Modding Picture of the day.

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Slashman
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Re: Modding Picture of the day.

Post by Slashman » Wed Oct 25, 2017 7:27 am

Mecron wrote:
Tue Oct 24, 2017 1:03 pm
things must have changed...every mp game I played back in the day with fans had at least one tark. :twisted:
People that want to win will play the stuff that makes winning easier. In fact, in multiplayer, this is really common. People will choose the most boring strategy that is exploitative and then complain about how all you have to do is X to win.

But yeah, I do like the racial concept and lore of the Tarkas, I just can't seem to find the urge to play them over other races with way more interesting FTV travel systems and ship configurations.
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Re: Modding Picture of the day.

Post by Rossinna-Sama » Wed Oct 25, 2017 8:09 am

Personally I always saw the Tarkas as the faction you play when you're first starting playing SOTS as a new player, as they have the simplest form of FTL travel and typically have very good frontal firepower and are quite adept at supporting missile fleet tactics. This was especially true in SOTS Prime due to the node length restrictions on Solforce vessels which doesn't exist in SOTS2.

Not saying there's anything wrong with them, they just don't mesh into my personal playstyle - Liir does since they are the only faction in which I can mostly ignore trade due to their research bonuses combined with their energy weapon focus as I've never been a fan of how ballistics miss constantly even with AI command sections. At least in SOTS2, not sure if ballistics don't spend most of their time firing at empty space with the accuracy improving stuff in SOTS Prime.

As for them in PH, the only thing I've added until I make a decision is that every ship has at least some repair capacity (to simulate their living armor). I like Talverin's idea of Romanizing them though the way I'd do it is that each section has very drastic strengths and weaknesses, more so than typical. Its going to take more thought on how exactly to do that.
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Re: Modding Picture of the day.

Post by Mecron » Wed Oct 25, 2017 4:28 pm

they were designed to be the intro race. The one that most matched traditional 4X space game methods.

Also they were meant to take most advantage of geometry and physics.

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Re: Modding Picture of the day.

Post by Slashman » Thu Oct 26, 2017 10:03 am

Mecron wrote:
Wed Oct 25, 2017 4:28 pm
they were designed to be the intro race. The one that most matched traditional 4X space game methods.

Also they were meant to take most advantage of geometry and physics.
Its awesome how you guys don't stick to tradition by making the Human faction the most straight forward to play. It makes the humans more challenging and interesting when you get to them after the "Tarka tutorial".
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Re: Modding Picture of the day.

Post by Talverin » Thu Oct 26, 2017 2:16 pm

I actually (A great many moons ago) jumped into SotS as the Humans first, thinking they would be the 'tutorial race'. I think the mindset actually helped because it helped me think more outside the box when it came to trying out the other races - I didn't think of them in context of 'standard FTL' drives, but instead I looked at each faction as it was.

... Also I learned that chokepoints make human games suck hooooorribly.

Edit: Know what else makes humans suck horribly? I got the urge to play SotS2 again, since it's been a while... Human vs Morrigi on a mid-size map.
Rolled a miss on PD lasers, gauss PD, and PD missiles. It's gonna be that kinda game I guess.

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Re: Modding Picture of the day.

Post by Slashman » Sat Oct 28, 2017 3:59 pm

Talverin wrote:
Thu Oct 26, 2017 2:16 pm
Know what else makes humans suck horribly? I got the urge to play SotS2 again, since it's been a while... Human vs Morrigi on a mid-size map.
Rolled a miss on PD lasers, gauss PD, and PD missiles. It's gonna be that kinda game I guess.
Wow...that...sucks donkey balls! :(
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Re: Modding Picture of the day.

Post by Rossinna-Sama » Wed Nov 01, 2017 11:05 pm

Well in PH, missing PD techs shouldn't really be possible unless playing Zuul and if I recall my tweaks, all factions with access to the ballistics tree start with the 3 kinds of ballistic PD that I've currently made.

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I've removed this light turret from the Barrage section for the hivers - will stop it from shooting itself.

