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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 - NikolaiLev

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Suggestions / New Hint: ANTI_FTR_ONLY
« on: December 15, 2014, 09:49:24 AM »
Much like PD and PD_ONLY, a hint that specifies a weapon on autofire should only ever fire at fighters.  As opposed to the "PD, PD_ONLY, ANTI_FTR" combination which would also fire at missiles.

And before you say this wouldn't be useful to vanilla: Swarmer SRMs autofire at non-fighters which wastes the cooldown and ammo.  In my opinion they ought to use this hint so they're reserved for firing at fighters.

This hint could possibly intelligently detect if an enemy fleet has no fighters, and thusly OK its usage against non-fighters.

Suggestions / Show damage numbers on top of explosions
« on: December 15, 2014, 09:20:29 AM »
Thread title.  (Maybe a bug?)

When a ship is destroyed, it explodes.  This damages you.  This is a fact that, while seemingly obvious, is not terrible intuitive.

Thus I feel the damage incurred from such explosions should be showed by damage numbers.

Modding / Interest Check: Star Trek mod (another one!)
« on: December 12, 2014, 07:51:06 AM »
I'm interested in beginning work on my own Star Trek mod.  It will be largely designed from scratch but will likely use (with permission) sprite and sound assets from StarTreker

However, it'll feature a focus on higher simplicity (eschewing the Mk system silentstormpt implemented) and a focus on vanilla balance and compatibility.  For now I'm mostly interested in Federation ships but if this reaches sufficient interest I'd be plenty willing to port over the already-done non-Federation ships.

Beyond that, I just want to get the ships and some basic campaign integration into Starsector, with everything balanced against vanilla as best as possible.  The Federation would likely play like a high-tech faction with propietary defense systems that mitigate damage rather than block it, as well as a dependence on kinetic beam weapons (phasers) and guided HE torpedoes (photon torpedoes), though the energy/fragmentation approach silentstormpt took was interesting.

So!  I'm wondering how many people are interested in seeing and playing a Star Trek mod that's kept up-to-date.

Suggestions / AI won't suitably charge extreme-range opponents
« on: December 04, 2014, 09:32:47 PM »
While this is arguably only an issue with mods, the AI refuses to advance on ships that have very long range weapons.  Naturally, any sensible designer will make long range weapons have poor DPS, so shorter range combatants would obviously want to charge an enemy ship at any cost to get within their own weapons range.

This is most evident with mod ships with a lot of extreme (2000+) range weapons, that would be balanced, if it weren't for the AI's tendency to just... sit there and get shot.  AI will repeatedly go between "approach" and "move away", and this is a death sentence with slow capital ships.

Suggestions / Make AI better at reactive shield dropping
« on: December 03, 2014, 11:44:12 PM »
Yes, I know, "Make AI better" is kind of a given and it's something that never stops being worked on.  But I feel a simple yet effective way to improve the AI, especially in terms of how weapons work (think what would make an assault chaingun appealing over a heavy mauler) is giving the AI the ability to drop shields to vent flux when not being fired at, based on the refire rate of the enemy's weapons.

The effectiveness of this behavior would of course depend on the ship's crew skill.  An Elite crew will have an excellent time dropping shields after receving an antimatter blast or a heavy mauler shot, but green crews might get spooked and keep shields up, or have delayed response times.

If this was done, you'd actually have a reason to use assault chainguns over heavy maulers (and other similar instances) as you could keep constant HE pressure.  Right now, the heavy mauler is a better choice every time.  Even that 17 dps can't make up for that range, efficiency and damage (higher flat damage is superior than DPS when it comes to destroying armor due to how armor works, even with HE damage).

And, of course, it would help AI with those pesky high alpha damage kinetic weapons mods love to add.

I'm sure everyone knows by now that if you're in range of a ship, your beam weapons may autofire yet still miss the target.  This is because they target not bounds, but the collision and/or shield radius.  This is especially obvious if you have a long but thin ship like the Conquest.

