Hawkey

~ Suggestions & Improvement ~

4,348 posts in this topic

We would love to do something [concerning the game's fixed, default resolution,] but since our UI does not scale, we cannot expand without simultaneously denying users with a lower resolution the full mechanics of the game. I understand precisely what you mean, though: I run the game on 1920x1080.

 

Well, I run it on a 25½-inch monitor, on 1920x1200, and there sure is a waste of space ! Since the game then appears as a (relatively) small window, surrounded by a wide frame of color ... why not offer, at least, to play in a windowed mode ?

 

For those who have bigger monitors, playing in a window would allow to do some other activities, on the desktop, in other windows (such as web-surfing, reading, writing), keeping at all times the Academagia game well in view & very rapidly accessible.

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Since we are not getting a sequel for quite some time, how difficult it would be to implement an additional "Sandbox mode", characters of which cannot be exported into sequel, but which never actually ends?

 

Such mode would either have no exams at all, or passing exams could make your "lessons missed" counter reset after them.

 

That would address the complaints of "game being too short" and "only part of a game being sold".

 

Perhaps game length should still be limited (maybe 3 or 4 years max), but that would be an improvement anyway.

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I know this is actually a dumb question, but I already love this game so much that I have to ask - is there any approximate date when the first sequel might be released? :)

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I know this is actually a dumb question, but I already love this game so much that I have to ask - is there any approximate date when the first sequel might be released? :)

 

It will probably depend how well the first part sells - if there is a high demand, then they are motivated to develop the sequel soon :)

 

On the other side they announced that they will first release some patches and DLCs, so it will probably take some time (~ guess 1-2 years) for a sequel. Don't forget that the first part allready got a high replayability - so get a few savegames to continue with :)

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OK;

 

It's difficult to judge when the sequel will be released.

 

First, we have to complete the new design document. Once that is done, we'll have the new tools built. After this phase the content needs to be created and reviewed- and finally, the game has to be tested. :)

 

We expect to be able to launch the sequel in less time than it took this one, but Hawkey's estimate is probably correct: ~1-2 years. During this time we will be continually supporting this game with DLC- right up to launch, in fact. :)

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a) Please add a skill's parent skill in its description. At the end of the day report when you get a message "such and such skill has advanced 1 step" and other places, hunting down that skill can be a bit tedious if you haven't memorized where each skill is in the skill tree.

;) Also, when adding phemes to a spell, a description of what said phemes do would be nice

c) Some indication of how difficult the task we are attempting BEFORE we execute said task. Nothing like trying to, for example, "Practice Math" with key skills too low, and not knowing WHY it fails until you dig around a bit. Either color code the task or be a bit more upfront about what skills it needs, and what the current target number is....

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Iskandar;

 

Welcome to the forums, and thanks for the comments!

 

a) An interesting idea. Maybe something like: "Patience (Malice) has advanced 1 Skill Step." or something similar?

 

;) I would like to provide this information too, but this is a bit of a difficult problem. One solution we've discussed is having a roll over on the Phemes.

 

c) We are unlikely to be able to immediately address this, but it's a really good suggestion.

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Hello everyone!

After having played the game for about 25 hours or so and having only a few weeks left until the final exams, i thought i should give you guys a little feedback to help you improve the game.

At first i have to admit that i still haven`t experienced all the features you put in the game, so i can`t write much about things like forging, duelling and alchemy. Also please ignore or correct my wrong comments as a result of this fact or my pure stupidity.

 

With this being said i would like to open with "congratulations" and a thank you. Being a fan of the Harry Potter books i had hoped for a long time that someone would make an rpg with the sorcery/magic theme, that deserved the name rpg. And you did it. And you did it well. I was really impressed and even overwhelmed with the content you stuffed into a "little" indi-game.

So please bear in mind my overall impression of the game when reading my following suggestions/constructive criticism: It`s a very entertaining game, with a lot of content, a lot of creativity and ideas, stories to fill a book and well worth the money (which was discussed previously): On my personal scale of gaming fun it would score a solid 75% - not taken into account that it`s a low-budget game, but being up there with the big titles.

