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Author Topic: Observations and Suggestions  (Read 9054 times)

Serenitis

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Observations and Suggestions
« on: January 02, 2015, 10:40:27 AM »

I've been playing this for a while now, and while it is definitely one of the most fun things I've played in ages it does have a few bits which I feel could stand to be a little different.

Open/Close Panel
Pressing a key to open a panel not closing the panel with the same key has caught me out so many times, and continues to do so.
The map can be opened and closed by same keypress, it would be a pretty nice 'quality of life' improvement if all the others worked the same way.

CR Timer
I understand that this degrading performance thing was introduced to stop people from kiting whole fleets with a single ship. It even makes sense from 'realism' standpoint.
The gripe I have with it is that it wastes the players time and gets in the way of playing the game - all it does is force you to run away, re-engage and repeat the previous battle. This one thing more than anything else makes me dump frigates asap just to be rid of this hassle.
As this will probably be staying in the game anyway and covering even more ship types, it would be nice if there were an option to play without it for those inclined to do so.

Map Pause
Many times I've opened the map to try and determine which way fleets are moving but have become frustrated as opening the map pauses the game. You can fudge it by holding down the time accelleration key and repeatedly open/close the map, but it's something that you shouldn't need to do to get pretty basic functionality.

Map Clutter
Another map issue is that it can sometimes get so cluttered with objects that it becomes impossible to select a planet/station at that location.
A possible way around this would be to have a 'navigation menu' somewhere, maybe on the tab-map which would allow you to select an object in that system and fly right to it. This could also work for hyperspace with systems. (Bonus points for only having nav links available for systems you have enough fuel to reach.)

Storage
The ability to see where each of your storage bays are and what is in them would be a very welcome feature.

Travel Speed
There can never be too much of it. I care nothing for the wasted cargo/fuel space, put extra engines on everything. No exceptions.
You could probably give every ship a boost to burn speed and leave the engine mod for combat speed only, or boost everything and get rid of the mod.
Crawling around really isn't fun.

Boarding
It's far too random for something that could be a really fun mechanic.
All you need to do to swap the frustration for fun, is to allow the player to choose a ship to board from those that are still intact enough to do so. Randomise all you like about how well defended it would be and what there is left of it, but that one change would make a world of difference.

Disabled Player Ships
Nothing puts a downer on things more than losing a ship that you can't replace, it makes you want to just keep these rare shiny things in storage and never use them. Which kinda defeats the whole purpose of having them.
If a player ship gets disabled and is still intact at the end of the battle, then it should always be salvageable. The repair skill could then be used to determine how much of a wreck it is and what equipment survived.

Missile Pods
Probably not going to happen, but personally I'd really like the option to single-fire these things.

Pursuit
Not pursuing ships makes for an incredibly tedious early game as it takes so long to accomplish anything because you can't actually fight probably 3/4 of the battles you'd like to.
Maybe removing the pursuit = never trade ever might be something to look at, for the pirates at any rate so the player isn't hamstrung trying to find something they can actually fight without locking themselves out of a ton of places.
Keep it for factions though.

Starting a Game
One of the things that I've found is that only one of the start options is in any way fun, and that's the bounty hunter start.
The Wolf is a lot of fun to derp around in (but gets boring for the 100th time), while both the Hound and the Cerb do have thier uses I find them both beyond tedious to actually fight in.
Perhaps a different approach migt be considered?
Maybe giving a new player a pool of 'points' and allowing them to pick thier starting ship and equipment based on this.
« Last Edit: January 02, 2015, 10:57:18 AM by Serenitis »
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Wyvern

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Re: Observations and Suggestions
« Reply #1 on: January 02, 2015, 12:19:38 PM »

Pursuit: this one's made particularly egregious by the fact that you actually can fight ships that want to flee, without taking the rep hit, it just requires that you harry them over and over and over again until they're out of CR and try to make a last stand.

Disabled Player Ships: I'd suggest combining this with use of some of the (D) variants or hull mods, and adding a (very expensive and time-consuming - as in, it will take the shipyard maybe a month to a year to finish an order) way to refurbish a ship back up to full quality.

