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Author Topic: High Zero-Flux Speed Boost  (Read 3034 times)

vagrant

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High Zero-Flux Speed Boost
« on: April 29, 2019, 07:47:26 AM »

Has anyone else tried playing with a drastically heightened zero-flux speed boost, say 500 instead of 50?

I started a campaign last night using it and it's been a very different feeling, battles start more quickly, cover much more space, break into groups more often, and overall feel fast and dynamic.

I chose 500 because it seems about the speed ships burn in at and I wanted to mimic the feeling of a ship putting power to engines and engaging a travel burn drive. I love the feeling and functionality it provides across all ship classes as well.

Since ships in starsector have defined accel/decel and maneuverability stats, the additional top speed isn't as broken as it sounds, as functionally, ships aren't built to handle at these boosted speeds. The game also beautifully handles automatically braking you down to combat speeds once you start burning flux, so ships aren't zipping around uncontrollably all the time.

Things i've noticed:

-Every ship can charge screaming into engagements and it feels *** cool. Some ships take a long time to get up to speed.
-Playing low top speed ships no longer feels like trudging through sludge, as you can get around to different engagements easily before digging in for a fight.
-Playing faster ships now emphasizes your ability to control engagements even further, but slow ships are not helpless as you dance around them.
-Frigates feel genuinely useful at any battle size, now able to advance quickly and skillfully under long range enemy fire.
-Pursuits are fast moving and require decisiveness, the new top speed means ships get away FAST when you aren't paying attention.
-Calling in reinforcements feels *** cool when they all punch into the engagement you're struggling with.
-Flux capacity/dissipation is now very very important for determining your movement options in a given engagement. Using your armor to soak damage while you vent and angle for escape feels natural.
-I didn't think about safety overrides before making the change. It really feels like safety overrides now. Pathers appropriately feel like cultists and not weirdly competent close combat specialists as they wildly zip around before burning out.
-Accidental ramming happens but hasn't been as impactful as I expected.


Overall i'm enjoying it a lot! I might post updates / other things i notice. Has anyone else experimented with this?
« Last Edit: April 29, 2019, 12:40:52 PM by vagrant »
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Megas

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Re: High Zero-Flux Speed Boost
« Reply #1 on: April 29, 2019, 09:04:47 AM »

Early Helmsmanship 5 used to increase zero-flux bonus from 50 to 75.
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From a Faster Time

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Re: High Zero-Flux Speed Boost
« Reply #2 on: April 29, 2019, 09:59:19 AM »

Has anyone else tried playing with a drastically heightened zero-flux speed boost, say 500 instead of 50?
Make a vid

Early Helmsmanship 5 used to increase zero-flux bonus from 50 to 75.
Yeah, rip fast.
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TaLaR

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Re: High Zero-Flux Speed Boost
« Reply #3 on: April 29, 2019, 10:53:25 AM »

We had over-top-speed inertial movement too. Well... we, the players. AI didn't use it.

But 500 bonus speed would allow to dogpile numerically inferior opponents way too easily. And numerically inferior side is usually the player. So basically, (fast) zombie rush every time?
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Thaago

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Re: High Zero-Flux Speed Boost
« Reply #4 on: April 29, 2019, 11:29:40 AM »

It might be interesting to experiment with moderately faster zero flux boosts, but I think 500 is over the top :P. Safety Overides... good god can you imagine piloting a Dominator at 550 speed at all times? It would probably drift like crazy and bumper car into things.
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vagrant

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Re: High Zero-Flux Speed Boost
« Reply #5 on: April 29, 2019, 11:31:50 AM »

We had over-top-speed inertial movement too. Well... we, the players. AI didn't use it.

But 500 bonus speed would allow to dogpile numerically inferior opponents way too easily. And numerically inferior side is usually the player. So basically, (fast) zombie rush every time?

In my experience it's not so simple, dogpiles can actually be broken out of and bigger ships can still muscle through with armor coverage while they have it. The enemy can get on top of you and around you more quickly, but coherent deathballs are rare (so far), meaning it's much easier to manipulate and work around the enemy.

I'm only piloting a medium size fleet (4 cruisers, 4 destroyers, 5 frigates) so I'll keep your thoughts in mind as things scale up. I'm finding battles more fun and less tedious at every size so far, hopefully that stays true!
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vagrant

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Re: High Zero-Flux Speed Boost
« Reply #6 on: April 29, 2019, 11:48:06 AM »

It might be interesting to experiment with moderately faster zero flux boosts, but I think 500 is over the top :P. Safety Overides... good god can you imagine piloting a Dominator at 550 speed at all times? It would probably drift like crazy and bumper car into things.

I chose 500 to emulate the travel drive // greatly equalize out of combat ship speeds. The idea was to eliminate the least fun part of combat / ship piloting which is put putting around in battlespace between engagements, ESPECIALLY in slow craft.

The change to safety overrides was unintentional, but i'm not bothered. I never liked vanilla SO as it always just communicated "short term short range specialist mod" rather than any kind of "Safety Override" to me. The AI has a hard time piloting these ships, yes, but in an entertaining and not horribly annoying way so far in my experience.

