Fractal Softworks Forum

Starsector => General Discussion => Topic started by: Squigzilla on August 09, 2016, 01:07:48 PM

Title: Why so many people want detailed boarding mechanics (my best guess)
Post by: Squigzilla on August 09, 2016, 01:07:48 PM
I often see requests from players who want to expand the boarding mechanics of Starsector. In-combat boarding using assault boats/drop pods, specialised weapons like ion canons that make boarding more likely/possible, and detailed post-battle systems that add more nuance to the boarding process have all been suggested at various times by many different people. Each post brings a lovely debate about the relative merits of different options, so it is clear that there is player interest in the topic.

That said, I believe many people don't want more complex boarding mechanics for their own sake; they really want more control over acquiring their favorite ships. Diving into a tough fight in the hopes of boarding a Hyperion but being given a Buffalo MkI instead is extremely disheartening. If you aren't allied with the Tri-Tachyon you might not have another chance to acquire this ship for a very long time.

Am I mistaken, or is that the core reason boarding overhauls are so often requested? I hope there are other methods for finding specific (especially rare) ships planned for the future.
Title: Re: Why so many people want detailed boarding mechanics (my best guess)
Post by: xenoargh on August 09, 2016, 01:51:23 PM
I think that a great deal of it has to do with:

1.  It used to be pretty straightforward to capture lots of ships and this was fun; then this was taken away and a new gameplay system was developed, that essentially made capturing ships pure RNG, which is un-fun.

2.  Other games in this genre (Escape Velocity, SPaZ, etc.) have real-time boarding systems, and weren't fundamentally broken by this; in fact, it was one of the fun parts.

3.  It's especially un-fun to have to RNG-grind for rare ships; a game based on RNG rarity in general is un-fun; a game where you're grinding to get gold to buy nifty things, which in turn allows you to take on harder challenges, is inherently more fun.
Title: Re: Why so many people want detailed boarding mechanics (my best guess)
Post by: David on August 09, 2016, 02:25:22 PM
(things)

I'm not jumping into this conversation as-such (fake edit: okay, I am), but I'd be interested in hearing this without using the word "fun". In discussions about experiencing games, "fun" is used like the word "good". X is good. Y is bad. Z is good. This points at a part of the game and says Good or Bad but doesn't say why.)

Disclaimer: I don't speak for an official dev position here and wouldn't talk about Alex's position on the matter without his permission in the case that I even knew what his final intentions were. So: purely speaking for myself here.

You mention randomness, and I think that's a good start on the question -- thing is, RNG = bad doesn't quite say why it feels bad in this circumstance. Certainly games have made random challenges feel good. It sounds like you're getting at is a desire for controlling the boarding target. And currently this is frustrating (un-fun!) because you can see a juicy target but only very rarely actually get it and have no way of having any control over that result. Surely games successfully pulled off mechanics with a very low chance to acquire something and it's worked. So why not here?

Say you could do targeted boarding easily: giving the player to ability to possess any ship they beat in a fight means they'll very rapidly acquire the ideal set of ships. It's a classic videogame problem of "I beat the bad guy who has a machine gun, so why don't I get his machine gun to use?" - if the game just gave you everything you wanted, it can break pacing and challenge. Starsector seems to want to pit the player against superior ships without actually giving those ships to the player because a skilled player will always beat an equally equipped AI. Give them what the last AI had will just bring endgame ennui all the faster.
How can Starsector get away with what it seems to be trying to do?

One answer to this is "it's not a completely finished game". Certainly the higher-level mechanics in the works will help.

Many suggestions involve a lot of feature-creep like boarding minigames or expanding the scope of combat to have a sub-level of assault shuttles and ship invasions. Starsector is a game that's fairly clear about what it's about - space battles - and what it's going to be better about - campaign-level gameplay - so I don't think extremely detailed sub-features are a useful route to solving this problem.

MoO2 comes to mind as an example: why does it get away with what it does? A. Perhaps because it blows up ships completely when they are killed and doesn't even hint at any recovery (unless the player specifically engages with the marines/boarding mechanic in the game). A side-note to keep in mind: MoO2 combat was turn-based and had far inferior AI and less sophisticated tactical battles therefore could way more easily add a boarding component to combat than Starsector ever could.

A thought: Imagine a Starsector that never had the ability to recover destroyed enemy ships in any manner at all. Might that be more satisfying if you never knew the boarding feature existed at all?
Title: Re: Why so many people want detailed boarding mechanics (my best guess)
Post by: Weltall on August 09, 2016, 03:43:47 PM
I will comment as someone that loves capturing ships, ever since the first game (that I liked) gave me the option to, which is Cutthroats!: Terror on the high Seas!

Capturing ships to me is a challenge and even now on 0.7.2a, I prefer to blow my money on expensive Marines, so I can capture ships, rather than buy em. It is the pleasure of looking at my fleet and thinking that I was lucky to capture that ship in the X battle, which gives me the feeling of fulfillment.

As such a person I can easily say why getting a ship by playing on a lottery. Because when I look at them, I just say I was lucky to capture that ship, where if I had to go through a long process of capturing it, it would be a feeling of awesomeness and I would think "Oh darn, I broke my bottom to be able to get that ship!" or something alike. That gives the ship a different "value".

The easiest that a boarding process could be, would be to first lower the "health" of the enemy ship to a lower point, make sure it will not be able to keep it's shields up and maybe force it to overload or make it's engines stop. But no matter how simple or complicated the process would be, it would take more effort than just hoping lady lucky will be on your side.

I do not know much about the thought of minigames, but I am guessing people want these affected by FTL? But it is not weird for people to want such features in any games. In Sims people always seem to want to be able to enter the rabbithole buildings, and actually "go to work" or "go to school" and whatnot. In many talks I have seen people say something like "Oh it would be so awesome, if you went to work, to be something like janitor simulator (I am just giving a non existent example) and be able to experience cleaning floors wit more detail than Sims lets you! I myself found in the past saying that it would be so awesome that a less detailed part of a game, could be just like that other game.. Obviously most of the time that is impossible, since adding a game within a game, probably means more than I can even imagine.

I personally do not feel like the game is not good cause it lacks a boarding mechanic, but more like it is one of the things that I wish it had. I guess I just like the idea of having prize ships with a "story" behind them. One that does not evolve a slot machine luck.

Sorry I can't compare SS to any game, since I played no game like it before. I never played a game where I felt so up and personal to my whole fleet. It was always just in general "my fleets", in strategy games and in games like X3, It was my main ship, oh and those other guys around me.
Title: Re: Why so many people want detailed boarding mechanics (my best guess)
Post by: Gothars on August 09, 2016, 03:59:12 PM
Say you could do targeted boarding easily: giving the player to ability to possess any ship they beat in a fight means they'll very rapidly acquire the ideal set of ships. It's a classic videogame problem of "I beat the bad guy who has a machine gun, so why don't I get his machine gun to use?"

You know, that is a problem that could actually be solved the same way Alex solved it for the survey mechanic - require a specialized skill for boarding, and lock high value ships behind high levels of that skill. Say ships have a secured computer systems, and you need to hack them to be able to use the ship. Unskilled characters could only make use of ships with unsophisticated systems, e.g. pirate barges. Using a captured Hyperion would require a master hacker. That would enable the dev site to control the boarding mechanic's influence on the pacing of the game, and at the same minimize the RNG aspect.


On the other hand, I wouldn't mind if boarding as a way to get ships would disappear completely. I'd like to have boarding in the game for roleplaying purposes though, if only to pirate freight from ships without having to destroy them.




That said, I believe many people don't want more complex boarding mechanics for their own sake; they really want more control over acquiring their favorite ships.

One main culprit here is the lack of progression diversity, i.e. the only way to progress is to upgrade your fleet. When you have a fleet for a purpose, and not just for its own sake, possession of individual ships becomes less important.

Title: Re: Why so many people want detailed boarding mechanics (my best guess)
Post by: Scanaro on August 09, 2016, 04:32:49 PM
Hi there, finally de-lurking.

First I want to say that I do like the majority of added mechanics in the past, for example combat readiness as a whole and even the inbattle cr timer has grown on me.
What else? Well, great game, I like how it's coming along etc.
 
So, now that that's out of the way let's start with a little story.

For the last couple of (major) updates I tried to acquire an Apogee. Had a lot of fun with this ship in the past, soloing system defence fleets in particular; but which ship couldn't after the introduction of skills.  ;)
Anyway, until this update I actually never managed to get one. Even at one time aligning myself with Tri-tach didn't help.
No market had one, no matter how often I checked and attacking my only allies was kinda out of the question. In my other playthroughs boarding was kinda the only option I had,
though to organically get one by hoping real hard the rng didn't want to wave the middle finger in my face again was a somewhat futile attempt.
Those few Apogees I got to fight never ever became board able until I just gave up and gamed the mechanic to the breaking point. Basically killing every other ship in its fleet,
harassing and bullying it repeatedly into retreat with a heavy scoop of the ice cream of safe scumming. Though a chore I was finally given the ship. Hurray, I guess.

