Played some games, some thoughts

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jrgl
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Played some games, some thoughts

#1 Post by jrgl » Mon Apr 08, 2019 2:36 pm

Having played some 0.4.5 and then upgraded to 0.4.8 and introduced some others to the game (helping out with their issues learning) I've got some thoughts. In no particular order:
  • The quickplay guide is somewhat outdated but still linked ingame. That should probably be fixed
  • The pedia description of the stockpile is a bit confusing because there isn't really a specific entry for the stockpile and instead the details are contained in the entry for the stockpile transfer production item so it has to explain multiple things at once. It would help to have a separate pedia item only for the stockpile, introducing it as a store for leftover production with an example and mentioning with a second example it can be used to move production without supply. Stockpile transfer should then be a second entry explaining that as a production item and how it can be used. I really didn't get what the entry meant until I played as the sly.
  • There's no obvious indication you can put an outpost on a planet and then build colonies of specific races you're in supply with instead of micromanaging specific colony ships. I think it's mentioned somewhere but I discovered it first just by accident after evacuating a planet.
  • Related to the above: when you have an outpost on a planet and can build a colony you get a list of all potential races as production items but to see which one is best for the planet you have to check planet suitability or similar. It'd be best to show their population score (same as you'd get when using a colony ship) on their entry in the production menu.
  • As far as I can tell the pedia never actually explains how population interacts with things like production and research. In general it needs a basic guide section that runs through all gameplay elements in short form because right now information is very scattered with late game concerns next to things a first time player needs to know. I'd be willing to take a stab at this if it's really needed but it'd be better if someone with more experience with the game did it.
  • Weirdly enabling the new turn sound seems to make turns take significantly longer/lag when changing
  • The new change so that research points are never wasted is good. However often you will unlock new technologies you didn't select with points that roll over after something is finished even when the UI tells you no points will be wasted. This only happens if you haven't got a bunch queued but it's unexpected. I think what happens is when something is on it's last turn before being researched the game won't properly warn you that points will be wasted.
  • I also don't think the ability to click on a planet and see it's suitability is listed anyhere.
  • I love that 0.4.8 has the ability to tweak things like research rate. Can you please also add the ability to disable the Singularity of Transcendence victory type? While you're at it adding a toggle called 'super expensive singularity' which massively ups the cost of that specific technology would also be nice.
  • Technology in general seems to advance a bit too quickly once you hit the mid and late game. A lot of the galaxy-changing techs like new planets and stargates all appear at once and you barely get a chance to use them before the game is won. If they were more of a thing you had to focus on and had more time to be useful that would be good.
  • The tech tree is much more readable with an increased vertical distance between objects as you can set in the options. That should be default.
  • Average structures going up would make fights last a bit longer. They're over very quickly in almost all cases usually no more than a turn and rarely going more than two. This means a loss is total and once the AI (or another player) has lost the entirety of a sizeable fleet there's no recovery.
  • Exobots can be used to colonise planets as well as asteroids but they're better with inferno, radiated and barren planets. That makes sense from an in-universe perspective but it means that races which already like those planets get less benefit from using them early game or in games where other races are harder to come by.
  • Scanning distance for planets ends up too far too soon removing a lot of the need to scout and guess at what's going on very early in the game if you spend even a bit of time researching scanning technology. Splitting detection strength and range up a bit more as technologies would help here.
  • If you don't value speed or mobility there is only one core slot item worth using which is the spinal cannon. Alternatives like fleet support items would help.
  • Similarly if you don't want speed/mobility, fighters or stealth/scanning there's not much to do with spare internal slots. For fleets wishing to focus on combat some variety here would be nice. Organic line ships have the solar concentrator which is a good example.
  • The robotic hull line lacks spare internal slots outside of the super heavy ships which makes it significantly less useful now that carriers exist. You can of course mix in non-robotic hull types but then the robotic shield interface item (already weak) is made a lot less useful. Maybe a cheaper heavy robotic ship outfitted more towards being a carrier with some downsides would help.
  • Repairing ships costs nothing but building ships does. This means tanky ships that can survive combat and repair are almost always a better investment than a swarm of small ships particularly now that we can use fighters as cannon fodder. If possible adding a production cost for repairs at a drydock (it can display when you mouse over production) would be good. This would also make auto-repair technologies or robotic hull line self-repair more beneficial as the free repairing could be subtracted from the cost of a full repair in addition to workout without a drydock. Fighters could also have a minor cost to replace though this should be very small as part of their attraction is being disposable (they could also just have no replacement cost).
  • I read somewhere else about the idea that you can only resupply fighters if you're in supply with a system that has a special building. That's a good way to balance them.
  • Supply seems very easy to handle for anyone who isn't playing too aggressively unless you're a race with bad supply though it does matter a lot more now that only one empire can ever have supply to a single system. This makes parts giving more/free fuel less useful a lot of the time. More empty space systems or systems that can't have colonies/outposts would help make it relevant.
  • Non-colonisable systems having effects/objects in them would make them more memorable. It's strange than a system with a black hole in it doesn't matter outside of a specific mid-late game technology. Things like objects that can reduce supply effectiveness or that could delay fighters launching until the third round etc.
  • In general fuel and speed is less useful for ships in most cases because as above supply isn't too hard to manage and turtling works just fine. In most cases you're better off taking systems nearby to you anyway.
  • Flak guns could do with an upgrade tree. This shouldn't be too extreme since it would hurt fighters.
  • The AI could do with being more aggressive when it outnumbers you. Even on the maximum aggression I found it to be a bit too passive. Also they'll never take the neutral-guarded worlds (ones with monster ships around them, dyson forests I think) even late game when they could easily crush them. They do invade neutral planets just fine though. The AI also does a good job of retreating and reinforcing where it needs to.
  • Saved ship designs are great but it'd be nice to have a button on the main menu that let you edit saved ship designs without going into a game and with a better interface for doing a bulk load of them which are similar (e.g. I like to design a bunch of ships with gradually improving components and dragging them down from the top of the saved section down next to where the rest are each time I add a new saved design is a pain). Even just having newly added saved designs appear above the design they were modified from would help.
  • The newer supply/blockade system is good but it'd be clearer if, when a fleet is blocking your exit out of certain starlanes, those exists were shown as blocked somehow (red or similar).
  • As above I had no idea that saved ships, obsoleting ship designs etc actually existed until I got curious and started clicking on things at random.
  • Detection range and Empire Detection Strength really need to have different icons.
  • A more visible indication a system, planet or ship is under the effect of a molecular cloud etc is needed. They look like background effects on the map and it can be frustrating for new players to find out why they can't see a planet to invade it.
  • The Abaddoni seem like they need a buff as far and away one of the worst starting races.
Apologies about the length and poorly formatted nature of the list. In general though I've been enjoying the game. It's nice and addictive and most of the time you can work anything out just by hovering over whatever it is and reading the tooltip.

