Flatfingers wrote:If LT just has random numbers for attributes of newly-researched techs, I could live with that. I'm not freaking out here, or being harshly critical in any way that requires a strong defensive response. What I'm trying to say is that I'm not sure implementing the "surprise" aspect of research solely as randomly tweaking the numeric attributes of sub-techs will be all that appealing to folks who do enjoy exploratory surprise. As shown in today's video, I think this is not as much fun as it could/should be.
Although I think it's too early to reach a definite conclusion -- Josh has implemented the skeleton, and not the content/balancing -- I have to agree with this. The video doesn't tell the whole story and as such I'm not privy to the big picture of research, but the video didn't make a convincing case that getting involved with the research mechanics will be particularly fun or rewarding. It's not because the percentage changes shown were quite miniscule -- that's just a matter of balancing, and relates to there being no actual content at the moment.
Rather, there's something inherently uncanny about the idea of spending time and not getting an improvement or upgrade, but a specialization, or side-grade. It's not what gamers are used to, it's not what we're used to. Essentially, the player appears to be spending time to effect changes in allocation, rather than progressing. There is no return on investment. Thus, it feels like what other games implement as sliders, LT has adapted as a research mechanic, and I'm truly not sure if the idea will hold up to more intense scrutiny. I am aware that other games run into trouble with vertical progression issues, but I remain skeptical that this is a good alternative.
Now, if this sounds too harsh, that's probably not your fault -- I am ignorant about the details of the system. In particular, a critical detail I'm not aware of and one that might relieve some of my concerns, is whether or not this specialization is intended to be, er... "zero-sum" (i.e. whether the various coefficients add up to 1, and remain so throughout further research). A way to retain a sense of progress would be to make sure that the sum of coefficients increase with each progressive research step. If the fruits of my research result in my getting weapons with (say) 175% Projectile Speed but 75% Rate of Fire, then that's interesting and represents both improved weapon technology and a specialization. But a 125/75 spread would certainly evoke the slider feeling. Sorry about the crude example -- surely there'll be balancing between the different weapon modifiers as well (so 1% Projectile Speed would be equivalent to 0.83% RoF and whatnot), I'm talking about the internal representation.