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Topics - naufrago

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16
Bug Reports & Support / Purchasable crew on station reads '0' (zero)
« on: April 02, 2012, 09:03:27 PM »
I looked around a bit and couldn't find this issue being reported, but sorry if this is a repeat.

I'm running the latest version of Starfarer without any mods on Mac OS X (10.6.8). It's the lowest end iMac of the most recent iteration of iMacs.

The issue: For some reason, the four different kinds of crew available for purchase read 'zero' for their stack size(see attached pic) on Hidden Base. Moving the stack of 'zero' elite crew, for example (it's true of all zero stacks), into an empty slot in my cargo reduces the number of elite crew to zero and causes other problems relating to crew. I can enumerate them if necessary, but I haven't fully explored the bug so it would take me a while to get back to you with details if they're required. I do know that shift-clicking the zero stack produces one of the clicked item while having no other perceivable effects. The crew produced from shift-clicking the zero stack cost as much as normal, and stacks of crew produced from the zero stack behave normally. This allows you to, for example, buy as many elite crew as you can afford with no ill effects beside unbalancing the game.

Also, if I notice that the bug has occurred, if I hit 'Reset' on that screen it usually returns everything to normal, but the Cargo meter displays 0 regardless of whether a zero stack is in my inventory or not. Keeping a zero stack in my inventory seems to make the condition permanent, or possibly as long as I have a zero stack. Putting a zero stack on top of an existing stack sometimes fixes itself with no apparent ill effect, but sometimes it doesn't. It's weird. I think it's related to a bug that sometimes only lets me stack 499 crew instead of 500. Sorting the inventory with 1 extra crew member in another slot seems to fix THAT problem, or at least shift the bug to an unseen slot.

Sorry if these thoughts are a bit haphazard, but my memories of it aren't completely fresh and it's just a weird bug.

Probable cause: I first noticed the issue when using the sort button. Using it has occasionally caused, and fixed, other crew stacking problems before. What seems to trigger it is when I purchase or sell something (I can't remember), then hit sort on the station's inventory. Sometimes, this causes the crew stack to change value, and sometimes this value is zero. My best guess is that the algorithm that sorts the items fails to clean up some data properly, and this garbage data gets used by the crew stack. I've had issues with sorting both the station inventory and my inventory on the station screen, so it seems to be a problem with the sort function.

How to reproduce the bug: Will add soon-ish, if I can. It's happened to me multiple times, so I think I have the general idea of how to reproduce it, but I'll let you know.

UPDATE 1: I haven't been able to reproduce it yet, but in testing I transferred a stack of 272 supply into the Hegemony station's inventory. The station had a partial stack of 308 supply. Putting them together produced a full stack of 500, and stack of 81 supply. Last I checked, 308 + 272 = 580, not 581. I'm positive it's related to the zero stack bug, since it seems to involve an empty slot with a value. That, and I've noticed it happen in conjunction with crew stack size changing in the past.

Would it help if I sent you my save file? Both the Hegemony's station and Hidden Base have buggy inventories, so it might be worth poking at.

[attachment deleted by admin]

17
Suggestions / Some potential autoresolve improvements
« on: April 02, 2012, 01:57:28 PM »
If you want to skip straight to the suggestions, go to the next section.
I've been playing the campaign mode and built up a huge armada over >1k fleet points, to counter any opposition and experiment with various fittings. Also, due to a bug I recently discovered and exploited, my ships are all manned by elite crews. When I play manually (to win, and not just experiment), nothing escapes and I never lose a single ship (individual fighters excluded). At most, I lose a couple crew from fighter losses. When I autoresolve, I sometimes lose ships, usually lose at least one entire fighter wing, and several enemy ships always manage to escape. Sure, it doesn't affect me in the long run, but my quest for perfection compels me to always manually resolve fights.

To fully understand where I'm coming from, here's typically what I do for every encounter: Deploy 2 Paragons with 4x Tachyon Lances each and either 5 broadswords, 4 Xyphos, or 3 Thunders, depending on what I feel like. The fighters then capture all the objectives while the tachyon lances from the paragons shred all the enemy fighters, frigates, and destroyers to bits. As I gain more fleet points, I send in even more Paragons w/ 4x Tachyon Lances. Alternatively, I send in... the 22 FP carrier and a bunch of Xyphos, Broadswords, and/or Thunders. If the enemy sends in a cruiser or capital ship, I usually order my fighters to retreat so they aren't obliterated by PD and let my Paragons deal with it. This strategy works every time, and at most I lose a couple fighters, which get repaired.

And with that out of the way, my suggestions:
The biggest difference I can see between how your simulation plays out and how it works out in practice is 'the skirmish phase'. For me, the Skirmish phase ends with all the enemy frigates and fighters dead due to Tachyon Lances and fighter superiority, with me in control of all objectives, and my forces minimally damaged; however, your simulation doesn't model damage during this period. Also, allowing ships to 'strike back' completely ignores the range advantage certain weapons like MIRVs, Pilum LRMs, and Tachyon Lances (as extreme examples) provide. Not entirely sure how you would model that, but perhaps preventing 'close support' or 'fire support' from triggering 'strike back' would be ideal. Alternatively, you could model a battlefield as a chess-like grid, and have ships move around on that in the simulation, which would allow you to model range and ship speed at the cost of complexity (and with that, I just envisioned MOO2's combat used as a simulator for this game. Probably impractical, but might be fun to watch).

As near as I can tell, it seems that the entire fleets of both sides are 'deployed' in the autoresolve simulation. If it isn't this way already, perhaps deploying only a certain # of fleet points worth of ships at a time would be best, like in the manual engagements. The side with more ships and the side that wins the skirmish phase would have more FP, like in the manual engagements. If a ship is destroyed, the victim's side could be allowed to deploy another ship on their next attack turn if they have sufficient FP to do so. If they run out of deployed ships, you could make the remaining ships surrender, also like in the manual engagements.

Lastly, here's a feature I feel could benefit the autoresolve functionality: priorities. When you put your second-in-command in charge, before proceeding to battle you give him a list of objectives you'd like him to follow. For example, you could manage how much risk you're willing to take with your assets- 'Minimize losses' would make ships try to retreat when damaged to a certain point and bring in a fresh ship if possible, or deploy ships less optimal for doing damage, but more likely to survive with minimal damage; 'Destroy at all costs' would do as it says on the tin; and 'Balanced Approach' would be a mix, possibly modified by officers' traits and preferences. You could also give generic orders like 'Focus on Freighters/Carriers/etc.' You could even allow the player to decide the initial deployment for the engagement, since that could have a huge impact on the outcome.

Hope you find my thoughts and ideas useful.

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