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Starsector 0.95.1a is out! (12/10/21); Blog post: Hostile Activity (09/01/22)

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Messages - #Negi

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From what I have seen, shieldless ships need every armor buff to last as long as they can, and even then, it is not really enough for ships without above average armor. 

If there is no damage buffing, then there better not be damage reduction either because bricks are no fun to fight.

How do you reconcile these two thoughts?  +50% armor for calculation, and -25% armor damage taken, both outweigh 10-20% damage.  I also write against both the armor and hull skills in addition to damage, and I'll point out I spoke against flat damage boosts as uninteresting, not against damaging skills as a whole.  Let me rephrase; I find the projectile speed increase to be more interesting than the damage increase, projectile speed helps with evasive targets, so it could be looked at as an indirect damage, range, and flux efficiency buff, as you can now land hits at greater distances and take down those elusive targets faster.

As for Energy Weapon Mastery, I can accept a few of your points, but I would change them to this; Missile Specialization and Ballistics Mastery give generally applicable buffs, while Energy Weapon Mastery has limits.  It is odd that Energy Weapons got the skill tailor made for Safety Overrides, it means Ludd and all the best SO ships can't use it.  So in that light I would appreciate a more generalized Energy weapon skill, but then I would ask that an SO skill be kept around in some form, preferably usable by Ludd, unless restricting the skill from the common SO ships was for balance purposes, which it may be, in that case disregard the request.

So, what shall this new energy weapon skill be?  So as to no be a bland copy-paste of Ballistic Mastery, something that considers the unique position of energy weapons; energy damage, emp, beam and soft flux damage, rare and high-tech, etc.  If you were to design a skill to get players as excited about Energy Weapon Mastery as I was excited about new Ordnance Expertise (see original post), where would you take it?

Ordnance Expertise: I love the new Ordnance Expertise, I like that it’s not another flat percentage boost equally good on everything, but instead I’m considering different combinations for different circumstances.  The biggest discount is naturally for the Storm Needler, but there are plenty of situations where I cannot afford or do not want a Storm Needler, so it has me considering many options on many ship types.  And behind the scenes (spoilers, turn away if you like Ordnance Expertise) if you take the time to do the math on every weapon, it’s all very nearly even in effect as weapon op and flux costs are typically even with each other, so nothing stands out as overpowered with this skill.

Polarized Hull: I like this skill, but I think it invalidates Impact Mitigation, especially on shieldless ships where it’s always better than IM.  I don’t like Damage Control either at the moment: no ship lasts long while taking hull damage, almost nothing hits for over 500 and that not by much, and all crew die on explosion anyways, so faster repairs is the only real benefit.  If I had to make a suggestion, I’d say merge IM and DC in some way to make them more appealing, and so that it and Polarized Hull do different (if overlapping) things. 

Bulk Transport: I do not like the current version of this skill.  I buy my first Colossus, and I get another half a Colossus for free?  And that’s free of cost, crew, fuel, and maintenance, no increased sensor profile, nothing.  Sure, the caps reduce its value into the late game, but by then its other bonus is pulling double duty.  A free Augmented Drive Field that stacks with Augmented Drive Field?  With this it’s easy to get an Atlas up to speed 11, without any Ox Tugs.  No, this is bad, Atlas is slow and it takes work to compensate.  This skill is too good by far. 

Hull Restoration: I like it, but I also note between this and Crew Training, there’s little reason for officers to take Combat Endurance anymore, as you can’t go over 100%.  Don’t get me wrong; I like that there are multiple ways to get to 100% CR, I’m just noting that Combat Endurance is the weakest of the options, as the other two skills apply to your whole fleet and don’t take up valuable officer skills, while providing a lot of other buffs on the side.  I could build-in Hardened Subsystems and get much the same effect. 

Target Analysis: I do not like Target Analysis, I look at it and ask ‘what’s the point of being big while this thing exists?’, it diminishes the advantages being a thiccc boi with lots of armor.  I hear it and other skills are designed to incentivize smaller ship classes, but I don’t like this solution, battleships can take it just as easily as frigates, and make better use of it to pound other battleships into dust, it becomes a must-have skill against larger targets, it doesn’t incentivize frigate play.  Fleets are limited by ship count, and so are officers, so making the most of each individual ship beats out swarms of midgets.  I play with a mod that changes that fleet limit to be DP based rather than ship count based, so that takes care of some of the problem for me.  Unfortunately the alternative I can think up isn’t an easy one to implement; give small weapon slots limited tools to hurt big ships that are ineffective against smaller ships (like reaper and squall) and take away some of the big ship’s ability to combat smaller ships (like removing small slots and making large slots turn slower) so that capital ships can be effectively swarmed, flanked, and harassed if they don’t have more nimble and precise escorts of their own, (even if that’s a frigate-hunting light cruiser) so that the various sizes must work together to cover their weaknesses.  Frigates and Light Destroyers are supposed to be flankers after all, play into that role rather than buffing their stat-sticks. 

