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Starsector 0.95.1a is out! (12/10/21); Blog post: Hyperspace Topography (10/12/22)

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Author Topic: More restraints on s-mods for more interesting usage  (Read 5324 times)

Dread Pirate Robots

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Re: More restraints on s-mods for more interesting usage
« Reply #30 on: April 15, 2021, 09:08:59 PM »


As for combat ship hull mods, I'm willing to bet the 90% most common hull mods come from a list of 14 or less - and thus we've already got ~50% hull mod diversity (your list of 6 + hardened subsystems).  You'd simply be pushing it to the other 7 or so other common combat hull mods.  I feel like the screen shot listing hull mods is very misleading in terms of "viable" hull mods.  I don't care if I can make it free, I'm not going to throw Additional Berthing or Surveying Equipment on a combat ship.  A number are straight up not possible (Militarized Subsystem, Makeshift shield generator, Escort Package, Assault Package, Converted Fighter bay) on typical combat ships either.

As an example, if I want my Paragon to have Hardened Shields, Stabilized Shields, Heavy Armor, Auxiliary Thrusters, Integrated Point Defense, and you tell me Hardened Shields and Heavy Armor are no go, I'll just apply it to two of the others.  Build is still the same, I'm just short 25 OP when comparing builds.  Guess I have 25 less capacitors on that particular Paragon.  Ship flies basically the same either way.

If you really cut down on the value of the OP saved per story point, I think the it is possible that less common hull mods are less likely to show up on ships at all, not more, since overall OP will be tighter, and so you ensure you have the critical needs first.

I agree completely with your whole post, I don't see how this change has any effect at all on how I make ships, other than to reduce the OP I have to work with. The variety of smods I use now is pretty much the same as the variety of mods I used in 0.9.1. If I wasn't using any of those mods before, why would I start using them now? I'd even go further than what you said about not building in logistic hull mods like additional berthing into a combat hull: I'm not going to waste a story point putting advanced turret gyros or automated repair unit or other incredibly marginal mods in a ship just because it's "free". If you want me to use those mods, they don't need to become cheaper, they need to be changed to be worth using. The reason people started using heavy armor this patch isn't just because of story points, it's also because the mod got a significant buff.
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Thaago

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Re: More restraints on s-mods for more interesting usage
« Reply #31 on: April 15, 2021, 09:28:45 PM »

(Automated Repair Unit is actually top tier - I highly recommend running that once its unlocked unless the ship has an officer with damage control. Really helps against enemies with ion, big guns, or salamanders.)
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Retry

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Re: More restraints on s-mods for more interesting usage
« Reply #32 on: April 15, 2021, 10:15:38 PM »

Yeah, no.
smh Retry I expected a more eloquent response than that.
My hullmod usage is significantly more varied than last patch because I am now able to build in "critical" hullmods like EMR, Heavy Armor, Hardened Shields, ITU, ADF, and the spare OP can then be spent on more niche hullmods like Automated Repair Unit, various non-cargo related logistics hullmods, non-Hardened Shields related shield hullmods, etc.

If the ability to S-mod these is removed, I'll still need ITU for virtually all builds, EMR for missile builds, etc.  The few S-mods would most certainly go to the next high-value hullmods I can find; generally-useful stuff like Flux Distributor (the flux war is important), IPDAI (best "remaining" defensive hullmod on the list, extra missile damage and not being distracted by flares is important), ECCM (80% enemy ECM rating really sucks), maybe RFC on player-piloted ships (Extra vent speed is difficult to find, and also useful for flux war related stuff), etc.

But I still need ITU and the others first to make the builds work in the first place, so in they go.  And by the time I have those, vents, and guns, I will have no spare OP for the more niche hullmods due to how limited most ship's OP budgets are.  As such, I don't have the wiggle room I have in the current system to tweak and experiment.  As such, my builds become less diverse, not more.

