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Starsector 0.95.1a is out! (12/10/21); Blog post: Hyperspace Topography (10/12/22)

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Topics - CrashToDesktop

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Suggestions / Support Fighters - Engage Order
« on: February 04, 2022, 04:38:47 PM »
Support fighter AI is moderately complex compared to most other fighter types. When enemy ships are not near by, support fighters will hang out near the front of the carrier to extend their range and shoot down the occasional fighter or missile the wanders by. Once enemy ships start getting closer, they'll slowly move back behind the carrier to protect themselves. If the carrier vents or overloads, support fighters will immediately move between the carrier and the enemy ship for the duration to attract fire and tank shots for the carrier. However, support fighters do not obey Engage orders.

What if they did? Have support fighters follow the vent/overload behavior when you set them to Engage. That way, you have finer control over what they do, and opens up more tactical considerations, for example sending forward your support fighters and sacrificing them to gain an advantage in the flux battle - something that regular fighters can't accomplish due to their behavior of circling the target and getting shot at by PD rather than attracting attention from the enemy's main guns.

Bug Reports & Support (modded) / [0.95.1a-RC6] Burst Beam Targeting AI
« on: February 01, 2022, 06:34:46 PM »
When "beamFireOnlyOnFullCharge" is set to true and the beam is a burst rather than continuous, the AI seems to have difficulty landing the shot due to indecisiveness in target choice. This issue gets compounded when the beam has ammo.

When multiple targets are present, the base Tachyon Lance will have no issues picking a target and shooting it. However, if you add back in "beamFireOnlyOnFullCharge", the weapons will often times pick a target, start charging, then midway through the charge decide to shoot something else and change direction, resulting in a completely whiffed shot between two ships. If ammo is added in onto the Tachyon Lance, the AI becomes extremely conservative in picking shots, resulting in the AI second-guessing it's target choice and dragging the charging beam off target before it fully charges and fires far more often. Adding any of the CONSERVE weapon tags will also exasperate the issue further.

Secondary to this, the AI doesn't appear factor in it's own ship turning when firing weapons with slow turn rates, which means beams will get dragged off target if the ship makes a sudden maneuver as the beams charge. Furthermore, beam weapons have their turning disabled on chargedown, resulting in weapons with longer chargedown times (such as the Tachyon Lance) suffer a considerable loss in DPS (and other secondary effects like EMP and arcing) if the ship makes even small turn at the end of a burst.

While this issue is present in vanilla, I've posted it here in modded since it's particularly debilitating with something I'm working on now. No AI hints were added to the weapon other than SYSTEM. I've added a video for reference - the first shot has both beam weapons completely whiff the target even though the ship wasn't turning at the time. The AI's indecisiveness in picking a target is obvious after, as you can see both beam weapons going back and forth between the Dominators in spite of having ammo, before it finally settles on one and fires a beam that lands. The third shot is whiffed due to the ship turning.

Suggestions / Skill Tree Rework
« on: May 18, 2021, 05:34:31 PM »
With a not-insignificant portion of the community dissatisfied with the new skill tree, I thought a fresh set of ideas might be worth considering. I apologize if any of your favorite skills aren't included in this rework, there were only so many places I had to cram in skills. I also don't claim this to be expertly balanced, rather as a showcase of what a new skill layout might be.

The skill trees have been redesigned to be more combat-oriented, along with organizing them around fleet compositions instead of generic ideas like "Combat", "Leadership", or "Technology".  Five trees are present - 4 combat-oriented paths along with 1 fleet-oriented path. With the addition of a fifth skill path, at least 5 additional skill points are needed to get a basic sense of the tree. Each path continues to be laid out in the new skill tree method - 5 tiers, 2 skills each, with wraparound feature. However, the way the paths are laid out has been changed - each path has a general fleet theme to it, but their layout is more predictable. Tiers 1, 2, and 4 have personal combat skills to the left, and fleet combat skills to the right. Tier 3 has Nav skill on the left, and ECM on the right. Tier 5 has Raiding skills on left, and Colony skills on the right. The Tier 4 fleet combat skill is also the capstone skill of the tree, which provides a large bonus for playing to the strengths of the tree.

