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  • First impressions

    So, I got an unexpected preview code for Windborne due to being involved with the Defense Grid 2 kickstarter. Based on the included links I determined it to be like Minecraft, but with better graphics. I've never played Minecraft because the blocky aesthetic doesn't appeal to me, but otherwise I like the concept of building stuff and sculpting the world around me. So I decided to give Windborne a try.

    I had some trouble picking up the controls and generally figuring out the game. Based on what little I know of Minecraft, I thought the blade would be involved in digging blocks. I managed to accidentally throw it to the ground and couldn't pick it back up. Fortunately, after some more fumbling with the controls I got a handle on the dig and build modes.

    While building my first sandstone house, I found myself with a huge surplus of fine and superb sandstone bricks, which I couldn't use for making sandstone walls and roofs. Some time later I had loads of marble bricks when I needed the fine variety. It would be nice if there was some way to convert between qualities, probably with a penalty when going to a higher quality (2 normal bricks -> 1 fine brick or something).

    Recycling extra items back to components would also be nice.

    Thin walls behave rather badly with anything else than other thin walls. You have to build a complete circle out of them to get them match up. Attempting to put windows or doors in them will leave gaps. Once or twice I also managed to get an entire section of thin walls reverse their orientation when I added another thin wall block at the end. I couldn't get it to reverse back and had to destroy and rebuild the entire section.

    Arches are inverted compared to their icons. The actual in-game arch graphic has the opening upwards, while the icon has it downwards.

    The game became noticeably slower over time and eventually crashed after a few hours. The slowdown happened again after I restarted the game, but I stopped playing and went to bed before it could crash again. Not really surprising for an alpha version.

    It would be nice if placed blocks would match the geometry of surrounding blocks. Especially with light materials like grass it's easy to accidentally mine a block and then be unable to repair it because a replaced block will jut out of the ground.

    Somewhat related to the above, I like digging caves so some kind of scanner to show how much rock there is between me and the outer wall would be nice.

    Gemcrafting table and research table are not interactive. I couldn't find any recipes using research table, so I suppose it's for something that's yet to come.

  • #2
    Got the Steam key in an email (same as the OP) so I tried the game. Since you are apparently offering another 10K keys, I don't even know if anyone will even read my comments, but since you gave me a key I'll at least give you my impression. I noticed that there's some overlap with my comments and other's bug/suggestions so just ignore the dups and take my comments for what they're worth.

    I've not tried Minecraft but I have tried something called Master Space (http://www.master-space.com/)v There seem to be a lot of similarity in the two. Here are some comparisons; (+) better than Master Space, (-) worse than Master Space.

    (-) The build/gather controls are "squishy". It's too easy to accidentally gather a soft material (like grass) and leave a hole when the soft material is behind a harder material. I'd like an 'undo' option. It's also too easy to accidentally place a block in the wrong position since the game tries a bit too aggressively to anticipate where the block should be placed. This is far easier to deal with since once can 'gather' the mis-placed block. I also think the radius for the 'auto collect' should be increased. I seem to lose a lot of material when it's near an edge of an island.

    (-) There should be some audio/visual feedback when the shaper/stove are active. This would allow one to tell when a device needs attention.

    (+) More varied craftable items and far better control over how they are placed.

    (+) Much more elaborate structures are possible.

    (-) Glass is not transparent. A related issue is that mirrors are not reflective. I should be able to place a pane of glass in a wall and see through it (so I could admire the world).

    (-) Night is not really that dark & sky textures not as interesting.


    In no particular order here are my thoughts:

    1. I want to have the ability to create my own items to be crafted. This is probably a fairly big change since presumably I'd need to script a) model w/ textures, b) placement/rotation, c) interactive options.

    2. Need more/varied animals & plants. They should reproduce (to a limit maybe?). Trees/plants should grow. Grass should grow back after harvesting. Perhaps I need the ability to "cultivate".

    3. Random placement could use some work. I saw trees hanging in mid-air (looks funny) and some Desert Bluetrees growing literally inside of a rock.

    4. It's hard to build beneath an existing block (i.e. building a descending staircase from above); I have to construct a lower platform so as to see the underside of the block on which to build and sometimes this is very difficult or impossible.

    5. I quickly got lost in my mine and had to begin tunneling upward to eventually hit the surface or the side of the island. I found open-pit mining better to avoid this. Maybe allow signage to create a navigable tunnel complex? Must be able to put text on sign. [Bug: while converting my mine to open-pit, I worked from the top down. This resulted in hundreds of uncollected material spheres accumulating on a lower level. At some point the game 'froze'. As I painstakingly collected the spheres -- with a non-existent frame rate -- the game finally began responding.]

