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

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Topics - #Negi

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Ordnance Expertise: I love the new Ordnance Expertise, I like that it’s not another flat percentage boost equally good on everything, but instead I’m considering different combinations for different circumstances.  The biggest discount is naturally for the Storm Needler, but there are plenty of situations where I cannot afford or do not want a Storm Needler, so it has me considering many options on many ship types.  And behind the scenes (spoilers, turn away if you like Ordnance Expertise) if you take the time to do the math on every weapon, it’s all very nearly even in effect as weapon op and flux costs are typically even with each other, so nothing stands out as overpowered with this skill.

Polarized Hull: I like this skill, but I think it invalidates Impact Mitigation, especially on shieldless ships where it’s always better than IM.  I don’t like Damage Control either at the moment: no ship lasts long while taking hull damage, almost nothing hits for over 500 and that not by much, and all crew die on explosion anyways, so faster repairs is the only real benefit.  If I had to make a suggestion, I’d say merge IM and DC in some way to make them more appealing, and so that it and Polarized Hull do different (if overlapping) things. 

Bulk Transport: I do not like the current version of this skill.  I buy my first Colossus, and I get another half a Colossus for free?  And that’s free of cost, crew, fuel, and maintenance, no increased sensor profile, nothing.  Sure, the caps reduce its value into the late game, but by then its other bonus is pulling double duty.  A free Augmented Drive Field that stacks with Augmented Drive Field?  With this it’s easy to get an Atlas up to speed 11, without any Ox Tugs.  No, this is bad, Atlas is slow and it takes work to compensate.  This skill is too good by far. 

Hull Restoration: I like it, but I also note between this and Crew Training, there’s little reason for officers to take Combat Endurance anymore, as you can’t go over 100%.  Don’t get me wrong; I like that there are multiple ways to get to 100% CR, I’m just noting that Combat Endurance is the weakest of the options, as the other two skills apply to your whole fleet and don’t take up valuable officer skills, while providing a lot of other buffs on the side.  I could build-in Hardened Subsystems and get much the same effect. 

Target Analysis: I do not like Target Analysis, I look at it and ask ‘what’s the point of being big while this thing exists?’, it diminishes the advantages being a thiccc boi with lots of armor.  I hear it and other skills are designed to incentivize smaller ship classes, but I don’t like this solution, battleships can take it just as easily as frigates, and make better use of it to pound other battleships into dust, it becomes a must-have skill against larger targets, it doesn’t incentivize frigate play.  Fleets are limited by ship count, and so are officers, so making the most of each individual ship beats out swarms of midgets.  I play with a mod that changes that fleet limit to be DP based rather than ship count based, so that takes care of some of the problem for me.  Unfortunately the alternative I can think up isn’t an easy one to implement; give small weapon slots limited tools to hurt big ships that are ineffective against smaller ships (like reaper and squall) and take away some of the big ship’s ability to combat smaller ships (like removing small slots and making large slots turn slower) so that capital ships can be effectively swarmed, flanked, and harassed if they don’t have more nimble and precise escorts of their own, (even if that’s a frigate-hunting light cruiser) so that the various sizes must work together to cover their weaknesses.  Frigates and Light Destroyers are supposed to be flankers after all, play into that role rather than buffing their stat-sticks. 

Wolfpack Tactics: same as Target Analysis.

System Expertise: System Expertise is in a good place, but I think it could be better; there are some vanilla and many modded systems that do not have charges, cooldowns, or ranges.  A cost reduction would make this skill useful to Fortress Shield, Terminator Sequence, and other such systems, without pushing other systems as very few systems have a combination of costs and cooldowns. 

Carrier Group: I do not like how it is capped to fighter bays across your whole fleet.  Ships like the Shepherd have built in wings, Shepherds are useful scavengers into the late game but their combat falls off quickly so I won’t willingly take them into combat vs cruisers on up.  But they are a wing in my fleet reducing the effectiveness of my actual carriers.  It also encourages few carriers all around, disregarding built-in wings like the Shepherd.  How about this; tie the maximum bonus to the number of fighter bays currently in combat.  That way Shepherds don’t steal resources, and I can keep some carriers in reserve to swap out when Peak time expires. 

