How well do you think this game follows the "easy to learn, hard to master" formula?

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by CrazyElf, Jan 10, 2018.

  1. CrazyElf

    CrazyElf Lieutenant

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    This isn't strictly meant to be a feedback thread based on my experiences, but rather an attempt to build up feedback on what is considered the ideal in a 4X game, which is easy to learn, but hard to master. I'm not sure where else to post this since only VIPs are really in a position to give this type of feedback, but it's worth opening up a thread somewhere about this.

    • How well do you think ISG currently follows the goal of easy to learn?
    • Would you consider the game accessible to someone relatively new at 4X gaming?
    • Do you think this game has an easy UI to use?
    • What about the hard to master part? Do you think that at higher difficulty levels, there are challenges?
     
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  2. Konstantine

    Konstantine Moderator Admiral

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    Interesting questions @CrazyElf

    Before I share my opinion on this, note that I have moved this thread to the general forums. While the VIPs may be in a better position to answer these questions, there are enough non-VIP players of the game that may have something useful to contribute.

    Now let me address the questions you pose, keep in mind that this is just my perspective, both current as a veteran of ISG, and also as it was many months ago when I first tried the game.

    Moderately, the game, much like the rest of the genre, is far more sophisticated than its inspiration. That is to be expected however as there is simply more to learn in ISG than was the case with MoO2. My own conclusion here would be that the difficulty in learning the game is tied into the player's desire to learn it as well as the sophistication involved in game. A prime example would be the leaders. In MoO2 it was very easy to determine their effect and how to use them. In ISG however, you have far more control in how they evolve and what their abilities will grow to. This is more fun in my opinion but it does mean that a player will need to devote more time and effort in learning how to use/develop them.

    Not really and that is not to knock ISG, however as far as 4x titles go, a newbie might be better served with something more streamlined and easier to grasp as an introduction to the genre. (It is also understood that it is dependent on the individual gamer as well)

    Yes I do. While the UI is far more sophisticated than MoO2, it is, (at least for me), laid out in an intuitive manner. I should also note that we will continue to see refinements and smart "short-cuts" as the game progresses. Any feedback here would aid the developers greatly so I urge anyone with something to say to speak up.

    There is no challenge on the hardest setting for me anymore, at least not without my actively aiding the AI by choosing horrible starting positions for myself and also avoiding min-maxing my strategy. But there is a qualifier here, actually two qualifiers. First, I have hundreds of hours with ISG already. As such, it is only natural that I do not find it difficult. Second, the AI is at 1/3 capacity at this point in time, this is a huge factor. But, I do recall watching the AI pull off some excellent raids and showing me that un-defended colonies near the border are a horrible idea. In other words my friend, I find the game easy, but a new player could lose before they even realize it.

    Anyway my respected crewmate, my opinion is colored by my expertise in the game and I replied more to give your excellent questions some momentum, I would love to hear what anyone else has to say on the subject(s)
     
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  3. CrazyElf

    CrazyElf Lieutenant

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    I think the biggest area that will need some work then is difficulty at the hardest setting. Perhaps there is a way to mod the game for a better AI and then to incorporate that mod eventually into the main game to make it tougher.
     
  4. Konstantine

    Konstantine Moderator Admiral

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    I agree with your idea that the AI will probably need a significant amount of work at the hardest settings, however before getting into mods let me provide some additional information in this critical area.


    Strategically, the AI on the harder levels is doing well but will do better. In detail, the AI knows how to expand, exploit resources, establish bases and seems to have a good grasp of the balance needed between "civilian" production and "military" production. During war, it is also good offensively but slightly less so on defense. Here, expect the inclusion of defenses and Starbases to aid the AI simply by their inherent capabilities. Another boost the AI will receive on the strategic level will be when its ability to actually "see" you is enhanced, that is coming in due time.


    Tactically, the AI needs help. It is here where the AI can be given a tremendous upgrade without the need to resort to cheats. This however needs to be clarified further or rather broken down into two parts.

    In actual combat, the AI will need to learn a few things. Maneuver could be upgraded as well as how the AI targets opposing forces. It needs to learn what to hit first, when to concentrate firepower, when to direct it at multiple targets and when to not blindly charge ahead into certain destruction. Where I find the AI excellent in tactical combat, is in knowing when to cut its losses and retreat, I hope that is retained.


    The other area that will help the AI in tactical combat is ship design. The AI does build ships well and I have often noticed that its designs incorporate upgraded technology, however, the AI does not as yet use modifications. In other words it will not install heavy mount or auto-fire weapons etc. This puts the AI at a huge disadvantage against most players but expect it to be addressed as Adam himself has acknowledged it.


    Obviously there is more that can be done and I am in no position to write about every nuance involved, but even teaching the AI how to build better fleets could help as well as insuring that it can react to your forces. In other words if you favor missiles and fighters, I would like to see the AI start favoring PD weapons. If you go with few but larger ships, it could counter with more but smaller ships raining down a hail of missiles at you.


    For me then, I constantly remind myself that there are very good reasons why ISG is described as a Pre-Alpha, there is a lot of work to be done still. I would then say that whatever I write today may not hold true shortly and that the possibility that the AI will be able to face off against a player such as you or I and win is very much real.


    Once we know that the Devs have completed their work in this area we will be in a much better position to analyze the capabilities of the AI and the need for further enhancements or mods.


    In summary then, I would suggest that the AI is doing well at the strategic level, (could be better) but poorly at the tactical and will need substantial improvement there.
     
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  5. CrazyElf

    CrazyElf Lieutenant

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    I think that there needs to be a bunch of pre-made ships from the team.

    Study what make the best combination of components, then make them and have the AI choose them.
     
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  6. aReclusiveMind

    aReclusiveMind Moderator Lieutenant

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    That makes perfect sense. I'm certain the AI ship layouts will continuously be improved throughout the game's development cycle because I know AI is something the devs are passionate about.

    In any case though, it's far too early to judge what the final game AI will be. All of the game's features and ship components haven't even been implemented yet.
     
  7. CrazyElf

    CrazyElf Lieutenant

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    There have been other games where the developers had some top players in the community make really good ship designs.

    Stardrive 2 comes to mind right away. Sometimes mods can also be integrated into the main game (Gal Civ 2 did that).
     

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