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Starsector 0.9.1a is out! (05/10/19); Blog post: Painting the Stars (02/07/20)

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Messages - bobucles

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Suggestions / Re: EMP effective against Phase-cloaked ships
« on: Today at 10:23:56 AM »
Phase ships already have a respectable list of weaknesses. They don't do well against beams, which deal constant pressure and can't be blocked. They're automatically weak against HE damage and struggle against persistent missiles like Pilums. The AI generally fumbles around with phase ships and can't take good advantage of their strengths, and the random weapon generation struggles to pick the rare few weapons that are very strong for phase ships. On the plus side, phase ships do tend to be over spec'd and exploitable under player control.

Suggestions / Re: More tiers on bounties
« on: February 16, 2020, 04:24:27 PM »
Pretty sure word of god is that bounty levels are determined by FP. Some of the bigger ships have a suppressed FP value when compared to DP, which causes the difficulty to scale faster than the rewards.

The difficulty of endgame bounties will be quite different between vanilla and maxed out battle sizes. Most veterans beef up their battle sizes considerably, which skews the apparent difficulty.

General Discussion / Re: Anti-Remnant Fleet Advice
« on: February 15, 2020, 11:36:41 AM »
Let people state their opinions, cellulose. There's plenty of good info in this thread to go around. If it seems lacking, just expand upon it.

Redacted ships have excellent attributes in most areas of combat. However, the first step to defeating them is getting through their THICC shields. Most weapons have a serious disadvantage against Remnant shields, but kinetics have a huge bonus which lets them break even in the flux war. Even after breaking shields their armor defenses are still very respectable, but torpedoes in this version will absolutely shred any level of armor. Bombers are handy for their renewable HE kick.

It kind of goes without saying to bring the best that you have. Officers provide a huge and essential bonus to your ships, so be sure to level them up. D-mod ships will occupy the same field space as a pristine ship, so don't cripple your side too hard. Lower level guns tend to lack on firepower compared to the higher cost ones. Capital ships provide a powerful fleet anchor for everyone to rally around. And most importantly, don't fight more than one fleet at a time! Getting zerged down will ruin your day.

General Discussion / Re: How to turn off help popups?
« on: February 15, 2020, 09:50:09 AM »
In other games, there is typically a menu option to disable all tutorial messages. Some of them also have a second option which enables and resets all tutorial messages.

General Discussion / Re: How do you all manage your weapons inventories?
« on: February 15, 2020, 09:46:27 AM »
Small and medium weapons aren't worth very much, and it's no big deal to pack them in paid storage forever. For example, I have roughly 5000 inventory of random weapons from across the game, and it's only worth ~180k cr. That's 1.8k/month in storage for thousands of small guns. My mountain of medium weapons took up 3400 space and amounted to ~290k cr; 2.9k/month upkeep isn't a game breaker for hundreds of medium weapons. Large weapons have a bit more value, 2400 space worth of big guns was worth ~360k cr.  Put all together, we're talking about enough guns to equip all your ships forever, for the total upkeep cost of a few medium ships.

The point I'm trying to get at, is that you can just store all your guns at a planet storehouse. There's no need to rush the colony game or spend millions to fortify your armory world, or to use free storage tricks that don't really make sense. The cost of storage is already low enough that your guns can be cheaply stashed from the very beginning. It's a different story with space ships, as the storage price uses their full market value. It's very possible to build up millions of CR worth of ships by salvaging everything you fly across, and the price of 1 month of storage can easily exceed the sale price of the ships. Ship storage definitely warrants building up your own colonies and defenses for the cost savings.

Suggestions / Re: Fleet cap discussion
« on: February 14, 2020, 06:46:11 AM »
While smaller combat size makes fleet consisting of smaller ships more viable for single round, this fleet also needs to last for more rounds.  Which it can't CR-wise.
Perhaps I'm missing something. Is there some situation in the game where you absolutely have to survive engagements against wave after wave of enemy reinforcements? If anything, your fleet should be overwhelmed! Crushing 3 ordos at once isn't normal, but on tripled combat sizes it is. Battle size absolutely increases the scale of what players can overcome, and skews expectations of what does and doesn't work.

The only kind of endgame battle the player needs to win is one player fleet vs. one fleet of enemy redacted or expedition force. Anything more than that is pure flexing, and potentially dabbing.

