Modding Picture of the day...

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Re: Modding Picture of the day...

Post by Rossinna-Sama » Wed Nov 21, 2018 1:06 pm

Normally I'd edit my last post, but there's quite a lot of pictures on this page so best if I make a new post.

As a part of my effort to get Solforce to release status, I've updated their modules. CR versions are done, DN versions will be done tomorrow when I get home.

Some of the more notable additions include:

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This is just the PD module renamed. No research is required.

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However the model looked good enough without clipping to be able to fit medium mounts - which I've added as a new module. No research required.

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The base Hawkeye got upgraded considerably, and yes, I renamed all of the modules. Required Modular Sensors. (which I think is a starting tech in PH.)

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One of my new modules which does nothing but provide ECM which as the description states makes a ship harder to detect. Requires the Sensor Jamming tech.

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I made this module for the Liir\Liirian Crusade a long time ago and finally got around to giving it to Solforce. No research required to unlock it.

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Not sure if this actually works as it requires testing but instead of increasing psionic capacity, this module is supposed to increase the effectiveness of psionic powers used by the vessel. Its a new module and requires a tech in the cybernetic tree which I have to redo since my last revision got lost somehow.

I've also finished the cleanup of the option extras on Solforce CRs, BRs and other riders. Nodefighters got a considerable buff so they ain't totally outclassed by Battleriders in every department apart from speed and they've gotten a few new variants to boot. However I'm not sure what to do with the Solforce Nodemissile as of yet - I was planning on making it a super-weapon which if given time can destroy a planet akin to a System Killer but something just sits wrong with that as far as I'm concerned.
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Re: Modding Picture of the day...

Post by Scottish Kiltz » Wed Nov 21, 2018 4:54 pm

Hi Rossinna-Sama,

Quick query if I may on that screenshot of the SolForce ship when you were talking about cloaking options? I saw that where you had Predictive Gunnery you also had the adaptive and autonomous options there as well. Have you concluded that they do not upgrade Predictive automatically when its picked, and instead have to be purposefully chosen as an upgrade that overrides it like the armour techs do? The Vanilla game never used them as tech options as far as I know.

Likewise almost, I thought that Hardened Electronics was an Empire passive tech?

It does make more sense that they are design options for ships.

Very looking forward to your mod.

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Re: Modding Picture of the day...

Post by Rossinna-Sama » Wed Nov 21, 2018 9:52 pm

Scottish Kiltz wrote:
Wed Nov 21, 2018 4:54 pm
Hi Rossinna-Sama,

Quick query if I may on that screenshot of the SolForce ship when you were talking about cloaking options? I saw that where you had Predictive Gunnery you also had the adaptive and autonomous options there as well. Have you concluded that they do not upgrade Predictive automatically when its picked, and instead have to be purposefully chosen as an upgrade that overrides it like the armour techs do? The Vanilla game never used them as tech options as far as I know.

Likewise almost, I thought that Hardened Electronics was an Empire passive tech?

It does make more sense that they are design options for ships.

Very looking forward to your mod.
The three tracking\targeting techs, I've never found any evidence that they do anything that isn't anecdotal. There's nothing within the game files or the .dlls which even mention these in any substantive ways and ingame I've not seen any evidence they do what they are advertised to do and even that I don't know exactly what they are supposed to do - If its like SOTS1 they are supposed to decrease weapon deviation which they don't seem to do.

As for Electronic Hardening as far as I am aware it is a global\faction wide tech but I saw some of the randoms have it as an option many years ago and when it was fitted to a ship it was very noticeable on the random so I've been adding it to other ships. Armored Capacitors is another of these; techs which only seem to actually be active when directly fitted on a ship.

So essentially its just a measure to try and ensure that if it isn't working globally that it has a chance of working when fitted to a ship. Psionic Shields and Intangibility are concrete examples of techs that only work when given directly to a vessel.

There are hard-coded things which have no references anywhere but the .exe itself so its possible stuff like that are hiding in there.
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Re: Modding Picture of the day...

Post by Rossinna-Sama » Fri Nov 23, 2018 3:40 am

Just a quick update for now - still working on the DN modules.

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Engine only modules are now done for CRs - I also added in an antimatter version.
The reactors for the engine modules are different than usual as I consider them to be 'upgrades' to the current reactor within the ship so while effective they are also costly. I was going to limit them to each type of engine type such as not being able to place an expanded antimatter reactor on a fusion engine section but decided that it isn't worth the time to do such.

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I also added in reactors for non-engine sections which are much cheaper and of course weaker since power will be a concern and having module slots on a ship section should be quite important for dealing with that. Since engine-sized reactors don't work right in their slots, all of these use the Dancer model.

As usual exact numbers are pending. Will update this post once I've gotten more of the DN versions done.

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EDIT -

DN sized modules don't have the flexibility or choice of cruiser sized modules - this is mostly since I don't want to use models which don't look right when I can help it when most DNs do have cruiser module slots for use.

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I may lower it to a twin-linked version instead of quad-linked, unsure yet.

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Due to all of the additions to ballistics, it makes no sense not to make a module to use Impactor-class weaponry just because I don't have a model for it, so here it is.

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Initially it was going to be a normal missile bank but I don't feel like fighting with the models so changed it to be the same missile class the drones can fire.

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The drone pod is back again, albeit this time only carries two drones due to FPS reasons and of course PH drones are far more dangerous so...

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Only a single battlerider may seem a little silly but its better than none...

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Well the model does have three Escape pods on it...

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DNs now have reactor modules just like the CRs do.

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One of the modules in which I can find no proof that it does what its supposed to but ehh, that repair bonus is still quite worth it once researched. And yes, the DN engine reactors are updated as well.

