Fractal Softworks Forum

Starsector => Mods => Topic started by: xenoargh on September 06, 2012, 01:21:04 PM

Title: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 34) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on September 06, 2012, 01:21:04 PM
(http://www.wolfegames.com/TA_Section/vacuum_header.png)
Download Link to StarSector 0.62a (http://fractalsoftworks.com/2014/01/17/starsector-0-6-2a-release/)
Download Link (http://www.wolfegames.com/TA_Section/Vacuum.zip)
Installation Instructions:
Spoiler
Simply open the zip file with your choice of programs and drop the folder into StarSector/mods/

Please disable all other mods, including "utility" and "helper" mods such as LazyLib before playing; the mod already has a custom version of Combat Radar and ShaderLib installed, and isn't generally compatible with "utility" mods.
[close]

Some eyecandy: these are some of the ships you'll encounter:
Spoiler
(http://www.wolfegames.com/TA_Section/Vacuum_Ships.jpg)
[close]

You are a young mercenary captain who's recently left the service of the major powers.  Your goal:  to build a shining empire across the Sector, and perhaps someday beyond.  All you have is your skill and imagination, a frigate armed and armored with the most powerful technology you can afford, and a loyal crew.

What will be your fate be?  Enter the Vacuum and find out.


1.  New mechanics galore.  

Mine asteroids, Tech-Mine planets, build Stations, help other factions to take over the Sector... or take it over yourself.  Detailed, dynamic Faction interactions give life to the Starsector universe.

AIs that are completely original and will give you a run for your money at all skill levels.

Powerful, unique and fairly balanced factions who are each different and fun to play.

2.  7 complete factions.

3. Much-improved core Vacuum gameplay.  A unique balance and special tools, such as the Freeze Ray, Plasma burns, critical-hit system and many other features and toys.

4.  Huge battles that can make or break you.  Enemy Assault Fleets come to destroy your precious Stations; will you resist, or go under?

5.  Huge changes to Vanilla's gameplay.  This is a Total Conversion; gameplay is vastly different than Vanilla.  Here are a few examples of the changes:


Weapons are really special in the mod.  No boring ol' pew-pew here!  Here are a few of the special mechanics:
Spoiler
Plasma / Hellbore types of heat / napalm weapons automatically hit in random places on the ship at a fraction of base damage.  The more damage they do, the more sub-hits are generated, which is why a Heavy Plasma Cannon is so devastating.  This mechanic may result in hits that hit behind the shield.

The Devourer passes through shields, but has a random failure rate.  It may pass entirely through a shield, doing damage to the shield and then to the hull, or it may stop immediately.  It's definitely meant to be flukey, not 100% reliable, but it's worth 50 OPs.  Try a pair of them on a Conquest with full buffs for lulz.

The Needler class does extra damage to missiles.

All Beams do extra damage to missiles.

Heavy weapons, like the Mark 9's shells, pass through missiles, damaging them as they move.

The Antimatter Blaster, Heavy Mauler and Mjolnir generate several lightning arcs that cause damage; these can be generated at angles that bypass shields.

The Ion Cannon generates a bunch of EMP-causing lightning arcs.

Most High Explosive weapons have an AOE.

The Megabeam and Tachyon Lance both generate lightning-like strikes that do a bit of extra damage, and in the Tachyon Lance's case, a bit of EMP.

The Repulsor Beam pushes things away.

The Freeze Ray slows things down.

The Ball Lightning Gun can cause lightning to strike multiple nearby targets.  It's extremely handy against missile swarms and Drone packs.

The Spore Gun / Cannon, if they hit an unshielded ship, can randomly strip out multiple Armor blocks.

The Neutron Cannon / Blaster, if they hit an unshielded ship, do damage directly to Hull, ignoring armor.  They also instantly kill all Fighters and Missiles in a fairly large radius.

The Pilum, Hephaestus, Light Mortar, and both Flak guns have triggered AOEs that can damage fighters and missiles; they're all especially good vs. fighters, because they often detonate behind the them, going around the shields.

Swift Launchers launch Swift fighters, which are very tough little fighters with HMGs.

The Proximity Charge launches a bunch of homing missiles when enemies get close.

The Sweeper is a shotgun, with spreading pellets.

The Nanobot Repair Gun repairs friendly ships it hits.

Reapers have a big AOE.

Last but not least, most weapons have a chance to do a Critical Hit, which gives them 3X damage.
[close]


Meet the Factions

The Hegemony of Man
The Hegemony believes it is the last remaining bastion of the Domain of Man.  It is a huge, bureaucratic, aggressive empire, located somewhere to the Galactic East of Draconis V.  If you are friendly with this faction, you can expect to pilot some of the most well-protected ships in the galaxy.

The Tri-Tachyon Corporation
Tri-Tachyon is a remnant of an ancient corporation, lately acting as independent kingdom of its own.  Its people are extremely covetous of technical knowledge, and they believe that only through efficient capitalism can the Sector regain its lost glory and re-join the Domain.  Its capital is somewhere to the Galactic South of Draconis V.  

The Independent Systems
Originally founded by a guild of merchants, the Independent Systems is not a nation as such; it is a very powerful trading consortium that owns whole star systems.  Without the "Indies", most trade in the Sector would dry up, impoverishing all but the largest empires.  However, the Indies do not have the military strength to hold vast empires; instead, they wisely invest their money in the best mercenaries money will buy, and the best variety of arms around.

The Pirate Kings
Pirates and freebooters have been attracted to the vast treasures of Draconis V in huge numbers.  More worrying yet (if you're their foe) they've become alarmingly well-organized, under the steel-toed boot of Grimbeard the One-Eyed King.  The Pirates may not have the highest-tech ships, but they come in terrifying numbers and they're wily foes.

The Glaug Swarm
Nobody knows much about the Glaug.  They come from somewhere to the Galactic North.  But they're mysterious.  In fact, nobody can even agree whether they're Humans, Meta-Humans or True Aliens.  What is known is that the Glaug have voracious appetites, consider human flesh a tasty treat, and are incredibly difficult to communicate with.  They also have some of the most confounding technology in the Sector.

The Punk Junkers Collective
In the Iridani Cluster, to the Galactic South, there are multiple Systems hidden in veils of dangerous radioactivity.  The radioactive clouds attract all sorts of radicals, revolutionaries, criminals and pirates.  The Punk Junkers are none of these things, and all of them; they're a colony of fiercely independent half-mad artists who have decided that a place where they can make Art for Art's Sake is a splendid idea.  In such a lawless area, they're vulnerable to predation, so they've put their skills as mechanics and designers to work, and have built a jury-rigged Autofactory run by what can best be described as a "whimsical" Lethetic Intellect.  This device constructs ships that can best be described as "unusual but very effective"; any captain who thinks that a Punk Junker ship is easy prey will probably not get a second chance.

The Gaian Ecotocracy
The Gaian Ecotocracy is a mysterious group that originally hails from somewhere to the galactic southeast of Corvus and is an increasingly-important player in the endless wars between the Factions.  

Gaians are almost entirely female; they reproduce using cloning technologies that were banned during the Domain to force-grow legions of perfect, female babies, who are then indoctrinated into the Gaian cult via sophisticated nerve probe techniques and constant devotional work.  The Gaians believe that male humans are less connected to Nature and are superfluous to the species; the few men in Gaian service are clones of a mercenary named Jad, whose reliability, ruthlessness and loyalty were such that the Gaians have made many copies of him to serve their cause, when their cause requires violence.  

The Gaians were a small techno-cult at the time of the Collapse; they had transferred to the Corvus System in an effort to get as far away from the Core as possible and escape to a relatively-free area of the Domain.  Since the Collapse, the Gaians have been steadily increasing in numbers and power.  

If the Gaians sound like an introspective cult, however, this is not the case; Gaians believe that their clone selves are expendable ammunition, to be used without mercy to advance the the Gaian causes.  The Gaians believe that the Domain was inherently evil; that it represented the worst-possible combination of Man's technological ambitions with soulless automation, divorcing humanity from the boundless love of Gaia, the natural spirit that inhabits the ecosystems of all healthy, life-producing worlds.  They wish to free all of the ecosystems from the grasp of Man and return them to a natural, pure state.  

The Green Book, the Gaians' chief source of religious lore, prophesy that one day Gaia will be able to, "sing with a trillion voices, and none of them will be Man's", and in practice, the Gaians seek to bring this about, literally.  The Gaian ethos is that all planets currently inhabited by other Factions are to be cleansed, by force if necessary, by using the most forceful geotech and nanotech solutions available.  When all of Gaia is free of Man's influence, the Gaians' long-term plan is to bring life to all of the lifeless worlds, free of Man, and then, with the economic, technological and military strength of an entire System at their disposal, re-open the Gates and bring their cult to the Domain, if it still exists.



Last little notes, before you click Download:

1.  This mod's a Total Conversion; compatibility with other mods is probably going to be pretty poor and it's marked with the Total Conversion flag for that reason.  

Sorry if you were hoping to run around with Blackrock ships or whatever, it changes some pretty major stuff, and other mods will generally be badly broken or become incredibly unbalanced if running with it, so it's not allowed to operate with them.

I can't really fix these issues at this time; some of the changes were workarounds to deal with some engine limitations.  However, if in the future the engine better-supports the main such change (i.e., having a specific category for fixed emplacement weapons) I can probably restore most compatibility with other mods, although balance with them will generally be poor, due to the balance changes involved here.

2.  Running this mod with any mods that attempt to significantly utilize Java code to do big gamecode stuff, such as with the Fleet Control Mod, is not recommended, due to the large under-the-hood changes that were made to make this mod functional.  You can try it... but it almost certainly won't work right.

3.  If you have a fairly low-end system that can just barely run Vanilla, this may not be not a mod that you'll enjoy; it greatly increases CPU use during the bigger battles.  I've worked very hard to make it run as fast as possible, but there's just so much I can do when thousands of missiles are flying around with hundreds of ships.  Just warning you now :)

Download Link (http://www.wolfegames.com/TA_Section/Vacuum.zip)

Thanks and Kudos
LazyWizard - LazyLib has saved me many an hour doing trig problems :)
Zaphide- without his assistance, helpful guidance and good-will, this mod would have died out long ago.  This mod uses some of Exerelin's code-base, used with kind permission, to help enhance the experience.
Carabas
All of the cool people who've given us art to use in the Spiral Arms thread.  Wish I had time to use every last thing there sometimes :)
All of the cool people who've been nice enough to help out with various mod / code related problems along the way.
Alex, David, and the rest of the Starsector crew.
Alancin :)

Changelogs for the 0.61a-0.62a ALPHA series:

Build 34:
Spoiler
Fixes:
1.  Big bug with Boarding Teleporters.
2.  Big (very old) bug with Hardened Electronics; it actually does what it says on the tin now.

Changes:
1.  Armor Regeneration eventually "wears out" after taking a lot of damage, instead of being permanent invulnerability under some circumstances.
[close]

Build 33:
Spoiler
Adds:
1. Upgraded to ShaderLib 1.52a, which should resolve some slowdown issues for a few folks.
2. Accelerated Ammo Feed has an AI that is specific to it.

Fixes:

1.  Several missing / incorrect descriptions.
2.  Brawler AI works correctly on Frigates.
3.  Thor and Odin actually work correctly now.  Warning: this makes the Gaians pretty hard to beat with shield-tanks.
4.  Boarding Teleporters will no longer magically give you two captures sometimes, and the captured ships are automatically marked as Mothballed to prevent CR disruption.
5.  Wages work correctly again.
6.  Various other little stuff I can't be bothered to document.

Changes:
1.  Repair Gantries now stacks.
2.  Rebal on Slugger, Slugthrower; Slugger is now better than Thumper, but costs more OPs, Slugthrower is slightly more useful for OP cost vs. Thumper, but I'll probably re-visit the OP cost on it again later.
[close]

Build 32:
Spoiler
New Features:
1.  Forget where your Bounties are?  Get a list of current Bounty Missions at all times from Stations.
2.  Tired of having to use that Germanium slider?  Just hit "get all".
3.  Don't want to fight that weak fleet you just encountered?  Hit Leave.

Improvements:
1.  Stations will no longer get destroyed / change owners until players have reached level 3, to make things more stable for newbies.
2.  The initial "payday" has been delayed a little more at the start of play.
3.  Heavy Armor, Neutronium Plating and Core Removal give a small buff to base Armor values, not just a multiplier.

Fixes:
1.  Escape scenario actually works right, finally, for both sides.
2.  Fixes for a bunch of missing / unhelpful descriptions.
3.  Fix for the Sniper and Brawler AIs' collision-avoidance sub-AIs.
4.  Various other fixes for AIs related to retreating.
5.  Fixed some smallish issues relating to damage code in certain edge-case scenarios.  In general, AOE-type and Plasma-type weapons should work quite reliably now.
[close]

Build 31:
Spoiler
Fixes:
A couple of minor dialog issues with the Bounty missions.

Changes:
Vampyr weapons are considerably less OP.
[close]

Build 30:
Spoiler
Adds:
1.  A bunch of new planetary types, and some code to support some future features in regards to planets.

Fixes:
1.  Various bugs concerning hits from certain types of weapons (AOE, Plasma, etc.).
2.  Improved performance in huge fleet battles with lots of fighters.

Changes:
1.  Vampyr weapons now give half as much Flux back as they did.  Please let me know if they still need more nerf.
2.  AI fleets won't chase the player until you've reached level 3, for a bit more newbie-friendliness.
3.  Bounty difficulties adjusted a bit.
[close]

Build 29:
Spoiler
New Features:
Gaian faction is something like 70% complete, with lore and all that.
New weapons and other things have been added, including (finally!) the Boarding Teleporter.
Diplomatic relations, Faction lore, and more can be found by visiting Stations.
Players can now pick up bounty-hunting missions and improve their standing with Factions, even Factions who don't like them.
Various other polish things done with dialogs.

Bug-fixes:
Fixed bug in Station Wars routine that was allowing for Station capture bugs to occur.  In general, that part of the game (AI wars outside of the player's view) should be working a lot more smoothly and nicely now.

Balance:
Omni shields are no longer so horribly penalized vs. Forward Shields.  Forward Shields get a much smaller advantage now and the shield balance ramp has been changed again.  In general, this means that a lot of ships with smaller Omni shields have become considerably more able to tank, without removing the strengths of most of the Forward Shield ships.
[close]

Build 28:
Spoiler
Removes Exigency.  

Adds very first build of the Gaians.  They're very basic / rough atm, and only have four ships implemented; they'll get a lot more interesting as the content gets done and their special weapons / System code is completed.

Fixes:

Various bugs pertaining to end-of-battle states.
Minor buggy behavior of Laser Saw.
"Not Enough Crew!" bug.

Improves:

Performance improvement for battles overall, due to changes in particle system calls.
Consolidates a few functions that were getting replicated in too many places, for a little less spaghetti-code.
Confirmation before attacking an enemy Station.
[close]

Build 27:
Spoiler
Fixes / Changes:
1. Refactored the "immortal fleet" code to be a bit less spaghetti-code and easier to maintain, match the Newbie Guide description and I fixed a couple of bugs found with edge-case stuff.
2. Fixed some text descriptions.
[close]

Build 26:
Spoiler
1. Combat Aptitude skill corrected.
2. Field Repairs is actually useful now (repairs ships 0.01% / second * level while in combat, or 1%/second at level 10).
3. ECCM Hull Mod is buffed / fixed (missile maneuverability + 50%, damage + 25%).
[close]

Build 25:
Spoiler
Updated ShaderLib to 1.23; updated the Newbie Guide.
[close]

Build 24:
Spoiler
Updates ShaderLib to 1.22.
[close]

Build 23:
Spoiler
Fixes:
1. Admiral AI will now work properly in Escape scenarios.
2. Random dead spacecraft do not show up unless battles are big enough (I got a free Paragon while flying my first Frigate, pretty sure that's not a feature, lol).
3.  Asteroids show up in battles again, like they should.
[close]

Build 22:
Spoiler
Features:
1.  Full integration with lights and other shader effects from Dark.Revenant's ShaderLib and a bunch of SFX tweaks.
2.  Players may now access a storage facility from any friendly / neutral location.
3.  Crew leveling mechanic has been replaced with a Crew competency mechanic.  Different types of Crew give different bonuses to player fleets.
4.  Crew must now be paid, every week.  It's set to be pretty easy at the moment; expect it to get harder later.
5.  Some new weapons have been added, such as the Laser Saw, which is awesome.
6.  A bunch of other little stuff I can't be bothered to mention :)

Fixes:
1.  All reported bugs are fixed.
2.  Some underlying bugs having to do with projectile detection have been fixed.
3.  Speedups for a few things.
2.  Several underlying bugs having to do with projectile detection have been fixed.
[close]

Build 21:
Spoiler
Fixes crash when player has lost all ships in their fleet.
[close]

Build 20:
Spoiler
Improved auto-aim accuracy for slow-firing weapons; fixed a bug where weapons would register targets but never complete aiming.
[close]

Build 19:
Spoiler
Caught the issue with collision avoidance, which effected all big ships; fixed it.
[close]

Build 18:
Spoiler
All reported bugs fixed.  The weird issue with ships starting off the border should not happen in the campaign.
Flux Drain system is now more visually obvious.
[close]

Build 17:
Spoiler
Features, in no particular order:

1.  Big speedups in core AIs, from turrets to capships.
2.  Repair ships are now a Thing.
3.  Rebalanced fighters, bombers, etc.
4.  Rebalance to various weaponry to give it a better mix, especially Energy weapons that weren't quite efficient enough.
5.  A working, if simple, Admiral AI.
6.  Custom battlefields that adjust according to circumstances.
7.  Capturable ships can sometimes spawn on battlefields; this is an early version of a more generalized "junk" system.
8.  All AI factions will be present in any game size.
9.  Fixes for various dialogs.
10. Slightly better balance for in-game captures; Boarding Shuttles use 2 Marines per attempt, whether or not it succeeds.
11. All Vanilla ships are in- the Pirates get the Bulldog (Warhound), the Punk Junkers get the Bishop (Heron) the Hegemony gets the Monitor.
12.  Most of the ships that were in earlier builds but "went missing" during transition away from Exerelin are back in.  Stuff like Packers, the Hyperion, and more.
13.  Easy, normal and hard starting modes give players different resources and ships.
14.  Several new weapon systems, including the Devourer, the Nanobot Repair Gun, and others.
15.  A new System, Flux Drain.
16.  Adjustments to the RPG Character skills.
17.  Leveled AI Admirals with skills.
18.  Much more difficult late-game battles.
19.  Overhaul of the Factions, to give them a more visually-consistent look (where appropriate).
20.  A whole bunch of other stuff I can't be arsed to write down.  
[close]

Build 16:
Spoiler
Fixed bug with the CR of captured ships.
[close]

Build 15:
Spoiler
Gives a minimum of 500 XP for a victorious battle (rather than zero).  Covers a few weird cases, like capturing all the enemies, etc., where you'd get zero for all the hard work.
[close]

Build 14:
Spoiler
Fixes:
1.  Experience bug during Asteroid and Planet encounters.  Forgot to set a boolean there, oops.
2.  Bugged text explanation of Station costs.
3.  More speedups for ship AIs and missile AIs.
4.  Another attempt to make the AIs use Drones properly without endless clicking if out of Drones.

Changes:
1.  Boarding Shuttles are now destroyed when attempting to board, but have a better success rate.
2.  Ships are destroyed a lot more often after becoming Hulks, and detonations are more powerful (being in a Frigate when a capship dies nearby is a bad idea).
[close]

Build 13:
Spoiler
Auto-aim code and structural improvements.  Large battles (200+ actors) run at playable framerates on most hardware.
[close]

Build 12:
Spoiler
Fix for AI ships that should be using their Drones, but weren't.
[close]

Build 11:
Spoiler
Fixes:
1.  Armor Regeneration, Automated Repair Unit and Exigency's Biological Hull have all been nerfed considerably; I'm not sure if Glaug are now UP or not, but it doesn't feel massively OP now.
2.  Boarding shuttle bugs have largely been fixed.
3.  Endless-battle bug has been fixed (I think).
4.  AI Factions will no longer auto-win a game for the player.

Changes:
1.  Rewards for battles have been tweaked for better cash / xp rewards per kill.
2.  Early-game fleets have been nerfed to make the start a lot less rough.
3.  Relationships between the player and the Factions made a bit clearer; if attacking a Faction, the Faction's Ally will be shown, so that players know who's going to also get bent out of shape if they start a fight ;)
4.  Buying a Station now costs only 200,000 credits!  Enjoy an earlier start to the strategic game.  Each Station also pays the player 1000 credits per week.
[close]

Build 10:
Spoiler
1. Nerfs both Armor Regeneration and Automated Repair Unit.
2. Buffs Biomechanical Hull to compensate for Exigency somewhat.
3. Adds Flux Shunt.
4. Small fix for a shot graphic, a few other little things.
[close]

Build 9:
Spoiler
1.  New AIs for auto-aimed turrets, missiles, and ships, with many fairly-well-documented bits of code of interest to modders.  Many improvements over various areas of Vanilla in regards to Vacuum's special rules and balance.
2.  Substantial improvements to the performance of fighters and drones; various small speedups to combat performance.
3.  Major memory improvements for all scales of play.
4.  Rewrite of Fleet Encounters, incorporating diplomatic results, standardized capture mechanics and a shorter playthrough.
5.  Many new Systems or special effects for ships, including the Glaug's new Armor Regeneration power, Neutron weapons, Spore Cannons, the Millenium AA gun, the Acanthus's new type of shield... and more.
6.  Big improvements in the strategic level of play.  Diplomatic repercussions to attacking a Faction's ships may change who likes or hates you; building Stations changes relationships with local groups, new strategic-level AI play constantly influences the gameworld.  It's considerably more difficult to win the game now.
7.  Incorporation of LazyWizard's latest version of Combat Radar as standard.
8.  Many other small changes, improvements and rebalance of various things too numerous to explain in detail :)
[close]

Build 8:
Spoiler
Adds Newbie Guide- a really basic explanation of "how 2 play".
Adds You R Winnar- a win-condition that informs the player when they've won.
Fixes a smallish bug in the missile guidance code.
[close]

Build 7:
Spoiler
Players can now take over enemy Stations after fighting an Epic Boss Battle.
Much more variety in random encounters while mining.
Lower reward for Germanium mining.
Big improvements in missile AI.  Missiles won't waste shots on Drones, and play is generally smoother.
Improvements in memory usage and game load / save times; Windows XP users should be able to play the game with 8 Systems now without running into problems loading saves, provided they've assigned at least 1GB to StarSector.
Players no longer get to see fleet compositions before engaging all the time; fleet ECM prevents the player from knowing the exact compositions at a distance.
Various tweaks and rebalance on missiles.  The Hurricane no longer sucks, Harpoons are downright nasty, but the Reaper is a bit easier to kill with PD.
Lots and lots of other fixes and little things under the hood.
[close]

Build 6:
Spoiler
Fixed bug in System generation code.
[close]

Build 5:
Spoiler
Player start choices effect starting faction relationships.
Fixed a buggy weapon setting.
[close]

Build 4:
Spoiler
Various weapon balance / minor issues fixed.
New start system, includes performance-enhancing systems.
Various other minor fixes and tuneups.
[close]

Build 3:
Spoiler
All Factions now spawn their own ships in shops, including the ones that were previously not being sold, using a new method that's Faction-agnostic.  A few other minor fixes and improvements.
[close]

Build 2:
Spoiler
Minor bug-fix tweak, addressing missing strings and various things that weren't explained very well.  I've also finally fixed the Frontal Shield code to reflect the actual balance points for shields throughout the mod, resulting in a slight change in Shield balance for ships going from Omni to Frontal shields that makes them even in terms of Hard Flux damage.
[close]
Build 1:
Spoiler
1st official Alpha of the 0.61a+ mod build.  Much framework to go, but it's at a state where I think it's Fun.

After much thought, I've very reluctantly dropped "Exerelin" from the official title, largely because it's gone far enough in a new direction (and the codebase is now so different) that it'd probably cause confusion with new players.  It's still using some Exerelin code, but not a lot.
[close]
Title: Re: Vacuum 0.1 Alpha Release
Post by: xenoargh on September 06, 2012, 01:22:53 PM
Thanks
First off, I want to thank a bunch of people:

Alex, for making a game worth modding and answering my stupid questions;
David, for making art worth defacing;
The rest of the Fractal crew, for all of the silent help that makes things go;
medikohl, for pouring so much time and talent into providing people like me with content we can use;
Trylobot and Redbull, for putting a lot of work into building and polishing solid tools to help the modders out;
Lazywizard, Verrius and all the other kind folks who've helped me get from ground zero to vaguely functional with Java so quickly;
Dark.Revenant for the release of ShaderLib;

Additional Artists:
Archibalde, Mr. Magpie, Psion, FlashFrozen, sirboomalot, Sr. Coronado, Mendonica, Thule, MesoTronik, Skorpio, HELMUT

Anyhow, thanks, folks, I really appreciate the community here and I've just arrived :)

The Whys and Hows
This is basically the TL:DNR wall-of-text, explaining the basic philosophy behind the mod.  If you're interested in the nuts and bolts or want to understand what I'm trying to do, this is a good place to start :)

Spoiler
Starfarer's a work in progress and is pretty fun to just watch get built.  

It's a game built around combat mechanics, smart AI and twitch action.  This mod basically attempts to enhance certain areas, add more dynamics and options than are present in Vanilla, and with some work, will hopefully offer a dedicated and skillful player a richer experience.

Goals
The main goals of the mod are to:

1.  Enhance the action side of the gameplay wherever practical, rewarding twitch over number stacking.
2.  Strongly differentiate ships, weapons, systems and hullmods in ways that give the player deeper choices and harder decisions.
3.  Add more dynamism and life to the small world of the single System we're allowed to construct right now.  When Starfarer's engine is capable of going further, I'd like to push this philosophy even further.
4.  Don't lose the core of the game, which should always be the player's direct interaction with the ships of the fleet and direct control of his/her ship in battles.

Long-term plans:
1.  When possible, make each location be dynamically generated, yet feel somewhat unique and interesting.
2.  Add additional code to cause game events to occur that change the game at a strategic level in meaningful ways.  A great deal of this isn't possible yet, but right now I can code the core things that will be needed later.
3.  Build some additional factions that have strongly-differentiated themes and strengths.
4.  Flesh out the default content in places where I feel it would enhance the player's experience, not just be content for the sake of content.

How Things Work (right now)
Without going line by line through all of the CSV changes, code changes and everything else, I cannot possibly give a really detail-conscious person a good enough overview.  With a mod like this, we're basically talking about a variant game design; it's a variant universe where some of the choices Alex and others have made got changed in significant ways.  So I'm going to have to summarize here; if you want details or have questions or balance concerns, let me know in the thread, preferably politely :)

The Ships
Fighters, Frigates, Destroyers, Cruisers and Battleships are more strongly differentiated.

Fighters in the mod are cheap and expendable.  Building carrier groups is both allowed and encouraged.

While this area of design and balance is still definitely a work in progress, my goal is to make sure that all of the Fighters are useful and can be used to project power during an entire battle, not just the early stages.  That said, Fighters are very fragile compared to even a single Frigate, and enemies equipped to handle them can defeat far more than their cost, even as cheap as they now are.  So they're not a tool that can solve every problem, but are a way to gain leverage or pass a tipping-point.

Frigates tend to have a great deal of raw firepower and speed compared to other classes.  Some Frigates can, by using their Burn Drives, outrun missiles; some can, by activating High Energy Focus, provide significant long-range fire-support, and a few have enough burst damage capability to be a very serious threat to larger vessels if piloted skillfully.  Frigates also tend to be able to mount a plethora of Hull Mods, giving them a huge amount of customization and mission flexibility.

Frigates pay for all of these benefits by being pretty fragile or not having a lot of choices about their weapon systems or, in a few cases, both.  

Some Frigates are practically useless in AI hands; some are built purely for skilled twitch players, some are just so special in terms of weapon and Ship System layout that you'll find the AI uses them poorly at this time.  You'll really need to experiment to find what you like.  But the core goal was to make sure that all of the Frigates are worth buying, period; at their cost level, there shouldn't be any useless ships at all, just ships that are useless if used poorly.

Destroyers have significantly more armor, flux and capacity than Frigates, generally have higher potential DPS and are still fast enough to be significant players on a fast-moving battlefield.

While Frigates in this mod can be compared to very heavy fighters, Destroyers are more like light tanks, with the ability to take some punishment, kill a lot of fighters, and gang up on Cruisers with a fair chance of victory at 2:1 odds, sometimes even better, depending on the battlefield conditions.

Destroyers pay for their power with a slower speed and larger size, and most of them lack the really long-range weapons that allow them to stay outside Frigates' effective DPS.  A Destroyer versus a couple of Frigates may or may not be in trouble, depending on the Destroyer and the situation; practically any Destroyer versus four Frigates is dead.

However, that said, Destroyers are generally set up to be very potent assets, especially during early gameplay, and they're also set up to be useful if given to the AI to pilot.

Cruisers are, in my opinion at least, the hardest class of ships to differentiate and balance, because they generally encroach upon both the sheer firepower of Battleships and the versatility of Destroyers.  Currently, they're mainly skewed towards having better overall protection, special builds or skillsets that make them very valuable team players or having special capabilities.  In short, the eventual goal for Cruisers is to make each of them feel like an important choice about how you're stacking your fleet's combat power, whether you're going fighter-heavy, frigate-heavy or are aiming for a rock-solid battle line.

Battleships can stand alone, carry the heaviest weapons and can take terrific punishment.  

A single Battleship, if equipped to deal with lighter vessels, can easily dominate its battle space and is a threat to anything nearby short of another Battleship.

That said, they're vulnerable to certain Cruiser builds and massed assault by mixed-arms forces.  A good tactic against Battleships is to utilize the mod's different take on missiles to achieve PD saturation and keep their shields down at a distance until it's finally profitable to enter their killing ranges.  That said, a single Onslaught, if set up correctly, can be expected to defeat whole fleets of fighters and frigates without taking any serious damage, and will demolish anything lighter sent in piecemeal.  

If you're really having trouble defeating Battleships, a smallish hint:  there are ships with High Energy Focus for a reason ;)

The Guns
This is probably the part of the mod that will upset the easily-upset-able people the most.  The guns have been radically changed in terms of how they operate.

The basic philosophy behind the changes can be summarized thusly:

1.  Everything that isn't a Missile and can be equipped on a Turret is Ballistic.  This is one of the few areas where the engine just would not let me do what I really wanted to do, which was to add a whole new category of weapons, called Fixed Emplacements, that would do a very special job.  I know I'm going to get a lot of complaints and gripes about it, but there weren't any choices that worked other than this one, because missile-slot weapons get treated very differently by the game's AI and adding a new type isn't possible at this time.  

2.  Everything that's Energy is meant for fixed positions, usually facing forwards.  In the future, I'll be adding ships specifically set up for big fixed-gun broadsides, but due to time restrictions this hasn't happened yet.

3.  A lot of ships have Built-In weapons that give them special capabilities.  In the future, I'll be expanding on this idea a lot, because it's one of the neat ways to completely differentiate ships.

Balance Stuff

I really can't get into super detailed descriptions of everything; Vanilla had enough weapons that, after changing practically all of them in one way or another, it'd take pages to explain why this or that was changed.  The important basics behind the way it was done can be summarized, though:

1.  In general, fixed weapons are a lot more effective than their turreted equivalents, trading flexibility for power.

2.  In general, energy-based weapons are geared either for assault or for long-term grinding DPS.  They do not have ammunition problems, but cost Flux.

3.  Ammunition-using weapons do not use Flux at all, and are very powerful, long-ranged and flexible, but ammunition is not limitless and with the longer ranges and higher speeds in the mod, you're going to miss more.

4.  Missiles are still very much a work in progress; basically my goal is to make most of them be able to be used and useful if put on Autofire and to strongly differentiate them and to keep them as the kings of the range band.  

Missiles can be defeated by strong PD setups, but short of massed Flax guns, practically nothing will stop certain Missiles from delivering significant DPS over very long ranges.

Hull Mods
At this time, they've mainly been left alone.  Expect this to change in the future.

Ship Systems
Most of them have been left alone, but there are some really important exceptions:

1.  Burn Drive is a toggle, not on a timer.  Yes, you can use it all battle long, and the AI usually does; unfortunately, it's not terribly good at steering at high speeds, so it often rams things while using it.  Hopefully Alex will make it a little better at avoidance in the future or let Frigates not collide with other ships, like fighters do; either thing would offer a fix.

2.  Flares do not have any ammunition limits.

3.  Drones have generally been beefed up and are quite dangerous, and a lot more ships come with Drones.  For example, the Buffalo Mk. 2 in this mod is moderately dangerous to practically any Frigate pilot who isn't on the ball, due to its ability to absorb moderate missile fire and deal a lot of DPS at shorter ranges via its PD Drones.

4.  EMP lowers shields, instead of turning weapons off, and is on a toggle, not a timer.  Yup, you can use it all battle long, while shooting.  Just watch out for all that incoming damage...




That's it... for now.  More when I have time and when / if people start asking questions, etc. :)
[close]
Title: Re: Vacuum 0.1 Alpha Release
Post by: The Soldier on September 06, 2012, 01:47:55 PM
Hmm...interesting?  I'll give it a shot. ;D Reporting back when I can.
Title: Re: Vacuum 0.1 Alpha Release
Post by: xenoargh on September 06, 2012, 06:35:09 PM
Great, hope you have a good time once you've figured things out :)

A couple of screens of the random Systems, just showing the basics of how the main code works, giving us a completely different experience every game:

(http://www.wolfegames.com/TA_Section/random_is_cool01.jpg)
(http://www.wolfegames.com/TA_Section/random_is_cool02.jpg)


Title: Re: Vacuum 0.1 Alpha Release
Post by: sirboomalot on September 06, 2012, 07:27:47 PM
Now THIS looks interesting. Downloading.

~Edit~
Now THAT is an awesome mod. Speeds things up, makes things more challenging, re-makes the way weapons work, RANDOM MAPS... I like it. I like it a lot.
Title: Re: Vacuum 0.1 Alpha Release
Post by: xenoargh on September 06, 2012, 08:53:35 PM
Yay, so glad you're enjoying it.  I was afraid I'd get flamed a lot for, well, remaking Vanilla's balance :)

Anyhow, please feel free to tell me what needs buffed / nerfed, I'm sure there are still plenty of things that I should look at and any detailed feedback would be very much appreciated :)
Title: Re: Vacuum 0.1 Alpha Release
Post by: mendonca on September 06, 2012, 10:50:45 PM
Oh wow ... I ... didn't expect that  ;D

(I just got killed by a Buffalo in my nice shiny new speeder)

I'll definitely have to spend a bit of time getting use to this, I can see you have changed things markedly!

The Random map element is a great touch, and I can immediately tell a lot of work has gone in elsewhere. Nice work!

(promoted thread to 'mods' section)
Title: Re: Vacuum 0.1 Alpha Release
Post by: TheHappyFace on September 07, 2012, 04:17:49 AM
I...... am impressed!

talented spriter, skilled coder and creative mind,
still bold enough to change vanilla basics.

Title: Re: Vacuum 0.1 Alpha Release
Post by: Gabrybbo on September 07, 2012, 05:39:06 AM
Wow... I've never seen a better use of the words "Total Conversion"!  ;D

Btw, if you find it a little too much challenging... just equip sabot racks. A lot of them. Then spam the left mouse button and watch the world sector burn.  ;D
Title: Re: Vacuum 0.1 Alpha Release
Post by: xenoargh on September 07, 2012, 06:08:53 AM
Yeah, they're one of the better PD soakers, for certain, although they need line-of-sight. I'm not yet sure whether they're truly OP, considering their burn-through rate in larger battles or vs. really big stuff; any opinions about that are welcome :)

I did find one really really OP combo last night that I'm definitely going to have to fix: Enforcers mounting 4 Phase Lances and 5 Hephaestus Assault Guns are pretty ridiculous, and can be expected to do Cruiser kill on a regular basis.  I think I'm going to have to change the turret layout a bit, so enjoy it while it lasts ;)

Also, Verrius has kindly allowed me to make use of the Fleet Control Mod's source, so I'll be trying to get it integrated and add some deeper strategic gameplay elements to the mod; until Alex gets done with a lot of Deep Game Stuff, it's going to remain pretty crude, but crude's better 'n nothing :)
Title: Re: Vacuum 0.1 Alpha Release
Post by: Ergil on September 07, 2012, 06:54:38 AM
An Aurora bearing Phase Lances is extremely overpowered. I've just destroyed a Hegemony System Defense Fleet using three Aurora and one fighter squad without taking any damage.
Title: Re: Vacuum 0.1 Alpha Release
Post by: xenoargh on September 07, 2012, 07:20:30 AM
Part of that is that you'd crossed the line to have the enemy meet you piecemeal; it's one of the things about the current game that I really don't think works, but that's up to Alex.

That said, it clearly needs to get fixed. 

I need to go look at the High Energy Focus code; I think it'd quit being so ridiculously OP if it didn't boost beam ranges, but it looks like I really need to look at that issue and ruthlessly nerf where it's necessary.  It may also be that the Phase Lance is simply too much DPS at this point; I basically raised it enough to be a real threat when getting the Chiron set up, and I may have overdone it.  Thanks much for the report :)
Title: Re: Vacuum 0.1 Alpha Release
Post by: sirboomalot on September 07, 2012, 01:45:27 PM
I think that you should keep the long range and just nerf the damage when it comes to the lance, or better yet, make the damage more specialized on either shields or armor instead of doing lots of damage to both.
Title: Re: Vacuum 0.1 Alpha Release
Post by: xenoargh on September 07, 2012, 02:01:29 PM
I just tried out dropping the range, and that certainly makes it a lot weaker; if you can't snipe with Phase Lances / Tachyon Lances across the map, it's not nearly so OP.

With a damage nerf instead of a buff, it might also work to give beams their range back (but only the beams). 

So you'd get, say, 50% damage, 100% more beam distance, +25% damage taken; it'd make beam-heavy builds on HEF ships really ruthless as PD and anti-fighter, but deliberately making them weaker vs. capships unless they were an Aurora and were kiting really effectively.  IIRC, even at double range, that would still put them into trouble vs. MkIVs and Gauss except with Tachyon Lances.

In terms of shield / armor damage, I think that, for now at least, I'm torn on this; my inclination with the true beams is to move them to High Explosive or Kinetic depending on their intended role and then buff / nerf to get them right, but I'm hoping Alex will just let us flat-mod that stuff in the future so that we can have things that do, say 100% / 50% / 25% vs. shields, armor and hull.  I really want more differentiation to play with, especially on the armor vs. hull thing; time for another feature request before I forget it, lol :)
Title: Re: Vacuum 0.1 Alpha Release
Post by: Ghoti on September 07, 2012, 02:16:44 PM
Some strange things in this mod. Most of all is the energy slot decision. Energy slot weapons get the flux bonus. It's not weapons that do energy damage, it's guns in energy slots. So a thumper gets high energy focus +50%

I haven't found a variant yet that uses all the ships OP points. Combat ends a heck of alot faster now, because weapons have being set to be rather extreme on all ends.

Sometimes It's fun to do things like run nyan cat through onslaughts. but I find cranking these values, fire rate, range, up loud is only a temporary high. In the end it dulls itself and vanilla.

not my cup of tea chap. Heck of alot of work here, and the random campaign system is worth looking at regardless of what I think of the balance.
Title: Re: Vacuum 0.1 Alpha Release
Post by: xenoargh on September 07, 2012, 04:40:41 PM
Quote
Some strange things in this mod. Most of all is the energy slot decision. Energy slot weapons get the flux bonus. It's not weapons that do energy damage, it's guns in energy slots.
Couldn't be helped; it's one of the engine-side things I had to deal with.

Quote
So a thumper gets high energy focus +50%
Yeah, that's a bug, it's getting fixed :)
Title: Re: Vacuum 0.2 Alpha Release
Post by: xenoargh on November 25, 2012, 12:08:01 AM
Version 0.2a.

Still alpha, but it's getting better :)

Adds:

1.  Basic diplomacy system.
2.  A huge number of new ships and stuff like that.
3.  Some new weapons.
4.  The Glaug.

Improves:

1.  Balance overall is better.
2.  Lots of little details of 0.54 have been dealt with; for example, you can start off as a Pirate, with choice of Pirate ships, instead of the generic starts.
3.  Some initial work on procedural battlefield stuff (very early).
4.  In general, it's a lot more polished.  Stuff like AI variants not using OPs has been addressed, and the game's considerably more challenging. 

Fixes:

1.  Some minor issues with the system generator.
2.  Various code-cleanup things; for example, the ships can now use lists that are easily maintained going forward.

Future Plans:  

1.  Implement much fancier procedural battlefield stuff.
2.  Implement a trade-route system and mining system that's simple and clean.
3.  Implement a war system that's non-complex and easy to explain to new players.
4.  Look at issues of strategic-level AI for the computer players.
5.  More new content.

I'd like code help; I'm getting stuff done but it's turning into a pretty big project.  If anybody's interested please let me know via PM.
Title: Re: [0.54a ] Vacuum 0.2 Alpha Release
Post by: xenoargh on November 25, 2012, 06:42:33 AM
Just some of the new ships:

(http://www.wolfegames.com/TA_Section/calypso.png)(http://www.wolfegames.com/TA_Section/brute3.png)(http://www.wolfegames.com/TA_Section/black_eagle.png)(http://www.wolfegames.com/TA_Section/Striker.png)(http://www.wolfegames.com/TA_Section/Stratos.png)(http://www.wolfegames.com/TA_Section/inferno.png)

(http://www.wolfegames.com/TA_Section/glaug_cruiser.png)(http://www.wolfegames.com/TA_Section/glaug_haunter.png)(http://www.wolfegames.com/TA_Section/songbird2.png)(http://www.wolfegames.com/TA_Section/bat2.png)(http://www.wolfegames.com/TA_Section/gnawler.png)(http://www.wolfegames.com/TA_Section/gnat2.png)
Title: Re: [0.54a] Vacuum 0.2 Alpha Release- Procedural Solar Systems and much more
Post by: WKOB on November 25, 2012, 06:59:02 AM
Awesome, been waiting for this to keep getting expanded. Loved Blood and Steel and well, everything else you've done. Out of curiosity, you messing with that Cortex Command mod at all or is that semi-permanently back-burnered?

More on-topic, are all of the ships you've posted on Medikohl's thread in this version or just some?
Title: Re: [0.54a] Vacuum 0.2 Alpha Release- Procedural Solar Systems and much more
Post by: xenoargh on November 25, 2012, 07:17:51 AM
Just about everything's in it, along with other stuff that was kindly gifted to me; there are something like 100 ships in the mod atm :)

BTW, I'll be updating it again sometime today; I've tried the Pirate start, and while it's cool to be friendly with the Pirates and neutral with the Glaug, it's darn-near impossible to get going.  

It could be the lack of caffeine, but there's something about meeting illegal variants of Tempests paired with Strikers that is making it a wee bit difficult to find any targets that are suitable for a pirate to attack.  Which is realistic (who'd leave their poor weak freighters defenseless, after all) but it makes it pretty ouch to get a toe-hold, even with some fighter support.

So I'll fix the Tempests having weapons they technically shouldn't and introduce some smaller, weaker fleets for all sides to pick on so that early players can get going.  If that proves too easy, it's NP to address it later on.

If I have time, I'll put a little bit more work into various things on the code side, there are bazillions of things I want to get done :)
Title: Re: [0.54a] Vacuum 0.2 Alpha Release- Procedural Solar Systems and much more
Post by: Aklyon on November 25, 2012, 07:37:55 AM
How cheap are the fighters, exactly? Are broadswords as cheap as talon wings now?
Title: Re: [0.54a] Vacuum 0.2 Alpha Release- Procedural Solar Systems and much more
Post by: xenoargh on November 25, 2012, 09:41:00 AM
They're pretty cheap, and probably need to get bumped back up again; I wanted to make sure players could afford some at the start of play if they didn't want to save up for a second Frigate, but now that you can start with different amounts of cash, I can probably do it a little differently.  Sorry if that seems weird or whatever, fighters are meant to be a little more expendable in the mod and that part of the balance was done back when everybody started with 2000 :)
Title: Re: [0.54a] Vacuum 0.2 Alpha Release- Procedural Solar Systems and much more
Post by: Aklyon on November 25, 2012, 10:22:27 AM
Well, that was an interesting start. Floating around at the very start, and then suddenly PIRATE SWARM AAAAAAAAAAAAAAH FLEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!
I got chased halfway across Corvus with what looks like the entire piratical fleet, just barely ahead enough to reach the independant station that has the mothball/recommision ships text but not the mothball/recommision function.

Also, all of the combat command names are screwed up. You need to know what the descriptions of each were to be able to figure out what they do.
Title: Re: [0.54a] Vacuum 0.2 Alpha Release- Procedural Solar Systems and much more
Post by: conorano on November 25, 2012, 11:00:54 AM
The mod looks interesting. But the only thing that bothers me is the art style of some of the new ships. They just look out of place. I could be wrong becouse i havent played the mod yet
Title: Re: [0.54a] Vacuum 0.2 Alpha Release- Procedural Solar Systems and much more
Post by: Aklyon on November 25, 2012, 11:08:56 AM
Fusiller doesn't start with enough crew to fight (it needs 5 more), xenoargh. Lower its crew requirement?
Title: Re: [0.54a] Vacuum 0.2 Alpha Release- Procedural Solar Systems and much more
Post by: xenoargh on November 25, 2012, 12:08:03 PM
Quote
the only thing that bothers me is the art style of some of the new ships
Personally, I think it works fairly well; one of the cool things about Starfarer's art is that each faction's stuff isn't strongly typed, so a lot of variety works OK.  I've tried to keep all of the stuff that's radically different from the Vanilla stuff mainly confined to the Indies and the Pirates, where we'd expect more variety.  Anyhow, I like it :)
Quote
Fusiller doesn't start with enough crew to fight (it needs 5 more),
That, or ensure more crew if a valid choice in that code, oops.  Sorry, didn't test every combination, it was Pretty Darn Late when I got that stuff in.  I'll fix that later tonight when I'm back at my regular keyboard :)

Quote
I got chased halfway across Corvus with what looks like the entire piratical fleet, just barely ahead enough to reach the independant station that has the mothball/recommision ships text but not the mothball/recommision function.
Yeah, being chased by pirates is normal, welcome to the mod.  IDK about the mothball/recommission issue, I remember seeing it but then not caring too much because the shop works. It's like anything "neutral" is hardcoded to do that. I'll check out if there's a fix for that via defining the Independents as a new Faction.

Quote
Also, all of the combat command names are screwed up. You need to know what the descriptions of each were to be able to figure out what they do.
Oops, I probably need to fix something in the descriptions.csv for that.
Title: Re: [0.54a] Vacuum 0.2b Alpha Release- Procedural Solar Systems and much more
Post by: xenoargh on November 25, 2012, 03:04:16 PM
Version 0.2b bugfix release.  Probably should do a clean install for this one, as it deletes a few important files.

Fixes:

1.  Tempests having illegal variants.
2.  Combat command strings.
3.  Various issues with descriptions.  Yes, most of the new stuff doesn't have one yet; I'll get it done when I can.
4.  Fusillier not having enough crew if picked as starting choice.
5.  Independent stations now belong to the Independent faction, no more "mothball" bug.

Balance changes:

1.  Fusillier now has Fast Missile Racks.
2.  Fighter costs all went up by 2000 credits to be more in line with new player starting cash.  Let me know which ones still need major cost buffs.


Still working on making a good mix of easier fleets for all the factions to make the early ramp a little less steep.  Suggestions about the ramp in general are welcome, although I think that we probably need to wait until I've done more work on the battlefield code before we worry too much about balance at the high end.
Title: Re: [0.54a] Vacuum 0.2b Alpha Release- Procedural Solar Systems and much more
Post by: xenoargh on November 27, 2012, 09:57:44 PM
Version 0.3 now available.

Fixes:

1.  Various small goofs in some of the ship designs.

Adds:

1.  A new system for fleet generation and deployment.  The different factions will deploy their fleets in a more tactical and focused way.  This is a placeholder for the battle system, but it changes the feel a lot; the Hegemony, for example, dispatches "expedition fleets" that attempt to clear the Corvus system of enemies.
2.  A lot of polish to the balance ramp, with more small fleets to fight during the early stages of play, medium fleets and so forth.
3.  The diplomatic-relations code now penalizes players for turning on a faction they've become friendly with.

Balance Changes:

1.  The Phaeton's been buffed to be more like the larger version of the Dram it was supposed to be; tougher, better-armed and with a pretty decent potential DPS. 
2.  Various buffs and nerfs to ships. 
3.  Cleaned up some weapon graphics and other things.

I think that these changes have greatly enhanced the campaign experience; early play's still brutal but it's doable, no matter which choices you make at the start of play.

Anyhow, I think the next release is going be a pretty big code project; I'd like to get the procedural-battlefield stuff done and maybe get the war system built so that dynamic campaigns become possible.  I think balance is looking fairly good at this point; although it's arguable that a few of the starter ships just aren't quite competitive enough yet, I've been able to get through early play with all of them with a little patience. 

Feedback about what works, what's fun and what still sucks would be much appreciated, especially if I've left any really easy ways to build a Glaug-killin' fleet ;)

Alex apparently will be fixing one of the other biggies I want to use, custom damage and FX systems, but that has to wait until the bugfix release of 0.54, so I'll have to wait before doing more experimental stuff.
Title: Re: [0.54a] Vacuum 0.3 Alpha Release- Procedural Solar Systems and much more
Post by: xenoargh on November 28, 2012, 03:55:11 PM
Had a minute, so I finally got around to making some Glaug-themed weapons.  PD, Tri-Laser, Shard Spammer, Cluster Launcher and Thermal Gun, respectively:

(http://www.wolfegames.com/TA_Section/glaug_weapons.png)

Anyhow, I'll get them implemented soon :)
Title: Re: [0.54a] Vacuum 0.3 Alpha Release- Procedural Solar Systems and much more
Post by: ssthehunter on November 30, 2012, 03:55:53 PM
Nice work :) I love this mod, but can you make so that you have a smaller chance to spawn with all factions hostile with you? I've had over 8 saves with everyone hating me ( what did I do!?! D:)

other then that, this mod is really fun :), especially when you kinda cram in the OMEGA class from omega's minimash (sorry if I shouldnt have, I couldnt resist.)
Title: Re: [0.54a] Vacuum 0.3 Alpha Release- Procedural Solar Systems and much more
Post by: xenoargh on November 30, 2012, 06:21:30 PM
Quote
can you make so that you have a smaller chance to spawn with all factions hostile with you? I've had over 8 saves with everyone hating me ( what did I do!?! D:)
Yeah, there's a simple answer to that one; don't answer "something else" on the first question; then only some of the factions will hate you :)  That said, it's totally random if you answer "something else" there; I'll see about writing up some code that catches that all of them hate you and make one of them guaranteed to like you in the next build.

In other news, the Glaug weapons are in, but aren't remotely polished or balanced yet.  Will get them into better shape before I put out another build :)
Title: Re: [0.54a] Vacuum 0.3 Alpha Release- Procedural Solar Systems and much more
Post by: xenoargh on December 01, 2012, 09:38:52 PM
Finally sat down to revamp the Shield Efficiency systematically.  In the end, I decided to penalize / reward coverage areas and stick to current lore about frontal vs. omni coverage.

360 ANY = 1.75;
330 OMNI = 1.5;
300 OMNI = 1.4;
270 OMNI = 1.3;
240 OMNI = 1.2;
210 OMNI = 1.1;
180 OMNI = 1.0;
150 OMNI = 0.8;
120 OMNI = 0.5;
90 OMNI = 0.25;
60 OMNI = 0.1;
30 OMNI = 0.0; (pinpoint barrier field, no hard flux damage at all).

All upkeeps have been set to zero.  That doesn't mean hard flux won't build, but it does mean that there's no hidden drain on flux when you power shields up; they use different power sources.

FRONT shields have double efficiency, per SF official lore, to keep in line with Frontal Shield Generator.  Arc bonus for Frontal Shield Generator remains in place, since that's part of the OP tradeoff.

This makes ships like the Hound / Crow significantly stronger vs. frontal attacks again, which they needed (note, it also slightly buffed the Mk. II, heh) and makes the poor benighted Vigilance less of a cosmic joke, although it's still just a wee bit fragile for my liking and I'm still trying to decide what's a good fix (probably need to wait for 0.54b patch to allow some code-side rules changes I want to do).

The only bad side effect is that fighters with small-arc front shields are pretty uber vs. incoming PD, i.e. they eat Swarmers like they aren't there.  Not sure if that counts as a bug or a feature yet; it certainly makes the Broadsword and Piranha more viable, which is probably a good thing. 

Fighters in general need more work; I think I need to develop a lower-lag alternative to Swarmers for them to use in self-defense, maybe a heatseeker-type with good punch and decent maneuverability but short flight time.  That, and those poor Vendettas just aren't worth their price atm and will need to get buffed or get a price drop to make them worth using.


Still working on the Glaug weapons; they're still feeling pretty generic other than new art, but they're all functional, so I'll release a new build tomorrow with them in, most likely. 

Oh, and this guy too:

(http://www.wolfegames.com/TA_Section/star_tank_wip.png)
Meet the Star Tank; a small well-armored box that can carry one medium turret of choice and has some built-in light PD, but no shield.  Slow for a Frigate but it can fire that Plasma Cannon all day long.
Title: Re: [0.54a] Vacuum 0.3 Alpha Release- Procedural Solar Systems and much more
Post by: WKOB on December 02, 2012, 05:45:23 AM
Adorable, where can I pick one up?

Also, have you made any progress with sorting out the awkward ballistic/energy fixed/rotating feature or is that still impossible?
Title: Re: [0.54a] Vacuum 0.3 Alpha Release- Procedural Solar Systems and much more
Post by: xenoargh on December 02, 2012, 07:55:58 AM
I think it'll be a Hegemony ship; I've been thinking I'd gradually phase out some of their stuff and give them more of a conventional military feel, cut the stuff that doesn't fit and throw it to the Indie grab-bag.  Either that or I'll invent another faction when there's enough content, dunno yet.

Same stuff's coming down the pike for weapons; when I get the chance to lock out Stations that the player's hostile to, the choice of who to be aligned with at the start should get a lot more interesting.

Haven't been able to do anything with the fixed-forward issue.  Right now, there isn't any way to make a new weapon mount type, so I'm kind of stuck with that workaround, because the whole point of the fixed weapons is that they're more powerful than their turreted equivalents, but you either have limited arcs or can't change them out or both. 

I made a feature request for it, but I'm fairly certain Alex hasn't played the mod yet, so he doesn't really understand the need for it :)
Title: Re: [0.54a] Vacuum 0.3 Alpha Release- Procedural Solar Systems and much more
Post by: xenoargh on December 03, 2012, 06:42:32 AM
Grey Death (original by Mr. Magpie, with a lot of rework by me):

(http://www.wolfegames.com/TA_Section/grey_death.png)

New Gauss Cannon (and yes, it'll be affordable again, OP-wise):

(http://www.wolfegames.com/TA_Section/gauss_cannon_wip.png)
It's really cool now (imo); recoils and has a base, so it looks like the MASSIVE DAMAGE machine it is.
Title: Re: [0.54a] Vacuum 0.4 Alpha Release- Procedural Solar Systems, fancy physics...
Post by: xenoargh on December 07, 2012, 11:18:30 PM
This is the fourth (and probably last) iteration of the Vacuum mod series.  I'm planning out a new TC with a very different look and feel vs. Starfarer now that I understand what I'm doing coding-wise a bit more.

Anyhow, this version:

Adds:

1.  Frigates are now able to fly like Fighters, leading to usage as bombers and other things being possible.
2.  Non-Frigate ships now obey different laws of physics.  When at top speeds, turning rates are lower, when turning, speeds will drop.  This is a prototype for my next TC's physics stuff but it's fun in Starfarer too; it makes putting OPs into Augmented Engines dicey and anything that effects maneuverability can be really important.  It also means that AI ships camping at low velocities (lookin' at you, Onslaught) can turret themselves while your speedier capship can't. 

Changes:
1.  Lots of stuff with Hull Mods.  Basically, hard-flux drain got tested out as a theme.  I don't think it's all OP-balanced but it's certainly interesting and it makes a lot of ships work better.
2.  Revamp of all the shield balance; see notes that came with the release.
3.  Various other stuff, including the return of the Gauss Cannon, rebal of the Plasma series and other things.

Anyhow, I think this is it for Vacuum I'm now working on something else that I think will be much more interesting :)
Title: Re: [0.54a] Vacuum 0.4 Alpha Release- Procedural Solar Systems, fancy physics...
Post by: Sproginator on December 10, 2012, 06:49:50 AM
This is the fourth (and probably last) iteration of the Vacuum mod series.  I'm planning out a new TC with a very different look and feel vs. Starfarer now that I understand what I'm doing coding-wise a bit more.

Anyhow, this version:

Adds:

1.  Frigates are now able to fly like Fighters, leading to usage as bombers and other things being possible.
2.  Non-Frigate ships now obey different laws of physics.  When at top speeds, turning rates are lower, when turning, speeds will drop.  This is a prototype for my next TC's physics stuff but it's fun in Starfarer too; it makes putting OPs into Augmented Engines dicey and anything that effects maneuverability can be really important.  It also means that AI ships camping at low velocities (lookin' at you, Onslaught) can turret themselves while your speedier capship can't. 

Changes:
1.  Lots of stuff with Hull Mods.  Basically, hard-flux drain got tested out as a theme.  I don't think it's all OP-balanced but it's certainly interesting and it makes a lot of ships work better.
2.  Revamp of all the shield balance; see notes that came with the release.
3.  Various other stuff, including the return of the Gauss Cannon, rebal of the Plasma series and other things.

Anyhow, I think this is it for Vacuum I'm now working on something else that I think will be much more interesting :)

Please don't stop work on this, This is extremely unique and innovative :/
Title: Re: [0.54a] Vacuum 0.4 Alpha Release- Procedural Solar Systems, fancy physics...
Post by: hairrorist on December 10, 2012, 01:40:33 PM
Errr... so there is no .json file in the current download.  How do you activate this mod?
Title: Re: [0.54a] Vacuum 0.4 Alpha Release- Procedural Solar Systems, fancy physics...
Post by: xenoargh on December 10, 2012, 03:31:11 PM
Quote
Please don't stop work on this, This is extremely unique and innovative :/
Yeah, but it's not really attracting a lot of comments, which means it's probably not unique and innovative enough :) 

In all seriousness, the thing I'm working on now is quite a bit more interesting and innovative; I think that doing all this serious gameplay stuff with this engine probably means taking the content in a new direction and developing a different setting, which may take a little bit but should enhance the experience.

Quote
Errr... so there is no .json file in the current download.  How do you activate this mod?
It's possible I didn't update it properly when I uploaded the latest build.  I've double-checked everything and uploaded a brand-new build, 0.4b, which should work properly.  Sorry for any inconvenience :)
Title: Re: [0.54a] Vacuum 0.4b Alpha Release- Procedural Solar Systems, fancy physics...
Post by: hairrorist on December 10, 2012, 06:54:31 PM
Hurrah!

Easy detail to overlook when rolling out new versions :)
Title: Re: [0.54a] Vacuum 0.4b Alpha Release- Procedural Solar Systems, fancy physics...
Post by: Kurzak on January 26, 2013, 12:34:19 AM
Spoiler Alert:: Don't read this if you're having a bad day.

  Had some good fights. The swarms of pirates blocking all egress to stations is annoying. The swarms of missiles that never run out of fuel is also annoying. 1 missile happens to strike your engine and you're a spinning duck which = dead. When there's 40 missiles floating around never running out of fuel its a bit laughable. There's a list of positives as well. At the end of the day the cons outweigh the pros. I'm trying to remain positive and not be needlessly critical but there are a few major things you should seriously reconsider if you want a larger following for this mod. 1) Your early game pacing, challenging isn't the right word. It's annoying and strange how many pirates are hovering over your home station. At the very least, cut them in half, there are several different factions there too. = 20-30 fleets hovering on your station. 2) missiles should run out of fuel and the damage on each microscopic missile honestly should not be enough to knock out engines when you're being blanketed by them. 3) Two quick vessels fighting with forward shields that never really gain flux is odd and leads to a VERY boring fight or retreat out of boredom. Overall I think my initial excitement of seeing something new was overshadowed by the early game element presented in this mod.
**frustration off**

  Once I muster up the patience to dodge countless pirate fleets and equip all my ships with missiles that block out the sun.. I really look forward to seeing what you did with your questing/diplomacy. That's what I was curious about but never got to try.

  I know how it is to make something and want everyone to share your vision and love it. I'm just trying to provide some honest feedback. At the end of the day I can see the scope of how much effort and time went into this and it is pretty amazing to be honest. I am very impressed. And even if you think my opinion is bunk, I encourage you to keep up the great work you're doing anyway. Innovation is great.
Title: Re: [0.54a] Vacuum 0.4b Alpha Release- Procedural Solar Systems, fancy physics...
Post by: xenoargh on March 14, 2013, 12:13:58 PM
You do know that the game's different each time, procedurally? 

So, er, having pirates float over your "home base" is just, well, bad luck?

Anyhow, since I've essentially quit working on this mod, it is what it is- personally, I think it's lots of fun, but I wanted a pretty serious challenge from SF :-)
Title: Re: Vacuum / Exerelin Alpha 1 (Total Conversion)
Post by: xenoargh on August 04, 2013, 06:38:15 PM
OK, this build is finally, finally ready.  

Rebooting this thing.  Have fun folks  :D

[EDIT]Sigh, last-second bug got in.  Fixed, re-uploaded.  Sorry, early adopters.  Also the crew pay system is working correctly in the latest build.[/EDIT]
Title: Re: Vacuum / Exerelin Alpha 1 (Total Conversion)
Post by: ciago92 on August 04, 2013, 07:21:50 PM
does this require lazylib or anything? otherwise looks awesome, can't wait to try it out!
Title: Re: Vacuum / Exerelin Alpha 1 (Total Conversion)
Post by: xenoargh on August 04, 2013, 07:26:02 PM
LazyLib is built-in.  No extra downloads or specific config are required :)


Also, updated for bug-fixes.  This is what I get for doing all the last features in a real hurry after getting the main economic stuff working :P

Changes:

1.  Crew-pay system is working.  Gets fairly pricey to run a big fleet, but maybe not enough, will wait to see how it feels in playtesting.  Please let me know if this needs bump / nerf, it's literally gotten done at the last minute.

2.  Germanium economy has an initial crutch built in now, to make sure that the early game doesn't take too long to get moving.  Playing pirate with the enemy's mining fleets is still a very good idea, though, and can be really lucrative :)

3.  Fixed the boarding-shuttle bug.  I had them set up as a <cough> test item but left a typo in.  They're available from the faction that most enjoys capturing vessels (as opposed to eating their crew, oppressing them, taking them apart to look for tech or selling them to the highest bidder).  I have no idea whether they're remotely balanced or not :)

OK, gotta go, hope that squished 'em all.


...Oh, and... if you're wondering "how do I play this?". 

Best advice for early game is to get the Mining Pods from your Storage Facility (once it spawns) and grab them to mine either asteroids or gas from a Gaseous world.  Unlike mining asteroids in Exerelin, you get Germanium this way, which is both good loot and helps your Faction build things faster.  Build up your cash to as high as you can, because you'll need it later.

Crew costs are pretty high (but maybe not high enough, we'll see); Elite crew cost 100 per week.  This is probably not high enough, but I'll re-balance it when I've gotten some feedback about what to buff / nerf / change / fix.
Title: Re: Vacuum / Exerelin Alpha 1 (Total Conversion)
Post by: ciago92 on August 04, 2013, 07:43:13 PM
lol I've got the version before you added crew costs, but a two minor points so far: warthogs' description still says no shield generator but has shields, and mining drones cargo capacity is marked as 10 but adds 40

will download the new version and continue testing
Title: Re: Vacuum / Exerelin Alpha 1 (Total Conversion)
Post by: xenoargh on August 04, 2013, 07:52:54 PM
The 10 is per-ship.  I'll fix the Warthog's description (probably applies to a number of other things as well, let me know what other description issues you find).

On the mining drones' cargo space, that's not a bug (well, I guess we could say it's an engine bug, because it should add up the total cargo of the Wing, not the individuals, when showing the UI description, but it's a minor quibble). 

Anyhow, the Mining Drones give you 40 storage and 40 gas, to make mining reasonably easy to get started with.  I hate not having enough storage space and having to run back and forth to the base a lot in early-game :)

After playtesting a bit more, I think wage costs will have to rise quite bit and I'm making sure that the AI deploys more mining fleets if it can, to get Germanium production up and running early.
Title: Re: Vacuum / Exerelin Alpha 1 (Total Conversion)
Post by: ciago92 on August 04, 2013, 08:07:12 PM
will let you know if I find anything else.

I suspected as such for the drone but the crew is for the total wing so I wasn't sure how it worked out
Title: Re: Vacuum / Exerelin Alpha 1 (Total Conversion)
Post by: xenoargh on August 04, 2013, 08:09:08 PM
NP, sorry it's confusing- fighters weren't ever really supposed to have cargo space, apparently.

I think I've fixed the most-glaring issues with the descriptions and I've written a blurb for the Freeze Ray (I *think* it's the only un-documented weapon).  Haven't done the writeups on the fighters yet, been too busy and can't get it done tonight.

Anyhow, that and the balance tweaks for crew pay will be out in about 10 minutes or thereabouts.  After that, I need to turn into a pumpkin :)
Title: Re: Vacuum / Exerelin Alpha 1 (Total Conversion)
Post by: xenoargh on August 04, 2013, 08:30:38 PM
Crew pay raised a bit.  May still need more later.

All fighters and the Freeze Ray got descriptions. 

I *think* all of the Vanilla blurbs where the text doesn't match with what it actually does are fixed.  Please let me know if you see any that aren't.

Past that, I hope to hear folks' feedback about the overall balance; it probably needs tweaking here and there.  The big issue I see ATM is that I probably need to do some tweaking on shields for high-end ships in general and I'm still not entirely happy with how the Conquerer works right now.
Title: Re: Vacuum / Exerelin Alpha 1 (Total Conversion)
Post by: ciago92 on August 04, 2013, 09:26:16 PM
not a lot of combat going on yet because only mining fleets are being produced so far. four plus months in as the other faction is spawning now too. their outsystem fleet doesn't despawn after capturing a station. no one else has captured any stations. glaug out system reinforcements were announced but never showed. just a list so far, love the ideas you've got going. really curious to see boarding shuttles actually in action
Title: Re: Vacuum / Exerelin Alpha 1 (Total Conversion)
Post by: xenoargh on August 04, 2013, 09:45:39 PM
I think there's still a bug with the Germanium economy; I still never see a second / third mining fleet get built and I don't see enough Germanium coming in to allow for the economies to expand a lot.

There should basically just be a medium-ish wait while the Mining Fleets do their thing, basically, before things really get moving.  I don't think I have that balance right.  Really should have tested more but I've been incredibly busy IRL.


[EDIT]Fixed that, I think.  Germanium economy should go above the necessary thresholds now.  This fix should be savegame-compatible.[/EDIT]
Title: Re: Vacuum / Exerelin Alpha 1 (Total Conversion)
Post by: ciago92 on August 05, 2013, 08:15:54 AM
glasgow has no description, piranhas' description still mentions having missiles. fixes are save compatible, some fleets are now showing up somewhat. stations produce a lot of fighters though
Title: Re: Vacuum / Exerelin Alpha 1 (Total Conversion)
Post by: xenoargh on August 05, 2013, 09:00:03 AM
I think I have the fleet-rollout issue solved solid over here.  After I got the mining economy scaled big enough, the other chokepoint, fuel, reared its ugly head. That's now fixed.  I just hope I didn't over-do it, I don't want the same level of massive spam there was originally, and players need to be able to kill the enemy's economy by intercepting mining fleets.

The wage structure is, imo at least, about right; I have an all-Elite crew for a fairly smallish fleet (Cruiser, Destroyer, three Frigates, two Wings) and it's costing 78K / week, so I have to work for my money and will probably drop off things when I'm sure what to drop.  Must say, if you can buy a Glasgow, buy it; it's super-ugly but it kicks major butt when armed right (amongst other things, it's happy firing a Plasma Cannon all day long if you're teched up).

Anyhow, I'll roll out the next build here in a bit; had some RL stuff this morning, barely slept, so I'll try not to write any adfau2243! while creating a backstory for the Glasgow and Pirahna.

[EDIT]Done.  I need a nap :P[/EDIT]
Title: Re: Vacuum / Exerelin Alpha 1 (Total Conversion)
Post by: ciago92 on August 05, 2013, 07:28:43 PM
yeah still haven't seen any station takeover fleets but that could be lingering issues, I'm on the download that was available around 7am
Title: Re: Vacuum / Exerelin Alpha 1 (Total Conversion)
Post by: xenoargh on August 05, 2013, 08:16:55 PM
I finally saw an Attack Fleet.  I really need to take a look into this stuff and fix a few things; a lot of how it was working was predicated on practically no resource limits and I think it's still choking in places.  I'd rather see the strategic system (it's not an AI, really, just simple rules) spit out lots of small attack fleets to roam around causing trouble when the Faction's poor, but go large when it has the wealth to do it.  Anyhow, I'll look into this, as it's keeping things a little slower than I'd like.

Oh, and I haven't written a backstory for the Acanthus; I'll get that fixed. 

Any other glaring issues you've seen with mechanics or balance thus far? 

I'm pretty happy with the crew wage system, personally, other than the fact that Vanilla's crew-promotion system now feels so fast that I'm having to swap out whole crews of Elites for cheaper crew on a regular basis so that I can save up enough to operate a capital ship or two if and when the code's building large fleets properly.  I no longer feel (like I always have, playing this game) that I have millions of dollars and nothing to blow it on :)
Title: Re: Vacuum / Exerelin Alpha 1 (Total Conversion)
Post by: xenoargh on August 06, 2013, 10:58:18 AM
OK, a new build has been released.

Fixes:

1.  The economy is now running fully.  Big fleets can spawn again and combat will evolve as the Factions gain resources.  It's probably not perfectly balanced yet, but it's a lot closer.

2.  A couple of niggling issues with Hull Mods that shouldn't overlap.

3.  The Glaug are back to being fully functional, instead of being crippled by a bug.

Adds:

1.  Descriptions for the Acanthus.
2.  Both the Mining Pod and the Glaug Bat have been labeled appropriately as Miners, to help players know which craft they need to mine with, and if the player starts off on the Glaug side, they get Bats instead of Mining Pods.

Planning to do a couple more things when I get a chance today- I was thinking that a triple-barreled Plasma Blaster in the Medium slot range might be fun and cool, the Glaug Shard Gun will get a third barrel to improve its auto-aim accuracy and a few other things like that.

After that, I mainly need to come up with a more-effective way to vary the fleet sizes to ensure low-level players have enough stuff floating around that they can expect to intercept and kill.

Oh, and... I'll be adding at least one new modder-submitted Faction to this thing soonish.  If anybody out there in the modding world would like me to insert your Faction and try and get it balanced for the mod, let me know :)
Title: Re: Vacuum / Exerelin Alpha 1 (Total Conversion)
Post by: SainnQ on August 07, 2013, 05:21:47 AM
Is it normal for the pirate fleet to throw two large, Macauhaitl & Acanthus flagship lead fleets to you within 15-30 minutes of starting a new game?

They've effectively shut down my port of call.

And their power-creep is such that I'm not able to beat them down and away for any extended period of time, I've even resorted to modifying my damn xml in the hopes it would even out.

Title: Re: Vacuum / Exerelin Alpha 1 (Total Conversion)
Post by: xenoargh on August 07, 2013, 07:45:00 AM
Well, there's the rub atm; once the economy was working well enough to spawn large fleets again, it sometimes does that kind of thing, and with the economy effectively allowing for a faction to get shut down, it can be a serious problem for the player.  This is one of the niggling issues I've inherited from Exerelin that I need to address moving forwards.

So what I need to do at this point is construct a genuine difficulty ramp, methinks.  Luckily, I don't think that will take very long; I can add a small patrol fleet type and force the game to keep the numbers low enough to be reasonable during the first 90 days or so, giving players some breathing room.  I'll take a look at this right away and see if I can solve this issue :)
Title: Re: Vacuum / Exerelin Alpha 1 (Total Conversion)
Post by: SainnQ on August 07, 2013, 08:48:58 AM
It wouldn't be a problem.

But nobody BUT the Pirate's gets a massive defense fleet open colonizing their respective stations & planets.
I think a planetary defense fleet would stop them from outright overrunning the player. Or any faction.

But wouldn't stop them from dominating should your economy based mechanics come into play.


Title: Re: Vacuum / Exerelin Alpha 1 (Total Conversion)
Post by: xenoargh on August 07, 2013, 09:07:39 AM
I think I've got it fixed up; during the first 90 days, nobody's allowed to spawn anything really huge.  They're restricted to small patrols that players can expect to find easy to tackle (i.e., 2-3 Frigates / Fighter Wings at the very most).

You'll have to start a new game there, but it's working over here in testing.

I like the idea of making it much less likely for attack fleets to spawn vs. defense fleets during the first 180 days or thereabouts, too.  That way everybody most likely has a guard up before the slugging match starts in earnest.  Anyhow, I'm doing some internal cleanup of some documentation atm but I'll push out a new build as soon as I've gotten that done and have tried out the "no big attack fleets until 180 days" idea :)
Title: Re: Vacuum / Exerelin Alpha 1 (Total Conversion)
Post by: silentstormpt on August 07, 2013, 09:13:09 AM
Well, there's the rub atm; once the economy was working well enough to spawn large fleets again, it sometimes does that kind of thing, and with the economy effectively allowing for a faction to get shut down, it can be a serious problem for the player.  This is one of the niggling issues I've inherited from Exerelin that I need to address moving forwards.

So what I need to do at this point is construct a genuine difficulty ramp, methinks.  Luckily, I don't think that will take very long; I can add a small patrol fleet type and force the game to keep the numbers low enough to be reasonable during the first 90 days or so, giving players some breathing room.  I'll take a look at this right away and see if I can solve this issue :)

How about setting a default value to make sure a faction is never at its limit
Title: Re: Vacuum / Exerelin Alpha 1 (Total Conversion)
Post by: xenoargh on August 07, 2013, 09:23:46 AM
It already has that; it won't keep spawning if it hits the upper numbers on fleets allowed.  

The issue is largely getting the difficulty ramp tuned, I think; during that early period, it would really suck to have a Faction declare war on you and then proceed to stomp your mining fleets, leaving your faction high and dry.  

Should be fixed in the next build, or at least the structure's there to make adjustments later and I know how to get it done.  Anyhow, I'll set it up so that it's staggered, and defensive fleets always get built first; that should help a lot.
Title: Re: Vacuum / Exerelin Alpha 1 (Total Conversion)
Post by: SainnQ on August 07, 2013, 11:36:03 AM
It already has that; it won't keep spawning if it hits the upper numbers on fleets allowed.  

The issue is largely getting the difficulty ramp tuned, I think; during that early period, it would really suck to have a Faction declare war on you and then proceed to stomp your mining fleets, leaving your faction high and dry.  

Should be fixed in the next build, or at least the structure's there to make adjustments later and I know how to get it done.  Anyhow, I'll set it up so that it's staggered, and defensive fleets always get built first; that should help a lot.

Here's a question.

Would it be possible to allow the player to contribute to a factions financial well being through the Germanium they mine?
Title: Re: Vacuum / Exerelin Alpha 1 (Total Conversion)
Post by: xenoargh on August 07, 2013, 11:52:13 AM
Quote
Would it be possible to allow the player to contribute to a factions financial well being through the Germanium they mine?
You do exactly that already.  The spawning system uses the Germanium and Fuel you mine, just like it uses the Germanium and Fuel the Mining Fleets mine.  The issue, in terms of final balance, is getting the balance right for the player vs. the mining fleets.  

Right now it's set up so that getting Germanium is very slow compared to how fast your fleets get it, but you can mine Fuel a little faster than the AI can.  So the player's probably going to help his / her Faction out more efficiently by killing the enemy's mining fleets atm (which is more-or-less intended).  Also, players always have the option of visiting a Station of another Faction and buying up their Germanium, transporting it to their Faction at a loss.  Expensive, but it can be done in an emergency.

Anyhow, I'm looking at some minor stuff and am trying to finish up a new ship sprite; the Triple Plasma Blaster is now available and the Shard Gun / Thermal gun have the "plasma effect", i.e., they may ignore shielding sometimes.  This probably makes the Thermal Gun pretty OP, but I haven't checked it out yet.
Title: Re: Vacuum / Exerelin Alpha 1 (Total Conversion)
Post by: xenoargh on August 07, 2013, 12:21:53 PM
New ship, the Spearhead, to help the Hegemony juggernauts do furious battle.  Credits to Mendonica for the sprite upon which this is based :)

(http://www.wolfegames.com/TA_Section/spearhead.png)
Title: Re: Vacuum / Exerelin Alpha 1 (Total Conversion)
Post by: SainnQ on August 07, 2013, 12:53:33 PM
Question, do the indies get a capital ship or cruiser?

I never saw any in either of my two games.
Title: Re: Vacuum / Exerelin Alpha 1 (Total Conversion)
Post by: xenoargh on August 07, 2013, 12:55:56 PM
Yeah, they certainly do.  They have the Falcon, Eagle, Conquest, Black Eagle, amongst others.  The Black Eagle is pretty respectable, and the Falcon / Eagle are both decent.

The Conquest is probably the weakest capital in the game, though, so I've been thinking about how to fix it for a bit.
Title: Re: Vacuum / Exerelin Alpha 1 (Total Conversion)
Post by: xenoargh on August 08, 2013, 06:20:21 PM
Next version is about ready.  Fixes up the remaining economic issues, improved balance for fighters and a few other things got tweaked.  Requires a new start.

I'm going to try and get all of Thule's Punk Junker and FarScope ships set up and make mini-factions out of them for the next build :)
Title: Re: Vacuum / Exerelin Alpha 1 (Total Conversion)
Post by: xenoargh on August 08, 2013, 09:42:59 PM
Got the Punk Junker art ready. 

Here's Thule's awesome stuff with a few cleanups and such by me:

(http://www.wolfegames.com/TA_Section/pj_squire.png)(http://www.wolfegames.com/TA_Section/pj_knight.png)(http://www.wolfegames.com/TA_Section/pj_archer.png)(http://www.wolfegames.com/TA_Section/pj_earl.png)(http://www.wolfegames.com/TA_Section/pj_duke.png)(http://www.wolfegames.com/TA_Section/pj_queen.png)
Title: Re: Vacuum / Exerelin Alpha 1 (Total Conversion)
Post by: NITROtbomb on August 09, 2013, 01:03:09 AM
I love them and I know thule did them originally but I think the two that are symmetrical don't fit in with the rest of them or rather, the theme of the Punk Junkers.

Just my opinion
Title: Re: Vacuum / Exerelin Alpha 1 (Total Conversion)
Post by: xenoargh on August 09, 2013, 01:23:38 AM
Yeah, I agree.  Was in a hurry to get them to the prototype stage so that I could get them in and do some testing and for this mod they have to have all of the classes represented (and ideally have freighters and stuff, but whatever). 

The Knight is a really strong Frigate atm; those are two Heavy Assault Guns, serious firepower against unshielded targets.  Not very happy with the Archer, though; I think I need to go back to start on that one.

Anyhow, I'll do another pass on them tomorrow and break up their symmetry and stuff :)
Title: Re: Vacuum / Exerelin Alpha 1 (Total Conversion)
Post by: GUNINANRUNIN on August 09, 2013, 01:33:40 AM
Got the Punk Junker art ready. 

