I'm also watching Into the Breach with some curiosity; the game seems to be a lot of fun, and has an amazing soundtrack. I wonder if it will be as big a success as FTL, and if so, whether it will be on its own merit, or the mass following they have due to FTL.
Making anything simple is HUGELY complex. It took them years to get what they wanted and it shows. I think complex UI is actually lazy work. Space 4X games have notorious UI. Endless Space 2's interface might be much simpler than others but I guarantee you they put more time into refining their interface.
Being able to explain or create something "simple" is perhaps the hardest part of creating, and is much harder than naming things in programming and that actually is perhaps is the hardest part.
As an interaction designer: thank you! I wish more people understood this.
And it runs perfectly under Wineskin on my Mac :)
Also the final boss in FTL was way more fun than in this game
Not so fun for me, never managed to beat it after 3-4 tries, on easy difficulty while fully upgraded. I think that part could use a redesign, it's what made me loose interest in the game...although overall I think it's a great game.
So you are right, it's not noob friendly. On the other hand, it's one of the most sublimely balanced roguelikes.
First few runs I got confused on the final boss map, ended up going to rebel controlled territory, escaping into final boss with a extremely unprepared / damaged ship.
I ended up having to unlock several more powerful ships and beat it via the starter Mantis ship (no weapons starting off + 2 mantises). On my first successful run, I had a double charge II laser, a lvl3 defense II drone, and a 4 man warp pad, so the final boss ended up being pretty easy with solid focus fire damage, boarding, and defense.
I think I have 1 win to my name on normal difficulty (not counting the crystal ship, which is clearly overpowered). I find the only way I can reliably do well on normal difficulty is to take a lot of early risks and then just restart if I don't get lucky.
Into the breach kind of lacked roguelike RNG to the extent that every run more or less felt the same, so I ended up unlocking everything I wanted to after 3 days of playing. You also had infinite amounts of time to decide on actions in intoTheBreach, so there was no sense of urgency and it ended up becoming super easy to beat.
Beating it on 1 try was a little disappointing for me. I had higher hopes for intoTheBreach
The game isn't in the same genre (even if it looks a bit similar from outside) and is really good, I don't see why it wouldn't succeed.
It's a very different game than FTL so while I'd expect previous FTL owners to check it out I wouldn't necessarily expect all of them to be interested (I was, and I really like ITB though I'm quite terrible at tactical games) (then again I'm also bad at roguelikes).
But my point is that this kind of GUI approach is very much like a board game. In board games you have a few standard types of pieces, like cards, tokens, meeples, and you design a game with them in mind. The more of these objects you have, the more players have to move around and keep track of. More complex mechanics often add more physical objects. So as a general rule, good board game designers design games with as few objects as possible. Because there's no computer to keep track of things for you, unnecessary complexity is more apparent in board games. Best board game designers design exciting mechanics with creative use of small number of elements. Those games, with high "compression ratio", tend to be my favourite. A few examples are Tigris&Euphrates and Lords of Scotland.
Well to me the very point of a good sound track is immersion and is something to not standout. That is why Ben Prunty's FTL Sound Track was so good. The fact that the music builds up after you place your three mechs was brilliant.
Now ambient music might not be your thing but the games music was skillfully made and isn't some generic tomb of sounds. It was music for a turn based generated puzzles.
Now if this was an album for radio sure forgettable would be horrible comment. For this it is almost a compliment. Most games I just mute the music because it just gets in the way.
Just saw this article: https://www.pcgamer.com/how-i-made-into-the-breachs-soundtra...
Red Alert(1) from 1996 got a "soundtrack of the year" award. Initially I was puzzled by that. It has a few great tracks, but not amazing. Until you play the soundtrack in a loop. The tracks are very atmospheric and totally unobtrusive.
Another soundtrack by Frank Klepacki - Tiberian Sun - is also not something you would play on a concert. But it serves a perfect background, too.
Then I understood there's more to a great game soundtrack than very memorable tunes. XCOM2 soundtrack is optimized for short term, for trailers even. Red Alert 1, Tiberian Sun soundtracks are optimized for long term, to be loopable.
I need to get in touch with newer games, but I have very fond memories of Master of Magic, Heroes of Might and Magic 1-4, Magic Carpet, Dungeon Keeper1,2; Little Big Adventure. Those were definitely special and music was a big part of it.
From newer games I appreciate Rimworld. It may be inspired by country and Firefly, but it's something I'm happy to play on a loop.
Incidentally ambient music artists are some of my favorites. I love programming while listening to the British band Fluke (on youtube) or even Orbital. Even ayahuasca shamanic songs.
I just realized something else about Into The Breach music. It could be put into many, many other games, and wouldn't feel out place. I mean swap it with Age of Wonders III, Hyper Light Drifter, Baldur's Gate, Nuclear Throne, Catacomb Kids, Rimworld, EVE Online, Homeworld, a Total War game, Samorost, Machinarium, The Witcher, Far Cry, Grim Dawn, Dark Souls, Cave Story, Bioshock, System Shock, Dishonored... I can't imagine it in Starcraft, a racing game or Day of the Tentacle, but otherwise it's the kind of music people say goes well with anything.
I really think the music is weakest part of the game. Pixel art is very good, design/game mechanics are excellent, interface deserves the praise. It's a very good game but I think they're just good at PR (self-promotion), like the guy from Ultima Ratio Regnum. He's good at procedural generation and wrote a few scientific papers (and RPS articles), but he doesn't seem to have ever released a game. URR will probably end the ultimate vapourwave. Game design and screensaver design are two different things.
Certainly self-promotion is a very beneficial skill to have and I can learn a lot from these guys.
i haven't cracked the harder difficulties of ITB yet -- not that difficulty is an issue -- but the gameplay just seems so very similar from one run to the next, even if it's engaging for the moment.
I wonder how much of the interface choices were driven by portability to iPad and especially mobile.
FTL (which is superb) is too complicated visually to port to a phone. It works well on an iPad, but having played on both the iPad and desktop I can see that they needed to make UI tweaks for the iPad to make it work.
This new game is an 8x8 grid though, so it’s easier to imagine it as a mobile game.
It's ability to be played, satisfactorily, in tiny bite size chunks - of maybe only a few minutes at a time - demands it makes its way to mobile.
I want it on my phone for my commute.
It often feels like a very complex variation of chess. The maps are small and there are very few categories of objects in them, which makes the game easy to play but hard to master.
It really shines on replayability with new types of units that dramatically change the way you strategize.
And I work pretty hard to make sure my machine doesn't get hijacked by a Belorussian botnet or a Chinese cryptominer. I guess Horace better explain to me that your ads are entirely self-hosted without any JS tracking.
For gaming, OS X is suffering.
They're just a small company (it's just two devs) and they cannot work on things in parallel. I bet it'll come eventually.
I think OP just can't get past the pixel graphics because he just picked two of the highest acclaimed titles of the year, highly recommend both of them.