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About Ravn7

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    Warsaw, Poland
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    Astronomy, Psychology, Gaming industry, IT
  1. @Chris, I understand. You're right I may have been underestimating your work needed to be done there. Although I don't think the video was bad. It was totally fine and the script itself was really very good, actually. I get it you don't have any professional who can spend all the time he needs to make videos. But maybe you could hire someone when the game will be ready and the time right? A team member could right down a few sentences about his recent work to answer the question "What have you been working on lately?". That is if you think you can spare that time and money. I guess it shouldn't be much. Anyway, whatever you decide, good luck to you. I know the game is going be great, because the first one was and this one can only be better.
  2. Jeez, I thought PayPal is just a service that sends money from one place to another. But other KS projects use it all the time, so why can't you? I doesn't make sense. Couldn't they consider it again? Anyway,@Chris, like you sad yourself, there are other ways to offer pre-orders. For example, one other game in development uses this: https://xsolla.com/ - although certainly there are some less expensive services on the market. Also you can use other crowdfunding services as I mentioned once in other thread. The biggest advantage of that, in my opinion, would be generating additional PR. It would also give you an opportunity to publicly talk about problems with PayPal and how you were mistreated (but you managed regardless) which could be even better for PR. And it would be enough for a few months of selling pre-orders. Or maybe even more if they would agree - I guess Fig would be most likely to go for that because they are in need of more PR ("We're helping devs mistreated by big corporation. We are the good guys"). When it comes to a store, I think it is better than just a simple pre-order in early access without any tiers to choose from. Or with two editions, for that matter. It can be seen especially during crowdfunding campaigns. People like to have multiple choices (there are two factors here; from a psychology perspective having multiple choices makes people feel they’re in control – and also it’s like in a supermarket, i.e. many products on shelves make people more likely to buy something) and they make good use of it. Now imagine there were only two tiers on KS. How much less money would you get? The coverage. Yes, I did see those articles. But I mean these were only news, not any longer articles like some proper previews. Also, Swen and even Vince D. Weller (if someone doesn’t know, he is the creator of a hardcore indie RPG titled Age of Decadence) are doing interviews quite often. The video. In my opinion it’s much easier than you think. I’ve just looked at D:OS 1 KS video and I can assure you it’s not something I couldn’t do. Although I’m definitely not a pro, so I’d need some practice with Adobe Premiere or something similar (I worked only with Photoshop and did a few amateur videos with some simple software) but, with an exception for the music, I know I could do it even by myself. Not to mention how easy it would be for a pro. I know nothing about English market in that regard, but in Poland I know someone who could do it. Thus, if in England it’s too expansive or too hard to find anyone who does videos like that, you can surely find someone in Eastern Europe. Of course it would be much easier and more comfortable to find someone nearby who would do everything by himself. Otherwise you would need to get a camera, a lamp and a stand, record some talks with devs in front of their computers, record in-game footages, think of sentences to put in the video and then send it all to some Google Drive unedited. Then you could try to find someone experienced in video editing. I, myself, know maybe like three people I could ask. Also, you can always (or one of you) learn video editing yourself. It’s obvious you don’t have much free time. But maybe you would benefit from it for years, which would make it worth your time? And in gaming industry marketing trailers are quite an important factor. Few years back there was a study which showed trailers have a greater impact on sales than demos. It’s enough to look at Star Citizen to see how much hype and money trailers can generate. Thus, spending some time and money for making trailers and videos can be like an investment with a good return. And you don’t even need a good camera for making video updates. Just a good mic and simple HD webcam would be enough. If you want, I could ask someone what recording equipment to buy. It won’t be expensive. Certainly not for you, relatively speaking. And you could use it for years.
  3. I’ve been keeping track of many successful campaigns in recent years and personally I think Xenonauts 2 campaign wasn’t prepared as well as it could be. In fact there were at least a few serious drawbacks. Maybe it’s a shame there was no discussion on the forums about the crowdfunding/marketing strategy before the campaign started. The first one is the lack of PayPal payment method. At the end of the campaign funds come very quickly and then suddenly it’s being interrupted. Thus, a direct payment method is really important, because it can give you a few thousand dollars/pounds on top of the funds you get on KS. While being very easy to set up. Second, there is no website where you can buy pre-orders. Although now, for reasons mentioned above, would be the best time for that. Of course those issues can be remedied to some extent by setting up PayPal and a website store in the near future. As soon as possible, because if you do it soon enough, you will certainly get some additional press coverage. Also, it’s good to remember pre-orders can be a great source of funds (since for some pre-orders are enough for their studios keep up). Third, the lack of solid press coverage. I haven’t seen any previews or interviews. It’s entirely possible I missed something, but anyway it’s obvious you started doing PR too late. There were only some gameplays on YouTube. Which are very important, of course, but they are still not the press. Fourth, the video wasn’t good enough. It was okay but nothing like the greatest KS gaming projects. Just look at Project Eternity, new Torment or both Divinity games. Dynamic gameplay (in some), emotional music and good catchphrases. Also, in many videos, more team members talking, which makes an impression of a bigger and thus more professional studio. Obviously, neither here is everything lost, because you can make many videos and trailers in the future. It just won’t be during the KS campaign, so it won’t allow to gather as much funds. But I have some suggestions here. I mean to look at most successful projects. In this case D:OS 2 and Star Citizen. They post regular >video< updates. And I think Swen Vincke does it better, because he walks around the studio and talks to people in the form of light conversations. Maybe there is someone in your team, who would like to do it. And if you hesitate, it’s good to remember you can record the video as many times as you want. Until you feel comfortable enough. And Star Citizen shows how much money they gathered after the KS campaign, which is encouraging to pay more. You could see how it’s going and then think about putting some counter on the web page. Although seeing the counter and the next stretch goal is always encouraging, anyway. So there are some options. The campaign wasn’t bad overall. I think the campaign description was good. Clear and interesting. Also, the updates were very good with the right amount of emotions. And the decision to reach the next stretch goal was the right move. A few campaigns already missed that opportunity to make a good PR and made a bad one instead. It always felt disappointing.
