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Starsector 0.95a is out! (03/26/21)

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Messages - naufrago

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Blog Posts / Re: Colony Management
« on: December 22, 2017, 03:29:42 PM »
Yo, been a while since i've said anything, but I've been keeping tabs on the development. Game is looking better than ever, and shaping up to be a game i've always wanted to play.

Anyway, i'm curious whether you'll implement some sort of measures to prevent players from scooping up some of the surplus, then selling it directly back to the market. Would you consider that viable, or would you try to act against that behavior? Didn't see any mention of that sort of thing in your blog posts, so i though i'd bring it up.

EDIT: wow, just looked and it's been over 4 years since i last posted. hard to believe it's been that long.

Suggestions / Re: New name for energy weapons?
« on: September 09, 2013, 01:44:11 PM »
I didn't say Phase damage, I said Phase MOUNT. >:(
But then why can't my phase mounts fire while I'm phased?  Or at things that are phased?  >.>  It feels like it implies some interaction with phase mechanics.  Then again, so does the "Phase Beam", but oh well.

Don't the phase teleporter and phase skimmer imply some interaction with phase mechanics? Imo, 'phase' just means that it taps into p-space at some level- the skimmer and teleporter use it tunnel through regular space quickly, the cloak uses it to avoid interaction with the real world and to travel at increased speed. 'Phase mount' would imply that it draws additional power from p-space.

You will have people who get confused that you can't fire Phase weapons while phased, but it's fairly minor confusion that players will quickly discover isn't the case either through trial-and-error or some tutorial or description text. And as you mentioned, the Phase beam already would have the same confusion associated with it, but we somehow manage. =p

Suggestions / Re: New name for energy weapons?
« on: September 09, 2013, 01:09:22 PM »
I didn't say Phase damage, I said Phase MOUNT. >:(

EDIT: Another argument in favor of renaming Energy mounts to Phase mounts- high flux damage bonus. You could make the argument that high flux levels make it easier to tap into p-space, increasing the amount of power that can be drawn from whatever arcane processes they employ. Calling them Phase mounts increases their affinity with this game's particular brand of space magic.

"Phase" would just exchange the damage/mount confusion for a damage/phase-cloak confusion.

I disagree. Think about the terminology we use that involves 'Phase'– we have phase ships (ships that have a phase cloak), phase cloak (and the associated terms 'phasing in' and 'phasing out'), phase teleporter, phase skimmer, phase beam, and phase charge launcher.

The biggest conflict I see is with the term 'phase ships', since that might be confused as 'any high-tech ship with primarily phase mounts' as opposed to 'any ship with a phase cloak'... but that conflict is easily solved by referring to current 'phase ships' as 'cloak/cloaking ships'.

If you can say for certain that their would be confusion between phase terminology or concepts, I would ask you to provide specific examples where the conflict may occur and is not easily resolved with a small shift in nomenclature.

Fan Media & Fiction / Re: The Lore Corner
« on: September 08, 2013, 10:18:24 PM »
I thought this league of planets was part of the independents. At least thinking of them game wise. Not being alinged would mean they arnt the hegmony, tri, ect. So the only option is independent. That's more of an assumption but it only makes since. Of coarse someone could prove me wrong.

The existence of a League is not mutually exclusive to the existence of a Coalition. Nothing says that there can't be more than 1 independent faction. And just because they're independent doesn't mean they're completely neutrally aligned towards all other factions.

Suggestions / Re: New name for energy weapons?
« on: September 08, 2013, 08:17:26 PM »
I agree that the terminology for the Energy mount type and Energy damage type is a bit confusing, but it's actually really tough to come up with a replacement name for one of those.

Currently, I'm leaning towards renaming Energy mounts as Phase mounts. If you think about it, 'Phase' is almost synonymous with 'high-tech' in this game. I think it could work since there isn't much of a conflict between existing terminology, and it could fit well with the high-tech theme.

