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list of biggest concerns/problems ?[message #337383] Thu, 30 October 2014 17:08 Go to next message
Registered:October 2014
Hi guys, a brief proposal: why not listing here the biggest problems we are finding in the actual game?

I happen to be in the process of reviewing the game for eurogamer.it and being a huge fan of JA I would like to give the game all the chances I can. That doesn't mean I will be partial or unfair, that means I will try the game extensively and ask you guys if a problem I find is really such or maybe there is some workaround.

First example: I'm having problems with visibility. Palm trees get in the way and the "four angles" way of rotating the camera is definitely not a good tool to deal with this. Night time and rain worsen the situation to the point it becomes a chore to play. Am I missing anything here?

Re: list of biggest concerns/problems ?[message #337388] Thu, 30 October 2014 19:02 Go to previous messageGo to next message

Registered:January 2000
Location: Danubia
Well, there are two different sets of problems (even 3).

First there are the Unity4 problems, with optimization and support for external files. That causes a lot of lag in the sectors atm. And forced FC to repack assets such as sound files back into standard unity assets libraries. Everyone hopes Unity will drag their arses and solve those issues, otherwise it might turn out that Unity sucks as a platform for moddable games. This led to things like reduced vision. And problems with extra effects such as rain.

Second there are issues that have already been reported during beta test, either annoyances or bugs or balance issues. I won't comment why or how it came to be that JAF devs had to work overnight to deliver the game on steam on October 21th since those would be only assumptions.
These are the kind of issues that make up a long list of TODOs on FC's walls atm. Some are complicated, some are easy to fix... but there are only so many hours in a day. But these are the kind that are on the mind of the devs as "good/nice/must have". I'd mention only merc interactions with all the banter and weapon attachments and everyone gets the idea what I mean. And of course stealth, which they kinda expected to be in and turned out it's still buggy.

Third, there are features that have been simply left out because they would've take so much time the rest of the game would've ended up even more feature-less. Multi-level combat, CGI movies, JA2 like Elliot scenes, vehicles, stuff like that was at the bottom of the priorities and didn't make the cut. And they're still there.

So when we talk about features missing or bugs we need to put them in their proper categories.

As a hardcore JA2 gamer, I love the fact that I can tweak whatever I don't like about combat very easy. Even the vision range. If I want a .50 BMG rifle to go through everything, I make it go through everything and hit stuff 100 tiles away. If I want knives to be fatal, I make them fatal. And I can do this while I play, don't even need to start a new game. These are so easy, I can't even call them mods. Packed together as an overall re-redesign, yes, they can become a mod, but on-the-fly changes are just so easy...

The above are small tweaks available to any gamer, JA2 v1.13 style. To reach 10% of the same with BIA, for example, we had to get a great programmer like svobovyc to hack the game to bits and use 3rd party tools. Not nice. And let's not mention BIA... let's consider how many years of research and coding v1.13 took until it got to present day externalized XML format.

So JA:F packs a lot of potential, under a very modest appearance. I can only express this with a plastic description:

This is a DYI project. You get a diagram, a small demo of how it is supposed to work, but in the end, it's up to you what to piece it together and make it work as you like it. Some people like to buy model cars that come with a display case and are ready to place on the shelf. Other people like their model cars in bits and pieces that need to be glued together. FC's promise was never to glue the car for you. All they MUST do is to make sure all the core pieces are in (like 4 wheels, not 3) and those that are in are perfectly polished so you don't cut your fingers.

At least that's what I wanted from JA:F and that's why I am happy with FC's work so far.

Re: list of biggest concerns/problems ?[message #337390] Thu, 30 October 2014 20:13 Go to previous messageGo to next message

Registered:July 2006
Location: France
Palm trees problem has been discussed with Thomas@FC in da big Twitch with Shanga. It's on their todo list i guess, Shanga asked for an option in the menu to toggle treetops on/off, let's hope they change it.
If you really can'ts stand having your view blocked, you can still edit the camera angle and position in "Jagged Alliance Flashback\game_Data\StreamingAssets\Original\Data\GameSettings.json".
Re: list of biggest concerns/problems ?[message #337400] Thu, 30 October 2014 23:37 Go to previous messageGo to next message

Registered:January 2004
Location: Broken Arrow, OK
You would think that a transparent or semi-transparent texture could be used in place of the actual leaves, that would basically correct the issue of the leaves blocking so much of the view, although it would do nothing about the poly count of so many trees. Similarly, I think some of the shelves should be textured assets instead of individual items. It shouldn't make the game look to sterile if you have a box that looks like a lot of little things as opposed to polys that make up a lot of little things.

