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18 March 2016 - Friday Update ISo, if you didn't catch it last week: From Earth is now available for download on Steam. Check it out here.
I have already uploaded some patches to some of the bugs people have found including some crashes and cases of player getting stuck. Current version is 0.1.7.11.
Also some feedback that I have received:
The control scheme is too complicated.This is something I have thought about before, but never really went through the trouble of trying to simplify it. Let's look at the list of different commands.
So, that's a lot of keys! A lot of it has just kept piling up. One of the problems is the item buttons. Interactive machines can have as many buttons as the designer wants since you select them by looking at them, and you always use +attack to press them. But item buttons need to be usable even when you are not directly looking at the buttons. Items can only have three buttons in each state, so the control scheme needs to have three bindings for them. But the third button has always been kind of tricky. The middle button (default for the third button) is usually the mouse wheel button and it can be hard to click. I use the side mouse button for the third button myself, but not all mouses have it. The combat system also uses the same bindings for the three different types of attack. The third button is also used for blocking so it needs to be easily accessible in the control scheme.
Combat Stance is kind of tricky, too. Being able to threaten enemies is an important ability if you are doing a violent run of the game. Aliens wont be afraid of you if you are not in combat stance or if you are not holding any weapons. But sometimes you don't want to scare aliens, so you want to be able to control when you are in combat stance and when not.
The holstering button, picking up, and dropping could also be combined together better. Reducing them to two or even one keys would help reduce the complexity of the control scheme.
The language system is too complicatedI have been happy to hear a lot of positive feedback about the language system. The language system is semi-optional (but also my favourite part of the game ). It really depends how you want to play game and how much time do you want to spend talking to the aliens. But the UI needs some improvements and the game needs to be more clear about how it works in general.
Part of the problem with the language system is that there is multiple ways to say the same thing. You could for example say "this is a rifle" or "a rifle is this". Because of how the language system is programmed the sentences follow a specific structure. For most sentences it's:
So, like with our rifle example, some versions of the same sentence might allow you to leave out the first Subject and others might allow you to leave out the second Subject. In these cases it would only show the verb as a required word which can be confusing.
On top of that the language system has some additional features to it like the concept of "bad grammar" and "politeness." Bad Grammar and Politeness are not really require to learn. It's not necessary for people to understand what kind of sentences are polite and what are not, and 99% of the time players are not required to speak in good grammar. There's only few cases where Politeness or Good Grammar helps you, and all of them only help you get what you need slightly faster. But the concept is still there. It's visible on the Language System help menu.
I am not sure if the tip messages that show up in the language UI are helping people. They might just be cluttering the UI. Are the "optional" and "required" tags really necessary? Do they help people build sentences, or would it be enough to have only the "requred" word columns blink when the player hasn't selected a word in them.
While we have had a lot of feedback already, I appreciate any feedback. Let us know what you find the most fun parts of the game and what not. What parts of the game are too difficult or confusing and how we could improve them? Leave feedback, make suggestions, report bugs, ask questions and take part on the discussion at the From Earth Steam forums.
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