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Starsector 0.9.1a is out! (05/10/19); Blog post: Personal Contacts (08/13/20)

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Messages - nomadic_leader

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1
General Discussion / Re: Are Black Holes too forgiving?
« on: January 05, 2019, 06:00:22 AM »
Anyway, combat is a minigame too, and it's too aged and broken by performance limitations to really be the heart of the game. So more stuff in campaign is good.

Combat is also meant to be the heart of the game as per Alex's own stated goals: though there are other ways to play, the game revolves around combat and how to make it interesting/attractive for the player.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Authorial_intent#Literary_theory
What Alex intended matters less than what the game as produced actually is. Anyway, probably grist for another thread of its own.

Quote
In essence, I'm not entirely disagreeing. Just that the rewards near black holes would need to justify the increased level of danger (risk/reward balance)

Yea. Well, the economy and scarcity levels of the game are totally out of whack-- players can easily gather up tonnes of rare items and find 100s of ships just lying around the galaxy (or buy them for one mission's worth of cash), and achieve absurd levels of power in excess of every faction in the game within relatively few hours of play.

The difficulty curve is broken. One component of fixing it could be to make black holes serve a purpose besides window dressing, by making them more dangerous and more rewarding, by concentrating drops of some rare items near them.

It also would make sense to add some campaign abliities/hullmods that allow the player to take advantage of the relativistic effects and outlier physics near blackholes in order to synthesize some useful materials like transplutonics or whatever.

2
Or, someone could make a mod that fixes the broken economy, fleet management, and balance of the game, so that most  ships used are frigates or destroyers, not capitals as it should be.

3
General Discussion / Re: Are Black Holes too forgiving?
« on: January 04, 2019, 05:37:52 AM »
Might be a good idea. If you'd read his (rather unnecessarily) long post, he said he wanted some basic orbital mechanics for navigating near to black holes, kinda like orbital slingshotting and so forth I suppose. Basically necessitating some planning for your flight path to get near a black hole.

If the procedural generation tends to place high value derelicts and research stations near black holes, they should be a little challenging and dangerous to get to, besides just losing supplies if you touch the hole. Not to mention the possibility that modders could add mechanics and abilities allowing the player to synthesize various goods while near a black hole, further incentivizing players for going near them.

More stuff to do in the campaign layer is a good thing. The deft click-work used to maneuver your fleet through the orbital challenge to a research station near a black hole is roughly the same skills you use to hide in landscape, sneak past enemy patrols to get to a hypergate while running dark, etc.

Everyone here think it's brilliant rhetoric to say "you're asking for a minigame!" since its an orthodoxy of these forums that "minigame bad." But in this case it's not a minigame. Anyway, combat is a minigame too, and it's too aged and broken by performance limitations to really be the heart of the game. So more stuff in campaign is good.

4
Modding / Re: Editing .csv files
« on: December 22, 2018, 06:15:52 AM »
Just for the record, old versions of excel also screw things up on OSX.

For free text editors, there's Atom, and on the Mac BBedit.  If anyone use the Eclipse IDE, there's also a CSV editor plugin you can get for that

Probably though, the OpenOffice is the best free one since being able to filter/sort and do other spreadsheet stuff can be pretty useful if you have a big file.

5
Suggestions / Re: Auto-Retreat and Map Zones
« on: December 22, 2018, 05:49:03 AM »
@ nomadic_leader:  It seems like Cyan Leader wants battlefield to play like Star Control 2, minus the killer planet that you cannot see until you slam into it.

Thanks, but i've never played that game, so that means nothing to me.

However, Cyan Leader himself explained it fairly well and it sounds like it could be interesting.

6
Suggestions / Re: Increase planetary stocks
« on: December 22, 2018, 05:45:00 AM »
What is realistic about a freelancer guy creating a interstellar empire over night?
What is realistic about superpowers even letting you field powerful starships (each of which is a WMD in it's own right)?
What is realistic about a single new colony out-producing half the galaxy?
What is realistic about all superpowers acting exactly the same?

