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Starsector 0.95a is out! (03/26/21); Blog post: A Tale of Two Tech Levels (05/28/21)

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Messages - Ryan390

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1
General Discussion / Re: A Professional Critique Of Story Points
« on: May 06, 2021, 04:24:50 AM »
I think generally having less bigger fleets flying around and making really large fleets harder to acquire would also help with the disengage thing.
The end game can be reached far too quickly / easily and owning a big ship like a capital ship isn't really a big deal or take that long.

So everyone's flying around with massive fleets so the avoiding mechanic starts to become really important in certain situations.
I'd personally prefer the game to be a bit slower pace and seeing a massive fleet with an Onslaught and a bunch of heavy cruisers, should actually be a big deal.
Appreciate that's quite opinionated and not to everyone's taste though.. Start with a tiny shuttle and grind a way to a frigate, I'd personally enjoy. Yet currently I can get from a shuttle to a cruiser in about an hour or so..

I agree with your point #3 the SP mechanic shouldn't be in replace of existing features, but just a mechanism to unlock alternative segments in the game or provide a boost to an existing feature. So using SP to upgrade ships, is really cool for example.

In terms of disengage you could reduce the effectiveness of it, say sacrifice an SP, then choose which ships will get left behind as a sacrifice, letting your main ship go and a couple of others.

So basically reducing the effectiveness of it drastically, but still getting *some* benefit from having SP.
If you had like 30 SP saved up and you get an unwinnable / unescapable encounter, it wouldn't be fun not to leverage any of that SP to at least escape *some* of your ships, right??



2
General Discussion / Re: A Professional Critique Of Story Points
« on: May 05, 2021, 10:32:06 AM »
I've been saying for a while the focus on Star Sector needed to be the story content.
Everyone's obsessed over story *points* - but not seemingly interested in the actual story. Penny wise, pound foolish IMO.

The game was fine, overall (in previous versions) - it just needed the story narrative finishing, maybe add a few new ships and some extra polish.
It's just been going in circles for a while now and we have new features that a large chunk of the community don't like.

3
Discussions / Re: Games that bring back memories
« on: April 27, 2021, 01:25:57 AM »
After spending about 30 years gaming since the Amiga 600 days it would have to be:

Amiga
- UFO Enemy Unknown (First X-Com game and playing this on the Amiga was WAY ahead of it's time!)

- Frontier Elite 2 - Actually the Sequel to Elite and Elite+ on the BBC micro by industry legend David Braben and Ian Bell (at the time) - Again WAY ahead of it's time considering the technology they had to work with.

- Disposable Hero - One of the best (and still is) side scroller shooters I've ever played. The graphics, music and action were absolutely top drawer.

I had bin bags full of Amiga disks and loved lots of other titles but I'll just mention the top three / five from each category.

IBM / Early PC
 - Monkey Island - Point and click mastery, a game that's truly stood the test of time.

- Vangers "One for the road" - A very unique and largely unheard of game made by a Russian studio called KD Labs. One of my favourite games and a genre of game that's not really been done much. Open world game with looting / combat / exploration / weird alien artefacts and extremely interesting story and lore. A must play IMO. 

- First GTA (GTA 1) - Wow.. first ever truly open world experience in a modern day setting with crime and car-jacking. I was hooked and spend days sat playing it.

PlayStation One
 - Final Fantasy Seven (Still my favourite game of all time) If you haven't played it then you need to. I'd play the original before going near the FF7 remake on the ps4 as its episodic and not finished yet. 

PlayStation Two
 - Gran Turismo 2 - Looks very dated now but was the best driving simulation of it's time and had great career and progression mode.
- Final Fantasy 10 - What a game! Not the same level as 7 in terms of music or story or characters, but definitely a massive leap forward in terms of graphics.
- Final Fantasy 8 - A great overall game with improved graphics and interesting combat system compared to previous FF titles.

X-Box (Original)
- Halo Combat evolved - Ground breaking in terms of immersion and pushing the technology boundary. Really laid the groundwork for an explosion in the first person shooter genre.

