Years ago, I did this blog post, which is why I now run a dedicated server, because mine just MELTED. I was even on the radio, in several countries, yabbering on about piracy. Its still a huge big deal in terms of people recognising my name.

Anyway. I’m sort of going to try and do the same thing, sort of, but on a different tack. it won’t be vaguely as popular, and I bet I get 10 replies, rather than 10,000, but that’s cool. So instead of ‘Why do you pirate my games’, todays question is

“Why didn’t you buy Gratuitous Space Battles?”

Please read this next bit:

I am NOT complaining. I am NOT moaning about sales. I am NOT unhappy with sales, I am not whining or anything like it. I just like making games that people enjoy, and I don’t know why the people who didn’t buy it, didn’t buy it. I’d like to know. The answers may well make it a better game for everyone, if I fix those reasons (if they make sense). It will make the game attractive to current fence-sitters, better for current owners, and more sales for me and my cats.

This cat demands answers NOW.

You can post here, or email me at Subject could be “Why I didn’t buy GSB”. As with the piracy thing, what I 100% absolutely totally want is honesty. Here are some prompts for what you might be thinking, and please email me if any of them are true:

  • “I Thought it would be an arcade game, but it wasn’t and I don’t like strategy games.”
  • “I Don’t like 2D games, or at least won’t pay money for them.”
  • “The demo was too easy”
  • “The demo crashed”
  • “It ran badly on my PC”
  • “I already have lots of space strategy games”
  • “The demo was badly balanced”
  • “I heard bad things about it”
  • “I don’t trust buying it from your website”
  • “It’s too expensive”
  • “I wanted direct control of the ships, and that was frustrating”
  • I wanted a campaign wrapped around the battles. It was too sandboxy”

etc. Obviously, feel free to add to the list, above all, be honest. I’m not offended if you email me and say “The games shit, my dog could make a better game”. I would disagree, but that’s your opinion :D.

If you have friends or interwebs-buddies who you know saw or heard about the game, and don’t own it, I’d love to know their opinions. Obviously if you *did* buy it, you don’t get a vote today. Sorry, and thankyou for buying one of my games. You are clearly happier, more intelligent, discerning and probably more attractive than other people.

My intention here is to hoover up all those comments that invariably get made, that could, in a perfect world, be fed back to the creator of something to make the product better. We, as a species really need to get our shit together on that. If you are like me, you *always* find something about everything you buy which is annoying*, there just isn’t a direct route to the inbox of the designer to send your feedback. My email address is Tell me what improvement would make you a buyer of Gratuitous Space Battles.

*those new nozzles on ketchup bottles give me less control over ketchup distribution, and are affecting my purchase decisions…

379 Responses to “Talking With Customers (or potential ones)”

  1. Nihohit says:

    I didn’t buy the game because I saw that the post-battle screnn didn’t give me enough information to actually plan ahead, and I felt that I was mostly guessing.

  2. pretttt says:

    Excellent initiative this!

    Well, here are my reasons:
    1)I happen to have a HUGE backlog of games that I’ve bought during Steam sales, GamersGate sales and on GOG.
    2)Not a very big fan of Space games, BUT I’ll try out any game if it catches my attention.
    3) There was no real info or buzz about this game. For ex: I had heard a lot about Trine when it came up on sale on Steam. I bought it and put the other games I was playing aside and started with that. I loved it so much that I finished it in a day!
    4)Steam discounts. I feel Steam discounts are an amazing platform for indie games to get showcased. I have discovered so many games over the past months this way (Ex: Beat Hazard, Audiosurf, etc). I’m sure GSB was also on discount, but because I had not heard much about this game prior to that, I did not give it serious consideration.

    Now, lastly, I’m sure I’ll be buying GSB at some point in the future. I love trying out new games, especially indie ones. I feel indie games bring the most creativity and really want to support the developers, but I dont have unlimited money, so I make sure whatever I pay for is really worth it.

  3. Ted Swinyar says:

    ++ comments about having too many other games in waiting to be played already. I’ve been interested in GSB but am just too swamped right now. Maybe in a sale somewhere down the line I’ll pick it up.

  4. DarkerDark says:

    #1 reason: I didn’t buy the game because the setting doesn’t appeal to me. The only space games I’ve thoroughly enjoyed are TIE Fighter and Master of Orion.