Here's Thule's awesome stuff with a few cleanups and such by me:

(http://www.wolfegames.com/TA_Section/pj_squire.png)(http://www.wolfegames.com/TA_Section/pj_knight.png)(http://www.wolfegames.com/TA_Section/pj_archer.png)(http://www.wolfegames.com/TA_Section/pj_earl.png)(http://www.wolfegames.com/TA_Section/pj_duke.png)(http://www.wolfegames.com/TA_Section/pj_queen.png)
Oooh. These are pretty neat. <3
Title: Re: Vacuum / Exerelin Alpha 1 (Total Conversion)
Post by: xenoargh on August 09, 2013, 10:47:23 AM
OK, got the Archer fixed up.  You may need to refresh that image to see the change.  Making the Knight more "junky" and less symmetric should be pretty straightforward.

(http://www.wolfegames.com/TA_Section/pj_archer.png)
Title: Re: Vacuum / Exerelin Alpha 1 (Total Conversion)
Post by: xenoargh on August 09, 2013, 11:05:45 AM
OK, Knight's redone.  Need to fix the ship stuff and do a little more coding, then they can be a Faction.

(http://www.wolfegames.com/TA_Section/pj_knight.png)
Title: Re: Vacuum / Exerelin Alpha 1 (Total Conversion)
Post by: Thule on August 09, 2013, 11:33:46 AM
Looks great man.  ;D
You even kept the naming scheme, sweet  ;)

Title: Re: Vacuum / Exerelin Alpha 1 (Total Conversion)
Post by: xenoargh on August 10, 2013, 07:22:38 PM
New build up.  REQUIRES RESTART.

Fixes:

1.  Various small issues with the economy.
2.  Several internal bugs (that you probably never noticed but were there nonetheless).

Changes:

1. Buffed Med Laser / HIL a little bit.
2.  Small buffs / nerfs for a few more things.

Adds:

1.  New Faction, the Punk Junkers.  They are soooo punk-rock, man.  Well, that, and deadly dangerous ;)
2.  Some early work on a new Faction, Exigency Incorporated.  They're still missing their trademark System and a few other details aren't done yet, but they're in and will get into the campaign soon.
3.  Triple Plasma Blaster; triple your fun!
4.  Various other minor stuff I can't be bothered to remember atm :)

Anyhow, more work will be put into the various new Factions joining the party as soon as I have some time :)
Title: Re: Vacuum / Exerelin Alpha 1 (Total Conversion)
Post by: MesoTroniK on August 10, 2013, 08:49:07 PM
(http://forum.worldoftanks.com/public/style_emoticons/wot/Smile-hiding.gif)
Title: Re: Vacuum / Exerelin Alpha 1 (Total Conversion)
Post by: Wyvern on August 10, 2013, 08:57:16 PM
Code
106342 [Thread-9] ERROR com.fs.starfarer.combat.String  - java.lang.ArrayIndexOutOfBoundsException: 6
 java.lang.ArrayIndexOutOfBoundsException: 6
at data.scripts.world.exerelin.ExerelinData.getAvailableFactions(ExerelinData.java:170)
at data.scripts.world.exerelin.ExerelinUtils.getStationOwnerFactionId(ExerelinUtils.java:255)
at data.scripts.world.exerelin.OutSystemStationAttackFleet$1.run(OutSystemStationAttackFleet.java:92)
at com.fs.starfarer.campaign.ai.CampaignFleetAI.??0000(Unknown Source)
at com.fs.starfarer.campaign.fleet.CampaignFleet.advance(Unknown Source)
at com.fs.starfarer.campaign.BaseLocation.advance(Unknown Source)
at com.fs.starfarer.campaign.CampaignEngine.advance(Unknown Source)
at com.fs.starfarer.campaign.save.CampaignGameManager.o00000(Unknown Source)
at com.fs.starfarer.campaign.save.CampaignGameManager.o00000(Unknown Source)
at com.fs.starfarer.title.B.o00000(Unknown Source)
at com.fs.starfarer.title.O0OO.o00000(Unknown Source)
at com.fs.starfarer.ui.o00o.o00000(Unknown Source)
at com.fs.starfarer.ui.return.o00000(Unknown Source)
at com.fs.starfarer.ui.ooOoOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO.o00000(Unknown Source)
at com.fs.starfarer.A.this.do$super(Unknown Source)
at com.fs.super.A.?00000(Unknown Source)
at com.fs.starfarer.combat.String.o00000(Unknown Source)
at com.fs.starfarer.StarfarerLauncher$2.run(Unknown Source)
at java.lang.Thread.run(Thread.java:680)
Happens reliably upon loading my save with the latest version of Exerelin & LazyLib.  Save loaded fine until the game crashed at end of a battle - yes, I'm save-scumming, because I have absolutely zero clue what the ships in the mod can do yet.  Figured attacking a glaug mining fleet with two ships left in it when I have a cruiser ought to be safe... but...

Would have attached the save file, but apparently even compressed it's far too big.
Title: Re: Vacuum / Exerelin Alpha 1 (Total Conversion)
Post by: Ravendarke on August 11, 2013, 04:57:40 AM
Elite and veteran wages are ridiculous, they are not worth it at all, actually I am just selling them all the time replacing them with regulars.

Had 3 ships, wages -12 000 for crew, +5000 income, really doesn´t worth it.

And suggestion: Less EMP cascades getting through shields, or just boost engines EMP resistance.
Title: Re: Vacuum / Exerelin Alpha 1 (Total Conversion)
Post by: NITROtbomb on August 11, 2013, 05:28:32 AM
yeah found that a problem, perhaps have it so the income increases some how to balance out this problem, like some sort of, when (x) amount of days pass increase pay by (y) amount or something but with this long play periods may get excessive...
Title: Re: Vacuum / Exerelin Alpha 1 (Total Conversion)
Post by: xenoargh on August 11, 2013, 06:35:34 AM
Quote
Had 3 ships, wages -12 000 for crew, +5000 income, really doesn´t worth it.
Well... hmm.  I really haven't found that to be a serious problem, if you're using all the sources of income well.

For example, if you spend the early-game mining Germanium or Fuel, you can build up 100K before wars get going in earnest.  During war, if you're not making 100K / day, you need to be more aggressive.  If you're having income problems, use the Storage Facility; you don't pay for Elites in storage.

I don't want players to ever feel that they can just sit around with a multi-capship fleet full of Elites; just like the real world, that should be out of reach for all but the most successful privateers.  I can drop it by a bit and we'll see how it goes, but I've run a fleet with a battleship and a couple of nice cruisers without serious problems, I just had to find and win a major battle daily :)

On EMP, it's one of the things you need to hard-counter depending on which Faction you fight, and EMP's one of the signature weapons of certain Factions.  That said, I'm not sure the balance is right on that or on Plasma, though, so I'll nerf EMP a bit for the next build :)
Title: Re: Vacuum / Exerelin Alpha 1 (Total Conversion)
Post by: Ravendarke on August 11, 2013, 06:41:52 AM


For example, if you spend the early-game mining Germanium or Fuel, you can build up 100K before wars get going in earnest.  


This might need a some kind of manual...
Title: Re: Vacuum / Exerelin Alpha 1 (Total Conversion)
Post by: Cerevox on August 11, 2013, 10:03:37 AM
It doesn't seem to punish you for going into negative credits, so once you get your perfect fleet you can pretty much ignore the whole thing. But early on, if you screw up and get too many elites then you can find yourself in a hole with a small ship and no real way to build up.
Title: Re: Vacuum / Exerelin Alpha 1 (Total Conversion)
Post by: xenoargh on August 11, 2013, 12:55:12 PM
Yeah, I don't have punishment mechanics built yet; I was going to make your crews abandon you if you ran out of money, and set the floor at zero, or even charge you interest (and have Tri-Tach send some 'enforcers' to collect on your late payments, heh).

Quote
This might need a some kind of manual...
I agree, but the framework's still very much WIP at this point; it's very much Alpha atm :)
Title: Re: Vacuum / Exerelin Alpha 1 (Total Conversion)
Post by: Ravendarke on August 11, 2013, 01:19:41 PM
Yeah, that´s fine, just my suggestion is that you could mention how mining work here. Well, I have found out (tho it is first time I played a mod with mining so that´s why I am kind of surprised). But you should still just mention if industry skill affect it anyhow and such things in OP.

Just suggesting.
Title: Re: Vacuum / Exerelin Alpha 1 (Total Conversion)
Post by: Cerevox on August 11, 2013, 06:27:28 PM
Idunno, it just seems that the wage system is oddly harsh, it kicks you when you are down and leaves you alone when you are doing great.

Also, do factions actually take other stations? I have yet to see it.
Title: Re: Vacuum / Exerelin Alpha 1 (Total Conversion)
Post by: xenoargh on August 11, 2013, 06:58:26 PM
They should, over time;  I may need to adjust how often they try to do so, though; will look into that :)
Title: Re: Vacuum / Exerelin Alpha 1 (Total Conversion)
Post by: xenoargh on August 12, 2013, 01:57:27 AM
New build. 

Changes:

1.  Crew wages for Elites / Veterans have been halved.
2.  If you run out of money to pay your crew, you cannot go lower than zero credits.
3.  If you run out of money to pay your crew, they will abandon your cause.

That pretty much finishes out the wage system; people cannot go < 0 on credits, so they can't effectively lose the game. 

However, if you get too many high-end crew, you're going to start having serious problems meeting payroll, your crew will abandon you, you won't have enough crew, etc., etc.

The only issue with this is the game's auto-promotion system;it means that if you want a high-level fleet and fight battles daily, you're going to need to swap crew a lot... or get Making Do asap, since that's one way to avoid pricing your fleets out of reach.  Another option I may explore is giving players a skill tree that deliberately lowers the rate at which crew gets promoted, or even set that to zero and make buying high-level crew the only way to get them.

Haven't nerfed the ion-cannon type weapons yet.
Title: Re: Vacuum / Exerelin Alpha 1 (Total Conversion)
Post by: xenoargh on August 13, 2013, 01:37:03 AM
New build.

Adds:

1.  New mini-faction, MesoTronik's Exigency Incorporated.  They're a little sparse on ships and gear atm, but they're really quite interesting.  Their ships don't come with shield generators and are massively lacking in customization options, but do come with a Repulsor Field system that, as the name suggests, shoves things away, plus a few more neat toys.

It's quite fun to use the Repulsor, and the AI uses it fairly well.  They aren't remotely balanced yet otherwise, so expect them to get a bit harder.  Hopefully the author will complete a few more vessels to finish out the lineup :)

(http://www.wolfegames.com/TA_Section/exigency_f1.png)(http://www.wolfegames.com/TA_Section/exigency_cc1.png)(http://www.wolfegames.com/TA_Section/exigency_bb1.png)

2.  Various cool stuff under the hood that I haven't gotten to do much with... yet.  Looking forward to working on another set of Thule's ships :)
Title: Re: Vacuum / Exerelin Alpha 1 (Total Conversion)
Post by: xenoargh on August 13, 2013, 11:22:10 AM
New build.

Changes:

Various fixes and tweaks for the Repulsor Field.  It's not quite as powerful, doesn't effect Phased ships, has smaller area of effect.  The Exigency Corporation ships still aren't balanced for the mod very well, but I should be able to get to that on the next pass.  I'm also working on a Frigate for them.

Done:
(http://www.wolfegames.com/TA_Section/exigency_yria.png)
Title: Re: Vacuum / Exerelin Alpha 1 (Total Conversion)
Post by: xenoargh on August 13, 2013, 06:21:36 PM
New fighter for the Hegemony, since they're a little sparse.  Here's the Longsword, an energy-weapon based fighter (what weapon is TBD).  Based on a design by Medikohl.  Next up, I need to find time to do something for the Conquest...

(http://www.wolfegames.com/TA_Section/longsword_fighter.png)
Title: Re: Vacuum / Exerelin Alpha 1 (Total Conversion)
Post by: xenoargh on August 13, 2013, 08:16:31 PM
OK, I think I'm happy with this editorial change for the Conquest. 

This gives the Conquest a Really Huge Gun, drops the missile hardpoints, adds a couple of greebly areas I may give to support / pd roles.  I think this fits the Conquest's weak spots; it needs more frontal firepower that it can use while still keeping its weak front shield in play, at the start of engagements. 

(http://www.wolfegames.com/TA_Section/conquest_bc_2.png)

If anybody has an opinion as to what kind of Really Huge Gun this will end up being, feel free to say what you'd like to see.  I'm leaning towards something like those ridiculous spinal cannon the Warhammer 40K battleships had, where it takes forever to load, but when it fires... well, let's just say that being in the way is a Bad Thing. 
Title: Re: Vacuum / Exerelin Alpha 1 (Total Conversion)
Post by: Cerevox on August 13, 2013, 10:24:33 PM
That's a crazy huge amount of firepower on the conquest. It was all about its broadside, and it covered both sides equally, so each side was like a full cap ship. With a big gun in the middle you might want to boost its FP and cost by a bit.

Also, the punkjunkers are really strong. All their ships seem to have near absurd amount of armor and health.

Also, the mining fighter, the prospector? is by far one of the strongest fighters due to it having the armor of a cruiser and the hull of a frigate.

Energy weapons are a bit on the weak side, ballistics both make up the vast majority of options, and have a wider variety. Ballistics have both better and cheaper options than energy weapons. It feels like energy weapons are supposed to be special, but they simply don't have anything special going for them.

On the latest version I have still not seen any faction cap any station except their starting one, not even make an attempt. Also, you can only pick three factions to start with, pirate, hegemony and tritachyon. None of the other factions come up as options. They are still in the game, you just can't play as them.

The mod is cool, im sinking hours into it, the balance just feels really strange.
Title: Re: Vacuum / Exerelin Alpha 1 (Total Conversion)
Post by: Sleepyfish on August 13, 2013, 10:28:48 PM
I just wanna say that playing this mod has been a really unique experience. It almost has an arcadey feel to it, if I might add. But anyways, the conquest should have a giant shield piercing Ion cannon, but the shpts are really slow and require a large amount of leading to hit the target.
Title: Re: Vacuum / Exerelin Alpha 1 (Total Conversion)
Post by: xenoargh on August 14, 2013, 01:41:18 AM
Quote
That's a crazy huge amount of firepower on the conquest. It was all about its broadside, and it covered both sides equally, so each side was like a full cap ship. With a big gun in the middle you might want to boost its FP and cost by a bit.
I'm just hoping it's finally worth its current FP, honestly.  It's been the weakest link for quite some time now, due to the lack of frontal armament.  The broadside sounds cool, until you realize it's only firing half the weight of an Onslaught no matter how it turns.  If you haven't fought an Onslaught in the mod yet, prepare yourself ;)  

It really needed a boost; I was killing Conquests like flies in an earlier game where I snagged an Acanthus early.  It just doesn't seem right that such a cool-looking ship should have so much trouble vs. anything more dangerous than the usual being-flanked-by-Frigates stuff, which most of the capships can handle without breathing hard.  The thing about the Conquest is that in a frontal firefight against a heavyweight, it's actually at a severe disadvantage, due to range differentials that result from its long, thin profile.  The Glaug Annihilator had the same problem, but it wasn't quite so bad.

Quote
Also, the punkjunkers are really strong. All their ships seem to have near absurd amount of armor and health.
Yeah, but they have a serious weakness (hint: check out what Hull Mods they don't have).

Quote
Also, the mining fighter, the prospector? is by far one of the strongest fighters due to it having the armor of a cruiser and the hull of a frigate.
I've found that they generally gets wasted vs. anything substantial- they just don't have the guns to do much good.  They tank great vs. early fleets, but really get stomped later on.  

If you've found a good way to use them past early game, great, and let us know what tactics make them work for you!

Quote
Energy weapons are a bit on the weak side, ballistics both make up the vast majority of options, and have a wider variety. Ballistics have both better and cheaper options than energy weapons. It feels like energy weapons are supposed to be special, but they simply don't have anything special going for them.
It's a mixed bag imo.

I think that right now, the main problem with energy weapons is that their DPS/Flux ratios may not be quite good enough for the plain old "pew pew do some DPS" types.  

The beam weapons are fine; they have a special role to play and they're quite useful in their niche.  

The special-purpose weapons (AM Blaster, Plasma weapons, the eeeevil that is the Moljnir, etc., etc.) are all just fine and are totally useful.  

It's just stuff like the IR Pulse Laser that feel pretty flat and un-attractive to me atm.  I'll think up a buff.

Quote
On the latest version I have still not seen any faction cap any station except their starting one, not even make an attempt. Also, you can only pick three factions to start with, pirate, hegemony and tritachyon. None of the other factions come up as options. They are still in the game, you just can't play as them.
Yeah, really meant to go look at that, but have been too busy with a million other things :)

Quote
The mod is cool, im sinking hours into it, the balance just feels really strange.
I'd be the first to say that the balance is pretty Alpha atm.  If you've got specifics you'd buff / nerf, I'm always willing to listen.  Keep in mind that I've played this a lot, so I know where most of the problem children are... the issue is coming up with fixes that don't just create new problems :)

Quote
I just wanna say that playing this mod has been a really unique experience. It almost has an arcadey feel to it, if I might add.
Yeah, the balance and way it plays are really different than Vanilla.  

I like more high-speed gameplay, and there are few things more satisfying than killing Cruisers with a Daisho in this mod.

You can play the mod very much in the traditional, green-eyeshades style, though; if you max out Tech, you can build fleets that will just totally crush the opposition with pure math.  But the money system keeps people from just building the Uber Fleet of Dewm and rampaging through the System forever (although you can go almost forever if you can build a fleet that can win a major fleet battle every day or more- it's 100K+ in loot and credits for each big battle fleet taken out, on average).
Title: Re: Vacuum / Exerelin Alpha 1 (Total Conversion)
Post by: Cerevox on August 14, 2013, 07:05:28 PM
Tactics to make them work? Just keep leveling armor skill. They end up with 4k hp and 1.7k armor at level 10. Then spam 15 or so in your fleet. They tear entire fleets apart and because there are so many and they all mix together and are so small, the AI can't seem to focus and eliminate them one by one. I roll around in a fleet with an onslaught and a full set of 20 of them to fill up the onslaughts hangers, and the onslaught only has to actually fire its guns once every dozen battles. It just sits in the back and spams its 4 annihilator rocket pods.  I have yet to actually have a battle go so long the onslaught runs out of rockets, and i just randomly attack every fleet I come across.

Late game is where the mining fighters really shine. :D
Title: Re: Vacuum / Exerelin Alpha 1 (Total Conversion)
Post by: xenoargh on August 14, 2013, 09:30:30 PM
That's really funny; I would have thought they'd get eaten alive once you meet late-game defense fleets with multiple capships :)  

At any rate, about the only effective nerf I could give them that wouldn't cripple them in early-game would be to take away their High Energy Focus or to drop their armor and give them a modest shield.  

Probably the other fighters aren't as competitive because the difference in their Flux Dissipation rising vs. the Armor bonus isn't nearly as great, so other fighters are still getting Overloaded on a regular basis while the Prospectors are still taking hits and carrying on.

As an alternative, I could change the way the Armor buff works, to keep it more sane, but that would have knock-on effects throughout the balance.

Anyhow, I'll take a quick look at the non-existence of invasion fleets; clearly something's borked there and I need to get that fixed.
Title: Re: Vacuum / Exerelin Alpha 1 (Total Conversion)
Post by: Cerevox on August 15, 2013, 03:00:19 PM
In big fights with multiple cap ships, a wing or two of them might die, but they are so cheap it is ignorable. I think the real problem is a combination of their armor and their size. Most of the guns in this mod seem to have a lot of spray and wide arcs of fire at longer ranges, so I suspect that most shots are simply not hitting them. the few hits that do land would be enough to blow away other fighters, but the prospectors just shrug them off.

The punkjunk fighters, squire?, are not quite as tough but have a lot more damage and you can do something similar with them.

On the flip side, the sidecar fighters from exi need a buff. They are like tissue paper.
Title: Re: Vacuum / Exerelin Alpha 1 (Total Conversion)
Post by: xenoargh on August 15, 2013, 04:52:56 PM
OK, I'll nerf them and the PJs a bit, buff the Exigency fighter... we'll see how that goes :)

I have gotten the problems with "invasion fleets" fixed; I finally figured out what was causing the issues.  Should be able to push out a new build as soon as I'm done scripting the Exigency's newest weapon...
Title: Re: Vacuum / Exerelin Alpha 1 (Total Conversion)
Post by: xenoargh on August 15, 2013, 11:36:34 PM
New build up.

Fixes:

1.  Various issues with the Repulsor.
2.  Smallish issues with the Macross Missile script that kept missiles effected by it from interacting with Repulsors correctly.
3.  Invasion fleets now show up.  May have gone overboard on how often, please let me know.

Changes:

1.  Exigency ships all got buffed reasonably well for the mod.
2.  Various balance changes to Exigency weapons.  They're a little closer now.
3.  Nerfed the Prospector and the Squire; buffed the Sidecar.
4.  Less-laggy behaviors on rocket-spam; rockets now hit peak velocity much faster and engines burn out much faster to reduce particle lag.
5.  The Conquest is back, and he's mad.  Or something.  Currently equipped with a Gauss Cannon on the frontal mount, but that will get changed when I have a chance.  Conquest is pretty reasonable now as a capship.
6.  Various other changes and improvements.

Adds:

1.  Exigency ships have the Ball Lightning Gun, which is a very whacky AOE chain-lightning PD weapon.  It's fun and quite useful against missile barrages and fighter clusters but uses a lot of Flux and is pretty worthless as an offensive weapon.

Oh, and... if anybody's using a shortcut to the mod file so they don't have to go back to the first page every time I update, the link has changed to make it easier for me to maintain.   Sorry about that.



Next up:  adding some new content Stuff, trying to get around to Thule's ships. 

Tackling energy-bolt weapon balance (I left it alone this build, had my hands full).

Maybe adding a new gun if I have any really good ideas.  The mod already has a lot of whacky stuff, but it's always fun to come up with new things.  I have a couple of concepts I think may work, though, like a gun that shoots a fighter (i.e., like those one-shot catapult things they used in WWII (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CAM_ship)).
Title: Re: Vacuum / Exerelin Alpha 1 (Total Conversion)
Post by: xenoargh on August 16, 2013, 01:47:04 PM
New build.  Adds some new Exigency sounds by MesoTronik and me, adds a non-generic icon for the Repulsor while it's in action.

That faction's finally starting to feel reasonably polished; just need to get the Frigate, their Interceptor and another of their top-secret weapons in the mod and they're pretty close, other than civilian stuff and a Destroyer (although their Cruiser kind of sits in that gray area atm, imo) :)
Title: Re: Vacuum / Exerelin Alpha 1 (Total Conversion)
Post by: xenoargh on August 16, 2013, 02:05:39 PM
Did another pass on the Frigate:

(http://www.wolfegames.com/TA_Section/exigency_yria.png)
Title: Re: Vacuum / Exerelin Alpha 1 (Total Conversion)
Post by: Cerevox on August 16, 2013, 07:06:01 PM
The exi cruiser appears unkillable. I have wailed on them with that 25fp pirate cap ship with its blood god ability on for +500% damage for minutes at a time and been unable to even make its HP bar twitch. Luckily, the auto-resolve thinks they are terrible so once the rest of the fleet is gone you can just auto-resolve and win.

The prospector is much better now, they actually die when they get into a fight with cap ships or other high damage ships.

Wages appear to be disabled.

Can only pick pirates/hegemony/tritach to start, which makes getting a conquest to try it out a bit harder.  :-[

You might want to normalize missile ammo across different weapons. Some missile weapons have enough to fire for 30 minutes straight, while others are out in a minute. In some cases it makes sense, but in some it doesn't. Things like rocket pods I can see blowing through their ammo very fast, but the MRMs having such a huge amount of ammo compared to the LRMs is kind of weird. You might want to boost the LRM ammo.

Edit: And the storm needler seems to be set to point defense. It is shooting at missiles instead of other ships.

Edit2: Okay, managed to kill an exi cruiser. It took 4 hellbores at pointblank with rockets to overcome its regen. At least, the cruiser appears to have some kind of massive hull regen or something along those lines.

Edit3: Also, some large missiles might be nice. With the extreme effectiveness of flak in this mod, the mirv missles are not cutting it.
Title: Re: Vacuum / Exerelin Alpha 1 (Total Conversion)
Post by: xenoargh on August 16, 2013, 07:36:44 PM
Quote
Wages appear to be disabled.
Yeah, I caught that tonight, will fix.

Quote
Can only pick pirates/hegemony/tritach to start, which makes getting a conquest to try it out a bit harder.
You should be able to hit "next" on that screen at the bottom and pick the others.  Works over here :)

Quote
Edit: And the storm needler seems to be set to point defense. It is shooting at missiles instead of other ships.
Yeah, it's meant to be ultimate spam-cannon, but it tends to eat ammo up on stuff it shouldn't.

Quote
You might want to normalize missile ammo across different weapons. Some missile weapons have enough to fire for 30 minutes straight, while others are out in a minute. In some cases it makes sense, but in some it doesn't. Things like rocket pods I can see blowing through their ammo very fast, but the MRMs having such a huge amount of ammo compared to the LRMs is kind of weird. You might want to boost the LRM ammo.
The main issue is that Alex decided for some weird reason that only missile weapons with 30+ shots could be on Autofire, which is less than ideal.  Anyhow, I'll look at that and at balance for them in general again; I'm not happy with the MIRV, which isn't getting through PD enough, same with the Sabots.  On the other hand, they aren't as massively OP as they used to be, so it's a question of crossing a fine line.  Having another big missile that fills a role between the torpedoes (which are totally worth using on things like Exigency, btw) and the MRMs / LRMs might be worth doing; again, there's a fine line there between having something that's so useful it's ubiquitous and something that's cool-looking but fundamentally useless.
Title: Re: Vacuum / Exerelin Alpha 1 (Total Conversion)
Post by: Cerevox on August 16, 2013, 07:48:08 PM
On the storm needler, it is not the ammo count, it is that in big fights, it sits there and shoots at missiles instead of other ships. It is useless if the opponent has a rocket launcher of any kind because it spends all its time shooting at rockets. It simply isn't doing any damage and its not even that good at PD duties.

On missiles, really any change would be good at this point. The rocket launchers are good, but everything else just doesn't feel useful, and the rockets are only useful because of the crazy level of spam they are able to put out.

Edit: Im a moron, yes, the rest are behind the next button.

Edit2: Been messing around with the exi. Your starting cruiser is absurdly tough, nothing can kill that beast. However, other cruisers you buy don't seem to get the bio hull, so every other cruiser/cap ship you buy as exi is terrible.
Title: Re: Vacuum / Exerelin Alpha 1 (Total Conversion)
Post by: xenoargh on August 18, 2013, 12:13:57 AM
New build up.  Probably requires a restart to operate totally correctly.

Fixes:

1.  Wages and various other under-the-hood issues.
2.  Biomechanical Hull is now available for Exigency ships when the Hull Mod is unlocked, like it should be.

Changes:

1.  Especially big or slow-shooting weapons (Hellbore, Gauss, Heavy Plasma Cannon, Plasma Cannon, Mark9, probably going to add/tweak this list later on) now destroy all missiles on contact. No more watching your Mark9s be utterly worthless because of rocket spam.  However, due to changes that had to be made to make this happen, it means that the Plasma / Heavy Plasma Cannons no longer get AOE on a trigger, making them even less useful against small, fast-moving targets.

2.  The Storm Needler is no longer designated PD, making it a bit more useful as a primary arm, but taking away its massive-spam effects.


Haven't touched the missiles yet, but I'm starting to finally have something like a plan of action form in my head.  What I think I'll do is something like:

1.  Harpoon just needs more hitpoints so that PD can't kill it quite so casually.  It already does excellent damage if it gets through.
2.  Pilum will get a special script that will make it explode into lots of deadly fragments if it senses nearby ships, to make it better at its primary job, which is long-range fighter kill.  In general, I'm hoping to make it work better vs. fighters without making it a go-to weapon otherwise.  We'll see how that goes.
3.  Really not sure what to do about the Salamander yet. 
4.  I'm thinking that the Sabot, instead of becoming inherently more powerful, should actually be nerfed a little, but use a script that launches a single shield-piercing attack.
Title: Re: Vacuum / Exerelin Alpha 1 (Total Conversion)
Post by: joey4track on August 18, 2013, 12:17:06 PM
Any reason you are not using version numbers?? It makes things very confusing without it o.O
Title: Re: Vacuum / Exerelin Alpha 1 (Total Conversion)
Post by: Cerevox on August 18, 2013, 12:45:56 PM
There are version numbers, they just aren't on the file name. Open up the package and read the modinfo file.
Title: Re: Vacuum / Exerelin Alpha 1 (Total Conversion)
Post by: joey4track on August 18, 2013, 01:21:09 PM
There are version numbers, they just aren't on the file name. Open up the package and read the modinfo file.

Well, that's cryptic as hell. Why not just put the version number in the name of the zip the like the rest of the world? Now I have multiple copies of the same named file even though they are totally different archives and there is no way to tell which is which without opening them up and opening a random file that isn't even in txt format.. pretty *** if you ask me.
Title: Re: Vacuum / Exerelin Alpha 1 (Total Conversion)
Post by: Cerevox on August 18, 2013, 02:07:09 PM
Its not a big deal. Just download the new one and replace the old one, delete the old file and unzip. Takes like 15 seconds, and since updates are fast just do it every couple of days. Version number really doesn't matter all that much when you just want the latest version and its changing all the time.
Title: Re: Vacuum / Exerelin Alpha 1 (Total Conversion)
Post by: xenoargh on August 18, 2013, 04:19:43 PM
The most current revision is always at the same address to keep it simple for people who're updating when there's a new build.  When I have time to be active on projects like these, if the file size isn't too giant, I like to work and release new versions rapidly as I add new features.  Sorry for any confusion that may cause, it's still alpha :)
Title: Re: Vacuum / Exerelin Alpha 1 (Total Conversion)
Post by: xenoargh on August 19, 2013, 03:11:23 PM
Got the fighter for the fighter-launcher idea built.

(http://www.wolfegames.com/TA_Section/swift.png)

And here's the launcher, with a fighter loaded:

(http://www.wolfegames.com/TA_Section/swift_on_launcher.png)
Title: Re: Vacuum / Exerelin Alpha 1 (Total Conversion)
Post by: Doogie on August 19, 2013, 03:25:07 PM
So, is it too much to ask for Blackrock Drive Yards to be put as a faction here? :P
Title: Re: Vacuum / Exerelin Alpha 1 (Total Conversion)
Post by: xenoargh on August 19, 2013, 03:39:44 PM
That's not up to me.  I'd be happy to add them, I like the designs and the whacky weapons would probably be a good fit for the mod.

But I didn't make Blackrock, and Cycerin has never contacted me about being included in the mod, so it might be better to bring that up with Cycerin :) 
Title: Re: Vacuum / Exerelin Alpha 1 (Total Conversion)
Post by: xenoargh on August 19, 2013, 07:13:44 PM
Got the fighter launcher working.  

It's really cool- convert a Large Missile slot into a one-shot fighter launcher!  For ships like the Gemini, it's super-useful.

Now I just need to decide which ships get one, hehe... well, that, and write up the various things I wanted to do with missiles :)

Here's one mounted on a Gemini:

(http://www.wolfegames.com/TA_Section/swift_fighter_launcher.png)
Title: Re: Vacuum / Exerelin Alpha 1 (Total Conversion)
Post by: Uomoz on August 19, 2013, 09:07:10 PM
Are they drones?
Title: Re: Vacuum / Exerelin Alpha 1 (Total Conversion)
Post by: xenoargh on August 19, 2013, 09:50:12 PM
No, they're fighters but they use a missile launcher slot to deploy.  You mount them just like any other missile launcher, they launch and then they behave just like any other fighter.

In this case, they use a Large Missile slot, so there aren't that many things in the game that can mount them.  But I also set up a few ships with them as Built-Ins (the Launcher, the Phaeton, the Condor), because the concept's really cool and it gave them a buff that is indirect and interesting.

Pretty happy with these, I think I need to make more types than just the one. 

Want to get the missile changes done first though.
Title: Re: Vacuum / Exerelin Alpha 1 (Total Conversion)
Post by: Thule on August 20, 2013, 03:22:22 AM
Really cool idea.
Title: Re: Vacuum / Exerelin Alpha 1 (Total Conversion)
Post by: modotron-3000 on August 20, 2013, 03:54:06 AM
is there someway to take over abandoned outposts ?  ???
Title: Re: Vacuum / Exerelin Alpha 1 (Total Conversion)
Post by: Szpakuz on August 20, 2013, 04:14:34 AM
How do you mine? I tried some ways but still dont seem to get how Im supposed to do it??? :-\
Title: Re: Vacuum / Exerelin Alpha 1 (Total Conversion)
Post by: silentstormpt on August 20, 2013, 05:57:05 AM
Make that fighter launcher with a opening platform for a fighter
Title: Re: Vacuum / Exerelin Alpha 1 (Total Conversion)
Post by: xenoargh on August 20, 2013, 09:34:06 AM
is there someway to take over abandoned outposts ?  ???
Not just yet, other than your side occasionally launching an invasion fleet.  TBH, this is something I'd like to do but haven't had the time; I'm still working on the core battle gameplay stuff :)

How do you mine? I tried some ways but still dont seem to get how Im supposed to do it??? :-\
Buy any of the fighters that are marked "(Miner)".  Currently, that's the Prospector and the Bat.  

Fly to an asteroid by clicking on it (big ones work best) and wait.  You'll eventually mine some Germanium :)

You can also mine Fuel from planets marked "Gaseous".  This is more reliable than mining Germanium, but it tends to make a bit less money over time.

Quote
Make that fighter launcher with a opening platform for a fighter
That should be possible, but I haven't looked into how weapon animation code works yet.
Title: Re: Vacuum / Exerelin Alpha 1 (Total Conversion)
Post by: xenoargh on August 20, 2013, 08:02:52 PM
OK, got most of the missile code done.

1.  Harpoons just got a straight buff, mainly to hitpoints, so that they get through PD a little more often.  This may / may not make them OP vs. Frigates, but we'll just have to see.
2.  Pilum gets AOE via script; has a bonus to damage vs. drones and fighters and kills nearby missiles in a moderate radius.  Not terribly useful against anything shielded larger than a fighter, but a cluster of Pilums can kill an entire Wing if they all go off, so they're moderately useful again.
3.  Still working on the Salamander; basically, I'm going to make it a stand-off system that checks whether it has a nearby target whose heading is roughly the same as the missile.  If so, it releases a bunch of EMP strikes.  This and some hitpoint / speed buffs makes the Salamander able to do its job as the engine-killer again but with a higher chance of success, since shield rolling will only help so much.
4.  Buffed the Sabot's hitpoints, but not the damage.  I don't want the Sabot to become ridiculously OP again like it was early on :)
5.  No change to the Hurricane yet, haven't decided what would be interesting to do with it.


Also did various work on ships, filing them out with Hull Mods and suchlike.  The Paragon has been buffed further, probably beyond what a player can ever put on it- the ship that's supposed to be the ultimate tank deserves some love and boss-like goodness, imo, instead of feeling like such a fragile glass cannon :)

Oh, and!  Does anybody have any opinions about what, exactly, the Odyssey needs?  I think it has the same "meh" issues the Conquest did.  I'm thinking that maybe I'll further buff its Flux Dissipation rate and throw it a few OPs so that it can be decked out in the full Beam Boat panoply without being so fragile.  I'd rather that it was mildly OP than how it is now; my experience has been that it's a ship with HEF but I can always safely ignore it if I own a serious tank.  If anybody has a good build for it (in this mod, mind ye, since balance is totally not Vanilla) that might serve as a good template or has ideas, please feel free.  

Will also be finally getting around to drawing a new sprite for the Tachyon Lance, too.  It's my least-favorite weapon sprite and I want something that goes better with Tri-Tach themes.
Title: Re: Vacuum / Exerelin Alpha 1 (Total Conversion)
Post by: xenoargh on August 20, 2013, 09:09:07 PM
New Tachyon Lance sprite:

(http://www.wolfegames.com/TA_Section/tachyon_lance_turret_base.png)
Obligatory teaser (note that I need to do some work on those hardpoint positions, they aren't quite aligned perfectly atm):
(http://www.wolfegames.com/TA_Section/tachyon_lance_teaser.jpg)
Title: Re: Vacuum / Exerelin Alpha 1 (Total Conversion)
Post by: xenoargh on August 21, 2013, 08:04:54 PM
New stuff from me / MesoTronik.  New weapon, the Repulsor Beam.  Like the Repulsor System, it shoves stuff away.  Unlike the Repulsor Beam, you don't have to be flying an Exigency ship to have one.  Also in this build is the Exigency Vindictive, which is a nasty little weapon.

(http://www.wolfegames.com/TA_Section/exigency_repulsor_beam_base.png)(http://www.wolfegames.com/TA_Section/exigency_vindictive_base.png)

Anyhow, I think this is about it for the build, so I'll wrap it up and ship it out soonish.
Title: Re: Vacuum / Exerelin Alpha 1 (Total Conversion)
Post by: xenoargh on August 21, 2013, 10:31:49 PM
New build.

Adds:

1. Exigency Yria Frigate and Glynado Interceptor.
2. Repulsor Beam weapon, Vindictive chaingun.  

The Repulsor Beam, as the name suggests, pushes ships and other objects (including missiles) away from the source.  Push speed is relative to how close you are to the target.  It's very useful for pushing enemies away if trying to kite (or just keep that Onslaught from getting into super-death-spam range), if used well.

Changes:

1.  New sprite for the Tachyon Lance.
2.  Buffs to several Tri-Tachyon ships in terms of OPs, to reflect their high level of technology.  Paragon got several buffs to make it a better tank.
3.  Lots of changes to missiles.  With the exception of the MIRV, I think they might all be worth using again.  
Breakdown:
Spoiler
  • Pilum does AAA coverage over a wide area, like a flak gun, but with slightly different tuning.  Really useful for fighter killing.
  • Harpoon got buffed HP.
  • Salamander got buffed HP, speed, maneuverability and last but not least, a script that detects when it's behind a target and then fires off EMP at the engines.  Pretty useful missile again :)
  • Sabot's second stage got HP buffed.
  • No changes made to Hurricane MIRV or to the Reaper family.
[close]

4. New way to launch fighters!  The Swift Interceptor Launcher is a one-shot "missile" system that launches a tough, well-armed fighter.  You can use it once per battle.  The Swift is available in various places at a reasonable cost, and mounts on any ship with a Large Missile slot.  BTW, that means that yes, Dominators can become impromptu fleet carriers ;)
5.  Buffs to HIL, Tachyon Lance.
6.  Exigency SABOT cannon is now shield-piercing.

Fixes:

1.  Several small issues with the Repulsor.  It now affects Asteroids and Hulks, amongst other things.
2.  Disabled a lag-inducing script for certain missile behaviors.
Title: Re: Vacuum / Exerelin Alpha 1 (Total Conversion)
Post by: xenoargh on August 22, 2013, 12:04:37 PM
Got done detailing out one of Thule's Farscope ships, which I have christened the Cousteau.
(http://www.wolfegames.com/TA_Section/fs_cousteau.png)
Title: Re: Vacuum / Exerelin Alpha 1 (Total Conversion)
Post by: xenoargh on August 22, 2013, 06:36:04 PM
Changed my mind about the name, came up with a reasonable theme / lore for these guys.  Anyhow, this is the Carson:

(http://www.wolfegames.com/TA_Section/fs_carson.png)
Title: Re: Vacuum / Exerelin Alpha 1 (Total Conversion)
Post by: silentstormpt on August 22, 2013, 07:38:50 PM
Those look really nice,

Also, check out the Crit System i redone a few weeks ago, it fixes some problems with slower RoF getting over 5% crit damage, adds Crit messages with different sizes depending on the weapon size and RoF, it also adds the possibility to have some projectiles with a certain IDs to bypass shields. I didn't fix the fire black smoke effects, but since this mod is already really heavy on the PC, might as well remove it for now...
Title: Re: Vacuum / Exerelin Alpha 1 (Total Conversion)
Post by: xenoargh on August 22, 2013, 08:05:12 PM
I'll definitely check it out :) 

I never did get around to making sure that high-ROF weapons ended up even lower on the curve, and they're pulling crits way too often atm, which in turn doesn't help with the "strain the PC" issue, as the text display is pretty expensive code.  Should probably put that on my list for this weekend.
Title: Re: Vacuum / Exerelin Alpha 1 (Total Conversion)
Post by: xenoargh on August 22, 2013, 08:51:45 PM
Got it fixed up, it's working correctly and we'll see quite a few less Crit! on the screen now.  

Lost a few operations along the way, so it's about as efficient as it can be, short of building it as a projectile hit script.  Tempted to see if I can do that via includes / extends at some point to avoid having to scan through every projectile.

[EDIT]Rats!  I left a crash bug in the build.  Sorry, everybody, Exigency's Repulsor Beam weapon was added in at Late O'Clock.  Oh well, I'll roll out a fix tonight.  Was going to do something with the MIRV anyhow.[/EDIT]
Title: Re: Vacuum / Exerelin Alpha 1 (Total Conversion)
Post by: xenoargh on August 22, 2013, 10:22:24 PM
The Sweeper.  For when you really need to clear a room.  

(http://www.wolfegames.com/TA_Section/sweeper_turret_base.png)

Been thinking that the Medium / Large fixed-mount weapons need some nice heavy ballistics, so I'm going to make a simple shotgun simulator for this one, which will be a Medium slot*.  For the Medium and Heavy slots, I really think that there needs to be something like the Railgun, but haven't decided what, yet.  Granted, there really aren't that many ships in the mod that can take fixed-mount Large, other than the Aurora, but that's always subject to change.

*Subject to testing; after all, that is a gun bigger than a lot of fighters there...


Oh, and new build is up.

Fixes: 
Crash bug with new Exigency weapon.  Oops!
Bad mathematics in the critical-hit code that prevented it from working correctly.
Title: Re: Vacuum / Exerelin Alpha 1 (Total Conversion)
Post by: Darloth on August 25, 2013, 05:11:44 PM
Are Shade phase frigates and Falcon cruisers supposed to auto-repair in battle?  (Edit: Perhaps since they have automated repair systems... If that's the case, could you change the description of that subsystem to mention it does that please?)

I worry that perhaps somehow the Exigency biohull is (invisibly) being applied to all vessels...

(Also I suck at this mod - the fact that none of the ships you can buy come with any hull mods wheras ALL of the enemy ships have just about everything they could possibly benefit from doesn't help... I'm assuming that -is- somehow intentional though?)

One minor bug: Wasp fighter wings have the Stabilized Shields hullmod... but, they don't have shields.
Title: Re: Vacuum / Exerelin Alpha 1 (Total Conversion)
Post by: Ravendarke on August 25, 2013, 06:05:18 PM
Well as this is total conversion if you plan to use original sprites you should probably add them some more sharp details to fit with rest of added ships (mainly to Try tachyon ships, apart from Odyss)
Title: Re: Vacuum / Exerelin Alpha 1 (Total Conversion)
Post by: xenoargh on August 25, 2013, 06:28:18 PM
@RavenDarke:

I agree entirely :)  

I've actually re-detailed most of the Vanilla fighters, some of the weapons, etc., etc.  

I'm nowhere near done yet- been pretty busy with the rest of the new content.  

Or, as new art becomes available, I may just drop the Vanilla Factions entirely, so that I don't feel like I'm stomping on the team's toes (I keep having to resist the urge to make Cult of Lud ships, doing further major edits to certain ships, etc., etc.) :)

Quote
I worry that perhaps somehow the Exigency biohull is (invisibly) being applied to all vessels...
Any ship with Automated Repair System will self-repair Hull over time.  The Exigency Biohull and the character buff that allows for self-repair all stack with that.  So a character with those skills in an Exigency ship is quite hard to kill.

Quote
Also I suck at this mod - the fact that none of the ships you can buy come with any hull mods wheras ALL of the enemy ships have just about everything they could possibly benefit from doesn't help... I'm assuming that -is- somehow intentional though?
Don't worry; after you've gotten to level 20+ (i.e., you can max out Tech or Combat) you'll be fine.  Getting to level 20 takes hardly any time at all in this mod, so don't fret about having to "re-roll" your character too much.

Quote
One minor bug: Wasp fighter wings have the Stabilized Shields hullmod... but, they don't have shields.
Oops!  Will fix that.  Please let me know if you see any other minor (or major) goofs like that, or things in the balance that don't work.
Title: Re: Vacuum / Exerelin Alpha 1 (Total Conversion)
Post by: Darloth on August 25, 2013, 06:53:06 PM
Quote
Also, the punkjunkers are really strong. All their ships seem to have near absurd amount of armor and health.
Yeah, but they have a serious weakness (hint: check out what Hull Mods they don't have).

It's not ion cannons. Just got utterly trashed by a punk junker cruiser + frigate combo, flying 3 tritach frigates and 3 fighter wings.

Any hints?  They seem to have heavy armour, nigh-immunity to EMP, and regenerating hitpoints, also good PD weapons, large damage output, and reasonable range (though I admit I didn't try a sniping sunderer or some other super-long range beam)
Title: Re: Vacuum / Exerelin Alpha 1 (Total Conversion)
Post by: xenoargh on August 25, 2013, 07:11:05 PM
Well, it depends on what level of ship you're using. 

I usually use some long-distance Kinetics to pound shields down, then close with Ion Cannons and finish them off.  They're quite vulnerable to EMP if you can get their shields down.

Title: Re: Vacuum / Exerelin Alpha 1 (Total Conversion)
Post by: Darloth on August 26, 2013, 03:42:45 AM
Are you sure about that? :)

In my game at least, they have both of the typical anti-EMP hull mods that will presumably be reducing EMP damage to 2.5% of the original value... I then spent a battle shooting them in the shieldhole with EMP using a teleporting phase frigate, and, uh... as expected, it didn't do all that much - sure, occasionally I got lucky and managed to hurt them for a while, but their stuff always came back online quickly (auto repair unit) and they just repaired the hull damage (auto repair unit :) )

http://puu.sh/4behP.jpg (http://puu.sh/4behP.jpg)

Have I installed it wrong somehow, or is this really "quite vulnerable to emp"?
Title: Re: Vacuum / Exerelin Alpha 1 (Total Conversion)
Post by: xenoargh on August 26, 2013, 07:03:45 AM
Should be but maybe I screwed that up ::)

I'll take a look and fix that and the Tri-Tach ship and put up a new build this morning :)
Title: Re: Vacuum / Exerelin Alpha 1 (Total Conversion)
Post by: xenoargh on August 26, 2013, 07:09:10 AM
OK, took a look.  None of the Punk Junkers has Hardened Circuitry; one of them, the Duke, has Resistant Flux Conduits.  I'll fix that and the Wasp and correct the description of Automated Repair Unit.
Title: Re: Vacuum / Exerelin Alpha 1 (Total Conversion)
Post by: xenoargh on August 26, 2013, 07:14:37 AM
OK, new build up:

Fixes:

Wasps have shields, fitting their Hull Mod.
Punk Junker Duke has had Resistant Flux Conduits replaced with Armored Weapon Mounts to reduce EMP resistance.
Automated Repair Unit description has been updated to include reference to self-repair ability.



Also... I take it that the issue here is that it's too hard to take on Punk Junkers with Frigates vs. a Cruiser, and that part of the issue is that if we want to go "high tech" (i.e., ENERGY class weapons) that they're just not cutting it? 

I'll look at this and see what can be done :-)
Title: Re: Vacuum / Exerelin Alpha 1 (Total Conversion)
Post by: Darloth on August 26, 2013, 07:45:51 AM
Perhaps my version was out of date then, since the Duke I fought had hardened circuitry.

Regardless, it's gone now (yay!)

It doesn't have armoured weapon mounts either, mind you - but the wasps do have their shields now, thanks!

I'll retry that battle and see how it goes this time.

Edit: A hard fight, and my PD frigate killed itself when it decided that when running away, still being hit, and low on hull, it should vent rather than overload (but that's a vanilla AI issue), but I finally won.  Killing that cruiser was a battle of massive attrition for two and a half frigates and a couple of fighter wings, but we managed it eventually after we wore its armour down!
Title: Re: Vacuum / Exerelin Alpha 1 (Total Conversion)
Post by: xenoargh on August 26, 2013, 08:03:01 AM
OK, so that gave you just enough of an edge? 

A fight like that (frigate group vs. a tough Cruiser) should be pretty hard to pull off, but it should be possible.

Generally, Frigates aren't going to cut it unless they're types that can handle large ships (for example, a Daisho with a couple of Crows can probably pull it off, same with a few of the other heavy-hitters in that category). 

However, it's all situational; for example, a Fusilier armed with Reapers can kill a lot of Cruisers outright, if timed well.  Just takes a bit of messing with the loadouts and looking at what the various Frigates can do.
Title: Re: Vacuum / Exerelin Alpha 1 (Total Conversion)
Post by: Darloth on August 26, 2013, 08:42:19 AM
Yep, I think it's about right now.

Something else I noticed (when I spawned with one) is that the default Shrike variant is all about the missiles, packed with extra missile racks and a top of the line ECCM suite.

Sadly, the Shrike can't actually carry any missiles.

I think an armour and maneuverability focus would probably fit better for it, as it has fixed forward built-in ballistics and a single modular turret.

Edit: Actually while I have your attention, can I ask the thoughts behind the flux-per-damage cost of the Atropos torpedo rack?

They're a great distraction, look pretty, are nice long range support, but they don't actually do a whole lot of damage and cost SO MUCH flux per second.  They may be just fine where they are, but I'd like to hear your thoughts on why they need to cost that much flux if you don't mind?
Title: Re: Vacuum / Exerelin Alpha 1 (Total Conversion)
Post by: xenoargh on August 26, 2013, 09:09:10 AM
Got the Shrike fixed; I'd forgotten to change the Hull Mods when I changed their primary focus  ::)

Atropos:  the big issue here is that it's a long-range annoyance missile that never ever ever runs out of ammo and can put out a heck of a lot of spam over time. 

As a missile, it sucks. 

As something that eats up PD ammo and pursues fighters and occasionally kills a Drone or three, it's fairly useful.

Its flux cost is high to make it less attractive in general; while it may (eventually) kill things, it won't ever kill them efficiently

However, if you get target lock and you're using a fast Frigate, you can kite things forever with it.  Even Onslaughts eventually run out of PD ammo, so it's kind of a neat weapon that way, but it's hard to balance just right.

I've thought about doubling the damage and halving the rate of fire, though; then it'd be a vaguely-effective weapon per shot, be more Flux-efficient, but not be so spammy.  Might make it into too-good of a kiting device, though.  Like I said- hard to balance something like this, where its primary use is to kite big things from outside ranges where they can effectively respond.

Anyhow, finally put in the Magister, which is a missile-boat Destroyer with a fixed-forward light gun and a couple of Small turret points for PD.
Title: Re: Vacuum / Exerelin Alpha 1 (Total Conversion)
Post by: xenoargh on August 26, 2013, 07:38:25 PM
Reworked Medusa:

(http://www.wolfegames.com/TA_Section/medusa.png)
Title: Re: Vacuum / Exerelin Alpha 1 (Total Conversion)
Post by: PCCL on August 26, 2013, 07:42:35 PM
very nice! We need some more lights on the ships imo, just gives the ship so much life

well done (ok to download for own mod?)
Title: Re: Vacuum / Exerelin Alpha 1 (Total Conversion)
Post by: xenoargh on August 26, 2013, 08:04:48 PM
Sure, go for it :)
Title: Re: Vacuum / Exerelin Alpha 1 (Total Conversion)
Post by: xenoargh on August 26, 2013, 09:01:18 PM
Reworked Aurora:

(http://www.wolfegames.com/TA_Section/aurora_ca.png)
Title: Re: Vacuum / Exerelin Alpha 1 (Total Conversion)
Post by: xenoargh on August 27, 2013, 09:28:22 AM
Reworked Packer:

(http://www.wolfegames.com/TA_Section/vfleet_packer.png)

This ship's never been a flyable ship in the mod, but it will be now.  Basically just a Buffalo with a couple of side sponsons.  An appropriate freighter for some of the factions.
Title: Re: Vacuum / Exerelin Alpha 1 (Total Conversion)
Post by: xenoargh on August 27, 2013, 09:55:01 AM
Reworked Farmstead, ditto:

(http://www.wolfegames.com/TA_Section/vfleet_farmstead.png)

I've always liked the idea behind this ship's original purpose (in the early Economy Mod), where it generated some minor amount of Supplies per day.  I think that would be a dandy thing for players to have around, to keep their fleets on the move longer, mine longer, etc., etc.
Title: Re: Vacuum / Exerelin Alpha 1 (Total Conversion)
Post by: xenoargh on August 28, 2013, 11:22:12 AM
Something for the new build's changes to certain things :)

(http://www.wolfegames.com/TA_Section/intothewildblueyonder_big_station.png)
Title: Re: Vacuum / Exerelin Alpha 1 (Total Conversion)
Post by: ciago92 on August 28, 2013, 12:08:55 PM
Something for the new build's changes to certain things :)

Spoiler
(http://www.wolfegames.com/TA_Section/intothewildblueyonder_big_station.png)
[close]


DO WANT
Title: Re: Vacuum / Exerelin Alpha 1 (Total Conversion)
Post by: xenoargh on August 28, 2013, 03:51:56 PM
Glad you like it.  Working on something vaguely DoTA-ish.  Think of this guy as an Ancient.  With big teeth.
Title: Re: Vacuum / Exerelin Alpha 1 (Total Conversion)
Post by: Uomoz on August 29, 2013, 12:26:49 AM
And then what is ROSHAN?
Title: Re: Vacuum / Exerelin Alpha 1 (Total Conversion)
Post by: xenoargh on August 29, 2013, 09:09:06 AM
A much smaller Ancient (although his teeth are cooler looking).

Anyhow, I'm still testing how all this works, but basically, what I'm doing is:

1.  In small battles, there aren't any capturable points.
2.  In large battles, the point balance and structure's been changed, largely to balance things a little more and to make that part more explicitly RTS-like.
3.  When Nav and Sensor points are captured, various "guardians" appear on those points, holding them for players or the AI.

Right now, I'm not totally happy about how they're working, largely because they work in the player's favor if they choose to go turtle; I think that I'll have to differentiate between enemy points and player points so that if the player allows the enemy to Zerg Rush all the points, they're going to lose eventually.  In the longer term, perhaps they can even be differentiated for various Factions, so that, like any classic RTS, there are characters that fit the Factions, with different strengths and weaknesses. 

I think that's something that can be figured out over time, as this idea gets fleshed out.  It certainly makes capping points a lot more interesting already, though :)
Title: Re: Vacuum / Exerelin Alpha 1 (Total Conversion)
Post by: xenoargh on August 29, 2013, 05:15:57 PM
Spoiler
(http://www.wolfegames.com/TA_Section/cap_point_gameplay001.jpg)
(http://www.wolfegames.com/TA_Section/cap_point_gameplay002.jpg)
[close]
Title: Re: Vacuum / Exerelin Alpha 1 (Total Conversion)
Post by: gauntelakor on August 30, 2013, 04:13:16 AM
Tried this mod, and no matter what I did damage was minimal to both sides. A single frigate swarmed by fighters still had 100% hull after 5 min of combat. there was some change to the armor tough but nothing consistent with what I was throwing at it.
Title: Re: Vacuum / Exerelin Alpha 1 (Total Conversion)
Post by: xenoargh on August 30, 2013, 05:43:45 AM
You must need to update Starsector; that sounds like buggy stuff happening all over.

If it's up to date... hmm... we could try yanking out the SpecialProjectileBehaviors.java from /data/scripts/plugins... that's the most-likely cause for this.  After that, IDK; it's about the only thing that might be causing this (and it shouldn't be happening at all).
Title: Re: Vacuum / Exerelin Alpha 1 (Total Conversion)
Post by: dEnamed on August 30, 2013, 05:08:35 PM
First I'd like to say, great mod so far. I really love the idea behind it.
But I somewhat agree with the damage thing on afresh install of Starsector and the mod version from your starting post. Although it seems to be limited to a few ships and or configurations. The starting ship for Exigency (Pergon-Class) seems to be one of them. It regenerates hull damage many times faster than a full Hegemony System Setup (Starting) fleet can scratch it. If the game hadn't crashed a few minutes in, I could probably have wiped them out right there, simply by having an invulnerable vessel. Maybe it's a problem of very high hull values and percentage based regeneration?
When I tried some of the other factions, everything seemed fine and fairly balanced from a first glance.
Title: Re: Vacuum / Exerelin Alpha 1 (Total Conversion)
Post by: xenoargh on August 30, 2013, 06:04:10 PM
Exigency ships are quite killable; one properly-upgraded capship can kill any of them.  They aren't that powerful, either; they're basically tanks with very little pew-pew.

Anyhow, I can lower their hitpoints a bit, see if that makes them feel a bit less OP. That, and not give players a Pergon at the start ;)
Title: Re: Vacuum / Exerelin Alpha 1 (Total Conversion)
Post by: xenoargh on August 30, 2013, 10:17:29 PM
Updated Hunter to be more explicitly Tri-Tachyon in looks (and it's finally in their fleets).  I'm also buffing it a bit, in terms of OPs, so that it can tank better than Pelicans (that other really nasty thing that has a built-in Tachyon Lance, probably my all-time favorite Cruiser to play in the mod, believe it or not).

(http://www.wolfegames.com/TA_Section/hunter.png)
Title: Re: Vacuum / Exerelin Alpha 1 (Total Conversion)
Post by: Ranakastrasz on August 31, 2013, 07:44:12 AM
When my fleet respawns after dying, I start with a Hyperion. Is that intended? I cannot locate anything in the code to explain it, as it indicates it should be giving one of four far lesser frigates instead.
It makes me level up insanely fast, namely by losing it, which seems rather unfair.

Also, Mining wings, Tankers, and freighters should populate every faction's shop.

And Mining wings probably ought to respawn/be delivered to your supply depot.
Title: Re: Vacuum / Exerelin Alpha 1 (Total Conversion)
Post by: xenoargh on August 31, 2013, 09:06:08 AM
Good ideas, I'll get that done for this build. 

Not quite sure about the Hyperion, either; I'll look into it. 

Leveling up until about level 20 is faster than Vanilla; that's not a bug, just how things are staged (to get the early grinding done with faster).  But I can see how losing Hyperions over and over becomes weirdly attractive- will fix :)

Title: Re: Vacuum / Exerelin Alpha 1 (Total Conversion)
Post by: Gotcha! on August 31, 2013, 10:23:42 AM
Something for the new build's changes to certain things :)

Spoiler
(http://www.wolfegames.com/TA_Section/intothewildblueyonder_big_station.png)
[close]

I'll take 3. No need to wrap them up. I'll be using them right away.
Title: Re: Vacuum / Exerelin Alpha 1 (Total Conversion)
Post by: Borgoid on August 31, 2013, 09:40:58 PM
First off I want to say that this is a really great mod with a bunch of great ideas behind it and it's been a hell of a lot of fun re-learning most of the game over the last few days, all that said I've come across a few things that you might want to consider.

It's been mentioned in passing a few times but the nature of the new hull mods and the OP balance feels skewy.

Most ( if not all ) ships end up with huge piles of unused OP until you've leveled up Tech and even then a lot of the time I find myself simply throwing on everything even when it's not particularly appropriate to the ship. I never feel as though I'm forced to make any hard choices because of the limitations of OP, which seems a bit odd to me.
This on its own wouldn't be too much of an issue but when combined with the average size of a spawned fleet being so large it starts to be a problem.
If you choose to level up Combat first you're pretty much resigned to using one ship as any secondaries you tag along with you will not only have NONE of the Piloted ship bonuses but will also have few if any hull modifications at all, which is a huge problem when compared to the AI spawned fleets which come with ship defining hull mods by default. It's also worth mentioning that if you want to use any ship OTHER than your starting ( or replacement ship should you die ) you're pretty much screwed... and screwed for a LONG time at that. - Unless you choose to mine but I'll get to that in a minute -

I mentioned it earlier but the fleet sizes might need a bit of tuning. The fuel/mining fleets are typically too large to engage early on (Unless you've gone straight for leadership and have spent quite a while mining) and the smaller recon or scout groups seem too uncommon. Part of this may be an internal balance issue regarding weapons and ships but I don't think it necessarily needs to be tweaked in that way.
Essentially what I'm saying is that you may need to consider adding in something similar to the double hound or Hound/lasher or Buffalo fleets that vanilla has the pirates spew out at an alarming frequency. They're an important stepping stone that allows someone with a single ship to level up and and gain credits to upgrade their fleet. This is even MORE important when you add Mining into the game because mining for the most part is low risk and HIGH reward.
Fleets don't naturally patrol around looking for mining groups or easy targets, instead they tend to either Defend or Attack meaning most (Though admittedly not all ) fleets are clustered around planets meaning that a player mining fleet can simply go to any asteroid away from the fighting, load up, and come back making huge profits in the process and very rarely if ever actually engaging in combat.
Even if a mining fleet is engaged in combat it's often not a problem due to the strength of carriers and mining wings in combat. Mining is so lucrative that once you've made two or three runs ( which often can be done in the very early stages of the game before ANY wars have started ) you're basically swimming in cash and it snowballs completely out of control - even without the Omnifactory - to the point where your mining fleet is SO large that only the largest ( and slowest ) fleets can engage it which lowers the risk even further because you naturally acquire Coordinated Maneuvers from Leadership.

The value of Germanium is frankly just too high which is certainly a big problem but I still think the larger issue is that mining is the path of least resistance by a HUGE margin and smaller fleets would be a big step in the right direction towards fixing that, I understand the desire to focus on larger fleet battles but it feels at the moment like you're pigeon-holed
Title: Re: Vacuum / Exerelin Alpha 1 (Total Conversion)
Post by: xenoargh on September 01, 2013, 09:39:06 AM
Good critique, thanks much :-)

1.  The intention with the Hull Mods is, basically, to get things stabilized, then offer up some ways to strongly differentiate at higher OPs once I feel like I know what would work. 

The emphasis on Tech vs. Combat is more-or-less intentional; it forces players who've been going all-Combat (because that's pretty optimal in Vanilla for the first 20 levels).

I actually think there's a lot of differentiation between the ships no matter what's thrown onto them, given that the ships themselves are all so different.  A Daisho is not a Dram; I feel like there is quite a lot of variety in that sense.

However, the larger goal here is to deal with some of the larger issues with Vanilla's game progression and balance.  One of the things I don't like in Vanilla very much is that 2-4 Hull Mods is pretty common, which is not enough to make most of the Frigates useful in later play, with the exception of the Hyperion (and if you're really good, the Tempest); since I'm a big fan of Frigates and often play a small raiding group of them against anything short of an uber-fleet, I'd like them to stay useful and dangerous.

So, while it's not really my intent to make it so that the Frigates all have the same complement of high-end upgrades, feeling similar in that respect, it's more-or-less intentional that they're the only ship level where this is even vaguely possible.

I think that maybe what needs to happen with that is to offer some end-cap upgrades, spread through the three disciplines, that offer players harder choices, and are skewed towards Frigates and Destroyers, not Capships, and perhaps nerf the best upgrades in the current set, so that players will have to honestly weigh spending, say, 25 OP to get something that takes their ship towards an extreme but leaves them with the option to keep the more-generic upgrades.  I'll think about that one.

2.  The fleet sizes are more-or-less balanced with the idea that players are going to play smart and do some mining for a while, before they tackle anything.  The mining fleets are a special case; I found that if they weren't built to handle the actual loads, the engine actually makes them have Accidents just like players, and if they couldn't hold all 1500 of the resource required, they weren't working. 

Mining shouldn't be quite so easy during combat, I agree, but that's a tricky issue to balance, given how fleet sizes influence speeds so heavily, regardless of composition.

I completely agree on having smaller, "bite-sized" and midrange fleets to engage, to gain early experience; I put the Patrols in largely to give players that experience.  I'll look at adding more Patrols that are sized for players to tackle for sure.

Anyhow, I think a lot of this will get mitigated to some degree by the changes in how much combat is occurring in the next build- if players aren't helping their Faction, it's quite likely they'll see the Faction get overwhelmed.

Reducing Mining's level of profitability is also an option, but I'd rather just increase its riskiness; if there are more small fleets that can take players on when they're mining, it may work out.  I'll tweak those factors and we'll see how it feels :)
Title: Re: Vacuum / Exerelin Alpha 1 (Total Conversion)
Post by: xenoargh on September 01, 2013, 11:52:11 AM
The Burrower, a freighter for the Glaug:
(http://www.wolfegames.com/TA_Section/glaug_burrower.png)

Oh, and the Heavy Bolter (sort of a Mining Blaster on a turret, think old-skool Turbolaser battery):

(http://www.wolfegames.com/TA_Section/heavy_bolter.png)

And I think that the enemy-held stations will occasionally launch one of these at players- meet the Clover, a Light Monitor class.

(http://www.wolfegames.com/TA_Section/clover.png)
Title: Re: Vacuum / Exerelin Alpha 1 (Total Conversion)
Post by: Borgoid on September 01, 2013, 10:27:57 PM
I'll have to play around more heavily with the hull mods and get back to you, more mutually exclusive mods might help in terms of forcing harder decisions.
The various shield mods might need a look at as well, currently they seem... not quite compulsory but very close to it, they're very strong and extremely important when making any sort of quality over quantity fleet composition. I'll see how it goes without them and report back.

Regarding the Frigates it may be a problem you can solve by adjusting their fleet point value. Frigates are by their nature not very efficient in terms of their fleet point to effect ratio.  Most capital ships can take out 5-6 frigates without even breaking a sweat, but 8-10? That's tough.
It's in fact almost exactly the problem FIGHTERS had, they could never seem to pull their weight and the justification was that they could rearm and repair in combat which.. well never worked quite as intended. In their current (modded) state they seem to punch a little bit above their weight, especially in the case of the 1 fleet point wings which makes them not only viable but quite appealing to use

Regarding fleet sizes. Playing smart is one thing, being forced to wait around on mining is another entirely. It may be a good idea to simply start players with either a larger ship or more credits if possible and simply eliminate the waiting around step entirely. Of course that wouldn't be necessary if early game combat was more of an option.

Is it possible to have the mining fleets come in different sizes? Surely they needn't all be delivering 1500.

Also regarding the bite-sized fleets, that may be a difficult one to balance properly with regards to their resource consumption due to their overall inefficiency. If possible a solution may be to have larger fleets  have a cost multiplier or penalty in the sense that:
1 frigate say costs, 10 resources, but 10 frigates in one fleet would cost 150. In that way you'd be able to have smaller fleets produced without cutting heavily into the faction/station resource income, still allowing larger fleets to be produced, but not penalizing so heavily if say... A player runs around with a well designed fast fleet and cuts down all the smaller fleets. Of course you'd have to tweak all the costs accordingly so that current large fleets cost the same...
Possibly just invert that system entirely and have smaller fleets have a cost reduction modifier, that's probably simpler.
Or I suppose you could avoid the problem entirely by producing the smaller fleets for free but that leads to weird inflation.. *Shrug* I'm no game designer
Title: Re: Vacuum / Exerelin Alpha 1 (Total Conversion)
Post by: xenoargh on September 03, 2013, 09:08:41 PM
Stuff:

1.  Exigency ships' regen nerfed to the point they're kill-able.  They're still annoying, but they aren't godlike. 

This change also effects all ships with Automated Repair Unit (that makes PunkJunkers and Onslaughts a bit less tough, too).

2.  Mining fleets come in all sizes and can mine if they still have mining craft.

3.  Almost done with the new battle system.  Still balancing the stations, which is the hard part.  Really excited about this, it's a very different feel to how battles play out.

4.  Buffed the Assault Chaingun.

5.  Most of the weapons have unique sound effects.
Title: Re: Vacuum / Exerelin Alpha 1 (Total Conversion)
Post by: xenoargh on September 05, 2013, 11:37:37 AM
Found time enough to get the Sweeper working today:

Spoiler
(http://www.wolfegames.com/TA_Section/sweeper_in_action.jpg)
[close]
The Sweeper is a "space shotgun" with a circular shot pattern like the real thing.  Each shot's damage is relatively low, but it adds up.  

This is a very nasty weapon, because it can do double-duty as a shield-killer against heavies up close and is a halfway-decent fighter-killer at a distance.

It (and the work on the Chaingun) really makes me think that I should work on all of the fixed-arc guns more before pushing out the release.

I think that the new station gameplay stuff is reasonably well-polished and I have a pretty good idea of where to take it in the future, but this is an area where I feel like there's stuff missing.

There aren't enough good options right now; for example, there aren't any fixed-arc HE weapons at all.  There aren't any Plasma weapons, no real equivalent to AM /Ion weapons.  

There really aren't any beam weapons between Tachyon Lances and Graviton Beams, either.  There is no heavy beam-bolty thing; in fact, there aren't any medium beam-bolty things; it's IR Pulse lasers or nothin'.

So... does anybody have anything they'd like to see, while I'm cooking up some new art?  I'm planning:

1.  Some really short-ranged pulsed beam (think Vanilla Tachyon Lance pulse length, about 1 second) with a ridiculous amount of damage and fairly high Flux costs.  Basically an alpha-strike for point-blank ranges, to give Frigates / Destroyers an option if they dare get up close.

2.  HE ballistic shot weapons, at about the same price-points as the Kinetic ones (i.e., more OPs than the one Frag that's in right now) so that in this category, we have some armor-killers as well as shield-killers.

3.  A Medium beam weapon and perhaps something in the uber-laser category but without the Tachyon Lance's crippling EMP.

4.  Something Plasma, since that's always fun.
Title: Re: Vacuum / Exerelin Alpha 1 (Total Conversion)
Post by: xenoargh on September 05, 2013, 06:37:51 PM
The Melter: short-ranged heating device, for all of your "crisping" needs.

(http://www.wolfegames.com/TA_Section/melter.png)
Title: Re: Vacuum / Exerelin Alpha 1 (Total Conversion)
Post by: xenoargh on September 07, 2013, 03:51:07 PM
The Slugthrower: a light automatic cannon for fixed-mount positions.  Light on OPs, does HE damage, pairs well with the Railgun.

(http://www.wolfegames.com/TA_Section/slugthrower.png)
Title: Re: Vacuum / Exerelin Alpha 1 (Total Conversion)
Post by: Sleepyfish on September 08, 2013, 12:43:35 AM
Haha, how do you make weapons so fast? It takes me an about 2 hours to make one if I need to draw it.
Title: Re: Vacuum / Exerelin Alpha 1 (Total Conversion)
Post by: xenoargh on September 08, 2013, 12:55:01 PM
It only takes me a few minutes per weapon.  I actually did 4-5 weapons last night, I just haven't posted them up.  For example, there's a double-barrel version of the Slugthrower, another beam weapon in the Medium category to supplement the Phase Beam and I got a large-scale HE gun's sprite done but not the code yet.  They're all looking pretty snazzy and I think they fit in well with Vanilla weapons, rather than really standing out, while being distinctive.

In terms of productivity, here are some tips:

Weapons, like fighters, are small enough that doing it one pixel at a time with pencil tools and a few minor tricks like using gradients works best.  You're only talking about a few hundred pixels at most, and very simple shading for the most part.

You just draw the outlines with black, then fill over the areas in another layer with the colors you want.  Set the color layer's blend mode to Overlay (to transfer some color values to the outlines) then merge and do a bit of pixel-work to finish. Like on the Melter, for example, I set up a couple of layers to handle little highlights and suchlike.  There's no need to go overboard, though- so long as the shapes look 3D and sharp enough to be recognizable, it doesn't need to be ultra-perfect to be effective.  

I generally start with a power-of-two texture size (say, 64X16 for small guns, 128X32 for big ones) and draw a line exactly halfway down so that I know exactly where the attachment point is, then I draw the gun and get it to the right spots.

For weapons where the barrels recoil, like the Slugthrower, I first draw the whole gun, including the barrel, then I cut the barrel out and put it in a new texture.  Then in the non-barrel sprite, I draw black with 50% opacity right where the gun body and barrel join, creating a bit of shadow.  Because the barrels (generally!) are going to get drawn under the main turret sprite, that little layer of half-opacity black creates the illusion of shadow when the barrel moves during recoil.  It's not a big deal, but it's a nice little touch.  For guns that need Glows, I do the Glow last, in its own layer, generally by creating some white pixels where the glow would be strong, then duplicating the layer and doing some blurring or whatnot.  It's unfortunate that colored Glows with unique colors aren't possible atm, due to the engine overriding the RGB values, but it's pretty enough and only people like me care about those little details anyhow :)

Oh yeah, and I got your PM, sorry for not replying yet, been pretty busy IRL.  When this is out, take a look at the SpecialShotBehaviors.java in the scripts/plugins folder and you'll see how the Sweeper works, it's very simple and if you're not into coding yet, it might be a good way to get your feet wet.  If you're stuck, we can talk about that when you've had a chance to look it over :)
Title: Re: Vacuum / Exerelin Alpha 1 (Total Conversion)
Post by: erynr73 on September 08, 2013, 03:54:04 PM
Wonder if you would ever consider adding a way to switch factions mid game?  Why?  Lately this is how my games have been going:

Already at war with one or two factions that has roflstomped their way through my stations till only my original station is left.

Me: Oh god!  I only have a tiny fleet and can't take on any of these attack fleets plus we only have a few tiny defense fleets!  What should we do oh glorious yet invisible faction leader?
My faction: We declare war with yet another faction!
Me: Umm... excuse me sir, shouldn't we ally with the one remaining neutral faction before attempting a 3 front war?
My faction:  We declare war with the only remaining neutral faction!
Me: [[facepalm]]

It's at this point that I would like to send my resume to the opposing factions and hope I can get an entry lvl job in a mining fleet.

P.s. still love the mod, just been having bad luck with runaway war declarations without defense fleets to back it up.
Title: Re: Vacuum / Exerelin Alpha 1 (Total Conversion)
Post by: xenoargh on September 08, 2013, 05:29:09 PM
Hrmm.  TBH, I inherited all of that from Exerelin and I don't think I've done much to change it.  I'll look into that, see what can be done.  I personally enjoy those moments where I'm the Only Hope of my Faction, but I can see how that might feel a bit overwhelming sometimes :)
Title: Re: Vacuum / Exerelin Alpha 1 (Total Conversion)
Post by: xenoargh on September 08, 2013, 06:25:45 PM
(http://www.wolfegames.com/TA_Section/eagle_with_new_guns.jpg)
Eagle with Sweeper and paired Sluggers.  Definitely a nasty 1-2 punch.

Gotta finish the last weapons in the new set, then I'll take a look at the strategic-AI issue, then it's finally time to release this and see what people think :)
Title: Re: Vacuum / Exerelin Alpha 1 (Total Conversion)
Post by: Zaphide on September 08, 2013, 07:37:16 PM
--- snip ---
 I'll take a look at the strategic-AI issue
--- snip ---

Xeno, it should be a fairly straightforward to change. Maybe add <someNumber> relationship points to other faction relationships for each faction involved in initiating a war (see DiplomacyManager.java). That should delay any extra war declarations long enough for war weariness for that faction to start reducing the chance of them starting extra wars.

Also, as it can get frustrating (as erynr73 points out) I'll introduce something similar into base Exerelin.

Which brings me to start thinking about how you are going to integrate base Exerelin change into Vacuum? :)
Title: Re: Vacuum / Exerelin Alpha 1 (Total Conversion)
Post by: xenoargh on September 08, 2013, 07:50:32 PM
On that (last) question... will have to do a careful merge and officially branch it, and that's going to get a little tough, since one of the things that went bye-bye is all of the special-exception stuff and there are a bunch of other changes.  I was planning on trying to tackle that after this release, since this is enough new gameplay stuff to keep people happy for a minute (or complaining that XYZ is OP, etc., which is just the usual buff/nerf cycle, not new work).

I really wish that stuff that was put in just for one mod's naming-convention issues, etc., wasn't in the framework, but was in something modular that I could just dump.  On the other hand, in retrospect, it probably wasn't even really necessary, other than that I wanted all of the factions to be treated as "Vanilla", which isn't really necessary.

I feel pretty comfortable with what I changed otherwise, though, and I'm pretty sure I know where the major pitfalls are now, so it probably won't be too painful.

That reminds me, though- I never did finish pushing WeaponsList out of the main ExerelinUtils like I did with ShipList.  Gotta get that done, it's one of those little things I never get around to finishing.
Title: Re: Vacuum / Exerelin Alpha 1 (Total Conversion)
Post by: Zaphide on September 08, 2013, 08:07:08 PM
Maybe if there is things you would like to have configurable send me a list and I'll see about refactoring it?:)

Yeah weapon lists in ExerelinUtils bugs me too, but with StarSector 0.6 I won't even have to maintain weapon lists (can just look at that factions variants and get the appropriate weapons from them), which is why I haven't bothered to do much with it. That's why I'm using the .faction files as ship lists.

Quote
I feel pretty comfortable with what I changed otherwise, though, and I'm pretty sure I know where the major pitfalls are now, so it probably won't be too painful.

Yeah once you have done it once... :)
Title: Re: Vacuum / Exerelin Alpha 1 (Total Conversion)
Post by: xenoargh on September 08, 2013, 08:32:38 PM
Quote
Maybe if there is things you would like to have configurable send me a list and I'll see about refactoring it?
I think the main thing that occurs to me is that there is probably too much gamecode / balance code in ExerelinUtils that should get pushed out to a extend, so that whatever refactors need to take place when 0.6a hits doesn't break everything seriously again. 

I feel like Utils should be code that may be changed / altered without needing to re-merge all the time, so that tooling around on the game-design side doesn't blow up the core and vice-versa, if that makes sense? 

For the most part Exerelin already meets that high standard;  it's really nicely modular. 

There are just a few things like the main timer loop (doDaily(), etc., etc.), mining operation gamecode and other stuff like that I feel should get pushed out into their own files, so that messing with balance <> being unable to do less than a full merge, should you push out big changes to the core framework (which, let's face it, is very likely to happen when 0.6a's out and OMG, DIALOG GAMECODE MANIPULATION NO MORE RESORTING TO CONSOLES AND HACK-AROUNDS OMG YAY). 

That's largely why I've held off for a little bit on this- I am dreading the line-by-line work through Utils.  The rest of it's relatively small  or trivial stuff, like what I changed with Mining Fleets, where your current logic's probably very similar to what I've already changed once :)

Quote
Yeah weapon lists in ExerelinUtils bugs me too, but with StarSector 0.6 I won't even have to maintain weapon lists (can just look at that factions variants and get the appropriate weapons from them), which is why I haven't bothered to do much with it. That's why I'm using the .faction files as ship lists.
Yeah, I can see how that's going to be super-sweet. 

But... just a thought... I could probably do that already in Vacuum, because all of the ships have a _Standard variant.  IDK whether I want to try and write, that, though, I'm still only moderately comfy with Java's syntactical quirks and table manipulation is always my least-favorite area of a language to explore :)
Title: Re: Vacuum / Exerelin Alpha 1 (Total Conversion)
Post by: Zaphide on September 08, 2013, 09:02:35 PM
Quote
I think the main thing that occurs to me is that there is probably too much gamecode / balance code in ExerelinUtils that should get pushed out to a extend, so that whatever refactors need to take place when 0.6a hits doesn't break everything seriously again. 

That is because ExerelinUtils is my dumping ground for code that accesses StarSector core data structures :P Unfortunately other things have crept in there but ideally it is for things that are volatile, in the sense that StarSector is still under very active development so parts of ExerelinUtils may change/become useless with StarSector releases. Most of the other stuff is fairly self contained.

