hey! major, major thank you for playing and providing in-depth criticism. means the world to us. a few caveats/notes:
- the in-game help overlay (F1) may help with some things, and the Data panel is also planned to be rather exhaustive with mechanics and other details.
- as a product of our freest of free time, please know stuff will be very obscure, poorly explained or downright broken in this, the alpha of alphas :D but be assured, more polish, tweaked UI and better balance is certainly in the cards. EFA is absolutely a labor of love, and we're here to see it through to a completed experience.
I'll break down what I can, and hopefully it's helpful!
> How do you identify the unidentified module
this is planned to work in the same way as recharging module abilities, meaning the research occurs as you explore the map (reveal unexplored tiles). a research bar is in the implementation phase, and will operate just like the experience bar so you have a better idea of how research is going. in fact, here's an (ancient) writeup from our design doc:
If unidentified, an installed module will reveal its behavior after 3 recharge cycles. One cycle requires 100 charging units (so, use a module, then explore/uncover 100 tiles to recharge, or 1000 [1/10th of a recharge unit] turns without exploring any new tiles).
as you have noticed, there's an "ID" slot in the inventory, which is where research is planned to occur. but unid modules can also be installed (as they operate currently) and used without proper identification (as some modules can malfunction and hinder the player, as a cursed item would in other RLs). long story short — it's not 100% implemented at the moment!
> Is there a way to "rest" like in many roguelikes? A way to heal without finding one of the hard to come by, red stims?
you can wait in place with [NUM5], and is planned to be remappable in the future. healing is (currently) accomplished through select module abilities and stims, and we're adding some interesting things with vitality tweaks via other modules in the future. as for now, it does make games short, difficult and relatively unfair.
> Is there (or will there be) a way to compare things without picking them up?
[L]ooking at an item on the ground will populate an "equipped" window in a future build; i can see some interaction states working with the inventory open as well for comparisons similar to how CDDA works as well. again, just one of those things we'll have to get to in the future. frustrating, i know, but it's notes like these that help us stay on task and consider what else needs to be completed!
> Do the stats only do what the box says
at the moment, yes. the design doc has some other things to add to the mix in each stat that currently are not hooked in. early on, we were determined to cut out the typical wait & regen mechanic to open up possibilities with modules, and this was to be countered in part with the aforementioned "other things" from the design doc. think of stats as they are as a proof of concept — and in fact, the whole of EFA is certainly that as well. there's a lot of moving parts, and for a relatively green studio, much of our implementation, balance, and conceptualizing is a trial by fire. :D we're chipping away at the excess and arriving at the fun, though, slowly but surely.
> What do the three shapes in the armor specs represent?
these are your armor value, CU modifier and strength requirement (which now occurs to me is missing from the character panel; seems the symbols didn't survive a few passes in the stat area. i'll be sure they're accounted for somehow in an update). but agreed — it's needlessly cryptic right now, and there are ways to explain what you're looking at. take a look at a previous mockup for some real symbolsanity:
> Do you absolutely HAVE to destroy things to get drops? Like the chests, ammo boxes, medical stations, etc. Or is there a command to just loot them?
currently, they must be destroyed. chests can be straight up looted. the potentially unfun reasoning is an opportunity to build Risk (ask me about this other not-fully realized concept some time :D ) and make scavenging a scary, risk/reward proposition. and, as before, it's a concept that requires more thought and balance before we release, let alone put forth a traditional demo. while the dispensers should be the primary source of non-dropped loot, that's another avenue requiring way more cleanup and balance.
> Sometimes there is a =|1 symbol (like an equals sign with a line through it) that appears just left of the character section of the game on the right. What does it mean or represent?
well that is frustrating! (an aside: kindly post a link to your twitch so i can catch the next stream — that'll be super helpful as well) that little button is your level up indicator, meaning you have 1 point available to increase a stat.
> This last thing isn't so much a question as a criticism.
you will hear no arguments against your points here — largely because EFA still exists in a very conceptual state, the earliest of accesses. if the back-of-napkin hierarchy of game release is full release > demo > beta > alpha > in development, we are very much still in development. i spent a decent amount of time on the tile, UI and mechanic design — all of which receive constant tweaks — but some of the toughest work is refining, rebalancing, reconsidering and editing. and the development half opens entire galaxies of both potential and headaches. :D
but, speaking for bothmyself and Rauno, we believe in EFA, in its merits and unseen corrections and the concept as a whole, and we want to get our riff on the RL thing out into the world. if i could do it again, i'd rescope EFA into something smaller (and in fact it was intended to be a mobile game, inspired by wanting to improve the movement system in Cardinal Quest, of all things) and more manageable by a 2-person, globe-spanning team. with that said, there are steps we can consider to make improvements more meaningful:
- larger releases. this goes back on what Rauno has proposed and we've tried to accomplish in 2020, which was smaller releases more often, but perhaps tucking more into each release, and making larger updates, makes for a better view of progress. it's up for discussion internally.
- rescoping what we can. i don't like to admit defeat, but there's merit in trimming fat and cutting what add up to be losses. the most important aspect we're wanting to channel is a fun, challenging scifi RL, and that may mean leaving concepts on the cutting room floor, despite being in a genre known for its hedonistic excess.
- more involvement with the community. setting up a discord for items similar to what you've brought up would be pretty ideal and would fold nicely into our bug-chasing workflow. as it is, EFA's community is small and quiet, so it's a lower priority, but as we release more and more, we're arriving to that point.
anyway — i want to express our thanks again for streaming, sticking with broken builds and mechanics, and reaching out with feedback! it keeps us inspired and on task. i was recently cut from my main job, and EFA has been on a very distant back burner as a result, but not a day goes by that i'm not thinking about or quietly sketching things out something EFA related. i know "sorry, it's broken and we know" isn't the best answer we can give, but that's the reality at present. just know it's definitely not where we intend to leave it. :)
*edited for formatting