Feedback Demo 2020-06-17

billstatos
Level 1
3 months ago

Greetings.

Summary: It felt like the game has incredible potential and is an excellent rendering of D&D. As it stands, I would play it gladly: BUT I can foresee some things being problematic, which I will be adressing here. 

A. THINGS TO MAINTAIN:

  1. Verticality: Of course, it goes without saying, since this is the main selling point of the game. It would have some minor fix (see below point #1), but overall it is a great success.
  2. D&D 5th ed: It is very well rendered. I've been playing D&D since AD&D 2nd ed. and played most of the game (or at least every generation of it) since the 90s and this is by far one of the best rendering of a D&D edition to date. 
  3. Character Creation: We couldn't use them, but I created a full party and it felt good, easy and quick. I like the choices you made to give depth to characters and creation. 
  4. UX: Everything was super clean and super easy to navigate. It's very rare that a game provide such amazing UX. I didn't read any of the tutorials (I'm that guy) and everything came naturally. 
  5. Atmosphere: Everything felt very nice, if a little "boxy". It felt like a real dungeon. 

B. THINGS TO IMPROVE: I decided to divide those by either (min) for minor, or (MAJ) for major with regards to my personal experience with the game. If pertinent, I give a suggestion. If not, it's either because I don't have any or the suggestion is too obvious.

  1. Camera (MAJ): Camera control in general was fuzzy, especially regarding verticality (clipping through walls and such). Fixed camera for zoom in/out doesn't help. When camera center on creatures for either their turn or "attack cinematic", it result in a lot of camera problems. Half the time I was just looking at a black screen because it was jammed through the walls.
    1. Suggestion: Have a zoom in/out function that's also automated, especially with non-controlled animation
  2. Range (MAJ): Vertical range on monster is a bit crazy and very difficult to see/understand (Deep Spider fight). Also, I would like to see more queues on potential AoO from monsters. This causes a lot of confusion. 
    1. Suggestion: Have a better visual queue for AoO from monster, maybe in the form of a very thick red line from the monster to the char. 
    2. Suggestion: I have no suggestion for the vertical monsters, but I do feel it needs to be adressed. We need to be able to tell when a monster is in range or not. 
  3. Encounter Design (MAJ): Two subpoint, both related to the Deep Spider Encounter:
    1. Light: From an encounter/level design perspective, I find it very poor that you tell in-game that the Deep Spiders are afraid of the light, but even with the Light spell, a torch, and a nearby oil-fire pit, they still come and attack my character. This break immersion and makes it that only what's in the rulebook matters. 
      1. Suggestion: Give them a % to flee in combat against light/fire. Old D&D had a morale system which is one of the biggest failing of the new editions. There is nothing preventing you from bringing this back. 
      2. Suggestion: Give a clear bonus against the spiders. If it was already in there and I didn't see it, then make it clearer. 
    2. Railroading: Is the Deep Spider thing a real game encounter? In any cases, is it representative of play encounter? If so, it felt cheap and railroaded. If I play D&D and a DM force me to fight monsters that are not supposed to be fought just so I can "run away" to create a little escape scene, I would not be interested or amazed. It felt overly weird.
  4. "Alt" (look) Function (min): You can see through walls with the "alt" function, so that you can see things you shouldn't be and also causing some confusion as to where you are standing in terms of the space.
    1. Suggestion: Restrict "alt" to a line of sight thing. 
  5. Animation (min): Animation use of object, for example lighting the oil-fire, is not the right hand of the object.
  6. Tutorial Message (min): When you give tutorial message for particular item, I got them prior to actually opening the chest or getting the item, which felt weird. 
  7. Torches (min): Torches were a nice touch, but they were kind of useless for two reasons: it's not dark enough and they don't light enough (especially in a open-area dungeon); and they don't really affected monsters (see below). 
    1. Subpoint: Also how is Disadvantage applied with regards to light? It seems I always am at disadvantage with regards to spiders if they are not on the ground. Is light only affecting 2d plane?
  8. Party Composition (min): Is there a party limit of 4? Will it be possible to have hirelings? Because having a locked party of 4 but then having perma death (I have no problem with perma death) with no way of having new companions is begging for savescumming and reloading, which is never fun for anyone. 
  9. UI (min): UI felt very drab. It is very functional and lean, and I know it's almost an industry standard to have a grey/blue-ish semi-transparent bland UI*, but it's exactly that: bland. I think this game would really get better with a design that's reminescent of a texture: rock, parchment, textile, etc. Even newer games like Kingdom Come Delivrance did it and it was very good. It helps creates better atmosphere and charm. *Witcher 3, Assassin's Creed, Call of Duty, Destiny, God of War, etc. 

