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Starsector 0.95a is out! (03/26/21); Blog post: Of Slipstreams and Sensor Ghosts (09/24/21)

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Messages - Rain

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1
Blog Posts / Re: Skill Changes, Part 2
« on: July 16, 2021, 01:09:18 AM »
Okay, largely looks reasonable to me. One of the few moment to moment gameplay issues I've had has been phase ships being really irritating, mostly due to speed and zipping around at mach 10 being kind of un-fun in general to my aging brain (incidentally a problem I've had with temporal shell and other modded time dilation ships, to the point of where I've been digging into the files and replacing their active system, but I guess that's a separate thing). Having them slow down at least somewhat sometimes has my support, for what that's worth.

Re the solution to permanent skills, I never really had any issue with them and they made sense to me, so to me it looks like questionably-necessary effort, but I guess this is fundamentally a QoL improvement either way, so, yay?

Re the colony stuff I reckon the angle where admins are necessary and players don't govern at all feels to 'make the most sense', with perhaps having a player skill allowing for recruiting more of them; then you also have that 'design space' for some potentially-interesting NPC-only skills there to differentiate the admins and put them up next to and compare to alpha cores which could still do their "all skills +1" shtick there, consistent with their superhuman ship command ability. Doesn't get around there inevitably being some players who really like the idea of governing themselves ending up disappointed, though I might note that as time has gone on I've rather ended up feeling the game plays in a more interesting way when there's at least some pressure to keep getting earning more money and the passive income of built-up colonies kind of ends up removing that. Of course, that self-same pressure I imagine a lot of people might just feel they particularly want to be rid of... So I guess have fun sorting that out. :)

Question: does Polarized Armor "turn off" when a ship is overloaded or is it passive-passive to the point of protecting you a bit during such unfortunate circumstances too? I guess it'd be weird to have a skill 'disabled' in such a way, but it's not exactly completely unprecedented (the no-flux-generate speed boost ended up doing that, IIRC?) so I could see that one go either way.

2
Blog Posts / Re: Skill Changes, Part 1
« on: July 04, 2021, 01:19:53 AM »
Bold of you to assume the Fury will still be 15 DP :) But, right, yeah, this makes sense.

Oh no. The scythe is coming for me, too. :( I mean hey, look at those phase ships some more, nothing going on here, just a slightly bigger Shrike for twice the DP cost, don't worry about it officer!

I guess that'd be fair, overall. As much as I'm kind of in love with the Fury and everything about it just *clicks* with me, I feel like I've gotten some pretty disgusting effect flying that ship. Even though I still don't really trust the AI with plasma burn.

3
General Discussion / Re: Which faction would you side with and why?
« on: April 22, 2021, 12:43:23 PM »
In game? TT, because I'm a high tech enthusiast and I can happily fly Shrikes or Furies even in big end game scuffles. PL a close second.

If I had to actually live in it myself? Uuh, probably Luddic Church but the sector does seem like a pretty awful place to live no matter where you are. Fikenhild sounds kind of cool though. The idea of a water world is neat, especially if it's warm, and all the planets and moons with their orbits could make for some really cool night skies.

4
Suggestions / Re: More ways for Alpha cores to go rogue
« on: April 20, 2021, 01:46:58 PM »
What if an alpha core put in as an admin started giving you occasional 'missions' in exchange for its services and you had a relationship bar to cultivate with it, too, like personal contacts? I have to admit that I, too, think "Kill all humans" AI isn't necessarily the most interesting, nor did I ever really get that feel for that being how it things went down in-fiction either; the AI wars are so named for Tri-Tach using AI fleets, rather than all out AI uprisings against humanity, right? Did I understand it right in the end? Given how alpha cores are superhuman, might well know they're superhuman and start cultivating their own designs and quirks, these missions/requests for continued cooperation could be just about anything pulled from the pool the game currently has (Alpha Core works in mysterious ways, right?), perhaps themed to some preset grouping depending on a 'quirk' the AI core might get assigned upon getting slotted in, and then you could have the "all out AI uprising" as a consequence for the relationship falling to hostile through just consistently ignoring them rather than a statistical inevitability/chance.

And if you happen to use multiple Alpha admins, well, they could presumably communicate behind the scenes and present their (Combined? Unified but more onerous? Both?) 'requests' in unison, with the understanding that, of course, should their requests be ignored, they will have to do something to redress the situation together...

5
General Discussion / Re: Impressions about skills in 0.9.5
« on: April 19, 2021, 10:44:20 PM »
Which is a fair counter-point. How much are people "wrapping"? My assumption was that it would be a fairly rare thing.