I agree there is room for balance, but the large change is intentional, not random. Acceleration and maneuverability stats have made the changes much more graceful than I expected.
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Harmful Mechanic

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Re: High Zero-Flux Speed Boost
« Reply #7 on: April 29, 2019, 12:14:05 PM »

My experience with testing faction-specific hullmods has been that doubling zero-flux boost is as high as I'm comfortable going without some kind of downside. I'd argue that anything over 150-200 is probably excessive.

But I'd echo an earlier comment; show us a video! The best way to argue some of these points is to show behavior.
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SafariJohn

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Re: High Zero-Flux Speed Boost
« Reply #8 on: April 29, 2019, 12:41:47 PM »

Tried this and it seems fun. I didn't notice anything terrible - fought against SO ships and later tested a retreat (managed to lose a Dram :o). Rough around the edges, of course.

I recall when people told me doubling fighter speeds was crazy. Soon after, the official fighter rework dropped with... doubled fighter speeds.
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xenoargh

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Re: High Zero-Flux Speed Boost
« Reply #9 on: April 29, 2019, 01:48:27 PM »

Quote
My experience with testing faction-specific hullmods has been that doubling zero-flux boost is as high as I'm comfortable going without some kind of downside.
500 speed means you can outrun all missiles.  Interesting idea; I wonder if maybe setting up LRMs with really high final velocities might make for a fun style; sure, you can run, but you can't outrun missiles.

I think this might be a fun idea, honestly; not quite sure on the speed, but it'd certainly get rid of a lot of the boring parts of chasing things around.  Problem is, most of the time, in large fights, shields never stay down long, because of fighters; I'm more-or-less leaning more and more on mechanics that permit shields to stay up while moving faster into combat ranges; I may try killing shield upkeep again with a faster speed, see how that feels.
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vagrant

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Re: High Zero-Flux Speed Boost
« Reply #10 on: April 29, 2019, 02:30:23 PM »

Quote
My experience with testing faction-specific hullmods has been that doubling zero-flux boost is as high as I'm comfortable going without some kind of downside.
500 speed means you can outrun all missiles.  Interesting idea; I wonder if maybe setting up LRMs with really high final velocities might make for a fun style; sure, you can run, but you can't outrun missiles.

I think this might be a fun idea, honestly; not quite sure on the speed, but it'd certainly get rid of a lot of the boring parts of chasing things around.  Problem is, most of the time, in large fights, shields never stay down long, because of fighters; I'm more-or-less leaning more and more on mechanics that permit shields to stay up while moving faster into combat ranges; I may try killing shield upkeep again with a faster speed, see how that feels.

I have noticed missile outrunning occurring but usually only when missiles are fired at a target that has yet to engage. Noted, definitely something to look into.

To be honest i've been tweaking armor max and min percentages as well to facilitate and encourage use of the new bigger boost. My only worry about shields up with the speed boost is that pursuits will become impossible to realistically complete. I like making the player choose between active defense measures (shield and speed) while using their passive defense measure (armor) to supplement and transition them.

I want ships to have more agency to pick and choose fights, but i also don't want them to be able to escape a poor judgement call totally unscathed.
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Harmful Mechanic

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Re: High Zero-Flux Speed Boost
« Reply #11 on: April 29, 2019, 04:34:39 PM »

Quote
My experience with testing faction-specific hullmods has been that doubling zero-flux boost is as high as I'm comfortable going without some kind of downside.
500 speed means you can outrun all missiles.  Interesting idea; I wonder if maybe setting up LRMs with really high final velocities might make for a fun style; sure, you can run, but you can't outrun missiles.

I tried something like that with DME's Jongleurs; they have a high final velocity and slow accel curve, so the further away they are, the higher their closing velocity gets (and, indeed; running away only helps so much, compared to strafing to the side). I'm not sure it would work for traditional Pilum-style LRMs, just because en masse they get intensely scary, but something else? Potentially fascinating.

I think this might be a fun idea, honestly; not quite sure on the speed, but it'd certainly get rid of a lot of the boring parts of chasing things around.  Problem is, most of the time, in large fights, shields never stay down long, because of fighters; I'm more-or-less leaning more and more on mechanics that permit shields to stay up while moving faster into combat ranges; I may try killing shield upkeep again with a faster speed, see how that feels.

High zero-flux boost is good for player ships and faster, higher-mobility light ships; it doesn't do a lot for some other ships and can be a detriment; I could see something like a Dominator or Onslaught flying boldly into fights it has no way to get out of.
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xenoargh

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Re: High Zero-Flux Speed Boost
« Reply #12 on: April 29, 2019, 10:38:57 PM »

Dominators / Onslaughts / Enforcers already have that problem, though.  Mis-judging Burn Drive decisions is always amusing, and honestly, I haven't been able to completely fix that in my AI, either; it's a surprisingly-hard problem.