    The graphics look attractive, but the gameplay looks boring. Line your ships up and shoot at each other? It’s the sort of gameplay one might expect from a freeware game, or even a flash game.

  5. Hank says:

    I didn’t buy GSB because I wasn’t really interested. I read RPS regularly and knew about the game. I have considered buying Sins of a Solar Empire but even gave it a pass on the 75% off weekend. The only space game I have bought recently is Evochron Legends, and haven’t made the time to play it since 2009. I’m on a Civ IV kick which may soon translate into playing more of Democracy 2 (which is worth the $20 or so that I paid for it last year). One of my students, who often parrots back the hardcore conservative republican talking points he hears from his grandparents, also bought the game and enjoyed it. He particularly liked creating a government with no gun control and a very strict immigration policy. He said his biggest supporters were smokers.

  6. Andrew says:

    Does having some complaints despite buying the game count?

    I think the price is my biggest complaint. Yeah yeah so I purchased this and all three expansions, (Technically I bought the Tribe twice *sigh*), and I will probably be one of your trustworthy consumer whores for every last DLC you make for this. But as one of your paying customers, I am also a node for that precious word-of-mouth advertising, and while I may praise your game and tell friends why I think they might like it, I also end every conversation with, “But I think it is overpriced at 20 dollars.” I’d charge 10 for the game and only 3 for all the expansions, but I can’t in good faith tell you that you would have sold more than twice as many copies had you gone with this scheme, so perhaps somewhere in the middle is the correct move.

    I also really hate that the interface is so buggy and the game crashes way too often. A lower price would make this more forgiveable, and a less buggy game would make the price more forgiveable. Some of the shenanigans that go on while I am running this game are, frankly, unprofessional.

    I slog through all this because it is both “my kind of game” and also a unique enough approach to the genre that I don’t feel I can get the same experience anywhere else. So this is why I, personally, will probably send you every dollar I can, even if I scribble a little curse onto each one before I mail it to you.

    Re: Steam – publishing here is probably your best bet. Steam is the reason I purchased the Tribe twice – because my first purchase was before it was available on Steam, and it was worth six more dollars to me to have Steam manage, install, and update all the DLC for me, (consumer whore, I’ve already admitted it). I did not read all the comments, but two people said they didn’t purchase GSB because it is not available on Steam. Clearly it is available on Steam and they are confused, but you should still take this as an indication of how important of a network Steam is to people.

  7. Carolina says:

    I’m watching the trailer right now, and it seems like a good, polished, little game. I _read_ about it when it came out and decided I’d gladly buy it in a Steam Special, since I believe it’s a *little* overpriced. I’m also not very attracted to space strategy games, but I’m very fond of 2D graphcis, so I’m torn between having it in my library just for the sake of it, or skipping it until I’m hankerin’ for something like this.

    I’m looking forward to play your future creations. Best of luck.

  8. leon101 says:

    Well, just not my kind of game. No way to fix that. X D

  9. Seb says:

    $20 U.S. is honestly too deer for me right now, as it has been for most of last year, add on to that the fact that I’d have to pay an extra $18 U.S. to get what I would now consider the full game (DLC) and you’ve got me not eating for 4 days to afford it.

    I love Indie games and I love GSB, and I’m well aware that you deserve to be payed for your work, but having to pay for DLC (We used to call them patches, and they were free) has always rubbed me the wrong way (probably because after I buy the game I can’t afford the DLC). I don’t mind so much if it’s for an Indie dev, but most DLC is for games that pull in millions of dollars.

    Bottom line; If I had $20 I would buy it but I don’t so I can’t. But bundle the game with all the DLC and drastically cut the DLC’s price, and I’ll find a way to make 25-30 dollars.

  10. Troy says:

    GSB came out at about the same time as AI War, two very complex, planning-centric space games. At the time I had a real hankering for something turn-based and strategic, so I investigated both titles.

    I ended up feeling much more drawn to GSB. I use Steam for the majority of my PC-only purchases. So I looked up GSB and also noticed that there was DLC already offered, with more on the way. I think this is ultimately what put me off from purchasing.