I don't think I'm missing any DN sized modules, but feel free to let me know if something's missing. For the record, I can't fit a projector mount to a module since I don't have a model which doesn't make it look totally out of place.
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Re: Modding Picture of the day...

Post by Rossinna-Sama » Fri Nov 23, 2018 7:47 am

Right, so I don't burn out on one faction too quickly, time to work on one of the four 'release' factions.

The one I picked to work on for now happens to be the other main opponent in PH: the Loa Collective.

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PH uses my so called 'diplomatic' color scheme for the Loa and they are the only faction which still has ships which reflect light since I like it on them.

Anyway, I tried and failed at getting them to use the nodeline network which is a pity but that's just how it is. The NPG network is going to stay, however the mass limit has been increased considerably though it can't be totally ignored - can't send two full-tech LVs without researching the NPG techs for example.

For those wondering, the Loa is one of the two 'super factions' in PH - they are designed for AI play but humans can use them if they want; albeit in a 1 on 1 situation they'll probably win without much hassle so they do better in 4 player maps.

I've reversed my stance on Loa using ballistics; they can now field them again alongside all of the missiles. There's simply too many weapons they'd miss out on using otherwise. This said, I will be going through the entire tech tree and removing techs I don't think they should have access to.

Population growth also shouldn't be as annoying as it is in the base game due to a huge population growth bonus. This is entirely for the AI since in vanilla this would utterly unbalance the Loa but I've already said this faction is mostly for the AI so... Morale and other things which the AI doesn't manage properly is also easier for the Loa to handle compared to most other factions but they can't ignore morale like the Zuul can.

My current task I've assigned myself is to determine a fleet CP number which is low but isn't too low - right now I'm fiddling with a CP cap which just prevents 2 LVs from being in the same fleet since its the Loa's theme I'm aiming for - very powerful ships but low fleet sizes. Zuul is the faction which has large fleet sizes but weaker ships (barring their LVs).

Other changes which I did in a previous version which is still here include removing the tech which allows NPG gates to attack: having the AI fire the NPG's weapon which causes it to then self-destruct was hindering them greatly and for little reason and I've already made a number of ship sections and changes, just have to go through them again.

They are also using an experimental setting I've been fiddling around with which should stop them from liking anyone and allying with them.

For reference, here's the Loa's 'blurb' from the PH Encyclopedia. Keep in mind it hasn't been updated yet.

Loa Cascade: The Loa are one of the two "villain" factions within the Project Hiver storyline. Where the Zuul in a nutshell focus on aggressive raiding and lots of ships, the Loa take the opposite viewpoint. "Quality > Quantity" is the view the Loa take for almost everything.

The Loa are not meant to be played by more than one player at a time. They, like the Zuul, are designed to be overpowered on purpose to encourage teamplay against them.

Factional Strengths:
* Exceptionally durable ships - all three sections of a Loa vessel have strong armor and structural ratings.
* Severe jump in performance with engine upgrades - Reflex-era engines for the Loa are the best in the game.
* High speeds - Loa ships can be quite fast.
* Lenient Gate Restrictions - The Loa NPG network is no where near as fussy with fleet sizes as it once was.
* Energy Focus - The Loa have 100% chances at most energy weapon techs in the game.
* Fast Research - using their unique method of gaining income and their bonus to research speeds allows them to research quickly.
* High Morale - It takes a concerted effort to demoralize the Loa. Can support very high "taxes" with little issue if pop growth is not a concern.
* Immune to Biological Warfare
* Immune to Boarding Pods
* Do not use Crew
* Exceptionally powerful late game presence
* Mutable fleets allow flexibility with their deployments

Factional Weaknesses:
* TBD

Design Philosophy: The Loa were designed to appeal to those players who prefer their ships to be proverbial juggernauts with fewer numbers involved, making each ship and design choice much more important. Due to my interpretation of Loa lore, they have the most playstyle differences over the other factions due to them being unable to research any ballistic techs and having their own set of unique energy based weapons. Their ships are among the best in the game in almost all regards, but factional strengths like Morrigi drones will outdo the Loa "fighters". Their primary limiting factor is the low amount of CNC their early game command ships provide. A Loa player will never be able to field more than a single LV-class ship either in the same battle.
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Re: Modding Picture of the day...

Post by Haplo_Patryn » Fri Nov 23, 2018 5:32 pm

Sounds great :D

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Re: Modding Picture of the day...

Post by Rossinna-Sama » Sun Nov 25, 2018 4:25 pm

Haplo_Patryn wrote:
Fri Nov 23, 2018 5:32 pm
Sounds great :D
If I can convince myself to sit down and focus on it instead of being distracted by my 'family' and the heat. I'd so move to an ice planet if the option existed. :googly:

Anyway, no work on PH today. The kids were going ballistic so didn't have any reasonable ability to focus on modding.
I did purchase Project Cars 2 though and promptly refunded it; was told it worked fine with a gamepad and the keyboard and technically it does... until you try to go around a single corner and spin out even with every 'aid' turned on. While I do have an interest in getting a racing wheel one day, its very low on my list to the point where the game wouldn't be played before the inevitable sequel comes out.

With the refunded money, decided to support Kerb and purchase Pit of Doom though like the other three games they released that ain't SOTS, I don't expect much playtime for it personally but who knows, could be surprised.

In regards to Loa, I'm still not sure how exactly their FTL works as it seems that most of it is hard-coded in places I can't\won't access. Will figure something out but it'll take time and more fiddling.
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Re: Modding Picture of the day...

Post by Rossinna-Sama » Tue Nov 27, 2018 8:03 am

Not in the best of moods, but work has continued on the Loa.

