The hype is real.

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DuderSeb
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Re: The hype is real.

Postby DuderSeb » 07 Oct 2015, 20:58

Duper wrote:Personally, I'm old school. I like going into the store and buying the game. Done.

I speak for the whole team in that we could not have said this better. Except maybe replace store with Steam as it's the best thing since sliced bread (but mostly because I don't go out much anymore :P)
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1/2Hawk
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Re: The hype is real.

Postby 1/2Hawk » 07 Oct 2015, 21:25

Just seems like a risky proposition to me - there's a chance you can deflate the hype and give a wrong impression on a partially built product you make people pay to try out too early. Seems better to involve folks for free closer to release in order to snuff out any weird bugs your own dev team never noticed all along. But that's not trying to second guess their strategy or anything. Having gone thru Kickstarter funding maybe they want to put some confidence in folks that the product is moving along nicely? For me, I've already donated more to D:U than I've spent on any other game ever... so to pay monthly on top to keep up with progress while they already do a great job keeping folks updated with videos and streams makes me not want to shell out any more. *shrug* I'm with Seb ... tell me when it's done and I'll go find it on Steam too.
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Re: The hype is real.

Postby Duper » 07 Oct 2015, 22:11

@ Proxy: I can appreciate your perspective, but remember that this is active development.

A lot can change rapidly. There is still a lot that will change. The menu system is merely utilitarian at this point. They are still fussing with weapon and ship balances. I would imagine that the power up icons will change. I'm looking at this from an engineering point of view so what might seem insignificant might not be.
I seriously don't expect D:U to look 45% of what it does now when it goes gold. I will be patient and wait. :)

@ Yosh: ugh, yeah. I've had that happen on several occasions. Try doing long write-ups in Wordpad or something similar. ;)

@ DuderSeb: Sliced bread- America- 1929. :mrgreen:
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Re: The hype is real.

Postby Yoshimitsu » 07 Oct 2015, 22:33

1/2Hawk wrote:For me, I've already donated more to D:U than I've spent on any other game ever...


It's really good to hear you Devs saying positive things about D:U (even supporting the project) after the C&D and initial misunderstandings with Descendant. It makes me a lot less hesitant to talk about D:U in here. :)

Duper wrote:@ Yosh: ugh, yeah. I've had that happen on several occasions. Try doing long write-ups in Wordpad or something similar. ;)


Not a bad idea. I also used to have the habit of copying long posts to the clipboard before hitting any buttons that might end in tears.
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Re: The hype is real.

Postby Yoshimitsu » 08 Oct 2015, 00:10

State of the D:U (my understanding for now)

Descent: Underground is being released for testing in three stages before its official release.

1. The Proving Grounds (pre-alpha)
When an internal build of D:U is deemed worthy of a wider release by the Dev team, it is made available to people with Proving Grounds access for playtesting, feedback, and bug reporting. These people are a select few high level Kickstarter backers, and also anyone who has backed or pre-ordered a copy of the game at any level and additionally has purchased a subscription to "The Underground," their private forum which gives members greater access to the team and development news not shared outside.

2. Alpha
When a Proving Grounds build of D:U is deemed worthy of a wider release by the Dev team and Proving Grounders, it is made available to people with Alpha access for further playtesting, feedback, and bug reporting. The Proving Ground will then get a new build with new features implemented.

3. Beta
When an Alpha build of D:U is ready, it is made available to people with Beta access for one more round of balancing and feedback.

This cycle will repeat until all of the D:U's features are created, implemented, troubleshot, and balanced.

4. Commercial Release.
At this point the game is complete and will be available on Steam, from Descendant themselves, and likely from many other sources.

Some notes:
-I backed a kickstarter package that included Alpha and Beta access, the reason I chose that one. I decided last week when the very first Proving Grounds build was released that I wanted to test it out so I bought a one month "Underground" subscription. At the end of that month I will no longer have PG access, but I'm hoping for two things; that Alpha will be reached by then, and also that Sol Contingency will release its own Proving Grounds. Who knows, I may discover that I like pre-alpha testing enough to extend my membership ($10 per month or $99 per year).
-Only the Proving Grounds requires a subscription. Alpha and Beta access are a permanent privilege that can be bought as an addon to your copy of the game for a one time fee ($10 for Beta, $25 for both).
-If you pre-order the retail game now I believe you are getting it at a steeply discounted price. Currently the basic game costs $30. If I'm remembering right it will be $50 at retail.
- All of this is optional for those interested. Anyone who just wants to buy and play the finished product has that option too. Their target is next spring.

