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Starsector 0.9.1a is out! (05/10/19); Updated the Forum Rules and Guidelines (02/29/20); Blog post: GIF Roundup (04/11/20)

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Topics - Deshara

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Discussions / functional ship class definitions
« on: April 14, 2020, 05:32:18 AM »
this is going into General because it's vaguely related to the game, not that it's a criticism. A lot of media tends to fall back on "___ class of ship is bigger than ___" (as SS does), first of all A) that's boring, 2) means nothing to the consumer who doesn't have a way to contextualize the difference between something displacing 500,000 tons and 600,000 tons, and C) there's a functional difference between ship classes that can be easy to never pick up on with most media that deals with this stuff glossing over it. So, a run-down.

Frigates were "ships of the line" that relied almost entirely on rows of fixed guns, which necessitated shielding the guns by uniformly armoring the entire ship's outer hull which blows out the tonnage budget & put a drastic upper limit on how big they could get. Because they could only fight in one direction they tended to be equipped with a broad variety of guns, the theory being you needed guns for the opening long-range engagement and then need different guns for the ending close-range engagement; this will come up later. Ironclads were the first ships that used turrets but still maintained the form factor & structural limitations of a frigate, as such I'm treating them as a footnote to frigates.

Cruisers were post-sail vessels that continued using the multi-caliber gun design theory that frigates used to use but in a modern structural design using turrets that allowed them to merely armor the turret housing around the guns instead of just plating the whole ship which frees up an incredible amount of tonnage. Because of the loss of inefficiency of using lots of different calibers of guns they were never best at anything, but their lack of specialization made them popular escort ships. Light cruisers focused on high speed & maneuverability to dominate against ships smaller than a light cruiser and battlecruisers are armed & armored enough to fight light cruisers and other battlecruisers but not battleships.

Battleships were cruisers that sacrificed maneuverability for having enough armor to be resistant to their own guns (hence why battlecruisers can't fight them). Two battleships of the same scale theoretically should turn into a dragged out fight.

Dreadnoughts were battleships that abandoned the frigate era theory of varying gun calibers, dropping the small-caliber rapid-fire guns altogether and fielding all the same caliber of gun. This freed up tonnage & hull space to make up for battleship's shortcomings, producing ships both faster than and functionally invulnerable against cruisers and with far more effective fire control than a regular battleship (since having different calibers of guns makes calibrating guns harder to do since you can't be sure if the splash you're measuring is from your 12" gun or the 6" gun next to you). All of this came at the sacrifice of their ability to defend itself from large numbers of smaller vessels at close range. Which takes us from the large end of the spectrum to...

Torpedo Boats are tiny unarmored vessels that focus entirely on maneuverability and getting torpedos onto the field, which hits the keel on the bottom of a large boat that makes it sea-worthy (without it they'd flip), functionally acting as an insta-kill against anything too immobile or immobilized to get out of the way. Everything smaller than a battleship can field torpedos but if it's the only thing a boat does it's a torpedo boat. These were a huge reason for the push from frigates to ironclads; a heavy ship of the line frigate being attacked by a torpedo boat has to turns its entire self (which depends on the wind if still using sail) in order to dodge torpedoes and fend off small boat threats, whereas a ship with an engine can turn at-will and a ship with a turret can shoot at approaching small boats without needing to turn at all. These include submarines for my purposes

Corvettes are a torpedo boat but instead of a torpedo it has a turret for shooting torpedo boats on an otherwise even playing field. They're so small that they aren't sea-worthy, but are also so small a torpedo can't hit them. They aren't used much outside of coast guards. A corvette made for shelling land targets instead of screening against small ships is called a gunboat -- which is also why the AC-130 is termed a gunship, because it's specifically made to shell ground targets with cannon fire to the detriment of all else, but from the air.

Destroyers are corvettes up-sized enough to be sea-worthy, and in the process have enough hull space left over that you can cram extra functionality in them to justify their space in the fleet.

If a destroyer uses that extra space to field missiles, because those are fixed weapons it loops back around to technically being a frigate again, hence Missile Frigates being a thing now.

