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A member registered Dec 25, 2020 · View creator page →

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so? how was it?

Hey everyone! I just learned that I don't fully understand Godot fullscreen yet, so if it looks like you're getting half a game try the windowed version.

It was a pleasure to join you in the process of iterating on this game. Best of luck with the process of making it about something!

I should also note that I'm still able to take the same delivery twice and as of this version have seen deliveries canceled due to lost crates. I wouldn't be surprised if me doing the first exploit helps make the second bug happen.

First thing first, while I like the new piloting mechanics, making the minigame super rumbly to set yourself up for a vibrator joke when you review your own game later is totally cheating.

As for the bigger change with the delivery missions, I feel like it didn't work for me. On the one hand, I barely noticed that most of the systems were locked down, since I didn't really have any reason to be going anywhere unless there was delivery to do. I suppose this serves as a way to tell players who use survey devices a lot or just have a bunch of extra money and need upgrade units, "No, go do more delivering first!", but for normal gameplay it's kind of an oddity more than a mechanic.

Meanwhile, the lack of time limits made things feel both relaxed and rushed for me at the same time. The moment you finish a delivery, the guy gives you a new mission, and since it will always be on your planet and you don't have to worry about not being able to finish it on time, there's no reason to say no. But in that typical RPG way, the game expects you to just blow off that obligation at some point to experience the other stuff the game has to offer. Maybe the inclusion of story stuff will help with that, but obviously I can't speak to it.

I also feel like it takes some challenge and tension away. It's clear that I would like a tougher version of SV than what you're trying to make, but in this version there's so many decisions and calculations that don't matter now. Do I have enough warp fuel to get to the destination, or a good place to buy/collect it? Who cares? I'll get there when I get there. Should I put off repairs and gun ahead? Of course not, you'll have to do them eventually, so there's no reason to not 100% clean everything now.

I'm not gonna lie, I thought the biscuits were a weird idea at first, but now I'm won over. It's a surprisingly strategic mechanic, forcing you to trade time in front of the vending machine for more stamina in a pinch or on an away mission. Note that while it doesn't cost stamina to take a biscuit from the machine, you can't still block it off with boxes and softlock yourself if you don't have enough health to make a path.

Making the junk give fuel (and thus less stopping time) was a cool intangible to distinguish it from the other missions. It, along with the captain's chair being the best food source, also encourages doing the flying minigame more, which I'm not sure is good. I don't know where the story is supposed to fit in to all this.

I turned the floaty notifications (thanks for that, and the shoutout), but if you still had them on I think the angry emotes with dirty components are kind of obsolete now.

I thought the junk collecting mission was kind of interesting, and encouraged using the piloting minigame, but the other two types of flying missions I would just grab whenever I got to a new system, and take the free money as a part of my delivery missions. 

Overall, I feel like there's been several attempts at distractions from lulls in the action that I end up pushing aside or ignoring altogether. I find myself getting the crate stamping done right after bringing crates on board, even though it might be better stamina economy to try and squeeze them in in flight, since it's not likely I'll have time to stamp them all during travel time. I'm happy to take free money for being in a dust storm, but the last thing I want to do is postpone the next delivery or Onaris dropoff to pick up 1000ish credits that I'll probably get anyway. And whatever maintenance needs to get done tends to be put off until I don't have a timer to move cargo, at which point I do all of it at once before focusing on the next thing. I dreaded getting a hydroponics bay, since I knew that it would be another thing to juggle while missions were going on.

In my experience, the rhythm of the game centers around the warp drive. As long as there's gas in the tank, you can and should always be flying somewhere, and any component fixing you have to do should be manageable while still keeping stamina near maximum. Once you reach the end of a freight trip or Onaris "survey" hot-and-cold game, you'll be near zero stamina, but if you've still got gas you can keep going and trust you'll rest up by the next planet. Once you need to refuel though, it's time to refuse the next mission, and take some "shore leave". 

You can't order warp fuel online, which means you don't want to do it while there's a delivery timer going, and to me that completely changes gears. Now I want to order more fuel, pack it on, and now I've got plenty of stamina left to go over my ship and fix everything back up. This low pressure time tends to be when I go after upgrade units. If there were NPCs to talk to and story to advance, I imagine this is when I'd do it.

You've talked about players not having anything to do while enroute, but I feel like in the frantic full-gas-tank-times these lulls last a minute or two tops, and the longest gaps tend to come from low stamina more than nothing to do. Have you considered adding sleep back in to skip dull moments and low stamina? Maybe this would be a good time for NPCs to come bother you with dialog? What if the player took the tutorial computer's advice, and just zoned out for a moment while staring at some cool space sprite for a bit?

You know what? I take that back in the case of the hydroponics bay. There's no way I would have remembered to keep those plants alive (and made those sweet 40 credits) if the humidifier didn't remind me.

The prompts for broken components took away a lot of the fun for me. I always enjoyed figuring out what I needed to fix (and in a pinch, what I can get away with NOT fixing) to be far more engaging than pressing the button to actually make the sprite happy. Now that the game just says, "use the green tool here dummy!" it now feels like the game is just playing itself.

There's a lot of randomization. I'd recommend just starting a new game and hoping a shipyard spawns this time. Look for the crane icon.

