Ubai Nov 21, 2017 @ 8:06am
Observations and suggestions...

First off, let me say that this game has a LOT of potential, and any suggestions or observations I make are intended as constructive criticism.

Right now there is a lot to like, but early game pacing feels very slow. There's a lot of space bar tapping while the player waits for stuff to happen. Adding more micro doesn't seem like a good way to fix this, but you might be able to jazz up the early game by expending on the artifacts found on your starter world. Right now you build your dig site and wait for stuff to happen, but why not make some of the archaeology sites trigger a little quest? You could do a little scavenger hunt where site A leads to crashed ship B, and ultimately to a reward of tech or resources or something like the special sites you have now (like the ancient security net, for example). This would also be a good place to put some lore into the game.

Another thing about the early game is that some of the city limitations feel weird and artificial. If you only have a few cities on your whole planet, it is very weird to only have 6 possible roads leading away from them that only go to exactly one destination. maybe if each road could have a certain number of branches based on a combination of technology and and planet size? That way you could have a road that leads to a farm and a refinery, for instance. This would help reduce the empty feeling that even large planets have, since even six cities on a big planet only covers a tiny fraction of the planet's surface. Humans are way too expansionistic by nature for that to ever look right. :P

The other thing would be to get rid of roads and do a hinterland thing instead, where each city has a zone of control that extends out past its borders. You could then place farms, refineries, and other stuff anywhere inside that zone, with the expense becoming greater as you moved out from the city. Of course the zone could be expanded by a combination of technology and or planet size. This would also be a lot more "realistic" too, since that is how people tend to expand outwards from a city in real life.

Another thing I would like to see are military bases outside of the cities themselves. Shield generators as they are now are just too big to make sense in an urban setting, and military bases tend to avoid population centers partly to reduce civilian casualties during wartime and partly to make security and cost more reasonable. Bases should be a researchable tech that allows you build them separately from cities, and things like shields, garrisons, armor, and ground defenses should go in there. In general I would love to see better ground combat and planetary defense in general, as most space 4x games ignore it or neglect it. This system could also lead to cool late game stuff like planetary shields with multiple generators built on the planet. These generators take damage first when a planet is attacked, and destroying each generator reduces shield power until it hits zero.

My last suggestions have to do with the economy. Right now trade routes are a little hard to figure out, partly because the Ui isn't very informative. What do the sliders do? There is no icon or pop up telling me what I am moving or why. What are the benefits of trade routes to other epires, and what are the advantages of inter-empire routes? I think this is just stuff that needs more explanation and a little UI polish.

Mining ships are another miner (ha ha) thing. I built one, and it just kind of sits there. Is it working? I have no idea. Maybe miner ships shouldn't show up in your ship list, but have them appear as a little animation around the planet so it looks like it is mining or something.

In general, I feel like there aren't a lot of economy techs. I would like to see more ways to make and use money, and the addition of an economic victory for those who like that sort of thing.

The last thing may be something I'm missing, but it is hard for me to see how much metal is available to my empire. I always have to go and see how much metal each planet has. Am I missing something, or is that WAI? I can easily see my total cash and research and command points, but not metal.

Anyway, I hope these provide some food for thought. I think this game has real potential and I hope you have a successful release!

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Yep. Empire wide resource totals and storage totals are imperative to a game like this.

XXtotal food/XXtotal food storage
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