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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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Topics - Sy

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General Discussion / Limited goods selection in major military markets
« on: November 20, 2018, 08:00:54 AM »
are faction military markets intended to have such a pathetically limited selection? :P

this is the largest military market TT has, and it's got 10 stability as well. yet it has no small energy weapons whatsoever. no IR, no IC, no Tac Lasers, no PD beams of any kind. it also has no large weapons whatsoever. and it has no non-beam medium energy weapon either.

and that's just looking at energy weapons, which are almost exclusive to TT markets. i can find Mining Beams and Mining Blasters in various open/black markets somewhat commonly, but that's about it. it looks just as bad for missiles and ballistics too. it also has only a single high-tech fighter, and no blueprints of any kind for sale. i thought at least the more common blueprints are supposed to be available for sale in military markets semi-reliably? i'm fine with the rarer ones pretty much requiring exploration, but i feel it's too limiting to make blueprints virtually entirely limited to exploration (or raids, maybe?).

ship selection looks at least a little better, though not by much. it has the three ships from the basic High Tech blueprint package available: Wolf, Shrike, and Apogee, plus a few Midline ones as well. all with some d-mods though, despite TT focusing on high quality ships, iirc. and no Tempest, no Omen, no Scarab, no Hyperion, no Medusa, no Aurora, no Odyssey, no Astral, no Paragon, no phase ship of any kind.

colonies with custom production of course make up for much of it, eventually. but not at all in the early game. and even with military markets intended to have a worse selection than before, i feel this is still *way* below what it should be, even for a player who does get their own colony eventually rather than only wanting to focus on missions / exploration / bounty hunting.

i haven't checked other factions' military markets, maybe this is an issue that is specific to TT and the Church, due to them not having any military markets above size 5. i imagine it's at least a bit better in markets like Sindria or Kazeron. if that's the case, Church and TT just might need larger markets, since at the moment their largest military markets are the same size as the largest Independent, Pather, and Pirate military markets.. which does feel a bit weird anyway, considering the difference in power between the wealthy, advanced, and influential TT corporation and the not-even-a-real-faction pirates. ^^

i really think at least the weapons that are part of the basic blueprint packages should still be very common in all related military markets. i don't expect Tachyon Lances, and i don't expect any individual weapon being always available, but i do expect some large energy weapon being found reliably. same for stuff like a couple proper PD options, some medium energy assault options, a few common missile types, etc.

and while the ships at least have one frigate, one destroyer, and one cruiser, there still should be at least a couple other options besides these three most common ones. probably not a Hyperion or a Paragon, but some other frigate, some phase ship, and some other cruiser+ sized one.

little sidenote to Alex: sorry if it feels like all my posts are about complaints. ^^ they are, but that's because all the new stuff i already really like doesn't make me feel the need to post about it here. i'm still enjoying my time with 0.9 a lot overall, despite my complaints! :]

Suggestions / Rename the Pirate 'Faction' to something less Pirate-y
« on: July 24, 2018, 10:39:51 AM »
this is mostly a continuation of the discussion in this blog thread, but i'm putting it here to stop bumping that thread with something that isn't actually about the blog.
the basic issue is this: many players seem to dislike the fact that it is very hard, and in future potentially completely impossible, to be on friendly terms with the pirate faction while playing as a pirate yourself.

maybe the issue of "i wanna be a pirate, so naturally i should be able to be on good terms with pirate NPCs" would be reduced if the latter weren't actually called *pirates*. because "i wanna be a pirate!" is something many players probably like the sound of, and will at least try at some point for variety.

how about changing the name of the current pirate faction to something else, like "outlaws", with a faction flag that looks less like the iconic skull-and-bones? functionally nothing would change, but it might better get the point across that they are conceptually not really a faction at all, and you playing as a pirate yourself should not make you friendly will any and all outlaws.

