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Starsector 0.97a is out! (02/02/24); New blog post: New music for Galatia Academy (06/12/24)

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Topics - Archduke Astro

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General Discussion / MOVED: Sandbox Mode?
« on: September 13, 2012, 08:14:04 PM »

General Discussion / MOVED: DIE ADMIRAL DIE!!!
« on: August 21, 2012, 01:07:32 AM »

Bug Reports & Support / No off-topic posts in this Subforum!
« on: August 20, 2012, 12:56:28 PM »

Please make certain that your post concerns ONLY bug reports or support requests before posting it. Off-topic posts of any kind in this subforum makes substantial extra work for Alex. Since we'd all much rather have Alex working on making the Campaign a playable reality instead of wasting time plowing through snow-drifts here, I'm sure you'll see the wisdom of this.

In order to make certain that this crucial subforum is not needlessly littered with distractions and obstacles for him, all off-topic posts are subject to removal by moderators. Going forward from this moment, those members who cannot or will not avoid making off-topic posts here will be subject to possible forum discipline. Thanks for your cooperation!

Here are a few words from the man himself which lend more insight about this problem:

If I can take this opportunity to say something related, in a place where hopefully a good number of people will see it:

Please keep threads in the "Bug Reports" section of the forum on-topic. I've got to read and address these every day before I can make any forward progress in development, and lately there has been a lot of going off-topic. The latest example: here. See other recently-locked threads on that board for more.

Cluttering up this section has a real impact on the time I get to spend actually working on the game. Worse yet, it's harder to keep track of all the issues and make sure I don't miss anything. If you want to say something like "I ran into this bug too", that's fine and actually useful. But going off on a tangent - one that would be absolutely fine in any other section of the forum - is really detrimental there.

Thanks for understanding. Again, this has only become a problem recently, and I'd like to address it before it grows.

General Discussion / MOVED: COFFEE!
« on: July 23, 2012, 08:24:00 PM »

General Discussion / MOVED: Missile Support Cruiser
« on: July 09, 2012, 02:00:17 PM »

Suggestions / An Alternative Missile Concept
« on: April 03, 2012, 12:39:17 AM »
I originally had this idea in response to a new missile project on the Modding forum. Upon reflection, I doubt this can be player-modded into existence at present so I'm posting it here in expanded form.

The Concept:
A missile-type weapon that, in place of an explosive payload of any kind, instead mounts a low-ammo, limited-duration version of a starship weapon.

Said missile would wait until it reaches a certain (fixed) distance from the enemy, then starts firing the weapon at the target unit at that instant, and continues for a certain (again, fixed) number of shots until the missile is hit by enemy PD systems or it exhausts its onboard miniature power reactor / ammo magazine and it is then removed from play. The distance at which it opens fire is not player-alterable; it's a hardwired property of the missile itself and is not changeable.

The Background:
Lore-wise, I propose that these alternative missile techs serve as a partial means for "fighting by proxy" in a certain sense. What with the somewhat short-term unpredictable but generally downward trend for the Sector's tech base, this could be explained as a means to help insure the longevity & survival of starships & skilled personnel which are far more expensive & difficult to replace in the wake of losing a hotly-contested battle than secondary fire-delivery systems such as fighter wings or conventional missiles themselves. I don't intend these new missiles to totally overturn the nature of Starfarer combat. But I do believe that the existing publicly-accessible lore would be well served by introducing additional means of protecting the significant investment that even a single flight-ready frigate can represent in absolute terms.

The Tactical Workflow:
Player selects a suitable target, fires the special missile, it flies until it reaches its factory-set trigger boundary, and the embarked weapon in its nosecone mount fires at the same exact rate as its shipboard version would. If the missile gets smoked by enemy PD before the supply of shots / energy beam duration is safely away, too bad; that's part of the whole dynamic of this system. But once the missile uses up its warshots, it basically self-destructs and has no further effect on the battle. It cannot be recovered and serviced for a second use.

"Under The Hood":
No new weapons are required to be added to the existing game system. Even this sneaky new missile itself technically isn't a weapon per se; rather, it's a new delivery method for existing weapons. It's likely that the majority of the coding required for this proposal would concern the unusual new targeting dynamic, since this is a two-stage device that's a distant parallel to the MIRV missiles.

I also picture the embarked weapon as no more accurate than the same weapon mounted aboard a ship, but (in some cases) possibly slightly less accurate for balance purposes.

