New game from Jon Shafer (lead designer of Civ V)

Discussion in 'All Other Games' started by thecrazyscot, Dec 11, 2018.

  1. thecrazyscot

    thecrazyscot Spiffy

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    Jon Shafer's At the Gates

    Out January 23, 2019.

    Following in Sid's footsteps with that naming convention...

    Not a lot of details yet, but looks interesting. More focused in its scale than Civ (makes sense for an indie title), and that art style looks pretty.
     
  2. Malachi256

    Malachi256 Prince

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    Any competition is good competition. Hopefully it's a solid attempt.
     
  3. sherbz

    sherbz Emperor

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    Cant be worse than the mess that is civ VI
     
  4. beetle

    beetle Deity

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    So happy to see this out. When did he launch the KickStarter? I think it has been a while!

    Even more to my surprise, looks like it will be Mac compatible (and with modest requirements)!
     
  5. SupremacyKing2

    SupremacyKing2 Deity

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    The game is out on Steam now!
     
  6. sherbz

    sherbz Emperor

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    Ive just bought it. Downloading now :smoke:
     
  7. sherbz

    sherbz Emperor

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    My Review:

    Dont bother. To say that this is an Indie Lite game is a bit of an understatement. I have seen hundreds of Indie titles with far superior art style, SOUNDTRACK (its in capitals as there isnt one, which is a pretty glaring omission for a strategy title - you need music, not a one time fanfare when you research something and your clan members constantly yelling "hut" every turn), playability, the list goes on unfortunately. And its a really weird choice in terms of the economy. Basically you have about 6 options for each of the different professions (hunting/military, Agriculture, metalworking, trapping/husbandry, exploring/diplomacy, building). And which picks you choose depend on what sort of map you have. Its very unintuitive though i find. And you find yourself constantly checking the profession tree to check what it is you need. Because you can train multiple disciplines within a certain profession. I assume that once you have your army of gatherers/hunters etc you will have an effective economy thats good at producing a handful of materials, which you can then trade and leverage in order to subjugate your neighbours and eventually overthrow the roman empire (the end game). I never got that far. I played 2 hours and wanted a refund. Its waaaaay too expensive for what you get. When you consider that you can pick up quality indie titles for less than £10 (which are what i would consider proper rogue likes or proper strategy games) this just feels like a very cheap rip off. Its ugly, sounds terrible, isnt very well designed, and not particularly good. I would give it 4/10.

    It actually reminds me in a strange way of Master of Magic. Only Master of magic is far superior in virtually every single way. So if you want a better game than this, then pick that up on Gog. It looks about the same, has a waaaay better soundtrack, better art style, similar sort of game concepts and is just a better game because the economy is far more intuitive, simple, and workable.
     
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  8. SupremacyKing2

    SupremacyKing2 Deity

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    Thanks for the review. I guess I should not be surprised by your review considering that At the Gates was literally a 1 man job with Jon Shafer struggling for years to do the entire game all by himself.
     
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  9. sherbz

    sherbz Emperor

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    I didnt actually know it was a 1 man job. You can sort of tell. But even then ive seen better one man jobs (check out Aethra chronicles for an indication of what one man can do). I suppose also Undertale is another example.

    Better games with a similar concept would be:

    - Master of magic (an oldy but a goody)
    - Lords of magic (also quite old, but good depth and mostly solid gameplay)
    - Lords of the realm

    What gets me though is the price. £20 is not cool for something of this quality. Especially when, for the same money, you can get things like:

    - Slay the spire
    - They are billions
    - Darkest dungeon
    - Faster than light
    - Project Zomboid
    - Templar battleforce

    Want a good Indie title - go play one of them.
     
  10. SupremacyKing2

    SupremacyKing2 Deity

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    I just noticed that the game already has a 10% discount on Steam but even at the new price of $26.99, it is still way overpriced IMO. From your review, I would say the game is worth around $6, maybe $10. But charging almost $30 like some AAA game when the game is a 1 man indie project is ridiculous.
     
