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Starsector 0.95a is out! (03/26/21); Blog post: Skill Changes, Part 2 (07/15/21)

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Topics - DinoZavarski

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Not sure if this is a bug, or an intended "meditate while keeping the mouse button pressed" minigame, but it is really annoying - i even managed to fall asleep once while "playing" it, just to find myself somewhere outside of the visible system map (btw: is the hyperspace ruller with it's distances in light years supposed to appear on the in-system map?). If this is related to the new autopilot you may consider making "set waypoint" a selectable option (or even a "set waypoints" - path setting will be usable to go around various nav hazards).

Not directly related, but making "Lay in course" non-default option that has to be specifically chosen in the object popup menu was really bad choice, as in most cases that is exactly what one wants to do when clicking on object (at least you did put "set as destination" in the planetary menu where one usually ends instead). "Go to the system" may be arguably better on the hyperspace map, to allow one to set in-system destinations, but you really have to make "Lay in course" default for system maps with the next release.

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Suggestions / Some toughts on piracy in SS
« on: October 03, 2016, 05:29:47 PM »
Hi All

Even since first playing SS the behavior of it's pirates can't cease to confuse me. I simply can't figure how they manage to still pay for their daily survival expenses, given how much losses does each raid generate (even if they somehow manage to survive it).

Sorry, but this is the reality. Current SS pirate behavior is that of war-time state army military raiders, that have taxpayers to cover their expenses.

So here are some my toughs on how to make different types of piracy look more realistic. Please comment. I hope this can help when developers decide they have time to work on it.


Pure pirate factions:
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The classical pirate. Those poor bandit specimens had no luck in capturing nice piece of the sector and proclaiming themselves state authority. Not really interested in obstructing trade, but motivated to claim their "well deserved share" of it's incomes.

Being completely self-sustainable private enterprises Pirates are supposed  to be much more conservative in relative fleet power calculation when choosing their potential prey. Ship/crew loss or even heavy repairs can easily soak the income of otherwise successful hit. On the contrary, being payed without even having to fight is the best possible outcome - after all wise traders have those expenses calculated in advance and include them in the price their customers pay.

Instead of the current straightforward destruction attempt when they catch you there can be a menu option to allow inspection of your cargo and a certain "service fee", set to ensure it won't leave without you. It is logical to make this "fee" size dependent on the player's relative alignment (like from -25% for 50 to +25% for -50), with players with alignment above 50 not being pirated uppon and those below -50 being directly attacked as enemy, not prey (if weak enough of cause). Also it is considered justifiable for the player to attempt to fight back, but on failure a contribution, based on Pirate's extra expenses+interest (moral losses  ;D) is added to the tax in the pre-second round menu. Aside from payment in credits, player that lacks them must be allowed to pay also in cargo or ships.

Similar mechanics can be applied for acts of piracy by players that are members of a pirate faction.

Also i am suggesting Pirates to be trading with the so called "Syndicate insurance policy". Sold on Pirate or Black markets, those have at least 50000 credits base price (?fleet size dependent variations?), expire after certain time (?like 3-6 in-game months?) and offer no refund (can't be sold back). Most authorities treat buying them as financing piracy - if found they are confiscated as contraband and the player is fined.

I see for them four possible uses:

- If you have some when caught by pirate fleet, menu option appears to redeem yourself with one instead of being scanned. This will still initiate standard faction scan timeout. If you decide to fight back instead there will be no redeem option before the second round - you will be offered to surrender to scan and pay the standard tax+contribution instead. Also if you are far enough from any potential witness and have relatively bad alignment a sufficiently strong pirate may risk to ignore the insurance and attempt to destroy you.

- To call help from a nearby pirate fleet. Pirates are not obligated to accept, generally joining your fight only if odds are clearly in their favor. Also after assisting you they are free to initiate standard san/"tax" procedure and even receive second Syndicate insurance for it.

- Allow single land and service on pirate station for a player with low-negative alignment.

- Pirate faction players that caught a prey can be randomly offered "Syndicate insurance obligation" (chance based on faction alignment, way to explicitly forbid it), that Pirate/Black markets buy for insurance policy base price. Ignoring it and taxing/attacking such prey leads to serious standing loss if caught, so be sure to leave no eyewitnesses if you decide to risk.

Also i think player's uncovered acts of pure piracy must periodically lead to inter-faction alignment penalty with all "lawfull" factions (independant of the local penalty, stacks with it).


Privateers:
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Those are private operators, but in some cases receive money from their sponsor. Both fleets of privateer/mercenary type and standard players that have faction commission can fail under this qualification.

On their faction territory Privateers are allowed to scan non-taxed non-hostile ships, capture contraband, collect taxes and fines for a 10% commission. If hostile faction civilian ships appear privateers are free to do with them whatever they want. If ships are military they are allowed to assist in their destruction.

Outside of faction territory Privateer attacks on their faction enemies that have war declared upon are not considered piracy according to the Interstellar Rules of Engagement and does not lead to generic inter-faction alignment penalty, trough (depending on the situation) victim's faction, it's allies, and any third race on which territory you operated can apply alignment penalty. Attacks on hostile factions without war may cause overreaction, especially if fought on third race territory, but otherwise are generally ignored. Attacks on other non-pirate/terror factions are treated as piracy.

On legal attacks privateer can either "tax" the enemy, following piracy mechanics, in which case 10% commission is received by the sponsor faction, or fight it, receiving from the sponsor achievements based bounty.


Raider:
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Pure military fleets, financed fully of mostly by the faction they belong to. Unlike Pirates and Privateers disrupting trade for enemy factions is one of their main goals, so when encountered they go for the kill, capturing ships and looting remains only when appropriate.


Terror units:
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Maintained by factions with aggressive xenophobic military doctrine those can attack any foreign fleet, sometimes even ignoring relative strength. Commonly not interested in loot (Dark Spire is good example).

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