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Diodor

Please test my RTS game - Pax Solaris

120 posts in this topic

It's featured at nbsd.de/paxsolaris.html, and directly download from here. I greatly appreciate any feedback you may have. Does it work on your system? Were you confused at any point? Did you find it addictive? Did you win the first time you have played? Do you have any suggestions? Regarding the game design side of Pax Solaris: I wanted a game with real strategy, front lines, tactical retreats, encirclements, battle fatigue, attacks and counterattacks. Well, I think I have succeeded in doing just that, which is pretty amazing given the very simple rule-set of this game. Enjoy. [edited by - Diodor on February 22, 2004 3:36:17 AM]
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Very cool game,

I just finished my first game, which I won It ran just fine on my system (p4/1.7, 512rdram, gf3, winxp).

I''d say it is fairly addictive, I''m gonna go play again right now



------------------------------------------------------------
// TODO: Insert clever comment here.
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Yup it''s a good game. It looks like a board game called Cosmic something...

One thing though: I think the game would gain A LOT if it was turn-based with some extra-powers for each players (ie nuke bombs).

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quote:
Original post by Cahaan
I think the game would gain A LOT if it was turn-based ...


Mmmhrr, I don''t think so. I like the dynamism it has right now.
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True about the dynamism but... a turn-based system would involve more strategy

A question though: how the game is played in hot-seat mode since it''s real time ?
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Interesting idea. Unfortunately I couldn''t immerse myself into it. I would have beaten the first level, but I stopped half way through. I did beat the tutorial ''level''. Even though it wasn''t my ''type'' of game, I definitely looks like people could have fun playing it. Good work!
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I enjoyed it... The graphics are clean and crisp and the GUI is intuitive... so far it seems fun but I fear that the level of replay or my interest may not exist for long... but I have to play it more to obtain/provide any real analysis.



Dave "Dak Lozar" Loeser
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Thanks everyone!

quote:

Original post by Cahaan

True about the dynamism but... a turn-based system would involve more strategy



I considered making the game more strategic by allowing orders in the pause mode. I decided the game plays better as a fast-paced strategy game as it is now. And it does get very intense at times.

quote:

A question though: how the game is played in hot-seat mode since it's real time ?



Didn't you try it? Players simply trade places and play in turns for small periods of time. It works (more or less) because of the way orders keep being executed for the passive player too.

Some thoughts regarding game design. I had a lot of help balancing the levels from the test tool that simulates a lot of games between computer players and gives a statistic. If each of the AIs have a good chance to win the level, then so does the player.

I consider the AI itself a great success. It is very simple (just some 150 lines of code), and very predictable, allowing for planning. It tends to focus its troops in some direction at the expense of others, thus creating unbalances over the map. It also has little regards for defense. This makes it easy to break through its lines, but such attacks must be well thought out, because the AI will react and sometimes surround the attacking force.

[edited by - Diodor on June 23, 2003 1:18:09 PM]
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Yeah, it''s a cool game, challenging too, which was unexpected. The only think that irritated me was the white star. In the tutorial, I thought that the white star would be a great help, but it actually was more of a hinderance to me. But, great, fun game overall.
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Very nice Diodor. Simple rules, but intense and strategic gameplay.

I was a bit overwhelmed the first couple times I played - I think it was a combination of the speed of the game and the fact that the map seems a bit "busy" when you''re new. There was so much movement going on and I didn''t have an instinct for what to filter out and what to concentrate on. After a few games I''m getting better at it.

One thing I think I''d like is if the movement/attack arrows were colour coded, or at least more prominent in some way. I think it would give the player a much better overview of what''s happening at a quick glance around the map. A related issue that depends on the map layout is that crossing movement lines can obscure each other, making it hard to tell who is moving where.

The white star... a blessing and a curse.
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quote:

Original post by Dobbs

One thing I think I''d like is if the movement/attack arrows were colour coded, or at least more prominent in some way. I think it would give the player a much better overview of what''s happening at a quick glance around the map. A related issue that depends on the map layout is that crossing movement lines can obscure each other, making it hard to tell who is moving where.



