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Arodin

Spacebase Prototype Feedback

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Since the protos came out, I've played all of them but I've spent most of my time tinkering around with Spacebase. Bugs aside, I think it's fun.

We've all played games like Spacebase before -- you can compare it to lots of games like Dwarf Fortress, Sim City, Theme Hospital, Startopia, Evil Genius, and so on. So what's different about Spacebase? Here are some things that I like about it:

- No Fighting. During the livestream some chatters commented that there should be alien attacks and the like. I'm glad Spacebase doesn't have that, and if it becomes a full game I hope DF avoids going down that route or at least not going overboard with it. If you make combat a significant aspect of the game, it tends to dominate the experience. You become more concerned with building defenses against the constant threat of attack and less concerned about base construction and observing the activities of the crew. Maybe you could have security as a new role for the crew so they can deal with things like murders and maybe just minor criminal invasions, but better to stay away from armies of soldiers and laser defense turrets.

- The Humor. Most sims tend to take a serious approach, but I tend to remember the humorous ones more fondly like Evil Genius and Theme Hospital. We need more games like that, and DF definitely has the right people for a humorous sim game.

- The Art Style. Maybe it's a little bit too cartoony, but I think going for a colorful look was a great approach. A sim like this is something I would play when I just want to chill out for a while, and it's more uplifting and appealing to play a game with lots of colors instead of the typical drab greys and browns you get with video game space stations.

- Dynamic Music. Chris Remo's dynamic music idea is great for a sim, because there is a tendency to play lengthy sessions of a game like this and the music can get awfully repetitive. I think the proto only scratches the surface, but I'd hope to see more layers to the music in a full version so that the music is always shifting and changing.

- Limited population. Most sims have citizens randomly popping in and out of your "world." Spacebase is more like FTL in the way that you have a limited # of inhabitants. This makes each individual person have value, and it means something when somebody dies. In a full version, it would be nice if there were more ways to get additional people on your base when you lose too many, other than just linking to "derelicts" (are they really derelicts if people are living on them?), like docking ships. But even then I'd like it if the # of potential inhabitants was quite limited.

A few things I don't much like in the proto:

- Meteor strikes. Because of the limited # of inhabitants, it's frustrating to lose five people because of an unlucky meteor hit. Some things to consider for a full version: a warning when a meteor is going to strike so your people can get out of the area (surely the station has sensors of some sort? Or a window?). Maybe an upgrade you can buy that prevents your base from taking any damage from meteors.

- People behavior. I'm sure this is a product of the limited development time, but in the proto the people behave too randomly. It seems like the doctors are never in the infirmary, for example. Hopefully in a full game there would be some predictability and structure to where people go and what they do.

That's it. Good job Spacebase DF-9 team!

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I'm really starting to get addicted to Spacebase. Very fun but simple game that just about anyone can get into.

I only have two complaints so far, 1. Characters that basically stand in one spot forever, no matter what happens, they happily stand guarding that spot. 2. Building resources, the thought occurred to me that, if I ever was able to fully mine the area and connect everything if a meteor strikes, and I'm out of resources, well that's the end of that space station basically.

Really awesome and fun prototype and I look forward to whatever else Double Fine is making.

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How do you launch the game? It doesn't have any launcher or anything nor are there directions or a folder that says game or anything.

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Love this prototype. The presentation was spot-on and the building tools were so easy to use.

I think my only real issue is that the only way to amass matter and population is to expand toward locations. The majority of games in this genre (granted, I've never played Dwarf Fortress) tend to center around keeping people happy and building creatively to accommodate that. The forced exploration-expansion feels constraining. If happiness/morale inspired people to go out into space (via ship or spacesuit) and mine matter for me in their 'off hours,' or if it promoted the (sadly cut) docking of ships accompanied by matter-paying folk, I'd be real happy.

In either case, I would wholly support this game, and the proposed 'Minecraft model' sounds like the perfect route to take.

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How do you launch the game? It doesn't have any launcher or anything nor are there directions or a folder that says game or anything.
Once you extract the files, just run the file that says Run in the Afspace file, should be right below the instruction PDF. It's a batch file.

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How do you launch the game? It doesn't have any launcher or anything nor are there directions or a folder that says game or anything.
Once you extract the files, just run the file that says Run in the Afspace file, should be right below the instruction PDF. It's a batch file.
Oh I didn't extract the game. Ok I'll try that out.

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I just had about an hour of good fun with Spacebase.

I echo what has been written in the previous posts. I like that I was up and running my base instantly; no huge tutorial, or overly complex micro-management.

If DF were to make a full version, I would definitely buy.