On the shields-up problem; it really depends on whether there's a reasonable percentage where the drive bonus shuts off.  I think that issue's largely solved on my end; passive Hard Flux drain means that it doesn't come up unless you've taken a significant hit, but then it matters.  For example, most chase scenarios late-game are resolved by Fighters putting enough Flux on an enemy that they simply cannot outrun pursuit; the Fighters may not generate the kill, but they do something distinctly useful.

So, dunno; we definitely have a real problem (boring chases) but the easiest solution (small arenas) doesn't feel right.  Speed increases in general just mean the arena feels smaller.  Honestly, I wish that hitting arena borders took ships out of the fight, drained their CR, threw them back in at a random place, and that the arena was big but circular... something to prevent wall-hugging and corner-camping and pushing fleeing enemies into the corner as the optimal way to finish them off.  I tested something to do this, and it sort've worked, other than running into some very real problems with Vanilla's hard-coded assumptions.

I've lost count of the number of times I've sat there, bored out of my mind, pushing my ship for the next minute to intercept a last Destroyer whose death means the official end of the battle.  I don't think this is a good game mechanic right now; I don't want enemies to suicide, I'd honestly prefer that they fled if it's obviously a lost cause.

Perhaps another mechanic to consider here is a "jump" mechanic, whereby you can select some ships and they'll move to <location> rapidly; once in transit, the decision's made, good or bad. 

Another way to handle this that might be interesting is to have the speed bonus be dependent on the distance from enemy ships; i.e., up close, it functions like it always has, but when no enemy ships are near, the bonus is much larger.  This would prevent the feeling of out-of-control ships by making them slow down before they get irrevocably into trouble, perhaps.
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xenoargh

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Re: High Zero-Flux Speed Boost
« Reply #13 on: April 29, 2019, 11:34:39 PM »

<tests stuff>

Ok, here's what I found, with just 200 speed bonus.

1.  Fights start earlier.  That's good and bad; on the good side, less waiting and more intelligence faster (fighters revealing the map, etc.).  On the bad side, there isn't much time to make decisions; this change would push armchair-admiral types to pause constantly.  I still think that pausing should eat a timer or something so that's not the actual style of play, but I digress.
2.  Capitals and other heavies get a significant bonus, in that they're not lumbering into battle, but can actually arrive in time to do things.  This is maybe the best part of the change; no more "push a capital, wait a minute or more, then deploy the mobile support".  This benefits the AI quite a lot, because it usually loses its screen of Frigates before the heavies arrive, and then dies.  Now the heavies are arriving during the early stages of the fight, disrupting the comfortable style of slowly whittling the enemy down.
3.  Shieldless ships, simply by virtue of putting Flux loads on less often, become significantly more mobile.  This almost feels like a solution to the problems with shieldless ships as a class, honestly.
4.  Chases are still a major drag, when speeds are similar.  This mechanic, because it's broadly equal, just means you pin them in the corner faster.
5.  On the plus side, once an opponent has Flux on it, the chase is effectively over.
6.  Battles felt more chaotic, because enemies would arrive swiftly before your force concentration has had a chance to kill the AI piecemeal.  This generally benefited the AI, rather than the player, in a 500-FP fight where they outnumbered my fleet considerably.
7.  Getting Overloaded against an opponent with low Flux loads means you're just plain dead, because you cannot flee now.  200 speed means even a Capital can (generally) catch an Overloaded Frigate.  That's not necessarily a bad thing.
8.  Interestingly, since missiles inherit velocity from their launching ships, using missiles to slow fleeing opponents works well.
9.  Perhaps the biggest problem that was obvious is that the relatively-slow deceleration values meant that AI ships tended to over-charge a bit, especially smaller, faster ships.  Frigates, and to some extent Destroyers, would need a real buff to acceleration values to not overshoot too often.
10.  My AI tends to make ships back-peddle when they're getting into a good range band, and that still worked all right, largely, once the initial chaos stabilized.  If Frigates and Destroyers could back-peddle better, it'd be fine.
11.  This change makes friendly Hull collisions, when everybody's keeping shields down, waaaaay more lethal, and that's a problem in and of itself.  I don't really like friendly Hull collisions during deployment in general; it's not like ramming in a battle, it's just random stuff that hurts your fleet.

Overall... IDK, it was interesting, but no way on 500 speed, it'd make things even more wildly chaotic.  At least, not done this way, where it's tied directly to Flux loads.
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TaLaR

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Re: High Zero-Flux Speed Boost
« Reply #14 on: April 30, 2019, 12:09:11 AM »

Also would make flux-positive beam boats fairly OP. Good luck getting kited to death by 500+ speed Paragon. ...Well, AI would probably muck it up by deploying the shield, but player could easily abuse this.
Radiant would be even more deadly, but we can't pilot it unmodded.

Decent abuse potential for carriers too. It's not like you need to keep Engage constantly - as soon as bombers release payload, you can switch (and should anyway) to Regroup and kite away.
Then again, since fighter don't get zero flux boost, aren't they made mostly irrelevant?
« Last Edit: April 30, 2019, 12:15:01 AM by TaLaR »
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