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 Post subject: Nexus 2 Kickstarter PostPosted: 2012-10-13 05:44am
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So last year I got a game recommended to me, Nexus: The Jupiter Project (GOG link here). I have severe gaming ADD, so I haven't finished the game, but it's very enjoyable. Originally intended to be Imperium Galactica 3, after some legal hassles the game had a new IP created for it.

A little while ago, GOG.com did a Mod Spotlight on it, pointing out a Star Wars mod for it, as well as a Freespace 2 Capital Ship Combat mod. There's also a Skirmish mode setup application, to set up custom Skirmish battles. There's also nBSG & B5 mods, among others. I looked around, and it looks like Nexus 1 was designed to be near-endlessly modable.

The first game looks tremendously pretty for a game released in '05, and its story was good, if a little lacking in execution. Unfortunately the story left off on something of a cliffhanger, and the engine is starting to look a little dated.

Enter Nexus 2: The Gods Awaken. A kickstarter by the team behind Nexus 1, with an ambitious funding goal at an unfortunate time, after some other big projects. They have said they're shooting for a similar level of modability, as well as updating the engine (old engine trailer from '06 here) and other things.

The tutorial for Nexus 1 was lacking, but the UI was excellently designed, and the game itself was one of the best RTSs I've played in a long time. It really got that feel of however-many-hundred-tons of metal moving around, while still allowing for maneuverability. It gave true 3D freedom of movement, you could go up or down as much as left or right, and your ships didn't "level out" after after doing so. Point defense worked like point defense should, with multiple ships networking their fire on torpedoes and fightercraft. If you closed, you could target and destroy components on enemy ships to degrade their performance.

I'm really hoping this makes its goal, and I think this site has a high concentration of the kind of people that might like the finished product, if only for the mods.

Have a look at it, please. And even if you are not in a financial position to contribute, pass on the word.



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 Post subject: Re: Nexus 2 Kickstarter PostPosted: 2012-10-18 03:30pm
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I'm a longtime lurker of SDN, but seeing this thread I felt I had to register and comment. Personally, I'm amazed that Nexus 2 isn't receiving more attention because of its awesome potential as the future "go-to" platform for games based on space-based sci-fi franchises of all kinds.

Most space-based fleet command games take place on a 2D plane, or what can best be described as an "invisible parking garage." In a real parking garage, your car can tilt and ascend/descend, but it's limited in the possible orientations it can assume due to the fact that its wheels need to stay in contact with the floor. This is also the case with many space-based games (such as Star Trek Online) that don't place you directly in the cockpit or the bridge. Not so with Nexus. The ships you command can assume any orientation, and move in any direction (the free-form X-Universe series of games also let you do this but they aren't principally fleet-command games, and are usually played with the player in control of just one ship).

Nexus also respects Newtonian mechanics in its gameplay and ship design. All ships that don't use reactionless drives have a full complement of maneuvering thrusters, and they visibly emit thrust to allow them to travel along all three axes of movement or any combination thereof, as well as to change orientation. This is something even space-based sci-fi TV series famous for their respect for Newton (such as Babylon 5 and the newer Battlestar Galactica) don't do entirely. For example, where are the bow-facing thrusters for the Omega-class destroyers to allow them to decelerate or accelerate backwards? Where are the maneuvering thrusters for the Battlestar Galactica? You won't find any of that in Nexus. Ships do have a maximum velocity and keep emitting thrust even when reaching it, but this is easily understood as a way to let our terrestrial minds know at a glance that a ship is still moving, and that they're limited to that maximum velocity so they can decelerate to a stop or change direction without spending an inordinate amount of time doing so, especially while dodging hostile fire.

