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Starsector 0.97a is out! (02/02/24); New blog post: New music for Galatia Academy (06/12/24)

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Messages - vok3

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General Discussion / Re: Carriers hoarding interceptors
« on: December 18, 2022, 06:33:15 PM »
Sorry for the double post but having read through the earlier posts I really think this deserves comment:

Interceptor carriers can also be ordered to escort friendlies - they will fly there at top speed and engage what is around them. I've used this to help save ships that overextend or are losing duels: a quick disposable swarm to cover it and let it get out goes a long way! That order I need to cancel manually if things work out, so it takes a bit of micro.

This is not true.  It does not do this.

I see the tip about doing exactly this repeatedly.  At first I thought:  "Oh cool!  I didn't know that!"  Then I tried it.  Then I decided: "It must be leftover from some previous version of the game where it actually did behave that way."  Because, in the current version, it absolutely does not.  I have tried it.  I have tried it with Talons, with Broadswords, with Thunders, with any random stuff I happen to have.  I have tried it with Condors, with Drovers, with Herons, with Shepherds.  It simply does not work this way.  I click the carrier, right-click the ship to be escorted, the carrier shows a green arrow from it to the ship to be escorted and starts moving in that direction.  And the fighters stay right there next to the carrier.  Every single time.  It doesn't matter whether it's right at the start of the battle, whether it's in the middle of a battle with ships in combat, or late in the mop-up phase.  I have never, ever, seen fighters fly out to a ship to be escorted and fly along with it.  They simply do not engage in this behavior, at all, ever.  They fly out to a ship that the carrier has a strike order on, or they fly out to ships the carrier is selecting on its own if it has no orders, or they fly around and fight other fighters that happen to be in the general vicinity of the carrier, or they hang around the carrier.  If the carrier has an escort order, it flies toward the ship to be escorted, and the fighters hang around the carrier or attack stuff in the general vicinity.  That is all they do.

In fact, I typed up that paragraph, and then I went into the game and I tested it.  I had my flagship battlecruiser out front, an unofficered condor trundling along in the rear, I set the condor to escort the BC.  The condor's fighters stayed RIGHT THERE next to the condor.  They had plenty more speed.  They had the needed deployment range (4000, and no range d-mods on the condor, and the BC wasn't more than about 1000-1500 ahead).  They just didn't go anywhere, except to slowly circle the condor.

In fact^2, I typed up that second paragraph, then I thought "maybe it is specific to interceptor-classified objects only and nobody bothered to document that", went and started an unmodded vanilla game, did the tutorial stuff in Galatia because I knew I could get a Condor and some Talons, and went and did the wormhole fight and tried the escort-with-fighters.  Guess what?  IT DOES NOT WORK.  The Condor was given the escort order, moved toward my Hammerhead, the Talons flew in circles near the Condor until the pirate Venture got near the Condor, then dove in and blasted away at the Venture.  My flagship Hammerhead - which they were supposed to be escorting - was nowhere near.

It does not work.  Please do not say things work a certain way when they very clearly and verifiably do not.

And yes, I am running .95.1.  The first test I did was with mods but I did all my earlier experimentation with this in an unmodded vanilla install, as was the second test.

Suggestions / Re: AI Frigates happily blocking friendly fire
« on: December 18, 2022, 10:40:09 AM »
(... and, still not seeing the "crossing in front of line of fire" issue. Possibly some other in-dev AI changes factoring in?)

I don't understand how this is possible.  I see it in at least half of all the battles I fight, with pretty much the whole possible spread of tactics and officer personalities / fleet doctrines.  I've seen it with frigates assigned to escort cruisers, with frigates / destroyers set to have specific kill orders, with frigates / destroyers responding to engage or concentrate fire orders, with frigates / destroyers just flying on their own, frigates with officers, frigates without officers, frigates under full assault, frigates under no orders at all, default fleet doctrine, fleet doctrine shifted towards "aggressive", with my flagship being anything and everything from a Hammerhead to laser cruiser to a modded broadsider battleship to an Onslaught, whether I'm using ballistics or pulse energy or rocket volleys or lasers - I've seen friendly frigates fly deliberately into my lasers that I was manually firing at a target and sit there, blocking the beam, taking the damage (no I did NOT stop firing), until they blew up. 

Ok, one correction, I haven't seen it with Timid or Cautious doctrine or officers.  Because I don't use those. 

I just really wonder how you go about playing this game that results in not producing this behavior.

