First thoughts!

Very initial thoughts (haven’t even read all of this thread yet) after almost an hour of gameplay (hey, it was already 2am, but I had to try it out! NORTH! We must go NORTH!. Ahm… where was I? right…):

  • Love the names for the graphics options :-)[/li][li]The game looks amazing[/li][li]The game’s music is amazing


  • Some minor clipping text issues. Some words at the right hand side in the journal have their last letter missing or clipped.[/li][li]Really need mouse scroll wheel support for the stories/text area[/li][li]When going into Chart view, scrolling around feels… sluggish. The map scrolls around too slowly, and then moves way too much. This doesn’t feel like a bug, just an uncomfortable way to implement the scrolling.[/li][li]Not an issue, just found it hilarious when I’ve encountered a monster which had no graphics - it was just a name as text (so sorry I didn’t write it down) floating on the see in weird swimming patterns :-) Took me a minute to figure out what that was :-)[/li][li]The updating journal on the bottom left hand corner is useful, but a bit small, and I often couldn’t see in time what was written there and had to pause the game and scroll in that small window.


  • I don’t have an intuitive feel yet on how to read/use the ship indicators (hunger level, etc.). I see bars being filled, etc. but can’t translate this easily (yet) to &quotthis is good, plenty of time before I need to worry&quot or &quotaction needed ASAP&quot.[/li][li]When hunger strikes there is hardly any time to do anything about it, since unless I’ve very near to a port where food is available (Just London and Mutton Island, right? Maybe also Hunter’s Keep?) the crew will starve to death too fast.[/li][li]Despite reading the help, I couldn’t figure out how combat is supposed to work. Felt completely unintuitive to me. The start windows had control options and is said that firing weapons can be done with CTRL and ALT, or with the mouse buttons. So when I’ve encountered a monster, I’ve tried circling around it and clicking on it to fire at it :-) Only after one monster caught up with me I’ve realized that you go into a separate combat mode when you reach each other.[/li][li]Couldn’t figure out yet how to earn any money to but stuff at the shops (like supplies).

In response to you Dov, you can earn a decent amount of money just by going to places, docking, learning about the island and then reporting all of that back to the admiralty. You can also sell secrets instead of using them for your characters, but other than that I’ve run into nothing that really brings back money and it is so far incredibly difficult to not only maintain my ship, but earn any extra money for anything else. Everyone seems to agree about the hunger thing being rather bad atm. That was one of my first complaints as well since it ended my whole crew even while docked and buying supplies. [li]

[color=#009900]Thanks all![/color]

  • [color=#009900]that damnable choose-your-background bug! This is top of our fix list: we’ll look at it today. Sorry, folks.[/color][/li][li][color=#009900]The game is meant to be punishing (‘the Unterzee does not forgive’); but we will keep tuning Hunger (and Terror, which doesn’t have many teeth at the moment), and Echoes will be easier to find as the game and story both expand.[/color][/li][li][color=#009900]losing the contents of a fuel barrel when you dock is a bug: we’ll fix.[/color][/li][li][color=#009900]We use yards because Unity measures distance in meters: that stayed in as a placeholder measure for yonks, and we swapped it for yards in the messages so it didn’t look quite so aggressively anachronistic. It’ll change.[/color][/li][li][color=#009900]Dying of starvation in port before you can buy supplies is definitely a bug. We’ll sort it out.[/color][/li][li][color=#009900]Text-only monsters: I’d like to claim that’s deliberate art direction, and hey, we, might keep one down near the Iron Republic, but it’s a sign that you’ve entered placeholder-world. (You’ll notice the sea goes subtly grey when you get that far out of implemented-world)[/color][/li][li][color=#009900]&quothalf as many female avatar choices as male avatar choices, and no ambiguously gendered choices?&quot There are equal numbers intended as each, but it’s very, very hard to draw a silhouette that reads ambiguously to everyone, except where we actually put them in diving helmets. (EDIT: you can’t actually filter images by gender, because one thing we found in FL is that some folk wanted to identify eg ‘neither’ but use one of the ‘male’ images - so it’s just pick-what-you-want. I’ll be interested to see how that pans out in terms of perception.)[/color][/li][li][color=#009900]EDIT: one more. Mouse wheel story scroll - oh god, yes, us too - it turns out to be absurdly hard to do, partly because of Unity’s primitive support for text stuff compared to the web, partly because we wanted to use mouse wheel scroll for zoom. But it’ll be in there at some point![/color]