If I were to ask you right now what a Phase weapon is, the only things that would probably come to mind are the Phase Beam and Phase Charge Launcher. One of those is already an Energy mount weapon, and the other can easily be renamed if necessary. There might be confusion that since it's a Phase weapon, it can be used while phased, but players would quickly discover that's not true, especially if that were noted in the tutorial or something.

'Phase' as it's used in the game generally refers to something that interacts with p-space. Non-weapon related things that are phase-related are the Phase teleporter, phase skimmer, and phase cloak. However, there's enough distinction between those and the potentially renamed Phase mount that minimal confusion should arise. It also adds a bit of mystique to the Energy weapons, that they're somehow special since they somehow require or interact with p-space to operate. It helps to differentiate them more from Ballistic weapons, imo.

General Discussion / Re: The coming armor change
« on: September 08, 2013, 07:44:25 PM »
The damage type multiplier gets applied before the armor damage reduction is calculated. So, if a Light Assault Gun (high explosive) does 50 damage per shot, a "hit strength" of 100 is used to determine the damage reduction.

Don't worry, I made sure to account for that =)

I've also adjusted the maximum reduction to 85%, after some playtesting. 90% was a bit much.

Is it possible to mess around with maximum armor reduction by modifying some file, or is it hardcoded? Might be fun to try out different values. Those 5% can make a pretty big difference in the numbers for some guns.

I just want to test out 87.5% as the maximum reduction... mostly because it's easier to calculate than with 85%. Basically, with 87.5% reduction, most weapons would deal half their current minimum dps against anything with armor value 7x greater than their damage value (taking into account damage type modifiers).

General Discussion / Re: The coming armor change
« on: September 07, 2013, 05:09:37 PM »
Well, you have to consider that even though the assault guns do less dps with the armor change, compared to kinetic weapons they still do much more dps against armor and aren't as heavily affected by high armor. Compared to other explosive weapons, they have a much higher rate of fire and projectile velocity, so it's easier to hit smaller ships with them than, say, a Mauler. I wouldn't mind seeing their ammo capacity increased to compensate, however.

EDIT: Actually, it would probably be a good idea to increase the ammo capacity of all the kinetic weapons too, since there will be a LOT more 'wasted' shots against armor.

I'm actually somewhat in favor of having a distinction between low-damage, rapid firing explosive weapons that are easy to shred smaller ships with but struggle against truly hard targets and big, unwieldy cannons for punching through capitals.

My concern is about how well the AI will be able to deal with this.  It has never been terribly concerned with maximizing the efficiency of its weapons, but with the coming changes then something as simple as shooting Autocannons at a Hound could go from being suboptimal to outright counterproductive in terms of how much flux you build up for the damage dealt.  Even if you micromanage the firing on your own ship, all the way down to having explosive and kinetic weapons in separate groups for firing and enabling/disabling autofire individually, as it currently stands there's nothing we can do to prevent our AI squadmates from spending all their flux dumping autocannon shells into an Enforcer.

Has the AI gotten smarter about this for 0.6, Alex?

Yeah, the AI's disregard for efficiency is something I'm concerned about as well.

EDIT: Imo, the AI should stick to using its most efficient weapons for the task at hand. For ballistics, it's about as simple as "When shields are up, hold fire on explosive ballistics and fire kinetics. When enemy flux is high, mostly stop firing kinetics and start firing explosives." For energy weapons, it could be as simple as "Use your efficient weapons when enemy flux is low, only use less efficient weapons when enemy flux is high or your flux dissipation can support firing the weapon without driving your flux levels up rapidly." The AI for high-tech ships doesn't give a damn about its soft flux levels and will happily drop shields so it can fire its inefficient weapons, which is sub-optimal on most high-tech ships.

General Discussion / Re: how to download the game again?
« on: September 07, 2013, 12:09:17 AM »

If I get it right, we can at most be in 0.54a, but there are pages upon pages of changelogs up to 0.60, I guess there was some in-between release then, surely Alex won't unleash all these changes at once, if just to optimize beta testing and error reporting?

Your guess is incorrect. =p It really has been many, many months since the last release. He's still hard at work, though. The changelogs are just there to let us know what he's been working on since the last release.

