Hey Wicked Witch team.
Firstly, congrats on the launch and getting the Early Access version of RC 4 out there.
I've been playing extensively and put together my impressions on MenStuff.co.za where I articulated my thoughts a bit better: https://www.menstuff.co.za/games/rugby-challenge-4-early-access-review-a-sidestep-in-the-right-direction/
Regarding some feedback, in summary, I'll start with the positives:
Instant Replay options – this is often overlooked, but well done on allowing players to finally re-watch their tries or plays, control the camera, slow down, zoom-in etc etc. A lot of fun to play with and allows players to appreciate the good moments.
Player likenesses are great.
Fanhub customisation (particularly player creator) is fantastic and detailed. Even the small details, like the ability to add compression sleeves, socks down etc, is awesome.
Set-plays have made a huge difference and mixed up the variety on attack. Easy to execute, clear button prompts, and nice variety to what's available.
Unreal Engine looks great with RC4 and added a 'crispness' to the game.
Notable RC3 bugs ironed-out - I've noticed the wild passes and mis-targeting on passing has been greatly improved, which has made the game substantially more fun to play.
Suggestions: I understand that you have to work within the realm of possibility, so here's my suggestions: Framerate – I'm sure you're working on it, but an improvement to the framerate will really showcase how good the game actually looks and make inputs and flow of the game far better. 'Magnetism' – I think this is a point which applies to multiple moments of the game. Defending players seem to 'magnetise' (for lack of a better word) towards attackers and make tackles they otherwise shouldn't (i.e. defenders 'speed-up' metres closer in order for the tackle animation to trigger. This prevents many should-be line-breaks or prevents you from running through smaller gaps (i.e. if a defending player is remotely near you, but in a real-world scenario wouldn't be in close enough proximity to make the tackle, he will still ALWAYS make the tackle in RC4 due to this 'magnetism'). This magnetised 'bunching' results in very little opportunities for inside balls as there are almost always 2 or 3 defenders on top of each other in the middle of the field (even if one misses a tackle, another will immediately hit you). And if there's a break down the wing, very rarely will you have the opportunity to pop a ball inside or outside of your carrying players as there is often always players bunching and waiting to intercept or hit your supporting player AS he gets the ball. Possible solution: (excuse my layman/dumbing down of your complex process, but just trying to convey and articulate what I mean so that you comprehend my rambling): 1) Perhaps reducing the 'hit box' or detection/activation area for tackles/animations to trigger. Resulting in player models having to actually make contact/touch each other in order for tackle animations to activate. 2) Perhaps to solve the immediate-second-tackler issue, a slight delay can be implemented before a second tackle can commence. This could allow players to break or slip a tackle, and run a few steps (perhaps even escape) before the second tackler triggers. I think this 'loosening of the collision detection' will result in more half-breaks and clean line-breaks, which is that satisfying 'flow' I think the fanbase is craving. Otherwise, I love what your team is doing and excited to be part of the improvement process in whatever capacity.
I hope my description is coming across clearly. Otherwise I can try and capture some footage of examples to further illustrate. Jeremy