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Author Topic: Outer Colony  (Read 44024 times)

Mephansteras

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Re: Outer Colony
« Reply #300 on: October 09, 2020, 10:55:39 am »

Have you used Discord at all to do screen sharing and just watch playtesters play? See exactly how a stranger interacts with the interface?

That is an excellent idea.

I'd also suggest having an easy way to zoom in on a particular colonist if you don't already.
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BigD145

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Re: Outer Colony
« Reply #301 on: October 09, 2020, 11:13:12 am »

Have you used Discord at all to do screen sharing and just watch playtesters play? See exactly how a stranger interacts with the interface?

That is an excellent idea.

Just to add to this concept there is a very low bar to entry and it's pure screen sharing which the host can dictate the terms of. They can just share their game window and nothing else. The viewer has zero control. It can be done 1 on 1 or in a group. No microphones are necessary but they are an option. Text chat is also an option. But what if you just throw them in the deep end and take notes on how they play. The most introverted shy introspective person can host with some anxiety but not heaps of it.
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feelotraveller

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Re: Outer Colony
« Reply #302 on: October 09, 2020, 01:11:54 pm »

Yeah, I recall having to change view every time I wanted to do literally anything.  It was still fun, but took forever and I generally screamed if I accidentally moved the camera even the slightest bit, as I might never find my colonists again.  :'(
This kind of feedback is super, super useful.

Can you suggest anything to make this a little easier to understand / figure out? What I really, really want to do is hone in on exactly these kinds of experiences and make those critical improvements.

I think the bed isn't the most obvious icon choice for that behavior. A crosshair probably gives the wrong impression... a magnifying glass over a house? That probably looks too much like inspect. An arcing error pointing at a house, maybe? If that doesn't fit well, a straight error pointing at a house probably also works.

I think just a 'home' icon would work - thinking of the icon used by firefox browser, for example.

https://duckduckgo.com/?t=ffsb&q=home+icon&ia=web (because I'm too lazy to upload an image...)
« Last Edit: October 09, 2020, 01:13:52 pm by feelotraveller »
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ndkid

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Re: Outer Colony
« Reply #303 on: October 09, 2020, 02:26:56 pm »

Yeah, I recall having to change view every time I wanted to do literally anything.  It was still fun, but took forever and I generally screamed if I accidentally moved the camera even the slightest bit, as I might never find my colonists again.  :'(
This kind of feedback is super, super useful.

Can you suggest anything to make this a little easier to understand / figure out? What I really, really want to do is hone in on exactly these kinds of experiences and make those critical improvements.

I think the bed isn't the most obvious icon choice for that behavior. A crosshair probably gives the wrong impression... a magnifying glass over a house? That probably looks too much like inspect. An arcing error pointing at a house, maybe? If that doesn't fit well, a straight error pointing at a house probably also works.

I think just a 'home' icon would work - thinking of the icon used by firefox browser, for example.

https://duckduckgo.com/?t=ffsb&q=home+icon&ia=web (because I'm too lazy to upload an image...)
In the context of a colony building game, I'd expect an icon like that to be how I build houses, not how I zoom to someplace.
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EuchreJack

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Re: Outer Colony
« Reply #304 on: October 09, 2020, 07:58:36 pm »

Yeah, I recall having to change view every time I wanted to do literally anything.  It was still fun, but took forever and I generally screamed if I accidentally moved the camera even the slightest bit, as I might never find my colonists again.  :'(
This kind of feedback is super, super useful.

Can you suggest anything to make this a little easier to understand / figure out? What I really, really want to do is hone in on exactly these kinds of experiences and make those critical improvements.

I think the bed isn't the most obvious icon choice for that behavior. A crosshair probably gives the wrong impression... a magnifying glass over a house? That probably looks too much like inspect. An arcing error pointing at a house, maybe? If that doesn't fit well, a straight error pointing at a house probably also works.

I think just a 'home' icon would work - thinking of the icon used by firefox browser, for example.

https://duckduckgo.com/?t=ffsb&q=home+icon&ia=web (because I'm too lazy to upload an image...)
In the context of a colony building game, I'd expect an icon like that to be how I build houses, not how I zoom to someplace.

Disclaimer: It was years ago that I had played the beta.  But I recall the problem with the button that brought you to the center of your colony was that you might not have built around the center of your colony.

Once you knew how the system worked, you could set the center of your colony, I think?  But the game defaulted to the landing site, maybe? And you might have built significantly away from that site, with this being your first settlement and not really planning it out very well.

The biggest problem was with the views: You had to have the right combination of views in order to find stuff, or it disappeared.  So Isometric should fix all that.

Uh, I can't really give any feedback on a beta that has been pulled years ago.  I don't think I have it anymore on my computer.

Also, for those who say "but you could figure it out in DF!", there are two responses:
1) It still kinda sucks in DF.  I generally find my way back by Zooming on Dwarves.
2) The maps are bigger and more detailed on Outer Colony.  I mean, its supposed to be a whole planet/moon/whatever, not just a few miles of undeveloped real estate.

