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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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Topics - intrinsic_parity

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General Discussion / The players role in combat
« on: May 01, 2017, 05:14:38 PM »
This is primarily a question about design philosophy for Alex but I would like to hear everyones opinions as well.

In 0.7, the players role was the Hero ship. Skills made the player so powerful that the friendly fleet was basically just a distraction while the player killed everything. If you were good enough, you didn't need that distraction. The opposite extreme would be an RTS game where the player issues commands to the AI who actually fight etc. It seems like the limited number of command points are an intentional decision to steer the game away from that sort of RTS style where the player is micromanaging their fleet rather than flying their ship.

It seems like in this patch, the players ability to influence the battle individually has decreased in both ways. The player no longer has access to a lot of the commands they did before like rally strike force etc. (admittedly some of those were not very effective or useful so that's probably why they were removed) and the player has also lost a lot of capability because of skill nerf (which I agreed with as well).

My question then are as follows:

1) Do you think the amount of influence the player has individually over the battle is in a good place this patch?

2) Do you think the player should have more control over friendly AI to make strategic decisions (i.e. flank this ship, engage this ship) or should the players role be primarily to fly their own ship and let the AI do its thing?

Maybe the strategic decision making could be unlocked in the leadership skill tree to give the player the option to have more control over their fleet at the cost of the capabilities of their own flagship? I'm just wondering what Alex's vision for combat is.

Suggestions / System wide bounties feel too short
« on: April 21, 2017, 08:03:41 PM »
The very first bounty after the tutorial is useful, but after that, system wide bounties feel pretty useless to me because by the time you get there and search around for a fleet to kill, they are usually almost over. Easy fix is to make them last longer. I like the idea of making them tied to in game events more though. Maybe a pirate base is established in a system and there is a bounty until it is eliminated (with a bonus if the player eliminates it) or two factions go to war and there is a bounty in a hot system until hostilities cease. I'd rather have the system wide bounties be rarer, but worth spending time and resources to get to. Also an increase in hostile ships in that system would be nice, I'm not sure if this is implemented or not but it would work well if the bounties were tied to in game events.

Suggestions / Ideas to improve risk/reward factor of combat
« on: March 11, 2017, 11:44:29 AM »
I've seen a lot of people complaining about the difficulty of early game. I think the issue isn't the mechanical difficulty of the game but rather the bad risk/reward factor of combat. The problem isn't just in the early game but it is most pronounced there. Losses are so much more punishing than wins are rewarding. Even losing a single ship is enough to negate any benefits of a winning a bounty in the early game and even in the late game, losing a cruiser is almost never worth it. I personally really like fighting battles that are difficult but I end up only fighting battles where I know I won't take damage because that is the only way to make progress in the game. I want to fight big fleet battles vs very difficult opponents and take loses in a hard fought victory but that is not incentivized at all in the game. A couple ideas I had for trying to fix this:
Rework the bounty system, add some sort of proper salary function, add some sort of story driven element that gives the player some reason to fight other than money, give the player the means to make ships and weapons cheaply (I'm sure some of these have been suggested before, but maybe one of them is original).

The bounty system:
I think the current bounty system would work better as a 'most wanted' bounty system with very high difficulty and much higher rewards. I think that adding another more local bounty system could be very helpful. I imagine having the bounty fleets flying around like normal fleets and the player having to scan them to determine that they that there is a bounty on them. They could also be much more numerous to give the player a more consistent form of income, without massive travel expenses in fuel. You could also have many different levels of difficulty present at once so that the player has the option to take on big fleets for big rewards or crush small fleets for small rewards (I really don't like how the current bounty system has tiers and you only have a certain tier available at any time).  I think that this bounty system should only be available through faction commissions, i.e. the hegemony has bounties on it's enemies, perhaps with some rng variance on how much they are worth so that you have to find the ones that are worth fighting (or you could just have a random chance for any enemy fleet to have a bounty). You could also add a bounty hunters guild for early game or if you don't want to side with a faction. Currently the bounty system is the only effective reward system in the game so I think it needs some improvement. Even just increasing the size of the rewards would go a long way.

Salary Functions: what is sounds like, a faction gives you a monthly salary. This would help because it decouples your income from combat so that losing some combat is not so directly losing your money/income. It would probably be a good idea to have some requirements for the salary, i.e. the hegemony pays you to keep a certain system clear of pirates and if too many are there, you lose your job. This could also make some more interesting encounters where you have to kill some big pirate fleet or risk losing your salary. This in combination with faction bounties could make income far more consistent.

Story Elements: This feels like the least likely to be implemented, at least in the short term. I think it could be done in small parts though, like more interesting/involved single missions (a man approaches you and offers you money to help him establish a base on a far out planet, you have to fight your way in). You could have small story arcs from this where the same person gives you progressively more challenging and rewarding missions. Could also be tied into gaining access to faction commissions. This would probably require some scripted evens though, which doesn't seem like the direction the game is headed.

Means to make ships and weapons: This seems like the direction the game is headed in. If you could make certain ships and weapons very cheaply, it wouldn't be a big deal to lose them, and you would only have to worry about your more exotic ships and weapons. I'm definitely very excited to see what the industry skills bring into the game.

I would like to say that everything above is about making combat more rewarding and that adding other ways of making money into the game like trading and scavenging would achieve a similar goal, but I think that most people really love the combat in this game and making it more rewarding would go a long way towards making the game more fun to play.

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