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RE: Sea Of Stars - development thread - 5/18/2016 4:40:07 AM   
Phuket

 

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With the alteration of the research tree to do you intend to draw out the early game a little longer? One thing I really enjoyed about the Unleashed Extended mod with the updated research tree is that it made the early game of exploring and finding other empires fun. Basically it just altered the speed of hyperdrives and how the research worked with it. But it made for an awesome early game!

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RE: Sea Of Stars - development thread - 5/18/2016 5:55:52 AM   
Drybreeze


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Ya that's exactly what I've done. Now early game weapons are very small and weak and light weight and drives and hyperdrive speeds are very slow.

Also due to the resource costs of building mining stations I've made early game mining stations small enough to defend a few corvettes but a few frigates or one of those relic capitals eat it fast.

Battles are now epic long engagements where ships genuinely are touch and go whether they'll survive or not.

I will have it set so that it is possible to have a sprawling empire with low tech drives and such but high tech really makes a difference.

For example currently when I research the first damage control system it drastically increases the survivability of my ships... until the enemy researches say Pierce torpedoes or larger lasers and begin whumping me again.

Im finding in Trial Run 002 - 004 that several things are happening exactly how I want:

1) Engagements are longer and more evenly balanced between the sides.

2) Early game ship production is slower than potential expansion rates leading to much more sparse defenses and production bottle necks that force player to think hard about what to build and how to deploy.

3) as a result failed attacks, station losses, and even the destruction of a single destroyer becomes a far more significant loss... better to flee and repair than throw away disposable vessels.

4) Research selections have real meaning now. It's a real struggle to decide if you want point defense, more powerful lasers, or damage control.

< Message edited by Drybreeze -- 5/18/2016 6:08:26 AM >


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RE: Sea Of Stars - development thread - 5/18/2016 5:32:06 PM   
Hattori Hanzo


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the above is exactly the style of playing a space 4X that I liked !!!

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RE: Sea Of Stars - development thread - 5/20/2016 11:34:48 PM   
Drybreeze


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Hattori Hanzo
the above is exactly the style of playing a space 4X that I liked !!!


Yes me too. I think it's far more fun when you are really concerned about whether your units are going to survive or not.



Well I've been spending some time updating the research tree and ensuring things are in a logical and progressive order.

Last night was a sham. I spent all night trying to figure out two lousy projects (the two rapid-fire lasers shown in the below image). Turns out that the reference to a new component image #197 caused them to upset the game... techs dissapeared in the research window in-game... even though the techs were there and researchable... very weird. I have yet to determine exactly why (whether there's a maximum number of component images I can add, or if they need to be used in a sequential order, or perhaps a format problem with the image itself, or whatever)... but for now I've got it to work by referencing a similar image from a pre-existing component. Meh.

Below shows the top of the weapons tech tree so far:



The blank projects are ones that I have removed from the tech tree, renamed to "BLANK PROJECT [ID#]", made the parent tech #0, and removed any component activation or improvement references from the tech. They're just blank reserved projects which I will use elsewhere in the research tree. I do this because the game needs to load all project ID#'s and they must be a complete list in sequential order. I can't simply delete #129 of 250, or the game breaks. And I don't want to shuffle every tech down one if I remove #129 because that's a lot of work changing not only every entry, but every reference to each entry from other techs (parents reference for example). So the simplest way is to identify techs I don't want in the research tree, blank it over, and then later on use it when I want to by editing it back in again.

The Laser Tree is completed... Lasers and Phasers are morphed into one chain... Phasers are treated as high capacity lasers... so they're towards the end of the tech. This gives better meaning to their increased accuracy and armor damage.

I have separated the Plasma and Disruptor chains by providing an overall average difference between DPS and range of each chain... so a player selecting research can choose if they want close-in melee bruisers on their ships, or a more generalised weapon. I will be adding spin-off techs to all of these which use colony-manufactured resources. For each colony-manufactured resource that a component uses I'll be putting a pip on the component image, so that a player can see in the tech tree if a component is easily built or needs to have particular resources within their empire. Later on I intend to have each resource and component described within the Galactopedia (I'll leave that till last) so a player looking at the research tree can find out exactly what resources are required for any particular component by looking it up prior to committing to research it.

Ion Weapons are more widely-distributed in tech level now. A basic EMP is easy enough tech to produce, so I have made it readily available at start-game. However it is very low range and doesn't knock out much... more of a hindrance to the enemy than a defense. It is light weight and cheap to build (lots of copper among other things, to form a huge electro-magnetic outburst from conductive coils when discharged). Directed energy weapons are much harder to produce, channeling the ions in a particular direction. The shielding required for this needs more resources to build, also. The result is longer range and knock-out effect, but heavier and more expensive to build. Likewise Ion Shields are expensive nets of magnetic conductive wires throughout the vessel and around sensitive areas which trap and channel an attacker's ions away from components that can be put offline by them.

Gravatic Weapons... I haven't really changed them much from ehsumrell's Picard Era mod... I will of course be updating all the images and going through the details of this tech chain, but for now I have little I want to change about this. I did change some of the names to focus on real-world physics... Gravitons are the hypothetical particle units of gravity in Quantum Theory, and in this tech chain they are manipulated in particular ways to form gravity-affecting weapons (including of course tractor beams).



The other tech that I've largely completed with a lot of work is the Reactor chain.
I'm got three basic types of tech:

Fission - commonly known as Nuclear - uses Uranium and splits its atoms to generate large amounts of heat, heating heavy water, which in turn drives a turbine with steam to generate electricity. Basic, cheap, can kill you in short order with radioactivity.

Fusion - same process as what happens in stars - uses Hydrogen to combine together again producing (much vaster) amounts of heat to drive turbines. Won't kill you with radioactivity, it will instead kill you by losing magnetic entrapment of the plasma which will erupt from the chamber it is trapped within and you'll be instantly vaporised. Much more pleasant way to die. Erhem.

