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Starsector 0.95a is out! (03/26/21); Blog post: Of Slipstreams and Sensor Ghosts (09/24/21)

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Messages - eidolad

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1
Mods / Re: [0.95a] Persean Chronicles, a quest mod (updated 2021-10-07)
« on: October 11, 2021, 11:36:21 AM »
Finished one of the min-adventures!  Really, really great stuff.  It's defo the kind of content I want a ton more of in this game.  There are approximately 9 hundred million human/ai/alien(?) stories to tell in StarSector.

(This is the first mod that makes me wonder about making my own mod in this game)

MOAR PLEEZ

2
Mods / Re: [0.95a] Luddic Enhancement Mod 1.2.5f
« on: September 30, 2021, 04:43:57 PM »
this is pretty much a required mod for me! glad to see updates a-comin

3
Mods / Re: [0.95a] LowTech Armada
« on: September 04, 2021, 11:39:32 PM »
The Wight cruiser is a prize worth the wait...it shreds targets and takes a beating.  My first introduction was being directly in front of it when it was zero-flux...one lunge later and it's in my face and not leaving until my ship exploded. 

Recovered it and gave it to a high level AI pilot...who rarely loses the ship even when pushed into a bad position and outnumbered.

4
Mods / Re: [0.95a] Seeker - Unidentified Contact 0.42 (2021/03/27)
« on: September 04, 2021, 09:14:23 PM »
First time play-through...much love for the Five-Five-Seven! 

It's like having a flying around with a classic https://crimsonland.com/ Jackhammer in space.  My pimp hand's strong.

5
Is there a generic way to disable the inclusion of new weapons from a given Starsector mod?  Without affecting the mod otherwise?

(I'm guessing "not easily" because of mod faction loadouts and other reasons but wanted to confirm)

Rationale:

a) Say I want to preserve "weapon balance" and force all ships to use the vanilla weapons, but bring in the rest of the mod goodness.  (I'm hoping that mod creators balance their mod ship designs by assuming the use of vanilla weapons to start with...such that my "ask" isn't unreasonable)

b) I'm an neurotic "weapon and squadron trophy collector" and insist on flying around with "four of every gun".  Perhaps I'd like to preserve cargo visual space.

c) Though variety is nearly always tasty:  Sometimes I don't need to see ten different guns from ten different mods that are functionally equivalent.


6
General Discussion / Re: What are your most used weapons and why ?
« on: August 20, 2021, 06:54:56 PM »
The perfect 1000 range, decent flux/size value combo of:  Hypervelocity Driver and Heavy Mauler.  They simply are made to be deployed together in the same arc IMO.

My First Carrier Must Field:  all the slots with Broadswords.  When an enemy that you are overmatched by needs to be pressured into oblivion, ask the broads to all party together over that single ship.  After first blood:  rename the carrier to whichever hot dame you'd put on the nose of your WWII plane.

I'm now measuring PD by the "burst equivalent of Two Burst Lasers" (BE2BL).  Currently I'm very neurotic about installing BE2BL asap on the aft quarter of DE+ ships .  Hi Salamander missiles, I'm looking at you.  Quite expensive at 7 each, but Salamanders.  Cruiser+ get BE2BL minimum in the forward quarter as well if feasible.  On battlecruiser+:  backed up with a machine gun or Vulcan or two as the "inner layer" if there are slots.  Because single incoming Reapers and Hammers should fail.

Unsure if based on truly "better" choices, but:
Railguns, and tactical lasers are pretty much automatically installed when found and rarely sit in the cargo bay long.  At least one tactical laser on every ship if possible in the forward arc...to keep the enemy shields up make the shieldless pay.

Mining blasters Lately I've become a big fan for fast frigates.  This is a devastating punch and the AI can use them longer on a Wolf without flux overloading/dying than I can in a long battle.





