general feedback thread

A VN/CCG hybrid game currently in development
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jack1974
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Re: general feedback thread

Post by jack1974 » Tue Aug 02, 2016 6:55 pm

Yes but it's better than PSCD!?!?! :lol:

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Franka
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Re: general feedback thread

Post by Franka » Wed Aug 03, 2016 6:57 am

Some mechanics are definitely better, but I think it was a good choice to let the AI have its own cards in PSCD, that sets it apart and allowed for some completely different design choices. I also think we did an awesome job with the balancing, but I'm very biased. :lol:

I really like how System Crash has managed to integrate hacking seamlessly into the victory conditions though. Instead of taking away opponent life, you try to reach a set score, and both attacking and "hacking" gives you points towards that score. So, conceptually, you have big physical units that beat down stuff for points, and weaker hacker units that generate points every turn if they can stay alive. Very elegant.

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Re: general feedback thread

Post by jack1974 » Wed Aug 03, 2016 7:01 am

Cool, interesting. But yeah it's probably like comparing apple and oranges. Just because two games are both CCG doesn't mean it's the same thing. The rules can be very different like in this case :)

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Re: general feedback thread

Post by Troyen » Thu Nov 10, 2016 11:18 am

I didn't read through the whole thread, so it's likely I may repeat some stuff that's already said. I played through as Diana on Hard, romancing Galina and allying with the world, so comments are from that perspective. Will go back and try a few more in VN mode, but I wanted to get my thoughts down before I forget.

The card game was more interesting than I thought it would be. I think I enjoyed the gameplay here more than some of the RPGs like SotW. A lot of that had to do with the variety of the enemies - some cards were strong in some situations but weak in others, whereas aside from immunities, on the RPGs you can usually just combo a set sequence of spells. (I haven't tried QoT yet, so can't comment there.)

I think the card game was good enough that it's a shame Undead Lily won't be one.

That said, the difficulty was a little uneven. Most of the battles seemed too easy, especially 95% of the side missions. I gave up doing them after getting the achievement and didn't even use my last 25 stars or so. Most of the challenge there seemed to be cutting my deck down to 8 cards. I rarely had a resource issue, even with resource penalties from mission decisions, with the exception of mission #30 (more on that in a bit). Even on Hard, I was frequently sitting on piles of 5+ of the basic resources. Maybe the four resource system didn't pan out as intended?

The last mission was a substantial jump in difficulty - fitting for a final fight, but a bit of a surprising leap from missions prior. The difficulty came from having low resources and a ton of enemy kill abilities that just wiped out your units (the instant kill common/uncommon on summon is just mean - especially since half the bonus alien cards are uncommon/common). I actually had to reload and pick a different commander combo to beat this, but that's fine - it's the last boss. I actually think a few of the midpoint boss missions could've been more of a challenge - perhaps by being less generous with resources - but it's probably too late to bother changing now.

The missions themselves had a nice variety and I appreciated the ones that had special units or different win/lose conditions. I do think the special conditions should've been announced on turn 1 instead of turn 2, because often my team was giving me advice after it was too late and my regular strategy was underway. Also, later in the game, I think some of the special units should've been upgradeable. The one where you get common Dredans to help you had no effect because they all got instantly wiped out on the first enemy turn (the instant kill common/uncommon ability is a frequent cause, but also their low HP). And on the last mission, I wish I could've spent some stars to upgrade a few of the weaker units here and there because you're asking me to pick between a 2/3 Apex Rahn or a 4/3 gold Sharpshooter that both have the same effect.

But still, I did end up using all my deck slots, though I relied heavily on Diana/Galina with Diana/Mizuki near the end.

For the writing...

I liked the overall plot, especially the second half of the story. I did not guess the identity of the saboteur (though in the scene preceding the reveal, I began to suspect Alex was compromised or something). The races generally felt distinct (and the Palydrenian city was my favorite background piece). I don't think it was actually explained where the Descorians came from though? Were they advanced Robobrains? They just kind of...showed up, and none of the aliens seem like a likely culprit.

The friendly team talks made it seem more social than the other games. Instead of one-on-one, we got to see characters hang out with each other and explore their hobbies. It was also a nice touch to have a custom epilogue based on all the decisions you picked. I've only done Galina's romance path, so it's hard to comment on the romances - though that one in particular I felt was weaker than some of the friend story threads.

That said, I think there was a lot of excessive goofing off for a military team. Pretty much every major mission had some kind of diversion that was irrelevant to the actual plot and that threw off the sense of urgency. Like one of the later missions, you're gearing up to stave off a Descorian attack and there's a 20-line diversion into Rule 34 jokes. It was also kind of not helpful to see my subordinates openly insult the other races to their face, when some of them didn't even need to be in the room.

