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RPG => Colony Ship: A Post-Earth Role Playing Game => Topic started by: Daedalos on January 03, 2019, 01:04:02 pm



Title: Tips and suggestions for development of Colony Ship
Post by: Daedalos on January 03, 2019, 01:04:02 pm
Hello Vince.

Happy New Year!

I will start by saying, that I am extremely hyped for Colony Ship to come out. I follow your devlogs, and things are looking very very good.

I've played cRPGs for many years now, and I've drawn alot of experiences from my playthroughs that I wanted to share with you in form of a few tips and suggestions for your game. Perhaps you already have considered most of them. Here goes:

Combat overall
I know you guys are hard at work on a combat demo of the game. That's great, and what's been shown so far, looks really really good. Keep going! Just remember, that combat should always feel slick and fun.

Fallout 1 had pretty bare-bones combat, but it did have tons of fun from the aimed shots and the gruesome death animations that followed.
It simply felt fucking satisfying blowing a guy in half, when he was acting like an asshole.
Turn-based is absolutely the right decision, and there's tons of mechanics to implement to make combat fun. Just don't overdo it. You're not trying to be the next XCom3 or jagged alliance 3. Combat should be satisfying and fun most of all, and not too complex, but not simple either.

Combat Speed/Slider
Please make the combat have a combat speedslider - Fast - Faster etc. People hate slow animations and slow combat, and want the choice to have this. Alot of new RPGs don't have this option, and it absolutely boggles my mind. D:OS 2 is the worst offender of this. It's not fun watching 10 enemies take their turns ♥♥♥♥ing slowly. You feel your life waste away.

Quality of Life Improvements
Implement as many Quality of Life improvements to the UI design and the overall game as possible. Don't make bartering (Selling/buying/trading) with NPC's a chore, because have you spend alot of time rearranging your inventory and drag-dropping alot. Make it seamless and easy and slick. Alot of people are very annoyed, if they have to play a mini-game of UI rearrangement and inventory arrangement. Make alot of options to sort your stuff, and to easily navigate your inventory and NPC inventories. Don't waste my time, basically.

Make quests, story easy to navigate and get an overlook, don't hide information from the player, and try to be as forthcoming with the information presented to the player without just telling them what to do, of course. Nobody wants quest-markers, but nobody wants to get a PhD in exploration, either. And for the love of god, please make the stat screen and the character builder good and transparent. Make the choices that the player makes for his character apparent.

Exploration and maps
People love exploring games, open world or not. Exploration, other than combat and NPC dialogues are absolutely some of the best stuff about cRPGs for me. If done right...
Don't make me have to backtrack a ton of times, or at least give me options to fast travel to already visited places. Make a map that is easy to navigate for the player, without confusing, and without spoiling all the fun encounters, either. I hope you make exploration of the spacecraft a fun and unique experience, cool encounters. Again, I'd rather have 10 locations with really memorable encounters and events, than 20 locations with medicore and boring and half-empty spaces. ALOT of the so-called newer "Open-world" rpgs are guilty of exactly this.

Sound and music design
PLEASE, for the love of god, devote a lot of ressources to sound and music design.
Sounds and music are totally 50 % (or more) of the experience of a good game. Sounds should feel unique, give you that extra OOMPF, and generally the music should engage you, and fit the setting. Who doesn't remember the mini-gun sound from fallout 1? Or the UI button clicks, the music, the atmosphere and so on..

Sounds and music are some of the things, that your players will experience again and again over the course of a 50-100 hour playthrough, so it should be something worth remembering and not annoying or obtuse in the long run for the player. The worst examples, are players that simply turn off music and sounds in the game, because they rather listen to a playlist on spotify.

Writing, Story and C&C
I know you have a big focus on writing, overall story and C&C. AoD had this, and it was great. You obviously have tons of experience here, already. Keep going and improving on this, and remember what Chris Avellone and other industry veterans said about quests - Don't make the sidequests bigger or better than the mainquest. Don't bore your players with longwinded fetch and catch quests or "go to this guy, and talk to this guy" quests. A few is nice for flavor, but I'd rather just have more unique quests.

Quests and how they tie-in with the main story/progression, is absolutely vital, because it gives the player urgency, and it gives the player set goals. Sure, most players like to stray from the goals, but nobody likes been given 90 new sidequests when entering a new quest hub, because you get so sidetracked form the main event. It should be a nice balance. Fallout 1 and 2 had excellent player urgency, because it had timed quests, and the sidequests never seemed to strongarm the main one.

It's better to make a shorter, tighter game, than it is a longwinded 100 hour one with 50 % boring shit nobody plays, or just plays through because of some completionist urge.

