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Request - Single Player improvements
02-28-2012, 11:36 AM
Post: #1
Request - Single Player improvements
Disclaimers:
1. I love SO and have already given it a 5 star rating on iTunes. I have been waiting years for a good MOO2 successor, and SO looks like it could eventually replace MOO2 as my favorite game of all time.
2. Yes, I've read the SO vision, and know that the SO team prioritizes MP over SP play.
3. The v1.1 improvements look like they will address many of the "minor" usability issues and feature enhancements I was planning on suggesting. But v1.1 looks like it will not address some of the most critical gameplay factors I am looking for.

So with that being said...

I play SO exclusively in single player mode. I know others love multiplayer games, and I have nothing against such people, but MP is not my thing.

And SO has a few gameplay flaws that look like they will seriously reduce the long-term playability of SO for me.

After playing SO (v1.0.9) for a while now, I have discovered that SO does not support my preferred play style very well. But I think that it could do so quite well with a few minor enhancements and tweaks.

In a nutshell, my preferred style of MOO2/SO gameplay could be described as "4x solitaire" or "galaxoforming". I don't play 4x games for the "challenge" of competing against an opponent. I play them as sort of a semi-simulation, semi-cinematic activity. I enjoy setting up the initial game settings and race stats, and then playing through the game to watch my race take over the galaxy and transform it. I usually do this with huge galaxies, and I often spend days or weeks playing a single game. The longer the better, IMO. Much of the fun for me is based on watching how the combination of my initial settings plus the random match elements/events interact over time.

However, SO currently has some gameplay and design elements that seriously hinder my ability to play as described above. Therefore, I would like to suggest the following changes.

1. I don't care if any or all of these changes are for SP mode only, or if a new "SP solitaire" mode is added. I'd be happy with whichever is easier for the devs to implement. I understand that some of these suggestions would be difficult or impossible to balance for MP mode, so I would suggest simply adding a switch that would make many of these features SP-only features so gameplay balancing isn't even an issue.

2. I don't care about gameplay fairness or balance. I'm playing SINGLE player, and I should be able to give my side as much of an "unfair" advantage as I want. This means that I often use Save/Reload to "cheat" and get "random" events to go exactly as I want them to. It also means that I used the MOO2 cheat codes (extensively at times) either at the beginning of a game (to compensate for MOO2's game settings limitations) and/or mid-game to make my sim-movie play out as I wanted it to. However, Save/Reload is a major pain, and wastes a lot of my time and detracts from the gameplay experience. It would be much nicer if the game would simply allow me to "legally" unbalance the game settings so that I don't have to rely on reloading.

3. Improve some game save/load features.

3a. Super-important: Change the Save feature to save the current state of the galaxy, not the state as of the beginning of turn. I like to be able to take most of my turn actions, then Save, then a few more actions (like maybe Buying some buildings), then end turn, and be able to restore to the exact point at which I saved, rather than having to redo a whole turn.

3b. Allow me to set the number of auto-save slots. It would be nice if I could go back 2, or 5, or maybe 10+ turns, in the same way that I can currently go back 1 turn via the current autosave feature (i.e. without having to manually Save all of the time).

3c. With the current default naming of Save slots, the Stardate sometimes isn't even visible on the Load Game screen. Either change the default, or (even better) allow me to specify the format using a RegEx-like pattern in the game options.

4. One of the most important things for my play style is making sure that I'm not "rushed" by the possibility of an AI getting too much of an advantage over my race, so...

4a. Add an early/late evolution game setting. E.g. Maybe allow me to determine how many turns I get to play while all of the AIs are skipped (or before they appear), to simulate my race being the first in the galaxy to "evolve". And also allow me to be a late-evolver by giving the AIs a headstart (which I would probably then overcome anyway due to racial superioty).

4b. Allow me to specify X number of immediate tech picks, to give me an initial tech lead. Similar settings for "starting" gold and/or colony ships would also be great.