The Hiver DN update is coming along, slowly I admit but the storms down here have not been kind recently - lost my power more than a few times.

On the subject of the Tarkas, what I'm going to do is after I've done updating the Hivers to a 'playable' point within the mod ( 300 structure CRs will not survive against 2000 structure ones...) is that I'm going to force myself to play them against Solforce. Will be a hard thing to do due to the aforementioned changes that Solforce has and the Tarkas don't have, But I am hoping that it'll lead to some ideas that aren't a copy of what the Hivers have.

What I am thinking about is that they have a research penalty like the Zuul have, but their FTL system is quite fast compared to the other unrestricted FTL factions. Depending on the model and mount types available, going to make them more specialists if possible to encourage mixed fleets. As for anything else, that'll have to wait until I have the time to do the playthrough as mentioned above.
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Re: Modding Picture of the day.

Post by Talverin » Thu Nov 02, 2017 4:37 am

Is there any way to add additional defenses to a planet? Maybe an earlier era version of the one that adds energy weapons to planets? Being so military focused, I think that would be a thematic increase.

Additionally, Tarka in SotS 1 had the best Battleriders. I think that should be reflected in maybe increased numbers of BRs, and stronger ones.

And, since their ships tend to be focused more on heavier weapons at the cost of PD, perhaps one of their 'doctrines' could involve heavier focus on the use of BRs to shore up their otherwise poor PD?
Also, having specifically heavier and better defended BR's would be a very Tarka addition.

Maybe repair ships that can do some kind of in-battle repairs to other ships? Or a Protectorate-style hull that shares shielding.

Lastly, given their 'lengthy military experience' and militant background, perhaps a reduced construction cost compared to others, or a boost to production (Or a thematic production-boosting technology), and more specialized hulls. (IE, their torpedo hull mounts one extra tube and two less weapon mounts, and similar things.)

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Re: Modding Picture of the day.

Post by Rossinna-Sama » Thu Nov 02, 2017 5:56 pm

Talverin wrote:
Thu Nov 02, 2017 4:37 am
Is there any way to add additional defenses to a planet? Maybe an earlier era version of the one that adds energy weapons to planets? Being so military focused, I think that would be a thematic increase.

Additionally, Tarka in SotS 1 had the best Battleriders. I think that should be reflected in maybe increased numbers of BRs, and stronger ones.

And, since their ships tend to be focused more on heavier weapons at the cost of PD, perhaps one of their 'doctrines' could involve heavier focus on the use of BRs to shore up their otherwise poor PD?
Also, having specifically heavier and better defended BR's would be a very Tarka addition.

Maybe repair ships that can do some kind of in-battle repairs to other ships? Or a Protectorate-style hull that shares shielding.

Lastly, given their 'lengthy military experience' and militant background, perhaps a reduced construction cost compared to others, or a boost to production (Or a thematic production-boosting technology), and more specialized hulls. (IE, their torpedo hull mounts one extra tube and two less weapon mounts, and similar things.)
This may be an unusual question, but what in your opinion classifies a faction as the 'best' at something? In particular, the battleriders. Speed, armor, turret coverage, turret size, number of variants, numbers of BRs on a single carrier ship or a combination of the above?

Morrigi currently have the fastest BRs with the Loa (as usual) having the most structurally sound. If the Tarkas is to have a more BR focus, where would their strengths lie within the limitations of what I can actually mod? (I still wish I could edit the models directly...)

I might be able to add a 'fake' module slot to them so they can have abilities like Chaff as well, though that'll take time in order to figure out how to best do that.

Also, all Tarkas ships have repair capability (as well as salvage) to simulate their living armor alongside them having a special GOOP module which is more effective than the other factions.

Tarkas do have their Hunters from SOTS1 in SOTS2, but their use is fairly limited so I'm going to see about adding a DN module which'll let them be placed on more designs. I may also attempt to add in Battleships (as I think the game logic is already there for them) but I'm not sure on what mounts to put those on for the Tarkas Leviathans, so that may or may not happen as of yet.

