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Starsector 0.9.1a is out! (05/10/19); Blog post: Painting the Stars (02/07/20); Updated the Forum Rules and Guidelines (02/29/20)

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Messages - bobucles

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General Discussion / Re: sth about tech mining
« on: October 03, 2019, 02:28:40 PM »
Deeper doesn't always mean better. Just because Atari's ET landfill is deep doesn't mean it's filled with treasure.

It might be cool to have a preset number of "jackpots" for a ruin. The player's first investigation is certainly a jackpot of goodies, but further time in the ruins may discover another great cache or two before drying up.

Suggestions / Mobile dock: A Capital support ship for swarming fleets.
« on: October 03, 2019, 01:37:28 PM »
The idea here is to have a capital ship that provides large indirect combat boons targeted at frigate and destroyer themed fleets. There are some implicit issues, for example the fleet cap is simply X ships, and choosing larger ships will naturally give the player more fleet power than smaller ships. Those issues aside, here I go.

The capital ship is essentially a flying mobile shipyard. The main design largely resembles a pontoon boat. Two pontoons surround a skeletal docking berth, large enough for frigates and destroyers. Dockyard machinery faces inward and additional docking arms stick out one side, showcasing an ability to handle small ships inside or attach to larger ships outside. Hangars on the other side hold worker drones. A forward facing shield represents the "umbrella" it uses to protect its dock while on the move.

Combat stats are largely non existent and it is not meant to ever enter combat. Defenses are restricted to small and medium guns, and loadouts don't get fancier than point defense. Armor is weak and speed is fast among capital ships (I.E. kinda slow). If more than a couple frigates assault the capital ship, it's in serious trouble.

The key selling points lay in its innate skills. It is essentially a mobile shipyard. Extensive docking and repair facilities provide the "almost always recoverable" trait to all frigates inside the fleet, and boost recovery rates of all other ships significantly. Smaller ships can be fully shut down inside its shielded dock, while larger ships may be serviced from the capable external dock. These facilities make deep space retrofitting easy, granting ships a -75%/-75%/-33%/-33% bonus to retrofit costs, depending on ship size. The docking repair equipment and crew also allow additional supplies per day to be distributed on fleet repairs. This allows tiny, crippled or high tech ships to be repaired extremely quickly and be put back into the fight. Repair allocation is 5 supply/day distributed across frigate/destroyer/self, and an additional 5 supply/day distributed across any ship.

Work hangars provide 1-2 bays of heavy worker drones, which can be used as combat drones in a pinch. These drones are essential to the mobile dock's frigate recovery and docking facilities and can not be trivially changed.

The same ship maintenance facilities and drones lend themselves well to salvage efforts, providing the "Salvage Gantry" capital class hull mod.

It is not a militarized ship and has the "Civilian Hull" mod. There is a massive crew requirement (trained dock crew), but it separate from skeleton crew to make the +100% crew of the militarized hull mod less punishing.

Frigate Recovery system won't work when the dock is at critical CR. The capital ship will prioritize self recovery before all else, representing the dock needing to repair itself before it can resume service.

Crew: 300-500 skeleton + lots of dock workers (500-1500)
Armor: Low (fragile capital)
Defense: Frontal shield (180 arc)
Speed: Moderate (Light weight capital)
CR cost: Extremely high (30+%)
CR recovery: 6% (docking module self repair)
CR cost: 50 supplies (extreme issues from entering combat)
Weapons: Token defense, 1-2x fixed hangar bay (work drones)

Hull mods: Frigate Recovery Systems(for fleet), shielded Destroyer-class dock (5 supplies/day), simple Capital-grade dock(5 supplies/day), Salvage Gantry(capital), Civilian-Grade Hull

Blog Posts / Re: Skills and Story Points
« on: October 03, 2019, 01:02:33 PM »
Don't feel bad about it. There is a very fancy science behind why people hate nerfs and will turn into foaming animals at the mere scent of one. The entire world will be changing with the skill overhaul anyway, so I don't think that saying buff or nerf at this time is really appropriate.

What is important is finding good fun gameplay elements, and pushing the limits on them as much as possible. It is great when a skill choice dramatically changes how someone plays, but the really hard part is making sure it isn't the only way to play. Don't forget that if everything is overpowered, nothing is.

General Discussion / Re: Buying Blueprints
« on: October 03, 2019, 10:35:58 AM »
but you are cooperative with Tri-Tachyon, and you have commission?  You can build Paragon.
That would be a very nice bonus for signing up with a faction. Buying from their stores is nice, but being able to hire their shipyards is even better.

General Discussion / Re: Buying Blueprints
« on: October 03, 2019, 10:17:54 AM »
Maybe there should be a random quest for blueprints? For x days, a seller on a world sets up an auction to sell blueprints. Show up with money, or perhaps excessive force to get them.

