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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 - HELMUT

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Suggestions / Re: Bring Plasma Cannon Back
« on: May 08, 2019, 03:09:51 AM »
I also miss the old plasma cannon. Although the new one is arguably better, more efficient, more reliable, safer. But firing what is basically a heavy pulse laser doesn't quite have the panache of the space BFG of old.

One of my most vivid Starsector memory was the first time i encountered a quad Plasma cannon Paragon. It was with Dynasector since variant randomisation wasn't a thing yet. I was used to bully standard Paragons variants with an Onslaught. And that day, i faced it, with its four big guns, slowly turning to face me.

"I think i should be able to take it, i'll go close to it and... Yeah, yeah, nope, no, definitely not! Change of tactics! Oh @$%& this isn't going as planned!"

It's not often when getting fired upon by a gun was a cathartic as firing it. Despite my nostalgia for the old BFG, i'm pretty okay if the new one stay. Moreover, if i'm really craving for something big, expensive, unwieldy that shoot death, some mods added their own plasma cannon variants that also scratch that same itch.

Mods / Re: Starship Legends - Personality for Your Ships and Crew
« on: May 03, 2019, 12:12:20 PM »
One on hand, this seems like a refined version of the Extra Systems mod, and i really want to try that.

On the other hand, i should probably wait for the inevitable others gameplay-change mods you'll release after this one before playing. I mean, this is your fourth one, you won't stop there right?

Joke aside, i'm not super sure with the way negative traits are gained depending on hull damage either. Yes, i do fly my ships like a Pather, and no, i won't compromise my reckless piloting for something as trivial as self-preservation.

But the bonuses! I want them! Although i admit i'm not sure what would be the solution either... I am against the solution of "repetition until mastered" like Trei suggested. I spent too much time in Skyrim afk-hitting a mammoth with a stick to increase my one-handed skill already.

Maybe the gained traits can depends on a battle end-result? Coming out of a fight half-alive at the top of a mountain of your foe's skulls would probably net you better traits than coming out half-alive without firing a single shot.

The combat analytics mod by Nick allow for some pretty impressive stat recording during battle. Perhaps something similar could be exploited to determine the traits one ship can gain depending on its performance? That way i could still behave like a glory hound while spacing half of my crew.

I don't think the nebula effect was removed because the AI couldn't exploit it, but rather because it wasn't fun.

In theory, using the battlefield to your advantage to beat an opponent is a good thing, it's fun, even if it means another handicap to the AI. In practice, it's too random and complicated to pull it off in the campaign.  The only time i managed to exploit and get a noticeable advantage from the environnement was during missions, thanks to their handcrafted environnement that suits the battle. But i never managed to do it with noticeable effect in the campaign.

The first thing that would come to mind would be "buff the environnement!" to compensate for the lackluster impact of nebulas. But buff it too much, and you end up getting a feature the player can abuse like those that Megas listed above. It would force the player to exploit it over and over to get that big impact, which would inevitably reduce the potential amount of "fun". Moreover, trying to find the proper balance for something randomly generated in the campaign would take a lot of trial and error testing.

Hence, the reason i suppose Alex dropped it. Not worth the effort to keep, nor the effort to balance it this late in the development.

I wouldn't mind seeing a modder take a shot at it though...

Suggestions / Re: General Feedback / Thoughts
« on: April 25, 2019, 12:32:26 PM »
I would really like for the ability to target friendly ships through the battle command UI.

That little guy here :

Why? Because i noticed that it's possible to send fighters to escort a targeted ally. Fighter range usually reach beyond the limit of the screen, especially for long range fighters like Thunders. Hence the wish for targeting allies from the command UI.

Technically, it's possible to do that using the "show video feed" option then manually targeting the ship, but the clunky-ness of doing it that way start to show after the twentieth time or so.

Another request would be to leave unchecked by default the "Upgrade weapons using extra OPs" option in the autofit menu. I'm fairly sure i'm not the only one being caught by surprise that way.

General Discussion / Re: Soloing the Remnant Battlestation (Updated)
« on: March 10, 2019, 10:13:52 AM »
With the 0.9 update, came some new fancy death engines from Alex and David to slay. I hesitated for a while, thinking if making this post was worth the effort. But it's sunday and i have nothing better to do, so let's just do it.

After defeating the 0.8 final boss, i wanted to try something a bit harder. Stronger than the Remnant Nexus, we now have Star Fortresses, bigger, badder, tougher. Let's go monster hunting. The rules are the same as before, the only ship allowed is the SWP Excelsior (with a new, shiny sprite by Tartiflette!). The skills used are pretty much the same as before, the ship loadout is different though, the EMP vent trick doesn't seems to work against the new space stations, so i'll have to fight with my guns only.