General Discussion / Re: Carriers hoarding interceptors
« on: December 18, 2022, 10:35:45 AM »
This led to numerous instances of my Hammerhead being set upon by a single broadsword wing who fluxed me out, [..] I tried to find ways to deal with enemy fighters without adding carriers to my fleet and came up with absolute bupkis.

Just target them and shoot them.  If you have any anti-armor weapons, fighters blow up just fine.  You don't need PD for that, I've done it with heavy mortars. 

This whole account is entirely foreign to me, I can't remember any time when pirate or pather fighters proved a major problem.  There's a few modded factions that are heavy on fighters where a wave of death comes at you from all directions; that's a hassle, but again, if you focus on killing the fighters you can then hunt down their motherships.  I mostly run without fighters at all, and if I have any I set them to chase down the fast frigates.  It's the SO'd cruisers doing the yo-yo maneuver that are a pain in the ass. 

Mods / Re: [0.95.1a] Amazigh's Ship Foundry v0.8.1
« on: December 17, 2022, 08:58:03 PM »
That's the Transparence destroyer, right?  As I wrote earlier, I did, not too much trouble once I knew about shift-click to aim the ship, and also refitting at start to have a front shield conversion rather than omni (less to worry about in the heat of battle).  Also I cheesed with the map edges a fair bit.  If you get right up on the edge and the AI ships are not in close combat with you, they will back off at their best speed.  Then you can move in a bit, find the fastest/nearest one, and burn it down.  Repeat.  Also, while you're sitting on the edge and the AI ships are all backing away from you, that means they're spreading out, so you can pick out wherever the carrier is and zoom in and take it out once you've cleared the field a bit.

The main thing is to pick out a ship, move in on it, use the ship system to zoom in the last little bit and blast away at it with your turret (manual, but fires homing weapons) until it dies, then back off, vent flux, let your ship system recharge, repeat.  I think also right at the start there's a tendency for one of the cruisers to try zooming right at you at top speed and if you handle things right you can burn it down very quickly, even before any of the frigates - when it's zooming at you its shields are down, so you can do a lot of damage then.  If you take it out fast, that helps clear the field a bit. 

Mods / Re: [0.95.1a] Nexerelin v0.10.5b "Sierra Nevada" (update 2022-09-17)
« on: December 07, 2022, 06:50:35 PM »
Two things:

First, I provoked a higher-level vengeance fleet for the first time since updating to the newest version of Nex.  I remember in the past if I didn't want to fight them I could just wander through nebulas and the like and they'd eventually get bored and go home.  I also remember Vayra's bounty fleets would spawn within a certain radius of you but then they would behave like normal mission-spawned hostile fleets - if they lose sight of you, they have to search, and if they can't find you, they just hang around in the area hoping to catch you again until the game despawns them.  Both of these behaviors were reasonable.  This current one, however, has behavior "trailing your fleet" which apparently means it has a total lock-on to my current position and makes a beeline for me no matter where I am, no matter how good stealthing I'm doing (it _may_ be that vengeance fleets always did this but I really don't remember seeing this before).  Anyway, this is cheating and it's *** me off.  How do I make this stop, and have any response fleets have to actually search for and find me?

Second, I am comissioned with a faction and took a mission to conquer a planet for another faction (it was an easy target - most conquest missions are ridiculously harder than the money being offered - and I could use the cash).  However, having taken it, I can't give it to them.  I can only buy the governorship and, once I have it, cede it.  Is the intended behavior that faction-comissioned players cannot successfully complete the conquest missions?  If so, it's a dirty trick to make the missions visible and acceptable to the player without any warning that they'd need to resign their commission before being able to complete it.  I expect that, having done the work of taking the planet, if I resign my comission now it just reverts to my current faction, meaning I've totally wasted my time and effort and probably need to revert to an earlier save.

Edit: ok, never mind that second part.  After seeing the "take" option mentioned above I went and pored over the conquest screen and finally found it.  Never saw that before.  So, used it, transferred the planet, got paid about 60% of the agreed-on price due to instability resulting from the invasion and tacbombing.  Net profit 200K.  Opportunity cost?  This is TERRIBLE.  Between everything I spent on supplies, fuel, marines, heavy weapons, and the time spent going there and doing it, I could have been doing pretty much anything else and made twice as much money in that time.  Not to mention, a contract is a contract, I accepted the mission based on the payout specified in the mission text, I damn well want my money.  Except I can't take it out on the faction, they didn't make a choice to cheat me, it's the guy who coded the algorithm who did that!

