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RimWorld => General Discussion => Topic started by: DanielW on September 16, 2013, 10:56:00 PM

Title: First playthrough
Post by: DanielW on September 16, 2013, 10:56:00 PM
Build 200

Major stuff

*Somewhat overwhelmed by the information and menus presented at the start.  Seems like drip feeding these throughout the course of the first game would help a lot.  Especially stuff like what buildings to build, there are way too many options for the beginning, most of those aren't even usable until later (why do i need a clean area?)

*Top right objectives are great, I recheck these constantly to keep on track

*Had a bit of a challenge figuring out how to generate my first power - the tutorial said make a generator.  I did not find a building that was simply a 'generator'.  There was a geothermal plant, which must be built on a geyser, this sounds promising.  But I don't see anything that looks like a geyser on the map.  Plus it gives me a green indicator to build it anywhere on the dirt, which is confusing, because I presume it would do nothing since it's not a geyser. (later I built one in the wrong spot at massive expense and it indeed produced 0 power)  So I built a Solar Collector, hoping this would fufill the requirement for power.  There was not much description on how to connect the electricity.  I started placing power conduits everywhere and was not sure if I was connecting things right, for example I don't want to block a doorway but I need to connect to a door, had no idea how to do this.  Tried to connect it to my nutrient dispenser, succeeded after 2 tries, but the wire doesn't actually touch.  Looks like you have to plug power into adjacent wall?  Really needed to be told that.

* Later I tried to connect a turret to power by wiring into a building wall that was already powered, that didn't appear to work, which doesn't make sense because all the lights and doors in the building have power even though they are not directly powered.

*Would love to see indicators for the various things that give you resources, which show up periodically as they are adding to your resource bank.  For example, every time you harvest a plant you see a floating +10 food or whatever for a few seconds.  Would make it more clear the amount that you're getting from things.  Power sources would have a constant stream.  Resource income is crucial so extra noticeable feedback for them would be helpful.  It would also be satisfying to see all your systems working away.

*Can't figure out how to get more metal now that i've mined out the area.  Remaining metal deposits are a loooong way away.  How do I make it sustainable?

*Crew went to sleep instead of completing construction of the turret that would keep them alive, so they got murdered

*Never figured out how to grow sustainable food, the objective said to build two things that didn't exist in the Buildings or Structures menu, resorted to just collecting whatever berry bushes were nearby when they regrew.

*Turret placement shows a large circle that seems like it would be safe area due to this turret, however it's more like effective range, which means the safe area is much smaller due to ranged enemies.

*I kind of wish the building was taken even further, maybe in the endgame, and I could build multiple levels, hollow out the ground, upgrade combat relevant things (doors / defenses).

*Didn't really figure out the combat, I lost every encounter.  First I had my combat specialist try to melee an opponent with a pistol, that didn't go well but I now know what to do.  Next time two enemies with pistols came and rolled over my two remaining crew members with one pistol.  Next time I would setup turrets more carefully, but they cost so much and seem to only hold enemies at bay, not solve the actual problem.  Turret also never attacked hostile vermin apparently???  Strongly dislike that.

*Had crazy fun building my base and managing everything, particularly when I first got solar power + batteries to give round the clock power, and when I first got separate rooms for my crew members and proper beds.  Also when I built my building into the surrounding rocks, was great how that just worked.  I could do this stuff for a very long time.

* Would love to have a 'story summary' that either happens automatically when you are at the point of no return, or when you surrender via a menu option.  This would retell the events that happened.  These stories should be stored in a log that I can look through later.  This would also reinforce that you're not expected to win this game on every try, it's an emergent player-story driven experience, which is very different from what most gamers are used to, myself included.  Setting expectations is important.

Minor stuff

*Couldn't find the 'architect' button that the directions mentioned for a while, because I had a crew member selected.  Doesn't really make sense that you can't architect with something selected.  Similarly, when architect menus are open, you can't see stats about what you are mousing over.
*'Structure' and 'Buildings' options in the architect menu, these sound redundant but have different things under them, I don't understand the difference except to memorize what is under each one.
*Would like feedback when I left click a crew member, then right click anything.  They should either say 'ok' or a reason why that's not a valid command.  As is, it often seems like right click is not a valid button, when really it's just context sensitive and most of the things you can click on do nothing.  I kindof also want to be able to tell my crew members where to go by right clicking the ground, even though that is not super important to the gameplay.  That would make me feel like I'm more in control.
*I have these large sand areas everywhere around my original beds so I can't build there.  Would like to have starting area on something that I can build around.  As is I will have to abandon it unless I can find a way to build there.
*Research things have no description on mouse over, took me a while to realize to click
*Rabid rat killed my 40 health dude in melee combat, i would not expect that, although now I know!
*Should say 0 metal instead of icon disappearing
* Various tools often put overlays over a corner, be careful about putting important information there (top right for Action video recording, bottom left for Steam, etc).
* Disable all the already seen tutorial stuff on subsequent plays (maybe menu option to enable it anyway in case you missed important parts).
* Use of green and red for love and fear is confusing, green == good to me, so seeing -12 in green is a contradiction
* Would like to be able to see turret range when selecting

This game is very addicting and fun to play already.  I'm looking forward to playing more, especially with the new things I learned.
Title: Re: First playthrough
Post by: Tynan on September 17, 2013, 12:36:32 PM
Thanks for the info!

