Author Topic: 25 Suggestions  (Read 2606 times)


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25 Suggestions
« on: February 24, 2015, 07:52:26 am »
I'm pretty new to Void Expanse, I only discovered it maybe a week ago, while looking for something new to scratch that space ship itch after another binge of EV Nova.

I spent the time writing this because I like this game a lot.  It's loads of fun and it looks gorgeous.  Some of this will sound like nit-picking or pipe-dreaming, but there you have it.  Some of it has probably been discussed here before, sorry for that.  I haven't been following this game, or been actively involved in the forums here (obviously), so I apologize in advance for any redundancy.

This post is about game mechanics, not story... that's a whole 'nother issue.  On one hand I could say, 'Who cares?  I just want to blow up spaceships!". On the other hand, good writing can really take a game to the next level of memorable experiences in gaming.  But this post isn't about that.

For reference, I played the game on 'Normal difficulty', using 'Auto controls', in a 100 system game.  I joined the Freedom faction... 'cause Order is so... predictable.  My character was Level 125 when I finished the game.


1. We need to be able to destroy items directly from the 'looting cargo container' window.  Alternately, let cargo containers de-spawn after a time.  Better yet, have pirates and merchants come by and scoop them up.  We need to be able to get rid of items without taking them into our cargo hold, or we need to be able to ignore them without leaving crates everywhere in space.

2. With 'Auto-control' on, there is way too much 'play' in the steering.  It reminds me of my old '62 chrysler, which also had way too much play in the steering.  There should be no 'play' at all. Currently, the nose of your ship does not move directly with your targetting curser.  It follows behind it at an angle. This makes it very tricky to aim fixed mount guns. 

It's my opinion that 'Auto' should be the default mode, because the first thing I thought when I started to play was... 'oh god, I can't control this thing at all'. 

 Starsector has a key-bind that you hold down when you want 'Auto-control', rather than a toggle switch.  It works really well.  Ideally, make it reversible. In other words, if I'm toggled to 'Manual', then holding Shift puts me in 'Auto', but if I'm toggled to 'Auto' then holding Shift puts me in 'Manual.

3. There is a setting to make the targetting lines more visible, which is great, but no setting to make the Targetting Reticule (mouse pointer) more visible.  I often lose track of it during combat.  It would be lovely if we had some options for how it looks, as well as how transparent it is.  A version with thicker lines would be my preference.

4. Give us the option to not have Nebulas in the background of every star system.  Some systems should have just a star field behind them, and I think there are too many systems with one giant nebula in the middle, taking up most of the screen.

Nebula density settings in the Options menu definitely change the nebulas, but they just look different, not more or less dense.  'Minimum' looks different than 'Maximum', but I'd be hard pressed to tell which is which.

5. Pressing Spacebar should not grab everything from a container, because often you are hitting space bar to stop your ship right as the thing comes into range.  Bam, you pick up everything without even seeing what it was.  'F' is assigned to that task, which is fine, but 'Spacebar' does the same thing for some reason. It shouldn't.

6. The System map should show more info.  Name of system, Faction, Danger/Tech levels etc. All the same info that you get when you mouse over a star in the Galaxy map.


7. Aliens are too easy compared to same level pirates, or Pirates are too tough. Pirates seem to outnumber the Aliens 3 to 1, and they are way tougher opponents, at equivalent level.  Why is everyone so bent out of shape about the Aliens?  Let's pool our funds and pay the pirates to wipe them out.  They obviously could.

To me, playing on Normal Difficulty, Aliens seem closer to the 'right difficulty' than Pirates do.  If Aliens were brought up to pirate levels of power, I think people might not be able to finish the game on Normal Difficulty. 

For comparison, assuming that the number next to the Crossed Swords symbol is meant to represent the difficulty level of the system... Generally speaking I could do fine in an Alien zone that was around my level.  For pirates, I'd want to be around twice the level of the system, to fight comfortably without chewing through loads of consumables, and running away any time more than one enemy showed up.

I do think it's cool there are the high level (77 & 100 in my game) Pirate systems that are a real test of your mettle, but I'm not sure it should be the pirates that provide that kind of challenge.  I tend to think of pirates as mostly riff-raff who prey on civilians, not the greatest warriors in the galaxy.  Maybe there could be some other place to find that type of challenge... another Faction even, where you go when you want that sort of white-knuckle edge-of-your-seat action, even on normal difficulty. 

In any case, it was a strange shock the first time I ventured into Alien space and found they were kind of a joke compared to similar level (45-50) Pirates. Overall, I think Pirates could be brought down a notch or two, and Aliens should swarm more, attacking in groups.  The only time they felt like a threat was during the final missions when they started coming at me in groups.

8. Risk vs Reward could use some tweaking.  Hunting pirates in a level 50+ neutral zone can be pretty dangerous, even with a much higher level character, but the exp per kill is not THAT much more than in a level 20 zone where you can one-shot everything, or just kill them by ramming, with no risk at all.  And drops seem about the same as well.  At the same time, in a level 50+ alien zone you can cash in on the 'alien bits', either for money or traded for experience at a Science Center, and it is much safer than fighting pirates in a level 50+ neutral zone. 

