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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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Author Topic: Post-game 0.9.1a re-cap feedback  (Read 1662 times)

Megas

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Post-game 0.9.1a re-cap feedback
« on: June 09, 2019, 04:31:23 PM »

Finished my 0.9.1 RC8 game few days ago, with four size 7 colonies that were mostly self-sufficient and made almost a million per month together.  I wanted more colonies, but decided to quit after getting stuck with decision paralysis.  (Like do I colonize that 75% Terran and mild Arid far away, or take the 125% desert close to my four colonies?)  Same thing with skills at the time, do I get more combat power that I crave, do I get more than four officers which did not feel quite like enough for big fights, or do I get campaign skills like Navigation and Planetary Operations that remove some of the aggravation that has really bothered me lately (like wasting an in-game week from planet to jump point when I can click Transverse Jump and get out almost immediately instead)?  By a day or two ago, I decided to give priority to "babysitting mitigation" skills, but that is too late for that game.

Seed MN-7.  Colonized Salerono constellation short distance east of core, with four good if not great worlds between two systems, plus a possible fifth in a third system.

I like the Shift toggle.  Game was always played at accelerated time, and I did not need to hold Shift constantly like in classic Doom.  Took a few days to overcome muscle memory.  Wish it remembered the toggle setting after restarting game so I do not need to press Shift again when game moves so slow.

Wished combat itself has a similar speed toggle feature.  It stinks going to settings.json just to raise speed to a more reasonable value like 2f.  (I would raise it even higher, probably to 3f, but the game does not handle speeds over 2f flawlessly.)

New escort behavior is nice.  I can command my whole fleet to hug the wall so it can retreat as soon as peak performance times out, which I did starting around late game when named bounties spiked faster than I could upgrade or support.  I am not hauling ten capitals across the sector just for 350k, not when I can make slightly less with a much more lean fleet.  I posted a topic about this fleet wide wall hugging cheese recently.

Battle map size was initially 300, then raised to 500 by endgame after I got fed up with 3v3 endurance battles and frequent peak performance time outs by endgame with multi-capital fights one after another.  Even map size 500 did not completely mitigate the issue.

Started game with Apogee.  Tried Freelancer start a couple times but was dissatisfied with the clunkers I was handed with, to the point that I probably prefer Wolf start over it.  But Apogee is really good to speed up and get out of early-game hell as quickly as possible.  I prefer endgame play more than early or mid-game.  Yes, I am a power-hungry maniac.

Skill Progression
Electronic Warfare 1 as first skill.  Next was Loadout Design 3.  Afterwards, the order gets hazy, but it was something like Combat Endurance 1, Evasive Action 1, Helmsmanship 2, Fleet Logistics 3, Coordinated Maneuvers 1, Gunnery Implants 3, and Power Grid Modulation 2.

When I built my first colony, I got Colony Management 1 for more adminstrators.  I did not get more Industry until my biggest colony reached size 5, when I thought I could no longer avoid expeditions.  Then, I maxed Industry and its two colony skills for more colony slots and income.

Slogged through the whole game without any Navigation, but it was not an enjoyable experience traveling through big systems without +2 burn or Transverse Jump to escape big systems that take several in-game days (and too long real-time) from a planet to the nearest jump point.  Not to mention increased fuel use from Erratic Fuel Injector.  I had unspent skill points by level 50, but only because I had more skills I want than points.  As written above, I will probably pick campaign convenience.

Only four officers, one cautious for carrier duty, and three steady for anything else.  One steady was optimized for Doom, a second had Carrier Command in case the warship had fighters (Legion or any ship with Converted Hangar), and a third for generic warship use.  Would have loved two more officers, but was indecisive about Officer Management at the time.  In hindsight, I should have taken one Aggressive officer for those ships and loadouts that only work with Aggressive or Reckless AI (like Conquest with Storm Needlers, or just about any non-beam loadout Aurora uses).  For fleetwide non-officer behavior, I use Steady for general-purpose use.

