Heya. I haven't posted in a while, but I just logged in to take a stroll around all the updates. When it came out in Alpha I immediately installed it and tried it. I pushed through the myriad of bugs and what not, often laughing at little glitches and bemusing at units not being able to get off the construction platform. But now we're in Beta. I redownloaded it and gave it a spin. It's the same thing with bugs fixed. This post is going to sound negative but please see it as critical. I played TA for years, much like many of you probably here, so I hope I can find some camaraderie or maybe some insight from you guys. I don't like the style of the graphics This is more personal opinion than anything but something I was extremely wowed by back in TA were the graphics. We're talking about a 640x480 game looking so gorgeous your eyes popped out of your head. This game looks like it was thrown together in a matter of a few hours with some basic shaders and minimal texturing. The texturing in TA made the units and it most certainly defined the landscape. Painted desert with the old dig sites looked alive. Lush areas were brought to life with towering ferns and bushes. Rocks were mottled and organic. Texturing gave TA attitude and it made the map come to life. The minimalist color flags on TA units were apparent yet not overwhelming. In this game the units are solid colors of your flag and they don't have a techy look to them because of it. Planet always spinning round, round, round While the shadows add some depth to the game, seeing them spin in a dizzying array of ground rocks and building shadows causes visual distraction. Further the sun (while nicely textured) is so large on the maps I have tried that when you zoom out it detracts from the planet you're currently on. The satellites are also pretty quick, or static. Something I've not liked is accidentally clicking on satellites while issuing commands, that's frustrating. Where is the UI? This may sound nit-picky, but I always hated the SupCom interface. It was minimalist and I don't felt it offered me enough information. Somehow PA has managed to make SupCom's interface look like it had a full suite of information. When you selected units I am not sure I needed the information it then threw at me. Honestly if I'm going to create units I'd like to see a more responsive UI. In TA we were greeted with buttons that reacted to clicks (they were just like 3-4 graphics with different shadings on them depending on how the button was pressed) but in this game we get some chirpy noise and a briefer-than-brief flash. Plus the noise could sound more like a button than a squawk. It's annoying and I don't like it. Also the lack of information in general on the screen is real disheartening. There are no nicely laid out HUD lines and I am looking all over the place for information rather than at one location. In TA you had units and enemy units in the bottom box area. It'd tell you what you have selected, what it was doing, what it was producing/using and if it was targeting anything its target's information. PA has none of that. You click something and it just puts a giant ugly square around it. If you hold shift you can see what it's doing but you don't get a detailed list of what the unit is doing. Also the Energy/Metal display is hard to read. Because of how transparent the UI is in general it's difficult to take a glance at my +/- and figure out what's up. I have to actually look at it for about a solid second. Make those numbers bigger. The production net is neat but I feel the +/- is equally - if not more - important. Something else I don't like is how we get color info boxes to the right but factories and units in the build area are greyscale with the exception fo construction units. That's not something I'm a fan of. And to complicate things more... Where is the map? So I heard this was an RTS. More often than not we have maps to tell us where things are. If you zoom in to do something with your units it destroys your immediate awareness. The one thing I do actually like is the return of unit icons from SupCom, this was a good addition to PA. If I zoom out far enough there are indicators of what units are where, so that's great! But we don't have a map for general information. This I believe is a design flaw because of how the maps are generated -- planets are round and very small. Honestly this seems extremely cartoony and unrealistic. I *LIKE* the land but the planets are just so round it's annoying. I don't like the style. One faction? I loved Core. Everyone hated it but I loved it and I loved the fact that everyone hated it. Nothing felt better than a swarm of Levelers one-shotting Solars and Mex and completely laying waste to Defender farms. But PA? No variety. I backed for $150 and I don't have the option to pick a race/faction? Come on guys. This is cutting to the heart of what makes a great TA-style RTS. SupCom made a FEW races and the neat thing about that was each race had strengths and weaknesses and for the most part they were balanced. They suited different playstyles. I'd really like to see that come, but I'm sure this has been beaten to a dead horse already. Aircraft feel clunky, vehicles bump each other around Vtol in this game act weird. They sort of float around and bob and weave in place. In TA/SupCom they were a bit less 'fluid' and acted exactly the way you wanted. Click to fly them somewhere, they go and then they stop right there. In this game it's possible for you to overshoot an area with a vtol because for some insane reason the coding says "let's make aircraft LOOK nice instead of act like we want them to!" Dude. No. I want aircraft to expedite to their location then STOP and land. Also it'd be nice to see a stay-in-place air command so an aircraft can still offer air intelligence in place if it wants to without having to set a patrol in the same place. Further, when aircraft go in for an attack they just die. It's hard to tell what's actually shooting them and there's no romance to the fights. You fly an aircraft or a fleet of aircraft over an enemy base and instead of seeing a flurry of missiles, flak and lasers you just see this bloom of explosions EVERYWHERE. Every single weapon looks the same and I can't discern what's actually going on. The swirling missiles make things even worse. It's visually noisy and intuitive. Also everything sounds the same in air fights. Remember Hurricanes? Those were some distinctive aircraft. You'd be babysitting something in your base then you'd hear this shrill scream of light laser fire from the incoming Adv Bombers and a second or two later you'd hear the deployment of all the bombs which was followed by the loud crunch of whatever the bombs were smashing to pieces. This game DOESN'T HAVE ANY OF THAT. They go in they drop their bombs and everything just turns red. It's so... flat. They also don't fan out in their attack runs which makes things real bad -- one unit gets attacked and they all seem to just poof. Vehicles are another thing. I don't like how they bump into each other like they're on free wheels or something. They don't have mass and they don't feel like they can actually block areas. Just doesn't feel right. Unit and factory placement is yucky I don't like the thick anti-aliased outlines of buildings. Looks kinda gross. When they're building it looks nice but seeing this yucky wireframe just has me :S. Either go for a transparent image or do it how TA did it and just have boxes on the ground. That, by the way, would help with placement. I note that the bounding box and the actual area taken up in this game differ, unlike in TA where the bounding box and the area taken up was the same. Units here plop down well anywhere but I still like making little farm areas of things. Just a personal preference, anyway. Explosions are more smoke than fire Come on guys, let's see the vivaciousness of those explosions and then see some smoke effects linger. Right now it's .5 second of explosion and 6 seconds of smoke. I'd love to see 2 seconds of explosion, 3-4 seconds of smoke. I miss the rips and roars of the explosions and effects TA had dozens of sounds for every class of unit. PA has like three. Fights sounded intense and deep in TA. Fights in PA sound flat and uninteresting. Navigating the map is a pain when it should be easy I hate using the arrow keys to rotate the map. If there's a setting for this I missed it, but I don't like having my hand span the entire keyboard to move around the map. This is made worse by a lack of map and inability to click to get somewhere fast. I know everyone has to deal with it but imagine a serious fight taking place and I have to micro something in my base. No hotkeys and no map. No fun. Man there are so many more things but this is just a basic list of gripes and complaints. I want to see PA become something I want to love but right now it's a visual mess. I'd like to see it cleaner and easier to follow. I am sorry if I offend you guys with this but I played TA forever, built lots of maps and units and it was like I had a relationship with that game. I feel real strongly about this, being the first thing I wanted to back because I was so excited about it and now I'm so disappointed with it. The polish that was TA is missing from PA. From something as aesthetic as unit info boxes (the old F1) to something as functional as a static map there are many things missing from the TA genre. Thanks for your time.