Here is my (long) feedback from my weekend gameplay. I have experience with game engines and space simulation, so I’ll try to provide very specific feedback on positive and negative points. This has been the first time playing Infinity Battlescape for me.
Overall, I had a good experience playing Infinity Battlescape, and I wish I had had more time to play. Let me start with the good points. Once I had everything installed and was in, there were no major problems. I had a good framerate on the highest quality settings. I felt it was quick and easy to learn the basic ship controls, and it was definitely useful to be able to bring up the help menu. The environment, scale, and ship physics seemed very realistic, and is the best I’ve seen in a space game. The UI is well designed and does a good job of indicating ship status, threats, objectives, etc. I especially like the radar as it feels both useful and unobtrusive. The transition from slow combat speeds to fast travel between destinations (warp) is an excellent solution to the problem of scales.
I did have a few problems though. From the technical side, the first install went smoothly. Then there was an update on Sunday, and the update failed. I had to spend an hour deleting and reinstalling the game twice before I got it working again. I think these issues need to be worked out before the actual release date, though I’m sure it’s being worked on. That’s the point of this testing weekend.
I found it difficult to locate my objectives. There’s a battle going on at some station/factory, and I want to participate. But where exactly is that location? When I first started, I had no idea where anything was. You can click on a planet/moon and get it’s name, but only if there’s no station/factory near where you clicked. When you’re in warp, the white/purple warp effect makes it difficult to read names, and if you’re not careful the auto-accelerate will run you into the planet atmosphere while you try clicking around to find the right station. Most of the time I had to drop out of warp to get my bearings. Maybe some other indicator/mode can be added for locating battle locations? Maybe there’s something that I missed. I’m sure that after playing for long enough I would just remember where everything was.
At one point I couldn’t enter a planet’s atmosphere due to radiation damage. I couldn’t figure out what the solution was. Do I try to fly quickly through the radiation layer and get below it? Do I have to approach the planet from a different direction? Do I need to enable some sort of weapon/effect/widget that counters radiation? Do I need to select a different ship type? I never figured it out, so I went to a space station instead.
One time when I respawned I seemed to be stuck in the hangar bay. I’m not sure what I was stuck on, it looked like my ship was clear of obstacles. It took me a few minutes of mashing the movement keys to finally jitter my ship to freedom. This only happened once in the dozens of times I respawned - collision detection bug?
One time my ship was damaged and down to a tiny fraction of armor left, and I spun out of control for several minutes. It was at a factory on an asteroid, and I got stuck under the factory, bouncing back and force between the factory and the asteroid while spinning at a nauseating speed. I think I was occasionally taking collision damage, which is why it took so long for my ship to be repaired. Eventually I was able to recover and get out of there. Some amount of out-of-control spinning is fun and realistic, but this was too much. I’m not sure what in the physics system caused that. Doesn’t a real ship eventually lose its kinetic energy due to collisions and stop bouncing?
At one point I was repeatedly spawning at a station with no friendly ships around and about 5 different enemy ships, most of which were bigger than mine. I guess they were attacking the station. As soon as I came out of hangar I immediately had multiple missiles locked on me. I died about 5-6 times before I was able to warp out of range of the missiles. Even then, someone else followed me and I had to take some asteroid impact damage by flying too fast in the atmosphere to get away from them. This wasn’t very fun. How is the spawn point chosen? Is there some way to select a different one?
I don’t quite understand what causes ammo to refill. Sometimes I was out of missiles and projectiles, other times it kept getting refilled. Is it tied to battle kills, friendly ships/locations, etc?
Explosions look great, and feel big. This game has some of the best explosions I’ve seen. However, they don’t work so well when a dying capital ship (cruiser I think) collides with your interceptor and explodes against it. It looked like it started as a spherical ball of hull plates that expanded out from the center at a few frames per second. I guess I was inside the explosion volume and too close to the ball of parts for whatever LOD system there is to work properly. Maybe, at the very least, the hull plates should be arranged based on the shape/volume of the ship, and there should be some max number drawn at any time. Though I really have no idea how your explosion system works internally. Also, I seemed to take very little damage from that explosion, even though it threw me across the system. That was nice but … unexpected.
A few times I got in the path of two battling capital ships and I was hit by some shots that made a deafening roar and sent my ship flying. But I didn’t seem to take any damage? Was I hit by friendly fire that did no damage, are there some types of weapons that don’t damage smaller ships, was it some force/blast radius but non damaging effect, or is that a bug?
Overall though, these are minor issues. They wouldn’t stop me from playing (except for maybe the installer problem). 90% of the time the game played just fine and was fun. You have to expect a few issues like this in a game that’s so complex. So I’m just throwing all of these minor issues out there in case any of them are unknown and/or easy to fix. Thanks!