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The Mighty Gerbil

Game Play Improvement Suggestions

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Hello :) looking at some videos of your game, and your future development plans page, I found it interesting, but had some suggestions...

1. Either simplify and combine zones or bind zone function to key objects eliminating the need to assign zones.

Why you need it: You must keep the UI convenient. As it is you are going to have a large list of zones to scroll through as you have zones made for very specific uses. Zones should be a blanket archetype covering multiple, visually comparable, uses to have their existence make sense. You could combine the planned "Infirmary" and "Research" zones into "Lab" or "Science", "Reactor" and "Life Support" into "Engineering" and change the "Pub" zone to a more inclusive name like "Entertainment" or "Relaxation" ( I like "Relaxation zone" :P ). You could still have more jobs than zones, and names for rooms, but determined by the objects within. Better yet just eliminate zones completely and bind zone functionality to key objects. Click on a room to choose a key object, and once placed it could zone the room automatically. Then clicking on that room again a different, context sensitive, menu could display only appropriate supporting objects further reducing UI clutter.

2. Add an option to manually turn off equipment saving wear and manpower.

Why you need it: It looked like unneeded air recyclers still accrued wear and tear, and required technicians to watch them. This seems even more important once things get a power requirement.

3. Add a limited time to explore and deconstruct ships before they drift away.

Why you need it: Some game play videos got extremely cluttered with ships, and there was no feeling of urgency to explore them. As you intend to put valuable items in these things it should at least be a challenge to get them. I also find permanently docking ships a bit imbalanced as they practically auto build bases (if you don't care what it looks like). Though it is not required it'd also be nice if ships you can go in actually moved across the screen. Perhaps it's beyond your engine's capabilities. If they could move having to board a derelict to change it's course or attach thrusters to asteroids to divert them could be a thing. Seeing things coming, and having to do something, is a lot more thrilling than just having them appear.

4. Add an idle crew member indicator somewhere.

Why you need it: When some tasks complete (building) or have a maximum number you can assign to them (not enough bars for bartenders) that person probably sits around doing nothing. Having an indicator for idle crew members could help. Note I am assuming "unassigned" refers to crew you have not assigned yet, and does not switch to this to show idleness (which won't work as they are different things).

Additional things to think about adding are...

A. I know you have meteorites planned, but how about more varied random events. Plasma storms, that perhaps reek havoc on equipment. Moving nebula clouds, which could alter crew status while going through them. Worm or black holes as hazards to avoid. Maybe even satellite, probe or obelisk encounters.

B. I saw you plan to add watching "space ball", but perhaps add a futuristic sport for crew to actually play. Something self contained and fairly small (as sports go), like a futuristic racket ball court object.

C. Adding hatred/fights among crew was in the development plans, but you could also have crew members dislike impair performance if assigned the same task.

D. I suggest health work in this manner. A crew member could suffer either damage or damage with an injury. Hp would heal over time if only damaged, but injuries would impair recovery (some would make HP continue to drop) until treated with medical equipment. The lower the hp the worse the crew member's performance. This format would make medical equipment needed mid-game, as it should be, but not at start.

Ultimately whether your game succeeds, or fails, will probably be based on making the autonomous crew actions seem spontaneous, engaging, and endearing. I like the direction you are going with Spaceface and mental health angles. It makes it more than just another dry simulation. Anyway just some ideas off the top of my head. Have fun, God bless :) .

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Add an option to manually turn off equipment saving wear and manpower.

I'd love this. Right now it's quite easy to get up to 30 residents and then a few minutes later lose almost all of them. The base population fluctuates wildly. It'd be nice to be able to shut down entire zones, even sections of the base that cover multiple zones, when not needed, placing them into a kind of 'stasis', possibly even a vacuum, where no degradation occurs. Not just for machinery like the oxygen recyclers, but beds and anything that suffers wear n' tear.

Add a limited time to explore and deconstruct ships before they drift away.

