Played the actual beta for the first time now

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Played the actual beta for the first time now

Oh, I played completely through the demo before, and since saving is now implemented in the beta, I picked up the game as I had promised.But man, you really need to spend some time balancing.Here's what happened in my first five games:Three ended basically immediately - upon entering the first city tile, the game triggers the forced exploration sequence which you cannot cancel.(Hint: CHANGE THIS)In three attempts, this spawned a hostile human (Suggestion: Maybe you should make this impossible in the very first building someone explores?). One time I had enough movement left to try and flee, but he caught up with me and wounded me mortally with his first strike.The two other times, my movement was exhausted, and the hostile immediately landed a mortal blow.The other two games, the roof of my very first exploration collapsed on me (I was under the impression you had toned this down from reading the version notes. If that's the case, you haven't changed it down enough - not nearly).One of these games left me medium wounded with three movement - it's very unlikely to survive the early game in this state, so I quit.The final game was my last attempt for now - when the roof collapsed on me AGAIN after I had tried to start the same game four times in a row, I said "screw you" and closed the game window.I decided to take the time to write this feedback anyway, though. Maybe there's room for some early-game changes still (?).-refar

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While i can agree in some points you got to remeber that this is still far away from full release and if you check the news section you can see that our allmighty creator Dcfedor updates the game almost every night and i personally like how hard it is, if it got any more easier that would ruin a lot of the game for me, but thats up to every man i guess :) thanks for you input tough just ask if you need help with anything in the game and ill be happy to answer and we also got a really good up and coming wiki- Bear out

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I agree with the things refar is saying about the current beta.  The initial scavenging experience is a forced tutorial, which is a good thing in my opinion.  I believe that this first scavenging experience should avoid things like roof collapse and looters/bandits.  It would let the new player get into the spirit of the game without immediately turning them off. This change might be very important in retaining new beta players.  The job here isn't just to get their beta money, but get them talking about the game with their friends.I understand letting the player know what they are getting into right away, but if you don't give them half a chance to start many will be turned off.  I want everyone to understand I love a hard, well-made game.  I worked on a MUD for several years back before humans harnessed the power of steam, and we constantly wrestled with this question.  Let them know it is going to be tough, but don't send players packing who might actually enjoy the game.  We called that eternal argument Realism versus Fun.Sometimes giving a new player a tiny boost (no encounters or roof collapse in the "tutorial" scavenge) might keep people coming back instead of closing the browser.

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I agree with the sentiment here.  I'm pretty experienced now and the first couple turns almost feel like D&D character creation from other games, keep rolling the dice until you get enough stats to be playable or keep starting over until you can make it past the first couple turns with a chance to sruvive.

I don't know how directly inspired by Nethack the author is but being able to die very easily, very quickly is part of the dynamic of that genre of games.


好鋼用在刀刃上

I think refar's point is a good one, and it's something I'd like to address. It's possible I may have to address it sooner than later, though, for the reasons put forward here. I went through a similar series of tweaks to the opening cryo encounter (there used to be several insta-death outcomes!), so it's only natural that other beginning experiences, particularly forced tutorials, get a similar treatment.Balancing, as a whole, is going to be a long process, and it'll be a while before the game plays smoothly and fairly. But at least I can make sure a forced encounter, which was added as a means to teach the player, does what was intended, instead of inadvertently punishing players.I'm a few days of dev work away from being able to submit another build, but once I do, I can see about rolling some tutorial tweaks into it as well.Thanks for the feedback. And your candor is appreciated!

Dan Fedor - Founder, Blue Bottle Games

I took a couple of weeks off and now played the game again.The forced exploration of the first building is still there and I managed to find no loot AND attract attention. Great start.I managed to run away, though - Athletics be thanked.I found some solid starting equipment, managed to make solid progress and finally managed to make it to the city without much trouble.Using tracking I was able to convince the Hatter to hand over  the entry-pass without me having to recover the urn, but I couldn't get into the city (I think I read someplace there's no way to enter because the storyline hasn't been developed further). I roamed about for a bit but didn't find much useful stuff - a gun and some ammo and a sleeping bag I strumbled across, though.Then, all of a sudden, I got a gameover screen: You've died of cholera.I didn't have ANY symptoms or whatnot, it was just *snip*, dead.Between such things and the statements on the semi-joking "Finish the game!" thread, I'm no longer so sure what to make of this game.My first impression was that this is a very early alpha called beta (most peope don't care too much about alpha/beta naming conventions these days).But in that thread, it's stated the game is basically considered feature complete, just a few more events and done.For a early alpha game, my current impression is "Promising", but for a mostly-complete game, it's ... something else.Ah well, I'll shelve it for another couple of weeks and hope for the best, I guess.-refar

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Refar,While I agree that many of the "insta-death" bugs could and maybe should be worked out, I get the impression that you may not be fully understanding what the game is about.  While there is a story line in progress, the game's title says it all, you're a Scavenger.  I spend lots of time trying to loot/sell/buy to get my kit maxed out.  Part of the encountered difficulty early on is to teach you what skills may be better to use to survive.  For instance, after I failed to outrun bandits for what seemed like the dozenth time, I decided maybe tracking would be a worth-while skill.  Again, things could still use some work and I agree that the "what do I do?" questions for a lot of beginners could turn them off, but honestly I'm not sure this is the game for that type of person anyway.  Perhaps a few walk-throughs on the wiki may help?Dan,As always, thanks for your hard work on this game!  I'm enjoying it thoroughly :)~HT

'Trust - the primary ingredient in any relationship.' ~CJ

ht, do enlighten me, what is this game about?