I'm going to do some kind of overlay to help people understand the electricity system. It's a bit arbitrary at the moment but I think it should be clear enough with some decent visual indication of what connects where.

Wiring a turret into the building should work. Hmm.

The +10 food indicator is a great idea. However, I'm planning on changing to a more physical stockpile model, so I'm going to hold off on this feature because I'm not sure it makes as much sense in that context.

To get metal, you can mine Minerals. Seek them by mining into a hill, or just go to where they're exposed on the surface. Them being a long way away might just be part of the challenge. Oh, and you can buy them from traders.

I'm trying to make food growing clearer.

Combat is due for a redesign; I don't want players having to control every movement of their little dudes. It's too hard and its not clear enough how important cover is or how to use it. I'm planning to change it to something more indirect.

Nice to call out story summaries. I'm really interested in doing something with this since it's part of the storyteller concept in the design. Just haven't had time to do it yet. But even simple graphs of food or population would be interesting to look at methinks.

I need to restructure the architect menu.

Thank you a ton for posting all this, it's quite helpful.
Title: Re: First playthrough
Post by: DanielW on September 17, 2013, 01:15:05 PM
Combat is due for a redesign; I don't want players having to control every movement of their little dudes. It's too hard and its not clear enough how important cover is or how to use it. I'm planning to change it to something more indirect.

On one hand, it can be tedious to draft all my guys every time there is an encounter, then set them back to work.  However, with each colonist life being so precious, it's hard for me to see how making combat control more indirect would be a good thing.  It would also remove a lot of the strategic choices that can happen during combat.  I got a lot of mileage out of hiding a guy or two near where the enemies approach so they are insta-flanked.  Also, I would put a less important crew member up front to tank during a charge and then pull him back before he got taken down.  These things are only possible with a lot of control.

This seems like a big branch in the direction you could go with the game.  With more control in combat it becomes something like old school syndicate when in combat, which adds a huge amount of actions and depth to the game.  With less control it becomes more like a tower defense game.
Title: Re: First playthrough
Post by: DanielW on September 17, 2013, 01:15:26 PM
Here are my notes from my second and third stories:

* Setup my buildings right away with one side against a wall so there'd be less to defend

* Built turrets way in advance with sandbags next to them, for repairing cover and firing cover

* Mined into rock to build more rooms to save on construction costs

* Started disabling turrets when not needed to save power

* Muffalo attacked, turret ignored and there was no way to tell it what to attack =(  The thing did massive damage with each hit (35), but thankfully I was able to get it to glitch out and shoot it in the back while it stood at a door.

* Performance gets really bad on my very fast PC when you have a lot of stuff going on (5 crew) and you try to use the fastest speed, basically 3fps.  This was during a huge thunderstorm with fires everywhere.  Simulation is actually faster at 1x at this point.

* Muffalos + fire = whole map is on fire.  Fire is downright annoying to fight.  Have to make the whole crew drop everything to cut all the plants around, and somehow the fire still finds a way through, usually through a critter.

* In the crew's thoughts, I think it would be cool to have 'killed someone' instead of 'witnessed someone's death' all the time.  And when the same guy kills multiple times, he gets hardened and isn't affected by it as much.  And why aren't they ever afraid when a huge crew of raiders is hanging out planning an attack?  There's not enough individuality in their reactions, the stone cold raider that I just shot down and recruited shouldn't be freaked out by seeing a bunch of dead bodies.

* Lots of difficulty trying to get power to turrets by chaining them, seems like it works or doesn't work randomly

* Like how the minions show you what path they're doing next, helps me to understand why they don't always react immediately

* Would love for crew to level up in things, particularly combat.  This would increase my attachment and give me more strategic choices.  Some per-member stats in an info window would go along with this well (kills esp)

* Would also love to be able to invest in crew education to increase their stats, at a cost

* Prisoner conversion process is really predictable, there isn't much risk

* Entire crew tries to suicide into fire to collect some food, repeatedly until fire is out

* Would like to be able to mass select all crew members (then deselect one or two) and change their work priorities all at once.  I would use this regularly for things like focusing on long distance mining (otherwise they will change their minds halfway to target), emergency grass cutting for a fire, or just focusing on any one task I want done quickly.

* Hydroponics tables can be gotten very early and feel like cheating, I think it should take much longer to unlock them and you have to rely on slow and risky crops for a while. 

I've now played for like 6 hours.  My biggest concern now is that the game is too easy and predictable (playing on consistent storyteller).  I think the game is at its best when you're constantly reeling from some crisis but miraculously slipping by.  This is when a bunch of mechanics like colonist love / fear level actually come into play.  FTL does a great job of maintaining this crisis situation throughout the game.  As it is, I can quickly build up an amazing defense of turrets, sandbags and armed colonists and kill any raiders that come with little risk.  Fire is the only thing that is a real threat.

