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TIGSource ForumsDeveloperPlaytestingWarlike - Spaceship combat card game (FTL + Slay the Spire) alpha test build
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Author Topic: Warlike - Spaceship combat card game (FTL + Slay the Spire) alpha test build  (Read 441 times)
Riv_
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« on: August 19, 2021, 03:06:08 AM »

Hi,

I'm a game designer and 3d Artist , part of a two-man dev team working on a dynamic , tactical card game focused on representing plausible if-not-realistic ship-to-ship combat in space. (as realistic as a card game about spaceships can be).

Currently we have a functional implementation of the ship to ship combat, but we didn't implement any of our ideas on the meta-game part, where you focus more on your ship and crew, so that part is a total placeholder at the moment.

Visually we try to approach the game in a semi-realistic fashion, The Expanse series has been a big inspiration there (ignoring the fact taht we have an energy shield :D )


---------------------------------------------------

Anyway, if any of you want to check out the build, you can download it at:
https://www.dropbox.com/s/ty4dove26f5199i/WarlikeAlpha01.1.zip?dl=0


Windows defender might pick it up as a suspect executable or something, which is annoying, but you can choose the "run anyway" option

If you enjoy the alpha and want to discuss it, feel free to either do it here or on our Discord server (link is in the game)

Cheers
---------------------------------------

Release notes:

This is a very early build of the game, so expect a lot of bugs and confusion, but hopefully it's enough to give you a glimmer into what we are trying to create.

What you will find in this build:

- 5 different enemies to fight, each progressively more difficult , and requires a better understanding of the mechanics to beat.
- A shop where you can buy various pieces of equipment for your ship, experiment with different loadouts, and see how it affects how you fare against the enemies (Sometimes having only a few key pieces of equipment is better than a fully loaded out ship)
- Around 50 different cards,  ranging from simple and straightforward, to more complex cards that require to be played together with other cards for maximum effect
- A lot of placeholder art, this is still a very early build, and our focus was on the gameplay , not the graphics

Known bugs:

- Buying things at the shop currently doesn't deduct money, this is a known bug, but feel free to abuse it in order to try out different pieces of equipment
- Damage indicator on delayed attacks (missiles and torpedoes) currently doesn't work, and always displays the number 8
- Some card keywords don't display correctly, or don't display at all
- The settings button doesn't currently work
- Sometimes after having destroyed an enemy, it's doesn't register to the game, so you have to play an additional card to trigger the victory screen
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DarkGran
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« Reply #1 on: August 19, 2021, 05:57:03 PM »

Hey!

Your game looks super sweet!
I love space, so I totally dig the part where you just stare at the sun and planets, even though they could use some extra polish maybe, and I also love spaceships, so I really enjoyed how the match looks (the closeups on the ships, nice choice). Cool and quite polished models, great effects and the card portraits have excellent illustrations. Very well done!

I do have a few notes:
1) I had only like 20 fps most of the time, then again im on a pretty shitty computer right now, so that probably isnt your fault (you could offer "low graphic settings" but I understand such things don't have a priority).
2) I loved how it looks when I'm being attacked, but when my ship was attacking, it seemed kinda strange/akward in comparison. I wish my attack looked exactly the same so I could enjoy the effects. It also seemed that because of the "camera change/zoom" didnt happen, the sounds of the shots were missing (even though when the enemy played the exactly same cards, I could hear attack sounds - well not always/all of them, but I presume some are not in game yet).
3) I kinda just went right into the game (didn't know which planet to pick so I picked randomly), so when trying to orient myself, I discarded 3 cards before I even realized that I am discarding them - i dont think its wise to put discarding on mouse right-click, as the player can easily misclick and just lose a card. Maybe make a special place where I can drag the card if I really want to discard it? (i know it takes room in the ui, just an idea)
4) Something for fixing: The dragging of parts in the Hangar did not work entirely as it should: when trying to equip a card (picking it up from the cargo hold), the card kinda "lags" behind the cursor, but you still need to hit the right spot with the card and not the cursor to place it.
5) Gameplay-wise: To my own surprise I got a bit "bored" rather quickly (I was enjoying myself, but...), maybe because I was expecting more interactions between cards (the rapid fire was cool tho) and most of the time it felt like im "just playing the only thing playable right now" (note: I like my card games bit complex, then again I made a very complex card game once and it was a disaster, so take this part of notes with a grain of salt), but maybe I just didnt get far enough (or maybe there are more mechanics in general that I didn't notice). I do understand you'll probably add more cards later tho, so as a base, it definitely ain't bad! Many might say it's more than fine. ;) (also the low fps kinda made me run out of patience faster, I believe it wouldve been much better if I could fully enjoy the sweet visuals)

