UI - Option for clearly defined timers for buffs and modifiers.
Knowing if how many people we are in coherency with is fine and dandy but being able to see the buff those classes give us will give us more knowledge and be even more incentive to stay together. Seeing that I get a 10% damage buff to elites from my psycher is a lot more motivating than just seeing a number for coherency.
Knowing how many seconds I have left on a weapon proc buff helps me know how to deploy my attacks in the best way possible. More info is rarely a bad thing. Reading through your forums its obvious the player base is screaming for more info.
Toggle run option - I commend you for including this as an option but the option is pointless if you have to re-toggle it every time its interrupted (with slides, jumps, stagger) The point of a toggle is so that you don’t have to keep pushing the button.
UX - This is going to be the largest section, its clear to see (and a constant topic of the forums) that this needs the most work.
I will place these in priority of order -
The basic UX pyramid is very similar to the hierarchy of needs in psychology. From bottom to top priority is… Functional, Reliable, Usable. These are the absolute minimums for a game. Going up from there (the bonus levels) are Convenience, Enjoyability and Significance/Meaningfulness.
The most basic of needs for a good UX is a functional game. This is the equivalent to our most basic need of food, water, and sleep. The next 2 levels are reliability and usability. (equivalent to safety and security in psychology)
Nothing else in the game matters if these base levels of the pyramid are unstable. Forget new items, forget more story line, none of it will matter until you have a solid foundation. A great story line doesn’t matter if your game is crashing the same way feelings of accomplishment don’t matter if you’re starving to death.
Great progress has been made (arguably progress that should have been made in beta rather than release…) in correcting these issues, there are indeed less crashes, less GPU issues etc. But they are still there. Server side lag messing with dodge mechanics is there, disconnect issues, memory leaks, pox hounds running on ceilings etc.
I’m sure it’s an unpopular opinion to tell you to ignore the entire player base and their cries for more maps, more content etc. But that’s exactly what needs to happen until you have a completely functional, usable and reliable game.
You guys have made amazing depth, the level of detail, the music, the immersion it is simply breathtaking. Its obvious a ton of effort has gone into the details, from map design to dialog. The problem is you have created an upside down pyramid. Most of your effort has been on enjoyablity (the 2nd from the top of the pyramid) But all that enjoyable content has no stable base to sit on hence why your game is falling over on itself.
This is literally UX design 101 stuff.
---- Convenience ----
Once we have a solid foundation of functional, usable and reliable then we can start really getting to the depth of a game. Now that we have our basic UX needs we can move up the pyramid to convenience. Many players will respond to these suggestions saying, well there’s other ways you can find out this info, yes, that may be true but at this point in the pyramid we are looking beyond simply usable (with work arounds) and instead making it convenient.
Again this is a place where the game suffers a bit. Following a 100% functional, reliable and usable game this is the next priority. Convenience is pretty self explanatory but in short it is an expansion of usable into a more enjoyable usability.
Here is a limited list of suggestions pulled from my own play and via forum trolling.
This was a great idea but implemented to very minimal effect. Having an area where you can be placed into a psychic dream state to test out weapons and abilities is fantastic but there’s so much unexplored potential here. (I’ll have another section about this under the enjoyability and significance sections but for now I’m separating each section of the pyramid)
- Allow us to go up to a test monster and press the use key to animate it (have it attack us using the existing AI) Its great we can test weapons and abilities on stationary targets but its not as useful as alive ones.
- This will allow us to test (within the safety of a psychic induced coma) weapons and skills against moving and attacking targets.
2)It will allow us to take toughness damage so we can assess how our perks, blessings, abilities etc. work with health and toughness damage. (There’s a medkit on the psychanium table, if we can’t take health damage what’s the point)
3)You can use the same coding as the zealot to prevent death (without time limit) for all people inside the psychanium.
4)This will allow us to practice dodging, push back and other defensive techniques against the plethora of enemies. Allowing people to do this will prevent a lot of the griping in your forums from people saying “such and such is impossible to counter” let them practice and get better an the counter techniques (assuming you’ve completed the pyramid requirements of functional reliable and usable) and you will see a dramatic decrease of forum complaints as well as an increase in player skill.
5)This will also add play time and enjoyability (the next tier of the pyramid) as it gives more options and more ways to play the game.
-Add another psychanium type of a free for all (call it the slaughterhouse or something) Where all the test monsters are active.
This will almost add an entirely new game to your existing game. Sure you’ll need to add some cover, maybe a few rooms to prevent immediate death but it would be a relatively easy thing.