    If it was a single title at a given price, I feel I would have been much more likely to buy at that time. With the notion of DLCs incoming, I had to ask myself a few questions:

    1. Is this developer going to release a ton of cool content in DLCs, and keep releasing it?

    2. Looking back to Fallout 3 and painfully realizing I paid almost 3x what the “Game of the Year” version is worth in DLCs… I wondered, “When he’s done with all of the DLC, there’ll be a big Gratiutous Space Battles Pack I can order.”

    3. Just wanting the ‘complete’ experience of a game.

    GSB is currently on my steam ‘watch’ list. Not necessarily because of price, but because I’m waiting for a more integrated sale where I won’t need to purchase additional DLC afterwards (as I’ve been burned in the past with it).

  11. Legendary Teeth says:

    Same as any cool but not must-have right now game: I am waiting for either a) a sale on Steam, or b) having played though enough of the games I already have (and acquire in the mean time, through sales and new releases) that I have to go looking for new ones.

  12. Jeff says:

    Two things:

    1. When I tried the demo (about a year ago maybe?) I found it difficult to figure out which ships/weapons were doing all the damage, which were ineffective, etc. That obviously meant it was tricky to form any real strategy other than trial and error.

    2. The ‘sandboxy’ nature of it all. Nothing to string multiple battles together, etc. I’ll admit that the possibility of a campaign might well be enough to pick it up as I hope point #1 above was just the initial learning curve and my inability to pick up on UI cues, etc.

  13. […] Cliff Harris asks “Why did you NOT buy GSB?” […]

  14. Raggamofyn says:

    I’m not a fan of strategy games, actually. And the space genre as a whole, for that matter.

    Sorry. :(

  15. BmB says:

    I think a big problem is the marketing. I’ve seen ads and trailers and read articles and heard a lot of fuss about it.
    But the sad thing is, I still have no idea what kind of game it is.

    All that fuss and no discernable structure makes me feel uneasy about the product. And is probably the largest barrier of entry to me, and presumably many others who are simply flipping through the web trying to find something interesting. There simply is no time to waste delving deeper when we are drowning in games already.

  16. Josh Goehner says:

    Like some of the others I was thrown by the marketing. The name gave me the impression that this was going to be a juvenile game. It shared the “Exactly What It Says On The Tin” trope with such titles as I Maed A G4me With Z0mbiez Init.

    None of the screen shots I saw showed me differently. They are all so visually busy and dense that it takes me a few seconds to realize what is being shown in the image. As such I figured playing the game would be rather frustrating due to incredible eye strain.

    I do enjoy strategy games and the sci-fi genre but the impression I get from the game is that it would not be a fun experience.

  17. sinister agent says:

    I am coming to this rather late, but.

    I did buy GSB – I think on sale on a third party website like stardock or something. I don’t remember because it was a couple of months ago, and there are several games I’ve bought that I can’t play because my gaming pc is not currently connected to the internet.

    So er… I suppose my answer is that I didn’t buy it initially because it was too expensive. I think it was £15 or so at full price – that’s actually fine by me for a game in general, but for a game I’m not sure I want a lot is too much, plus I spend too much on games as it is. So it was too expensive, but more because of my own budget situation than a point of principle.

    So, when it came down to …. aha! Found the receipt. When it came down to £7 on stardock (tail end of january), I celebrated starting a new job by er, buying several games I knew I wouldn’t be able to actually play for many months. Possibly I hate myself.

    Anyway, it came down to price for me. I wasn’t sure enough of how it would play/how much I would like it/how different it was to other space-y games with big battles (I already had AI War and Gal Civs 2, and was eyeing up sins of a molar umpire) to pay much more than a few quid.

  18. Fyr says:

    I didn’t know it existed.

    Now I know I’ll try the demo.

    So obviously I haven’t tried it yet, but I’m unlikely to buy it at that price steam has it today (and I certainly wouldn’t look elsewhere) because it seems a little steep for an indie game.

    I don’t mind paying full price for a game that had some serious development but indie games haven’t had as many hours put into them and generally aren’t worth so much.

    But if I like the demo and it goes on sale on steam, I’d likely pick it up.

  19. noxxit says:

    I didn’t buy it because it isn’t my kind of game.