I hope these notes will help you. It looks really great, so I hope you guys keep working on it! :)
Good luck!
« Last Edit: August 21, 2021, 08:55:23 AM by DarkGran » Logged
Riv_
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« Reply #2 on: August 19, 2021, 11:24:29 PM »

Thanks for the clear and structured feedback DarkGran, much appreciated!
 so to address your points:

1) We haven't worked on optimization at all so far, i know the game is not exactly light on performance, but i'm wondering if you can give me your PC specs

2)Camera work does need a lot more attention, noted!

3)Discarding is a big part of the game actually, and i do it very often, so the way it happens now is very convenient for more experienced players.
Having a separate drag zone for discarding cards is a very good idea however, and we can leave the "right-click to discard" as a toggle  Beer!

4) The hangar is a mess right now, a very bare-bones implementation of what it will eventually become, i'm presuming the lag you mentioned also has something to do with the low fps

5) You're very right about not having a lot of options to play usually, we're still working on the game flow , tweaking card costs and resource income.

In terms of complexity, we have some really complex interactions in some of the cards we designed, but they are not in the alpha, since most people playing it won't be very familiar with card games and would just be overwhelmed by learning the resource system, the way shields work, and so on.
There are some more complex card interactions on other equipment pieces (the engineering bay has some nice ways of making cards cheaper/boosting income), but those are found in later shops. (How far did you get in terms of enemies btw?)

Again, thanks for the feedback, and i look forward to having you test out future iterations , especially since you seem to be very knowledgeable when it comes to card games. (For faster iterations, you could even join our discord)
« Last Edit: August 20, 2021, 03:59:09 AM by Riv_ » Logged
DarkGran
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« Reply #3 on: August 21, 2021, 07:29:17 AM »

WARNING:
WALL OF TEXT! :D


Thanks for the clear and structured feedback DarkGran, much appreciated!

No problem! I also kinda had to check it out, because I was just about to post my own space card game when you did. xDDD (if I post it now, there will be two spaceships card games next to each other xD I'm actually adjusting the planned description thread-name to make it as clear as possible that the games are actually very different xD)
No but rly, I'm glad to help with nice projects. ;) I'll join you in discord (which I wouldn't usually do - for example when someone requires to join discord so I can download their game, I'm closing the tab ;)(cause, u know, we're here to test, not to jump through extra hoops! :P)),...because I actually played your game a little more and I got some card-specific feedback. I'll post the "main general stuff" here tho.

1) We haven't worked on optimization at all so far, i know the game is not exactly light on performance, but i'm wondering if you can give me your PC specs

Sure! Shouldve done that rightaway.
Intel Core i7 970 @3.2
Radeon HD 5770
4GB RAM? Windows 10...


Mind you it's not just weak, it's truly a garbage fire. The previous graphic card has already burnt out so the current one is an even older "emergency card". The motherboard has some power issues that crash the PC whenever the graphic cards wants more than minimal power. The SSD had too many writings, but Windows insists on putting it's files and all the drivers in the worst possible sectors, making it unbootable after a month or two, forcing me to reinstall the OS again. It's running like this for lets say half a year.
It's a surprise that your game did not crash my PC just when starting up, or at any point during the gameplay. But it didnt, not once, even though it was clearly sweating as hell with the low fps. :D
I tried 1280x800 and it runs I'd say 25-30, I mean its basically smooth but right now I'm actually used to at least 60fps, so I cant tell if its 30 or lower (when u get used to these higher framerates enough, you'll start to notice that the good old 30 that were always great are suddenly not as smooth as you always thought ;)). At the moment its fine though and it basically allowed me to put more time in the game. ;)

we can leave the "right-click to discard" as a toggle  :beer:

Please do. :D I noticed later that you get to discard a lot, so the right click to discard is definitely practical and I wouldnt remove it. But it's kinda surprising to a new player to find that one of the clicks on a card is a (self)destructive action. In other games you usually get "right click is cancel when dragging", which is not truly destructive though, when not dragging you often get zoom on the cards. MTGA where you get a huge card when you right click it is probably the reason why I actually discarded cards by mistake even after I learned what right click does here. ;D
Note: Actually no need for a drag zone, you already have 3 little almost-buttons that look like little cards and show "Discard" when you hover over em - you can just turn em into buttons that which you click, you can choose the card to discard. Again, just random ui idea. :P

