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Topics - Gwyvern

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General Discussion / Gauging Interest in Custom Starsector Portraits
« on: January 07, 2020, 07:48:40 PM »
Hello! Over the few months or so I've wound up doing custom, from-scratch portraits in starsector's style, both for my own work, and for other people.

The fact that many of these were commissioned by someone has me wondering if there might not be a wider market for this.

At current my queue is a bit filled up, so I won't be taking orders just yet, but right now I'd like to know if people are even interested.

Price would be $50 for each, and they can effectively be whatever you want.

And for the record, I cleared it with Alex before making this post.

Admittedly I only discovered this when trying to troubleshoot one of my own shipsystems that is an offshoot of the vanilla mine system.

But it seems like when trying to target fighters the AI will drop a mine clear in the opposite direction than would be considered sensible, or, at best, way too far away to be of any help to anyone.

The issue seems specific to fighters, beyond that I couldn't say what behavior is actually causing this.

Suggestions / I want blueprints to be a strategic resource.
« on: September 24, 2019, 04:20:49 AM »
In case the wording of the title isn't clear enough, this suggestion is more like an opinion, and I know for a fact there are people out there who will disagree with this, but I don't care, I'm stating it anyway.

I know Starsector has been drifting a bit from its initial lore, perhaps intentionally even, but I kind of wish that blueprints (outside of the basics) were a legitimately limited resource, one that is not consumed on use, but plugged into production. Stealing an Onslaught blueprint from the hegemony doesn't just allow you to build Onslaughts at one of your planets, but now the Hegemony can build Onslaughts at one fewer planet than they could before.

This probably stems from a general desire for there to be more strategic importance to the topology of the sector, especially since the player can grow multiple colonies from naught to thriving metropolis within the confines of a single campaign, there really isn't much difference between doing that in system A, or doing it in system B, and the same goes for the core worlds. Location doesn't really matter beyond the individual (static) sizes of the pre-existing markets.

While it may sound like I am talking about two different things, they are in fact one and the same. That Onslaught blueprint is no longer just something you have forever, it is now a treasured resource that you have to protect, lest you lose it.

Anyway, thank you for coming to my TED talk.

Suggestions / A plot to overthrow the late game.
« on: September 10, 2019, 07:24:02 PM »
I would like to preface this by saying that what I am about to discuss would represent a lot of work for Alex, and may be divergent from his long term vision for this game. As such, I hold zero expectation that any of this be acted upon, but if he gleans even one good idea from my ramblings, then it will have all been worth it.

This all stems from the reality that Starsector has an inverse difficulty curve. Whether you like it or loathe it, the start of a campaign is often fraught with difficulty, while the end game can almost play itself, and most people end a run when they get bored, rather than due to reaching any kind of goalpost.

What I hope to lay out, is just one, out of many potential routes to alleviating this problem.

Admittedly, a fairly high-effort one at that.


We have colony mechanics now, but as far as I am concerned, they seem to only be a momentary diversion aimed at providing more resources to the player. When a colony is first set up, it is relatively vulnerable, and requires protecting, but only minimal guidance. There are some tools to help it along, and you chose what it builds, but other than that, the colony exists as its own entity, functionally independent of the player, but feeding into the player's pockets. Once a colony has grown to a certain point, it essentially becomes invincible, hiding behind an iron curtain of megafleets and star fortresses, safely printing truckloads of money for the player to utilize. And what do they utilize this money on? More ships, more guns, more colonies to print more money.

Largely, what the end game consists of, is the same stuff that the early game consists of, except the player has a lot more resources at their disposal. They can choose to fight bigger fleets, sometimes bigger fleets come to them, but it all basically cancels out, resulting in the very late game being rather easy, and not that distinct from the early game outside of the fear of failure being almost entirely quashed by that point.

The crux of this supposition, is that a colony should not be a means to simply acquire more wealth, but instead should be a tool required to access the second half of the game.

Early colony gameplay should mirror early fleet gameplay in how totally outclassed you are by most of the parties at play. You just put on your bigboy shorts, and everyone else has been wearing bigboy pants for hundreds of years. And the colony itself should be akin to your first, tiny fleet.

For this to truly work, a lot will have to be done, some things merely need changed, but other things require improvements, and still others, entirely new mechanics. Hopefully I'll hit all the big ones below.


