Bastard Sword of the Stars 3.0.2

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Warcat
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Joined: Sun Apr 30, 2006 4:32 pm

Re: Bastard Sword of the Stars 2.0b! (updated)

Post by Warcat » Tue Mar 29, 2016 9:50 am

Hi Alpha, glad to see you back again!

Have some feedback after hundreds of turns of playing SotS 2.0b and SotS 2.0a

- Bio weapons are an "I win" techs if your opponent (AI) fails to roll the antidote. They are very effective, compared to other weapons in the colony killing role, like assault shuttles or standard weapons, and it's usually enough to bring in a couple of bio CR, to create havoc into enemy planets.
- Mines (particularly the leap ones) are OP. It's not too difficult to mop up entire DN fleets with just a dozen of DE minelayers, even if not so safe as in vanilla, due to the improved missile weapons.
- Drones are very strong and nearly indestructible. Even the heavy ones can manage to outrun interceptor missiles, while every other PD countermeasure (namely gauss, laser and beamer) is ineffective. Not counting that they can be upgraded with armours and manuevrability improvements. Never tested against phaser PD, but by that time I usually give up the game because it's no longer challenging. Only emitter line can pose a real threat to them, making the perfect anti drone weapon. Unfortunately emitters are a niche weapons and they aren't so common to roll.
- Drone minelayers are an antiship weapon nightmare. When a player starts fielding them, AI has no real countermeasures to avoid to lose a battle (even an human player would have an hard life to save his fleets).

So my ideas to balance this mod, at least regarding the experience I had with the points above and my style of playing, are the following:
1. Remove Assimilation and Beast Bomb bio weapons. They are high end techs and many races have too low chances to get them and thus the proper antidote. I think they are a game breaking weapons (at least in SP).
2. Make Plague and Retro Plague antidotes a bit more difficult to grab (what? You said that bio should be nerfed and you're suggesting that???). I mean that when a player makes the effort to research the bio weapon, the antidote is just a couple of turns ahead, so it's only a matter to invest a little more time to grab the antidote (making the investment to develop bio weapons completely useless). This could be understood better by reading my third point...
3. Reduce bio missiles' speed(/health). The main threat of these weapons is that missile carriers can fire from standoff in a safe zone and let the missiles go through the enemy defenses with a high chance to hit the colony with at least one vector. The only real counter to them, when the defensive fleet is misplaced, is the planetary missiles/satellite ring system, which, if fully operational, can barely neutralize just a handful of them (so it's enough to fire a salvo of 6 - 9 missiles to likely see at least one missile hit the target planet). Making the missiles slower will reduce a lot their chances of survavibility if fired from standoff and it will force the carriers to close to the planet, to increase the hit ratio, thus exposing themselves to defense batteries). In other words, it will force human players to behave like the AI ones (they always close to the planet with carriers regardless of tactical situations).
4. Nerf mines. AI is too dumb to avoid going into a minefield at full speed with its ships, making mines a perfect kiting weapon. I suggest to reduce their RoF (by at least a factor of 2).
5. Rebalance drones. My suggestions: reduce their time to live, thus reducing their chances to fire (even if there's a workaround to let the drones fly indefinitely); increase the maintenance cost of the carriers (crippling the player's economy if abusing); reduce their speed (this should be carefully balanced with the first suggestion to avoid to make drones useless).
6. Remove minelayer drones. Mines have great dps but are static and have short range, drones the opposite: together they will gain the high dps of mines and the manuevrability and long range of drones. I think it's OP with no effective counters to deal with even for a human player.

Alpha Centauri

Re: Bastard Sword of the Stars 2.0b! (updated)

Post by Alpha Centauri » Wed Mar 30, 2016 1:43 am

1. I wouldn't mind dumping beast & assimilation plagues. Always hated the damn things.

2. Not sure I like the antidotes taking a bunch longer... but maybe it makes sense if there are only the two plagues / two antidotes.