If you want to say scavenging and survival, sure.
I don't expect an extremely fleshed out storyline or whatever.
But at the time being, many skills you can pick when the game starts are either totally or for the most part useless.
So I'm a hacker? The starting encounter aside, what do I do with my skills?
An Elictrician?
Most skills at leave have some marginal usefulness, granted, but usually not even enough to make them a worthwile pick.

That said, there are also too many causes of death you just cannot reliably avoid or deal with unless you are VERY lucky.
Despite having the medic skill, I appearently inflicted Cholera without ever becoming aware of it. I never had any symptoms and just dropped dead at some point. Even had I been aware of it, the only way to deal with Cholera in the game is to find Antibiotics. I had a game where I was carrying half a dozen bottles of them around, but in more I never ran across a single non-empty bottle of them. Failing that, inflicting Cholera is an unavoidable game-over, which is horrible game design - yes, even in a survival game - as far as I'm concerned.
There should be SOMETHING you can do. Maybe survival camps dotting the landscape with which you can interact in a limtied way. You're ill? They possibly can treat you. I guess you need some antibiotics ... how about I give you some, and you hand over this fine rifle in return?
Same thing if you're hungry or thirsty, badly injured or want to rest without risk of being killed - pay up and you'll survive ... for now (and without a rifle).

Having many life-threatening things is FINE in a survival game.
Only being able to rely on sheer luck (and a healthy dose of it) if you run in either is not.
-refar

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I noticed some of these things, too. Especially dying of cholera. I'm curious if there could be a (de)buff area on the screen that displays your issues more effectively. If you have some sort of illness, it could be a sad face with a thermometer. If you're crippled, a pair of crutches. Not sure if that would ruin immersion or not, but I'd think that would be helpful to know. Maybe being a Medic gives you specifics on what's wrong (Illness: Cholera) and not having Medic makes illness some indicator about you not feeling well (Illness: Unknown).

Do you want the short version or the long version?

I'll do the short one first - start boiling your water

The long version.
Yes this is a problem with the game at this point. Aside from the awesome Oregon Trail feeling I had when I first saw the "You have died of cholera" message, it could use some adjustments. Warning messages would be welcome, but maybe not too verbose. "Your shit is a watery laser targeting a distinct part of the ground somewhere below Uranus" might not be appropriate (as much as I love it), but maybe "You have noticed intestinal distress" would work better.

Back to the short version- Just purify your water. I'd love to add a link to the wiki but I really can't be bothered with bbcode. You can click the link in my sig for more info.

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I do know how to boil water and that it's a good idea to do so.
But that's another thing in the game at this stage, you don't always have the luxury to boil your water.
Maybe I hadn't found one of the ingredients yet (like a lighter)?
See what I'm referring to with my too-dependent-on-sheer-luck statement?

Btw., setting up a campfire is too darn laborous right now, but yeah, given the chance I'll do it and cook my water.
There could be water drops of different quality. Finding a clear spring in a forest would be a safe water source, drinking from a murky pool russian roulette.
Some areas of the map could be safer and it'd be easier to find provisions there (like where you start), other areas could be very dangerous and require careful preparations if you want to go there without playing with your virtual life.
SO much room for sensible improvements, that's why it disheartened me that the game in its current state is very close to Dan's version about a completed game already.

About Cholera, yeah, in earlier versions you got symptoms and were informed about them, at least I ran into this when playing the demo. In the news, there were numerous occasions where circumstances leading to instant death due to programming errors were supposedly fixed - Dan seems to be struggling with this part of the source code - so this may very well have been one of these cases.
Still, like I explained, even if I had known I had Cholera, my only chance would have been to try and find Antibiotics.
-refar

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It sounds like there are a lot of interrelated issues here, so I'll do my best to address them individually.

The luck factor is the big one, out of the issues you mention. At the moment, there are still too many cases of sheer (bad) luck in the game, with little means of avoiding or mitigating the consequences. Some of them are bugs (hopefully, you've seen the roof collapse issue reduced in frequency), others are systems that still need more attention (combat). Ideally, I'd like for the player to have in-game methods for dealing with issues, so it's never "oh well, I guess this game's over" and instead "that sucked, but here are my (perhaps-ugly-but-not-boring) options."

Regarding cholera, it's possible there's a bug here. Normally, you should get one or more symptom warnings before the final stage of cholera hits (like you saw in the demo). They would appear in the message area, as floaties above the character, and on the conditions screen. If that's not happening anymore, it could be bugged, so I'll check it out. It may also be time to add other (less deadly) diseases. E.g. contaminated water could cause a range of diseases, instead of always choosing the most deadly waterborne disease (Cholera).