Well, now I know.  And I know to apply a reduction to the posted mission rewards for those.  Making them probably even less likely to be worth it.

Mods / Re: [0.95.1a] FSF Military Corporation - EN Edition
« on: December 05, 2022, 02:16:28 PM »

300 sec peak performance, a medium slot and 4 smalls, of which 2 can be reapers - and every one I've seen has had Extended Missile racks (built-in by default)?  Outflies and outruns all other frigates as well?  For 4 DP?

NO.  Tone this thing down.  It outguns and outlasts all other frigates for the cost of 2 Kites.  It's ridiculous. 

At the very least the end user is justified in deleting this ship out of the mod files themselves, but it would be better if it had some semblance of comparability to other frigates.

e: And the ship system bursting missiles all over the place, that's a whole extra frigate's worth of firepower right there.  This thing is just way, way out of line.  As implemented, 15 DP would be more like it - I'm pretty sure it could go head-to-head with a Falcon.  Definitely could eat a Shrike with no problems.

Yeah I don't get this either.  It's not just Remnants - I've been doing a fair few midgame type battles recently, difficult bounties and the like, and I'm always at 160 regardless of how I'd evaluate the force lineup.  Like, I just had a fight (deserter fleet) where I had a 40-50ish DP battlecarrier, 3-4 cruisers, about as many destroyers, and a whole lot of frigates; up against one 30ish DP battlecruiser, two cruisers, maybe 3 destroyers, and fewer frigates than what I had.  About the same number of officers on either side.  Game says: 160.

It wasn't like it was a hard fight either; I did zero micromanagement, just set "light escort" orders on anything that wasn't a frigate, set capture orders on two strategic points, and drove my carrier into the thick of it.  No losses.  But the game insists that I was at a disadvantage at the start.

Come out of hyperspace near an indie planet with some patrols.  One of them is GMDA.  It zooms at me, demands money, the usual.  I blow it out of the sky, except for a Dram.  Dram runs away.  I move toward the planet and station.  Dram makes another suicide run at me, except this time the indie patrols join it.  And the starbase.  I blow them all out of the sky.  I am now hostile to independents.

Fix this absolutely ridiculous crap.


Okay, now that I'm less steamed, I can sorta see it as justified.  GMDA is acting as the local enforcers for indie worlds, the money payment is local corruption / tariffs / bribes etc, the "real" indie patrols aren't necessarily coordinated or coherent enough to back them up out at the jump point but when GMDA calls on local authority right there on the spot, they join in, and if you don't go along with it well you're just a dirty lawbreaker, aren't you.

I can see it.

It's still absolutely infurating. 

Because on the other hand, the player is thinking: here's this mercenary force, trying to shove me, a <insert faction here>-commissioned captain, around.  Who do they think they are?  And then these pipsqueak mercenaries somehow get ALL INDEPENDENTS EVERYWHERE to throw away their perfectly good relations with the faction on the basis of an extremely slanted version of events.

It could work as part of a Kafkaesque space opera.  Maybe.

It's infuriating.

General Discussion / Why can't I punish treacherous agents?
« on: November 20, 2022, 05:57:20 AM »
Scenario 1: I stop by a planet.  It's minimally developed, no patrol or military base, so no guard fleets.  I feel like tacbombing it, so I do.  Then I fly off somewhere else, singing Judy Garland songs.

Scenario 2: I get a mission from an agent to tacbomb the exact same planet.  I know the planet has no guard fleets, so I figure it's worth doing.  I go to the planet.  It has a strong guard fleet in orbit - multiple cruisers at least, usually.  To tacbomb it, I will need to distract or fight past this fleet.  The expected cost of the expedition has suddenly skyrocketed and is not at all congruent with the information available at mission briefing.

Obvious conclusion #1: the only reason the guard fleet is there is because I have the mission.

Obvious conclusion #2: the only other person than me who knows that I took the mission is the agent.

Obvious conclusion #3: the agent betrayed me and set me up - or, at BEST, has appalling security breaches in his organization.

Why does the game not recognize this?

Why is it GUARANTEED that a guard fleet shows up in case of a mission, while they NEVER show up if the player depends only on his own resources and initiative?  Why are ALL agents hopelessly corrupt in this regard?