3. I find it odd that the AI can't handle them - they're quite slow & low HP now. When the AI comes at me with them (I never field them) - I blow them away easily (usually playing Liir or Morrigi though - so lots of lasers to kill them with). We certainly could reduce their range so that you have to fly closer to the target planet before they can fire. Could reduce their HP... but, really?!

4. Huh - they're really OP? Mines? Yeah, too bad the AI is so limited. They're so damn easy to nullify - just make ships with a modicum of lasers/beamers/PD. Sigh. Not sure what I want to do here since they're using the same values as vanilla already, and HP is doubled. Probably just another "if humans use this system, the AI is too stupid to counter".

5. Again - I'm surprised you're finding them OP. I kept finding that they would disintegrate in most battles, and had to keep trying to improve them so that they weren't a fission-only weapon system. But my last game as Morrigi I was able to use them into fusion and they remained effective. Could limit armors more strictly. Could slow them down again. But I don't want them to return to being a weapon system with no life past fission. (Maybe fixing shotgun PD would help? Maybe introducing a specialized anti-drone defense based on emitter tech but that doesn't require emitters?)

6. Heh. I haven't played with the minelayer drones - but I'm not surprised that they're OP. I kind of assumed that they would be (if they worked at all). Maybe we could create small mines and use a small mine mount on the minelayer drones? That would reduce bang / give us control over nerfing them.

Thanks for the feedback. I'm not ready to do 3.0, but the more that goes into the pot to get stirred around will only make the new stew better :)

Warcat
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Re: Bastard Sword of the Stars 2.0b! (updated)

Post by Warcat » Wed Mar 30, 2016 7:34 am

3. Unfortunately AI is too much dumb to guess what a human player may do. I mean that when I know my opponent has bio weapons, I have to stay on guard and keep my ships close to my colony to intercept any incoming bio missiles (and you're right: bio missiles are quite weak and cannot survive passing through an enemy fleet). Maybe reducing their range may be a good idea to avoid the standoff fire and forget tactic.

4.
Probably just another "if humans use this system, the AI is too stupid to counter".

You hit the point. In my experience, Liir only can counter mines quite easily thank to their slow top speed and their love to energy weapons. So standard/cloaked mines are just minor annoyance, while the leap ones needs desperately a rebalance, because of their improved capacity to cover the gap between them and an incoming vessel. Personally I've never bothered with any but leap mines and my suggestion was mainly focused on them.

5. They are not very resiliant if forced to combat for prolonged time against a full combat fleet, I agree, but with a little micro they can chew a DN even before the latter can close to the drone carriers. I found that there are no real counters but emitters because of their "swarming" behaviour: even PD dedicated ships cannot manage to destroy a single drone before it exits their PD coverage. Of course this "swarmer tactic" can be effective only if there are dozens of drones on a single target: a handful of them cannot pose a real threat to any ship above the DE hulls, so this isn't the point. I guess that slowing them a bit (maybe even the manuevrability) can help giving PD more time to hit repeatedly a single target, increasing the chances to bring it down before it exits the kill zone. And yes, limiting the armour would be nice imho, even if I think that making the drone carriers more expensive in terms of maintenance costs may force a human player to not stick on drone too heavy.

6. When I was testing my models, I fought against minelayer drones armed with implosion mines (meh, AI had every tech researched, so it isn't so dumb after all). My test ship lasted just few seconds before being disintegrated (thus forcing me to repeat the test and pause the game just to see if the model worked as intended and to grab some pics...). And leap mines are roughly as effective as the implosion ones, while being a lot cheaper to research (I gave up my Morrigi game when I started to field drones with AM leap mines). If there is a weapon slot unused, it could be a good idea to make a specific mine for them (after all, as it is, a drone minelayer carrier could pack two (for DE) or three (for CR) times the minelayer mounts of a standard minelayer vessel of the same class...)

the more that goes into the pot to get stirred around will only make the new stew better :)

lol

Warcat
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Re: Bastard Sword of the Stars 2.0b! (updated)

Post by Warcat » Thu Mar 31, 2016 6:28 am

drages wrote:if we speak about since play, just erase all the mines from game. A weapon which AI won't handle would bring problems. Just put more cool stuff rather then them.