9. Enemies should have a chance, even if small, to drop those badass weapons they are using.  Finding a Particle Cannon in the crate after a tough battle with a guy who was blasting me with it, is way more exciting than finding it at the shopping center.  The special variants, like 'Weighted core' Guass Cannons, and 'With Capacitor' Particle Cannons might come from enemies only, and more weapons should have fancy variants.

10. The game seems balanced toward 1v1 fights, at least when it comes to pirates.  Have some small gangs of lower level pirates (relative to the level of the system they are in) traveling, and 'aggroing', together as groups also, to mix it up.

11. Enemies are flawlessly accurate with beam weapons, but can't seem to lead a target. If I keep moving fast during combat, using Cruise to effectively 'power slide' and run circles around the enemy, projectile type weapons will never hit me, and beams will always hit me.  It should be somewhere in between. 

12. Pirate Dens and Alien Hives aren't very well protected.  When you're a rookie, a pirate den is a bit of a challenge to take down, but they never seem to get any tougher.  In higher level zones, they should have stronger weapons, and better turrets around them.


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Re: 25 Suggestions
« Reply #1 on: February 24, 2015, 07:52:45 am »

13. Missiles feel too much like guns.  The sound they make does nothing to help the matter.  The launch sound effect is a metallic 'ka-chunk', almost like a shotgun.  It should probably be be more a typical 'Sheeoom' rocket engine sound.  It would look great if they accelerated up to speed (very quickly) after launching. Dumb fire rockets, especially, could use something to distinguish them from ballistic weapons aside from the name.

14. Missile Ammo.  Larger Launchers should probably hold more ammo/volleys than smaller ones, for better sustainability in large warships. If Ammo Restocks are meant to be the solution, then they need to be more available.  Shops only stock a few of them, if any, and change inventory too infrequently for Ammo restocks to be a reliable source of Missiles. 
All the previous probably applies to guns like the Guass Cannon too, though I don't use it much so I'm not sure.


15. Asteroid contents reset when you quit game and re-enter.  Seems exploit-ish. They should probably reset somehow, but right now it feels kinda broken.  I use it to my advantage, for sure, since mining is the best way to make loads of cash quickly, even with only a couple points invested in the 'Mining Skills' tree, so I'll miss it if/when it's fixed... but I feel a little cheap every time I restart game to get those tasty silver space rocks up to full again.

I'm not sure the best solution here. They could replenish slowly, or replenish to full when you leave the current system, for example.  Even that would feel less broken than replenishing only when you quit and restart.

16. If your ship is damaged, you can swap ships, and back... ship is repaired to full for free.  You can 'buy' a 0 credit shuttle if you have no other ships at that station. 

Again, not sure of a solution, since the game treats a ship hull like any other item that you equip.  Damage could be retained after hull swap, and the game could not let you undock with a ship in negative hull numbers, but then I think it would be possible to trap yourself in a station. The game could not allow you to swap hulls when you have any hull damage, but that might create problems too.  An easy solution is to remove paid hull repairs all together, and have your ship automatically repair to full every time you dock.


17. Every (non-alien) system has about 40-50 pirate ships, mostly sitting around doing nothing, and a couple of non-pirates. Any sane merchant/miner would never undock if he bothered to check the map first.

It feels like an MMORPG with hoards of enemies evenly distributed so there is always something nearby to kill.  Make Pirates patrol more, and travel between various destinations.  They should convene around Pirate Dens, docking there, and spawning from there.  Make them seem like they are actually doing something, even if they are not.  Overall, there should be far fewer pirates, especially in Faction systems, but they should be more mobile, coming and going, so they effectively respawn faster from Pirate Dens and Warp Gates.

There should also be way more non-pirates.  Miners and Merchants could sometimes have armed escort ships.  Military/Police type ships could patrol around stations and gates. There should be more non-pirate activity than just a couple miners and merchants.

18. The various Factions should have some presence outside of their home systems.  Enemies should clash when they meet in Neutral zones.  Fanatics could send small raiding parties, and sometimes large battle fleets into Order and Freedom systems, where the locals will launch a fleet to fight them, and vice versa.  It would be extra cool if you could see friendly raiding fleets disembark from their home system, and tag along for the battle.

19. Enemies should flee when obviously out-matched.  I have to chuckle when the tough-guy in a shuttle wants to pick a fight with my Death Bringer.

20. Why are Pirates guarding an Alien Artifact in a crate in space?  Any self respecting Pirate would just grab it, and be on his way, no?.  I'm guessing it's a place holder. It should be an Ancient Alien Defence Drone or something... and there should be different Drones, with different abilities.  Either they should not respawn once killed, so that it is clear which crates have been looted, or the Artifacts should eventually respawn, along with the Drone.  It's annoying to fight those Hammers (which are tough as nails) only to find the Artifact already gone. Really the Artifacts aren't worth much anyhow, once you start venturing into Alien Space.  I end up avoiding those sites, usually, because the Hammer takes too long to kill, and the Artifact is usually worthless.

