Author Topic: Exclusive demo feedback  (Read 211 times)

Offline KoBeWi

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Exclusive demo feedback
« on: October 17, 2017, 01:53:41 am »
(should I write this in English? >_>)
Today I was finally able to play and somewhat finish the exclusive demo from PGA. It's very lacking in features compared to descriptions on the website, so obviously the feedback covers the most basic features (hopefully it's still relevant, because I'm not sure what's supposed to be in game).

As I said after my play-through on PGA, this game is almost like a Starbound clone (people who say it's similar to Terraria didn't play Starbound probably). After playing it for the second time, I noticed that taking damage sounds literally like in Starbound. Well, thanks to very similar gameplay, the game is also intuitive. It gets better later in the sandbox mode, because you gain access to more distinct game feature. This is the direction where the game should evolve - focusing on the RPG elements, like professions or talent trees, which makes it unique.

So, the sandbox mode (if that's what it's called). I tried to complete the tutorial, however it seems impossible in demo, because you can't craft bucket and alchemy station. Most of the quests were straightforward though. I'd say too straightforward. That's the purpose of tutorial, but I felt like implementing it as standard quests wasn't that good. I mean, 1/3 of quests I did before I even accepted them, so I spent most of the time scrolling through the tutorial text. It's quite annoying. There's a better system in Minecraft - the achievements (now advancements). There's sort of quest tree, where you have to do one thing, which then unlocks more things that required it. Realms of Magic could have something similar in place of current tutorial, and current quest descriptions would appear when you hover over their icons in the tutorial window. Although don't repeat Minecraft's mistake and make sure that newly unlocked quests are automatically finished when you completed them before unlocking (like it is now).
There's also minor bug connected with tutorial window, which makes it stuck if there's no following quest. Normally you get list of available quests, but when you complete a quest that doesn't unlock next one, you have to close the window with X-button (ESC doesn't seem to work when this happens).

The profession system is interesting, although gaining first few levels on some professions is really a chore. I wanted to upgrade my Tin Pickaxe, so I had to mine tons of tin to smelt it to upgrade my Smelting profession, then when I finally smelted copper, I had to make more tin stuff to upgrade my Blacksmithing. Unfortunately, tin is quite uncommon, especially when compared to salt and coal which you can find in much larger amounts. So going deep underground looking for lots of tin was horrible. You also have to do this when you want to smelt glass. I understand it's demo, so in the future you might get more opportunities to upgrade your Smelting/Blacksmithing (like more things to smelt etc.), so hopefully the beginning won't be so bothersome.
Also, talking about professions, this system really has potential. Would be cool if there were talent trees connected to professions, so e.g. when you upgrade your mining, you can then get a talent that allows you to mine faster or more efficiently, or find rare materials you wouldn't get otherwise. There's lots of possibilities, so please don't waste them :v
From more obvious stuff, each profession should have short description on what to do to increase it's exp and what levelling it does (would be nice if levelling e.g. woodcutting, aside from unlocking talents, would make you cut trees slightly faster etc.).

Some comments on crafting interface. It's well-done right now (totally not like in Starbound :v ), but could get few improvements. Most important one is search feature. It should let you search for specific item, and for convenience, it should be auto-focused (so writing anything automatically starts search), or at least have a hotkey.
Another important improvement would be automatically crafting intermediate ingredients. There seems to be few of them, e.g. when you want to craft chest, you need wood, nails, hinges and lock (IIRC). Well, it's ok if you want to craft one chest, but getting all these middle ingredients each time you want to make a chest is a chore. I played a game which did the same, and they scrapped the system in favor of crafting from raw iron. This system is not necessarily bad, but after you craft an item for the first time, you should then be able to craft it from raw ingredients, without need to get nails and stuff again. That would actually be quite unique compared to how other games to this.
And some minor things. When I first used crafting, it wasn't clear for me how many items will be crafted. I mean, you can craft 4 planks from 1 wood, but it should be more obvious. Right now, it's somewhat easy to overlook this information. And for last thing, it should be possible to type the number of things you want to craft, instead of changing the amount one by one.



