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For the discussion of our Sunless Skies, released January 2019.

First thoughts. I'm already in love Messages in this topic - RSS

ochrasy
ochrasy
Posts: 158

9/2/2017
all I want to say is:
  • where is everything why is space so big
  • holy cow this game is SO BEAUTIFUL
  • although I think I have this bug that it goes from "clear night sky" background to "weird orange fog" background apparently at random
  • IT'S SO HARD TO STEER i'm loving it
  • the writings on the screen are on point
  • the map is gorgeous! i love the cicles
  • I could only find two ports, but I didn't even care because everything was so pretty and awesome
  • at first I didn't like the fact that we only got the options "side with London" or "side with the we-want-independence-from-London crew". I wanted a "side with the Bazaar" option but then I realised... the Bazaar isn't here.
  • we're so not in Kansas anymore
  • THERE'S LIGHT EVERYWHERE I CAN SEE i'm so happy after all the hours sunk in Sunless Sea
  • have I mentioned steering is hard and I love it?
  • I hit an asteroid and it flew off and I love it
  • battle mechanincs are great. I love not needing to "start a battle", it just... happens. while you're floating around
  • the music and the sounds are A+

there's probably more. but as mentioned above, I only made it to two ports (the main one and the fungi one. and I almost died), but I will play more tomorrow. right not it's past midnight and I need sleep.

just a technical note, my pc sucks and while I was afraid it wouldn't play sunless skies (it plays sunless sea, but that's the only game it plays), all I needed was to take down a notch on the "quality" menu (from sublime to... great, I guess). however, the graphics still look amazing.
edited by ochrasy on 9/2/2017

--
Ochrasy. Monster-Hunter. Dangerous and Watchful, favors the Constables.
Robitaille. Persuasive and Shadowy, fond of the Devils.
Herr Horst. Seeker of Revenge.
Open to all social actions on all accounts. Preferably, send any MW-providing actions to Ochrasy.
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tbeaz161
tbeaz161
Posts: 29

9/2/2017
For #3: As far as I can tell when you enter a new "Region" a lot of the time the effects and images will just pop in like night and day. It's very jarring and I'm guessing something still getting streamlined and tested.
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Flyte
Flyte
Administrator
Posts: 671

9/12/2017
Thank you all for your comments – this has been a really interesting thread for me. I'd like to respond to a couple of the points that have come up to do with locomotive movement

Steering
The general impression I've gotten here and elsewhere is that most people like the way the locomotive moves, but that for some players it's unintuitive and preventing them from accessing the rest of the game.

We're not currently planning on making significant adjustments to the way the starting locomotive handles by default, but I'm interested in whether there's anything we can offer custom difficulty settings that would improve the experience for those who're finding it too difficult to control. To put that in context, our general approach to difficulty is still the one we described for combat in our Kickstarter pitch:
We want combat to be challenging, but we know that means different things to different players. So we'll provide a range of settings to adjust its frequency and difficulty, meaning that players can customise the experience to be right for them.
I already have some ideas about what settings might help with this. If anyone who's continuing to find steering difficult after they've spent a moderate amount of time were willing to share a video excerpt from their travels, though, that would be very useful.

Strafing and boosting
There's been quite a lot of discussion of lateral movement, so I thought I'd talk about how we ended up with the way it currently works. When we were designing it, we wanted to respect three constraints. Lateral thrust should:
  • Allow small course corrections during ordinary traversal;
  • Have significant tactical utility during combat, at a cost in heat;
  • Be useful only in moderation (it shouldn't be the primary means of locomotion, for instance).
At first, it worked just like forward or backward thrust: you could hold down a key to thrust in any direction for as long as you wanted. We quickly encountered a problem with that: to allow for rapid combat manoeuvring and projectile avoidance, lateral thrust had to be very powerful. But that meant the quickest way to get anywhere was to zoom sideways, like a steam-powered crab.

We then experimented with various ways of capping speed, so that even though you had more sideways acceleration, you couldn't actually go faster sideways. But that had all sorts of problems – the fastest way to travel became using both forward and lateral thrusters to slide diagonally, or using lateral thrust immediately killed much of your forward velocity, which felt unsatisfying (and was hard to understand – we've tweaked the underlying physics in a few subtle ways, but we've discovered some violations of it feel more intrusive than others).

We also briefly experimented with making it a binary thing, where you'd tap Q or E and get a fixed amount of thrust and then have to wait to use it again. But that meant you didn't really have enough fine control when traversing tight spaces. The current system was actually influenced by an idea about how it might work in practice: if you imagine that your space train has a chamber full of superheated steam that can be rapidly ejected, that it takes time to refill the chamber, and that you don't have to use it all up at once, the way it now works in game should make sense.

