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Starsector 0.97a is out! (02/02/24); New blog post: New music for Galatia Academy (06/12/24)

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Messages - FooF

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Suggestions / Re: Hypershunt tap problem
« on: May 28, 2024, 08:44:52 AM »
I’m 100% convinced the current hypershunt bonus is a placeholder. If I had to guess, once the story advances beyond current, hypershunts will be necessary to reach Gates beyond the Persean Sector. That might mean you venturing out, but more than likely, it means all sorts of things entering in through the Gate network. (Purely from a time/effort standpoint, I don’t foresee the player ever leaving the Sector except for potentially one-off scripted missions. The same logic applies for causing baddies to swarm in: less assets required!)

It’s possible Hypershunt Taps still provide some kind of colony bonus but I believe the main intent will be to advance the story.

Suggestions / Re: Odyssey feels weaker than Aurora
« on: May 26, 2024, 09:32:30 AM »
Of course Odyssey has "bad" EHP, it's a battlecruiser, they are supposed to be glass cannons. And Odyssey is one of the biggest cannons in the game - 1,500 DPS from two Plasma Cannons, that is almost 50% more than two Mjolnirs on the Conquest and (for comparison's sake) more DPS than the two TPCs on the Onslaught with infinite ammo. Plus one large and three medium missile slots.

It has same base speed as a Conquest that uses Maneuvering Jets on cooldown, 4 flux-free Ion Beams from the two hangar bays and an omnishield arc that actually fully covers the ship.

Dual Plasma Cannon is strong: I'd never argue against that, but the Conquest has more overall firepower. Don't forget the Conquest also has 2 Medium Ballistics and a Medium Energy that can also contribute, along with equal Medium Missiles and an extra Large Missile. And that's just one one side. The Conquest isn't completely powerless on one side like the Odyssey is. 2x Mjolinir with 2x HAC and a Phase Lance is around 1700 DPS and the Conquest can handle it. Also, don't forget the Mjolinir Conquest is going to outrange the Plasma Odyssey by almost 40% due to inherent Ballistic ranges and the bonus from Ballistic Mastery.

I also find the Odyssey to bit a touch OP-starved relative to the Conquest. Not only does the Conquest just have 35 more OP, Heavy Ballistics Integration saves you an additional 40. That's a ton. 2x Plasma and Xyphos is a full 1/3 of the Odyssey's OP (personally, I go with a Broadsword wing and Xyphos). Xyphos are also interesting in that you can't guarantee they will fire at the target you want them to so I never consider them 100% uptime, even if they don't get destroyed.

All this to say: the Odyssey is not a clear winner here, despite my opinion that it is still overall better than the Conquest in player hands. Even then we're talking about 2x Plasma Odyssey, which is likely the best possible build. Any combination of Tac Lances, Autopulses, HIL, or Paladins is going to be worse in most situations. I suppose a 2x Tach Lance build used to snipe wouldn't be bad but we're talking half overall the DPS. S-modded Autopulses have the DPS but struggle against armor. I think it is better than the Conquest in quite a few scenarios but not universally so. 

You are getting it at a discount: there's no 30% tariff. Granted, it's not black market on a surplus but the other consideration is that once you add a Waystation, it's rare for a player-owned market to run out of basic fuel and supplies.

Suggestions / Re: Odyssey feels weaker than Aurora
« on: May 25, 2024, 07:12:07 PM »
I'm actually using both an Aurora and Odyssey in this playthrough and, in general, the Odyssey is better but not 50% better that its DP suggests. Aurora has "Strike" capability via missiles and AMBs but the Odyssey absolutely outshines it in the damage department with dual-Plasma Cannons. What has already been pointed out though, and I agree with, is that Aurora now has more effective shield HP than the Odyssey. Just taking base stats, it's 18333 vs 15000 in favor of the Aurora. If you max Capacitors to factor in the Capital's +20 extra, it's 28333  vs 25000. The Odyssey is a much bigger target and has a much larger shield arc and can't backpedal as well, either. So while the Odyssey can definitely outgun the Aurora, it can't actually out-tank it, which is kind of odd for a vessel that's 150% the cost.

The Aurora in my fleet right now has a .33 shield efficiency and 13300 capacity for an EHP of over 40,000. It only has 6 capacitors and doesn't even have Ordinance Expertise on the officer. The Odyssey (same Officer) has 33000 EHP. All that said, the Aurora at 30 DP is absolutely on the money in terms of cost. Yes, it's a top-tier Cruiser but it's still a Cruiser. It doesn't punch up very well and struggles against heavily armored or shielded targets.

