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  1. #1
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus vinraith's Avatar
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    Particle Fleet (from the developer of the Creeper World games) is out today!

    https://knucklecracker.com/particlefleet/pf.php

    ...and there's a demo!

    This has been one of my most anticipated releases of the year, honestly, given how great Creeper World 3 was. I'll be picking it up and (hopefully) giving it a go over the weekend. I know there are some other Creeper World fans around here, so I thought I'd provide a heads-up.

    For those not in the know, these are phenomenal real time logistics games where you fight against an asymmetric enemy made of fluid. The fluid dynamics themselves are quite interesting, and the sense of equilibrium, expansion, and flow is wholly unique. Particle Fleet changes the dynamic somewhat by centering around modular mobile weapons platforms in lieu of of CW's "WWI fought against a pool of water" static defenses. I've got high hopes.

  2. #2
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Gus_Smedstad's Avatar
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    I rather liked Creeper World 3. This appears to be an evolution of that concept. It's still mostly a tower-defense game against a pool of water, except that the towers are now user-designed movable ships, though from the videos I get the impression they spend enough time simply staying in place and repeatedly shooting at the blobby stuff that it's still mostly tower defense.

    The move to space seems... incomplete. The default background is space, but it appears there are still hills. Hills? In space? I tried to mentally justify these as being asteroids or something, but couldn't get past the way they behave like there's gravity. Maybe if they were gravity wells that sucked down the fluid, but no, they're regular hills that shape the flow because water (or creeper stuff anyway) doesn't flow uphill. Anti-gravity asteroids that push fluid away?

    I guess there's also more of a RTS (as opposed to tower defense) element to this, since the video clips show enemy ships. Presumably only in some missions, since there are a lot of fluid-only clips as well.

    Anyway, oddities aside, it looks worthwhile. I put it on my wishlist since my backlog is huge. I'll get to it either when I find myself with a serious urge in that direction or if there's a sale.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gus_Smedstad View Post
    The move to space seems... incomplete. The default background is space, but it appears there are still hills. Hills? In space? I tried to mentally justify these as being asteroids or something, but couldn't get past the way they behave like there's gravity. Maybe if they were gravity wells that sucked down the fluid, but no, they're regular hills that shape the flow because water (or creeper stuff anyway) doesn't flow uphill. Anti-gravity asteroids that push fluid away?
    Best not to think about that.

    Quote Originally Posted by Gus_Smedstad View Post
    I guess there's also more of a RTS (as opposed to tower defense) element to this, since the video clips show enemy ships. Presumably only in some missions, since there are a lot of fluid-only clips as well.

    Anyway, oddities aside, it looks worthwhile. I put it on my wishlist since my backlog is huge. I'll get to it either when I find myself with a serious urge in that direction or if there's a sale.
    It's way more RTSy, but not yet in that hectic micromanaging way. I quite like it so far.

  4. #4
    YUUUUS, gonna put some time in with the demo, see you guys in a few hours.
    I'm failing to writing a blog, specifically about playing games the wrong way
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  5. #5
    So I pawed at the demo, and I feel like they have really learned some lessons since CW3, because the particulate ages out its more puzzle than attrition. Less grinding out victory with dumb steady solutions.

    Building the ships is sadly a win button annexed over to sandbox mode, I toyed with engine less weapon platforms, giant missile platforms and tiny combo ships and quickly found a fleet with redundancy can quickly kick a door down.

    Unfortunately they locked off most of the toys to the full game but from what could see of the stock ships there is essentially no justification for armour without equipment, the small lasers kill things, do point defence and only slightly raise the cost, a blank slab of armour either might as well not exist or have a laser on it.

    I can see the the community having some great 'play with only 1000 ship value custom missions but the pre built ships feel like a massive step back wards from the freedom of CW3 and custom ships are left feeling like a cheat/brute force.