I'm aware this is undoubtedly done for performance reasons.  But I honestly think it'd worth it to either allow the player an option, or accept the performance hit so weapons could be more accurate.  At least projectile weapons have fadeout time so they actually hit ships to a degree.

Suggestions / Starsector could use better gun sounds
« on: November 24, 2014, 09:05:42 AM »
After working on my mod and trying to implement sounds, it's become even more obvious than ever that Starsector's gun sounds are rather wimpy.  I carry the philosophy that mods ought to work to be as cohesive with the base game as possible; visually, balance-wise, and aurally.

This means I've had to essentially neuter the sounds I want to use.  Lasers aren't pewpewy, guns aren't boomy.  The sounds need more oomph.  I know sounds can't travel through space, but if SS is going to have sounds, why not go all the way and make them as cool sounding as possible?

I think the biggest offenders are the ballistic weapons.  Light autocannons may be small in the context of the game, but they're probably 70mm or so naval cannons.  Even they ought to make an impressive bang.  The Heavy Autocannon sound is just... so dull.  Pretty much every other weapon suffers from this.  The Mjolnir and Hellbore sound okay, I guess.

I hate to rag on you, Stian, but I think Starsector could use an audio overhaul.  Though it's worth saying that even after hundreds of hours of playing (which, granted, might make me a little sick of the sounds), the explosion sounds are all pretty satisfying.

And yes, I'm aware one could simply make a mod that replaces the sounds, and one might already exist.  But from the moment I started playing I always found the weapon sounds wimpy.

I think another problem is the gun sounds are simply too quiet compared to the rest of the game... that could just be me though.  One must be careful given that sounds need to sound great whether it's one Lasher shooting or an entire fleet in battle.

Modding / [0.65.1a] Modding PSA: Don't use QUAD_STRIP on fighters
« on: November 04, 2014, 02:26:01 PM »
It crashes the game.

Alex is aware of this bug.  This is just a PSA for any modders who may be getting anomalous crashes with fighter wings.

Mods / [0.65.1a] The Patrian Principate Alpha v2.2 - The Patrian Navy
« on: October 31, 2013, 11:58:47 AM »
Warning!  Campaign integration is still in progress.  It's there, but kinda sorta brokenish.  Please excuse the mess.   :D

Patria needs you!  If you would like to help development on a couple niggling issues I cannot for the life of me seem to solve, don't hesitate to sign up!  In particular, here is a list of things beyond my ability:

Ship System: Small Battery Stabilizers
A system that increases the range of small ballistic and energy weapons in exchange for decreasing their turn rate.

While increasing the range of ballistic and energy weapons and decreasing their turn rate was easy enough, what I haven't been able to implement is making the system only affect small weapons, as well as adjust the range bonus per hull size (like ITU does).  A nice touch would be to exclude PD weapons from the range bonus, but still applying the turn rate decrease to them (as gameplay wise, it's supposed to reduce the potency of any PD in exchange for range).

Ship System: Micro Missile Fabricator
Not to be confused with a Micromissile Fabricator (I'm sure I'll implement a micromissile weapon at some point), this system shuts down weapons, engines, and/or shields in order to begin constructing and reloading missiles.  This I can likely do myself, but hey, help is always nice.

Fighter AI
This has always been the sticking point with Patria; aerospace fighters were always intended to lack lateral and reverse thrusters, relying on their superior speed and firepower to stay out of harm's way.  They should generally fly at maximum or close to maximum speed and use "zoom and boom" tactics to destroy enemy fighters and engage larger ships.  Serpentine maneuvers should also be available to more skilled pilots to evade incoming fire, as Patrian compact shield emitters are not [supposed to be] powerful enough to stop much damage.

AIM Autofire and Missile AI
AI for the missile itself to eschew usage of the new twisty missile behavior (I'm pretty sure this is already around somewhere).

