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Author Topic: Highfleet... ugh  (Read 12347 times)

Deshara

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Re: Highfleet... ugh
« Reply #15 on: August 06, 2021, 04:16:06 AM »

tbf there is a button to skip them
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SCC

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Re: Highfleet... ugh
« Reply #16 on: August 06, 2021, 05:03:09 AM »

It sounds like I should play Highfleet just to know how to improve Starsector.

I will say that it felt weird to me that you lose a campaign resource for a meta-action like restarting a fight... but, I mean, games do gamey things sometimes, so, ok, fine!
Where there's a will, there's a way as well.
Flux Grid Rebuilders:
Disabled ships are ships which can no longer fight due to unstable flux grid, which will explode immediately after the salvage screen. Until then, they can only move around. It's possible to use Flux Grid Rebuilders to stabilise those ships and bring them back to operational capacity. However, if you do that, the enemy will likely do the same.
This explains how you use in-universe resources for out-universe things (restarting the fight in this case).

FGRs have to be tuned to specific ships to recover them efficiently, with just a single FGR. It's possible to use untuned FGRs, but they will burn out before reconstructing the entire flux grid, necessitating use of multiple FGRs to finish the process.
This would simulate Highfleet's over time morale recovery.

Oh, god, don't remind me... Thank you for not adding a bunch of obtuse mini-games to Starsector. I like the landings, conversations, and salvage minigames just fine, but I think I'm going to start ignoring all radio intercepts as a 'self imposed challenge'
I even recall Alex going "if I can't make a good minigame, I won't make any at all".

Alex

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Re: Highfleet... ugh
« Reply #17 on: August 06, 2021, 11:01:19 AM »

I think if you give players a reasonable way to deal with losses without completely crippling their campaign most will likely use that system over save-scumming. I mean, a lot of story point actions can theoretically be done by save-scumming as well but having an SP option makes it feel more legitimate to use that.

I think that's a fair point! But the implementation in HF feels about halfway to save-scumming anyway, so I think it'd be a harder sell in the presence of being able to save/load more freely.

(I really wish you *could* save/load whenever, except for in battles, of course. These days when I'm playing a game I want to be able to quit it pretty much immediately, not be tied to it until it decides to save...)

I'm fairly confused by this whole thread of conversation. It's somewhat off-topic anyway...

Ahh, I think we started talking past each other at some point without realizing :) Still not sure where it went off the rails, but, regardless :D

tbf there is a button to skip them

Right! I think I kind of immediately discounted because it gets you a worse result.

(And, this does seem like a conceptual problem. A button to "skip a chore and get a worse result", not really a fan of. I can see how it might've happened, though - and if the "worse result" is good enough to play the game out, then it's not that big a deal. I'll have to just jam it every time and see how it goes.)

Where there's a will, there's a way as well.
Flux Grid Rebuilders:
Disabled ships are ships which can no longer fight due to unstable flux grid, which will explode immediately after the salvage screen. Until then, they can only move around. It's possible to use Flux Grid Rebuilders to stabilise those ships and bring them back to operational capacity. However, if you do that, the enemy will likely do the same.
This explains how you use in-universe resources for out-universe things (restarting the fight in this case).

FGRs have to be tuned to specific ships to recover them efficiently, with just a single FGR. It's possible to use untuned FGRs, but they will burn out before reconstructing the entire flux grid, necessitating use of multiple FGRs to finish the process.
This would simulate Highfleet's over time morale recovery.

A worthy effort :)
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Sundog

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Re: Highfleet... ugh
« Reply #18 on: August 06, 2021, 04:56:08 PM »

(I really wish you *could* save/load whenever, except for in battles, of course. These days when I'm playing a game I want to be able to quit it pretty much immediately, not be tied to it until it decides to save...)
Pretty sure Highfleet is one of those games that auto-saves any time you make any decision, no matter how trivial. Capturing fleet HQ cities just creates a checkpoint save that you're allowed to travel back in time to.