i think that would also better fit some of the actual 'pirate' factions in the lore. smugglers and rebels are outlaws, but they aren't necessarily in favor of killing and looting factionless merchant fleets for personal gains. the current faction description already clarifies that pirates are not really a unified faction, but maybe it could do a better job of pointing out just how different the goals and motivations of the various outlaw groups can be:
  • small-time smugglers just trying to make a living in an economy dominated by powerful military factions
  • rebels fighting guerilla wars to free themselves from oppressive governments
  • deserters who chose a life on the fringes over likely death in a faction battle
  • independent warlords with a thirst for power and the military resources (and political connections) to claim and rule their own little chunk of the sector
  • scavenger outfits trying to recuperate the losses of a few unprofitable exploration runs by turning to a bit of crime while away from the prying eyes of the big factions (and potentially taking out some competition in the progress)
  • and lastly really just random bandits who care about little else than preying on easy targets for quick loot

so in short, my suggestion is to rename the "pirate" faction to something that sounds less like something a player might want to be part of, and better highlighting why having a friendly relation with this 'faction' as a whole really doesn't make a lot of sense.

Suggestions / Fighter replacement time at low Replacement Rate
« on: April 12, 2018, 06:16:01 PM »
i'm kinda scratching my head right now.. i was doing some simulator testing of a carrier flagship in my current campaign, and felt that, while replacement rate sits all the way down at 30%, fighters took a lot longer to replace than they should -- even with that low rate in mind.

so i did some testing. this was done in my vanilla 0.8.1a-RC8 install, zero mods enabled. i tested with a Heron, in simulator from mission refit screen.

while at 30% replacement rate, a single Broadsword took ~105 seconds (+/- 3 seconds or so) to replace. as in, from the moment that the 1st Broadsword launched after its entire wing had been wiped out, until the time the 2nd Broadsword was launched. base replacement time of a Broadsword is 10 seconds...

the other two wings were Gladius and Khopesh, which both share 10 seconds base replacement rate, also both destroyed. i didn't measure their timings, but they seemed to at least roughly line up with the Broadwords'. i tested both having set fighters to Engage for the full duration, and having them set to Regroup, didn't make a difference. i also tested the same setup with 95-100% replacement rate, and the time it took for one Broadsword to be replaced was the expected ~10 seconds there.

so it looks like fighter replacement time actually goes down to 10%, even though it's displayed as sitting at 30%. o.o

the reason i'm scratching my head is that this seems like a pretty major bug -- if it really is a bug and i'm not just missing something here ^^ -- and i'm having a hard time believing nobody noticed until now, if it isn't something that only happens under rather specific circumstances. i did a quick search here for other threads that might have reported this, but didn't find anything.

Bug Reports & Support / mislabeled commands in hotkey settings
« on: July 21, 2017, 06:47:20 PM »
there are quite a few minor issues in the hotkey settings:

under Combat:
- Pull back fighters should be labeled as either Send fighters (as they now start every battle pulled back already) or Toggle fighter engage/regroup

under Fleet Command:
- Search & destroy (fleetwide) should now be labeled Full Assault!, like the button on the tactical map
- Order full retreat is still correct, but should perhaps also more accurately reflect the Full Retreat! label of its button
- it would be nice if More information would just use the Expand Tooltip hotkey set under General, or allow setting the two to the same hotkey rather than overwriting the other, as there are no tooltips to expand anywhere on the tactical map anyway

under Fleet Command (Waypoint & Objectives):
- Capture/Control/Recon shouldn't include the Recon part anymore, since that command no longer exists
- there are individual hotkeys for several commands that no longer exist at all: Rally strike force, Fighter rendezvous, Rally carrier
- the hotkeys for Assault and Defend should be merged as with Capture/Control, since only one of these will work at any given time for a selected capture/way point, and switch automatically when a capture point changes sides

under Fleet Command (Hostiles):
- Strike should probably also more accurately reflect the Fighter Strike label of its command button
- the hotkey for the Eliminate command is still labeled as Intercept, which no longer exists
- there should be an option for the hotkey of the Avoid command in this section, which is currently permanently bound to V and can't be changed

under Fleet Command (Friendlies):
- another hotkey for a command that no longer exists (and hasn't for a while? ^^): Repair & refit