Wolfpack Tactics: same as Target Analysis.

System Expertise: System Expertise is in a good place, but I think it could be better; there are some vanilla and many modded systems that do not have charges, cooldowns, or ranges.  A cost reduction would make this skill useful to Fortress Shield, Terminator Sequence, and other such systems, without pushing other systems as very few systems have a combination of costs and cooldowns. 

Carrier Group: I do not like how it is capped to fighter bays across your whole fleet.  Ships like the Shepherd have built in wings, Shepherds are useful scavengers into the late game but their combat falls off quickly so I won’t willingly take them into combat vs cruisers on up.  But they are a wing in my fleet reducing the effectiveness of my actual carriers.  It also encourages few carriers all around, disregarding built-in wings like the Shepherd.  How about this; tie the maximum bonus to the number of fighter bays currently in combat.  That way Shepherds don’t steal resources, and I can keep some carriers in reserve to swap out when Peak time expires. 

Fighter Uplink: same as Carrier Group.

Best of the Best: I’ve held since the creation of S mods that they take away from the gameplay.  Ships were interchangeable, and losing one may hurt but it made you vary your tactics and try new things, and you can always go find another ship of that type if it meant so much to you.  The ships in your fleet were your tools, not your babies.  However, with S mods, ships aren’t interchangeable anymore.  I’ve put limited resources into that ship, I’m much less willing to let it go.  The skills that make officer/modded ships always recoverable I think are treating the symptom not the cause, and the problem remains I am now overly attached to ships.  Having played with S mods for a while now, I begrudgingly accept them as a fun addition, but I still think they have that deep flaw of changing the way I relate to ships. 

Energy Weapon Mastery: this skill has anti-synergy; it rewards you for high flux, then reduces flux generation.  Ya its not a big deal, your enemies will be helping you raise that flux level, but it’s still an odd skill.  Other than that I like it's risk/reward setup.

In general I prefer skill design that avoids straight damage buffing, I like nuance in the implementation, like Energy Weapon Mastery and Ordnance Expertise.  I’d like to see a ship system or hullmod that reduces energy weapon fire rate in exchange for hit strength, accuracy, range, or something like that.  A toggled ship system that rapidly regenerates charges while disabling your shields/weapons.  Because both of those ideas to me are more interesting than accelerated ammo feeder, high energy focus, or targeting feed; flat damage buffs with few considerations beyond timing.  What do the rest of you think? 

Maybe remove built-in wings from Path...
I like this idea: Luddic Path built in wing.  Not so much the other ideas, I'm no expert modder.  But I can make spades a builtin support wing on a pather capital ship, and then I can swap its system to Terminator Sequence, since behind the scenes it doesn't care what kind of fighter is used.  It'd be throwing kamikaze small frigates, more often than the Tempest can throw its Terminator Drones.  Maybe remove all the PD from the capital ship so it has to rely on the spades, to keep you from throwing them all away wantonly, but well, the Tempest already does that, so maybe something else for them...  Maybe give them the active flare's ai so they body block for the host ship...  Ya, I'm going to try this out now. 

What do you think of converting the spade into a fighter wing of some sort?  Work out some logistic benefit for fitting them so the model doesn't go to waste...?  Let them give a bit of shielded cargo holds, but since they're fighters they can't be kitted out as described above.  Maybe make them a low tech heavy bomber or support fighter, or work like mining drones.  I think something could be done with them.

well the problem in AI hands is that they constantly use them, pirate and luddite fleets are genuinely 1/3 spades
A good catch, I didn't notice it until I turned spades off, but spades do lower the difficulty of small fleets at campaign start, and I've been spoiled without realizing it.  Even of those spades are replaced with hounds, it's still an improvement. 

I think you are over-estimating the Spade very slightly
If it's only 'very slightly' then Over-Powered it remains.  Show me where.  I've laid out what they can do, show me how they can't do it, or show me some other extenuating factor.  Until you can the statement stands: 5 deployment points gets +10% speed to all your ships and -10% range to all your opponents and that's just in combat...5 deployment points.  That's a wolf.  Would you rather have another wolf, or a sizable speed and range advantage on all your opponents?  That's like giving every ship a level 1 officer (..also it stacks with officers)  So come now, just how slightly am I overestimating this ship? 

so what i'm hearing is 30 spade fleet
Neh, 5 will do, use story points to slap on all the support hullmods, you won't need more.  That's the point; they do to much for how cheap they are, 5 at most is all you'll ever need and they're dirt cheap and super fast, their sensor profile is small and can be made miniscule, their shielded cargo will save your bacon when you aren't expecting a patrol, there is no drawback, and you don't even need to spam them in order to break them. 

