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Starsector 0.95a is out! (03/26/21); Blog post: Skill Changes, Part 2 (07/15/21)

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Messages - Allectus

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1
General Discussion / Re: 345 days - you've read this post before
« on: March 18, 2018, 08:29:18 AM »
Hey! Dodgy arithmetic aside, just a quick reply here. I *am* working on Starsector full-time, and as much as you might want the next release to be finished, I want the same thing ten times more. I just don't want to put out something half-baked without the necessary set of features coming together to make it fun to play.

Also: I wouldn't equate infrequent updates with a lack of progress - it's exactly the opposite; more frequent releases would slow the overall pace of development down - due to the large amount of extra effort associated with making a release - even though it would probably *feel* like it was moving more quickly.

So, um - I appreciate that you care enough about the game to find the pacing of the releases to be frustrating, and offer my apologies for that, but ultimately stand by it :)

Hey,

The update schedule is a bit frustrating, but the reality is you have something special here that doesn't exist anywhere else in the market.  I suspect that is, in large part, because this is a passion project that you want to get *right*.  I think that's the only way to create something like this--I've got tons of other mediocre games to play if I just want to play something right now, and I'd rather you take your time on this one.   I really appreciate all your work. :-)

2
Mods / Re: [0.8.1a] DynaSector 1.3.1b
« on: June 15, 2017, 08:49:17 PM »
Did Neutrino ever receive support?  You mentioned it was a good candidate on the first page.

3
Hey Histidine, did a brief update on my guide on how mining works as is. And, I'm not entirely sure how it's supposed to function.

It used to be a way for low-level players to grind to higher ship classes and avoid the frigate game, but right now it's not really functioning like that. The heavy machinery requirement is a bit restrictive for early play; machinery is either expensive, or really risky to scavange for a miner. I'd prefer if the required heavy machinery amount were smaller, and the heavy machinery loss accident chance were also smaller. Maybe if the crew accident chance were higher as well to compensate? Right now, it works like a method to turn supplies into rather small amounts of money and a lot of experience, and exists as a weird side-quest for scavangers instead of a way to avoid the frigate game or reap mad dosh for dedicated mining fleets.
Hmm, I didn't think the machinery requirement would be that significant; it only needs miningStrength/2 machinery and trade fleets start with a lot of it (starting machinery is 1/8th of total cargo space). But reducing the weighting of machinery loss accidents (from 2.5 to something like 1.5) and their severity (right now it's (1,4) + (1,4) units lost per incident, I can cut it to (1,3) + (1,3) or less) is fine.

Do you think accident rates are also too high in general?

So I took a quick look at the code you linked (thanks for linking directly to the file, by the way!) and see now what you're doing.  It strikes me that you should leave the machinery accident probability unchanged--just like other tasks machinery should act as a cover for your crew and giving it a higher weighted probability of occurring accomplishes that reasonably well.  

If I'm reading it right it looks like, instead, the problem may be in the amount of machinery you lose given an accident. It is exceedingly punishing with small mining fleets (combat freighter + ~2 mining ships) because you will often lose more in machinery in expectation than you'll make in ore/gas/volatiles in expectation because each machinery accident roll you're losing a 2-8 machinery (probably ~1 in expectation, though I didn't check the full probability chain), and you need to make a lot more rolls against the accident table given that your overall production is much lower.  End result is that small mining fleets are now uneconomical while large fleets are basically unaffected because they make way more per roll against the accident table.  This pretty significantly changes the role of mining fleets in Nexerelin--they're no longer a bootstrap option but rather a late game money factory.  It's basically a level/regressive tax.

Scaling the machinery loss to the fleet size (and critically making it less impactful to smaller fleets) would help substantially (again, presuming I'm reading the code properly).

4
Hey Histidine, did a brief update on my guide on how mining works as is. And, I'm not entirely sure how it's supposed to function.