This game is like crack once you get into it.  It's about 10x more fun after that first playthrough.  I think this is really going to be something special, once you polish up that beginning experience, add more depth and variety.
Title: Re: First playthrough
Post by: Tynan on September 18, 2013, 05:06:52 PM
Thanks again for the extensive notes Daniel. It all contributes to the design.

-I want to stop people disabling stuff all the time to save power, its too micromanagey. Any thoughts? I thought about making something a colonist has to do that takes them time. Hmmm.

-I'll reduce muffalo damage.

-Fires murder performance - to be fixed

-Fire will be more manageable. Already working on this

-It's hard to program "killed someone", because its often hard to draw cause and effect between actions and deaths. E.g. if you shoot someone and incapacitate him and he bleeds to death a day later, did you kill him? But you're right, it would be better. I just haven't done it because it's tough and not top priority.

-I'm planning a power overlay so its clearer how power is transmitted.

-Colonists do learn and level up - slowly. Check the character page. Actually theres a bug! I think I need to put back the "progress to next level" readout, which I removed on in the char maker. That change must have also affected the main game.

-Education is desired. Teaching skills, JA2-style would be cool.

-People will avoid fire in the next build

-Prisoners will get more "interesting"

-Are you using the Overview screen? It lets you manage all colonists work at once.

Glad you're having fun!
Title: Re: First playthrough
Post by: DanielW on September 19, 2013, 02:36:37 AM
I want to stop people disabling stuff all the time to save power, its too micromanagey. Any thoughts? I thought about making something a colonist has to do that takes them time. Hmmm.

I actually felt smart when I figured that out and liked that I had the option to make strategic choices like that.  Raiders don't come very often so I didn't feel like it was micromanaging too much.  In the beginning when you have few crew members, being able to micromanage a bit is important to allow strategy and later in the game I will just ignore it.  I'm sure some player types will play the late game at a snails pace though, constantly pausing and microing every little thing. 

Btw I started micromanaging individual colonist movement in a few non-combat situations by drafting and telling them where to move.  I bet you are not happy about that =)  It was mostly related to the fire issues which you already mentioned.

-Are you using the Overview screen? It lets you manage all colonists work at once.

I was not using that for a long time.  It's better than manual selecting but still not good enough IMO.  That's a lot of boxes I have to check when I want all 7 of my guys to focus on something (often the key to unblocking the production chain or staying alive).  Also there's a big gap between all the checkboxes.  My ideal would be something like selecting control group 1 (contains all but my researcher), now set work priorities of all at once.

Thanks a lot for your response.  I bet things will get crazy for you once this gets more coverage and you will have a tough time finding a balance between communicating with people and working on the game =)  Just let me know how I can help when that happens.  Although unfortunately I am just a programmer, no 2d art skills =)
Title: Re: First playthrough
Post by: Your Captain on September 20, 2013, 04:55:06 AM
Wow, what a game.
I did record my first playthrough (which was my first time) and at first, everything went smooth. I even got three more People immediately. But without me noticing it, my colony went peut a peut down south the river.
In the end, just before my game crashed, one was dead (buried on the dumping place, while the graves started to fill with dead squirrels) one had given up and just went outside (which was really sad and reminded me of the starting scene in "The Road") so I decided for his own well being to hunt him down like a dog and holding him as the vegetable-pet he was, while all the other survivers were close to a mental break down.
Might have had something to do though with the exploding turret taking out my energy supply, leaving them in the dark and the general lack of food.

The game crashing might have been a bug, but frankly my believe is that cassandra consistent took me out of my misery like a horse that was trying to ignore its broken leg while making an attempt to race its own tail.

Im trying to render my video today so i can upload it to youtube and send it to you.


I did a lot of basic things better in my second playthrough allthough fire killed one of my settlers. (but i read that you're allready working on that.)

I would have wished for a non-electric light source. Of course it would have its disadvantages like going out after a while or setting things on fire, but my unrefined tunnels are a bit dark to work in.

I really liked the weapon stand and I think it would be cool to create multiple alarmzones with them in it. In case of emergency there could be a panic room for people who I decided are no soldier material, while the others hurry to my weapon supply to rally themselfes and await my orders (on where to die). That way I still could do tactical decisions, while there is a bit more structure and precaution to the gameplay.

Maybe the turrets could have an alterable behaviour, from "shoot everything that moves and Isn't me" to "save energy and just shoot if under attack" That way you could also solve the people disable turrets for saving purposes issue. (First option would of course also kill the animals you could otherwise tame [they shouldn't be suicidal though and avoid your area after a while]).

Perhaps thats what you are trying to avoid, but in dwarf fortress you had an immense choice of areas to create. In my opinion a few more refined options in that general direction could improve the gameplay slightly.

Thats all i can think of for now, for this still seems about to be everything I had hoped the game to be.
For it being pre alpha its very playable indeed and the only thing buggy about it that I came across are random crashes.

Cheers for now! Over and out, Your Captain