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Starsector 0.95.1a is out! (12/10/21); Blog post: Hyperspace Topography (10/12/22)

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Messages - David

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General Discussion / Re: how big are the ships in starfarer?
« on: February 05, 2012, 09:04:29 AM »
The scale of the ships is determined by how big they're supposed to feel visually, working within the constraints of what we can display on the screen. In other words, they have to work within the game as a piece of (fun!) software foremost. The fiction gets made up after.

This may not be a satisfactory answer in terms of game fiction but it's probably the way to make the best game possible. We spoke of and definitely wanted to avoid the problem seen in Supreme Commander where due to the size of the battle all these beautifully detailed units were modelled and animated but most of the game is optimally played in 'radar mode' which reduces them to simple icons. This is why weapon ranges in SF are best for the game's visuals when kept rather short and ship speeds kept relatively slow -- and (part of) why the role of the warroom has been reduced and the one-colour icons there replaced by resizes of the ship sprites.

If they were being true to a fiction, the ship sprite representations would be on a bit of a logarithmic scale, I imagine, hence why fighters are so big. ('Course the real reason fighters are so big is so you can see them.) I'll admit though that the inspiration for the basic range of ships was an idealized version of WW1/WW2 naval combat with its interplay between battleships & screens, carriers & torpedo bombers, and so on (... including submarines, but we're still getting there ... ).

General Discussion / Re: Preorders and Sales
« on: September 13, 2011, 11:37:23 AM »
@Psiweapon : If you can play Dredmor, I'm pretty sure you can play Starfarer. My horrible old mac laptop runs both - not very well, but they run.

And glad SF was of interest; I'm always happy to shill for Alex!

Mods / Re: Star Control II: The Ur-Quan Masters (in progress)
« on: June 17, 2011, 10:18:17 AM »
I've never played Star Control II because I missed it when it was current, but I've certainly read a ton about it. Just jumping in to say that I'm finding your interpretations of the ships in the Starfarer style are absolutely charming; I love looking for where you got all the little bits and pieces from the core-Starfarer ship asets.

Looking forward to more!

Modding / Re: Adding custom ships
« on: June 10, 2011, 01:04:30 PM »
Hey, feel quite free to take crops from bits of my ship art and adjust the color and shading to make basic texturing for your ships. Some of the larger ships have some big areas to pull from, if you're so inclined.

Heck, I might just throw together some generic ship pieces - been meaning to write a tutorial/style guide for making ships, but I've been crunching on my other game ...

Add paint.  It's a bit of work to go back and make masks for all of the ships but the end result would be pretty sexy (especially with a custom paint editor for your individual variants).

I did do a mockup for that very idea a long time ago but it didn't look very good -- maybe because it was a rather hasty mockup.

It might still have to happen in some form, but I think we rather hope to not have to do it this way. Could do another mockup. Alex? :)

General Discussion / Re: Best and worst of your command
« on: May 19, 2011, 12:00:40 PM »
3 bomber wings completely killed a conquest? :o Should that really be happening?

Using the WW2 naval combat analogy, check out I think it's fascinating to (very roughly) base game mechanics on this period where the common wisdom of having tons of huge ships was being overthrown and a whole new dynamic which had to be discovered. If we went for a WW1 naval combat analogy, big battleships might rule all - but I think having a system which allows someone to pull a smart move to destroy a force which is stronger on paper is just great.

(It's why I liked PvP in Ultima Online more than WoW or EQ; A character with mediocre stats had a chance vs a high stat player if they used tactics and ganged up vs. completely overwhelming stat disparities which leave no room for smart play to swing the battle.)

An Onslaught with a couple patrol frigates, an interceptor wing, and some more situational awareness would not even be scratched by some bomber wings! It's all about fleet composition and tactics.

General Discussion / Re: Viability of trading and mining vs combat?
« on: May 18, 2011, 12:25:03 PM »
Say the player is making lots of money mining - or, at least, shepherding some mining drones or small mining fleets - surely this will attract the interest of pirates and looters. Or infringe upon other miners. Or offend some Luddie conservationists. Or infringe upon the interests of large corporations who are not interested in competition (or maybe others who are against some who aren't). If it's a business about making money, there will be politics (and in Starfarer, politics often end with shooting, I think ;) and this should make for good stories.