4c. Allow me to specify 0 AI players if I want. (This would be especially fun after some kind of Antaran-like feature is added. There would be no competition at all, until late game, when I could then battle it out with them. In fact, this might even make for a good "survival" mode of gameplay if ever-increasing external threats were to appear at some point.)

4d. Allow me to choose whether to continue playing after all AIs are defeated. In MOO2, I used to have to leave 1 AI with 1 planet in order to finish my galaxy colonization, when in fact I really would have preferred to just end them and keep playing with no opponents.

4e. Allow me to specify some kinds of limitations on the AIs, such as Max Systems Colonized, and/or Max Range From Home System, which would let me allow AIs to develop into very powerful opponents for late game, but prevent them from overwhelming the galaxy or each other until I was ready to deal with them.

5. I usually like to create some type of uber-race, and watch their natural superiority overwhelm the galaxy. This means that I should not have a limit to the number of race points I can spend. If I want to make the "best" possible race by picking the most powerful version of EVERY beneficial trait (with no negative traits), I should be able to. And there should be more race picks to choose from, and also even more powerful versions of the existing types of options. For example:

5a. Bring back the Omniscience trait. Sometimes I like the Fog of War. Usually I don't.

5b. Add in some extra levels of the existing traits. E.g. I always wanted to play MOO2 using a race that had +500% or +1000% (or more) growth rate (along with some crippling negative traits), and watch them fill up the galaxy despite their "inferiority", simply because nobody could kill them off fast enough. Hilarious.

5c. Bring back some "Luck" traits, so that I can enjoy more frequent and/or better Brilliant Research, tech discoveries, etc., without having to rely on Save/Reload to do it manually.

6. Bring back the MOO2 "Housing" build item. It makes sense for specific colonies to be able to be configured to produce population via production. Whether it was really houses, or propoganda, or breeding camps, would of course depend on the race Smile.

7. Very-important: Make the tech-tree infinite. Bring back MOO2's "Advanced ..." tech items, so that I can keep gaining larger and larger FP, IP, RP, etc. bonuses via repeated research. As it is, once the tech tree is done, researchers, labs, etc. are completely useless once the tech tree is finished.

7b. Also, it appears from my play thus far that researchers are mostly useless. Since there are no buildings that give more than +1 RP/researcher, and the max bonuses are +2 RP/researcher vs. +75 RP per colony, I found that even when allocating a lot of researchers they barely made a difference in the speed of acquiring new techs via research.

8. Fix Bombardment. Sometimes I like to conquer colonies. Other times I prefer to "sterilize" an AI colony and colonize it from scratch. And the cost, number of ships, and turns required to kill a colony are all just ridiculous.

8b. I also liked having the ability in MOO2 to obliterate a planet, and then rebuild a new planet from the rubble. In fact, it would be nice if you could do that even to unoccupied planets, as a way to "improve" a tiny or low-mineral planet by rebuilding a new, better planet.

9. Bring back the ability to gift things to the AI. It was fun in MOO2 to give large gifts of gold, tech, or even colonies to a near-defeated AI, and then squash them again.

Thanks again for making such a great game. (I wouldn't go to such lengths suggesting improvements if the game didn't have such potential.)
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02-28-2012, 01:17 PM
Post: #2
RE: Request - Single Player improvements
If you were to pick your top two suggestions they would be?
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02-28-2012, 02:59 PM
Post: #3
RE: Request - Single Player improvements
(02-28-2012 01:17 PM)rocco Wrote:  If you were to pick your top two suggestions they would be?

7 (infinite research) and 5 (additional traits, and unlimited trait points), with 3a (Save includes current turn orders) and 6 (Housing) running a very close 3rd and 4th.