Better?
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Realm

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Re: More restraints on s-mods for more interesting usage
« Reply #33 on: April 15, 2021, 11:00:57 PM »

In the last patch I honestly would not think to run hullmods like Heavy Armour as readily as I do now. It just isn't appealing to me if I'm paying the OP cost in most cases, given it's exorbitantly expensive.

If some form of limitation is instated, I'd likely just go back to never using it. This applies to other niche, weird and expensive hullmods that are opened up by the 'OP freedom' given by s-mods such as Augmented Field Drive and Operations Center.

I'm not going to pretend I'm any good at making my case here, I'd just be sad to see this feature in general nerfed and to lose the build variety it opens up.
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Chthonic One

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Re: More restraints on s-mods for more interesting usage
« Reply #34 on: April 15, 2021, 11:28:19 PM »

In the last patch I honestly would not think to run hullmods like Heavy Armour as readily as I do now. It just isn't appealing to me if I'm paying the OP cost in most cases, given it's exorbitantly expensive.

If some form of limitation is instated, I'd likely just go back to never using it. This applies to other niche, weird and expensive hullmods that are opened up by the 'OP freedom' given by s-mods such as Augmented Field Drive and Operations Center.

I'm not going to pretend I'm any good at making my case here, I'd just be sad to see this feature in general nerfed and to lose the build variety it opens up.
I didn't play during this time, but I can readily see this point.

I pick out the hull mods that I most want on the ship, and choose the 2 most expensive ones, and make the rest work. Usually I end up with 4-5. It's rarely the same ones for each ship, and they're tailored around the pilot as well.

If I were instead limited, I doubt I'd use the feature. I don't even know what I'd use the majority of my story points for at all.
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SCC

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Re: More restraints on s-mods for more interesting usage
« Reply #35 on: April 16, 2021, 12:03:23 AM »

Sure, some options are obviously better than others in certain contexts. The problem is when those options are obviously better than others for every ship in the game. There isn't a shielded ship in vanilla that wouldn't have vastly better AI handling with s-modded Hardened Shields than with s-modding any other hullmod, barring maybe EMR on the Falcon P. The XP penalty is ultimately inconsequential given its an infinite resource and at max level it can be hard enough to even expend it (SCC mentioned he has 17 million bonus XP in one of his latest campaigns - there isn't any trade-off here). Same story with increasing story point costs - it costs time but is functionally costless.
SPs are limited to me precisely because I have 17 million bonux XP, and have had it for prolly the better part of my 221-cycle-so-far run (I think since late cycle 209, which is when I hit max level). They are now limited by time now, so if I spend more of them than I gain, the number of SPs I have at hand decreases. I wish bonux XP at max level compounded, so that the bonus XP pool didn't last forever.

Eg: resistant flux conduits. Its a good hullmod, but at lower OP costs I'm never going to build it in. But if it got a little buff and gave 30% vent speed instead of 25%, thats a different story.
Definitely.

For the main topic, my fleet is quite big now and Hardened Shields is an s-mod on a Paragon, a Conquest, 2 Champions, 2 Apogees, a Fury, 3 Medusas, an Omen and a Tempest. Heavy Armour is an s-mod on my 2 Dominators. ITU is an s-mod on a Conquest, one of my Dominators (the other has ITU, just not built-in) and both of my Champions. There's also Extended Shields s-mod on one of my Medusas, Reinforced Bulkheads and Stabilised Shields s-mods for the Paragon and Hardened Subsystems for the Tempest. My Paragon had ADF, but I never built it in, as I expected I would much rather prefer to have combat s-mods when I got to fighting more serious enemies, and it turns out to have been a good call. None of my spreadsheet ships have s-mods, as I don't see any reason to spend my precious story points on them.

KDR_11k

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Re: More restraints on s-mods for more interesting usage
« Reply #36 on: April 16, 2021, 02:12:08 AM »

Of course I want to s-mod either the most expensive part of the loadout I'm planning or just a mod I'm most likely to use on every loadout I'd configure the ship into (since it's not removable).