The embarked weapon aboard such a missile will depend on its size. A small version might include (for example) a Railgun or an IR Pulse Laser, both with a limited duration of fire once they reach the triggering distance to target. At the other end of the scale the large version of this missile might offer different models, each of which could fire (roughly) 4 to 8 Hellbore Cannon rounds, or two Plasma Torpedoes, or 12 seconds' worth of Storm Needler flechettes in a continuous stream before running dry.

I'm of the mind that some of the more unusual weapons in Starfarer would be better candidates for such use than those which are just straightforward, max DPS with no frills. The Ion Cannon immediately came to mind -- its indirect way of hurting the enemy would be cool to see employed in this way. Same for Graviton Beam! Several of the various burst-damage / area-of-effect weapons could also be of use here. Feel free to suggest some others!

Of course there should also be a few variants in each size class which really are all about just delivering a curb-side beatdown for a few seconds. How about a "Tachyon Pulse" large version? [-runs for cover from brick-throwing mob-] That might not be as far-fetched as it may sound at first.

Meshing With Starfarer:
The resulting family of missiles is quite distinct from an indefinitely reloadable / repairable fighter wing. This beast delivers much more hurt in a brief span of time, but it's a single-use deal and then it's inert. It seems most effective when trying to generate enough firepower momentum to steamroller an enemy when you're timing the start of your decisive charge into close-in knife-fighting range. It's also obviously something that is likely too hard to handle or too expensive in a single-ship fight, but is a force multiplier once you have several combat-capable ships under your direction. As with the remainder of combat in this game, it's up to the player to decide when to unleash this brief but dazzling wave of tactical surprise. I like the way that this builds upon the already existing battle dynamics which have already distinguished Starfarer from other games out there.

Keeping The Genie In The Bottle:
The balance mechanism I concentrated on the most is keeping the so-called triggering distance for the missile not much farther from the target than a modest distance beyond typical PD systems' range. This gives it a chance to fire at least a partial volley before enemy PD aboard the targeted unit has a chance to burn it down. It's important not to allow the missile to fire with impunity from very long ranges, but also not from such short ranges that this missile system is almost always destroyed by a much cheaper PD gun before it can ever deploy its unique "cargo". The range in question will depend on exactly what internal weapon that missile is built to accept.

Any given version of such a missile would only have a single weapon as its payload. The bigger the missile, the larger the embarked weapon. Naturally multiple different versions would be desirable, all with the appropriate price-tag and missiles-per-launcher limits.

Since each missile is a highly temporary buff to the launching ship's peak output of pain, and it has a nontrivial chance of indeed getting that job done, various deployment-control checks and balances will be required. I foresee this proposed new weapon being most useful for fleets that are commanded by missile-loving admirals who want to stack the deck a bit in their favor, or for risk-averse commodores in charge of expensive hard-to-replace ships. This radical new method of temporarily projecting starship-grade weapons fire at a distance from the firing ship itself adds an interesting & unpredictable new set of tactical options to the game. It brings a new layer to combat which can help insure a blazing win for your attack strategy, or allow you to survive retreat from a System Defense Fleet in order to fight another day.

In Closing:
I find it likely that such an unusual ordnance system will help distinguish Starfarer from other games competing for people's minds and dollars. It's an added dimension of tactical space combat that I've never seen executed before in a game. The willingness that Alex & Co. have shown in giving Starfarer such a varied & unexpected feature-set is what encouraged me to flesh out my modding idea into a request for an official version of my concept -- "missile chess" !  ;)

I understand (perhaps imperfectly) that the Windows version of Starfarer holds most of its mission-critical goodies in a directory called "starfarer-core".

What would be the equivalent folder within the Mac version of the game???

I thought that I had correctly identified it as being at the end of this path within the game package, but maybe I was wrong:

That is where the Mac version of the game keeps the info most of interest to modders, such as hulls, variants, weapons, etc.

I ask because i'm trying to get a reputedly excellent modding utility to function within my Mac game install. Said utility was natively compiled for Windows, but does open via Wine / Crossover on a Mac. However, it is single-mindedly hunting for a folder explicity titled starfarer-core and there is no such animal in Mac Starfarer. It's my hope that I can identify the functional equivalent and then enjoy that modder-made utility.

Thanks in advance for any insight you can provide.

Firstly, I use the Mac version of Starfarer v0.51a.

Secondly, I installed version 1.2a of DeathSG's Minimash multiple-mod compilation in order to spice up the game.

It's been flawless...with one exception, that is. And it's not strictly anything to do with the modded content directly, either; that's just a means to an end, as you'll see.

