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

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Topics - nomadic_leader

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General Discussion / can I disable tactical map transparency?
« on: December 18, 2018, 01:31:26 AM »
Hi folks,

Is it possible to disable the transparency of the tactical map somehow in settings.json or wherever? I couldn't find anything likely, and I didn't find any likely topics in the forum search.

I understand why you'd want to have the map be transparent, I just personally find it distracting, and i'd rather look at one thing or the other, not both at the same time. I disable transparent GUI elements on all my computers when  I can.

Suggestions / Ambushes are boring, make pursuer spawn closer in combat map
« on: December 17, 2018, 02:31:20 AM »
Getting ambushed is boring in starsector. I suggest some changes to make it less boring. Inspired in part by this thread

In the early game, you often get ambushed by pirates. First, you click through a bunch of dialogues.  Ok, that's boring, but surely it leads to something exciting? After all, this is an ambush. No, it leads to you to one of the following outcomes:

a) "out maneuvering" them somehow by dialogue-fu.
I have no idea how this calculation is made, but you feel you earned it only as much as you earned fording the River on the Apple IIe Oregon trail. And it makes you wonder why it should take place at all if that's all that's going to happen.

If you can't do that, then one way or the other you'll have to spend several boring minutes fleeing up the combat map, at the end of which you get one of these:

b) escaping
the game divorces fleet combat speed from campaign map speed, so that you can get caught on campaign map, but then use maneuvering jets / burn drive etc to escape the "faster" fleet sometimes. Which raises the question - if I am able to escape the enemy fleet by flying up the map for 5 minutes, why couldn't I just "outmaneuver" them in the dialogue? What was the point of that 5 minutes? Then there's a bunch more text dialogues, and for some reason the pursuer fleet can't chase you again because hand-wave.

c)  getting chased down and inevitably killed,
This is often the case since the early pirate scouts are speedy.  Defeat is a foregone conclusion, yet  the game insists on dragging it out with the long "fleeing up the map" interlude. Usually this feels cheap because you got caught while  reaching for a glass of water next to your mouse, and you were just trying to go to some planet to do something else, but the game's punishment for this is death, so you rage-quit.

Probably 99% of people either quit as soon as they get caught, or quit as soon as they lose a ship, and then reload. So why bother even having the escape pod respawn thing? Why have the boring fleeing up the map sequence? Why is the game designed this why if 99% of people aren't even using it, or are erasing it from history (reloading) as soon as they can?

Here's what I suggest:

1. Get rid of the outmaneuver text dialogue outcome. If you're caught, you're caught.

2. Make your fleet and the enemy fleet spawn next to / on top of each other
in the middle of the combat map, and on vectors/positions/velocities comparable to how they were in the campaign map, sometimes even colliding explosively with each other, which adds a risk to the ambusher. Only the ambusher gets to choose which ships to deploy.  Ships can retreat by reaching any of the edges of the combat map.

This means no boring fleeing, just an exciting furball as the ambushed ships tries to make it out anyway they can. New and different types of combat, and an actual reason to give your civilian ships something besides logistics hullmods.

Oh no you say! "It will be harder. I'm gonna lose my spaceships and then I will be unhappy since I play the game to collect spaceships and never lose them. I'm just going to rage-reload even more."

Yes, I've thought of that.  To balance the less forgiving but more exciting ambush mechanic, you should be able to payoff pirate fleets (and many other factions too probably) in the text dialogue before battle. Rep, respective fleet strengths etc being taken into account to determine how much the bribe costs. So you actually have a way to avoid death/reload just because you were eating a french fry.

Surely this is much superior to what we have now.

Bug Reports & Support / possible to enter hopeless respawn death spiral
« on: November 28, 2018, 03:18:29 PM »
So I was playing with the spacer start.

If you lose all your ship(s), you respawn.  The window says "eventually a freighter finds you" and you "claw your way back onto the space lanes"

It happens in the same day. You respawn the same day.There is no eventually. Is there not a function that allows the game to increment time/events in the universe when the player isn't playing, sort of as it does when it first populates the sector?