On my first three characters, I did it only so far as to get both Tech-1 skills and Special Modifications just 'clicks' with me to the point that I've always taken it anyway, so I guess it'd just barely count? On my present character I did it to get both Tech-5 skills to play around with automated ships. On my next I'm intending to get both officer skills in Leadership and see how that plays out. I've not wrapped Combat or Industry, nor have I even taken any of the colony skills so far, for the same reasons as others have mentioned (they're profitable enough anyways etc, even though I don't use Alpha core admins).

6
General Discussion / Re: What are some of your favorite text snippets?
« on: April 18, 2021, 04:25:18 AM »
Okay, so the lies you can spin with SP uses against Pathers are my new favourites. All of them.

7
what is the vanilla value for exp/story point at max level?

I believe it's 1 million XP/story point once you're at vanilla cap, if I've parsed the presentation right.

8
General Discussion / Re: Fly my [Redacted] pretties!
« on: April 16, 2021, 06:40:23 AM »
This is really cool! It's the one skill I've not even touched yet just because the limit looked so tight, but I'm not one to argue with results. For my next game I've been planning to soft-RP another Tri-Tachyon high-techy fleet and I suppose there's no finer a time to start messing around with the REDACTEDs too. :D

9
General Discussion / Re: What are some of your favorite text snippets?
« on: April 16, 2021, 05:51:43 AM »
The whole depiction of Kanta's "court" trying to play nice the first time around was pretty evocative to me, with her 'doctor' playing his part in sort-of-but-not-really trying to use his influence to maybe-kinda-maybe-kinda-not ruling through her.

Though ever since then I've just done the marine raid because that court interaction made me very much think Kanta can go jump into a space lake. Ain't kowtowing to you again, scoundrel!

10
General spy-sat deployment (and to some extent smuggling) missions I've only been accepting when the objective is around a planet I know has some useful terrain to hide in around. After that, going dark and opportunistically picking the right time has overall worked for me; that said, it probably has cost me more in travel and supplies waiting for the right time than it paid when my fleets got a bit larger and I used the missions mostly as a means to increase reputation with the contact to figure out how/if that impacts the missions they give. Otherwise I've generally also found them more trouble (and time) than they're worth.

As for the Atzlan thing, I've completed it (sneaky like) three times over in different ways on my three characters so far:

1) I went in with a single phase frigate, but as KDR_11k remarks above I've since learned how the reduction in fleet profile actually works on phase ships; I'd never even read the phase coil hull mod thing and seen there's a reduction in profile fleet-wide for having that before very recently, since I used to dismiss phase ships out of hand as too expensive and too quick to run out of PPT in battle.
2) Pirates were raiding the system and the patrol flew off to fight some right as I was coming on up. Lucky freebie.
3) I simply patiently waited for just the right time in how the patrols were moving. A bit tedious, but it worked.

In all cases I had the T1 sensors skill, too, which obviously helped.

11
Announcements / Re: Starsector 0.95a (Released) Patch Notes
« on: April 15, 2021, 10:37:41 AM »
I'm aware, I played 091a too. :)

I guess that's how it could be angled into a this-patch thing now; I'm getting the impression that their attention system changed because they've not bothered me at all since and maybe that got me thinking about it? I could see why, the old one didn't exactly have any substantial interactivity to it other than "don't do this stuff or prepare for whack-a-mole Pather bases". Anyway, my thought was mostly to just replace a (small-ish) % of pirate raids with Pather ones (on both core systems and on you, I guess?) as more zealously direct attempts at carrying out Ludd's will (or whatever they think they do) than the Pather cell thing, giving some more variety in enemies to fight, since (as far a I can tell, anyway) they fight a lot more aggressively than pirates which makes for a different thing to fight if I'm out harvesting system bounties for money and/or reputation.

Does that make sense?

12
Announcements / Re: Starsector 0.95a (Released) Patch Notes
« on: April 15, 2021, 06:06:19 AM »
Another round of mostly-this-patch-specific feedback after reaching mostly-satiation point with my 3rd character (story done, colonies securely established and maxed out, fully explored sector with minor-spoiler exceptions:)
Spoiler
Tesseracts can keep their coronal taps though, especially when I didn't settle any of the affected systems, I'm not messing with those again 'kaythanks!
[close]