Crafting and itemization
So a lot of new cRPGs have crafting. AoD had this aswell. Overall, I like crafting, BUT, alot of new cRPGs get it wrong. There's simply too much hassle, too many trash items you have to store and collect, in order to maybe use for a recipe. Nobody likes to collect trash loot endlessly in every little container, it becomes a chore and boring in the long run.

Crafting becomes a bigger and bigger thing in many new games, than just a mini-game, and it kind of detracts from the overall main game. Developsers have a hard time balancing crafting and/or just making it fit the game and be fun, I'd much rather have a tight itemization and set pieces of armor and weapons and gadgets, than some elaborate or half-assed crafting system. It really has to be well-made and be tighly knit with the balance and feel of the game. Most cRPGs fail to implement a well-worth crafting mechanics, and spend alot of wasted ressources on it, instead of focusing on other areas of the game.

The other point is itemization, which ties in with crafting. As I said, don't litter the game with trash loot or otherwise forgettable items. Alot of games suffer from this. Make more unique items, and make them really mean and feel something to the player.

Anyway, I hope some of these above tips and suggestions can make it into the game, and I'm very excited to play the combat demo. Keep up the great work!


Title: Re: Tips and suggestions for development of Colony Ship
Post by: Vince on January 03, 2019, 04:40:48 pm
Turn-based is absolutely the right decision, and there's tons of mechanics to implement to make combat fun. Just don't overdo it. You're not trying to be the next XCom3 or jagged alliance 3. Combat should be satisfying and fun most of all, and not too complex, but not simple either.
Hopefully, we didn't overcomplicate things. Anyway, the combat system is almost done, so soon you'll be able to see it for yourself and then we can all discuss how to make it better.

Quote
Combat Speed/Slider
The animations are faster than in AoD and there will be speed sliders, just like in AoD.

Quote
Implement as many Quality of Life improvements to the UI design and the overall game as possible. Don't make bartering (Selling/buying/trading) with NPC's a chore, because have you spend alot of time rearranging your inventory and drag-dropping alot. Make it seamless and easy and slick. Alot of people are very annoyed, if they have to play a mini-game of UI rearrangement and inventory arrangement. Make alot of options to sort your stuff, and to easily navigate your inventory and NPC inventories. Don't waste my time, basically.
We'll do our best, but the combat demo is a good opportunity to get feedback early as it will have all the GUI except stealth.

Quote
People love exploring games, open world or not. Exploration, other than combat and NPC dialogues are absolutely some of the best stuff about cRPGs for me. If done right...
Don't make me have to backtrack a ton of times, or at least give me options to fast travel to already visited places....
I don't like walking back and forth myself so you don't have to worry about it.

Quote
PLEASE, for the love of god, devote a lot of ressources to sound and music design.
We'll do our best but our resources are very limited, so we have to prioritize.

Quote
Writing, Story and C&C
I know you have a big focus on writing, overall story and C&C. AoD had this, and it was great. You obviously have tons of experience here, already. Keep going and improving on this, and remember what Chris Avellone and other industry veterans said about quests - Don't make the sidequests bigger or better than the mainquest. Don't bore your players with longwinded fetch and catch quests or "go to this guy, and talk to this guy" quests. A few is nice for flavor, but I'd rather just have more unique quests.
No fedex, fetch, or kill X things quests.

Quote
Crafting becomes a bigger and bigger thing in many new games, than just a mini-game, and it kind of detracts from the overall main game. Developsers have a hard time balancing crafting and/or just making it fit the game and be fun, I'd much rather have a tight itemization and set pieces of armor and weapons and gadgets, than some elaborate or half-assed crafting system. It really has to be well-made and be tighly knit with the balance and feel of the game. Most cRPGs fail to implement a well-worth crafting mechanics, and spend alot of wasted ressources on it, instead of focusing on other areas of the game.

The other point is itemization, which ties in with crafting. As I said, don't litter the game with trash loot or otherwise forgettable items. Alot of games suffer from this. Make more unique items, and make them really mean and feel something to the player.
No crafting this time, no trash loot either.


Title: Re: Tips and suggestions for development of Colony Ship
Post by: Dr.Eleven on January 11, 2019, 06:58:15 am
Hi Vince,

What about artistic look and feel of the locations and encouters? Will all of them will be dark and dreary as you've posted on arts and screenshots?
Maybe make a few places where they (authorities, faction leaders) don't save on daylight illumination?  ;)


Title: Re: Tips and suggestions for development of Colony Ship
Post by: Vince on January 11, 2019, 07:36:49 am
What about artistic look and feel of the locations and encouters? Will all of them will be dark and dreary as you've posted on arts and screenshots?
No. The goal is to make the locations visually distinctive and avoid repetition. Right now we're working on the container town sitting in one of the cargo holds, so that's all we have to show at the moment.


