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Starsector 0.95.1a is out! (12/10/21); Blog post: The Pilgrim's Path (07/19/22)

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Topics - Serenitis

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General Discussion / Clipped Wings - An Eagle Thread
« on: July 26, 2022, 01:06:06 AM »
Prompted by this:
At this point I feel like I should make yet another new thread, but for Eagle. Then again I'd surely be detected by the system as a bot or something.

Caveat: I am incredibly biased. I do not like the Eagle. Like, at all.


So, Eagle thread. Feel free to try and convince me (or anyone really) the Eagle is cool and good.
What's my beef with the Eagle anyway?

Well, it's not that the Eagle is specifically bad per se, it's more that it's just not good. It doesn't seem to have anything it can do that another ship cannot do better.
It has many attributes, some of them are even fairly good. In a vacuum.
However, unlike any other ship in the game Eagle has all it's attributes conflict with each other in what is a perfect storm of disappointment and mediocrity.
It's the exemplar of Jack of no trades, master of none, Eagle just is.

Eagle has a very underwhelming speed. But it also has a mobility system. Cool!
Unfortunately, even with this system active it is not fast enough to chase or run away from things.

It's weapons are... Confused tbh.
Short-ranged energy weapons are mounted towards the back of the ship, away from targets.

While long-ranged ballistic weapons are mounted in the nose, and fixed so they cannot be aimed without turning the whole ship.
Since it's a cuiser, Eagle's turn rate is not stellar. But it has a mobilty system that fixes that!
Neat. But that system can't be active all the time, so Eagle spends a significant amount of time not being able to use arguably its most useful weapons.

Missiles. Eagle has 2x small missile mounts. Which for a cruiser is effectively zero.
Eagle cannot meaningfully do flux-free burst damage at all.
Which is huge. And not in a good way.

In order to use all it's weapons Eagle needs to not only face it's target, but stay within range of it's gimped energy guns set far back on the hull.
Which means that in order to do any damage to anything Eagle must always create flux close to the enemy.
So it's always getting flux built on it from 2 sources.
And since it cannot rely on missiles this means it cannot "reset" fights to create openings to attack/escape.

Eagle has decent armour. But not enough that you'd want to use it as a primary defence.
So it must rely on shields to defend itself.
When it gets attacked, it will raise shields. And hits will raise flux.
Okay. No different to any other ship, so what's the problem?

Here's where the confluence of compromise takes effect...
Eagle has to create flux to attack.
And create more to defend.
It can't reset the fight to vent.
It's armour isn't strong enough to use in place of shields.
And it can't run away.

So what happens is the Eagle will attack, and if it can't defeat it's target in that initial exchange, it will stall.
It will get fluxed out and start flickering it's shields while it's armour and hull gets pecked away.
And then it dies.
In every version of the game I have ever played, the AI Eagle behaves like this. I stopped using them entirely because they're so... Disappointing.
Even as an enemy AI Eagles are one of the easiest targets, simply because they can't cope with being shot at, can't meaningfully hurt you beyond thier opening volley, and can't run away.

Even in a fleet setting where most of these issues are mitigated to some degree, Eagle is a consistent underperformer because it just cannot get damage onto targets fast enough to be worth the effort of fielding it.
I will take any other cruiser (and a few destroyers) in preference to Eagle any day of any week.
In most situations I'll take a pile of supplies and fuel in preference to Eagle :P

Some (maybe most) other ships in the game have one or more of these "issues".
But Eagle is the only one that has them all, and it suffers badly because of it.
And that is why I don't like the Eagle.

How can Eagle be improved?
More speed?
More missiles?
Less awkward gun layout?

Apparently this is important:
And please include in your OP that the deployment cost is currently 20 in the dev build. I think that's crucial for this type of discussion.

