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Sea of Stars - Trial Run 008

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Sea of Stars - Trial Run 008 - 5/23/2016 1:27:21 PM   

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Joined: 4/15/2016
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I've done a few trial runs since the last one.

In that time I have edited a lot of the resources, components, images, and research. I've also played a lot with ship designs, base designs, and balance.

There's still a lot I need to do before this is launchable, however I'm finding the best way to test improvements are to play through it. No not cuz it's fun. Purely in the interests of scien... okay yes cuz it's fun ok fine you got me deal with it, it's fun ok... geez.

So here goes, trial number 8.

I start the trail in a small galaxy on normal difficulty, with 5 opponent AI empires and plenty of independent colonies and pirates. A cat needs mice, right?

One colony, two same-system colonisable worlds, and three remote-system mines.

Resource distribution in the galaxy as follows:

I will adjust the resource distributions to make methane a little less common (since it's not really used for much) and hydrogen much more (since realistically it is the most common element in the known universe - even though in this mod it isn't used for much).

Apart from that I'm reasonably happy with the distribution of resources...

In this trial run I intend to go to war with the most major empire I can find, to discover more about how the AI is using the tech tree, and to get as much information about balance as I can. I've only edited ship designs for MY empire... all others are unedited, so I expect there to be some significant balance issues right there... we'll see how it goes.

I will be producing races as part of the mod, but I have only been balancing and ship-designing my own race (building on ehsumrell1's Picard Era Mod), with the intention of using it as a base race balanced for the new components and resources. I will then split this base race into a few factions with various differences in techs and resource demands.


Post #: 1
RE: Sea of Stars - Trial Run 008 - 5/23/2016 5:40:00 PM   

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One of the remote stations is a research facility orbiting Sero 3, a gas giant abundant with Oxygen.

However it's a very small poorly defended research station... and considering that it currently houses our only scientist of note, it is worth bulking up a little so that we don't need need to keep a garrison.

Creating a new secondary "Heavy Defense" design version of the research facility, we upgrade the facility to the new design, and watch as freighters begin bringing the necessary resources.

The dedicated escorts of "Garrison Destroyers" (a design that sacrifices warp speed and cruise speed for energy conservation and firepower) roll out of our homeworld's shipyards and head to their stations. Essentially they're just small defensive bases that can be relocated, and are assigned to guard mines and other facilities until a system becomes valuable enough to warrant a garrison.

Before long the first pirate base is located by our scouts, and we assign all four of our task forces attack postures on the base. They promptly ignore the orders (as always), so we manually send all of them in to a rally point not far north of the pirate base's location, ready for a synchronised attack.

Our task forces make light work of the tiny pirate base, and locate the faction's construction vessel and attempt to destroy it also... however it escapes, badly damaged.

And in 2152, September 26th, (nearly 3 years after first venturing beyond our home star of Qward) we encounter our first alien empire... the Gorn. By some freaky coincidence they also have Frictionless Lubricant as a colony-manufactured resource. Considering that there's 32 colony-manufactured resources available in the mod (all currently with mostly identical spawning locations and percentages), it really is quite a coincidence that they have the same one we do, at this point in the game...


(in reply to Drybreeze)
Post #: 2
RE: Sea of Stars - Trial Run 008 - 5/24/2016 4:10:10 AM   

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The previous attack of four Task Force fleets on a single pirate base was very overpowering, so the next discovered pirate outpost only earns the attention of two Task Force fleets, while the other two retrofit to the latest designs including countermeasures and targeting systems.

At the same time our half-filled troop fleet is sent to a nearby independent colony to liberate it. The Troop Transport fleet includes 2x Troop Transporters (heavy defense with space for 400 troops apiece), 2x Patrol Frigates (torpedo and laser batteries), and 1x Patrol Destroyer (also with rounded out weaponry). These escorts as part of the transport fleet will should prevent our empire from needing to accompany the transporters with a task force fleet.

As expected, Task Force 001 and Task Force 002 (both consisting of 5x Patrol Boats, 2x Patrol Frigates, and 1x Patrol Destroyer) destroy the small pirate base and it's little defending fleet in short order, with only two ships in one of the Task Force fleets suffering some damage to their Layered Mass armour... no biggie, they scoot back home to repair and retrofit.

At around the same time as the pirate base is destroyed the Troop Transporter fleet arrives at our new potential colony, to be greeted by a healthy raiding pirate fleet that are a good match for the relatively weak Transporter fleet...

Only one Troop Transporter ship makes it to the atmosphere to launch it's assault pods, the other flees combat fast... they're not built to be very strong in battle... at least not at this stage of the game.

As a result only 200 troops land on the surface, and while the pirate raiders hold their own against our little transporter fleet. The invasion fails.

I recall the Troop Transporter fleet in shame... no component damage but 200 wasted troops and many weeks wasted in transit with our slow starter warp drives.

I send in Task Force 002 to clean up the pirates... more out of vengeance than anything... and I'll bolster the Transporter fleet with a larger escort in future to make the effort less risky.

Task Force 002 cleans up the pirate raiders fast enough - the swapping out of 2 heavily armoured but lightly armed Troop Transporters with 5 lightly armoured but more heavily armed (and faster) patrol boats proves a decisive improvement. While in the system I have them destroy a pirate mining station orbiting one of the planets... that will help keep the independent colony less populated with pirates for when I come back.