StellerCore - fusion that burns heavier elements than hydrogen (in this case nitrogen, both to give the gas a purpose in game and also because I didn't want to make steel/iron a fuel for obvious reasons) - a StellerCore reactor is effectively the extremely active fusion reaction that occurs in a dying star when all lower-weight fuels have been fused together and it begins burning heavier elements, which in a star causes it to go super-nova. In a StellerCore reactor it just creates a tremendous amount of contained energy because your empire is a race of amazeballs science pukes. StellerCore drives kill you and most of the star system around you by exploding with a teenie-tiny super-nova... only powerful enough to incinerate the nearest sun and all it's planets. Don't bother trying to run away. Just put on some sunglasses and enjoy the show.

The shield tech chain and most others are a bit higgledee piggledee but they're functional and I will go through them with a fine tooth comb until they're also in fine purring format.

That's it from me for now. Watch this space!

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RE: Sea Of Stars - development thread - 5/21/2016 1:55:50 AM   
greenspacejerk

 

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Very respectable effort you put into this, and it will promise to be a fun ride once it's on the shelves!

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RE: Sea Of Stars - development thread - 5/21/2016 7:36:24 PM   
Seraph86

 

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mod looks impressive, can't wait for further progress. oh and welcome to DW:U :).

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RE: Sea Of Stars - development thread - 5/21/2016 7:59:12 PM   
Pymous

 

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Sounds very interesting indeed. Loving especially the more hard-sci-fi part (I wanted some years ago to mod DW but one thing just ruined the fun for me: Speed and acceleration are tied in some strange relation, so I was unable to make some more Newtonian-like ship movement and long range engagement.

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RE: Sea Of Stars - development thread - 5/22/2016 10:12:42 AM   
Drybreeze


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quote:

ORIGINAL: greenspacejerk
Very respectable effort you put into this, and it will promise to be a fun ride once it's on the shelves!

Thank you very much. It's already proving fun to play... trail runs are becoming more and more entertaining and challenging.


quote:

ORIGINAL: Seraph86
mod looks impressive, can't wait for further progress. oh and welcome to DW:U :).

Cheers Seraph86, I'm enjoying working on it. DW:U is an excellent game, despite the 2d sprite graphics. Imagine if it was truly 3D, with an empire that stretched in all directions (X, Y, and Z) and a real-scale galaxy where there are millions and millions of stars and players may never ever encounter each other while playing due to the sheer enormity of the perpetual online playing field. That's some of the few features of the SoS I aim to produce.

The mod can't do that, but it's a sort of half-step to developing the game itself. I aim to use it along with a bunch of other stuff I've already produced and a bunch of stuff I've yet to produce to launch a crowd-funding campaign or approach developers.

quote:

ORIGINAL: Pymous
Sounds very interesting indeed. Loving especially the more hard-sci-fi part (I wanted some years ago to mod DW but one thing just ruined the fun for me: Speed and acceleration are tied in some strange relation, so I was unable to make some more Newtonian-like ship movement and long range engagement.

I don't think that DW:U allows for true Newtonian physics (like for example a rail gun makes a ship tend to drift away from the direction of fire, or if an engine is disabled while the ship is traveling it continues in that direction, or planet gravity pulls ships towards it, etc).

I'm now at a point where I need to make new techs I'm trying out ultra-cheap so that I can start with them, else I'm playing for several hours before I can afford to test it.



I have now completed all component images, including putting pips on the ones that require colony-manufactured resources to build them. Because of this, a player can now see in the research tree whether a tech research choice requires colony-manufactured resources or standard raw resources commonly found throughout the galaxy. If it requires colony-manufactured resources a player will be able to look up that tech in the galactopedia and be told what resources are required, and can then see if their empire either produces it or can trade for it.

During one of my recent trial run games (#5) I played right through to late mid game (researched about 40% of the research tree) and found that at this stage my empire of about 15 colonies had all colony-manufactured resources available to it except about 8 of them. So it is balanced in a way that perfectly allows a small or young empire to not be able to have access to as many colony-manufactured resources and therefore be less likely to afford the high-end techs.

There will also ALWAYS be standard-resource techs available for every tech type... so ANY player can afford SOME sort of EMP, Tractor Beam, high-speed hyperspace, and so on. However if you do happen to have the right colony-manufactured goods, you can afford to build one or two specialty techs that give an extra edge.

It's unfolding exactly as I want, so far. I'm stoked. Can't wait to present something for you folks to try and comment on.

Below are a few samples of some components:



In the above images the components use the following resources to manufacture:
Tactical Laser
Diamond, Gold, Silver, Copper
Heavy Phase Plasma Cannon
Silicon Uranium Water Copper
Quantum Torpedo
Hydrocarbons, Hydrogen, Steel, Copper, Monopolic Capsules
Directional Fission Propulsion
Hydrocarbons, Steel, Uranium, Water, Copper, Contained Fission Units
Orbital Bombardment
Hydrocarbons, Steel, Plutonium, Nuclear Explosives
Organic Integrated Repair
Biomass, Hydrocarbon, Steel, Copper, Artificial Tissue, Computers
Nuclear Missile
Hydrocarbons, Steel, Sulphur, Computers, Compact Propulsors, Nuclear Explosives
StellarCore Reactor
Hydrocarbons, Steel, Nanoscopic Machinery, Laser Equipment, Monopolic Capsules
Direct Interception Shields
Hydrocarbons, Steel, Micro Electronics, Cubic Chips, Micro-layered Glass, Sentient Robotics

The final component is Basic Ship Structure, which uses Aluminium, Food Stuffs, Steel, Oxygen and Water.

In Sea Of Stars habitation modules have been replaced with Ship Structure. It represents the infrastructure onto which all other components and modules are bolted. It encompasses everything from beams, joists and bulkheads, as well as supplies and storage for basic life-support.