I found a half dozen bugs, but I don't think you care at this stage, so I'll stick to broader thoughts:

I really like the new pace of things wearing down. Not only do I feel less annoyed by air cyclers, but it's also clear that different components are becoming an issue at a more even rate, as opposed to always going for the cyclers and coolant, and ignoring everything else. Best of all, it feels more like "maintenance" to me: something you can feel proud of staying on top of, or push off until your ship looks like a beat up mess. My favorite moment this time around was when roleplaying as a space redneck who ended up late on a delivery because he had to keep running back and forth fixing the warp nacelles, only for something else to go wrong when I tried to start them up again.

Stamina is in a weird place at this point. In the first few levels, it's an important element of strategy. You physically can't maintain a whole ship without overexerting at level 1, so you have to pick and choose which components are important, and having to pick up and drop four boxes in a row to get to a clogged air cycler can be a fatal mistake. Later on, your stamina bar gets more lax and time becomes the limiting factor to completing missions effectively. The biggest problem is that if you screw up and run out, your only option is to sit around for a minute and let it regen. I would suggest thinking about how important stamina is to this game, and either factoring it into game balance, or removing the system.

I think there's more you can do with repair missions as "levels" with existing pieces. Because they are optional and don't mess with the player's ship, you might want to look into using creative layouts as puzzles, or even tutorials for less used parts of the player's ships. Examples might be an extra fast zoob on a ship with enough boxes to coral it in with, a ship with a simple problem but a maze of cargo in the way, or a ship where the fuel tanks are pure residue and need draining.

In my experience, the most common case for a component giving off emotion bubbles was in the warp engines, right before warping. In that case, you can't tell what the bubble is referring to, kind of making it useless.

If you go into the suspended animation chamber while still holding miraculum, you get frozen holding it, and wake up with a bag in your hand. Honestly, I would recommend just owning it and making the sprite for the chamber taller so it doesn't clip; doing the rest of the tutorial with a rock stuck to your hands is kind of hilarious.

In theory you could use this as an exploit to get a free second air cycler at the start of the game, but in a single player game I wouldn't be concerned by that.

At the end of the day, I think the problem is that the gameplay loops are in conflict. In Stardew Valley, if you plant a plant or chop a log, you get get something from it, which you can then use to further your goals of making wine or friends or whatever. 

In Starstruck Vagabond, the objective you're thinking about is getting the ship from point A to B, which it would be perfectly capable of doing if the #$@! air cycles could stay working for five minutes. When you fix them, you just get the opportunity to get back to the game.

I think folks wouldn't mind the fast rate of decay if this was a survival game about keeping the spaceship running for as long as possible, but this is supposed to be a game about doing things WITH the ship, but your ship just happens to be garbage.

Also also, had I not been watching your videos, my first instinct upon finding pea seeds on a planet (right next to grown peas) would be to throw it at every distinct ground sprite or look for a hoe item, assuming you're supposed to grow plants ON THE PLANET, that being where plants grow in my real life experience.

Also, if you're dumb enough to sell your first upgrade unit (which displays on the sell screen as "unknown item") you can soft lock the game to the first system. 

As the ship gets larger (particularly bow to stern), routine stuff like filling the  warp engines then getting back to the bridge starts to take longer and longer. A conveyer belt "turbo lift" upgrade might be handy.

New Bug! If you press A really fast right as a notification for a derelict ship shows up, you can freeze the game.

^Also noticed this bug. A simple fix would be to arrange the NPCs vertically instead, which would increase the limit to like 7ish (but block off the western exit to the platform)

I tried placing the air cycler on all the exposed wires in a desperate attempt to survive on my mutant colony ship, but to no avail.

so...I loaded my save game from last year, and now my ship looks like this. 

General gameplay thoughts now that I've more time to play:

The scoops rotate on an oddly large increment. One tap will push it too far left, one tap the other way pushes it too far right, and there's no way to get it to line up just right without turning the whole ship.

I feel like space hazards are getting too easy now. I started hitting asteroids on purpose and even then there was very little consequences until I hit a few in a row. I'll take the game's word that the dust is actually doing something, because never never observed anything.

In general, I feel like the mechanisms of the ship itself are a nice and surprisingly deep part of the code, that the game has no interest in. I was pleasantly surprised to see details like the side thrusters, or the ability to move the scoops with the wrench from outside the ship, but those details never really matter. The most fun I was having in the demo was ramming asteroids until stuff broke, then hunting around for the damage. When I got the stamping machine I immediately thought, "Ooo how do I place this as efficiently as possible?" and brought myself back to the mindset of Incredible Poo Machine. Maybe I need to go play FTL instead, but I liked that fantasy of being a car guy who fixes his own engine and pimps his ride. I think there's something there.

If you pick up a delivery mission, the person waiting for the parcel is on the loading dock, and anything you buy gets dropped right on them by the robot arm.

If there is a way to replace lost coolant, the game doesn't give you any hints. 

Seconded on the air cycler. I just miss the dirty filter sprite for some reason...

Just found a bug:
1) Have goods to sell on loading dock

2) Go to trading post and open sell menu

3) Scroll up a bunch

I've been able to get it so the whole list goes away and it just says "hold to sell"