Also I have no idea of programming, so I don`t know if the stuff I write is actually changeable or not.

 

Let`s get to my criticism/ impressions of the game i find noteworthy in the order in which they come to my mind (I tried to mark the ones already discussed):

 

1) Character creation: I love details. I even love details which are referred to later in the game more, so you get the impression the things you choose are really important. You did this in a few cases: having campaigners as parents is giving the action to increase two war talents. Or the prodigy: couriosity with the action "study until you drop" being available. Perfect would be if the background of your parents or the other choices would trigger some events: perhaps another student has a similar or opposite background, resulting in the opportunity to raise the relation level or leading into a path of hatred. If you chose a parents background why not let them visit you and see if the character can live up to their expectations?

Also i got the feeling that the choices were unbalanced. Some only raise a few minor stats, the other ones raise an attribute or give you a new ability and both cost the same. Is it possible to reduce the cost of the weaker choices to 0.5 creation points or compensate with a few favourable events?

2) (Already discussed) The interface: Nice artwork and atmosphere but while playing i got the feeling that it could be improved. The screen resolution isn`t very good (desktop resolution: 1680x1050): The event-textscreen and the letters are really small (i sometimes found myself being only a few inches away from my screen to be able to read), and there is a lot of free space on the screen filled with nothing. Perhaps it`s just my usual resolution that is too big, but i don`t think that 800x600 is the standard nowadays.

3) The skill overview: At first: ok but later on a nightmare. I understand the difficulty of the problem, and the list is good for checking up on the skill-levels while in an event or adventure, but there has to be done something. Perhaps keep the list at the bottom left corner but construct a new ledger (like "inventory" or "command") with the parent skills on top of the screen and the subskills below. And when pointing at a parent skill the subskills get highlighted. If the subskill list is to large to see all the highlighted ones, just click on the parent skill, lock it in and use a scrolling bar below to find the subskills.

4) friends + npcs: Making and keeping friendships in the game is easy. It shouldn`t be. With two weeks of training i got from being a social abdomination to a relatively fine befriender. Another 2 weeks later i had two members in my clique . I was eager to see what you could do with them now and what I could learn about their background. But there wasn`t more than a (-granted - powerful) buff and a new ability and the advantage in an adventure (or at least I just haven`t found more). I`d like to learn more about their background, their character, trade secrets , plan actions together to keep a relationship running (right now I haven`t spend time with my friends for about two months - without consequences), help each other to increase skills or to learn spells/phemes. I had hoped for a "buddy" or "best friend feature", through which you could solve some school or city events with one designated best friend, just to give you the feeling that your character is hanging out nearly constantly with the best friend.

5) Class overview: I`d like to know who of the students is in which class with what professor, just to know which npcs my character constantly shares time with.

6) Map: Throughout the game I tried to imagine the academy, the grounds and the surroundings. And with so many places to discover I got confused. Perhaps a map might help. It wouldn`t have to be animated professionally, just a pencil drawing my character could have made would suffice. Just hint at the areas of the game and draw a few different signs on it for the discovered places with the explanation text popping up when clicking on it. Just something to get a better impression of the area.

7) (already discussed) Scroll bar or pages for a better handling of long lists

8) Lore: While I like the little stories and poems and the atmosphere they add to the game I felt like they should be organized in a few books. Like "Poems" or "Legends" just to help keeping the lists shorter and clearer.

9) Events: Try triggering more events, this can be done with in a wide variety of cases: For example: If your character is the best at incantation in the class, wouldn`t your classmates be asking for help or advice? Wouldn`t the professor give you a few extra difficult tasks just to see how talented the character really is? Perhaps a professor would take a certain interest in supporting you or obstructing your path to perfection because of envy (fitting to the professor's character)? When the character scores a perfect score in the mid term exams, being the best of the class is there really nobody who cares? A professor or parents being proud of you, students being impressed, the second best feeling green with envy (especially if it`s a character being used to being the best)?