That seamlessly leads me to the point why this mechanic is my personal "big fat hate target".
(disclaimer: the following are my personal opinions of boarding, so take it for what little it is worth)

Well, the biggest issue I have with boarding as a mechanic is the complete lack of control.
The game rolls if I get the ship I actually want to acquire or if get handed the half eaten burger wrapped in a greasy newspaper.
I may then decide if I want to bet some marines on the chance to get said burger or if the games feels funny and just blows it up.
For me, that creates a pretty long chain of frustration.

Maybe I am spoiled by a lot of games that featured boarding, but in my mind boarding is a pretty straight forward decision making process: I want to acquire ship x.
Can I get it by other means (aka buying, producing, etc.)? No. Enable the ability to board (in this case marines). Done. Commence boarding of ship x.
The current mechanic throws some pretty big curve balls in that regard. The fattest and smelliest is of course the game slapping my hands by not allowing to choose the actual ship that is to be boarded.
And then blowing it up if it feels I didn't appreciate its choice enough. Now, I did read the arguments stating it would make it to easy to fast if you can get whatever, just need the marines and of you go.
Though I am firmly entrenched on the "don't care" side of this. I do however get Alex comments why boarding will not become a part of combat itself and stay on the aftermath.

That's fine, I can live without the shuttle cannon. But I do want to make meaningful decisions and feel the results, positive and/or negative and not play lottery.
Make it more expensive, don't care.
Even require a tug to drag the half burned wreck with your fleet around at burn 5 with a additional cost in .. supply, machinery, what ever, just to get it to the point where it becomes a ship again with 1% hull and 0 cr.
Force me to shuffle it to a station or have a repair rig in my fleet (would give 'em some use). Don't care. Just make the middle finger shoved in my face go away.
Increase the initial hurdle to boarding, make it require campaign time, what ever, but please, tone down the randomness.

...

Well, that ended up being quite a rant, off to a great start  :-\
Sorry 'bout that.

Or yeah, just get rid of it, that's an option as well. I don't think I would mind.  ;)
Title: Re: Why so many people want detailed boarding mechanics (my best guess)
Post by: FooF on August 09, 2016, 05:27:38 PM
About a week ago I was traveling around doing bounties with a small fleet of destroyers and frigates and ran into a named bounty with an Aurora and Apogee along with support destroyers. I ran away, was barely able to purchase/equip a Dominator, and went back to have one of the most enjoyable fights I've had in awhile. My losses were not nearly as terrible as I thought (a Lasher and Wolf) but more importantly, the Aurora came up for boarding. I happened to be carrying 60 Marines on-board and took the plunge. Now, the RNG gods smiled upon me that day and I've been using the Aurora as a flaghship since but rarely do I get that lucky.

As Weltall said, boarding a ship gives it some intrinsic value to me. I earned it "the hard way," whatever that means. I played Sid Meier's "Pirates!" and god if I didn't hunt down a Ship of the Line until I could capture it. That was the unicorn.

I think a mechanic that made it difficult, but not impossible, to capture what you wanted would be superior to the pure RNG that we have now. I don't know what that would look like and I think the mechanic would have to be very specific and very intentional. If it took bringing a troop transport into battle (which is relatively easy to kill), killing the target, keeping the transport alive while it boarded, and then towing the destroyed ship's hull out of the battlezone, that's a start. As Gothars said, maybe even putting up a skill wall to keep the best ships until the end would be in order.

As a player, though, I would know "the rules" of boarding. If I could get all the various elements in order, I have a shot of getting of what I want, even if it is improbable. The "fun," as we are trying to define, is typically in the prep and pursuit, not the kill. RNG still plays heavily into what fleets you fight and whether or not you'll get the number of Marines, the troop transports, the right fleet to pull it off on, etc. But, if I do my part, there's a chance that through skill and prep, I score my unicorn.
Title: Re: Why so many people want detailed boarding mechanics (my best guess)
Post by: Megas on August 09, 2016, 05:39:15 PM
Unless we get blueprints and autofactories to build whatever we want, boarding is the only way to get ships if the faction that sells them hates you.

I like high-tech for small ships, then low-tech plus Eagle for big ships.  No single faction sells every ship I want in my fleet.  (e.g., only Tri-Tachyon can sell the Scarab, and only Hegemony sells some of the XIV ships), and some factions have trouble stocking all of the best weapons.

I remember one of my games, I had to save-scum to board a Hyperion (after save-scum deterrence was added).

I will use dirty tricks and exploits to get what I want if they are the only way.
Title: Re: Why so many people want detailed boarding mechanics (my best guess)
Post by: King Alfonzo on August 09, 2016, 05:43:35 PM
I personally do not feel like the game is not good cause it lacks a boarding mechanic, but more like it is one of the things that I wish it had. I guess I just like the idea of having prize ships with a "story" behind them. One that does not evolve a slot machine luck... I never played a game where I felt so up and personal to my whole fleet.

I feel this argument nails it on the head for myself when I, too, made a post about boarding.

The Total War series is one of my favourite games to play, and had been intensely interested in modifcations of that series that added intense complexity. This was because when I played the game, it was less of a 'game' and more of a narrative-in-progress. I wasn't moving an army with some guys towards an enemy city; I was invading Gaul with the second-in-command (and dangerously ambitious but rather rash) Marcellus at the head of an untried army, to face off against the Arvenii in a foolish expedition to refill Marcellus' coffers after disasterously backing Alexander II's bid for Head Oligarch of Massilia. Likewise in StarSector, I too have an internal narrative. Heck, some of my successful campaigns are actually the basis behind some of the factions I want to mod into the game (For instance, a mining conglomerate that plumbs the farthest reaches of the sector for the rarest and most profitable of ores, all based on a playthrough where I did just that).

For boarding, it feels like there should be more of a 'story' behind the ship, and I think this can be somewhat fixed by having a little more intensively 'dialogue' when invading a ship, (For instance, your first attack with marines might completely fail, and you have to send in more marines, or perhaps the ship suddenly opens fire on your ships during the boarding, resulting in damage to your ships, etc.), and maybe having a choice of several ships that survived (with better ships being locked unless you have the appropriate skill). I do acknowledge however that the basics of the system are essentially hard-coded at this point, but with the upcoming 'breaking ship' update, it might be more satisfying to know that you couldn't capture ship X because it blew up right in front of you. On the flip-side, I think people will be upset if they DON'T capture a ship that DIDN'T blow up.

In summary:
-People hate how you have no control whatsoever over which ship you get to board, and boarding is a boring experience ina nd of itself.
-Giving people a selection of several ships would ease the first issue, (but not remove it), and perhaps adding more boarding 'events' may make boarding itself more satisfying.
-Restricting this selection based on skills (IE Skills that increase the number of boardable ships, and a different skill for what you can actually board) in addition to marine amount would help prevent power creep.
Title: Re: Why so many people want detailed boarding mechanics (my best guess)
Post by: Tartiflette on August 09, 2016, 11:59:14 PM
A thought: Imagine a Starsector that never had the ability to recover destroyed enemy ships in any manner at all. Might that be more satisfying if you never knew the boarding feature existed at all?

   This is exactly the core of the issue here: you have a mechanic with nearly no control over, in a game that heavily favor player agency. The inability to even stack the odds in favor of capturing a particular ship is frustrating when your progression is so dependent on acquiring more ships.

   Loot based games usually shower you with weapons of all kinds so that every few minutes you find something interesting. And weapon drops in Starsector don't count the same way as they are so easy to obtain otherwise: in said loot based games they usually are a big money investment closer to acquiring a new ship in this game.

   As mentioned before it also completely close an alternative way of progressing in the game that could potentially be more interesting to buying your way up. Expanding your fleet with better ships would imply taking on fleet better equipped than yours to get said ships instead of farming pirates until you are strong enough to steamroll the main factions. A much more interesting reward than supplies and rep hits.

   Even in-universe, in a world with limited means of production it would make sense that ships do rarely get completely blown up, and that the main path to get a fleet would actually be salvaging wrecks.

   Now that being said, I'm not in favor of a detailed in-battle minigame. At worse I could see the ability to disable completely a ship with special EMP based loadouts and a special order that prevent the AI to fire missiles or HE weapons at the target. But many things could be added on the campaign side to gate the usefulness of boarding:
 - time consuming skill based survey of the enemy fleet to determine the ship to board because "the boarding team need that time to draw a plan of attack",
 - time consuming salvaging to prevent farming ships in enemy space as you'll be interrupted,
 - burn 0 disabled ships that needs tugs and repair gantries to move...
 - to a spaceport to get reactivated, again to limit the number of ships you can get in one patrol. It would also create some interesting choices like when you get the opportunity to capture a second ship on your way home but only have one tug.
And many more that also might have been suggested.

