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Starsector 0.97a is out! (02/02/24); New blog post: New music for Galatia Academy (06/12/24)

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Messages - intrinsic_parity

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Suggestions / Re: Paladin and Tachyon Lance
« on: June 02, 2024, 11:40:00 AM »
It is actively worse to fire a soft flux weapon with <1 damage/flux into shields than to not fire it at all in many cases. You are literally doing more 'damage' to your own flux pool than to the enemies.
This only matters if it's an honest duel, it's weird to say things like that in a fleet combat game.

Ships being shy with their weapons only leads to your fleet getting surrounded. If there's little pressure the enemy gets too brave. But I guess that's fine as long as you don't break the sacred rule of efficient weapons lol.

Aggression is based on relative flux levels. If you raise your own flux more than the enemies, that can lead to them being more agressive, not less. Also, in a fleet context, if you elevate your own flux a lot to hit one enemy ship, all the other ones will still be on low flux and get more agressive. It's obviously not that simple, and a ship like a paragon might want to fire more due to massive range advantage, but I really don't agree with the idea that always shooting is better by default because you apply pressure (although obviously pressure is necessary and valuable). Efficiency definitely matters. For the tach lance specifically though, it's also about the long cooldown. Missing a window where a ship is vulnerable because you wasted the shot on shields for little benefit is a big waste.

If you are outnumbered, you really have to be efficient because the enemy has a much bigger effective flux pool than you. If you have a big effective flux pool advantage, then you can afford to brute force.

Suggestions / Re: Paladin and Tachyon Lance
« on: June 02, 2024, 10:00:28 AM »
TBH, I wish the AI would save the lances for when shields are down or flux is high. It is way too liberal with firing them in situations where there is very little utility in firing them IMO.
Hard disagree, sorry. It's much better for AI to fire weapons too liberally, than to not fire them when they should because they are trying to be too smart for their own good. It's already far too frustrating how safe AI plays, if it just sits there without even firing weapons players like me would explode.
It is actively worse to fire a soft flux weapon with <1 damage/flux into shields than to not fire it at all in many cases. You are literally doing more 'damage' to your own flux pool than to the enemies. Particularly against enemies with efficient shields, it is comically bad to waste them into shields. I hate watching my ships actively kill themselves, and also hate watching them have nothing left to punish enemies when they finally do get high on flux. Maybe a blanket AI behavior change would just shift problems to other situations, but I want SOME way of making them use burst anti-armor weapons in reasonable way, like being able to set the strike flag for the weapon group or something.

it can move on to the next one as long as it's not affected as much by slow turning rate
It does have a much slower turn rate the entire time it is firing though?

Fighters are very rarely the thing that scares me in a paragon. It has many other slots to help shoot them down, and fortress shield makes bombers completely irrelevant. Watching it fire its tach lances at max range into a ship at zero flux so that it starts the fight at a flux disadvantage is quite infuriating for me.

Suggestions / Re: Phase ships AI need attention
« on: June 02, 2024, 09:42:25 AM »
I normally use phase lance on Doom. The potential DPS is very impressive with phase lance. You get to shoot a lot more often compared to AMB, and more targets are available due to longer range as well.

I do like needlers, but I feel like having 2 with phase anchor is already enough. I usually have 2x needlers, 2 amb and 2 phase lance. I tend to pop in and out of phase repeatedly rather than trying to one-shot things, but with phase anchor, phase lances and needlers are ready to fire again VERY quickly, so this works quite well in my experience. I believe the 2x cooldown reduction from phase anchor happens in phase time, so it is effectively 6x cooldown reduction in combat time, which makes for quite absurd DPS potential. 

I do 'waste' the small energy turrets with burst PD just to make my life easier by not having to think about missiles, so that could be more optimal from a DPS standpoint, but IMO the limiting factor for doom damage output is not the weapons but rather the positioning/opportunities available.

The only place I have real trouble with player piloted doom is against Persian league max level bounties. DEM spam is a PITA to deal with in a phase ship. A pegasus with 4x hydra and missile skills is neigh unapproachable. Maybe the pure alpha strike load out would be better in that situation.... hmmmm. HIL and tach lance are also quite annoying, but are nowhere near as spammy.

