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Author Topic: A Tale of Two Tech Levels  (Read 38244 times)

Farlarzia

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Re: A Tale of Two Tech Levels
« Reply #60 on: May 28, 2021, 06:51:08 PM »

High tech has some of the best long range weapons. 1 small, 1 medium, 2 large energy weapons with 1000 range. So high tech gets to control the range against low tech ships and does not need to close to do damage. It just takes some time to burn through the armor.

Beams definitely aren't the best long range weapons.

They're really quite awful unless you mass an extreme amount of them, their only redeeming quality *is* their range.

While ballistic weapons are very good at what they do, and happen to have range on top of that.
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Legendsmith

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Re: A Tale of Two Tech Levels
« Reply #61 on: May 28, 2021, 07:09:02 PM »

I like the changes to burn drive; it'll be great to see the AI actually using those because as it is they basically never do.
But the Vanguard? This has missed the mark absolutely.
Well, the idea that low-tech ships are more focused on armor and weapons than speed and shields "Doesn't work for frigates" and like... Yes, correct.
This "solution" of "How do we make a frigate fast and tough without making it fast and tough?"
"Well we make it fast and tough, of course."

You can change the name of shields and engines but their effects are the same. Giving the high-tech model a low tech coat of paint is wrong. I seriously have to contest this decision.
For example; The idea of the torpedo boat did not work in history until the advent of powerful enough engines and weapons that could be installed on a small vessel that enabled it to be a threat to a larger one. It is a similar situation here, and thus the Vanguard is an anachronism within Starsector itself.

Furthermore, the sniper frigate idea was clearly not given adequate consideration. What other frigates fill this role? Missile frigates do not count here; missiles are not sniper, they are missiles. The Brawler? Well it can mount the Heavy Mauler and Hypervelocity drivers. I suppose that is what you were getting at. But that's somewhat incidental.
This was a huge missed opportunity. There was so much more in the design space other than "A tempest, but brown."
An actual 'torpedo' boat could even have been a possibility. Or a low tech ship with a kind of "Small ballistic intergration" that gives a large range boost to small ballistic weapons, or maybe medium ones. Or even making something that's like the Mudskupper Mk II except not terrible; perhaps with a built in hullmod that changes the behavior of the large ballistic weapons mounted to it.

Finally, the Eradicator seems alright, but does the pirate variant of nearly everything HAVE to be bad? Pirates should be pirates, not barbarians who just want to kill you, in space. The Falcon (P) is a great example of pirate design.
« Last Edit: May 28, 2021, 07:22:06 PM by Legendsmith »
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Thaago

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Re: A Tale of Two Tech Levels
« Reply #62 on: May 28, 2021, 07:21:44 PM »

I don't think something with burn drive for speed and damper field is going to play like high tech. High tech is all about getting back out to vent to replenish their infinite hitpoints after delivering their strike (or just wolfpacking something down with numbers, but thats not unique to tech levels its just something small ships do). If they can just dart in and do a little damage, but the enemy is denied venting due to other enemies etc, then dart out with speed, then high tech is winning even against superior enemies. Even though wolves are pretty lackluster, 2 of them will comfily take down any isolated destroyer because of that strategy for example.

This thing doesn't have infinite hitpoints - it has more hitpoints than would be expected because it can turn on and off the damper field, but every hit it takes is a permanent step towards exploding: playing it like a high tech ship isn't going to be good I don't think (haven't playtested, but thats what theorycraft says to me at least). It also is going to be difficult to run away after a strike because burn drive is forwards only and has a cooldown.
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Legendsmith

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Re: A Tale of Two Tech Levels
« Reply #63 on: May 28, 2021, 07:49:49 PM »

It's still a kind of high tech philosophy, which is my point.
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Alex

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Re: A Tale of Two Tech Levels
« Reply #64 on: May 28, 2021, 07:53:35 PM »

Low tech heavy frigate, finally, a blessing from our lord. Everything suggests it just must be used while heavy d-modded to get bonuses from I4R. I hope it will have enough OP to make various builds even in the cost of increased DP. Tempest change looks interesting, i even fear it can be more powerful in some situations than it already is. And oh that grandfather of an aurora looks very promising for the low tech fleets, never before i was so scared of hegemony inspection as now.