    I download the demo and tinkered with it two evenings, maybe three. Thing is it is a game which requires a lot of effort to get it right. At least that’s how I percieved it. You would have to read a lot of stuff, and run trial and error tests to figure out what works and what doesn’t. This is basicly what I am doing in my job. I play games for recreation so I want them to cause me as less actual ‘work’ as possible. This makes me a typical casual gamer I guess. The same thing happend with GTA4, too much effort for far too less payoff, in my opinion.

    I really like the game concept and the implementation though. I think the ships are a bit slow, and the menu isn’t the prettiest one as I recall. But those are just minor flaws in a great game.

  20. Max says:

    I played the demo and didn’t really like it.

    To be more specific, I wanted more control over my ships. Not direct control necessarily, but I felt like it was very hard to see what went right and what went wrong when a battle played out since the only input was my fleet configuration.

    And though complexity is good, I felt that the game needed a tutorial where it taught you at least the basics of which parts to use when and basic strategies for setting up your fleet. In the demo, when I failed I didn’t know why and there were hundreds of variables that could have affected the outcome.

  21. Samfisher says:

    I actually don’t remember if I remember GSB, maybe from a preview article on PC Gamer UK maybe? I don’t remember, but the name is vaguely familiar.

    Although this comment is not GSB-related, I am seriously considering getting Democracy 2. Dem 1 had a pretty good review in PCGUK (forgot if they reviewed Dem2) and I kinda need a social sim in my games collection right now, and Dem 2 seems to fit the bill just right! A little on the expensive side, but I can make do with it!

  22. Tyler says:

    Bought it months ago, played for a day, haven’t touched since.


    Its an animated spreadsheet.

  23. Henri says:

    I didn’t buy your game because i didn’t know one existed (before just deading phoronix forums). It may or may not change but i might bother to download demo (understood from your text such existed) and condired buying one if i like it.

  24. Scott says:

    dont listen to all the haters cliffski. i think gsb is a 2d gem and even if you dont get to read this i want u to know that gsb is a totaly unique and extremely fun game and i hope just because some people who proberly havent even tried the game say they wont buy it dosent put you off expanding the gsb universe i have all the dlc and to me the game never gets old keep up the good work!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  25. Lou says:

    Why I didnt buy GSB is this: sitting back and watching a battle unfold before my eyes – the ability to ‘interact’ with said battle whilst it’s happening does not = fun. That’s the reason

  26. Paulie says:

    I already have too many games, I could buy GSB but I’d probably never play it, still having way too many unplayed games awaiting me at the moment.

    I actually really like the concept of extensive preparation and then sitting back to watch it unfold.

    I might buy it if it’s on offer to take advantage of the offer, and perhaps end up playing it a few months later. Then again, that’s the sole reason I have too many games :p

    There have been multiple cases where I’ve bought a game cheaply (e.g. TF2, Dawn of War) and ended up playing many months later.

  27. Naithin says:

    Hey there, hadn’t been following this blog at all, but saw this article linked from Rock, Paper, Shotgun; and as I HAVE seen the game around the place for a wee while now, thought I’d chime in on why I haven’t bought it yet.

    …Waiting for a bundle deal!

    At the moment, to pick it up on steam, it’s $19.95 for the base game which is FINE, but then on top of that there are 3 expansions at $6 US each, for another $18, bringing total cost of the package up there to near the price of a AAA title.

    The idea of the game intrigues me, but I’m not convinced I’d play it enough to get a return on the investment in it at current price. It strikes me as a ‘toy’ game, something fun here and there, but not for huge stretches of time; although I’m sure there are some that can get enjoyment out of it that way.

    Also worthy of note, I think, is that it probably actually isn’t that much of a big deal if you got in at the beginning and bought each piece as they were released.

    No individual piece is badly priced, in my opinion.

    Yet, getting into it now.. Yeah.. Will wait for a bundle / special.

  28. zipdrive says:

    Hi Cliffsky,
    I got a review copy from you, and while I found the game OK, I did not find it highly enjoyable: I found that one or two basic strategies and ship layout combinations could overcome most, if not all, challenges on normal difficulty, and the uninspiring unlocks or Really Different Things discouraged me from replaying on harder difficulties. Also, I really missed a campaign/story mode.

