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Old October 8th, 2004, 02:32 AM

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Default Obscure, unintuitive and unforgiving

First let me say I have enjoyed many aspects of this game since I started playing a month ago. But I'm not posting about that, I want to share a major gripe I have in a constructive manner which I hope the developers will listen.

So what's the problem? Well, I really dislike part of the mechanics of the game, its lack of documentation and the unforgiving nature of the interface itself. Let me give an example.

In my most recent game I wanted to explore what it would be like to create new planets from scratch. So I researched all the Stellar Manipulation technologies. Now, I'm sure most of you know that there is very little information in the manual as well as the help file itself. It took me a LONG time to figure out that I need to build 41 starbases, load them with the materials and components before I make it.

So I bit the bullet and started building and building. It took me a long time to put it all together. Imagine my surprise when I tried to activate the component to create the Sphere World I was informed that there was "No Sun in sector". So I said fine, I'll make another ship and create a sun in that spot. But as you probably guessed, there was already a sun on the map elsewhere and it said I couldn't do it. Now, WHY THE HECK NOT? I have seen systems with more than one sun in it. So why can't I do that?

Furthermore, the component to create a Sphere World states that "it will create a sphere world AROUND a sun". Where does it say anywhere on the components or manual or help file that you need to create all the material ON the sun itself???

The notion that you can move a ship onto the sun and not burn up is bad enough. But why would anyone think that you need to build a pile of stuff ON the sun? Where does it clearly explain that?

So I have wasted hours of my time because such unforgiving and unintuitive mechanics leave me with thousands of kt of materials wasted in dead space. Obviously destroying the existing sun will wipe out all my work, but for some inexplicable reason I cannot create another star where I want.


I know many of you might laugh at this, but these 'undocumented features' as well as how unforgiving and exact things must be within the game design really turns me off. I have enjoyed many other aspects of this game, but I things like this makes me wonder if I should buy SE5 if it comes out. I mean, if something is obviously designed to take a LOT of time and resources to put together, shouldn't it be explained a little better than the way it has been?
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Old October 8th, 2004, 02:45 AM

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Default Re: Obscure, unintuitive and unforgiving

Well seeing as how I have never created a sphere world either, thanks for the heads up =D.

Anyway the "around the sun" thing is a matter of semantics. Around to me means around the sun in a dyson sphere.

http://www.nada.kth.se/~asa/dysonFAQ.html

I guess I watch too much Star Trek or B5 or Star Wars or whatever =D. Actually I only remember seeing a Dyson Sphere in Star Trek.

Brian
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Old October 8th, 2004, 03:09 AM
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Default Re: Obscure, unintuitive and unforgiving

Not being able to make additional suns is a balance aspect, otherwise crystaline races would have too much of an advantage and would allow too many sphereworlds in a high-tech, massive start. This is also the reason the sphereworld/ringworld is created in the same position as the sun, to use it up.

And, if you just want to create planets, all you need is an asteriod field and one ship with the right component. Note that the component will be destroyed, also a balance requirement and I think in the Last patch it can only be repaired at a shipyard. Stops empires from mass-producing planets until they have a lot of planet-making ships.
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Old October 8th, 2004, 03:20 AM
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Default Re: Obscure, unintuitive and unforgiving

Quote:
Furthermore, the component to create a Sphere World states that "it will create a sphere world AROUND a sun". Where does it say anywhere on the components or manual or help file that you need to create all the material ON the sun itself???
A sector is a very, very large space (compared to the size of a ship). Pluto is only 6 SE4 sectors away from the Sun, yet it is many dozens of AU. The Earth is only 1 AU. Logically, it would have to be in the same sector. However, you never see planets in the same sector as a star... Sectors are a highly abstract unit. You can be in the same sector as a star and yet still far enough away from it not to burn up. The sector with the star has quite a lot of empty space. "Around the star" means just that, wrapped around the star. Stellar objects can only occupy a single sector, so the only way to accomplish this is by being in the same sector.

