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Messages - Morrokain

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If you could lose a capital ship and still come out significantly ahead from a bounty, then winning without loses would be absurdly profitable. Combat isn't built around the notion that players can't lose ships, it's built around the notion that the player should minimize loses to maximize profits. I don't see what's wrong with that, you get rewarded for making better decisions. I think it's important to make sure that you don't have to play in un-fun ways to avoid loses. The player can always choose to take easier or harder fights if they want more or less of a challenge.

Agreed. I'm assuming the unfun way you are speaking of is the ship losses outside of the player's tactical decisions? Correct me if that is not the case.

Overall, I think the solution to bounties is more about bounty mechanics and scale. Losing a capital is fine if the scale of your campaign situation allows it through monthly income. If you must defeat four other capitals in the bounty, however, and losing one negates your profits then you won't likely take the mission in the first place unless you have equal or more capitals in your fleet, you have built your fleet around such a bounty and have extensive knowledge of combat balance, or you have some other element/strategy that allows you to know you won't lose a capital in this situation. Alternatively, you could have some other kind of campaign incentive to take the mission and take a net credit loss in the process.

FWIW I'm not saying that your concerns regarding the spawn location knowledge that AI ships would need is wrong or wouldn't be a nice addition. It's more that I would prioritize less need for keeping ships alive in combat using existing mechanics like the ship recovery system since that is more realistic from an AI edge-case perspective or simply inexperienced play or bad luck with positioning or other RNG components. Making the AI feel perfect in every situation is a very difficult thing to do.

What I really don't like is when the AI kills itself in ways that don't reflect the decisions you've made. The AI should do as well as it can in light of your decisions, it shouldn't do poorly in spite of your decisions. The AI should know basic game mechanics like spawn areas. My concern is that the things the player has to do to prevent the AI from killing itself in stupid ways due to weird flanks will not be fun. If the AI is adjusted to better deal with these situations, I think the OP's suggestion could work.

I think this is partially true and I also think that anyone would agree that when you make a decision as the player and the AI seems to not respond well it doesn't feel good. However, I also think that flanking frigates aren't necessarily a recipe for that feeling. To be fair, it does promote more situational awareness from a tactics perspective. What I like about the idea is that it gives a concrete use for smaller ships in the late game in a way that tactically makes sense to me. Adjustments such as you suggest might also be a requirement and that would increase the amount of effort it would require, but I don't think it's a bad idea as whole.

As to the impact it would have on combat? It might make early advantages in the beginning of a battle less likely to snowball. I think that scenario could also result in battles taking too long to conclude but considering the fleet size/number changes this concern is less likely to be the case in the next update.

If this were to happen, it would be ideal to only allow frigates and maybe destroyers to do this. It gives those ships a lot more utility in the late stages of the game. Also, even with the toned down fleets, having a capital suddenly spawn and flank you would be very painful. That way the burden of balancing hullsizes is somewhat eased in the sense that smaller ships at least have a distinct role even if they won't match a capital/cruiser fleet pound for pound. I also like that it kind of organically makes sense in my mind rather than feeling like an arbitrary rule to promote fleet diversity. Skill bonus dilution isn't bad, per se, but I think it can be argued that it is a little arbitrary feeling. Can't always avoid that of course but here is an opportunity for a feature that doesn't feel that way (to me).

I really must reiterate that I don't think combat should be built around the notion that the player never loses ships. It's just unrealistic imo and drives the game into undesirable situations such as eternally kiting fleets. (The waypoint analysis is accurate I think and a good example of this - why would I as a player use waypoints when they are ineffective? You would have to build your fleet around pure alpha strike damage to use them. I guess you could make the argument that they are somewhat useful for area denial? But, because of backpedaling I think the enemy would eventually just move around the waypoint anyway and the actual effect is that the battle is further drawn out. Idk maybe I'm wrong here I rarely use them.)

We have confirmation that Alex is reducing the punishment of D-mods so hopefully that will help reduce the prevalence of this mindset. Megas brought up story point hullmods increasing the desire for min/maxers to not lose any ships with this investment, and so I think it would be a good idea if these hullmods were kept intact when recovering a disabled ship.

General Discussion / Re: Ship battle "space terrain" generation
« on: January 18, 2021, 03:27:44 PM »
Welcome to the forums!

