Can VotG be discussed?

General discussion about anything related to Transcendence.
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Kourtious
Militia Lieutenant
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Location: Off in the distance

I have some questions relating to where I am in the game. Just wondering if it was okay to ask questions related to it.
Tiber
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Offcourse you can, Shoot !
Kourtious
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Joined: Fri Nov 14, 2014 10:00 pm
Location: Off in the distance

Cool. Didn't think this thread would be answered. I am currently in the Aerie system, which is past the Abbadon Arm and the Abyssal End system. I can't find any other stargates past that. I don't know if I am at the last system because I cannot find any other stargates after circling the system multiple times.
PM
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If Aerie is not the last system, it is close. You are probably encountering many Doloroth and Mu Nai by now.
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Viperion
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I just played 'through' the VotG alpha a couple times, using each available ship type. As an overview of overall thoughts, this reminds me of when I first encountered Transcendence in 2005/2006. It's early, not finished, lots of things are hinted out without being really explained, parts of the story and gameplay are unclear, and it is super tantalising. I played through the game so many times in 2007-2010, and had to just quit because it was too addictive for my personality. The arcade action style reminiscent to me of Star Control and Solar Winds mates almost perfectly with the rougelike, procedural generation, systems as dungeon levels, random encounters, loot mechanisms, George's subtly told SF story, man, I love Transcendence.

This is definitely an alpha, with clearly unfinished content, clearly unfinished balance, and clearly unfinished mechanisms. This version also really suffers from some difficulty cliffs (f.ex it is more difficult to proceed as efreet because of the low level ship that is definitely power capped and can't find any fuel to use post-Core), and that some enemies are really really hard to kill if you don't have the proper weaponry (I haven't figured out how to kill Cryson as a TorQuan without nano weapons) It's hard to fully comment on some things because maybe they aren't finished, or maybe there are interactions with game mechanics added for SoTP that haven't been properly reconciled. There are also some things hinted at in the decompiled TDB that I am excited to see fully threshed out. But I'm going to try to make some comments here anyway.

First, some hopefully low-spoiler mechanic observations -

I feel like one could map the new gameplay branches to 'traditional' MMORPG classes of Tank/Healer/Wizard as Mechanist/Biotech/Archaeotech, and I *feel* like maybe the gameplay could be a little more varied between the three?

The Tor Quan/biotech growth mechanism is interesting. Instead of buying different ships, growing your own ship feels like a good progression for the biotech branch. It does feel weird that you can grow the ship 'by yourself' but the symbiotes require a station to grow. I'd think it would be the other way around, you could grow the symbiotes yourself but would need to go to a station to grow the ship. A mechanic that could be interesting would be that you can grow the symbiotes yourself but they could get damaged/misformed when you grow yourself, resulting in less effective/more power hungry/damaged weapons, or that they just can't grow past a certain level until they ship has grown. Biotech ships also feel like they should visibly grow more, and that there should be more of a through-line with the different ship types outside of Tor Quan. It also feels like maybe there should be an opportunity to grow them along the lines of 'do you want a freighter or a fighter?' decision point where you can chose to grow and put the growth into cargo space or into device slots.

Mechanist feels like 'old-school' Transcendence, and is a good continuation of those gameplay mechanics.

Archaeotech really feels unfinished - the awakening is a cool idea, and the interaction with Reenu stations good. I *feel* like Archaeotech needs an adjustment in scarcity/power - it feels like the kind of gameplay that should trend toward more powerful but more resource constrained - i.e. fewer uses of Reenu weapons before needing recharged, archaeolith subjugation being harder a second time, etc.

Maybe there could be a ship-type that tries to straddle two lines? Or the ability to to add a slot to be able to use an Archaeotech weapon as a mechanist, with the need to keep it charged with Shadowspace compressors, higher potentional for weapon damage/outside mount/etc? Realizing that makes it more complex, but it feels like getting locked into one path might be frustrating. Or maybe an allied station that allows you to trade ships out without having to sell one? Just thinking of other ways that could showcase the variety without requiring another playthrough.

[spoiler=ContentSpoilers]
I have a lot of thoughts here.

1) Feels like there needs to be a way to introduce a player to archaeotech concepts without making them wait to get an Efreet ship - and by the time I have gotten access to the Efreet ship in my playthroughs, I'm mostly already past the Reenu. Archaeotech feels like it should be able to be retrofitted onto a mechanist ship with penalties, but that is hard to say. Also the idea of archaeotech makes the volume of Reenu and Cryson feel improbable, unless there is more flavor text indicating that the Reenu ships are remnants of an ancient Empire, etc, etc.

2) Reenu feels like it should be more of a network, that maybe the first Reenu you encounter in a system won't be hostile, but if you start attacking, their defenders will grow more and more aggressive in preemptive strikes? Or maybe that as you suborn archaeoliths in a system, the others grow more resistant to that kind of subjugation, requiring you to have a mix of ego/willpower/intelligence hacking tools?

3) Maybe the A Fire Upon the Deep references are just overwhelming me right now, but I feel like there could be some really interesting ideas for archive corruption - maybe there could be a corrupted Zhen Ma archive, like there are infected B9 stations.

4) I hope the Balin dragons are indications of how Xon Caol ships might be animated? The XC and other bio-entitities (like Nalgorn/Neogorm/etc) feel particularly lifeless.

5) I also feel like this is probably better addressed in content cut out of the Alpha, but the Iocrym not being present and the same level progression happening from Mouner-Aerie as Eridani-Heretic feels extra contrived to me somehow, especially with the Core in the middle of the gate network.

6) I mentioned this on a post in the Ministry, but I think it would be interesting to see some more indications of highly advanced sovereigns that strongly keep to themselves - Dyson rings, Matroshka brains, high-level megastructures etc. Brown dwarfs of computronium or equivalent like Hades from Revelation Space. Very high-level sovereigns with interests unrelated to the player who nevertheless use the player for their purposes (say, go attack this communication node in this system to interfere with this other sovereign's development, etc)

7) I can't wait to play the final.

[/spoiler]

Thanks, George, for a fantastic game. Here's to Part III doing even more that I haven't thought of!
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