The slower, cinematic action of Nexus is enough to satisfy any fan of space battles centred around capital ships--there are plenty of chances for both sides to turn the tide in their favour, and plenty of time to admire the ships involved "blasting seven shades of shields out of each other." The original game also had a chapter focussed around harder sci-fi than is normally found in games, and while it's less forgiving than the soft sci-fi portion (there are no shields and therefore no way to recharge even a part of your ship's damage resistance) I'm sure a lot of fans of that genre would have a blast playing through that part with its more realistic ship designs, rotating grav decks, and realistic transit times. Here's a vid of one of the harder battles in that segment:

[youtube]http://youtu.be/EUuDSJKvQG4[/youtube]

The original game had a host of mods featuring space-based sci-fi franchises. I would implore everyone on this board who is interested in both PC gaming and those franchises to check them out and possibly even pledge money for the sequel, because given the way it's shaping up, it could well be the mainstay platform for games/mods based on those franchises allowing emulation on a scale not previously possible:

[*][youtube]http://youtu.be/yAam9HmeLoE[/youtube]Battlestar Galactica (Homepage)
[*][youtube]http://youtu.be/7vOcKyuSXn0[/youtube]Babylon 5 (Homepage)
[*][youtube]http://youtu.be/uOvFsrbPXXo[/youtube]Stargate SG-1 (Homepage)
[*]Warhammer 40,000: Battlefleet Gothic (Homepage)

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 Post subject: Re: Nexus 2 Kickstarter PostPosted: 2012-10-18 04:18pm
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I'm surprised people give two craps about Nexus. It was more or less just a bad version of Homeworld, that traded a far superior UI for weird rock paper scissors combat mechanics, and a gutted/incomplete strategic mode. If it had a strategic mode, I'd have cared more. But as it was, I found the game very lacking. It was PRETTY, I will give you that. One of the prettiest space battle games around. But as a game, it wasn't anything special. Not compared to what came before.



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 Post subject: Re: Nexus 2 Kickstarter PostPosted: 2012-10-18 04:20pm
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Yah, I think this thread was a powerful statement when nobody had responded to it. Bad missions, primitive combat mechanics, but timed well to hit space nerds when there was nothing else.



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 Post subject: Re: Nexus 2 Kickstarter PostPosted: 2012-10-18 05:06pm
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It also had way too much detail for a squadron-level command game. That kind of fine control over individual components is really a lot more appropriate for a single-ship-command game, like UFS Vanguard was supposed to be. It ended up feeling like late-game Space Empires, with just too much shit to be bothered slogging through when you had a number of ships under your command.



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 Post subject: Re: Nexus 2 Kickstarter PostPosted: 2012-10-18 06:15pm
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The other thing that got me about Nexus was that while it was all about an assortment of weapons (Energy Balls to neutralize shields, lasers to take out key systems, railguns to blow up their hulls, missiles as really rare and powerful resources), it ended up being really stupid in that the 'great enemy' were stupid little orbs that only were vulnerable to that shitty energy sapping beam that was otherwise useless.

It killed the entire point of the game that you ended up fighting guys that didn't even use the main combat mechanic.



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 Post subject: Re: Nexus 2 Kickstarter PostPosted: 2012-10-21 04:05pm
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Nephtys wrote:
It was more or less just a bad version of Homeworld, that traded a far superior UI for weird rock paper scissors combat mechanics, and a gutted/incomplete strategic mode. If it had a strategic mode, I'd have cared more. But as it was, I found the game very lacking. It was PRETTY, I will give you that. One of the prettiest space battle games around. But as a game, it wasn't anything special. Not compared to what came before.


I myself am a longtime fan of RTS games. I even have a legitimate on-disc copy of Dune II, the first RTS game by the venerable Westwood Studios. But Nexus was a real-time tactics game, not a 4X game. There's a certain point after pumping out the 1000th Zergling/Mammoth Tank/Ordos Raider/Battleship/etc. where you start to realize that a lot of 4X/RTS games can be won simply by economically and/or numerically dominating the opponent, not by the strength of your battle tactics. Yes, such a strategy does exist in real life and has been used in real conflicts, but it starts to get boring after a while in gaming (it also starts to strain verisimilitude if you're playing a faction whose manpower or fictional equivalent can't be arbitrarily/trivially replaced in the backstory). Real-time tactical games where unit counts are severely limited don't have that problem, and so they force you to play while tactically preserving your forces. They also, in my experience, give a greater sense of achievement after winning because you had to do so rather carefully instead of outproducing your opponent's forces.