21.  When creating a new game, have it generate systems with clear lanes between Jump Gates.  On longer trips, jump gates should function like the freeway.  It starts to get infuriating when the system's sun or a long chain of asteroids lies directly between Gates, and the auto-pilot just inches it's way around obstacles.  I can plow through space junk at full Cruise speeds, and bounce off asteroids all day long with my ship, yet the auto-pilot treats that stuff like land mines it has to tip-toe around. Just keep it all out of the way, which is probably easier than improving the auto-pilot, anyway.

22. 'Science Points'.  It's not a very good name, for one thing.  The interface for using them is awkward, and most of the rewards are not very interesting.

Holo-Deck Training, on the other hand, is probably too good. It gives way too much experience.  If killing X number of Aliens gives me 1 level of experience, then cashing in their Alien Bits for Holo-deck training will give me like 10 more levels. It's a nice treat, but only because leveling gets too slow at higher levels without it. I don't mind the Holo-Deck thing, but it feels kinda broken right now.  It's effectively like buying levels, and right now, they seem too cheap.  Lower exp from Holo-deck training, and raise exp for higher level kills.

Also, that device that destroys Alien Missiles around your ship... THAT seems exactly like the type of item that should come from turning in Alien Bits to the Chief Scientist, instead of being available in stores everywhere.

23. The effects of systems with Radar Interference could be better.  In it's current form, it's kind of odd, since I can open my map and see every enemy, anyhow.  I think it would be more interesting if the map showed no ships at all in those systems, and your radar flickered on and off.

24. I like the 'New Game Plus' type option after finishing the storyline... but I think the game needs to be very clear about how it works before it happens, and/or that items left in station hangars can somehow come with you to the new game.

I backed up my save folder before completing the game, 'cause I had no idea if I'd be able to continue that character at all... but If I hadn't done that, I would have lost a lot of expensive and rare items.

Also, it said that the 'New Game Plus' would be harder difficulty, but the new save file says Normal difficulty.  I can't tell which is true.

25. The Aurora Heavy Cruiser is quite obviously upside-down.  Flip it back. It looks better right side up, in my opinion.  Leave the turret on the bottom too, I don't see a problem with that.

TL;DR... Awesome game!  Keep up the nice work, and best of luck with the upcoming Steam launch.
« Last Edit: February 24, 2015, 08:06:54 am by SingleCell »


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Re: 25 Suggestions
« Reply #2 on: February 25, 2015, 03:28:06 am »
Hello, SingleCell! These suggestions list is actually really impressive :)

It's a complete, structured analysis of our game and we sincerely thank you for that. You have a good points in most of the suggestions, and, we actually, we think in quite the same way about future changes that can be made. But we are are unable to make these changes now. The reason is - right before the release we need to freeze the code base and focus on stability. Otherwise we won't be able to have a stable build ready for release. But hopefully soon after release (depending of course on how the game performs) we would like to continue working on the game.

That is why right now we save all these suggestions into our TODO list and then decide what will happen after the release.

So, if you have some new ideas or something to say – definitely post it here, nothing will be unanswered or not considered.

Anyways, we made a cool game with the community help – why should we deny it now? :)


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Re: 25 Suggestions
« Reply #3 on: March 14, 2015, 07:24:54 am »
I agree with #3 and its in my suggestions too. Also to allow us to color the lines and cross hair. Its a good sign that this is the kind of stuff we suggest and not like "cant dock" or "ship explodes every 3rd time I undock" hahah

I would also ad it would be very fun to find a long dead derelict ship amongst the asteroids or something. Maybe loot something neat. I love find long lost stuff in space games.
« Last Edit: March 14, 2015, 07:38:20 am by Daehawk »
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Re: 25 Suggestions
« Reply #4 on: April 03, 2015, 10:23:09 pm »
Hull upgrades for more ship types freighter and orca would be a good starting point. Freighter I'd like to see alternative weapon options in particular and slight haul upgrade to make it even better as a battering ram because it's a nice ship for that purpose as they can't dodge you so easily due to it's massive length.

Orca I'd like to have a upgrade with slightly modified look I'd like to mirror the look of the right wing with the thrusters then place a weapon type in the middle of the hull and adjust it's hull stat effects a bit bump up it's max speed and warp recharge and hull structure a tiny bit, but reduce maneuverability.

I'd love to see the warp gates adjusted to be more configurable as well personally and give them like a UO moongate wormhole gate travel of sorts leading you to alternate seed versions of the same locations at different times that would be incredible to me personally. I've seen maps layouts where they get mirror flipped vertically or horizontally in different ways so it would be cool to blend all that into the same game rather than using different seeds entirely for that purpose.