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Messages - Gothars

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Announcements / Re: Starsector 0.95.1a (Released) Patch Notes
« on: November 17, 2022, 12:34:04 PM »
On that note, I'll close the thread for now.

General Discussion / Re: No autosave? Seriously?
« on: November 11, 2022, 09:22:29 AM »
(Yeah - if it wasn't for the time it takes to save, I wouldn't mind adding the feature. But cutting the time down by the amount required is extremely non-trivial.)

(An occasional "time since last saved" message would be trivial and help a lot, though...)

Suggestions / Re: Kakroom
« on: November 02, 2022, 03:52:30 AM »
i am two years late

As per the forum rules, please don't necro.

Blog Posts / Re: Hyperspace Topography
« on: October 23, 2022, 06:42:55 AM »
As the S key slows you down, the W key seems a good choice to make you go fast. Could call it gravity sail.

That would make sense, wouldn't it! And the immediacy of that - even compared to an ability toggle - is nice, feel-wise. It might feel weird if AI fleets didn't do it then, though; with the ability you could handwave it as being something the player has learned etc, and have it be unlocked with a mission... hmm.

Is there a reason why an ability should not be activated with a specific key?

You could make it so that the ability key has to stay depressed to keep the ability active, while the ability icon is a toggle.

The S key and the "running dark" ability could be streamlined to work that way, too.

Blog Posts / Re: Hyperspace Topography
« on: October 16, 2022, 03:42:35 PM »
This idea could finally be a great way to make you want to keep your poor crew alive: loosing crew should also subtract from the crew XP bar. You might be easily replacing warm bodies, but not their experience!

One niche (but nice for world building) effect of experienced crew might be that they are loyal and can keep their mouths shut when on shore leave: your "transponder off" combat encounters have less influence on faction relations. Your smuggling suspicion doesn't increase as fast. New bar encounters are possible. They go on longer without pay.

I'm against combat bonuses from crew, I think there are more than enough factors that influence your combat stats.

Yeah, I could see that. The only thing there is that *if* I was going to bring crew XP back in some way then I'd kind of like to tie it to ships, to give them more history/personality/etc; that seems like a high-impact thing feel-wise, regardless of how minor the bonuses might be.

Ok, hear me our. *waives hands excitedly*

Ship experience/veterancy/personality comes in form of special hullmods. They can be only picked up at certain "random" moments, which would be

- event triggered, e.g. suffering heavy losses, making in-flight refits, getting close to a black hole...
- but not reliably so, there's just a small chance for any given trigger
- overall very rare, maybe with a hidden timer after one event
- not mandatory, you can refuse to install them
- more flavorful than other hullmods, more side-grades than straight upgrades
- an, to tie it in with a crew Event system: the best of these special hullmod events only pop up if you have experienced crew
- Over a long time, a ship might even accumulate several of these hullmods, really making it unique

Some examples:

Forged in Blood
The recent, traumatic battle has forged an unspoken brotherhood between the surviving crewmembers of the ISS Derringer. They ask permission to paint their hull blood red. This will set the ship behavior to reckless and increase weapon damage by 10%. Will you grant permission?

Out through the backdoor
After almost losing core containment during the last fight, the chief engineer of the ISS Brazen had to come up with a rather creative solution. The flux vents are now connected through to the engine, increasing forward speed by 50% during active venting - but flaming out the ship when the flux bar is full. The changes could still be reversed - will you allow the engineer to make them permanent?

They have seen the light
After some of the external shutters failed to close, the recent dip into a solar corona has left a permanent impression on the crew of the ISS Reinhold - or rather, on their retinas. Their auto-firing accuracy has dropped by 50%, but they have taken it upon themselves to install and maintain, in their own time, almost religiously, a solar shielding variant that is twice as effective as the normal one. You could order your surgeons to replace the blinded eyes against their owners will, but that would surely rob them of the will to maintain their hull modifications. Will you let the current condition persist?

Using hullmods seems both simple to understand for the player and gives a lot of storytelling opportunities. I can't think of a more straightforward alternative, at least.

