Fixing Retention - Battlescape's last chance


You should really hop in then, the input mapping menu now let’s you map anything you could ever want. The input events have clearer names and each input event also has a tooltip. You can also pre define which control scheme is to be used for each ship.

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In my personal experience, visuals are the first thing to catch my eye, but gameplay is what holds my attention.

I like the core combat systems of I:B that are in place, but there is currently nothing beyond that, which is why I have put my playing on hold.

I agree that the game does now look a bit intimidating and unintuitive for newcomers (I have been here for years so I am used to the systems). However, my opinion is this could easily be solved with simple key prompts and popup tutorial hints. Even context sensitive stuff, similar to X4’s “tutorials”.

I still think we mostly need a proper mission system, rewards for those missions and things to earn over time, in order to increase longevity of play.

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25 posts were merged into an existing topic: Best Game ever made IF you add these things


Allright, I have done some cleanup and moved the posts about planetary details to SentinelGundam’s thread. If you have anything else you want to say about planetary details ( and whether they’d help with retention or not ) please do it in the other thread, thank you.

Side note: Discourse unfortunely only moved half of the posts the first time around so I had to move the posts around a couple times. I think the order was preserved but it might be a bit messy, see the other topic.

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Best Game ever made IF you add these things

I think this thread has gotten way off track with some poorly reasoned ideas of what makes a good game. None of the ideas present are new, but they keep cropping up.

IMO the engine/graphics/etc look just fine as is. Aesthetics > graphics every time anyways, and I think the entire package goes very well together. Different strokes for different folks, and all that. I would love actual volumetric clouds and oceans but the reality is that once people (myself included) have seen it once odds are they’ll rarely, if ever, stop and smell the roses, as this is a combat focused game. If this game were more an exploratory type game then yes this will take more priority.

As much as I would like the building blocks to an Infinity MMO, I think that getting this game in it’s extremely limited scope is the best way forward.

Looking at the discussion so far, I think there’s a general misconception that content = retention. This is not strictly true, in fact the opposite is often times the case. It may be true in some cases, but that’s besides the point. I will briefly summarize my thoughts on the matter.

Most games don’t rely on large amount of content to be maintain a player base. Case in point, CS:GO. That game has been around for years and it’s a running joke of how a re-skin of a gun is considered ‘content’, however the game is more or less the same content wise, and still maintains a large player base. Same with PS2, CoD, and other similar titles. Dota 2 or LoL are other prime examples. They release one or two new heroes a year, but it’s the same map, same objective. Content wise these games are severely lacking.

Now look at games such as E:D or Warframe, both of which I’ve played. I’m sure there are many others in the same boat. Warframe lives in more recent memory, so I’ll use this example first. In terms of content = retention, Warframe is caught in a vicious cycle, and has been for years, of players jumping on after a massive ‘content’ update, completing months/years worth of work in a handful of days or even hours at the most, then they all falloff, lurking until the next content update. The actual breadth of content is quite large (if a bit shallow) as the game has been out for 7 or 8 years now. E:D is in a similar boat, except they haven’t had a single meaningful content update for seemingly years now.

Now, E:D and Warframe and similar games such as SC all have decent player retention. But it’s not really due to the varied amount of content within them. For veteran players, esp. in Warframe’s case, it’s more of either a social experience or simply a way to wind down by doing the same mission loops over and over again.

This topic is very broad and I’ve only begun to scratch the surface of it, but I’m going to move on to my next point. I’m not claiming to be an expert in this area anyways, this has just been my experience and observations.

If the devs start tacking on features in order to improve player retention, they will very quickly get into the same boat that E:D, Warframe, SC, and many other games are finding themselves in. Players will get used to the loop, and fall off when they’ve finished the latest patch. Furthermore, this game will inevitably be compared to much larger games that have already been well established in this genre.

Assuming that all your content ideas are added, what is this game compared to E:D/SC/NMS?

Especially considering the small dev team (literally only one full time person atm), this game will always be a far cry from even a 3 star game with a modest dev team will accomplish. You complain about lack of development, how much slower would it be if suddenly Flav had to make mining/exploring/clouds/oceans/trade/whathaveyou? It will always be behind larger companies and their games. Other games have much greater head-start ‘content’ wise, why would a new player spend his time in a feature lacking game when there’s another game in the same genre that’s been out for years and has way more stuff to do in it?