Fighter Uplink: same as Carrier Group.

Best of the Best: I’ve held since the creation of S mods that they take away from the gameplay.  Ships were interchangeable, and losing one may hurt but it made you vary your tactics and try new things, and you can always go find another ship of that type if it meant so much to you.  The ships in your fleet were your tools, not your babies.  However, with S mods, ships aren’t interchangeable anymore.  I’ve put limited resources into that ship, I’m much less willing to let it go.  The skills that make officer/modded ships always recoverable I think are treating the symptom not the cause, and the problem remains I am now overly attached to ships.  Having played with S mods for a while now, I begrudgingly accept them as a fun addition, but I still think they have that deep flaw of changing the way I relate to ships. 

Energy Weapon Mastery: this skill has anti-synergy; it rewards you for high flux, then reduces flux generation.  Ya its not a big deal, your enemies will be helping you raise that flux level, but it’s still an odd skill.  Other than that I like it's risk/reward setup.

In general I prefer skill design that avoids straight damage buffing, I like nuance in the implementation, like Energy Weapon Mastery and Ordnance Expertise.  I’d like to see a ship system or hullmod that reduces energy weapon fire rate in exchange for hit strength, accuracy, range, or something like that.  A toggled ship system that rapidly regenerates charges while disabling your shields/weapons.  Because both of those ideas to me are more interesting than accelerated ammo feeder, high energy focus, or targeting feed; flat damage buffs with few considerations beyond timing.  What do the rest of you think? 

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Modding / .skin files and shields
« on: April 29, 2022, 08:37:37 PM »
I'm testing .skin files, and I noticed I can't change the stats of wings with a skin; I make a 'high tech broadsword' skin, and in it I try to give it a shield and better flux stats, I then make a wing_data and a variant the new skin.  The game loads just fine, it shows my fighter, sprite, description, and weapons, but the shield and flux stats are unchanged.  I try to add a builtin hullmod to the skin; makeshift shield emitter, still nothing changes.  When I add the makeshift shield to the variant file rather than the skin file it works like a charm.  Is it something to do with fighters?  I've added hullmods and changed stats to skins of regular ships before.  Can anyone explain this?

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Modding / Are there notes on editing existing mods?
« on: April 19, 2022, 09:10:36 PM »
Maybe I looked in all the wrong spaces, but I'm looking for any notes on editing existing mods.  If I can't find any, I'll look at making mods, but for now I'd like to know how to pair down mods/know the basics of what is necessary for a mod so I can fish the important bits out of existing mods.  Can someone point me in the right direction? 

Example: my poor computer cannot handle the 60+ mods I want to use and load times are abysmal, but rather than disable half of them, I'd like to take the ships/weapons I like from a few of them and consolidate them into a new 'consolidated ships mod' for my own use.  That, or cut out bits of mod contents without breaking the mod.  Every mod seems to have at least one Buffalo variant, I've got a dozen of them and use maybe one, they're the first thing that can go. 

I've looked at the files inside a mod and noticed a few patterns, but messing around with it blindly on my own hasn't yet yielded any results, so I turn to the experts on the forums.  Thank you.

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General Discussion / Re: Best kind of PD and why.
« on: April 05, 2021, 05:27:22 PM »
Is LR PD laser really that bad compared to the others? Even to the normal PD laser?

pd laser

range :325
DPS: 75
turn rate: 75
flux per second: 50

LR PD laser

range 400
DPS:  50
turn rate: 50
flux per second: 40

lets take a look at missile speeds

50 speed missiles
phase charge launcher: hp 250 (3.3 seconds for pd to kill or about 165 range.) (5 seconds LR PD to kill or about 250 range.)

