Modding Picture of the day...

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

Post by Rossinna-Sama » Tue Oct 02, 2018 11:19 pm

Depending my mood, I might get the entire thing done today but unsure as of yet.

Today's focus has been resuming the ballistic redesign I talked about a few months ago. There will be spelling errors since I don't use a spellchecker and I'm more focused on speed and remembering what I'm doing - spellchecking is one of the last things I do.

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The general layout is visible here, as usual working within the limitations the game has in tech tree modding.

So at the bottom of the tree and the only starting tech anyone gets apart from ballistic-focused factions is the Dual System Ballistics tech.
"Ballistics are always going to be easier to field when compared to energy weapons but their damage potential in spaceborn combat has always been lackluster. This recent advancement allows our basic spaceborn autocannons to not only function in deep space but more importantly to change its ammo type to a smaller caliber using SABOT technology which also allows the same weapon to function as a point defense weapon. This tech provides the baseline requirement for all Tier 0 ballistics, of which there are four kinds."

This means that from turn 1 of the game, all factions barring Loa (who don't have a ballistics tree) start with a servicable PD weapon which doubles as a generic short\medium range weapon due to it using SOTS2's variable weapon ability - something which is very, very useful for modders I might add.

It is also the first of the 'tier 0' ballistic weapons which I've gone ahead and marked in the techs themselves for clarity.

Five other techs are available to research from the start as well.

Kinetic Energy Recycling - "A new system of storing energy produced after each firing of a ballistic weapon allows effective recycling of the energy used per shot which allows this energy to be used to fire the next projectile much sooner than without this system. This technology is automatically applied to all present and future ballistic weapons of all types and results in a 25% improvement in ballistic rate of fire."
This tech is the usual rate of fire bonus for ballistics. Tarkas starts with this for free at the start. Hivers do not since they are now a cannon (energy cannon) faction at the start.

Scatterpack Shells - "Scatterpack shells are an unusual projectile which is multiple smaller projectiles bundled within a shell-like casing which produces a shotgun like spread pattern when fired. These can only be fitted to Heavy and Very Heavy mounts. Tier 0 Ballistics Weapon System."
More damage for a shorter range and no PD capability compared to the Autocannons, which are the actual weapon given at the start of the ballistic tree.

Rifled Barrels - "The third type of viable chemically propelled ballistic weaponry are simply oversized cannons nicknamed 'Snipers' which have a very long range and considerable damage potential. Due to infusing the projectile with a small amount of fissionable material, the damage done upon impact increases the further away the target is. Tier 0 Ballistic weapon system."
The long range option for early game ballistics.

Burster Ordinance - "The fourth and final viable chemically propelled weapon system, Bursters are essentially containers filled with various types of explosives. When they detonate, they cause damage to all targets within a small radius akin to a 'flak' explosion and they also release fairly deadly shrapnel in random directions. For this sort of firepower, there are serious downsides which have to be taken into account including friendly fire incidents. Tier 0 Ballistic Weapon System."
Bursters offer some AOE damage but they are not terribly accurate which one should have guessed.

Magnetic Coils - "ADVANCEMENT TECHNOLOGY: Replacing chemical propulsion with magnetic coils allows for far more effective ballistic weapons with only a minor cost in power usage. This also allows a wider range of potential weapon types to be developed using this system which would not have survived the launch generated by the older propulsion method. This advances your ballistic weapons to the Fusion era. Required for Tier 1 ballistic weapon research and unlocks the Magnetic Cannon which is an improved version of the 'sniper' type ballistic weapon."
Welcome to the future. Sort of. This tech is how you advance to the next tier of weapons called 'tier 1'. Tier 0 weapons are chemically based (they use the interceptor launch effect) while Tier 1 now use magnetic propulsion (They use the AP Gauss launch effect, mostly). They tend to be more specialized and unlike energy weapons, there's no reason to go back to chemical unless you're trying to balance power requirements or simple financial costs. This tech unlocks 8 more for research.

Corrosive Rounds - "Living steel is one of the most important innovations of the Tarkasian people and some of our more radical scientists have proposed a new use for it; eating away at the armor and structure of hostile ships. With this research, we will be able to field a variant of the Magnetic Cannon which uses a variant of Living steel which bursts into a corrosive cloud for a short period of time. Tarkasian only Tier 1 ballistic weapon system."
While PH doesn't limit techs very often, some factions do get their own stuff to help emphasize their PH lore-based preferences. Tarkas are a ballistic faction so they get this tech due to that. The duration of the corrosive cloud is very short; it is more a damage dealing tool than an area denial weapon like the actual corrosive missiles.

