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Author Topic: Net Gain: Corporate Espionage in 2043. Development probably abandoned.  (Read 41279 times)

Zireael

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Re: Net Gain: Corporate Espionage in 2043. Prototype v0.5.2 is live!
« Reply #465 on: April 26, 2014, 01:57:05 am »

I love the new GUI!
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sparkbolt

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Re: Net Gain: Corporate Espionage in 2043. Prototype v0.5.2 is live!
« Reply #466 on: April 30, 2014, 09:36:55 pm »

Heyo fellas!


So the refocusing on the broker was more from a gui flow standpoint, as he's the "base menu", so you'll follow your connections out to find targets and such. As a broker you want to really stay entirely out of the field and anonymous... when action in the field starts to creep back in your direction is when you're at risk! I've also put more emphasis on the brokers by lowering the number of them working in the field, making the community smaller and more relatable, and individually more potent. I'm currently testing with one broker per agency per corporation, with promotions being increased position and influence within the corporation, rather than an active competition with more brokers in your corp. It's lightweight enough where when the time comes I could try to switch back to 3-5 brokers per corp, but I think this singular format lets you really put a face on your opposition among rival corps, names you'll be able to remember and loathe. And it allows for individual brokers (i.e. the player) to wield much greater power, that would have to be diluted if there were multiples per corp. There'll still be room for broker infighting at the higher ranks with conglomerates, as there will be multiple corps under one branch!


Here's the latest. I'm still rebuilding the cards and menus so there's some gaps (like the asset cards) that i'll get to soon enough. I'll also be looking at making the backgrounds less noisy without making everything so flat. It'll help once more art assets like more icons come in.


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Net Gain: Corporate Espionage.
Cyberpunk Espionage Strategy by Level Zero Games!

nenjin

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Re: Net Gain: Corporate Espionage in 2043. Prototype v0.5.2 is live!
« Reply #467 on: April 30, 2014, 10:52:37 pm »

Lookin' forward to it SB.
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EuchreJack

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Re: Net Gain: Corporate Espionage in 2043. Prototype v0.5.2 is live!
« Reply #468 on: April 30, 2014, 10:58:13 pm »

Nice!
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ScriptWolf

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Re: Net Gain: Corporate Espionage in 2043. Prototype v0.5.2 is live!
« Reply #469 on: May 15, 2014, 07:06:06 am »

just a little bit of news netgain has now been greenlit on steam! hooray hopefully this means early access and also easier pushout of alpha/beta builds
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Lithare

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Re: Net Gain: Corporate Espionage in 2043. Prototype v0.5.2 is live!
« Reply #470 on: May 15, 2014, 07:56:39 am »

Posting for the slightest update.  I've been wanting to get into this game since I found out about it.  Looks amazing.
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sparkbolt

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Re: Net Gain: Corporate Espionage in 2043. Prototype v0.5.2 is live!
« Reply #471 on: May 15, 2014, 03:37:24 pm »

Oh yeah! It looks like I *should* be able to set up backers with close alpha keys, so I'll probably do that with the next build or soon after.
Considering that launching on Steam puts us in front of a MILLION new eyes, and the "update" bumps after are a much more limited market, we probably wont go public until the game is pretty solid. That being said, I might try what Klei did with Dont Starve and offer some limited-time "secret" buy ins to the closed alpha, but I need to see how compatible that is with my contractual obligations to steam.


I have to admit I got stuck in a pretty nasty cycle where I'd finish the design, I'd fail at implementing it to code, then I'd bounce back to redesign the thing to try and fix the implementation problem, then face new problems trying to implement that... it took way too long for me to realize I was stuck in this loop which has been adding to the delay for this build. I'm still learning quite a bit as I go, as I'm usually the design&production on a project, and on the projects I've programmed for my contributions were either limited in scope or the project was simple enough to not worry about the bloated complexity of old code.


I've since realized the big overhaul was actually a pretty terrible idea and set me back by many months, and wasted tons of work that could still have been viable. By the time I realized this it was better to keep on the path then go back, but I'll be avoiding that same trap again. I had budgeted time for such mistakes, though I think I've used up most of that allowance already... luckily the side-work last fall gives me a bit of new padding.


I recently watched the GDC talk by Alexander Bruce who made Antichamber, and definitely related to many of the trials he brought up. Being aware of these problems, they're easier to catch and correct, but some mental things are hard to adjust. I'm always worrying about how the new build will be received since it's not that large a step beyond 5.2 despite the time that's elapsed. The rebuild is still behind the 5.2 in some areas, but overall is such a sideways move due to so many designs being changed. I definitely think it's a better code base, and the deeper mechanical changes will tweak the things I saw that simply weren't fun in the old game, but I still want to pack more "new" in so when people come back to the game they won't be upset that all the work was sunk into things they don't even notice.


I'm still certain that it's better to release the new build once it's surpassed the old one in all areas instead of just being comparable. I want people to have fun with it, and lets be honest, the old builds weren't really that much fun.
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Net Gain: Corporate Espionage.
Cyberpunk Espionage Strategy by Level Zero Games!