I think that's it from major stuff. I have some more various notes left.

When I first entered sandbox mode, I had some sort of bug, where selecting an item would turn off your torch. It didn't happen today, so I'm not sure what caused this. I had to re-light the torch each time I selected different block.

There's no drop button. Well, you can't see/change controls, so I'm not sure about this, but I tried the keys other games use and you can't drop items in other way than placing them in drop slot. This is dumb, because you can't e.g. throw something to the right without moving the inventory window (XD).

You can't destroy background blocks below solid blocks. This is not really an issue, or wouldn't be if not the fact, that some background tiles stick out their space, so you have to destroy overlying block to destroy them to again place the block, so you have clear background.

When you pick up an item, there's a small message in bottom-right corner, which also gets updated to x2, x3 etc. when you get more of this item. The problem is, the message disappears even if you keep collecting the item, so it keeps resetting if you mine something etc. Yes, I noticed this detail.

Some furniture are awkward to place. When I first wanted to place furnace, I thought it's bugged and you can't do this, because it just didn't appear on ground. I then discovered that you have to move your cursor in a very right spot for furnace to appear. It's very non-intuitive. Especially since it seems to affect only some of the items.

Auto-save should be done more in the background. Right now, a notice appears in the center and game freezes for second or two. Maybe there's a way to do this in parallel thread or something, and make an auto-save icon in the corner instead of message, so it doesn't interrupt gameplay that much.

A nice addition would be smart cursor, like in Terraria. When I was digging deep underground, I though it should be easier to make corridors, especially since you can dig only one block at a time. (btw, I also thought it would be cool to hire NPC to do the mining and was nicely surprised that it's already planned feature)

And probably last thing - not sure what caused it, but I noticed that maximum jump height can vary. Sometimes I could jump 3 tiles high, and sometimes up to 5. I know that it's connected with stamina, but it seemed more like a physics issue, since it happened when my stamina was full too.
Talking about jump and stamina, tying these two is a very bad idea. Jump is crucial in 2D platformers and I felt really hard how limiting it hinders gameplay (especially when thirst slowed down my stamina regeneration when I was at the bottom of the world). Stamina for dashing is ok, it could also be used for some special attacks and such, but for jumping... not really.



Well, that's a lot of feedback. Hopefully you will find it useful.
Can I get a free Early Access key for writing this?

Offline Zakharn

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Re: Exclusive demo feedback
« Reply #1 on: October 17, 2017, 08:50:17 am »
Whoa! That's A LOT of feedback! Thank you very much for taking your time to write this, it's extremely helpful :)

1. First of all, let me clarify how the demo differs from the full version we will be releasing in Early Access on 8/11/2017. The demo is limited to only one location, in full version you will be able to travel between different locations like cities, villages, bandit camps, dungeons etc. The second thing that is disabled in demo are talent trees which allow you to develop your character combat-wise.

2. The biggest difference between Realms of Magic and other sandbox games is that we are not trying to create a sandbox game with RPG elements but we want to create fully fledged RPG.

3. Guidebook a.k.a. "Sandbox tutorial" is using dialogue window in the demo, in Early Access it will be replaced with it's own interface and tasks will autocomplete when they are done, hopefully every issue you have with current system will be solved with the updated Guidebook. Guidebook's role is not only limited to introduction to basic mechanics but it should also serve a purpose during the entire game. We don't want players to keep wondering "what should I do next?", Guidebook should always recommend several things to do next, at least to the point when the player finishes all of the content.

4. Profession leveling balance may be very off right now as we haven't properly balanced it yet. Also getting ores shouldn't be as grindy as right now, digging straight down won't be the only way of getting them. Instead player will explore caves and abandoned mines, loot them from containers and buy them from merchants

5. We already discussed talent trees for professions and came to the conclusion that they would add unnecessary complexity without adding any significant depth to profession system. Nevertheless, expanding professions' tooltips are on our to-do list before EA and passive professions like mining and woodcutting should increase speed/damage.

