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Starsector 0.96a is out! (05/05/23); Blog post: Colony Crises (11/24/23)

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Topics - Terethall

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General Discussion / Hypershunt Taps
« on: September 09, 2023, 08:49:34 PM »
Is it possible to get them functioning in vanilla without a catalytic core? If so, my last three playthroughs (I do 1-2 per patch) have made them useless, as I haven't gotten a catalytic core, including after getting several items from the historian and sinking tons of story points there. I'll get like three taps and no catalytic cores.

This seems weird; seems like it should be possible to meet the transplutonic demand with some combo of AI cores, story points, colony growth, good market conditions, etc. etc.

General Discussion / Why Do Analyze Missions Spawn Mostly in 4-8 Systems?
« on: November 21, 2021, 08:09:19 PM »
Seriously -- it seems like the game prioritizes a handful of systems for analyze missions. I do a lot of analyze missions -- and the game sends me back to visit the literal same probe and derelict with shocking frequency. It's one thing if e.g. Tri-Tachyon and the Hegemony both want me to analyze a probe. Fine. But the third time the Persean League pays me half a capital ship in credits to take my Dram out to visit the same probe... What are you guys hoping to figure out? What is shifting those internal masses? Whether that mysterious hyperspace ping is really just flavor text?

Does anyone know the logic the game uses to generate these missions? Needs something to avoid duplicate systems and especially duplicate targets, especially for the same faction.

Suggestions / Debris Field Improvements
« on: June 09, 2020, 05:35:03 PM »
Things I wish existed:
  • Area of effect looting of all nearby/overlapping debris fields. It is super frustrating when multiple debris fields overlap. Bonus: have it be a single click, or two (one to start salvage, followed by a risk/reward slider) to prevent having to loot every field like three times until you hit the "possible" or "unlikely" levels of reward that mean it's a bad idea to keep salvaging.
  • Elimination of the debris field, including static procgen debris, once you've made the call on how much to loot. Static debris acting differently than post-battle debris is weird. (Same also goes for procgen vs post-battle derelicts.) Trying to remember (or having to click through an ability and a bunch of prompts) is a hassle when you come upon static fields.
  • More interesting negatives to the "risk" variable. There are already lots of fun bonuses to looting debris fields and derelicts: commodities/crew, officers, intel pings, etc. But there are 0 risks to looting derelicts, and debris fields only ever cost a handful of crew and heavy machinery, which after 20 minutes of play is incredibly miniscule. This gets boring after a while. It would be nice if you occasionally got ambushed while salvaging, or took serious enough damage to a ship that it got a d-mod, or something else, if you decided to go after a high-risk debris field. You could get really creative and have some rare "something bad got aboard one of your ships" event from looting a high risk field/derelict, and have it give a ship a special "gremlins" d-mod or something similar.

Suggestions / Fast Picket Black Market Interception Modal Dialog
« on: June 03, 2020, 02:28:02 PM »
When you get intercepted after making trades, and you allow a scan but then refuse to airlock your contraband, or if you just refuse the scan, the game doesn't warn you that this means war and will set your relations to the faction to -50. Once you go to actually engage their fleet, it does, but unless your fleet is very small, this is sometimes the only option. Once you're in the situation where you've refused you do get a warning about attacking the picket, but you can't go back and be like, actually, nevermind, I don't want war, I'll pay a fine and allow a scan etc. It seems like players should have an idea of what effect their action will take.

It's also weird that these picket fleets will suicidally refuse to let a giant player fleet disengage, requiring you to pop them like a grape and thus ruin your rep. It seems like if the player fleet is small, they should be able to disengage and only take maybe a 20-rep hit (or -25, or -30; just not -150). If the player fleet is big, the picket should stand down because it realizes that standing in your way means guaranteed death and is pointless. Same -20 rep hit and they let you go.