Quote
I feel like Utils should be code that may be changed / altered without needing to re-merge all the time, so that tooling around on the game-design side doesn't blow up the core and vice-versa, if that makes sense? 

ExerelinUtils could sure use better organization though, thus minimizing the flow-on-effect of changes to gamecode, balancecode and genuine util code, and keeping them separate. Thanks, I'll keep that in mind as I'm going through it :)

Quote
There are just a few things like the main timer loop (doDaily(), etc., etc.), mining operation gamecode and other stuff like that I feel should get pushed out into their own files, so that messing with balance <> being unable to do less than a full merge, should you push out big changes to the core framework (which, let's face it, is very likely to happen when 0.6a's out and OMG, DIALOG GAMECODE MANIPULATION NO MORE RESORTING TO CONSOLES AND HACK-AROUNDS OMG YAY). 

Yeah completely agreed, that cleanup is still a WIP. Kind of related to better organization as above. I'm kind of waiting to see what StarSector 0.6 is going to bring (need to have a look through the changed API's Alex posted the other day).
Title: Re: Vacuum / Exerelin Alpha 1 (Total Conversion)
Post by: xenoargh on September 08, 2013, 09:42:27 PM
I hear you on all that. 

I'll look at this at length when I gear up for the next build.  I have some ideas about this:  primarily, I'm thinking that Utils, instead of being a "dumping ground", should be a "hub"- a small bit of code that is extended but not changed, so that framework changes are in modular areas and merging is a much more targeted thing, or is entirely un-necessary- instead of doing a merge, we'd just replace a few files wholesale and boom, we're all updated, in terms of core framework, and can go back to worrying about what's imba today ;)
Title: Re: Vacuum / Exerelin Alpha 1 (Total Conversion)
Post by: xenoargh on September 09, 2013, 06:33:53 PM
The Slammer:  Medium-range, Large fixed-mount HE.  High damage, low RoF.  Think "shells as big as Volkswagons" fired from a slow-firing cannon.  Kind of the opposite of the Tachyon Lance- no Flux costs, no instant hits, but it's powerful enough to stop the fabled Arcturian Mega-Rhino in its tracks.  Ideal for those Aurora builds where you just want things to go "boom" when you line 'em up.  Sorely tempted to let Dominators have Large mounts so that they can have these... heh.

(http://www.wolfegames.com/TA_Section/slammer.png)
Title: Re: Vacuum / Exerelin Alpha 2 (Total Conversion)
Post by: xenoargh on September 11, 2013, 12:05:13 AM
Alpha 2 has been released.  I've rushed it out a little early to make sure it beats 0.6a and gives people a chance to play it for a little while and hopefully offer feedback.  I won't be doing any further releases until 0.6a is out, most likely.

Adds:

1.  During major combat, capturing Nav / Sensor points will 'teleport' space stations into the battle, who will defend the points.  Capturing points is more important than ever before.  

It really changes how combat works, and I think it's really fun, but it takes some getting used to- I really suggest playing some of the Missions first, to get an idea of how it works and how it changes things!

2. Various new weapons and a few new ships.  Haven't had time to write all their descriptions and stuff, but there is a "space shotgun" and a bunch of other stuff for fixed-mount weapon positions now.

3.  A bunch of sound-related changes and new sounds.

Changes:

1.  Mining Fleets can be arbitrary sizes.
2.  Various small balance stuff.  Certain ships got buff / nerf on OPs and other details.
3.  Much more aggressive warfare between Factions.
4.  Abandoned Stations will all now be "filled up" over time by the Factions.

Fixes:

1.  Various stuff related to taking Stations over.
2.  Lots of little things, like the way that Beams were generating their Hard Flux, projectile behaviors and other little stuff I can't be bothered to remember atm.
Title: Re: Vacuum / Exerelin Alpha 2 (Total Conversion)
Post by: MesoTroniK on September 11, 2013, 12:54:04 AM
Initial impressions, that battle station mechanic is really fun.

Also, you are missing a few things I have done on my end ;)
Title: Re: Vacuum / Exerelin Alpha 2 (Total Conversion)
Post by: xenoargh on September 11, 2013, 06:17:01 AM
Sorry about that. 

Between Alex saying that Soon is nigh and some RL stuff, I couldn't quite get it all squeezed in :)

I might be able to get to that later tonight, but that depends on some stuff.  Sorry to be so vague, I hate leaving things out like that but I actually don't know atm when I'll be able to scrape time free so I kind of pushed it out a little early. 

I hope people enjoy all the new mechanics; it's a really interesting twist on this game imo :)
Title: Re: Vacuum / Exerelin Alpha 2 (Total Conversion)
Post by: kupan9 on September 11, 2013, 07:49:33 PM
I don't know what is causing it, but two games in a row after downloading the new version, all the starting races went for the same station, then my fleet went and redirected to a station across the map rather than a near by one. Both games I died and lost my starting ship before my faction had a station.
                              Settings.
                   First Game | Second Game
                       Medium | Small
                   15 Planets | 15 Planets
            4 Asteroid Belts | 6 Asteroid Belts
                  15 Stations | 30 Stations
                Omnifactory Available in both
                   6 Factions | All Factions
Max of Starting Factions | Yes, Factions Respawn
              Two Months to Respawn in both
                     Tritachyon for both
                        Omen for Both

I don't know what changed, but in the old build I didn't seem to have this issue.

In system attack fleets don't appear to have this issue.
In the first day or so after my fleet got the first station (causing all the others to reroute since they were all aimed at that one.) I had 3 out of system attack fleets spawn for factions that were still in game, Including my faction which actually had a station when they spawned in. Kind of odd.
Title: Re: Vacuum / Exerelin Alpha 2 (Total Conversion)
Post by: xenoargh on September 11, 2013, 09:25:58 PM
Rats, sorry it's doing that- must be picking incorrectly at the start.

Probably the issue is the change I made to the AI picking Abandoned locations; for that initial start, they need to all pick random destinations but IIRC I didn't change that code, so probably all the first-fleets are going to the nearest destinations, which is a smallish number of points, so they're all slamming together like that, instead of being randomly distributed like they should be.  I didn't catch that in testing because I rushed my testing on this a little bit due to some RL stuff.  Sorry 'bout that :)

Unfortunately, this may take a little while before I can fix it, due to RL, but I might get to this Friday :)
Title: Re: Vacuum / Exerelin Alpha 2 (Total Conversion)
Post by: Azmond on September 12, 2013, 12:31:31 PM
This mod sounds pretty cool, i like the vanilla, but love the mods more, now granted, they're going to come out with mining at some point after base mechanics, but still, it's nice to see some have gone ahead an pushed te feature- evne if it's not vanillia to the front.

I'll DEFEINATYLY, give this mod a try when i get my system reinstalled with a new OS, my current OS keeps breaking up my gaming activeis and i'm afriad that it could extend to other problems as well. = 3=;

EDIT:

Tried it~! Enjoyed it, but it needs a bit of um... Fine tuning? The mod works great forme but it needs to be spread out further, not every ship has drones!
oh dear gods! THE DRONES!!! F---, i thought i hated the pirates in vinallia!!! Jeez, how many ships can have a drone system seriously?!
Though i love how you implimented mining, it's simple yes, but it works so far, an could even be how they initally introduce mining, least... till they get more in depth with mining. In any event, the mod is GREAT, it really is a great mod, but it just needs a bit more work and balancing... Not every ship, is a monster drone mother... heaha-eah.
Anyone whose faced a gas-tanker group, knows what i'm talking about.

The ships in the mod, right are pretty cool, I started to with a full decks hermes and i've got to say, that i LOVE, this, TOUGH LITTLE NUT! Realy, i've had a whole tanker group try an kill it, and, it lived, albeit i could barelly get anywhere without a swarm of little buggers after me!!! I lived. Where as the rest of my fleet... ueha, yeah, died.
If it didn't have all it's stuff, it'd b dead as well.

The good things about this mod though is that it's really a great little thing, and a good... Appetizer for some of the features to come, givng us more to nibble an gnaw at for a good while.
The ships are well made an spirtes are decnt too.
Why is there no astroid smashing into ship though, I don't know =3=;
Title: Re: Vacuum / Exerelin Alpha 2 (Total Conversion)
Post by: xenoargh on September 13, 2013, 07:36:16 AM
It has a lot of special mechanics that are part of being a TC.  There are Freeze Rays and Plasma that can ignore Shields and a bunch of other things like that.

Frigates don't hit Asteroids or other ships, just like fighters, because they're nimble and swift and can dodge asteroids with ease.  This means that Frigates can engage in all sorts of special tactics. 

The drones are definitely one of the things you'll have to get used to, but when you reach the higher stages of the game, you'll find that they're not all that important.  Most of the ships that have Drones are freighters and other relatively-harmless types.  There are a few special exceptions though- if you don't like drones, don't mess with the Glaug  ;)

If you work the mining system well, you can afford a "real fleet" pretty fast.  This may change in later versions as ideas are fleshed out, but right now getting a good start, money-wise, isn't terribly hard, it just takes some time. 
Title: Re: Vacuum / Exerelin Alpha 2 (Total Conversion)
Post by: xenoargh on September 14, 2013, 07:34:18 AM
Good news:

Got the mod functional again in 0.6a, physics stuff and all the weapons appear to be intact.

Bad news:

I have to re-write a bunch of stuff having to do with characters, and to get the mod back to "Playable" in terms of the campaign is going to be a series of baby steps.  First stage is to get it to work with static things happening again, then the big decision of whether to do a big refactor with whatever amazing stuff Zaphide does with Exerelin or try out some crazy idea stuff for a little bit.  Amongst other things, it should actually be possible now to allow players to:

1.  Do Fedex questing.
2.  Do kill-this-boss questing.
3.  Do various other types of questing.
4.  Talk to Factions in meaningful ways.  Like, meet a Pirate, pay a "toll" instead of having to fight.  Pay up at a Station to improve Faction rep (at the cost of other Faction rep, in some cases) or buy a Letter of Marque and Reprisal, giving a character a right to go attack <some Faction> and get a bounty.

Anyhow, there's a bunch of stuff to do and to think about.  I think my first goal, which I'll tackle Sunday, is to merely get the mod functional at a very basic level for Campaign again.  Sorry about the delays, but RL is pretty busy for me right now :)
Title: Re: Vacuum / Exerelin Alpha 2 (Total Conversion)
Post by: silentstormpt on September 14, 2013, 08:01:22 AM
Might as well make the while dynamic system gen into a star system gen, thats what ive been trying with the framework ive been working on.
Title: Re: Vacuum / Exerelin Alpha 2 (Total Conversion)
Post by: xenoargh on September 14, 2013, 08:07:18 AM
Yeah, I may rebuild the dynamic Stuff I did in Vacuum, but I'm hoping that we're all going to be able to get a common framework happening for this sort of stuff.  I'm guessing Zaphide has dynamic System generation already working; that problem isn't probably too terrible.  Getting beyond that is going to take some other major things; now that Auto-Battle and battle results in general can result in new game state stuff happening, along with Dialogs, we're in a position to do a bunch of things in a non-clunky way.
Title: Re: Vacuum / Exerelin Alpha 2 (Total Conversion)
Post by: xenoargh on September 17, 2013, 11:20:15 AM
Got the basic Campaign working again.  I'm working on some "universal" code for dealing with spawns and such, then it should be ready for an initial test release.
Title: Re: Vacuum / Exerelin Alpha 2 (Total Conversion)
Post by: muttiman on October 15, 2013, 09:52:02 AM
Hey there, bought the game yesterday after my pirat copy kept talking to me, so i got a bad conscience...

Q: Isn't this mod up to date anymore, because i can't run it on the new version, keep getting this error message:
Spoiler
Quote
26944 [Thread-6] ERROR com.fs.starfarer.combat.String  - java.lang.RuntimeException: Error compiling [data.scripts.plugins.BattleCreationPluginImpl]
java.lang.RuntimeException: Error compiling [data.scripts.plugins.BattleCreationPluginImpl]
   at com.fs.starfarer.loading.scripts.ScriptStore$1.run(Unknown Source)
   at java.lang.Thread.run(Thread.java:619)
Caused by: java.lang.ClassNotFoundException: Compiling unit "data/scripts/plugins/BattleCreationPluginImpl.java"
   at org.codehaus.janino.JavaSourceClassLoader.generateBytecodes(JavaSourceClassLoader.java:212)
   at org.codehaus.janino.JavaSourceClassLoader.findClass(JavaSourceClassLoader.java:164)
   at java.lang.ClassLoader.loadClass(ClassLoader.java:307)
   at java.lang.ClassLoader.loadClass(ClassLoader.java:248)
   ... 2 more
Caused by: org.codehaus.commons.compiler.CompileException: File data/scripts/plugins/BattleCreationPluginImpl.java, Line 18, Column 13: Non-abstract class "data.scripts.plugins.BattleCreationPluginImpl" must implement method "public abstract void com.fs.starfarer.api.campaign.BattleCreationPlugin.initBattle(com.fs.starfarer.api.combat.BattleCreationContext, com.fs.starfarer.api.mission.MissionDefinitionAPI)"
   at org.codehaus.janino.UnitCompiler.compileError(UnitCompiler.java:9403)
   at org.codehaus.janino.UnitCompiler.compile2(UnitCompiler.java:447)
   at org.codehaus.janino.UnitCompiler.compile2(UnitCompiler.java:421)
   at org.codehaus.janino.UnitCompiler$3.visitPackageMemberClassDeclaration(UnitCompiler.java:376)
   at org.codehaus.janino.Java$PackageMemberClassDeclaration.accept(Java.java:765)
   at org.codehaus.janino.UnitCompiler.compile(UnitCompiler.java:383)
   at org.codehaus.janino.UnitCompiler.compileUnit(UnitCompiler.java:352)
   at org.codehaus.janino.JavaSourceClassLoader.generateBytecodes(JavaSourceClassLoader.java:210)
   ... 5 more

[close]


Have just put the unpackt folder in the mods folder and addet lazyLibrary (other mods are working fine)

PS: i am one of those poor bastards with an old ATI card :-*
Title: Re: Vacuum / Exerelin Alpha 2 (Total Conversion)
Post by: Trylobot on October 15, 2013, 11:29:56 AM
Hey there, bought the game yesterday after my pirat copy kept talking to me, so i got a bad conscience...

muttiman: Firstly, thank you genuinely for your support of Starsector. I am obligated, however, as a moderator to inform you that talk of Piracy for any reason is not tolerated on this forum anywhere. Please make this your first and only post on the topic. Thanks for your cooperation.
Title: Re: Vacuum / Exerelin Alpha 2 (Total Conversion)
Post by: muttiman on October 16, 2013, 09:23:30 AM
I have to thank for the awsome game you made. it is as if it originated from my dreams :) and shure this one was the last ;)
Title: Re: Vacuum / Exerelin Alpha 2 (Total Conversion)
Post by: Wunder on October 19, 2013, 03:11:49 AM
I have to thank for the awsome game you made. it is as if it originated from my dreams :) and shure this one was the last ;)
You know that is not the point he was getting at sir.
He could of reported you for an illegal copy of starsector
You could lose any access to buy the game again
You could have no forum acount again
You could have a second chance dear sir.

So, Pirates, I used to have a friend.
He lost 8 grand on illegal copies.

Stay shiny eh Prohibito Pirate.
Title: Re: Vacuum / Exerelin Alpha 2 (Total Conversion)
Post by: xenoargh on October 20, 2013, 01:34:21 PM
Anyhow... no, there isn't a working version of this for 0.6a+ yet.  Sorry guys, been busy with RL lately.  I guess I should come up with a temporary build for now that's at least playable again :)
Title: Re: Vacuum / Exerelin Alpha 2 (Total Conversion)
Post by: Trylobot on October 22, 2013, 10:30:27 AM
GGMC, Everyone: Talk of Piracy for any reason is not tolerated on this forum anywhere.

Last. Warning.
Title: Re: Vacuum / Exerelin Alpha 2 (Total Conversion)
Post by: Azmond on October 22, 2013, 01:36:12 PM
Can't wait for Vaccum to come back, I love ig just as much as the mod it's stemed from- at least idea wise. x3

anyway, hope you get some good work done on it. ^ ^
Title: Re: Vacuum / Exerelin Alpha 2 (Total Conversion)
Post by: Weh on October 22, 2013, 07:12:57 PM
Gotta say, I'm really liking the fact that you used the font from Uplink.
Title: Re: Vacuum / Exerelin Alpha 2 (Total Conversion)
Post by: EurypteriD on October 22, 2013, 11:49:35 PM
Will try out this mod.
Just a bit sad it cannot work with Neutrino.

pretty please? I love that mod as it adds some very interesting missiles
Title: Re: Vacuum / Exerelin Alpha 2 (Total Conversion)
Post by: Wunder on October 23, 2013, 11:37:10 AM
GGMC, Everyone: Talk of Piracy for any reason is not tolerated on this forum anywhere.

Last. Warning.
Sorry, I was just explaining what he did wrong as he was counteracting the subject and not getting through to what you said, Im not the bad guy, I dont want anyone else to be either.
Title: Re: Vacuum / Exerelin Alpha 2 (Total Conversion)
Post by: Trylobot on October 23, 2013, 12:26:22 PM
It's fine, GGMC, and I understand there's a bit of a language barrier here for you, so I give you a little more leeway than some. And I believe muttiman is also well-meaning but with a bit of misunderstanding.

Back on topic: xenoargh, I'm excited about a possible interim release! Get on it, brother 8)
Title: Re: Vacuum / Exerelin Alpha 2 (Total Conversion)
Post by: Giangiotto on October 23, 2013, 12:57:48 PM
Spoiler
Well there's an example of how not to handle an issue.
[close]

I'm rather sad that I never got to play this mod when it worked.
Title: Re: Vacuum / Exerelin Alpha 2 (Total Conversion)
Post by: xenoargh on October 25, 2013, 08:47:22 AM
I may be able to get a working release out again this weekend, I may have a few hours to spare from  RL then :)

IDK whether I'll keep the Exerelin components or not; it turned out that a straight port was somewhat difficult, as Exerelin's gameplay has changed a bit, and I have had a few new ideas I want to try out :)
Title: Re: Vacuum / Exerelin Alpha 2 (Total Conversion)
Post by: Wunder on October 27, 2013, 03:40:34 PM
I may be able to get a working release out again this weekend, I may have a few hours to spare from  RL then :)

IDK whether I'll keep the Exerelin components or not; it turned out that a straight port was somewhat difficult, as Exerelin's gameplay has changed a bit, and I have had a few new ideas I want to try out :)
May of not noticed
But he is dead
(Look under name Banned)
Title: Re: Vacuum / Exerelin Alpha 2 (Total Conversion)
Post by: Doogie on October 27, 2013, 03:44:17 PM
I know for a fact that his reply came before the ban. Please think twice before posting something like this.
Title: Re: Vacuum / Exerelin Alpha 2 (Total Conversion)
Post by: Wunder on October 27, 2013, 04:09:38 PM
Hmph..
There is a option to remove or edit your comment.
Title: Re: Vacuum / Exerelin Alpha 2 (Total Conversion)
Post by: Doogie on October 27, 2013, 05:17:50 PM
<sigh> yea you don't get it.
Title: Re: Vacuum / Exerelin Alpha 2 (Total Conversion)
Post by: xenoargh on October 28, 2013, 07:41:52 AM
OK, enough about who's been banned and all that.

Sadly, this weekend I ended up a bit more busy with various RL things than I really wanted to be.  That said, I sat down with all of it long enough to formulate a game plan.  I have a very, very crude re-release working but it's not exactly an awesome gameplay experience yet, so it's going to be a little bit longer before I feel like it should be seen walking around in public :)
Title: Re: Vacuum / Exerelin Alpha 2 (Total Conversion)
Post by: kupan9 on November 05, 2013, 01:57:13 PM
This was a fun mod, I look forward to seeing what you do with it for the new version. Good luck!
Title: Re: Vacuum / Exerelin Alpha 2 (Total Conversion)
Post by: xenoargh on November 06, 2013, 10:53:50 AM
Well, I got it largely working again last night.

However, I'm still a long way from a polished release atm, largely because I'd like to do some fairly radical things with Dialogs and give players methods to interact with the game in new ways :)  That, and there are still engine-side bugs with creating new Ships / Wings that broke a lot of the major features I was working on before.
Title: Re: Vacuum / Exerelin Alpha 2 (Total Conversion)
Post by: drakhades on November 06, 2013, 04:10:17 PM
vacuum was a really unique experience.  it'd be great to see it working again!
Title: Re: Vacuum / Exerelin Alpha 2 (Total Conversion)
Post by: xenoargh on November 09, 2013, 11:56:12 AM
Well, I'm surprised and pleased that there's this much interest, so here, I'll demonstrate that I've been getting a few things done :)

You can test the really, really really Alpha version of the next version of Vacuum here (http://www.wolfegames.com/TA_Section/Vacuum_Exerelin_TEST.zip).  

Features the first (crude) new strategic AI / fleet-generation system (not nearly done yet!) randomized Systems and mineable Asteroids.  I doubt if it'll be fun to play, mind; right now population density is probably far too low for most players' tastes and a lot of the major features aren't done yet :)

It's using a slightly-improved variation of Exerelin's System generation code but it's largely a different animal in terms of design; I want to explore some new ideas about how to do a few things now that the engine supports custom UI stuff through Alex's brilliant work on developing a generic UI framework.  I've set myself the goal of writing Janino-friendly code for all of the DialogInteractions so that I can do a bunch of customization to support some new gameplay, amongst other things.  Right now I'm just working on early framework, though, so it's still really crude :)

Here's a screenie of one of the new Systems, randomly generated by the new code / content (all WIP atm, ofc):
Spoiler
(http://www.wolfegames.com/TA_Section/vacuum_exerelin_new_systems.jpg)
[close]
Title: Re: Vacuum / Exerelin (new 0.61a ALPHA build, pg 15) (Total Conversion)
Post by: xenoargh on November 11, 2013, 02:17:12 PM
Just a little progress report. 

Got the first part of the next stage done; I've built a simple AI control routine for in-System patrols, so there is now plenty of traffic flying around again.

I need to re-write the routine for merchant fleets from scratch, write a routine for various types of miners, and lastly write some military fleet AI (i.e., let the AI start building / destroying / capturing Stations and all that jazz), but the basic principles have been tested and it really looks like this approach is going to work well and perform well.  I'm excited about this approach to self-directing behaviors, as it's going to make construction of the strategic gameplay considerably easier and potentially a lot more interesting :)
Title: Re: Vacuum / Exerelin (new 0.61a ALPHA build, pg 15) (Total Conversion)
Post by: xenoargh on November 28, 2013, 01:59:23 AM
Got a bunch of stuff done the last two days.

1.  Completed the behavioral system I've been working on.  AI Fleets can interact with everything much like players can; they can build, destroy and capture Stations and do other things.

2.  Figured out how to a few fancy things with Dialogs to spice up gameplay.  Still haven't built a couple of the features yet, but there are ambushes, hidden treasures, etc.

Anyhow, I'm hoping to get a another release out at some point over the next week or two :)
Title: Re: Vacuum / Exerelin (new 0.61a ALPHA build, pg 15) (Total Conversion)
Post by: NITROtbomb on November 28, 2013, 02:50:20 AM
Xeno you really are a genius  :D
Title: Re: Vacuum / Exerelin (new 0.61a ALPHA build, pg 15) (Total Conversion)
Post by: xenoargh on November 29, 2013, 09:58:43 AM
Glad to hear some excitement for this, I've been pretty reluctant to talk about it until it's playable but it's getting there, slowly :)

I think (think!) I understand the Dialog system well enough to do the last hard bits:  writing up Player-built Stations, new Station behaviors (basically, addressing some things I think could be improved, like the lack of any diplomacy, being able to trade with factions that are at war with you, a capture-this-station mega-battle scenario, etc.) and lastly, dealing with the core of Fleet battles, which I'd like to take a very different direction than how it works in Vanilla, largely to try out some ideas I've had about how to address the game.  Pretty excited, I think I finally have enough know-how to get this done :)

Oh, and for players of the previous Exerelin port, bear in mind that yes, Crew pay will be back, but I'll be making changes to how Supplies are used and how CR works in general.  Long story short, the bigger the ship, the larger the CR hit per use and the longer / more expensive it is to repair, but I intend to get rid of the Harry mechanics entirely so that you can't just whittle down an opposing fleet with nothing but Frigates and Capture mechanics will get overhauled entirely so that they aren't so clunky and RNG-driven.
Title: Re: Vacuum / Exerelin (new 0.61a ALPHA build, pg 15) (Total Conversion)
Post by: Draginea on November 29, 2013, 06:50:58 PM
This is my favorite mod so far, I cant wait until it's done.
Title: Re: Vacuum / Exerelin (new 0.61a ALPHA build, pg 15) (Total Conversion)
Post by: drakhades on November 30, 2013, 04:43:32 PM
tried this on 2 computers, keep getting the same error when starting up starsector:

Spoiler
52149 [Thread-6] ERROR com.fs.starfarer.combat.String  - java.lang.RuntimeException: Error compiling [data.scripts.plugins.BattleCreationPluginImpl]
java.lang.RuntimeException: Error compiling [data.scripts.plugins.BattleCreationPluginImpl]
   at com.fs.starfarer.loading.scripts.ScriptStore$1.run(Unknown Source)
   at java.lang.Thread.run(Thread.java:619)
Caused by: java.lang.ClassNotFoundException: Compiling unit "data/scripts/plugins/BattleCreationPluginImpl.java"
   at org.codehaus.janino.JavaSourceClassLoader.generateBytecodes(JavaSourceClassLoader.java:212)
   at org.codehaus.janino.JavaSourceClassLoader.findClass(JavaSourceClassLoader.java:164)
   at java.lang.ClassLoader.loadClass(ClassLoader.java:307)
   at java.lang.ClassLoader.loadClass(ClassLoader.java:248)
   ... 2 more
Caused by: org.codehaus.commons.compiler.CompileException: File data/scripts/plugins/BattleCreationPluginImpl.java, Line 18, Column 13: Non-abstract class "data.scripts.plugins.BattleCreationPluginImpl" must implement method "public abstract void com.fs.starfarer.api.campaign.BattleCreationPlugin.initBattle(com.fs.starfarer.api.combat.BattleCreationContext, com.fs.starfarer.api.mission.MissionDefinitionAPI)"
   at org.codehaus.janino.UnitCompiler.compileError(UnitCompiler.java:9403)
   at org.codehaus.janino.UnitCompiler.compile2(UnitCompiler.java:447)
   at org.codehaus.janino.UnitCompiler.compile2(UnitCompiler.java:421)
   at org.codehaus.janino.UnitCompiler$3.visitPackageMemberClassDeclaration(UnitCompiler.java:376)
   at org.codehaus.janino.Java$PackageMemberClassDeclaration.accept(Java.java:765)
   at org.codehaus.janino.UnitCompiler.compile(UnitCompiler.java:383)
   at org.codehaus.janino.UnitCompiler.compileUnit(UnitCompiler.java:352)
   at org.codehaus.janino.JavaSourceClassLoader.generateBytecodes(JavaSourceClassLoader.java:210)
   ... 5 more

[close]
Title: Re: Vacuum / Exerelin (new 0.61a ALPHA build, pg 15) (Total Conversion)
Post by: xenoargh on November 30, 2013, 04:46:55 PM
Did you download the really-early-alpha on page 15, or the main page?

The main link is for the 0.54a version. 

I haven't updated that yet, as the 0.61a release is still not quite ready for prime-time :)
Title: Re: Vacuum / Exerelin (new 0.61a ALPHA build, pg 15) (Total Conversion)
Post by: Draginea on November 30, 2013, 07:42:57 PM
I played the alpha and its still amazing.
Title: Re: Vacuum / Exerelin (new 0.61a ALPHA build, pg 15) (Total Conversion)
Post by: drakhades on November 30, 2013, 09:04:23 PM
i am using the newest lazylib 1.6b and with the alpha i get the following on starting starsector:
Spoiler

26352 [Thread-5] ERROR com.fs.starfarer.combat.String  - java.lang.RuntimeException: Problem loading class [org.lazywizard.lazylib.LazyLib]
java.lang.RuntimeException: Problem loading class [org.lazywizard.lazylib.LazyLib]
   at com.fs.starfarer.loading.scripts.ScriptStore.o00000(Unknown Source)
   at com.fs.starfarer.launcher.ModManager.??00(Unknown Source)
   at com.fs.starfarer.loading.null.super(Unknown Source)
   at com.fs.super.oOOO.?0000(Unknown Source)
   at com.fs.starfarer.combat.String.o00000(Unknown Source)
   at com.fs.starfarer.StarfarerLauncher$2.run(Unknown Source)
   at java.lang.Thread.run(Unknown Source)
Caused by: java.lang.IllegalAccessException: Class com.fs.starfarer.loading.scripts.ScriptStore can not access a member of class org.lazywizard.lazylib.LazyLib with modifiers "private"
   at sun.reflect.Reflection.ensureMemberAccess(Unknown Source)
   at java.lang.Class.newInstance(Unknown Source)
   ... 7 more
[close]
Title: Re: Vacuum / Exerelin (new 0.61a ALPHA build, pg 15) (Total Conversion)
Post by: xenoargh on November 30, 2013, 10:10:03 PM
You're not supposed to use LazyLib, it's already pre-installed with the mod.  It's a stand-alone TC, basically :)


And in other news, players can now tech-mine formerly-inhabited planets and build Stations if they have enough credits (and I have the hard parts of rebuilding OrbitalStationDialogs figured out, so I think I'll be able to tackle doing things like diplomacy, shutting players out of Stations that are unfriendly, and taking over Stations after epic battles at some point soon).  

Oh, and I got through the very basics of dealing with battle interactions (losing ships, capturing enemy ships after battle).  Therefore, the proposed re-write of the Capture mechanics (and generally taking a fresh look at how battles work) looks doable, albeit this side of things is still mainly vaporware other than some fun things that are now working... but I can't be bothered to spoil the surprises, heh.

There!  That looks like enough stuff to give up my leet tag  ;D
Title: Re: Vacuum / Exerelin (new 0.61a ALPHA build, pg 15) (Total Conversion)
Post by: drakhades on December 01, 2013, 12:02:18 AM
ok got it working,  but there's no one to fight.  (only huge fleets wandering around, no small or even medium sized fleets)

Title: Re: Vacuum / Exerelin (new 0.61a ALPHA build, pg 15) (Total Conversion)
Post by: xenoargh on December 01, 2013, 12:17:28 AM
Yeah, I know; I did warn people that it was very alpha and all that- it's not really representative of what I'm doing with this.  I wouldn't have released at all, but people sounded like they wanted to play it, even rough, so I let them.

Anyhow, your problem is really temporary in nature, even in the alpha build.  Mine asteroids.  Sell Germanium.  Buy ships.  Pick fights with huge fleets.  If you lose, you still win- you gain XP either way, so you may as well fight it out, mine more asteroids, power up, repeat :)

The structured stuff is what I'm working on now- being able to actually do anything that's vaguely like a game.  When that's done, it's time to think about game balance and the difficulty ramp and all that stuff.  What you're seeing now is just early framework stuff, basically- just a tech demo of the procedural-generation code that I cribbed from Exerelin and the veeeeery early version of what I have over here, in terms of fleets running around and Doing Stuff.
Title: Re: Vacuum / Exerelin (new 0.61a ALPHA build, pg 15) (Total Conversion)
Post by: drakhades on December 01, 2013, 06:08:12 AM
ahh, i didn't know i could mine stuff, so i'll try again!
Title: Re: Vacuum / Exerelin (new 0.61a ALPHA build, pg 15) (Total Conversion)
Post by: HELMUT on December 01, 2013, 08:55:10 AM
Ok... I tried the boarding shuttles to take some ships. I had a carrier, i had marines and 4 boarding wings against 1 Gemini at 12% cr. I carefully used the freezing rays and ion guns to immobilize it and waited for my shuttles to capture it.

They blew it up. Those idiots.

So what am i doing wrong? I tried several times to board an enemy ship with those and nothing work, they are just firing with their machine guns and that's all.  Am i missing something?
Title: Re: Vacuum / Exerelin (new 0.61a ALPHA build, pg 15) (Total Conversion)
Post by: xenoargh on December 01, 2013, 10:52:04 AM
That feature doesn't work at all right now, see the bug report in the Modding section.  I'll probably disable them before I put out the next release, as I'm fairly certain they can't be fixed in 0.61a :)
Title: Re: Vacuum (new 0.61a ALPHA build) (Total Conversion)
Post by: xenoargh on December 02, 2013, 12:12:22 PM
OK, I've pushed out the very first official 0.61a Alpha for this mod.  This is the first official release since 0.54a, and it's taken a lot longer than I wanted it to, but it's finally ready for some initial playtesting :)

Main download link has been updated.  

Huge changes to the mod in general; if you want to run an empire, you can now do so, albeit still in a very very Alpha way.  Much work still needs to be done!

I've very reluctantly dropped 'Exerelin' from the official title here, to avoid confusion.  I was pretty reluctant to do this, as I feel like the mod owes its life to Zaphide's project; until he showed up, I lacked the know-how to figure out how to do things like this and wasn't motivated to learn enough deep Java to pull it off.

And yes, I forgot to disable the Boarding Shuttles and a few other things like that have escaped my attention. I'll fix that in the next release.  Sorry if that causes annoyance / confusion.

Oh, and... I'd like some art / design (as in, lighting and other asset mastering) help, maybe?  If intrigued, PM.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (new 0.61a ALPHA build) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on December 02, 2013, 12:45:07 PM
I forgot to note that Exigency Incorporated, as depicted, is not necessarily their final form, in terms of the art and other aspects of that Faction. 

Consider them as being Very Temporary in form atm, with a major upgrade to them coming in a month or two.  They'll also have a special system for how they arrive in the game, to reflect their backstory.

I've left them essentially unchanged for now, however, because I think they're fun and interesting to play with and this is largely a public test of the early framework and mechanics.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (new 0.61a ALPHA build) (TC Mod)
Post by: Ranakastrasz on December 02, 2013, 06:15:45 PM
Expanded Magazines seems bugged. Does not always give +100% capacity.

Assault gun goes from 2000 shots to 2040 shots.

Interference between various hull mods not clearly explained.

Hardened shield seems to increase efficiency by 75%.

Did kinetic and Explosive damage get reversed? Graviton beam seems insanely ineffective. Will look at rest of posts to see if explained.

I believe I ran into a weapon bypassing my shields. What was it? EMP of some kind?

Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (new 0.61a ALPHA build) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on December 02, 2013, 07:11:04 PM
There was a bug in Expanded Magazines.  Fixed.

I'll explain the Hull mod exclusions better; that's probably pretty confusing :)

Hardened Shields description is wrong.  Fixed.

Kinetic / Explosive relationships remain the same; what's different is how much damage certain combinations will take (from any source, at least for now).  Neutronium Plating makes a ship incredibly resistant to Kinetic damage.  

This is a theme that will probably get expanded upon; now that we can change damage various types do to Armor and Shields, it'll be fun to add some new ways to resist damage, so that players and AI ships can be customized and play a bit more paper-rock-scissors games with one another.

Some weapons are shield-piercing.  Some weapons can do damage to un-shielded areas even if the shot strikes the shields.  Some weapons will cause EMP surges that will cripple a ship that's not equipped to defeat them.  Some weapons destroy other weapon shots.  Some weapons automatically kill incoming missiles.  Some weapons will freeze, push back, or otherwise manipulate enemies.  All part of the fun ;)

Oh, and also, yes, I'll try and write up the weapons / systems / whatever that are still missing descriptions.  I always get to that after I've settled on the "role" for that weapon and the special rules, if any.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (new 0.61a ALPHA build) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on December 02, 2013, 10:10:51 PM
New build up.  Appears to be savegame-friendly, at least for now.  The next build is almost guaranteed to break saves, but that's why it's Alpha :)

Expanded Magazines bug is fixed.

Hull Mod exclusions explanations fixed.

Hardened Shield bug fixed.

Weapon / Ship / System descriptions added / fixed.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (new 0.61a ALPHA build) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on December 03, 2013, 10:59:57 AM
Put together a ship-art page, showing some of the ships :)
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (new 0.61a ALPHA build) (TC Mod)
Post by: Trylobot on December 03, 2013, 11:42:05 AM
Hey xeno, I just noticed; your "TL:DR" section in the second post is actually longer than the original post. I'm not entirely sure you know what TL:DR stands for.

LOL  :D
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (new 0.61a ALPHA build) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on December 03, 2013, 11:59:20 AM
It's marked TL:DNR and it's buried like that because I don't figure most people are bored enough to read about the philosophical stuff and it's really, really long  ;)
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (new 0.61a ALPHA build 3) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on December 04, 2013, 12:29:34 AM
Build 3 is now available.

1.  All Factions now spawn their own ships in shops, including the ones that were previously not being sold, using a new method that's Faction-agnostic.  

2.  A few other minor fixes and improvements, such as some fixes for the death explosions to make it happen more often for small ships (fighters and drones get wiped out pretty much instantly, which helps with performance in big fights, but big ships will now blow up a little less frequently) and a few other little things like that.  

Nothing major; I'm probably not releasing anything else this week unless a crash bug comes up (or I get really inspired).  The big stuff that still needs doing (in particular, writing a Janino-friendly Station Dialog so that players can take over Stations directly after fighting a Boss Battle, Fleet Dialogs and other gameplay changes) needs to wait a bit.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (new 0.61a ALPHA build 3) (TC Mod)
Post by: Cyan Leader on December 04, 2013, 08:29:32 AM
I realize this is a TC and it might break the balance, but what happens if I enable Omnifactory with this? Will it be functional?
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (new 0.61a ALPHA build 3) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on December 04, 2013, 09:12:59 AM
It probably it won't work without being modded in, but IDK. give it a go and see :)
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (new 0.61a ALPHA build 3) (TC Mod)
Post by: haloguy1 on December 04, 2013, 09:20:53 AM
It probably it won't work without being modded in, but IDK. give it a go and see :)

Actually today when i was playing i had omnifactory on and it acted like my own faction.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (new 0.61a ALPHA build 3) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on December 04, 2013, 09:30:11 AM
Did it work as an Omnifactory, though?  If not, I'll have to think about making it available, preferably as something that's neutral so that it doesn't suddenly get captured / destroyed by the AI (and the player, when that's possible).  I don't really mind people having something like Omnifactory around; it makes the game a little easier, but in a long game where you're actually trying to take over the Sector, it's not that important.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (new 0.61a ALPHA build 3) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on December 04, 2013, 10:29:15 AM
Tested it, just to see- yup, it works.

I'll probably write some code that will look for the Omnifactory, and if found, convert it to Neutral, so that it won't produce Player fleets at the game start and won't get destroyed by the AI.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (new 0.61a ALPHA build 3) (TC Mod)
Post by: Chronosfear on December 06, 2013, 07:36:18 AM
Hi,

I´ve been running this mod for some days now.
And here is my humble opinion :

+ Fighters are very cool , they really can turn the tide of the battle while stile being somewhat weak
+ Frigates without collisions : makes them a real threat, the strike and after that hide between my bigger ships
+ Battles with large ships takes much time and looks great with all those fighters, bombers in between ( But those battles can "kill" powerless computers )
+ You can even in low levels maintain a large fleet and later a much bigger one  ;D
+ More Skill/Aptitudepoints per level ( you can never have enough of them  :P )
- The beginning can be very hard. ( even the small enemy fleets can beat you at the start ) -> maybe the player should get another ship to his starting fleet so he must not fight alone ( makes a big difference )

Spoiler
Items :
-Atropos are to weak compared to Reapers, both have unlimited ammo. The RoF is higher but their compared damage takes render them close to useless ( or Reapers to high )
-Antimatter Blaster : Damage compared to other weapons to low , while fluxcost is high compared ( if it should be considered a better emp weapons ... i think it is not)
-Heavy Mauler : Same as Antimatter Blaster
-Ion Cannon : I think this weapon is somewhat OP in your mod due to the "shield piercing effect" or makes it a must have weapon ( 1 or 2 makes most of the enemy ships helpless )
-Guardian PD System : RoF lower than its ammo regen.
-Heavy Blaster : very low flux compared to the damage

-Many ammo based weapons needs more ammo , the often run dry to early in bigger battles ( even with expanded magazines )

Ships :
- Onslaught Built-In Weapons : RoF to low , fires way slower then the ammo regenerates.
- Paragon : Only fought 1 yet , but I think that in player hands its invincible , hard flux dropped while using Fortress Shield. Killed it only because he dropped his shield instead of using fortress shield again .

Shipsystem :
- High Energy Focus : Minor "bug" when active it shops -75% damage in green while it should show it in red. I really didn´t notice that debuff at first in the heat of the battle.

Skill :
- Navigation : Very strong ;) but some eg. Level 1 and 2 stats are the same , I think 10 it was ( for captial ships ) the jump is to high , would be better if it increased to that number over some levels.
                  
[close]

more to come if i stumble over something

Chronosfear

P.S: Crew is just a resource in this mod. They are just ... supplies with different levels
... so many dying red shirts in here



Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (new 0.61a ALPHA build 3) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on December 06, 2013, 08:28:46 AM
Glad to hear that it's Fun enough to be worth several days of play now :)

I would have thought the beginning was really easy, since you can mine the asteroids for easy cash, plus there really isn't any major penalty for dying, but I am totally fine with buffing the early fleet as suggested.  I'll strongly consider changing the starting ships for stuff that's a bit sexier in the next build (like how it used to be, before I had to wipe out the character-creation code) and giving the player a companion is a good idea.  I totally agree with you, the mod should be easy to start... and get hard later.

Weapon Stuff:
Spoiler
Atropos is meant to be mainly an "annoyance" weapon; while it doesn't use ammo, it has a fast refire-rate at a very low Flux cost, meaning you can tie up all of the PD weapons of the enemy with spam.  It's really useful against stuff like Ventures, if you're trying to solo them with a single Frigate.  That said, I could change its role if there seems like a good alternative.

AM Blaster / Heavy Mauler are too weak on damage, agreed.  They used to be more of a threat, but they're mainly useful for EMP now.

Ion Cannon:  NP, will nerf it, probably by reducing the RoF a lot.  It should be the most powerful EMP you can put on a ship, shot-for-shot, but I agree that it's probably a bit much.

Guardian:  I mainly just didn't want it to run out of ammo, ever.  I think I'll simply get rid of the ammo regeneration feature of that one and the other burst lasers, as it tends to either cripple them when you need them most or it's buffed enough it might as well not be there.

Heavy Blaster:  I'll raise the flux a bit.  It's a weird weapon that the AI doesn't tend to use super-well, so I'll have to be careful about it.

Which ammo-based weapons are you having the most trouble with, ammo-wise?  I'm happy to buff them if I know which ones need some help :)
[close]

Ships:
Spoiler
Onslaught:  will just get rid of ammo regeneration.  It's a really powerful weapon, I'm not sure how much of a buff it needs, but I'll look at it and see.
Paragon:  it's meant to be the ultimate tank, managed well.  That said, there are ships that can actually Overload one with a Fortress Shield up.  Or at least, there were; I'll check and make sure that still holds true.  Used to be that a pair of Gauss could do it, with Armor Analysis.  A big fleet with Kinetic weapons can do it, certainly.  Anyhow, if I have to adjust the shield again, np, but I'll probably have to buff the AI version in other ways, since it's supposed to be a really tanky ship.  That, and the one other ship that has Fortress Shield (the poor, benighted Dachshund) will need a buff.
[close]

I'll fix that bug with HEF.

Navigation's always worked like that (the staggered levels thing).  I'll alter the "steps" for capitals, though; I originally intended that as the capstone for them if you maxed out that skill, but frankly, I can't see players not capping that skill, it's too important, so it's probably better to ramp it differently.

As for crew... I've been thinking about removing Crew leveling entirely (now that we can do that) and having more specialized types of Crew that give different bonuses.  Like, for example, having Engineers to boost CR recovery / repairs, Explorers to help find more treasures when Tech-Mining and other stuff like that, Gunners to improve ship damage across the fleet, and Red Shirts, which would be cheap and expendable.  I've always felt that the whole crew-leveling thing is pretty boring, since it's just there to increase grind.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (new 0.61a ALPHA build 3) (TC Mod)
Post by: Chronosfear on December 06, 2013, 09:05:58 AM
Ohhh mining , i totally forgot about that.THAT changes everything .. my bad  ::)

ammo based : must stop the time of a large scale battle. Then maybe every weapon ( at least medium and large ones ) that last less then 1/2 or less in combat until out of ammo would need more ammo ...
But I think there is a limit of 9999 (?) . So fast firing weapons with much ammo wont profit.

If those Atropos should be an annoyance. I still think they need a buff. Any other missile can take that role until out of ammo , too. And fighters with missile are just so much better and don´t run out of ammo.
Thats why I stick to Reapers on bigger ships ( got unlimited ammo , too )

btw : bought an Paragon : Yes , it seems to be invincible ( extended shields , pushing venting ) I can stay in the heat of battle without venting ( just use fortress shield when growing high flux )

oh and don´t forget about that Thermal Pulse Cannon.

Chronosfear
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (new 0.61a ALPHA build 3) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on December 06, 2013, 09:18:40 AM
Yeah, mining makes the money problem largely go away.  

The real question with mining (oh, and try going to a planet that looks like it might support life, btw) is whether I need to tone it down or not.  

Right now it's meant to be an easy, but limited, resource for early game cash.  Eventually, the AI will mine all of the asteroids everywhere, though, but players should have an uber-fleet by then.

I'll definitely tone down the Fortress Shield; IIRC I "balanced" it back in the day using Forlorn Hope, but that no longer pertains.

Oh, and... perhaps, on the ammo situation, I need to put those "munitions ship" artworks to good use.  Would be pretty cool to have ammo replenishment...
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (new 0.61a ALPHA build 3) (TC Mod)
Post by: LostInTheWired on December 07, 2013, 12:48:59 AM
Man...  I thought I'd give this a shot.  It just didn't work for me.  My saves stop loading within the first 15 minutes.

Spoiler
Code
1298180 [Thread-6] INFO  com.fs.starfarer.campaign.save.CampaignGameManager  - Loading D:\Program Files (x86)\Fractal Softworks\Starsector\starsector-core\..\saves\save_AlsemiDVrenn_617473235515662240...
1342783 [Thread-6] INFO  com.fs.starfarer.campaign.save.CampaignGameManager  - Error loading
1342785 [Thread-6] ERROR com.fs.starfarer.campaign.save.CampaignGameManager  - GC overhead limit exceeded
java.lang.OutOfMemoryError: GC overhead limit exceeded
at com.thoughtworks.xstream.mapper.FieldAliasingMapper.key(FieldAliasingMapper.java:43)
at com.thoughtworks.xstream.mapper.FieldAliasingMapper.getMember(FieldAliasingMapper.java:67)
at com.thoughtworks.xstream.mapper.FieldAliasingMapper.realMember(FieldAliasingMapper.java:56)
at com.thoughtworks.xstream.mapper.MapperWrapper.realMember(MapperWrapper.java:38)
at com.thoughtworks.xstream.mapper.MapperWrapper.realMember(MapperWrapper.java:38)
at com.thoughtworks.xstream.mapper.MapperWrapper.realMember(MapperWrapper.java:38)
at com.thoughtworks.xstream.mapper.MapperWrapper.realMember(MapperWrapper.java:38)
at com.thoughtworks.xstream.mapper.OuterClassMapper.realMember(OuterClassMapper.java:44)
at com.thoughtworks.xstream.mapper.MapperWrapper.realMember(MapperWrapper.java:38)
at com.thoughtworks.xstream.mapper.MapperWrapper.realMember(MapperWrapper.java:38)
at com.thoughtworks.xstream.mapper.MapperWrapper.realMember(MapperWrapper.java:38)
at com.thoughtworks.xstream.mapper.MapperWrapper.realMember(MapperWrapper.java:38)
at com.thoughtworks.xstream.mapper.MapperWrapper.realMember(MapperWrapper.java:38)
at com.thoughtworks.xstream.mapper.MapperWrapper.realMember(MapperWrapper.java:38)
at com.thoughtworks.xstream.mapper.MapperWrapper.realMember(MapperWrapper.java:38)
at com.thoughtworks.xstream.mapper.AnnotationMapper.realMember(AnnotationMapper.java:100)
at com.thoughtworks.xstream.mapper.MapperWrapper.realMember(MapperWrapper.java:38)
at com.thoughtworks.xstream.mapper.MapperWrapper.realMember(MapperWrapper.java:38)
at com.thoughtworks.xstream.converters.reflection.AbstractReflectionConverter.doUnmarshal(AbstractReflectionConverter.java:289)
at com.thoughtworks.xstream.converters.reflection.AbstractReflectionConverter.unmarshal(AbstractReflectionConverter.java:234)
at com.thoughtworks.xstream.core.TreeUnmarshaller.convert(TreeUnmarshaller.java:72)
at com.thoughtworks.xstream.core.AbstractReferenceUnmarshaller.convert(AbstractReferenceUnmarshaller.java:65)
at com.thoughtworks.xstream.core.TreeUnmarshaller.convertAnother(TreeUnmarshaller.java:66)
at com.thoughtworks.xstream.core.TreeUnmarshaller.convertAnother(TreeUnmarshaller.java:50)
at com.thoughtworks.xstream.converters.collections.AbstractCollectionConverter.readItem(AbstractCollectionConverter.java:71)
at com.thoughtworks.xstream.converters.collections.ArrayConverter.unmarshal(ArrayConverter.java:55)
at com.thoughtworks.xstream.core.TreeUnmarshaller.convert(TreeUnmarshaller.java:72)
at com.thoughtworks.xstream.core.AbstractReferenceUnmarshaller.convert(AbstractReferenceUnmarshaller.java:65)
at com.thoughtworks.xstream.core.TreeUnmarshaller.convertAnother(TreeUnmarshaller.java:66)
at com.thoughtworks.xstream.converters.reflection.AbstractReflectionConverter.unmarshallField(AbstractReflectionConverter.java:355)
at com.thoughtworks.xstream.converters.reflection.AbstractReflectionConverter.doUnmarshal(AbstractReflectionConverter.java:306)
at com.thoughtworks.xstream.converters.reflection.AbstractReflectionConverter.unmarshal(AbstractReflectionConverter.java:234)
[close]

Not only that, but the log is constantly spammed with this message:
Spoiler
Code
1298050 [Thread-6] WARN  org.lazywizard.lazylib.combat.CombatUtils  - Using deprecated method getCombatEngie()
[close]

When I ran into issues, I did an full uninstall/reinstall of Starsector, made sure no other mods were running (even removed the mods from the mod folder except for lazylib and your mod).

From what I understand, your mod requires you to allow Starsector more ram (aka, force it to use 64-bit Java).  I do have 64-bit java installed, but that may be the issue, that Starsector is possibly running in 32-bit mode or something, but I just don't see it.  It's what an OOM error would suggest, though.  I guess the biggest problem is that there's no real documentation, or even basic links, from your mod page to say what needs to be done, other than the fact it needs to be done.  I've even done my due diligence, searching for forcing Starsector into 64-bit mode, if that was maybe the issue, but found nothing.

I'll likely just remove the mod and move back to Exerelin, despite it's lack of usability.  I very much enjoyed the UI and ability to build my own stations, instead of just having to take over random stations just sitting there, but this is just frustrating.

EDIT:  Jesus, do you know how long that took me to find?  You might want to add this link (http://"http://fractalsoftworks.com/forum/index.php?topic=5310.msg111235#msg111235") to your first post.  It took way too long to find.  That is not a stickied thread.  It's not something that should be reasonably expected to know, even though I've run a ton of mods for Starsector, done some tinkering and scripting myself even.  I found it when going to reinstall Exerelin, even though I've never had any of those issues with it.  Please, put the post link in your top post.  It was extremely frustrating searching for it.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (new 0.61a ALPHA build 3) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on December 07, 2013, 02:02:03 AM
First off, my fault, I thought most people here were aware of the XMS settings stuff around here.  Definitely will put up instructions on that. 

I'm testing with 1GB on a 32-bit system, and it's been stable with that. 

Until the memory overhead of the game comes down a lot, about the only other thing I can do is reduce the number of fleets and stations, which is kind of a bummer, given that I don't exactly have hundreds of star systems and a pretty low number of fleets (15 max per System, plus those wandering around in Hyperspace, so about 200 or so tops). 

I'm really surprised you're not having issues with Exerelin, though; the problem is the same there.  Do you just build 1-3 Systems in Exerelin?  I guess I need to test things and see where 512MB starts getting killed.

Anyhow, what I will do for the next build is offer a low-memory version for folks with serious problems there, maybe even just have a version with just Corvus and one other System.  I hate doing that, though; it kind of takes away from the whole big-universe thing.  I don't have many other solutions, though; I cut down fleets quite a bit at one point and things got easy / boring really fast.  This just isn't a game where low populations work well.  Yet it's insanely memory-hungry, because Alex wants every detail of every fleet stored explicitly, instead of only building it when it can be observed by a player directly.  I'll probably bring that up, but he's no-doubt aware of it already and I doubt hounding him about it would be all that helpful.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (new 0.61a ALPHA build 3) (TC Mod)
Post by: LostInTheWired on December 07, 2013, 03:17:53 AM
My usual Exerelin universe is 8 systems, small size, 9 planets, 2 belts, 15 stations, 3 factions with more coming after 4 months.  Not as big as others, but not tiny either.  The system sizes do seem to be quite a bit larger in Vacuum than what I ran in Exerelin though.  Honestly, though, computers are much better now-adays.  I haven't seen a computer with less than 4 gigs of available ram for gaming (after os usage) for a while, and 2 gigs on older or very low budget systems.  Memory allocation definitely should be kicked up a notch by default.

Not sure of any real fixes though, especially if Alex isn't into approximating fleets that are out of sector.  A 512 limit is pretty intense for a modern game, especially for a game that's in alpha, so it hasn't gone through optimization dev cycles yet.  Hopefully Alex can find a way to keep the fleet accuracy he wants to maintain while reducing the memory overhead.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (new 0.61a ALPHA build 3) (TC Mod)
Post by: Mavolio on December 07, 2013, 07:30:27 AM
I haven't seen a computer with less than 4 gigs of available ram for gaming (after os usage) for a while, and 2 gigs on older or very low budget systems.  Memory allocation definitely should be kicked up a notch by default.

52.2% with 4 gig of ram or less

I2 gigs on older or very low budget systems.

14.13% with 2 gigs or ram or less

^^ steam hardware survey.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (new 0.61a ALPHA build 3) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on December 07, 2013, 10:59:13 AM
The vast majority have 2GB+ these days.  I'm still using 32-bit because I haven't wanted to go to Win8 yet.  Anyhow, I'm going to investigate the memory issue in the limited ways that I can.  What I'm seeing, though, is that right now, with the current number of Systems and fleets, the game's using about 800MB. 

Unfortunately, it's using about 500MB from startup, so there really isn't any wiggle-room for 512MB settings at all right now.

What I can do is to see about the fleet sizes; past that, we're talking about having to cut content, which I'd really rather not, or lower the number of Systems, which is not a big deal, although even then, I don't think the 512MB limit's sufficient.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (new 0.61a ALPHA build 3) (TC Mod)
Post by: drakhades on December 07, 2013, 06:48:29 PM
after playing a few hours i got a out of ram when saving (so my save is corrupted too)

i think there may be a problem with having lots of stations or something.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (new 0.61a ALPHA build 3) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on December 07, 2013, 07:25:00 PM
What are your memory settings?  Have you raised the memory limits to at least 1GB?
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (new 0.61a ALPHA build 3) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on December 07, 2013, 10:13:09 PM
In other news, I wrote a new auto-battle system today that will allow me to make a new type of memory-friendly "fleet" that should really help ease memory use and is very fast in terms of resolution.  It basically uses a "dice roll" resolution system, where more powerful fleets get more "dice".  If there is a winner, the other fleet is completely destroyed. 

This gets rid of one of the minor bits of fun- it's no longer possible to "vulture" big fleets by getting them to chase you and ramming them into other ones and then killing off the remainders.  On the other hand, it doesn't leave little groups of fighters roaming around, either, taking up space and eating CPU; battles are completely decisive.

However, for people who really liked that feature, I've even thought about a fix for that one that might work, basically a clone of Mount and Blade's system, where the defeated party spawns a new party of a special type that tries to run for the nearest safe location.

This is a fairly complicated experiment, though; to get it fully working to the point where I can significantly lower memory overhead, I'll have to build a new battle dialog system (which is the hard part).  That will probably take a week.

Ah well, I needed to do that anyhow. 
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (new 0.61a ALPHA build 3) (TC Mod)
Post by: LostInTheWired on December 07, 2013, 11:31:59 PM
after playing a few hours i got a out of ram when saving (so my save is corrupted too)

i think there may be a problem with having lots of stations or something.

What are your memory settings?  Have you raised the memory limits to at least 1GB?

This just happened to me, and I have definitely raised the memory limits.  It's pretty frustrating actually.  I didn't even get to build my space station, the most interesting part of the feature list that I really wanted to give a shot, along with the blueprint/construction system.  Not sure what to say at this point.  The balance changes aren't bad.  I love half of the changes, hate the other half, but it's an interesting change of pace either way.

But the memory issues are hitting like a brick wall at this point.  The first thing I may suggest is force only 1 station per celestial body.  The pirate moon/gas giant had 4 stations around it, which seems kind of excessive.  Stations seem to have a major impact on memory, so doing some limiting may help.  I would still make sure a world or two are empty for the player to build, just for fun.  Honestly, I don't know how to fix it other than reducing the systems/stations just in general.  Possibly fleet numbers.  But losing so much progress is killer.  I had 300k credits. ;-;
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (new 0.61a ALPHA build 3) (TC Mod)
Post by: Garmine on December 08, 2013, 07:16:35 AM
after playing a few hours i got a out of ram when saving (so my save is corrupted too)

This just happened to me, and I have definitely raised the memory limits.

There's a backup save made automatically!

Go to the starsector/saves/save_SaveName_587165789165178547867/ (or similar) directory and look for two files - either campaign.zip.bak or campaign.xml.bak and descriptor.xml.bak. Save the two non .bak files (e.g. campaign.zip and descriptor.xml as something like campaign.zip.bug and descriptor.xml.bug) and then copy the two .bak files over the non-bak files (e.g. campaign.zip.bak to campaign.zip and descriptor.xml.bak to descriptor.xml).

You should have the last save before crash restored now! Depending on how often you saved you have lost from a few minutes to a whole day of progress.

Unfortunately this (obviously) won't fix the out of memory issues, so the same bug may happen again. :(
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (new 0.61a ALPHA build 4) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on December 09, 2013, 08:26:37 AM
Build 4 is now available:


Still working on further measures to lower memory use, but this is probably a good first step :)
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (new 0.61a ALPHA build 5) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on December 09, 2013, 09:21:08 PM
Build 5 is now available:

Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (new 0.61a ALPHA build 5) (TC Mod)
Post by: Piemanlives on December 09, 2013, 11:44:40 PM
On memory I have mine increased to at least 2gigs so that helps with memory issues.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (new 0.61a ALPHA build 5) (TC Mod)
Post by: Bucktail on December 10, 2013, 02:16:41 PM
I set my ram usage to 2gigs but when I try to open starsector nothing happens. Is there a way to fix this?
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (new 0.61a ALPHA build 5) (TC Mod)
Post by: OhNoesBunnies on December 10, 2013, 04:11:11 PM
For whatever reason...

...Whatever I click defaults me to five star systems with the newest build of this. Is this a bug? D:
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (new 0.61a ALPHA build 5) (TC Mod)
Post by: Piemanlives on December 10, 2013, 04:15:05 PM
I set my ram usage to 2gigs but when I try to open starsector nothing happens. Is there a way to fix this?

Use this solution,  http://fractalsoftworks.com/forum/index.php?topic=431.msg119610#msg119610
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (new 0.61a ALPHA build 5) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on December 10, 2013, 05:41:37 PM
Quote
For whatever reason...

...Whatever I click defaults me to five star systems with the newest build of this. Is this a bug? D:
I'll check it out.  Probably :)
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (new 0.61a ALPHA build 6) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on December 10, 2013, 08:53:49 PM
Build 6 is out.

Fixed the bug with the Systems not being generated as requested, and learned a weird factoid about how Java works along the way.

To set up the System generation code, I had to build a "singleton", which is basically just a fancy way to store data I want to access globally, across many scripts.  This is something that is a little different in every language I've ever learned, and in Java's case, it's (imho) especially weird.  Anyhow, I figured that out, wrote the code that's supposed to build the multiple Systems and the Faction relationships... and when the bug was reported, I tested... and the Faction relationships part worked, but not the Systems code.

After a lot of testing, I determined that, in CharacterCreationPluginImpl.java, if one attempts to modify a singleton's data without moving to at least one more stage, it doesn't get set. 

So you need a phantom "stage" to catch the last choices made, if they're going to impact persistent data, right there at the start of play. 

Which is weird, because I'd have thought that the operations used to change the singleton's data would have to run before we return and exit this little program and enter a new game, but it's how it works.  I'll probably go look the "why" up tomorrow, if I have time.  Anyhow, bug is fixed; if you have 3-4GB and were just dying to play with 24 Systems, now you can.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (new 0.61a ALPHA build 6) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on December 11, 2013, 11:29:18 AM
A wild Muir appears:

(http://www.wolfegames.com/TA_Section/fs_muir.png)
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (new 0.61a ALPHA build 6) (TC Mod)
Post by: OhNoesBunnies on December 11, 2013, 03:53:16 PM
Ah! Cute! :3

I'm curious about something though, how do 'Blueprints' work exactly? Do you need them on your ship when building stations or...
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (new 0.61a ALPHA build 6) (TC Mod)
Post by: LostInTheWired on December 12, 2013, 10:29:25 PM
I like the updates.  Sounding pretty cool.

I'll probably set up another Vacuum game and give it another go.  I redirected the game to use the x64 jre and set it to use up to 5g.  I'm sure it'd be plenty for your mod.  Should be fun to give it a go again.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (new 0.61a ALPHA build 6) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on December 13, 2013, 11:36:51 AM
There's a lot in the update that's up-coming, too, although I'll be very surprised if it's done before the weekend's over.  I've tried out some whacky experiments with using animations and with AI this week, which has been fun and will add some neat stuff to the gameplay :)

However, it sucked up a little bit of the time I was going to use working on the big things- the changes I need to make to Fleet encounters and Stations.  Getting there, though, one step at a time :)
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (new 0.61a ALPHA build 6) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on December 19, 2013, 10:38:26 PM
Red Tail:

(http://www.wolfegames.com/TA_Section/red_tail.png)
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (new 0.61a ALPHA build 6) (TC Mod)
Post by: LostInTheWired on December 20, 2013, 06:14:30 AM
Red Tail:

(http://www.wolfegames.com/TA_Section/red_tail.png)

Well that's a neat little ship.  Makes me want to pewpew stuff.  XD
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (new 0.61a ALPHA build 6) (TC Mod)
Post by: TimeDiver on December 20, 2013, 05:10:07 PM
Red Tail:

(http://www.wolfegames.com/TA_Section/red_tail.png)
And just 'cause of that, you are now obligated to produce a Swordfish II-counterpart.

Complete with overpowered (but with horrendous ROF and/or flux generating) particle beam cannon.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (new 0.61a ALPHA build 6) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on December 20, 2013, 05:47:42 PM
Got it done several hours ago (although I think it needs a little pixel-art cleanup), but RL intervened :)

(http://www.wolfegames.com/TA_Section/swordfish_wip5.png)

Final:


(http://www.wolfegames.com/TA_Section/swordfish_wip7.png)
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (new 0.61a ALPHA build 6) (TC Mod)
Post by: Debido on December 21, 2013, 02:53:22 AM
Hey Xenoargh,

I only have one negative comment to this mod and that is the initial ship for the Exigency is woefully underpowered, I can't seem to kill anything with it. Went tri-tachyon and have no problems.

Otherwise I'm having a cracking good time with this! The extra speed, the weapons, mining, random pirate attacks, tech searching etc. etc. it's all so much fun - more so than I've had with other mods in quite a while. Thank you!
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (new 0.61a ALPHA build 6) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on December 21, 2013, 07:27:37 AM
Yeah, I think their missiles need a buff or something.  The Yria's mainly meant to be a really annoying support vessel atm; if you fight against Exigency, they're amusing.  But as a combat vessel?  Not so much, even if you use the Repulsor Field properly. 

Sorry, there are a lot of little things like that and I usually don't find time to poke them unless I hit them in playtesting or somebody points them out :)
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (new 0.61a ALPHA build 6) (TC Mod)
Post by: MesoTroniK on December 21, 2013, 04:38:41 PM
Well even though the balance is different between the vanilla friendly and the Vacuum versions, the one in this total conversion is based on a anachronistic version of my mod. The newer updates have been up gunned massively with more integral weapons and new varieties of turrets.

The differences are, substantial... ;)
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (new 0.61a ALPHA build 6) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on December 26, 2013, 04:30:15 PM
No worries, I've buffed them for this round.  Also found a bug in the way that the shield-piercing shots were handled that has now been fixed, which makes them rather nastier :)

Changelog for current release (still not quite done yet, but I have the day off...).

All of the ships that are big enough to bother having "vernier thrusters" now have them.  That took a while :)

PunkJunkers get the Lancer, which (ironically) was AWOL from the mod's fleets, fits their style and color nicely, and is a freighter, which they needed. 

Players now get experience based on enemy ships disabled / destroyed from the mini-game battles (asteroids, Tech-Mining).

Tech Mining can lead to much more challenging hostile encounters.

Nerfed income from mining Asteroids.

Players now pay Credits, not Supplies, to heal at Stations.  They pay roughly twice what they'd pay to fix their ships the slow way.

Players can now capture enemy Stations after having an epic Boss Battle.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (new 0.61a ALPHA build 6) (TC Mod)
Post by: Annex on December 27, 2013, 09:56:34 AM
Very impressed with this mod. Having gotten to level 30+ in vanilla, ironclads and uomoz, this mod by far is superior. I love the weapons and the sizes of enemy fleets! Only thing that seems missing (or I cant find) is a place to store excess items to save for future use. Need stations to have storage space or some abandoned stations you can take over to store stuff.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (new 0.61a ALPHA build 6) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on December 27, 2013, 10:14:46 AM
Glad to hear you're enjoying the mod :)

You can build Stations when you have enough Credits; simply dock with any planet and it's obvious what to do :)

Anyhow... working on a newbie-guide today, I got the Station-capturing mechanics working well last night and a lot of the little details are fixed :)
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (new 0.61a ALPHA build 6) (TC Mod)
Post by: reactorcore on December 27, 2013, 10:19:15 AM
This TC looks really interesting, but theres one thing I'm curious about: how does the game work in terms of the player goal? Is there an ending or win-state?

(doesn't have to be necessarily one that stops you from playing once you achieve it, but atleast explicitly announces that you've defeated the challenge of building a stellar empire)

I just find a game much more satistying and motivating that clearly states whats at stake, what you can achieve and then acknowledges that achievement once you've done it, kind of like a satisfying ending you get when you beat, even if it still allows you to mess around after you've got to it.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (new 0.61a ALPHA build 6) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on December 27, 2013, 11:12:53 AM
Quote
theres one thing I'm curious about: how does the game work in terms of the player goal? Is there an ending or win-state?
Yes, there's a win-state, in the sense that if all of the empires you're unfriendly with are dead, you've effectively won.  Now that players can capture Stations, it's a lot more interactive, which is fun.

No, there isn't a pat-on-the-back announcement dialog for achieving that, yet.  I'll have to think about how to go about that after I've gotten done with the last big slog- writing a newbie-tutorial system that explains the basics (like how to mine asteroids and all that jazz).

I haven't gotten to AI / strategic / diplomatic stuff yet, so that would be a bit premature (since there is literally no way to make peace with Factions you've wronged, ever, and the AI players don't create strategies or anything yet, although that's coming).
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (new 0.61a ALPHA build 6) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on December 27, 2013, 03:20:39 PM
Working on the memory issue via using abstract "fleets".  I think it's going to be remarkably easy to get this done, so I'm going to try and knock this out and see what it does to memory requirements (I'm guessing that it'll be a big deal).
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (new 0.61a ALPHA build 6) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on December 27, 2013, 05:30:13 PM
Got it done.

Wow.

Alex, 99% of the memory overhead of your game past base load is Fleet data storage.  It isn't AI state machine stuff, it isn't SectorEntityTokens, etc.

I need to do a couple more tests, but I'm pretty sure that even 32-bit users will be able to run with quite a few Systems now.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (new 0.61a ALPHA build 6) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on December 27, 2013, 05:51:23 PM
Proof that memory optimization via abstraction can really be a big deal for this game.

Can run with this many Fleets / Systems with 1.5 GB memory (and we're only hitting 1.1GB here, we just need that to load / save). 

I can't double that load, so I'm nowhere near "hundreds of systems", but I've got hundreds of Fleets (each System has about 15 Fleets active); there is a certain amount of data inherent to CampaignFleetAPI objects and their AI state machines that can't be avoided without engine tinkering.

(http://www.wolfegames.com/TA_Section/ss_memory_optimization.jpg)

Anyhow, I'm still not sure I got under the 512MB default RAM cap for newbie users at 5 Systems, but close.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (new 0.61a ALPHA build 6) (TC Mod)
Post by: Annex on December 27, 2013, 06:27:48 PM
Glad to hear you're enjoying the mod :)

You can build Stations when you have enough Credits; simply dock with any planet and it's obvious what to do :)

Anyhow... working on a newbie-guide today, I got the Station-capturing mechanics working well last night and a lot of the little details are fixed :)

Oh awesome! Really appreciate your work on this. What stands out about this mod is the scale and ferocity of combat. In most other mods the fleets are small giving you small fights. Here on the other hand you can face off against 70 ship armadas! Although I found out that eventually even a 2048 memory limit wasnt enough for the game, ended up doubling it and saves load fine again. May want to mention that to the newcommers.

Bit more feedback:
- Leveling is a bit too easy, on most big fights ill get a level a fight. Not sure if mods can slow it down or if its game hardcoded
- On the battleships, can you change the missile slots to universal? Ive been doing that myself as I hate being forced to use 1 kind of ship if I just want beams/ballistics.
- Due to built in weapons, many of the cruisers have few customization slots. This greatly narrows down options and flexibility.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (new 0.61a ALPHA build 6) (TC Mod)
Post by: Alex on December 27, 2013, 07:09:37 PM
@xenoargh: Very cool! If that info bears out, should make expanding the size of the Sector much easier. Just the other day I tried 100+ systems (in response to this (http://fractalsoftworks.com/forum/index.php?topic=7537.0)) and it didn't make much of a dent in memory, even with asteroid belts, so that seems in line with what you're finding. A hundred systems was using up about 100 megs of memory total, with all the rest of it - basically negligible.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (new 0.61a ALPHA build 6) (TC Mod)
Post by: Annex on December 27, 2013, 07:34:34 PM
Btw, the Exigency ships essentially break the balance in this mod as no other race can touch them, allowing them to bulldoze through everything. Takes 2 battleships to bring down one of their Pergon cruisers.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (new 0.61a ALPHA build 6) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on December 27, 2013, 07:37:49 PM
@Alex:  I was pretty surprised that this made as much of a difference as it did.  The way I ended up doing it was very simple, too.

Other stuff that might bear fruit (but I can't say for sure from over here):

1.  Storage of AI state-machine stuff and abstraction of the Fleet mechanics inside Systems.  Probably can save considerable memory there.
2.  Storage of inventories at Stations is probably contributing somewhat at large scales; memory growth from inventories is a slow creeping thing but basically, Stations are really big fleets and I suspect that the same issues that cause fleets to eat a lot of RAM are prevalent there as well.

I might do an experiment with that, in terms of just randomizing inventories when players visit a Station; that has positives and negatives, though.  IDK how that data's being handled, I always assumed it was just longint (type of cargo) longint (stack size) in an array per Station, since that's the most memory-saving way to do it, most likely.
3.  There's probably some overhead in OrbitalStations that will get worse as state data gets stored there (things like mission states, etc., looking towards the future).

@Annex:

1.  On the Universal mounts, I'd like more detailed feedback.  Given what's happening with missiles in the next build, where they're more deadly (and considerably more CPU efficient), I'd need more specifics before I'd want to change it.  Besides which, there are several "missile boats" in the Capital class- the Macuahuitl in particular is really quite nice for that role.

2.  The Cruisers are meant to be pretty specialized (see the Wall of Text).  There are non-specialized Cruisers that can do a lot of things, such as the Eagle, but they're generally meant to file niche roles and round out the uber-fleets.  

On the other hand, certain things are coming in the next build that will make it possible to re-task certain Cruiser designs that are kind of out-classed in late-game play.  The biggest single change is that there's a new Hull Mod, Bubble Shield, that offers a 360 shield to any ship.  The shield's low efficiency means it's not a perfect solution, but for problems like how to keep late-game Dominators relevant, it's pretty nifty.

3. I, er, killed a Pergon with a Chiron (that's a weenie little Frigate) today.  Are you saying that Exigency's just too OP in player hands (which wouldn't surprise me, at least not the Pergon), or are we talking about having trouble killing them as a player?
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (new 0.61a ALPHA build 6) (TC Mod)
Post by: Annex on December 27, 2013, 08:23:39 PM
Universal mounts allow anything to be put there of that turret size, so it gives the player freedom to tweak the ships to their playstyle or wants, instead of being forced to a specific build. So im fine with a ship by default having more X or Y type of mounts to lean it towards a ballistics boat or missile boat, but having a few universal slots in the mix allows the player to either augment the ships predisposition, or turn it into a hybrid.

Im not playing Exigency, the AI is, and its wrecking the place with those ships. I have a very hard time killing them as is everyone else. So say I or the AI has a bunch of Conquest class battlecruisers which are very long and have a tiny shield arc. The moment that ship turns to expose it hull to an Exigency carrier, its torpedoes will kill it in a single volley. So the Exigency AI just fires its torps constantly waiting for the opposing AI to make a mistake, which it always will, and gets lots of kills. When carriers can kill things without even relying on their fighters to do it, you know there is a balance problem right there. As for the Pergon, it has very high armor, so when it starts getting into trouble being a lighter ship it can simply fly off out of range. This afford its hit and run tactics that other races cant do as their ships dont last long enough to be able to get out.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (new 0.61a ALPHA build 6) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on December 27, 2013, 08:28:02 PM
Exigency ships are vulnerable to beams and to some extent, EMP.

As for Universal mounts... I'll have to think about that.  The problem is, there is no way to make mounts that can take Ballistic and Missile but not Energy... so Universal mounts would potentially be quite OP, and the ships with them would have to get nerfed in other ways to compensate.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.61a ALPHA build 7) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on December 27, 2013, 09:53:12 PM
Build 7 is finally ready.  This was a big build, largely because it was some framework for things that are coming later, like making some constructive changes to the current Battle system, adding some diplomacy and AI-AI relationships and strategic stuff.

The Newbie Guide didn't quite make it, I kept getting distracted  ::)  I will finish that first for Build 8, though :)

Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.61a ALPHA build 7) (TC Mod)
Post by: null on December 27, 2013, 11:35:57 PM
Code
22228 [Thread-5] ERROR com.fs.starfarer.combat.D  - java.lang.RuntimeException: Error loading [sounds/fx/guns/exigency_rr.ogg] resource, not found in [/mnt/game/linux/starsector/./mods/Vacuum,../starfarer.res/res,CLASSPATH]

The file is named exigency_RR.ogg instead of exigency_rr.ogg, so fails to load on Linux.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.61a ALPHA build 7) (TC Mod)
Post by: reactorcore on December 28, 2013, 05:20:58 AM
What about the pat-on-the-back message after destroying every hostile faction from the game? Did that get included in the new build?

Sorry if I'm obsessive about it, its just a personally important feature that help to bring closure to a session of gameplay when a player reaches the top. If you've ever played Mechwarrior 3, at the end of a mission, upon completing all objectives, you'd get a sound played "mission succesful" and a message: "All objectives completed, mission succesful, press shift+F12 to end the game."

Or another example is when playing an old NES platformer, you go through a big adventure, beat the challenge and then get some simplistic ending saying that you've won.

Since the nature of the game is randomly generated, starting over is actually exciting and encouraged, due to different factions you can join, the methods of how you can build up your fleet and how will you fight in each battle.

Currently, if you play and reach the end, you'll have an empty feeling of the game not acknowleding your effort, which is like a feeling as if you just beat Super Mario Bros, but not getting an ending or a princess, instead you just get to hang around in an empty room with nothing to do after you took down Bowser.

So please, a simple message "All factions are defeated, you are the supreme ruler of the vacuum" with an added simple sound effect would be enough.  ;D
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.61a ALPHA build 7) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on December 28, 2013, 07:13:31 AM
I'll put that into Build 8, after I get the Newbie Guide code done :)

Quote
The file is named exigency_RR.ogg instead of exigency_rr.ogg, so fails to load on Linux.
Oops.  Darn case-sensitive stuff, gets me every time.  Fixed.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.61a ALPHA build 7) (TC Mod)
Post by: Annex on December 28, 2013, 08:38:48 AM
I take it the save files are not compatible between build 6 and 7? Also, preventing fleet composition from being seen really seems quite useless as everyone should be saving before a battle anyhow, so what youve done now is that players waste time attacking fleets they may not be able to handle that they would have otherwise known before hand, but now have to engage first only to find out they cant handle it. Otherwise new build seems working great so far, started new game and following same path to see if there are any glaring problems from the previous build
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.61a ALPHA build 7) (TC Mod)
Post by: MesoTroniK on December 28, 2013, 10:28:01 AM
Disclaimer*

I just wanted to pop in here and mention that while my faction Exigency Incorporated is implemented in Vacuum, it is also available in a vanilla balanced standalone format and Uomoz's compilation. I enjoy Vacuum quite a bit myself but the mechanics are vastly different, and my faction is much more finely tuned in the other available formats. My hope is you can enjoy all the versions :)
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.61a ALPHA build 7) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on December 28, 2013, 11:35:45 AM
@Annex:

They're thoroughly incompatible  :D

And Build 8, which I think I might get done today, will probably break 'em again.  

Alpha and all that :)
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.61a ALPHA build 7) (TC Mod)
Post by: Annex on December 28, 2013, 12:22:08 PM
@Annex:

They're thoroughly incompatible  :D

And Build 8, which I think I might get done today, will probably break 'em again.  

Alpha and all that :)

Roger that, its all good, just making sure I understand what to expect and all that.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.61a ALPHA build 7) (TC Mod)
Post by: Debido on December 28, 2013, 01:13:28 PM
I haven't played build 7, but I'm really looking forward to the release of build 8, which I'll definitely download and play.

We'll done on implementing the AI fleet abstraction you'll no doubt have other modders clambering for the code to put into their own. This is LazyWizard level Lazylib stuff, although I assume one day something similar will eventually become part of the main code tree.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.61a ALPHA build 7) (TC Mod)
Post by: Garmine on December 28, 2013, 01:37:11 PM
Could you please fix the sounds/fx/guns/exigency_RR.ogg capitalization problem?

The file is exigency_RR.ogg while the code looks for exigency_rr.ogg. Aaaand Linux likes it a lot!

Thanks in advance :D

Edit: fixed lots of typos. Damn I can't type!
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.61a ALPHA build 7) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on December 28, 2013, 02:21:07 PM
Fixed for Build 8.