Yisss! I've been struggling with the sheer quantity of derelicts that show up. I haven't been able to just leave them and ignore them - inevitably one of my mechanics will go off to repair the outside airlock on a derelict on the other side of space and will just sit there and eventually asphyxiate. If I don't notice this happening, I quickly lose a whole load of technicians. This suggestion, coupled with a re-balanced frequency of derelicts in relation to magnetic interference level, could work great I feel.

Add an idle crew member indicator somewhere.

This, but also the ability to see and sort by happiness level on the roster (or even a toggle for 'emote faces' above mob heads). I'd like to be able to quickly identify sad people and re-assign them or something to try to increase happiness, since sad people cause more accidents.

Worm or black holes as hazards to avoid.

Y'know what might be fun? Having the entire station sucked into a hole and deposited in another sector. :D

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I also read your suggestions. I like them.

I don't see the need for an idle-indicator though. Let them enjoy their mobile games in peace.

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Worm or black holes as hazards to avoid.

Y'know what might be fun? Having the entire station sucked into a hole and deposited in another sector. :D

How about being able to build a jump drive that lets you move all or part of your base to a new sector. Sort of a controllable map reset that lets you keep some of your progress.

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1. I like the idea of different materials to be mined. Also maybe allow for collection of elements from nearby nebula.

2. I'd also like the ability to define a threat plan.

Mark areas of the base for yellow and red alerts, then if a security officer hits the alert, citizens should stop what they are doing and go to the designated area and take up a temporary job change. That could be used for firefighting and invasion, but overuse would hurt moral and cause a boy who cried wolf affect.

3. Maybe add a science and engineering learning tree...

Having some of the learning be tied to individuals and some of it communal would be awesome, as it'd make you care a lot more about the person that can perform spectral analysis on matter to find rare elements that a dude with a star rating of x for a job... Also, you could end up in situations where you have built things that you no longer have the capability to build or maintain and your base end up becoming dependent on technology your citizens don't understand (Idiocracy in space).

4. It'd also be nice to have proximity to a star as part of the location setup.

That could add some interesting elements to gameplay like allowing engineers to start building solar receptors for a power alternative to nuclear so there is less change of the reactor going critical, more power the closer you are to a sun, that would also mean more radiation affects while spacewalking. You could also have long term scripted events like a star going supernova that you'd have to advance your learning enough to build something to shoot into the sun to stop.

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What if we could experiment with atmosphere and pressure on different parts or our entire starbase? It might sound problematic to have one area on a map that's 50% pressure and another that 150%, but airlocks (pretty much) solve that problem.

It would also be good for design to have the ability to define zero-atmosphere zones, be they exposed to space or not. These would be areas where crew will know they have to wear space suits to enter, and would require airlocks to enter and exit safely. One use would be a protective shell around your base to protect against meteoric impacts and other hazards, and also as another poster noticed you could have a no-atmosphere, no-power zone where machinery is shut off and doesn't experience wear and tear, to accommodate rising and falling populations and/or when you just have to cut your losses / retreat from a section, or for some maintenance purposes.

Sometimes you'd rather your builders stay in suits for certain projects, so being able to void a zone and for your crew to understand they need suits to survive inside of it could be very useful. Ultimately being able to define inside/outside for ourselves if we choose, rather than always leaving it up for the game to decide, could be very useful, and crucial for some designs.

A lot could be done with atmosphere concentrations. Everyone's depressed? Pump up the oxygen to pump up the mania, but don't go too far or too long or space madness will be the least of your troubles? Astronauts too uppity? Lower the oxygen so they just want to take a nap. Long term they'll get used to it so long as the pressure and O2 isn't too low, so you could get by with less oxygen generation if you can put up with some short-term angst and discomfort among the crew.

For safety purposes, the environmental controls should have a speed limiter so it's not easy to pop heads or crush your crew like raisins. Something like a gauge where you set the desired atmospheric concentration, pressure, etc, and the values slowly rise or fall until they reach the setting.