Ballistic Torpedo - "A ballistic torpedo is as the name implies, a ballistic-based torpedo which benefits from ballistic research and doesn't suffer from such a severe loss of damage at closer ranges as the energy based variants. This technology will unlock Torpedo mounts if not otherwise already available."
One of the two mount-unlocking techs for the ballistic tree which is totally optional. If you're roleplaying and don't want to use energy based torpedoes or you've gotten a lot of ballistic techs but very few energy-damage techs then using a ballistic torpedo makes sense since they get bonuses on ballistic research instead of energy research.

HEAP Ordinance - "With the safety of Magnetic weapons more properly understood it has become practical to update the aging Autocannon design with HEAP rounds. HEAP stands for High Explosive Armor Piercing which when used in the style of an autocannon offers a very balanced combination of structural damage, armor damage and armor piercing though it can still get deflected from higher end armor plating. Retains the variable PD capability of its predecessor. Tier 1 ballistic weapon System."
Exactly as it says on the tin; an improved autocannon.

Focused Burster Ordinance - "What happens when your scientists attempt to make a shotgun within a shotgun which also is a shotgun? Apart from the many deaths and unfortunate 'accidents' which the development process accrued over time, the end result is a shotgun-style ballistic weapon which uses burster rounds which also detonates forward in a shotgun pattern. This makes it a specialist weapon which is good at doing damage to a lot of tightly grouped targets but fires very slowly. Tier 1 Ballistic weapon system."
Personally I've nicknamed this the 'set the galaxy on fire' weapon since it produces a lot of fire effects and in larger battles is quite the sight. One of the best ways to deal with a bunch of battleriders and larger groups of drones all in the same place.

Planetary Bombardment - "Planetary Bombardment rounds are dedicated anti-planet ordinance which while not being very effective in ship-to-ship engagements, does immense damage to the colony population and infrastructure. It does very little damage to the Colony Hazard rating so a prolonged bombardment won't render the planet uninhabitable. Tier 1 Ballistic weapon system."
This may sound confusing and to those new to how PH handles planetary attacks... most weapons will barely scratch a planet's population, infrastructure not to mention their colony hazard rating. The ballistic solution which can even be fitted to drones (when they cooperate and attack a planet) are these weapons which are very good at cleansing a hostile world of any kind of infestation, be they living or not.

Refined Bombardment Rounds - "A more expensive version of the Planetary Bombardment rounds which leaves little doubt as to what the galaxy may one day look like; a scorched wasteland of dead worlds. These rounds have been specifically refined in order to maximise their ablility to 'airburst' within a planets atmosphere which causes larger shockwaves to form. This weapon does a lot of Colony Hazard damage and a prolonged bombardment will render any colony useless in the future to all non-Loa races. Tier 1 Ballistic weapon system."
Project Hiver is set in a darker alternate reality to the prime timeline, which is unusual considering how dark the prime timeline actually is. However planets are targets and war is not pretty and these weapons showcase that fact. Using these weapons enough will render planets CH rating too high to be recolonized by anyone but the loa so it really is something to consider before using.

AP Rounds - "AP rounds are expensive and require extra maintenance which means the ship must have additional crew to use this weapon but they are one of the only rounds which will almost never get deflected by any known form of armor regardless of the angle it impacts its target at. This is a variant of the Magnetic Cannon which offers far superior damage and penetration of armor and more structural damage but is hard to justify mass-production of due to its immense costs. Tier 1.5 ballistic weapon system."
Armor deflection is low right now in PH but with this revamp of the ballistic weapons, its going back up. AP rounds counter this but deflection will still never be something that'll make ballistics totally useless; sure you won't penetrate Neutronium armor with chemical ballistic weapons but the better the weapon tier the easier it is to not be deflected.

Energy Enhancement Coils - "ADVANCEMENT TECHNOLOGY: These specialised coils use Anti-matter in order to quite litterally supercharge a new breed of ballistic weaponry. These coils have a notable drawback however that they must charge before 'firing' their projectile which means said projectile has a delay before it actually leaves the barrel. This advances your ballistic weapons to the Antimatter-era which is considered to be Tier 2 and provides the Rail-cannon, which is an improved version of the Magnetic Cannon."
Now we get into the real meat of the ballistic weapon revamp; more of the exotic stuff can be found in this tier. Most of the weapons are done but some are not; got a few more decisions to make first. There are 11 techs to research after this.

