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Author Topic: Highfleet... ugh  (Read 12345 times)


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Re: Highfleet... ugh
« Reply #45 on: April 29, 2022, 11:55:24 AM »

The art is very high class and makes the game feel much more immersive than SS. The gameplay effects are also much better.

Gameplay wise SS is so much better it's not really comparable.


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Re: Highfleet... ugh
« Reply #46 on: April 29, 2022, 11:13:21 PM »

Okay, as a huge fan of both Starsector and Highfleet, and someone that thinks both games are exceptionally brilliant game design, and also someone who does game design, I had to make an account just to ramble on this.

Starsector's whole space-trading-and-combat-game thing lends itself to a much larger and fleshed out world - Starsector is, ultimately, a larger game. However, I feel that the argument that Starsector somehow has deeper combat is looking at Highfleet in Starsector's terms - damage types, weapon loadouts, shield/armor, fleet composition (or, well, the very existence of fleet combat), etc. Highfleet's real beauty, however, is in it's extremely fleshed-out survivability onion.

Starsector's strengths are numerous, but they lie almost entirely within the "don't be hit" and "don't be penetrated" layers. And while "mobility in 2D space" + "shield/armor/hull interactions with HE/Kinetic/Energy/Frag/EMP damage types" is a pretty deep exploration of those two layers, the others layers are still present and I still spend time with them. I just don't really have all that many consequential choices when dealing with them.

I think the most obvious comparison is in electronic warfare. Starsector's sensors are entirely abstracted away as a single system with two variables (sensor strength/profile) - which, though they add depth by interacting with each other, really just boil sensors down to "when can you see the enemy" and "when can the enemy see you". I'm not making all that many choices moment-to-moment. Meanwhile, Highfleet's four different systems (radar/IR/ELINT/visual) not only interact with themselves, but also each other - and they are always relevant and consequential in the strategic layer. At every moment in game, I am practicing radar discipline, triangulating ELINT signals, sending scout planes, and forming strike fleets that are capable of sudden strikes. If I pick up an IR signature, I can deduct from context whether it is likely to be a trade fleet, and then make the decision of either trying to intercept it in flight, where it can detect me unless I use highly specialized interceptor ships; or trying to follow it until it lands at a city and loses its detection advantages.

Don't get me wrong, I have ultimately enjoyed Starsector for more hours than Highfleet, and I would probably tentatively say I prefer the former to the latter, and these lessons of game design don't easily transfer from one game to the other. But I just wanted to bring attention to the one area where Highfleet really shines in its design.

Also - while I will admit to a subjective aesthetic preference of Highfleet's cold-war-punk semi-hard-scifi over Starsector's pew-pew laser guns, I will not defend the parts of Highfleet's UI/UX that are made by and for crab people.
« Last Edit: April 29, 2022, 11:15:19 PM by Euphemismus »
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