I think the current implementation is working well, and we have no plans to remove it – I suspect the podcast discussion mentioned earlier in the thread was specifically about its previous steam-crab incarnation.

A boost option for forward thrust is interesting; if we did add that, I'm pretty sure it would be an ability unlocked by a specific piece of equipment. The current set of movement options meets all of a captain's basic needs, and we're interested in giving players customisation options that have tactical and playstyle ramifications.
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Sara Hysaro
Sara Hysaro
Moderator
Posts: 4514

9/2/2017
I strafe more than is healthy simply because it amuses me, but I do find it's fairly critical in getting around without bumping into things. I think it slows your momentum enough that you regain more control over your locomotive, as well as putting yourself into a more favourable position to pull into docks without missing.

--
http://fallenlondon.storynexus.com/Profile/Sara%20Hysaro
Please do not send SMEN, cat boxes, or Affluent Reporter requests. All other social actions are welcome.

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MidnightVoyager
MidnightVoyager
Posts: 822

9/3/2017
A way to actually come to a stop would be nice too, just for docking. Even actually docking does not even stop you. You retain momentum still.

--
Midnight Voyager - A blood-cousin to predators. Collector of beasts. Affably mad.
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lady ciel
lady ciel
Posts: 2545

9/2/2017
I'm getting better at controlling things. Though I do bump into things frequently. It is very rare that I actually get out of that starting asteroid field without sustaining some damage. That is without using C until I am out of the rocks it still takes a lot of careful moving to avoid hitting anything as there isn't an easy route through the things smile

Sometimes I manage to just drift into dock but more often I have to juggle to and fro; back and forward just to get lined up.

As for combat unless I come across one of the dumb ships or one that is right next to something solid - forget it. I just use too much fuel trying to spin or chase and get it in my sights before it disappears or blows me to pieces.

But it is very early days and I am sure with a few more hours I might be able to get better. Things are not helped because I have CTS and a very old laptop with keys that stick sometimes. (I lost use of E at one point during a game).

I'm still enjoying the bare bones game and will like it more if I can actually start making money, at least more than I need to just keep myself in fuel and supplies, and not see that Terror metre tick up without a way to reduce it.

--
ciel

Sorry RL means I am not a very active player at the moment. No social actions unless you are prepared to wait and definitely no sparring or other mult-action things.

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storynexus name - reveurciel
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A Parliament of Hounds
A Parliament of Hounds
Posts: 37

9/2/2017
Strafing does seem to be the key to victory. I mentioned it somewhere else, but I rebound strafe, loot and weapons to the numpad and everything got a hell of a lot easier within minutes - giving strafe to dedicated fingers on a hand that wasn't already dealing with turning was the key, I feel.

I also agree with everyone here about the camera - in Hybras especially I seem to slam into that fungal spire on the left every single time I enter. It's more amusing because it's not like anyone on the locomotive could possibly miss it, but to me as a player it comes out of nowhere.
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A Parliament of Hounds
A Parliament of Hounds
Posts: 37

9/2/2017
MidnightVoyager wrote:
Okay, serious question, since I keep seeing it... Why is the inability to steer a plus?


It annoyed me for the first free hours until I rebound my controls, now I find it incredibly satisfying. There's an odd sense if achievement to be had in seeing a port and just swinging your locomotive into a spin, using the side jets to line it up perfectlya you drift in.

Or maybe I'm just weird.
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Jimmius
Jimmius
Posts: 31

9/2/2017
I love the controls. I actually feel like a proper captain, the feeling of learning how to wrangle my ship into the exact position I wanted it when an hour ago I was careening into walls is superb.

A key part of learning how to fly the ship is mastering the q/e strafing. Honestly I love the system as is, and would be very cross if they dumbed it down because some people are annoyed it's too clunky.
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Kloxe
Kloxe
Posts: 48

9/2/2017
MidnightVoyager wrote:
Okay, serious question, since I keep seeing it... Why is the inability to steer a plus? It's actively keeping me from enjoying literally anything about the game. The single enemy I have faced in the game is the ports. It's vast emptiness with not much to look at and enjoy punctuated with places where I might be able to enjoy the art if I wasn't so worried about slamming into it.

I would rather it be improved, but it's increasingly worrying to see so many people enjoy it.


Why is it worrying that someone else enjoys something that you don't?
(serious question, not sarcasm)

My take on the controls, as someone who enjoys them:
My train's not as easy to control as my ship was in Seas, but that's what makes it fun! That traveling now requires some skill makes it a challenge, especially in ports, which I appreciate. In Seas, getting from point A to point B was fairly easy, and therefore a little boring (though I did appreciate the atmosphere of the long lonely sea journeys. It's just that traveling wasn't exactly fun per-say, even if discovering new places was.).

