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Messages - xenoargh

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1
Discussions / Re: Just wanted to check in...
« on: April 02, 2020, 06:19:24 PM »
We're at day 12 of complete self-isolation here, lol.  It's a bit surreal; the weather's nice, people are outside, kids are playing, but... we're all staying apart.  It's like 28 Days Later, only The Infected are just... normal people, lol.

Thankfully, this appears to be working; the rate of infections has been slowing and the doctors / nurses / etc. I know are not panicked any more, thank goodness.  Wherever you are in the world, folks; even if your government doesn't take this thing seriously, please do!

2
Discussions / Just wanted to check in...
« on: March 31, 2020, 03:32:31 PM »
...and express my wishes that all of you are safe and sound, staying home and healthy if you possibly can.

3
Suggestions / Re: More tiers on bounties
« on: February 18, 2020, 03:50:43 PM »
Quote
I broadly agree
Yeah, I'll take that. 

Compiling real numbers for that would involve a lot of hard math or some sort of headless testing environment to do ELO with.  It's pretty impractical and Alex's forthcoming changes to Skills and ship and weapon balance will just upset the apple-cart anyhow.  Ideally, we just talk about how to get the two weaker ships roughly to parity.

4
Suggestions / Re: More tiers on bounties
« on: February 18, 2020, 03:45:03 AM »
<checks self>

Whoops, something was wrong there.  Paragon comes out on top, for supplies/rec. 

But the Odyssey is still billed with the Astral, lol.  It should maybe be billed below the Conquest; that's getting into argument-worthy territory there.

In all seriousness... at some point, these numbers should make sense.  They don't.  A Conquest is not 8/9th of an Astral.  Maybe 5/9ths? 

That example's just one of many; these numbers don't have much basis in the reality of play; they hardly even make sense in theorycrafting Sim fights.

[EDIT]
Here, let's put it another way. 

Let's say, for the sake of argument, that:

The Paragon, unchanged in any other way, has its FP / DP set to, say, 100.  All other ships are now indexed to the Paragon, as our "stable unit of value". 

What are the worths of every other ship in the game, with the notable exceptions of the Doom, Afflictor and Hyperion, because they're all still kind of broken in player hands? 

I mean, if I had to do this real fast, I'd probably go for:

Paragon: 100
Astral: 90
Legion: 80
Conquest: 65
Odyssey: 65
Onslaught: 60

These are all arguable, but they're based on what's currently happening in a typical, non-Sim, campaign fight, where EMP is sometimes ruinously good, Flux-locking in fleet actions often determines the win, etc.  The Legion's higher because it gets first strike against anything but the Astral and Paragon; sometimes that's enough, if bombs / torpedos land. 

Odyssey, for all of its weakness, rates higher than an Onslaught for serious play, simply because it's not going to get nuked by EMP or charge directly into disaster sometimes, and it has the range advantage, if nothing else.  Same with the Conquest, where yup, it's bad on paper and often in practice, but it's passable for putting Hard Flux on things at long range and stacked right, it gets missile kills and the Ballistics are just bonus damage.  Dunno; guess we can all argue that X is slightly less meh than Y here.

In my mind, the three representative Era battleship designs (Paragon, Conquest and Onslaught) should all be different-but-equal 100's in AI hands.  The Odyssey's the odd man out; it's always been meh in all but expert hands, arguably OK there as a focused fly-swatter.  None of them should be, "newbie, avoid" or seriously impact Faction balance.  It would make for better play; right now certain Factions feel significantly worse-off than others.  But that's not what we have today.

5
General Discussion / Re: Any solution for UI scaling?
« on: February 18, 2020, 03:31:28 AM »
But will it work at 4K+?  And will zoom levels be adjusted to compensate?

The game's almost ridiculously oversized in every way (fleet-level zoom in particular feels, well, cramped, can't speak to combat zoom because I haven't had that at defaults for like, 6 years) at 3840X2160.  It's probably time to just let people zoom out to whatever, honestly.

6
Suggestions / Re: More tiers on bounties
« on: February 18, 2020, 03:21:36 AM »
Odd, that may be my bad on that; I may have saved an edit to Vanilla's FP CSV at some point.  I'll do a clean install and re-check.

Quote
Just one player piloted Hyperion can kill the Paragon, both skill-less. This does exploit the fact that Paragon does not keep shield up constantly (as would make sense in such duel).
I think that counts as "bone-headed mistake by AI" rather than "skilled human play", and it means very little in a world where if that Paragon isn't piloted by a Captain with Shield 3, that's a misuse of a Paragon, lol.  But allll right, in Sim, no Skills, sure.