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The Silent One
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Re: Played some games, some thoughts

#2 Post by The Silent One » Fri Apr 12, 2019 9:36 am

Thank you for your extensive and detailed feedback, it's appreciated. :)

The pedia description of the stockpile is a bit confusing ...
Stockpile transfer can be found in pedia > game concepts, but it would be good to split it from the production item as you suggest.

There's no obvious indication you can put an outpost on a planet and then build colonies of specific races you're in supply with instead of micromanaging specific colony ships. I think it's mentioned somewhere but I discovered it first just by accident after evacuating a planet.
Good observation. We should add a "colonisation" entry to the "game concept" pedia page.

when you have an outpost on a planet and can build a colony you get a list of all potential races as production items but to see which one is best for the planet you have to check planet suitability or similar. It'd be best to show their population score (same as you'd get when using a colony ship) on their entry in the production menu.
For more complicated requests as this, please create a feature request here: https://github.com/freeorion/freeorion/issues

In general it needs a basic guide section that runs through all gameplay elements in short form [...] I'd be willing to take a stab at this if it's really needed but it'd be better if someone with more experience with the game did it.
If you feel like doing it, please do so. I can assure you my and the community's support if you need it.

Weirdly enabling the new turn sound seems to make turns take significantly longer/lag when changing
Please create a bug report.

Can you please also add the ability to disable the Singularity of Transcendence victory type? While you're at it adding a toggle called 'super expensive singularity' which massively ups the cost of that specific technology would also be nice.
The newer supply/blockade system is good but it'd be clearer if, when a fleet is blocking your exit out of certain starlanes, those exists were shown as blocked somehow (red or similar).
A more visible indication a system, planet or ship is under the effect of a molecular cloud etc is needed. They look like background effects on the map and it can be frustrating for new players to find out why they can't see a planet to invade it.
Feature requests please.

