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Starsector 0.97a is out! (02/02/24)

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Topics - sector_terror

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I don't know if this is a bug or not so I'm asking here. I just now noticed after what 50-60 battles that while using the Nova Class with a neural interface the extra missile ammo doesn't apply, at all. And upon further testing that power doesn't work on any ship or any missile across the board. I can't tell if this is a mistake of a way to prevent getting the double effect on more than 2 ships by staggering their release, which even then doesn't seem wise given how doing so is a minor handicap for that unit. With this in play I functionally lose a good chunk of reason to even have the skill and it heavily dispowers part of the benefit of a combat centric Neural interface build.

2
Bug Reports & Support / Probe inside a star. .95a RC15
« on: July 14, 2021, 07:13:39 AM »
So, I went to hunt down a bounty and this happened. This domain era survey probe spawned inside of a star. This is -not- a visual glitch. I tried to actually land on it, and the thing is in fact inside of the star itself, and otherwise functions normally. This is the first time I've visited this star if that's also relevant. I have a larger png picture if needed that the forum wont let me post, but I tried to include everything relavent

I am 100% sure it isn't relevant to any degree, but I am including it -just- in case because I'm way too cautious about these reports. The only mod I'm running is the adjustableSkillthreshholds1.0 Mod which makes the game, According to Starsector, have a red error for "Vram low..." at almost all times. So far as I can tell from my OS, Starsector is entirely wrong, and I'm only adding this part just in case.

edit: hilarious, this did accidentally help me learn a fun little thing I can do involve AI cores. It will suddenly make colonizing a certain planet a lot more viable.

[attachment deleted by admin]

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General Discussion / I've come to an appreciation
« on: April 26, 2021, 09:22:03 PM »
I just came back from doing some attempts in Stellaris after the new update and man.....it gives you some perspective. I've been iffy about getting back in starsector until the skills are more balanced, but it reminded me that I need to stop living in a pipe dream where the game need be perfect to my standard. I have a settings file to make the game easier if I want. The game is excellent with the flaws far from "glaring" and hardly making the game unplayable. Meanwhile in Stellaris, a 4x game, where basic required information like the ability to see your opponents border or any alliances they're in is now locked behind a system which is only fully functional if you buy the newest DLC.

When you come back to a game you love to see it broken to the point of unplayable. It makes you appreciate the game that only has minor flaws

4
General Discussion / Essay and thoughs on missions.
« on: April 04, 2021, 10:22:22 PM »
This is has been a long time coming, and it's about time. I want to discuss the game's profit and rewards for jobs and the balancing behind them. I've seen people talking about the issues with pay, personal and fleet development and I think it's time I make my comment. I won't poison the well right away so forgive me for extending a bit. Because a lot of issues stem from this.

   Before we discuss this I need to define two key terms, and that is the differentiation between risk and cost. Put simply, cost is the base money I have to chuck away just to take on a task(Personal or otherwise); The time given to finding a good job I can reasonably complete, the cost in fuel to get to and from systems, the cost in supplies for the time traveled, and the cost in crew and officer pay for said time traveled. These are inevitable and irretrievable win or lose. I will take SOME damage and I will lose supplies fielding ships. If a mission can't overcome this is means outright nothing, as might as well be a punishment I have to take just to stave off losing entirely. Having a follow-up quest as "punishment" for failing or a quest given at negative relationship values to re-build a factional reputation would justify a negative price, but that's a punishment not a normal task.
   Risk is what I put on the line, what could be lost. I'm not ever going to risk a buffalo in combat, but I could lose the escort ship for it. I'm not going to lose the tanker that never goes into battle, thus it's not a risk. But the cruiser I send in to potentially explode is. Every missions needs to have some acceptable risk to justify putting anything on the table at all, to make a battle more than a math equation and encourage using instinct run decision making. Do I go overkill knowing victory is absolute and cut heavily into my profits? Or do I take the risk for the extra moneys in reward. Do I take things slow and risk losing CR before the battle is won, or do I rush and risk damage I don't need to take for that extra time I now have not destroying my melee target.
   With this in mind every contact should ask this question when they give a job: What is the cost of this contract even being operated, and what is the risk it's asking me to put on the table. It's not unlikely to lose a single ship in battle, especially destroyers and, to some degree, frigates. At some points in the battle it's almost out of your control entirely. It's a wager, a risk, and the stronger the encounter the more is put at risk. Starting battles may only risk a frigate. Later ones mean even the cruisers aren't entirely safe. The idea you can walk into every encounter with no losses at all and with limited damage every time and still win, or even the majority, is idealistic at best. It's both breaking immersions to have that assumption be the requirement since the game world would never reasonably assume it under most conditions, but its just bad design to assume your players must be perfect and overcome even the most insane cheating AI.