As a side note, tying certain hullmods to a minimum crew experience level might work for some normal, non event-related hullmods, too.

On the other hand, a solar sail and a gravity slingshot both sound like fun things! Like, a lot of fun. Hmm. Both could be initiated by interacting with the star/planet, even (so: no ability slot), though that'd break the movement flow.

As the S key slows you down, the W key seems a good choice to make you go fast. Could call it gravity sail.

Blog Posts / Re: Hyperspace Topography
« on: October 14, 2022, 09:47:22 AM »
I hadn't really thought about it, hmm. The main problem with exploration XP - especially for this - is that exploration is mostly linear, while XP required to level up is extremely not. So that just makes finding meaningful XP values for exploration things difficult.

If you only benefit from the XP in early game, that seem OK, too - after all it's way more challenging to discover stuff with you early game frigat than your late game exploration fleet.

After reading this, the first thing that came to my mind is the potential new Crew/Marines/Pilots experience system separate from the Trading/Inventory system, which from my understanding being coupled to it was the main drawback of the earlier EXP system.
... oh! Oh. That's very interesting. The main problem with crew XP was just the *enormous* hassle of keeping track of multiple crew types, anywhere crew is used. So yeah, this could potentially abstract away from that, but then it's basically just "an additional bonus/parallel XP bar" which... it could be interesting, depending on what the contributing factors are and what the incentives are and so on. Larger topic and I haven't really thought it through, but: neat idea, thank you for bringing it up!

This idea could finally be a great way to make you want to keep your poor crew alive: loosing crew should also subtract from the crew XP bar. You might be easily replacing warm bodies, but not their experience!

One niche (but nice for world building) effect of experienced crew might be that they are loyal and can keep their mouths shut when on shore leave: your "transponder off" combat encounters have less influence on faction relations. Your smuggling suspicion doesn't increase as fast. New bar encounters are possible. They go on longer without pay.

I'm against combat bonuses from crew, I think there are more than enough factors that influence your combat stats.

A large part of the fun, though, is also what you're actually doing. Sneaking around in a star system full of Redacted and picking it clean without getting in trouble is already fun, regardless of any second-to-second fun from just the movement system itself. Fundamentally, I think you need gameplay with risk and reward and so on - the movement system taken in isolation being fun is great, but I think that's kind of parallel enhancer to the other stuff needed to make it fun, not a requirement or a solution for it being fun/not fun, if you know what I mean? It's part of why slipstreams cut down on fuel use so much; "using fuel" is the fundamental cost of going through hyperspace and "doing it well" seems like it should involve reducing the fuel cost.

Yeah, I hear you. Then again, as long as long stretches were "nothing happens" exist, the movement system will have to stand on its own on a regular basis. The worst emptiness-offender is not even hyperspace though, but big empty systems. Some interesting movement could be applied here too: Raising a solar sail (ability) near the sun to be blown into the system fringe (aka "make your own pulsar but without the hurt")? Using a planet's gravity well to slingshot yourself through the system? Maybe a jump points acts like a pinball bumper if you don't go trough?

Blog Posts / Re: Hyperspace Topography
« on: October 13, 2022, 05:58:12 AM »
I'd have to think about that, that's an interesting idea. Getting the physics to work right/in a satisfying way could be a bit involved.

(Fun fact: I've got this idea for making short slipstreams with a huge speed (like, 500-1000 burn), sort of like "gates" that boost you. This actually works if you do it in-game; might add this in at some later point. I remember even trying to make a chain of relay gates this way, spacing them so that by the time you slow down, the next gate picks you up - and it totally works!)

Speaking more in general, top down 2d games always struggle to have interesting movement systems. I can think of very few where movement is actually a main appeal, it mostly serves to connect other game elements to each other. That is of course in sharp contrast to side-scrolling 2d games, where movement is often the core mechanic. Why is that, I wonder?