For the record, aside from the "shuttles" which are actually destroyers and the carriers, the actual ship classifications in this game would be light cruiser, cruiser, battlecruiser and battleship. Interestingly there aren't any dreadnoughts or frigates.

dunno why I thought of this but a neat idea for a phase-tech capital ship with an on-brand ship ability that wouldn't be absurdly overpowered to match with the ship's scale would be if it had short range from lots of small mounts that it made up for with above-average flux generation and can force an enemy ship to burn drive locking in their trajectory & forcing them to advance, preventing some enemies from escaping or forcing enemies with an advantage at range from having more medium/large mounts to advance into range of this ship's numerous small mounts

Suggestions / atmospheric terrain effects & multy-tiered planetary battles
« on: February 22, 2020, 08:03:58 PM »
having not played this game in, like, over a year I was in line at the dr's office & couldn't get the map-terrain effects from this game out of my head. In particular how they could implement planetary atmospheric conditions for mid & low-altitutde combat that work like a pursuit map, and then how they could make multi-tiered battles that stretch from orbit down to ground level. The fact that the game ignores the concept of directional movement actually helps.

High Atmosphere terrain map: both fleets start on the bottom corners of the map traveling up, the left side of the map is towards (but not) the ground. The ships are still in overhead view bc *** you, I guess they're flying sideways, who cares. There's a "Wind-Shear" terrain effect that scales from 0%-100% that shoves the ship leftward, its force multiplied by the ship's mass & how close to 100% the effect is. It increases if a ship's shields come up or the farther the ship turns away from pointing up (the acceptable degrees of deviation scales with ship size, 45/35/25/15(?)) or if the engines die. If the ship is at the far-left side of the map the "Wind-Shear" affect fills up an invisible bar that once it gets full forces the ship to retreat off that side of the map and gets moved to the Low Atmosphere terrain map. Escaping the map on the top of the map takes the ships up into orbit. Being in orbit of a planet with planetary defenses spawns flak cannon rounds from off-map that target ships & reduce their CR like the corona of a star, upgraded defenses will just straight up fire random LRM's & large missile slot missile barrages at enemies.

Low Atmosphere terrain map: Same as high atmosphere, except the far left of the map (just past the part of the map that bounces your ship back) is the ground, flying past at a blur. From the top left of the map straight downward, at high speeds, the map launches projectiles in the form of, trees, buildings, hills. They're background objects initially, but every time a ship passes over one it rolls for chance to impact, depending on ship size 5%/20%/35%/50%, and if you fail the roll the object becomes a physics obstacle, does base fragmentation damage to that ship & is blasted into parts like a dying ship that function like landmines to any nearby/flanking/chasing ships, all damage from impact & debris increased the smaller the ship x9/x7/x5/x1 (spoiler the middle is in the most danger, frigates have disproportionately low chance to get hit & capital ships disproportionately low damage, safety over-ride, fuel injectors, civilian & heavily armored mods decrease damage taken from or chance to impact). Touching the ground on the side of the map, like if the "Wind-Shear" affect shoves you into it bc you got your engines shot out, applies the "Lithobrake" affect which does kinetic damage and applies gigantic kinetic force on your ship shoving it downward (on-screen downward not towards the ground), if your ship is lithobraked off the bottom of the map, smash bros rules apply.

Discussions / this game has ruined mechwarrior for me
« on: February 07, 2020, 05:03:39 PM »
I tried the new MW game & boy. It's like playing SS but without most of the QOL features.
My shipmech dies and the mission is over?? My squadmate's mechs turns out to be way more important for the fight than mine and I have to just... watch... the AI play the game against itself because I can't bodyjump into his mech & assume direct control. There's one weapon that can fit into each weapon-type slot and the only choice given to me is how big/small the caliber is and it isn't even a choice bc there's an unambiguous superior choice? And on top of that the loadout for each mech is essentially already chosen for you by the mech's statistics but the game expects you to pretend that there's a choice to make anyway, to the point that replacing broken guns in between fights has to be done manually every time even tho as already established there's no choice involved in it, you literally just do what the wikipedia article for that mech from forty years ago says is the only thing you're allowed to do? The UI is so hostile to non-fans that the salvage screen after battle doesn't name the mechs available for loot but lists their serial numbers with no further information so you have to google it every battle??!

Just give Battletech to Alex already.

