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Lagi
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report

Post by Lagi » Sun Jan 01, 2017 10:23 am

After my first games, my impression are negative. I get frustrated by the bugs. Gameplay is a sitz krieg (clicking end turn to progress, because there is nothing to do). I fight with game controls instead of content. W&W suffer also for "excell spreadsheet" syndrome - lots of text,
fractions numbers. Many thing have no graphic representation and are left to imagination - like followers position.

Menu graphic and icons are beautiful. Map hexes are ugly, yet they are perfectly readable, which is in today gaming market, a big +. Mouse scroll has hiccup, it don't work smooth. Right mouse click has no function. No key shorcuts for scroll map or activate top panels. Even esc do not close windows. There is button that instantly turn off the program - wtf?! Windows open too low, forcing me to move it up. Text at description is blur and cut off. There is very important button "Inspect" that looks grey out, as if its unavailable.

All game panels are glitched to the point of un-playability. Army panel: Very rarely recruitment work at all, usually I can not recruit troops. I clicking the buttons and nothing is adding to the queue, it stay empty. And when it works, I can not cancel or stop the process of ongoing recruitment! Split bar is not working. Insane long recruit time (20 turns for initial troops?). Economy panel need bar same as the one for army split. I'm not able to sell food. I can not afford to buy anything. Can not hire follower, mercenaries, not even increase amount of workers! Again sitz krieg. How to get gold income?
In 3 of my game after some times, I was not able to click end turn - rest of menus work good.

Battles are dull. Clicking continue 24 times and watching results. In my darkest calculus nightmares, I can not figure more boring representation of battles. Its surprising that You didn't put more attention in this aspect. Battles are main reason why players plays strategic games. Most 4X games has two layouts: strategic and battles where you see your general performance with recruiting troops, heros, choosing spells, research... im not saying its wrong decision, I even would say its good (long time i didnt see anything like turn based Warlords 3), but the execution is poor. And Warlords 3 Darklords Rising battle presentation is great. I wish your looks similar.

Image
this follower has Train Troops trait. Where the hell this 40 turns time come from ?!

Image

How to obtain spells? I have only dark sacrifice (useless), after 30 turn, I research some jeweler talisman. I have 80 mana, that I used solely to bind Mana nodes.


I can not see again old message.
=======
i have more remarks, but they are unimportant now, as the game basic's menus works make the game unplayable.

If I were game dev of W&W, my very, next step in building this game would be:
allow to cancel troop recruitment.
second rethink recruitment times - unless you have some already some idea about it, that Im not aware off - like tons of buff that hasten the recruit process (buildings, followers, spells).
third smoothing the process of building facilities(farms, loggings, vineyards, structure in tower) and managing workers - now its cumbersome. Also recruitment of workers in Economy panel, if there is separate Worker panel.

In general I think that you have lots of fresh ideas, and concepts that are very good, but Your implementation is faulty.

... or maybe i'm stupid and can not conceive this game fully - then I would suggest You to write tutorial.

Hope it help's :)

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Ludovic
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Re: report

Post by Ludovic » Sun Jan 01, 2017 1:20 pm

It certainly does help, it is a huge challenge to do testing and implementation at the same time, and sometimes as creator one can become so familiar with aspects of the game, that it is easy to forget that others do not have this familiarity. Also (a bit too often I must admit) bugs are introduced, because I do not retest everything after changing or adding something. Making sure the game doesn't break completely and becomes unplayable is of course going to be an extremely high priority once the game goes public. Even an Early Access should not, as a rule, regress in functionality and stability.

As you noticed there are still a lot of bugs to fix, graphics and UI to improve and game play features to refine, expand or even rework. There is a reason that early access is not available to the public yet, and that is that even considering that early access means "not complete yet", the game needs more stability and usability for people to give proper feedback on the actual features. I hope you will find the game a lot more enjoyable as bugs are fixed, features improved and content added. Check back in a month or whenever it suits you, and I am pretty sure you will find the experience radically improved.

Looking past the bugs and usability issues, your feedback is very useful and I am quite happy that is aligned with many of my own thoughts:

1) I do agree there is too much "spreadsheet syndrom". I want to replace a lot of the words with icons, rescale values to have fewer decimals all over the place, and use tooltips and text links to more easily make it apparent what is happening.