A few tweaks here and there depending on what opponent i faced, but the main idea is here.

I'll also talk a bit more about the how and why of the battle, but let's begin with the first opponent : the Jangala mid-tech Star fortress !

A tough one, whose main strength is its ability to unleash a storm of missiles after me. Both a blessing and a curse, i can use its excessive firepower to power the Excelsior, but using the phase shunt (the projectile absorber) at the wrong moment will guarantee an overload, and depending on my positioning, a sudden drop in my life-expectancy.

The star fortress taught me a few things about flying the Excelsior, about how to pick my targets. There are three things i look for when facing an opponent : What is dangerous to me? What is Useless to me? What is important to me?
From that, i know which targets i have to pick first, in that order : Dangerous>Useless>Important.

For exemple, what is "dangerous" is what can kill me easily (duh), what is "useless" is what i can't make use of, what is "important" is what i must use to power my ship.

Unfortunately, what is "dangerous" also tends to be what is "important", since things that can kill me can also be exploited by the phase shunt. In the case of this Star Fortress, the dangerous targets are the side modules with the Trebuchets LRMs that are the most likely to overload and kill me, but are also invaluable as they provide a large and reliable amount of flux. Therefore, i have to leave them for the last, so they can power me for the entire duration of the fight.

The useless here, is the carrier module. It doesn't have enough firepower to keep me going, and it also must die in order to defeat the space station. Also come with a hint of dangerous, while the Warthogs are too slow and lack sufficient alpha strike to threaten me. The Kopeshes are more problematic, and will relentlessly hound me. Their tendency to go straight at me, with the Trebuchets LRMs swirling around macross style, don't leave me much room to manœuvrer. This one must go down first.

As seen in the video, the Reapers are not used to kill, but to strip armor. The Excelsior's guns exceptional DPS lack armor penetration, hence the use of torpedoes to lay the hull bare for my Flux Shunt Cannons. So far the only way i found to kill a star fortress quick enough before running out of CR. I have to be quick, or i won't be able to drill through all those armor modules, but too eager, and i'll get boxed-in by Trebuchets, Kopeshes and mines.

Speaking of mines, some might have noticed some weird explosions on the station without my intervention. I noticed that the Mid-tech Star fortress's mines tends to slowly drift in the last position of the target. By flying very close to the station, the mines will have the tendency to drop toward it, and with some luck, damaging it. Sometimes, it's not a bad idea to fly next to a close one to voluntarily trigger it and cause friendly fire on the station.

Once the carrier module is gone, the main battery platform is next. The Mjolnirs with their fast, accurate projectiles are too dangerous to be left last, i need to kill it now by exploiting the two remaining missiles modules. Being the toughest module, it takes a while to bring it down. Once it is done, the two side pods are relatively "easy" to take on, just need some patience.

And now for opponent number 2 : The Eochus Bres High-tech Star fortress.

This one is a weird beast. A total glass cannon compared to its mid-tech sibling, it make up for it with its ability to spam an ungodly amount of mines. The first few seconds of the battle, despite looking relatively peaceful, are probably where i died the most. The Star Fortress have no qualms about spawning mines straight on top of my ship, and each mine is a one-hit kill. And if i overload, all the modules will go crazy with the mines, surrounding me with up to a dozen mines!

Fortunately, mines are long range only weapons, and the station won't (usually) spawn them if i'm sticking close to it. The Gargoyles drones are roughly delimiting the no man's land, beyond that, death is assured. Close range isn't exactly a safe zone either, fighting that closely to something with Autopulses can be quite perilous as well, but less unfair at least.

From the get go, i'm sniping the citadel module, the dangerous one, with torpedoes, exploiting the splash damage to weaken the weapon platform hiding behind it. Once it is done, i can follow in with the carrier module (the useless one) that doesn't offer me enough flux. Plus i was very nervous flying around a bunch of Cobras, it was unlikely they could hit me, but they certainly could overload me, better getting rid of this one quickly.

And then, the second gun battery module (the important one), i screwed up my first attempt at killing it, forcing me to wait in a long, awkward pause for the shield opening to come back.

You'll notice i mainly used the mines to power up the Excelsior here. Baiting the station by getting a bit too far, just enough for it to spawn two or three mines to eat, and going back in. Once i got the trick, the high-tech star fortress proved to be surprisingly easy-ish.