Title: Re: Tips and suggestions for development of Colony Ship
Post by: Astorius on January 12, 2019, 12:35:56 pm
No crafting huh...that's a shame.


Title: Re: Tips and suggestions for development of Colony Ship
Post by: Wrath of Dagon on January 12, 2019, 02:20:32 pm
Of course it's up to the designers to decide whether their game structure would benefit more from having more unique weapons or from an upgrade system. All things being equal though, upgrading is superior for two related reasons. 1) You don't feel bad when you've spent a lot of money on a new weapon and then you just happen to find an even better one, instead you feel really good you just found a great upgrade for your existing weapon. 2) Finding a great new weapon feels less meaningful if you know you're likely to get a better one a little down the road.

General crafting though tends to make games into garbage collection simulators, plus wastes a lot of time on something that has nothing to do with core gameplay systems, so I'm glad that's out.


Title: Re: Tips and suggestions for development of Colony Ship
Post by: NewAgeOfPower on January 13, 2019, 08:50:00 pm
No crafting huh...that's a shame.
It most certainly is, especially in a party based game. I'm not sure Vince & Co understand the sheer synergy... I've spent hours in DR, staring at my screen as I try to minmax my party's gear, optimizing based on expected threats "ugh, anti-armor weapons, guess I could trade away the DR for some extra hardness"


Title: Re: Tips and suggestions for development of Colony Ship
Post by: menyalin on January 14, 2019, 01:50:05 am
No crafting huh...that's a shame.
It most certainly is, especially in a party based game. I'm not sure Vince & Co understand the sheer synergy... I've spent hours in DR, staring at my screen as I try to minmax my party's gear, optimizing based on expected threats "ugh, anti-armor weapons, guess I could trade away the DR for some extra hardness"
Well, this can be provided by ammo variations, say expansive and FMJ bullets. By the way, Vince, i remember that you mentioned different ammo calibers, but what about different projectile types in single calibre, like FMJ, HP, etc?


Title: Re: Tips and suggestions for development of Colony Ship
Post by: Vince on January 14, 2019, 06:39:23 am
Not planned at the moment.


Title: Re: Tips and suggestions for development of Colony Ship
Post by: Scott on January 14, 2019, 09:53:37 am
No crafting huh...that's a shame.
I'd much *much* rather not have crafting than have a crafting system that felt like an add-on, or which negated the thrill of finding new gear since crafted gear is always superior. Also not thrilled with garbage collection syndrome.


Title: Re: Tips and suggestions for development of Colony Ship
Post by: Astorius on January 15, 2019, 03:36:23 pm
No crafting huh...that's a shame.
I'd much *much* rather not have crafting than have a crafting system that felt like an add-on, or which negated the thrill of finding new gear since crafted gear is always superior. Also not thrilled with garbage collection syndrome.
Yes, i agree with you, but i was glad that crafter was one of many viable ways to play AoD and now it's gone.


Title: Re: Tips and suggestions for development of Colony Ship
Post by: fleenots on February 18, 2019, 09:56:22 am
There will be monsters.
Why?
Aren't just human interactions/fights good enough?
Very good update, and you kind of make a point about my question. Wouldn't resources and time better spending on the human touch instead?

By the way currently playing AoD. Very interesting setting and great game. I will also be following with great interest CS (I have all Heinlein's books)


Title: Re: Tips and suggestions for development of Colony Ship
Post by: Vince on February 18, 2019, 10:32:37 am
There will be monsters.
Why?
Aren't just human interactions/fights good enough?
I think a few creatures here and there would add a lot to the atmosphere:

Several devil frogs are tearing strips of flesh from a long-dead corpse. Judging from the hole in his chest, it was a shotgun blast that did him in, not the frogs. A few years ago you'd never see frogs outside of Hydroponics, but the fungii must have driven them out, and now the mutant bastards skulk about wherever they can find rotting garbage -- sometimes of the human sort. Luckily, they rarely attack the living, so if you leave them alone, they’ll do the same. Unluckily, they're squatting between you and the dead man's pockets, and they're not likely to move without a fight.

Quote
Wouldn't resources and time better spending on the human touch instead?
We're talking about models and animations here. We should be done with all human animations in a few months. The game won't be released until 2020 so we'll have plenty of time for the creatures and overall polish.

Quote
By the way currently playing AoD. Very interesting setting and great game. I will also be following with great interest CS (I have all Heinlein's books)
Glad you like it.