Suggestions / Re: Paladin and Tachyon Lance
« on: June 02, 2024, 09:11:29 AM »
Removing the Tachyon Lance's ability to shoot down fighters would actually be more of a nerf than a buff.
They are not suggesting to remove the ability to shot down fighters, just to prevent targeting fighters. Plasma cannon shots still deal damage to missiles and fighters, it's just the AI doesn't target them directly.

IMO, this is a good idea. Wasting a long cooldown high alpha strike weapon on a fighter is very rarely correct. TBH, I wish the AI would save the lances for when shields are down or flux is high. It is way too liberal with firing them in situations where there is very little utility in firing them IMO.

In case anyone ever stumbles on this, I did figure it out.

The code that loads the CSV files for the weapons expects the file to exist as exactly "data/weapons/weapon_data.csv", so the working directory has to be to ensure that path and file exist.

Then, all of the class paths and the java library path (which are passed as VM options) have to be set relative to that working directory, meaning the paths won't match what is in, although the files being specified and the other options are all the same.

Suggestions / Re: Odyssey feels weaker than Aurora
« on: May 27, 2024, 01:23:51 PM »
I think it is very powerful for the player flagship, purely for the large offensive boost letting you punch up a lot in the early game. But it relies a lot on the players ability to engage effectively because of the large range disadvantage. Particularly identifying moments when you can get into range without taking too much fire, and also in dodging shots by strafing or shield flickering to engage without incurring a big flux disadvantage. This is greatly exaggerated in a fleet context vs in a 1v1/sim context as there tend to be many more opportunities to engage/commit.

I think the factors above really clash with the AI. This isn't purely a SO thing either, the AI is just generally not very good at identifying openings and hard committing when at a big range disadvantage, and won't pull tricks like shield flickering/dodging on approach anywhere near as consistently as the player. You can overcome some of this by trying to micro ships with orders (basically play like an RTS), but the game isn't really designed for that to be an enjoyable experience, or even really a viable play style IMO.

I don't think it's necessarily bad for the AI to be somewhat non-commital unless ordered, and I also don't really think it's a flaw of the AI to not replicate all the tricks that the player can pull, but it does mean that SO is not nearly as good for the AI, unless you are in a situation where you can just hit 'full assault' due to numerical superiority. The AI is not going to eke out a disadvantaged situation using SO.

Overall, I just don't like it because I think it's boring game design. Basically, it makes a lot situations pretty binary, where you either can rush things and obliterate them easily, unless the timer runs out and you lose, or you can't even get into range and can't get anything done (whereas a normal build could hang on the edge of range and chip away/contribute, even when outgunned).

Also, regarding end-game viability, it is obviously not going to be viable because of all the very harsh restrictions aimed specifically at end game. Particularly the PPT penalty and the restriction from capital ship, and also that it cannot be built in. IMO, the number of cases where the only balance solution was to just arbitrarily prevent interactions (or effectively do so with the PPT limit), indicates that it's just too many drastic stat alterations (speed, range, flux) to be effectively balanced.

RE: Odyssey
I think it's once again a very strong player ship that isn't as great in AI hands. Actually for a lot of similar reasons as SO. It usually has a range disadvantage against ballistic weapons (700 range large energy weapons), unless you use beams which just make it under-gunned in general. It pretty much needs to use plasma cannons to get the level of sustained firepower necessary to justify its DP cost in a large fleet battle IMO, although maybe s-mod expanded mags auto pulse or VPD can compete now? I haven't actually experimented much with that. It also has tons of small energy slots that are pretty much just bait IMO since they just exaggerate the range disadvantage. IMO, it should use fighters for PD/anti-fighter and pretty much leave all the small energies empty, except maybe some burst PD around the engines, and maaaaybe a couple IR pulse lasers if you have some spare dissipation.

The player can use its burst mobility to GREAT effect to overcome the range disadvantage, but the AI will not do that. Particularly the AI will never do things like using the mobility laterally to dodge shots, or using it to disengage away by turning around. The player is also generally much better than the AI at judging when to commit with mobility to finish something, or chase down small ships. For the player, I think the plasma burn is a much more powerful system than plasma jets, but unfortunately, the AI doesn't really understand how to use it.