If I could add some things in a full game, it would be some sort of resource management layer beyond 'matter' and happiness or mood. Also, perhaps each zone, you could enter a 'mini-game' type thing unique to each zone, like simple crafting system at the pub, 'operation' type game in infirmary, etc. This would give some fun breaks from base management, but wouldn't be the focus at all.

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Since this seems to be the feedback thread, here goes:

- I love the artwork. Things are colourful and recognisable without being gaudy.

- I love the music. It's got a lovely spacey, ambient feel that perfectly suits what's going on.

- I saw in one of the day-end videos one of the developers talking about subtle things they'd added to the building tools that would make it more difficult to, say, vaporise a hole in the hull or build walls through important inner parts of the base. Except for a few little quirks that are no doubt due to the rushed nature of the development cycle, this works well, and I like it!

However, there's some things that I found confusing:

- Some of the Spaceface posts are just "flavour", and some of them are apparently supposed to alert you to different conditions like "people need rooms" or "people need food". Especially in the beginning, it was a bit difficult to figure out which ones I should actually be paying attention to.

- On a related note, it can be hard to tell what problems your base is facing unless you (a) regularly check everybody's Spaceface feeds, and (b) know how to map posts onto what resources they're lacking. For example, "This is my last clean pair of pants". Pretty sure there's no Laundry Zone. :(

- If I understand correctly, you can 'zone' an area which gives it a colour-coded floor, but it doesn't actually take effect until some of the residents wander in and construct things (for example, a residential room gets a bed or sleep-pod, the pub gets tables with food, etc.) Is that right? I think my first base starved to death because although I built a nice big Garden room, nobody ever put anything in it. The UI suggests that Scientists grow food in gardens, but when I made a bunch of people into Scientists, they all hung out in the lab.

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For me, Spacebase is quite charming, but difficult to enjoy.

The flavour text is amusing. All my bartenders love burning themselves with boiling water, and I inspect space for fun.

The little civilians are varied, and really cute! I like the furniture too.

I like the music. It's not repetitive at all, it's dynamic (and I don't just mean the danger layers), and I definitely wouldn't mind listening to it for a really long time. But I don't think it really suits the game. It's really foreboding and sterile, somehow. What I took from the pitch was that the game would focus on the social interactions and everyday lives of the aliens, and I didn't feel that the music captured the vibrant, lively frivolity of the aliens' interactions and flavour text. I felt Brother Android's

,
, and
better captured what I thought was the spirit of the game.

Though I think that was the spirit of the game, it was actually more like a Space Death Simulator than a Space Life Simulator to me... There's always one citizen constantly getting sick and healed, until eventually they died of dysentery (even with full morale). Then the cycle would continue for another citizen, and another... Also, my first five space bases all failed early (before I was in reach of an asteroid or derelict space base) due to early meteor strikes that killed too many of my few citizens. I wish the strikes could have at least left some salvageable debris, like part of the meteor?

Also, anyone who's not constructing something is an alcoholic, so my doctors tended to ignore the sick and ailing for a while to guzzle down a few beers. I'm also guessing there are no condoms in space... On another note, a few of my civilians afflicted by space STDs got it after the only one person who had it died. Eeeugh.

I like how the build modes prevent you from accidentally creating giant hull breaches, but I also don't like how there's no way to actually delete outer walls either. When I adopt the citizens of a derelict space station, I'd also like to vaporise the old thing too. To reclaim resources, and also for aesthetic reasons.

The civilian AI could use a lot of tweaking. Scientists complain about a lack of food and ask where the base's scientists were. My bartenders love to congregate in the reactor zone. Often civilians just refuse to furnish rooms--and then lament over a shortage of beds. Often I felt more like a helpless nanny than a space base architect.

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Ok, I disagree, I really liked the music.

But unlike the other guys posting here, the main flaw for me was working out what I was supposed to do. I tried to rescue folks in other bases and everyone just died all the time.

EDIT: I downloaded a version without the instructions.pdf file. This makes it much clearer how the game works and what to do. Thanks :) Below is the original comment.

Clearer goals, and more obvious feedback is what I would like.

Perhaps aggregate the social media posts into a constant feed, and add +1s or likes or Me2s to indicate how many others feel the same?

Suggest

First: "hey guys, my favourite band is playing at the bar tonight" (15 likes) -> Check size of bar, only 9 tiles -> enlarge

Then: "Aw man, I'm coming down with something" (9 +1s) -> oops, need to build an infirmary -> dang out of matter

Right! next time I'll remember to build a hospital...

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I agree in all the good things said and also in the bad ones. I would like to see who dies. I mean... ok. i see the bodies but nothing more. Any menu informs you in a clear way who died. The Jobs tab seems to me a nice idea. Making the management of your employees very easy, but when someone dies you don't get feedback. so you think you have 4 engineers but actually you hace just one because three of them died.