7
General Discussion / Re: David's new artpiece is beautiful
« on: August 20, 2021, 06:14:29 PM »
perfect artist for this game just from seeing this one piece

8
Mods / Re: [0.95a] LowTech Armada
« on: August 12, 2021, 06:26:18 PM »
this has become a very difficult mod NOT to have installed cause me likes pirate variety and effectiveness

9
Hi, I like this mod lots, after a few .95a incomplete playthroughs:

Not having the stipend to help me, before the first colony is making enough, to cover officer salaries is a pain though.

a) the happy part a small stipend is:  that negative income severely limits crew size, which then limits fleet size.  In my last game this  pushed me to emphasize exploration in the mid-game with a smaller fleet to at least 500K credits, THEN find a colony, build it to positive cash flow to help replace the stipend income (and just accept that for a long time, ground defenses are it...the colony is basically on its own for security other than what I can afford to bribe away), THEN perhaps officer-up/bulk up fleet size to get big bounties.

b) the sad part of a small stipend is:  I can only have a few officers in my fleet for a long period of a career.  They can also cost money if rescued:  if I recover an excellent level 7 mercenary officer...they instantly cost me money and now I need to rush to a port to fire them (I cannot in good conscience simply space them on the spot, now can I?) 

In the big picture:  Trying to get more than a few officers on payroll before having a colony is challenging.  My opposite numbers (Remnant, pirate or otherwise) are not constrained by this.

I tried to ignore this "no stipend means I could end up running around paying officer salaries" in a mid-game with a bounty-killing incoming strategy, and was facing a -40K per month deficit.  Finally had to thrown in towel and it was painful to dismiss that much talent.

I luv that the mod config ini allows me to tweak the stipend...which I've done in my current game, and I'm covering the cost of one destroyer, three frigates, and three supply/fuel cruisers and two level 7 officer in the early game and only face -700 deficit.
 
____

Perhaps the above implies a request for a future option in Ruthless Sector:  a setting to allow "number of free officers" to whatever the player (or the mod author) thinks should be allowed. Or tweak the salaries.  Or have an alternative type of salary-stipend:  "the stipend pays salary cost for N of your captains for N years but doesn't cover anything else"

I.e. give the player some Captains of their own when facing "Remnants fleets with 6 Captains"

10
Mods / Re: [0.9.1a] Ship/Weapon Pack 1.12.4
« on: August 10, 2021, 03:47:04 PM »
huge fan of this mod...so desperate for my Victory BB that I've restarted/installed the unreleased version...

....oh my look at these goodies in the change log.  HUZZAH!

- Klutotekhnes flux per shot reduced to 80 from 120
- Victory maximum crew reduced to 1000 from 1250
- Victory frontal shield arc increased to 120 from 90
- Victory base speed increased to 35 from 30


(...and that tasty Cathedral ship as well, let me not forget)

11
General Discussion / Re: MesoTroniK Donation Drive
« on: April 05, 2021, 06:21:51 PM »
"Sir, that Conquest with the Ultra Autocannon broadside aiming at us?  They just sent a text-only, warning us to donate now or they will open fire."

"You tell 'em I just donated.  Helm, get us outta here before they decide to AAAAAARGHH-"

12
General Discussion / combat skills training thread
« on: January 17, 2021, 10:31:57 AM »
Can we start a sticky-candidate thread for helping players who have "given up" on the real-time combat and let the AI drive their own ships?  It pains me indeed to hear someone who loves this game and wants to pilot their own ship, then say that they believe (talked themselves into thinking?) that they are not good at the core gameplay.

I'm a mid-level player in terms of skill and knowledge of the game internals and will rely on the experts to chime in and correct/clarify.

1.  Winning the flux game.

The "flux budget concept" is the biggest learning curve.  Starsector combat can be subtle and deadly and, especially at the beginning when learning the flux mechanic, truly frustrating.  Flux basically is the "shared mana pool" that your ship uses for ALL OF THE FOLLOWING:

- to power shields and let it absorb hits
- AND powers your weapons
- AND when exceeded by either hits on shields or firing:  will cause an overload state that shuts down shields, weapons, and lasts many crucial seconds. 

a) Powering shields and firing all weapons at once AND taking heavy hits = you are trouble and don't yet know it until the overload occurs.  Then you die and pound your fist on the nice cushiony wrist rest.

b) The best case to engage:   your shields are down (thus no source of flux possible and you rely on your armor), you are firing at max rate (you set up your ship's flux budget to allow for max rate fire and verified this in the simulator, right?), and the enemy either has too much flux built up to return fire or your ship is out of their firing arc.  The result is: 