The player need not take an active role in combat defense, I imagine - why, just hire some mercenaries to protect your fleets! Then these mercenaries need fuel and supplies and a base of operations, more economic supply chains and snags for things to get caught on, politics ... etc etc, lots of fun to be had.

I bet it'll be fun!

Oh, thought about mining on planets vs space: Planets tend to be in deep gravity wells which make it expensive to ship material to orbit (unless there's a handy space elevator or mass driver; infrastructure projects! Keep those Luddie saboteurs away). Planets do have their advantages, of course.

Baseless speculation is fun. (Especially when it may impact the form the mechanics actually end up taking.)

General Discussion / Re: New Blog Post by David
« on: May 11, 2011, 12:51:54 PM »
Wow the concept art is amazing... I suspect each "Race"/"faction" will have their own... visual style?

p.s. what program do you guys use to make the pixel art?


I use Photoshop for everything.

I don't consider it exclusively pixel art in the strict definition because I will use (digital) brushes for many stages of work, especially the early concepts and then again for rounded forms and final adjustment of shading. Most of the fine detail is of course done with a hard 1-pixel brush, but I vary the opacity and re-sample as I work with my left hand on the keyboard while the right is on the wacom tablet.

General Discussion / Re: New Blog Post by David
« on: May 10, 2011, 03:39:00 PM »
(Ivaylo is cheating at my speculation game because he has inside information.)

Announcements / Re: Starfarer 0.34a - Live Patch Notes
« on: May 09, 2011, 12:07:54 PM »
Yeah, that was me. Promising things. Sorry Alex!

(I figure fans would like to know something about upcoming features, some rough idea of the coming expansion of the Starfarer game-world.)

I'm also going to start posting more teasers of upcoming stuff I'm working on to the blog in any effort drive everyone crazy. It'll be fun!

Suggestions / Re: Auto-fire notification
« on: May 09, 2011, 11:36:49 AM »
Perhaps this is a problem of the UI being unclear, (though a sound cue might be cool). So what if the autofire active state was made more obvious?

In addition to the box being lit up, perhaps all the text for the weapon group could alter color/tone slightly, or maybe its textbox could get a 10% alpha of the terminal-green to distinguish it.

Suggestions / Re: Ammo Depot
« on: May 06, 2011, 12:39:41 PM »
What if instead of being a fixed objective this was a specialized ship type?

Call it a munitions ship, have it send some little drones to refit torpedoes and missiles and shells to ships within a certain radius, give it a limited number of munitions points so you couldn't totally cheese it. This could let those useless freighters do something fun in combat and make it important to kill those that belong to the enemy and protect your own.

Plus, when they get offed they could go out with a huge bang :)

Modding / Re: Adding in custom ships
« on: May 06, 2011, 12:11:33 AM »
"rich" from artistic abilities

I don't know whether to laugh, cry or drink.  :-\

ps. The ships look good Avan! Heck, if we get this level of modding in just a week, things are going to be insane(ly cool) down the line.

General Discussion / Re: Questions and comments
« on: May 05, 2011, 12:12:25 PM »

What if we had a cruiser-sized hull with good speed (but poor turn) and decent shields that was built to make passes by the side of larger ships while unloading a broadside? Yeah, we're going to have to try this one. :) 

And yeah, I guess the Conquest isn't so much filling a cruiser-killer role as it is a battleship with better maneuverability and some quirky heavy firepower. (Someone sack the design team of whatever shipyard built this thing!)

I've also noticed that the strafing controls do not play nice with the Conquest at all - they're built to focus the bow of a ship on the target, not a broadside. It -is- a bit awkward to use, and certainly with the broadside being a lot of heavy, slow shells, it isn't great at hitting cruisers.

I wonder what a beam weapon broadside would feel like...

General Discussion / What's your favorite ship?
« on: May 05, 2011, 11:09:32 AM »
I have to know!

It used to be the Conquest for me, but it almost feels overpowered now. I think I really like the Apogee for being so weird. Plus I dig the art - I mixed a little Star Trek saucer idea with some Star Wars blockade runner and 2001 Odyssey design with the usual over-detailed pixel-wankery I love so much. And it's asymmetric!

So what's yours?

(Or: got an idea for a cool ship? ;)

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