So, I finally have some time to post some feedback. Unfortunately I didn’t have nearly as much time as I would like to have had to play the Beta, but enough to spend some serious time on it. With my feedback, keep in mind that it was the first time I played I:B.
The biggest miss for me was not being able to look around using my mouse. Anytime I want to look somewhere else, I have to turn the entire ship around. This makes it hard to really plot a course.
Trying to pilot a ship for the first time (interceptor) was incredibly difficult. Eventually I mastered simple point-to-point flight (e.g. from planet to planet, or orbiting etc.) but dog-fighting? Forget it! I think this is in large due to my own noobishness, but I also think that controls can be much improved. Using the mouse to steer the ship is (to me) counter intuitive, and on more than one occasion my ship spun “out of control” in vacuum.
My improvement suggestions:
- Allow users to look around the cockpit with the mouse, and point and click. This also solves a bunch of issues I mention under “HUD” and it will simplify long distance travel.
- Simplify long distance travel. I would like to point and click on another planet / station / factory and just tell my ship to go there and orbit/ sit stationary or land. The fun (for me) is in the fighting, exploring and escorting. Not so much in going from A to B.
- Provide greater variety of controller input (couldn’t get my Xiaomi controller setup).
Right now, if you’re a new player the controls are off putting. I think some simplification would allow new players to participate quicker. Of course, any simplification should not replace skill. It should just lower the entry barrier, and make simple tasks less complicated.
To be frank: the HUD is horrible.
- Hard to read: characters are too small, colors not enough contrasting with environment.
- Provided information is all over the place, and I have no idea what is important, and what number or symbol stands for what.
- The HUD looks like it’s an overlay on the screen, instead of being part of the cockpit.
- From the symbols, I couldn’t read whether a scouted factory was on my side of the planet, or on the other side of the planet. Same goes for players / stations.
- Tracking or selecting a player/planet/station/factory is a mess. Point and click would be so much easier and so much more intuitive
- Team stats are minimal, and get lost in all the other information on display.
- Rocket warning is insufficient (just a beep, where is the radar?)
- Couldn’t read from the HUD how many flares I have available.
- Hard to read how far away objects/players are.
- No solar system mini-map?
- Lack of feedback in the circular mini-menu. I pull up the mini menu, click something, but did it work?
For a good HUD: I like what I see in Star Citizen, but I admit I haven’t played it. Else; the fighter jets / helicopter HUDs in Battlefield look great as well.
First off: wow! Keeping in mind that the game is still in alpha, and has placeholders in it, it looks amazing! Especially the sensation of leaving a planet or entering the atmosphere is amazing. I loved it. The only challenge I had was reading and understanding the distance between myself and the object/player I’m approaching. On several occasions I smashed into planets (purple one) and objects, and on other time I jumped out of warp much too soon. I’m not sure what the fix would be for this, other than making it more obvious in the HUD.
Overall, the weapon system works, and does the job. However I felt it lacked sophistication. Selecting a target and firing a rocket is needlessly complicated (see my feedback on Controls), and I wasn’t quite sure how much damage each weapon did (I assumed that energy weapons can’t penetrate an energy shield, but ballistic weapons can?).
Last but not least; the ballistic machine gun for the Interceptor is under-powered and does not match the role of the ship. This ship needs a GAU-8 Avenger style gun (see also the series “The Expanse”). The name suggests that the Interceptor is a the space equivalent of an F-15; it’s weapons systems should match that role; either more rockets or a GAU-8 .
(I know; no sound in a vacuum, blablabla… it’s a game) The music scores are nice, and provide a good ambiance to the game. However, the FX is pretty minimal, and sounds small and static. I miss the roar of a full throttle jet with afterburner, the cracking thunder of rapid firing guns and the deep and heavy “BOOOM” of exploding things around me. Battlescape looks and feels epic. It should sound epic too.
Currently; I:B feels to me as a huge sandbox environment, with a crude layer of game play on top of it. In my opinion; visually, I:B is near complete. Game design wise, there’s a lot of work left.
I really enjoyed playing the game for the first time past weekend. It looks simply stunning, and it’s amazing to see this project come to live and transform from idea to reality. I am a new player, and as such, I can imagine that some of my feedback may well be due to my newness. Other parts are of course entirely subjective, and just my opinion. Keep up the good work! I look forward to the official Beta-release.
If any of my feedback is unclear, please let me know. Happy to elaborate