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Performance and state of the UAD still feels very unfinished


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I haven't played UAD for quite some time, despite being part of this journey from the start about 4 years ago. I decided to give the game a ride again after about 6-9 months. Still I find it very weird that compared to most decent games, UAD remains to have a feel of incomplete to me. In this thread I try to sum up most if not all the aspects that I find requiring more effort and focus from the developers and no it is not about demanding CVs ;)

 

Game performance

Whether in naval battles or on campaign turns the game behalves very sluggish with lag and delays happening, controls not responding well etc. It just feels very unoptimized. I had hopes that this would eventually be resolved, but I now have my doubts whether it will ever be. It is just not a great experience. Is it the engine that was/is a bad choice? I have a very good PC yet this game has a feeling of running worse than most games. 

 

Game balance 

The balance of the game is often off. I just played as France in a campaign starting in 1900. France has so much money that I can easily build up the strongest navy in the world in about 10-15 years. I am hoarding so much money that I can never spend enough and this is literally with all the financial sliders to max expenditure whilst having a large navy (and no limited or mothballed ships). It just feels that I don't have to make any choices at this point. In fact only shipbuilding capacity is a limiting factor. To me it just doesn't feel realistic/right when money is in essence no limiting factor. 

 

Limited objectives for the campaign 

I understand that one has to make one's own objectives. However, it feels like there are no real objectives to focus on in the campaign. I often have a feeling that I am just there being present in this game world and building a navy because I can. Maybe within the role as naval director this is actually somewhat realistic. But after getting over 800 prestige or so within 15 years when playing as France it just feels a bit "shallow". I often wonder at this point: why play on? All other opponents (naval directors) seem to have been beaten. There is nothing I can spend the prestige on for instance. 

 

Lack of control on generated campaign battles

Compared to some games, such as "War on the Sea" which also have their own pitfalls. I often feel that we lack the ability to really impact the campaign. I know that we can make a task force and order it to another place on the map, but it again feels like it all hardly matters what you do. Random battles get generated with some impact due to the choices of the player, but is still feels like the player has only some impact on how these unfold. In a game like Hearts of Iron, I have the feeling that I have more strategic control over the navy despite that UAD has a much better focus on shipbuilding and design than such a game. 

 

Missing features 

There are still features that were once discussed that I do not see in the game, nor getting mentioned. The multiplayer aspect is one addition that I applaud, but also one I personally do not care so much about. I would rather see more investment into getting the game finished and right. What happened with certain features that were once talked about, such as captains and admirals, naval conferences, more varied maps (not just water)?

 

Naval designer doesn't feel well organized

This one is a bit more tricky to explain, but to me it feels like the choices in the Naval designer are still unorganized. Especially when playing the campaign I feel that we get all these options in terms of towers and hulls, but it still feels like a bit of a mess in terms of some designs getting a huge number of options and variety, but others having only 3 funnel options in comparison. Also hardly ever do I see more modern tower options available to older (for refit) ships compared to the choices I already had when designing my first build with that hull. 

 

Research tech tree is very hands off

Maybe this is more realistic as in reality no government or naval design bureau would ever directly control all technological development. Yet, the current implementation of the research tree feels very hands off. I would very much like to have a bit more control and consequences to making certain choices. Right now it feels like just throw in as much money one can, try to prioritize engine tech to unlock turbines and perhaps some hull tech and that's it. 

 

Lackluster graphics and sound 

I know, this is not your typical eye candy game and I fully agree. However, by now the graphics and sound of this game feel very outdated. Perhaps it is the engine, but I would be great if we have a bit more fidelity here. 

 

Final comments

If this thread feels a bit like a rant, it is not meant that way. I am trying, as a critic to the state of the UAD, to sum up all the things I feel if resolved would make UAD a better game. I understand that this game was and is developed by a relatively small team of dedicated developers in even more difficult times (Ukraine and getting bought by publisher). 

I have spent a lot of time in this game and got more than enough hours out of it for the money. Yet, I hope that my thread can serve a bit more as a review of this things that require more effort. I have the feeling this game would and could be so much more with a bit more focus and polish. I hope to read your and developer feedback on this. 