And I'd add one more: dial back on the rep losses for trading with a faction's enemies.  The numbers that are in are probably reasonable for someone tooling around in a few frigates and a destroyer; they are utterly unreasonable when you have even a single atlas and are going around single-handedly ending food shortages.
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Wyvern is 100% correct about the math.

SafariJohn

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Re: Observations and Suggestions
« Reply #2 on: January 02, 2015, 01:38:31 PM »

Disabled Player Ships: I'd suggest combining this with use of some of the (D) variants or hull mods, and adding a (very expensive and time-consuming - as in, it will take the shipyard maybe a month to a year to finish an order) way to refurbish a ship back up to full quality.

It would be interesting if all types of ship production (note: not buying a ship that's already been produced) took months or years in-game.
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Baqar79

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Re: Observations and Suggestions
« Reply #3 on: January 02, 2015, 05:20:37 PM »

I like all of these suggestions; hey has anyone here (surely everyone) played space rangers 2?  I don't know if starsector is planning on modeling the campaign system something like that, however for me, it is the pinacle of a space trader/combat game; there are just so many things that you can do in that game; and the mini-games (choose your own adventure style) are brilliant.  Seriously I could write a small thesis on how many features that game has; and they all work so well together, virtually no mechanic feels useless (The RTS battles were a bit of a sore point for me, but they reward well, so it's worth it to complete them, if only for the money and experience).

I guess I thought of space-rangers 2 when someone was mentioning the bribe system; that is pretty much how it works, if a pirate finds that it is not going their way, they will offer ever increasing bribes the closer they are to becoming space-dust (you can refuse the first bribe, and if they survive the next barrage of fire, they might offer you a larger bribe to let them keep their lives and the commentry change from when they first engage you changes drastically as they realise you're one bad SOB >:) ).

I especially like the idea Wyvern had on salvaging all player ships (that are disabled, but not destroyed; if the computer decides to turn that wreckage into dust, then you are still out of a ship) but with damaged sub-systems.  Rather then have a skill which gives you a %chance to recover a lost ship, have that same skill determine the chance and how many sub-systems can be repaired after battle.  Those faults are permanent like the D-class, but can be repaired to 100% given time and enough money (so in some cases, it may not be worth it to repair if the ship isn't particularly hard to come by).  Apply this to weapons as well (I noticed that even when I managed to recover a ship from combat (Sunder), some or all of the weapons are lost for good.  I had a very hard time finding small-needlers in game (I buy any I see) so the weapon loss was actually more of a blow then losing the easily obtainable Sunder destroyer).  I reloaded (shame on me!) as I could not deal with the loss of my small-needlers (I only had found 2 and I was level 37 and they both were on that sunder).

Still there should be some loss in combat, perhaps when the AI disables a ship, depending on how busy it is, it may choose to finish the job and vaporize that wreck.  This could make combat a bit more interesting as you try to manoeuvre forces to create a wall between yourself and the disabled ship to prevent it's complete destruction.  It would probably be difficult to implement, but perhaps depending on the damage that the disabled ship takes during combat, increases the chance of damage to the sub-systems/structure that will occur after salvage operations.

I like the idea of making the CR timer part of the difficulty options, rather than a built in part of the game.  If you want to solo the game in your frigate, perhaps give that choice to the player, no harm done (I did watch that video with the guy in the Tempest taking on that entire fleet, it was pretty cool, and if players just want to have direct control of one ship through the entire game, why not?)

Map clutter is something I agree with, but I'm pretty certain the developer already knows this and is working on it; it's impossible for me to target most stations as they are often hidden under fleets; so I agree with this.  

The Storage bay idea is good as well; in another post I made i was thinking about accounting for supplies/equipment that are lost if a ship is disabled/destroyed.  I would also like to extend this to being able to assign crew of certain veterancies to ships in your fleet.  At the moment depending on the order of them in the fleet screen is how they are assigned; but this means that there can be a bigger discrepency between CR of ships due to the mixed crews (and you have no control over this).  It would be nice to be able to assign crew members of different veterancies to each ship so that you could bring all your ships up/down to the same level of Combat Readiness.

