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Topics - intrinsic_parity

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91
Suggestions / bounty strength vs. reward
« on: May 23, 2019, 10:08:18 PM »
The bounty generation sometimes makes ridiculously strong fleets for the amount of money they are worth and other times makes reasonable or even weak bounties for the same price:

Here is a fairly reasonable/weakish bounty:
Spoiler
[close]

And at the same time this bounty was also available:
Spoiler
[close]

The first bounty has 6 cruisers and 10 additional ships, the second bounty is worth 50k more and has 5 capital ships and 20 additional ships... something is not working properly

92
General Discussion / canceling laid in course
« on: May 23, 2019, 03:04:16 PM »
I used to be able to cancel course using s, but now that appears to do something else. I think it's supposed to bring you to a stop, but instead it causes you to reverse direction which is very annoying. Anyway, is cancel course rebound to another key that I can't find or is it just gone?

93
Suggestions / Making Bounties feel less gamey
« on: May 11, 2019, 06:59:50 PM »
Since (I believe) the game development is now headed towards adding content rather than adding mechanics, it seems important to tie game mechanics into the world rather than having them feel like artificial mechanisms. Bounties right now feel very separate from everything else in the world. I think a big part of this is because of the way the player obtains bounties and also because of the way the player interacts with the bounty fleet.

Addressing the way the player obtains bounties: I think there should be an organization (maybe a bounty hunters guild or universal bounty authority or even a bounty office for each faction) that is offering the bounties that you interact with when you collect them (i.e. some flavor text and maybe an NPC). More importantly, the bounty tiers should become available via special missions/quests from this organization. I imagine you 'catch their eye' with your bounty hunting performance and they offer you a special job/quest that unlocks access to their classified and then top secret bounties. Not only does this offer a lore reason for why there are different tiers of bounties that appear, but it also informs the player that there are now explicitly harder bounties (which isn't necessarily obvious to a new player) and more importantly gives the player some control over when harder bounties become available (allowing you to stick to easier bounties for longer if you are struggling, or to push rapidly for the lucrative high tiers if you are focusing on combat).

Addressing the way the player interacts with the bounty fleets: It also feel very artificial to have bounties appear as fleets passively floating around some abandoned planet in the middle of nowhere waiting to be slain. My suggestion is to have bounty fleets in or near systems with pirate bases and possible roaming about the system. Maybe they roam between the base and the com/nav buoys or something to make it easier to find them, or just orbit around the station itself. Either way, it makes more sense that they would be hiding at some pirate outpost than in the middle of nowhere, and it would tie the campaign skills/mechanics like sensors and abilities into the bounty system. Having to bait the bounty fleet away from the base to kill it seems like a much more interesting/enjoyable/immersive experience.

If fleets do appear in empty systems, they could appear in systems with lots of probes/exploration loot to give the appearance that they were scavenging, and also to give the player more to do besides just kill the fleet and head off to the next thing.

You could also add in some assassination type bounties where the target fleet is in a system of major faction. These could require a commission or a certain reputation and would pay significantly more. Sneaking into a hostile system to assassinate a hegemony official seems so much more fun than holding shift to fly out to some remote star, kill a fleet and hold shift all the way back.

There are probably too many ideas here for one post, and they probably aren't all perfect, but I think they could go a long way towards making bounties feel like an immersive part of the world rather than a separate/unrelated entity.

94
Suggestions / Reduce duplicate blueprints
« on: January 17, 2019, 01:50:56 PM »
It's very frustrating to get the same blueprints multiple times given how rare they are. It would be nice if the chance of getting a blueprint you already have was reduced or eliminated. I have gotten the same midline blueprint pack at least 5 times in my current play through. The last 15 or so blueprints I have gotten have all been duplicates and I know there are tons of blueprints I don't have yet.

95
Suggestions / Loot
« on: January 05, 2019, 10:50:27 AM »
Loot can be divided into two categories: early/mid game loot (ships/weapons/hullmods) and late game loot (blueprints/synchrotron cores/nano-forges/AI cores).

