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

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Messages - xenoargh

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« on: September 15, 2019, 01:21:16 PM »
I think that manufacturers might be more neutral / natural.   

People associate a company's product with a style and concepts.  Eras of history has always felt kind of weird, like we're using medieval bows against laser cannons or something. 

I don't mind so much that they're from different periods in the lore; it's the implications behind Low, Middle and High Tech that don't sit well.  In the real world, we're still using machineguns whose core design is older than my 100-year-old grandmother and lots of people carry Colt 1911's because they're effective and they Just Work.  But we aren't using stave-bows in military contexts; technological progression (especially in weapons) tends to happen because, well, the newer tech is just better.

Yeah, what I'm saying here, to clarify, is:

1.  I have zero problem with the "player ships" being outsized in power, up to a point. 

Really, the most fun in this game's combat is almost always little ships, not hulking behemoths. 

I think the CR system, while imperfect, is largely doing what it needs to, in terms of limiting the player there.  I think it goes a bit overboard, honestly; in late-game, with huge fleets on the battlefield, there is no way a player's taking down the fleet solo in even the most-egregiously-OP ships without chain-battling (and even then, it only works at all because player ships can be consistently faster than Fighters).

2.  I think the issue with late-game fleets is largely as Plantissue points out:  when we're limited on ships in our fleets, it becomes irrelevant if, say, 50 Wolves with leveled Captains can destroy 5 Onslaughts (they totally can, btw), because we cannot field 50 Wolves, even if DP allowed, because we're simply not allowed to have that many ships in a fleet.  I was reeeeeeally glad to hear that we're going (back) to a soft-cap for this in the next major build, and frankly, I don't think it should even be done that way... but that's another topic.

Modding / Re: Spriters judgement thread [non-sprite art allowed]
« on: September 11, 2019, 08:46:11 PM »

1.  Start small.  Like, fighter-sized.  Bigger sprites take longer and can be frustrating at first.

2.  If you want to build something bigger than a fighter, start big.  Start with a big sprite, then shrink it down to your final size, when it's basically ready.  It's easier to control brushes and suchlike when you're working on a large scale.

3.  Start by blocking out the forms with light and darkness.  Then block in color and finally add detail.  That's usually the easiest way to get going when you're trying to build up your forms.  It's much, much more difficult / time-consuming to do all this later, when it's pixel-sized and has tons of noisy detail making it hard to tell where up and down are.

The Endurance is great for early on.  I think the main things I see not working are, largely:

A.  Heavy blacklining that's too thick; it makes it look less than totally awesome.  Don't feel bad, some of my early stuff here was hand-drawn stuff I scanned, and I had the same issues and worse, lol.  It's hard to work that out; usually, the Right Answer is, when it's still large, work that down to a minimum as you do the lighting stage.  At this point, you'd have to do a bunch of careful airbrush and other things to fix it.

B.  As you've discovered the hard way, it's hard to get the lighting and overall sense of proportion right once you've committed to the details.  The second attempt is actually very nice in a lot of ways, but a few more stages will get it to excellent.

A better way to block things out is to get your shapes, core details and lighting filled in with grays, then use that with one or more layers to build your basic colors.  Generally, if you're working at a large scale, you can just do the whole thing with a few layers.

I think that the problem with Frigates and Destroyers is that there are two varieties:

1.  Fleet spam that goes down in power over the course of a game.  Eventually, your fleet can demolish huge swarms of them without really breathing hard.

2.  Player-only ships and builds that are wickedly effective until the CR runs out.  Generally, not something the AI can use well; most need the player to spend a lot of time looking for the right opportunity.  Phase ships, in particular, are largely about opportunity kills and mobility right now.  Almost all of the ships that have been good for this role have had one thing in common; speed.  Whether we're talking about early versions of the game where the Tempest / Hyperion were capable of taking down entire fleets by themselves or what I've been doing to the Sunder lately, I think it's fair to say that a "player ship" mainly needs one thing; enough speed to pick its fights and leave situations where it'll die.

So... the former just starts feeling irrelevant at the high end.

The latter is rarely irrelevant but may require more-specialized situations to use.

So, from a game-design POV, there are a few solutions that are straightforward:

1.  The AI shouldn't deploy Frigates at the start of large battles.  It should wait until the player's fleet is weary and is starting the CR countdown, if it can.

2.  If all the AI has is trash Frigates / Destroyers, it needs to use Orders to concentrate them where they might actually do some good.  For example, flanking the player's fleet, then hitting them from behind to catch carriers.

3.  Have some late-game options, in terms of weapon loadouts, which give small ships an opportunity to engage effectively (if inefficiently).  This probably comes with a bunch of potential problems; Wolf LaserSpam fleets were just inches away from answering all problems well, for example.

Suggestions / Re: The Problem of Energy Weapons
« on: September 10, 2019, 11:01:57 PM »
I have been testing a Medium Laser.  There's definitely a niche there.

Suggestions / Re: Improve the Trident!
« on: September 10, 2019, 10:27:40 PM »
I second the idea of a little MIRV.  It's a shame that that's a theme only used once.

General Discussion / Re: Scaled Interface
« on: September 10, 2019, 10:21:41 PM »
No dice on that resolution. 

General Discussion / Re: Scaled Interface
« on: September 10, 2019, 10:20:03 PM »
I'll try that one out.

General Discussion / Re: Scaled Interface
« on: September 10, 2019, 08:37:14 PM »
1980X2160 runs.  Odd, that you cannot do the reverse, but ah well.

General Discussion / Re: Scaled Interface
« on: September 10, 2019, 08:28:56 PM »
OK, I got it to "run" in 1920/1080, but not in fullscreen; it ran at full resolution but the game was in the top-left corner.

3840X2160 fullscreen doesn't run, period. 

No resolutionOverride value with a vertical > 2000 could run at all over here.  So the best I've been able to get the game to run tonight is 1920/1440.

General Discussion / Re: Scaled Interface
« on: September 10, 2019, 08:16:33 PM »
On 3840X2160:

1.  Yup, fonts and fine details just blur away.
2.  Fullscreen crashes when attempting to set to 1920/1080 fullscreen.  Not quite sure what's up there, I'm still investigating.
3.  There aren't any GIANT SQUARE MODES.  Now that I can do that and have it at 1:1 at basically Tachyon Lance ranges... I want it!
4.  There are weirdnesses with pixel scaling / mushing that are new-feeling.  At the biggest vertical resolutions I've tried, things got blurry and it feels like something in the zoom code is a little funky.  Nothing earth-shattering, it just doesn't feel as crisp as it used to.

General Discussion / Re: why isn't there a demo of this fantastic game?
« on: September 09, 2019, 07:51:46 PM »
Demo modes are one of the things Mount and Blade used to increase sales initially. However, I think the problem here is largely maintenance; any "demo" that actually showed much of the game would be the game, frankly.

I think that, at the current price, "just buy it, you'll be happy you did" is fair :)

That should be a pretty easy thing to do (other than the paintjob) with SSEd.

I want a signal-generator mod that takes us to encounters with SCP's, lol.

Modding / Re: UI modding question
« on: September 08, 2019, 06:37:31 PM »

...scanline files... might also be shimmer.png

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