Finished the Newbie Tutorial; still working on the Win Condition code.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.61a ALPHA build 7) (TC Mod)
Post by: Annex on December 28, 2013, 06:38:48 PM
The planetary exploration random encounters range from too easy to beyond impossible. Having 6 battleships and a dozen cruisers come at ya at the same time is just undoable when all I have is 1 battlecruiser and 2 battleships. Now I dont mind the challenge if its a rare event, but it happens 50% of the time (you can tell as the map will have the 4 capture points), with the other half being in the "too easy" category. Are you able to add more in-between events that pose a more reasonable challenge?
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.61a ALPHA build 7) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on December 28, 2013, 06:49:00 PM
I'll take a look at that.  Almost done with the (rudimentary-but-functional) "victory" mechanic.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.61a ALPHA build 7) (TC Mod)
Post by: LiquidStang on December 28, 2013, 07:05:07 PM
As a moddist you're certainly quite the artist.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.61a ALPHA build 7) (TC Mod)
Post by: Debido on December 28, 2013, 07:14:00 PM
Xenoargh, how are the random fleet strength encounters calculated? Or are they pre-sets?
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.61a ALPHA build 7) (TC Mod)
Post by: Annex on December 28, 2013, 07:58:08 PM
Xenoargh, how are the random fleet strength encounters calculated? Or are they pre-sets?

Theres always 5 battleships and 7 cruisers in the enemy attack fleet, always. Never one more, never one less. So either its maxing out to a pre-set amount of each or thats how its hardcoded. Either way build 7 is 10x harder than build 6 because of this.

Also the enemy fleet seems to be perfectly content flying in a horizontal formation allowing all of their ships to focus fire each of mine one at a time, while my ships charge in one at a time, blocking shots for all the others, and then decide to dump their flux while being focused fired by 5 battleships. All my ships have weapons with ranges 1200 to 1800 and yet they decide that point blank is the best way to go. Ive never seen battleships (mine) die so stupidly fast...
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.61a ALPHA build 7) (TC Mod)
Post by: Annex on December 28, 2013, 08:10:12 PM
Right now im convinced that something terribly broke with the AI. I just watched a battleship (one of mine obviously) that wasnt disabled or broken in any way sit at around 95% full flux. He stopped moving, he stopped shooting, wasnt overloaded, wasnt dumping flux. His shields were still up and that was it. This lasted about 6-7 seconds at which point two enemy battleships came up on him, pushed his flux to 100%, overloaded him, and killed him. Never witnessed this once in build 6 (got to level 46 there). At this point every defense fleet has 4 battleships and every attack fleet has 5. They all come out at once and all focus fire my apparently crippled ships.

Also ran into a crippling bug: I started off as Hegemony and I noticed from the start that Independent fleets were defending their stations. However once I declared war on the IDF, they still remained friendly to the Hegemony, and keep patroling their stations. As a result I cannot enter my own nations stations without having a wall of battleships thrown at me.

I also declared war on the IDF as they were the only ones sending out large amounts of civilian fleets. Unlike the previous map which was filled with nice mix of everything until late game where one race begun to dominate, on this map (8 systems) its got IDF presence in each and every system while most of the other races are either extinct from the get go or heavily suppressed. I think some code needs to be thrown in to give each race a balanced and well established foothold so that 1 race cant immediately conquer the place if they somehow got the better starting positions.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.61a ALPHA build 7) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on December 28, 2013, 09:21:29 PM
@Annex:  I keep putting making the Faction distribution a bit more "fair" on my list, but I haven't got it done yet.  I'll look at that for the next build, shouldn't be too hard.

Other than System AI (which, with the exception of Fortress Shield, doesn't effect shield use)... IDK about all that, sounds like you've exposed a bug in Vanilla's AI. 

I've actually seen that behavior several times, but I can't quite pin down why the AI does that, when it's perfectly obvious that they should be dropping their shields or Vent or both.  It's probably about time to write new AIs for things, but that's a very complicated chore.

@Debido:  Fleet vs. Fleet is using a very simple weighted dice-throw system.  I set it up this way because I don't like how Vanilla's system works; it hugely over-complicated and yet it produces really boring results, because it doesn't have any real chance for "magic bullet" victories of small fleets over larger ones.  The system's heavily-weighted in favor of larger fleets; victor wins and totally defeats the smaller fleet, for now.  In the future, I want to add a feature where defeated fleets get a chance to have a few members left, so that players can "vulture" them, but that's been left out for now and it's really not that hard for players to find fleets they can defeat atm, once they're past the "grinding asteroid encounters" stage.

Anyhow, the end-game "You Win" thing works now.  I just need to write up the text for it, so I'll do that and push out Build 8.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.61a ALPHA build 8) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on December 28, 2013, 10:50:04 PM
Build 8 is now available.

Changelog:


Stuff on plate for Build 9:

1.  Distribution of Factions to make for less-random playthroughs / difficulty.
2.  An actual difficulty setting that influences the entire game, beyond the current settings for number of planets.
3.  Diplomatic relationships between the Factions, including with the player, that can change who's a friend and who's an enemy over time.
4.  Maybe a look at virtual systems to replace Fleet mechanics.  Could mean simpler player control over their Empire, too, when that part is finally considered.
5.  Doing the big bad rewrite of the FleetInteractionDialog, to bring the Capture mechanics in line with the random encounters and simplify the system a bit.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.61a ALPHA build 8) (TC Mod)
Post by: Annex on December 29, 2013, 08:06:08 AM
The other thing thats happening with build 7 is that when I had a small fleet, when I docked at hostile factions stations, I could buy/sell/repair there still. However once my fleet got big enough (think at the 2 battleship mark) I could no longer do that, and the only option when going to a hostile station was to try to capture it. While im fine with that in itself, that leaves very few friendly stations at that point to dock at. If that is left as is then what would help would be to have 1 neutral uncapturable unaligned station in each system that the player can use as a fallback point for buying/selling.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.61a ALPHA build 8) (TC Mod)
Post by: Typo91 on December 29, 2013, 08:08:08 AM
in the menu it still reads BUILD 7? or am i missing something?

this is the first time i have ever downloaded this mod, moments ago, so its not anything from an old version.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.61a ALPHA build 8) (TC Mod)
Post by: Annex on December 29, 2013, 09:01:03 AM
in the menu it still reads BUILD 7? or am i missing something?

this is the first time i have ever downloaded this mod, moments ago, so its not anything from an old version.

File size for build 8 is different from 7 so you should be good.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.61a ALPHA build 8) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on December 29, 2013, 10:36:51 AM
I forgot to change that, lol.  Oh well :)

Quote
The other thing thats happening with build 7 is that when I had a small fleet, when I docked at hostile factions stations, I could buy/sell/repair there still. However once my fleet got big enough (think at the 2 battleship mark) I could no longer do that, and the only option when going to a hostile station was to try to capture it. While im fine with that in itself, that leaves very few friendly stations at that point to dock at. If that is left as is then what would help would be to have 1 neutral uncapturable unaligned station in each system that the player can use as a fallback point for buying/selling.
There is no limit on fleet sizes.  It's all about relations.  Once diplomacy is in place, it'll be possible to make peace with a faction, for a price, and faction relationships will change over time- you may make peace with one faction but go to war with another one, and part of the goal for having a difficulty setting is determining when the other factions will decide to make war on you (i.e., eventually, you'll have to defeat everybody, if playing on the hardest mode).  But that's basically how it's supposed to work right now; if they aren't friendly, they're hardly going to welcome your fleet with open arms.  If you don't want to lose access to stations, don't attack their fleets :)
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.61a ALPHA build 8) (TC Mod)
Post by: Annex on December 29, 2013, 01:15:40 PM
No limit? Well that would explain why at level 5 all my systems look like this:

http://www.nexworks.ca/starsector1.jpg (http://www.nexworks.ca/starsector1.jpg)

This was not the case with build 6. At this point the only way a player can get something they can handle to fight is by asteroid mining. Everything else is giant blobs of death.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.61a ALPHA build 8) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on December 29, 2013, 02:07:12 PM
Well, earn 1 million credits and build your own Stations.  You're supposed to take over the Sector and all that :)

Seriously though... from what I see there, you just got a really bad dice roll (if the Independents rule practically everywhere).  I'd just start a new game and re-roll for now.  I will be addressing that issue in Build 9, for sure- if nothing else, because I seem to always get games without the Glaug, who are my favorite things to fight.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.61a ALPHA build 8) (TC Mod)
Post by: Annex on December 29, 2013, 06:19:45 PM
Yeah the Glaug are fun to fight. Thanks for your hard work!
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.61a ALPHA build 8) (TC Mod)
Post by: Annex on December 30, 2013, 04:10:19 PM
Tested out the station capture mechanics, few observations:

- the boss is 6 stations, all of which spawn outside of the visual map. The stations are still within weapons distance of your ships but you cant see what youre shooting at

- the stations are capturable if you have marines, and in the last fight I captured 3 of the stations, all of which can be deployed later by the player in battles. Not sure if thats intended or not, but they do make for a nice rally point!
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.61a ALPHA build 8) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on December 30, 2013, 04:58:47 PM
The Stations should not be capturable, and their physics is buggy (they used to something entirely different in previous versions of the mod) which is why they're not moving past the starting borders. 

Fixed for the next build.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.61a ALPHA build 8) (TC Mod)
Post by: Annex on December 30, 2013, 06:06:01 PM
Another bug: in my latest station conquest attempt, the station "boss" retreated after I shot one of the stations a few times, and I won the battle. Guess he realized his 6 stations were no match for my 5 battleships :)
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.61a ALPHA build 8) (TC Mod)
Post by: Annex on December 30, 2013, 07:23:56 PM
So far best I can tell Glaug need to be buffed at least 25% and exigency nerfed by that amount. Takes me 10 min to kill the glaug fleet + starbases, and 25 min to do the same to exigency. The glaug carriers die in 3 seconds of firing, and their battleships last half as long as any other. Independent seem to be well balanced, but their cruisers are extremely squishy. I just aim at them and they vaporize.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.61a ALPHA build 8) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on December 30, 2013, 07:29:48 PM
Are you playing on full damage? 

Also, are we talking about a fleet optimized vs. Exigency (i.e., beam-boat Odysseys as your capships with Mega Beams)?

Also, I've been putting serious thought into converting the Glaug into a shield-less faction, but giving them regenerating armor, to reflect their semi-organic ship designs.  It'd also resolve the big problems they have with having long, skinny ships as their main-line battleships.

I think that might be interesting.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.61a ALPHA build 8) (TC Mod)
Post by: MesoTroniK on December 30, 2013, 07:55:51 PM
Xeno, if you get the regenerating armor to work well I would also be interested in that script that I would tweak a lot ironically for Exigency.

My thoughts is making Exigencies armor extremely weak to the point of near worthlessness so a single shot of anything even moderately powerful would point vaporize that spot of the plates. But then it would regenerate that same spot very quickly. They would retain the hull regeneration but it would work much more slowly.

This would be my own little experiment that I would do on my own standalone vanilla copy, as it would alter the balance dramatically that was so hard to achieve and equally bad headaches would follow. But I would take my time with it and I love tweaking things :)
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.61a ALPHA build 8) (TC Mod)
Post by: Annex on December 30, 2013, 08:10:18 PM
Are you playing on full damage? 

Also, are we talking about a fleet optimized vs. Exigency (i.e., beam-boat Odysseys as your capships with Mega Beams)?

Also, I've been putting serious thought into converting the Glaug into a shield-less faction, but giving them regenerating armor, to reflect their semi-organic ship designs.  It'd also resolve the big problems they have with having long, skinny ships as their main-line battleships.

I think that might be interesting.

Im playing at half damage taken to my ships. And no im not specifically geared to fight exigency ships. Mix of Onslaught and Nautilus designs.

Also finally found a PunkJunkers starbase. Their ships performed well, but their starbases got zero reinforcements, not one ship showed up to defend them after the initial group of defenders fell leaving the starbases all on their own with not one ship or fighter around them.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.61a ALPHA build 8) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on December 30, 2013, 09:14:28 PM
Ah, that's good to know.  With Exigency, gearing right is pretty important, because of their special strengths.  They're really not terribly strong if you have good anti-missile weapons (like a Guardian + a couple of Hephaesteus on an Onslaught, for example, for anti-torp and anti-spam) and have beams-a-plenty; I tried out a maxed-out Odyssey build the other day, and it blew right through Exigency ships.
 
A Nautilus is about the worst-possible ship to fight Exigency with; practically all of its weapons are vulnerable to their Repulsor system.  Same with trying to nuke Exigency from long range, at least with a mixed fleet; I've lost ships due to missiles getting reversed, hehe.

Overall, I'd say that Glaug definitely are a bit weak right now; one of the things I think is a major problem is that their long, skinny ships are pretty strong, in theory, but take huge numbers of hits to the shields, which have to be huge to deal with their shapes.  They tend to get into Flux lockdown too easily, where they cannot fire a lot of their weapons but the AI won't Vent (which I can't really fix until I write custom AIs or write some sort of new type of "shield").  Originally, I wanted them to have small, hard-to-penetrate Shields, but it turned out to be really hard to get the AI to use them well.

The carrier is a big weak spot, as is their lack of any weapons that don't use Flux other than the Shard Gun.  That's pretty easily fixed, and making new weapons is always fun.  Maybe a long-range low-damage version of the Melter and a small, Flux-less weapon that does something interesting, like do damage and slow ships down?  Maybe some new missile that does something wicked, like a big EMP strike, since all of the good missiles are used by the other factions atm?

So, based on what currently ails them, an armor regeneration system that was constantly on in lieu of shields sounds pretty attractive for them; they'd have plenty of Flux freed up, wouldn't take Hard Flux damage, and would not take as many hits from random spam.  It'd also give them an edge vs. Plasma weapons, which are the bane of ships with strong shields but low Armor values.

Also, their beam Cruiser with the Megabeam is just not terrifying enough.  They have really good fighters, but their Frigates are pretty meh, and their Destroyer with Phase Teleport isn't scary enough, same with the Catcher, which has remained the coolest-looking-ship-that-actually-sucks for a while now, sort of like the Striker.

I wish that spawning new ships in combat wasn't borked and buggy atm; I'd love to give them some way to launch massive bunches of fighters over time from their carriers, too.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.61a ALPHA build 8) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on December 31, 2013, 02:51:01 PM
OK, built armor-regeneration code. 

This is going to be very tricky to balance.  Basically, high-level Battleships with Heavy Armor / Neutronium Plating on one end, Frigates with nothing on the other; it has to be just effective enough that it's a credible alternative to Shields, but not quite make the big ships invulnerable.  Going to take a lot of playtesting to get it somewhere near right (oh, darn).  Anyhow, it looks totally feasible to offer a really weak version of this as a general Hull Mod, and a much more potent version of it as the Glaug's special, replacing their reliance on Shields.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.61a ALPHA build 8) (TC Mod)
Post by: Annex on December 31, 2013, 05:43:41 PM
Speaking of mega beam, no way is it 1500 range. Mark IX has 1800 range and shoots like 3x further. The mega beam appears to only be around 500-600 and not 1500.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.61a ALPHA build 8) (TC Mod)
Post by: Cyan Leader on January 01, 2014, 01:14:45 PM
So I just blew my second million on a station on the same system.. what does it do again? I was hoping they would generate credits or something but are we really blowing 1 million into these things just to make sure there is a friendly place to dock after declaring war with the others factions?

Also do Blueprints actually do anything other than being a more expensive Germanium?
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.61a ALPHA build 8) (TC Mod)
Post by: Annex on January 01, 2014, 02:56:46 PM
Tested the win condition on a 12 system map, worked great. Two things that would be nice: 1) having some sort of indicator on the galaxy map beside each system if there are hostile station(s) present there. I spent a good 45 min hunting for that last station. 2) variety in the station battles in terms of positioning, strength of forces, order of deployment etc. As is right now each station fight turns out exactly the same way.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.61a ALPHA build 8) (TC Mod)
Post by: Annex on January 01, 2014, 02:57:22 PM
So I just blew my second million on a station on the same system.. what does it do again? I was hoping they would generate credits or something but are we really blowing 1 million into these things just to make sure there is a friendly place to dock after declaring war with the others factions?

Also do Blueprints actually do anything other than being a more expensive Germanium?

Blueprints are just for money right now. Stations give you a place to resupply, and they also spawn friendly units that help fight for you. Generally not worth it as its better to put together a 5-6 battleship fleet and take over enemy stations, which then become yours.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.61a ALPHA build 8) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on January 01, 2014, 08:53:08 PM
Stations will eventually be able to do some things for players:

1.  Without a Station, you won't be able to engage in diplomacy.  Diplomatic relations (and changes in how the Factions feel about each other, including your Faction) is an upcoming feature.

2.  Eventually, you'll need Stations to win.  Stations represent territory you've claimed; if you don't have Stations (and therefore a legitimate claim to the title of Space Emperor), you'll eventually get attacked by all of the Factions... and if you don't have a fleet powerful enough to capture an enemy Station, you'll lose the game.

3.  Establishing a Station will be an important diplomatic event, in the sense that you're staking a claim to a System.  Factions in that System will react negatively to this.

4.  Stations will probably become income centers at some point, but at that point in the game, money is probably the least interesting problem you'll have. 

I might make a simplistic rock-paper-scissors dynamic, where Stations can have different settings; a Trade Station might produce income but would produce weak fleets and fare poorly against Assault Forces, a Defense Station might eat a little income and produce fleets designed to hold the System and have an enhanced defense against Assault Forces, and an Attack Station would eat a lot of income and produce fleets that are designed to damage enemy fleets and take their Stations.

I don't want to get any deeper into that stuff atm, though; I haven't even built the basics of diplomacy yet, and I need to do stuff like ensure an even scattering of the Factions throughout the game and make the AI players behave a little more intelligently first; right now their "AI" is incredibly stupid and all we have is a simplistic "take over the galaxy" game where if you don't make any new enemies, it's very simple to win.

Anyhow... that is the plan, roughly.  Right now I just have the bare-bones structure, in terms of explaining things to newbies and a win condition.


Also, after much debugging and polishing, I think that the Glaug are buffed and their regenerating-armor shtick is pretty cool.  I am thinking about also adding another type of special effect like this- a "shield" that trades damage for Flux and nullifies damage while it's on.  After getting the Glaug's new stuff working, I am really intrigued by the idea of getting rid of the circular-shield problems in other places where something else might work better (lookin' at you, Acanthus).
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.61a ALPHA build 8) (TC Mod)
Post by: LiquidStang on January 02, 2014, 06:59:53 AM
Build 8 is now available.

Changelog:

  • Adds Newbie Guide- a really basic explanation of "how 2 play".
  • Adds You R Winnar- a win-condition that informs the player when they've won.
  • Fixes a smallish bug in the missile guidance code.

Stuff on plate for Build 9:

1.  Distribution of Factions to make for less-random playthroughs / difficulty.
2.  An actual difficulty setting that influences the entire game, beyond the current settings for number of planets.
3.  Diplomatic relationships between the Factions, including with the player, that can change who's a friend and who's an enemy over time.
4.  Maybe a look at virtual systems to replace Fleet mechanics.  Could mean simpler player control over their Empire, too, when that part is finally considered.
5.  Doing the big bad rewrite of the FleetInteractionDialog, to bring the Capture mechanics in line with the random encounters and simplify the system a bit.

So, what you're saying, you wanted to add influences to the game to make it difficult. Which is the friend and who is the enemy? You should make a good rewrite just to make the game seem easier.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.61a ALPHA build 8) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on January 02, 2014, 09:51:19 AM
I'm not quite understanding what you're saying.  Are you saying that the mod is too hard for you? 

Because yes, it's going to get harder; right now there is no challenge at all if you play it "correctly" and avoid fighting with anybody you're not already enemies with; you can just take over their Stations and win the game pretty quickly.

On Half Damage, I find it's really easy once you've earned enough money through mining.  There are several ships that are practically invulnerable.  On Full Damage, it's reasonably challenging, but it's still a little too easy, and there isn't much to do, from a strategic standpoint.  Making that part of the game work is going to take a little while, but the first big step is getting diplomatic events working, so that your enemies today may or may not be your enemies tomorrow, depending on what the player does :)
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.61a ALPHA build 8) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on January 02, 2014, 09:10:53 PM
My favorite little person said that the Glaug needed more guns.  I said, "OK, but they have to have something that's new and not just pew-pew, and you have to draw them, but I'll paint them.". 

The Spore Guns resulted :)

(http://www.wolfegames.com/TA_Section/glaug_spore_gun_medium_base.png)(http://www.wolfegames.com/TA_Section/glaug_spore_gun_large_base.png)

These have really unique rules.  On any given hit, if it hits shields, it does practically nothing.  If it hits armor, it strips away 1-3 / 3-6 armor panels, removing <some percentage> of the armor in the square.  If it hits Hull, it does <some percentage> of current Hull damage. 

So it's really nasty vs. stuff that dropped shields and doesn't have regenerating armor (say, Exigency or anything that's Venting right now) but it's really weak vs. enemies with strong shields and weak armor (say, Tri-Tachyon) and only moderately useful for killing enemies that can regenerate health (Exigency, Punk Junkers, various others). 

It also can't actually kill anything (by fiat, it won't be allowed to drop Armor / Hull to zero)- the final damage has to be done by another weapon... so it's support.  Weird, flukey support.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.61a ALPHA build 8) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on January 04, 2014, 08:20:35 AM
I built a new type of shield, called an Integrity Field. 

The shield provides 100% coverage of the ship, like a Bubble Shield, but fits the ship exactly (and has a moderately cool special effect when turned on and all that). 

Like any other shield, it takes damage, can use all of the tools for draining Hard Flux, and can be turned on and off just like a regular shield.  Unlike the Glaug's new special power (Armor Regeneration) this is (technically) a System, so it cannot be combined with normal shields, but it replaces them in every way that matters. 

There are a few loose ends I need to clean up (while we can put new Systems onto ships via equipping them with PHASE and using a custom System, the engine doesn't recognize them as PHASE when testing .getPhaseCloak(), oddly enough, so I have to add a few checks to certain special weapons that do damage directly so that they can't cheat and go through the shield) but it's basically working and it's fairly polished already.

Right now the only ship that gets it is the Acanthus, since it really needs it, but I may change that as I review the ships that might benefit from it the most.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.61a ALPHA build 8) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on January 04, 2014, 10:49:25 AM
Example of the Integrity Field on / off:

(http://www.wolfegames.com/TA_Section/traditional_shields_up_down.jpg)
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.61a ALPHA build 8) (TC Mod)
Post by: LiquidStang on January 04, 2014, 04:27:53 PM
I'm getting the hang of it now.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.61a ALPHA build 8) (TC Mod)
Post by: Annex on January 06, 2014, 10:02:38 AM
Example of the Integrity Field on / off:

(http://www.wolfegames.com/TA_Section/traditional_shields_up_down.jpg)

Looks fantastic! Like going from the bubble shields of the star trek tv series to the hull hugging ones of the movies.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.61a ALPHA build 8) (TC Mod)
Post by: Azmond on January 12, 2014, 12:03:53 PM
I love this mod! It's much more involed to a degree then excerlin is, however Excilerine has support for the Community factons, which is why it's still my favorite, but over all your own mod is GREAT! I'm glad to see youve updated it! I was worried youg ave up on it. :<
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.61a ALPHA build 8) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on January 12, 2014, 12:34:28 PM
Yeah, support for the community factions is great; unfortunately, due to lack of engine support for a lot of things I wanted to do and a very different vision of game balance, this had to be a TC :)
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.61a ALPHA build 8) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on January 12, 2014, 09:33:01 PM
A couple of the new weapons for the next build:

A double-barreled Slammer turret.  It's smashin' time!
(http://www.wolfegames.com/TA_Section/slammer_dual_turret.png)
The Neutron Cannon.  A very special weapon, it fires blasts of high-energy anti-neutrons that interact with normal matter in exotic ways.*
(http://www.wolfegames.com/TA_Section/neutron_cannon.png)
*Translation:  it's a weak-sauce Energy weapon that sucks vs. shields, but does damage directly to Hull.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.61a ALPHA build 8) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on January 13, 2014, 09:41:20 PM
OK, one of the epic new features in the next release is that Random Battle can now feature every single fleet vs. fleet battle in the mod. 

So we can see what happens when epic forces collide.

Right now, it appears the Glaug are finally competitive, maybe even a bit OP.  Massed Gnawlers and Songbirds are pretty ridiculous; expect them to get a DP bump so that they aren't quite so, erm, ubiquitous problem solvers:

(http://www.wolfegames.com/TA_Section/glaug_vs_tritachyon001.jpg)
Yes, those are multiple Paragon corpses.  Yes, it's full damage.  And the Glaug fighters no longer have shields, to boot.  I just sat and watched them tear through the Tri-Tach fleet pretty much solo (after the Tri-Tachs managed to scrap my battleship and several Crushers and Trolls). 

It was ugly.  Although, it must be said, part of the issue is that the Admiral AI is doing a really really bad job of supporting fighters in general, so the Tri-Tachs threw in their fighter masses but lost them far more quickly than the Glaug did once I capped their carrier... but that's something I need to bug Alex about since we can't tinker with that part of the engine yet.

I am also now convinced that I need to write a Fighter AI or AIs asap, because mass fighters are about 90% of the lag factor in really big battles. 

There's nothing like watching the game run in slooooow moooooootion (like, about 4-5 FPS) as 100 fighters duke it out (and yeah, I'm fairly certain it's the AI state-machines at this point, I sped stuff up noticeably with my new Autofire AIs so I think there's all sorts of room for improvement).

I think this can be addressed by a better, faster AI model for these little guys, but it's a big project to undertake.  I'll try whipping up a really crappy AI and see how this goes...
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.61a ALPHA build 8) (TC Mod)
Post by: SainnQ on January 14, 2014, 03:45:50 AM
So. I finally got around to trying the new release candidate, and decided I'd give this mod a go.

I'm liking it so far, but my main problem is I might've chosen a faction who hasn't made a foothold in any of the 5 systems I've chosen (Exigency)

Is there any sort of flag, or trigger I should be nosing around for?

Currently it's Glaug, Punk Junkers, Tri, Hegemony & independant.

Do Exigency just not spawn unless you choose a higher system count? I'm sitting on only 4Gigs of ram so I figured I'd start it easy.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.61a ALPHA build 8) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on January 14, 2014, 09:11:32 AM
Basically, right now there is no guarantee that a given Faction will have a "home".  This is fixed for the next build, but I'm not quite done with that yet :)
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.61a ALPHA build 8) (TC Mod)
Post by: SainnQ on January 14, 2014, 01:53:31 PM
Any way I can play with a piece of code myself to insure Exigency spawns?

Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.61a ALPHA build 8) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on January 14, 2014, 04:54:57 PM
Sure;  the code's all in the mod- see data/scripts/world/SectorGen.java; the relevant bits are in buildSystem() :)
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.61a ALPHA build 8) (TC Mod)
Post by: ciago92 on January 15, 2014, 07:28:22 PM
two questions: one, what do mining ships actually do? do they enable the mining event with asteroids or no?
two, would it be possible to have a vanilla style version of this? ie with the mining and tech mining but not with the energy weapons on ballistic mounts part

regardless of answers, absolutely love this! love not being able to see hostile ships, being ambushed at mines, etc. many awesome things here!
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.61a ALPHA build 8) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on January 15, 2014, 09:33:41 PM
1.  Right now, they're just ships.  They used to enable mining in 0.54a, but that's not currently so.
2.  Yes, it would be possible, and probably not very hard if one knew what one was about, code-wise.  Most of the important stuff (in terms of the campaign-side mechanics) is in a few very obvious places, clearly labeled and all that.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.61a ALPHA build 8) (TC Mod)
Post by: daemon1129 on January 16, 2014, 10:56:41 PM
Hi I am trying to add my own ship into the mod as a starter ship with no luck.  I would assume CharacterCreationPluginImpl.java would be the file I need to edit.  But editing it have no effect (changing starting skill points or starting choices,etc).  What is it that I am missing?
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.61a ALPHA build 8) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on January 16, 2014, 11:06:02 PM
You need to recompile the jar file :)
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.61a ALPHA build 8) (TC Mod)
Post by: daemon1129 on January 17, 2014, 12:20:58 AM
I got it to work now, hex editing was easier  ;D
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.61a ALPHA build 8) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on January 18, 2014, 06:52:12 PM
Goofed around with a drawing tablet for the first time ever; this sucks but I like it, so here's the Punk Junkers' first official comm screen  :)

(http://www.wolfegames.com/TA_Section/punk_junkers.jpg)
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.61a ALPHA build 8) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on January 18, 2014, 11:20:50 PM
Second go.  This isn't quite done yet, but meet the Blade:

(http://www.wolfegames.com/TA_Section/blade_wip01.png)(http://www.wolfegames.com/TA_Section/blade_wip02.png)(http://www.wolfegames.com/TA_Section/blade_wip03.png)
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.61a ALPHA build 8) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on January 19, 2014, 08:52:25 PM
As those of you who've played the mod for a little bit probably know, I like Aztec themes and art. 

Anyhow, Doogie, one of those awesome people who contributes sprites to the Spiral Arms thread, released a ship he called the Quetzalcoatl.  Given my nature, this was impossible to resist messing with.  So here it is; an Aztec-themed heavy cruiser with a special weapon:

(http://www.wolfegames.com/TA_Section/quetzalcoatl_2.png)
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.61a ALPHA build 8) (TC Mod)
Post by: ciago92 on January 19, 2014, 08:58:10 PM
that ship looks awesome!

do you know if .6.2a broke anything or can I just play it as is?
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.61a ALPHA build 8) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on January 19, 2014, 09:07:52 PM
Thanks, but most of the awesome was Doogie's work, which I had a lot of fun with :)

So far as I know, the code that was in the last build should be OK.  IDK 100% for sure, I'm not testing with it, but none of that code's been a problem in 0.62a :)

0.62a did break a couple of things in the new ship AIs and auto-fire AIs that I'm developing, but that was quickly resolved with a little help from Alex :)

So it's currently stable for 0.62a and I could release whenever I feel like it's ready; right now I'm still working on developing a halfway-decent set of Frigate AIs that can handle certain things that Vanilla's AI wasn't very happy about; the goal for the week is to have a couple of the last remaining major problems solved, in terms of developing a really comprehensive state machine.  Fighter AI is largely done already, and is (imo, anyhow) an improvement over Vanlla's AI in some respects.

I also haven't finished the campaign-integration stuff I wanted to get done for this build, although I'm very glad I waited, especially in regards to the Fleet Dialog code, which has improved a lot since 0.61.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.61a ALPHA build 8) (TC Mod)
Post by: ciago92 on January 21, 2014, 02:49:44 PM
Looks like it works :-) what's the point of having your own stations? I edited my save for a couple million and built stations but you still have to pay for them and such so I wasn't sure what the point was. If they spawn fleets and start doing things that'll be better but I have yet to see that either
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.61a ALPHA build 8) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on January 21, 2014, 04:54:38 PM
They do spawn fleets, although there's a hard-cap on how many fleets they can spawn at a time right now, because the number of fleets is a severe RAM issue for SS in general, even with the things I've done thus far.  I'm thinking I'll abstract things outside the place the player is as this gets further along.

Meanwhile, the plan for Stations is that they're going to represent a "claim of territory"; building them will have diplomatic effects and complicate your conquest of the Sector.  How all that works is still pretty nebulous; I need to build the diplomatic effects of battles first before I tackle that, and I'm still working on AI for Frigates atm, so it's going to be a little bit longer before I get to this part.  I think I'll release an interim version update before I get to the strategic segment, right after I get done with the first stages of diplomatic relationships- how player battles will change the perception of the player in the eyes of the other factions, neutral, friendly and enemy.  For example, if you attack Faction A, but Faction B likes Faction A, then your relationship with B may get worse; neutrals will generally pick a side over time, etc.- a simple system that will pretty much guarantee that the player has to defeat multiple factions and can't just wait things out, like they do now. 

I also will make some code that deals with the Factions making war on each other, so that they're a threat to the player but will only very rarely do the player's job for him / her.

Anyhow, this stuff will probably be the update after this one; this update has already gotten to be really huge, with better auto-aim systems, smarter missiles, better fighter AI and hopefully better Frigate AI, although I must admit that there are still some things that aren't quite perfect yet.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.61a ALPHA build 8) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on January 23, 2014, 12:04:46 AM
Meet the Fossey and the Darwin, both (very loosely) based on an original design by Thule.  

Only about 2-3 ships to go for this set of kitbashed kitbashes, and I'll finally have enough of the ships to (finally) be ready as a faction :)
(http://www.wolfegames.com/TA_Section/fs_fossey.png)(http://www.wolfegames.com/TA_Section/fs_darwin.png)

The other ones, for folks who've totally forgotten that this was going on (or are new):

(http://www.wolfegames.com/TA_Section/fs_muir.png)(http://www.wolfegames.com/TA_Section/fs_carson.png)(http://www.wolfegames.com/TA_Section/fs_fossey.png)(http://www.wolfegames.com/TA_Section/fs_cousteau.png)(http://www.wolfegames.com/TA_Section/fs_darwin.png)
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.61a ALPHA build 8) (TC Mod)
Post by: Bjørn_in_the_Sector on January 23, 2014, 01:54:04 AM
Ah. I rememer seeing some of these in the sprite thread! I've always been curious about this mod, just haven't summoned up the courage to try a whole new TC mod. The whole "warning: alpha" bit is a bit dauntig as well. HOWEVER, I might just give this a go. Your sprites are consistently amazing, and I'm excited to see what this is all about.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.61a ALPHA build 8) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on January 23, 2014, 02:13:38 AM
It's not that scary.  If you're halfway decent, it's pretty easy atm; I'm still working on the stuff that will make it a little harder at the high end.

Anyhow, have fun :)
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.61a ALPHA build 8) (TC Mod)
Post by: ciago92 on January 23, 2014, 08:13:52 AM
awesome! hurrah for another faction!
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.61a ALPHA build 8) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on January 23, 2014, 12:26:27 PM
Well, it's still not done yet (nearly a year later  ::)) but it's getting there.  I really want them in, though; I finally figured out a cute shtick for them that would make them unique.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.61a ALPHA build 8) (TC Mod)
Post by: MesoTroniK on January 23, 2014, 01:16:31 PM
What is their special angle Xeno?
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.61a ALPHA build 8) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on January 23, 2014, 11:19:59 PM
They'll have something I'm calling a Recycler Field.  Let's just say that it's a good anti-Beam defense system; I don't want to spoil it ;)
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.61a ALPHA build 8) (TC Mod)
Post by: Debido on January 24, 2014, 12:26:28 AM
They cover their hulls in mirrors?
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.61a ALPHA build 8) (TC Mod)
Post by: Luingar on January 24, 2014, 01:23:37 AM
they surround themselves with bits of trash.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.61a ALPHA build 8) (TC Mod)
Post by: Debido on January 24, 2014, 01:56:00 AM
Oh I like that, or what about disco mirror balls? So when the beams hit you get instant disco lighting and the Bee Gees' "Stayin Alive" starts playing as the mirror balls resonate to the impact of the laser beams.

Just sayin...
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.61a ALPHA build 8) (TC Mod)
Post by: Bjørn_in_the_Sector on January 24, 2014, 02:28:48 AM
^this. This I like. They should TOTALLY have a disco-ball pattern on thier shield.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.61a ALPHA build 8) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on January 24, 2014, 01:28:23 PM
LOL.  Good guess, though.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.61a ALPHA build 8) (TC Mod)
Post by: Debido on January 24, 2014, 01:39:56 PM
Is it me or do those ships have a large weapon running up the longitudinal axis on the left hand side. Except the 4th from the left that appears to have 2
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.61a ALPHA build 8) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on January 24, 2014, 05:30:04 PM
Most of them actually have 2 or more.  They're all very frontally-oriented, firepower-wise.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.61a ALPHA build 8) (TC Mod)
Post by: Draginea on January 24, 2014, 08:06:51 PM
Good, i love ships that are like that. Do they have massive burst damage?
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.61a ALPHA build 8) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on January 25, 2014, 10:01:50 AM
Unknown yet; still working on them :)
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.61a ALPHA build 8) (TC Mod)
Post by: Kazzthal on January 25, 2014, 07:29:57 PM
First I want to say Thank you @xenoargh for such a great mod I think it clearly improves gameplay with it's unique & special features.

I have two isues here:

1.- I have tried to implement some stuff of my own, but I don't think I'm doing things right, since they appear to have cero effect (I think I'm doing something wrong in implementing my own ships)

2.- I don't know why, but the exigency ships take 0 damage plus 0 flux acumulation... I have the lazyLib activated as a mod, but it does not seem to work, mi hardly worked powerful fleet was taken down by a pair of those exigency ships  :-[ (I have tried some other mods & they just work ok, this is the only issue so far)

Aditional data: I don't have memory problems, I have installed & unistalled the game, tried it on the latest patch & played it in the
Starsector 0.6.1a version.

Thank you for your time !

P.S. Sorry for any Syntax or Grammar mistake, as a Mexican young business manager I tend to run in to some of those


Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.61a ALPHA build 8) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on January 25, 2014, 07:59:57 PM
Glad you're enjoying the fun!

Well, it comes with LazyLib already installed, so it doesn't need that... Exigency shouldn't take zero damage, but they should be hard to beat.  They're very vulnerable vs. Beam weapons, however, so try that :)

IDK, that may be a bug that creeped in with 0.62.  I'm going to have a new version out pretty Soon™, should resolve that; I'll test vs. Exigency in the meantime.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.61a ALPHA build 8) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on January 25, 2014, 08:08:17 PM
Oh, and!

Quote
I have tried to implement some stuff of my own, but I don't think I'm doing things right, since they appear to have cero effect (I think I'm doing something wrong in implementing my own ships)
So you've developed a .ship file and you've included new entries in ship_data.csv?  To get those ships in a Faction so that you'll see them in-game, you'll also need to make a .variant and put an entry in the Faction files for one of the fleets that's in the mod.  Adding new fleets won't work; you can edit what's there but you can't add new fleets without code changes (which means making a new .jar).
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.61a ALPHA build 8) (TC Mod)
Post by: Kazzthal on January 25, 2014, 09:31:07 PM
Wow ! That's the quickest answer ever !

Yes indeed I've already done almost all of that, I haven't mess with the fleets tho..

Thanks ! so if I don't integrate my ship in to a fleet it won't appear in the stations markets ? (LOL maybe I'll just leave it there & stick with your included eyecandy stuff I'm too lazy to become a java programer like  :P )

Also, I have run some test battles & yet the exigency frigates (and up tiers) do not take any damage, I was able to take down myself a mining pirate fleet (arround 8 ships plus fighters)

It is happening in my both installs of the game    Starsector 0.6.2a & 0.6.1a I believe I did something wrong, so I tried uninstalling & reinstalling the whole thing (game & mod) but the issue is the same.

Edit: Never mind, Iwas playing the wrong build of this mod, I fanally took some real damage... but after a loooong fight these exigency guys are really hard to take on
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.61a ALPHA build 8) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on January 31, 2014, 01:46:51 AM
...and bump, for great justice.

Almost done with the release, which is saying a lot.  The AIs are all (finally!) done, but the customization system isn't.  Yes, "custom" AIs.  As in, don't like that your Frigate goes after fighters and other Frigates?  Want it to prioritize enemy civilian ships?  Just plug in a different AI. 

Not quite done with that part, but I'm pretty excited about what this stuff is doing already; prepare for things to get a bit harder, especially when fighters are involved.

Anyhow, I got Swift Launchers working again, woohoo, and I may even get in-battle captures working again, someday.  I also did the core rewrite of the FleetEncounterDialog tonight, so captures work like they do when fighting around Asteroids and all that- no more, "gee, you can only, maybe, capture this one thing". 

Oh, and please welcome the second member of the Neutron family, the Neutron Blaster, seen next to its smaller cousin:

(http://www.wolfegames.com/TA_Section/neutron_blaster_turret_base.png)(http://www.wolfegames.com/TA_Section/neutron_cannon_turret_base.png)

Not quite done balancing these things yet, and I'll be honest and say that I'm hoping people use them a bunch and let me know if they're UP / OP or not, because thus far I'm pretty divided, as they're real, real situational.  They're really weird weapons, in that they're pretty much rubbish vs. shields and armor, but they do direct damage to Hull, regardless of Armor.  So they're kind of a direct counter to the armor regenerators that will be in this build and they kill Exigency pretty well, too. 

I think it's fair to say that this build has more balance-altering / breaking stuff than pretty much any other build of the mod, ever, and that's saying a lot, lol.  I am pretty eager to get it done-enough that people can give it a go, even though I know it's really not well-balanced yet.  Just a couple more things and it'll finally be ready :)
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.61a ALPHA build 8) (TC Mod)
Post by: Chronosfear on January 31, 2014, 04:47:42 AM
...and bump, for great justice.

Almost done with the release, which is saying a lot.  The AIs are all (finally!) done, but the customization system isn't.  Yes, "custom" AIs.  As in, don't like that your Frigate goes after fighters and other Frigates?  Want it to prioritize enemy civilian ships?  Just plug in a different AI. 

Not quite done with that part, but I'm pretty excited about what this stuff is doing already; prepare for things to get a bit harder, especially when fighters are involved.

SNIPED

Huh?
You say it will be possible to individually set a "custom" AI behavior for every single ship in my fleet.
That would be awesome
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.61a ALPHA build 8) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on January 31, 2014, 09:33:13 AM
Yes, within some limits.  I'm not going to be offering you good folks a "programmable" AI; that's beyond my abilities.  But you can swap out AIs and alter their fundamental parameters.  For example, if you want a ship to kite at long range, there will be an AI for that.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.61a ALPHA build 8) (TC Mod)
Post by: ciago92 on January 31, 2014, 09:35:12 AM
what's the dialogue/interaction for this going to be? and HOW SOON DO WE GET TO TRY IT?!?! lol I'm a little excited :-)
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.61a ALPHA build 8) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on January 31, 2014, 11:36:47 AM
It's going to use Hull Mods, so that you can do this in the Refit screen.  Keeps it as simple as possible.

When?  Soonish.  Exactly when?  IDK yet; I'm still polishing the Neutron weapons and doing final AI tweaks, amongst other things.  The new Faction and most of the strategic-level stuff isn't done, either; I kind of got mega-distracted when I decided that I just had to solve all of the problems with the Acanthus working the way it does (which pretty much required a new auto-aim AI and ship AI).
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.61a ALPHA build 8) (TC Mod)
Post by: drakhades on January 31, 2014, 06:41:56 PM
looking forward to this!
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.61a ALPHA build 8) (TC Mod)
Post by: Kazzthal on January 31, 2014, 11:09:05 PM
Such great news!!

I hope we can finaly add some danger guns for the ecigency guys since the game goes easy on them, I tookk over entire fleets in my exigency game wiht only this 5 frigates & 4 destroyers, I mean it! It was carnage!

Let me tell you again man, this is my favorite mod for Starsector, I think it really improves the game I haven't played a single mod in wich fighters actually have a tactical role :)

Two questions anyway..

1.- Is there anyway to respawn asteroids ? (faction fleets deplet entire sistems in a mont or so)

2.- It is normal that the factions deploy in early game huge attack or defense fleets ? I think it would be awesome to have more "small" fleets that you could actually battle (some mining fleets match miitary fleets in numbers :O )   
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.61a ALPHA build 8) (TC Mod)
Post by: Bucktail on February 02, 2014, 01:28:56 PM
I saved my game then got into a battle lost and went to reload my save and it won't load. This is the second time this has happened and I have reinstalled the mod and starsector and this is what the log says:

7114996 [Thread-5] INFO  com.fs.starfarer.campaign.save.CampaignGameManager  - Saving to ..\\saves/save_Dow_7604008204544150811...
7161645 [Thread-5] INFO  com.fs.starfarer.campaign.save.CampaignGameManager  - Finished saving
7213148 [Thread-5] INFO  com.fs.starfarer.combat.CombatEngine  - FP1: 36, FP2: 15, maxFP1: 300, maxFP2: 200
7249928 [Thread-5] INFO  com.fs.starfarer.combat.CombatEngine  - FP1: 36, FP2: 15, maxFP1: 300, maxFP2: 200
7562537 [Thread-5] INFO  com.fs.starfarer.combat.CombatEngine  - FP1: 36, FP2: 23, maxFP1: 300, maxFP2: 200
7803446 [Thread-5] INFO  com.fs.starfarer.campaign.save.CampaignGameManager  - Loading ..\\saves/save_Dow_7604008204544150811...
7841914 [Thread-5] INFO  com.fs.starfarer.campaign.save.CampaignGameManager  - Error loading
7842396 [Thread-5] ERROR com.fs.starfarer.campaign.save.CampaignGameManager  - Java heap space
java.lang.OutOfMemoryError: Java heap space

Any way to fix this?
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.61a ALPHA build 8) (TC Mod)
Post by: Draginea on February 02, 2014, 01:45:22 PM
You just need to increase the memory allotted to Starsector. This http://fractalsoftworks.com/forum/index.php?topic=5310.msg111235#msg111235 explains how to.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.61a ALPHA build 8) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on February 03, 2014, 08:51:32 AM
You shouldn't need to do that at all, if you've picked a low-memory start.  I list that stuff at the start for a reason :)

Anyhow, sounds like I need to actually write the abstraction system I planned out earlier to reduce the memory use even further; I think I can make the game run comfortably and without much delay on load / save with dozens of Systems, if not hundreds, even for users with only 1 GB assigned to the game.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.61a ALPHA build 8) (TC Mod)
Post by: Nanao-kun on February 03, 2014, 11:05:10 AM
Anyhow, sounds like I need to actually write the abstraction system I planned out earlier to reduce the memory use even further; I think I can make the game run comfortably and without much delay on load / save with dozens of Systems, if not hundreds, even for users with only 1 GB assigned to the game.
That sounds pretty crazy.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.61a ALPHA build 8) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on February 03, 2014, 11:38:20 AM
We'll see, but I'm fairly confident this can be done :)
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.61a ALPHA build 8) (TC Mod)
Post by: c plus one on February 03, 2014, 11:45:12 AM
We'll see, but I'm fairly confident this can be done :)

I'm placing my mildly-low-RAM laptop's destiny in your hands, then. Good luck with the abstraction system..."help me, Xeno-Argh Kenobi; you're my only hope" ;)
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.61a ALPHA build 8) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on February 03, 2014, 07:50:09 PM
OK, I think that the customizable-AI feature is fully working.  After some testing, I've decided to offer players 3 types of AI:

Carrier AI:  Good for ships like the Venture; it causes these ships to behave as if they have the CARRIER setting, regardless of whether they have a flight deck (which also, incidentally, makes them do more broadsides).

Sniper AI:  Good for missile boats and Tachyon Lance snipers, where we don't want them to close with the enemy at all.

Brawler AI:  Good for any ships bristling with short-range weapons, where they make up in damage what they'll take in incoming.

Also am thinking about implementing a "shield removal" mod, for those ships who are better off without shields, foregoing protection for more Flux for weapons.

Then all I need to get done (for this build) is a couple of minor changes to put diplomatic relations in (in a very basic way, basically, adjusting relationships with everybody in the Sector when you fight another fleet) and put in some sort of "fleeing" state for the AI / player (right now due to changes elsewhere, there is no Escape mode, but it's moderately fun so it's going back in) and I think this build will finally be ready.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.61a ALPHA build 8) (TC Mod)
Post by: Nanao-kun on February 03, 2014, 08:01:01 PM
OK, I think that the customizable-AI feature is fully working.  After some testing, I've decided to offer players 3 types of AI:

Carrier AI:  Good for ships like the Venture; it causes these ships to behave as if they have the CARRIER setting, regardless of whether they have a flight deck (which also, incidentally, makes them do more broadsides).

Sniper AI:  Good for missile boats and Tachyon Lance snipers, where we don't want them to close with the enemy at all.

Brawler AI:  Good for any ships bristling with short-range weapons, where they make up in damage what they'll take in incoming.

Also am thinking about implementing a "shield removal" mod, for those ships who are better off without shields, foregoing protection for more Flux for weapons.

Then all I need to get done (for this build) is a couple of minor changes to put diplomatic relations in (in a very basic way, basically, adjusting relationships with everybody in the Sector when you fight another fleet) and put in some sort of "fleeing" state for the AI / player (right now due to changes elsewhere, there is no Escape mode, but it's moderately fun so it's going back in) and I think this build will finally be ready.

Hah, now if only we could fill weapon slots with special flux vents/capacitors. A mounted shield that works in the direction of the turret/hardpoint would be cool too, but I don't think that would work.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.61a ALPHA build 8) (TC Mod)
Post by: Debido on February 03, 2014, 08:46:25 PM
What if you received a flux/venting bonus for EACH unused Ordinance Point? Might then be able to have that as a hull mod. Then you've got to choose between taking your guns or having more flux for the guns you kept on the ship.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.61a ALPHA build 8) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on February 03, 2014, 09:03:29 PM
I don't know whether that's even possible, but I might look into it?
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.61a ALPHA build 8) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on February 03, 2014, 09:08:15 PM
That appears to be vaguely possible, maybe? 

Not quite sure how I'd structure that, though, in terms of presenting it to players, and then there's the balance knock-on effects.  For example, it'd turn a Spearhead into a DPS monster, if you could fire the Heavy Plasma Cannon constantly while also draining Hard Flux like crazy.  Not sure that's a good idea :)
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.61a ALPHA build 8) (TC Mod)
Post by: Debido on February 03, 2014, 09:33:57 PM
Hm, well I suppose you can balance how many points of flux/vent you get per class. I'm not sure which ship the spearhead is - so many Starsector mods and ships!

I think it would be worth playtesting to see how it actually affects the capabilities of ships. I mean we're decreasing the overall damage output of the ship, but allowing you to fire for longer and keep your shields up a bit longer as well. Sort of a tortoise vs the hare analogy. Once your shields are down, the other guy is going to be doing more damage to you, than you can ever do to him (in theory).

That's the intention anyway what are the stats on the Spearhead?
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.61a ALPHA build 8) (TC Mod)
Post by: Debido on February 03, 2014, 10:17:35 PM
Another thought, for energy based ships, you could have a specialised 'Energy weapon Flux conduit concentrator' mod that gives you extra damage for unused OP.

I mean what's the going rate OP rate for a large energy weapon? 20-30 points? Have it so that for every 35 points of unused OP the remaining energy weapons get a 100% boost to damage, but with it the you also get the increased flux generation.

With that you could make a very powerful single energy weapon at the expense of shields/hullmods/flux capacity etc. However your one-shot ship is going to be a total glass cannon.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.61a ALPHA build 8) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on February 04, 2014, 08:06:43 AM
Spearhead:

(http://www.wolfegames.com/TA_Section/spearhead.png)

If you've ever fought one, then you probably know why I'm a bit leery of making them even more powerful.  Sometimes their arrival in a big fight is a game-changer.  Not to mention what you could do with a Paragon or Odyssey; they could be made, for all practical intents and purposes, invulnerable, and they're already very difficult nuts to crack if a player has one.

Quote
Another thought, for energy based ships, you could have a specialised 'Energy weapon Flux conduit concentrator' mod that gives you extra damage for unused OP.
That can't be done in this mod, because of the Energy / Ballistics split.  Basically, SS doesn't allow for Mutablestats to be assigned to a Weapon arbitrarily; we can't just pick out Weapons that use Flux and give them a bonus; bonuses must be applied to the Slot class.  This is something that Alex could change, but he's fairly unlikely to atm.  That said, if he did, I could get rid of the Energy / Ballistics split.  That's why the only damage upgrades are Energy Pump and Armor Analysis :)

Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.61a ALPHA build 8) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on February 06, 2014, 09:43:36 AM
I think that the release is getting really close to being done.

Tried out abstraction of fleets (basically, fleets only really exist in the local System, rather than being explicitly simulated everywhere) and it works like a charm; SS + Vacuum with 32 generated Systems uses less than 512 MB of RAM.

The only creeping RAM eater that remains, therefore, is store inventories... which I'll look into.

So it appears that there will not be any memory limitations for users for the upcoming build, even if you're on a crummy laptop running XP (CPU/GPU limitations are, of course, another story, but I think people will be very pleased with the amount of speedup there as well).

Now the question is largely deciding how to simulate activities outside the local System (probably will be very crude) and deciding whether to try and throw in some sort of mission structure (probably won't happen this build, though).
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.61a ALPHA build 8) (TC Mod)
Post by: Tecrys on February 06, 2014, 09:57:38 AM
Congrats to that!

Sounds really awesome, can't wait for the whole AI stuff you've been working on. Also that thing about memory is absolutely amazing imho!

Xeno pulls off some real magic here!
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.61a ALPHA build 8) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on February 06, 2014, 10:19:22 AM
Not really "magic", just looking at what's actually eating RAM and dealing with it appropriately. 

I think the main challenge now is going to be figuring out the strategic-level play and also making the local Factions that show up less monotonous.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.61a ALPHA build 8) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on February 06, 2014, 11:23:38 AM
OK, got the randomness dealt with; no more monoculture Systems.  Surviving Factions will spawn in new fleets (if they're hostile, they spawn at the Hyperspace points) and Hyperspace is populated. 

Still well under 600MB RAM (anything from 506-522MB depending on the context) with 32 Systems and over a month into the game.

So I think that's pretty much that for dealing with memory issues while providing mega-huge numbers of systems to explore / conquer.  I have no idea what the upper limit is for Systems; I'm guessing somewhere south of 100 if I want to keep it under 1024MB RAM, but that's a game that would take a player weeks to complete.

I still need to deal with the issue of Factions attacking one another's Stations and all that stuff, code up diplomatic results from attacking / building Stations, etc.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.61a ALPHA build 8) (TC Mod)
Post by: Debido on February 06, 2014, 01:28:19 PM
For the love of...HOW Xenoargh!?!?!? How do you optimise the game so well!? Others are happy to make nice big sprites and guns, but noooo. You make sprites, guns, gun scripts, hull mods, AI scripts, game plugins AND you optimise the game to work with a smaller data set.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.61a ALPHA build 8) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on February 06, 2014, 01:51:36 PM
There weren't any miracles.  I just quit worrying about persistence entirely, because it just doesn't add much fun and it sucks up RAM, even with the cut-down fleets in the last iteration.

It's pretty cool, though; RAM use is, IDK, 1/6th of where it was, and loading / saving takes a fraction of the time it did, too.  IIRC, all current players have 1024xms settings by default, so pretty much anybody can play with huge numbers of Systems now; it's down to how long of a game you want rather than how much RAM you have, which is how it should be, imo, in a sandbox game with a win condition. 

It also means that if I really wanted to, I could make each System crazy-huge and have 60 fleets flying around.  I don't think that many is really necessary or adds more fun, and it'd push RAM use back up again, but it's technically feasible.

Anyhow... I've gotten the AI teams back to being able to take over each other's Stations (this includes the Player stations being able to play in that game, although I haven't yet developed an attack-vs-defence strength system for the RNG, that's coming).
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.61a ALPHA build 8) (TC Mod)
Post by: Nanao-kun on February 06, 2014, 02:48:33 PM
By the way, is there anything that can be done about slowdown during battles?
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.61a ALPHA build 8) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on February 06, 2014, 02:55:49 PM
Yes, and I've already done a fair amount of it.  It's still pretty intense with the really huge battles, but it's considerably better than it was :)
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.61a ALPHA build 8) (TC Mod)
Post by: Zaphide on February 06, 2014, 03:04:32 PM
Xeno, this might be a super dumb question but if you take the fleets out of the system the player isn't in does that mean that nothing happens in those systems while the player is gone?

Say I'm in a system and there are 10 fleets, I go to hyperspace and then come back, will there still be 10 fleets?

Or, I'm chasing a fleet through hyperspace and it goes into a system, can I still keep chasing it? Or will it have been 'randomised'?
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.61a ALPHA build 8) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on February 06, 2014, 03:57:35 PM
Quote
does that mean that nothing happens in those systems while the player is gone?
Not at all.  The factions make war on each other (and on the Player's stations) as usual, it's just abstracted and doesn't use any RAM long-term.

Quote
Say I'm in a system and there are 10 fleets, I go to hyperspace and then come back, will there still be 10 fleets?

It depends on how long it's been.  I wait a day between wipes, so that players won't get frustrated by having a System's contents get "re-rolled" after they've merely popped out into Hyperspace to look for prey.  That said, it's timer-based, so if you're chasing a fleet around "midnight" and it goes down a Hyperspace hole, you've lost it for good.  Seemed like the most reasonable compromise between memory and what players want to do.



Anyhow, I'm testing one last thing; since Swifts work again, I've decided to see if Boarding Shuttles can work again.  Either way, short of some massive, game-crippling bug... Soon is nigh :)
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.61a ALPHA build 8) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on February 06, 2014, 04:38:26 PM
Boarding Shuttles appear to work again, no crashy bugs post-capture.

So... other than that crazy thing I did with capture points generating Stations (which really, really should wait until I've built a smarter Admiral AI or just get left on the Altar of Silly Features)... it's all feature-complete and... ready, finally?

Anyhow, will write up the release stuff and I guess it's finally time to make this thing available :)
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.61a ALPHA build 8) (TC Mod)
Post by: Debido on February 06, 2014, 04:41:58 PM
Sweet, I haven't looked at the boarding shuttle code yet, have you needed to make any modifications? I hadn't  played the vacuum mod when the boarding shuttle code was working.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.61a ALPHA build 8) (TC Mod)
Post by: Uomoz on February 06, 2014, 04:45:31 PM
A bunch of questions about your interesting work on this mod, xeno!

In abstracted systems:
How do you handle fights between fleets? Do they happen randomly? Do they happen at all? Do station captures and other events happen randomly every x minutes, with chances based on the abstracted value of stuff in the system?
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.61a ALPHA build 8) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on February 06, 2014, 05:04:46 PM
Quote
How do you handle fights between fleets?
I don't; it wasn't adding anything to the experience except for RAM bloat, anyhow.

Quote
Do station captures and other events happen randomly every x minutes, with chances based on the abstracted value of stuff in the system?
Yes.  Basically, there's an "attacker strength", based on how many other Stations the Faction has (i.e., how strong they'd be if they concentrated some fleets there) and a "defender strength", based on how many Stations the Faction has in the System.  Defenders get a bonus vs. attackers, and there's a flat cap on how strong both values can get (set to allow players to get a slight advantage over attackers if they have 4+ Stations), so that the chances of a capture are relatively low, but (ironically) it's more reliable than the old way, because Assault Fleets aren't wandering around uselessly like they were.  

The code runs weekly.

Quote
Sweet, I haven't looked at the boarding shuttle code yet, have you needed to make any modifications?
Not to the Boarding Shuttle weapon, no.  But it is absolutely not compatible with Vanilla, period.  Just how it is; the method used breaks the Vanilla FleetEncounterDialog's assumptions used when (ironically) setting up the Boarding mini-game (which went bye-bye in Vacuum; all boarding happens just like it does with Asteroid encounters now- bring Marines).

Just for funsies, I gave Pirate captains two Wings of them as their starting "buddy", so people can start boarding things right away if they want to be pirates.

Anyhow, I feel the strong urge to order a pizza and eat stuff; will post the release as soon as I can get through the changelog, re-write parts of the OP that are now wrong, etc. etc. :)

Quote
By the way, I have an issue, I can`t get the mod to work, the mod keeps glitching! When I try to set it up it keeps glitching, not giving me time to get it loaded. It folded after I attempted to get it to load. It wasn`t on long enough for me to look at the enemies unfortunately. Could you help?

Thanks in advance,
Was that directed to me?  If so, probably you hit the memory limits that have been a problem for a lot of users in the past.  That's largely going away with this release :)
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.61a ALPHA build 8) (TC Mod)
Post by: Debido on February 06, 2014, 05:29:13 PM
Ah I see, it really does break vanilla boarding completely. I have to be honest I have preferred your boarding mechanism so far to vanilla.

Looks like it is going to be more difficult to make a faction with that takeover capability modular and usable in multiple mods etc. maybe I should ask Alex for an API to easier transfer of ship entities to bypass the existing vanilla boarding mechanism...which is so....so....vanilla....cardboard vanilla flavoured.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.61a ALPHA build 8) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on February 06, 2014, 08:40:53 PM
Alpha 9 has been released.  Finally  :D

Changelog:

1.  New AIs for auto-aimed turrets, missiles, and ships, with many fairly-well-documented bits of code of interest to modders.  Many improvements over various areas of Vanilla in regards to Vacuum's special rules and balance.
2.  Substantial improvements to the performance of fighters and drones; various small speedups to combat performance.
3.  Major memory improvements for all scales of play.
4.  Rewrite of Fleet Encounters, incorporating diplomatic results, standardized capture mechanics and a shorter playthrough.
5.  Many new Systems or special effects for ships, including the Glaug's new Armor Regeneration power, Neutron weapons, Spore Cannons, the Millenium AA gun, the Acanthus's new type of shield... and more.
6.  Big improvements in the strategic level of play.  Diplomatic repercussions to attacking a Faction's ships may change who likes or hates you; building Stations changes relationships with local groups, new strategic-level AI play constantly influences the gameworld.  It's considerably more difficult to win the game now.
7.  Incorporation of LazyWizard's latest version of Combat Radar as standard.
8.  Many other small changes, improvements and rebalance of various things too numerous to explain in detail :)

Balance is probably still pretty rough, feel free to tell me what's OP/UP this time around... but rest assured, the Glaug can be beaten and yes, Exigency can win that one Mission ;)
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 9) (TC Mod)
Post by: Nanao-kun on February 06, 2014, 09:30:20 PM
I'll give it a try soon.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 9) (TC Mod)
Post by: Debido on February 06, 2014, 10:24:45 PM
...
1.  New AIs for auto-aimed turrets, missiles, and ships, with many fairly-well-documented bits of code of interest to modders.  Many improvements over various areas of Vanilla in regards to Vacuum's special rules and balance.
2.  Substantial improvements to the performance of fighters and drones; various small speedups to combat performance.
3.  Major memory improvements for all scales of play.
4.  Rewrite of Fleet Encounters, incorporating diplomatic results, standardized capture mechanics and a shorter playthrough.
....

(http://s5.postimg.org/5pv6q00on/And_Then_I.png)
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 9) (TC Mod)
Post by: Debido on February 06, 2014, 10:57:08 PM
ok, so, 10 minutes in, and for the past 5 minutes I have been fighting a single collector class glaug with my own glaug Death-frog and collector class ships in an asteroid encounter, and you know what? Neither of us have been able to hurt each other. I am literally unable to pierce his armour, and he cannot pierce mine.

...Just noted that the default thermal cannons on the Death-Frog are pointed backwards instead of front facing towards the enemy. Is it supposed to be that way? Really wierd to have to show my rear end to the enemy to fire my main cannons at them...

...Exigency vs. Glaug...man this is going to take ages...I need a bigger gun.

Ok, can't be bothered finishing the Exigency vs Glaug fight as neither of us can kill each other. Retreating.


...And another Exigency v Glaug fight.

Bloom class goes bloom!
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 9) (TC Mod)
Post by: Nanao-kun on February 07, 2014, 12:37:22 AM
Yeah... after playing about 15 minutes, I realized I had spent ten minutes trying to shoot down a Punk Junker Archer destroyer. Despite firing over a hundred Harpoon missiles and hitting it with my own Archer and a frigate, I only reduced hull by about...

3% or so.

EDIT: After trying to load a save after I had to quit during the battle, I got this error:
Code
27104 [Thread-5] ERROR com.fs.starfarer.combat.O0OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO  - java.lang.NullPointerException
java.lang.NullPointerException
at com.fs.starfarer.ui.K.show(Unknown Source)
at com.fs.starfarer.campaign.A.showInteractionDialog(Unknown Source)
at data.scripts.world.systems.UniversalSpawnPoint.advance(UniversalSpawnPoint.java:132)
at com.fs.starfarer.campaign.CampaignEngine.advance(Unknown Source)
at com.fs.starfarer.campaign.save.CampaignGameManager.o00000(Unknown Source)
at com.fs.starfarer.title.OoOO.dialogDismissed(Unknown Source)
at com.fs.starfarer.ui.K.dismiss(Unknown Source)
at com.fs.starfarer.ui.impl.I.dismiss(Unknown Source)
at com.fs.starfarer.campaign.save.LoadGameDialog.actionPerformed(Unknown Source)
at com.fs.starfarer.ui.O00oOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO.o00000(Unknown Source)
at com.fs.starfarer.ui.F.processInput(Unknown Source)
at com.fs.starfarer.ui.O00oOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO.processInputImpl(Unknown Source)
at com.fs.starfarer.ui.public.processInput(Unknown Source)
at com.fs.starfarer.ui.floatsuper$Oo.processInputImpl(Unknown Source)
at com.fs.starfarer.ui.public.processInput(Unknown Source)
at com.fs.starfarer.ui.p.dispatchEventsToChildren(Unknown Source)
at com.fs.starfarer.ui.p.processInputImpl(Unknown Source)
at com.fs.starfarer.ui.floatsuper.processInputImpl(Unknown Source)
at com.fs.starfarer.ui.public.processInput(Unknown Source)
at com.fs.starfarer.ui.p.dispatchEventsToChildren(Unknown Source)
at com.fs.starfarer.ui.p.processInputImpl(Unknown Source)
at com.fs.starfarer.ui.public.processInput(Unknown Source)
at com.fs.starfarer.ui.p.dispatchEventsToChildren(Unknown Source)
at com.fs.starfarer.ui.p.processInputImpl(Unknown Source)
at com.fs.starfarer.ui.public.processInput(Unknown Source)
at com.fs.starfarer.D.int.processInputImpl(Unknown Source)
at com.fs.starfarer.ui.public.processInput(Unknown Source)
at com.fs.starfarer.ui.p.dispatchEventsToChildren(Unknown Source)
at com.fs.starfarer.ui.p.processInputImpl(Unknown Source)
at com.fs.starfarer.ui.K.processInputImpl(Unknown Source)
at com.fs.starfarer.ui.public.processInput(Unknown Source)
at com.fs.starfarer.ui.p.dispatchEventsToChildren(Unknown Source)
at com.fs.starfarer.ui.p.processInputImpl(Unknown Source)
at com.fs.starfarer.ui.public.processInput(Unknown Source)
at com.fs.starfarer.title.OoOO.o00000(Unknown Source)
at com.fs.starfarer.B.???000(Unknown Source)
at com.fs.oOOO.A.?00000(Unknown Source)
at com.fs.starfarer.combat.O0OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO.o00000(Unknown Source)
at com.fs.starfarer.StarfarerLauncher$2.run(Unknown Source)
at java.lang.Thread.run(Unknown Source)
EDIT 2: Another problem, my ship suddenly vanished during battle. All I get is a clouded strategic map and no ships. Reinforcements screen shows my ship is still in battle, and leaving that screen just takes me to an empty field where my ship can still vent and such, but is simply gone.

EDIT 3: Just realized that the default Archer has Heavy Armor, Neutronium Plating, and... Armor Regeneration. At the same time. This might be the reason it was pretty much invincible. Here's a picture:
Spoiler
(http://i.imgur.com/UIVMx0z.png?1)
[close]
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 9) (TC Mod)
Post by: Debido on February 07, 2014, 01:13:30 AM
Ok, I'm now screwed. I'm stranded in a system, with no fuel to escape as all the stations are owned by enemies.

Ok, now had to scrap all but one of my ships so I can travel to another system to escape this hopeless situation..

Right into another system owned entirely all over again by the Independent Fleet...well shizer.

Ok, I'm going to need to restart, as this is a no win condition.

Suicide attack against an enemy base!
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 9) (TC Mod)
Post by: Debido on February 07, 2014, 01:18:40 AM
10 minutes later, still not dead from sitting still in the middle of a base attack with a Death-Frog, the enemy base thing has all it's lasers on me and I'm fairly unaffected.

Bored, restarting Vacuum.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 9) (TC Mod)
Post by: Nanao-kun on February 07, 2014, 01:28:29 AM
10 minutes later, still not dead from sitting still in the middle of a base attack with a Death-Frog, the enemy base thing has all it's lasers on me and I'm fairly unaffected.

Bored, restarting Vacuum.
I'm guessing Armor Regeneration is pretty broken.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 9) (TC Mod)
Post by: Debido on February 07, 2014, 02:25:55 AM
Yes, I restarted with hedgmony and was defeated in the first encounter as I was used to having so much armour, and instead wound up dead very quickly.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 9) (TC Mod)
Post by: Tecrys on February 07, 2014, 02:29:37 AM
I've been waiting for this!

So many new toys to play around with!
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 9) (TC Mod)
Post by: XpanD on February 07, 2014, 05:19:05 AM
Same issue here, got a ship (Duke with maxed armor hull mods) stuck at 105600 hull, which will not go down even if I'm in the middle of several destroyers, shields down and all. I see the number spaz around a bit, but it always recovers to 105600.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 9) (TC Mod)
Post by: Draginea on February 07, 2014, 05:36:10 AM
I'm getting crashes. I'v re installed the mod, am not going over ram limit and am getting to the menu screen before it ctds.

12261 [Thread-5] ERROR com.fs.starfarer.combat.String  - java.lang.NoSuchMethodError: com.fs.starfarer.api.combat.ShipSystemAPI.isCoolingDown()Z
java.lang.NoSuchMethodError: com.fs.starfarer.api.combat.ShipSystemAPI.isCoolingDown()Z
   at data.shipsystems.scripts.AlwaysOnAI.advance(AlwaysOnAI.java:43)
   at data.scripts.shipai.BomberAI.advance(BomberAI.java:268)
   at com.fs.starfarer.combat.entities.Ship$ShipAIWrapper.advance(Unknown Source)
   at com.fs.starfarer.combat.CombatEngine.advance(Unknown Source)
   at com.fs.starfarer.title.OoOO.super(Unknown Source)
   at com.fs.starfarer.OoOO.øÒÒ000(Unknown Source)
   at com.fs.super.oOOO.Ò00000(Unknown Source)
   at com.fs.starfarer.combat.String.o00000(Unknown Source)
   at com.fs.starfarer.StarfarerLauncher$2.run(Unknown Source)
   at java.lang.Thread.run(Unknown Source)

Edit: Opps, I'm still running Starsector 6.1. Ignore this.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 9) (TC Mod)
Post by: Draginea on February 07, 2014, 06:52:16 AM
Archer has Armor Regeneration, Heavy Armor, and Neutronium Plating. I hope that's not intended. :-[
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 9) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on February 07, 2014, 08:15:47 AM
No, that certainly isn't.  Oops!

Anyhow, sounds like Glaug are just totally murdering everybody and everything thus far.  Will nerf a bit and post up a new build very soon. 

Will also take a look at those two crash bugs :)
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 9) (TC Mod)
Post by: XpanD on February 07, 2014, 08:39:25 AM
Not just the Glaug, I have an invincible Punk Junkers Duke ship right now.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 9) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on February 07, 2014, 09:00:59 AM
Invincible, as in "I take it to a Station, and nobody can hurt me, even if I sit there and don't fire"? 

Or "invincible", as in, "I can fight off a Miner group solo"?

I mean, I just checked it, and it doesn't have Armor Regeneration, just Automated Repair Unit- that makes a ship tough, to be sure, but not invulnerable, except vs. opponents whose DPS is so low they can't overcome the health regen.

I also caught the Onslaught with a Variant that had Neutronium Plating and Regenerating Armor, and I've nerfed the Glaug quite a bit.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 9) (TC Mod)
Post by: Uomoz on February 07, 2014, 09:03:33 AM
I'd love a LP video of this mod!
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 9) (TC Mod)
Post by: XpanD on February 07, 2014, 09:37:33 AM
Invincible, as in "I just took on a big fleet and survived two cruisers and three destroyers unloading on me without my hull dropping at all". Not talking default variants here, though - I put a bunch of hull mods on the ship myself, giving me a grand total of 105600 hull points. Would have to load back into the mod to see exactly what I put on there, but it did seem a bit broken. There was also a Conquest-class in one of the battles I was invincible in, which I couldn't seem to get down at all myself either. Could be I was just too weak for that one, though. Haven't tried any station battles yet, so not entirely sure what would happen there.

With all of that said, I love what else I've seen of this mod so far. The non-invincible battles I had were loads of fun, and immensely frantic. Looking forward to getting back into it, though Exerelin has my time for right now. :P

EDIT: Doing some testing on a huge independent fleet (48 ships, most of which appear to not be used against my small fleet), will let you know.
EDIT #2: Enabling Heavy Armor + Armored Mounts allows me to take damage, but very slowly. I suppose that makes sense, though the jump from 2900 armor (only heavy armor) to 3190 (both) does seem to make a big difference. Enabling all the hull-boosting mods (and nothing else, e.g. no specific damage reductions or shields) on top of that equals, from what I can see, full invincibility. Engines never seem to fail, either. Haven't found any big capital ships yet, but I can survive destroyers and cruisers without a single scratch using that configuration and still have some points to spare.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 9) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on February 07, 2014, 10:06:34 AM
From what you're saying, it all really depends on which Cruisers and all that.  If they were equipped mainly with Kinetic, then yeah, I can see it happening.  That's not really a bug, per se, it's just a matter of scale; if fighting a Station fleet, I really doubt you'd get the same results.

Anyhow, I guess I could put a flat cap on health regeneration, basically put a ceiling on it so that Hull Mod combos + character buffs never quite result in invulnerability, or simply make the buff a flat buff instead of scalar.  I'll think about that.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 9) (TC Mod)
Post by: XpanD on February 07, 2014, 10:38:25 AM
Just tried to take a station off of the Independent Traders. I ran out of ammo on all my weaponry, but did manage to survive up until then, only sending in my lone Duke and not making any efforts to avoid incoming fire. Did take damage, though! Also burned out a few times, so that works as well. Automatic healing is pretty neat, if a bit crazy with hulls this strong. :P

Love the station takeover system, by the way! So much more straight-forward than what I've seen of other mods so far, and it does seem like a fun battle if you have an actual fleet worth its salt. Can't wait to get to that point, though I may wait out an update on the defense front first.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 9) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on February 07, 2014, 11:22:40 AM
Should have this set of nerfs done pretty soon.  I *think* Armor Regeneration has been nerfed enough now; it's a flat bonus now, instead of a percentage, so it doesn't get so crazy with certain Hull Mod combos and character buffs.

Going to do the same thing with Automated Repair, although there it's a little less OP until Hull values / damage taken gets really insane with character bonuses (since all that stacks).
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 9) (TC Mod)
Post by: Nanao-kun on February 07, 2014, 01:36:21 PM
Should have this set of nerfs done pretty soon.  I *think* Armor Regeneration has been nerfed enough now; it's a flat bonus now, instead of a percentage, so it doesn't get so crazy with certain Hull Mod combos and character buffs.

Going to do the same thing with Automated Repair, although there it's a little less OP until Hull values / damage taken gets really insane with character bonuses (since all that stacks).
I have a picture in my post that shows the default Archer variant, which has Heavy Armor, Neutronium Plating, and Armor Regeneration. It's in the spoiler.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 9) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on February 07, 2014, 01:54:05 PM
Alpha 10 is now available.  Should not require a restart.

Nerfs both Armor Regeneration and Automated Repair Unit.

Buffs Biomechanical Hull to compensate for Exigency somewhat.

Adds Flux Shunt.

Small fix for a shot graphic, a few other little things.

[EDIT]Oops, forgot, I tried out a suggested speedup for the auto-aim AI from LazyWizard, and that is in.  It's not a huge speedup but every little bit counts :) [/EDIT]

Anyhow, please let me know if the nerfs went too far (or in the case of Exigency, not quite far enough).
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 10) (TC Mod)
Post by: Debido on February 07, 2014, 03:06:33 PM
Ah, holy WTF. Have you amped up ship explosions? The explosions are way bigger, and in my first battle took out my ship, and the other thing was it was just a fighter exploding! This is my death frog that was being shot at without taking hull damage suddenly being wiped out in one hit by the critical explosion of a fighter.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 10) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on February 07, 2014, 03:11:06 PM
Nope, haven't touched them. 

Will definitely play-test with the Death Frog and see if I can replicate that :)
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 10) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on February 07, 2014, 03:17:09 PM
Seems fine here.  I don't suppose that:

1.  You were fighting TriTach, and the fighter nuked you just as you shot it down?
2.  You were fighting the Pirate Kings, and they captured your ship?
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 10) (TC Mod)
Post by: Debido on February 07, 2014, 03:19:44 PM
It was in a mining/ambush encounter. The enemy were defeated and were retreating, I caught an escaping fighter, fired a few rounds and he went critical - taking my Death-Frog with him.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 10) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on February 07, 2014, 03:24:39 PM
What faction were you fighting, though?
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 10) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on February 07, 2014, 03:31:30 PM
Took a look.  Was your Death Frog severely wounded?  A Fighter's explosion does 1000 damage; not exactly huge, but I could see that finishing off a Frigate under very rare circumstances (like, it would have to be almost on top of your ship's center). 

As it is... I really should fix that code, if anything it's not happening often enough, at least with bigger explosions.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 10) (TC Mod)
Post by: Debido on February 07, 2014, 03:44:06 PM
My Death Frog had full health, and my armour was near perfect. I think the fighter was a Kanjar.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 10) (TC Mod)
Post by: Debido on February 07, 2014, 03:50:24 PM
Another note, it seems now in successive battles there are far less critical explosions. In said battle where I was destroyed there was far more critical explosions than I normally see, hard to quantify, but I did think it was unusual at the time.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 10) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on February 07, 2014, 03:52:27 PM
That's really weird.  That really sounds like a nuke snuck up on you or a nuke's AOE got you and stuff around it (nukes have big AOEs).  

I really should just eliminate Daggers from those fleets, anyhow; those are supposed to be newbie-friendly encounters, not "OMG I'm dead" encounters. Will fix, same with the Pirates and their [email protected]#[email protected]! Boarding Shuttles, lol.

Anyhow, the critical explosion code has now been changed and I'll test it a bit.

Explosion radius is now 2X collision size of the ship (down from 3), measured from the collision radii of the two ships involved (IOW, if the exploding ship's radius is 100 and your ship's collision radius edge is 299 units away, you're hit, if you're 301 units away, you're fine).  Generally speaking, that means that only the very largest ships will cause a lot of hits to things around them (a typical Destroyer has a radius of about 100, and 300 range is practically point-blank).

This should both greatly improve hits for the big guys going critical (which was definitely intended) and it's a nerf for fighter explosions (unless they detonate right overhead, in which case they'll generate a hit for sure now, like they should).
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 10) (TC Mod)
Post by: Debido on February 07, 2014, 03:55:35 PM
Back to my post yesterday about the Death Frog not dying in that base attack, I forgot to mention at the time I had level 10 construction - giving me +50% armour.

A nuke sneaking up on me? Maybe, I was zoomed out a bit so I may not have seen it.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 10) (TC Mod)
Post by: Debido on February 07, 2014, 04:16:23 PM
WOW, I was hit 3 times by a Sword Fish, and now I'm dead. WTF is that thing packing?!!?!
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 10) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on February 07, 2014, 04:28:19 PM
Quote
WOW, I was hit 3 times by a Sword Fish, and now I'm dead. WTF is that thing packing?!!?!
Neutron Cannon, heh.

Quote
A nuke sneaking up on me? Maybe, I was zoomed out a bit so I may not have seen it.
That's my best guess; it's about the only thing other than a Heavy Plasma Cannon / Slammer that could one-hit a Death Frog.  It definitely wasn't 1000 Energy damage; that would just scuff the paint.

Quote
I forgot to mention at the time I had level 10 construction - giving me +50% armour.
Yeah, well, that was when the effect scaled with armor.  Now it's flat per hull size, which makes it slightly less difficult to buff / nerf.  The Death Frog is very, very tough, but it's certainly not invulnerable now.  I'm not 100% sure it's all balanced right, by any means, but it looks a lot better.  

Pergon vs. Death Frog is hilarious, though; the only way to win in a Death Frog is by flying backwards and not getting hit by that cannon (at least, stock).  The only way for the Pergon to win is by hitting with the cannon and timing the missiles to get the Death Frog when it gets close.