Yes, RTS games can also be pretty. The 2002 title Haegemonia: Legions of Iron, another space-based sci-fi game whose development time coincided with Nexus, even surpasses the latter in some graphical ways as shown in the video. I still play it from time to time, but Nexus ranks higher in my list because the Haegemonia was not well balanced and was mainly a race as to see who could pump out the most battleships the quickest (the other units simply couldn't compete if battleships were available). The expansion pack, Haegemonia: The Solon Heritage, is still pretty but is better balanced, to the point that fighters can overwhelm battleships if properly supported, and the economy is revamped to discourage simply steamrolling the opposition.

White Haven wrote:
It also had way too much detail for a squadron-level command game. That kind of fine control over individual components is really a lot more appropriate for a single-ship-command game, like UFS Vanguard was supposed to be. It ended up feeling like late-game Space Empires, with just too much shit to be bothered slogging through when you had a number of ships under your command.


I was under the impression that the ingame pause button that still let you issue commands took care of all that, but maybe that's just because I've been used to such a game mechanic (it was also present in the famed Baldur's Gate PC RPG series). In any case, the manual control panel is entirely optional; it is possible to win entirely using only the action hotkeys at the bottom of the screen and the 4 stances for ships.

Nephtys wrote:
The other thing that got me about Nexus was that while it was all about an assortment of weapons (Energy Balls to neutralize shields, lasers to take out key systems, railguns to blow up their hulls, missiles as really rare and powerful resources), it ended up being really stupid in that the 'great enemy' were stupid little orbs that only were vulnerable to that shitty energy sapping beam that was otherwise useless.


No one complained about the Borg in Star Trek: TNG when they showed up and displayed a complete disregard for the rules (or the "conventions" of ship-to-ship combat in Trek up to then). And besides, once you pass a certain point in Nexus, the "pure" Mechanoids stop being the primary opposition and Mechanoid-controlled ships (which have to be destroyed conventionally) become the only enemies.

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 Post subject: Re: Nexus 2 Kickstarter PostPosted: 2012-10-21 05:32pm
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Sweet Jesus. There are nexus fans? Lol

What does anyone expect this kick starter to deliver? The first game was crap and sold worse, and the proposal sounds like is aimed more at forum fans than normal people.



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 Post subject: Re: Nexus 2 Kickstarter PostPosted: 2012-10-22 04:34am
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Mazryonh wrote:
Nexus also respects Newtonian mechanics in its gameplay and ship design.


Are you serious dude? Nexus follows the same antics that existed since X-Wing - with space ships having max speed and fighting at 100 meters from each other. And because they can rotate around all axes and have fancy exhausts on all sides, they respect newtonian physics?

Newtonian physics is bad news for quick paced space shooters. Thats why no one uses them. I-War tried, with bad results.

By the way, Nexus' combat system reminds me of dogfighting whales.



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 Post subject: Re: Nexus 2 Kickstarter PostPosted: 2012-10-22 10:23am
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Stark wrote:
the proposal sounds like is aimed more at forum fans than normal people.


Isn't this true of most Kickstarter games?



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 Post subject: Re: Nexus 2 Kickstarter PostPosted: 2012-10-22 04:04pm
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Eternal_Freedom wrote:
Stark wrote:
the proposal sounds like is aimed more at forum fans than normal people.


Isn't this true of most Kickstarter games?


I think it's true of anything with significant niche appeal. Because niche products tend to have a small but dedicated following they tend to form echo chambers because there simply aren't that many viewpoints being expressed, and the ones that are tend to coalesce around the ones that are repeated the loudest and most often.

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 Post subject: Re: Nexus 2 Kickstarter PostPosted: 2012-10-23 04:10am
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Nexus 1 was a mess to control. There was no easy way of setting waypoints, and once you were in a dogfight, all that mattered was how much firepower could your ships pump out, or what special/heavy weapons you had. Formations? Pfft. Surprise element?

Nexus did their battles by spamming enemies at you at close range. There it turned out to be a micromanagement nightmare. I recently played tried a couple of mods for Nexus, but found them unplayable because you could not apply ANY tactics, because you can hardly set a waypoint to move to other than "go to that enemy and fire".

But I guess everything that lets you point your guns at enemies manually is "tactical" for nerds. And that's the target audience for Nexus 2, which will still be a mediocre space game.



