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Starsector 0.9.1a is out! (05/10/19); Blog post: Personal Contacts (08/13/20)

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Author Topic: [0.9.1a] TC: Archean Order: Rebalanced Combat/Lore RPG - Update preview 6/24/20  (Read 275749 times)

The PG 13 Priest

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Is there an estimated time as to when the next update might take place?
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Morrokain

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@Albreo

Ah thanks again for the video! I will do my best to learn from it and make any necessary changes - especially since its hard for me to test late game officer scenarios I really appreciate the demonstration of how those battles look.

You also make a good point regarding battle size considerations in the current format. I kind of wish the admiral AI did more wave-like deployments and retreated vessels after a mid-map skirmish is considered "lost" in order to lure the player into the reinforcement wave. Thing is, it might be hard to get that to feel right or not be abusable just like the current reinforcement pattern. It also might be hard to programmatically determine when a battle is "lost" to the AI in a relative-to-space way rather than a DP ratio way (which I assume the current admiral AI uses to determine when the AI ships full retreat).

The thing I was referring to with the upcoming objective changes was that the enemy ratio of DP will better favor them if they have a larger fleet. So in that sense, the AI can better utilize a numbers advantage from the onset of the battle without necessarily needing a large battle size to make the player feel the pressure. The breathing room factor will remain - but consider that small faster wolfpacks will also be encouraged in the new system over pure capital engagements. When putting those two changes together - there is likely to be less realistic breathing room without punishment if that makes sense. That's where I'm basing my assumption, anyway. I'll have to wait and see how it plays out in the end. The theory seems sound but who knows.


Is there an estimated time as to when the next update might take place?

At this point it's hard to say. Conceptually the new system is in place, but finishing the important details of each build and getting the balance to feel a bit better takes exponentially more time than the programming side of things. Work-wise if I put my axe to the grindstone - probably a week. Realistically though? Much harder to say with any real confidence. There are currently 982 variants in the mod. Minus the station modules and a few other ones that don't consider OP, the vast majority of them are going to require changes. I could just slap on vents or hullmods to fix them all quickly, but that seems like a wasted opportunity to make them more meaningful. It's not that they are bad now, per se, but they could be better in some areas - especially carriers. Then, of course, I'll need to add new variants for suggested balance issues and the new wings.

Generally, I balance weapons through stat changes other than OP because changing OP usually means changing a bunch of variants. Since I have to do it anyway for the carrier changes, it's a good time be careful about considering OP.

As an example, when thinking about a single carrier bay, how much of an OP gap does there need to be between wing tiers to make the increased effectiveness of the wing feel like a consideration of the build rather than an easy choice assuming the wing is available? That's one I'm still wrestling with, actually, and the only way to "find out" is going to be to make and test builds along tier lines with multiple carriers and feel it out until it feels right. Math can only get you so far with this sort of thing.

In fact, if anyone has opinions based upon your current experiences to that point, I'm all ears!

*EDIT* Oh hey welcome to the forums!  Didn't catch that this was your first post at first. :)
« Last Edit: September 19, 2020, 04:49:37 PM by Morrokain »
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Albreo

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Quote
Ah thanks again for the video! I will do my best to learn from it and make any necessary changes - especially since its hard for me to test late game officer scenarios I really appreciate the demonstration of how those battles look.

I'm glad to help. If there're any paticular factions you want to see, you can request.

For all the AI change, I would wait for Alex to complete what he wants to implement to negate Capital only fleet. I do disagree with the new skill point system somewhat as there're fewer options and a bit force into only a small pool of initial skill. And the story point, I already imagine myself abusing it already lol.

I can probably help with some variant adjustment if you want but I don't know what factions can and can't use which weapons. Also have zero coding skill.
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capshades

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Registered a forum account just to say thank you for all the time you've put in this mod, between this and Nex's mod you have tripled the content to an already great game.  Also glad you're still adding content and keeping it up to date, thank you!
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basileus

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Generally, I balance weapons through stat changes other than OP because changing OP usually means changing a bunch of variants. Since I have to do it anyway for the carrier changes, it's a good time be careful about considering OP.

