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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 - Morrokain

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Hi welcome to the forums and thanks for the feedback! I'm very glad you are having fun. :)

Regarding your concerns:
- That faction is the biggest threat (tier 4) to the player right now (another one is planned) and designed to be extremely dangerous as the lore suggests. In that sense, I really want to keep them very scary, but I'll take a very close look and make sure they aren't completely unbeatable or so difficult as to force a certain tech or faction choice. Especially since the next Starsector update will let players pilot them under special circumstances. This is really a very good time to look at that anyway since I'm already working on fine tuning faction balance. More details on that below.

-As far as getting jumped from the nascent well, that is entirely a Vanilla thing and may very likely have been bad luck rather than those fleets being aware that you were there. I'm not completely sure how that works to be honest. I know jump points should give you a warning if hostile fleets are nearby, but I'm not sure about nascent wells.

My advice:
- In this current release Archean Order ships like the Revenant-class heavy cruiser and Megalith-class dreadnought are probably your best bet because they are far too strong right now lol. Enjoy that while it lasts, however, because there are substantial changes coming to that faction.

The next planned update has, among other things like campaign progression changes, also inadvertently turned into a major balance pass across several areas of the mod. This is partly tech debt from the introduction of so many new weapons, fighters and hull paintjob/stat variations in the last release, but it is also partly in response to the trials and tests of the new Random Faction Battle mission in the Missions portion of the mod outside the campaign.

Battles inside the campaign have a lot more variables (such as officers, randomized weapons, and extra D-mods) so it can be harder to test balance. This mission boils it down to just the factions ships and their designed variants- with the caveat that deployment cost is still based on fleet points in missions for some reason instead of supplies to deploy, and skin files that change fleet point values to increase deployment costs aren't taken into consideration. Anywhoo, that new mission along with player feedback has given me a lot of insight into a few problem areas that I am hoping to correct:

- Archean Order ships and weapons are too strong, especially in the player's hands. This is partly from stats, and partly from an underestimation of how powerful range actually is in Starsector.
- Hegemony legion vessels have way too high of a deployment cost in comparison to high tech ships.
- The Luddic Church is still much weaker than I want it to be.

*Edit* (Whoops, added too many to the list here. I don't want to be counter-intuitive to the tactics manual, and need to make a note to update the status of the Luddic Church as a primary military faction there.)
- Tri-Tachyon, Hegemony, Archean Order, Persean League, Adamantine Consortium, Luddic Church and Lion's Guard should all feel roughly similar in terms of combat effectiveness (not ship to ship but overall fleet to fleet) in campaign patrols, yet they don't. I want to do my best to make the choice of *primary military* faction commissions to be based on flavor, lore and play style rather than which one is the strongest as far as ships and weapons go. (Clarification of this point) This doesn't mean each faction will get access to the same weapons and tech of course. Its more that militarily each primary faction will have a specific strategy that is mostly effective relative to numerical superiority and fleet composition- meaning that it is certainly not a hard-and-fast rule since certain variants counter each other with various degrees of severity and fleet composition and tactics matter a great deal. It is more that I don't want any primary faction to feel easy to beat in a fair fight.
-To clarify commission balance in non-military prioritized factions: Trader Guilds will eventually give the player financial/commodity-based reasons to chose them as a commission even though they aren't a primary military faction, and Sci-Corps will have similar benefits even though militarily they are slightly less well-armed. Pirates, Luddic Path, Independents, Scavengers, Sindrian Diktat and REDACTED all keep their various threat tiers to the player and neighboring enemies.

- Non-missile Fire Support weapons have for the most part had their range reduced. They are a little too hard to counter sometimes- for the AI in particular.
- Beams supported with the Advanced Optics will be the longest ranging weapons besides missiles. The Tachyon Lance will have half the range but recharges 50% faster.
- Projectile-based Energy weapons have had their damage increased almost across the board. Things like the Thermal Cannon and Obliterator Cannon are currently a little too weak for their OP compared to ballistic equivalents.
- I'm planning on increasing the chance for rockets and torpedoes to get through pd. Long range missiles feel pretty good, however.

That is the short version, anyway. Full details are in the notes.

I'm not exactly sure when the next update will be ready, but it shouldn't be too much longer. I'm planning on doing a few more things first. I just wanted to get these notes/changes out there in case anyone had opinions on them.