Short answer:

Yes battling in a asteroid field spawns more asteroids iirc though not a huge amount of them as the field would imply. Just more. Same goes for battling in a corona - your CR will decay faster on all ships present.

Reason these aren't more extreme/aren't more of them:

AI can't generally handle that kind of thing well. It's great for player tactics but horrible for AI ships on both sides. Some people wouldn't want to lose ships to these hazards (there is a camp of people who don't even like hyperspace storms because of the inconvenience) and there are others that think terrain mechanics like that are too gimmicky and not worth the design effort since it either impacts the battle very little or in a bad way.

That's what I remember from conversations from the past anyway.

For the boarding mechanic, see this thread for an explanation. It's the second item on the list.

I always delete everything and do a clean install of the mod so yeah. If you want the save file I can upload it.
Ah ok I found it I had to click on the Brilliant to reproduce it. Turns out the variant file I edited accidently pointed to the original hull instead of the mod hull. Should be fixed. I also increased the OP cost of the Lux fighter since it has an extra anti-ship weapon alongside seriously good anti-strike craft capability. It's at 30 OP now and the Brilliant variants have been adjusted.

Not the vanilla, the one before beta, it looks more believable. This new one has a secondary projectile range very far. it's kind of ridiculous. Your Sabot is more of a short gun so it shouldn't go that far. I would go with buffing missile speed, HP, or changing patterns would fit with the theme more. Or making secondary projectiles invincible or prematurely detonate secondary projectile when destroy but dealing only half damage. Can it fly in engine interdiction pattern but detonate when it's only on a quarter of the route?
The fancy flying would require scripting and I don't want to go down that route considering other priorities like variants and fleshing out Commissioned Crews support. I'll see about attempting to balance it back to short range detonation. I think you are correct in that it will likely just have to be invincible at the second stage or the missile will never hit. The PD balance will have to come from how durable the first stage missile is.

It's not enough to counter from my PoV. Usually, the craft AI tends to group up together into a massive blob. So, 30+ crafts can only help one ship at a time instead of spreading out. That's why I was thinking that some interceptor and PD drone ranges should be reduced to only cover their own ship only or ships next to it. It's useless to sent interceptors to attack enemy ships anyway so that role can be left to fighters.

All of my interceptors are on the battleships and all of my carriers were filled with fighters, gunships, and bombers to the brim lol.
I did reduce the range of some drones for this reason. That should help the general AI for some builds. As far as other interceptors, I'd try a full interceptor/fighter carrier or two and assign escort orders to protect specific ships. It's some additional battle micro certainly but the mod is partly about tactics like this. Based upon your description of the fleet, I'd say that only having interceptors on warships might not be enough for large swarms of strike craft. At least when concentrated shields is in play.

If even that sort of tactic is insufficient, then I'll lighten the arc reduction penalty a bit.

I wouldn't want 360 that would be too much but 180 isn't cut out (it's only useful on 360 shield ship like Paragon anyway). I would prefer around 220-250 degrees of the shield arc after the Extended Shield apply. The OP sink is kind of justify since apart from shield damage reduction I also get massive flux capacity. This is almost equal to dumping 60 points into it for Paragon. And I kind of profit some instead of using normal Hardened Shield + 60 Flux capacity.

Or if you think it OK as it is, I'm fine with that. It still dominates in 1v1 situation anyway.

Accelerate Shield stack on Magelith is also kind of OP but it didn't bother me too much.
I agree that the OP sink would be justified for the benefit that wasn't my issue though. It's that the two would be too good of an option and so builds would revolve around the OP sink which to me doesn't feel good. I like that the current way the build works forces a trade off. You trade strike craft and frigate defense for capital defense in a 1v1 situation.

The Paragon definitely becomes more vulnerable due to its low armor and so it's a pretty serious consideration on whether to take the hullmod. Hardened Shields, on the other hand, gives increased defense without a trade off - but far less increased defense.

I think the two different options are more interesting this way. If I changed it to a 220 or 250 arc there might not be a significant enough downside. I'll need to test how interceptor carriers perform.

Stuff like this would really help bring some extra flavor to exploration. Keeping a log of them or otherwise logging particular feats of strength to build the player's personal story would also be neat.