It has a good amount of OP, yeah. And the Tempest - well, ideally, in *some* situations it would be more powerful. Just not universally!

I'm not sure how the tracking on the Tempest's suicide drones is, but it sounds like to me the Tempest just got an Antimatter SRM launcher strapped to it for free, since both deal the same damage for the same flux cost, and both have a 20-second reload. Compared to the AM SRM, Termination Sequence has 1 less ammo, gains 500 EMP damage, and your ammo fights back while it's not being used! Granted, it consumes a drone, but that can be well worth it as a strike weapon to crack armor and then chew up the squishy insides with regular weapons.

The tracking is quite good! But, I think this analysis is a bit backwards - it's not ammo that can shoot, but, since the Tempest already had the drone, it's *using something that could shoot for ammo instead*. How much damage could the drone do in 20 seconds? (In theory, well over 1000. In practice, with armor and positioning, it really depends.) How much value would it have as point-defense? Also, 20 seconds is optimistic - it'd literally never be that short, since if you're down a drone, the replacement rate is ticking down.

I think the way to think about this is it's letting you take an existing capability and use it in another way. Whether it's worth it at any given point is situational.


 
I was thinking some kind of heavy-duty scattergun (scattercannon?) that fires lots of rounds somewhat inaccurately for high damage and moderate flux. Think mortar to scatter-thing like autocannon to needler. Problem is it'd make sense for it to be a magazine in the true sense, where instead of adding 'charges' gradually, it has to reload the whole magazine at once. I don't think it'd be worthwhile to have a dedicated reload key for one weapon (or a very small handful in the future), so perhaps it could 'reload' after not firing for an amount of time. Thus Expanded Magazines would extend the amount before having to cease fire, but wouldn't affect the delay between bursts, and if you and re-engage after retreating/murdering you'll still start with a full magazine.

Could be fun adding a small element of thinking when to use what weapons other than just not overloading, like do you stop your HE scatter-nameinprogress early to reload sooner, allowing you to strike the *moment* they take their shields down, or use your remaining charges/bullets to attempt an overload?

Gotcha! As you say, though, adding a reload button is a bit of a no-go, and a reload after not firing... it'd need an indicator, AI awareness of this, etc. It gets pretty messy rather quickly. Still, just a basic with-regenerating-ammo ballistic could be interesting, no argument there.


I was thinking something in the lines of Armour Shrapnel the ship has additional plating in the front and the sides and it ejects them at very high speeds, could be a last resort to do additional damage against an enemy that is up close or destroy some pesky reapers/bombers before it is too late.

(You know what's funny, me and David were talking about something very similar, though in a different context, just the other day...)



For the low tech frigate the right click damper field is interesting to say the least... I wonder if it could do effective ramming moves with burn drive + damper? Its a bit small, but I just know its something a lot of people are going to try.

Ooooh! Say hello to flameout, though. Not sure how practical it'd be but it could be rather spectacular.


If I may, because I sorta brought it up, I wasn't intending we just go swapping ship systems willy-nilly. I was specifically talking about Damper Field replacing shields on Low-Tech (and only Low-Tech) ships. Damper Field reminds me of some kind of precursor to proper shields: some mitigating force field that reduces shot velocity before it hits armor. When true shields were introduced, it kinda made the damper field obsolete (after all, you can fire through shields but damper fields shuts your offense down) but certain "traditionalists" (read: the "Low Tech School") balked at the possibility of overload and leaving your ship completely vulnerable and stuck with the old-school Dampers. Why put flux toward shields when they could all go to guns (I think this could explain Low Tech's generally poorer flux stats: it's all going to guns so you have balance off of that).