Title: Re: Tips and suggestions for development of Colony Ship
Post by: fleenots on February 19, 2019, 05:44:02 am
Quote
We're talking about models and animations here. We should be done with all human animations in a few months. The game won't be released until 2020 so we'll have plenty of time for the creatures and overall polish.

Are you considering mutated and diseased humans caused by the prolonged (many generations) space flight? And how a secluded superstitious society would deal with them? This was one of the topics in Heinlein's generation ship book.

 :approve:


Title: Re: Tips and suggestions for development of Colony Ship
Post by: Vince on February 19, 2019, 06:27:20 am
Quote
We're talking about models and animations here. We should be done with all human animations in a few months. The game won't be released until 2020 so we'll have plenty of time for the creatures and overall polish.

Are you considering mutated and diseased humans caused by the prolonged (many generations) space flight? And how a secluded superstitious society would deal with them? This was one of the topics in Heinlein's generation ship book.
http://www.irontowerstudio.com/forum/index.php/topic,7502.0.html
^ the mutants

http://www.irontowerstudio.com/forum/index.php/topic,7551.0.html
^ the 'monks'


Title: Re: Tips and suggestions for development of Colony Ship
Post by: fleenots on February 19, 2019, 07:35:29 am
Yes!!!!  :D


Title: Re: Tips and suggestions for development of Colony Ship
Post by: old_school_gamer on March 25, 2019, 04:16:17 am
I'd much *much* rather not have crafting than have a crafting system that felt like an add-on, or which negated the thrill of finding new gear since crafted gear is always superior.

For that second point, I "accidentally" enjoyed AoD on the first couple of playthroughs in terms of finding cool equipment than later on when I discovered how useful crafting was, because I remember being so excited in the arena in Maadoran when I got something like a masterwork lorica segmentata. For the first few playthroughs I deliberately avoided crafting and alchemy since I always disliked the mechanic in most RPGs shifting my time and focus to traveling from point A to B all the time collecting the resources and having to learn recipes and scrolling through 14 pages worth of inventory and so forth.

Then later I discovered how incredibly useful crafting was, as though a blacksmith makes the finest soldier in the game. Then every single equipment that was dropped seemed boring and inferior to what I could craft, and just became metal scrap or trash I could sell for some money at that point. There might be a way to make crafting feel more optional without being boring to those who like it, but I really dislike that feeling when all the joy of finding equipment is sucked out and I'm looking at everything as just metal scrap because I could so easily craft something far superior.

Another mechanic that I've never been a fan of for somewhat similar reasons is set items that require many pieces to complete. First it tends to detract the sense that you can mix and match the equipment yourself to produce a desired combination, instead making it so the most powerful constumes are precise set combinations due to all the incredible bonuses they give when you complete the set. That really feels like a blow to player freedom in choosing his precise combination of gear instead of wearing a preset combination already pre-designed for him, but it also takes away a lot of the joy of finding like a cool helmet since wearing it would take away my set bonus with the set costume I'm wearing if I've completed a set, or if I haven't, then I have my stash filled with all sorts of incomplete sets and spending all sorts of in time inventory management and possibly even feeling a compulsory need to create mule characters in games with limited stash/inventory space.


Title: Re: Tips and suggestions for development of Colony Ship
Post by: Wizard1200 on March 26, 2019, 04:57:48 am
Then later I discovered how incredibly useful crafting was, as though a blacksmith makes the finest soldier in the game. Then every single equipment that was dropped seemed boring and inferior to what I could craft, and just became metal scrap or trash I could sell for some money at that point. There might be a way to make crafting feel more optional without being boring to those who like it, but I really dislike that feeling when all the joy of finding equipment is sucked out and I'm looking at everything as just metal scrap because I could so easily craft something far superior.

This is a perfect description of my feelings when i played AoD. Perhaps it would help if the player can only craft items that he has previously found.


Title: Re: Tips and suggestions for development of Colony Ship
Post by: old_school_gamer on March 26, 2019, 06:28:51 am
This is a perfect description of my feelings when i played AoD. Perhaps it would help if the player can only craft items that he has previously found.

Dungeon Rats did that IIRC -- you could only get schematics of items you found unlike AoD where you could buy them all very quickly. That mitigated things a little bit but not so much for me because it's like I find a plain sword or maybe one that was crafted with some modest bonuses, and it's still metal scrap after I learn its schematic by decomposing it to metal scrap and recreating it because I can craft a superior one with superior bonuses if I reduce it to metal scrap. So still everything feels like scrap material for me to craft against. I did still get a bit excited though when I started to discovering organic insect scrap I could use to make cool armor, since that was a bit harder to come by than bronze and iron and steel and so forth.