The primary source of mid game loot is combat, and particularly bounties. This is by far the easiest way to obtain ships/weapons. Exploration can also provide this loot but much less consistently.
The primary source of late game loot is exploration. Raiding can also provide end game loot but MUCH less consistently.

Combat (bounties): I think this is in a good place. Bounties give early-mid game loot meaning the player is interested in bounties when the bounty fleets are generally pretty threatening, and when the player becomes powerful enough to not feel threatened by bounty fleets, they also no longer give rewards the player cares about, so the player isn't incentivized to grind them in the late game.

Exploration (derelicts/domain stuff/caches/stations): I think the loot from these activities is in an ok place (rarity wise), but it's filling the role of a late game loot source that it should not have. It feels really bad to throw my hard earned super fleet into storage in order to go exploring for the rare blueprints I am missing, and it can also be frustrating to search in vain for that one rare blueprint I can't seem to find. One idea is to let the player send out probes/scouts from their colonies to find systems with good loot. This is way to tie in colony mechanics to exploration and reduce some of the tedium of searching through empty systems. I would like to find some more (good) derelict ships, I mostly found garbage with the exception of the legion XIV which felt very out of place and random. I would also like to see lower drop rates for super-rare stuff like synchrotron cores and nano-forges with he caveat that there should be other better sources for these items instead. There is too much RNG in finding that sort of loot, I personally found 2 pristine nano-forges and 5 synchrotron cores in my first play through, but I saw people who couldn't find these items. I think from low risk activities like looting stations, the player should be lucky to find one or two in an entire campaign, but there should be other better ways to obtain these items. I like random blue prints sprinkled in, but there should be better ways of obtaining them.

Exploration (remnant): The loot from the remnant is terrible. I think this has been discussed/addressed, but I once destroyed a remnant station and got literally no loot, not even metals or weapons. Remnants (particularly the new battle ships and stations) are the most difficult combat task in the game right now. The rewards should be proportional. I think destroying a max tier remnant station should consistently give lots of AI cores, and loot like nano-forges/syncrotron cores. It makes sense lore-wise that stations would have these since they are manufacturing and maintaining entire fleets. This is a good way for the player to put their hard earned death fleet to work getting the loot they actually care about. This seems to me like the best source for loot like synchrotron cores/nano forges as well as AI cores (obviously).

Raiding: There has been has been much discussion about this and I think it's clear that raiding is not currently a viable loot source. IMO, raiding should be the main source of blueprints and also give some chance at cores/nanoforges. Raiding seems like the perfect way to allow the player to utilize a late game fleet to get late game rewards. I also think fighting/destroying the station should give more of a benefit, enforcing the idea that a late game fleet is required to get late game loot. By the time the player has a powerful enough fleet to waltz into a hostile system and fight the battle station, the only loot they care about is late-game loot. There is no need to give weapons and stacks of food or whatever resources the planet produces, unless there are new reasons for the player to want that in the late game. I guess it doesn't matter if those things are included, but having the late game loot that the player cares about is more important.

Quests: A couple quests were added into the game that are really cool and yielded some interesting and rare loot. I'd love to seem more of these added to give the player more deterministic ways of obtaining very rare loot. Quests also allow the dev to give a carefully tuned challenge for the player in order to obtain the loot. Having quests to obtain stuff like nano-forges and rare blueprints would be a really great way to smooth over the RNG of other loot sources. I'm super excited to see more of this content added.

96
General Discussion / Raiding sucks (or maybe it's me)
« on: December 25, 2018, 10:04:03 PM »
I don't seem to get much worthwhile loot from raids. I'm primarily interested in blueprints. My attempts went as follows:

Chose worlds with heavy industry (I checked for planets that produced ships hulls and raided those).

Tried raiding all other industries before going for blueprints (didn't seem to give any more of the loot I want, just less of the other loot)

Save scummed 20-30 times, eventually got the pristine nano-forge but not a single blueprint dropped.