2) The followers and workers having "abstract" positions has nagged me for a while, and your feedback actually strengthens my feeling they need to appear on the map. What I want to avoid is having army/worker/hero spam all over the map from all factions, and the player having to move/order tons of units all the time. But I think automation/recurring orders/etc. should be able to fix the last problem, and the first problem is more of a graphics/usability challenge.

3) The battles are not supposed to be require click spam when handled in "report" mode (ie auto-resolve). There will also be an interactive battle resolution mode. A lot of the code for this is done, and shared with the auto-resolution, but I need more graphics and UI work to make it available, and I want to address the more serious bugs and issues first.

4) "sitzkrieg" is a good term to describe a more gameplay specific issue. It is important there is player involvement and something to do - a real impact. I think this issue will fade as the other issues are fixed, polish added, and content added.

Thanks for the feedback, it really is useful, and helps me decide where to focus my efforts during the next couple of weeks.

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Lagi
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Re: report

Post by Lagi » Sun Jan 01, 2017 3:46 pm

Honestly, Ludovic you are a decent man. I expect a way more defensive and resentful receptions, from your side, after reading my post. This bode well for the future of W&W.

more ideas:

1) add in Follower panels command option to explore global and province (current? i know follower position is abstract now)

2) smooth hex upgrades
Image

let on the selected hex appear options available to do.

"ok" tick mean we already have farm in this tile. [after reading my post - i come to realization that its not need to show what was build at all, there is already BIG icon on the hex, maybe a little to big EDIT: its double stupid because there can be only one facility at one hex]
"X" mean we cannot contruct hunters lodge because requirment are not meet (not enough resource, idle workers)
we can build instantly Logging.

I think this approach would increase the "immersion".

So lets player only Right click small Logging icon and lets the production start = auto assign idle workers. If he would like to adjust some setting there (another, more/less workers, other supervision/follower) let he do it in Workers panel.

Currently I have to constantly struggle with the build menus, to check if I can build something or not.

3) as for testing purpose. You should increase income of all resources, and reduce recruitment times.

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Lagi
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Re: report

Post by Lagi » Mon Jan 02, 2017 5:16 pm

Ludovic wrote:
Sun Jan 01, 2017 1:20 pm
3) The battles are not supposed to be require click spam when handled in "report" mode (ie auto-resolve). There will also be an interactive battle resolution mode. A lot of the code for this is done, and shared with the auto-resolution, but I need more graphics and UI work to make it available, and I want to address the more serious bugs and issues first.
how do you like to implement battles?

my vision/ suggestion;

Actual game map consist of hexes, which inclines into making strategic decision about army placement.
"what I'm taking about?"
in game like civilization, Alpha Centauri, C-evo or Battle of Wesnoth position of units in specyfic hex on global map effect the combat effectivness.
this way combat is implemented on main map. I would say its better solution in your game case, than separate game layer like in Heroes 3, Age of Wonders, Master of Magic or Dominion 4.
"why?"
it seems that W&W would focus more or global invents, diplomacy, researches, building kingdoms. Additional separate layer will pull out player out from important task, and throw him into role of micro commander.

Did I want civ like combat? Now I want something even simpler, Warlords 3 like simpler. Where I only move aggregation of many units and followers (army) into one hex, and decide at most at which hex the battle should occur (or if make the attack at night, day, try to hide in forest, waters etc). All activities during battle, like unit maneuvers, cast spells, commanding is done in abstract level, by some mathematic formula/process.

how many "armies" should player has?
few (1 to 5).
Would be the best to insert some limitation to size of army, to avoid "doom-stacks". Big army = big casualties, even from smaller opponent. AoE spells. Diseases. Wether. Cold. Hunger. bigger army = bigger impact of thous factors = more casualties. Better split big army into two smaller.

Also tactical dis/advantage like fighting in 2 fronts with divided opponent.

=========

0.9.64 - recruitment get improve, yet it still sucks (i can not recruit sometimes, because of wizard archetype i choose?). "train troops" trait seems to work now.
Could you randomize also color of the banner?, Im to lazy to change the red all the time.