- the enemy doesn't have their shields up yet, and you begin damaging armor, and potentially hull and systems before they can do the same to you
- OR the enemy begins taking the hits on their shields.  If shields are up:
- ALSO their flux level may begin rising towards overload
- ALSO you are reducing the enemy's flux available to shoot back
- ALSO you are increasing the chance that the AI will drop their shields to avoid overload and thus suppressing their ability to even use their shields at all

(obviously, you have your shields up if you think you don't have enough armor and are taking hits.  The point of not having shields up is to use your flux budget for offense)


2.   Rambling introduction to space combat from a threat perspective:

a) The AI is very polished for one-one-one combat.   Prior to my joining the fun, Starsector appears to have been a pure ship simulator and the AI shines when it has only your ship to focus on.

b) They see you before you see them.  Your screen resolution, unless you have truly excellent eyesight and can use high resolution, puts you at a disadvantage to the AI.  This can have huge consequences as the weapons have firing arcs, and there are dash/teleport skills that can bring an enemy directly to a bad side of your ship, facing you, and perhaps entirely out of your firing arcs.

c) There is no magic icon that tells you which enemy ship is actually targeting you.  You have to track/respect/fear all enemy ships that are in range.  Their behavior will give away their current intentions but this can quickly change based on how close you are and what other threats that enemy "perceives".

d) It is difficult to tell what the enemy loadout is (perhaps sharp-eyed players can tell).  Sure, that's probably a missile-cruiser over there.  And that's a pirate freighter that probably has five Reapers waiting for me if I go head on, front-arc with it.  I could be wrong.  And so many other ships have a high variety of loadouts.

e) Respect fighters enough to bring your own and have at least SOME point defense in most arcs (on all ships).  Don't wander close enough, alone, to an enemy carrier group.  Read the radar for the smallest enemies...where are they going to/from?   Are there some that appear to loiter near distant enemies?  When I say "fighters":  that includes EMP fighters, rocket bombers, and missile bombers:  these are very bad news and you will learn to sight-read them very quickly.


3.  Staring out fresh, to learn to win in combat:

a) Set up your ship.  There are two general methods that I can think of:   
- a "flux neutral loadout" ship that can fire continuously, with shields up, without generating any flux.  This is a newbie-friendly setup.
- an "overloading flux loadout" ship that has a bigger weapons loadout that will build to flux overload during continuous fire.  This setup takes skill, and awareness of the "halt fire" key to use successfully.

Build your first ship, then take it into the simulator against a weak freighter.  Learn your flux limit for firing at max rate with shields down (and how many seconds your ship can do this before overloading, if you set up an "overloading flux loadout" ship).  Then with shields up.  Then also when taking a little bit of fire from the freighter.   Then: take on a frigate...quite the difference in flux management eh?   I think that you will graduate the simulator with a Fairly Skilled Rating, as a new pilot, when you can defeat a fairly equal-threat ship. 

Recommend to test again when you begin piloting the first destroyer, cruiser and capital classes.  The flux budget, and especially, the enemy's ability to affect your flux budget, Changes Dramatically.

b) A fast ship that has decent heft and a straightforward special skill.  My newbie fave:   a Hammerhead destroyer with a highest flux pool configuration and highest speed, with a small-sized all-ballistic loadout.  Only engage when the special ability is ready, and only get in long enough to get the damage or kill, then get out.  This ship is hard to die in if played safely.

c) Fight from a distance with friends.  Only travel with friends.  Help your friends.

d) Use your armor.  When armor is gone for a given ship side:  only take hits on other ship facings when possible (i.e. turn appropriate for incoming missiles).

e) Don't try to hold a bad position...fall back to another part of the map where the pursuer may get distracted.  Recover flux, note the sides of your ship that still have armor, and re-engage accordingly.

f) Overloaded ships draw deadly missile attacks.  Reapers, Hammers, Harpoons, Atropos all want to drop by for a visit.  You can also send these same visitors to overloaded enemy ships.

g) still overwhelmed by the "cockpit overhead" of a front-line ship?  Try some other combat roles:

- the "missile alpha striker":  support your AI-Hammerhead buddy by keeping its target in your missile range (say you have a pair of Harpoon launchers).  When the Hammerhead overloads an enemy or you think it is a good time...launch your birds, preferably at the enemy's rear when they cannot avoid or interpose shields AND the Hammerhead is right there to finish them.  Sabots are also good because they force either the enemy to drop shields, or risk an overload.