However, as an Agile software developer, I'd probably opt for getting more things that are easy for you to implement than fewer that are hard. That's why I gave you a big wish list. I'm just hoping for as many wishes to be granted as possible. Big Grin

Thanks!
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02-28-2012, 03:28 PM
Post: #4
RE: Request - Single Player improvements
I'd imagine unlimited trait points for single player should be easy to set up

GC ID - VanderLegion, GMT-9. Sandbox GC ID (Beta) - VanderLegion
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02-29-2012, 11:42 AM (This post was last modified: 02-29-2012 11:45 AM by ddebernardy.)
Post: #5
RE: Request - Single Player improvements
Yeah, but what's he point?... I suppose someone out there might want to overkill an already too easy to beat AI, but... You know... Still!

The key item that rang a bell to me as needing real attention is saving state when saving a game. As in, remembering what orders I gave, etc, when I hit save. Rather than bringing me back to the beginning of the turn.

Along the same lines, I'd add that auto-save should take you back to to *this* turn, rather than the previous one. I see the benefit of having the previous turn too, in a debug sort of way (definitely not in the way th OP suggested). But certainly not more than that, and definitely not more as an option. Options ultimately kill software. The less, the better.

Then there is bombardment, which I've previously argued is not nasty enough (or too late in the game, or both).

Some kind of infinite research seems right too, even though I easily foresee it being overkill and over powered. Lots of balance testing would be needed there.

"It would be much nicer if the game would simply allow me to "legally" unbalance the game settings so that I don't have to rely on reloading." (...) "as an Agile software developer"...

Pardon for asking, but... As an Agile developer, would it not be more satisfying for you to write some code that displays "you won!" on the screen and to iterate through versions thereof so it tells you how? That way, you won't even need to micromanage your way to victory. The game will simply default to you winning, and tell you how you did so. ;-)

More seriously, my own wish would be that the AI sends troop ships instead of colony ships to my systems, and that it scorched the occasional useless (or conquered) planet to either keep me away from it or to massacre my industry output.

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03-01-2012, 02:26 AM
Post: #6
RE: Request - Single Player improvements
I agree with the spirit of the OP's post. I play 4x games in similar style, for similar reasons, and would love to see some game play enhancements made that are geared toward more single-player fun. It was not really clear when I bought the app that its developer was going to be so focused on making multiplayer improvements. Count me as another player in the predominantly single-player camp.

While I think some of the OP's suggestions are somewhat over the top, I don't see the harm in them either, provided they were only active in a single-player game.

My #1 feature request to improve single-player is:
I would love to see other ways to win this game, as previously discussed, such as a tech victory, a galactic vote (diplomatic victory, pending an actual diplomacy system of course), and an Antaran-like third-party invader conflict victory.

The save feature saving the exact state of the moment, rather than reverting to the beginning of the turn, is also an important idea. It gets very tedious re-doing an entire turn sometimes. I really like the idea of customizable auto-save intervals as well.

My single-player wish list also includes:
- NPC race diplomacy options - treaties, alliances, tech trades, etc. Remember, the fourth X stands for eXploit. Exploitation isn't really possible currently. It's more like a 3X game as it is.
- Colony and Ship leaders (which I know you're already working on.)
- At the risk of being too MoO2-cliche, it would be great to have a well-guarded "Antaran" planet (analogous to Orion) that grants otherwise-unavailable "supreme" technologies to the first race to colonize it.

Thanks for continuing to improve this game. It means a lot to have a developer who actually takes feedback from the players, and uses it. That is huge.
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03-01-2012, 02:53 AM (This post was last modified: 03-01-2012 02:53 AM by Justin__W.)
Post: #7
RE: Request - Single Player improvements
(02-29-2012 11:42 AM)ddebernardy Wrote:  Yeah, but what's he point?... I suppose someone out there might want to overkill an already too easy to beat AI, but... You know... Still!
I might have been slightly unclear above. My plan is not simply pick all of the good traits, I just don't like the limits upon choosing a race in SP. More often, I would be choosing a single trait to boost, and then take a bunch of negative picks for other areas. Sort of a savant-race idea.

