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modernevil

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  1. I've definitely felt out of the loop this AF in ways I never experienced before, even when the first [public] one didn't come to my attention until the last day or two. I was just looking at my Youtube subs page and saw that they'll be live streaming the finished demos in a couple of hours ... while in my mind they're still effectively on day 4 and things are barely starting to come together. I'll tune in, but it's going to be a little like being 1/3 of the way through a book and flipping to the back to see how it ends. (Which is terrible, and shouldn't be done.)
  2. Looking forward to seeing what DF does with these concepts; 3 of them were on my shortlist, and 1 was one of the 2-3 I was most excited for. (Even though I won't be able to play I Have No Idea What I'm Doing because I opted for PSVR rather than investing in PC-based VR this generation, I would love to see this one come together well enough that DF creates a full game from it that, hopefully, I can add to my PSVR game collection.) It's interesting to me that Kiln was the company's pick; I'm curious what other internal discussions may have occurred around these ideas beyond the pitches we saw.
  3. Think to the too-important photo on Mom's console; Shay was playing, in person, on the ship, with his parents—probably older than age 9, considering the pictured boots. So he certainly knew (not too long before we meet him) that his parents were real, live people. But with time the ship has been degrading more and more (and mom has been getting more and more paranoid of the dangerous planets they're approaching) so dad has been spending all his time "outside" the ship repairing the hull and mom has been holed up in her control room—and considering they both thought they were actually in space, I don't doubt that their behavior was just as manipulated by Marek as Shay's was. Which is to say, the Thrush had determined (and remember, they've been sending these expeditions out for hundreds of years, trying to perfect the process generation after generation) that the way to get the results they wanted was through deceit and manipulation, including keeping the family out of town, making them believe they're flying a space ship among hostile worlds, isolating the boy from his parents before he becomes a teenager, and then manipulating that alienation from his parents to get him to "choose" the maidens—by tapping into a lifetime of "be a hero" brainwashing spoon-fed to him by his constant "missions". His parents weren't aware they were hiding themselves from Shay—dad was constantly looking in the windows at his son as he was kept busy "repairing the hull", watching lovingly through his "space helmet", and mom was literally constantly watching—without letting herself take a moment away from the controls which she had been led to believe were at the center of protecting her family. Both represent the parent so absorbed with work that (even though they may be checking in digitally) they aren't present in their child's life, but who, in being so wrapped up in their work, are unaware they aren't present in the life of the child they think all their work is for. Everyone is deluded, and it's wonderfully crafted allegory about modern families.
  4. Finished the complete game, playing through Act I again per Tim's advice, and really, really enjoyed it. (Though there were a couple sticking points. e.g.: I was going back and forth on boots for about an hour because I missed part of the instructions and overlooked one of the clues—after brute-forcing the answer I figured out what I'd misunderstood, and if I'd understood the instructions it would have taken me 1 try.) It definitely looks, sounds, and feels like the $7-$10 million game that it is. Very satisfying. I wonder how things would have gone for Double Fine if they'd raised $8+ million on Kickstarter and said from the get-go, "This is enough budget for 3 years of small-team development, which corresponds with the size of adventure game Tim is used to designing." Meh. I got my money's worth a year or more ago, from the documentary alone. Though I am hoping that one of the post-mortem updates we get in a couple of months goes over the entire budget/expenses/sales/etc data for the life of the project. From a "seeing how sausage is made" perspective, that sort of information is invaluable. Thanks to the entire team at Double Fine for putting everything on the line to deliver this amazing experience. I can't wait to play through Act II again with my wife; there's so much good stuff in there.