    So I did not purchase the expansions.

    I hope this helps.

  29. Steve says:

    It didn’t appeal to me because based on what I read of it, it’s a “trail and error” game. E.g. you play a mission expecting to lose, and then replay it with the right loadout. This description applies to any tower defense game of course – and correspondingly I don’t like tower defense games. I just don’t find this sort of strictly structured trial an error entertaining.

    The argument can be made that EVERY game boils down to try trial and error in some fashion, but in a typical action or RTS game you can retreat and try something new without a total defeat. And, if you do lose, at least you feel like you had a chance of resolving the outcome – as opposed to going into a battle, predestined to lose.

    Another reason is based on my experience with Homeworld and Nexus: The Jupiter incident. Homeworld is one of my favorite games of all time – easily in my top 5. Nexus I really liked at first, but turned out to be one of the most disappointing games I’ve ever played. Reason? Homeworld is a more typical RTS where the game is more about what types and number of pre-defined units you build. In Nexus you control a small number of capital ships and have to micromanage their individual design. Nexus is actually quite a lot like GSB in several respects – most notably it’s very much a trial and error game in that you really have to play and lose a missions first before you know what loadout you need to succeed. Micromanaging the ship designs in Nexus simply became much, much too tedious. It became frustrating to get an hour into a mission and then lose because you put turret A on a ship instead of turret B. Plus when your fleet size increased, it was just too much pre-mission diddling about (a lot of which is wasted time when you realized you don’t have the right equipment), and not enough action.

    Putting the variability into different units instead of different designs, being able to build and adapt strategies “on the fly” make for a much more entertaining experience to me. In short I guess I just like commanding units more than designing them. Maybe that’s just me, but I’m sure the fanbase for Homeworld is a heck of a lot larger than Nexus’ fanbase.

    When I first saw screenshots for GSB, I thought it was going to be like a 2D version of Homeworld and I was extraordinarily interested in it. Then I realized it was more like tower defense and Nexus, and that just doesn’t appeal to me.

  30. Pinky says:

    I didn’t buy the game because my list of unplayed games. Steam sales keep this things accumulating, waiting to be played. I checked out the demo and looked at some of the media, but I didn’t see anything super appealing. The gameplay looked unique and had depth, but I can’t imagine it would be something that would engross me for hours on end.

    It is still on my “sometime in the future” list, but I really need to stop buying games and play the ones I have.

    If this helps at all, I thought the mod support was fantastic and really made me more interested and likely to play it. The active development blog was another plus.

  31. Pinky says:

    I forgot to add that I liked the idea of careful management and thought would pay off with spectacular space battles at the end.

  32. Joshua Rodman says:

    I never seriously considered buying GSB.

    I heard about it when it was in development, and although it sounded interesting, I thought:

    – Sounds like a strategy title. Strategy titles usually demand that I be good at strategy, and I’m not.
    – Gee, there’s sure a lot of stuff going on at once on the screen. And those config screens sure look tedious. I’m going to go play some nice streamlined Spaceward Ho. Which, incidentally is low graphics and turn based. Aah.
    – Looks like it only runs on windows. I’ll play games on the mac, or games on linux. Windows is right out.

    These days I like games which are engaging but not demanding, creative but not aggressive. I like to purchase a delicious bon-bon, experience what it has to offer, and then put it down — preferably one to six days later — complete. This doesn’t sound like that kind of game at all.

  33. Draxis says:

    I bought GSB, but I wish I hadnt – The game looks and sounds really nice, but there is just too little strategy involved. Despite all the equipment and ships and races available, most of them are just too weak to consider using. With the hulls, cruisers kill fighters, cruisers kill frigates, cruisers kill cruisers. The entire game boils down to one race, a couple of hulls, and about 10 modules to chose to put on in varying amounts. A lot of the online ‘challenges’ I looked at reflect this.

    The designer itself is frustrating to use – You are placing ships in the game, you click ‘new ship’, click the ‘change’ button, where even though you have a race selected, all the ships from all the other races are in the list and you have to scroll through them all to find what you are after. Why? If you try and load an existing ship design, you get a huge list. There is nothing to indicate what race the ship is for, what the hull size is, or what the role of the ship is. It doesnt even remember capitalisation on files names!

