Reporting a playtest

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Komori
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Reporting a playtest

#1 Post by Komori » Sat Feb 11, 2012 1:20 am

Hello. I've just registered on the forum after spending a couple days or so playing the game. Decided to try and help the project.

First things first: my first play.

I'm using a MacBook Pro. OS X (10.6.8 ) Intel Core i5 2.53 GHz, memory 4gb 1067MHz DDR3 with a NVidea GeForce GT 330m.
It runs pretty smoothly, although as turns increase, the loading time in between them also do increase. It doesn't particularly bother me *yet*. I'm just a bit over a thousand turns right now, if I recall correctly. Sometimes I do notice a slow response on my mouse. I'm usually running other software at the same time, so I think that might be more at fault for it.

I downloaded the game without reading any documentation on it. Just a review. I wanted to see how intuitive the U.I. would be. I had a few little problems, nothing particularly annoying. Felt pretty stupid when I realized some of the things since I consider them pretty natural now. My major problem U.I.-wise was the tech-tree. I still have trouble navigating it. For a game that's usually pretty simple (it's in your design model after all) that complex tech-tree still baffles me. Personally, I love micromanagement and I'm particularly very found of background info and other immersion details so I have no problem with techs that are only there in between techs that will actually give me benefits (there's a bunch of tech's that, as far as I can tell, do nothing but tell me stuff about how my empire is now able to do this and that - to no effect in the game) but the absolutely massive ammount of tech's in the tech-tree makes it difficult to navigate, figure out and find tech's that you're actually in need. My usual gameplay on strategy games is to streamline some key technologies and then go through the other, less important ones. I had serious issues figuring out which ones I would deem relevant to my usual tactics. Maybe the techs are well documented somewhere in the wiki, i'm still exploring that, but still, for a new player, avid to get a taste, when he runs the game for the first time and looks at that tech-tree... it might be a bit challenging.

Which brings me to the "pedia". I liked it. I enjoy how it tries to give info relevant to the current game you are playing (like actual homeworld of species on that game, actual planets it occupies at that game etc) but that is a little buggy still. Space Monsters show in my pedia in constant repetition, I've like dozens of links to Floater. I'm assuming that's because there are that many floaters around currently (or worse, that's how many of those I met). That is also very likely the only reason for crashings that I can pinpoint. I was reading the pedia once and got a crash. I didn't immediately associated the events, but the other crash that I had happening to me was when I was reading the pedia again. From that moment, I started attempting to reproduce the crash. Works like a charm, many of the pages were the pedia tries to list current planets, ships or such will make my game crash. I tend to avoid those on the game now (they are the articles for the races that have empires, the monster's index too. Those are the only ones I can remember crashing every time i tried to access.

I have read a lot of threads here on the forum. I understand that combat is in a very unfinished state. I also understand that the A.I. is equally rough currently. I could tell from just playing thou. All the A.I. empires that I have on the game (I completely conquered one now) only had one planet with docks to build ships. The A.I. does move their ships and does expand the empire when it can (but still seems to build colony ships even thou I've locked them down effectively, making it impossible for them to expand. I thought maybe they were planning to colonize other planets on the systems they already control, but they seem to just stay in the capitol. Not quite wise). Most of the A.I. fleet is in their capitol system. Other systems have only one or two ships each. This makes for extremely hard to conquer capitols. Really. My first conquest was quite early on the game (not sure when anymore, but the empire found me before I even had my first colony, and skirmish happened regularly every other turn, 'till I managed to find them (they only had 3 planets, as did I actually) and managed to conquer all of them. 2 planets fell easy enough. Their homeworld was hell-ish to conquer. I had to use many different waves of ships (in groups of 6 if I recall correctly). I have no idea how many ships they had in it, 'cause it didn't have sensors to count it back then. All I know is that it took me over ten turns to take the system, and a few more to win the planet (I wasted dozens of troops ships. Really.)