I'm wondering if either my raid strength was not high enough (I think it was about 80% effective with 4-5000 marines), or I already have all the blueprints that can be dropped somehow. I got the nano forge so it doesn't seem like my raids are ineffective, and I know that I do not have the onslaught blueprint and a bunch of  high tech blueprints ( I was raiding hegemony and league worlds) so I feel like something should have been available. Is raiding really only useful for destabilizing worlds, or am I doing something wrong.

97
Bug Reports & Support / Mac screen shot bug
« on: November 25, 2018, 01:25:37 PM »
Mac has a built in screen shot/snipping tool, but after I use it, the mouse pointer is no longer aligned properly. The point of interaction with the UI is offset (I.e. I need to put my mouse pointer in a location offset from a button to click on the button). It's pretty minor and easily avoided, but probably worth fixing at some point.

98
I joined a battle consisting of multiple expedition fleets vs. my station and a patrol or two. I managed to defeat their forces, but they kept re-engaging even when their fleet had only a few combat ships left.
Spoiler
[close]

Here you can see them re-engaging with literally one carrier on <10% CR re-engaging vs my fleet with capitals and my ally with I think a dominator and some carriers left.

Then once I had destroyed literally every combat ship, the enemy deployed all civilian ships (in a normal combat scenario), retreated within 30 seconds of the battle starting and then finally stopped re-engaging letting me have my salvage.
Spoiler
[close]

99
Suggestions / Discussion of skills
« on: July 10, 2018, 06:37:28 PM »
I think there is a major undiscussed reasons the combat skill tree is often overlooked:
There are a couple super strong skills that are far more valuable than any other skills and the aptitude point system heavily incentivizes you to keep taking skills in the same tree once you have invested several aptitude points. I think the incentive is both psychological and value based. You are psychologically inclined to take the immediate value (skills in a tree you already unlocked) vs. delayed value (having to wait for 3 extra levels to get similar value). Additionally you can get an extra 3 skills in the trees you already unlocked if you don't invest in another tree which is an actual major value proposition.


The two skills I think are most unbalanced are:
-load out design 3. It basically improves all other combat skills by allowing you to take advantage of them with better weapons/hull mods. Most ships already feel like they are tight on OP, even with load out design 3.

-officer management 3. I've found that in the late game, I don't deploy many more than 10 ships anyway, so this skill is functionally 20 skill points worth of buffs to every ship I deploy... that's insanely strong. Officers (and fleet-wide skills) also allow you to deploy less ships that are stronger meaning you gain a significant economical advantage as well as a combat advantage. Stronger ships mean you are less likely to lose them or take damage, saving money and supplies. Less ships means you spend less fuel and supplies to kill distant bounty fleets and you spend less on deployment costs. You also can have more empty fleet slots, or you can bring a bunch of extra ships for extended battles (assuming you deploy less at once). Some of these also tie into the advantages of using more cruisers/caps and less frigates/destroyers.

Once you take these two skills, you have spent 12 skill points, a quarter of your total, and now you are incentivized to take additional skills in those same trees since you already spent the aptitude points.

This is compounded by the fact that two very good player ship buffing skills are in the tech tree (gunnery implants 3 and power grid modulation 3). Imo, dissipation and range are two of the most important ship stats and they can only be buffed for the player ship by taking tech tree skills. I can achieve substantial player ship buffs using these skills and other fleet wide skills in the leadership and industry trees so I often forgo the combat tree to save the aptitude points.

Another issue with the combat tree and the skill system as a whole is that it is somewhat bloated with average skills that represent an additional investment before better skills can be reached. There are also several redundant or simply bad skills (think advanced countermeasures lol).


I think a lot of this could be solved by a simple reorganization of the skills by combing sub-trees with similar effects, moving skills and sub-trees between trees, and removing a lot of the bad skills. I would rather have a skill system where I pick half as many skills but I'm super excited about every single one.