Colonies
Hazard rating is still important, especially when upkeep scales faster than income from population at large sizes, but now most important is proximity to each other and high resource output for those with extraction industries (like mining), especially since most resources need to be at +1 to meet demand instead of -1, assuming Industrial Planning.

At first, I built only one colony and built only Mining at first.  Much as I wanted Heavy Industry to build stuff, I was not ready to fight expeditions.  Next, I built orbital station to defend against pirates, waystation for fleet essentials, and patrol hq to manage relays.  I did not use Growth Incentives at first to prolong the time I have before colony grows big enough for Mining to attract Tri-Tachyon expeditions.  In addition, I did not pump colony skills because I did not need them, and I suspect Industrial Planning 2 might attract expeditions sooner.

Once colony size reached size 5, I figured I could no longer avoid expeditions and pump colony skills to the max.

When colony reached size 6, it was time to build Star Fortress and unleash Free Port for more income and faster growth.

Overall, colonies are much more expensive and slower to build.  Player also needs about more to be self-sufficient than in 0.9a.

With Growth Incentives massively toned down, Free Port is a must by size 6, despite increased expedition annoyance.

Industries
Farming is a nice safe industry useful anytime.

Mining may be safe early if ore output is low, but will eventually attract Tri-Tachyon expeditions.

Other money making industries will attract League and/or Diktat.  They are just not safe until player is ready to deal with expeditions.

Commerce is only good if I need +1 stability badly and too cheap to afford military base upkeep.  Beyond that, it is worse than useless at my primary colony by forcing me to click more times to access my ships in storage.

Military Base is mandatory for colony defense, because the sector cannot help stop picking fights with you instead of their mortal enemies.

Tech-Mining has become mostly useless due to how long and costly it is to build colonies and tech-mining, how blueprints are much easier to raid for (in that save-scumming is no longer required), and tech-mining yields mostly junk aside from the rare find.  Basically, once I find a synchrotron and pristine nanoforge, I do not bother with tech-mining if I need another industry.  Maybe the only good thing going for tech-mining now is it does not attract expeditions.


Warning:  From here on out, feedback is a bit disjointed and could have been written better.  Should have taken better notes when the action happened.  Probably forgot some details that I probably end up posting in a reply later once I remember.

Early game
Started game with Apogee, skipped tutorial to get head start on bounties' time scaling.  Fought one or two battles in Corvus before heading out to make more money.

For early income, I mostly smuggled and fought system bounties and few named bounties.  Once I got more ships, I went after pirate bases.  Then after I had enough money to afford few hundred marines, I frequently raided New Maxios for blueprints and pirates for free junk that was sold later for more credits.  A few times, I acquired a capital blueprint from raiding, and could sell it for lots of money (which I did not, since I want it for myself).  Did some limited exploration, and found synchrotron, pristine nanoforge, and other stuff.

Raided New Maxios much for blueprints.  Also raided core Pirates like Qaras after shopping for free loot.  Only needs a few hundred marines to get blueprints and some loot.  Accumulated most ships from after-battle recovery.  From pirates, that meant mostly Mules, Enforcers, and Shrike (P).

Tried to build up reputation with Pathers.  Eventually got it up to inhospitable through some missions by mid-game or late-game.

Midgame
Built a colony early.  Only put farming or mining at first, then a battlestation to keep pirates aways.  I kept growth slow until I could handle expeditions.  Spent much time fighting pirates and bounties for income.  Did occasional missions here and there.

I made an effort to not attract pather cells.  One of the 100% hazard colonies had some nice resources for a quick buck, but Mining was removed so that I could build Advanced Fuel Production without an Pather cells appearing.