520273 [Thread-4] ERROR com.fs.starfarer.combat.CombatMain  - java.lang.RuntimeException: Slot id [WS0001] not found on hull [spark]
java.lang.RuntimeException: Slot id [WS0001] not found on hull [spark]
   at com.fs.starfarer.campaign.fleet.CampaignFleetMemberView.renderWeapons(Unknown Source)
   at Source)
   at Source)
   at com.fs.starfarer.coreui.refit.B.renderImpl(Unknown Source)
   at com.fs.starfarer.coreui.refit.O0oO.o00000(Unknown Source)
   at com.fs.starfarer.ui.newnew.renderImpl(Unknown Source)
   at com.fs.starfarer.ui.e$Oo.renderImpl(Unknown Source)
   at com.fs.starfarer.ui.v.renderImpl(Unknown Source)
   at com.fs.starfarer.ui.e.renderImpl(Unknown Source)
   at com.fs.starfarer.ui.v.renderImpl(Unknown Source)
   at com.fs.starfarer.ui.v.renderImpl(Unknown Source)
   at com.fs.starfarer.D.I.renderImpl(Unknown Source)
   at com.fs.starfarer.ui.v.renderImpl(Unknown Source)
   at com.fs.starfarer.ui.N.renderImpl(Unknown Source)
   at com.fs.starfarer.ui.impl.K.renderImpl(Unknown Source)
   at com.fs.starfarer.coreui.refit.FighterPickerDialog.renderImpl(Unknown Source)
   at com.fs.starfarer.ui.v.renderImpl(Unknown Source)
   at com.fs.starfarer.ui.N.renderImpl(Unknown Source)
   at com.fs.starfarer.ui.newui.O0oO.renderImpl(Unknown Source)
   at com.fs.starfarer.ui.v.renderImpl(Unknown Source)
   at com.fs.starfarer.ui.N.renderImpl(Unknown Source)
   at com.fs.starfarer.ui.newui.Objectsuper.renderImpl(Unknown Source)
   at com.fs.starfarer.ui.v.renderImpl(Unknown Source)
   at com.fs.starfarer.campaign.CampaignState.render(Unknown Source)
   at com.fs.starfarer.BaseGameState.traverse(Unknown Source)
   at com.fs.state.AppDriver.begin(Unknown Source)
   at com.fs.starfarer.combat.CombatMain.main(Unknown Source)
   at com.fs.starfarer.StarfarerLauncher$ Source)
   at Source)

The game crashed on me when just scrolling through the refit screen. This is the old save since BETA started.

The new sabot is quite silly though. I think the old one feels better, anyway, low priority stuff. Obliterator needs another nerf hammer also, DPS's still too good.

Concentrated Shield is no longer appealing when it can't be used with Extended Shield. It's not viable to use in a real situation with many strike crafts around.

The crash should go away with a full delete and redownload of the mod directory (hopefully) or did you just do that? The problem was that it was overriding the vanilla variants of REDACTED wings as well as using the mod variants so it would crash when scrolling through the wing list in the variants refit screen. I should have removed all of that last night. I won't be able to double check myself until later today.

For the Sabot, do you mean the version where it had higher armor penetration and was a single projectile?

For Concentrated Shields that is honestly an intended downside because it makes shields so much better. Have you tried defending with a lot of interceptors to relieve some of the strike craft pressure?

Keep in mind:
 - The carrier needs to only have interceptors or fighters equipped - no bombers or gunships unless it is a PD gunship (which is considered an interceptor to the AI).
 - Assign an escort order to your flagship with Concentrated Shields to have the interceptors directly support it - though it will do it automatically under AI control as long as it doesn't have any bombers.

If that doesn't help much I'll consider reducing its arc reduction. Combining the two hullmods is too much of a mandatory OP sink imo because its so good to have 360 shields with 20% extra hp and increased damage efficiency.

Alright, so another strike craft pass to build upon the new balance concepts post-rework. I've been using Albreo's balance tier list as a reference as well as my own testing experience after recent changes. I also wanted to extrapolate the role of fighters into something more concrete. Should likely be compatible with current saves.


As a reminder of the general thought process of strike craft roles and their relation to carriers and warships:

1) Carriers can more easily equip gunships and bombers which deal a lot more damage to ships than interceptors.

2) Warships get OP cost reductions to interceptors and fighters.

