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Author Topic: make customizable orbital stations  (Read 495 times)

jujuteux

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make customizable orbital stations
« on: September 14, 2019, 01:29:43 PM »

as of now, the only way of customizing our orbital stations are through obtaining blueprints and hoping the game sees the weapon blueprint as a valuable asset to add to the station
in earlier versions, iirc it was possible to refit the station but for some reason it isn't the case anymore

i propose to revert that change and make it do a backflip
add the possibility to customize parts of the station
ex: having a hi-tech station with only fighter bays, or only guns
each time you change a part of the station with another it takes 20-30 days to recoveer the change and may make it more vulnerable because of the missing part
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thefinn

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Re: make customizable orbital stations
« Reply #1 on: September 15, 2019, 07:42:37 PM »

I was so disappointed that I couldn't do this ;)
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sqrt(-1)

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Re: make customizable orbital stations
« Reply #2 on: September 16, 2019, 03:23:26 PM »

Agreed.
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Morrokain

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Re: make customizable orbital stations
« Reply #3 on: September 17, 2019, 12:19:46 PM »

Yeah it would be great, except it would probably make the game worse overall. How could such fun do that, you ask?

Let's just say that I am very familiar with how hard it is to keep stations balanced. I even remove autofit from being part of the equation if I can, and it still takes weeks to balance each station variant and station type because so much goes into it as far as keeping them all competitive. I'm currently on my 3rd balance pass on stations in 3 months.

Allowing the player to outright choose each, module, weapon, etc, would be super fun on the surface, but would probably translate to a "there are really only 3 viable station builds" kind of thing (maybe not in the beginning but definitely over time) and make stations end up feeling less unique rather than more unique. I know available blueprints are a factor in this regard and its a single player game, but this change would require each module to feel equally powerful with every other module of the same OP, but that wouldn't really be possible considering you also have to account for station layout and unique features like rotation speed. For this reason I don't see it happening.

(yes, yes this is partly a "I don't want that much work!" kind of response, but truthfully I think balance would be a huge problem)
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sotanaht

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Re: make customizable orbital stations
« Reply #4 on: September 17, 2019, 03:37:27 PM »

Yeah it would be great, except it would probably make the game worse overall. How could such fun do that, you ask?

Let's just say that I am very familiar with how hard it is to keep stations balanced. I even remove autofit from being part of the equation if I can, and it still takes weeks to balance each station variant and station type because so much goes into it as far as keeping them all competitive. I'm currently on my 3rd balance pass on stations in 3 months.

Allowing the player to outright choose each, module, weapon, etc, would be super fun on the surface, but would probably translate to a "there are really only 3 viable station builds" kind of thing (maybe not in the beginning but definitely over time) and make stations end up feeling less unique rather than more unique. I know available blueprints are a factor in this regard and its a single player game, but this change would require each module to feel equally powerful with every other module of the same OP, but that wouldn't really be possible considering you also have to account for station layout and unique features like rotation speed. For this reason I don't see it happening.

(yes, yes this is partly a "I don't want that much work!" kind of response, but truthfully I think balance would be a huge problem)
The loadouts will largely depend on fleet strategy, so I don't think it will quite devolve into one loadout any more than regular ships have that issue.  Modules are more or less the same.  Keep in mind that customized stations are a player-only thing and largely irrelevant in the scheme of things.  95% of your friendly station battles will be autoresolved (where the loadout literally doesn't matter), while the the remaining 5% will almost entirely be one-sided battles anyway where your station plus defending fleet are WAY more than enough to win (basically every station defense battle is this way if you have a good fleet, the enemy simply cannot deploy strong enough ships to be much of a threat)

I also think you are probably putting too much effort into balancing stations yourself, given the above.  As long as the station doesn't solo strong fleets you would normally have to help defend against, or die way too quickly against weak fleets, it's probably fine in the scheme of things.

Irrelevant, but fun.  I really enjoy fighting big defensive battles, partly because I very rarely get to do so.  If I could customize the station I would like it even more, and while it would certainly give me a power advantage, I think it's still overall fair especially in terms of overall game balance.
« Last Edit: September 17, 2019, 03:40:22 PM by sotanaht »
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Morrokain

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Re: make customizable orbital stations
« Reply #5 on: September 17, 2019, 09:07:44 PM »

When looking at it from that perspective, yes I would agree that it would largely not make a difference. If 95% of station battles don't care about load-outs then why have load-outs anyway other than aesthetics? I think that represents a problem in and of itself.