For reference, cholera has a 48 hour incubation period before showing symptoms, but once the symptoms show up, it's in an advanced state. It stays in that state for 3 hours, and then there's an 80% chance of escalating. That escalated state lasts another 3 hours, and has a 55% chance of becoming fatal. In all, cholera has a 44% mortality rate if untreated.

As for clean water, there are currently 3 ways to get it. Boiling is one, using purification tablets another, and finding sealed bottles is the third (i.e. finding a water bottle with water already in it). Any unidentified water may be pure as well, but there's currently no way to detect that. I originally wanted the water's source to be visible, kind of like refar's suggesting (e.g. rainwater from a steel drum, or a stream, or a stagnant bathtub), I just haven't found a way to do that efficiently yet.

Regarding skills being useless, my plan is to at least include a few more plot encounters before calling the game "done." As said in the other post, even if the funding runs out today, I'd continue working long enough to add at least a little more plot to enjoy. And that would entail making sure each skill got it's day in the sun.

Also, regarding the difficulties refar points out at the game's start, hopefully this should be improved in yesterday's build. There is no longer a forced scavenge when entering city tiles at the game's start (player can bail out of tutorial normally), and the game is rigged such that the first creature spawned by a scavenge attempt is always a looter, which is non-hostile (looter AI now prefers to loot tiles, and will run from the player if detected).

Overall, the beta is in a constant state of evolution, and is going to have bugs as well as mechanical imbalance. I'll be continually trying to improve it, but it won't always be fun. However, it should get better over time, and I'm hoping that most will enjoy the process of participating in the game's development. I take all suggestions and critiques seriously, and many players' ideas have made their way into the game.

Is it an alpha more than a beta? Maybe so. As said elsewhere, I envisioned NEO Scavenger being nearly done when I released it, with the exception of finishing the plot and bug-fixing. However, I sold enough copies so far to add additional features, so I've been doing that in the order that voting suggests. I still plan to add more plot and fix bugs before calling it "done."

Lastly, if you really feel you didn't get what you paid for, we can discuss getting you a refund. I definitely don't want anyone to feel cheated or misled, so if you prefer, send me an email, and we can work something out.

As always, thanks for the feedback. It's very helpful in making the game better for everyone. And thanks ht1237 for the vote of confidence, I'll do my best to keep it entertaining!

Dan Fedor - Founder, Blue Bottle Games

Dan, basically my post was just meant to highlight that I was hoping for a much more fleshed out game because I felt your basic idea is still that - basic - and has SO much more potential.
And I kinda got the impression that was the plan, with the entire feature voting stuff and so on.
And maybe it will happen still, I imagine a lot of things are still in the cards as long as the money doesn't dry up.

I was NOT trying to push for a refund or anything - though I think it's nice of you to offer one. Money-wise, I probably had enough fun for the buck before ever playing the full version.

You should understand my remarks more as a compliment to you than as criticism - it's like when you go to the theatre to watch a movie, and it makes you think about it so much that you wish you could see more of the world, have further questions answered, experience different aspects of the world/story depicted etc.
As opposed to leaving the cinema and instantly having forgotten half the storyline, thin as it was, because it was so superficial and basically only a lame excuse to keep the explosions going or something.

You created something I would love to see more of - that doesn't sound so bad, does it? :)
-refar

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Since this is already in the suggestions thread and we've touched on "useless skills", I think a simple solution to that would be to add a few more building types to scavenge. I.E. if there's a Medical Lab or Hospital, you can use your Medic skill to loot more items; an office building, maybe you could use Hacker to unlock an electronic safe; a factory may be better looted by someone with the Mechanic skill; etc. Even if more plot is added, the game is still fun to run around and just see how much junk you can collect and keep gaining money, so it would be cool to be able to use every skill on a daily basis, imo.

'Trust - the primary ingredient in any relationship.' ~CJ

@refar - That doesn't sound bad at all. When I read your earlier comments, I interpreted them as disappointment in the product you paid for. NEO Scavenger is admittedly rough and unfinished in it's current beta state, so it's not hard to imagine some customers being disappointed when they pay for an upgrade from the demo, but get limited improvements. As a business owner, I want to make sure customers like that don't feel cheated.

If your main concern is that NEO Scavenger has a lot of unfulfilled potential, and you want to see more, well, we share the same concern :) I have a lot of plans for the NEO Scavenger universe, and for the NEO Scavenger game (time and money permitting). So with any luck, our concerns will be invalidated over time.

Also, I don't want folks to feel like criticism is taboo or will make me feel bad. On the contrary, constructive criticism is extremely helpful. Criticism is actually motivational too, as long as it's actionable. It gives me concrete goals to achieve, with the benefit of knowing the work will be appreciated.

Thanks for the clarification. It's good to know that you're looking forward to more!

@ht1237 - I agree. While there will likely be some future encounters using those "useless" skills, it'd be ideal if there were more day-to-day opportunities for their use. Scavenging skill-specific locales is a good example. I could also find ways of working medic or mechanic into the wound and vehicle systems, respectively.

Whatever the case, we need these skilled occupations to feel some more love :)

Dan Fedor - Founder, Blue Bottle Games