3) Interceptors are crucial to supporting ships - especially smaller ones - against massed gunships in particular. They also help a fair amount against bombers both by taking them out and by providing additional PD.

4) Fighters are the oddball role in that they can do a little bit of everything depending upon the wing. I wanted to flesh this out a bit more.

Note: A secondary goal of these changes was to ensure that while combat performance of lower OP wings is necessarily worse as a concept, that doesn't mean that using low OP wings is unattractive overall.

The changes are not documented in detail in order to save time, but here is a summary:

1) Fighters have been given additional weaponry in most cases. (The Hellcat was a test bed for this.) Though their overall role still changes from wing to wing, in general they either do their specialized role better or they can perform multiple roles in some cases. (Broadsword comes to mind.)

2) Interceptors replace much faster than other strike craft depending upon their relative tier. They are the go-to anti-strike craft defense for warships and carriers alike. PD is a separate consideration for each.

3) Low OP wings like the Warrior or Brute that only deal one damage type and have less weapons replace faster. So in addition to the OP discount they can at least keep the carrier or warship's replacement rate up even though their combat performance is worse.

4) Strike craft weapons deal 250% damage against other strike craft. (So base damage x 2.5 - Up from 200% in the prior download.)

The idea here is that fighters have less defense and are easier to destroy than gunships, but they perform more competitively against them at the expense of lower average replacement rate for the ship. So due to their OP discount they are pointedly favored on warships as a way to give those vessels a clear choice between interceptors or fighters - which generally means less OP for the build while still allowing the build to be viable unlike the addition of most gunships or bombers.

Carriers, on the other hand, are generally going to equip gunships over fighters unless they are going for an interceptor build to guard other ships. Then fighters become an option again as a source of damage when the interceptors aren't needed to guard anything. Fighters tend to have anti-strike craft weapons as well as assault/strike weapons so they complement interceptors well without changing the AI's use of the interceptors.

I'm patching this in to the DL, so if I miss a file or something and it causes a crash please let me know. I'll verify on my end sometime later tonight.

*EDIT* Found an obscure bug that I fixed while testing today. I'll update the DL overnight

Thoughts after testing for a while today:
I also made some additional tweaks to a few wings. I increased replacement time for the Hercules - which ended up being too low. I also reduced replacement time for the Paradigm since it was outperformed by the Trident for the same DP. The Claw and Renegade feel like they are in a good spot at the moment especially since the Renegade gets the warship discount to OP now. The Broadsword (A) heavy fighter was too good with additional Shockstorm rockets so I increased its OP from 24 to 28. It might even need to be 30. Finally from what I remember, I gave a Burst PD Laser to the Spark, decreased defense for the Cyclops and Hellcat, and increased the Cyclops wing size to 3 from 2.

Outside of the Krakken, the midline line of wings seems really solid overall. The Krakken probably needs further testing but its a Legendary so it can afford to be a bit broken for now.

Lowtech feels much better even if its still likely not optimal. Reducing replacement times for the lowtech tanks gunships really helped give them a niche and I may play around with that further before considering wing balance "finalized" for this update. Lowtech bombers feel better because they are less likely to die from ship fire since they release their payloads from farther away. This also has the side effect of letting frigates and destroyers dodge torpedoes which seems better than forcing losses and damage on both sides.

General Discussion / Re: BattleSize issue
« on: January 12, 2021, 10:24:29 PM »
Just came across this. I'm glad it is already solved.

Thanks DeimosEvotec for linking that info and that is correct the AO thread is the best place to post any issues. Really if you have the mod active at all it's a good idea to let me know first so I can diagnose whether I cause it or not. I have at least a general knowledge of what I override (details can be hazy until I actively look of course) and I can tell you if the fix can be performed on your end or if I can fix/accommodate the issue on my next release, etc.

I check the mod thread every day. I may not immediately respond because that takes a lot more time/thought than reading, but I will at least look at it and generally for bugs I make an effort to get to it asap if I can.

I check other places on the forum basically on a whim and not at all consistently so your best bet is to go to the thread itself for help. I do check the bug report (modded) threads in case the AO mod is present as well, but the mod thread or a PM is the best way to get my attention the fastest.

