Cortex Command

Cortex Command

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NIL0S Oct 25, 2012 @ 8:53pm
Open Letter @DataRealms: CC1.0 & needed fixes (repost, be nice)
This is a repost of the original thread that got locked down because of flaming, hopefully this time without the inflammatory content... If you wish to add to the discussion you're welcome but please be civil, we're all grown ups, thank you :)

Originally posted by NIL0S:
/Sign this with a post if you agree.

This is supposed to be constructive criticism (...)

Here we go:

1) Fix RESOLUTION PROBLEMS—it's absurd that a modern game has this many problems with simply adapting to different screen resolutions. For some people the game is completely unplayable, if i hadn't messed around with the game files i probably would have had to accept the perma-black/pink screen and call the 17 euros wasted entirely... A release quality game should not require the user to get into the game directory and fix things on his own.

2) Fix FONT SCALING—partly connected with the above, the fonts should change with resolution and scale, sounds banal but is direly needed for readability. Very difficult to read item descriptions etc. during the heat of battle.

3) Fix WRONG/ABSENT DESCRIPTIONS—this goes both for scenarios AND the Tradestar Midas buy interface. Quite hilarious that on scenario maps coming WITH the game the description tells you to ask the maker to put in a description; hint taken... But really it's frustrating to start a local multiplayer only map, pain stakingly build a sprawling death trap of a bunker, only to realise 40 minutes afterwards that there is no AI support for the map.

4) Fix THE TUTORIAL—i realize that it cant take you too much by the hand, also because of engine's limitations, but at the very least try to find a way and convey ALL the necessary information to the player, otherwise you're left to figure simple things such as some of the key bindings on your own and that just adds to the frustration. Try to make it more in-depth, more than fixing it just needs expanding!

5) Fix THE CAMPAIGN—winning/losing conditions are still buggy, make sure the game over/victory conditions really get registered and possibly add a win/lose screen for the player, doesn't have to be anything fancy but at the very least it would be an ending. The planetary strategic layer also could use some fine tuning; why do i need to click "continue" buttons multiple times to get through one single turn?

6) Fix THE INTERFACE—As i said in my review the radial menu is pretty smart, but i would like to have an easier time deselecting an unit, have free scrolling on the map, cancelling a bunker module that i didn't want to place or selecting multiple units OR having a key shortcut to have Midas drop another of what i ordered last time (would make ordering multiple units or carpet bombing much more user friendly).

7) Fix THE AI—i know it's probably very challanging to build an AI for such complex physics based terrain, but atleast have auto gold mining work as intended and get the units not to die for absolutely no reason; it's a game breaker when the brain (both yours and enemy) kills itself for absolutely no reason (i'm not talking about the funny and completely warranted deaths, like by dropship to the head, etc.)

8) Fix THE FRAMERATE—i realize this is a performance issue and may vary from rig to rig, but even if you play CC on a fairly modern computer, it tends to slow down A LOT after a while of combat. Settable limits on actor numbers, both AI and player, could help fix this issue.

9) Paradoxically, take away the in-game "this is a work in progress and needs polishing" and the "play this with friends on HD TV!" messages, by having them there you're actually ruining the suspension of misbelief and making users more aware of little bugs they otherwise would just happily ignore admidst all the mayhem. It's enough you warn people about the beta status on your site and on Steam (...)... Actually if you take the above steps to heart and fix the issues i think you could truly call it 1.0!

Some of these things are potentially VERY SIMPLE to fix... Like the descriptions; just a matter of adding text... Yet it would add a lot to the polish and douse some of your users frustration! I want to like CC, otherwise i wouldn't have spent money on it! Please make the game all it could be (your words, Data).

Thank you.

The dev actually answered:

Originally posted by data010:
(...)Better late than never, here's a point-by-point response to OP's constructive and polite(!) feedback:

1) we are working on the fullscreen issues both on win and osx. There's some fundamental backwards-compatiblity problems with the old and half-obsolete library that CC is built upon.. we are altering and re-compiling it in efforts to work around deprecated API calls to the OSes, but it's tough going. Our next porject, CVE, is built on much more robust and up-to-date libs so this won't be an issue.
2) I'm afraid the 2x pixel fullscreen mode is the only way font scaling is going to happen, guys. There's no elegant or pretty way to 'scale' pixel fonts in smooth increments or independently of the rest of the GUI, so we're not going to be messing around with getting all our GUI elements resized and re-fit with new font sets.. it's just not low-enough hanging fruit.
3) We'll work the descriptions over, and the scenario activities in general. We focused so hard on the campaign recently that they fell by the wayside a bit. The desc about telling the maker to write one is the default one when there is no description defined - it's made for mod makers, but applies to offical devs as well, i suppose.
4) The tutorial is a toughie.. however, i do feel it does cover the core bases of the tactical gameplay (what do you think it leaves out??). We do need a tut for the metagame though, agreed.
5) Yeah there is a known bug in the metagame win condition, it's already been fixed and is going to be pushed out in the next update. Fortunately steam makes it very seamless for both us to deliver these updates and for you to download them.
6) Some of the UI things you ask for are in there, albeit admittedly somewhat hidden: free scrolling on the map can be done with the actor selection cursor, (hold one of the actor switch keys/buttons down), and can even be locked into that mode by quickly tapping the OTHER actor select key than the one you held down. If you mean cancelling buniker module that you already started placing with a click, you can do so by clicking the right mouse/secondary button while still holding down the primary. There's no key shortcuts for the buy menu, but you can save a custom loadout preset of whatever you want and very easily order multiple of that very quickly. Besides, it does save the last loadout anyway, so you can order the same thing consecutively without even using presets!
7) We are investigating the self-deaths by the brain through digging.. it's ahrd to reproduce and therefore debug, but we're working on it. There's already been other AI fixes made that will be in the next update.
8) There's a few things we will try to optimize the sim. The game is unfortunately CPU-bound to one core, so even if you have the hottest graphics card it doesn't matter if your processor is choking. Again, our next project won't have these limitations due to multi-threading and better use of the GPU for rendering.
9) Good point about the disclaimers.. we'll consider them. My conscience dictated that I had to include them set proper expectations, but then you might be right that it also makes people also expect and look for bugs. We'll tinker with it.

Thanks again for your thoughtful and respectful comments. I do appreciate it and it does help motivate me and the rest of the team to do our best to make the game all it can be - without taking another decade. We do, however, need to pick the low-hanging fruit to actually fix, and the rest we will carry forward as lessons of mistakes to avoid in our future projects instead!

- D

So the dev is aware. Impatiently awaiting the fixes :)
Last edited by NIL0S; Oct 25, 2012 @ 9:14pm
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t o r o i d Oct 26, 2012 @ 9:54am 
This should be stickied. It's nice having all the major complaints and then a direct address by the developer neatly presented like this.
NIL0S Oct 26, 2012 @ 11:46am 
Atleast in regards to 1.0, yes.
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Date Posted: Oct 25, 2012 @ 8:53pm
Posts: 2