All things reasonably considered, the only way this particular game is to survive is to do one thing, and one thing well. That puts it in CS:GO realm, which compared to E:D, is much easier to do. Making this game a focused experience is the only hope this game actually has, and, all things considered, fantasies that say otherwise are extremely short sighted, no matter how well meaning.

Getting back on topic, which is fixing retention in for this game, instead of complaining about what this game doesn’t have content wise that will never happen and will ultimately spell doom for the project, let’s think of some mechanics that can keep players in.

IMO, retention is synonymous with progression. The reason, as I have argued earlier, is that if your idea of retention is content, most players will blow through it very quickly, and immediately fall off waiting for the next patch, if it even gets that far.

So I don’t want to harp on that old thread again, and instead explain my idea for some easily obtainable means to implement player progression. Players love the new and shiny, the problem is with making the new and shiny easily reproducible.

Of course, all of the following is built upon a reasonably polished game loop and experience. Also this idea relies on most weapons being roughly equal in power, more of side grades than strict upgrades, a la PS2, which does a decent enough job of this. At least when it is in regard to the game just starting. I believe this is the plan, but I want to make it clear.

My idea focuses on a progression system that’s similar to PS2’s in some ways. And I hope to stone two birds at once.

This idea isn’t earth-shatteringly unique or anything, but I hope to spur the discussion in the right direction.

Players earn “Tickets”, which are granted after earning a certain number of XP performing certain activities playing the game. Think of tickets as an alternative resource alongside credits. These tickets can be exchanged for weapons and ships.



See, there’s this ongoing discussion on what to do about players that aren’t into the fighter combat, but like playing with capital ships.

With the ticket system, players can pre-configure any ship of their choosing and be able to spawn it at the beginning of a match for free. The more tickets they have, the wider variety of weapons and more ships that they can unlock and equip. An entire economy can be built on pre-configuring ships. Add in skins and other goodies, and you have a decent incentive to keep players playing.

Arbitrary number time:

For example, let’s say that a new player starts with say 600 tickets. Any ship that you want to select for first spawn costs 500 tickets, so the player spends the 500 on unlocking the cruiser. 100 tickets left can go for some upgrades to systems or weapons. As the player gets more xp, and thus more tickets, more weapons and upgrades are added. Another 500 can be spent for a different ship, maybe 10,000 for the ability to spawn an additional ship, for a maximum of X number, within a certain time frame, maybe a higher amount of tickets to spawn the same type of ship.

There will be maintenance and balance issues, but honestly it shouldn’t be that hard.

Uber veteran players can have additional AI fleets thrown at their tricked out cruiser, requiring more team coordination to protect early assets. Weapons that are upgrades to starter weapons are credit-earned only, along with station nuking and orbital bombardment. Simple is good, and often times the best.

I can wax on about this idea, but I think the idea is fairly well presented. I’ll end this post for now, but I look forward to some more positive thinking and idea generation. There’s been enough negativity on this topic, and it’s not getting anybody anywhere.

General Suggestion Mega Thread LOOK HERE FIRST

infinity battlescape retention measurements.

Month Avg. Players Gain % Gain Peak Players
Last 30 Days 1.5 +0.1 +9.33% 13

Retention measurements that can be used to fix retention, on topic. censored or not it applies to retention and all future gamers should see the truth before they decide to risk 35 dollars on a game with no player base.


Hi, At This Stage the Game is Boring. The developers have already achieved what they wanted. Massive battles. But, as it turned out, no one needs them! Neither old Players nor new ones. Missing Goal and Development. Endless skirmishes are boring. And in the end, the players buying the game and advertising show that the game is really huge World and large-scale battles, but come to disappointment after 2 hours of the game session. Many new Players returned the Game back. I would have returned the game, but alas, I was late. And have to sit in the boat with the hope of improvement. But as I understand it, it’s not worth waiting for something. Many Game Designers, having watched this Game, predicted the fall of this project, as the developers are moving in the wrong direction. The developers will not be able to keep the Players, because they will not be able to enrich the Game with content (they HUD painted half a year), let’s conduct an experiment? Who wants to return their investments in this project from old and new Players? I am sure that 90% will agree to withdraw their funds. So, as many already understand that the Game will not achieve its Goal.

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And let’s be honest with the new Players, write the truth on the Steam site that the Game is empty, without Gameplay and content, instead of Big Words and Loud Advertising? And then it looks like Cheating.

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Progression is simply rewarding the players for playing the game, either by giving something cosmetic or gameplay related, so what are some small, easily attainable things that will reward players?

