These are all the problematic little things that came to mind while playing EVN. Some of them are really trivial things, others are pretty damned annoying. Regardless, I just chucked them all in. Also, keep in mind that I've only being playing the game for about 4 days now, so if some of this is inaccurate, please tell me.
Opening a Pilot:
Starting with the most pedantic thing, I have an interesting experience when I use a different resolution other than what EVN plays in. Whenever you open a pilot, it changes back to your system resolution and brings up the open pilot dialogue box. It's more annoying than a problem, but watching my screen jump around and re-size itself isn't entertaining.
A re-jiggled screen (Example: 800 x 600 desktop resolution). If that can be prevented from happening, it would be a nice simple thing.
Pilot Nickname (Call Sign):
I have a Pilot 'nickname'. Apparently for no reason as no-one uses it, so I'm not to sure why I have one at all really. During conversation, in missions, when being addressed by ports, I've been called by my pilot name, rather than my nickname. Where is it actually used?
What System & Time?:
What system am I in currently? The only way to find out is to hit the 'm' key and bring up the map. Rather annoying. The system I'm in should be somewhere on the display, along with the current date. It's annoying when message buoy's pop-up so I don't get the date, so I have to hit 'p' to find out.
I hope the rather brief manual that comes with the shareware version is replaced by a more verbose one as soon as I register. One that has extra things such as a contents page (otherwise known as an index). It could also include a note that some ships require licenses and a note on how to get one (still annoyed that I couldn't find them for a while).
They can use my name in dialogue:
They can use my name in dialogue, but if I've re-assigned my keyboard keys, they can't tell which key I've assigned to what. Instead, I get references to "that's 'm' if you're using the factory key layout". If I've re-assigned my keys, they should be able to pick it up in mission dialogue and say the "y" key or whatever I've re-assigned it to.
I'm not friggin' blind, but I don't have perfect vision either. A larger font please. Some of the text is just too small, especially when it comes to descriptions. With all that room on screen, there's just no need to have such a small font. Up it about 2 points, to the same size as the font used in the ship information bar on the right of the screen.
Some of the font colours are damn hard to read. I bought an Enterprise from the Aurorans and my ship interface went red. That's nice, but the pale red used to indicate some of the things was simply too hard to read. The font colours should be clearly readable at ALL times, no matter what ship. The light greys are also problematic, especially the colour of the date in the top right in the 'i' screen.
When I hit 'm' to bring up the map to see where a UN mission wants me to pick up a cargo, it'd be nice if both the cargo pick-up point AND the cargo drop-off point were marked. I don't see why they're not, as it just means I have to find the destination system manually anyway, which is what the green arrow is supposed to stop me from doing. In the map screen, it would also be nice if I could turn off the names of systems, even when I'm zoomed in close,as they get in the way quite a few times.
Why does this have to be a slab of text?
Auroran LP I, SPC-1421 system
Hearth, Homeland system
2 tons, Warrior Blades
February 25th, 1184 NC
A layout like that would be nicer, and if it marked in colour what point I was up to, that'd be nice to. So if I've picked up the cargo and just have to deliver it, then the "To" line could be highlighted in a different colour or something. Also, as I said with the font, there's actually a date in the top right box in that image, but can you read it?
That thing needs some scroll bars. I played through for quite a while before noticing that some Outfitters have little buttons below them which show more equipment and lo-and-behold, there were the ship licenses I was searching so hard for (I'd previously wondered what the blank little black holes where for and suddenly noticed little arrows in them at a big port once). A scroll bar would be nice methinks, just on the right of all the boxes, rather than the arrows.
Having everything for sale on one screen was a bit much I thought. The screen should have tabs that clearly split off items for sale. So weapons are under one tab, items are under another and perhaps pirated or illegal equipment is for sale under another tab.
If these were clearly marked, it would be a lot nicer. At the moment, it's either in faint grey writing below the picture, or buried in a slab of text in the description. If it were say, marked with big red text "- Illegal -
" up the top of the description, it'd be a lot easier to notice that the item I'm thinking about buying is going to make me an instant outlaw in every system across the galaxy (because absolutely everyone insists on enforcing that law for some reason).
