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

Author Topic: Very Easy Difficulty  (Read 953 times)

Concubussy

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Very Easy Difficulty
« on: October 26, 2021, 01:50:12 PM »

Hey, I made an account just to post this. I started playing after watching the Sseth Tzeentch video and after hundreds of hours playing, I loved the concept, setting, and gameplay.

I had one problem with it. The supplies and fuel consumption has a steep difficulty curve and I found it brutally unforgiving and difficult. It was the most challenging and least fun aspect of the game. It made an otherwise fun game into dark souls tier difficulty, even on the easy difficulty setting. I tried the supply forging and fuel siphoning mods, I looked up all the newbie advice about mothballing ships and taking the talents that help with supply and fuel, but it was still like beating my head against a wall trying to play the way the game wanted me to play, I had to delete saved games and start over multiple times because of it.

I was about to give up playing until I downloaded the console commands mod and just gave myself supply and fuel so I didn't have to worry about it, and I had loads of fun with the game after this, it removed the least fun part of the game for me and I was finally able to enjoy it. The game was far less time-consuming and I could play more casually without risking losing hours of playtime to a single mistake. Eventually, I got colonies providing me fuel and supplies and I started to need the console commands less and less to have fun, but I think the game should just be balanced better so it's less difficult and punishing in this specific way.

I think the game should have a "very easy" difficulty setting, that reduces supply and fuel consumption from all sources across the board by 50% and reduces the market cost of supply and fuel by 50%. I think this would balance the game better for new/casual players.

The game feels very punishing on new players, even the tutorial is challenging and requires significant trial and error. The mod that gives you back half your fleet back, "New Beginnings" mod should also be incorporated into the easy difficulty since it helps with eliminating the need for savescumming or console commands since it doesn't feel as much like a game over when you lose combat.

Another suggestion is that missions should be scaled to player level. At level 1 I shouldn't be getting missions that go 20+ light-years away since there's no easy or safe way for a new player to go that far. Level 15 players shouldn't be getting missions that only give a measly 20k credits. I feel like the missions I get have been the same no matter my level or fleet size and I think the game would be improved if it was scaled instead.

I hope I don't get flamed by hardcore vet players for being a filthy casual. Overall great game, thanks for reading my post.
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Grievous69

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Re: Very Easy Difficulty
« Reply #1 on: October 26, 2021, 02:16:24 PM »

Let me start up by saying I completely understand where you're coming from. I know well how hard is it to get a feel for resource management when you just start out. BUT, I think of it as a necessary "evil" because otherwise you could just do whatever with a humongous fleet and almost never come back to refuel and restock while exploring. Sure reducing the consumption might help with the struggle but the problem there is you get used to the "very easy" mode, and that will heavily skew you perception of the game balance and pace. Like you said, simply give yourself unlimited fuel and supplies if you just care about enjoying the game in a fun way with zero stress.

That said I'd like to know what does your fleet look like, there's obviously something you're doing "wrong" (as if making the game harder for yourself) if you had that much trouble. Maybe you have d-mods that increase supply and fuel upkeep, maybe you're just using the worst possible ships for exploration, and maybe most importantly, you don't have enough logistic ships.

Efficiency overhaul is a very useful hullmod to install on pretty much every ship if you find your supplies and fuel dropping too fast.
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Wyvern

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Re: Very Easy Difficulty
« Reply #2 on: October 26, 2021, 03:10:28 PM »

I can definitely see the appeal of having some extra difficulty options.

I'd go one step further, though: make game difficulty (unless you toggle that iron-mode box) something that can be adjusted during gameplay, and more granular than just a single slider.

Maybe one player just wants to get straight to the fights, and has more fun playing with reduced supply & fuel usage and faster CR recovery.

Maybe another player is happy to juggle logistical stats, but just doesn't have the hand-eye coordination for combat, and has more fun with a flagship that takes less damage, does more damage, and they can just put on autopilot and watch the fireworks. Or they're just not in the mood for personal piloting today.

And what makes for a good play experience can change - as the original poster noted, getting access to colonies and the steady income from them makes the logistical part of the game easier.
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JUDGE! slowpersun

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Re: Very Easy Difficulty
« Reply #3 on: October 26, 2021, 05:04:25 PM »

Well, as much as I feel the urge to throw flame, I guess I can't assume this post is a joke considering the rather long OP explaining reasoning.  But bothering to make the game "too easy" would essentially reduce the game to masturbation... and that's basically the extent of my burn.  However, some of the learning curve for balancing supply and fuel consumption should be mitigated by the addition of slipstreams with the next update, while ideally also acting as a sort of funnel for hyperspace traffic activity outside of the core worlds.  So player both saves fuel (literally, 50% fuel use reduction inside slipstream last I checked) AND saves time by going speed 40 (I guess to make storm surfing less appealing, faster max speed), while simultaneously concentrating potential player interactions (piracy, battles, etc.) in hyperspace.  So you spend less time going out, and if you have enough supplies etc. to wait out the slipstream switch, then after half a year you also speed back to the core (or where ever).  BUUUUT, I will admit that it wasn't until I accidentally stumbled across the storm surfing strategy that hyperspace travel became significantly less of a chore, and I prolly wouldn't have ever figured it out without stumbling across someone else's solution.

Plus, arguably more than half of the game's learning curve relates to fighting battles and not losing the battle... especially as it relates to supply consumption.  But that's partially why missions are STILL an option in the main menu (also, just legacy code), so player can jump right into practicing with some ships without having to track down a copy in the game and run the simulator (which apparently has a memory leak, so maybe avoid using the simulator if you can help it?).

So no, don't add a "too easy" option.  Add a masturbation option!  OK, I lied, one burn twice.