General Discussion / Civilian Transports
« on: April 14, 2020, 05:52:50 PM »
What even is their point? Are they just filler? Is someone out there running 5 Nebulas (Nebulae?) in their fleet and shooting their crew directly at the enemy fleet (I assume this is a Fragmentation damage weapon type)? Are you guys founding three colonies on every trip to the outer rim? If it were just a couple ships that (arguably) have other purposes, like the Valkyrie and small early-game ships like the Hermes or Mercury that are there just to fill slots and get you to the point where you can do survey missions. But the Nebula and Starliner just feel totally extraneous and like two more interesting ships that had more of a role in a fleet would have more value.

Maybe they are good in some kind of Talon spam fleet comp? But basically all ships, and especially carriers, have tons of spare crew capacity such that extra in a special logistics civilian ship isn't really ever needed. Were they more needed pre-9.1 and maybe they'll have their day in the sun again? As is, they feel like filler, but there are so many and they have lovely sprites... I just want to find a home for them in my fleet. Maybe MkII variants would give them a purpose and save on assets (as mods have already done)?

Suggestions / Challenge Mode/Next Wave Options
« on: March 23, 2020, 10:26:08 AM »
Given the sandboxy nature of Starsector, and the way the game kind of ends when you get bored, I found myself looking for ways to increase the challenge and make the game more interesting on a strategic level for playthroughs subsequent to my first. After slowly cutting out everything I feel like makes the game boringly easy and that results in loops that avoid combat, I present the following challenge mode: Eat What You Kill.

Rule 1: The only thing you can purchase from markets is Fuel, Supplies, Crew, and Marines. Crucially this means NO ships, NO weapons/LPCs, and NO modspecs. It also means no commodities for easy smuggling cash, but you could relax that portion of the rule if you are struggling to find cash for salaries. Also optionally, no restoring your ships. Best invest into the Industry tree.
Rule 2: No salvaging other fleets' battles. This means no looting Conquests from the sidelines of a battle between two factions you're neutral with. Optionally, you may allow yourself to loot procgen debris fields and derelicts. You can salvage and recover derelicts spawned by battles you instigate.
Rule 3: No completing exploration or survey missions. The only missions you can complete are bounties or other missions that require direct combat. Optionally you can let yourself accept delivery missions, but you have to just sell the goods (or keep them, in the case of fuel and supplies) and deal with the rep hit and retribution fleet.
Rule 4: No colonies.
Rule 5: No storage. Free, or paid. Equip it, sell it, eject it, or spend some precious OP to slap Expanded Cargo Holds on one more ship.
Rule 6: No commission. Optionally, you can commission with Pirates or Pathers, but you have to play with Ruthless Sector.
Rule 7: No recruiting officers; you've got to find them via salvage. I like this rule because no exploration/survey missions, and no colonies means exploration is a lot less valuable, but if that's the only way to find officers, it makes it worthwhile again.
Rule 8: No raiding markets. You can ignore this and raid if you want, because it's in the right flavor, but it's not combat... just looting with extra steps.
Rule 9: Pirate/Pather faction start (Nex or Vayra) or immediate saturation bombardment of Jangala in Vanilla. Optional, because if you do no missions and prey on mercantile fleets for cash, you'll eventually be hated by everyone.

If you put this all together, what do you get? Well, the endgame catapults of Colonies, sideline salvage, and Tri-Tach/Hegemony commissions aren't available anymore, so you stay in the early to midgame a lot longer, which imo is way more fun than watching your 6 capital ships evaporate Atlas MkIIs and Low Tech stations over and over. You also end up using a much wider variety of ships and loadouts, because you can't just beeline to buy Tempests, Omens, Drovers, Eagles, Falcon (P), and Thunder, Gladius, Longbow, Khopesh, and Hypervelocity Driver, Sabot, Harpoon, Tachyon Lance, Plasma Cannon, Phase Lance, Heavy Needler, Heavy Mauler, etc. and you have to figure out a way to make things work from the loot you get from the ships you kill. You're incentivized to pick hard fights with strong factions for a chance to loot their ships. No purchasing hullmods means the free hullmods that come with skill points are a lot more useful, and you may end up using some hullmods you normally wouldn't otherwise, due to being starved for options.

