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My thoughts on Starshatter

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My thoughts on Starshatter - 7/2/2008 4:40:51 AM   


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I've been following SS off and on since the original public beta, have lurked here for the past... year or so... since I finally got hold of TGS.

Let's start with my complaints, shall we?

The biggest and most obvious I should point out is graphics. While it's come a long way since its infancy, I could wish that a game that I payed a fairly steep price for could have a bit more eye-candy. It's not horrible, by any means, but neither is it in the league of other titles of similar age. I'm not one of those types that think that graphics are the only thing that matters. Graphics won't make a bad game good, but they could have made what is at its core a good game, better.

I dislike an otherwise realistic game model that includes stealth in an environment where it cannot exist, but that is a purely aesthetic complaint, and not one which renders the game any less fun.

I dislike the fact fighter-launched weapons are non-interceptible. Back in the day, the dev team mentioned wanting to base the combat dynamic off of modern naval combat rather than the WW-II model of torpedo bombers vs. battleships. It is my estimation that this one facet demolishes that motive. In a modern battlespace, there is little difference between a warship's anti-ship missiles and a fighter's. The fighter's strength is in flight group coordination, and the ability to swamp defenses rather than negate them (as with the 'world war II' torpedo bomber model.) I fully expect scathing comments from a certain element of this board to come shortly.

Which brings me to my last complaint. Every community has its fringe element, but Starshatter's frimge is both vocal and highly elitist, seeming to take vast pleasure in bashing newbies for not enjoying the game experience as-is, or demanding if they don't like it, they change it themselves. Believe me, if I could mod away the complaints I have with the game, then I would do so. That however is something that requires time and time is not something I, even as an avid sim and game junkie, have in abundance.

Now, before those coments get me flamed into the stone age, I suppose I should list the good.

Newtonian flight model is excellent, and the atmospheric model serves its purpose.

The AI has no blatant failings, aside from a high crash rate on docking with a stationary carrier, a problem I'm sad to see persisting now, so many years after the original beta release.

Combat, both with fighters and warships is fun and exhilirating, in spite of the aforementioned game balance and reality check issues wrt missiles.

The concept that a mission may have to be done in stages, such as assaulting a planetary target starting with thorough SEAD and then repeated strikes is a refreshing (if sometimes frustrating, as intended) addition to gaming. Many sims would benefit from learning this lesson.


I enjoy the game. While I think it fails at certain development objectives, it is overall an enjoyable experience.


..because, well, there's this guy.
He's piloting the other ship. And he's called the Enemy.
You can tell he's the Enemy because he's the one who isn't cooperating with your plan. -Ken Burnside, of Ad Astra Games
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RE: My thoughts on Starshatter - 7/2/2008 9:49:25 PM   


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I agree with your general assessment, besides the stealth thing.  It is assumed that ships are not identified visually, but by their emission signatures, which is a fairly accurate model (since visual stuff in space would actually be quite difficult what with the false positives and sheer relative size).

The non-interceptable fighter missiles are definitely unbalancing.. Fighters could still swarm the defenses of capital ships even if their missiles could be intercepted, so making those missiles unstoppable is not only overkill but decreases the fun of the game significantly.

My only added complaint is how quickly the game bugs up when there are large numbers of ships.  It can render them and such, but it has a particular crash that happens..  If only there could be massive battles!

(in reply to Aiyel)
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RE: My thoughts on Starshatter - 7/3/2008 12:07:06 AM   


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visual detection isn't so big a deal as the sheer amount of emissions a ship, especially under thrust, would put out. Especially a warship intended to be habitable would put out a great deal of heat as a by-product of the crew not freezing to death. Warship drives are putting out in such cases gigawatts of energy (in the form of heat, and partly, light) as a mere by-product of accelerating thousands of tons of metal at a reasonable rate.

Fighters I can get over in-setting. Not having the gigantic radiating fins necessary to prevent cooking the crew I can get over, but the stealth in space brainbug, especially over ranges of only a few hundred kilometers, is one I find particularly annoying.

If you're looking for a deeper scientific analysis of why there are no ninjas in space, I suggest you go google Project Rho Atomic Rockets.

(in reply to Aiyel)
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RE: My thoughts on Starshatter - 7/13/2008 11:25:46 PM   


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Oh-so-agreed about the community. Some features of the game are sorely lacking, or are missing from the 5.0 version even though they were in the 4.0 version (getting the bearing when requesting info from CIC being the big one), and whenever the lack thereof is mentioned the fanboys descend like a horde of ravenous striges and accuse the suggester of hand-holding before devouring their life essence through their curled beaks.

I've waxed and waned on the subject of fighter-versus-capital-ship for a long time. I do think that fighter-to-ship missiles need to be interceptable, but if that were the case I'd also want their lethality to be increased: that way, if one missile slips through, you're going to hurt bad, so your goal is to make sure that you have your PDB turrets oriented properly when you detect fighters coming onto the scope. Good use of probes and pickets would be a chief factor in the ability to do this.

< Message edited by JT -- 7/13/2008 11:26:43 PM >


Starshatter: The Gathering Storm is brought to you in part by Whoop-Ass -- When the Hegemony gets you down, open up a can of Whoop-Ass! Now with extra chutzpah!

(in reply to Aiyel)
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RE: My thoughts on Starshatter - 7/15/2008 12:22:31 AM   


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i agree jt and i love he fighter aspect of the game the most....just wish TIR worked. its just wierd that a hand full of fighter can knock out a cap ship in a couple runns!


(in reply to JT)
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