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Author Topic: Outer Colony  (Read 6241 times)

Madman198237

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Re: Outer Colony
« Reply #15 on: July 09, 2017, 03:04:31 pm »

Oh.

I ignored that like it was a "Credits" button. Whoops.
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The Scout

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Re: Outer Colony
« Reply #16 on: July 09, 2017, 09:43:34 pm »

How am I supposed to get fabric beside mineral wool? Butchery products never leave the station, and get deleted when you remove it.
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VoyagerGames

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Re: Outer Colony
« Reply #17 on: July 10, 2017, 02:06:58 pm »

Continued thanks, guys - your feedback here is going to the top of my queue:


Oh.

I ignored that like it was a "Credits" button. Whoops.

I should definitely give the button some more descriptive text. I'm sure you're not the only one who overlooked it, so now it reads, "Guided Tutorial".

Quote from: The Scount
How am I supposed to get fabric beside mineral wool?

Good call here - there are other fabrics in the game, like cotton, but as of 0.5.50, they can only be attained via trade. I just added nylon and rayon as fabrics you can synthesize yourself, and they'll be part of the next release. Unfortunately, I need more sprites and to create plant species data for cotton, so that might not make its way into Outer Colony for a little while.

Quote from: The Scount
Butchery products never leave the station, and get deleted when you remove it.

Also, this is entirely correct. I'm aiming to include the fix for this in the next release, too.
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Madman198237

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Re: Outer Colony
« Reply #18 on: July 10, 2017, 02:24:46 pm »

Hey thanks!

I usually don't act like an idiot, but when I do, I do it like the professionals biggest idiot around.
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VoyagerGames

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Re: Outer Colony
« Reply #19 on: July 14, 2017, 10:11:31 am »

I usually don't act like an idiot, but when I do, I do it like the professionals biggest idiot around.

Don't sweat it, man! I've done way more backwards things when trying to figure out games before, and every time something like this happens to one of our users, it's just another chance for us to make an improvement.

So much of the work on Outer Colony over the last 6 months has been improving usability. Just trying to make the game easier to play, improving aspects of the game that users found too confusing, smoothing out control schemes, and other work like that. We still have a long way to go, but we're approaching a point where it's more playable.

I've been having some internal discussions with other team members over the course of the last few weeks, and we're making some decisions about the direction to take Outer Colony moving forward. I hope to post our development road map here soon, but I think we'll be doing some rather cool things with the platform we've created so far.

I think we've accomplished some neat things with human behavior modeling and world mechanics to this point, but admittedly, the system is probably too academic right now. It's not enough of a game, if you know what I mean. There's a lot of depth to explore, but too much of it is peripheral to the core of what a player is doing, and the system as a whole isn't quite engaging enough. Outer Colony has to draw the player in more, provide more active sorts of challenges and opportunities, and make a player more invested in what they're building. In short, I've got to find ways to make the experience more fun.

I think part of accomplishing that will be to overhaul the visuals. It's going to take a long time, and it'll be something of a pain, but I think we've agreed to overhaul all of the game's graphics and to replace the current, top-down perspectives with isometric rendering. I don't think our current sprite set is stylistically uniform enough to give Outer Colony a solid "look and feel", and I think that if we can make it more aesthetically pleasing, it'll help draw players in. Isometric graphics should make the game stand out more, and it helps in gameplay, giving players a better feel for the 3D nature of the world in non-Z-level views.

I've gone ahead and coded an experimental isometric rendering mode into the latest release. Right now, I don't have any isometric sprites at all, so it's just displaying un-textured terrain. You can see what it's looking like in this screenshot:


What do you guys think? Would really sharp, isometric graphics help improve the fun factor? If you can build cooler looking things, do you think you'd enjoy Outer Colony more?
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Madman198237

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Re: Outer Colony
« Reply #20 on: July 14, 2017, 10:15:33 am »

I think that isometrics like that improve the approachability, however I'd warn you to be careful about excavations and have a plan for them.

Seriously, for inspiration I'd direct you to some of DF's isometric vis systems, because they solve a lot of the issues in decent ways. If you're going underground, you need some way to control what is rendered, and it's best if the controls are easier.




Also, before you do this: What group are you trying to attract? Do you want this to be Minecraft, or Aurora 4x? In case you didn't know, Aurora is the complexity of DF in space with more menus and less of a texture pack.

