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Author Topic: Abandonware?  (Read 6760 times)

Aven

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Abandonware?
« on: July 14, 2018, 06:51:00 PM »

Hello.  I bought this game nearly a year ago, about 4 months after the last update was released.  Now, a year later, I've come back to this forum to check up on updates, to see if there are any, and there hasn't been.  I believe current release is sitting at 0.8.*** or something.

The reason I have been waiting for updates is because IMO, this game is unplayable.  Let me explain.

The ratio of cost/reward is horrificly unbalanced.  I slowly but surely get drained of resources to the point where I'm stuck in a random sector somewhere, out of fuel, and unable to do anything.  As you progress the AI ships and fleets get bigger and more powerful, requiring you to match or outmatch what you would normally encounter.  This means more resources, fuel, etc to keep playing the game.  Eventually those resources run dry.  There's no way to "farm" anything in this game, as every attempt you make after the first attempt yields less resources at a heavier resource drain to do said farming.

I've been waiting for an update that alleviates this.  I've had SS sitting on my desktop, staring me in the face, saying "hey, play me".  But I put about 20 hours into this game the first month I picked it up, and haven't played it since.  As it stands, if this game were on steam, I would give it a negative review.  I feel like I threw $20 away on a game that is so punishingly hard, the mechanics make it so that you are beaten down to the point of defeat just as you are getting your feet off the ground.  The push to constantly explore new sectors, that get farther and farther away, at the increased cost of fuel and resources, only to find nothing in those sectors, really makes it so that you can never beat this game.  It is literally impossible to beat this game.  And I don't want the hardcore super experienced players say "just keep playing it".  I'm telling you, as a newbie to this game, I find it unplayable, and I have put it down months ago and haven't come back to it.

It's sad because I like the "dark souls in space" feel to this game, and I want to be challenged by it, but even dark souls has ways to alleviate the impossible feeling you get, by being good at playing.  This game is all about chance, random dumb luck, and then being smashed with the sledgehammer of needing resources.

I have multiple suggestions that would make this game feel like you are progressing, you are getting somewhere, while still retaining the difficulty.  One such example would be to increase carrying capacity of your ships, so that you aren't having to dump extra resources you find out in to space, allowing you to retain the stuff you find.  That's just one suggestion.  Another would be to reduce the cost of travel, or give us ways of farming little bits at a time without having to spend massive resources.  For example, special micro-nebulae that one could farm space gas, having a refining ship in the fleet to convert said space gas into fuel, and now you have a source of fuel to play with that you can always come back to, without running the risk of loosing your crew just to sit there and suck up the space gas.  This of course would take a long time to harvest, but gives the player the option of having a way to sustain the larger and larger fleets you have to assemble to remain competitive against the AI.

So currently this game is 100% negative review, it's unplayable IMO, and looks to be abandoned.  It needs balance tweaking and things added to it.  Please devs come back to your project and continue polishing this game up.  I've been waiting and would like to see an update.  Thanks
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Dri

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Re: Abandonware?
« Reply #1 on: July 14, 2018, 07:01:05 PM »

From last patch to now, it has indeed been the longest run w/o an update. Pretty painful.

But, have you been reading all of the many development blog posts? Apparently not...
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mehgamer

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Re: Abandonware?
« Reply #2 on: July 14, 2018, 07:19:34 PM »

Follow bounties to actually profit from combat.

Explore, salvage, and survey uninhabited systems to print money without relying on combat.

Buy supplies and fuel constantly, recognising the logistical load of taking on new ships to your fleet.

Practice combat in the missions from main menu or in the simulator in campaign and missions, as there's no loss from dying there.

Instead of blaming a game for bad design because you aren't good at it, consider what goes wrong to try to find the origin of your mistakes.  This IS a hard game, but if you don't try to learn the mechanics you aren't going to be able to brute force it, unlike your Dark Souls example.

This is hardly abandonware, as the developer maintains an ongoing dev blog with updates nearly every month on progress.
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Alex

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Re: Abandonware?
« Reply #3 on: July 14, 2018, 07:21:01 PM »

Just chiming in to confirm that I am indeed actively working on the game and on the next release in particular. It has been longer than I'd like; my apologies. It's just a larger chunk of stuff than the previous releases have been.