Suggestions / Re: a little more of a hint
« on: January 11, 2021, 05:27:12 PM »
The orbital range idea could definitely help narrow it down without practically saying "go here" so that could work. I think a goal should be preserving the usefulness of the Neutrino Detector without making it mandatory so the hint can't be too good.

I think it might an interesting system where you can hire people,ships, etc to help you to do certain missions, say you don't have the Neutrino Scanner thingy. Just hire someone with a ship that does, and they'll take part of the reward.

And so on.

I like this idea from a flavor standpoint. Maybe this is something that can be patched on to the "Fleet Orders" feature if that ever becomes a thing.

Suggestions / Re: Weapon groups
« on: January 11, 2021, 05:20:32 PM »
In case you aren't aware of this, there will be more weapon groups (7 I think) in the next update.

As far as your suggestion for custom weapon groups, the AI also needs to recognize each weapon group for managing autofire/direct fire behavior. Custom weapon groups therefore would need a way to understand how the player is setting up their build and I think that kind of logic would be very difficult to implement in a limitless scale like what would be intended for the player.

So while not a bad idea as far as customization for the player, the AI requirements would probably be too much for it to be possible.

I'm not sure how old I was - probably 8-10 ish? - when I was over at my cousin's house and his dad had Command and Conquer: Red Alert on his computer and my cousin showed it to me. I *think* that was the first PC game I ever saw? I was into video games at a very early age. I could beat the first (and only first) level of Sonic the Hedgehog at like 4 or 5. But I had only really played console games where RTS wasn't a thing.

So, of course, I bugged my parents for a computer almost immediately. They laughed. Computers were expensive and there was no way they were buying one for someone my age to play video games on - especially since I already had a Sega Genesis.

But I was so relentless that eventually my mom made a deal with me - if I could learn the entire guide book on how PCs operate I could have one. This was obviously a trap in that she knew I'd never get through all of it at that age. I was seriously determined, though, so I gave it a shot even if I knew deep down that this was her scheme to not have to buy one.  :D

I never got through the manual lol but I still to this day remember the opening description before it started getting super technical and I "noped" my way back out of that rabbit hole.

It mentioned a game where players could encounter other players even if they weren't in the same house! (Gasp) It dramatically described an encounter where the player couldn't tell at first if the avatar in front of them was an enemy player, a potential ally player, or a computer character that would attack or something like that. The only way to know would be to use the keyboard and type a message to the unknown avatar and find out. It's obviously funny now, but at this time I cannot stress enough how much this blew my young mind completely away. The only multiplayer I knew at the time was split-screen where the most players you could have was 4 at a time. A whole world of players interacting through this "internet" thing seemed like gamer paradise.

(Hmm I wonder why I mostly liked RTS and MMOs? lol)

The irony of my thoughts at the time was that I was expecting a game like that to also have all of the same elements that I loved from action puzzle games like Legend of Zelda and the single player RPGs I was used to from consoles. When I played my first MMO years later (it's actually still around in 2020: Conquer Online) I was dismayed that all of the good features from the console games weren't really there. No puzzles, few quests, super grindy progression fighting the same enemies for a long time... wasn't my cup of tea.

Eventually I found Guild Wars and World of Warcraft and they felt a lot closer to what I wanted. It would take me getting into my twenties to realize that my dream of combining a bunch of genres into a super game (tailored specifically for me, of course) was probably not going to happen any time soon. :P

Oh cool thanks for linking that article! They mentioned this particular one in the comments of the article I linked and I agree that this is a nice juxtaposition to contrast two takes by the same person on what is essentially the exact same situation. The only arguable thing that Grimrock II does to stand out in the genre is that a fair portion of it takes place outside. That was honestly a large part of its appeal and one of the reasons I haven't played the first Grimrock - which was all dungeon all the time.

The response from the comments really points out how different people can enjoy and be frustrated by the same mechanic. The talk of backtracking being annoying vs sort of a puzzle to solve is a concise example. So too is the idea that not having a map before finding one is annoying vs a feature.

Speaking of, one comment that the author made is weird to me and relates to my take on Grimrock II: "Maps are tricky enough here, with new zones not possible to even map as you explore them – you have to buy or find a pre-created map to even bring up the map screen for an area, and then fill in the dotted lines of where you’ve yet to explore. Quite why your character can’t know that they just walked down a path and went left I’m not sure, but that’s how it is."