Suggestions / Intel/Map Features
« on: July 24, 2022, 07:57:15 AM »
Intel Screen - Fleet Log
Would it be possible to automatically remove fleet log entries for objects that have been found/interacted/salvaged?
My log always ends up being borderline unusable with a million arrows going in every direction on the map because I never remeber to check if x, y, z thing was in the log or not and remove stuff.
Something will prompt me to look at the log map, and it will be this and I'll be like "no thank you". (That sector is 100% explored as well.)

Intel Screen - Important
Could any locations given by the Historian be automatically flagged as important please?
I've taken to manually flagging them as the entires get 'lost' otherwise, and they seem like the sort of thing that you'd want to prioritise in any case.

<Tab> Sector Navigation Map
With the addition of the Galatia questline, it might be an idea to have active gates show up on the navigation map in a similar manner to warning beacons.
This would be useful as it would remove the need to swap in and out of the system map view repeatedly to find a gate.

Suggestions / Faction Hostilities
« on: June 09, 2022, 03:46:52 AM »
It would be nice if factions would behave a little more proactively when they fall out.
As it is currently they do little else other than lazily swipe at passing fleets like a bored cat who is completely uninterested in chasing the "toy".

I would like to suggest that "hostilities" be broken up into three discrete stages, each with its own behaviour and goals.
With each subsequent stage having a chance to be entered after <x> amount of time in the previous stage has been passed.
Some "events" will be low-level and never progress beyond the first stage, but others may go further as the rng dictates.

Stage 1: Tensions
This would be the same as currently exists. The factions take no specific action against each other, but thier respective fleets will try to engage thier opponents if they're nearby and feel like they can win.
Nothing really exciting happens - it's just background noise plus a few extra debris fields.

Stage 2: Escalation
The respective factions will start to spawn small and medium sized fleets which they will then send out to thier opponents territory to "cause trouble".
This will take the form of controlling infrastructure (if available), attacking smaller patrols, and disrupting trade fleets.
These "aggressor" fleets will try to stay away from large defence fleets and stations.

Stage 3: Conflict
In addition to Stage 2 activities the factions now start creating larger fleets, whose sole purpose is to disprupt thier opponent's orbital support structures.
Aka - destroy stations.
If successful, these fleets will try to "hold" the system and attack any opposing fleets until they're recalled or driven off.

If the player is commissioned with one of these involved factions, they may be tasked with activites based on thier faction reputation, level/skills and general fleet compostion.
Whether this would be a summons to report to a particular place to recieve orders, or those orders being sent directly is something to consider. (Possibly could be both - let the rng pick which method is used for variety.)
There could also be the opportunity to have faction contacts provide a means for the player to request specific activities to participate in if they so choose.

It may be worth also considering applying a condition to systems affected by stages 2 & 3 similar to the pirate raid malus that gets applied when hostile fleets show up, and removed once hostilities end.
At no point during any stage will any permanent effects be created. No territory will change hands. This is all entertaining, yet transitory fluff because Starsector is not a 4x.

And while it would be fun/interesting if these fleets were to disrupt facilities on thier opponents colonies as well, that would stray into permanent territory as core colonies are fragile little snowflakes who will already be struggling with the loss of trade fleets.
To this end it might be worth looking at giving npc/core colonies a bit of extra leeway with respect to resource shortages so they don't decivilise quite so readily.
(This would be useful in it's own right tbh.)

Suggestions / Commerce Split
« on: January 10, 2022, 09:08:37 AM »
Goal: Re-work Commerce into a multi stage building in the same manner the military base.

Reason: I like having access to a market, I dislike the stability malus and industry requirement, and I don't really care about an extra bucket of money on top of all the pre-existing ones.

How I imagine this would work is that Commerce would start out as a structure, which when built does nothing except add a market. Let's also say that for the sake of argument this also gives -1 stability just for continunity.
So you pay for access to a market (and your colony showing up on the best buy/sell lists) with some upkeep and some minor stability loss.

This structure could then be upgraded, and doing so turns it into an industry and adds the current income/stability effects.
It's also possible that there could be more than 1 upgrade level, so it would be possible to spread the income vs. stability tradeoff a bit wider, and have the player spend more money to achieve the higher income boost.