7
Suggestions / Re: More tiers on bounties
« on: February 18, 2020, 02:27:44 AM »
I think that one of the things pointed out by the OP is largely right:  the amount of weighting given to Officer quality seems... a bit on the optimistic side. 

Sure, Officer quality matters.  But that much, vs. the weight of metal you're bringing to the party?  No.

But the other thing that surely matters here is that, well, the FP value of ships, which is, honestly, what ships should be balanced around, is all over the place in terms of the combat power of ships vs. their cost to deploy

There is some rough correlation between power and FP cost, but it's, erm, rough. 

The Paragon at 30 is less than 10% more expensive than an Onslaught at 28?

3 Medusas equal a Paragon and an escorting frigate? 

Then let's look at combat deployment cost, where this gets really odd.

An Odyssey costs 50% more than a Paragon?  Because, uh...

I for one have not ever found these numbers made much sense, and they make even less sense when (P) (D).  A typical Capital, vs. a typical Destroyer, should cost, in FP and cost-to-deploy, roughly the number of Destroyers it would take to have a 50/50 chance of engaging it successfully, AI vs. AI.  Maybe these numbers made sense at some point... and for the player-piloted wonder-ships, maybe they still do.  Like, sure, a Hyperion can kill a Falcon, piloted by a player.  Can two player-piloted Hyperions kill one Paragon?  Uh, well... probably not, unless the AI does something truly bone-headed.

8
Wow, the rx5700 is really problematic, driver-wise, thus far.  Not just Linux; several games on Steam mention pretty severe issues / crashes.  Looks like AMD will need to patch those drivers asap.

9
Suggestions / Re: Ambush Bickering
« on: February 12, 2020, 03:38:30 AM »
Quote
How are you supposed to perform or get ambushed on the strategic layer? The distance between fleets on the map represents several hours or even days of burn travel. It doesn't make sense for an ambushing action to happen in open space.

If the ambushing setup is something like "hide inside an asteroid field and wait for prey", how is the player meant to ever accomplish such a maneuver?
A couple of ideas:

1.  Make it a Skill:  Prepare Ambush
Acts like Going Dark, but even better, but:
A.  Your movement speed is basically zero.
B.  You get bonuses to hiding if in an asteroid belt, Hyperspace cloud, etc.
C.  When in Ambush Mode, you can intercept nearby fleets with a much wider radius than usual, simulating how you'd "leap out of hiding".  Should probably cost a little bit of Fuel and CR.  Radius would have to be drawn.

Give said skill to the AI.  Now Pirates, instead of chasing people, go to good ambush spots and hide.  More realistic and much more interesting.

2.  Make it a contextual thing.  We have the ability to interact with practically any TokenAPI objects.  Why not give a special dialogue / option for good hiding spots?  This is a bit of an issue to do with AI, as it would be a whole new subsystem for them and the player that didn't interact.

3.  Another Skill idea:  "ECM Dump".  Primary usage:  rapidly conceals player from view from anything in between an area (where said ECM is deployed by drones or whatever) and other fleets.  Stays in place for a few hours.  Does not block all view of the player, just LOS.
If player is in the ECM and a fleet enters, player can engage in an ambush.
Give same Skill to AI; let them use it when player is attempting to chase their fleets down and has a higher speed.  Lets AI use Ambush tactical choice to, perhaps, damage player's logistics badly-enough to stop pursuit.


Other thoughts:  In general, the game needs ways for Pirates, especially, to hide and surprise the player.  I'm much less concerned with making these Skills wonderful for the player, but giving players additional tools (and in this case, things to give the game another distinct playstyle, as well as enhancing smuggler builds, traders trying to avoid trouble, etc. is just icing on the cake).  As it is, Going Dark is useful for avoidance of enemies, but has practically zero use as an offensive ability; this would add offensive layers to "being hidden" as well as defensive benefits (ambushers get the choice of what type of engagement to do).

10
3.0.0-alpha-7

  - Implement customize json object output order. The objects in ship/variant/weapon files now list in more human-readable orders.
Oh, thank you very much!  I look forward to testing this when I get the chance.

11
Suggestions / Re: Ambush Bickering
« on: February 11, 2020, 03:27:15 AM »
Quote
What purpose would ambush mechanic serve other than frustrating the player with constant ambushes?
It'd add real risk to Travel (which is one of the major problems with the game design, as things stand).  Small fleets of fast-movers might have a point against your lumbering all-capship fleet; if you don't have escorts, you could lose your logistics ships.  Sure, most players in regular mode will F9, but for players in Iron Mode, it'll be a really meaningful mechanic and change play style, and not in a bad way.

Quote
AI logistics ships are just for show, destroying them gains you nothing
This has always bothered me.  We destroy fleets of transports and fuel tankers; we cannot get them to surrender and we cannot get the goods they were hauling in reasonable amounts.  This is just one of those areas of the game that should get polished up at some point.  I get that it's not a high priority item vs. the big stuff Alex is working on now, but surrendering should definitely be a thing.