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With performance the issue seems to be the underlying engine which is only capable of using a single core of your CPU. Because of this the game loves single thread performance which many modern processors aren’t very good at. Changing that requires updating the game to a newer version of Unity and that is probably a massive endeavour.

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Seems mostly a coding issue, given its game logic is still dependent on frames. I thought only Japan do that, every other game on PC moved on since like 20 years ago. In addition, there is a lot of unneeded complexity in the game. Barrel erosion for one.🤢

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 6/12/2024 at 1:20 AM, TK3600 said:

Seems mostly a coding issue, given its game logic is still dependent on frames. I thought only Japan do that, every other game on PC moved on since like 20 years ago. In addition, there is a lot of unneeded complexity in the game. Barrel erosion for one.🤢

I like it from a historical point of view, but there's a split in identity with a lot of these systems. Is the game a simulation? Will it have simulation elements? I'm of the camp that it should be, I like authenticity and granularity. 

However, in my opinion, you can't model these complexities halfway. If you have barrel erosion, the rest of the factors in fire control and naval ordnance need to be there too, right? Having guns that realistically erode while recoiling guns effect accuracy of follow on shooting, just doesn't make sense. If you're going to model how naval guns work, and I think there's a halfway point from pure sim obviously, you need consistency across systems for the simulation (and game) as a whole to function smoothly. 

To tie this to the OPs point, take funnels. What is the funnel on a warship, other than a value (modifier?) for engine efficiency? Is it part of a propulsion system, with a defined function that dictates it size and shape? Trunked funnels weren't just aesthetic, there's a functionality that caused them to look that way, and so having funnels, engines, boilers, interacting together as part of a whole, would go a long way. 

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On 6/22/2024 at 5:40 PM, DougToss said:

I like it from a historical point of view, but there's a split in identity with a lot of these systems. Is the game a simulation? Will it have simulation elements? I'm of the camp that it should be, I like authenticity and granularity. 

However, in my opinion, you can't model these complexities halfway. If you have barrel erosion, the rest of the factors in fire control and naval ordnance need to be there too, right? Having guns that realistically erode while recoiling guns effect accuracy of follow on shooting, just doesn't make sense. If you're going to model how naval guns work, and I think there's a halfway point from pure sim obviously, you need consistency across systems for the simulation (and game) as a whole to function smoothly. 

To tie this to the OPs point, take funnels. What is the funnel on a warship, other than a value (modifier?) for engine efficiency? Is it part of a propulsion system, with a defined function that dictates it size and shape? Trunked funnels weren't just aesthetic, there's a functionality that caused them to look that way, and so having funnels, engines, boilers, interacting together as part of a whole, would go a long way. 

There is cost and benefit to each decision. Modeling realistic stuff is good on its own, but may harm gameplay element. In absence of that trade off, this game should be as realistic as possible. But often I find stuff that is neither realistic nor helpful for gameplay, like barrel erosion. Like damn, accuracy don't go down at all IRL unless way pass realistic length (like L100 or something), it just have diminishing return. Nor is it fun in game to do mental math when barrel length is too long.

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If you were to model the problems with Italian naval guns, which iirc had issues with erosion, what's the best way to a) go about it and b) explain that to a player who might not know anything about naval affairs? 

Big picture, it's more of a logistical problem, really. Barrels that eroded rapidly needed to be relined or replaced more often, or in the long run had issues with dispersion, had to use reduced charges etc. Now, in the game, warships and naval guns are one and the same, which may not be a problem, but doesn't reflect the logistical burden, or the workaround. I don't think players would intuitively understand why a ship needed a refit after firing X rounds, lifetime, through a barrel. On the other hand, adding a scaling cost to ship maintenance as more rounds are fired could work too, but would also need to be explained. I think things like the ships using reduced charges to preserve barrel length and prevent taking the ship back to the dockyard when it was needed to sustain the ops tempo would also represent the problem and a possible solution, but how would the player understand why their guns are acting differently than usual after X rounds over what might have been several campaign turns? 

These are all serious questions, I'm wondering what the best approach might be, not endorsing any one in particular. 

 

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