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EDIT:

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This took me by total surprise. I've not yet updated the Hiver LVs as I only 'saw' the AI only send a DN fleet at me like 4 turns from this screenshot. 'Very hard' AI is living up to its name in combination with the tech priorities tweaks.

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Hiver Battleriders are slow but unusually effective due to their number of turrets and fairly good coverage angles.

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You know, I've still not seen a space 4x that can match poor ol' SOTS2 even after all of this time.

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... once again, I'm convinced that debris needs to stay while in a battle!

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I mean, how often do you see scenes like this?

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It blew up shortly afterwards, but managed to get this screenshot of its final moments before the LV exploded again.

As for why the AI was using the Super Transport LV, its probably because its got the highest CP allowance right now as I wasn't expecting the AI to even be near building LVs yet. Guess I'd better fix them then...
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Re: Modding Picture of the day.

Post by Talverin » Fri Nov 03, 2017 3:49 pm

First off, awesome pictures. I love debris field battles! Is there a way to extend how long the wrecks last? Also, how impactful on FPS is it?

So, on to the topic of Battleriders.

What if, instead of being the best at any one thing, they are at least second best in every aspect? It'd make for really awesome BRs, and I feel would be more thematic than having an extra BR per ship or something (Which, flavor-wise, would be more of a Zuul tactic than a Tarka one). Given the increased emphasis on drones and missiles, I think having them excel in PD (And make up for the tarka ships general lack thereof) would be pretty cool. Maybe even add an 'interceptor missile' module like the drones have. Or exclusively allow Tarka BRs to have drone-like 'loadouts', but not give it to their drones. Heck, I'd say even weaken their drones. Expendable smallships are (In my headcanon at least, though I can't necessarily support this from lore) not really one of their core strategies. The durability and teamwork focus of their fleets has a more 'elite soldiers' feel than 'line infantry'.

I feel like reducing the number of small slots on Tarka ships in general would encourage the use of BRs as escorts instead, and give them somewhat of an artificial 'boost', while also allowing the main Tarka ships to have more firepower than their class on average.
I feel like giving them 'second best' of everything would make them qualitatively a better investment than anyone else's BRs would be. They would, in my mind, be 'first best' in the point defense role, with perhaps the fastest engines to fulfill the role of flexible battle screen, and for exploiting openings in the enemy fleet.

Another thought might be shielded BRs, but I feel that would be very disproportionately powerful, so that's probably best reserved for 'real' ships.


Another tech I would like to see would be something like 'Disciplined Fire'. Are you able to add anything that reduces damage taken from friendly fire? Thematically, their tight ship movement discipline would reflect in being less damaged by things like mass shotguns, bursters, etc fired from friendly ships. This would especially benefit their more aggressive BRs when using such weapons.

A side note:

As I don't really do PvP, one thing I've never gotten feedback on is strategic stealth. Tarka ships have the ability to reduce detection range on their fleets rather impressively, which I feel would be a huge advantage as far as strategic movement, but I've never gotten to see it in action, so I don't know how well it actually implements. Does anyone else have feedback on this?

Will edit if I think of anything else to add.

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Re: Modding Picture of the day.

Post by Rossinna-Sama » Fri Nov 03, 2017 11:21 pm

Talverin wrote:
Fri Nov 03, 2017 3:49 pm
First off, awesome pictures. I love debris field battles! Is there a way to extend how long the wrecks last? Also, how impactful on FPS is it?
Its just a single 'ship' with collision detection so its not really any different than the hundreds of asteroids (speaking of which, I may attempt to lower their count for FPS reasons), but I'm yet to find a way to make debris linger. I figure its either a number hidden within the model or its hiding within the various settings that are hard-coded within the .dll files; if its the latter, there's nothing I can do about that.
Talverin wrote:
Fri Nov 03, 2017 3:49 pm
So, on to the topic of Battleriders.