- Requiring the player to actually pay for the majority of their fleets, investing in them should be a real investment down to the individual hulls, and lost ships should require replacement from the player's resources, automate every part of this that one can, but leave it open to micromanagement, because these fleets must be directible. They should not simply float about the player's systems unless that is what they are supposed to be doing. The player needs the ability to treat them like a resource that they can do other things with. Bring them along into the frontier (for whatever reason) Aid in the defense of your allies, or invade the systems of your enemies, whatever one can do with a fleet, the player should be able to do with a fleet operated by their colonies.

- A far more accurate strategic map that can be interacted with at both the hyperspace, and system levels, nominally access to hyperspace transponders would facilitate your ability to command from a distance, but the idea is that you should actually be commanding an operation at the fleet level, rather than just ordering it be so and letting scripted events handle the rest.

- A complete overhaul in the AI's ability to make strategic decisions, rather than say, Nexerelin simply having a faction pick a random hostile target to raid or invade every now and again, it will have to be able to factor in territory, geography, fleet positioning, intel, strategic value, economic value, etc, etc, all on a fairly constant basis, and the systems it gains or loses need to have a profound effect on its ability to wage a war like this.

- A proper political system that the player can interact with, that simulates and factors things other than the player's colony strength and use of AI cores, otherwise the decisions of the AI to attack, defend, or ignore you would seem entirely arbitrary.

- Dynamic AI factions irrespective of the player's involvement, meaning borders can shift, factions can die or expand, whether the player is involved in politics or not, otherwise you are playing a game with a foregone conclusion, being the only party capable of self improvement makes eventual victory a guarantee, and that doesn't make for very interesting gameplay.

The TLDR of all this is: The second half of a Starsector campaign should play more like an RTS with a combat layer, rather than just being the same as the early game but bigger. Your first colony should be more like your starting Wolf class frigate on the grand stage of politics and war, rather than a seed one plants and nurtures until it grows into a beautiful, but static money tree.

All this would take the inverse difficulty curve and mix it up into something far more interesting, so that everything you accomplish during the first half of a campaign is simply the prelude to getting involved a far larger struggle that even the best captains can never be 100% prepared for.

Suggestions / D-mod Disparity
« on: July 27, 2019, 05:01:53 AM »
To the best of my understanding, D-mods are supposed to be things you have to work around, only being able to remove them at great expense.

In this capacity however, some are just way too strong.

Degraded Engines, Increased Maintenance, and Unstable Injectors are all pretty much instant deal-breakers, seeing just one of these on any ship is enough for me to write it off completely, or if it's rare, stow it until I can afford to restore it.

Asking around, it seems everyone has slightly different opinions on which D-mods are the worst, but almost everybody has at least one or two D-mods who's malus is too great to justify on its own.

So maybe their effects relative to one another could use a looking at.

Suggestions / The Bounty System Could Stand to be More Nuanced
« on: July 24, 2019, 03:48:43 AM »
This is a bit of a gripe I've had for a while, and it was...slightly addressed with the update to 0.91, but the way bounties scale is way out of wack.

Essentially, what we have right now, is a bounty system that scales vaguely linearly with what I assume to be the player's level, which is fine as long as any given campaign goes smoothly and the player never makes mistakes, or savescums heavily when they do.

The problem happens when you do make a mistake, in my current playthrough I have fleetwiped twice now, and I kind of like the game when it is forcing you to adapt to unforseen circumstances, so I tend not to revert my save when such things happen, and with the tease of story points and the lingering ironman mode, I get the impression that at some point, this is how you are supposed to play the game, bask in the successes, and roll with the punches.

This is where the issues with a level-scaling bounty system come into play, as right now, after my second fleet wipe, followed by a cycle-long grind to get my ducks back in a row, the bounty board currently looks like this.

and it has prettymuch always looked like some form of that since my first fleetwipe. The moment you are set back in a campaign, bounties (outside of the system bounties of course) become totally blocked off as a means of earning income, because the system seems quite clearly geared to always provide bounties based on your level, with a single, bottom tier bounty that doesn't really pay you enough to get back on your feet in a reasonable length of time, moreover, all the destroyer/cruiser fights have all but disappeared from the board, fleets either consist of a few frigates, or contain multiple capital ships with VERY few exceptions, which poses a problem from to fronts for my 2 cruiser/ smattering of destroyers fleet.