Anyway: so, I wasn't doing so well with supplies/fuel when I died, and then when I respawn, I also have nothing... no cargo, no fuel, no crew even, I'm in debt. No credits. The ships CR is zero, I can't really do anything except limp around the system.

If you're hostile to the hegemony, it will still keep respawning you in Jangala right next to the planet, the same fleets will chase you down and kill you again and again.

If you're basically forced to quickload when they die, why bother having the escape pod thing?

The portraits are good.  They all look like cool, tough people who are nobody's fool.

However, in all times and places, the world is full of idiots. For diversity's sake, it might be nice to have a few portraits in the next version that look stupid, complacent, bloated, or feckless.

Bug Reports & Support / piranhas trying to bomb a tempest
« on: November 27, 2018, 07:54:17 AM »
Sorry I didn't get a pic, but I was playing a random battle; I had a couple basic carriers and put piranhas on them. There were various targets to choose from, including large, slower ships, but I see  piranhas trying to bomb a tempest. (I hadn't put any assignment on the tempest or assigned any target for fighter strike, I think)

It went about as well as could be expected.

Suggestions / militarized subsystems doesn't remove civilian penalties
« on: November 25, 2018, 12:14:10 PM »
Maybe this is intended, but if so, the militarized subsystem hullmod is  misleadingly described. It says it gets rid of the penalties associated with the civilian hullmod. This is not true.

There are all those logistics hullmods like bigger cargo/fuel/crew bays. They say that civilian hulls suffer a 50% maintenance increase with them. You would think, given the militarized subsystems description, that if you have militarized subsystems installed, that you shouldn't suffer the 50% maintenance increase when you install one of these other hullmods (given that you already spent a lot of OP and doubled your crew requirements to cancel out your civilian hull). You, however, do.

Suggestions / Confusion about starting salary/tutorial rewards
« on: November 19, 2018, 02:41:18 AM »
So, here we are again complaining about the tutorial... I think.
A sequel to this thread:

I did a run with the tutorial then quit and started a new game, skipping the tutorial.

So why do I have a salary of 15k per month? Why do I have a favorable rating with the hegemony? The 15k starting salary is too easy. Is this from the plot of the tutorial? Or is it from one of my game creation options that I didn't read carefully enough?

It's rather odd that skipping the tutorial still gives you the faction relationships from the plot of the tutorial. For players who want to start neutral, it's peculiar that we are forced into that.

I don't know if there's a starting option to be more neutral with the pirates and hegemony, like maybe the bounty hunter one, I haven't looked  into it yet.

Suggestions / new market condition: 10^0 population
« on: February 17, 2018, 11:46:37 AM »
There should be a 10^0 market condition for markets with ones of people (ie less than 10) residing permanently, lighthouses, observation posts, small research stations, etc.

Modding / what is wrong with this copypaste rules.csv of the LP_tithe
« on: June 12, 2017, 08:23:38 PM »
So I just want to make a simple mod that copies the LP tithe behavior to the pirates. Just using the same LPTitheCalc in the Somehow I got it working initially (sort of) but then it stopped working, and now I can't get it working again. Not even the initial setup. Seriously? What condition isn't being met?

Test scenario: I start a new game, console command spawnfleet pirates 10. Your newgame rep with pirates is already 68 which is Hostile, so it should be fine and match the conditions.

Attached is the whole mod file. Note I didn't really read the rules.csv documentation, I don't know java, don't understand fundamental concepts of starsector modding, etc. Thanks!

Here is the rules csv file.
(Man having to work with csv is really awkward. Even TSV would be more text editor friendly. But having to use some spreadsheet editor and mess around with the size of the cels and not have grep/regex, just in order to not look at a jumble of linebreaks is a real drag.)

Here's the rules.csv file in mod/data/campaign/rules.csv

#pirate bribe paying,,,,,,
PirateBribeCheck,BeginFleetEncounter,"$ == pirates score:100
RepIsAtWorst $ HOSTILE
$relativeStrength >= 0
LPTitheCalc","Pirate_bribeConv = true 0
Pirate_bribeAskedFor = true 7
AddText ""You're being hailed by the $faction $otherShipOrFleet."" $faction.baseColor",,,
PirateBribePre,OpenCommLink,$entity.Pirate_bribeConv score:100,"SetTextHighlights $entity.LP_tithe
$entity.ignorePlayerCommRequests = true 1","""Submit and repent! Your use of sinful technologies may be forgiven, for a tithe of $entity.LP_tithe credits.