Personally, I would rather it actually matter and stations' auto-resolve take load-out into account as a special case rather than going the "full customization, but does it really mean anything other than flavor anyway?" route. Stations are unique in that a player can't carry one around with them so they can't really be treated the same way as say, a flagship. You want to fly your flagship into battle most of the time (well that's also subjective, but clearly you are in that camp to have made said suggestion). You probably don't want to spend your entire late game camped around a station, so for times when you aren't there I think the choice of station should still matter in concert with your fleet setup (like a real player vs AI fight).

Also, as a secondary thought: If you are mostly needing to allow auto-resolve to fight the majority of station battles where load-outs don't matter, imagine the greater shock and disappointment of actually getting to participate in the fight (for whatever reason) and now the station performs far more poorly compared to others. AI being unable to capitalize and pressure the player is also kind of a separate issue I feel should probably be addressed in some way- at least long term.

I think balance does matter in the overall experience if for that reason alone. That very issue has killed some games for me because I don't want to just autoresolve everything and sometimes its optimal. I don't want to see that here, and I'd also rather not see the "participate and you pretty much win because AI can't handle it" situation either. The point of my argument, essentially, is that simplifying that process by limiting load-out flexibility has the higher chance of reaching that balance, imo.

*EDIT*
Modules are more or less the same.

Not in my mod.  ;)
« Last Edit: September 17, 2019, 09:17:35 PM by Morrokain »
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sotanaht

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Re: make customizable orbital stations
« Reply #6 on: September 18, 2019, 04:29:18 AM »

When looking at it from that perspective, yes I would agree that it would largely not make a difference. If 95% of station battles don't care about load-outs then why have load-outs anyway other than aesthetics? I think that represents a problem in and of itself.

Personally, I would rather it actually matter and stations' auto-resolve take load-out into account as a special case rather than going the "full customization, but does it really mean anything other than flavor anyway?" route. Stations are unique in that a player can't carry one around with them so they can't really be treated the same way as say, a flagship. You want to fly your flagship into battle most of the time (well that's also subjective, but clearly you are in that camp to have made said suggestion). You probably don't want to spend your entire late game camped around a station, so for times when you aren't there I think the choice of station should still matter in concert with your fleet setup (like a real player vs AI fight).

Also, as a secondary thought: If you are mostly needing to allow auto-resolve to fight the majority of station battles where load-outs don't matter, imagine the greater shock and disappointment of actually getting to participate in the fight (for whatever reason) and now the station performs far more poorly compared to others. AI being unable to capitalize and pressure the player is also kind of a separate issue I feel should probably be addressed in some way- at least long term.

I think balance does matter in the overall experience if for that reason alone. That very issue has killed some games for me because I don't want to just autoresolve everything and sometimes its optimal. I don't want to see that here, and I'd also rather not see the "participate and you pretty much win because AI can't handle it" situation either. The point of my argument, essentially, is that simplifying that process by limiting load-out flexibility has the higher chance of reaching that balance, imo.

*EDIT*
Modules are more or less the same.

Not in my mod.  ;)
Modules are more or less the same situation as weapons.  They depend on fleet strategy, though they can be considered more akin to different ship hulls.  Again, no risk of being "one strategy to rule them all" unless your modules are simply horribly balanced.

The vast majority of battles you simply won't be anywhere near the station.  Even if you are defending against a raid/invasion personally (which doesn't happen that often, usually you see that your own forces are stronger and ignore it), you probably have multiple stations in that sector and can't defend all of them.  That's why most of it gets autoresolved, and that's a good thing.  Defensive gameplay is generally pretty boring.  Doing it once in a while can be a fun bit of variety, but it is rightly not the focus of the game.

Limiting player choice because "balance" is never good, especially in a single-player game.  Furthermore, replacing that choice with RNG (because weapons are randomly assigned) doesn't even improve the balance in the first place.
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Q8

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Re: make customizable orbital stations
« Reply #7 on: September 18, 2019, 09:30:51 AM »

Oh! This topic is FUN!
Because you people just stumbled upon a prisoners dilemma! :D

Lets take a smaller example, but more easier/often seen. A problem with a Paragon-class Battleship. Paragon has 4 big slots that can hit the same vector. And so the problem arises, when you figure out, that you can basically put 4 plasma canons on them + ITU for range increase. All you needs now, is few random ships to the left, few ships to the right, and nothing, except high danger remnants maybe, cant do *** to you.
But after a while you realize, that what that did to you, was no fun at all, since all combat now looks the same, and in those same looking combats all you do is the same. Fire, vent while reloading. Fire, vent while reloading. fire vent fire vent fire vent.... nothing else.
With great power, comes great boredom i guess. Because that single build on a Paragon, reverts the funniest 2d space combat simulator ever, into a drag of inhuman proportions.
In a sentence, the problem is, that having fun, is fun. But succeeding in combat, is also fun. So the real question is, do i want to have fun, or do i want to succeed.
And the problem with stations is the same. The best looking station battles are those with a lot of lasers, and rockets, and fighters shooting around, a lot of *** flying left and right. But the strongest stations would be just the opposite. Single type, anti big ships guns.

