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Messages - idiotekque

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Suggestions / Static debris field changes
« on: August 07, 2021, 06:10:06 PM »
At the moment, unless I'm missing something big, debris fields that you find in fixed locations (as opposed to ones generated by large battles) are a bit underwhelming. Which, to be fair, they should be. The chance of a wreck or rare item here and there, along with the standard odds and ends, is as much as they should do.

That said, I think it would be neat if there was a regeneration mechanic to them that would lend itself towards fleets that have a higher focus on salvaging. For example, I'm trying such a run at the moment and came across a neat system with about 5 or 6 debris fields and one decent planet (with industrial ruins as well, but that's a mod of course). It would be a really neat colony for a salvaging, junker sort of faction if those debris fields were slightly more lucrative. Having a slowly replenishing source of salvage would be an interesting addition to a system, allowing a sort of passive resource for stockpiling, extra supplies, random weapons, etc. This is sort of similar to tech mining, with a different salvage fleet flavor and a more hands on approach (and no chance of Paragon BPs, lol). If the player was especially focused on being a salvage fleet, going the extra mile with salvage rigs, etc, it could even veer towards being somewhat lucrative (though obviously paling in comparison to higher risk activities).

That said, like with tech mining, realistically these resources SHOULD diminish over time until they dry up. Realistically, a scrap field doesn't "regenerate", so that bit requires a bit more thought. I think it's absolutely realistic for a debris field to not be picked clean in a few hours, which is more or less how they function now. It makes perfect sense for a debris field to be something that salvagers pick through over the course of extended periods of time, as opposed to feeling like a percentage based common "treasure chest" in terms of game mechanics, which is how they feel currently. Honestly, it should feel more like mining, to some extent (which Nex dabbles with).

That said, I think there should still be varieties of debris fields, as they already exist to some extent with their densities, and ideally some extra variation to what they have to offer. So while a field may "regenerate", if it isn't a dense field, it would only ever be as generous as it was when you first found it.

Anyways, I certainly don't have a perfect picture of how it would all work best, but I thought it was worth talking about. I know it's kind of a minor factor in the game, but the little details are what really make a game like Starsector what it is, in my opinion. I think fleshing out more options like salvaging in making them slightly more worthwhile (but again, not as lucrative as higher risk activities) and interesting goes a long way towards making the world feel more alive, especially if you're playing different characters with roleplay in mind.

Outside of the missions themselves I think it would be nice to have a way to influence which bar contacts spawn. Give players more freedom to tailor game to what they want and less reliance on RNG. Spend a story point at a bar and the bartender introduces you to X contact.

Keep in mind you can edit min/max bar events in the settings file. Pretty much a necessity if you're looking for operatives (Nex). Not exactly what you're saying, but at the very least it does help to make bars feel a little bit more lively and to give you more options. I think I have mine set at 2/5 right now.

Just wanted to say, real quick, that I'd love to add more missions at some point; especially some exploration-focused ones, and/or ones that are more... universally appealing, let's say. The current mission set has a bunch of stuff for raids, and stuff for stealth, and if you're not building towards one of those, then that cuts out a fair chunk of the new missions. So, mainly, just wanted to say that this is something that's on my radar!

Completely agreed. Hopefully this is already the idea, and we'll just have to see what get's implemented next. I do like the ones that .95 added, but like you said, they definitely fall into stealth/raid for the most part, which are pretty early game unfriendly.

EDIT: Ha, I'm such a dope. I replied on the message page and didn't realize it was you who replied, Alex. Awesome to hear!

Related, I accepted a raid mission for about 50k-80k credits, completed it and ran off.  Much later (about months to a year), a revenge fleet about 180k-200k bounty strength hunted my fleet down and caught up.

Too many bar missions send persistent near-endgame fleets to chase the player for insignificant bounties.  Or the difficulty is too high for the reward.  I have learned to ignore those missions.

Right, my disappointment is the feeling that only a relatively small percentage of mission types are reasonable to take on early game. And considering that you may hit five colonies in a row that are only offering missions of these types, early game tends to feel like you're meticulously searching for specific mission types that are viable to do when you don't have much on hand, and it winds up being annoying, and you just wind up saying "oh well" and doing the same handful of things that speed you through early game.

