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Starsector 0.95a is out! (03/26/21); Blog post: Skill Changes, Part 2 (07/15/21)

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Author Topic: [0.95a] TC: Archean Order: Rebalanced Combat/Lore RPG - Beta Bugfixes 7/8/21  (Read 397193 times)

Morrokain

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Missile Specialization at T5 is kind of meh. If it unlocks a special hull mod exclusively might be more interesting.

As for 900% Militarized Subsystems, I would want a new Trader Guild's ship line for that to work.

I've been thinking about it for a couple of days and I think I have something pretty interesting and powerful to make Missile Spec worth T5. It just depends upon if I can get it to work or not. Though then I'll probably need to create some kind of special buff for its competing skill haha the cycle continues... :D

As far as MS, I have been tossing around the idea of letting combat freighters benefit either from the skill or from those hullmods. That alone would would give Trader Guilds, Luddic Church, Independents and Scavengers some flavor since they tend to use more combat freighters than other factions.

That being said, Trader Guilds could certainly use some unique ships and the combat freighter theme could be leveraged to a greater extent with completely new ships (which would also take advantage of that perk/those hullmods). Hmm yeah definitely something to think about more as I finish skills. That could be very flavorful and it fits perfectly with the established lore.



Very close to being done with skills now. I have to see about officer skills' elites in Leadership and Combat T5 and that's about it. Industry is done and should definitely make an Industry playthrough interesting and different from the others. Generally Industry campaign buffs revolve around loot and credits while Leadership campaign buffs revolve around defense against enemy factions and more effective combat-oriented campaign features.

Crew Training:
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Space Operations:
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Makeshift Equipment:
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Industrial Planning:
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Colony Management:
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*EDIT*

Missile Specialization at T5 is kind of meh. If it unlocks a special hull mod exclusively might be more interesting.

I definitely think I have Combat T5 sorted out to be as attractive as the other skill lines now:

Missile Specialization:
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Systems Expertise: (Shield Modulation is now T4 again alongside Damage Control. I think these are now good enough competitors to warrant it.)
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Shield Modulation: (I'll explain why I'm showcasing this further down.)
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Notice the elite versions and that they unlock hullmods. Specifically: Concentrated Shields, Safety Overrides and a new hullmod - Corrosive Warheads. Just like Localized Amplifier from Weapon Schematics Mastery, these 3 hullmods can only be unlocked by taking the elite versions of these skills. Yup, that's right, Safety Overrides is much, much more difficult to acquire than before.

All of the the four forementioned hullmods are very powerful and drastically change what a ship loadout is capable of. It makes sense then that they should be locked behind skills rather than market RNG. It also has the benefit of helping the skill system meet one of its key goals: skills lines create unique play-throughs and create a diverse set of playstyle options. This just further solidifies that design imo.

Ok, so what does Corrosive Warheads actually do? The name does kind of give it away:
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Keep in mind that the numbers are not finalized. As of this moment, the hullmod is far more beneficial when combined with smaller, more numerous missile weapons like the Swarmer, Trebuchet and Annihilator launchers. Considering that I feel like these weapons might be less used than the heavier hitting torpedoes or larger rockets like the Shockwave, I may just keep it that way.

The important thing to note is that while the particle cloud is not particularly large, it does penetrate shields if the hit was close to armor when the shields were impacted. That alone might be worth it even for torpedo builds.

Here is a few screenshots of the hullmod's effects in action:
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« Last Edit: June 15, 2021, 06:56:31 PM by Morrokain »
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DatonKallandor

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Really cool skill ideas. I especially like locking the big hullmods away behind high tier skills/elites. Through-shield-armor damage should be alright, since it'll primarily benefit small low damage per shot missiles anyway and those need the help. I assume the extra damage is armor-only like the new Breach SRMs?
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Flying Dice

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I hate to be that guy, but in the hullmod tooltip the spelling is meant to be "disperse".

Really cool skill ideas. I especially like locking the big hullmods away behind high tier skills/elites. Through-shield-armor damage should be alright, since it'll primarily benefit small low damage per shot missiles anyway and those need the help.
Couldn't have said it better myself.
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Morrokain

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Really cool skill ideas. I especially like locking the big hullmods away behind high tier skills/elites. Through-shield-armor damage should be alright, since it'll primarily benefit small low damage per shot missiles anyway and those need the help. I assume the extra damage is armor-only like the new Breach SRMs?

Correct it only damages armor. As you say, it helps small saturation missiles really shine and pairs well with gunship and fighter assaults since they can deal damage to the hull more directly far more quickly. Conversely, it also makes the Widow better at taking down heavy gunships or at least weakening them.

