Improvement suggestions from a first play-through

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Moriarty
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Joined: Sun Jun 17, 2018 10:14 am

Improvement suggestions from a first play-through

Postby Moriarty » Sun Jun 17, 2018 11:04 am

So, I've just "completed" my first play-through. I haven't actually won-won, but it's just grinding from here if I want to win. It's a good game, but can use a little more polish.
I particularly like the "undo" function.
No DLC, latest version.

Quite a few thoughts, lots of quirks and a few bugs:

* The Automate function has a lot of limitations:
** Doesn't seem to build defences
** [bug] If the planet gets a new improvement slot from research, it won't use it if it has already "completed" everything and is on research say.
** Builds lots of factories on all planets. I guess that's a "balanced" build, but a specialised build makes more sense to me. One factory is sufficient on most planets except the production hotspots.
** Ability to choose the automation profile (research, markets, mining, production), or at least have it intelligently decide on one.
** Doesn't do terraforming
** Doesn't do colonisation
** Doesn't automatically scrap all labs when you've reached the end of the tech tree. Although it does stop all research and change it to trade which is neat.

* Ship Designing is something of a pain:
** [bug] Quantum Reactor stays appearing at end-game when you have BH reactor
** [bug] That "only show latest tech" button should stay on by default rather than reset to off all the time.
** Even with the "show latest tech" button, there seem to be a lot of weapons that are dated remain showing.
** It keeps wanting to build missile builds when I have other techs that don't have missiles limits (munitions).
** There is no "upgrade base components" button, i.e. to upgrade armour from tritanium to duranium. Have to do it manually or select the auto-design which then changes everything.
** What is the point of asteroid station / space station and the defaults like transport etc being on ship design? Upgrading their reactor will only cost more money and nothing else on them needs to change.

* Refitting ships is painful in all ways:
** If you want to do it the non-instant way, it seems you have to manually upgrade each ship via lots of clicks. This is a big chore.
** It's not obvious which ones have been upgraded, at least, not from the space view.


Victory:
* What are the actual victory conditions? I'm guessing conquest and maybe political are the two I've seen.
* There's no research victory. :-(
* There's the political victory, but I'm at end-game with one other empire and neither of us is voting for the other one. In fact, I don't think I ever saw anyone vote for anyone other than themselves.


Techs / questions:
* What's the "Ansible" tech for? Doesn't seem to do anything other than generic blurb about instantaneous comms.
* The warp distortions question never got answered (DLC?).

Game Performance:
* Turns can take a long time to process - 5-10s late game. (I have 8 cores and 16 threads, it's only using one of them). Medium universe size.
* Interface can get a little laggy (CPU bound again). It's not the frame-rate
Stellaris is a MUCH more complex game but runs much more smoothly.

Combat:
* I'd love to be able to fast-forward over enemy turns. They're ridiculously slow with large fleets (and yes, I have "fast tactical animations" checked). Missile and fighter launching in particular.
* It's not always intuitive which weapons will fire at any given time.
* Using fighters isn't always intuitive either.

Bug Bug:
* Quite early on I got some sort of red box appear in the game about starvation messages. I saved, quit the application, restarted, but it came back on load. So I just pressed "ignore" and it went away. I didn't pay much attention because I was still new to the game.
* Harpies have a crew of -65536 - integer overflow!

Politics:
* They're very fixed in their politics. I played one on Easy and another on Normal, and in both cases the first major faction I discovered declared war on me in short order. Even after setting up treaties etc in both cases. It seems that the politics stuff is "these two pre-designed races will always be antagonists and you picked one of them".
* They Never ask for peace, even if they've never attacked you and/or the "war" has been going on for 100+ turns and someone else is annihilating them.
* Some of them simply don't attack you despite declaring war.