Notes So Far (Long):
Campaign Content Additions and Balance Changes
 -- New Ships:
    - Justicar-class cruiser (new Archean Order cruiser due to Revenant-class changes)

 -- Market Changes:
    - Significantly increased the cost of ships across the board to better match unmodded starsector.
    - Adamantine Consortium: Friendly market theme now only contains one music track instead of two. They had (imo) conflicting vibes to them and I'm saving the other one for something special lore-wise.
    - Smuggling at Adamantine Consortium or Archean Order markets now has more serious consequences to reputation with those factions.
    - Resigning a comission with Adamantine Consortium or Archean Order now has more severe consequences to reputation with those factions.
    - Rescuing an Adamantine Consortium officer or administrator now has a major impact to the player's reputation with the barons.

 -- Faction Changes:
    - Added custom dialogue for comissions for all new factions.
    - Added two extra variants to the Odyssey battlecruiser for the Sci-Corps.
    - Added three extra variants to the Revenant battlecruiser for the Archean Order.
    - Changed Tri-Tachyon fleet composition- they should hopefully now contain more destroyers and cruisers instead of merely large numbers of frigates supporting capitals.
    - Added default variants to the Lion's Guard faction from designed variants from .8
    - Removed chance for Acolyte-class frigate to be found in Adamantine Consortium dreadfleets.
    - Increased the presence of Elite Mercenary variants in Trader Guild fleets.
    - Added more variants for the Vigilance, Drover and Hammerhead for Lions Guard, Trader Guilds and Persean League fleets.

 -- Missions:
    - Added a Random Faction Battle Mission that pits the player against a random faction's fleets. Player factions have around a 50% less chance to generate capital ships in their support fleets to increase overall difficulty.

 -- Feature Enhancements/Additions:

   Cease Fire Changes/Additions:
     - Doubled the credit cost of the standard bribe.

Combat Balance Changes
 - Plasma Jets ship system regenerates a charge far less often and has an increased cooldown between uses.
 - Increased hitpoints of Shockwave Rockets.
 - Reduced OP cost of Interdiction Drones by 1 OP point, reduced refit time by a few seconds (Made it a more thrifty option than pirate Broadswords which perform the same role but slightly better)
 - Tachyon Lance now fires about 50% faster, but has half the range (2500 from 5000) and costs more flux to fire. Damage per second overall has increased but strike damage remains the same. (Was by far the most powerful 32 OP weapon- especially in a player's hands)
 - Razor Tri-Beam damage per second has been increased.
 - Slightly reduced Phase Beam damage per second.
 - Increased Heavy PD Burst Laser and Paladin PD System's damage.
 - Almost all non-missile Fire Support weapons, including the Ion Beam, have reduced range, some have reduced flux cost to compensate. See Archean Order notes in particular further down this section.
 - Fury and Hailstorm rockets have less effective range.
 - Beams with advanced optics are now the longest range non-missile weapon.
 - Rebalanced most Projectile-based Assault, PD and Strike weapons above small:
     - Obliterator Cannon now deals significantly more damage, fires at regular intervals, and costs less flux per shot to better match its heavy assault role.
     - Heavy Obliterator Cannon now deals more damage per shot.
     - Thermal Pulser and Thermal Cannon have increased damage per shot. Firing rate remains the same. Thermal Cannon now deals slightly more damage per second than Thermal Pulser and has increased strike potential.
     - Increased Cutlass Laser and Heavy Cutlass Laser damage per shot.
     - Plasma Cannon deals more damage per second, has increased strike damage per salvo, and has longer range. Costs more flux to fire.
     - Antimatter Blaster charges up more quickly and can fire charges more often. More flux to fire, but extra charge regeneration has also increased dps considerably.
 - Rebalanced entire line of Archean Order energy weapons:
     - Reduced Void Driver damage per shot slightly.
     - Increased Phase Cannon damage but reduced its range. Now costs minor flux to fire.
     - Eclipse Cannon now has less range but increased damage per shot (increased anti-armor effectiveness).
     - Apocalypse Cannon Ordinance Point cost reduced to 28, range reduced by about half, increased damage and reduced flux cost to fire.
     - Heavy Apocalypse Cannon range reduced by about half, significantly increased damage and reduced flux cost to fire.
 - Reduced negative impact of Luddic Conversion hullmod on Luddic Church ships and reduced those ships deployment cost. Now improves handling rather than reducing it. (Luddic Church vessels still needed improvement)
 - Reduced the penalty of increased deployment cost for Hegemony 14th Legion vessels. Armor now calculates as a percentage increase that varies with hull size instead of a flat increase.
 - Reduced the deployment cost reduction benefit associated with Simple Core Systems hullmod.

