Author Topic: Empires of the Undergrowth: A game about ants  (Read 11630 times)

JeffNevington

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Re: Empires of the Undergrowth: A game about ants
« Reply #30 on: October 06, 2017, 02:55:03 PM »
Ha, thanks.  That was a lot of fun to put together, really hits hard what you let happen to your poor queen :P

I had no idea there was a sorting hat spider!!! We should have just changed all the spiders to this!  That really is an awesome little beast.  You are of course right about the hat having little effect on arachnophobes. That fact alone, I find quite hilarious (that we added the feature and it doesn't help at all)- though I think some people are quite serious about not wanting to be scared by spiders.  The idea came up (though may not be implemented for some time yet) to have an "arachnophobia slider":  The higher you set your arachnophobia, the bigger the top hat is, and on maximum it is just a big mobile top hat.

Obviously we don't want to get too side tracked pouring time into that, not when ants are still getting themselves stuck on nest entrances.. Damn 3d pathfinding.  :ogre:

Jubal

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Re: Empires of the Undergrowth: A game about ants
« Reply #31 on: October 06, 2017, 03:09:34 PM »
Ugh, I can imagine - I've seen game projects get really hung up on their 2d pathfinding, let alone 3d!

Yeah, it was a fairly recent discovery, it's a very cool creature! I do end up getting quite a lot of arachnology gossip on the grapevines, which helps in finding out these things :P
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JeffNevington

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Re: Empires of the Undergrowth: A game about ants
« Reply #32 on: November 18, 2017, 11:30:40 AM »
So the Beta has been running for 3 weeks now and we finally have a date for early access.  I'm so worried about the thing flopping, I feel completely out of my depth in the marketing department.  The reception of early access has me worried too, my biggest concern is that the game only has between 5-7 hours of content as it stands (another 2-3 if you count demo levels, which I guess most people wont).  Steam ratings can be quite harsh if people feel there isn't enough.

So I am worried about everything. Maybe that's a good thing.  I saw the October newsletter by the way; really kind words from Jubal, thank you!

Anyway, here is the release trailer for anyone reading this far into this thread!
:ogre:

Clockwork

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Re: Empires of the Undergrowth: A game about ants
« Reply #33 on: November 18, 2017, 11:46:42 AM »
Congrats dude, good luck :)


If you check out the competition (I'm sure you have dw!) War for the Overworld has tagged their game as God Game and RTS as well as the ones you have, might help visibility or something? Not sure if you even have a say in it or if the steam community does it tbh! :P Universe Sandbox has the Sandbox tag, which might apply as well.


I mention this because steam is telling me your game is similar to This War of Mine and Domina whereas the other two have Warhammer: Total War and Spore as similar which (I think?) are more akin to what you'd want. They at least have building and growth anyway.
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SLiV

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Re: Empires of the Undergrowth: A game about ants
« Reply #34 on: November 18, 2017, 05:22:58 PM »
Wow that trailer looks great!

The reception of early access has me worried too, my biggest concern is that the game only has between 5-7 hours of content as it stands (another 2-3 if you count demo levels, which I guess most people wont).  Steam ratings can be quite harsh if people feel there isn't enough.
If would say that's quite a lot for an Early Access title, especially seeing a lot of users have a lot of games that they only play for a couple of hours total anyway. But Steam reviews are a fickle beast, I suppose. ::)

JeffNevington

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Re: Empires of the Undergrowth: A game about ants
« Reply #35 on: November 18, 2017, 06:05:39 PM »
Congrats dude, good luck :)


If you check out the competition (I'm sure you have dw!) War for the Overworld has tagged their game as God Game and RTS as well as the ones you have, might help visibility or something? Not sure if you even have a say in it or if the steam community does it tbh! :P Universe Sandbox has the Sandbox tag, which might apply as well.


I mention this because steam is telling me your game is similar to This War of Mine and Domina whereas the other two have Warhammer: Total War and Spore as similar which (I think?) are more akin to what you'd want. They at least have building and growth anyway.

Thanks! I looked into this after you posted as I didn't fully understand the Steam tagging system.  There are two areas, one is "Genre" which we set and has a very limited number of options, and the other is "User defined tags" which anyone can set.  The user-defined tags that appear will be the most popular by vote, so we don't have much control over it.  I think people without the game must be able to vote too because I don't know anyone with a  beta copy who would have tagged it as "free to play" (which comes up if you expand the list :P).

Here is my expanded view now:


I guess once it is out, this should start to reflect the game more sensibly.
« Last Edit: November 18, 2017, 06:13:30 PM by JeffNevington »

JeffNevington

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Re: Empires of the Undergrowth: A game about ants
« Reply #36 on: November 18, 2017, 06:11:58 PM »
Wow that trailer looks great!

The reception of early access has me worried too, my biggest concern is that the game only has between 5-7 hours of content as it stands (another 2-3 if you count demo levels, which I guess most people wont).  Steam ratings can be quite harsh if people feel there isn't enough.
If would say that's quite a lot for an Early Access title, especially seeing a lot of users have a lot of games that they only play for a couple of hours total anyway. But Steam reviews are a fickle beast, I suppose. ::)

Thanks! I slaved over it for a while. That opening shot of the ant carrying the egg is completely in game and all I had set up was a button to activate the camera movement.  Took me at least 100 tries before I caught an ant at just the right spot  ;D

As for the reviews, I guess I will have to wait and see.  If we get 7/10+ I will be happy, but I hate reading the bad stuff. Everytime someone says something negative, even if it is constructive, it is really difficult to take in.  I have read a lot of harsh feedback during the last few weeks of beta, and while the harsh feedback is arguably the most useful, it really takes the wind out of my sails.

