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Starsector 0.9.1a is out! (05/10/19); Updated the Forum Rules and Guidelines (02/29/20); Blog post: GIF Roundup (04/11/20)

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Messages - xenoargh

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Suggestions / Re: More ballistic anti fighter options
« on: February 01, 2020, 11:42:54 AM »
I put a specific anti-fighter missile into Rebal, because I actually agree with the OP; there aren't really good choices available that wouldn't become seriously overpowered if they were made better vs. fighters.  The missile has a moderate range, high speed and tracking and a fairly decent reload.  It's junk vs. anything with real armor, but it's great against fighters.  I think that's a niche that could be filled.

Suggestions / Re: New player feedback
« on: January 28, 2020, 10:35:02 AM »

Modding / Re: [0.9.1a] Captain Trek's Guide to the Modiverse
« on: January 28, 2020, 10:30:44 AM »
For people with potato computers struggling with Vanilla, I humbly suggest that they try my mod out.  Multithreaded, multiprocessed AIs and FX mean that the game runs considerably smoother on many rigs.

Discussions / Re: Starsector fleet battle in 3D
« on: January 28, 2020, 10:19:16 AM »
<inserts call for Bee Gun>

<realizes poster won't get the meme>


Suggestions / Re: Tariff mechanic discussion
« on: January 27, 2020, 08:59:52 PM »
OK, let's back up a minute and think here.

1.  If above-board, legal trading is unprofitable period, why is it in this game?  I mean seriously, this is not just a Newbie Trap, it's just a waste of time and CPU.

2.  The fluff doesn't make sense and neither do the tariffs.  This is a world where everybody's some flavor of Mercantilist, but nobody's smart enough to form a cartel, let alone let the player sit at the table?

3.  It makes even less sense when we're looking at the Pirates and Ludd.  Pirates shouldn't have "black markets"; they should probably have port fees at most.  I mean, the fluff says they're desperate and the game says their Markets need everything under the sun.  They don't make sense.

4.  Ludd shouldn't have "black markets" either; maybe a "terrorist tax" might be more appropriate.  But historically most terrorists are basically organized criminals with political goals; also historically most terrorists look the other way, in terms of their stated ideals, if they need money for the Cause.  It's hard to see why Ludd should behave differently; they aren't the Knights, they're the radicals.

5.  Trade routes aren't inherently "boring".  "Boring" is when you just circle a huge fleet from point to point, taking hours to do so while your eyes glaze over, and then, after hours of circles, you're rich, because the game mechanics allow that.  That's not the fault of tariffs or trade systems; it's that nothing interesting or remotely dangerous happens if you build a big enough trading fleet.  This seems like a fixable problem.   For example, make your fleet more and more attractive to Pirates based on the value of the cargo you're carrying and the ratio of civilian ships vs. military ships.

To put it another way... Freelancer had totally fixed trade routes.  But the Cardamine Run was actually quite fun, because you were practically guaranteed to get jumped by something scary and have to fight your way out. 

The problem this game has with making trading (and to an extent, travel in general) interesting is that, once you get past early midgame, practically nobody will try to jump your fleet, period, and anybody who might do so cannot catch you.  I've been saying this for years now, lol.

Suggestions / Re: New player feedback
« on: January 27, 2020, 11:57:12 AM »

I don't see these as problems with Capitals per se; they should be very powerful by lategame.  The issues here are mainly cost-effectiveness.

Hard Fleet Cap means we want to stick the maximum power into our fleets.  That's going away, kind of, but how it's set up matters quite a lot.

Deployment Points for Capitals may be really off; it really shouldn't be possible to deploy 7 Capitals in a battle at once vs. AI forces that aren't decidedly superior in numbers.  It shouldn't be practical for players to build entirely Capital-centered deathballs. 

We have a lot of whacky stuff in the numbers for Deployment Cost that are probably behind this; I'd started initial work on balancing ships for DP (like my previous work on balancing vs. OP) but it's hard going and you can only ever get approximates because of the weird factors (ship size, Systems, the effects of Officers, etc.).  Essentially, my initial work indicated that the power curve for this stuff meant that DPs for Cruisers+ go up quite a lot, if (and only if) Cruisers / Capitals are also well-balanced in terms of what they deliver in combat (in short, weak "capitals" should actually cost fewer DPs in some cases, because they're just big targets, among other things).

Modding Resources / Re: [0.9.1a] SafariJohn's Rules Tool (v2.1.1)
« on: January 27, 2020, 01:30:13 AM »
I've finally gotten around to this.  Sorry, I've been busy.

It's still throwing a Java Exception on startup, unfortunately.  Where is the log printed to?  I don't see one in the application's directory.

General Discussion / Re: Running game at 64 bit
« on: January 25, 2020, 08:48:46 PM »
What OS are you using?