PS3
- Metal Gear Solid The Phantom Pain - Wow definitely Kojima's best production to date and really his last great smash hit, I don't think Death Stranded was as well received. A perfect finality to a really strong series of games dating back from the PS1. It's even better on the PS4 but I mentioned it here as it technically was available to play here?

- Skyrim - Enough said.

- Oblivion - Enough said.

PS4
- Ghost of Tsushima - Simply amazing a great title from a powerhouse studio like Ubisoft.

- Red Dead Redemption 2 - Really pushed the boundaries technically and from a story telling perspective. I was simply amazed with the quality. 

- GTA5 - Easily a massive improvement over the previous GTA versions.

- The Witcher 3 - Sneaking in a fourth here as this title should require no introduction.

Modern Day PC
- Deus EX - A perfect blend of RPG elements, stealth, action, story and choice of play. I don't think they were able to successfully re-create this magic with future titles but Mankind Divided came fairly close IMO.

- Half life - I'll never forget this title and will always have a place in my heart!

- Baldur's Gate 2 - One of my favourite RPG's and almost knocks FF7 off it's place.

- Jagged Alliance 2 - Great isometric turn based squad style strategy. Gives the player massive choice and is a really polished and clever game. One of my favourite all time games.   

- System Shock 2 - Probably my favourite shooter of all time and the predecessor to the Bioshock series. It annoys me that massive BioShock fans have never played System Shock 2!


4
Discussions / A Really Fun Distraction!
« on: April 27, 2021, 12:49:58 AM »
I've recently discovered another game which is a lot of fun, albeit a very different type of game to Star Sector, yet similar in some ways.
It's called "Transcendence" - You can pick it up on steam with all the official expansions for a dirt cheap price.

It's really addictive and a lot of fun. A nice way to fill the time while I'm waiting for 1.0 in Star Sector.

It's also a good example of how you merge story elements with actual real-time flying and travelling around.

Give it a go and let me know what you think.
It's been in development longer than Star Sector, believe it or not!

5
General Discussion / Re: Story Ending Question
« on: April 18, 2021, 08:32:47 AM »
I personally feel the Doritos are over powered.

6
General Discussion / Re: Final Impressions of 9.5 (Spoilers)
« on: April 11, 2021, 03:00:23 AM »
Exactly, share some of your suggestions of how you might feel it can be improved? Or do you think it's perfect already? Your replies seem to be more on the defensive footing rather than providing concrete counters or counter suggestions to some of the ideas put forward.
What would you like to see more of? What would you like included?
I did exactly that at the start of the thread. Had a few issues but other than that found if very satisfying. Wouldn't want to see anything more than their creative vision fulfilled.

How many text heavy games can you think of that have been in the greatest of all time list?

This game has a very strong chance to be in that top list, should the story and emotion tie in with the rest of the games quality..

I don't believe in a 'greatest of all time list'. My favourite games are Geneforge 1 and 2, a set of games, not unlike this one, developed by a 1-man team, whose story consists largely of big blocks of text delivered by characters. I don't know what to tell you, I like books and can get everything you can get from a more cinematic experience from a mere set of words on paper.


I do believe in that list as I've seen it from the days of the Amiga, Commodore 600 (back in 1987, till now) The Gene forge game you're referring to do you mean the games by Spiderweb Software? 
If so I've played them myself and was a big fan of the Avernum series (especially the first one) - Again it's a good example of where text really fits that game style really well. I just don't feel Star Sector is anywhere in that same ball park.

The Avernum games and other recent titles from them have always been quite static / still. Everything moves on a tick so movement is turn based and the combat is turn based.
So textual references and heavy description is essential here and it fits perfectly. Star sector is very active and fluid and visual, so trying to fit that square shape concept into a circular hole just seems off to me.

Pretty sure Spiderweb isn't a one man team either. It was originally founded by Jeff Vogel but I'm pretty sure there's a few people behind the company now?