12
Discussions / Re: this game has ruined mechwarrior for me
« on: February 11, 2020, 03:13:46 AM »
I still occasionally fire up Wolfman-X's version of MechCommander 2, which I contributed a little source to at one point. 

I think MechCommander 2 is kind of... meh code under the hood (if you weren't aware, the source for it is available for free) and relies on a magical 32-bit DLL that no source is available for (heck, the company that made it is long-dead as well, so probably nobody on Earth has the source).  I at one point looked at the 32-bit-to-64-bit wrappers for that problem, as one of the biggest problems with MW2 is that it's shockingly memory-starved, but frankly, it looked like too much work for something I would just give away, lol.

13
Suggestions / Re: Ambush Bickering
« on: February 08, 2020, 01:38:16 AM »
There are a bunch of problems comparing this to Real Life, and I've asked for more mechanics that force players to risk Logistics vessels for years now.

Let's start off with Real Life vs. Starsector.

1.  In Real Life, nobody uses battleships any more.   Even cruisers are basically larger frigates with more ordinance and ECM / ECW.

2.  In Real Life, battleships are faster on the open seas than frigates (unlike the silly movie / video game tropes), unless the distance is short and the weather's amazing.  Yup, faster.  Why?  Deeper hulls and more sustained power on their engines.  A battleship isn't very manueverable, but in a long race, it wins.  This wasn't an accident; nations spent the equivalent of billions of today's dollars making them faster and faster, because battleships were strategic weapon systems, not merely tactical; they inspired fear and dread because of how quickly they might show up somewhere you weren't expecting, and could withdraw to the open sea at will.  This was even largely true in the age of sail, although for short distances, they were outpaced by rowed boats (yes, they had rowed warships even relatively late, armed with really big bow guns).

3.  In Real Life, the only major engagements between large fleets were the result of both sides deciding to converge on a point of strategic value.  Otherwise... the ocean is vast, and back before constant realtime satellite observation was a thing, fleets met only when both sides wanted them to meet.

4.  In Real Life, battleships were the long-range fighters, protected by frigates from torpedo boats and later on, submarines, and nowadays, long-range missiles launched from boats and aircraft.  In WWII, this turned out to be irrelevant, because aircraft could reliably attack battleships anyhow.  So by the end of the war, nobody was using battleships for much and carriers had become the center of fleets.  Thus it remains to the modern day, with various caveats.  One modern attack submarine is far more dangerous than WWII subs were, and tactical nuclear warheads on cruise missiles or long-range anti-ship missiles make the true value of carrier groups against an opponent willing to use them a little dubious. 

5.  In Real Life, aircraft carriers have more long-range firepower than any battleship could, with strike radii of hundreds of miles.  So there really aren't any battleships that can go kill a carrier at all IRL; there is no armor thick enough to stop anti-ship missiles.

So, basically, Real Life is totally not what Starsector is about.  Starsector is a fun game about building space fleets and bashing them on other space fleets, with RPG / strategic aspects on top of that.  So there are absolutely no "realistic" reasons why we can't have Space Ambushes. 

If we need in-fluff excuses, fine:

1.  Smaller ships are faster, because this is space and they're moving less mass with their magic space-engines or something.
2.  "Ambushes" consist of said faster ships getting in front of your slower fleet and dumping out Space Chaff, or something, throwing all your high-tech systems into disarray (which leads to "give players a Space Chaff ability that they can use themselves", which is actually interesting.
3.  Once said Space Chaff's deployed, the enemy can concentrate on the slowest-moving ships in the fleet, the transports, forcing their tugs (if any) to run away.
4.  If we need more excuses, please let me know; everything from having ambushes in debris-filled space, near a convenient large asteroid the enemy hid behind, etc., etc., but some of them would be hard to pull off in the SS engine without major changes to the AI (like, it would need to be able to pathfind, which is totally doable but mildly un-fun to write; I'm tempted to port my node-based pathfinder over to try it some time, though, when SS finally goes Beta).

Basically, coming up with fluffy excuses isn't a big deal.  Ambushes that force the player to do something different would be fun.  Not having the battleships available for a while would be fun.  So why isn't this a feature?