I noticed that the random events were REALLY random. I mean, it was a bit strange to plan "Study until you drop - in the character`s room" three times on a saturday with exams being only a week away just to get a random event out in the woods or in the city. It just doesn`t feel right. Academy events I would understand, but not my character, who isn`t supposed to leave his room, fighting with squirrels in the forest. Perhaps you could try to link the random events to the actions you plan and the locations at which they take place. This would add a lot credibility to the day.

10) Spells: Try to help me keeping track of the spells with some colours or some other help. A colour for aggressive, harmful spells another colour for buffs... It get`s kind of difficult trying to find the right spell even if you remember there is one that helps. The topic of the phemes added to a spell has already been mentioned.

11) Adventures: Please tell me which choosable part of an adventure belongs to which adventure-chain. Sometimes I could easily spot the next part of an initiated adventure but sometimes it`s quite difficult because there`s only the title of the new part there.

12) Room selection: Not every room should be available for every action/ability. For example: If i want to gather some herbs I shouldn`t be able to do this in my room but being forced to do this outside. Or the problem with the room of champions (raising your attributes by 2, if I remember correctly). It doesn`t seem realistic to being able to choose this room for every adventure just to get the attribute bonus when the adventure is taking place in the city or the woods.

13) Familiar: My tutor told me that it`s possible to find a new familiar (to get rid of my ghost Pamela)- I haven`t found out how yet. Especially when my character is a master of zoology and animal husbandry I would like to go out and search for a new familiar...

14) Public opinion: I often wondered what status of my character in the class or the academy would be, the public opinion. Is he seen as the hero of the class, whom everybody likes and respects or is he ignored, because he doesn`t do anything social at all - just studying and training? Or is he feared because he bullies constantly end extorts the classmembers? Why not implement a public opinion bar for each students and professors, with certain events being triggered when reaching a new degree of respect or contempt.

15) Exploring: I sometimes got the message that my character heard about a certain location. I was really keen on finding some of these I heard of, but you just can go explore for a random location in an designated area. How about giving the player the possibility to select one of these locations he heard of and giving a boost to the chance finding this one but decreasing the chance of finding any other?

 

Ok, that`s it so far (phew, my eyes are burning). I will add new points when being able to and hope that sales figures are fine, so you devs can work on patches and DLC and collect ideas for the second year ;)

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Medic, I strongly support all of your points. Most of them beings things I have already thought about or hoped for, too. I for one haven't used spells at all, and my characters up to date have been totally peaceful and unathletic, so I might have missed a lot of features in this regard, too.

 

However, I think there is lots of room for improvement in the sequels or also new downloadable content, especially concerning the events and a cleaner and more helpful interface.

 

I particularly support the wish for more events regarding your background, and a more detailed creation of that :P I'm not sure whether that is too complicated (or if this feature maybe already exists and I just havent come across it yet ;) ), but secret guilds which you can only discover with the right background would also be a lovely thing!!

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Medic;

 

Thanks for the suggestions, keep them coming!

 

In response:

 

1) Character creation: I love details. I even love details which are referred to later in the game more, so you get the impression the things you choose are really important. You did this in a few cases: having campaigners as parents is giving the action to increase two war talents. Or the prodigy: couriosity with the action "study until you drop" being available. Perfect would be if the background of your parents or the other choices would trigger some events: perhaps another student has a similar or opposite background, resulting in the opportunity to raise the relation level or leading into a path of hatred. If you chose a parents background why not let them visit you and see if the character can live up to their expectations?

 

There are some great ideas here. Some of the items raised here will be addressed in the sequel (which begins at the end of this one: during summer break.) The remainder we may try to play around with in DLC.

 

3) The skill overview: At first: ok but later on a nightmare. I understand the difficulty of the problem, and the list is good for checking up on the skill-levels while in an event or adventure, but there has to be done something. Perhaps keep the list at the bottom left corner but construct a new ledger (like "inventory" or "command") with the parent skills on top of the screen and the subskills below. And when pointing at a parent skill the subskills get highlighted. If the subskill list is to large to see all the highlighted ones, just click on the parent skill, lock it in and use a scrolling bar below to find the subskills.