Some initial ideas I had for reorganizations (note that when I say combine, I mean take the best skills from each and reorganize, not necessarily just merge):

-Combine ordinance expertise and target analysis
-Combine evasive action and helmsmanship into one
-Move gunnery implants and power grid modulation into the combat tree and move coordinated maneuvers into the tech tree
-Combine Power grid modulation and defensive systems (assuming previous suggestion)
-Combine gunnery implants and ordinance expertise (alternative to suggestion 1, could combine these 3 skills into two in many ways)
-Eliminate advanced countermeasures (its just bad)
-Move Combat endurance into leadership and combine with fleet logistics
-Combine some of the fighter sub-trees

Some skills like missile specialization are difficult to deal with. Missile specialization is very niche and also difficult to combine with anything else. Maybe combine it with some of the bomber related skills or something.

I don't necessarily think these are all great ideas but I think there are ton of ways to consolidate skills so that each skill is more on par with the best skills and so that the value of placing 3 aptitude points in a tree is more equal between all the trees. The total number of levels could be balanced to reflect the increased value and decreased number of skills. This could also make room for more outpost related skills.

Additionally I think officer management should be removed and replaced with a soft cap, either using supplies or credits directly. Sure you can have 20 officers but you will pay 200,000 credits a month or something. It's just too strong compared to the other skills.

I think even just removing officer management and loadout design would improve balance drastically (I would probably add the extra OP as default and use the officer soft cap instead).

100
Bug Reports & Support (modded) / Strange Save Game Issues
« on: June 18, 2018, 06:17:26 PM »
I've been having a lot of save-game hang ups. It doesn't usually give an overhead error (although occasionally it will), instead the saving progress will slow down and eventually freeze, before switching to 'saving backup' (music beings playing normally again) and hanging forever (I've left it for 30+ minutes, no crash and no progress, CPU is not doing anything). I have allocated 6gb (I have 16 so not a problem) of ram, but the application doesn't use much more than 3 gb. I am playing on a Mac, 2.7 Ghz i7, Radeon Pro 455 w/ 2gb vram.

Mod List:
Dynasector 1.4.5
Blackrock 0.9.0
Console Commands 3.0
Interstellar Imperium 1.19.0
LazyLib 2.2
Nexerelin 0.8.3
Save Transfer 1.11.7
Shadowyards 0.7
Ship/Weapons Pack 1.7.1
Mayorate 0.10.3
Version Checker 1.7
ZZ graphics lib 1.2.1



Link to Log on pastebin
https://pastebin.com/LSW5n2H2

edit:
This time when I tried to save, it bogged down and stopped making save progress but instead of going to 'saving backup', it just stayed at like 50% progress for almost 30 minutes before finally giving an out-of-memory error. It was using almost 100% of my CPU for 30 minutes but it made no progress, and the memory usage stayed at 3 gb the whole time even though I have 6 gb allocated.