One possible arrangment might be:
  • Colony Market (Structure) - Adds a market to the colony, -1 Stability
  • Trader's Bazaar (Industry) - Adds 10% to colony income, -2 Stability
  • Commerce (Industry) - Adds 25% to colony income, -3 Stability

What to do with the holosuite though?
Well the two (or however many) commerce stages are easy, the same bonus, just scaled to match.
Commerce is the same as now, so +50%.  (Total +75%)
The new Bazaar is (approx.) half that, so +25%.  (Total +35%)

Does the basic colony structure really need to put a holosuite in it?
On one hand you could argue yes due to continuity, and the military base/patrol HQ already setting the precedent.
But on the other it doesn't really matter imo.
If it was able to be put into the basic market structure, it should only really do something local and small. Like maybe boost the income, but only from the population (hiring out holosuites to the public or w/e), or reduce the tariff a bit (this might have to be adopted into the other stages as well).

So our potential final arrangement could look like:
  • Colony Market (Structure) - Adds a market to the colony, -1 Stability (Holosuite reduces tariff to 20%)
  • Trader's Bazaar (Industry) - Adds 10% to colony income, -2 Stability (Holosuite increases income by an additional 25% and reduces tariff to 10%)
  • Commerce (Industry) - Adds 25% to colony income, -3 Stability (Holosuite increases income by an additional 50% and removes tariff)

"But I don't want to build a market because it makes me press a button when it didn't before."
The same workaround that exists now will still work - Don't build a market/commerce.
Nothing would change in that regard.
Although it would be nice if there were a setting somewhere to toggle which opens by default. Or just straight up swap the behaviour round and always have storage be the default.

Suggestions / Disengage From Station
« on: December 25, 2021, 03:47:59 AM »
Occaisionally when approaching a hostile station, a small fleet will tag you and force an encounter with the station + fleet which you must then disengage from if you wish to dock there.
However, this causes a significant loss of CR which cannot be avoided, except by engaging the station. Which then precludes docking there, thus defeating the point of the visit.
Sometimes this can happen multiple times in a row, and while the expense of recovering a significant amount of CR could be considered a 'cost of doing business', it is not at all a fun experience.

Would it be possible to add the story point options to disengage from these encounters in line with all the other ones?

Discussions / How to become a planet
« on: April 24, 2021, 11:33:46 AM »
Seeing as I'm currently doing a fair impersonation of a pan doing a noisy simmer, I thought I'd share something.
How to make the best damn fried rice.

Stage 1: Rice

You'll need:

  • A saucepan with a lid
  • Long grain rice
  • Water
  • Salt or some other flavouring
  • Frozen peas (optional)

Measure out a suitable quantity of rice using any convenient means.
A rough guide is a mug suitable for tea/coffee holds enough rice for 4-6 servings, depending on how hungry you are.
Tip the rice into the saucepan, then fill up the kettle and boil some water.
Using the same thing you measured the rice with, measure out 2 of those of boiling water and tip them in to the pan with the rice. Give it a quick stir with a spoon/fork/whatever.
Add some salt or whatever other seasoning you like, then turn on the heat as high as it will go and wait for the water to start boiling again.
As soon as you see the water bubble over, turn the heat to the lowest it will go and put the lid on.

During the cooking it is important to leave it alone. Resist the tempatation to stir it, or even touch it in any way.
The rice will take 10-20 mins to cook depending on how much there is. A single full tea/coffee mug will take ~15 mins.
If you want to be fancy, you can throw some frozen peas on top of the rice halfway through.

When you get near the time, take the lid off and look. If the rice looks dry use a fork/spoon to gently move a small portion of rice away from the side so you can see the bottom of the pan.
If it still looks wet or moist, put the lid back on and give it another couple of minutes.
If it looks dry it's done.

At this point you can put it to one side and leave it while you do other things.
It doesn't matter if it goes cold.

Alternatively, if you can't be bothered doing this get a bag/pot of pre-cooked rice. That will work just as well.