-- Ship Changes:
 - Megalith-class Dreadnought:
     - 100 less Ordinace Points.
     - Reduced max flux.
     - Greatly reduced flux dissipation.
     - More effective shield resilience.
     - Increased shield radius. (Larger target)
     - Increased crew and fuel requirements.
     - Increased max crew storage.
     - Adjusted all variants.
 - Revenant-class Heavy Cruiser:
     - Redesignated and redesigned as a Light Battlecruiser.
     - All stats reworked.
     - Added built-in Phase Field.
     - Replaced built-in Advanced Targeting Core with Dedicated Targeting Core.
     - Adjusted all variants and added 5 more.
 - Templar-class (Archean) Heavy Destroyer:
     - 15 less Ordinace Points.
     - Adjusted all variants.
 - Paragon-class Battleship:
     - Replaced built-in Targeting Supercomputer with Advanced Targeting Core.
 - Onslaught-class (XIV) Battleship:
     - Replaced built-in Dedicated Targeting Core with Advanced Targeting Core.
     - Removed core stress hullmod and merged effects with XIV Legion hullmod.
     - Has a much lower deployment cost over the last update (down to ~28 from 34)
 - Acolyte-class Heavy Frigate:
     - 20 less Ordinace Points.
     - Reduced max flux by 2000.
     - Reduced max speed.
     - Reduced flux dissipation by 140.
     - Shield resilience to 0.7 from 0.85.
     - Adjusted all variants.
 - Neophyte-class Frigate:
     - 15 less Ordinace Points.
     - Reduced max flux by 1000.
     - Reduced max speed.
     - Reduced flux dissipation.
     - Shield resilience to 0.7 from 0.85.
     - Adjusted all variants and added 1 more.
 - Exile-class Light Carrier:
     - 10 less Ordinace Points.
     - Reduced max flux.
     - Reduced max speed by 50% (Still faster than the Vigilance-class).
     - Reduced flux dissipation.
     - Increased shield resilience.
     - Adjusted all variants.
 - Wolf-class (Arc) Frigate:
     - 10 less Ordinace Points.
     - Adjusted all variants and added 3 more.
 - Aurora-class Cruiser:
     - Increased flux dissipation.
     - Increased armor.
     - Slightly more effective shield resilience.
 - Eagle-class Heavy Cruiser:
     - Slightly reduced flux dissipation.
     - Costs 1 more point/supply to deploy in battle.
 - Dominator-class Heavy Cruiser:
     - Increased armor.
 - Pillager-class Battlecruiser:
     - Costs 1 more point/supply to deploy in battle.
 - Malevolent-class Dreadcarrier:
     - Costs 3 more point/supply to deploy in battle.
     - Reduced flux dissipation.
     - Sprite re-work/polish.
 - Tyrant-class Phase Battleship:
     - Reduced flux dissipation.
     - Reduced armor.
     - Reduced hull.
 - Legion-class Battlecarrier:
     - Increased armor, max flux and flux dissipation.
 - Conquest-class Battlecruiser:
     - Costs 2 more point/supply to deploy in battle.
 - Executor-class Battlecarrier:
     - Costs 4 more point/supply to deploy in battle.
 - Havok-class Heavy Destroyer:
     - Costs 1 more point/supply to deploy in battle.
 - Heron-class Carrier:
     - Costs 1 more point/supply to deploy in battle.
 - Mora-class Carrier:
     - Costs 1 less point/supply to deploy in battle.
     - Increased armor, max flux and flux dissipation.
 - Tempest-class Heavy Frigate:
     - Costs 1 more point/supply to deploy in battle.
 - Shrike-class Destroyer:
     - Costs 1 more point/supply to deploy in battle.
     - Reduced max speed.
 - Spectre-class Interceptor Drone:
     - Reduced hull and armor.
     - Increased replacement time.