error from log
Spoiler
3754310 [Thread-14] INFO  com.fs.starfarer.campaign.save.CampaignGameManager  - Saving progress: 0.4733546
3777852 [Thread-14] INFO  com.fs.starfarer.campaign.save.CampaignGameManager  - Saving progress: 0.4733546
3794072 [Thread-14] INFO  com.fs.starfarer.campaign.save.CampaignGameManager  - Saving progress: 0.4733546
3807915 [Thread-14] INFO  com.fs.starfarer.campaign.save.CampaignGameManager  - Saving progress: 0.4733546
3822882 [Thread-14] INFO  com.fs.starfarer.campaign.save.CampaignGameManager  - Saving progress: 0.4733546
3856713 [Thread-14] INFO  com.fs.starfarer.campaign.save.CampaignGameManager  - Releasing context
3859275 [Thread-14] INFO  com.fs.starfarer.campaign.save.CampaignGameManager  - Released context
3883933 [Thread-5] INFO  com.fs.starfarer.campaign.save.CampaignGameManager  - Loading stage 9 (exception)
3883934 [Thread-5] INFO  com.fs.starfarer.campaign.save.CampaignGameManager  - Loading stage 10 (exception)
3883934 [Thread-5] INFO  com.fs.starfarer.campaign.save.CampaignGameManager  - Loading stage 11 (exception)
3883934 [Thread-5] INFO  com.fs.starfarer.campaign.save.CampaignGameManager  - Loading stage 12 (exception)
3883934 [Thread-5] INFO  com.fs.starfarer.campaign.save.CampaignGameManager  - Loading stage 13 (exception)
3883934 [Thread-5] INFO  com.fs.starfarer.campaign.save.CampaignGameManager  - Loading stage 14 (exception)
3883953 [Thread-5] INFO  com.fs.starfarer.campaign.save.CampaignGameManager  - Loading stage 15 (exception)
3883953 [Thread-5] INFO  com.fs.starfarer.campaign.save.CampaignGameManager  - Loading stage 16 (exception)
3883954 [Thread-5] INFO  sound.oo0O  - Cleaning up music with id [miscallenous_corvus_campaign_music.ogg]
3883965 [Thread-5] ERROR com.fs.starfarer.combat.CombatMain  - java.lang.OutOfMemoryError: Java heap space
java.lang.OutOfMemoryError: Java heap space
   at com.thoughtworks.xstream.io.path.PathTracker.getPath(PathTracker.java:166)
   at com.thoughtworks.xstream.core.AbstractReferenceMarshaller.convert(AbstractReferenceMarshaller.java:53)
   at com.thoughtworks.xstream.core.TreeMarshaller.convertAnother(TreeMarshaller.java:58)
   at com.thoughtworks.xstream.core.AbstractReferenceMarshaller$1.convertAnother(AbstractReferenceMarshaller.java:84)
   at com.thoughtworks.xstream.converters.reflection.AbstractReflectionConverter.mars hallField(AbstractReflectionConverter.java:256)
   at com.thoughtworks.xstream.converters.reflection.AbstractReflectionConverter$2.writeField(AbstractReflectionConverter.java:232)
   at com.thoughtworks.xstream.converters.reflection.AbstractReflectionConverter$2.<init>(AbstractReflectionConverter.java:195)
   at com.thoughtworks.xstream.converters.reflection.AbstractReflectionConverter.doMa rshal(AbstractReflectionConverter.java:141)
   at com.thoughtworks.xstream.converters.reflection.AbstractReflectionConverter.mars hal(AbstractReflectionConverter.java:89)
   at com.thoughtworks.xstream.core.AbstractReferenceMarshaller.convert(AbstractReferenceMarshaller.java:69)
   at com.thoughtworks.xstream.core.TreeMarshaller.convertAnother(TreeMarshaller.java:58)
   at com.thoughtworks.xstream.core.TreeMarshaller.convertAnother(TreeMarshaller.java:43)
   at com.thoughtworks.xstream.core.AbstractReferenceMarshaller$1.convertAnother(AbstractReferenceMarshaller.java:88)
   at com.thoughtworks.xstream.converters.collections.AbstractCollectionConverter.wri teItem(AbstractCollectionConverter.java:64)
   at com.thoughtworks.xstream.converters.collections.CollectionConverter.marshal(CollectionConverter.java:74)
   at com.thoughtworks.xstream.core.AbstractReferenceMarshaller.convert(AbstractReferenceMarshaller.java:69)
   at com.thoughtworks.xstream.core.TreeMarshaller.convertAnother(TreeMarshaller.java:58)
   at com.thoughtworks.xstream.core.AbstractReferenceMarshaller$1.convertAnother(AbstractReferenceMarshaller.java:84)
   at com.thoughtworks.xstream.converters.reflection.AbstractReflectionConverter.mars hallField(AbstractReflectionConverter.java:256)
   at com.thoughtworks.xstream.converters.reflection.AbstractReflectionConverter$2.writeField(AbstractReflectionConverter.java:232)
   at com.thoughtworks.xstream.converters.reflection.AbstractReflectionConverter$2.<init>(AbstractReflectionConverter.java:195)
   at com.thoughtworks.xstream.converters.reflection.AbstractReflectionConverter.doMa rshal(AbstractReflectionConverter.java:141)
   at com.thoughtworks.xstream.converters.reflection.AbstractReflectionConverter.mars hal(AbstractReflectionConverter.java:89)
   at com.thoughtworks.xstream.core.AbstractReferenceMarshaller.convert(AbstractReferenceMarshaller.java:69)
   at com.thoughtworks.xstream.core.TreeMarshaller.convertAnother(TreeMarshaller.java:58)
   at com.thoughtworks.xstream.core.AbstractReferenceMarshaller$1.convertAnother(AbstractReferenceMarshaller.java:84)
   at com.thoughtworks.xstream.converters.reflection.AbstractReflectionConverter.mars hallField(AbstractReflectionConverter.java:256)
   at com.thoughtworks.xstream.converters.reflection.AbstractReflectionConverter$2.writeField(AbstractReflectionConverter.java:232)
   at com.thoughtworks.xstream.converters.reflection.AbstractReflectionConverter$2.<init>(AbstractReflectionConverter.java:195)
   at com.thoughtworks.xstream.converters.reflection.AbstractReflectionConverter.doMa rshal(AbstractReflectionConverter.java:141)
   at com.thoughtworks.xstream.converters.reflection.AbstractReflectionConverter.mars hal(AbstractReflectionConverter.java:89)
   at com.thoughtworks.xstream.core.AbstractReferenceMarshaller.convert(AbstractReferenceMarshaller.java:69)
[close]

