Essay on making Simplerockets2 (and maybe SP) more interesting.
Knowing the downsides of the Jundroo games.
I went through the negative reviews of the previous games that Jundroo had came up with on Steam, and tried to summarize up what the games that Jundroo made are lacking of.
So, I found a few points that caused the games to be bad/not good enough in some user's eyes.
The games' building mechanics are sometimes goofy.
The games have a steep learning curve
The players reach a skill plateau where they just stop gaining more skills and stop playing.
The online community is inseparable for game play.
A large portion of enjoyment came from mods that could be well included into the game after asking the original author for permission and maybe paying a bit of a tribute to them.
The games lacks life and variations, quickly gets boring. (sterile, as one reviewer notes) This is one of the most important one
There is nothing telling the player what to do: most players thought the end of the tutorial is the end of the game and just quits. This is equally important
Figuring out a solution for each of them
The goofy building mechanics:
In Simpleplanes, the part snapping mechanism frustrated almost all players during their beginning of gaming. There is simply no way of telling what one part is going to stick to. In Simplerockets1 we had highlighting of the part that it is going to attach to and we can even nudge our mouse or finger to change what it is going to attach to.
In Simpleplanes we had nothing, and before the in-game fine tune was implemented, all of us had to resort to the fine tune mod. The ones that didn't just simply got frustrated and gave up. The attachment points also had to be tediously changed by going through unformatted XML and part numbers. This is not encouraging for players to stick with the game and make beautiful crafts.
Jundroo could ask the modders (overload for example) for permission to implement their mod and give the modders a commission for it. Having these processes implemented and simplified will mean so much to the players in Simpleplanes and Simplerockets2.
Steep learning curve
Th is not shown that much in Simpleplanes as we had a lot of tutorials but in Simplerockets1 this was a nightmare. Having tutorials could tell the players that there is soooo much more that they could do instead of just go to the Smoon and then quiting the game. All the remaining players in Simplerockets1 that I know of are in China where we have an active online community discussing skills and techniques that no devs will ever think of. They are dedicated, but not everyone is dedicated, and those players are lost.
For Simplerockets2, we need tutorials that at least cover interplanetary missions that go to the Smarts and maybe even Smupiter. The tutotials could be implemented in the career mode, in some way that I will discuss in the last point.
Players stop improving
In Kerbal Space Program, they have a much more active community, and they have thousands of posts about new ideas and new records and stuff. The first page that we meet when going over there is the forum where the players have discussions while in Simpleplanes we are met with only crafts. Many players simply download and then leave the site, leaving the forum deserted and wasted.
The first thing that players should meet online is other players that will inspire them to preform better and challenge themselves, not some lifeless crafts.
The online community is inseparable for gameplay
Already explained, skills and ideas are all online, but we can do better. We can throw in a bit of the community into the home page of the game itself! We could have an image and link to the Post of the Week and the Craft of the Week and maybe even more records!
The game lacks stuff that are in mods
Many players do not like the idea of downloading mods, such as me, as I think it changes the essence of the game, how it is supposed to be played. If the best mods are implemented, all of us will be greatful! (but don't limit update contents to mods)
The game lacks life
For this, I have to compare with Kerbal Space Program, which was soooo successful at this. In Ksp, if we talk about Jeb, we know that he is the icon of the game: he represents the game. In the simple games, we had no consistent elements that are always present and interesting. Jeb is always the focus: the Ksp players care for him and other kerbalnauts, and will even bother to build return crafts that are mostly inexistent in the SR1 community.
Squad sells merchandise of stuff with Jeb and Kerbal nonsense on them. Players make fan art of the kerbalnauts, they write stories about them, they focus on them and their wackiness. In the Simple games, we did not have something that we really care about. A crashed craft is a crashed craft, why should I bother? There is no one aboard. We don't have an icon, a mascot, a feeling of life.
To me, we should have a simplenaut, just like the little astronauts in Space Frontier or humans fall flat that are adorable and charming. Give them personalities, give them traits, make them unique and standout. (I could write down different traits and different dialogues in thought bubbles that they have that will pop up during certain circumstances for example saying How green it is! when performing an Eva on Smearth)
Nothing tells the player what to do
With the addition of contracts in career mode, we now have the perfect opportunity to add a storyline to the game. In Ksp, we only have a few storyline-ish contracts that are only there to give us a good start. We can do better than that. We could have event based contracts and a story-tree that changes as we progress through its branches by accepting or unaccepting a contract, by completing the contracts or failing them. We will discover plots along the way, as if we are reading a book.
For example we could have contracts that will affect a virtual market in the game or exploration contracts that will lead to tourists, science bases, and maybe launching an interplanetary launchpad to other planets. (I am eager to start working on a story-tree right now)
Having a story tree could be one of the greatest advantage over other sandboxes. The contracts should have prebuilt satellites that are designed to make a player's life difficult/interesting. We could have a mission in the distant future about sending a repair package to a satellite launched years earlier (in game years of course) that were hidden away by the satellite companies until a repair must be made.
This game has limitless possibilities if the community could provide volunteer work.
I spent an hour writing this please consider @AndrewGarrison @HellFireKoder @PhillipTarpley