[color=#009900]We really, really appreciate all the feedback: but things which are definitely bugs rather than feedback are way more useful better at, because it makes it possible to consolidate the list and to ask follow-up questions. Alex’s bug re fragments, for example, we’re going to need to nail down when exactly ‘sometime’ is - crash reports, we need to work out exactly what the cause is.[/color]
[color=#009900]Anyway, it’s great to hear how much fun people are having with it. And a big relief - our guerilla testing has gone well, but we’ve been so close to it for so long, it’s hard to tell how it’ll work out. More updates very soon! [/color]

edited by Alexis on 4/30/2014[/li][li]
edited by Alexis on 4/30/2014

Alexis, I have two general questions:

  1. Do you prefer a separate email for each bug report, or should we consolidate our findings?

  2. Since I expect there to be a lot of discussions here on the forums during the Beta, is there a better way to track new posts other than keep refreshing the page? There used to be an option to register for email notifications (either per thread or per topic).

I’m also experiencing the bug where upon landing anywhere, the Who Were You screen pops up and it says I shipwrecked and none of the buttons to pick a past will do anything when I click on them. (They react to rollover, but that’s it.) Like the others, I had to manually quit the game, although I was running it in windowed mode so I just had to click the X.

In addition to Mutton Island, Hunter’s Keep, and Venderbight, this even happened when I sat in the London port, hit Launch, and then hit Dock immediately after. Quite vexing!

However, I was able to get around it by choosing not to pick a past, even though the lack of character customization grated on me. I wanted to get out on the zee!

Before I ran into this bug, I puttered around on the zee for a bit fighting a vast number of shiny golden crabs and heading vaguely southwest. I was getting sick of crabs after fighting what had to be at least a dozen (they just kept coming!) and jumped at the chance to fight a Khanate ship that showed up. They slaughtered me handily, and that was the end of my first captain.


[ul][li]Please make scroll wheels work on the scrollbars. It gets annoying after a while.[/li][li]The zee chart bounces around way too much when I try to have a look at it with click-and-drag. It shoots way past the bit I wanted to look at and into a completely black screen (since I haven’t explored much yet).[/li][li]Hitting enter on the FL login didn’t log me in; I had to click the button. This is the very most minor of inconveniences, but I did feel it was worth mentioning.[/li][li]Like other people have mentioned, the combat messages frequently say you’re attacking yourself instead of the monster/enemy ship.[/li][li]Also like other people have mentioned, the Gazetteer text is a little blurry and sometimes a character or two extends off the right-hand side of the page.[/li][/ul]EDIT: okay, most of these things have been addressed by our favourite tiger already. I wrote this post and then went off to play the game some more, neglecting to click the submit button before I did so.
I did find that Hunter’s Keep burned down on one of my visits but this didn’t give me any Port Reports or Strategic Information or anything, and you’d think the Admiralty would care about that.
edited by CameoAppearance on 4/30/2014

So my first thoughts.
First, to answer the specific questions posed in the welcome email

