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PetzI
post Aug 31 2017, 10:49 AM
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Man, I bought the game yesterday (on PC) and played for 8 hours already! I've played the entire campaign and a dozen online matches, so here's my feedback so far:

Communicating in Multiplayer
I feel this needs a whole section, because it was a noticeable issue in the first game and you seem to have made it even worse this time around. Multiplayer is about social interaction, you absolutely need to give the players tools to communicate! Here's a few bullet points:

- There's no way to write text messages. And this should be in the controls, don't leave players guessing like in the first game!
- I hear people speaking on their microphone, but I don't see any options to do the same. Again, there's nothing in the controls.
- I would go a step further can just including the previous two. If you really want to bring out the social aspect, have a global chat box in the lobby, so players from all over the world can talk while looking for a game. This will let people organize themselves better, make friends and have more fun playing the game.
- And when you've joined a game and are waiting for a 4th player? Another chat box, so you and the other two players can decide the map, game mode, etc. Communication!

I really can't stress how important communication is. I played with two guys for over 3 hours last night and I never said a word to them because the game doesn't let me. Playing multiplayer feels like you're gagged and trying to talk to someone in a separate room through a tiny crack in the wall. It was bad in the first game, and it's much worse in the second.

Gameplay
I'm really happy with the design! Ditching the tier system was a great choice. The "choose your weapons" system is also great, though it feels a bit limiting sometimes. For example, it seems like taking two boulders would really bring down your defenses, because of the unit limit and the cost-per-unit increase.

The games seem to be a bit longer than in the first, but that's not necessarily bad, since there's more chances to turn the tables on your enemy.

I do have one complaint, but it's probably too late to change it: "falling off the map" is now very vaguely defined. In the original game, it usually meant that you fell into a bottomless pit, so the game respawned you. There were a few exceptions, but that exception seems to have turned into the norm. Particularly, the rocks on the Salvador Dalí map look like they could be easily climbed, but touching them is doom. It's just a visual issue, but it's kind of frustrating for the game to tell you you've fallen off when you're back on track by the time the game respawns you.

Oh, I also have a question about where the game respawn your boulder. Touching the ground is obviously not enough, so how does the game decide? Is it based on distance, time or something more complicated?

Campaign
The campaign does a great job introducing the boulders and obstacles at a good pace. The animations were a lot more wordy this time, but still quite funny! My only problem with it is that there doesn't seem to be an ending? I'm pretty certain I've beaten every level, do I need to get all the stars? It seems strange that there's no conclusion to Atlas's story.

Graphics/Interface
The game looks great! The art has always been a highlight for this series. A few comments:

- Maybe it's too much work to be worth it, but I have a funny idea for Oslo: when a boulder goes out of bounds into the water, if it's going fast enough (maybe also based on rotation) it should skip on the water a couple of times.
- The game slows down for me in Lviv, but it's fine on other maps with the same settings. It's not catastrophic, but definitely noticeable.
- The track in Oslo seems too bright to me, I have trouble telling it apart from the out-of-bounds grass.
- The "VS" animation takes way too long. I timed it and it took about 10 seconds, which was long after the sound effect had played. Does it take that long for everyone, or is it related to loading times?
- The fade-out-fade-in transitions take a bit too long. Namely, after you finish rolling your boulder and are taken back to the building view. It's especially annoying when you're watching your enemy rolling and a black screen prevents you from watching the most exciting parts, like them approaching your defenses.
- I'm not sure having the shortcut icons floating around is the best design choice. I often find myself looking all around the screen for them like a fool, sometimes discovering that they're not actually there because the game thinks the object I'm looking for is on-screen, even though it's behind some interface element. A simple way to fix this is to simply add keyboard shortcuts, as well. It would be really handy to press a key to cycle through each mine, or to quickly move to the start of the map.
- I can never read the tips, because the game loads too fast. Is there a text file where I can read them?
- It's a bit hard to compare two boulders' speed, time, etc. It would be nice if we could know exactly how many seconds longer it takes to build an angel boulder, for example. Or exactly how long it takes for a cannon to reload.