If truly customizing the ships to be your "signature" ships is the goal then maybe it'd be fitting if you could boost the mods you installed like elite skills.
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TuxedoCatfish

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Re: More restraints on s-mods for more interesting usage
« Reply #37 on: April 16, 2021, 06:09:49 AM »

It might just be psychological, but having access to s-mods has led to me using more hull mods in general. Before, every hull mod had to be more worth it than another X points in caps / vents, or cramming more and better weapons into more slots -- and hull mods often lost this comparison except for the very tippy-top ones that we now get as s-mods.

In 0.95 though, those super-expensive, universally-good hull mods get baked in, you fill up your flux stats and weapons with the points that freed up, and then you have some left over for personalization because you're not spending 15 points on an ITU every time any more. It does the job better than just giving the player more points would, where you'd be comparing everything to everything.

Of course, another way to look at this is that s-mods make bad/cheap weapons less appealing. But most of the discounted OP weapons were bad anyways, and you would have avoided using them even in 0.91. So it's probably a positive change for build variety overall -- although it'll be interesting to see if e.g. AI tournaments produce more objective data on the question.
« Last Edit: April 16, 2021, 06:13:21 AM by TuxedoCatfish »
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RustyCabbage

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Re: More restraints on s-mods for more interesting usage
« Reply #38 on: April 16, 2021, 07:28:09 AM »

Those hullmods will be on regardless of story points.  For example, Expanded Missile Racks will go on a ship that relies on missiles, and the less important stuff are luxuries that get cut out.  All that means is that more max OP is the same, instead of varying by how expensive the integrated mod is.

I feel like this is the correct point. 

In my view, s-mod diversity doesn't matter so much as the final ship build diversity does.  That actually leads to different experiences in game.  As far as I can tell, s-mod diversity just means less free OP to spend than we have in RC12.  Any version of the mechanic, played "optimally", is going to end like this I think.  What is the maximum amount of stuff that I actually want that I can cram into the ship.

Now, it may be we want to reduce the amount of free OP for ships (looking at you safety overrides), but that's a question of overall power as opposed to diversity (which is what I interpret "interesting usage" as).

As it is, I'm already using s-mods for hull mods you didn't list.  But maybe I'm just strange.  I've s-moded Efficiency Overhaul and Surveying Equipment on a set of 3 Revenants, and then slapped on Auxilliary tanks and Expanded Cargo holds as well.  In another run, I've got 6 Revenants with s-moded Surveying equipment. Simply because those the hull mods one typically puts on logistics ships.  So assuming you're investing s-mods into logistic ships, then I see reason to use a different list of hull mods.

As for combat ship hull mods, I'm willing to bet the 90% most common hull mods come from a list of 14 or less - and thus we've already got ~50% hull mod diversity (your list of 6 + hardened subsystems).  You'd simply be pushing it to the other 7 or so other common combat hull mods.  I feel like the screen shot listing hull mods is very misleading in terms of "viable" hull mods.  I don't care if I can make it free, I'm not going to throw Additional Berthing or Surveying Equipment on a combat ship.  A number are straight up not possible (Militarized Subsystem, Makeshift shield generator, Escort Package, Assault Package, Converted Fighter bay) on typical combat ships either.

As an example, if I want my Paragon to have Hardened Shields, Stabilized Shields, Heavy Armor, Auxiliary Thrusters, Integrated Point Defense, and you tell me Hardened Shields and Heavy Armor are no go, I'll just apply it to two of the others.  Build is still the same, I'm just short 25 OP when comparing builds.  Guess I have 25 less capacitors on that particular Paragon.  Ship flies basically the same either way.

If you really cut down on the value of the OP saved per story point, I think the it is possible that less common hull mods are less likely to show up on ships at all, not more, since overall OP will be tighter, and so you ensure you have the critical needs first.
I should note that I'm very much talking about the designing of combat ships. Obviously you're not throwing on Heavy Armor on a Revenant, and as you say you're similarly never s-modding a non-ADF/Militarized Subsystems logistic hullmod onto a combat ship, but that's a constant between the current version and the suggested alternative, so it isn't worth mentioning.