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Ludovic
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Re: report

Post by Ludovic » Mon Jan 02, 2017 7:38 pm

Really interesting to read your thoughts on battles and army balance. You make some very good points. Thank you for taking the time to put them in writing. I am especially glad to read this
lagi wrote:it seems that W&W would focus more or global invents, diplomacy, researches, building kingdoms. Additional separate layer will pull out player out from important task, and throw him into role of micro commander.
I agree that doom stacks and too many armies/units can detract from the game play experience. I don't like the very common strategy game trope of "expand quickly but avoid conflict" => "build huge economy" => "get research advantage" => "make doomstack" => "steamroll the world" => "play tag with annoying small armies".

Admittedly, it will be a challenge to get the balance right, since focusing on world domination is a very valid play-style, should not be impossible, and it should not be like in some grand strategy games where you have to exploit and abuse bad AI to conquer the world. But on the other hand, it should not be too easy, and ideally I would like each army to have an identity and history of it's own. The challenges you mention with attrition and multi-front wars are very apt.

( Note: design and history rant follows - sorry for the wordiness, but I got carried away )

There was a turn-based "tactical" battle system in alpha at one point, but it was indeed something that pulled the player away from the main focus of the game - the world, grand strategy, narratives and/or empire building. Also with my limited resources I don't want to spread them too thin. Tactical combat requires a lot of graphics and effects to look good. Alternatively one should have a full-fledged real-time battle system like the Total War series, which is an even more time and asset-intensive labor.

Also, I think tactical combat has tendency to become a boring grind very fast in many games, especially in the mid-game. The early battles are fun. Taking the big army to battle for the first few times is fun. But a lot of battles, often the majority, just feel like a grind. Auto-resolve is usually on purpose made to give worse results than manual resolution, so in these games I feel "cheated" when I auto-resolve and the result is really bad.

However, I find that complete auto-resolve is not ideal. It can even make me feel like an "observer" of strangely uneventful battles. In heroic fantasy there are great battles, pivotal moments that shape the history of the world, and its heroes and villains. So I'd like to give players the option to have some influence on battles, but actually in a way very similar to the decisions you describe: When to time the attack? Send a flanking force? Lay an ambush? Delay the enemy until reinforcements arrive? But not just before the battle, but also during it: Letting the player choose how to react to critical moments in the battle, adding some random events and including the battlefield in a more important role than usually seen.

I think it is possible to merge the grand strategy and narrative focus with an interactive battle engine - a lot of the code is already in place, and I have mentioned it in the past, but been a bit too optimistic about how fast I could complete it. It has come a long way and shares a lot of code with auto-resolve, but I still need to do some more work on it and give it a good user interface. But as you know very well, the basic interface and game-play needs attention, so I have had to force myself to put the work aside for now, even if I think it will add something very unique to the game once finished.

The good part of this is that current effort includes fixing a lot of bugs in the automatic battle resolution and making it more visually appealing and friendlier to use. This is work that is directly applicable when I return to the "detailed" battle engine.

Finally, it is important to me that it does not feel like an obligation to do the detailed and "slow" resolution every time. It should perfectly viable to either give the general orders to do a "Cautious assault at day", "Daring ambush", "Seek pitched battle on open field", etc - or just let the general decide and do a complete auto-resolve. Detailed resolution should be for battles you care about as a player. It is very likely I will add this intermediate level before the detailed resolution.

As mentioned this became a longer post than intended, and I better get back to programming. I got your feedback about recruitment still being lacking in user feedback, and will add more. Good idea about banner color randomization.

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Lagi
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Re: report

Post by Lagi » Tue Jan 03, 2017 5:09 pm

I read your last post 2 times, admit that I have similar feeling about "grind" nature of combat resolution in 4x games.

let battle be default auto-resolved, unless player decide to send his avatar (wizard or warlord) to take control. But if player participate in battle, then the research will not progress in following turn. Is this single battle important enough, to put your empire development on hold?
the presence of player will allow controlling troops and choosing spells to cast. player can take control over one battle per turn only.


battle presentation-

square/hex grid with rectangulars representing units, that fit into one screen! follower could be attached to unit, to boost formation performance. The distance to enemy should be rather short, to fasten the resolution - standard unit cover 2 tiles per turn (so it can be slowed to 1). Unit be activate alternately one by one with opposing team, so one side will not has too much influence after single turn.

