do better justice than I just did and if you are interested SoTS I has been on sale on Steam for less than $5.00 for the entire package (normally $9.99) - so it is certainly worth trying out if you like 4x space strategy games at all.

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RE: A Possible New Vision of Distant Worlds - 4/29/2015 7:58:49 PM   
mordachai


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@Siddham - if you don't object, I'd answer some things about sots (prime):

* Its focus is on tactical combat and on forcing the player to have to be creative to deal with different strategic and tactical situations from game to game.
* It has a deep lore, and if you enjoy reading AARs or Lets Play type things, there are some fantastic ones on their forums and around the net (something awful used to have an incredible one)>
* ...however, the lore is mostly available outside the game proper. A bit like DW in that way: you can get into the races, and imagine / role-play it up for yourself or publish it as an AAR, etc. - but it isn't going to be overt (or no more so than DW:U) (there are hints everywhere... if you have an eye for it)
* Sots was designed around MP as a primary game design criteria. So, many choices are built around making things flow relatively smoothly for MP, rather than tons of details for a single player experience.
* The graphics - though a bit dated - hold up pretty amazingly well in my opinion. You can get some great epic space battles and the visuals to go with them.
* The details are all in the tactical battles - individual missiles & their "smoke' trails - individual turrets rotating to face the enemy ships & fire - per-polygon resolution of weapons fire impact
* A physics model that causes ships to recoil a bit from firing ballistic weapons, and their targets to gain some momentum from being struck by ballistics (whole tactics can arise from using that to knock your beam-wielding opponents around so that they cannot get a good bead on your ships).
* 2.5D battles: basically everything starts on a plane, but you can travel above/below a little as combat proceeds.
* Lots of different weapons systems. Ship design that is a lot of fun to try out various weapon / defense combinations.
* Deep thought into forcing the player to make trade-offs: there isn't a simple progression from least-powerful-techs to most-powerful. There are lots of great defense at cost of offense or cost of maneuverability or cost of fragility etc. Lots of "no easy choices" - but meaningful choices for the player to engage with and discover what works against whom in what situations.
* Modular ship design - choose "command" section + "mission" section + "engine" section to form a complete design (plus weapons to add, any armor / reflective coatings / etc.)

There are a few good mods for Sots prime. Some are mostly visual upgrades - race spacecraft skinning - hi-rez skyboxes, etc., while others are overhauls (ACM being the biggest one) with whole new tech trees and weapons systems and even new ships or replacements. I'm working on updating my mod to have a new tech tree - see the modding forum under Sots prime. There are still a few modders working on various projects.

I played Star Fleet Battles as a teen - loved it - and Sots is the closest any game has come for me to incorporating almost all of the detailed tactical combat available in that pen & paper tabletop game. It's ... brilliant, though - like DW:U, tons is going on under the hood - physics / per-poly-combat resolution, etc., but if you pay attention, it's pretty damn awesome.

The strategic is ... bare bones. It has a functional, decent strategic layer kind of like DW:U has a decent, functional tactical combat layer. They're both fine, but they're sort of opposites: DW:U has 99% of its smarts in the strategic layer; sots has 99% of its smarts in the 3D tactical combat.

Hope that helps. :)

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RE: A Possible New Vision of Distant Worlds - 4/29/2015 9:33:59 PM   
ehsumrell1


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Nice mordachai! I have SotS and between DW and SotS I chose DW first to delve into. Never have
yet even opened the game since I got engrossed by the Distant Worlds series and started beta
testing and modding it. But thanks for your more detailed insight and opinion into the game.
It looks like a fun game as a sidetrack to my DW pursuits!


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RE: A Possible New Vision of Distant Worlds - 4/30/2015 9:32:11 AM   
Siddham

 

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Thank you Tampa_Gamer and mordachai for those reports
I will definitely be trying SotS
I have it installed but never played a game yet


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RE: A Possible New Vision of Distant Worlds - 5/1/2015 1:37:59 PM   
Raap

 

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Don't think I've ever seen a game transition to 3D graphics in its sequel without becoming worse in other areas. Space Empires 4 -> Space Empires 5 being the obvious comparison here; decent'ish 3D graphics upgrade, but the rest of the game suffered to the extent that the prequel was still the preferred game to play.

No, 2D is fine. It could definitely be improved a lot though. Starsector, which also uses 2D assets, manages to look significantly better than DW. That said, I think it's important to switch the game over to a real 3D engine(while keeping the graphics 2D) for the increased performance. Depending on the game logic code and how well it's separated from the graphical layer, this could probably be done at a reasonable cost.

Other than that, gameplay and AI improvements all the way.

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RE: A Possible New Vision of Distant Worlds - 5/1/2015 6:58:19 PM   
Colwolf77

 

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Some great replies here, I too don't want Distant Worlds to lose any of its character and playstyle if it were to have a graphics overhaul. Gameplay should always be at the forefront of development, I hope this game is supported for years to come and gets better and better. I do think the graphics could do with a bit of loving though :)

< Message edited by Colwolf77 -- 5/1/2015 7:59:37 PM >

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