- Colony stuff: It feels like it's a bit harder and demands more investment to make profitable colonies now. Maybe Hazard Pay just makes it more obvious month by month how much money is sunk in as opposed to how growth incentives used to work, especially for high-hazard planets? Maybe high hazard planets just cost way more now and that's intended? If that is intended, okay, I -think- I like it. I have now certainly have felt the temptation to do stuff like colonize cryovolcanic worlds just for mining, or not necessarily pushing all planets to max possible size ASAP; I certainly haven't done any real math though, so that may be wrong. I also don't use AI core admins since I read that post about spamming them being kind of a temporary thing while colonies don't yet have their full gameplay purpose established. Getting fewer but more substantial attacks by the factions is welcome, too, and does feel better than a constant stream of pirate nuisances; my latest character just had a giant space battle fending off 3 fleets of Persean League goons over my 'capital' world and I found it a very satisfying battle and victory. The way officers (even when I reduced the AI merc officer multiplier from 2 to 0.4) nudge DP limits in station battles might need tweaking though. When the station eats ~50 DP and you have multiple fleets attacking you it's a real strange-feeling underdog 160-240 situation when I'd expect a big star fortress to provide a substantial defender's advantage. I guess the bigger ones do point quite a lot of guns at the enemy for the amount of DP they take up though, so maybe that's actually enough... Maybe it needs to be this way for attackers to actually have a chance to win.

- Skill system: After messing around a lot more with it now, I can appreciate the idea of the layout as it is, though the main pain points to me come from how skills that either 1) encourage you to make most of your main fleet a particular way or 2) "you really can't use both (at once)" don't necessarily seem like they fit neatly into pairings for a wrap-around kind of system. As before, I'm much more of a roleplayer than a min-max-player (though I do certainly do a bunch of that too), and as such this is more about what feels good/bad and what I feel incentivized to do/not do than exact numbers and fine tuned balance. Anything I don't mention is a pairing and choice I'm -mostly- fine with, beyond things that have already been mentioned earlier such as the ECM problems, and the one notable exception of the Automated Ships skill which I haven't yet actually played at all with. As much as I liked the fantasy of a suggestion (sorry I forgot who made it!) I saw about a skill tree going from skills concerning a single ship, to fleet-wide to grand management style skills to mirror the sort of progression you make in game, I also make the assumption we won't see a revamp on the same scale as this one was any time soon (if ever). Spoilered to keep post size down somewhat...
Spoiler
   a) Derelict Contingent: This skill suggests more or less something you are meant to tailor your whole (main combat) fleet around, and it's a very particular tailoring at that, demanding and encouraging substantial alteration and adaptation to make proper use of it. To me that might indicate that it's a skill that doesn't fit neatly into a "choose 1" system, and that it might be better suited to being learned elsewhere than in the skills, perhaps in a special quest-like a la the red planet? I also finally ran into an enemy fleet that clearly had it (derelict exploration drones) from a bounty and that was kind of frustrating when I was flying a missile ship at the time. When the enemy has it you can't really play around it much either, but if it only happens in special contact bounties I guess it's not entirely out-of-the-void; it could be really annoying to new players who don't think about a somewhat niche skill in Industry being an enemy fleet thing?
   b) Wolfpack Tactics shares the Derelict Contingent thing in that without a DP limit it also kind of suggests a "build-your-fleet-around-it" approach, however in practice I have a much easier time actually making some use out of it even without going for a full frigate focus, and it feels much more like something you can actually adapt around; especially if you take Phase Corps too/anyway and have a couple of phase frigates around for their handy utility effects. I have no clear rational reason for why Wolfpack feels better than Derelict Contingent in this sense, however; perhaps it's just much easier to figure out a couple of useful frigates than a couple of still-useful, heavily D-modded and shieldless ships? Having a big Darth Nihilus style flying wreck as a flagship does have a certain thematic appeal, however...
   c) From the C1 tier, you can't really make use of both from unless you're in a carrier or battlecarrier, so if, say, you're all in on a missile flagship, or want to gun for a master-of-combat character and need/want both the skills in higher tiers this one grates a bit.
   d) C2 at first looks a bit rough to have to take both to progress, but I've come to appreciate the value of Point Defense; getting fighter-swarmed still starts stinging when flying smaller ships, especially when I'm so in love with the Fury and want to use it to go in hard to take out enemy carriers.
   e) C4 as has been mentioned is probably the most grating tier to me; you really can't use both at once and while you -can- adapt around it having 2 different ships for yourself doesn't feel natural, especially when you consider a lot of the DP-scaled skills we now have.
   f) Overall I've ended up finding that Wolfpack, Phase Corps, Carrier Group and Fighter Uplink at least are very possible to reasonably adapt your fleet around so they're only as 'dead' as you let them be. I understand that monofleets end up pretty degenerate so I'm seeing the point of the scaled bonuses here. I'll just drop that 6 hangars feels a bit tight for the carrier skills, but I think that's been mentioned before, too.
   g) I think L1 is the tier that leaves me the most lukewarm. While Auxiliary Support like the previously mentioned skills is technically also only as dead as you let it be, and the idea is kind of neat, I'm struggling to figure out what to do with it since so many civ-ships have really awkward weapon mounts (outside of mod-added ships but I'm leaving those out for this); I guess that suggests Escort Package for PD escort ships is the easiest adaptation to make? The result of them eating into the militarized DP skills feels a bit rough though since that makes for a few, fairly niche ships in order to keep the bonus at a level that still feels impactful, and simultaneously not take away too much power from more consistently deployed main warships. Its competitor, Weapon Drills, is rather unexciting; and has the same thing going where its tighter DP limit makes the bonus shrink and become practically unnoticeable; and even at its full 10% it's kind of on the brink of what's even noticeable moment to moment. I'd not miss Weapon Drills if it was removed and replaced with something else entirely.
   h) The skills containing the crew loss reductions have some other effects that are still nice and useful, so this is pretty minor, though these components feel kind of meaningless; life is too cheap to really care much about them. Ship crews probably need to be half the size, but ask twice the pay each for these to start being noticeable, but maybe that just asking for other troubles somewhere?