I intend to expand on this. Different races will have VERY different styles of ship structure, with very different resource requirements.

< Message edited by Drybreeze -- 5/22/2016 12:51:15 PM >


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RE: Sea Of Stars - development thread - 5/22/2016 3:20:16 PM   
arkhometha


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Looks fantastic Drybreeze, I always wanted more hard sci-fi resources and tech tree and your mod looks exactly like what I wanted.
How are you going to handle the special resources? Will there still be spice in the universe? How's the AI handling the new stuff, especially the colony-only resources?
Keep up the good work!

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Post #: 69
RE: Sea Of Stars - development thread - 5/23/2016 1:43:44 AM   
Drybreeze


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Thanks a bunch akhometha! I should stress that most of the tech tree is hypothetical tech of course, but I've done a lot of research and tried to make it as realistic as possible. I've based all the resources on real actual understandable and logical stuff, including where it would spawn and percentages. It's far from perfect but I'm reasonably happy with the direction it's taken.

The only special "luxury" resource that the game absolutely insists on having seems to be resource #23 (and #19 onwards, except for #25 which for some reason it allows to be a raw resource). In the default game these are #23 "Ekarus Meat" and #25 "Rephidium Ale". "Korabbian Spice" is resource #22, which the game has allowed me to convert to a colony-manufactured resource "Biofilm". I have not seen it result in any slug infestations as yet, but I've only seen it a couple of times and never at my own colony, so it's possible... jury still out on that one.

As far as the colony-manufactured goods, the AI treats each and every one of them in the same way as any other default-game luxury resource... they get pissed off if you don't trade with them, get all gooey if you do, and depending on the race's personality type they like to randomly impose trade sanctions and then magnanimously grant trade rights again. Pretty much all colony-manufactured resources have a high trading price due to both the base price I've included as well as their rarity versus demand (they all have colony development bonuses and demand). So as a result as an empire grows in size and development the empire gets more and more colony-manufactured resources pop up, and therefore have more and more technological options as well as money from trading these resources around. It's working really well so far... not exactly as I wanted and not really much at all like it will be in the actual game SoS, however considering it's a mod and I have a box in which I must fit particular things, I'm pretty happy with the results so far. It's very playable. I much prefer it to the default game and I'm pretty sure I'm not just being bias.

The tech is handled well by the AI, and I will fine tune this when I begin producing races, because I can dictate the order that each race researches. In addition due to the effort that I've put into the tech-tree to make it sensible and progressively more costly and powerful, it works even if the AI or a player decides to manually choose techs. The only let-down I can see will be if the AI starts researching a lot of techs that require colony-manufactured resources to make, without actually having those resources to build the resulting techs. This will of course result in the AI having a disadvantage in that it will be wasting it's research power, slowing it's tech climb. This is countered by there not being many of them, they're generally off-shoot dead-end paths, and also by the fact that I can very specifically instruct each race's AI in what to rearch... I'm pretty sure it doesn't deviate until it gets to the end of the list... so I can either make the list fully comprehensive, or I can assume that by the time an AI empire has completed a large enough list that it has enough colony-manufactured resources available to it to minimise "wasted research options".

I haven't encountered any serious problems with this in any of my test runs - in fact the AI in some cases has proven extremely powerful... more powerful than they normally do on the same settings. In most games (including other mods and the default game) I am generally far above even the next best empire in all areas; size, development, population, research, military power, economic power. In a recent trial run I was VERY closely matched by the next best empire, to the point where I was actually really concerned that if I busted up their aggressive blockade of one of my main colonies that they'd go to war with me and end the trial run faster than I wanted. So a win, in that regard, since I'm sure that if I play on a harder level that AI players will in fact be far more powerful than the player.

Thank you for your excellent questions and interest. I look forward to providing you guys with something to try out soon. I'm debating whether to release a "banana product" (green when bought - ripens after purchase) or wait until it's totally ready and complete. It's a tough choice because I want to get feedback ASAP on it, but I also don't want it to be incomplete and less than I intend. Your thoughts on this would be appreciated.



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RE: Sea Of Stars - development thread - 5/23/2016 2:47:21 PM   
mordachai


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Looking great!

I dunno how much use it is to you - but in my Unleashed Extended II mod, I included some scripts to insert rows in the tech tree file. So if you want to move everything down, or up, you can run a simple script to do so (hella lot less manual editing).

Just take a look there if that's useful to you.

I'm curious to see how your planetary production works - but it looks very promising :D

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RE: Sea Of Stars - development thread - 5/25/2016 8:56:21 AM   
Drybreeze


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Thankyou mordachai, I will certainly look at that. It sounds very useful.

Sabranan's modding tool is lalso proving to be invaluable. Honestly, while I was prepared to make this mod without it, now that I've been using it for awhile I'm not sure I would have been able to do even a third of what I've already done in this time... having visual popups and fields that tell you referenced information, rather than having to remember (or scroll and look up) what every comma'd variable stands for is an absolute pleasure.

Planetary production is working well. It would be nice to have a little more control over what colonies produced (for example you build a facility which converts resources into colony-manufactured goods or components) but it'll do for now.



After running Trial Run 008 last night (I'll post an update in that thread later today - I have to go out now) I have come up with a new idea to include. Concrete Bunkering.

One of the most common resources available (representing gravel, essentially), is "Concrete". This is actually a morph from the Sea Of Stars game's limestone, gravel, and water resources, but I'm still finding it works well in the mod. Colonies have a high demand for it (for construction of cities, dams, bridges, etc) and it is found almost everywhere, especially on barren worlds, moons, and asteroids. As a result it is usually mined as a collatoral to some other specifically targeted resource, such as steel, aluminium, or hydrocarbons, most commonly. As a result of a higher production than consumption (at least, until you end up with a lot of hungry growing colonies) Concrete reserves tend to build up.