As an example, when thinking about a single carrier bay, how much of an OP gap does there need to be between wing tiers to make the increased effectiveness of the wing feel like a consideration of the build rather than an easy choice assuming the wing is available? That's one I'm still wrestling with, actually, and the only way to "find out" is going to be to make and test builds along tier lines with multiple carriers and feel it out until it feels right. Math can only get you so far with this sort of thing.

In fact, if anyone has opinions based upon your current experiences to that point, I'm all ears!

I feel like pure carriers should always use the best wings available.

So the question mostly seems pertinent to battlecarriers.  I'm not really sure.  The calculus is already pretty complex as far as what I do with them.

I did have a thought that might add for some build considerations, though.  A system that could make non-carriers into pseudo-carriers:

Converted Manufactory
Requires: M or L Missile/Universal hardpoint
Mutually Exclusive: Carrier Bays
Cost: 4-7 per rank (depending upon OP gap between wing tiers; should be cheaper with a bigger gap)
Increases missile replenishment time by +50%; decreases fighter replacement time by 50%. (Maybe 40/40 instead?)

That would provide the option to turn certain ships into battlecarriers of sorts, and they would likely be strong candidates to upgrade strikecraft tiers on these specific builds.

A few observations after finishing my Sci-Corps game:

Ogleth is not considered habitable despite being Tundra and having farmland.  Is this deliberate?

The Directorship Training Facility description uses the word "ambiquitous," which appears to be a portmanteau of ambiguous/ambitious and ubiquitous; however, ambitious or ubiquitous would seem to be the exact opposite of the contextual meaning.

The ion torpedo would be better off as a dumbfire missile than a tracking torpedo with very high speed and very low turn rate.

Sci-corps lacked proper interceptors.  The Liberator isn't particularly great in either the interceptor or heavy fighter role.
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Morrokain

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Sorry been busy the last couple days. I read posts but didn't have time to respond to things properly.

Quote
Ah thanks again for the video! I will do my best to learn from it and make any necessary changes - especially since its hard for me to test late game officer scenarios I really appreciate the demonstration of how those battles look.

I'm glad to help. If there're any paticular factions you want to see, you can request.

For all the AI change, I would wait for Alex to complete what he wants to implement to negate Capital only fleet. I do disagree with the new skill point system somewhat as there're fewer options and a bit force into only a small pool of initial skill. And the story point, I already imagine myself abusing it already lol.

I can probably help with some variant adjustment if you want but I don't know what factions can and can't use which weapons. Also have zero coding skill.
Thanks for the offer I appreciate it! It would be tough only because the necessary hullmods aren't available in the current version so making builds with the new constraints in mind is impossible. As far as faction weapons restrictions - I need to make a list or something because it currently resides in my head only haha. :P

We'll have to wait and see how Story Points and the new skill system plays out. I too worry about the abusability of Story Points but I think that can be solved in future balance patches by increasing rarity of the resource if it comes to that. Skills I'm thinking will be good as long as balance is carefully considered. I'm hoping it creates more playstyle opportunity.

Registered a forum account just to say thank you for all the time you've put in this mod, between this and Nex's mod you have tripled the content to an already great game.  Also glad you're still adding content and keeping it up to date, thank you!
Welcome to the forums and thank you very much for the kind words. :)

Hopefully I'll be able to add content well into the future - even if updates take longer sometimes over others. Got to avoid burnout but overall I really enjoy working on this.

@basileus
First off, thanks for the suggestions from your Sci-Corps playthrough. It is very helpful to have perspective of a faction-based playthrough to know which holes to fill and better achieve faction balance. I'll have to think of an interceptor option to give them as the Liberator is less an anti-strike craft wing and more of a shield breaker wing. They got a legendary fighter (Arcangel) in the update so far, but that is too rare and also fits more of a heavy fighter shield breaker/suppression wing than an anti-strike craft wing. I might make a Corps variant of the Sidewinder heavy interceptor to give to them. I'd probably replace its Micro Blaster with a Light Ion Cannon in that variant though to keep it thematic and further move it into more of an air-superiority role at the expense of a little more OP. Maybe add an additional wing member? - though I'd have to see about performance.

Regarding the description I'll change it to "obscure" as I believe that fits the intent of the context. Same thing with Ogleth I'll take a look. I might just need to add the condition. Good catch!

