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Author Topic: I'm making some ships, where do I start?  (Read 2735 times)

Gwyvern

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I'm making some ships, where do I start?
« on: June 13, 2017, 07:06:38 PM »

I've been playing this game for years now, so I finally decided to try making a real mod. The first set of sprites (of many, hopefully) are almost done, and I've already read (and will re-read) Dark revenant's guidelines on ship balancing. I still find myself a bit at a loss as to where to start for implementation. If there's a repository of tutorials somewhere feel free to point me at it, maybe leaving a comment about how nobody uses the search feature anymore. (Do people still do that?)

Here's an itemized list of my main questions though, just in case.

- Are we still using Trylobot's ship editor to set up the ships stats and physical data?

- How hard are custom hullmods to make? And what do we use to make them?

- How hard are custom weapons to make? And what do we use to make them?

- How hard are custom ship systems to make? or does that require actual coding expertise? If it does, where might I find help with that? I'm not particularly code-minded.

- For flavor reasons the ships I'm adding will ideally only be available as derelicts found in the frontier, I'd even like [REDACTED] style encounters centered around some of them (eventually anyway, I should probably keep things simple for the first set) How would I go about setting either of those things up? Previously I've only made some personal kitbashes that I just spawned in with the help of console commands.

- Once the ships are all set up I will probably need 3rd party input on balance, am I right in assuming I can just ask around here for some help with that?

- I noticed that prettymuch every mod on here uses lazy lib and graphics lib...why? (I will be going to those pages and reading them myself for more info, so maybe just a summary?)

Thank you for taking the time to read this, I'd like to contribute something to this great game, even if its small, but the amount of work ahead of me is so vast I just don't know where to start.
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AxleMC131

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Re: I'm making some ships, where do I start?
« Reply #1 on: June 13, 2017, 08:16:36 PM »

Oosh. I've probably got experience with less than half of this stuff, but I'll have a go at answering in the best way I can. Here goes nothing.

(Oh, and always bear in mind that if you're ever unsure of how to do something, always look at stock files for reference.)



- Are we still using Trylobot's ship editor to set up the ships stats and physical data?

Yes and no. Deathfly has been maintaining an up-to-date version of the editor, but it's based on the source of Trylobot's old tool. You can find it here: http://fractalsoftworks.com/forum/index.php?topic=11491.0


- How hard are custom hullmods to make? And what do we use to make them?

Not that hard, unless you're doing fancy scripting stuff. Hullmods you can fairly easily make by copy-pasting from stock files and then editing values and such. Sinc a lot of hullmods affect general ship stats, I'd suggest opening Starsector's com files and finding the "MutableShipStatsAPI" file for a full list of every statistic you can change about a ship with hullmods. After that you'll need a CSV file to handle equipping costs, descriptions, etc.

In short though, hullmods have to be done by hand, but you can get away by copy-paste-and-editing-values from stock stuff.


- How hard are custom weapons to make? And what do we use to make them?

Easier than ships, unless you're using custom scripting. The Ship Editor has support for weapon creation, so you can do everything through that too.


- How hard are custom ship systems to make? or does that require actual coding expertise? If it does, where might I find help with that? I'm not particularly code-minded.

Variable, depending on the goal. Something simple like the stock Accelerated Ammo Feeder is just like a hullmod, in that it temporarily changes one or more ship stats. Unlike hullmods however, systems like that have an "apply" and "unapply" state, so it's important to remember that temporary buffs are cancelled when the system duration ends. Again, check stock systems for reference.

More complicated systems, like a custom shield system based on the Phase Cloak, understandably are more complex to create. And depending on what you're trying to achieve, custom AI (which I haven't touched yet so can't give any advice on) is often unavoidable.


- For flavor reasons the ships I'm adding will ideally only be available as derelicts found in the frontier, I'd even like [REDACTED] style encounters centered around some of them (eventually anyway, I should probably keep things simple for the first set) How would I go about setting either of those things up? Previously I've only made some personal kitbashes that I just spawned in with the help of console commands.

That would require some interesting faction creation. Out of my league unfortunately, but there's a huge number of faction mods around that you could examine for reference. Also on a complete guess, this is probably the area you're most likely going to have to ask for help in, but equally probably the area you'll get the most information on, since so many other modders are experienced with it.

Alternatively, you can just add custom ships to an existing (stock) faction by creating a copy of their faction file in your mod and specifying ships to add to it - the game merges such files, so they'll appear in fleets as well as whatever ships that faction would normally use.


- Once the ships are all set up I will probably need 3rd party input on balance, am I right in assuming I can just ask around here for some help with that?

Absolutely! There's also the Starsector Fan Discord Channel you can join, where players and modders and support folk are always happy to help out. If you aren't aware of that already, you can join the discussion here: http://fractalsoftworks.com/forum/index.php?topic=11488.0


- I noticed that prettymuch every mod on here uses lazy lib and graphics lib...why? (I will be going to those pages and reading them myself for more info, so maybe just a summary?)

LazyLib is a library that adds a bunch of mathematical and practical methods and classes (umm) for doing advanced coding. A lot of Starsector's base code can be inadequate for complex features, and LazyLib just makes it easier to do scripting by having a whole lot of "shortcut" functions you can use in your code.

GraphicsLib (IIRC) is just a utility that allows mods that support it (or that it supports?) to provide a better graphical representation of ships and effects and such.

In other words, LazyLib (from what I've gathered) is basically mandatory if you're doing any sort of custom scripting. GraphicsLib is an optional extra if you want your stuff to look extra cool.



Again, some of this may not be 100% accurate or relevant, since my experience in ships/weapons/hullmods/simple systems has yet to extend to anything scripted or anything that changes world generation. Still, hope this helps!
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Gwyvern

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Re: I'm making some ships, where do I start?
« Reply #2 on: June 14, 2017, 01:31:50 PM »

Awesome, this should help immensely, thanks!
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