Anyhow, will post another build after I consider one of the burning questions (for me, anyhow)- whether to put in something fairly seriously Pew-Pew and Flux-based into the fixed-mount category.  Oh, and finally nerf the Glaug fighter Wings' DP costs, which are outrageously low for what they do.  Will get that done right away before I get distracted.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 10) (TC Mod)
Post by: Debido on February 07, 2014, 04:44:03 PM
I'm currently in a drawn out battle with my Enforcer vs a Exigency ambush fleet consisting of one Yria and a Pergon...it is taking sooo long...
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 10) (TC Mod)
Post by: Debido on February 07, 2014, 04:54:59 PM
Oh, and when do you get to board ships from encounters? I haven't had one yet. I don't think in a single encounter I've received a single ship since playing 0.9 (last build I played was 0.7)
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 10) (TC Mod)
Post by: Debido on February 07, 2014, 05:19:42 PM
Oh, and when do you get to board ships from encounters? I haven't had one yet. I don't think in a single encounter I've received a single ship since playing 0.9 (last build I played was 0.7)

I understand, what your shaman can possibility enlarge weapon energy, 20-30 points. On that end, I mastered 35 points to violate compels that energy gets frost-bitten each 100%.
What kind of patron do you take us for? I mean, I see that you've received a single ship since you played.

Maybe you could specify some further info about your board ships. I'm interested in hearing from you.

What? I don't understand what you're saying.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 10) (TC Mod)
Post by: Debido on February 07, 2014, 07:48:23 PM
Possible bug, my ship was boarded (I believe) and my screen position was sent a few thousand SU NE of the battle, but I cannot transfer with my command shuttle to the other active battle participant.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 10) (TC Mod)
Post by: Debido on February 07, 2014, 08:34:46 PM
Decided to go as a Pirate faction and f*cking WOW are the boarding shuttles effective, I hadn't been able to purchase these under any other fleet I'd started as. These guys take over ships almost instantly, my fleet is swelling really quickly and I'm finally making progress.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 10) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on February 07, 2014, 09:12:59 PM
Quote
Possible bug, my ship was boarded (I believe) and my screen position was sent a few thousand SU NE of the battle, but I cannot transfer with my command shuttle to the other active battle participant.
Ergh, that's due to how boarding works; technically, the "boarded" ship is moved, cloned and then destroyed.  Will see if there's any way around that.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 10) (TC Mod)
Post by: Nanao-kun on February 07, 2014, 11:44:19 PM
Alongside everything else in this mod, I really like how I don't need to spend supplies to repair at a station. Paying credits to have them repaired is way better in my opinion. Now if only I didn't have to pay to repair at my own stations. Or at least get a discount.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 10) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on February 07, 2014, 11:59:57 PM
A discount would be easy enough to do.  I'll get that done really quick for the next build :)
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 10) (TC Mod)
Post by: Debido on February 08, 2014, 12:26:48 AM
At the moment I find the boarding shuttles un-balanced, and it's difficult to tell when and how they perform the boarding.

I would suggest that you give all ships...say...double their current health. You then have it that when a ship's health dips below 50% they become 'disabled'/controls locked out/no weapons/guns/engines etc. At this stage they are a valid 'target' for boarding, and not before they are flagged as 'disabled'.

Once a ship is in the disabled state they have a timer of between 20-50 seconds (or whatever balances it out) before their ship systems become re-enabled and are able to defend themselves and the 'disabled' flag is removed and they can no longer be boarded. The timer is increased or decreased depending on whether the ship had mods such as the automatic repair unit/regenerating armour etc.

Anyway, just a thought.

Right now about the only way I can get decent money is by boarding enemy vessels and then selling them later. However the boarding mechanism is unreliable, a lot of the time it works wonders, other times it doesn't seem to work at all. Also I have yet to find another station selling them so I can use them. The only one I have are from starting as a pirate, and the other was lost in combat.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 10) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on February 08, 2014, 12:59:08 AM
Y'know... now that I have a custom AI baseline, I could actually write a custom AI just for them, that makes them seek out Hulks and attempt to board them, maybe.

Anyhow, you should be capturing enemy ships pretty often and making a reasonable profit, provided you have Marines on board.  No Marines, no captures.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 10) (TC Mod)
Post by: Debido on February 08, 2014, 01:21:08 AM
I think the difference between them boarding 'in the middle of action' and boarding a 'hulk' as we know them, is that when a ship explodes and becomes a 'hulk' many of the weapons are destroyed. In which case there isn't much point in bringing it online again to resume battle on your side.

Usually when they're being taken over now they're often almost at full health and ready to turn against their former owner, which is really really cool. It's hard to say how to balance in-combat boarding.

I have a few Q's about boarding.
Does having more marines increase your boarding chance/effectiveness/speed?
Does the Spec Ops skill increase your effectiveness/boarding chance?
Where do I buy these suckers? I've searched over a dozen stations and have yet to find more of them.

Further queries about the game economics:
I'm aware of mining asteroids and boarding ships, but there no longer seems to be loot from battles and the credit payout is ... maybe just enough to cover supply expenses.
But I'm a little unclear as to the economic model required to achieve large amounts of cash.

If the new economic model of achieving financial gain is to board ships there needs to be a greater abundance of the boarding ships available at stations. Or not, I'd like to hear what I should be doing as I sometimes feel like I'm just not doing it right. If I hadn't started as a pirate with boarding shuttles, well I did 3 times and became frustrated very quickly and tried another faction.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 10) (TC Mod)
Post by: Debido on February 08, 2014, 02:19:40 AM
Actually another idea would be to either have the Valkyrie class ships as hosts to the boarding ship's, in the sense that they are Troop transport ships...soo maybe it makes lore sense for them to be hosts of them? That is opposed to them currently having assault drones as their 'subsystem'. Another would be to simply change the hue/colour, call it a bashkit and have that spawn the boarding ships and keep the current Valkyrie class as is.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 10) (TC Mod)
Post by: Debido on February 08, 2014, 02:33:10 AM
Ok, I may just have found a bug...a good kind of bug. The Hegemony of Man Asteroid Miners - I can board their Valkyrie ships again...and again....and again...and again. After the battle is over they still exist in their fleet, but I have a copy of them in my fleet...hm. Asteroid Miner milking1
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 10) (TC Mod)
Post by: darkova on February 08, 2014, 07:09:34 PM
i was just wondering when does the storage station make an appearence?

or is it implemented in the mod at all?
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 10) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on February 09, 2014, 09:27:49 AM
There isn't one, currently, but I don't see any reason why I can't make that accessible.  I'd like to do it generically, though, so that players can access it from any Station.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 10) (TC Mod)
Post by: Cruis.In on February 09, 2014, 03:30:48 PM
Hi everyone, thanks to the authors for the wonderful mods which people enjoy. I am in the market for a mod, as I like the game but it just doesn't have the complete depth of the upcoming finished game in the future.

I only have time to go with one mod at a time, can anyone who has played this and Ironclad point out the differences in each? Pros cons? Thanks!
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 10) (TC Mod)
Post by: drakhades on February 09, 2014, 05:42:42 PM
I don't know if I'm doing something wrong, but playing as the indies it's very, very hard.   

also there seems to be about 10% fleets of tiny size, but everything else are huge sized fleets.    so when i try to attack anything, i end up getting nukes blowing up all my ships before engaging any enemies :(

and there seems to be no ship capture any more?

also, maybe just because I'm stuck with small fleets now, but it's very hard to destroy some ships (like the glaug frigates, taking 5 min of 3 ships focusing on them) but very easy to destroy others like tri-tachion frigates (literally 2 seconds of 1 ship). 

one thing i"m glad about is using a small amount of $$$ it takes to repair your ships now.   it used to be soooo tedious.  so glad that's figured out.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 10) (TC Mod)
Post by: TimeDiver on February 09, 2014, 10:25:56 PM
Got a couple of questions (and possible bug reports?) regarding some of the hullmods:

1. 'Armor Analysis' vs. 'Energy Pump': The former gives 2x multipliers to both ballistic/missile/energy weapons and beam-based weaponry (thus 4x multiplier for some weapons?), so unless those three categories don't stack with beams for damage purposes, the latter hullmod (3x boost to beam weaponry only) seems... questionable.

2. The 'Heavy Armor', 'Blast Doors', and 'Reinforced Bulkheads' hullmods: are those intentionally providing increased armor/hull damage reduction, in addition to the increases to their respective numerical stats? Why not a further increase to the armor/hull stat multipliers instead? Something to do with the critical hit system? Or something else?

3. 'Stabilized Shields' is missing the 'ship.getShield() != null' parameter for 'isApplicableToShip(ShipAPI ship)'... which allows it to be equipped on ships without shields, or with a phase cloak.

4. 'Front Shield Emitter' has a seemingly inexplicable flat +0.25f modifier to shield damage taken in addition to its 50% shield DR factor... I'm at a loss as to rationalizing that odd modifier.

Addendum:

1. Both the 'Strike' variant of the Hyperion and the Cleaver (no variant name, assumed 'Standard') have both 'Armor Regeneration' and 'Neutronium Plating'.

I seem to recall the aforementioned hullmod combination being borderline/rather OP, and (mostly) removed as of build 10.

2. Do both variants of the Tempest really need to mount 'Front Shield Emitter', 'Hardened Shields' and 'Stabilized Shields' simultaneously (multiplicative 75% + 50% + 20% shield DR)?

Suggestion (re: what I did on my PC) - make equipping 'Hardened Shields' and 'Front Shield Emitter' on the same ship mutually exclusive.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 10) (TC Mod)
Post by: drakhades on February 10, 2014, 12:30:15 AM
i think all these extreme modifiers need to be axed.  As it stands now, only ships who have ALL the multiplicative bonuses stand a chance during combat.  vs the AI ships who have them.   

Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 10) (TC Mod)
Post by: Debido on February 10, 2014, 01:07:01 AM
I finally won the game on Jan 8, 206! All I had to do was wait long enough for everyone to kill my enemies. At least the credits were interesting, never knew Vacuum was the first procedural mod for SS and has been in the works for 2 years.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 10) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on February 10, 2014, 10:44:55 AM
Quote
1. 'Armor Analysis' vs. 'Energy Pump': The former gives 2x multipliers to both ballistic/missile/energy weapons and beam-based weaponry (thus 4x multiplier for some weapons?), so unless those three categories don't stack with beams for damage purposes, the latter hullmod (3x boost to beam weaponry only) seems... questionable.
Energy Pump has a real point on ships using High Energy Focus or on ships focusing on short-range beam PD or Frigates armed with relatively short-ranged, high-damage beam weapons (Scythus et al).  I don't think they're redundant, it's just that Energy Pump is much more specialized.

Quote
2. The 'Heavy Armor', 'Blast Doors', and 'Reinforced Bulkheads' hullmods: are those intentionally providing increased armor/hull damage reduction, in addition to the increases to their respective numerical stats? Why not a further increase to the armor/hull stat multipliers instead? Something to do with the critical hit system? Or something else?
Basically, these have some reductions in them that make them a bit more attractive; raw numbers (i.e., merely adding on more hitpoints / armor points) are a lot less effective, especially given the changes to Automated Repair Unit.  In the case of Blast Doors, it makes that Hull Mod quite attractive for what it does, which it previously wasn't.

Quote
3. 'Stabilized Shields' is missing the 'ship.getShield() != null' parameter for 'isApplicableToShip(ShipAPI ship)'... which allows it to be equipped on ships without shields, or with a phase cloak.
IIRC I did that because it provides a little bit of Hard Flux drain.  Kind of pointless now, I agree.  Fixed.

Quote
4. 'Front Shield Emitter' has a seemingly inexplicable flat +0.25f modifier to shield damage taken in addition to its 50% shield DR factor... I'm at a loss as to rationalizing that odd modifier.
Basically, this is a smallish penalty for conversion, instead of getting the full conversion benefits of a fixed-forward shield.  All fixed-forward shields are twice as efficient as Omni shields, and I wanted a little penalty in here for conversion to make it a little less attractive.  The bonus with Hardened Shields is supposed to stack with that.

Quote
1. Both the 'Strike' variant of the Hyperion and the Cleaver (no variant name, assumed 'Standard') have both 'Armor Regeneration' and 'Neutronium Plating'.
Thanks for catching that :) Fixed.

Quote
2. Do both variants of the Tempest really need to mount 'Front Shield Emitter', 'Hardened Shields' and 'Stabilized Shields' simultaneously (multiplicative 75% + 50% + 20% shield DR)?
I don't think that the second Variant is actually used anywhere.  What I really ought to do is change the names of all of the Vanilla Hulls, so that they're no longer showing Variants that aren't ever really used...

Quote
I don't know if I'm doing something wrong, but playing as the indies it's very, very hard.
Some Factions are harder than others, but bear in mind:

1.  You're really supposed to make your early money via mining, not fighting the Factions.  Wait until you've leveled up a bit doing easy runs.
2.  If fighting the Glaug or Exigency,  you need to be prepared to counter their special powers.
3.  Running away is often the best plan, if you're outmatched.  Bring a starter fleet up against something it can't handle?  Retreat.
4.  To capture anything, you need to have Marines on board your fleet, or bring Boarding Shuttles.

Quote
I finally won the game on Jan 8, 206! All I had to do was wait long enough for everyone to kill my enemies.
Yeah, you'll have that happen right now.  In the future, that's going to change; Alpha and all that.

Quote
I only have time to go with one mod at a time, can anyone who has played this and Ironclad point out the differences in each? Pros cons? Thanks!
They're totally different experiences.  Ironclads is basically a very complete TC in the traditional sense, with a very different universe.  It's low on programmer gameplay stuff, but is really high on content and flair.  It's also Nintendo-hard to start out :)

This is more of an "experimental" mod; lots of crazy gameplay changes just for the sake of finding new ways to have fun.  It's still Alpha, in the sense that a lot of planned features aren't in the mod yet, but I think that this time I'll get it all working before it gets broken / obsoleted again :)
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 10) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on February 10, 2014, 10:57:17 AM
Quote
Ok, I may just have found a bug...a good kind of bug. The Hegemony of Man Asteroid Miners - I can board their Valkyrie ships again...and again....and again...and again. After the battle is over they still exist in their fleet, but I have a copy of them in my fleet...hm. Asteroid Miner milking1
Very weird, but it sounds like they're somehow invulnerable to the boarding effect.  Probably a mismatch in their Variant name or something.  Will take a look at that.

For the next major build, I think I'll look at the issues of boarding a Hulk and getting it working again; I think that will resolve a lot of potential bugs with the Boarding Shuttles in general.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 10) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on February 12, 2014, 06:46:36 PM
It appears that Boarding Shuttles (and boarding weapons, as a general concept) converting Hulks may actually work.  Still getting the kinks worked out, but I am fairly certain it's going to work.  This is pretty exciting; I could get rid of the RNG boarding stuff entirely and do it all in-battle.

Also working on repair and re-arming drones that will seek out friendly ships that need repairs and repair them.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 10) (TC Mod)
Post by: Sundog on February 12, 2014, 07:04:52 PM
This boarding shuttle stuff is really impressive. I never would've guessed something like that could be done.  :)

Also working on repair and re-arming drones that will seek out friendly ships that need repairs and repair them.

You might consider looking at my ICE maintenance drones as they do this too. It's all crammed in their AI script.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 10) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on February 12, 2014, 07:16:32 PM
If I have time, I'll take a look; I think I've got a cool way to do it though, as I've already figured out that yes, you can get weapons to fire on Whatever, so I think that I can get a fairly cool-looking visual working for this as well as an AI that is pretty smart about finding things to heal :)

Anyhow, I'm really looking forward to doing boarding this way; I think it solves a bunch of issues with boarding in general, and it's a lot more dynamic and interesting.  It also opens up the possibilities of making a boarding weapon that can be used to board ships in the middle of combat, which could get really interesting.

I'm not 100% done with the ship AI for this; amongst other issues, the boarding shuttles probably need to stay out of firefights if they can.

I think that if I'm going to go this way, I need to make it suck up Marines and all that, too, which it currently doesn't bother with. 
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 10) (TC Mod)
Post by: Chaos Farseer on February 13, 2014, 01:27:08 PM
So, I played Vacuum for the first time (effectively; I'd started it once and wondered why my Omen exploded), and it's a weird experience. I'll definitely play until the end, but it's a weird experience right now.

I'm using build 10 as a Glaug player with mostly Exigency ships, and I'm trying to take on some Data-Mining fleets. In general, it seems nigh impossible to damage certain ships (including my own). Particularly one of the Exigency destroyers; it took a Conquest and 4 cruisers about 5 minutes to beat it to death. At the same time, I was using the Glaug missile frigate (the other option compared to the Death Frog at start) against a "Grey Fox", I think? It regenerated faster than I could do damage. I've been stacking armor and hull buffs, with regen whenever possible, and it seems like many enemy ships do the same. My ships currently aren't optimized for breaking heavy armor except for the Lashers with Phase Beams (most of the frigates are stuck with small ballistics) so battles involving enemy destroyers or larger are insanely tedious.

I find that kind of ironic when compared to your stated goals on the first page:
1.  Enhance the action side of the gameplay wherever practical, rewarding twitch over number stacking.
2.  Strongly differentiate ships, weapons, systems and hullmods in ways that give the player deeper choices and harder decisions.
It seems like anything with number stacking becomes nigh invincible. Twitch gameplay was only relevant in certain situations where the enemy had slow, high-damage projectiles.
I'm just wondering if all the regenerating armor / hull was an intended part of gameplay, I suppose. It's a completely different game, that's for sure, and it's not bad, it's just weird.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 10) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on February 13, 2014, 05:21:59 PM
I'd say that the balance right now for those features, which are all very new, is still pretty flaky; this last update was so big that I just didn't have much time to playtest it out much and I usually nerf / buff after getting feedback :) 

That said, you're basically playing with the two most OP Factions atm, so I'm not really surprised by your experience :)

If you want a twitch challenge, the Hegemony or Independents are much more challenging, especially during the early game.  Flying a Scythus and trying to solo a Tech Miner fleet is a real challenge, for example.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 10) (TC Mod)
Post by: drakhades on February 13, 2014, 07:58:21 PM
i loved vacuum before...   but now..   i dunno.  gotta try a different mod i guess.   I already relayed my experience with trying to play as indies.

This time i tried playing as tri-tachion in a 4 system game, and followed the "mine gernarium first" suggestions.

by the time I had mined about 200k worth, all the systems had been conquored by the pirates.

then instead of running away from the asteroid mine random encounter, i figured i should just try with my current ships (tri-tachion and hegemony, all maxed in shield mods).   this random encounter put me vs gulaug.    looks like they have some shield penetrating weapon?  all my ships died in the first 5 seconds of incomming fire from them, even with their shields still on.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 10) (TC Mod)
Post by: drakhades on February 13, 2014, 08:02:01 PM
sorry i should have said, my command ship still had it's shields on when it was blown up.   dunno about my other friggates/fighters.   but they also died in less than 5 seconds of combat.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 10) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on February 13, 2014, 08:12:07 PM
The Glaug do not have any shield-penetrating weapons (or if they do, that's a bug, plain and simple, but I haven't seen it in testing).  

They do, however, have Spore weapons, that will tear your ships up if they hit any unshielded parts.

Overall, I get the message: Glaug are OP and apparently un-fun to fight against :)  

That is something I can fix, but I need to spend some time fighting against them to see whether they're really all that OP in AI hands or whether you're just having trouble because you're not using the right tactics or weapons.  For example, if you're not using Neutron weapons vs. Glaug, you're doing it wrong- they're a direct counter. 

The few times I fought Glaug in testing, I didn't really find them all that hard to kill, but as I've said, I didn't spend a lot of time testing balance on this release.

The issue of how OP these factions are in a player's hands is a little more complicated; I want the enemies to be pretty tough, but if they're not feeling very tough because with player buffs they're really OP, then I probably need to consider giving the AI a specific bonus.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 10) (TC Mod)
Post by: Nanao-kun on February 13, 2014, 08:21:25 PM
What do the spore weapons do by the way? Haven't used them yet.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 10) (TC Mod)
Post by: drakhades on February 13, 2014, 08:37:20 PM
if you are going to do a balancing pass, please consider:

1) very hard to find any small fleets to fight, especially if an enemy faction "wins" first such as I described (pirates conquored all systems before I could get a fleet)
2) don't have boarding shuttles on small/mid sized ai fleets.  it's pretty hard to play when your only combat ship gets taken by a boarding shuttle.  and when you are a big fleet, you won't bother attacking small ai fleets anyway.
3) balance the random encounter fleets to be something about the fleet size of the player.  when you have only a size 10 or so fleet and the random ai is fielding ships with nukes, doesn't really incentivize any battle.   
4) the uber mods really need to be nerfed, something about 25% of their current values.  for example:  energy pump should maybe be a +50% bonus vs the 200% bonus it currently is.   same thing with the other uber-power mods.   Otherwise I don't see how you'll be able to balance the issue of 1 ship taking 5 seconds to kill, vs another ship taking 5 minutes.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 10) (TC Mod)
Post by: drakhades on February 13, 2014, 08:39:43 PM
oh another balance problem example:   entering a "mining random encounter" with my size 15 or so fleet,  and setting to "full retreat".   unpausing and all my ships are dead within 10 seconds of the encounter start.

so maybe your "enter distance" is too close too? 
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 10) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on February 13, 2014, 08:46:12 PM
Quote
oh another balance problem example:   entering a "mining random encounter" with my size 15 or so fleet,  and setting to "full retreat".   unpausing and all my ships are dead within 10 seconds of the encounter start.
That's a tactics problem, not a balance problem; why aren't you sending in one ship to scout before committing to a random encounter?  There aren't any rules that say you can't commit one fighter Wing and see what's up before deciding to send in the rest of the fleet.

Quote
What do the spore weapons do by the way? Haven't used them yet.
They damage several random armor plates.  If they hit an armor square with a value of zero, they start doing damage to hitpoints as well.  They're pretty useless is you've put Armor Regeneration on your ships, but they're quite nasty if you're equipped Neutronium Plating.

Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 10) (TC Mod)
Post by: theberg on February 13, 2014, 10:09:08 PM
Not sure why but when I scroll up and down my fleet screen, my frame rate drops. Also I was doing a station take over battle and when I released all my fighter wings (about 20) my framerates went down to about 1 fps and was unplayable.

I went into my vmparams file and edit it so both numbers are 1024.



my system specs

Operating System
   Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit SP1
CPU
   Intel Core i5 3570K @ 3.40GHz
   Ivy Bridge 22nm Technology
RAM
   8.00GB Dual-Channel DDR3 @ 802MHz (11-11-11-28)
Motherboard
   ASUSTeK COMPUTER INC. P8Z77-V LK (LGA1155)   
Graphics
   S211HL ([email protected])
   2048MB NVIDIA GeForce GTX 670 (EVGA)   
Storage
   238GB M4-CT256M4SSD2 (SSD)
   931GB Western Digital WDC WD1001FALS-00E8B0 (SATA)   
Optical Drives
   ERIPU AR45UJ0T SCSI CdRom Device
   HL-DT-ST DVDRAM GH24LS50
   DTSOFT Virtual CdRom Device
Audio
   Realtek High Definition Audio
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 10) (TC Mod)
Post by: drakhades on February 14, 2014, 12:09:57 AM
Quote
oh another balance problem example:   entering a "mining random encounter" with my size 15 or so fleet,  and setting to "full retreat".   unpausing and all my ships are dead within 10 seconds of the encounter start.
That's a tactics problem, not a balance problem; why aren't you sending in one ship to scout before committing to a random encounter?  There aren't any rules that say you can't commit one fighter Wing and see what's up before deciding to send in the rest of the fleet.

i wouldn't mind loosing the battle, but my point is rather the 10 seconds from start to every ship destroyed.  I might be exagerating slightly, it may have actually been 15 seconds to 100% casualties, but I hope you get my point.    I would suspect a single fighter wing would never last long on it's own, so it would be me telling the difference between a fighter that's killed in 10 seconds vs a fighter that's killed in 20 seconds.     

 I'm totally fine with just retreating.  I'm just pointing out what I observe to be another balancing consideration.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 10) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on February 14, 2014, 11:51:29 AM
I agree with that sentiment.  My objective is never to instantly kill the players, no matter what the matchup  :)  I agree that making the battle space a bit bigger might help; I'll try that out. 

Anyhow, I will get the Glaug / Exigency balanced out, I just need to have enough free time to do enough practical playtesting; I'm pretty time-tight due to RL stuff.  I think that until then, I'll just halve the Armor Regeneration rate and Exigency's Biological Hull mod and push out a quick release and get more feedback; the only thing holding it back is that I haven't completed the Repair vessels yet :)

Your feedback helps a lot, though- at least I have a good idea of where to start :)
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 10) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on February 14, 2014, 12:11:54 PM
Oh, and:

Quote
Not sure why but when I scroll up and down my fleet screen, my frame rate drops.
Hrmm; that sounds like maybe a driver-related issue or an engine bug.  Definitely report that one to Alex in Bug Reports.

Quote
Also I was doing a station take over battle and when I released all my fighter wings (about 20) my framerates went down to about 1 fps and was unplayable.
If the AI Admiral also released all of the fighters they have at the start (which it does pretty frequently) then something like 200 fighters were probably on the battlefield.  That's pushing the limits of what CPUs can handle, even with the optimizations in Vacuum. 

I've tested with that many fighters, and it's vaguely playable on this hardware, but only barely; I have to presume that you're past the limits that your core can handle (that, and it was probably running pretty hot by that point).  As a suggestion, for best performance during those kinds of battles, I'd say deploy 4-5 AAA-equipped ships (massed Pilums are quite effective), wipe out as many of the enemy fighter Wings as possible, then retreat and bring in your 60-120 fighters, to reduce the load to sane levels.

I don't think there's a lot more I can do to further-optimize the fighters without losing something important, like engines being visible at all or having shields or not giving them machine-gun-like weapons.   I want to get to true Battle of Midway levels of fighter conflict, but we'll just have to see if there are further ways to improve the performance without losing anything valuable. 

I will definitely think about all of that, especially the last bit :)
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 10) (TC Mod)
Post by: Debido on February 14, 2014, 07:37:29 PM
One possible idea to 'optimise' fighters a bit more is to not have them as individual sprites, but to put all 5-6 of them onto a single PNG file and have it treated as one unit. The downside is of course that it's going to look a bit rubbish, and when it turns it's going to look a bit akward. Also they're going to have the combined health of all of them, so they cannot be destroyed individually and re spawned individually.

One other thing I would look at is giving them weapons that fire less often, but compensate for the damage amount. On top of the number of fighters, I find that if they have fast firing projectile weapons all the projectiles slow down the game as well. I'm not sure if there is a way you can fudge making a burst of projectiles rendered on one png, and then when they fire the PNG file actually has 3-5 bullets on it. So although it looks like it's shooting 3-5 individual projectiles it's actually one.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 10) (TC Mod)
Post by: Chaos Farseer on February 15, 2014, 10:27:31 AM
As I was writing this, it started turning into a big unorganized mess. Feel free to skip to the end.
----------------------------
I'm having trouble figuring out how to play this mod 'correctly'.
Currently as I understand it, the gameplay progression is first asteroid mining and then supposedly tech-mining. Tech-mining has, so far, always led to the enemy deploying a capital ship and me fleeing as my fleet explodes, so I've been preying on enemy asteroid mining fleets or trade fleets. In order to take on tech-mining, I believe I would need larger weapon mounts, beam weapons, something with High Energy Focus and preferably all of the above, and I have yet to find that option. Due to only being allies with the Exigency, I've been saving up for one of their Pergon-class destroyers (I think that's what it was), except the thing keeps dying and not killing things. More on that later.

First of all, what determines whether an attack pierces shields, or whether the weapon can circumvent shields? I'd like to use some Tri-Tachyon ships, but the Omen explodes in the simulator versus the default Brawler and I can't tell why. Same went for some of my other shield-based frigates in a recent battle.
Second, is there another way to take on bigger ships that I've just not found yet? What weapon qualities are good for that? As far as I've seen, every weapon has a DPS in the thousands, but only some of them are good and I'm not sure why. Beams seem to be good, if I can get a ship to live long enough to use them (my best option has been the Mule, and that didn't really work).
Also, when are ships truly destroyed? I lost 80% of my fleet during a protracted battle against a large cargo fleet (and I'm not even sure how I lost them; they exploded when I wasn't looking despite shields / hull regen / whatnot), but after the battle they all came back. How did that happen? Also, there's a case of fighter wings not getting removed that I stuck under possible bugs.

The possible bugs:
In several merchant fleets, wings of fighters would deploy to attack me even though they were at 0% CR and had no fighters remaining. I'd immediately win the battle but, in one case, the wing of fighters would respawn with 0% CR again so I couldn't get past it to take on the mothballed Onslaughts.
That Pergon-class I mentioned earlier consistently dies despite installing massive hull boosts, more hull regen, and the hardened front shields. In a recent battle, I'd just bought and refitted it and accidentally clicked on a massive Independent fleet. During the full retreat, I was acting as a rearguard with the Glaug Collector-class (which is almost always invincible for reasons I don't understand) when the Pergon decided to ignore its retreat order, turn around and charge at the enemy, and explode. Stupid thing net cost me 100k. I'm guessing that it may be due to giving it the Brawler AI, but I honestly have no idea.

Edit: After some more gameplay, I'm now more confused. Also slightly raging.
Apparently the Independents, who were hostile to the Exigency, are also friends or something, since attacking their Tech-mining groups made the Exigency hostile to me. After a long raiding run, I come back and I can't land on their stations. As an experiment, I try to conquer one, and find out there's no way my group of frigates can crack two stations and it's escort of 20 fighter wings. I did get an opportunity to duel the Exigency capital ship with only the Collector-class Glaug frigate, and somehow won. It couldn't hurt me and I could out-DPS it's regen somehow. Ultimately I retreated and took zero casualties, yet somehow lost another 47k by losing the battle. With no friendly stations and no way to conquer one, my fleet was doomed to starve to death, so I restarted.
I tried out the Tri-Tachyon and exploded instantly. What's the point of shields if they don't block attacks?
I tried out the Hegemony and also died instantly. I really don't understand how to play this correctly, then. Is the only way to live to use the armor stacking Glaug regeneration? I just don't get it.

TL;DR:
I suppose the ultimate questions are: How can you tell whether a ship is immune to your weaponry or not, and how does shield penetration work? I simply can't make progress in the game without figuring it out, and I'm just not comprehending the mechanics I guess. Sigh. It's not that it's a bad mod, but I just can't make sense out of it.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 10) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on February 16, 2014, 02:05:59 PM
Hey, I really appreciated that breakdown and read every word of it :)

Anyhow... I need to keep this short, as my time's really tight this afternoon, but I sat down and played the mod for two hours yesterday with my favorite little person, starting Independent, after my nerfs to the Glaug and Exigency. 

Other than the very early start, which was rough (I really must address the issue of meeting fleets that are too much for early players to handle- on full damage I had to restart twice due to losing my "buddy" in the first two fights)...

I didn't have much trouble racking up a huge fleet; I got a steady stream of replacement ships for any losses from captures (by always keeping enough Marines around- 30-40 at least).  That initial stage was rough, but once I was posting up 3 Frigates or more, things were pretty smooth and with some Tech upgrades to get OPs maxed, Asteroid fights were cakewalks.  Pretty soon after that, I was blasting Asteroid fleets, which gave me more ships (at that point, I was selling off 2-3 Frigates every time I hit a station, minimum) and making decent, but not spectacular, money.

That said, I can clearly see a bunch of issues that I need to address.  Here's where I'm leaning; I'd like to hear feedback if you're enjoying the mod but want it to get better.

1.  The starting experience is still too hard-core, and the difficulty ramp is still not working well.

2.  There are several major bugs with standard engagements, including not being able to finish an engagement because the AI never flees or enters combat.  I need to address those for sure.

3.  I agree that weapons that do Unusual Things need to have better documentation. 

I guess that the fluff writing just doesn't help enough, and I've over-estimated players' desires to just figure it out by using it. 

For example (contains some spoilers):
Spoiler
Put a pair of Melters on a Brawler, and a player has a ship that can tear up anything up to Cruisers 1 on 1 if piloted well and upgraded appropriately.  This is obvious if you try out that loadout and play around with the Hull Mods a bit...

...but I can see players doing a lot of "what is good" dances and often ending up badly equipped in this mod.  That's not cool; if a weapon does something cool, it should at least be documented in the fluff.

As another example, Exigency's SABOT cannons are really great despite mediocre stats, because they penetrate shields, but if you're not watching / listening, you won't notice. 

Plasma / Hellbores are really nice against some opponents, because they do damage that "goes around" a shield.

Antimatter Blasters are nice because they deliver some EMP strikes and have excellent range.

Some of the larger weapons shots blow right through incoming projectiles (i.e., they won't get blocked by rocket swarms).

The Lightning Gun is devastatingly effective vs. missile spam and fighters who get too close together.
[close]
In short, part of the charm of the mod (for me, anyhow, as a game designer) is that the mod's full of special effects that are unique and genuinely different than all the regular "pew-pew" mods, because they're messing with the game rules in fun ways.  But I can see how that's not fun if you're not me and you're going, "why did that thing just totally pwn me, and what do I do about it?".

Given that I can't write custom UI elements that identify these special things, I'll have to see what I can do.

4.  The biggest issue I saw, though, is the long-term problems with making money.  Monetary rewards in the midgame stages didn't feel quite rewarding enough, and there was a lot of dull grinding to get to the strategic part of the game.  I'll look into that.

5.  The other bugs people have encountered need to be fixed.

Anyhow, I'm not entirely surprised by most of these issues; a lot changed under the hood for this build, I made things harder for a few things pretty deliberately (a lot more AI ships are using better builds than they used to, amongst other things) and I simply didn't have a lot of time to test it out before release.  That said, everybody's feedback has been read carefully and I'll fix this stuff as soon as I can.  For now, I'll probably be able to kick out a rebal release with fixes for the show-stopper bugs (the endless-battle bug, the major problems with Glaug / Exigency balance) fairly Soon, which can tide things over until I can do some major work smoothing the difficulty ramp- I have some ideas about that that I think will work pretty well :)
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 10) (TC Mod)
Post by: Chaos Farseer on February 17, 2014, 12:17:33 PM
Thanks for your in-depth response.  :) Just some commentary about it:

I was able to make it to the middle stage of the game (slaughtering Asteroid fleets) last time, although I guess I just didn't try out enough weapons or ships. I'll give that a go next time around.
For point 3, I'd like to note that I noticed most of those effects one way or another. I saw the EMP arcs from the antimatter blaster (but I always had the EMP resistance), I noted the Exigency's SABOT shield-piercing abilities in the fluff but didn't give it much attention because I needed to get through armor, and knew about the Ball Lightning from reading elsewhere. Don't think I saw a Melter, so I'll give it a shot if I find one, and I didn't find a chance to try the Plasma or Hellbore cannons. I'll just need to try everything. I probably didn't see the bigger weapon effects since I was either retreating from ships with larger mounts or sticking to frigates with small ballistic slots.
As an addendum to point 4, it'd be nice if you only could lose money if you lose ships in an engagement.

I'm going to give it another go this evening or so, and I'll see if I can give you better feedback when I'm not exploding.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 10) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on February 17, 2014, 03:26:34 PM
I have the endless-battle bug fixed; that didn't take too long :)
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 10) (TC Mod)
Post by: Chaos Farseer on February 17, 2014, 08:42:21 PM
Well, played for a bit as Independents. The starting Boom-class didn't last through the first pirate battle; I should've put more armor on it. The Space-Tank-class is real nice, though, and for those I stacked Armor Regen, Heavy Armor, and Hardened Shields + Flux Shunts just for kicks. They have a really high base vent rate, and if you go with only ammo weapons you don't even need any capacitors for good shields. I had a fleet of 3 space-tanks, a frigate-sized fuel tanker, and a Gemini and I was safely mining asteroids when I got attacked by a massive Tri-Tachyon fleet (3 Paragons, Atlas, and all the fighters - Daggers are terrifying now). They destroyed most of my fleet, and then marked me as hostile with the Hegemony who were the only friendly people in the first place. Sigh.
My best bet from that point would be to hope that I can kill enough pirates to become friends again before running out of supplies. Or I could restart.

Conclusions:
 - Is it me, or do Needlers suck (against anything which can vent decently)? If I stack Hardened Shields and Flux Shunt with a decent venting capability, they just don't do anything. Naturally they're just bad against armor with their low per-hit damage.
 - Shard Guns! That's what I was using. The fact that they slightly damage past shields, plus high DPS, decent accuracy, 0 flux generation and nice per-shot damage makes them much better than all the other medium ballistics I got to try out. The Heavy Bolter was nice, but it's harder to hit with, has a lower DPS, and isn't too good at dealing with armor afterward. Shard Guns are just good at nearly anything, and I put them on all of my Space Tanks.
 - Found out what the Neutron Gun does. Seems kind of like a special case weapon, but it was pretty darn satisfying to watch something melt in the simulator.
 - Space Tanks are really nice for their three Vulcan IIs, impressive flux capabilities, and high hull and armor values. Stack on Armor Regeneration, Hardened Shields + Flux Shunt, Automated Repair Unit, and they're hard to kill with what you'd find in an asteroid ambush.
 - Speaking of which, I think Armor Regeneration might be the overpowered hull mod. The armor often regenerates faster than the DPS of enemy guns, making you effectively invincible (and it gets better with a higher armor rating). I've been putting it on all of my ships, and the fact that it's a no-brainer is kind of a problem. The only exception has been something like the Gemini where it didn't have much armor to begin with.
 - Battles changing faction relationships is a good idea, but so far it's only made me an enemy of my 'home' faction by accident. I don't have a better alternative, but this kind of thing can be really harsh before you get to late-game fleets.

Still, though, that was a lot more fun now that I can see that there are consistent rules. Last time I got confused because the Shard Guns somewhat bypass shields and I assumed all weapons did.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 10) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on February 17, 2014, 10:05:59 PM
OK, I got the main bugs / issues dealt with.  

I think Glaug are perfectly beatable now that I've toned Armor Regeneration down quite a bit (it's still powerful, but not invulnerability); if anything, they're feeling a little UP again atm, but I have only fought them in small battles and watched epic AI-vs-AI battles in the sim so time will tell.  In player hands, they're probably very hard to kill, but that's OK.

Diplomatic results are handled a little better.  One of the issues was that each Faction's relationships weren't, er, terribly clear; the typical example of having to fight Tri-Tachyon just to see your relationship with Hegemony go in the toilet was probably pretty frustrating and un-fun. 

So here's how it's going to work:

In the Fleet dialog, from here on out, it'll tell you which Factions they're Allied with (i.e., those Factions will also dislike you attacking this fleet, for sure).

Each Faction will be Allied with one other Faction and will be enemies with two other Factions, and neutral to everybody else.  This relationship isn't perfectly mirrored; one faction may hate a faction that is neutral to it (although I haven't made any of them like a faction that hates them). 

If they're neutral to the player, they'll react according to whether they're allied or enemies with that faction, generally going in the player's favor (if neutral to the Faction but friendly to the player, rep goes up).  That will keep things simple.  If it turns out that this is making it too easy for players to make all their relationships positive by playing games with attacking certain factions (which shouldn't work, but I haven't triple-checked all that logic) then I'll fix that; generally, engaging a new faction should be fraught with peril, in terms of poisoning your relationships- that this can lead to a game being lost if players act like brigands and just attack whatever factions they feel like instead of thinking about the consequences is not a bug.

Other stuff:

 Factions will not be able to capture Stations quite so frequently through the abstract battle process, so that the beginning of the game isn't "ooh, all the Factions are dead, now what"; new Stations cost 200,000, since 1,000,000 appears to be a fairly grindy target with the changes to money, and will give players some credits every week, so that they're good for something besides irking all the Factions in that system and helping to win the game.  Lastly, this isn't "fair", but when a Faction only has 3 Stations left, the AI will never defeat it, ever, unless it's local.  So no more "oops, I just won" nonsense; players will have to go win on their own.

Oh, and since the Boarding Shuttles are awesome (bringing dead ships back to life, as it were) I've decided to make a weapon that can be bought that does something similar, called the Transporter Device.  

I'm also going to make the Boarding Shuttle AI available to players as a custom AI and will probably make more boarding craft at some point so that other factions besides the Pirate Kings can have them.

Yes, that means you can have a Destroyer or fast Frigate whose job is to resurrect dead ships, whose AI will act appropriately.  Same principle will apply to healer ships when that's done; I'll probably also make a shield buff ship that drains Hard Flux or something.

Anyhow, that isn't done yet, but I'll push out a release pretty soon to address the stuff regarding faction relationships and the balance stuff as soon as I've gotten a chance to test it out reasonably thoroughly.  I think that gets rid of a lot of the yucky bugs and "oops, I've just lost, why" issues.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 10) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on February 18, 2014, 07:36:23 PM
Alpha Build 11 is now out.

Fixes:

1.  Armor Regeneration, Automated Repair Unit and Exigency's Biological Hull have all been nerfed considerably; I'm not sure if Glaug are now UP or not, but it doesn't feel massively OP now.
2.  Boarding shuttle bugs have largely been fixed.
3.  Endless-battle bug has been fixed (I think).
4.  AI Factions will no longer auto-win a game for the player.

Changes:

1.  Rewards for battles have been tweaked for better cash / xp rewards per kill.
2.  Early-game fleets have been nerfed to make the start a lot less rough.
3.  Relationships between the player and the Factions made a bit clearer; if attacking a Faction, the Faction's Ally will be shown, so that players know who's going to also get bent out of shape if they start a fight ;)
4.  Buying a Station now costs only 200,000 credits!  Enjoy an earlier start to the strategic game.  Each Station also pays the player 1000 credits per week.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 11) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on February 18, 2014, 08:26:37 PM
Well, I think I just set a record for time between release and new release.  Alpha 12 is now available.

I think I've finally fixed the issues with AI ships not deploying Drones all the time (which for certain ships is a huge nerf).  You'd think that was the easiest thing in the world to solve, but no.  Looks good in testing, hope it's really fixed :)
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 12) (TC Mod)
Post by: Debido on February 18, 2014, 11:30:00 PM
Sounds great, I'll test it on the weekend.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 12) (TC Mod)
Post by: drakhades on February 19, 2014, 01:12:59 AM
!!!  awesome!   I'll give it a try now!
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 12) (TC Mod)
Post by: drakhades on February 19, 2014, 03:38:29 AM
much better, i played as tri-tachion and at least didn't die in the first 10 seconds this time :)

i only was able to play about 10 min, but here's my info:

looks like the diplomacy isn't so accurate.  i fought vs the exgenecy guys who were hostile to me, it said they were allied with exgenecy (themselves).  however after fighting them the hegemony were hostile to me.  and then running into a hegemony fleet i see that they are allied with exgenecy.   i didn't fight exgenecy again so i dunno if they now show hegemony friends.

when fighting tiny fleets, the battlefield is way too small.  seems like because of this my command ship bumps into the side and won't go further, but the AI ships seem to be able to pass that barrier.  so i'm fighting enemey ships out to the sides / top/bottom of the map.

i fought 3 battles, and lost 1, won 2, though lost 1 ship in each of my "wins".   ...   so I won...   but my wins i got no salvage?  so i ended up running out of money so couldn't continue. that game.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 12) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on February 19, 2014, 12:34:18 PM
Bug noted; I put in some code that makes sure that the Factions like themselves; will filter that out.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 12) (TC Mod)
Post by: drakhades on February 19, 2014, 07:08:23 PM
notes from playing an hr or so:

1)  i see now that you get credits for winning battles, not salvage.

2) The boarding shuttles are OP, at least during the early game with small fleets.   I didn't get to capital ships yet so dunno how they will impact that.   Maybe to nerf them you can make captures temporary?  (change to not join your fleet after the battle)    also maybe make their boarding chances go up, but also make them disapear after a successful board.

3) Not enough small fleets in early game, and there are zero medium sized fleets. 

4) small fleets seem like they should give more credits for victories.  right now, I get maybe 2000 per battle.   maybe you can add +5000 for all victories?

5) it would be nice if asteroid mining random battles were scaled to your fleet's points

6) a lot of the weapons you can pick seem rather useless.    fyi i tend to pick weapons that have at least a 10:1 ratio of flux to damage.  so IR Laser is good, also so is shard cannon. 

7) related to #6, it's hard to tell the use of a lot of the weapons.  like i assume ball lightning can hit multiple targets.....

8) there's some nuke missile?  it sometimes spawns on tiny pirate fleets and will instant-kill multiple ships

9) seems that a lot of the missile weapons are under-powered.  (though it's the same with vanilla starsector).   I personally only use the flux-cost missiles just because they don't run out.  (but they never seem to do much damage)

Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 12) (TC Mod)
Post by: Chaos Farseer on February 19, 2014, 07:28:33 PM
8) there's some nuke missile?  it sometimes spawns on tiny pirate fleets and will instant-kill multiple ships
Just a quick note - those are probably Reaper torpedoes. I think they do 60k damage? Bring some good point defense.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 12) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on February 19, 2014, 11:51:04 PM
With a little bit of help from Alex and LazyWizard, I've figured out why we're seeing so much slowdown in large battles.  I don't have the fix 100% done tonight, and I need to sleep now, but I will get a new release with this fixed as soon as I can, probably tomorrow, for a much less laggy experience in large battles :)
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 12) (TC Mod)
Post by: derpy on February 20, 2014, 09:22:04 AM
you probably want to fix "if (doneOnce = false) {" line in all ship ai scripts.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 12) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on February 20, 2014, 09:42:40 AM
Ooh, good catch, that.  It compiles but that's definitely not right.  Anyhow, I have a little time today, will definitely get this done :)
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 12) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on February 20, 2014, 11:23:39 AM
Build 13 is up. 

Fixes:

Huuuuge speed improvements in battles.  Auto-aim in general is massively faster and structured more efficiently.  This should not require a restart, if you've been playing build 12; I highly recommend upgrading to this version asap :)
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 13) (TC Mod)
Post by: OhNoesBunnies on February 20, 2014, 11:41:15 PM
Hmm, strange. Every time I meet a pirate group in battle, regardless of whether or not I win (currently as independents) when I'm mining, I automatically lose the fight regardless and it detracts credits.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 13) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on February 20, 2014, 11:47:33 PM
Yeah, caught that after the release  ::)

Already fixed here but I'm working on optimizing the ship AIs and guided missile AIs s'more to further-improve speed before releasing.  New build Soon.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 13) (TC Mod)
Post by: LazyWizard on February 21, 2014, 07:02:57 AM
Wow, significant speed improvements indeed. I went from 2-3 FPS in a decent sized battle to mid twenties. :)

I did notice a minor issue: under AI control, a ship with a drone system seems to just toggle them on and off constantly throughout the battle. It's a minor issue because the drones never have enough time to land so they are still somewhat useful. Tested with an Astral and Tempest.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 13) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on February 21, 2014, 11:52:20 AM
Yeah, nothing like making an order-of-magnitude mistake in design, lol.

I am still doing cleanup on this stuff; I think missiles can (under certain conditions, such as fighting the Glaug Swarm's biggest fleets) also be a big drag. Still solving that one.

On the Drone AI... meh.  This is, IDK, the fifth or sixth attempt to get it working correctly, lol.  Sad, I know, for something that "simple", but it's not actually simple, apparently, or I'm just doing it wrong because I don't know what the magic hand-sign is.

The problem is, Drones are the only System that has three states, rather than two, there is no way to determine or set which state a System is in via the API that I know of and I want the Drone AI to use the second state(Roam), like the Vanilla AI does, then never ever touch that setting again. 

However, you can't just issue two shipCommands in the same frame, nor even in the next frame; there is some sort of input timer or weirdness in the Drone system code that requires a few frames between state changes for Systems.  So getting it to do Do Stuff is un-fun.

What I think I'll do is make it launch the Drones, then when it finally sees an active Drone, switch states again, then stop.  Maybe that'll work.

At least this one launches the Drones; for a little while, you'd be lucky if one ship in 3 actually launched.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 13) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on February 21, 2014, 01:33:28 PM
OK, I've written (another) fix for the Drone stuff, that appears to (maybe, hopefully) work.  I think that the ship AIs and missile AIs are streamlined enough that I'm comfortable with their speeds; short of Macross Missile Massacre situations (i.e., Glaug vs. Glaug) speeds are playable with > 400 agents (including drones) on my hardware.

I need to write up that suggestion about making the Boarding Shuttles more balanced (destroying them every time they attempt to board, but increasing the chances) and then it's time to release :)
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 13) (TC Mod)
Post by: Wazubaba on February 22, 2014, 10:48:42 AM
I think I might have found a small graphical bug, according to the changelog for build 11, buying a station was reduced in price to 200,000 credits, but the tooltip text when hovering over the option still lists it as 1,000,000. I am on build 13 at the time of this writing, just freshly installed with a new character.

Love the mod btw :)
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 13) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on February 22, 2014, 12:44:31 PM
Oops.  Will fix that one really quick before I get too busy with RL this evening.  I think the missile / AI stuff is about done, too.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 13) (TC Mod)
Post by: Debido on February 22, 2014, 06:44:16 PM
Meh, might try broadcasting a play of it, going to be a bit boring for the first bit, mainly mining/grinding for the first bit. See what happens.

http://twitch.tv/debido85
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 13) (TC Mod)
Post by: Rubcies on February 22, 2014, 06:48:41 PM
Great mod, someone probably brought this up but gonna say it anyways.

SO every time I win why can't I loot? Did you make it this way?
Also do AI fleets grow in size along with you or do they stay small forever?
Is it just me or does the ships that came along with the mod way too overpowered compared to the vanilla?

Well, from what I've read a new build is coming out soon... (I've read nothing but the first page and a little bit of the last page)
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 13) (TC Mod)
Post by: Debido on February 22, 2014, 08:07:08 PM
Not getting any experience from battles, a bit game breaking
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 13) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on February 22, 2014, 08:42:02 PM
Build 14 is now available.

Fixes:
1.  Experience bug during Asteroid and Planet encounters.  Forgot to set a boolean there, oops.
2.  Bugged text explanation of Station costs.
3.  More speedups for ship AIs and missile AIs.
4.  Another attempt to make the AIs use Drones properly without endless clicking if out of Drones.

Changes:
1.  Boarding Shuttles are now destroyed when attempting to board, but have a better success rate.
2.  Ships are destroyed a lot more often after becoming Hulks, and detonations are more powerful (being in a Frigate when a capship dies nearby is a bad idea).
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 14) (TC Mod)
Post by: Debido on February 22, 2014, 08:44:48 PM
That was quick, maybe I should be playing that.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 14) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on February 22, 2014, 08:51:15 PM
It would probably be more fun than scraping XP via Fleet encounters (which still worked), yeah.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 14) (TC Mod)
Post by: Debido on February 22, 2014, 08:52:56 PM
Actually for a brief time I wasn't getting XP via Fleet encounters, don't know why. Even though I was winning.

Just noticed the mod info still shows version 13 after downloading.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 14) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on February 22, 2014, 08:58:16 PM
It shouldn't.  Just checked over here.  I'll re-upload it one more time just to be sure.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 14) (TC Mod)
Post by: Debido on February 22, 2014, 08:59:47 PM
I'll re-download when you're ready
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 14) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on February 22, 2014, 09:00:45 PM
Done.  Looks fine here.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 14) (TC Mod)
Post by: Debido on February 22, 2014, 09:03:56 PM
Can confirm. I have it running, I'll start broad casting again.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 14) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on February 22, 2014, 09:09:59 PM
Build 15 is out.  Gives a minimum of 500 XP for a victorious battle (rather than zero).  Covers a few weird cases, like capturing all the enemies, etc., where you'd get zero for all the hard work.

Also put up a link to Debido's stream.  Wish I had time to stream this, I would love to show how I think it should be played sometime, I think it'd help with a lot of newbie questions :)
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 15) (TC Mod)
Post by: Debido on February 22, 2014, 09:15:40 PM
Build 15?? That was super fast. I think I should be ok for the moment.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 15) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on February 22, 2014, 09:17:16 PM
Yeah, well, all I had to do was do 500 + xpGained and recompile and switch a version number and zip it and upload it, all of which took just a little longer than typing this, lol :)
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 15) (TC Mod)
Post by: Debido on February 22, 2014, 09:33:16 PM
Frame rate in this particular battle is really slow, now sure why. Nothing extraordinary about the Hedgmon tech mining fleet.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 15) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on February 22, 2014, 09:37:04 PM
Probably was one of the first fights where your fleet size + enemy + screencap wasn't quite up to it.  I can play with the Random Battles missions, but I can't imagine trying to play and screencap it, heh.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 15) (TC Mod)
Post by: Debido on February 22, 2014, 09:47:10 PM
Well apparently I'm using all of two cores, the other 2 aren't really doing much. So i've got more power and the screen cap program isn't even using all of one core...hmm,.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 15) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on February 22, 2014, 09:48:04 PM
Did you limit the screen cap affinity to the core that SS isn't using, though?
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 15) (TC Mod)
Post by: Debido on February 22, 2014, 09:48:26 PM
Ah found something, the Dram class tanker. Value is 0 credits.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 15) (TC Mod)
Post by: Debido on February 22, 2014, 09:49:14 PM
Did you limit the screen cap affinity to the core that SS isn't using, though?

I didn't do any core affinity, windows should (in theory) automatically assign the thread to the core that isn't utilised.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 15) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on February 22, 2014, 09:51:20 PM
Dram costs zero???

No, the base value is still 4000, like always.  Are you selling one you haven't repaired yet?

Oh, and on affinity... I usually force it for things that I know are single-thread but I want to give them a whole core.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 15) (TC Mod)
Post by: Debido on February 22, 2014, 09:52:16 PM
Ok, I've slapped on some core affinity. See how it works.

As for the dram, i'll have to see if I can recreate it.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 15) (TC Mod)
Post by: Debido on February 22, 2014, 09:53:55 PM
Ah ok, found it I do have it. You're right the hull is at zero. Strange that if the hull is zero it literally has no value. Shouldn't hull = 0 be invalid?
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 15) (TC Mod)
Post by: Debido on February 22, 2014, 09:55:41 PM
ok, on top of that the hull is not repairing in space and for that matter I cannot repair it at a base. Super wierd. Would you like a copy of this save game?
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 15) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on February 22, 2014, 09:57:10 PM
I see that, too.

It has a hull integrity of zero; repair it and see if it stays that way.  If yes, it's probably an issue with the boarding code; IIRC I was limiting CR after they were "re-activated".  Anyhow, I'll go look at that but I'm mystified atm.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 15) (TC Mod)
Post by: Debido on February 22, 2014, 10:02:45 PM
The melter cannons might be a bit OP in the hands of a player...but yeah, I'm not able to repair that ship. I wouldn't be surprised if it's something to do with boarding. I've only seen it with the dram class so far. No others.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 15) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on February 22, 2014, 10:04:10 PM
In Excel:  Data-->Filter-->Autofilter

Then drag down top bar so that that row is always kept on top.

If you still feel that way when you're fighting Attack Fleets, I'll nerf it; this is still the training-wheels stage :)

Oh, and always repair.  Watch the math on that, when you sell a bunch of captures.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 15) (TC Mod)
Post by: Debido on February 22, 2014, 10:09:25 PM
In the hands of an AI, it just flies around in circles and is never in range to fire it's weapons. So, a bit of give and take. I'll have to find some attack fleets when I've got a base and and bigger fleet :D
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 15) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on February 22, 2014, 10:12:17 PM
Yeah, well... priority #1 for the next "real" build will probably be re-writing the AI's use of the Burn Drive, so that it's not quite so, erm, "gifted"  ;)  It's one of those things that sucked with Vanilla's AI and sucks with this one, because it's really special. 

I'm still divided on whether I just let the AI use it to chase things or whether I try to make the AI do the weird loopy stuff players can do.  Probably the first goal first, since that's easier.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 15) (TC Mod)
Post by: Debido on February 22, 2014, 10:14:24 PM
I think the frame rate drop might be associated with launching drones, I'll have to try that next time I deploy.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 15) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on February 22, 2014, 10:17:19 PM
That may be; Drones are pretty CPU-heavy, especially when they're in non-Roam, since they don't really act like fighters.  I've thought about writing an AI for them, but IDK.

BTW, why do you keep selling the Phaetons?  Long-distance missiles and a flight deck.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 15) (TC Mod)
Post by: Debido on February 22, 2014, 10:21:23 PM
I can see the frame rate drop each time I hear the 'drone deploy' sound, meanwhilst there is next to nothing extraordinairy happening on screen.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 15) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on February 22, 2014, 10:30:07 PM
Hmm.  I doubt very much it's what's happening graphically there; it's almost certainly related to the AI initialization.  Anyhow, not much can be done with that, other than replacing the Drone AI with something inherently faster, which is easier said than done.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 15) (TC Mod)
Post by: Debido on February 22, 2014, 10:33:28 PM
Just noticing the enemy is retreating after being defeated and there is an enemy drone near 12,000 SU's north of the map. Also a bunch of my ships are flying way beyond the border to get them...
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 15) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on February 22, 2014, 10:37:07 PM
Yeah, the AI doesn't really care much about borders any more.  Honestly, I wish the battlefields didn't have borders (or at least weren't limited to 60,000^2  SU).

Anyhow... build 16 is now available:  fixes the absurd CR levels of captured things.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 16) (TC Mod)
Post by: Debido on February 22, 2014, 10:42:06 PM
I wonder if Alex will relax the border limit, it's really needed when you have ships that go much faster.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 15) (TC Mod)
Post by: Nanao-kun on February 22, 2014, 10:44:46 PM
Yeah, the AI doesn't really care much about borders any more.  Honestly, I wish the battlefields didn't have borders (or at least weren't limited to 60,000^2  SU).

Anyhow... build 16 is now available:  fixes the absurd CR levels of captured things.
So many builds in just a couple of days.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 16) (TC Mod)
Post by: Debido on February 22, 2014, 10:47:10 PM
There is a big difficulty limit between the hedgmon tech miners to the assault fleet...I might as well play it. Maybe some more intermediary fleet sizes?

How are fleet sizes determined? I'd really like to learn the mechanics behind your implementation, are they randomised?
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 16) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on February 22, 2014, 10:51:16 PM
Quote
So many builds in just a couple of days.
Well, but trivial builds; the only important one this week was 13.  This is just balance-pass stuff, or "oops I forgot to test X".  I tend to do that a lot, and I like fixing it before I forget about it; it beats setting down long bug lists that I never actually fix.

Quote
There is a big difficulty limit between the hedgmon tech miners to the assault fleet...I might as well play it. Maybe some more intermediary fleet sizes?
Assault fleets are, short of the Station fleets, the biggest in the mod right now.  Attack, Defense and Privateer fleets are considerably more bite-sized, but are a big step up from Mining / Tech fleets.

On the battle map size... yeah, that's one of the things I'd really like- I have no idea how arbitrary that limit is or how big of a deal it'd be to change it, and 60K is plenty huge for Vanilla, so I've never bothered asking :)

Anyhow, time for me to do the whole pumpkin thing, hope to see you up against a Station fleet soon :)
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 16) (TC Mod)
Post by: Debido on February 22, 2014, 10:55:29 PM
Can't say I've seen any privateer, attack, defence fleets yet. Did see them in previous builds. They're probably around somewhere.

What I really want to do is grab some eagles and give them some megabeams. They're very low FPS/CPU intensity.

I'm not sure if you intended to give the eagles medium mounts, cause with the large mounts they're awesome for their price.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 16) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on February 22, 2014, 11:05:19 PM
I definitely intended that.  The Black Eagles are meant to be pretty close to the top of the heap, cruiser-wise.  I think the BE/Eagle/Falcon line makes reasonable sense, in terms of power; all three together are pretty synergistic.

BTW, Black Eagles usually do quite well with Dual Slammers; no Flux cost, if you go with a heavy shield build to tank, they're better than either Megabeams or Heavy Plasma Cannons, in terms of DPS-before-shield-failure, and have great range.  Just make sure they have good PD, and remember that they're still just Cruisers, not true Battleships; a Macuahuitl will pwn one pretty fast when it does the Nuclear Death Blossom dance if you aren't careful, even with late-game buffs.

OK... definitely bedtime lol.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 16) (TC Mod)
Post by: Demonocolips on February 23, 2014, 11:33:02 AM
alright i love the expansion of the games systems with this mod but i have some issues.

i do not get experince unless i absolutely win an engagment.
even if i kill 99.9999% of a fleet if even a single ship gets away i dont get salvage cash or experience most of the time i lose money in these cases.

actually thats the big one. other than that i dont have any major complaints (other then i am terrible at this game).

oh another thing just a small bug my hermes class ships when on autopilot cycles the drones continuously
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 16) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on February 23, 2014, 12:27:21 PM
Are you playing with Alpha 16?  I think most of that got fixed last night while I watched Debido's stream :)
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 16) (TC Mod)
Post by: Demonocolips on February 23, 2014, 12:38:42 PM
well that makes sense  :-\ i just downloaded it a couple days ago set everything up to work and left it to the weekend to play around with buts it's in a newer version

k downloading newest version  ;D
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 16) (TC Mod)
Post by: Taishar on February 23, 2014, 07:07:48 PM
First of all I would like to say awesome mod...Im hooked and Im just scratching the surface of what can be an infinite bit of re-playability.  Im having just one issue and this may just be a configuration issue on my end.  I am unable to see the makeup of any fleet but my own while flying around space.  I can see their engine burn and the slots available but no ship models.  Anyone encountered this?  Right now im taking on fleets based on size and hoping I get lucky :)  There has been some rude awakenings in the process :)
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 16) (TC Mod)
Post by: Nanao-kun on February 23, 2014, 07:14:38 PM
First of all I would like to say awesome mod...Im hooked and Im just scratching the surface of what can be an infinite bit of re-playability.  Im having just one issue and this may just be a configuration issue on my end.  I am unable to see the makeup of any fleet but my own while flying around space.  I can see their engine burn and the slots available but no ship models.  Anyone encountered this?  Right now im taking on fleets based on size and hoping I get lucky :)  There has been some rude awakenings in the process :)
That's intentional.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 16) (TC Mod)
Post by: Taishar on February 23, 2014, 08:30:08 PM
Great now I can stop obsessing about it.  Thanks!
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 16) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on February 24, 2014, 10:11:40 AM
I'll probably put out another build sometime over the next few days;  couple of things I want to get done first:

1.  Get the "transporter beam" concept working.  Boarding devices for all, and all that jazz.
2.  I'd like to try out the healing weapon concept.

3.  Do some stuff in regards to fighter balance.  

I.E., deal with the Glaug's fighters being really OP (still) and take a look at the whole situation there.  

I feel like the factions are very unbalanced in terms of massed fighters; probably the player's best bet is to mass up a bunch of Gnawlers and Daggers and Flyters and enough flight decks to keep them in motion; I think that is the ultimate unbreakable combo atm, even moreso than OP flagships + OP rest-of-fleet, especially if you have a couple of wings of Boarding Shuttles in that mix.  

Why Flyters, I hear you ask?  Don't they suck?  Yes, they suck, until you get them in large enough numbers... and then they suddenly don't suck, because their missile spam covers the battlefield like a moving, intelligent minefield, utterly wrecking any fighters dumb enough to try and engage, let alone move through, and it nullifies most missile / rocket / torpedo / bombs.  The only faction that can sorta-kinda counter it is the Hegemony, which (ironically) is unable to do so for a meaningful amount of time because the Falcatas, unlike the Condors or Launchers or whatnot, only have one deck, due to an oversight by Yours Truly that I fixed this evening.  

Thoughts on solving this include further nerfs for the Glaug's armor regen, specifically for fighters and drones, so that it's just barely there and can be whittled down, and the other biggie, introducing a weapon that I've often wanted:  a Small-mount, single-launch Pilum- something small ships can carry that gives them AOE vs. missiles and fighters, with low ammo but each shot is pretty useful and the range would mean first shot in (kind of like Phoenix missiles on F-14s).

That, and I think one faction or more might get a slow-moving turret-with-engine concept fighter, mounting something nasty and AOE- a Flak Gun or Light Mortar or two.  Nothing heavy like a Millennium or a Hephaestus, of course, although a dedicated beam-bolt fighter for Tritachyon might be interesting (a beam-bolt PD in general is interesting, imo, as a LMG replacement that doesn't run out of ammo but costs some flux and does Energy damage).

In general, I'm thinking that fighters designed to kill other fighters and rocket spam in non-interceptor roles might be nice.  The Faction balance in regards to this also needs further looking-at; Hegemony's probably fixed, with the Falcata actually having the two decks it was supposed to + the Cruiser with a deck that's on-tap making it complete.  The Independents might actually have to give up the Launcher and give it to somebody else, if the Heron ever makes it into the mod; the Pirates feel like they need something to give their fighters some decent killing power vs. other fighters, but have reasonable deck support with Condors and Dachshunds, Exigency feels pretty good in that respect and I think the Punk Junkers are about right atm; their Squires are murderous evil but they can't quite do giant waves of doom because they don't have enough decks to keep it going; in player hands, though...  ;)

Anyhow, as usual, balance comments will be taken into account, so feel free to tell me what you'd really like buffed / nerfed on fighters.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 16) (TC Mod)
Post by: Draginea on February 24, 2014, 02:15:39 PM
Do you think you will ever make a tank based faction sometime in the distant future? If there is one i can see massive potential for fun.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 16) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on February 24, 2014, 02:36:34 PM
I could see doing a faction like that, where all the ships are essentially built around a huge turret with small support weapons and have tank-like designs, but I don't have the art for it :)
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 16) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on February 26, 2014, 12:23:40 AM
I think that Hegemony vs. Glaug fighter balance is now something like rational, but could be better.

The Broadsword, which was like a crappy-but-fast light-interceptor version of the Gladius, has been re-purposed, but that's still evolving.  I think what's going to happen with it is that it's going to have a pair of missiles that are direct counters to stuff like Flyters, being fast and really decently guided and reasonably powered (two-hit light-fighter kill) but low-RoF and ammo, so they're really useful in the interceptor role but lack stamina.  I tried arming them with a pair of Light Mortars, but that really didn't cut it, at least on forward mounts; a pair of Flak Cannons actually worked OK-ish, but I'm not entirely happy with them in that role, it just feels too weird.

The Warthog, which apparently went missing from the mod entirely at some point, is returning, although differentiating it from the Gladius has proven to be pretty tricky; basically the Warthog's tougher and slower and packs HE, the Gladius packs Kinetic, they're like peanut butter and chocolate, in theory, but I think they need to be differentiated further.  I'm thinking the Warthog gets a Light Mortar on the turret so that it can clear limited amounts of missile spam; that might make it a bit special, vs. the Gladius, which is entirely focused forwards.

Anyhow, still working on all of that; I've also updated their paintjobs to be a little more uniform with the Hegemony general brownish tones and themes (yes, I know Hegemony in general is pretty inconsistent, given their militaristic theme, but meh, given the way the art for all of the early stuff in the mod came together, it's a wonder it's not even more incoherent than it is, really).

Anyhow, here are the edited Hegemony fighter sprites; I think they look much more uniform in colors and tones without having lost their uniqueness in terms of form and functional bits.

(http://www.wolfegames.com/TA_Section/hegemony_broadsword.png)(http://www.wolfegames.com/TA_Section/hegemony_gladius.png)(http://www.wolfegames.com/TA_Section/hegemony_thunder.png)(http://www.wolfegames.com/TA_Section/hegemony_warthog.png)
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 16) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on February 26, 2014, 12:32:35 PM
A few things, development-wise:

1.  I will be finally making UniversalSpawnPoint.java a little less like trying to read a technical manual written in a foreign language for the sake of other people who are interested in how development of a simple campaign meta-game works and all that.  I remember struggling to get through Zaphide's code in Exerelin, which is nicely-commented for the most part, so I can't even imagine the horrors UniversalSpawnPoint creates for people trying to read it. 

It's not as sexy as the AIs apparently are, based on the amount of PMs and bugs caught and all that (btw, thanks again everybody, you're all awesome for pointing out the bugs and cruft in my logic), but if anybody asked me which part was actually harder to write, I'd honestly say that UniversalSpawnPoint was, and I think it's stable enough that it can be cleaned up. 

It and SectorGen.java are pretty much the whole meta-game, other than the DialogPlugins (which are quite nicely commented, because I wasn't quite so darn busy at that point) that facilitate player interaction and I realize it's pretty hard to read right now if you aren't me, so I'll be commenting it properly and cleaning up the Advance() logic so that it's not quite so hard to poke at it, for those who are inclined to learn more about how to build meta-game structure and all that.

2.  I think it's high time to organize the data a little more rationally and do some cleanup on the assets.  For example, certain ships have been assigned to <insert faction> for ages, but they don't even vaguely match up, color-wise, or feel like they're part of a theme... but, more importantly (to me at least, as the coder-person) the Vanilla data's still mixed up with non-Vanilla data in spots and the whole thing is really horribly organized. 

This has been a growing problem, as I add more Stuff... and I think it's about time to actually organize this mess, especially now that we can have comment lines in CSVs so that I can label stuff clearly (i.e., #HEGEMONY FIGHTERS, #GLAUG CRUISERS, etc., etc.).

All of this may sound ridiculously pedantic, but it's not; I've found in the past that when projects get to a certain point, size-wise, clean organization gets more and more important.  I keep not finishing certain things because I'm like, "ugh, I'll have to wade into that mess again", lol.

-------------
Anyhow, none of this effects the immediate timeline for the release I'd like to get done this week, which will basically just cover a few more AI speedups (order-of-operations stuff and a few other minor things) and putting in the "boarding transporter" and "healing ray" stuff, both of which are pretty light-n-fluffy fun projects. 

The process of getting the Factions looking a little less hodge-podge (well, except where they should look hodge-podge- the Pirate and Independents will likely remain in their current state, because it fits their lore; we're mainly talking Hegemony and Tritachyon here) can be done in small doses, same with commenting the code better in the core stuff.  So no giant delays or whatever, I don't currently see any show-stopper bugs.  I'll probably hold off on major new initiatives while I get through this part, though.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 16) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on February 27, 2014, 05:08:35 PM
(http://www.wolfegames.com/TA_Section/hegemony_layout.jpg)
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 16) (TC Mod)
Post by: Debido on February 27, 2014, 05:12:30 PM
Boarding transporter? You mean you're going to be able to 'teleport' type thing marines directly onboard another ship? That would be interesting. Or are you planning on having a dedicated ship that launches the boarding ships?

I think the boarding aspect of your mod is a real game changer, I haven't played much more Vacuum since my last stream so I haven't even tried out the stations yet at the 200,000 credit mark.

I think the previous time I played Vacuum and bought a station, another faction attacked it and successfully took it over. I immediately tried to take it back but I was massacred by my own station(s) :p

I'll look at doing another stream tomorrow with the latest build, any advice you have on showing the various aspects of Vacuum would be appreciated :D
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 16) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on February 27, 2014, 05:42:53 PM
Quote
Boarding transporter? You mean you're going to be able to 'teleport' type thing marines directly onboard another ship?
Yup, Star Trek style "transporters"; low range, high Flux, only works on Hulks, but has an excellent chance of capturing the Hulk per second.  Building this kind of thing pretty much means that any ship you want to be able to board stuff can do so by giving up a weapon slot.

Quote
Or are you planning on having a dedicated ship that launches the boarding ships?
That's technically possible (again) now that the stuff that broke the Swift Launcher is un-broken again.

Quote
I'll look at doing another stream tomorrow with the latest build, any advice you have on showing the various aspects of Vacuum would be appreciated
Cool; I learned a lot from reviewing that, just in terms of how people play it out, heh. 

Is there a way to save the stream so that the link's still good later?  I'd love a permanent link to some footage so that folks can see that if they want to know what the mod feels like and all that; I had your link up but now it leads to nowhere, lol.

In terms of "advice"... hrmm...

Things to show:  fight all the factions you can.  There's so much stuff, especially once you're past the early bits and are doing Blueprint runs and fighting serious fleets.  I don't think the Glaug are too evil until you're facing Assault Fleets, especially not vs. buffed stuff.

Use the weird stuff.  Freeze rays, Repulsor Beams (which are quite handy), Neutron weapons, Plasma weapons, the Proximity Charge Launcher, the SABOT cannons, the Ion Cannons, Spore Cannons, etc., etc.  There is a lot of weird weaponry in the mod and it'd be pretty cool to see what somebody else does with it.  I mean, it's pretty boring when I know that the Spore Cannons pair up nicely with Plasma because of damage stacking and all that. 

I noticed last time that you were doing a run with the ships pretty much stock, which was interesting, because I never use a ship stock, ever, except when testing whether the ship's functional and a reasonable opponent... and it was nice to see that they still worked reasonably well with some player buffs.

Things to avoid:

Fighter balance atm is terrible, even worse than I feared, lol. 

For example, the poor Pirates just fall to pieces if you go fighter-heavy... it's kind of funny, but not really.  I've fixed some of it; for example, Hegemony has a genuine shot at staying in a Heg / Tritach matchup in Random Battle now, if it uses its fighters well; they're no longer a joke that way (that said, they still don't really have any answer to massed Odysseys).  But the Pirates are still really weak in that department and the Punk Junkers are still a one-trick pony and the Glaug are now roughly balanced, kind of, but I'm not happy with what I had to do to them, so I'm not releasing yet.

I doubt I'll have the fighter rebal done before then, but I'll try to get more of it done tonight. 
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 16) (TC Mod)
Post by: Debido on February 27, 2014, 06:00:08 PM
I believe there is an option on Twitch TV that gives the option to archive each stream. I think to make it a bit more accessible I might break the stream up into several sections relating to different factions if I have the time.

I think how I play depends on what I have available, and what I'm targeting early game. In later game I go for heavier ships such as the dark eagle as it is AWESOME when fully kitted out, though that was back in release 13 and I haven't tested it out since then.

I remember earlier on with one of the first releases I played I was given a small fighter to begin with, and it was very strong and fast with excellent regen. I really liked that type of gameplay where I'm a little solo fighter/frigate class ship strafing in and around and taking out much bigger ships by avoid their fire.

Eventually that ship was destroyed and I resorted to larger cruisers and capital ships as inevitably I found you need to fight capitals with capitals. This type of gameplay is still fun, but you're less avoiding incoming fire, and more being a shield/weapon manager and making sure no one section of armour takes too much damage.

That said with 2 black eagles I took out an entire Exigency assault fleet (very slowly) and that was fun, it was a complete cluster duck with all of the incoming MX missiles.

One reason I run with plenty of stock in the playthrough was because I wanted to focus on the gameplay, and there was usually decent variety of weapons on the ships. If I wanted to spend time tweaking my ships up for optimum damage etc. I could have, and it wouldn't make sense unless I was giving voice over narration.

I'll be happy to show off the various weird weapons, I'm not sure if I can use the LazyWizard console with Vacuum but if I can I'll use it to add the various weapons and variants for demonstration purposes.


Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 16) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on February 27, 2014, 06:32:11 PM
Yeah, capitals pretty much require a Cruiser+ level of firepower; it's one of the primary differences between the mod and Vanilla, where you just need to not die and you'll eventually beat a capital ship, even in a frigate. 

That said, I think there are a few frigates that could still kill some of the capital ships- the Chiron can do it, eventually, and the Swordfish 2 can do it, with a bit of luck and patience.  Heck, a Lasher or Vigilance can still do it, if you use nukes and are really careful.  That said, it's definitely in the category of "really fricking hard", which, imo at least, it should be.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 16) (TC Mod)
Post by: Debido on February 27, 2014, 06:44:33 PM
Yeah I remember trying to use a black eagle vs that Aztech pirate ship in the simulator...that was ludicrous, I was massacred so quickly due to it's damage output and nukes/torpedoes.

You're right though in gameplay that larger and more expensive ships should be better. If larger ships could be routinely defeated by smaller/cheaper ones, they would have no point in existing. I mean in the real world analogy large battleships don't exist for pretty much that exact reason, but I don't care - I want my battleships damn it.

That said piloting a battleship is not as...challenging or as fun in SS, but not as un-fun as M2 battles in X3:AP. Not sure if you've played X3 but pretty much you just sit there and occasionally tell the turrets to prioritise a target, and hope that your shield lasts longer than the other guys'.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 16) (TC Mod)
Post by: Nazaxprime on February 28, 2014, 01:04:45 AM
Awesome. TC is my favorite. Keep up the good work. [Reserved]
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 16) (TC Mod)
Post by: Taishar on February 28, 2014, 10:54:00 AM
I cant put this mod down.....Finally made it to level 40 and its just ludicrous the amount of depth you can create with the various factions fleet options.  I have to say boarding and capture chance makes this my favorite.  Brings back fond memories of Sid Meiers Pirates...Keep it up!
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 16) (TC Mod)
Post by: canshow on March 02, 2014, 06:01:44 PM
Sometimes on station takeovers, the enemy ships un-disable themselves 2-3 seconds after being disabled. I'm not sure if this is intentional or not, but it is very annoying and wastes a lot of time.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 16) (TC Mod)
Post by: Bobakanoosh on March 03, 2014, 07:06:51 PM
My machine is packing an i7 Intel with 2.30 GHz, and the random battle mission is unplayably slow. Is this normal? Not really complaining, just wondering.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 16) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on March 03, 2014, 10:19:02 PM
Firstly, if you're not running the very latest version, make sure to update; I sped things up considerably last week.

If it makes you feel any better, the Random Battles can test even the brawniest PC.  I test / run this on a pretty old quad-core Athlon that runs 3Ghz per core, and it's not at 60FPS on my hardware when we reach insane levels of bullet-hell madness, but it's still quite playable.

Anyhow, the next release will feature some further smallish speedups, but I'm guessing you're just kind of on the edge in terms of CPU; luckily, there are hardly any situations that insane in the main game, other than Station battles (and then, only if you bring a huge fleet to the party).  Bear in mind that Random Battle is more-or-less for testing worst-case scenario stuff, performance-wise.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 16) (TC Mod)
Post by: Bobakanoosh on March 04, 2014, 04:27:05 PM
I downloaded the mod via the main link up top last night.

but the thing is, I've fought through deployed fleets similar to this through other mods at points in time in the past and my FPS doesnt go below 45. In this case, my FPS drops to around 15 as soon as the ships even enter the arena. by the time shots are fired, it just grinds to a literal unplayable speed. That's the part that doesn't make sense to me. I'm running this on 8 cores @ 2.30 GHz, so I believe that my CPU is a bit past on the edge. the weakest link in my machine is my GPU, but I think that this type of game is more reliant on RAM and the CPU (correct me if I'm wrong). I just don't know if it's because the mod is simply unleashing ungodly amounts of processes, or I have something set the wrong way.

I haven't done the RAM modification yet (I'm just curious to see how the error occurs), but that's only pertaining to save files, right?

-EDIT-  Also, ships don't appear in navigation mode, you just see the engine contrails, and when you hover your cursor over any given fleet, the only thing visible within the box are crew rank chevrons. Not sure if this has been mentioned before. I just skimmed the 39 pages.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 16) (TC Mod)
Post by: Draginea on March 04, 2014, 05:38:47 PM
With this mod the game needs about 4 gigs of ram. The fleets not showing is a caused by a feature that allows the game to save ram by randomly generating fleets when you encounter them insead of storing them.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 16) (TC Mod)
Post by: Bobakanoosh on March 04, 2014, 06:44:29 PM
I have 16 GB. would I have to change the asset in vmparams? I've tried changing the values to 4096m, but the game stops launching. same goes for any value above 1900.

-EDIT- also, I'd like to have clarification if this mod needs any other mods activated (Lazylib, etc.).

thank you.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 16) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on March 04, 2014, 08:10:24 PM
Quote
I'm running this on 8 cores @ 2.30 GHz, so I believe that my CPU is a bit past on the edge.
SS only uses one core during gameplay, so while your total (theoretical) speed if all 8 cores are running is somewhat faster... in reality, my core's 30% faster. 