- the "pressure specialist":   Use a stream of non-flux weapons like Annihilator missiles, or long range beams like Tactical Lasers, to keep the enemy shields up.  When your friends engage...the enemy will have to keep their shields up to deal with your attacks.

- the "beamer":  set up a full Tactical Laser loadout in the front arc that you can fire continuously at flux-neutral with your shields up.  Then hunt for enemies to pressure, or, even they are slow and have weaker flux budgets, to get them to drop their shields or begin dying.  Have the speed to keep away from stronger opponents (like that Dominator cruiser over there).  An Eagle cruiser is a great candidate and IIRC can host four Tactical Lasers for continuous fire.  That's a fair amount of flux pressure for many enemy ship classes.


4.  General rules

a)  Up those twitch skills.  Refreshing/leveling up the arcade skills in order to succeed in this game is highly  recommended.  Recommend games like Synthetik, Neon Chrome, or Ultratron as trainers or warmups to get the "situational arcade skills and bullet hell game-on". 

b) Your role in combat:  kill SOMETHING.  It doesn't have to be the enemy's most powerful ship.  Your friends need to have less threats asap.  If minutes go by and you aren't damaging killing countering pressuring and crying havok, that is likely Bad.

c)  More on friends:  anywhere where I'm in space combat, there is a friend nearby.  I'm helping my fleet and they help me.  Said another way:   the threat axes to my ship must be reduced so that I can focus and win without worrying about a sneak attack.  The radar view is very much "object appear further away than they really are" and getting surprised while paying attention elsewhere is very easy.   And usually is why I take heavy damage or die.

d)  Avoid ship-to-ship unless you know you can win.  The developer has honed the combat AI to be very good at ship-to-ship due to the AI playing directly to the core mechanic:  flux management.   Do I want to take on that AI Safety-override frigate one-on-one, head on?   Noooo thank you, unless I really have to.  It will focus on me entirely.  And it's probably not even the biggest enemy threat.  A poor choice for a solo target unless I'm well positioned.

e)  Position to win.    That is:  close only at an advantage.  Fleet combat is where the AI can be defeated much more easily because it has to succeed in a battle line context, which the player understands, but it does not (at least, not as well)...that that SO frigate may pivot to react to something else and take me out of it's primary firing arc.  Now I dart in, using my speed/strafing to pressure from the side and rear.  It reacts to me...strafing and turning...and perhaps right into my friends, or perhaps away...saving another of my friends by giving it the room to get away its attacker.

f)   Reposition to win.   Always plan for being out of position only long enough to Do Something with an clear intent to return to safety.  A yardstick for improvement:  if you find that the only time you take damage is when you are out of position, then you have leveled up.

g)  Write down the last five times you died and analyze/adapt.  My last few times: 

reapers to the face, while closing with a ship that was too slow to evade
flanked and pinned against the side of the battle space by larger low flux ship, that I should have kept better track of
blasted by a Paragon, that I should engaged too early and got too close to escape from
stunned and shredded by fighters, because I imperfectly positioned myself as the closest threat to *all* of their fleet carriers
stomped by a fresh Conquest, because I got overconfident and wandered into the top part of the map, and straight into their spawn point

...each comma above is where I stop and assess how I screwed up.

h)  Have a dedicated backup ship in your fleet and know how to switch to it.  When the Combat Readiness has dropped low enough to get warnings:
- position your ship in a safe place, with a safe path for the AI pilot to retreat it out of combat successfully
- call in your backup ship
- switch to the backup ship

i) An intermediate ship tactic:  autofire weapons, and flicker shields.

