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Starsector 0.97a is out! (02/02/24)

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Author Topic: [0.97a] Hiver Swarm - V1.11 - 02/03/24  (Read 221013 times)

Dazs

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Re: [0.97a] Hiver Swarm - V1.11 - 02/03/24
« Reply #525 on: February 25, 2024, 10:35:10 AM »

I'm going to get this out of the way so this doesn't feel like a list of complaints: AWESOME MOD!!
The ship designs are absolutely beautiful, and I love the idea of a less static threat than the [REDACTED]. Bringing a heavily themed faction into the game is also great.
First off, thank you for taking the time to give feedback, I do not consider "complaints" a negative but rather someone who likes the mod enough to offer an opinion on how it could be better. Secondly, thank you for the kind words. :)
However, in the current state, I feel some issues really hold the mod back.
   I'll start with the minor: I've seen smuggler fleets using Hiver ships, specifically ones transporting ship hulls. I'm not sure if that's intentional behavior, or if those were disabled and taken in combat, but it feels a little weird in terms of lore/balance/immersion.
The mod comes with them as recoverable as that is the majority opinion on the matter based on feedback I have gotten over the years. The side effect of that is not only are they recoverable by the player but also by the NPC. That is a game mechanic that I cannot really effect to my knowledge. I do agree with your lore comment since they are an alien species that use a different construction technique it would track that Corvus humans would struggle to adapt the tech to their needs which is why I added an optional file in the mod that makes Hiver ships unrecoverable. The instructions are in a file called README in the mod and also on the first page of the forum. If enabled neither the player nor the NPC can recover their hulls.
Hiver planets show up in the market data of items, leading to the player being able to pinpoint them at the start of the game. I think this is very much known, and you probably haven't found a workaround, as it's written into the faction lore (love that).
Oh I have tried several ways to hide their markets but each time it tanked their economy and gutted their ability to form fleets. I did reach out to the author of Stelnet to see if there was a way using that mod and I was told they would look into adding it but the mod has not been updated in quite some time.
My modding experience is very limited, but you might be able to set limits on their markets so that they never have the highest or lowest price for items.
What causes that is that I had to set them up as an insular economy since they hate and are hated by everyone they can only trade with themselves. Their systems have more planets than standard and thus more industry capacity than the norm. By having to supply all the resources for heavy industry there are overages in some items, mainly in the feeder commodities like ore. They require all this industry because it is the in-game economy of a faction that supports their fleets and they need multiple fleets to defend their systems from attacks, colonize other systems and send out strong invasion fleets to overcome the obstacles of Pirates and Remnant Odro fleets that attack them on their long journey to reach the core.
All of that is a bit moot though, as you can see their systems on the map. I'm assuming there's a way to hide these, as pather and pirate systems outside the core sector are hidden from the player, and it would go a long way to make the discovery of the hive feel more natural.
Another limitation of the game I have to abide by. Nexerelin is a required mod for HIVER because that is needed to enable invasions and colonization fleets. The way Nex does that is it only has playable factions able to form those invasion and colony fleets. They are technically a playable faction and I do have instructions to do that in the README. However NEX does allow for a "playable" faction to also not be played by the human player so that is how they are able to use the NEX features but not be playable. Now that may have been TLDR but because of that workaround their planets show up on the map because by giving them a faction listing, the base game puts them on the map. Bottom line Alex has stated multiple times he wants Starsector to be an exploration game. NEX turns the game into a 4x game and I am essentially caught between the game mechanics of both ideas and did my best.
   Beyond that is the biggest problem: The invasions. I have no problem with the Hive threatening the core sector or being difficult to fight, that's part of their appeal to me, but with the default Nexerelin settings they start a full-scale invasion of the core sector 90 days after game start, which really doesn't seem to fit with their lore. I'm not sure if it's their fleet doctrine, their insane markets giving them more invasion strength, bad luck, or some combination of these, but I have not actually seen them lose an invasion. I've seen these exact planets fend off [REDACTED] attacks in previous playthroughs, which doesn't fit with the strength level you imply/intend. Part of the problem is definitely Nexerelin's AI, as even though every single faction has lost planets to the Hive they are still coalition warring themselves (mount-and-blade-level tactics). As it is, every single planet that can be invaded (no story protection) looks to be doomed with the default NEX/Hive settings. It's very difficult to balance around a variety of play styles and skill levels, but it feels like the player has to speedrun a large fleet and spearhead the defense on every front to prevent the sector from becoming the universe's largest ant infestation. It holds the entire experience back significantly. {EDIT: I've seen your past comment that the Hive shouldn't be something the player can choose when to fight, and I completely agree. However as it is, it feels like a "game ender" event gets plopped down from game start, which doesn't fit with the Hive being a scaling midgame threat that will eventually be a problem, but not for a while.}
Well there is an option when you use NEX at the start of the game when you are making your character to delay invasions until your first colony is built. This option turns off the invasion mechanic and I recommend that setting to give the player some breathing room to build up a solid fleet and enough credits to jumpstart their first colony.
   I really don't know how to fix this, as I said my modding experience is very limited, but I have a few loose concepts that could help if added. The Hive could have a timer before beginning attacks/expansion to allow the player to get established. The Hive could slowly expand and not attack until its planets reach closer to the core systems. Hive markets could be adjusted to lower the frequency of attacks. The strength/generation of attack fleets could be adjusted to give AI planets a better chance at surviving them. If you can improve the balancing/difficulty curve of the hive I think it could bring this mod close to the quality of the base game.
The issue mainly stems from them having no friends in the game. They are constantly attacked by the NPC factions and the more mod factions they player has installed, the slower they expand. I would recommend having at least 4-5 mod factions installed, any that you like should suffice but some do perform vs Hivers more than others. I have been asked a couple times to make a toned down version of the mod for players who do not want to deal with them but want them in the game. I am a little backed up on mod requests ATM but making that alternate toned version is still on my to-do list. I did recently include instructions on the main forum page on how you can manually adjust the difficulty level of the mod so I would recommend reading that over in the mean time.
   The only issue I have besides the above is that the borders on the ships have some sort of artifacting that detracts from their incredible visual style. {EDIT2: I can't tell if this is a result of a weird transparency issue, snipping mistakes, image compression, or hard edges in the ship design. It looks like the vanilla ships use some sort of edge shading to help with this. Not sure - I'm not an artist} Keep up the great work, and I hope you find solutions to these problems.
Is that all the ships or only certain ones, if you could identify which ones it would help. I can certainly go over the details of the images and see if I notice any loose artifacts but it would be better to know which are the worst.