As it stand with 1/20th chance to board something and then only a low chance to board something interesting, it is 80% small frustrations, 18% big frustration for 1 or 2% big joy moments. I have to I agree that the game could very well be better without boarding at all.
Title: Re: Why so many people want detailed boarding mechanics (my best guess)
Post by: King Alfonzo on August 10, 2016, 02:08:10 AM

 - time consuming skill based survey of the enemy fleet to determine the ship to board because "the boarding team need that time to draw a plan of attack",
 - time consuming salvaging to prevent farming ships in enemy space as you'll be interrupted,
 - burn 0 disabled ships that needs tugs and repair gantries to move...
 - to a spaceport to get reactivated, again to limit the number of ships you can get in one patrol. It would also create some interesting choices like when you get the opportunity to capture a second ship on your way home but only have one tug.


Why not at the end of battle have 'Time Points', where you can use the points to attempt to take a vessel, attempt to repair a vessel, or attempt to salvage some really good but perishable loot. The larger the vessel, the more time it takes? Also, I love the idea that salvaged ships have 0 burn, and you NEED tugs to bring them along.

I have to I agree that the game could very well be better without boarding at all.

...I can kind of get behind this, while simultaneously not getting behind this. Maybe if 'boarding' were instead relegated to the Salvage aspect of Star Sector and not battles, I could see THAT being a thing. But it's still fun to conquer your way into decent ships as is. It's just frustrating as hell.
Title: Re: Why so many people want detailed boarding mechanics (my best guess)
Post by: TJJ on August 10, 2016, 02:30:01 AM
I like the idea of having to stay around after a battle to salvage, so you'd not be doing it deep inside hostile space; rather like spaz 2 does it. Having to bait enemy fleets into an ambush seems like it could add an interesting mechanic for the campaign map.

I also think in-battle boarding would add further depth to combat, requiring the player to restrain their attack so as to not destroy that which they desire. I'd cite Starfleet Command, and Star Trek Armada as examples, but they're almost exclusively done via transporters; not nearly as viscerally satisfying as boarding craft and ship to ship docking could be.
Something more like boarding as portrayed by pirates during the age of sail; yarrrrrr!
Title: Re: Why so many people want detailed boarding mechanics (my best guess)
Post by: Deshara on August 10, 2016, 02:56:43 AM
Simple answer: people want boarding mechanics so they can have a tool to manipulate the rng towards a reward that they want without having to lose out on all the benefits that the rng provides to the gameplay experience
Title: Re: Why so many people want detailed boarding mechanics (my best guess)
Post by: Weltall on August 10, 2016, 04:45:29 AM
I am not sure how valid this would be, but I do think there should be an option that will favor both the people that are yay and nay with this. As in keeping the quick slot machine mechanic, giving a random chance to players that do not want to go through the trouble of capturing ships manually, if they did not attempt to capture a ship during the battle.

>.> not to mention that it would help those poor souls that have the actual patience to keep doing battles, in order to try their luck, until that luck brings them the ship they want from the fleet.

I would love to see someone trying to capture a Paladin.
Title: Re: Why so many people want detailed boarding mechanics (my best guess)
Post by: Megas on August 10, 2016, 05:55:17 AM
There could be an alternative to boarding, or rather, the idea is boarding on a massive scale - invasion of markets.  Kill all of the defenders of a market, deploy a bunch of marines at a market, and seize it!  Anything left in the market is yours!
Title: Re: Why so many people want detailed boarding mechanics (my best guess)
Post by: Tartiflette on August 10, 2016, 06:42:54 AM
...I can kind of get behind this, while simultaneously not getting behind this. Maybe if 'boarding' were instead relegated to the Salvage aspect of Star Sector and not battles, I could see THAT being a thing. But it's still fun to conquer your way into decent ships as is. It's just frustrating as hell.
The emphasis was on "As it stand". Of course the mechanic can be tweaked toward something that add a lot to the game, but in its current 1-2% chance to get something good I feel that it creates more bad blood than good moments.
Title: Re: Why so many people want detailed boarding mechanics (my best guess)
Post by: VuNut on August 10, 2016, 11:01:43 AM
The problems with boarding entirely boil down to it being left to crossed fingers and a X% chance the player can only manipulate through save-scumming and very obviously game-y steps (ala blowing up all the wrecks you don't want in combat).

I would guess that this isn't something that should be worried about right now, as I can see a pass of the mechanic with more general salvaging stuff in the coming update.
Title: Re: Why so many people want detailed boarding mechanics (my best guess)
Post by: Weltall on August 10, 2016, 02:56:08 PM
Savescuming (seriously, I learned that weird word in here..  Sounds so wrong) will be a thing be it there is a luck factor or skill factor. When people want something, they will reload untiul they get it, except if of course they limit themselves for more realism, or play Ironman.

If I had a list of which feature I want the next patch to have and boarding was an option, it would be on the top of my list. That is thought only because of my personal views on how much I like boarding.

But for sure I too think this is not something that we should be worried about right now. Again, like I said, be it it appears or not, I will adore this game like crazy. If anything I wish the 0.6.5.2a mechanic was an option. Not that I say that throwing two dices makes the boarding much better than just throwing one, but it gave me a better satisfaction, cause it was a bit harder to get a ship... oh that moment that you got a chance with the ship you wanted so much to get and it would explode in your face.. grrrr
Title: Re: Why so many people want detailed boarding mechanics (my best guess)
Post by: Gennadios on August 10, 2016, 07:27:52 PM
Many suggestions involve a lot of feature-creep like boarding minigames or expanding the scope of combat to have a sub-level of assault shuttles and ship invasions. Starsector is a game that's fairly clear about what it's about - space battles - and what it's going to be better about - campaign-level gameplay - so I don't think extremely detailed sub-features are a useful route to solving this problem.

Fleet based combat is already so detailed that I doubt people expect any future scope changes to move away from it. Will there ever be a point in development where the player retires to their Capital planet/space station and control things remotely like a sci-fi transport tycoon?

While I'm not fond of the idea of minigames, I have no problem with Ion weaponry and boarding shuttles. The basic behaviours are already there for Ion weapons and the shuttles could very well be fighters that happen to only be able to attack ships that are in flux overload or otherwise out of commission.

Having control over which ship to capture needn't be easy or guaranteed. To tool a fleet for capture, the player would need to sacrifice punching power in favor of less hard hitting/flux generating weaponry, and also organize their fleet for troop carrying capacity (what use do the Valkyrie and Starliner currently serve?)

It shouldn't be a question of whether making a capture "guaranteed" will ruin the game, but about how hard it should be to accomplish it.
Title: Re: Why so many people want detailed boarding mechanics (my best guess)
Post by: Megas on August 11, 2016, 10:49:55 AM
Quote
Having control over which ship to capture needn't be easy or guaranteed. To tool a fleet for capture, the player would need to sacrifice punching power in favor of less hard hitting/flux generating weaponry, and also organize their fleet for troop carrying capacity (what use do the Valkyrie and Starliner currently serve?)
Valkryie, none since the smaller liners are more efficient.  Valkyrie may have more OP and guns, but it is still relatively helpless due to poor combat performance.  It needs to haul and fight like the Mule.  Of course, this is all moot since Valkyrie cannot be found in unmodded game.

Starliner is useful if you need to haul lots of elite crew to sell.  (Command Experience 10 plus lots of combat can generate lots of elite crew.)  It would be useful as a freighter if its maintenance costs were not so high.  If not sell crewing, then Starliner is not very useful.
Title: Re: Why so many people want detailed boarding mechanics (my best guess)
Post by: ciago92 on August 11, 2016, 02:14:22 PM

 - time consuming salvaging to prevent farming ships in enemy space as you'll be interrupted,
 - burn 0 disabled ships that needs tugs and repair gantries to move...
 - to a spaceport to get reactivated, again to limit the number of ships you can get in one patrol. It would also create some interesting choices like when you get the opportunity to capture a second ship on your way home but only have one tug.