EDIT: Oops accidental post. Continuing on:

If you want to attract the sorts of cold-hearted iron-willed play-with-an-imagination types that DF has, then you could probably stick with a simpler and less-demanding DF-like render (Basically, what you have now). If you want to be more generally approachable and attract people in between Minecraft and DF/Aurora, then yeah, isometrics/3D gives it a more game-y feel, making it look less like a corrupted text document  (Looking at you, DF. And yet I play it anyways. With no graphics set.) and more like a "real" videogame.
« Last Edit: July 14, 2017, 10:21:12 am by Madman198237 »
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Zangi

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Re: Outer Colony
« Reply #21 on: July 14, 2017, 10:16:15 am »

Reminds me of Railroad Tycoon.  Not bad, but depends on the building tiles you got to go with it.
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The Scout

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Re: Outer Colony
« Reply #22 on: July 20, 2017, 03:13:06 pm »

Been a bit, any news on what's coming up next? Working on tiles or textiles first?
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dennislp3

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Re: Outer Colony
« Reply #23 on: July 24, 2017, 01:32:37 am »


I think part of accomplishing that will be to overhaul the visuals. It's going to take a long time, and it'll be something of a pain, but I think we've agreed to overhaul all of the game's graphics and to replace the current, top-down perspectives with isometric rendering. I don't think our current sprite set is stylistically uniform enough to give Outer Colony a solid "look and feel", and I think that if we can make it more aesthetically pleasing, it'll help draw players in. Isometric graphics should make the game stand out more, and it helps in gameplay, giving players a better feel for the 3D nature of the world in non-Z-level views.

What do you guys think? Would really sharp, isometric graphics help improve the fun factor? If you can build cooler looking things, do you think you'd enjoy Outer Colony more?

TL;DR version: Visuals need upgraded, UI needs more intuition, hotkeys

Improving visuals would go a LONG way. Especially since you are working in 3d space. I personally find it very disorienting to navigate Z levels in a way that I don't have with DF. In fact I would argue that controls are holding me back from enjoying the game more than visuals.

My biggest issues that make it hard to get in to are the following:
1. No hotkeys (at least that I am aware of) when in comes to most functions. Mouse support is nice and makes it more accessible but at the same time it is tedious to have to click every button

2. Having to click every button....And I mean it different than the previous issue. The menus are not very intuitive at the moment and it feels like everything is buried too deep. Even after a few hours of playing I am forgetting where certain stats and menus are that I need every once and a while. The menus also do not feel intuitive. I find myself in too many situations where many windows automatically close when I don't want them to (for instance, when I am trying to refine multiple different ores) which requires me to have to go back and click X amount of buttons to get it back where I want it.

Long story short, too many clicks to get what I want and auto closing windows are (sometimes) really annoying

3. Lacking certain essential menus. My main issue in this category would be things like not being able to easily select certain colonists. There really needs to be a Dwarf Therapist style system/menu where I can at least see and select colonists. If you don't want to bother with all the details and displaying stats or showing work that someone is working on etc. at least give us a simple colonist menu to select colonists from. I love to see all the data and tweak so many different things but somehow some of the most functional and simple menus are missing.

4. Visuals, as stated above seem disorienting and hard to work with...hard to pinpoint why but I think it boils down to controls. I say this because normally I see something that I want to do or change or build etc but I always have to break my thought or focus to navigate menus and click a bunch of different things to make it happen

5. Why can't I maximize the screen? Why would I want to play a game on a high resolution monitor if I am stuck in a windowed mode in a resolution far below my screens resolution? Maximizing the screen would make the game more enjoyable. More real estate could be used for menus and buttons (instead of burying lots of menus and buttons) and the graphics (even top down sprites) could be made larger and better to make it easier to see what is going on at times. Perhaps this is a technical issue on my end? I also can't generate huge worlds despite having 24GB of RAM (perhaps the odd ram amount prevents that?)

As an aside I also can't download version 0.5.50 because the auto updater only downloads version 0.5.49


If there is something I am not being clear about or something you want more details about feel free to ask so I can clarify.