    There are no shortcut keys like ctrl+drag or shift+drag to copy existing modules from a design, so if you want a copy of a module, you have to go find it on the module list and drag it on. 4 times in a row. If you have limited crew or power left, there is no way to say ‘find me any module that can fit on the ship’. You have to trawl through all the modules, and try and find one that isnt a waste of space but will actually fit on the ship.

    Weapons are missing vital statistics like damage per second, and you can drop modules on the ship like the target booster, but you cant see it having any effect, so you dont know for certain if it adds 10% to a weapons tracking or 0.1. EMP shields add this nebulous number to the ship somewhere – does it help? How much does the ship already have? How much EMP shield do you need to not get disabled in a fight?

    During battle, there need to be more orders – Dont shoot your lasers at a ship when the shots will just bounce off because of their shields. Focus your shield-breaking weapons on enemy ships with shields that at least X other ships are shooting at. Dont shoot an enemy if they have stopped firing due to damage. Hold position until ship X’s shields start taking damage. Do not, under any condition, fire you fighter torpedoes at enemy fighters. It is frustrating to see ships doing things that are just moronic, because I dont know the magic combination of basic orders required to get them to behave. I think a larger amount of more specific orders, with 2 lists split between ‘movement’ and ‘combat’, with a clear priority system, would give a far more deterministic result that requires less learning to understand.

    At the end of the fight, there is a huge amount of data, and most of it cannot be used because its in pie-chart from. Great, I know that my missiles did 10x more damage than my lasers. The fact that I had 1 laser and 30 launchers is ignored. The statistics need to tell the player why their ships did not perform as well as they might have done. Just saying that 92% of a ships shots missed is useless when the reason the shots missed is because the ship was out of range for most of the fight and was taking pot-shots at fighters.

    Also, the updates on steam (Thanks for getting onto steam by the way, <3) launch some crazy installer window that asks me where to install the game, instead of using the steam update mechanism. Bottom line, I want to like GSB, but I feel the game lacks depth. I am hoping the campaign version is going to kick ass!

  34. alef says:

    A campaign/story would have made it interesting for me.

  35. cliffski says:

    I’m fixing the thing with the not-filtering by race in the ship editor right now.

  36. Maarten says:

    I bought GSB in a Steam sale. At that point I felt it was priced right for what it is. I think the DLC won’t add enough replay value, especially with the cost of the DLC.

    There are just too many great cheap games and deals on Steam.

    Would consider DLC at half the price it is now.

  37. Josh W says:

    I like designing stuff, but I tend to do it for the new dynamics, in other words I’d be there to zip up and compress all the gameplay mechanics into my head, rather than to watch the battles play out in front of me!

    In other words I’d play the game to reverse engineer it, because designing games is more fun to me than designing ships.

    On the other hand I like balletic chaotic combat with AI patterns I could influence myself, with flocking dynamics vs attacks of different speeds with different radius’s, and point defences and shields matched to different weapon types that can be used to shield areas behind the ship using them and that kind of thing, that would be new enough that I’d watch it just to get a grip on it.

    In all honesty, if I had the time to learn coding I’d set that up myself, and then learn genetic algorithms to create AI to play against.

    Basically, this would only be my kind of game if it did something that has not yet been seen in games!

  38. Mastix says:

    Because it doesn’t seem that you actualy have a pre-planned path of development.
    You released the game, but then I saw that you started just throwing countless DLC’s (you probably plan more) instead of improving or adding to the core game (even if you did it aswell, throwing tons of DLC is not fun for costumers)

  39. Alex says:

    I bought GSB. I don’t know how anyone could say the graphics weren’t top notch. Because it was 2d? No way. I bought it for the graphics.

    I mean, I had some issues. For example toward the end it was too easy (even on hard with less ships). The levels where you had to rebuild your ships without shields or whatever was stupid and ended up flooding your craft selection with junk.

    As far as the expansion…
    The thing is… You feel at the end of the game that you’ve broken it. That you’ve beaten the game. Not just won the game, but beaten it. So DLC expansions don’t really make much sense to me.

    ps: Thank you for listening.

  40. Tim says:

    Half of you people are saying “I don’t buy it because it isin’t on steam” IT IS ON STEAM, it has been on steam for months.