Endgame
I had few unknown ships left, all of them Tri-Tachyon exclusive.  I got tired of very close fights with my current fleet of clunkers led by damaged Conquest, and I wanted a pristine Paragon to smash fleets.  Waiting for Culann to be clear of patrols was a crapshoot and too hard to sneak by with a typical war fleet.  I eventually resorted to a pure phase fleet to minimize profile.  I brought as many as I had already built, probably little more than a dozen ships.  Phase fleet has a much easier time sneaking, or better yet, hiding after attracting patrols.  What I did was sensor burst to attract patrols, move around the star opposite of Culann, E-Burn through the star to shake off patrols, then go dark and dock to raid.  Patrols will forget soon when they cannot find my fleet quickly enough, and a phase fleet has a small profile.

Combat was mainly multi-capital slugfest affairs that lasted multiple rounds until I stole all of the blueprints I needed and built my ideal pristine fleet.  Until I got my pristine fleet, running out of peak performance and full retreating to reset peak performance clock was common, especially on smaller map sizes.  With the best ships and high map size (basically the current "I WIN THE GAME" condition), only some of the cruisers ran out of peak performance by the time much of the fight was over.

That is all for now.
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xenoargh

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Re: Post-game 0.9.1a re-cap feedback
« Reply #1 on: June 09, 2019, 09:24:02 PM »

Spoiler
I like the Shift toggle.  Game was always played at accelerated time, and I did not need to hold Shift constantly like in classic Doom.  Took a few days to overcome muscle memory.
[close]
This.  So much, this.

I have been experimenting with the speed of Burn lately.  It takes away most of the boring grind of Travel.  I'm starting to feel, pretty strongly, that travel between Systems should be via some sort of "jump" mechanic, or something; I'm really starting to dislike travelling through Hyperspace, after you know, years of playtesting it.  Speeding up time accomplishes something similar, but it keeps the core structure of Vanilla's mechanics intact.  I'm just getting to the point where I just alter them to fix my boredom crises, lol.

On combat speeds:  honestly, there are fixes; I'm still experimenting with my circular-arena concept here, where leaving the arena means you lose CR.  The game still has major problems with battles dragging on well after it's obvious we've won.

I don't think that "hugging the wall" should be a thing, but I totally see why you went there.

I think that Battle Size continues to be a legal way to cheat, honestly.  I think that if we're not having performance issues, 500 should be the standard, so that the AI can swarm.  I'm not in a fair position to judge that right now; I'm doing <various things> that have basically resulted in 500 Battle Size always running at 50-60FPS, on a non-monster rig.

Apogee is definitely the best start.  I don't understand the Freelancer start and I don't understand why we get perma-mod ships we cannot Restore.  I always do the Tutorial, because you're 100% guaranteed to get that Venture if you save-scum.
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Ryan390

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Re: Post-game 0.9.1a re-cap feedback
« Reply #2 on: June 10, 2019, 06:46:46 AM »

Just on the space travel..

I found that going for the ship mod which adds +2 to max burn level is a must.
Not only to speed up travel, but to allow for fast escapes from massive pirate fleets / ambushes.

General rule of thumb was to never own a ship with a burn level lower than 9.
So if you buy a capital ship with a burn level of 7, get the speed modification to bring it up-to burn level 9.

Quite a lot of ships are already at burn level 9, so they don't require the upgrade.

This coupled with the navigation skill allowed a further speed increase, totalling at a travel of 20 burn.
That's pretty fast for a Paragon, Onslaught, Conquest, Legion + various other cruisers + Medusa's..

I remember not paying any attention to burn level as a *new* player, and getting caught / intercepted loads of times and having to then start over!





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Megas

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Re: Post-game 0.9.1a re-cap feedback
« Reply #3 on: June 10, 2019, 07:39:08 AM »

The most annoying part of traveling is not hyperspace, but in huge systems, like Penelope's Star, that can several days to go from planet to planet or jump point.  Especially if the system also has speed bumps like nebula or asteroid fields.  It gets even worse if such a big system is where your primary colonies are.  You just want to pop in and out to dump loot, resupply or whatever, not spend two weeks from jump point to colony and back out.  Imagine if Diablo II did not have waypoints, or did not have town portal scrolls.  Players would need to walk constantly from town to where the fights are and back.  Transverse Jump is your Town Portal here.