How about a skin of the month? XP/Tickets can be cashed in every month to get a free skin.

Early access on new weapons and upgrades. As new weapons/features are added to the game, you can easily have a testing environment on the live servers by gating the new things behind a large ticket cost. Nothing too huge, but enough to prevent everybody instantly getting it (if everybody has enough tickets you can always limit the number of those upgrades/weapons available). That way you have the weapon/upgrade in a large scale testing experiment without the need for a test server. After testing you can refund the cost plus maybe some more tickets or a skin or something.

General Suggestion Mega Thread LOOK HERE FIRST

Good points, I said exactly what you did about retention (the truth) and got censored by flavien, watch out if you tell the truth too much you will get censored.


I’m sure there’s plenty of concept art or other similar material, those can be used as a reward items.


With the game seeming to have a pretty sizable amount of major content still on the roadmap, I’m not entirely sure if there’s much to add to the list that would aid it more than what’s eventually planned. Adding a progression system for ship up/sidegrades for the equipment and other unlockables would definitely help matters in the long run though. I’ll admit that I’m surprised to see capital-focused players like myself actually getting attention according to the post by Arkenbrien earlier though. I like this ticket idea, it lets me get to the part I enjoy most without grinding for an hour.

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I don’t think giving people a sense of progression is going to help much until the core game loop is addictive enough to keep people playing. At the moment there are matches happening and 90% of players appear to have no investment at all in the outcome.

When I play I have no interest in the outcome of the battle or any sense that I would enjoy trying to change that outcome. I’ll mostly go sight seeing with the occasional skirmish with another interceptor.


One possibility would be to have, for each team, at any moment in time, exactly one attack battle and one defense battle. Attack battles can only progress to the next one after they’ve been won. Otherwise if your team loses the attack battle, the next battle will be on the same objective again ( or possibly, on another objective of the small class ? aka small station -> next small station ? ).

This means that both teams are somehow “racing” towards completing all their objectives as quickly as possible.

This approach raises a couple of questions:

  • players can no longer participate to the large battles until the end of the match
  • matches would potentially go much faster, as we’d get ride of the “non-critical” battles. I think that might be fair. One issue with the current system is that some battles are non-critical ( just get team credits if you win ) while others are critical ( objective gets destroyed ) which stretches the matches and reduces their stakes
  • the real issue: how does that tie in with the resources / factories / haulers system ? If a team does not have enough resources, does that mean the next attack or defense fleet gets postponed / reduced ?
  • can players still attack other objectives or factories on their own ? if not, the whole “strategy” part of the game is lessened. If they can… things can potentially be chaotic.
  • even if this system gets implemented, are we sure it’s not delaying the problem ? So there might be stakes in winning battles now, but once you have won a full match, do you still have motivation / interest in playing more matches ( especially if there is no persistent progression ? ). Is that new match system fun on its own ?

This idea has merit, or perhaps a variation of it.
A slightly more linear structure to matches would certainly make each battle mean more. However, as you mention, can players still go after other objectives?

I would argue, players should definitely have other objectives to go after beyond the main attack/defence battle. These should be minor, and influence the progress of the main battle, or the strength of one of the fleets.

For example:
A space battle for Glimmerfall. Teams are matched pretty evenly at this point, so their fleets are roughly equal. The battle commences.
On the ground of the nearby Sarake, there is a facility providing power to the station. An attacking bomber team assault this, causing Glimmerfall’s turrets to switch off/misbehave… or shields to drop… or something.
In the meantime, a defending team successfully escort a hauler to a location within a short warp to Glimmerfall. This hauler then provides some sort of reinforcements to the defending team, such as improved missiles, or extra ships.
A small team of attackers, if they can discover the hauler, can disable it, robbing the defenders of their advantage.

All of this would revolve around the central battle, giving players a choice. They can participate in the main event (which is needed, otherwise what’s the point). But for those that like smaller strike missions, there would be opportunities that effectively provide team buffs/debuffs upon completion.


It’s a pretty cool idea in theory… but the central battle typically only lasts 10-15 minutes. By the time the battle starts, side missions / objectives get generated, the player(s) get notified / notice them, fly there and accomplish them, the battle is now probably over. However if the side missions would somehow affect the main battles, but not necessarily the current one, but maybe the next / future ones, then maybe it could work.


Any set of original gameplay mechanics are an experiment with a high likelihood of failure. If that is the path you take then the best you can really hope for is to keep iterating and hope you hit upon something that works before your funds run out.