It used to be a way for low-level players to grind to higher ship classes and avoid the frigate game, but right now it's not really functioning like that. The heavy machinery requirement is a bit restrictive for early play; machinery is either expensive, or really risky to scavange for a miner. I'd prefer if the required heavy machinery amount were smaller, and the heavy machinery loss accident chance were also smaller. Maybe if the crew accident chance were higher as well to compensate? Right now, it works like a method to turn supplies into rather small amounts of money and a lot of experience, and exists as a weird side-quest for scavangers instead of a way to avoid the frigate game or reap mad dosh for dedicated mining fleets.
Hmm, I didn't think the machinery requirement would be that significant; it only needs miningStrength/2 machinery and trade fleets start with a lot of it (starting machinery is 1/8th of total cargo space). But reducing the weighting of machinery loss accidents (from 2.5 to something like 1.5) and their severity (right now it's (1,4) + (1,4) units lost per incident, I can cut it to (1,3) + (1,3) or less) is fine.

Do you think accident rates are also too high in general?

I agree, the machinery requirements have made mining essentially non-viable.  I used to use it as a safe fallback for my ironman games, but now it burns through machinery so fast that its simply not sustainable.  I'm not opposed to having machinery as a requirement in principle--more mechanical uses for  the various goods is quite welcome in fact--but its burning at like 4 or 5x the rate that would cause me to actually consider mining worthwhile.  This is further compounded if you have a super hostile start where even physically getting enough machinery in friendly systems can be a challenge, much less paying for it.

5
I don't see this as a problem in the slightest. There are an immense number of counters including fighters, missiles, your own fast frigates, and flanking.  You can acquire all of these counters ridiculously early to boot.  More to the point, I appreciate that there are other play styles beyond lumbering slugfests, and also that the AI seems reasonably capable at executing kiting tactics in addition to accounting themselves well in slugfests.  It's a fleet archetype you need to be prepared to counter or run from, just like carrier fleets or giant capital fleets.

What does annoy me is when forces that have clearly lost no longer engage in the fight, but also do not retreat.  This is a tricky problem, because if the AI is too apt to retreat you'll never have the opportunity to engage in enjoyable decisive battles.  The solution that seems most reasonable to me is to have at least one capture point on every tactical map, and further to have each net held capture point degrade the opposing teams CR at an accelerated pace.  Small maps could have a single capture point whose only effect is to trigger this mechanic.

If you hold the field then the enemy should either challenge you or leave.  Since we want to be careful about forcing the AI to leave too early we can instead give them the duration of the CR to hang about, but give the side that holds the field the advantage in that race in the event of a stalemate.  Hopefully this would allow for decisive battles to occur while cutting down on the need to chase a frig around for 10 minutes while further leaving the wolf just as dangerous as it is today if it is capable of actually being a threat in the given situation.

6
Mods / Re: [0.8a] Diable Avionics 1.82 (08/05/2017)
« on: May 16, 2017, 04:32:00 AM »
Augmented engines

Wait wait, I thought Augmented engines only increases the max burn? Are you by any chance, be talking about Unstable Injector?

Yeah, sorry about that.  I'm still playing in 0.72 for Nexerelin.

In my game it gives an extra 50 speed units to frigates.

7
Mods / Re: [0.8a] Diable Avionics 1.82 (08/05/2017)
« on: May 15, 2017, 11:47:57 AM »
I for one don't want the cargo freighter magically becoming a tier 1 battlecruiser just because some junkrats ripped a few cargo containers out and threw on a few more guns. It's a freighter, not a ship of the line. It shouldn't even be in combat to begin with.

Ahh, the should-haves and the should-nots. I myself am by your definition a demonic junkrat because I have already thrown two drams into the Warp alongside with my rage and hatred and thus I now have a symmetrical Dramlord-class Doomsday Doomfire Freighter and not just a mere tanker anymore due to natural Warp-infused Timelord-esque storage units alongside one huge large weapon mount partially in a Timelord-esque storage unit that has one built-in Doombore cannon (8 Hellbores combined into one single rapid-fire super weapon) that are all fueled by sheer will, hatred and the rage of Khorne! MAIM! KILL! BURN! - MAIM!! KILL!! BURN!! - MAIM!!! KILL!!! BURN!!!


That aside I tried running a Diable fleet of my own in easy mode, didn't work out for me in easy mode either so I had to steamroll all of incoming hostiles into tiny particles with my super-ships. I hate restrictions, I hate challenges and I frelling hate humanity in general.