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This is how Loa currently operate and their optional design extras.

So for Loa cruisers, their armor and structural rating doesn't change from one 'configuration' to another. They are all at 3000 structure rating by default and use a 20 x 40 armor layout which as the screenshot shows gives a non-upgraded loa CR config 3200 armor in total. They use the same armor style as the Tarkas where their armor isn't as 'deep' as other factions but it is 'wider' instead which while it means its easier to pierce its armor with stronger weapons, lighter weapons or burst firing weapons are less effective. This armor style also takes less damage from Damage over Time effects since each point of armor is less important overall. The final bonus that the Loa and Tarkas get is that by default all of their ships have an extra layer of permanent armor (the blue bars).

Loa Cruisers tend to favor a mix of medium and heavy turret mounts though certain sections do have the usual Spinal, Heavy Combat and Torpedo mounts. Some of them also have dedicated missile turret mounts though this is used sparingly.

As the description states, Loa fusion engines technically underperform compared to the other factions; this is on purpose. While they do generate quite a lot of power to field better weaponry (power costs not yet implemented for this screenshot), they are slow, have poor acceleration and don't turn very well.

Another factor is that Command and Engine sections are not terribly expensive either Savings or Production cost\Cube counts. Its the Mission section which accounts for most of the costs in this regard.

Loa Engines are also getting four variants each; a balanced version, a version which focuses on speed, a version which focuses on turn rate and an 'elite' version which is better in every way but replaces all module slots with weapons and has higher costs to build.

Finally and this is faction wide, every single Loa weapon is attached to its own bank barring cases when I dual-link or quad-link a single weapon mount. This means that like the Tarkas, Morrigi and some Solforce designs every turret can have its own weapon type. Loa are designed to be as flexible as possible and this is one way to help achieve that.

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An example of the split bank system.

One thing I am yet to decide on as I need to progress further with my Loa modding to be able to make a choice on it is if I should reverse the costs and production costs on Loa ships. It makes more sense to me if they build slow but don't cost all that much, however I'm not entirely sure how it will go with the cube system since it does still exist.

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For reference, this is the same type of ship for Solforce (starting sections). Keep in mind though that Solforce CRs always have shields on them (though not sure how the game handles cloaked shielded ships yet) and that they have more ships in their fleets since Loa fleet sizes are smaller than any other faction.
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Re: Modding Picture of the day...

Post by Rossinna-Sama » Mon Dec 03, 2018 3:48 am

My internet is about as stable as it has ever been, hence my delay in posting anything. Anyway.

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This was the version of the Loa I made not long ago, however it was too reflective.

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This is the current version. It is an altered version of my old 'Diplomatic' loa skin I made years ago. The various bits of code and other things were slowed down, their brightness increased and color changed to Cyan. The original skin had them as gold and Kerb had it as red.

Anyway, Loa is using some of my more unique ideas and certainly will be quite unusual to face and\or play in combat.
The first major thing that has changed is their fleet CP. All ships apart from their version of a flagship only has 45 command points. Remember in PH there are no upgrades to fleet CP capacity so what you get initially is all you get. If I've gotten my math right (being sick is fun...) this should be enough for a single LV and one DN to be in a fleet together while keeping their overall fleet sizes down.

Either get used to using multiple fleets or smaller better armed fleets since this is less than half of what CP sizes Zuul gets and all other factions can field at least two LVs at the same time; Loa are the only ones who can not.

Survey times have been tweaked for the Loa to compensate for their lower fleet sizes and they also start with a command section which further cuts down the time survey missions take.

Loa also get the most starting techs to help their early game though this has come at the cost of me deciding to remove their bonus research speed I gave them - turn 20 antimatter even in PH is simply too darn fast. This has the added bonus of allowing early game Loa AI player fleets to have more flexibility in what designs they want to use since they are there from turn 1.

The main issue I still face is their FTL system. I'm still working out how exactly their gates work since I don't want them spamming hundreds of NPG gates like they do in vanilla\VAE and of course once I do figure out it, I can update VAE with it so the Loa don't lag the game so much. After all each NPG gate counts as an entire fleet be it in a star system or not.

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EDIT:

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Early-game combat testing on turn 2. Wanted to see how the Loa performed against a starting Solforce Survey fleet.

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Spoilers: they performed too well. Though some things needed to be improved on the Loa's end in any case.

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Loa fleets early game are very, very nasty. Even with small fleet sizes, having a fleet as well armed as this is simply too much so I'll be increasing cube costs for Fusion engine sections.

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Battleriders needed to be updated - that moment when a single drone blows up a Loa Interceptor without any difficulty. That's now fixed.

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Solforce CRs are supposed to be fairly dominant in the early game and they got wrecked. I attribute this mostly to Loa ships having far better weapon placement and superior firing arcs. In the meantime, I doubled the shield strength of all shields in the game (barring Meson and Grav) and I might consider allowing Solforce access to Disruptor and Deflector tech at turn 1 as an option to help counter the Loa.

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However the primary reason for the battle being so one sided became clear with observation and looking at the damage log at the end of combat. There's three kinds of Cannon weapons in PH - normal Cannon type, Trebuchet type and Polarized Plasma (War Quoit) and it was the middle cannon type causing problems as it was simply too powerful for a starting type weapon. I've halved its rate of fire across its entire range to bring it back in line with other weapons.

While I do want Loa early game fleets to be fearsome, I don't want them destroying a fully-armed Solforce fleet without taking a single loss. If need be, I'll revisit their starting weapons since right now they focus on cannons. Granted a fleet which focused on kiting the Loa would work but it isn't like the Loa can't shoot back.

