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Starsector 0.95a is out! (03/26/21); Blog post: Of Slipstreams and Sensor Ghosts (09/24/21)

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Messages - Deshara

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Suggestions / Re: More low tech ship with integratted weapon systems?
« on: October 21, 2021, 11:48:53 AM »
i think what makes it special is that theres few of them. if it becomes the norm then it is functionally just a secondary ship system which makes it far less interesting

Suggestions / Re: Idea of Galaxy Sectors.
« on: October 21, 2021, 11:45:28 AM »
this could be ether a MASSIVE mod or possibly something we will see in starsector(4.95b)

this actually prob wouldnt be that big of an ask, theres already a mod that generates new sectors mid-game (the ng+ mod) when you go thru the stargates. actually im p sure theres more than one. the procgen has seeds, every time you stargate to another sector for the first time it procgens a new sector, every time you leave a sector it creates a save file just for that sector along with its seed, every time you enter a sector after the first time it just reads the seed and then uses the savefile to populate the resulting sector the way it was when you left it (or not the way it was). bing bang boom you can expand it as far & wide as your hard drive is capable of handling

Blog Posts / Re: Of Slipstreams and Sensor Ghosts
« on: October 06, 2021, 01:50:41 AM »
slip stream vortexes; a jump point that remains hidden & inert until a slipstream with a sharp narrow bend forms pointing its elbow towards the vortex (or spawned in along with a valid slipstream & then destroyed with it) (or its generated on its own and then occasionally spawns its own slip stream when it decides to go active), & while active it pulls fleets towards & into it when they touch it.

if the vortex is close enough to another system it might just drop you into the far outskirts of that system, otherwise it might drop you into a special super fun system -- the kind of system that might not be connected to the hyperspace network bc its star(s) is a formation & constitution never witnessed by human kind.
stars made of nuclear matter. stars large & hot enough to prevent it from collapsing in on itself but made of dark matter that prevents normal matter from igniting the star leaving it completely invisible to the human eye, but still producing heat from the two types of matter annihilating inside of it as the magnetic forces holding the particles apart fail -- like an antimatter bomb the size of 10 jupiters, that you are now orbiting (hopefully [redacted] never got any ideas of how to make use of one). the remnants of a supermassive star large enough to collapse (after going supernova) past the point of a neutron star but just shy of forming a black hole, leaving a pin-prick sized molecule; a quark star, the weight & energy of a supermassive star but silent, producing no light & unleashing a hellish maelstrom of magnetic forces onto the system around it, like if a nebula system in SS was made entirely out of magnetic storms & solar flares. stars made of color superconducting strange matter, a great inert orb of completely frictionless (stuff analogous to) liquid that you could slam your ship into & it will glide all the way thru to the other side with the same momentum, assuming that you survived the conditions inside of it. A binary system of two stars, one of them antimatter, orbiting eachother too closely with a constant annihilation reaction between them forming a third "star" of far more massive proportions that looks less like a star & more like solar flares of massive proportions, in every direction all of the time.
An active galactic nucleus -- the lit galactic core. An incredibly thick accretion disk larger than the system map (u cant fly far enough out to get out of it, unless Alex really goes hogwild on this one), and in the middle of the "system", from where the primary of a normal system would be all the way out to where the outer exoplanets would be, is one gigantic, stupidly huge black hole -- so large that the only way to navigate the "system" is to circumnavigate; no up down left or right, only clockwise & counterclockwise, and inward or outward. and producing so much energy from the accretion disk falling in that it can be seen from many galaxies away, and importantly to you, most of that energy is being blasted into the accretion disk which absorbs and then re-emits that energy in secondary phases until it eventually bounces its way out into open space. Meaning; it is HOT. You are effectively inside of a hyperstar, lightyears wide. To be clear of how hot it is here; keeping in mind that going from Corvus to Askonia is probably tens of thousands of lightyears, within one lightyear of the AGN there are tens of billions of stars. And you're inside of it. Your tv dinner would cook in minutes
every single word of this post was leading up to that joke. and nobody will have read this far. PS: all of there are (or could be) real, i didnt make any of this up. the universe is(might be) a weird place

being on the dry side is a selling point for me, my favorite job was auditing accountants

yeah i find it fun to argue w ppl who care too much about it lmfao i just wanted to post this to share where the terms come from & what they used to mean back when there was an actual consistent meaning to them

