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Starsector 0.95a is out! (03/26/21); Blog post: A Tale of Two Tech Levels (05/28/21)

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Topics - ChaseBears

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General Discussion / [REDACTED] nice work!
« on: April 30, 2017, 04:30:58 AM »
Mild spoilers.
Spoiler
Just worked my way up to the survey mothership and it is SOOOOO COOOL.   :o

It's an absolutely fantastic feel dealing with its unique defense systems and the huge multipart mothership itself, and it was as part of something I just randomly found and had to work through the probes and the ship up to find the mothership itself.  Not a mission or anything.  Basically everything that exploration is cool for :)

I guess I have mild quibbles with the encounter a little? There's too many of the probes in any given system, imo - was getting irritated with the number of minor, non-autoresolvable encounters.  And the mothership itself was relatively easy compared to its defense force. (Have it spawn drones?)  And the huge amount of flares chugged my framerate.  But those are minor, relatively.  Really felt like an accomplishment getting through this thing.    ...  Definitely had a homeworld-ish vibe, come to think of it.
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2
General Discussion / niggles about 0.8
« on: April 26, 2017, 09:45:01 AM »
I am greatly enjoying 0.8 thus far, but I do have some quibbles.

-The default command in map really should be lay course, not planet info.

-Would like some idea of a bounty fleets strength (other than generic identical text) before mustering for an expedition to go fight it.   There's a big difference between checking out the outskirts of Corvus and going 30ly into the unknown.

-Huge Salvage fleets ganking all the pirate bounties! Who even needs the Hegemony when dozens of ships arrive squash every pirate that ever lived?  (Salvage fleets should be unaggressive towards pirates if they are going to be so huge+common.) (EDIT: I mean the core sector bounties, not the fleets.)

-Speaking of Salvage, I'm unsure why i spent skill points in Salvage. I think literally 95% of the wrecks i've stumbled across have been salvage rating 0%.  I feel salvage rating is an underdeveloped mechanic on both the player/fleets end and the salvage targets end.  Perhaps salvage rating should be a cumulative rating of things like player skill, salvage rigs, mining pods, relevant hullmods, etc. versus a more dynamic targeting level dependent on many factors like chance, being located in a difficult environment, contamination, etcetera.  Or at the least, there should be a more apparent benefit to the salvage rating skill, like salvage amount increases at all levels.

-I don't feel ships are sufficiently specialized or capable at exploration.  Say you want to play Star Trek and venture into the unknown with a cruiser.   The three obvious candidates are the Apogee, the Venture, and the Doom - with 50, 40, and 50 light year ranges respectively. That isn't far enough to go anywhere interesting and back. Thus you are forced to bring a tanker.  The cruiser with the worst range is the Mora, only going 15ly.  With a Dram you get 90ly, compared to 150ly on the Apogee/Doom.  This is not a big difference considering the Mora is the worst in the game (although Dominator+Dram is also 90ly.)  Also consider that 90ly is enough to do most exploration.  

A ship designed for exploration like the Apogee should be self sufficient in this regard, even if it comes at the sacrifice of some other capability.   The Venture should be similarly capable at being a long range base ship.  Right now theres no decision making in having a tanker, they are just necessary.

The lack of differentiation with effective range is also apparent within the sector, since you basically do not need to worry about fuel as a small fleet; I usually salvage more than I can use for core-area travel.  Would also be a good way to differentiate some cargo vessels; right now all the cargo destroyers have literally 35-40 ly in range. I'd drop some to 20 so there's more decision making.



3
Suggestions / Missions that take 100 units & Cargo Frigates
« on: January 06, 2016, 01:12:13 AM »
When starting new games, I find myself constantly miffed by missions that require 100 units of deliverables; the Cerberus and Shepherd both top out at exactly 100.  While it's interesting in that it encourages you to use the overload mechanic, I find it a little weird that a load quantity that is specifically very difficult for standard 'tramp freighters' should be common amongst mission-issuers.  Maybe it's Tri-Tachyon corporate rules?

Notably, this means that these ships have no missions advantage over a Hound or Mudskipper (75 cargo each), as both of those can just as easily conduct 10- and 50-unit missions.

