Based on a complete initial playthrough as the Ashdar Colonials, here’s a quick list of my initial thoughts and feedback on Stars in Shadow. I understand that it’s an early Beta and a lot of my concerns are probably on the ToDo list, but I figure I should lay everything out there.
General Control Scheme:
So far I haven’t found the ‘left click to select command, right click to execute’ system all that intuitive. It might grow on me as I play more, but I find myself taking two tries to get it right a lot of the time.
In the fleet selection screen trying to split a larger group can get kind of annoying with the current selection process. I wonder if it would be better to have ships start off as unselected, rather than selected?
It might also be a good idea as a future feature to allow ‘fleets’ to be defined as a single entity, that have ships added/removed from them. That way I could have two fleets move to the same system and not have to worry about separating them out again later.
Notifications could stand to be a little more prominent; larger icons, etc.
Production screen icons too large, some needless scrolling once you have a lot of ship types in play
Definitely needs to be some sort of summary screen for ‘what are my planets currently building’ that allows you to jump to the production screen
Production and Research:
Game would definitely benefit from a tech-tree map; reading the descriptions and trying to figure out how to get to a certain tech was problematic.
Also a more separated view of techs available and techs already researched would help.
I’d really prefer that planets not default to Research after they completed their current project- it’s very easy to forget to set a new project and waste a few turns like this. Build queues would help?
I didn’t notice all that large a boost in production as population went up and factories were built, but I admit I didn’t pay particularly close attention to the numbers so I might be mistaken.
Escape Too Easy- While the AI never escaped, I ran from plenty of battles with no risk. Seems like escaping should be more challenging.
Exploding Reactors everywhere- Saw a *lot* of ships go down to reactor explosions. The most spectacular one resulted in three additional enemy and two of my own ships going up as well! It seems like the explosions might be too common/too powerful. It’s also exacerbated by the issues I note below.
Combat too ‘cramped’- Right now the combat situations do end up feeling pretty ‘cramped’ without a lot of room to maneuver. There’s a turn of closing on both sides, then a scrum in the middle of map. Since ships can move over each other but not land on each it leads to some odd situational tactics like having two lines spaced perfectly to prevent enemy ships from flying past your ‘front rank’. Weapon ranges also seem very short and without a lot of noticeable differences in weapons (though I didn’t use missiles or the highest-tech weapons in my first play through, that might change my opinion). Extremely easy to lose ships to reactor explosions with everyone bunched up. I’d like to see a larger combat area and possibly longer weapon ranges.
Also is there any way to tweak weapon arcs or the like to allow for different tactics? I’ve only tried the Ashdar and the Yoral with definitely have ‘heavy weapons point forward’ designs, but the current predominate tactic seems to be ‘scream and leap’.
Battles need a deployment phase: right now it’s not clear to me how my ships get set-up in the battle area (military transports in front?!?), a pre-battle deployment phase would help me set up an effective formation.
If we do have ‘Fleets’, maybe a fleet could be assigned a default formation?
About to jump into another play through, more feedback as I come across it!