I think this is largely a result of trying to make sure all of the 16 characters got equal-ish screen time, but I think that was a mistake. Some characters didn't even really need to be there for certain scenes and some characters I weren't even sure why they were hanging around in the first place - Kaden didn't seem to contribute anything of value in particular. I think tightening down the character appearances and reducing the frequency of jokes would've made for a better plot/silliness ratio. A few strategically placed wisecracks are okay, and having looser tongues on the team talks is fine - and would make for a better distinction between serious we're-under-attack panic and relaxed free time.

I did like the invented history, references to things that happened in our future but the game's past, as they fleshed out the universe a bit more. I personally tend to cringe every time a futuristic game references pop culture in our current era since it feels anachronistic. We don't reference pop culture from the 1800s with regular frequency, so I'm not sure characters in a future time would make more than a couple passing references here and there to our contemporary history.

My comments on the character art can be found on numerous other threads, so I won't repeat them. Will say that I think the alien art actually turned out really well - the one place where I felt it was an improvement over the manga style of PS1. The backgrounds were also fairly neat as well (not sure but did you reuse a few from PS1? Like the bar?), with special props to the Maradan mushrooms and the crystal people's city. Also a thumbs up on the in-game music.

All in all, I think the game was a good addition to the PS line. I hope some of the setup and alien background lore will play a part in PS2 when that comes out next year. :) I think all the interactions helped give the aliens more substance than they did as random mobs in PS1.

P.S. How long do Maradans live anyway? I thought Queen Schiller was in PS1?

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Re: general feedback thread

Post by jack1974 » Thu Nov 10, 2016 12:39 pm

A few comments:
Troyen wrote:I think the card game was good enough that it's a shame Undead Lily won't be one.

That said, the difficulty was a little uneven.
That is the main reason. I mean, surely I heard a crowd outside cheering when I announced UL would be a RPG :lol: but while my initial motivation was the cold reception of the card game (later I just found out that... indie world collapsed this year and PSCD sales definitely weren't as bad as I thought! but this is another topic) later I found out another reason.
Card games are based on luck.
That's it. You can say what you want, but unless you make all cards identical (not possible obviously) the random/luck factor plays a BIG role. It's similar to the hit/miss percentage in some RPGs (which I hate! :lol:).

So, I considered also that, and I'm sure that people would be pissed if they lost a battle because of luck. Also, it's VERY hard to scale the difficulty - the spike you mention in your post is not intentional. It all depends: maybe in the past 3 matches with difficulty 6, you had good luck so they seemed easy. Then now you have a battle difficulty 7. But you ALSO have bad luck: so combo more difficulty+back luck=difficulty spike.

Both difficulty spikes and losing because of luck are BAD THINGS in a story based game with mission in sequence IMHO.

I love card games. I like playing them and designing them. I want to make more, but I think I need to make it either without a story, or mixed with something like a map/simulation. The VN/card game hybrid, if it's required to win to advance, is not good. Instead if there was like a map, and you could lose battles but still gain something (so a defeat is not all or nothing), it could work better.
Well I'm rambling a bit haha. Anyway, I think in future I'll try again with a fantasy card game, but as said mixed with wargame/strategy or some other combo. That will be a while though.
Troyen wrote:I don't think it was actually explained where the Descorians came from though? Were they advanced Robobrains?
For now all that is known is that they were introduced as some sort of virus. But the origins are still unknown. Maybe in PS2 we'll explore this topic more :)
Troyen wrote:I think this is largely a result of trying to make sure all of the 16 characters got equal-ish screen time, but I think that was a mistake.
Yup, that's it. My fault, Miakoda just followed my instructions. It also did not help that the main coder quit and I had to change from Tower Defense to card game (even if I think it was better overall!).
It's also the thing that convinced me to keep listening to fans suggestions, but also consider the game itself. I cannot screw up a game because players would like to have 150 romances :lol: It's again my fault of course, people obviously just want more stuff!
I also wrote some recent blog posts about this. And doesn't regard only romances, but also secondary NPCs. Not everyone will have equal time, not necessarily we'll have 3+ characters on screen, etc.
Under this aspect PSCD was a very good thing for me in any case since I learned something new and important :)
Troyen wrote:The backgrounds were also fairly neat as well (not sure but did you reuse a few from PS1? Like the bar?), with special props to the Maradan mushrooms and the crystal people's city. Also a thumbs up on the in-game music.
Yes I reused many from PS1 (was no point in having another almost-identical BG done!) and also commissioned some new ones. The music will be the same musician of PS2 :)
Troyen wrote:All in all, I think the game was a good addition to the PS line. I hope some of the setup and alien background lore will play a part in PS2 when that comes out next year. :) I think all the interactions helped give the aliens more substance than they did as random mobs in PS1.
<coughs> :mrgreen:
Maybe it won't be OUT next year, but the beta is likely. It's a bit hard to know: I am quite sure Miakoda will be at good point with the writing, however Anima also needs to design the new RPG framework and we're still at the beginning. Anyway, we'll see. At least once the main writing is done, then it's all up to me to finish it, and I usually finish stuff 8)
Troyen wrote: P.S. How long do Maradans live anyway? I thought Queen Schiller was in PS1?
I haven't set anything in stone, but it would be similar to the elves in fantasy, so they could live some centuries. Also, Queen Shiler is definitely more powerful than a normal Maradan, so... :)