Why is it not possible to have at least some agents who are trustworthy and/or have decent security and no leaks and therefore the attack will come as a surprise the way it should?  Why is it not possible to, upon observing that the details of the operation were very visibly leaked to the enemy, return to the agent, snarl something witty, and shotgun-blast him out a skyscraper window?

I've mentioned seeing this memory leak error in several different mod threads and was told by multiple (fairly prominent) people that it didn't matter and I could just ignore it and keep playing.

My professional background is in software testing and the idea that one should "just ignore" a memory leak error popup sends me into a frothing rage. 

Either this advice is correct, which means the leak popup is a false positive and the conditions producing it should be carefully re-examined at the earliest possible moment, or the leak popup is correct and their advice is not correct and they should not be giving it and whatever code is producing the conditions that produce the popup REALLY needs to be looked at carefully.  I don't like either of those possibilities, because on both sides of the question it looks like there are fairily competent developers who - judging by results visible in the base game and in certain mods - should know what they're doing.

The conditions where I seem to consistently be able to produce this error usually involve one of the following sets of conditions:
1) playing with an absolutely extravagant mod like UAF, especially in conjunction with multiple other mods (my guess is the tourism fleets it provokes from all other factions contribute to multiplying the load fairly quickly)
2) playing with Nex + Vayra's Sector + a fair number (10-20ish) of other faction mods, starting a new game, and then loading a game while in the campaign rather than exiting to the menu and loading from there
3) playing with Nex + Apex + a fair number of other faction mods, starting a new game, and then loading a game while in the campaign rather than exiting to the menu and loading from there
4) playing with Nex + Idoneus, fighting (as Idoneus) a reasonably large battle (with control points) and then attempting to load any save game at all under any conditions - the only way to avoid this is to shut the application down and restart it, loading fresh
5) there are a smattering of other cases I've seen where large battles will set me up for a leak if I try loading afterward; it seems to be specific to certain factions, but I haven't been systematic about looking into those other cases yet
6) playing with mods that do a lot of stuff with data, like Stellar Networks or Starship Legends v2 (Legends v1 seems to have a much smaller resource footprint) - I don't have careful notes on specifically how I caused it in these cases, I just know that I satisfied myself these were causing issues and the problems were not happening without them.  (Regrettable, especially Stellar Networks - lots of useful data-handling in there.)

As a general rule, from what I've seen, exiting to the main menu to load a game seems to prevent the majority of incidents that would produce the memory leak warning while still maximizing the scope of potential mods to play with.

Mods / Re: [0.95.1a] Persean Chronicles, a quest mod (updated 2021-10-07)
« on: November 17, 2022, 06:52:00 PM »
I just want to note that my initial reaction to Riley was "oh geez some lame waifu no I definitely don't want to hang out with this is just a job ma'am no stop spamming me I DON'T CARE ABOUT YOUR FEELINGS okay finally just gimme the cash and go".

Then I finally got around to pretending to actually care about her old man.



Well, I know how my Pather characters will handle this.  In fact, I admire and approve that you put that option in there.  That's proper characterization, that is.

This strikes me as being something that should definitely have further long-term consequences.  Like, if you don't do the Pather or loyal upstanding Hegemonist things, what next?  Seems to me that coming back a few years later and having the planet suddenly have the "rogue core" property would make a lot of sense.  And/or maybe a handful of random tips on blueprints or something from an untraceable source.  Alternatively, if you do the Pather thing, a few years later when you've nearly forgotten about it suddenly this revenge fleet pops out of nowhere, the commander a recognizable figure screaming bloody vengeance.  Or you could organize a Tri-Tach kidnap/steal operation.  Or ...

The whole thing just feels like it is setting up conditions for a much bigger series of subsequent events, and how those events play out will be strongly influenced by seemingly innocuous choices here.

Karengo is fun to hang out with.  My one regret where he's concerned is that it's limited.  But the only thing I can think of to address that would be making him some sort of mission agent with specifically exploration missions, but drawing on a set of somewhat custom descriptions.  I don't know if that would be interesting enough to justify itself.

Mods / Re: [0.95.1a] Tahlan Shipworks 0.8.666a
« on: November 17, 2022, 04:05:01 PM »
Playing as United Pamed (from Xhan), I took an indie luxury goods delivery to Melchiresa.  Legio faction bounty was active so after one quick kill I was up to -24 and able to dock.  So I did.  But, no mission completion, no agent listed in comms screen to receive the delivery.  Left, hid in the asteroids, went dark, re-docked.  Same issue.  Mission description says I should be able to do it either docking openly or stealthed.  Bug?  Intentional?