General Discussion / Re: The coming armor change
« on: September 06, 2013, 11:54:47 PM »
Well, you have to consider that even though the assault guns do less dps with the armor change, compared to kinetic weapons they still do much more dps against armor and aren't as heavily affected by high armor. Compared to other explosive weapons, they have a much higher rate of fire and projectile velocity, so it's easier to hit smaller ships with them than, say, a Mauler. I wouldn't mind seeing their ammo capacity increased to compensate, however.

EDIT: Actually, it would probably be a good idea to increase the ammo capacity of all the kinetic weapons too, since there will be a LOT more 'wasted' shots against armor.

General Discussion / Re: The coming armor change
« on: September 06, 2013, 10:44:26 PM »
My final thoughts on this are that I'm okay with most of the implications of the armor change. Kinetic weapons becoming more specialized as shield killers and explosive weapons becoming more specialized as armor breakers is a perfectly acceptable outcome, imo. However, there are four weapons that I feel were hit a little bit too hard with the change:

Vulcan Cannon- It already does pitiful dps, and the change makes it do only 40% of its former minimum damage to anything with more than 33 armor. The armor change indirectly nerfs Talon interceptors significantly. Would probably be fine if you just double the number of Vulcan Cannons on Talons, but hull would evaporate the instant shields and armor fail. That might be fine, though.

IR Pulse Laser- They're already pretty bad, but the armor change makes them even worse. The armor change is completely warranted, but it feels like the IR pulse laser is hit a bit disproportionately hard compared to other guns. I suggest increasing its damage to 50 per shot, but lowering its rate of fire so that its dps is 120 while keeping its flux/sec around 150. I realize that's a slight buff, but I think it could use a bit of that. Hell, the Light Mortar can hit above its class better than this thing.

Autopulse Laser- The only alternatives to it are Beam weapons and the horribly inefficient Plasma Cannon. In order to make it more usable against cruisers/capital ships (which is what I primarily use Autopulses to fight), increasing its damage to ~150 per shot and reducing the max number of charges and charges generated per second while keeping its flux/sec and dps the same seems like the quickest fix.

Pulse Laser- Similar to the other Pulse weapons, the Pulse Laser is heavily affected by the change to armor, but not as much as the other pulse weapons. The Pulse Laser may actually be fine the way it is, especially if you consider the flux damage bonus. But if it's not, I suggest increasing the damage (perhaps to 100) and decreasing rate of fire proportionally while keeping flux/sec the same. It'll have a hard time against Capital ships and the more heavily armored cruisers (as it should), but it won't struggle quite so much against Destroyers.

Disclaimer: This is just theorycrafting. I could be overreacting and everything could be fine. This is just my opinion from looking at the information I have available to me.

General Discussion / The coming armor change
« on: September 06, 2013, 07:18:40 PM »
EDIT: The patch notes were updated that the new maximum damage reduction from armor will be 85%, not 90%. Some of the info in this post is now outdated.

In case you haven't read the latest patch notes, armor will now provide a maximum damage reduction of 90% (up from 75%). This post is just to give you an idea of what exactly that means. To sum it up- armor just became a LOT more formidable. Also, damage per shot becomes MUCH more important the more armor your target has. Skip to the bottom for a rundown on how most of the weapons will be affected.

How I came to my conclusions
To recap how armor currently works, Actual damage = (Base damage * Base damage)/(Armor + Base damage). Actual damage then gets reduced by the explosive/kinetic/fragmentation armor multipliers (.5/2/.25 respectively). As a result, the minimum damage of kinetic weapons is currently 12.5% and explosive's is 50%. Armor isn't exactly uniform, though, so that calculation isn't perfect, but it's close enough. Also, I'm not really sure when damage starts bleeding through to the hull, but it would be nice to know. Also, I have no idea how beams are affected by armor. For reference, the minimum damage of kinetic weapons will be 5% and explosive's will be 20%. Frag damage will be nigh useless against armor, doing only 2.5% of its damage.