What if, instead of being the best at any one thing, they are at least second best in every aspect? It'd make for really awesome BRs, and I feel would be more thematic than having an extra BR per ship or something (Which, flavor-wise, would be more of a Zuul tactic than a Tarka one). Given the increased emphasis on drones and missiles, I think having them excel in PD (And make up for the tarka ships general lack thereof) would be pretty cool. Maybe even add an 'interceptor missile' module like the drones have. Or exclusively allow Tarka BRs to have drone-like 'loadouts', but not give it to their drones. Heck, I'd say even weaken their drones. Expendable smallships are (In my headcanon at least, though I can't necessarily support this from lore) not really one of their core strategies. The durability and teamwork focus of their fleets has a more 'elite soldiers' feel than 'line infantry'.

I feel like reducing the number of small slots on Tarka ships in general would encourage the use of BRs as escorts instead, and give them somewhat of an artificial 'boost', while also allowing the main Tarka ships to have more firepower than their class on average.
I feel like giving them 'second best' of everything would make them qualitatively a better investment than anyone else's BRs would be. They would, in my mind, be 'first best' in the point defense role, with perhaps the fastest engines to fulfill the role of flexible battle screen, and for exploiting openings in the enemy fleet.
One of my ideas I had a while ago was to allow all Tarkas ships to have additional PD via the same method that was used on the drones, but only certain designs could do it as they had a high chance of damaging and destroying the other turret sitting on the same mount slot. It'd work fine for fixed mounts like Strafe, Spinal and so on but there's a lack of those on most models.

Drones, depending on how I ultimately wind up feeling for them, will be restricted to the Drone Sats for Tarkas. They simply don't feel like a drone-centric faction.

Right now in speed vs performance, I'm testing giving them the best acceleration and deceleration stats. While thematically it must be a nightmare for the poor crew serving on them, it lets them change their focus and targets as well as dodge better than any non-Morrigi BR so far.
Talverin wrote:
Fri Nov 03, 2017 3:49 pm
Another thought might be shielded BRs, but I feel that would be very disproportionately powerful, so that's probably best reserved for 'real' ships.
Shields tend to be somewhat buggy with smaller ships; so far the only one who has a shielded drone is the Liir and even then, its a reflex-era Heavy Drone and is almost as expensive as a single cruiser.
Talverin wrote:
Fri Nov 03, 2017 3:49 pm
Another tech I would like to see would be something like 'Disciplined Fire'. Are you able to add anything that reduces damage taken from friendly fire? Thematically, their tight ship movement discipline would reflect in being less damaged by things like mass shotguns, bursters, etc fired from friendly ships. This would especially benefit their more aggressive BRs when using such weapons.
Unfortunately no. Unless I dedicate the time into learning how to alter .dll and .exe files, that's not something that I can do. One way to simulate something slightly similar is if they had better armor ratings than usual.
Talverin wrote:
Fri Nov 03, 2017 3:49 pm
A side note:

As I don't really do PvP, one thing I've never gotten feedback on is strategic stealth. Tarka ships have the ability to reduce detection range on their fleets rather impressively, which I feel would be a huge advantage as far as strategic movement, but I've never gotten to see it in action, so I don't know how well it actually implements. Does anyone else have feedback on this?

Will edit if I think of anything else to add.
I don't really know. I only play Solforce and Liir in MP (When I used to) and I rarely have a Tarkas AI because they don't feel unique enough to warrant a slot in a smaller map since I don't play the huge maps due to waiting on the end of turn transitions. It does have an entry in the tech bonuses.xml at least so it can be changed if it does work.

---------------
On the modding front, no pictures right now but I've been redoing the AI cost factors (and tech values) for every tech. AI should no longer ignore the more useful techs early on as well as ignoring the useless or non-working techs and putting a lower priority on things which don't provide a major early game boost. You shouldn't see the AI researching everything in the Psionics tree now for example while ignoring everything in the engineering tree.

To say this has improved their performance is a bit of a understatement; their one real bottleneck still comes from wanting to design and prototype new ship designs, and they still love their propaganda ships - not sure how I can solve the prior at all and the latter might force that ship to no longer be a starting tech (as it was in vanilla) and to force the AI to never research it.