So last night I thought a great use for this would be a heavy bunkering around orbital facilities. Essentially just layers of re-inforced concrete. It would be in the form of a very heavy armour that uses primarily the resources Concrete, Silicon and Water, with maybe some steel in there for reinforcement. It would be far too heavy to be practical on any ships, so it's main usefullness would only be on stations (since colony-orbiting stations can be far, far more massive than deep-space installations... at least until research allows for greater build sizes). And because it uses up Concrete and not the resources that ship-armour uses, it would free up resources for ship building so that there was less builds being halted by a lack of necessary resources for fleets.

I can even expand on it by adding some other maybe colony-manufactured (and not commonly used) resources which for example make it highly reactive and therefore absorbing far more damage.

Ok, here's a list of changes from my Notes For Improvement file:

quote:


30/04/16
- TO DO: Change weapon-fire graphic of Disruptors to something more realistic but differentiate it from lasers and torpedoes.
- TO DO: Change weapon icon for Disruptors to something that is reminscent of the weapon-fire graphic.
- TO DO: Nurf the Disruptor chain of weapons, they're WAY too powerful... make persuing lasers more attractive. Suggest making Disruptors rapid fire but low yield weapons.

05/05/16

- TO DO: Edit Graviton weapon image to look like waves of distorted background image, stars distorting, something like that... waves, wifi style. Not a visible energy weapon but a sort of ... bending of the game image... can only be done with guess-work images in this version but it'll do, just use a typical star backdrop image.
- TESTING NOW: Design a few hypothetical base types... mining stations (light through miltary-grade), space ports, sensor platforms, impregnable hotel thingies, etc. (This is ongoing due to continuous changes to components, and will be one of the last steps in the mod's production.)
- TESTING NOW: Make things super expensive to build, so that a player really has to think a lot about where resources are coming from and how they're being spent. (Testing now... I feel it needs to be made much more expensive than it currently is, to increase cost of building items but lower financial income of empire through taxes.)
- TO DO: Consider research technologies which make more efficient use (and therefore less demand for supplies) of oxygen and water in particular - recycling? Other heavily used resources also? Fuels in particular.
- TESTING NOW: Drastically increase the desire for fuel consumption at bases and especially colonies. People need to run small motors, generators, etc. See if there's a way to limit or reduce demand of resources after a colony reaches a certain development level. (TESTING - Increase further)

06/05/16

- COMPLETED (works well): Either remove Aesthetics as a component in passenger cargo bays, or create a low-tech version (low yield) that doesn't use it as a resource in construction. Passenger transports are being held up and congesting construction yards due to a lack of this resource for private-commissioned passenger liners and it's holding up the show.

- DONE (works well): Ajust Small Fuel Relay and Efficient Fuel Relay so there's an improvement to get Efficient Fuel Relay... (TESTING)
- COMPLETED (works well): Make Oxygen spawn far more frequently than it currently does... it's a really necessary resource and seems to be rare as hens teeth with the current settings... might need to begin reducing the spawn rate of other highly common resources like aluminium, concrete, and hydrocarbons.

14/05/16

- DONE (works well): Alter laser weapons to be longer range but weaker damage. Ensure that the heaviest laser is not much more powerful than the weakest plasma weapon, but range is much greater.
- DONE (works well): See if there's a way to alter the galaxy-view zoom level icons for civilian ships from solid filled circles to something more light-weight such as crosses or smaller dots, so that a player can more readily see state ships in the galaxy view.
- DONE (works well): Adjust all ship and base designs to have a much smaller use of reactors and fuel cells, to cater for reduced fuel usage of reactors and conserve uranium in early to mid game.
- DONE (works well): Create several smaller scale facilities and their research techs which can be used to benefit colony growth, research rates, etc.
- TO DO: Begin considering race-specific tech for biological as well as information-based tech trees. Creat Lore behind the races that use this technology, and consider cross-over technology where some can be researched or absorbed by other races along the way, and vice versa.
- DONE (works well): Consider replacing biomass as a luxury resource with another less used tech (such as gems or methane) to free up biomass to be more readily available to the research tree.

24/05/16

- TESTING NOW: Nurf Ion Thruster effectiveness... too fast early game.
- TO DO: Nurf Enhanced Engines research entry - too large a jump from Basic
- TO DO: Address names and strengths of a range of items in the Thrusters research tree.
- TO DO: Enhanced Hyperdrives makes far too big of a leap in warp speed from Hypderdrive technology.
- TO DO: Pulse Jump Theory leading to Vaccuum Injection Skipdrive is too cheap and too powerful. Move it up 2 tech levels and have it require at least 1 and maybe 2 other techs first.
- TO DO: Provide differences between the command module tiers.
- TO DO: Enhanced Storage makes fuel cells far too big, nurf to sit in line with modified component sizes.
- TO DO: Make Sub-Warp Oscillation Drives harder to obtain, and put at least one other pre-requisite tech in front of it.
- TO DO: Remove life-support resources from ship structure, and focus more instead on the structural aspect only. Keep ALL life support aspects on the life support components.
- TO DO: Create a new station armour that is concrete based, very heavy, very cheap, and for the cost is very effective, but due to the mass can only be used on stations.


Please note - I've deleted previously announced items that were marked "done", so that they don't clutter up the list. Currently marked "done" are ones that are done since the last Notes For Improvement post.

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RE: Sea Of Stars - development thread - 5/25/2016 2:31:35 PM   
Hanekem

 

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Not sure about Space Concrete, from a purely IRL perspective, Cement has issues, it is bulky and heavy and needs to be poured in batches to allow the hardening in a reasonable time. I am not sure if we could pour cement in zero G or if it would do any good compared to metallic alloys.