Jubal

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Re: Empires of the Undergrowth: A game about ants
« Reply #37 on: November 19, 2017, 05:15:29 PM »
Ditto all the above regarding the trailer, it looks fantastic :)

When you release to early access, we can put a specific front-page announcement out just for that - it may need to be a few days after your actual release date though, to give Updates from the Forge some time at the top of the homepage first.

And yeah, negative reviews are tough to read... I always try and couch critiques to sound upbeat when I give them, but some people seem to just delight in ripping others down which sucks.
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Clockwork

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Re: Empires of the Undergrowth: A game about ants
« Reply #38 on: November 19, 2017, 10:26:16 PM »
Yep I was able to vote without a copy, that seems like a weird Steam loophole.
Once you realize what a joke everything is, being the Comedian is the only thing that makes sense.


JeffNevington

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Re: Empires of the Undergrowth: A game about ants
« Reply #39 on: November 21, 2017, 10:21:56 AM »
Ditto all the above regarding the trailer, it looks fantastic :)

When you release to early access, we can put a specific front-page announcement out just for that - it may need to be a few days after your actual release date though, to give Updates from the Forge some time at the top of the homepage first.

And yeah, negative reviews are tough to read... I always try and couch critiques to sound upbeat when I give them, but some people seem to just delight in ripping others down which sucks.

This sounds great. Your feedback is always well thought out Jubal, on Empires and other games you try out here.  We made a couple of changes too after your first round of feedback - mostly trying to put clearer tooltips over buttons, you also prompted us to re-think how food tiles work.  By the way, if you can think of some competition format, we could give away a free key on Exilian with that announcement. 


Jubal

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Re: Empires of the Undergrowth: A game about ants
« Reply #40 on: November 22, 2017, 11:24:35 PM »
I'm really glad it was helpful! (And I always like the reward of being able to look at bits of games and have bits I helped on) :)

I'll have a think on competition formats and get back to you - that sounds a fantastic idea, thankyou! :)
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JeffNevington

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Re: Empires of the Undergrowth: A game about ants
« Reply #41 on: December 03, 2017, 12:36:06 AM »
The game is out!  The launch has been insane.  Steam rejected our submisison last minute, then we spent the next 12 hours scrambling before they changed their mind.  I am completely sleep deprived and I am not really sure what is going on now, I have about 100 emails to get through.  On top of this I am actually away at an academic conference for my real job at the moment (great timing I know), and I think juggling the two has really started to send me strange.

Anyway, check it out on Steam.  You don't need a link, because we totally own the letter "u"   :P




Jubal

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Re: Empires of the Undergrowth: A game about ants
« Reply #42 on: December 03, 2017, 10:28:07 PM »
Great stuff! And we're go on the "Imperators of the Undergrowth" competition & FP announcement for this, found here. :)
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Silverspook

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Re: Empires of the Undergrowth: A game about ants
« Reply #43 on: December 23, 2017, 10:48:12 AM »
Congrats, it looks like you guys won Editor's Choice: Best In Show for 2017 on IndieDB!

http://www.indiedb.com/groups/2017-indie-of-the-year-awards/features/editors-choice-indie-of-the-year-2017

Jubal

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Re: Empires of the Undergrowth: A game about ants
« Reply #44 on: December 23, 2017, 11:58:36 PM »
Ooh, that's fantastic - ditto the above post!

A few feedback points on the game at present:
  • Needs more info/intro when you start your first formicarium. I imagine this is coming, but had I not known how the thing was meant to work I'd have found the start a bit confusing - not so much in terms of the actual controls, which are really nice and intuitive, as the overall setting - one of EOTU's biggest selling points is that it has really nicely researched actual creatures in it, and so I think you need to make it clear early on (and ideally as part of the voiceovers) that the formicarium is a kind of contrivance that functions as a base/home camp and that they will soon get some more natural-feeling games. At present I think it'd be too easy for a new player to assume that EOTU was actually a sort of mad science game from the way things start.
  • In the Rising Tide level, my ants didn't seem to be able to gather properly from the fish, they just milled around down there. Is this meant to happen?
  • I think the tile upgrade stuff bombards the player with too much info. I'd change it to a more colour-based visual, where an outer hexagon around the tile has the six bars coloured according to how much "support" the tile is getting from each direction, and the centre has the level-flags and maybe an X/8 number to show how many more support-grades are needed (although there might be a neater way of doing that too).
  • In terms of mission variation, I think at some point a build & destroy mission taking on another colony directly would be fun. Likewise, flipping the idea behind Rising Tide (perhaps with a different core threat) and relocating your own colony would be a cool "protect the objective" mission starting point.
  • Suggestion from my mother - ant spiders, which mimic ants in appearance and have front legs that they raise if spotted to mimic antennae. This would provide a great higher-level challenge as they'd be "infiltrating" enemies for the player to deal with that could slowly pick off parts of their colony. I can get you some more info & a relevant paper if helpful.

All in all I'm really enjoying it at the moment, though, I got my formicarium through the levels pretty fast (found the first challenge tougher than the second I think, though I see you've upped the ant limits to compensate since I did so).
« Last Edit: December 24, 2017, 12:07:56 AM by Jubal »
The duke, the wanderer, the philosopher, the mariner, the warrior, the strategist, the storyteller, the wizard, the wayfarer...