I think the Travel speed option isn't too bad, but if there was higher time compression would that make slower ships easier to deal with?
In one other post (I feel a bit embarrassed about that one actually), I thought about having the Augmented engines bonus reversed and applying a +1 burn speed per size of ship class (ie +4 burn speed for captial ships).  At the moment Augmented engines cost a huge amount of Ordinance points and benefit larger ships the least (who need it the most).  They would still be slower (especially with regards to acceleration and manoeuvering), but they could start to keep up a little better with faster ships.

I would like to see a more interactive boarding mechanic; leave it text based as it is at the moment, but have certain actions increase your chance of successfully taking over the ship.  Space Rangers 2 did this with a lot of the mini quests that were quite well done and it only required a bit of text and in some cases numbers; no tactical system with xenonauts level of detail need be implemented; just a well written interractive dialogue.  

If we consider the earlier suggestion that disabled player ships are always salvageable, this should also be done with enemy ships as well.  Perhaps at the end of combat allow the player to select from the disabled ships which ones to board (Perhaps have it so that soldiers becomed fatigued and can only be deployed once, so choose carefully), in some cases the ships will only have dead crew members, but a great deal of damaged systems which makes them almost garbage anyway.  However during this process, a less damaged ship may be repaired and take the time to escape (that would be the ship that normally appears in the dialogue) and since you are distracted, you miss the chance to engage a ship that is in better condition and lose some of the resources you might otherwise acquire (as well as a better, less damaged ship; though if the ship you chose was fairly rare, then it likely did not matter).

The starting the game option will probably change i'm guessing.  I think the wolf-class is probably too good a ship to start in; so perhaps having that ship should give you some sort of other disadvantage to make up for it; less credits, change in relations between factions (Space Rangers 2 does this fairly well, though some of the starting ships are just slightly too good to pass up).

« Last Edit: January 02, 2015, 05:24:08 PM by Baqar79 »
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Megas

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Re: Observations and Suggestions
« Reply #4 on: January 03, 2015, 07:39:23 AM »

Quote
Travel Speed
There can never be too much of it. I care nothing for the wasted cargo/fuel space, put extra engines on everything. No exceptions.
You could probably give every ship a boost to burn speed and leave the engine mod for combat speed only, or boost everything and get rid of the mod.
Crawling around really isn't fun.
I think ships are too slow all-around, both combat and burn, and would like to see ships sped up and the engine hullmods removed.  I put Augmented Engines on everything, with few exceptions (usually Hyperion or Atlas when hauling food).
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Serenitis

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Re: Observations and Suggestions
« Reply #5 on: January 03, 2015, 08:28:21 AM »

Pursuit: this one's made particularly egregious by the fact that you actually can fight ships that want to flee, without taking the rep hit, it just requires that you harry them over and over and over again until they're out of CR and try to make a last stand.
I didn't know about this. But then again it does sound a bit like gaming the game in order to play it, which is something you shouldn't have to do.

Quote
And I'd add one more: dial back on the rep losses for trading with a faction's enemies.  The numbers that are in are probably reasonable for someone tooling around in a few frigates and a destroyer; they are utterly unreasonable when you have even a single atlas and are going around single-handedly ending food shortages.
This. How could I have forgotten this?
Why is this such a huge deal anyway? I can totally see faction A being a bit miffed that you bought 1297 supply boxes from faction B instead, but does it have to be quite so... Severe?
Buying a few hundred supplies from Ragnar Complex got me -50 Tachyon points.

Another thing that isn't all that important, but would be a nice touch is having a bit of variety with the 'D' variants.
Currently everything is broken on every one of them. What would be nice is having 'D' ships when they're spawned have a randomly assigned set of negative mods so it doesn't feel like the pirates are flying a fleet of identical clone ships, and the player might actually be tempted to board/buy a 'D' ship if it has liveable downsides.
Might be worth adding a few more broken things at some point as well - eg: less cargo, slower turn speed, increased maint. costs, increased shield costs, broken shields.
« Last Edit: January 03, 2015, 08:51:51 AM by Serenitis »
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Megas

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Re: Observations and Suggestions
« Reply #6 on: January 03, 2015, 10:59:21 AM »

