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Starsector 0.95.1a is out! (12/10/21); Blog post: Uniquifying the Factions, Part 2 (04/30/22)

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Messages - David

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1
Bug Reports & Support / Re: The Typo Thread
« on: May 12, 2022, 07:34:17 AM »
All of the above are fixed in-dev.

If you could, please enlighten me on the above so I can lay my poor brain to rest; it would be much appreciated! :'(

Very comprehensive! Wow.

To answer your question: inconsistencies are generally the result of me screwing up.

2
Blog Posts / Re: Uniquifying the Factions, Part 2
« on: April 30, 2022, 01:55:30 PM »
My biggest issue as a gamer is their sprites look too good. :)

Haha. Well, thank you!

I understand the changes in principle, but if the Syndrian Diktat is run by incompetent megalomania on so many levels, how can they survive squatting the most substantial fuel resources while hated by basically everybody else? You'd think somebody would have taken them out by now.

(Are they hated by basically everybody else?)

(And not to get into real life stuff, but: if you've got fuel to sell, it sure seems like someone is always willing to buy...)

3
Blog Posts / Re: Uniquifying the Factions, Part 2
« on: April 30, 2022, 12:58:27 PM »
Maybe it’s just me but I feel it would be more interesting if the diktat/The Lion weren’t so seemingly... unbelievably incompetent as they seem to be heading outside of the weapons department. I can believe being somewhat incompetent but personally, it would be more interesting for them to be lead by a Competent but still flawed leader rather standard evil dictator that doesnt anything right.

To address this and similar comments, there is (and will be) more to the Sindrian Diktat than just a military built on loyalty over competence. I do also think authoritarian dictatorships tend to fare poorly in running a competent high-tech military in particular, and particularly when left to rot for a long time, for logically consistent and historically-supported reasons vs. how media portrayals tend to make them look ultra-competent both in their own propaganda and in opposing narratives. But this line of thought risks getting wildly off-topic...

-- Back to my point: I look forward to exploring why this all happens, what it means for various parties involved, and throwing some scifi fun into the mix then blowing it up in the player's face, if they are so inclined. I don't want to get into spoilers for upcoming stuff so I guess all I can say is that the point of the Sindrian Diktat is not "lol look at how much they suck".

(..... I actually do think the Expanse has a very interesting take on the whole theme and narrative of scifi military dictatorships, though I don't want to spoil the last three books by going into it at all.)

4
"Absynth" is so, so good. I'm going to be kicking myself forever for not coming up with that one.

Edit: And it's a delight seeing my icons recontextualized like this :D

5
Master of Orion II is fantastic - the graphics are 'retro' but everything else about it is still solid. The diplomatic system is somewhat primitive and spying is weird/clunky, but the colonies, tech tree, and ship design/combat are all well done. I haven't played 1 or 3 nearly as much, partially because 2 was the one I started on, but also just because I think its the best one.

MoO 3 is bad and .. you know what, it doesn't exist. Weird how they stopped making this series after 2. Cough, cough.

MoO1, on the other hand (incoming Take!): I think its game design is superior to MoO2. The game systems are abstracted enough that there's almost no bloat; it's parred down to almost a boardgame in ways that defeats the scaling problems of Civilization-style empire sprawl and unit micromanagement. The technology system is brilliant for making unique playthroughs and ensuring each species plays radically differently based on how the consequences of tech play out.

That said, MoO2 obviously looks way better and has more cool little things to do. And it's way more playable what with not being 320x200 or whatever. Although, I believe some crazy team of devs made a freeware MoO1 clone? ... Found it: Remnants of the Precursors (and I know how much you people like Remnants!)

6
I found this game searching for something similar to escape velocity nova.

Aaaa, I played a bunch of that too! Or like, the demo version of it where Captain whats-his-name would come and shoot you if you played too long.

(... and Subspace, if anyone remembers that one!)

7
Ooh, can I do this too?

Master of Orion 1 & 2 are the biggest influences for me. The ship sprites, the weapon loadouts - but maybe a lot of Ascendancy too because that involved actual visuals for the ship loadouts.