More importantly, AI that would dictate the missiles NEVER be autofired at anything other than fighters.

Campaign Career Choice Integration
Because I just can't seem to figure out the rules.csv language.  Not that I'm much of a coder anyway.

Specifically, a start that gives you favorable/welcoming reputation with Patria, adjusts other reps accordingly (enemies with Tri and Ludds), and starts you in Patria with Patrian ships.


It's back!  The Patrian Principate has finally not only been updated to current SS as well as given Exerelin compatibility (I think; not tested since it hasn't updated yet), it's received a major overhaul.  Forget everything you knew about Patria.

Mind you, this is still an early alpha; it's missing a lot of things I originally planned and due to my laziness lack of professionalism unique release model I'll be adding these over time.  Among these are (still) weapon sprites, various ships, and ship systems.  Some things are pretty obviously placeholdery, but apparently some people actually want to play this mod.  So here it is!

Another note: This hasn't actually received constant work over the last year.  Development resumed as my interest picked back up with .65.  A few months ago it was in pretty much full swing and it's probably 75% complete.

The changes from the previous version are far too numerous to list.  But among them: new ships, new sounds, massive fighter re-work, general balancing, and a shift from Maser technology to plasma and magnetic acceleration technology.


-Fighters given beam weapons
-Potential fix to campaign OutOfMemory bug (thanks to Zaphide if it works!)
-Homer-class T-O Battlecruiser!  Sprite is a WIP
-New weaponry!  Phasers, kinetic beam weapons, and Photon torpedoes, burst-fire HE damage weapons.  Torpedoes are a heavy WIP, but are functional (and kinda sorta balanced).

-Fighter wing campaign bug addressed
-Unique fighter guns removed (for now)

-Mod overhaul (too lazy comprehensive to list)


As a preface:
the mod has numerous inspirations, most of which ought to be obvious; aside from IFed, I took a lot of cues from real-world vehicles and weapons, as well as things from Supreme Commander and Carrier Command: Gaia Mission (which I haven't actually played much of).  It's also heavily based on Stellar Impact, especially with how the initial fleet's role structure was designed.  Lastly, it's important to mention that the mod is intended to be vanilla balanced.  While I like to fancy myself a competent designer, there's of course no guarantee I succeeded, and thorough, brutally honest feedback is more than welcome.

Requires LazyLib


Patria is a yellow star system home to a terran-class planet, home of the fledgling Patrian Principate.  A small settlement started hundreds of years before the collapse, it has grown over the years and has developed a distinct culture largely revolving around archives of Old Earth.  This cultural nostalgia has had a ubiquitous impact on every aspect of Patrian life, including its military.

Patria's Navy was developed from the ground up consisting of Terrestrial-Orbital (T-O) Vessels; the historical Patrian Defense Initiative was designed to accomodate a defensive fleet that could offer orbital defensive capabilities as well as superiority while guarding Patria's shorelines and oceans.  Because all naval ships are designed for use on (or in) the sea, they all conform to a relatively standardized hull silhouette; predictably, they all look like battleships.  However, their roles and loadouts vary wildly depending on their intended usage.

However, the real pride of the Patrian war machine lies in the Patrian Aeronautical Service; keeping with the trend of multi-environment assets, Patria relies on Aerospace Fighters that can operate both in atmosphere and in vacuum.  Using a hybrid turbofan-inertia engine equipped with aerosol hypercompressor modules to store air from atmosphere to slowly release during vacuum flight, they retain their excellent speed during the length of an engagement.

That said, because it was designed as a defensive fleet, and due to the constraints of multi-environment vessels, Patrian ships have a unifying weakness; they have atrocious logistical capabilities.  They're expensive and slow to repair, they consume many supplies and are extremely fuel inefficient.  For deep space warfare, they rely on imported logistical craft to support their offensive fleets.  Most ships are also very slow and lumbering, though tend to be well armored.

