The single biggest problem for Rebuild today

Talk about Sarah's upcoming game in the Rebuild series.

Re: The single biggest problem for Rebuild today

Postby Woolfe » Wed Feb 18, 2015 8:28 pm

Kizzycocoa wrote:God dammit, I wrote a great post, but the forum ate it by logging me out. Ugh. Now I gotta repost all of it. At 2AM.
Hagetaka wrote:The biggest problem for Rebuild today is [people who don't play the game the exact way I do]

You completely missed the entire point of my post. I am not asking anyone to change their playstyles, I'm asking for the flow of gameplay to allow these features to grow more prominently. As of now, they are rarely used in any meaningful manner, and often overlooked.

Your OP didn't do a great job of making your point clear.

Of course, we've all tried these features. But they're so inconsequential.
Frankly, I've never used any traps, fireworks or the like, as I have no idea what they'd do. Perhaps an on-map visual aid would help.

Traps are very useful. They reduce the growth of Z next to your fort, and eventually clear the Z from the block allowing you to take it uncontested. So they reduce the overall threat level. Which means if you have bad initial placement or have had to grow your fort "oddly" in order to capitalise on certain elements (Farms, Labs, etc) by having traps in some of the less active areas you can almost ignore them and even take them over later with minimal extra effort.

Fireworks I have used a little. Not much. I too haven't worked out how they work. I have found them useful in one situation when I had a lot of negative moral due to a series of unlucky deaths. They put the fort out of unhappy.

Also, rarely equip items. This is mostly due to it all being squirrelled away in the UI

This I don't disagree with. The Equipment UI is clunky. But then it has ALWAYS been clunky. Even back in R2. So whilst it would be nice to be fixed. Meh I can deal.

Children and marriage are hit and miss. They never really come up, and when children do, I simply send them off to do logging. It's more of an obstacle.

I have found Children and Marriages massively beneficial overall. I have had a few bad spots. When a child or partner has died etc. Which has had a bad hit on moral. But otherwise the -1 to the stat is not that unmanageable, and I normally have enough "less useful" people who are doing farming tasks etc, that can manage a kid. Yes they cause me a bit of grief when there are too many, but that just means I need to try and adjust, just like every other element of the game forces me to do.

Frankly though, to take note of any of these features breaks the flow of gameplay, as you dart around, trying to find everything you need before you progress. Everything is scattered in a way that is not intuitive.

Depends on what you mean is the gameplay. If your only goal is to play it as a purely strat game of conquer the city, then I can see that. But for me the relationships etc have made the game immeasurably more interesting. I used to stop playing R2 for months on end, because I would get bored with it after a while. It was very repetitive. Now thats something Rebuild will always suffer from due to the nature of the game. But the Relationships add new character to it, and make even very similar starts quite different.

The main issue for rebuild with these features, I think, is the clunky UI. That is the root of these issues. I've been making my issues known with the UI for an entire year. Only some issues, such as specific numbers instead of bars, have been addressed, and even then, not to the extent they should. Danger is still not addressed numerically.

The UI is clunky, it has some issues, that could be better. But it is not that bad, and the gameplay is still good.

Between the UI and micromanagement, these features will always be obscure, and worse, made more obscure by any upcoming features. That beautiful tech tree is lost in the UI, not easily accessible. There is no easy way to edit groups. There is no on-screen usage button for traps, or creating them. There no longer is information on who is married to who, and even so, this affects next to nothing in-game.

Micromanagement is a subjective term. What you consider micromanagement, I consider integral elements of the game.
That said I agree with you on the UI issues. Traps could be available when you click on any Z tile, groups could be managed easier with + and - notes there to see (so you don't put 2 people who hate each other together by accident(although that may detract from the idea that as the leader, you should somewhat know your people well enough to remember who hates who). The marriage and family elements affect moral. That is clear in both some of the events, and in the "happiness" section for each survivor.
I agree it could be better, but you make it sound like is it terrible at the moment, when it is really only annoying.

I strongly believe the next update MUST overhaul the UI, and keep these features to mind in every overhaul decision. No ifs or buts. It's been a year of bloated, wasteful UI, even on big monitors, and it's not got a solid structure that is user-friendly. It's all just, shoved in there as a barely functioning wip UI.

I would be happy simply to have the annoying "Mission" bit go away.

Fix that, and we'll fix most of the obscurity issues of these features. Easy access to traps from the HUD, as well as less bloated, but more comprehensive data will assist in this feature issue dramatically.

