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Titan Outpost Release Thread

Discussion in 'The Boar Studio' started by MF, Jul 30, 2019.

  1. TNO Augur

    TNO
    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2009
    Messages:
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    Location:
    UK
    I also stumbled on thanks to the Codex GOTY list, which gave this a very high average score but few raters.

    This game is fantastic and it is criminal it has so far had a fairly limited audience. I sincerely hope it takes off - not least because that could spur the developer on into either adding more content (the game definitely isn't incomplete, but I finished it wanting more and the setting seems naturally extensible) or further projects like this. I hope to write a review when my time becomes less scarce, but in the meanwhile:

    A very short/incomplete list of its merits:
    • Well thought out and interesting hard sci-fi setting.
    • It has this nice sense of 'realism' and heft throughout: the challenges, choices, consequences all seem logical.
    • Good characterization and writing without the sense of 'trying to hard'.
    • Impressive and innovative dialog/negotiation system.
    • Great interactivity and 'quest design' - often giving you different ways to solve a problem which manage both to satisfy different character builds and are also plausible and realistic.
    • Blending a lot of gameplay elements together deftly to give different flavours (e.g. some base building, resource management, exploration, minigames) without any of them overstaying their welcome.
    • Choice and consequences up the wazoo: the developer should be highly commended for having a lot of content branches which don't get railroaded back on the same path: more realism is a lot more valuable than making sure the player can see everything 'first time'.
    Some other comments and suggestions to MF from a playthough and a half (I'll spoiler all of it just in case, and apologies in advance if these miss the mark - I suspect there's a lot of depth I haven't experienced yet).

    Show Spoiler

    Character building: I'm totally fine with a singleplayer RPG (especially gunning for realism) not to be perfectly balanced (if you're stranded in a partly functioning space colony, some skills and abilities might just be much more important than others, but I noticed:
    • INT seems a killer stat as you are typically skill point limited and maxing int gives you +3 skill points. In comparison CHA/AWR/PHYS seem much less important as skill checks > ability checks and their passives seem very occasionally useful.
    • Logistics doesn't seem all that handy a skill - I don't think I saw m/any non-methane applications, and even for methane it can be substituted for just by having a lot of resources (more later). It seems much less bang for your buck than exploration or hacking.
    • Similarly, I don't think there's lots of gating for science or construction: I think lower science locks out some handy perks and some research projects, but I think construction can basically build anything but it just takes more time. As you have plenty of time in game this doesn't seem a big deal.
    Difficulty: Contra maybe some comments on steam (maybe earlier versions) I found the game on the easier side - it was still very enjoyable, but once I got the hang of the mechanics I never really felt I was 'fighting to survive', even in the early game.
    • It seems the main ways to get killed (e.g. freezing, staving, asphyxiation) are through the player making silly mistakes (or, for the first and only time I died, under-appreciating how seriously the game took the setting - "who cares about the dialog box opening about freezing, I'm sure it will just give me a debuff for a while" etc.) So long as you respect your suit battery, keep Ox gen and hydroponics always powered (and maybe don't pick a fight with someone with a gun when you are unarmed) you seem pretty safe.
    • It seems fairly easy to snowball the resource management issues away. The main resources seem to be polymers, money, minerals and power. Prioritising polymer crackers early (+ the double yield tech) solves the first problem (and hey, points for realism: additive manufacturing + hydrocarbon everywhere should = ez plastics), money is fairly easy with the computer quest, minerals are fairly cheap to buy until you get passive mineral income from base buddies, and early quest rewards + the science rewards means power can outpace all the things you could possibly want to power after the first month. (Food is fairly trivial once you have enough of the first 4, and methane likewise - and optional anyway).
    • Fatigue/morale never really posed a problem - I don't think I was ever 'on the clock', so getting some sleep always seemed the better option (which I never got punished for), ditto throwing a few hours into leisure once in a while.
    • I don't think 'optimized powergaming' is what the game should be catering to, but as it stands the resource constraints are pretty easy to surmount for new players who've done some resource management in other games (e.g. I ended up well ahead of the resource curve in my first playthrough without any meta-game knowledge). It also shafts logistics, as I could just build as many drones and tanks as I needed to service the lakes '1-1' so didn't miss being unable to use my drones more efficiently (maybe late-late game logistics would let me cycle tanks faster than letting drones idle with their tanks at the lank, but this feels very marginal for many skill points).
    • Maybe some more events could help increase a sense of danger and hostile environment - maybe a risk of a suit breach meaning you have to dash to the rover even on full battery, maybe some rover breakdowns which kill power/internal environment meaning you need to improvise survival until rescue arrives, etc. Likewise perhaps some dynamic resource challenges in the base to give more of the early game trade-offs of 'can I afford to power down hydro for another day of research?' Ditto some more timed objectives/dangers to stretch the fatigue/morale system.
    UI:
    • I never found something I could equip in the 'torso' or 'left hand' of my cold suit. Maybe I just missed them.
    • I feel a couple of 'quality of life things' in the interface would be letting you 'process' items in the outpost rather than your inventory, and some 'auto charge' for when you return to base with a drained battery. Currently charging a drained suit battery has you go through 3-4 menus, so I often forgot/didn't bother.
    • Possibly some more tool-tips/tutorial could help - it took me many hours to realize there was a free camera option.
    QA
    • Generally minor and occasional (the 'worst' was when contextual interactions sometimes stopped working - e.g. walking over an exploration node but not getting any pop-up) which was easily fixed by f5-f9). Sometimes my mission log would not reflect my quest status (e.g. saying I had yet to complete things I did) but the quests themselves worked fine).
    • Almost certain this was a unity issue, but on entering the chinese base for the first time my frame rate dropped surprising low for my fairly-good gaming rig (the rest of the game ran at 60fps lockstep on max settings)
    • Perhaps the most useful/reproducible bug I found was if you ask Carl/Karen to get the other one on the line, it seems to reset their dialogue (e.g. you could tell Carl what happened to William again)