Intelligent Weapon Systems - "With the advent of antimatter technology and the resulting miniturisation that offers, our scientists believe they could make a range of launchable weapons called COL or Complex Ordinance Launchers. There are various types which are automatically unlocked once other techs are researched; having any mine techs will provide a Cracker COL for example. The Encyclopedia has more information."
COL has been combined into a single tech not only so I can use the other tech slots for something else but to also make it more appealing to actually research.

Shield Breaker Ordinance - "Shield Breaker ordinance is a ferrous-silicate dust which has been electrically charged that is specially designed to disrupt high-energy shields and bring them down by doing massive damage to said shields but very little actual damage to the ship itself. Tier 2 ballistic weapon system."
Nothing special here has been changed; same old Shield Breakers as always however since its now a Tier 2 (Antimatter) era weapon, it will shred shields like nothing else can.

Stormers - "Stormers are the antimatter version of the venerable autocannon which improves it in every way concievable at only the cost of an increased price and additional power consumption. Tier 2 ballistic weapon system."
This isn't actually in the same spot it used to be, keep that in mind. It is the final version of the ballistic starting weapon unless I decide to make a reflex version which currently I have no plans to do.

Chrono Rounds - "Chrono Rounds are incredibly advanced weapons which throw the internal structure of a ship into a different dimension which totally bypasses armor if the round is not deflected. One of the only weapons which requires Supply alongside Power and Crew, if a targets armor is breached then it will not survive long. This makes it exceptional at hunting larger targets such as leviathans once their armor is gone. Tier 2.5 ballistic weapon system."
Possibly overpowered but will see. These things are very powerful and are only held back by having low armor damage.

Tempest Conversion Initiative - "After the successful study of the Von-Neumann probes weaponry we have already aquired energy-based tempest style weaponry. However our scientists believe we can further refine the technology by refitting our existing Rail-cannon to utilise a tempest payload. This means that upon impact with a target, it will have a good chance of having entire weapon banks ripped away from its hull and badly damaging the ships power transfer systems. Tier 2.5 ballistic weapon system."
Over in the energy tree are the superweapons. After researching the 2nd last one, this tech becomes available to research. Tempests are already considered a superweapon by me even in the base game so giving them ballistic properties seems insane. But that's why this is a superweapon tech.

Leech Ordinance - "Leech ordinance is a highly specialized shell that binds to the hull of the target and punches invasive superconductor spikes into the target ships power conduits. The leech round will then siphon away almost all power from the target ship for roughly eight seconds before the round's own power reserves overload and it burns itself out and falls away. Draining a ships energy in this way leaves it helpless as if it was hit by an EMP-type weapon. Tier 2 ballistic weapon system."
A dramatic buff for the Leech rounds which converts them from draining to disabling. EMP duration may need tweaking after I've had more time to test it or a rate of fire nerf - I don't want permanent EMP effects on any weapon.

Now there are still techs I've not listed here, as they are in the parts I've not yet done today. Those include the Impactor, Siege and Reflex stuff. Yes... reflex-era ballistics, Tier 3. Still deciding on effects to use for them though but will find something.
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Talverin
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Re: Modding Picture of the day...

Post by Talverin » Wed Oct 03, 2018 12:05 pm

Focused Burster Ordinance - "What happens when your scientists attempt to make a shotgun within a shotgun which also is a shotgun? Apart from the many deaths and unfortunate 'accidents' which the development process accrued over time, the end result is a shotgun-style ballistic weapon which uses burster rounds which also detonates forward in a shotgun pattern. This makes it a specialist weapon which is good at doing damage to a lot of tightly grouped targets but fires very slowly. Tier 1 Ballistic weapon system."
Personally I've nicknamed this the 'set the galaxy on fire' weapon since it produces a lot of fire effects and in larger battles is quite the sight. One of the best ways to deal with a bunch of battleriders and larger groups of drones all in the same place.


Can I just say, I am, in general, in love with the changes you've made?

But can I also say, the 'set the galaxy on fire' weapon sounds hilarious, fantastic, and effectiveness aside I may make an entire fleet of ships carrying them?

Your ideas are amazing! I can't wait to see how these changes pan out.

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

Post by Rossinna-Sama » Thu Oct 04, 2018 7:02 pm

I had to take a step back and take a look at PH in general - it came as a bit of a surprise to see how close to a release I actually am. Just finished the ballistics tree a moment ago which means apart from redoing the cybernetic tree (since a HD loss meant I lost that bit) and taking a look at the rider tree, that's it on all weapons and tech side of things barring my rebalance spree which I need to do.