I'm a little weird in that I really do enjoy early game in a lot genres, especially when the game gives you the opportunity to play with roleplay in mind. Unfortunately Starsector tends to favor the approach of being militant in your approach, signing on with a faction for a free lunch, following big fleets around and getting involved in large scale warfare, racking up commission money and recovered warships, and then speeding your way through to other stuff.

I'll certainly find a way to make it work either way. I'm not saying that there still isn't a wealth of different things to do and ways to play, but I really do just wish I didn't feel like a majority of mission types just aren't early game friendly, and incredibly stealth reliant (unless you just brute force your way through everything, which rarely makes sense given the low rewards).

Are these the bounties from pirate contacts? Those often have me hunting trade fleets - its really rare for me to have faction contacts give me anything thats in the core. I haven't seen any assigned bounties that do transponder changes like smugglers can.

My experience with bounties from contacts that are in the core systems from contacts is that they pay extremely well for the threat level and fuel/supply cost, but require tricks. For example, if the terrain is right you can lure the escorts away with a sensor pulse, then loop back to attack the defenseless fleet. Usually takes the sensors skill to do though, as you need to avoid the patrol fleet that is running after your sensor pulse.

Yeah, I think this was from an underworld bounty (on a lawful planet, but I don't think that changes anything), to be fair, but the target is seemingly always classified as a pirate captain as per the mission intel, not an indie, not from a lawful faction, etc. Perhaps that's just a misclassification? But I'm not sure why that would be the case, when the intel could just as easily say the target is an independent or otherwise. I did always find that odd.

I do know there are lots of ways around such things, but like I said in my post, we're talking about 30-50k bounties. Needing to cater your fleet to stealth, speed, kitting yourself out for what amounts to an assassination mission that involves possibly *** off the big boys, just isn't worth the reward at all.

To be fair, that is a theme with low level missions. Lots of low paying mission types that ultimately wind up requiring very specific stealth set ups and tactics, all for nigh inconsequential amounts of credits. I'm giving a "salvager" start a try, with slow, d-modded salvage ships, generally neutral reputations, and I'm remembering how unreasonable it is to do anything but pick fights with fleets around your capabilities, take commissions, or take trade missions. Which is fine, sort of, it's just kind of unfortunate how many low level, low pay missions wind up revolving around a massive focus on stealth, or open warfare with fleets that just aren't worth fighting in comparison to the meager rewards of these missions. Being able to complete these missions winds up being incredibly circumstantial, at the will of what AI patrols decide to do, and incredibly reliant on your fleet running with phase ships, insulated engines, etc, to be reasonable.

To be clear, I know how to complete these missions. It's not frustration placed upon whether they're doable or not, it's disappointment in the fact that early game, low paying missions that should be catered to small, imperfect fleets, just aren't. I wish there were more reasonable early game options for scrappy, early fleets that are lacking mods, funds, etc.

Something I noticed starting a new run and trying for a somewhat more humble fleet is that the lowest level bounties are frequently against "trade fleets". Obviously, the targets you're up against in these bounties certainly fit the low payments (30-50k, etc), made up of mostly non-combat ships like the Colossus, Tarsus, maybe a Buffalo and a few Hounds or Cerberus, etc.

What I find a bit odd about these bounties is that despite the targets being classified as pirates, they always seem to be located orbiting a "lawful" colony, marked not as a pirate, or smuggler, but as an independent "trader". So that seemingly easy, low paying, low level bounty mission isn't actually forcing you to take on an underpowered smattering of pirate trade ships, it's forcing you to take on orbiting fleets of whatever planet they're orbiting. In addition to that, they even have a special fast picket style fleet of that colony's faction specifically assigned to them, with the "guarding trader" task applied to them.

This seems a little bizarre for a few reasons.

1. The obvious: If you take on the lowest, cheapest bounty, the idea is that you're on a new run, and you're looking for a mission that is is reasonable for a destroyer and few frigates, a new fleet, etc. Instead, you wind up pitted against relatively powerful orbital defenders, and at the very least, an addition cruiser or destroyer and a few frigates, provided by the "guard" that your target is assigned, which is hardly appropriate to the tiny bounty price.