Default battle size is 300.  300 might have been big enough before 0.9a, but now thanks to much bigger fleets (ten capitals per endgame fleet is common now) and ship DP inflation (Paragon is 60 DP instead of 50), 300 is woefully inadequate.  At current sizes, 500 is practically the equivalent of 300 from past releases.  In addition, peak performance times were calibrated during the 0.6.x era, but the fights were much smaller back then.  Now, we deploy few ships at a time (except sometimes at size 500) and they run out of peak performance.

I sometimes get slowdown at 500 (and my computer is the same as it was when I got Starfarer years ago, though I upgraded monitor later after old one burnt out) but it is a price to pay to get a reasonable fleet fight instead of Star Control style melee battles.  Even so, it gets annoying retreating about half my fleet because peak performance is now too short, when it was not before 0.9a.  (It was too long when I fought Timid officers in one of the 0.7.x releases.)  If I need to retreat my fleet, then I must stay near the bottom and hug the wall at all times because big slow ships (like Mora, Dominator, and most capitals) have difficulty retreating quickly enough even if near their home wall.  It would really hurt if peak performance loss meant guaranteed death due to rapid CR decay.

If this increased size becomes the new normal, then map size needs to default at 500 (or higher if ten capital slugfests will stay as the norm at endgame) and the maximum raised higher, and peak performance needs to be raised across the board so that ship do not run out just for fighting normally, only if ship kites too much.  If smaller ships are to have a role, then fleet cap needs to be higher too.  When the enemy has ten capitals and twenty cruisers, small ships have no place unless they have an overwhelming trick, like Afflictor and its (Entropy Amplified) Reapers to one-shot large targets.  Either small ships get outgunned fast, or they run out of peak performance too quickly.

Alternately, the fleets could scale back to they used to be (and DP costs toned down), but I think it was said that these huge fleets may be necessary for battlestation fights.

@ Ryan390:  Player can use more tugs for more burn, but it burns more fuel and more importantly, clog fleet slots, which hurts now that most endgame fights are multi-capital slogs that take a long time to resolve unless your entire fleet are optimized combat monsters.  What often happened in those fights was I deploy my best, but then peak performance times out and I am scraping for weaker ships as more and more enemy capitals arrive on the field.  On the other hand, bringing tugs would not work if you want a pure phase fleet to smuggle or raid markets.  The point of a pure phase fleet is to reach heavy industrial worlds that are almost guarded constantly by two or three patrols that just would not leave unless there was a pirate raid in the system.  With two or three patrols, even tiny profile is not enough to squeeze by, but tiny profile makes it easy to hide after patrols are lured away somehow.

With Navigation 3, player can either use two tugs instead of four, or keep the four tugs and remove Augmented Engines from the slower ships and get more combat power.

@ Xenoargh:  It sounds like people wanted random start to vary the early game experience, and there are people whose favorite part of the game is the early-game struggle.  (I am the opposite.  My favorite part is the endgame power trip, and my least favorite is early-game hell.)  The random start idea is not bad, but being handed a damaged Mule and civilians for escorts in one start or three (D) mod Hammerhead with junk weapons and similarly defiled Shrike in another start feels like an insult.  If I want randomized start, then at least the flagship should be pristine, and if I get an inferior combat ship, then at least get some break to make it worth over harder starts.  If not, might as well stick with classic frigate starts if I want to prolong early-game.  At least those ships are pristine.  I already find plenty of clunkers to use after a few fights (and free fleet in Galatia if I do tutorial).