That means the last thing is to revisit the factions and ensure I've got at least three or four to a good state - Solforce, Liir and Hivers are the best candidates for an 'early' release since they are basically done already, just got to do the balance pass again and ensure the tech requirements are set up.

Zuul would be the fourth faction I'd want to release as well and I think they are almost done; it was the Suul'ka themselves which was posing issues as they like to crash. I think I solved that last time but its best that I confirm that; PH has a lot of files so uploading it anywhere is going to be a pain.

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In a more personal update, I'm now legally homeless but as I'm staying with my mother, it isn't all bad. Don't have to pay rent for a while either so I'll be able to save up and replace all that I've lost. Updating my application today which should speed up the process of me getting a new place to stay, but it'll almost certainly still be quite a while - doubt I'll have anywhere until the middle of next year at the earliest; anything sooner would come as a total surprise.

And since there's an investigation ongoing can't say much about anything else that's happened since at my now ex-unit apart from the fact its still standing but that's the only good thing, everything else is far worse than it used to be.

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And in PH related news...

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Impactors are back... again.

Impactors have a weird history with me; I used to have a bunch of variants but right now I have no plan to do such. Not enough ships use them and since I can't make my own models, I can't add in a module which'd allow them on any DN-sized slot which'd justify those extra variants.
Right now they are a Tier 2 (Antimatter) ballistic weapon in which I'm fiddling with a wider (20x10) armor damage matrix block, normally I just stick to the default 10x10 max size. If it works and is stable, I might use wider or longer damage matrix on certain weapons.

Siege Asteroids are also back again; as an aside I attempted to make them launch specters as an experiment. It... partially worked. :googly:
Their place in the ballistic tree is essentially a long range way to do a lot of damage to planets but they also do CH rating damage so as usual its a trade off. However it is the earliest siege-class weapon in PH since the other one is over in the energy weapon tree as the final superweapon tech; I've shown that one off before, its the system killers beam rebalanced for player use.

No plans on any additional siege-class weapons as of yet - I did have a missile which was put in there at one point (and I think I've still got it somewhere) but I don't see any use for that as of yet.

As stated at the top of this post, I've also completed the ballistic tree and all of the weapons. They are all working and functioning properly, Antimatter stuff has its sounds and effects in place and so does the one and only reflex weapon. As a note, I picked to only do one reflex weapon since that tech (the old neutronium rounds one) doubles the damage on all ballistic weapons so I don't have to make another set of weapons.

Too many weapons leads to UI problems.
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Re: Modding Picture of the day...

Post by Rossinna-Sama » Fri Oct 19, 2018 1:48 pm

Today's fleet song is from Star Control Origins; one of the combat songs called 'Engage'.

So I'll start with the modding stuff first.

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Hard to see since these boards don't let you easily see images anymore at a single click, but at the bottom of the BattleRider manager was two hidden options which are temporarily there. However they do not seem to work but I'm going to keep investigating if they'll work if they are shoved somewhere else, like the automation menu itself. Being able to automate battleriders being put into their carriers would be a huge improvement with how tedious they are to do for every fleet.

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Apart from one crash which I've already fixed, there's been no issues so far.

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So because I've been bored enough to bother since I've become disillusioned with the other major thing I work on, decided to play a PH match with only Solforce without any of my 'dev aids' or whatever else they may be called. The one major feature which still isn't in is the AI improvements that VAE introduced though some of it is in such as the very hard difficulty.

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Solforce\Humanity will always have it easiest in the early portion of the game as their cruisers are quite good and having them always have shields even as weak as the basic shields are is still something. This is most notable against the weaker static encounters such as the Morrigi Tombs and the Swarm. Autocannons are an excellent catch-all weapon for a starting fleet and Solforce's initial ships favor it.

Autocannons for those who are not aware are Variable weapons which you start with, basically a variable guass but better in every way. However it is still the lowest tier weapon in PH.

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This was sadly a boring battle. The drones were attacking but it was hard to see what they were actually firing or doing. So I've scheduled them for a weapon do-over.

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Pirates\Slavers were causing the game to crash as I never changed their weapons from the older version I had. This is now fixed and they have a range of T0, T1 and T2 ballistic weapons and a few missiles as well. They still ain't terribly dangerous though.

Code: Select all

Lowered production cost of Solforce CR Fusion (focus).
Lowered savings cost of Solforce CR Fusion (focus).