  5. Playstyle & your POV coming into the game are definitely coloring your experience. My not fully grasping the strategy layer at first colored mine: In my first game (which I finally won last night) I ended up with 2 Alchemist houses and 1 each of Hunter and Caberjack—and because I realized my mistake late enough that I nearly didn't have any Caberjacks, their birthrates/generations were off; except during a weird Alchemist drought in the mid-200's all my teams had 2-3 Alchemists, and frequently either Hunters or Caberjacks. So I learned, very quickly, how powerful/useful the Alchemists can be. And I adapted my play style to include quite a bit of Cadence-herding. If you can guess how the Cadence will behave on their turn (or later, when you have boomsticks... err... Cadence Cabers, and can reposition enemies with every caber hit) you can get them to bunch up, in throwing range, even in the early game. Additionally, I found Alchemists to be my strongest units, even for single enemies, during the mid-game—flasks easily deal more damage than any other weapon or ability until Caberjacks reach level 8+. Bring 3+ Alchemists on a Bulwarks mission (most of the time if you use Free Throw, even if they appear to Bone Shell, a 2nd flask will hit for full damage—though I suppose that may be a bug, rather than an analog of the Hunter's double shot), Bulwarks will give you little/no trouble. Flasks were consistently doing 2x-3x the damage of any other hit my heroes could dish out. Re: Hunters, though... Ugh. What a useless mess. (I came in with the EA/$20-backer release, so I assume that's post-nerf.) Reasonably good in the early game, but just a terrible mishmash of capabilities. They have stealth, which makes them good scouts, but if you actually use that ability to send them scouting ahead, you just have to wait for the rest of your heroes to catch up before striking anyway—they're good at ranged attacks and not particularly high on HP, so it makes sense to have them stay back, shoot from afar, and not attract too much attention, not rush up front invisible and unleash an attack before their melee & short-range buddies catch up... So by mid-game I'd almost entirely stopped using their hidden movement abilities, and I only equipped the Veil armor once or twice, to see what it could do—what it did was get my hunters killed, by putting them up front when they ought to be in the back. (I can see how this problem could be mitigated by having 5 Hunters.) What was worse was that, by end-game, the hunters couldn't shoot for ... well, they missed a lot. I blame a misleading stat system, where having 120%+ Accuracy somehow makes sense but gives 45%-70% chance of hitting endgame Cadence. I'm thinking now that I need to put Steady Handers on my level 10 Hunters with natural 125% Accuracy, just to hit anything. In the final battle I ended up with 2 Hunters, 1 Caberjack, and 2 Alchemists (due largely to the juggled generations) and by mid-battle wished I'd brought 4 Alchemists and a Caberjack, or 3 Alchemists and 2 Caberjacks, because my Hunters were missing 1/2 or more of their shots, and when they hit, it was for a fraction of the Advanced Cadence's HP—where my Caberjack could run around with his kill rage and take out 3 or 4 Cadence in a turn, and my Alchemists could take out 2-3 Cadence with a couple flasks. These were level 10 Hunters, one with a level 10 Relic, the other started with a level 6 relic (because after mid-game, Hunters don't naturally get kills, they just soften Cadence up for the other classes unless you're gaming the system) and they were hitting for 17-24 on a single (non-crit) shot. If they could hit at all. tl;dr: I had a completely different experience with Hunters, and am considering not bothering to give them a keep in my next game, since they're poison during the end-game.
  6. Speaking of a detailed feed, I'd love to be able to drill down after a battle and see a log-style detailed report of what happened to any given character. List out every time they hit/glanced/missed an enemy and what the effects were, and every time they were hit. Give details on what was gained and lost, both on each hit and overall; i.e.: Tell me how much damage this hero actually put out, how much damage they took, and how much XP they gained and lost and how much they aged during that specific battle. Some of these battles are taking a non-trivial amount of time, and the hero models are similar enough that when I have 2 hunters (with the same crest & similar names) and 2 alchemists (with the same crest & similar names) I may not remember who did what. Being able to access the log in the middle of the battle would give a very nice amount of tactical information—but I'd be happy trying to analyze the data after the win/lose, too, if that's too difficult.
  7. I think doing some combination would work better. (I mean, first of all hybrids will make a big difference, but with just the 3 base classes...) Say, most offspring would be the Regent's class, with a tiny percentage chance to spawn a random class. Then if a trait like Rebel (I think it's Rebel) is anywhere in the bloodline, the chance for off-class offspring goes way up. So you marry your Caberjack to an Alchemist with Rebel, and most of the offspring are Caberjacks or Caberjack-Alchemist hybrids, but one in five are Alchemists or Hunters—unable to hold the family relics, but possibly great heroes, able to become Regent themselves and alter the course of the family line, maybe able to make off-class relics that they can only pass on to their own offspring!
