Sky Squadron Mission Report #3 – Core Combat

Listen up, Pilots!

The eggheads have finished running the analysis of the last mission, and we have some important details for you!

As a quick reminder, here are the features we added last update.

  • New things to shoot at
  • A new aiming system
  • Environmental collisions to avoid
  • Incoming damage feedback
  • Character and name randomisation

The short version:

We’ve had positive feedback on the new combat system. While we haven’t seen an increase in play time, the overall rating has gone up. Players seem to be understanding the system quickly, and shooting down enemy targets. Incoming damage is not being communicated clearly enough.

Average session length dropped slightly since last build. This is most likely because people aren’t toying with the customisation options, which increase the total play time in the last tests.

Mission are still too simple, which we are addressing in the next update.

The long version:

Targeting and Shooting

To assess how successful the new combat system was, we decided to look at the star ratings submitted at the end of each run. We wanted to hit at least 3.5 out of 5 stars in each category.

After collecting the feedback from each category, we achieved the following results:

Combat: 4.1
Controls: 4.0
Dodging: 3.7
Overall Experience: 3.8

Each of the rankings hit our success targets, taking particular note of combat and controls. They were both clearly higher than the other feedback categories. Our auto targeting and lead firing looks to be in the right direction.

Dodging was the lowest value, but we also haven’t provided many opportunities to explore this mechanic. We can expect to get more accurate feedback when we start to add environmental hazards to avoid.

We also expected the meatier combat experience to at least a 20% increase the session length, but we actually saw a drop from last week.

Previous Average Session Length: 98s
New Average Session Length: 72s
Change: -17%

Clearly the improved combat was not enough to keep people playing longer. This drop in session length is most likely because we were not asking people to test the character customisation features, as well as play the game. This also tells us that the customisation features, as they stand now, are not engaging enough to keep people coming back.

Character and Name Randomisation

A small addition we did make to the customisation screen in this build was better randomisation options. We know that few people would engage with changing their name, so we wanted to see if an easier option to customise your kitty handle would be more likely to be used. We tracked how many people opened the character screen, and how often they would randomise their name and appearance.

Blue: Appearance randomisations per day
Green: Name randomisations per day
Yellow: Character screen views per day

We can immediately see that the randomisation feature received a lot of use for anyone that opened the character screen, which is great to know. We also have a clear idea of what feature was more popular.

Name Randomisations per view: 3.2
Appearance Randomisations per view: 5.5

Given that we want character customisation to be a big part of our game, it’s promising to see people engaging with it at such an early stage.

Player Feedback

We also received some great responses to our feedback form, and they’re giving some great insights to what people like and don’t like in Sky Squadron. While we can’t address all of it now, we’re definitely listening!

  • We had a request for custom decals. We’re still looking at ways players can customise their planes, and it’s something we are definitely looking at.
  • Players are generally happy with the controls.
  • Some people found screen shake to excessive – definitely something we will look at tuning over time.
  • Players don’t find the game difficult, which we totally hear. We’ve been focusing on core combat mechanics, but we are fast approaching adding more challenge to the game.
  • Calls for controller support! This is something we really want to add when the time is right, but for the time being we’re focusing on touch input to make sure it feels great.
  • We had a suggestion for hidden objects, or out of the way collectables. While we don’t have any immediate plans for this, it’s something we will keep in mind as we start fleshings out level.

Summary

We’ve been working hard on the core combat and had some promising feedback so far. While the mission structure has a long way to go, the basic combat mechanics are proving popular.

Next up we’ll be looking at making those missions more interesting, and adding some more meaningful player progression!

Interested in joining our squadron of Test Pilots? Sign up here: http://bit.ly/skysquadronsignup

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