Before those, definitely played Asteroids in various iterations, including Maelstrom, the clone on Macintosh.

(And I have to mention Spacewar! 'cause that game turned 60 recently - my dad won a competition playing it in 1972 and made his own clone of the game on his workstation in the garage at some point in the early 90's; I forget why exactly. I thought it was _pretty_ cool, but I had better games to play, so it wasn't _that_ cool. Shows what I knew.)

8
Suggestions / Re: Beholder Station
« on: March 31, 2022, 05:24:11 AM »
 ;)

9
General Discussion / Re: Vapourware?
« on: March 04, 2022, 11:18:50 AM »
(With all due acknowledgement about how passive aggressive it would be to do this w/o lampshading it,)

It was my understanding that Alex also had a full time job, this was a side project, maybe that was the case and has changed now?

Alex works on this game full-time. It is his job.

If you are unsure about some aspect of development, you can ask.

10
General Discussion / Re: Vapourware?
« on: March 04, 2022, 06:04:35 AM »
As a dev, it's generally a bad idea to respond to threads like this, but... (here we go!)

Disclaimer first: these opinions are my own, not those of Alex or Fractal Softworks, Inc. etc.

I think the guys working on it...

If you are unsure about some aspect of development, you can ask. You can do it on this forum, on Twitter, or via email. If you ask in good faith, it's very likely you'll get a good faith answer. Please, don't just say answers you think feel right. When someone else reads it and repeats it elsewhere like its truth it becomes a big pain to get correct information out.

To address your points directly: Alex works on this game full-time. It is his job. I work on it part-time, alongside a couple other indie game projects. I am a contractor.

The feature milestone list is here by the way, and I concede that it is very abstract. The last remaining point is basically "add a story you can finish". We're doing that. (And much more.)



I've got some general statements and thoughts on indie game dev publicity; please understand that these _my_ perspective rather than Alex's.

This is a job I did at Gaslamp Games. Sometimes it was fun, sometimes it was awful. Depending on the project and release schedule I could spend from 10% to 90% of my work-time doing PR/marketing stuff. In a small company, that adds up fast, and quickly begs the question of "do you want to be marketed to or do you want the game to be worked on?"

Publicly released milestones are marketing, not necessarily indicative of the actual state of affairs or of useful work that is done or will be done. Further, it increases risk to a project to release speculative plans because these are commonly interpreted by customers as a set-in-stone promise to deliver precisely described features. If those features turn out to be unfeasible for some reason the developer has to put PR time (costing development time) into explaining exactly why and doing emotional labour to make sure the news doesn't hurt community support for the project. Or the developer can martyr themselves by pursuing an infeasible features-set that lowers the quality of the product, their working-life, and risks burnout and bankruptcy (I ended up in something vaguely including all of this and it was hell. The high-communication indie dev marketing strategy wasn't the only or even key reason for failure, but it didn't help).


Backing up:
Alex's approach is to announces features after they're finished. There's no risk of failure! It does take a long time, however. And unfortunately this does not work very well with story features and secret content that can be spoiled. Like if we do a blog post detailing the end-game content, that somewhat ruins the fun doesn't it? In short, most of the really exciting stuff we're working on can't be talked about if we want to maximize player enjoyment of the game. There's other stuff happening too, but it'll necessarily entail finished chunks being revealed on a slower schedule from an outside perspective.

So the question I would ask is, do you like what you've gotten out of the process so far? There's proof that it's been - yes, slowly - delivering for, uh, something like 10 years. It's totally fine to take a break and pick up the game later; if you put your email on the email list you'll get a notice when the next update is released.


And if there is something you would like to know about development, all you have to do is ask. Maybe you won't get an answer, but maybe you will.

