Uniquifying the Factions, Part 2

Part 1 of this blog post series is here. Here in part 2, we’ll dive into making the remaining factions more memorable!

Persean League

“An alliance formed to counter Hegemony domination of the Sector. Members of the League don’t necessarily agree on all issues, domestic or otherwise, and may even come into armed conflict with one another. But the League is united when it comes to the Hegemony who they consider to be illegitimately enforcing martial law in the name of the Domain, a dead political entity. The League, by its laws, unites against other external threats such as particularly meddlesome megacorporations, warlords, and the Luddic Path.”

The League’s core identity is going to be that of using midline ships. However, because those are going to be sprinkled in throughout the other factions, the League will also have access to a brand-new missile weapon lineup: directed energy munitions, or, put more simply, missiles that fire lasers when they get close enough to their target. In addition, it’ll get a new battleship (to go along with the already-existing Conquest-class, which is a midline battlecruiser.)

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Uniquifying the Factions, Part 1

(First off: “uniquifying” is a real word! It doesn’t quite fit how I’m using it here, perhaps – more strictly, it’s about removing duplicates – but it’s close enough.)

With that important note out of the way: some factions in the game have a stronger identity than others. If you’ve played the game at least a bit, you have a pretty fair idea of what to expect of a Hegemony fleet, for example – large chunks of metal with a lot of firepower. In contrast, something like the Luddic Church is more muzzy. It’s got the same kinds of ships as the Hegemony, more or less, but they also tend to mount converted hangars with Perdition-class bomber wings, and some numbers – officer quality, ship quality, the exact mix of ship types – are adjusted. The two factions are different, but it’s not the kind of different that easily sticks in your mind – without checking, I couldn’t tell you exactly how those numbers differ, for example.

So, some factions are more unique than others; this isn’t necessarily a problem – in fact, it’ll be the case no matter what, to some degree – but it would still be very nice if each faction was memorable.
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Writing Starsector 2: Westernesse Boondoggle

A couple weeks ago I mentioned that I was happy to answer random questions about my game dev practice (offer still stands!), and in the following discussion I said something about having cut a bunch of text from “the anarchist art collective” portion of the Starsector missions. There was at least one person interested in hearing more, so who am I to deny this request?

It turns out that getting to that anarchist art collective involves – for the purposes of context, of course – a meandering path through the entire process of writing narrative for Starsector. Therefore, my friends, that’s what we’re going to do today.

There will be spoilers in this post for content that was released in Starsector 0.95, the March of 2021 vintage. I won’t talk about any upcoming content ( … unless?). So if you haven’t done the so-called “main quest” of the game starting at the Galatia Academy, both myself and Hegemony COMSEC recommend you hold off on reading further.

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Of Slipstreams and Sensor Ghosts

Technically, the next release was meant to be a “bugfixing and polish” release. It’s true that the skill system update already pushes the boundaries of that, but still, we’ve somehow ended up with some major new features, too, which will be discussed in this post. The short answer to “how did we get here” is “weeeeell, one thing led to another, and before you know it…”

I’d actually like to give a longer answer, too. The first thing I want to say, though, is that this is ok! Ultimately, it’s all stuff that was going to be in the game one way or another (though the specific form would depend on exactly how it happened), so as long as it’s added in a way that lets it fit into the existing mechanics nicely, it’s all good.

I could have held off on adding these until a later release – there’s something to be said for sticking with a plan. But also, I think it’s important to take advantage of inspiration when it strikes – and to occasionally, have some fun!
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Skill Changes, Part 2

Part one of this two-part blog post is here.

In this part, let’s dive into a few details about specific skills, and some other points note. I don’t want to go through every single change – just highlight some interesting tidbits, and a couple of the bigger changes.

Elite skills
One of the goals was to do a pass over the “elite” effects of the combat skills and make them more interesting/powerful/appealing. For example, Helmsmanship’s elite effect now – in addition to its original “0-flux boost at any level” effect – grants a flat +5 to top speed, making it a consideration for slower ships. Combat Endurance and Damage Control got some brand-new, fun elite effects.

Combat Endurance brings back the “repair ship hull during combat” effect from several versions ago – repairs up to 25% of the hull level, with total repairs not exceeding the higher of 50% of the hull, or, as of right now, 2000 points. With Combat Endurance being a skill that’s great for small ships, the elite effect is, too, because of the potential to repair far more than 50% of the hull over the course of a battle.

Damage Control’s elite effect grants a reduction to large hull hits – any hull hit above a certain threshold of damage has the portion above the threshold reduced by (again, as of right now) 60%. No-one plans on being hit by a Reaper torpedo, but still, neutralizing that much damage when things go wrong is going to have a lot of appeal. To make the skill not completely neutralize the strike potential of certain weapons, this effect only triggers at most once every two seconds.

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