This is the kind of thing I think should be implemented. Now that we have debris fields on the campaign map, I think part of that should/could be "these ships were disabled but not destroyed in the battle that generated this field. You need X repair gantries to repair this ship here (1% hull, 1% cr so you can get it moving) or Y tugs to take it somewhere to be fixed. Or, you can just loot the ships." This can be part of the salvaging stuff, the skill would probably fit under industry reasonably well, and it'd add more interesting decisions to the campaign map (it'll take three days to repair the engines to the point we can move it, how likely is it no pirates will find you during those three days? Heck, if we wanted to get crazy with it you could even have the repair gantries as ships you must defend in combat if you get caught). The sizes of ships can be locked behind different skill levels and repair costs. It'd add another way to acquire ships without making it a requirement, a must-have skill, or a cheap grindfest. You'd still have to dedicate yourself to making it happen. It might even open up the scavenger playthrough further, running around behind fights trying to find a hull or two to sneak off with quickly and sell for a quick buck without getting caught.
Title: Re: Why so many people want detailed boarding mechanics (my best guess)
Post by: Schwartz on August 11, 2016, 03:44:05 PM
Starsector has an 'easy mode' that involves chasing lucrative bounties and playing nice with the major factions, but it also has a 'hard mode'. You make the game difficult for yourself by antagonizing factions and becoming a pirate. It's a legitimate playstyle and yet it penalizes you hard. You don't get a lot of markets and what they offer is mostly sh*t.

Now piracy is tons of fun. It is the one playstyle that really caters to the new sensor mechanics the most. Clearly it is encouraged. It's also the playstyle that benefits most from boarding. The old system was RNG but workable. You could rig Mercury shuttles with extra personnel space and get a fair shot without the risk of losing an expensive ship of yours. I don't know how the game now calculates possible salvages, but I'm pretty sure it's falling short on what it's supposed to be, X% per ship. I always end up upping the percentage in my games.

Boarding doesn't have to be a whole minigame. I would like it to be because it could be a fun thing to do. Mostly I just want the pirate playstyle to work better. Hell, a starting option that enables something like rare ships (Dynasector) and at the same time increases boarding chance would be fine and easy as pie to implement. The system we have now is okay. Right now it's just not quite there yet.
Title: Re: Why so many people want detailed boarding mechanics (my best guess)
Post by: Drokkath on August 11, 2016, 09:25:07 PM
Yeah, have had a ship or two blown up in the past too. Not sure either how the new boarding mechanic works but at least the ship of mine hasn't blown up due to boarding.

All I can say is that I do prefer some sort of a boarding minigame even if it is through dialog and in hopes of lessening the dead marines.
Title: Re: Why so many people want detailed boarding mechanics (my best guess)
Post by: Deshara on August 11, 2016, 10:34:42 PM
Yeah, have had a ship or two blown up in the past too. Not sure either how the new boarding mechanic works but at least the ship of mine hasn't blown up due to boarding.

All I can say is that I do prefer some sort of a boarding minigame even if it is through dialog and in hopes of lessening the dead marines.

preferably locked behind a skill tree to maintain vanilla balance
Title: Re: Why so many people want detailed boarding mechanics (my best guess)
Post by: Drokkath on August 12, 2016, 02:23:11 AM
preferably locked behind a skill tree to maintain vanilla balance

Aye. The more skill the less casualties. Basically a sort of a boarding relating skill that opens up a few more dialog options and chances to possibly keep more marines alive. That's, yeah basically what I was thinking of.
Title: Re: Why so many people want detailed boarding mechanics (my best guess)
Post by: Megas on August 12, 2016, 05:56:49 AM
That is what the level 5 perk of Advanced Tactics, Special Ops, does.  It halves the marines you need to successfully board the ship.  Combined with marines worth 233 credits a pop at zero stability black markets, boarding is cheaper than buying ships, even after repairs.
Title: Re: Why so many people want detailed boarding mechanics (my best guess)
Post by: Drokkath on August 12, 2016, 07:38:09 AM
I barely look at what skills give or do about half the time, can't really blame me for not wanting to read much and wanting to play the game with maxed out everything instead.

That aside, it's a neat thing indeed as I just checked.
Title: Re: Why so many people want detailed boarding mechanics (my best guess)
Post by: JDCollie on August 12, 2016, 11:25:12 AM
Personally I don't see how less RNG-y boarding mechanics would "ruin" the game experience, especially if you balance the boarding correctly. Consider the cost of a new ship, let's say a 45,000 credit destroyer. Now let's say the player is given the option to board said ship instead of buying it. So long as the repair cost plus the marine cost are balanced to be similar, the progression will stay largely the same.

Heck, allow the boarding success rate to be controlled by how many marines are committed, with success being guaranteed with enough personnel. Just have the casualty rates guaranteed as well (with a +/-10% margin for FUN!) and you have a generally balanced mechanic that allows players to have agency, let's them still get lucky (committing to boarding with less than the required marines and just hoping to get roll big), and is still has cost that can be measured in credits. Granted, it doesn't address which ships are available for boarding, but at least it deals with the boarding mechanic itself.

Obviously the boarding skills would require a rework with this, but I think it would be more fun than the current mechanic of "Pray to RNGesus".
Title: Re: Why so many people want detailed boarding mechanics (my best guess)
Post by: Megas on August 12, 2016, 02:47:07 PM
The biggest fun killer is ship availability.  I want to board that Hyperion or Onslaught XIV, not another Buffalo or Hammerhead!
Title: Re: Why so many people want detailed boarding mechanics (my best guess)
Post by: Drokkath on August 12, 2016, 03:16:18 PM
Manual choice of which enemy ship to save for boarding the most would sure be welcome. I fully agree.

On a side note I'm probably the idiot here who used a fully maxed out Hammerhead for a while last time I played Starsector which was like more than a year ago.
Title: Re: Why so many people want detailed boarding mechanics (my best guess)
Post by: Weltall on August 12, 2016, 03:23:06 PM
When I switched to 0.7a, the first ship that I got as a choice to board, was an Astral. It happened at a time I had only two little frigates, after a won joint battle. I was literally shocked that I got such a choice as my first ship on the new version. Little I knew through how this was the first and last time I would get anything bigger than a destroyer, before after two plays, I raised the % to 15.

Luck can be really awesome when it goes well. People cant believe they got something so awesome.. but what happens when you go to a casino and keep playing all your money until none is left? No one feels happy about never winning after all.

But obviously, like people want to salvage with their own skill, they would obviously want to board with their own skill. If anything, a mixture of both luck and skill, always makes it feel more right.

PS: I love Hammerhead, even if it is supposed to not be good. It is an awesome ship!
Title: Re: Why so many people want detailed boarding mechanics (my best guess)
Post by: Dezgard on August 15, 2016, 01:39:47 PM
List of all ships appear after a battle pick one to board :P ofc only ships that didn't get totally destroyed.

Or once you nail all the ships fly up to the one you want and (dock) then end battle and that will be the ship that pops up for boarding :P
Title: Re: Why so many people want detailed boarding mechanics (my best guess)
Post by: Zapier on August 20, 2016, 08:15:55 PM
Spoiler
(things)

I'm not jumping into this conversation as-such (fake edit: okay, I am), but I'd be interested in hearing this without using the word "fun". In discussions about experiencing games, "fun" is used like the word "good". X is good. Y is bad. Z is good. This points at a part of the game and says Good or Bad but doesn't say why.)

Disclaimer: I don't speak for an official dev position here and wouldn't talk about Alex's position on the matter without his permission in the case that I even knew what his final intentions were. So: purely speaking for myself here.

You mention randomness, and I think that's a good start on the question -- thing is, RNG = bad doesn't quite say why it feels bad in this circumstance. Certainly games have made random challenges feel good. It sounds like you're getting at is a desire for controlling the boarding target. And currently this is frustrating (un-fun!) because you can see a juicy target but only very rarely actually get it and have no way of having any control over that result. Surely games successfully pulled off mechanics with a very low chance to acquire something and it's worked. So why not here?

Say you could do targeted boarding easily: giving the player to ability to possess any ship they beat in a fight means they'll very rapidly acquire the ideal set of ships. It's a classic videogame problem of "I beat the bad guy who has a machine gun, so why don't I get his machine gun to use?" - if the game just gave you everything you wanted, it can break pacing and challenge. Starsector seems to want to pit the player against superior ships without actually giving those ships to the player because a skilled player will always beat an equally equipped AI. Give them what the last AI had will just bring endgame ennui all the faster.
How can Starsector get away with what it seems to be trying to do?

One answer to this is "it's not a completely finished game". Certainly the higher-level mechanics in the works will help.

Many suggestions involve a lot of feature-creep like boarding minigames or expanding the scope of combat to have a sub-level of assault shuttles and ship invasions. Starsector is a game that's fairly clear about what it's about - space battles - and what it's going to be better about - campaign-level gameplay - so I don't think extremely detailed sub-features are a useful route to solving this problem.

MoO2 comes to mind as an example: why does it get away with what it does? A. Perhaps because it blows up ships completely when they are killed and doesn't even hint at any recovery (unless the player specifically engages with the marines/boarding mechanic in the game). A side-note to keep in mind: MoO2 combat was turn-based and had far inferior AI and less sophisticated tactical battles therefore could way more easily add a boarding component to combat than Starsector ever could.