Also, if my ship HAS illegal items on it that are likely to make Feds (and everyone else) attack me, I'd like to know a lot more clearly. Maybe something somewhere in the 'p' information screen that says "Ships Status: Illegal" or something.
If I'm upgrading my ship, I'd like to be able to know what I've already got, so being able to hit 'p' in the outfitter would be nice, especially when I've just bought a ship and want to check it out more thoroughly.
Offload Illegal Items:
If I have an illegal item on-board, I really should be able to have it dismantled at ANY port, not just the obscure port I happen to be lcky enough to find that allows me to sell it. If the Feds detect me, instead of attacking me outright becase of my pathetically weak EMP Torpedo's that have been banned, they should demand that I dock and have my tubes removed at the nearest port. They should escort me there and destroy me if I deviate. This would also make ship-to-ship conversation more interesting.
It'd be a bit more interesting if ports sold upgrades for varying prices. It's not really fun when every port sells upgrades for the same price. Make them vary. Make the rebels cost more, make the federation cost less, spice it up a bit so that if I want the best for my money, I have to shop around a litle.
Gravimetric missiles weigh 1 ton each, meaning I can't buy many of them and what damage do they cause? Piss all. Same with EMP Torpedos. If I'm wasting mass on missiles, please make it worth it. So far, I've found I'm better off with Raven Turrets and 300 raven missiles than EMP or Gravimetric missiles. You seem to need a lot of missiles to cause even a decent amount of damage against a small ship.
Drop Bear Repellant:
Yes, that's funny.
However, once I've found out what happens and I sell my can of it, every time I'm attacked, I still get the "but I was using the repellant" message.
Extra Information Overload:
This has to be the worst layout I've ever seen when it comes to displaying the items onboard my ship in any flight-related combat game ever. Check the screenshot below. Now tell me why that's not all nicely laid out in a table, with primary weapons up top, followed by secondary weapons, followed by other items and lastly, a list of all the illegal attachments I've added. In fact you'll notice that in the screenshot, the resale value of my ship is missing off the bottom, because there's simply too much information for that piddly little screen!
!WARNING! TOO MUCH INFORMATION IN A BAD LAYOUT !WARNING!
Information overload also occurs in some ports. Port Kane has a description information that's so long, it can't fit in the tiny little display screen (that display screen should take up the whole screen to, rather than being so tiny). Give the description scroll bars/buttons!
Don't put them in with normal outfitters equipment. Not only was it not until my second day (when I found the scroll down button on the outfitters) that I realised where ship licenses were, but it seems strange not only to buy them, but also that I can buy them so easily. To get some licenses, I should have to pass missions. To run a capital ship, I should have to get some academy training in flight lessons or something, or do a trade mission OR, as a last resort, bribe them. As it is, you may as well bump up the price of the ships and be done with it as it achieves the same effect, which is ultimately a slightly increased ship cost.
Perhaps limit the number of licences I can hold at any one time too. As it is, I usually get 20 Million in Polaris with a Cambrian and then buy a decent ship. To do that, I rock up at Tichel and spend 1 Million buying all the licenses, it's no big deal. Perhaps if I had a limit of one license at a time so that if I was a licensed trader, once I've passed a certain level of experience or something, I can buy a combat license. Then when I buy the combat license, my trading license is revoked? Actually, that's a crappy idea, but I think something of this nature needs to be added, to make licences important and more interesting.
Licenses should NOT be lised in with "extras" in the 'p' screen. They should be under their own screen. That list needs some cutting down as it is, and this would help.
Spruce it up. Dead, dull boring trade routes that once discovered, can be milked for all eternity. In fact, it's quite possible to figure out mathematically the best trade route in the game and consistently run that route until you have mega-millions. Then spend all your money and run the route again! and again! and again!