Speaking of extreme conditions, I think it should be possible, if you're very lucky, to save crew that get spaced. Vacuum isn't always instantly fatal, here on Earth there are much higher pressure differentials that humans deal with, such as under the sea and going from low to high altitudes. Experienced Spacers, which most of your crew probably are, should have the know-how to maximize their chances of survival. Depending on what kind of medical help is available to your crew, and the environmental conditions (proximity to solar radiations sources or being inside a particle / gas cloud could swiftly broil or freeze them before suffocation kicks in), a shipmate who finds themselves sans-atmo could have only a few seconds or minutes to survive, or maybe hours thanks to the advances of cryo-technology, should the conditions be right to turn them into a space-popsicle.

Different areas of different atmospheric conditions inside the base could also be really useful once plants are introduced, or solar radiation. You could have a high-pressure, high-humidity zone either inside the base to keep certain exotic flora (and fauna?) happy, or the same around the exterior of the base to protect against radiation. Of course that would also raise all kinds of decompression risks. Crew could die from the Bends without even leaving the 'safety' of the base. There could be mechanisms that trade carbon dioxide and oxygen between zones, to maximize CO2 to your greenhouses and oxygen to your crew quarters.

Some of this stuff would obviously take a lot of work and maybe be over-ambitious, but the same could be said for a lot of things on the dev plan. If some of those ideas don't make it in, some other crazy ideas might, right?

At the very least, it would be beneficial for the design if the system were very robust about handling odd cases of atmosphere and inside/outside differentiation. It would make it sturdier versus odd designs that players dream up, and make adding new features easier and more deep. For instance, if we ever have shuttle bays, the game would probably need to understand that the zone is sometimes in the air envelope and sometimes isn't, and it needs mechanisms to deal with the possible issues of such a hybrid zone.

Also with the plant arc apparently coming soon, the possibility of having too much or too little oxygen, too much or too little carbon dioxide, will go a long way toward making the plants a useful and enriching feature.

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I also read your suggestions. I like them.

I don't see the need for an idle-indicator though. Let them enjoy their mobile games in peace.

You may be right it might not be required. Ultimately what is needed for feedback will be determined by how many things they add, and what population maximum they intend to allow. If they add everything they intend the game will switch from micro to macro in terms of the amount of crew you have to continually monitor. I can't see scrolling through pages of roster, regularly, as being anything, but cumbersome without streamlining, and clarification.

Perhaps it would be best if they just went whole hog, and offered an efficiency report screen where you could check global average statistics for equipment conditions, crew idleness, etc. Then you'd know at glance if you need to reassign crew. There is that button at the bottom, but unfortunately I haven't seen a video of players using it to know everything it displays and how. If you haven't noticed I don't have the game yet, but if it turns out well I'd like it hence my posts hoping to help guide it along.

Lots of interesting and good ideas in these forums. Though right now they need to concentrate on getting the core mechanics in place, streamlined and balanced. The ideas I chose to emphasize in my original post were done so to that end. As it stands it feels like they threw things they know they want in, but without enough forethought to how core game play is going to change down the line. It's like the zone thing. Aren't you always going to have a Bar in a Bar zone or an Oxygen Recycler in a life support zone? So why have zones? It looks like it will be a good game, but if they did a little more future proofing they'd save themselves some work.

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a base deployment selection filter at the beginning of the game would be good eg. mineral density >= high and danger level <= low etc.

if miners would automatically pick up ore left on the floor and refine that before going out to mine asteroids that would be good

a way of selecting "demolish all" (selecting the walls and the floor etc. at the same time) would be useful for removing unwanted derelicts or docked ships quickly

an "off limits" zoning area would be good to stop engineers maintaining things in derelicts and stop people from "entering base" in derelicts, and other uses.

a priority building selection would be good so you could either select a room schematic as priority or an object as the thing that will be built next

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the amount of air left in the tank before returning to the airlock needs to be more, or calculated in terms of distance, because i had some builders not even 1/4 of the map distance away from my base demolishing a derelict when they were low on air and returned, one asphyxiated in the airlock and two asphyxiated on the return journey, which was towards the furthest away airlock on the base, which is also an issue that needs to be fixed, they should leave through the airlock which is closest to their destination and enter the airlock which is closest to them

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