TIL : Littoral is a real word... nice. It doesn't mean anything in deep space, though.

not necessarily. this was something i liked about sword of the stars; there was a class of ship you could design that wasnt capable of interstellar flight. so they were extremely cheap system defense ships. i could see such a thiing being put into starsector (via a mod) with a hullmod that sets a ship's fuel cost to infinite, reduces its fuel capacity but also increases its CR and/or decreases its supply usage. bc it doesn't have to be maintained to a hyperspace-worthy level

Well I imagine any form of "carrier" has at least some degree of bearing on their size and shape, given they need to be a viable landing spot and supply base for said thing they carry.

IRL frigates, destroyers & cruisers often carry & launch aircraft. a lot of US naval ships carry aircraft specifically so that the US Coast Guard contingent stationed within it can commandeer the ship in order to scramble an intercept mission against passing smuggler fast-mover boats. in fact, in ww2 they made submarine aircraft carriers. thats right; IRL figured out phase carriers before SS did

If you look at something like an Arleigh burke destroyer it can:
1] Fire guns effectively at ship targets
2] Fire guns effectively at land targets
3] Fire guns effectively at airborne targets.

4] Fire torpedos
5] Fire missiles
6] Fire Cruise missiles
7] Deploy depth charges

8] Perform EWAR duties
9] Deploy drones
10] Launch a helicopter

What role does this ship fill in a fleet? Whatever role the fleet needs at the time. It can be a missile cruiser or a gunboat equally. It also does not need a fleet to operate. Do you know what its listed roll is in actuality? Guided-missile destroyer. Do you know what it replaced? A cruiser and a destroyer.

i think you're confusing "capable of" with "good at". this is the Bradley Fighting Vehicle problem, sticking a autocannon on an APC doesnt make it a light attack vehicle just bc its technically capable of knocking light vehicles out of commission bc it still also being an APC means you have nowhere to fit ammo for it to operate as a light attack vehicle for long enough before needing to be resupplied. which is largely what the distinction between cruisers & not-cruisers comes down to; a lot of ships can do all of the things cruisers can do, but they generally don't have the operational capacity to perform  back-to-back missions independently. A destroyer can fire missiles at a target, but then they need to be resupplied & in order to perform repeated fire missions in a short time they have to operate within a fleet that can resupply them. Give it enough size & logistical capacity (read as: storage space & CR for terminal nerds) to be operationally capable of repeated missions and its a cruiser.
Like, take the Irish Navy for example. They have a fleet of, like, 4 patrol boats -- you could call them corvettes, destroyers, frigates, whatever, bc they're capable of doing all of the missions those ships are capable of. and they are capable of independent cross-global trips -- they keep going to the eastern mediteranean sea for missions in a country whose name i dont remember. Bbbbut, a while ago one of them got into combat with a spanish fishing boat poaching irish fish out of their waters, had to blow the fishing boat up, and then it had to end it mission bc a fishing boat rammed it. So the irish navy is made up of boats that could do most if not all of the duties of a cruiser, BUT, it can only do them once before needing to be tended to, which means in a war setting they absolutely would not be used as a cruiser gets used bc they lack something crucial to a cruiser; operational capacity -- the capacity to perform multiple missions in a row without needing to be tended to.
& keep in mind that this distinction existed in WW2 too, so its not like this is a new paradigm -- then as now one of the defining features of a destroyer is that when operating within a fleet they had to have a destroyer tender -- a (usually) cruiser whose job was to keep the destroyers operationally capable. And when not operating within a fleet they have to operate within limping distance of a port. Which is basically what all destroyers are doing rn bc there isnt a naval war on. So this seems to me largely a matter of peace time making it easy to make claims that wouldn't hold up under stress

almost every single ship in existence on earth could be classified as a cruiser.

the exact opposite of this is true. most ships can't operate in the open ocean independently