ECM has also been reworked slightly - it does away with the friendly ECM rating vs. enemy ECM rating, ECM is now an activated effect based on what skill you're running, where both you and the enemy can suffer from ECM disadvantages at the same time. Each path also includes it's own unique Nav and ECM-boosting skills on the third pick, so no matter which way you go, you will always be able to get at least one form of each.

Grand Battlefleet focuses on engaging and destroying the enemy fleet in a single, extended engagement. Receive bonuses to survivability, peak operating time, and combat readiness, while sticking together with Defend and Escort orders provides more bonuses. Use the capstone skill Decisive Battle to end the enemy fleet rightly once their peak operating time runs out.

Cruiser School focuses on the battle of maneuver and creating opportunities to exploit through the judicious use of overwhelming firepower. Receive bonuses to raw damage, speed and maneuverability while your ships follow orders. Use the capstone skill Task Force to overwhelm an enemy with combined arms of different ship sizes.

Interdiction focuses on rapid strikes against isolated enemy targets. Receive bonuses to damage, speed, and phase vessels while your smaller ships dogpile larger ones. Use the capstone skill Commander Profiles to take advantage of the Clean Disengage feature to pummel your enemy to pieces through deadly short engagements.

Carrier Primacy focuses on use of massed fighters to solve battlefield problems. Fighters receive a number of bonuses to their survivability, damage, and speed while engaging the enemy. Use the capstone skill Carrier Group to give a wide buff to all fighters depending on what's currently deployed.

Fleet Management, the fleet-oriented path, condenses many of the previously important skills that weren't directly combat-oriented. Many have been combined with others, or had new effects applied. Includes bonuses to salvaging, campaign movement, combat readiness, officers and administrators, and ship loadouts.

Each path also includes one Raid-buffing skill and one Colony-buffing skill, depending on theme. Grand Battlefleet and Cruiser School focus on larger fleets and the use of Heavy Armaments in Raids, Interdiction removes the Free Port stability penalty and gives bonuses for the first time you Raid a location, and Carrier Primacy boosts accessibility through military assets and increases Raid power through fighter wings. Administrators can get any of the four Colony skills from any tree, though only the player can get the Elite bonus, which applies to all Colonies.

That covers the general aspects of this proposed skill tree rework. Hopefully the goal is clear, and hopefully that goal looks better than both the current and preceding skill trees.

Bug Reports & Support / Buggy Regroup Fighter Behavior
« on: May 11, 2021, 01:54:07 PM »
Playing around with different ways to use fighters, I've come across some wonky behaviors with how fighters behave when under the Regroup order. When an enemy is very close to the carrier, within roughly ~500su, your fighters will automatically start attacking it. However, they won't attack it in the normal fashion - they'll instead adopt an orbit attack pattern regardless of what they normally do under the Engage order.

This affects FIGHTERS and INTERCEPTORS, BOMBERS are unaffected, and SUPPORT fighters ignore Engage and Regroup orders completely (see here for that issue). This video uses the vanilla Warthog (the only mod present in this video is Tart's target practice mod) and showcases the change in behavior as you toggle Engage and Regroup, but you can also spot the lead Warthog fighters offsetting themselves from the target when set to Regroup. Here's a video using a mod to better illustrate the issue - you can see the gunship's beam firing straight ahead, but the gunships themselves are offset by a considerable margin. Other fighters in the same wing, if any, are unaffected by this issue. The lead fighter angle offset appears to be the same regardless of what weapons they use, and the smaller the target, the longer the range, the worse the issue becomes, so much so that the lead fighter may not be able to fire it's weapons at all. Fighters with only one or two per wing with hardpoint weapons are hit particularly hard by this.

This is a fairly niche issue that affects almost nothing in vanilla, but for what it's worth, a few mods make these issues more noticeable.