Stage 2: Preparation

You'll need:

  • Eggs - we don't know how many yet, so have half-a-dozen handy
  • Soy Sauce - dark is better than light for this, but any will do
  • Cooking oil - any kind will do
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Carrot - finely chopped (optional)
  • A clove of garlic or 1/2 tps garlic paste (optional)
  • Pre-cooked rice
  • A wok or large frying pan

First thing to do is cut up all the veggies if you're using those.
Cut the carrots into the smallest cubes you can manage, 3-4 mm accross is fine. They're not going to get much cooking time so bigger pieces don't do so well.
Mince the garlic as finely as you can manage, then put it all to one side.

Get a tablespoon and use that to spoon the cooked rice out of the pan and into a large mixing bowl. Heap them up, load that spoon as best you can.
And here's the important bit; count how many spoons of rice you move from the pan to the bowl.
For every 4 scoops of rice you'll need 1 egg. So if you count out 15 spoons you'll need 3 eggs etc. (Don't worry about any remainder.)
This number is also important later.

Crack the required number of eggs into a suitable vessel and whisk. When fully mixed put the eggs into the mixing bowl with the rice.
Add however much salt & pepper you feel like - but remember we're using soy sauce so it's going to have some salt already.
Measure out some cooking oil with a tablespoon (yes, it can be the same one), and add the same number of spoons as you added eggs. And then add 1 spoon of oil to your wok/frying pan.
Measure out some soy sauce and add it to the bowl of rice - again use the same amount of spoons as eggs.
Throw in all the chopped carrots.

Give the whole thing a good mix around to make sure everything is fully coated.
It should look like an unsettling shiny brown mess at this point. Don't worry, it will get better.
This is done for now, so set it aside while you get ready for the last part.
If you wanted to anything else in, such as pre-cooked onions, shrimp, cooked chicken scraps, whatever, throw them all in at this stage and give it a good mix.

Stage 3 - Cooking

We already have everything we need from the previous stages, so now it's all just putting it together.

The wok/frying pan already has some oil in it from the last part, so add all the minced garlic if you're using that and put the pan on a high heat.
Have your bowl of brown mush handy along with a spatula.
As soon as you see either the oil start to shimmer or the garlic start to fizz, add all the rice/egg mixture to the pan and use the spatula to keep the rice moving.
If you're blessed with actual co-ordination you can 'flick' the contents of the pan to keep everything moving. (I am not blessed.)
The important thing is to keep the heat high and not let anything stick. Keep it all moving.

After a couple of minutes you will see the rice 'dry' out and stop looking shiny, and it will start to accumulate little particles of egg.
When all the rice has stopped looking shiny, and all the egg looks like it's stuck to the rice it's done.

Enjoy your new spherical self.

Suggestions / Field Repairs
« on: March 29, 2021, 10:26:40 AM »
Possibly consider moving the "randomly repairs d-mods" part of FR to an elite ability.

It seems like a green point would be a worthwhile investment for those who are keen on fixing up ships.
While having this particular ability be optional would allow the player to double-tap the colony skills at the end of the path without undermining a "junk build".

A player currently having Field Repairs and Derelict Contingent together is completely compromising the ability from DC.

Suggestions / Derelict Contingent
« on: March 28, 2021, 12:17:29 PM »
DC reads like it is supposed to be the junkfleet option, but currently doesn't offer anything useful that regard.

What it does:
For every d-mod a ship has, it gets extra CR, crew protection, and a chance to vastly reduce any damage that hits hull.
But only for ships with officers.

That's it.
Interesting, and maybe sort of okay if you have lots of officers. But otherwise entirely useless if you don't.

What I'd like to propose is that this particular skill gets something added to it to make it a proper 'opposite' to the Field Repairs skill (making bad ships good).

