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Starsector 0.95.1a is out! (12/10/21); Blog post: Hostile Activity (09/01/22)

Author Topic: First impressions  (Read 1519 times)

RavenFellBlade

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First impressions
« on: April 01, 2015, 11:10:13 PM »

So I just bought Starsector today, after watching Scott Manley's review on YouTube, and having noticed that he's recommended it via several venues. I've played a couple hours of the campaign so far, and I am beyond impressed! The combat is tight, fun, and feels "right" for space combat. There are plenty of tactical options available, which I have only scratched the surface of. I would have to say that the biggest problem with the game is that it's hard to figure out what to do in the beginning. The tutorials give you an excellent overview of handling your ship and giving out orders, but don't explain any of the core mechanics of the campaign mode. What is CR, and how does it affect the game? Well, I had to find out by running out of supplies after a pretty narrowly-won engagement, only to have my ship start "losing" cargo, crew, and then start taking damage just as I limped into a system with a proper repair dock. Now I know, and knowing is... well, MOST of the battle, actually, since it turns out CR can make or break any engagement. I don't mind learning by experience, but this seems like a massively glaring oversight in the face of just how well crafted the piloting/combat tutorials were. At LEAST put some info about it in the CODEX. Speaking of the CODEX... I love it. I love how it's written, I love the lore it helps to weave, and I really appreciate the effort that goes into turning a ship from a sprite with some attached stats to a fully realized part of a larger tapestry of Space Naval History.
TL;DR : Excellent game with a somewhat steep initial learning curve, but well worth the effort to learn it. I'm recommending this to all of my space fanatic friends.
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orost

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Re: First impressions
« Reply #1 on: April 01, 2015, 11:33:25 PM »

CR stands for Combat Readiness, and it is an abstract measurment of a ship's fitness for battle. It represents crew effectiveness (affected by number, skill and fatigue) as well as the maintenance level of the equipment.

50% is neutral. Above that, ships get a small bonus to most statistics (damage, defenses, maneuverability, accuracy, etc.) scaling up to 10% at 100% CR. Below that, they get an equivalent penalty. Additionally, ships with particularly low CR (below 40%) can suffer malfunctions in combat, with varying severity depending on how exactly low CR is: from engines shutting down for a few seconds, through several weapons failing until the end of battle, to rapid unplanned disassembly of the hull.

Every ship has a maximum CR level, which depends on crew skill level and any bonuses from the commander's skills. Out of battle, it will slowly restore CR up to that level, consuming supplies to do so. Deploying a ship to battle costs some CR, usually around 15%, but it depends on the ship. A battle may cost less CR (up to half) if it was particularly short and one-sided, or it may cost more if the ship took hull damage or stayed in combat very long.

Every ship has a "peak performance" timer, which ticks down when in active combat (i.e. when close to a significant enemy force). When it reaches 0, the ship will begin losing CR. Smaller and higher-performance ships have longer timers, larger and lower-tech ships have longer timers.

CR has a bit different meaning for fighter wings. For them, it indicates the number of replecement fighters available. When a fighter is destroyed, a carrier will send out a new one to replace it. Every replacement costs CR, and when CR runs out, the fighter wing is done for the battle.

If you run out of supplies, you will begin losing CR, and when CR falls low, accidents will start happening. Those will increase with severity with lower CR, and will eventually ruin your fleet if you go without supplies too long.

I think that's it about CR. As for the tutorial: the reason it's not covered is simply that the last update to the tutorial was before CR was introduced into the game. I'm sure it will be covered eventually. The game is a work in progress.

There is a kind of tutorial for campaign mode, though, with pop-ups that explain some of the mechanics. I'm pretty sure it explains CR. Maybe you turned it off?
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Dri

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Re: First impressions
« Reply #2 on: April 01, 2015, 11:38:08 PM »

Hey, welcome!

Looks like Orost has the tips and info covered. Yeah, early game can be a tad rough but once you manage to do a few food trade runs to worlds with a current shortage you'll be enjoying a nice credit buffer that'll help smooth any future bumps out.
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Pushover

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Re: First impressions
« Reply #3 on: April 02, 2015, 12:54:25 AM »

I would agree that the campaign tutorial is still not sufficient, but a full campaign tutorial takes a back seat to other features. Right now, the campaign pop-ups do a reasonable job getting information across.

Still, as you are finding, the game is immensely rewarding once you get past the learning curve, so enjoy it! There are also a ton of mods if you ever get bored with the base game, adding new factions, systems, ships, or even completely changing the game.
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Alex

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Re: First impressions
« Reply #4 on: April 02, 2015, 08:56:22 AM »

@RavenFellBlade: Hi! Thank you for dropping by and for sharing your impressions, glad they're mostly positive :)

Quick question for you: did you play the campaign with help on? There's a checkbox for it in the first new game creation screen, "help popups". If that's on, you should get a bunch of dialogs during the campaign that, among other things, explain CR. Asking because it'd be good to know if you did read those, and they weren't good enough.
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