Deep Dive new player review

Describe your experience with the latest version of FreeOrion to help us improve it.

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OkOrion
Space Krill
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Joined: Tue Mar 03, 2020 12:20 am

Deep Dive new player review

#1 Post by OkOrion » Tue Mar 03, 2020 12:45 am

Great game developers! Here's my review of a few weeks of obsessive playing (is there any other kind?) of 0.49

Tech trees are boring. I consistently got destroyed on different game settings from beginner to maniacal until I just blindly copied the AI tech tree path. Then I won (relatively) easily. Probably already in developement, I'd suggest an option of selecting one of several default tech paths that are competitive, that can added/modified by the player as the game progresses. I notice both AIs I was playing against used the same tech path, which kind of makes it seem like there's very few options for a winning path. Different options for default paths could include objective and disposition (like robotic+agressive vs biological+defensive ).

The games I played were relatively small (40 systems, 2 AI players), so this impression could be specifically related to that setting and my lack of finding an alternative. I found myself wanting more feeling of distance, and distance-related risks. This would be much longer starpaths (edges) between systems (nodes), so that more regions of space were inaccessible until longer-range techs (fuel tanks, scanners) were developed. I frequently encountered monster blocks on systems until I could defeat their weapon and shields, but I never encountered a system that was too far away to reach. So I'd suggest a setting of "wide galaxy" or "long starlanes", this could include minimum/maximum lane lengths, or average lengths. I'd love to try a game where the starter scouts take 10+ rounds to travel some single starlanes. Maybe they just get stranded, how does that relate to expansion and development?

Battles are pretty significant, but for a new player they can pass by almost without noticing. Where'd my fleet go? Maybe a sound effect or larger visual notice, modulated for the size and result of the battle?

The Pedia is excellent, music is great and the graphics are really very polished.

Congratulations, everyone.

Ophiuchus
Programmer
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Re: Deep Dive new player review

#2 Post by Ophiuchus » Tue Mar 03, 2020 7:34 am

Thank you for the feedback. There is the idea to supplant tech tree with themed tiers. While you could mix themes, a single theme should contain everything for a viable game with having to decide between fewer options than the whole tech tree which is probably more beginner friendly.
OkOrion wrote:
Tue Mar 03, 2020 12:45 am
I found myself wanting more feeling of distance, and distance-related risks. This would be much longer starpaths (edges) between systems (nodes), so that more regions of space were inaccessible until longer-range techs (fuel tanks, scanners) were developed.
AFAICR you can elongate starline length in the settings - that would make traveling take longer but not need more fuel (it is always 1 hp, 1 fuel cost) so scouts wont get stranded. You could also set more systems per player, and decrease the rate of planets, so often systems would be empty.
OkOrion wrote:
Tue Mar 03, 2020 12:45 am
Congratulations, everyone.
Thaanks :D :D
Any code or patches in anything posted here is released under the CC and GPL licences in use for the FO project.

Furthermore, I propse... we should default to four combat rounds instead of three ...for the good of playerkind.

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Oberlus
Cosmic Dragon
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Joined: Mon Apr 10, 2017 4:25 pm