My issue is only half that this makes it difficult to do bounties, the other half is that this seems so consistent as to be kind of gamey, where it doesn't have to be. I doubt crime lords are watching my career with bated breath, and fielding their fleets accordingly, it would be far more interesting if some cycles things were just like this, while other cycles there's nothing but rockstar rookies skulking about drawing the ire of the law, and of course, there should also be times when approachable bounties are plentiful, in perfect balance with the strength of your fleet...or well...vaguely balanced, like I said, variety here is key.

Also to clarify, this is mostly to do with targeted bounties, system bounties I really don't have anything to complain about except that they can be kind of short. Usually by the time I'm on the scene, either the AI has mostly cleared them up, or the pirates are still about but there's only a week or so left to cash in on it before its gone.

This was just a thought I had while observing members of the unofficial discord, for what seems like the 1500th time, assist somebody with troubleshooting their game after they started modding, only for it to turn out that they had not gone into their vmparams file and increased their ram allocation from the default 1.5GB.

Now, this in and of itself isn't a problem, we are happy to help, but I can't help but wonder how many people encountered this issue without any community interaction, did not know about the vmparams file, or how to safely edit it, who simply concluded that the game must be poorly optimized and gave up, as many of us have come to expect such things from games now a days, Indie devs often don't have the resources or knowhow, and AAA studios tend not to care.

The problem is that this is not true, SS is wonderfully optimized, but its hiding such a vital piece of configuration in a location which might have been standard fare back in 2010, but this is 2019, not even Bethesda RPGs require any file tinkering to start up a basic mod list, and believe me, those games can get pretty hairy as your list grows.

I only see this becoming a bigger issue for the game as time goes on. So here's what you can do about it.

Step 1: The Bare Minimum

Even if you don't want to put a lot of work into revamping the launcher right now, there is one small change you can make to the installer to make most of this problem go away.

Instead of allocating a single, default value (in this case its like, 1.5 GB or something): have the installer detect the amount of installed ram, and set vmparams to allocate 50% of available ram, but -NEVER- more than 8GB

This is the optimal configuration for 99% of end users and will all but eliminate complaints based on this problem.

Step 2: Extended

This should be mostly fine, anything beyond this could easily fall under the guise of 'troubleshooting', and most people will know it is time to roll up their sleeves from here on out, but, if you wanted maximum future proofing, allow any and all relevant changes to the vmparams file to be done through a plain-english interface in the launcher, this one will require a bit of work, but it will make a large number of troubleshooting problems easier to deal with than most games nowadays provide.

I hope this helps.

Suggestions / Intel missions could use some tweaking.
« on: April 25, 2019, 05:34:53 PM »
For those of us who like to venture out into the frontier, bounty and scan missions can be a great help, but I think the campaign balance of them is a bit off.

Bounties pay out pretty generously, but it seems like low level bounties disappear very fast in a campaign. I've had runs where I've done 4 or 5 of them and then afterwards every single available bounty has at least one cruiser and a large fleet, and capital ships become ubiquitous. This sort of sudden and massive jump in bounty difficulty makes it problematic if you wanted combat to be your primary means of income, as system bounties are more difficult to take advantage of, compared to the payout, as once you start seeing cruiser fleets in the bounty lists, frigate fleets become quite rare, and I don't see many destroyer fleets at any point in a campaign. I know I'm not the best player, but I have never been in a position to tackle these higher level bounties by the time they completely take over the bounty boards.

All this would only be a moderate issue, except that scan missions exist.

Scan missions pay out the ass, more than low level bounties, and are laughably easy to complete. I can rake in hundreds of thousands of credits easily, flying a "fleet" that consists only of a single Shepherd. Increasing the size of the fleet increases the rewards too, as you have more cargo to loot the scan target, the surrounding space, and bring supplies for surveys.

I do enjoy scan missions, but I enjoy combat more, and financially speaking, bounties come with significant risk compared to scan missions, factoring in repairs, recovery supplies, loss of crew, and potential loss of ships. Compare to your typical scan mission, which only incurs monthly maintenance costs, and maybe the occasional repair cost from hitting a hyperspace storm, costs that bounty missions *also* must incur.

For an optimal experience, it would be nice if combat was something I could do frequently early game because It is an effective way to advance, not simply as a side gig because I enjoy it.

Suggestions / add PD_BEAM_MOD
« on: March 24, 2019, 03:26:09 AM »
I don't know if this qualifies as an API request, given that I don't know what an API is, so I'm making this its own thread.