  8. If by "tutorialized" you mean "there's one line of VO the second time you target one", then maybe I heard it? But it in no way communicated to me that they were literally stealing XP. I have never encountered a video game enemy which was meta-gaming my character, and it was non-obvious. When I'm playing a game and numbers fly off a character's head, generally it's safe to ignore the numbers and look only at the result: In MC's case, I was looking at the big floating HP numbers, since I'd assumed that (like every other game) what was flying off was some of their health. If my character had enough health left, I kept fighting with them, if not, I tried to move them to the back of the fight (or once I found & researched them, gave them a Health Potion). It certainly never occurred to me to memorize/watch a character's XP bar/number during a fight—in every other game I've played, it's been safe to assume "this character is fighting [the Cadence], their XP is going up" and especially in a system where I only pick skills every few levels I don't feel the game & interface are pushing me to pay attention to the numbers, just whether or not there's a +1 to pick a new skill at the end of the battle. Sometimes (and I'm not sure how!) focus shifts to a close-up of an enemy and shows me their stats page—maybe put there (BIG) that their primary attack steals your XP.
  9. I'd also written: A couple of battles before I stopped playing last night (after I'd learned my lesson about the Lapses and started playing a meta-game around avoiding them) I met the wrinklers and, having already been warned, knew they'd be taking years off my heroes' lives with each hit. Honestly? Didn't care. I'm going 8-10 years between battles, I'm having to pick 60%-new teams of heroes every fight or two, what's 5, 10, 20 years here or there? Honestly, the only times I care about the age of my heroes (based on my current grasp of the game) is when they're frustratingly too young to fight or they're all aging out at the same time and dying, sucking all my best heroes into Keeps. *** But I'll stop writing, for now. But first: I'm not looking for you, forum-people, to explain everything to me and give me all the answers. I'm looking for the game to do so, not just for me, but for all future players. The game should give you this information; through the interface and the gameplay, players should understand what's going on, and what they need to do, and what the impacts of their choices will be. Additionally: The opportunity to make mistakes should be minimized. e.g.: If you're asking me to select a Partner, don't show me anyone where the "chance of breeding" is ZERO. Filter them out unless I tick a box that says otherwise. I'm sure we can come up with more examples.
  10. There's already lots of good feedback on the board, so I'll try to be brief (for me, if this comes in under 1500 words, I'm being brief) and summarize my pain points based on my first 6 hours / 90 years of play: I didn't feel like I had any idea what I was doing on the strategy layer: I didn't realize that any bloodlines I failed to place as the Regent at a Keep would cease to exist after the first generation—so I didn't build Keeps fast enough. I still don't know what the relationship between Regent, Partner, and their children are beyond: 1) All children will apparently be the Regent's class (I played 50+ years / several hours wondering what I was doing wrong to not be getting hybrids—wasting lots of good heroes who ought to have been Regents or Standards as Partners.), and 2) some combination of the Regent & Partner & RNG's Traits & Personality will be passed on to the children. I don't know whether the levels/XP of the Regent and/or Partner has an effect on the levels of their Trainees (which I guess is the secret word for "children under 15 who can't fight yet"), or just the Standards I place in the Crucibles. Speaking of which, the only time I zoom into the Keeps is when a pop-up takes me there (i.e.: someone died), and when I do I feel overwhelmed with all the +1, +2, et cetera on this keep full of heroes I've apparently never seen, but during the "replace a dead regent/partner" phase is not exactly the right time to be picking skills of heroes I may never see in battle? Frequently I would be fast-forwarding through time, getting death-popop after death-popup, trying to pick replacement regents/partners/standards/sagewrights with the best possible levels/traits/personalities/intuition (and most importantly—not accidentally picking impossible-to-breed marriages), seeing these lists of heroes that feel long and full of heroes somehow automatically leveling up (no explanation is given in game) without fighting... and then the Cadence would attack and somehow I'm left with 4 eligible heroes, because ... I don't even know! Maybe the rest are under-age? (But eligible for marriage?) Or maybe there were too many vacancies and I've accidentally assigned my relic-holder to be a Sagewright because the alternative was a 2-intuition 