Don't get me wrong drages, but I pointed out that at least some of them needs a rebalancing (namely the leap ones) or be nerfed (mines carried by drones). The others are just "minor" annoyances even for AI

as another Idea, you can take the autocannon stomped weapons tree and create a ballistic assault laser tree. So stormers could be a good ballistic hcl weapon.

I know that Alpha agreed for a reworking of the weapon system in the 3.0 version which will include an improvement of the rail cannon line (which may become the assault weapon mount for ballistic lover races).

same for mine tree could be transformed to huge missile launchers from torpedo tubes..

lol, you like missiles a lot! :)
After all, tracking torpedoes are huge missiles with just a different graphic

Warcat
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Re: Bastard Sword of the Stars 2.0b! (updated)

Post by Warcat » Thu Mar 31, 2016 9:12 am

drages wrote:Ballistic weapons side tree with autocannon and stormers became HCL weapons with one shot rail gun style and more shot stormer style.. so you can much powerful versions of them by time.. you won't need double barrel of them of course. Autocannon would be an option with massdriver so you need to choose autocannon style normal ballistic cannons or default slower mass driver cannons..

The techtree probably will be overhauled again when we'll start working on 3.0 version. Alpha got many ideas and he's very open about adding some assault mount ballistic weapons. We agreed that these would probably be an improvement of the rail gun technology. So we'll have a Blazer section for energy lover race and a rail gun section for the ballistic lover ones. Of course there will probably be more than just one type of rail guns, to keep the balance with the HCL upgrades. And HCL/heavy beams techs will be reworked, just to make them independent from laser tree (take this with a grain of salt, because these are just assumptions of mine and there's nothing decided yet...)

About Torpedoes:

There are tons of torpedo types at game and it's not hard to get at least standart damage torpedoes like fusion, antimatter... still they need time and chance to get them with different races.. if you can't get them, you would lose a must-have weapon slot weapon. For this reason i think heavy weapon tree could have some horizontal huge/heavy rocket launchers. So someone who got good missile tech, can use it at it's torpedo launchers.

---------------------------

With this mod, all the end game weapon researches are taking soooooooo much time. Every tree needs more concentration with dual barrel researches. For this reason, i think someone should have as much as every weapon slot type at it's tree. I should able to have that sections without researching some uninterested weapon trees. If my race don't have much chance about torpedoes and energy weapons, i still should have other options for that slots..

With this weapons and research tree, ballistic got huge disadvantage. I lose much time at research race against energy weapon master enemies. My DN's become huge laser beam, torpedo launcher machines even i got full of ballistic and missile trees. This limits is painful for me :(..

Don't forget that even energy lover races must spend their researches toward more than just a couple of techtrees. You got a point with HCL (I cannot remember if they can be unlocked without climbing the energy tree a bit) but for Torpedoes, even energy lovers need to start from scratch with them. Maybe they could have more chances with branches starting from Fusion and AM, but otherwise they have to sink money into the Torpedo tree too if they want a good torpedo mount.

Warcat, this heavy slot reediting of battle and war sections should be the priority if you ask me. Standart and AI front section should be edited too for much heavier weapon slots.

This is already in a hypotetic to do list. But we need to carefully balance the new mount system though (more heavies for bigger ships, like heavy and projector mounts, for instance) without making the smaller hulls totally ineffective when facing DNs.

I think you need to make some more mid game more powerful PD's until phaser.

Interceptor missiles and shotgun PD were intened to fill this role. Maybe there's need of a better counter for the improved fusion era missiles (Xray/AP gauss PD??)