  4. To me it seems like a great Idea. Nu-XCOM un-dumbed. But seriously, it preserves the core mechanics of classic X-COM base building system while making it new and fresh. And you can move the missile to the side. Personally I'd prefer that because now it's an obstacle - it makes space available for players' base designs smaller. I'd rather some random obstacles in other bases. Well, it would certainly be better to have at least two hangars so one would serve as a workshop for building more planes. And maybe it could work like that when you click the hangar, it would switch to top-down view with a space to build one or two more? It could be justified by making some changes to the shape of the mountain. The base could be placed in a mountainside, like some real shelters are, rather than in the middle. Also, real mountains don't have as perfect shape as Atlas concept, so it makes sense.
  5. To avoid too many people getting pissed off - that is if you decide to change the side-on view concept - it would be a good idea to make a poll and let backers decide. Present the concept to them and see what they think. Although ant farm concept is really popular. Just look at Fallout Shelter. Or even This War Of Mine with its side-on view. It's entirely possible many people backed X2 project because they liked the base concept. I wonder if there is way to merge those concepts so the side-on view is preserved. Maybe those connections to other outposts near the main base? Or just more bases with different shapes of space inside and let players do what they want. You could use some alien technology to make underground connections between them. Some ultra fast transportation system. Or just satellite dishes to connect them for hi-speed data exchange, which would make joint projects possible. Scientists in other places could serve as a support for projects started somewhere else, giving a reduced boost to research time.
  6. And you really can't imagine well-designed ant-farm concept? Like there was totally no way to do it better? Personally I see no reason to play the same thing all over again. I would most probably enjoy it but I could also try something different for a change. Of course you may think otherwise.
  7. The only reason to stay with the ant farm concept is that there has been already much work done and now they would have to start from scratch. It’s a bad and risky thing for an indie studio to stretch its resources unless it’s not absolutely necessary. The quality of the whole game would need to suffer in some way. Also, there are backers – not X1 players only – who backed something specific and now they may want to have it delivered. Have you seen any backers on KS unhappy with the ant farm concept? It’s possible there were some but personally I haven’t noticed. They are definitely a very small minority. Look, I understand your point. I’m a big fan of X-COM games. I played the first one on Amiga 500 although it worked so extremely slow it’s hard to imagine. One enemy turn could easily last for a few minutes. I also play OpenXcom from time to time. And I really like the top-down view. I actually prefer it over the new XCOM’s ant farm. BUT if they make it right – rich and complex – and we know they can do it, I’d gladly see how it turns out. Why not give them an opportunity to make it the way it should be done? And there is one more thing. New XCOM sold very well. In opposition to many indie games sequels in recent years. And if we want to get X3 some day, we really need X2 to sell good. Thus, if most people like the ant farm concept and it has a potential to boost sales, then let them have it.
  8. Building more than one base in XCOM or Xenonauts was never a necessity. I think it was mostly caused by the range of planes, which soon could cover the whole world. Now, if for the most part of the game planes where to cover no more than one hemisphere, players would be encouraged or even need to build more bases (it could depend on the difficulty level). Although, there's no need for multiple full bases. Interceptors' posts would be enough, in my opinion. They could also serve as places to refuel your troops-carrying planes. And the need for refueling would certainly make the game more realistic than when one plane can fly all over the world without any constraints. Or your field agents could grant you an access to military landings (still not enough to fly from Europe to America, at least not for quite a while). And personally I see absolutely no reason to replace the side view with the top-down view. It is too expensive and requires too much time. Time that could be spent on real improvements and other features. Not to mention some pissed off backers (on the forum there are more hardcore players than among KS backers, so their opinions - although detailed, well-thought and constructive - can differ from opinion of an average player). I think the biggest problem with the ant-farm concept is its simplicity in the new XCOM series. But you can make it so much better in many ways, there's no need to ditch the whole concept. At least there will be something new. And if you decide to change the base concept anyway, it would be best to inform backers about it before the end of the campaign. Otherwise there may be some backlash. There were a few examples already in recent years. With one of the biggest ones being changing Elite Dangerous gameplay to online-only. There was a few hundred pages long thread on the matter. They guaranteed refunds because of that, although in the end there were very few backers who decided to get that refund. But the PR was very bad for a while.
  9. Honestly, it seems like no one wants this game to sell good. I mean I made some point there in my first post but no one made any counter argument. I have only one comment. Games for geeks don't sell.
  10. A good subtitle may turn out to be an important factor from the marketing point of view. I think it should be catchy and suggest what can players expect from the game. The subtitle on KS may be good as a first sentence of the description but it's too long for small pictures on sites like GOG and Steam. Backers shared a few proposals in comments on Kickstarter. There can't be too many to choose from, so I picked only four. My favurite is one of them and two remind of classic XCOM games. The fifth is KS subtitle. I don't know if I can add anything later but if you think something else would be a better choice, we could add it or even make another poll.
  11. Ravn7