I also think the camera needs a free rotate mode, the little alleys and such between houses are very hard to see down at times due to the 90 degree jumps of the camera.
Re: list of biggest concerns/problems ?[message #337402] Fri, 31 October 2014 00:43 Go to previous messageGo to next message

Registered:August 2006
Location: Bavaria - Germany
why not listing here the biggest problems we are finding in the actual game?

Oh boy, this is gonna be a looooong list!

Actually, it's gonna be 2 long lists at least:

1. Problems with the current state of the game and its implemented features

2. Problems caused by missing but important features not yet implemented

There really is a LOT that bothers me about this game currently, so much in fact, that i hardly know where to start.
And it is not only the really big problems resulting from bugs and a general lack of polishing or missing features, but also the sheer amount of small annoyances that stack up. Like many missing sound effects for footsteps, enemies, UI elements and so on.

Right now, JA:F isn't even an unpolished diamond for me, but rather a lump of semi-compressed coal.

But yeah, we'll have to analyze the current state of JA:F and then start making lists of all the things lacking and in need of fixing.

And maybe it would be a good idea to split those lists into one for crucial core features, which only the devs can provide, and one for things that modders can actually fix.

Re: list of biggest concerns/problems ?[message #338250] Sat, 13 December 2014 09:35 Go to previous message
Registered:May 2013
Mauser, I have the same problem. So I decided to write down during playthrough what bothers me. It is more narrative but a good modder can read it and think of the features/mechanics that needs tweaking. It is so a wall of text:

I think you need 1 year to tweak the core game and add only those features that are necessary to avoid frustrating gameplay. For example reatreating is a must have features as it forces me to play the game different than I would do in a open world game. But it is unfortunately a new feature.

Even the guy making it's own unity Jagged Alliance did a better job in terms of burst and auto fire. I think compared to JA2 it is just not smooth/cool.

So here is my narrative view atm:
You get it that I am a bit frustrated with the game design. So a wall of text. The game could be so much better. We tried to explain during alphas that the UI is crap. Now, I know why, again I was so frustrated during development seeing the first UI shots! It is crap and it is definetly annoying and no one even bothers to complain (Shanga still thinks we can solve this via HTML UI). If possible - yes do it Smile
Because after 1 playtrhough I don't know if I can do it one more. That is sad. Here are a few examples:

Sector management and looting:
In JA2 after you cleared a sector you wanted to go through the houses and find stuff. In JA:F you barely find anything and the lockers are hard to identify (3D ok) and there is no challenge. No closed doors, no hard locks to pick. No such skills and weapons needed. But if you wanted to crack the doors/lockers you needed heavy equipment (crowbar) or a more rare lockpick set. So this is tied to the fact that you can carry only so much (which is not implemented in JA:F either). The looting was an interesting aspect. Shops were rare and shops were connected to different sorts of people. Arms dealer, dealer for drugs only etc. (I don't know, perhaps they exist later on in the game). These shop dealers had a voice, a story and a portraits (animated) in the selling screen. So project to rework shop, UI, dialogues, portraits.

The drag and drop of items, the popup of the inventory system - I tried to explain with screenshots during the development of JA2, that it will be a hassle if you not at least take into account the hourse the JA2 designers spent to develop the bottom menu. Did FC not listen or did the UI designer just change everything and left in a hurry? E.g. when I select to get the equipment in the squad inventory, I have to close the empty container/inventory screen to open the inventory screen again. It is annoying. In JA2 I could reload from the sector inventory. I can't do that from the squad inventory.
The worse: I can't switch an item with another from squad inventory > merc inventory. Then this error message appears: "Not enough AP" appears - in real time mode. WHAT?
A newer item dropped on another in the merc inventory should always replace the former item! You can learn that if you played JA2 long enough. And of course in JA2 you had this highlighting if you hover above a weapon the munition that could be used with this weapon is highlighted.

