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Early game - minor issues
Hi, Chris! I've had a quick run through the first part of the game -- up through talking to people in the first station -- and wanted to pass along the notes I've taken so far.

Quick summary: The bottom-level functionality feels pretty solid -- buttons and sliders behave as expected. The basic gameplay of manipulating relationships also seems to work, although as noted I've barely scratched the surface of this so far. The user interface is excellent, with reasonable color aesthetics and enough visual "pop" to make the game pleasant to look at. (I do wonder about the relatively large size of everything -- is Sol Trader meant to be playable on consoles or mobile devices?)

The next level up, of how the core gameplay loop feeds into the overall feel of the game and how that contributes to achieving the point of the game... that, I'm not too clear about yet. (This is the "what's it about?" question of the game -- the "elevator pitch" that explains what you can expect to get from playing the game.) But again, I'm barely into the main game after character generation, so it's entirely possible that "what's this game about?" will reveal itself to me after more playing time.

Finally, after only a couple of hours of play I've observed a number of minor polish issues, most having to do with text. These aren't deal-breakers, and I understand completely that stuff like this often gets prioritized behind serious mechanical or design corrections (because it has to be). But if you're close to release, and you feel you've addressed all the important mechanical/design requirements for v1.0, then I hope you can now turn some directed attention to polish. Some suggestions:

  • Character generation:
    • "Notable people" -- how is this relevant to character generation?
    • Stories on right-hand screen (about other people): text sometimes just stops in mid-word
    • Character names: men sometimes have female given names and vice versa
    • Character stories: replace "their" with "his" or "her" (since you know the character's sex)
    • Character stories: "X became the mother of [you]" and "Y became the father of [you]" should be together
    • Character stories: spelling: "repellant" -> "repellent"
    • Character stories: why are Ships displayed?
    • Character stories: I clicked on a ship, and it said my mother traded it in -- was it hers? Did I get anything for it?
    • Character portraits: green/white/blue/purple icons in the bar below the character's portrait not explained until later
    • Choose what happened next: start with the character's name (or "...") and end with punctuation for full sentences
    • Choose what happened next: can select "retake exams" more than once
  • Starting help message: "...I'm creating you a little guidance" (grammar)
  • Starting: description of a relative: "a top mechanic, disloyal to the Old Federation and influential" overflows the character pane
  • Character portraits do not include an "elderly" version

Please note that all of these are just suggestions. If there's some conscious reason why you're currently doing any of these things, no defense is necessary -- it's your game.

Great job so far! I'm looking forward to seeing how the rest of the game plays out.
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