Nah, if you aren't using/noticing these things, then that is not due to the UI. The UI is a bit annoying but all the elements you need are there to do what you want, and they are all in the same spots. Either the building itself, or in the specific sections. The UI is actually consistent on that at the moment. Could it be better, YES. Is it wrong, NO.
Last edited by Woolfe on Wed Feb 18, 2015 9:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Clarified my comment re the UI
Woolfe
 
Posts: 113
Joined: Wed Oct 02, 2013 8:14 pm

Re: The single biggest problem for Rebuild today

Postby Caelann » Wed Feb 18, 2015 8:35 pm

The game isn't nearly big enough for feature creeping to be a problem, I reckon. If you stripped it of these features you seem to consider superfluous, you'd be left with next to nothing. What I do think the game needs, though, is a more solid fine-tuning on the features it currently has, before focusing on whole new big and endeavouring mechanics. Relationships in particular are an example of a raw feature that needs some polishing (especially on the management and effects fronts).

The game is currently pretty much one big sandbox, and it needs more endings like in previous Rebuild games; but that is likely going to be addressed once we get Campaign Mode, so it's certainly being planned. The open-ended mode we currently have is just as valid as a mission mode, it just would benefit from not being the only mode available.

As for the stuff you mentioned: I haven't played around much with children since more recent updates, so I don't know if they're now 100% worthwhile. But I used to think them pretty much a burden in their initial implementation and tried to avoid them at all costs. If they still take up an equipment slot without any reasonably on-par benefit, then I will personally still avoid them.

Relationship management and survivor grouping is something I personally am big on. It's always present in my games. I seldom have big groups unless necessity overrides. Spreading around also means I can do more things at the same time, but it's harder to manage (especially in real time, even with pause), and it's also more dangerous. But I like it better. So, yes, I do manage my friends and enemies, and who I want to (try to get to) marry whom.

I also use schools from time to time, they're useful when I'm running low on a non-soldier type or when I need to retool someone into something more useful. Since you don't lose previously acquired skills, and AFAIK they continue to factor in despite not being the active skill, it's all benefits. Also, about equipment: it's kinda hard not to use it, I mean. That's, like, 50% of the game right there.

Traps are the one thing I don't really use. I hardly, if ever, craft combat-oriented stuff. I prefer to invest in equipment and high soldiering skills. But that might just be my own personal strategy. Doesn't mean nobody else uses them.
User avatar
Caelann
 
Posts: 28
Joined: Thu Nov 06, 2014 5:08 pm
Location: Cascais, Portugal

Re: The single biggest problem for Rebuild today

Postby Woolfe » Wed Feb 18, 2015 8:47 pm

madman12 wrote:
Woolfe wrote:I think so. I can't believe you aren't using traps or schools?!?!?!


The issue here is not so much that these features are useless but rather they are poorly labelled. At least that's how I see it.

Well colour me confused, cause I don't see that. Can you give me an example. Sorry if I am sounding obtuse, I am just honestly unsure of what the issue with Traps and Schools in particular are.

Schools are pretty clear in that they train your guys up, either in the stat they are in, or change them to a different stat. I am not sure what is unclear on that?
And traps, the UI for applying them could be better. At moment you click on Resources, click on traps then apply it to a spot, that could be easily set to, click on a spot and apply trap, or some other such. But it is not exactly game breaking.

madman12 wrote:Ms. Northway has taken a unique approach to the UI following the style of the previous Rebuild games. Unique can have it's gremlins. It's up to us to work with the development of the game to make sure they don't get fed after midnight.


Sure, and I don't disagree. But the basic premise he is coming out with is flawed in my opinion.
Woolfe
 
Posts: 113
Joined: Wed Oct 02, 2013 8:14 pm

Re: The single biggest problem for Rebuild today

Postby madman12 » Wed Feb 18, 2015 9:03 pm

Woolfe wrote:Well colour me confused, cause I don't see that. Can you give me an example. Sorry if I am sounding obtuse, I am just honestly unsure of what the issue with Traps and Schools in particular are.


The original poster would have to come back and expand on their views in those cases.

For me, as far as I understood it traps were only useful for attacking zed forces rather than being able to reduce zed in that block. I did not read anything which made me think that it had that effect.

And now quoting yourself:

Woolfe wrote:Fireworks I have used a little. Not much. I too haven't worked out how they work. I have found them useful in one situation when I had a lot of negative moral due to a series of unlucky deaths. They put the fort out of unhappy.