..i think that's all! :D

so the basic idea of this has already been mentioned in both the discord channel and the patch notes thread, and Alex seems to prefer the current implementation:
Quote from: Alex, on discord
regarding the DTC/ITU, the idea is that it's a default choice in most cases, but you can still go for a specialized build that doesn't use it. Baking it into the hull would remove that option. But, yeah, 90% of the time you're going to want to install it.
The part that bothers me about the cost change is: if 90% of builds are going to have it, it should just be baked into the hull and instead there's a hullmod that gives more OP or other benefits in exchange for removing the range bonus. This reduces the clutter of DTC/ITU appearing all the time, and avoids noob traps where new players don't install it because they don't know they're supposed to.
I hear what you're saying. But: one, "hullmods giving more OP" isn't a thing. Two, it it was baked in via a built-in hullmod, that wouldn't actually reduce clutter - and if it was just baked in, that'd be a hidden stat, also not newbie-friendly. My feeling is neither solution is ideal, and this one has the virtue of being simpler.
however, with some small additions, i feel it might still be worth consideration.

like Histidine, i'm suggesting a built-in hullmod be put on every (playable) ship, which provides a 'default bonus' to weapon range based on ship size-class, with numbers similar to the Integrated Targeting Unit hullmod. but rather than making it one hullmod that shows range bonus for all size-classes, i'd use a unique hullmod specific to each size-class that additionally includes (all or some of) the following:
  • default sensor strength and profile stats
  • mention of hullmod OP costs
  • mention of max additional flux capacitors and vents
  • a brief description of the size-class that explains common strengths and weaknesses, and suggested roles in large fleets

my idea here is that these new hullmods could have a number of uses beyond just the range thing, in one easily accessible but unobtrusive package, thereby hopefully making them worth the "clutter".
as an example, one such hullmod could look like this:

Frigate Hull

The smallest class of autonomous ships in the Sector, Frigates usually make up for their lack of firepower and durability by being the fastest ships on the battlefield -- as well as the cheapest to deploy and maintain. This mobility makes them well suited to quickly capturing or reinforcing strategically important positions, performing flanking maneuvers, or roaming in small "wolf packs" to hunt down isolated enemies. Going toe-to-toe with large enemy ships is generally best avoided.
Smugglers, pirates and small-time bounty hunters often take advantage of Frigates' high travel-speed and low sensor profile to avoid detection or ambush vulnerable targets.

Due to their small hull size, installing additional hull features and mods on Frigates requires less ordnance points than on any other ship size, but they are limited to a maximum of 10 additional flux capacitors and vents.

Frigates have a default bonus to ballistic and energy weapon ranges of +10%.

Frigates have a default sensor strength and profile of 1. Any fleet with a very low combined sensor profile can also take advantage of reduced engine interference to boost sensor strength, retaining a combined minimum of 4.

and, again like Histidine (i totally had this idea before reading it in the thread, i swear! :D), i'm suggesting 'inversing' the current range-boosting hullmods, by making them either negate the built-in default bonus or reduce range by a flat percentage (and in the later case, frigates also wouldn't need to have any built-in default bonus at all, starting at a baseline +/-0%). i can see why a hullmod having a negative OP cost could be confusing, although i think it should be fine if it's explained in the description (something about making room for further modifications by getting rid of some targeting arrays and/or weapon kickback dampeners, which requires a reduction in weapon range for safety reasons).
if negative OP cost is absolutely unwanted, these hullmods could simply give bonuses to something that is nice to have on pretty much every ship (for 0 or very low OP cost). a few examples of such bonuses could be flux stats, sensor stats, max CR boost, or a reduction in maintenance/deployment costs.

