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Messages - Helldiver

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The level of polish in this mod always amazes me. It's one of those few mods that feel like a core part of the game rather than a simple mod, and it deserves all the visibility it can get. That being said, I have two (three) things to say about the big sprite rework that has been teased in various posts:

In the sprite rework teasers, many of the new sprites replace the original dark green color with a desaturated, lighter color. I feel sad that the iconic dark THI color is being lost :(

In the reworked sprites, the shading has been lightened heavily for various reasons. However, this also causes the new sprites to lose much of their depth and shape, making some of the ships look like pancakes with detail stickers. The author also calls the old shading a "crutch". However, in a 2D game without dynamic shadows, this crutch is needed to some extent to have a sense of volume.
Homogenizing with the vanilla sprites is great but I think that the shading removal seen in the teasers is too much even compared to newer vanilla sprites.
Of course, this is based entirely on the teasers and for all I know the final sprites will be quite different from the WIPs shown so far.

Love the Xiakou-class and I have a suggestion regarding the design. It being a combat-capable freighter, I always felt that the cargo containers on it could be covered in some way instead of being fully exposed. Maybe having one large metal panel covering each container block would make it look like they have a thin sheet of blast-armor on them, also simplifying the sprite. And it would make for a great spot to have big chinese characters written on the side!

Mods / Re: [0.9.1a] Persean Chronicles (updated 2021-2-26)
« on: February 28, 2021, 04:19:48 PM »
Always excited for new quest mods, much rarer than ship/weapon mods. Will this expand with more quests later?

The new battle objectives make holding certain areas of the battle map actually valuable. It's something that vanilla is cruelly missing, so good job on implementing them.

Suggestions / Re: Player faction item bans
« on: February 28, 2021, 04:13:00 PM »
I do not see the point if the only result of this is less income and nothing else.  This is giving the player a trap option to mutilate himself for no benefit, and that trap option is mixed in among more useful options.

Sure, it is flavorful, but if the result is worse-than-useless, I do not want it.

It could have new bonuses and maluses associated with it.
Having commodity bans that match certain factions could increase your trade and trust with said factions, while allowing trade of commodities banned by others could result in negative actions from them - banning trade with you, reduced repuation leading to being refused at ports and so on.

Suggestions / Re: Fighter Range Mechanics
« on: February 28, 2021, 04:06:34 PM »
There needs to be more (viable) long-range combat, not less.

This. Fighters are supposed to project power far form the carrier - that's the whole identity of carriers and fighters. Reducing range isn't the right way to go about nerfing fighters; replacement rate, resilience to PD/anti-fighter weapons and the ease with which you can deploy so many carriers are the biggest issue that can be attacked (and how AI deals with fighters too!).

Suggestions / Re: Intersystem Military Patrols - Both Player and NPC
« on: February 28, 2021, 02:55:04 PM »
If all markets have sufficient protection, a faction could send fleets to patrol key trade routes for pirates. e.g. A player waiting to ambush a trade fleet might be found by a Hegemony patrol and asked why they are hiding along the planned route of a large trade fleet.

I'm all for this. It never made sense either in gameplay or lore that factions never actually guard their merchant routes. Indies and pirates relying on armed freighters and their own escorts is fine but larger factions should actually make use of their fleets to patrol shipping lanes.

Suggestions / Re: Player faction item bans
« on: February 28, 2021, 02:50:27 PM »
Anything that allows more control over your faction's specifics - such as banned commodities - is good in my book.

General Discussion / Re: How do we balance fighter spam?
« on: February 28, 2021, 02:47:47 PM »
Use your targeting key. All non-PD weapons on autofire will prioritize the targeted enemy ship over all other targets so long as its inside their firing arc. Don't leave your important high-flux weapons on autofire. Focused fire is vastly more efficient than letting every weapon fire at will anyways, the only time I wouldn't do it is when there's such a substantial disparity that it doesn't matter, like flying a fully kitted-out Paragon into a cloud of pirate frigates.

Inside firing arc isn't the issue, which is why I wrote "nearby" and not "in range" - don't assume that people can't play the game. A ship is close but not yet in range or within arcs and all guns controlled by AI or on autofire will shoot at fighters if they can causing much flux, guns pointed in random directions and even backwards and so on, regardless of you targeting/locking on the ship or the AI being aware of it.

"Don't leave your important high-flux weapons on autofire" doesn't fix the issue. It does nothing for AI ships. And why shouldn't we be able to use high flux weapons on autofire? Because the targeting logic is dumb and uses all but one gun as an anti-fighter gun at all times the moment fighters enter range before a ship does? The player should never be stopped from using a feature as a work around to bad AI or targeting logic.

Fighters causing many ships on the receiving side to constantly misuse their guns and flux is one of the reasons why they are so effective against AI and frustrating to watch for the player. Next update will reduce overall fighter power but targeting logic will still be an issue.