I said that this kind of ammo boxes totally freaks me out. And it does. Really I have your mod installed and I never guess the kind of ammo boxes I need for a weapon. Although the weapons/sounds/graphics are very nice implemented, the ammunition has been forgotten totally.

I don't want to read stuff in small letters if don't have to. It should be intuitive and natural to have a short learning curve and then you know how soviet ammunition, 7.62 and revolver (round clips) clips look like. Form and color!!!
In JA2 you just ignore round clips in the late game. Because they are only for revolvers. That is intuitive. Now in JA:F you have only boxes. The only way I can reload is to pack every ammo box into my to little bag and wait to see the reload button. If I see it, I magically have suited weapon.
his is bad by design and of course one could live with it . But my standards for this game are as high as an 10+ year old JA2. Reloading in JA2 was manageable. And the difference is it was kind of fun , the looting and managing. Mainly because of the working ui/drag and drop system as magnet design. You know what I mean? Dragging the items with holding the left mouse is nothing you wanna do all day long. Why not use the JA2 magnet drag and drop system?
Splitting is also as others stated, badly implemented withouth knowing what the players main use case is. So what can be changed? Everything in terms of UI and looting/management: Replacing, drag and drop, reloading per drag and drop from squad inventory, better descriptions, ammo clips instead of boxes, item degradation, item weight. Also the prices of weapons are unbalanced/unbelievable. In JA2 you had a range from 30 - 5000$. No you have 10 - 500. So the weapons feel cheap. There is no weapon to buy used or used with attachments (I dont know). But I was happy in JA2 to find weapons with the green star on the weapon picture because I knew then it got pimped with attachments. Oh yes we love them and it is soo good there are implemented now. But I don't like the too small pictures and some icons look so identical equipped - ok better than noting.

As new players said - the interrupt system is in theory good but in the gameplay I still prefer the JA2 style. It is smoother and avoids so much clicking "o" and management that is distract me from fighting. The frustrating thing is...if I don't go into full cover and use the interrupt system, I have to click it on all the time after each round, after loosing eye contact to the enemy. In JA2 I could camp behind a house, reload and if I placed my mercs in a good manner, I got the interrupt of at least 3 merc automatically and used e.g. a silcenced smg. The magic word is automatically. I still think that in real time mode (as we loose eye contact often) you need to be able to focus/interrupt automatically. That could be added additionally to the now used system as it only applys in real time mode.
In JA:F all tactics I read here so far is front fight with snipers in back. No urban tactics/flanking/roofs/close doors, dynamite etc. That has also to do with the fact that there is no possibility to place the mercs in the minimap and split teams from the start. How does the community think in this matter on JA galaxy? Is there someone that really WANTS the new system to not be touched/changed?

As many said it -> is a mess. Training milita for 20$ a day, having to to that from the small icon with the unnecessary popup. Why not on the left where the other actions are? Can I use more mercs to train - I don't know because I can swith it only on in the sector itself and not on a per merc basis. So can I not influence the duration to train? Which merc does train better? In JA2 you had the skills for a task displayed, while using it (80/116) so that means Ira now uses 80 points to train militia in sector and if she would be well rested, she can do 116 points. So a merc with 60 can traing half as many milita in the same time. Everything missing! Can I split milita from sector to sector like in JA2? Don't know in Badilla we don't need it because of the ferry they arrive first in the Badilla sector. If you want the same strategic level like JA2 had, you need to rework the UI on the left, the milita, the training, the healing, repairing, sleeping, contract management, balance sheet, hiring process.

You can barely do anything in the strategic map. The timer don't have the automatic stops and JA2 had to it runs even if I don't want it to. And you guess: In one of these threads we talked about these issues. So does anyone like the new strategic map? Of couse it looks good but I cannot manage anything it is just a layer implemted way to late in the dev process. It has to be as good and managable as JA2. If you don't think so, FC, than there is no way a JA3 makes sense. But if you think JA2 did a good job there and you did not have time to experiment or implement, it is ok for me.