as i see it, the benefits of doing things this way over how it works currently are
  • cleaner implementation of the weapon range bonuses the game is balanced around, getting rid of the potential trap of seemingly offering choice that actually has one correct/expected answer "90% of the time"
  • showing sensor stats in a more easily accessible/noticeable place than the campaign-layer tooltip, without adding yet more stuff to the "logistical data" stats
  • giving new players some explanation to minor concepts like ship size-based hullmod costs, and providing basic recommendations of how to make best use of a ship size-class
  • clearly marking a ship's size-class. afaik this is not currently mentioned anywhere in-game outside of some names and codex-descriptions, and it's not always obvious. but since size-class itself has a direct impact on gameplay/balance, it can be a deciding factor in choosing between different ships to use/buy

gameplay-wise, this doesn't change much, if anything. so i can understand it might just not be worth spending development time on, even if this would be a slight improvement over how things are currently. but i really think it would be better to have the choice be to add a hullmod to a loadout that would benefit from it, rather than forgo adding a hullmod you use by default. and more importantly, i feel this would be much more newbie-friendly.

Suggestions / Split "Escort" order into "Protect" and "Follow"
« on: September 19, 2016, 08:54:04 PM »
i think the current escort order has two problems:

1) if i tell a small ship to escort my flagship, it often gets itself into danger trying to protect me when i'm high on flux or venting. that's certainly useful in some configurations, but i'd like to have the ability to tell a ship to just follow or cover the rear of a bigger, more powerful one.

2) many players seem to be confused about what the escort order actually does, thinking that using it to keep a weak ship close to a strong one would actually increase the former's chance of survival, when in practise the opposite is often the case.

splitting the order into two new ones could solve both these problems. one that tells a ship to protect its target, much like is the case now, but with a less confusing name. and one that tells a ship to stay close to its target while trying to stay out of danger as much as possible, even if the target seems to be in trouble.

Suggestions / Deployment Sets
« on: August 07, 2016, 04:08:18 PM »
having to individually select every ship that i want to deploy into battle can get a bit tiresome. the "All" button helps in large fleets, but i still find myself frequently manually deselecting several ships, or switching between ships in cases where my fleet is too large to be deployed at once.

so i had this idea of allowing to set custom groups of ships, that can then be deployed with a single button/key press. and on the offchance that such a thing already exists without me knowing about it, i just tried doing this with number keys. turns out, it really does exist! that was a bit of a /facepalm moment for never having tried that before. :D
(i think i found a small bug, though: deselecting ships by pressing their number key doesn't visually update the deployment points bar.)

...buuut i have two issues with the current design:
  • the deployment sets are the same as the combat groups. that's nice for simplicity, but if i want to have all my bombers on "3", heavy fighters on "4" and interceptors on "5" for quick access during battle, i also have to press three keys just to deploy all my fighters. with up to 10 combat groups, that's still quite a lot of key pressing.
  • it's impossible to have one ship/wing as part of more than one group. it would be useful if i could, for example, have one set to deploy all my fighters and carriers, and another to deploy all ships suitable for pursuits -- which generally also includes some fast fighters.

so my suggestion is to implement deployment sets as independent system that gets rid of both of these issues. i think there's plenty of room below the deployment points bar and the three current buttons to add ~10 small "Set X" buttons. saving a set could be done with "shift" or "ctrl" + that button, similar to how it works with current hotkey groups.

having these visible buttons could be useful for two reasons:
  • if desired, the current function of using combat groups and their number keys could be kept as additional option, and for players who've already gotten used to this system. although i personally think it would be better to decouple deployment sets from combat groups entirely, and just link number keys to the new set buttons.
  • more importantly, this ui element would make it clear to new players (and players like me, who've been playing for hundreds of hours without realizing <_<) that this system even exists, without having to introduce it through some kind of tutorial. hovering over a set button could show a small tooltip that explains its exact functionality, and highlight any currently asigned ships for a quick overview.

on a sidenote, giving the current buttons tooltips might be a good idea as well. "Deploy" and "Cancel" don't really need it, but "All" ignoring civilian and weaponless ships isn't necessarily obvious to new players. either the "Deploy" button or the deployment points bar itself could also have a tooltip that briefly explains how available deployment points are calculated, taking relative fleet size and already deployed allied ships into account.