Finally:
Hey, I made an account just to post this. I started playing after watching the Sseth Tzeentch video and after hundreds of hours playing, I loved the concept, setting, and gameplay.

Kinda hard to swallow the statement "hundreds of hours playing" with your first post... but I hate Discord, so maybe you're a god on it or something.

Edit: Whoops, forgot to talk about balancing game AI for difficulty levels.  I'm unsure how how balancing the AI for easier vs. harder would work, since half the games today basically allow game AI to cheat on harder levels since easier to give AI bonuses than program a better game AI... Paradox Interactive's Stellaris is a fine example of this code laziness in a large and "successful" game studio.
« Last Edit: October 26, 2021, 05:10:19 PM by slowpersun »
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SafariJohn

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Re: Very Easy Difficulty
« Reply #4 on: October 26, 2021, 05:32:34 PM »

You may find my Logistics Notifications mod helpful: https://fractalsoftworks.com/forum/index.php?topic=17379.0 The main thing it does is translate your supplies amount and consumption into the number of days before you run out.


At level 1 I shouldn't be getting missions that go 20+ light-years away since there's no easy or safe way for a new player to go that far.

The real problem may be that immediately running out into the fringe is too safe - a supped-up Dram for example can waltz around just about wherever - which subverts normal expectations like yours.
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Thaago

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Re: Very Easy Difficulty
« Reply #5 on: October 26, 2021, 06:55:52 PM »

Quote
which apparently has a memory leak, so maybe avoid using the simulator if you can help it?

I do not believe this is the case, or at least not without mods. I've been watching carefully since it was brought up in another thread and at least on my machine there is no memory increase or slowing down from using the simulator.
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intrinsic_parity

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Re: Very Easy Difficulty
« Reply #6 on: October 26, 2021, 06:56:25 PM »

The easiest mistake to make with logistics is taking a bunch of bad ships, or even just the wrong ships. You've got to have a plan to make money, and you don't want to bring ships that don't really help you with that plan. You also want to use ships that at are efficient for whatever you are trying to achieve. Don't bring ships with bad combat d-mods to do bounties/combat. Don't bring ships with bad logistics d-mods (or really most big ships) on long exploration journeys. Don't lug around tons of unnecessary combat ships if you're smuggling/trading etc.
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Soda Savvy

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Re: Very Easy Difficulty
« Reply #7 on: October 26, 2021, 08:22:05 PM »

I'm vaguely reminded about my time messing around with Total War Warhammer. I had a lot more fun in the actual combat than messing with the overworld.

Starsector is good enough on both that I have fun with both modes, but I do understand the idea behind certain parts of gameplay just not clicking that well.

Especially when the combat is already so good that if one doesn't get along with the strategic side it can feel like adding a city builder to Street Fighter or something equally silly.
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Ramiel

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Re: Very Easy Difficulty
« Reply #8 on: October 26, 2021, 09:58:20 PM »

Difficulty sliders and challenges like in Thief (the one everyone ignores) and Pathologic, really would be welcome. Less money/supplies/fuel etc for some things, more for others, disable certain hullmods/weapons for player/factions or both....doubt it will happen though....too much effort....
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SCC

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Re: Very Easy Difficulty
« Reply #9 on: October 27, 2021, 12:02:49 AM »

Very easy difficulty? I thought we wouldn't have to worry about journalists until the release...
Changing difficulty on the fly is ok. I don't think difficulty sliders, perhaps besides separate battle and campaign difficulty, are worth it, because majority of people won't really tweak all those settings and just pick easy/normal/hard.

Megas

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Re: Very Easy Difficulty
« Reply #10 on: October 27, 2021, 05:54:54 AM »

Just make the Easy setting easier instead.  Have the Easy setting make your fleet eat less.
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Morrokain

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Re: Very Easy Difficulty
« Reply #11 on: October 28, 2021, 12:06:03 PM »

Quote
which apparently has a memory leak, so maybe avoid using the simulator if you can help it?

I do not believe this is the case, or at least not without mods. I've been watching carefully since it was brought up in another thread and at least on my machine there is no memory increase or slowing down from using the simulator.

(Off topic so I created a new thread but it addresses this a bit.) https://fractalsoftworks.com/forum/index.php?topic=22880.0

Please direct any replies there and not on this thread! Thanks!
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Nick XR

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Re: Very Easy Difficulty
« Reply #12 on: October 28, 2021, 12:29:29 PM »

I think having a setting that reduces your fleet's fuel and supply consumption on "easy" is a great idea (or just some sort of in game setting).  Anything that will help new people not bounce off the game is great.

For us vets that have been here for a time and seen these systems introduced gradually or maybe we play games like this, it's hard to empathize with just how many systems have to be learned by a new person to a basic competency to be able to play the game and have it be enjoyable.

Alex

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Re: Very Easy Difficulty
« Reply #13 on: October 28, 2021, 12:33:52 PM »

I'll just say that generally, yeah, I agree! I've got a TODO item to both make the difficulty configurable mid-game and to expand the options a bit (just something to cover logistics and combat separately - nothing *too* fine-grained). And to still let you select a "relaxed" mode at game start to make sure that the fact that you *can* adjust the difficulty isn't just buried in a menu somewhere.

When exactly I'll get to it, I'm not sure, though :)
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SonnaBanana

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Re: Very Easy Difficulty
« Reply #14 on: October 29, 2021, 01:43:43 AM »

I'll just say that generally, yeah, I agree! I've got a TODO item to both make the difficulty configurable mid-game and to expand the options a bit (just something to cover logistics and combat separately - nothing *too* fine-grained). And to still let you select a "relaxed" mode at game start to make sure that the fact that you *can* adjust the difficulty isn't just buried in a menu somewhere.

When exactly I'll get to it, I'm not sure, though :)

Requesting options for expeditions rate and pirates/pather frequency.
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