Suggestions / Support Fighter Control
« on: May 10, 2021, 07:38:56 PM »
I've been playing around with different carrier builds since the release of a few mods that support a wider variety of them. However, in my testing I've discovered that trying to get support fighters to engage the right target in a fleet setting is like trying to herd cats - they just won't do what I want them to do! Support fighters with 0 engagement range (like the vanilla Xyphos, or the Roider's Dragline and Torchship's Firespitter) completely ignore Engage orders - this also extends to mods that remove engagement range, like the Bastion Carrier Core from the Modern Carriers mod, except in this case all fighters mounted to that ship will act like support fighters, ignoring Engage orders.

Here's a video to illustrate this particular issue. They try to shoot the closest enemy, whether it's a fighter that's just buzzed the command deck or some frigate off to the flank that's not the priority target. I set them to Engage partway through, but they continue targeting the Borer drones. This makes coordinating said support fighters exceedingly difficult.

All fighters should heed Engage orders - for 0 engagement range fighters like the Xyphos, ordering them to Engage should make the carrier's target their target as well, so you can at least tell your herd of cats to shoot the same thing. When not set to Engage, the normal behavior works fine.

Bug Reports & Support / Setting ship to Autopilot changes Autofire
« on: November 24, 2018, 11:09:38 AM »
When you enter combat and set your ship to go on Autopilot, the AI will seemingly at random toggle Autofire on your weapon groups.  This also includes ships that aren't under your command at the moment, as Transferring Command to that ships will show it's weapon group Autofire will also have been toggled.

Bug Reports & Support / Orbital Station Won't Repair
« on: November 17, 2018, 12:12:32 AM »
Plain and simple, my Mindline Orbital Station got caught in the middle of a raid (well, 3 actually at the same time...) while it was still being built and refuses to repair itself, even after many months it still reads as having 30 days left.  Here's the save file if it helps.

Suggestions / Jump Points on Red Supergiants
« on: September 24, 2018, 08:03:03 PM »
So, might be a good idea to move Jump Points to be outside the corona of particularly large stars, like Red and Blue Supergiants.  It gets quite toasty trying to move in or out. :)


Bug Reports & Support / White Flashing Graphics Glitch
« on: September 22, 2018, 12:12:14 AM »
So, for about a month now I've been getting white flashes appearing on my screen while playing Starsector.  They appear as any size or shape of rectangle, from small squares to long thin lines going vertically across my screen, and multiple can appear at once, but they only last for a frame or two before disappearing.  This really started to become a problem partway into a game of mine, and happened rarely (if any at all) during the first few cycles.  I'd like to capture video of it, but the problem seems to elude me when I start recording.

I should add that I'm only running two mods - Lazylib and Console Commands - so this is either a GPU issue or something with Starsector.  I have a GTX 1070, an i7 6700k (neither OC'd) and 16 GB of ram, giving Starsector 8 GB of it.

Bug Reports & Support / Allying with the Remnant
« on: September 19, 2018, 11:57:21 PM »
Not sure if this is intended behavior or not, but it seems like I can fight alongside the Remnant if they get into a battle and my Transponder is off.  In this particular situation, I entered a system with my Transponder off to find a Bounty target pursuing a small, "Dormant" Remnant fleet (and ignoring me), at which point the two fleets engaged.  When I entered the battle dialog I expected to be rejected by both sides - but instead I was greeted with the Remnant fleet of all things offering to aid me in battle.