Deshara

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Re: Highfleet... ugh
« Reply #19 on: August 06, 2021, 06:14:20 PM »

tbf there is a button to skip them

Right! I think I kind of immediately discounted because it gets you a worse result.

(And, this does seem like a conceptual problem. A button to "skip a chore and get a worse result", not really a fan of. I can see how it might've happened, though - and if the "worse result" is good enough to play the game out, then it's not that big a deal. I'll have to just jam it every time and see how it goes.)

i felt the same way until i realized that most of what comes in over the sigint is either nonsense or completely irrelevant to my fleet's situation, then it clicked in my head that a lot of the time i can infer from what im doing whether i care about what's on the other end of the short-wave, at which point if the game didn't have the auto-resolve button i would just ignore those signals, which would get me into the habbit of ignoring the signals. whereas with the button I'm still pulling down the sigint display & getting a result from the mechanic, and still making calls on whether or not i should try to intercept the message so even when I'm using the skip button I'm still engaging with the mechanic on some level.
reminds me a bit of the autoresolve button in total war games; there just are too many battles of little significance to demand that players micromanage every one, so the game is drastically improved by the ability to skip some content.

(I really wish you *could* save/load whenever, except for in battles, of course. These days when I'm playing a game I want to be able to quit it pretty much immediately, not be tied to it until it decides to save...)
Pretty sure Highfleet is one of those games that auto-saves any time you make any decision, no matter how trivial. Capturing fleet HQ cities just creates a checkpoint save that you're allowed to travel back in time to.

its definitely not lol i've been alt-f4'ing out of bad fights. it's really giving me flashbacks to this one space mount&blade game that some people around here might have heard of... lmfao
« Last Edit: August 06, 2021, 06:16:18 PM by Deshara »
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Alex

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Re: Highfleet... ugh
« Reply #20 on: August 06, 2021, 07:05:03 PM »

Pretty sure Highfleet is one of those games that auto-saves any time you make any decision, no matter how trivial. Capturing fleet HQ cities just creates a checkpoint save that you're allowed to travel back in time to.

I believe it saves when you get to a city. So, say, if you get to a city, then fight, buy some things, etc, you can't quit without losing progress until you get to another city, as far as I understand. And definitely not if you're mid-flight somewhere. It doesn't help that it doesn't tell you when it saves...
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SCC

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Re: Highfleet... ugh
« Reply #21 on: August 07, 2021, 02:58:05 PM »

I have played Highfleet a bit now. It feels like a flipside of Starsector. Starsector has many practical aspects to it (combat is deeper, fleet combat is a thing, there are many more weapons and unique abilities), while Highfleet has many flashy things about it (story, presentation, minigames), but are pretty similar games at their core. You just go around and shoot stuff.

Radio intercepts make me wonder "why can't I simply grab the needle with my mouse and point it precisely the way I want to?", since it wouldn't really be such a big advantage over having to scroll and drag.

But with even the slightest enemy fire hitting you glitching out the interface so you can't actually see the arrow at all - and with the huge bullet decals - that just feels like too much. But, if you set glitching to low in options, that actually takes care of the issues with the arrow, though not the bullet decals - heaven help you if you're in a corner of the playing field :)
My solution to this is to give up and wait until the holes and glitches pass. The guns reload in the meantime. It does let me appreciate that you flashbang us only when some ship blows up...

About ship customisation - I think messing around in shipworks section in the main menu will help a lot. In the campaign, you're stuck with too much risk initially to experiment. Minimalist UI there also helps, since you'll naturally notice the ship stats on the left and see what components you are missing, which you can add one by one, without any already-there parts obstructing you. It took me maybe half an hour to create a ship that flies and shoots, the biggest issue being that the editor crashed sometimes and that it's just so slow to add many parts at once.

The only thing Highfleet has that I think Starsector needs is a fair and effective way to discourage fighting the same battles until a flawless victory is achieved. I've griped before about how I think iron mode and save-scum mode are both poor fits for Starsector, and I think something similar to Highfleet's morale penalty for retrying a fight could solve my complaints. I've given a lot of thought to the best way to create something like that for Starsector, so I'd be begrudgingly willing happy to draw up a detailed suggestion, if you think it's something that should be addressed.
I haven't gotten the morale penalty yet (I don't even know what morale does), but the quick and easy battle restart is so useful. It can be off for ironman mode or whatever, but if you want to enjoy playing the game, it's really good.

