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Author Topic: Starfarer 0.34a (Released) - Patch Notes  (Read 57050 times)
Alex
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« on: May 05, 2011, 04:31:01 PM »

Edit: 0.34a is out! You can download it from a link on this page.

This list contains everything that's been changed since the previous release. I'll be updating it continuously as work progresses, so stay tuned!

To accomodate the growing size of the patch notes, I've updated the format - you can easily see the latest round of updates in the first section.

Full list of changes, broken out by category, below:

Content
  • Added new mission: "The Wolf Pack" - medium difficulty, the attack on an escaping convoy
  • Added new mission: "Coral Nebula" - hard difficulty
  • Added new mission: "Nothing Personal" - impossible difficulty
  • Modified "The Last Hurrah" - player fleet has some new ships (Brawler and Vigilance class), increased difficulty overall (enemy Onslaughts are much better fitted).
  • New set of backgrounds (4 more!) Specified per mission, existing missions updated to use different backgrounds.
  • Added Brawler-class Gunship & Vigilance-class frigate (screenshot)
  • Added new medium (for real this time!) mission, "For the Greater Lud" (features both the Brawler and the Vigilance)

Gameplay & Balance Changes
  • Balance changes to the Conquest:
    • Changed large turret type to Energy
    • Changed loadout used in "The Last Hurrah" - put Autopulse Laser turrets in large turrets, added dual flak cannons to broadsides giving some situational point defense
    • Overall, more tactical possibilities and interesting loadouts
  • Balance changes to the Onslaught
    • Greatly increased max flux (dissipation rate remains about the same)
    • Expanded two medium turret arcs to give better coverage behind the ship
    • Increased armor and hull values
  • Reduced maneuverability of the Atropos torpedo - faster destroyers can sometimes avoid it by maneuvering
  • Improved Mjolnir cannon - does more damage, costs more flux per shot
  • Adjusted shield damage absorption values:
    • Shields improved overall
    • Higher-tech ships tend to expend less flux per point of damage absorbed, but even lower-tech ships are more efficient than before
    • Fixed frontal shields tend to be more efficient, but have a higher upkeep cost
  • Increased the range of fire support beam weapons slightly
  • Flux generated due to absorbing beam damage with shields can now be dissipated without bringing shields down. This applies to non-energy beams (such as the Graviton Beam) and does NOT apply to non-beam energy weapons (such as the Pulse Laser).
  • Related AI change - it now recognizes when a beam weapon is harmless (due to being fully dissipatable) and will not be afraid of one
  • AI improvement - does a better job of directly pursuing the enemy vs angling off during an approach, depending on whether they're threatened
  • AI improvement - does a better job of committing to temporary attack or retreat instead of waffling, in some cases
  • AI improvement - ship behavior varies between more cautious/daring, within a range defined by their personality
  • Friendly dumbfire projectiles (such as bombs) can't hit each other anymore. Up til this change, attack runs by several bomber wings were a bit more explosive than intended.

Modding-related
  • Moved saves/screenshots/mods dirs up one level for windows, to the top level of the bundle for Mac, left in same place for Linux.
  • Mods can be packaged up and installed by unzipping in a "mods" directory. More details on that, as well as some sample mods, soon here.
  • Added interface (to the launcher) that allows you to select which mods to enable. Multiple mods can be enabled at the same time. If there are conflicts (say, two mods change the stats of the same ship), the first mod on the list takes precedence.
  • A mod can add new missions
  • A mod can also add new ships and weapons - not officially supported because file formats are likely to change a bit, but it works. New ships/weapons can be used inside missions defined in the same mod.
  • Renamed some columns in ship_data.csv (sorry! Smiley)
    • energy regen -> flux dissipation
    • max energy -> max flux
  • Changed "shield upkeep" value in ship_data.csv to be expressed as a fraction of the "flux dissipation" value for easier adjustment
  • Error in MissionDefinition no longer crashes the game and gives you an error message instead of the mission description
  • Improved spreadsheet loading code - should be able to handle CSV files saved with OpenOffice etc
  • Converted mission list to CSV format (now mission_list.csv)
  • Source code for the modding API now comes with the install (starfarer.api.zip)
  • Added alphabetic render order sorting based on the weapon slot id