Also, the AI will foolishly deploy its fighters across the map which both disables the zero flux speed boost, and throws away its best source of PD. Defensive targeting array does solve this, but it's kind of an OP tax to get the behavior the player can get for free, unless you use defensive fighters like xyphos and sarissa. I like to use a spark/xyphos combo on my flagship for what it's worth although wasps can be a spark alternative, and sarissa can also be good.

Some other thoughts:
I think balancing high skill mechanics/ships for the player will naturally lead to them being underpowered for the AI. The only way around this is to either make the AI more similar to the player, or let the player have some OP ships so that they are all balanced in AI hands.

Also, I think the AI's struggles with short range high mobility ships are somewhat universal, although most clearly seen with SO. It is quite apparent when fighting big fleet battles with small fast ships, particularly when outnumbered. They will spend most of the time just floating around doing nothing, because they cannot find a place where they feel they can safely engage. I really love using scarabs (it's unhealthy really), and have seen this issue a ton. It also pops up with AI auroras a lot IMO. These ships also have issues with using their mobility systems to engage, and then ending up in a really dangerous spot, or using their mobility system to do nothing except float around out of range.

Often, I find I need to either micro manage really heavily, or do maneuvering of my fleet to try and get my fast short range ships to the enemy backline so they can harass, pick off reinforcements, and generally get into more local battles instead of big battle lines. If I let scarabs do whatever they want, they will just hang around the big battle line, never contributing because they can't safely get in range.

Maybe it is a worthwhile avenue of development to try and improve AI in the area of Macro positioning (i.e. moving around the battlefield to find a more advantageous situation).

That can be defensive (recognizing danger before flux levels rise and running towards allies), or offensive (trying to recognize when it is not making progress/contributing, and have it more aggressively flank to try and contribute to the fight in some way).

The calculations there get complicated though, because you are predicting rather than reacting, which is inherently much more complicated.

Apologies if this is not the appropriate spot for this question.

I am dabbling in scripting for mods, on Mac using IntelliJ as an IDE (or at least attempting to). I can't seem to get the debug/run config to work inside the IDE. Right now, it successfully opens the launcher, but crashes with a NullPointerException when I hit 'Play StarSector' on the launcher, even with all mods disabled.

The log has a bunch of warnings that seem to indicate it can't find the weapon and hull .csv files. Stuff like:

WARN  com.fs.starfarer.loading.WeaponSpreadsheetLoader  - Weapon [multineedler] from weapon_data.csv not found in store

and then the actual NullPointerException with a little context from right before:

INFO  com.fs.starfarer.loading.LoadingUtils  - Loading CSV data from [CLASSPATH: null]
WARN  com.fs.starfarer.loading.ShipHullSpreadsheetLoader  - Ship hull [drone_pd] from ship_data.csv not found in store
ERROR com.fs.starfarer.combat.CombatMain  - java.lang.NullPointerException
   at com.fs.starfarer.loading.ShipHullSpecLoader.o00000(Unknown Source)
   at com.fs.starfarer.loading.ShipHullSpreadsheetLoader.super(Unknown Source)
   at com.fs.starfarer.loading.SpecStore.ÓO0000(Unknown Source)
   at com.fs.starfarer.loading.ResourceLoaderState.init(Unknown Source)
   at com.fs.state.AppDriver.begin(Unknown Source)
   at com.fs.starfarer.combat.CombatMain.main(Unknown Source)
   at com.fs.starfarer.StarfarerLauncher.super(Unknown Source)
   at com.fs.starfarer.StarfarerLauncher$ Source)

I'm guessing it's something funky with setting up the paths, because the games runs normally outside the IDE, but I'm a Java noob, and can't figure it out. I tried to match the parameters passed to java in i.e. setting the saves/screenshots etc. directories, the java.library.path, the memory limits, and the class path. I did have to add Resources/Java to the class path for it to run, otherwise it was failing to find settings.json.

Looking at the log when the game runs normally, it seems it loads the CSV files from something called ABSOLUTE_AND_CWD, but it is trying to load them from the class path when I run it in the IDE.

I would appreciate any help, even just a nudge in the right direction.

I've always been a bit partial to the idea of having a cap on total officer skills instead of total number of officers. So you could have 8 level 5 officers, or 10 level 4 officers, or 5 level 8 officers, or any other combo. Probably would still need a cap on max officer level. Maybe 6 or 7, and I guess it could be modified by skills too.