General interface things:
* When you click on a system it shows the planets at the bottom, but not their names. This makes it hard to know which planet is which without clicking on them.
* I came across a native race that's "good at mining" in the description - except there is no "mining ability" icon indicator anywhere so I don't know how good and if it's worth transporting them to my mining worlds.
* It would be nice if there were icons over planets on the galaxy screen. Ideally the ability to flag certain planets as being production planets for instance. Or to indicate that terraforming is an option
* I have some planets where I've terraformed to the "best" type, but then I can terraform down to a more "comfortable" type for my own species (who aren't even on the planet!). This confused me for a while because I didn't read it and I did the terraforming back and forth a few times! Because it's there it means I can't simply select the "best" terraforming automatically, I have to read them all.
* It took me quite a while to figure out the move-colonists process.
* I'm still trying to reliably figure out the troop-transport loading/unloading thing and the different between transports and troop transports.

Misc:
* Maybe it's just me, but if a troopship comes with troops, how come it's much cheaper than the troops it contains?
* It's not clear how I can put troops onto a "military transport" when it doesn't have a transport section.

But again, overall it's a nifty game. Hopefully some of the above can be fixed - it'll make the next playthrough even better.

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Arioch
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Re: Improvement suggestions from a first play-through

Postby Arioch » Sun Jun 17, 2018 5:55 pm

Thanks for the feedback!

AMX
Posts: 15
Joined: Fri Nov 24, 2017 10:41 pm

Re: Improvement suggestions from a first play-through

Postby AMX » Sun Jun 17, 2018 8:18 pm

Moriarty wrote:* There's the political victory, but I'm at end-game with one other empire and neither of us is voting for the other one. In fact, I don't think I ever saw anyone vote for anyone other than themselves.

AI factions will vote for you if they are your allies. Otherwise everybody votes for themselves.
There's also an Alliance victory - if you manage to ally with everybody else simultaneously, you win.
* What's the "Ansible" tech for? Doesn't seem to do anything other than generic blurb about instantaneous comms.

It removes the Command Range limit.
That should probably be added to the text - currently it's only displayed in the tooltip that you get in the tree view...

* They're very fixed in their politics. I played one on Easy and another on Normal, and in both cases the first major faction I discovered declared war on me in short order. Even after setting up treaties etc in both cases. It seems that the politics stuff is "these two pre-designed races will always be antagonists and you picked one of them".

There are some built-in animosities, but most likely this was just because they had more warships than you. ATM the AI loves to bully anybody who looks relatively weak.
The next patch will probably improve this.

zolobolo
Posts: 945
Joined: Fri Nov 25, 2016 3:49 pm

Re: Improvement suggestions from a first play-through

Postby zolobolo » Mon Jun 18, 2018 9:04 am

Fun fact: AI factions will vote for the ally with the highest pop be it the player or another AI faction or even themselves.

Thus in order to get the votes of AI factions the player needs to be:
1. An ally of the faction
2. Have the highest population among all alliance members

Craig
Posts: 2
Joined: Sun Aug 12, 2018 7:57 am

Re: Improvement suggestions from a first play-through

Postby Craig » Sun Aug 12, 2018 8:17 am

I have also just played through for the first time with the default settings.
I would not want to play on a lager map as it does devolve in to a grind.
Part of the reason for this is the ship speed which really is way to slow for at the end of the game even for such a small map it takes 25 turns to cross.
I also try to skip the combat if it is not important but due to the AI poor performance that can result in the loss of a fleet were it may not have happened. More options to accelerate combat would also help. The auto combat button in combat does help as I use this once I know there is no danger left , but sometimes you also get ships destroyed as they ignores missiles threat.

I would say if the flow and speed of the game was increased then I feel it would make the game better.

AMX
Posts: 15
Joined: Fri Nov 24, 2017 10:41 pm

Re: Improvement suggestions from a first play-through

Postby AMX » Sun Aug 12, 2018 9:36 am

Craig wrote:Part of the reason for this is the ship speed which really is way to slow for at the end of the game even for such a small map it takes 25 turns to cross.

