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  1. #1
    Network Hub bonuswavepilot's Avatar
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    Frozen Synapse Prime

    Hi folks.

    Have been reading some troubling things on the ol' steam forums for this game while I try to decide whether to take the plunge and buy it. Got a 50%-off coupon for owning the original, but if the new version isn't much good, then we just end up with a split playerbase, which makes me sadface for my beloved FS.

    Sounds like some of the problems are straight-up missing features:

    • no re-bindable keys
    • no re-assignable colours
    • no chat
    • no custom maps
    • no mac version
    • no symmetrical maps
    • no unit placement for custom multiplayer


    But some stuff like:
    • the console-centricity of the UI design
    • lack of indicator icons
    • colour choice for the map and blue players making things difficult to see (or impossible if you're colour-blind)
    • cumbersome UI for changing from one match to another


    are perhaps more subjective, so what do those of you who have played it reckon?

    Is it good enough to re-ignite the mighty RPS Frozen Synapse leagues? (Were that the case, I would probably just buy it regardless).

  2. #2
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    In one of the complaint threads on Steam, one of the original Frozen Synapse devs pointed out that a different development studio did Prime. (FS was Mode 7, while FSP is Double Eleven.) I guess that explains how a PC game could turn into a mediocre handheld port.

  3. #3
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus gwathdring's Avatar
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    It's a PC port of a console version of the game that was farmed out to another studio. There were some changes and added features and the idea was, whoever's idea it was--Mode 7's or the other Dev's--that PC fans of the game might want some of the new visuals and features.

    Turns out for most people the changes are just about a wash and the poor quality of the port turns that wash into a downgrade.

    That's my sense of the situation at least.
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  4. #4
    Activated Node JiminyJickers's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gwathdring View Post
    It's a PC port of a console version of the game that was farmed out to another studio. There were some changes and added features and the idea was, whoever's idea it was--Mode 7's or the other Dev's--that PC fans of the game might want some of the new visuals and features.

    Turns out for most people the changes are just about a wash and the poor quality of the port turns that wash into a downgrade.

    That's my sense of the situation at least.
    Yeah, that is spot on. It is a port from the console version, and from reports, not a very good port.

    I still happily play the original. May pick this one up on my PS Vita, only at a significant discount in the future though.

  5. #5
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    Let me start this by saying that I have yet to play FSP on my PC. All of my playing has been done on my PS3, where I've been playing the guts out of it for the last few days. Also, I didn't quite care for the original FS, because I seem to recall having difficulty with the UI and controls. Maybe I was just being impatient with them, but my experience was less than stellar and it kept me from playing beyond the first 3-4 times I tried.

    For being forced to use a gamepad by virtue of playing on PS3, it actually handles pretty well, although sometimes getting precise angles down for aiming doesn't work too well and positioning waypoints somewhat close to each other can be a chore. However, the new sweep command is a doll. So much better than setting down multiple waypoints for the sole purpose of making sure your guy is looking the right direction while he moves. So in short if you're using a gamepad like FSP was originally intended to, the controls work pretty dang well. Which makes it a shame that I've heard so many bad things about m/kb controls.

    I agree that, compared to the visuals of the original, FSP is a lot less user-friendly. I sometimes have a hard time telling where a window is in a wall because the lighter blue window blends in too well with the light gray of the surrounding area. I'll have to zoom in a lot closer than I should be required to in order to actually see that yes, that mildly lighter spot is indeed a window and not just a weirdly lit section of wall or floor, of which I've seen many. If the floors had been made a color other than gray then I have a feeling that this problem would have been largely averted, because there would be a bit more contrast.

    Then you get to the killcams. I both love and hate the killcams at the same time. I love them, because they show you exactly how a unit died. There's none of the ambiguity that I ran into the few times I played FS where I start a new round, find my guy dead, but can't figure out what killed him when I watch the replay. The killcam fixes that, and if you don't care to watch them then you can skip them with a button press. Or you can watch them over and over again by clicking on the dead body. Which brings me to the reason I hate them. You apparently can't turn off, even temporarily, the killcam replay when you click a dead body. Which means when you go to place a waypoint very close to a dead body it won't let you because it will just replay that body's killcam. Sometimes I want to put a guy right on top of a dead guy, because that dead guy died behind cover in an otherwise good spot. Not being able to disable that killcam functionality makes that process a lot harder.