101
Suggestions / Fleet AI, orders, and command points
« on: November 12, 2017, 04:44:12 AM »
The combat in this game is a ton of fun, but I think that the tactical layer can be inconsistent sometimes because the AI is bad at making tactical decisions by itself and isn't the best at following orders and the command point system limits what orders you can give.

I should start by saying I have no idea how the AI actually works, and all of my evidence is heuristic. My general strategy is to begin the battle by placing assault orders on 1-2 key objectives (to keep my fleet grouped together) and then downgrading those to control once they are captured (and possibly placing new assault orders to try and get my fleet to advance in a coordinated way). I also try to order my largest ship to eliminate the enemies largest threat, and I give fighter strike orders on key threats. I usually also order my carriers to stay together via escort orders. All of my observations are made in the context of this general strategy.


I've noticed that if the player does not give orders, the AI doesn't seem to make any tactical decisions. As far as I can tell, it will just engage the first ship it encounters and then move on to the next closest ship (please correct me if I am wrong). I think it would make a big difference if the AI had some basic situational awareness. For instance, if ships attempted to engage enemy ships of the same size (so friendly cruisers would seek out enemy cruisers etc.) or if ships attempted to proactively reinforce areas where the fleet is outnumbers/outgunned. I think that the AI might do the latter to some extent, but it seems to me like if it does, it generally reacts too late to help the outnumbered ships.

In general, it is the responsibility of the player to make tactical decisions, however this can be complicated by quirks in how the AI responds to orders and the limitations of the command point system.

In my experience, the AI is not very good at capturing objectives. Here is an example of one of the weird objective behaviors:

Spoiler
[close]

For reference, the assault order has been on the objective for the entire battle and the enemy has been away from the objective for at least 30 seconds, probably more but I wasn't paying close attention. It took another 15 seconds before an allied ship finally bothered to actually get on the objective. Clearly, there are 7-8 ships that are not directly engaged and could easily capture the objective (although the shepherds are escorting the condor so they wouldn't actually be available). This is the most urgent order I can place on an objective but allies seem to not prioritize it at all. This is especially frustrating for pivotal objectives like nav buoys that can make a big difference in a fight. I've also noticed that in a standoff situation, the AI tends to form a concave behind the objective rather than on the objective (I don't have a picture but I can probably get one if necessary). I wish the AI would attempt to sit on the objective so that the enemy has to force them off to capture.

Here is another example of an annoying behavior, this time regarding eliminate orders:

Spoiler
[close]

The dominator in the bottom right has been ordered to eliminate the eagle in the top left (a little while ago), however, it is instead chasing a tempest down to the bottom right. It was closer to the eagle when I issued the order but it continued to chase the tempest for at least another 10 seconds before finally turning around and heading back to follow the order.