Currently, both other empires are locked in their systems. I have ships controlling every system around them (to contain expansion). Only one of their homeworlds is within range of my sensos. I can't even count how many ships there are there. tried. I was over 50 before I gave up. The scroller wasn't even close to the middle yet. I'm assuming there's at least a couple hundred ships. A few are colony ships, that's for sure. Maybe some others are scouts, although they seem to send their scouts to die every other turn (eventually they learned to send a Mark-type ship together with it, not much help to them, my ships are superior to any they have, usually). Assuming they had over 200 ships in their homeworld, I secured direct access to it (quite easy actually, the surrounding open spaces had just a ship guarding each and I only had to take one planet before the homeworld). That seemed to have provoked the A.I. into more active role. They sent a few ships, actually managed to push me back for a few turns before I regained control. My idea was to take the homeworld first so they would not have any other planet with docks to make new ships. I made a reasonable sized army. A few personalized ships with death rays 3 and 4 and a bunch of mark VIII. They all died. Only ONE ship of the 200 and something they had was destroyed on their side. I lost close to 20 units, one of them with a 100 shield. They lost one Mark II. This combat needs to be fixed. I've read that you guys plan to implement a combat mode that is somewhat of a mix of TBS and RTS, and honestly, sounds awesome. But meanwhile, we need a more playable combat system. I didn't expect to take their planet with 20 ships against their 200 or so, but I expected them to lose more than just one ship. Taking planets is also painful (I seem to conquer native races pretty easy, but when they are NOT native, even with planetary defenses reduced to 0, I need ten or so troop ships to conquer a gas giant. More to get to a planet. And it seems like it needs to be all landing at once on the same turn, small attacks turn after turn are completely ineffective (I had to test).

That pretty much sums it.
I'm not gonna throw ideas here, i'm going to make a new thread in the brainstorm section, but there are a few suggestions:
Coming out with a simple, yet, more balanced combat algorithm is needed, unless your definitive combat system is pretty much ready for your next build. You want to make people interested in your new combat system, and it does sounds like super fun, but please provide a simple, functional option meanwhile, or your project might be unable to retain the players interest. I'm not a programmer (although I mess with code every now and then as a hobbyist) so I can't just give you a code that I think would do a better job, but I can throw in some design ideas. Mostly, I think your combat should be less random (my understanding is that currently it picks a ship randomly, then a target randomly, and rolls that. It does that all the way till everybody dies or has done a certain amount of rolls - limited by the number of ships involved. In the case of the homeworld, that's a scary amount of times). It should pick the best defender to defend first, and the highest value attacker to attack first. Civilization style. A huge stack will still destroy your best defender, of course, and then all other ships after that. But at least you get some of their fighters.

Next very important issue: limit the fleet. Upkeep is needed. It might be based on your population (ships cost production, I reckon? and something else...) I'd add population to it's cost. And limit a fleet to a certain percentage of the population. Some techs could increase or decrease that percentage. That will keep the A.I. to build 500 ships around it's homeworld.

My suggestion for the tech-tree is actually a major reform. But I reckon there's some hard work in the current one, and I'd suggest a few things that might make it easier to navigate through. It's nice to change which ones are shown through the use of the buttons, and the color coding is helpful. But it would be pretty awesome if we could see icons of the things it unblocks under then (again a solution i'm taking straight from civ. Just an idea i'm tossing, i'm too used with the civ U.I. I confess). Clicking all the techs to read their pedia entry to see the unblocks is somewhat annoying. Also, ship parts entries on the pedia should link back to the technologies that allows them to be used. Very, very important. Easier to implement too.

Ok that was a long, long post hehe. I hope I was useful.
I do love the game, and I do wanna see it succeed. You have my full support and help on whatever I can and whatever you will take.

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Geoff the Medio
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Re: Reporting a playtest

#2 Post by Geoff the Medio » Sat Feb 11, 2012 8:24 am

Could you be more specific about the encyclopedia crash you're able to reproduce? How exactly do you make it crash?