   This isn't limited to bounties either. What is the price tag of a procurement missions? You'll have to wager against some security force to handle incoming enemies, likely enough to handle the raids of an enemy military patrol who would siege the colony down, sure, but that's unlikely. The main risk is simply the difficult of obtaining the necessary goods in the allotted time while handling the price of going to get it. For starting missions it's almost nothing, you have more than enough time to get 100 volotiles from Umbra at dirt cheap, if not just raid it, and come back without penalty. Even with taxing it cost next to nothing, meaning your profit can be huge with minimal risk. Not try doing that with 2000 volotiles. You'll need luck just to get that amount for cheap without running half the sector and spend more in fuel that the discount is worth. But you can still take risk to keep the profit up. But, you can say: take the risk of smuggling, knowing that the time needed to wait for patrols to give you an opening into the right planets may take so long the mission fails before you get everything. You can risk smuggling openly and losing reputation but risk getting caught. More price, but less risk. Maybe you decide to pay the taxes that mean minimal profit? Or, do you take the riskier route for substantially greater reward?

   With all this set out, there are a few ways to balance the missions. You can make the cost of the mission almost nothing and give players a slow but inevitable growth, with risk being minor and rewards being simply opportunities with potential; However, you can also run full risk reward and make the final missions tremendous rewards with strict limits that make risk a necessity with the potential for fantastic rewards, if the players can follow through. Starsector can do both favorably, but it's -heavily- favored for the latter. Everything in Starsector is expensive. Frigates not withstanding(as if they are made to be more expendable, hmmm) ships cost tremendous amounts of credits invested to replace. Damage is astronomically expensive, costing thousands for even minor hits and maintainance is an extremely high cost between officers, supplies, and crew. Going without a mission for a month until you get a "safe" mission can cost you 10s of thousands for a military capable fleet with a decent numbers of cruisers. And hard late-game multi-capital fleets 100s of thousands on maintanance -alone-. That's not even getting into the cost of keeping up with the AI officers in both story point pricing and money(I experimented with raising the officer limit to 20, I didn't get to 10 before the price became too much to maintain.) You can store ships not useful to a job your taking, but getting them back for a later job might cost extra and officers can't do that, nor can you for supplies and fuel, you have to upkeep them. Not that storage is a free solution either. With all this in mind, the more viscerally exciting high risk gameplay, where your perfect victories adds a full cruiser and a lot of breathing room for your finances, and where loss is devastating and can cost cycles worth of profit to undo, is Where starsector would shine, given the tools and prices for it are already in play. If not just because making jobs low risk and a slow methodical buildup would require changing almost every financial cost.

   And in that I can finally get to my conclusion, no, jobs is not balanced. Trade is -far- too profitable and bounties a bad joke. I have seen trade contracts as simple as getting small numbers of an items like 50 heavy armaments or 100 luxury goods paying profit of close to 25k, or just receive those numbers for absolute free and get raw profit for nothing. Meanwhile the starting bounties of 65k for 2 or three destroyers with maybe 5 officers and a few frigates, can become an astoundingly strong 120k for a capital ship and 5 cruisers with 17-19 enemy officers. In trade contracts I get tremendous turnout with little to not risk, with bounties I risk losing massive amounts of money if I so much as lose a single destroyer, sometimes with fleets made mostly of capital ships. With bounties, even if I gamed the system to twist everything into a perfect victory, saving and reloading constantly for it, I have to take tremendous risk just to break even, let alone obtain a victory, against enemies who are outright cheating and screwing costs they in no way could afford, and greater than I could ever afford to counter. I have no issue with the former given I want that challenge to my growing fleet, but when anything but perfect lands me in the middle of space, needing to scuttle ships because I have no hope of mainaining what I have, and chucking my crew into cryo-pods in deep space because I can't keep them all, it's a heartbreaker in both gameplay and immersion that is entirely unearned.

   And that's not even getting into the stealth missions where the high risk of being caught and losing 2-3 jobs worth of reputation if not failing the mission outright when you get caught and forced to turn transponder on(no job is worth going hostile) because there's not enough time to go back to being unnoticed.  Those are treated as even "Easier" than bounty contracts despite being possible to fail outright beyond your control. Not to mention setting you back cycles worth of work even if you success with anything less than a perfect run. And the difficulty doesn't scale to the size of your fleet either, which changes the difficulty of the mission entirely.

   I have my limits and as much as I was and still am in love with this update, I have to stop. I have for 2 games in a row now, ended up in space, helpless to do anything but start scrapping my fleet for supplies for the third time as I stagnate because any growth puts me in the range of bounty contracts way beyond the ability to make a profit without skyrocketing the difficulty to outright fake difficulty trash, and having to resort to abusing trade contacts. And I don't consider myself a bad player or pilot either, it's just that insane. I understand and respect Alex doesn't want players to grow so quickly they skip half the game or have such an easy time they start getting bored; But, this is becoming so ridiculous that maintaining a fleet pushes me to a level that isn't even fun. I don't want this to turn into an Atlas game where every fight only has "choice" as a blind lie because the only way to win is have X things, since anything but perfect gets you killed outright. The ships and weapons are incredibly balanced and Starsector has done an astounding job with making every possible option valuable, but when I see people saying the solution is to find the one unbalanced skill or ship and just abuse it to not end, I die a little inside. As it stands, the rewards are so underperforming, especially with bounties, that all I can do is abuse the -extremely- few jobs that are profitable to maintain myself until I have enough money to have some fun and enjoy the rest of the game.