Hmm - I think the games are different enough that it doesn't make a lot of sense to compare, yeah. E.G. the post combat salvage is a neat thing in HighFleet but I don't particularly think porting that system over to Starsector would be a good idea. For HF, it plays within the larger context of small-scale campaign time pressure that's present throughout. And the strategic layer... it's just apples and oranges, really! It does some neat things at the expense of a lot of freedom; again a fine choice to make, just one that produces a very different result.
I don't think choosing between getting one thing and losing other things is something that wouldn't fit for Starsector.

(And likewise for detachments; I think they work in HF largely because of how limited movement is - which is fine! but, right, very different. And I'm not sure how much they really add to the game - there's the cool factor, but it's also just a bit of a chore. I suppose it's another take on "why wouldn't you always deploy the biggest ship", which in Starsector's case is handled differently. Maybe I'll see more of a use for them later in the campaign, aside from just using them always being the right choice when approaching your average ... city? outpost? town? whatever the right word for 'em is.)
Switching fleet compositions in SS isn't directly limiting for my movement capabilities, but it does put a damper on my enjoyment of the game whenever I need to do it (well, I don't actually need it, but resource management demands I do it, since it's optimal), enough that I can't imagine not trying to obtain the Janus device as soon as possible. Or sometimes cheating anyway, because between cheating supplies and fuel to make grocery shopping with a warfleet free and spending a lot of time swapping between that warfleet and a shepherd or two, going around the sector looking for stuff, then going back to that warfleet - yeah, I will cheat instead. MY time is a limited resource. Admittedly, this calls more for fleet templates than splitting fleets, but splitting fleets encourages fights I would never take otherwise, and I like fighting in SS, so I wouldn't mind that one happening, either.

Sundog

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Re: Highfleet... ugh
« Reply #22 on: August 07, 2021, 03:27:36 PM »

It took me maybe half an hour to create a ship that flies and shoots, the biggest issue being that the editor crashed sometimes and that it's just so slow to add many parts at once.
Shift+LMB allows you to place the selected part multiple times without re-selecting it. The game never mentions this, of course. That would be too easy.

Deshara

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Re: Highfleet... ugh
« Reply #23 on: August 07, 2021, 05:08:14 PM »

that helps but -- idk if this is just me somehow but the parts are so sticky. clearing 1 tile requires 4 clicks, 2 of which need to be moved off to a blank part of the screen, and also those clicks have to be really far spaced out. im sure theres some coding reason for it, but my god does it feel bad lol
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Nick XR

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Re: Highfleet... ugh
« Reply #24 on: August 07, 2021, 07:31:48 PM »

I recently watched the TV show Avatar: The Last Airbender and I felt a bit sorry for kids who had watched it and then thought that other TV shows would ever come close to being that good.  I feel like Starsector is Avatar here in that it has created sky high expectations for any game that is remotely like SS.  Reading the reviews of Highfleet I simply think, "Well why didn't they just polish the game for 5 years, what's the big deal".

Totally spoiled.

Linnis

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Re: Highfleet... ugh
« Reply #25 on: August 11, 2021, 02:14:56 PM »

The only thing Highfleet does better is the Visual effects and Sound effects. UI style is also cool, fitting the janky steampunk style.
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Sundog

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Re: Highfleet... ugh
« Reply #26 on: August 11, 2021, 05:55:24 PM »

While I appreciate Highfleet's over-the-top sounds and visuals, it definitely neglects user experience considerations for the sake of style. I prefer FractalSoftworks' philosophy of making everything as stylish as it can be without interfering with clarity and usability.

SCC

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Re: Highfleet... ugh
« Reply #27 on: August 12, 2021, 10:06:47 AM »

The only thing Highfleet does better is the Visual effects and Sound effects. UI style is also cool, fitting the janky steampunk style.

