Home » CHIT-CHAT » All About Gaming » Merc Tactics (indie squad based game looking for feedback)
Merc Tactics[message #355828] Tue, 13 November 2018 12:41 Go to next message
Lefty

 
Messages:23
Registered:November 2014
I am a big fan of squad based games and Jagged Alliance is one of my favourites.
I have being working for the last few years on a game called Merc Tactics, very much inspired by Jagged Alliance.
Recently, I released a demo on Itch.io.
I am in need of critical feedback, which is why I post here. If any of the experts here would like to try the game and give feedback to help me improve it, I would be very grateful.
You can find more details including a video and download link here: https://ed-welch.itch.io/merc-tactics
The game is in an advanced stage of development and well balanced. I think you will have fun playing it.

cheers Ed
Re: Merc Tactics[message #355829 is a reply to message #355828] Tue, 13 November 2018 13:55 Go to previous messageGo to next message
sevenfm

 
Messages:1919
Registered:December 2012
Location: Soviet Russia
At first glance, it looks better than all Ja2 sequels I've seen in last 15 years.
Is there a manual somehwere describing the game mechanics in detail?
Are there any hotkeys?
Would be good to have settings to inverse mouse zooming and panning.

[Updated on: Tue, 13 November 2018 14:11]




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Re: Merc Tactics[message #355830 is a reply to message #355829] Tue, 13 November 2018 14:48 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Lefty

 
Messages:23
Registered:November 2014
sevenfm wrote on Tue, 13 November 2018 13:55
At first glance, it looks better than all Ja2 sequels I've seen in last 15 years.

That's quite a complement, thanks big grin

sevenfm wrote on Tue, 13 November 2018 13:55

Is there a manual somehwere describing the game mechanics in detail?
Are there any hotkeys?
Would be good to have settings to inverse mouse zooming and panning.

At the moment, there is only the in-game help. Maybe I could do a "how to play" video? Some stuff is hard to explain without motion.
No hotkeys. This game is designed to run on tablets, so it's very point and click focused.

Another player told me that the zooming felt backwards, so maybe I got that wrong.
Re: Merc Tactics[message #355831 is a reply to message #355830] Tue, 13 November 2018 14:54 Go to previous messageGo to next message
sevenfm

 
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Registered:December 2012
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@Lefty I don't say that it's very good, but it's not visually disgusting unlike BIA for example happy

Quote:
This game is designed to run on tablets

It explains a lot. The way interface and controls designed reminds me of "battle academy" game.
I plan to play some missions and write my impressions here.

A video guide explaining game mechanics would be good.



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Re: Merc Tactics[message #355833 is a reply to message #355831] Tue, 13 November 2018 21:47 Go to previous messageGo to next message
ZedJA2

 
Messages:175
Registered:January 2018
I'd swear I've seen the name Ed Welch attached to a pc game before, probably in a positive manner. I forget which one though.

Pics seem positive. Thanks for showing a fair amount of the gameplay and the actual GUI in use in your game video. I'm getting very tired of seeing so many flashily edited, one second between camera cut, music video-style gaming trailers or videos. This one seemed fairly informative.

Graphics look good enough, style was interesting, seemed that gear changes show in the game screen, which is nice to see. Looked a lot like a turn-based version of Jagged Alliance Back in Action or a similar style game, which is good.

I'll probably download this game and take a look at it. If the Randomized Scenes (maps) and campaigns works out, this might not be bad at all, but a lot will depend on the actual capabilities and features within the game.

Even if this is just Hired Guns done right, it would be a pretty cool game. The problem in the past is things aren't done right in some oddball way on almost every Jagged anything. Maybe the first thing you did right was avoid the "Jagged" in the title and avoid the curse. Merc Tactics is also a promising and descriptive name.
Re: Merc Tactics[message #355835 is a reply to message #355833] Tue, 13 November 2018 23:39 Go to previous messageGo to next message
edmortimer

 
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I played it a bit - it's won't replace JA2, but what will? I will keep it and play some more - which is pretty high praise from me, actually . . . I don't keep a game around unless it's fun to play. I like what I see so far.




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Re: Merc Tactics[message #355849 is a reply to message #355835] Wed, 14 November 2018 12:20 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Lefty

 
Messages:23
Registered:November 2014
edmortimer wrote on Tue, 13 November 2018 23:39
I played it a bit - it's won't replace JA2, but what will? I will keep it and play some more - which is pretty high praise from me, actually . . . I don't keep a game around unless it's fun to play. I like what I see so far.