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EDIT 2:

I don' goofed. Again. Isn't the first time and won't be the last.

Anyway. Turns out I got the armor order incorrect due to me not paying attention and forgetting my own lessons - if I want 'wide' style armor than I want the first number higher than the second number.

<Top>50,10</Top>
<Bottom>50,10</Bottom>
<Side>50,10</Side>

For example provides a nice long yet thin layer of armor which is what I want for Loa. So for clarity, I'll explain a little about how armor works here.

The first number is the number of armor 'blocks' is in a single line of armor. So a number of say, 50,1 would have a single layer of armor but it'd be 50 blocks wide.

The second number is the number of layers there are. So following the example, 1,50 would result in 50 layers of 1 block armor. Not sure how the game would handle that to be honest.

From a modding standpoint this lets you change what kind of armor you've got by changing the width and depth of the armor matrix however there are limits.

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Using this BR as an example, the Mission section has 500,10 and the engine section has 10,500

You'll notice that the armor on the engine is not displaying. There's a limit on how many layers you can have; certain ships even in Vanilla can hit this with Addy and once you hit this limit, it treats the section has having 0 armor even if the design screen says otherwise. What exactly this limit is I'm not terribly sure as I've not bothered to find out, however I limit every ship to at most 70 layers of armor since my version of Addy provides 9 extra layers. In vanilla and VAE, limiting it to 60 is usually wise.

Keep in mind that having huge layers of armor is a performance drain since the UI has trouble displaying it and the game itself has to calculate things in regards to it as well. The interceptor above for example in large groups would crash the game - its one of the reasons why battles with Locusts and lots of drones\battleriders slow down more than they should since the game is not only rendering those for your ships but it keeps track of it for all other ships.

And since I've been asked this on Skype a few times, all factions apart from Liir can 'cheat' extra layers of permanent armor (the blue bars) by adding:
<PhaseDislocationARBonus>1</PhaseDislocationARBonus>
To the faction's faction file. All factions normally start at 0 so setting it to 1 gives it to everyone barring the Liir who only get it once they research this particular technology - albeit you could bypass that if you really wanted by having Phase Dislocation be a free starting tech for the Liir.

I highly suggest not going too wild with permanent armor layers though; weapons in SOTS2 are not balanced to deal with ships having so much permanent armor that they quite literally are unkillable. This isn't SOTS Prime - can't tractor a ship into a planet since it doesn't do anything. (and tractors don't seem to work anyway.)
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Re: Modding Picture of the day...

Post by Rossinna-Sama » Tue Dec 04, 2018 11:00 am

So my net has temporarily been fixed - my cable TV which the kids use was interfering with it. May be up for a new splitter, which is an irritant but, ehh.

Anyway, work has continued on the Loa and oddly enough the other factions.

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My math was wrong earlier as I suspected, 48 is the number I was after. But that's not what this screenshot is for.

Loa fleets now have by default proper fleet sizes and better compositions. How?
By wiping the fleet template file and starting again from scratch for every single faction and entry that used to be there.
I was going to do this anyway but the Loa AI forced my hand since they were not functioning very well at all and were actually crashing the game if they couldn't fit the required ship for a mission into that fleet since it was filled up by combat vessels instead.

Unlike VAE where there are a lot of smaller fleet templates, I'm going to limit the number of templates but each one is much larger with its complexity and ship types since PH has most, if not all of them unlocked from the start which means the game won't crash like it would if I used this system with VAE.

In regards to the Loa, this also allows me to let the AI use certain elements of the faction better - you don't need a fleet full of Assimilators when one does the job so now I can do that without impacting the other factions.

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The other thing I was fiddling with since for whatever reason I'm now seeing what I can do with shields is their impact effects. This is only a test at this point but all shields either use the 'flare' effect as shown in the screenshot below or for shields that actually take no damage from certain weapons such as Deflectors\Disruptors\Meson\Grav use the electric spark effect which is no longer used anywhere but here - ships that are disabled use a smaller version right now but I'm looking for a simple, small effect somewhere which won't kill FPS rates when hundreds of ships are disabled by a certain VN disc... (One thing to note about the screenshot, the actual explosion effect is from the missile itself and not the shield.)

And of course work has continued on the Loa itself as a faction - I'm now done with all starting CR sections, just have to do Antimatter and Reflex era stuff. Armor ratings have changed a bit as I continue to fiddle around to see what level of armor I like for them.

-----------
EDIT:

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Solforce has had an early-game tech revisit. Guess I over-valued shields as their primary gimmick in the opening moments of a match and I didn't give them many starting weapon starting techs. That's now fixed and they should perform a lot better early game; they've gotten Interceptor missiles, Rapid Fire Missiles (which are for Very Heavy mounts only) and a few other things in order to keep them where they are supposed to be.

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And to ensure it was working, I did invade on turn 2. Sure enough the AI was using the new stuff as shown here by them fielding a rotary laser cannon.

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As for the performance of the Loa, I wish I could edit starting cube counts but I've not found any way to do such. They are still probably too good in the early game but, well... there's little I can do about it since this is supposed to be a faction for AI players to go nuts with and, well... even though its only the early stages and I've not done the AI revamp yet, they already are doing far better than even VAE's AI is. Then again that's to be expected, there is less restrictions on the AI in PH and their ships are simply better than they are in vanilla.
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Re: Modding Picture of the day...

Post by Rossinna-Sama » Tue Dec 04, 2018 7:15 pm

It is amazing what happens when I'm left alone to actually do what I want to do instead of having to deal with what usually happens. Almost an entire night of modding.

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Damper beams? Yes and no - they are still called that but they now function very different. They are a reflex-era Heavy Beam weapon which does 25% more damage than Mesonic beams and comes with the added bonus of an EMP effect. They now disable ships while the beam is on them; finally a reason to actually use alternate fire-modes!