Of the two, the Odyssey is the one that feels over-priced. My primary complaint about the Odyssey right now is that it's a one-trick pony. It can support dual Plasma Cannons and everything feels anemic compared. As I tried to put my finger on the primary issue it dawned on me that it doesn't have a secondary battery. It has two Large Energies supported by Smalls and everything else that can fire toward the primary side is a missile. If I had a suggestion, make one (or both) of the top Medium Missiles a Medium Synergy. A Phase Lance, a Heavy Blaster, an Ion Pulser, etc. would give the ship more options to support the Large Energies rather than make them literally all the work on the primary side. I would be more tempted to put in an Autopulse or HIL if I knew I could back it up with some Medium Assault weapons or an Ion Beam.

Alternatively (or maybe in addition), I think at least 1.0 shield efficiency hard to justify for it being a High Tech Capital and literally every other ship in its doctrinal orbit has 0.6. I suppose the theme is that Battlecruisers have terrible shields (1.4 for Conquest, 1.2 for Retribution, 1.0 for Odyssey) but the Conquest and Retribution bring a lot more firepower than the Odyssey and cost less. 0.8 shield efficiency brings it to parity with the Aurora, which I think is about fair.

Re: Aurora builds


I'm actually using High Scatter Amplifier with 3x Phase Lance with 3x AMB as the KO punch. Triple IR Pulse do efficient Anti-Fighter/Shield duty but when the Phase Lances go off, they spike shields really well or burn armor. Sabots in the back to bring down shields. Even with Steady AI, it's pretty aggressive because all its range bands are pretty low. The Officer isn't even super great on it (wish he had Ordinance Expertise) but I've never lost it even fighting Ordos. I rarely give him orders and allow him to operate on the edge of the battlefield to draw off all sorts. Stabilized Shields as the 3rd S-Mod was an experiment to see if I could notice the 10% hard-to-soft flux conversion. If I didn't have BoTB, I'd drop the Front Shield.

Blog Posts / Re: Codex Overhaul
« on: May 11, 2024, 02:20:57 PM »
Yay! Another HUGE QoL improvement. New Simulator, New Codex, New Intel Screen... (what's next, the Refit Screen? ;))

Whether you need the encouragement or not, these are kind of items that often go overlooked but are vitally important to the overall polish and longevity of a game. They're not as sexy as a new ship, mechanic, or campaign mission but they're fundamental to the player experience. I, for one, am extremely glad you've spent the dev time to refine these.

As for the Codex itself:

F2 from anywhere is a very good move. Everything is a click away. I'm not sure how much you play the Civilization games but the in-game Civlopedia is a godsend when you're not sure how certain things work. To that end, are there entries for more, shall we say, "abstract" items like fundamental game mechanics? Like, if I type in "Shield" is there an entry for how shields work? Or Armor? or Combat Readiness, Deployment Points, etc? I'm not saying you need to do that for everything (and honestly, I can only think of maybe 5-6 off the top of my head anyway) but for a new player, those kind of items would probably be very beneficial.

Linking everything is super cool. If nothing else, it may inspire folks to go "hmm, why is that related?" and then they make a connection they hadn't thought of before.

I like that the Codex is unlocked across all saves. That's a small detail that would be annoying if untrue. Unlocking it via the config settings is also good.

Again, I'm just very happy this kind of stuff is getting a makeover. It really elevates the quality of the game.

General Discussion / Re: Just how much damage ship explosion do?
« on: April 28, 2024, 11:53:35 AM »
Yeah, I've lost quite a few ships to station explosions because they bunch up close to thing on an Assault order. I don't know how the damage is calculated. I wonder if its specific to each hull (like a proportion of total hitpoints) or if it's just based on hull size.

Suggestions / Re: Hold Fire, PD, and 0-Flux Boost
« on: April 28, 2024, 11:28:55 AM »
My answer to that is that they very much should lose the 0-flux bonus due to harassment - at least, this is a core design intent! The 0-flux boost in its base form is for getting around faster when actually, totally, completely out of combat. If the ship needs to be firing its PD, then the speed it's balanced around moving at should *not* include the zero flux boost.

(Some iterations of Helmsmanship threw a wrench in that, but that was the benefit/point.)

I know what you're saying but I see a qualitative difference between "harassment" and "poses absolutely no threat at all." In the former case, let's say a Hound with an ACG is harassing an Onslaught at otherwise 0 flux. If the Onslaught uses Hold Fire to ignore the Hound so that it can get from point A to B faster, it could actually get hurt. PD being usable while Hold Fire is engaged might dissuade the Hound a little but even a Frigate isn't necessarily bothered by a bunch of Vulcans or Flak. All this to say, the Onslaught should have to use more than PD to deal with the small, albeit legitimate, threat and slow down to do so.