To give you a simple way to determine what effect that will have on the current weapons, multiply their damage by 3 and apply explosive/kinetic/frag multipliers. Anything with more armor than that takes less damage. For example, The Arbalest Autocannon does 150 damage per shot. 150*3*.5 = 225. Currently, anything with more than 225 armor will only take 12.5% of the 150 damage, for 18.75 damage per shot. Ships with more armor than 225 armor will now take less damage from the Arbalest.

Now, multiply a weapon's damage by 9 and apply damage type multipliers. Anything with that much armor or higher will only take 10% damage. Continuing with our Arbalest example, anything with 675 or more armor will only take 5% damage, for 7.5 total. For an Autocannon to deal more than minimum damage against a ship with 750 armor (like an Enforcer), it would take about 10 shots to the same spot. Against something like an Eagle with 1000 armor, you'd have to expend about 1/3rd of its ammo hitting the same spot to reduce its armor enough simply to deal more than minimum damage.

To figure out the strongest hit a ship can take while taking minimum damage, a good estimate is to divide the armor by 10 (The exact number would be to divide by 9. The estimate is lower than what it can actually take, but easier to calculate). That number is how strong a weapon can be and still deal minimum damage (be sure to apply damage type multipliers). For example, if you have 1000 armor, you would take minimum damage from something that deals 111 base damage, so only 11 damage taken. This means you could get hit by a kinetic weapon that deals 222 base damage and take only 5% of that (11 damage), or get hit by an explosive weapon that deals 55 damage and take 20% of that (11 damage).

In the next patch, it will be extremely wasteful to let kinetic weapons hit armor. Pulse weapons and beams will also have a very tough time punching through armor, which necessitates blasters, plasma cannons, or strike weapons/fighters to kill anything in a reasonable amount of time.

Against anything bigger than a Destroyer (and even the Enforcer is quite the tough nut to crack), energy weapons with unlimited ammo, strong explosive weapons, strike weapons, or strike fighters will be necessary. Going without will mean cracking the armor of anything bigger than a destroyer will take an eternity, or you risk running out of ammo for your ballistic weapons. Pulse lasers are fairly lackluster, so bringing a blaster or two now seems fairly mandatory. Also, the Combat skills that consider your armor doubled for damage reduction purposes and consider your weapon damage doubled for damage reduction purposes are now EXTREMELY useful.

This is just theorycrafting, but I think it may be warranted to change all the Pulse weapons to have slightly higher damage per shot and lower rate of fire, keeping DPS and flux efficiency the same. They're hit quite hard by the change, and there are barely any alternatives. If there were other options besides blasters and beams, I'd say they're fine as-is. My thoughts on other weapons are below.

EDIT: The minimum damage and amount of armor required to make weapons deal their new minimum are outdated. I may or may not update things later.
This part is to provide more detail on how the changes affect the guns. The numbers displayed are the old minimum damage per second, the new minimum damage per second, the amount of armor required to make it deal its old minimum damage, and the amount of armor required to make it deal its new minimum damage. Basically, the higher the numbers, the better the weapon is against armor.

NOTE: Strike weapons have minimum damage instead of minimum dps listed, since their damage is more relevant.

Light Assault Gun= 80, 32, 240, 720                 (Heavily affected by the armor change, but still has decent dps against armor)
Light Autocannon= 12.5, 5, 75, 225
Light Machine Gun= 19.5, 7.8, 37.5, 112.5
Light Mortar= 37.5, 15, 450, 1350                   (Surprisingly reasonable at cracking armor, but still terrible. Quite cheap, though)
Light Needler= 18.375, 7.35, 75, 225               (All of the Needlers, and nearly all kinetic weapons, are now quite terrible against armor, but that's fine)
Railgun= 20.875, 8.35, 150, 450
Vulcan Cannon= 18.75, 7.5, 11.25, 33.75         (Hit HARD by the armor change. Talons need a slight buff now maybe? =p)