 

Skills are a problem for exactly the reasons you mentioned. Even a matrix such a suggest might be unwieldy- but it's an interesting idea to explore. Before we consider it, can you describe to us how you would like to use this screen? In other words, during gameplay, when would you want to see it?

 

4) friends + npcs: Making and keeping friendships in the game is easy. It shouldn`t be. With two weeks of training i got from being a social abdomination to a relatively fine befriender. Another 2 weeks later i had two members in my clique . I was eager to see what you could do with them now and what I could learn about their background. But there wasn`t more than a (-granted - powerful) buff and a new ability and the advantage in an adventure (or at least I just haven`t found more). I`d like to learn more about their background, their character, trade secrets , plan actions together to keep a relationship running (right now I haven`t spend time with my friends for about two months - without consequences), help each other to increase skills or to learn spells/phemes. I had hoped for a "buddy" or "best friend feature", through which you could solve some school or city events with one designated best friend, just to give you the feeling that your character is hanging out nearly constantly with the best friend.

 

It's funny the back and forth we had on this topic during design- in a (much) earlier version of the game, there was Relationship decay and Emotions really affected Relationships in powerful ways. The overwhelming feedback we got on this was that people did not like their Relationships eroding- they either wanted to be able to deal with it immediately (not having to spend Actions to maintain the Relationship) or they wanted no decay at all. As I read over what you wrote, though, I think we can summarize in three ways:

 

a) You would like more Adventures related to your Friends.

;) You would like more Actions related to your Friends.

c) You would like to have a 'Best Friend' designation, and have that choice be meaningful.

 

...this is a great area for expansion, and some are more difficult than others. As the designer, I do not want to solve any of these in a trivial way -I want them to be special and interesting- so I feel these are more likely to be dealt with in the sequel. Still, I'll ponder if there is something we can do.

 

5) Class overview: I`d like to know who of the students is in which class with what professor, just to know which npcs my character constantly shares time with.

 

Good point. Maybe we can put something into an information window.

 

6) Map: Throughout the game I tried to imagine the academy, the grounds and the surroundings. And with so many places to discover I got confused. Perhaps a map might help. It wouldn`t have to be animated professionally, just a pencil drawing my character could have made would suffice. Just hint at the areas of the game and draw a few different signs on it for the discovered places with the explanation text popping up when clicking on it. Just something to get a better impression of the area.

 

There will be a map in the sequel, but I do not believe we will be able to address this in the current form of the game. That said, if you would like to see the unfinished map we had originally planned to use in the game, you can see it here:

 

http://steamrobin.deviantart.com/art/Acade...d-Map-119427901

 

8) Lore: While I like the little stories and poems and the atmosphere they add to the game I felt like they should be organized in a few books. Like "Poems" or "Legends" just to help keeping the lists shorter and clearer.

 

A sound idea.

 

9) Events: Try triggering more events, this can be done with in a wide variety of cases: For example: If your character is the best at incantation in the class, wouldn`t your classmates be asking for help or advice? Wouldn`t the professor give you a few extra difficult tasks just to see how talented the character really is? Perhaps a professor would take a certain interest in supporting you or obstructing your path to perfection because of envy (fitting to the professor's character)? When the character scores a perfect score in the mid term exams, being the best of the class is there really nobody who cares? A professor or parents being proud of you, students being impressed, the second best feeling green with envy (especially if it`s a character being used to being the best)?

I noticed that the random events were REALLY random. I mean, it was a bit strange to plan "Study until you drop - in the character`s room" three times on a saturday with exams being only a week away just to get a random event out in the woods or in the city. It just doesn`t feel right. Academy events I would understand, but not my character, who isn`t supposed to leave his room, fighting with squirrels in the forest. Perhaps you could try to link the random events to the actions you plan and the locations at which they take place. This would add a lot credibility to the day.

 

We agree. Another forumite had an event with a Pirate ship on her first day at class! Some of these we can address by changing prerequisites, but others (such as based on your Location), will have to continue occurring in the 3 phases that you do not plan for: night, midnight or early morning- or represent small breaks you are taking from your studies. In the sequel we may try to handle this in a different way, but I personally prefer the large communal pool of Events to the smaller, more focused one. Surprise can be a good thing, depending.

