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Starsector 0.95.1a is out! (12/10/21); Blog post: Hostile Activity (09/01/22)

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Messages - BTracer

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General Discussion / Re: A Professional Critique Of Story Points
« on: May 05, 2021, 08:24:32 AM »
A lot has been discussed about the use of SP's, I'd like to talk about their acquisition. I think one of the bigger issues is that acquiring SP has no direct connections to the player - more or less earned passively while you play. This makes using them feel more akin to buying a used car after winning the lottery, then it does working hard and saving every dime, then finally the day comes you can afford it.

Another issue, almost as important, is the use of SP to prevent/minimize save scumming. In one instance, unavoidable fights to the death, SP can indeed help prevent a save scum, but it introduces what I think is an even greater reason to save scum - losing a ship with SP's invested in it. Ofc this will vary by user, but I imagine a majority of players spend SP on their ships, from early in the game, well into late game - making a loss any time during the game a likely save scum point.
As an aside, I think save scumming is a personal issue with objectively no right answer. With that line of thought, I think developers should neither encourage nor discourage its use or lack of use. Some will SS no matter what, others will avoid doing it until absolutely necessary and still others will die an Ironman death. Just let it be.

Last issue before I talk about my solutionTM. Should SP be limited in amount or practically unlimited? Personally I think a limited supply is the better approach - the exact details... well another time.

Ok so my solution: Make getting story points part of actually doing something in game. The exact details are obviously up for discussion, but the broad strokes go something like:

  • Every solar system potentially has a Story Point. The exact percentage can and should vary between games. I think in the range of 50% would work
  • An action of some type must be performed to uncover the Story Point

Don't let #2 scare you, it's not what you think. The best way to explain is by example. In no way an exhaustive list, I'm betting the community can come up with many more.

  • Easy (Early Game Acquisition) 1SP
    • Leave the starter system
    • Transverse Jump for the first time
    • Win your first battle
    • Buy/Capture your first ship
    • Hunt down a specific fleet/bounty
    • Haul/Sell some amount of something
    • Attack/Win a fight against a faction other than pirates/pather
    • Explore your first non-core world
    • ... and many more
  • Average (Mid Game Acquisition) 1SP
    • Repair (???K Metal) instead of salvage that mining station
    • Find a derelict ship
    • Find a long lost ship and return it safely to a specific faction/planet
    • Rescue someone
    • Scan all the planets in a system
    • Build your first colony
    • Build a stable colony and give it to a faction
    • ... and many more
  • Hard (Late Game Acquisition) 2SP?
    • Defeat a specific end game fleet
    • Conquer a faction
    • Sell a faction x Amount of AI Cores
    • Sell the pirates 'good' technology
    • Clear a system of REDACTED
    • ...lots more

It's important to understand that these are not missions - it's not known if a Story Point is involved until you actually do something - for example, repairing the mining station - you may have salvaged a dozen before, but when you go to salvage that specific one it offer you the chance to repair - only then do you know a story point can be earned. Or while your out exploring you find a ship and go to salvage/recover it - but instead a little story blurb about how this is the long lost ship of so and so legend and returning it safely to what's his name would be 'worth' it. That sort of thing. I know it doesn't work for the 'do X first' type ones, but I think a few easy point up front/early is ok.

Even though some of those ideas don't sound like they can be connected to a specific system, I think most can be made to work.
Take the 'build a stable colony and give it to a faction' - it could be a specific system - the player doesn't know - but say it's a system close to the core worlds. It's not that the player is expected to build a colony in every system - but if they happen to get lucky - great. The idea being there are several hundred systems, you should be able to 'accidently' stumble across enough Story Points to make them and your choices interesting - but finding them all should take some serious dedication.

There must be hundreds of different (maybe not drastically different, but still) possibilities, enough to make finding SP each play through a different experience. And it's not even necessary for a player to find ALL the SP in a play through - there should/could be enough variety that even if you stuck to a specific play 'style' (bounty/trader/explorer) you'd naturally find the story points.

I know I haven't explained nearly as well as it sounded in my mind - oh well, I hope it was enough.

Hi - yeah, that idea there is it shows you the bounty target. I see your point, though.. hmm. I honestly wasn't thinking that one might expect just one officer - fleets beyond a few small frigates always have more, so it'd just be weird if a fleet had just the commander in it.

Weird, sure, but there's a pretty big gulf between 1+ and 26+.
8 Officers - ok maybe even fight
16 Officers - I've got my work cut out for me
24 Officers - tell your crew to get their affairs in order
26+ Officers - I hope I remembered to save.