It's more of a dieselpunk, really. Or whatever fuel you've got, gas turbines aren't picky, it just has to burn. Speaking of that, I think the dev wanted to be smart and used liquid methane as the fuel in the game, since it sounds futuristic, but fuels that are gas in room temperature typically suffer from having poor volumetric energy density.

While I appreciate Highfleet's over-the-top sounds and visuals, it definitely neglects user experience considerations for the sake of style. I prefer FractalSoftworks' philosophy of making everything as stylish as it can be without interfering with clarity and usability.
It's remarkable how Highfleet and Starsector have a go at "ship combat, fleet leading RPG" and diverge on some points.
While both HF and SS had ship combat since the beginning (or at least I assume so for HF, since Hammer Fight was Koshuntin's first game), SS went all out on it, while HF's seems to have been considered only a part of the experience since the beginning and it's simpler, but there are many more things going on in the campaign (radars, radio eavesdropping, elint, operational range missiles). In SS, it's primarily from getting place A to place B.

SS's combat visuals are pretty utilitarian, but they give you quite some information on what's going on; ship and weapon identification is possible. HF's visuals are more atmospheric, with lots of smoke and sparks, but UI has to help you out on many matters; you need red line indicators to know where the enemy is going to shoot, you need ship previews in the corners to know the condition of your or targeted ship, since you can't really see those things otherwise.

And yet, SS is the flashier one in one aspect: campaign backgrounds. In HF, you spend all your time looking at blueish minimalist map or yellow desert, while SS can get quite scenic at times.

Sundog

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Re: Highfleet... ugh
« Reply #28 on: August 12, 2021, 04:40:47 PM »

[snip], but there are many more things going on in the campaign (radars, radio eavesdropping, elint, operational range missiles). In SS, it's primarily from getting place A to place B.
I dunno. I think there are a similar number of things going on in the campaign layer of both games, just at different levels of detail. Starsector has simpler sensor mechanics, but it also has terrain and campaign abilities unrelated to sensors.

And yet, SS is the flashier one in one aspect: campaign backgrounds. In HF, you spend all your time looking at blueish minimalist map or yellow desert, while SS can get quite scenic at times.
That's a good point! Highfleet's visuals could be greatly improved with a world map texture to replace the blueish grid.

Cosmitz

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Re: Highfleet... ugh
« Reply #29 on: August 12, 2021, 09:35:37 PM »

I played Highfleet for a few days, and all the time i was thinking "man, i'd rather be playing Star Sector". Glad to see the thread here. :))

I was really hyped for it, the gameplay looked amazingly rad and of all the things in the game, the heavy UI/Carriergroup type of interface is totally my jam. I even enjoyed the RP aspects/random events and generally the factions systems, but jesus christ the gameplay is atrocious.

For one thing, i entirely abhor the 'send one ship at a time versus five enemy ships plus ground support'. It feels like i'm playing a full Star Sector campaign with the older Hyperion where you could solo fleets. It was challenging, and sometimes fun, but would i want to play like that as a default? God hell no. I have ZERO idea what the guys in charge of Highfleet were thinking with the 1 vs all system. They have the AI there for handling ships, obviously. I just have no idea why, or at what point in the development they decided to remove fleet on fleet combat and make this very clunky 'hyperion' system. It skews the game to such a level and tier that of course the subreddit is hyping up the Lightning as the fast/nimble/allbattlesnowtake10minutes ship. You go in and fifty missiles are firing at you, and you're dodging four other ships, while YOUR ENTIRE ARMADA OF DOOM is sitting offscreen eating potato chips. What? And maybe, MAYBE, it would have been ok if you could relatively effortlessy and easy swap ships somehow, like how swapping fighters in fighting games work. But even then, jesus, just bring all my ships in what the hell.

Then there's the reticle thing. I love the actual movement and dynamics of the ships, but the reticle thing? What the hell were they thinking. It wouldn't even be TOO bad if you could zoom in, but you're piloting a flee fighting other flees bouncing around and popping off some spitter which already has spread in it. And you can't even aim.