A thought: Imagine a Starsector that never had the ability to recover destroyed enemy ships in any manner at all. Might that be more satisfying if you never knew the boarding feature existed at all?
[close]

Coming late to this discussion and not really feeling up to reading comments and opinions made after these posts, I wanted to add in my reasoning why I always wanted a bit more detailed boarding mechanic.

David, in his post, I think had it best for my position when talking about how I'd love to see some sort of minigame kind of feature that doesn't necessarily lend itself to the current development goals and plans. I want it simply because I think it would be fun and the ways I imagine it without all the complexities of having to build it in mind, is something that just adds more life and detail to the universe I'm living and fighting in. It was never about needing to be able to capture my favorite ship or that rare ship or even so much about increasing the odds. My want comes from a simple immersion factor.

Much like the now current officers made me care a bit more about various ships I have aside from my flagship, I kind of wish I 'cared' about my crew a bit more and my marines. Getting to see their fate played out in every detail with perhaps named or unique crew and marines popping up is just part of my ideal which is generally unattainable. From X series to Homeworld and even Space Empires or other 4X space games I always have this desire to have a kind of outpost or fleet that struggles to maintain itself and seeks to capture and acquire means to strengthen, repair or enlarge itself to be a sustainable post. So, boarding mechanics just go with that to me if I could somehow help alter and increase the effectiveness of my resources used as any good fleet commander would want.
Title: Re: Why so many people want detailed boarding mechanics (my best guess)
Post by: RickyRio on August 30, 2016, 11:16:30 PM
My take on the original question.

Personally I would want more detailed boarding mechanics only such that trying to capture ships can be a more selective process instead of pure random chance. This allows players agency to try to steal larger ships instead of say, grinding up the credits (and standing) to purchase it outright, instead you spend say ~1/2 of the ships cost on the ships and troops to capture it. The issue with this in the current game is these ships tend to be in larger fleets, and if all ships have an equal chance to be boarded at the end of combat, you are going to have to fight a fleet like that (chance to attempt boarding a ship x Number of ships in average fleet) times to be successful, there needs to be more game play to better represent trying to board a ship.

My own idea on the subject would be a boarding ship, that can board a ship when it is between 0 to half hull. (so destroyed to heavily damaged) getting it to board the other ship before it is disabled puts it into a disabled state, forces a boarding action against it after the battle (if you hold control and the boarding ship is not destroyed), and gives a bonus to boarding it. Boarding an already disabled ship forces a boarding action with a moderate chance the ship is too damaged to be taken and instead rewards increased supplies/resources for successful boarding.
Title: Re: Why so many people want detailed boarding mechanics (my best guess)
Post by: ArkAngel on August 31, 2016, 09:48:46 AM
I completely missed this conversation it seems. Anyway, as it stands, I'm actually okay with the current boarding mechanic, though some choice on the players part would be nice.

I actually like the idea of combining gothar's and tartiflellete's idea

Being able to choose what ship you board, only it requires a character skill leveled to repair  more advanced ships and larger ship classes. Add in tartiflette's idea about salvaging taking time, maybe like how installing com sniffers used to work. Include the requirement of tugs, or a repair gantry to move/repair the salvaged ship, and it creates an interesting boarding mechanic. A lot like how exploration works really.
The only real problem would be the poor pirate, that can't really afford a gantry or a tug.
Title: Re: Why so many people want detailed boarding mechanics (my best guess)
Post by: Machine on August 31, 2016, 08:15:11 PM
Due to thread necromancy I'll take this chance to put my two cents in, and actually give a general idea of what I think about the current skill system.

First boarding so far feels a lot like release day Diablo III, by being completely RNG related, and when you actually got a set piece you wanted, it rolled main stat of a different class. It was not fun, required a lot of grinding, and it was probably geared towards the use of the auction house. It was rewarding though I probably still have my Inna's belt stored in a mule character. Blizzard "fixed" this by making drops weighted, catered to what you play, and giving you a reliable way to get the items in the form of greater rifts.
I could see this working for Starsector, as an example I usually prefer high tech ships and energy weapons. After destroying a fleet with some mixed ships and weapons, the game could detect what I'm using and give me weighted loot, so maybe tactical lasers get a doubled change to be part of the loot in contrast to machineguns (since I don't have a ship that can use them), and for boarding the wolves in the fleet get preference over the lashers, even further the game could detect that I have no cruisers, despite attacking fleets which have them, and offer me to board one (if you currently have the means to do so)
This would work, better what it currently is, but it is also horrible by forcing you on a set path...

Honestly, I think the system needs to be scrapped and then reimplemented, and actually be tied to newer systems, specially salvaging. So I'll propose something, based in multiple stuff I've read while lurking on the forums, I'll do so by presenting a fictional after combat scenario...

Incoming wall of text, open at your own peril.

Spoiler
So my fleet has just defeated a Tri-Tachyon fleet, as soon as the battle finished I get presented the classic loot menu we all know and love. I get the chance to pick up supplies, miscellaneous items and some floating weapons. This is also where the first point of frustration happens in the base game as I might not get the chance to loot that sweet plasma cannon (in this case I might actually reload and repeat the fight if it was easy, if it wasn't well I would get frustrated a bit; heh, I've even done this just to get some tactical lasers).

Until now, no changes, but after selecting your "quick" loot you get presented a screen with all the disabled ships in the conflict, including yours. Here the game would assign a first pass of RNG and give every ship a visible indicator of how intact it is and how strong is the surviving crew. You would be presented the choice to either leave, scrap some of the ships for extra loot (how nice, a second loot pass where I might get the plasma cannon I wanted) or try to board and salvage some of the disable ships which would need marines/crew, a ship capable of performing repairs, and maybe tugs.

No big changes yet... not really, I'm proposing that every single ship is made available to be "captured", however how costly (marines/crew/maybe even ships) and how long it takes me to do so is what the RNG pass controlled.

I choose to scrap the ship which had the plasma cannon and to board and salvage a medusa. At this point if I was not prepared to do this I would get quite costly, since I didn't have a boarding capable ship (a dedicated shuttle, with a specific hull mod), or a lot of marines, I sent my own medusa and boarded with crew, they get overwhelmed and I get a new popup menu, the ship is going to self destruct, either I send more crewmen and risk my ship to get damaged in an explosion, or decline and accept my loses. Since the game gives me an approximate chance of being successful depending on how many troops I send, I decide to maximize my chances up to the maximum it would allow me, this time I send an overwhelming number of crewmen, as the game gives a 80% chance of success. After committing to board again, a new window appears and informs me that the enemy crew was eliminated and my loses, it also says that the target ship was heavily damaged... not good.

Now I get back to the disabled ship screen, I can see now that the medusa I boarded has no crew strength left, and is ready to be repaired, it's intactness dropped severely though. Considering I was prepared to repair my own ships by having a couple of tug and a salvage rig, I decide to repair the medusa and one of my own ships that was disabled. The game informs me that due to my skill level and fleet composition to scrap 1 ship, repair to moving condition my wolf and the medusa I would need to spend 5 days in total on the debris field. I take accept.
Back to the campaign map, a small transient feature has appeared in the system right below my fleet, a large debris field, if I click on it with my fleet I get back to the disabled ship list and I can order some changes, but I don't.

1 day has passed and the ship with the plasma cannon was scrapped, because my salvaging skill was low, and I set the salvage rig to repair the medusa, I just get some extra supplies, and a tactical laser, there are 4 days left in the counter to repair the medusa and 3 for the wolf. 2 more days pass and my wolf is back online, but since its intactness was low, it became a (D) variant, I'll need to repair it properly on a friendly base (either one of my own outposts, or in Jangala because the Hegemony is favorable to me and I've invested some points in a diplomacy skill).
Also on the third day an independent scavenger fleet appeared, they kept their distance since I was first, they have a good relationship with me and my fleet is bigger.

On the fourth day a new Tri-Tachyon fleet appears, since I didn't scrap all the ships some of the still living crew manage to send an SOS, had I had a high tech skill in communications I might have been able to detect it before. The fleet is larger than mine, and meanwhile I could take on it, my fleet is low on supplies. I decide to leave.

The Tri-Tachyon fleet pursues me for a while, and as it does so the independent scavenger runs to salvage the now medium sized debris field, some of the less intact vessels left unattended had exploded on their own, some of the more intact ones with a strong crew presence managed to repair their ship and left, I allowed them since I didn't want to wasted CR by engaging them.
As soon as I'm somewhat far away from the site and the independent started salvaging, the enemy fleet returns to the debris field, scaring the scavenger away. I keep watching, 2 more days pass and the debris field is gone, the Tri-Tachyon fleet repaired and scavenged the rest of the fleet, I check its composition it now has a medusa (D).