    So, I find the game to be fun, and enjoy it, but it has its share of problems like everything else does. I won't consider it a failure in the least, but I won't consider it perfection either. I think the visuals should have been kept on the more simplistic and clean side of the original. I like the addition of the sweep command. The controls work pretty dang well when you're using a gamepad, but apparently m/kb is pretty bad. The killcams come close to being a wash but, even with that issue of not being able to turn off their replay function and how it makes it harder to position near a dead body, they squeak out a point in the pro's column in my book just for removing some of the ambiguity I experienced before. In the end I think that bringing the sweep command and killcams to the original rather than releasing FSP would probably have served the same purpose and been better received by the PC community. But as a console port of a PC game I think FSP does a stellar job.

    What I'd like to know is if, now that it's on PC, FSP has crossplay between all 3 systems that it's on. I don't think it does, but it would be both interesting and a good way to help keep the player pool going longer.

  6. #6
    Network Hub bonuswavepilot's Avatar
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    Yup this is the sense I was getting from the Steam forums. Was hoping it was just one of those rage dogpiles and the game was actually ok, but sounds like it is a downgrade. :(

    I hope the Mode7 peeps don't ignore the original now on the assumption that the new one will replace it. I suppose I should do my bit to keep the player count up and actually fire up some matches, has been a while. After the leagues on the forums here ordinary play feels a bit vanilla though...

    Still, I suppose the RPS leagues' legacy endures in the form of a big ol' friends-list of worthy opponents.

    [Edit: ninja'd by unruly's post! Sounds like it isn't all bad, but still not getting the impression that on a PC it is enough of an improvement to justify the irritations]
    Last edited by bonuswavepilot; 16-11-2014 at 07:47 AM.

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    Well, again, my post is based solely on the PS3 version. I plan to pick up the PC version, since right now it's a 2-for-1 deal and I've got a 50% coupon for owning the original which makes it essentially $5 for a copy. But I haven't touched my PC for gaming in the last 2 months, since it's been sequestered behind a bunch of as-yet-unpacked moving boxes, and my laptop is incapable of running most anything since it's nearly 10 years old at this point and has only integrated graphics.

    As sacrilege as it may be, if I do play FSP on my PC, it will probably be with a gamepad if what I've read about m/kb controls is actually correct. But as someone who was frustrated by the original FS controls and UI, I'm thinking that a lot of complaints about FSP's controls might just be because they're different rather than being inherently bad. I could easily be wrong, but I've seen people bash changes and fervently defend some really, really bad things simply because they'd adjusted to them. Not saying this is the case here, but it could have something to do with it.

  8. #8
    Network Hub bonuswavepilot's Avatar
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    Hmmm hard to say fairly without actually giving it a go, but the two things which concern me most are the lack of action icons along the waypoints for a unit, and the fact that to get at the timeline you have to slide it out separately, which interrupts whatever you were already doing.

    What concern me somewhat in UI terms, but not as much as the above, are the fact that apparently keyboard shortcuts for commands bring up the radial rather than just doing them (requiring an extra confirmation click) and the impression that the whole thing is scaled much too large for a monitor.

  9. #9
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    Again, I preface this by saying I'm playing on PS3. I'm just wanting to make that point clear, because for all I know it does skew my perceptions and the PC version really is a steaming pile or something.

    I didn't see a problem with a lack of action icons on the waypoints. The way it works is that if you're aiming/sweeping/checking at a particular waypoint, it draws a dotted line from there to where you're aiming and shows the aim/sweep/check icon wherever you placed it. Moving draws a line between waypoints, which I know it did in the original, but that line changes depending on how you're moving. If you're moving in hold-fire mode, the travel line between waypoints is a dashed line. If you're ducking, it's a double line. If you're ducking and in hold-fire, it's a double dashed line. Wait and cancel commands still place their icon at the waypoint they're issued at. I do kind of wish that ducking or being in hold-fire would place an icon by the unit, but I can live without that because it usually becomes apparent as soon as I go to issue new orders. If I'm not issuing new orders I can tell if a unit is ducking by zooming in on it, and checking for hold-fire is a matter of opening the commands radial and looking.

    I don't remember exactly how it was done in the original, so maybe I'm just telling you what you already knew. But from spending about 2 minutes watching videos, I didn't see the movement line changing styles any. I also noticed that waypoint markers were much smaller than they are in FSP, and it made me wish even harder that FSP had kept the visuals cleaner/simpler.

    As for the keyboard shortcuts, an extra click would get annoying. But the radial menu works well with a gamepad.

