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RTS They Are Billions - steampunk/zombie RTS from Lords of Xulima dev

Discussion in 'Strategy and Simulation' started by LESS T_T, May 31, 2017.

  1. Dickie Arcane

    Dickie
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    I started playing the hero missions on accessible difficulty to get the object ping. It really kinda sucks even with that because it just flashes for an instant every 10 seconds or so and some stuff is so small/hidden that it doesn't help. There was one thingy that was actually hidden behind a wall in the game and that didn't flash. How does that happen? Flattening the map doesn't even hide the wall. You still gotta sit there staring at the screen forever and sometimes pixel hunt to find that last thing that's hidden anyway. It did take about 20 minutes off those missions, though.

    I honestly don't even notice any difference between accessible and challenging for those levels. Open a door, wait for your hero to plink all the zombies (which takes the same number of hits and the number of zombies seems the same), and then pixel hunt for the treasures. At least a room full of barrels is easier to check when you can see 3 of them flash if you just wait a while.

    I'm baffled why they didn't release the campaign while still in Early Access. They acted like they still had all the money in the world, so I don't know why they wouldn't make sure that was polished before saying the game is finished. The reviews since the full release have been abysmal.
     
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  2. Iluvcheezcake Learned

    Iluvcheezcake
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    Ok so the campaign is shit, what i find especially baffling is that after building such a great engine and nice graphics, sorting out stuff in survival mode, balancing it out, and they make a string of mediocre at best scenarios that all play the same. Survival mode is still king, but campaign atm is really dissapointing.

    Also - while playing the game, especially the hero missions i couldnt stop thinking how would Underrail look with such graphics, eh Styg ? Now that would be teh bomb
     
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  3. agris Arcane Patron

    agris
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    Iluvcheezcake you mean with too much bloom and an oversaturated cartoon color palette?

    Like shit, that’s how Underrail would look.
     
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  4. Iluvcheezcake Learned

    Iluvcheezcake
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    Damn man, without that :)
     
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  5. Monocause Arcane

    Monocause
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    Jaysus, so many edgelords on these boards. The campaign is fun, if a bit rough around the edges, especially at the beginning.

    1) The hero missions are admittedly shit. Lower the difficulty to the easiest and breeze through them. They tried to copy Starcraft 2 I think but didn't understand that what made Starcraft hero missions acceptable (I didn't like them either but understand why some people do) was that they had tons of reactivity, story exposition etc so every few steps something interesting would happen. They also had puzzle elements. Here it's just a chore, so yeah.
    1a) Fortunately there doesn't seem to be a shitton of those. Only seen 3 so far and am 33% through the campaign.

    2) The time limits are seriously not a problem. Especially after the last patch. Git good or scale the difficulty down.

    3) Haven't noticed how bad tech tree choices can screw you over (playing on challenging). Then again, I picked farms early as a no-brainer, so I guess if you avoid some really obvious picks you can screw yourself. Still not sure why would anyone with any experience with the game not get farms as early as possible.

    4) Early stages of the campaign have a problem with pacing and I had a few moments where I had literally nothing to do apart from placing numerous tents. The problem should go away with some balance tweaks though and doesn't apply to later maps where you're constantly busy.

    Overall, the game is cool and pretty unique. It has its flaws, but it's a competent RTS game coming from an indie developer. Kudos to the Xulima guys.
     
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  6. Dickie Arcane

    Dickie
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    I think the campaign is OK, but I also think there are some things that they would've caught easily in Early Access that would've helped reception of the release version. The fact that they've released more than one patch per day since release of the campaign is a testament to this. Well, I guess it's been 7 days and 7 patches, but those were released in under 7 days.

    I think people's main issue here isn't necessarily watching your hero killing the zombies one at a time (which admittedly gets boring fast) but the tedium of hovering the mouse over everything to see if you can pick it up. Some of the stuff is so small, that I don't see it flashing, but maybe that's just poor eyesight.

    I don't get this one either. The time limits are so generous that even a noob like me can finish with 20 days left without even knowing what I'm doing. Doesn't the first level end after that horde comes anyway? I've no idea how you could even beat the levels where you gotta survive a certain number of waves if you can't beat the other levels within the time limits. Maybe they could add some endless mode at some point to satisfy these people.

    I think the game should probably just give you the wood workshop with cottages and farms unlocked as soon as you beat the first level. I'm 99% sure you can't win levels without them, starting pretty early in the game, so I think it would help new players ease into the game. I agree that experienced players would know this, but it's really a non-choice anyway to get it within the first few levels.
     