In the latter case, though, the same Onslaught trying to go from A to B (ignore Burn Drive for the sake of argument) and it runs into a single Pilum missile launched by a Condor at max range. The Pilum has absolutely no chance to do any real damage to the Onslaught, yet, it does have the ability to slow down an entire battleship if said ship decides to use 25 flux to use a Vulcan. I don't think the battleship should be penalized for this, but really, the player shouldn't have to spend mental energy to choose to Hold Fire just to keep the bonus (as you said, "player having to keep track of this now") . The default behavior is shoot down the Pilum and lose the 0 flux boost. Now, I get that the loss of speed is very momentary, but if the player does decide to Hold Fire in this instance, they also have to remember turn it off once they get into battle. Failing to do so could be disastrous.

For context, this idea came up when piloting a Paragon and trying to get into the thick of battle but stray missiles and fighters kept making my Burst Lasers go off. The Paragon needs all the speed it can get and all these insignificant non-threats were slowing me down and causing my fleet to falter. It just felt "wrong" that such a powerful ship was being delayed by what amounted to be less than a stiff breeze.

To the degree I appreciate how this could be exploitable, the first question I asked when thinking about this is "Where is the line between insignificant and legitimate threat?" and how much that depends on the ship, the context, etc. What is insignificant to a Paragon or Onslaught is going to be a far cry from what is insignificant to, say, a Sunder. That's why I suggested a maximum threshold of flux expenditure because then the ship is truly trying to fight back and should lose extra speed.


Another hotkey is created that puts a ship into "Defensive" that holds all fire except PD. Ships no longer have access to the 0-flux boost but do gain a Defense Speed Boost of +25. Shields can be raised but shield upkeep generates hard flux. This can be toggled on/off at will (or perhaps there is a 5 second cooldown) and the speed bonus will work regardless of flux level. A ship in over its head can toggle on Defensive mode to backpedal with some additional speed while still shooting down missiles and fighters. Shields become a double-edged sword that can hurt as much as help.

I've thought about something similar, though simpler - just a "hold fire" that does not turn off PD - but that gets a bit weird with, what actual hotkey do you use? I guess you could use Ctrl-X or something. But what happens when you press hold fire again? Does it turn off entirely, or does it hold fire fully? Or do you use a 3-state toggle for hold fire? It gets really annoying from a "player has to keep track of this now" point of view. Too many states like this gets confusing fast, even just a 3-state toggle is qualitatively worse than a 2-state one.

(Late edit: doing it as a hullmod or a system gets around those types of issues, though!)

Yes, a 3-tier system probably would get confusing. Personally, I would use "G" for "Guard Mode" to only use PD while turning off all other weapons. Obviously G is used for Guard on the tactical map but guarding a target vs. guarding yourself is in the same semantic domain so I don't think that's much of mental leap. Like SafariJohn said, Hold Fire or Guard Mode being a flashing banner at the bottom like what occurs when you're not piloting a ship or able to retreat would probably suffice.

Also, I would pay OP if I could keep PD going and not lose the 0-flux boost on my Capitals and Cruisers. Or, if I could add/swap it out for the IPDAI S-mod bonus. I do use IPDAI fairly often but I don't S-mod it because often I don't want all my Smalls wasting flux on fighters or missiles (such a function still has its place, but I don't think it is as universally useful as something like firing PD while retaining the speed bonus). If it was baked into the Elite version of Point Defense or Helmsmanship as a Capital-only perk, I would pay SP for it.

Suggestions / Hold Fire, PD, and 0-Flux Boost
« on: April 27, 2024, 07:06:11 PM »

1. Hold Fire does not turn off PD when activated.
2. The 0-flux Boost bonus criteria ignores PD weapon flux as long as total flux doesn't exceed 1% or the ship has Elite Helmsmanship and uses Nu Hold Fire.
3. #2 is negated if shields are raised, regardless of flux level.


Hold Fire can be a poison pill because you also turn off your PD. However, Hold Fire is incentivized because it is the only way to get the 0-flux Boost while under any kind of attack. Elite Helmsmanship helps with getting the 0-Flux Boost at higher flux levels but firing PD of any kind negates it.