The Navy tends to rely on broadside weaponry, especially a mix of ballistic and energy weapons combined with offensive pulse laser batteries.  They tend to lack in point defense, using a modified version of the aged Sling Anti Ballistic Missile system to protect from ordnance.  Their shields are fairly inefficient, requiring high levels of flux to maintain.  However, Patrian technology is not always on the low-end; they make use of potent plasma-based energy systems and sophisticated ship systems, including comprehensive electronic warfare abilities.

Finally, the Navy boasts excellent fighter support; its aerospace fighters are armed to the teeth with multiple missile or bomb hardpoints with a combination of energy and ballistic weaponry.  While they lack in maneuverability, are fragile and pose large targets, they boast shields in addition to their array of weaponry.  They are also extremely versatile as opposed to the more specialized ships; they come in various variants representing roles ranging from fighter-bomber to dedicated interceptor.  There are also specialized fightercraft, including the ASF-117 Stealth Bomber.

So, without further ado, let's get to the exciting bits!

Aerospace Fightercraft

ASF-4 Heavy Fighter-Bomber, ASF-104 Light Fighter-Bomber, ASF-90 Advanced Interceptor, ASF-16 Advanced Multirole Fighter

GAC-47 Attack Craft, Hawkmoth VTOL (new!), ASF-117 Stealth Bomber, SRC-71 Reconnaisance Craft

Terrestrial-Orbital Vessels

Komar-class Torpedo Boat (new!), Valnad-class Corvette, Kortenaer-class Frigate, Magnanimous-class Light Carrier (new!), Valour-class Light Destroyer (new!), Cloak-class Subship

Charger-class Destroyer, Kittyhawk-class Carrier, Groundhog-class Subship

Lithuania-class Cruiser, Danae-class Missile Carrier (new!), Bastion-class Heavy Carrier

Homer-class Battlecruiser (new!), Yamato-class Battleship, Mayflower-class Dreadnought

Mind you, the mod is still in development!  This is, as mentioned, more of a "pre-release."  I still have a to-do list:

- More Weapon sprites
- Support Destroyer
- Assault Cruiser
- Super Carrier
- Logistical Ships
- The Patrian Astratia (shhh)  ;) CANCELLED (probably)

And, of course, the usual development tasks such as sprite polishing, balance tweaks (or overhauls if I derped somewhere), and so on.

Hope you enjoy it!


Alex Mosolov, for that wonderful game we all know and love and complain about
Keptin, for making IFed which was an inspiration
Vayra, for Kadur Theocracy which was also an inspiration, as well as the Sling ABM
ValkyriaL, for the Hauberk Field code and AI code which was in Kadur Theocracy (borrowed with permission!)
Mayflower, for being a great friend, and an excellent helper and coder (too bad she doesn't play Starsector yet!)
Star Trek, for inspiration and weapon sounds
Muh pals, especially JB who was responsible for the TPC idea (you don't know him)
MechWarrior Living Legends, for many of the missile and laser sounds
Me, for being so awesome.
You!  For almost being as awesome as me for trying the mod.


I don't believe in legalese.  I believe integrity should be self-evident.  That said, if you want to modify stuff, ask before publishing.  Doesn't mind me what you do with your personal copy of Patria, though.

As for mod compilations, go for it if you really think it'll improve the quality of the group!  Just make sure you credit the man behind the masterpiece.   ;D

General Discussion / Dear Starsector Community,
« on: October 21, 2013, 10:11:23 AM »
I have no shame.

P.S. I can't believe no one's made a mod for this.  I'd probably do it if I wasn't busy with my other one (it'll come out eventually, I swear!)

For the uninitiated:

Modding / Fighter Wings do not follow system rules
« on: October 14, 2013, 11:25:49 PM »
Say you make a system; a variant of the burn drive that's a toggle, so it can always be on.  Make it alwaysAccelerate (so the craft accelerates forward regardless of input, like Burn Drive) and make it so you cannot strafe when activated (again, like Burn Drive).  Now implement that system on a fighter wing.