Looking back on this, to think, some of my feels-bad-man moments with skills may suggest my brain is a bit mis-tuned with regards to the way the DP/hangar limits work, though; I do very much feel the compulsion to not eat so deep into the limits that the bonuses shrink so small that I can't notice them anymore (even if they may remain substantial if we had detailed breakdowns of post-combat stats), which may really not be 'correct' and more of a thing I just have to get used to.
[close]

- Spelling error: "Ancyra Station is AN bastion..."; in the mouse-over tooltip about... Well, yes, Ancyra Station.

- Not-really-this-patch-but-still: Pathers feel a bit passive; I end up fighting a lot of pirates in my games (to the point where I usually end up selling some blueprints on the black market just to vary up their ships a bit more), so maybe the occasional Pather raid from their out-among-the-stars bases to disrupt industries they hate could be a fun way to vary up the pirate raids? Like, pirates still raid to steal stuff, but now sometimes Pathers raid to disrupt offensive industry (like the major factions do you when you start eating into their market shares)? I don't think the game needs a larger quantity of raids, so just replacing ~10-15% of them with Pathers could maybe be fun. Since I rarely have to fight them, they still tend to catch me off guard with just how much more aggressive they are, which is a fun "oh right" moment when combat starts. Plus, you could keep the option to bribe them with 'tithes' if they catch you in the midst of their raids to keep them differentiated from the more 'shut up and die'-style pirates.

13
Announcements / Re: Starsector 0.95a (Released) Patch Notes
« on: April 11, 2021, 09:35:00 AM »
More assorted feedback (on my 3rd character now in this 095) on this-or-that; sorry for not digging through the forum to find separate threads, this is "off the top of my head" stuff :(

First block spoilered 'cause it all touches on minor story element/secret things. Hopefully all sorted in some kind of coherent order.

Spoiler
- Weird/bug/I don't know?: This MAY be a mod thing 'cause I only got it this last game (Unknown Skies, *possibly*?), in which case nevermind, but just in case it's a base game thing; I had gates spawn inside event horizon in a black hole and inside a giant star. Seems like a bad time, though I guess that's not necessarily inexplicable as such. On a similar note, gates in neutron star systems are kind of annoying but when it's just the occasional one, I guess it's not inexplicable weirdness? I used the black holed gate I got for the Janus test last game because it's pretty much a trap gate now anyway. :P
- Gate bug: even coming back after doing the scan quest and the local disrupting fleets disappear, interacting with the gate makes it say something's disrupting the scan (but there's nothing so the gate is forever dead).
- Minor issue: Gate travel could do with a transponder warning if your target is such a system; it's kind of minor but I've forgotten a couple of times now that I'm spoiled with jump points giving warning.
- Minor issue: Had a mission for Sebastyen to do "recover drone package"-style mission in a neutron star, got Scavengers-took-it, I think the scavs got blown out to the edge 'cause I had to come back way later to get them at the jump point proper. Maybe this kind of mission could use a failsafe against neutron stars 'cause the AI can't handle it yet? Potentially a confusing thing for new players that'd look like an outright bug when the fleet isn't at the "nearest jump point" as the text says.
- Cute thing/thought I had: doing dead drop missions by going through a gate or two could have some acknowledgement by reducing the chance you're followed/intercepted at all or something. You're the only one that can, right? Maybe that might adjust where the "Hey give me the thing/drop location" goons lurk?
- Spoiler giggles: Finally had a first run-in with tesseracts at a shunt and WHAT ARE THOSE THINGS HOLY JESUS. Some really alien/exotic-feeling weapons going on there compared to the normal stuff in the game, I like it. :D
[close]