The multiple listings of Floaters or other ships is a list of all those ships in the known universe. They are repeated because all the Floaters are named "Floater", so it uses that name in the links in the pedia.

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eleazar
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Re: Reporting a playtest

#3 Post by eleazar » Sat Feb 11, 2012 6:29 pm

Taking planets is also painful (I seem to conquer native races pretty easy, but when they are NOT native, even with planetary defenses reduced to 0, I need ten or so troop ships to conquer a gas giant. More to get to a planet. And it seems like it needs to be all landing at once on the same turn, small attacks turn after turn are completely ineffective (I had to test).
To win you simply need to have more troops that the planet your are invading.
You can build ships with more troop modules if you want.

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Bigjoe5
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Re: Reporting a playtest

#4 Post by Bigjoe5 » Sat Feb 11, 2012 7:43 pm

Which version were you playing? There was an issue with combat that was resolved pretty recently...
Komori wrote:My suggestion for the tech-tree is actually a major reform. But I reckon there's some hard work in the current one, and I'd suggest a few things that might make it easier to navigate through. It's nice to change which ones are shown through the use of the buttons, and the color coding is helpful. But it would be pretty awesome if we could see icons of the things it unblocks under then (again a solution i'm taking straight from civ. Just an idea i'm tossing, i'm too used with the civ U.I. I confess). Clicking all the techs to read their pedia entry to see the unblocks is somewhat annoying. Also, ship parts entries on the pedia should link back to the technologies that allows them to be used. Very, very important. Easier to implement too.
That's my suggestion too, but right now, there doesn't seem to be too much incentive to do much beyond what's already been done (which was already a pretty major re-working of the tech tree).
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Dart00_Tech
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Re: Reporting a playtest

#5 Post by Dart00_Tech » Sat Feb 11, 2012 8:38 pm

Bigjoe5 wrote:Which version were you playing? There was an issue with combat that was resolved pretty recently...
Komori wrote:My suggestion for the tech-tree is actually a major reform. But I reckon there's some hard work in the current one, and I'd suggest a few things that might make it easier to navigate through. It's nice to change which ones are shown through the use of the buttons, and the color coding is helpful. But it would be pretty awesome if we could see icons of the things it unblocks under then (again a solution i'm taking straight from civ. Just an idea i'm tossing, i'm too used with the civ U.I. I confess). Clicking all the techs to read their pedia entry to see the unblocks is somewhat annoying. Also, ship parts entries on the pedia should link back to the technologies that allows them to be used. Very, very important. Easier to implement too.
That's my suggestion too, but right now, there doesn't seem to be too much incentive to do much beyond what's already been done (which was already a pretty major re-working of the tech tree).
I could make a "generic building" icon and "generic unit" icon if you could fit it on on applicable tech labels? I think having a quick visual would be very helpfull? Maybe on the right side...

Something like this?

Image Image

I made the building and the hull, got the lock from here: http://www.iconspedia.com/icon/unlock-icon-20070.html

Or how about like this...I made my own lock but it looks to small. I need a better lock thats more like the first one, it looks clearer:

Image

Image

Komori
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Re: Reporting a playtest

#6 Post by Komori » Mon Feb 13, 2012 2:01 am

Geoff the Medio wrote:Could you be more specific about the encyclopedia crash you're able to reproduce? How exactly do you make it crash?
(...)
Crashes everytime I open the article on the species that have an empire on the current game. Really not much I gotta do, I click the link, it opens, sometimes it crashes as I scroll down, most times it crashes before i even try to scroll down.
And other crashes were it's listing planets or ships on the game. I'll play a bit tonight and try to pinpoint the specific moments were it happens.