I had completed another indie delivery immediately before this one (to Anargaia) with no problems.

edit: Ignore this.  I'm pretty sure I sold the cargo to a shortage without realizing it was mission-required and therefore didn't actually have the cargo on hand when I got there.  I blame society.

Mods / Re: [0.95.1a] Amazigh's Ship Foundry v0.8
« on: November 15, 2022, 03:05:22 AM »
Haven't run into much of the AI stuff from here yet.  But Exegetes is incredibly annoying in similar ways.

It has the speed and maneuverability of a Hound, the tankiness of a Lasher, and the firepower of a small destroyer.  It outruns anything without Safety Overrides while also outlasting them - and anything WITH Safety Overrides will start screaming about combat malfunctions right around the time they finally catch up to it.  It is ridiculous and stupid and, especially, extremely annoying to play against.  Either you swarm it with fighters or you just wait - and wait, and wait - until its CR runs out.  Often the first option ends up turning into the second.  Of the two dozen or so times I've done the Persean weapons test mission, I think I've gotten an in-combat kill on this thing exactly once, and only because I had overwhelming force; every other time it either gets away clear or is killed in pursuit by my second. 

At the very least, cut the peak performance time down to about 90 seconds.

General Discussion / Re: Help with Fleet AI
« on: November 11, 2022, 02:04:05 PM »
The fleet AI is completely and totally reta rded.  It really should be the focus of an update at some point.

The ships have no concept of operating as a fleet - that is, in concert with other friendly craft.  They have no concept of taking advantage of supporting fire.  They have no concept of reasonable prioritization, or of judging likely risks associated with different possible actions to take.  The orders the player gives get fulfilled in what is often the least intuitive manner possible.

You will repeatedly see frigates dashing forward at maximum speed and continuing to advance even as the enemy launches fifty billion missiles and slug shots at them because they still are at zero flux so everything's fine, right?  This tends to end badly. 

They always try to spread out to surround the enemy, even if the enemy significantly outnumbers them.  This always ends badly.

When they get in trouble, they try to move away from the nearest enemy ship.  This nearly always means moving away from any friendly ships that might help.  This also ends badly.

"Concentrate fire" order means "select two ships to attack this target."  It does not mean "all nearby ships attack this target if and when possible", which would be rational and useful.  No, it means "select two ships, usually starting with the smallest available, and if possible with at least one starting on the opposite side of the battle and having to travel right through the thickest fighting to reach this target".  It also means "continue attacking regardless of circumstances and regardless of how much trouble you're in and regardless of whether your attack is completely ineffective and especially regardless of whether four or five friendlies are approaching and the attack will go much better if you coordinate with them".

"Capture strategic point" means "fly to this location and capture it, but only if there's no enemies; if there are enemies we definitely don't want to be rude, so back off and let them have it in that case".  "Move to waypoint" is much the same.

Selecting two ships and telling them to capture a location with a single click means "EVERY FREAKING SHIP IN THE FLEET GO HERE NO EXCEPTIONS".

Setting a "fleet defend this ship" order means "Everybody pretend you're defending this ship with arrows pointing to it and everything but actually just fly around and do whatever you feel like including chasing that one dinky frigate off to the far corner of the map while your flagship explodes, it's cool, no pressure".

I could go on.

Mods / Re: [0.95.1a] Amazigh's Ship Foundry v0.8
« on: November 11, 2022, 01:46:05 PM »
Oh cool, update.

Possible bug fix for the next update:

1) Beat "Pocketful of Rainbows"
2) Exit to main menu, start new game
3) Observe no super ship start
4) Quit to desktop, restart Starsector, start new game
5) Observe super ship start is now available in "free start".  (This was a little puzzling at first but it's tolerable, it's not the real problem)
6) Start a game.  Play a bit.  Exit, or save & exit, to main menu.
7) Start another new game.  Observe that two copies of the Transparence super ship start are now listed in the super ship starts.
8) Exit to main menu and start a new game 20 times in a row.  Observe at the end of this that there are twenty identical copies of the Transparence super ship start listed in the "free start" options to start a new game.

Apparently, every time the player starts a new game, you add the ship to the starting options without checking to see if it's already there.  It might be a little more sane to do that check before adding it, and if already enabled, not add it again.

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