Alpha Centauri

Re: Bastard Sword of the Stars 2.0b! (updated)

Post by Alpha Centauri » Thu Mar 31, 2016 7:08 pm

Sorry - I'll go back and reread all of your responses Drages & Warcat. I skimmed them - and AFAICT with a fast scan - I'm in agreement with Warcat.

I've been thinking that we need PD weapons to have upgrades to all lines. No reason that Phasers should be the one & only great PD. Why not an autocannon PD type weapon? Ballistic PD is sort of like autocannon anyways - but something that can fire more accurately and more frequently seems like a good upgrade. Something similar can be said for all other PDs. Each major weapon-branch should have a viable PD line accompanying it.

I already built-in secondary chances for most torpedos and missiles from fusion. I have no real desire to change any of that - I don't feel in any way that these things are unbalanced favoring energy-races / energy-lines. I play Liir and Tarkas primarily (Morrigi and Hiver secondarily) and I have no trouble mounting weapons / ships that can kick ass, nor do I find that I'm fighting against AI that is outclassing me.

I did increase the speed of PD Missiles and their explosive force by a bunch. So they should become a damn fine counter to drones once again. I assume that Phaser PD still kicks their asses as well.

I just researched fast-missiles in my current game (Tarkas - playing on the Sotsverse map, with all traditional starting places). Even at over 20 worlds - about 1/2 of those fully developed with a thriving trade network - I'm finding that the fast-missiles took 14 turns to research!!!! ugh! That seems slow (oh, and 150% econ setting).

I'm thinking that some of the techs need to come down in price.

I'm also considering the idea of unlinking the various weapon-trees from the energy tree. i.e. doing away with "ages" entirely. Engines would still be linked, but weapons would just be exponentially more expensive. This is just a thought experiment at this stage - so nobody go blowing a gasket. Just think about it. Many games are designed like this, and it tends to leave the decisions on when to advance where entirely in the player's hands.

Anyways - like I said - I only skimmed - I'll go back and read your thoughts more thoroughly in a bit.

-Alpha

Edits:
Unfortunately - the bio missiles are implemented as riders. Rider range is "can you see it on scanners?" I changed them to require LOS and to be "in range" - but there are no real range values in those files - so I have no idea what (if any) effect such changes will have. To some degree - they may be a weapon system - that - if "Dr., they're not fun to use" - "Well then, don't use them!" ;)

I do want to address the imbalance with assault lasers. I don't think I'll take them out of the laser tree - but I would like to rethink ballistics to have an equivalent weapon that can be used either on those same sections (meh) or on equivalent ballistics based sections (blazer & boomer?).

As to "you have to have HCLs or DOOOOM!" - I disagree. I often don't bother to get them - both as Liir and as Tarkas. So you don't get Barrage - you go with War instead (or even Battle). I would also like to have in place of the old "Assault" bridge sections clearly defined bridge sections - one for heavy weapons (War), one focused on HCLs (Blazer?), and another focused on Torpedos (and if we have another, it would be the equivalent of Barrage - a mixed section).

As long as you have good choices available, then nobody should feel like they're being short-changed or robbed of a given section. Thinking that Barrage is the bestest and must-have I think is a ... failure of imagination. It's just one option - one that gives a mix of special weapons systems in place of large mounts or many mediums. Just a choice, and not at all the "best" choice (except circumstantially).

EDIT #2:

I do see that some sections have gratuitous use of assault lasers. We'll have to fix that, or create a ballistic alternative for those slots.
Last edited by Alpha Centauri on Thu Mar 31, 2016 11:15 pm, edited 2 times in total.

Alpha Centauri

Re: Bastard Sword of the Stars 2.0b! (updated)

Post by Alpha Centauri » Thu Mar 31, 2016 9:31 pm

I agree on the overhaul of DNs so that they have "big gunz!!!" and the needed new super-heavy mount weapons to fill those slots.

I think this is a must for 3.0.

Edit:

Just got around to using the current version of fast missiles (AM warheads).