A constant spawn of all enemies for people to hone all the skills they will need. (I’ll talk more about this under the enjoyability section). This will make for a convenient (the tier we are currently working on) way for players to practice horde mitigation and survival techniques.
This would work as a patchwork fix for the massive player demand for a single player option. It’s basically a survival mode that could include (again will be included in the enjoyable section) portraits or ribbons based on survival time etc.
- Skill load outs
It is the opposite of convenient that players are forced to change every aspect of their feats every time they want to change weapons or do a different kind of mission type. The more convenient method would be to allow players to have and save specific feat combinations that they can quickly select depending on their needs. This could even be incorporated into the enjoyability and significance aspect depending on how it is implemented (I’ll talk about that in those sections)
- Item favorites
It is the opposite of convenient that I need to search through every item I have (My character has around 25 different weapons I use regularly depending on mission type, difficulty and my mood) Currently my work around (usable but not convenient) is to use skin color and trinket placement to identify which versions of my las rifle I want for what. It would be more convenient to be able to favorite weapons or tag them in some way. You can add mechanis adept runes to the lower left of each weapon that you can cycle through in order to sort them in some way. (this again can will be talked about in the significance and enjoyability section)
- Team loadouts
It is the opposite of convenient that during mission prep I have no idea (other than typing or voice chat) what ranged weapons my teammates have. If I know my zealot is bringing a flame thrower then I don’t want to bring my purgetor staff. A more convenient thing to do would allow us to see both weapons people are bringing from the loading screen. Simply adding the ranged weapon laying at their feet would be the easiest way to do this. But get your creativity team in on it. Maybe instead of 4 characters standing there you could have 4 characters standing next to weapon racks on both sides of the screen, inspecting their melee weapon while their ranged weapons are hanging from the weapon rack.
Or they could cycle through their weapons holding the melee for a few moments then the ranged for a few moments. There’s many many ways to implement this.
- Previewing cosmetics
It is the opposite of convenient that I have to try and guess what my character will look like prior to buying a helmet. A more convenient method would be to allow preview when selecting the items.
Some other random
mouse over pop ups to explain or show end modified
more numbers and calculations - show the end number after modifications for purchases
make a character sheet that shows all stats - dodge, dodge distance, crit chance etc.
if penances are going to require a specific number of mish then your current total for each mish should be displayed under that penance.
There’s thousands of quality of life suggestions in the forums that would fall under the convenience rubric of UX design. We’ll not make an unending list of them here.
------------- Enjoyable --------------
The 5th level of the pyramid is that of how enjoyable the game is to play. This is where your current design really shines. The amount of enjoyability is the only thing keeping this thing alive but despite what you think (evidenced by the effort put into this but not into the foundation) Enjoyability is not the first priority. Just like an upside down pyramid will topple over, so will your game if the effort put into this dwarfs the effort put into stability, functionality and dependability.
Since this is where you’ve put most of your effort there’s not a ton in the way of advice other than to say “hey, this is great but not the most important thing”
The voice actors are great, the dialog entertaining the music… Oh the music is eargasmic. Pay your composer double. The level design is great (not a fan of garbage bags and trash in the sewer just being a flat skin) but almost everything about the game is beautiful.
This is the tier where you start adding weapons, and levels, new monsters, new characters etc. (so much more other work to be done before this is a priority though)
Since this post is about advice it can’t be all compliments and atta boys so here are a few suggestions.
First let me suggest something new because many following ideas can be tied into this one.
- Faction reputation -
You already have the frame work for this laid out. We do missions for different characters, had some interaction with them during our leveling process. Maybe this was done just to add exponentially more dialog options which by itself was a fantastic idea. But there’s so much more that could be done with this.
Let us choose a faction, commander, friend, what ever you want to call it. This would require expanding mish selection options (which is another enjoybility suggestion anyway) to ensure that Every faction had a low (2 or 3) and a high (4 or 5) mish available at all times. Doing missions for your faction would earn you reputation with them. This would open up a massive amount of enjoyability (and our last level of significant/meaningful)
Faction points give some small degree of end game content for people to work towards. There is a massive amount of outcry in your forums for it.