I like to think of this wall of text as "thorough feedback" tongue.gif I'm anxious to know what you guys think! If you want even more detailed information on something in particular, let me know.
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Carlos Bordeu
post Sep 1 2017, 08:30 AM
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Text to speech was a native feature of Unreal Engine 3 and we didn't get it for UE4. It was basically a "free" feature for us in the first game. We are thinking about implementing this ourselves in ROA2

Voice chat is on by default. We are going to be adding the option to disable it in our first patch (popular request). You shouldn't need to press anything for your mic to work.

Chatboxes would be cool, certainly.

The complexity of creating a 4 player multiplayer game (vs a 2 in ROA1) was monumentally more complex. We had to deal with things like having split screen local sessions be able to join online matches. There's a lot we wish we could have done better, but a lot will get done in patches.
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PetzI
post Sep 2 2017, 07:00 AM
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Just to clarify, I don't think text-to-speech is all that important. It's certainly funny, because it's within the game's quirky, bizarre style, but it's not essential for communcation. Being able to type some text for my fellow players to read, however, is definitely essential, as least during a match and when you're setting up a match. Remember that many people simply don't have microphones, and having no way to communicate is a serious impairment.

I didn't realize voice chat was on by default, actually. I tried speaking into my laptop's microphone, but no one replied, so maybe I just needed to speak louder : P

I just remembered one more thing I wanted to mention: it would be great to have an option to make a match 2-player only. It's pretty annoying to be forced to play with bots. More game modes would also be welcome, of course smile.gif

QUOTE (Carlos Bordeu @ Sep 1 2017, 01:30 PM) *
We had to deal with things like having split screen local sessions be able to join online matches.


Wow, it's really amazing that you guys have implemented that. It think it's great that you guys still bet on split-screen, because I Rock of Ages is kind of a party game. And yet, it's just one more witness to the amount of work you all put in to make this game so great!
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Dmitriy Gorbache...
post Sep 2 2017, 08:56 AM
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QUOTE
- I can never read the tips, because the game loads too fast. Is there a text file where I can read them?

Here you go:

Cows will unattach from boulders when hit or launched with enough force, or after being rolled over 3 times.

The Gunpowder boulder can do huge damage to castle doors, but only if it makes it there intact. If it starts glowing intensely red, rolling over its fuse again can cause it to explode.

Ramming the castle door is one of the best sources of gold. The stronger the blow, the more gold you get. You also receive 700 gold just for building a boulder, which helps when you don't manage to complete a run.

Da Vinci tanks will attempt to dodge a boulder's path, but they can only move sideways. Check the horizontal guideline that appears when placing them to ensure they'll move along the path you want.

The Angel boulder's wings have a brief cooldown after double-jumping. When the halo reappears, the ability is ready to use again.

A boulder's strength attribute indicates how much damage it can withstand before being destroyed.

The Bull of Heaven's shockwave attack doesn't affect airborne boulders.

The Sand boulder absorbs a signifcant amount of knockback caused by projectiles. [oops, found a typo]

Defenses that include a variety of units are generally more effective. Experiment to discover which combinations work best.

Equipping multiple boulders for a War match grants different offensive options, but each one takes up two slots that could be used for more defensive unit variety. Find the right balance that works for you!

The Elephant's tower can be destroyed without knocking down the animal.

Whales must rest briefly after spitting out a boulder. Use this moment of vulnerability to take them out.

Story mode's difficulty can be changed at any time via the pop-up menu that appears when approaching a map in the overworld.

The Cruciger boulder's cross will hinder your speed at first, but it will break off once rolled over enough times.

Strike an explosive barrel with a Thunder Bolt to trigger a larger, more powerful explosion.

Mines have finite resources. When the gold runs out, the mine will collapse.

Balloon and Cow boulders can float. This can come in handy in certain levels.

Banks are useless if not next to a mine. If one isn't nearby, the Bank will destroy itself after placement.

Explosives can detonate each other as a chain reaction when placed close enough.

Defensive units become less effective when overused. Boulders gain temporary resistance to repeated hits of the same projectile, so avoid this by mixing up your units.

Boulders become less effective after losing mass from damage.