2. Why are "pirate" trade fleets classified as independents in space? Why are they not only neutral/friendly with factions they are typically hostile with, but even assigned a defender from that faction? It is feasible to say that they're a smuggler more so than a trader, and they're running with false IFF (even though that isn't really an established mechanic in game), therefore allowing them to carry out their trading/smuggling, but again, this is a poor line of reasoning to explain why they would even have an assigned bodyguard from the Hegemony or whatever faction whose planet they're orbiting, as per how the bounty spawns them in.

3. This bit I'm not entirely sure of, but why exactly does this fleet spawn in and seemingly infinitely orbit a planet like this, as opposed to being in a more secluded location that would fit their pirate/smuggler status? Is there any way for these low level trade fleet bounties to spawn elsewhere? Do they leave at some point, sometimes, and allow you a chance to intercept them then? Keep in mind these are 30 day bounties, and I lurked for 25ish days and never saw this happen, so that doesn't seem to be the case, but has anyone seen otherwise?

All in all, it just seems a little wonky for these low level bounties to be set up like this. Obviously there are ways around the difficulty imposed by how they're set up, whether that's managing to lure away defenders, waiting till there are no additional orbiting fleets besides the designated guard fleet, etc, but like I mentioned before, this still is counterproductive to these bounties being aimed at low level,  small, new player fleets, befitting their measly credit rewards. I checked three of these missions ranging from 30-50k reward, and all of them were identical in their setup, so I feel like this is just how they are, and they're just sort of useless in every scenario. If you're using a new fleet, they're too difficult, or simply more effort than they're worth, and if you're using a stronger fleet, they're simply pointless.

I do feel like this could be remedied in couple different ways. If they were identified as smugglers, without a "guard" fleet in orbit, the player could simply roll up on them in orbit, knock them out, with lawful fleets indifferent to your actions based on their quasi-lawful status on their IFFs, or something along those lines. Or, you could simply find them somewhere else, perhaps near a jump hole, uncolonized planet, a debris field, etc, perhaps even properly identified as a pirate. Another idea that would make a bit more sense to me would be for them to be trading with unlawful bases. This would involve them orbiting a pirate, pather, etc base initially (which may provide more danger than the bounty is worth, naturally), but then moving off from that base once they're done, allowing you to intercept them alone. They could have a course set for a jump hole, and once they reach it, maybe that's the end of the bounty period.

I don't know, just brainstorming, because I really do think that these bounties are incredibly odd and pointless in their current execution. Any thoughts?

Or, cooler yet, all its ships come from the player (as per the common vanilla feature request for players to be able to make an NPC fleet out of their spare ships). Except then it's not a special task group so much as a "random recovered junk task group"... Hmm, this is getting complicated real fast. Something to think about later.

Absolutely this. If it were possible to put together and name your own AI controlled fleet/s out of ships you choose and set up, that would be amazing. Can't imagine it would be a simple thing to integrate, but that would be such a great addition to colony play.

Mods / Re: [0.95a] Legacy of Arkgneisis 1.9.10 [6/1/21]
« on: August 05, 2021, 03:23:10 PM »
It's not loading a music file, sounds like a botched installation.

Delete the mod from your files and redownload it.
Gosh, should have thought of that myself. Thanks, all good!

Mods / Re: [0.95a] LowTech Armada
« on: August 04, 2021, 11:17:16 PM »
Hi! I really enjoy this mod but tech Duinn tends to break my game. is there a way to disable it? I looked through the settings but everything I tried broke the mod and caused the game to crash on startup.

Just installed the mod to give it a try and ran into the same issue, crash on startup in connection to "Duinn".

Mods / Re: [0.95a] Legacy of Arkgneisis 1.9.10 [6/1/21]
« on: August 04, 2021, 11:16:02 PM »
Hmm, getting this error popup and crash when I try to launch while Arkgneisis is activated.

Any ideas? Seems like it's not finding an audio file? A bit confusing. I think I have everything up to date.

