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Starsector 0.9.1a is out! (05/10/19); Updated the Forum Rules and Guidelines (02/29/20); Blog post: GIF Roundup (04/11/20)

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Messages - xenoargh

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Man, this stuff is all awesome!  I'll try and find some time to upload all this soon :)

Suggestions / Re: Combat readiness should be changed
« on: July 08, 2020, 10:42:06 PM »
Personally, I wouldn't mind having a Morale value that counteracts CR degradation.  Plusses when you finish an engagement without significant casualties, make a profit on a trade run, complete a mission... minuses for the opposites.  Goes gradually to median if you're not doing something exciting.

This would be a pretty nifty way to reward players who manage to keep busy and solve the chain-battle issues and provide a nifty new set of Skills, to boot.

Suggestions / Re: Maximum minimum armor
« on: July 08, 2020, 10:36:38 PM »
Just an aside:

I solved the problems with Frag in Rebal by making Frag do normal Flux damage vs. Form Shields.  This gave Form Shields (universally used by Fighters in Rebal) a signal disadvantage vs. Frag, which in turn gave Frag a distinct point... as well as letting players use Thumpers (which are kind of auto-shotguns in Rebal) to spank enemies using Form Shields with very efficient counters.  All of this fixed the major problems with Frag's concept and balance; I think it's worth using there.

To solve this in a more Vanilla-ish way:

Have a special rule for Frag, where they do quad damage vs. fighters (including Armor and Shields) and missiles and double damage against normal Hull, but aren't efficient for Flux-trading or killing Armor.  This would be in line with the other weapon types' special rules, and therefore less confusing, while making it totally clear what Frag's designed to do.

I.E., you could take a Thumper, make it 0.75 efficient (before miss-rates and all that) so that it's an unattractive weapon except against the targets it's meant to eat alive.  Nobody will use it for anything but the stated purpose; killing Fighters.  But it could be very good at that (IDK whether 4X damage would get it there, but probably).  The problem with the Thumper is there's absolutely nothing it's good enough at that I'd use one, period; having a straight-up Ballistic solution to fighters sounds like a good solution.

This would, of course, require a completely different set of stats for Frag weapons, especially the AOE stuff, but it's the AOE (reducing miss-rates very considerably) that has to be accounted for, not the damage per se, but it's not a big deal, honestly.

I think this is the right way to solve this problem.  Frag's been kept the same since Fighters largely didn't have Armor, let alone Shields; as time has passed, it's become almost entirely about its role as Flux-efficient PD.  Give it a bonus vs. Fighters and missiles explicitly and now it's a nice solid niche.

The other possible Vanilla-ish solutions would be:

Remove the Thumper or change it to another type entirely.  The Thumper has been on the list, of "top 10 weapons I'd never mount for serious play" since 0.54, lol.  Other than nostalgia, nobody will miss it.

Buff Thumper for no particular reason, then nerf again in 9 months when somebody figures out a niche build that works, like shieldless Enforcers with five of them or something equally ridiculous, lol.

Get rid of Armor for Fighters, buffing hitpoints where it's reasonable to keep Low Tech viable.  High Tech Fighters still have a major advantage vs. Low Tech PD, but it's not as egregious and they'll get killed if they run out of Flux.

Oh, and whoever said that Locusts aren't the best missile... honestly, I think you may want to mess with them more.  They're the best missile atm.  Really.  Because they do the two things missiles should be really good for:  killing smaller threats and wasting enemy Flux killing them off.  That second part is why they're pretty awesome, honestly; a Locust swarm in the midst of the enemy can lay waste to more Flux indirectly than any weapon in the game, other than perhaps a perfect Sabot strike, can directly.  In a game where Flux-locking is the main objective, that's a win.

Suggestions / Re: Overwhelming new players
« on: July 06, 2020, 03:52:58 PM »
Personally, I think the game should have several options to turn on / off at any time during play.

Easy should consist of:

*Quartered cost in Supplies and Fuel for all CR recovery.
*Half price for crew costs.
*Doubled loot, or doubled prices for loot taken.
*Current damage system.

These should be optional, but they'd help a lot, by reducing the amount of time players spend concentrating on basic logistics, and emphasizing the core loop of the Fun.  Yes, it'd be Easy Mode; that's kind of the point.

Discussions / Re: Just wanted to check in...
« on: April 02, 2020, 06:19:24 PM »
We're at day 12 of complete self-isolation here, lol.  It's a bit surreal; the weather's nice, people are outside, kids are playing, but... we're all staying apart.  It's like 28 Days Later, only The Infected are just... normal people, lol.