EDIT: It might help to recall what I was most excited about in this game: The fact that I was colonizing a new planet, sponsored by a faction that I might later break away from, trade with the other factions, and that other factions might also establish colonies that I could trade/fight/ignore, and that I might stumble on the ruins of failed colonies or bandits/independent colonies that I could attempt to interact, with their interacting however they saw fit.  My colony might even get so large that we spin off our own colony.  It is what drew me to Unclaimed World (which sucked), and why I've been watching this game with interest.
« Last Edit: October 09, 2020, 08:06:09 pm by EuchreJack »
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I think the word you were looking for is "monster".

se5a

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Re: Outer Colony
« Reply #305 on: October 09, 2020, 11:53:04 pm »

A map with a big X marks the spot
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feelotraveller

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Re: Outer Colony
« Reply #306 on: October 10, 2020, 12:44:03 am »

I've always made a lot of use of the hotkey-able zoom to location facility in DF.  The wagon is set as the default location there.  It would be good to have the ability to similarly set multiple locations in Outer Colony (I think DF had 10 by default - the number keys - but memory is DFHack added the ability to use another 10...).  Whatever icon gets used could default on left-click to landing site (relocatable to wherever), but on right-click open a list of user-defined locations, perhaps?
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VoyagerGames

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Re: Outer Colony
« Reply #307 on: October 18, 2020, 10:59:50 am »

I think the bed isn't the most obvious icon choice for that behavior.

Agreed, fully. I'm going to log a task to go through the existing icons and assess their suitability for what they do. When we were testing a couple years ago, it came up repeatedly that players needed a button to warp back to their colony after doing something far away. The budget was pretty thoroughly exhausted at that point and I was cutting new releases on a pretty quick cadence, so I just went through the list of existing overhead sprites for items, picked one of the bed types, and went with it.

More thought should've gone into some of those icon images, but it's something I just forgot about. When you're really used to staring at them for hours on end, you get used to it, but it really has to be optimized for new players.

Quote from: Shooer
How about a system like DF does for setting bookmarked locations to warp the camera to?  So you can have multiple such locations, and not get stuck with just one.

This is a fantastic call, too. I use Mantis as my tracker for feature requests and open defects, and I've got a request from 2017 to add "SWG-style waypoints". You basically pick out an X, Y, and Z location, plus a preferred view type, and map that to a number. Then, you can map that waypoint to a function key to get there pretty quickly.

Quote from: BigD145
Have you used Discord at all to do screen sharing and just watch playtesters play? See exactly how a stranger interacts with the interface?
This is another fantastic suggestion. It's funny, I've fallen a little behind on some of the current meta-tools / technologies in gaming, and Discord is something I really haven't gotten into. I know it's far from new, but I've got to check it out. When it gets time to do testing again, maybe I should ask here for volunteers to do precisely what you describe.

Quote
Text chat is also an option. But what if you just throw them in the deep end and take notes on how they play.
Absolutely, this is exactly, 100% what I'd want to do. I'd just need to find some volunteers!

Quote from: Mephansteras
I'd also suggest having an easy way to zoom in on a particular colonist if you don't already.
This functionality we do have, and it's a great idea. It's one of the first things I found myself craving as I'd be playing solo. I basically set this up the way that the old Command and Conquer games do it with units, where you can map a colonist or a fire team to a number (0-9) and press that number to warp to them. I think it works pretty decently for expressing directives during combat.

Some excellent suggestions on what the homing-icon should be, too. I'll give it some thought, see if I can post some ideas, and gather feedback. A bit of experimentation should get us to the right place.

Quote from: EuchreJack
Disclaimer: It was years ago that I had played the beta.
It's a little grim when I think about how long it's been, and I certainly can't expect a lot of really specific recollections about the experience. The UX has changed so much between then and now that it'll play rather differently, anyway. I'm super glad and grateful that people can remember anything about the old beta at all, to be honest.

Quote
The biggest problem was with the views: You had to have the right combination of views in order to find stuff, or it disappeared.  So Isometric should fix all that.
I personally think the isometric perspective makes the world space so much more palatable and easy to understand. It doesn't need a ten minute tutorial video anymore to explain how you're looking at a 3D world that's being rendered in a 2D format. Now it should just...work. For the most part. That's the hope, at least.

The timeline is one of the tougher things to really talk about on this project. The overarching issue back in 2016 / 2017 was that the game just wasn't right yet, and there were fundamental, deep seated issues that weren't going to be overcome with a patch or a tweak. The totality of the rendering scheme was a big part of the problem, so it had to be scrapped and redone. An isometric renderer that has to solve some of the problems of a truly 3-space environment is a great deal more complicated than the old, overhead system.

But I'm just not going to release something for wider consumption until it's right. We'll get there! It takes some time, but eventually, we'll get there. Keep making incremental improvements until the experience is what it's supposed to be.

As a final note, I super appreciate your description of what got you into the project. That's exactly what OC is all about, the exact experience the game is meant to deliver. And I really can't thank you enough for keeping an eye on the project for all these years and helping me work toward that.

Quote
Also, for those who say "but you could figure it out in DF!", there are two responses:
I'm with you on this, too. It's not about remaking DF or trying to replicate the DF user experience. Sometimes it's a useful frame of reference, because most people who have tested OC have played DF, so it's sometimes easy to point to things that DF does better. But OC has to be fun in its own right, and it has to deliver the right kind of experience - that's what ultimately counts.

**Edit**
Quote from: se5a
A map with a big X marks the spot
That's actually a great idea, too. Some marker on the minimap and world map to show you where you've got structures and colonists would be a huge help.

**Second Edit**
Anytime I see you guys post in this thread, especially with all this thought-out commentary, it gets me really pumped for the next release. I'll see what I can do about posting a procedural sprite demo in the next week or two.
« Last Edit: October 18, 2020, 11:28:11 am by VoyagerGames »
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Mephansteras

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Re: Outer Colony
« Reply #308 on: October 18, 2020, 12:46:06 pm »

Looking forward to seeing how it all shakes out!
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ollobrains

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Re: Outer Colony
« Reply #309 on: February 22, 2021, 07:55:12 pm »

any new updates to give us been a while ?
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Torvus

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Re: Outer Colony
« Reply #310 on: February 27, 2021, 09:43:11 am »

any new updates to give us been a while ?

I can confirm that there is progress. The first thing that comes to mind is that skills are being condensed a bit and placed into profession skill trees.
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