The aim reticle allows the player to learn a lot of cognitive skills regarding the game systems in terms of projectile speed, spread and just the 'feel' of weapons. There is NONE of that in highfleet. Compare nailing that out-of-range heavy blaster shot on a Hound, to.. whatever the hell's going on in Highfleet. It's terrible, feels bad, and makes me not want to play the combat. I also hear it gets worse, with aircraft attacking your fleet (well, your flagship since of course) and other such things like cruise missiles.

PS: Retrying combat, even though it feels like an 'out of game' event, actually lowers your crew's morale. ... Wow.

----------

Ship construction is also something i bounced really hard off of. You can't zoom in, AGAIN, and you're building on 'layers' that are never really clear, and there's some relation to space/distance from things to other things, and it's rarely clear how stuff fits together and whether they're actually together after that. Like Alex, i tried to do some modifications like guns and whatever, and nope.. also the fact that there's no way to 'sim' your ship after designing it... you could do it in the main menu Shipworks but it feels like five extra steps for something that should take one. Also no grid button so you know what clicks on to what and how?

It just feels extremely granular for no good reason.

Also, my god, Star Sector's weapon groups feel like a call from heaven. In Highfleet i need to what, use half my keyboard to fire my guns, that's aside from the special systems and whatever? Makes me want to never fly big complicated ships.

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I hate the landing. Like, i like the general concept of it, but at the very least, i wish i could 'reset' just the last ship i fail to land, NOT THE ENTIRE SEQUENCE OF FIVE SHIPS I JUST LANDED. It feels like landing should be somewhat optional, but it ends up being very important, especially as you're fighting with a single ship most time and you use that as the basic assaulter, and when it gets damaged, you need to repair it quickly on the ground. Again, i love the way it looks and how it's done but jesus christ man.

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Also chiming in on the mouse-drag-messages-tune-in-thing. It feels terrible, like it's on some axis i'm not seeing and interpreting Y coordinates as some tangential X coordonates or wahtever and overshoots. No idea, feels bad, they should feel bad. And the mouse scroll speed should be capped logarithmic, not linear. Linear works for fine tuning but i just wish i could do the entire thing with my mouse scroll. Hell, have the thing move to the next active element, as not like there's any other options, and you just don't have to move your mouse, and just scroll wheel the entire thing. Again, makes me not want to engage with it.

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In the end, it feels like what xeno said, "Alex, Highfleet is like every choice you've ever made that made Starsector clunky and rough-feeling, compounded was never, ever fixed." There's a great, GREAT, game under all those issues, but it just feels like they're almost not even issues, but actual choices made during development, and that's worse.

I love the ease of splitting the fleet and the logistics of setting down and landing and the detail in going stealth and the information warfare that's going on, the 'carrier command' style of detail to logistics and generally the entire strategical layer is really cool. I like the roguelikey events and the factions and roleplaying in it, but it's just too bad the meat of the game is just something i'd rather not play.

And that's not touching on the nitpicky and annoying issues in regards to the UI which is down to execution, not design. The review on RockPaperShotgun, and i quote:

"Some of it is down to the controls, which are maddeningly inconsistent. Let me copy an example directly from my notes: "when I click on a module in my cargo in an attempt to attach it to a ship, it instantly sells. If I click and drag, nothing happens. How am I supposed to use the stuff in my cargo? To move my fleet I right click, but when I create a splinter group and right click with that, it deselects them instead". I have more notes like this than I'm willing to put a number on."

On that note, i'm sure none of you realised you can 'PAN' RIGHT the Supplies screen, where you buy fuel, to buy special ammo and missiles. Seriously devs? Seriously? Anyway, for anyone that still wants to give this a fair shot, the manual for the game is here: https://cdn.akamai.steamstatic.com/steam/apps/1434950/manuals/HighFleetManual.pdf?t=1627748221
« Last Edit: August 12, 2021, 10:06:58 PM by Cosmitz »
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