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Starsector 0.95.1a is out! (12/10/21); Blog post: Hyperspace Topography (10/12/22)

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Topics - TJJ

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Discussions / The Captain; free on Epic Game Store atm
« on: September 15, 2022, 03:12:41 PM »
I've only played for 30 minutes or so, but it seems to be an interesting blend of narratively driven point & click, with branching decisions & multiple endings, interesting moral dilemmas, a generous helping of humour, and what I think is rogue-lite exploration/combat.

Anyhow it's free atm, and IMO worth a play.

Discussions / Galaxy Genome; 2D Elite Dangerous for Android
« on: August 30, 2022, 01:22:17 AM »
Title says it all really; its the same 'huge, but shallow' sandbox concept that E:D gives you, but in 2D & for mobile.
Many of the game's systems unapologetically steal straight from E:D, at times to the point of plagiarism.
Though it's hard to criticise when this familiarity helps with learning the game.

Mechanics-wise it has everything you'd expect; exploration, bounty hunting, piracy, couriering, trading, planetary landings, mining, some form of a narrative, achievements.

It makes heavy use of autopilot, which is a good fit for the constrained controls of mobile gaming, and allows it to be played without absolute concentration.

Not a bad little time sink for when you're traveling; I hope the dev continues to add to it.

Discussions / The Last Starship; sign up for the Playtest!
« on: July 10, 2022, 03:18:23 AM »

I'm a bit late to the party on this one, but the folks at Introversion (of Prison Architect fame) are showing off their latest project.

There's a couple of dev progress vlogs on their Youtube channel, a playtest you can volunteer for & various feedback channels.

Looks like a fun concept to me.

Discussions / The Ascent
« on: August 09, 2021, 03:02:19 AM »
**** me! This is a visual & audible masterpiece!
After watching a stream, and then discovering it was on Game Pass, I couldn't resist giving it a try last night.

Mechanically it's nothing particularly spectacular, but damn it's such a visual treat; the detail & scale of the world, character designs, writing, voice acting, ambient music, and sfx are all top notch. Even the setting & lore are interesting & well fleshed out.

My enthusiasm might be tempered as I play more, and tire of the repetitive & simplistic combat, and if that's the case, it'll be a damn shame because this could've been a benchmark game for the future.

If you've got access to Game Pass I strongly recommend checking it out.

Discussions / AI vs AI programming games?
« on: November 27, 2020, 04:01:07 PM »
Anyone know of any games that fall into this category?

I remember playing one years ago on a friend's PS2 that involved programming teams of mechs to battle one-another.
Google tells me it was called Carnage Heart.

I'm thinking a modern equivalent would be a fun introduction to logic & programming for my 8 y/o nephew.
Big stompy robots as a theme are optional, but obviously desirable ;)

Discussions / Anyone heard of/played "XO"?
« on: December 02, 2019, 11:49:38 AM »
Released today.
Looks interesting, though I'd not heard of it (apparently it was kickstarted)

I've finally managed to get into this game recently, and have been surprised by its depth of mechanics & story - even moreso given it's a mobile game.

I especially like the way they've approached crew & skills, making every crewman feel important, and contacts, making mission givers a vital resource that has to be discovered & nurtured, and trade permits/bans/alliances, so that profitable trade is possible without being trivial.

The scope of combat is obviously completely different from SS, but many of the campaign-level mechanics are applicable & IMHO would fit excellently into SS.

If you don't mind the darkest dungeon-esque combat mechanics, it definitely gets a thumbs up recommendation from me. It's readily available for next to nothing too, on both mobile platforms & Steam. ( I think I got mine from a bundle some time ago)

Here's my bold claim:
"1 on 1 combat in Starsector is broken."

To elaborate;

If a ship has superior range, equal or greater speed, and cannot be trapped, then it simply cannot* be defeated. (*without exploiting AI behaviour quirks/bugs)

Imagine the fantasy parallel; Man-at-arms with sword & shield charges forwards.
Archer runs away at the same speed, shooting arrows back at him.

It's a degenerate situation that's clearly preposterous & shouldn't exist.
The only mechanic SS has at the moment to resolve this situation is CR (i.e. archer exhausts sooner than the man-at-arms), but this is a woeful solution that leads to tediously drawn out unrewarding battles.

Zero-flux speed boost is IMO the mechanic that's supposed to resolve this situation, however it doesn't work because:

- You can't use your shield! (Man-at-arms gets a face full of arrows!)
- Few ships have sufficient armour to take the hits
- ... and those that do tend to be so slow that even the zero-flux boost isn't enough to make up the difference.
- AI doesn't know how to utilise armour to exploit zero-flux boost

So..... What if it wasn't a "zero-flux" boost?
What if it was an "all power to engines" boost that activated after, ~5 seconds of not firing?
It's a tiny change, but I think it'd have a dramatic effect upon both the feel of combat, and the effectiveness of the AI in delivering a fun experience to the player.

While what I've said above is most apparent in synthetic 1v1 fights, it plays a significant part in battles of all sizes.
After all a battle is not a whole lot more than a collection of smaller fights.

Thaago raises a good point, 5s might not be long enough to prevent the kiter utilizing the boost too.
The value would need tuning, and perhaps factor in ship class?
Perhaps the difference between regular speed, and boost speed needs to be greater?
Though that makes it feel like we're stepping on the uniqueness of the various speed-based ship systems.

Though perhaps the very fact so many ship systems revolve around enhancing ship speed is an indicator that there's a genuine underlying problem.

Discussions / GDC Subnautica Postmortem; insightful viewing!
« on: May 13, 2019, 06:46:07 AM »

Made me think about Starsector's development.

Discussions / Strategy Legends Bundle; tempting?
« on: February 21, 2019, 03:20:45 PM »

Distant Worlds Universe has been on my wish list for a while; a huge 4x strategy.

Star Hammer is by the same devs as, and a direct precursor to, Battlestar Galactica Deadlock.

Pandora First Contact..... meh.

Still, it seems like a bargain to me seeing as Distant Worlds Universe on its own has never been this cheap!

Suggestions / [0.9a RC10] "Save Copy" description inaccurate & confusing
« on: November 30, 2018, 05:40:14 PM »
The text for this reads "This will make a copy of your current save slot.".

'current save slot' is analogous to 'the campaign state when you last saved', not 'the current campaign state'.

This may lead a player to "save copy" their game (expecting it to make a copy of their last save), then do a proper save, thereby destroying the previous save state they were trying to preserve.

I suggest it be reworded to "Save your current game into an alternative save slot." or, "Save a copy of your current game into a new save slot."

Better still, would be to adopt the conventional "Save As..." paradigm that everyone is already familiar with.

- Was in Tri-Tach space
- toggled my transponder off by accident (forgot where I was)
- immediately toggled it back on again
- nearby Security Patrol immediately gave chase, stopped and lambasted me for it.
- a few seconds later, a Tri-Tach Security Flotilla did the same.

I thought being punished was supposed to cause other patrols who were actively chasing you, to give up?

From past versions, it's never been clear if this is supposed to be a drop or not?
However now that it has no BP, it seems clear it's a bug if it ever drops.

I just found it in the inventory of my 'stuff' dumping ground planet, which means either I didn't notice it in my fleet inventory before dumping it on the planet, or tech mining dug it up.

Presumably cluster bombs will drop too.

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