Lowered production cost of all Solforce BR engines across the board. (They were taking longer to build than a full CR.)

Lowered rate of fire of the brand new Autocannon. (Too heavy a FPS impact.)
Lowered shots per burst to 2 from 4 for Autocannon.

Slightly increased production rate early game. (Starting government now has a larger industrial bonus.)

Non-system confined Randoms no longer appear until turn 100.
GMs will no longer wait until turn 200 to appear, now starting at turn 100.
GM arrival chance per turn decreased to 2% from 25%.

Desire to change Morrigi Tomb Drones's weaponry into something else.

Node Pathing research cost for Solforce increased to 30000 from 15000. (Doubled the time it takes to research.)
Welded Armor Plating research cost increased to 7500 from 5000.
Crafted Armor Plating research cost increased to 40000 from 20000.
Resonating Armor Plating research cost increased to 100000 from 75000.

Crash with Slavers and Pirate Base fixed. (Didn't update their weapons from the last ballistic redesign.)
Pirate Base Structural rating decreased 33%.
Pirate Base Armor Ratings decreased by 50%.
Pirate Base Weaponry changed to Antimatter-era ballistics and no longer uses Corrosive missiles, instead it now uses the much more interesting Kinetic Missile...
Pirate Base Max Fleet Size decreased to 8.

Bounty for destroying Pirate Base increased to 25,000,000
Debt Multiplier decreased to 2x instead of 5x. (AI purposes.)

Pirate Base may not have enough firepower now. Blah.

Got bored, revisited the Strings file.

Cost of Solforce DN Engine section increased drastically. DNs are not supposed to cheap to field even in the fusion era.
So this is my log I'm keeping as I'm doing this playthrough.

Overall its in a good place so far even though I know there's still stuff I've not yet finished such as the ballistic tech tree and everything is using no power\supply\crew for now. The pace is almost exactly where I want it to be so you're not spending 300+ turns without even seeing a DN let alone a LV yet it isn't like you've got unlimited money; you don't. Constant fleet losses would force your income to be diverted to replacing those ships (and they don't build terribly fast either early game) and colony support costs are very, very high in PH. It really isn't feasible to mass-expand early on unless you've gotten lucky enough not to get attacked by the AI.

Assuming my interest holds, I should be getting to putting in some of the AI improvements from VAE. While PH isn't using stock fleet templates, it also hasn't been updated since before I even thought about VAE as a thing and I've learned quite a bit since then.

For the record, Morrigi FTL and Loa are the same as in vanilla. However I do plan on seeing if I can convince the game to use the nodeline network for Loa eventually and I'm not concerned about fleet speed bonuses for the Morrigi in PH.
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willdieh
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Re: Modding Picture of the day...

Post by willdieh » Fri Oct 19, 2018 3:14 pm

Rossinna-Sama wrote:
Fri Oct 19, 2018 1:48 pm
Hard to see since these boards don't let you easily see images anymore at a single click, but at the bottom of the BattleRider manager was two hidden options which are temporarily there. However they do not seem to work but I'm going to keep investigating if they'll work if they are shoved somewhere else, like the automation menu itself. Being able to automate battleriders being put into their carriers would be a huge improvement with how tedious they are to do for every fleet.
UI modifications, or rather modifications to UI functionality, is one of the things I really wanted to be able to work on. I did see that the UI is all XML based and could probably be extensively modified with sufficient patience or a suitable utility, but nowhere was I able to find UI logic. I took a look at the sots_managed.dll and didn't see any UI logic there so I assume it's baked into the core c++ binary/engine and hadn't been extended out for modding yet.

I noticed, for example, while looking through UI config xml, the option for a fleet support group which I thought would be excellent if it could be enabled as you could then put your Repair/Supply ships in that group and keep it out of your command point allocation in battle (similar to SOTS1).

I really admire your tenacity in working on this mod! I really wish I could do the same, but lately I just haven't had time to do anything outside of work :(

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Mecron
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Re: Modding Picture of the day...

Post by Mecron » Fri Oct 19, 2018 8:14 pm

I see all your images without clicking on anything

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

Post by Rossinna-Sama » Fri Oct 19, 2018 11:55 pm

Mecron wrote:
Fri Oct 19, 2018 8:14 pm
I see all your images without clicking on anything
That'd be me typing a statement in an improper way. The boards before the update let you click the picture to enlarge at will instead of having to manually go and view the source. That's all - they still show up without any intervention. Apologies.
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Re: Modding Picture of the day...