I appreciate you taking the time to share your opinion. I rely on players letting know their thoughts so I can make the mod as best as it can be. As I stated earlier, I have requests for CFT, JYD and CJHM that are on my plate but I will certainly look over your comments (as well as any further ones) and use them as a temple for a changelog for HIVER once I am caught up.

5ColouredWalker

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Re: [0.97a] Hiver Swarm - V1.11 - 02/03/24
« Reply #526 on: February 25, 2024, 04:13:42 PM »

*Unlurks*
   Beyond that is the biggest problem: The invasions. I have no problem with the Hive threatening the core sector or being difficult to fight, that's part of their appeal to me, but with the default Nexerelin settings they start a full-scale invasion of the core sector 90 days after game start, which really doesn't seem to fit with their lore. I'm not sure if it's their fleet doctrine, their insane markets giving them more invasion strength, bad luck, or some combination of these, but I have not actually seen them lose an invasion. I've seen these exact planets fend off [REDACTED] attacks in previous playthroughs, which doesn't fit with the strength level you imply/intend. Part of the problem is definitely Nexerelin's AI, as even though every single faction has lost planets to the Hive they are still coalition warring themselves (mount-and-blade-level tactics). As it is, every single planet that can be invaded (no story protection) looks to be doomed with the default NEX/Hive settings. It's very difficult to balance around a variety of play styles and skill levels, but it feels like the player has to speedrun a large fleet and spearhead the defense on every front to prevent the sector from becoming the universe's largest ant infestation. It holds the entire experience back significantly. {EDIT: I've seen your past comment that the Hive shouldn't be something the player can choose when to fight, and I completely agree. However as it is, it feels like a "game ender" event gets plopped down from game start, which doesn't fit with the Hive being a scaling midgame threat that will eventually be a problem, but not for a while.}

 I really don't know how to fix this, as I said my modding experience is very limited, but I have a few loose concepts that could help if added. The Hive could have a timer before beginning attacks/expansion to allow the player to get established.
Well there is an option when you use NEX at the start of the game when you are making your character to delay invasions until your first colony is built. This option turns off the invasion mechanic and I recommend that setting to give the player some breathing room to build up a solid fleet and enough credits to jumpstart their first colony.

I'll add that you can also adjust the Day limit, if instead of being limited to when you feel built up enough to start a colony, you can have a timer to work against, and give you breathing room to have the colony set up if you don't lolygag like me.
In the off chance you don't know how to access the in-game mod menu, it's F2 (Assuming you have that mod installed too, but I think it's a dependency now.), and settings can be tweaked on the fly.
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Dazs

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Re: [0.97a] Hiver Swarm - V1.11 - 02/03/24
« Reply #527 on: February 25, 2024, 05:06:16 PM »

