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Author Topic: Why do most mods have to make the game easier?  (Read 12963 times)

SCC

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Re: Why do most mods have to make the game easier?
« Reply #15 on: May 21, 2021, 11:49:01 PM »

The more different options you have, the more fine-tuning you can perform. In vanilla, you can only choose between 450, 700 and 1000 range HE medium ballistics, meaning that you have to sacrifice something to be able to fire HE at a range of, say, 800, but many mods plug that hole, which decreases the trade-offs you have to do. Optimisation of loadouts is pretty important for combat performance.

I guess my question is: why do most mods have to be just faction mods? Why don't we get more mods that involve questlines with their own challenges that ask the player to search for something or to overcome a high threat battle in order to get something or that give you special goodies only if you manage to become allied with both luddics and the hegemony?
Did you know that Starsector didn't use to have any quests at all until 2018 and it didn't have any quests more advanced than simple fetch quests until 0.95 dropped two months ago? The reason why mods adding content add it in ways that are easy to access is because those ways are also easy for modders to implement. Quests used to be nearly impossible until 0.9 and are merely hard to make now.

th3boodlebot

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Re: Why do most mods have to make the game easier?
« Reply #16 on: May 22, 2021, 04:28:52 AM »

Mods for most games are designed by and for diehard fans who have finished the vanilla and want more content. Naturally, since the target audience has probably already finished the vanilla, they're probably good enough at it, so that they'd expect modded content to introduce extra challenge. I can't help but wonder why it's not the case with starsector specifically: most mods add factions that bring more toys (ships/weapons) that make the player stronger, but they don't add any actual challenge to compensate for this.

Most faction mods introduce very passive/neutral factions that just provide more stuff for the player to buy.

Even mods that technically buff hostile factions (luddics/pirates) either buff them very little, or if they add any advanced pirate tech, the player always gets all the same and plus some more.

I can't help but feel that practically every mod that I have, gives me more tactical options and if it adds any challenges, they're always optional. The main challenges that I'm facing are almost all the same as vanilla: money, pirates, luddics, I just get more tools to deal with them from mods. Why don't mods routinely give more and better officers to the hostiles? Why don't they send hired assassins after me to reclaim the [redacted] bit of tech that I stole? Why don't they routinely make my life harder by raiding my colonies all the time?


why dont you play nexereilin random sector custom scenario: derelict empire and choose pirates as your faction?

that should provide plenty of challenge

there is also a starfarer mode that ramps up the difficulty
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th3boodlebot

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Re: Why do most mods have to make the game easier?
« Reply #17 on: May 22, 2021, 04:34:39 AM »

The more different options you have, the more fine-tuning you can perform. In vanilla, you can only choose between 450, 700 and 1000 range HE medium ballistics, meaning that you have to sacrifice something to be able to fire HE at a range of, say, 800, but many mods plug that hole, which decreases the trade-offs you have to do. Optimisation of loadouts is pretty important for combat performance.

I guess my question is: why do most mods have to be just faction mods? Why don't we get more mods that involve questlines with their own challenges that ask the player to search for something or to overcome a high threat battle in order to get something or that give you special goodies only if you manage to become allied with both luddics and the hegemony?
Did you know that Starsector didn't use to have any quests at all until 2018 and it didn't have any quests more advanced than simple fetch quests until 0.95 dropped two months ago? The reason why mods adding content add it in ways that are easy to access is because those ways are also easy for modders to implement. Quests used to be nearly impossible until 0.9 and are merely hard to make now.




yea and IIRC the only way back then was to just do a total conversion, which isnt really a QUEST mod as much as it is a world changing, grand narrative altering mod

i remember back in .5~ there was an excellent total conversion that had onlythree factions in one really large solar system, two of which didnt use shields at aal (and were no less effective in that world for it)
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lazloner

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Re: Why do most mods have to make the game easier?
« Reply #18 on: May 22, 2021, 05:26:22 AM »

-snip-
I can't help but feel that practically every mod that I have, gives me more tactical options and if it adds any challenges, they're always optional. The main challenges that I'm facing are almost all the same as vanilla: money, pirates, luddics, I just get more tools to deal with them from mods. Why don't mods routinely give more and better officers to the hostiles? Why don't they send hired assassins after me to reclaim the [redacted] bit of tech that I stole? Why don't they routinely make my life harder by raiding my colonies all the time?