 

10) Spells: Try to help me keeping track of the spells with some colours or some other help. A colour for aggressive, harmful spells another colour for buffs... It get`s kind of difficult trying to find the right spell even if you remember there is one that helps. The topic of the phemes added to a spell has already been mentioned.

 

An interesting idea!

 

11) Adventures: Please tell me which choosable part of an adventure belongs to which adventure-chain. Sometimes I could easily spot the next part of an initiated adventure but sometimes it`s quite difficult because there`s only the title of the new part there.

 

Also, a good point. We can do that easiest by adding the original Adventure's name in parentheses to the right of the current name, but maybe there's a better way.

 

12) Room selection: Not every room should be available for every action/ability. For example: If i want to gather some herbs I shouldn`t be able to do this in my room but being forced to do this outside. Or the problem with the room of champions (raising your attributes by 2, if I remember correctly). It doesn`t seem realistic to being able to choose this room for every adventure just to get the attribute bonus when the adventure is taking place in the city or the woods.

 

While there is a little immersion breaking in the way that you mention, these locations are actually places you prepare from- to get inspiration or insight in your task. You then leave off to go to your adventure or other action. In the case of gathering herbs, while it is true you are off at a location doing that- the location is not memorable enough (or, perhaps, does not provide enough risk to you!) that you need specify it. I see what you mean, though. :P

 

13) Familiar: My tutor told me that it`s possible to find a new familiar (to get rid of my ghost Pamela)- I haven`t found out how yet. Especially when my character is a master of zoology and animal husbandry I would like to go out and search for a new familiar...

 

There is no Action to do that, but you can purchase new Familiars, which then replace your Forlorn Ghost. Poor Forlorn Ghost, always unwanted. :)

 

It's a fun idea, though. I think we'll add exactly that action to Zoology in the first content patch.

 

14) Public opinion: I often wondered what status of my character in the class or the academy would be, the public opinion. Is he seen as the hero of the class, whom everybody likes and respects or is he ignored, because he doesn`t do anything social at all - just studying and training? Or is he feared because he bullies constantly end extorts the classmembers? Why not implement a public opinion bar for each students and professors, with certain events being triggered when reaching a new degree of respect or contempt.

 

A broad concept that definitely deserves expansion. In the sequel there will be larger social groups mad up of smaller Cliques, and several social dynamics will hinge upon them. I like the idea of events triggering at respect or contempt, though. If we plan for it now, there may be enough time to get enough writing in to make that satisfying.

 

15) Exploring: I sometimes got the message that my character heard about a certain location. I was really keen on finding some of these I heard of, but you just can go explore for a random location in an designated area. How about giving the player the possibility to select one of these locations he heard of and giving a boost to the chance finding this one but decreasing the chance of finding any other?

 

It's an interesting idea. In the sequel there is already a concept of 'points of interest' which will *somewhat* address your suggestion here. I'll continue to ponder.

 

Thanks! It was a good read, and there are a lot of interesting ideas here.

 

@OK: There are some secret guilds you can join in the game, but we do not plan to make these kinds of organizations be strongly influential on gameplay until year 3, according to my timeline. That's the year when you become socially active in the city...or full of intrigues, perhaps. :)

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Thank you for the swift answer and your kind words, Mr Legate :)

 

Regarding point 3) of my post, "skill overview": I always thought of this suggestion at a certain occasion: Every time my character was on an adventure and my eyes wandered over the possible actions with my lips forming the f-swearword, because my character stank at each and every one of them. I would load my save and look for one of the possible actions to train. Sometimes it took me over a minute - just to open up the parental skills and read if the necessary subskill was hiding there- so I would know how to find it in the "Train" - action planning phase. Just then I wished for a screen, like I described in the earlier post. Come to think of it, maybe a search button would solve this problem ;). But to answer your question: It would only be visible when opened in the usual planning phase, like looking at your inventory and changing equipment.