4) The hangar is a mess right now, a very bare-bones implementation of what it will eventually become, i'm presuming the lag you mentioned also has something to do with the low fps

You were right, it's much better now. :D But if I had to be a nitpick, I'd have to say that when I write drags (;D), I update the position of a dragged object in a render loop on every frame, which I guess you're not doing here. It might sound performance heavy but it actually isnt (the mouse input is probably read anyway, the object is in fact drawn anyway too), especially if you do it for just one object. The advantage is that you get perfect positioning (the dragged object will NEVER be visually elsewhere than the mouse) and possibly better feeling of smoothness of the drag-movement.

(...) we're still working on the game flow , tweaking card costs and resource income.
In terms of complexity, we have some really complex interactions in some of the cards we designed, but they are not in the alpha, since most people playing it won't be very familiar with card games and would just be overwhelmed by learning the resource system, the way shields work, and so on.
There are some more complex card interactions on other equipment pieces (the engineering bay has some nice ways of making cards cheaper/boosting income), but those are found in later shops. (How far did you get in terms of enemies btw?)

I actually "reviewed" like 24 indie games that day. Yours was the last. :D So I was a bit too tired to look around properly.
After reading this about the card interactions and SHOPS, I got a feeling that maybe I missed something.
And oh boy, I did. :D Somehow I did not notice how many parts are actually different from each other (because they have same pictures but I wasnt really reading names at that point anymore xD the Pulse laser was the only thing I bought and it was rather random). I also did not notice that you can scroll down in the shop.

But first - the first experiences
Lets go back to the very first runs before the first "review". I wasnt reading much, I wasnt shopping at all, but it did not really feel at that point that I need to, I went through the route rather easily. (i picked the not-blue planet, which has longer routes actually? or is that randomly generated too?) The first time I died, it was to the rocket guy, and it was also the first time I noticed where my health is(!). I went another run (same route I think) and basically died to him in the exactly same way because this time I just "forgot" to buy the solution for him in time. xD I guess I was too tired. But it felt like I actually went through many battles for a "single test run", so I called it. ;)
The feeling of "little boredom" that I mentioned is clearly very much connected to the fact that the game basically did not require me to do anything (I bought the Pulse laser just "by the way", "to test out buying" (= didnt really care about it)), or so it seemed, and when it obviously-enough did, I was basically already done with the game. This is emphasized by the fact that I still did not know some of the key concepts about the run itself (more on that later).
(edit: btw I didnt even know how many ships are ahead of me, because I thought its just one screen and then "something will happen" - only later I found out that I have to move the "flight plan" to see more ships. I think it covered just the boss tho, but still...)

After realizing the deck-building potential

Going second time, checking out the very first shop and realizing how many cards there are, I was very much intrigued! Especially cause I do realize that there's more cards coming. (still though - there could be more actual card combos even now, the resource thingies don't really count as such... but later on that in discord)
So I picked up heavy lasers and actually laughed when I killed Scout in like 3rd or 4th with the mega laser thing. xD Finally, something more than the basic laser! :P Poor Scout was so unprepared that after the overkill when he didnt explode so I gave him the Turn, he actually played his turn too and ended it before finally realizing what happened and exploding. xD So, I admit. There are many more cool (non-basic) cards in there than I thought. There is something to be said here about the learning curve, but I'll come back to that later.
So, I had some nice matches. Then I went for the rocket guy and somehow I killed him even without the anti-missiles, but I admit, it was a very lucky rush. But he left me only 2 health. That's when I went for the Tyrant.
Thats when I, staring at the persistent number 2, found out that the health is shared for the entire run. :D Ok so the tyrant laughed at me and my ship just broke down from the pressure.
I was pretty shocked about the shared health between matches. I know it's one "run", and I don't mind if this stays for "one of the game modes" (I dont care if its "the main one" or not), but to be honest, I'm about multiplayer, so I was basically imagining that the matches are balanced (same health, same cards, each match seperate from other matches)... it was only after I noticed where the health are and his cards that I realized that it's actually a series of puzzles. :)) Which I dont mind, but I really hope there will be more "classic matches" too - you know, 2 players each with complete deck, same hand size at the start, same starting health. ;) I presume you already plan on adding that, just saying it to put my opinions in some perspective. :))
Anyway I didn't feel like "changing my meta" for each ship (with the exception of the rocket guy). And I also realized something. Something connected to the fact that I beat most of the game the day before with only basic equipment + Pulse Laser at some point. So, yea, i picked up something and beat everything up to the final boss without losing single health in like I'd say 15 maybe 20 rounds in total between all matches, took just a few minutes really. Can be repeated easily (thanks to the nature of "sabotuer" it's not always without a scratch (notice I call all ship by what they do xD he's after the... what was his name... "Brawler"?).
I will not post the strategy here though, especially because it's actually an attempt at breaking the game. xD
You can remain calm though. It wasn't enough for the Tyrant. I was one turn from firing the BIGLAZA and he had only 19 health, so it was a done deal - but I miscalculated and the cheater's rockets that were inbound and some lasers put me at exactly 0 health. I suspect he had an active mod that raised the laser dmg, but I don't know. xD
I could see though that I was probably lucky and my "strategy" was weak there (although this is a little connected to the fact which specific cards are currently in game - more on that in discord maybe). By which I mean the Tyrant definitely makes you start thinking about "how to cover all bases", so good job there. He also shows off some cool unavailable cards. (Cheater... ;D) And that finally leads me to...