[ul][li]I use the half speed feature almost exclusively for entering ports. I don’t know if there is a difference in efficiency between full and half speed but the current fuel bug means it isn’t really worth thinking about.[/li][li]There’s a zoom feature. I completely missed when I first started playing around in the game.[/li][li]I didn’t save at all because I was just mucking about and dying fairly often. But haing multiple save files would definitely appeal to me.[/li][li]I did have to turn my screen brightness up a bit in order to see but for the most part I did like the lighting. Somewhat relatedly, the interval between your logbook noting a new geographical feature and it actually appearing was, I’m sure, amusing for anyone who might have happened upon me while playing as I swung the boat about haphazardly, fearing I’d missed the new shiny thing.[/li][/ul]More generally, as others have said, the art style and music are pretty damn gorgeous. Plenty of places are very visually appealing (eg. Gaider’s Mourn). One slight thing is I feel like the text is just slightly too small as I have to squint a bit to read place descriptions which is a bit of a turn off in a text heavy game like this.

As pretty much every single person has said, the current rate of going through Supplies kinda stifles exploration at this point. I found you could reliably sail between Fallen London and Venderbight and make a small profit but it felt like I’d have to do that for a long time before either a) I could afford enough Supplies to make a decently long voyage or b) afford any of the nifty toys/weapons for sale. So, in short, Hunger/Supplies is currently manageable (it’s certainly not broken) but there aren’t a huge number of options for managing it.

In contrast, and I feel weird posting this shortly after a post from Alexis stating that Terror doesn’t have many teeth, but Terror actually feels like it could be worse. There doesn’t seem to be a huge number of ways to reduce it (and those that do often cost money which I need for Supplies) and if I am on a long sailing voyage (I decided to spend all the profits i had accumulated and sail as far east as I could go) then I generally hit max Terror and steadily lose crew to &quotWaking in the Night/Drowned by Kettle&quot event.

I do know that the game is in absurdly early beta so I don’t mean this particularly critically but it currently feels like the only realistic way to begin is to grind the FL/Venderbight route for a few hours before actually branching out and making choices in the game. I’d love to see a few more choices for early play implemented as the beta advances.

Related to this, trading and economy. I have no idea how complex this is going to end up in the final game, whether there’s going to be changing prices, supply and demand or any of that. And I’m not too set on a particular level of complexity. It’ll be fun if it stays at roughly the current level or if they do change it and make it more dynamic. But I do like it. In particular, having each port selling supplies at different prices. It added an extra bit of thinking to plotting out your zee voyage as there were some places you just did not want to buy supplies from (looking at you Venderbight).

That’s one of the things which really made the game feel more nautically themed for me. That you had to not only think if you had enough supplies to get where you wanted to go next, but if you had enough supplies to get back to the place you want to buy supplies from.
All the trading stuff did highlight my big WANT for features I’d like to see implemented (a day into the beta and I already have declared the must have features for the game :P). I would really like to see the implementation of a journal. I mean in addition to the current journal in the game. I would like to see a journal you can actually write in. Whether it’s notes of trading good prices in different places or a reminder that I’ve sworn bloody vengeance against the Khantigan pirates for killing my father, Sunless Sea is the sort of game where I would really appreciate a place to take notes.

So yeah, game is fun.
edited by pirate-jesus on 4/30/2014

All the trading stuff did highlight my big WANT for features I’d like to see implemented (a day into the beta and I already have declared the must have features for the game :P). I would really like to see the implementation of a journal. I mean in addition to the current journal in the game. I would like to see a journal you can actually write in. Whether it’s notes of trading good prices in different places or a reminder that I’ve sworn bloody vengeance against the Khantigan pirates for killing my father, Sunless Sea is the sort of game where I would really appreciate a place to take notes.

So yeah, game is fun.
edited by pirate-jesus on 4/30/2014[/quote]

Oh yes, this! I have actually started keeping a notebook with the buy/sell prices of things, but having some elegant way to do this in game would be lovely - maybe integrating it with the chart? I did feel the need to annotate the chart which doesn’t seem to be possible. My bat found an undetected island just at the point where I had to turn for home and it would have been handy to be able to stick a pin in it to return to.

Actually that would really add value to the chart legacy! If you could fully annotate it, and plot out trade routes and points of interest it would really beef it up as a resource to pass down!

