Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears,
some days ago I finally took the time to finish the tutorial maps, and I'm now in the process of learning what strategies and tactics to use to successfully get a healthy economy going, so I won't get wiped out by the first AI that gets a whiff of my existence.
As I've played other strategy games before (Civ CTP, Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri, FreeCol), rather than reading any manual I just dived right in, but did do the Tutorial campaigns first. And I must say: "Impressive." Wonderful graphics, sound, interface, game concept. But rather than spend 100,000 words on all the things that are good or better, I'm going to point out a few possible improvements I can think of.
Firstly, I missed the possibility to pin the various pop-up windows I prefer to have during a game: the messages, the stock statistics, and the buildings list. With pinning I mean preventing an usually accidental right mouse-click closing them. It would also be nice to have a playing config file, in which showing these windowlets by default each game could be turned on, as well as their placements. One might also save having build-help, building names and statistics turned on by default.
The second thing I had a minor puzzlement about was the centre of the mapview: when you get an alert about something, and use 'g' to go there, the location is put in centre view, but on a large screen like mine, it's hard to figure what the exact middle is, unless I use a tape measure or mark my monitor in some way. Would it be possible to make a 't' key, to activate a crosshairs like targeter, with two thin lines dividing the screen in half horizontally and vertically, leaving just the centre clear, where perhaps a circle could be drawn around the centre tile?
Which brings me to the third thing: geologists. When they find a resource, they send a message for the first of that kind and put up a marker, but if the location is where you can build a mine, it disappears under the mine icon. (But you can turn off build-help with a single simple keypress, Loki, you dummy! Oops!) I do find it annoying, however, that geologist just stupidly wander around looking for resources, and do not, for instance, keep to the terrain: when the flag is in the mountains, stay in the mountains, the (wo-)man wants ores, otherwise (s)he's looking for water, so stay out of the mountains. But maybe that's just me.
Finally, I was thinking I miss some sort of indicator of difficulty for the various maps, and I've even thought up a method of determining a good system to create one. But before I lay out the details, I'd have to know, if there is significant difference in playing a map as barbarians, Empire or Atlanteans? I have as yet no idea how great a difference in crucial resource usage there is, e.g. if gold is absent from a map, will barbarians wipe the floor with the other two, or something like that?
Anyway, those are just some initial suggestions that sprang to mind, feel free to tear me limb from limb, as long as you do it with a touch of kindness, please.