Nex has another per-faction invasion/raid size cap, based on the faction's industrial output (which is also used for how frequently invasions and raids occur). This was added so factions that have been reduced to 1 or 2 planets can't launch huge invasions. Output isn't shared between allies, each faction builds up invasions/raids based on its own economy.

The cap doesn't really apply to a small but healthy faction, e.g. in the new game with a vanilla sector I just checked, Luddic Church's cap is 1151 FP, or over half the hard cap of 2K. However, smaller factions take longer to be able to launch an invasion of the same size.

Vanilla fleet types don't use such mechanics. Inspections, for instance, just get larger each time they occur.
First inspection is 50 + 125 = 175 FP
Second inspection is 50 + 250 = 300 FP
and so on.
(yeah inspections are pretty big, they start having enough points for almost six Paragons)

Punitive expeditions work similarly, but the numbers are different (starts at 50 + 50, and I'm not sure if the number of attempts is shared between factions).
Oof, yeah, it's the vanilla ones that have quickly proved to be more ridiculous than the Nex ones lately, then. The last Hegemony invasion wasn't even terrible, just two fleets with a Conquest or two in each. Inspection fleets are just broken I guess.

Finally figuring out how to launch defense fleets was a massive help, in any case. If a raid or invasion pops up, it's very doable to just split your fleet points launching two medium sized fleets from two colonies in system, so that they're up and flying before the enemies get in system, and they have been pretty effective in just scaring invaders off without much of a battle thus far. Obviously takes some cash to pull off, but at this point my colonies are pulling in 800k a month, so what's budget mean, lol.

Was this a raid (which is added by Nexerelin) or a punitive expedition sent due to market competition (a vanilla feature)? But either way, the autoresolved event saying it's failed while having caused disruption to anything sounds like a bug that shouldn't be possible. (The opposite seems more likely; there are ways it can report success while not having done anything more than kill the orbital station).
This was a raid to disrupt an industry, yes. It's been a week or so, so I forget the exact industry (it was either mining or heavy industry, fairly certain), but the way it played out was:
  • I'm notified of the raid
  • I stay in system, a few fast pickets immediately kill the tiny raiding party before I can reach it
  • I reload, leave the system, since it's clear my help is unnecessary, especially since ...
  • The raid says it's likely to be defeated in orbit, yet it winds up being defeated on the ground
  • I check the colony, and the targeted industry is still disrupted for a couple weeks (forget exact number)
So, I'm not really sure. It wasn't a big deal, but it was silly imo for it to have to go to the ground in the first place, with a battlestation in orbit, a size 5 and 6 colony, clearly no troubles killing it in space without my assistance when I'm in system, yet a near failure when I left the system. Maybe they "failed" to disrupt the industry, but due to the fighting on the ground it was still... sort of disrupted, for a shorter period of time? I don't know, either way, it seemed incredibly nonsensical and had drastically different results when I left, which is why I mentioned it all.

Personally I don't bother fixing shortages or trade disruptions at all, except when stability drops to dangerous levels. Unless compounded with other problems, the most they can do is cause some loss of income, you may as well do whatever stuff you were planning to do.
I will totally admit this is true. It isn't a huge deal, it's just a seemingly constant occurrence that lends to my feeling that unless there is a constant, personal player hand in most matters, there will be consistent failure mixed in. Certainly not a hill worth dying on due to the minor impact it has, I admit, just a side detail.

Invasion fleets are capped (albeit the hard cap is 2000 FP, which is more than what it considers enough for some of the toughest modiverse star systems like the Legio home system, but a player system's defenses can exceed even that). They do scale based on the target system's defenses and target market size, but the defense numbers go up faster than the invasion size.
One thing I do want to ask regarding this, does the market size and/or alliance size of an invading fleet have an impact on invading fleet size? Because Hegemony is the big boy in my current game (they "won" in the first two months, so y'know), they're in a three-way alliance with the Church and Diktat (it's disgusting), and they have certainly consistently sent fleets that make everything else look pathetic by comparison (outside of, again, player fleet interference).