Suggestions / kill officer aggressiveness
« on: February 12, 2019, 12:09:26 AM »
kill it, replace it with a series of toggles. Maybe make officers inherit sets of available options for those toggles and then let the player pick new ones to unlock as said officer levels up, and have the Command HQ unlock the ability to customize presets that will spawn at your market.
Obviously this would have to be done to coincide with a rework of the AI & would have to be one of the final features added into the game since AI is a system that touches on most other mechanics, but there's so many edge-cases where one-size-fits-all that I think there's a case to be made for preset AI suites being axed.

For example; does this ship count its PD weapons as weapons or defenses? Does this ship join its fighters missiles & close support in the fray or merely deploy them? When escorting a bigger ship, does this ship merely lend it close support, take cover in its shadow or join the fight? When escorting a faster ship should this one try to keep up or automatically issue a sub-order for the target ship to escort it to stay together? Should this ship use its missiles for finishing or as close support? Should this ship manually use one of its weapongroups of non-PD guns against missiles or never? Should this ship save its ship system offensively or save it for escaping? Should this ship leave the combat zone once its out of limited use weapons and systems or not? Should this ship use its armor to press an advantage or never? Should this ship die for the cause or live to see another day? Should this ship avoid pressing the advantage on an enemy surrounded by backup or brave the danger for glory? Should this ship prefer to run down slower and weakened enemies or focus on the battle? Should this ship place the salad fork on the left napkin or right napkin? Does this ship use its HE payload to overload shields when it can or save them for after the overload? Does this ship prefer coke or pepsi? Should this ship consider its missiles fighters & close support to be its primary armament or use everything non-PD for ranging or is it primarily here to screen missiles & fighters?

Suggestions / Black Hole Visual Update
« on: January 15, 2019, 10:50:59 PM »
black holes don't look like a black orb. I'm sure you know this; for those who don't they're a distortion in the sky, a spot where a star isn't that grows and consumes all the light the closer you get to it.

It's extremely hard to depict in film or photography -- the fixed and static depictions make showing how different it is, the way the sky gets blacked out gradually. This game tho, could easily use the distortion effect that the enhanced graphics suite uses to apply a distortion affect to ship explosions to replace the "black star" graphic for black holes with a single black point, that gets distorted into being larger and larger the closer you get to it with the background it's blocking out being flattened into a ring that's squashed around the growing void, with the "event horizon" terrain being applied once the blacked-out sky takes up half the screen with your own fleet becoming a part of the distortion ring with a mirrored version of yourself on the far side of the ring

Suggestions / Alternate Mini-Sectors
« on: December 31, 2018, 03:50:59 AM »
Heroes of the Storm (three-lane MOBA with maps with five or more merc camps, bosses, healing zones inside the bases and objectives) has a Brawl mode where you load into a mini-map with a single lane, no objectives no bosses no healing -- all adjusted to procure constant, non-stop action.
This game could rock the same sort of deal.
A small sector map with a core of extremely populated systems where the only two factions are independents and pirates who actively, aggressively go out of their way to stamp down anyone who tries to build anything up.
A one-system map of the Valhalla system during all-out war between the Hegemony and Tritach, with both sides pouring constant resources into the system and the player being locked to Vengeful for both sides unless they take a commission, where the goal of both sides is to Expedition the other side's control of the system out of existence
A medium sized randomly generated map with Luddic Church colonies in every system and Luddic Path insurrections being supported out of a hidden base that the church cannot take on from the start.
A small, uninhabited sector map where the player and a fleet for each faction proc'd spawns in with 2,000 crew and have to found a fire in the darkness, with each faction locked into war with eachother unless they expend an investment to establish peace with a specific faction.
A medium, uninhabited sector map where the player and a fleet for two factions spawn in with 2,000 crew and also a fleet of Remnant from outside the sector shows up, activates a gate in one of the systems which begins trickling remnant thru who go on to try & activate the gates in all the systems and it's your job to beat them back.
If you beat the one above, a mode where you spawn into Corvus in a Hermes, your only option with the first faction market you interact with is "take commission" & said commission grants you control of the faction as your own, two of the other factions declare war on you and a random super fleet of one of several non-playable (remnant, the other kind of remant, XIV, ludic path) factions enters the sector from outside it and activates a gate that begins trickling more thru with the goal of turning all of the gates on, linking the Corvus sector to the doomed hell-world of what (randomly) remains of the Domain of Man under the rule of one of those non-playable factions that are locked into war with the player.