Quote:
...how unforgiving and exact things must be within the game design...
What (real, complex) game is not like this? They are all exact and unforgiving. It is the nature of the beast.

Quote:
narf poit chez BOOM said:
Note that the component will be destroyed, also a balance requirement and I think in the Last patch it can only be repaired at a shipyard.
Nope. Only emergency movement components (and maybe emergency supplies, but that was not a huge balance exploit, so I do not know...) require the presence of a spaceyard. Of course, a space yard is extremely easy to include in a fleet, or with a SM ship if it actually required one to repair...
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Old October 8th, 2004, 03:31 AM
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Default Re: Obscure, unintuitive and unforgiving

Bbq. The Space Empires IV has a lot of things like you have just encountered. Many of them is not mentioned in any manual, but on this board and patch release notes. First thing is, that you should read This thread . After that you are quite a lot more equipped to play SEIV and you face a lot less unpleasant surprises. Remember, that even when user interface is not complex, the game itself is.
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Old October 8th, 2004, 03:32 AM
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Default Re: Obscure, unintuitive and unforgiving

Thought there was something about that somewhere.
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Old October 8th, 2004, 06:32 AM

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Default Re: Obscure, unintuitive and unforgiving

Quote:
Imperator Fyron said:
What (real, complex) game is not like this? They are all exact and unforgiving. It is the nature of the beast.
I can easily think of dozens of games that are better documented than this. Master of Orion 2, one of my favorite game, came with a manual that is much much more detailed than even the help file that was included in the SE4 CD.

But the thing is, I'm not even asking for that level of documentation. The developers KNOW that creating a Sphere World is a time consuming and resource consuming process. Is it really that unreasonable for them to put the text "This High-Density Cables component MUST be placed in the same sector as a star" on the component? No, I don't think so either.
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Old October 8th, 2004, 07:19 AM
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Default Re: Obscure, unintuitive and unforgiving

Quote:
bbq said:
But the thing is, I'm not even asking for that level of documentation. The developers KNOW that creating a Sphere World is a time consuming and resource consuming process. Is it really that unreasonable for them to put the text "This High-Density Cables component MUST be placed in the same sector as a star" on the component? No, I don't think so either.
bbq, you are right, that would be some helpful information. SE4 is just very complex and there are lots of ways one could do things in a way Malfador didn't expect it. Unfortunatley there will be no more patches for SE4 because if you had this problem while patches were still created I'm quite sure Aaron would have cleared the text up if so suggested. Be on board for SE5 and you'll see how much feedback Aaron will incorporate into future patches for SE5.
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Old October 8th, 2004, 08:51 AM
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Default Re: Obscure, unintuitive and unforgiving

I still learn things playing and I would describe myself as a veteran. I learnt that you need a sun in the system to make planets during a PBW game.
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Old October 8th, 2004, 09:23 AM
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Default Re: Obscure, unintuitive and unforgiving

bbq, you really should thumb through the FAQ. It has so much valuable information in it that is has become the preferred manual for those who have pirated the game.

Seriously, no game that I know of has ever had a manual that explains everything to you. In fact Moo3 shipped with one of the worst manuals I have ever seen in my life. Tribes shipped with a good manual but it did not tell you how to ski or sniped while flying. These were things that had to be learned.

Now we all agree with your furstration over having to learn things on the go, we have all been there, but you can benefit from our experiences by reading the FAQ.

SE IV really needs a strategy guide, and believe many have tried to write one. I am, or have been, working on one for over two years now. The problem is simply, to much info for my tiny little mind to encompus its self around and put into readable form.

That and a general lack of interest from the community.

Really it is the time consideration. The time it would take to sit down and go through the whole game and create a players guide is enormus to say the least.

Now I doubt you will read this post, but if you do, I hope you will also take the time and read the FAQ. Good luck and happy playing.

And yes, some things do need fixing for SE V. And Aaron has a huge list going already.
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