11
Suggestions / Re: Vanilla Change Requests:
« on: February 18, 2022, 11:03:57 AM »
1 - alex has tried integrating mods into the game before, it was a legal headache (lots of IP rights stuff iirc) and it's a bad deal for the modders - they get the mod taken out of their hands and alex has to deal w/ their code (or they now have to update on alex's timetable), no matter how simple the mod is that can still be dealbreaking

I'll jump in for this point because I think some stories are getting mixed up: Alex has never integrated mods into Starsector. That's something I did _once_ back at Gaslamp Games with Dredmor's second expansion and would not do again for various reasons, some of which you do identify here.

12
Bug Reports & Support / Re: The Typo Thread
« on: February 07, 2022, 05:39:27 AM »
Oof. Thanks, fixed in-dev!

13
Stop using google to translate Klingon into English,find google's server and apologize to it(maybe she?XD)

Hey. It's not necessary to give people a hard time for not knowing English. Even if you intended for your comment to be a joke, it is can be read as hostile, especially to someone posting for the first time. Please be mindful of how your tone appears to an outside observer - especially as this is only your _second_ post.

14
Blog Posts / Re: Writing Starsector 2: Westernesse Boondoggle
« on: February 02, 2022, 05:29:46 AM »
Mh, do you think it might be a good idea to implement a way to skip all the repetitive stuff in the story (e.g. the random missions you have to do to gain the academy's trust) for experienced players, David? Maybe if you did not engage with the story but have a really powerful endgame fleet the academy will hire you directly for the juicy parts of the story? Just a thought.

I guess this comes to a question of where to slice the cake, as it were. It's hard to say what exactly the repetitive part is - the generic Sebestyen missions?

Anyway, making story skip options work completely in-fiction would likely require too much work for what they are. So I imagine this would look more like a "skip to this part in the story" (which I basically hacked together anyway for development testing, though not up to the testing requirements for public use _at all_).


So maybe the way to approach this is we find out what the state of the world is at the maximum sandbox point and give a start option that lets people skip to there? Hmm, probably.

Interesting that you mention Brigador as an example of good writing - it barely has a story, just tons of lore tied into the missions. I would love to see more of that in Starsector, too - just small story arcs unrelated to the main story, that expand on the lore of the various planets and factions. At the moment I feel there's a disconnect between the almost storyless "old" game where you never engage with individuals on a meaningful level and things stay quite abstract, and the story proper where you connect with tons of individuals and learn many tiny details.

(I guess I could expand my thoughts on Brigador: my absolute favourite part is the soundtrack, then the writing, then the gameplay. I actually found the arcade-style not quite to my taste; it's fun enough in the moment, but I like a bit more 'building' in my games. Plus action gameplay destroys my already destroyed wrist, so I can't 360 noscope like I used to.)

I understand the disconnect, for sure, and there are obviously dev reasons why there was no real story before we had the code to implement real story. And a linear story at all is probably some degree of insurmountable contradiction to people who want a sandbox game vs. people who want a story. But ... maybe part of the problem is that there is just one more-or-less linear path right now. I'd like to make it so there are a lot of plot threads in the world that players can find and follow, and others they can miss. This gets really complex, of course, if major Sector-changing events are contingent on other things being done or not done, so it's definitely going to be A Process. And of course it makes the most sense to invest more time into whatever the most players will see.

So, I guess that's a rambly way to say: we talk about such issues a lot and are trying to find the most workable compromise between all playstyles. And we won't take away the sandbox.

Taking the entire post out of context... it seriously looked like you were already writing "Starsector 2" and my initial reaction was, "Oh snap, here we go again."

Haha, yeah uh. I could have titled that better eh?

15
Bug Reports & Support / Re: The Typo Thread
« on: January 28, 2022, 05:36:02 AM »
Thank you for the reports!

In the conversation with Horus Yaribay during the main quest line, there is probably an extra word in the following sentence:

"... it need not be said that any decent authority would treat with you appropriately."

Intended! Horus uses word structure that's a bit more British/formal/archaic to sound more aristocratic, and in this case it's also an ironic euphemism.

(The other thing you posted is indeed a typo.)

... and every posted above is fixed in-dev!

... Except for the 14th thing, that might be a text formatting/display issue? I'll forward it to Alex.

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