Newbie player bugs

General discussion about anything related to Transcendence.
george moromisato
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With a Steam release coming up, I'd like to make sure we fix all major bugs that a newbie player might encounter. If you've got a particular bug/annoyance that you think must be fixed before a Steam release, please post a response.

Ideally, the bug should meet the following criteria:

1. The issue is likely to be encountered by a newbie player. [I want to concentrate on common bugs.]
2. The issue is obvious to the newbie. [For now, let's not worry about things that a newbie would ignore or not notice.]
3. The issue interferes with the player's enjoyment. [Anything that discourages a player from continuing to play is important.]

Try to put yourself in the mind of a newbie and think about the kinds of issues they might encounter. Usability issues are fair game. If in doubt, just mention it here.

Thank you!

p.s.: Feel free to create a record in Ministry and linking to it here (that will make life easier for me). But if you just want to post here, then I'll take care of creating a Ministry record as appropriate. Also, it's OK if there is already a Ministry record--just mention it here also (with a link) so I know you think it's important.
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pixelfck
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I'm tempted to say that I think the graphical dock services UI could do with a revisit. The problem with the new interface arises because the new UI tries to push the old functionality into a new, visual system. The result is confusing.

In the old screens, you first selected the action you wanted to perform (such as remove an installed device) and then you selected the device you wished to perform the action on, from a list of items that matched the requirements for the action selected (in case of remove item, the list only showed installed devices).

In the new screens, you first select the device you want to perform an action on (your installed laser cannon) and then proceed to choose which action you want to perform on said device.
  • Actions on what you can do to an installed item appear and disappear for no clear reason. Somewhere hidden from view, a script decides that some (to the player unknown) criteria is not met (not enough cash, tech level too high, service not offered due to station policy, only items of lower level than selected one available, etc, etc) and as a result does not show an action. The player get no feedback on why the action may be available on one item and not on the other. Redock at the same station some other time and the available actions may have automagically changed themselves, which is quite confusing.

    In the old system, the player first specified what he wanted to do and then selected the item on which to perform the action. The result was that a helpful message could be shown on why the requested action could not be performed on the selected item.
    Since the new system turns the selection/action sequence around, there is no method to select an action which cannot be performed on the selected item, once the item is selected. this is because if an item cannot be performed, it is not shown.
    But even if the action was disabled instead of removed, the dockscreen still has no method to show why said action is not available (since the player cannot indicate he was interested in one of the actions which are disabled). The result is a lack of information/feedback on why things changed.

    (possible solution*: make sure disabled actions can still be selected + show a disabledReason text?)

    .
  • Some actions (for example [R]emove) ask for confirmation of the action. Since the confirmation is a new pane, the left hand side of the dockscreen (which used to hold the device selection UI) is replaced by the image of the station you are docked at. This feels kinda strange: why not change only the right hand side of the screen?

    .
  • For devices and weapons, slots spawn seemingly by themselves (there is always one empty slot), the display can show more slots than your ship has room for. This happens to accommodate the possibility of slotless devices, but the player has no means to spot the difference. (A separate list of (smaller) device slots on the side may solve the issue?).

    For armour this works nice though: You can see the armour segments as laid out on your ship; they correspond with the armour HUD in the bottom right of the screen and no virtual armour segments exist.

    .
  • For devices and weapons, the visual representation of devices gives the impression that a device is mounted on the displayed position... but, the device slots move around: the launcher slot moves around when I install extra weapons, other weapon slots move around too when stuff is removed or installed.

    For armour this issue does not apply.

    .
  • The result of pressing the arrow keys is kinda non-predictable. I would expect that if I for example press 'Down' followed by 'Up' I would end up with the same item selected as before I pressed any buttons. This is not always the case. Additionally, pressing 'left' may select an item which I would expect to be in the 'up' direction, etc. This gives a high 'we're still in beta' kind of feel (not true!).

I realise this could be seen as quite some criticism on the Graphical device/armour selector UI, but let me note that I do like the concept, it is just that it needs more work before it is completed.

* I think the 'Show/Hide Dock Service Items' should function along the same lines. Also, I think that by default all items should be shown.

Cheers,
Pixelfck
Last edited by pixelfck on Fri May 22, 2015 10:04 pm, edited 7 times in total.
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Given the Arena's early appearance, the Slicer AI problem might count. I recall I ran through the Arena in my first game, so him glitching out and trying to escape is probably an issue that should be targeted.

The Sisters of Domina Benedict glitch in the first system might also count, if a new player decides to destroy it. It is, after all, the first thing the player sees, so I imagine a certain type of person would blow it up before doing anything else.
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Blitz
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Show dock service items to be enabled byd efault. I'm coming back after a long while and was wondering where all the weapons went
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Blitz wrote:Show dock service items to be enabled byd efault. I'm coming back after a long while and was wondering where all the weapons went
I think an instructions screen in the main menu to explain such things would be nice. In the long term, a simple tutorial adventure would be wonderful, and it would eliminate the need to use space in the main universe to provide a tutorial.
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ICX (& by extension Longreach) 'Armageddon mode' should be fixed, since you can gain ICX in the first 2 or 3 systems fairly commonly (esp. if you can repair damaged ICX from Tinkers with Longzu or similar)
JohnBWatson wrote:
Blitz wrote:Show dock service items to be enabled by default. I'm coming back after a long while and was wondering where all the weapons went
I think an instructions screen in the main menu to explain such things would be nice. In the long term, a simple tutorial adventure would be wonderful, and it would eliminate the need to use space in the main universe to provide a tutorial.
It took me a couple of weeks to spot the tiny writing at the bottom of the dockscreen to toggle 'show all available items' on/off; my previous playthrough was 1.2b3 or 1.3x, can't remember. Anyway the popup 'hints' seem to be working fine as reminders; could this be enabled in the dockscreen?