I decide to engage it, after all now my ships are back to full CR and I'm better at combat than the AI, even if I don't take into account my combat skill, and more importantly I still have surplus redshirts.

Well that's the end of my ramblings. In my dream game that's how I would go have it go. Despite not having the proper skills and marines, I still manage to run a somewhat efficient salvaging operation by using skills that are less related but still useful, and supplying those that I lack with ships. I know it would mean some big changes, but I'm pushing for more integration between combat, the campaign map, skills and actually more equally valid alternative paths to do something. I've never really liked when games makes something impossible because I didn't pick some specific skills. Well I guess it's fine for shorter non sandbox games, in those I do a second run with a different setup.

Apologies for the large wall of text, and I hope this has some internal consistency and makes enough sense, keep in mind english is not my first language... heh, 3 pages on word, well I had fun doing so though.
[close]
Title: Re: Why so many people want detailed boarding mechanics (my best guess)
Post by: Serenitis on September 02, 2016, 12:55:46 AM
Quote
Why so many people want detailed boarding mechanics
Because they are masochists, and want to inflict thier complexity fetish on everyone else. :P

The current mechanic is almost fine.
All it needs is some way of selecting or influencing the ship which "wins" the boarding roulette.
Title: Re: Why so many people want detailed boarding mechanics (my best guess)
Post by: woodsmoke on September 02, 2016, 12:17:20 PM
I wouldn't mind something a little more detailed than the current mechanic. Honestly, I kinda' miss the more dynamic approach from 0.6 - as much as it sucked to lose a ship to a self-destruct, it at least kept things interesting. Boarding now is just a numbers game: if you have enough marines and an open fleet slot you'll capture everything every time. It's boring.

I always thought it would be fun to retool a shuttle and/or freighter to be a boarding craft, maybe a hullmod to that effect; something similar to the Valkyrie but which actually exists in the damn game. :p
Title: Re: Why so many people want detailed boarding mechanics (my best guess)
Post by: Megas on September 04, 2016, 06:56:54 PM
Boarding today is simple and mostly works alright.  (I like simple and reliability.)  It is a bit too cheap thanks to easy access to marines worth 233 credits.

All I want is to pick the one ship I want to board if multiple ships are eligible for boarding (and I cannot board them all like in the 0.5x days).  That one ship is yours (if you have enough marines), and the remaining ships either flee or get disabled and salvaged.  Also, anti-save-scumming either made foolproof or abolished.  Current save-scum deterrence simply extends the time of each reload attempt (instead of saving next to target fleet, you save two weeks in-game time ahead and fight a full battle, but still takes much less to grind than for other games, and it is so worth it once you board that rare Hyperion or Onslaught XIV that you cannot obtain any other way).

Boarding in 0.6x was hideous, enough that few posters here got banned for their uncontrolled outrage.  Chance of success for hard dock and boarding a useful warship was 37.5% at best.  (25% self-destruct, then 50% chance of success afterwards.)  If you were lucky, you board on the first try.  If not, you could spend over an hour replaying battles and fail boarding attempts more than ten times in a row (each with 37.5% chance of success) before you succeed.  Assault teams only had 9.375% chance of success and required too many marines to be a viable option.  I abhorred boarding during the 0.6x era once I experienced multiple failures in a row even with the most favorable save-scumming conditions.
Title: Re: Why so many people want detailed boarding mechanics (my best guess)
Post by: Bastion.Systems on September 05, 2016, 02:35:07 AM
So, just popping in to say that I don't want detailed boarding mechanics. I don't really see the point, maybe make disabling ships less random, but please no stupid minigame.
Title: Re: Why so many people want detailed boarding mechanics (my best guess)
Post by: woodsmoke on September 05, 2016, 10:08:31 AM
Boarding in 0.6x was hideous, enough that few posters here got banned for their uncontrolled outrage.  Chance of success for hard dock and boarding a useful warship was 37.5% at best.  (25% self-destruct, then 50% chance of success afterwards.)  If you were lucky, you board on the first try.  If not, you could spend over an hour replaying battles and fail boarding attempts more than ten times in a row (each with 37.5% chance of success) before you succeed.  Assault teams only had 9.375% chance of success and required too many marines to be a viable option.  I abhorred boarding during the 0.6x era once I experienced multiple failures in a row even with the most favorable save-scumming conditions.

Oh, I won't argue with the numbers being horrible, I just miss the greater range of outcomes. I thought selecting a boarding craft was kinda' fun*, and a ship self-destructing during boarding or being damaged beyond repair always felt right to me. It adds a little bit of flavor that fits perfectly with the feel of the game. IMO, the problem wasn't with the fact they happened, but the frequency with which they did so. I'd really like to see Alex tweak the numbers to be less punishing and restore those features to the game.

*Granted, once I really understood how it worked my boarding craft were almost exclusively shuttles and small freighters, so when the inevitable explosion happened I was really only out the marines rather than the marines and one of my combat ships, which was apparently a lot more of an issue for other players.
Title: Re: Why so many people want detailed boarding mechanics (my best guess)
Post by: Jay2Jay on September 05, 2016, 09:12:22 PM
What about a surrender mechanic, like in Sid Meier's Pirates? Or do something like give each ship a numeric value that can only be drained with certain weapons, but they still damage the ship so ships with more advanced tech have a higher chance of being destroyed.
Title: Re: Why so many people want detailed boarding mechanics (my best guess)
Post by: mitthrawnuruodo on September 06, 2016, 12:00:36 AM
I will add my vote to those asking for more control. And by control, I mean the ability to choose as boarding targets, and not tactical control of a boarding operation.

There is no conceivable logic or rational as to why out of the 25 ships with several cruisers and battleships that I disabled, and took care not to destroy, throws up ONE measly frigate to board at the end. Why this ship? Why only ONE max?! Makes no sense at all.

I will take a mechanic that rewards weighted decision-making over random luck any day. To people saying how the random (and extremely low) probabilities makes for a more "fulfilling" experience, I have to disagree. There is no thought, strategy or "gaming" involved on your part to get that one rare ship. You are not overcoming a challenge. You do not improve your "boarding skill" with each failed attempt. You simply get lucky, or you do not. Its just tedium and waste of time.

Some or all of the following will do for me -

1. Specifically mark ships for boarding during / at the start of the battle to increase the chances of those ships showing at the end.

2. Give multiple boarding options (if not for ALL not-destroyed ships) at the end based on the size of the original fleets involved in battle. Player has to consider to the predicted losses, and decide based on risk vs reward.

3. Allow simultaneous boarding attempts on multiple ships.


+1 for surrender mechanism as well. It will add a little bit more of realism, which is always welcome.
Title: Re: Why so many people want detailed boarding mechanics (my best guess)
Post by: Serenitis on September 08, 2016, 02:54:39 PM
Use a modified version of the "old" logistics pool to control boarding. (Also, bring back logistics :P)

Have each ship in a fleet contribute toward a pool of "points" or however you wish to describe it.
Every ship can contribute something, but some ships are naturally better suited to the task of docking and delivering angry shooty spacemans into other ships. These would be your shuttles, armoured transports, and other specialised vessels.
And whatever they contribute scales with thier current CR.

At the end of a battle you have won, all your ships have thier "pirate points" added up and modified by CR, which gives you your pool for this battle/instance.
Then all the disabled ships from the defeated fleet are presented to the player using the "deploy" dialog or something similar, with each ship costing a certain amount of points to recover - bigger ships and more intact ships = more points required.
The player can then pick as many ships to board as they like so long as they have the "points" left to do so. So you might choose to take a handful of frigates, or you might prefer to use all your resources to recover the cruiser you just put holes in.

This gives the player agency in what is currently a frustrating luck-bound endeavour while not overly skewing the difficulty/balance (as ships are generally not worth boarding unless you specifically want a particular one).
The only significant balance change would be that rare/desirable ships would become easier to acquire, which could in turn be balanced by making them exceedingly fragile and prone to outright destruction.
Also, this same mechanic could be flipped around and used against the player if they get beat down. This would have to be watered down though, in order not to be completely obnoxious.
Title: Re: Why so many people want detailed boarding mechanics (my best guess)
Post by: Megas on September 09, 2016, 05:11:29 AM
I am not sure if Logistics is a better idea, if re-implemented the same way as 0.6x.