However, I did change it so that missiles that deal 1000 damage or more per hit deal double the armor damage over time and have double the radius of effect. It's not enough to make the hullmod better with torpedoes or anything since the damage (200 over 3 seconds for a torp) is low by comparison to the hit damage itself, but from an intuitive standpoint it feels better and helps to emphasize the shield piercing component for ships with shields farther away from the armor.

I've also utilized some of the new missile AI hints from the last update to better balance missiles as a whole. For one, Shockstorm rockets, Harpoons and Trebuchets will no longer attempt to weave on their way to the target. That caused way too many near hits and was frustrating. Now they only miss if aimed improperly or if the target is especially nimble.

For the Hivemind, Widow, Atropos, Breach, Swarmer, Rapier and possibly a couple of others, the missiles will spread out over the target rather than concentrating on the center of the ship. This was an attempt at indirectly nerfing the anti-armor capabilities or otherwise nerfing armor performance for some of those missiles. For the dedicated anti-armor ones like the Breach and Atropos, it buffs their performance by allowing them to strip greater swaths of armor on the target - leaving it more vulnerable to kinetics and strike craft than before.

As a further side-effect of the changes, missiles that spread out are less vulnerable to PD beams and to a lesser extent aoe pd like flak.

I hate to be that guy, but in the hullmod tooltip the spelling is meant to be "disperse".

Thanks I've corrected that! I appreciate anyone pointing out grammatical/spelling errors. I won't always be able to get to them right away depending upon how many there are, but I still want to know about them.



So I decided that just making HE missiles better feels... off for a skill that is supposed to be about all missiles. As a result, I've added another unique hullmod: Ionized Warheads (For the sake of UI space, ECCM has been moved to EW)

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I will definitely spend some time integrating these hullmods into a few npc variants to increase the challenge variety for the player. I can also potentially make them built-in to dedicated missile ships as a balancing mechanism.

In general, the hullmods are not mutually exclusive and both can be equipped or S-modded simultaneously into a single ship.

Phew! That was a fair amount of work for a single skill, but I think it was definitely worth it for the flavor it brings to Combat T5. Luckily Safety Overrides was already unique and powerful enough to make it a good competitor - especially if the player is running a fleet with ships that don't have many missile slots.
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Albreo

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Quote
So I decided that just making HE missiles better feels... off for a skill that is supposed to be about all missiles. As a result, I've added another unique hullmod: Ionized Warheads (For the sake of UI space, ECCM has been moved to EW)

About to comment that if it only works for explosive missiles. I'm a bit concerned. Will it mess with some of the AI? I believe, the high-tech ships really dislike damage to armor and hull, will it going to retreat even if its flux is still low and shield intact.


The elite versions of those colony skills are very very massive. 20% ship quality, that already better than the rubbish nanoforge. +1 industry slot for governed colonies, would be a bit exploity if I just switch myself around while there is still penalty for exceeding industry cap. My point is, all these good stuff, elite version upgrades have to be worth more than 1 story point. By mid-game I would have 20-30 story points laying around, so, at this rate, I want to be able to elite no more than half of my available skills by that time. I would suggest 3-4 points per 1 elite skill.
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DatonKallandor

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The +1 industry skill is permanent, so you can't respec out of it.

There's plenty of story point sinks already, there's no reason to make skills arbitrarily cost more.
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Morrokain

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About to comment that if it only works for explosive missiles. I'm a bit concerned. Will it mess with some of the AI? I believe, the high-tech ships really dislike damage to armor and hull, will it going to retreat even if its flux is still low and shield intact.


The elite versions of those colony skills are very very massive. 20% ship quality, that already better than the rubbish nanoforge. +1 industry slot for governed colonies, would be a bit exploity if I just switch myself around while there is still penalty for exceeding industry cap. My point is, all these good stuff, elite version upgrades have to be worth more than 1 story point. By mid-game I would have 20-30 story points laying around, so, at this rate, I want to be able to elite no more than half of my available skills by that time. I would suggest 3-4 points per 1 elite skill.

From what I have gathered while testing, the AI seem unaffected by the changes to missiles. While the hullmods are certainly powerful - especially to smaller ships atm - they aren't powerful enough, for instance, that a Crucible can suddenly take on ships it couldn't before. A Havok still beats it easily even when player controlled. With good micro it can now defeat a Wolverine, but I had less than 20% hull remaining and was pretty lucky.

What it can do is both last longer and do a better job of stripping down the enemy ship's defenses. Essentially it makes it a better support ship without directly increasing its combat power.