I did a (relatively) quick comparison between the current state and the limitations suggested on non-capital shielded low/mid/high tech combat ships. Adding one s-mod changed the final build in a notable manner (i.e. I had different final hullmods that weren't added simply due to the extra OP) for 8/24 different ships, which I guess isn't that significant, and the effect probably reduces further when you add a second s-mod (I'm not motivated enough to check). As you point out in your Paragon example, the final build probably doesn't change at all for most if not all of the capital ships, so this change might affect my final builds for 25% of my ships with one s-mod, probably reducing further with a second. So fair enough. I still find the change to be a more interesting exercise but maybe that's because I don't usually have a final build already in mind when I'm designing from the ground up?

In any case, I do also see cutting down on the amount of OP saved per s-mod to be a positive, but I recognize that's a still less popular opinion. That said, I don't think it's true that the less common hullmods would be seen less with the suggested alteration. Lots of times they're less common because they're generally worse than vents and caps, so the only reason you're including them at all is because they're free. I don't know though; I'd have to actually design the loadouts to confirm it.



Most of the arguments I'm seeing for the current implementation is that you have more diversity because you have more OP. Of course that's how it works, but it's important to separate the effect that you get through additional OP and the effect you get specifically through this implementation. If the added benefit is almost entirely through the former, why bother with this dance and not just have story points increase your max OP as Megas says? It's about as (un)interesting as the current style for end builds, apparently.

ChaseBears

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Re: More restraints on s-mods for more interesting usage
« Reply #39 on: April 16, 2021, 09:45:29 AM »

 I don't like that there's no decision to make - you're objectively wrong to not build in the most expensive mods.  Choosing what mod you S-mod should be a matter of the players preference. Assigning an OP value to S-mods, either directly or indirectly, would at least let players emphasize different mods.  Maybe I want to standardize Armored Weapon Mounts throughout my whole fleet. 

Another thought is that S-mods could have escalating SP costs. If it cost 2 Story Points to mount additional S-mods, that would mean you pick a few important ships to slap 3 s-mods on instead of like, every officer ship.

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Hiruma Kai

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Re: More restraints on s-mods for more interesting usage
« Reply #40 on: April 16, 2021, 09:51:25 AM »

I should note that I'm very much talking about the designing of combat ships. Obviously you're not throwing on Heavy Armor on a Revenant, and as you say you're similarly never s-modding a non-ADF/Militarized Subsystems logistic hullmod onto a combat ship, but that's a constant between the current version and the suggested alternative, so it isn't worth mentioning.

I'll point out the s-mod mechanic changes the building of logistic ships a lot more than combat ships, because of the ability to ignore the 2 logistic hull mod (the "Dock" ones) limit, which many people seem to discount.  If you have more than 2 logistic hull mods you want a ship, you no longer pick the greatest OP ones - you pick logistic hull mod limits ones that will see the most use and don't want to pull off.  Logistic hull mods are all equally valuable against that limit - i.e. worth one unit.  Some of the more expensive ones also tend to come with trade off (i.e. higher maintenance costs), so logistic + disadvantages tends to lead to more diverse choices of s-mods there.  Also, many logistic ships are not OP limited, although a few are.

If there were more limits like that (designed to prevent stacking) for combat hull mods, you'd probably see more diversity (do I want more OP or do I want more stacking of something else where all these hull mods are equally valuable).  As suggested in this thread, one could imagine this also occurring if hull mods increased in value when used with s-mods such that they became "worth it" compared to the higher OP hull mods.  In the stacking case, they become more worth it because of potential synergies.

I still find the change to be a more interesting exercise but maybe that's because I don't usually have a final build already in mind when I'm designing from the ground up?

Could be.  Your building style is certainly effective, but is also probably not universal.  I find s-mods have changed how I approach ship building in some cases, as I now do consider things like Expanded Missile Racks and ECCM more.  Certainly for my ship builds which had very few hull mods in 0.9.1a, I now have the possibility to consider builds in other directions.  But an extra 30% OP would probably accomplish the same things.