 

Regarding point 4) Friends: Yes, that would be the gist of the matter. And I understand your point regarding relationship decay. If that's the opinion of the majority, I can live with it :P. Well, perhaps another possibility to reflect upon the fact, that you see some students very often (members of your house), often (in the same class), sometimes (e.g. player and npc often choose the same action or location) or seldom (none of the previous) could be an increase or decrease on the probability roll of the random relationship level raises.

 

Regarding point 6) Map: It´s a pity you had to take it out (but I'm sure you and the team had a good reason). I really would have liked it. Another one of this for the city and -if you have had the time- the sorrounding areas would have helped me understand the world my character lives in and how the places are organized.

 

I've played through one year now and really liked the way the ending was told, with the reminiscence and the decisions available. I'm curious whether it has any consequence in the second year.

 

Other thoughts:

16) Fights: One thing I missed during the game was a kind of a duelling system for animals or magic creatures. The character always either succeeds in driving the attacking animals off or gets hurt once. I don`t know if there`s something like that when a "study monster" ability succeeds. I tried the spell "Destiny's Emergence" and boosted luck to 8, and with zoology being at skill level 10 vs the described zoology/luck roll failed four times in a row...so I stopped trying. Especially when I trained my character to become something like a battlemage with a tremendous amount of vitality points, athletic skills (archery, wrestle), war skills and battlespells, I'd like to save and send my character out in that dark, spooky forest, everybody warned me about. Just to see if there's a ruin (or something similar), guarded by an ancient ghost or weird monster (like I read about in lore) to fight and find something special as a reward...and if it's just the lost familiar of a fellow student or a teddybear it's ok. But throughout this first year I was preparing my character for a fight that never came...not even a duel. But don't get me wrong: I don' t want to become this game full of battles and assaults, but right now all vitalitypoints exceeding 5 are kind of useless and the wonderful heirloom knife (I really was happy about in the beginning) is only used for cutting bread. Just the possibility to do so would suffice and the rewards shouldn't exceed rewards available from other talents, like crafting.

 

17) Flower-power-bullies: Also I was kind of surprised to find that everybody liked my character and his clique. Especially with all the bully-npcs (at least in their character description) shouldn't there be at least one person, who randomly bullies people and -given your character doesn't fight back or finds a way to appease/evade him/her- choses to pick your chara as the new favorite prey? Right now they just play some random, benign pranks and are friendly. So every hostility will have to start with the players decision to do so, bringing with it more disadvantages than advantages, rendering all offensive actions, items and spells rather useless. Again I find myself stricken with the thought of a row of events, in which one npc tries to persistently unnerve your character, triggered by a certain level of negative relationship.

 

18) Items: The graphics for the items are pretty scarce. It's just a minor complaint, and should only be worked on if you've got the time, but it would add a lot of atmosphere to have a certain degree of variation there. At the end of the first year I stood there with around 30 green pouches in my wardrobe. And some special items (like the heirloom knife etc) should have their own, distinctive picture to represent how rare they are.

 

Thank you for your patience and taking the time to read through my ideas. There certainly will be more thoughts on how to improve the game on my second playthrough with a different set of skills and interests. I am looking forward to discover all the features I've missed until now.

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Medic;

 

Not at all- I am always glad to hear good suggestions. Regarding your points:

 

3) A search function would be useful, but presents some problems. What we will try to do first is improve the reporting so that it's easier to see what the Parent Skill is.

 

6) Such maps exist, but they've not been produced in the quality of the unfinished map! They are all in my own hand, and pencil sketches. Undoubtedly we'll get them better produced for the sequel- in particular the city map which will grow more important as the years go along.

 

16) There is actually a more detailed simulation for Duels, but it's not widely used because it has some problems with the AI. Originally, Locations were much more dangerous to explore because you could encounter Monsters. This is slated to return for a DLC, but which and when? Now those are questions we cannot answer yet. ;)

 

17) I would like to have more art done for the Items -or, for that matter, in general. No promises again, but as we go along we'll try to get more Items personalized. In the mean time, I hope you like...green bags. :P

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Regarding 16) Fights: Sweet! Now that would be a DLC I'd buy in advance and smile like a baby getting a lollipop while installing. Good to hear you've already thought about this.

