The Academy Discussions and Improvements

Discussion about PULSAR: Lost Colony including talking about factions, classes, ship systems, playstyles, etc.
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Alpha Tester
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The Academy Discussions and Improvements

Post by Bleet » Fri Jan 24, 2020 11:21 pm

I've spent about an hour going through The Academy getting a feel for how it currently plays out. There's definitely room for improvement, but for a first pass, this was really well done!
It was a great call to have people standing around to 'talk' with for the tutorial. It also acts like a guide to lead players from one task to another.

I will admit that this isn't formatted quite as cleanly as I would like, as I jotted these down almost like a string of consciousness as I was playing through the tutorial. However, I kept everything pretty much in sequential order, so every point should be encountered as you go down the list.

My thoughts were done with the Beta 27.1 version of Pulsar, so if anyone has anything else to add or recommend, please note which version that you're playing The Academy on.

Note that although it may look like a pretty big list, the fact that I can specifically pinpoint things is a sign that it's already in a respectable state!

General Introduction/tutorial:

If you 'fail' the sections by dying (Fire, extreme heat, falling by jetpack), you should respawn right in front of that section instead of all the way at the beginning. Fortunately, it's not too far back, but less walking, more doing!

No mention of the "Z" quick access menu? Would be useful to mention as a quick way to heal yourself with snacks, after taking damage.

Infomaster should separate the groups between "Factions", and "History or Species", and the More Topics button should backtrack to a Factions or History or Species option. They're practically divided that way, and that would make more sense. If it spills over (as it will when the PF or possibly other minor factions are added), then an option for "More Factions", etc... should lead to those other dialog options.

Navigation Tutorial bot should mention that signs on the side have more info/can be interacted with.

Under the "Read About Planets and Stations" screen in Navigation:
There should be some mention that a named system (like the "Ubrac Sys" shown on the screen) will contain a planet, which is good to explore and gather materials and items from. However, it should also include that unnamed systems typically are devoid of planets or stations, and may include passing or patrolling ships, or other noteworthy space features.

Under the "Read About Nebulas" screen in Navigation:
"I've also heard that the Alliance of Gentlemen Pirates use nebulas..." to be rephrased do something like "Pirates like the Alliance of Gentlemen use nebulas...", since it's supposed to be a sign and not a conversation.

Under the "Read About Scrapyards" screen in Navigation:
"Engineers and Weapon Specialists will learn more about upgrading in their respective Class Training." They... didn't? I don't remember any mention of it in their training.

There are no interactions with the screens further in the hallway ("Long Range Warp Station", "Racing Sectors", "Automated Trading Station", "Repair Depot", "Mission Sectors"). Not sure if this is intended, but since the rest of the screens are intractable, it looks out of place if it's intended.

Note about where to find active mission description via tab menu for mission training, if returning back to the training assistant before returning with the medical supplies for the mission. Something like "Did you forget the mission? You can press [TAB] then go to Missions if you need a reminder. Also, if you have trouble seeing, you can toggle your flashlight by pressing [F]."
(Also, bravo if you decline, the 'Although you can decline missions, you're being assigned this mission today anyway' line. Got a little chuckle out of me.)

Under "Learn about HUD", "HUD Bottom Right" dialog option should also indicate what equipment you currently have mapped, and the # is the number you can use to hotswap to that equipped item on some setups.

Also in this room where you can talk about components, there should be a way to test the process scrap minigame. Doubly so since there is a convenient crate on one of the cargo pads immediately to the right of the instructor.

The class training pillars should have something to indicate that you are to go behind the pillar, either with arrows or lighting tricks? If going for lighting, darken the room where the pillar is in with a spotlight on the "[class] Training" wording, and a very bright colored light behind it and/or lights on the 45 degree angled wall pieces toward the back, guiding you towards the back of the pillar?

"Use the nearby piloting station to pilot the ship", "Gather Materials and Research New Talents", etc... should be given as a more prominent notice, at least initially, when entering the room. Also, those messages should appear bigger in general, because they were easy to overlook and were a little difficult to read.

Captain's Tutorial:

Captain's Log Screen should be intractable, maybe with some dummy info of what it looks like in a typical game.

"The most common ways to acquire a flagged status are by claiming a ship..." should be replaced with "The most common ways to acquire a flagged status are by claiming another ship as their own,...". This might still need to be rephrased, but that's a step in the right direction.

The Captain's waypoint tutorial should draw a line showing a path to that waypoint, on the map screen. Not sure if it's a bug for the tutorial?