Resist, and only God's holy vacuum will show you mercy.""
""Servant of Moloch! Redemption is not out of reach even for you. A tithe of $entity.LP_tithe credits may set you upon the first step of the Path of Ludd.""

""Forswear this pennance and be met with annihilation, cursed by Ludd in the next life. The choice is yours.""","payBribe:Pay the tithe
cutCommLink:Cut the comm link",
PirateBribePay,DialogOptionSelected,$option == payBribe,"AddText ""Lost $entity.LP_tithe credits"" textEnemyColor
SubCredits $entity.LP_tithe
$entity.Pirate_bribePaid = true 30
MakeOtherFleetNonHostilePirate_bribe true 30
AddText ""\""Blessings of Ludd be upon you.\""""
AddText ""The connection is cut before you have a chance to respond.""
EndConversation","""Perhaps your soul is not yet lost to the machine.""
""Truly, Ludd's hand has guided you.""",cutCommLink:Cut the comm link,

[attachment deleted by admin]

So, now that there's lots of stealth mechanics, terrain, and even 'offensive' campaign abilities like i-pulse, a lot more 'twitch' gameplay is required in campaign than originally, where it used to be just "make that circle touch another circle."

Does everyone still think the campaign controls of click-hold to move to cursor position are the best way to do control the campaign layer of gameplay?

I'm not really sure but curious to hear opinions.

I sort of wish there were a faster way to make your fleet full stop immediately, to get terrain stealth bonuses. Detailed explanation:
Often if I see enemy pings, I want to stop immediately on a terrain that gives stationary fleets a stealth bonus. Having to move my mouse cursor over from wherever it happens to be on the screen, to wherever I think my fleet will be by the time my cursor gets over there (to make it full stop without some drift that takes me out of the terrain), isn't necessarily as fast as I'd like.

Would click-toggle to move be better than click-hold, so whenever you clicked your fleet would full stop/start. I don't know.

Any ideas? In your comments remember that just because the controls are good enough (for someone with 300 hours playtime and excellent reflexes), doesn't mean that they can't be improved.

So, something strange; maybe others have noticed it as well. I guess I mostly have observed this with pirate fleets since they are doing a lot of the fighting you see.

What happens is the two NPC fleets have a battle; one fleet is reduced to like 1-2 frigates, while the other fleet remains much bigger. The loser fleet burns off to a short distance, flits around like a mosquito for a couple seconds, then goes right back in for more, despite the fact it obviously cannot win.

But it seems like it should be just hightailing it (as I seem to remember from previous versions) for the nearest friendly system to despawn.

Suggestions / many GUI laments
« on: May 30, 2017, 10:19:54 AM »
-The GUI should use radio buttons and checkboxes instead of too-subtle coloured buttons, which also don't indicate whether they're radio or checkboxe style choices

-The planets list in the intel tab should be multiple column sortable like an excel spreadsheet, so i can sort first by one criterion, then 2nd by another criterion, etc. (I think this is called hierarchical sorting)

-The tabs of the market/fleet interaction screens need to be like apps on a smartphone. When you flip to one window, the window you just left shouldn't reset its display, but keep the display that you were looking at. This should be pretty much universal and across the board.

-The planet info screen (showing all the moons in the system and their description) should be an additional tab on the map screen.

-The fleet tactical map; something must be done so you can actually comprehend orders, officers, ships, and names in closely massed engagements.

Rant about why this matters:
Since before most players (and designers) of this game were born, Xerox PARC, Apple, Microsoft, and now most *nix distros with GUIs have been consistently using certain types of GUI widgets like Radio Buttons (for mutually exclusive choices) and Check boxes (for non mutually exclusive choices)

These elements have become part of global 21st semiotics, as universal and widely understood as stop signs being octagonal and red, and the green light in the traffic light/semaphore meaning "go."

Imagine a country where instead of using the red octagon, they use a duck held upside down. Or on their traffic lights, dark green means go, medium green means change, and bright green means stop.