But basically I want to apply OP modifications to Beam weapons using a hullmod, but I do not want PD beams to be affected. There are ways to do this for PD weapons, and there are ways to do this for beams, but there is no way to do this for PD beams without affecting either all PD weapons, or all beams.

Discussions / Selling two GTX 970s, looking for buyers.
« on: March 13, 2019, 09:37:12 PM »
With Alex's permission, I am posting in here that I no longer require my GTX 970, and am looking to sell it.

Asking price is $100 + shipping.

I started a new campaign, and died during my very first engagement.

It re-spawned me in a hidden OCW (one of Tartiflette's mods) system near the edge of the map, which needless to say, would be a very inconvenient situation to resolve without console commands.

As far as me or him understand, there is no way to prevent this on the modder's end, and as the functionality of the base game expands, mods that add content such as this are only going to get more common.

Suggestions / Some things for weapons.CSV
« on: December 15, 2018, 04:21:35 AM »
1: A tag that prevents weapons from appearing in loot drops like research stations all together. Even if setting a weapon's tier to 5 prevents this (and I'm not sure it does) it also prevents the weapon from being sold in markets.

2: A hint for weapons that tells the AI to ignore a weapon's ammo completely. Weapons that try to use Ammo-Regen setups as a standard burst mechanic (there are several reasons why this might be desirable in certain cases) are hampered by the fact that even with a DO_NOT_CONSERVE hint, the AI is still somewhat stingy with the weapon's ammo, and thus cuts the weapon's effective DPS harshly.

Modding / How to add Derelict hulls to an existing starsystem.
« on: November 22, 2018, 07:55:28 PM »
Hello, I am trying to figure something out for later, but I have completely hit a brick wall and am at the end of my rope here.

How do you add a wreck to a system that already exists? All of the existing methods I have found do so ONLY after generating a token and adding them within the token's purview, this method does not seem capable of functioning when you are trying to append things to an existing system using a separate script.

Suggestions / Officer skills affecting the fleet: a starter.
« on: November 14, 2018, 02:04:33 PM »
Awhile ago in another thread, one Dark Revenant posted this:
I'd suggest positive design, like making mixing in smaller ships with a larger fleet have some profound inherent value beyond just being cheaper.  The fact that they can capture points quickly isn't really enough for this, since the bonuses are not always large enough to deal with the micromanagement of keeping a forward force of frigates alive.

I think the closest thing to a solution that has been said so far is allowing officers to affect bonuses upon smaller ships.  If an officer of sufficient level is in charge of a capital ship, he might be able to extend his benefits to a cruiser, or a pair of destroyers, or three frigates.  If all of your ships are capital ships, you won't receive the maximum possible benefit from your officers; at a bare minimum, you'd need to pair each capital ship with a cruiser.

Note that due to the implied overall power increase larger ships offer to the fleet with these mechanics, each tier up should be more expensive to compensate.  It would improve the progression curve of the build-up-your-fleet portion of the game, I feel.

To which Alex replied as such:

(As far as officers affecting multiple ships, the merits of the idea aside, that's just a complete non-starter for me in terms of implementation.)

I like this idea, so on the off chance I could get a ball rolling, my idea is this:

Add a secondary effect to officer skills that applies to other ships in the fleet, based on ship size with a lock based on the size of ship that officer is captaining.

IE: Level 1 of combat endurance provides the user with +25% bonus to peak operating time. I cannot confirm but I believe this is true for the player AND for officers.

What if, when applied to an officer, it also provided a scaling bonus of 5%/3%/1% bonus to peak time for all un-captained Frigates, Destroyers, and Cruisers within the fleet, with the highest size of ship that can receive the bonus being one lower than the size of ship that officer is flying.

So if an officer with Combat Endurance level 1 is flying a cruiser, all un-captained frigates and destroyers in the fleet will get +5%/3% peak time.

Ideally this effect would stack with multiple officers having the same skill, but having hard-caps on the max bonuses that can be doled out this way would likely be wise.

Alright I've laid it out, discuss, or dismiss, I'm just trying to see if there is *any* merit to this idea at all, as it could go a long way toward encouraging mixed fleets over single-weight spam. If it works...

The subject says most of it this time around. I vastly prefer keyboard flight but any hardpoint-heavy ship just does not work very well with it, and having to go into the menu to switch between the two modes depending on what ship I am flying is kind of a chore.

Having to hold the button is awkward since it takes up a finger and forces positioning on the hand.

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