On the Ship cost, I am very hesitant about increasing ship costs across the board. I have no problem making capital ships rarer or capital ship screens, but patrol ships? those should be relatively plentiful or else the war part of the game would degenerate into space raiding without any good counter (not to mention would make pirates very hard to squash or even keep in check)
So perhaps increase the cost and resource values of the life support/hab modules? or add in some other way to deflate the cost of escorts, not sure what it is possible with the engine, but perhaps offer a cheaper command center that can only command ships of less than size 200? (with techs to improve the module along the way)

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RE: Sea Of Stars - development thread - 5/26/2016 12:38:28 AM   
Drybreeze


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That's great feedback!

I was thinking that the concrete bunkering's bulk was in fact working to it's advantage. There is good scientific grounds as well as science-fiction precedents for encasing valuable space infrastructure in materials found around them in asteroids... even building the bases within the asteroids themselves, to give protection from radiation and bombardment. I can't simulate that in this mod very effectively, so concrete bunkering is the next best thing... where the asteroids are ground to dust, and then set into erosion-control style cast concrete blocks that can be overlayed and interlocked to form a massive, cheap armour.

Freighters and miners collect the resource in zero gravity as much as anywhere else, so it's not like megatons are lifted from a planet's surface at a time. The bunkers would be created in a pressurised environment (as components, within any normal construction yard) and shipped to site as blocks, and then interlocked to form the bunkering. The material is entirely realistic, as described in a number of scientifically-based concepts, such as lunarcrete. The mass would be no more (and probably less) than the equivalent armour mass of any metallic compounds, but would free up the metallic compounds for other uses.

I have done exactly as you suggest regarding Command Centers, however there is no way (that I'm aware of) to limit what ships can be assigned with what components, except for size. For that reason I'm making small command centers with zero maintenance benefit quite cheap and small, and readily installed on any ship. While larger and heavier ones are better for more expensive ships, and offer maintenance benefits to encourage their use. The problem with this and a few other component ideas is that the AI doesn't distinguish - it simply uses the latest of everything.

I'm not overly concerned about pirates and such - I've played a few trial runs now and it seems as though the pirates are no harder to crush than the default game. The largest difference is that they more often than not escape due to the slow rate at which their shields and armour are destroyed unless you have a modest fleet attacking them. I think this is realistic and I hope that when you guys play it that you agree.

I like your idea of increasing the cost of support and hab modules. This both encourages the player to keep ships as small as practical as well as increases the cost of producing them the way I'd pictured. It does not, however, solve the issue of too much money flowing into the private and state coffers.

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RE: Sea Of Stars - development thread - 5/26/2016 8:08:58 AM   
Drybreeze


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I have been working very hard to get this mod to a working state.
It is still not complete, however it is now at a point where it is playable right up until late game (things start getting a little unrefined then because I haven't spent enough time at this point in the game to test all the techs and such...)

There's still a heap I want to do to it, like spin-off technologies and such, however all the basic mechanisms that things will hinge on are now in place.

I have decided that I think that progress will be better if I am gathering feedback and opinions from more than one source (me). Therefore I would like to encourage anyone that is interested in testing an Alpha and having a heavy input into the development of the mod from this point to let me know and I'll PM you a download link to the Alpha mod.

Once you've tested a game or three, let me know what you think needs to be done to improve it, and I'll incorporate it into a TO DO list and make the necessary changes to form the Beta. Once we have a Beta we'll re-test it, and then when we're happy we'll release it as a general release version 1.0

I expect to add more to it after that, but that's half the fun...

Hattori Hanzo has already expressed an interest, I'll PM you a link in a day or so once I've wrapped this Alpha up and uploaded it to file hosting site.

Let me know either by PM or in reply to this thread if you're interested in testing the alpha for the purposes of providing specific input into the last improvements necessary to bring the mod to a releasable state.

Thank you very much in advance for your interest and help.

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Post #: 75
RE: Sea Of Stars - development thread - 5/26/2016 8:34:25 AM   
phi6

 

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Definitely interested in this, I'd love it if you were to send me an early build to test :)

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Post #: 76
RE: Sea Of Stars - development thread - 5/26/2016 3:06:22 PM   
arkhometha


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I would be interested in helping with testing. I'm about to start a new game anyway.

I do usually use some non orthodox settings: lots of space creatures and pirates, pirates don't come back, research set to 960K, pre-warp start with a few empires in advanced stages.

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Post #: 77
RE: Sea Of Stars - development thread - 5/26/2016 3:47:02 PM   
Premislaus

 

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Thank you for your hard work. I really appreciate it.

Space concrete is a good thing :).

Do you still have a lot of work for 1.0 version?

I am interested in testing.

< Message edited by Premislaus -- 5/26/2016 3:54:08 PM >

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Post #: 78
RE: Sea Of Stars - development thread - 5/27/2016 1:34:44 AM   
Drybreeze


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Ok there's a few things I need to do to have it ready for alpha testing, as below:

1) Ensure all components are working with automatic upgrading (one final trial run should show this).
2) Blank over all races in the Picard Era mod that I'm working with as a base, so that the balance I've created in the Borg race is duplicated in all other races. This will mean there are no differences between the races for the alpha - except ship and base graphics.
3) Wrap it up in a zip, and upload it to a file server.

