First impressions of the game

For what's not in 'Top Priority Game Design'. Post your ideas, visions, suggestions for the game, rules, modifications, etc.

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Dyson Forest
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First impressions of the game

#1 Post by Moriarty »

Hi Guys, long time no see. I decided to see how FO was doing. Only 0.4, but at least its still going and appears to be playable. Good work!

Anyway, this is a very long list of "issues". Some suggestions, some objective bugs, some subjective bugs. Basically its just me describing stuff that happens during my first dabble with the game. It's often useful to have a new players perspective because I guess you're all quite used to it by now. Most are minor, some not.
I've tried to highlight BUG (15 of them) and SUGGESTION (21) bits as so.

Edit: Oh yes, There's no point replying item by item. That would be silly (because there are so many). In fact I'm not sure I'll remember to be back for several more years, so replying isn't guaranteed to get my attention. ;-)

FO 0.4 issues. Windows 7.

options, Audio -> List Sounds
"item drop" is in red. File isn't there.

SUGGESTION: Looking in the menus, I don't think many of those things belong in there. Things like icon sizes, audio file locations etc should be in modding files, not exposed to the player.

SUGGESTION: The left-right arrows to scroll through the tab bar are small and non-obvious.

BUG: Playing in windowed mode, AMD Catalyst 12.3 drivers on a 5670 radeon, when I move the mouse around it has a kind of tail. THis is on the menu screen. As I've not seen a mouse trail in years (its generally annoying) and there's no obvious option for it, I'm assuming this is a bug.

SUGGESTION: Stylistic issues. "Single Player" game, galaxy setup screen.
a) The "systems" arrows for increase/decrease seem a bit small.
b) If I click the arrow for a drop down, a drop-down appears, but I need to then move my mouse over the items to be able to use the mouse-wheel. Maybe allow mouse-wheel use whenever the drop-down is down.
c) With a drop-down down, its kind of hard to tell where the drop-down ends and the behind-it stuff begins. This is because the drop-down contents have the exact same styling and colour as the behind-stuff. I'd posit they should be slightly different (i.e. different shade of grey inside the drop-down for the background. Or even white background with black text).
BUG: d) For Galaxy shape drop-down, I can scroll down so that all of them disappear except "ring" and the rest of the drop-down is blank options.

SUGGESTION: The galaxy screen help text is pedantically correct. For example "The color used in the game for your empire". Most games would have the more flowing "Your empires color". Or Player Name "The name used in the game to represent the player in single player games." - really?

SUGGESTION: When I clicked OK to generate my new game, my firewall threw a tizzy. Yes I know its communicating on localhost, however while I was specifying the rules the thing timed out and I got "timed out while attempting to connect to server". The issue is: (a) this was very quick, (b) it just threw me out, there's no "retry" option.

CRITICAL BUG: I do it again (defaults accepted except changed to a ring galaxy), and this time get past the firewall. Yay. Except. The entire game consists of two windows in the bottom right. One saying "Empires" and one below it saying "Messages, Creating AI Clients". The music is playing but nothing is happening. I can move the boxes around, so its not crashed, its just not doing anything!

So I kill it (little X in the corner; running windows mode remember). Except FreeOrionCA.exe doesn't stop with the rest of the programs. Its not doing anything, but it is running and probably shouldn't be.

I restarted it again and again and.... nothing. It absolutely refuses to do anything apart from create those two boxes. On a whim I then kill all of the old FO processes that are lingering from the previous failed attempt, change the galaxy type to spiral and it works.

SUGGESTION: I seriously question the client/server structure if its going to pop up firewall notices to every player. You'll get a LOT of questions about it.


So I'm now in the game.

BUG: Windowed mode, width of 886 pixels. All of the top horizontal bar is squiged on itself and many of the numbers simply can't be read.
BUG: It also seems that while you can dynamically resize the window on the fly, all the other windows (i.e. the research window) expect the window to be the same size it was when you started. So you lose some text or have a big un-used space depending on the nature of the resizing.

BUG: If I resize my window dynmacally (which works great itself!), boxes that are were previously on the screen now go off the screen. Once I've finished resize (but probably not during), they should auto-reposition themselves so they're on the screen.

SUGGESTION: I click on the star next to my home-world, its unexplored. I click the "Unexplored Region" text and a pop-up appears. Its not obvious but apparently this allows me to click my homeworld via a very small drop-down menu.

SUGGESTION: The Mouse-over sound for planets is kind of stand-outy.

At this point I quit the game (because the menu screens are all the wrong size).

BUG: I then go back in, click "Quick start" and get the "timed out" error. Dunno why, my firewall is all setup to allow it. So I click it again and this time FO just locks up. There are no FO processes running apart from FO.exe.

So I quit and use "single player", which does work.

Back in the game.

Research tree: I love research in 4x's (and most other games). In fact its probably why I play the games. Seeing lots of tech is nice but there's probably too much visible for game start, but anyway.

BUG: Panning the tree requires clicking with LMB and panning. Fine. Except this doesn't work when the initial click is on a tech itself. This makes it hard to navigate as you have to be careful where you click when panning.

SUGGESTION: Use a different font on the techs. They're pretty much un-readable at any zoom level.
Actually the font inside the blurb bit isn't that good either.

SUGGESTION: Given the text is unreadable past a certain point, make it disappear automatically and increase the icon size or something.

BUG: Many of the tech icons are a couple pixels too high and to the left. ;-)

SUGGESTION: When zoomed out it should be easier to see what techs are completed. Maybe fill their boxes in a different colour. I know it says "completed", but that's not "at a glance" obvious when zoomed out.