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Geoff the Medio
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Re: Reporting a playtest

#7 Post by Geoff the Medio » Mon Feb 13, 2012 4:44 am

Komori wrote:Crashes everytime I open the article on the species that have an empire on the current game. Really not much I gotta do, I click the link, it opens, sometimes it crashes as I scroll down, most times it crashes before i even try to scroll down.
And other crashes were it's listing planets or ships on the game. I'll play a bit tonight and try to pinpoint the specific moments were it happens.
I can't reproduce those crashes. Posting the freeorion.log file from after such a crash would be helpful.

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Vezzra
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Re: Reporting a playtest

#8 Post by Vezzra » Mon Feb 13, 2012 10:12 am

Geoff the Medio wrote:I can't reproduce those crashes. Posting the freeorion.log file from after such a crash would be helpful.
Hm, he's on Mac, maybe these crashes are platform dependent. His system's specs are almost identical to mine, I'll look into it as soon as I get some free time...
Last edited by Vezzra on Mon Feb 13, 2012 1:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Komori
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Re: Reporting a playtest

#9 Post by Komori » Mon Feb 13, 2012 1:40 pm

A quick post to a crash that is unrelated to the ones I reported before. I was experimenting with a asteroid hull (forgot the name. the huge one, with many many slots) and it crashed as I scrolled down to read the status it would have (on the pedia part of the design window)
here's the log.
(i'm actually assuming it's the same issue with the other pedia crashes I experimented, but i'll reproduce the crashes that i mentioned before and post it here in a minute.)
Attachments
freeorion.log
(266 KiB) Downloaded 49 times

Komori
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Re: Reporting a playtest

#10 Post by Komori » Mon Feb 13, 2012 1:53 pm

And this is the log from when I open the pedia entry of an empire in the game.

Also, I tried reproducing a crash on the species entries and it did not happen. The planet list of all species in game had no problem this time.
I'll try and reproduce the crash I had on the monster list...

[EDIT]
And I just added the file on the monster crash
Attachments
freeorion.log
crash on monster
(143.13 KiB) Downloaded 48 times
freeorion.log
crash on empire
(143.13 KiB) Downloaded 44 times

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Geoff the Medio
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Re: Reporting a playtest

#11 Post by Geoff the Medio » Mon Feb 13, 2012 7:47 pm

Hmm. There's nothing useful in the logs after a quick look, so I still have no idea why you're getting crashes.

Komori
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Re: Reporting a playtest

#12 Post by Komori » Tue Feb 14, 2012 12:48 am

my best guess would be that my computer doesn't handle the code on the pedia that relates to information that is updated from info in the game (planets of the empires, effects of the stuff I put on the slots on hulls that have way too many slots for once). Honestly all i know is that it is related to the pedia, and to the parts that are updated from information on the current game. And it's not even all of them. I can open *some* of the info that is taken straight from the game. Just on some of those it crashes.
Wish I could help more, but like I said, i'm not much of a coder, I have basic notions but not enough to give much of a guess here.

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Vezzra
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Re: Reporting a playtest

#13 Post by Vezzra » Tue Feb 14, 2012 10:24 am

Ok, I've been able to squeeze in a few quick test runs and was able to reproduce at least some of the crashes described. As these seem to occur only on OSX so far, it looks like I'll have to try to fix this...

Ugh. :shock:

Unless there's someone at least a bit more experienced with C++ and programming on OSX around? Anyone? Please?

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Geoff the Medio
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Re: Reporting a playtest

#14 Post by Geoff the Medio » Tue Feb 14, 2012 12:58 pm

Vezzra wrote:As these seem to occur only on OSX so far, it looks like I'll have to try to fix this...
If you can isolate the specific line and/or conditions for when it's happening on by inserting debug output or using breakpoints, I might be able to fix it, though by then you're probably most of the way to fixing it yourself.

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Re: Reporting a playtest

#15 Post by neuro » Wed Feb 15, 2012 1:10 pm

I'll try to get it running, see if can duplicate the errors and log them. I develop on a Mac and am familiar with C though most of my professional programming is server and we based.

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