Additional boulders, maps, defensive units, and banners can all be unlocked simply by playing online matches.

The Paint boulder deteriorates more quickly over free grid squares. Unless your goal is to invalidate those squares, try staying airborne over them.

The Ballista's field of vision is only 180 degrees--it cannot target boulders behind it.

Placed units can be sold for their full price, freeing up gold for new units. Highlight a unit to make the option available.

Ramming units like Bulls and Elephants are less effective against boulders moving at high speed, resulting in little to no knockback.

Units will become slightly more expensive as you build more of the same kind. The cost can only climb to a fixed amount.

Thunder Bolts are always available to hinder enemy progress, even when out of gold.

The Gunpowder boulder can be detonated intentionally by resting on its fuse. Blowing up a cluster of enemy defenses this way can sometimes be more effective than rolling it to the castle gate.

Bulls must return to their original location before they can charge again.

Catapults and Cannons can aim within a 360 degree radius, but they take time to rotate before firing. Make sure to orient them in the optimal direction for quicker attacks.

The Tar and Paint boulders make grid squares unusable after leaving splats on them. This can be an effective strategy against opponents that try to focus their units in a specific location.

When a War match begins, your side of the battlefield will pulsate with your team color. The opposing battlefield will remain tinted with the enemy's color to distinguish it from your own.

Don't disregard the standard boulders. These are the most well-rounded rocks to choose from.

Trebuchets are excellent at long ranges, but they cannot target boulders that are too close.

The Block of Ages boulder is only for the Rock of Ages veteran.

Cannons can't target boulders that are immediately in front of them.

Phoenix Trees can be placed on used grid squares to heal them and surrounding squares, but not when an active unit is still present.

While in strategy view you can bring up camera shortcuts that will point you in the direction of landmarks like castles, boulders, and mines. Selecting a shortcut will instantly move your view to that landmark.

The Balloon and Cow boulders are excellent choices for maps with hard-to-reach shortcuts.

Selecting a Bank for placement will highlight all mines on the map, allowing you to locate them more easily.

Your first boulder in a match will always take longer to build. Make the most of this time to set up ample defenses across the battlefield before your opponent has a chance to start rolling.

The Prehistoric Wheel and Block of Ages cannot be grabbed by cows or the lion anchor from the Balloon unit.

Windmills can push a boulder off course when placed perpendicular to their path. Utilizing them this way allows you to hide them behind other structures.

The Balloon unit acts as a great complement to projectile-firing units, slowing boulders down for easy targeting.

The Globe boulder's orbiting moon is effective at clearing out surrounding enemy units.

Camera shortcuts for mines only appear when the Bank is selected.

Banks are the most efficient way to earn gold. This makes them essential for War matches, generating more funds to help you build a better defense.

The Prehistoric Wheel is the fastest boulder, but it's also much more difficult to maneuver. Avoid turning sharply with it to prevent tilting over.

New walls can be connected to existing Towers by selecting one and dragging away or by placing a new Tower and dragging to a previously built one. All Towers serve as nodes from which you can build and connect new wall extensions.

The Battleship's whistle warns you of an imminent shot, while a target will appear to indicate where it will hit.

Springboards are difficult to see when placed in tall grass. Use this to your advantage where possible.

Different boulders have different attributes, and some are more useful on certain maps. Choose wisely!

The Da Vinci tank's cannons fire and reload independently of each other.

Castle doors can withstand more damage when playing teams. The castle's health bar will appear orange to indicate this added resistance.

In teamplay, all strategies are valid. Players can alternate between defending and attacking, go full offense, or prioritize a strong defense.

Whales can only withstand so much force. Hit one at full speed to knock it down, even when it's trying to suck you in.

Fireworks do less damage than Explosives when rolled into, but they can attack in other situations too.

Some boulders take longer to build. Look for the hourglass icon when choosing which to bring into a match.

Heavier boulders have the benefit of reducing knockback from units like the Bull or Springboard.


--------------------
Community manager at ACE Team.
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PetzI
post Sep 3 2017, 05:09 PM
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Thanks a lot, Dmitriy!
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