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Author Topic: UI is way too obtuse  (Read 14067 times)

Andy H.K.

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Re: Game is way too complex
« Reply #15 on: November 10, 2014, 07:39:19 AM »

You don't need to fully understand the mechanics behind damage application to win battles. This is not some MMORPG where combats among to comparing spreadsheets. Combat in Starsector is primarily still an action game where good control and proper tactic matters.

It's fine if people doesn't immediately understand what all the number means. It doesn't matter when a newbie doesn't understand how better is a ship with 400 armor rating than one with 200 armor rating. All he need to know is that bigger number is better in this case. He doesn't need to understand armor's damage mitigation to tackle a ship with high armor, all he need to know is that HE hit harder to armor.

Of course when the newbie has raised interest, that's when he become an enthusiast and start to research the numbers behind them. that's when things get complex. However, by then he would've seen some blood, he would have experience to understand how things are interacting with each other. He would have developed a "starfaring" sense to analyse the statistics. Still, the basic remain the same, all one need to know is which number need to be large (DPS, speed, armor) and which need to be small (supply consumption, shield upkeep).

Isn't this learning process a big part of the "fun"?
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SatchelCharge

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Re: Game is way too complex
« Reply #16 on: November 10, 2014, 02:34:09 PM »

Isn't this learning process a big part of the "fun"?

I believe it is. I also have been playing Starsector since before the name change, and between many hours spent playing and reading these forums I had the game largely figured out (though I don't consider myself an 'expert' player.)

This update was rather daunting. The economy was frightening at first and then slightly disappointing when I, like many others, realized that it didn't really matter if I sold my pile of 100 ingots for $20/unit or $60/unit. At least not past the very early game. It's just gravy, not a serious way to make money. It adds a wonderful layer depth and atmosphere, but it's not quite there yet if the player is encouraged most simply to take advantage of a monthly food shortage between bounty-hunts.

A lot is being done right. Alex never makes terrible design decisions and the fact that a learning curve is there even on individual features he adds is (to me) a great sign and, I've already said, quite atmospheric when polished up. You said it well Andy, I suppose I'm just paraphrasing.
« Last Edit: November 10, 2014, 02:36:02 PM by SatchelCharge »
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Dratai

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Re: Game is way too complex
« Reply #17 on: November 10, 2014, 03:48:21 PM »

Additionally, a lot of the relevant stats are readily available in the refit screen.
tooltips when hovering over items, things sorted by OP, flux capacity and so on in the upper right right next to the add capacitors/etc buttons. you don't have to move your eyes or hand to see how many points you have left to spend when dillying with it. when all guns are installed it tells you how much they are projected to require to fire continously and that is literally right underneath shield flux per hit/damage which again is right under flux reduction and capacity there again. the flux per second for just having the shield is mentioned too. so you can make a decision: is this a ship I really want to add reduction to? do I want more capacity? how much do I get per point? which one is better for this ship in particular?
And it is through making these decisions and seeing the results of our choices that we get better at playing the game.

It is certainly not the most optimal design for keeping track of things, it does not take that long to know where to look, and with some experience, much like your character levels up, you, the player, level up your ability/figure out what's more important to your playstyle.

Do you need less logistics rating  but more cargo space? sell your mule for a buffalo. Buy an atlas, not three tarsus.
Do you need a mobile fleet with a little storage space? get mules or buffalos, not the atlas.
Are you consuming too much supplies for your liking? sell or store the atlas when you're not using it.

My point is, much like anything you intend to engage in, you ought to put time into it to get better at it. The same goes for any other game with numbers, even the more obvious numbers.
That said, the numbers are many and varied. But if you look at them, a lot of these numbers are an extension of another number. A lot of the numbers that are relevant in a given situation are also just one or two of said numbers. Some numbers could use clarification.
Like an estimate for how much a flight deck actually does work wise. "Reliably supports X wings" for instance.
to insinuate this is the reccommended number of wings you ought to use with a one-decker. But also lets you know it is not the maximum possible and that more decks makes it go faster.
Though on the other hand, it's still alpha, and people are still occationally discussing how effective one deck is.

Meaning that yes, it is complex, the complexity lends itself to the experience.
And since it's alpha, not all of the numbers are in place yet, most likely.
That aside, the only real change I would suggest is easier comparing, I'll give you that there's a lot of numbers/buttons needing to be pressed to compare one ship to another in detail, but I personally think the current complexity is otherwise just a boon.
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Dratai

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Re: Game is way too complex
« Reply #18 on: November 10, 2014, 03:48:52 PM »

(then again I'm a stickler for planning and crunching numbers, I may be biased)
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Doogie

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Re: Game is way too complex
« Reply #19 on: November 10, 2014, 05:38:30 PM »

Keep in mind that this game is still in an epic beta. Undoubtedly, there will be some sort of tutorial mechanic introduced much later, but as of now the core mechanics of the game haven't been fully implemented (see industry).
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WKOB

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Re: Game is way too complex
« Reply #20 on: November 10, 2014, 05:55:16 PM »

People keep talking about number crunching and stat optimization... but none of that is even necessary. It takes one look at the sleek lines and price (okay, technically a number) of the Tempest to know, that's the ship you want to kick major ass.

Alex and David highly value transparency in the ship designs as well, with highly visible or recognizable weapon slots, ship intention, the weapons themselves. Honestly, even if the game does feel complex at first somehow, I imagine it all comes together within an hour.