ok, so what could be exciting in this presentation?
1. army setup; before combat, player place one by one troops in desired position, alternately with enemy
2. start: no unit Initiative. Player decide which unit move first, taking in mind that after this move opponent will proceed. this to be fun, require close starting distance to the enemy (or key shortcut to move forward :) ).
3. spells: standard buff/debuff, but also use of Followers skills (that allow to strike with extra ability).
4. melee: let the clash of unit, dont give bonus to the attacker "per se", unless its a unit skill (like cavalry charge). So it doesnt matter much who charge first.
5. fear/run away/morale: let whole squad disappear due to panic (like if its destroyed in combat), with the difference that its available after current combat.

Image

P.S.
I hope you understand my tone of writing. I don't insist on anything of above. I have in mind that you already prepare some code for battles, that you may want to apply. I choose this style of writing, because reading all the time "I would suggest that you could ..." is wearing (for me at least).

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Lagi
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Re: Patch Notes: Next

Post by Lagi » Sat Jan 28, 2017 4:00 pm

its becoming a little more playable, than the last version I check.

at least I have some resources, and was able to recruit some units.
building facilities was little more smooth.
battle view is just few clicks.

still I state that ability to change(cancel) recruitment queue is a first thing to add to the game.

graphics are amazing

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Ludovic
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Re: report

Post by Ludovic » Sun Jan 29, 2017 12:30 pm

Thanks for the feedback and for checking on progress. I took the liberty of moving your post to this thread - it helps me keep the feedback reports organized.

I am glad you can see the progress - I think the outliner coming in today's build is a great step towards a better UI. You are absolutely right about the recruitment queue, and I hope to manage to implement it in time for today's build. Otherwise it will be in the next one.

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Lagi
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Re: report

Post by Lagi » Tue Jan 31, 2017 5:16 pm

right panels is big advancement in unit controls (workers, followers)

queue recruit managment is enormous plus. However i'm penalize if I recruit and cancel troops training in the same turn - its not a good step.

There is lot of resources types, but all of them seems to be only record in economy tab. You use them for something special?
I think the best would be to use different resource to recruit different troops. For example some mage units, may require Ancient Tomes, beast some food type, fire elemental = eternal flame, female spy = perfume. And skip the gold in more advancement troops (it make sens that archmage doesnt seek for money but knowledge, and elder knight would not care about shining metals, but holy relics). [Maybe it works like that, I didnt play too long.]

Also special resource could be used for advanced researched (no access without) or for structures. Gold is need only to hire mercenary workers, btw domesticated workers should work for food (what else they need? coal for heat in winter? they dont have to pay wizzard Or warlords rent for flat :) )

the point of my twaddle is to make all thouse fancy resources viable.

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Ludovic
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Re: report

Post by Ludovic » Tue Jan 31, 2017 9:14 pm

Lagi wrote:
Tue Jan 31, 2017 5:16 pm
queue recruit managment is enormous plus. However i'm penalize if I recruit and cancel troops training in the same turn - its not a good step.
Cancelling recruitment during the same turn should refund the full cost, I'll do some testing and fix any bugs with this. The waste of gold/resources should only be applied once recruitment is underway.
Lagi wrote:
Tue Jan 31, 2017 5:16 pm
There is lot of resources types, but all of them seems to be only record in economy tab. You use them for something special?
I think the best would be to use different resource to recruit different troops. For example some mage units, may require Ancient Tomes, beast some food type, fire elemental = eternal flame, female spy = perfume. And skip the gold in more advancement troops (it make sens that archmage doesnt seek for money but knowledge, and elder knight would not care about shining metals, but holy relics). [Maybe it works like that, I didnt play too long.]

Also special resource could be used for advanced researched (no access without) or for structures. Gold is need only to hire mercenary workers, btw domesticated workers should work for food (what else they need? coal for heat in winter? they dont have to pay wizzard Or warlords rent for flat :) )
Yes, the advanced resources are needed for some units, structures and spells at the moment, but I need to make this more clear and visible. Great idea with the research and resource interaction, I have added this to the backlog. Also good point on the workers :)

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