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Transvestosaurus

My ~20 hour impressions

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It's called 'The Universim'. Most image searches show a starry sky, comets, meteors, a pleasing panorama-world globe, zoomed out, all relaxing curved shorelines and glimmering lights. The blurb talks about being a god, managing planets, what would you do with the power?

 

This all set me up to believe the game was one way. But, as you can probably tell by now, this is another thread about how it's the other way.

 

Tl;dr - I don't want to play a survival RTS, I want to play 'The Universim' [waves hands expressively].

 

- Too much micro, I don't even feel like a town planner, let alone a god. I feel like an odd job man. Juggling too much busywork that I don't care about.

- Most buildings feel too big when trying to place them. Makes using space efficiently, and building in general, frustrating. Many buildings (hospital, graveyard, wells, archive) could have a much smaller footprint.
- Villagers building their houses and bonus buildings just anywhere. If this was a god game, fine. This is an RTS, so obviously not.

- God powers can be tricky to use and there aren't enough interesting uses for them.

- Tech tree is a bit of a trap (easy to go wrong) and most techs aren't very exciting to get, there's an awful lot of teching up without really going anywhere or changing the way the game works.

- Village turns into endless grey sprawl, can't tell the difference between anything. Looks ugly and bitty. Would be better if houses got bigger and took in multiple families/buildings terraced themselves together or...
-... Or your basic buildings were more efficient/could be upgraded quicker, rather than having to build a dozen of everything all over (for example, a basic hospital that more-or-less always has a doctor in it, or a basic school that can teach more than 2 (!) pupils at once).

- Stop it with the water. Just... please... stop.

- Night-time in an RTS! Doesn't add anything, it's just annoying as ****. Let me see my stuff please.

- There's room at the bottom of the screen for all the resource icons, you don't have to make us choose.
- 'Nugget' is a stupid word and I'm never going to use it :P
- I remember when I got that Sonic 3 cartridge and could finally save video games. What a leap forward. Archive delenda est.

 

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I will second most of your issues.

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Imo, you're a bit hard on the game :

Too much micro => I do not agree. If what you're looking for is just watching the screen for hours and just launch research for times to times, then buy a fish. For me, too much micro would mean to have like items on nuggets to manage or specific orders for individual nuggets. Here you just assign them to buildings, that's all.

Buildings too big => I agree.

Villagers builds anywhere => I find that kind of fun as you'll have to adapt where your nuggets decide to live. BUT, i think there should be some kind of A.I managing this. Like nuggets would prefer living close to schools, wells, and far from industry or cemetery.

God powers tricky and useless => Totally agree. They need a rework.

Tech tree => Not completely agree. The tech tree, imo, should have multiple path and choices. I also agree on the fact that some research are really not fun (the ones that give stats to nuggets).

Grey sprawl => I think the paved road can fix this. But i agree.

Duplicate building => I agree too. Would be much more fun if buildings could be upgraded more times instead of building duplicates.

Water => What's the problem with that ?

Night => It's in, i think, because they will probably add night related events mechanic. On the other hand, I agree that night and winter is the worst combo ever. Can't see anything.

Archive system => I think this mechanic is fun. The fact that you need to progress well on the game to be able to auto-save it more often is weird, but fun.

That's only my opinion but i think if we all give it, crytivo will be able to make the proper decisions.

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2 hours ago, aztuk said:

Too much micro => I do not agree. If what you're looking for is just watching the screen for hours and just launch research for times to times, then buy a fish. For me, too much micro would mean to have like items on nuggets to manage or specific orders for individual nuggets. Here you just assign them to buildings, that's all.

1

 

2 hours ago, aztuk said:

Water => What's the problem with that?

 

 

I think there's too much micro involved in assigning workers (especially early on with hunters and fishers and then in what 'late' game we have when you're all over the place), too much when using your powers to get everyone mating and when sweeping up dead bodies and healing (to make up for your sloooow graveyards and hospitals). Also special mention goes to optimising traits for jobs, even though it's just more assigning workers, because it's so annoying to do. No-one wants lazy engineers, right?

 

Water is an ongoing, uninteresting pain. When it gets to the point that you have to be building pumps the entire time why bother with the mechanic at all? All it's doing is punishing you if you don't press the button every couple of minutes. There's no interesting choices to be made around it, either you make enough pumps/reservoirs so you can ignore it, or you don't and everything stops working.

 

All these mechanics and building assets and stuff just seems to signpost that *that's* the game we're getting. And that even when whizzy space stuff comes it's basically going to be the town micromanagement sim in space. Of course I don't want a screensaver, but I was expecting more abstraction, less fuss, less numbers, a wider view, looking through the other end of the telescope... like a god game...

 

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What you explain on water make sense. On my side, i never have water problem because i settle near the biggest ocean and make a lot of pumps. But i agree this mechanic is not very fun. Maybe something with aquaduc on early stages and underground pipes when evolve to distribute water through the city could make the mechanic more complex. But you'll get closer to the city management/strategy game.

 

On the micromanagement part, i still don't agree. I almost never use the god powers, i don't make traps either and let the hunter just hunt wathever they want to hunt, same for fishing. For me, the game must allow the civilization by itself and if you want it to grow faster, there comes the micromanagement.

 

Yesterday, i started a game and got to 80 people. Then i watched a movie with my wife but i let the game going while doing my thing. When i came back, there was 150 people. An RTS would not allow that so I think the game is closer to a god game than an RTS/city management game.