SUGGESTION: In the "navigation" window I put it to you that the "Unlocks" box shouldn't be there if there's nothing under it. Same with "Requires" for the starting techs.

SUGGESTION: At the bottom of the research tree there are buttons to select stuff to view. It's not obvious that "All" only applies to the top set. Also, its even less obvious that the middle set is actually two sets. Its very odd clicking "completed" and seeing nothing because you've disabled all of "Theories,Applications,Refinements". Same with the other way around. Both of these two sets should probably be treated as radio buttons rather than checkboxes (so one is always active for either set as obviously if none is active nothing at all will show up which is pointless).

SUGGESTION: If you're going to differentiate between "Theories, applications, refinements", some sort of visual indicator as to what each research topic is might be useful.

SUGGESTION: If I change to "list view", the list pops up. Great. Except that its underneath the blurb about the text, so I can't read the top of the list. There's no obvious way to close the blurb either (though i can move it).

BUG: There are no column titles on the List view.

SUGGESTION: The navigation window disappears on List view. How do I know what the pre-requisites are?

SUGGESTION: The pre-requisites on the navigation window aren't colouring in very obviously as being completed.

SUGGESTION: Both the Tree and the List should have an easy way to instantly see what techs the player can research right now (as in, the pre-requisites have been completed). On the tree this may be a lighter colour. On the list it could be a word in a bright text saying "available now". The "researchable" at the bottom may work around this, but its sub-optimal IMHO.

BUG: I double click a tech and it goes onto my research queue. But I simply CANNOT get rid of it. If its at all possible to clear the research cue, I have no idea how.

Time to move on to the "production screen".

SUGGESTION: As with research, have "unavailable" and "available" function as radio-buttons, not checkboxes.

There are quite a few "how to improve shipbuilding" suggestions I could make, but they'd be out of place in this document.

BUG: I have a "Imperial Palace", "Basic Shipyard" and "Orbital Drydock" on my "Producible items" list. So why can't I build any of them? If they're not produceable (because they exist already) they shouldn't be there.

BUG: Columns in "producible items" have no titles.

BUG: Assuming that the first column is PP and the second is turns. When I click on an item the blurb at the top says "20.1 PP and 10 turns" whereas the bottom says (201, 10). Clearly the top is the per-turn cost but it doesn't say that. Change to "20.1 PP / turn and 10 turns"

Design screen now.

SUGGESTION: As with research, have "unavailable" and "available" function as radio-buttons, not checkboxes.

BUG: I just discovered how to resize windows. I click it on the "troop ship" blurb window and resize it to make it a bit bigger. I then click the "Design details" window to do the same (its now over the blurb window). That works. I then click the bar of "design details" to move it down and ... it treats it like I'm resizing it. No matter how many times or where I click, it always treats this window from now on like I'm trying to resize it. Even closing the design screen doesn't fix it. Time to restart the game!

In fact, I'm just going to stop there. 9,500 character is enough. :-)

Oh yes, what's a "uu"? Because I think that's "micro-micro" looking similar to the SI unit for micro. What's wrong with good old fashioned "ly"?


Other misc observation from just messing about quickly:

SUGGESTION: Why does double-clicking an unexplored region bring up the production screen when I can't do anything there?

Despite how it appears above, this is great work.. The

Space Dragon
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Re: First impressions of the game

#2 Post by Zireael »

1) Mouse trail is probably something with your video card.
2) Firewalls/ antiviruses do throw a tizzy, for example Norton 360 does.
3) You can remove items from the research queue by clicking on them.
4) The thing with already built items being in the 'buildable' tab has been reported many times. I suggested splitting the production menu into more tabs, to go around the problem...
5) Boxes not resizing is a known bug.
6) Font in research screen/pedia. Maybe make it bold?
7) Theories/etc. Maybe remove the buttons....?
8) The pedia info covering the top of the table view. Known issue.

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Geoff the Medio
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Re: First impressions of the game

#3 Post by Geoff the Medio »

Zireael wrote:1) Mouse trail is probably something with your video card.
Not really... ... tid=544942

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Geoff the Medio
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Re: First impressions of the game

#4 Post by Geoff the Medio »

Moriarty wrote:BUG: Panning the tree requires clicking with LMB and panning. Fine. Except this doesn't work when the initial click is on a tech itself.
I'd call this a missing feature, rater than a bug, but regardless, it's done in SVN.

Space Krill
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Re: First impressions of the game

#5 Post by zillion »


after a long time i decided to try out the game again (ver 0.41) and i like it so far. Played until turn 65 or so. Very good job and keep up the good work.

The only downside so far was the production menu. After colonizing 6 or 7 colonies with 2-3 planets each i got lost in the production menu trying not to waste any production points. After 10 to 15 colonies i gave up completely. I feel that a production list with all the planets, the buildings they have already built and the buildings/ships they are building at the moment would ease up the process.

Anyway good work and i'm anticipating the 1.0 release.

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Geoff the Medio
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Re: First impressions of the game

#6 Post by Geoff the Medio »

It would probably make sense to have a few options about how to display valid production locations, such as grouping together those that can share production output, rather than just showing all of a single system's planets at a time.

For your game though, with how things are set up now, keep in mind that if you have planets with sufficient supply range, they can share production output with other planets, so you don't have 15+ different production queues to keep all using up all their PP each turn with separate projects; rather, you've got one or a few pooled queues that can produce things a multiple locations, but which have effectively a single amount of PP you'd want to use up.

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