That's great, I'm glad you like it.
Re: Merc Tactics[message #355850 is a reply to message #355833] Wed, 14 November 2018 12:28 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Lefty

 
Messages:23
Registered:November 2014
ZedJA2 wrote on Tue, 13 November 2018 21:47
I'd swear I've seen the name Ed Welch attached to a pc game before, probably in a positive manner. I forget which one though.

Pics seem positive. Thanks for showing a fair amount of the gameplay and the actual GUI in use in your game video. I'm getting very tired of seeing so many flashily edited, one second between camera cut, music video-style gaming trailers or videos. This one seemed fairly informative.

Graphics look good enough, style was interesting, seemed that gear changes show in the game screen, which is nice to see. Looked a lot like a turn-based version of Jagged Alliance Back in Action or a similar style game, which is good.

I'll probably download this game and take a look at it. If the Randomized Scenes (maps) and campaigns works out, this might not be bad at all, but a lot will depend on the actual capabilities and features within the game.

Even if this is just Hired Guns done right, it would be a pretty cool game. The problem in the past is things aren't done right in some oddball way on almost every Jagged anything. Maybe the first thing you did right was avoid the "Jagged" in the title and avoid the curse. Merc Tactics is also a promising and descriptive name.


I wrote an iPhone game called "Armageddon Wars", but that was a long time ago.
Yeah, the randomised campaign and scenes are a key feature. It means if you play a second time the game turns out quite differently. I'm still working on the scene generation algorithm.
Re: Merc Tactics[message #355852 is a reply to message #355850] Wed, 14 November 2018 14:48 Go to previous messageGo to next message
sevenfm

 
Messages:1919
Registered:December 2012
Location: Soviet Russia
The game plays well, reminds me of pistol period in Ja1.



Is it possible to turn on showing remaining APs at the end of moving? Or am I missing something?
Enemies are smart enough to pick up weapons.
Graphics is simple but it has it's style and does not distract from game process.
It still has much less basic features than even Ja1 (no grenades, no destructible environment, no suppression etc.), but definitely playable and enjoyable.

The interrupt thing is still not clear for me. Why sometimes it is shown and sometimes not, even if I have enough APs? Why the interrupt cone disappears when the merc crouches?
Indication above enemies is hard to see, especially small text and when zoomed out.
No fullscreen mode.
Is there a hearing model in the game or enemy can only be detected by sight?

[Updated on: Wed, 14 November 2018 14:58]




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Re: Merc Tactics[message #355853 is a reply to message #355828] Wed, 14 November 2018 16:09 Go to previous messageGo to next message
ratpaz

 
Messages:137
Registered:April 2015
Location: Italy
Look promising, finally something that resamble me of Jagged Alliance.
Yes gameplay is still very basic, but it's going on the right direction
keep up the good work
Re: Merc Tactics[message #355856 is a reply to message #355852] Wed, 14 November 2018 18:58 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Lefty

 
Messages:23
Registered:November 2014
sevenfm wrote on Wed, 14 November 2018 14:48
The game plays well, reminds me of pistol period in Ja1.
Is it possible to turn on showing remaining APs at the end of moving? Or am I missing something?

The remaining APs is shown in the HUD.

Quote:

It still has much less basic features than even Ja1 (no grenades, no destructible environment, no suppression etc.), but definitely playable and enjoyable.

I wanted to release this game in a reasonable amount of time, so a lot of features are missing from version 1. Version 2 will have grenades - that's on the top of the list.
Quote:

The interrupt thing is still not clear for me. Why sometimes it is shown and sometimes not, even if I have enough APs? Why the interrupt cone disappears when the merc crouches?

The interrupt cone only shows when you are rotating the merc and it only shows in squares that are visible to the soldier. I don't leave it on permanently, because then you would have several interrupt cones overlapping and it's confusing. I'm still working on some ideas for that feature. It'll probably change in the next demo.

Quote:

Indication above enemies is hard to see, especially small text and when zoomed out.
No fullscreen mode.
Is there a hearing model in the game or enemy can only be detected by sight?

Yeah, I will try make the text bigger and I can add fullscreen.
The enemy can only be detected by sight.
The sound is attenuated depending how far from center of screen, so you could guess how far enemy is from the sound.
Anyway, thanks for the feedback. It's quite useful.
Re: Merc Tactics[message #355857 is a reply to message #355856] Wed, 14 November 2018 20:02 Go to previous messageGo to next message
sevenfm

 
Messages:1919
Registered:December 2012
Location: Soviet Russia
@Lefty
Thank you for your replies!
Unfortunately, the game suddenly stopped working for me - when I start MercTactics.exe, it shows OpenGL problem: Couldn't initialize GLEW! messagebox and exits.
Tried to reinstall it several times, still no successs. I don't think I changed anything in the system recently. Any idea how to fix that?