Note that there will be INCOMPLETE ASPECTS to the alpha, including:

1) No differences between races.
2) No race-specific technology.
3) No new graphics for any of the races or ships - we'll use the excellent Picard Era mod graphics for now.
4) Some technology chains aren't yet different enough from others - eg: Plasmic weapons vs Disruptor Weapons.
5) Balance issues need adjusting - for example the speed of early hyperdrives, etc. We need to ensure that as size and cost of components increases so too does the allowable size of construction.
6) Spawn distribution and costs of resources needs to be balanced to ensure there isn't a growing demand verse supply or vice versa of any particular resources. I've noticed that a few of the colony-manufactured resources seem to collect at a crazy rate, and that demand for some of the raw resources are forever in demand.
7) Randoms. Throughout the process there have been several suprise balance issues which have cropped up. I expect there will be many others that I've overlooked or that have slipped through the cracks.
> EDIT: 8) Oh, and no help files yet. I will be producing a fully comprehensive Galactopedia inclusion, which details every new component, research, resource, and feature in detail. You will be able to know how much of what resources each component costs to make ahead of time. It will also provide a full list of what resources produce what technologies. It will provide a full list of weapons, damage values, weights, and costs. In this way new players will be able to know what to research ahead of time. Where necessary I will also be revamping default Galactopedia entries to provide a bit more information where it's lacking. The Galactopedia aspect of the mod is quite time consuming, and also of course needs to be left until the mod itself has settled into place... no point making descriptive entries that become obsolete when the mod feature they're describing changes.
9) And no new planet images as yet. I will be using Sea Of Stars game graphics for this... the banner is the "landscape view" for an Oceanic planet. I will produce several of each planet type to replace the defaults. All will be the same "from orbit" view, and I will also be producing new planet sprite graphics as well as cloud-overlays to increase realism on the default mod. I want the graphics skinning of this mod to be really super realistic and believable and immersive, to bring real justice to this most awesome game Distant Worlds Universe.

So when testing this alpha please understand that you will probably inevitably come across a problem or problems that prevent the game from being perfect. As an alpha tester please make a note of these and let me know, and continue with the game as best you can to make note of any others past that. In this way you are greatly helping me by collecting issues faster than I can by doing trial-runs myself, which should therefore greatly speed up the process of producing the mod to completion.

In return for your efforts you will be given credit in the final mod, and you will also be given the opportunity to mold the final mod into directions that you think it needs.

Thank you again for your help, I really appreciate it. I will PM the download link to the following folks who have expressed interest:

Hattori Hanzo
phi6
arkhometha
Premislaus

and another who has PM'd me and may therefore wish to remain anonymous.

Anyone else wishing a link just let me know.

I expect to have something uploaded in around 10 hours from this post, unless something unexpected comes up.
Thanks again ppl! :)


< Message edited by Drybreeze -- 5/27/2016 3:25:08 AM >


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Post #: 79
RE: Sea Of Stars - development thread - 5/27/2016 10:37:10 PM   
Hattori Hanzo


Posts: 716
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From: Okinawa
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quote:

Hattori Hanzo has already expressed an interest, I'll PM you a link in a day or so once I've wrapped this Alpha up and uploaded it to file hosting site.

thank you, I will eagerly wait for your PM

(in reply to Drybreeze)
Post #: 80
RE: Sea Of Stars - development thread - 5/28/2016 12:35:04 AM   
Drybreeze


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Ack! Mediafire upload failed last night... says it uploaded but hasn't appeared in my file list ready to share. Sorry folks!
I've gone back to good old trusty Dropbox for now. Uploading again as we speak... will advise once it's live.

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Post #: 81
RE: Sea Of Stars - development thread - 5/28/2016 2:37:54 AM   
Drybreeze


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Ok download links have been sent.

I have included a second OPTIONAL download which provides a NON-blanked-over races folder, so that you have the option of playing with diverse (NON BALANCED) races. I haven't worked on any races (ship designs etc) other than Borg, so it's entirely possible that other races will be crazy broken... like far too few reactors and so on. But that's up to you.

The original download has every race set to the exact same settings as Borg, so that they're all balanced equally.

Thanks again for being involved. I hope you enjoy what I've worked on so far, and I look forward to completing this to a point where we can release it to everyone as a nice self-contained finished mod.

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Post #: 82
RE: Sea Of Stars - development thread - 5/28/2016 4:53:54 AM   
Premislaus

 

Posts: 22
Joined: 6/11/2014
From: Poland
Status: offline

quote:

ORIGINAL: Drybreeze

Ok download links have been sent.

I have included a second OPTIONAL download which provides a NON-blanked-over races folder, so that you have the option of playing with diverse (NON BALANCED) races. I haven't worked on any races (ship designs etc) other than Borg, so it's entirely possible that other races will be crazy broken... like far too few reactors and so on. But that's up to you.

The original download has every race set to the exact same settings as Borg, so that they're all balanced equally.

Thanks again for being involved. I hope you enjoy what I've worked on so far, and I look forward to completing this to a point where we can release it to everyone as a nice self-contained finished mod.


Hi! Thanks! I played a few minutes and I have first thoughts. I should play more through the weekend, and I'll send you my observations. I already have five notes, currently only in Polish.

(in reply to Drybreeze)
Post #: 83
RE: Sea Of Stars - development thread - 5/29/2016 2:18:20 AM   
Drybreeze


Posts: 129
Joined: 4/15/2016
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I'm very much looking forward to your input.

I have been playing my 12th trial run, and I have the following improvement notes:

quote:

28/05/16

- Alter upgrade to fuel cells to reduce volume. It upgrades from 2 to 80. Results in fuel shortages and en-masse refueling missions when the tech is researched.
- Alter late-game hyperdrive to fold space from origin to destination, resulting in almost instantaneous travel. This should be easily achieved by making the warp speed crazy-fast. Experimentation required. It'd be nice if ships could travel across entire sectors in half a second or so. Large launch time to compensate.
- Look at fuel relay tech chain... illogical order to things.
- Coolant Heat Exchange; increase reactor output, but change fuel type from Hydrogen to Uranium
- Compact Fission Systems; change fuel type from Hydrogen to Uranium
- Solid Fuel System Improvements; increase thrust output to followon from previous tech's thrust outputs.
- Articulated Combustion Systems; increase thrust output
- Lossless Energy Conversion; increase thrust output
- Energy Overloading; increase thrust output and change name of research entry
- Intense Manuevering Thrusters; decrease thrust
- Increase missile damage throughout tech chain
- Space Command; reduce maintenance savings benefit to 3%
- Coordinated Control; increase maintenance savings benefit to 5%
- Multiple Shield Networking; swap parents around so that arrows don't cross over each other in research window.