    As it is, it's hard to recommend, PF like I did CW 2&3, if they could find a way to sanction custom ships with a technology cost limit (optional setting of course) you could tune up special fleets and perform daring missions, but now it feels like turning off the popcap in an RTS.
    I'm failing to writing a blog, specifically about playing games the wrong way
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  6. #6
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus vinraith's Avatar
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    Unfortunately I'm forced to agree with Helio. There are a lot of good ideas floating around in here. I like the diversity of particle behavior, I like the possibilities of the ship designer, but for some baffling reason there are no limits placed on custom ships/fleets which turns the whole thin into a sandbox rather than a game. Playing with the default fleets is vastly less interesting and flexible than earlier games, playing with custom ships is functionally cheating. I don't really understand the design decisions here.

    So yeah, unfortunately I couldn't recommend this one (at least right now, perhaps they'll fix it given some time). Creeper World 3 is spectacular, though. Everyone should go buy that, and I think I'll go pick up CW2 with the money I was going to spend on PF.

  7. #7
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Gus_Smedstad's Avatar
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    What exactly do you mean by "no limits?" Are there no costs to components? Or are component prices poorly balanced? What?

  8. #8
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus vinraith's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gus_Smedstad View Post
    What exactly do you mean by "no limits?" Are there no costs to components? Or are component prices poorly balanced? What?
    I mean "no limits." There are component "point values" but the missions in the demo, at least, have no cap on the number of points that you can spend on your fleet. They're very clearly designed to be played with the default fleets, custom fleets are pretty much game-breaking.

    Maybe the missions beyond the demo have point limits? I have no idea, but it's a very peculiar decision.
    Last edited by vinraith; Today at 05:19 PM.

  9. #9
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Gus_Smedstad's Avatar
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    That's crazy.

  10. #10
    In fairness, you must 'pay' for any ship you build in energy and time , but the economy is far too generous and you can build a 6 by 5 platform quicker that most template ships, give it a lathe (the builder/destructor cannon) an engine, 5 red combat lasers and 1 blue one. And you effectively have a sledge hammer. It can charge anywhere within the energy radius and deliver the coup de grace, moving in a pack it will tear through enemy hard points and provide its own point defense.

    With no energy being wasted on inefficient missiles you will often have toppled sections of the battle before you were 'meant' to arrive.

    And while for me, brute forcing these solutions was fun, it doesn't have the charm of CW2 or 3.

    Be warned CW2 is hella JRPG in it's narrative, I expect you'll appreciate the fluid dynamics and portals and tunnels; mixed with gravity.
    I'm failing to writing a blog, specifically about playing games the wrong way
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  11. #11
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Gus_Smedstad's Avatar
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    I played a bit with the demo, which is what I should have done in the first place, and I see what you mean.

    Ships cost time and energy to build, but it's based purely on the number of hull spaces. Components have no cost, so a weaponless lump has the same cost to build as a packed-to-the-gills weapon platform of the same size.

    The default fleets have very definite ship count limits. Unlocking additional ships is an in-mission reward. The unlimited nature of sandbox fleets renders those rewards pointless - who cares if you unlocked another Lathe ship if you already have as many as you could ever want?

    The ship editor made the game look in the demo videos, but it's clear it's terrible. There's no thought given to tradeoffs for the various components, and using the ship editor at all removes limits that are essential to game balance.

    It doesn't help that they don't explain what the heck the various components do. Obviously the "energy storage tank" stores energy, but there's no indicator of how much energy a ship is storing or what the benefits are. What the various weapons do is unclear. Obviously they have range and fire rates, but the only way to discover those seems to be to make single-weapon ships and compare how they behave, since the game's not going to tell you.

  12. #12
    Components do add time, you'll notice lathe especially takes long time to pop onto a ship, and components queue up, so if you add 99 red lasers, they'll take a long time to occur, but, blank spaces are just wasted space, you will probably idle in power supply range, and if you do stuffing the ship with gear is better than not.

    The early games were purely granular, every component unit was independent, you'd often move a squad of a shield a mortar and a builder (forgot the name, the one for walls) to push your advance and drip the pylons in behind, but now if you decide you need more of something? Tough titties, campaign ships are the puzzle pieces and you must complete things in the right order. Ships build so cheap and slow that economy hardly matters and custom ships are crazy cheating.
    I'm failing to writing a blog, specifically about playing games the wrong way
    http://playingitwrong.wordpress.com/

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