Gravity, momentum? Top downs often have both. What comes to mind as typically for side scrollers is challenging interaction with barriers, specifically their influence on player momentum. Using walls, ramps and enemies skillfully to accelerate instead of being slowed down by them is much of the fun.

I recently tried the mobile game DATA WING, which is one of these rare worthwhile movement based top downs. You race around a course, and here it kind of works because closing in with the course barriers just so gives you a speed boost.

That all means to say: Yeah - it would be fantastic to have more controllable momentum changing environmental interaction during travel, it actually seems the key to a fun movement system. Like the gate slipstreams you describe. I also think hyperspace storms offer potential, if you could just predict/influence the direction they throw you in and maybe chain them together somehow.

With all this extra efficiency from coming Hyperspace Topography, Auxiliary Fuel Tanks hullmod and the idea of needing colonies to support exploration, it's too easy to have enough fuel capacity even without tankers to basically have near unlimited range. I propose the base fuel use should be raised somewhat to encouraging planning and to make tankers useful again.

Valid concern.

Blog Posts / Re: Hyperspace Topography
« on: October 12, 2022, 11:53:57 AM »

. when you find something neat and scan it, the game will acknowledge that 

That's a huge one for me! Exploration is (besides combat) my favorit part of the game, so it's great that it get's more structure.
And you didn't mention the most obvious reason why unlocking these options via the event system is a good idea: growth is fun!

Regarding slipstrean usefulness: it would be neat if you could sort of catapult yourself out of a stream after building up momentum, and then continue sliding in the chosen direction for a good long while at high speed/fuel efficiency and being protected from storms. Maybe just by activating emergency burn at the right time in the stream? In practice that would much increase the area that you can conveniently reach with a slipstream.

General Discussion / Re: Starships speed
« on: September 21, 2022, 03:58:15 PM »
Yeah, starsector ships are significantly slower than light, a very rough estimate is 0.005C.
That is based on the fact that you need about a day (at burn 16) to travel from Corvus to Jangala, which might be a similar distance to the one between earth and sun.

Suggestions / Saving NPC fleets for an ad-hoc bounty
« on: September 16, 2022, 04:08:51 AM »
It would be nice if saving npc fleets were acknowledged by the game in some way. I feel almost a bit betrayed when I see a trade fleet in a hopeless fight with a pirate armada, jump in to save them - and then nothing happens, not even a "thank you".

I don't know what the simplest technical implementation would be, maybe if fleets in a fight would generate a bounty for that fight? That way you would simply get paid credits/reputation per ship you destroyed, and the game would not have to differentiate between a npc fleets that needs to be saved and one that doesn't need your help. In the latter case, you would simply not get to destroy many enemy ships and get little payout.

Bounty amount could increase with distance to the core worlds, I imagine out in the fringes any help would be doubly welcome.

Of course this would enable some shady tactics like luring a pirate fleet to an NPC fleet to get them into trouble in the first place, before "saving" them. But that sounds like a fun (and very role-playable) option for the player.

To take this one step further, the player could also set an ad-hoc bounty during a battle (or in the dialog before) and see if any neutral NPC fleets in the vicinity will join later during the battle. That would be another mechanic to minimize the incentive for reloading.

General Discussion / Re: The purpose of scavenging
« on: September 12, 2022, 06:35:16 AM »
* When you do not have a normal salvaging screen because the nearby combat was NPC vs. NPC, and you feed on the scraps left behind.

Mainly this, yeah! And just general flavor.

Also, scavenging/salvaging briefly increases your sensor profile, though that's more of a factor for pre-placed debris fields.

Oh yeah of course, sorry for being unclear, I wouldn't want debris field and the ability to scavenge them to go away! I like the flavor.
It's just this two-loot-screens-in-a-row after a fight or salvaging an installation that seems a bit clunky. Both as a game mechanic actually, and from a role-playing view - why can't my crew disassemble that station properly in the first place? They pick it clean, blow it up, and then search the debris? That can't be the most efficient method...

The sensor profile increase could be easily integrated into a "thoroughly dismantle" option, I guess.