(Just to be sure)

Bug Reports & Support / Infinite Restore
« on: April 29, 2017, 10:57:01 PM »
So, ran into an odd bug just now.  I salvaged PLSS Free Enterprise, a Tarsus (D)-Class Freighter, a while ago from the Persean League (as in, a couple in-game cycles at least - it's a good hunk of the way through cycle 218 in that save with a good hunk of the sector explored, still my first game from when 0.8 launched), then shoved it in my mothballed fleet at Jangala until I needed it.  I just picked it's lucky number to be withdrawn as one of the freighters to go on my next expedition, so I wanted it in tip-top shape.  I went ahead and Restored it - when you're rolling around in 8 million credits you can do that - and it got rid of the D-mods, but the sprite didn't change, so I just cycled the refit screen and - wait, why is it still using the (D) sprite?  And is that Restore button back to being clickable?  So, just tested it, apparently I can just Restore, cycle the refit screen, and keep on doing that ad infinitum and nothing will happen to the ship.  No idea what could possibly cause this, I've been Restoring ships for a while now and never run into this.

Bug Reports & Support / Opposing Fleets - Friendly Engagement?
« on: April 20, 2017, 06:28:57 PM »
So, something funny happened on this test run.  I started a new game, spawned in (skipped the tutorial) and immediately went to Barad to watch the fireworks and vulture around for the inevitable debris fields and ships floating about.  Of course that happened, did a couple of salvage runs while the battle was going on, picked up 4 frigates, and then headed off to the secret pirate lair.  Flicked off my transponder just before I entered, then sold my loot, and after I exited flipped my Transponder back on.  Then, all of a sudden the Hegemony fleets that I'd picked up loot from start chasing me endlessly.  They'll engage me, but I'm never forced into a battle - I can just Leave or open a Comm Link with no bad result.  However, the engagement text pops back up after I Leave, and I have to spam Escape for a little before it kicks me back out to the campaign screen.  But the Hegemony fleets keep on pursuing me.  Save file provided.

Bug Reports & Support / "Unknown" Fleets Exploit
« on: November 19, 2015, 08:25:20 PM »
So, apparently you can tell what kind of fleet an undetected fleet is if you open up the sector / system map and click on it, where it'll tell you the name of it despite it being only detected and not identified.

Suggestions / A Re-Design of Ship Destruction, Boarding, and Salvage
« on: October 04, 2015, 09:22:46 PM »
So, first off, this is an amalgamation of a couple of posts I've seen around the forum (some with their own dedicated threads, others just briefly mentioned on a blog post thread) as well as ideas of my own.  People whose ideas I'm using, you know who you are. ;)

Alright, with the series of campaign updates rolling along, I feel like the next step should be to make some changes to the salvage mechanic as a whole (which includes the loot you get at the end of the battle, the ships that become boardable, and everything intertwined with those).  I guess I should start at the very beginning of this: ship destruction.  I'll be making a couple of real-life connections to this issue, so turn away if you don't like that kind of thing. ;) So, most of the time when ships and tanks are sunk or knocked out, the base structure itself remains operational.  Concerning tanks - most tanks are abandoned when the hull gets penetrated a single time and causes catastrophic damage to the crew (which is reasonable), and thereby causes the tank to be combat-ineffective by lack of crew.  Concerning ships - most of the time, the only reason ships are abandoned and left to sink are when there have been holes blasted through the hull underneath the waterline and sinks the ship that way.  Very few times in both cases does the tank or ship blow up in a spectacular way.  Hits to the magazine are usually the case where this happens.  In Starsector, every disabled ship, big or small, goes off with a tremendous boom when the hull has been ground down to 0.  My suggestion for this is to make ships become "combat-ineffective" once a couple of criteria have been meet.