Also, exploration becomes less about flying a 245 speed, infinite range, 0-cost Dram around from star to star until you have 10 million credits and 100 rep with all factions, or looting and hoarding AI cores, forges, and synchrotrons for your colonies, and more about finding and selling phat lewt on the black market, including blueprints, which then show up in pirate fleets for you to destroy and collect.

Suggestions / Officer Slot Pet Peeve
« on: March 02, 2020, 12:28:43 PM »
I'm one of those players who can't fly ships in this game, but loves it nonetheless due to autopilot. I also care a lot about flavor. Because I can't fly ships, and also because the only way to get fleetwide logistics skills is by speccing into them as a player character, I tend to hit max level with very few combat skills and instead just logistics skills. This means i put all my officers in my important ships and my character just chills in one of my logistics ships, like an Atlas or Prometheus. Consequently, my player doesn't make sense to deploy in battle, which 1) kind of ruins the flavor, because why wouldn't my character ride along on the bridge of my paragon, even if it's an officer flying the ship and contributing skills to it? And 2) when you're not personally in the battle, you constantly have to remember to go to the command map, then use f to watch the battle from one of your ships. Also the combat speedup mod requires you to go back to the command map to activate and deactivate it if your character isn't flying a ship in the battle. I know these are minor complaints -- but all the extra trips to the command map and the awful flavor of not being able to ride into battle because my player character is dead weight as a ship pilot really sucks. It's like, I suck as a pilot due to my IRL skills, and then because I can't use them effectively I skip combat skills and I pick fleet skills, but then that means I also suck in the game's fiction as a pilot and might as well not even be present in the battle... it's like the game is rubbing it in and telling me I might as well just pick autoresolve. But I want to watch the explosions and imagine myself commanding my fleet.

TL;DR: players should be able to assign an officer to pilot (apply skills to) their flagship, while still having that ship count as the flagship for the purposes of the command center mod and the default camera center during battles, etc.

Suggestions / Crew Morale and Specialization
« on: September 19, 2019, 07:21:25 PM »
This has probably been suggested a million times, but...

I've been thinking I'd love some kind of morale mechanic for my crew. If I lose a fight and run, or prey on weaker fleets, I don't think my men would respect me as much as if I won against larger fleets and fought defensively. Also, I think they might get *** if I eject half of them in the middle of a neutron star system because I picked up extra crew from a derelict but didn't feel like paying their salaries for the rest of my exploration circuit. Or if I hire a bunch of crew and then turn around and blow up the station I hired them from. Or if I keep them right around a skeleton crew level because I'm a cheap bastard, so they never get to take any R&R because they have to work 12 hour shifts to keep their ship combat ready. Obviously they already leave if I don't pay them, but I'd like the ability to pay them more and increase their loyalty, so they'd stick with me through the hard times. Seems like morale could get involved in all these places.

Of course, if I embarrassed myself as a fleet commander and my crew no longer respected me, I could fix it by firing them all and rehiring a new crew, but that's already expensive due to existing systems in the game. I know Starsector used to have more detailed crew mechanics and simplified them (crew experience) but they feel oversimplified and commoditized. But I feel like morale could be abstracted and be a good way to provide feedback to the player choices above.

Secondarily, some more distinctions between crew types would go a long way -- for a game where the item types are divided between supplies and food, ore and transplutonic ore and metal and transplutonic metal, luxury and domestic goods, etc. for all space crew to be a single undifferentiated item seems a little weird. Why not fighter pilots, mechanics, and bridge crew? Pilots might cost a lot more salary and be rare because they have an incredibly crappy job. But maybe I just want some kind of impossible HR management sim in my space WWII gunboat game and I'm weird...

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