At least it's realistic that other powers don't like it when you do try to become a superpower. If they didn't care, it would make the game more boring. It gets some fundamentals right, even if there are a lot of screw ups.

7
Suggestions / Re: Re-working command points and fleet command
« on: December 21, 2018, 08:43:32 AM »
It would be pretty easy... trivial, even, to make a mod that sets the default command point max to 1, but makes it recharge very quickly.

Would that be a useful mod for exploring this topic?

(Also I know it's not exactly relevant, but
Automation is BS, even at SS levels of technology it's still probably cheaper and more reliable just to have dude load a shell into a gun rather than some complicated automatic feeder mechanism that introduces a bunch of new failure points.
we have autoloaders for pretty big shells with today's level of technology, and we've had them for a fairly long while now.  Starsector has autofeed guns for certain, given some of the rotating barrel weapons - the assault chaingun for example, we can make a ballpark guess at scale from the hound drawing and say that gun is pretty BIG on a human scale, and it must go through hundreds, maybe thousands of shells per minute)

Yea, making a mod to kill CP would probably be helpful, and not that tricky, as you say.

As for the automation, yes modern turrets are largely automatic but they tend to be smaller. SS ships seem to have enormous turrets plus basically unlimited ammo. It seems more like battleships in the 50s or something, with a bunch of little guys running around here and there with bundles of propellant.

In any case, big ships in starsector have enourmous crew, they must be doing something -- fixing the autoloader when it jams? calculating trajectories? doing math? So the latency/order queue thing does kinda make sense.

8
Suggestions / Re: Auto-Retreat and Map Zones
« on: December 21, 2018, 08:29:53 AM »
It'd have to be totally reworked. Something like a ship only being able to retreat anywhere on the map but only if not under attack for a number of seconds and then burning out (and disappearing once far enough). Another idea, which I prefer more, would be to have the ship stay still once ordered to retreat and charge their burn drives (just like how Sustained Burn works, consistency!) but take X% more damage while doing it and have their shields down. Maybe larger ships would take longer and such.

Just some ideas, I have no clue if they'd be preferable to what we have now or not.

Ok... so you just "jump to hyperspace", rather than having to go to an edge of the map? This is a nice idea. The shields have to drop and the ship stands still a while before jumping. So this means instead of tedious "fleeing to the top of the map" retreat combats, the fleets could spawn closer to each other, and then they'd have to jump to hyperspace as they can. or maybe if another ship got near a jumping ship, it interrupts their jump drive? Or there could be special interdiction ships that could block hyperspace jumping in a radius around itself?

But would this solve the problem of ships chasing each other to the end of the map and silly combats happening at the edges/corners?

9
Suggestions / Re: Blending drive field travel and in-combat travel
« on: December 21, 2018, 08:21:11 AM »
Good luck doing that with open gl 1.1. Sadly the version that SS is using is OLD AS HELL and before you ask, no it would not be able to be upgraded without a complete rebuild of the game AFAIK

Basically, performance means the game can't fulfill the implicit promise of battles between large fleets. Instead it's just little duels. People say starsector combat is great; but the design of combat (having to show every turret, every armor square, every decal) prevents it from scaling to the size of fleets commonly found even in vanilla.

We will enjoy the game for what it does offer though. For the sequel however, it should use some autoresolve slight of hand to be less computationally expensive. Two AI ships fighting each other on the corner of the map are basically just autoresolving anyway. Bigger, more tactically complex battles would be cool.

If the problem is bad deployment rules, why not just fix the deployment rules?

I don't really agree that there needs to be a "fluid transition" what exactly does this achieve besides setting back other, more important development tasks by a year?

Well, there shouldn't be deployment rules, there should just be  deploying all, but that's impossible due to performance limits. 2nd choice is splitting some ships off into another, vulnerable fleet some distance away on the campaign map.