15 year old with Bountiful and Alert, while at the same time I picked regents/partners from long lists thinking "it's okay that I put my nicknamed active hero in this slot, there are plenty of other level 4's to fight with" when apparently they were level four 14 year olds who can't help when the Cadence finally show up... I have no sense of how much faster/slower research is going because I've build Sagewright guilds, or because my assigned heroes have higher or lower Intuition, or what affects intuition besides perks (it's almost, but not quite, linear with level?) or whether I should bother building them at all. Or what order to build/research things in—this isn't (at least, not obviously) a tech tree where I need to research this to unlock more powerful that later. What to do? Lost. I was lost. And I didn't feel like I had a good grasp on the relationship between the strategy and tactical layers: Every time someone was born, I wanted to go equip them with upgraded armor (since I can't set a default?) and then again when they came of age I wanted to pick their skills, and things just moved so fast ... and somehow all these people were being born and very few were making it to combat? Or ... I don't even know if they were, because after the first dozen or so there was no way I was looking at their names—just their class, level, and Traits/Personality, and it was off to the races. And it turned out that with so many people needed to keep my Keeps/Sagewrights stocked, plenty of those heroes I'd wanted to equip at birth would never actually get to use their upgraded armor or great traits, maybe? And I didn't know what to do with relics, and the game didn't really give any guidance. Sometimes there wasn't anyone to give it to, or only a list of regents/partners/standards, or I'd give it to someone and the next popup (not a battle!) I accidentally assign that person to sagewright (Honestly, all I know is there's a huge warning block of text that says to me "you can't undo this" ... until I saw it on the forums this morning, I didn't know assigning a relic-holder to be a sagewright deleted their relic.) and later wonder who has my relics, I was sure I saw some relics around here... But since I don't seem to have any skill/method for predicting which of my theoretically-potential heroes will ever see combat, it's just a random selection who gets the relic. Maybe they'll die before the Cadence attack again, or maybe several other people will die, and they'll get assigned somewhere they don't fight, or ... wait, what happens to the partners when the Regent dies? Do they vanish, or rejoin the heroes? I don't know, and the game doesn't tell me, at least not in a way which I retained. How much of an impact are these traits/personalities going to have on my tactical gameplay? Toward the end of my play last night, I was leaning toward "none, they're just a distraction", as by the time I get to the tactical play I just adapt to whatever's right in front of me. (More on that, below.) The important traits are, apparently, the ones about breeding. Infertile (75% of my random starting heroes were Infertile, btw), Bountiful, Queenmaker/Kingmaker, and maybe quick learner, so that [whatever is causing them to level up without fighting] goes faster, too. Plus, there were a lot of missed details in the tactical layer: The biggest one was that (and maybe I missed or misunderstood a line of VO) the Lapse weren't just hitting me for damage, but reducing XP. Honestly, I'm not a min-maxer. I'm never going to follow someone's guide for XP-farming characters to make standards that can over-level your trainees ahead of schedule... The game would stop being fun if I even tried to figure out how to alter my play to be sure specific characters landed the killing blows. That's not fun for me—killing the Cadence is fun, micromanaging who gets what XP is not fun. To me, XP needs to just take care of itself. If I take a hero out and he fights the Cadence, I assume he's going to level up appropriately. When all my heroes/trainees were still in the level 1/2/occasional-3 range after 50-60 years, I figured that was where the game wanted me to be on the XP curve; 10 levels, 300 years, seems fine. Then I see (buried in someone's wall-of-text feedback post) on the forums that Lapses steal XP, and suddenly I'm picturing all the hits from Lapses my characters have been taking—I'd only been concerned that they not die from taking too many hits, same as hits from any other kind of baddie in a normal game, but apparently that's part of what's been holding me back. The fact that the Lapse are playing a meta-game is insufficiently communicated to the player. ((Maybe something could be added to the end-of-round screen emphasizing what happened: "Character X gained n XP from kills, m XP from surviving the battle, and lost l XP to Lapse hits." Maybe figure out a way to show it on the XP bar animation, too—that's what I really look at.)) (((Oops, ran out of space. Must be time to stop writing...)))