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 Post subject: Re: Nexus 2 Kickstarter PostPosted: 2012-10-24 12:52am
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I actually haven't fired up my copy of Nexus since relatively soon after I got it, when I had to reformat my computer and lost my savegames for most of my games (serve me right for not backing them up, had all my documents though, including my Uni stuff, so swings and roundabouts). Since I reformatted, I haven't restarted most of the games I had on the go that were past the first little bit, as the thought of having to go through, in some cases, ninety percent of the game just to experience the last ten percent kinda put me off starting them again (plus, soon after that I got a new computer that can actually play modern games, so I have a wider spread of games to bounce around as my interest takes me) I was nowhere near as far in Nexus as that, though, having just finished the mission where you go back to the Sol system and meet the Mechanoids, if I recall correctly. For all I know, it turns to dogshit right after that, which is what some of you have said.

I kind of liked the slower pace with intermittent frantic action, though. Although travel times where somewhat annoying, it seemed like kind of a nice mix between turn-based games, which I'm actually competent at, and the faster-paced clickfests of some RTSs (which I suck at, but enjoy sucking, just so long as you don't make me play someone random on the internet - friends are okay). Although there are other slower-paced RTSs which I'm good at, which take other approaches, so it's not like Nexus's approach is the only one for that style.

I mostly gave to the kickstarter and posted this based on fond memories of the game, but like I said, I haven't fired it up in most of a year, and my memory's crap at the best of times. I suppose if it's not as good as I remember, or hell; if its as bad as you guys are saying and I just have that bad of a taste in games as long as you show me spaceships and give me some interactivity, I can't really recommend it anywhere near as strongly as I did. I won't be withdrawing my pledge, but at this point it doesn't look like it has any chance of succeeding anyway.

I will be reinstalling it after exams, to give it a fresh look though. If it's as bad as you say and I was just that desperate for some spaceship combat/something that looked good on my old machine, I expect I'll probably shut it down pretty quick - maybe get up to where I was before making a judgement call, though. If it's either as good as I remember or I just have horrible taste and enjoy bad games, I'll be playing it and enjoying myself, though.

Sorry to waste your time, whether you couldn't believe I could like the game or, like Mazryonh, already knew about the Kickstarter. I guess I'll be more careful to actually play the game I'm remembering before recommending it to someone - which you'd think I'd already know to do, but I never said I was the most sensible of people.



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 Post subject: Re: Nexus 2 Kickstarter PostPosted: 2012-10-24 03:57am
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Nexus had a nice feel and atmosphere in the first two or three missions, but after you got the alien space cruiser and left Sol, the ugliness of the mechanics and mission design really struck home.



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JULY 20TH 1969 - The day the entire world was looking up

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 Post subject: Re: Nexus 2 Kickstarter PostPosted: 2012-10-24 05:16am
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Tolya wrote:
Are you serious dude? Nexus follows the same antics that existed since X-Wing - with space ships having max speed and fighting at 100 meters from each other. And because they can rotate around all axes and have fancy exhausts on all sides, they respect Newtonian physics?


You likely won't believe me, but I still have a boxed copy of X-Wing (the CD-ROM version), as well as X-Wing vs. TIE Fighter. I still remember how the manual of the former mentioned "following these tactics may help to keep your behind from being laser-roasted" and how the manual of the latter had screenshots that had (un)intentionally captured the text messages of the playtesters who talked about "All they are good at is running! And killing nav buoys!".

Perhaps I should have been more specific about Newtonian mechanics in Nexus earlier. Nexus is the first space-based fleet command game title to my knowledge that featured Newtonian mechanics built right into the spaceship/starship/fighter designs from the very start. I'm still a fan of Star Wars, but there comes a point after learning about Newtonian mechanics when I came to ask myself things like "Where are the maneuvering thrusters on the Nebulon-B medical frigate? Or on the Home One Mon Calamari Cruiser? Or on the Executor Super Star Destroyer?" This design aesthetic, coupled with its true 3D combat, is part of what made Nexus unique to me. Furthermore, as I said earlier, virtually every other space-based fleet command game is played on an invisible flat plane or restricts the number of orientations ships can assume (try doing a loop-the-loop for capital ships in Homeworld, or even in Star Trek Online). Nexus' break from this is another unique (and praise-worthy) feature to me.