Players could spend their faction points to purchase faction specific gear. This creates more end game as the more you buy the more players choose to buy the more they will need to obtain points. (adding to the end game play)
The amount of faction points can be based on the level of mission (higher missions mean higher faction points) This will promote players challenging themselves to complete higher level missions. As of now there is minimal to no reason to risk a loss at higher level missions rather than guarantee success at a lower one (I’ll talk about mission rewards later in the enjoyment section)
Players can spend faction points to get faction specific weapons. Faction specific weapons not only will allow people to play more (adding to your end game) but they create more variety to the game. This creates more depth in making larger differences between players of the same class. (This adds into the last tier of the pyramid discussed later, significance/meaningfulness)
Players have the option to work through all factions which multiplies end game play time potential by a factor of the number of factions you create
There is the option of special dialogue to be made for faction specific rejects. As I said the voice acting a dialog lines are fantastic. Adding faction specific dialogue is an exponential increase to the number of potential dialogue combinations.
Any way, the amount of game play add that factions would bring is longer than I’m going to list (for free)
Lets now circle back to the previous suggestions and how their implementation can also add to this section of our UX pyramid as well.
- Psychanium - I mentioned adding a constant flow of all enemies as a sort of practice mode. This can also double as a single player option that so many people have been asking for. The enjoyability aspect can come from not only allowing people to use this opportunity as practice but can easily be made into a mini game within your game.
Give trinkets or outfits (via penances) for duration of survival in this new “Slaughterhouse” survival mini game. For the more competitive of your players you could even do an old school arcade style score board. The top 20 scores listed on a display inside the psychanium room. You could have 20 portrait frames for the top 20 players. Portraits that if someone knocked you off the board you would lose and they would gain.
You could make this challenge seasonal, resetting every 6 months altering the map slightly but keeping it within the same confines of the psychanium. This would create an easily implemented but constantly updated arena for people to earn rewards, play solo if they wanted, practice skills and compete against other players. All without you having to code new dialog, a pvp system or really change much about the game at all.
Massive game play additive with minimal game rework needed (almost none really)
You could even tie this into factional rewards (see faction section under new ideas for enjoyability) Where players represent their faction in this survival mode. The faction with the most points (average points amongst those in the top 20 representing that faction) would win a portrait for all members of that faction (whether they participated or not) for as long as their faction held the highest average.
This kind of thing would promote comradary amongst those in your faction and let the competition have a minor but noticeable impact over everyone in the game.
In the part of the psychanium where you can animate a single enemy for practicing mutant dodging or dog pushback you could also have related penances to promote practice (which in turn makes for a more skilled player base) Dodge a pox hound 50/100/200 times in a row. Same for mutant and trapper. Or push back penances. There’s a whole slew of challenges you could have in your newly made (and actually functional) practice room.
===== Significance/meaningfulness ======
At this point the free advice is running out so I’m going to wrap it up
The last part of the UX pyramid, the icing on the cake, the portion you work on after all the other elements are rock solid is personal significance. These are the meaningful moments in games that stick with players for years. Aeriths’s death in FF7, The end scenes in the last of us. Samus removing the helmet in metroid, Tidus’s final embrace in FFX. You get the idea
This is where factions can come back into play. That’s where a changing world comes into play. Here’s just a quick bullet point of how meaningfulness could be added.
The option for loadout slots (ability choice saved selections) could be in the form of lockers. You earn locker space through missions or even your faction. This ties into the ability to see your team mates loadouts. The locker could be shown in the loading screen where everyone’s ranged weapons can be seen (so the other players know what your bringing) These lockers could be customized so that it also is customized in the load/ready screen as well. This personalizes small things and gives the player a sense of ownership.
Have a personal cabin on the ship where you can purchase or craft decorations for your bunk. This gives the players a personal home that they can really connect to
Evolving game. Create events that change the game to a small degree, even if only costmetic. A ship raid where chaos attempts to board. Depending on the player base reaction to it there could be permanent damage to the ship, faction leaders could be killed etc.
Expansive missions - as the cleansing on tertium comes to a lul, A nearby system requests support for interdiction with an orc waaahg. This could create side missions for the players to do, ship based maps with entirely new enemies. New transport ships could be seen flying around from the windows. Depending on how many players do that rather than tertium missions the situation in tertium could get worse changing the play within them.
This could be done with a tyranid bio ship as well.
These kinds of evolutions make the game feel alive and give the players a sense that their actions matter. What they do along with others actually has a real impact whether its for the good or bad, it adds personal meaning to the game.
Any way, love a lot about your game, its too bad your design was upside down. I’ll be back in a few months to see how much of it you’ve fixed. Massive amount of opportunity here, just get back to the basics of game design and work on the foundations before you move up to the more detailed tiers.
Yes, its long, its rough drafted but its about all the time I wanted to spend on something that will most likely go overlooked. The game deserves effort though and I wanted to respect the effort it deserves by putting in my own.