"Combat-Ineffective" is the name of the game here, a new status for ships that have taken too much of a beating in battle.  Now, the criteria for combat-ineffectiveness can be broken down into three separate categories as follows: Engine Damage, Weapon Damage, and Crew Loss.  At least two of these criteria must be meet before the ship becomes combat-ineffecitve.  The first two relate to damage to specific areas of the ship - the first being engines, the second being the weapons.  EMP damage is not taken into account, only raw damage done from HE, Kinetic, Energy, or Fragmentation.  Both use somewhat-hidden numbers to determine when that criteria has been meet, but will be translated to the player via combat effects on the left-hand side of the screen (where things like the Sensor Bouy with +10% damage is shown).  If you hit the engines enough times, an effect will show up on the left side of the screen saying "Heavily Damaged Engines" with a hit to mobility and top speed, maybe 15% (number subject to change).  If you've gotten your weapons hit a few too many times, a "Heavily Damage Weapon Mounts" debuff will appear and have a penalty to the recoil of weapons, maybe +15% increase weapon recoil (number and effect subject to change).  Loss of too much crew will have an overall -10% hit to all weapons and maneuverability with "Insufficient Crew" debuff (numbers subject to change).  Crew loss is a bit special compared to the other two - Fragmentation damage done against the hull has a massive bonus against it (since bits of metal and spall flying at supersonic speed and bouncing around in metal boxes tends to shred people).  Once a ship becomes "combat-ineffective", all control of the ship will be lost (for both the AI and the player), no engines, shields, or weapons will be active.  If there are any ambient lights on the ship, those will go out.  The ship will appear as a grey circle on the combat map, and orders cannot be given to it.

Once a single one of these debuffs appears, the AI will report it to you in the top-left corner of the screen where the regular combat messages appear, with the same audible alert message as CR loss.  Same goes if two criteria are met and the ship becomes combat ineffective.  Vanilla ship destruction mechanics are still in here, not to be forgotten - if the hull of the ship reaches 0 at any point in the battle, then the ship's reactor will have taken too much damage, and the standard explosion will take place.

Onto the boarding mechanics - they will stay mostly the same, with the exception of the ship's condition after battle and how difficult the boarding is.  The first step is to determine the victor of the battle.  All of your ships made combat-ineffective during the battle will be recovered if you win the battle (that's the beauty of this mechanic - they've only been made combat-ineffecitve, and thus can be recovered without much effort, and also have a much lower tendency to blow up).  You will also get the option to board or destroy any combat-ineffective enemy ships.  The standard procedure with destroyed ships (ships that have exploded) will take place here as well, with the regular small chance of boarding enemy ones or recovering your own.  If you loose the battle, then the enemy will have the option to board your own combat-ineffective ships, as per usual.  Once you've found a combat-ineffective enemy ship, the standard options are still there - board, blow it up, or let it go.  However, some extra information is given - the two criteria that the ship meet when it was made combat ineffective.  The two latter options function the same, but the boarding mechanic is vastly different.

When boarding, you will have to take into account what parts of the ship have been knocked and double-check the single other, still-effective aspect of the ship.  If the ship's engines and weapons have been taken out, then it won't be going anywhere soon, but still has a sizable amount of crew milling about inside willing to defend it to the death (and maybe even counter-board your own ship and take it out from under you).  This might make an assault team going through space a viable option, to prevent the enemy crew from counter-boarding your own ship, but there will be casualties.  If the ship's weapons and crew have been knocked out, direct docking is fine, but if you don't take the ship fast enough, the enemy crew can repair the engines and escape with your marines and crew still on it - a slight problem, depending on how many crew you invested into boarding it.  If the engines and crew have been knocked out, then docking might not be a good idea - the enemy ship's weapons can wreck havoc on your own ship, possibly destroying it during the boarding process and loosing everything you invested, possibly including the ship you were trying to board.  It's a game of rock-paper-scissor that, if not played correctly, can result in some considerable losses.  However, this system is much more predicable than the current system of boarding that is a complete game of dice.

Once (if) you take the ship, the condition that the ship was in when it was made ineffective will determine the shape it's in when you bring it into your own fleet.  A ship captured with the crew and engine knocked out will have all the weapons mounted on it when it was in battle, but the engines will have some massive debuffs in burn speed until repaired.  Weapons and engines knocked out (the easiest way of making a ship boardable) will have no weapons mounted when captured and have the same engine debuff.  Ships captured with crew and weapons knocked out will have no weapons, but have a functioning engine with normal burn speed.  In all cases, the ship will be in a 0-CR state with whatever hull left by the end of the battle (damage is kept track of even after the ship is made combat ineffective) and must be repaired quickly.  Now, I've given this next part some thought - the engine debuff is rated as a removable hull mod (costs 0 OP and can't be put on a ship normally by a player).  However, if you choose to remove this hull mod while in space and the ship is at low CR, the impacts will be obvious - with the next update, removing hull mods while in space gives a massive CR hit.  If you remove that while in space, there's a very good chance that the ship in question will suffer an accident while in space and destroy itself.  So, do you want to suffer the lowered burn speed for a while until you get to a space port to remove it (or repair the ship to a high enough degree that you can safely remove the hull mod) or take a chance to escape with the ship at top burn speed but have a chance of blowing up the ship via accident?