Modding / Re: .skin files and shields
« on: May 03, 2022, 06:26:14 PM »
So, you are successful, correct?
Why ask why, then?
I'm asking why.  I want to understand what's going on under the hood, because on normal ships I can edit with skin files, that's the point of skin files, but for fighters there are many things that are entirely uneffected by the skin, but the skin still works in that I can change it's name, sprite, etc and make variants that refer to the skin rather than the ship.  I don't understand, and I want to understand.  Maybe I can do something interesting with it once I know what the capabilities are, who knows.

The only problem I have with the Spade is that NPC ones are so easy to kill but still count as full frigates for bounty purposes.

Well let me add to that list by pointing this out to you; a spade has half the logistic costs of the smallest vanilla frigate.  You pay 1 supply and $20 crew salary a month, .5 fuel per light year, and at a single deployment point each, for 5 DP I can add 5 spades with ECM Package and Nav Relay to max the bonuses on both.  Throw on some logistics hullmods, each spade reduces survey costs by 5 supplies/heavy machinery, if you survey 1 world every 5 months the spade pays for itself.  With the spade around, the only logistics mods you would take on larger ships are the ones with diminishing returns because the math works out so a single large ship is worth more than many small ships, (High Resolution Sensors, Salvage Gantry, etc) but for all other logistic mods take a swarm of spades. 

Now you can still do all this with vanilla frigates, but at the least it costs double in upkeep and deployment compared to the spade.

the sole reason i stopped using VSP

Easy fix; just crack open the mod, go to data/hulls, data/hulls/skins, data/variants, data/world/factions, and data/config.  Delete the Spade's entry in Ship_Data.csv, its .ship file, it's two .skin files, all .variant files it may have, and go through each of the factions and default_ship_roles, and remove the spade from their known ships / spawn rates.  For safety's sake open up each file and glance over them, make sure there aren't any references (shouldn't be, it's spade, not a fancy ship) and if you have any errors on startup it should point you at the problem file to alter.  If you want to be safe, copy everything into a new mod folder and name the mod 'vayra minus spade' or something, so if you brake it you've still got the original.  In the meantime you'll develop a taste for modifying other people's work, and spend more time out of the game than in.  I apologize for nothing. 

Modding / Re: .skin files and shields
« on: May 02, 2022, 08:58:34 PM »
I'd like to look at what you have.

I don't know what you're asking for, I described exactly what I did.  I added this line to a .skin file for a fighter and it didn't work, I moved that line from the .skin file to the .variant file and it did work.  What are you looking for?


After long study I've determined that the Spade--though I love the little ship--is very Over-Powered.  It is to small and cheap to receive full benefits from hullmods.  Anyone else thinking this? 

Modding / .skin files and shields
« on: April 29, 2022, 08:37:37 PM »
I'm testing .skin files, and I noticed I can't change the stats of wings with a skin; I make a 'high tech broadsword' skin, and in it I try to give it a shield and better flux stats, I then make a wing_data and a variant the new skin.  The game loads just fine, it shows my fighter, sprite, description, and weapons, but the shield and flux stats are unchanged.  I try to add a builtin hullmod to the skin; makeshift shield emitter, still nothing changes.  When I add the makeshift shield to the variant file rather than the skin file it works like a charm.  Is it something to do with fighters?  I've added hullmods and changed stats to skins of regular ships before.  Can anyone explain this?

Mods / Re: [0.9.1a] ED Shipyard 2.1.2 (crash fix)
« on: April 24, 2022, 11:11:38 PM »
I have a question about the Newfoundland's modules: how does it interact with logistics mods?  Example: I want to put Solar Shielding on it, do I place it on the front segment?  Or on all segments?  Do the latter segments have any effect on logistics?  Do they stack or have a proportional effect on the ship as a whole?  Or do they have no effect and only the front segment matters for logistics?  Thank you. 

Modding / Re: Are there notes on editing existing mods?
« on: April 23, 2022, 01:51:05 AM »
too many interrelated files

Ya I'm learning that, but I'm gonna try it anyway, and either way I've gained a new skill.  Thanks for the response, and another question if you don't mind; is there documentation on how to read starsector.log?  I found this link, but it talks about how to post the log for someone else to read, not how I can read it myself.

I'm getting an error that says a particular script for an on-hit effect isn't loading, but it only offers "Check starsector.log for more info."  I've checked it (there are three different such logs apparently), but I don't know what I'm looking at, nothing seems wrong, and I can't find anything in it that looks like an error record.  It's 3k lines of "... loading rule: ...". 

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