It would be confusing wouldn't it? Why reinvent the wheel? Especially if your new wheel doesn't work as well as the old one.

That's kind of what starsector is doing. It is not complying with universal semiotics, and what it replaces them with is not as good. So even aside from the unnecessary learning curve, it inhibits quick comprehension. Yes, after playing like 700 hours you probably don't have as much trouble with this anymore, but that's in spite of the GUI, not because of it. For people who are new or don't play so much, it's rough.

Radio buttons, tabs, and checkboxes.
Instead of radio buttons and checkboxes, starsector prefers these really subtle colour indications with no distinction of radio buttons vs checkbox choices.  So the first like 10 times you see them, you're stuck wondering "does black mean it's pressed, or not pressed?" Like the refit weapons selections.

In the market and shipyard tabs, the colours are also really subtle and the button design in general. They should also more clearly be boldly coloured tabs so you know which market your on immediately.

These should be two sets of checkboxes

Those boxes on the right side. Some are mutually exclusive options, some aren't. They should be changed to radio buttons and checkboxes.

This should be more like tabs, with really bright colours or some way to show more obviously that you're in a particular tab. Orange lines with dark orange = selected vs orange lines with black = not selected. This distinction does not POP visually the way it needs to.

Edit: the developer pointed out that the market 'grid' changes colour depending on which market you're in.  I've never noticed that. Perhaps it's too subtle, perhaps the icons of the stuff is too well-drawn and thus distracting, perhaps most of the player focus is on their own inventory in the bottom half, not the market, or perhaps i"m uniquely obtuse? Maybe it needs to be toned-up a bit.

This too.

Maybe those options at the bottom of the screen should also be checkboxes? When you start playing the game and you see this row of blue and black squares, it isn't immediately clear which is selected and which isn't. Starsector already has checkboxes. They're really good. Bright blue. Everybody knows they're the best checkboxes. They win so much. Why not use them more?

Sorting of lists
Say I'm looking at the planets list in the intel tab, and I want to sort them first by hazard rating, and then by distance. So I'd see all the 25% ones first, and within the same hazard rating, they'd also be sorted by distance, within the same hazard rating. This would be nice, and could be done just by clicking one column first, then the next column second. See in this pick I'm unable to have it show all the 25% hazard rating planets together in order of distance as well. Or I'm unable to figure it out at least.


Fleet tactical map crowding.
The ships get into these furballs and it becomes difficult to see ships, officers, names, and orders assigned to them. This is kind of a mess, 5 years later. I also want to be reminded of which officers I have on which ship and see their skills from this map tab.


Smartphone App Style TriPad tab management
Those tripad GUI engineers. I just don't know.
When you flip from one tab to another, some of them reset their displays. Instead, it should be like an app on your phone; when you switch to another app, the app you left stays open on the window it was on. Imagine if your web browser went back to google every time you flipped to another app.

I made a bug thread about this in the market tab, and Alex said it wasn't exactly a bug. He did change it though. So I'd like to point out a couple other places it does this. What I mean is, in a storage/black/military market or shipyard, and flip to another tab and then flip back, it defaults back to open market. Alex has said he'd change this one.

The map tab retains your system vs sector prefs, which is good.

The intel tab retains your map/list view and filter preferences, but it DOES NOT retain your tab state of planets/intel/faction. It should. And it should retain your last sorting prefs, or your last faction viewed.

The planet info screen should be more integrated and accessible. Right now it only seems accessible through the right clicking something on the map. It should probably be an additional tab of the map screen.

Suggestions / flipping between tabs resets which market you're in
« on: May 29, 2017, 05:01:20 PM »
Hi, sorry if this was reported before. Often when you are at a planet in the market, or looking at the stockpiles you have in storage and considering what to buy or take for your next voyage, you flip back and forth between the map tap, the intel tab, and the market tab.

However, every time you flip to another tab and then go back to the market tab, you're reset to the "Open Market." Even if you were previously on storage, or black market or whatever.

As you can imagine, this causes serious annoyance and many wasted clicks at best, and at worst accidental purchases. People in a rush don't always keep track of the price column on the left.