The fighter wing still strafes, stops, and even accelerates backwards.

The intention behind such a system in my case was to make fighters always move forward, to foster a specific kind of movement.  That's largely behind the point (though it might help to know that I haven't tried seeing if NoTurning works).  That said, I'm hoping this is a bug more than an intentional adjustment, as it disallows things like this, which are important considering how restrictive fighter AI seems to be.

Also, I'm wondering if it's possible to disallow strafing via an AI script.  I'm going to poke at it soon, but I'd like to see if anyone else has thoughts (I'm thinking of telling the AI to turn or to simply move forward whenever isStrafingRight/Left happens).


Suggestions / Add names for fighter wings
« on: October 14, 2013, 01:10:33 AM »
Before .6, fighter wings were more or less disposable.  However, with the addition of replacement chassis, wings have become a far more permanent asset in any given fleet.  However, unlike ships, which get their own fleet abbreviation and randomly chosen, renameable name, fighter wings still lack identity.

So allow them to receive a name.  Instead of "TTS Ephemeral," a fighter wing might be called "Gryphon Squadron."  What the names would be would vary by faction and mod; a given faction might choose to name them after the greek alphabet, or the NATO phonetic alphabet, or even just colors, ala Star Wars (Yellow Squadron and so on).  The second word would probably be separate from the namer, wihle the second could be hardcoded, or changeable with mods.  One faction might use "Yellow Squadron" while another might use "Alpha Group" and so on.

We don't have any sort of procedural paint scheme or decal generation in-game, and it'd take a long time to do so.  But I don't think that's necessary to make this feature a nice addition.

Suggestions / [Modding] Allow custom/modified/combined fighter roles
« on: October 12, 2013, 05:29:48 PM »
Right now, the fighter roles are a little restrictive (and not terribly distinguished) for modders.  They're especially problematic for the concept of a "fighter-bomber"; even if a fighter wing has the performance and weapons necessary to perform interceptor duties, it won't be assigned those tasks and will shy away from enemy fighters instead of engaging them.

So, it'd be nice if fighter roles could be made a little more flexible so a wing could be assigned multiple role types.  Order for this could potentially matter (if feasible); a wing with roles "BOMBER, FIGHTER" would primarily behave like a bomber, while having Fighter's assignment parameters as well; it'd be assigned to strike assignments but also fighter assignments, and would engage enemy fighters without hesitation.

I'm still not sure what the difference between the fighter roles are aside from bomber.

So, as far as I know, it's not possible to make a ship better or worse at strafing.  This also means you can't prevent a ship from being able to strafe at all.  While this would seem to make sense at first (who would want to pilot a no-strafe ship?) I feel it would be nice to allow modders to change how well a ship does or doesn't strafe.

Currently, you can change acceleration and deceleration to modify its general maneuverability, but a little more flexibility would be nice.  Specifically, this would be useful for Aerospace Fighters that aren't equipped with lateral thrusters.

Suggestions / New render hint: RENDER_BELOW_HULL
« on: October 03, 2013, 07:55:03 PM »
This is related to a prior suggestion that wanted bombs and missiles to be hidden.  I since discovered that by default on a Hidden mount, vanilla missiles will still render but the rack will be hidden; this is an awesome behavior for missiles attached to the tip of a fighter's wings.  But in the event of a traditional modern-era fighter with more stuff on the bottom of the wings, you're kinda out of luck if you want missiles to poke out from beneath them.

So, this render hint would fix that.  Unless there's already a way to do this I'm not aware of; this would allow to you set a weapon to render on a layer beneath the hull sprite, so it only shows if there's nothing blocking it from showing.  This would allow the aforementioned behavior of missiles rendering beneath, say, a fighter's wings.

Alternatively, this could be in the form of hardpoint types called "HIDDENBELOW," "TURRETBELOW," and "HARDPOINTBELOW."

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