I'm enjoying getting back into the game and some great new additions to the latest beta v0.2.7b.
Especially like the UI for the colonists, lots of potential to balance the training, health and happiness and was the depth I was looking for past base construction.
I'm noticing that my funds are dropping like a stone so I quickly need to figure out how to balance those finances, perhaps I was too generous with healthcare and medical provisions - no wonder all my colonists are super happy and healthy!
Is it my imagination or did the factories in old beta used to generate fuel, can't seem to find a construction that gives a healthy startup of fuel in this version, which I presume is required for the repair yard ships - I'll keep on looking. Not many low level building's that provide steady income either, science facility brings some money in however costs more to pay the wages of the staff to run it.
Despite a few bugs and crash's does appear to be the most stable version thus far imo. Keep up the good work and loving the new lighting flares (see attached screenshot).
Nice to see the game progressing and those two screenshots look great btw and their is northing wrong with happy colonists.... just watch out because healthcare gets expensive quick especially when everyone is using it and not paying for it 😀
I need to find a balance that will alow players to enter a reasonable amount of cash vs their income, so when they move the bar, you dont have to be precise, so that the total amount you can invest progresses with your income
Also forgot to mention, in life support, you have the High-Temperature Electrolysis Facility while its primary function is to make oxygen, it also makes fuel, plus currently the repair ships & transport ships don't require fuel yet
With the addition of the colonists management menu, what else would you like to see in the game and what would your priority fixes be fir the next build?
I know it's not been a priority as getting the core game mechanics has been the important progress however I'd like to see some new building skins. It would be good to see a steady growth of new skinned constructions each patch (1 or 2 perhaps).
I also think you need to re-work the availability of buildings to better guide the player in early game.
In most RTS style games building types out of reach are generally not visible early on to reduce the learning curve and ease players in, perhaps as you unlock the next building tier the next type becomes visible in the menus or buildings are unlocked at certain points in the game. After not playing the game for a while I can see how players would be very confused about what to choose.
I'm also noticing that with all the new content in development with the colonists (which has a great UI) and the trade station there is a growing need for a communication style window with notifications.
I'd suggest a new frame with info like 'Colonist x has died due to ill health', 'New Mission available', 'New Trade opportunity available', 'New Construction - Radio Array available' etc
In addition the middle notification for colonist requirements when constructing a new building could also be added to this window panel all colour coded accordingly. A movable window would be preferable. I can mock up a screenshot if this doesn't quite make sense.
In my opinion the most important thing to address is income as both my recent games fall into the red before a year is out. I can see you doing this one of two ways, provide a small income from technical buildings like ore/water production or develop the trade UI to assist the player focus on dumping excess resources for a profit. The High-Temperature Electrolysis Facility does not warrant the income given the number of colonists it takes to run outweighs any profit.
Good news is the repairing of the moonbase seems to be balanced well - not had any problems with that in the latest build.
Post your list of outstanding priority items as they are probably more important than the stuff I've said.
So there is some good news to your requests, I have already got a notification system in and working 90% this notifies you of such things as low resources, colonists issues, new missions etc. this will be in the next build
Along with the notifications there are also tool tip overlay windows with info on each section / button / UI element, the system is in and mostly working, just currently adding the last few tweaks so the window re-sizes to the text shown and also a few more info points.
With regards to the building availability issue, its something that I have thought about but not sure what to do, I don't want to restrict the player in choosing a tier, if they wanted to save science points and go straight to the large buildings, while most of the time it means the player is trying to rush the game and from what I imagine things then don't go too well, but sometimes its useful.
The only alternative to this that I can see is 1 of 2 ways, first is have a check box to toggle between locked buildings being fully hidden / show only ones that you can afford / show all locked buildings. Second option is to have a separate locked menu where the player goes to unlock new buildings. this second option would add more time to make though.