Blog Posts / Re: Of Slipstreams and Sensor Ghosts
« on: September 28, 2021, 03:29:52 AM »
the idea of sensor ghosts is fascinating to me. it reminds me of a bit in my favorite book blindsight, where the earth gets surveyed by alien probes that leave no trace except for a data stream tightbeamed at an asteroid in the outer belts. they send a group of probes to burn nonstop out past the asteroid to take snapshots of it as they pass by (which gave me one of my favorite quotes of all time, "Once or twice we are even asked if some judicious use of thrust and gravity might allow us to linger a bit longer, but deceleration is for pansies; we're headed for the stars. Bye Earth. Bye Mission Control. Bye Sol. See you at heat death."), and then a second group of probes to burn towards halfway & away the second half so that they actually come to a stop at the asteroid, and when they try to use 3 probes to triangulate a high resolution deep scan of the asteroid's internal composition, it vanishes instantly. because the asteroid was a super-positioned quantum particle; real enough for something to bounce a signal off of towards the real destination, but if you attempted to inspect it to garner any insight as to what put it there the waveform is collapsed & it snaps out of existence, revealing the true location of the data's destination -- but, even though the trick was identified by drones shot ahead of the human-laden space ship, by the time they find out it is, thanks to the fun of space travel & newton's third law, it's already too late to turn back. they're locked in to their heading & have been since leaving earth and all they can do is flick cards at a wall until they complete their trip out and then their trip back before rerouting to the new destination. whoever it was that laid the trick successfully managed to buy themselves a bunch of time, to prepare for/to do something, and the only thing humanity learned about them in the process is that they are either hostile or scared, of something.
a signal relay station, made out of a sensor ghost

also, the idea of a type of sensor ghost that functions literally exactly like an AI fleet until it gets revealed & vanishes is really cool to me. you're out in the blackness of dead space doing dead space things, and then a huge sensor signal shows up, something so big it can only be a hostile warfleet, and it's bearing down on you with murderous intent, and then just as it reaches you it fades into nothing -- a mote of dust that caught your ship's sensors in exactly the wrong way. or, you spot a small signal in an asteroid belt you're searching and it slips away from you as you approach it and begins fleeing, dodging you when you try to catch it until you e-burn an intercept course & it's revealed that it was a mote, a stray streak of exotic energy acting as if negatively magnetized away from your fleet, for no discernible reason. creepy stuff lays down this road.

edit: oh yeah & I just remember i wrote a big post spitballing ideas for sensor ghosts in call of duty's minimap that would allow for cod to give a permanent sorta-uav to both teams to discourage camping -- mostly just for me to document the thoughts somewhere I'd be able to find them later if needed. i would copy/paste some of the more applicable ideas but im tired so i'll just hyperlink it & hope nobody actually reads any of it. 1 juicy thought real quick before i actually log off though; a [redacted] station/site in a system defended extremely heavily by a massive number of patrolling fleets, most of which are sensor ghosts. an abandoned station that is revealed to be a sensor ghost & teleports to a new location when you reach it, once or twice. a type of star (or terrain. magnetic field?) that generates sensor ghosts. an abandoned station that is revealed to be a sensor ghost & teleports to a new location every time you reach it unless/until you use a neutrino detector to work out its real location & its not revealed until after you park at 0 speed within combat initiation range. a station that does the same but isn't abandoned/undefended & attacks as soon as you reveal it. a hullmod that generates sensor ghosts for enemy fleets with a lower ECM rating, and reduces sensor ghosts generated by an enemy fleet with this hullmod & a higher ECM rating. a campaign ability that creates a ghost signal of your fleet that emergency or sustained burns away from nearby hostiles but is only usable while going dark is active and in slow mode
okay a few ideas. i have a problem

On the comments of larger maps, as much as I'm wishy-washy on having them being larger (and the slipstream feature sure as hell justifies that), I guess I 'get' keeping the current size from both a design and SWE standpoint.  It's probably complex enough as is to plan out much less consider randomized elements.  But hey, mods find a way...