[color=#009900]In case anyone missed this, there’s an easy workaround for the Your Past bug.[/color][li]

I played a round for just under 3 minutes, having been caught by the auto-death-on-docking bug. But I do have a few things to say.

In the opening menu, the water froths really oddly beneath the buoy lamp. Super-low priority, but some more water-like frothing or waving or whatnot might be nice.

Also in the opening menu, it might be cool to have the game options in letters against the night, like the title, as opposed to in a menu box.

I’m playing on my hi-res laptop, 19801084 or something like that. The little journal, with the tiny little cards in the lower corner, seemed out-of-scale. I’m not sure what I think about that. Also, having the little cards on the side was a bit confusing at first - what do they mean? Are they status updates, or prompts for action, or what?

Things feel too small. I sailed out the stolen river, and reached Hunter’s Keep in very little time. I know we all want to keep the game moving along and all, but at the moment the interaction between graphics, sound, and the map give me the impression that everything is super tiny. This is compounded by the aforementioned issue with &quotyards,&quot and the supply issues mentioned. Fairly small boats have been easily provisioned for multiple years without too much difficulty, so running into starvation so quickly SHOULD help deal with the time/distance mismatch, but the visual and graphical cues are so much stronger, psychologically speaking, that Hunger is the point that seems out of place. As this game is set in the Neath, you don’t have the option of fast day/night cycles (which wouldn’t work really, as proper sea voyages could be measured in months!), but I think that some way of getting across the scale and distance in an effective manner, without making the game drag on forever, would dramatically enhance the atmosphere.

One thing I want to warn people about: If you click into a different tab of the Gazetteer before the location-specific storylet slides into place, it may cause the game to forget you’re in a port. That happened to me a few times, but I’ve had much fewer problems with the port storylets not loading now that I’ve made a point of waiting for them to slide into the sidebar.

Which I suppose is a bug, now that I think about it.
edited by CameoAppearance on 4/30/2014

Okay, me making stuff up aside - it is really amazing to be exploring the Neath in real time! I’m still very much getting to grips with things, but I’ll share the observations I’ve had so far:

Running at high resolution, the log book does feel rather small - it’d be nice to be able to drag it out and read more at once.

The left-to-right cursor takes a little getting used to, but I stop noticing after a while.

Things do feel a little small - what we see of Fallen London itself only seems a few minutes’ walk across. I think I’d feel I was getting better value for my supplies if travel distances were longer and expenditure was slower… but I dunno. Early days! Well, early day. Early hours?

Does anyone else find the supply of pirates and zee-monsters drying up after the first rush of inquisitive crabs and small ships? Is that an intended feature of the demo?

Also, I was woken in my cabin by the shouts of my crew, reporting that the last member of the crew - me - had hurled himself overboard during the night. Game over.

I just had a rather marvellous adventure - did the Venderbight run until I could no longer stop over at Hunter’s Keep, though I did pick up a new Officer there. Upgraded my engines and guns, then set out east. Picked up a new crew member at the Iron & Misery Company; promptly lost them to the stalagmites of Gaider’s Mourn. Defeated a Bound Shark and found the diary of a survivor of the Tree of Ages in its belly. Zailed through the Principalities of Coral; took on a zailor with a zecret. Was eventually wrecked off the coast of Codex by Mt Nomad. Thoroughly marvellous!

Responding to the specific questions:

I use the various speeds quite a lot, for navigation and docking.

I zoom out for travel, but I’ll zoom in to look at new pretties.

I haven’t messed around with saving at all yet - just been exploring the features and generally dying in the process.

Brightness-wise, I’d say it’s just right.
edited by Sir Frederick Tanah-Chook on 4/30/2014
edited by Sir Frederick Tanah-Chook on 4/30/2014

Man, I slack on installing this and when I get here, just about every issue that’s come up is discussed. Win!