My counter is that your character is only as "knowing" as you are, so what the author is actually saying is that he either doesn't want to or is incapable of maintaining that knowledge himself, so he wants the game to do it for him because he can't be bothered to. Now there's nothing wrong with that, but to essentially say that it's silly conceptually is patently wrong imo. It's really just a matter of taste and the player's mindset going into the game. As an example, I enjoyed no map in Grimrock II. I would not enjoy that in some other games though none specifically come to mind at the moment. So I am my own walking contradiction there. :D I do agree that having those sorts of inflammatory features as customization options is great when it can happen. I also agree that you can't satisfy everyone no matter what you do.

There are things to be said about playing video games with friends and family as opposed to playing alone, and how doing so changes appreciation of games. Concerning the “nostalgia” points you made, is this case the player may have nostalgia for those moments with friends and/or family as much as nostalgia for the games themselves. Of course there is also nostalgia about memorable lonesome player experiences. In any cases, I guess, on a psychological level, gaming induced a set of emotional experiences in the past, and the player - moved by nostalgia - seeks to recreate those feelings.

Precisely how I see it, yeah. And nostalgia obviously isn't the only influence either. If you only have 45 minutes to play a game most nights you probably aren't going to want much if any grind. You are going to want to be engaged the whole time at the peak of what makes the game fun to you. If you get to play for longer periods and the overall experience is still fun you probably won't mind it nearly as much. There are lots of factors to consider.

As far as absolutes go, I definitely agree there is no "right way" to go about design. I think there is "good design" but only so far as that relates to the individual for all of the above reasons. I think there is such a thing as "bad design" though - which usually boils down to clunkiness of mechanics or features that don't really do what they were intended to and break the overall flow of gameplay too much. Even that is subjective to a degree of the individual persons tolerance for what they don't like.

Design is interesting in part because it is both science and art. It has some fundamental principles that are generally laid out for each genre, and then, as the author states, most competitive studios try and enhance the fundamentals in some way, or add new bells and whistles to existing premises in order to stand out. Now the author's critique of Hollow Knight falls a little short for me in its criticism of not being innovative to the genre. I don't think a game necessarily has to innovate to be a good game (as the author admits) and I also don't think I'd agree that games that do innovate are inherently better and should be more highly recommended. "If it ain't broke don't fix it" as they say. Established genres typically have audiences that will reward a developer for sticking to what they know and doing it well. Innovation is always a risk - and while it is a risk that should be taken to establish new genres it must also be taken with care.

I read a review once of the most recent movie adaptation of The Hobbit that complained that it was essentially "just Lord of the Rings all over again with nothing new that we haven't seen before cinematically" and thought: "Well, duh, that's what Lord of the Rings fans want! That doesn't make it bad!"

Suggestions / Re: Early Game Issues
« on: January 10, 2021, 02:49:59 PM »
(Thaago ninjaed this a bit :P )

Hm, I think we need to stop basing our responses to these suggestions off of the current or past implementations of the game. As far as "it's hard to find stuff already right now don't make it worse" kind of posts, I feel it's misleading to make such statements when other features that are coming will already make accessibility easier. Why are we ignoring the contacts system? Or the new emphasis on early game raiding? (Not saying we are ignoring them as a whole but specifically in regards to ship accessibility conceptually.)

For the sake of argument, let's assume changes are made so that now only freighters and tankers are available on the open market. Let's then assume that the only ships available on the black market are "useless" things like the condor, pirate vessels, heavily D-modded ships, etc. Military markets have all the good stuff, period. So essentially 0.7.1a's markets on steroids.

I am not actually suggesting that this is the way to go, but, considering that this is a worst case scenario for those wanting easy access to ships, now let's ask the question "do I have to get commissioned and have high rep with each faction now?!" The answer is a definitive no. Why? Because the contacts system let's a player circumvent that requirement. (As a counterpoint, however, we aren't sure how long it takes to get a contact to allow a player to circumvent this requirement. Still, we know it's at least possible to do so.)

I would also suspect that if this were implemented, the amount of time a player would have to go searching market to market would be reduced not increased since the idea would be to create more variety behind each gated market. RNG isn't needed nearly so much. It's just a matter of pacing instead of luck (only in regards to ships/weapons not everything).