Yeah, I'm not sure increasing the Sector size just for the sake of "more" would be a good idea. I could see doing it if, say, it really needed more room to fit something specific in, though...

my last campaign i did that to my game to increase the difficulty by making the distance between things in hyperspace unreasonable

I've always found it interesting in games to pay attention to what IRL ratings games go with when classifying ships and while I've been able to pick up some sense of the meanings over time from gaming & cultural osmosis and the occasional lazy google, but I always got the sense (& google solidified this sense) that these terms were largely arbitrary & overlapping, or just described a general continuity of scale. But I decided tonight to really sit down & figure out what all is going on, and it turns out that sense was wrong! All of these terms have concrete & distinct meanings, and I find it fascinating and want to share.

So! Origin, usage or how they relate to eachother. In no particular size order;

A) Battleships! Gotta start here, this one's important so bear with me all of this winds up being relevant to other stuff.
The name for the modern "Battleship" comes from "Ship of the Line (Of Battle)". The end of wind sails & ships gaining the ability to sail regardless of the wind heralded the end of broadsiding & line battles, and with them they dropped all but the "battle" part of the name, hence "Battleships". It's actually a little funny, it went from "Ship of the Line (Of Battle)" to "(Ship of the Line of) Battleship." It flipped lol. It's important to note that in the pre-modern era nearly every ship built for the express purpose of leaving the coast to make war was a battleship, even if they were small. The only classification below Battleship was Sloop Of War (more on that later). So, for the rest of section A when I say "battleship" I mean "any warship larger than a sloop / with a gundeck", the modern usage of the word "battleship" when applied to pre-modern ships refers specifically to Ships of the Line of the 1st, 2nd & 3rd rating.

1st rate ships were national flagships, 3 full decks of guns (some had 4 but the 4th deck was basically fake, essentially a PR trick for propaganda. The largest sotl with the most guns ever was a 3-decker). These were so powerful that they always had to be the flagships of their country's defense fleet & couldn't operate with the country's "blue sea navy" -- IE the portion of a country's navy that can sail around the world to wage distant wars. Of note; bc a non-blue sea navy could use coastal craft, and bc a blue sea navy couldn't take the 1st rate battleships with it, that meant that 1st rate battleships were effectively coastal ships. Combine the fact that they were extremely expensive with the fact that they were barely usable for anything, they didn't make many of these.
2nd rate battleships had 2 1/2 gun or 3 decks but couldn't stand up to a 1st rated ship in 1v1. Because these were less important in battles critical to a government's continued existence, these tended to be the flagships of blue sea navies, sailing with invasion or colonial fleets to function as their anchor in large battles.
3rd rate battleships had 2 decks & it was found that as long as the ship doesn't need to be relegated to permanent capital defense (1st) or operate as a flagship for a blue sea navy (2nd), it was always better to run a 3rd rate ship bc they were A) able to go toe-to-toe with any ship that wasn't permanently relegated to capital defense (1st) or blue sea navy flagship (2nd) duty both of which were rarely surprise circumstances, 2) were much, much cheaper to build, C) were much, much faster & less prone to being pinned, outmaneuvered or just abandoned by their own fleet, and 3) bc they didn't have a 3rd deck to make the ship sit lower in the water they were much less likely for a wave to hit the bottom gundeck's open gunports & sink it out of nowhere, which was a thing that kept happening to 1st & 2nd rate ships which keep in mind were the most expensive ships in a navy.
Battleships of the 4th, 5th & 6th rating (fewer than 2 full gundecks) weren't (or weren't for very long) considered to be Ships Of The Line, & in the advent of a large battle with Ships Of The Line (1 2 & 3rd rated ships) in play would be kept out of the centre of the battle bc they'd get split in half before they could do much, and thus aren't important to the discussion of the (Ship of the Line of) Battleship class. And with this the very lengthy but annoyingly important first segment comes to a close and I get to stop talking about ship ratings.

