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Starsector 0.97a is out! (02/02/24); New blog post: Codex Overhaul (05/11/24)

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Messages - dostillevi

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1
Discussions / Re: Aurora C# 2.0!
« on: September 10, 2022, 02:20:28 PM »
It's a game I've kept an eye on for some time, but I've never really played it aside from clicking through the initial menus.

Definitely something I'd consider, but the learning curve looks steep. Do you know of any good entry points into the game?

2
Discussions / Vagrus: The Riven Realms
« on: September 10, 2022, 02:18:55 PM »
Recently came across this game and it seems the sort of thing others here might enjoy. It's a primarily text-based narrative world. The gameplay is that you're the leader (called a Vagrus) of a traveling merchant train (Comitatus) trying to remain profitable while exploring a unique, post-apocalyptic fantasy world. Didn't see any other posts about it and figured it's worth sharing.

They have a free steam demo: https://store.steampowered.com/app/1304660/Vagrus__The_Riven_Realms_Prologue/?utm_source=steam&utm_medium=organic&utm_campaign=website&utm_content=header&utm_term=beforeyoubuy

I've got about 60 hours into it so far and I'm really enjoying it. Some parallels to Starsector in the gameplay loop.

3
You guys are really, really underestimating human population growth. The only reason we sat at a billion people for so long was infant mortality, we kept dying off before we could grow up for thousands of years. The moment we hit the twentieth century, the population started climbing, and in little over a hundred years it's hit 7.9 Billion. You might be tempted to point out that we're living in a time of relative peace, but that's actually inconsequential to my point since the greatest areas of population growth are third-world countries that live in conditions much worse than The Persean Sector. Mogadishu is so bad every two weeks I ask someone "Hey have you heard about that terrorist attack in Mogadishu a few days ago?" Without looking at the news and I've yet to be wrong.

Even with epidemics, being ravaged by war and genocide, and a phenomenally low life-expectancy, the population of Africa went from 177 million to 1.2 Billion in Fifty years The biggest reason for that was infant mortality rate dropping so suddenly. And that's still not hitting the resource cap. It's expected to hit 4.7 billion in 2100. That's more than half our current population on one continent.

You all seem to forget that when the going gets tough, humans screw like rabbits. The worse conditions are, the more children people have. Even though we might not have as many children at a time as other species, female humans are capable of pumping out a kid every year starting at like sixteen until their fifties (depending on the individual). Go watch the Duggars if you want to see what that looks like with any kind of access to modern medicine. Of course, that's not taking safety into consideration, but as life gets more dangerous and harder, people start to care less about the 'safety risks' of things like pregnancy. Even with access to birth control, regions with less wealth and less safety still have higher birth rates, as exemplified by every ghetto in the US.

For the Sector to be sitting around a billion people after two hundred years, either conditions are bordering on 'Antartica in the middle of a blizzard with medieval level medicine' bad, or every major population center is enjoying the kind of success of a first-world country while also having hit their resource caps. As long as people aren't getting nuked, it doesn't really matter how many fleets get blown up, it's inconsequential to the population.

To put it in perspective, if we average it together, our population is currently growing at an average of a bit over 1% per year, compounding annually (and decreasing as we approach our resource limit). Even if the Persean Sector's population grew at the same rate, that's at least 1.7 million up to 17.7 million people a year. That's 590 to 5,900  3000 person fleets being destroyed per year with a hundred percent mortality rate. Despite what you might think, humanity just doesn't have the economic prowess to wage a war that can outpace our birthrate unless you specifically target population centers with intent to wipe them out, as evidenced by, once again, Africa, which I will remind you has basically stayed in a perpetual state of war since the turn of the century.

To put it simply, the numbers are in, and Alex got his wrong.

That's part of it, the other part is increased lifespans. Not only are children surviving to adulthood far more often, they're also remaining alive through the next 3 to 5 generations after them far more frequently.