I mean for me I always assume the worst - but it would be nice to have slightly more accurate information. Honestly, this particular mechanic is the cause of 90% of my reloads during early/mid game - fly out, see you're hopelessly out manned/gunned - fight for funzies - confirming futility - reload.

Ah - kind of how it needs to work, since you want to be able to select the line item just to see its info.

This also felt wonky to me. I almost thought I downloaded incompatible mods. IMHO clicking directly on a checkbox should both select the line and check/uncheck the box - clicking anywhere else should just select the corresponding line. 

4 certain death!

So I missed the prompt to quicksave after the first tutorial fight and proceeded to the planet, where I promptly got pulled over by the space police and told to turn my transponder on - with the option to turn it on - but after selecting it and going on my way they immediately pulled me over again - for not having my transponder on. For my transgression, they vaporized me!

Problem was that the tutorial stalled waiting for me to press F5 and didn't actually give me a transponder. I know this was my fault, but I feel like withholding abilities until I hit F5 causes more problems than it solves :P 

General Discussion / Re: Camera-relative control scheme / mod
« on: September 16, 2019, 08:28:00 AM »
I had the same issue when I first started playing. I solved it pretty easily using the point to mouse mode and removing 'left and right' from my thought process and replacing it with 'clockwise and counter-clockwise'. I changed 'a' and 'd' to strafe left/right, though I'm not sure if that makes a difference in point to mouse mode.

I mean, the Cathedral basically -is- a mobile space station, at least lore-wise.  Can't sell stuff to it, though.

You can't have someting that's mobile aka that can move and someting stationary and, on space that means predicteble orbit, at the same time so it's either a really big ship or it's a station

  • Station and stationary are not synonyms.
  • Stationary doesn't mean immobile, immobile means immobile. Stationary means not *currently* in motion through a particular reference frame.

So, "mobile space station" is in fact the correct term.

General Discussion / Re: Tooltips (or tooltip mods) for new players?
« on: September 12, 2019, 07:46:10 AM »
Also - this only works in space - what about when viewing ships available for purchase?
There are ~10? d-mods in vanilla, and a couple of special hull mods. The d-mod names are pretty self-explanatory (save for degraded engines vs erratic fuel injector, which I used to confuse), but the tooltips show debuffed stats in orange. For example with a degraded engine d-mod, the tooltip will show burn speed 7 (-1) for example. Compromised Armor d-mod will show Armor 500 (-150) etc. Basically the information for each d-mod is in the tooltip in orange, it just doesn't specifically say "This d-mod does this'

Modding / Re: Making some ships, need feedback
« on: September 03, 2019, 07:37:23 AM »
Mastiff (massive tanker and tug)

No shield and only 6 small energy turrets
10000 fuel capacity and equivalent drive stabilization of 4 Ox's
Zero use in combat, this is purely a logistical ship
I personally always use 4 Oxes when i reach endgame, and i always lack fuel capacity instead of cargo/personnel

I NEED this ship!

General Discussion / Re: Question about key activation
« on: September 03, 2019, 07:23:29 AM »
I want to get this game. Just wanted to know, I've got a desktop and 2 laptops; Would I be able to activate the game with one code on all of them? Also would like to know if I needed to redownload years after purchase, would the same code be valid?

Yes and Yes.

Modding / Re: Mod for sorting weapons or filtering by string match?
« on: August 31, 2019, 11:21:20 AM »
Not out there. Pretty sure weapon compare is in the works though.

Suggestions / Re: Pirates are exhausting!
« on: August 27, 2019, 07:42:30 AM »
I'd have to agree. Every time I leave my system to do anything, I feel like I always get dragged back to deal with something, be it pirates or expeditions, or pathers, it just feels like a constant stream of issues demanding my attention to the determent of all other aspects of the game.

With that being said, I've found that with a fully built out colony (tier 3 fortress/ground/military/heavy industry) you can pretty much ignore everything, stability should remain at ten even with pirate raids/pathers - might lose a bit of profit, but by then it shouldn't matter. However, that makes your choices for industry pretty limited - full defense or babysit constantly.

12 something that should have (and probably has) gotten considerably better...

Indeed it has. In this particular case, the reason I decided to post, was it happened numerous times over consecutive battles and tilted me just a little bit  ;D

Sorry I can't produce anything except maybe some screen shots, but I'm content knowing you'll at least 'keep an eye out'. Thanks!

I wanted to start this discussion to see if other players are affected and to what degree.
Proposals (if you can call them that) are only for actual player piloted ships, I couldn't care less if the ai gets in its own way.