Re: elite skills

They are intended to be pretty powerful. The way I think of it is if you are going for colony buffs as a Leadership player, you can skip a few corners that you otherwise couldn't. As an example, the 20% fleet quality means that you might get away with a Corrupted Nanoforge instead of a Pristine one for that playthrough simply because you took elite Space Operations. That is going to be sorely missed the next playthrough when you go Combat, but then you get these really nice hullmods you didn't have access to before and that is its own kind of fun. I am also most certainly keeping Nex games in mind for these kinds of things. The 4x component of that mod means that campaign boosts are a bit more meaningful and the choice would be harder between a robust player faction and a very powerful player fleet. The trade offs are more severe in either case when you take that into consideration.

As far as additional Story Point costs, I'm not sure that's even possible to do. The cost-benefit for Story Points is indeed off in places as far as I'm concerned, but since it is such a new system and I'm not sure how moddable it even is atm, it is not something I want to tackle right now.

If in the future there are more ways to mod it that I'm not currently aware of, then I may take a look at balancing it then. I definitely get what you are saying as far as 1 story point to disengage cleanly or avoid a cargo scan != 1 story point for 20% fleet quality at 3 colonies or 1 extra S-mod and 10% OP, etc, etc. But, as DatonKallandor already pointed out, there are so many uses for them that there will probably be enough scarcity that it will be ok. Even without Special Modifications it would still take 60 points to S-mod your entire fleet - though you wouldn't necessarily need to do that of course.
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Albreo

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The +1 industry skill is permanent, so you can't respec out of it.

There's plenty of story point sinks already, there's no reason to make skills arbitrarily cost more.

The permanent part was not the point here. Since the skill only affects "governed colonies only" which is 3, I can still move my main character around to give all of my colonies extra industry. If it works that way.

I'm not sure about everyone else but I really have 30 story points that I don't know what to do with before pouring half of it into S-mod by mid-game. I consider S-mod to be extremely cheesy to vanilla campaign before I have to fight more cheaty fleets of REDACTED. And by having Elite skill the moment you can unlock the skill defeats its purpose somewhat and require no planning since it's the obvious choice to make. Just my opinion.

Quote
As far as additional Story Point costs, I'm not sure that's even possible to do. The cost-benefit for Story Points is indeed off in places as far as I'm concerned, but since it is such a new system and I'm not sure how moddable it even is atm, it is not something I want to tackle right now.

If in the future there are more ways to mod it that I'm not currently aware of, then I may take a look at balancing it then. I definitely get what you are saying as far as 1 story point to disengage cleanly or avoid a cargo scan != 1 story point for 20% fleet quality at 3 colonies or 1 extra S-mod and 10% OP, etc, etc. But, as DatonKallandor already pointed out, there are so many uses for them that there will probably be enough scarcity that it will be ok. Even without Special Modifications it would still take 60 points to S-mod your entire fleet - though you wouldn't necessarily need to do that of course.

That's fine. I'm not rushing you or anything.
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Morrokain

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The permanent part was not the point here. Since the skill only affects "governed colonies only" which is 3, I can still move my main character around to give all of my colonies extra industry. If it works that way.

Bahaha *facepalm* yeah that was definitely an oversight on my part! Well, I think that can be solved by a script that checks for industries being over the limit at any given player colony level, and then applying a hefty stability/income penalty if that is the case.

If I get that implemented then the skill won't even need to be permanent I'd think.

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I'm not sure about everyone else but I really have 30 story points that I don't know what to do with before pouring half of it into S-mod by mid-game. I consider S-mod to be extremely cheesy to vanilla campaign before I have to fight more cheaty fleets of REDACTED. And by having Elite skill the moment you can unlock the skill defeats its purpose somewhat and require no planning since it's the obvious choice to make. Just my opinion.

That's one of the reasons that I wanted more elite versions of skills - to somewhat tax story point acquisition while adding cool effects. One thing I can probably look at here is the experience amount to gain a point. That might be an easy band-aid should it prove necessary. I haven't really tested that part though so I don't really have an opinion about it yet.
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Morrokain

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Very quick minor update:

 - I changed Corrosive Warheads to not cause additional damage with heavy hitting warheads. Additional effect radius was enough and additional damage started to go back to favoring torps too much. As it is, torps and such are better at penetrating shields because of the radius, but direct hits by rockets and smaller missiles cause a lot more damage over time. I also increased the duration to 10 seconds so the effect is more visible, but damage is the same per hit. (100)

- I put the militarized package hullmods and the elite benefit to them back on Command Experience and removed the 3 additional contacts (was really just a way to save two story points anyway) and the +50% combat readiness recovery per day. It still retains the always recoverable and -50% threshold for when malfunctions start to occur bonuses.

- For Salvaging, the elite bonus is now +50% additional salvage from Tech Mining. The skill is now permanent upon selection to avoid exploits.