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EDIT

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The new screenshot I'm using for the VN's encyclopedia. I'm almost ready to consider them finished, just a few bugs to work out.

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It takes some very serious firepower to destroy the VN as a permanent threat.

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The various VN Disks have had their statistics improved and now act like they should - they can move faster than any other ship in the game (barring some high end Morrigi BRs and drones) and turn instantly.

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The disks also have different weaponry - one of them has this missile.

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The NeoBerserker (the three ships orbiting the homeworld) are now fully armed.

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Screenshot evidence that these little b^st^rds can not only use cloaking devices but the improved cloaking variant with zero issues. All disks barring two can now cloak.

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Another one of my trademark screenshots covered with too much bloom. As far as I am concerned though, this emphasizes just how deadly those weapons now are.

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It took two turns to wipe out the VN with a near-endgame fleet. It might be too easy, but at the same time the VN are not technically a Grand Menace and it'd be too irritating facing their Final Solution too often.

I've got a few tweaks I need to do before I'm ready to do their entry - the one I want to do the most is to find a way to figure out which one of the disks does that EMP spam (Either the EMP Disk or the Screamer Disk) and disable it from happening. It is the sole reason that Locust vs VN fights (or any fleet with a large number of drones or battleriders) will slow the game down to 1 FPS if not outright crash. I've made the EMP effect invisible for now, but that's not a solution.
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Re: Modding Picture of the day.

Post by Rossinna-Sama » Tue Nov 07, 2017 3:09 pm

Hivers are nearly complete. I've just got to fiddle with the Command sections for the Cruisers as I'm not quite happy with them, and that should really be it. They've got a very interesting contrast to the other factions and the Ruby\Diamond doctrine differences has lead to some really hard choices - do you go for larger weapon mounts, better structure and armor... or do you go for a better top speed? That's not as easy a choice to make as it may sound.

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Slavers now have an entry in the Encyclopedia with the above screenshot.

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Specters also have their screenshot but I've not made their entry just yet.

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And at long last, the System Killer's screenshot for the encyclopedia.

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A snippet of its entry.

I've got to resize the screenshots to better fit the encyclopedia, but otherwise its coming along well. I'll have done all of the PH-standard GMs and Randoms once I do the Specters entry, then I'll move into the Non-PH ones such as the Comet, Gardener and so on.

I've also still got to get the Morrigi Tombs and the Proteans, but they don't turn up very often on smaller maps.
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Re: Modding Picture of the day.

Post by Talverin » Tue Nov 07, 2017 6:09 pm

Speaking of the Hiver changes - How fast (Compared to the other races) do the two Doctrines go? How significant of a difference is the speed boost?

Also, does the speed boost translate to the strategic map, or is it purely a tactical map advantage?

On another note, how threatening are the normal VN in general? Will you need dedicated anti-VN fleets stationed at major worlds in order to keep them back, or do 'normal' defenses (Which for me would be a L2-3 Station and maxed points of missile/drone platforms) do enough to hold off the first or second strikes? (VN Probe and... I forget the second strike).

Keep up the awesome work! Let me know if there's any lore entries you want my meddling with.

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Re: Modding Picture of the day.

Post by Rossinna-Sama » Tue Nov 07, 2017 6:36 pm

Talverin wrote:
Tue Nov 07, 2017 6:09 pm
Speaking of the Hiver changes - How fast (Compared to the other races) do the two Doctrines go? How significant of a difference is the speed boost?
Numbers subject to change; Mod is in development after all.