Just... don't use those mods then? Aside from that, if you're looking for super challenging gameplay I don't think this may be for you. I know I don't play SS for difficult gameplay.
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Sutopia

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Re: Why do most mods have to make the game easier?
« Reply #19 on: May 22, 2021, 03:29:50 PM »

Mods for most games are designed by and for diehard fans who have finished the vanilla and want more content. Naturally, since the target audience has probably already finished the vanilla, they're probably good enough at it, so that they'd expect modded content to introduce extra challenge. I can't help but wonder why it's not the case with starsector specifically: most mods add factions that bring more toys (ships/weapons) that make the player stronger, but they don't add any actual challenge to compensate for this.

Most faction mods introduce very passive/neutral factions that just provide more stuff for the player to buy.

Even mods that technically buff hostile factions (luddics/pirates) either buff them very little, or if they add any advanced pirate tech, the player always gets all the same and plus some more.

I can't help but feel that practically every mod that I have, gives me more tactical options and if it adds any challenges, they're always optional. The main challenges that I'm facing are almost all the same as vanilla: money, pirates, luddics, I just get more tools to deal with them from mods. Why don't mods routinely give more and better officers to the hostiles? Why don't they send hired assassins after me to reclaim the [redacted] bit of tech that I stole? Why don't they routinely make my life harder by raiding my colonies all the time?


why dont you play nexereilin random sector custom scenario: derelict empire and choose pirates as your faction?

that should provide plenty of challenge

there is also a starfarer mode that ramps up the difficulty

hot take
That was exactly  the problem
Nexerelin random sector removes mod event chains
This specific mod gained too much popularity and since it removes event chains from mods there is no point in making any.
[close]
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SafariJohn

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Re: Why do most mods have to make the game easier?
« Reply #20 on: May 22, 2021, 05:51:55 PM »

hot take on Nex random mode
That was exactly  the problem
Nexerelin random sector removes mod event chains
This specific mod gained too much popularity and since it removes event chains from mods there is no point in making any.
[close]


Spawning my custom stuff (like Rockpiper Perch station and the roider industries) in Nex random mode requires a lot of extra work on my end. And I believe I have still not squashed all the bugs.
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Jonlissla

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Re: Why do most mods have to make the game easier?
« Reply #21 on: May 22, 2021, 09:27:55 PM »

i remember back in .5~ there was an excellent total conversion that had onlythree factions in one really large solar system, two of which didnt use shields at aal (and were no less effective in that world for it)

Oh boy, I remember that one! Completely forgot the name but it was a really refreshing mod that completely rebalanced the game around having no shields. Art was great too.

Just... don't use those mods then? Aside from that, if you're looking for super challenging gameplay I don't think this may be for you. I know I don't play SS for difficult gameplay.

I think it's less about being difficult and more about modded content being generally overtuned compared to vanilla.
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DownTheDrain

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Re: Why do most mods have to make the game easier?
« Reply #22 on: May 23, 2021, 06:08:18 AM »

I can't help but feel that practically every mod that I have, gives me more tactical options and if it adds any challenges, they're always optional. The main challenges that I'm facing are almost all the same as vanilla: money, pirates, luddics, I just get more tools to deal with them from mods. Why don't mods routinely give more and better officers to the hostiles? Why don't they send hired assassins after me to reclaim the [redacted] bit of tech that I stole? Why don't they routinely make my life harder by raiding my colonies all the time?

I can't help but feel that everything you want in mods would annoy the absolute hell out of me.
Non-optional challenges that I'm not able to beat and blog my progression or having my colonies raided all the time doesn't sound like a great time to me.

There are mods to artificially raise the difficulty which have already been mentioned in the thread. You can also restrict yourself to certain (subpar) factions or limit the size or tech level of your fleet. If you roll up with a minmaxed fleet of the best faction designs and still only fight pirates and pathers that's not the mods' fault.