General Discussion / The purpose of scavenging
« on: September 11, 2022, 06:32:24 AM »
Help me out here, because I don’t quite see it. I think the scavenging mechanic is somewhat interesting from a role playing perspective, but what is the in-game purpose? It seems like there is no choice here – if there is a debris field, you scavenge is. The "risk" is really just costs in the form of a bit of machinery and supplies, on average far below the pay out. So, if it’s a non-decision, why not just role the spoils into the normal salvaging loot screen?

You could just have salvaging as one of the post battle options – instead of harrying or pursuing the enemy, you increase the loot by "thoroughly dismantling the wreckage“, where all you salvage bonuses apply. Same with scavenging stations, what is the point of having two consecutive loot screens most of the time?
A downside of choosing the „thorough“ option might be that you can’t move quickly for a few seconds after the battle, so if there are enemy fleets nearby, you can’t escape.
If you don‘t choose the „thorough“ option, a debris field is generated and you can get away faster.

Or is there some fun to be had with the current scavenging mechanic that I'm simply missing?

General Discussion / Re: realism
« on: September 11, 2022, 05:20:45 AM »
10 credits a month!? If anything, they are severely over-payed! Let's set some standards here: A Vulcan cannon cost 200 credits. Now a Vulcan is a shipboard rapid-fire close-in anti missile/fighter cannon, a close real-life equivalent is the Phalanx CIWS. One Phalanx costs about 10 million$. So, assuming that the cost of these weapon systems are comparable, a crewman would make the equivalent of 500.000$ a month!

Blog Posts / Re: Hostile Activity
« on: September 08, 2022, 12:20:05 AM »
Oh, yeah, I really wouldn't want it to amount to hand holding. I think the "what's over the next hill?" kind of feeling is elemental for fun exploration gameplay. My feeling is just that the game does too little to acknowledge the discoveries you make on your own. After you found all the hullmods and the colony items you want, which can often be the case after seeing 20-30% of star systems, there's little initiative to go on. The game is basically indifferent if you find your tenth research station by surfing between two neutron stars, your twentieth habitable planet with a de-civilized population and finally defeated that [redacted] station at the edge of the sector. You can only pad your own shoulder in these moments.

What I'm saying is, the early game is fine for me, it's the late game exploration that could use more structure and overarching goals.

Suggestions / Frigate micromangement and auto-retreat
« on: September 07, 2022, 12:06:09 PM »
After picking the game up again recently, this turned out to be quite annoying. Frigates almost always run out of CR in bigger battles, but they do so one after the other. The "command frequency open" feature fires back here, since it kinda forces you to check all your frigates for low CR (or other reasons to retreat them) any time one of them needs to go home, lest you waste CP by dong it shortly after. This takes a good 10-20 seconds each time, and really takes me out of the fight. Which to avoid is, afaik, the express purpose of the hands-of tactical layer.

I would suggest to make retreat free if a ship is past Peak Readiness Time. I really don't feel this is an interesting use of a CP, it's almost always an automatic decision. If anything, ordering them to stay past PRT when they want to retreat could be interesting. In general, I would prefer for all ships to auto retreat with low CR/HP. That would a) save on boring micromanagement, b) feel realistic and c) would present a chance for officer personality types to be further differentiated - the more aggression, the later the retreat. To avoid situations were ships retreat before you notice/can stop them, they might even just idle at the retreat border as long as no enemy is close. They'd already stop losing CR there, after all.
Then for super intense battles you could have an "Hold the line!" option in the standing orders section (under full assault!/full retreat!) that basically sets the current behavior of no auto-retreats.

But if that is too much, I can think of several other ways to address this:
- When issuing a retreat order, highlight all ships that are low on PRT/HP. Could be framed as them asking for permission to withdraw.
- In any case, it would also help to show (low) PRT on the tactical screen. Little clock symbol?
- Slow the PRT timer on frigates while they operate close to a bigger ship (that still has PRT). One main purpose of the tight time limit on frigs is stop them from kiting, which they can't really do with such an "anchor".

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