B) Frigates. HAHA JUST KIDDING ABOUT NO MORE RATINGS. Remember how one of the benefits of a 3rd rate ship of the line is that the lack of a third deck meant the ship was far less likely to drop dead instantly for no reason? They figured out that if they built a battleship but instead of giving it 3 or 2 full or even 2 partial gundecks, if they flat out ditch all but the top gundeck they can have a battleship that is almost completely immune to the "our battleship was instakilled by a random wave hitting a gunport" thing bc of how high off the water the guns sit, and thus unlike all other rated battleships were actually capable of operating with all its guns out safely in harsh weather. Importantly, because ships had to have their heaviest guns on the bottom & lightest guns on top, that meant that even if in a storm a frigate went up against a ship with more guns on its top deck than the frigate has, all of the frigate's guns can be heavy cannons while none of the bigger ship's can be, allowing a frigate to situationally punch above its own weight, and bc of how much lighter it is it can usually run away in unfavorable situations.
Because of all these factors, frigates were the ideal setup for battleships operating either in a fleet without ships of the line that needed to avoid combat in unfavourable weather, or operating on their own in roles such as commerce raiding, scouting for a battle fleet, & long ranged cruising. The ship classification is 6th (the lowest) rate battleship, the ship's design is frigate, the ship's operational role is to cruise the open ocean independently.
... wait, cruisi--

C) CRUISERS. A cruiser is a frigate, or what a frigate was. The names split during the interim between the age of sail & the modern naval era, when ironclads were too heavy/slow to perform cruising operations so scouting battleships had to still be wooden frigates, which they slowly started trying to semi-armor with iron internal bulkheads which were called armored cruisers to differentiate them from full wooden frigates that were still able to scout but no longer able to battle and fully armored ironclads that could battle but not scout. Once a wooden hull was no longer needed for a battleship to be able to scout, they dropped the "armored" from "armored cruisers" & just called them "cruisers". So a Cruiser is just a large-ish battleship that instead of being specialized into heavy armament & armor for trading blows to the detriment of its speed & general operating capability, sacrifices heavy armament & armor for increased speed & operating capability.
As a result of this split, with the name frigate being stuck on ships essentially rendered useless in open combat, ships designed to be capable of independant cruising operations but so small that they have to specialize into their role tend to be called frigates (such as missile frigates) whereas ships large enough to be capable of independant cruising operations that are large enough to either be capable of open guns combat and/or are capable of generalized/non-specialized operations as cruisers.
(Interestingly, frigates ceased to be a thing by the time of WW1 bc of being pigeonholed out of being capable of combat, but now there are no more battleships or cruisers (only 2 countries have them, the US & Russia) but frigates have made a comeback because they were pigeonholed out of being capable of combat since open guns-based naval battles aren't a thing anymore)

4) Last one, which is the only one of SS's 4 classifications that doesn't directly stem from Royal British Naval battleship rating doctrine; Destroyers.
In the late era of the age of sail Ships of the Line were becoming so big as to be invincible to gunfire from anything but Ships of the Line of equal or greater size, which were ruinously expensive to operate (& remember, prone to capsizing for no reason). Since the biggest Ships of the Line were generally relegated to coastal capital defense or (again coastal) invasion fleets, it turned out that you could defeat a fleet of Ships of the Line by letting them get to coastal waters and then instead of deploying massive ships to gunfight them, deploy a fleet of tiny ships with bombs to suicide charge them -- a thousand of these boats cost less than 1 Ship of the Line, and it only took a single one of them finding their mark to scuttle a battleship on the spot -- a bomb the size of a boat's entire load capacity set off right against a heavy sea-capable ship's prow will capsize it no matter what (this is still true), more or less regardless of how tiny the boat is. if it holds water out well enough to make it to an enemy battleship then it can hold enough explosives to blow its keel off which instakills any ship capable of open ocean travel.
At first they were fireships, then they became bomb ships, then they started sticking the bomb on the end of a piece of wood so they could pretend it wasn't a suicide mission. Those bombs-on-a-stick were called Torpedoes, and then they attached propellers & engines to them and became what we think of as torpedoes nowadays.
The point was, as battleships became bigger & slower & more invincible to gunfire, there was an increasing prevalence of Torpedo Boats to instakill them, and with them came the need to fight them -- which you couldn't do with the fixed heavy cannons, or even with the light swivel guns way up on the deck of a battleship. So they started deploying fleets of Torpedo Gunboats; tiny boats the size of a Torpedo Boat that could match it in maneuverability & operating conditions, but with a freely maneuverable deck gun instead of a suicide bomb, small enough to mount on what was essentially a raft but still big enough to blow a hole in someone else's raft with a single shot. As the Torpedo Boats got bigger, more expensive, more sophisticated, got sails to go along with their oars, got a closed deck, got an engine, got the ability to launch their charge, got radar, so too did the Torpedo Gunboats along with them. Two "kinds" of ships, of the same size & basically the same equipment, the only difference being which of the two roles they fulfill. And eventually people started to realize -- hey, I'm bringing a fleet of torpedo ships, and also a fleet of torpedo gunships to hunt their torpedo ships. Why are they two different kinds of ship, why not just combine them.
And thus the Destroyer was born. It is a torpedo ship meant to sunder battleships. It is a torpedo gunship meant to screen battleships. Also of note, if you squint really hard, blur ur vision & look past what you see, submarines are also destroyers -- and this tracks when you consider that, the job of a submarine is to hunt enemy keel-bottomed ships and kill enemy vessels trying to do the same thing. And thus, the destroyer gets equipped to destroy submarines too. But mostly, their name refers to their role of fighting other destroyers, oddly enough. And because of how non-specific that role is (basically fight anything ur size), that means that functionally any ship smaller than a cruiser can be a destroyer. The only really concrete discerning factor in what distinguishes a heavy destroyer from a light cruiser is that destroyers arent built to cruise -- in a fleet setting destroyers need destroyer tenders, ships with a high operational capacity to lend some of that capacity to it.