For the third opponent, the Coatl battle station :

Wait, that's not star fortress! Well, yeah, i know, i know... But this one is probably the toughest of the three, and after a few attempts to take down the Chicomoztoc low-tech Star fortress... Yeah, nah, not gonna bother. fundamentally, it's the same as the battle station, just with more armor, which is the problem.

(mind you, i'm fairly sure it is possible to beat it, just ridiculously hard)

The low-tech battle station is a battle of endurance. Its heavy armor make it incredibly difficult to take down, and where the other two space stations only have four modules to destroy to win, this one have six! This is a race against the clock, no time for caution, every seconds must not be wasted.

So, what is dangerous here? The citadel module with Mjolnirs/Gauss, while not deadly, is definitely an annoying because of its wide side coverage, the Gauss will be bothersome when i'll try to fight the carrier modules. Fortunately not too important to power up my ship either.

What is useless? The PD modules, nothing but flaks, vulcans and salamanders, not useful to me, and fortunately extremely vulnerable. They must go down first and quickly, the citadel will be second to give me room to breath.

What is important? The carrier modules are quite useful with their Piranhas and Pilums, but the main gun battery give me more flux. I decided to take down the carrier modules first, although i would use them to weaken the combat module before. After nearly 9 minutes of punching through that hunk of metal, it finally goes down.

Phew, alright, that's enough of that goddamn soul-sucking ship for now. I guess i can get back to playing normal Starsector for once.

Announcements / Re: Starsector 0.9.1a (In-Dev) Patch Notes
« on: February 01, 2019, 10:26:54 AM »
  • Ships with "Militarized Subsystems" no longer get increased maintenance from capacity-increasing logistics hullmods
    • And can have Safety Overrides

RIDE THE LIGHTNING I am actually against this change. As much as i want to field a stampede of SO Buffalo MK.II, allowing SO with Militarized Subsystems make it a no-brainer for freighters/tankers. The massive speed boost make it invaluable in retreat scenarios. A Tarsus can fit both MS and SO, allowing it to fly at a blazing 125 su, faster than a Lasher! And that's without counting the burn drive. Not all civilian ships have the OPs available for those two hullmods though, only the tankers , the Tarsus, the Valkyrie... Haven't checked them all.

But yeah, i think it's too good, civilians ships's survivability would be vastly increased with this combo.

  • Harbinger: changed 3 medium hardpoints to "energy" (was: "synergy")

The beast is dead! Like Serenitis, i kinda expected it to keep one synergy to allow for some variety. I think the Harbinger would now move more into a support role with its three energy hardpoints, with something like Ion Pulsers to annoy bigger threats, or heavy blasters to hunt smaller targets. The triple AM Blaster boat is another idea, an easier, but more expensive variant of the blaster Afflictor.

Overall, i really like all the listed changes, 0.9.1 is going to feel much smoother to play.

Mods / Re: [0.9a] Underworld 1.3.0b
« on: February 01, 2019, 09:33:29 AM »
that makes me really upset

Sounds like it's working as intended.

What's the real problem with it though? The Cabal always have been trying to steal the player's most precious stuff. In your exemple it doesn't seems all that different from usual. And it's not like you can't fight or run.

For me, a "true" full phase fleet wasn't a fun experience. You'll bleed supplies at an alarming rate, and only the Shade is really useful when fielded in higher number (the Doom too, technically, but it's not like you'll be able to afford it for several battle in a row). Worst, you'll end up stuck piloting a Typhoon Harbinger, forever and ever. It's just too good compared to everything else.

As for other unusual strategies, it's something i like to do from time to time, so here's what i did and what i found fun.

- Hardcore salvaging : recover every single ships you come across, with the ship limit removed (to keep it fun for late game). Throwing a swarm of barely functional, under-equipped junk ships into the meatgrinder is unexpectedly joyful.

- Autopilot only : you'll have to rely only on orders to influence the battle. I wrote a little bit about it. Extremely difficult early on though, it's probably better to start normal then go for this mode after acquiring a few ships.

- Shieldless run : Require the Ship and Weapon Pack mod. The mod add a "Shield Bypass" hullmod that removes shields but improved the flux dissipation depending on the original shield upkeep (i think?). Obviously a bit tricky to play, for me it did encourage a more agressive playstyle as a shieldless fleet cannot win an endurance battle.

- Pather run : mandatory Safety Override for everything, force you to play aggressive and smart, as you'll need to set the proper elimination orders to finish quickly a battle. Combine it with the Hardcore Salvaging strat if you're looking for absolute chaos (and shieldless run if you're that kind of sicko).