Bigger ports like New Winchester are a little more difficult to navigate than is necessary, I agree, but I think this has more to do with the zoom level than the controls. If the view were just a little wider, I think I could better plan my engine thrusts and not crash quite so much. But still -- I really enjoy the controls. They feel fluid, and very much like I would expect a space train to fly (less friction in space = more drift). I also feel like the controls set a different tone for Skies, in comparison to Seas. While Seas was mostly me sailing slowly but steadily around the map, seeing how far I could go on one cargo-hold of fuel and supplies, Skies makes me picture my captain cackling madly while swerving and spinning around ports and asteroids, trying (and failing) not to crash. It also feels super cool that I can spin my ship while still moving in one direction. No specific reason for that, it just makes me happy.

--
http://fallenlondon.storynexus.com/Profile/Kloxe
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MidnightVoyager
MidnightVoyager
Posts: 822

9/2/2017
Well, it's worrying because I feel like I'm missing something or doing something wrong. And a bit worrying that if the final game controls like this, I just plain won't be able to play it. Traveling around is a big enough part of the game that it would be difficult to get around for the sake of the writing.

And I sorta had an opposite problem with the travel in Sunless Skies to you. It is incredibly boring if nothing is around, because there's giant, empty spaces of nothing to look at. The second I get near anything is when it becomes not enjoyable but stressful. There seems to be no middle ground between just chugging along straight ahead like in Sunless Seas and hoping I don't destroy my own ship like an idiot.

I wouldn't mind there being difficulty in pulling off combat maneuvers or cool tricks or something like that, but moving from point A to point B sounds like something that shouldn't be complex. If I can't get into a port or just get somewhere, combat is going to be a Problem with a capital P.

--
Midnight Voyager - A blood-cousin to predators. Collector of beasts. Affably mad.
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Kloxe
Kloxe
Posts: 48

9/2/2017
Reading some of the other posts here, I definitely agree with the sense of achievement that the controls give me. They make me feel more like a captain steering my train than a player pushing keys.

--
http://fallenlondon.storynexus.com/Profile/Kloxe
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Kloxe
Kloxe
Posts: 48

9/2/2017
MidnightVoyager wrote:
Actually, being able to see farther rally might be the answer to what my problem is, now that you point it out. The speed and the zoom are off.



I would really like a wider zoom, or maybe just for the camera to zoom out a little in ports. This would help with steering, and also give me a better sense of where I actually am in relation to the port. Every time I enter something with lots of islands, like New Winchester, I have to pull up the map every few seconds just to figure out where I am in relation to the docking station -- and then I end up focusing more on where I am on the map than flying around and exploring the port. It might just be that I'm used to the wider view in Seas, but the tighter zoom is definitely giving me some problems.

--
http://fallenlondon.storynexus.com/Profile/Kloxe
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Jimmius
Jimmius
Posts: 31

9/2/2017
Ah, I see where you're coming from now. I too have problems navigating around some of the tighter ports like New Winchester, but like Kloxe I think that's because the camera is too restrictive and you can't really see where you're going until you've hit it. While I don't think this is a problem with the games *controls* per se, I can see this being frustrating.

Anyway, thanks for clearing it up. I thought you wanted an overhaul to the system due to how emphaticly you seemed to be objecting, but I agree that moving the train around spaces that seem more suited to Sunless Sea's movement system is difficult when you are restricted to seeing about 10 ft in front of you.
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Jimmius
Jimmius
Posts: 31

9/2/2017
MidnightVoyager wrote:
Alright, come on now. What is this elitism here? "Dumbing down" can still be said as "make it more accessible." You find it satisfying, I find it inaccessible. A barrier to entry. I'm just trying to understand what I'm doing wrong with it, and the answer you're giving me is "Get good, scrub" like this is some kind of Battlefield or Call of Duty.

(directed at Jimmius, not you, Parliament, thanks for the actual polite response. My "Quote" button doesn't seem to be working quite right.)


Ultimately some people will see any difficulty as a barrier to entry mate. If I complained that the text was a 'barrier to entry' and requested FB removed the story that you love because of my dyslexia, I assume you'd have an issue with that. One of the biggest complaints everyone had about SSea was the movement and combat systems being mediocre at best, and they've improved it massivley to something I actually enjoy.

The depth that the more complicated mechanics provide might make the game 'less accessible', but Sunless Skies was never going to be a game everybody played, and trying to round off all the edges in order to rake in the most largest number of customers is silly. I felt genuinley enthralled after one particlar combat encounter I had with a pirate ship, in a way that I never was with Sunless Sea, where even the biggest ships fighting Mt. Nomad herself was a chore. That feeling of accomplishment only came because I had earlier struggled with being able to control my ship, and now I'm using it to weave between cannon fire to loose a point blank blunderbuss salvo.