As far as the difficulty, this is definitely subjective, so if you're experiencing it as unplayable, that's certainly true for you, and I don't want to minimize that. Might I suggest trying the easy difficulty and turning up the amount of supplies/fuel you get from combat on easy? There's an "easySalvageMult" value in data/config/settings.json that governs that.

Personally, I feel like the difficulty is in a fairly good place - there's some easy pickings to be had from salvage and derelict ships, there are bounties to take down, and so on. There's a lot to keep in mind, though, and a lot to learn, so it's definitely not trivial. Combat absolutely *can* be profitable, as well, even without a bounty - and there are bounties. I'd also suggest playing missions a bit more to get the hang of it.

It does sound like, for whatever reason, you're having a bit of a harder time with it, or possibly the game's not explaining something else fundamental as far as the mechanics go. I wish I knew what that was to be able to point you in the right direction! Just to confirm, you've gone through the combat tutorials, right?

Also, I seem to remember from your original post a while back that it seemed like you were playing with mods. Those can make the game *a lot* harder, and that could well be the problem. I'd absolutely suggest vanilla on easy as a starting point.
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Wyvern

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Re: Abandonware?
« Reply #4 on: July 14, 2018, 07:28:09 PM »

Oh, it's this thread again.

I'll give you that the start of the game is fairly hard (and still poorly balanced), but it's certainly not unplayable, especially with the tutorial meaning you no longer start with a single frigate.  And there are mods out there that are designed to make the early game easier; I'd suggest trying Steiner Foundation, and Console Commands - the latter can be used to outright cheat, adding more money, supplies, or fuel, and I'd suggest going ahead and abusing that at least until you've got some idea of what you're doing.

Also, -do- make sure to play on easy at first.  It makes a big difference.
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Wyvern is 100% correct about the math.

Dark.Revenant

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Re: Abandonware?
« Reply #5 on: July 14, 2018, 07:38:49 PM »

Hello.  I bought this game nearly a year ago, about 4 months after the last update was released.  Now, a year later, I've come back to this forum to check up on updates, to see if there are any, and there hasn't been.  I believe current release is sitting at 0.8.*** or something.

The reason I have been waiting for updates is because IMO, this game is unplayable.  Let me explain.

The ratio of cost/reward is horrificly unbalanced.  I slowly but surely get drained of resources to the point where I'm stuck in a random sector somewhere, out of fuel, and unable to do anything.  As you progress the AI ships and fleets get bigger and more powerful, requiring you to match or outmatch what you would normally encounter.  This means more resources, fuel, etc to keep playing the game.  Eventually those resources run dry.  There's no way to "farm" anything in this game, as every attempt you make after the first attempt yields less resources at a heavier resource drain to do said farming.

I've been waiting for an update that alleviates this.  I've had SS sitting on my desktop, staring me in the face, saying "hey, play me".  But I put about 20 hours into this game the first month I picked it up, and haven't played it since.  As it stands, if this game were on steam, I would give it a negative review.  I feel like I threw $20 away on a game that is so punishingly hard, the mechanics make it so that you are beaten down to the point of defeat just as you are getting your feet off the ground.  The push to constantly explore new sectors, that get farther and farther away, at the increased cost of fuel and resources, only to find nothing in those sectors, really makes it so that you can never beat this game.  It is literally impossible to beat this game.  And I don't want the hardcore super experienced players say "just keep playing it".  I'm telling you, as a newbie to this game, I find it unplayable, and I have put it down months ago and haven't come back to it.

It's sad because I like the "dark souls in space" feel to this game, and I want to be challenged by it, but even dark souls has ways to alleviate the impossible feeling you get, by being good at playing.  This game is all about chance, random dumb luck, and then being smashed with the sledgehammer of needing resources.

I have multiple suggestions that would make this game feel like you are progressing, you are getting somewhere, while still retaining the difficulty.  One such example would be to increase carrying capacity of your ships, so that you aren't having to dump extra resources you find out in to space, allowing you to retain the stuff you find.  That's just one suggestion.  Another would be to reduce the cost of travel, or give us ways of farming little bits at a time without having to spend massive resources.  For example, special micro-nebulae that one could farm space gas, having a refining ship in the fleet to convert said space gas into fuel, and now you have a source of fuel to play with that you can always come back to, without running the risk of loosing your crew just to sit there and suck up the space gas.  This of course would take a long time to harvest, but gives the player the option of having a way to sustain the larger and larger fleets you have to assemble to remain competitive against the AI.