There are some things I'm thinking of along the lines of the converted manufactory idea. Not quite so complex, but more that stacking a couple of hullmods on a cruiser/capital could make it into more of a battlecarrier but it of course requires an OP tax from the mods. Not sure how useful it will be, but I'd like to at least have the option there.

Wing quality: Based upon tests in a 1v1 scenario - wing quality considerations matter. As an example:

Spoiler
---Astral Corps Strike Supercarrier Version 3---
Strike Capabilities: Kintetic - HE - Minor Supression
Replacement Strength: Average
Interceptor Defense: Average
Flares: No
Wing OP: 240
Weapon OP: 128
Flux Stats OP: 82
Hullmod OP: 40
Overall Combat Rating: Good
Test Scenario: Stock Elite Conquest - Result All Lost -  minor enemy damage

vs

---Astral Corps Strike Supercarrier Version 2---
Strike Capabilities: Kintetic - HE - Supression
Replacement Strength: Average
Interceptor Defense: Moderate
Flares: No
Wing OP: 285
Weapon OP: 128
Flux Stats OP: 37
Hullmod OP: 40
Overall Combat Rating: Average
Test Scenario: Stock Elite Conquest - Result All Lost
[close]

The one with less OP in wings and more OP in flux stats can survive to reinforcement much better. That's why it was able to cause damage to the enemy capital compared to the wing optimal one.

Now, in a fleet scenario that kind of breaks down though. You have escorts to provide the defense - so there you are probably right. At least fringe cases exist though, and even still the next updates changes to frigates might make this kind of build more attractive.
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basileus

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Thanks for the offer I appreciate it! It would be tough only because the necessary hullmods aren't available in the current version so making builds with the new constraints in mind is impossible. As far as faction weapons restrictions - I need to make a list or something because it currently resides in my head only haha. :P

Well, you did mention technical debt awhile back, so I could hazard a guess as to your vocation.  Now that Windows has bash, I could clone a Git repo.  I don't know that I want to go down the rabbit hole of setting up Windows development environment and trying to remember Java, but I could edit CSV files.
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Morrokain

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Well, you did mention technical debt awhile back, so I could hazard a guess as to your vocation.  Now that Windows has bash, I could clone a Git repo.  I don't know that I want to go down the rabbit hole of setting up Windows development environment and trying to remember Java, but I could edit CSV files.

Ha guilty. :)

Unfortunately, I was a complete novice when I first started modding and never put the project on Git since I didn't know much about it at the time. I learned a lot of Git functionality and version control at my last job and it's pretty awesome.

When I tried to upload the project after user reports of Dropbox downloading issues, I was shocked at the 100 file upload limit and how long it takes to upload those files in a batch. There is over 4000 files in the project so it's going to take forever to get the project up there lol. After that, though, it won't be so bad (I don't think) to continue editing things especially if I can set up pushing changes to the Git repository directly from my IDE. I have an older community edition of IntelliJ from 2017 so I don't know if I have access to those features or not (I know some microservice things are unavailable in the community edition).

As far as a secondary hosting platform, I plan to use Patreon as well as Dropbox for the next update.

If you are comfortable adding built-in hullmods to ship files, what I could do is host:

1) The new jar which now contains the hullmod code and the hullmod csv
2) The ship data/wing data csv's and the new wing ship/variant files (so you have my current OP/range changes to wings)
3) The new wing sprites
4) The weapon files/weapon data csv for the new fighter-class weapons

This way, you could add the built in hullmod for weapon OP reduction on a carrier you want to test, then add/override the other files to have access to the carrier changes. If you put Starsector in dev mode, you can edit variants from the start screen and play around with making builds and testing out balance. This would also include the currently implemented balance changes for weapons/ships

If anyone is interested in this, I'll host them and people can give feedback as they play around with things. Obviously I'll be making changes in the meantime too, but it would be a bit of a preview of sorts.


Arg, just realized even that wouldn't work because so many things have changed on the technical level. If I gave out the new jar then it would be looking for other files that don't currently exist in the mod - like settings data and related spreadsheets.

Sigh, I should probably just power through build making and the remaining items for the update then do a secondary balance patch later after people have tested it. The main concern is OP gaps like I was speaking about before, and I *think* that feels pretty good right now. The rest of balancing could probably be done through stat/weapon changes to the wings themselves. Hmm, I'll think about that.
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