- Related to Assault Package and Escort Package, all combat freighters and civilian conversions now have Militarized Subsystems built-in. Most npc loadouts will utilize either of the two package upgrades on those ships so that NPC admirals that have Elite Command Experience will boost their combat freighters and conversions by a large amount. Who knows, maybe the Buffalo MkII will actually be scary now!  :o
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Prince Starfy

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I know this sounds really rude and shows a lack of patience on my part, but when is the earliest you think you can get this mod up to date. Archean Order is one of my favorite mods and it being ready for .95 would be a dream come true, especially given my lack of info on another favorite of mine, Vayra's Sector.
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Morrokain

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I know this sounds really rude and shows a lack of patience on my part, but when is the earliest you think you can get this mod up to date. Archean Order is one of my favorite mods and it being ready for .95 would be a dream come true, especially given my lack of info on another favorite of mine, Vayra's Sector.

Welcome to the forums!

Its ok I know, I know, I'm taking forever. There are a lot of subtle things to configure with the new update to prevent bugs/unintended behavior and skills have been a lot of work. Let's see:

Skills are done with the exception of ensuring some skills aren't allowed for NPCs and a bug I likely just found (logged on just to post about it actually) that may require a bit of a workaround to solve, I need to balance the new REDACTED weapons and the Champion, I need to create/adjust the Fury variants, and I need to add the new ids to the overrides spreadsheet. (Ah damn and I need to create the thresholds settings! Sigh almost forgot.)

I suppose I can skip integrating the new hullmods into a bunch of variants as that will be pretty time consuming and I've already started a bit at least.

If I really plug away at it, I'd estimate under a week. Then I can do a micro update with the variants, etc, before starting on the descriptions.
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Prince Starfy

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Thanks for the info! The reason I even asked for an update on the update is because of the lack of other mods being updated and certain games (Halo: Infinite and S.T.A.L.K.E.R 2) either not having confirmed released dates or being released next year. This means that there is a lack of games I'm interested in that are already out that I haven't completed. In other words, I'm anxiously waiting for your update since I consider Archean Order an Expansion Pack sized mod that my computer can actually has a chance of running (unlike Halo: Infinite and S.T.A.L.K.E.R 2).

Also, maybe you've answered this before, will you be expanded upon the dialogue and mission systems like the base game did. Something like a meeting with the Barons of the Adamantine Consortium (my favorite faction) or being able to influence the politics of the Order itself to turn against the Consortium and the other major factions (without using agents)? I would personally love if the Traders could dip their hands into the League and either absorb/annex it as a faction or get absorbed.

Also Also, have you heard of the Arma Armatura mod?

Also Also Also, will you be able to stop Order Fleets from getting sucked into the black hole? The Kadur Remnant has a problem with this and the Order did as well from what I remember.
« Last Edit: June 19, 2021, 07:12:57 PM by Prince Starfy »
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Morrokain

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@Prince Starfy

I definitely have plans to extend dialogue and create unique encounters, yes. There is a lot to do first, but its something I've been excited to do for a long time. There is a lot of story still up in my head and now that there is a mission framework in place it will hopefully make it a lot easier to implement. As far as specifics,  :-X  (Though there are a bunch of easter eggs that hint at things in the campaign.)

Also I won't lie I wouldn't expect major story elements anytime soon as there is a lot of technical stuff to clean up first - partly to prepare for that sort of thing. That being said, it is certainly on my list of things I really want to do.

I've looked at the Arma Armatura mod's main page and it looks very impressive! The arm animations are an especially nice touch and really sell the mech vibe.

I'm not sure if I can stop fleets from getting sucked into black holes or not. To be fair, though, I've never actually tried to directly affect npc fleet behavior so it may very well be possible. Its something I'll take a look at eventually but its fairly low on the priority list compared to other things. (Like story stuff.)
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Albreo

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Bahaha *facepalm* yeah that was definitely an oversight on my part! Well, I think that can be solved by a script that checks for industries being over the limit at any given player colony level, and then applying a hefty stability/income penalty if that is the case.

If I get that implemented then the skill won't even need to be permanent I'd think.

Alex already has some penalty in stock for exceeding the industry cap with his energy shunt. I believe, an upkeep pernalty.

Quote
I'm not sure if I can stop fleets from getting sucked into black holes or not. To be fair, though, I've never actually tried to directly affect npc fleet behavior so it may very well be possible. Its something I'll take a look at eventually but its fairly low on the priority list compared to other things. (Like story stuff.)

A workaround that I have suggested before, came from another mod, which is to replace a normal star with a blackhole texture. Sadly, a fleet that stalks you seem to have the capability to avoid blackhole build-in but not the normal patrol/roaming fleet. Not sure if anything has been changed since.
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