     This can be fixed to. None of this is design element problems, they are just numbers. Cutting enemy officer spam en mass and just letting the cap be what the player can reasonably afford before the risk overtakes the reward so much that losing half the fleet is just a matter of time. Just like cutting the skill the ECM bonus of the gunnery implant skill would stop the ECM issue. If the rewards of the missions were adjusted to let a flawless victory be astoundingly rewarding, this would not be an issue. And if people want to rush into battle underpowered for the difficulty, let them do it, they will take jobs way below their requisite fleet "level" and grow faster than most as a reward. You can make quests and enemies with special NPCs that only happen at cap relationship level on the higher end groups, and are basically super-bosses where players are expected to lose without running the best of the best for the end-game if you'd like. But it shouldn't be put on every quest. And right now, I just cant keep doing this reload and play perfectly shenanigans.

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General Discussion / Thank you for the updates and continued access.
« on: March 31, 2021, 03:19:18 AM »
This is going to get a bit sappy, but hear me out.

Thank you Alex for giving us a game that continue to be updated and supported through the full development process, and without serious editing or trashfire DRM. I just now learned Microsoft might be out and out bricking my Minecraft, I've been out and out abandoned to a broken unsupported mess whose updates became locked behind a steam login with Galactic civilizations 2, I've had to see games with great potential refuse to move forward or address it's problems(hi Mount and Blade,) and I've seen games so silent for 2 years on a self-imposed game-breaking glitch just to shill the expansion(Xcom: Enemy unknown). With the cavalcade of developers purposely abusing my love for games and storiesm I sometimes need to see some honest passion in a game that shows fantastic potential and is willingness to see it through to the end in full. It's games like this give me reason to love what humanity can create and forgive the absolute fools.

I know lesser developers who would have moved entirely to steam and refused to honor legal purchases or keep non-steam versions updated purely out of laziness, or who would take interesting ideas and drag their heels with no care to what their doing. I know people gave you a lot of *** about the length of .95, but you never showed anything less than an honest and directed passion to keep working on it without getting mired in the blind distraction of "it be cool if..." you are an inspiration and deserve more than I can give. I'll keep shilling this game until the day I die.

Sappyness over, thanks for listening to my ramble. Emotions are running high today

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General Discussion / My thoughts on supplies and fuel
« on: February 25, 2021, 05:11:18 PM »
I felt like writing this out of fun after doing some "modding" work in Xcom 2. I realized why I'm okay with supplies and fuel as a secondary "cost" for ship operation next to crew/money. In Xcom allows and Elerium didn't do anything but be another infinite stack of resources no difference than money. This new money couldn't be earned like money, was seemingly random and totally out of your control, and you get the idea. Supplies and fuel here offer their own unique uses, price tags, and reasons for not stacking, which effect how you can handle your ships. It's impressive how supplies and fuel come off so seemless and unobtrusive even as I think extremely deeply about it mechanically. Im struggling to make Allow and Elerium controllable consistently earnable, and it makes me see just how much work is put in to make supplies, fuel, and crew, a viable "cost" separate from yet extending from money without any seeming either redundant or too difficult to get.

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Bug Reports & Support / I may have discovered why the Oddesy is so rare
« on: December 22, 2020, 07:48:34 PM »
so I got tired of having to hunt for the Aurora and the Oddesey being so stupid rare, and I decided that I would try to alter the files for each faction to try and make some ships more common by having them actual spawn. Not only did I not notice i could edit faction files, I found this line of code.
========================

# listing ships here will make the faction mostly use them even if other hulls become available
   "priorityShips":{
      "tags":[],
      "hulls":[
         "doom",
         "afflictor",
         "shade",
         "harbinger",
         "drover",
         "heron",
         "astral",
         #"odyssey",
         "paragon",
      ],
   },
====================

You may notice the Odyssey is marked with what I believe is a comment mark. This file can be opened up in simple wordpad and is found in core/data/world/factions, with tritachyon as the specific faction. I hope this makes Oddeseys much faster to spawn.

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General Discussion / Questions about retreating, possible unfair trap
« on: December 19, 2020, 08:22:14 AM »
I felt I should ask this before I start editing the base settings file again, as this is just plain unfair.

I was running around the sector, coming back to the core after a good bit of exploration. I had around 800 harvested organs but nothing else black market sitting in my stores and got scanned. I thought "No big deal, I have 1500 in shields cargo hull" for some reason they weren't in my shield cargo hulls, god knows why, and I figured I could just run away and be fine. Instead after telling the patrol ship no, they attempted to murder me and I had no choice but to hit engage. This is where the issue comes in.

Now, I content I shouldn't be forced to take penalties with my relations to other side of an engagement which I do not want to be a part in. If the enemy is attempt to outright shoot me down, I shouldn't have to take a penalty to my relationship with that place not be the victim of murder(or theft in the case of expeditions,) but this was a different class of bad design. So my question: Is there some mechanic I could have used to escape that encounter that wasn't "turn in your goods." because giving you the option to say no, and not warning you it will force you to go hostile, is a just plain unfair. I want to know for certain before I call it bad design outright.

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