GPU is usually a non-issue with the game, period; sound cards and things like bus speeds can matter a bit, though; the mod sometimes demands a heck of a lot of sound playthrough compared to Vanilla.  One thing you can test out, just to see if it matters, is turning off sound and seeing what that does to your framerates.

It's not a RAM issue, for sure.  The mod doesn't need 4 GB for battles, and is usually < 1 GB at all times nowadays; I'm playing it and testing it on a machine with only 2GB and it's fine.

Quote
-EDIT- also, I'd like to have clarification if this mod needs any other mods activated (Lazylib, etc.).
No, and in fact, that could possibly cause serious issues.  LazyLib is built in and is kept up to date.

Anyhow, I'll post the latest when it's done; I'm having a really busy week IRL but I'll try to get it out soon.  I'm not sure how much it'll help, though; I saw small speed changes vs. the latest builds, but nothing earth-shattering over here.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 16) (TC Mod)
Post by: Bobakanoosh on March 04, 2014, 10:11:02 PM
only one core? OUCH! well, that might explain my troubles then. the sound proposition is interesting. I'll try that out.

good to know with the RAM.

no additional utilities needed. good to know on that too. I've been running the mod without anything else activated, although I did try it with Lazylib on, in which nothing really appeared to have changed.

thanks for your responses, and I appreciate your hard work! I'm definitely a big battle kinda person. It ain't no space opera unless there's a ton of ships flying around.

-EDIT-  I completely forgot to bring this up, but I am still experiencing the invisible ship problem. I've reinstalled both the mod and SS to no avail. Any ideas?
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 16) (TC Mod)
Post by: ciago92 on March 05, 2014, 01:42:05 PM
The fleets not showing is a caused by a feature that allows the game to save ram by randomly generating fleets when you encounter them insead of storing them.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 16) (TC Mod)
Post by: Bobakanoosh on March 05, 2014, 01:48:43 PM
Yes I'm aware of that, but I've already made the 1024m adjustment in vmparams and my rig has 16 GB of RAM. What am I missing here?
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 16) (TC Mod)
Post by: ciago92 on March 05, 2014, 01:58:09 PM
It's not something that will change when you increase ram, it's something Xenoargh put in no matter what your ram level is. Honestly, I didn't even know it was ram based, I thought it was supposed to be like sensor cloaking or something lol
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 16) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on March 05, 2014, 02:50:52 PM
It's not altogether about RAM, it's by design.

I felt that being able to see the contents of fleets before engaging them was a bit of a cheat and a crutch; IRL, you'd expect fleets to be using active and passive means to prevent you from knowing how many members they have.  Since Vanilla doesn't have any way to simulate sensors on the strategic map, it seemed like the best way to handle it.

It also reduced RAM use and shrinks savegames (which is usually where RAM problems creep up) by quite a bit, because they're as close to "empty" objects as a fleet can get.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 16) (TC Mod)
Post by: Bobakanoosh on March 05, 2014, 04:50:39 PM
oooohhhh! i see now, okay. Here I am thinking it was a problem, lol. Thanks for the clarification.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 16) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on March 06, 2014, 12:53:20 PM
OK, I think Hegemony's fighter balance is squared away.  Meet the Liberator heavy bomber (based loosely on a Gladius mashup by HELMUT, who kindly released it in the Spiral Arms thread):

(http://www.wolfegames.com/TA_Section/hegemony_liberator.png)

This is a heavy bomber, in the classic sense; it has a pair of Assault Cannons, two bomb racks and a Dual LMG on a dorsal turret.  A three-pack has the firepower of a Cruiser when it does a solid bombing run.  They finally give Hegemony an answer to nuke-spam enemies and probably put them over the top vs. Glaug.

So that leaves the Pirates, who need help desperately, the Independents, who should be really fierce, fighter-wise, but have some big issues, and the Punk Junkers, who just don't have much up their sleeve (although I've found that even rolling with them stock, I can use their Boarding Shuttles to great effect, since their carriers are also their heaviest ships, which makes them really interesting).
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 16) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on March 08, 2014, 01:35:27 PM
1.  The Hegemony can beat the Glaug, stock, with the appropriate use of fighters and high-end ships.  Just barely, but that's an interesting improvement.  It may mean I can even un-nerf the Glaug a bit; they got nerfed so hard it wasn't even funny to get them to this point ::)

2.  I think I've figured out exactly what separates the factions that are functional from the ones that are basically broken. 

It's largely about whether the faction has true Strike craft, i.e. something heavy enough to get in and kill tough stuff, and a Fighter type that can handle other Fighters. 

The Independents, for example, handle other fighters fairly well, but generally choke on the Glaug, because they have nothing that will kill their ships, ever.


Also, got a basic, no-frills Drone AI written and the Repair Beam is now a Thing.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 16) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on March 10, 2014, 05:49:23 PM
Drone AI is a pain in the arse and Drones are just plain weird. 

Hats off to Alex; this is actually harder to write than a standard ship AI in many ways.

Still working on the concepts; right now, I have Drone AI that can use the Deploy, Attack and Recall states and will land back on the mother-ship.  It'll attack enemy ships properly, but it won't do the orbiting behaviors just yet. 

Not quite sure if I want to clone the whole system entire; that seems like it'll get really unwieldy and unfriendly performance-wise, certainly no better than what we have now (Drones are, indeed, a performance issue) and certain variables are going to be hard to get; I don't know if the Drones get an integer that tells them which element of a Drone array they are, or whether the mothership gets the number of elements and then goes through the list to assign the Drones their locations in a strict list order.  I'm kind of leaning towards a system where I build the orbiting behaviors and then perhaps build an example of a rigid-array type approach; I've already set it up to use the min/max limits for attacking nearby things.

Anyhow, since it's basically functional to the point where AIs use it reasonably well, I'll probably do some cleanup on it, try to make a simple clone of it for a Repair Drone so that that is a functional thing and do a little more rebal on the fighter stuff before we get to another official release.  Or maybe I should just finish up the fighter-rebal and get a Repair type of fighter working as a demo and then put out a release- that would be faster.  IDK, I don't see any really pressing bugs other than the performance stuff that needs me to hurry this one out so I'm kind of inclined to keep hacking on it a while longer :)
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 16) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on March 17, 2014, 01:31:16 AM
Drone AI works about as well as I need it to, now.

Still working on repair-related Stuff and some code cleanup / documentation.  RL has been kind of a busy mess lately :)
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 16) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on March 18, 2014, 12:46:02 PM
Meet Exigency's newest ship, the cluster-bomber Naxos:

(http://www.wolfegames.com/TA_Section/exigency_naxos.png)

Oh, and... apparently Exigency wasn't playable in Random Battle.  Fixed. 

They're not doing well vs. practically anybody right now; I think they got nerfed too much due to player comments about their "invincible" Destroyer, which is not terribly invincible.  Tri-Tach eats these guys for breakfast atm; nuke-spam > armor and their fairly sickly regen, and they just don't have the anti-missile stuff to deal.  This will get addressed.

Irithia now has four decks, since it's the only carrier they have; that keeps them in the fighter battles a lot better.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 16) (TC Mod)
Post by: Ranakastrasz on March 18, 2014, 02:04:32 PM
Am currently entirely incapable of getting started. I repeatedly get slaughtered by asteroid fleets, and cannot get enough resources to afford any extra ships to avoid that.
In most cases, you die in seconds without any time to react, with a handful of exceptions.

I was able to win a handful of fights, enough to level up once, while I still had a starter fleet of a few ships. Then, I hit an asteroid fight which killed off all my ships, and the new ship was still unable to win any fights.

I am unable to mine enough Germanium to accomplish anything, mainly due to my keep losing any money I might have gathered, or any ships. Unlike vanilla, there are also no mini-fleets available for me to fight which do not slaughter me as well.

The main issue is that unless, presumably, you are of a far higher class, or have the boom-ship, you are entirely unable to avoid being surrounded, overloaded, and obliterated in seconds by multiple frigates and fighters, both of which are faster than you are.

I might be able to take on one, or maybe 2, but 3 is effectively impossible, and the sniper-frigates are impossible for me to counter. They overload your shield from way out of your range, even with significant shield boosting mods. While they might be killable solo (depending on whether or not your hull can take it while you shield-vent cycle and close the distance) if there is any other ships, it kills you.

Also, last time I tried to retreat, which failed miserably.

Any ideas?

Edit:
Managed to get a ship able to actually close and kill things, and have enough ships that I haven't lost this game yet. Brawler class + Melter on standard build. Seems to obliterate anything it hits, and burn drive lets you close in. Also seems to be effected by the +300 range beam booster.
~~~
Navigation skill seems to have either a  bugged tooltip or data. 1/1/2, 1/1/2, then 2/2/2. Actually could be intended, and level zero displays values for level 1, but unsure.
Some ships still lack varieties with full loadouts, such as the Phalanx class.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 16) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on March 18, 2014, 05:05:33 PM
Well, I guess I could make the starting fleets even more powerful or give people a couple more free levels-worth of skill points at the start; give people an "easy mode", so to speak.  I already made it easier by giving people a "helper" frigate, just like Vanilla ended up doing; I don't have any objections to making "easy start" mode where you get more skill points / money / ships.  I'll see about getting that done for the next build once the fighter rebalance project and Repair stuff is a real thing.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 16) (TC Mod)
Post by: Jazwana on March 19, 2014, 09:36:43 AM
Ran into a out of memory crash when jumping into a system outside corvus  - with the usual fixes to vmparams and 64-bit version java already applied.

Spoiler

Code
2069510 [Thread-5] DEBUG com.fs.graphics.TextureLoader  - Loading image graphics/backgrounds/background5.jpg into existing tex id 327
2069933 [Thread-5] ERROR com.fs.starfarer.combat.O0OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO  - java.lang.OutOfMemoryError
java.lang.OutOfMemoryError
at sun.misc.Unsafe.allocateMemory(Native Method)
at java.nio.DirectByteBuffer.<init>(Unknown Source)
at java.nio.ByteBuffer.allocateDirect(Unknown Source)
at org.lwjgl.BufferUtils.createByteBuffer(BufferUtils.java:60)
at com.fs.graphics.TextureLoader.o00000(Unknown Source)
at com.fs.graphics.TextureLoader.o00000(Unknown Source)
at com.fs.graphics.TextureLoader.o00000(Unknown Source)
at com.fs.starfarer.util.ReplaceableSprite.class.int(Unknown Source)
at com.fs.starfarer.campaign.BackgroundAndStars.ØO0000(Unknown Source)
at com.fs.starfarer.campaign.BaseLocation.renderBG(Unknown Source)
at com.fs.starfarer.campaign.CampaignEngine.renderBG(Unknown Source)
at com.fs.starfarer.campaign.A.ØØ0000(Unknown Source)
at com.fs.starfarer.B.ØÓÒ000(Unknown Source)
at com.fs.oOOO.A.Ò00000(Unknown Source)
at com.fs.starfarer.combat.O0OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO.o00000(Unknown Source)
at com.fs.starfarer.StarfarerLauncher$2.run(Unknown Source)
at java.lang.Thread.run(Unknown Source)

[close]
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 16) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on March 19, 2014, 11:03:57 AM
Hmm. 

How long had your game been running?

Did you have any menus open or anything at the time?

Did it happen again, when you reloaded?

At a guess, I'm thinking it's an engine-side memory leak;  I'll have to report it to Alex and see if he has an idea what's up.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 16) (TC Mod)
Post by: Peter1x9 on March 19, 2014, 11:35:24 AM
Am currently entirely incapable of getting started. I repeatedly get slaughtered by asteroid fleets, and cannot get enough resources to afford any extra ships to avoid that.
In most cases, you die in seconds without any time to react, with a handful of exceptions.

I was able to win a handful of fights, enough to level up once, while I still had a starter fleet of a few ships. Then, I hit an asteroid fight which killed off all my ships, and the new ship was still unable to win any fights.

I am unable to mine enough Germanium to accomplish anything, mainly due to my keep losing any money I might have gathered, or any ships. Unlike vanilla, there are also no mini-fleets available for me to fight which do not slaughter me as well.

I ran into the same problem when I tried this mod last year, and quickly lost interest.  Mining asteroids just seemed suicidal at the start of a new game.  Huge pirate armadas would camp almost every one of them.  And without smaller fleets to take on, there was no realistic way to make money.

This mod (and Starsector to a lesser extent) could really use some kind of difficulty scaling system.  Alex put more small pirate fleets in the default game to make starting out easier, but it is still a bit hard at the beginning.  However, once I do level up the Starsector campaign goes from tough to very easy.  

One change that might help with asteroid mining would be to scale the pirate encounter chance and pirate encounter fleet size with the player's fleet.  After all, a small fleet without any capital ships should be harder to detect than a large fleet.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 16) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on March 19, 2014, 02:11:59 PM
Quote
I ran into the same problem when I tried this mod last year, and quickly lost interest.  Mining asteroids just seemed suicidal at the start of a new game.  Huge pirate armadas would camp almost every one of them.  And without smaller fleets to take on, there was no realistic way to make money.

This mod (and Starsector to a lesser extent) could really use some kind of difficulty scaling system.

Well, I already made it so that big fleets don't spawn until you've gained a few levels, in the current builds.  

Past that, I think that just making it plain easier for players by handing them more resources at the start if they want an easy start sounds like a reasonable thing to do.  I don't honestly find the early game all that hard, personally, but I agree that not having the difficulty ramp set correctly is a major issue :)
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 16) (TC Mod)
Post by: Bobakanoosh on March 21, 2014, 10:39:12 AM
My biggest complaint about this mod is how incredibly easy it is to die a very sudden and unexpected death. one of the main perpetrators in this are the modded torpedoes. So I encounter a small frigate fleet with my couple of frigates. I deploy, and sometimes, before contact has even been made, a pair of torpedoes barrels down, hits one of my frigates several meters away from my ship and then suddenly my entire fleet gets blasted to smithereens. keep in mind that this happens early in the game and throughout the rest of gameplay. these buffed torpedoes are absolutely ludicrous in my opinion, and they generally suck the fun out of the game, seeing as im forced to save-scum after literally every action i do because my entire fleet could be obliterated in seconds at any moment's notice and there's nothing i could do to prevent it. I don't even want to use the torps myself for fear that I might use them at too short a range and kill myself and half my fleet.

-EDIT- I get where you're coming from, overhauling and creating a mod that really ramps up the difficulty, but in my opinion, it's not that it's too difficult for me, it's just simply unfair. I'm not sure if it's balancing or what, but there's big issues at hand in my perspective. the 'helper' frigate at the start dies in the first encounter 80% of the time. the torp issue explained above. the fact that I cant actually see just how big the fleets im engaging are. etc. etc.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 16) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on March 21, 2014, 01:35:49 PM
Hey, don't worry about complaining about the difficulty, I don't really have issues with fixing that kind of thing.  You need to understand that a lot of the stuff people find "hard" in this mod, I don't really find "hard"; I've been playing it for long enough and I know all the counters (duh, since I made them) so I don't have the same issues new players do.

I agree that torpedoes are one of the more complicated hazards in the mod.  The only Frigate fleets in the game that ever have them are the Pirate Kings, though :)

They don't have FF on their AOE, so eventually most players figure out they can counter with them and they make the mid-game quite interesting.  They're also 100% counter-able with Pilums, which destroy them instantly.

In the late-game they're largely irrelevant, just like the Melter, which looks omnipotent once you master using it for midgame play.  They only matter a lot if you make deploying them en masse a big part of your tactics.

I think the main problem with them is that they've always been tricky to get right, in terms of lethality; they're supposed to be powerful enough that they're an actual threat to Cruisers and Capitals that aren't optimized right, but they're insta-death vs. most Frigates and a lot of Destroyers, although that depends on configuration.   

But I think new players would complain about anything that lethal in AI hands; most AI ships are far less lethal than player stuff gets to be, and has to be, in order to handle the huge fleets later on.

All that said, they're slow and pretty easy to shoot down.  Swarmers do a good job, as does the Haephestus and the Guardian, both of which are available to any ship with a Medium slot.  Versus a Frigate piloted by a player, I'd honestly say that Harpoons and (depending on setup) Pilums are a bigger threat to a player, because you can't always dodge those.

Tell you what, though; since early encounters with these things are probably a throw-the-mouse-across-the-room moment (and totally understandable, if your newbie fleet just got itself zapped, especially if you don't know what's up) I'll remove them from the Pirate Kings' early fleets, so that doesn't happen until players have reached the midgame. 

I will also put their engines back on and make them quite visible again; I think that's at least half the problem there, for newbies.  I don't think that a torpedo should ever be hard to see coming, even if you can't do anything about it.  I was hoping to do their engines with sprite-swap projectile stuff, but who knows if or when that'll be in the engine.

Lastly, I've already buffed up Beam weapons when used against Missiles (which is, ironically, one of their weak spots, when tested).  Heck, if I get bored, I might even make the Pilums seek out torpedoes as their first priority so that they're the go-to counter, now that there is a Small-slot variant of the Pilum in the mod :)
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 16) (TC Mod)
Post by: Bobakanoosh on March 21, 2014, 06:02:45 PM
I see where you're coming from. I actually like the hazard of having to dodge deadly torps, really my beef with them is their insanely lethal AOE. If my/AI piloting is sloppy enough to get hit by one of those torps and it get obliterated, I'm fine with that. but having half my frigate/destroyer fleet that's taken forever to build up snuffed out as well? I just see that as a major balancing issue. And this affects even larger ships as well! there have been times where 4-6 torps were thrown at one of my ships. the first one connected and killed it, but the rest just kept smacking into the now-derelict hull and the AOE just slaughtered everything around it within a second, shields or no shields. If im piloting a big slow ship and a couple of torps get past my PD screen, my shields tank the damage no problem, but now all of my escorts and any other ship that may be close to me is instantly dead or heavily damaged. massive pain in the ass.

i agree, adding engine flares back onto them would help a lot too.

I'll try the pilum approach. My playstyle doesn't involve missiles at all and It's worked out for me quite well. perhaps I might need to change that tactic with this mod...
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 16) (TC Mod)
Post by: Ranakastrasz on March 22, 2014, 09:53:10 AM
One thing I might suggest is renaming the ship mods to sort them.

Rename Hardened shield to S-Hardened Shield, so as to put it in the shield section.

A for armor
E for Engines
W for Weapon improvements.
X for Support types.

Basically, sort all that stuff so that, with the massive quanity of mods immediately availabe, they will at least be organized.

Also, torpedos are pretty nasty, unless you notice and actively dodge them.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 16) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on March 22, 2014, 12:27:20 PM
Good suggestion; I've been thinking for some time now that the Hull Mods could be a bit hard to navigate and I keep adding new ones when I think of mechanics that might be fun.

On torpedoes:  OK, I'll reduce their AOE, too.  I can see the un-fun created when a lucky chain blows your fleet away in the first 30 seconds :)
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 16) (TC Mod)
Post by: dmaiski on March 22, 2014, 12:32:57 PM
 :P this mod is amazingly fun, then again i am a pirate
one of the best things in here is that battles are slugfests rather then the normal starsector "your ship will asplode in 4, 3, 2, [boom]"

ive been wondering though:

is there any disadvantage to chosing to use regenerative armor instead of neutrino plating?

from what i can tell regenerative armor is only a bad choice on ships that have literaly no armor...

also on that note, ships without either of those die instantly to many of the shield penetrating guns

 ;D the gulag armor *** laught at your puny weapons  ;D
Spoiler
(http://i.imgur.com/09Fhffm.jpg?1)
(has been in the middle of that fleet for the last 10 minutes, and killed 6 destroyers and 2 carriers while there)
tech+armor tech+gulag(armor spec)=ships that can tank a whole station defense fleet
[close]

the most OP ship in vacum, with the most OP gun(s) in vacum
Spoiler
(http://i.imgur.com/sJKoukB.png)
"i am become death destroyer of worlds"
[close]
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 16) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on March 22, 2014, 02:53:00 PM
Well, Neutronium Plating used to be the high end of the armor tree, and in many ways, still is.  It stacks really well with higher Armor values, because of how the engine deals with Armor vs. damage.  With the Pirates, there aren't a lot of Armor tanks, but with some of the other Factions, it works pretty well (Punk Junkers aren't exactly easy to kill, especially if you're a character fleet with Armor buffs).

Exigency's still pretty hard to kill; they have the Armor values to support it. 

Neutronium plating reduces incoming armor damage by quite a lot, which makes it really powerful; it used to be the must-have Armor buff.  Now it's arguable that it's not, which is a very good thing, but Armor in general is pretty worthless if neither buff is present, which isn't.

It's still quite powerful vs. anything that can penetrate a Shield and is a much better defense vs. Reapers (like, a high-end capital ship at max Tech with a player pilot can expect to take a couple of Reapers anywhere and not lose much health).

Fighting against the Glaug, you'll see that Armor Regeneration has some limits (well, at least now that it's roughly balanced and doesn't scale up with Armor values) especially against high-end Strike weapons (Heavy Plasma Cannons, MegaBeams with Energy Pump, Reapers).

There are various ways to re-balance this, though; I guess the main issue is that Neutronium Plating is, perhaps, in need of a small buff.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 16) (TC Mod)
Post by: dmaiski on March 22, 2014, 03:16:28 PM
btw: why are you using blanket armor regen?
blanket regen(all blocks are healed no matter how much hp they have left) makes armor many many times stronger then it should be (1hp armor block still counts as alive so no damage is given to hull instead its distributed among armor blocks)

i think i posted code for block by block armor regen (so it does not heal damaged blocks as quickly, and only regenerates destroyed blocks if there is a nearby "alive" block to start it up) if you want to use that (it makes armor regen far more likley to be beat by concentrated fire)

*edit* oh i didnt... it was the last thing i was working on before IRL zombie invasion came after my spleen (curently looking for it so you can have it)

*edit* haha i knew i could find it!!!
it was towards the end of me experimenting with the BISO tech. theres so much weird *** that i came up with during that time...
anyways this *should* be compatible with the curent engine (it was written for 61a but i cant imagine anything critical has changed much)
luckly its fully anotated so in theory you can follow the madness (it was written to be attached to a weapon so you could place armor regenerators onto a ships weapon slots(and even have them use "ammo" to limit the amount of regen posible), so there is a fair amount in there that you dont need(ill see if i can post a pruned version that is just the core later))
neways the code:
Spoiler
Code: java
package data.scripts.plugins;



import com.fs.starfarer.api.Global;
import com.fs.starfarer.api.combat.*;
import com.fs.starfarer.api.util.IntervalUtil;

import java.awt.*;

/*
to be put on a weapon that will execute script on a ship
multiple weapons will increase the efficiency
 */
public class AbsorptionArmor implements EveryFrameWeaponEffectPlugin
{
    //engine
    private CombatEngineAPI engine= Global.getCombatEngine();

    //////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

    //timers
    private IntervalUtil fasttimer = new IntervalUtil(.1f, .11f);
    private IntervalUtil slowtimer = new IntervalUtil(.15f, .16f);

    //////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////



    //main armor effect
    float lastcycle=0;
    @Override
    public void advance(float v, CombatEngineAPI engineAPI, WeaponAPI weaponAPI)
    {
        //ship
        ShipAPI ship;
        ship=weaponAPI.getShip();

        //////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

        //stats of system
        float FluPerAPoint = 10;    //how much 1 armor point is worth in terms of flux
        //float ReBaArmRate = .005f;  //how fast armor rebalanced  max 1 for instant
        float MaxFlux = .8f;        //cap for this system being active
        float RegenRate = .002f;    //rate armor regenerates as a decimal
        float activeRate = .005f;    //how fast active armor balancer works
        float MinHealthActive = .4f;//minimum health for active armor sharing
        float weaponsizemult = 1f;
        //weapon size multiplier
        WeaponAPI.WeaponSize weapsize = weaponAPI.getSize();
        if (weapsize.equals(WeaponAPI.WeaponSize.SMALL)) {weaponsizemult=.5f;}
        if (weapsize.equals(WeaponAPI.WeaponSize.MEDIUM)){weaponsizemult=1f;}
        if (weapsize.equals(WeaponAPI.WeaponSize.LARGE)) {weaponsizemult=2f;}

        //////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

        //game is paused dont do anything  //weapon is disabled ""
        if (engine.isPaused() || weaponAPI.isDisabled())
        {
            return;
        }

        //////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

        //if(ship.getSystem().isActive()) optional link to ship system
        {
            //advance timers
            slowtimer.advance(v);
            fasttimer.advance(v);

            //////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

            //main code
            if (fasttimer.intervalElapsed())
            {
                //stuff that is used alot
                ArmorGridAPI armorgrid = ship.getArmorGrid();
                float armorrating = armorgrid.getArmorRating();
                float MaxCell = armorgrid.getMaxArmorInCell();

                //////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

                //armor grid stats
                int maxX = armorgrid.getLeftOf()+armorgrid.getRightOf();
                int maxY = armorgrid.getAbove()+armorgrid.getBelow();

                //////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

                //avarage armor of ship hull
                float armorcells = 0;               //number of cells ship has
                for (int X=0; X<maxX; X++){for (int Y=0; Y<maxY; Y++){armorcells++;}}
                //float ReBalArmor = curarmor/armorcells;

                //////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

                //adjusted stats
                float adjust = weaponsizemult*Math.min(125 / armorcells, 4); //max increase of rate (prevents 100x rate on small ship)
                FluPerAPoint = 10;    //how much 1 armor point is worth in terms of flux
                //float ReBaArmRate = .005f;  //how fast armor rebalanced  max 1 for instant
                MaxFlux = .8f;        //cap for this system being active
                RegenRate = .002f*adjust;    //rate armor regenerates as a decimal
                activeRate = .005f*adjust;    //how fast active armor balancer works
                MinHealthActive = .4f*adjust;//minimum health for active armor sharing

                //////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

                //basic armor state of ship
                float curarmor = getTotalArmor(ship);
                //float ArmLost = armorgrid.getArmorRating()-curarmor;  //how much armor was damaged

                //////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

                //calculate regen rate based on flux (prevents cells from filling up sequentially at low flux)
                float FluxRemaining = (ship.getFluxTracker().getMaxFlux()*MaxFlux) - ship.getFluxTracker().getCurrFlux();
                //float FluxToRepairMax = ArmLost * FluPerAPoint;
                float NormRepPerFrame = (MaxCell * RegenRate)
                        *((MaxFlux-ship.getFluxTracker().getFluxLevel())/MaxFlux);//aditional level of repair decrease
                //float FluxToRepairNorm = NormRepPerFrame * FluPerAPoint * armorcells;
                //float FluxForRep = (FluxToRepairMax < FluxToRepairNorm ? FluxToRepairMax : FluxToRepairNorm);

                //easier, more accurate  (compares the cost to repair in last cycle to amount of flux left)
                if (lastcycle==0) {lastcycle=NormRepPerFrame*armorcells*FluPerAPoint;}
                float FluxForRep = lastcycle;
                float FluxToRepairNorm = lastcycle;
                float RepRate = (FluxForRep<FluxRemaining ? NormRepPerFrame:NormRepPerFrame*(FluxRemaining/FluxToRepairNorm));

                //////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////


                //armor manager
                float next=0;
                lastcycle=0; //clears lastcycle
                //active cycle (needs to be separate)
                for (int X=0; X<maxX; X++)       //
                {                                //cycle through all armor cells on ship
                    for (int Y=0; Y<maxY; Y++)   //
                    {
                        float cur = armorgrid.getArmorValue(X, Y); //health of current cell
                        //Active ReBalArmor
                        //mover armor from nearby cells to damaged ones
                        //can be tied to an if statement
                        {
                            //take armor of nearby healthy cells
                            float Forwardsum=0;
                            for (int Xa=(X==0? X:X-1); Xa<maxX && Xa>=0 && Xa<=X+1; Xa++)
                            {
                                for (int Ya=(Y==0? Y:Y-1); Ya<maxY && Ya>=0 && Ya<=Y+1; Ya++)
                                {
                                    float cell = armorgrid.getArmorValue(Xa, Ya);
                                    if (cell>cur && armorgrid.getArmorFraction(Xa, Ya)>MinHealthActive)
                                    {
                                        float diff = (cell - cur)*activeRate;
                                        next = (cell-diff);
                                        armorgrid.setArmorValue(Xa, Ya, next>0? next:0);
                                        Forwardsum+=diff;
                                        //ship.getFluxTracker().increaseFlux(diff*FluPerAPoint*.1f, true);
                                        //uses 1/10th of the normal flux to move armor around (too costly in flux)
                                    }
                                }
                            }
                            next = (cur + Forwardsum);
                            armorgrid.setArmorValue(X, Y, next<MaxCell? next:MaxCell); //add it to cell
                        }
                    }
                }

                /////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////


                //passive cycle
                for (int X=0; X<maxX; X++)       //
                {                                //cycle through all armor cells on ship
                    for (int Y=0; Y<maxY; Y++)   //
                    {
                        float cur = armorgrid.getArmorValue(X, Y); //health of current cell

                        //only do repair if cell health is more then 0 prevents immortal ship syndrome
                        if (cur>0)
                        {
                            //regen armor
                            if (cur<MaxCell)
                            {
                                next = cur + RepRate;          //how much armor should be regenerated


                                armorgrid.setArmorValue(X, Y, next<MaxCell? next:MaxCell);
                                float fluxuse = (next - cur) * FluPerAPoint;
                                ship.getFluxTracker().increaseFlux(fluxuse, true);
                                lastcycle+=fluxuse;
                            }
                        }

                    }
                }

                /////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

                //test
                if (slowtimer.intervalElapsed())
                {
                engine.addFloatingText(ship.getLocation(), "armorcells  " + armorcells + " armorrating  " + armorrating + " curentarmor  " + curarmor +" MaxCell  "+ MaxCell +"  waeposizemult  "+weaponsizemult, 20f, Color.RED, ship, 1f, .5f);
                }

            }
        }
    }
    ////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

    //gets total armor of a ship
    public static float getTotalArmor(ShipAPI ship)
    {
        ArmorGridAPI armorgrid = ship.getArmorGrid();
        float sum=0;
        int maxX = armorgrid.getLeftOf()+armorgrid.getRightOf();
        int maxY = armorgrid.getAbove()+armorgrid.getBelow();

        for (int X=0; X<maxX; X++)
        {
            for (int Y=0; Y<maxY; Y++)
            {
                sum += armorgrid.getArmorValue(X, Y);
            }
        }
        return sum;
    }

}
[close]
*edit* wow that is actualy fairly lean, you only need to comment out the test code and replace the weapon size check for a ship hull size check and it should work as an evry frame combat script  ;D

sidenote: needs to be compiled externaly
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 16) (TC Mod)
Post by: Ranakastrasz on March 22, 2014, 04:02:16 PM
Still need to have the ability to have your re-spawn fleet have targets, and recover, instead of relying on either winning each battle thoroughly, or else save-skumming.

Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 16) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on March 22, 2014, 04:32:37 PM
Quote
why are you using blanket armor regen?
Well, it's pretty much meant to be a powerful buff, in that sense; if it only regenerated when you have "live" armor blocks around it, then the Glaug are pretty well nerfed to oblivion again; all you have to do is breach their armor once, and then just keep pounding away at that sector of their armor, and it's all just pure Hull damage after that.  

It already works that way to some extent, but players can keep concentrating their fire and defeat them.  The AI has more problems with this, but that's a secondary consideration.

The issue of it becoming really OP isn't about the Glaug at this point, though; they're largely balanced.  Sure, there are things that can't kill the Glaug, but it's not universal; Tri-Tachyon, the Pirates, and now that Fighter balance has been addressed, other Factions can handle the Glaug.  

It's largely when a ship with decent maneuverability and has Shields also has Armor Regeneration that there are problems.  Such a combo can regenerate lost sections, then expose them in lieu of Venting, then regenerate again, and so forth, which is a very powerful combination.  

This would be true whether or not nearby "dead" sections influenced the result.  Put a shield on a Glaug ship, and you can see it's quite potent as a combo.

One possible option is to get rid of Shield Removal and roll it into Armor Regeneration; then you can have Armor that regenerates or a Shield that regenerates, but not both.  

But that makes Armor Regeneration, as currently balanced, largely worthless, if you're not in a Glaug ship.  

But not entirely worthless; I built a good Conquest variant that used Shield Removal and Armor Regeneration, and it worked pretty well, in player hands.  I doubt if it would have worked well in AI hands, however.  So it would probably need to be buffed a bit, for non-Glaug ships.

Quote
Still need to have the ability to have your re-spawn fleet have targets, and recover, instead of relying on either winning each battle thoroughly, or else save-skumming.
Er, you mean, when you've lost your initial fleet, you want to get all your stuff back, including your "buddy"?  I suppose that's possible; tbh, I figured just giving starting players a more powerful starter fleet if they want "easy mode" would solve the problem just as well. 

Another option would be to simply hand newbies a bunch of cash if they want "easy mode" and let them figure things out on their own, and hand them s'more cash if they have to start over again.  The other thing that I haven't done, and am kind of divided on, is re-implementing the XP for losing ships in a battle; then players would start over sans cash but +XP and I could address that by giving them some cash to get started again.

This is a mod where you may very well lose in the late-game stages anyhow, if you fritter away your cash and make all the Factions hate you.  That's by design; if anything, I want that part of the game to get harder than it is right now.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 16) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on March 22, 2014, 05:36:55 PM
Hi "Craig". 

You need to find a better translator, if English isn't a language you can read or write.  I cannot understand most of what you say :)

I suggest using Google Translate (http://translate.google.com), it is one of the best tools that exists, for translating most languages into English (and back again).
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 16) (TC Mod)
Post by: dmaiski on March 22, 2014, 06:03:09 PM
 :P my no-shield ubertank black eagle is slaughtering assult entire fleets solo... i mean i am quite high level but but still :P
the might of no shield rapid fire plasma cannon pwnage
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 16) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on March 22, 2014, 06:39:27 PM
Well, a high-level character is powerful enough that I kind of expect them to have a decent chance of soloing big fleets.  That example points to problems with the unique mobility and firepower of that ship though, rather than problems with the system in general.  With no shield, you have free Flux and won't ever really run out; if you take damage, you can out-run practically everything that could actually kill you. 

I'm not sure how much of this applies now, after the changes to Fighter balance; a single ship without Shields is probably dead, without support.  Anyhow, I'll take that into consideration when thinking about this, and will probably test that scenario.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 16) (TC Mod)
Post by: dmaiski on March 22, 2014, 08:53:06 PM
no xeno you dont understand... i put my no-shield black eagle in between 3 battlecruisers, tank all the damage said battlecruisers and their acompanying fighters can do, and slowly blast them apart one at a time with focused plasma fire

armor regen + heavy armor is horendusly powerfull on ships with 3000 or more base armor, especialy with tech armor buffs since armor that regenerates at a flat rate across the board is verry dificult to penetrate with anything short of the heaviest weapons available

armor is a verry strange beast because the each armor block on a ship has 1/15 the armor rating of the ship, so with big ships they have literaly hundreds of thousands of hp worth of armor

an example of what i mean:
this is a crusher tanking the combined firepower of 13 fighter wings and 13 frigates and taking absolutley no (real)damage...
Spoiler
(http://i.imgur.com/DtOY6tQ.png)
[close]

the same with 8 cruisers (max you can field)
Spoiler
(http://i.imgur.com/UCh53r4.jpg)
[close]

you need to either tone down regen, or make it so there are more heavy/artillery type ships in late game fleet that can punch their way through that armor
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 16) (TC Mod)
Post by: Debido on March 22, 2014, 10:01:39 PM
Just going to quickly comment on the armour regen.

If you're intention is to have a play style where you only need to play with one ship or manage only a small number of powerful ships VS a great number of ships then the current implementation makes sense.

In the long run with most mods I find other ships are cannon fodder unless you spend time on tweaking them. Even then they can be blown up all too easily under AI control, as the allied AI is just no where near the capabilities of a human.

I like having to only focus on only a few uber powerful ships, as I then spend less time micromanaging the AI controlled allies which I don't find anywhere near as fun.

If you think your black eagles or what not are too powerful, let them do a run against a Starbase.

Also the Black Eagle all armoured up with regen and everything can be crushed by some high end ships capital ships if you're unlucky enough to face them.

If the gameplay were even and there was a 1:1 exchange ratio in battles it would become frustrating fleet management in the long run as you'd be continually procuring new ships and configuring them and adapting them to your fleet.

IIRC one of the original design goals of Vacuum was so that it had more of an arcade feel to it, and in general arcade 2D shooters your one ship is overwhelmed by number of enemy ships. Being able to defeat larger numbers of enemies can give the player a good feeling of empowerment, and has the same level of entertainment as FPS shooters where you're overwhelmed by enemy numbers but you eventually whittle them down.

So whether this is a 'good' gameplay element or a 'bad' gameplay element is...up to Xeno.

Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 16) (TC Mod)
Post by: Kazzthal on March 22, 2014, 10:02:22 PM
I did something similar to what Mr. Dmaiski did & god nows it was brutal, the conquest class are just toys at it !

But instead of the 2 frontal heavy plasmas y used slamers :O

Holy... That wasn't a battle, it was a massacre ! the Black Eagle ship can go OP (I destroyed almos an entire station fleet, but ran out of ammo)

All I can add to the debate is this, could you make things harder for the late game? Now I can own anything that anyone can trhow at me :)

By the way, Great mod man you did it Xeno !
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 16) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on March 22, 2014, 11:14:08 PM
Well, hrmm. 

I know there are a few things that can crack that kind of armor; even with a level-zero character, I can kill a single Annihilator with a Conquest, no real problems, and an Annihilator has 6500 Armor.

I agree that part of the issue is how Armor interacts with hits; part of the issue is that Armor damage negation can result in zero damage (unlike Shields, where it's locked down, I think, to some low-but-meaningful minimum).  I found that out when I developed Neutronium Plating; you can create ships that are invulnerable if their "natural" rating is high enough.

But that shouldn't be happening here, so what's going on is Armor regen rates going above the levels required to ever defeat them. 

But that doesn't make sense.  Let's do the math, here:

maxArmorDamageReduction is 0.85, so we're talking 85% damage reduction on a "fresh" armor cell.

Then add in Heavy Armor, 50% reduction.

Then add in the Glaug's version of Armor Regeneration, so that's 35% damage.

So... 1 * 0.15 * 0.5 * 0.35 = 0.02625 of normal damage, or roughly 3%.  Nowhere near zero, but low.

If we fire a Plasma Blaster at that armor, then we're doing (base value, no Hull Mods) 1750 damage to that cell.

If we have 3000 Armor overall, and each cell is 1/15th that value, we have 200 Armor in the cell after that hit.  1750 * 0.02625 = 45.9375, after all the reductions. 

At max, a Cruiser like a Crusher would be repairing 60 Armor / second.  So it can and would defeat a single Plasma Blaster at that point.  Makes sense, and that's more-or-less how it should work; it should defeat a lot of Armor attacks.

But it doesn't work that way, when I test it out; I'm obviously missing something here about how the reduction works. 

Higher armor cell values clearly have a larger benefit than lighter ones do; this is why the Cleaver, when it had Neutronium Plating, was disproportionately harder to kill than any other Destroyers.

So there must be an additional issue here.  If we're taking hits from a HIL, that's 4500(!) damage / second.  Well over the 60 Armor / second regeneration rate, which is a flat rate.  Yet you're showing ships taking zero damage from HILs there.  I presume there's another factor here- probably you have the Combat skill that reduces damage taken.  If yes, then that would explain what's going on; I know that that reduction can be a bit problematic, because it's on top of the rest of the bonus tree and tends to cross that line where certain things that were fine are suddenly not-fine.

But before I get concerned about that, I'll go test a HIL vs. a Glaug ship in the sim with a zero-level character and make sure that yes, it can do damage like it should.  If not, then there's something else wrong here, but if yes, then I just need to drop that final skill-based bonus vs. damage, because it's breaking stuff very badly- it probably also makes Neutronium Plating basically invulnerable, too.

<tests>

Double-hmm.

One HIL (118 Armor damage / second, with the above as our guide) can't ever quite break a Glaug carrier's defense, which is regenerating, at maximum, 65 Armor / second.  It's not doing zero damage; damage figures are piling up, and they're consistent with the theory.  So... erm... there must be more to it than that.  Other cells around it must also be reducing the damage.

Soooo, that must be the formula laid out quite long ago, which we still don't have real numbers for:
Quote from: Alex
It's a little involved. Don't have the code in front of me, but each armor "cell" has roughly 1/8th of the armor rating worth of hitpoints. Damage reduction is based on a contribution from nearby cells - not just adjacent, a bit farther than that, though the farther off cells contibute less. What armor rating means is how much damage to armor you need to do (after reducton), shooting at a single point, before any damage at all gets through to the hull.

The actual formula is:
actual damage = base damage * base damage / (armor value + base damage)

The actual damage is then applied to armor cells contributing to the armor value, so subsequent hits to the same spot do more damage.

So a hit for 200 points of damage vs armor 200 will be reduced by 50%, and apply 100 points of damage to the armor. The next 200 point hit to the same cell will be reduced by 33% - 200 * 200 / (200 + 100).
So the amount of reduction from all of the other cells must reduce the damage below the regen rate. 

This must be why bigger ships, with more cells, are effectively invulnerable with Armor Regeneration on, while with smaller ships, a heavy weapon hit hurts them quite easily. 

How to address that?  Kind of hard, without having something a little more solid to work with; Alex's answer on that is pretty vague.

Probably what I should do is get the number of cells and process the regen based on that, so that ship size doesn't change how effective Armor Regeneration really is per cell relative to incoming damage.  I think that's a large part of this mess; Armor values don't just serve as buffer hitpoints, they also reduce damage according to a formula we don't know.



Oh, and as for the philosophical stuff... the issue here isn't whether it's cool to have Heroic elements where we can buff ships up and be Chuck Norris in a spacecraft.  The issue is making sure that it never ever quite reaches the point where you're complacently devastating whole fleets of the AI without a care.  I don't actually think it's quite like that atm, but it depends on which Faction you're fighting and what ship you're flying. 

It's not really working right, though; what I've found in my practical testing is that there's a world of difference between putting Armor Regeneration on, say, an Enforcer with the 50% Armor bonus from Tech + player buffs vs. putting it on a zero-level Frigate.  For one of these ships, it may provide a way to regenerate if you escape without getting insta-slaughtered... for the other one, it's basically invulnerability vs. anything up to the heaviest weapons in the game.  So clearly I need to debuff it based on the number of armor cells, but I'm not quite sure what formula will arrive at a reasonable value; I know what targets I want to hit, in terms of regen vs. damage taken, but I'm not quite sure how to achieve them without either ending up with regen that's basically worthless, because it's letting too much damage through, vs. something that's comically OP.  I'll look further into this when I have more time.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 16) (TC Mod)
Post by: dmaiski on March 23, 2014, 01:53:36 AM
xeno what your missing is this:

a hit to a 0 HP cell does damage to hull and the nearby armor cells

a hit to a 1hp cell does damage only to armor (overflow is transfered to other armor cells nearby untill they are saturated, only then will it do damage to hull)

poorly made example(i dont know the exact numbers used for  this):
Spoiler
ship has 3000 armor(200: 1/15 armor cell)
a 2500 damage shot hits a:

0hp cell:
500 damage is done directly to hull, 2000 damage is transfered to the surounding 8 cells... (see below)

1hp cell:
1 damage is done to armor cell, 2499 is transfered to the surounding 8 cells, armor cells absorb 100 damage each(1599 remain), damage is then transfered to the surounding 8(*8-8=56) armor cells, cells take 28.9 damage (damage totaly negated to armor)

with armor regen, the whole 9x9 block that was damaged by the shell ther regenerates 90hp each (for a total of 7290hp per second)

[close]
Quote
So clearly I need to debuff it based on the number of armor cells
this is why my damage regen code did not rebuild destroyed cells instantly
if you tear out the flux managment code itshould do exactly what you want it to do
(ie. huge ships will not become (as) imortal)
(it was originaly made to replace shielding on BISO ships thus flux managment code)

*fiddfling with code a bit to make it scale with the curent cells hp*

1 line change that should* make armor regen also dependant on how much hp a cell has(nearby cells heal damaged ones too)
*edit* bugfix for cells moving too much armor from ajecent cells when damaged and then loosing it
Spoiler
Code: java
package data.scripts.plugins;



import com.fs.starfarer.api.Global;
import com.fs.starfarer.api.combat.*;
import com.fs.starfarer.api.util.IntervalUtil;

import java.awt.*;

/*
to be put on a weapon that will execute script on a ship
multiple weapons will increase the efficiency
 */
public class AbsorptionArmor implements EveryFrameWeaponEffectPlugin
{
    //engine
    private CombatEngineAPI engine= Global.getCombatEngine();

    //////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

    //timers
    private IntervalUtil fasttimer = new IntervalUtil(.1f, .11f);
    private IntervalUtil slowtimer = new IntervalUtil(.15f, .16f);

    //////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////



    //main armor effect
    float lastcycle=0;
    @Override
    public void advance(float v, CombatEngineAPI engineAPI, WeaponAPI weaponAPI)
    {
        //ship
        ShipAPI ship;
        ship=weaponAPI.getShip();

        //////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

        //stats of system
        float FluPerAPoint = 10;    //how much 1 armor point is worth in terms of flux
        //float ReBaArmRate = .005f;  //how fast armor rebalanced  max 1 for instant
        float MaxFlux = .8f;        //cap for this system being active
        float RegenRate = .002f;    //rate armor regenerates as a decimal
        float activeRate = .005f;    //how fast active armor balancer works
        float MinHealthActive = .4f;//minimum health for active armor sharing
        float weaponsizemult = 1f;
        //weapon size multiplier
        WeaponAPI.WeaponSize weapsize = weaponAPI.getSize();
        if (weapsize.equals(WeaponAPI.WeaponSize.SMALL)) {weaponsizemult=.5f;}
        if (weapsize.equals(WeaponAPI.WeaponSize.MEDIUM)){weaponsizemult=1f;}
        if (weapsize.equals(WeaponAPI.WeaponSize.LARGE)) {weaponsizemult=2f;}

        //////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

        //game is paused dont do anything  //weapon is disabled ""
        if (engine.isPaused() || weaponAPI.isDisabled())
        {
            return;
        }

        //////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

        //if(ship.getSystem().isActive()) optional link to ship system
        {
            //advance timers
            slowtimer.advance(v);
            fasttimer.advance(v);

            //////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

            //main code
            if (fasttimer.intervalElapsed())
            {
                //stuff that is used alot
                ArmorGridAPI armorgrid = ship.getArmorGrid();
                float armorrating = armorgrid.getArmorRating();
                float MaxCell = armorgrid.getMaxArmorInCell();

                //////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

                //armor grid stats
                int maxX = armorgrid.getLeftOf()+armorgrid.getRightOf();
                int maxY = armorgrid.getAbove()+armorgrid.getBelow();

                //////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

                //avarage armor of ship hull
                float armorcells = 0;               //number of cells ship has
                for (int X=0; X<maxX; X++){for (int Y=0; Y<maxY; Y++){armorcells++;}}
                //float ReBalArmor = curarmor/armorcells;

                //////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

                //adjusted stats
                float adjust = weaponsizemult*Math.min(125 / armorcells, 4); //max increase of rate (prevents 100x rate on small ship)
                FluPerAPoint = 10;    //how much 1 armor point is worth in terms of flux
                //float ReBaArmRate = .005f;  //how fast armor rebalanced  max 1 for instant
                MaxFlux = .8f;        //cap for this system being active
                RegenRate = .002f*adjust;    //rate armor regenerates as a decimal
                activeRate = .005f*adjust;    //how fast active armor balancer works
                MinHealthActive = .4f*adjust;//minimum health for active armor sharing

                //////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

                //basic armor state of ship
                float curarmor = getTotalArmor(ship);
                //float ArmLost = armorgrid.getArmorRating()-curarmor;  //how much armor was damaged

                //////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

                //calculate regen rate based on flux (prevents cells from filling up sequentially at low flux)
                float FluxRemaining = (ship.getFluxTracker().getMaxFlux()*MaxFlux) - ship.getFluxTracker().getCurrFlux();
                //float FluxToRepairMax = ArmLost * FluPerAPoint;
                float NormRepPerFrame = (MaxCell * RegenRate)
                        *((MaxFlux-ship.getFluxTracker().getFluxLevel())/MaxFlux);//aditional level of repair decrease
                //float FluxToRepairNorm = NormRepPerFrame * FluPerAPoint * armorcells;
                //float FluxForRep = (FluxToRepairMax < FluxToRepairNorm ? FluxToRepairMax : FluxToRepairNorm);

                //easier, more accurate  (compares the cost to repair in last cycle to amount of flux left)
                if (lastcycle==0) {lastcycle=NormRepPerFrame*armorcells*FluPerAPoint;}
                float FluxForRep = lastcycle;
                float FluxToRepairNorm = lastcycle;
                float RepRate = (FluxForRep<FluxRemaining ? NormRepPerFrame:NormRepPerFrame*(FluxRemaining/FluxToRepairNorm));

                //////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////


                //armor manager
                float next=0;
                lastcycle=0; //clears lastcycle
                //active cycle (needs to be separate)
                //lets damaged cells take armor from nearby healthy cells
                for (int X=0; X<maxX; X++)       //
                {                                //cycle through all armor cells on ship
                    for (int Y=0; Y<maxY; Y++)   //
                    {
                        float cur = armorgrid.getArmorValue(X, Y); //health of current cell
                        //Active ReBalArmor
                        //mover armor from nearby cells to damaged ones
                        //can be tied to an if statement
                        {
                            //take armor from nearby healthy cells
                            float Forwardsum=0;
                            for (int Xa=(X==0? X:X-1); Xa<maxX && Xa>=0 && Xa<=X+1; Xa++)
                            {
                                for (int Ya=(Y==0? Y:Y-1); Ya<maxY && Ya>=0 && Ya<=Y+1; Ya++)
                                {
                                    float cell = armorgrid.getArmorValue(Xa, Ya);
                                    if (cell>cur && armorgrid.getArmorFraction(Xa, Ya)>MinHealthActive)
                                    {
                                        float diff = (cell - cur)*activeRate;
                                        next = (cell-diff);
                                        armorgrid.setArmorValue(Xa, Ya, next>0? next:0);
                                        cur+=diff;
                                        //ship.getFluxTracker().increaseFlux(diff*FluPerAPoint*.1f, true);
                                        //uses 1/10th of the normal flux to move armor around (too costly in flux)
                                    }
                                }
                            }
                            next = cur;
                            armorgrid.setArmorValue(X, Y, next<MaxCell? next:MaxCell); //add it to cell
                        }
                    }
                }

                /////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////


                //passive cycle
                for (int X=0; X<maxX; X++)       //
                {                                //cycle through all armor cells on ship
                    for (int Y=0; Y<maxY; Y++)   //
                    {
                        float cur = armorgrid.getArmorValue(X, Y); //health of current cell

                        //only do repair if cell health is more then 0 prevents immortal ship syndrome
                        if (cur>0)
                        {
                            //regen armor
                            if (cur<MaxCell)
                            {
                                next = cur + (cur/MaxCell)*RepRate;          //how much armor should be regenerated


                                armorgrid.setArmorValue(X, Y, next<MaxCell? next:MaxCell);
                                float fluxuse = (next - cur) * FluPerAPoint;
                                ship.getFluxTracker().increaseFlux(fluxuse, true);
                                lastcycle+=fluxuse;
                            }
                        }

                    }
                }
               

                /////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

                //test
                if (slowtimer.intervalElapsed())
                {
                engine.addFloatingText(ship.getLocation(), "armorcells  " + armorcells + " armorrating  " + armorrating + " curentarmor  " + curarmor +" MaxCell  "+ MaxCell +"  waeposizemult  "+weaponsizemult, 20f, Color.RED, ship, 1f, .5f);
                }

            }
        }
    }
    ////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

    //gets total armor of a ship
    public static float getTotalArmor(ShipAPI ship)
    {
        ArmorGridAPI armorgrid = ship.getArmorGrid();
        float sum=0;
        int maxX = armorgrid.getLeftOf()+armorgrid.getRightOf();
        int maxY = armorgrid.getAbove()+armorgrid.getBelow();

        for (int X=0; X<maxX; X++)
        {
            for (int Y=0; Y<maxY; Y++)
            {
                sum += armorgrid.getArmorValue(X, Y);
            }
        }
        return sum;
    }

}
[close]
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 16) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on March 23, 2014, 10:45:01 AM
@Dmaiski:  Thanks, I'll take a look at this when I get a chance this evening :)
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 16) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on March 25, 2014, 12:56:19 AM
OK, took a good long look at this, and here's what I'm going to do.

1.  Total healing to a given grid area will be constrained by three different factors:

A.  How much the total armor average is.  The higher the average, the faster healing takes place in a grid square.  This makes Plasma weapons more efficient vs. regenerating armor and it makes spamming from all sides (say, by a bunch of fighters) work... eventually... if there are enough of them and they're doing enough damage overall.  It doesn't make ships with Armor Regeneration any more or less efficient against alpha-strikes; it's still less efficient than Neutronium Plating.

However, this isn't enough; it favors ships with more armor-grid locations over smaller ships, amongst other problems.

B.  How much armor remains in the cell.  As the armor level in the cell drops, the cell's ability to heal drops.  This means that once the armor's initial resistance is dropped enough, it's not going to recover quickly enough to nullify large amounts of incoming damage.  This is a nerf, and a pretty important nerf; if you can get through the armor at all, then your lighter weapons can contribute damage most of the time, instead of being defeated by heavy armor.  For example, a ship with three Medium Lasers and Energy Pump used to be able to penetrate a Glaug Mantabee slightly, but the amount of damage that got through past the continual healing was very low.  Now it's able to kill.

C.  A fudge factor that depends on the ship's size class.  Basically, smaller ships get more healing than big ones do, so that this isn't totally worthless for them at their lower armor values.  I think that's going to continue to be really hard to get balanced just right; it feels really good on Cruisers and Capitals, but it is probably too weak for Destroyers / Frigates to use at all, now, unless they're under player control.  Time will tell.


2.  The Neutron weapons are meant to be one of the primary non-nuke counters to this kind of armor at the high end.  They just aren't very efficient right now; compared to a Heavy Plasma Cannon or a MegaBeam with Energy Pump, they're pretty weak, even vs. unshielded opponents like the Glaug.  They have gotten a buff to their damage and a few more ships use them as primary weapons.

3.  These changes make the Glaug's Spore weapons even nastier than they already were; now they're quite nice vs. re-generators because of their effects on total armor.

4.  These changes mean that a hole opened up by a nuke strike or bomber wing is a critical problem for even an Annihilator captain, because the holes close much more slowly now.

Anyhow, that's what's up.  I don't know whether this will be "balanced" or not, yet; I think a lot depends on other factors, like the changes to the kinds of ships players will be meeting in battles now, in particular the changes to fighters. 

A single "Rambo" hero ship with Armor Regeneration is probably in big, big trouble now, if it isn't piloted very carefully; I've taken a max-buff Glaug Catcher (which will get a meaningful buff on its weapons, finally) against an Independent Attack Fleet, and I was able to roll over everybody but the Conquests, who eventually chipped my plates away and traded damage with me until I lost.  I could have won that fight, by refusing to fight without healed armor and making the Conquests run out of ammo for their Storm Needlers, but that was the only way to win it; I couldn't just get into face-hugging range and pound away with short-range weapons.

That said, I don't know if this is balanced yet.  That's probably not quite there; while I want the Catcher to be pretty deadly, the big question is what happens with the Black Eagle and the Conquest, as they're the prime ships for this, other than the Glaug's stuff.

It feels pretty good, though; certainly better than it did.  I'll take a look at the Black Eagle match-up and see how that works; if it's not feeling like I could just pwn whole fleets without breaking a sweat, we'll call this done.

Oh, and I think I came up with an interesting anti-beam defensive weapon idea; sounds like something Exigency could use.  No design yet or anything but I have an idea that doesn't suck.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 16) (TC Mod)
Post by: Ghostsniper64 on March 26, 2014, 07:53:20 PM
Hey, I'm not sure if this is a bug or a feature, but I'm not able to see the ship types in other fleets, I only see there exhaust jets. Help?

(see attached)

[attachment deleted by admin]
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 16) (TC Mod)
Post by: Nanao-kun on March 26, 2014, 08:30:09 PM
Hey, I'm not sure if this is a bug or a feature, but I'm not able to see the ship types in other fleets, I only see there exhaust jets. Help?

(see attached)
It's a feature.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 16) (TC Mod)
Post by: Ghostsniper64 on March 26, 2014, 09:16:02 PM
Hey, I'm not sure if this is a bug or a feature, but I'm not able to see the ship types in other fleets, I only see there exhaust jets. Help?

(see attached)
It's a feature.


Just making sure, thanks
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 16) (TC Mod)
Post by: ZhAlias on March 27, 2014, 09:47:08 AM
Nice mod

It's awesome to have some point in the game and the implementation is great.
Differet fractions attitude changes are really good.

Yet there is thing that I didn't like:
- Initial fights are too messy, and not actually always fast-ending.
- I've found fighters as best starter, even with 1 flight deck in fleet they are almost immortal, have no supply consumption, need almost no crew and can be reused later on.
- Paragon always was die-hard due it's vast flux capacity, good damage/flux shield midifier and fortress system, but in this mod it's shield is not as good as always. I would say shields are useless to capital ships here because there is no such good shield hull mods as armor hull mods. So my paragon wear all posslible armor mods, forgot about it's shield and system and use all it's flux to lay waste to those who dare approach it with rarey loosing any hull integrity.
-Fighter-launching large missile weapon. It has no sense because: only one fighter; recharges for ages; fighters are free on supplies and have very few deployment pont anyway. It might be a good idea to make it a fighter deck.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 16) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on March 27, 2014, 11:36:08 AM
Quote
- Initial fights are too messy, and not actually always fast-ending.
More details about that would be helpful, as I look at how to re-tune the start of play :)

Quote
- I've found fighters as best starter, even with 1 flight deck in fleet they are almost immortal, have no supply consumption, need almost no crew and can be reused later on.
That's getting changed to some degree in the next build :)

Quote
- Paragon always was die-hard due it's vast flux capacity, good damage/flux shield midifier and fortress system, but in this mod it's shield is not as good as always. I would say shields are useless to capital ships here because there is no such good shield hull mods as armor hull mods. So my paragon wear all posslible armor mods, forgot about it's shield and system and use all it's flux to lay waste to those who dare approach it with rarey loosing any hull integrity.
It's just a different way to use the Paragon; I think it's going to be less attractive in the next build, though, as Armor Regeneration will be nerfed a lot.

That said... a Paragon with maxed Tech buffs to Shields, Capacity and Dissipation + the relevant Hull Mods is an almost-invulnerable shield tank.  Flux Shunt means that you can use Fortress Shield and be immune to practically anything except for multiple Odysseys or Macuahuitl nukes while it's running its damage buff.

For a pure-damage ship, the Paragon is pretty weak, really; the Macuahuitl can put out more DPS than anything else in the game and the Odyssey can kill whole fleets of ships it doesn't even need to see.  I think people rarely try the Macuahuitl out in the mod because the AI version isn't optimized very well, but it's quite nasty if you just want to blow everything up before it can get close to you :)

Quote
-Fighter-launching large missile weapon. It has no sense because: only one fighter; recharges for ages; fighters are free on supplies and have very few deployment pont anyway. It might be a good idea to make it a fighter deck.
Well, that one fighter has two HMGs, which gives it more firepower than practically any fighters, has stronger armor and shields, and doesn't cost any Deployment points at all.  It also gradually reloads.  A Dominator can launch 4 of them and still have fairly heavy weapons, making it a great mid-game harassment ship, as the fighters can knock down most ships' shields.  Late-game, it's not as effective, but during the mid-game, the Prometheus is very effective, because it launches two of them and has a flight deck; with good armor and shields, the Prometheus is quite effective even into the early late-game (taking on Attack Fleets when trying to get Blueprints, for example).
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 16) (TC Mod)
Post by: ZhAlias on March 28, 2014, 02:05:24 AM
More details about that would be helpful, as I look at how to re-tune the start of play :)
I think there is 2 main reasons:
-out of the screen range of alot of weapons of small monts. The radar is nice(yet it sometimes show ships that are not seen on tactical map  :) ), but it is hard to observe surrounding when you even do not see your ship in order to aim properly.
-actually high speed of all initial frigates, I will check once more, but I think toughest frigates wasn't as quick as it is.

It's just a different way to use the Paragon; I think it's going to be less attractive in the next build, though, as Armor Regeneration will be nerfed a lot.
Shield based Paragon can be tank, yet it is definetly is not something that "cannot be outlasted or outgunned". I think it needs some buffs because it is slow, requires alot of supply, crew, deployment points and it usually doesn't worth it.

I haven't played with Macuahuitl yet, Odyssey is nice with Mega Beam or Heavy plasma cannon, but i think it cannot compete with full armor Conquest with 4 Dual Slammer turrets. Those make all other weapons somehow silly, they need no flux and they hit through shields. In my simulation regular Paragon is gone in several seconds. I've took 2 Hegemony stations in row without any casulties.
This Conquest is scary becaue of firepower of 5 large ballistic weapos that can concentrate on one target and its frigate-like mobility(actually rare frigate in original starsector can be as mobile).
I think armor regeneration nerf would not affect it heavily because this thing have enough mobility to avoid surrounding.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 16) (TC Mod)
Post by: dmaiski on March 28, 2014, 01:16:35 PM
I have allways thought that if you manage to avoid a fight by ducking in and out of combat thats your strategy working for you, not the OP ness of shields/armor. The main problem with the curent implementation of regen armor was that you simply did not need to do this because you could out-regen any incoming damage short of reaper torps (some ship designs were capable of tanking the concentrated fire of half a station defence fleet at high levels)


on a side note: I have discovered that geting lvl5 combat spec early is hilarious if you want to be a pirate, im curently using a frigate to literaly run through whole fleat disabling and destroying anything up to cruisers that i want captured while a fighter swarm + 2 3deck carriers belch out cap squads and covering fire

:D i am the bane of the hemogeny trading network, there is nowhere to hide, there is nowhere to run, YOU WILL BE MINE ALL OF YOU![mad ranting and maniacal laughter]


btw what are your thoughts on tech10 super frigate fleets?
Spoiler
16 frigates, 7 fighter wings, 7 carriers...
(http://i.imgur.com/ErKyPuM.png?1)
bane of the hemogeny trade network
[close]

Spoiler
PS: can you implement a way to get out of stuck in hostile system without fule issue?
nevermind figured it out, bu scuttling the equivelent of a hemogeny system defense fleet in captured ships i have ammased 1 spaceday of fule to get out of the system XD (i hope your happy, 10 hemogeny murchant fleets were reduced to scrap for this)
[close]

i have to say this is posibly the most epic mod in starsector at this time, simply because of the way strange quirks leed to "D for Dwarf" levels of awsome

Spoiler
(http://i.imgur.com/IXpCKg1.png?1)
carriers are flying infront of fighter flet to doe a painfull death
[close]
PPS: the carrier AI is getting all my shield maxed dachsund carriers killed, why it do this!!! why!!!!!
(in all seriousness, a datchsund carrier can take 4 reaper torps with shield on and not die, ai needs fixing... ill look at it and see if i can spot what its doing wrong)

PPPS: neither adv optics or targeting system effect BEAM type weapons at all
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 16) (TC Mod)
Post by: dmaiski on March 30, 2014, 04:56:03 AM
aha found it i think!

in your combat AI you need to run a check to see what is the nearest allied (non fighter/frigate)ship to target

if carrier is nearest ship to target it should retreat away from the ship (conditional on there being allied fighters on field)
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 16) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on March 30, 2014, 02:54:43 PM
On the dead-Dachshunds-dillema:  

The issue there is that the AI is lowering its shields when a really big projectile is inbound, rather than taking the hit and Overloading.  The other issue is that I don't think that the AI is getting the damage values for incoming shots correctly; I need to fix that.

With Fighters and Drones, I took that code out entirely; I'm pretty tempted to take it out for Frigates as well, because most of them cannot survive for very long without shields.

Quote
PS: can you implement a way to get out of stuck in hostile system without fule issue?
While I totally agree that your fix was awesome, honestly, I think that's a bug.  I want to allow for "rescue" in those situations- a 10% chance / day that a "Good Samaritan" shows up and offers Fuel / Supplies for a steep price.  I think that would be more newbie-friendly.  IDK, I've had that happen exactly once while playtesting... and, like you, I rather enjoyed figuring out how to get out of the trap (didn't have any way to capture stuff, so I did a sacrifice play and moved one System over, found friendlies, the end).  Maybe the best way is to have the "Good Samaritan" cost half your credits, so it's pretty painful at higher levels, especially when saving up for bases.

I totally approve of the Frigates of Dewm approach, btw; I often do 3-4 uber-Frigates, a carrier, and one Destroyer as a midgame fleet.


About the late-game EZ-street issues... patience.  I haven't even tried giving the enemy fleets Admirals yet.  Yet.


Quote
PPPS: neither adv optics or targeting system effect BEAM type weapons at all
Targeting system should not, but Advanced Optics worked, last time I checked.  I'll look at that.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 16) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on March 30, 2014, 05:12:32 PM
Enemy fleets now have leveled Admirals.  Prepare yourselves, lol.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 16) (TC Mod)
Post by: dmaiski on March 31, 2014, 02:36:30 PM
Xeno i was going to sugest you could make a single run array that stores ship ID, and the weapons it has mounted in its slots for the purposes of capture (so ships captured keep their weapon/variant conficuration when capped)... but im still thinking of the best way to do this

a String[][][] array could probably fo it storing:

[ship.getFleetMemberId()][ship.getAllWeapons() -> WeaponID][weapon slot for previous]


but its untested and would require some work

Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 16) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on March 31, 2014, 04:02:05 PM
Yeah, that's tricky.  Probably there's a way to do it in the same order and just wind back through the weapon slots, IDK.

Tested with the leveled Admirals... such fun; it definitely makes late-game a lot more challenging.  The fighter changes are the biggest part, though; against most of the Factions, you simply cannot expect to win if you don't take down the enemy carriers early, and vice-versa for the AI, although it's less affected by this change. 

I've been playing a Pirate who decided to support the Glaug from early midgame onwards; I've been flying the new-and-improved Catcher (which is a seriously fun cruiser now) with support from about 6 wings of various fighters, a couple of Phaetons as my carriers, and lately a Black Eagle and an Onslaught I captured and upgraded.  With this fleet, I can expect to take down Attack Fleets without serious losses, but this fleet cannot take down an Assault Fleet, at least not Hegemony.  I think it might be able to do Exigency and the Pirate Kings and Punk Junkers, but I suspect that Glaug slaughters it and Tri-Tachyon as well.

With the changes made to Armor Regeneration on a pretty close to maxed-out character (I have all the good Tech tree stuff done and most of Combat), I never feel invulnerable and I never feel like I can just auto-pilot and forget about my ship.  I think that means it's working pretty well. 

However, it still seems to have the edge over Neutronium Plating, simply due to the lack of ablation vs. small stuff in late game.  It doesn't matter so much vs. big things; there, the resistance difference matters more.  So I'm thinking maybe I'll add on more Armor for Neutronium Plating so that the ablation takes a bit longer and see how that feels.

Anyhow, I need to fix my Drone AI before I can release; it still has some serious issues that are irking me.  Otherwise, it's getting close to being where I want it to go; there are still rough edges but it's definitely better.
Title: Vacuum is hard
Post by: CopperCoyote on March 31, 2014, 10:57:50 PM
I gave Vacuum another go (the last time was sometime last year and it was much different). Combat is very hard now. The key to victory has eluded my grasp. Like completely. In simulators i rarely win against equal or larger sized ships. Even then it's pretty touch and go. In actual combat I've won one fight. That's after save scumming too. So i knew if it'd be a close fight or not. I think whoever has the most ships wins? Not really positive though because if you have too many more they flee, and it's harder to focus fire (or micro if you prefer) all on one ship.

I've eaten all but a quarter of the asteroids in Corvus, and a worrying thought has struck: Do asteroids respawn? If not i'm concerned i'm going to be in a bit of trouble pretty soon because i've only got two systems (my computer is old and puny). Another mining related thing i've noticed: don't carry any credits when you do. When you flee rock pirates you lose 1/5(?) your creds but none of your cargo so after a certain point losing money is pointless because all your assets are tied up in rocks. Also is there a resource besides germanium? I liked how you had lots of flavors of elements to get in starcontrol 2. It made prioritizing your path extra critical on dangerous planets. I liked it.

Overall i think the quality of the mod is quite good. There are a couple little descriptor errors like the sabot cannon saying it does kinetic but actually does HE now, and little things like that. The biggest problem i have is getting repeatedly demolished in combat. I've finally saved up enough and bought a pelican so maybe i'll be able to fight the remaining asteroid pirates. I don't think i'm going to get past the  medium part of this mod though because terrible computer and all that.

If anyone has suggestions for not blowing up repeatedly i'm all ears. So far my best fleet has been a bunch of bubbled frigates with both engine mods all focusing on one ships at a time (using interCept and selecting all the ships (including mine) to target it). I chose the pirates because i like having a huge choice of ships tech to chose from. The only have the cargoship/oilrig and one frigate at a time though. So it was tedious to save up enough germanium to buy that cargo/rig.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 16) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on April 01, 2014, 12:45:09 AM
1.  The difficulty at the start is being addressed in the next build, along with a bunch of things to make the midgame/lategame harder (the difficulty ramp still goes the wrong way in the build you're playing, and gets easier fast).

2.  Asteroids do not respawn, but you can go to another System and harvest there.  Or, once you have a fleet that can do it, you can do raids for Blueprints on formerly-inhabited worlds; this can net you a bunch of cash and good captures.

3.  Capturing ships during battles can really help long-term income growth.  Not all Factions get Boarding Shuttles, though, so it's easier to join the Pirate Kings / Punk Junkers right now.  In the future, this dynamic will change, as I'm introducing some new mechanics that will allow all ships to capture hulks.

4.  The quality is improving, but it's an irregular thing; I kind of take a two-steps-forward-one-back approach, where I introduce radical, game-breaking stuff then fix the balance.  The version you're playing has an easy exploit- Armor regeneration is easily abused.   Try it out and enjoy the easy play; it really helps bigger ships stay viable.

5.  There are always errors in descriptions, due to changes that I forget to update the text for.  I'll correct the SABOT description asap.

6.  Due to the fairly radical stuff I did with RAM / CPU use, I think that unless your computer's really really weak, it should be able to handle 4 Systems without any real issues.  Multiple Systems don't really use much RAM or CPU now; this is going to get even better in the future.

7.  In terms of "not blowing up"...

A.  You've discovered that you can't go broke running away.  So why not just run away every time you meet an Asteroid fleet, up until the point you think you can handle one?  Totally legit, and it works.

B.  The Pirates are quite potent in that version if using Regenerating Armor and a couple of buffed-up Ventures with Shield Removal; if you can get the cash together, this makes them pretty much immune to all low-level fleets up through midgame.  

For really early play vs. asteroid fleets, 2-3 Lashers with appropriate front weapons (a pair of Phase Beams and Energy Pump is great, coupled with zero-flux stuff like Light ACs) and buffs can rip through most Asteroid fleets, including the Glaug and Exigency, if played well.

A little later on the income curve, a player-piloted Enforcer with a pair of Melters and speed mods is a very powerful ship, having great speed, armor and plenty of punch.  Melters are enormously-powerful short-ranged beams on fixed mounts; they're quite capable of taking out most Destroyers in the game in 1-2 passes.  However, be aware that Cruisers will generally kill you if you try to get that close, unless they're distracted.

In terms of Frigates, the Lasher remains a very potent choice, because of its plethora of weapons to choose from.  

But the main thing about going with the Pirates is that they can start with Boarding Shuttles and a single Dachshund (basically a flying box that has a single Flight Deck)- this is a "weird" choice and a little hard to play at first, but with some practice and another Frigate as support, it's quite powerful against Asteroid encounters, so long as you're not fighting Glaug or Exigency.  If you meet either, run; they can both counter an early Pirate fleet.  But once you reach the point where you have a couple of Ventures with, say, Energy Pump armed with a couple of Medium Lasers and a Guardian, you're going to crush most opponents pretty easily through most of midgame.

Lategame in the build you're playing mainly just consists of building the most OP uber-ship possible and backing it up with a bunch of fighters or other capships.  There are ships (the Black Eagle and Conquest being perennial favorites, but there are others) that can pretty much lay waste to whole fleets if buffed correctly.

The build I'm working on makes the tactics of all of this quite a bit harder; I want lategame to require a combined-arms approach and keep the player really busy.

Anyhow, I hear you on the hard start; I don't find it all that hard, personally, but that's because I know all the ins and outs, obviously.  I already have an EZ-Start mode built for the next build of the mod that should give people a much easier initial ride.  Midgame / lategame is getting considerably harder, though, so that the ramp's no longer so lopsided.

[EDIT]I got the Drone AI fixed up.  Now I "just" need to get the Repair Drone working so that the Repair Ships are an official Thing.

That, and there is now a new beam weapon- the Dual Mining Laser.  Why?  I finally differentiated the Mining Laser, is why. 

It's a medium-length pulse, no ammo, reasonable cycle time, higher damage, good tradeoff on PD.  Beams are back to being great for PD again, after some issues with them got resolved; it seemed like a good time to revisit their balance overall.

The Dual version sports 800 range (lower than a LMG or the PD Beamer, but higher than a Tac Laser, basically) and two beams that meet at max range, which produces an interesting effect (if using HEF, the beams cross, which looks rad).  It's worth the 8 OPs; the range alone makes it a better weapon than a Tac Laser and the DPS is great.

Also, the Glaug have a new toy, called the Devourer.  It's the primary armament of the Catcher, finally giving it enough punch to be fun, but there's a mountable version available.  It's a 50-OP gun; it penetrates shields, damaging anything along its path, with a random chance of being removed from play every time it does damage. 

It one-shots most small stuff, like all of the super-heavy guns.  It is fierce when it gets a lot of hits, but it's a bit of a dice-roll- it has much slower reloads than the Heavy Plasma Cannon and if it only gets one hit, it does far less damage for lots more flux (like 3000 per shot... ouch).  But if it gets, say, 10 hits... can you say, "glowing path of molten metal where an Onslaught used to be"?
[/EDIT]
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 16) (TC Mod)
Post by: dmaiski on April 01, 2014, 05:43:49 AM
@Coyote

its a good idea to have fairly substantial fighter fleets in vacum since fighters are cheap and have 100+ chasis each per battle (imo a great thing) and you can use them to buffer direct attack to your own ships

also the AI is fairly competent, so try and stay with your fleets main attack group, it can make fights alot easier if you focus on killing ships wich are already under fire by your fleet rather then 1:1 fights
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 16) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on April 01, 2014, 12:50:22 PM
Devourer in action, the Dual Mining Laser :)

(http://www.wolfegames.com/TA_Section/devourer_action.jpg)(http://www.wolfegames.com/TA_Section/dual_mining_laser.png)
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 16) (TC Mod)
Post by: Peter1x9 on April 01, 2014, 01:01:34 PM
1.  The difficulty at the start is being addressed in the next build, along with a bunch of things to make the midgame/lategame harder (the difficulty ramp still goes the wrong way in the build you're playing, and gets easier fast).

7.  In terms of "not blowing up"...

A.  You've discovered that you can't go broke running away.  So why not just run away every time you meet an Asteroid fleet, up until the point you think you can handle one?  Totally legit, and it works.

 I want lategame to require a combined-arms approach and keep the player really busy.

Anyhow, I hear you on the hard start; I don't find it all that hard, personally, but that's because I know all the ins and outs, obviously.  I already have an EZ-Start mode built for the next build of the mod that should give people a much easier initial ride.  Midgame / lategame is getting considerably harder, though, so that the ramp's no longer so lopsided.

I'll definitely be giving this another try when you release the next build.   :)
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 16) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on April 01, 2014, 08:36:21 PM
Hey, great, glad to see people give it a go.  I love the "a year ago" comments; the mod's practically a different thing now. 

Can't wait for this to be ready-enough for everybody; I think this version's going to be a lot of fun :)
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 16) (TC Mod)
Post by: Kazzthal on April 03, 2014, 12:35:26 AM
Can't wait for the next release of this :)

By far my favorite mod for this game !
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 16) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on April 05, 2014, 01:57:16 AM
The Indies are finally getting a second capship.  Not quite done with this yet, but it'll probably get finished up tomorrow.  Just about done with the other major stuff, although the Transporter Ray still needs some work, but I'm getting closer to a release candidate :)

(http://www.wolfegames.com/TA_Section/independent_spirit.png)
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 16) (TC Mod)
Post by: Debido on April 05, 2014, 02:07:26 AM
Holy flaming truck Xeno, that capital shop looks like it's going to be awesome  :o . I guess no more demolishing poor little indie fleets. It's what, about 700 pixels across? That is vast.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 16) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on April 05, 2014, 03:09:31 AM
Technically it's 750, but it's not at final trim size yet, so maybe 700-ish or thereabouts, about the same size as an Acanthus.

I don't have a specific role for it yet, but I'm thinking that it might be a strike carrier, but with a different take on defense; maybe a System that insta-splashes enemy fighters and missiles in a big radius and shorts Frigates out for a little bit.

Something that would make it really hard to rush with little stuff and quite hard to nuke, and enough firepower that if you go carrier and don't bring any high-end capships, you're going to get spanked, basically- the Indies are more-or-less a rush faction, and this might help them increase the pressure they can bring to bear.  Considering what's going on with fighter balance, that might just be genuinely useful, both for the Indies and for players who want to fly one.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 16) (TC Mod)
Post by: MesoTroniK on April 05, 2014, 03:37:10 AM
quite hard to nuke

Nukes are fun :)

Spoiler
(http://i.imgur.com/qGJopB1.png)
[close]

Sorry for the minor derail Xeno, but it will be done soon™
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 16) (TC Mod)
Post by: Debido on April 05, 2014, 07:57:42 AM
@Mesotronik: That. Looks. Glorious.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 16) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on April 05, 2014, 12:46:23 PM
Looks great :)

Anyhow, it's got engines and stuff now, but I still haven't given it a role, other than being ridiculously hard to approach by small stuff:

(http://www.wolfegames.com/TA_Section/independent_spirit_final.jpg)

Which it is. 

I took away all the Cruisers in The Last Hurrah and gave players one of these as a replacement and tried out flying beside it in a Conquest.  It's a pretty intense experience; Frigates, fighters and missiles just kind of evaporate around it, letting you deal with the big stuff.  It can't really handle Onslaughts and suchlike solo very well, but it's much less of a fragile wallflower than a Mantabee or Astral (of course, this comes with a catch- it only has two decks).
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 16) (TC Mod)
Post by: dmaiski on April 05, 2014, 05:20:42 PM
(http://i.imgur.com/quQ5yIt.jpg?1)

are those carrier bays? i thought they were engines or carrier bays soo...

also when is next release?
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 16) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on April 05, 2014, 06:15:03 PM
Yeah, those will be bays, I think. 

Release?

Pretty soon, I think; maybe a day or two.  I have plenty of time tonight and nothing super-important on my plate until Monday, for once, and I want to get this done and out there for people to play. 

Still need to finish up working on the Transporter Ray, making the Repair weapon look good (it functions well, but it's not exactly polished visually) and maybe I'll get around to coding the Station Assault battles... properly, rather than the yucky hackish way it is now :)
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 16) (TC Mod)
Post by: Aklyon on April 06, 2014, 10:33:16 AM
Well, I've got to say, this is interesting. Though I'm not quite sure if I'll be able to try other sides, the starting ship for the Glagh seems to be far and away the most durable, despite no shielding.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 16) (TC Mod)
Post by: Roddy Mcrizzle on April 06, 2014, 02:32:40 PM
Maybe I'm missing something in this Mod, but it seems to me the vast majority of the ships I encounter are SOOO long ranged I can't even see them to hit them.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 16) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on April 06, 2014, 03:45:54 PM
The Glaug are currently a bit OP, that's certain; it's one of the things that's getting fixed in this next build; I buffed up their Armor Regeneration a bit too much :)

Quote
Maybe I'm missing something in this Mod, but it seems to me the vast majority of the ships I encounter are SOOO long ranged I can't even see them to hit them.
Zoom out; the mod's designed to be played at maximum zoom.  That said, getting hit from things that you cannot observe yet is pretty normal for the mod; ships with High Energy Focus can and will shoot you from distances where you can't even see them on the radar yet.  Just part of the game, but you usually won't meet them until later in a game :)
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 16) (TC Mod)
Post by: dmaiski on April 07, 2014, 07:22:30 AM
i actualy like that beam boats have monster range in vaccum, but being able to zoom out more would bve nice... there must be some way to hack the zoom range
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 16) (TC Mod)
Post by: Aklyon on April 07, 2014, 08:14:30 AM
i actualy like that beam boats have monster range in vaccum, but being able to zoom out more would bve nice... there must be some way to hack the zoom range
Well, you can always switch to looking at your enemy instead, assuming you have one targetted.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 16) (TC Mod)
Post by: Nanao-kun on April 07, 2014, 12:27:28 PM
i actualy like that beam boats have monster range in vaccum, but being able to zoom out more would bve nice... there must be some way to hack the zoom range
Well, you can always switch to looking at your enemy instead, assuming you have one targetted.
That leaves you vulnerable to the enemy though, especially missiles.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 16) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on April 07, 2014, 12:55:15 PM
 
Quote
there must be some way to hack the zoom range
Set devmode to true in settings.json (the one in starsector-core, not the mod one).  Then zoom is unlimited.  This is something Alex is going to address for mods in the next patch, too :)
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 16) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on April 07, 2014, 03:10:33 PM
Finally, finally made a halfway-decent Burn Drive AI.  No more ships constantly flying in erratic annoying patterns, yay.

Also, Needlers are back to being very effective anti-missile weapons (without a corresponding buff to overall damage).

Haven't done the rewrite of the battle system stuff so that Epic Battles are supported more properly, and I haven't re-organized the Hull Mods or finished organizing the ships by factions... I'm thinking maybe I should get all that done before I call this build finished.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 16) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on April 07, 2014, 08:47:33 PM
The Pirate Kings have a new space-superiority fighter, the Claw:

(http://www.wolfegames.com/TA_Section/pirate_claw.png)
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 16) (TC Mod)
Post by: Nanao-kun on April 07, 2014, 08:54:52 PM
The Pirate Kings have a new space-superiority fighter, the Claw:

(http://www.wolfegames.com/TA_Section/pirate_claw.png)
"IT'S CLAWING INTO MY HUUUUUUUULL!!!"  :P
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 16) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on April 07, 2014, 09:39:00 PM
Yeah.  I was just going to call it the "Super Talon", since that's basically what it is, but that seemed boring.

That, and one of the unused fighter graphics that comes with the game is called a claw... although it's obviously meant to be TT design.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 16) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on April 08, 2014, 01:41:00 AM
Well, I think I've fixed the last great memory thing.

Apparently, in long-term games with big universes, cargo manifests for Stations (in particular, ships in cargo) were eating a lot of memory in big games.  So I wrote a culler routine that auto-populates cargo when you change Systems. 

It was that easy to remove 150-200MB in long-term memory growth (probably got worse than that if you waited a game-year or so, but I just tested a month with the maximum size of 25 Systems).

I think that the current upper limit on Systems is probably way more than most people will want to play out, so... I guess now even people on fairly weak laptops can play with a big Sector size, if they want to.  Woohoo!  That kind of encourages me to think about adding more weird stellar... things.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 16) (TC Mod)
Post by: Debido on April 08, 2014, 01:42:13 AM
Stellar things?
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 16) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on April 08, 2014, 02:06:14 AM
Yeah, you know... stuff.  In space.  Not that I wanted to do anything especially weird or anything. 

Most of the really wild stuff has to wait for 0.65 anyhow, when we can finally, finally finally switch out Station graphics and put glows on stuff anyhow.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 16) (TC Mod)
Post by: dmaiski on April 08, 2014, 02:56:22 PM
new release must have!!!!

MUST! HAVE!! NOW!!!

I have run out of stuff to do, and im bored of studying... need vacum to amuse self... [vacum sucking noises]... that was less amusing than i imagined it to be... RELEASE VACCUM TO SANITY SAVE ME!
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 16) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on April 09, 2014, 02:50:49 AM
Well, I got close. 

I wrapped up renaming all of the ships so that the mod's a lot cleaner internally (it's obvious what belongs to what faction now, etc.) and I also established unique, faction-specific looks for all of the ships' shields and engines, which makes the factions feel a lot more coherent, visually.

But that broke a lot of description texts, which I need to fix... and I still want to write a proper Station battle. 

Oh, and I don't have a graphic / sound for the Transporter Ray yet. 

Other than all that, it's ready; most of the major features are working and I'm happier with the overall balance.  I'm tempted to release it and just say that it'll have a bunch of things that aren't done yet, but meh, it's already been well over a month...
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 16) (TC Mod)
Post by: Ranakastrasz on April 10, 2014, 04:13:24 PM
The supply cost of fighters I think is an issue, being at zero.

Aside from making them more powerful and spammable, they also seem to lag the ship management screen. I am uncertain if that is the direct cause, but it still seems like a balance problem.

It could be like 1/10th supply per fighter, but not zero.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 16) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on April 10, 2014, 05:32:06 PM
That's part of what got changed for the rebal :) 

Anyhow, working on Station battles tonight... hope to get that wrapped up, maybe get the Transporter Ray ready.  Then I think it's time for a release and some balance feedback.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 16) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on April 11, 2014, 12:21:05 AM
The Acanthus uses Neutronium Plating / Armor Regeneration / Hardened Shields / etc., properly now.  I got the initial stages of the station-battle stuff done, and I'm pretty excited about what I'm going to be able to do with the code I built for it (amongst other things, maybe more real battle variety, less "just charge in and kill everything that moves"), but I'm not quite ready to show it off yet. 

I'll do my best to get that done tomorrow evening if I can; it's the last major feature that I think I want to tackle before release.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 16) (TC Mod)
Post by: Ranakastrasz on April 11, 2014, 10:56:05 AM
One idea (from Gratuitus space battles) is to limit repairs to hull and armor to some set amount, say, half the original hull/armor amount
After it runs out of "repair supplies" it will either stop regenerating, or regen at like 1/10th the normal rate.

Would make the ships susceptible to being worn down, even if you can't immediately take them down.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 16) (TC Mod)
Post by: dmaiski on April 11, 2014, 11:48:48 AM
that would defeat the point of regenerative armor...

normal armor: takes damage untill a certain point where it can no longer take damage

redistributing/active armor: moves armor from healthy area to damaged areas, but does not regenerate

regenerative armor: regenerates damage taken over time, allows for extended combat as long as you do not take too much damage


what you just described is active armor, not regenerative, although making an active armor hull mod would be cool
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 16) (TC Mod)
Post by: Farlarzia on April 11, 2014, 12:01:43 PM
What he is suggesting is not armour that takes from another point, to distribute it to another point, but as he said, like the system from Gratuitus space battles, where armour regenerates completely, and doesn't just move it around, just regens as the current system would, but would stop regenerating after the "supplies" to regenerate are used up.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 16) (TC Mod)
Post by: dmaiski on April 11, 2014, 12:55:04 PM
what he described is basicaly redistributing armor with an invisible pool of "extra" armor hidden in the ship, it would probably lead to moment of "huh why did my ship suddenly explode" happening when people put on regen armor, and lots of  :-[  :'( :-\ :-[ :'(
it would make the game needlesly more comlex, but it would not actualy add much gameplay wise


a beter idea would be to tie regen armor to CR and/or flux generation during battle, so regen causes verry slow loss of CR, but this would need balancing for armor boats, capital ships and various other factors so that a single hig doesnt just wipe out the entire CR of certain ship setups

flat rates: would make armor boats run out of CR in seconds
% of total armor: would make lightly armored regen+shield ships run out of CR from a single hit to armor

:P you see the balancing issues  :P
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 16) (TC Mod)
Post by: Ranakastrasz on April 11, 2014, 01:06:13 PM
Ok, now I am confused.

Presumably because I have no idea how armor regeneration actually works.
Nor how Health regeneration works.
I assumed it regenerates the ships hull at the rate of, say, 10 health per second. This being continuous and permanent until dead or at 100% health.

With that assumption, the suggestion was additionally stop regenerating permanently after you regenerate a certain amount of health, likely based on both max health and combat readiness.

Armor, I assumed regenerates each node separately, or possibly focusing on the most damaged section until it is at maximum armor across the board.

With that assumption, the suggestion is that only so many armor points (not nodes) could be regenerated before it runs out of supplies.

Now what I've read suggests armor regenerate in this game is not armor regeneration at all, but rather armor redistribution. IF that is the case, then you will run out of armor eventually regardless, and no problem exists. It will make weak-points slower to form and last for a shorter time, but general armor rating will go down and eventually deplete or fall to the point your hull gets vaporized.

As for "why did my ship suddenly die" that is already the case in many, many cases.
Especially with shields as is, which seem to be like Stargate shields. Highly durable, the ship, not so much, with any leakage resulting in instant death.
Armor can be almost the same, but the hull tends to be more durable than the armor, so really that only happens when any ship has a high damage and kills your ship pretty much instantly.

Death is pretty sudden in this mod. Like insanely so.

The reason I suggested this was that there had been huge discussions earlier on buffing or debuffing armor regeneration to make sure it is reasonable for both heavy and light armored ships, or something like that. This was likely a problem in Gratuious space battles, with ships being able to repair or maintain their shields indefinitely, so in that game, shields going down never came back up, and repair systems ran out of supplies (eventually)

~~~~
Also, why did you massively increase damage and health values?
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 16) (TC Mod)
Post by: dmaiski on April 11, 2014, 01:13:45 PM
:P that you have to ask xeno(i dont know the exact model he settled on), but as i said in my realier post, balancing ""limited" armor regen would be a nightmare because there are several drasticaly difrent applications that armor regen can be used for (armor boats vs lightly armored shield boats)

any limited regen would have to take both of these playstyles into acount to not force the player into one mode or the other, and the balancing of that would be hard, not verry transparent and near imposible for the player to understand

:P i encountered these problems when i initialy though up the armor regen for my mod way back when :P


"Also, why did you massively increase damage and health values? "
from what i understand xenos mod is meant to be played with ships that use lots of optional modules (to increase and customize stats for the players personal strategies) so uncustomized ships are by nesesity verry weak (some of my customised frigates can take 1-2 reapers and still keep going, so it all depends on how you want to build your ship)
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 16) (TC Mod)
Post by: Selgald on April 12, 2014, 06:57:44 PM
After trying this mode for some hours, this is what the most time happened:

Start the game -> listen to the guide -> mine asteroids -> ambush -> dead in under 5 seconds
Start the game  -> mine asteroid -> ambush -> dead in under 5 seconds
Start the game  -> mine asteriod -> ambush -> dead in under 5 seconds
Start the game  -> mine asteriod -> ambush -> dead in under 5 seconds
Start the game  -> mine asteriod -> ambush -> dead in under 30 seconds (run!)