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Tractor Beams? Nope - they just use the sounds and effects from them, they don't even use the tractor beam tech which is being re-purposed since actual tractor beams don't seem to work in SOTS2. Instead, this is the Reflex-era Phantom Beam which bypasses a lot of armor, does 25% more damage than mesonic, ignores every shield type in the game including disruptors, deflectors and mesonic shields and most importantly is one of the very few weapons which can hit intangible ships. That last part may become important if I go ahead with adding that feature into the game.

So, why am I doing this instead of working on the Loa? Well the answer to that is simple; its just how I am. If I want to do something, I do it.

Anyway, I've revisited the entire energy weapon tree barring the superweapon branch, the HCL branch and the cannon weapons - in another words the lasers, phasers, pulsed phasers, blasters and heavy beams. I will get to the HCL branch before I go to bed.

Since I'm using a 100% tech tree which isn't the one I use for PH while I make stuff, there's no screenshots of the techs themselves but I'll post the ingame research text here.

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

Energy Weaponry: Energy weapons tend to favor shorter ranges with harder hitting weaponry. Cannon techs while being rather innaccurate, are quite damaging and have good range and have four distinct types which change how the weapon performs. Laser weapons provide accurate firepower but tend to require more power to operate and recharge slowly. Blasters have high rates of fire and deal fair damage but can be deflected by Reflective armor and tend to suffer from short ranges. Heavy Beam weapons are excellent at accurate burst damage as they hit very hard but take a long time to recharge. Heavy Combat Beams keep a sustained beam of energy on a hostile ship for terrible, terrible damage at a huge power cost.

Advanced Blasters: Our range of Thermal Blasters can be adapted into various types. After this research is completed you will have four kinds of lasers: Chemical which is cheap and deals bonus damage, Thermal which pierces armor better and doesn't get reflected as often, Ultra-Violet which has greatly increased range at the cost of slower rate of fire and X-ray which is the most damaging but also the most power hungry. They can be fitted into most kinds of weapon mounts but there is no bonus for fitting one of these weapons to a Very Heavy mount as they do not give any boosts to rate of fire, range or damage unlike most other weapons.

Laser Weaponry: Lasers are a more stable version of the standard blasters which instead of firing 'pulses', maintains a steady beam of pure energy on a hostile target. They take more energy to use than blasters and have a much lower rate of fire, though they can not be reflected by hostile armor. There are three kinds of lasers: Chemical which is cheap and has bonus damage, Ultra-Violet which has greatly increased range at the cost of slower rate of fire and X-ray which is the most damaging but also the most power hungry. They can be fitted into most kinds of weapon mounts.

PD Laser Targeting Systems: Advancements in the targeting systems used by lasers allows an otherwise identicle to the base weapon 'light' version to be only fitted to light mounts but this allows the weapon to automatically fire at any PD target within range. This comes at a slightly higher cost per weapon and slightly increased power consumption. There is no thermal variant.

Hard Light Phaser Beam: This highly experimental phaser beam which requires reflex-era production materials allows for the creation of something termed 'hard light' which solidifies a beam of phased energy which allows it to hit harder than standard phaser beams as well as pushing and slowing a target down upon impact.

Phaser Beams: Phaser Beams are actually a variant of the laser weapons which introduces a complex phasing mechanism into the beam which vastly improves its performance. It is superior to all previous laser weapons. It's primary claim to fame however is that when the target is in just the right area of the phased beam, they will take double the damage and extra armor damage making this a terrifying weapon when used in medium-range engagements. These weapons can be fitted to almost any kind of turret size and most mount types and the Very Heavy turret type comes with an improved rotary phaser array.

Enveloping Phaser Beam: A reflex-era modification of the phaser beam which allows it to damage all three sections of a CR or smaller sized target, one entire section against a DN or acting normally against a LV sized target. This hefty increase in pure firepower comes at an immense reduction in both range and rate of fire as well as demanding huge energy reserves.

Pulsed Phaser Cannon: Pulse Phasers are combination of a complicated phasing system and our existing blaster weaponry which outclasses 'blasters' almost totally. Having a high rate of fire, high damage and a very low chance of being reflected alongside a fairly respectable range makes this a very desirable upgrade to anyone who likes their blasters. These weapons can be fitted to almost any kind of turret size and most mount types.

PD Phaser Systems: Some of our military planners have raised complaints that these new 'phaser' weapons are not very effective at point defense work. Upon taking their concerns seriously and assigning your scientists to work on the problem you will unlock the PD Phaser and\or the PD Pulse Phaser depending on what current Phased weapon research you've completed. These weapons can only be fitted to light turret mounts but both types are very effective at doing their jobs with the PD Phaser focusing on high-damage bursts on sturdier targets and the PD Pulse Phaser being a straight upgrade to the older Thermal Flak system even if you've not researched it. Talk about efficiency. Speaking of which, your scientists warn you that these weapons are very demanding on a ships power reserves and are not cheap to field.

Thermal Flak PD System: Advancements in the targeting systems used by blasters allows us to create a new version of the thermal laser which unlocks a dedicated Point Defense weapon called Thermal Flak which can only fire on PD targets but does a far better job than most non-dedicated weapons and is considerably cheaper than them and uses almost no power. Can only be placed on light turret mounts.

Particle Beam: Heavy Beams take quite a while to recharge but are very accurate and hit very hard to the point where if the beam remains on target, it can do almost as much damage as a direct hit from a torpedo-class weapon. This doesn't come cheap and the power requirements are very high so not all ships will be able to use these weapons without over-taxing their power banks. This particular one is the Particle Beam which generalises what a heavy beam is without any bonus abilities or features: it just hits really, really hard.