This is most aggravating when large, slow ships lose the 0-flux boost because they are using PD in a very normal and reasonable manner. An Onslaught or Paragon that are veritable fortresses are forced to lose 50 speed because a Kite with a Salamander makes a single Vulcan or PD laser to fire. They shouldn't be penalized for a gnat buzzing around them. PD uses so little flux and typically has short enough range that it should be exempt from both the Hold Fire and 0-flux Boost rules.

So, if a ship has its shields off and is using PD, it shouldn't lose the speed boost under normal circumstances. If a player wants to ensure this, Hold Fire should be altered to allow PD-tagged weapons to fire, as there is no downside for their continued use. If a ship has a bunch of PD weapons that does raise flux levels past a certain %, the boost should drop as to avoid exploiting the speed. Likewise, raising shields at any time will kill the boost.

The point of this suggestion is for larger ships trying to get around the battlefield to keep the 0-flux boost despite occasional harassment. No more, no less. This is slightly different than the previous Skill iterations where ships kept the boost at 5% and then 1% total flux. This would be default ship behavior, not locked behind a skill. If it only applied to Cruisers and Capitals, I wouldn't object but that would have to be communicated somehow, which gets tricky.


Another hotkey is created that puts a ship into "Defensive" that holds all fire except PD. Ships no longer have access to the 0-flux boost but do gain a Defense Speed Boost of +25. Shields can be raised but shield upkeep generates hard flux. This can be toggled on/off at will (or perhaps there is a 5 second cooldown) and the speed bonus will work regardless of flux level. A ship in over its head can toggle on Defensive mode to backpedal with some additional speed while still shooting down missiles and fighters. Shields become a double-edged sword that can hurt as much as help.

The more I look at that the more it sounds like a bona fide ship system but I thought I'd throw it out there. :)

Suggestions / Re: raise armour of static High Tech capital ships???
« on: April 27, 2024, 08:58:06 AM »
1) Paragon actually has surprisingly good armor, especially for its tech level.
2) Even if it did have weaker armor, so what? The ship already has a ton of pros, let it have some cons.
3) There is enough OP to boost armor and hull to even more respectable amount. Yeah, it can't compete armorwise with an Onslaught or Invictus, but it shouldn't, it's a high tech ship. And the armor it has is only marginally worse than that of an Onslaught.
4) While it can't outrage heavy ballistics, it has enough range for it not to become an issue. And in real combat, not 1v1, AI can't really utilise the range advantage.

Overall, i still think that Paragon is still too strong. It's a "Answer to everything" type of ship that still overshadows all other capitals, even after the nerf.

It may be an "answer to everything" but the caveat is at exorbitant cost. It's considered 1.5x the normal cost of a Capital ship so it better pull its weight. The only thing it is "bad" at is its speed/maneuverability and lack of missiles. Everything else is very good-to-great and its defensive abilities are second-to-none.

All that said, it doesn't benefit from skills as much as other Capitals so while its floor is very high, its ceiling isn't. It doesn't benefit from Systems Expertise at all, barely benefits from Missile Spec, Energy Mastery is generally useless because most weapons have 1000+ range, and the armor upgrades are overshadowed by it being behind the best shield in the game (though they can still be useful). Field Modulation is particularly strong, though and I would advocate that any of the +maneuverability skills are very important.

That's why a heavily skilled Onslaught "catches up" to the Paragon despite being half the DP. Elite Ballistics Mastery, Missile Spec, Point Defense and the armor upgrades dramatically increase its power. The Paragon really doesn't have anything comparable. The peak levels of power between some of the battleships and the Paragon are not that far apart, though in certain match-ups (like against stations or ships with a lot of alpha-strike potential) its Fortress Shields practically hard counters the opponent so it can look borderline broken.

In short, the Paragon is good but I don't think it's far and away the most powerful ship once you factor in DP cost and the aforementioned skill quirks.

Suggestions / Re: remove PD tag from Heavy Machine Gun
« on: April 26, 2024, 01:00:05 PM »
Removing the +200 range due to Elite PD for every other ship so that the Paragon can get full use of ATC for the HMG is perhaps the most myopic idea I've seen to date. Also, the math favors the Elite PD bonus, regardless of where the +200 is applied (I'm not actually sure if it affects base range or is tacked on at the end).

It's either 450*1.6 (for ATC) + 200 = 920. Or, 650*1.6 = 1040

However, if HMG wasn't PD and got the full value for ATC it would just be 450*2 = 900.