The Learning Curve

I think overall the difficulty is fine actually. There are a lots of basic mechanics to learn, and once you learn them the game already wants you to add a very specific module to your ship without directly pointing you at the one, which is nice. If anyone manages to kill the "first few learning ships" without changing module, the rocket ship will stop him. And the Tyrant is a nice ultimate test.
But I must say, even though I didnt spend that much time trying properly, I am pretty sad I didnt kill the boss. :D But tbh he feels a little too strong - I went with a min-max strategy and he destroyed me by throwing money at me, money that I cant have. xD Not to mention double the health even if you make it there without a scratch... (edit: well, almost double, but you know what I mean .))
Anyway... Right now I just want to fight the Tyrant, it actually sounds fun to me to have an overpowered enemy to test things on (i always play my games on the hardest difficulty for some reason, even though I hate frustration). Fighting the previous ships is a waste of time for me at this point, because I know exactly how to destroy the AI without getting a scratch, unless the random on random with random from the randomness guy screws me a little too much, then I may receive a little dmg. But so what that I know how to beat them, that happens in every game and it would be totally fine if I wasnt forced to play these X matches over and over again, always receiving only 1 attempt at the boss.
Is this a card game or a 1980s platformer? Please let me save my progress. xDDD ;)
Even though it takes me only a few minutes to reach the boss, I still dont want to go through it, simply because of unnecessary repetition. :p (edit: important to note that at this point I went through it several/many times already)

Again, thanks for the feedback, (...) especially since you seem to be very knowledgeable when it comes to card games.

Haha you flatter me,  Thank You. :D But I assure you, there are much greater experts on either tabletop or video games, especially if you want to talk about card games specifically. ;)

Speaking of "other experts" :P I have this friend who always loved FTL, I'll convince him to try your game out because I actually think he might like it - I'll let you know how it went. ;)) Seriously, if I didnt say it before: nice job!

I'll join the discord so I don't spam this thread with notes on cards (and bugs ;D). Cya! ;)

TLDR:
- The cards that are there are actually fine for starters and I can't wait for the promised ones. :P
- The game may have felt too easy at first but that is because of how it is set-up and after thinking about it, it's actually a nice learning curve (can't be much better unless things like "proper tutorial" are added).
- I'm pissed that I actually did not beat the final boss, but the guy is a fucking cheater I swear. xD Anyway, it's a nice game even though it still needs work (whether it's content or some fixes).
- Rest of the notes goes in discord. ;)
« Last Edit: August 21, 2021, 08:56:47 AM by DarkGran » Logged
DarkGran
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« Reply #4 on: September 05, 2021, 05:09:46 AM »

You should update the link here with 1.2. :P ;)
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Riv_
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« Reply #5 on: September 06, 2021, 07:18:15 AM »

Thanks for both the great amount of feedback both here and on Discord DarkGran (one of which changed the game for the better in a MAJOR way Beer! ), and also for reminding me to post the alpha update

We now have an itch.io game page, so you can now download the latest build over at: https://warlike.itch.io/warlike

The new build features some new cards, and some bug fixes

Thanks, and have fun
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