Ionic Beam: Altering the composition of a Particle Beam is fairly easy but maintaining a stable beam which doesn't cause a feedback-loop and destroy both the target and the ship using the beam is the hard part. Very few particles as your scientists put it 'behave' well enough to be used in this manner, however Ionic particles are one of the 'better behaved' particle types and using them in an Ionic beam allows an increase in damage over the standard particle beam alongside doing double damage to any shields it may encounter.

Positron Beam: It turns out keeping antimatter in a stable beam is actually quite difficult but with this research, you'll unlock the Positron beam which is almost exactly that: a Heavy Beam made of antimatter particles which remains solid enough to actually damage a target instead of destroying the firing ship. Essentially a huge upgrade over the fusion-era Particle and Ionic beams, this weapon quite literally doubles the damage done to a target when compared to the Ionic beam but has no special effects and doesn't do double damage to shields.

Meson Beam: What could be more destructive than firing a beam of antimatter at a target? Firing a beam of unstable mesonic particles of course. Using all that we have learned from the previous three heavy beams, we have managed to keep these mesonic particles stable long enough to actually hit their target and in the last recorded thoughts of an unlucky AI target dummy, 'Boy, do these particles sure explode good!' and even though it no longer exists, it was right. The Mesonic Beam hits 50% harder than a Positronic beam and bypasses most forms of standard shielding. We'd need to invest in Reflex technology to further improve our Heavy Beams as we've reached the pinnacle of what Antimatter can provide.

Damper Beam: This Reflex-Era Heavy Beam is one of two possible upgrades that is now possible to the Mesonic Beam due to having a Reflex reactor to keep things under control. Doing 25% more damage than the Mesonic beam does, it also carries along a special resonance wave which short circuits anything hit by the beam while said beam is impacting the target. While it can not bypass certain kinds of shields like the Mesonic beam, it does do double damage to them.

Phantom Beam: This Reflex-Era Heavy Beam was an accident which turned out to be rather fortunate; an energy storage capacitor was a victim of a random Spectre attack and it gained some of their properties. This allowed a Mesonic Beam to be converted into what we are now calling a Phantom beam. It can be fielded at extreme cost but very little can stop it; permanent armor is almost completely bypassed and its damage is 25% greater than a Mesonic beam not to mention it can bypass any and all forms of shielding it comes across. Finally and arguably its most important feature is that it can hit intangible ships, being one of the few weapons that actually can. Never thought you'd be thanking a Spectre, now did you?

Heavy Combat Lasers: A Heavy Combat mount weapon, the Heavy Combat Laser is quite literally an oversized and overcharged Thermal Blaster which keeps its matter-stream solid instead of breaking it into 'bolts' like blasters usually do. This is a very energy hungry weapon but it is also one of the most powerful fusion-era weapons around. Your fleet admirals would also like to remind you that these weapons take a long time to recharge after firing and that they'd appreciate you cut out the jokes about having a paid vacation before they fire again. <--- this is the only HCL I've redone tonight.
Sword of the Stars 2 : Project Hiver Modder
Creator of the Work-In-Progress Seimei Visual Novel.

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Rossinna-Sama
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Re: Modding Picture of the day...

Post by Rossinna-Sama » Thu Dec 20, 2018 4:40 pm

Image

Alright, here we go again. I'm setting a tentative release date of the beta of Project Hiver on December 30th (29th for non-australians) as I wish to release it on my birthday.

As anyone who follows this thread knows, PH isn't done. It probably never will be since stuff is usually added or changed on a daily basis. However I have no appointments or distractions due to it being so close to Christmas so I should be able to get my so called final push done.

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Things to complete before I release:

All factions CRs, Battleriders (Not BCs or BBs) and defensive platforms.
This is my primary deciding factor on if I can release or not. All factions are fully playable and don't crash but there's stuff that simply isn't done yet. Tarkas is an example of that and I've not visited the Morrigi for quite literally years.

CR-Only PH Tech Tree file.
I'll still be releasing the full tech tree file as is, but I'll also be shipping with one that has Dreadnought Construction as a tech which can't be researched. This makes it more fair for the unfinished factions who's larger ships would get utterly demolished by the factions who's bigger ships I've been working on. Limiting things to cruisers is something I've done personally quite a few times and the AI arguably does its best work when it doesn't have to stare down the barrels of your LV-sized vessels.

PH's full Tech Tree.
This includes redoing the descriptions, requirements, costs and various AI factors within the file as well as ensuring that if a tech gets researched that it actually does something. Ballistics don't have all of the requirements set up right now for example so that's got to get done. I also need to redo the cybernetic tree and do a very basic pass on the bio-warfare side of things.

All Weaponry Completion.
I've gotten about 98% or so of the weapons I want in PH done, but there's still a few ballistic ones I've net bothered to make yet.

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Things that are half-finished or will not be done before the beta release:

The PH Encyclopedia.
It will be released in its current format and completion status which is, well, not very much. I will get a description of all of the factions completed and updated to the current version at the very least as well as during my stability testing get information on all of the randoms and GMs that are enabled by default in PH completed.

VAE-Inspired AI enhancements.
While some of it is done, most of it has to wait until most of PH is actually in a spot where it isn't going to change every single day. This said, the AI performs a heck of a lot better than in vanilla and depending on faction, better than VAE itself. Especially if using the CR-only tech tree against a mostly complete race such as the Liirian Crusade, Zuul or Solforce in a 1v1, the AI on the highest difficulty setting has every chance of completely crushing you.

