Author Topic: Feedback: game, crafting, lockpick/hacking implementation and loot (+ bugs)  (Read 4104 times)

agris

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Hey Styg, I've been playing Underrail for ~20 hours now and have some suggestions based on my playtime. I'm really looking forward to see where the game progresses, and I want to give you some feedback while it's fresh on my mind. I've enjoyed my one character in Underrail a lot (a sneaksy, gun using, mechanics/electronics/lockpicking/hacking psychokinesis using character), and all my comments reflect on that character type. I can't speak towards balance of the game for tank-like characters.

First, generalities.

Things That Were Good
  • Level design: Specifically, as a sneaky-hacker-pistol-psi character, the vent system was very well done. The timing for popping out of vents to evade security bots / cameras is near perfect. Combat encounter design was well done too, though I would have liked to see a bit more environmental interaction (similar to exploding barrels; ignitable oil slicks, etc).
  • Plot: while the writing leaves more to be desired (it's not hackneyed, just dry), the overall plot and subplot structure was enjoyable.
  • Combat Balance: based on my background, I was a bit surprised at how challenging the combat was. That is to say, I loved it.

Things That Weren't So Good
  • Documentation: maybe I should have read the Wiki more thoroughly, but the useful values of skills is only apparent to me now having nearly finished the v0.1.9.1 game
  • Location Names: in the context of quest dialogue, the worst offender is the Find Blaine quest (I thought of everything outside the SGS Platform as tunnels). Through flavor text (on zone entry?), in-game signage, or some other mechanism, the naming of important areas could be more clear.
  • Quest Rewards: You have a rich itemization system through crafting, but we're getting credits for completion of quests. Same idea for containers that require a significant combat challenge to access. More in suggestions below.
  • Writing: Competent, but flat (except for the boat captain's story of the Silent Isle). I'm sure you're aware of this, but the further fleshing out (or even implementation of) character personalities would add to the world.
  • Item Valuation: I see that in the future you're going to change item's durability as it relates to value, and I think that's a smart move. As it stands, I fix almost all weapons for resale because I can net 500 to 5000 credits on top of the sunk cost of repair

Bugs
  • This section of vent is not passable, despite it looking as if you intended it to be. It is the 2nd underground portion of the Old Junkyard
  • The word 'threshold' appears as 'treshold' on items which provide multiplicative bonuses to DT based on attack type

General Suggestions
  • The way skill checks for hacking and lockpicking are currently handled needs improvement. First, we have the case of some skill checks being hidden (like when hacking computer terminals, unavailable options are just greyed out without stating what the required hacking level is), while others are known exactly to the player (lockpicking, hacking boxes). Since this is a hardcore RPG, and for consistency's sake, I think all values required for hacking / lockpicking should be obfuscated. Additionally, I think there should be a random element in hacking boxes / lockpicking similar to Fallout. Why? Printing the % values on everything locked feels too 'game-y', and I enjoyed Fallout's system more (I know, this is objective). So, I've come up with these revisions:

    • If you're above 'locked' value X, there is a small chance you'll fail but you'll likely succeed, and if you do fail, you can immediately try again. This also reveals the lock difficulty.
    • If you're below 'locked' value X (but within a predetermined margin), you'll likely fail (wasting energy / picks) but you have a % chance, based on the delta between your skill and the locked container's skill, to succeed. If you fail but are within the margin, you also have a CHANCE (1 - failure chance, %) to reveal the lock's difficulty.
    • If you're below 'locked' value X (and outside a predetermined margin), you do nothing but break picks and waste energy. There is no chance to reveal the lock's difficulty.