During 0.6x, I never touched Leadership until both Combat and Technology were maxed.  This meant I would have 20 Logistics, enough for three or four frigates or one Conquest; and remember that crew required Logistics too.  Before 0.65, leveling up past 35 was slow, and I might get Leadership 5 for 60 Logistics if I was serious at leveling past 40.  Unfortunately at the time, loot was so generous (to offset outrageously expensive supplies) that my fleet composition was locked to mostly Atlases and a few Medusa.  At 0.65, leveling via food runs, and other commodities to a lesser extent, was so generous, that leveling beyond 70 was realistically possible, and having all of those skills was very VERY FUN!  Getting 10-10-10 was not hard, and I could roam with a big frigate fleet or a somewhat smaller fleet of big ships (but due to Navigation, frigate fleet led by Hyperion was the best at nearly everything other than commodity hauls).

However, with the coming skill revamp and Industry, Logistics as before would be a terrible strain for those who do not want Leadership.  20 Logistics was not enough to support even a single battleship (without taking CR penalties) - I loathed that!  With so few Logistics, the player has no choice but to solo all opponents.

P.S.  One thing I like about removal of Logistics is I no longer need to count personnel and fiddle with numbers to avoid losing bonuses or taking penalties for exceeding some Logistics count.  Crew and marines also counted toward Logistics, not just ships.
Title: Re: Why so many people want detailed boarding mechanics (my best guess)
Post by: woodsmoke on September 09, 2016, 10:06:01 AM
Use a modified version of the "old" logistics pool to control boarding. (Also, bring back logistics :P)

Have each ship in a fleet contribute toward a pool of "points" or however you wish to describe it.
Every ship can contribute something, but some ships are naturally better suited to the task of docking and delivering angry shooty spacemans into other ships. These would be your shuttles, armoured transports, and other specialised vessels.
And whatever they contribute scales with thier current CR.

At the end of a battle you have won, all your ships have thier "pirate points" added up and modified by CR, which gives you your pool for this battle/instance.
Then all the disabled ships from the defeated fleet are presented to the player using the "deploy" dialog or something similar, with each ship costing a certain amount of points to recover - bigger ships and more intact ships = more points required.
The player can then pick as many ships to board as they like so long as they have the "points" left to do so. So you might choose to take a handful of frigates, or you might prefer to use all your resources to recover the cruiser you just put holes in.

This gives the player agency in what is currently a frustrating luck-bound endeavour while not overly skewing the difficulty/balance (as ships are generally not worth boarding unless you specifically want a particular one).
The only significant balance change would be that rare/desirable ships would become easier to acquire, which could in turn be balanced by making them exceedingly fragile and prone to outright destruction.
Also, this same mechanic could be flipped around and used against the player if they get beat down. This would have to be watered down though, in order not to be completely obnoxious.


I find your ideas intriguing and wish to subscribe to your newsletter.

I agree with Megas re: logistics as implemented in 0.6x probably not being a good fit, but like the old boarding mechanic, I think it was a case of sound idea, poor execution. I'm confident if Alex just tweaked the way it works a bit he could figure out a way to reimplement those mechanics that works better.

'Course, this is assuming all the new developments since then (thinking primarily of industry) don't change everything enough as to simply obviate the whole thing.
Title: Re: Why so many people want detailed boarding mechanics (my best guess)
Post by: Cik on September 10, 2016, 02:49:50 AM
i liked logistics more than the fleet limit tbh

it was kind of the whole point of the leadership tree. i can see why it was removed but it was the only real benefit leadership gave unfortunately.
Title: Re: Why so many people want detailed boarding mechanics (my best guess)
Post by: Tartiflette on September 10, 2016, 03:18:33 AM
I preferred the old fleet points system better. It was readily visible, easy to understand, easy to balance... I would gladly welcome it back.
Title: Re: Why so many people want detailed boarding mechanics (my best guess)
Post by: Megas on September 10, 2016, 06:21:37 AM
i liked logistics more than the fleet limit tbh

it was kind of the whole point of the leadership tree. i can see why it was removed but it was the only real benefit leadership gave unfortunately.
Logistics made sense, but it made Fleet Logistics must-have.  20 Logistics to 100 Logistics was a gigantic leap of power.  Technology had some must-have skills too, namely the +OP skills and Navigation (which gave burn speed back then).  Combat was all-or-nothing.  If you did not max multiple skills, it was useless.  If you did, you gained an absurd amount of power.  (Compare enemy fleet commanders with Combat 9 instead of Combat 10, Combat 10 was much, much stronger than Combat 9, bigger than Combat 9 got over no Combat.)

I guess the numbers could be tweaked so that Fleet Logistics gave a small boost to a high base when maxed, instead of gigantic boost to a small base.

As someone who could not stand piloting unskilled ships, I always took Combat and Technology first.  I would get bored with glacially slow ships without those skills.  After I maxed those two attributes, then I would go for Leadership.  By then, if it was 0.6-0.62, I would need to fight Hegemony System Defense Fleets very soon to gain levels, and the only way to do it with so few Logistics was soloing or chain-flagships.  0.65 had commodity runs.

The exception was in 0.54, when skills first appeared and you could auto-resolve any and every fight.  Back then, the best XP grinder was the auto-resolve character.  Max Leadership (Fleet Logistics) and Technology (OP skills and Navigation), cram as many big ships as you can, and auto-resolve every fight, even Hegemony System Defense Fleets.  If you lost, no problem, reload the game; still much faster than actually fighting.  It was mind-numbingly boring and defeated the point of the game - fighting, but it was the fastest way to gain XP by far, short of cheating.  It was the only way to get 10-10-10 is a semi-reasonable time back then.  After that, then you can mess around with more skills and kill things manually.


Currently, the most useful Leadership skill is Advanced Tactics.  3 CP is not enough for every fight unless you solo fleets (even then, marking enemies with Avoid is very convenient).  The best benefit is Special Ops.  That helps make boarding more profitable than shopping, and you do not need to bring a liner and several hundred marines to board a battleship.  Getting Special Ops also means +5 CP, more than enough to do what I want.

I suppose Command Experience is okay for training an excess of elites to sell and speed up money grinding.

Of course, Leadership skills pale compared to Combat and Technology now.


I suppose Fleet Logistics could be changed to extend the hard cap, if the hard cap remained.  +1 ship per point above the baseline of 25 ships.
Title: Re: Why so many people want detailed boarding mechanics (my best guess)
Post by: TJJ on September 10, 2016, 06:30:28 AM
Rather than being a character perk, fleet logistics could be a property of ships.

Each ship having either a positive, or negative logistics modifier. (indicating whether they're a command & control source, or sink)
The sum of your fleet's logistics would then be either negative (a large global debuff ), zero, or positive(a small global buff)

This might be the key to encouraging/forcing balanced & varied fleets.
Title: Re: Why so many people want detailed boarding mechanics (my best guess)
Post by: Morgan Rue on September 11, 2016, 08:09:22 PM
My thought on how to do boarding:
Keep the current system, but remove the RNG element. Ships would have three statuses: Active, Disabled and Destroyed. You can board any and all ships that are disabled at the end of the fight. In order to disable a ship instead of destroying it, you would need to take it down with lower per shot damage non explosive weaponry. If you hit it with a Reaper class torpedo, it is probably going to be destroyed. Disabling something like an Onslaught should be a lot of work. If there is a ship that you really don't want the player to get by boarding, you can have it explode violently(Templar style) upon being disabled, perhaps through a hull mod(ship is rigged with explosives to prevent such tech from falling into enemy hands). Also, perhaps most/all disabled ships would become "D" variants, which could be restored through something to do with industry. I am not sure how viable this would be to be coded.

EDIT: Oh this is how its done now isn't it. I should probably have read the entire thread before posting. I'll leave this here as a reminder to myself not to do this again.
Title: Re: Why so many people want detailed boarding mechanics (my best guess)
Post by: SafariJohn on September 11, 2016, 08:33:33 PM
Gotta start having ideas somewhere :)

Welcome to the forums!
Title: Re: Why so many people want detailed boarding mechanics (my best guess)
Post by: Creepin on November 26, 2016, 10:33:14 AM
but I'd be interested in hearing this without using the word "fun"
As someone who just wasted whole hour mind-numbingly, loathingly replaying for like 20 times the same combat I grew to hate to the core again and again because this combat is the only, unique source for me to get certain ship in the game (Salamander & Undine in my case) I find it incredibly difficult to define what's broken in current boarding mechanics without using a word "fun", or, rather, "absolutely not fun".
Title: Re: Why so many people want detailed boarding mechanics (my best guess)
Post by: Cik on November 26, 2016, 11:04:39 AM
why not just spawn the ship if you are going to obsessively save scum

both are cheating anyway
Title: Re: Why so many people want detailed boarding mechanics (my best guess)
Post by: Creepin on November 26, 2016, 11:08:18 AM
why not just spawn the ship if you are going to obsessively save scum

both are cheating anyway
I believe you might need to check what is cheating. Hint: a legit part of the game is not.
Title: Re: Why so many people want detailed boarding mechanics (my best guess)
Post by: Cik on November 26, 2016, 11:10:26 AM
spawning ships is a legitimate function of the game too, if it wasn't there wouldn't be any ships :^)

rejecting the game's RNG over and over until you get what you want even though it's a .0000001 chance is basically cheating,

cheating isn't wrong as long as the game is singleplayer and the boarding mechanics are legit awful so why not save the time and just spawn the ship anyway, there's no real difference.