So currently this game is 100% negative review, it's unplayable IMO, and looks to be abandoned.  It needs balance tweaking and things added to it.  Please devs come back to your project and continue polishing this game up.  I've been waiting and would like to see an update.  Thanks

Starsector doesn't do a great job of communicating some of its design goals.  You're right - farming won't work.  The game is specifically designed to discourage farming.  I think this is a good thing, by the way.

The biggest problem with it right now is the newbie experience.  After the tutorial section, you're dumped off into the deep end with few safety mechanics.  I agree with what you're saying, but the game is definitely not abandoned.
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Baqar79

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Re: Abandonware?
« Reply #6 on: July 14, 2018, 07:50:07 PM »

I think a lot of the points you have made are valid, but are down to how newbie friendly this game is.  I've been playing this game a while, so I have a pretty good idea about how many things work, though I've never aligned myself with a faction, so I'd be pretty new there.

"The ratio of cost/reward is horrificly unbalanced.  I slowly but surely get drained of resources to the point where I'm stuck in a random sector somewhere, out of fuel, and unable to do anything."

The problem here is even with the Tutorial mission, the "bucket of bolts" fleet you acquire is pretty heavy on supplies.  I usually build my fleet around 3 primary stats:

1. Maintenance (supplies/mo) - How much it costs per month having your ship just doing nothing
2. Recovery cost (supplies) - How many supplies you are going to need to get the ship back to good working order after a battle
3. Maximum burn - How fast your ship can travel (not so important now with the tech tree upgrades, but I still tend to look at this)

Carriers and cloaking ships are particularly expensive to run, and of course bigger capital ships.  I very rarely go above cruiser size in my fleets since the capitals just seem far too overpriced in deployment points compared to how much more effective using several small ships instead is.

"The push to constantly explore new sectors, that get farther and farther away, at the increased cost of fuel and resources, only to find nothing in those sectors, really makes it so that you can never beat this game."

Yeah, I feel that the survey quests that send you out so far are pretty risky early on in the game.  Searching new stars can be rewarding, but also very expensive. I think though this could be made a bit easier by doing something about this:

"One such example would be to increase carrying capacity of your ships, so that you aren't having to dump extra resources you find out in to space, allowing you to retain the stuff you find.  That's just one suggestion."

@Alex: I think a good start for new players would be to include a salvageable dram-class tanker and Buffalo freighter in the ship grave yard part of the tutorial mission.  Usually one of the first things I do after the Tutorial is hunt down a buffalo freighter & Phaeton tanker, so I can go out and make the most of those survey missions.  Perhaps give the player an additional 100 supply & fuel when finishing the Tutorial mission.

Another would be to reduce the cost of travel, or give us ways of farming little bits at a time without having to spend massive resources.  For example, special micro-nebulae that one could farm space gas, having a refining ship in the fleet to convert said space gas into fuel, and now you have a source of fuel to play with that you can always come back to, without running the risk of loosing your crew just to sit there and suck up the space gas.  This of course would take a long time to harvest, but gives the player the option of having a way to sustain the larger and larger fleets you have to assemble to remain competitive against the AI.

This sounds like a reasonable idea, you still can't stay out indefinitely because of supplies but having some way of harvesting fuel would be nice.  It looks like there might be something that will help with exploration/surveying from the new changelog (http://fractalsoftworks.com/forum/index.php?topic=13445.0):

  • Player can custom-order known ships and weapons
    • Will be built based on the monthly production capacity of their heavy industry
    • And delivered to a designated gathering point, along with some crew, fuel, and supplies
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Aven

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Re: Abandonware?
« Reply #7 on: July 14, 2018, 08:05:42 PM »

Thanks for the fast replies.  Sorry Dev for sounding harsh, I appreciate your prompt response.  No I have not been reading the dev blogs.  I suppose I should start there.

I dumped the mods and went back to vanilla upon reading that little suggestion many moons ago.

For the record I found the NPE to be actually really good.  I feel I got a good understanding of the game from it.  I feel peoples problem with the NPE is that they don't follow it exactly.  It's not the NPE here that I'm talking about here.  It's everything after the NPE.