Color coding arrows is a very good idea, and it might solve some problems people have with telling who''s who on the map at a glance.
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Good job, Diodor. I''ve only played one game yesterday, but really enjoyed it. I love the simplicity, and the fact that I was able to play it within a minute of finishing the download. I know where my next $15 will go

I''ll try to comment a bit more as I play more.
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Good job! It made me late for work.

I love the white star!!! The AI is very fun to play against.

I had some trouble getting used to the interface.

Maybe an interface like this would be easier for people who are used to starcraft or age of empires:

A. Left click unselected star:
- unselects previously selected star
- selects this star
- shows info about it on the upper left display
- does not change the flow.

B. Left click already selected star:
- Does nothing

C. Right click selected star:
- Removes outflow from the star

D. Right click star-2 adjacent to a currently selected star-1:
- removes outflow from star-1
- sets outflow from star-1 to star-2
- Perform (A) above on star-2 to select it

E. Right click star not adjacent to currently selected star:
- A rude noise or a voice that says the star is out of range

Some things that might be cool:

1. Set the minimum # of ships defending a star (maybe a pair of command buttons?) The current minimum is 0 (the star will send all ships down the pipe). If you click "add" command a couple of times, then the minimum would change to 2 (the star will only send ships down the pipe if it has more than 2). This would allow you to keep up some defenses on the supply lines.

2. A new type of path: dashed line. It means movements/attacks are slowed down on that path.

3. Players may convert 500 ships into a monster ship. A monster ship instantly destroys any ship (friend or foe) entering its star (designated with "M" instead of number of ships). A monster ship can only move once every 2 minutes or so if an outflow exists, destroying all ships there (friend or foe), and leaving behind an empty star in it''s wake. If a monster ship enters a star with another monster ship, they are both destroyed, leaving 2 empty stars.

-solo (my site)
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Seems pretty neatg, I only played through the tutorial but it works really well! Ill try out hotseat mode when I get some friends together

Good work though. The white star didn''t bother me, but conceptually it''s not really all that different from the other stars (connects two points on the map that would be hard to connect otherwise). Leave it in
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You know, it''s been a long time since I got to play a game that made me want to go home early...

Can''t wait to improve on my Pax tactics
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quote:

Original post by Silvermyst

Good job, Diodor. I''ve only played one game yesterday, but really enjoyed it. I love the simplicity, and the fact that I was able to play it within a minute of finishing the download. I know where my next $15 will go



Thanks! Simplicity was the first of a few self-imposed rules I had to follow (displaying all the game information on a single screen - without any message boxes or sub-screens - was another). It''s actually very frustrating to design like this - there is very little freedom to solve gameplay problems.


5010, the user interface you propose may indeed be more intuitive to some people, but I suspect the average user is more used to having the left mouse button as a command button. As it is, my interface has a single serious problem: unexperienced players tend to forget they have already selected a star, and when they left-click a neighbour of that star to select it an unwanted move order is generated, which can get extremely annoying. This problem wouldn''t occur if they''d use the right-click to select. In the UI you propose this problem doesn''t exist, but it''s also harder to quickly stop the moving orders for more stars (you must left-click then right-click each one of them).

quote:

1. Set the minimum # of ships defending a star (maybe a pair of command buttons?) The current minimum is 0 (the star will send all ships down the pipe). If you click "add" command a couple of times, then the minimum would change to 2 (the star will only send ships down the pipe if it has more than 2). This would allow you to keep up some defenses on the supply lines.

2. A new type of path: dashed line. It means movements/attacks are slowed down on that path.

3. Players may convert 500 ships into a monster ship. A monster ship instantly destroys any ship (friend or foe) entering its star (designated with "M" instead of number of ships). A monster ship can only move once every 2 minutes or so if an outflow exists, destroying all ships there (friend or foe), and leaving behind an empty star in it''s wake. If a monster ship enters a star with another monster ship, they are both destroyed, leaving 2 empty stars.



#1 is definitely a feasible idea. I''m worried though it will cut down on the risk factor of the game: breaking through the lines and stealing all the undefended stars is just too much fun, and losing all the stars because of a silly mistake keeps you tense throughout the game.