Arbalest Autocannon= 18.75, 7.5, 225, 675
Assault Chaingun= 133.5, 53.4, 240, 720          (Heavily affected by the armor change, but still has decent dps against armor)
Dual Flak Cannon= 28.44, 11.375, 112.5, 337.5
Flak Cannon= 12.5, 5, 150, 450
Heavy Autocannon= 26.75, 10.7, 150, 450
Heavy Machine Gun= 40, 16, 60, 180          (Not completely terrible against armor, but explosive weapons are still much better)
Heavy Mauler= 125, 50, 1500, 4500           (Nearly unaffected by the change, great for cracking armor)
Heavy Needler= 26.375, 10.55, 75, 225
Hypervelocity Driver= 17.25, 6.9, 412.5, 1237.5    (Decent against armor despite being kinetic, but low ammo and dps)
Thumper= 28.125, 11.25, 67.5, 202.5

Gauss Cannon= 43.75, 17.5, 1050, 3150              (Another kinetic that's decent against armor, but low ammo)
Hellbore Cannon= 250, 100, 4500, 13500         (Completely unaffected by the change, great against armor)
Hephaestus Assault Gun= 240, 96, 720, 2160     (Hurt a bit by the change, but fine)
Mark IX Autocannon= 43.5, 17.4, 300, 900            (Hurt quite a bit by the change, but not completely terrible against armor)
Mjolnir Cannon= 133.25, 53.3, 1600, 4800              (Nearly unaffected by the change, actually worth considering now)
Storm Needler= 93.625, 37.45, 112.5, 337.5

Energy Weapons (including Thermal Pulse Cannon)
NOTE: Beam weapons omitted because I have no idea how armor affects them
Antimatter Blaster= 300, 120, 3600, 10800    (Basically unaffected by the change, great against armor)
IR Pulse Laser= 26.5, 10.6, 105, 315            (Does less dps to armor than a light mortar. That's just sad)
Ion Cannon= 12.5, 5, 75, 225

Heavy Blaster= 100, 40, 1200, 3600            (Mostly unaffected by the change. Probably your best non-strike choice for armor cracking)
Mining Blaster= 75, 30, 1800, 5400             (Great at cracking armor, but terribly inefficient otherwise)
Pulse Laser= 56.75, 22.7, 225, 675               (Hit hard by the armor change, but still has infinite ammo)

Autopulse Laser= 250(50), 100(20), 300, 900     (Hurt a lot by the armor change, but still has infinite ammo)
Plasma Cannon= 140.75, 56.3, 2250, 6750         (Basically unaffected by the change, great against armor. Very inefficient otherwise, though)
Thermal Pulse Cannon= 312.5(62.5), 125(25), 750, 2250       (Hurt a bit by the change, but still good)

NOTE: Most missiles omitted because they're mostly unaffected by the change
Also, instead of minimum dps, it lists minimum damage per shot
Annihilator Rocket Launcher/Pod= 100, 40, 1200, 3600    (Mostly unaffected, so still great)
Sabot SRM (Pod/(Single))= 93.75, 37.5, 1125, 3375        (Mostly unaffected, so still decent)
Salamander MRM (Pod)= 31.25, 12.5, 375, 1125
Swarmer SRM Launcher= 18.75, 7.5, 225, 675         (Like getting hit with a Pulse Laser, but very limited ammo)

I tend to pause and look at the map fairly frequently to stay aware of what's happening and issue retreat orders to damaged ships if necessary. I'd never consider playing vanilla purely like an RTS since a player-controlled ship can influence the battlefield way more than the AI.

And that's my 500th post. Was trying to save it for the release of .6, but that's looking like it'll be a bit longer yet. Not willing to not post for that long. And with that, I'm an Admiral now. woo

Blog Posts / Re: Hyperspace
« on: August 03, 2013, 07:04:44 PM »
That's assuming there are only resource sinks. If there are also sources, like stations gradually generating resources (like people, and whatever materials ships are made of), it could work out. It would be a hell of a balancing act, but it could work. Kinda wish I could remember differential equations, but I'm kinda thinking of a predator-prey system.

If all goes well the player will be the one to tip the scales, organically with every action. Which would be such an awesome difference to the normal "choose the fate of the world with this three dialog options" approach that most open-world games have.

Predator-prey: Do you mean the Lotka–Volterra model? Don't think that's applicable here...