- Stampede : Buffalo MK.II only. You can add the Mongrel and Amalgam with SWP Edit : the Underworld mod (thanks Retry) if you want (Underworld isn't updated yet, but a new version shouldn't take too long to come out now). It is exactly as you would expect it.

- Excelsior run : Also require SWP. Turn Starsector into an arcade game at the cost of your sanity.

Your new sprites are so damn pretty.

I do not use Safety Override on Harbinger.  Harbinger's peak performance is already short enough without it.

You should try, the huge mobility boost is really nice, and the improved flux dissipation makes things easier during tricky situations where you have to cloak/de-cloak under fire. And it's not like you need that much peak performance to fire your 5 (10) shots into whatever you want dead then retreat.

I kinda like Histidine's suggestion about a stronger Interdictor Array. Although being stalked by an AI Harbinger that want to make your life miserable might get frustrating, especially if it's a guaranteed flameout.

I'm curious about that phase tanking idea too, like some kind of cloaked damper field.

Being really strong isn't the Harbinger's problem, being boring is.

As Megas said, the reaper boat loadout is just so overwhelmingly better than the rest. With expanded missile racks, that's potentially 10 destroyed enemy ships from the get go in any battle. I single handedly stopped raids and took down battle stations with the simple QD/Torpedo combo, and it is not only fast, it's also easy to do. As someone said on the discord at some point, once you get a Harbinger, the game change from a challenge to a grind. You repeat the same routine of assassinating the flagship over and over again, all with little risk.

Of course, i could try something else. A Blaster/Phase lance/Ion pulser variant isn't bad at all, but is lightyears below a reaper build when it comes to burst damage, and if you're planning to use this loadout for prolonged engagements, delicate machinery and time dilatation will wreck your CR, limiting your influence on the battlefield.

Quantum Disruptor is the problem. It wasn't that bad with the Afflictor thanks to the very limited ammo from small reaper launchers. Fielding an assassin Afflictor was viable, but risky when you can screw up your single (two) chances. But with the Harbinger? A bit too easy, and it get boring quick.

Announcements / Re: Starsector 0.9a (Released) Patch Notes
« on: November 17, 2018, 01:31:37 AM »
Just wanted to say thank you for this update Alex. It just feels so weird now after all this time, my mind is still stuck in 0.8.

"That Nexerelin battlestation sure looks weir- Oh, oh... 0.9, i forgot, again."

Mods / Re: [0.8.1a] Ship/Weapon Pack 1.7.2
« on: October 24, 2018, 04:34:26 AM »
The sprite was just old, sometimes we try to rework some of the old stuff to bring it up to the current standard. Other ships sprites will also be reworked for a future release (Punisher, Excelsior, maybe Vanguard again).

Announcements / Re: Starsector 0.9a (In-Dev) Patch Notes
« on: October 21, 2018, 01:30:51 AM »
The Tempest has a bit too much.

On the other hand, the Tempest now cost as much as a Hammerhead to deploy. Moreover, while its overall firepower increased, it probably won't be as flexible as before. Ion Pulser Terminator drone was pretty crazy, even more so when there was several of them freely roaming the battlefield. It's still going to be one of the strongest frigate, probably the strongest to use for the AI, but not as obscene as now.

Do only my PD weapons gain a 50% damage bonus to missiles?  Or can some of my other weapons, if they somehow manage to hit a missile by some big fluke, also gain that damage bonus?  (For example: Does my Storm Needler benefit from the damage bonus so I can turn it into an improvised sabot killer?)

By "all PD weapons" for the 3rd and 4th changes, are we including the PD weapons that were converted to PD as a result of change #1?  (For example: Will my Tactical Laser also ignore decoy flares, just like my PD laser?

All weapons get the vs-missile bonus, so it'll include the storm needler. All PD weapons get the "ignores decoy flares" bonus, which does indeed include weapons granted PD status by the hullmod.

IPDAI Tac laser with the buffed Advanced Turret Gyros Is going to be reaaaaally strong now. Also, with the IPDAI Damage buff against missiles, i can already see myself doing big side swipes with a tachyon lance to delete an entire wave of missiles.

Announcements / Re: Starsector 0.9a (In-Dev) Patch Notes
« on: October 20, 2018, 03:07:04 PM »
So many things, so many new cool things. Okay, just this question for this evening :

Doom: new ship system, "Mine Strike", spawns high-damage, high-delay proximity fuse mines
Huge buff overall
Harbinger: system changed to Quantum Disruptor
Afflictor: system changed to Entropy Amplifier

What will happen to the Doom's old Interdictor Array? With the new Mine Strike system, and the two other phase ships system swap, i kinda expected the Shade to inherit it.

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