General Discussion / Re: How do we balance fighter spam?
« on: February 28, 2021, 12:46:50 PM »
I disagree with this just because some of those guns are really great fighter killing weapons. The current plasma cannon has a tag to stop if from firing at fighters on autofire and perhaps that tag could be shared to a few more guns, but for the most part medium and (sometimes large) weapons are excellent tools for killing fighters.

A few are good at killing fighters, but when AI/autofire slowly traverses slow turning guns to waste flux at fighters that they probably won't hit when there's enemy ships nearby it just causes ships to get flux-locked and blasted and in a stupid and frustrating way - both because you lose ships to it and because it's abuseable as all hell against AI. Imagine playing a naval game and battleships randomly turn their main batteries away from enemy surface targets because some fighters are flying by.
There is no justification for this kind of issue to still be in the game after a decade either. Why can't gun groups have target priorities? Why can't ships have target priorities?

General Discussion / Re: How do we balance fighter spam?
« on: February 28, 2021, 11:48:11 AM »
Large and medium non-PD guns shouldn't target fighters by default unless no enemy ships are close by. Too much flux and and effective damage wasted by medium and large guns constantly and clumsily trying to hit fighters on AI ships (and on autofire groups on player ships). Part of the reason why AI fleets are so easily baited into high flux and pointing their main guns away by fighters.

Mods / Re: [0.9.1a] The Xhan Empire, version 2.1 Whatever is out there
« on: February 15, 2021, 03:47:38 PM »
God I love the Xhan ships. They look like a mix of more subtle Metal Slug and early Cold War crazy prototypes with the shapes combined with mechanical bits.

I think that's a tradeoff that needs to be approached very very carefully.

Of course - even just doubling the range of guns and lasers in game would change Starsector combat to a different kind of beast entirely; which is why I think that small changes, or changes that help smaller ships without making bigger ships shoot further (the escort hullmod), and changes that give bigger ships their advantages in ways outside pure range (recoil, less damage fall-off) can be good to test first.

Purely on the matter of blocking bigger ship's guns, the issue also stems from not being able the shoot "over" smaller ships ahead like they can in naval games thanks to ballistic trajectories - even a ship very close to a target won't get hit with how shells drop. Which could be a thing in Starsector by making capital and cruiser projectiles pass above friendly frigates and destroyers (it's space and all, they could be above or below their allies). But that's a whole other discussion/suggestion, probably.

They are probably a drop-in-the-bucket by endgame.  Not enough resources to supply a multi-capital endgame fleet, and probably not enough loot or reward to rob from.  The suggestion seems relevant for a short window during the midgame.

That will depend on how much they can carry, or how many Revenants are in each hiding group. The reward for hunting them would depend on how much the bounty/mission pays, and being able to salvage and recover those potentially rare ships - at least that's my opinion.

And as you wrote, playing smaller phase fleets is a thing, for which they could be a good help if you need to stay a while in a system or don't have many supplies upon arriving.
I do think that they would be situational, but I don't think that situational gameplay features are bad.

possibly also less of an issue in the current dev build due to... various factors.

For a second I expected something like the upcoming Escort Package giving a range boost to smaller ships when near/escorting a bigger buddy (lore reason: getting target computation through datalink?). Then I re-read the patch notes and it says it's Civilian ships only :(

And on that note, that's an additional suggestion from me in solving these issues and the problem of escorts: something, like a hullmod, that grants a range boost to frigates and destroyers when near a cruiser or capital ship or when ordered to escort them. Doesn't make them stronger in smaller battles but helps them be relevant and less of a hindrance to other ships in bigger fights.

One of the upcoming ships in the next update is the Revenant-class phase hybrid freighter/tanker. Such a ship classification brings up but one thing to mind: U-Tankers. U-Tankers were special WWII supply submarines designed to carry supplies and fuel and secretely resupply friendly attack submarines in enemy waters. They would hide until contacted by a sub and emerge to transfer fuel and torpedoes to them, extending their capabilities, before hiding again.

My suggestion is to add a similar campaign mechanic using to this upcoming ship - one that would be engaging both for allies and enemies.

Factions that make heavy use of phase ships (Tri-Tachyon, Persean League) could regularly dispatch small groups of Revenants (maybe with some phase escorts?) to the fringes of enemy faction systems where they would hide in Go Dark using their 0 sensor signature as phase ships. If the player is commissioned to them and trusted, they would be notified of the presence of these Revenants and, upon entering a system, would receive an encrypted comm indicating where the Revenants are hiding. Once there and without nearby ships from other factions, the Revenants would reveal themselves and tagging them would allow the player to request supplies and fuel. The price of these could be deducted from comission salary - at what rate/if at all is up to the dev to decide.

On the opposite side, being commissioned to a faction enemy to Tri-Tachyon/the Persean League could give you missions to find and destroy these hidden Revenants, adding much value to the Neutrino Detector as a phase ship hunting tool, same as how sub-chasers with sonars and hydrophones were hunting for U-Tankers in suspected locations IRL. Thematic as all hell.

If you've got ideas on why this is good or bad or how it could be made better, discuss!

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