About the fluidity  I mean combat merely happening when you run into an enemy in campaign, rather than having to stop the action to go through all these dialogues trees about outmaneuvering and mothballs and CR  and then again after action dialogues. Combat is a minigame as it is now. I guess people are fine with it because other roleplaying games or mount and blade do this overworld/combat dichotomy; but the whole paradigm could be much improved. Getting the fundamental ingredients of the game to work better with each other is more interesting to me than another new mechanic.

10
Suggestions / Re: Auto-Retreat and Map Zones
« on: December 20, 2018, 08:57:59 AM »
It's been suggested and debated before, but I still think some sort of pseudo infinite/looping battlefield would be the best way to solve border problems.

Can you give me an idea of how this would work?

11
Suggestions / Re: Blending drive field travel and in-combat travel
« on: December 20, 2018, 08:56:12 AM »
Hmm, I'd rather have bigger, more interesting battles and lose all the eye candy like armor decals. Having giant fleets that you can't use them because of performance issues is a bit of a bother.

Anyway, given the limitations, we could instead do it this way, basically the same as in my earlier post in this thread except:

The rules for deploying/not deploying are the same as now, but any ships you don't deploy spawn as a little baby fleet on the campaign map some distance behind you, the way the retreating ships do as well.

As for XazoTak, to modify his suggestion, maybe just being able to order around elements of your fleet on the campaign map, and have them engage in autoresolved battles. Something like that would be nice. Right now, campaign doesn't really have an interface for this though.

In fact, next time around (starsector 2) it might be nice if there were more interface/control continuity between campaign and combat, rather than playing so much like different games. With a bit of sleight of hand and autoresolve, you could make the transition between campaign and combat be less of an interruption and more fluid.

12
Suggestions / Re: Re-working command points and fleet command
« on: December 20, 2018, 08:35:52 AM »
Yea... since there's no benefit to zig zagging ships across the maps even if your CP points are unlimited, maybe you're right.

So we could try just eliminating CP, to begin with.

13
Suggestions / Re: Re-working command points and fleet command
« on: December 20, 2018, 06:58:25 AM »
I'll play devil's advocate. What' the point? 8 seconds is almost unnoticeable as far as actual combat events are concerned. Whether a ship gets its orders immediately or a few seconds later will have little impact and just needlessly complicates a simple system. Assume a cruiser is already on-course to overextend into an enemy formation. It will take him far longer to reverse thrust and get his ass out of there than this proposed command delay. A commander giving 5 orders at once seems odd, but let's assume he gets the same tactical map on his bridge that the player gets. Assume he's reasonably fast and well-practiced in using it. Orders don't need to be verbal, so imposing a delay seems arbitrary.

But there is a delay, because the large spaceships have hundreds of people and for the orders to work their way down the chain of command does take time.

Automation is BS, even at SS levels of technology it's still probably cheaper and more reliable just to have dude load a shell into a gun rather than some complicated automatic feeder mechanism that introduces a bunch of new failure points.

So there is still a chain of command and orders still take time.

Gameplay wise, the reason to have a delay is  to disincentivize super clicky micromanagement that other RTS games suffer from, which isn't even realistic but rather just a byproduct of the limitations of the AI.

14
I don't think the game needs aliens or zergs or whatever, which have already been explored in other media. I think it's fine if starsector sticks with its theme offactions which are allegorical representations of various known earth political systems. It would be neat though if the AI sent invasions to some colonies or NPC planets sometimes.

I just want to see the existing factions behave more differently from each other based on their ideologies.

15
Suggestions / Re: Blending drive field travel and in-combat travel
« on: December 20, 2018, 01:04:19 AM »
) the game needs to be able to run decently on lower-end computers...

If the game has to run on computers available when the game first came out, that's indeed a considerable limitation!  ;)  (I'm still using it on an 8 year old laptop)

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