So! That's the origin of all 4 of SS's classes. Frigates and cruisers are the same thing, destroyers should be the smallest class of vessel except that they can't hunt phase ships so really they're more of sloops of war, and everything else is a battleship, unless they have a good logistical profile in which case they're a cruiser (and also a battleship), regardless of size. Wasn't this a productive use of time?

Also, unrelated strictly to SS's 4 classes but relevant to the topic since we're here; what's the difference between a corvette and a sloop and a sloop of war and a brig and a cutter and a schooner and a ketch and a blah blah blah. Turns out the answers are very simple; a sloop of war is any warship smaller than a battleship, all of the rest are different styles of mast setups that, aside from determining how the ship sails in different wind conditions does little to actually distinguish them from eachother (sloops upwind better than a brig, but either could be bigger than the other), except for a corvette which is just the french name for a small boat. So, if a game uses these names and it doesn't have any wind mechanic then those names are basically meaningless, and if a game implies that a corvette is a different kind of boat than any random name for a small boat in english then it's just talking nonsense.

PS, I used the British Royal Navy classification bc -- well, we're speaking english. Find me another global naval power with a thousand+ years of naval tradition that speaks english & I'll use their system instead

General Discussion / Re: Holes in the Low tech lineup
« on: September 18, 2021, 04:07:54 AM »
as far as i can tell this was done intentionally to discourage players from refusing to mix tech levels

All I suggest is that the AI should stop overriding the firing mode and no one has presented even the slightest valid point why this would cause any negative side effects and do anything other than making everything related much simpler, easier to understand and more controllable.

bc the AI is designed to make those calls itself, and disabling that portion of the AI would do more harm to the game's quality than good. ur asking for the ability to lobotomize the AI; there are situations in which that would be a desirable outcome but those are so far & few between that they shouldn't be the focus of the fire mode's design

games just arent gonna be exactly what you want them to be. you would like it if the AI respected the fire mode you set at ship build. so would I. that just wouldn't be good for the game tho. its the sort of thing that if it were to exist would need to be a mod, or a very deeply buried setting that defaults to "off" (which isnt gonna happen bc that bloats the game's QA budget unnecessarily). that just isn't the game that this is, and that's okay

General Discussion / Re: What posts do new guy need to learn?
« on: September 16, 2021, 10:39:41 AM »
hostile incompatibility

thats a new one, im gonna have to remember that

General Discussion / player's flagship be like
« on: September 16, 2021, 10:37:47 AM »

(apparently only admins are allowed to embed HTML)

One thing that irritates me about autofire groups is when the AI manually controls one! A "never manually control this group" setting might be useful.

okay the OP's suggestions are uhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh lacking context? (idk how else to put it politely) but this ^ is unironically second. i like to throw salamanders on everything i have & have noticed that having a pair of salamanders on a ship affects its AI -- a ship that will go in to knife someone in the simulator will get into sally range and then kite them to throw harmless lizards at them until CR runs out if I fill their missile slots. or at least that was my impression

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