Human Fusion CR Engine : 200
Human Fusion CR Pathing Engine: 200 (Pathing upgrade is only for Node Speed and STL Speed)
Human Reflex CR Pathing Engine : 300 (Top of the line)

Hiver Fusion CR RUBY Engine: 225
Hiver Fusion CR DIAMOND Engine: 175
Hiver Reflex CR RUBY Engine: 325
Hiver Reflex CR DIAMOND Engine: 275

Hiver RUBY Leviathan: 250
Hiver DIAMOND Leviathan: 125

Liir Fusion Engine: 120
Liir Antimatter Engine: 150
Liir Reflex Engine: 225
Talverin wrote:
Tue Nov 07, 2017 6:09 pm
Also, does the speed boost translate to the strategic map, or is it purely a tactical map advantage?
Tactical only. Having differing STL speeds for the same type of engine (Fusion, AM and Reflex) would only be an annoyance. Hivers are already quite a bit more effective due to having the ability to go up to 2LY a turn.
Talverin wrote:
Tue Nov 07, 2017 6:09 pm
On another note, how threatening are the normal VN in general? Will you need dedicated anti-VN fleets stationed at major worlds in order to keep them back, or do 'normal' defenses (Which for me would be a L2-3 Station and maxed points of missile/drone platforms) do enough to hold off the first or second strikes? (VN Probe and... I forget the second strike).
The 'children' of the Collector are very weak to anything that isn't a PD target and I nerfed the Collector Motherships's shields from Grav to High Capacity (Mk3). The Seeker is still quite weak to any kind of defensive force. In general though, the rate of VN attacks is much lower than in Vanilla as the chance of randoms occurring is less.

Typically all the Collector does is nick a station or two then bugger off - their collection capacity is purposefully low.

PS. Kerb; we need a Random Menace which steals space stations then attempts to cart them off. :googly:
Talverin wrote:
Tue Nov 07, 2017 6:09 pm
Keep up the awesome work! Let me know if there's any lore entries you want my meddling with.
Right now there isn't anything in particular, though I can always use more encyclopedia entries to flesh things out as I'm 100% not editing the original content that's there. So that's things like the factions backstory, flavor events, wars that may have occurred and so on - pretty much anything you'd like.

Tarkas ship description fluff would eventually be needed, but as I'm playing with the randoms and GMs again, I'm not yet ready for that.
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Re: Modding Picture of the day.

Post by Rossinna-Sama » Wed Nov 08, 2017 3:57 am

Image
It turns out (as I suspected) that Intangibility is a totally separate entry and will not work unless the ship is specifically able to select it, of which none of the vanilla ships can. (Intangible ships are the grey ones.)

Intangible ships will not follow any sort of attack orders while they are 'cloaked' since they can't fire; its a separate thing from Improved Cloaking after all. Whether or not Phantom Missiles and other things tagged with the Phantom Tag can hit it, I don't know yet but nothing else fired at it.

Unfortunately the usual bug with Cloaking and Psionics is still there which utterly kills the game's framerate unless the UI is hidden (Control + H by default), so unless I somehow figure out how to solve that since I can't bug Kerb to fix it (I wish...), it may remain as a disabled tech to keep a consistent framerate alongside cloaking itself which is currently not a tech you can get.

I suspect that Psionic Shields function in the same manner in that they need a seperate entry on sections which can fit Shields, but as the only AI which currently uses any Psi powers is the Liir (barring the Suul'ka from Zuul), testing to see if it works as advertised isn't high on my list since apart from adding Reflex-era stuff, the Liirian Crusade is done.

PS. Addendum to above post; Some of the RUBY designs also provide a speed boost.
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This is the Diamond Doctrine's version of the Combat (Armor) section. Keep in mind that I do have Structural Fields on which increases structure by 50%. (This is a very, very late game save.)

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This is the Ruby Doctrine's version of the Combat section. It does have a noticeable speed boost.

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And this is the Sapphire Doctrine's version of the Combat Section which uses the old Armor model, since the other two appropriated the Point Defense model and don't come with a Heavy Turret Mount, so this one does.

Engines are split into a Ruby or Diamond Variant.
Currently BRs are all Emerald Doctrine and have no plans to make Ruby or Diamond versions of those.

The Leviathans all follow their own Doctrine as well.
Ruby Leviathan is the fastest.
Diamond Leviathan has larger mount options (No light or medium mounts), more structure and armor but is far slower.
Emerald Leviathan is the Carrier Leviathan.
Sapphire Leviathan is the Invasion Leviathan.
The Transport Leviathan doesn't follow any doctrines.
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