So, no...this is a terrible idea no matter how you slice it.  :)

Regarding your Paragon build, personally I don't understand why you even want HMGs. They're not needed as PD when you have 2x Paladin, they don't match the range bands of any of your primary weapons (even the Pulse Lasers) and if you wanted Kinetic damage, yeah, go with Needlers or Heavy AC. That build seems extremely vulnerable to anything attacking it from the sides. All it can bring to bear are Pulse Lasers and Paladins since the HMGs/Ions are short range. The only way it's doing any damage is facing a target and using Plasma Cannons.

If you still want strong PD, go with Dual Flak in the Universals and switch the Paladins for Autopulses. Since the Autopulses are just better Pulse Lasers swap out the Pulse Lasers for Phase Lances for more punch.

Suggestions / Re: raise armour of static High Tech capital ships???
« on: April 25, 2024, 09:04:29 AM »
Technically, Fortress Shield should straight up hard counter Alpha-Strike weapons like the Autopulse but, of course, the AI doesn’t use it as well as it could. 5x Autopulse Radiant should get outranged by an equivalent Paragon and whenever it wants to unload, the Paragon turtles up and absorbs the alpha for virtually no flux. Once the Radiant exhausts its alpha potential, 5x Autopulse (even with S modded Ex Mags) isn’t putting out a ton of damage and the Paragon unleashes its own barrage.

Radiant is still overall superior in my book but it’s kind of a match-up issue where the Paragon has some advantages.

General Discussion / Re: High tech feels like a wet noodle.
« on: April 21, 2024, 05:57:03 PM »
I mean, yeah, if you ultra-specialize in Kinetics, you'll defeat High Tech shields pretty quickly but that kind of setup isn't generally useful. Likewise, if you went all HE to deal with Low Tech armor.

Thing is, most High Tech ships pair strong shields with high mobility which means if you can't alpha their shields down, they just escape vent and repeat. It also doesn't hurt that many High Tech ships have pretty good shield efficiencies, which can be improved by skills and hullmods. If the ship you're shooting has a .4 shield efficiency and Elite Field Modulation, even Kinetics get seriously blunted. All I'm saying is the Kinetics aren't kryptonite to High Tech. They're effective, yes, but I wouldn't go so far to say it's a hard-counter. I'd say the same about high damage/shot HE against Low Tech. Reapers and Hellbores exist but Low Tech isn't made obsolete by them.

What I will concede is that a High Tech ship pinned down by Kinetics is much more vulnerable than Low Tech pinned down be strong HE. But High Tech doctrine is risky, opportunistic strikes. If they get caught out of position, they do pop pretty quickly. I think this is by design though because they tend to be slippery in the first place. Suffice to say, I think High Tech is fine.

Suggestions / Re: Selling the PK device to Arroyo boosts his career
« on: April 18, 2024, 12:55:06 PM »
Tangential to the OP but I feel carrying the PK around should make you unmistakable, like when you have the Zigg in your fleet. There should be some impetus to get rid of it if you try to keep it yourself. I’ve got a save right now where I’ve had it in my ship’s holds for over a Cycle. Seems like the factions would be very heavy handed if you had it too long. Of course, I always figured Gargoyle would love to try to crack the arming codes. 

Suggestions / Re: Separate Personal (Combat) skills and Fleet skills
« on: April 17, 2024, 11:25:44 AM »
The officer idea has merit but I have a few reservations:

If you went with a hull-size limitation with the max number of officers allowed, you’ve capped the ceiling of the smaller ships. Something like Wolfpack Tactics might bump them up one more officer, but even then, you’ll never see a Frigate with like 8 skills. That’s not necessarily a negative but a consequence of the system.

I’m unsure I would want a Pokémon mentality to officers. Gotta catch ‘em all. To imitate the same base level of power of 8 Level 5 officers as current, you’re talking 30-40 of these lesser officers. That’s just swimming in them. Again, not negative per se but has implications.

Also, would officers level? If so, what does that look like? If not, it sounds like it’s more about amassing them than developing them.

If I could tweak it, I think it might be more beneficial to have officer types (Weapons, Armor, Nav, etc.) that have 3 skills each in their respective speciality. They add one skill per level and have an Elite effect if they’re the primary officer. The max number is still based on hulls size with a few caveats that skills unlock, as previously mentioned. The Flagship has the PC on it which gives it a few perks. Relative to current, I’d imagine you would have access to at least 15 officers to start, with some skills adding more.

Oddly enough, I'm using HSA on 3x Phase Lance Aurora with 3x AMB and some IR Pulses and it is...ok-to-good? Like, I get point blank with most things anyway because of the AMB and it also guarantees EWM is working fully. It's not an SO ship but it kind of feels like one.

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