Your unsure as to how fireworks work, wouldn't you say it's a similar situation as to traps for me? All I know about fireworks is they increase happiness. Before this topic, all I knew about traps is that they somehow unknown to me damaged zed attack troops. Both could be remedied with a bit more information, a bit more work on the UI side of things no?

EDIT:
Woolfe wrote:Nah, if you aren't using/noticing these things, then that is due to the UI. The UI is a bit annoying but all the elements you need are there to do what you want.


I agree with that. All the functionality is there to be used however the way it is put across to us looking at it could be executed in a better way to understand what that functionality does (basically what you said in that quote just expanded abit).
madman12
 
Posts: 30
Joined: Wed Feb 11, 2015 8:04 am

Re: The single biggest problem for Rebuild today

Postby Woolfe » Wed Feb 18, 2015 9:56 pm

madman12 wrote:For me, as far as I understood it traps were only useful for attacking zed forces rather than being able to reduce zed in that block. I did not read anything which made me think that it had that effect.

And now quoting yourself:

Woolfe wrote:Fireworks I have used a little. Not much. I too haven't worked out how they work. I have found them useful in one situation when I had a lot of negative moral due to a series of unlucky deaths. They put the fort out of unhappy.


Your unsure as to how fireworks work, wouldn't you say it's a similar situation as to traps for me? All I know about fireworks is they increase happiness. Before this topic, all I knew about traps is that they somehow unknown to me damaged zed attack troops. Both could be remedied with a bit more information, a bit more work on the UI side of things no?


Ah Gotcha... but that sort of stuff has been steadily improving as the patches have gone by. The explanations of what things do etc. The way I see it, its not really a problem, its just something that hasn't been done yet.

Woolfe wrote:Nah, if you aren't using/noticing these things, then that is due to the UI. The UI is a bit annoying but all the elements you need are there to do what you want.


I agree with that. All the functionality is there to be used however the way it is put across to us looking at it could be executed in a better way to understand what that functionality does (basically what you said in that quote just expanded abit).


Ooops I meant to say, its NOT because of the UI. All the bits and pieces work. I do agree it could be done better. But it is there. All the usable items are under a single menu, all the happiness stuff is under the character details, the school explanation is under the school etc. It makes sense, it is either something "Faction based" in which case it is in the menu's, or it is building based, in which case it is in the building itself, or character based, which is in the character. Yes it could be better, but it is all there for you to find at the moment.
Woolfe
 
Posts: 113
Joined: Wed Oct 02, 2013 8:14 pm

Re: The single biggest problem for Rebuild today

Postby Calledkosh » Thu Feb 19, 2015 6:27 am

So what we have here is a feature request!

Story light: Factions (It's called Gangs of Deadville for a reason), simple/limited story lines - allows for simplified gameplay, limited achievements.
Story normal: Current
Story ultra: :) my wish. :twisted:

I will grant that some items don't get used due to my playing style, they do have uses.

For example: Traps and bait. These are passive defenses to reduce the strength and frequency of zombie attacks. I don't use them, opting for a active defense. The only passive systems I'll use are towers at chokepoints, and taking useless territory to build defensive depth (I can always lose a pile of rubble rather than lose survivors).

And in regards to fireworks, they are great to have in reserve. They both increase happiness, and can be used in a pinch to distract zombies. Got more bullets than survivors, after all.
"Any Officer Who Goes Into Action Without His Sword is Improperly Dressed"
-Captain (and later Lt.Col) 'Mad Jack' Churchill, DSO & Bar, MC & Bar, circa 1940
User avatar
Calledkosh
 
Posts: 41
Joined: Thu Jul 03, 2014 6:52 pm
Location: The Great White North, eh?

Re: The single biggest problem for Rebuild today

Postby Objection » Thu Feb 19, 2015 7:24 am

Woolfe wrote:Traps are very useful. They reduce the growth of Z next to your fort, and eventually clear the Z from the block allowing you to take it uncontested.

This is one of the reasons why I don't use traps. I want my survivors to be useful throughout the game. If traps can clear out zombies next to my fort, it raises the question: why use soldiers? The other reason (and an answer to the question "why use soldiers?") is I'm paranoid about running out of materials, even when I have upwards of 300 in reserve. I would start using traps more often if they reduced the growth of zombies and maybe even reduced the number of zombies but not to the point where it eliminates them from a square.