Actually, shoot, the #1 problem I can think of these suggestions is that they'd make kick-butt multiplayer modes lol

with that in mind; a game mode where twelve players spawn in the core of a uninhabited sector with no combat ships but enough to colonize one or two planets. Once everyone colonizes, everybody gets a defensive fleet and free for all ensues

Suggestions / Idea to make Frigates Competitive
« on: December 25, 2018, 06:29:11 AM »
the Monitor is the only frigate that holds up in late-game battles. It occurs that if every frigate were given >1% hard flux discharge with shields up and 0-flux boost at >1% flux and destroyers given 1% hard flux dissipation and 0-flux at 1% flux the curve of usefulness would be flattened a little bit

edit: oh yeah and a fleet command skill that doubles this bonus in non-hullmod frigates, then triples it in destroyers and gives the 1% bonuses to Cruisers, and then in the final tier of the skill gives all frigates the ability to use all small weapons in point defense

Suggestions / Battlezone Control
« on: December 21, 2018, 07:28:09 PM »
I didn't see this till there were two whole pages after it so I made my own thread

Edit #2: One thing I've been thinking off, on the back-burner, is some sort of "victory point" system to replace current objectives with. It'd be more zone control than point control - maybe 1-3 zones, none of which being near the edges - which you win the battle automatically (forcing the enemy to retreat) if you control them for a fairly brief period. That would, in theory, ensure that borders come into play way less often, since whoever is at a border is going to lose if their opponent controls the center. But that wouldn't work well for remnant/derelict defenses, where the only win condition is complete destruction. Anyway, this is a bit theoretical at this point, just a possible idea I'm mulling over.

you're already halfway there, Alex, ya goof, no need for this to be its own whole thing. CR & beacons.
If you made it so that ships getting to 0% CR mothball themselves and lock themselves into retreat mode, and then made controlling 100% of the beacons on the map put all enemy ships into "enemies present; CR degrading" mode unless they're capping an uncontested control point and also maybe multiplied CR degrade rate based on the remaining ally/enemy ratio when the enemy has control of all beacons, ur exact idea would be implemented just by adjusting already existing mechanics that we've all already accepted.

General Discussion / Good First Impression?
« on: December 17, 2018, 09:35:26 AM »
I keep tickling people's interest in this game on random communities but then finding myself to not have a good link to give them to really capture them. I think the homepage of the actual site is a little broad-focus (the actual 90% of the gameplay (combat) gets, like, one sentence) for people who're already sold on the concept of the game, and the trailers are all alpha -- and while not bad, the latest is 3 years old and lacks some of the wow factor the game has now (depicting a wing of kites torpedoing an onslaught in the back and actually breaking it in half is an incredible visual). Put another way; there is no perfect pasta sauce, but there are perfect pasta sauces, and while this game has plenty of good beefy meaty pasta sauce, I need creamy mushroom & herb pasta sauce and am having trouble.

ANYWAY! Gimme your good, less-than 5 minute long videos to give to somebody who's already been told what this game's features are and needs to be wowwed.

Bug Reports & Support / Fog of War locks AI orders in
« on: December 12, 2018, 07:29:15 AM »
if you order a ship to attack a target ship, and then said target ship slips from sight you aren't allowed to cancel that order until the ship comes back into sight -- which it might never do if it flees or breaks down.
I get why this is -- you don't want placing orders on enemy ships to give away their position in the fog of war, but, I'm sure there's a way around this

Suggestions / Logarithmic Reputation Scaling Overhaul
« on: December 11, 2018, 01:15:12 AM »
Will result in a 5-point reputation penalty when the expedition starts
         And a 5-point penalty when it arrives in system
         No reputation penalty for fighting the expedition's fleets
         Reputation cost to avert reduced to 20 points
      Takes roughly twice as long for factions to build up towards sending an expedition
      After 2-3 expeditions are sent (total, by all factions), no expeditions will be sent for 6 to 12 months