Misc Features & Improvements
  • Added "colorblindMode" config setting (in data/config/settings.json)
  • Added missile/bomb indicators to radar ribbon
  • Made flux bar flash when over 90%
  • Improved admiral AI - better about keeping carriers out of direct combat
  • Admiral AI is now aware when its mission goal is to escape, acts accordingly
  • Retreating ships can be ordered to cancel the retreat order and do something else
  • Added customizable control mappings (screenshot)
  • Increased maximum amount of zooming that can be done using the mousewheel (up to 2x in each direction)
  • After exiting the mission, the game goes back to the mission selection screen instead of the main menu. So that you can try again more quickly after suffering a crushing defeat.
  • Changed omni shields to be toggled on/off with the RMB instead of requiring the RMB to be held. In related news, frigates are fun to fly again.
  • Clicking on a ship in the fleet lists in the upper right now selects that ship in the warroom
  • Game now remembers launcher settings (resolution, fullscreen, sound on/off)
  • Shows an error message if the game fails to start - mostly useful for debugging while modding
  • Added feedback to warroom order buttons - they flash and make a sound when activated with the keyboard shortcut, same as when they're clicked
  • Improved display of current orders in the warroom - fighters returning to refit, battlegroup set to Search & Destroy
  • Autopilot button flashes when it's on
  • Added "shield upkeep" value to ship tooltip
  • Made mission list scrollable (mousewheel, or click and drag - same as ship list post-battle)
  • Added credits screen

Bug Fixes
  • Fixed bug where ship AI would crash into friendly ships while trying to move away from the map border
  • Fixed bug where weapon burst would finish firing after the ship was destroyed or finished being overloaded
  • Tutorial section w/ fighters now ends if it takes too long (if the fighters run away, for example)
  • Fixed AI bug where it would fire a missile salvo with an unnecessarily long delay between firing successive turrets
  • Fixed bug where the game would play in fast-forward if video card vsync was forced off. In related news, sales of hillbilly chase music on iTunes plummeted today.
  • Fixed bug where "deploy reserves" button would be disabled if your forces control all objectices (the 'G' shortcut still worked, though)
  • Fixed bug where on-screen target reticle would stay up for ships that were no longer visible through fog of war
  • Fixed the "invisible fighter" bug (sometimes, a fighter would remain in the playing field, invisible and unhittable, but still targetable by the AI)
  • Most likely fixed this (hard to describe) bug. Likely Intel driver bug, coded around it.
  • Fixed bug with fighters being forced to auto-retreat after flying too far off-map
  • Cleaned up alpha values in custom mouse cursors - hopefully fixing "white square cursor" bug on ATI cards on Linux
  • Fixed victory music bug (would finish playing at the start of next mission)
  • Fixed bug where the quit dialog could show up multiple times if the Escape key was pressed really, really fast
  • Improved code that detects available display resolutions (previously, would detect none in some cases, leading to a crash on startup). Also added "resolutionOverride"/"forceAspectRatio" settings to config for some odd cases where no valid resolution is reported.
  • Fixed duplicate shuttle pod icon bug
  • Fixed cursor bug - changes red/green state more reliably
  • Fixed bug where transferring command can disable the AI of the ship being abandoned
  • Fixed bug where AI would still follow a group leader when the group leader was assigned to another group
« Last Edit: August 23, 2011, 07:46:49 AM by Alex » Logged
bryanvlo
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« Reply #1 on: May 05, 2011, 06:55:25 PM »

*thumbs up*
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Blips
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« Reply #2 on: May 05, 2011, 07:00:05 PM »

Its always nice to get a better view (regarding the zoom changes) of the battlefield.
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Fishbreath
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« Reply #3 on: May 05, 2011, 08:14:41 PM »

I could swear that omni-directional shields already toggle. I seem to recall right-clicking turning mine off on several occasions with the Apogee.

What I'd love to see is an option for a second control scheme for movable directional shields, or possibly even an in-game toggle/option between the two settings:
1. Right-click to toggle on.
2. Hold Ctrl (or some other key) to move them. Otherwise they stay still. Ideally they'd keep moving to where the mouse was when Ctrl is released.

Sometimes I want to fire on something, but turn my shield toward a different threat--shooting at a carrier and protecting myself from the bombers coming in from astern, say.
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Avan
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« Reply #4 on: May 05, 2011, 08:23:50 PM »

omnidirectional shields are shields that can swivel, like the one on the conquest: the apogee actually has a frontal shield, its just a full 360 degrees of coverage.
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SeaBee
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« Reply #5 on: May 05, 2011, 09:08:26 PM »

Love this! I'm glad you've decided to try out live patch notes, this really gets the hype going (not that it wasn't already going strong for me).
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Fishbreath
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« Reply #6 on: May 05, 2011, 09:29:54 PM »

omnidirectional shields are shields that can swivel, like the one on the conquest: the apogee actually has a frontal shield, its just a full 360 degrees of coverage.

My mistake, then; consider the body of my previous post a request for more options for omnidirectional shield control.
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Alex
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« Reply #7 on: May 05, 2011, 09:40:52 PM »

omnidirectional shields are shields that can swivel, like the one on the conquest: the apogee actually has a frontal shield, its just a full 360 degrees of coverage.

My mistake, then; consider the body of my previous post a request for more options for omnidirectional shield control.

I hear you - ideally, you'd have perfect control over both. The question is, do the scenarios in which you actually want to have this control occur often enough to justify making it more cumbersome all around? Having an extra button for this type of shield control... I'm just not sold on that yet. Let's see how this new scheme plays out first - it's already tons better than it was.