Once the boarding is over, the salvage operation begins.  The salvage operation is changed greatly - there are two options for salvage, a "Quick" and a "Thorough".  Quick is the current system - the crew scoops up any leftovers strewn across the battlefield and gets back to their own ships ASAP.  Thorough is different - choosing this option, all destroyed ships (blown up) can be recovered as hulks and much more loot is recovered (as the crew searches all the nooks ans crannies of the destroyed ships), but this process takes time on the campaign map, maybe an in-game day.  You will not be given any option to pick up loot until the operation completes on the campaign map.  However, you can interrupt the salvage operation at any time for no return, but can let you escape if you get into a tight situation.  If you do interrupt a Thorough salvage operation, then you will only be awarded the credits from a Quick salvage operation, no loot pick up will be available.

The new mechanic here are hulks - hulks are ships beyond recovery that can be sold for scrap at an orbital station with the right market condition - Shipbreaking Center (which is currently in Starsector at the Agreus port in the Arcadia system).  There they can be sold for any number of resources, be it credits or commodities depending on what fits the game better.  These destroyed hulks will appear as ships in your fleet, but will take up no logistics or crew (in terms of code needed, they're just skins of ships with no weapon slots, no crew needed, and 0 OP - a bit like the D-variants of ships, just even worse).  However, since they have no crew or engines, they must be towed.  All ships can tow a hulk at no negative modifier to it in combat or CR, but unless it's got the Monofillament Tow Cable hull mod, it will suffer a burn speed penalty (numbers to be decided).  The game should automatically default towing hulks to the fastest ship in the fleet, with the Monofillament Tow Cable and maximum burn speed taken into account for best logistics (and take a lot of numbers off of the player's shoulders).

This system of salvage is meant to mesh in nicely with the eventual kind of dystopian view that Starsector is supposed to have - ships are rare and expensive, and as are the autofac blueprints that make then, and this every single part of it is saved or reused in any way possible.

Other Possibilities:
Only just got to adding this bit once I finally woke up and re-organized my brain about this.  With these new features, a variety of other possibilities involving hull mods and character skills can modify the numbers greatly.  I'll give one example of each as not to ruin any creative processes too much. ;) The "Reinforced Bulkheads" hull mod might also reduce the fragmentation damage bonus by 50% (bringing it in line with the other ways to kill off the crew), due to installed spall liners.  For characters skills, the "Advanced Tactics" skill under the "Leadership" aptitude could increase the speed of a Thorough salvage operation by some percent per level.

That pretty much concludes my suggestion list.  If you've been one of the brave souls to read the entire thing, bravo my friend.  You deserve a cookie and a pat on the back. :D

Bug Reports & Support / Forum "Code"
« on: February 17, 2015, 07:00:48 PM »
I really have no idea where to post this, so I suppose Bugs & Support will have to do.  If a mod comes by, feel free to move this to a more proper forum section.

So, back to the topic at hand.  Whenever someone uses the {code} (with brackets, otherwise the forum does it's thing) inside of a spoiler, I get somethings that shows up like this:

(no harm meant by the plug, Tartflette;)

And by the way, this only happens in Google Chrome.  I vaguely remember this being brought up a while back, but I can't find the thread and I don't know what came of it.  I suppose it's something that Alex can't fix (a browser-based problem, maybe?), since it works perfectly fine on Firefox and IE, but maybe something can be done?

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