Where the tuning levers come in is defining the Damper Field strength of the individual ships, kind of like shield efficiency. If an Onslaught was too tough at 50% mitigation, you lower it somewhat to find the right balance. It gets "boring" to take down such ships, true, but there isn't a ship in the game that only has Damper Field and no shields. If you can't mitigate damage via shields, Damper Field ships might not be that hard to take down. But I digress.

I get the conceptual appeal of this, I really do! The main sticking point is that I don't think having an entire range of ships not engage with core mechanics like "using flux for both defense and offense" and "being able to be overloaded" is a good idea.

A smaller but still non-starter issue would be stuff like beams, which all of a sudden become capable of chewing these ships up with impunity, albeit slowly. The game is really built around normal ships having shields. An exception here and there is good, but I think it's important to avoid getting carried away!


Re: Expanded Magazines

I've always chuckled that the hull mod that was originally intended to boost Ballistics way back in the day now only boosts Energy weapons. Should be called "Expanded Charges!" I mean, not to bring it up for the 10th time but a Medium Assault Gun would be a great candidate for this. Since we can't balance such a weapon around traditional ranges and damage (because it'd make everything else obsolete), make it burst-y with ammo considerations and sustained fire that is inferior to the Heavy Mortar. Sure, it's strong, long-range, and accurate but it can't do so indefinitely. I think having a specialized gun that uses ammo like an even larger Hellbore or a pure EMP weapon could also work.

(Have you noticed how its icon is now blue?)


The Roider Union's shieldless super frigate compromises on this by being 6 DP and having High Maintenance. 12 su/mo is expensive early game while 6 DP makes it easier to deploy later on.

Interesting! You know, having to occasionally recover the ship and repair it up might end up having just about the same effect overall.


It occurred to me that Tempest will be benefiting a fair bit more from fighter buffs now.

Hmm, maybe? The missile stage wouldn't actually benefit from fighter speed buffs. I'm not sure how it'd benefit more than now. Perhaps less, since when it does its missile thing, it doesn't benefit any more than it already had, but now it'll just have less uptime overall.


Related to comparisons of Low Tech and High Tech: Alex, do you remember this thread?
I liked this proposal the most:
If a false sense of tiering is the main problem, the main offender is probably Low Tech. It draws the direct comparison with High Tech and looks like the inferior option. If it was called something else, High Tech would have nothing to be superior too, and appear more as a sidegrade, while still conveying its relative recency. Also, if modern day Earth is any comparison, people would be euphamizing the category as "classic" or "vintage" to sell more ships.

I did see it, yeah! It's not necessarily a bad idea, bu the long and short of it is I like the name and don't want to change it.


High tech has some of the best long range weapons. 1 small, 1 medium, 2 large energy weapons with 1000 range. So high tech gets to control the range against low tech ships and does not need to close to do damage. It just takes some time to burn through the armor.

Beams definitely aren't the best long range weapons.

They're really quite awful unless you mass an extreme amount of them, their only redeeming quality *is* their range.

While ballistic weapons are very good at what they do, and happen to have range on top of that.

Right! A key point being that they deal soft flux, and oftentimes can't get through shields, even low-tech ones, at all. They're a way to give high-tech long ranged support weapons while still more or less requiring some of them to close in to deal actual damage.


I don't think something with burn drive for speed and damper field is going to play like high tech. High tech is all about getting back out to vent to replenish their infinite hitpoints after delivering their strike (or just wolfpacking something down with numbers, but thats not unique to tech levels its just something small ships do). If they can just dart in and do a little damage, but the enemy is denied venting due to other enemies etc, then dart out with speed, then high tech is winning even against superior enemies. Even though wolves are pretty lackluster, 2 of them will comfily take down any isolated destroyer because of that strategy for example.