Speaking of difficulty, now that it takes longer to upgrade fleet and colonies, due to increased costs, named bounties may scale a bit too fast.  This time, I am not sure if time scaling or plain old-fashioned kill scaling is to blame.  Bounties could have scaled too slowly back when player could upgrade quickly and fleets did not upgrade to massive ten capital slugfests, but today, they seem to scale faster than player can comfortably keep up, unless player dedicates completely to combat and plays perfectly.
« Last Edit: June 10, 2019, 11:05:17 AM by Megas »
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intrinsic_parity

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Re: Post-game 0.9.1a re-cap feedback
« Reply #4 on: June 10, 2019, 09:21:37 AM »

Just a note, transverse jump helps A LOT with big system travel times. You can jump in at specific planets and jump out from anywhere. Particularly for your colony where you know which gravity well is you colony, you can just jump straight in to your colony.
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Alex

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Re: Post-game 0.9.1a re-cap feedback
« Reply #5 on: June 10, 2019, 10:06:57 AM »

Thank you for your feedback! Read everything through; appreciate you taking the time to write it up.
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Megas

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Re: Post-game 0.9.1a re-cap feedback
« Reply #6 on: June 10, 2019, 10:20:53 AM »

There was one other thing I wanted to write... and forgot!  If I remember, I will post it.
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Alex

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Re: Post-game 0.9.1a re-cap feedback
« Reply #7 on: June 10, 2019, 10:24:46 AM »

(Haha, I know the feeling!)
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Megas

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Re: Post-game 0.9.1a re-cap feedback
« Reply #8 on: June 10, 2019, 03:16:14 PM »

Colony Puzzle
The one mid-game or later detail I think I wanted to recall.

The colony puzzle is what do I need to have a self-sufficient set of colonies that does not attract Pathers?  It took me a bit a time to figure this out without getting tripped up, but it was something I had to deal with and solve early before I committed to permanent colonies.

I need the following:
  • A low hazard planet for Heavy Industry with nanoforge.  Other industries allowed are Farming, Light Industry, and Military Base.  Other useful industries will generate interest and invite pather cells.
  • Another low hazard planet with Fuel Production with synchrotron.  Same restrictions as planet with Heavy Industry with nanoforge.
  • One or two planets with +1 rare ore, +1 ore, +1 volatiles, and normal organics (or more).  It is unlikely one planet has all four large enough to meet demand, so I probably need two planets for all of the resources to be mined.  Any missing industries like Refinery are here.  Heavy Industry without nanoforge (for 2 interest instead of 6) for higher production limit is an option if I can handle the upkeep on a higher hazard world.
Obviously, lower hazard is better.  Those with the big aggro industries and farming want Terran or some other good habitable.  The resource planets will likely have 150% or more hazard.  Probably find volatiles at gas giant or cryovolcanic worlds, ores at high-gravity or non-habitable worlds, and organics at another habitable.

To do this without cores, I probably need four colonies.  I need a minimum of Colony Management 1, which is fine early.  But, if I want more, and I will when I want temporary pop-up colonies beyond the basic three or (likely) four homeworlds, then I need max Colony Management.  Three administrators will likely not be enough, and they will never do a good a job as a character with max colony skills.  Therefore, if I want to avoid Pather cells at all costs, and cores that invite the Pathers, then my character will eventually need max Colony Management and Industrial Planning, although the latter can wait until colonies get big and player needs to defend himself and produce what he needs.  Without Industrial Planning, player will need +2 resources instead of +1, and that can be much harder to work with.  With volatile stability with Free Port, or finding a good world with Decivilized or no stable point for comm relay, Planetary Operations appear very attractive to make stability less volatile.  Of course, I can get a fifth colony instead of +2 stability, but having more stability to offset penalties is nice.

At first, I thought sleeper cells could be tolerated, but at times, I noticed they woke up periodically and attempted sabotage on worlds with only (7) interest.  (I paid close attention to my blueprint punching bag buddy, New Maxios, get attacked by Pathers that were usually asleep.)  That told me never exceed (6) interest ever, if I do not want cells at all.  This is a bit painful if I want to mine organics and other stuff from the low hazard worlds with that (6) interest industry my colonies absolutely need to meet demand after core worlds cannot keep up.