- set your direct-fire weapons on autofire, and learn the key that will halt fire when needed
- only raise shields if there is a threat, drop them at all other times
- when you have the armor/hull available:  when under constant enemy fire...only raise shields to absorb dangerous hits and spare most of your flux for firing.  The idea is to rush the enemy to near-flux overload which will reduce their fire rate dramatically.
- turn the ship to absorb hits on other armor facings while keeping enemy inside your best firing arcs
- If you sense that you are losing the "flux battle":  halt fire, keep shields up, and fall back out of range and immediately vent flux if you think you can vent safely (that is, restore shields before enemy missiles reach you).  If you happen to retreat with less flux built up than the enemy, you can then rush back before the enemy has recovered themselves to zero-flux.  You are now "ahead" in the flux battle.

Best case for a close battle:  the enemy tried to use their shields during the entire engagement and died either to overload or flux-starvation:  you have nearly all of your armor left and have taken zero internal hits because you only used your shields when you had to.


13
General Discussion / Re: Pirates Ruin the Fun
« on: January 16, 2021, 04:38:19 PM »
i appreciate the perspective of the long game in which there is a focus on "keeping the core alive for the purpose of income" but I never play a session long enough to comment on that.  This sort of reminds me of Drox Operative in level 80+:  the critters and beast factions simply gang up on the other factions to the point of no return and also the planets are too squishy to level up with the threat in the late game.  I look forward to further core game improvements in Starsector before I venture into that time frame of a game session.

However my impression is that the other players who seem to agree that pirates are a pain, are likely not getting to the very late phases.  So I stand by the assertion that ground defenses are the #1, and first, priority.  There is only so much cash available and the orbital and fleets must wait.  A player without full ground defense and high stability and population is just asking for Bad Things to happen.  Once built...then by all means sure, develop the other two asap.

Hmm I wasn't aware of Free Ports making disruption/bribe non-feasible in the late game simply because my role-playing persona rarely would choose that option at the player homeworld or other major colonies.  But a good half-million of my bank account simply exists to spend on bribery in the homeworld phase...so I would really dislike even more pressure there...

edit:   I'm also impressed how advanced players can keep tabs/have vision for what's happening overall in the core in relation to the player empire's industry/economic performance.  I just fly around, blasting bad guys, taxiing Marines to their next fight, make money, loot and tech up, and defend and supply my people, so am blissfully unaware of much of the structural dynamics and am too busy role-playing to care much...

14
General Discussion / Re: Pirates Ruin the Fun
« on: January 16, 2021, 02:10:22 PM »
TLDR summary:  ground defense is the key.  Focus on this and worry about orbitals, defense fleets later.  Personally defend the high ground ONLY if you have something in orbit worth defending and that you can use as a defensive anchor/lure during the actual battle.

Incoming wall of words below.  If you want to discover your own recipe for defending your new homeworld, skip the below and just focus entirely on: 

Heavy Batteries that so happens to have supporting it:  a large stable population, no resource deficits, and colony leader with ground defenses and stability skills at max.


________



I play a single game instance until I have a fully kitted out main colony, have several smaller colonies...and usually wander away for another game instance/approach/faction.  So I cannot comment on the "pirate maintenance/response overhead" for multi-planet player empires beyond, say, two or three colonies.

However, emphatically:  I have never had a "meta-level" problem with pirates.  I have had colonies overrun sure but never beaten down or taking permanent negative traits.  I play vanilla, and/or tons of mods, Nexerelin, etc.  I don't make this statement to say "wow I'm great" rather to say that the core game is consistent and doesn't present pirates as any other than a minor game experience/balancing problem of "too many pirate attacks in a few weeks I'm tired of running back to nursemaid" or "is that really two pirate Grand Fleets in my colony star system.  They're worth 100X the booty that the colony could offer sheesh".