So call me 'elitist' if you want. If defending one of the best changes they made from Sunless Sea is elitism, then I suppose I'm an elitist.
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Nanako
Nanako
Posts: 536

9/2/2017
With regards to strafing, i think a solution that would benefit everyone, would be to make holding a strafe button work like a normal thruster, but also allow doubletapping it for a quick speedburst like we have now.

And the cooldown on strafing bursts should be lowered or removed, because they already have a limiting mechanic - engine heat buildup

--
Sunless Skies needs engine and speed control mechanics. Have a look at my design proposal for implementing it

http://community.failbettergames.com/topic25687-a-design-for-engines.aspx
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Waylander
Waylander
Posts: 56

9/2/2017
While i agree that space feels pretty empty at this point, i think its a very early build so i can accept it. Other than that i have loved the changes (combat actually works now, rather than being a broken boring piece of junk, and the economy seems to work ok) still room for improvement though
edited by Waylander on 9/2/2017

--
http://fallenlondon.storynexus.com/Profile/Wilson~Vetenari
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JimmyTMalice
JimmyTMalice
Posts: 237

9/3/2017
I would definitely welcome the return of pressing a button to dock like in Sunless Sea. Manoeuvring the train into the narrow end of the dock is incredibly irritating when all strafing does is slam you into the nearest rock. I've taken more damage from crashing into things than from enemies so far, and that never happened in Sunless Sea.

--
Gideon Stormstrider, the Episcopalian Esotericist
Jimmy T. Malice, gone.

A Tale of Two Suns - Meeting Your Maker - A Squid in the Polls
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MidnightVoyager
MidnightVoyager
Posts: 822

9/7/2017
While it's still not easy to move around at all, that advice about strafing is a godsend. I finally managed to make a trip without drifting drunkenly into collisions!

--
Midnight Voyager - A blood-cousin to predators. Collector of beasts. Affably mad.
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A Parliament of Hounds
A Parliament of Hounds
Posts: 37

9/7/2017
MidnightVoyager wrote:
While it's still not easy to move around at all, that advice about strafing is a godsend. I finally managed to make a trip without drifting drunkenly into collisions!


Your crew probably thank you heartily. :P

I'm actually really enjoying the new controls now (after that bit of rebinding), but I still feel like some kind of boost is sorely needed.

And a whistle.
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A Parliament of Hounds
A Parliament of Hounds
Posts: 37

9/8/2017
Hmm... I wouldn't mind the thrust-&-doubletap option, but it seems like it would be easier just to increase the fuel drain, delay between boosts or heat spike.

On the other hand, is it really a problem if you can use it to save fuel? You'll look silly doing it over long distances, and I've already used it once to save myself from an icy death when I hit 3% just outside New Winchester. That was a memorable moment, using my last little boost to slam into the dock at 0%, akin to the momentum of a dying boiler carrying you into London.
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SarahTheEntwife
SarahTheEntwife
Posts: 50

9/8/2017
I'm in the "satisfyingly frustrating" camp as far as navigation goes, but I agree that this would be a nice area to modify for difficulty levels either in gameplay itself or the amount of damage you take running into things.

I am finding it unsatisfyingly frustrating trying to tell *which* things will cause damage if I run into them, and I'm hoping that either further updates to the UI will make it clearer or I'll get better at telling what the crisp "on the same level as you" items look like with more experience. It's annoying having used up more fuel than necessary getting around a big island only to accidentally "run into" it and realize I could have just sailed straight across.

I like that in general the gameplay is similar enough to Sunless Sea that I basically know what's going on and can recognize "ok, it's this style of quest", without just being Sunless Sea In Space.

--
http://fallenlondon.storynexus.com/Profile/Strel Retired zee-captain turned scholar. Open to social interactions of various sorts.

http://fallenlondon.storynexus.com/Profile/Winona~Tintenfisch Winona Tintenfisch, aspiring street urchin. Would definitely be up for some fisticuffs or loitering.
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Plynkes
Plynkes
Posts: 610

9/9/2017
Well, I am absolutely loving the atmosphere and Art Nouveau stylings. It's jut beautiful. But I'm not loving the bugginess. I can't interact with defeated enemies (it tells me to press R but nothing happens when I do), and just now I returned to New Winchester to find it... gone. Yeah, just up and vanished. Nothing there where it used to be. I've never done Early Access before, and this is kind of why. I'll be happy to return when the game is finished, but I think I am done for now.

I think that's a good thing, actually. I don't want to be spoiled and get tired of it before it actually comes out. I think that is a real danger with Early Access. I'm happy to wait until it's polished, finished and I can explore everything in one go. If I explore the Reach and its stories too thoroughly, I'm just going to be bored of that area when the game comes out and I have to do it all over again.

But really am loving it, and actual release cannot come too soon for me.

--
"Then tell Wind and Fire where to stop, but don't tell me."
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