Also, it seems like you could get by in that scenario by setting the group on autofire for a few seconds while you shield off in a different direction. Autofire is set up to prefer targets that are closest to the current aim, so turning it on just as you stop firing makes it carry on just what you were doing, most of the time.
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mecharm
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« Reply #8 on: May 06, 2011, 12:24:45 PM »

Yay live patch notes!

Sweet Smiley
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Fishbreath
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« Reply #9 on: May 06, 2011, 10:53:26 PM »

I hear you - ideally, you'd have perfect control over both. The question is, do the scenarios in which you actually want to have this control occur often enough to justify making it more cumbersome all around? Having an extra button for this type of shield control... I'm just not sold on that yet.

How about something simpler than my original idea: a shield lock button, which toggles shield movement on and off? Doesn't add any cumbersome-ness; without using it, the shield behavior is exactly as it is now (with the toggle, anyway). I'm growing more and more convinced of the need for this the more I play with my high-intensity-laser broadside Conquest--things I'm hitting with the broadsides are generally a long way off, and in most cases the threats I'm having to deal with are from a different angle.

I can also see it coming up with a frigate with omnidirectional shields fighting a bigger ship, a la Sinking the Bis'mar. Missiles tend to come at you from the sides in that mission, simply because they have to chase you, and the same situation might come up elsewhere. Being able to lock shields to face missiles while you make a strafing firing pass with bigger weapons seems like a pretty good motivation for lockable shields, too.
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tinsoldier
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« Reply #10 on: May 07, 2011, 09:18:31 AM »

I hear you - ideally, you'd have perfect control over both. The question is, do the scenarios in which you actually want to have this control occur often enough to justify making it more cumbersome all around? Having an extra button for this type of shield control... I'm just not sold on that yet.

How about something simpler than my original idea: a shield lock button, which toggles shield movement on and off? Doesn't add any cumbersome-ness; without using it, the shield behavior is exactly as it is now (with the toggle, anyway). I'm growing more and more convinced of the need for this the more I play with my high-intensity-laser broadside Conquest--things I'm hitting with the broadsides are generally a long way off, and in most cases the threats I'm having to deal with are from a different angle.

I can also see it coming up with a frigate with omnidirectional shields fighting a bigger ship, a la Sinking the Bis'mar. Missiles tend to come at you from the sides in that mission, simply because they have to chase you, and the same situation might come up elsewhere. Being able to lock shields to face missiles while you make a strafing firing pass with bigger weapons seems like a pretty good motivation for lockable shields, too.


What about an auto-targeting option for omni shields?
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« Reply #11 on: May 09, 2011, 11:44:25 AM »

Just thought that I would post something that was posted in another forum by one of the devs:

Quote
What's already done:
- Basic bug fixes, UI tweaks, AI fixes

What's coming soon:
- Better mod support for custom missions and ships. People have already made seven custom ships or so and one custom mission. And then another fan went and rebalanced all the weapons to create greater distinction between Capital ships and smaller ships.
- A small start on the RPG aspects with customized ship loadouts before entering missions

Soonish?:
- More ships with specialized ship roles (repair, munitions, stealth, scan, etc)
- Ship special abilities (afterburners, flux discharge, barrage, etc.)
- RPG-like characters/profiles, or something, which affect your ship/fleet performance in various ways.

Upcoming:
- RPG/strategic meta-layer sandbox gameplay taking place in one solar system as a start on the higher level game

I'm not really sure on the timeline for any of this, and details of everything are certainly open to change. I just know what I'm doing artwork for and what the dev team is discussing internally. What's caught Alex by surprise in particular is the strong demand for modding tools, and how much enthusiasm people have for modding. Further, I think the demand for RPG aspects is strong enough that he feels the need to push that up sooner.

And I daresay, feel quite free to tell us what you'd like to see next - we do read this forum Smiley
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David
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« Reply #12 on: May 09, 2011, 12:07:54 PM »

Yeah, that was me. Promising things. Sorry Alex!

(I figure fans would like to know something about upcoming features, some rough idea of the coming expansion of the Starfarer game-world.)

I'm also going to start posting more teasers of upcoming stuff I'm working on to the blog in any effort drive everyone crazy. It'll be fun!
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Blips
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« Reply #13 on: May 09, 2011, 06:43:33 PM »

Hey David, what do you mean by politics? How deep are the plans for the faction / relation / etc system?

Any option to create your own empire and mingle with the others?
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Alex
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« Reply #14 on: May 09, 2011, 07:03:53 PM »

Hey David, what do you mean by politics? How deep are the plans for the faction / relation / etc system?

Any option to create your own empire and mingle with the others?

I don't think we're ready to answer detailed questions about that.  Sorry! Smiley I can, however, say that you will have relationships with various factions in the game - alliances, enmities, etc.



About shields and a shield lock button: I can actually see that as a ship system, that'd both lock it in place and improve its efficiency. That just might work nicely.
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