    Xenonauts-2: Ground Combat

    You reminded me I actually did feel bored on some occasions playing CE. When I was doing the same thing all over again without anything new and not getting anything of value for quite a while. Although I don't think I'd feel like that in X2, since it's richer in many aspects. And I agree there were too many soldiers. I was forgetting about some of them, too. That is until I clicked "next". And it made missions too long. I had better fun with less soldiers. I'd gladly see more of them in the last few missions. Or even the last one (maybe they could use alien teleportation device or alien ship). But we built Divinity Original Sin. It gives you a task, it gives you tools and it leaves you to do something about it. Without compromising the story in any way. In recent interview, few RPG designer talked about it. They think more games will go the same way now: Brian Fargo is particularly keen to introduce “emergent gameplay” of the type that Divinity: Original Sin 2 used so effectively. Players could mess around with different elements to create fun interactions, like killing an enemy and electrifying their pooling blood so that it zaps anyone stood close. (...) Josh Sawyer, director of both Pillars of Eternity games, agrees that CRPGs will put more emphasis on “interactive environment-driven mechanics”. “By making more fundamentally dynamic gameplay that’s more driven by environmental interactions, you’re creating a game that’s richer for creating your own stories, your own gameplay by just fooling around.”
  12. Ravn7

    Xenonauts-2: Vehicles

    Since the tiles are larger, maybe you could just make MARS a little bigger, so it would cover some parts of adjacent tiles. When soldiers would stand beside it, it would be close to their legs. It just wouldn't fit in small doors without breaking them (UFOs can have few pixels wider door). Or didn't go through such doors at all - in X1 it even added a little depth to players' tactics.
  13. Ravn7

    Xenonauts-2: Ground Combat

    I also think the campaign would be too short. I played CE for the first time, so maybe it was longer but it felt perfectly fine. There are more technologies than number of mission, so you get too many new things with every one. For me one new thing per mission on average would be well enough. I don't even need that but I guess most players are casuals, so it would be fine. Of course, the simplest solution would be to give players more options in difficulty settings. This way everyone would be satisfied. If it's not too much work for you, it would be very good and convenient. No need to wait for long war mod before you start to play.
  14. Ravn7