There's a free online game I play (very rarely now-a-days) called TDZK. htp://www.tdzk.com
It's a great open-space trade/combat massively multi-player RPG type thing. The trading in that is some of the best I've seen in a space-trade based game. For starters, the ports don't buy AND sell the same item (as in EVN), some will only sell, others will only buy. Also, instead of having set prices of low, medium or high, the price changes depending on the quantity of the goods there. So one port might have Luxury Goods for sale, but it will only have a few of them left, so as a result, the price is high. On the other-hand, another port might be selling Luxury Goods as well but it has a whole pile of them, so the price is very low.
As you buy and sell between ports however, the quantity changes and, as a result, so does the price. So you can only milk any trade route for so long before the prices just become too low (or too high, depending on whether you're buying or selling) and the route simply becomes either unprofitable, or the profit margins are so low that you may as well look elsewhere, so you leave to hunt out another trade route. In EVN, this could (should) be replicated, as running the same route for all eternity surely creates a shortage in one location and a surplus elsewhere. This would mean I can't find one trade route and keep using it, it means that new trade routes would have to be found, and that would eliminate a lot of the mechanical mindlessness of current trading.
You could also make it a bit more interesting by not allowing people to trade until they've bought a trade license that allows them to trade in the systems owned by certain factions. So you can't just get 2.5 Million and head of to Polaris and buy a Cambrian, you have to first docks somewhere to buy a license to enter the Polaris system, or under-take a mission.
An internal note system (a logbook the player can keep notes in) should be included so the player doesn't have to pen and paper trading routes down all the time. It would also be handy for things like where to buy ships, equipment and any other note you can think of including in it. Just a free form note-book that you can type stuff in.
Needs to be easier. I wanted to try it with a bigger and more manouverable ship, but got too bored doing it in the Asteroid Miner as it was. It should also be WAAAY more profitable so that I can at least feel my work is worth it. I also thought it would be nice if I could actually grab the asteroid with my claws and haul it back to a planet to sell there. Especially useful if I find a huge lump of gold floating about in space. Would also make those neat little claws that open and close actually do something... (I spent a fair while trying to 'claw' an asteroid before realising I had to shoot it and that the claws did nothing, except open when I was shooting). Even if I could grab a hold of it and shoot it apart then, sucking the materials straight into my cargo bay. That would save the current "shoot, manouvre, run, manouvre, material disappears" procedure.
Saint's idea of a thing to suck up the material would be good, I'd like one that sucks the asteroid a bit closer to me too, a traction beam so I don't have to chase after it. Of course, both of these items would come as standard equipment on the larger, faster, more manouverable Corporate Asteroid Mining Vessel (perhaps only available after getting in favour with an Asteroid Mining company).
Actually, in TDZK
if you "resource" (which is what this is called, gathering raw materials instead of trading) you get more pilot experience, and as such, become better at combat (don't ask how, but it works quite well for the system they have). Something along those lines could make it a worth-while pass-time.
The randomness of important missions was annoying. I have no choice but to keep docking at a certain port until I can get the mission that allows me to join whatever faction. It'd be nice if there was a way that I could approach them. Maybe request to join the United Traders when I next meet a ship of theirs in orbit, or ask a Federation Carrier if I can sign up to be part of the fleet. Allow me ways of CHOOSING who to join, or who I can try to join, rather than just that ONE bar in that ONE system when that ONE random number comes up.
Short-cut Keys, but no menu?:
As Saint already said, we have a nice useless graphic taking up space down the bottom right there. One thing missing from the game is icons that I can click on, to bring up menu options. Why do I have to press 'm' to bring up the map, why isn't there an icon for it as well? This is more for newbies, as when I was first playing, I just hit keys at random to get stuff to pop-up (this was before my manual reading session). Sure, players are more likely to use the shortcut keys, but that's once they know them. Starcraft has shortcuts too, but you still get nice icons to click on when you can't remember what key does what.
Hire an Escort, sure. What price do they charge per day? It'd be nice to know what they charged per day BEFORE I brought them on-side.