I think both of these issues stem from the AI generally having trouble disengaging. If the AI is engaged with another ship, it doesn't seem to respond to commands, at least not immediately. I think that if I issue a command to a ship, it should immediately back away from the fight that it is in to follow the order. In my experience, if I issue orders at the beginning of the game before any ships have engaged, the orders are followed well, but once the combat has begun, orders are generally followed very slowly if at all.


These problems are further compounded by the command point system. There are simply not enough command points to properly make tactical moves. In my most recent play-through, I took all of the command point skills, and that felt like it was just barely enough to be effective. I still ended up running out of command points and using them as they regenerated. I think that the number of command points available should scale with fleet size. In the early game, I think that the number of command points is fine, even without skills, but as fleet size increases, there are more objectives to capture, more allies to order around, and more enemies to kill. There really needs to be more base command points. I should add that I have never used the operations center hull mod. I'd imagine that would make a big difference, but my flagship is always a gunship and taking that hullmod is a really big hit to combat effectiveness. I think that the command point skills and hull mods should be luxuries that make the tactical gameplay style easier, not necessities for proper tactical gameplay. Currently without the skills or hullmod, you can barely even give objective capture and escort orders at the beginning of combat, and you need to save command points for retreat orders as well.

In conclusion, I think that either the AI needs to be better at making tactical decisions by itself, or the player needs to be given more control by increasing the number of orders that can be given and making the AI better at following orders.

102
Suggestions / Separate combat and campaign skill points
« on: October 20, 2017, 12:38:42 PM »
My first several play throughs in 0.8.1 were industry-skill-heavy play-throughs because I wanted to experience all the new content. Recently I've been trying a 0 industry skill play through focusing on combat and I've realized how much of the exploration content is locked behind or at least limited by industry skills. Exploration is amazingly fun, but only with tier 2 or 3 industry skills (you really need tier 3 to get at the volcanic worlds and research stations that are the best part). If I stop in an unexplored system in my current game, I tend to leave disappointed because I can't survey any of the planets (besides the barren ones) and any salvage I get is not rare, interesting, or valuable. The enjoyable part of exploration is finding those rare class IV and V worlds and cashing in, or finding a rare hull mod or weapon in a research station. All of that is locked behind skills. You might still get super lucky and find a high class world that you actually can survey without skills or get rare tech from destroying and salvaging a station, but the chances are so low that it is not profitable or sustainable to try.

I'm concerned that adding more campaign level content, particularly outposts, will compound this problem. In order to establish a good outpost, it seems like you will need decent surveying skills, and then I'm guessing there will be a bunch more outpost related skills. This will effectively mean that all the new content is locked behind or limited heavily by skills.

I really think separate skill points for campaign and combat skills would improve the game a lot. I know that having only one set of skills creates choices in how you want to specialize, but I think that you could still create interesting choices within the combat and campaign trees, without restricting access to content. You still choose how you spend your time in game, which affects what skills you get, but if you want to invest the time, you can have a strong combat build without missing out on fun and interesting content. I think it would also make the individual skill systems much easier to balance since you aren't trying to judge the relative strength of campaign skills vs combat skills.

I think an additional problem with the current skills system is that it is very easy for a new/inexperienced player to miss out on a lot of the game because they don't understand the skills system or don't know the skills well enough to access parts of the game. This will be especially compounded with outposts if they are implemented in the way I described above. You would have to unlock at least a significant number of the surveying and outpost skills to access all of that content. A new player might just never figure that out and not use or enjoy outposts because they don't have the skills to take advantage of them. Even in the current game, there are a lot 'noob trap' skills that aren't very good relative to the other skills. It's very easy to end up with a character build that misses all of the best skills and is consequentially much weaker and limited in terms of available content. I think an additional solution this would be an improved tiering system that puts similarly strong skills in the same tier to show the player their relative importance. This probably could be achieved in the current system to some extent, but I think more than 3 tiers might make it much more feasible.

103
Suggestions / Faction Relations
« on: September 22, 2017, 10:47:31 AM »
With the potential introduction of outposts, it seems like player interactions with factions will become much more common, however, the system for faction reputation and interactions still feels clunky and frustrating.