For example, as someone here just suggested, specialized ships are harder on resources.  I may or may not have known that.  It might be a good idea to include some intermediate tutorial on advanced fleet composition.  I ended up with the largest tankers, capital ships, cruisers, attack vessels of the smallest and largest variety.  I actually made it fairly far and while I did feel the sting of running a large fleet, I also felt the sting of being vastly underpowered in some of the sectors that are further away from the starting zone.  The first handful of close sectors to the starting zone get depleted almost instantly, forcing you to venture out.  Unfortunately the lack of fuel harvesting makes it so that you are shot in the foot as soon as you choose to do that.  You either fly out to the further sectors packing some firepower, so you can actually compete if you get jumped, or you take the risk and end up dead along the way, or you end up running out of fuel and have to save scum or restart the campaign (realising you made some bad decisions).

I feel the game definitely has that balance of difficult and risk/reward, I just feel it's slightly weighted towards risk and less towards reward.  If there's a specific way to assemble your fleet by NOT running capital ships, or else the game is unplayable, the player needs to be made aware of that.  Also, if capital ships are massively heavy on resources, then their capacity to hold supplies (read: supplies not fuel) should be increased.  Or there could be special ships you can put in your fleet that convert raw resources to supplies and fuel over time.

Overall this game is so close to being perfect, but it's that sliver of imperfection that makes it nearly impossible to play.  When you are playing the teeter-totter of balance so closely, the slightest imbalance can break the game badly.  And IMO it's missing that one or two tiny little things that can make it playable while retaining its difficulty.  I stand behind the nebulae idea or some way of harvesting resources at less of a risk.  You find that one special system out there that has the gas cloud you can hammer away at, make your home base there, or your base of operations.  You find this stuff early-mid game so that it gives the player a more advanced reward for risking the flight times and the fuel/supplies expense.  Thanks
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Alex

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Re: Abandonware?
« Reply #8 on: July 14, 2018, 09:30:39 PM »

For the record I found the NPE to be actually really good.  I feel I got a good understanding of the game from it.  I feel peoples problem with the NPE is that they don't follow it exactly.  It's not the NPE here that I'm talking about here.  It's everything after the NPE.

For example, as someone here just suggested, specialized ships are harder on resources.  I may or may not have known that.  It might be a good idea to include some intermediate tutorial on advanced fleet composition.  I ended up with the largest tankers, capital ships, cruisers, attack vessels of the smallest and largest variety.  I actually made it fairly far and while I did feel the sting of running a large fleet, I also felt the sting of being vastly underpowered in some of the sectors that are further away from the starting zone.  The first handful of close sectors to the starting zone get depleted almost instantly, forcing you to venture out.  Unfortunately the lack of fuel harvesting makes it so that you are shot in the foot as soon as you choose to do that.  You either fly out to the further sectors packing some firepower, so you can actually compete if you get jumped, or you take the risk and end up dead along the way, or you end up running out of fuel and have to save scum or restart the campaign (realising you made some bad decisions).

Ahh, that's really good to clear up! I was assuming you were talking about not being able to get off the ground in the early game, but if you're getting to multiple capitals and so on, that's clearly not an issue, and you're advancing well past that. Right.

At the moment, the "renewable" late-game resources are 1) named pirate bounties and 2) the high-hazard beacon star systems where REDTACTED fleets respawn. It's definitely possible to sustain and profit off either, but once you've defeated the REDACTED battlestation (sorry if spoilers), I'd say you've reached the "goal" of the current campaign, and what happens after (currently) is a bit of a moot point.

In the next release, I think stuff lines up nicely with what you're saying. The midgame, in my mind, begins when you've established a colony and started building it up. Colonies can be a source of credits, fuel, supplies, and ships/weapons, ideally leading to a lot more resilience/loss tolerance for the player's fleet.

Of course, they're also a source of trouble, but that's another matter :)

(Re: more involved/advanced tutorials: I hear you, but that stuff is also really hard to get right. There are many things and many considerations and so much is up to the individual perception/preference of the player, both in terms of what's effective for them and in terms of what they find intuitive. The early-game tutorial tries to cover the basic concepts, and that's easier, but covering higher-level stuff seems comparatively much harder to do well. Plus, I don't exactly want the player to have to go through hours of tutorials. Still, I'll keep it in mind; always mulling over the NPE and the learning curve.)