That said, the Persian sector isn't just Mogadishu. It's mostly environments that are completely uninhabitable by humans without technological assistance, and that assistance is breaking down. A new person in Africa (or anywhere else on Earth in the 20th century) needs water, food, some degree of shelter, etc. These might be hard to come by, during some periods a lot of people will suffer and die from their lack, but the capacity to produce far more of these basic resources than were used existed. Unfortunately that almost certainly won't be the case in the 21st century.

A new human on almost any Persian world needs the same resources, along with other resources like oxygen that we don't really think about on Earth. In the Persian sector though, not only is the maximum capacity of those resources very clearly limited on most worlds, it's often shrinking. It's not just a matter of people producing more of the basic goods - people *can't* produce more of those goods due to technological limitations. A new human in the Persian sector means everyone else gets by with a bit less, or someone else has to die.

This hit especially hard after the collapse, when worlds lost access to imports necessary to meet basic needs. Vast numbers of people died because the worlds in the sector not only weren't producing the resources needed, they in fact didn't have the capacity to produce those resources at all without additional terraforming, and that terraforming ground to a halt soon after the collapse for the same resource reasons.

I'd argue that most of the sector lives in conditions *FAR WORSE* than Mogadishu (and briefly to your suggestion that Mogadishu represents the parts of Africa with significant population growth, take a look - most of the population growth in Africa is in relatively modern, stable megacities https://africa.businessinsider.com/local/lifestyle/fastest-growing-cities-in-africa-2021/b97e271?op=1). Not only are they worse off than Mogadishu, the maximum productive capacity of most Sector worlds has already been met and is declining, whereas in Africa and elsewhere on Earth, maximum short term production potential is far higher than actual production. In addition, Africa benefited from significant foreign aid and investment in the 20th century, which also isn't available in the Sector. Without efforts to restart terraforming, or to colonize the few *habitable* worlds that aren't already colonized, there's very little room for population growth.

Terraforming and colonization are extremely high risk investments when the Sector is unstable and in conflict. It's much easier to grab some guns and take what someone else already has - and that is also a net negative for population growth.

Edit: Another way to look at it - On Earth, an average human creates more value than they consume during their life. A new human is going to provide more resources in net than they need to survive, and they're able to do this generally through extraction of resources from finite reserves and making them available for circulation in the economy (usually through a specialized economy where only some people and tech do that extraction). The 19th and 20th centuries also saw enormous resource availability gains through innovation, but *almost all* of that innovation came from increasing our ability to access limited resources, not in finding ways to do more with less resources. This enormous growth in resource availability was a significant driver of population growth.

In the sector, this is almost certainly not the case. A new human doesn't have the means to extract more than they consume from the environment. Technology is in decline, and most people don't have the means to access resource reserves on barren or inhospitable worlds. The technology that does allow extraction in those harsh environments is failing, which means the net output of humanity and it's technology is declining, and a new person adds to the consumption, rather than the production, of resources.

4
General Discussion / Re: Sindrian Diktat Changes
« on: May 11, 2022, 08:08:27 PM »

If you read my rest of the post I made suggestion to implement the lore with more interest way

Been thinking about this.  If the Lion's Guard is meant to represent the fist of the dictator, I'd bet that makes non-LG officers a bit nervous. They might behave a bit differently in the presence of officers commanding LG ships, trying to guess how to please the officer, or at least avoid their gaze. They might even behave randomly 1 or 2 levels more cautiously or more aggressively than normal, at random, when LG ships with officers are present in the fleet.

5
Bug Reports & Support / Re: Nvidia Dynamic Super Resolution issue
« on: April 27, 2022, 04:46:08 PM »
Incidentally, I just tried running at a lower than native resolution and had a similar issue with the game not being centered correctly after switching focus. It only seems to work correctly if the selected game resolution is also my monitor's native resolution.

