These are my first impressions, which I want to convey before I get used to how SiS works and stop noticing things. I realize a lot of stuff is still quite beta, but I'm going to point out everything I notice even if I know it's on the to-do list. Overall, I'd say the game is in pretty good shape for a beta.
I've just started my first game and have no idea what to do. I have Settlers at Rastaban, although I thought it was a colony? I'd like to do something with some ships, but the obvious rocketship button doesn't seem to do anything and clicking on the star system or planet only brings up a production menu. Likewise, clicking on the rocket icon next to the planet in the galactic view just brings up the planet view with the Settlers at Rastaban highlighted again. My instinct is to try RMB to bring up some kind of context-sensitive menu that might have a ship control choice, but that doesn't seem to do anything. Eventually, I figured out that clicking the tiny icon of a colony ship brought up the fleet view, but that is not at all obvious, or convenient. Selecting ships, as has been mentioned, is also not particularly intuitive. With all the ships looking normal, I have no idea that they're all selected by default and RMB is not, to me, the most obvious action to (de)select a ship with. I usually expect LMB to be the action and RMB to be information, making the behavior of the fleet panel backwards. If I weren't already aware of it from reading the formus, I'd probably end up sending all three ships on my first scouting mission and wonder what happened to them.
My first scouting mission gives this: Again, there are four buttons on the right side that have no tooltips, so I have no idea which one I might push. As has been mentioned elsewhere, there is no option other than declaring war, although this may be intentional. Clicking on the right-side buttons seems to give the same results as scrolling through events using the news/event queue at the bottom of the screen.
My first combat: Where is my ship? Why is DECLOAK highlighted? When I pick the ship, Cloak is an option, although there isn't a cloaking device on the ship and I usually expect that not to be a starting tech. The option to run away is not obvious, if there is one, and I get my scout trashed pretty quickly.
After getting my Scout killed, I went to try and make another. I don't see anything that looks like a production queue, except the Factory* thing under my Settlers at Rastaban which gets the finger cursor when I mouseover it, but nothing significant happens when I LMB or RMB it. Eventually, I figure out that clicking on the planet, then on the Factory gets me the production queue. Clicking on the Scout ends up killing off the production of the Factory without any warning, although I put the Factory back in the queue and didn't seem to lose any progress.
After a few more turns, the research completes, leading to a screen where all the things with checkmarks are things which are not researched, which seems confusing. Eventually, I figure out that one of them is the next up and the green ones are already researched. I tend to focus on the most colorful thing first, so that's a little confusing.
When I do finally try and build a new Scout, I find out that it's going to take 20 turns, despite having a Factory and a half-full world. Although it might be interesting to have ships be very precious at the beginning of the game.
- Make the title of a highlighted colony something like Rastaban II unless I'm moving population or something.
- Tooltips on the buttons, particularly the chat bubble-looking thing and rocket, would help in finding the right thing to click.
- Use a generic icon for places where you can open the fleet screen instead of one of the ships in a fleet.
- Swap mouse behavior in the fleet screen so that LMB (de)selects and RMB brings up the info panel.
- Start with all ships deselected or just one ship selected so that it is more obvious the difference between the two states.
- I think having both the news/event queue and whatever function the buttons are performing seems unnecessarily redundant. Being most used to SotS, I have a better feel for the news/event queue, but I'm not sure how the buttons are supposed to work, so that might actually be better.
- Focus the screen on the active ship in combat and start with the first ship already selected.
Also, mouse movement when SiS is not the focused app still pans the map around, which is kind of annoying.
all that remains of great soldiers'
imperial dreams - Basho