    EDIT: Looking at the original FS requirements, it simply says "netbook integrated graphics" so I may be able to squeak by with my laptop. My laptop's integrated graphics don't support Shader Model 3.0, so if that's required then I'm screwed. Other than that it meets the original DX9 standard. Time to reinstall it and see!
    Last edited by unruly; 16-11-2014 at 11:21 AM.

  10. #10
    Network Hub bonuswavepilot's Avatar
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    Hmm, this just turned up in the Steam threads from the devs:
    COMMUNITY FEEDBACK PATCH PLANNED

    Hello everyone,

    We have been keeping track of the community feedback on these forums and are planning to release a patch containing fixes for the most important problems as soon as we can.

    We are sorry for any inconvenience caused, please bear with us in the mean time.

    Thank you.
    Last edited by bonuswavepilot; 16-11-2014 at 12:28 PM.

  11. #11
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    Well, that's good news.

    In other good news, I'm apparently able to play FS on my laptop! But thanks to the graphics changes that FSP has, I won't be able to play that on it. Just played a couple AI skirmishes and got my ass handed to me. Apparently the rockets explode in a much bigger fashion in the original game, so I guess that reducing their explosion size was one of the balance changes that were made for FSP. I'd like to see a full list of the changes, and it says to check out the community hub to see them, but I don't actually see it there. There's just a more wordy version of the things they say on the store page without any real substance behind it.

  12. #12
    Network Hub bonuswavepilot's Avatar
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    In terms of actual gameplay differences, I believe the shotgun was nerfed a bit for FSP as well - have seen folks complaining that they don't always win a close-quarters encounter with a machine gun any more, which was pretty much the point of them previously.

  13. #13
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Heliocentric's Avatar
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    The Original Frozen Synapse was beautiful, it was a sterilised conflict and had clever moment to moment WEGO turns, this is a reheated sequel/remake and its ugly.

    I have no interest in it at all beyond the red DLC and i might just buy that separate so I don't need to use the new butt ugly graphics.

    What FS needed was options for force fire and blindfire, different types of cover, and maybe multiple floors (even if they only ever connected through tube portal logic staircases).

    Instead we get a reheat of the Friendzone tech.
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  14. #14
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus gwathdring's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Heliocentric View Post
    What FS needed was options for force fire and blindfire, different types of cover, and maybe multiple floors (even if they only ever connected through tube portal logic staircases).
    I agree with characters.
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    Been playing some FS original today, and after having freshly spent time with both games I've got to say, with certainty this time, that the PC would have been better served by simply backporting some of the new changes into the original game. Add the sweep command, the ability to focus on small areas as opposed to just specific units, and the dynamic sight lines. Make killcams an optional thing, and maybe put the reduced rocket explosion size in as well. Otherwise, keep things the same.

    Really, the new visuals do detract from the game a lot more than I would have thought they did. But it's not as if everything it did is bad. It just seems that way because some of the bad things are just that bad.

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    I forgot to mention some things earlier that I like about Prime that are in the plus column - you can reach a draw in a game, because it's possible for two units to kill each other at the same time, which I don't think can really happen in Original. And rockets are able to hit units as well as walls, so if a guy steps in front of a rocket he dies rather than the rocket passing through him like I've seen it do in Original. I'm pretty sure that rockets can also hit other rockets, but I haven't seen it yet.

  17. #17
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Heliocentric's Avatar
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    Simultaneously kills are very possible in the original, with bullets too not just rockets and grenades but bullets have a super narrow window.
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  18. #18
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Fumarole's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by unruly View Post
    So much better than setting down multiple waypoints for the sole purpose of making sure your guy is looking the right direction while he moves.
    You don't need multiple waypoints; just right click a point along a unit's path and drag in a direct and your unit will face that direction until another order makes it change. I rather like its simplicity, though I see the benefit of a sweep command as I often made my units do this artificially when I found it necessary.
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  19. #19
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus gwathdring's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Heliocentric View Post
    Simultaneously kills are very possible in the original, with bullets too not just rockets and grenades but bullets have a super narrow window.
    Yeah, I've had this happen a couple of times. It's unlikely because, well, bullets have a travel time and usually someone started shooting first.
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    I guess I just haven't played enough to see simultaneous kills in FS, but I've seen them multiple times in FSP so far. The first time I saw it was when my shotgun and an enemy shotgun both entered doors on opposite sides of the room, looking right at each other, and then both were dead.

    Also, I have a tendency to use the sweep command far more than the regular aim command. Being able to keep an eye on an entire corridor while moving perpendicular to it with just a single command is nice. It wasn't a command that's necessary on the PC, because you have control precision and can more easily stack commands in a small space, but it's certainly handy and has its uses.

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