1) Friendly ships fly directly in front of the player, between the player and their target.
In 99.99% of the cases this happens, there is zero reason for the ship to be there. This is particularly egregious when piloting a ship like the Hammerhead, and you just engaged ammo feeder for it to do absolutely nothing because that Kite just flew in front of you and won't move.

2) Friendly ships prevent autofire weapons from firing even though they are nowhere near the line of fire.
In trying to prevent friendly fire, I really feel like this particular mechanic is way over tuned. Ships that are at a near 45 degree angle from me and my target, are preventing my autofire weapons from firing. Again, with the Hammerhead, with its very narrow front firing 'arc', a ship directly to my side (and even not so directly) will stop weapons from firing even though there's no physical way to hit the friendly.

If I'm being honest, it's not that big of a deal, it's annoying, but it usually resolves itself. It can feel like it takes forever for the AI to move out of the way, or for your weapons to start firing after the AI decides the ship half a light year away is safe from your weapons, but it's probably only a few seconds at best of waiting.

If I could ask for one tweak to the AI, it would be to never, at any cost, fly between me and my target. And targetis the important word. There certainly seems to be some sort mechanic where the AI tries to 'save' the player by getting in front of them when the player is taking a lot of damage. I'd like that to remain, but it would be up to the player to 'deselect' their target if they want to give the AI a chance to protect them, otherwise, as long as I have a target selected, the area between me and my target should be absolute no go zones.

However, I know there's more to it then that, and this is coming from the perspective of fairly up close battles, where if a friendly needed to move from point a to b and it crossed my line of fire, that going 'around' me would be fairy cheap in terms of distance. I could definitely see this as an issue with much longer range ships creating huge no go zones that other friendlies would have long travel distances to get around me.

I doubt there's an easy solution, but I'm curious if its really a problem that everybody experiences, or fairly isolated to certain playstyles/ships.

General Discussion / Re: Ship costs and availability
« on: August 23, 2019, 01:40:42 PM »

And that is exceptionally naive way of thinking. Something like that would/could never happen for several reasons.
1) blueprints are rare and heavily guarded. Not everyone can make them
2) Those ships costs resources to make. The nanoforge doesn't magic them into existence. Every ship is an investment. And you can bet that the military will track every single one (as i does)
3) The massive war would not make ship more available, given how many would be destroyed.And it'+s precisely during war times hat you'd be even more strict about who can have one.
4) Pirates use mostly trash and they are NOT welcome in civilized society. Just like in RL, you don't see somali pirates in a modern destroyer, do you?

No sane government, no sane people would every let just anyone own a weapon of mass destruction (which any warship is by definition)

Seriously, what game are you playing?

blueprints are rare and heavily guarded. Not everyone can make them
What in the the name are you talking about? Blueprints are everywhere.

And you can bet that the military will track every single one (as i does)
You seem to think this game takes place on Earth. It doesn't. Which military is tracking which ships? How many times have powers risen and fallen, who's checking ship ID's and keeping track of owners, who's stopping CIVILIANS LIKE THE PLAYER from building colonies, and how is it difficult to imagine other colonies started by other PRIVATE people. Whatever it takes to build a ship, the resources are there and NO ONE is stopping anyone from building anything.

The massive war would not make ship more available, given how many would be destroyed.
Says who? I can't think of one military produced weapon/ship where there were more destroyed in war then what remained. 1000's of fighters were lost in world wars, and there we're many times more waiting to be deployed. The war didn't wipe out the entire stock.

And it'+s precisely during war times hat you'd be even more strict about who can have one.
I think you imagine it was just business as usual after the gates shut down. It would have been chaos, not the place where orderly ship registrations take place. LOL. Resources / blueprints / ships / entire planets would have been up for grabs. Things changing hands over 200 cycles. Think about it, how would any sort of accurate records ever survive that turmoil and time scale. Who's enforcing laws that don't even exist?

Just like in RL, you don't see somali pirates in a modern destroyer, do you?
No, just super-freighters... so far. But your point is moot anyways since they would happily capture one if given the opportunity - which they would have in a galactic war.

General Discussion / Re: Ship costs and availability
« on: August 23, 2019, 10:09:02 AM »
So why not a ship listing? If you don't need the money right away, you can buy cargo space and store your ship (as the game already lets you do) with the option to name a sale price. Undercutting market rates will get your ship sold faster, and vice versa.

Kinda interesting - but it would only push back the insane profit to a later date. If say you could only have one ship on the market at a time, with on average a month to sell for frigate size, longer for each size larger - maybe a balance could be found? But honestly, making money isn't really an issue between cargo/bounty runs and colonies, it's pretty easy to snowball.

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