    Mechanically, this works similar to the existing system. If you open it, voila, you're done. If you've got a chance to open it, you'll know because eventually the lock's difficulty shows and you can either continue to waste resources trying to open it, or come back later. Finally, players will know a lock is just too difficult when the difficulty of it doesn't appear after multiple tries. Now you've got a unified way to present skill challenges (terminal hacking values are always obfuscated, but should also incorporate a random element for success / failure). For containers / doors / whatever that are permanently sealed, I believe the game already prints a message stating 'this is impossible to open', so that is covered.
  • I believe crafting should be significantly changed from the current model. Principally, any COMPONENT that is OPTIONAL in an item recipe and has the highest skill required in either mechanical, electrical or tailoring (but not chemical or biological) should be able to be right-clicked and added to a valid(i.e. the respective recipe currently supports it) item. Having to craft a gun just to add LS, or an extended clip, isn't fun and doesn't add anything. Keep the skill requirements for adding the item (just as if crafting), but let us use an Image Intensifier Tube, Retractable Barrel or Black Cloth on an existing, valid item. By only allowing components that are optional in the crafting process to be added this way, there is no way for a player to improve the base quality of the item. Thus, for the highest quality and fully modded items, you still need to craft them.
  • Related to the above, I think context appropriate NPCs offering skills for a cost (sure, I'll attach this laser sight for a fee..), repair services and even full item construction would help the world feel more fleshed out and remove what currently feels like a requirement to craft. Put a $$$ premium on the service, but offer it in some capacity
  • Quest rewards should be more varied, and occasionally provide optional/unique crafting components such as a high quality X item or high quality / unique weapon/armor. It would also be nice if the world contained unique and/or pristine items of value (crafting or finished) hand-placed behind hard challenges (whether skill checks or combat)
  • Some NPC text during quests provides invaluable information, and it would be nice to get some Notes updated reflecting the most crucial info (again, Find Blaine, with regards to Katherine's text on his location).
  • Add a map. Not a minimap, but a proper 'hit M for map' map. I think a map rendered similar to the Infinity Engine games would be easiest, since you'll reuse the area map. Maps would contain full fog of war, and only reveal what you've explored. Some NPCs could provide maps (revealing the map) in exchange for credits or a service. An optional motion detector providing hazy red shapes in some radius around the player would jive nicely with this.

Ok, that's it. I'm sure I've forgotten some things, but those are my big takeaways. When play Underrail I see a lot of potential, and I'm really looking forward to playing future builds. Thanks again Styg!

(Finally posted this after slogging my way through 500 INTERNAL SERVER ERROR messages...)

Elhazzared

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Good feedback and sugestions in the overall. I will only disagree with your idea for lockpicks and hacking. The reason for this being exactly that each atempt you waste resources. In games like Fallout as you talked about earlier you had the benefict of not wasting lockpicks or anything at all, the worst that could happen was jam the lock and well, you just reloaded. Here you can still savescum to recover the lockpicks lost but I just don't feel this is right. It's better to just know how much you need for it if you actually have to spend any kind of resources to do it.

agris

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Thanks. I disagree though, in that in fallout the lockpick item (which wasn't required for picking locks, but provided a bonus) did have a chance to break. I can't articulate it better than that original post, but just displaying the value feels game-y. Akin to posting skill requirements next to dialogue options ala skyrim, FO3 or FNV.

What do you think about the changes to crafting? I really think changing optional components (esp. weapon components) to right click to add would make the current system better.

Eliasfrost

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Not seeing the lock level will probably make the player use a high level pick for an easy lock, which I don't have a problem with BUT! What if mechanics and electronics skills gave the player the ability to see the lock level up to the current skill level (20 mechanics can show locks with level 20)? Thoughts?

agris

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Lockpicks used to work more like in Fallout. Styg added the skill requirement display when he made lockpicks consumable & haxxors require batteries. I agree displaying the lock difficulty is kind of too gamey (and rather useless, since lockpicks don't even break if you fail to pick a lock)

I wonder if he's open to a merged system like nackidno suggested?

Not seeing the lock level will probably make the player use a high level pick for an easy lock, which I don't have a problem with BUT! What if mechanics and electronics skills gave the player the ability to see the lock level up to the current skill level (20 mechanics can show locks with level 20)? Thoughts?

Also, what engine does the game use? I assumed Unity but couldn't find it stated anywhere. I've been trying to get borderless window mode to work (for psuedo full screen enabling seamless use of 2nd monitor) but Windowed Borderless Gaming isn't positioning the window correctly and -popupwindow doesn't work (Unity 3.4+ supports this).


Eliasfrost

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The game is written in XNA.

agris

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Yea, that could work but I still prefer an introduction of randomness into the skill checking mechanics, even if toned down. It changes the binary nature of player skill challenges (lockpick, hacking,etc) to one involving random chance. Scenarios in which player skill is challenged will have a probability-weighted gradient between success and failure now, rather than a line. Think of it as flavor, increased replayability, whatever.

That is distinct from my desire to obfuscate the lockpick and hacking skill values, though I think a tiered response, including options to reveal the lock strength, is a good option.