Okay different way -> don't mine that !(§$&! asteroid -> kill pirates -> profit

Maybe the guide is a little bit wrong about how good asteroids are for starting money?
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 16) (TC Mod)
Post by: Ranakastrasz on April 12, 2014, 07:06:03 PM
Eh, I find it best to mod your starting ships to add maximum armor, (usually removing shields for the armor boost) save, and mine asteroids, saving after each round trip, until you have 3-4 frigates. At that point, you are probably killing the ambushes.

Eventually, I buy a higher level ship, and then I try to kill the pirate fleets around. Naturally, Saving before each one, because with so many ways to die in seconds to everything, you kind of need to.

Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 16) (TC Mod)
Post by: Aklyon on April 12, 2014, 07:46:04 PM
After trying this mode for some hours, this is what the most time happened:

Start the game -> listen to the guide -> mine asteroids -> ambush -> dead in under 5 seconds
Start the game  -> mine asteroid -> ambush -> dead in under 5 seconds
Start the game  -> mine asteriod -> ambush -> dead in under 5 seconds
Start the game  -> mine asteriod -> ambush -> dead in under 5 seconds
Start the game  -> mine asteriod -> ambush -> dead in under 30 seconds (run!)

Okay different way -> don't mine that !(§$&! asteroid -> kill pirates -> profit

Maybe the guide is a little bit wrong about how good asteroids are for starting money?
Mining asteroids is perfectly fine for the Glaug, assuming you aren't entirely outnumbered.

Then again, xeno did mention that the current version has too much armor regen for them, so I might be wrong next release.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 16) (TC Mod)
Post by: dmaiski on April 13, 2014, 04:22:54 AM
you do know you can retreat from battles if you are heavily outmached?

i have never lost a a ship in an asteroid mining expidition in vacum (mainly due to retreating/not launching weak/damaged ships, and only fighting if i am certain i can win(retreating if i cant))

i vould actualy apreciate if there was an option for a "hard mode" where battles would be... well harder. but i guess once commanders are implemented enemy ships wont be nearly as soft
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 16) (TC Mod)
Post by: Ranakastrasz on April 13, 2014, 07:29:50 AM
Well, retreating sometimes works. As long as you have 2 or more ships you can even refuse to engage, just losing 1/5th of your credits.

Retreating generally results in losses, sometimes total, depending on how badly you are outmatched.

Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 16) (TC Mod)
Post by: dmaiski on April 13, 2014, 07:36:41 AM
you can just deploy your fastest frigate, give the enemy the run round, and then retreat with it, then you avoid all loses

or if you are a combat specialised character even at lvl1 with a well equipped frigate you can kill a whole mining ambush alone (mining ambushes usualy only have 1-2 fighter wings and some (poorly armed)firgates)

a ship with heavy armor and neutroneum plating should at the verry least be able to survive till it can retreat, even freighters with those 2 modules can make it out of a fight like that without dieing
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 16) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on April 15, 2014, 05:35:40 PM
Don't worry, the easy start is coming.  Soon as I can get this sucker released.  RL was not helpful this weekend but I'll try my best to get it knocked out tonight :)
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 16) (TC Mod)
Post by: dmaiski on April 16, 2014, 01:00:08 PM
O.o so are you going to give us extra stat points to spend or some such?
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 16) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on April 18, 2014, 08:34:41 PM
Station battles are implemented, and are fairly awesome. 

I still need to finish up the Transporter Ray and do a few other minor cleanups, but I am pretty excited; station battles just got a heck of a lot harder and more interesting.

Kind of tempted to write an Admiral AI to make it even more fun.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 16) (TC Mod)
Post by: dmaiski on April 19, 2014, 03:32:34 AM
transporter ray : you arent going to go for a SPAZ style mook cannon instead?

i want to pound my enemy into submission using my green mook army as ammo!
my green mooks already wear spiffy red shirts, they are ready and wating to win the war (or die splattered against the enemy shields for my amusment)

(http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-XJqH13xkn84/UnJhENv1ZoI/AAAAAAAAFm0/B3xOz6NxAkQ/s1600/3redshirt.png)
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 16) (TC Mod)
Post by: Nanao-kun on April 19, 2014, 10:14:51 AM
I never got used to using the troop missiles.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 16) (TC Mod)
Post by: dmaiski on April 19, 2014, 10:25:03 AM
you have to imagine the screams of your red shirts as they splatter against the enemy shields (or in SPAZ just turn up the volume)
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 16) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on April 22, 2014, 11:07:13 PM
Wrote a very basic Admiral AI this evening. 

Looks like the really tricky bit is going to be writing it to be "smart"; getting it to deploy stuff is straightforward, but getting it to deploy stuff that makes any sense is going to be a little harder :)
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 16) (TC Mod)
Post by: Nanao-kun on April 22, 2014, 11:14:21 PM
Wrote a very basic Admiral AI this evening. 

Looks like the really tricky bit is going to be writing it to be "smart"; getting it to deploy stuff is straightforward, but getting it to deploy stuff that makes any sense is going to be a little harder :)
Obviously, it should deploy the carriers by themselves first so I can slaughter them. :P
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 16) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on April 22, 2014, 11:26:37 PM
Yeah, stuff like that is precisely what I want to address; I'm still mapping out the problems but I think I can get it done :)
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 16) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on April 24, 2014, 12:01:28 AM
OK... basic Admiral AI is done. 

Still cleaning up various things and it's not doing everything I want it to (in particular, I'm having some issues giving specific orders to specific ships and I need to write a smarter deployment system), but I think it's going to be OK in the end. 

Need to do a couple more things to clean up the battles; amongst other things, I need to write a stronger physics push for ships that go outside the bounds, methinks, and I need to rewrite the way objectives are placed, to make things work a little better with what I'm doing with them(basically, battlefields can be quite a bit bigger than they were).  I have a really light day tomorrow, so maybe I can get this wrapped up :)
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 16) (TC Mod)
Post by: Nanao-kun on April 24, 2014, 12:15:54 AM
I need to write a stronger physics push for ships that go outside the bounds
I can see it now...

*Burn Drives cruiser into bound*

*Bounced back at 600 su/s*

*Right into the enemy ship*

Hahaha! ;D
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 16) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on April 24, 2014, 12:45:11 AM
Yeah; there is no perfect solution for that; stopping stuff from ever leaving the bounds, period, is fairly attractive, but it breaks the immersion; on the other hand, right now AI ships end up way outside the bounds sometimes, which is annoying.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 16) (TC Mod)
Post by: dmaiski on April 24, 2014, 03:11:36 AM
just add something to the pathing calculation that encourages the ships to move towards the center of the map

when they are selectin wich way to turn, just weigh the calculation so that the farther from the center or command points they are the more likley they are to head that way, it doesnt need to be massive, just a tiny bonus

that or wait till alex makes it posible to set the battle map size and deployment locations
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 16) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on April 24, 2014, 10:52:32 AM
You can already set the battle map size and deployments, actually; it's one of the things I've been playing around with :)
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 16) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on April 25, 2014, 12:10:25 AM
OK, I think that the Admiral AI works. 

In fact, it's a little scary; I think players are going to have some "fun" trying to beat high-end enemy fleets.  I just took a midgame character with 80 DPs and maxed Tech (Combat isn't maxed yet, but it's getting there) up against an Assault Fleet and got pwnd... consistently.  Granted, the fleet's not opti-maxed for Capital killing, but... ouch.

I still need to write up a system for Escape scenarios, though, and probably something special-ish for Station Assaults.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 16) (TC Mod)
Post by: dmaiski on April 25, 2014, 01:07:14 PM
remember to add that ai for player fleets too :P

cause if the ai gets monster commmand level inteligence for their ships and the player still has the command point system, the ai will win in many situations just because beter micro
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 16) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on April 25, 2014, 07:27:30 PM
Yeah, that's an issue, for certain, although right now the AI isn't "smart", it's just functional.  I think a lot of it is that with leveled Admirals, things got way, way harder on the high end, which is good.

I wrote up a limiter that keeps ships from going way outside the bounds, and it appears to work without destroying stuff.  I still need to write the Escape AI, since that's a little different from regular fights, and I need to make a proper graphic for the Devastator and write up all the descriptions that are now missing after the Great Reorganization, and finish the Transporter Ray... I may release with none of that done, I think it's about ready to see how the gameplay is shaping up for everybody...
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 16) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on April 26, 2014, 01:02:10 AM
Hrmm.  Beat a Station Assault. Even with the stations in, it's still too easy. 

I think the big issue there is what happens when you get rolling, capture-wise.  Was slamming through with a couple of Conquerors with shield-busters and Neutrons, with enough carrier backup to keep 3 Wings of Boarding Shuttles and a smattering of other little stuff going.  No light support, just mega-heavies and fast movers. 

About 10 minutes in, I have a smallish army (like, -130+ DPs) of captures working for me.  Granted, this was largely due to some other changes I made, which I think people will like; I finally figured out a good way to make "scenery objects" and "wrecks"... but my code scattered a bunch of Tritach ships all over the battlefield, so I had some free Odysseys, amongst other things.

And of course, this was a fight against the Indies, who still aren't terribly scary.

But I think the issue here is straightforward; the Transporter Ray needs to be a working thing and Boarding Shuttles need a significant nerf.  Having free in-battle captures that don't ever require Marines just won't cut it; I think it's imperative that players have to do that.  Even having Boarding Shuttles run out (eventually) isn't doing it.

So what I think I'll do is this; ships captured by Boarding Shuttles will get crippled, CR-wise, and be put on Retreat.  That will greatly nerf their effect on the battlefield.

The other issue that's apparent is money.  Got a high-end fleet?  It doesn't feel like you ever pay for it.  There's a tipping point where if you capture enough capital ships, you're looking at a cool million for a battle and with enough super-heavies, you can do it without losses.  Supplies are irrelevant; even with thousands of crew, you're looking at a drain of "only" 20-30 day, which just doesn't matter at all.  So I think I need to put crew pay back in, like the Exerelin builds where paying for a planet-crushing fleet was a large part of the game.  I could do it via Supply drains, but I just don't like that very much; too much potential for fun-wreaking situations.

Lastly, I think that I need something boss-fight for people to do.  Station assaults will be quite a bit harder if Boarding Shuttles can't just give you an army, but I think that even more challenge is required.  We'll see if I still feel that way after taking on Tritach / Hegemony / Pirates, but I suspect it's all the same; when players reach levels where they've maxed out Tech, most of Combat, and have Making Do... it's all downhill and I want people to have to try a lot harder.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 16) (TC Mod)
Post by: dmaiski on April 26, 2014, 02:05:22 AM
Quote
The other issue that's apparent is money.  Got a high-end fleet?  It doesn't feel like you ever pay for it.  There's a tipping point where if you capture enough capital ships, you're looking at a cool million for a battle and with enough super-heavies, you can do it without losses.  Supplies are irrelevant; even with thousands of crew, you're looking at a drain of "only" 20-30 day, which just doesn't matter at all.  So I think I need to put crew pay back in, like the Exerelin builds where paying for a planet-crushing fleet was a large part of the game.  I could do it via Supply drains, but I just don't like that very much; too much potential for fun-wreaking situations.

actualy I would apreciate this, I have often had fleets with 10k storage space running around almost entirely empty in your mod, just cause i dont need supplies that much, just dont go overboard and end up at uzmoz's level of supply drain, where you cant even consider going out of the system you are in because supply drain will kill you...
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 16) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on April 26, 2014, 06:01:34 PM
Yeah, that's really hard to balance.

I hear you about the empty space, but I eventually want to integrate with Alex's Events system so I kind of want to wait on that. 

Checked out putting auto-Retreat on captured ships; that definitely balanced that issue out. 
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 16) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on April 27, 2014, 10:28:51 PM
I'm much happier with the Capture system overall; still working a few details out.  Got rid of some junky stuff I had in the Boarding Shuttle code; now there's no "instant capture" going on behind the scenes; the ship you've just boarded is the ship you've got, warts and all.  That really raises up the

The Station Assault battles are still a bit too easy for my tastes; I'm kind of leaning towards having some new Station type that is a big nasty alpha-strike but is pretty weak otherwise.  Jean / Marlene are both nasty in their own special ways and the AI puts up a good fight.  I think that's going to have to wait for the next build, though.

Want to get the graphic done for the Devourer before I call this "ready enough", along with writing out descriptions and writing out the wage code; there are lots of small details still missing but it's starting to feel semi-balanced and playable, finally :)
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 16) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on April 29, 2014, 06:19:10 PM
OK, Devourer got a graphic, there is now are not one but two Fighter-only buff trees that carrier-heavy players can take. 

The only really big thing left is finalizing the Transporter Ray and balancing out one of the new features and writing out descriptions.  I think that I'll balance the feature roughly, write out the descriptions (mainly copy-pasta work, as it's mainly about Vanilla assets whose internal names have changed) and call this ready.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 16) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on April 30, 2014, 03:41:54 PM
Set up Boss Runs for station battles, just to give them a bit more oomph.

Oh, and this might make it:

(http://www.wolfegames.com/TA_Section/zorg_boss.png)
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 16) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on May 01, 2014, 09:57:24 PM
Boss-fight system is working; Boarding Shuttles cost 2 Marines per attempt (may raise this later, but it's feeling all right atm).  This greatly slows down the instant-army effects in big fights and forces players to conserve their Marines.

I think I'm going to concentrate on doing the last of the write-ups for new descriptions and then it's finally time to get this out.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 16) (TC Mod)
Post by: Ishman on May 02, 2014, 04:51:12 AM
You may not have noticed, you deleted the end of one of your sentences earlier. "Got rid of some junky stuff I had in the Boarding Shuttle code; now there's no "instant capture" going on behind the scenes; the ship you've just boarded is the ship you've got, warts and all.  That really raises up the"
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 16) (TC Mod)
Post by: Tecrys on May 02, 2014, 05:03:55 AM
Really looking forward to the new capture mechanics since I am hoping that looking at your code will fix Dabido and my issues with our ressurection hullmod which is based on your boarding shuttle code.

We're still having huge issues with the FleetEncounterContext to an extend that we might implement our won FleetEncounterContext extending the vanilla one.

Great job with the Boss stuff, looking forward to testing it!
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 16) (TC Mod)
Post by: Aklyon on May 02, 2014, 12:52:24 PM
Set up Boss Runs for station battles, just to give them a bit more oomph.

Oh, and this might make it:

(http://www.wolfegames.com/TA_Section/zorg_boss.png)
That thing is looks like it'll either be a really big, easy target to hit, or a very dangerous target to hit.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 16) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on May 02, 2014, 01:43:52 PM
A bit of both, with maybe some surprises thrown in. 

Haven't coded it up yet, but I have plans, muahaha.  Will probably code the sucker as soon as I get done writing descriptions and all that; I'm doing some profiling this afternoon on a few things that I want to make just a wee bit faster.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 16) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on May 03, 2014, 02:43:01 AM
Having way too much fun with profilers. 

I will make the PD AI fast-yet-good, somehow, lol. 

It's the most expensive single piece of AI code, because so many of the little pew-pew guns are PD, natch. 

I've made it roughly 3X as fast as it was, roughly on-par with the regular, non-PD, which is pretty good.

The biggest issue with the PD AI is that when there are hundreds of missiles on the battlefield, things get pretty painful; SS wasn't ever really designed for Macross Missile Massacres on epic scales.  This comes up mainly with the Glaug, where the Flyter remains a lag-inducing thing. 

Sure, I can just change their weapon, but why not work on fundamental issues?

I think I'm going to try something out; there's probably a way to iterate through the ships once every few frames and build an array for that ship that's public; then the individual weapon AIs can check that list, instead of maintaining private lists.  If that's doable, it'd speed up weapon AI performance enormously; one ship's list can get used for all of the weapons on that ship, reducing the number of distance checks by a huge amount.  For ships with just one weapon, there wouldn't be any speedup, of course... but for stuff with more than 1, it'd be a huge savings, since it's necessary to do a huge amount of distance checks per update.

Buuut... interestingly enough, the most expensive single calculation in the whole shebang is WeaponAPI distanceFromArc();  I've been thinking that I should write a rough approximation that uses two triangles instead, as I think it'll result in considerable speedups with no really obvious loss in fidelity.

Anyhow, got through a chunk of the writeups; will try to get the rest done and kick out a release tomorrow if at all possible :)
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 16) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on May 03, 2014, 11:33:17 AM
Huh.  I got the cost of getting a rough approximation of a ship's position inside of an arc down to lower than the per-frame costs of grabbing the location (i.e., it fails the distance check, which is inherently faster, more often than it needs to check the arc, but the costs of getting the approximate solution are lower overall).

Still kind of lag-city when there is enough stuff going on with major fighter battles, but it's progress.

Other fun fact:  sound processing appears to be a major bottleneck; the last snapshot shows it as about half the load

That kind of sucks, because there is no way to optimize sound at all, mod-side; I can't set up priority queues and SS doesn't have a typical priority system for sound (or if it does, it's internal).   I'd hate to have to give up machineguns, but perhaps I should use the technique I developed elsewhere to fake 'em...
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 16) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on May 03, 2014, 09:13:11 PM
You ever have one of those days where you're like, "Yeah, I'm good"?

This is definitely one of mine.  I figure LazyWizard might find this intriguing, heh:
(http://www.wolfegames.com/TA_Section/ss_ai_optimizations01.png)
The PD AI, once the largest eater-of-CPU in the entire sim, is almost 4X times faster than the standard Autofire AI (which means when that is converted since it started out being roughly 2X faster... huge fights are going to be quite playable even on fairly old hardware).  That snapshot is from a profile taken during a huge fighter / fighter massacre with lots of missiles flying about.  I guess the ultimate test is what happens in a Glaug / Glaug fight, but I'm very happy about this.

This is quite a lot faster than Vanilla's autofire AI at this point, and I am frankly amazed at how much more speed was actually available.  I'm glad I tried some crazy ideas out.

Tech explanations of this stuff, if anybody wants some, will follow when I get around to doing further testing / bulletproofing / spanking of any remaining bugeroos.

Anyhow, I think I'm going to go ahead and finish this mini-project before release; I'm fairly confident that it's crash-free and I'm utterly convinced it's the right approach.  On the good side, I got most of the text stuff done, so tomorrow night looks like it's time, short of anything really weird coming up.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 16) (TC Mod)
Post by: Debido on May 04, 2014, 12:28:45 AM
The StandardAutoFireAI really took me by surprise, 12 seconds is a fair chunk of change when it comes to CPU processing time. Glad to hear you were able to make a more efficient Auto Fire AI for yourself to get some more frames out of it.

It seems that there are places in the game engine there are some places some optimisations can be made by Alex, particularly the sound system. It would be interesting to know if Alex could improve that sound system code for very large battles.

EDIT: Actually I was thinking about the sound system, that occurs in another thread anyway so the entire load should be able to be balanced on one whole other core in a multi-core CPU system - so in theory shouldn't put a burden on the framerate...in theory.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 16) (TC Mod)
Post by: Richyread on May 04, 2014, 02:50:28 AM
You ever have one of those days where you're like, "Yeah, I'm good"?

This is definitely one of mine.  I figure LazyWizard might find this intriguing, heh:
(http://www.wolfegames.com/TA_Section/ss_ai_optimizations01.png)


I really wish I understood half of what you've written (wanna be codejunkie...but RL keeps getting in the way :()

But one thing I can say is I definitely appreciate a good bar chart now and again!  :D

Seriously though I've been following your mod intently and I'm very much looking forward to playing this updated version.

Keep up the good work.

Richy,
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 16) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on May 04, 2014, 04:04:56 PM
Quote
EDIT: Actually I was thinking about the sound system, that occurs in another thread anyway so the entire load should be able to be balanced on one whole other core in a multi-core CPU system - so in theory shouldn't put a burden on the framerate...in theory.
There is communications load between threads and all that, so not necessarily.  That said, I think it was an anomalous result from that profiling run, but IDK right now and either way, I can't really do anything about it.

Anyhow, I got the last big problem solved on paper, and speed is way, way, way up for the core issues that were a concern, but I want it to go even faster; Glaug on Glaug is still too slow for me, I want Flyter swarms spitting thousands of missiles at each other running at at least 15FPS, if that's technologically possible on this hardware.  That's probably asking for the moon, but we'll see. 

Need to hack the paper solution out and see where I'm at, speed-wise, but for anything less than severe missile madness, speeds are hugely improved over the last build.  And there are quite a lot of low-hanging fruit left; this has mainly been about optimization of the turret AIs, which are the biggest drains, but ship AIs and System AIs and a few other things can also contribute fairly significant gains.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 16) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on May 04, 2014, 07:35:36 PM
Success :)

Glaug huge fleet vs. Punkjunker huge fleet, 120 FP in action on both sides:
(http://www.wolfegames.com/TA_Section/ss_ai_optimizations02.jpg)
The profiler results tell it all:
(http://www.wolfegames.com/TA_Section/ss_ai_optimizations03.jpg)

Now I just need to hack the changes into the AIs that haven't been optimized yet (I've just done PD, Standard and Strike here); there are other areas where the cost-savings can be realized as well.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 16) (TC Mod)
Post by: Debido on May 04, 2014, 08:31:50 PM
*whistles* wowzers, great work Xeno. These new PD AIs will probably be useful in Eternal Nox eventually with all the weapons it has.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 16) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on May 04, 2014, 10:04:02 PM
I think it's finally solid.  There's a fair amount of savings still left to find in AI-land, though; what I learned / built has a bunch of applications.  It's kind of exciting for me because the total cost changes should be appreciable. 

Too tired to finish that stuff tonight, though.  Gah, I'm starting to sound like Chris Roberts here: no release this evening folks, must sleeeeep.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 16) (TC Mod)
Post by: Protoman on May 05, 2014, 02:44:42 PM
I've got to say... one of the best mods out there ;D. There is one thing that bugs me though, and that is the burn drive. Now I don't have any problem with the ability but the fact that the AI just doesn't seem to do well with it. Ships with it tend to just circle the target (Haven't tested vs without doing much but a few shots here and there. That doesn't really work against ships with armor regeneration at all. Just do a Mastiff class vs a Archer class in the simulater and you can replicate this bland battle experience. Maybe I am doing something wrong or I am not playing the mod right? Please tell me!  :)

Also when in space I can't see enemy ships, just thrusters of them and their rank. BUT I am able to see my own ships.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 16) (TC Mod)
Post by: dmaiski on May 05, 2014, 03:33:45 PM
burn drive vs armor regen :
aparently armor regen is getting a rework
(@xeno if you have not done this already)
burn drive ai probably needs a fix to prevent it from being on unless it is chasing a target ship

only seeing thrusters : thats intentional
(@xeno you may want to add description of this into front page so people dont ask so much :P)

@xeno
btw do you feel that AI fleets arent agressive enough in campaign map? (ive rarely gotten attacked or chased by them... ever)

also >.< release, i has exams to study for, but im bored, i need your mod to procrastinate effectively!!!
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 16) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on May 05, 2014, 03:40:43 PM
Burn Drive AI has been fixed for over a month, same with the Armor Regen (very much nerfed, but still useful, but now Neutronium is competitive).

Agreed about the AI fleets, but that's going to have to wait.

Quote
Also when in space I can't see enemy ships, just thrusters of them and their rank. BUT I am able to see my own ships.
That's on purpose, both to save memory and to make it so that players can't know fleet compositions in advance.

Anyhow... I have some minor optimization stuff I still want to get done while the ideas are fresh; lots of cost savings are possible still in various areas, due to the core changes I made for the weapon AIs.  Writeups still aren't done, but I may just release and not worry about that until later this week; I think that it's more important to finish the code stuff and let people play it for a while.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 16) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on May 06, 2014, 08:09:08 AM
Got an hour; going to try and finish the text entries.  Everything else is go for launch.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 16) (TC Mod)
Post by: Tecrys on May 06, 2014, 08:33:25 AM
Really excited about your new release!

Will you push it out today?
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 16) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on May 06, 2014, 10:24:03 AM
Yes.

Got all the write-ups done.  Integrating the Monitor, Heron and Bulldog now.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 16) (TC Mod)
Post by: Tecrys on May 06, 2014, 10:53:08 AM
Mainly I want to take advantage of your groundbreaking custom AIs, as you might have guessed. Your work is partly responsible for the way Debido and I took for BGE.

Real modders like you pave the way for peple like me who've got ideas but very little experience with coding.

All hail Xeno! (And Kudos)
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 17) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on May 06, 2014, 12:09:41 PM
Release 17 is finally ready.

Features, in no particular order:

1.  Big speedups in core AIs, from turrets to capships.
2.  Repair ships are now a Thing.
3.  Rebalanced fighters, bombers, etc.
4.  Rebalance to various weaponry to give it a better mix, especially Energy weapons that weren't quite efficient enough.
5.  A working, if simple, Admiral AI.
6.  Custom battlefields that adjust according to circumstances.
7.  Capturable ships can sometimes spawn on battlefields; this is an early version of a more generalized "junk" system.
8.  All AI factions will be present in any game size.
9.  Fixes for various dialogs.
10. Slightly better balance for in-game captures; Boarding Shuttles use 2 Marines per attempt, whether or not it succeeds.
11. All Vanilla ships are in- the Pirates get the Bulldog (Warhound), the Punk Junkers get the Bishop (Heron) the Hegemony gets the Monitor.
12.  Most of the ships that were in earlier builds but "went missing" during transition away from Exerelin are back in.  Stuff like Packers, the Hyperion, and more.
13.  Easy, normal and hard starting modes give players different resources and ships.
14.  Several new weapon systems, including the Devourer, the Nanobot Repair Gun, and others.
15.  A new System, Flux Drain.
16.  Adjustments to the RPG Character skills.
17.  Leveled AI Admirals with skills.
18.  Much more difficult late-game battles.
19.  Overhaul of the Factions, to give them a more visually-consistent look (where appropriate).
20.  A whole bunch of other stuff I can't be arsed to write down. 

Basically, it's a huge update.  It took way way too long, but it got a lot of major stuff done.

Also, no, it's not remotely save-compatible, so you need to start a new game... but it's pretty darn fun, if I do say so myself :)

As usual, balance suggestions, code crashes and missing text stuff are all welcome and helpful!
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 17) (TC Mod)
Post by: Draginea on May 06, 2014, 12:32:21 PM
Good thing I don't have any homework today...
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 17) (TC Mod)
Post by: dmaiski on May 06, 2014, 12:34:31 PM
yay!!!
(https://i.chzbgr.com/maxW500/4672606720/h06E928AA/)
^^^me^^^
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 17) (TC Mod)
Post by: Tecrys on May 06, 2014, 12:56:44 PM
Hmm, those release notes make my mouth water,  I can't wait to be finished with work!
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 17) (TC Mod)
Post by: dmaiski on May 06, 2014, 01:35:47 PM
first bug is find!!!

idk exactly what happened, but me and the whole enemy fleet teleported to the lower left corner of the map
(did you leave some of your test code in or something? :P)


MOAR BUG!!!
(i finaly managed to deplete the enemy missile frig of its emp nukes at this point, and was going in for the kill)
Code
997812 [Thread-5] ERROR com.fs.starfarer.combat.O0OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO  - java.lang.RuntimeException: Fleet id [AttackFleet] not found for faction [neutral]
java.lang.RuntimeException: Fleet id [AttackFleet] not found for faction [neutral]
at com.fs.starfarer.loading.oOoO.?0000(Unknown Source)
at com.fs.starfarer.campaign.CampaignEngine.createFleet(Unknown Source)
at data.scripts.plugins.AdmiralAI.VacuumBasicAdmiralAI.bossFight(VacuumBasicAdmiralAI.java:49)
at data.scripts.plugins.AdmiralAI.VacuumBasicAdmiralAI.advance(VacuumBasicAdmiralAI.java:288)
at com.fs.starfarer.title.ooOO.K$Oo.o00000(Unknown Source)
at com.fs.starfarer.combat.oOOO.new.super(Unknown Source)
at com.fs.starfarer.combat.CombatEngine.advance(Unknown Source)
at com.fs.starfarer.combat.G.??00(Unknown Source)
at com.fs.oOOO.A.?0000(Unknown Source)
at com.fs.starfarer.combat.O0OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO.o00000(Unknown Source)
at com.fs.starfarer.StarfarerLauncher$2.run(Unknown Source)
at java.lang.Thread.run(Unknown Source)
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 17) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on May 06, 2014, 01:44:01 PM
Quote
idk exactly what happened, but me and the whole enemy fleet teleported to the lower left corner of the map
(did you leave some of your test code in or something? Tongue)
That's a bit of a puzzling issue with the engine atm; it has to do with manually setting the positions of entities.

Quote
MOAR BUG!!!
(i finaly managed to deplete the enemy missile frig of its emp nukes at this point, and was going in for the kill)
Oh, snap!  I know exactly what that is and how to fix it (darn u, last-second features), but it's going to be about 3-4 hours before I am in front of the code again.  A fixed build will go up ASAP.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 17) (TC Mod)
Post by: dmaiski on May 06, 2014, 01:48:20 PM
even more bug:

this is 2 seconds into asterid battle (also i dont even have those ships... or any ships other then my trusty lasher : "Mr.Tanky")
img:
Spoiler
(http://i.imgur.com/3vrhe8l.png?1)
[close]

:D rappid bughunting i do for you
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 17) (TC Mod)
Post by: Draginea on May 06, 2014, 01:50:13 PM
When I try to equip something on the medium weapons slot on the Monitor class whatever i tried to put on disappears and I cannot get them back or use them.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 17) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on May 06, 2014, 01:56:16 PM
Quote
this is 2 seconds into asterid battle (also i dont even have those ships... or any ships other then my trusty lasher : "Mr.Tanky")
Not a bug; those are wrecks scattered on that battlefield.  That said, they should not be on the smaller battlefields, that's too much like giving free cash to players.  Will fix.

Quote
When I try to equip something on the medium weapons slot on the Monitor class whatever i tried to put on disappears and I cannot get them back or use them.
Weird.  Prolly something funky about the turrets but IDK what; will have to look over the .hull file and see what's wrong with it.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 17) (TC Mod)
Post by: dmaiski on May 06, 2014, 02:01:38 PM
also weird thing, when you turn on the sniper AI in the sim battle, and set ship to ai controll it starts QWOPing hard
(crasher witha vulcan vs anything)

looks like a case of the ai trying to hide from the enemy, but not having any allies to hide behind (or its just buggy)


more ai bug in (1v1 case)

fast ships cant aim with forward weapons
(end up playing ring around the rosies...)(standard ai probably needs a case if(weaponX.canfire){engines=false; turn to target; fire;})
img:
Spoiler
(http://i.imgur.com/btkt4cO.png?1?3754)
[close]


sidenote: firing AI does not take reletive velocities of the target and firing ships into acount for long range shots (they are allways off by miles...)
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 17) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on May 06, 2014, 02:11:16 PM
Sniper AI wants to use an extremely long range, and it engages in collision-avoidance (which is something I should automatically turn off, if on a Frigate).  It's going to "pogo" if equipped with a short-range weapon; that can't really be helped a lot- it's not really meant for that use case.  I might force the ship to revert to a standard AI in that case, I suppose :)  It works great on stuff like Sunders, though :)
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 17) (TC Mod)
Post by: dmaiski on May 06, 2014, 02:30:25 PM
3x 2500au AM cannon isnt that short range XD

i have exams in a week so i cant do much atm  >:( but i want to try fiddling with the pathing and logic of your AI at some point, im sure i can make one smart enough that even if the weapon has massive targeting errors, and the autoaim has no "lead" ability to speak of it can still use the weapons it has effectively
Spoiler
mainly give it a decision tree,
track and respond to target states(if(target.isVenting && target.ventTime>(self.closeTime+2)){zerovelocity=true; CQC=MaxValue;}),
and try to zero the reletive velocity between self and target when taking a shot(while staying as mobile as posible at any other time
(and other little stuff it really should do)
[close]
maybe im just weird, but i allways want the enemy AI in the game to be as nasty and devious as posible(without cheating)


weird bug:
attacking hemogeny merchant fleet (40sec into battle)
img:
Spoiler
(http://i.imgur.com/nXLLe3w.png)
[close]
note: they are not retreating, they are just sitting on edge
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 17) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on May 06, 2014, 05:03:31 PM
That is technically not a bug, but I need to adjust where they're going better.

Got the other bugs fixed, checking out the Monitor to make sure it's OK here now.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 18) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on May 06, 2014, 05:29:43 PM
Build 18 is now available.  Thanks for all of the quick bug-hunting, everybody :)

All reported bugs fixed.  The weird issue with ships starting off the border should not happen in the campaign.
Flux Drain system is now more visually obvious.

This patched build should be savegame-compatible with build 17.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 18) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on May 06, 2014, 06:55:02 PM
Build 19.  Caught the issue with collision avoidance, which effected all big ships; fixed it.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 19) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on May 06, 2014, 09:46:49 PM
Oh, and lastly, before I call it a day...

Dmaiski, the inaccuracy problem you're talking about is directly related to the problem of "tolerance"; basically, I added a fudge-factor so that the AI would shoot when targets get within 60 degrees, because otherwise the fixed-mount weapons weren't firing often enough.  This is a big problem with things like the frontal-mount weapons on big, wide ships like the Dominator, where they simply aren't able to bring all their weapons to bear on targets.

However, this leads to certain slow-firing weapons missing a lot, since they're firing a little too early.

Some thoughts on that; since it's not possible to dynamically alter the weapon arcs, perhaps the best fix is to simply get rid of the "tolerance" kludge and to make all arcs have a minimum value that will allow all of them to engage properly.  I just haven't done this because it's not as visually pretty for fixed-mount stuff, but that really is the best, fairest solution.

The other solution is to set the tolerance for slow-firing weapons to zero, so that they're forced to fire only when it would actually be able to hit.  I may try that first and see if that works well enough.

Anyhow, please let me know if you find any other bugs; I want to work on integrating that giant boss thing and maybe, just maybe, work on integration with that new shader system- I think that's going to take a while, though, so I'm inclined to make sure we're bug-free first.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 20) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on May 06, 2014, 11:13:05 PM
Build 20.  Definitely bedtime now, lol. 

Improved auto-aim accuracy for slow-firing weapons; things like the Gauss should work reliably now, without missing wildly due to bad tolerance values.  The only exception I made for this is beams and missiles, mainly to cover rocket pods.  Built-in, slow-firing rocket pods, on the other hand, will perhaps not fire like they should, since they're all lumped into BUILT_IN.  This effects only one ship in the game (the Demander) so, eh, whatever.

Fixed a bug where weapons would register targets but never complete aiming under weird circumstances.

Neither fix is totally optimized; this added two math steps to each n^2 cycle through the all-powerful vacuumIsInArc(), which is bad practice, considering how hard I had to work to get it so clean... but I CBA to fix it properly tonight.  Still, it's an improvement :)
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 20) (TC Mod)
Post by: Richyread on May 07, 2014, 04:17:03 AM
Not sure if this is already on your radar/hit list:

- Lost a battle (my first one lol! :D) hit [Esc] then it crashed.

Extract of Starsector.log:

1175618 [Thread-5] DEBUG data.scripts.plugins.CombatRadarPlugin  - Creating new list with ID 1
1175635 [Thread-5] DEBUG data.scripts.plugins.CombatRadarPlugin  - Deleting old list with ID 1
1175635 [Thread-5] DEBUG data.scripts.plugins.CombatRadarPlugin  - Creating new list with ID 1
1184100 [Thread-5] ERROR com.fs.starfarer.combat.O0OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO  - java.lang.RuntimeException: Fleet id [shuttle] not found for faction [player]
java.lang.RuntimeException: Fleet id [shuttle] not found for faction [player]
   at com.fs.starfarer.loading.oOoO.Ó00000(Unknown Source)
   at com.fs.starfarer.campaign.A.ÖØÒ000(Unknown Source)
   at com.fs.starfarer.campaign.A.o00000(Unknown Source)
   at com.fs.starfarer.B.ØÓÒ000(Unknown Source)
   at com.fs.oOOO.A.Ò00000(Unknown Source)
   at com.fs.starfarer.combat.O0OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO.o00000(Unknown Source)
   at com.fs.starfarer.StarfarerLauncher$2.run(Unknown Source)
   at java.lang.Thread.run(Unknown Source)

Think it's looking to give me a shuttle to restart with and can't find it??

Richy.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 20) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on May 07, 2014, 11:16:01 AM
Hrmm.  That's a weird one.  There isn't a "shuttle" entry in that list.  I wonder if that's hardcoded :)
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 20) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on May 07, 2014, 11:23:42 AM
Got it; grep parser replaced "shuttle" line in the JSON with "independent_shuttle", which caused the crash, as the "shuttle" field is hard-coded.  Fixed build comin' up in a few moments :)
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 20) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on May 07, 2014, 11:31:24 AM
Build 21 is now available.

Fixes crash when player has lost all ships in their fleet.

Should not require a restart.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 21) (TC Mod)
Post by: Ranakastrasz on May 07, 2014, 12:51:10 PM
Crashes with Radar mod, and it disables Target Leading Pip when you enable it.

Code
24785 [Thread-5] ERROR com.fs.starfarer.combat.O0OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO  - org.json.JSONException: JSONObject["enemyMissileColor"] not found.
org.json.JSONException: JSONObject["enemyMissileColor"] not found.
at org.json.JSONObject.get(JSONObject.java:406)
at org.json.JSONObject.getJSONArray(JSONObject.java:482)
at data.scripts.plugins.CombatRadarPlugin.reloadSettings(CombatRadarPlugin.java:130)
at data.scripts.VacuumModPlugin.onApplicationLoad(VacuumModPlugin.java:385)
at com.fs.starfarer.loading.OooOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO.o00000(Unknown Source)
at com.fs.oOOO.A.?0000(Unknown Source)
at com.fs.starfarer.combat.O0OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO.o00000(Unknown Source)
at com.fs.starfarer.StarfarerLauncher$2.run(Unknown Source)
at java.lang.Thread.run(Unknown Source)
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 21) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on May 07, 2014, 01:34:41 PM
Combat Radar is already installed- I'll look at that bug but basically, you don't need it, it's already there. 

I have no idea about the Leading Pip thing, talk to the author.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 21) (TC Mod)
Post by: Ranakastrasz on May 07, 2014, 02:08:05 PM
Ah,that explains it. Thanks
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 20) (TC Mod)
Post by: Richyread on May 07, 2014, 02:27:20 PM
Build 21 is now available.

Fixes crash when player has lost all ships in their fleet.

Should not require a restart.

You sir are a star ;) Thank you!

I only wish my ISP were as quick as you at responding to problems...damn degrading connection :'(

Richy
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 21) (TC Mod)
Post by: MesoTroniK on May 07, 2014, 05:49:45 PM
The earlier versions of the Target leading PIP and Combat Radar were incompatible with each other. Both the Radar and the PIP were updated to no longer conflict.

I am going to assume that the radar that is integrated into Vacuum is not based on the newest version.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 21) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on May 09, 2014, 12:29:42 PM
Yeah, and without spending time looking at a diff, I have no idea what was changed by whom and when.  I'll ask LazyWizard when I get a chance, probably it's something pretty simple.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 21) (TC Mod)
Post by: Richyread on May 09, 2014, 02:51:25 PM
Thought I would add some strange game play feedback I've seen now I've spent some time with this great big new build.

>>> Carrier heavy fleets <<<<

I have only been engaging mining fleets in the main so far so can't confirm if this is all carriers or only from the specific races I've encountered thus far (Indepents/Hegomany/Eixge)

- The engagements start as expected - lights engage at fast speed followed by a smattering of fighters. Once this initial '1st wave' has been seen off, then there is rarely any followup/additional fighters etc.

- Once cleared I will be left with perhaps a 75% full green gauge on the screen, so still some enemy remaining.

- The Carriers are always present (when I engage a fleet etc) along the very top edge of the tactical map and/or far right corner. I've witnessed this in the last 5 engagements.

- When you eventually reach the carriers, they are not in a defensive/reationary stance, but appear to be locked into full retreat mode. I.e. they graphically are all positioned forward facing off the screen, with their engines on full burn.(I.e. showing larger jet graphic)

- When you attack the carriers, they make no real effort to reply/turn/adjust shields or fire main weapons - further supporting the 'full retreat theory'.

- In all the engagements I've entered I can't remember a signal one where the enemy have retreated due to casualties/individual ships pull out due to severe damage etc. I.e. everything seems to have a do or die attitude! :D


>>>Nav Points<<<

- In an engagement vs a 'merchant fleet' (i.e. one that didn't appear to have any carriers) I saw the AI perform some unusual behavior in that any ship assigned a 'combat order; - specifically [capture nav point x] etc. - would perform this task above all else and irrelevant of the state of the game.

When again I had fended off this '1st wave' i realized I still had over 50% of the enemy to deal with. However, it turned out to be a very similar situation to the Carriers listed above, except that instead of clinging for desperation to the edge of the board, they were in fact glued to the nav points instead. I've  a couple of screen shots showing what I mean:

Spoiler
(http://s28.postimg.org/ip86ub4t9/Picture3.png)

(http://s27.postimg.org/s1luvfjeb/Picture4.png)

(http://s8.postimg.org/gw5sukxkl/Picture7.png)

(http://s29.postimg.org/vzsxdfgrr/Picture8.png)

(http://s11.postimg.org/45lmg90v7/Picture9.png)
[close]

Appreciate that they need to capture points and should it be appropriate sometimes you see the AI group up around a single Nav Point to defend, but in these instances, it was either a solo-ship or a fighter wing that were flying full burst at the nav point continuously orbiting it and ignoring everything else.

************

With the Carrier fleets it feels as though they are engaging a 'full retreat' order immediately upon spawning into combat as in one engagement I had 5 wings of mining fighters and 5 carriers - they should have been churning these out like rabbits? except I cleaned them all up in about 30secs and they never seemed to respawn/returned to carrier etc.

Being forced to pilot my big whale of a ship around the entire edges and every Nav Point of each map is tiresome and adds a good 10mins or so onto a match which kind of goes against the great 'Arcade style' fast run'n'gun theme you have going with this mod.

Please note that this is intended as constructive feedback only to improve on an already fantastic piece of work...something which is keeping me up to the very (very) small hours of the morning playing! ;)

Hope this helps,

Richy.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 21) (TC Mod)
Post by: LazyWizard on May 09, 2014, 03:12:34 PM
Yeah, and without spending time looking at a diff, I have no idea what was changed by whom and when.  I'll ask LazyWizard when I get a chance, probably it's something pretty simple.

Yeah, fairly simple. It's these (https://bitbucket.org/LazyWizard/combat-radar/commits/d004364964108f042c8d4047c0ab820597f93f10) two (https://bitbucket.org/LazyWizard/combat-radar/commits/441c9f4753a30c7eb5e0a71640569d2662252543) commits, and the latter is a single-line change. There's also two new entries in the radar settings json: an "onlyShowVisibleContacts" boolean that filters out enemies that aren't within fog of war, and a "showMissileLockIcon" boolean that doesn't do anything yet (but is still required).
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 21) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on May 09, 2014, 03:46:54 PM
Quote
Thought I would add some strange game play feedback I've seen now I've spent some time with this great big new build...
On the carriers (and civilian ships, for that matter) it's a bit of a quandary; I'm trying to avoid them always attempting to escape from players, but they need to be somewhere fairly safe, so that they don't get taken out right away.  The "back of the map" approach is a pretty artificial way to get it done, though, I agree, especially on the bigger maps.

One thought is to make the AI retreat if that and fighters are all they have left in their inventories, and re-write the conditions when an Escape battle is triggered for the AI; on the other hand, Escape battles almost always go worse for the AI than simply fighting it out.  I'll test it a bit and see what I want to do with this, though; I agree that the current solution's pretty much a kludge but I didn't get to spend much time on that feature :)

On the capturing of points... essentially, the AI's going to try and follow orders even if it gets killed doing it, which, personally, I prefer; I think the real issue is that it's abusable, because the Admiral AI isn't focusing force well; the player can capture a point, let it go, then re-capture the point, and the AI will come back and try to cap it again even if that's not very smart.  That's a tricky thing to fix, frankly; probably the best solution is to have the AI select just one location to attempt to re-capture at a time and focus its attention on it, but I've had some fairly serious problems getting orders to do specific things work, so right now it's just using the automated system.  I want to spend some time looking at this issue this weekend if I can scrape up the time.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 21) (TC Mod)
Post by: dmaiski on May 09, 2014, 04:31:59 PM
cant you add a component to the ship AI to map the local threat level
(nothing complex, just get locations of neary ships (in angles), check class, cheack who they belong to, +1 if your team -1 if enemy)

+1 for frig
+2 for dest
+4 for cruiser
ect...

then use this map to determine ship movment, ie a "bravery" threshold, so if the map indicates that theres -31 points in direction 0deg and +40 in direction -55deg, even if [target objective] is in direction 0deg, ship will travel in direction [(0 + -55)/2 = deg]

basicaly forcing ships to bunch up at the ship AI level

ofcource have tresholds for ignoring the map, or fuge factors if ship class>map level


also you could add another similar function to make unassigned ships automaticaly guard/support ships with definite asignments
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 21) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on May 09, 2014, 04:37:18 PM
Well, basically, I'd like to implement a simple threat map approach, but I've had issues getting Admiral AI --> Ship AI working properly.  I still need to explore those issues and figure out what's been causing the issues first; I have a working theory that I'm going to test out tonight... if that works, then I can proceed with doing a threat-map approach, where the battlefields are divided up into a number of zones, and the AI would generally not attempt to Capture points that are "hot", but would attempt to attack in force if it detects your Carriers, would try to move Carriers / Civilian ships where it's "cold", etc.  Baby steps, though; I need to figure out the core issues first.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 21) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on May 09, 2014, 07:14:20 PM
Good news:  I can get the Admiral AI to do what I need it to.  I.E., give real, real specific "go here and kill this thing" orders and whatnot.  So yay, I can make it "smarter" :)

Bad news:  it'll take a little bit longer than I'd like, because of how I need to do it. 

But not too bad, really; I just need to set up a hashmap and a couple of other things that are fresh concepts after building the ShipThreatPlugin code, I think.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 21) (TC Mod)
Post by: Richyread on May 10, 2014, 02:37:05 AM
If there's anything I can do to help...

play-test something...virtual cup of tea...encouraging picture of a baby...

Spoiler
(http://s22.postimg.org/r4ah6h2kh/hey_you_can_do_it.jpg)
[close]

Then let me know  ;D

Richy
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 21) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on May 11, 2014, 03:49:26 PM
Ahhhh, no, not the baby!  Anything but that, lol.

Got the basics of the "go here and kill this thing / do this thing" set up; works correctly for the AI thus far.  Haven't had any free time this weekend to mess with it further, but maybe tonight I'll get a bit further with it, if I don't distract myself working on the boss ship thing :)
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 21) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on May 12, 2014, 12:02:18 AM
OK, Admiral AI can now declare a target ship for a given ship to assassinate, follow, or whatever (what it does being entirely contextual), or a fixed destination.  So, other than it not being "smart", it works.  Now I just need to make it "smarter", which is probably doable.  Anyhow, I haven't gotten done converting all of the AIs over to the new code yet, so it'll probably be another day or two before another build comes out to provide some feedback / bug hunts.  I think the concept's basically solid, though.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 21) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on May 13, 2014, 10:16:37 PM
Stuff made with a neato Open Source tool (https://www.arrall.com/part2art/) (credits to Skorpio for the base sprites, me for pixel-art stuff):

(http://www.wolfegames.com/TA_Section/pj_deathwing.png)(http://www.wolfegames.com/TA_Section/pirate_bandito.png)(http://www.wolfegames.com/TA_Section/tritachyon_undine.png)(http://www.wolfegames.com/TA_Section/pj_slinger.png)

But first, must finish Admiral AI and then... the Boss (dun dun dun).  But I just had to make some art this evening.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 21) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on May 14, 2014, 01:38:35 PM
The Punk Junkers get a new ship, the Ballista, to go along with the Slinger missile frigate.  The ship it's based on, above, will probably go Hegemony... unless some better idea strikes my fancy.
(http://www.wolfegames.com/TA_Section/pj_ballista.png)(http://www.wolfegames.com/TA_Section/pj_slinger.png)
As usual, much thanks to Thule for letting me abuse his original concepts :)

Tri-Tachyon gets the Stormcrow, a high-tech heavy destroyer / light cruiser that will have some nasty system to make up for its largely built-in weaponry, to go with the Undine heavy frigate:
(http://www.wolfegames.com/TA_Section/tritachyon_stormcrow.png)(http://www.wolfegames.com/TA_Section/tritachyon_undine.png)

So I'm thinking at least one more Pirate, simply because I like pirates... or... huh... I could finally finish the Gaians.  After the Admiral AI and the Boss, but before adding these guys in.  It really is past time for them to be a working Thing.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 21) (TC Mod)
Post by: dmaiski on May 14, 2014, 03:45:53 PM
i have just had a weird game... 3 warthogs have just sucsessfully tanked the entire ammo suply of a conquest with vanilla gun setups :P


also bugs!

this battle:
Spoiler
(http://i.imgur.com/uSX66xY.png?1)
[close]
ends exactly 1 second after it starts
(with no the killing/capturing of the noobs!!!)
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 21) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on May 14, 2014, 04:17:09 PM
Yeah, the Warthog gets kind of ridiculous when it has enough armor. 

That, and the stock Conquest is highly ammo-dependent; it's great until the Needlers stop, and then, well, it's dead.  I've buffed the ammo counts on the Needlers many times now, and it's never enough, lol. 

I keep wanting to mess with its weapons to make it nastier and then I'm like, "no, that might make the Independents really nasty", since Conquests are a genuine threat if they're set up correctly.  I'll think about it for the next build though :)

On the bug... yeah, that's a fleet where everybody is Mothballed; they shouldn't want to attack, but only flee.  I'll look into that; probably a straightforward bug to fix.

Also, got most of the issues with building a working Admiral AI that can give individual orders and suchlike worked out.  Found a bug in the Sniper AI that I need to kill; they're corner-hugging to a ridiculous extent atm.

Also need to take a long, hard look at the groups players face when trying to Tech Mine; the difficulty is all over the place, lol.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 21) (TC Mod)
Post by: dmaiski on May 14, 2014, 04:23:24 PM
no they are fleeing verry sucsessfully (im attacking)

too sucsessfully imo... since my ships just manage to warp in right as they all sucsessfully retreat (1 sec into the battle)
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 21) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on May 14, 2014, 04:32:05 PM
They're not even deploying. 

The message you posted said exactly what the bug was. 

In the FleetInteractionDialogPlugin code, I was testing for whether the player's fleet was significantly bigger, in FP, than the AI fleet; if yes, then the AI attempts to flee an engagement it will surely lose.

Only problem is, I wasn't testing whether the AI fleet members were Mothballed or otherwise un-deployable except for Escape scenarios (where they can be deployed regardless of their condition).  So, basically, that fleet thought it was "bigger" than your fleet, and tried to "attack"... that didn't work out, so it tried to deploy stuff... that didn't work, because there was nothing to deploy... so combat ended, as a player victory.  It's just a silly edge-case thing I should have caught by now, frankly; I don't test vs. the Merchant Fleets very often, as they're pretty rare, and that's the only fleet type where this can happen at all.

Anyhow, that was easy to find / fix, but I need to finish up work on the Admiral AI for the Escape scenario before it's going to work well.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 21) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on May 14, 2014, 05:17:13 PM
I think that's fixed, need to test a bit more first but I'm fairly certain.

Also got point capture mechanics working, I think.  So the only major mechanic left for the new Admiral AI is retreating / running away via Escape; I'll try to get that knocked out quickly and get a new build out, so that I can concentrate on the Boss :)
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 21) (TC Mod)
Post by: Ranakastrasz on May 14, 2014, 07:32:26 PM
One thing I really like in vacuum over other mods, is that every ship, in my experience, has a useful, personally useful system. Ships dont just have a simple flare launcher, they tend to have useful things like ammunition feeders, or burn drives, or drones.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 21) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on May 14, 2014, 08:08:12 PM
Well, if it was useless, why would anybody bother mounting it on a ship?

The flares are a bit of a bummer, though; I like the idea behind them but the Vanilla ones were pretty intensive, CPU-wise. 

Come to think, though, there are some low-lag ways to do them... perhaps I should bring them back at some point.  I doubt it, though; other than nukes, missiles are secondary concerns in the mod and probably it'll remain that way.

Anyhow, fixed the Sniper AI again, fixed a bug in the High Energy Focus AI (this is what happens when you try to optimize a bunch of stuff over a two-hour period and don't test thoroughly, lol) and the Admiral AI is successfully doing things like capturing points and all that; it's still not very "smart" but it's not terribly useless now, and the carriers are hiding in more interesting places and all that.  Still need to fix the Escape version, but it's all basically working like it should now.  I'll get that done and then it's probably time to release it and make sure there aren't any other bugs while I get the Boss done :)
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 21) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on May 14, 2014, 08:56:51 PM
OK, Escape AI is, I think, going to work.

Kind of tempted to go ahead and include the new wage mechanics and immortal-ships concepts right now; might as well see how people like 'em.  Let's see if the Escape AI works OK first, though.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 21) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on May 14, 2014, 09:32:48 PM
Escape AI appears to work, wage mechanics are in... now to deal with immortal fleets and do a little more balancing on costs.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 21) (TC Mod)
Post by: Richyread on May 15, 2014, 06:48:47 AM
.... I'll get that done and then it's probably time to release it and make sure there aren't any other bugs while I get the Boss done :)

Spoiler
(http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-osua1BFCLl8/T0QucUSkm_I/AAAAAAAAIoo/fgDJIFg7tcM/s1600/funny-pictures-this-fish-is-holding-his-breath.jpeg)
[close]

Richy ;p
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 21) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on May 15, 2014, 12:15:46 PM
OK, so for the final acts this week, huge game-design changes.  This stuff has been coming for a while; I feel like the overall combat balance is considerably better than where it was before the Great Fighter Rebal builds, so it's time to deal with player power-creep and make the late-game harder.

These changes are broken into a few parts, and probably for this next build, I won't have added a fancy explanation into the Newbie Guide yet, so if you're a regular Alpha-tester, please take the time to read this.


No More Free Lunch.

Players now owe their poor benighted Red Shirts some cash for the hard work they put in every day.  

Every week, players owe their crews wages, that will be deducted automatically from their accounts.

If they run out of funds, there will be penalties, as yet undetermined- either crew will abandon your fleets or I'll go ultra-harsh and let them mutiny and take a few of your ships with them.


Player fleets are (almost) immortal, and the way that CR works is changing fundamentally.

If the player doesn't lose every last ship in their fleet, they'll keep their ships, even if they've mainly been turned into radioactive cinders, and will be able to repair them for a price (expensive, but less than what the ship cost originally).  

They will not heal unless they're repaired, and they can only be repaired (if severely damaged) by putting them into "dry dock" at a Station, where the player will owe a big chunk of change to revive them.

Advantages?

1.  There are no huge changes in the uses of Supplies-per-day after combat to rebuild CR or repair ships.  Supply costs will be quite flat, other than the standard penalties for going over on Crew, storage, etc., which work.

This is something I already pretty much nerfed to oblivion in Vacuum; now it's gone entirely.

2,  Costs to repair physical damage to ships is untied from CR.  There's no "build up CR, then have another type of cost to actually repair the ships".  

I think this is appropriate; "readiness" represents doing the best one can with what one has available; it's makeshift repairs at best, or just checking that the guns are loaded at the worst.  In the real world, a lot of damage means a trip to the dry dock for extensive work; now that's going to be a factor in the game design.

3.  Everybody, no matter what their crew mix is, can have 100% CR.  However, the advantages of same are changing pretty dramatically (see the last bit below)... but the penalties remain.  This works entirely in the AI's favor; they're always going to have 100% CR.

Disadvantages?

1.  Supply consumption per day represents food and routine maintenance, and is a cost on top of paying wages; expect to have to carry around more Supplies (but they'll probably be cheaper).

2.  There will probably be a secondary resource that is used up for any physical repairs, if ships are damaged but not severely; not sure about that one yet and it probably won't make this build.

3.  Ships who aren't at 100% health will get automatically penalized at the start of combat, just like ships with low CR do.  


Crew Leveling is going away.  Welcome the four Horsemen of the... er, four types of Crew.

I realize most players of Vacuum have probably noticed that their Crew don't ever level up for some time now.  This was actually a goof on my part that turned into a feature; I didn't give out Crew experience for battles in my after-battle code, which you have to do, since that's not the same as character experience.  

But after playing it a bit, I decided that was a feature; having to buy all-Elites had a lot of appeal, in the sense that it slowed down power-creep a bit while otherwise being pretty harmless.

It made me think that I should replace all of the Crew leveling system with something else again.  

I've mulled that one over for well over a year now, and I've finally decided what I want to try out.

Crew will have four distinct types; each gives the player some advantages, which are determined at the start of combat:

1.  Gunners make your ships more shooty, by adjusting the dakkas, or something.  The higher the percentage of Gunners you have, the more damage your ships' weapons do.

2.  Pilots improve your ships' speed and handling.  Have a need for speed?  Improve your ratio of Pilots.  They may also influence strategic-map speeds.

3.  Flux Technicians will improve your ships' performance in a variety of situations- passive Flux drain, Venting speeds, and resistance to EMP and Neutron weapons (more on that later; basically, they're getting a semi-nerf).

4.  Engineers repair ships, both in combat and out of combat.  Without Engineers, you cannot repair anything but CR.  Engineers do a smallish amount of in-battle repairs, stacking on top of other bonuses.


This is, imho, a much more interesting presentation of crew; they actually have differentiation and there are good reasons to have different types... and, once it's balanced, it should be very interesting to play out.  Different Factions will get different ratios of the four types, depending on how they're geared; that gives me another balance tool to help make each Faction unique without giving the player a great way to be OP.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Anyhow... that is the plan.  The only part that isn't done is that the new Crew system is just a bare sketch, otherwise it's functional.  

Balanced?  No.  I've tried to keep it easy right now, but I'll probably get it wrong in various places and have to revamp later.  Player feedback on this stuff would be very, very helpful; I want to get this big part of the difficulty curve set up right.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 21) (TC Mod)
Post by: Ranakastrasz on May 15, 2014, 12:56:33 PM
I approve of these changes., but don't understand the crew system
Unless you have a custom distribution system, I can't think of how you will manage those crew types. Will they always be evenly distributed, or is there a way to give your speedboats speed boosts, and capital ships gunnery boosts?
Or, does it just evenly spread your crew composition across the whole fleet?
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 21) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on May 15, 2014, 01:04:15 PM
It evenly spreads across the whole fleet.  So if you want a super-shooty fleet, you'd have a high percentage of Gunners, for example.  I may make that work in more complicated ways later, like making the bonuses stack more heavily for some classes than others, but that's how it's going to work initially, to keep it simple :)
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 21) (TC Mod)
Post by: Draginea on May 15, 2014, 03:00:59 PM
You have changed the game so much that after development of Starsector is finished, you could probably release Vacuum as a sequel.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 21) (TC Mod)
Post by: Thule on May 15, 2014, 03:15:53 PM
Hi Xeno, might i ask where and how exactly your ingame boarding mechanics come to work. And maybe i should add, i only played the missions of your mod, not the campaign.
I guess in the campain? ;)
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 21) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on May 15, 2014, 04:44:05 PM
Actually, you can see them in the Missions; there are a couple that have Boarding Shuttles in them. 

But it mainly matters in the campaign; boarding is a one of the easiest ways to make a bunch of money :)

There's another boarding technology coming- the Transporter Ray- if I can ever get around to finishing it.  It didn't make the last major build, because I didn't feel it was polished enough yet, but it'll probably make it over the next month or so.

Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 21) (TC Mod)
Post by: Nanao-kun on May 15, 2014, 04:45:02 PM
Actually, you can see them in the Missions; there are a couple that have Boarding Shuttles in them. 

But it mainly matters in the campaign; boarding is a one of the easiest ways to make a bunch of money :)

There's another boarding technology coming- the Transporter Ray- if I can ever get around to finishing it.  It didn't make the last major build, because I didn't feel it was polished enough yet, but it'll probably make it over the next month or so.


Heh. Mook Beam.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 21) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on May 15, 2014, 04:56:56 PM
Well, that's better than the Mook Missiles- I really felt sorry for those guys in SPAZ, lol.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 21) (TC Mod)
Post by: Draginea on May 16, 2014, 04:55:29 PM
Bug: My capital ships that have things like mega beams and heavy plasma cannons will not fire them, ever. I have tested the ships, and they can all use those weapons with minimal flux impact.

Also, how on EARTH do you take a station? I cheated and gave myself infinite cash and a fully upgraded character. I bought about 50 wings of fighters and 7 capitals with good mods and weapons. I went into battle. At first everything went fine, but when i got close to the center everything i had died. Then i tried again, the same thing happened 6 times.

EDIT: I finally took my first station from Exigency. Finaly.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 21) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on May 16, 2014, 05:57:29 PM
Quote
My capital ships that have things like mega beams and heavy plasma cannons will not fire them, ever.
Odd.  Just the capitals?  And did you put their weapon slots on Autofire?

Quote
Also, how on EARTH do you take a station?
It can be done a variety of ways; rest assured that I tested that quite a lot.  With 7 capitals, I'm really surprised you're having serious problems, tbh, unless they just aren't configured right. 

Spoiler'd hints, if you're desperate:
Spoiler
My favorite setup for crushing stations when playtesting was an Onslaught with some shield-killers and a few Neutron Cannons (the small Neutron weapon), paired up with another Onslaught with three Neutron Blasters (the big 'uns) to kill it quickly.  The big stations are shieldless, so Neutrons are very effective (they're getting a nerf, I think, but I'm still not sure yet- I may mitigate them with a Hull Mod instead).

Other things I tested was using a Macuahuitl with Heavy Plasma Cannons; it's For the Blood God! System allows it to do terrifying levels of damage, since it stacks with Armor Analysis, and it can pour out storms of missiles at the same time.  I usually keep the missiles off Autofire and wait until I'm ready for massive alpha strikes, then Overload my opponents with the HPCs and dump a half-dozen nukes into them.  I don't know why that ship isn't terribly popular; maybe I need to do another pass on the art, since it was one of the first things I did- but despite looking weird, it's incredibly powerful if used correctly, and it has good stamina and reasonable speed if you use it as your flagship.

I backed that up with a Paragon shield-tank build and it usually worked pretty well; I kept the Paragon between me and enemy capitals and snuffed them out when my System was available.  The Paragon was equipped for very low Flux use, and it's main problem was ammo consumption.

The main thing with the station battles, though, is that you need to fight them tactically; just attempting a steamroller will usually fail.  Use your Command Points wisely... and it really helps to have a Repair Frigate or two, and enough Marines that you can launch a bunch of Boarding Shuttles to pick up dead enemy ships.  Put your carriers somewhere fairly safe- I usually give them an escort as well. I made over a million credits with captures on one such mission, simply by collecting a brace of dead Onslaughts.

The other thing that really matters, though, is which Faction you're fighting.  The balance is getting much better that way; each Faction requires slightly different tactics and weapons to get a good result.  The Glaug and Exigency are both easy to take out with Neutron weapons, at the high end... but that fails utterly vs. some of the other factions.  You need to adjust your tactics and loadouts to who you're fighting, for sure.  Some factions, you'll want to take a few stations and then destroy the fleets before trying to take the last stations- the AI fleets aren't endless, they just seem that way.
[close]
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 21) (TC Mod)
Post by: Draginea on May 16, 2014, 06:12:39 PM
The capitals are the only ships I have at the moment that can fit those types of weapons.

No I did not put those weapons on autofire.

Thanks for the tips, I tend to just go for massive alpha and tankyness on all my ships so it never occurred to me to use things that paired well. But I have not seen a Macuahuitl in a shop for quite a while, and I have never seen boarding shuttles in shops.

Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 21) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on May 16, 2014, 06:26:30 PM
You need to put it on Autofire, or the AI won't use it; it's a quirk of the AI I wrote that I haven't quite figured out a good fix for.  You'll only see Macuahuitls in Pirate shops, generally; ships are by factions.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 21) (TC Mod)
Post by: Richyread on May 17, 2014, 12:52:28 AM
Quote
...and enough Marines that you can launch a bunch of Boarding Shuttles to pick up dead enemy ships.  Put your carriers somewhere fairly safe- I usually give them an escort as well. I made over a million credits with captures on one such mission, simply by collecting a brace of dead Onslaughts.

Say wahhhh?? :o

Hmm where are these elusive 'Boarding Shuttles' you speak of?
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 21) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on May 17, 2014, 02:39:25 PM
The Pirates and Punk Junkers sell 'em.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 21) (TC Mod)
Post by: Ranakastrasz on May 17, 2014, 03:18:00 PM
The Gunnery Implant skill gives +3% damage to all ships, while the Weapon boost in the Combat tree is +2% to the pilot only. Not sure if that is intentional, seems wrong.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 21) (TC Mod)
Post by: Movementcat on May 18, 2014, 08:11:41 AM
Hello,

how do i install this mod i have Lazy Lip and i dont see anything in my Mod Screen.

Greetings

Move
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 21) (TC Mod)
Post by: Draginea on May 18, 2014, 08:19:50 AM
You do not need Lazylib for this mod, in fact it already has it installed so adding another version often messes things up. The mod not appearing is strange. Have you made a file named Vacuum in C:\Program Files (x86)\Fractal Softworks\Starsector\mods and extracted the contents of the download file there?
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 21) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on May 18, 2014, 01:31:42 PM
Quote
The Gunnery Implant skill gives +3% damage to all ships, while the Weapon boost in the Combat tree is +2% to the pilot only. Not sure if that is intentional, seems wrong.
That's meant to be that way; Weapon Specialization's level-10 perk makes up for less DPS.  Total DPS boost for high-level character is 150% just with those two buffs, but fleet DPS is more important in the long run... seems legit to me.

Was thinking I'd maybe adjust the Critical Hit system to give a bonus to players in the Weapon Specialization tree; that would be a sideways of giving them a buff sometimes.

Anyhow... got some initial work with the new lighting / shader stuff done today.  Still doing performance testing and all that, but I think I'm going to be able to improve performance a bit by reducing calls to the particle system for some things, which will be nice.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 21) (TC Mod)
Post by: Ranakastrasz on May 19, 2014, 09:40:51 AM
The Hull-durability boost mod gives +100% hull, but states it gives +200%. Most likely it was supposed to say it boosted your hull's health to 200% of normal.
There might be more issues like this, it is hard to tell.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 21) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on May 19, 2014, 12:37:35 PM
Yeah, that's a bug; it should just be 100%.  I'll take a look at that :)
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 21) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on May 19, 2014, 01:17:02 PM
Fixed; there are a few things in the character skills that still need to get worked on (for example, the chances of boarding a ship aren't affected by the top-end perk in that Leadership tree at all) but I'll get to that after the crew-type buffs are done.

Got about halfway through integrating with all of the lighting-system setup stuff yesterday. 

Performance is up a bit, due to somewhat-lower particle spam, and along the way I've done a bit of buff/nerf; for example, Light Mortars weren't worth installing because of their low ammo limits; that's been fixed up, and all of the "flak" type weapons are using some new code and SFX :)
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 21) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on May 19, 2014, 05:46:02 PM
The Glaug Devourer's been fixed up; it's no longer insta-death to shields.  That wasn't really meant to be how it worked, lol.

Still working on all of the lighting stuff.  This is a pretty lengthy process, mainly because I want it to be perfect-enough I don't have to touch it again, except when new weapons are added.  I can safely say, however, that the mod's going to look pretty good when it's all done, and performance is already up a bit, due to less particle spam and some speedups on few things like the flak guns.

I also fixed up the Autofire AI so that it's even faster, with a better check of circle intercepts vs. line tangents; SS core rendering is the largest eater of CPU.

Got the very first Gaian weapon done, meet the Spitter, an energy-based PD pew-pew gun:

(http://www.wolfegames.com/TA_Section/gaian_spitter_base.png)

I figure if I knock out a few of the Gaian weapons that were planned, I'm out of excuses and they will finally get finished, lol.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 21) (TC Mod)
Post by: Draginea on May 20, 2014, 04:58:38 PM
I have a request for the next build: Make the AI stop ramming whatever you have them escorting.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 21) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on May 20, 2014, 05:16:45 PM
That's kind of hard, it has to do with the way the collision-detection system works... but I'll see what I can do :)
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 21) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on May 20, 2014, 07:16:04 PM
Work with lights and other shader-related things continues. 