... unless you mean you could only craft things with the precise bonuses of what you find, and not add any new ones... but then it might not make crafting very interesting except as a way to recreate former equipment you had that broke on you, or to make a copy of an existing item for a companion NPC.  :(

I'm probably hardly the one that should be throwing out ideas for crafting and alchemy since I really dislike them, but I always imagined the biggest appeal there to the underlying concept is player creativity -- the ability to design your own stuff. At least I imagine that's the appeal of anyone crafting or concocting something in the world. Like someone who decides to build and rev up a car is not necessarily doing it to create a superior car than what's available on the market -- in many ways it could be inferior, but it's superior to them and entertains them in that they get total control over its design and can rev and tune it just the way they like in ways that's like no other car available. Yet most crafting/alchemy systems seem to fall far short of that kind of idea -- they tend to feel like you're just precisely following a recipe to get some preset item that already exists in the item database.

It's like I'm playing M&B: Warband again recently a lot and I get ideas like, "wouldn't it be cool if I could have a one-handed blunt weapon with a super long reach I can easily use from horseback along with a shield for capturing prisoners?" And of course it could be very unwieldy and slow to swing -- the game can compensate and make things like designing something with longer reach come at heavy costs to speed rating so that I'm not designing OP weapons. But that would be a weapon unlike anything I ever encountered, and crafting that would be interesting there for me (it doesn't have crafting) as a way for me to design equipment like that, so custom-tailored just the way I like it, which doesn't exist anywhere else in the entire game. That also might not detract from the joy of finding like the most epic lordly sword quite as much, since that's probably a superior weapon generally speaking and the game could make crafting weapons that powerful impossible, but my handy one-handed super long blunt weapon I designed can still be useful in many contexts for capturing prisoners, and I'd love it because it's mine and I designed it just the way I like it and there's nothing else in the game like it. The game might even let me name the resulting invention/recipe -- I might call it "Hangover Maker", and that'd be a nice little touch to make me more attached to my little design. I'd be really upset if a group of enemy brigands defeated my party, captured me as prisoner, and took my Hangover Maker and equipped it and started using it as his own weapon. I might feel the need to come up with a new and improved "Hangover Maker 2.0" and beat him over the head with it and take my original one back from him.

At least that sounds fairly entertaining to me, like a crafting system I can tolerate more. And it wouldn't make a soldier who isn't a blacksmith end up with inferior equipment, and the blacksmith might make an inferior soldier instead since he has to devote less time to combat practice to learn his craft, but those lacking the crafting skills won't have my Hangover Maker which was so carefully designed to be just the way I like it.


Title: Re: Tips and suggestions for development of Colony Ship
Post by: Wizard1200 on March 28, 2019, 07:01:23 am
Dungeon Rats did that IIRC -- you could only get schematics of items you found unlike AoD where you could buy them all very quickly. That mitigated things a little bit but not so much for me because it's like I find a plain sword or maybe one that was crafted with some modest bonuses, and it's still metal scrap after I learn its schematic by decomposing it to metal scrap and recreating it because I can craft a superior one with superior bonuses if I reduce it to metal scrap. So still everything feels like scrap material for me to craft against. I did still get a bit excited though when I started to discovering organic insect scrap I could use to make cool armor, since that was a bit harder to come by than bronze and iron and steel and so forth.

... unless you mean you could only craft things with the precise bonuses of what you find, and not add any new ones... but then it might not make crafting very interesting except as a way to recreate former equipment you had that broke on you, or to make a copy of an existing item for a companion NPC.  :(

The player removes the precise bonus from the item. This bonus can be added to any new item, but the number of times the player can do that is limited by the number of items he has found with the precise bonus.

I use D&D as an example, because i like the magic item system and i play too much Pathfinder: Kingmaker  :D
- You find one + 1 acid dagger
- You remove the acid bonus from the dagger
- You add the acid bonus to a + 2 keen longsword > + 2 acid keen longsword
- You can not add the acid bonus to another weapon, because you have found only one weapon with the acid bonus


Title: Re: Tips and suggestions for development of Colony Ship
Post by: NewAgeOfPower on March 28, 2019, 08:21:17 am
You mean, like, removing a scope from a weapon and adding it to another in JA2? Treating bonuses like item/item attachments?


Title: Re: Tips and suggestions for development of Colony Ship
Post by: Wizard1200 on March 28, 2019, 11:34:01 am
Yep, but removing the scope would destroy the weapon. This means that you can either remove the scope or the silencer from a silenced weapon with a scope.