More than one month ago, we released OC. The usage of the website almost tripled in December as opposed to the months before. In December, OC has been downloaded over 10,000 times. Now that the storm seems to be over but before the OC project goes into hibernation (winter sleep), I want to summarize the feedback and present what we could/should do about it. For that, I rummaged through all the forums, blogs and so on where the OpenClonk release has been presented. About 2/3 to 3/4 of the feedback comes from the old Clonk.de community, the rest from internationals which posted on the OpenClonk forum. Little feedback was given on other platforms where we presented OC.
Controls & Objects
The feedback for the OC control concept are predominantly positive: The tool concept (dig with shovel, fight with sword etc.), the shooting/usage interface for the weapons, shovel and the climbing hook has been praised as fun and intuitive. The climbing hook in particular has been both praised for being fun and criticized for behaving not smooth enough. The inventory system with the backpack was also mentioned in a positive context, however it has been mentioned twice that it would be good if one can move while the (backpack) menu is open. The new melee combat style (use the sword instead of running into each other and let the FIGHT-physical handle it) combined with the bow and other weapons also went down well.
That the clonk is much more nimble now is seen positively. Things like that you can control him in flight is not even mentioned any more but seems to be part of the overall picture of OC controls. Some would like to see the clonk be even more nimble and made suggestions to remove the animation when falling down from high above, being able to dodge and faster to accelerate etc.
Only the cumbersome interaction with the chest (+cannon) has been criticized repeatedly. Since this is supposed to be a temporary solution anyway, it's not that bad. However, if it is just temporary, we should focus on creating a working concept which really improves the current situation soon (and implement it) .
By some players it has been mentioned that it is a pity that they can't play with their friend/brother/sister on one computer any more. In this context, the lack of the possibility to customize the controls as well as the non-working gamepad controls in splitscreen mode has been mentioned.
The scenarios have not really been mentioned specifically except for the occasional exclamation that one particular scenario is a lot of fun. An exception are the tutorials which have been embraced by many players, especially the last two, and the boomshire race which received a extensive review on clonkspot (conclusion: there are some things to criticize but all in all it is ok. Was fun).
Zoom and graphics
The artwork, the models and animations, the possibility to use 3D models now, sound etc. have not really been mentioned. I figure, those things - things that do not directly have something to do with the game mechanics - are just part of the overall atmosphere and impression OC makes on the players.
The graphics have only been mentioned as being in contrast with the very blurry and thus ugly landscape (when zoomed in). When zooming out (very far), people repeatedly reported that the game gets laggy.
Also, relatively many people described problems with the graphics of the game not being displayed, crashing, not rendered etc. which indicated that perhaps OpenGL only is not that well supported on Windows PCs on some graphics cards.
Many people mentioned that they look forward to seeing a reworked settlement mode in the next release. A few uttered their concern that (the) clonk is now very focused on action and that this perhaps doesn't fit to settlement.
In general, almost all feedback was positive. Many things we worried about earlier for not meeting a well reception in the old clonk community didn't turn out to be true. All in all, I think we can be more bold in the future if it comes down to changing game mechanics from the original.
Many of the issues that have been mentioned in the feedback were already known by us or have been solved in the meantime (not listed here). Known for example have been the jumpyness of the climbing hook, the cumbersome interaction with the chest and the "ugly" landscape.
Cumbersome interaction with containers: This point was the most mentioned negative point about OpenClonk. Because of this and because the current solution is provisional anyway, this has a higher priority. I'll try to make a posting about the concept for interacting with containers we talked about the CM at Clonk-Karl's last year these days, but I have not so much time for OC right now. Once the concept is clear, we have to work on the requirements to make this work.
Moving while menu is open: On principle, this is possible at least for non-engine-menus. The only problem are the gamepad controls - the gamepad player must be able to use the DPAD to control the menu. However, this problem is solveable. So in short, I'm on it. But it has no real priority. Link
Customizeable controls/gamepad controls: Issues regarding the (gamepad) controls have long been suspended because Sven2 was not available. If this changes depends on whether he is more available in the future or someone else continues his work. There is a mock-up for customizing controls in the forum. The issue with multiple gamepad/mice was already known a long time and probably also in the bugtracker amongst other control-related bugs.
Blurry landscape: As we all know, PeterW is working on a solution based on hq3x. For the long-term, I am working on my bachelors degree with the title "An edge based approach to the representation of changeable 2D landscapes for games" which might be a good base on which a clonk-specific polygon based solution can be developed.
DirectX: DX is not removed from the code but not touched either. After all, if someone is found to add the missing parts of the implementation for DX, he is welcome. But the lack of DX didn't spark so many problems that it would be important or urgent to get this done.
After getting out of beta, it is again open where the route is taking OpenClonk - who is on board and who is leading the team. I can't say if I am available, probably not. But I want to remind you all that it has neither been decided nor sketched out what the next release of OC will consist of and how it will work (game mechanics) and look (artwork style). Classic settlement was just a suggestion and recently there have been some suggestions that involved a completely new understanding of what settlement would look like instead of a tweaked remake. I don't want to get into detail here, this belongs into it's own topic. I just want to say, that after OC can officially be called stable, and probably already now, the creative sketching and conception phase begins again. What technologies will we use in the future, which grand features will be developed? Everything is possible, again. It is the time where new people can involve themselves in the project with their own ideas and it is the time to reflect about what we did so far and what new possible paths opened for us.
Someone just has to take the initiative to give a foundation for a new concept.
A very big congratulations to the developers, Openclonk did you do really cool.
And the buildings that you get out too!
I wish it all would be almost done, but unfortunately is no such thing:)
I'm looking forward to the alpha version when everything is complete.
>Controls & Objects
http://white30.de/clonkspot/2010/12/05/oc-boomshire/#attachment_1116 (okay, plane controls probably aren't really related)
>Zoom and graphics
My brother and me used to play Clonk since Clonk 4 came out. For us the game was mostly about settlement although the melee part was also great. When I heard about OpenClonk I was really excited and I immediately told my brother about it. I was surprised that the game is that good in this early state of developement. I really like the new controls and items. The melee gameplay seems more interesting this way.
Sure my brother and I had too high expectations for the early release of OpenClonk, so the missing settlement mode was a disappointment at first. But as we read about the plans of OpenClonk and the settlement mode, we now look forward to the next steps of OpenClonk, as many others do, like Newton said.
The things that bothered me a bit, were the overall darker look of OpenClonk. Sure thats also a side effect of those line-of-sight-shadows. But the old Clonk versions overall looked a little bit more bright and friendly with clonks that had more of a cute look.
I encourage the Idea of Newton, that the settlement mode needs a lot of attention and great concepts. When this step is done the old Clonk community will populate OpenClonk and will grow over time.
>When zooming out (very far), people repeatedly reported that the game gets laggy.
CK, fix fix fix!
> There have been a few suggestions so far to improve performance when zoomed out (LODs, VBOs) but I guess both are not anything that can be done quickly as some kind of fix and would be a new big feature.
One thing which might be rather easy to do is to reuse the depth buffer for multiple meshes instead of clearing it after each rendering.
>If much more meshes need to be displayed on the screen, it's natural that it gets laggy.
I get lags, even if the meshcount doesn't increase drastically.
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