The current ability would stay as it is. Having things depend on officers is okay (if a little annoying sometimes).
What would be added are two of the things that have been removed which made the 'junk' playstyle actually work:
  • Passive maintenance reduction from d-mods
  • Effects from d-mods are reduced

Both of these could fit fairly easily into the new fleet capacity framework, although too small a limit here would undermine the purpose of picking a 'junk' playstyle. (Ships are cheap. Deploy everything, let Ludd sort them out.)
But having it entirely uncapped and apply to the whole fleet without restriction might be a little too good (if entirely thematic).

One of these would also need splitting off to become the 'elite' skill, but I'm not sure which way round would make more sense.
I'm leaning towards the effect reduction being the elite, as that seems more situational. Whereas if the maint. reduction was elite it would likely always be taken and so be a 'story tax'.

So something like:
  • Reduces maint. costs for any ship by 20% per d-mod (same mechanic as previously)
  • Reduces negative effects of d-mods by 50% (rounded up - to avoid weird interaction with drive field mod)
Both applying fully upto somewhere between 100-150 deployment points. And scales so the effect diminishes thereafter.
Applies to all (d)amaged ships in the fleet.

Suggestions / [cosmetic] Faction Colours: Player vs. Tri-tachyon
« on: March 09, 2021, 04:51:05 AM »
Fairly sure this has been mentioned before, but it is still something of an issue.

Tri-Tachyon and the player faction have very similar colours, to the point that it can sometimes be difficult to distinguish between them.

This can make reading some info panels (and busy fleet displays) a bit more of a chore than it should really be due to having to read into additional context instead of just mentally separating things by colour.

Would it be possible to look at altering Tri-Tachyon to use a slightly darker blue?

In the above example, the colour setting used was 50,159,236,255

General Discussion / (S)top the fleet - Key Command
« on: January 01, 2021, 07:20:58 AM »
For clarification, this thing:

From the description given, this command should do one of two things depending on context.
  • A press-then-release should stop the fleet wherever it is, where it then holds position
  • A press-then-hold should slow the fleet down to the highest speed it can travel while remaining hidden (aka - very slow)

2 works fine.
1 does not.
When the fleet is moving, pressing and releasing <S> instead of stopping the fleet, instead reverses the direction of travel. And once reversed, the fleet continues flying in that direction without input until its covered some non-trivial distance.

Unsure if this is a bug or not, but its annoying me fiercely as it constantly trips me up thinking I can just press a button to stop but I end up moving away from what I wanted to stop near.
Anyone else ever see it do this?

Suggestions / Weapon Tuning/Modification
« on: November 26, 2020, 02:57:39 AM »
We have always had a lot of requests to add more weapon types to 'fill in' gaps in the available loadout lineup.
Some of them eventually got added to the game, and became useful additions.

But what if such requests were no longer nescessary to fill in gaps, because the game gave you the ability to do so yourself?
What if you could make your coveted 800 range HE ballistic medium by modifying an existing weapon?

Consider the following:

In order to modify a weapon, the player would first need an example of that weapon in thier inventory (or storage).
Then they would need to apply a 'tuning package' to that weapon.

Such a package would be similar to a design spec for a hull mod except that it cannot be learned, only applied to a weapon.
They could be found in ruins, salvage, and maybe very rarely available in markets.
The package itself would indicate to the player which specific attribute of the weapon it will improve, but it will not give any indication of what other attributes will be compromised in order to achieve that.
(The packages will have thier exact attributes determined when they are generated, so save scumming will have no effect.)
Possibly the biggest factor will be that such tuning packages can only be used once. They are consumed by the process.

Possibly the simplest way the player could 'combine' these two items is to drag one onto the other.
The resulting 'tuned' weapon would then have to be marked in some way so the player could identify it easily. A simple small coloured shape overlayed in a corner might work (also might look awful).
Such a weapon also needs to be identified when installed on a ship.

If the player drags a single item onto a stack (or vice-versa), a single instance of that weapon is modified.
If the player drags a stack onto a stack, the tuning process is completed repeatedly until one of the stacks is gone.
This leads a fairly major downside. Using this method of modifying weapons will require a seperate inventory/storage slot for each instance of a weapon, as they will all have different attributes.
The process works okay for a single use, but is less than great as numbers increase. Clutter is not good.