  41. Stu says:

    I guess the reason that I didn’t purchase it was the apparent lack (as far as I’m aware) of any larger scale strategy (empire building, or something along those lines). Big space battles are all very well, but I want my space battles to have a ‘so what’ factor to them.

  42. Mangus says:

    Bought it, played it….don’t like paying for tiny add on contents-thought everything was real pretty and briefly enjoyed the RPS battles.
    MOO this up (4x it) add granular control and I will buy it again.
    Here’s an idea-get together with AI War designer and make a mashup-this might kick it serious.

  43. daf says:

    Just not my kind of game (never been a fan of strategy) and after trying it my initial thoughts were confirmed, otherwise I’d certainly consider it.

  44. Zyglio says:

    I was not going to buy your game, but actually did. I enjoy it a lot, but I was sure I wouldn’t. Here are the little details that formed my opinion.

    In the 4th screenshot on Steam is a screen with lines of text only. It is VERY unappealing to research options in text modes rather than iconicly.

    In the video demo, you mention the long list of options for ship design, and one of the first screens you show is a full screen text list of options, with no icons or ship diagrams visible. It made me think I had to read an encyclopedia to play the game – which was far from the case.

    In the video demo, when you demonstrate MASS DEPLOY, you go real fast and without sensible thought, which is totally counter to the feel of the game and gameplay. It made the experience look cheap and arcade-y, rather than thoughtful and measured.

    In reality, while those screens are part of the game, they aren’t the gateway to the experience, thank goodness. It is a really fun game.

    Good luck!


  45. Kdansky says:

    I have also bought it, despite knowing after the demo that I miss some key things, some of them outlined above.

    Lack of strategic depth.
    This is by far my prime concern. Because you have so little information and so few commands, all except the really stupid designs work out to be about as good as anything else. Cheese builds demolish everything except other cheese builds (such as: half a dozen cruisers with all long range missile pods, but only the complete minimum of shields and armour, and up front a tank ship which fills even its hardpoints with armour and shields to absorb any hits), but as longs as you mix in shield-killing guns plus armor-killing guns, add a few shields and a few armor pieces, you can just spend your money on cruisers and it will work out perfectly fine. You could add fighters (at least they do not die instantly to cruisers) but it is unnecessary (cruisers with enough defenses are fairly immune to them anyway), and you should not add frigattes, because those just die without accomplishing anything the cruisers could not do too.
    But if you would make them stronger counters to each other (Rock Paper Scissors), the game would be a lot worse: Since in such a system you need all three components in your army, minute positioning and timing decide on winning and losing, but you do not have control over that, strategy ends and dice-rolling begins.

  46. James says:

    I haven’t purchased any of your games. However, I don’t think this really reflects poorly on you. Nonetheless, I will explain why.

    1. I don’t like playing games on computers. It just isn’t comfortable for me. If your games were on PSN I would most certainly have purchased one or more. I am not sure if this helps at all, maybe that is something completely beyond your capabilities. However, it is probably the biggest reason I have not purchased any of your games.

    2. Your games look interesting, but they aren’t the kind of game I love. I am much more interested in beat em’ ups, RPG’s and Fighting games. Is that your fault? No, not at all. I am still interested, but not as much as I would be if it fell into one of my favorite genres.

    3. I didn’t find out about your games until very recently. This one is kinda self explanatory.

    That being said I am going to look into your games. I will also probably purchase one to support the creating of indie games. Keep living the dream.

  47. Harry says:

    I was reading an article by you about DLC. I am an ardent opponent of DRM and other scams that end up costing more than the original game and so was on the fence with DLC. In your article, you put a totally shameless plug for GSB and I found it on Steam.

    When I first encountered Steam, I was mortified at the prospect of a game being connected to the internet for single player play. Now, having encountered SecurRom7, and having discovered Steam’s offline mode, I was in a mood to dip my toe in the Steam. Your game was cheap, I liked your point of view in the article as well as your atypical sense of humor, and finally, you are not an EA corporate stooge.

    I have been playing for a week now. I have not downloaded or installed any of the DLC. I may, but not until I have fully explored what I already have.