Similarly, freight range for destroyer+ cargo vessels ranges from 250-450, with 300 being the benchmark quantity for Tarsus and Buffalo freighters.  But missions for 500 are common for the 'mid range but achievable' cargo amounts. 

This isn't a problem really, but IMO either missions or ship cargo quantities should be structured around each other. 

FAKE EDIT:

Actually, this gives me an idea. Perhaps the unit size for each faction's missions should be based off of their commonly-used cargo vessels, or off fixed values defined by the faction. For example, a faction that commonly used Cerberus (cargo size 100) and Gemini freighters (cargo size 250) would typically issue missions for ~80 and ~210 units.  But a faction that used Hounds and Tarsus freighters would issue missions for ~60 and ~250 units

Then you'd have the super-sized missions on top of that, for the truely ambitious freight convoy.


4
Suggestions / Mixed feelings about skill system
« on: December 17, 2015, 10:19:04 AM »
Having played around with it for some time, ever since it was introduced, I have mixed feelings about the skills system as implemented for both players and NPCs. 

It is a plus overall since it gives you non-economic progression; this is a huge plus for Ironman games where a single slipup can cost you your fleet.  But at times it feels like the skills system is dominating the gameplay and resulting in what is to my mind big negatives.

It is not hard to level up.  A single battle can gain you multiple levels.  Your captain (and your officers) rapidly level past the officers being deployed in AI fleets, and their impact on ship performance becomes more and more noticeable.  The player rapidly outpaces NPCs and outmatches them on statistical grounds. In some cases this can change certain NPC enemies from a significant threat to a complete joke just through leveling.  Even the Lion's Guard has a 'base' level of 7 (as defined in the files); the player and their officers can outmatch that very quickly.   

 I'm uncertain to what degree NPC levels might advance over the course of regular gameplay, but that brings up another problem: The Skill system begins to dominate combat gameplay.  It is hard to underestimate the synergistic boost ships attain when they are rocking increased OP, increased efficiency (+%flux, etc.), and hugely important bonuses like flat range increases. You start to see destroyers with the speed of a fighter and the flux/firepower of an 'unskilled' cruiser.  Particularly suffering from this is the Combat Readiness system; crew skill bonuses range from mediocre to meaningless compared to what a ship gains from a skilled captain.  Fighter gameplay is also a noticable casualty; they simply do not benefit nearly as much as ships and so their relative effectiveness decreases.  They also suffer very noticably from bonuses provided by skills, like improved autoaim, stronger armor, and increased range on PD weapons or steady beams.   Poor NPC officers are at a disadvantage against highly experienced Player officers, even without considering the aforementioned synergy effects.  God help the ships without officers; maybe they can use the captain's cabin for additional lifeboats.

I am less certain about this next bit, namely about how points do not feel important individually.  You are constrained by the Aptitude system but it does not take long to hit max on at least one category.  The really gamechanging bonuses are often at the 'milestone' levels. This is a bigger problem for officers than for players; you pick a new skill category, gaining virtually no improvement -  then you advance it to (4), gaining a small statistical. Next you advance it to (7), gaining a nice statistical buff and what is often a very important milestone buff.  Finally you hit (10) resulting in a powerful statistical buff and two milestone effects.  Essentially, every level you invest in a skill gives a larger and larger return.  Minmaxing is the only way to play for officers, and it's doubly curious since they are not subject to the same constraints as the player (to some degree reinforcing how special and OP the player is). 

I'd like to draw a parallel to Mount & Blade, since I feel that game is closest to Starsector in basic gameplay.  In Mount & Blade, most skill stats were actually non-combat stats and many had a significant impact on gameplay. A single point was important to the effectiveness of any given skill, and it behooved players to take at least some level of competence across the board.  In comparison Starsector rewards minmaxing in order to get powerful milestone buffs, which occur on top and in addition to regular statistical bonuses.

To be fair, Starsector's skill system is very apparently not done, but that does not preclude criticisms of its current implementation.  0.7.1 is still really awesome, hoorah for space, hoorah for laser beams!

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