As for children and relationships, I have to ask those who aren't using them: how do you keep your survivors happy? Seriously, I have played with a fort where I have plenty of fireworks to set off (and plenty have been set off), plenty of bars and churches staffed with leaders, plenty of survivors who like each other paired up with each other while those who hate each other are kept away from each other, plenty of animals, children and recreational equipment like baseball bats, and both power plant and water treatment plant running. The happiness level never got higher than yellow and was always on the decline.
Objection
 
Posts: 162
Joined: Thu Jun 12, 2014 4:18 am

Re: The single biggest problem for Rebuild today

Postby madman12 » Thu Feb 19, 2015 7:57 am

Calledkosh wrote:Story ultra: :) my wish. :twisted:


I wouldn't mind this turning into a whole new grand strategy game with persistent world, more details to manage and so on. But I understand the genre and audience this is trying ot cater for so that wouldn't be feasible.

Woolfe wrote:Ah Gotcha... but that sort of stuff has been steadily improving as the patches have gone by. The explanations of what things do etc. The way I see it, its not really a problem, its just something that hasn't been done yet.


Indeed it has as I mentioned in an earlier post, and I expect them to continue on improving for example bait in the latest patch got tweaked making it actually useful for me.

Woolfe wrote:Ooops I meant to say, its NOT because of the UI. All the bits and pieces work. I do agree it could be done better. But it is there. All the usable items are under a single menu, all the happiness stuff is under the character details, the school explanation is under the school etc. It makes sense, it is either something "Faction based" in which case it is in the menu's, or it is building based, in which case it is in the building itself, or character based, which is in the character. Yes it could be better, but it is all there for you to find at the moment.


In the absence of the OP, I may be taking over this thread a little with my own opinion but I think calling out the UI as the problem may be causing abit of confusion.

For me the UI works, its unique which gives it abit of a learning curve but not that bad. A simple tutorial at the start would help in that respect as to point out where everything is.

Quoting myself, all the functionality is there to be used however the way it is put across to us looking at it could be executed in a better way to understand what that functionality does

Some examples:
    -No where does it say that by clicking on the happiness face in the survivor profile will give you access to their relationship ties. It's just there. Now is it a problem that it's there, no, its an intuitive place to put it IMO. However, the problem is that the user has no basis to go on to think that it would be there other than guess work. The cursor doesn't even change to make the happiness face indicator look like it can be clicked like it does on the tabs for example.
    -With consumables, the most information you get is in the one pop up over the whole course of that game you get when you research it and the text that appears when you use it. There are events that use these consumables which hint at what they can be used for but those are random events so can't be relied upon. Other than those brief and basic explanations, you don't know what they can do.

      -Bait doesn't have any indication of range, only because it was included in the patch notes do I now know its at 5 blocks.
      -Zombie traps, well I've talked about those already

Now I'm all for letting the player work things out, when I first figured out I could blow up bridges it was a great feeling and now that I know I can use fireworks to lead zombie forces away I'll be looking to do that too, but the balance in my view isn't quite right at the moment between hand holding the player through everything and letting the player find things out.

In some instances, it just needs the current information to be spread out into more visited areas of the UI such as tool tip usage on hovering over consumables in other cases more information regarding how it works is needed like range information for bait. Just to add here, I'm pinpointing consumables as that's the current subject of this topic but I would say other area's could use similar TLC in this regard.
Last edited by madman12 on Thu Feb 19, 2015 8:07 am, edited 1 time in total.
madman12
 
Posts: 30
Joined: Wed Feb 11, 2015 8:04 am

Re: The single biggest problem for Rebuild today

Postby madman12 » Thu Feb 19, 2015 8:04 am

Objection wrote:As for children and relationships, I have to ask those who aren't using them: how do you keep your survivors happy? Seriously, I have played with a fort where I have plenty of fireworks to set off (and plenty have been set off), plenty of bars and churches staffed with leaders, plenty of survivors who like each other paired up with each other while those who hate each other are kept away from each other, plenty of animals, children and recreational equipment like baseball bats, and both power plant and water treatment plant running. The happiness level never got higher than yellow and was always on the decline.


I've noticed the same thing as far as churches and all that not affecting happiness as much as to make them all you need.

I use churches but only sparingly as more of in hope that it raises happiness than actually knowing. Took me a while just to figure out that churches didn't provide a happiness boost just by being there or at least not a noticeable one.