  11. I'm planning to make a separate post with all my thoughts, but as a new player I've run into similar problems with the almost-total lack of feedback on the strategy layer, or between the strategy and tactical layers. Are these good choices? How would I know? The game doesn't make any effort to teach you what is intended re: selecting regents/partners, nor how those selections will affect the children produced. I played for several hours yesterday, wondering why I wasn't getting any hybrid classes before coming to the forums and finding out I'd wasted an awful lot of very good heroes as partners. I still don't know whether regent and/or partner level/HP affects their childrens' levels, or how. To the OP's problem, it might be this little detail that I wasn't aware of until I saw a complaint about it buried in someone's wall-of-feedback-text last night: When Lapses shoot your heroes, they leech XP, not just health. I'd been playing for hours (wondering why I wasn't making any headway on hero levels, decade after decade) without being aware of this. If you aren't strategically handling your battles with Lapses specifically to avoid this effect, you can be set back significantly without knowing why.
  12. [speculation] I've been thinking a bit about the situation, reading through some older updates, considering things like the subtitle of Alpha 6, looking at old forum/steam posts from JP, and: I'm pretty sure that "1.0 in October" has been pretty firmly on their internal schedule since Alpha 5, or early July at the latest. The number of features (even if buggy in the current release) added in Alpha 6 which pushed that original dev plan from "a slight majority of features implemented" to "an overwhelming majority of features implemented" is actually pretty astounding, and the inside-knowledge that Alpha 6 would be the last big feature set before moving to [internal] Beta/bug-testing & polish lines up with the longer-than-normal wait for Alpha 6 and the extent of the systems implemented therein. I don't think they're in anything like a situation of a rush-to-1.0-without-bug-testing; I think they're right on schedule, and are giving the game more than enough time for internal bug-testing and polish, same as they'd give any other game. (Which also happens to be what they've said they're doing.) I also don't think it's a "ridiculous jump from Alpha 6 to 1.0" if going from Alpha 6 to 1.0 has been their implemented-plan for 3-6 months. It's pretty clearly not an "Oh, crap. Out of money, wrap everything up," but more of an "Oh, drat, it isn't making enough money for sustained development; how much longer do you need to implement enough features that we'll deliver a complete game containing the overwhelming majority of features you wanted?" I also happen to prefer to give them the benefit of the doubt re: not communicating this, since I know that, in their position, I might also wait until the last possible moment to see whether sales might pick up with the Alpha 6 release (which contained an overwhelming majority of the originally-considered features for the game)—if sales had picked up, they could have continued development a bit further, but if they'd pre-announced the worst-case plan for the schedule, there's no way sales would have picked up. Better to give the game a chance to over-perform expectations than to dash any hope by announcing you have low expectations. Just saying "sales aren't going well, and we don't think we'll be able to develop as long as we'd hoped" would be a sure way to ensure sales wouldn't go well, and you won't be able to develop as long as you would have if you hadn't said that. (Duh.)
  13. modernevil

    Refund

    Sure, and the list of features that may have been made possible by EA funding was the published dev plans. I don't understand what difference you see between "funded" and "supported"—I am also curious if you can point me to any documented example of a developer using Early Access where the EA funds were NOT used to fund the development of the game, where those funds were NOT needed, and one presumes ... were pure profit for the developers, who already had enough money before putting an unfinished game up for sale. ...I guess eventually Minecraft switched to something like that, but their later Alpha+Beta sales being pure profits was only possible because development was being funded by their early Alpha sales. So even Minecraft was effectively an EA game whose development was funded by EA sales. That's the biggest, most important point of putting a game up for Early Access sales—getting the funds to complete the development. If you saw Early Access advertised in some other way, I would love to have a look at that advertisement.