Side Note: Hey Arakasi you might enjoy these games if you've already not played them:
- Baldurs Gate 2
- Planescape Tourment

I'd heavily suggest a try, BG2 is one of my favourite games of all time and it has the style you'd be interested in I think.

7
General Discussion / Re: Final Impressions of 9.5 (Spoilers)
« on: April 11, 2021, 02:23:53 AM »
If we don't challenge and strive to improve how can a product become better?

Don't get me wrong, this thread exists for that precise purpose, but I simply disagree that the story isn't engaging. You're right - we've reached an impasse.

Exactly, share some of your suggestions of how you might feel it can be improved? Or do you think it's perfect already? Your replies seem to be more on the defensive footing rather than providing concrete counters or counter suggestions to some of the ideas put forward.
What would you like to see more of? What would you like included?

It's fine to disagree on the overall direction of the narrative. There's plenty of ideas I could make that would be achievable for an instant improvement to the overall engagement of the story.
What made FF7 one of the best RPG's of all time was it's story and characters and music. Characters didn't have loads to say from a dialog perspective, actually very little.

It's the overall context and visual and audible combinations that make a title a true masterpiece. The last 3 decades in the industry have shown that, it's not all about graphics and polish but gameplay and story.
Action speak louder than words, very true in this case.. That's why the Alpha site was easily the best part of the whole new 'story' block.
How many text heavy games can you think of that have been in the greatest of all time list?

This game has a very strong chance to be in that top list, should the story and emotion tie in with the rest of the games quality..


8
It's not overpriced for what it does, it can be the difference between getting caught and having to be forced into a very expensive, unwinnable fight (which there is a lot of atm)
Or - escaping without a scratch.

I install it on anything with less than burn 9 to keep the overall fleet burn rate at 18, it's so useful to be able to fly faster than anything else..

9
General Discussion / Re: Final Impressions of 9.5 (Spoilers)
« on: April 11, 2021, 02:06:26 AM »
Yet the story narrative is focused around the player being forced into a set role with reading and flying from A -> B talking to other characters and delivering stuff. The amount of interactions the story physically causes the player to do, is very little.
For such a visual and interactive game I think it wouldn't be misplaced to try and focus the story more around real time experiences and interactions, rather than just being 'docked' and reading text from the 'Provost' or other characters who we have no attachment to or interest in.

I understand the rest of your criticism, although I disagree, as someone who really enjoyed The Culture novels I really got that sort of vibe. But this part I'm not sure about, the quests give you options, you can talk or explore on one, you can fight your way through the various fleets trying to intercept you, you can use stealth to avoid them (I think?), you can run away for sure, you can talk through certain interactions using story points (or not!), you can raid to avoid doing someone's bidding, you get to encounter strange things, *** off the powers that be, activate ancient technologies for your own use, etc. I feel it's rather reductive to describe all this stuff as merely going from A>B and talking to characters and delivering stuff, you could argue a lot of the side-quests involve this, but that's what I'd expect from an economy game like this.

We won't ever agree then as for me, Star Sector is not a text based adventure game. I do feel there could of been more interactions in the real-time of space, rather than static reams of dialog based on characters that most players don't really care much about.
It's fine to have some of that stuff, as I mentioned earlier. This can fill the gaps, but I wouldn't make it the main focus.

Does all meaningful text interactions need to be when docked? Couldn't it be that important characters are met and talked to while in space, in system? There's already a mechanic for talking to other fleets, but they never have anything to say unless it's a scripted encounter.
I don't think it would be too difficult to incorporate some of the story telling into a more real time setting, while you're actually flying around? Even that would help reduce the disjointedness from the story narrative to the core game mechanics, which you didn't really mention but I did in length.

The encounter with the other fleets is purely cosmetic, as they just want to fight, again there just one off occurrences that are scripted but don't feed back to the main story line in any way. You either fight or run or maybe your burn rate is so fast you didn't even notice it? I flew past a couple of them as most of my ships have augmented drive field?
No one's expecting Witcher 3 level of story telling here, but I do feel strongly that the current trajectory can be altered and improved and made more engaging. Is it perfect right now? Of course not..