     
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  2. MF The Boar Studio Patron Developer

    MF
    Joined:
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    Messages:
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    Location:
    Amsterdam
    Thanks. Always happy to hear some kind words. Glad to hear you enjoyed the game.

    That's a solid disquisition and you make some valid points. The game did get easier over time and adding some of the QoL features changed the difficulty curve. There are some randomized dangers like an atmospheric leak in the Outpost, which almost no one has seen so I need to make it more likely to happen, and there are some late game events and quests that keep things interesting if you decide to play to the time limit.

    Though I try to limit myself to fixes when it comes to updating the game these days, I do have a few tweaks in mind and things I still want to add that tie in with your observations.

    The logistics skill isn't very sexy at face value, but it does apply bonuses to almost everything. It's kind of like the Luck stat in Fallout in that way.

    The torso slot is used
    Show Spoiler
    For the powered utility belt.
    . The other hand slot is for using the pickaxe when you're carrying something else. Come to think of it, you never actually get to see it in the slot because players no longer have to manually equip the pickaxe.

    The camera button has a tooltip and is prominently placed above the toolbar arrow. You can change its hotkey in the settings menu. It's also mentioned in the help screens. I'm not sure what else to do there besides adding it to the tutorial which I don't really want to touch at this point.

    I'll get the QA points fixed. Tuxing Liu is more taxing on the system than other areas because it has a lot going on. I optimized the hell out of it, but I'll see if I can squeeze it some more.

    I am working on my next game, called The Jovian System. There's a thread about it in this subforum and I'll post more on it soon.
     
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  3. TNO Augur

    TNO
    Joined:
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    Location:
    UK
    Sounds great, and totally understand the desire to limit oneself to fixes and tweaks given the game as-is is complete, basically stable, and very good.