This thing doesn't have infinite hitpoints - it has more hitpoints than would be expected because it can turn on and off the damper field, but every hit it takes is a permanent step towards exploding: playing it like a high tech ship isn't going to be good I don't think (haven't playtested, but thats what theorycraft says to me at least). It also is going to be difficult to run away after a strike because burn drive is forwards only and has a cooldown.

This all seems broadly correct based on my experience with it, yeah. In feeling around for "how to make this work" I did indeed at one point have stats that made it "a Tempest, but brown". And it felt pretty bad. What it is now is not even close to that.

It's still a kind of high tech philosophy, which is my point.

Ah, ... no? A bunch of low tech ships have burn drive; per the blog post, it's literally meant to be a crucial piece of what makes them work. And "having better than usual non-replenishable toughness" is also a core low-tech hull property.

(Edit: I apologize for the borderline snark, there, btw. I'm just genuinely confused.)
« Last Edit: May 28, 2021, 08:14:12 PM by Alex »
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SonnaBanana

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Re: A Tale of Two Tech Levels
« Reply #65 on: May 28, 2021, 08:00:19 PM »

Both of the new ships look like they came out of a mod pack, not that it's a bad thing.
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Burvjradzite

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Re: A Tale of Two Tech Levels
« Reply #66 on: May 28, 2021, 08:05:56 PM »

Quote
Low tech heavy frigate, finally, a blessing from our lord. Everything suggests it just must be used while heavy d-modded to get bonuses from I4R.
I4R is being taken through the shredder, haven't you heard?
What happened? I'm in a middle of a run using d-modded ships with this

Cyan Leader

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Re: A Tale of Two Tech Levels
« Reply #67 on: May 28, 2021, 08:09:05 PM »

While I rarely pilot low tech ships I appreciate the increased variety of ships I'll be fighting when facing pirates.
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WeiTuLo

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Re: A Tale of Two Tech Levels
« Reply #68 on: May 28, 2021, 08:42:30 PM »

Will Eradicator be the new SO cruiser? :D
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Legendsmith

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Re: A Tale of Two Tech Levels
« Reply #69 on: May 28, 2021, 09:10:55 PM »


I get the conceptual appeal of this, I really do! The main sticking point is that I don't think having an entire range of ships not engage with core mechanics like "using flux for both defense and offense" and "being able to be overloaded" is a good idea.

A smaller but still non-starter issue would be stuff like beams, which all of a sudden become capable of chewing these ships up with impunity, albeit slowly. The game is really built around normal ships having shields. An exception here and there is good, but I think it's important to avoid getting carried away!
I agree strongly with this.

Ah, ... no? A bunch of low tech ships have burn drive; per the blog post, it's literally meant to be a crucial piece of what makes them work. And "having better than usual non-replenishable toughness" is also a core low-tech hull property.

(Edit: I apologize for the borderline snark, there, btw. I'm just genuinely confused.)
No worries. Now, the thing is that you've basically defined a frigate's role as practically synonymous with the high tech doctrine. Just because you've given it a burn drive, a signature subsystem of low tech, doesn't change this. By your own admission low tech frigates are bad (at least in fleet combat) because they don't play to low-tech strengths. It feels like instead of designing a heavy or elite tier frigate that actually does play to low tech strength you've tried to assemble the frigate style. Giving them ways to sidestep those weaknesses is just denying they fit the doctrine, and that's fine. Outliers don't have to fit the doctrine but that needs to be admitted.
The fact is as far as I can see this might not play precisely like Tempest but it's still trying to fill the role of one in the same way of being a "premium frigate" by the given definition (which is basically HT doctrine), rather than being something that actually fits with low tech doctrine. Hopefully this makes it more clear.
« Last Edit: May 28, 2021, 09:13:18 PM by Legendsmith »
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Beinsezii

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Re: A Tale of Two Tech Levels
« Reply #70 on: May 28, 2021, 09:12:16 PM »

Gotcha! As you say, though, adding a reload button is a bit of a no-go, and a reload after not firing... it'd need an indicator, AI awareness of this, etc. It gets pretty messy rather quickly. Still, just a basic with-regenerating-ammo ballistic could be interesting, no argument there.
Hmm. Maybe it could regenerate in 'chunks'? So say it has ~100 rounds at the start, but instead of regenerating 1 at a time every 1/4 second like pulser weapons, it generates 25 at a time every ~5 ish seconds.