 

I'm not saying the game should stay as it is. But telling stuff is shitty can make them chose to just remove the feature or rework it completely. I prefer make suggestions as they will probably go faster to improve the game.

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26 minutes ago, aztuk said:

Yesterday, i started a game and got to 80 people. Then i watched a movie with my wife but i let the game going while doing my thing. When i came back, there was 150 people. An RTS would not allow that so I think the game is closer to a god game than an RTS/city management game.

 

A good RTS game can manage itself. If you set up a perfect system with trading in Anno as example... the game plays itself. You can have tons of profit without playing the game yourself. A god game (and that's where Crytivo failed miserably) Establishes a connection between the player and the believers. God powers that influence the society and so on. But all those things have been said over and over again. btw. I'm here since 2014... 

 

29 minutes ago, aztuk said:

I'm not saying the game should stay as it is. But telling stuff is shitty can make them chose to just remove the feature or rework it completely. I prefer make suggestions as they will probably go faster to improve the game.

Faster is not the better solution. If something is shi* you dont smear it around and cover it with roses. you put it in the trash. That's the problem. They smeared it around and covered it with roses...

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The early game micro is fun because it's personal, because you have the time to appreciate what you did and because at this level of simplicity the opening is like a big soft puzzle that's fun to solve. You have your two villagers, named by the narrator, you watch them build a house, you make them fall in love and have babies, it's a little story you made. You use a bit of power to speed up the reservoir or do the hut building thing and you instantly see their lives become better.

Solving the mechanics of the opening and making the little story of the villagers dovetails into something that makes you viscerally happy.

 

That ends after 4-5 families. You're zapping the nearest pink and blue and zooming off, smashing down huts to make way for progress until everyone is just white = ignore, red = bad. What story you're making now is on a city/continent level but you still only have the same old fiddly tools. The story and your agency in it are diverging but you're stuck with the same odd jobs you were doing when they made you feel happy. This is the time I think the 'camera should pull back', literally and figuratively, give you more tools/reasons to manipulate the planet/weather/ecosystem/chunks of the city/mass psychology of villagers and just generally reduce micromanagement.

 

It is super hard suggesting fixes tho, you're right it's much easier to be mean!

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Transvestosaurus, this is a great feedbacl. Powers i think could be good to help in your way is for example to be able to grow trees, rocks. Change planet biome. Zone speed buff, building efficiency buff, nuggets trait change, ... It's pretty easy to come up with macro powers.

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Those are some interesting ideas.

 

Here is a cool thought: that during the adam & eve stage of the game, that the choices you make for your villagers could have repercussions in the later macro stage. Like I found it a little nifty that after enough families pop up you can add last names to villages. So you give a particular villager a surname, and you can watch that grow and move around in future generations. I think if nuggets had some traits (maybe minimal, not something as deep/involved as RimWorld for example) like aggressiveness, and you had some choices in the early game that involved deciding whether to force the nuggets to do things at the expense of their happiness (like be more efficient, or do something they don't like) might become more aggressive/resentful, and as a consequence later on the game their dependents are more aggressive, and more likely to cause conflicts or wars. This would go along nicely with the original trailer that suggested nuggets could be influenced to be peaceful or war mongers.

 

All of that is rather moot though.

At this point, after 4 years of development already, I think we will be lucky to get a decent game play experience of a half way decent city builder.

I really am getting Godus vibes from The Universim after playing it, which depresses the hell out of me.

 

I really hope Crytivo prove me wrong.

 

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That's funny julyfortoday, i suggested the exact same thing in a post 2 days ago

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- Stretch out the early game while giving you interesting things to tinker with.

 

- Connect even more to the initial 3-5 families and the idea that your actions are having an effect on them and rippling down generations. Mark them somehow (yeah last names as default would be the obvious solution!).

 

- Give all job-buildings an adjoining house. When a worker dies one of their children takes their place. Now you have the farmers, the shaman family etc., lots of little stories linked by the buildings.

 

- Base villagers' mods on what god powers you use to help them. Enough cupids and they get a bonus to twins, telekinesis enough materials they get a bonus to carry capacity, telekinesis enough villagers around and they get a bonus to movespeed. Deliver enough meat/veg they get bonuses from eating it or hunters/farmers work faster... likewise wood, stone, get one smoking enough herbs and he hallucinates a degree (squee-gee that third eye...).

And massively increase this effect in the beginning, so your Adam and Eve pick up mods really quickly, then tail it off to almost nothing so you create a kind of 'mythic' age where the basis of your culture has been set but you can still change destinies later on if you try really hard.

 

- Ooh I just thought. What if your set of powers changed too? So in the 'mythic' age you got these short-lived biblical powers that had a massive effect but they get taken away one by one, as the camera pulls out, and replaced with more general, indirect powers?


- Regular night-time just gets in the way but you could use the effect as a kind of challenge mode. A meteor hits, it all goes dark for a season and the animals go crazy. Or actual nuclear winter...

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I like alot of your ideas trans.. but as a god game having all powers available at all times would be better... perhaps instead these "biblical" powers can get more expensive to use later on and require more power but still be possible if desired...

 

and what is so bad about night time? thats why you have the "god light" that makes everything bright even at night... unless you turn it off of course but why would you do that (other than for nighttime screenshots or something)

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I think it is true that the game should have a very good quality or the new feature that people want in it.

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