In the shoes of I-Novae I would transplant an existing and proven game mode directly and unashamedly from another game that’s proven to be enjoyable. I don’t have much experience of arena based space or plane combat games but I expect there’s something that works well already out there.

The multiplayer arena game that I play the most is Arma 3 King of the Hill because the core game loop is very solid. It allows you to be in a team of tens of other players and still feel as though you’re making a significant contribution to the overall effort. There are a lot of things I like about it:
Transporting players to the battle site as quickly as possible is important.
Winning or losing is based on the number of people “in the zone” so even bad players can feel useful if they are good at not dying.
Because being in the zone scores points, the battles are all kept compact.

That’s what I would steal, but as I said, there’s probably even better options already out there.

“Not invented here” syndrome can kill companies.


There are indeed many games out there that work and most of the ideas have been inspired by them. Extrapolating the outcome of some combination is possible but not guaranteed to be accurate.

Many options have already been brought up in other threads as well as this one. If the original Game Designed failed, which seems to be the case at the moment, it’s a big hole in the whole design … trying to pave it over iteratively won’t be efficient.
I:B is a bunch of different stones, dices, and cardboard sheets at the moment. Which game should be played with these peaces? Do we have all peaces for that game? What pieces are missing and should we come up with a game rather then use one that is already in the manual … ok enough metaphors.

Go back and spend a few hours redesigning the Game Design.

The choatic sandbox freedom that seems to have been planed all along doesn’t seem to work and probably still wouldn’t work (as in be more fun than some other option) even if all the missions, player feedback and rewards would be in. We have seen how players acted in the Steam Release and all these missing features would inhibit or incentives players, but they are always secondary and have more chance of not having an effect compared to a players drive to just go to the first thing that he can shoot at.

I:B has a very nice thing in it … bots, a lot of them. Most of the past space arena games either were single player or multiplayer without bots.
There were a few MOBA like games but all of them lacked mobs and were lacking in content as well. MOBA games have quite a bit of content if you look past the accessibility. There are many options to take, yet, it’s not just a flat playing field. Not only are there options in heroes, in the path of each hero, but also the map and events happening on the map.
Even though it is a very nice thought to imagining I:B be a content rich MOBA in Space, how will it fair differently then Fractured Space, Dreadnought or others … especially lacking all the resources needed to add the missing content?

Honestly, what I-Novae planed to add might even be enough to create a MOBA with a minimum in content. Different load-outs, upgrade paths, different missions. What would then be additionally needed is to restrict and tune rewards into a MOBA shape and it’s almost there. Hell, the mobs are already there! Unending fleets of ships attacking installations (towers).
(See the restricting paths idea from Planetside 2 (can’t find where that was suggested) and the missions having influence to the game world idea from just before)

Problem is that not only is content needed but also all the adjacent systems … the feedback. Without the feedback for the player, the player doesn’t get wind of being rewarded. Or get wind of actually doing good. It’s not just that the gameplay experience is lacking honing, the second big hole is the lack of feedback that players look for. The constant “hold tab to see how I am doing” thing so normal in many other games.

What’s the state of feedback to the player currently anyway? We at least had a scoreboard at some point but that regressed. A “battle won/lost” screen with feedback was mentioned many times but there was no details on it ever shown.

What I mean is … can I-Novae even push out a fully functioning game at the standard that is currently wished for by most everyone reading or should they redesign the game to something much smaller in (planed) gameplay complexity and content richness.

I think the plans posed in the roadmap made me dream to much. If anything, cuts should be made instead of factoring in what isn’t there yet to appear magically in the future and be part of a future game vision.
The game really is most closely compared to simulation games that invested most of their resources into technical development and accuracy. Second comparison could be low content, tight, arena games that do not employ or use any complex technology but compare closer to what already is fun inside I:B.

I think it would be best to really rethink the whole game design.

Personally a full fledged and polished MOBA in space with Bots as Mobs would work well but I don’t see I-Novae having enough resources to pull that off.
Another option is to constrict the sandbox and add a proper polished gamemode to it, what ARMA modders do. The content already there would most line up with what players would expect. Amount of options and weapons and “classes” and such all compare best to military simulation or arena games.
Making installations (more) attackable by prerequiring a “connected” installation to be taken out/over and giving sufficient feedback and rewards for participating.
Then more nice stuff can be added ontop of that to spice it up.

Still, none of us here is a game designer …