No idea if the balance would work out, but I think it would be easier to make balanced skills for it since you have more intermediate steps besides +1/+2 officers, or +1 skill on every officer etc.

I also like that it would make swarmy fleets more viable since you could get tons of level 2/3 officers to man frigates/destroyers. Although maybe that is a bit redundant with the skill that gives unofficered ships a few skills. At least you could pick stronger and customized skills.

Suggestions / Re: Hypershunt tap problem
« on: May 26, 2024, 10:50:09 AM »
I have feeling that the hyper shunts will have other uses in late game that relate to mechanics or story events that don't exist yet

Suggestions / Re: Add more rare loot to (red) Nexuses
« on: March 19, 2024, 02:16:57 PM »
More rare loot is useless since leaving the Nexus alive produces never-ending rare loot in the form of Ordos fleets (that must be killed for loot and xp).  For Nexus to be worth destroying, it has to drop unique loot that cannot be obtained any other way, like a Remnant blueprint set, or at least limited loot like Omega weapons.

Either that or made as a requirement to win the game or to start/finish a mainline quest.
You only need one farming system. Every other red system can be cleared.

Suggestions / Re: Officer promotions
« on: March 11, 2024, 07:51:27 PM »
There is no point at which the xp return makes something strictly or “mostly” up-side.

Before level 15 it is 100% at all times strictly beneficial: a player should ALWAYS have maxed out bonus XP before max level, even if all they are doing is flying up to pirate fleets and then running away for 100% bonus XP (though there are so much better uses than that).

Any argument about it being wasted time only applies at max level. Even then, there is a tradeoff between time and value, because the S mod gives value. In this case: a new officer. If you want to think of it in terms of return on investment: there is an initial period where an S point has been traded for an officer (negating the need to find one). Then after enough fighting to earn what would be 1 S point, they have recouped ALL the initial investment, but still have the officer.
I think it's precisely the opposite. Any argument that you get a story point back from he bonus XP only applies AFTER max level. You get no benefit from additional bonus xp until you exhaust your existing bonus xp. So effecitively, there is NO benefit from the 100% bonus xp until whenever you run out (which is usually super late game in my experience).

You will be in exactly the same situation minus one story point until super late game when you have already finished creating your fleet/officers, at which point it is much less important IMO. You are effectively delaying an S-mod or elite skill until super late game to save 2k credits on an officer, which is a terrible trade IMO. I never spend any story points on things that I can get in other ways. I pretty much only get s-mods, elite skills, and officer mentoring (no other way to reliably get the right combos of skills and aggression) and that is enough to maintain bonus xp until well after max level. As long as I have bonus xp, spending story points on anything else is just delaying me getting those benefits that I cannot get in other ways.

The only time I would even consider promoting is if I ran out of bonus XP and didn't have a single s-mod I thought would be useful long term and I was having trouble finding officers (which is usually not an issue for me).

General Discussion / Re: Obsessively Optimizing Wolfpack
« on: February 24, 2024, 01:41:17 PM »
I'm quite fond of scarabs with wolfpack. I think hyperions are probably still good too.

General Discussion / Weird Missile Targeting
« on: February 08, 2024, 08:39:20 PM »
I've been noticing quite regularly that ships will target missiles at some enemy far away (nearly out of range) while being actively engaged with a ship right next to them. Sometimes the ship they are targeting with missiles is not even high on flux or overloading. It can be a problem if they need the missiles to deal with the ship they are directly engaged with.

Here is an example:

The conquest has had an eliminate order on the close ship for a while as well. I have also seen this with harpoons on my onslaught.

Has anyone else seen this behavior at all?

Suggestions / Re: Internal fleet promotion buff
« on: February 07, 2024, 06:57:19 PM »
I just spam smods on whichever ships I think will be sticking around. I tend to grow my fleet pretty quick, so that is pretty much an endless story point sink along with officers.

Suggestions / Re: Internal fleet promotion buff
« on: February 07, 2024, 06:23:46 PM »
I usually have a big stack of bonus xp well into end game, so I don't get that story point back for a long long time (when I finally burn through all the bonus xp). I don't consider that free at all. I don't really think it's worth the opportunity cost of having an extra s-mod that whole time and a little less bonus xp, I would much rather just pay 2k credits or get a free pod officer.

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