I could understand that it could add a sense of "i take care of all of my shipmates" but coloring in red in the jobs tap those who died wolud be so great. A space port to have visitors would be awesome but i liked a lot the idea of having to expand your base to others. Having "ships" that you command and send to other stations would be great too.

Crew behavior is a little mess. Ok that everyone helps constructing things but having a medic constructing while others are waiting to get treatment is not a good thing. But i know it's prototype and there's a lot of potential in it. :D Will prototypes be updated? Grats for all your work. ^^

P.D: Startopia... OMG what a great game.

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It's difficult to give feedback on this. I have a hard time figuring out when something's happening because I screwed up, because I didn't know something about how the behaviors work, or because I ran into a legitimate bug. Being dropped in headfirst with every single aspect to consider at once can be tricky as hell. I feel like I need to study the manual more, and research how things are supposed to work -- otherwise I'm flailing around and failing miserably.

However, even if I found the prototype experience a bit limited and clunky, I still feel this game has amazing potential. There's enough here to hint at what the game could be like after a full development cycle of smoothing things out and introducing mechanics properly. There's enough charm in the art and music and spaceface updates to make me want more. So while the game didn't blow me away like some of the other protos did, this still has a very strong chance at becoming something great.

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Just wanted to say thanks for all the feedback. We really appreciate it!

BTW - Has anyone found the two rare and probably disastrous derelicts? I won't say more, but post screenshots if you see either of them. Just be careful who you let out of confinement and into your base :)

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Just wanted to say thanks for all the feedback. We really appreciate it!

BTW - Has anyone found the two rare and probably disastrous derelicts? I won't say more, but post screenshots if you see either of them. Just be careful who you let out of confinement and into your base :)

Hi,

I've found one "deadly derelict", everybody except one character was already dead when I found it (and one engineer was murdered when I started expanding the derelict to the west before I caught on to what was going on ...)

Now the "deadly derelict" is confined again and completely "de-zoned ...

deadly_derelict.jpg

deadly_derelict.jpg.da4ef9b435dc117a68b6

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Just wanted to say thanks for all the feedback. We really appreciate it!

BTW - Has anyone found the two rare and probably disastrous derelicts? I won't say more, but post screenshots if you see either of them. Just be careful who you let out of confinement and into your base :)

Hi,

I've found one "deadly derelict", everybody except one character was already dead when I found it (and one engineer was murdered when I started expanding the derelict to the west before I caught on to what was going on ...)

Now the "deadly derelict" is confined again and completely "de-zoned ...

Yea, last night I found that exact same one (same almost-square shape, 5 dead bug-eyed aliens and one living "human") but I didn't realize that most of them were dead until I'd already broken the seal. I don't recall if anything untoward happened afterward because I just kept it at x64 speed and watched after that point (out of matter).

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Just wanted to say thanks for all the feedback. We really appreciate it!

BTW - Has anyone found the two rare and probably disastrous derelicts? I won't say more, but post screenshots if you see either of them. Just be careful who you let out of confinement and into your base :)

Hi,

I've found one "deadly derelict", everybody except one character was already dead when I found it (and one engineer was murdered when I started expanding the derelict to the west before I caught on to what was going on ...)

Now the "deadly derelict" is confined again and completely "de-zoned ...

Yea, last night I found that exact same one (same almost-square shape, 5 dead bug-eyed aliens and one living "human") but I didn't realize that most of them were dead until I'd already broken the seal. I don't recall if anything untoward happened afterward because I just kept it at x64 speed and watched after that point (out of matter).

Yeah I came across the same derelict expanded into it, and before I knew it I had a murderer on the loose. Quite the shock to suddenly see dead bodies lying around the murder who was acting like nothing was going on.

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Spending more time with it and trying my best to look at it with prototype-vision and not game-vision, I think I definitely like the idea and would love to see it explored further. It's difficult to give feedback, because how well the systems dovetail with each other to produce an elegant, complex, and fun little simulation would be the true measure of the gameplay. DF-9 was always at a bit of a disadvantage in terms of how much was going to be done at the end of the two weeks, because making AI work is hard, and making systems work is hard, and making both of those things work together in numerous ways makes things even more complex.

So it's difficult to determine how fun the systems would actually be at this point, just because a lot more work and tweaking would have to be done first.