Also, more of a question since I know the goal of the demo was not to showcase level design or anything: will there be interesting level design with multiple paths to the objective ? By this I don't mean "climb this ladder or drop this block" in the same area: I mean, will we have access to different area and choices, with branching paths and loops, like in real D&D dungeons? One of the biggest opportunity with verticality in such a game is definitively that your dungeon can become interesting horizontally and vertically with regards to exploration. (I am refering here to "Jacquaying the dungeon" as it is commonly referred to)

Thank you very much for making this game, putting effort into and, and hopefully reading and considering what I have written.


João Bento
Level 4
Master of the Spoon
Discord Link Steam Link Newsletter Link Mayor's Ring (Bronze) Weaponsmith (Bronze)
3 months ago

Re.: The Deep Spiders encounter

Deep Spiders have light vulnerability, and they get disadvantage to attack you in well-lit areas.

Also, I don't know what this "run" thing is, but the Deep Spider fight is DEFINITELY winnable without too much trouble. I found the Orc camp much harder.

billstatos
Level 1
3 months ago

Re.: The Deep Spiders encounter

Deep Spiders have light vulnerability, and they get disadvantage to attack you in well-lit areas.

Also, I don't know what this "run" thing is, but the Deep Spider fight is DEFINITELY winnable without too much trouble. I found the Orc camp much harder.

Thanks for the info !

1) It didn't show regarding advantage/disadvantage for fire. Maybe I can't read? But maybe it's not clear enough! I'll let the dev decides. In any cases, I don't think my suggestion with regards to morale is a bad one, as it can lead to more RP and immersiveness. Not all monsters fight to the death, especially against creatures they are afraid (i.e. light-bearing).

2) I was referring to the fact the quest says "run from the spiders" or something like that. With regards to actually figthing them, I lost 0 HP against the Orcs since they can be stuck in the ladders and at the other side (just put your warrior there or hold person whoever is there). For the spiders, they have a range attack that they can shoot you from unattainable position, have more HP, are more numerous and have spider climb (i.e. they can go anywhere, even if you try to use the environment). Objectively, I don't see how the orc encounter can be considered more difficult. In any cases, it doesn't really change my view on the thing itself. 

Tactical Myzzrym
Level 14
Tactical Adventures Dev
Discord Link Steam Link Newsletter Link Developer Badge
3 months ago

Hey there Bill:

  1. Camera (MAJ): Camera control in general was fuzzy, especially regarding verticality (clipping through walls and such). Fixed camera for zoom in/out doesn't help. When camera center on creatures for either their turn or "attack cinematic", it result in a lot of camera problems. Half the time I was just looking at a black screen because it was jammed through the walls.
    1. Suggestion: Have a zoom in/out function that's also automated, especially with non-controlled animation

Camera is still veeery much WIP, it's one of the biggest pain point we have so far. We're working on it! :D

  1. Range (MAJ): Vertical range on monster is a bit crazy and very difficult to see/understand (Deep Spider fight). Also, I would like to see more queues on potential AoO from monsters. This causes a lot of confusion. 
    1. Suggestion: Have a better visual queue for AoO from monster, maybe in the form of a very thick red line from the monster to the char. 
    2. Suggestion: I have no suggestion for the vertical monsters, but I do feel it needs to be adressed. We need to be able to tell when a monster is in range or not. 

I'll bring up the suggestions, but the Deep Spiders have a known issue where their model don't represent their actual size - they are supposed to be large creatures (2x2x2), but they aren't very tall so they look more like 2x2x1... meaning when they're on the walls, they can actually melee attack much further than it looks possible for them to do.