Also, the "max speed" problem in Nexus is something I explained already as something you can interpret as the "maximum combat velocity" for which ships of a given mass can decelerate and/or change vector in a timely fashion (it does no good to be going so fast you can't stop or move in the opposite direction in time, drag or not). The fact that starships/spaceships in Nexus visibly emit thrust even when reaching maximum combat speed is really just the game devs throwing our terrestrial minds a bone--our Earth-bound eyes can't tell, in the absence of acceleration we can feel, that we're moving unless we see a background visibly moving, which the visibly continued thrust even at max velocity is supposed to substitute for. If this visual cue is enough of a problem, I'm sure it wouldn't be too difficult for the devs to include a "disable main engine thrust when maximum combat velocity is reached" checkbox in the options menu.

Tolya wrote:
Newtonian physics is bad news for quick-paced space shooters. Thats why no one uses them. I-War tried, with bad results. By the way, Nexus' combat system reminds me of dogfighting whales.


Nexus was never a quick-paced space shooter to begin with. And as for dogfighting whales, didn't "dogfighting" for aircraft get its name given how it resembled dogs trying to chase each other's tails? The ships in Nexus were never restricted to fixed axis weaponry or weaponry that could only fire forwards (virtually all the weaponry in Nexus is mounted on turrets with a lot of traverse), so perhaps "whales in a strange dance" would have been more appropriate. I take it you don't like slower-paced space battles as whole either, like the one in "Resurrection Ship Part 2" in nBSG, then.

Tolya wrote:
Nexus 1 was a mess to control. There was no easy way of setting waypoints, and once you were in a dogfight, all that mattered was how much firepower could your ships pump out, or what special/heavy weapons you had. Formations? Pfft. Surprise element?


The Steam version had an electronic manual that outlined how to manually set your waypoints (you can pause the game when you were doing so, so no time pressure there) or how to make your ships move to a location not already set in the game. As for relying on superior firepower, most of the time your own ships were outnumbered and/or had less weaponry to bear than the opposition, so simply trying to shoot your way out without simultaneously tending your own ships' power levels/devices and/or good tactics would result in a "mission failed" message in short order. As for formations, they're not of much use when both you and the enemy can move freely around in space (as opposed to flat land or an ocean's surface) and bypass units trying to block line-of-sight to another (admittedly this was partly because ships weren't programmed to try to block enemy line-of-sight from ships they were tasked to defend, but even this would have been ineffective against small craft like fighters/gunships/bombers and missiles). And the element of surprise became much easier to use once your ship(s) got access to cloaking devices.

Tolya wrote:
But I guess everything that lets you point your guns at enemies manually is "tactical" for nerds. And that's the target audience for Nexus 2, which will still be a mediocre space game.


I played the first Counter-Strike for a while, and despite being designed as a tactical shooter, you wouldn't know that from the way the vast majority of players conduct themselves in the game now, what with all the grenade spam, bunny-hopping, and blindly rushing the opposition. It isn't just the tactics that the majority end up using, it's the number and manner of viable tactics the game makes possible that define it as tactical. Perhaps if you're having trouble with the unmodded campaign I could offer you some advice via private messaging.

Still, Nexus 2 currently remains the best platform for mods or licensed fleet command games focussing on space-based sci-fi franchises like nBSG or Warhammer 40k: Battlefleet Gothic. I for one would greatly appreciate the opportunity to see a "What if?" nBSG game that lets players command the Battlestar Pegasus and have it survive beyond the battle for New Caprica, or a tactical fleet command game that lets me command Battlefleet Gothic ships in true 3D that the tabletop game can't.

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 Post subject: Re: Nexus 2 Kickstarter PostPosted: 2012-10-24 05:31am
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I find it awesome that you think eye candy (Ships emit thruster pulses!) is a major and important feature of the game, even while at the same time you acknowledge that it's not even CONSISTENT eye candy :D

Because who cares about broken combat, horrible mission design or ridiculous story progression, right?

I mean, it even has tutorial/introductory missions which teach you one way of fighting, which is then completely stood on its head in the later part of the game which looks nothing like these early parts. Truly, and excellent command decision!



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JULY 20TH 1969 - The day the entire world was looking up

It suddenly struck me that that tiny pea, pretty and blue, was the Earth. I put up my thumb and shut one eye, and my thumb blotted out the planet Earth. I didn't feel like a giant. I felt very, very small.
- NEIL ARMSTRONG, MISSION COMMANDER, APOLLO 11

Signature dedicated to the greatest achievement of mankind.