HOWEVER! That being said, there are good things I can say about the game:

1) The Art: The artwork is great. Not just our cute little space dudes and dudettes, but the furniture pieces and the menus as well. It's just fun to look at. I also noticed that when you assign a job, the character's clothes change into a little job-related outfit. xD

2) The Music: I think the music is just great. It doesn't draw too much attention to itself, but it also provides great ambiance. I also appreciate that there are music player buttons in the UI where you can mute the music or skip tracks. I remember specifically requesting something like this in one of the threads, so I was super happy when I noticed it was there! Thanks! =D

3) Gameplay Concepts: While it's true that I can't tell how the gameplay would ultimately FEEL in a final version at this point, I can say that I really like the concepts you've got going, and I could actually see this being a really great iOS game. The more I played with it and looked it, the more it made me think of how much I loved Tiny Tower. And Tiny Tower wasn't even nearly as complex as this. But you can "zone" floors by how in-demand certain types of areas were in your tower, you could assign jobs to people (and get bonuses if you assigned them to their dream job), you could read people's little mock facebook posts (similar to the little DF-9 feed that shows citizen thoughts), and of course you always wanted to build up and up and up and up. You could play the game for free and have all kinds of fun with it, but if you paid actual money, you could unlock special costumes, get more towerbux (or more matter in SBDF9 terms), or improve elevator speed. I think DF-9 has a lot of similar ideas, which I suppose is my way of saying that I could see this being a really great little iPad toy, much like Tiny Tower is a great little iPad toy.

4) Interfaces: The interface work is really good. Very intuitive and easy to understand. I especially remember being frustrated at first that I was going to have to hunt around and individually click on people to see if they had jobs and then assign them to jobs individually. And I thought, "Why can't I just assign them to jobs inside the job screen?" Curious, I clicked a name and clicked a job column and PRESTO! I was super pleased that this had already been thought of. *applause*

I think with a little more work and with even more concepts and ideas added in, it could be a fun little sim game. Some things are hard to judge in its current form, but I can at least say that my interest in the concept is maintained. I'd love to see where this goes with more development time. =]

Good work everyone! *pours beer on everyone* Yaaaa! Woooo!

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I like how when you build a room the works just go in and just start setting things up.I find it kinda cool seeing where they place it but it doesn't always work out.

Also I noticed that workers don't like to work. Sometimes when I place rooms down they won't go in and start puttping objects even when I have the positions filled.

Also anyone notice the crew member that looks like Bane?

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I have to keep reminding myself that this is just a prototype and bugs and big omissions are to be expected. I have staffed gardens, life support and pubs, and people still complain about lack of food. I allot a lot of residential space and people still say they have nowhere to live. People die of diseases while on their way to the infirmary, and nobody thinks to clean up the body or remove it from the job listing or crew count.

I understand I shouldn't expect too much at this early stage, but these things are making it hard to look through to the fun that lies beyond. I'd like to get around to social manipulation, making the base look prettier and slowly expanding more, but I can never feel comfortable I've done enough to safely sustain the population I have.

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Like all the prototypes, it kind of hints at possibilities more than delivers a full game. In its prototype form, Spacebase is still pretty thin, but I'd really like to see it fleshed out. I think it could be done with a fairly small team, and would probably be worth it.

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A giant high five to whoever put Space Dysentery in as a sickness type. I commented during one of the sit down livestreams that you guys should include it and i'm not if you guys saw it or if it's a happy coincidence, but I seriously laughed so hard when I saw that.

I've been having a lot of fun with the prototype and I think the team did a great job.

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BTW - Has anyone found the two rare and probably disastrous derelicts? I won't say more, but post screenshots if you see either of them. Just be careful who you let out of confinement and into your base :)

Oh man I just found one of those! The one I found was different from the one others have posted though. It didn't have any bodies, just a square room with another square room with no doors inside of it, and an alien inside that room. So that's who murdered everyone...

Anyway general thoughts on the prototype:

I actually went into this with really low expectations, as I don't normally enjoy these types of games, but I wound up having a blast. Figuring out solutions to the various citizen's problems and expanding the base proved to be way more fun than I was anticipating. It wasn't a perfect experience, but it's tough to criticize anything since it's hard to know what problems arise from the design, and which are bugs. Much like other people, I had some difficulty with citizens complaining that they didn't have things which I'd explicitly given them. It seemed like they maybe have a very limited range of awareness? This caused problems when I was trying to expand the base, as nobody would go where I was trying to build the expansion. It's probably a bug, but it would be handy if there were better feedback on what people needed, and if there was a better way to guide people to an area of your base than slowly luring them there by de-zoning areas and building walls behind them to lock off sections of the base.

Regardless, this was one of the most enjoyable prototypes of all of them, and it greatly exceeded my expectations. Hope it makes it into production. Would definitely buy.

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If there is one thing I would like to see implemented it would be a detective or security style character, someone who would chase down murderers. It definitely would add another element to the game, in my opinion if the team ever gets to expand the game beyond a prototype.

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I liked this game, it shows some really good potential for a stellar game ;) , if it just had 3d graphics, similar to the one in Startopia. I do hope this game gets made, either by a publisher or kickstarted

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