Harry until last stand only works against combat ships.  It does not work against civilians.  If you want to destroy freighters and tankers, you must pursue and destroy... and eat a relations drop that can extend into Vengeful if previous relations were low enough.
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Serenitis

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Re: Observations and Suggestions
« Reply #7 on: January 06, 2015, 01:52:09 PM »

Fighters seem to be rather expensive support wise.
Each wing costs roughly as much as a frigate, and to get anything approaching usefulness out of them you need to field a carrier on top of that.
If you're bringing a carrier which is eating a load of supplies you might as well actually use the thing and get some kind of value out of it, so more fighters.
And then you need a whole fleet of freighters to carry all the supplies these things eat, which themselves eat yet more supplies.

Every time I try to use fighters I just end up getting drowned in logistics. So I just avoid them now.
I don't suppose it matters all that much when you have millions to spend, but it just seems like a whole portion of the game which is just for want of a better description, locked behind an artifical barrier. (And balancing a game solely for it's end content creates other problems.)

Making fighters just flat not consume as much supplies might make them rather too good.
Maybe some kind of skill tree to increase their efficiency and/or add other abilities like reduced costs for having free flight deck capacity?
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Linnis

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Re: Observations and Suggestions
« Reply #8 on: January 07, 2015, 03:39:08 AM »

I agree, fighters do cost rather large amout of supplies, so much that you have to bring cargo ships with you, then, you might as well forget the fighters and carrier and just grab a cruiser.
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Lemar

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Re: Observations and Suggestions
« Reply #9 on: January 07, 2015, 05:39:20 AM »


Map Pause
Many times I've opened the map to try and determine which way fleets are moving but have become frustrated as opening the map pauses the game. You can fudge it by holding down the time accelleration key and repeatedly open/close the map, but it's something that you shouldn't need to do to get pretty basic functionality.


Was thinking about that too. You call it map but mean the tactical map as both the universe and the tactical are maps ;). My question would be more what would we win if there would be only the tactical map. Loosing some grafic with the universe map isn't that much of a problem or argument as the universe map isn't that much of a beauty. I consider it more as a huge win if there would be only the tactical map as the tactical map is actually what your decision making comes from (what size of fleets you want to engange with or what objects / base u would want to go to) Its just bad design having to switch constantly forth and back... wastes time and is annoying.

When there is only the tactical map then give it a checkbox to switch off showing fleets and bam you can target planets.
« Last Edit: January 07, 2015, 05:42:24 AM by Lemar »
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SafariJohn

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Re: Observations and Suggestions
« Reply #10 on: January 07, 2015, 06:12:34 AM »

I don't support having only the tab-map and not the graphical map. Unpausing on the tab-map, sure, but not eliminating the graphical map. I like to look at the various pretty sprites in motion.
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Midnight Kitsune

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Re: Observations and Suggestions
« Reply #11 on: January 07, 2015, 10:43:52 AM »

Map Pause
Many times I've opened the map to try and determine which way fleets are moving but have become frustrated as opening the map pauses the game. You can fudge it by holding down the time acceleration key and repeatedly open/close the map, but it's something that you shouldn't need to do to get pretty basic functionality.
The best thing about this is that you CAN unpause the TAB map! in dev mode that is... Which means you get spammed by info about AI fleets having accidents, running out of supplies and so on. I don't understand why this isn't in the main game
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TrashMan

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Re: Observations and Suggestions
« Reply #12 on: January 08, 2015, 05:23:11 AM »

I agree, fighters do cost rather large amout of supplies, so much that you have to bring cargo ships with you, then, you might as well forget the fighters and carrier and just grab a cruiser.

You kidding? Fighters need constant mantainance and flight crew works in shifts (as does all crew). There should really be bonuses/penalites to crew numbers that goes beyond just the minimum. Minimum crew is overworked.
Also, carriers need a LOT of crew.
The Iowa Battleship had 1600 crew max. A Nimitz carrier has 6000+
So fighters generally are logistics-heavy.