  14. ...where do you imagine the money to cover the cost of pre-EA development comes from, then? Are you just imagining that, despite having EA money coming in, developers should just carry the debt of the pre-EA development (inevitably paying interest, one way or another) until after EA is over and the game is released? Certainly that would motivate them to make the EA period as brief as possible—you would never get multi-year EA developments, which seem pretty common to me. I don't think you've ever had to deal with the financial side of running a business.
  15. @Acheron; In one respect, yes, my math was off: I had somehow misremembered the pre-Alpha development time as 10 months, rather than 7-7.5. If we more accurately calculate off the 7 months figure we get: 4 devs x ~$10k/dev/month x 7 months = ~$280k of the initial $400k investment, meaning they had ~$120k remaining for development at the time of the EA/Alpha 1 launch. Since they also reduced the team size at that time down to 3 devs, that's 4 months worth of funds remaining before dipping in to EA sales money—which would have been around mid-February, 2014. We don't know what the EA sales of DF-9 have been, except that in the first two weeks it earned enough to cover the initial $400k investment. (We don't know the terms of that, either, but for ease of calculation, it's best to assume DF is working from the assumption that it will have to have been paid back with revenue from sales (EA+retail) of the game, one way or another, or they'd never get investment like that again.) What we do know is that whatever DF's take of the sales is, between 2 weeks after release of alpha and mid-September (i.e. the announcement of v1.0 coming in October) they had not earned enough money to cover development costs, and had been covering those costs out of DF's other available funds (i.e.: sales of other games in their back-catalog). Development costs from mid-February to mid-September is another 7 months x 3 devs @ ~$10k/dev/month = $210k. So we know that DF's total take from DF-9 EA sales is somewhere between $400k and $610k, and we know that at least 2/3 of that is in the first two weeks, with less than $210k in additional income over the following 46 weeks. (i.e.: Over the last 46 weeks they have averaged to net somewhat less than $4,500/month from EA sales while spending ~$30,000/month on development.) We can also project that DF-9 would need to have earned on the order of $1 million more net income (pretending that they are secretly quite near break-even for the project, not significantly at a loss) to reach the "5 years" of hoped-for development, based on all the above numbers. But since they earned less than ~$200k in the last 46 weeks, another $1 million seems doubtful. Do you disagree? How long should they have carried on development, in your opinion, at a loss? ### Now, you are clearly unhappy with the business model of the project. The very idea that development costs after a mere few months of EA would be expected to be paid for by EA sales—it upsets you. That's fine. Be upset. I can't empathize, since that has been my understanding of what the Early Access program is based on, for years now, but it's fine that you're upset that they used the EA program in the same way I've been seeing developers use Early Access since the first time I saw a paid alpha (before it was even called EA). Have your feelings, but don't think it was DF's mistake—the mistake was yours, for failing to comprehend the Early Access business model. Clearly, your opinion is that developers should only use EA to raise funds if they don't need those funds. (You remind me of big banks, who think people should only be lent money if they can prove they don't need it.) Many developers and many gamers willing to support those developers disagree—we believe that the point of EA is to help fund projects we believe in, projects which would not be able to be developed without our support. Realistically, the only alternative to satisfy your worldview is for Double Fine, upon learning that they could only raise $400k in investment and somehow intuiting that the EA community would not support Spacebase DF-9 with even a small fraction of the financial support earned by other games in the space (since the game JP envisioned is clearly not satisfactory to that audience, in terms of delivered gameplay & affordances), to decide not to take the investment and not attempt to develop the game at all. The investors weren't there to cover the full cost of development, the market isn't there for EA support of a game with DF-9's development arc; they should not attempt to make a $2 million+ version of DF-9—at least according to your worldview. Me, I'd much rather have the $650k version of DF-9 they're delivering next month than merely the 2-week AF prototype they delivered in 2012. Sure, a $2 million+ version would have been nicer, but I'm okay with DF making only as much game as the market would bear—and I'm pretty sure that the sort of players who are saying the core gameplay of DF-9 isn't fun wouldn't have found the $2 million+ version much fun, either.
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