Technology in general seems to advance a bit too quickly once you hit the mid and late game.
The tech tree is much more readable with an increased vertical distance between objects as you can set in the options.
[...] there is only one core slot item worth using
(and more, flak, fuel, internal slots)
We're currently revising the tech tree and also its layout. More core slot items will become available.

Splitting detection strength and range up a bit more as technologies would help here.
That might be worth some mulling over, thoughts anyone?

Non-colonisable systems having effects/objects in them would make them more memorable. It's strange than a system with a black hole in it doesn't matter outside of a specific mid-late game technology. Things like objects that can reduce supply effectiveness or that could delay fighters launching until the third round etc.
Sounds great. If you have any ideas, share them on the "other game design" subforum.

The Abaddoni seem like they need a buff as far and away one of the worst starting races.
That would also be worth it's own thread on the aforementioned subforum.
If I provided any images, code, scripts or other content here, it's released under GPL 2.0 and CC-BY-SA 3.0.

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Vezzra
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Re: Played some games, some thoughts

#3 Post by Vezzra » Sun Apr 21, 2019 12:14 pm

The Silent One wrote:
Fri Apr 12, 2019 9:36 am
Splitting detection strength and range up a bit more as technologies would help here.
That might be worth some mulling over, thoughts anyone?
Yes! We need to drastically reduce the current detection ranges. I've even mulled over the idea of completely throwing out detection range and make detection a thing that works only in-system. So, if you want to know what's going on in a system, you've send something capable of detection there.

Would make the current ackward detection range and strength thing we have now go away. Of course, then we have to come up with ideas how to make in-system-detection-only an interesting mechanic...

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Re: Played some games, some thoughts

#4 Post by Ophiuchus » Sun Apr 21, 2019 6:39 pm

Vezzra wrote:
Sun Apr 21, 2019 12:14 pm
I've even mulled over the idea of completely throwing out detection range and make detection a thing that works only in-system. So, if you want to know what's going on in a system, you've send something capable of detection there.
Probably wanna know about all neighboring systems at least. Having to send something capable of detection to all neighboring systems at least? *micromanagement-alarm-sound*

If you have an idea for non micro implementation, please elaborate.
Any code or patches in anything posted here is released under the CC and GPL licences in use for the FO project.

Furthermore, I propse... we should default to four combat rounds instead of three ...for the good of playerkind.

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Vezzra
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Re: Played some games, some thoughts

#5 Post by Vezzra » Mon Apr 22, 2019 9:17 am

Ophiuchus wrote:
Sun Apr 21, 2019 6:39 pm
Probably wanna know about all neighboring systems at least. Having to send something capable of detection to all neighboring systems at least? *micromanagement-alarm-sound*
Not really. Micromanagement is when you have to do a repetitive, boring task in order to handle a certain game mechanic/dynamic. If you want to know what's going on in certain systems, station a scout there. An action you have to perform once. If that system is occupied by hostiles, you can't station anything there (unless you have sufficiently stealthy scouts for example), and won't know what's going on there (would make the game more interesting IMO, btw), in which case you actually can do nothing.

Stealth could become a much more interesting mechanic, as putting stealthy scouts in hostile territory to gather intel on what's going on there and what's coming your way would become a lot more important. Requires to rework the entire detection/stealth thing, but we want to do that anyway - no one is really happy with the current system. I can imagine e.g. making hulls much more distinct regarding their stealth stat: "tiny" hulls would get a much higher basic stealth than "big" ones. In addition to that, let ship parts modify a ships stealth, e.g. offensive systems could add substantial stealth penalties, so sufficiently stealthing a tiny, unarmed scout is a lot easier than even a "normal" sized armed warship.

The stealth vs detection race would stop to be the dull binary thing it is now, because it would depend very much on what you try to hide and slip past enemy lines. "Tiny", unarmed vessels which can't do much besides observing should be the easiest to slip by enemy detection, the detection advantage you'd need to detect those kind of ships should be really substantial. It should be possible, but very hard. On the other hand, to slip an armada of heavily armed behemoths by your enemies detection should require a massive stealth advantage. Again, should be possible, but very, very hard.