Alternate idea, you could have 'charge burst' weapons that have a multi-shot burst but stores in charges over time. So it could have 5 charges/magazines of however-many round bursts. You could instead use total bullet count, but then if it has, say 20 round bursts and 100 max, adding expanded magazines would give you an odd count at 150 max so your last burst would only be half.

I personally think either (or both) could make interesting charge/magazine based ballistics weapons, especially on faster ships like the Falcon or new Eradicator. Could finally be the gateway to a new medium ballistic weapon that isn't either a blitzkrieg chaingun or a long-range siege mortar
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Alex

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Re: A Tale of Two Tech Levels
« Reply #71 on: May 28, 2021, 09:44:58 PM »

Will Eradicator be the new SO cruiser? :D

Maybe :) It's certainly got the firepower...


No worries. Now, the thing is that you've basically defined a frigate's role as practically synonymous with the high tech doctrine. Just because you've given it a burn drive, a signature subsystem of low tech, doesn't change this. By your own admission low tech frigates are bad (at least in fleet combat) because they don't play to low-tech strengths. It feels like instead of designing a heavy or elite tier frigate that actually does play to low tech strength you've tried to assemble the frigate style. Giving them ways to sidestep those weaknesses is just denying they fit the doctrine, and that's fine. Outliers don't have to fit the doctrine but that needs to be admitted.
The fact is as far as I can see this might not play precisely like Tempest but it's still trying to fill the role of one in the same way of being a "premium frigate" by the given definition (which is basically HT doctrine), rather than being something that actually fits with low tech doctrine. Hopefully this makes it more clear.

Ahh, thank you for clarifying! I think I understand where you're coming from. I don't think this is right, though!

One of the points was that frigates usually rely on speed for survival, and high tech does this better because their ships are baseline faster. Burn drive isn't contributing to this at all - it's a way for the ship to get stuck in/chase something down, but not to get away (which is very much in line with the low tech way of doing things) so I think we can more or less discount this aspect of it. In fact, "I want this frigate to have burn drive" was the starting point, not, like, a way to paper over some aspect that wasn't working.

(I do agree that if the Vanguard relied on speed for staying alive, it most likely wouldn't feel quite right. Though for example the Hound *does* do this, so there are ways to "sell" this.)

The other part is that having good shields, for a frigate, is more beneficial than having heavy (for a frigate) armor. Low tech shields are generally worse than high tech ones, both due to the shield absorption multiplier, and to having poorer baseline flux stats. But "comparatively high armor values in a reasonable range for frigates are still pretty poor in practice" isn't an intrinstic low tech way of doing things, you know? It's just how some numbers work out due to armor mechanics. The important conceptual part there - the doctrine, if you want to think of it this way - is that low tech ships can take a lot more damage on hull and armor.

Bigger ships can do this with reasonable-looking armor values. Damper Field on right click is just a way of achieving this for a smaller ship! And so the Vanguard takes this aspect of low tech and cranks it up to 11 - instead of having poor shields and good hull/armor damage tanking, it has no shield and really amazing hull/armor tanking. You could also achieve this by just turning the armor values up to something unreasonable, but 1) they'd look silly and 2) the Damper Field on right-click is more fun.

I actually *have* been thinking about a built-in hullmod to give small ballistics a bit more range - not for the Vanguard, but for the Lasher. One could advance the same argument against it, though, I think - that it's sidestepping the "inherent weakness" of small ballistics, and so on. But ultimately it's the substance of how ships work that matters, not how they play with the numbers to make them come out right. And for the Vanguard, it's tough in the low-tech way, and it's situationally fast in the low-tech way, and that's what counts!


