Author Topic: Welcome to Pandora's Box  (Read 4667 times)

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Offline BUncle

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Welcome to Pandora's Box
« on: April 23, 2014, 09:45:47 PM »
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  • We're interested in covering Pandora: First Contact, but the people we had in the beta haven't had anything to say.  You? 

    I was hoping to get a little content in here before I made the forum visible, but it's been SO busy lately.  Hopefully throwing this open to everyone will cure the problem the natural way.

    I don't know much about Pandora, so educate me...
    « Last Edit: June 11, 2014, 02:59:50 PM by sisko »

    Offline BlaneckW

    Re: Welcome to Pandora's Box
    « Reply #1 on: April 23, 2014, 10:53:04 PM »
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  • It's a military game with military techs made to look like Alpha Centauri but doesn't have things like civics.

    Also, I don't think randomized techs is a good idea.  It is, what shall we say?  An attempt to glean strategy from randomness as a stand in for design.

    I think the saying goes...  but what if we hadn't discovered the wheel?  Then we'd be cavemen, glad I could clear that up. If you think randomness improves a game, get out your deck of cards.  Why in god's name would you even play grandstrategy if you think this is a good idea?  You don't just take sand from the beach and make a dataprobe.

    Offline BUncle

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    Re: Welcome to Pandora's Box
    « Reply #2 on: April 23, 2014, 11:24:38 PM »
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  • Okay.  I recall looking at the screenshots last year and it seems to me there's a superficial physical resemblance to BE...

    Offline Ford_Prefect

    Re: Welcome to Pandora's Box
    « Reply #3 on: April 24, 2014, 01:10:20 AM »
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  • I wish they would put it up on Steam, GOG, Desura or the Humble Store for purchase.  I don't want to have yet another place to have to go check for updates.

    Offline thorn

    Re: Welcome to Pandora's Box
    « Reply #4 on: April 25, 2014, 11:27:30 AM »
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  • I wish they would put it up on Steam, GOG, Desura or the Humble Store for purchase.  I don't want to have yet another place to have to go check for updates.

    The game automatically checks for updates when you start it so that's not a worry.

    Offline DrazharLn

    Re: Welcome to Pandora's Box
    « Reply #5 on: April 25, 2014, 03:31:29 PM »
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  • I played Pandora for a while last night. I really like the flavour of the native life, but they haven't affected my gameplay hugely. I also really like the histories for the factions. Unfortunately, those histories don't really come through in the gameplay and are mostly hidden in the "compendium" (online help).

    I also found that the AI weren't very talkative (apart from to demand tribute from me continuously) and I didn't really feel connected to their game, apart from when I had to fend off their armies or when I initiated talks with them (mostly failed attempts to make them like me).

    With the diplomacy, I also found that other players were very aggressive and often demanded tribute to accept trade agreements that would disproportionately benefit them. One can also only pay tribute in money.

    Combat is OK, but my chosen faction, the Terra Salvum (Sort of Gaians), have a -25% combat bonus when attacking, which makes offensive actions all but impossible. Which wouldn't be so bad, but the AI is so aggressive that players declare war on me all the time. And when they do my most viable tactic is basically just to wait on them coming to me (with the exception of my navy, which has sunk dozens of transport ships but still aren't great vs armed units).

    If besieging a city was more useful or the AI were better at guarding their convoys, I would have to be aggressive even with the -25%, but it's not.

    Also, no civics and the global resource pool is a questionable idea. How do the resources get around? You should be able to blockade their transport. The range of former options is quite small, too.

    (And no sea colonies or formers)

    Anyway: It's an OK game and I had some fun playing, but the world doesn't feel as alive as I want it to. Mostly due to the quiet and unreasonable AI and a lack of flavour regarding the technologies and buildings.
    « Last Edit: April 25, 2014, 04:00:35 PM by DrazharLn »

    Offline vv221

    Re: Welcome to Pandora's Box
    « Reply #6 on: April 30, 2014, 08:51:25 PM »
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  • The developers seems to be very active on Sltiherine's forums:
    http://www.slitherine.com/forum/viewforum.php?f=173

    Please help me there to show there's a strong demand for hotseat multiplayer!
    http://www.slitherine.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=173&t=47033

    -----

    Sea formers are coming!!
    http://www.slitherine.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=204&t=49159#p463627
    « Last Edit: April 30, 2014, 09:55:23 PM by vv221 »
    De chacun selon ses moyens,
    à chacun selon ses besoins.

    Offline DrazharLn

    Re: Welcome to Pandora's Box
    « Reply #7 on: May 01, 2014, 12:38:45 AM »
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  • Yeah, the developers seem like good people and it's not a bad game, but it definitely seems like a wargame. Which makes playing the builder faction that I did quite odd.

    My other main complaint was the fiction in the game. The quotes and so on in all the technologies in SMAC really build the flavour of the world and the factions. That's not in Pandora. Similarly, secret projects don't have cool, characterful movies, and there aren't interludes (that I've seen/remember).

    It does have this cool system where the first time you see something a little icon appears and you can read about it. That works really quite well but is let down by the uninspired nature of a lot of the native life. The slow and ancient sea behemoth is the only one that's really stuck.

    There's a big chunk of background history on each faction in the compendium, but I think it's mostly wasted words. There are some good ideas in there, like the Terra Salvum who came to Pandora on a pirated ship without any cryo bays, and some cool history about the world they left, but it's hidden away.