Suggestions / Re: More Nanoforge type items
« on: October 03, 2019, 09:35:08 AM »
The Fallout universe has tales of a legendary item sought out by anyone who has stories from before the apocalypse. The legendary item could restore any kind of environment, creating a lush green world out of a desolate wasteland. In terms of game mechanics it might create a farming opportunity for the planet, and its ability to tame any wilderness would reduce hazard rating significantly.

I'm okay with keeping the supply guide simple. Knowing how many supplies to carry involves teaching the player about the various goals they can pursue in game:
- Exploration missions require supplies and heavy machines for surveys and long distance travel
- Combat requires heaps of supplies
- Trade requires very little in the core worlds, as long as you stay out of trouble

Suggestions / Re: AI officer difficulty settings.
« on: October 03, 2019, 05:34:19 AM »
I'm more in favor of keeping player mechanics as similar as possible between difficulty selections. Giving the player super powered or feeble officers will offer different challenges for balance and skill synergies. It's a PITA for game design.

The difficulty setting only really needs to alter enemy officer levels. A hard difficulty may have lots of cheating officers that go above lvl 20, creating super difficult ships. An easy option will have few and low difficulty officers. The choices on the player end don't change, merely the height of the hurdles they face.

Suggestions / Re: AI officer difficulty settings.
« on: October 03, 2019, 05:16:54 AM »
If I understand this right, you want the ability to arbitrarily change officer abilities and level caps? That's more of a creative mode mod than a difficulty setting. Making officers choose different skills is good for making them unique. If anything a lvl 20 cap may be too high since you start running out of abilities that matter to their role.

With such penalty it seems to be useless.
A penalty doesn't automatically ruin a ship. Remnant ships are better than player ships, so it is important to offer some kind of equalizing force or the player will be shoehorned into using the best ships all day.

The main remnant bonuses can be expressed with fleet cost, pound for pound they get more ship per fleet cost on the field. It might make sense to penalize the deployment size by the same factor, so that players pay more to field the same ships. But that seems kinda messy. It may make more sense to step further back, and let remnant fleets simply make better deployments in the first place. That way all ships can strive to keep 1:1 balance against each other (that's good for tournaments too), while the remnant "cheating" factors are simply giving the bad guys larger fleets, superior commanders and more points to field.

When your supplies are low, the first option is to suspend repairs. It's more expensive to repair a ship and run out of supplies than it is to stay at status quo. Don't run out of supplies to pay the daily tax!

Mothballed ships do offer several advantages over functional ships. They don't decay, they don't suffer explosive accidents(usually) and they don't have any crew requirements. The downside is that mothballing instantly nukes your CR, which you may as well keep around for as long as possible. Mothball any ship that reaches low CR, and emergency mothball any ships that run low on health. If you keep at least a fuel tanker active you can still try moving and spending the fuel, although going over limit on cargo/crew/fuel will kill your speed. You don't need crew and you don't need cargo so those can get thrown out the airlock. By rationing the last remaining resources of your dead fleet, you can end up going very far!

Scuttiling a ship is absolutely the last resort. Scuttle ships only when you are at risk of going bankrupt and can no longer even think about paying the upkeep. In most other situations you have a good chance of bringing the ships home.

Suggestions / Re: ECM bonus from EW skill
« on: October 02, 2019, 11:58:44 AM »
Allied fleets are providing hostile ECM? That sounds like a bug. It's possible that ECM isn't working properly with multiple faction battles in general.

I don't see any problem with keeping AI ships out of player hands by and large. They are not designed for humans, have no love for humans and the hull maintenance routines need dangerous levels of intelligence to work properly.

With the "story point" system in the works, it does make sense to allow the player to pick up remnant ships due to "story reasons". Maybe a particular AI doesn't really hate humanity, or a hull "defect" ended up making actual human accommodations. It's a perfectly reasonable way to place rare resource points as a way of flavoring up the campaign.

Suggestions / Re: Allow Players to View Starship Market
« on: October 02, 2019, 05:23:03 AM »
Would a seller really advertise their ship on the open market? That's basically announcing to all the pirates "here's my empty ship, come and get it". The galaxy is also in a highly fragmented state. Comms are fickle and faction borders are thick.

Suggestions / Re: Some issues with stations
« on: October 01, 2019, 10:49:15 AM »
I can see two different major schools of thought when it comes to escorting.

In system A, the escort serves primarily to protect a ship's flank. It doesn't have much interest in direct battle, and is more concerned with engaging extra targets that attempt to threaten the primary ship. For example a ship with a heavy frontal shield needs an escort to protect its flanks, so it can continue focusing on the front. That could mean shooting at enemy frigates or intercepting missiles. It's a much more passive and defensive kind of escort.

In system B, the escort and primary ship are joined towards engaging a common target. Both ships pool their resources to the assault, with one ship jumping in and maybe even body blocking the other ship when it gets overwhelmed. It's a much more aggressive kind of escort and doesn't concern itself with protecting the ally's engines or flanks.

Perhaps passive/aggressive NPC personalities are good enough for escorts? A cautious commander would try to protect their ship, while an aggressive commander tries to fight with their ship.

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