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iPhone: Dark Nova

04-20-2009, 08:43 AM
#1
Joined: Jan 2009
Location: Ill
Posts: 108
Dark Nova

Has anybody try Dark Nova? It's a space trader clone that looks interesting. It's free too. I'm downloading it and I'll post my thoughts.
04-20-2009, 08:46 AM
#2
Joined: Dec 2008
Location: England
Posts: 1,817
iTunes Link

Link works now.

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Last edited by Palfince; 04-20-2009 at 08:57 AM.

04-20-2009, 08:55 AM
#3
Joined: Feb 2009
Location: Texas
Posts: 567
I don't think the link above works. Try this: http://itunes.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewSoftware?id=311548871&mt=8

I am the managing editor of nodpad.com.

Sporting an iPod Touch 2 Gen
04-20-2009, 08:55 AM
#4
Downloading now as its free. Impressions to come.
04-20-2009, 09:11 AM
#5
Joined: Jan 2009
Location: Ill
Posts: 108
Ok, I've only played this for a few minutes and so far I like it. Developer put so time into this. The screens have nice graphics, although some of the backgrounds make some of the words hard to read. Touch the help button and you will be overwhelmed by the amount of information. You can touch the warp button and click on different planets and see what items are selling for what. Like I said, so far I like it.
04-20-2009, 09:23 AM
#6
Joined: Feb 2009
Location: Saratoga, CA, USA
Posts: 11,776
It SHOULD kick ass!

Hey Gang,

I just grabbed but have yet to play it. From their very description it sounds like a spot on port of a famous Palm OS game but now with some extra little graphical enhancements. I really loved the Palm game back in the day so I'll bet this should be good fun assuming they didn't break anything in transferring it over to the iphone. Check this out for a very handy FAQ detailing some of the potentially non intuitive aspects of the game like what kind of products would a Socialist Planet probably want or what does the Pilot skill do for me?

Dark Nova FAQ

Tim "Lord Gek" Jordan, Game Consultant
Twitter: LordGek
GameCenter, iTunes: Lord Gek
My iTunes Reviews
04-20-2009, 10:11 AM
#7
Joined: Feb 2009
Location: Saratoga, CA, USA
Posts: 11,776
Dang, hit my first annoying bug!

Hey Gang,

I hit my first annoying bug.

Unless it is just me I can't seem to sell partial amounts of a given cargo. I can sell all of a given cargo easy enough but if I try to sell, say, 4 of my 10 Waters.

1) Goto Sell Cargo Section.
2) Click on Water (I have 10).
3) In the Sell Cargo Dialog I hit "4" on the virtual keyboard.
4) I hit "Done" from the virtual keyboard.
5) With the 4 now showing in the text box, I hit the "Okay".
6) I'm back in the Main Sell Cargo Screen and nothing was sold.

Can others reproduce this (the specific cargo type and actual amount is irrelevant as long as less than the max)?

Tim "Lord Gek" Jordan, Game Consultant
Twitter: LordGek
GameCenter, iTunes: Lord Gek
My iTunes Reviews
04-20-2009, 10:34 AM
#8
Joined: Oct 2008
Posts: 4,091
It is like another paid app with name just escapes me.

This free one has very nice graphics but I have yet to check the gameplay. Would anyone confirm that you can buy your retirement moon after a while?

The Unofficial Touch Arcade's Captain Slow(TM)

“Honestly, I was never terribly good at games.” - Finch (PoI S2E16)
04-20-2009, 10:46 AM
#9
Joined: Feb 2009
Location: Saratoga, CA, USA
Posts: 11,776
Quote:
Originally Posted by currymutton View Post
It is like another paid app with name just escapes me.

This free one has very nice graphics but I have yet to check the gameplay. Would anyone confirm that you can buy your retirement moon after a while?
It is mentioned in the FAQ so, yep, just like in the Palm Space Trader game, I'm assuming they went with a unique name since there already are a couple of iphone games calling themselves Space Trader.

Another key omission in this port, unless I simply missed it, is there any way to determine your ship's status in a fight? I once encountered a pirate who got a couple of shots in on me before I ran off but I don't believe I received any feedback in the battle as too how damaged I was while in the midst of escaping.