I do agree that more questline challenges would be nice, but as said before, those have only been made possible recently and are also easy to break when combined with other mods.
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Sutopia

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Re: Why do most mods have to make the game easier?
« Reply #23 on: May 23, 2021, 07:27:53 AM »

Self imposed challenge is no scapegoat for terribly balanced mod, if not outright cheating.
We're talking about baseline difficulty when a player attempt to beat the game taking every advantage a player can possibly get.
Too many exploits would render the game itself cheap and poorly crafted.
Only few hardcore players would do those self imposed challenges just for the bragging rights and self fulfillment, but regular player would just find the game boring and stop playing.
How many of you beat dark souls with only beginner weapon when you talk about "self imposed challenge"?
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Amoebka

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Re: Why do most mods have to make the game easier?
« Reply #24 on: May 23, 2021, 07:51:13 AM »

I feel it might be less about mod ships being overpowered, and more about the general ability to cherry pick the best stuff from everywhere. In vanilla, you have good and bad ships. In most good mods, you have ships that are as good as the best vanilla ones, and ships that are worse. In the end, you combine the best vanilla ships with the best mod ships for your own fleet. The more mods you have at once, the better selection you have, and the more optimized your fleet ends up being. Pile on enough mods, and you can field a fleet that only has top tier picks for every role in it, which is what makes it seem OP.
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DownTheDrain

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Re: Why do most mods have to make the game easier?
« Reply #25 on: May 23, 2021, 08:06:38 AM »

Self imposed challenge is no scapegoat for terribly balanced mod, if not outright cheating.
We're talking about baseline difficulty when a player attempt to beat the game taking every advantage a player can possibly get.
Too many exploits would render the game itself cheap and poorly crafted.
Only few hardcore players would do those self imposed challenges just for the bragging rights and self fulfillment, but regular player would just find the game boring and stop playing.
How many of you beat dark souls with only beginner weapon when you talk about "self imposed challenge"?

Couldn't disagree more to be honest.

I always play according to some theme or self-imposed restrictions. It's way more fun to me than trying to exploit the hell out of mod mechanics that aren't balanced against each other and I'm far from a hardcore player. I'm thoroughly average at piloting and can't really be bothered to find the optimal loadout for every situation. Bragging rights don't come into it either, it's a singleplayer game after all. It just feels much more immersive to me to follow a theme or setting than to try to win as hard as humanly possible.

If you want to use exploits and poor balance or just cheat your way to victory then go for it. Whatever floats your boat.
If you think a ship, hullmod or weapon is too powerful then use a text editor and change the values. It's about as open source as it gets and you can tone down an entire faction in a matter of minutes.
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MesoTroniK

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Re: Why do most mods have to make the game easier?
« Reply #26 on: May 23, 2021, 05:49:20 PM »

I just want to say to one point in this thread. It is incorrect that it only became possible to do questlines recently, they have been possible for years. What *is* correct is that it became easier recently, but only for some types of them!

Dark.Revenant

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Re: Why do most mods have to make the game easier?
« Reply #27 on: May 23, 2021, 07:36:54 PM »

Quests are neither easy nor especially practical to make with the new 0.95a update.  The update added tons of framework code and examples to base off of, but the hard labor required to write all that content is still there!  Nothing will ever made cold, hard content "easy" to make.

For instance, a quest I'm writing for SWP, one of my mods—which does exactly what you're asking for, by the way—is an enormous undertaking that has been eating up many of my evenings for well over a month.  It's already longer than the vanilla Project Ziggurat quest and will ultimately be longer than At The Gates, when all the planned content is finished.  David wasn't kidding about the vanilla word count; I literally have to write a novella's share of text to get it all done.  Not to mention the thousands of lines of code and scripting, hundreds of lines of rules.csv madness, etc.

Also, just for the record, I am responsible for 8 separate mods.  Only one of them is a traditional faction mod.  I like to make a variety of things; some modders are different and just like making lots of space ships and unique factions to use those space ships.  If you want a mod that adds content and challenge, I recommend Underworld.  If you dislike factions that allow you to purchase (most of) their ships—at least if you're commissioned—maybe don't install Interstellar Imperium.

It's a lot of work to create civilian alternatives for ships, and in the case of Interstellar Imperium, it would also cost me a considerable amount of money.  The reason that few factions make acquiring their technology difficult is because the vanilla game simply lacks easy frameworks for such things.  And even if, say, the Imperium had civilian alternatives, what stops you from just collecting derelicts, dipping into the black market, or—hell—just getting a commission and buying them and then getting rid of the commission?  There's certainly no framework in place for having patrols see that you're using some not-for-export technology without a license and taking it away from you.  You can even find random faction blueprints out in the middle of nowhere; RNG can give you access to those ships, so it wouldn't make sense to punish people for trying to build them.