Detection could become more varied, as has already been suggested by others elsewhere: Instead of just two or three "levels" of detection (none, basic, full), I'd suggest more. So you can differentiate between:
  1. None: Not being able to detect something at all
  2. Sensor shadow: Knowing that something is there, but unable to pinpoint what it is, and not being able to attack or do something about it. Something like a shadow on your sensors that tells you something is amiss out there.
  3. Basic: You get a more concrete idea what it is you're seeing (ship, planet, space monster, etc.). No more infos beyond that, though. If it is stationary, you should also already being able to track it, attack it, do something about it. Mobile objects should still vanish and reappear on your sensors to often to be able to track it, attack it or do anything about it.
  4. Stable/Trackable: You have a stable contact on your sensor you can track down. Maybe get a bit more basic infos (hull type in case of ships, size in case of planets?) about it. You can attack it or do something about it, but you'd still go in mostly blind (no intel about armament whatsoever).
  5. Partial: You get more detailed infos about the contact. Possible stats, equipment, properties (depending on the type of object).
  6. Full: You get to know everything about the contact, including e.g. which empire it belongs to (if owned by one).
Maybe we can think of even more levels between "Partial" and "Full".

Fuel would gain importance, because scouts operating behind enemy lines are cut off of supply. And so on.

Scouting would become a much more important and interesting game element, because of the strategic significance it would gain.

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Re: Played some games, some thoughts

#6 Post by 4xel » Wed Apr 24, 2019 6:03 am

Micromanagement is when you have to do a repetitive, boring task in order to handle a certain game mechanic/dynamic. If you want to know what's going on in certain systems, station a scout there. An action you have to perform once.
Once per system. There are 150 in a default size galaxy. That is micro.


I am happy with the current stealth system, though I could be happier with a better one. If you want to make it useful to have more than 2 or 3 scout, the upkeep system needs to be reworked first IMO (I'm new but as far as I understand, that's also planned so ok).

One thing which bothers me in your ideas is : does stealthy ships are assumed to be rogues? in particular, you are able to attack a ship before you are able to identify its owner, which makes sens but can raise issues, like voluntarily tampering your sensors to attack ships without declaring war. I can see several workaround, but this has to be addressed.

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Re: Played some games, some thoughts

#7 Post by defaultuser » Thu Apr 25, 2019 6:36 pm

robotic shield interface item (already weak) is made a lot less useful
Robotic shields are weak? If anything I think they're overpowered.

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Vezzra
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Re: Played some games, some thoughts

#8 Post by Vezzra » Wed May 01, 2019 1:32 pm

4xel wrote:
Wed Apr 24, 2019 6:03 am
Micromanagement is when you have to do a repetitive, boring task in order to handle a certain game mechanic/dynamic. If you want to know what's going on in certain systems, station a scout there. An action you have to perform once.
Once per system. There are 150 in a default size galaxy. That is micro.
I beg to differ. Usually you only need to watch/observe key systems, which would normally be border systems/choke points. That's only a fraction of the systems in your empire.

But even if you wanted to have each system in your empire under direct observance, you won't have to put scouts in 150 systems. First of all, during a typical game, you start small (one system) and gradually expand. So you'd put scouts in each systems as you incorporate them into your territory, much like you put down colonies in each system (that have suitable planets of course). And then you won't need scouts in colonized systems.

That hardly sounds like micro to me...
One thing which bothers me in your ideas is : does stealthy ships are assumed to be rogues? in particular, you are able to attack a ship before you are able to identify its owner, which makes sens but can raise issues, like voluntarily tampering your sensors to attack ships without declaring war. I can see several workaround, but this has to be addressed.
Of course. Depending on how the mechanics work, e.g. if attacking is only allowed when at war, you couldn't attack an unidentified contact unless it acts hostile. Or, if attack on neutral contacts is allowed, you'd run the risk of possible dire consequences if attacking without knowing who you attack.

Etc. There are a lot of possible approached to solve this.

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Re: Played some games, some thoughts

#9 Post by Oberlus » Wed May 01, 2019 3:45 pm

Vezzra wrote:
Wed May 01, 2019 1:32 pm
if attacking is only allowed when at war, you couldn't attack an unidentified contact unless it acts hostile. Or, if attack on neutral contacts is allowed, you'd run the risk of possible dire consequences if attacking without knowing who you attack.
I would be very unhappy if I could not attack an ally. Treason without prior notice must be possible, for fun, for realism, for freedom.

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Re: Played some games, some thoughts

#10 Post by Vezzra » Wed May 01, 2019 3:53 pm

Oberlus wrote:
Wed May 01, 2019 3:45 pm
I would be very unhappy if I could not attack an ally. Treason without prior notice must be possible, for fun, for realism, for freedom.
I feel the same way, but I also know that others have different preferences in that regard.

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