Hope you’ve all had a good week! We were hoping to have been able to release a patch this week, but there are a couple of tasks we’re still in the middle of and can’t do so until they are done. Some of the features that should be in the next patch include the nearby player scanner, smart merging for fleet management, being able to give a fleet or planet to another player, and the settings panel for automated colony development. We’ll update you on the status of the next patch as soon as we can.
Addressing usability issues
In our ‘Current Priorities & Role of the Community‘ post we mentioned that the game is suffering a ‘usability crisis’, particularly from a new player perspective. In this post we wanted to provide a couple of examples of the sort of issue we need to address, and ask that you share with us on the forum any similar issues that you’re aware of.
Tech tree descriptions
Deciding which technologies to research is an important strategic decision. A lack of information in the current tech tree makes it difficult to make well informed decisions e.g. should I research this weapon or that one, would the ability to upgrade my city centers give a significant enough boost to make doing so a priority?
The above image on the left shows the current technology description that unlocks a city center upgrade. Without leaving the game and checking the wiki, it’s impossible to evaluate the costs vs benefits of that upgrade because all you can see is its name, thumbnail image, and a draft description that needs to be rewritten (once unlocked you can see its attributes elsewhere).
The image on the right is taken from a city center tooltip elsewhere in the game. The player needs to be able to see these details from the tech tree itself and shouldn’t have to wait until that item has been unlocked before they can make an assessment.
Exploring new planets
When a new player begins exploring new planets it’s not easy to interpret their status. For example, in the images above a player might reasonably assume that they could colonize Planet 1, but that Planet 2 and 3 are already colonized.
It needs to be made clearer for the player that:
- Planet 1 isn’t populated and could be colonized.
- Planet 2 can be colonized despite being inhabited by a native population (a minor faction).
- Planet 3 is likely to be already colonized by a player (could be captured via a successful invasion), but there is also a chance the major faction (Ripchee) could be a native population (at the moment both minor and major factions can be spawned as native populations). To know for sure, the player would have to fly a ship into orbit of the planet to see if that Ripchee population belongs to another player or not.
Tell us your suggestions
There are lots of similar issues in the game, which collectively create a lot of friction for new players and it’s important that we identify and resolve as many of them as we can – and we need your help to do so.
Let us know on the forums of any you’re aware of. It might be something we already have on our list, but hearing about the same issue multiple times from players helps us understand which to prioritize. So if you do agree with a suggestion already made by another player, just showing your support for it can be helpful. And if you’ve already posted something that belongs in this discussion elsewhere on the forum share the link here.
Please keep in mind that the focus here is on issues that affect new players. The quicker we can improve new player retention, the sooner we’ll be able to focus more on mid/late game for players.
Thanks everyone. See you soon 🙂
– The Outscape dev team