I've played this for about 30 hours now, reaching one month of game time on both Black Sands and Peaceful Forest. Both of those games are still going strong, with no end in sight. So, I hope you'll value my feedback.
This topic is simply to list a bunch of unrelated suggestions that I had about the user interface and the artwork, but nothing about the game balance (I'll do that in a separate thread). If I make a claim, it is just my opinion.
Overall, I like the pixely-vibe you have created. Some of the artwork is great, but some of it is god-awful.
- Sprites: Best artwork in the game. The walk cycle and the slime animation are delicious.
- Buildings: They're okay, but the total bird's-eye perspective clashes with the perspective in which the creatures are drawn. I think that a C&C-1 type perspective (45-60 degrees from the plane) with no outlining would look more appealing.
- Terrain: It's acceptable. The base-layer terrain is nondescript as it should be, although the trees and rocks would look better if they were drawn as individual objects instead of as a giant blob. Those too, would look better drawn at an angle almost from the top. Maybe investigate palette cycling for the shore lines?
- Fonts: Very nice.
- UI: Decent to terrible. Some of the icons are okay, like the heart, but others are rather difficult to interpret. When I first played the game, I thought that the "no-housing" sign was a sandwich with an X over it. I think more vibrant colors might work here. It's also near impossible to make out what's going on in the spell menu. I would find it more appealing if spells and buildings were represented by pictographic icons rather than cropped screen shots.
I do wonder if you could find an artist for the UI icons. A little bit would go a long way.
Side note: Smooth animations rather than the jerky mess that is Gnomoria.
1. It's hard to see anything in battles. It's particularly important to see the individual user health bars, but all the sprites just clump up so I don't know if anyone is dying. Perhaps the hitbars could automatically spread out if there is a battle, with lines pointing to the sprite they represent. It would be nice if this interface would allow me to individually recall villagers as well.
2. Particle effects are okay, in small numbers. However, they start to get very distracting once I get up to 20 essence collectors. Additionally, there is an absurd amount of blood and slime later in the game, and it's hard to make sense of anything. I don't have the world's greatest video card, either (Nvidia GT 740), and I am starting to notice severe slowdowns at 300 population when large battles take place (of course, this might not be particles... I don't know).
3. It's nice that the screen shakes when something is under attack, since this effect is also used for lightning, maybe there could be an additional "UNDER ATTACK" warning that pops up at the edge of the screen? Click on the warning to focus on the action.
4. Allow buildings to be placed over unformed terrain. In other words, villagers who are employed in a resource industry can deliver their building materials to unformed terrain, but the builder still needs to terraform the square before construction can begin. This would make clearing + building less of a PITA, and it would greatly speed up construction.
5. HOTKEYS. FOR EVERYTHING. Much faster than having to click on stuff.
6. Ctrl+Click assigns a worker to repeatedly harvest from a square. Currently, you have to reassign work to farmers and crystalliers, which gets tedious. A square to be repeatedly harvested could be indicated by an orange or blue dot.
7. Alt+Click (or Shift-Click) un-assigns work of the particular type that is selected.