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Starsector 0.9.1a is out! (05/10/19); Blog post: Skills and Story Points (07/08/19)

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Topics - TJJ

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1
I've finally managed to get into this game recently, and have been surprised by its depth of mechanics & story - even moreso given it's a mobile game.

I especially like the way they've approached crew & skills, making every crewman feel important, and contacts, making mission givers a vital resource that has to be discovered & nurtured, and trade permits/bans/alliances, so that profitable trade is possible without being trivial.

The scope of combat is obviously completely different from SS, but many of the campaign-level mechanics are applicable & IMHO would fit excellently into SS.

If you don't mind the darkest dungeon-esque combat mechanics, it definitely gets a thumbs up recommendation from me. It's readily available for next to nothing too, on both mobile platforms & Steam. ( I think I got mine from a bundle some time ago)

2
Here's my bold claim:
"1 on 1 combat in Starsector is broken."

To elaborate;

If a ship has superior range, equal or greater speed, and cannot be trapped, then it simply cannot* be defeated. (*without exploiting AI behaviour quirks/bugs)

Imagine the fantasy parallel; Man-at-arms with sword & shield charges forwards.
Archer runs away at the same speed, shooting arrows back at him.

It's a degenerate situation that's clearly preposterous & shouldn't exist.
The only mechanic SS has at the moment to resolve this situation is CR (i.e. archer exhausts sooner than the man-at-arms), but this is a woeful solution that leads to tediously drawn out unrewarding battles.

Zero-flux speed boost is IMO the mechanic that's supposed to resolve this situation, however it doesn't work because:

- You can't use your shield! (Man-at-arms gets a face full of arrows!)
- Few ships have sufficient armour to take the hits
- ... and those that do tend to be so slow that even the zero-flux boost isn't enough to make up the difference.
- AI doesn't know how to utilise armour to exploit zero-flux boost

So..... What if it wasn't a "zero-flux" boost?
What if it was an "all power to engines" boost that activated after, ~5 seconds of not firing?
It's a tiny change, but I think it'd have a dramatic effect upon both the feel of combat, and the effectiveness of the AI in delivering a fun experience to the player.

While what I've said above is most apparent in synthetic 1v1 fights, it plays a significant part in battles of all sizes.
After all a battle is not a whole lot more than a collection of smaller fights.

:Edit:
Thaago raises a good point, 5s might not be long enough to prevent the kiter utilizing the boost too.
The value would need tuning, and perhaps factor in ship class?
Perhaps the difference between regular speed, and boost speed needs to be greater?
Though that makes it feel like we're stepping on the uniqueness of the various speed-based ship systems.

Though perhaps the very fact so many ship systems revolve around enhancing ship speed is an indicator that there's a genuine underlying problem.

3
Discussions / GDC Subnautica Postmortem; insightful viewing!
« on: May 13, 2019, 06:46:07 AM »
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fkjY_R7zQsM

Made me think about Starsector's development.

5
Discussions / Strategy Legends Bundle; tempting?
« on: February 21, 2019, 03:20:45 PM »
https://www.fanatical.com/en/bundle/strategy-legends-bundle

Distant Worlds Universe has been on my wish list for a while; a huge 4x strategy.

Star Hammer is by the same devs as, and a direct precursor to, Battlestar Galactica Deadlock.

Pandora First Contact..... meh.

Still, it seems like a bargain to me seeing as Distant Worlds Universe on its own has never been this cheap!

6
Suggestions / [0.9a RC10] "Save Copy" description inaccurate & confusing
« on: November 30, 2018, 05:40:14 PM »
The text for this reads "This will make a copy of your current save slot.".

'current save slot' is analogous to 'the campaign state when you last saved', not 'the current campaign state'.

This may lead a player to "save copy" their game (expecting it to make a copy of their last save), then do a proper save, thereby destroying the previous save state they were trying to preserve.

I suggest it be reworded to "Save your current game into an alternative save slot." or, "Save a copy of your current game into a new save slot."


Better still, would be to adopt the conventional "Save As..." paradigm that everyone is already familiar with.

7
- Was in Tri-Tach space
- toggled my transponder off by accident (forgot where I was)
- immediately toggled it back on again
- nearby Security Patrol immediately gave chase, stopped and lambasted me for it.
- a few seconds later, a Tri-Tach Security Flotilla did the same.

I thought being punished was supposed to cause other patrols who were actively chasing you, to give up?

8
From past versions, it's never been clear if this is supposed to be a drop or not?
However now that it has no BP, it seems clear it's a bug if it ever drops.

I just found it in the inventory of my 'stuff' dumping ground planet, which means either I didn't notice it in my fleet inventory before dumping it on the planet, or tech mining dug it up.

Presumably cluster bombs will drop too.


10
With weapons set to auto, my Paragon was happily unloading its Autopulses at fighters that were completely obstructed by a destroyed Pirate base.

In case it's an issue with a particular station type/design, here's the scene a few seconds later (after I'd moved out from behind the station).


11
Suggestions / Overlapping debris fields should coalesce
« on: November 25, 2018, 05:59:13 PM »
When multiple battles occur on the same spot, it can become really hard (and depending upon positioning, sometimes impossible!) to:

a) keep track of which debris fields have been fully scavenged
b) get into the right position to salvage said fields.

If debris fields (and their potential salvage) automatically coalesced when they overlapped, the problem would go away.
It'd also make the map neater, and reduce the number of world entities in some of the crazier never ending conflict zones.


Come to think of it, I'm sure I've suggested this before.... /me does forum search.

Wow! 18 months between posts, and the title is identical  :D :D :D

http://fractalsoftworks.com/forum/index.php?topic=11967.0


12
Suggestions / "Where am I?"
« on: November 25, 2018, 12:47:42 PM »
Where am I?

This issue was raised back in 0.8, but looks like it never got addressed.
The "You are here" marker on the map screen is, to put it bluntly, garbage ;D

To be fair, it isn't the same at all zoom levels; as you zoom out it goes from, utterly useless, through various scales of terrible, to being just fairly bad.

How about a big animated ring around your location? drawn in a colour that doesn't blend in with the palette used by stars?

p.s.

 :-* Love SS :-*

13
The tooltips for buildings only show their upkeep cost, not the revenue they generate from exports.
For the player to gauge profitability they obviously need both revenue & upkeep.*

Obtaining the revenue that's a direct result of the building is a rather slow & tedious process, requiring the player to manually add up the export value of each of the goods produced by the building.

Showing this information in the tooltip would make life easier for both those wanting to optimize their income, and those still learning how the economy system works. (e.g. It'd more verbosely demonstrate why a 5 production building becomes worthless when operating alongside an 8 production building)

*(arguably the demand created by a building also has monetary value if it's being fulfilled by your own colonies, but accounting for that is more complex and beyond the scope of a simple tooltip.)

14
- Take a ship with omni shield.
- Fit "Shield Conversion - Front"
- Fit "Shield Conversion - Omni"
- Remove "Shield conversion - Front".

Boom, you've got an otherwise invalid configuration! =)

The reverse exploit, fitting "Shield Conversion - Front" to a ship that already has front shields was fixed long ago, and remains so.

Unlike the reverse exploit, this one is of absolutely no tactical benefit, only achieving a reduction in shield arc.

15
At the moment you should never fly with a full:

- fleet; in case you are given opportunity to salvage, or explore.
- captain or administrator roster; in case you encounter an event that gives one

Rather than failing silently, these events that would otherwise grant us a reward, should 1st prompt if we wish to make space for the reward.

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