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My thoughts and suggestions after 30hrs+ - Printable Version

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My thoughts and suggestions after 30hrs+ - PAX-12 - 07-03-2014 10:24 AM

Greetings, fellow pathogens!
After having a blast for more than 30 hours, eradicating humanity over and over again in the last few days,
I wanted to share my suggestions to help polish this game and make it even better, or simply give some impressions.

For convenience, I made a tl;dr version and a more detailed one where I explain my ideas further,
which might explain some weird suggestions - or not.

Also, I'd like to know what you guys think about it, specially our "patient zero", NDEMIC Creations.

OVERVIEW / tl;dr
- Pathogen list/Replay function
- Player able to select pathogens color
- Ambient sounds for event windows
- Restart/Retry button
- Remove germ-dots once country is 100% infected/leave colored shader only
- Make Pathogens spread easier/more undetected in poor countries
- More Countries
- Airport for every country (suck it, Greenland!!)
- High/Medium/Low air/sea traffic for countries according to rl stats
- Change country traits to match real life traits more (rural, arid, ...)
- Click on news headline opens up original message
- Research speed should rise slower so player can react/turn lost games around
- Much more events/not the same events every session (Olympics, anyone?)
- Remove basic game play hints, except for first session and tutorial
- Pan-Pacific traffic
- NDEMIC rocks!

- Pathogen list/Replay function
A list of former pathogens and how far they came, like a personal hall of fame, could also be considered a replay area with statistic windows like ingame and so on. Basically the end-screen after a round is over, yet with the possibility to see statistics and details... for the geeks.

- Player able to select pathogens color

- Ambient sounds for event windows
Those of you who played games like Crusader Kings or the Total War series, will know what I mean. An Event pops up and we are rewarded with some nice sound effects, fitting the situation. There are already some ambient sounds in the game, like a crying woman, yet it seems random and...not enough Big Grin

- Restart/Retry button
The game is a lot of trial and error, in a fun and addicting way. But it is annoying that I have to go back to the menu and create the pathogen all over again. A simple restart function could save some time and prevent becoming annoyed.

- Remove germ-dots once country is 100% infected/leave colored shader only
I discovered this after tabbing out and back into the game. A 100% infected country just had the basic color shader, while the germs where gone (due to the alt-tab thing). I first thought it IS a feature and thought "handy, now I know this country is 100% infected!" only to realize it was a graphical glitch. Here is a screenshot:
[Image: 3da92ef07185fd8b5c1e754740e4abf0.png]
(Making this optional would be awesome!)

- Make Pathogens spread easier/more undetected in poor countries
I am not so sure about this one myself, but theoretically, any disease should have much better chances to a) spread and b) kill (in low numbers) unnoticed for a longer time in poor countries with bad health care/local habits like some Asian, African and South American countries, then in rich countries with excellent health care. On the other hand - why would a player choose to start in a rich country with such a disadvantage besides wanting a challenge or some random local events like the Space Mission (only available if pathogen starts in US, right?).
Still, I prefer realism and authenticity over balancing any day.
Another contra to this suggestion though, might be the fact that the WHO and CDC and other organizations do have field-agents in poor countries to counter that exact problem. Question is... is this really as effective? I doubt it...

- More Countries
So we get news reports about the unstoppable Danish Mafia... yet Denmark doesn't even exist? Big Grin
Same goes for many African and Asian countries. I'd like to see them!

- Airport for every country (suck it, Greenland!!)
I am sure Greenland and some other Islands have no airport for gameplay reasons, so the player has to ensure he can infect ships to touch these countries.
Anyways, I honestly do not like being "forced" to develop into this direction and it is kinda frustrating to develop a good and potentially devastating pathogen...just to be unlucky again not to infect friggin' Greenland and lose - again!
To make it not too easy for the player, the traffic could be a balancing factor, which I cover next.

- High/Medium/Low air/sea traffic for countries according to rl stats
Take a look at London Heathrow's air traffic and then check the daily departures/arrivals at BGGH (Nuuk Airport, Greenland). This could be reflected in the game, so countries/areas with high air and/or sea traffic get more traffic as, for example, isolated Greenland. I am not sure but this might be already in the game, for I noticed not many boats traveling to Greenland, while other locations seem to receive more traffic. Also, main traffic to Greenland seems to come from Europe. Anyways - I am not sure about these observations, so I decided to throw this suggestion into the room.

- Change country traits to match real life traits more (rural, arid, ...)
Personally, I'd consider India a very poor country and North America also rural, not only Urban. I guess this is again for game play reasons, so it is not too easy, since a country with urban and rural traits would be open for pretty much everything. Yet again - it is in rl, so why not? Something to experiment in with mods though, I guess, rather than wasting dev-time to fool around with this... still, crossed my mind when I found some weird ones.

- Click on news headline opens up original message
Big one for me. Sometimes you miss the message window, close it accidentally or whatever and then you wonder what is behind that vague headline. I also like to read those news reports for immersion, they add so much to the game and I hope to see many more as well as more diversity.

- Research speed should rise slower so player can react/turn lost games around
It happens a lot, at least on the highest difficulty, where you make good progress and all the sudden it is over because global research went through the roof. I understand the challenge, yet I'd like to see it accelerating slower, so the player might have the time to react and adapt - instead of being forced to end the game early because he knows there can be nothing done anymore. Some random events might also help at this?