(02-29-2012 11:42 AM)ddebernardy Wrote:  More seriously, my own wish would be that the AI sends troop ships instead of colony ships to my systems, and that it scorched the occasional useless (or conquered) planet to either keep me away from it or to massacre my industry output.
I didn't explicitly request improvements to the AI, because I didn't need to. I know that many other people have/will. Yes, I would like to have the option to play against a really tough, smart AI. But I was focusing primarily on things I thought were both easy to implement, and had not already been requested.

(02-29-2012 11:42 AM)ddebernardy Wrote:  would it not be more satisfying for you to write some code that displays "you won!"
Doh! Why didn't I think of that myself? Tongue
(03-01-2012 02:26 AM)DMusashi Wrote:  I agree with the spirit of the OP's post. I play 4x games in similar style, for similar reasons, and would love to see some game play enhancements made that are geared toward more single-player fun. It was not really clear when I bought the app that its developer was going to be so focused on making multiplayer improvements. Count me as another player in the predominantly single-player camp.
Thank you! And well said. I knew there were others out there.

And I also think that a better SP experience would increase the number of potential and actual buyers of the game, which seems like a pretty good incentive for the developers IMO.

(03-01-2012 02:26 AM)DMusashi Wrote:  My single-player wish list also includes:
- NPC race diplomacy options - treaties, alliances, tech trades, etc. Remember, the fourth X stands for eXploit. Exploitation isn't really possible currently. It's more like a 3X game as it is.
- Colony and Ship leaders (which I know you're already working on.)
- At the risk of being too MoO2-cliche, it would be great to have a well-guarded "Antaran" planet (analogous to Orion) that grants otherwise-unavailable "supreme" technologies to the first race to colonize it.
All things I would like as well, and knew other players would request eventually anyway. Smile
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03-01-2012, 02:54 AM
Post: #8
RE: Request - Single Player improvements
(03-01-2012 02:26 AM)DMusashi Wrote:  It was not really clear when I bought the app that its developer was going to be so focused on making multiplayer improvements. Count me as another player in the predominantly single-player camp.

To be fair, only 5 out of the 27 of the major features added v1.1 were multiplayer-only improvements.
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03-01-2012, 03:08 AM
Post: #9
RE: Request - Single Player improvements
(03-01-2012 02:54 AM)rocco Wrote:  To be fair, only 5 out of the 27 of the major features added v1.1 were multiplayer-only improvements.

Fair point. But I think that our point is that right now, the SP game has some significant (but fixable) issues. Especially for 'long game' style play. If you can make it so that SBO is a fully enjoyable, highly replayable game for both SP-only and MP-only players, then we can all fully enjoy those 22/27 enhancements. But right now, there are still a few flies in our SP soup, and adding more soup won't make the flies vanish.

I fully understand that more customers=better product, and that is (part of) why I think that it would be good for everybody to increase SBO's marketability to the SP-style player.
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03-01-2012, 03:36 AM
Post: #10
RE: Request - Single Player improvements
(03-01-2012 03:08 AM)Justin__W Wrote:  
(03-01-2012 02:54 AM)rocco Wrote:  To be fair, only 5 out of the 27 of the major features added v1.1 were multiplayer-only improvements.

Fair point. But I think that our point is that right now, the SP game has some significant (but fixable) issues. Especially for 'long game' style play. If you can make it so that SBO is a fully enjoyable, highly replayable game for both SP-only and MP-only players, then we can all fully enjoy those 22/27 enhancements. But right now, there are still a few flies in our SP soup, and adding more soup won't make the flies vanish.

I fully understand that more customers=better product, and that is (part of) why I think that it would be good for everybody to increase SBO's marketability to the SP-style player.

I like you really enjoy the SP mode and play that way more than the MP mode. However, I haven't found any major bugs or lack of features, except for a memory management issue when the game gets long and the number of planets get high. I reported it to Rocco and so far in 1.1 have not seen an issue.

I would also have to agree that the AI is way to easy to beat given the existing trait features. I do like your idea of a savant race and I will have to give that a try.

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