6. Search function for the crafting window is definitely on our to-do list, however we won't be able to implement it before Early Access. Autofocus could be tricky as we want the player to still be able to move his character and open/close other windows when crafting window is opened, but when we will be implementing this, we will make sure to do it right.

7. Intermediate crafting products will stay for now as they are but we will consider streamlining the crafting process in the future.

8. Displaying the total number of items that will be crafted is something we overlooked but we should be able to fix it easily.

9. On the last Thursday we updated the demo on Steam with several bugfixes, one of them was the toolbar-torch bug. Have you encountered this bug since then?

10. Dropping items is definitely something we could improve. Any suggestions which keybinds are commonly used in other games?

11. Backlayer blocks sticking out from frontlayer blocks is unfortunately something that can't be fixed easily, however we will try to tackle this problem in the future.

12. Messages in bottom-right corner are very WIP and will be improved soon.

13. We want to rework block and item building preview, however we are not sure if we will be able to do it before EA.

14. We would definitely want to autosave without pausing the game, however we currently don't know if it could be done without completely rewriting saving function Unreal Engine provides us with. Moreover, autosaving notice could be definitely improved.

15. Smart cursor is again something we would like to do in the future during EA.

16. Max jump height should always be the same, it's something we never encountered before and will definitely investigate it.

17. Jumping requiring stamina is not something set in stone. Right now one of the first talents in Mobility tree is the one that makes jumping stamina free, however if this talent will feel completely mandatory, then we will remove jumping cost altogether.

Thanks again for your feedback!
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Offline KoBeWi

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Re: Exclusive demo feedback
« Reply #2 on: October 17, 2017, 11:57:24 am »
6. Search function for the crafting window is definitely on our to-do list, however we won't be able to implement it before Early Access. Autofocus could be tricky as we want the player to still be able to move his character and open/close other windows when crafting window is opened, but when we will be implementing this, we will make sure to do it right.
A hotkey is an option then. Maybe holding e.g. Control key would make you write to search.

9. On the last Thursday we updated the demo on Steam with several bugfixes, one of them was the toolbar-torch bug. Have you encountered this bug since then?
I encountered the bug when I was playing like a week ago, that's when I made the note. Seems like the update fixed it, because the bug wasn't there yesterday.

10. Dropping items is definitely something we could improve. Any suggestions which keybinds are commonly used in other games?
Seems like it's usually Q or T. Personally, I always re-bind it to Delete, because I tend to press it accidentally. So make sure that the key you pick can't be too easily pressed by accident.

11. Backlayer blocks sticking out from frontlayer blocks is unfortunately something that can't be fixed easily, however we will try to tackle this problem in the future.
I'd be fine you could just remove the covered tiles, at least the border ones.

16. Max jump height should always be the same, it's something we never encountered before and will definitely investigate it.
I encountered this when I was trying to build stairs to the top of the map. I could jump 3 tiles high only, but later I could jump up to 5. It might have something to do with "hugging" the wall though.

if this talent will feel completely mandatory, then we will remove jumping cost altogether.
I have a feeling it will.

Thanks again for your feedback!
You are welcome  ;)

Offline KoBeWi

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Re: Exclusive demo feedback
« Reply #3 on: November 26, 2017, 10:40:48 pm »
So, I played the new demo.

I'm not sure how much tutorial was improved, because I skipped pretty much all texts (sorry), but one thing stood out. Previously you had to place some background walls to pass one section, now you need just to lay blocks. I doubt it's obvious to everyone that you can place background and how, so if it this part was removed, it should be brought back.

The talent tree is neat, but there's not much variety in talents. I guess this will change ofc. The problem I saw was that most of talents were higher levels of previous talents. It totally clutters the tree and makes you disappointed when you discover that most talents just repeat. Instead, there could be talent levels and all of them should be condensed into one talent, able to be learned multiple times to level up. Then some of the paths would require particular talent level to unlock. Well, if that's hard to lay out, maybe at least lessen the clutter, because especially on attack tree, it's hard to tell what is the actual progression route. Path of Exile has an example of cool looking skill tree.