I personally don't see the point of playing a game without challenge.  If I win by default why even waste my time with it?

Anyway, early game a close-range vapor wrecks basically every other frigate (and most destroyers/even some cruisers) handily.

Augmented engines
Aux thrusters
Insulated engines (whatever the mod that gives you greater engine resilience is called)
2x Trifire
2x magic box
As many vents as you can fit with the leftovers

Spec char for extended range/OP/and Flux venting

Don't use your shield--play it like a schmup and dodge fire to keep the Flux advantage. Once you learn to properly lead the Trifires for long range hits you will utterly dominate anything you'll run into for the first half of the game. Can easily win 1v5 situations.

Late game is all about stand off sniping while using wanzers to tear them apart efficiently.

8
Mods / Re: [0.8a] Diable Avionics 1.82 (08/05/2017)
« on: May 14, 2017, 07:15:11 AM »
Sorry for expecting a ship more in line with the quality instead of a lazy P ship... The lore makes this ship sound much better than it is and it is such a good looking ship that is sucks that it got a Buffalo Mk II instead of something good

You should be sorry.  I don't think you appreciate the amount of work these folks have put into this mod.  Calling them lazy is frankly quite disrespectful.

9
General Discussion / Re: Newbie Guide Thread/ FAQ
« on: May 13, 2017, 03:00:31 PM »
3. I guess it's practice teaching you what not and what to do to avoid fights you can't win. I can't really answer that since I'm not playing on ironman, too many bugs as of now. :P

I always keep a backup fleet stored somewhere with a reserve of fuel, supplies, and crew.

If I'm playing nexerelin (in version 0.72, it has not been updated for 0.8 yet) I usually start with a mining fleet so that I can build income safely and use the proceeds from that to buy a two frigates and a combat freighter.  When I take that 3 ship group out for light bounties I leave the mining ships in storage.  If I'm successful in light bounty hunting I move up to a cruiser/destroyer with a few (new) frigates, while storing the light combat fleet. I then continue building in this way, leaving behind interim fleets in storage to regress back to in case something goes wrong.

Knowing when to retreat, and getting good at it, is also critical.

In 0.8, without nexerelin, your best bet is probably survey/salvage as a final fall back.  Either way, always have a back up plan that is fairly safe.  It takes a LOT longer to build up to an end game fleet since you generally end up leaving half of your ships behind at any given point, but even that slow build is much, much faster than restarting the game over and over again hoping that this time you'll be lucky enough to win 100% of your fights....

10
General Discussion / Re: How can I command fighers?
« on: May 03, 2017, 03:22:24 PM »
You realize that the game is still in development and that we had all of these tactical options before, right?  The argument about level of development absolutely doesn't hold water in this case.  The entire squadron system was changed in this patch with the express purpose of making carrier flagships viable, just because a feature hasn't made it into a complete refactoring doesn't necessarily mean it's not desired; just that it was not the absolute highest priority.

11
General Discussion / Re: How can I command fighers?
« on: May 03, 2017, 03:13:43 PM »
The opposing ship has paid its loadout points for strong PD capability. It *should* be resistant to fighters.  You either make a similar investment in  anti-PD fighters (broadswords, etc), or a decision on the deployment screen to deploy other ships capable of taking that target down, then use those ships to attack that target during battle. Using Micro controls that the* AI cant use*, in order to allow a ship that shouldn't be able to overcome another to bypass the decision making on the loadout and deployment screens, is bypassing the design.

I disagree wholeheartedly.  If the loadout screen is the be-all end-all why do we even have tactical combat?  Everything should be auto resolved in that world.  I think you're clearly wrong on this point; the purpose of the tactical combat is so you can use skill to overcome deficiencies in the matchups.

12
General Discussion / Re: Hyperspace Storms Vs Sustained Burn
« on: May 01, 2017, 03:52:11 PM »
That's what I do too.  As long as you got a good amount of supplies, it should be fine.