The Tarkasian Redesign.
The Tarkas faction won't be playing exactly how I envisioned it since I've not gotten around to doing it and won't have time to do such.

Power Consumption.
Right now all weapons in PH use a single point of power and nothing else. This will change once I've done more work on the ship sections but until this is complete, there's nothing stopping you from fitting the best weapons on even a fusion-era ship since it won't instantly tank your energy supplies.

PH Maps.
Many of the new maps are playable for non-solforce factions since I've not assigned nodelines properly.

DNs and Larger for most factions.
If you choose to use the entire tech tree instead of the CR limited one, DNs and LVs for most factions will not be on par with the Liirian Crusade or Solforce versions. They'll be done when I'm ready to do such.

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Things that actually are more or less done:

The Reflex Era.
Vanilla SOTS 2 had two distinct eras: Fusion and Antimatter. Fission was there but apart from starting weapons, most things bypassed that era as it was covered in SOTS 1. PH increases the importance of the Reflex Furnace tech greatly by considering it as the era beyond the Antimatter era which PH classifies as 'Tier 3'. All factions have reflex-era drives, ships and most importantly new weaponry: indeed reaching the Reflex-era is a requirement for unleashing the most deadly weaponry PH has to offer which includes things such as destroying entire planets just like the System Killer does; albeit you still can't destroy a star itself.

482 weapons.
While a fair number of these are restricted or not visible due to being older tests of mine for various reasons, there is still a lot more choice in weaponry compared to the base game. Mount restrictions have also been changed around considerably.

Ballistic Redesign.
Currently in the 4th version, ballistic weaponry now progresses by the propulsion system that the weapon itself uses. Starting with chemical propulsion and working all the way up to tier 3 reflex-era weaponry, ballistics should provide a much more diverse and hopefully useful diversion from using energy weapons for the majority of your ships.

Supply Consumption.
Supplies are handled in a different manner than vanilla. Weapons do not use supply at all so you won't have shorter-ranged fleets due to using missiles or ballistics anymore. More importantly though, even if its still a work in progress, this allows much tighter control over how far a ship and fleet can travel. Most fleets can travel a fairly long way now.

Random Menace Redesigns.
One of the things PH was known for very early on was greatly increasing the danger that the random elements on the map provides. While it has been brought back in line considerably since then, every random in the game has been altered. This said, a fair number of them have been disabled by default to avoid either performance issues, crashing or simply not being any fun to play with - such as Supernovae no longer being a thing without you enabling it again. To counter their increased strength as well as how quickly PH gets started compared to Vanilla or VAE, non-static random encounters do not start until turn 100 instead of turn 25. Of course those randoms are more dangerous than they used to be: Ghosty for example now acts like a real leviathan and has a full compliment of leviathan-sized weaponry, armor and structural ratings. It can still be countered though with proper ship designs.

Putting the Grand back in Grand Menaces.
The Grand Menace slider is often called by me as the 'pain slider' since depending on map sizes, having 5 Grand Menaces running around can easily wipe out half of the map. Indeed I've seen these menaces wiping out entire AI factions on their own if the AI was busy with other wars at the same time. Recommended setting is 1 or 2, since there's only two GMs that can turn up by default now, the Locusts and System Killer. The VN don't count, even if they do have ways of acting like a GM, they simply don't have the sheer power the real GMs do. Usually the only way to counter a GM is to use LV-sized vessels of your own since they will not start appearing until turn 200 and it is highly recommended you only set it to 1 GM if you're using the CR-only tech tree. All of the GMs also have their own unique weaponry and are huge threats; it almost certainly will take multiple engagements to destroy the System Killer for example and if it actually gets to a system, unless you've got super-weapons of your own, you ain't killing it before it consumes a world and fully repairs itself.

100%, 99% or 0% tech tree chances.
Even if you're playing as the Zuul, a tech either has 100%, 99% or a flat 0% chance of being researchable. So there's only a very, very tiny chance you'll miss out a tech.

Resigned Tech Tree.
Rebalanced from the ground up, most techs have changed or improved functionality when compared to the base game. Techs in general take a lot less time to research so you're not as punished for trying unusual research topics and there's only a few very high cost techs which are typically used as a gateway into either a new era or are used as a progression bottleneck so you can't get to the reflex-era by turn 50 for example. The AI is also far smarter about what topics it wants to research and usually has a faction-specific plan in mind; Solforce AI will always capitalise on its early-game CRs by improving their shields and then moving on to getting DNs if that tech is available. The Liirian AI beelines for DNs and focuses very heavily on getting very dangerous weapons out as early as it can.

Faction Redesigns.
Every faction has been altered from the base game in some way or another with some being more drastic than others.

Solforce: CRs always have shields. DNs are very powerful. Has a Reflex-Era LV-class vessel. Very flexible and versatile faction.
Hivers: Uses a brand-new Doctrine system which follows four types of design groups - Ruby Doctrine provides fast ships with good firepower, Diamond Doctrine has huge armor and structural ratings but is terribly slow, Emerald Doctrine which focuses on the use of smaller vessels such as drones and battleriders and Sapphire Doctrine which use unusual designs often inspired by the other factions.
Liirian Crusade: Liirian ships have no medium turret mounts and instead have a mix of light, heavy and sometimes very heavy mounts. Can research 'Prestor Zuul Alliance' which unlocks the prestor zuul ships which actually do have medium mounts and provides things like battleriders. Very slow but exceptionally powerful ships, especially their DNs.
Tarkas: Currently being redesigned but right now plays like their normal vanilla self.
Morrigi: Also a work in progress. Very high speeds and excellent kiting capability but has issues with being too inflexible without further research.
Zuul Horde: One of the two Super Factions designed mostly for play by the AI. Massive fleet CP limits ensuring very large fleets but with low structural ratings for CRs and DNs. Income is almost irrelevant, has access to all of the usual Zuul-exclusive stuff. AI has been vastly improved and can and will use slave raids. Suul-ka dramatically upgraded but far harder to get; they are considered Reflex-era LVs.
Loa: The other Super Faction designed mostly for AI player usage. The opposite of the Zuul with very small fleet sizes but incredibly powerful and sturdy ships with extreme flexibility. AI has been dramatically improved over vanilla and VAE - currently the most dangerous early-game faction for the AI to play with. Still has to deal with its usual population growth issues but due to massive population growth bonuses, this is less difficult for the AI to manage overall.