6
Bug Reports & Support / Re: Nvidia Dynamic Super Resolution issue
« on: April 27, 2022, 04:43:26 PM »
Full screen is the only option that works with Dynamic Super Resolution. It only shifts into the borderless state after switching windows.

The events happen something like this:

1. I select a higher resolution from the launcher. My native resolution is 2560x1440, but I select the highest option available. Fullscreen is checked.
2. When the game launches and goes full screen, my desktop resizes to the selected resolution and the game runs as expected, taking up the full screen.
3. If I switch focus to another window, the desktop resolution returns to 2560x1440, since the higher resolution is only applied to Starsector when it's full screen.
4. When I return to starsector, my desktop returns to the higher resolution, and the game is displayed in a (guessing) 2560x1440 window in the upper left. The game is still at the higher resolution, but I see the bottom left of the game screen within that 2560x1440 window. I see my desktop elsewhere on the monitor. My mouse is constrained within the game window while it's in focus.

Screenshots/photos here: https://imgur.com/a/JrciGn0

7
Bug Reports & Support / Nvidia Dynamic Super Resolution issue
« on: April 27, 2022, 04:14:03 PM »
Nvidia has a feature called Dynamic Super Resolution that allows rendering at higher-than-native resolutions which are then downscaled by the driver to native resolution. Starsector seems like a good candidate for this, since it already has good UI scaling and isn't already overly graphics-intensive. While the game boots just fine into a higher than native resolution, unfortunately, I ran into an issue with window switching.

if I switch focus to another window and then return to the game, the borderless game window occupies a corner of my screen but behaves as if it was full screen (can't move the mouse out of the defined area unless I alt-tab). The window also only shows a portion of the game that would appear in that corner. I can't take a screenshot of this situation, since trying to take a screenshot causes the game to lose focus since it's not truly in full screen at the time, but rather some janky borderless window state.

Anyway, I can try to take a picture with my phone if there's any interest in making Dynamic Super Resolution work with the game.

8
Just wanted to say the sprite re-works are a huge step forward for this mod!

9
Mods / Re: [0.95a] Tahlan Shipworks 0.7 - SUNDEREST!
« on: June 18, 2021, 07:54:13 PM »
As an aside, that's one hell of a game version this update requires :V


Nice.

10
Mods / Re: [0.95a] Starpocalypse 1.2.3 - fortresses and regulations
« on: June 14, 2021, 12:33:53 PM »
Contraband - from next version, market stability will affect which weapons, LPCs, and ships (based on cost, customizable via new csv files) "seep" through Military Markets into Black Market. The lower the stability, the more items are available in the Black Market. The items and ships are "synced", meaning purchasing on one market removes it from both markets.

Nice! Excited to see how this works out.

Also wondering if ships that seep out of military markets could disappear from the military market entirely and appear on the black market of a planet in the same or nearby system, reflecting from a lore perspective that low market stability leads to some ships smuggled off world for safer sale, or ships being intercepted in transit prior to hitting the military market. I can see this maybe going too far towards making the game easier to play, but thematically and mechanically it's nice. For example I could destabilize a market of one of my enemies (whom I could probably not dock at to buy from their black market due to poor relations and high security from this mod), and then see their ships appear for sale in pirate, independent, or maybe other faction black markets. Maybe this could tie in with the Freeport concept?

There's whole lot of potential Nexerelin interaction here, but as you said before that's probably best left to Nex.