So far this is looking like a clever attempt at a port with slicker graphics but missing some basic functionality of the Palm game.

Tim "Lord Gek" Jordan, Game Consultant
Twitter: LordGek
GameCenter, iTunes: Lord Gek
My iTunes Reviews
04-20-2009, 01:41 PM
#10
Joined: Feb 2009
Posts: 338
There is a bit of user feedback as to your ship's status-- it fills up like a status bar with red when damaged. Because there's no other feedback, I didn't notice until I got into battle with a very tough ship that nearly destroyed me in one hit. Most of the time, attacks seem to end in misses for both sides.

I'm really liking the game. It's exactly what I wanted to play right now and includes features that Space Trader doesn't. However, it does have a few bugs in the current release (1.024) and I've just submitted a bug and suggestion report to their website, darknova.net. One of my biggest complaints about the game is the overall lack of user feedback. Ironically, even the feedback form on their website lacks acknowledgment that my email was successfully sent. So, in case my email didn't get through and in the hopes that the devs might wander by this forum, here are my thoughts:

Bugs:

1. When pirates surrender, selecting "plunder" crashes my copy of the game 100% of the time
2. Likewise, if you go to System Info and choose "Special" after already accepting Special missions/ cargo, the game will crash.
3. Opening the galaxy map doesn't update your current location unless you tap on another system first.
4. The Commander Status can get stuck on the "Special Cargo" page with the apple keyboard visible at times. I don't know what "unsticks" it, but I've gotten it stuck several times after getting my ship infested with Tribbles. Perhaps its the fact that the tribble count is dynamic that is causing the problem? While it's stuck on this page, you can type things into the manifest or delete them, but the list returns to normal when revisiting the menu.
5. Currently, pop up dialog boxes are not disabling interactivity on the screens they overlay. This can cause players to accidentally initiate attacks and all sorts of unintended consequences. I've also noticed that there are several pop ups when winning a battle which tend to be interactive before becoming visible, leading to more unintended actions. Overall, the pop-up system seems broken more often than not. Alerts are not given consistently, for example.
6. I've observed that the Cargo Scoop function as well as the "clear space" option works only about half the time, regardless of whether I have available slots or not.
7. Some time-based quests cannot be completed. For instance, I've gotten the Gemulon Invasion but was more than 6 days away from the system. Is this intended behavior, i.e., is it completely random? If so, the player should have some way of checking the course and distances before taking on an unwinnable quest.
8. (which I forgot to submit) As another poster mentioned, Cargo management is buggy overall. Partial and Max purchasing and selling does not consistently work, though it's always one or the other.

Suggestions:

1. Overall, I feel that the game needs more user feedback. The key point is that the player should feel as though every action has an easily observable result beside just the button highlighting. I hope that these suggestions would not entail a huge art or code hit, but they would add immeasurably to situational awareness:

a. Battle effects. They don't have to be elaborate, just one-frame art overlays and simple horizontal flips of the engaged ships. For instance, I'd like to see visual cues for missed attacks, successful attacks, destruction, surrender, fleeing (flip direction?) and hailing. Damage numbers coded to display blue for shield hits and red for hull hits would be a nice touch, but not crucial.
b. I'd like to see more useful explaination of equipment and upgrades, that is, I'd like to know how they will affect my stats before purchasing.
c. The Galaxy Map could use a much more visible indicator for a selected system. All planets have circles around them. The selected one is just slightly thicker. In the future I'd love to see added functionality for multitouch zooming (to better select individual systems) and the ability to chart multiple hops to a specific system.

2. Balancing: Right now, I feel that even drastically outmatched opponents get away 90% of the time, even with piloting and targeting scores above 10.

3. Equipment upgrades. I hope that there's room in future versions for better versions of equipment- it's just a name change and database entry as long as your equipment menu supports scrolling. Example: Navigational Computer Mark III (with an increased bonus to Piloting). I also feel that engine upgrades would be a nice touch. As you get better ships, your effective range always goes down, meaning that no matter how much money you have, it still becomes more of a slog to trade, especially since distances seemed balanced around the 20 parsec range.

4. Palette swaps to ships for more visual variety: If the art is prepared correctly (and your engine supports it), you should be able to load up alternate palettes for ships to make it feel as though you're not constantly running into the same few ships over and over.