Sustained Burn really is OP.  It doesn't cost more fuel, nor does it strain supplies (at least none that I noticed).  It lets u go near max/max burn with rarely anything able to catch up to you (unless they are in your path and you can't swerve out of the way).

The slower start and stop burn of the skill and the increased sensor profile is trivial at best.  I haven't used Emergency Burn once in all my hours of playing. 

Most of the time, I speed past things that try to kill me.  Not even a pirate's emergency burn can catch up.   ;D

Acceleration should be cut to at most 1/4 of where it is now, imho.  It should be for going in a long, straight line only.  Otherwise (as others has indicated) it obviates a large number of other mechanics.

13
General Discussion / Re: How can I command fighers?
« on: May 01, 2017, 03:43:14 PM »
@stargibbon:

Yeah, I don't want the game to be wrecked for folks that just want to pew pew.  Similarly it was a gut punch when a previous tactical focus I enjoyed was cut.  I think there's room for both.

@Allectus
Deploying fighters peacemeal isn't usually the best (or most effective) way of deploying them.  The more fighters there are, the more damage they can cause before being sent back to the carrier.  Besides, you never needed to use your interceptors to recon - the Sensor Arrays always gave you plenty of sight radius.  Furthermore, the disposition of enemy forces in a space game isn't all too important compared to the disposition of vehicle on land, as on land there are obstacles blocking maneuvering, sight lines, and terrain providing tactical advantages such as a defense on a hill or a reverse-slope defense.  None of those exist in Starsector - thusly, reconnaissance is nearly pointless, furthermore since you already know the exact fleet composition of the enemy before the battle even starts.  Furthermore, getting flanked in Starsector is not nearly as disastrous as getting flanked in real life (for example, putting flanking fire down a group of line infantry, called "raking the line" in the American Civil War, which could cause some serious casualties because it was harder to miss and a single bullet could strike multiple soldiers), as shields exist and give the ship in question enough time to GTFO and remake the battle line.  Hell, even in real life, reconnaissance is only useful on the largest tactical, moving onto strategic, levels.  Cavalry during the American Civil War were so valuable because they were the eyes and ears of the armies - they kept track of the enemy army, fed information quickly back to headquarters, and could fend off enemy cavalry trying to do the same thing to them.  But once the battle actually started, the cavalry were ditched - you already know where the enemy will be and can thus determine the place of battle.  Skirmishers were there to engage and keep in place the enemy.

Furthermore, carriers already attempt to keep behind friendly ships (or if they don't, Alex has already confirmed any situations as bugs), so there's another beautiful thing of simplicity.  Not everything has to be more complicated to be better.

The purpose or recon in this context is to let me know how to allocate my forces efficiently.  Local superiority counts for a lot and info allows you to accomplish that; if I can get a job done with a single hound and a wing of talons (usually the ones doing the recce) then I have that much more to focus elsewhere.  Similarly if I just send a hound off into the black it's pretty unlikely I'll ever see it again...By far the most important reason to recce is to find their carriers as well as a safe path to them so I can dispatch them as efficiently and as quickly as possible.  Every second their carriers or LRM boats are up I'll take fire from fighters/missiles that shouldn't even exist.

Replace flanking with envelopment, if you like.  Especially important against factions that rely on directional shielding as it's infinitely more flux efficient to just not shoot the bloody shield.  For factions with very large arcs on their shield I'm much less concerned with that sort of positioning and it's mostly just about (again) attaining local superiority over.

Double down on everything if (as I often am) I'm attacking a larger fleet and I need to be very careful which points I attempt to capture to try to get enough points to bring in more ships.

14
General Discussion / Re: How can I command fighers?
« on: May 01, 2017, 02:58:07 PM »
Just to chime in on this: there's a bug (fixed for 0.8.1a) that causes carriers that are given orders to abandon their normal carrier-like behavior, often resulting in suicidal charges. E.G. if you order an "assault" or "defend" on a point, and a combat carrier is assigned to it, it'll stop using nearby allies to hide behind and will act more or less like a warship.

Sounds like Alex already addressed the issue at work here.

Welcome relief on that point, at least.  I'd still prefer finer control (as indicated in my wall of text just above your comment), but fixing this bug will definitely be a major improvement.