if you want to feel better about it just deduct 100 marines or something and then spawn the ship ezpz
Title: Re: Why so many people want detailed boarding mechanics (my best guess)
Post by: Creepin on November 26, 2016, 11:18:58 AM
rejecting the game's RNG over and over until you get what you want even though it's a .0000001 chance is basically cheating,
cheating isn't wrong as long as the game is singleplayer and the boarding mechanics are legit awful so why not save the time and just spawn the ship anyway, there's no real difference.
I see you point, let's just say that my code of honour says otherwise. Using functionality not in the game (hexedit) or not readily available to the player (dev console) is cheating, while using functionality available to the average player is not cheating no matter how many times you used it, 1, 10 or 100. Also, what about sense of achievement? I finally beat Salamander from the game after 30 attempts, and now I feel good, like "stuff you, game, see, I'm on the top, not you!". Would I feel it by spawning it from the console?

Hmm... after careful consideration, boarding mechanic is ok. It did gave me feeling of satisfaction after all, no? ::)
Title: Re: Why so many people want detailed boarding mechanics (my best guess)
Post by: Deshara on November 26, 2016, 12:38:53 PM
A mechanic that encourages a player to interact with a game in an unfun way is, by definition, not a good mechanic
Title: Re: Why so many people want detailed boarding mechanics (my best guess)
Post by: Megas on November 26, 2016, 05:51:06 PM
I consider save-scumming via reloading a previously saved game from a menu within the game a perfectly legitimate strategy, and not cheating.

Game is like war.  Do whatever (loophole abuse) it takes to win.  I have no qualms abusing exploits to win, such as soloing everything with one ship, corner camping with Onslaught (to eliminate its flanking weakness), or stalling until the AI runs out of CR minutes before my ship does.  I have absolutely no qualms replaying the same battle for a few hours to board that Hyperion, Onslaught XIV, or other disgustingly ultra-rare top-tier ship that I may never see again... although that is irritating and unfun... until I get that ship, then it is "Now I'm playing with power!".
Title: Re: Why so many people want detailed boarding mechanics (my best guess)
Post by: Morgan Rue on November 26, 2016, 07:37:25 PM
Iron Mode: "This is the setting the game is intended to be played on, but since it's in alpha right now, use at your own risk."

I would say it is illegitimate unless used to avoid "unfair" outcomes. Though I would also say not iron mode is more fun for me because I get to do stupider things with it. Again, player discretion, single player game, etc.
Title: Re: Why so many people want detailed boarding mechanics (my best guess)
Post by: Azmond on November 27, 2016, 12:24:14 AM
Do whatever (loophole abuse) it takes to win.

Not much to win in a game like this. Then again, it's comparable to something like Camping, or Cheesing an AI in a game too.  So, meh. To each his own. Personally, I sometimes get frustrated with iron-mode. And often have two games. A game where I can just wreck people's crap and have fun- save-scumming when I take a signigifanct hit if I feel so inclined -and basically just playing it as I feel i want to.

and then an Iron-mode where I try to "Git Gud" and beat my own personal record for not rage-quiting. :P
Yes, sometimes, I have quit out of frustration with my own stupidity. yaaay videea games!
But, that is off topic.

so... On the topic at hand.
I'd say it's to have a better sense of control or understanding of how the mechanic works and influencing it in some feasible way.
Title: Re: Why so many people want detailed boarding mechanics (my best guess)
Post by: Tartiflette on November 27, 2016, 01:22:28 AM
Optimizing your gameplay is one thing, but using any exploit and loophole is just an excuse for cheating. If it's not intended to be played like that, then you should use a command and dodge the tedious part altogether.
Title: Re: Why so many people want detailed boarding mechanics (my best guess)
Post by: Kaucukovnik on November 27, 2016, 01:39:16 AM
I consider save-scumming via reloading a previously saved game from a menu within the game a perfectly legitimate strategy, and not cheating.

There is only you and your computer, and the PC doesn't care the least bit. And whether you savescum or summon the ship via console, you are not playing the way you were meant to be in either case, you are playing the way you want to.
Quote
...unfun...
Or are you?  ;)

I personally prefer to edit the config file for 50% boarding chance and just fire away.
Title: Re: Why so many people want detailed boarding mechanics (my best guess)
Post by: Megas on November 27, 2016, 07:36:26 AM
The opponent in a single-player game is the AI and the conditions given by the game much like trying to get a high-score in a 1P game of Asteroids or Star Castle.  In current Starsector, it is beat never-ending fleets of AI efficiently enough that the player does not death-spiral into a perpetual state of poverty and endless respawning (the closest Starsector gets to a true "GAME OVER").  I do not cheat (on my first playthrough) because there is no point - just say "I WIN!" and move on.  Loophole abuse and AI/game exploits is not cheating, because I did not break any rules enforced by the game.

As for Ironman, since player can leave the game without saving by exiting combat, player can save-scum there too.  It just takes longer because the game exits to desktop instead of going to the main menu.  Since the game provides non-Ironman, I use it, because I do not want to waste a minute or so exiting and restarting the game.  If current Ironman was the only way to play the game, you bet I will save-scum there (and get irritated by constant exit-and-restart).  For Ironman in Starsector to be like Ironman in Roguelikes, save-scumming should be impossible unless the player backs up files manually; then, it is cheating to save-scum.

Also, the game intends fleet action play, but soloing fleets with one overpowered ship is much more efficient in CR and supply consumption, and protects your AI ships from themselves, which is why I solo nearly every fight in the game.  This is not cheating.  What the developer (or lawmaker) intends and what the game rules (or law) actually says and enforces may be two very different things, which is why there are amendments, errata, patches, or the like to mitigate or remove exploits or degenerate play.  Telling me that I cheat just because it offends people idea of a fun game instead of actually breaking game rules is just trash talk by an opposing party trying to shame a gullible opponent to give up and join them.  It helps that Starsector is an "alpha", so that exploits found have a chance to be addressed.
Title: Re: Why so many people want detailed boarding mechanics (my best guess)
Post by: Creepin on November 27, 2016, 07:52:31 AM
And whether you savescum or summon the ship via console, you are not playing the way you were meant to be in either case, you are playing the way you want to.
I don't understand, why does people say it as if it is anything bad? Really, you think it's valid point saying I should play as somebody else (dev) wanted me to play, or else I am cheating? The hell? Next time when some developers would want people to play standing on one feet singing Michael Jackson, you will say "eh, if that's how they meant us to play" instead of "screw you, I have better idea"? What any game really is is a set of rules wrapped in a pretty graphics. Devs give you the set of rules, and you try it with all your wit to bend it, to squeeze what you want and get what you could without breaking the rules, that's what is a game - a war between a rules given by the devs and the wits of the player. And if devs by shortsightedness or any reason leave a loopholes between the rules, that's their fault, at that point they lost the war, and the player, clever enough to saw these loopholes, won a war. How hard it is to understand?
Title: Re: Why so many people want detailed boarding mechanics (my best guess)
Post by: DownTheDrain on November 27, 2016, 08:10:55 AM
This discussion is sure dragging on considering you all pretty much agreed that the only objective in a singleplayer game is having a good time...
Title: Re: Why so many people want detailed boarding mechanics (my best guess)
Post by: Kaucukovnik on November 27, 2016, 08:53:33 AM
B-b-b-but...

... although that is irritating and unfun... until I get that ship
:P

I'm ceasing my attempts to spare anyone unfun gaming time. May the RNG gods be favorable to you.
Title: Re: Why so many people want detailed boarding mechanics (my best guess)
Post by: MikeyTWolf on November 28, 2016, 07:10:45 AM
Here's my first post and opinion on boarding as it is:

RNG sucks, if this is the only way to earn ships through spoils of war, it's incredibly dissapointing.

So here's thinking outside the box: Add to salvaging (I read the July article about exploration and salvage) to not just include raw materials, but the following outcomes:


So economically:


In the end fighting simply shouldn't be paying. If you can make a military grade fleet hauling boxes of potato chips, those are some really expensive potatoes. PMCs can really make do with their enemy's belongings instead, they won't be needing them anymore after all.

Lastly, boarding in this context hasn't really changed at all, and remains an extremely useful tool. It's just now you're not trying to use that same chisel on carving a tunnel through a mountain instead of just the building blocks needed to support it.