ScriptWolf

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Re: Net Gain: Corporate Espionage in 2043. Prototype v0.5.2 is live!
« Reply #472 on: May 15, 2014, 04:00:00 pm »

Spark looking at the screenshots the game seems to come a long way since i last saw it i'm looking forward to it, even if there is not tons of new stuff the cleaned up UI is a much welcome change. how long do you think till your ready to put out a new build ?
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Neonivek

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Re: Net Gain: Corporate Espionage in 2043. Prototype v0.5.2 is live!
« Reply #473 on: May 15, 2014, 04:06:51 pm »

Don't feel bad sparkbolt that happens to the best of developers.
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hemmingjay

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Re: Net Gain: Corporate Espionage in 2043. Prototype v0.5.2 is live!
« Reply #474 on: May 15, 2014, 06:17:26 pm »

Spark, As a developer and a consultant on many games I think I might humbly offer you a little perspective on some of the things you mention. I have benefited from some things you have shared publicly as I have been toiling in seclusion. I chose not to publicly share much of my work developing on my current project to avoid a lot of the distraction and negativity I have found recently amongst gamers. I miss the social interaction and collaboration though.

launching on Steam puts us in front of a MILLION new eyes, and the "update" bumps after are a much more limited market    Actually Early Access will have roughly 8-12 million new eyes on it depending on what day of the month you release on. Once you do a proper live 1.0 release you will have up to 64 Million eyes on it, assuming they will still put you on the new release list. Things are changing with Steam and the current trend of putting 10+ year old games on the new release list and watering down the offerings has to change. Unfortunately that might also mean that Early Access games won't get featured the same as a straight to gold release. Time will tell.
I definitely think it's a better code base, and the deeper mechanical changes will tweak the things I saw that simply weren't fun in the old game, but I still want to pack more "new" in so when people come back to the game they won't be upset that all the work was sunk into things they don't even notice. I'm still certain that it's better to release the new build once it's surpassed the old one in all areas instead of just being comparable. I want people to have fun with it, and lets be honest, the old builds weren't really that much fun. This is always hard. Much of the initial mechanical implementation of the game makes it functional but not fun. Further, you need to continue working on the functional side before approaching the fun values. It's hard because you worry that fans will lose faith and also you know how hard it is to add fun to something as complex as what you have created. There is a lot of self doubt and concern and you keep yourself up worrying about it but you still have to just keep on with your scheduled plans and wait for the right moment. You aren't alone. From your design docs that you have shared, you have nothing to worry about. You will be swimming in fun implementation decisions soon.

If you want to talk about development with another indie hit me up by private message. I am also available to talk to you about my actual professional work which is Marketing/PR and Business Development of games. I believe in total knowledge transfer so I don't charge to talk to you about your options and will even help you come up with a plan for yourself. I don't bill people unless I am actually doing the work for them. I think it's more important that we are all successful and grow our industry than it is to try to squeeze a few bucks out of everybody I meet. I have many references(AAA-Indie) if you are interested.
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sparkbolt

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Re: Net Gain: Corporate Espionage in 2043. Prototype v0.5.2 is live!
« Reply #475 on: May 22, 2014, 12:33:53 pm »

how long do you think till your ready to put out a new build ?
Still too early to say. I want to get one out this summer. I was shooting for the end of June but with the slow progress during April and May I'm not so sure.


Don't feel bad sparkbolt that happens to the best of developers.
Well thank you... but as always I tend to be my own worst critic.


Actually Early Access will have roughly 8-12 million new eyes on it depending on what day of the month you release on. Once you do a proper live 1.0 release you will have up to 64 Million eyes on it, assuming they will still put you on the new release list ... Much of the initial mechanical implementation of the game makes it functional but not fun ... If you want to talk about development with another indie hit me up by private message...
Yeah, that'd be great! Shoot me an email at John@levelzerogames.com, I think I'd lose track of a PM on the forum.
I was going off the numbers Steam mentions; they suggest there will be about a million views through the initial release "Featured Games" section, possibly more depending on it's success. I'd have to have some crazy press and success before even launching to get on the featured panel, so I'm going off that base evaluation. There's probably more views  than that through the other means.
« Last Edit: May 22, 2014, 12:37:27 pm by sparkbolt »
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Net Gain: Corporate Espionage.
Cyberpunk Espionage Strategy by Level Zero Games!

hemmingjay

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Re: Net Gain: Corporate Espionage in 2043. Prototype v0.5.2 is live!
« Reply #476 on: June 26, 2014, 03:50:21 pm »

I work 18+ hrs a day, 7 days a week right now working on 2 games and serving 2 clients also in launches. However, this means I am too wound up to sleep most nights(or days) and I have been playing a lot of Netgain.

My own game is along similar lines in some ways and we have a lot of the same hurdles to overcome which is how do you add incredible depth and strategic options while keeping a simple GUI and allowing for some players that don't like to think too much and those that like to dig through spreadsheets and ponder every possible move. For me the answer has been to make the game incredibly simple to play and leave all of the depth for the player to discover on their own. Obviously that strategy is flawed since gamers have so little time and many will dismiss the game as shallow without ever experiencing the true design.

