Alright, I obviously greatly enjoy this game. I’ve poured a lot of hours into the game directly, into interacting with the community and the devs, and into building tools outside the game. We have a pretty good group here.
But, I’m worried about the game on a number of fronts. These things have been accumulating in my head, but the degree to which I was depressed by the announcement of an imminent monthly subscription model shocked me, and told me it’s time to put this all together and, hopefully, start a conversation.
I wouldn’t make such a strong claim just for fun, so this is going to be long, and detailed. A lot of the detail may only be of interest to the devs. To keep it readable tho, it will spread across 3 posts, and I’ll tl;dr each one.
Let’s start with the most obvious:
1. The game lacks the basic functionality to be ready for early access.
When I try to get friends to play the game, they tell me I’m describing what people do for work. There are still way too many core game functions that are just that.
1a. Ship loading is horrendous.
Unless I want to move all units of a single commodity, the current system is just bad.
1b. Calculating what you need to haul (consumables, inputs) is horrendous.
I should not have to run outside tools to do even basic assessments of my in-game operations, and yet that is what many are driven to.
In the past, we have heard a concern from the dev team that they “don’t want to play the game for” us. This is not a real response to this situation, unless the suggestion is that the following process is the game you think people want to play:
i. Looking up how many RAT I consume on a base in one screen
ii. summing across a few worker tiers
iii. multiplying that number by 30 (or whatever day supply)
iv. subtracting how much inventory I have at that base (which I have to look up in another screen)
v. and then load that quantity into the resupply ship, using the aforementioned horrible ship loading process.
And then repeat that for every consumable.
And then repeat that for every production input, using slightly different logic and different screens to look up the amounts.
If this is the game you think people want to pay to play, I am strongly suggesting you are wrong. This is supposed to be a space economy sim, but we currently run our operations like its the 1800s, manually calculating our future inventory every month.
A basic improvement would be a screen showing days supply of anything/everything, with a field to enter desired days supply and get back how much you need of each to achieve that. Add a way to have a ship get loaded by those amounts from available inventories at its location, and you’d push things wildly ahead.
It’s odd there’s such barebones stuff here. This is the core of your game: supply chains. I never want to load a resupply ship again with the current system, I dread it, loathe it, every time.
1c. Queue management is literally work.
I’ve discussed with the devs before. I have zero interest to requeue 5 H2O 20-cycle orders into my Prom RIG ever again. Why do you make me do it?
The devs shared that there’s interest in keeping this basic gameplay for new players. I’m all for that. We also discussed a number of ways to maintain that without forcing veterans to keep pushing the same dumb button every day or 2. Where are we on that? Back in July or August, @Counterpoint promised a QOL queue feature. Where’s that at?
1d. The financials are a thing, that does not work.
Just remove them from the game. I love the idea of them, and you’re so close, but as currently implemented they are apparently worthless. I asked @Martin to tell me how he uses them, and he had no answer. If the developer can’t make sense of them, what’s the point?
But while we’re here…
1e. Producing a product is not a loss incurring event.
No business leader or owner, and no government, would accept posting a loss for consuming inputs during manufacturing. It is not a thing outside a child’s lemonade stand. It is incompatible with accruing the value of purchased inventory as an asset on the same balance sheet. It is the primary reason the financial statements are worthless.
I believe the aversion from capitalizing production was concern on how many costs to try and capitalize. This is a fair question at design outset, but the answer is always “some of them”, and not none. The value of the input materials should always be capitalized.
If you will have an accounting system in your game, then have one. If you don’t want to make the decision yourself, follow what the EU demands.
tl;dr – Performing most core functions in the game is tedious and just not fun: loading a ship, calculating needed supplies, managing queues. The financial statements should be removed if they will not be fixed.