Where's the screen to view the number of kills I've made? By ship type, as well as another option by ownership. It'd be nice to know not only the total kills, but also the total number by ship type (Manticore, Shuttles, Heavy Shuttles, etc..) and also by faction (X number of Federation ships, Y number of Pirate ships and Z number of Polaris ships etc...).
Saint raised something which really pissed me off. I want keys that target:
Nearest enemy vessel.
Nearest friendly vessel.
Vessel(s) that is attacking me.
Nearest trading class vessel.
Nearest combat class vessel.
I have noticed that 'r' seems to target the nearest enemy vessel and 'alt-r' the nearest vessel (be it friendly or enemy). This isn't mentioned in the manual.
Most of these are from other flight sim type games I play and it makes it a whole lot easier to get (and aim for) what I want if I could choose any one of those commands to cycle through the targets on screen.
Play Descent: Freespace. What happens when the ship you've targetted goes off-screen? You get a little arrow on the edge of the screen pointing to it (it also changes size depending on how far away it is from you too), so that you know if you move your ship in that direction, your target will come into view. I'd like the same for EVN. A pathetic flashing pale-grey dot in my mini-map is not enough for me to figure out quickly, during combat, just where exactly my enemy has disappeared to.
Eject! Eject! Eject!:
This rather funny message displays every time I eject from my craft:
What's funny is I have 55 Million credits. So what's with the scratching? It would be nice if the message varied a bit, depending on the system. Perhaps I could be taken by pirates who kidnap me for a few months and demand tribute before releasing me, or I could end up taken in by a wealthy freighter who looks after me and helps me out. A bit of variety to spice it up a bit.
If it weren't for Saint's mention about needing to be noted as a worthy combatant before you can demand tribute from a planet, I would never have known. Things like this should not only be in the manual, but they suck as well. If I have a flotilla of warships, I should damn well be able to take on a planet, ANY planet I want, and if I get destroyed, so be it. If they refuse tribute, I should still be able to attack them anyway. Instead, I get the laughable scenario of hostile planets attacking me with their planet based weapons, yet I am completely unable to fire back at them. I should be able to beat them into submission, regardless of any superficial 'rating'.
One thing I found about the game was that zipping from one side of the galaxy to the other was no big hassle. There's not much distance between places if all you have to do is map a course and hit 'j' all the time. I'd personally like the systems to be larger. I want to have to physically travel across the system and use a jump-gate to get to the next system, rather than just entering a system which consists solely of one planet and hitting 'j' to get to the next one. It's too easy and at the moment, your ships personal manouvreability doesn't count for much, except in combat. I'd like more planets and ports within systems, so that the distance of space is a much bigger issue to deal with.
This may be a strange issue with my keyboard, rather than with the game, but I can hold down thrust, right and space-bar to fire as well as ctrl to launch some missiles. But I can't hold down Thrust, LEFT and space-bar to fire. ALl it does is lock my ship up moving forward and left, with me unable to fire. I can't say I've had a similar multiple control key issue such as this with other games, but I'll have to check.
I'm not quite sure what was going on, but I was running missions and had about 55 Million. Next time I checked, I had 49 Million. I don't recall buying anything other than a few missiles (IR and radar). It's likely I did buy something that made my money go, but I couldn't figure out what had happened at the time.
Unique Selling Point:
Apart from all of that, it is fun blowing stuff up. There aren't enough other things to do for me to buy it though. I had thought about it, but the only fun to be had is blowing stuff up and I can do that in a lot of other games I already have. Conquering or buying planets and owning them (not just tribute), building my own ports and establishing trade routes, exploring and discovering hitherto unknown jump-gates and areas of the galaxy with planets that I can claim, and establish with a population of people to work for me mining the surface, creating new trade routes I can setup freighters on, then defending my new patch of space from pirates and the Federation and anyone else who wants a piece. That's what I'd like.
Something I can't get in other games. This game doesn't have a Unique Selling Point for me, beyond blowing stuff up and buying neat ships.