Realistically, what purpose would that really serve?  I can see that being an interesting gimmick for, like, a faction, but not all of them.  Most factions' ships are meant to be balanced around vanilla's level, so it would just be very frustrating for a player to play around with a faction's goodies if there are so many consequences for using anything.  It works for, perhaps, a one-off super-ship like the Ziggurat, but not "Joe's Frigate #500".  I know for sure something like that would ruin the Interstellar Imperium—and most other traditional faction mods—for a lot of players.

The long and short of it is that, in vanilla, it's not hard to acquire any kind of ship you want.  If you want a Paragon, it doesn't take a whole lot of effort to get one, one way or another.  I know for a fact that very few modded ships exceed the Paragon's strength, but many of those inferior ships can easily wind up being harder to acquire than the Paragon due to sheer scarcity.  Mods are generally designed around the idea that "good" equipment can be acquired fairly easily.  The best "standard" guns from a typical faction will be designed around the idea that they're competing with Heavy Maulers and Hypervelocity Drivers, not Heavy Mortars and Thumpers, but will try to constructively compete rather than replace the Heavy Blaster with "Heavy Blaster but Better".

For these reasons, for a long time—yes, including now, with 0.95—the gold standard for faction balance is that any new equipment must either be:
1. Inferior to existing equipment, save perhaps a narrow specialization; (most Underworld equipment)
2. Generally on par with existing equipment, but occupying a different niche; (most Ship/Weapon Pack equipment)
3. Superior to existing equipment in a specific way, but otherwise inferior; (most Interstellar Imperium equipment)
or 4. Superior to existing equipment generally, but impractical to use, extraordinarily difficult to acquire, and/or exists in finite supply. (most Knights Templar equipment)

Just my thoughts.
« Last Edit: May 23, 2021, 07:40:58 PM by Dark.Revenant »
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Madskills

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Re: Why do most mods have to make the game easier?
« Reply #28 on: May 25, 2021, 12:44:07 AM »

@Dark.Revenant
I agree that the core problem that high-end equipment is too easy to buy is clearly stemming from vanilla doing this for years. So most mods don't address this problem at all or don't even consider it to be one, they just give you more stuff to acquire just as easily.

> Realistically, what purpose would that really serve?
The purpose is to make acquisition of high-end equipment feel like a greater achievement. For example, acquiring omega weapons feels great right now because it's certainly harder than just buying them. Acquiring a Ziggurat takes quite a bit more effort as well than just randomly finding it in the debris or stumbling upon it on the black market.

I understand that this has been status quo for years, this is just the way the game has always functioned. But now that there ARE omegas and ziggurats in the vanilla, one sort of expects similar level of progression depth from mods too, but mods often seem to follow the same old progression scheme of randomly stumbling upon everything.

> What stops you from just collecting derelicts, dipping into the black market, or—hell—just getting a commission and buying them and then getting rid of the commission
In my opinion, these should be valid ways of acquiring "good" tech. But acquiring "top-tier" tech should be way harder: bounty bosses, quest chains, maybe even building dedicated industries, etc.
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Dark.Revenant

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Re: Why do most mods have to make the game easier?
« Reply #29 on: May 25, 2021, 01:16:47 AM »

The purpose is to make acquisition of high-end equipment feel like a greater achievement.
I don't think you're replying to the same idea that I was getting at.  The Ziggurat's downside is everyone knows who you are and wants your shiny toy.  Otherwise, it's not that hard to get.  I was questioning the wisdom of making more than perhaps a rare couple of things work similarly.

Anyway, my primary point is that most faction mods are historically balanced around their equipment being relatively easy to acquire.  Measures to make faction tech hard to acquire are difficult to implement in a satisfying manner, most "good" ways requiring significant new campaign content to be added, and furthermore faction tech would need to be re-balanced around the idea of being hard to get your hands on.  Choosing an II Dictator or a BRDY Antaeus over a vanilla Dominator is a matter of preference and focus, rather than one being objectively better than the others.  This really feels like you've got a solution in search of a problem.
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