- New skill system feedback: (Some of this may concern game balance things I'm out of touch with, and my feelies for what's right/wrong might be... You know, wrong, so take it with a grain of salt thusly.) I do like that each point feels a lot more valuable, and having each skill be themed package deals is something I've rather wanted from other games so that's welcome. However, so far I've pretty much ended up with the same skills by 15 on all characters I've played, just because there's that much stuff I feel like I have to have to actually function properly (with minor variance depending on if I'm in a carrier or not); T5 with +1 built-ins is just so handy to have. I feel like (and this may tie into the now long elaborated on enemy officer spam thing) I really should have one of the L4 skills to close the officer gaps. Combat without at least C1 maneuverability, then up to C4 or even 5 (when my flagships have been Plasma Burners or a missile ship respectively) gets a lot more unforgiving. T1 I want both to get my campaign move speed and sneakiness proper. The +1 built-in in particular feels THAT big, to the point it maybe needs to go away entirely (and be replaced with something else at the T5), or be a thing you get during the story, or even as a default part somewhere during the levelup process. Some other things might be contenders for "stuff you get during levelups or story as part of a starship captain getting more experienced" in general, too, though I've no particular suggestions there (yet at least), other than the general idea (and the +1 built-ins). That, and "some tuning required" but that's to be expected and I think has been elaborated on aplenty already, both in this thread and elsewhere.
- Ships: I like the new phase tender and transport. Eating into the 'militarized ships' budget is a little rough, but I do so like being a space sneak and them giving a helping hand with that in addition to carrying the necessities, my personal goon squad and a cargo hold full of my favourite chocolate is nice. They get to double as survey ships along with the salvage rigs. A possibly positive side effect of having the fleet budget on the skills is I'm no longer putting militarized subsystems by (almost-)default on my civvie ships, though it could be argued it's more of a punishment mechanic now.
- Ships: I'm going to play more with them to feel it out further still, but so far carriers feel kinda weak now (even with all the applicable fleet skills); though I understand they might've been kind of overpowered in 091, so that sort of contrast is understandable to some extent. This could be a function of the #of hangars on the carrier skills being a *little* tight and some of the previously available skills being gone; the reduced fighter damage taken buffs might be notable there, though that is also the one I'm actually actively noticing isn't there anymore.
- Smuggling: The boarding event is a nice move in the right direction, though it still might be too easy to make lots of money doing smuggling runs if you never really get inspected before you land and load off all the illegal goods. This may also serve to drive the nail in harder on the whole 'personal contact bounties pay too little for the danger' thing that's been mentioned by making black market sales too much more easy and profitable in comparison. As a side note on that I eventually just started doing the random bounties instead of the contact ones because they paid more for less danger (because I like and want to do the combat and I don't really like doing essentially no-risk smuggling runs over and over).

Obviously I'm having a lot of fun with the game though, given that's 3 characters so far and I've plans for yet more, so, overall, nice job. :D

14
To continue: The re-roll of existing traits i do like, though make the likely hood that its negative higher than positive, IMHO, these ships get powerful even with random boosts, being able to veto a few might get too OP too quickly.

True, though I was mostly thinking of it as a re-roll of all of them at once, rather than getting to re-roll them individually; sure you could then veto ones you don't like, but you might lose something you do want, and/or end up with more negatives than you had before, etc. Then again that might just push it into a "re-roll ships that got several to many negatives" and I've only a loose grasp of the balance of the game to begin with. :D

15
By and large a very neat mod; I'm a big enthusiast of the idea of making individual ships special (and so make it sting all the more when they break), and this plus the .95 built-in features play together very nicely for that.

A couple of thoughts/suggestions that I've had playing with the mod (and maybe have already been thought so, y'know, take them for what it is) for integrating S-mods (is that what we're calling them?) and story points a bit with it:
- Ships with S-mods gaining reputation a bit faster, like 5/10/15% or so? It seems like the sort of thing that'd mark a ship as something special, rare and, in spacer circles, worth talking about.
- A story point use to re-roll the fame modifiers the ship has? Maybe it's complicated and not-worth-the-effort, and there's something to be said for the ships being quirky in ways you can't really control and actively fish for, but on the other hand story points are there to let you make your own story... Maybe it'd work, maybe not.

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