Bug Fixes
 - Added Carrier Bays built-in hullmod to Epiphany, Exile, Executor, Drover, Medusa, and Osprey as intended.
 - Corrected Megalith description to better reflect its combat role and power, as well as its lore compared to campaign realism.
 - Fixed and expanded station descrtiptions in the industry layer - to give players a concise tactical reason to choose a station based on playstyle and faction choice.
 - Corrected the names of ranks and posts for administrative staff and ground military for new factions.
 - Corrected outdated reputation relationship descriptions for Adamantine Consortium in the intel window from when the faction started neutral to the player.
 - Fixed situations where a player with their transponder off who was stopped by an Archean Order patrol was attacked even though they had high reputation.
 - Fixed situations where a player with A.I cores would have them confiscated even after complying and turning their transponder on and having high reputation with the Archean Order.
 - Corrected some drones need of crew due to missing values in the spreadsheet instead of 0s.
 - Added Fleet Paragon variant to the Tri-Tachyon Corporation fleets as intended.
 - Removed possible- though highly unlikely- case where the defective Falcon variant was used instead of the Pirate Falcon skin that has a large hardpoint.
 - Corrected crew requirements for Tyrant-class battleship.
 - Changed Iridium Hyperdriver to target fighters when no better targets are available.
 - Fixed issue with Guillotine Cannon firing at fighters too often. (Strike tag was on the wrong weapon)
 - Corrected situations

 - Polished the Guillotine Cannon recoil sprite to better differentiate it from the Heavy Cutlass Laser.
 - Continued dialogue polish.
 - Reduced Rules.csv inefficiency for the new fleet dialogue features. (Removed some absurdly large score weights, cleaned up RT directory organization, etc).
 - Improved Commodity Request script (more efficient- includes adjustments for all factions for non-upfront bribe calculations).
 - Adjusted all variants utilizing OP adjusted weapons.
 - Slight round of polish on the Punisher Artillery Cannon sprite.
 - Round of polish on the Obliterator Cannon hardpoint sprite.
 - Reduced sound level of Thermal Pulser and Thermal Cannon and heavily reduced sound of the Fighter variant.
 - Removed use of ASSAULT Fighter AI tag since it has been deprecated. Replaced with FIGHTER tag.
 - Corrected the descriptions of hullmod changes and made sure to include all effects in the description. (couple outliers there)

Suggestions / Re: The Problem of Energy Weapons
« on: September 07, 2019, 10:07:09 AM »
^ Player officers yes. They have control over their loadouts. Random AI officers for faction fleets? Err, maybe not so much, but I think there are ways to control what skills they get in the faction file so it shouldn't really make a difference.

Suggestions / Re: Codex refurbishment suggestions
« on: September 07, 2019, 09:27:14 AM »

Great suggestions. :)

Suggestions / Re: The Problem of Energy Weapons
« on: September 07, 2019, 09:13:01 AM »
^ Ah good to know!

As a player chosen skill (will AI officers get access to this, btw?) it makes a lot more sense to me. And its truly great that I can now control the glow size!

@Wyvern @TaLar:

I do see what you two are saying. I guess the point I was making wasn't that the AI didn't benefit at all, but that the optimal strategy of the mechanic (staying at 70-90% flux) was something dangerous to the AI and only really maximized in the player's hands. The AI likely benefits mostly by accident, and that can sometimes be dangerous design to support. For reference to why the AI will likely have problems, see:

and Alex's reply:
Thank you, made a note to take a look when I get a chance!

Just as a general note, a lot of this stuff is beyond what the AI can reasonably do - it has to deal with general cases; getting too specific often results in improved behavior for that one case and considerably worse behavior for things that kind of look like it but are crucially different in some what the AI doesn't pick up on. Still, definitely some things here to look at.

High flux boosting damage isn't a general case- it is a specific case. The AI has to constantly be in tune with its flux levels and make all its fight/flight decisions based around that trade-off, or not in tune at all and just ignore the mechanic completely. Either case causes AI vs player balance problems if all energy weapons are balanced around this (I understand now that they won't be, but that was my initial fear). The decision to flee becomes much more complicated in situations like:

80% Flux - Salvo of weapons that would finish the enemy carrier with an eliminate command on it would bring flux to 95%.
Normally, the AI only has to consider whether nearby threats (or the carrier itself) has enough potential firepower to cause an overload. Retreating and venting may be the right call in that situation for a ballistic ship. But an energy ship with flux boosting damage would ideally not want to make the same decision without also considering the damage loss from venting. Maybe after the vent the salvo would no longer be enough to break the shields and finish off the carrier. Maybe incoming missiles now can't be stopped by PD and so shields or armor take damage, etc. It's a much more complex decision for the AI at all times and I think it would be difficult to get it right in every situation.