The most recent Proving Grounds build has:
- 4 Ships to fly with different flight characteristics
- 2 Primary Weapons; Laser Levels 1-4 plus Quad, and Vulcan
- 3 Secondary Weapons; Concussion, Homing, and Mega Missiles (the homing missiles don't work very well)
- 2 Built in ship specific tools. Each ship gets one tool and they can't be swapped; Mining Laser, Special Attack Configuration
- 1 Countermeasure; Laser Grid, a item that is dropped to wall off a small tunnel with an extremely damaging (usually instakill) forcefield
- 3 Maps
- 2 Game Modes; Anarchy, Capture the Core (Similar to King of the Hill)

- Basic Options to configure Controls, Graphics, and Sounds
- Simplistic Matchmaking; You are placed at random into a game with other available players. There is no custom game option yet.
- Solo Test; You fly alone in one of the maps for the purpose of testing and tweaking your configuration in safety.
- Great Music composed by Dan Wentz

My impressions so far after 6 nights of play:

The bad,
It's full of bugs and questionable design choices. The Laser Grid item is much too powerful. I think its function needs to be rethought before it stops being gamebreaking. The ships are all different sizes and shapes. Two of them have hitboxes so small in profile that they are far too difficult to hit. The team went a small way towards fixing it in the second build which I played yesterday by speeding up the laser projectiles. I don't care for Capture the Core (I always hated King of the Hill in Halo). The game doesn't yet have much variety, especially in the weapons department. I get bored quickly of only Lasers and Vulcan. There are loud, annoying, intrusive announcements whenever a player does simple things like picking up an item or entering an energy station "SOMEONE IS CHARGING! SOMEONE IS CHARGING!" The sound effects for the weapons are weak and unconvincing except for the Vulcan Cannon. That thing sounds awesome. The team say that the sounds are only placeholders for now though so we'll see.

The good,
The game is fun to play even with all of those problems. I have a hard time stopping for bed every night. The flight feels wonderful and it translates to my joysticks perfectly. There might be as many as 50 different people in the Proving Grounds from around the world so there is almost always someone to fly with. The skill level varies wildly since the population is small and the matchmaker has no filters at all, but I'm in the lower middle of the pack so far and I personally am happy with flying against players much better than me and dying a lot. I love two of the maps and I don't mind the third. Overall I like the visual design of everything, especially the ships. The Mega Missile has a smiley face on the nose! Anarchy is awesome. Aside from the tiny hitboxes it feels very much like my few forays into multiplayer Descent (which is high praise).

Overall,
I'm glad I backed the game and I'm glad I got the subscription to the "Underground." I'm having a good time with the game and the people. The developers are listening closely to what we are telling them and responding quickly with improvements; it was only 6 days between the first and second builds with the second being a noticeable improvement. If their progress continues like this I think that Descent: Underground will be an excellent game.
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Re: The hype is real.

Postby Yoshimitsu » 08 Oct 2015, 00:14

I still think that the SolC Proving Grounds will be superior by far to D:U as it is now. It is farther along with more features and a much higher degree of polish. That said, I think that by the time D:U hits retail it will make SolC's Proving Grounds look like exactly what it was meant to be, a high quality demo for a larger game.


I want SolC! :D
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Re: The hype is real.

Postby 1/2Hawk » 08 Oct 2015, 03:59

Yeah man, we welcome y'all to come talk about D:U here. Pretty sure all of us will be playing Sublevel Zero tomorrow too. We can all play nice around here. Even if they are using the exact same name for their build (PG)... lots of games use that and I'm sure they didn't know we've been carrying this name for years. Them pickup coins though - lol - when I saw those spinning geom shaped coins with the weapon graphics on them in their vids I was like... come on now. $600k oughta enable you to chase down your own ideas. Its all good though.
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DuderSeb
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Re: The hype is real.

