Starship Rubicon

Starship Rubicon

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TZer0 Mar 20, 2016 @ 11:34am
General improvement suggestions and bugs reports
After playing the game for 4 hours (and liking it a whole lot), I have some suggestions that I think will improve it.

Bugs/things that need fixing
* You can't remove fused equipment in the hangar
* Sometimes when you remove a configuartion in the hanger, other configurations for that ship become basically impossible to select
* Option to disable PDs to fire when pressing space.

Shield inconsistencies
The shield feels somewhat inconsistent. It is only down while you are holding down the mouse button. This means that with a weapon like beam, you can tap the mouse button and your ship will fire for the entire duration, but your shield will only go down for a fraction of a second.

I'd suggest one out of two fixes:
* Shield does not go down while firing, but the overall regeneration rate is reduced.
* Shield goes down while firing, but the duration it is down is the time it takes to fire the shot + reload.

Somewhat limited playability
I beat the campaign (in a few tries) and then hardcore mode on my first try.
Suggestion for an endless mode:
* You get randomly generated sytems that you traverse like the main game
* Each system gets harder and harder
* Rewards go up as well
* For each system you complete, you may choose to transfer currency out of that game and into your saved up cash while paying 2 for every 1 currency you transfer OR you can end the game and get everything you currently have.
* If you die in the middle of a system, you lose everything you carry.
* Perhaps even use randomly generated player ships as bosses.

Edge problem
Targeting things along the edge of the map is a mess. I'd suggest always centering the ship as that makes it easier to control and implementing wrapping around edges. (Yes, I know might be some work)

Other suggestions
Item that unfuses a fused item. Maybe even destroys it.
An item (2x2 block) that grants 1 shield
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Showing 1-4 of 4 comments
jbdodson  [developer] Mar 23, 2016 @ 2:40pm 
Thanks for your feedback, we will look into some of this!
wickworks  [developer] Apr 4, 2016 @ 12:11pm 
Heya, sorry for the slow reply, I've been in Iceland for the last few weeks.

I've added your reported bugs to the patchlist (but it will likely be quite a while before I get the time to put another patch out).

Regarding the PD -- what's your reasoning for looking for a way to turn it off? One of the drawbacks that's there by design is that it is somewhat out of your control. Apart from situations where it made the game near impossible (such as destroying Dodongo bombs, which I fixed), that's one of the things that balances its small component footprint.

I'm glad you brought this up! The shield system is something I put a lot of time into trying to get right and not a lot of people talk about its details. Regarding your point about the difference between beams and shots: at one point in development it *was* a lot like your second suggestion where it was down for as long as a beam was firing/a bullet was recharging. Also, a beam only lasted as long as you were holding the fire button.

However, in practice this made beams a lot worse than bullets. With a beam you had to maintain its aim, but with bullets you could fire-and-forget and go back to maneuvering. Even if I balanced the DPS to be the same and their shields were down for equal times, this meant that beams were way worse defensively because it was harder to dodge while using them. If I wanted the defensive drawback of beams to be worth it, I would have had to make them comparatively better offensively by making bullet speeds slower. As you noted, I instead ended up making them work more similarly to bullets where you can just tap the mouse to get the full attack.

I also had a hard time balancing the shield downtime for the guns with longer reload times, e.g. the handcannon left you vulnerable for way too long. I guess maybe a bigger-budget production might have solved this by adding in a separate timer for each gun for how long it put your shields down for, but I was already stretched to my time limit for how much content design I could do. Also, it raises another host of questions: how does it stack with multiple guns?

Instead of sinking a lot of time (that I didn't have) into solving these balance issues, I put in what I thought would be a temporary fix of just tying shield downtime to the fire button. To my surprise, I discovered that it made the microgame of offense versus defense a lot more responsive and added a lot of learnable skill depth. When you're under a hail of enemy fire, trying to perfectly time your return shots without taking damage is one of my favorite challenges in the game. I also found that it helped people understand exactly how the shields-down mechanic worked, since pressing/releasing the fire button had an instant change in the UI.

(your first suggestion about just changing shield recharge time while shooting is less appealing to me, since all the decisions I made about these mechanics center around emphasizing aiming/steering, firing/maneuvering, offense/defense tradeoffs. Adding in mechanics like that just muddy those waters.)

Infinite battle mode
Funny you mention this, I've had a little bit of DLC that sounds a lot like this on the backburner for a while now. I agree that it'd be a good addition. We'll see if I ever have a couple of weekends where I could throw it together. (incidentally, it wouldn't be impossible for somebody to make something like that with the current shipped mod tools + script-fu...)

Also, wow, you beat Hardcore on your first try? What kind of crazy broken ship did you have?

Could you be a little more specific? I know it's a mess with the joystick, but you're the first one to mention problems with the mouse.

Re: wrapping: heh, this tells me you didn't end up finding the secret ending + final battle where the screen does indeed wrap. Not really too much of a technical problem.

TZer0 Apr 4, 2016 @ 4:16pm 
No worries.

I did get the ending that looks like Asteroids with wrapping. I was just considering that texture-wise it might be slightly trickier to make the other levels look nice. You need to make the wrapping points look nice and stuff. Nothing insurmountable.

Beating hardcore wasn't that hard - can't remember the specifics. I believe I got myself a few PDs, a warp box and one of those slow-mo boxes along wtih a beam or two. Kind of easy sailing from there.

PDs - well, they are out of my control, but I'm just talking about them firing in the teleport-direction right after a teleport. It is an edge-case and a minor detail. Speaking of which, you can also run a PD only ship and try to pick up weapons during the run. It is funny.

In my opinion, in the current situation, beams are way better than anything. Especially with sights and some damage boosts.

Basically, with beams I can stay far away, the weapon will remain locked into firing at a specific location rather than at a specific relative rotation to my ship. If I need to re-adjust where it is firing, I can do it with another fast click.

An argument for why shields being up while you are firing is that it still requires fast clicking skills. Basically, you are still awarded for navigating successfully while quickly switching focus with your mouse and trying to hit something that isn't in front of you. Granted, having the timing-element does make it harder, but not that much.

The reason I'm suggesting the change of regen rate reduction + shield always up (and maybe reduce shield capacity) is that it puts more emphasis on actually dodging than just making sure that you have that 2 s breather where you can fire your weapon (because the shields can take a lot of damage!). But I guess this also comes down to taste. ;)

It is not a technical fault, but more of a design fault.

Basically, it throws me off slightly. Nearing the edge means that I have to adjust my mouse according to an invisible edge. When I hit that edge (because my ship ends up displaced relative to the middle of the screen), it becomes slightly harder to hit with certain slow-moving weapons as you need to have another thing in mind while targeting. Beams deal with this just fine as you do not need to adjust your aim for enemy movement prior to your shot.
TZer0 Apr 5, 2016 @ 6:27am 

About the edges, I meant wrapping that you cannot even see as you do not visibly teleport to a different place when you hit the edge (so if you approach an edge, you seamlessly see the other side).
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