So for PD, for instance, I would rather that performance be based on the weapon itself rather than a general mechanic the AI probably won't be able to handle in all cases.

On venting- just because the AI isn't good at close range venting and so has higher flux levels doesn't make the mechanic exploitable for the AI compared to the player. That is mostly an accident of other problems the AI is having inadvertently benefiting it in this case. It actually creates a dependency on poor behavior to operate effectively and discourages solving the "root issue" since that dependency causes other adjustments to become necessary if it is ever improved upon. 

Suggestions / Re: The Problem of Energy Weapons
« on: September 07, 2019, 08:27:48 AM »
Damage boost from flux is will be in the next release

I certainly hope not. I really don't like that mechanic. I feel like its just a band aid fix to energy weapons that actually makes them counter-intuitive. It also promotes razor-edge piloting of high tech ships that the player can utilize to make those ships feel overpowered while the AI is rarely effective with it. It pretty much happens on accident if it is, but usually flux damage boost either isn't a factor one way or the other or causes an overload that results in the likely death of an expensive fleet asset when in the AI's hands.

That mechanic will make energy weapon balance worse, not better, imho.

At the very least I would like a way to disable this: the point where the projectile spawns glows in increasing intensity as flux values get higher... last time that mechanic was in place there was no way to get rid of it and it basically means I will have to remove energy weapons from my mod altogether. It gets so big it covers the whole weapon sprite.

If you go to the mod_info file located in the mod directory root and set:   "totalConversion":"true",     to:     "totalConversion":"false"

- you can install Console Commands and that mod works with Archean Order (unless something has changed recently). I used it to test blueprints and make sure they actually contained the correct hulls and weapons.

When I release the next update I am going to spend some time updating the main page too. One of the things I am going to try and add is a "Recommended and Verified Utility Mods" section that will list some mods that don't have issues with the TC but can enrich the experience with Archean Order. There are actually quite a few utility/feature mods that are compatible.

Modding / Re: Any interest in a random faction battle mission?
« on: August 28, 2019, 11:53:07 PM »
Several different mods have had their own take on this concept and some quite advanced... For literally years now. Also why make it so a capital is always the flagship?

Oh I see, thanks! It has been a while since I have had the chance to play other mods and I couldn't remember if I had ever seen that as a mission. Apparently I am quite behind the times. :P Thanks for clarifying that I should not continue where others have otherwise done better work. I will leave it for Archean Order only.

And as for a capital flagship, because that is fun? No other real reason. :)

Modding / Any interest in a random faction battle mission?
« on: August 28, 2019, 09:44:12 AM »
I wanted to gauge interest in this since I am already making one for Archean Order, but has anyone ever created a random faction battle mission sort of like random battle but with randomly assigned faction fleets?

I am about... er, half way done? - with mine and if there is interest I can post the code here when I'm finished. I've made it fairly easy to edit for anyone else to use. You would just have to replace the variants since many of the current ones included are exclusive to my mod.

How it works:

1) Chooses a random faction for the player and the enemy. (lists of available factions for each are separate so you can lock some factions to one side or the other)

2) For for each side, chooses a capital-class flagship for the fleet from a list of the chosen faction's possible flagships. (those lists are also separate for the player and enemy)
3) From the remaining fleet points after the flagship is chosen populate the rest of the fleet with that faction's ships. (I am thinking of also investing in a sorting algorithm to make cruisers at the top of the fleet, destroyers just after, etc. Just makes it look prettier lol)

General Discussion / Re: Hyperspace Storms: Unfun or Necessary?
« on: August 23, 2019, 12:12:13 PM »
I really like hyperspace storms and clouds for the mechanics they bring, though I get that they can also be a source of frustration. I have definitely felt that at times. I really only get frustrated in larger fleets vs smaller ones. You have less control of where you will end up in large fleets- which would realistically make sense to me don't get me wrong. I actually tend to use them for movement boosts in small fleets.

Similarly, I seem to remember at some that a pirate armada that normally wouldn't have a chance of catching me used a storm to pretty much bounce on top of me. Not sure if that was pure coincidence or AI planned but it was certainly interesting.  :o

Maybe a leadership or technology skill could (for the player and Elite enemy officers) give a reduced volatility bonus fleetwide so they could operate more like a small fleet in a hyperspace storm. At lv 3 it could also reduce CR drain by a percentage relational to Solar Shielding that could even make it nothing if all ships have that hullmod equipped. I could see that being a considerable reason to go down a skill line.