This bug is compounded by how ineffective and understated the GUI indicator is that shows which market you're in (black vs almost black). Like many GUI element in this game.*

*(The tab colours for the market buying in the refit screen are also way understated and after weeks of playing this version I still have to think a second before I understand which are enabled)

Suggestions / ideas for dynamic outposts, war, & economy
« on: May 28, 2017, 11:18:24 AM »
Much of this is perhaps already planned, or already in the game (when the dynamic economy isn't broken).
Just a few ideas; should apply to NPC factions as well as player.


Raw Materials
(produced by developing/owning planets with right conditions and deposits, and maybe smallscale mining at planets or ring systems)

Refined Materials:
(require the ores + machinery or something)
Rare Metal

Produced materials:
Everything else. Machinery, Supplies, food, fuel, luxury goods, etc

-To exract raw materials, refine metal, or produce other stuff requires stockpiles of crew at the market to meet labour force needs.

-To be producing any manufactured good, market needs some combination of metals and/or raw materials as ingredients, modified by planetary conditions. ie. Food needs volatiles and ore for fertilizer, + good sun and planetary conditions.

-Ingredients can come from the planet itself, or trades brought by player fleets or NPC fleets. (setting a slider for what you want to produce increases demands for its ingredients or something, and NPC fleets will respond automatically to this depending on faction relationships)

-Crew production will always happen, but higher rates require food; good planetary conditions; good sun; etc. Bonus production if you have luxury goods and domestic goods stockpiles, etc.

Ships & fleet spawning

-To create new ships for spawning NPC fleets (at faction or player owned planets) or buying in the market, there must be enough metals, rare metals, organics, and heavy machinery are needed.

-Spawning NPC fleets also require enough extra crew for sale in the market.

-When NPC fleets despawn on a market, those ships/crew enter the market/stockpiles

-The sale market and the fleets for spawning both draw on the same stockpile (military/civilian/black depending on fleet)


-Factions & Player outposts can respond to demand at nearby markets by spawning fleets to trade goods in demand there

-If relationships hostile, factions can pursue smuggling instead

-Volume of trade probably depends on size of both markets and distance from each other.

Politics and War

-NPC factions and players should both be able to colonize worlds and create outposts.

-War shouldn't just occur randomly; it should be for economic/ideological reasons

-Some goods are "subversive": Any that are smuggled, or from an enemy faction, or illegal at recieving faction, are from a friendly faction that is inherently  subversive (ludd, pirates, etc)

-Or Perhaps there could be a different types of government as an attribute for each faction (eg dictatorship, democracy, republic, socialist, religious, anarchic) and certain other governments would be considered 'subversive.'

-The higher the volume of 'subversive' goods at a market, increases instability in the market, and increases likelyhood of the factions going to war.

-So even if Sindria and Indies were not at war, high volume of trade would lead to instability & possibly war, if say Sindria is dictatorship and Indies were socialists.

-This simulates the flow of people and ideas that always accompanies economic intercourse between nations, and can lead to conflict or friendship.

-Player faction ideology perhaps set by something kind of like Dominions4 scales that effect productivity

-The higher volume of non subversive trade between markets increases friendly relations between factions, especially if they share ideologoy.

-Cessation of that trade, due to say piracy, or maybe a more favorable trade route somewhere else opening up, reduces friendliness.

-During war, players & NPC factions can use large fleets to destroy orbital defenses and enemy fleets around planets

-Then with enough troop transports and marines, enemy planets can be conquered.

-Depending on faction attributes, faction may truce and/or surrender at certain points when its resources get too low, etc.

Any others ideas?

Let player fleets create/harvest all commodities under certain conditions and/or terrains, using skills/hullmods/campaign abilities, at a cost of other commodities as ingredients. This provides fun ways to solve resource shortfalls while exploring or doing procurement missions, and more interaction with planets and terrains. No new commodities required.

Observations from 0.8:
- Exploration is fun
- Terrain is fun
- Using commodities for stuff is fun-- e.g. the Neutrino detector, heavy machinery for salvage; it adds new resource management challenges.
- Players get into pickles and run out of things in deep space
- Sometimes we want a few goods for a procurement mission but can't find them.