    6. I should be able to "uncraft" items -- return an item to it's original components/raw materials. At the very least, I should be able to totally delete items (i.e. thousands of granite blocks)

    7. There should be more working/interactive items.

    8. Master Space has the interesting concept of a spherical world. On the one hand, this creates a fully 3D world. On the other hand, I kept getting lost since there was no map and I could not build a GPS/compass.

    9. How do I use a research table?

    10. It would save me time if I could make a teleport to avoid having to walk across my world to get to the outlying islands.

    11. There should be a reason for visiting neighboring islands. Maybe some raw materials only exist there? Otherwise why (aside from the challenge) should I build a bridge?

    12. How about being able to build land/air/water vehicles? This would lend itself to having other players fly to my island. Then, of course, I'd need ground-to-air defenses to prevent unwanted visitors. And offensive weapons so I could invade & conquer.

    13. How about some fairly complex working items? Windmills, elevators, flags waving in the "wind", flowing water (with dams, pumps, generators, etc.) with melting snow on mountain tops to provide the source to fill lakes (excess could drain off the side of the island and disappear), blinking lights (with optional signage), flying animals for target practice with guns.

    14. I get the feeling that the framerate is still pretty low even set two notches below 'Pretty'. Movement/panning seems a little jerky but maybe it's just me (specs: i7-2670QM@2.2GHz, Nvidia GTX 560M, Asus 3D laptop)

    15. Screenshots (F12 via the Steam overlay) include the round cursor



    Conclusion.

    Since I'm not that artistically creative, my structures are pretty boring. While I probably spent about 20 hours mining, building a house & tower, and connecting my islands I doubt if I will spend more time on the game.

    1) It's going to disappear from my library, right?
    2) What more do I do? Just build?

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by dave@bodenstab.org View Post
      Got the Steam key in an email (same as the OP) so I tried the game. Since you are apparently offering another 10K keys, I don't even know if anyone will even read my comments, but since you gave me a key I'll at least give you my impression. I noticed that there's some overlap with my comments and other's bug/suggestions so just ignore the dups and take my comments for what they're worth.

      I've not tried Minecraft but I have tried something called Master Space (http://www.master-space.com/)v There seem to be a lot of similarity in the two. Here are some comparisons; (+) better than Master Space, (-) worse than Master Space.

      (-) The build/gather controls are "squishy". It's too easy to accidentally gather a soft material (like grass) and leave a hole when the soft material is behind a harder material. I'd like an 'undo' option. It's also too easy to accidentally place a block in the wrong position since the game tries a bit too aggressively to anticipate where the block should be placed. This is far easier to deal with since once can 'gather' the mis-placed block. I also think the radius for the 'auto collect' should be increased. I seem to lose a lot of material when it's near an edge of an island.

      (-) There should be some audio/visual feedback when the shaper/stove are active. This would allow one to tell when a device needs attention.

      (+) More varied craftable items and far better control over how they are placed.

      (+) Much more elaborate structures are possible.

      (-) Glass is not transparent. A related issue is that mirrors are not reflective. I should be able to place a pane of glass in a wall and see through it (so I could admire the world).

      (-) Night is not really that dark & sky textures not as interesting.


      In no particular order here are my thoughts:

      1. I want to have the ability to create my own items to be crafted. This is probably a fairly big change since presumably I'd need to script a) model w/ textures, b) placement/rotation, c) interactive options.

      2. Need more/varied animals & plants. They should reproduce (to a limit maybe?). Trees/plants should grow. Grass should grow back after harvesting. Perhaps I need the ability to "cultivate".

      3. Random placement could use some work. I saw trees hanging in mid-air (looks funny) and some Desert Bluetrees growing literally inside of a rock.

      4. It's hard to build beneath an existing block (i.e. building a descending staircase from above); I have to construct a lower platform so as to see the underside of the block on which to build and sometimes this is very difficult or impossible.

      5. I quickly got lost in my mine and had to begin tunneling upward to eventually hit the surface or the side of the island. I found open-pit mining better to avoid this. Maybe allow signage to create a navigable tunnel complex? Must be able to put text on sign. [Bug: while converting my mine to open-pit, I worked from the top down. This resulted in hundreds of uncollected material spheres accumulating on a lower level. At some point the game 'froze'. As I painstakingly collected the spheres -- with a non-existent frame rate -- the game finally began responding.]

      6. I should be able to "uncraft" items -- return an item to it's original components/raw materials. At the very least, I should be able to totally delete items (i.e. thousands of granite blocks)

      7. There should be more working/interactive items.

      8. Master Space has the interesting concept of a spherical world. On the one hand, this creates a fully 3D world. On the other hand, I kept getting lost since there was no map and I could not build a GPS/compass.

      9. How do I use a research table?

      10. It would save me time if I could make a teleport to avoid having to walk across my world to get to the outlying islands.