11
Mods / Re: [0.95a] Starpocalypse 1.2.3 - fortresses and regulations
« on: June 14, 2021, 04:01:32 AM »
Playing my first run with this mod, and I have a couple of thoughts:

1. Some mod ships aren't for sale anywhere. This could be intended, but for example with Shadowyards, there isn't a single Solidarity Armed Freighter for sale anywhere in my game. I think this might be because these aren't classed as Civilian ships, but they also probably aren't in the military markets either.
2. It would be my preference to see armed freighters in general markets. Is there an option to enable this? I'm thinking ships like the Gemini and Mule, which are absolutely not military ships but can only be bought from pirates or the occasional Persean military market. In my preference, it makes a whole lot of sense for "armed freighters" to be the closest ship available to a military vessel outside of military markets. Since weapons can't be acquired easily, lore wise an armed freighter might not actually have any weapons mounted.
3. Is there an option to allow PD guns in open markets? Along with #2, I feel pretty comfortable that putting anti-missile defenses on freighters would be allowed even under extremely strict arms control.
4. For Nexerelin starts with a trading fleet, it might make sense to restrict the ship options available. I can start out with the above mentioned Solidarity Armed Freighter with a full weapon loadout, making my fleet one of the most heavily armed small shipping operations in the sector, right from the start.
5. If weapons are highly regulated, should faction patrols take offense to your ships having guns mounted? Or is is it one of those situations where use is tolerated but not sale? I can't really think of a good way to handle this that is both gameplay friendly and honors the intent of this mod, but maybe you can!

Overall it's refreshing at least on my first run to not be jumping straight into a military fleet. Pirates are less dangerous in general from what I've seen, which means a few armed freighters really would be able to hold their own... if I could only find some armed freighters...

12
This is exciting!

13
Mods / Re: [0.95a] Starpocalypse 1.1.1 - fortresses and regulations
« on: May 31, 2021, 07:04:49 PM »
Liking the concept. I had an idea recently that might fit into the theme of this mod:

If a faction exists and it's blueprints are being used by another faction, cause a Nexerelin diplomatic event (if installed) between the two factions, and the faction sends a raid to retrieve it's blueprints from the planet/station. The raid should be tailored to retrieve the faction blueprints, and if successful then the blueprints should no longer be available for use by the target faction.

There are some other things that could be added to this, like allowing a faction to use blueprints if they have a high Nexerelin relationship (or player relationship).

-
Editing to add that a decent workaround for military ships on the black market might be stability, where lower stability means more and higher quality (fewer d-mod) military ships for sale, in combination with the existing factors that determine amount and quality of ships available on the black market. There are a few neat things here, not least of which would be that destabilizing a world would be a really good way to get one's hands on that faction's ships.

Also, if you do Nexerelin integration, I could see a neat case where military ships end up on black markets nearby to the two warring factions, as a result of derelict ships being salvaged and repaired for sale.

14
Blog Posts / Re: A Tale of Two Tech Levels
« on: May 29, 2021, 09:54:27 AM »
I get the conceptual appeal of this, I really do! The main sticking point is that I don't think having an entire range of ships not engage with core mechanics like "using flux for both defense and offense" and "being able to be overloaded" is a good idea.

A smaller but still non-starter issue would be stuff like beams, which all of a sudden become capable of chewing these ships up with impunity, albeit slowly. The game is really built around normal ships having shields. An exception here and there is good, but I think it's important to avoid getting carried away!

So a thought in this, because I like the concept being presented. Could those game mechanic goals be addressed but in different ways for low tech ships? The first thing that comes to mind is that ships can only be overloaded via damage to shields. There’s room for other means of causing overload. In the case of damper fields, maybe there’s a chance of overload that increases with damage absorbed?

To the point of flux being both defensive and offensive, I think perhaps this mechanic doesn’t hold up to scrutiny when one entire line of ships is based around poor flux management and high armor. Why would anyone design a low tech ship with shields, knowing that having shields puts the ship at great risk of being overloaded? I feel like a competent low tech designer would focus on armor and systems that improve armor without trying to jerry rig on a system that works poorly for the ship, introduces the risk of being overloaded, and only has a marginal benefit of absorbing light fire, while simultaneously limiting damage output?


15
Mods / Re: [0.95a] BigBeans Ship Compilation
« on: May 06, 2021, 11:29:45 AM »
Awesome! I'll add them to my next game for sure.

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