Other than the listed issues above I am loving the game. You said it's "too" academic at the moment which is a great place to be...build on that to make it more gamey, but definitely don't remove any of what you have now.
« Last Edit: July 24, 2017, 01:40:59 am by dennislp3 »
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ZebioLizard2

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Re: Outer Colony
« Reply #24 on: July 25, 2017, 05:41:17 pm »

I'm glad to see more people checking this game out, and that even the developer stopped by! I haven't had a chance to play it recently so I couldn't tell you of any problems I've found.
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Ekaton

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Re: Outer Colony
« Reply #25 on: August 18, 2017, 10:02:20 am »

This game seems promising but with so many sci-fi games on the market right now, from triple A rts that have much better graphics, through indie games that have some base-building elements like Starbound to free to play games such as Prospector it will be really hard to market it. Perhaps you could try to develop it along the similar lines that Toady has chosen for DF - F2P with donations by a loyal fanbase? I would certainly chip in.
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JohnnyYuma

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Re: Outer Colony
« Reply #26 on: August 21, 2017, 01:45:18 am »

This game seems promising but with so many sci-fi games on the market right now, from triple A rts that have much better graphics, through indie games that have some base-building elements like Starbound to free to play games such as Prospector it will be really hard to market it. Perhaps you could try to develop it along the similar lines that Toady has chosen for DF - F2P with donations by a loyal fanbase? I would certainly chip in.

That's probably the best idea for this game. It doesn't stand a chance against RimWorld and dozens other sci-fi strategic games out there.
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Ekaton

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Re: Outer Colony
« Reply #27 on: August 21, 2017, 02:49:23 am »

Mars Simulation Project is a good example. It's a very complex and supposedly very realistic simulator of a Mars colony as it may exist in a few decades, with focus on relationship between colonists and their life on Mars (there are different personality types, and when it comes to health even things like calories intake, amount of oxygen, water and waste per day, and even BMI are included). Colonists act according to their own schedule and the main thing you do as a player is setting out exploration missions, expanding the base and making sure that the colony is well-supplied.

It's free to play but it's not exactly a hit. I just think that space base-building is a rather difficult genre.
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( Tchey )

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Re: Outer Colony
« Reply #28 on: August 21, 2017, 08:35:19 am »


What do you guys think? Would really sharp, isometric graphics help improve the fun factor? If you can build cooler looking things, do you think you'd enjoy Outer Colony more?

Don't go iso, it only makes the screen harder to read for 3D stuff like towers or pits. Gnomoria went iso, and it's the worst part of the game, in my opinion. True Topdown flat 2D (without any perspective faked) is the best way to do this kind of games, according me and myself.

You need to change the tiles however, for something clearer and fancier at the same time (RimWorld is close to perfect, Prison Architect is great too, in that domain). Currently, it's too "flat", or "grey" or "saturated" or "dirty" or other words i don't know in english. All the persons i've shown the game to have the same first reaction, and it's something like : "even Dwarf Fortress in ASCII mod is easier to read". They don't care about "low poly" or "simplistic graphisms", but they, and i, think OC is "ugly" and "uneasy to read (not about the texts of course)". Aurora also, can't say it's high level of visual, but it's easier.

Also i tried to register on your forum but my account is on hold since 2-3 days.

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Asgarus

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Re: Outer Colony
« Reply #29 on: August 21, 2017, 11:28:01 am »


What do you guys think? Would really sharp, isometric graphics help improve the fun factor? If you can build cooler looking things, do you think you'd enjoy Outer Colony more?

Don't go iso, it only makes the screen harder to read for 3D stuff like towers or pits. Gnomoria went iso, and it's the worst part of the game, in my opinion. True Topdown flat 2D (without any perspective faked) is the best way to do this kind of games, according me and myself.

You need to change the tiles however, for something clearer and fancier at the same time (RimWorld is close to perfect, Prison Architect is great too, in that domain). Currently, it's too "flat", or "grey" or "saturated" or "dirty" or other words i don't know in english. All the persons i've shown the game to have the same first reaction, and it's something like : "even Dwarf Fortress in ASCII mod is easier to read". They don't care about "low poly" or "simplistic graphisms", but they, and i, think OC is "ugly" and "uneasy to read (not about the texts of course)". Aurora also, can't say it's high level of visual, but it's easier.

Also i tried to register on your forum but my account is on hold since 2-3 days.

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Rimworld and Prison Architect (and afair most other games in that graphic style) don't have Z levels.
I think an isometric view would be better than how it is right now. I have serious difficulty to see the height difference without showing the elevation as numbers.
In Dwarf Fortress it is indeed easier to see the difference, but for OC I would really prefer the isometric view.

(I also think it was one of the better choices Gnomoria did)
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