Post by Mecron » Sat Oct 20, 2018 12:18 am

ah ok

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Re: Modding Picture of the day...

Post by Rossinna-Sama » Sat Oct 20, 2018 10:58 am

And here we go again - turn 155 now.

So, mod related first.

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So apart from looking like a set of eyes on a baseball, I wasn't expecting the Neutron Star to turn up. I always disable it as I don't like its mechanics.

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Only one of my systems was in range thankfully so I didn't have so many combat encounters per turn that it is faster to start a new game. Which is why I disable the star but at least it gave me a chance to rebalance comets again.

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Normally either an AI or myself 'deals' with the star before it gets anywhere since its really slow. I increased its FTL speed to 2.5 which does make it impossible for Zuul and Solforce to get to it but the result was that it actually lived long enough to do something. Guess it should have been obvious in hind-sight what happens when a star meets another star - it wiped the entire system out. Pity I couldn't send some paparazzi there to see if it had an ingame model that can display. I know it has one but apart from model reassignment, never seen it ingame.

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And on the other side of the galaxy... the Locusts and the VN were at it again. I've done some tweaking to hopefully stop the Locusts from spawning on the VN's home system but there's nothing I can do about them going there on their own volition. Without access to the codebase, I can't force them to engage in combat with each other if there isn't also one of the empires within the same system. Its just one of those things I can only attempt to prevent and that's it.

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Ghosty made its inevitable appearance though it also happened to strike as my one and only LV was passing by the system...

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As powerful as Ghosty is, it really isn't a match for another LV.

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Doesn't mean it didn't whack the naval station though. Small victory for it?

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I did note that some of its weapons were not firing again, have no idea why that keeps occurring.

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At least it still blows up in an enormous purple fireball.

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So I sent the one and only fleet which would stand even a remote chance of surviving long enough to kill the VN while also enduring an assault from the locusts. Its an entire T3 (Reflex) era fleet; that's the kind of firepower one needs to face what's basically two GMs at the same time. If the Neutron Star didn't turn up earlier, I'd not have been surprised if SK wouldn't have also been here.

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Once again another battle in which the game somehow didn't crash with over 1000 ships involved in it.

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As another one of my efforts to stop the VN and Locusts from endlessly deadlocking, all of the Locusts now have Electronic Hardening so they resist disabling effects. Ohh, and the needle ships now have neutronium plating (Addy.). *coughs*.

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So remember this is a top of the line fleet barring my shields (which I was researching as the battle started) and it still got torn apart. You didn't forget that a Grand Menace is supposed to be Grand... right?

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Actually wound up doing this battle twice as only half of the VN died on the first combat round.

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And its not like the Locusts took no losses from the VN - I may not have been targeting the locusts but the VN sure were.

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Had to eventually peel off to go after the other thing the VN likes to work on.

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Took some heavy losses but the VN have been wiped out. Of course this frees the Locusts up to do their thing...

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State of the Galaxy at turn 155. One AI opponent is dead, another is almost gone while the other two are fighting each other. The Locusts are barely visible on the top-left area of the map, you can see the fleet in the screenshots above slowboating to a nearby star so they can try and come home.

Not a single crash and the AI is performing well enough. However since I freed the Locusts, that may change.
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Re: Modding Picture of the day...

Post by Rossinna-Sama » Sat Oct 20, 2018 9:18 pm

And more modding - this one's in progress.

I've gotten around to redoing the Government Spectrum as intended, albeit I did simplify it considerably.

All numbers are temporary until I have a chance to balance them.

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This is where you always start. Balanced is literally right in the middle and is essentially focused on helping you in the early game so your starting gameplay isn't as constrained as usual. Actually staying here in my testing is... basically impossible.
"All Empires start off with this Spectrum and with their own actions can move themselves towards another area of the Spectrum. Being aggressive will make the empire spectrum move upwards and being peaceful will move it down. Focusing on industry will move it to the left and preferring lots of income moves it to the right. A balanced empire focuses on themselves over the welfare of anyone one else which leads to severe diplomatic penalties with everyone, especially those of the same race. BONUSES: +25% Industry. +50% Population Growth. +10% Tax Income. +25% Terraforming Rate. PENALTIES: -50% Alien Tax Income. +100% Deaths from any Plagues."