15
General Discussion / Re: How can I command fighers?
« on: May 01, 2017, 02:50:54 PM »
Just saying, what agency?  The tactical side of using fighters (in my mind) was always just to make a deathball out of them and roll around the map killing everything.  There was no tactical agency, not that I could find.  Now that fighters are linked to their carrier, fighters are both more independent and require much, much less babysitting for them to be effective.  I'm very happy with the current fighter changes, and I'd much rather they be kept this way.

I'm going to quote myself from two earlier threads just so I don't have to retype it all, please excuse the fact that the text in question doesn't EXACTLY respond to your question:

Regarding tactical options that have been lost:
Hmm. I think for carriers, a right-click on empty space ("rally task force") would more or less do the job - they may choose from a lot of targets, but they will tend to choose targets already under attack, which in most cases is going to be what you want  anyway.

Maybe. Maybe not.  Generally not given how I play, but I understand that's not the case for everyone. 

I use[d] carriers as a force multiplier/rapid reaction force, not just part of the brawling mass.  Previously I could split my forces to capture seperate points or scout out the enemy fleet and then rapidly reinforce where appropriate with fighters/bombers to let the forward element punch above their weight.  Now I don't get to choose where those reinforcements go if multiple engagements are occurring.  Similarly I may want to harry something in the backline (carrier/sniper/retreating ship/whatever) when my line ships are not in a position to engage; can't do that anymore without losing control of the position of the carrier, which has an unfortunate tendency of putting itself in some pretty dangerous scenarios.  Hell, maybe I want the carrier in direct combat in one fight while the fighters are assisting in another fight so that I can get flanks or flux pressure in both fights.  The flexibility of deployment is always what made carriers so special in my mind.

Being able to set at minimum both a carrier position and separate target are important for that flexibility. 

Being able to set the vector with a fighter rally command was what gave me the feeling of being a fleet commander with a battle plan, but there's always been an abstraction of command ability in this game that I've appreciated and I could accept losing that fine level of control.  Carriers without deployment flexibility just feel like super LRM boats to me though :(


Regarding the order of battle that was my general engagement paradigm previously vs now:

I used to issue a lot of orders before 0.8. Unfortunately 0.8 removed a LOT of orders and made it impossible to issue orders to fighters directly.  As a consequence it's impossible to assign a seperate position and target command to carriers so they get suicidal the moment you tell them to engage. IMHO, 0.8 has made the game much less tactical.

In 0.72:

  • Recon with interceptors to get the lay of the opposing fleet
  • Capture nearby points while waiting for intel
  • Rally a group somewhere between bulk of their forces and my back line to screen my carriers; just a delaying action.
  • Rally carriers behind escort group
  • Assault a mid point that is NOT the bulk of their forces; try to catch and eliminate one of their strike forces
  • Move my initial capture groups up as hunter/killer squads to capture lightly defended points, and take out stragglers/snipers/carriers. Support w/ fighter/bomber cover to let them punch above their weight (using fighter rally points to avoid flak).
  • Wheel my assault group into the flank of their main body while pushing up with my carrier escorts and coordinated bomber strikes
  • search and destroy to mop up
  • Throughout I may be reinforcing or assaulting different points where I feel it gives me an advantage


0.8: AI only flies in a deathball now and it can be very dangerous to break portions of your forces off with the carrier changes and lack of furtive [e.g. recon] commands. So it's much less interesting

  • Capture near points
  • Assign everything to escort me (no more recon command to get forward info, or easy ability to reinforce strike groups with fighters so lone frigates get toasted by fighters/assigning a carrier to defend makes the carrier suicidal....only option is to recon in force). Enemy fleet is likewise highly compressed
  • eliminate closest target
  • repeat

MUCH less satisfying in my experience.  I've actually regressed back to 0.72 for the time being.


It's always possible to just overwhelm your opponent utterly if you have a massive numbers or tech advantage.  For the sake of my personal enjoyment I regularly try to take on fleets much larger than mine, such that a deathball of fighters would mostly just leave me with a bunch of dead fighters (assuming 0.72 balancing rather than the current hotness they now represent).


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