So, circling back to the idea of meaningful choices and player constraints, doesn't this create a lot more meaningful choice? Currently, the choice is simply "which ships do I want?" with the effort being constrained by RNG and market hunting. The additional choice that would be added by the gate is pretty meaningful:

1st choice: "What ship/ships do I want?"

When answered: creates new considerations/choices -

2nd choice: "Which faction, if any, do I commission with?"

Constraint: Can only choose one.

When answered: Unlocks a set of ships weapons - but the constraint means you can't get all the ships you'll likely want from choice 1, so -

3rd choice: "Which factions or markets have the rest of what I want?"

When answered: Player chooses contacts to get access to those markets.

Constraint: Limited number of contacts. But! - story points are an option to get more.

So from my perspective, this creates a much more interesting game than what essentially boils down to "ship whack-a-mole" through searching black markets. Open markets and military markets don't generally feel different enough to warrant meaningful choice between the two at the moment. Well, at least unmodded. (*EDIT* Eh, maybe a bit of an exaggeration. Probably better to say that it could be more so.)

The example is also misleading in that there are a lot more branches - such as exploration, derelict recovery, and colonies.


I came across this article today and I found it both touching and a really neat description of how people of different generations relate to game design and gaming as a whole. It doesn't strive for big answers or attempt to create catch-all definitions of these things, but rather brings them to light and touches upon how they shape what people do and do not enjoy about games new and old. Considering recent discussions in various threads about what is or isn't fun in a game, I thought it would be fun to share it.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with the game, Legend of Grimrock II is a dungeon crawler RPG inspired by 80's dungeon crawlers that came out ~8 years ago. I highly recommend it as I had a great time playing it and I've been pining for a Grimrock III ever since. Unfortunately the company broke up and went in different directions so the wait might be a while if not forever. :'(

If you plan on playing the game, there are some light spoilers in the article like puzzle archetypes and some monsters you will find. Nothing too earthshattering though.

One thing that I love about the article is that it brings up the 'nostalgia elephant' in the room. That is to say that nostalgia is a big factor in how we remember our favorite games and how we sometimes justify their dated flaws to ourselves even if they are painfully obvious to others who don't share our nostalgia. I think that is a huge point to make even if I don't think it's a bad thing. Fun is fun and having a different opinion of what is fun is both natural and healthy.

If anything, I'd say Grimrock II's triumph in bridging that gap is a testament to how well designed it truly is. I was born in 87, so I obviously couldn't possibly have the same experiences as anyone playing games at the time. Yet, somehow I didn't find anything dated about Grimrock II even if the features were nowhere near mainstream. In fact, I found it very refreshing and I was surprised at how excited I was to play it each day. If someone would have come up to me prior to that game and predicted that I would like a game where you press 'qweasd' to turn/move a single block tile in any direction and where slashing effects are a simple single stripe along a character portrait I probably would have laughed and said "you don't know what types of games I like" before going back to playing whatever MMO or RTS I was into at the time.

My takeaway is that good design can transcend time, nostalgia and mainstream trends alike. Discussion welcome! (Please keep it polite.)

*EDIT* Oh! I almost forgot! If you play the game, I recommend Old School mode that doesn't give you a map of any kind. Pen and paper mapping the entire game world as I explored it was quite honestly a BLAST and not the tedium I expected it to be! Maybe I'm an explorer at heart. ;D

Yeah. Unfortunately I'm not quite certain about what things are supposed to be exclusive traits. Generally speaking is it the case that there shouldn't ever be something both positive and negative affect the same planetary condition? For instance, Thin Atmosphere and Habitable like the place I just found? Or are some of those intended to be able to show up at the same time?

That's probably intended depending upon the lore of the world. But if it shouldn't be then I'm open to suggestions (I'm not exactly sure myself except for the more obvious ones). I probably put both because I wanted to convey a sense of "habitable but not very pleasant" or something like that. I don't add or remove either of those conditions in the override logic to my knowledge so I don't think it's that off hand. Hazard rating conditions are a little easier to stack at least from a game standpoint.

Iirc I mostly did a lot of the conditions based upon lore. Gameplay/economy considerations were generally based around mining-specific resource nodes, industries, and defensive structures. I'd welcome any education in that particular category since I haven't thoroughly tested market economy other than my campaign tests as a whole.

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