MILDLY DERANGED PHYSICIST does not mind BREAKING the SOUND BARRIER, because it is INSURED. - Simon_Jester considering the problems of hypersonic flight for Team L.A.M.E.

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 Post subject: Re: Nexus 2 Kickstarter PostPosted: 2012-10-24 06:02am
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Dude did I just see someone redefine 'Newtonian' as 'have thruster decals' and expect people to be wowed by largely useless third dimensions in a post HW world?

It's like some kind of effigy called 'style over substance' which tells us how what a game makes you feel is more important than what you actually do in it. Clumsy and repetitive combat is ok if it makes you feel TACTICAL.

AND THEN COUNTER STRIKE LOL.

I feel dirty.

Lts all go play WiC.



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 Post subject: Re: Nexus 2 Kickstarter PostPosted: 2012-10-24 06:16am
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Stark wrote:
Dude did I just see someone redefine 'Newtonian' as 'have thruster decals' and expect people to be wowed by largely useless third dimensions in a post HW world?


It's funny because in a game where combat ranges are so tiny, and where you're largely expected to fight over specific points in a tiny sliver of space, AND the ships move like beached whales, the third dimension is a great thing if you want to be shot up while sloooooooowly going up and down, rather than a clever way to exploit the environment to your advantage. In practice you never stray much from the plat plane.

Nexus ships can also bring most of their weapons to bear irregardless of their orientation (the dude even points this out himself :D), making attacking from above or below doubleplususeless, but hey :D



Image
JULY 20TH 1969 - The day the entire world was looking up

It suddenly struck me that that tiny pea, pretty and blue, was the Earth. I put up my thumb and shut one eye, and my thumb blotted out the planet Earth. I didn't feel like a giant. I felt very, very small.
- NEIL ARMSTRONG, MISSION COMMANDER, APOLLO 11

Signature dedicated to the greatest achievement of mankind.

MILDLY DERANGED PHYSICIST does not mind BREAKING the SOUND BARRIER, because it is INSURED. - Simon_Jester considering the problems of hypersonic flight for Team L.A.M.E.

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 Post subject: Re: Nexus 2 Kickstarter PostPosted: 2012-10-24 09:10am
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3 days to go and it's not even made a third of what it needs, so I think this is going to be a non-issue.

The issue I find with these types of games is that they are very niche and often they're done by nobody developer teams looking to make a name for themselves that results in a crap shoot on quality, most of the time.

Well, that and and the games themselves ending up with terrible interfaces that make the game a chore to play.



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 Post subject: Re: Nexus 2 Kickstarter PostPosted: 2012-10-24 02:29pm
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It probably has more to do with their poor Kickstarter than anything else. I haven't seen it advertised anywhere other than this thread, they're not showing off anything they've actually made for this project, and the higher tiers are all limited in quantity (plus the $10,000 level is astoundingly stupid). So they're limiting awareness of the project, haven't put any real work into it yet, and are artificially constraining the donor pool.



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 Post subject: Re: Nexus 2 Kickstarter PostPosted: 2012-10-26 03:27am
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Losonti Tokash wrote:
It probably has more to do with their poor Kickstarter than anything else. I haven't seen it advertised anywhere other than this thread, they're not showing off anything they've actually made for this project, and the higher tiers are all limited in quantity (plus the $10,000 level is astoundingly stupid). So they're limiting awareness of the project, haven't put any real work into it yet, and are artificially constraining the donor pool.


Dude, they aren't showing off anything because they haven't made anything apart from some generic uninspiring design art. And the tech demo they made YEARS ago, which was just some higher poly models flying in bigger empty space.

Nexus fans will pour money into it because its "OMG NEXUZ". The rest (the majority) will just skip the entire affair regardless of how much generic space battle whale dogfight video is screaming at them from the kickstarter page.

Because, let's be honest, they admitted they are going to recycle Nexus 1. Which means you will have the same gameplay, so the same game with some minor tweaks. Because you can't make the battles bigger/more interesting with the same gameplay mechanics, which are a micromanagement nightmare (you can skip it of course and see the game playing itself).



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