Overall I'm finding this game quite enjoyable, although it's a bit hum drum with everyone being Borg... I might bump up the priority of creating a few different races so that I don't have to be playing against clones.

I am coming up against significant Uranium shortages due to the above-mentioned upgrade fail which I'll fix pronto.

Also I was going to make the next alpha release (v0.2) into a shared dropbox folder, so that I can alter one or two files at a time, and all that needs to be re-downloaded by testers are the altered files... regardless of what they are... rather than having the entire mod as a single zipped download.

How are you going with playing it without any help files...? I have an understanding of the techs and components required of course, but I imagine playing blind must be a bit confusing at first without any means of looking things up...? I think that Galactopedia entries for the final release are kinda important... yer thoughts?

< Message edited by Drybreeze -- 5/29/2016 2:21:38 AM >


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Post #: 84
RE: Sea Of Stars - development thread - 5/29/2016 1:00:22 PM   
IFailAtGaming

 

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I'd be willing to help test.
If you're going for hard sci-fi i'm certain i could figure most things out.

(in reply to Drybreeze)
Post #: 85
RE: Sea Of Stars - development thread - 5/29/2016 1:58:17 PM   
Drybreeze


Posts: 129
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You're very welcome to test it, the more the merrier.

I've sent you a PM with the link in it, let me know how you go.

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Post #: 86
RE: Sea Of Stars - development thread - 5/30/2016 12:52:23 AM   
Premislaus

 

Posts: 22
Joined: 6/11/2014
From: Poland
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I played a few quick games yesterday and today, and I have some thoughts. This mod is playable in its current state. I think you can go ahead and post version 0.1.

My settings:

15x15 with 1400 stars and 11 empires.
Prerwarp, chaos, extreme.
Very expensive research cost, many space creatures, none pirates (bug).
No tech trading, normal alien life and planet prevalence.
Borgs only.

http://imgur.com/a/ye79n

1. You can not play with enabled pirates due to an error in designs files. Without them there is no challenge in early and mid game.

2. I had a break with Distant Worlds, but I remember that in a normal game, I could set that empires are at some distance from each other. I tried to be in the center and on the edge of the galaxy, always draws civilizations at a vast distance from me, and in a group. This is with automatic generation of empires, and when I set them manually distance.

3. Lasers with high range and low damage is a great idea. I don't have problems with space monsters. However beam graphics is too microscopic, something about one pixel.

4. I think that concrete should be used in very large numbers, hundreds.

5. Development paths are poorly done. Really. First presribed techs are: Ship boarding, Integrated Magnetic Control (another shields) and Countermeasures. Empires not prioritize the warp drive, engines, and components such hab life and batteries.

6, 7, 8. Ships don't consume fuel and don't use static energy during flight. This is strange behaviour, because you can send explorer ship to another star system without warp drive. In some big types of star systems, early constructor ship is too slow. However, lower speeds are not bad, but it is a bit boring (without warp).

9, 10, 11. Maybe this is Borg specific, but I got lucky with nearby planet, five ship captains. I'm swimming in cash from start. The Borg have high production bonus, perhaps 70%.

PS. I like new music and new names for techs and resource.

< Message edited by Premislaus -- 5/30/2016 1:03:02 AM >

(in reply to Drybreeze)
Post #: 87
RE: Sea Of Stars - development thread - 5/30/2016 1:29:34 AM   
Drybreeze


Posts: 129
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That's really excellent feedback. Thank you very much for your input!

quote:

ORIGINAL: Premislaus

I played a few quick games yesterday and today, and I have some thoughts. This mod is playable in its current state. I think you can go ahead and post version 0.1.

My settings:

15x15 with 1400 stars and 11 empires.
Prerwarp, chaos, extreme.
Very expensive research cost, many space creatures, none pirates (bug).
No tech trading, normal alien life and planet prevalence.
Borgs only.

http://imgur.com/a/ye79n


You have played on very different settings to what I normally do, which is great. One of the main reasons why I appreciate the input of others into this thing. Your pictures also show that it resulted in a very different game to one that I have experienced with this mod so far.

I appreciate that you think it's playable however I disagree. I don't want to release this generally, until we've ironed out most or all of the bugs you've spotted and more.

quote:



1. You can not play with enabled pirates due to an error in designs files. Without them there is no challenge in early and mid game.


I have had this error come up from time to time when launching. As you say it is a ship design problem - I think it's because the resulting designs result in ships above size limits, which in turn prevents empires from spawning ships or bases that are required to launch, so the game spacks out.

quote:


2. I had a break with Distant Worlds, but I remember that in a normal game, I could set that empires are at some distance from each other. I tried to be in the center and on the edge of the galaxy, always draws civilizations at a vast distance from me, and in a group. This is with automatic generation of empires, and when I set them manually distance.


I have done a few trial runs now. One of the things I noticed when I blanked races over to make them all Borg clones for the sake of uploading v0.1 alpha to test was that suddenly there was a vastly increased percent of games where the other empires would spawn in the same system as my own empire.

quote:


3. Lasers with high range and low damage is a great idea. I don't have problems with space monsters. However beam graphics is too microscopic, something about one pixel.


Yes I am also enjoying the "star wars style" of lasers darting between fleets with terrible accuracy doing little damage and resulting in epic battles. The starting lasers do very small damage, and the game automatically rates the size of a weapon's ammunition image by the damage that it does. As you upgrade them they become much larger and obviously visible. However I agree the starting ones are very puny... to the point of almost being invisible. I will try widening the base image in the ammunition file, this should in theory make all instances of it wider, both starting and larger more damage instances later in game.

quote:


4. I think that concrete should be used in very large numbers, hundreds.

In stations it is used in much higher quantities.
For reasons I can't get around the game tries to make the Concrete Bunkering a more highly rated armour than Plate Steel... I will try a few work-arounds to solve this. As a result of that, it automatically assigns it as the "latest armour" for ship designs which is not the purpose of it. I'm pretty sure that I can make it the most basic type of armour and this will be avoided, but then that means that AI players will ignore it as obsolete armour and not clad ships OR bases with it.

