Game Design, Programming and running a one-man games business…

Balancing lots of things

Today was mostly spent playing the game, going through a lot of module data, reading a lot of forum posts, doing spreadsheets, and analyzing what modules and ships needing changing to make GSB more balanced. There were some really obvious screw ups that have been there for a while, such as frigate power supplies being too good, frigate crew modules being too small, and fighter torpedoes being stupidly heavy. Lots of this is now fixed and awaiting the next patch.

There has been press coverage here and there, not least here:

http://www.cyberstratege.com/magazine/2009/09/gratuitous-space-battles-en-direct-de-la-beta/

Hopefully that’s a good review, but my language skills are weak at best!

There is a ton of improvements I want to make to the game, mostly UI and online challenge-related stuff. I also badly need to ease casual players into the game much better than I currently do. This is all ‘on the list’. Plus there is a backlog of insanely cool features I’d like to add one day, maybe eventually there will be an expansion pack or something. I wouldnt mind if I was still doing GSB related stuff a year from now (providing it actually sells ok, obviously).

To people asking about GSB on platforms such as Impulse, the answer is *soon*.


13 thoughts on Balancing lots of things

  1. It’s been fun beta testing the game so far. And seeing the beta progress at a pretty fast rate is nice. I can’t wait to see what the game looks like in just a few weeks. Keep up the good work.

  2. Hi don’t know if it’s the right place but i have one suggestion. Wouldn’t ship design be much clearer if you could view modules as you view files in windows details view so that you could sort them by any parameter they have ie. cost weight or whatever else you like. It would also make comparing them easy for beginners.

  3. To ease people into the game, you should give them more pre defined ships that work decent.

    Viewing the ship components in a detail view like windows would be nice. Should look something like this:
    http://pcmedia.ign.com/pc/image/article/989/989399/hearts-of-iron-iii-20090602102357268.jpg

    Yea yea another Hoi3 reference from me. :x I don’t care. The listing of the different brigades would be replaced by the different modules, sortable by different columns and compresses as much info in as little space as possible, while still being understandable. When you scroll your mouse over the little icons, there is a popup text explaining what the icon means.

    The problem I see here is that the modules are very different from brigades because most modules don’t share the same statistics and therefor some columns would be redundant for several equipment.

  4. Feature lock!
    Don’t think of any more features until you’ve polished the current ones!
    You know the drill developer! Asses and elbows! :-P

    (Great job you’re doing btw Cliff ;-))

    @CaesarsGhost

    Damn you, you’ve got me wanting to watch SpaceBalls now, but I’m at work! :@

  5. Hello

    I think GSB has a lot of promise. From playing the beta I can see that there is a great game in there, just cloudy from a few places with poor UI getting in the way of enjoy the great game underneath.

    So I would highly suggest that you don’t put GSB on Steam or Impulse until AFTER beta. If that means not for another 2, 3 or 6 months while it continues to get polished and improved, than so be it.

    Once you release to a wide audience like those you will find on a Steam or Impulse, you only get one chance to make a first impression.

  6. I have to agree with the previous post, it’s probably too early to put the game on steam/impulse, mainly because the learning curve is quite steep at the moment. Dont think it necessarily has to leave beta first, but it definitely needs to be a bit more friendly before you take the plunge.

    But thats easy for me to say, i’m not the one paying my mortgage with those $20 purchases.

  7. Hi Cliff,

    Looking good – I have a bit of nerf question – Do you enjoy playing your own games – Are you surprised by them ever or are you like the chef who just eats toast at home cause he is fed up of cooking ?

    Here is a rough translation of the interesting bit of the review – some interesting comments on playablitly / program lifetime.

    One can regret the absence of scenario like the destruction of a precise vessel in an enemy fleet much larger than his, or an opening during which the attacker must reach the zone of deployment of its adversary in a limited time, for example. The too weak difficulty of the missions does not maintain much interest either: as soon as I started to make my own vessels, I finished all the battles without taking only one defeat! In fact, it was only at the expert level that my fleets had to face losses more serious than a hand full of hunters!
    However there remains the possibility of facing the fleets proposed by other players, and of subjecting to them his with a code of the number of victory over the number of attempt. (Ed note: – I have no idea what this means ?)
    One of the fleets thus proposed had been beaten only 10 times in 118 attempts, On this level there it cannot be just chance, the tactical dimension of the play seems to me quite real (In this element of the game).
    Last interesting detail, to maintain the interest of the beginners a system of points “of honour’ ‘gained with each battle makes it possible to free new modules (not many enough for the moment); one can gain more honour by not investing the entire budget available for a battle.
    Lastly, only the Federation of the Trade is playable at the beginning, the 3 other factions are available only after having gained the whole of the missions on a given level of difficulty (Average for the Rebels, Difficult for Alliance and Expert for the Empire). (Ed Note: – Is this a game play / training thing Cliff? Why wouldn’t you have the option of picking a race to trial to see if it suited your style of play? – Feds (cautious – heavy shields – slow) vs Klingons (Fast – Aggressive – stronger weapons than shields) vs Romulans (Mainly just large ships heavy armoured / heavy weapons but slow – covered by cloaking though !))

    Currently, only the hulls seem to change from one race to another however, the modules remaining identical (but the developer spoke about some specific weapons to each camp, I suppose that they will follow soon).
    In conclusion, a little game very sympathetic nerve, but perhaps suffering from too much repetitivity, for the moment. However, it is still a little early definitively to judge this point, and I tried only the multiplayer mode a little. I hope in all the cases to have given you a taste for you to desire testing it, I think that (as it is a Beta) it is worth the pain of it!

    By Matthieu, alias Spirit off Snagga

    Hmmm – Looks good but playability / lifespan might be the thing which was the thing that worried me. Perhaps you should create mission mods or open it up to players to create their own missions?

    All in all – $20 / £15 quid isn’t going to send me to the Poor House so I’ll buy it (Hell – I still play Space Tycoon.)

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