But we're getting off-topic now...

Yeah, that's what I was talking about, although it's probably obvious that things would be a bit more complex than that. It doesn't have all the source and sink stuff that I can't quite remember. An example of how it could be applied, though-

Pirates hunt Traders. When Pirates are few and far between and Traders are prospering, Traders may not spend as much on protection and will be easier pickings for the Pirates that are still around. Thus, Pirates will grow in strength. When Pirates are more numerous, Traders will be harder to find and will be a bit more heavily armed, so Pirates will gain less from hunting Traders and will be reduced to in-fighting to some extent, so their numbers will thin, allowing Traders to flourish a bit more.

That sort of thing. It would require some spontaneous formation of Pirates and Traders from existing resources to maintain equilibrium. But yeah, sorry for taking things a bit offtopic.

So, on topic, you mentioned that you could have multiple layers of hyperspace? Would it be possible to have each separate hyperspace have its own fuel consumption rate? Like, maybe you could have a layer of hyperspace that lets you travel twice as fast, but consume four times the fuel?

Blog Posts / Re: Hyperspace
« on: August 03, 2013, 04:20:40 PM »
Don't forget that the game takes place in a post-apocalyptic scenario. It would be most strange to see systems as brimming with space-life as Corvus is now.
And I think once all the fleets have a purpose or a destination their existence will have much more weight. Right now I feel that the high density of stuff (especially in the mods) is just there to cover up the total absence of purpose.
Perhaps, when there are long-distance behaviors.  I'm fairly skeptical, though; a System with 5 fleets, 4 of whom I can't even fight because I'm in a Frigate, and the 5th one's running away from 3 of the others... that doesn't sound like much fun.  Waiting around for a smallish merchant group to show up so that I can ambush it?  Fun, if it doesn't take all day.

EV had a pretty good mix; at the most empty, you might wait around for a little bit (1 minute, max) for a couple of ships to show up.  It also tended to spawn groups, not just singletons, and that meant that stuff showed up and sometimes started fighting immediately (lots of classic EV moments revolved around going to help out one side or the other).  That felt empty-enough; you might wait, but entertainment happened at the end.

Anything more than that, and why bother ever going to the far reaches?  Seems like a waste of a premise to me.

IDK, I've never quite bought into the apocalyptic its-all-getting-worse scenario anyhow, largely because I don't think it'll work in the long term, gameplay-wise. 

If we're able to do permanent damage to things and everything's draining from Day One (i.e., fleet losses in  the sim are actually having economic effects that are a net loss for both parties on average), then by the time the player's able to act on a grand scale, there will be very little to do. 

So the trend with any reasonable working economic sim is likely to go up over time, not down.  This isn't like Fallout, where killing everybody in the villages would be a choice, and fun if you like role-playing Evil.  There, those choices wait for you.  With agents running around on their own autonomously, if they're able to kill the villages before you get there... well, that isn't fun. 

Having a System get raided by Pirates and having everybody there get killed for a while and talking to some sad survivor on a burnt-out Station who is offering you 10K credits to hunt down the Pirates and get vengeance for his dead family- that's Fun. 

Having it be a permanent and creeping condition, where by end-game, players can't even gain levels enough to fight the boss fleets, because there's nothing smaller left to kill?  Not so much.  There's a balance there somewhere and population's a big part of it.  Needs much care.

That's assuming there are only resource sinks. If there are also sources, like stations gradually generating resources (like people, and whatever materials ships are made of), it could work out. It would be a hell of a balancing act, but it could work. Kinda wish I could remember differential equations, but I'm kinda thinking of a predator-prey system.

Suggestions / Re: Phase Ships... this may help
« on: July 31, 2013, 12:14:45 PM »
Hm... maybe make beams useable while phased... and make beams useful against high-tech ships while we're at it. Well, whatever, I should really just let that argument die since I highly doubt beams will ever be changed.

I do think phase ships should have some capability of firing while cloaked, though. Or have increased mobility as suggested in the OP. They just need something because right now they're really not worth the risk of deploying.

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