The suggestion:
A mix of skills, hullmods, and campaign abilities for creating all commodities at a cost of other commodities as ingredients, sometimes in specific conditions and terrains. Crew and heavy machinery would sometimes be required (as with salvage). Time is also required, since your fleet can do other stuff and use normal campaign abilities while this is happening.

-Entirely optional
-Adds new puzzles of resource management/crafting to get things you need
-Provides new ways to interact with terrains and planets you find.
-It's fun when the game provides multiple solutions to a problem
-Is a nifty star trek dilemma solving style, instead of just using distress signal or scuttling ships if you run into trouble.


Requires: Mining Skill (somewhere in industry; unlocks campaign abilities), crew + heavy machinery; couple weeks (2-5  mins realtime- your fleet flies off and does something else)
Procedure: Leave heavy machinery and crew in pods for a month over either a planet (organics, ores), an asteroid (ores), or a ring system (volatiles). Planet type/conditions determine which commodity you get (tectonically active for metals, indigenous life or methane atmo for organics, etc). Chance of accidents or someone stealing your cargo pods.

Matter/Antimatter Scoop:
Requires: Hullmod/'weapon' (maybe unlocked in tech skills) that occupies a medium slot; time/distance.
Procedures: Harvests volatiles from nebulae depending on distance traversed, or from gas giant's orbit (much faster).
Also harvests Fuel from black holes, neutron stars, and magnetic fields, if you have volatiles and organics as supplementary ingredients. Based on time spent in terrain. The more ships with this hullmod, the more you get.

Requires: Manufacturing skill (industry skill, unlocks campaign abilities), Crew, heavy machinery; few days
Procedure: Use extra crew and machinery for a few days to make more heavy machinery, domestics, hand weapons, luxury goods, metals, rare metals, or supplies. Requires expenditure of various mixes of metals, volatiles, organics, ore, food, etc depending on what you're trying to make

Science Laboratory:
Requires: Tech skill unlocks? Science laboratory hullmod, which only fits cruiser/capitol (increases crew requirements, decreases cargo space); heavy machinery sometimes; days/weeks/months (depending)
Procedure: Unlocks campaign abilities to clone crew, breed lobsters, harvest organs, make drugs, and grow food by expending various other commodities.
(In a pinch could also spend volatiles to synthesize metals/organics by spending few days in high radiation environments like neutron pulses, black holes, and coronas)

About Ingredients
Each commodity would use other existing commodities as ingredients. Rationale for ingredients follows from this:
Volatiles stand in for various low atomic number elements (hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen, water, etc)
Organics stand in for carbon based, plastics, hydrocarbons, petroleum etc.
Drugs stand in for all medicines
Rare metals = precious metals & high atomic number stuff

In general we have raw materials, such as ore, volatiles, organics, refined materials (food, metals) and value-added materials (supplies, domestic goods, luxury goods, drugs, etc). Probably its best to not have any value-added material require another value added material to produce. It's just too much crafting to get what you want.  The most important commodities are usually crew, supplies, and fuel.  To get those things, you'd first have to manufacture or find their raw/refined materials and (for fuel) go to the right terrain type.

(No I haven't thought about balance details):
Crew: You need science lab, plus some organs, food, and drugs to produce crew after a few weeks
Harvested organs: You need science lab, crew, and drugs. It only takes a day, and you get  organs -- however you also get fleedwide CR reduction (bad morale) and a chance of accidents (hint: the accidents are mutinies)
Volatiles: You have the matter/antimatter scoop, and the longer you fly over nebula or or gas giants, you get more volatiles.
Fuel: You need the matter/antimatter scoop. The lore says fuel is fullerenes (carbon, aka organics), hydrogen isotopes (volatiles) and antimatter. Wikipedia sort of implies you can find antimatter in magnetic fields, black holes, and neutron stars, so you'd need to have some organics and volatiles and be in one of those terrains to use this ability.
Food: You need a few days, plus science lab, and be in a system with a sun. The nearer you are to the sun the faster the food grows, but you need ore and volatiles as ingredients (for soil, water, & fertilizer).
Supplies: Manufacturing skill + heavy machinery + excess crew. Since these are a catch all for things like clothes, rations, and ammo, you'd need food, metal, and organics as ingredients.

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