After playing the game with that set of mods for a while, the added awesome features in said mods often lead to the ability to win enough battles such that one can generate mountains of cash to buy an epic-sized warfleet. To make full use of such plunder, I tweaked my setup further to set the default battle size at 400 fleet points instead of 100. Also by my hand, system defense fleets ranging in strength up to 800FP - and more! - are now roaming the void, too; the resulting fights have been truly heroic. Many songs have been sung and much ale has been quaffed as the victors recounted their tales of pluck and derring-do. Hegemony forces celebrate by watching extra-special gladiator combat between terrified untrained file clerks from Human Resources pitted against sharks with lasers on their heads. Even those otherwise uptight Tri-Tachyon stiffs have been known to order their post-battle cup of tea with lemon (such expense!) AND an extra lump of sugar in it.  ;D

The game begins to get unstable once the overall amount of fighter wings in service, ship hulls in service, and items & money in inventory also become epic-sized. Darn. Eventually that instability crashes my gameplay session -- every time. I was surprised and confused that such apparently mundane accumulation of stuff would be a problem in an otherwise very pleasantly "finite but unbounded" game universe as this one.

Unfortunately, it is impossible for me to say what the precise trigger is which sets off the instability which eventually crashes Starfarer. I wish I could be more specific. The only reliable clue is that the game begins to lag; slowly at first, then more and more over the course of about 15-45 minutes. This surprises me because I'm running Starfarer on a Mac Pro tower with OS X 10.6.7, and the increasing amount of game lag gets so bad that it eventually smashes one entire CPU core at +90% utilization and holds it there. RAM usage doesn't escalate, but the game goes insane with CPU hogging. :-\

The inevitable end always comes when, after already having amassed a vast pile of loot, I'm randomly trying to purchase new fighters, ships or inventory items at any space station. I'll click the "Confirm Transaction" lights up...but the game never acknowledges the mouse click. After anywhere from 10 seconds to 2 minutes of a frozen game screen, I'm greeted with an error message. Boom! Abend. It's always the same message every time:

"Fatal: GC overhead limit exceeded
Check starfarer.log for more info.

As soon as I click to dismiss the alertbox, the game crashes to desktop.

Fortunately I screencapped one recent instance of this game error--

The use of the "Confirm Transaction" button after already having a very large fleet inventory (starships as well as weapons, crew, money, etc.) is the straw which breaks the proverbial camel's back. But what is the trigger value of the too-small boundary that is being crossed, and where can it be found? And is there more than one error condition which is being met? That's what I can't figure out.

A save-game file which exhibited this same trouble previously can start freaking out even just a few minutes after rebooting the game and reloading that same save into a new gameplay session. I don't think that the save itself is being corrupted, because no matter how many times I delete it and begin a new campaign game from square one, Starfarer eventually runs into the same trouble. I've easily encountered this same bug during more than 10 consecutive gameplay sessions, within at least as many brand-new campaign games begun from square one.

These chronic freezes and crashes become even more mysterious as well as frustrating to me, precisely because there is no such file as starfarer.log in the Mac version of the game! ??? [-sigh-] Well, so much for checking the (nonexistent) debugging logs. Without that, I can't take any further useful action to help you pin down this aggravating error.

I didn't think that things such as fleet size, etc. had hardcoded limits bounding them. That IS true, isn't it??? But something within the game sure is mighty unhappy once you rack up a few more orders of magnitude. My highly informal guess is that some data register (or more than one?) within Starfarer's codebase doesn't hold enough digits to get the job done. As I have a serious penchant for very large battles plus accumulating the equally large in-game infrastructure to support them (and repair my wounds afterward, lol), I'd love it if this bug was squashed in the next version of the game.

Same thing for the grievous lack of any error-logging at all in the Mac version of this generally great game.

Any insight you can share about the exact cause and projected future bugfix for the GC overhead limit error would be deeply appreciated. Thanks!

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Modding / v0.51a - How to install mods on a Mac???
« on: March 15, 2012, 09:14:41 PM »
Here's my problem, folks:

At present with Starfarer v0.51a, it seems that if a player is using the Mac version of the game, one cannot add mods in the same fashion that one can if using the Windows or Linux versions. Can someone kindly explain precisely what steps I need to take in order to add modded content into my game, please?

It would be great to corral your replies together into this one thread so that it's more easily searchable for other mod-hungry Mac players who follow in my footsteps later. Prior to starting this thread, I tried using the forum search feature and the results were frustratingly uninformative. There seems to be multiple indirect mentions of this known problem with the Mac copy of the game, but no single thread which conclusively defines the problem and also says, "HERE is the solution".  ???

I am very desirous of trying out several fully-featured and exciting mods -- DeathSG's Minimash mod compilation is at the top of my list, but it certainly doesn't end there. Thanks in advance!

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