Anyway, this question is much harder than it looks on a first glance, and for one, im happy im not the one that has to choose. But if you had the gun at me, I would probably lean more into outlawing it, since those types of dilemmas are mostly outlawed in a broader world.
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Alex

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Re: make customizable orbital stations
« Reply #8 on: September 18, 2019, 09:43:21 AM »

Furthermore, replacing that choice with RNG (because weapons are randomly assigned) doesn't even improve the balance in the first place.

(Weapons are assigned based on what blueprints are available and which ones are prioritized, so you actually have pretty good indirect control over what weapons end up on your stations! Unlike fleets, stations always get whatever weapons they want (i.e. for fleets, it's possible that a high-priority but also high-tier weapon won't be available to use and a ship will be forced to downgrade, but for stations, that's not the case. So e.g. if you prioritize Tachyon Lances, you'll always get them on the High Tech station.)
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sotanaht

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Re: make customizable orbital stations
« Reply #9 on: September 18, 2019, 09:48:35 AM »

Oh! This topic is FUN!
Because you people just stumbled upon a prisoners dilemma! :D

Lets take a smaller example, but more easier/often seen. A problem with a Paragon-class Battleship. Paragon has 4 big slots that can hit the same vector. And so the problem arises, when you figure out, that you can basically put 4 plasma canons on them + ITU for range increase. All you needs now, is few random ships to the left, few ships to the right, and nothing, except high danger remnants maybe, cant do *** to you.
But after a while you realize, that what that did to you, was no fun at all, since all combat now looks the same, and in those same looking combats all you do is the same. Fire, vent while reloading. Fire, vent while reloading. fire vent fire vent fire vent.... nothing else.
With great power, comes great boredom i guess. Because that single build on a Paragon, reverts the funniest 2d space combat simulator ever, into a drag of inhuman proportions.
In a sentence, the problem is, that having fun, is fun. But succeeding in combat, is also fun. So the real question is, do i want to have fun, or do i want to succeed.
And the problem with stations is the same. The best looking station battles are those with a lot of lasers, and rockets, and fighters shooting around, a lot of *** flying left and right. But the strongest stations would be just the opposite. Single type, anti big ships guns.

Anyway, this question is much harder than it looks on a first glance, and for one, im happy im not the one that has to choose. But if you had the gun at me, I would probably lean more into outlawing it, since those types of dilemmas are mostly outlawed in a broader world.
I disagree on basically all points.

First, a paragon with 4 plasma cannons is a terrible loadout.  Second, you need more than just "a few random ships" to support that paragon.  Third, the most fun fights are the BIG ones, that you can only effectively participate in when you have those massive ships yourself.  Fourth, the best looking station fights are the ones with more dakka, not useless lasers and fighters that just trickle in.  The question is simpler than it looks at first glance.  The challenge doesn't matter in this sort of environment, what matters is fun, and fun is all about loadouts and customization.
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TaLaR

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Re: make customizable orbital stations
« Reply #10 on: September 18, 2019, 09:50:45 AM »

@Q8
Paragon has Adv Targeting Core, you can't add ITU on top of that. And 4x Plasma is a rubbish build - it's invitation to get kited while piloting the slowest ship.
Conquest has 1920 range on Gauss Cannons vs your 1400 Plasma, and is much faster (~70 including system vs 30). Even AI can kite decently given that much speed and range advantage.
Though bad builds may be harder to notice when using skilled character vs officer-less ships (that enemies tend to have in spades in current release).
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Morrokain

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Re: make customizable orbital stations
« Reply #11 on: September 18, 2019, 10:02:31 AM »

Modules are more or less the same situation as weapons.  They depend on fleet strategy, though they can be considered more akin to different ship hulls.  Again, no risk of being "one strategy to rule them all" unless your modules are simply horribly balanced.

I am curious as to how you arrived at that conclusion. I have to say I disagree. Sure, because this is a single player game as long as nothing is crazily imbalanced a lot will come down to subjective opinions, but that doesn't mean there won't be optimal builds.

Optimal builds exist right now in ships (your example of how that wouldn't happen with stations?) Even though builds are ship to ship there are some common weapons in most of those builds and funnily enough most of the things that make those builds unique are player limiting factors. Energy weapons rather than ballistic force some weapon choices. OP requirements force weapon downgrades and make choices more meaningful. There are dozens of examples, honestly, and most of it comes down to limiting the player in some way.

Quote
Defensive gameplay is generally pretty boring.  Doing it once in a while can be a fun bit of variety, but it is rightly not the focus of the game.