Dude!!! They're freaking awesome:

Image

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Hawawaa
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Re: Bastard Sword of the Stars 2.0b! (updated)

Post by Hawawaa » Sun Apr 10, 2016 1:33 am

Hey just need a little guidance on installation. I extracted it, created a mod folder and put it in there (steam version) and changed the ini. Anything else I need to do?

Ok nm I figured it all out with some help and used the mod manager. All is well pew pew time.

Alpha Centauri

Re: Bastard Sword of the Stars 2.0b! (updated)

Post by Alpha Centauri » Wed Apr 13, 2016 4:11 am

Hawawaa wrote:Hey just need a little guidance on installation. I extracted it, created a mod folder and put it in there (steam version) and changed the ini. Anything else I need to do?

Ok nm I figured it all out with some help and used the mod manager. All is well pew pew time.

Glad to hear it! Have a blast! 8)

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BlueTemplar
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Re: Bastard Sword of the Stars 2.0b! (updated)

Post by BlueTemplar » Wed Apr 20, 2016 5:26 pm

Alpha Centauri wrote:I'm tweaking my copy of BSots 2.0c now. It has a bunch of minor fixes, and some niceties.

I'm going to add minelayer satellites :googly:

lol - should be tots evil. I have reduced the rate of fire for mines by 1/2 to try to balance them out, Warcat. AI is still going to be dumb, but 1/2 is a pretty big balancing hit, so hopefully will keep things interesting.

I'm reducing the research costs of things - I feel like games are too slow right now. What do others think?

I'll try to release 2.0c this weekend.

Wouldn't minelayer sats kill themselves / other sats? Or is there a way to push/drop the mines outside the mine's damage radius?

Alpha Centauri

Re: Bastard Sword of the Stars 2.0b! (updated)

Post by Alpha Centauri » Wed Apr 20, 2016 6:45 pm

I'll let you know if they are self-destructive.

Seems like my minelayer ships don't blow themselves up running over their own mines...

EDIT: Works!!!! :D

They just fly in orbit dropping the mines. I only put a single minelayer on each sat - and it flings it a bit at random (depending on the "facing" when the mine is released) - so there's a dispersion pattern. But even when they "run over" their own mines - the mines don't react (and because sats are slightly above the normal orbit, the mine passes just underneath and doesn't physically bump into the sat).

Looks great - and the number of mines is relatively few, so a menace to attacking ships, not an OP effect. :love:
Last edited by Alpha Centauri on Wed Apr 20, 2016 7:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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BlueTemplar
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Re: Bastard Sword of the Stars 2.0b! (updated)

Post by BlueTemplar » Wed Apr 20, 2016 7:25 pm

I'm pretty sure they do if they are in the area when mines time-out and self destruct...

Alpha Centauri

Re: Bastard Sword of the Stars 2.0b! (updated)

Post by Alpha Centauri » Wed Apr 20, 2016 7:52 pm

Blue - I responded by editing my post above - but I'll keep an eye out on the timeout effect. Yeah, perhaps that will blow up one's own sats to some extent...? I think I'd be okay with some self-damage.

Warcat
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Re: Bastard Sword of the Stars 2.0b! (updated)

Post by Warcat » Thu Apr 21, 2016 9:32 am

If the new mine's ROF is halved, why not set the timeout at 4 minutes or so? This could prevent mines to self destruct without hitting the pc memory too much.

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BlueTemplar
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Re: Bastard Sword of the Stars 2.0b! (updated)

Post by BlueTemplar » Thu Apr 21, 2016 9:48 am

Why not 10 minutes at that point?

Warcat wrote:Hi Alpha, glad to see you back with this awesome new!

I want to test the reduce RoF of minelayers.
Regarding the game's pace, I feel that DE era is a bit too short (mainly because it's basically the era where you have to explore the map with not so many combats, so it could be even a feature itself!). CR is fine imho, while Fusion is very huge, at least compared to Fission. Cannot say very much about AM, because I usually give the game up before pushing into it very much...

With what game settings?

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