Re: Deep Dive new player review

#3 Post by Oberlus » Tue Mar 03, 2020 9:59 am

Ophiuchus wrote:
Tue Mar 03, 2020 7:34 am
OkOrion wrote:
Tue Mar 03, 2020 12:45 am
I found myself wanting more feeling of distance, and distance-related risks. This would be much longer starpaths (edges) between systems (nodes), so that more regions of space were inaccessible until longer-range techs (fuel tanks, scanners) were developed.
AFAICR you can elongate starline length in the settings - that would make travelling take longer but not need more fuel (it is always 1 hp, 1 fuel cost) so scouts wont get stranded. You could also set more systems per player, and decrease the rate of planets, so often systems would be empty.
To expand on this:
As Ophiuchus said, each starlane takes up one fuel unit regardless of length of the starlane. Also, ships stationary in a system (any system) get +0.1 fuel per turn (some hulls get faster refuelling), so no matter how big is a galaxy map, any ship could eventually reach the other side of the galaxy with enough time (if there is a free path).
So to get galaxies where large portions of the map are unreachable in a reasonable time, you need bigger galaxies rather than longer starlanes. 40 systems for 3 empires (13 per player) is considered a packed galaxy, you bump into your enemies rather soon. Try 20 systems per empire for what is more or less the standard ratio, or any other value above that for more exploration and expansion before extermination.
Also, keep in mind that the galaxy shape (set at start) influences the spareness of the galaxy. For example, disc, box and *-arms shapes have more packed systems in the center and more sparse (with longer starlanes and less starlanes per system) on the periphery, while ring shape has more or less the same density in all its areas. Disc and box shapes have shorter galaxy diameters (measured in starlanes) than ring or box. So Ring or 2-arms shapes could the ones that will give you the longest distances (in hops) for the same number of systems per player.
OkOrion wrote:
Tue Mar 03, 2020 12:45 am
Tech trees are boring. I consistently got destroyed on different game settings from beginner to maniacal until I just blindly copied the AI tech tree path.
AI does not do optimal tech tree path. For example, it tends to neglect for too long Adaptive Automation.
Keep in mind that in most 4x games, like this one, the key for victory is in maximising expansion and exploitation (more colonies, bigger populations) until you really need to begin extermination (military), then keep the right balance between each one (expansion does not ends ever), and putting some effort to the "secondary" techs (like supply, detection or planetary defense) when necessary.
I recommend reading this and this.
I notice both AIs I was playing against used the same tech path, which kind of makes it seem like there's very few options for a winning path.
Not all AIs do that always, but also AIs are not perfect plus they are a bit behind with respect game content (e.g. they don't know how to use fighters properly, which really cripples them), so don't take them as a model, ever.

I'd love to try a game where the starter scouts take 10+ rounds to travel some single starlanes. Maybe they just get stranded, how does that relate to expansion and development?
IMO, with current content and balance, that would be just boring and unbalanced: in the time you are reaching the first system, 10 turns from start, you have already finished another colony ship and have now 2 of them with nothing to colonise because you have not yet scouted a single new system. You end up building outposts and war ships just because you don't know what to do with your PPs.
Unless you divide by 10 growth, production, etc. to match the exploration slow pace. And in that case I end up pressing turn 5-10 times in a row instead of just one before bothering to check out the logs.

Battles are pretty significant, but for a new player they can pass by almost without noticing. Where'd my fleet go? Maybe a sound effect or larger visual notice, modulated for the size and result of the battle?
Some kind of marker in the systems where a battle ensued could be nice, not sure if feasible though.
Anyways, you better keep an eye on the sitreps every turn. When you first start a game you get that window open with a bunch of information. Maybe it is not stressed out enough how important is that window for the player (i.e. player must keep attention to it, it's its only way to know what is happening). Very related to this, the fact that the sitreps window gets easily cluttered bu dozens of messages that are (most often) unimportant to the player takes its toll. Some can be removed/ignored (e.g. I usually disable repair notification and allied fleet arrival), but not really many or you end up missing some important information that could have save a fleet or a system. I myself tend to skim over too lightly and sometimes I end up losing some ships unnecessarily (I was notified in advance, "enemy fleet arrives to X next turn", I could have retreated or sent reinforcements). In the end, I just got used to devote the time necessary to review each turn's log or to accept the consequences.

music is great
Music is nice, indeed, but it's a lullaby, I have to disable it or it puts me to sleep.

defaultuser
Small Juggernaut
Posts: 704
Joined: Wed Aug 26, 2015 6:15 pm

Re: Deep Dive new player review

#4 Post by defaultuser » Tue Mar 03, 2020 7:27 pm

I listen to other stuff while playing, so I have music and sound effects off.

With tech, I think learning to manage the research is just part of player development. There are guides to help you at the start, but I think experimentation is key.

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