Right, we are on the same page here. I was saying because autoresolve is handling everything it should treat stations differently specifically because being overly defensive would be boring. Your comment was that loadouts don't matter and I was saying well then that's a shame.

Quote
Limiting player choice because "balance" is never good, especially in a single-player game.  Furthermore, replacing that choice with RNG (because weapons are randomly assigned) doesn't even improve the balance in the first place.

Well RNG is an assumption. Again, my mod has no RNG with stations. Weapons are set when you build the industry and instead of 3 station types there are around 8 or 9. Modules are also more varied and contain more fighters, ship systems like fortress shield, etc. And as Alex has already stated you can mostly control what weapons your stations equip in Vanilla as well.

As far as limiting player choice for balance's sake being a "bad thing", I strongly disagree there.  :)

The vast majority (if not literally all) games do this... Don't get me wrong, I like deck building as much as the next strategist, but limiting player choice to streamline the player experience through balanced systems is actually very important.

The obvious examples of course are online strategy games, but all single player games also limit the player in at least some way for the sake of a balanced experience. The ones that don't do this well enough end up feeling half-baked, boring and exploitable with gimmick mechanics, or have unforgivable difficulty spikes that break of the continuity of the game's progression.

To give a VERY old example of how that can happen: (For brevity, I am very much over-simplifying this, so keep that in mind)

Sonic the Hedgehog in its 2D form was all about being able to go really fast. You dodged enemies and there were traps and things that would stop you or slow you down- but the more skilled you were the faster you could go, generally, and it felt satisfying.

When Sonic went 3D, the developers tried to go for the same feeling that was invoked by the first game but removed many of the obstacles thinking that players really just wanted to go fast. It was criticized as a theme-park game with no real substance because you could in some areas duck tape your controller stick to the "go forward" position and the level would be beaten for you. It actually didn't matter to players that they were allowed to go really fast because there was nothing limiting them in the first place that made the feeling of going fast meaningful. It wasn't because they were good at the game it was because they had thumbs.  :P
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Q8

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Re: make customizable orbital stations
« Reply #12 on: September 18, 2019, 10:16:59 AM »

@TaLaR
I had a feeling that someone will nitpick me on that point, i just forgot how Adv Targeting Core is called, so i wrote ITU, whats the big deal? That even makes my point stronger since ATC is +100 and ITU is + 60. And its not a rubbish build. well... it is a rubbish build, but not for that reason. You dont play vs humans, and AI cant kite for ***, and even if it could, you just dont follow it, and take aim at something else. Not that it matters anyway, since half the cruisers down, everything dies in 2~3 salvo.

@sotanaht
You need as much ships around as the combat requires. The point is not that you dont, but that you dont need as much as you normally would, and that u dont need to care about anything else. No orders, rest of the ships you can autofit, whatever. The point is, that crap like that lets you punch above your weight, for a price of flying a boring ass ship, with boring ass guns, doing the same thing over and over.
And challenge does matter, because "fun" is not an objective thing. Challenge may not matter to you, but that doesnt matter at all to anybody but you.
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Morrokain

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Re: make customizable orbital stations
« Reply #13 on: September 18, 2019, 10:18:34 AM »

The challenge doesn't matter in this sort of environment, what matters is fun, and fun is all about loadouts and customization.

Though that is certainly a legitimate definition of fun (and obviously your personal preference and the reason you like this game) there are plenty of other definitions that fit into this game as well that also have to be considered. It has arcade and simulation mechanics, it has lore and exploration...

I still, even now, play Guild Wars (the first and best one) so I greatly empathize with hating complexity and choice reduction for easier balance. I was really, really upset when they announced they were doing that in Guild Wars 2 and almost didn't buy the game (glad I did.. its not the first one but its still good).

I guess the best way I can put it is this:

 - Giving the player free access to choose station modules would certainly be fun, but I'd just as easily want more choices of station, too, and those two contradict each other to a certain degree because doing one makes the other harder. Just something to consider.
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Grievous69

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Re: make customizable orbital stations
« Reply #14 on: September 18, 2019, 10:26:08 AM »

Gotta love these newbs that seem to think they got it all figured out. So combat is boring because you have a ship with a build that can quickly kill pirates? Well great job, there is certainly no more choices to make, get 30 Paragons and melt through everything /s. Spoiler alert, that build is dogshit for 60 DP.

As for the stations, I don't see the need to have customizable modules, it takes away the feel of the station and people would just put biggest ones with most guns anyway. And for weapons, well as Alex said you could just prioritize what you want, although I'd like that to be separate from the fleets. For example I'd rather have AI ships use Autopulse, but I want Tachyon lances and Plasma Cannons on stations.
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