So the next minor update (which should be fairly soon) will mostly involve a lot of clean up and polishing/expanding/finishing existing features to catch up on some accumulated tech debt. It shouldn't break saves.

It may also include a test campaign mission or two, but it will mostly just be setting the stage for all of that for the next major update- 1.3.4. Though I will certainly squeeze in a bit of new content, 1.3.4 will be mostly a lore and campaign feature update. I just finished up a new rule command which allows me to manipulate all factions' reputation with each other using rules. This has a lot of impact on the campaign for 1.3.3a:
1) I have already included some situations that use this to lock away some of the higher quality ships and weapons by heavily punishing the player's reputation with that faction.

2) This also means accepting a commission to get brief access to military markets and then canceling the commission won't just give you a reputation hit. In some causes it will completely eradicate the good relationship with that faction or even make them hostile.

3) Rescuing an Adamantine Consortium officer instead of buying off the barons will have more severe and permanent impact to the player's reputation (in other words, it will reset all the gains they may have had by bribing dreadlord commanders.)

Sad, but thanks for the clarification, anyway you really did a excellent mod, keep it up :)

Thanks will do! :)

it doesn't disappear in my inventory, just in the store.

Hmm gotcha. Very strange. Well, I haven't been able to reproduce that issue yet, I'm sorry. It seems to work fine for me. :(

Sorry for the string of additional questions, but without being able to reproduce it I need to narrow it down further.

So, this only occurs after you have selected a trade mission in particular? It doesn't occur on bounties or other kinds of bar missions? Do the items disappear after the mission is accepted the next time you visit the market? Or is it just never replenished after it is bought?

Couple other things to help troubleshoot:

1) Any other mods installed?

2) What operating system are you using?

3) Are you on the latest version of Starsector: 0.9.1a?

^ Hi there. I've actually thought about it a lot. Its not something I would never do, but it would be a substantial amount of work to balance for vanilla and the other faction mods. Months if not years. I would have to completely rework the sprites, ship stats, weapons and fighters and then support both. The names of many ships and weapons would also have to change to prevent inter-mod naming conflicts.

What would be more likely in the future would be to separate out certain easier-to-manage features (such as fleet dialogue) in stand-alone utility mods, and for the Archean Order mod I will either merge in Nex features to the standard download or create similar ones of my own design.

No problem, the interest is appreciated. Good luck on your future modding and if you have other questions feel free to ask.

Modding / Re: Capital Phase Ships
« on: August 16, 2019, 03:12:22 PM »
I have a phase battleship in Archean Order called the Tyrant-class.

Its pretty hard to acquire though. You would either have to salvage one or buy it through a commission with the Adamantine Consortium and in most start scenarios they start hostile to the player.

EDIT: Oh, forgot, if you want to see it in action however, it can be fought against in one of the mod's missions: "The Captain's Gambit"

^ Hi glad you are enjoying the mod. No worries on the modding questions I don't mind. :)

The particles are indeed typically resized for fighter weapons, though not in all cases. Mostly in the ones that would be more noticeable. On the technical side: they are separate weapon files from the ship-based ones so they can have separate projectile files as well, or in the case of beams I can just make the particles smaller in the weapon file itself.

As a side note, I think they may be slightly reduced in size by default as well. It at least certainly seems that way for missiles and torpedoes.

As far as the weapon sprites getting shrunk down.. I wish there was an easy answer here- such as simply putting the weapon sprite components in paint and reducing image size by 50% or something - but they are actually all custom drawn (I use and kitbashed from existing weapons. Reducing size often makes the image quite blurry.

What I do:

I spend some time looking at the weapon I want to shrink to see what detail would be impossible to reproduce in a smaller form (so I know to ignore it when kitbashing or paint over it) then try and get a good idea of the weapon sprite's "shell" and basic features. At that point if I can use bits of the original weapon for kitbashing I do. Sometimes I take 15 or more tiny pieces to create the form and then blend/erase them using colors taken from the original until it looks right. Sometimes it just takes 2 or 3 pieces.

There are also instances where I had a small version of the weapon that fits the medium weapon size well enough to use that sprite. Its different case by case.

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