Reaper explosions are improved quite a lot:
(http://www.wolfegames.com/TA_Section/ss_nuke01.jpg)

There is quite a bit of that kind of stuff still to be done but the FX overhaul is coming along.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 21) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on May 20, 2014, 10:10:11 PM
I think the new CR / Crew system is working; there are some tests left to do.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 21) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on May 20, 2014, 10:54:01 PM
Yay, it's working, I think...

So now I need to re-organize how Fleet crew compositions get set and all that for the AI. 

I'm tempted to also allow a bonus for having more Crew than you actually need.  Instead of them being Supply-sucking useless mouths to feed... why not let them actually contribute?  Then the choices presented get even more interesting, imo; amongst other things, it'd make the Valkyrie actually valuable, for once. 

It's not entirely unrealistic, either; a "skeleton crew" is the bare minimum to run a ship at all IRL; it's not the ideal complement.  It'd be nice to simulate that a bit better.

I'll see about adding that factor in, fix the remaining bugs (I just introduced one, unfortunately) and then it's back to finishing up the current shader / light stuff.

Then the Boss.  This little side-jaunt has been useful; I finally know how I want the Boss to work, lol.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 21) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on May 21, 2014, 01:01:09 AM
I forget:  are the Irithia's torps shield-piercers or not, last build?  They are now:

(http://www.wolfegames.com/TA_Section/ss_nuke02.jpg)
Suprisingly, it doesn't exactly make them OP, merely not quite so outclassed; while a single player-piloted Irithia can take down an Onslaught or two with top character stats, you're not doing a bunch of them without running away, a lot.  I fixed a bunch of bugs related to catching / killing things that are cloaked or shield-piercing (effectively the same stuff) though.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 21) (TC Mod)
Post by: Richyread on May 21, 2014, 01:54:28 AM
..There is quite a bit of that kind of stuff still to be done but the FX overhaul is coming along.

I'd like to write some meaningful response but this image sums it up best....

Spoiler
(http://rambling-layman.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/Shocked.jpg)
[close]

 ;)
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 21) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on May 21, 2014, 02:43:34 AM
Well, it appears most of the bugs are (probably) out of the Crew system.  About the only major thing I want to do before release, other than finish the first-pass stuff on the lights / shader toys is to work on the balance of a Neutron Nullifier- a straight counter vs. Neutron stuff, since it's the Achilles Heel of a bunch of the Factions. 

Now that Armor Regeneration feels roughly balanced, I think it's appropriate to stick that in, as it's kind of a cheap kill on Stations and a few of the capital / cruiser ships.  It'll probably be expensive enough that it caps an Armor Regeneration build sans shields, but you won't be able to do both shield-tank and armor tank... but you'll get your Flux back.  Gotta think about that, but I think this is a better way to go than just straight nerfing the Neutrons; they should be something you have to counter but at a cost you're going to have to think twice about, imo.

Did some playtesting tonight, mainly just seeing the pretty lights and the performance (it's up again, rarely went below 30 FPS on my hardware). 

Tried pulling a Glaug Station with a Black Eagle and a few Cruisers and a carrier.  Uh, no.  Just no. 

It went fine at first... I blew away a few Stations, the fighters did their thing, all was well.  Then the Annihilators showed up and we just died, horribly screaming (well, OK, not horribly screaming, because I haven't put radio chatter in yet, but whatever).

This is how scary I always wanted the Glaug to be; they're great when they have enough buffs.

However, I need to fix them up in Tech-Mining encounters; I'm not sure what's wrong but it's probably a goofy Faction file. 

They need a carrier in the midrange size to meet in Asteroid / Tech Miner fleets, too; they get pwnd far more easily than they really should; that, and the Haunter, which has always sucked, still sucks, instead of being at least plausibly dangerous. 

They're pretty much a cakewalk until the very end, unfortunately, when suddenly they're very scary and I desperately want a capital ship or three, because Cruisers just don't cut it.

That, and they need custom Stations, but that's going to have to wait for more free time than I have this week.

Oh, and... anybody play with the Repair Frigate yet?  I am seriously thinking that I will let them repair Armor, too; that would make them end-game items you'll really want to have, to re-heal damaged Neutronium Plating, even to the point of farming Hegemony fleets to get them... well, until I give them to more than one faction, anyhow.  The AI doesn't use them terribly well, of course.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 21) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on May 21, 2014, 01:02:46 PM
Did a Glaug base today.  It can be done; had only two capships, lost one; I drove a maxed-out Paragon shield tank. 

It can even be done without using Neutrons, I think; enough bombers and the Glaug are probably defeatable.

Anyhow... I still have a little more lighting stuff to do, but I think the rest of it's working; the crew system is fun.  The Boss will be the main priority of the next release.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 21) (TC Mod)
Post by: Richyread on May 21, 2014, 02:24:09 PM
Really looking forward to playing through all these updates.

Can't wait to see how it pans out. :)

Richy.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 21) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on May 21, 2014, 08:08:33 PM
Hey, glad you're excited.  Heck, I'm excited; there are a bunch of new things in this build; amongst other things, the visuals are considerably improved and performance is up again and the new Crew system is a neat idea- perhaps a little rough around the edges still, but it's definitely feeling like the right direction :)

I'm going to wait on the Boss; I got sidetracked with the rest of this stuff and I would like to get this version out and make sure it's reasonably stable while I get the Boss mechanics set up, as that'll probably take another week or so :)
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 21) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on May 21, 2014, 10:58:06 PM
OK, the ship AIs are a little smarter about bumping into friendly stuff; we'll see how this works.

I also built a flux-management system for autofire AIs; they will manage the ship's Flux level as best as they can now; it's about as effective as human locking out control groups in a lot of cases.  IOW, expect ships with big flux problems to get better at handling the loads and considerably more dangerous because they aren't Overloading.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 21) (TC Mod)
Post by: joey4track on May 22, 2014, 03:28:31 PM
Am I correct in that there are no open  storage stations in this mod?
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 21) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on May 22, 2014, 04:33:50 PM
Why?  Running out of room to store captured ships?  I doubt that will be a problem for most players much longer, heh...

Anyhow, I keep wanting to add an option to access your storage from a Station, but it has been a pretty low priority.  I'll see about that when the lights / SFX stuff is finally done.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 21) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on May 22, 2014, 05:36:45 PM
OK, the lighting data-entry stuff is mainly done.  Need to test a bunch of stuff first, but it's about ready.  Will see about adding Storage access here in a bit.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 21) (TC Mod)
Post by: joey4track on May 22, 2014, 09:00:06 PM
I'm confused.. Where can I store my excess ships and weapons? I have built multiple stations but I can only buy and sell from them and I can't store anything there  ???
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 21) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on May 23, 2014, 12:44:31 AM
You can't, right now.  For various reasons, that feature was disabled in this alpha series really early on; it's not like Vanilla, where you really need to store much, though.  That said, I'll add that back in via a menu option at any Station you visit for this next build; I think everything else is now done, so I'll try to get that knocked out tomorrow if I have time :)
Title: ALPHA Build 22 Released!
Post by: xenoargh on May 23, 2014, 03:27:28 PM
Alpha 22 is now complete.  

Much thanks to Dark.Revenant for all of the kindly assistance on doing early integration of ShaderLib :)

Warning:  this build requires a restart, period.

Features:
1.  Full integration with lights and other shader effects from Dark.Revenant's ShaderLib and a bunch of SFX tweaks.
2.  Players may now access a storage facility from any friendly / neutral location.
3.  Crew leveling mechanic has been replaced with a Crew competency mechanic.  Different types of Crew give different bonuses to player fleets.
4.  Crew must now be paid, every week.  It's set to be pretty easy at the moment; expect it to get harder later.
5.  Some new weapons have been added, such as the Laser Saw, which is awesome.
6.  Smarter, nastier Admiral AI for the enemy.
7.  Smarter use of Flux-based weapons by the Autofire AIs.
8.  A bunch of other little stuff I can't be bothered to mention :)

Fixes:
1.  All reported bugs are fixed.
2.  Some underlying bugs having to do with projectile detection have been fixed.
3.  Speedups for a few things.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 22) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on May 23, 2014, 04:21:27 PM
...and Alpha 23.  I think I set a new record for patching after release here :)

Fixes:
1. Admiral AI will now work properly in Escape scenarios.
2. Random dead spacecraft do not show up unless battles are big enough (I got a free Paragon while flying my first Frigate, pretty sure that's not a feature, lol).
3.  Asteroids show up in battles again, like they should.

None of this should require a restart.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 23) (TC Mod)
Post by: OhNoesBunnies on May 23, 2014, 04:46:06 PM
Fatal: JSONObject["enemyMissileColor"] not found.

I'm getting errors like this every time I try to start up the mod--any requirements I should know about?
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 23) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on May 23, 2014, 05:06:16 PM
You should not be running any utility mods with this mod; it has Combat Radar and ShaderLib already installed :)  I'll make a note for that on the install page.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 23) (TC Mod)
Post by: Ranakastrasz on May 23, 2014, 06:23:19 PM
Combat Attribute still boosts combat readiness Cap, which is now irrelevant. Not a huge deal, but probably should replace or remove that.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 23) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on May 23, 2014, 06:54:12 PM
Yeah, that and the repair thing all need to get fixed; I also need to explain to players that their fleets are immortal so they should feel free to use up ships, adjust crew levels again so that big fleets of small ships are more attractive, etc., etc.- I'll try to get that stuff done during the next build while I get the Boss stuff done :)
Title: ALPHA build 24 released
Post by: xenoargh on May 23, 2014, 07:00:21 PM
Alpha 24 has been released. 

Updates ShaderLib to build 1.22. 

No restart required.
Title: Alpha 25 released
Post by: xenoargh on May 23, 2014, 08:00:35 PM
Updated ShaderLib to 1.23; updated the Newbie Guide.
Title: Alpha 26 Released
Post by: xenoargh on May 23, 2014, 08:49:48 PM
Four releases today? Why not?

Fixes / Improves:
1. Combat Aptitude skill corrected.
2. Field Repairs is actually useful now (repairs ships 0.01% / second * level while in combat, or 1%/second at level 10).
3. ECCM Hull Mod is buffed / fixed (missile maneuverability + 50%, damage + 25%).
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 26) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on May 23, 2014, 09:01:56 PM
OK, that pretty much addresses the Aptitude / Skill Tree bugs / useless skills... other than the Marine effectiveness perk, which I keep dithering about. 

I think that's going to get cut, but I still need to build the regenerating Command Points thing to finally replace the flat-cap CP system.

I don't suppose folks have had time to really play it much, yet, but if there are things that need fixing right away, feel free to holler.  I tested the Storage thing a bit, and it appears to be OK; that was surprisingly hard to get working nicely, right now switching Dialog contexts isn't terribly clean.

I probably won't get much done until Tuesday, though, other than messing with early Boss mechanics stuff a bit more tonight.
Title: Alpha 27 Released
Post by: xenoargh on May 24, 2014, 01:50:10 AM
Alpha 27 has been released.

Fixes / Changes:
1. Refactored the "immortal fleet" code to be a bit less spaghetti-code and easier to maintain, match the Newbie Guide description and I fixed a couple of bugs found with edge-case stuff.
2. Fixed some text descriptions.

Neither change should require a restart.

Now that I've played with the "immortal fleet" option working... I think it's fun, and it definitely discourages save-scumming and makes Iron Mode a lot less about tediously avoiding any losses, ever.  I do think I need to revisit how many Crew each class of ship needs to be functional as I get that part of the balance tightened up; it's still too cheap (imo, anyhow) to afford big fleets of big ships; I had a half-million credits after a couple of hours, same as Vanilla- the only good part about it was that I could spend it on something useful.  

But I definitely think that I'd rather see people building bigger fleets of smaller stuff because it works better economically, because the results are cooler and more satisfying (again, imo), in terms of having a spectacular battle; it's a lot more emotionally satisfying to be able to fight a huge battle and take losses.  

I also think that it's important to price fighter wings in terms of crew rather than initial price; IRL, the price of a fighter wing is all the money that goes into keeping the finicky beasts running and the huge amount it costs to train new pilots, and that probably needs to get reflected in the way this works; a Wing might be cheap on DPs compared to, say, a Destroyer, but expensive on Crew and thus more costly over time.

I also think Making Do is vastly OP in that context, and I'm thinking it needs to become a minor capstone buff, especially now that the tree it's in is inherently useful, instead of something you might drop a point or two into in late-game.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 27) (TC Mod)
Post by: NightfallGemini on May 24, 2014, 03:32:00 AM
What's an effective starting fleet style? In the old version, I tried the old school frigate 'wolf pack' and it worked for the most part, but this time I tried fighter wings and it felt more like something to convert to late game rather than something to roll with early on. With the new crew system it's a very fragile balance to strike, and I like having things just perfect when I start out. Any pointers?
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 27) (TC Mod)
Post by: Wazubaba on May 24, 2014, 09:51:52 AM
I found a very small bug that will keep the mod from working on linux: graphics/shaders/distortions/ripple/0001.png should have .PNG instead.
On linux file-names are case-sensitive  ;D
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 27) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on May 24, 2014, 01:04:39 PM
Thanks for the heads-up, I'll fix that.  Technically, that's an issue with ShaderLib, file a bug report.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 27) (TC Mod)
Post by: Namelessjake on May 24, 2014, 03:46:29 PM
When running Vacuum I can't see the ships in other fleets, just the burn of their engines. Also they don't appear when I mouse over the fleet. Is this meant to happen and if not how do I fix it?
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 27) (TC Mod)
Post by: Nanao-kun on May 24, 2014, 04:57:23 PM
When running Vacuum I can't see the ships in other fleets, just the burn of their engines. Also they don't appear when I mouse over the fleet. Is this meant to happen and if not how do I fix it?
It's a feature.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 27) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on May 24, 2014, 07:55:26 PM
Yeah, it's meant to be a bit of a mystery what's in a given fleet until you take it on; that said, the margin of mystery is pretty low atm, I've been considering writing a procedural system for this instead of the DP-based Vanilla one :)
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 27) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on May 25, 2014, 10:11:39 PM
Was trying out some new techniques tonight exploring some techniques for generating big sprites more quickly.  I didn't do any huge ships, but it was productive and I think I found a way forward.

Anyhow, here's the Rockhopper; it kind of resulted along the way :)
(http://www.wolfegames.com/TA_Section/independent_rockhopper.png)
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 27) (TC Mod)
Post by: silentstormpt on May 26, 2014, 10:14:41 AM
xenoargh can we use the thruster code you got in the Vacuum (and probably change it but to more complex animations) with proper credits ofc?
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 27) (TC Mod)
Post by: joey4track on May 26, 2014, 03:03:50 PM
Just got the BSOD as soon as I exited the game after a long session. Not sure what could have caused it. At first I thought my pc may have overheated but then when I tried to load my game, it turned out my save was corrupted  :'(
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 27) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on May 26, 2014, 08:38:48 PM
Were you running Iron Mode?

I'll take a look at memory issues and make sure I haven't introduced anything that's causing a leak, but I doubt if it's something I can control; there are some known memory leaks in SS atm having to do with the main menu IIRC but I doubt if that's a factor.  More likely than not, your machine overheated while trying to process the save game and stuff got corrupted.  I'll make sure it's not something I've borked, though :)

@Silentstormprt:  Sure, go for it :)
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 27) (TC Mod)
Post by: Ranakastrasz on May 27, 2014, 02:19:45 PM
I have the same issue with persistant fighter wings. I wonder if it has to do with ship immortality applying to fighters without carriers.

Also, I think the in-game text should reflect that, even though your ship is vaporized, you still have the DRM codes required to replicate a new one. It is expensive but you retain the rights.

Repair gantry, in the current build, is useless. Currently you don't regain any CR whatsoever unless you use a starbase. If it were to function, potentially using significantly more than 5 OP, then it could be highly useful.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 27) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on May 27, 2014, 05:02:53 PM
I'll take a look at that; it shouldn't effect fighters that way, though.  I'll change the text to reflect that, if I can.

Same with the Gantry; it used to be semi-plausibly useful; it's not atm, I agree- I overlooked it when I fixed the other stuff.  

If it merely repaired stuff that was destroyed at a decent clip, let alone repairing CR, it'd be useful.  Will get that done.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 27) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on May 27, 2014, 08:03:33 PM
Heads up on the next update:  the Gaians are going to be the priority for the next build, replacing the aging, bit-rotten Exigency content. 

If you're a big fan of Exigency, don't worry, Meso's Vanilla version is staying around, with all of the game code I wrote for it; it just won't be here in Vacuum, where it hasn't really stayed up-to-date vs. the other factions, lacked enough ship variety to feel like a real faction and just never really fit well in general.  I really appreciated the content back in the early days of the mod, when there was a lot less Stuff, but at this point it's probably best for both projects that it goes its own way :)

If you're a big fan of the Repulsor System, Freeze Ray, Repulsor Beam or the shield-penetrating weapons, don't panic.  All of that will stay in the mod, albeit with new art :)

I'll explain a bit more about the Gaians' lore and all that as I get closer to completion- they're pretty cool and they have a good back-story, not that the mod is really about back-story fluff atm, but I know people like fluff.  I have had several of their ships more-or-less ready for ages, and more sprites, but I just never found the time to quite get them done.  Now I'll make the time.

Due to the need to replace the Exigency stuff ASAP, the Boss will probably need to wait a little bit longer, but it's just second on my list.  The Gaians will be rough-balanced and put into the mod as soon as it's practical; I'll worry about final balance for them once the Boss is done and I've had time to get commentary from players :)

This also means that the next build will require a restart, as a whole new Faction ++ removing an existing Faction will tend to break things all over.  So enjoy it while it lasts :)
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 27) (TC Mod)
Post by: Ranakastrasz on May 27, 2014, 08:48:08 PM
Have a problem where trying to retreat from a station capture attempt results in a dead-locked game. Or else it takes more than 5 minutes to return to the map.

Also I would like a confirmation for a station take-over attempt. I keep hitting it by accident.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 27) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on May 27, 2014, 09:05:26 PM
I'll take a look at that as soon as I've gotten everything stable this evening- I don't think I ever tested that and I'm not sure why it would do that- perhaps it's not giving the AI victory if there are still player Drones on the battlefield or something whacky like that.  Definitely will add a confirmation, no problem. 

Got the Repair Gantry issues fixed up already, it's useful again :)
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 27) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on May 28, 2014, 12:02:31 AM
New Lightning Gun graphics and some tweaks to the code:
(http://www.wolfegames.com/TA_Section/ss_new_lightning_gun.jpg)
Big thanks to HELMUT for the base sprite, which needed very little change to fit the bill :)
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 27) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on May 28, 2014, 02:32:23 AM
OK, the Exigency content is replaced / removed and I think things are stable again; time to move forward :)

Didn't get much done to get the Gaians set up, yet, but I'll get to that over the next couple of days; most of their art has been done for a while, they mainly just need to have ships set up, Systems developed and all that.  Not a big deal, other than System design.


About the Gaians:

Culture and Attitude

Basically, the Gaians are all about protecting Nature from the ravages of Mankind. 

Imagine a whole Faction of 12-year-old girls who have just discovered seal-clubbing, strip-mining, manatee disemboweling and the process of growing veal... and they've been taught that machineguns and plasma-spitting death machines are Darwin's Way to bring things back into balance. 

The Gaians are all female and reproduce via cloning techniques and they don't associate with Men or factions led by Men, because Men are seal-clubbing, strip-mining, manatee-disembowling, veal-eating evil people

I don't have an easy way to catch whether you're playing a male or a female character yet via code, but when I do, I guarantee that the Gaians are a lot harder to befriend if you're male.

Faction Relationships

Naturally, the Gaians are very unhappy with most of the other Factions, because they feel they're not in touch with Nature properly and reproduce the old-fashioned way.  I'm not sure who they'd ally with; perhaps the Glaug?

Objectives and Gameplay Considerations

Unfortunately, the Gaians are a little confused about how things worked, back when the Sector was in the Domain, and the process of cloning has warped their culture a little over time. 

They worship the great god Recyclerbot, whose DRM is sacred, and their goal is to increase Recyclerbot's mana by giving the god all of the heathen planets to clean up

Given that Recyclerbots are 1000-ton track-driven vehicles that were originally designed to roam around a toxic waste dump and reduce all of the contents to their constituent atoms or clean, stable oxides... well, let's just say that there isn't much left of Man's presence after the Gaians take over a planet. 

I may even simulate that, by making it impossible to build new Stations over planets they've built Stations on.  Ever.  Again.

Luckily for everybody else in the Sector, it's taken this Faction a couple of centuries to go from being an obscure splinter cult to a major problem, and they're so prickly and hard to deal with that they've made many more enemies than friends. 

Unluckily, their cloning technology has been causing their culture to grow almost exponentially.

Core Gameplay Concept

Instead of being ultra-violent, the Gaians are into various forms of jiujitsu. 

For example, they'll drain opponents' Flux to power their own weapons, "eat" their attacks to provide powerful burst attacks that affect wide areas, use sneaky teleportation techniques and disable their opponents' weapons and engines so that they can take you out at their leisure.

That is roughly their lore and the plan for gameplay, in a nutshell.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

This first release, don't expect amazing things from the Gaians. 

I think it's best to get them functional so that they're a Thing now, then worry about making them clever and balanced later, when the Boss is done.  The Boss is kind of important; it will really change the way late-game works and provide a way to drive play forward, rather than the somewhat dull grind it is now.  That, and help give all the kill-happy madness that is Vacuum a bit of context.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

How's the wages system, crew system, etc., working for everybody?  I didn't have much problem affording an uber-fleet, last run; shall I crank up wages costs for all but Easy Mode so that the hardcore need to work a lot harder to stay afloat once they get to that stage of play? 

For that matter, what does everybody think about cranking up the diplomatic negatives of typical actions, if one is playing in hard mode, so that things are considerably more difficult in late game?
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 27) (TC Mod)
Post by: MesoTroniK on May 28, 2014, 02:48:39 AM
Quote
They worship the great god Recyclerbot, whose DRM is sacred, and their goal is to increase Recyclerbot's mana by giving the god all of the heathen planets to clean up

Given that Recyclerbots are 1000-ton track-driven vehicles that were originally designed to roam around a toxic waste dump and reduce all of the contents to their constituent atoms or clean, stable oxides... well, let's just say that there isn't much left of Man's presence after the Gaians take over a planet.

Heh, everyone loves giant land ships.

Spoiler
(http://fc08.deviantart.net/fs70/f/2010/323/e/4/bolo___we_are_already_in_hell_by_shimmering_sword-d336pwn.jpg)
[close]

Quote
For example, they'll drain opponents' Flux to power their own weapons, "eat" their attacks to provide powerful burst attacks that affect wide areas, use sneaky teleportation techniques and disable their opponents' weapons and engines so that they can take you out at their leisure.

That sounds... deliciously evil :)
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 27) (TC Mod)
Post by: HELMUT on May 28, 2014, 04:10:47 AM
Heh, everyone loves giant land ships.

Spoiler
(http://fc08.deviantart.net/fs70/f/2010/323/e/4/bolo___we_are_already_in_hell_by_shimmering_sword-d336pwn.jpg)
[close]

Eh, make me want a GroundSector total conversion, i wonder if i could sprite some Hegemony tanks...

Also, in the grimdarkness of the far future, there is only Greenpeace's space lolis. Very curious about this idea of draining the opponent flux to power their weapons, not sure draining that Paragon hardflux is going to be a very good idea in battle...
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 27) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on May 28, 2014, 10:30:46 AM
Quote
Eh, make me want a GroundSector total conversion, i wonder if i could sprite some Hegemony tanks...
I made some code in that direction, but, short of Alex spending a lot of time with me on engine issues, I don't think it can be done at a reasonable level of polish.  I really would like to do a Car Wars-like game with this engine, I had most of the issues of mixing up movement types figured out, other than developing a pathfinder... but we're basically talking about a different game at that point, not just a mod.

Quote
Also, in the grimdarkness of the far future, there is only Greenpeace's space lolis.
Heh.

Quote
Very curious about this idea of draining the opponent flux to power their weapons, not sure draining that Paragon hardflux is going to be a very good idea in battle...
Well, look at it this way; if they have weapons that need lots of Flux to operate, to do horrible, horrible things to the unbelievers... they gotta get the Flux somehow, amirite? 

That, and think of their potential as shield-tanks; they'll be like the Monitor (well, this version) only they have to be aggressive to flux-tank.  I think it'll work out.

All that said, I haven't written any of it yet, let alone tried to rough-balance it, so it's all subject to sudden, arbitrary changes. 

They might not even be Space Lolis; perhaps they're really a cult of cyborg Elvis impersonators who went crazy after the Domain fell apart and the Space Lolis are their android puppets, using their devastating anime leaps to, er, leap on things ;)
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 27) (TC Mod)
Post by: Ranakastrasz on May 28, 2014, 01:20:44 PM
Had an issue with a retreat mission.

The enemy team somehow deployed a slow capital ship at the top of the map. Also, my boarding wing continuously stopped moving, moved backwards while venting, then went back to retreating.

Also, they then got stuck on top of the map, bouncing off of it. Hence I got deadlocked again.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 27) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on May 28, 2014, 01:30:46 PM
Great.  None of that's supposed to be happening; they should activate their Travel Drives and be able to leave.  Will look at this asap.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 27) (TC Mod)
Post by: Ranakastrasz on May 28, 2014, 05:17:37 PM
Attempted a normal retreat. Everything left, except for my command shuttle. Which was trying to board a ship already retreated, and was bouncing off the bottom. Gah, this is getting silly.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 27) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on May 29, 2014, 08:27:16 AM
Yup, it's pretty badly borked atm; the issues where stuff teleports suddenly off the battlefield, for example, is driving me crazy.  Will spend some time fixing those issues when I have some time tonight :)
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 27) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on May 29, 2014, 10:34:38 AM
Got it fixed, other than any remaining AI issues (which I will double-check) thanks to a tip from Alex :)
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 27) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on May 29, 2014, 08:16:30 PM
OK, all of the Retreat bugs are fixed, I think. 

So are all of the bugs related to the combat border, the Shuttle, giving ships Retreat orders, bringing in reinforcements, etc.  I think they're all resolved.  Still testing; I will be thorough. 

Anything else major going on that I should fix before I get back to doing all the fun data-entry for the Gaians and testing the faction generation stuff to make sure they're working right?
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 27) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on May 30, 2014, 01:25:07 PM
Will probably have time to hack out the initial offerings of the Gaians tonight, in terms of ships.  The only ship types they don't really have right now is some sort of high-end capital vessel and they don't have any fighters yet. 

The Gaians are unusually balanced towards forward-firing stuff, which ought to make them interesting to fight against :)

They've got frigates, destroyers, and a bunch of neat Cruisers.

Weapons and systems are the next stage after that.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 27) (TC Mod)
Post by: testitalltheway on May 30, 2014, 06:54:04 PM
Hi...
I just played your mod for hour and really loved it,

but i found some problem which made me frustrated.

1. i get into battle and all my ships is desteroyed,
after leaving the battle, the auto repair just wont work and if i want to repair my ships at station its so oh my god expensive,
i had 3 early start frigate and its  took about 10.000 unit supplies to repair them, is it normal or...?

2. also after all my 3 ship, the fleet screen always say that my ships is undercrew, i try to mothball 1 of my ships, still undercrew, mothball another one, and it just wont change, soo... what do i have to do then?

sorry for my bad english,
and im new to all this mod things.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 27) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on May 30, 2014, 07:04:53 PM
Quote
1. i get into battle and all my ships is desteroyed,
after leaving the battle, the auto repair just wont work and if i want to repair my ships at station its so oh my god expensive,
i had 3 early start frigate and its  took about 10.000 unit supplies to repair them, is it normal or...?
If your ships get destroyed, it's going to be expensive to repair them, but less expensive than replacing them entirely.  That's normal.  That said, the repair-over-time feature is coming back, in a modified way, in the next build of the mod.  For now, you can only repair at Stations, so be sure to Retreat if you're in trouble :)

Quote
also after all my 3 ship, the fleet screen always say that my ships is undercrew, i try to mothball 1 of my ships, still undercrew, mothball another one, and it just wont change, soo... what do i have to do then?
This is a weird bug / issue with the Fleet screen; if you repair all your ships or change their loadouts in the Refit room, it'll go away.  I'll add that to the things to look at for the next build, though; not quite sure what causes that to happen and I'm fairly certain it doesn't actually lower the CR values for the ships even when it does, but it's confusing and will get fixed.

Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 27) (TC Mod)
Post by: testitalltheway on May 30, 2014, 08:35:28 PM
ah i see...

and about the undercrew,
yes, i think you are right, it doesn't affect the CR. my fleet move at full speed though...

its just the 'undercrew' sign confused me sometimes, whether it is or it is not...

and i'd like to say that i really like you mod, which is the only mod i found that give me achievement to get other than getting more and more ship but now i can fight to get my own station, love it man.

can't wait for the next update...
  :D
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 27) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on May 30, 2014, 09:25:36 PM
Progress on the Gaians:
(http://www.wolfegames.com/TA_Section/gaians_first_peek.jpg)
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 27) (TC Mod)
Post by: dmaiski on May 31, 2014, 05:50:10 PM
wooo laser saws!!!

must have MOAR LAZER SAWS!!!!
Spoiler
DEATH DISCO!!!
(http://i.imgur.com/vCxPpEB.png?1)
[close]
MUAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!

(a short time later)
why does my lazer saw no cut T.T WHY!!!!
Spoiler
(http://i.imgur.com/mJu8CTM.png?1)
[close]
SO SAD!!!
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 27) (TC Mod)
Post by: Ranakastrasz on May 31, 2014, 08:32:09 PM
Heh. Laser saws are awesome, but impractical from what I've seen. They are effectively a nova-type aoe weapon, and have their power diluted rapidly at distance. I was unable to killing anything more than talons with them, although they probably tear lesser missiles from the sky like nobody's business. The graphic is extremely distracting as well.

Extending the range on it is worthless, but energy pump gives it some more destructive power. Still, you can't really get it to kill anything of note, due to it's power being too diluted.

I personally prefer meltas. Either boosted range or damage, or damage plus range focus ability. Can light-saber fighters from the sky in most cases, and slice through moderate level ships. Despite the massive DPS for a laser weapon, it still can't tear through massive ships with reasonable armor, or small ships made entirely of armor.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 27) (TC Mod)
Post by: Draginea on May 31, 2014, 08:59:43 PM
Are you kidding? Melters with boosted damage can take down Onslaughts with only a few bursts.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 27) (TC Mod)
Post by: Ranakastrasz on June 01, 2014, 12:00:44 PM
Well, Killing a peragon seems to take around 20 or so blasts with a damage boosted melta. Not sure about an onslaught, since I cant safely get close.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 27) (TC Mod)
Post by: Draginea on June 01, 2014, 12:05:27 PM
To get close to one of those things just outfit a Lasher with some mods and melters. The Onslaught will stand no chance. :)
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 27) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on June 01, 2014, 02:05:07 PM
Yeah, the Melter's quite capable of tearing just about anything down.  Only thing that keeps it from being massively OP is the range band.

Anyhow... Laser Saw may or may not be buggy, in terms of contacts with some things; I'll look at that, after I take a look at the "not enough crew" bug.  Then back to Gaians.  Tried building a Gaian capship Friday night, but it was a disastrous noisy greeble mess; I will try again when all of the lesser ships are done-done.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 27) (TC Mod)
Post by: Ranakastrasz on June 01, 2014, 03:11:48 PM
Hmm. Not sure what mods to add to a lasher. but I cant seem to safely approach the Stock Onslaught in the simulator. Might work with support however. Rapidly builds up flux from the shield, don't think I can survive with pure armor.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 27) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on June 01, 2014, 03:42:17 PM
Usually you can do it if you take Neutronium and the Onslaught's distracted.  Melters are fun back-stab weapons; I've used a Hammerhead to cripple Conquest's engines for my "real" ships to tank to death before.

Not really practical in the sim, though, where the Onslaught will just turn it into a radioactive cinder and you can't really back-stab it.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 27) (TC Mod)
Post by: Draginea on June 01, 2014, 04:04:49 PM
In the sim the best small melter platform is most likely the Medusa, that thing is so insanely tanky.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 27) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on June 01, 2014, 05:31:18 PM
Yes, the Medusa's good for that, with it's sneaky System :)

Anyhow, working on the rest of the sprites; the Gaians are a functional Faction at this point, it's all down to finishing the content and doing some fun code.  I think I fixed the "not enough Crew" bug.  Will look at the Laser Saw code before I get too deep into Photoshop :)
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 27) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on June 01, 2014, 07:33:26 PM
OK, a couple of things with the Laser Saw are fixed; it'll register hits on ships a lot better.  

All that said, does it need an actual buff?  It's already quite deadly vs. missiles, especially if you put it on, say, a pack of Wolfs, Chirons, etc., where they can blanket the battlefield with lasers and multiply the effect via HEF overlap.  

Haven't tried that out, mind you, but I suspect that, with a couple of Odysseys covered the Laser Saws, no enemy missiles will ever reach a fleet.  Ever.  That, and all fighters will be struggling with Flux too much to be useful- against the Glaug, it should be devastatingly effective.  That actually sounds pretty fun ;)

<tests>

It's pretty ridiculous.  3 Odysseys is pretty overwhelming, when they're covered in Laser Saws; each one does very little, but when you have very little *15 * 3 (Beam buff, duh)... it starts seriously adding up.  It's also frightfully Flux-efficient.  I don't think they need a nerf, though; it's just an interesting strat on the high end.  It makes the Glaug very unhappy, though, lol.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 27) (TC Mod)
Post by: joey4track on June 01, 2014, 08:19:01 PM
Will there be any ways to influence diplomacy? I'm assuming right now the only way to make friends with a hostile faction is by constantly attacking it's enemies? I haven't actually spent much time trying that myself, is it possible to turn a faction favorable with this tactic?
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 27) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on June 01, 2014, 08:43:19 PM
Yes, and yes.  Eventually, diplomacy will matter, once there's a little more framework / context for the endless warfare between the factions; for now, your only way to make friends and influence people is by blowing up their enemies :)

Anyhow, I am taking a look at the particle-system slowdown issues tonight.  I did some profiling, and particle system events, largely those caused by missile deaths, are a major source of speed issues in huge fights.  Will be addressing this; I suspect I can claw back another 10+ FPS even in the worst-case scenarios by handling this a bit differently than Vanilla does :)

[EDIT]I put together the first, hacky version; if anything, I may be underestimating the speed impact.  Good lord.  I'm guessing that Vanilla does something procedural in regards to #particlesToBeGenerated upon missile death, correlating to health values; by intervening and using my system, I've seen huge speedups with the simplest case... will have to see what happens when this gets applied across the board.[/EDIT]
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 27) (TC Mod)
Post by: Ranakastrasz on June 01, 2014, 09:28:08 PM
Had an enemy fleet with all ships disabled. Engagements ended instantly, no capture type effect. Also, no retreat scenario .
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 27) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on June 01, 2014, 09:40:25 PM
IIRC, I caught that when I fixed the other post-battle bugs reported.  A fleet of 100% disabled ships shouldn't happen at all now.

I'm almost done with the particle-system speedups; I think I'll do some minor editing on the Gaians to get them semi-functional, and get another build out, as it addresses that and other serious bugs.
Title: Alpha 28 Released
Post by: xenoargh on June 02, 2014, 01:46:44 AM
Alpha 28 is now available. 

Warning:  this build requires a restart; no exceptions!

Removes Exigency. 

Adds very first build of the Gaians.  They're very basic / rough atm, and only have four ships implemented; they'll get a lot more interesting as the content gets done and their special weapons / System code is completed.

Fixes:

Various bugs pertaining to end-of-battle states.
Minor buggy behavior of Laser Saw.
"Not Enough Crew!" bug.

Improves:

Performance improvement for battles overall, due to changes in particle system calls.
Consolidates a few functions that were getting replicated in too many places, for a little less spaghetti-code.
Confirmation before attacking an enemy Station.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 28) (TC Mod)
Post by: testitalltheway on June 02, 2014, 08:47:21 AM
how about the auto-repair feature?
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 28) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on June 02, 2014, 10:24:10 AM
Oh, yeah!

Install Repair Gantries on ships, they repair 10% of CR / day atm :)
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 28) (TC Mod)
Post by: Ranakastrasz on June 02, 2014, 10:27:02 AM
Am happy about that change. Would ofc prefer it be diluted by ship count and tier, but isn't a huge deal.
~Seems to be +1%/day instead of +10%/day. Unless it is already diluted by ship count. Also doesn't work on fighters. Possibly requires a carrier in the fleet first.

On ships being disabled, and I think on destruction, they get the "extended deployment degradation" message.

Also, unless it was fixed, or is a local issue, a lot of weapon tooltips are truncated.
Some still refer to the old damage type, rather than their current. Assuming they don't have custom damage payloads anyhow.

Shield piercing, bypass, or conducted weapons (not sure how exactly those are set up or classified) seem a bit bizzare in mechanics.

Some seem to ignore shields entirely. Some seem to impact shields, and then damage the hull and shield. Some seem to go through the shield, hit the ship, and damage the shield only. And it seems somewhat random. Is a bit confusing.
Seems Plasma weapons have this trait, as well as antimatter type.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 28) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on June 02, 2014, 11:16:26 AM
Yeah, fighters are treated differently; my assumption there was that you're losing basic stocks that need to be replaced somewhere. 

I can make it work differently for different classes, but I'm not quite sure which way I'd like to go on that yet.  For that matter, I will probably want to factor in Engineers as well.  I don't want to make it too complicated for newbies to get into, though; all this new stuff with Crew is complicated enough :)

Quote
On ships being disabled, and I think on destruction, they get the "extended deployment degradation" message.
That's on ships being captured; the only way to avoid that message is to set their CR to high enough levels that they will not have Malfunctions, or disable the Malfunction system (which, surprisingly, Alex exposed in the CR Plugin enough that I could do that).  Kind of a double-edged sword.

Quote
Shield piercing, bypass, or conducted weapons (not sure how exactly those are set up or classified) seem a bit bizzare in mechanics.
They all have special mechanics; it's part of what makes them unique.  I'd like to describe them better in the flavor texts, but there is so little room that I can only put that stuff in the parts nobody reads unless they go to the Codex.  I may do that, just so it's there, though; a lot of these mechanics have been around long enough that I won't be changing them.


Plasma / Hellbore types of heat / napalm weapons automatically hit in random places on the ship at a fraction of base damage.  The more damage they do, the more sub-hits are generated, which is why a Heavy Plasma Cannon is so devastating.  This mechanic may result in hits that hit behind the shield.

The Devourer passes through shields, but has a random failure rate.  It may pass entirely through a shield, doing damage to the shield and then to the hull, or it may stop immediately.  It's definitely meant to be flukey, not 100% reliable, but it's worth 50 OPs.  Try a pair of them on a Conquest with full buffs for lulz.

The Needler class does extra damage to missiles.

All Beams do extra damage to missiles.

Heavy weapons, like the Mark 9's shells, pass through missiles, damaging them as they move.

The Antimatter Blaster, Heavy Mauler and Mjolnir generate several lightning arcs that cause damage; these can be generated at angles that bypass shields.

The Ion Cannon generates a bunch of EMP-causing lightning arcs.

Most High Explosive weapons have an AOE.

The Megabeam and Tachyon Lance both generate lightning-like strikes that do a bit of extra damage, and in the Tachyon Lance's case, a bit of EMP.

The Repulsor Beam pushes things away.

The Freeze Ray slows things down.

The Ball Lightning Gun can cause lightning to strike multiple nearby targets.  It's extremely handy against missile swarms and Drone packs.

The Spore Gun / Cannon, if they hit an unshielded ship, can randomly strip out multiple Armor blocks.

The Neutron Cannon / Blaster, if they hit an unshielded ship, do damage directly to Hull, ignoring armor.  They also instantly kill all Fighters and Missiles in a fairly large radius.

Most weapons have a chance to do a Critical Hit, which gives them 3X damage.  I should probably tie that up with Gunners / Pilots (to get / avoid crits).

The Pilum, Hephaestus, Light Mortar, and both Flak guns have triggered AOEs that can damage fighters and missiles; they're all especially good vs. fighters, because they often detonate behind the them, going around the shields.

Swift Launchers launch Swift fighters, which are very tough little fighters with HMGs.

The Proximity Charge launches a bunch of homing missiles when enemies get close.

The Sweeper is a shotgun, with spreading pellets.

The Nanobot Repair Gun repairs friendly ships it hits.

Reapers have a big AOE.

Anyhow, I've probably missed a few things... but that's more or less how the mechanics work under the hood.  Basically, there are very few weapons that don't have special mechanics; it's a big part of the mod.  I'll add that to the front-page info stuff.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 28) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on June 02, 2014, 11:58:49 AM
The Gaians need a capship.  Which of these do you prefer?
(http://www.wolfegames.com/TA_Section/gaian_capship_wip.png)(http://www.wolfegames.com/TA_Section/gaian_capship_wip2.png)
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 28) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on June 02, 2014, 12:26:50 PM
Or this?

(http://www.wolfegames.com/TA_Section/gaian_capship_wip3.png)
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 28) (TC Mod)
Post by: Draginea on June 02, 2014, 03:03:25 PM
The first one... Is that 8 built in guns I see in all of them?
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 28) (TC Mod)
Post by: joey4track on June 02, 2014, 04:22:35 PM
I like the first one too  ;D
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 28) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on June 02, 2014, 05:00:30 PM
Hrmm, OK.  So how about this one?
(http://www.wolfegames.com/TA_Section/gaian_capship_wip4.png)
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 28) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on June 02, 2014, 05:14:21 PM
Or this?
(http://www.wolfegames.com/TA_Section/gaian_capship_wip5.png)
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 28) (TC Mod)
Post by: Draginea on June 02, 2014, 05:25:46 PM
Which one has more guns. ;D
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 28) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on June 02, 2014, 05:33:18 PM
They all have a lot of guns, lol.

Which reminds me; I need to code up their guns and make art for them.  One of the main Gaian weapons, I've decided, is something I'm calling the Vampyr Beam; it sucks Flux out of targets and gives it to the Gaian ships, while doing a moderate level of damage and EMP.  Should be fun trying to balance them :)
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 28) (TC Mod)
Post by: ahrenjb on June 02, 2014, 05:39:25 PM
I find the second one from your first post to be the one with the most character. I like that general profile better. The other version seems far too generic.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 28) (TC Mod)
Post by: Draginea on June 02, 2014, 05:59:39 PM
I was alluding to the fact that humans enjoy lots of guns, so i was saying the 1st one indirectly.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 28) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on June 02, 2014, 07:02:25 PM
Hrmm.  Well, after some thought, I've decided to go with the third one.  I liked the first, fourth and fifth ones, but they're all kind of generically-cool, and I think that the Gaians deserve at least a couple of unique-looking vessels.

So the Gaian fleet thus far:

Grinnell, Muir, Carson, Fossey, Pincho, Cousteau, Darwin, Evelyn
(http://www.wolfegames.com/TA_Section/gaian_grinnell.png)(http://www.wolfegames.com/TA_Section/gaian_muir.png)(http://www.wolfegames.com/TA_Section/gaian_carson.png)(http://www.wolfegames.com/TA_Section/gaian_fossey.png)(http://www.wolfegames.com/TA_Section/gaian_pincho.png)(http://www.wolfegames.com/TA_Section/gaian_cousteau.png)(http://www.wolfegames.com/TA_Section/gaian_darwin.png)(http://www.wolfegames.com/TA_Section/gaian_evelyn.png)
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 28) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on June 03, 2014, 10:14:55 PM
Vampyr Ray is a working thing.  Boarding Teleporters are finally a thing. 

Sped up rendering stuff again, by eliminating even more Vanilla particle-system stuff.  I think the stage is set to write up a custom particle system thing for big, juicy events.

Fixed some buggy stuff in the Autofire AIs that was causing them to not update their targets properly at times.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 28) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on June 04, 2014, 01:30:34 AM
Added the first Gaian fighter, the Grinnell:

(http://www.wolfegames.com/TA_Section/gaian_grinnell.png)
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 28) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on June 04, 2014, 07:09:11 PM
The Gaurani assault fighter:
(http://www.wolfegames.com/TA_Section/gaian_gaurani.png)

Getting pretty close to a complete set.  Probably time to finish getting these guys game-ready and start getting the weapons nailed down :)

The faction, thus far:

Grinnell, Gaurani, Muir, Carson, Fossey, Pincho, Cousteau, Darwin, Evelyn
(http://www.wolfegames.com/TA_Section/gaian_grinnell.png)(http://www.wolfegames.com/TA_Section/gaian_gaurani.png)(http://www.wolfegames.com/TA_Section/gaian_muir.png)(http://www.wolfegames.com/TA_Section/gaian_carson.png)(http://www.wolfegames.com/TA_Section/gaian_fossey.png)(http://www.wolfegames.com/TA_Section/gaian_pincho.png)(http://www.wolfegames.com/TA_Section/gaian_cousteau.png)(http://www.wolfegames.com/TA_Section/gaian_darwin.png)(http://www.wolfegames.com/TA_Section/gaian_evelyn.png)
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 28) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on June 05, 2014, 07:52:48 PM
OK, all of the Gaian ships are in.  Balanced, fully-featured, no; but they have custom names and all that blah-blah. 

Oh, and more-interesting initial dialogs with Fleets; I'm thinking I may also start fleshing out the sub-dialog stuff as well, give players a way to do some trade with fleets. 

Also, got fleets to be more aggressive, in terms of seeking out players' fleets, which makes the early game a little more interesting :)

Boarding Teleporters are cool; it's so nice to have a way to board ships during battles, instead of having to wait for Boarding Shuttles.  Still working on the mechanics of this feature but I think it's going to be Fun.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 28) (TC Mod)
Post by: joey4track on June 05, 2014, 09:16:12 PM
Nice, next build is going to be sweet  ;D
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 28) (TC Mod)
Post by: Richyread on June 06, 2014, 07:07:57 AM
Nice, next build is going to be sweet  ;D

+1 from me too  ;)
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 28) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on June 08, 2014, 02:26:31 PM
OK, Boarding Teleporters are (roughly) tuned. 

Added Vampyr Cluster and Vampyr Cannon, and the Thor and Odin projectile cannons (have fun guessing their mechanics, lol).  Still haven't written any special System codes for the Gaians or anything yet, but I may delay that until the next build; I want to spend time on the Boss so bad, lol.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 28) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on June 10, 2014, 12:14:16 PM
Got the Vampyr series of weapons sprited out.  Still need to sprite the Odin and the Boarding Teleporter, then I think it's time to release this build and get working on the Boss again :)
(http://www.wolfegames.com/TA_Section/vampyr_ray_base.png)(http://www.wolfegames.com/TA_Section/vampyr_cluster_base.png)(http://www.wolfegames.com/TA_Section/vampyr_cannon_base.png)
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 28) (TC Mod)
Post by: doodeeda on June 12, 2014, 04:37:15 AM
Hello, I really like your mod from what I've read so far. Unfortunately I'm not able to run the mod very well as my frames drop very low whenever I move using thrusters or fire laser beams, etc. Is there anyway I can 'lower the graphic settings' so to speak?
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 28) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on June 12, 2014, 09:54:25 AM
Sure thing.  Just disable the shader system for now.  In the mod folder's main directory, you'll see a file marked "settings.json".  To disable the shaders, open that up with Notepad (or your favorite text editor) and change the line marked:

"enableShaders":true,

To:

"enableShaders":false,

That will disable the shaders entirely.  In a case like this, where you're seeing a lot of slowdown with just a few lights operating, that may be all you can do.

Also, please report the issue in the ShaderLib thread (http://fractalsoftworks.com/forum/index.php?topic=7958.0), along with whatever GPU (graphics card) you have, so that the author of that portion of Vacuum can know about it.  If you're using a really old Intel chipset, disabling the shaders is probably about the only thing you can do for now, as I'm just using the light and bloom system right now.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 28) (TC Mod)
Post by: doodeeda on June 12, 2014, 06:03:20 PM
Great! I will do that and thanks.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 28) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on June 12, 2014, 06:13:46 PM
NP, hope you have fun :)
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 28) (TC Mod)
Post by: doodeeda on June 12, 2014, 07:39:26 PM
I have a few more questions if you don't mind! (I have tried the search function to no avail)
1. How do you actually join a faction and fight for them? I've been playing Project Ironclads so I'm used to those mechanics, but I haven't seen any bases where it gives me an option to join.
2. Is there a journal anywhere which keeps track of which systems have which factions and what stations a faction controls? And that also keeps track of all the alliances and enemies a faction has?
3. Is there a repository of all the ships of a faction? The descriptions of some ships don't say what faction it belongs to, and I can't tell myself :P
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 28) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on June 12, 2014, 08:09:11 PM
Quote
1. How do you actually join a faction and fight for them?
Hmm.  I may have to change the text description here a bit, to make it clear how play works. 

You don't join a Faction.  At the start of play, you pick your "former employer", which sets your relationships with various Factions to the same as your former employer's and gives you access to certain ships.  Think of your former employers as your "allies".

However, your overall goal is to take over the Sector; to do that, you'll need to start up your own Faction and completely defeat your enemies (whereupon you get a victory screen).  That is, and will remain, one of the core goals of the mod.

This you can do by building Stations (land on a planet to learn more about that), which can then build fleets, which can destroy other Stations and build new Stations occasionally on their own.  It will irk all of the Factions in that System, though; they don't like it when you encroach on their territories.  So be careful :)

Quote
2. Is there a journal anywhere which keeps track of which systems have which factions and what stations a faction controls? And that also keeps track of all the alliances and enemies a faction has?
Not yet.  The faction relationships are static, in terms of who's allied with whom and all that; they don't change over time atm. 

This may change later, if I want the AI factions to gang up on whoever's the most powerful or whatnot, but it's currently static; your character has emerged into a specific historical scenario, so to speak, and the wars that are on-going have been going on since before the start of play.

In terms of displaying that data, the main issue is that we can't see anything in Hyperspace that shows where enemy / friendly bases are, so it requires some exploration to figure this out, and can take quite a while, if you choose a really big Sector size. 

Anyhow, I think that can be done with some OpenGL but I've been pretty busy working on other things and haven't taken a serious look at it yet.

Quote
3. Is there a repository of all the ships of a faction?
No; the Codex doesn't allow for sorting by Faction, and the huge number of ships in the mod, and the relatively frequency of change makes building some static Thing here on the Forums pretty un-attractive. 

Perhaps there's a way I could do it within a Dialog automatically, though, so that players could view that data at Stations instead.  I will definitely look at that, it's a good feature idea for newbies :)
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 28) (TC Mod)
Post by: doodeeda on June 12, 2014, 08:20:25 PM
Ah, I see. Hm, why is it that I see Independent's stations are sometimes taken over by Hegemony forces from the text that shows?
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 28) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on June 12, 2014, 09:24:32 PM
That shouldn't be happening; they're allies.  Will take a look at that for this upcoming build; if it's a bug there, will be easy to fix.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 28) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on June 13, 2014, 12:16:50 PM
OK, that bug (with friendlies / neutrals sometimes capturing stations via the stationWars() routine) is fixed, although I need to do some balance on it.  Also made the fleet AIs a bit "smarter"; expect more enemy fleets to attempt to attack you.

Got everything done but the two weapon sprites for the Odin and the Boarding Teleporter; will try and knock them out pretty fast and then let's get a build out for everybody to play for a bit, while I get back to work on the Boss stuff :)

[EDIT]Also got ShaderLib updated without too much hassle, so that issue should be resolved for most users seeing some slowdowns on certain GPUs.[/EDIT]
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 28) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on June 13, 2014, 08:40:28 PM
New features comin' up:

(http://www.wolfegames.com/TA_Section/ss_new_faction_interface01.jpg)

And yes, a list of all of the locations a Faction owns is coming, I just haven't written that yet.  Not quite as cute as what Alex is working on for 0.65, mind you- honestly, I think that a lot of this will be redundant eventually... but it's a good stopgap for now :)
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 28) (TC Mod)
Post by: Eisbear on June 14, 2014, 08:00:04 AM
looks really promising... and that list will be dman helpful ^^
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 28) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on June 14, 2014, 06:03:59 PM
OK, the lister works, working on some final stuff with the Boarding Teleporters.  Really happy with the new fleet AI stuff :)
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 28) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on June 15, 2014, 12:59:12 AM
Got on a roll tonight.  Bounty-hunter missions with cute dialogs you can run to raise your rep with factions?  Sure, why not. 

Just need to finish the bitmaps for the Boarding Teleporter and the Odin... I really think that's enough new Stuff for an update.
Title: ALPHA build 29 released!!!
Post by: xenoargh on June 15, 2014, 02:49:39 AM
Finally got this one knocked out.  It's pretty cool, if I do say so myself :)

Warning!  Almost certainly requires a restart.

New Features:

Gaian faction is something like 70% complete, with lore and all that.
New weapons and other things have been added, including (finally!) the Boarding Teleporter.
Diplomatic relations, Faction lore, and more can be found by visiting Stations.
Players can now pick up bounty-hunting missions and improve their standing with Factions, even Factions who don't like them.  I haven't put that into the Newbie Guide yet, but it's a great way to earn some cash and rep... but watch out, they're fairly hard and will probably get harder.
Various other polish things done with dialogs.
Fleets will attack players much more aggressively.

Bug-fixes:

Fixed bug in Station Wars routine that was allowing for Station capture bugs to occur.  In general, that part of the game (AI wars outside of the player's view) should be working a lot more smoothly and nicely now.

Balance:

Omni shields are no longer so horribly penalized vs. Forward Shields.  Forward Shields get a much smaller advantage now and the shield balance ramp has been changed again.  In general, this means that a lot of ships with smaller Omni shields have become considerably more able to tank, without removing the strengths of most of the Forward Shield ships.



Now, on to the Boss and the endgame mechanics stuff :)
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 29) (TC Mod)
Post by: joe130794 on June 15, 2014, 10:28:34 AM
could it be made a bit easier starting out because i started with a medusa but was being chased by 4 fleets of hegemony and independants. also if i entered a battle with them my main weapons run out of ammo before killing all of them leaving me with 3 lr pd lasers and 2 antimatter blasters which arent enough to kill them.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 29) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on June 15, 2014, 11:21:41 AM
The Medusa doesn't have any weapons that use ammo.  What happened to you is that you ran out of CR and your weapons were disabled due to malfunctions, most likely.   

If you're having trouble avoiding fights, put your initial points into Technology so that you can improve your fleet speeds.  Anyhow, the hardness is definitely intentional, but I'll tweak it as I get more feedback to get it tuned well for all difficulty levels :)
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 29) (TC Mod)
Post by: Draginea on June 16, 2014, 01:44:16 PM
I think that the Vampyr weapons may be a "little" bit op. I outfitted a Hyperion with two Melters and two Vampyr rays, sat in front of an Onslaught with my shields up and never went above 25% flux. It it was so easy to kill it that it was unfair for the Onslaught...
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 29) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on June 16, 2014, 02:01:37 PM
Well, you were Overloading the Onslaught constantly, I'd imagine; that's kind of the point of using the Melters like that.  So you drained Flux while using the Melters constantly, which is pretty legit.  Anyhow, I'm OK with nerfing them a bit and we'll go from there. 

I need to put out a new build anyhow; there was a bug in one of the new damage routines that I fixed last night that was allowing for some strange behaviors. 

I also feel like I need to rebal the Eisenstein; the Hegemony start is brutally hard compared to most of the other factions atm.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 29) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on June 16, 2014, 11:11:15 PM
OK, Eisenstein's rebalanced; fixed a bunch of small issues with certain types of hit events.  I think I'm going to try to make a fix for fighters' death behaviors, as their particle events are largely what slows things down in huge fights.
Title: ALPHA Build 30 Released!
Post by: xenoargh on June 17, 2014, 10:58:47 AM
Alpha build 30 is now available.  I don't think this requires a restart.

Adds:
1.  A bunch of new planetary types, and some code to support some future features in regards to planets.

Fixes:
1.  Various bugs concerning hits from certain types of weapons (AOE, Plasma, etc.).
2.  Improved performance in huge fleet battles with lots of fighters.

Changes:
1.  Vampyr weapons now give half as much Flux back as they did.  Please let me know if they still need more nerf.
2.  AI fleets won't chase the player until you've reached level 3, for a bit more newbie-friendliness.
3.  Bounty difficulties adjusted a bit.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 30) (TC Mod)
Post by: Ranakastrasz on June 17, 2014, 06:50:04 PM
Idea: Limit Vampyr weapon regain to, say, match the passive flux disapation rate. Such that at absolute maximum it doubles flux disipation. Or Triple.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 30) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on June 17, 2014, 07:14:40 PM
Hrmm.  Doing it that way would require quite a lot more code; I'd have to check every ship, see whether it has any Vampyr weapons, if yeah, add to a list to check every frame, check to see if the Vampyrs are hitting anything, blah-blah. 

On the other hand, Paragons with two Vampyr Cannons and six Vampyr Clusters ++ Energy Pump are practically invulnerable vs. anything in the game atm., even after the nerf.  The math on that is pretty ridiculous; they're draining more than most fleets can.  Just with the Clusters you can run a pair of HPCs in the middle of Kinetic madness... so long as the Clusters are engaged with stuff.

So yeah, they're going to need further nerfing.  I'll think about doing it that way, rather than just whittling down their buff.  Either way causes some issues.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 30) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on June 17, 2014, 10:03:22 PM
OK, I've settled on what to do to nerf the Vampyr weapons.

They're going to get a flat rate, whether or not Energy Pump is installed.  That gets rid of most of the egregious cases.

Current balance:

Vampyr Ray:  100 Flux / Second.  A small buff, basically, but not a total lifesaver (was 675 with Energy Pump).

Vampyr Cluster:  250.  Reasonable buff if we're talking, say, a Conquest / Paragon, but not outrageous; 6 Clusters all hitting something would give only 1500 in extra drain, which sounds like a lot, but it's a lot less than the total drain from Vents, if Flux Shunt / Flux Pipeline are installed.  However, it can be used instead of having those sources of drain, which is an interesting choice.

Vampyr Cannon:  400.  Efficiency-wise, this is slightly more efficient than four Vampyr Rays, at 18 OPs, but it's not earth-shattering and the damage output is meh, even with Energy Pump.

Anyhow, a flat value that ignores Energy Pump seemed like the best way to get it working well; for a ship like the Wolf or Chiron with HEF, this is a powerful buff that will allow them to shield-tank other Frigates nicely, but it's not overwhelming at the high end, like it is now.

Anyhow, I've got that done, so I'll test it and if it's OK, then one more mini-release before I get back to work on the Boss stuff.
Title: ALPHA Build 31 Released!
Post by: xenoargh on June 17, 2014, 10:43:04 PM
Build 31 is now available.

Fixes:
A couple of minor dialog issues with the Bounty missions.

Changes:
Vampyr weapons are considerably less OP.

Anyhow, if there aren't any more major bugs / OP things, this is it until the Boss stuff gets done :)
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 31) (TC Mod)
Post by: Schrekse on June 18, 2014, 02:03:01 AM
There seems to be a bug with retreating fleets. A retreating fleet always tries to fight while being chased, even in the face of overwhelming force.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 31) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on June 18, 2014, 10:49:36 AM
Hrmm.  Will take another look at that; some AI fleet elements should be "staying behind" to sacrifice themselves, but others should be fleeing, period.  Must have forgotten to set a variable they need.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 31) (TC Mod)
Post by: Ranakastrasz on June 18, 2014, 02:36:34 PM
Several issues.
In certain situations, you can try and fail to repair your ships at a dock.
It will spend, I think, 50 credits per ship, and do nothing.
I think it occurs if the ship lacks Crew, or is mothballed or something like that.

Also, because the cost of rebuilding a hulk-ed ship is massive, I would like it if you were to mothball such a ship, it would be ignored by the repair option, so you can repair everything else.
Admittedly, you can bank it as a workaround.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 31) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on June 18, 2014, 03:21:05 PM
I'll take a look at those.  Not quite sure why the 50-cost Repair comes up; it shouldn't.  I can make it skip Mothballed ships though, no problem :)
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 31) (TC Mod)
Post by: Ranakastrasz on June 18, 2014, 04:45:36 PM
Tactics wise.

I can't believe I kept rejecting the idea of putting melters on medium energy slots, because they were small weapons. I mean, what was I thinking?

Also, the Salamanders seem to be the best fighter killers I can get at a low level. Or at least the most obvious ones. They don't need to hit their target, so they fly behind a front shielded fighter, detonate in a lightning bolt, and slag the fighter. Horrifically effective.

Is it possible to remove the +CR$ on crew members, and tell us exactly what they do?

Oh, and what do they do anyway?
I know what they boost, but by how much and how is it calculated?
My guess is that each one has a set bonus to their skill for a total overall.
Like, +10% flux venting.
Then, it takes the number of flux techs, and divides that by the total skeletal crew requirements on the whole fleet. That gives a fraction. That is then multiplied by the default bonus, and applied to all ships.

Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 31) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on June 18, 2014, 05:16:06 PM
OK, I think that all of the bugs are addressed, although I need to check the AI fleeing issues s'more.

Quote
I can't believe I kept rejecting the idea of putting melters on medium energy slots, because they were small weapons. I mean, what was I thinking?
Yeah.  Although I often go Graviton Beam instead, personally; Melters tend to vaporize ships I could be capturing, heh.

Quote
Oh, and what do they do anyway?
Basically, at the start of combat, it looks at the percentages of Crew, so the ratio of Crew types is important, if you're wanting to max out a bonus.  So if you have 25 of each type, you're going to get 25% of the maximum bonus for each category.

If the player has up to 1.5X the Skeleton Crew value, that gives an even higher bonus to each category you have.  So having 1.5X Crew but keeping the ratios even, you'll get 37.5% of the maximum bonus.

So "overstocking" Crew and going over the Skeleton Crew requirements actually has a point now, just like RL, where a "skeleton crew" is the very barest minimum to run a vessel.  It makes the Valkyrie slightly more useful as well, for reaching 150% bonuses with capship fleets without a CR penalty.

Quote
Is it possible to remove the +CR$ on crew members, and tell us exactly what they do?
I don't think so; I'm afraid that's hard-coded into the UI.  Unfortunately, while the assumptions behind Crew were surprisingly flexible, getting the UI to do anything useful at all was a bit tricky, and some of it's hard-coded.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 31) (TC Mod)
Post by: Ranakastrasz on June 18, 2014, 06:04:35 PM
Well, my problem is ships with uber-armor, so I need four or five melta blasts to take them down.  Still, capturing it viable.
Edit: Admittedly, I go for the two range extentions rather than the energy pump. With that a gravaton beam might be able to handle heavy armor, unsure. I thought it had Kinetic damage, but that is vanilla only. 2k -> 6k - 3k dps to armor. That admittedly might be workable, given two of em.

What is the requriemetns for capturing? Intact ships are a part obviously. Marine count probably is important as well. I don't get many captures, although one game once I had around 50 marines I started capturing things.

My Hammerhead activates ammo feed even when it has no ammo weapons, only laser. This wastes flux I believe.

I have to try and get a dedicated Salamander launcher at some point. They are just tear fighters apart and disable any other ships most of the time. I suppose Point defence counters them, but I haven't run into enough yet.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 31) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on June 18, 2014, 06:50:54 PM
Requirements to capture:

1.  Have enough Marines and capture after combat, randomly.  Depends on the ship size, but basically, if you're flying around with less than 50 Marines, you're not going to capture much.

2.  Use Boarding Shuttles / Boarding Teleporter:  much higher capture rate, but each attempt costs Marines, and may waste them.  Usually it's far more lucrative, though.  Plus you get the capture right then and there in combat and can use the ship to win the battle, which is real, real useful in Station fights.

When I'm playing a Faction that doesn't have early-game access to Boarding Shuttles (IIRC, the only Faction that applies to is the Independents- everybody else is neutral or allied with either the Punk Junkers or the Pirates), I keep looking until I can find Teleporters.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 31) (TC Mod)
Post by: Ranakastrasz on June 18, 2014, 06:55:02 PM
Well, that explains it. Thanks

Neutron Armor tooltip fails to mention doubled armor.

Also, those heavy armor boosters should, in my opinion, give an extra, say, 200/tier extra armor on top, or something. So that ships with excessively crappy armor can get some. Possibly the same for shield core removal.

Admittedly, that effects armor tanks, but a small boost like that isn't a large percentage.

Repulsor tooltip is missing.

Swift Launcher tooltip seems incorrect. It has the ability to shoot once every three and a half minutes, rather than being a real one-shot. Still, it is one-shot for all practical purposes.

I would like to see all missiles get a minor ammo regeneration rate, to imply slow missile reloading. possibly faster from, I think, engineers or Gunners. Also faster with extended missiles racks. Generally, regain at around 20% of the normal rate of fire, unless a massacre class. (launch 50+ missiles in 2 seconds)

Spore weapons need a better description.
I believe they deal massive armor damage. If so, "Spore weapons strip armor from enemy ships at an abnormally fast pace."

The Heavy Bolter probably should do explosive damage, assuming it is based on Warhammer 40k bolters.

Small Pilum has no description
Harpoon single has 30 shots. Should be Harpoon (Small) I think. Well, unless that refers to Pod count, each pod containing many missiles.

Escape scenero is still broken. Enemys spawn from the top

What causes enemy ships to explode instantly on death rather than being hulked? Impulse damage on death is my guess.

There is this fighter sided frigate which is a pain most of the time. Only able to kill the bastard with excessive missiles most of the time, since it has a few thousand armor points.

I can't seem to look up what my previous bounty job was or the location. How do I do that if possible?

Collector class custom frigate lacks a description.

my boom-class frigate's AI seems to have died. It keeps going to the far left or right of the map and refuses to engage or follow orders.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 31) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on June 18, 2014, 09:15:09 PM
Cool, thanks!  This kind of detail is very helpful to me :)

Quote
Neutron Armor tooltip fails to mention doubled armor.
Fixed.

Quote
Also, those heavy armor boosters should, in my opinion, give an extra, say, 200/tier extra armor on top, or something. So that ships with excessively crappy armor can get some. Possibly the same for shield core removal.
That sounds reasonable, although it'll probably take some balance.  I've set it for +400 armor if Neutronium, Heavy and Core Removal are all taken, which seems reasonable as a starting place, as that puts weak-kneed Frigates in the running, but doesn't push any of the heavies into godlike power ranges.  The one exception to this is Armor Regeneration; it's enough of a buff all by itself, and with Heavy / Core, it's already very powerful.

Quote
Repulsor tooltip is missing.
Fixed.

Quote
Swift Launcher tooltip seems incorrect. It has the ability to shoot once every three and a half minutes, rather than being a real one-shot. Still, it is one-shot for all practical purposes.
Fixed.

Quote
I would like to see all missiles get a minor ammo regeneration rate, to imply slow missile reloading. possibly faster from, I think, engineers or Gunners. Also faster with extended missiles racks. Generally, regain at around 20% of the normal rate of fire, unless a massacre class. (launch 50+ missiles in 2 seconds)
I've thought about doing this via a fairly-expensive Hull Mod, but I have serious reservations.  Basically, it makes Phase Cloak ships with Reapers able to one-shot practically any fleet atm, in player hands, if they can get more missiles; just stay cloaked, wait for the reload, then nuke your foes.  If you're really wanting to abuse it, you could even fire a full load, cloak and then go make yourself a sandwich and repeat indefinitely (it'd be a bit hard on your diet though, lol). 

Given that there aren't any weapons that can hit a ship that's Cloaked (er, well, other than the occasional bug that shows up) I'd probably have to provide a counter or prevent it from operating while cloaked to keep it from being egregiously OP.  I'll think about that.  TBH, I kind of like how missiles work atm; they're quite nasty if they connect, especially if you're using a ship that's built around the missile-boat premise, like the Magister, but they usually don't.

Quote
Spore weapons need a better description.
I ran into problems with the string lengths available for weapons there, which is becoming a bit of a pet peeve as the weapons get more complex.  If you read the Codex entry, it says, on the second paragraph:

"A Spore gun's shots, upon hitting an un-shielded ship, release small creatures that bore into armor plating all over a ship, using a unique form of mutagenic acids.  A few hits from a Spore Gun can leave a heavily-armored target grievously vulnerable to other forms of attack."

What they actually do is randomly drop armor locations by a percentage (i.e., they're very nasty versus capitals that don't regenerate).  If they hit an armor square with no armor, they do direct damage.  They're flukey but occasionally very powerful, like a lot of the Glaug stuff.  Anyhow, I'll look at that but tbh, it seems clear enough.

Quote
The Heavy Bolter probably should do explosive damage, assuming it is based on Warhammer 40k bolters.
While I'm glad the joke was gotten, they've been Kinetic for, like, ever, and I love 'em, mechanically- they're one of the nastiest weapons you can put on a Medium slot :)

Quote
Small Pilum has no description
Oops, missed that one.  Fixed.

Quote
Harpoon single has 30 shots. Should be Harpoon (Small) I think. Well, unless that refers to Pod count, each pod containing many missiles.
That's sounding more consistent.  I think I also will adjust the ammo counts, so that each one gets 30 bursts; the Pods and the standard MRM were only getting 20 vs. the Small.

Quote
Escape scenero is still broken. Enemys spawn from the top
Oops.  That's what I get for never Escaping.  Fixed, finally.

Quote
What causes enemy ships to explode instantly on death rather than being hulked? Impulse damage on death is my guess.
That's random; basically, the smaller the ship, the more likely it explodes; Hulks also can explode randomly over time.  If you want to capture stuff, you have to hurry.  Also, watch out for capship explosions; if you don't have shields up, you may get blown up.

Quote
There is this fighter sided frigate which is a pain most of the time. Only able to kill the bastard with excessive missiles most of the time, since it has a few thousand armor points.
I need a name for that one, if I'm going to nerf it :)

Quote
I can't seem to look up what my previous bounty job was or the location. How do I do that if possible?
Not possible atm.  I will think about adding that.

Quote
Collector class custom frigate lacks a description.
Fixed.  Weird, I must have erased them when I put the Gaian descriptions in.

Quote
my boom-class frigate's AI seems to have died. It keeps going to the far left or right of the map and refuses to engage or follow orders.
That's weird.  Which AI did you install?  I know there's a bug in the Brawler AI atm, regarding following another ship (basically, it's colliding all the time); going to fix that before I put out a patch.  Also found a minor bug in the Sniper AI with the same behaviors, but it was really minor.

Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 31) (TC Mod)
Post by: Ranakastrasz on June 18, 2014, 09:25:15 PM
Well, I am pretty sure it had no AI.

The AIs exclude each other, right? If not, they might screw each other up badly.

My starting base just got blown up as soon as I unpaused. As in, it got destroyed instantly.

Kinda problematic, considering I suddenly had nowhere to pawn my stuff.

I then ran down on supplies while trying to find a new one, ran out, and then my ships started being destroyed via logistic failure. That was unexpected, actually.

Would like a "take all" option for germanium, or possibly a take all, to cargo limit. The Slider is slightly annoying.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 31) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on June 18, 2014, 09:53:04 PM
Quote
Well, I am pretty sure it had no AI.

The AIs exclude each other, right? If not, they might screw each other up badly.
It shouldn't ever have no AI at all, ever.  Probably it was a buggy behavior; if you were using a custom AI, I need to know which one, if not, it's something in the basic Frigate AI that I should check out.  And yes, AIs are mutually exclusive, period.

Quote
My starting base just got blown up as soon as I unpaused. As in, it got destroyed instantly.
Yeah, that can happen.  That doesn't mean that your Faction's wiped out; it just means it no longer has a base in Corvus.  That's more-or-less on purpose; the Sector's a dynamic place, and stuff is going to happen.  Just how it goes.

That said, I feel like I should make that happen after an even longer time-limit, and it probably shouldn't happen until the player's level is at least 3, just like the AI fleets attacking, to give players a chance to get used to things before bad stuff starts happening.  I'll take a look at that.

BTW, you can get Fuel / Supplies from enemy fleet encounters, if you're low.

Will add "take all" option; I am also irritated by the slider after doing it hundreds of times ;)
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 31) (TC Mod)
Post by: Ranakastrasz on June 18, 2014, 10:04:25 PM
No AI as in no AI hull mod.

Just got myself a mega-beam. The one with 10k DPS.
Naturally I decided on giving it an energy pump.

Among other things, you can wave it in the general direction of most fighters and they all explode. The tougher ones take around a second of focus.

Wonder what kind of ship can mount more than one.

Powering it is a bit expensive, but a few vampyr beams and absolute maxed flux dissipation makes it pretty consistent.

If the ship had sniper-mode, I would seriously be even more happy. Unfortunately I haven't found a sniper able to wield a megabeam yet.

Sensor drones lack a description
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 31) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on June 18, 2014, 10:20:04 PM
Quote
No AI as in no AI hull mod.
OK.  I haven't seen the standard Frigate AI ever do that, so IDK, it's probably just one of those things, if it didn't have something really special going on, like maybe it was given Retreat orders or whatever.

Megabeams are great for Odysseys.

Will fix the Sensor Drones.

Almost done with a feature to give a list of all of the Bounties you've taken.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 31) (TC Mod)
Post by: Ranakastrasz on June 18, 2014, 10:32:09 PM
No assault drone description.
Wage payment of 3977.87 credits.

Engaging a fleeing fleet still gives normal engagement text until battle starts.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 31) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on June 18, 2014, 11:18:40 PM
Quote
No assault drone description.
Fixed.  Apparently I did that twice, with practically all the Drones, and SS doesn't like that.
Quote
Wage payment of 3977.87 credits.
Fixed, I think.

Quote
Engaging a fleeing fleet still gives normal engagement text until battle starts.
Fixed; also, added a Leave option if they aren't willing to fight, so that you don't have to take a Reputation hit.
Title: ALPHA Build 32 Released!
Post by: xenoargh on June 19, 2014, 01:04:49 AM
Alpha build 32 is now available.  This is it until the Boss stuff is working at a basic level, I think.  I don't think this requires a restart.

New Features:

1.  Forget where your Bounties are?  Get a list of current Bounty Missions at all times from Stations.
2.  Tired of having to use that Germanium slider?  Just hit "get all".
3.  Don't want to fight that weak fleet you just encountered?  Hit Leave.

Improvements:

1.  Stations will no longer get destroyed / change owners until players have reached level 3, to make things more stable for newbies.
2.  The initial "payday" has been delayed a little more at the start of play.
3.  Heavy Armor, Neutronium Plating and Core Removal give a small buff to base Armor values, not just a multiplier.

Bug Fixes:

1.  Escape scenario actually works right, finally, for both sides.
2.  Fixes for a bunch of missing / unhelpful descriptions.
3.  Fix for the Sniper and Brawler AIs' collision-avoidance sub-AIs.
4.  Various other fixes for AIs related to retreating.
5.  Fixed some smallish issues relating to damage code in certain edge-case scenarios.  In general, AOE-type and Plasma-type weapons should work quite reliably now.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 32) (TC Mod)
Post by: Ranakastrasz on June 19, 2014, 07:13:23 AM
Ball Lightning Description Missing,

Thumper Description implies fragmentation damage.

Assault Chaingun Implies explosive damage.

AI uses accelerated ammo feed without any ballistic weapons.

Also, my mini-carrier failed to raise it's bubble shield + fortress shield and instantly died to a reaper.


Suggest that fortress shield reduce hard flux disapation by 50-75%. (of the current rate, so if 10% dissapation, reduce to 2.5 or 5%)
Tooltip should also indicate the whole "Neither sound nor matter can penetrate. Engines become non-functional."

Repair Gantry seems to set CR recovery rate to 1%/day. Tooltip doesnt match, doesnt seem to stack, has no apperent population limit.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 32) (TC Mod)
Post by: Arakash on June 19, 2014, 09:43:40 AM
I was going to write a bug/technical issue report, but before id like to make sure i haven't misread the thread/posts.

What do you consider a low-end system as you described it in the first post?
In the last game version i was playing a lot of Exerlin and my computer was doing well even with many many fleets floating around. I also dont think i ever noticed a drop in fps in battle with that mod or any of the other 3-5 mods i tried.

In short Ive also got about 2gb of video memory and 8gb of RAM.
Is that considered low end? i dont stay in touch with hardware so i honestly dont know.
If it is then i suspect that is probably the cause of my problem.

Also its not really a question but i assume the thread title means this mod works in 0.62a? Beyond the actual title i haven't seen you mention it in the post.
(Ive seen a lot of mods in the mod index that aren't compatible atm, so i wanted to check)

I apologize ahead of time if i asked any stupid questions. I know modders tend to get asked a lot of them and it can get old quickly.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 32) (TC Mod)
Post by: Ranakastrasz on June 19, 2014, 09:49:23 AM
Typhoon reaper launcher tooltip states 5 missiles but has 10 missiles.

I seem to have captured a mini-tanker ship in the simulation, and hence captured one in real life. Somehow, I ended up with two of them.

Crew bonuses dont always show up in combat.

The minifrigate I have a problem with is the swift.
2k armor, neutronium plating. Admittedly now that I have properly high tier weapons, its not nearly so much of a problem.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 32) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on June 19, 2014, 10:02:36 AM
Quote
What do you consider a low-end system as you described it in the first post?

In short Ive also got about 2gb of video memory and 8gb of RAM.
No, that's a much better system than what I'm developing this on, actually, unless you've got really slow CPU cores; I'm developing this on a quad-core where each core is 3GHz.

SS only uses two cores (and one barely gets used, and only for sound events) so if you're seeing issues, it's most likely shader-related atm (with the possibility that I've majorly borked something but haven't noticed because I haven't tested it, which happens) but I need a detailed bug report.  Make sure you're playing the current build first, too; if you're playing a build from even a week ago, things have changed.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 32) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on June 19, 2014, 10:15:59 AM
Quote
The minifrigate I have a problem with is the swift.
2k armor, neutronium plating. Admittedly now that I have properly high tier weapons, its not nearly so much of a problem.
Yeah, it's balanced so that it's roughly like fighting a small Wing, i.e. a pain in the butt on the low end, but not much of an issue on the high end. 

Personally, I don't think it's OP; they just go "pop" on the high end; I'd really prefer they acted like a spawned Wing so that they weren't quite so potent in early-game, but Wings must have > 2 members.  I might be able to address that, though... hmm.

Anyhow, thanks very much for all the bug reports, that's very helpful; I like squishing bugs :)

I'll see about fixing them tonight after I'm done with work :)
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 32) (TC Mod)
Post by: Arakash on June 19, 2014, 10:20:32 AM
Thanks for the quick reply. Ill go ahead and post with as much detail as i can muster.

Problem:
Game slows down to 1-5 FPS when any weapon is fired or bullet/missile moves onto the viewscreen.
In the other (TAB) game mode, weapons and firing works without any drop in FPS.

Computer Details:

What I've tried:
This last point requires a bit of explaining. Long story short, i put the 64bit version in there to get more access to RAM for mods like Exerelin. The Vanilla game and other mods (seem) to work properly with either version.
I tried switching between 32 and 64 with Vacuum to see if they were the cause, no change.


Anything else I can try? I'm a bit out of ideas here.
Title: Re: Vacuum - Build a Stellar Empire. (0.62a ALPHA build 32) (TC Mod)
Post by: xenoargh on June 19, 2014, 10:27:16 AM
OK, that's definitely shader-related.

To disable the shader system, open up the mod's main folder and open up settings.json with Notepad or your favorite text editor.

Find the line that says, ""enableShaders":true, # Default: true" and change the "true" to "false".  That will resolve this for now.

Meanwhile, it appears there's another update to ShaderLib; perhaps that will resolve your issues.  I'll try upgrading that tonight and put out a new build, if I can scrape up enough time :)

Also, I'd