Bug-fixing and performance enhancements:
A ton of work has gone in to improving the general FPS rate of SOTS2, fixing bugs or where that isn't possible, removing the ability for it to be a factor in the first place. Barring Zuul, all fleets CP limits are far smaller than in vanilla or VAE which dramatically improves battles with more than 2 players - which is now a lot more common than one may think with such aggressive AI's running around the place.

Redone income.
The way income in the game has been re-balanced to be more lenient towards the AI and players. Maintenance no longer exists for non-LV class vessels (or is so tiny to be insignificant), the Homeworld is a major source of income having gone from 4x tax income to 10x tax income, CRs are cheaper for all factions and early-game techs are a lot faster and cheaper to obtain. Defensive platforms and select starting techs further improve the early game, allowing for less 'land-grab' scenarios in the start of a match and more planning for an eventual war with a neighbor. However larger vessels such as DNs are far more expensive and LVs can bankrupt smaller empires with some of them costing 100,000,000 savings even without factoring in weapon costs or upgrades. This said, LVs are super-weapons in themselves so their cost helps to justify their obscene power and limits the number of them you'll see, build or face.

Drastically increased Colony support costs.
Planets now range from being cheap and easy to colonize to worlds that are right on the limit of your CH rating costing millions to colonize per turn. Colonizing every world you see is no longer a viable option until much later into the game as it takes much more time and research to reduce the time and costs associated with high-CH rating worlds when compared to vanilla and VAE. To balance this out, most factions do start with Biome Colonizers as a ship they can create from turn 1 but they do not actually start with any of these pre-built.

Redesigned AI Fleets.
According to some people who've managed to get to test PH with me occasionally, with each faction having its own tailor made fleet templates for the AI to follow increases the difficulty of the AI by such a huge margin that they are actually a threat even to experienced players when on the highest difficulty settings. Cheesing an AI fleet is much harder to perform since most fleets will have a way to counter those tactics since they will always field some form of PD, some form of close combat vessel and typically even field ships they never used to use before; the AI can even use node missiles.

AI-capable Psionic Warfare.
While only available to the Liirian Crusade's AI and some Zuul ships (and the Suul-ka), fleet combat against the Liirian Crusade now has a new dimension that most SOTS2 players have probably never had to fight against in a non-multiplayer setting; Psionic Warfare. With unrestricted access to the psionic abilities, you now have to factor in psionic attacks against your ships and not only that, the more exotic psionic abilities which are in the game. When was the last time you faced an entire fleet which was using Psi Invisibility? Or faced a fleet which could mind control your ships into doing their bidding? Or more commonly just stopping your ships dead in space and crushing them slowly?

Designed for smaller maps.
While PH will work on larger maps, the game will slow down after turn 100 or so due to how the AI now performs. It is doing a lot more than in vanilla or even VAE. Systems also tend to have more planets and there's less 'empty' systems which just have a star on its own.
Sword of the Stars 2 : Project Hiver Modder
Creator of the Work-In-Progress Seimei Visual Novel.

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willdieh
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Re: Modding Picture of the day...

Post by willdieh » Thu Dec 20, 2018 9:58 pm

Fighting against AI with psi would be a real challenge to be sure... The micro management required to field psi as a player was always off-putting to me and made me wish I had an AI to do it for me ;) Now it's there, but will be killing me instead of helping me :yell:

Amazing work as usual though!

Talverin
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Re: Modding Picture of the day...

Post by Talverin » Fri Dec 21, 2018 12:29 pm

For a long time now, I've told myself that I'm 'pretty good' at SotS2... I suppose your enhancements are going to put that to the test!

Also, the CR-only idea has some serious merit. Perhaps some day down the road that could be built upon more; not just as a stopgap to keep everyone relatively even, but to actually make it a primary mode of play. For me, though... I really like the big ships!

So, only Liir and SolForce are properly balanced past Cruisers thus far?

I'm really excited about these changes, and very curious to see them in play.

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Re: Modding Picture of the day...

Post by Rossinna-Sama » Sat Dec 22, 2018 2:07 am

Talverin wrote:
Fri Dec 21, 2018 12:29 pm
So, only Liir and SolForce are properly balanced past Cruisers thus far?
Yes. Zuul, Hivers and some of the Loa have had some work done to their larger ships in the past but their armor and structural ratings are off and they don't have most of their mounts assigned properly, especially the Loa who need almost every bank split into its own individual version. They'd also be missing some of the DN sized CnC variants such as the Psionic Command, Drone CnC carrier, BR CnC carrier and so on that Solforce and Liir already have done.

As I just woke up, I'll be working on the Zuul, Hiver and Loa CRs today (albeit the Loa CRs are almost entirely done already) and I'll be taking another look at the Tarkas and Morrigi with the latter remaining something I'm still not sure about yet. The AI hates high-speed but low structure\armor ships and currently the Morrigi is the weakest AI faction due to it.
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Creator of the Work-In-Progress Seimei Visual Novel.

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