    You have to look for it on your own initiative, and when you do find it you're rewarded with far too much text. They should provide the same of greater level of detail on each faction and its history and ideology (or whatever else they want to emphasise), but do it over a greater span of time.

    The most important parts of the history should be delivered mostly either before the game starts (as SMAC does with the starting film and the short faction bios) and/or drip-fed throughout the game.

    The main part of the delivered fiction, however, should be about what the game is actually about and it should be delivered throughout the game. In SMAC that's the story of the early colonies, the exploration of an alien world and the future of human society. Pandora could use the same tricks to reinforce its own message about what it is.

    As it is, Pandora wastes the first opportunity to invoke the fiction (as so many games do) by using the first three sentences of their opening cinematic to set the scene in the most generic way possible: "It's the year blah de blah and man has finally reached the stars. In the whatever system...".

    They shouldn't just be describing the setting.  They should be telling me why I should care. There's not even really any music. It's like they don't want to evoke emotion.

    I understand that it's a low budget game and all, but this is the first thing your players see after the menu screen and the faction select screen (maybe the first thing they see on the first run of the game)! You've got to pull people in, make them engaged! It should be a priority to get it right.

    The opening cinematic for SMAC, on the other hand, is pretty much iconic. The whole game is sprinkled with this attention to narrative detail and presentation (sadly, not so much on the software robustness front). And at the time they made SMAC, Firaxis were low on cash, too.

    Offline vv221

    Re: Welcome to Pandora's Box
    « Reply #8 on: May 01, 2014, 02:20:13 AM »
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  • I fully agree with all of your complaints, did you post them on the official board?
    The devs are always asking for more feedback there.

    As a builder, you might enjoy the 1.3.0 version which should be released very soon:
    http://download.pandora.proxy-studios.com/.Pandora/Updater/Beta/2/Windows-x86_32/Documents/English/ChangeLog.txt
    In a nutshell: more actions for formers and more options for diplomacy.

    There is definitely a lot of room for improvement in this game, but the reactivity of the devs keeps me confident.
    An example there, I reported a bug at 1:09AM and the fix has been uploaded at 1:56AM:
    http://www.slitherine.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=204&t=49718

    Maybe that's why I'm all optimistic about Pandora: I don't see the actual game but its potential.
    And its potential is HUGE!

    Anyway, I'm totally biased on this subject…
    I was a beta-tester, and in this game I found what was keeping me away from modern Civilization (IV & V): a cool setting and devs caring for their gamers (and a native GNU/Linux version) ;)

    It is not Alpha Centauri 2, but for me it is a good thing.
    What make me stop my SMAC session to start a Pandora one is not the similarities but the differences, like the global pool for resources and growth, the aliens turning aggressive only after a point, the operations, the randomized tech tree, the way citizens gather resources…

    Trying to do everything like SMAC did is a bad idea IMHO, because you'll end up only with an inferior SMAC (nothing can be superior to SMAC, it's a fact).
    De chacun selon ses moyens,
    à chacun selon ses besoins.

    Offline DrazharLn

    Re: Welcome to Pandora's Box
    « Reply #9 on: May 01, 2014, 03:24:58 AM »
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  • Well, I wouldn't claim that nothing will beat SMAC.

    I agree that Pandora shouldn't just try to be a prettier SMAC or even follow to closely. It has to make its own way.

    I have not posted any feedback on the official board. I might do.

    While potential is exciting, ultimately it's the game on offer that will be judged. Ideas are so much easier to come up with than implementations.

    Offline BUncle

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    Re: Welcome to Pandora's Box
    « Reply #10 on: May 01, 2014, 03:38:05 AM »
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  • Say v, if you're going to push another forum here, could you put in a good word for us there for balance?  ;nod

    "AC2: Covers the heck out of SMACX, covers Beyond Earth and expanding to cover Pandora - check it out."? :D



    Also, would you like to be added to the Pandora Beta (testers) users group?  It comes with a Pandora icon under your handle...

    Offline vv221

    Re: Welcome to Pandora's Box
    « Reply #11 on: May 01, 2014, 04:25:06 AM »
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  • Say v, if you're going to push another forum here, could you put in a good word for us there for balance?  ;nod

    "AC2: Covers the heck out of SMACX, covers Beyond Earth and expanding to cover Pandora - check it out."? :D
    That's funny, I was just thinking about it ;)

    Quote from: BUncle
    Also, would you like to be added to the Pandora Beta (testers) users group?  It comes with a Pandora icon under your handle...
    Hey, I'm in for everything that comes with a shiny badges!

    -----

    Just noticed you've a Wiki too!
    Won't take long before I feel at home here…
    De chacun selon ses moyens,
    à chacun selon ses besoins.

    Offline BUncle

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    Re: Welcome to Pandora's Box
    « Reply #12 on: May 01, 2014, 04:31:56 AM »
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  • Done.  And then there were four.  Looks good on you.

    See the Wiki thread in Council Room -it's currently topped- ete will be glad to chat up a fellow wiki affecionado.  There's always plenty to do.  -And a badge at the bottom of your postbit for contributing.

    Offline BUncle

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    Re: Welcome to Pandora's Box
    « Reply #13 on: July 24, 2016, 02:06:50 AM »
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  • We've had someone's DL have a touch of off-topic fun in here, so had to take away his toy and do a little cleanup.  I hope the guilty party groks that this gets real old, real fast, especially when past transgressions have been treated with some patience and mercy - both, things that the management has in plenty, but of which there isn't an infinite quantity.

     

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