150 speed missiles
Atropos torpedo hp: 250 (3.3 seconds for pd to kill or about 495 range.) (5 seconds LR PD to kill or about 750 range.) ( i hope you have more than one hitting them LOL)
sabot SRM hp: 300 (4 seconds for pd to kill or about 600 range) (6 seconds LR PD to kill or about 900 range.) (again hope you are hitting it with more than one PD laser)

200 speed missile
pilum LRM hp: 75 (1 second for pd to kill or about 200 range) (1.5 seconds LR PD to kill or about 300 range)

250 speed missiles
swarmer SRM hp: 25 (0.3 seconds for pd to kill or about 83 range) (0.5 seconds for LR PD to kill or about 125 range)
annihilator rockets hp: 50 (0.6 seconds for pd to kill or about 150 range) (1 second for LR PD to kill or about 250 range)
hurricane MIRV (before split) hp: 200 (2.6 seconds for pd to kill or about 650 range) (4 seconds for LR PD to kill or about 1000 range)

300 speed missiles
reaper class torpedoes hp: 400 (5.3 seconds for pd to kill or about 1600 range) (8 seconds for LR PD to kill or about 2400 range) (i hope you can maneuver or put a lot of hurting on these things)
salamander MRM hp: 150 (2 seconds for pd to kill or about 600 range) (3 seconds for LR PD to kill or about 900 range)
harpoon MRM hp:100 (1.3 seconds for pd to kill or about 400 range) (2 seconds for LR PD to kill or about 600 range)

obviously some of these missiles split up or come in groups so... for those i hope you have serious area PD or your going to be takeing damage.

these numbers were taken from starfarer/starfarer-core/data/weapons/weapon_data

Where do you find this data?  I've wondered about missile hp, and the stats of weapons on fighters, and the mass stat of ships (for ramming math) but cannot find anywhere in game where its given. 

5
Suggestions / A Boarding Idea that is actually simple to implement.
« on: March 21, 2021, 04:51:37 PM »
We've already got a tracker for crew/marines killed by hull damage, and we've already got crewed kamikaze fightercraft (though I think that's from a mod only).  I think boarding could be as simple as putting the two together: 

A fighter or missile that is crewed by marines preferably over crew, that if it hits an unshielded, low armored section of hull, it does little hull damage but kills a lot of crew (unless the other guys have a lot of marines too). 

After that, a ship with low crew already has reduced combat rating so that's benefit enough no new effects necessary.  I don't know that it's ordinarily possible to kill all the crew through hull damage before the ship explodes thou (again, maybe through mods; I can think of one ship ability that repairs half hull damage received in diable avionics mod), so maybe a line of code for that; a ship with no crew is disabled and can be recovered after the battle (no, marines alone cannot pilot the ship, no changing sides mechanic) without added d-mods, but costs more supply (there was a firefight in all the halls, place is torn up inside) or can be salvaged for more. 

So there you have it.  No FPS hallway shooter minigame, just piggybacking off the crew casualties, missile/fighter, and salvage/recovery systems already in the game.  It doesn't have to be complex.  In the meantime marines are expensive and kamikaze fighters are also expensive (in a different way) and point defense is still a thing, and shields, and armor, so you've already got your give and take for the mechanic laid out for you.  (and no explosion on contact, instead burrow in like WH40K boarding pods, easy enough to do; just have the missile sprite move out of sight under the ship's sprite instead of over before it disappears)

Idea's over, the rest is extra:

One of the things I love about Starsector is how most systems serve multiple roles: the intel saying a trade convoy is moving from a to b carrying c goods there and bringing d goods back, provides many ways to interact with it: you can get there first with your own goods, you can wait to buy up their goods cheap from a saturated market, you can lay in wait and ambush the convoy, you can follow the convoy and counter ambush (that one isn't always effective of course), etc etc.  It's just raw information about the system and the use of it is up to you.  Nexerelin's mining does the same kind of piggybacking off of the colony resources and hazards, and mating them with the salvaging system, all already in the game.  (btw nexerelin make mining use the salvaging screen rather than text boxes, after every mine I've got to open the menu to make sure I didn't auto pick up more than I can hold and manage them if I did).  So the idea of piggybacking off of existing mechanics to provide a lot of new options with very few additions appeals to me a lot.  It's the main thing that's impressed me about starsector, in a AAA game there would have been miles of code and mechanics for each new system implemented, and here's starsector opening up whole new playstyles with a single added mechanic. 

What do you all think?  I'm fairly new to starsector by it's 10 years of life, so if I've said anything stupid, point it out for me. 

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