Let's see what might go wrong:

1.  Players would hate not being able to just use battleships in every fight.  Nah.  I think most players would appreciate more layers to gameplay.
2.  Players would hate having some random stuff happen to battle conditions.  Nah.  I think that's a lot of the fun of the game, frankly; when it's same ol' same ol', it gets stale.
3.  Whiny people would complain about Realism.  Go read the first things I said.  SS isn't real.  It's not a "representation of WWII naval combat" in any but the vaguest sense.  And that's good.
4.  People would hate losing logistics ships, because they're so weak.  Meh.  Make them more combat-worthy, then.  Not a big deal.  It'd feel like Mad Max: Fury Road; your armed-to-the-teeth Space Tanker trying to survive waves of fast-movers while you sweat out rushing in with your destroyer pack to save the day.  That sounds like Fun.

14
Suggestions / Re: Ambush Bickering
« on: February 08, 2020, 01:30:22 AM »
There are a bunch of problems comparing this to Real Life, and I've asked for more mechanics that force players to risk Logistics vessels for years now.

Let's start off with Real Life vs. Starsector.

1.  In Real Life, nobody uses battleships any more.   Even cruisers are basically larger frigates with more ordinance and ECM / ECW.

2.  In Real Life, battleships are faster on the open seas than frigates (unlike the silly movie / video game tropes), unless the distance is short and the weather's amazing.  Yup, faster.  Why?  Deeper hulls and more sustained power on their engines.  A battleship wasn't very manueverable, but in a race, it won.

3.  In Real Life, the only major engagements between large fleets were the result of both sides deciding to converge on a point of strategic value.  Otherwise... the ocean is vast, and back before constant realtime satellite observation was a thing, fleets met only when both sides wanted them to meet.

4.  In Real Life, battleships were the long-range fighters, protected by frigates from torpedo boats and later on, submarines, and nowadays, long-range missiles launched from boats and aircraft.  In WWII, this turned out to be irrelevant, because aircraft could reliably attack battleships anyhow.  So by the end of the war, nobody was using battleships for much and carriers had become the center of fleets.  Thus it remains to the modern day, with various caveats.  One modern attack submarine is far more dangerous than WWII subs were, and tactical nuclear warheads on cruise missiles or long-range anti-ship missiles make the true value of carrier groups against an opponent willing to use them a little dubious. 

5.  In Real Life, aircraft carriers have more long-range firepower than any battleship could, with strike radii of hundreds of miles.  So there really aren't any battleships that can go kill a carrier at all IRL; there is no armor thick enough to stop anti-ship missiles.

So, basically, Real Life is totally not what Starsector is about.  Starsector is a fun game about building space fleets and bashing them on other space fleets, with RPG / strategic aspects on top of that.  So there are absolutely no "realistic" reasons why we can't have Space Ambushes. 

If we need in-fluff excuses, fine:

1.  Smaller ships are faster, because this is space and they're moving less mass with their magic space-engines or something.
2.  "Ambushes" consist of said faster ships getting in front of your slower fleet and dumping out Space Chaff, or something, throwing all your high-tech systems into disarray (which leads to "give players a Space Chaff ability that they can use themselves", which is actually interesting.
3.  Once said Space Chaff's deployed, the enemy can concentrate on the slowest-moving ships in the fleet, the transports, forcing their tugs (if any) to run away.
4.  If we need more excuses, please let me know; everything from having ambushes in debris-filled space, near a convenient large asteroid the enemy hid behind, etc., etc., but some of them would be hard to pull off in the SS engine without major changes to the AI (like, it would need to be able to pathfind, which is totally doable but mildly un-fun to write; I'm tempted to port my node-based pathfinder over to try it some time, though, when SS finally goes Beta).

Basically, coming up with fluffy excuses isn't a big deal.  Ambushes that force the player to do something different would be fun.  Not having the battleships available for a while would be fun.  So why isn't this a feature?

Let's see what might go wrong:

1.  Players would hate not being able to just use battleships in every fight.  Nah.  I think most players would appreciate more layers to gameplay.
2.  Players would hate having some random stuff happen to battle conditions.  Nah.  I think that's a lot of the fun of the game, frankly; when it's same ol' same ol', it gets stale.
3.  Whiny people would complain about Realism.  Go read the first things I said.  SS isn't real.  It's not a "representation of WWII naval combat" in any but the vaguest sense.  And that's good.
4.  People would hate losing logistics ships, because they're so weak.  Meh.  Make them more combat-worthy, then.  Not a big deal.  It'd feel like Mad Max: Fury Road; your armed-to-the-teeth Space Tanker trying to survive waves of fast-movers while you sweat out rushing in with your destroyer pack to save the day.  That sounds like Fun.

15
Modding / Re: Question about formations
« on: February 01, 2020, 04:20:56 PM »
I'd love to add that functionality to my AI, but I don't have time right now. 

It's something that would require work on an AI's steering function; it's not possible to make the Vanilla AI do it with any reliability by just feeding it some coordinates it's supposed to move through via Orders.  It'd also take a fair bit of doing, because of the way that Orders are implemented.

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