*Unlurks*
Lurker no lurking! :)
I'll add that you can also adjust the Day limit, if instead of being limited to when you feel built up enough to start a colony, you can have a timer to work against, and give you breathing room to have the colony set up if you don't lolygag like me.
In the off chance you don't know how to access the in-game mod menu, it's F2 (Assuming you have that mod installed too, but I think it's a dependency now.), and settings can be tweaked on the fly.
Good point that I neglected to point out thank you. In game, asuming you have Lunalib, press f2 and scroll down to the Nexerelin tab. Now press the "fleets and Battles" tab at the top.
There a few options that effect invasions:
The one that I mentioned is "Prevent invasions until the first player colony".
The one that my friend 5ColouredWalker is referring to is "Invasion grace period" which is defaulted to 90 and can be increased up to 1,825 days. "Invasion size mult" multiplies the number that faction author has set in their Nexerelin settings and is set to 1 as default which uses w/e the faction files has. You can set this all the way down to .01 and that will greatly decrease invasions.
"Allow NPC saturation bombardment" which is set to True can be set to False which will disable the feature all together.
"Enable vengeance fleets" is set to 2 (always) can be lowered to Starfarer mode only or turned off altogether. Turning it off will disable NPC fleets being dispatched after you if you perform an atrocity (Like saturation bombing).

Keep in mind these setting will effect all factions but it is a good way to pull the Hiver's teeth.

Joejoemyo

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Re: [0.97a] Hiver Swarm - V1.11 - 02/03/24
« Reply #528 on: February 26, 2024, 06:54:41 PM »

Is that all the ships or only certain ones, if you could identify which ones it would help. I can certainly go over the details of the images and see if I notice any loose artifacts but it would be better to know which are the worst.
Haven't run into the problematic ships again, I'll make note of which ones if I see them.

Two more things I noticed:

In Data/Hulls/unrecoverable_ship_data several of the ships are missing the two no_drop and restricted tags, which I think might make them drop in game. They DO have the unboardable HINT status, which might do the same thing - I'm not sure.

There is no alternative wing_data.csv in the same folder, which I think is needed for players who don't want to be able to loot or buy Hiver fighters. Even after changing the other files around, I still find and can buy the fighter wings. If it's as simple as adding no_bp_drop, restricted, no_drop_salvage, no_dealer, no_sell or some selection of these to each fighter's tags in the wing_data, that would probably be easy enough to add to the instructions for people to paste in.
EDIT: I think adding that mess of tags on has worked, I'll need to check more markets though
« Last Edit: February 26, 2024, 07:24:52 PM by Joejoemyo »
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Dazs

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Re: [0.97a] Hiver Swarm - V1.11 - 02/03/24
« Reply #529 on: February 27, 2024, 12:03:47 AM »

Is that all the ships or only certain ones, if you could identify which ones it would help. I can certainly go over the details of the images and see if I notice any loose artifacts but it would be better to know which are the worst.
Haven't run into the problematic ships again, I'll make note of which ones if I see them.
That's fine, they do have alien names and even I have to think twice about them when I reference them :) I'll give them all a once over on my end to see if I notice anything, I appreciate the follow up.
Two more things I noticed:

In Data/Hulls/unrecoverable_ship_data several of the ships are missing the two no_drop and restricted tags, which I think might make them drop in game. They DO have the unboardable HINT status, which might do the same thing - I'm not sure.
It has been awhile since I did that I am unsure myself.  As long as it does not crash the game there is no real harm adding them. I can certainly try adding those tags and see if it works.
There is no alternative wing_data.csv in the same folder, which I think is needed for players who don't want to be able to loot or buy Hiver fighters. Even after changing the other files around, I still find and can buy the fighter wings. If it's as simple as adding no_bp_drop, restricted, no_drop_salvage, no_dealer, no_sell or some selection of these to each fighter's tags in the wing_data, that would probably be easy enough to add to the instructions for people to paste in.
EDIT: I think adding that mess of tags on has worked, I'll need to check more markets though
I am a bit embarrassed that it had not even occurred to me to make an alternate wings file. I'll add one in the next update, thank you for this.

I appreciate the additional comments, they really highlight things I am blind to like the wings. I am a little backlogged on mod updates so I cannot give an accurate ETA but I will release an update for HIVER that addresses your (and any other incoming) observations. I am currently working on a balance pass for CFT which I plan to have done by the weekend and have requests for JYD and CJHM but neither of those are as critical as fixing an oopsie on my end so HIVER advanced to the next in line.

bibigun23

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Re: [0.97a] Hiver Swarm - V1.11 - 02/03/24
« Reply #530 on: February 27, 2024, 04:19:00 AM »

Hoho  :o.. Dazs at it on mad schedules  ::). I just spamming to say hi  ;D
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Dazs

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Re: [0.97a] Hiver Swarm - V1.11 - 02/03/24
« Reply #531 on: February 27, 2024, 04:43:11 AM »

Hoho  :o.. Dazs at it on mad schedules  ::). I just spamming to say hi  ;D
And runnin' runnin'
And runnin' runnin'
And runnin' runnin'
:)

Dazs

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Re: [0.97a] Hiver Swarm - V1.11 - 02/03/24
« Reply #532 on: February 27, 2024, 01:43:56 PM »

Rarr did it, that crazy streamer finally took on the Hivers!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qdxPpUwd-bQ

Good times, good times.
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