Firstly, are there plans for a rework of that system in the near future?

I also had some ideas about a potentially better system.
The idea would be to slow the spread of reputation and lessen the impact of actions that are far away. I think there was a thread discussing this a while ago, but I will outline the idea nonetheless. Basically, every station (or maybe just the main station in a system) has an individual relation with the player and those relations are affected by nearby faction systems as well as player actions in that system. Player actions would immediately alter the local reputation but adjacent systems would not be affected directly, and instead 'see' the event through propagation of reputation. I envision a system that recalculates the reputation every few days and takes into account nearby reputations to simulate the propagation of information. A simple formula might be

(new reputation) = .9*(current reputation in system) + .1(average adjacent reputation)

Since this would be recalculated every few days, reputation would generally tend towards the average of all reputations but it would be more intense near the location of an event and less noticeable far away. This would also allow local systems to go hostile to you if you attack their patrols (as they should) without the overall faction necessarily hating you. A potential problem with this is that it creates a generally decentralized feel to reputation which might not make sense with every faction. A way to remedy this would be to add a 'faction capital' who influences reputation at all faction stations. For the hegemony this could be corvus, and every other station would have a .1(corvus reputation) term. This would make for a more centralized system where *** off corvus affects reputation everywhere meaning you have to be a lot more careful near corvus, but if they like you, then you might not have to worry so much at hegemony outposts. The values I suggested would have to be tweaked based on how often the reputation is recalculated and how fast you want reputation to propagate, but I think it would create a much more nuanced system. It might also create one more space for player action in that you could occasionally fight a faction (maybe to defend your outpost or to bully a station into establishing a trade partnership) without ruining your overall relationship instantly. The game is centered around combat so it only makes sense to make combat a viable option for interacting with factions instead of an instant reputation killer.


104
Suggestions / core and fringe systems
« on: July 27, 2017, 08:27:57 PM »
My idea is to have core and fringe areas within the scripted part of the galaxy. The core systems would have large military markets and very little pirate presence, but strict patrols that enforce transponders/smuggling harshly etc. Fringe systems might allow you to have your transponder off and would have less frequent patrols, but there would be more pirates and the markets would be generally smaller. The idea is that the player is able to venture into the more dangerous parts on their own terms and should be pretty much safe in the core worlds. Logically the core systems would be in the center and the fringe systems would be around them and then the uncivilized/procedurally generated systems would be beyond that.

This might indirectly help balance exploration because you would have to fly through/past the more dangerous fringe systems to get out into the wider world. I'm not sure how fleets are placed/distributed in hyperspace but maybe there could be more faction patrols in the core and more pirates in the fringe that would try to ambush you on your way through.

Systemwide bounties could be more lucrative in fringe systems since the pirates would be more frequent.

The 'easy' core would also change in the late game as the player takes a commission and factions become hostile. Then the player would have to fight the large military patrols that had kept them safe in the early game.

Also, since transponders laws are not enforced in the fringe, piracy might be easier. We might get to see more of the interesting transponder mechanics that never come into play since in the current game, patrols run you down immediately and you're faced with becoming hostile with the faction or turning it on.

105
Suggestions / Toning Down coronas
« on: May 21, 2017, 11:48:31 AM »
It would be nice if the coronas were more gradual. Sometimes for big stars, you can't even see the star and can't clearly see the edge of the corona and then you are suddenly losing 100+ supplies per day.

I have the skill that is supposed to minimize the effect of coronas but it doesn't seem to do much (It might be a bug, I have also noticed since I got it, the neutron star beam thing does nothing to my fleet).

The solar shielding hull mod also seems super useless because you would need to put them on the majority of ships in your fleet to get a significant effect which is not worth the op, even for an exploration focused fleet. Maybe if the hull mod had a fleet wide effect, might be worth throwing on a few ships. Or if you had the option to send a detachment (http://fractalsoftworks.com/forum/index.php?topic=12247.0) so you could have solar shielding only on the ships dedicated to going into coronas.

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