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Re: general feedback thread

Post by Troyen » Thu Nov 10, 2016 1:31 pm

jack1974 wrote:A few comments:
Troyen wrote:I think the card game was good enough that it's a shame Undead Lily won't be one.

That said, the difficulty was a little uneven.
That is the main reason. I mean, surely I heard a crowd outside cheering when I announced UL would be a RPG :lol: but while my initial motivation was the cold reception of the card game (later I just found out that... indie world collapsed this year and PSCD sales definitely weren't as bad as I thought! but this is another topic) later I found out another reason.
Sounds like a blog post. ;)
Card games are based on luck.
That's it. You can say what you want, but unless you make all cards identical (not possible obviously) the random/luck factor plays a BIG role. It's similar to the hit/miss percentage in some RPGs (which I hate! :lol:).

So, I considered also that, and I'm sure that people would be pissed if they lost a battle because of luck. Also, it's VERY hard to scale the difficulty - the spike you mention in your post is not intentional. It all depends: maybe in the past 3 matches with difficulty 6, you had good luck so they seemed easy. Then now you have a battle difficulty 7. But you ALSO have bad luck: so combo more difficulty+back luck=difficulty spike.
I suppose this is a fair point. There were some battles where I just could not draw the right cards, even after reshuffling three times. And the variation in decks makes a huge difference.

Well, if you're going with the card game simulation route, I look forward to conquering empires with my card armies in UL. :) (You know with that map setup it's just beginning to be a war simulation!)

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Re: general feedback thread

Post by jack1974 » Thu Nov 10, 2016 2:03 pm

Troyen wrote:Sounds like a blog post. ;)
I think I already mentioned this in a blog. Anyway I don't want to seem like a whiner! There are already enough other indies complaining right now :mrgreen:
Troyen wrote:And the variation in decks makes a huge difference.
Right, I also forgot this. It's somewhat more similar to what happens in RPG, for example even in Queen Of Thieves if you pick certain skill combos, the game it's easier. But it's also never "impossible" or frustrating because of luck.
In summary, with skills is easier for me to balance the game overall. With cards, it's harder.
Troyen wrote:Well, if you're going with the card game simulation route, I look forward to conquering empires with my card armies in UL. :) (You know with that map setup it's just beginning to be a war simulation!)
I think with UL I'll stick to RPG, since I also think will be faster for me. I can always drawn another map :wink: Jokes apart the map was done with the card game in mind, but if I do a war/card game, I'll have a map divided into many smaller subsectors, so I would need to redo it anyway.

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Re: general feedback thread

Post by Troyen » Fri Nov 11, 2016 2:50 am

jack1974 wrote:
Troyen wrote:Sounds like a blog post. ;)
I think I already mentioned this in a blog. Anyway I don't want to seem like a whiner! There are already enough other indies complaining right now :mrgreen:
I don't think it'd be whining. I'm genuinely interested in how the indie industry is doing, but being well...independent developers, I don't really know of a centralized place to follow market trends or stuff like that. Or how to contextualize the jungle mess on steam to the few developers I actually care about. It's helpful to hear from people actually in the industry who have that knowledge than to try and discern it from random forum posts scattered across the net, most of which likely contain unreliable info and hyperbole anyway.

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Re: general feedback thread

Post by jack1974 » Fri Nov 11, 2016 6:53 am

Well is rather simple: things are getting tougher everywhere because of market saturation. I have games on Steam, iOS and Android, and I'm one of the few indies still selling direct: sales have been down by 2-3 times on all the platforms :shock: There are exceptions obviously, and in general seems not worth it doing bigger games anymore. On Steam for example is easier to make better ROI with a super short fanservice game with basic plot, than an epic 50h RPG :lol:

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Re: general feedback thread

Post by Jaeger » Wed Nov 16, 2016 9:02 pm

I believe games should only be as long as they need to. Padding a game with filler content, lots of grinding, backtracking, etc. just wears away my patience.

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