#2 seems a bit unnecessary - I almost always want to move ships faster rather than slower. Initially I also wanted to add different types of attacks, and attacks in multiple directions from a single star, but I gave up on these to keep things simple.

I think #3 could be made to work and create some interesting gameplay. It still goes against the simplicity rule, but I''ll keep it in mind in case I''ll want to make an expansion pack.


quote:

Original post by Saluk

Seems pretty neatg, I only played through the tutorial but it works really well! Ill try out hotseat mode when I get some friends together



When you do that, tell us how the hotseat game went on, I''m really curious as I didn''t get to play it a lot.

quote:

Good work though. The white star didn''t bother me, but conceptually it''s not really all that different from the other stars (connects two points on the map that would be hard to connect otherwise). Leave it in



Yes, that''s true. I especially liked how much of the game simply kept on working after I have added the white star. Separating the visual representations of the stars from the actual stars was a pain to code, but after I did that, the AI and even the user interface worked just as they used to. The white star is definitely staying.

quote:

Original post by Silvermyst
You know, it''s been a long time since I got to play a game that made me want to go home early...

Can''t wait to improve on my Pax tactics



Wow, you really seem to have caught this virus If there would still be a "what others said of our game" section on the website, this quote would have been just perfect
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Wow!! I liked this a lot better than Dune

Your game seems fine as is, no glaring problems, but sometimes I''ll start getting attacked and not notice until its too late. Maybe your stars under attack could be highlighted or something?
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quote:
Original post by Diodor
5010, the user interface you propose may indeed be more intuitive to some people, but I suspect the average user is more used to having the left mouse button as a command button. As it is, my interface has a single serious problem: unexperienced players tend to forget they have already selected a star, and when they left-click a neighbour of that star to select it an unwanted move order is generated, which can get extremely annoying. This problem wouldn''t occur if they''d use the right-click to select. In the UI you propose this problem doesn''t exist, but it''s also harder to quickly stop the moving orders for more stars (you must left-click then right-click each one of them).



Yeah, after playing it for a while I got used to the UI and you are right that your UI makes it easy to stop a bunch of stars.

quote:

(about setting minumum ships per star)
#1 is definitely a feasible idea. I''m worried though it will cut down on the risk factor of the game: breaking through the lines and stealing all the undefended stars is just too much fun, and losing all the stars because of a silly mistake keeps you tense throughout the game.



Yeah, it''s a tough call. The current game has a thrill factor because of the tendancy to have undefended stars behind the lines. Making this change would require new AI too, so it''s not a trivial matter. But one nice thing about making this change would be that you could flow excess ships across the front line wall without having to micro-manage it.

quote:

(about different type of path)
#2 seems a bit unnecessary - I almost always want to move ships faster rather than slower. Initially I also wanted to add different types of attacks, and attacks in multiple directions from a single star, but I gave up on these to keep things simple.



After playing it more, I agree. Unnecessary complication and not much value. Having different bonuses for star types is good enough.

quote:

(about monster ships)
I think #3 could be made to work and create some interesting gameplay. It still goes against the simplicity rule, but I''ll keep it in mind in case I''ll want to make an expansion pack.



Yeah, imagine the fear factor when one of those babies is parked next to your wall of ships. You keep watching for the little arrow to pop up, and when it does you''d better retreat quickly. At the same time, you''re gathering troops to counter it with your own monster. Definitely adds complication to the game and AI and so it would be better left for an expansion.

I haven''t tried the multiplayer mode yet. The demo levels are very easy once you get a feel for the game. I''d like to try the other levels. Is the registration stuff ready yet or do we need to wait till a release version to register?

-solo (my site)
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quote:

The demo levels are very easy once you get a feel for the game.



Yes, they are, but getting good times becomes more and more challenging. Right now my record on the "one" level (the first level) is 3'32"


quote:

I'd like to try the other levels. Is the registration stuff ready yet or do we need to wait till a release version to register?



Yes, the registration service is available and the game is officially released.

[edited by - Diodor on June 25, 2003 6:22:40 PM]
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This is a badass game! I was gettin'' my ass handed to me at first but I just managed to take the "Risk" map. Now I''m off to conquer the default map. Great game!

- Jay


[ Here, taste this ]
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