 

Could it be that you mixed 17 (Flower-power-bullies) up with 18 (Items)? I really would like to know if nastier bullies were possible.

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Medic;

 

All of our DLC will likely be free, including that one. The only ones we would consider charging for would be DLC that contain significant amounts of art, as that is fairly expensive to produce.

 

I did mix it up! With #17 there are as you know several Bully Students, but they make decisions on whom to bully based on their preferences and personality- and a good measure of luck. There being 84 Students in the game (including yourself), some games you will find yourself in the safe middle. But if you want to start something, you can push a few of their buttons and lower your Relationship with them... ;)

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Some suggestions for the sequel:

 

Go through the skills with an ax. Seriously. Combine skills that are similar, nix any that went unused or rarely used in this game. The same can also be said for abilities, actions, and phemes. Depth is good, but what you have steps beyond overkill into overload. Remember, fewer but more meaningful trumps many but mostly useless.

 

Focus on the interface. With as much information and game play as there is, the interface must be top notch and polished or players will get confused and overwhelmed. The first game failed at this, and did so rather egregiously.

 

Stop trying to include everything and the kitchen sink. I applaud the effort, but by diffusing the focus you end up bringing down the quality of the entire game. Choose where you want to focus your effort, and get that polished to a high shine. The first game would have been a great game if you had scrapped 1/3 of the lesser used content and used that time to debug and finish up the other 2/3. This same problems happens to writers as well, you get so involved with world building, you wander away from the main story.

 

Be a bit more careful with your bug testing. The amount of major bugs that made it into the retail version is a very bad thing. Yes, you are releasing patches, this is a good thing. However, it still makes you look bad, and not every player is going to check these forums for patches. This leads to negative word of mouth, and lost sales for future games.

 

I don't mean to sound negative. There really is a good game here, and, potentially, a good series of games. This first game is a learning experience, and if you take the right lessons from it, I really can't wait to see what you come up with.

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Iskandar;

 

Thanks again!

 

In truth, our beta testing period was quite extensive, but I understand what you mean about polishing. We are overall very pleased with the launch -the number of major bugs is quite low, especially for a game of this complexity- but there is always room for improvement here.

 

That said: in a way, the kitchen sink is what we want in this game. Our very strong desire and commitment is to really allow you to create an individual, and experience their journey through the University. I'll will instead point to your comment about the interface, and say that we need significant improvements here so that our players can more easily quickly understand what they have at their disposal.

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As many people have stated already, I feel that the major impediment to accessibility in this game is that the UI, while I find it attractive, simply isn't up to the task of helping the player manage the sheer volume of information that comes their way. I know that a lot of the improvements that I would like to see simply won't be possible in this game, but by mentioning them here, hopefully they can be considered and addressed for the planned sequal. If any of them can be implemented in this release it would be greatly appreciated, but I understand that recoding that much of the game is likely not possible.

 

1: The end of day display is terribly extended when you start receiving rumors on what people did in a given day, as you easily have 3 to 7 entries of activities for each of your fellow students. Having a separate tab in the end of day report for rumors would probably be the ideal solution, but even having a collapsable list of activities, similar to the collapsable list of skills in the left pane, would be an improvement.

 

2: The end of day display is also rather unwieldly to manage when reviewing the standings of students on their exams. Having the list display in order of descending scores would be much more useful, with highlights depicting where your character and clique members place being especially useful. Again, a separate tab for these readouts on the days when they occur would seem to be an ideal solution.

 

3: Right now, all of the actions are currently included in a single list in the 'abilities and actions' tab of the left pane. The same is true of the abilities. Having them broken out into specific subgroups, such as separating the combat actions from the noncombat actions, would certainly help the player understand what they can do when. The same is true of the spells listings.

 

4: When going through your list of spells to see what you might want to use, it's not always apparent what skills are checked in casting. A specific heading in the spell help page (or text at the very top of the description, so that it loads into the select action interface as well) that lists the attributes/skills checked would really help a player get a better handle on why something works or doesn't work.