"This is the captain of the U.S.S. NAME" under the ship to ship communication tutorial screen. Maybe replace it with "U.S.S. Tutorial" or something since it looks like it was accidentally overlooked.

Pilot's Tutorial:

Ships and Temperature tutorial should also mention that some ships are not equipped with forward facing thrusters. Related: Warn that collisions may cause shield or even hull damage!

There should be a person in the Piloting section to talk with, regarding the brief course where you can maneuver through. Preferably have them stand near the piloting station itself as a beacon to guide them towards the station (like the person standing next to the turret control in the weapon's tutorial).

Turning pieces within the piloting course should be textured or have some sort of landmark in some way (like light fixture extrusions, etc), since it's very difficult to tell just how close you are to the wall. Even something like 'raising' the chevrons fixtures away from the wall with a border would help.

Collecting scrap/loot in space tutorial? Or at least a mention of it somewhere? Would be a good way to end the piloting tutorial as their reward.

Also, when showing sectors, highlight in blue when ship is able to jump to that sector just like in base game.

Scientist's Tutorial:

Scientist screens clip into wall.
"Atrium Respawner" dialog takes the camera away as if it's a person, causing it to clip into the camera. It should instead leave the camera right where the player is interacting with it, or move the camera way back so it doesn't clip into the camera.

Another tutorial person should be on the right for your sensors screen. Active Scans, etc... could use an explanation. EM Sensor Sweep should take at least a couple seconds to show that it's not instantaneous. Maybe use that to then show hostile ships on sensors?

Under sensors, it would be good for you to see an example of what a ship looks like, in lieu of the (*) option. Maybe something like "U.S.S. Hostile Drone 1" and "U.S.S. Hostile Drone 2" for hostile ships on sensors. If you could also have them at different EM emission levels, it would show how once targets surpass a threshold, more scans/options are available.

Somewhat related, your own EM/QT emissions under Status, should be numbers that make sense, vs something stupidly high like 20456.8. That's not something that you'd encounter in a typical playthrough (I'd hope!).

Programs and Viruses tutorial person should be moved onto the left of the screens. Part of me feels that should be broken up into several subdialog options, since it's a lot of info all at once. Also, you should mention how programs (shown with a thick outline) will always succeed, and will run at the push of a button. Likewise, viruses (shown with a thin outline) have several infection attempts and could still fail to infect the other ships.

Viruses should be equipped, and you can test them against the dummy hostile ship, so you can see the effect on the virus attempt screen to the left.

"Simulate Warp-Drive Activations" lever should also refill pips for your programs. Also, the lever pop down and then immediately back up automatically. It seems weird to flip it back and forth.

Sensor dish simulation? Scanner tutorial? Healing tutorial? There's more to be discussed here, and considering that science is arguably one of the most indepth roles currently, it's weird that there are quite a few omissions.

Weapon's Tutorial:

Weapons Tutorial is definitely solid, but could benefit from a shooting gallery underneath via a ramp, especially with the new weapons shown.

Also, it wouldn't hurt to have a brief discussion regarding nuclear weapons from the Weapons Specialist Sylvassi standing to the right of the nuke desk. Or at the very least, mentioning just how rare and dangerous nuclear weapons are in universe.

Engineer's Tutorial:

Engineering Test, under Test Overview, it should have an option to go back to "More Options". Only option through Test Overview, is saying that you passed, failed, or to end the conversation. There's no way to go back to the main conversation tree.

Coolant section should also note that it's a consumable that can only be replaced at stations.

For the "Startup Switchboard", turning off the Main Power should turn off the light immediately overhead to indicate the power loss, preferably accompanied with the "lights off" sound effect.

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Paige 404
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Re: The Academy Discussions and Improvements

Post by Paige 404 » Sun Jan 26, 2020 8:28 pm

These are all really good points and I came here to make similar ones. This is a really promising start, but playing through the Academy I just see so much that needs improvement.

Having a tutorial on launching nukes would actually be very helpful; players rarely get the opportunity to do it in the first place, it would be good to know _how_ to before you need to do it under fire.

I was surprised in the science training that there was no mention of scanner hacks, and how to use them against an enemy ship. There wasn't even a tutorial mission on using the database. Additionally, the "simulate warp activation" lever only effects research, not program charges.

Was there even a captain training? If so, nothing I did seemed to start it. Not sure if that's a bug or what.

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Leafy Developer
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Re: The Academy Discussions and Improvements

Post by Edinstein » Tue Jan 28, 2020 12:48 pm

Thank you for taking the time to write out all this feedback! We really appreciate it! We'll do our best to address a lot of these issues in the next update.

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