Postby DuderSeb » 08 Oct 2015, 04:09

Yoshimitsu wrote:ally good to hear you Devs saying positive things about D:U (even supporting the project) after the C&D and initial misunderstandings with Descendant. It makes me a lot less hesitant to talk about D:U in here. :)

Please, no harm at all in discussing D:U at all :) in fact, I'm glad to be kept up to date as I don't have as much time as I'd like to peruse their forums. And, of course, there's no animosity from here at all, in fact I went to see if by any chance my pledge package had access to their Proving Grounds but alas I didn't :(

Did see some videos and although I wish I could feel what it flies like; at least as a fellow 3D modeller I'll say it's lookin' sharp!
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Re: The hype is real.

Postby Yoshimitsu » 08 Oct 2015, 05:01

I thought you all wouldn't mind but it's good to hear anyway. I've been over on the D:U forums a lot lately what with their first release and reporting bugs and complaining about bad sound effects and generally having a good time.
Occasionally in their chatroom I've mentioned how awesome our little SolC playtest was and how I liked it far more than the D:U Proving Grounds. I think it was generally Descent Rangers who responded with variations on "Oh that's great to hear. We were a little worried about them after trying the game." I assume they were referring to the Rangers' session with SolC.
Anyway it got me thinking that I'd kind of like to start a Sol Contingency thread over on their forums too and see if I can drum up some attention for your impending release, maybe use some of my write-up from a few weeks ago. Before I do though I'm going to clear it with their team (I'll most likely PM Dunkelza sometime in the next couple of days). I've no doubt they'll say it's fine but I would like to check first.

1/2Hawk wrote:...Even if they are using the exact same name for their build (PG)... lots of games use that...

First time I heard the term "Proving Grounds" was in Descent 3 back in 1999 (I believe it was the name of level 12), so I was not surprised to hear it used in both of the big new 6dof games on the horizon. I think you each use the term quite differently in any case. D:U's Proving Grounds is about stress testing their game to make sure everything works right. SolC's Proving Grounds seems more like the title of a complete game wherein pilots compete to prove themselves against each other in hopes of being chosen for a special assignment or job (your prospective singleplayer campaign).

DuderSeb wrote:I went to see if by any chance my pledge package had access to their Proving Grounds but alas I didn't :(
Did see some videos and although I wish I could feel what it flies like; at least as a fellow 3D modeller I'll say it's lookin' sharp!

*poke*poke You know it's only $10 to get D:U Proving Grounds for a month if you've already reserved a copy of the game right? You could always do that Once SolC Is Ready!*runs and hides so Max won't yell at him for distracting Seb from working on SolC*

I'm in at least one of those videos. Duper pointed me toward one that Roncli uploaded. I do some scary things near the beginning and generally seem a lot more dangerous than I am. :twisted: :lol: I'll have to see if I can find it again...
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Re: The hype is real.

Postby Earthshaker » 08 Oct 2015, 09:00

Interesting to also hear some details about D:U here. Thanks for posting them! I'm personally not a backer at any level just yet but I can certainly see myself buying into it when the game is finally released - it's encouraging that although the game is buggy (as you'd expect for a pre-alpha), it's still fun to play. I'll have to search out some videos and see how it's progressing.

Yoshimitsu wrote:Occasionally in their chatroom I've mentioned how awesome our little SolC playtest was and how I liked it far more than the D:U Proving Grounds. I think it was generally Descent Rangers who responded with variations on "Oh that's great to hear. We were a little worried about them after trying the game." I assume they were referring to the Rangers' session with SolC.

This will sound like I am bashing the Rangers as a whole which isn't how I want to come across. Clearly they're doing something right to have been alive and active for so long :) That said, as someone on the outside, to me they seem a bit... formal. I imagine some of their longer-standing pilots will be very much attached to the original Descent games that they've spent so much time with. I can potentially see them not being as open-minded as they could be about some of the tweaks to gameplay that SolC has implemented, and thus giving some overly-critical feedback as a result - but I'm sure the SolC team had the nouse to handle any comments sensibly.

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