With regards to the The High-Temperature Electrolysis Facility as this is one of the later buildings there has not been much balancing done with them, for the most part its a temporary measure so it had some cost to it as I wanted something like fuel to be rare/harder to get than most resources (thinking of making water a little harder to get too - reflect how it would actually be) I would say, in the beginning of the game, look at investing $2000 in one nations colonists, you don't need much in the way of health investment until you get more colonists, probably 10% of each bar or less. With that said I can run a colony with 150+ people with 3 or 4 factories producing cash and is 95% self sustaining with other buildings. It does then become a bit tricky so there is some balancing to be done but you shouldn't be limited at the beginning.
The thing I noticed whilst playing it in the past was after you picked up the basics of the game, there wasn't much in the way of a challenge, most bases could be made self sustaining easily, resources was plentiful and really was limited in the past due to bug issues such as the repair ships (that are much more stable now) this is where the fuel and cash resources come in, cash ultimately as when you stay in the red you lose the game, but fuel, while isn't a major resource, once the repair ships start requiring fuel it will become a factor, the fuel will then link into the trade and orbital structures, but with trade in mind its then mostly linked to your cash income too.
as for the current primary tasks that I have been focusing on since the last build, they are as follows
1.Orbital menu - once completed the entire game mechanics are complete, this is the last feature still not in there (missions are in, just need to add the content and story mechanic is minor in the amount of work needed)
2.Tool tips - this came from trying to complete the above, whilst playing the game I noticed what you had stated, you needed some help to identify current activity, as this feature was mostly in before I thought it wouldn't take much to complete
3.Notification menu - Added a new feature in with both of the above in mind, this was the notification system, whilst playing the game it was a little difficult at times to keep track of everything so I have added this in, needs a couple of fixes but mostly works.
4.Adding more buildings, this again has stemmed from point 1, as I need buildings that could launch orbital structures I needed to add more buildings into the game, luckily I had some that I had worked on and are in the process of making a couple more, once this is done I can get back to point 1 and finish 2 & 3
5.As I have been getting feedback from a few people on the build I have been looking into bugs and fixing game stopping ones (found and fixed a few) and any that would be quickly fixable.
6.Final thing I want to try and get done for the next build is to work a bit more with the camera zoom, its a little jerky at the moment, initially I thought it was my mouse as I have been having issues with the wheel, while there was an issue and didn't help the matter there is still some more tweaking to do.
Finally with regards to the skinning issue, this again will be placed on a back burner for a little longer, im working on a way to proceduraly generate a lot of the skin for me (got hold of a new tool) once setup it should skin all the buildings really quick and then I can re-go over them with a final pass adding extra detail etc (this may / may not mean re-skinning the existing skinned buildings to keep consistency and a theme running throughout) - this should give a good result whilst reducing the time considerably when i come to do it.
Thanks for the updates Scott. Great to see the depth of the game coming through in these later changes. I welcome the notifications area, I think that will prove invaluable keepings things on track with the moonbase.
Do you think the missions will be complete in the next version as far as actual experience points etc. I presume some of the later missions are gated on XP so it would be good to test through some of the later content.
I'm concious that we're providing lots of bug reports for the early/mid game however not so much on the buildings yet to unlock - do you plan on incorporating a cheat option in beta to get all the aspects of the game checked out prior to release?
I might, not sure at this point, if you really want to test the later stuff it is possible to edit the save games, while I wont broadcast it to the world as I don't want to ruin the game for people at a later date that stumble across this thread, I can always message yourself on how to do this as it is relatively easy.
Also to answer your question on missions (missed it out sorry) the current plan is not to have them in the next build, all the missions that are currently in the game are available to play, while there are a lot more written up my priority is to get the orbital out and fix some issues reported.
the plan is - if all goes well and no major issue pop up with the next build, to bring the missions and possibly the story into the game for the following build - my current thinking, to get the game out quicker is to possibly release with half of the missions planed and bring the rest out at a later date, either just before or after release, meaning that there will be over 150 missions to play straight away and the rest later, to a point there should be enough content to keep anyone busy until the next half is out.