At least the animator did a great job. Unfortunately he had not enough time to implement variants and of course death animations and bleeding, lying on ground - turning, stealing, ninja style boxing, everything that JA2 had. To make fights even more exciting and believing. But an animation project should be implemented as well for the lacking animations and more variants when it comes to hit animation and death.

Friendly fire: Yes, if you are in a clear line of sight it can happen. But it happens to often and there is no solution!? You can do better. If I have a sniper in the real world 50m behind the front he can manage to shoot over the shoulder of his friends. It not, you could say something like "Shoot really - but Buzz is a friend". The hitbox of a the merc does perhaps not differentiate between shoulder and head. But there is no way I am accpeting this. And if it is 3D engine related - perhaps JA2 is a 2D game. Also the AI could be smarter (posted the picture above) not to stand in a row and shoot themselves constantly. The best solution for me would be to have a mod that change the file so, that there is no friendly fire at all (so perk for everyone at level 1). If that is even not believable, it could be a workaround to avoid boring fights and frustration.

And these are the little things that people feel when they play a half cooked game. So they complain about it in steam. And I am glad we did not implement more features (JA2 had many more features and details) because nearly every features in JA:F needs tweaking or a big change. And that cannot be done by modding it.

I think if you analyze the game as a player critically, it seems that the bad reviews are not taking these details mentioned into account. If they would, the same numbers like (5/10) would pop up in new reviews. So if you are an experienced gamer why not stating after 3 hours of gameplay that the game is half baked and frustating? It is not only troll it is sometimes a valid opinion!

I don't want to speak ill of the game all the time. I want to state the facts and the bugs and I wonder why so many points were not adressed during alpha. That is frustating as we spent so much time and would have spent more on it to make it better. As you can see with the shop - it is done fast and half baked without implementing any feedback from the community. In the current state it is not the game I expected and backed for.

Don't get me wrong - someone could say - don't speak and stop playing if you're just complaining. But don't forget the amount of time we spent in the alpha/beta, the money and the heart we put into this game. And the vision and the "role model" JA2 and 1.13 showed us, that this kind of complex game can be fun to play and manage.

I did not vote the game down in steam (I hope I can someday review a 8/10 for JA:F reloaded). So these statements can be used by modders to think of the most important stuff to do. For me it is a few features, more JA2 soul and a lot of UI, not content.

Another prob is that everyone here has it's own view of how a feature should be implemented (red skirt color!). So how you gonna fix that so that you can come up with a mod that is between JA:F reloaded vanilla and 1.13 and please a majority so you can earn money. You need to have kind of rules/statements that can be applied to every features and find use cases for that. Like "Don't fix what is not broken and copy from JA2 1.13. Or "We need to be more gameplay orientated and not realistic if we have to decide". Those ground rules can help to state what your goals are.

You could even create 2 personas that represenct the players you wanna address. If you develop for yourself it will be like FC. A persona is a person on paper you talk about in the design process which has a picture, story, problems in the game (collected feedback) and goals and needs. You need to address those needs and goals.
Persona is called "Ira". :bravo:
You want to implement more weapons as a weapon pack or as default. You can ask the community and everyone has a different opinion. But everyone know Ira, the persona. So you say: Ira has a problem with managing items (UI!) and finding the right ammo. So her goal would be to have fun with item management and not to be frustated. So you don't add a weapon pack withouth fixing the UI before. Or you do so by making it optional/a seperate weapon pack in steam workshop. No one will crizize Ira as you agreed on her goals and problems she has now while playing the game.
What does Ira think about the color of the red skirt? Oh she has no goal/interest here so pick someone of the community to decide it based on JA2. No one complains as Ira does not care.
I as a player do not care as long the neon red will not force me wear sunglassed when playing JA:F reloaded :laugh:

You have to address the feelings/needs of player rather than talking about features itself. A good immersive gameplay is all about interesting story, not being frustrated by game mechanics and core gameplay. So instead of everyone rasing their own problems, I would collect them and phrase them so, that IRA has a set of goals that can be used to decide things before and during mod development. This concept is used by marketing but also software consultants / UI experts.

[Updated on: Sat, 13 December 2014 10:07] by Moderator

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