    Show Spoiler

    A few further minor things:
    • One further tweak it might be worth considering (can't remember if any date dialog is voiced) is moving the endgame limit earlier. As it was I had basically done everything I could find in the game (e.g. all the techs, probably the vast majority of locations, built everything I could want, finished all the 'other' quests) at ~12m+ before this limit (including have at least 3 different 'end game' options available if I wanted to click on them), and I didn't fancy the idea of clicking though another 12 methane drops/maintaining my drone army until then. Maybe I just played efficiently, given I had science 3, construction 2, and a bunch of mooks to help me out. If I was solo with no points in sci and con maybe the construction/science time sinks would have taken me out closer to the limit.
    • Maybe this is me being slow like with the free camera, but I couldn't find a way to 'buy all minerals/whatever' rather than clicking 'add 1' n number of times. Seems more of a pain when bribing (cf. Codex LP).
    • Complaining about reactivity lapses is churlish given how exceptionally this is generally done, but I didn't see much consequences from stealing all the stuff in the Chinese base once I had access. I'd guess it wouldn't take them long to notice things were missing, nor to infer I had to be the culprit.


    Greatly looking forward to your future endeavours!
     
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  4. Technomancer Savant

    Technomancer
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    682
    So much this! This was the reason I never finished the game with other endings beyond the immediately available ones. I was like wait, I have to sit on my ass for the whole fucking year for the plot to move? I feel like you were afraid for the game to be too frustrating and difficult, but come on, no one plays those but us, people who have some skill in RPGs and this just feels bizarre. If it has to be this long for plot and setting reasons make the process of building stuff much longer so there wouldn't be such an insane gap. When I'm tryharding and playing efficiently I want it to be like two months early before end game story content not being done with everything in the first 2 months! I mean seriously, that happened, all the tech, all the buildings and the whole map can be cleared in that time.
     
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  5. JarlFrank I like Thief THIS much Patron

    JarlFrank
    Joined:
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    Yeah the "normal" ending of waiting until the end really takes a long time. I tried to do things as quickly as possible, wanting to get all the doable things finished before the game ends, but then I was already done with everything and found out the ending is still many, many days away...
     
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  6. MF The Boar Studio Patron Developer

    MF
    Joined:
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    Amsterdam
    You're right. I'm starting to feel confident in compressing the last two years of the timeline into one. Very feel people have seen the Megiddo arrive according to the Steam achievement data.

    I'm going to have to be very careful about making sure everything in the dialogue and quest log will line up, but I think it's worth it.

    TNO, you can manually enter numbers when trading. It was blocked for bribing after the UI revamp, which I fixed, but I see it's blocked for trading as well. It's not as important for trading because food has the superincrement button, but I'll get on it.
     
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  7. Technomancer Savant

    Technomancer
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    Any ETA for that? Thinking of another run.
     
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  8. MF The Boar Studio Patron Developer

    MF
    Joined:
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    1.25 is on the test branch right now, you can switch to it on steam in the 'beta' tab if you want. It's been up for a while without any problems, so I'll move it to the main branch this week. Probably tomorrow.
     
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  9. oldmanpaco Master of Siestas

    oldmanpaco
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    Will my Asian waifu love me long, long time if I remove the methane stuff? I hate the chinks but I love her! What do I do?!?!?!?!?!?!?
     
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  10. MF The Boar Studio Patron Developer

    MF
    Joined:
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    You need positive relations with the Chinese for Daxia to remain at the Outpost.

    If your PC's charisma is high enough, yes. When you first meet her, you can respond to her 'have you eaten' greeting by implying that she's asking you to lunch. She'll agree if your charisma is high enough. Otherwise, no. You can nudge it a little bit by getting a high relation value with her, but that's it.

    Show Spoiler
    Also, if you talk to Magnus, you'll learn more about what he thinks of her ability to have any kind of interpersonal relationship.
     
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  11. oldmanpaco Master of Siestas

    oldmanpaco
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    Yeah she led me along for a while then I realized it was all for naught so I shut off the O2.

    Achievement Unlocked!
     
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