Unfortunately it was too long ago for me to know how I felt when I first launched the game.
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Blaze

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Re: Game is way too complex
« Reply #21 on: November 10, 2014, 06:29:49 PM »

I do find that there are a few too many numbers that require a bit more thinking than others, particularly things like DPS/FluxPS.

And it does get somewhat troublesome when comparing ships, I keep having to check back from one and the other.

But that's more of an interface issue than a complexity issue; a way to compare weapons/ships side-by-side would be nice.

Personally, I find it easier to not bother calculating numbers and do it the simple way: Which weapon is better? Run a simulation and test it out.
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WKOB

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Re: Game is way too complex
« Reply #22 on: November 10, 2014, 06:39:16 PM »

Quote
Personally, I find it easier to not bother calculating numbers and do it the simple way: Which weapon is better? Run a simulation and test it out.

Yeah, exactly! Particularly with things like DPS and FluxPS, those numbers have too many variables to be useful anyway. Just toss the weapon on, shoot it at a Cerebrus or a Mule, or just out into space to see how your flux level goes, and it's apparent.
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MidnightSun

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Re: Game is way too complex
« Reply #23 on: November 10, 2014, 07:02:41 PM »

I definitely get where the OP is coming from, although I enjoy the nuanced complexity.

Perhaps a visual representation of stats such as burn, flux capacity, etc, etc (ie Hyperion has a full speed bar, Onslaught has a near-empty one) could be more useful? Many games that have hidden complexity in numerical stats represent these in the UI as various bars (ie: Mass Effect 3). Starsector could do the same, and have the actual numbers be visible by hovering over the bars.
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Igncom1

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Re: Game is way too complex
« Reply #24 on: November 10, 2014, 07:03:04 PM »

Heh, what's funny to me is what the tutorial taught you, and I have yet to pilot a single battle other then for show.

Playing as a admiral is really easy, because you can focus on the campaign map suff while the AI does the hard battling stuff.
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Sunders are the best ship in the game.

NikolaiLev

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Re: Game is way too complex
« Reply #25 on: November 10, 2014, 07:06:35 PM »

I personally don't think it's complex enough.  It could still use a lot more.  Really, this just points to a lack of a sufficient tutorial.
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Hopelessnoob

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Re: Game is way too complex
« Reply #26 on: November 10, 2014, 07:08:50 PM »

I find WHY trade things happen slightly confusing but its easy to figure out how to make money(damn tariffs). I like the complexity more complex more fun!
 
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Alex

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Re: Game is way too complex
« Reply #27 on: November 10, 2014, 09:19:09 PM »

(Probably not in the best of shape to comment here; need sleep badly, but just a few non-comprehensive responses. Without quoting what I'm responding to, because sleep sooner.)

Remember a long time ago ship tooltips used to show a few basic stats (offense/defense/etc) on a 1-10 scale, using pips? There was a *lot* of feedback asking to see the actual numbers. I do generally agree that seeing the numbers isn't necessary to be able to play - most numbers, anyway. Burn and logistics are pretty important. I guess "seeing most combat numbers isn't necessary" is accurate, but it does *help* to see them once you start optimizing designs.

The Codex being overwhelming is probably an argument for removing the codex/making entries in the codex be unlocked through campaign gameplay. As far as I'm concerned, the Codex is a super-unfinished feature at the moment.


In general, I'm simplifying things here and there. The ship tooltip, for example, lost a couple of stats in the last update - iirc the CR loss/second value was standardized and so removed as a player-facing value. I've been thinking of culling a few other low bang-for-the-buck values like this as well. (shield/phase upkeep, perhaps? shield flux/damage could possibly be standardized as well, with notable differences expressed via built-in hullmods.)

It's hard for me to detach, but I'm not seeing "mass of spreadsheets". The most complex thing, iirc, is the ship tooltip. That is admittedly complex (and, as mentioned, I'm aiming to get it simpler by cutting complexity w/o cutting depth where possible), but what else rises to that level? Genuinely interested, esp. in new/returning-after-hiatus player perspectives.
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WKOB

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Re: Game is way too complex
« Reply #28 on: November 10, 2014, 09:31:10 PM »

Quote
returning-after-hiatus player perspectives.
Well, where I'm coming from with my 'the game flows smoothly and is self-apparent regardless of the stats' perspective is after a year-long hiatus of not playing the game at all. There's been some significant changes, especially CR and I'm find that even CR isn't too complicated to understand. Get supplies, keep the supplies flowing.
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cp252

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Re: Game is way too complex
« Reply #29 on: November 10, 2014, 09:59:14 PM »

Alex:
Previously, having slowly learned the game mechanics as described by everyone else in this thread, I would have said the same as them- there are no problems.
As I see it now, even as someone who knows the mechanics, the UI's presentation of data is somewhat overwhelming. I don't think you need to reduce the complexity, but more infographics are always helpful- from the perspective of someone who can't read lots of numbers.
Yes, you have the option of working things out through sim. This doesn't quite work when I want to know whether to invest on a new ship or when I have ten small ballistic slot weapons to compare with each other. Thorough testing just takes too long.
My main points are such:
1) not everyone can easy read the current stats screen.
2) the community can help with a thread describing each item's place in the game's meta. For example, tempest is super kitey, we like putting heavy blasters on it.
3) yes, all these things can be learned with experience but as someone who is trying to relearn the intricacies of the game, I think I would have given up if I didn't already love this game.
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