General Discussion / what is the dumbest thing you've done in SS?
« on: May 05, 2016, 02:03:48 PM »
i just had a rather special kind of "...whoops!" moment:

i was going after the enemies' Heron, slowly wittling it down with my hunter-frigate, and was wondering why my autofire didn't work. i tried different weapon group settings, toggling "hold fire" on and off, but nothing helped. not a big deal though, i just used my primary guns on manual to take it out.

it wasn't until i suddenly encountered a second enemy Heron in a fleet that should've had only one Heron that i realized i had just killed my own Heron, which had moved to where i spotted the enemy earlier, all by myself. and no, i don't have the excuse of being color blind. i just somehow managed to not notice that the target i was shooting at had green status bars. >___<

does anyone else have any similar fail moments to share? :D

Suggestions / ships should better avoid exploding enemies
« on: May 01, 2016, 09:02:56 AM »
don't know if this has come up before, but i find my ships are way too eager to suicide by getting very close to a big enemy that is about to get blown up.

it's especially problematic for ships that have a forward-movement system, like Burn Drive, often literally ramming a dying enemy. aggressive officers that try to use short-range PD weapons for a little extra damage are also problematic. but i've seen it happen to ships without such mobility systems and piloted by steady or even cautious officers, in situations where there's no discernible reason to get very close to the enemy.

it's understandable that it will happen on occasion when a nearby ship (ally or enemy) explodes unexpectedly and/or the victim simply can't move away for some reason (like during a flameout). but it shouldn't happen when there is no reason to even move so close to an enemy in the first place, especially when it is under heavy fire.

if changing the ai to be better at avoiding this danger isn't possible, i'd say the damage of deathplosions should be reduced. i think it's cool that they do deal damage and aren't just a purely cosmetic effect, but maybe it shouldn't one-shot a similarly sized ship that has taken no significant previous damage.

loosing one of your ships right at the end of a hard-fought battle to a stupid mishap like this is just frustrating. :/


Bug Reports & Support / inconsistent deployment point behaviour
« on: April 22, 2016, 01:03:34 PM »
it seems the deployment screen has some trouble with ships that cost fractional points to deploy.

i just joined a large battle between several npc fleets, and had enough points to spend to deploy my flagship and a few destroyers. if i first select my two destroyers with 9.5 point deployment costs, i'm then able to select a third one that costs 9.0. but if i first select two 9.0 destroyers, or one 9.0 and one 9.5, i can't deploy a third one.


the ships are from the Blackrock Driveyards mod, and i've got a long list of other mods enabled, but i doubt any of those caused the issue.

Suggestions / make holding down right-click reengage shield/cloak asap
« on: February 28, 2016, 11:00:02 AM »
as the title states, i think it would be useful to have shields and phase cloaks toggled on as soon as it's possible to do so while the right mouse button is held down. "possible to do so" meaning right after defenses were temporarily disabled during something like an overload, active flux venting, phase cloak cooldown, entering a battle with full travel speed, or defense-disabling ship systems like Damper Field or Burn Drive.

at the moment, the player has to manually time shield/cloak activation correctly after any of these things prevented using defenses for some time. if the button is pressed too early, defenses will not activate, and the player has to press again when realizing it. if pressed too late, the ship can take unnecessary damage. in a heated battle, especially when the ship is in immediate danger after something like an overload, emergency vent, or risky unphasing, having defenses down for even a split second longer than required -- or worse, accidentally disabling them again with one too many attempt to activate them quickly -- can be very damaging.

this could be solved if holding down the button while defenses are disabled would immediately enable them once they become available. to disable them again, the button should then need to first be released before being pressed again.