For this reason concrete bunkering may be a fail as armour, and I might need to remove it again... since all that it would achieve even if I could get it to function correctly is that you as the player can use concrete resource as armour for bases (and so relieve demand for other resources like steel) which the AI does not, giving the player an unfair advantage.

quote:


5. Development paths are poorly done. Really. First presribed techs are: Ship boarding, Integrated Magnetic Control (another shields) and Countermeasures. Empires not prioritize the warp drive, engines, and components such hab life and batteries.


Development paths I have not touched. They are still as were set in the Picard Era mod which this mod has been editing from the start. What HAS changed is the research path... with research IDs moving in relation to each other, being removed completely, and sometimes being assigned to an entirely different area of the research tree, or even a different industry altogether (from weapons to high tech for example).

As a result the pre-existing development paths (what techs the AI chooses to research and in what order) are thoroughly butchered, I'm sure. I haven't noticed this due to manually researching everything, so this again is an excellent example of how great it is to get feedback from you as an alpha tester. Thankyou!

quote:


6, 7, 8. Ships don't consume fuel and don't use static energy during flight. This is strange behaviour, because you can send explorer ship to another star system without warp drive. In some big types of star systems, early constructor ship is too slow. However, lower speeds are not bad, but it is a bit boring (without warp).

They do consume fuel, but very very slowly.
Fuel is either Uranium or Hydrogen (or Nitrogen in the really super-advanced reactor late-game), for Fission (nuclear) and Fusion reactors respectively. They produce large amounts of energy from a single unit of fuel, to make it a bit more realistic from a scientifically accurate point of view. Nuclear reactors on naval vessels can burn their fuel for years at a time without needing to be refueled.

I have found that I am still refueling fleets reasonably often - probably about every 3 game years... and that is for 8 units of Uranium per ship... The problem is that the fuel to energy ratio is so small that the research tree shows it as 0, as your screen shot shows. However it is still burning it at the rate I've set in the game. Play for say 10 game years and you'll see your fleets need refueling once or twice in that time.

I do however agree that the fuel rate for both impulse and hyperdrive engines needs to be increased... maybe doubled. I'll test it out and see if it is better.

The early constructor ship is a ship design that needs improvement. Wack another fission reactor or two on it in the designs menu and its warp speed is much higher. I'll do that in the designs for the next release.

quote:


9, 10, 11. Maybe this is Borg specific, but I got lucky with nearby planet, five ship captains. I'm swimming in cash from start. The Borg have high production bonus, perhaps 70%.

PS. I like new music and new names for techs and resource.


You did indeed get VERY lucky. I've never had that happen in any of my trial runs, or while playing any other mod. Nicely done.
Also I have found the opposite now that I've reduced the warp speed early game my income is far from juicy. I'm curious why your game was so very different... perhaps something to do with no pirates?

The music is entirely that of the Picard Era mod, I take no credit for that. I will probably replace it, however that's not on my radar just yet.

Thank you very much for your input Premislaus. Feel free to provide more, and I encourage you to play a game for a few game years and try to re-launch with pirates. I get that error maybe 1 in every 10 launches. I just close it and try again and it works fine. I'm found that I bumped that ratio up to 10 in every 10 launches when I edited ship designs too agressively, so it's almost certainly to do with that. Ship designs rely on the component weights and outputs being settled and agreed on, so it's been a lower priority for me than making sure for example that warp core, reactor, or weapon outputs are settled into a nice balance... otherwise I'm doing ship designs over and over again which gets tedious.

Thank you again!

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Post #: 88
RE: Sea Of Stars - development thread - 5/30/2016 10:58:47 AM   
Drybreeze


Posts: 129
Joined: 4/15/2016
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To get a bit more organised with this mod development I have produced a publicly visible Google Docs spreadsheet showing issues identified with the mod, and their progress.

You can view the document here.
If you wish to be able to comment directly on the document (for example to make suggestions about entries, etc) please let me know by PM what email address you want me to send an comment-rights email invitation to.

EDIT>
Because this is an online spreadsheet, it updates instantly as I work on it... in fact it shows you what I'm editing as I edit it.

So you're looking at the very most up to date progress.

At the moment I've ranked everything by priority, and I'm working through from highest to lowest priority. When I've finished modifying things, I'll mark it from "To Do" to "Testing", and run the game to trial it. If it functions well it will be marked as "Done" and the entire line highlighted blue to denote completion of the task.

Once I've worked through everything marked as "Release 0.2" I will upload it to the Alpha v0.2 and invite others wishing to test it to download the release and provide feedback.

At the moment I'm working on altering "High" priority items, and will then test them before moving to "Medium" priority items.

< Message edited by Drybreeze -- 5/31/2016 9:19:02 AM >


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Post #: 89
RE: Sea Of Stars - development thread - 6/1/2016 2:55:46 PM   
IFailAtGaming

 

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Joined: 5/29/2016
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Overall, it seems to be working very well, although there are some problems, for example as has been mentioned before concrete bunkering is weird with auto upgrading, as in giving ships concrete instead of armor, which I believe can't really be fixed, and the extremely slow fuel use kind of makes stellar energy collectors seem silly (although they are good for having the stations working as soon as they're built). May i suggest having fission reactors maintain a slow fuel burn rate, while fusion burns through fuel much faster, but having it be offset by how much more common fusion fuel is? Other than that i can't think of much else, but I don't think I've played enough to have an idea of possible later game problems.

(in reply to Drybreeze)
Post #: 90
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