If we don't challenge and strive to improve how can a product become better? 
 

 

10
General Discussion / Re: Final Impressions of 9.5 (Spoilers)
« on: April 10, 2021, 09:22:58 AM »
Thanks for the reply Arakasi, I'll try to answer any question's you raised as best as I can..

Disagree on that part, I thought the story was far to textual and wasn't a fan of the writing either. It seemed completely detached from the game's mechanics for the most part. Also you mention rewards, but from my understanding there's only one actual reward you get? It's mostly just flying from point A to B, only to talk to someone then fly back to point A.
I thought the alpha site mission was really cool but it was the only part that I felt any suspense or real excitement. It felt like a chore to me to do endless reading about characters I had no emotional attachment too, to progress a storyline that I already knew was coming.

It felt purposely dragged out and very laborious personally. happy to be the minority here who thinks that.

I don't know how it could be anything much other than textual, it's sort of the old school of RPG writing which I really appreciate. Big blocks of text to sink my teeth into that get me more into the world and the characters. But I can understand why that wouldn't be someone's cup of tea. Not having an attachment to the characters I understand, but I don't think you're meant to in this moment, they're just the people providing your pay check and you interact with them in a way that displays that for the most part. And I dunno, I was pretty freaked out when I started to see Tri-Tach death squads with full story point investment. But then again I couldn't see what was coming, I'm curious what you mean by the remark that you 'I already knew was coming'.




I guess if you're a fan of that, then it makes sense you enjoy it. My counter would be that Star Sector is a very visual game.
There's ships to interact with, going about their business. Planets to trade and land on, colonies to build. Sectors to explore and strange artefacts to discover.
It's a very visual and interactive game, it always has been even from early builds.

Yet the story narrative is focused around the player being forced into a set role with reading and flying from A -> B talking to other characters and delivering stuff. The amount of interactions the story physically causes the player to do, is very little.
For such a visual and interactive game I think it wouldn't be misplaced to try and focus the story more around real time experiences and interactions, rather than just being 'docked' and reading text from the 'Provost' or other characters who we have no attachment to or interest in.

What would of made it instantly better, or cool might of been the alternate text responses, based on the status / wealth / power differences of the player. Would the Provost really speak in such a way to a captain with 10 Paragons and a huge Galactic empire? Yet a captain with a single frigate and not a penny to his name will get the same dialog.
Yet changing that, for me isn't the 'full fix', that would just be a cool patch over the real issue. Which seems to be the story feels detached from the main game's mechanics, I'd like more physical interaction with the SS world and let the narrative speak more from what we see and do, rather than what we purely read.
The reading shouldn't be the sole focus, it should be 'filling the gaps' so to speak..  Does that make sense?

A text based adventure is good for....a text based adventure game. Star Sector is ridiculously visual and interactive. Yet when the text element of the game becomes one of the primary focus', then your inviting a problem here and a major disjointedness to the whole feel to the game.
What I'm trying to say here is I don't think Star Sector is a text based adventure, I could be wrong, it depends on Alex's vision, but weirdly why would it be pushed in that direction? It would be selling itself way, waaaay short in my opinion.
I feel it'd be a bit like taking a diamond and sticking it into an old wooden box, then labelling it 'Hello, there's a diamond in here'.

Well no... why don't you do away with that box as the diamond speaks for itself. Let it out of the box, so to speak. Bad analogy maybe but I'm struggling to explain succinctly..
Don't explain it with text, just physically show it and not hide behind a box?

In terms of how did I know it was coming, it was pretty clear to me that the whole story ark (at least this far) is based around opening the Gates. It just felt like a very mundane and overly drawn out process. I had a pretty strong idea since before last year it was the next big thing to happen in our beloved sector. So it was no surprise to me how this latest story unfolded, unfortunately.
The Alpha site was enjoyable and I thought things were starting to look up.

Why was it enjoyable? Because it was different to reading text, it was interactive, exciting, scary, the music changed into the most ominous sound I think I've ever heard. I was literally like "Wow Wtf"
The red warning beacon was a nice touch.. I knew something big was going to happen and boy I don't think there'd be a single disappointed player with that scene. 