Thankfully, this appears to be working; the rate of infections has been slowing and the doctors / nurses / etc. I know are not panicked any more, thank goodness.  Wherever you are in the world, folks; even if your government doesn't take this thing seriously, please do!

Discussions / Just wanted to check in...
« on: March 31, 2020, 03:32:31 PM »
...and express my wishes that all of you are safe and sound, staying home and healthy if you possibly can.

Suggestions / Re: More tiers on bounties
« on: February 18, 2020, 03:50:43 PM »
I broadly agree
Yeah, I'll take that. 

Compiling real numbers for that would involve a lot of hard math or some sort of headless testing environment to do ELO with.  It's pretty impractical and Alex's forthcoming changes to Skills and ship and weapon balance will just upset the apple-cart anyhow.  Ideally, we just talk about how to get the two weaker ships roughly to parity.

Suggestions / Re: More tiers on bounties
« on: February 18, 2020, 03:45:03 AM »
<checks self>

Whoops, something was wrong there.  Paragon comes out on top, for supplies/rec. 

But the Odyssey is still billed with the Astral, lol.  It should maybe be billed below the Conquest; that's getting into argument-worthy territory there.

In all seriousness... at some point, these numbers should make sense.  They don't.  A Conquest is not 8/9th of an Astral.  Maybe 5/9ths? 

That example's just one of many; these numbers don't have much basis in the reality of play; they hardly even make sense in theorycrafting Sim fights.

Here, let's put it another way. 

Let's say, for the sake of argument, that:

The Paragon, unchanged in any other way, has its FP / DP set to, say, 100.  All other ships are now indexed to the Paragon, as our "stable unit of value". 

What are the worths of every other ship in the game, with the notable exceptions of the Doom, Afflictor and Hyperion, because they're all still kind of broken in player hands? 

I mean, if I had to do this real fast, I'd probably go for:

Paragon: 100
Astral: 90
Legion: 80
Conquest: 65
Odyssey: 65
Onslaught: 60

These are all arguable, but they're based on what's currently happening in a typical, non-Sim, campaign fight, where EMP is sometimes ruinously good, Flux-locking in fleet actions often determines the win, etc.  The Legion's higher because it gets first strike against anything but the Astral and Paragon; sometimes that's enough, if bombs / torpedos land. 

Odyssey, for all of its weakness, rates higher than an Onslaught for serious play, simply because it's not going to get nuked by EMP or charge directly into disaster sometimes, and it has the range advantage, if nothing else.  Same with the Conquest, where yup, it's bad on paper and often in practice, but it's passable for putting Hard Flux on things at long range and stacked right, it gets missile kills and the Ballistics are just bonus damage.  Dunno; guess we can all argue that X is slightly less meh than Y here.

In my mind, the three representative Era battleship designs (Paragon, Conquest and Onslaught) should all be different-but-equal 100's in AI hands.  The Odyssey's the odd man out; it's always been meh in all but expert hands, arguably OK there as a focused fly-swatter.  None of them should be, "newbie, avoid" or seriously impact Faction balance.  It would make for better play; right now certain Factions feel significantly worse-off than others.  But that's not what we have today.

General Discussion / Re: Any solution for UI scaling?
« on: February 18, 2020, 03:31:28 AM »
But will it work at 4K+?  And will zoom levels be adjusted to compensate?

The game's almost ridiculously oversized in every way (fleet-level zoom in particular feels, well, cramped, can't speak to combat zoom because I haven't had that at defaults for like, 6 years) at 3840X2160.  It's probably time to just let people zoom out to whatever, honestly.

Suggestions / Re: More tiers on bounties
« on: February 18, 2020, 03:21:36 AM »
Odd, that may be my bad on that; I may have saved an edit to Vanilla's FP CSV at some point.  I'll do a clean install and re-check.

Just one player piloted Hyperion can kill the Paragon, both skill-less. This does exploit the fact that Paragon does not keep shield up constantly (as would make sense in such duel).
I think that counts as "bone-headed mistake by AI" rather than "skilled human play", and it means very little in a world where if that Paragon isn't piloted by a Captain with Shield 3, that's a misuse of a Paragon, lol.  But allll right, in Sim, no Skills, sure.

Suggestions / Re: More tiers on bounties
« on: February 18, 2020, 02:27:44 AM »
I think that one of the things pointed out by the OP is largely right:  the amount of weighting given to Officer quality seems... a bit on the optimistic side. 

Sure, Officer quality matters.  But that much, vs. the weight of metal you're bringing to the party?  No.