Edit:
Now, the thing is that you've basically defined a frigate's role as practically synonymous with the high tech doctrine.

(Just for clarity, I don't think I did that. Rather, just pointing out why, given how the stats work out, high tech frigates tend to be stronger. So it's more setting up the problem to solve - "how do we work around this to have a frigate that's good in the low-tech way" than saying "any good frigate must do this". And, in fact, the end result is absolutely doing things in a way that's different from high-tech frigates. Heck, it generally doesn't even beat them, because of those differences!)


Hmm. Maybe it could regenerate in 'chunks'? So say it has ~100 rounds at the start, but instead of regenerating 1 at a time every 1/4 second like pulser weapons, it generates 25 at a time every ~5 ish seconds.

Alternate idea, you could have 'charge burst' weapons that have a multi-shot burst but stores in charges over time. So it could have 5 charges/magazines of however-many round bursts. You could instead use total bullet count, but then if it has, say 20 round bursts and 100 max, adding expanded magazines would give you an odd count at 150 max so your last burst would only be half.

I personally think either (or both) could make interesting charge/magazine based ballistics weapons, especially on faster ships like the Falcon or new Eradicator. Could finally be the gateway to a new medium ballistic weapon that isn't either a blitzkrieg chaingun or a long-range siege mortar

(There's actually existing mechanics for this sort of thing! For example, the Ion Pulser regenerates charges 3 at a time. And, yeah, this could be interesting.)
« Last Edit: May 28, 2021, 09:52:14 PM by Alex »
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CrashToDesktop

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Re: A Tale of Two Tech Levels
« Reply #72 on: May 28, 2021, 10:21:46 PM »

The tracking is quite good! But, I think this analysis is a bit backwards - it's not ammo that can shoot, but, since the Tempest already had the drone, it's *using something that could shoot for ammo instead*. How much damage could the drone do in 20 seconds? (In theory, well over 1000. In practice, with armor and positioning, it really depends.) How much value would it have as point-defense? Also, 20 seconds is optimistic - it'd literally never be that short, since if you're down a drone, the replacement rate is ticking down.

I think the way to think about this is it's letting you take an existing capability and use it in another way. Whether it's worth it at any given point is situational.
Well, once you start cutting down fighter replacement time through high CR and character skills, it'll be consistently lower than 20 seconds. Anyhow, I'm not saying that you should be firing these things off as soon as they leave the hangar - they are, of course, very good at shooting things - but their functionality (and, to a certain extent, their purpose) is very similar to that of the AM SRM - send one or both off to their doom at the right moment, which is obviously the intent, as you said, to use it in another way.
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Legendsmith

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Re: A Tale of Two Tech Levels
« Reply #73 on: May 28, 2021, 10:44:16 PM »

I actually *have* been thinking about a built-in hullmod to give small ballistics a bit more range - not for the Vanguard, but for the Lasher. One could advance the same argument against it, though, I think - that it's sidestepping the "inherent weakness" of small ballistics, and so on.
Short range isn't an inherent part of small ballistic weapon design; the Railgun has quite a respectable range. Weapons have different ranges, it's not an inherent weakness. It's a weakness but it's not inherent. The railgun doesn't feel like "not a small ballistic weapon" because it's got superior range.
I don't think we're going to get anywhere with this though.
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Dudok22

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Re: A Tale of Two Tech Levels
« Reply #74 on: May 29, 2021, 12:43:54 AM »

Wow! I love these changes! The terminator drone missile looks fun!

One thing I noticed about some of the movement enhancing ship systems like plasma burn is that they usually disable the 0 flux boost by generating miniscule levels of flux. This makes the movement "choppy" and unnatural because after you use plasma burn the ship slows down to the base speed and then immediately speeds up as the 0 flux boost activates. It's nothing serious but it would make it visually more pleasing (at least to me) if the 0 flux boost stayed on during the burn.
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