  11. SupremacyKing2

    SupremacyKing2 Deity

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    Having watched a youtube review that showcases the game both positive and negative, I wanted to add some more thoughts. I applaud Jon Shafer for trying. It is certainly commendable what he was able to do all by himself. But I think all the negatives of the game stem directly from the fact that he made the game alone. A civ like game is a very difficult type of game to make that really requires a team because there is so much that needs to be done. You need to do art and graphics, you need to do AI, you need to design a lot of game mechanics that interconnect, you need to balance the game features, and then you need to create tool tips, tutorials etc... It's a lot. The problems in the game, I think, can be traced to the fact that he was alone and did not have help. Normally, he would have had an arts team to help with the graphics, or an AI guy to program the AI and maybe someone to create the tool tips and tutorials while he focused on designing the game. He did not have that so the game suffered as a result. At the Gates is a cool concept and could have been great with a full team behind it.

    Again, while I applaud him for trying and I want him to succeed and it is very brave of him to try to blaze his own path as a developer, I am worried it might have been a mistake. The game is getting mixed reviews. If the game fails, he could not just lose money but could find it difficult to get employment if he tries to get hired at a game design company like a Firaxis. After all, it won't look good on your resume that you designed and produced a game that flopped. I can't help but feel like he might have been better off not starting his own company and instead just working for a company like a Firaxis. There, he would have job security but also have a team that would help make a much better game.
     
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  12. sherbz

    sherbz Emperor

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    Yea - it launched at the same price point as 2 point hospital. And 2 point hospital (not that i have played it) oozes quality. It looks good, sounds good, and from what i can see plays good. Worth £20 (or $27). At the gates is not worth half that. At best it should be £10.

    And quite frankly im amazed he did everything himself. It cant be that hard surely to enlist the help of some other interested people. Even complete nobodies can manage to get a team of people to do stuff like art and music. I think at the gates will go down as a failed vanity project.
     
  13. TheMeInTeam

    TheMeInTeam Top Logic

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    To be fair he was in a news piece recently where he was talking about struggles with some stuff like addiction/non-game issues. It's unfortunate, and not surprising that it would cut into the potential of the game itself.

    I wasn't under the impression he was working 100% alone though.
     
  14. Mongoloid Cow

    Mongoloid Cow Great Khan

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    he had an artist and a programmer at the very start, but once the kickstarter money ran out after like a year, he was on the game alone
     
  15. sherbz

    sherbz Emperor

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    Ah thats sad. Now i feel like a tard for refunding\panning it :cringe:

    I guess we as consumers dont ever appreciate that kind of stuff. Well, all the best to him.
     
  16. TheMeInTeam

    TheMeInTeam Top Logic

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    At the end of the day the purchase decision is still about the product. I do feel for him though, addiction is no joke, even for relatively minor ones. He's had a rough start with regards to how CIv 5 and seemingly now At the Gates have panned out, but perhaps now that he's in a better place he can find a good team to work with and make something good while enjoying it.
     
  17. sherbz

    sherbz Emperor

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    Yep - I had a nervous breakdown about 2 years ago and am still recovering having suffered quite badly with anxiety/depression. And i can imagine that addiction can be just as bad, in whatever form it takes. So i hope he comes back bigger and better.
     
  18. Aldor

    Aldor King

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    I bought it. My impressions so far after starting a few games (never played for long, but learned from each start):

    pro:
    - beautiful maps
    - requires good strategic thinking
    - no stress: you (seem) to have plenty of time to develop your kingdom, so far I also haven't had any bad encounters with other kingdoms

    con:
    - poor programming (lots of crashes, sound/graphic events out of sync)
    - unintuitive gameplay (the game comes with a tutorial and tons of tooltips, but you really have to go through all of this and memorize it, because otherwise its hard to "get" the workings of the economy)

    It's quite different to playing Civ. I kept wondering how to expand, missing my settler :) But once you find out how to do that, things start to look up. I'll spend some more time with this game. However I agree with the first review above, the price is too high for what you get right now. If you can wait a bit, I would suggest doing so until more bugs are fixed, and maybe the game can be bought cheaper.
     
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  19. sherbz

    sherbz Emperor

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    I think this is a criticism from some people - the AI is too passive. I never got that far so cant really comment.
     
  20. Timsup2nothin

    Timsup2nothin Deity

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    Perhaps true, but a lot of people would say that lead designer of Civ V is no shining star on the old resume either.
     

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