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By performing peaceful actions such as requesting things instead of demanding stuff, accepting alliances, NAP's and offering various treaties (which do work...) you go down the spectrum into the three 'Alliance' focused government types. They all get bonuses with one another but remaining with a balance of industry and income means you get to retain both sides bonuses without weakening the other aspect which is shown as the Balanced Peacemonger government type.
"Life is all about being alive and not dead. At least that's what this government type preaches to its citizens but not many buy that statement. Regardless, war is what takes lives and henceforth this government type wants to prevent major casualties by forming alliances with other peaceful government types. BONUSES: +20% Research Speed. +25% Industrial Capacity. +10% Tax Income. +35% Alien Tax Income. +50% Population Growth. PENALTIES: Double Plague Death Rate. Large Morale drops from War Declaration, Losing Alliance status, Losing Civilians during planetary bombardment and Plague Outbreaks. Guaranteed Empire-wide rebellion if you betray anyone."

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And of course doing the opposite moves the spectrum upwards onto the 'Attacking' side of things. Alliances and peace are for cowards so waging war is what the top three government types focus on. As usual maintaining a balance of production versus income puts you into the Balanced Attacker government type.
"Forget diplomacy, the penalties this government type has is so severe that war is inevitable if it isn't already occurring. Maintaining a balance of income verses production leads to a balanced set of bonuses and a reasonable amount of morale stability. BONUSES: +25% Industrial Output. +20% Tax Income. +20% Research Speed. PENALTIES: Massive Diplomatic penalties. IMMUNITIES: No Morale Loss from Enemy in System or War Declared morale events."

Those three are the only ones I've done so far but the others won't take long.

So while this is a simplification of the system by a fairly large degree, there's one major difference which continues to make morale management more important; all of the governments have different reactions and resistances to things which impact morale. For example, betraying anyone while you're the bottom three government types issues your entire empire (Every Colony world) with a -100 morale penalty. Without rapid and severe actions, you'll face pretty much every planet ceding from your control.

The Attacking side of the spectrum doesn't have to worry about morale as much but while they are more resistant to morale penalties, its harder for them to actually get morale points without engaging in combat related activities.

Another element of this is that the AI should actually do as I want it to now and not fall in love with you regardless of what other settings I've set so a repeat of what occurred in my latest match shouldn't happen - Solforce is supposed to hate each other and within the government types is an option to give penalties to the same faction, so that's a thing now apart from the Alliance side of the spectrum. AI no longer cares about if its another AI player or a human in a MP game - that's also something that can be changed but it makes no difference from my perspective. AI's shouldn't be ganging up on human players anyway. Though of course that's quite easily achieved.


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EDIT 1:

The left Branch is now complete. Just got the right branch to get done.

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Focusing on the industrial side over the economical side moves you to the left of the tree which gives industrial bonuses for the majority of them. This particular one is the Industrialist Peacemonger which is a bit of a silly name but it's what it is. Peace through power or something like that.
"Spreading the word of your empire via alliances and peaceful pursuits while also ensuring that its reach spreads as far as possible. BONUSES: +40% Industrial Capacity. +10% Research Rate. +75% Alien Tax Income. +10% Tax Income. +25% Terraformation Rate. -25% Biosphere destroyed. Double Chance of Successful Salvage. Large Morale boost when Forge World is created. Bonus Morale due to Leviathan, Station and Flagship construction. Bonus morale if Systems are opened. Bonus Morale from Media Hero Admirals. Bonus Morale from Global events such as defeating a Grand Menace. Bonus Morale from colonizing new worlds. PENALTIES: Guaranteed Empire-wide rebellion if your Capital world is lost. Large Morale hits for losing Stations, Leviathans and Flagships. Large Morale hits for Civilian Deaths. Large Morale hits for closing systems. Guaranteed Empire-wide rebellion if you betray anyone."

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To the left is the Industrialist, in which it should be fairly obvious what this focuses on.
"Construction is the building block of an empire and this government type focuses very heavily on that side of things. This government type is happier in a closed system than an open one. BONUSES: +50% Industrial Capacity. Double Chance of Successful Salvage. Huge Morale boost when Forge World is created. Bonus Morale due to Leviathan, Station and Flagship construction. Bonus morale if Systems are closed. PENALTIES: -10% Research Speed. -25% Population Growth. -75% Alien Tax Income. Loses Morale if Systems are opened. Huge Morale penalty if a Forge World is lost. Larger morale penalties if Leviathans, Flagships and Stations are destroyed."