  1. Encounter Design (MAJ): Two subpoint, both related to the Deep Spider Encounter:
    1. Light: From an encounter/level design perspective, I find it very poor that you tell in-game that the Deep Spiders are afraid of the light, but even with the Light spell, a torch, and a nearby oil-fire pit, they still come and attack my character. This break immersion and makes it that only what's in the rulebook matters. 
      1. Suggestion: Give them a % to flee in combat against light/fire. Old D&D had a morale system which is one of the biggest failing of the new editions. There is nothing preventing you from bringing this back. 
      2. Suggestion: Give a clear bonus against the spiders. If it was already in there and I didn't see it, then make it clearer. 

Spiders do have an AI that makes them fear light. They have, indeed like you said, a % that makes them flee, or even pass their turn by staying away from the light. Sometimes they run at you, bite and run away - taking an attack of opportunity in the process to avoid staying next to the light.

  1. Railroading: Is the Deep Spider thing a real game encounter? In any cases, is it representative of play encounter? If so, it felt cheap and railroaded. If I play D&D and a DM force me to fight monsters that are not supposed to be fought just so I can "run away" to create a little escape scene, I would not be interested or amazed. It felt overly weird.

You can absolutely kill all the spiders. You can also run from the encounter by dashing towards the exit. Your choice.

  1. "Alt" (look) Function (min): You can see through walls with the "alt" function, so that you can see things you shouldn't be and also causing some confusion as to where you are standing in terms of the space.
    1. Suggestion: Restrict "alt" to a line of sight thing. 

That's more of a bug than an intended design.

  1. Torches (min): Torches were a nice touch, but they were kind of useless for two reasons: it's not dark enough and they don't light enough (especially in a open-area dungeon); and they don't really affected monsters (see below). 
    1. Subpoint: Also how is Disadvantage applied with regards to light? It seems I always am at disadvantage with regards to spiders if they are not on the ground. Is light only affecting 2d plane?

Light is 3D, but it doesn't go very far! Torches have a 20 foot bright light radius - that's 4 cells in distance. 

  1. Party Composition (min): Is there a party limit of 4? Will it be possible to have hirelings? Because having a locked party of 4 but then having perma death (I have no problem with perma death) with no way of having new companions is begging for savescumming and reloading, which is never fun for anyone. 

Locked to 4 but you may have NPCs accompanying you in certain missions. Permadeath is only in ironman mode, otherwise the plan is to allow you to resurrect dead party members with spells, scrolls or NPC services.

  1. UI (min): UI felt very drab. It is very functional and lean, and I know it's almost an industry standard to have a grey/blue-ish semi-transparent bland UI*, but it's exactly that: bland. I think this game would really get better with a design that's reminescent of a texture: rock, parchment, textile, etc. Even newer games like Kingdom Come Delivrance did it and it was very good. It helps creates better atmosphere and charm. *Witcher 3, Assassin's Creed, Call of Duty, Destiny, God of War, etc. 

UI style is very much a love / hate thing, where some people like it and some people don't. Our reasoning is that we want to have people focus on what's actually happening in-game so the UI aims to be minimalistic, transparent, straight to the point - whereas the other school of thought is to have the UI be part of the experience, with texture like you said. There's no right or wrong here, we just made a decision.

Also, more of a question since I know the goal of the demo was not to showcase level design or anything: will there be interesting level design with multiple paths to the objective ? By this I don't mean "climb this ladder or drop this block" in the same area: I mean, will we have access to different area and choices, with branching paths and loops, like in real D&D dungeons? One of the biggest opportunity with verticality in such a game is definitively that your dungeon can become interesting horizontally and vertically with regards to exploration. (I am refering here to "Jacquaying the dungeon" as it is commonly referred to)

We're definitely going to try and add as much freedom as we can when it comes to tackling different areas. First thing to remember is that Solasta has verticality - meaning that at higher levels you'll be able to fly or use spiderclimb which can change a lot of your pathing. 

billstatos
Level 1
3 months ago

Thank you very much for the answers and taking time to check with the community. I hope this game development goes well and that your sells are good. The game has a lot of potential (and it's actually already fun from a tactical D&D perspective). Keep it up!