Then the sandbox. Looots of the improvements from last time I played. Especially the much faster levelling of professions (their levels have an effect now, too!). I really like how levelling them increases also your general experience (not sure if it was like that before). You can progress in multiple ways now. There's a lot more ores in the world, so mining and smelting and blacksmithing aren't that bothering to level, especially when you do guide quests.
btw, mining says that it increases pickaxe/shovel damage. It's a bit misleading. It should say strength or speed, not damage. (I later noticed that there's thing as "tool damage", but it didn't make it better)

I really like the world map. How will it look in the future? I mean, how will new squares be discovered? Will it be as simple as travelling from one side to another, or you will need to reach waypoints? Will there be stuff like secret world map areas?
Also, when you get near the edge, instead "I am ready to travel", it should say "Use your map to travel". It took me 10 seconds to figure out what to do, but for other players it might muuuch less obvious what to do.

I found it really hilarious that you can use corpses as... storage containers. Seriously, I had a conveniently placed sheep corpse next to my base and it had more slots than any container I could craft at a time. They become inactive when you take everything, but you don't have to take everything. Well, easiest way to fix it would be making it so you can only take items from corpses, not place inside them. Also, they should have same number of slots as they contain items.

I found many enemies' AI to be easily exploitable. You can jump back and forth next to them and in most cases they will run in circles instead of attacking. You can also kill e.g. Troglodytes luring them into spike traps. They just stand there and die.

There's also a 100% reproducible bug with containers. Open a container, click anywhere inside and while still holding button, close the container (either press E or walk away). You will be unable to interact with anything and use weapons until you return to menu and load again.

Also this:

Nothing triggers me more than this kind of error. Unacceptable.

EDIT:
Forgot to mention: setting spawn point needs at least a confirmation. I randomly used a bed in bandit's camp and later respawned totally not in my base, to my surprise.
« Last Edit: November 27, 2017, 02:51:42 am by KoBeWi »

Offline Zakharn

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Re: Exclusive demo feedback
« Reply #4 on: November 27, 2017, 05:44:09 pm »
Thanks for a lot of useful feedback!

We decided not to teach all game mechanics in the tutorial, otherwise it would be 2-3 times as long as it is now. Our playtests showed that majority of players completetly ignored building in background in the tutorial and that they quickly figured out how to dig/build on the background by themselves.

Current talents are the first iteration of the system. We definitely don't consider these trees finished, they will be completely overhauled during EA.

I agree that refering to mining and woodcutting effectivness as damage may be misleading, we will try to think of a better way of describing it.

In the demo most squares are greyed out however in the full version you will be able to travel to any of the visible ones. We will expanding the map when we will be adding new locations.

We want to better signilize how to travel, currently we are thinking of displaying text like "Press [M] to travel" over the character.

We will nerf 'corpse containers' :)

Jumping is definitely overpowered right now, we will improve AI to deal better with that. Currently AI is unaware of the traps, this is something that will be fixed when we will implement real pathfinding, currently it's stupid simple, if enemy is on the left - move to the left, if enemy is above you - jump etc.

The bug with containers (but not only, it worked with any GUI window) happened only several times to us and we couldn't figure out how it works. Thanks to you we were able to fix it, it will be included in the next version.

Using 'than' instead of 'then' is completely unacceptable. If I may use an excuse, the new tutorial tips were written by person not responsible for writing and were meant as temporary placeholder, they will be rewritten before release.

When you use a bed your character should say something like 'Spawn point set'. We know there is a bug that sometimes causes to either not display a message or even not set a spawn point at all. Do you remember if the message popped when you used the bed?
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Offline KoBeWi

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Re: Exclusive demo feedback
« Reply #5 on: November 27, 2017, 07:26:42 pm »
When you use a bed your character should say something like 'Spawn point set'. We know there is a bug that sometimes causes to either not display a message or even not set a spawn point at all. Do you remember if the message popped when you used the bed?
I don't remember. It is even possible that it popped, but I didn't notice it somehow. You know, I didn't expect that the bed will be activated when I just try to get the loot. If you open boxes fast and missclick something, the message might be easy to miss.