Iron Tower Studio ForumsRPGColony Ship: A Post-Earth Role Playing GameTips and suggestions for development of Colony Ship
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Author Topic: Tips and suggestions for development of Colony Ship  (Read 775 times)
Daedalos
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« 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!
« Last Edit: January 03, 2019, 01:07:35 pm by Daedalos » Logged
Vince
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« Reply #1 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.
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Dr.Eleven
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« Reply #2 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?  Wink
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Vince
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« Reply #3 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.
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Astorius
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« Reply #4 on: January 12, 2019, 12:35:56 pm »

No crafting huh...that's a shame.
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Wrath of Dagon
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« Reply #5 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.
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Secondly--MURDER? Merely because I had planned the duel and provoked the quarrel! Never had I heard anything so preposterous.
NewAgeOfPower
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« Reply #6 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"
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menyalin
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« Reply #7 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?
« Last Edit: January 14, 2019, 03:42:42 am by menyalin » Logged
Vince
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« Reply #8 on: January 14, 2019, 06:39:23 am »

Not planned at the moment.
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Scott
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« Reply #9 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.
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contributed to: Age of Decadence | Dead State | Dungeon Rats | Battle Brothers | Fell Seal:Arbiter's Mark
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Astorius
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« Reply #10 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.
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fleenots
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« Reply #11 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)
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Vince
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« Reply #12 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.
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fleenots
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« Reply #13 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
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Vince
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« Reply #14 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'
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