But the other thing that surely matters here is that, well, the FP value of ships, which is, honestly, what ships should be balanced around, is all over the place in terms of the combat power of ships vs. their cost to deploy

There is some rough correlation between power and FP cost, but it's, erm, rough. 

The Paragon at 30 is less than 10% more expensive than an Onslaught at 28?

3 Medusas equal a Paragon and an escorting frigate? 

Then let's look at combat deployment cost, where this gets really odd.

An Odyssey costs 50% more than a Paragon?  Because, uh...

I for one have not ever found these numbers made much sense, and they make even less sense when (P) (D).  A typical Capital, vs. a typical Destroyer, should cost, in FP and cost-to-deploy, roughly the number of Destroyers it would take to have a 50/50 chance of engaging it successfully, AI vs. AI.  Maybe these numbers made sense at some point... and for the player-piloted wonder-ships, maybe they still do.  Like, sure, a Hyperion can kill a Falcon, piloted by a player.  Can two player-piloted Hyperions kill one Paragon?  Uh, well... probably not, unless the AI does something truly bone-headed.

Wow, the rx5700 is really problematic, driver-wise, thus far.  Not just Linux; several games on Steam mention pretty severe issues / crashes.  Looks like AMD will need to patch those drivers asap.

Suggestions / Re: Ambush Bickering
« on: February 12, 2020, 03:38:30 AM »
How are you supposed to perform or get ambushed on the strategic layer? The distance between fleets on the map represents several hours or even days of burn travel. It doesn't make sense for an ambushing action to happen in open space.

If the ambushing setup is something like "hide inside an asteroid field and wait for prey", how is the player meant to ever accomplish such a maneuver?
A couple of ideas:

1.  Make it a Skill:  Prepare Ambush
Acts like Going Dark, but even better, but:
A.  Your movement speed is basically zero.
B.  You get bonuses to hiding if in an asteroid belt, Hyperspace cloud, etc.
C.  When in Ambush Mode, you can intercept nearby fleets with a much wider radius than usual, simulating how you'd "leap out of hiding".  Should probably cost a little bit of Fuel and CR.  Radius would have to be drawn.

Give said skill to the AI.  Now Pirates, instead of chasing people, go to good ambush spots and hide.  More realistic and much more interesting.

2.  Make it a contextual thing.  We have the ability to interact with practically any TokenAPI objects.  Why not give a special dialogue / option for good hiding spots?  This is a bit of an issue to do with AI, as it would be a whole new subsystem for them and the player that didn't interact.

3.  Another Skill idea:  "ECM Dump".  Primary usage:  rapidly conceals player from view from anything in between an area (where said ECM is deployed by drones or whatever) and other fleets.  Stays in place for a few hours.  Does not block all view of the player, just LOS.
If player is in the ECM and a fleet enters, player can engage in an ambush.
Give same Skill to AI; let them use it when player is attempting to chase their fleets down and has a higher speed.  Lets AI use Ambush tactical choice to, perhaps, damage player's logistics badly-enough to stop pursuit.

Other thoughts:  In general, the game needs ways for Pirates, especially, to hide and surprise the player.  I'm much less concerned with making these Skills wonderful for the player, but giving players additional tools (and in this case, things to give the game another distinct playstyle, as well as enhancing smuggler builds, traders trying to avoid trouble, etc. is just icing on the cake).  As it is, Going Dark is useful for avoidance of enemies, but has practically zero use as an offensive ability; this would add offensive layers to "being hidden" as well as defensive benefits (ambushers get the choice of what type of engagement to do).


  - Implement customize json object output order. The objects in ship/variant/weapon files now list in more human-readable orders.
Oh, thank you very much!  I look forward to testing this when I get the chance.

Suggestions / Re: Ambush Bickering
« on: February 11, 2020, 03:27:15 AM »
What purpose would ambush mechanic serve other than frustrating the player with constant ambushes?
It'd add real risk to Travel (which is one of the major problems with the game design, as things stand).  Small fleets of fast-movers might have a point against your lumbering all-capship fleet; if you don't have escorts, you could lose your logistics ships.  Sure, most players in regular mode will F9, but for players in Iron Mode, it'll be a really meaningful mechanic and change play style, and not in a bad way.

AI logistics ships are just for show, destroying them gains you nothing
This has always bothered me.  We destroy fleets of transports and fuel tankers; we cannot get them to surrender and we cannot get the goods they were hauling in reasonable amounts.  This is just one of those areas of the game that should get polished up at some point.  I get that it's not a high priority item vs. the big stuff Alex is working on now, but surrendering should definitely be a thing.

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