So if you use a synchrotron you'll be at war with Syndria within a year, and the only way to prevent it is to cause hostilities with other factions so they'll max out your expeditions first?
... I'm starting to feel like it's about time for a reputation rework. I think the only major mechanic left that'll interact with it is here now and said new mechanic is getting the most weirdness from it. Maybe reputation should be made logarithmic like production & population is

What if reputation worked on a averaged Scales of Kind system the way economic production and population did, instead of a linear addition system that makes international relations weirdly arithmetic?
So your reputation with a faction works on a twenty point scale (max 10 min -10, 0 neutral) instead of a two hundred point scale, with your interactions with a faction having a pre-determined place on said scale and each point of difference on said scale being ten times difference. After ten stacks of "did ___", they get combined into a stack one "does ___" stack of the next scale up. Instead of just reputation changes bumping your reputation score in a direction, your score is instead an average of all your reputation affects made in the last month (including a saved value of your last month's final reputation that this month's works off of)

So if you start off neutral at 0 reputation with a faction, running with a transponder off & needing to be dinged for it by traffic cops gives you a "caught not using transponder" status effect with a value of -1, giving you an average reputation of -1 (inhospitable) (-1/1) for the time being. If you get hit again for running with your transponder off in a different system by the same faction, you get another "caught not using the transponder" -1 status effect in the reputation screen, which means your reputation is still a total of -1 (-1 + -1)/2 = -1) because you're still just a miscreant who doesn't follow traffic rules. If you then hit your transponder and show up to help a patrol of said faction run down pirates, you get a "aided a patrol" +2 reputation affect, which puts you at +2 total reputation because each +2 (and -2) counts as ten +1 (and -1) actions so now the average is 2 ((-1x2 + 2x10)/12) because aiding a patrol in running down pirates is way more notable than being reminded to keep your transponder on, twice.

If you get tagged for your transponder ten more times after those first two, however, somehow managing to get let off each time by doing it in a different system to a total of 12 transponder hits in one month the games takes your ten stacks of the same -1 reputation and combines them into a single -2 "refuses to use their transponder" hit, so now the reputation is -1 (-1x2 + (2x10) + (-2x10)/22) because you gaining a reputation for willfully defying their laws negates the goodwill of helping a patrol do what it was already gonna do anyway, leaving your un-negated "is still breaking traffic laws" -1's to be the remaining deciding factor.
The point here; Lets assume you hadn't helped out that patrol and your reputation is at -2 bc of your refusal to use your transponder (-1x2 + -2x10)/12). If you then get tagged by the same fleet a second time for the transponder and they go weapons hot causing you to flee without casualty giving you a -2 "fled an inspection" hit, the game doesn't drop you down to -4 (twice the actual reputation loss for fleeing an inspection, which is thus far your vastly largest interaction with the faction); you stay at -2 because your fleeing an inspection merely cements your reputation you already had as a harmless miscreant who disrespects traffic law.

The pro of this system; you can't make a faction go to war with you just by not using your transponder. You can make patrols attack you, but if you always disengage without casualty then the worst you can get is a -3 reputation from combining10 stacks of the "fled an inspection" to get one stack of "flees inspections" reputation hit. If you kill an inspection (bc your fleet is too big to flee without incident, say) but let them flee, you get a -3 reputation for it and if you keep doing it it gets rolled up into a -4 which is almost war. Which, I think, feels right; if you make the Suspicious reputation status of -4 make patrol fleets who spot you treat you as if you're hostile but the rest of the faction not unless a patrol asks them for assistance against a much larger Suspicious fleet (for example, if they tag you for transponder and then realize who you are and that you will definitely murder them without a functioning reputation loss (IE no reason not), they disengage then maintain contact with your fleet while calling for backup from a nearby larger-than-patrol military fleet to come help them with an inspection check at a much larger scale) it would work really well.
Also; engaging a faction in the warfare they throw at you doesn't flush your reputation down to the worst possible because you don't get linearly added reputation hits for each battle, without needing to contrive exceptions for it. Defending yourself from an unjustified attack could have one more reputation hit than resisting an inspection, of -4, so that doing so won't trigger a war while still affecting your reputation with that faction (because you did kill thousands of souls, regardless of whether it was technically your fault), but putting yourself into a position where you'll get unjustly attacked repeatedly (say, by contesting Syndria's fuel monopoly) and rolling a stack of "killed an expedition fleet" -4's into a stack of "kills expedition fleets" which, unless you're doing stuff to get onto Syndria's good side gives them enough excuse they need to mobilize a military offensive at your faction. And, because there's a lot more context baked into this system, instead of war just being infinite hostility forever it can be one month (at minimum) of said faction no longer needing to warn you in the intel screen that they're going to send hostile fleets your way because mobilizing a warfleet against a colony they've declared war on generates way less news coverage than mobilizing a warfleet against a colony they're at peace with -- so now instead of hitting -50 reputation being them declaring infinite all-out war forever everywhere it now feels like the faction getting *** off and mobilizing a more official version of what expeditions already are -- like Syndrian High Command gets sick of having to hear that wayward admirals went off into the outter rim and lost a whole battlefleet to a fuel-competing colony repeatedly so they took the excuse (once given it) to step in and try to remove what was causing their admirals to run off and die to stop it from happening.