If there's one thing fighters eat, it's FUEL.
That kinda makes little sense to me, given that when traveling FTL they aren't traveling using their own engines anyway, they are riding on carrier.
I guess you could abstract constant patrols and training (which DOES happen and eats a lot of fuel), but I don't think it happens in HYPERSPACE.
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Aeson

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Re: Observations and Suggestions
« Reply #13 on: January 08, 2015, 02:49:47 PM »

You kidding? Fighters need constant mantainance and flight crew works in shifts (as does all crew). There should really be bonuses/penalites to crew numbers that goes beyond just the minimum. Minimum crew is overworked.
Also, carriers need a LOT of crew.
The Iowa Battleship had 1600 crew max. A Nimitz carrier has 6000+
So fighters generally are logistics-heavy.
If the numbers on Wikipedia are at all accurate, you're exaggerating the difference to a fairly large degree. The numbers listed for the Iowas are ~2700 in WWII/Korea and ~1800 in the '80s, while the ship's complement for the Nimitz carriers is listed at ~3600 and the total complement only reaches ~6000 if you include the air wing (which presumably includes support personnel, minimum required aircrew, and surplus aircrew for each fighter group carried, the latter two of which would, in Starsector, certainly be credited to the fighter wing crew requirement rather than to that of the carrier). Beyond that, the ships are hardly comparable in size; the Nimitz-class carriers are almost double the listed displacement of the Iowa-class battleships and are about 30% larger in beam and keel dimensions.

Moreover, the two ships are not of the same era or of the same design generation. It would be more reasonable to compare the crew requirement of an Essex-class carrier (according to Wikipedia, ~2200 for the ship's complement and ~900 for the air wing, of which probably ~250-300 would have been air crew for the fighters and bombers, so in Starsector terms we'd probably be looking at a ship with a crew requirement of ~2800 and a set of fighter groups with a crew requirement of ~250, compared to the battleship's crew requirement of ~2700) or a Midway-class carrier (according to Wikipedia, ~4100, though it doesn't specify if this includes the air wing or, if so, how much is ship's complement as opposed to air wing), as these, particularly the Essexes, are ships of the same era and of about the same size as the Iowas are. Another comparison would be between the Midway-class carriers and the planned Montana-class battleships, which were to have been the successors to the Iowas and thus more similar in time of design to the Midways than the Iowas are, and also more similar in scale; the Montanas would have had a complement of about 2300 to 2700 compared to the ~4100 on the Midways.

Carriers and the battleships designed around the same time had roughly similar crew complements, at least in the late interwar period and WWII. Carriers designed ~20 years after the battleships? Well, I'd point out that the difference in crew (and ship) scale there is not altogether different from the difference in crew complement (and ship scale) between the Iowa-class and the Colorado-class, or between the WWII-era King George V-class and the Revenge-class, or between the Nelson-class and the Dreadnought. Would you look at that - it's almost like comparing classes of capital ships to significantly older, smaller classes of capital ship isn't a particularly appropriate way to show how much more a carrier-type capital ship requires than a battleship-type capital ship of the same generation! After all, as far as I can tell the difference between a type of carrier ~20 years more modern than a class of battleship is about the same as the difference between a class of battleship ~20 years more modern than another class of battleship.
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angrytigerp

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Re: Observations and Suggestions
« Reply #14 on: January 08, 2015, 03:56:23 PM »

Bunch of stuff about manning aboard warships

As a sailor on board an amphibious assault ship, I can concur with this. Crew counts are shrinking by a considerable factor as we cram more jobs into single billets -- my ship has something like 400ish crew, yet can carry more than twice that in Marines. So you could say that our manning is around 1200 people, but realistically it's 400 people to run the ship plus however many it takes to make an embarked MEU effective.

So it stands to reason that in this high-tech world, where starfighters are literally churned out in seconds by on-board autofacs, that maintenance as a whole is probably fairly automated -- so realistically, the crew count would probably be something like enough pilots to account for all available chassis (plus a few 'spares'), and a handful of guys to watch over the autofacs.

I know it's pretty handwavy of me to say it like that, but let's just be realistic, here, about how unrealistic SS's world is, at least within our current bounds of physics, materials science, and mechanics knowledge.
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