There could also be the possibility of recovering pre-tuned weapons from salvage, which might be a good way to attract the player's interest.

Possible tunable attributes:
  • OP cost
  • Flux Efficiency (only for weapons which generate flux)
  • Shot Range (burn duration for missiles)
  • Shot Speed/Beam Extend Speed
  • Fire Rate/Cooldown
  • Damage per Shot

Additional possibilities if this isn't enough:
  • Traverse Speed (can only be increased - cannot be a dump stat for hardpoints)
  • Tracking Speed (only for homing weapons)
  • Recoil/Spread
  • Charge Count (only for weapons with charges/ammo - more expensive if weapon doesn't have native regeneration)
  • Charge Rate (only for weapons with charges/ammo - not applicable if weapon doesn't have native regeneration)

If this process sounds too arbitrary and random for your taste, there is another means to achive a similar result...

Dispense with the packages entirely, and instead have a colony building (either new or existing) enable some form of 'workshop' function which would allow the player to directly modify a weapon to thier tastes.
However, much like the packages above there will be an associated cost of improving one aspect of a weapon - other attributes will have to be sacrificed.

I imagine such a workshop UI would be a set of sliders, with the chosen attribute to increase separated & coloured green.
With all the other attribute sliders together & coloured red.
Increasing the green slider will create a number depending on how 'valuable' that attribute is.
The AI will then automatically adjust the red sliders to equal that number in some 'default' pattern that will produce a useful result. With each red slider having its own 'weight' depending on the relative value of that attribute.
The player will then have the option to alter this however they wish - so long as the numbers balance.

When satisfied, the player can then confirm and produce a single instance of that weapon to use however they wish.
Some usability suggestions might be:
  • Being able to apply tuning to multiple weapons simultaneously
  • Being able to give/show a weapon to the workshop in order to duplicate its tuning on another weapon of the same type

At this point, you could have the workshop produce blueprints for modified weapons. Which is a possibility.
But personally, I think having this ability be confined to what the player personally controls might make it feel a bit more 'special' than an addition to an opaque industrial process. I may be wrong tho.

In all probability, this is an awful idea that requires far too much effort. But its at least somewhat fun to contemplate.

Discussions / 21 September
« on: September 21, 2020, 03:49:17 AM »
Who is responsible for this!?

I blame Cums.

Discussions / I felt a need to share this
« on: July 02, 2020, 07:04:06 AM »
I would like to show you quite possibly the finest, most wonderful and magnificent work of art ever crafted by a sapient mind.
However this process will result in the unfortunate doxxing of a respected and lovely forums poster.

HELMUT is made of soup.

Suggestions / Colony Threat Timers
« on: June 12, 2020, 05:40:28 AM »
Not super important, but may be helpful making "important" data more obvious (and not having to navigate screens and menus to find it).

Would it be possible for any incoming colony threat timers to be displayed on-screen constantly as they count down?
Expeditions, raids, inspections, that kind of thing.
Maybe something as simple as re-using the notification and keeping it under the date for as long as it's active.

Maybe also with a toggle in the options to turn it on/off if required/desired.

Suggestions / Hydroponics Industry
« on: November 21, 2019, 12:28:59 PM »
Previously I suggested the addition of an industry which allows food to be generated anywhere.
Hydroponic Farming Industry

Already exists in-game. Just as a market condition (not sure if this is even used anymore).
(please excuse the random image from the internet squashed into the right size.)

Allows food production on worlds without land suitable for farming.
Produces: Food equivalent to farmland_poor (-1).
Requires: Machinery, Organics.
Upkeep: 4
This is however wrong and dumb. It's far too good.

I would like to suggest an industry in the same vein, which is far more restrained.
Hydroponic Farming Industry
Build Requirement: No farmland present.
Input Requirement: Machinery, Organics.
Upkeep: 4
Output: Satisfies demand for food on this colony only. Produces no exportable goods, and generates no income.

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