I don't really use relationships as a feature. How do I keep my lot happy, I make sure I have enough food to keep them from starving and put the odd survivor that's got a redface that I happen to notice to rest. The happiness system is not something I can say I understand really so that's why I don't focus on it much, only reason I do at all is because I've had survivors leave when my fort was starving which eventually trickled down to me that its something I should look to try and manage. In my first game at normal, I didn't take any notice of it at all. In my last game at hard i took more care to periodically go through my survivors to put any survivors low on happiness into rest. Not an ideal way to manage it I know, but it's the way I have seen that has the biggest affect on their happiness.
madman12
 
Posts: 30
Joined: Wed Feb 11, 2015 8:04 am

Re: The single biggest problem for Rebuild today

Postby Kizzycocoa » Thu Feb 19, 2015 3:29 pm

Wow, I didn't expect so much of a response.
nor so much of a response that decry that these features are, on average, unused. I would be very interested in watching any lets-plays you guys are playing, that will explain just how wrong I am. I simply cannot see how these features are "core gameplay". last I checked, core gameplay meant you used it every round, or every so often. not digging to the core of the UI, as I've experienced with them.

I'd like to clear up some confusion, in that there are multiple reasons these features fall flat. One such reason, I believe, is the UI. most of it is inaccessible or bloated, and changes would not only streamline the game, but bring it to the forefront.

For example, if the traps were given icons towards the top of the screen, with a way to quick-open a workshop window, I know for a fact I'd use traps more often, as they are there. no need to navigate to an obscure menu. these features need refining, but the UI modification suggestion is a part of this refining, and affects all of the features. This can mean the HUD, the way news is presented, the sheer massive (why is it so big?!) menus and logos etc.

There are other steps that would help bring these features forward to shine. previewing the effects of traps on the map would be an excellent start. A new UI for group sorting would be another large step forward. Perhaps some effects around the group icons for rivalry tensions.
for the most part, the features mentioned do work. the issue is, they've become so obscure in the game, that bothering to use them is to go out of your way, interrupting the flow of the game, to try and figure it out.

    marriage is a nice feature, but is marred by the lack of group management mechanics.
    traps, fireworks and bait are nice features, marred by their inaccessibility.
    children are nice features, marred by their total absense of usefulness.
    rivalries are good features, but there is no way to sort these out due to the absense of an interactive system to keep them apart.
    equipment is a nice feature, but the clunky time-consuming UI makes using it a headache, to be avoided.

A UI overhaul would make great strides in fixing all of these issues.

    group management abilities in a clean UI would help rivalries, marriage and the overall group feature.
    a cleaner UI would make traps and equipment more easy to access and use.
    reconstructing the UI for equipment to allow for drag-and-drop onto/from survivors would help lessen their tedious nature

not only that, but the UI is bloated. you can call artistic vision all you like, but when I play on a 1920px width monitor, and the menu takes up half of the page, you have dun goofed. I mean, I am prescribed glasses, but I am not legally blind, and would rather not get thrown out from the immersion of the game to view screens of information you rarely ever use.

I'd like to compare the UI of this game to an old great, Rollercoaster tycoon. Not the same genre, but with RCT, the sheer amount of detail, most of it extremely accessible to any player, is amazing. it uses the space it has to the best of it's ability, and it's better off for it.
This is how the Rebuild interface looks to me, with the backdrop of RCT.

Of course, I did not put in a lot of effort for this mockup, so the menu does look pretty bad, style-wise. it's also missing a few buttons. But this isn't about the quality of the UI, which would be wasted on just a mockup. This is about accessibility of these features. note that not only is most of the screen gone (more would be gone if I enlarged the menu icons etc to match Rebuild), but the UI makes the features a lot harder to access.

This was fine in 1 and 2, even though it still left something to be desired for equipment. But for 3, where most of the interface is on the map, it's much harder. But then we also have the tech tree, and more new features added which is also piling the issues onto the UI. the new focus on people and the new features have together made the UI a lot harder to bear for the gameplay.

This isn't just about the UI, though. The UI is simply the culprit for most of the issues I have presented. The main issue I have is all these extra features hidden within the game, unable to have their day in the limelight. but in these features failing, I do point squarely at the bulky UI for the first point of addressing. it has not changed one iota since the first iterations a year ago, and that needs to be fixed.

I'm going to work on a draft UI redux for rebuild, and try to show exactly how I would change Rebuild for the better in this regard, which would make the features tons more accessible, while also helping sort out this bulky mess.

In gameplay, the goal should be to keep everything accessible from a small number of clicks or movements. I fully love Rebuild, and have grown up playing these games. But when I see this glaring issue where these features are kept under lock and key, and see nothing happening to correct it, it's really disappointing. particularly when you've made waves about it for a year.
User avatar
Kizzycocoa
 
Posts: 54
Joined: Sun Feb 02, 2014 6:32 am
Location: Swindon, UK

PreviousNext

Return to Rebuild 3: Gangs of Deadsville