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  7. Monocause Arcane

    Monocause
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    Agreed. It's a valid question whether these should be part of the tech tree in the first place - some other solution could make sense. Upgrading to the next workshop&housing tier is critical and maybe should be gated based on campaign progress/gross research points accumulated and then automatically unlocked rather then giving the player the option to fe. try to get all the techs in a single tier before going to the next tier, only to find out he's shafted himself.
     
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  8. Darth Canoli Arbiter

    Darth Canoli
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    I wish they were done with that game already and ready to make an educated Xulima sequel, i'm sure they can score a big hit if they improve their recipe.
     
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  9. Infinitron I post news Patron

    Infinitron
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    Grab the Codex by the pussy Serpent in the Staglands Dead State Divinity: Original Sin Project: Eternity Torment: Tides of Numenera Wasteland 2 Shadorwun: Hong Kong Divinity: Original Sin 2 A Beautifully Desolate Campaign Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire Pathfinder: Kingmaker
    https://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2019/06/24/they-are-billions-review/

     
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  10. thesheeep Arcane

    thesheeep
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    Wait, what, you can't save during the campaign in hours-long missions... was that known beforehand?
    Definitely scratching the game from my list now. That's just an unforgivable design sin, in the same category as being unable to speed up combat in TB games.
    Seriously, sometimes you just can't help but have to quit the game.
     
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2019
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  11. Iluvcheezcake Learned

    Iluvcheezcake
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    The game saves automatically
     
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  12. Agame Arbiter Patron

    Agame
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    The campaign is shit. It provides nothing beyond what you can get from 'survival' mode. Instead of providing fun and interesting mission objectives almost every building mission is get X colonists. Which is just arbitrary and painful after playing the far more freeform survival mode. And then you have utterly bare-bones tacked on 'hero' and 'swarm' missions. I think the reason they didnt EA the campaign is they knew they would get blasted by the community and it would tank release sales before the fact.

    But to be honest maybe I just dont like this tower defense genre, as I have not found the survival mode to be that great anyway. I think this game is vastly over-hyped and it reminds me alot of the Darkest Dungeon situation, a game sold and hyped on its aesthetics and 'difficulty', but once you dig in further you find the gameplay is very repetitive and quite shallow. Because DD scratches my itch for that particular kind of grindy dungeon crawl I have sunk tons of hours into it without regret. But I doubt TAB is gonna hold me very long.
     
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  13. Jinn Arcane

    Jinn
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    Exactly why I've had little interest in this game beyond who developed it. Also dislike/am sick of zombie stuff. Knowing that the campaign is shit pretty much seals the deal that I won't be buying this game.

    Hopefully it one day leads to a much-improved-over-the-original Lords of Xulima 2. Somehow that seems to be doubtful, now that Numantian tasted financial success with this...
     
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  14. thesheeep Arcane

    thesheeep
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    Ah, well that makes it a bit better.
    Still, no way to save when you like and go back to that in an RTS is just wrong. I don't know how it is in this game, but in many RTS (and TB strategy, too) campaigns you can get totally screwed by not knowing (and having no way of knowing) where exactly an attack will come from, etc. Which usually just makes you replay the last 10 minutes or so, not the entire mission.
     
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  15. anvi Liturgist Village Idiot

    anvi
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    So besides the crappy campaign, what did they add since I played it and there was no game?
     
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  16. Iluvcheezcake Learned

    Iluvcheezcake
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    Gotta say i am suprised they didnt EA the campaign, it could have been glorious .... just from the top of my head - rescue missions, last stand missions, staggered withdrawal missions from huge swarms, investigation missions (proper ones, not pixel hunting) into old installations, so much potential wasted on get X colonists ><
    Tbh i dont regret the purchase, survival mode alone is worth it, but its a shame they fucked up with the campaign. Also on the forums they have tried some pathetic damage control and lousy spin, its cringe worthy
     
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  17. thesheeep Arcane

    thesheeep
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    They expanded the gameplay a lot.
     
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  18. Dickie Arcane

    Dickie
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    It looks like the loot in the hero missions isn't even in fixed positions. I accidentally blew myself up with a grenade in one level and this crate right by where I started that had some science in it before wasn't searchable the second time. They want to be sure you're pixel hunting and not just memorizing the maps, I guess.
     
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  19. Dickie Arcane

    Dickie
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    Oh, hey, two more patches. Biggest changes are that you can save a backup now and things in tactic missions flash on all difficulties.

     
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  20. Monocause Arcane

    Monocause
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    I agree partially. How far did you get into the campaign? Cause I found that the pop requirement was frustrating in the beginning but quickly became completely forgettable. Past a point of, let's say, 25% of the campaign unless you made very weird tech choices you will seriously never struggle with reaching the pop requirements, and in many maps if you play right you will accidentally overshoot the requirements with ease without focusing on it. The only exceptions are a few maps which are really tiny and space is very scarce.