- Much more events/not the same events every session (Olympics, anyone?)
Like I said above, the events are all so great, yet they lose their charm if they happen every single time in every game. The Olympics are a perfect example, I get them every session. Yes, it might makes sense since the Olympics are scheduled like that, but still... you sure pick up what I put down.

- Remove basic game play hints, except for first session and tutorial
I've seen this mentioned elsewhere, but it deserves to be mentioned everywhere, for it has to go, really xD
I like getting many info windows (more deadly than, ...) but the basic controls/game functions...every time? Come on... We unfortunately live in a time where too many players have become lazy and kinda stupid, so you have to remind them every time that 'R' is Reload... (yeah I'm talkin' to you, CoD!), but this should really not be necessary and only in the tutorials or first session, not every time. Please.

Pan-Pacific traffic
It is odd, there is no visual hint that there is traffic across the pacific which makes me expect that there just is no such traffic. No need to explain how weird this would be, since an awful lot of traffic, if not the most(?), happens right there between Asia and North America.

Random@NDEMIC Creations:
- You guys rock! This game is fantastic, addicting, I'd even dare to say: Contagious


RE: My thoughts and suggestions after 30hrs+ - NdemicMarc - 07-03-2014 10:31 AM

Thanks for this PAX-12! Really, really awesome for us to read such detailed feedback. This is definitely the time for us to hear it while the game is still being shaped in Early Access.

A lot of the stuff you mentioned is already on our ideas / polish list - so keep an eye out on future updates, I think you'll be pleased with it!

Really interested in hearing people's thoughts on your first point regarding a 'Hall of Fame' - this is something we've been spending a bit of time thinking about.

Keep the suggestions coming, this is very cool to read Smile

RE: My thoughts and suggestions after 30hrs+ - PAX-12 - 07-03-2014 10:38 AM

Glad to be of service!
Great that you guys read all this and listen to your customers... if only EA would... nah let's not go there.

Can't wait for the next update/changelog! Heart

RE: My thoughts and suggestions after 30hrs+ - Edzi07 - 08-03-2014 01:03 AM

Slight addition to this.
Although you mentioned not liking the islands that are docks only, and you're not the only one, if you're going to keep it i feel it would make sense one island at least deserves an only airport status.
Perhaps as an option to be added in only on brutal + difficulty, as it seems the only thing made harder is speed of spreading, reaction and speed of cure. Would be good to see more variety of some sorts in areas here and there. As mentioned and emphases on the events part, some things happening over and over could be easily spiced up a little with a tiny difference. - helped then by a butterfly effect.

Going on the germ dots section mentioned. It is hard to tell the difference between the stages, so a more clear colour change or representation would be nice. With being infected and being dead is another one, unless you check stats you cannot easily see how dead a country is, if it is dead, and that annoying balance between rate of death and infectivity. Unless monitoring individually you cannot tell if lethality is winning the battle over a country, causing an easy loss of game without even realising it until it is too late.

A hover over info option would be good, to have to click on a country and for more information pause the game just to check up one tiny detail to some is a little annoying. - like the constant need to click X on the always showing hints. As well as this some of my friends who are new keep asking me what the specialised symbols mean as you can't hover over for it to tell you. For some without someone to ask this might be annoying and honestly the only reason i know is because on the App version when you click for more information it gives a written report on things like "cold area, rich, urban" etc and i've just remembered them.
little thing similar about hints is that my friends and i when first playing fungus tried that lovely thing of buying it to infect a random country, sell it and buy it again in hopes it invects 2 for the price of 1 without running out too. But of course it doesn't do that. A small window hint would be to say buying things twice do not give the effect twice as this would also be a problem with some abilities that aren't a continuous bonus but only a one time - another example is nano virus and the cure reduction.

Something for the geeks would be an option to have a lot of the information all condensed onto the screen. With having a big monitor at 1920x1080, to have a smaller map whilst having the world info, mutation info etc to the side or underneath is no problem at all space wise. Some people like myself also have dual monitor and i can think of two things which personally I'd love.
To go along with this is to have the second monitor be the screen showing the graphs, the cure, the infected country by name and colour coded, the transmission/symptoms/abilities/ menu all on the other screen. this would also mean the game doesn't have to pause which checking world or upgrade facts and making slight changes to your infection itself.
The other would be to have it so i could click on my other screen and not have it minimize the game. The game at first is sometimes a little slow and so it's nice to check facebook or set up a movie on the other screen. Games like Dota 2 do this where Alt - tab out of the game still has the game shown but full control of the computer as normal.

Sorry for asking so much and unfortunately not in such an organized way like Pax-12 Tongue

Thank you as well and extremely glad to have you actually pay attention to your audience as it seems not many companies do that anymore.
Good game, keep all the beautiful work up Smile

RE: My thoughts and suggestions after 30hrs+ - FireCorn - 08-03-2014 12:32 PM

I have one thing that keeps crossing my mind when I play.

Sometimes you play a long session with one kind of plague. And you will reach a year like 2017
And still every country has the same amount of people (the whole world has).
It would be very cool if the population of the world changed.
And it would also be a encouragement to finish the game quickly.

But love the game, keep up the good work guys!