Quote:
The remaining APs is shown in the HUD.

Honestly, I don't see it. I see current APs, but not APs that will be left after movement to selected point. Can you show it on a picture please?
It would be more convenient if the game would show APs at last point of the movement right in the green square.
OK, I see the light green square now, but still it's not what I would want - it only allows to plot path for one single shot, and what if I want to move forward, shoot 1-2 times, maybe burst, and move into cover or retreat several tiles? I would have to count green squares for that and do all the math in my head.
Also, APs to fire can only be seen in extended view, so player needs to remember all APs for all weapons in the game, or constantly open extended view to check APs to fire.

I understand that sounds are only placeholders at the moment, but they are really the weak part of the game atmosphere. Would be much better if you add at least more city echo with reflections (sounds in Flashback, for example, are not bad in that).

[Updated on: Wed, 14 November 2018 20:49]




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Re: Merc Tactics[message #355858 is a reply to message #355857] Wed, 14 November 2018 20:40 Go to previous messageGo to next message
ZedJA2

 
Messages:175
Registered:January 2018
That's it, Armageddon Wars, I was going to guess that. I thought that game had a lot of interesting features. Unfortunately, it was a tad expensive. Looked like a cool pc board game implementation. I liked how the way the random terrain and so on was generated, using what seemed to be a board game type of tracking system, almost a hybrid of chits and cards, but generated on the fly for each hex. At the time I was wondering how one might program something like A.I. and procedural stuff using such a system, and from the discussion of Armageddon Wars I got the feeling that it was doing something that might be a good rationale for constructing such a strategic A.I.

Neoscavenger and Thea: Awakening seem to use a similar thought pattern, in a way. But I only own Thea so far. Sorry I didn't buy Armageddon, just that by then I was getting games on sale on Steam for usually under $7 each, so I wanted to keep on my budget.

-----

On Merc Tactics, are there multiple height levels? How is the traversing from one height level to another handled? In Hired Guns usually you had to use a ladder, but there may have been a hidden key for jumping or climbing up the wall? Most of these games cut corners somewhere, unfortunately, so sometimes the A.I. knows how to handle height levels, and sometimes it doesn't.
Re: Merc Tactics[message #355860 is a reply to message #355857] Wed, 14 November 2018 21:22 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Lefty

 
Messages:23
Registered:November 2014
sevenfm wrote on Wed, 14 November 2018 20:02
@Lefty
Thank you for your replies!
Unfortunately, the game suddenly stopped working for me - when I start MercTactics.exe, it shows OpenGL problem: Couldn't initialize GLEW! messagebox and exits.
Tried to reinstall it several times, still no successs. I don't think I changed anything in the system recently. Any idea how to fix that?

What type of GPU do you have? It might be caused by low memory or another application holding the OpenGL context. A reboot might solve it.

Quote:

Honestly, I don't see it. I see current APs, but not APs that will be left after movement to selected point. Can you show it on a picture please?
It would be more convenient if the game would show APs at last point of the movement right in the green square.
OK, I see the light green square now, but still it's not what I would want - it only allows to plot path for one single shot, and what if I want to move forward, shoot 1-2 times, maybe burst, and move into cover or retreat several tiles? I would have to count green squares for that and do all the math in my head.

Now I understand what you mean. So, you want to display the number of APs left in each square of the move path?
Quote:

Also, APs to fire can only be seen in extended view, so player needs to remember all APs for all weapons in the game, or constantly open extended view to check APs to fire.

Yeah, I guess I could display that in the main HUD view.

Quote:

I understand that sounds are only placeholders at the moment, but they are really the weak part of the game atmosphere. Would be much better if you add at least more city echo with reflections (sounds in Flashback, for example, are not bad in that).

Yeah, that's a good idea. Probably need music too.
Re: Merc Tactics[message #355861 is a reply to message #355860] Wed, 14 November 2018 21:36 Go to previous messageGo to next message
sevenfm

 
Messages:1919
Registered:December 2012
Location: Soviet Russia
@Lefty

Nvidia GT710 1GB, Windows 7, 4gb memory (64% occupied), Q9500 processor.
It worked today, but suddenly stopped launching. Maybe there was some background windows update, I don't know.
Other 3d games (directx) work well. I don't run any other application apart from usual background things like antivirus.

Quote:
So, you want to display the number of APs left in each square of the move path?