Suggestions / Re: Ambush Bickering
« on: February 14, 2020, 06:39:57 AM »
Your position is nowhere near being constructive. I did provide rationale and no, it is nothing that you have quoted. In view of forum policy which prohibits me from repaying your ad hominem in kind I see no room to debate unless you fix the situation by yourself.
Irony is a hell of a drug. 
Sorry Lucky. I looked through your arguments and could not find any meaningful mechanics in it. I can't argue against "do it" and "it just works" because it's all heated opinions. There's no meat to discuss. Mods were wrong to state that this thread is bickering, if anything it's an understatement.  ::)

You can't just look through a history textbook and say "yeah, look at that. I want THAT in my game" because game design doesn't work that way. The history book doesn't define how your game gets played. Players interact with abilities. They weigh bonuses and penalties of doing one thing, and weigh them against the bonuses and penalties of doing something else.  Players respond to those dilemmas with different decisions. Sometimes those decisions line up with the history books. Sometimes they don't.

I'm sure that across the dozens and dozens of replies there are bits and pieces of an ambush mechanic that add together into a complete picture (for better or worse). But as it currently stands, that picture is a complete mess. Step back for a bit, take a deep breath, and copy/paste them all together into the absolutely definitive and irrefutable "Ambush mechanic: How to win at cavalry battles in space". Pay special attention to the mechanics! That's how players decide if ambushing is good or not. It determines if it's a fun new thing to try, or if it's a boring/annoying chore. Maybe the pieces work on their own, but the complete picture is awful. That can happen too.

To get the ball rolling because I know I'm going to get completely dismissed otherwise, this is what such an argument may look like:
An ambush allows a force of smaller, faster ships to bring superior forces to bear against lumbering big ships. The current deployment point system does the opposite. Bigger fleets allow more ships to be fielded, and larger ships grant a fleet a larger bonus against the enemy fleet. The trouble concerns how fleets are compared against each other. The total deployment points of both fleets are compared, and whoever has the absolutely larger fleet commands more ships on the battle space.
Solving this problem is easy. Delete the total DP comparison, and replace some kind of speed comparison. Perhaps total burn level? It makes sense that a fleet composed of many small fast ships has a higher level of tactical maneuvers at its disposal, and thus it has superior command of the battle space. The mechanic rewards these fast fleets by granting them more Deployment Points on the field. The larger, slower ships have less command of the battlefield, so they get lower deployment points as a result.

Will this play out the way we want? Maybe not. Most capital ships have burn levels of 7 or 8, while most frigates have burn levels around 9 or 10. The fast ships only have a small absolute numerical advantage over the big ships, a fleet of pure burn 9 ships only has a 30% advantage over an equal number of burn 7 ships. The mechanic would mostly favor having the maximum number of ships, since 30 ships is way better than 10 ships, but wouldn't necessarily favor fleets with a naturally high speed.

Suggestions / Re: Fleet cap discussion
« on: February 14, 2020, 05:56:28 AM »
Except I can only deploy about five of [capitals].
Stop playing on 500 fleet limit? The biggest problem with capital spam is inflating your fleet scale settings. If players can pack 5 capitals into a fight, they will. On default mode, each side gets ~150 DP for battle. That's room for 3 good capitals, which can get zerged down by a much wider array of smaller ships.

It would be nice for the cargo display to flash a warning when it's over capacity. That red "overcapacity" bar doesn't have to be visible to have a disastrous impact on your fleet.

It'd also be nice for the "loot all" button to be a less aggressive "max out inventory" button. There is practically no legitimate reason to go over inventory cap, as the penalties vastly outweigh the benefits. Would you prefer to spend 3 extra supplies/day to hold 50 extra metal? Forget it, you lose everything it was worth in 3 days. For the very FEW situations where a player might profit (such as you only have 25 inventory space, but you need to hold 30 synchrotron cores, oh no!) the player has no problem with forcing extra loot into their inventory.

Part of the trouble with looting is due to the fact that every loot operation is really more like 2-5 loots performed back to back. One minor annoyance with loot gets multiplied multiple times, making it seem far worse. I think that's going away in the next version, so you get one GOOD loot attempt and that's it.

Suggestions / Re: Hullmod thoughts
« on: February 13, 2020, 08:49:27 AM »
It does take a special effort to lose a large amount of crew on exploration. There aren't any events that drain crew, and there aren't many types of fights to worry about in deep space. There's even a few rare opportunities to pick up crew! Just stay away from the mean battles.

The biggest exploration fears come from fuel, supplies and overall cargo capacity. Starting off with a lot of fuel and supplies is good, but the long journeys are all about staying sustainable in deep space. A few key talents make the biggest difference here. Extra salvage, extra fuel, lower maintenance and lower fuel costs all provide dramatic boosts on the frontier. It's very easy for talents to be the tipping point between a gradual loss of supplies and a constant surplus. Having the right fleet also matters. Not too big that it eats all the supplies, not too small that it can't explore, and a lot of cargo space to boot. The salvage gantry and planet survey hullmods gain a lot of mileage for exploration, as well as extra cargo/fuel and efficiency packages. Boosting your slowest ships with military/adv. burn drive is also great to cover a lot of space.