Keep that sort of thing up, yet I know it's hard.. Why? Because it's more work and dev time, than it is writing blocks of texts for fictional characters no one cares about. That's what's going to make the difference between a good game and one of the best 2d spacers ever to exist.
Then what happened after Alpha site? After such a crazy, amazing scene it's back to delivery runs from A -> B another complete change of pace.. The provost was barely even bothered that we just went toe-toe with a potential unknown alien race. The reaction seemed completely underwhelming, none of the other 'characters' seemed to really care?

Some of the writing has that feel to it of a Hollywood actor who's 'got that big break' and overcompensates by over-acting. There's too many occasions of over verbosity, but this is approaching strong preferences territory. Some of it is great, more around ships, planets and station description, rather than character dialog IMO.

11
General Discussion / Re: Final Impressions of 9.5 (Spoilers)
« on: April 10, 2021, 05:49:48 AM »
After having spent way too much time exploring the ins and outs of this patch I have some general impressions that I wanted to share.


Story

The story so far is fantastic. Well written, the writing and quest content has a strong connection to the game's mechanics, gives the player a taste of the unknown, and the rewards for doing the quest-line are A+.


Disagree on that part, I thought the story was far to textual and wasn't a fan of the writing either. It seemed completely detached from the game's mechanics for the most part. Also you mention rewards, but from my understanding there's only one actual reward you get? It's mostly just flying from point A to B, only to talk to someone then fly back to point A.
I thought the alpha site mission was really cool but it was the only part that I felt any suspense or real excitement. It felt like a chore to me to do endless reading about characters I had no emotional attachment too, to progress a storyline that I already knew was coming.

It felt purposely dragged out and very laborious personally. happy to be the minority here who thinks that.


On a side note:
I wasn't a fan of the skill system but it was ok for the most part. The biggest gripe was getting the Automation skill and a bunch of alpha core's apparently isn't enough to have more than one Drone in the fleet and not have terrible CR.
Not transparent at all about how autonomous ships should be properly incorporated into a fleet and actually be useable.

Balance I think is the worst I've seen this version, some fleets seem un-winnable now and every single battle the player can't deploy a fraction of a fleet.
So if we had two massive fleets in space and fly into each other, half of our ships won't be able to do battle? Eh? How does that feature make sense.

I believe it's an issue with A.I officers and other skills causing a big penalty for the players deployment points. Seems unnecessary as a mechanic, just let fleets fight for god sake.

I think this'll be it for me too until 1.0 now and hopefully some of these issues can be fixed and the story picks up several knots in the meantime.
Good luck though and see you in 1.0 I guess.

12
Bug Reports & Support / Re: A few visual bugs
« on: April 09, 2021, 08:43:59 AM »
You have way too much time on your hands my friend! I don't see any issues here unless I'm blind.. Are we being a bit picky and trying to find bugs for the sake of finding?

13
I've complained about the same thing with the asteroid impacts it seems a little over the top now.

It's not so much the impact but the damage to CR in some cases, if you forget to check CR it can be sometimes really low.
So you space into a system looking for the pirate base, hit a few rocks, then engage the fleet & station, but three of your best ships are down to 40% CR.. nice..

14
The only way to interact with a phased ship is the overload system Harbinger has (which de-phases the target in addition to overloading it). You know, that one phase destroyer.

That sounds a bit disappointing if that's the only way. I think phase ships are a little OP, the doom in particular as it combines really nastily with afflicters and the Harbinger.
I remember that assassin couldn't get through the paragons shields with his mines, but the smaller frigates / destroyer or whatever it was, kept disabling my ships with a single shot. Really annoying!

There was literally no way to play against it, of course had the deployment point penalty too which didn't help. 

15
General Discussion / Re: Alex, you are my hero...
« on: April 09, 2021, 01:54:33 AM »
Your certainly one of a kind aren't you  ;D

First time player? Any other useful feedback?

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