    The game lacks a point. Therefore it is gratuitous. If you don’t get that from the name, you deserve to learn English at the cost of $5.99 a lesson.

    If you enjoy meticulously exploring the variable nuances of a software generated world, this is for you. I you wish to conquer the galaxy, there are other games that cost more and give a more robust experience.

    That said, I have had the game for a week and am still playing. The images are striking, the graphics are good, the music is superb and the price is right for the few weeks this will hold my interest. Of course, I am an Oracle geek. That means I enjoy exploring the variable nuances of a software generated world.

    Thank you for GSB. I have got my money’s worth and more.



  48. mike says:

    I tried the demo, but i couldn’t quite enjoy it enough to get the full game.

    I did enjoy Kudos, though i bought it through years ago and i’m not sure how much money you actually saw from my purchase of kudos

  49. obsidiac says:

    I bought the game. Overall, I like the idea, but it just does not quite come together for me to keep playing it.

    The main issues for me is tactical depth, useful feedback, and presentation.

    Tactical Depth:
    I do like the idea of preplanning and then seeing how the idea turns out, but even with that, its still too little planning before the fight, if we have no interaction during the main combat.

    If the depth of preplanning was considerably higher – setting waypoints, maybe more use of triggers, and the like…
    The ultimate endpoint of that ends up being an exercise in having the player write a complete AI, while still having an interface that the player can use with ease. Thats a tall order for a game dev to meet successfully.

    Useful Feedback after combat:
    The game does have some tools for this job, but I had difficulty in trying to follow what the problems were at the ship design level. It becomes much easier to just lazily throw ships and modules at random, than to work out just what the specific issues were and redesign intelligently around that idea.

    Presentation & Interaction:
    If the premise of the game is going to be preplanning without interaction during the combat, then the combat itself needs to be more engrossing to make up for the enforced idleness of the player.
    Watching a screensaver is considerably less interesting than watching a dramatic movie. One is just there to make patterns on the screen, the other is there to engage human interest through tools such as suspense, timing, etc.

    This feels more like a simulator of watching icebergs crash than being a nail-biting suspense movie of “Who will win?”. Some of what an earlier person referred to as “Has no soul”, I believe.
    Even simple elements such as an introductory buildup, seeing the fleets rally and get fired up for combat…

    Alternate idea:
    Maybe a possibility is for the player to be able to assemble a reinforcement “fleet” on the fly while the existing engagement is being played out, and being permitted to release a new sortie of reinforcements at limited intervals, to be played as usual by the game AI.
    I would suggest that this be limited to reinforcement of existing ship types, though, rather than going into the build-a-ship interfaces.

    This could give players considerably more interaction during the screensaver phase of the game, while still mostly preserving the hands-off AI gameplay & preplanning style.

  50. andy says:

    i’ve brought the full game and the 3 extra races.

    first off. it’s a shame that the new mission are automatically unlocked and not just added to the list to be unlocked though playing.
    the same is sadly true for the new races, they are automatically unlocked.

    why bother unlocking any race bar the alliance and there all powerful python cruiser.

    this ship with a little help with extra anti fight support, from ether fighter or/& a frigate, can destroy any fleet.

    you don’t need a mixed fleet of ships just 3 design’s per battle.

    they do need a new weapon fix per battle in the case of the python cruiser, and keeping that to 290 crew cant be entertaining, but it’s the cruiser that need the adaption to optimism it self for the battle.

    the fight you use to support the cruiser, just need a bit of armour and a good anti fighter gun and a frigate with some anti fighter and anti shield gismos… and hay look there all dead.

    the challenge now it to play, it again and not use the alliance fleet at all. i’m looking forward to the challenge.

    mean while i have al lthe stuff unlocked and so can use ship with nearly any adaption.

    my last problem.

    many of the race only weapons. sadly many are not as good as the normal ones, making them left in the tool box, and never used.

    if i had not unlocked every thing, they would have appeared to be good.

    this leaves me to one concussion.

    it would have been really good to have some things, that can be unlocked only when you play a set race. the ship design for instance.

    part from that i would still give this game 5 stars.(out of 5)

    i love watching the ship do what i told them and tweaking them, to get the max honer out of every mission i can.

    i love the ship names.

    and the comments the captains make have me laughing.

    yes i recommend this game.