On my first attempt, I built mining on my 100% tundra world.  Unfortunately, if I wanted Fuel Production on that same world (which was orbiting my 150% hazard gas giant volatiles colony), I had to remove Mining.  The tundra world had all four mining resources, but not enough to meet demand (except for organics) despite generating significant income.  However, Mining had to go if I wanted Fuel Production with synchrotron while keeping Pathers away, and I took income loss for it.  Still worth it for being able to dodge Pathers and avoiding more babysitting or aggravation.

I wanted to avoid Pathers because it got tiring hunting Pathers that never go away (short of removing industries) once per year during last release, especially if I needed to deal with other problems like expeditions or raids at the same time, or if I am far away exploring the Sector for goodies or farming Remnants.  We know about the bug that blocks sabotage, but I do not want to rely on that bug since it will be fixed, much like the Commerce bug from last release.
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TrashMan

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Re: Post-game 0.9.1a re-cap feedback
« Reply #9 on: June 11, 2019, 01:12:00 AM »

The most annoying part of traveling is not hyperspace

WRONG.
Hyperspace Storms are the most annoying thing ever.
IF you're using sustained burn your turning is non-existant, and going around them becomes hard.
Furthermore, without a good hyperspace map or the ability to zoom out, planning a longer trip is impossible.
Often time the system you're traveling to is right in the middle of a giant hyperspace storm cloud with no apparent safe route. Then you have to ride the storm, that bound you around like crazy and into other storms for massive CR loss.

I have seen over 1000 supplies vanish in an instant
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Igncom1

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Re: Post-game 0.9.1a re-cap feedback
« Reply #10 on: June 11, 2019, 01:16:29 AM »

It would be cool if the exact location of hyperspace storms became recorded on your map when you see them.

So that over time your world map would be become highly defined as you perform cartography.
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Hrothgar

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Re: Post-game 0.9.1a re-cap feedback
« Reply #11 on: June 11, 2019, 01:32:48 AM »

Hyperspace storms are practicaly random. You can only be sure about them outside sector space.

Or you mean a real-time change on worldmap?
I think it could be taxing on game engine.
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Igncom1

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Re: Post-game 0.9.1a re-cap feedback
« Reply #12 on: June 11, 2019, 01:35:25 AM »

Well I mean more the clouds in general then a real-time map of active storms.

As otherwise the map is very unclear on the positions of the clouds and more just gives a vague idea that there are clouds in the area.
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Megas

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Re: Post-game 0.9.1a re-cap feedback
« Reply #13 on: June 11, 2019, 05:03:11 AM »

Re: Storms
I do not mind storms.  More often than not, I drive through them to speed up travel.  Love burn 30!

Spending two weeks in a big system traveling from planet to planet or jump point, or worse, longer searching for that pirate base I have trouble locating is a pain, especially if I have a time crunch trying to finish missions or bounties, or stop pirates from raiding some system.

It gets really aggravating if a great colony system is huge and it always takes at least an in-game week or longer to travel to my storage colony from the jump point.  Transverse Jump eliminates that nonsense.  So far, I have not had a game where that happened to me yet, but I can see that happening eventually in another game.  If it did, I would definitely grab Navigation 3 for that Town Portal scroll called Transverse Jump.

Quote
IF you're using sustained burn your turning is non-existant, and going around them becomes hard.
This is when a well-timed Emergency Burn becomes very useful.  In hyperspace, I am more annoyed by slogging through a wall of dark space that is not storming because it is so SLOW, and I am begging for it to fire up and shoot my fleet out of that mess.
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Megas

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Re: Post-game 0.9.1a re-cap feedback
« Reply #14 on: June 11, 2019, 06:23:46 AM »

Well I mean more the clouds in general then a real-time map of active storms.

As otherwise the map is very unclear on the positions of the clouds and more just gives a vague idea that there are clouds in the area.
That is the default map that looks pretty.  Push 1 to toggle starscape, which shows a more primitive but accurate map of the sector.  Last release, there was so much dark space that the whole map was one blue haze.  With somewhat less dark space, the blue haze is a bit better defined.
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