In any case, I do also see cutting down on the amount of OP saved per s-mod to be a positive, but I recognize that's a still less popular opinion. That said, I don't think it's true that the less common hullmods would be seen less with the suggested alteration. Lots of times they're less common because they're generally worse than vents and caps, so the only reason you're including them at all is because they're free. I don't know though; I'd have to actually design the loadouts to confirm it.

I don't think it's necessarily wrong to cut the OP per s-mod, but the question isn't really about diversity in that case - but overall power that can be achieved.  If player ships are becoming too powerful, then it makes sense to cut the OP saved per s-mod.  However, that requires a whole different set of data, across a whole set of player skill levels.  I don't think Alex is considering changes to s-mod safety overrides because it is the only hull mod being used, but because s-mod SO ships like the Aurora are just walking up to capitals like a Conquest or Odyssey and blowing them away without any risk.  Although that could just be my impression.

If the added benefit is almost entirely through the former, why bother with this dance and not just have story points increase your max OP as Megas says? It's about as (un)interesting as the current style for end builds, apparently.

It feels a bit more lore friendly with building in hull mods compared to simply raising the OP ceiling (like Luddic Path ships), and the icons on tool tips are kinda symmetric (red for free extra bad mods, green for free extra good mods) which I like aesthetically.  However, I do agree the experience for building combat ships would essentially be the same.  If that change were implemented, I wouldn't complain for combat ships.

However, I would complain for logistic ships.  The experience for building logistic ships is different with s-mods because of the nature of the 2 "dock" hull mod limit.  One might argue that building logistic ships is boring as you're just optimizing for a few campaign stats, and that is probably true.  I still think it makes that chore a little more interesting.  Simply adding 1 to the "dock" hull mod per s-mod spent also isn't quite the same thing, as it'd be much more flexible in principle (in practice in vanilla, 5 dock hull mods probably covers everything you'd want on a particular specialized logistic ship).  Without some benefit along those lines I wouldn't even bother spending story points on logistic ships.
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ChaseBears

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Re: More restraints on s-mods for more interesting usage
« Reply #41 on: April 16, 2021, 09:57:43 AM »

i mean you are just calling into question why the 2-logistics limit even *exists* now if the s-mods entirely break it.  The whole point was to stop people slamming every logistics mod on their civilian ships and now we're right back to it. S-mods! So you don't have to make choices.
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intrinsic_parity

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Re: More restraints on s-mods for more interesting usage
« Reply #42 on: April 16, 2021, 10:00:24 AM »

I don't think there is any issue with raw combat power, end game is very challenging, even when fully abusing these mechanics. I definitely have found myself using hullmods like IPDAI and ECCM a lot more this patch, so I do feel like it has promoted a lot of hull mod diversity. I don't think there is a serious issue that needs to be solved here tbh.
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AcaMetis

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Re: More restraints on s-mods for more interesting usage
« Reply #43 on: April 16, 2021, 10:05:23 AM »

i mean you are just calling into question why the 2-logistics limit even *exists* now if the s-mods entirely break it.  The whole point was to stop people slamming every logistics mod on their civilian ships and now we're right back to it. S-mods! So you don't have to make choices.
It's a choice between putting an s-mod on a logistics ship or using it elsewhere, though. Augmented Drive Field on a capital ship is a 0% bonus XP investment, I'm pretty sure, and I've currently got...14, 16, maybe 17 such ships in my fleet? That's a ton of bonus XP and SP I simply wouldn't have to option to invest in if s-mods didn't break the 2 logistics limit.
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speeder

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Re: More restraints on s-mods for more interesting usage
« Reply #44 on: April 16, 2021, 10:19:50 AM »

I think some of the recurrent S-mods is just consequence of such mods being so expensive.

Both the Safety Override and the armor one were mods I avoided because I couldn't ever figoure out how to make ships I wanted use them correctly.

Now I can add them "safely", "safely" because SO is still quite risky, I made a SO build in a destroyer in one of my playthoughs and had to finish the quite extremely quickly.
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