    Then again, this means that the population requirement serves little purpose. I guess what it does is it forces some players to keep expanding their population in mind rather then focus on turtling overmuch to find later swarms unbeatable because of lack of resources.

    Overall, after finishing about 80% of the campaign (i'll probably revisit the game at some point to wrap it up but I've burned out at the moment), my impressions:

    - Definitely could be better but the campaign isn't half as terrible as people say. I'd rate it 'okay but slightly disappointing'
    - I liked the idea of tech tree progression but Research Points distribution wasn't the best. You get most RP for the terrible hero missions. They could've tied achieving RPs to your in-mission performance to make it more interesting and create risk vs reward scenarios. As it is, ultimately most players will end up with similar setups
    - Best parts of the campaign are basically survival mode spin-offs, with pre-made maps with some interesting setpieces, like handcrafted raids, big baddies to kill etc. If you haven't played survival to death already in EA you will likely enjoy the maps.
    - New additions, so hero missions and swarms are pretty terrible conversely, and if there was an option to skip those completely, I'd opt to do so. Hero missions are a boring ballache but enough was said about those already. Swarm missions after first 20% of the campaign mean "Get as many soldiers as possible and watch them shoot the swarm with no risk for 5-10 minutes or go AFK". Watch Bahroo's twitch streams to see what i mean - it worked for me on challenging and then i found he's done exactly the same thing on apocalyptic difficulty. Problem here is the difficulty rating only changes the total amount of zombies that spawn rather than spawn rates or spawn zones - so instead of AFKing for 5-10 mins you AFK for 15-20 mins.

    Not sure how to fix this or how did it get past their testing. Getting maxed out on soldiers and camping the middle spot is so lazy and obvious that surely they found out. Once you get enough VP to get about 80 soldiers, there is literally no point in getting other units or fiddling with barricades. The only exception is the mutant swarm, but you still just max out on soldiers and then micromanage them to focus fire rather then spread damage and it still works.

    - Some units are still useless, and the opportunity to improve them via the tech tree was puzzlingly lost. You're very unlikely to recruit any rangers once you're able to go soldiers - their only usefulness is their speed so that early on they can pull zombies to desired places safely, but you can use the 4 starting rangers to do that so no need to recruit if you keep those alive. Lucifers can seem useful until you realise that by the time you go foundry>engineering and can start pumping out lucifers, you already probably have 100s of soldiers killing the entire map. Thanatos units would seem like a cool thing to mix your composition with, but by the time you can build them there's no reason not to go for titans instead which are more mobile and kill faster. So basically in each mission I found myself pumping out hordes of soldiers. In missions full of spitters or very heavy-HP baddies like giants, I would get a ton of snipers instead. Plus titans whenever able. Which is exactly the same thing I did in survival in early access. What does the tech tree do? It improves said snipers, soldiers and titans even more. Soldiers get 40% extra damage, extra armor, extra HP. You can clear most maps with 20 vet upgraded soldiers - if you micromanage them a bit should they pull too much to handle.
    - The new unit added, the mutant, seems egregiously useless. Very late in the tech tree, very expensive. As melee units they require micromanagement. You can get tons of soldiers for the same price, or almost two titans, so what's the point, exactly? I checked youtube LPs and streamers and seems like no one is using the mutant.

    I'll still say that Numantian made a good effort here and they prove they can deliver interesting games with novelty value. As with Xulima, hopefully they can refine and iterate more and deliver something more polished next time, but I'm pretty happy with my 25 euros or something going their way.
     
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2019
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  21. LESS T_T Prestigious Gentleman Arcane

    LESS T_T
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    Codex 2014
    https://steamcommunity.com/games/644930/announcements/detail/1612767708795327709

    Interestingly the recent reviews score turned from Mixed to Mostly Positive. What happened you say? Summer Sale saved the day. You may saw there's some metagame going on with Summer Sale, and one of the tasks (Qualifier Tasks) required to increase max points in that is reviewing a game. TAB received 1600+ positive reviews thanks to that.
     
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  22. Dickie Arcane

    Dickie
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    These numbers are even higher than I expected. I would like to know the median hours, though. I'm sure there are some loonies who played two thousand hours throwing off the average.
     
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  23. anvi Liturgist Village Idiot

    anvi
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    There is always some autist who will get a huge number of something meaningless in a game like this. Blaine probably has 10000000 hours in Factorio.
     
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  24. Blaine Cis-Het Oppressor Patron

    Blaine
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    Grab the Codex by the pussy
    I see one of our resident idiots is still butthurt that there isn't a boss fight at the end of Factorio and that it's not a tower defense game.
     
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  25. anvi Liturgist Village Idiot

    anvi
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    That and more. Having some standards is like that.
     
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