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Yet another feedback list đź‘Ť

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Hi everyone ! after playing 8.5h on the demo (according to steam) here's my feedback.
for the record i posted essentially the same thing in the google form, but i'll post it here too and expand a bit.


I really want to see more interesting water mechanics, such as "water conveyor belts" of sorts or a water wheel to bring water uphill. right now the irrigation building really seems to me like the least interesting way to irrigate land, and carrying water in buckets feels really silly, even for beavers. and you're so strained in water during the dry season that i'll never deliberately waste some like this.

I had a paragraph here where i told of how pointless and artificial the beaver's "needs" are, but i found in the meantime that satisfying a need gives a bonus. this is not obvious at all, you can get the info if you click on a beaver, but not if you click on the "average happiness" in the top left corner.

In games like these, i like having a feeling of progression : like building crappy ragtag houses, then eventually upgrading them to better houses, then stone, gold, diamond, whatever. the point is to always have something next to do. because we're talking beavers here, it perfectly makes sense that everything is mostly wood based, but if everything is generic wood the progression will quickly hit a dead end imo, especially since we have the best houses since day 1.

so now what would i add into the game (beyond better water systems) ?

the point of this game for me is that it is very peculiar in your ability to stack up buildings, and i think it's important that the game feels different enough from similar games, otherwise people will feel it is no more than a slightly gimmicky banished clone.

Regarding ressources, the regular wood/stone/iron progression would honestly be a bit generic (although i didn't see any stone) and i'd like to see something different, especially if we want to have tech tiers giving a feeling of progression. In that respect, the lumber/plank/cogs sort of works, but good luck arguing that your "cog house" is of a higher tier than the lumber one.

I see different possibilities : either you stay in the real world and go from pine tree (kind of soft wood, makes low quality houses) and then work up toward oak or chestnut to build high-tier buildings. or you can go fantasy style and to straight up invent tree varieties that have pseudo magical properties, like some fire-wood that you'd use for industry, healing wood for diseases and whatnot. there's far more possibilities like that.

actually those possibilities don't even exclude each other, you can make cheap tier pine house that provide low comfort, stone houses that can support a lot of weight (i'll explain later), luxurious chestnut houses, or even magical "ice wood" houses that stay cool even in summer if there was a heat mechanic. 

During my playthroughs, i noticed how expensive were the dam blocks, and kind of assumed that we were supposed to use regular buildings to make our dams, like building houses and warehouses directly in the river to block its flow but...they don't stop the water ! it makes no sense, a beaver dam is the beaver's house, if anything that's how we should really be building our dams, not by stacking 1x1 blocks, this is so weird ! so yeah, everything that has the "solid" trait should be waterproof (but water should block the doors) so that we can build actual beaver dam-cities.

again, because the stacking mechanic is the central gimmick of this game (plus the water thing), i think it is important to have a strong incentive to actually do it, and not just to see how ridiculous of a build you can get away with. We already have a dry (ie, warm) season, so i think it would make sense to have winter too. 

Didn't you ever wonder that stacking all of your houses in one tiny compact block should surely make it quite warm and cosy ? how convenient ! if only there was a heat mechanic to use that ! in practice you just have to require each house to burn X units of fuel to generate X units of heat, but each house leaks 1 unit of heat per side exposed to the outside (flat roof included), this way if you don't stack your houses properly, you quickly burn all of your fuel and your beavers freeze and die.

so you can imagine that rather than building a somewhat generic looking beaver village, you're kind of automatically driven to  build an enormous dam-village populated by beavers if you want to survive both the drought and the cold.

But again, because i like to have a feeling of progression and lots of building that each have a different use, you could make it so your buildings can carry only so many Z-layers on top of themselves. typically let's say pine wood is crap, you can stack up only one or two Z-levels on top, but if you use instead oak (wether as a sturdy regular house of as a classy house) you can build let’s say 4-5 layers on top and so on. And if you want to go really tall, you have to make the first levels in stone house or stone filler or whatever.

Also because you can’t easily rework the thing that is at the bottom of your stack, it means that you’d eventally need to abandon your first tiny crappy dam to build a new, better one downstream, meaning a lot of game time in perspective spend doing actually useful stuff (as opposed to decorating for example)

I think that’s the direction i would like to see the game follow, right now it’s pretty nice, it’s challenging, but at the same time there is a very limited pool of things to build, so i’m afraid once you’ve stabilized your survival… well you’ll just quit because that’s it, there’s nothing left to do.

Now to go back into some tiny details :

tree stumps are cancer. They serve no purpose and prevent new saplings from growing. You’d need to remove them but it takes too much beaver work time. I just crush them by painting roads on top, then cancel the road. Stumps should still appear but the tile they’re on should behave as if it was empty.

It happened to me that the waterwheel spinning sense and its axis were opposed, that is purely visual but very weird.

The whole research mechanic is… bland. Just score points and buy tech with that. Meh. I’d like to be more constructive, but it is so un-inspiring that it’s not easy. I just build two labs and ignore them forever, when i need a new tech i click buy and here it is. If everything had been unlocked from day one, i probably wouldn't even notice the difference.

I think at least some sort of tech tree is required (and come on, you cant just miss that pun !), so that you request that tech you need and have to deal with not having it for a while. Having different techs costs different resources is also an excellent way to push players toward building stuff that they may disregard otherwise.

If you think about it, 90 % of what you do in factorio is just building the stuff that builds the stuff that pays for the next tech that allows you to build more stuff. None of that is for direct use, as a gameplay loop it is perfectly valid.

anyway, I want through the trouble of typing all that, so be sure that i like your game, I'm really eager to see it flourish, the 3D stacking mechanic is really what makes it stand out, don't squander that potential !

Edited by lapantouflemagic
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