Meanwhile one of the southern independent colonies I was nearly going to liberate before I chose the Sluggia system has graduated to become a fully blown space-borne empire. That will make liberating them a little less "politically correct". Bugger. Their new zone of influence occupies a lot of the space I had my eye on too.

I might just liberate them anyway... I intend to use this trial run to have some serious combat activity, so might as well start early huh.

The newly researched Tactical Laser more than doubles the output and increases the range of the lasers already mounted on all of my ships and bases... so that should really come in handy.

To war!


(in reply to Drybreeze)
Post #: 3
RE: Sea of Stars - Trial Run 008 - 5/25/2016 12:19:07 PM   

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Joined: 4/15/2016
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By the time I bring my four fleets in to tackle the newborn Borg empire, they had already colonised a nearby world in the same system, and were beginning to gather a healthy fleet.

Our four fleets nevertheless liberated them in short order.


Over the next 6 years progress and growth are steady but slow. Colony ships are taking a long time to be produced due to resource shortages, which are due entirely to building too many large bases. So a game-play strategy fail less than a mod feature fail. But with no threats on the horizon it's all good.

During this time I upgrade my fleets another four times, to incorporate the newly researched targeting systems, ECM systems, and finally the newly developed brand-new (as opposed to modified) weapon - the Rapidfire Laser Battery.

The Rapidfire Laser Battery combines several lasers into a single component, which increases firing rate and range, however it does increase weight and reduce per-shot damage. I have yet to test this weapon in combat. I have outfit all the latest designs with it, and I'm retrofitting my Task Forces with it now, with the intention of wardec'ing my only surviving neighbour, the Gorn (who love me and want a mutual defense pact and all that, but... hey... it's a borg eat gorn world.)

The current 4 Task Force fleets comprise of 1x Patrol Destroyer (latest design shown above), 2x Patrol Frigates, and 5x Patrol Boats. The Patrol class have both the latest lasers and latest energy weapons, to have both long-range fire capability as well as a moderate brawler capability. All vessels are equipped with the latest reactors and hyperdrives of course.

Most of the task fleets are now lead with discovered capitals... one has a discovered frigate armed to the nipples with gravity weapons.

I've made a bunch of improvement notes... regularly listed in the development thread. One of them is that the Vaccuum Injection Skipdrive is made much harder to acquire. Currently I've left it where it is so that I can scoot about quickly early on in the game to make weapon testing and general game-play faster...


(in reply to Drybreeze)
Post #: 4
RE: Sea of Stars - Trial Run 008 - 5/25/2016 8:48:59 PM   
Hattori Hanzo

Posts: 732
Joined: 3/21/2011
From: Okinawa
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as always, I'm impressed by your dedication to the project..
a true labour of love

(in reply to Drybreeze)
Post #: 5
RE: Sea of Stars - Trial Run 008 - 5/26/2016 11:27:48 AM   

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Joined: 4/15/2016
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Haha, yes definately. I've been working on the game this mod is based on for something like 10 years now... it's well refined and the only missing piece is an interactive demo of sorts... a pre-alpha.

This mod represents both a half-step towards it, as well as a pro-active test of my ability to develop the actual practical aspects of a game's development. Up until I gave this mod a go everything about SoS was conceptual only.

While playing this trial run I made changes to the mod mechanics... in the research tree, the components, and also a few graphic alterations (I think I've finally settled on a fleet graphic that I'm happy with to go with my ship symbols)...

The interesting thing is... when I load up this game even after making some pretty major changes, it all still loads fine.
Research items that were previously cheap on the research tree an I'd researched them... but now they're heavier in tech level but they remain researched.

I had previously thought that if you alter the mod that all previous games would be broken. Nope.

I think now that I have the bones of the research tree pretty much where I need it.
I should point out that it is still a work in progress - there are still "Blank Projects" waiting to be assigned into the tree, etc. But the tree itself functions and seeeeeeeems to be in a logical order with sensible values on things.

I need to seperate a couple of reactor chains and weapon chains to give them a reason to choose one or the other (they're too close to each other) but that will come with feedback from alpha testers.

The Weapons and Armour tech tree:

The Energy and Construction tech tree:

The High Tech and Industrial tech tree:


(in reply to Hattori Hanzo)
Post #: 6
RE: Sea of Stars - Trial Run 008 - 5/26/2016 12:08:45 PM   

Posts: 129
Joined: 4/15/2016
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It seems I spoke too soon.

The game plays fine for about 25 minutes, and then crashes.
Reloading it, rinse and repeat.

My guess is that at that point it is trying to do something (either in a build queue or a research queue) which is not working with the new alterations to the mod.

I will now start a new trial run to ensure it's not something in the mod itself, but rather an incompatibility with the save game from the prior version of the mod. Gah! All in the name of progress I guess...


(in reply to Drybreeze)
Post #: 7
RE: Sea of Stars - Trial Run 008 - 5/26/2016 3:22:49 PM   

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Joined: 1/3/2011
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ORIGINAL: Drybreeze

All in the name of progress I guess...

Everything is temporary :)


...Igniting stellar cores....Recharging reactors...Recalibrating hyperdrives....

(in reply to Drybreeze)
Post #: 8
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