    Xenonauts-2: The Geoscape

    I've always wanted a 3D map for a successor of classic X-Com games. Mostly because of nostalgia, I guess. But when I read this, I thought to myself: "but a game needs to distinguish itself from others". Flat but based on real Earth photos map was something new and interesting. I'd leave it like that. Although with some adjustments. It's not like these are real colors, after all. Those photos are taken in RAW format and then the color scheme is built from the ground in Photoshop. There are other real photographs of Earth and they don't all look the same. Thus, some adjustments won't make it less real. It’s the opposite, actually. When you look at photos made from the sky, most of them look brighter when the sky is clear. Even the ground under our feet looks brighter then. And this photo looks like it wasn’t directly lighted by the sun. And it’s because it really wasn’t, i.e. this picture was composed from parts of the photos with no sunlight reflections. Obviously. It reminds me of textures with poor lighting from the early days of 3D graphics. So, I think a good idea would be to add light maps to the Geocape view. Sun reflections on the ground and more vivid ones on the water could look awesome, in my opinion. And certainly very realistic. Also, people evolved in Africa tens of thousands years. Back then it looked like contemporary California or Greece. And those are environments intuitively preferred by humans. It's also one of the reasons most people prefer to go for holidays to similar places. Most probably it's also the reason why brighter color schemes became more popular in recent years (instead of darker, for example).
  15. Ravn7

    Xenonauts-2: ATLAS Base

    The ''feeling'' turns out to be quite important. Now, at first sight, for many people it feels like a copy of a copy and reminds them of a dumped down game. Thus, almost any changes would be a good thing. And when players would find it is much more complex - and makes more sense - they would be less skeptical about it. For example, few people have already mentioned that excavating was completely unnecessary in XCOM. I’ve always thought the same. Couldn't it be simply included in a build time? Instead you could make some different excavating technologies/machines to choose from when you start to build. Those could have different costs, need different number of technicians in relation to build time, use alien resources and so on. And machines could be built or found (alien) and need a place in a storage. I think there may be many ways to make the base feel different than XCOM base. Like simple changes to the layout, making the size of facilities more variable (it was a great idea, too) or making a possibility to upgrade facilities and expend their functionality rather than only build new ones (e.g. infirmary extending to cyber implants and psi abilities training). The base could be smaller this way (i.e. facilities would look bigger). Also, you could make it possible to expand facilities horizontally deeper into the mountain (like max two or three times). I think it wouldn’t require much work from art designers, just some changes to the backgrounds. This way a small compromise between two types of base expansion would be achieved and players wouldn’t build the same facilities all over the base. The idea of “outsourcing” is also promising. Players could convert some people in universities, laboratories or military facilities to their cause and they could do some covert work for them. Officers could even use factories that build stuff for military to build something for the player. Everything controlled from a specific panel, simple and not making mess on Geoscape. And that would also presents options for more missions. Another idea. There could be other reasons to abandon the base by the military they didn’t want to mention. Imagine there was a heat source under the mountain and when they wanted to utilize it, it turned out the aliens had planted something there. And that was the real source of the heat. So they collapsed the shaft and ran. And now players would need to send soldiers to deal with it. And maybe at the end they could find a door, impossible to open – it would be a mystery and people, especially XCOM franchise players, like mysteries very much (things like UFOs, etc.). Obviously, it could be done with text only but I think making a simple “caves” environment wouldn’t require as much work as other environments do. Current rock assets could be easily utilized, only with changed colors. I guess mostly new algorithms would be needed. Then this new environment type could be used for other secret alien facilities. Or entrances to some. Also, caves with branched tunnels would present a kind of refreshment to other, more similar, maps. And for the caves not to be dark a light can be shined by some alien plants and enemies may be just drones and different types of known aliens (maybe “wild”, with no implants to control them). Nothing that requires really much work but would add something interesting and more variety to the game. Oh, and since aliens can teleport now, they can appear almost everywhere during base defense missions. Let’s just say they can teleport only to places where there is much space, not to every small corridor (unless with high probability of dying in the wall). And sometimes the battle could continue outside (four maps, one for every direction) and then into the alien ship. Even more variety than X1 offered.