That's what Cheapgates are for - since their labor cost is zero, you can just spam them everywhere.
So as soon as you have a colony near the target you can just teleport your fleets most of the way.

zolobolo
Posts: 945
Joined: Fri Nov 25, 2016 3:49 pm

Re: Improvement suggestions from a first play-through

Postby zolobolo » Sun Aug 12, 2018 9:39 am

I usually play on larg maps in all space 4X and while it is true that it devolves into grind in the end, it is worth playing thatt size in this game (would NOT recommend it for ES2 or Galciv3)

The reason is this:
- More systems allow the AI to strenghten up before engging the player. The AI here ispretty good in the earl game (only playing normal everywhere), but with the latest updates to strategic AI, it will put up a great fight in mid game and an even recover from 1-2 serious losses. After that it will bend over of course but that is the unavoidable mechnicsm of 4X games else it wouldnt be fun
- If you opt in to the dev branch, the AI will start using diplomacy better and create alliances. Needless to say: on a large map with multiple factions, this gets realy exciting fast

I consider traveltime to be optimal: it forces the player to make early decisions on where to position the fleets as new orders can oly be issues with mid-game tech and travel speed will also not be increased considerably. In a streched-out empire this does leadd to a situation where not every single asset can be defended when needed (no choke points which again helps here).

The place where the tactical AI is lacking is ship positioning. It is adept at handling missiles, smal craft and even retreating but will rush ahead with faster ships - changing the behaviour has proved to be to coplex for now, so if your optimal tactic is relying on smart fleet formations containing small and large ships at the same time, you are better commanding them directly that is true - same goes for defending planets as the defending fleet will rush ahead to meet the enemy outside of the range of starbases and planetary defense

zolobolo
Posts: 945
Joined: Fri Nov 25, 2016 3:49 pm

Re: Improvement suggestions from a first play-through

Postby zolobolo » Sun Aug 12, 2018 9:41 am

AMX wrote:
Craig wrote:Part of the reason for this is the ship speed which really is way to slow for at the end of the game even for such a small map it takes 25 turns to cross.

That's what Cheapgates are for - since their labor cost is zero, you can just spam them everywhere.
So as soon as you have a colony near the target you can just teleport your fleets most of the way.


Or chose the Haduir as your faction and get an Ancient Stargate right from the beginning ;)

Craig
Posts: 2
Joined: Sun Aug 12, 2018 7:57 am

Re: Improvement suggestions from a first play-through

Postby Craig » Sun Aug 12, 2018 10:10 am

zolobolo wrote:
AMX wrote:
Craig wrote:Part of the reason for this is the ship speed which really is way to slow for at the end of the game even for such a small map it takes 25 turns to cross.

That's what Cheapgates are for - since their labor cost is zero, you can just spam them everywhere.
So as soon as you have a colony near the target you can just teleport your fleets most of the way.


Or chose the Haduir as your faction and get an Ancient Stargate right from the beginning ;)


The point is that ship movement is extremal low at the start of the game and it just dose not change yes it increased ~87% but this is kind of small considering may other similar games the speed jumps are much lager like 100% each time and this would also have more impact. The Star gates are at the end of the tech tree so by the time you get there the game is over.

zolobolo
Posts: 945
Joined: Fri Nov 25, 2016 3:49 pm

Re: Improvement suggestions from a first play-through

Postby zolobolo » Sun Aug 12, 2018 10:31 am

Craig wrote:The point is that ship movement is extremal low at the start of the game and it just dose not change yes it increased ~87% but this is kind of small considering may other similar games the speed jumps are much lager like 100% each time and this would also have more impact. The Star gates are at the end of the tech tree so by the time you get there the game is over.


Such a huge increase of traveling speed could be a balance issue in this game. As there are no chokepoints, every asset of the other empire is free game: only limitation is speed and range. Might be wort trying out a mod that doubles the speed with each tech but I suspect that would signifficantly upset balance.

All undefended system could become instant losses: don't forget, travel speed also applies to retreat
So when an enemy has 200% speed, you will not only take 2X as long to get to the defense position, will also take 2X as long to recover from retreat or reposition.

Another example which would be to gamey: If faction one initiates an attack from system A to system B, the defending empire with 200% speed at system B can counter attack system A and get back in time to defend system B even if they are unsuccesfull and have to retreat

Other games either have choke points (MoO 4, ES2, Stellaris partially) or the strategic speed is tied to system upgrade in a way that dampers this effect: Galciv3


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