Preparation:

a) Money.  No colony establishment until 1 million credits in the bank.  The game of kings requires stellar-class coin.

b) Capital fleet:   Personal command of a powerful, pirate killing capital that can last a long time playing center in a "space football team".  Its firepower should be enough to rip up/destroy most pirate ships from zero flux standing-tart and have great sustain.  The player should be extremely well practiced with that ship loadout and able to dance with large mobs of junk.  Also a must have:  A backup capital, or at least a heavy cruiser than also do the same when the player needs to switch ships due to low Combat Readiness (CR).

c) Nimble Fleet Carriers That Last:  3+ squadrons each.  Perhaps:  four Herons or the equivalent with lots of ridiculously powerful "blue class" fighter-killers and, say, two "Herons" with 100% Atropos launching bomber squadrons.  Bonus:  two extra carriers when CR gets low and fill in holes for the next tactical battle.  The best counter against large pirate junk fleets is an intact carrier force that sustains throughout the engagement and just has to be managed: that is, low CR carriers are swapped out where necessary.  The carriers themselves mount point defense and Salamanders and have no incentive to close and are hard to pin down and kill given the incredibly high priority the AI places on maneuvering to defend engines against this missile.  Late-game bonus:  the interceptor-oriented carriers have mostly zero-crew squadrons to help with sustain.

d) Colony skills:  Max your colony oriented player skills and assign yourself to the priority colony on day one.   Ground defenses and stability bonuses especially.

e) Be Proven in Large-scale Combat:  A good yard stick to tell if the player is ready:  can your fleet take down a middle-weight Luddic Path orbital, with moderate fleet support taken out beforehand, without major losses in the cruiser+ weight class?  Even if it takes two engagements to whittle the thing down?


Colony management:

a) always disrupt planned enemy attacks with cash where possible (that's part of what the million credits is for)
b) destroy pirate bases that are discovered to be threatening
c) same with Luddic Path bases (though this is optional if the player builds farming alone to reduce their attention on the colony)
d) make money and resolve colony shortages and stay within support range (i.e. be a day or two ahead of estimated enemy fleet arrivals).   only engage where you can win and otherwise rely upon your ground pounders.


Phase 1:
a) 1000% highest priority is on ground defenses.  Most of that 1 million credits is going to a full sprint to Heavy Batteries.  No exceptions.  No excuses.  Your people win on the ground not in space.  Sure the pirates can fly in multiple battle fleets and defeat whatever junk boats we might deploy overhead.   But their ground attack force will be very likely be converted to tomato paste and shipped back to them.  Which unfortunately they happily use to make pizza and then come right back.
b) pump the growth incentive and raise stability asap:  we need these modifiers wherever we can get them.  Size 5+
c) along the way, try to build installations that help increase ground defenses (i cannot recall them offhand at the moment)
d) resolve any supply needs:  outright buy the supplies the colony needs in this period


Phase 2:
a) have another million credits or thereabouts (half-million minimum)
b) top priority:   Star Fortress with a unique type of leader found while out exploring.   
c) Always return home to support the fortress until phase three is completed
d) Should be size 7 or more?


Phase 3 (can be worked on in concert with phase 2 if cash is plentiful):
a) sprint to heavy industry etc. to have a large fleet
b) carefully set up the composition to have solid carrier support (you'll want their "sustain" when you engage with them on your side)
c) add quality blueprints to your empire order of battle and get rid of the junk that makes your home fleet quality superior
d) composition:   I like to lean towards quantity over quality somewhat because the blueprints will inherently provide the quality...but always with enough carriers and cruisers to stand fast

Notes:

1) If possible try to time the "Combat Readiness dance":  that is, don't engage on principle unless
a) they've had to full burn into you and are lower on CR
b) you can definitely escape a follow-up attack from another fresh pirate fleet and fully recover CR and do repairs.
c) or they are weak enough to not want to engage or run outright


2) I believe that Nexerelin lets you "buy" a fleet...having the emergency funds to buy a defense fleet at your new homeworld might be clutch.  But I've never tried so I don't know how difficult it is to time its arrival.

3) early on in colony development, I make income with farming alone, high population, and stability and try to keep a low profile from Luddic etc.  My fleet concentrates on bounties or other high-cash activities.

4) a special leader type may be found in exploration, and can be assigned to the orbital base.  This can be the difference between victory and defeat when the player is trying to hold off multiple enemy fleets in a single battle.  This however annoys one of the factions so requires manual intervention to unassign/reassign where necessary (I've had to do this two or three times in game sessions, and yes, it is annoying), whenever it is not possible to disrupt the "inspectors".

15
The Victory for line-breaking dash-kills.  Requiring a bit of kitting out and is well balanced.

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