Bug Reports & Support / ship retreating to the wrong side?
« on: February 20, 2016, 04:53:26 PM »
i just chased down a mercantile convoy, an Atlas and three Hermes. after focusing on and taking out the Atlas, one of the Hermes came back down, full travel burn engaged, raced past my frigates and retreated over the bottom border.

i couldn't see much else due to fog of war, but i assume it had reached the top of the map, with its travel drive somehow targeting the wrong escape zone. it did leave the battle just fine though, a couple seconds after it went past me.

don't think i've ever seen that happen before. :D

General Discussion / do skills affect emp damage?
« on: February 15, 2016, 03:52:43 PM »
i know the whole skill system will get revamped at some point in the future, so it might not matter for much longer, but: does anybody know whether the "+20% weapon damage" from ordnance expertise and/or the "double damage to enemy weapons and engines" from target analysis also work for emp damage, like from ion cannons or tachyon lance?

General Discussion / speculations on upcoming Phase Cloak changes
« on: January 25, 2016, 09:58:59 AM »
Alex mentioned a few times he's making changes to how phase cloaks work in v0.7.2. the main goal, i believe, is to make fighting enemies with cloaks more interesting. i don't think he's given any specific information on what these changes will be (and it's likely he's trying many different things that may or may not make it into the release version) but we've seen glimpses of what changes might be on twitter and in a screenshot from David's recent blog post.

from these, it seems
  • ships receive a boost to mobility while cloaked
  • phase coils glow for a short duration after exiting cloak, likely indicating a short cooldown
  • weapons can be fired while cloaked

to balance these changes and with the above goal in mind, my guess is
  • cloak duration is more limited
  • weapons generate hard flux while cloaked

limiting the duration a ship can spend in p-space could be done by just increasing flux cost, or by introducing a maximum time after which the ship is forcibly thrown back into n-space, possibly accompanied by an overload. the length of the cooldown before the cloak can be re-engaged could also be connected to the time spent cloaked.

additionally, both the Enforcer in the video and the Mule in the screenshot can be seen firing weapons at their cloaked enemy. this could simply be due the phase ships switching into p-space right before the video and screenshot were taken, while the Needler and LMG were already firing, or the ai now occasionally fires at cloaked ships, to immediately deal some damage to a decloaking ship. but it could also mean that shooting at cloaked enemies has some effect now, like by adding some flux when projectiles pass over a ship in p-space (although that might make phase cloaks to similar to shields in function).

maybe the things seen in the short video had already changed again by the time the screenshot was taken, and maybe none of the things seen in either will make it into the final version. but assuming they do: what are your guesses on how the new phase cloaks will work? ^^

Suggestions / Hyperspace Storms in Battle
« on: November 27, 2015, 11:09:43 PM »
hyperspace storms look really impressive, and getting caught in one is a pretty bad idea. but i think it's sad that they don't seem to have any effects on battles at all (afaik). you'd think that combat inside a giant space lightning storm would be rather dangerous! i'd like to see such battles have significant environmental hazards that make fighting there risky, enough to make you think twice about attacking an enemy fleet inside a storm, even if the battle itself is rather one-sided.

there could be powerful lightning surges that deal armor/hull damage, shield-piercing emp damage and/or generate large amounts of flux, potentially causing long overloads. there could be moving clouds of [insert hyperspacey stuff] floating around the battlefield, causing rapid CR degradation on any ships caught inside. there could be spatial distortions that suck in nearby ships and spit them out at a random location, maybe with crew casualties as nasty sideeffect. there could be huge magnetic fields that disable fighters or reduce the maximum speed and maneuverability of all ships to a set amount, causing frigates to become vulnerable to larger ships and giving slow civilian ships a chance to escape pursuers.

and if there are more dangerous terrain effects in general, a hullmod like Environmental Shielding that negates or reduces these effects might actually be useful. as it stands, Solar Shielding seems far too situational to be worth the OP.

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