      11. There should be a reason for visiting neighboring islands. Maybe some raw materials only exist there? Otherwise why (aside from the challenge) should I build a bridge?

      12. How about being able to build land/air/water vehicles? This would lend itself to having other players fly to my island. Then, of course, I'd need ground-to-air defenses to prevent unwanted visitors. And offensive weapons so I could invade & conquer.

      13. How about some fairly complex working items? Windmills, elevators, flags waving in the "wind", flowing water (with dams, pumps, generators, etc.) with melting snow on mountain tops to provide the source to fill lakes (excess could drain off the side of the island and disappear), blinking lights (with optional signage), flying animals for target practice with guns.

      14. I get the feeling that the framerate is still pretty low even set two notches below 'Pretty'. Movement/panning seems a little jerky but maybe it's just me (specs: i7-2670QM@2.2GHz, Nvidia GTX 560M, Asus 3D laptop)

      15. Screenshots (F12 via the Steam overlay) include the round cursor



      Conclusion.

      Since I'm not that artistically creative, my structures are pretty boring. While I probably spent about 20 hours mining, building a house & tower, and connecting my islands I doubt if I will spend more time on the game.

      1) It's going to disappear from my library, right?
      2) What more do I do? Just build?
      Wow, thanks for all this feedback! I'll make sure our team takes a look at it I really appreciate you putting this together for us. Also, your buildings look AWESOME! I'm really digging the tower.

      Comment


      • #4
        My final thoughts after investing around 30 hours in the game.

        I've done all the building that my un-artistic imagination came up with. I've started the game a couple more times to admire it. I've even regenerated my island but I find I do not have any enthusiasm to go through the whole mine/build/craft grind again so my new island just sits there--bare and untouched--a pristine grazing area for the woolies. Now what?

        Seriously, what's the point?

        From what little I know of Minecraft (which I've neither played nor intend to play), Windborne appears to be heavily influenced by that game. There also seem to be several other recent attempts to emulate that genre:

        Windborne
        Master Space
        Star Forge

        Even Guncraft looks sort of similar.

        Of the above, Star Forge looks the most interesting (I won't be buying a "work in progress" though; I'll wait to see if they deliver on their concept).

        Getting back to Windborne--so what am I supposed to do now? I'll never be able to create some of the example constructions you've highlighted. I guess I could go back every so often and add a few more of my boring buildings. Even if I do, I'm still in the same boat. To me, Windborne (so far) is a one-trick pony.

        In conclusion, you'll have to add something more before I'd consider buying such a game. At a minimum I'd want to see:

        + ability to create/script/mod/share items to craft (but I am adamantly opposed to in-game microtransactions as seems to be the norm for smart phone/tablet apps)
        + more variety of raw materials/craftable items/environment
        + some sort of exploration scheme whereby I could visit islands of completely new/novel design/attributes/raw materials (maybe hide blueprints for crafting new items on other islands)

        and ultimately:

        + some reason to invest my time in either building stuff or exploring

        Thanks for the opportunity to try it out.

        PS. This forum sure is bustling with activity ... not!
        Last edited by Dave B.; 01/08/2014, 09:43 AM.

        Comment


        • #5
          To the poster above-

          Just to let you know there is more planned for the game. What you see now is just testing whats currently in the game. Maybe this is your first time with a beta? Not sure but maybe you should go look up the plan for this game and what they hope to include. Just a thought.


          As for me though. There are some things that sound fun that were mentioned about being included but I think there is too much "doll house" in this game. It feels to be geared for a younger audience.
          Last edited by polimerjones; 01/08/2014, 11:12 AM.

          Comment


          • #6
            Hey Dave, as Polimerjones said, our Steam Early Access build will have more content and features. Think of the preview as a glimpse of what Windborne is. We do appreciate your feedback though and for trying the game out. I hope you'll consider giving it another try once Early Access is available

            Comment


            • #7
              As I visited my final island since it's apparently going to disappear, a couple more suggestions came to mind.

              1. Since the game seems to have "building" as a major component and since pictures cannot always provide a good showcase, how about adding a "movie" option? Click an option and record a video of one's movement through the world. This would allow interiors such as halls, tunnels, staircases, and rooms to be shown in their true glory. If HalfLIfe 2 & TF2 can do it, so can you!

              2. Sort of in the same vein, it would be nice to have a stand-alone viewer so one could export the world, put it on a CD/DVD with the viewer to show off to one's friends that either do not have the game, are not interested in owning the game, or just are not into computers with a Steam account.

              3. An even more wild idea: have 3rd person view and allow one to provide a photo of one's face & to customize the character for either pictures or videos.

              That's it. Good luck.

              Comment


              • Kaboom
                Kaboom commented
                Editing a comment
                Very interesting stuff, Dave! I'll make sure this gets passed along.
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