An earthquake separated me from my windows 7 gaming PC (*shakes fist at earthquake*) and since the only thing that was on my SO's 2-in-1 was State of Decay 2 which I never got to play bc it's windows 10 exclusive (*shakes fist at windows 10 exclusivity*) and something struck me.
Irrelevant to the post; Actually a lot of things struck me and I've been power-writing for 36 hours a many-paragraphs long thesis paper on everything SOD2 did perfectly & other games need to copy and all the many QoL changes it needs and now that I have internet again I'll be looking up its Devs' email address, but TLDR on State of Decay 2 it's a bad game that does hybrid survival sim more flawlessly than any other game before

I noticed when enemies go to siege your colony in SOD2, the game immediately lets you know right off the bat if this is an attack that will cost you nothing to ignore.
And I love it.
I wouldn't say that SS needs to copy this, but, it re-contextualizes what is a mandatory combat mission in the early game into a pat on the head for running your base well in the late game. It says, 'hey, there's combat content back at your base if you want it but you're playing so well that we're not gonna count it against you at all if you decide you've dealt with enough sieges" and lets your work into base development pay off by having not only people at home competent to hold down the fort without you but also competent enough to tell you ahead of time that you aren't needed at home anymore.

it is a bad game tho

Suggestions / uses for marines
« on: November 27, 2018, 07:06:10 PM »
I have a use for marines that would be super helpful for early-game players; having marines whose wages you can afford prevents crew from deserting due to insufficient wages.

Also; having marines in your fleet after a lost fight where you lost ships and then disengaged, losing you the ability to recover said ships after the fight, pops up a screen similar to the "ship recovery" popup that allows you to allocate marines to your lost & abandoned ships to secure their hulk from breaking apart, secure its orbit so it'll remain on the map as a salvageable wreck and then prevents other factions from salvaging said floating hulk until you've had time to recoup and come back, so that losing the XIV Onslaught you found at level 3 to getting caught out by twenty dozen Ordos at the same time isn't necessarily time to reload bc you're given the option (if you kept a platoon of marines on hand to secure your assets) to come back and get it later.

Also, an engage option similar to "harry their retreat" that's useable on expeditions raiding/bombing a colony where instead of engaging the fleet in a fight you commit your marines & ground-expedition forces to countering the enemy's assault and forcing them to engage you and if they can't engage / kill your fleet and get the "clean disengage" bonus for a won fight they have their operation disrupted, forcing them to peel off of a planet, in case your fleet isn't actually big enough to run the fleet off so you have a way to still get involved by giving the planet / faction time to get a fast reaction fleet there to defend

I enjoy the idea of answering distress calls and understand why it works the way it does RN, being a very early-game facing mechanic.
Buut, now that I have maxed out colonies and a giant revenant fleet clogging up my storage and a secured territory that cannot be threatened and enough money to never have to worry about running out of fuel and supplies, what I really wanna do is settle down with a phaeton(?) tanker and a couple escorts and answer distress calls. If there were a building that let you pick up distress calls from across the sector and monitored comm traffic to warn you what the expected time before somebody else gets to it to let me race to answer them, helping people out and dealing with ambushes and choosing not to help out my enemies and watching their fleet flounder and break as I eat heartily in front of them, I'd enjoy that a lot.

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