@Alex: I think a good start for new players would be to include a salvageable dram-class tanker and Buffalo freighter in the ship grave yard part of the tutorial mission.  Usually one of the first things I do after the Tutorial is hunt down a buffalo freighter & Phaeton tanker, so I can go out and make the most of those survey missions.  Perhaps give the player an additional 100 supply & fuel when finishing the Tutorial mission.

Let me add a Dram while I'm thinking about it, been meaning to do that based on previous feedback to the same effect.
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SCC

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Re: Abandonware?
« Reply #9 on: July 15, 2018, 12:03:47 AM »

In my opinion risk and reward math is indeed imbalanced, because once I get going and stash some ships for a respawn, even if it's just a couple of frigates and a destroyer, the game is effectively won and I keep playing only to see the big battles at the end. I guess 0.9 will make things harder for me again, since exploration will be less profitable in the short term, so I'll have to struggle for a bit again (though maybe not, maybe salvage skills won't be mandatory anymore). While exploration is profitable and deterministic in the long term, I've never been able to engage in meaningful trade, since it always seemed way too random or way too boring for me. I have no way of knowing where do I have to sell if there's no event, but events are random, and while there are also missions, there's a time limit on them (and on events too, but you can spot events remotely) and basically instead of "go to one place, buy, go to the other, sell" I had an impression of "just have everything at hand and then sell it when people want it" which isn't very engaging nor possible in the early game. Even a fortune-teller needs something to start with.
I guess the game lacks a boring way to get enough money to risk doing something more fun, otherwise it's too punishing for factors out of your control.

Embercloud

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Re: Abandonware?
« Reply #10 on: July 18, 2018, 12:39:04 PM »

Basically, be mindful off your supplies and fuel at all times, plan ahead.

As for money, salvage missions and planetary surveying as well as AI cores will net you a lot of credits, but it's important to know your fleets limitations.

Tl;dr get good
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Snrasha

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Re: Abandonware?
« Reply #11 on: July 19, 2018, 03:07:28 PM »

For a old player, the game is pretty easy when you know the mechanic. On the end-game, i run with 6-8 capitals only, they drain my fuel, but i buy 8000 fuel pretty often. I have often also 6000+ supplies on my cargo, etc

But yeah, i think than the current tutorial can be problematic for newbie experience,  know than the Trade is a lost-cause on the current version and know than the bounty is the unique good means to have many amount of money   are unknow for new player x.x
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I am pretty bad on english. So, sorry in advance.

Gladiator Society
Add battle options on Com Relay/ Framework for modders for add their own bounty.

Sanguinary Autonomist Defectors A fan-mod of Shadowyard.

mitthrawnuruodo

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Re: Abandonware?
« Reply #12 on: July 20, 2018, 02:57:10 AM »

I have to agree the risk / reward balancing is off, especially if you try to play in a fun organic way as opposed to relying on grind.
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Morbo513

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Re: Abandonware?
« Reply #13 on: July 20, 2018, 06:21:19 AM »

Personally I find SS' current difficulty to be close enough to perfect. The only major issues I have with it are 1: bounty fleet scaling. I don't like that the player is railroaded into fighting stronger fleets, rather than the player themself dictating when and whether they're ready to take on something more challenging, and having the option to carry on going after the smaller ones if they prefer to. Likewise it'd be nice to see some bounty fleets remain small, but with more powerful ships.
In-universe those "***-tier" bounties won't just disappear, and a skilled captain could conceivably make more profit picking them apart with 2 or 3 ships, instead of having to bring half the sector's guns and invest all those supplies and fuel to stand a chance against the available bounties.

2: is friendly AI having a propensity for making tactical errors and getting themselves ass-blasted, but I'll save the rest for a suggestion thread since it's more a mechanical discussion than pure difficulty.
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TaLaR

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Re: Abandonware?
« Reply #14 on: July 20, 2018, 06:45:17 AM »

1: bounty fleet scaling. I don't like that the player is railroaded into fighting stronger fleets, rather than the player themself dictating when and whether they're ready to take on something more challenging, and having the option to carry on going after the smaller ones if they prefer to. Likewise it'd be nice to see some bounty fleets remain small, but with more powerful ships.

It's not even railroading that is problematic for me - it's 4th wall break. Bounties demonstrate game world rotating around player in too obvious manner.
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