 

5: I've already seen numerous requests for information on the parent skill of a subskill being listed in the helpfile, and I wholeheartedly support that suggestion as well.. If there was a way to have the skill names in an event/adventure's options link to the helpfile, that would be even more helpful. That way, at least the player knows what kind of skill they're looking at before going into the event.

 

With all that said, I think this game is a very engaging and unique piece of programming. If only the UI were up to the task of helping the player manage all the information coming their way, I think there would be far more people taking a serious look at it.

 

~NightGuard

 

Wow, two posts while typing this one. I really need to work on being more concise.

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nightguard;

 

1) Collapsible is what we are looking at. For the sequel, though, I think tabs is best.

 

2) We'll have to go Collapsible here as well, but coloring your name: perfect.

 

3) Another player suggested a color to differentiate these, but I think we may try an icon that you can sort on.

 

4) Agreed. All Spells should have this already, but we may need to make a pass on this for Content Patch 1.

 

5) It may be possible to have the Skill linked in the Exit, so you can see what it is. We'll check it out.

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Iskandar;

 

Thanks again!

 

In truth, our beta testing period was quite extensive, but I understand what you mean about polishing. We are overall very pleased with the launch -the number of major bugs is quite low, especially for a game of this complexity- but there is always room for improvement here.

 

That said: in a way, the kitchen sink is what we want in this game. Our very strong desire and commitment is to really allow you to create an individual, and experience their journey through the University. I'll will instead point to your comment about the interface, and say that we need significant improvements here so that our players can more easily quickly understand what they have at their disposal.

 

 

Eh, yeah, that is great, and all. Still, you could stand to generalize a bit more. As someone pointed out, some of those skills are a wee bit redundant, and quite a bit of them are very rarely, if ever, used. A lot of the game could be generalized and simplified without losing the depth. I admire what you are trying to do, but you are going a tad too far. Jack of all trades, and the master of none.

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Iskandar;

 

Of course, we disagree somewhat, but...it's healthy to question one's practices. It will be a topic in our next meeting. ;)

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17) Flower-power-bullies: Also I was kind of surprised to find that everybody liked my character and his clique. Especially with all the bully-npcs (at least in their character description) shouldn't there be at least one person, who randomly bullies people and -given your character doesn't fight back or finds a way to appease/evade him/her- choses to pick your chara as the new favorite prey? Right now they just play some random, benign pranks and are friendly. So every hostility will have to start with the players decision to do so, bringing with it more disadvantages than advantages, rendering all offensive actions, items and spells rather useless. Again I find myself stricken with the thought of a row of events, in which one npc tries to persistently unnerve your character, triggered by a certain level of negative relationship.

 

This surprised me enough that I actually went and made an account just to post my experience with bullies in the game so far. On nearly the first day, my character was targeted by several bullies. By the time midterms rolled around, the relationship with one of the bullies, Phillippe, was at -10. A couple months later, and there is at the very least a bully attempt on me several times a week, along with spells and his sending his familiar after me.

 

My character doesn't have much in the way of vitality, so there have been a lot of infirmary visits lately. I've also learned (and used on him) a lot of spells that are hostile and do major damage or increase stress, or knock down his stats in various skills by five points or so for a good week.

 

It really is a sign of the game's strong suit that different playthroughs can be so different, to the point where people can play and never experience something that's part of my character's weekly routine, trying to strategize the best time and spells to use to reduce the likelihood of being mauled by a familiar and losing a day.

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@AC

Thanks for your effort of registering just to tell me this! ...Now that's kind of a surprise! But with the explanation of Legate and your story taken into account, it's one I like. Consider my Flower-power-bully point withdrawn. I'll try to have that kind of hostility in my next game and see how it turns out, just for the sheer fun of having your own little nemesis...

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@Medic

 

Of course, there's another option to consider. Once midterms happen, you can see who ranked where on a given test. If you're trying to be the top scorer in a given class (a major theme in a lot of fiction that focuses on students), you can pick the person that ranked top, and just decide that you're going to antagonize them so much that they can't train/study enough to be in top form on the finals. You're pretty much guaranteed that they'll dislike you before long, and it'll give you a target for your own 'bully skills' without having to be the most hated kid in class.

 

~NightGuard

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