And would that factor into non actual "invasion" fleets as well? Is it a normal occurrence for an AI inspection fleet, for instance, to consistently be loaded with 4+ battleship/battlecarriers? Onslaughts and Legions are a cakewalk with a player led fleet, but unless I babysit for all their actual invasions (and inspections, I suppose), my colonies are just kind of boned on a dice roll. And that's in two systems with two large, just about max upgraded colonies in each, 7-10 stability each. Keep in mind they certainly focus on the weaker targets of the two, for good reason, but it just feels like my fleets are an incredibly flimsy impediment to their massive fleets, despite max quality fleets ranging from 150-200% size. I guess that just isn't enough when it comes to the Hegemony in a lofty position in the sector.

Loading everything up with AI cores is certainly an option, but for roleplay (and challenge, I suppose) purposes I have kept actual admin slots to humans (with the ground tactics perk on most if not all of them) and AI cores to industries. I know I can't really complain too much if I'm not using the best possible resources for the task, but I do also feel like that shouldn't be a necessity either, in every case.

I appreciate the deeper dive into how it all factors in.

I think they last about 2 months but also take a month or two to launch. You can press Z to launch fleets from anywhere.
The way I look at it, an expedition being successful isn't that big of a deal. If you have multiple colonies, the rest of them are still giving you full income so you should barely notice the drop in income. Obviously, invasions are different but you asked for that if you are at war with a faction.

Huh, I will have to play around with that more. Thanks for the tip.

To be fair, of course, "asking" for war in Nex tends to be out of your hands a lot of the time. Declarations of war feel like a monthly occurrence regardless of what I do. It's manageable enough to not fight a war on three fronts (Hegemony/Sindrian/Church alliance, fun) with operatives, but still, is what it is without console.

Another amusing thing about Indies in game as they are that made me laugh... When you run across decivilized planets that hail you, there's a chance that they'll ask for the supplies they need to re-colonize their planet. What you do then, to this group of random individuals who have been eking out a living on a decivilized world for God knows how long, will affect Indies' opinion of you across the entire sector, or vice versa, even if they don't possess as much as a comm link.

Again, obviously just a limitation of their current implementation, but another detail that's a little funny, and a good example of why the current implementation is so flawed.

With Nex, the best you can do is launch defense fleets to make sure they're protected. If I had to guess, what happened is that one of the "elite" fleets that nex gives factions rolled up since you weren't around to immediately stop their disruption fleet and steamrolled what was in system.

Not sure how effective turtling up a single system is, since that would just lead to the following invasions scaling as well.

I do need to figure those bits out, I forgot you could do that. How long do those last? Because as far as I know, you still have to go to x colony to spawn something like that in person, right? And then that fleet factors in for auto-calc battles while you're away?

I think the game still simulates the fleets flying around in the system just not the combat between individual fleets. Having multiple colonies in the same system just massively increases the number of fleets in the system, increasing the odds of stuff getting intercepted/defeated. I could be wrong about that though.

When I've seen my defenses fail in Nex while they were supposed to win, it's usually because there were multiple events happening at the same time (pirate raids, other expeditions/invasions etc.) and those weakened the defenses temporarily. I don't personally defend anything and with a minimum of 3 colonies, I haven't lost any defenses I wasn't supposed to lose.

I will definitely need to slap a third colony into my home system. At the moment I've got a size 6 auric world that's fantastic, and a size 5 mining/refining/heavy industry barren planet that took awhile to be that profitable, but is doing great now. There's an irradiated planet in system that's a bit of a mess, but it does have alright resources, so it probably is worth eating the hazard pay and boosting fleet size in the system.

Sadly, most of the time I am just dealing with Hegemony 90% of the time, who "won" the game a month in, has 11 markets (even after taking two from them), and is a part of a three-way alliance with the Church and Diktat, so I would imagine that just massively boosts their fleet size for invasions and whatnot. When they send inspection fleets, they always, always have 4+ battleship/battlecarriers, every time. Maybe that's just a normal thing, but I wouldn't be surprised if it's influenced by their market size or something. Unfortunately, I don't think my system is ever going to rebuff things like that on their own.

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