Suggestions / Re: Tuning levers
« on: January 24, 2020, 09:29:37 AM »
I've always thought that the ship cap should be a reasonable soft-cap (and no, "one ship over some limit = astronomical cost" isn't a reasonable soft-cap; a good system should be a gentle curve starting at one ship).

I think it's interesting seeing the "too many ships is bad" argument, though.  That hasn't been my experience, playing my mod.

I think the issues here are several:

On the performance end:

1.  The AI can't handle what's going on and the CPU load is high.  That's pretty difficult to avoid without multithreading the AIs, but it's certainly not impossible.

2.  There is a lot of additional overhead on the graphics side that can also be multithreaded, and using more texture atlases would help a lot.  That's also been done, to some extent (although I did not implement such systems for ship drawing, etc. because it didn't seem like it would help, given how the core works).

3.  Wrecks shouldn't just stick around forever, eating up precious CPU on collision tests.

4.  Friendly fire largely is a negative aspect of gameplay.  Unlike ship-ship collisions, which largely prevent stacking without FF, friendly fire largely just creates opportunities for players to make mistakes and for AIs to very occasionally wreck friendlies.  It also costs a lot of CPU per frame to prevent (more than normal auto-aim).  I'm not sure that the benefits have ever outweighed the costs.  It also has made it extremely difficult to give AIs access to weapons that can deal a lot of damage but aren't hitscan (Reapers, for example, which the AI hardly uses).

On the gameplay / UI end:

1.  The lack of formations makes it artificially hard to use larger numbers of ships in an organized way.

2.  The Command Interface is difficult to read and use, and doesn't convey all the information it should.  For example, we can click on a ship and get some basic information about it, but not its facing, and facings aren't displayed in the main UI.  Fighters and missiles don't give useful information about their facings or velocity, etc.

3.  The AI isn't organized around formational tactics and has no sense of role.  Merely having Variant roles like "flanker", "support", "sniper", "assault", etc. would be helpful, but we don't have these things, so there's nowhere to go, in terms of developing AI that responds a little better.  We've had a couple of mods add Hull Mods that sort-of do this, and I think that's useful.

General Discussion / Re: Eagle vs Dominator
« on: January 24, 2020, 08:51:50 AM »
The Eagle's a good support boat for AI's to be given.  The Eagle's strengths are mainly that it can output pretty massive damage output while kiting / out-maneuvering slower Cruisers; it's flexible and survivable.  It is great for killing smaller ships trying to flank.  As a head-on combatant, it's outclassed by most ships in the game for the DP cost; if it wasn't for fleet size limits, its limitations would be even more relevant.

The Dominator is a great player ship, for players who put a lot of points into Combat (i.e., in the current meta, nobody) and want to spend the OPs to make it resistant to EMP (again, nobody).  It is potentially one of the hardest-hitting ships in the game for its DP cost, with two Large Ballistics and a flock of lighter weapons, and Sabot Pods make one heck of an opening act.  However, in Vanilla, it's almost absurdly vulnerable to Flux-locking, it has trouble closing in fighter-rich environments and EMP basically shuts it down.  I honestly can't recommend it for the DPs spent, in the current meta; you get far more bang for your buck out of Falcon(P).

Discussions / Re: I’m working on a game, finally.
« on: January 24, 2020, 06:45:48 AM »
Well... at this point, it's a little past POC stage (the main tech is done and most of the UI exists) but I don't have it ready-enough to consider showing it anywhere yet.  Probably when I get it to that point, I'll show a little demo here and a few other places to help get initial critique, then proceed to get it cleaned up for presentation to publishers, consider whether I'd like to do a Kickstarter, etc. :)

Discussions / Re: StarLords3K - An on-line strategic 4X space game
« on: January 23, 2020, 08:26:45 PM »
Very cool that you're still plugging away at this.

I must admit this is more "strategic" than I generally like to play (I always felt Master of Orion 2 hit the perfect spot between "newbie friendly" and "actual strategy game") but I can see how this is a really fun game for people who like these kinds of games :)

General Discussion / Re: Just bought the game! Love it, a couple quetions
« on: January 11, 2020, 11:33:33 AM »
On number 2:

I did it years ago. 

See source code in the Vacuum mod.  Vacuum will not run on current versions of Starsector; you'll need to get one of the older archived releases to see it do what it does.  But basically, it was "shuttles" that could "capture" ships on the battlefield.  Not terrifically well-balanced or "fair" but it did work.

It (might) still even work pretty much as written, if ported forward.  I'm working on a game of my own right now and don't have time / energy to throw at modernizing that code.

Discussions / Re: Need suggestions for science fi and fantasy AUDIO books
« on: January 11, 2020, 11:29:14 AM »
The Deathstalker series is good, clean fun.

Suggestions / Re: Empty game
« on: January 11, 2020, 10:34:26 AM »
Coding a quest takes about as much time to do if it's animated / voiced as it does if it's not.  It's not trivial work.

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