Love the idea of a tutorial campaign (similar to X games by Egosoft), but it needs to be carefully thought out WRT the current rogue/nethack philosophy of having only very few stations appear by default (all others are random spawns within limits). Also I believe that the CC extension was designed to alleviate this to some extent..?
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Song
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Created two tickets about The wolfen overloading its starting reactor and the Somewhat overpowered (pun unintended) shield that causes this to be a problem. Advise replacing shield with a class II or rebalancing it to not be as overpowered and not overload the reactor. This does take a specific set of circumstances, but it's one that newbies who rush into battle and fire everything at enemies are going to trigger. Particularly if they buy an upgrade....the power margin is very, very small.


Also: Korolov shipping should only give out visual enhancement ROMs if the player doesn't have one already. Getting a targeting ROM is hard as a newbie.


Beyond that....the problems with Slicer are a symptom of a lack of a specialised arena AI. Fixing his config to delete that damned RK15 and getting the AI to work the arena properly would make things nicer.

I've also made a ticket that mostly doesn't fall under newbie stuff, but the anti-stalemate system definitely would. SInce AI ships don't use fuel, a stalemate is a death for the player, drawn out over a long time, and isn't fun at all. Ticket

It's also easy for a newbie to fall into. Hell, Even I manage it sometimes.


Finally, and most importantly for me......Fix the point-defense system. The dead fragment bug (and possibly other bugs in ICX that are hidden by it) renders the entire mechanic useless, and it's only an experienced pilot who will know that. Newbies like not getting hit by missiles, since they're a major threat in the early game.....and ICX will not help them when it should. And it's a very noticeable problem. (See my original bug report Here, PM's bug report here and ministry ticket Here )

..this is already down for being in the next release, but it really does need to be in for the Steam release, whenever that is. May cause issues with ICX and Longreach damage being excessive.
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Starter Wolfen with all systems on use 10.5 MW. Another option to prevent reactor overload for Wolfen is raise default power to 12 MW or even 15 MW. That said, switching to class II fixes both power use and Centauri immunity.

I stalemated once in the Arena when I took a starter Wolfen and was stalled by a Sapphire (or some other ship) with a laser deflector in a preliminary battle.

EDIT: Detection of missile defense devices is range 10 - this is much too short. They should have a more range, maybe about 15.
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Other newbie things:

Newbies may not be aware of the damage curve or immunities. For example, newbie who sees no laser/kinetic resists on high level armor may think it has no laser/kinetic resists instead of very high resistance and/or immunity. Similarly, newbies may not be aware of innate immunities of high-level armor. For example, heavy blast plate does not mention radiation immunity, which it does have, but the newbie may not think so.

Also, items which require no slots or more than one slot should be spelled out somewhere other than description. Some weapons that require two slots, such as chimeric graviton cannon, do not mention that it requires two slots!

This has been brought up elsewhere, but it should be made clear that external devices can be damaged if shields are down.

It would be nice if disposable launchers can be refilled (at a station), or otherwise made clear that it cannot be refilled.
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It would be nice if disposable launchers can be refilled (at a station), or otherwise made clear that it cannot be refilled.
I recall suggesting this earlier. It's a good idea, and it makes those things much more balanced.
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Weapon related bugs, some brought up before:

Missiles do not have show a multiplier for fragments. For example, Starburst just lists 5.5 kinetic damage. Newbie will look at it, think "This sucks!", and move on to something else like a KM100 Longbow.

800F MAGs do only kinetic damage if they fragment, not the blast damage they show. These makes them very weak for their level.

Area attacks like those from XM900 Lucifers calculate damage based on distance from target's center, not point of impact, and if too far away, misses completely. If I newbie shoots one at a big station (e.g., Starton Eridani) or ship with one and sees no damage (or even much less than expected damage), he will feel robbed.
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PM wrote: Missiles do not have show a multiplier for fragments. For example, Starburst just lists 5.5 kinetic damage. Newbie will look at it, think "This sucks!", and move on to something else like a KM100 Longbow.
THis is tricky because some weapons have fragmenting fragments. Listing the (average) number of primary fragments is definitely a must though.
800F MAGs do only kinetic damage if they fragment, not the blast damage they show. These makes them very weak for their level.
It's not so much the damage type that's the problem. It's more that the damage on each fragment is really, really low. The kinetic damage just makes that slightly worse.
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PM wrote:Starter Wolfen with all systems on use 10.5 MW. Another option to prevent reactor overload for Wolfen is raise default power to 12 MW or even 15 MW. That said, switching to class II fixes both power use and Centauri immunity.
Having an underpowered reactor is a reasonable way to introduce the player to reactor mechanics, though.
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Song
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Xephyr wrote:
PM wrote:Starter Wolfen with all systems on use 10.5 MW. Another option to prevent reactor overload for Wolfen is raise default power to 12 MW or even 15 MW. That said, switching to class II fixes both power use and Centauri immunity.
Having an underpowered reactor is a reasonable way to introduce the player to reactor mechanics, though.
No it isn't. A reasonable method is to have them run into the limit after getting used to basic controls (IE: After one or two upgrades) so they aren't immediately running out of power when they start out.
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