I think just the number in the last square is enough, since player is dragging it anyway and can test all squares he needs. Either AP to move there or remaining APs at that point (which is better probably as you already use light green to indicate remaining AP for a shot). On the other hand, showing AP cost may be better, for example, if you want to move out of cover or closer to enemy, shoot, and move back, you would want to know the path cost which you can then multiply by two and see if there's enough APs left for tne shot.

[Updated on: Wed, 14 November 2018 21:58]




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Re: Merc Tactics[message #355862 is a reply to message #355858] Wed, 14 November 2018 21:59 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Lefty

 
Messages:23
Registered:November 2014
Quote:
That's it, Armageddon Wars, I was going to guess that. I thought that game had a lot of interesting features. Unfortunately, it was a tad expensive.

No, my game was on iOS only. "Armageddon" is quite a common name for games, maybe you are getting mixed up with other game.

Quote:

On Merc Tactics, are there multiple height levels? How is the traversing from one height level to another handled? In Hired Guns usually you had to use a ladder, but there may have been a hidden key for jumping or climbing up the wall? Most of these games cut corners somewhere, unfortunately, so sometimes the A.I. knows how to handle height levels, and sometimes it doesn't.

No, there is only one level. I'd like to be able to climb on roofs like in Jagged Alliance, but I have to leave that feature til the next version.
Re: Merc Tactics[message #355863 is a reply to message #355861] Wed, 14 November 2018 22:10 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Lefty

 
Messages:23
Registered:November 2014
Quote:


Nvidia GT710 1GB, Windows 7, 4gb memory (64% occupied), Q9500 processor.
It worked today, but suddenly stopped launching. Maybe there was some background windows update, I don't know.
Other 3d games (directx) work well. I don't run any other application apart from usual background things like antivirus.

The only thing I can think of at this stage is to reboot.

Quote:
So, you want to display the number of APs left in each square of the move path?
I think just the number in the last square is enough, since player is dragging it anyway and can test all squares he needs. Either AP to move there or remaining APs at that point (which is better probably as you already use light green to indicate remaining AP for a shot). On the other hand, showing AP cost may be better, for example, if you want to move out of cover or closer to enemy, shoot, and move back, you would want to know the path cost which you can then multiply by two and see if there's enough APs left for tne shot.

Yep, that sounds like a good idea. I will do it ;)

[Updated on: Wed, 14 November 2018 22:11]

Re: Merc Tactics[message #355864 is a reply to message #355863] Wed, 14 November 2018 22:22 Go to previous messageGo to next message
sevenfm

 
Messages:1919
Registered:December 2012
Location: Soviet Russia
Reboot doesn't help unfortunately. I also have no idea what to do :-(

As for music, I'm not sure it will add much. In my experience, music in such games can quickly become repetitive and boring, so I just disable it.
Some background ambient would work much better for me - some wind noise, distant cars accelerating, distant shots time after time, some random or strange sounds, door opening somewhere etc, it would add much more to the game atmoshpere than just another boring music, unless you have something like work of Kevin Manthei or Mark Morgan maybe.
One good example of background music is in fallout tactics which sounds more like mystic ambient.

[Updated on: Wed, 14 November 2018 22:23]




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Re: Merc Tactics[message #355865 is a reply to message #355864] Thu, 15 November 2018 00:36 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Lefty

 
Messages:23
Registered:November 2014
Yeah, ambient noise is a good idea.
I don't know why the game stopped working. The only thing I can think of is re-installing the graphics drivers.
Re: Merc Tactics[message #355871 is a reply to message #355864] Thu, 15 November 2018 23:17 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Lefty

 
Messages:23
Registered:November 2014
I'm going to release a new version next week which should fix any problems with Nvidia cards

[Updated on: Thu, 15 November 2018 23:17]

Re: Merc Tactics[message #355966 is a reply to message #355828] Fri, 23 November 2018 23:44 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Lefty

 
Messages:23
Registered:November 2014
A new version 0.7 has been released. This was mainly to fix a problem with Nvidia cards, but also improves some features. You can download the update here:
https://ed-welch.itch.io/merc-tactics/devlog/57191/new-version-07

I improved the interrupt feature and re-balanced the "Fast burst" feature. Also the AP cost of the current weapon is shown in the HUD and the mouse wheel has been reversed.
I am going to release another version shortly that will incorporate the rest of the feedback people have given here.
Re: Merc Tactics[message #356005 is a reply to message #355966] Tue, 27 November 2018 21:30 Go to previous messageGo to next message
sevenfm

 
Messages:1919
Registered:December 2012
Location: Soviet Russia
Made a small demo video with 0.7 (with custom gun sounds)



Zoom scrolling is slow and not smooth for some reason.
New interrupt works well, why not enable it by default at the end of the turn, without manual activation? I see no reason not to use it, and it would save extra click.
How about automatic reaction fire - when enemy enters interrupt circle, merc fires one shot or burst, if there is no friend fire danger? if enemy moves to next circle, one more shot is fired.