 The rest of the hull mods don't really impact exploration in a directly useful way, other than keeping the fleet combat effective.

Suggestions / Re: Ambush Bickering
« on: February 13, 2020, 08:31:25 AM »
All rationale of the space ambush was already stated in this topic:
There's always room to debate rationale until the internet breaks. It's still lacking on the explicit rules that define gameplay.
I want ambush
Okay how
Just do lol
Doesn't help anyone.

If smaller pieces of a fleet can be attacked, they are no longer travelling as a fleet. The fleet bubble logic breaks down and you'd better justify it.

If map maneuvers enable an ambush, it is VERY difficult to define exactly what vectored motions are supposed to grant your fleet an initial advantage. Can players perform these maneuvers? Can the enemy? Those are not easy things to design.

If special activated abilities enable an ambush, it's VERY important to state what those rules are.  "Just ambush" isn't enough, there needs to be situations where the ability is or isn't valid, and considerations of attack vs. defense. Also it's important to figure out how the AI can perform such abilities.

There are several key mechanics of the ambush that need to be defined. How does it happen on the map? How does the battle start? How does the battle drag on? How does the battle end? Don't forget that no one's going to read the lore. Who has time for that? The players interact with the mechanics, and those determine if the play style is FUN.

So far there's a ton of discussion on the theory if small ships can kill big ships and that's not the point. That's so far from the point that it's pointless. In a traditional big scale battle, the main value of a fleet lies in its staying power. Slow beefy ships tend to have a lot of combat power, and they get additional benefits in terms of PPT and deployable DP. In an ambush battle, perhaps you're trying to flip those values on its head? Staying power and raw combat efficiency are no longer emphasized, and instead speed is the more defining attribute that determines victory. Can you define a battlefield space where speed is king? Speed certainly matters for pursuit battles, but that's probably not the ambush anyone is thinking of.

If the second in command had the authority to to pick and choose any ships they desired, they'd be the first in command.

General Discussion / Re: Fitting High-Tech Ships
« on: February 13, 2020, 06:16:07 AM »
No, its not possible. Flux vents dont affect flux build-up while in phase.
To expand on this, phase cloaking generates Hard Flux, which blocks venting while the phase cloak is up. It is perfectly possible (and extremely useful) to cool off soft flux during the cloak. In fact, you should only stay uncloaked to exclusively remove hard flux. Try to vent off the hard flux before generating a huge surge of soft flux (E.G. antimatters) and take advantage of the time accelerated soft flux recovery during the cloak. You'll spend less time exposed and vulnerable overall.

Defense systems 3 provides an ability to cool off hard flux at 0.1x your vent rating. Soft flux is always prioritized first, and it'll never surpass hard flux generation, however the reduction in hard flux is very potent. For example, take a Doom with 1000 venting and 500 base cloak upkeep. Defense systems 1 reduces the upkeep by 25%, requiring 375 upkeep (33% longer). Defense systems 3 will allow an additional 1000*0.1 => 100 hard flux deletion, providing 375-100 => 275 upkeep (81% longer!). Not a bad deal at all.

If you're feeling pretty feisty, consider the monitor hull mod which allows 0.5x hard flux recovery. Mod it to a phase ship and watch the world burn.  ;D

Have you seen the tournaments? Players essentially create a fleet according to the tournament rules, and face off against each other in a custom mission.

General Discussion / Re: System Administrators
« on: February 13, 2020, 06:01:26 AM »
Well. In the game lore, humanity has already reached the stars and developed tech that's even FASTER than hyperspace (the currently broken down gates). Many of their expansion efforts were pioneered by autonomous drones, utilizing the early ages of general purpose artificial intelligence. So by default, general purpose AI already exists. Trytachyon took things further, creating tech that matched the human brain. After reaching human intelligence, it's not a huge leap to surpass it by making the same thing but bigger. That led to a whole bunch of AI wars, spawning a few video games of the same name and shaping the current sector in game.

As fun as it is to wank humanity's superiority, this sci fi world explicitly states that a smart enough AI is superior to human intelligence. Even the dumbest ones are better at math of course, but the superior ones can analyze much stranger data such as fads, market predictions and design algorithms to both make better decisions and ultimately provide better administration than a human possibly can.

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