With Netgain I am genuinely unsure of how much depth is there. The concept allows for Machiavellian strategic play and evolving stories with the depth of Dwarf Fortress, but there seems to be nothing in yet to convey this to the player or perhaps even the functionality. I don't know how far you want to take the concept and if it is already done or not. I think the game would be very well served with some degree of narrative or response from the game to the player's actions. For example, when the player takes action against other companies and increases his own worth, there is no system in place to engage the player and reward him/her for this. There could be a correspondence from the board of directors rating the player's performance or newspaper headlines(my own mechanic in Arms Dealer) or maybe have the gameplay pause for a conference between your firm and another that you have been focusing on where they try to negotiate a cease-fire or threaten all out corporate war.

I don't mean to try to suggest you don't already have a fun game. I am merely wondering if you are trying to add a more engaging element or if your aim is to keep it to this cool unemotional, conscience removed environment. I've been following forever and the game is finally at a point where I am truly enjoying it. It's a white collar version of  Syndicate Wars to me.

I'd be happy to send you a beta build of my game next week if you are interested. A lot of our graphics are missing, balance isn't set and the text is all placeholder, but the general feel is there. Let me know. https://www.facebook.com/ArmsDealertheGame 
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nenjin

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Re: Net Gain: Corporate Espionage in 2043. Prototype v0.5.2 is live!
« Reply #477 on: June 26, 2014, 05:57:17 pm »

I've kinda felt that way about the game at times too.

But then I remind myself all the stuff that's planned but still not in. Developing your broker's capabilities. Developing your operatives, their inner workings. Stuff to spend money on. Consider it kinda like Mario Bros 3. The stated objective is pretty simple: get to the other side of the screen. But then there's aaaaallllllll that other incidental stuff that isn't actually necessary to play the game, but supports it and yields several layers of depth. In Mario's case, it's secret, secrets, more secrets, really special power ups, mini-games, a map-based world design, ect...

I think Netgain falls into the same boat. It's why I didn't burn myself out playing the prototype, because I kind of knew it was going to make me starting doubting the premise, without all those other supporting elements. And for a game like Net Gain, the fun is in the details....not necessarily the basic gameplay loop.
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If you're going to try, go all the way. There is no other feeling like that. You will be alone with the Gods, and the nights will flame with fire.
Quote from: Viktor Frankl
When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.
Quote from: Sindain
Its kinda silly to complain that a friendly NPC isn't a well designed boss fight.
Quote from: Eric Blank
How will I cheese now assholes?

Retropunch

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Re: Net Gain: Corporate Espionage in 2043. Prototype v0.5.2 is live!
« Reply #478 on: June 26, 2014, 06:00:04 pm »

I didn't manage to get in on the alpha (although if there's any slots available pleaaaasee let me know!) so I shouldn't really comment on it, but I've read up on it a lot and watched all the videos and seriously cannot wait to get in on it.

I'm most excited about the long term aspects of this - I think it's a difficult thing to balance, but my absolute dream is for it to be almost an Alternate Reality game which you could keep running pretty much indefinitely. It's a tricky one to keep interesting though - from my perspective the key is never getting too powerful or untouchable. In most games you get to a peak where you can sort of waltz over everything, and I feel that making sure that the player never gets to that point (although they may go through waves of being really strong, and then *event* and they're back down the ladder) is important. In DF this is done with sieges/titans - you build up, they trash stuff/you, you build up and try to recover. I can imagine this in Net Gain with agents defecting, coups and all sorts, but I'm sure you have better ideas.

One major, major issue for me (which seems small) is the numbers in the main funds bar. The font used for it seems hard to read from the videos and it seems as though it needs to be the clearest bit of the screen as it's the one you're constantly looking at. I think it's just a text and spacing issue the 'E' is too close to the numbers, and the numbers themselves are a little bit hard to read. While I get the retro look, if you're wanting players to play it for a long time I think clarity should always trump style.

Lastly, even without playing, I like Hemmingjays idea of feedback from player actions. There's nothing worse than doing something you think is really awesome/cool/evil, and having no visible repercussions other than a stat moving up or down a point or two. A board of directors sounds amazing, especially if you could dispose of dissenters through...various means.

Again, sorry to comment without playing, but I just wanted to put in my initial thoughts.
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hemmingjay

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Re: Net Gain: Corporate Espionage in 2043. Prototype v0.5.2 is live!
« Reply #479 on: June 26, 2014, 06:55:30 pm »

Retro, if i can do anything to get you access I will. I don't mean to hijack what is already an awesome design by supposing I know better. I merely am someone who was always frustrated by games like Shadow President and such where the majority of my actions had no visible representation. It was frustrating and made me do stupid things just so the game would notice me, like nuke the US or something.

I don't love the graphics of the game, but I can appreciate the style. I would prefer something slick and futuristic, and corporate. Something like Uplink meets Excel. Just kidding, sort of.
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