I also miss fullscreen mode and camera rotation for better view.
Last time I was playing a campaign in 0.6, there was like 1-2 opponents in locations, is that intended? Not too difficult or challenging.
I've read about dynamic difficulty, but maybe include "die hard" mode for those who love challenge, with max AI and game diffuclty from the start?

[Updated on: Tue, 27 November 2018 23:21]




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"It's already "dog-eat-dog", friend. Not sure what worse a bunch of zombies could do."


Re: Merc Tactics[message #356024 is a reply to message #356005] Wed, 28 November 2018 22:50 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Lefty

 
Messages:23
Registered:November 2014
sevenfm wrote on Tue, 27 November 2018 21:30

Zoom scrolling is slow and not smooth for some reason.

New interrupt works well, why not enable it by default at the end of the turn, without manual activation? I see no reason not to use it, and it would save extra click.
How about automatic reaction fire - when enemy enters interrupt circle, merc fires one shot or burst, if there is no friend fire danger? if enemy moves to next circle, one more shot is fired.

I also miss fullscreen mode and camera rotation for better view.
Last time I was playing a campaign in 0.6, there was like 1-2 opponents in locations, is that intended? Not too difficult or challenging.
I've read about dynamic difficulty, but maybe include "die hard" mode for those who love challenge, with max AI and game diffuclty from the start?

Hi sevenfm,
Thanks for the great feedback.
I will try fix the zoom.

Yes, I can activate the interrupt automatically. I'm not sure about automatically firing though, because then the merc has no possibility to duck behind cover, nor does he have chance to choose target, or wait til the enemy moves closer.

I can add fullscreen, no problem, but camera rotation is difficult, because the game is setup for fixed camera. When a soldier moves behind an object the object become transparent, so you can still see him.

For the first few battles the player is still learning how to play, so I made it very easy. The map is organised into three "levels" and there is a "gateway" village connecting one level to another. None of this is explicitly marked on the map. Most villages in Level 1 only have one ore two enemies, but once you reach the gateway you will notice that it gets a lot more difficult. Stiil, I could add a setting to make difficulty always very hard.

The gun shots that you put in the video sound too echo-y to me, like if they were shooting in a big warehouse or something.


Re: Merc Tactics[message #356026 is a reply to message #356024] Wed, 28 November 2018 23:34 Go to previous messageGo to next message
sevenfm

 
Messages:1919
Registered:December 2012
Location: Soviet Russia
Lefty wrote on Thu, 29 November 2018 01:50
Yes, I can activate the interrupt automatically. I'm not sure about automatically firing though, because then the merc has no possibility to duck behind cover, nor does he have chance to choose target, or wait til the enemy moves closer.

After some playing, I don't see manual interrupt enabling as a problem, I think player can quickly get used to it. It just seems like unneeded extra click which serves no real purpose apart from showing interrupt area.

Quote:
For the first few battles the player is still learning how to play, so I made it very easy. The map is organised into three "levels" and there is a "gateway" village connecting one level to another. None of this is explicitly marked on the map. Most villages in Level 1 only have one ore two enemies, but once you reach the gateway you will notice that it gets a lot more difficult. Stiil, I could add a setting to make difficulty always very hard.

It's ok for novice player, but what if you played a game and start new? Early part will be boring then.

Quote:
The gun shots that you put in the video sound too echo-y to me, like if they were shooting in a big warehouse or something.

Yes, but I like them - they give a feeling of some real space, allowing better immersion since what you see on the screen is small and very limited field, so they kind of compensate that. Anyway these sounds are just to demonstrate how better the game will feel with more "3d" sounds, they are far from being perfect!



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"It's already "dog-eat-dog", friend. Not sure what worse a bunch of zombies could do."


Re: Merc Tactics[message #356637 is a reply to message #355828] Thu, 07 February 2019 17:22 Go to previous message
Lefty

 
Messages:23
Registered:November 2014
I released a new version of MercTactic0.8:

https://ed-welch.itch.io/merc-tactics/devlog/66882/new-version-08

It incorporates a lot of the great feedback that I got here.
I implemented the auto-interrupt feature and the user can choose whether they want manual or automatic interrupts - that should keep everyone happy.
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