Does anyone other than me feel that the text reads a little… I dunno, blurry? Like my eyes are a bit out of focus on it?

I’m at 1200x768, Sublime graphics, fullscreen if that helps.

Time to actually answer the questions!

[ul][li]I zoom somewhat, mostly when I’m docking. When I’m at a port I want the best view of the port and when I’m at zee I want the best view of the zee. I do tend to just leave it at a medium or long zoom though.[/li][li]I also only use half speed when I’m docking. They seem to consume the same amount of fuel, but the faster you go the sooner you’ll reach your destination and the less you need to feed your crew, so zooming along is generally preferable except for navigating tight quarters.[/li][li]I couldn’t find the manual save initially and then later discovered I could use it in London but not at zee (dunno if I can use it while docked elsewhere). I do think manual saves are very handy so I can go back to the point before my crew started eating each other, when times were still good. The roguelike thing where you have to start over if you die never appealed to me.[/li][li]Visibility’s just right![/li][/ul]Also, another thing. In my first run I got absolutely mobbed by those glowing crabs off the coast of London and to the southwest a bit (which was great for supplies but a bit tiresome) then they hardly showed up again after my first death and I didn’t get much of anything to fight. The crabs did turn up again at the beginning of my second game, but not in the same kind of swarm. (Which is just as well, because the swarm was getting on my nerves. But, like I said, they were great for supplies.) They don’t seem to return after your captain dies though.
edited by CameoAppearance on 4/30/2014
edited by CameoAppearance on 4/30/2014

Someone else has mentioned that, actually. I didn’t find them blurry, but perhaps … soft edged? Perfectly readable but with a hint of ‘but’.
Native resolution for me: 1900x1200. Big monitor (24? 25? many inches, anyway). Sublime graphics.

Emphatically seconded.

Someone else has mentioned that, actually. I didn’t find them blurry, but perhaps … soft edged? Perfectly readable but with a hint of ‘but’.
Native resolution for me: 1900x1200. Big monitor (24? 25? many inches, anyway). Sublime graphics.[/quote]
Excessively anti-aliased is how I’d describe it. It reminds me of the Windows 7 option to use ClearType text, which antialiases the crap out of basically all your text and makes small font sizes look blurry/smudgy and weird if you’re used to an earlier version of Windows. (I hate ClearType and could not turn it off fast enough.) Sometimes it does look a bit out of focus and if I stare at large chunks of Gazetteer text too much when I’m not prepared for that effect I get a headache.

I’ve got it in 1280 x 768 Windowed mode, with Sublime graphics.
edited by CameoAppearance on 4/30/2014

Just a couple initial thoughts before I head to work; I’ll post more after, or just edit in.

The crew portraits in the top-right feel like they take up too much real estate; I think if they had their height and width halved, or if there were a way to collapse them into a deck when zailing, it would help immensely.

I think the hunger pacing would feel less of an immediate hurdle if the cost of supplies were in the 50-70% range of current cost. Just my gut feeling, but possibly worth trying out.

Is it intended that I can’t talk to every officer?

Emphatically seconded.[/quote]

[color=#009900]This is something we’re looking at. My suspicion is that a lot of the beasties have actually wandered off into other parts of the map. after extended play, and the population limits prevent respawns. Whether or not that’s the case, we’ll be addressing it.[/color]
[color=#009900]re: text appearance - this is also something we’re looking into. As per Liam’s blog post re: text from a ways back, text rendering in Unity is a PITA.

[quote=Alexis Kennedy]
[color=#009900]This is something we’re looking at. My suspicion is that a lot of the beasties have actually wandered off into other parts of the map. after extended play, and the population limits prevent respawns. Whether or not that’s the case, we’ll be addressing it.[/color]

There’s something rather sweet about that. Given the option, the beasts of the Zee quietly wander off to live their lives peacefully away from the trigger happy boat steaming madly between London and Venderbight.[/li][li]