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Finally in the top left we have the most unique government type, the Industrialist Attacker which is another silly name but... look, don't shoot the messenger. I hear they really hate that. Anyway the main allure apart from the huge industrial bonuses and the overharvesting boosts (The strip mining tech is disabled in PH to stop mining station spam by the AI so its the only way to boost it) is the experimental 'immunity' to all but three morale events. Ohh, they do still get morale bonuses and penalties due to your tax rate so no cheating there.
"War is good for business... if your population cared. Indeed, this government type is immune to almost EVERY morale event but this makes gaining morale quite difficult as well. BONUSES: +75% Industrial Capacity. More Production from Overharvesting. More Overharvest Capacity per turn. Doubled Chance of Salvage. Moral Bonus for Closing systems. PENALTIES: Forced Overharvesting. -25% Research Rate. -25% Population Growth. -35% Terraforming Rate. +75% Biosphere Destruction. -95% Alien Tax Income. Morale Penalty for Opening Systems. IMMUNITIES: All Morale events apart from Opening or Closing Systems or losing a Capital World."

Unless distracted or something else gets my attention, the next edit should be the other three.
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Re: Modding Picture of the day...

Post by Rossinna-Sama » Fri Nov 02, 2018 4:32 am

So for whatever reason, I've not bothered finishing the previous update. erm... /shrug?

Instead I've been focused on something more important for PH's release - I've started the every ship, station and section rebalance for cost, supply, crew and power ratings. Solforce is the only one I'm doing at present - one faction at a time.

The exact numbers are pending, but I'm playing with Fusion era ships having 100 power, Antimatter era having 300 and Reflex having 500 not including any bonuses or negatives that each ship or tech may provide.

I don't believe in rock paper scissor balance; maybe that's a flaw but its simply how I do things. My method at present is that Power is the primary balancing factor. Heavy Combat Lasers in PH are far, far more effective than in Vanilla but what's stopping you from rushing a so called death fleet of them? Power costs. Without investing in power techs and sometimes sections which provide bonus power (Solforce CRs for example have a Reactor Command section which gives bonus power but its mount types are fairly lacklustre), you'll find your ships power bar being way overtaxed.

Another part of this is that I've mostly tossed things like X-ray, UV and Green\Red stuff such as lasers all being the same with only minor bonuses.

Using Lasers (What Kerb calls Beamers), there's four kinds.
Thermal: Uses very little power and is focused on armor matrix damage at the cost of low structural damage.
Light Laser: The Green 'beamer' is now a light weapon size variant of the Lasers which unlike most weapons in PH can and will auto-target against things like missiles. Its power usage is low but not as low as 'Blasters' which are what Kerb calls Lasers. It only pulses twice compared to the three or four the other lasers do.
ER Laser: The UV 'beamer' is the long range laser option and has moderate power costs and right now finds itself as the go-to for energy based factions who want to use the lasers early on.
X-ray Laser: Didn't feel the need to change its name that much, but the X-ray 'beamer' is shorter ranged than the other types and has a considerable power cost but does the most damage and has an extra pulse per shot.

So the way Lasers in PH work is I've tried to match their beam duration with their burst fire duration so just when one beam is about to stop firing, the next part of the burst salvo fires. Its very similar to how Pulse Lasers look and work in Battletech.

In addition though this is a very, very old change from when I first started this mod is that almost all light weapons are technically now medium weapons. Unless I want the weapon to automatically fire at PD targets, it won't unless you make it do such, since we all remember how much friendly fire Pulsed Phasers caused even back in SOTS Prime. :googly:

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So just a little note; there's no electrical sparking or electric effects on ship damage anymore in PH. That's entirely reserved for ships and effects which disable or drain vessels. That's why it always looks like I'm setting everything on fire.

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One of my oldest experiments still within PH, this is a 'new' interceptor BR which behaves like the patrol BR does so typically it focuses on larger ships instead of hunting other BRs.

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My latest changes within diplomacy seems to have paid off. While they still offer random alliances (*sighs*), it usually only lasts a few turns before going right back to war again. Same-faction matches with everyone allying with each other by turn 50 should cease entirely.

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You'll see to the right of this image a problem which exists even in vanilla - excess beams on the screen cause some of them to look like they are attacking the star itself. Not much can be done about that.

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While you do start with BRs in PH from turn 1, they can't be added automatically to the starting survey fleets which start with 2 or 3 BR carriers by default. Fusion-era BRs are cheap and built fairly quickly so it'll only take about 4 turns to fully outfit both starting survey fleets with a full compliment of BRs. And yes, the AI often does fit BRs to their fleets now.

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But the majority of AI fleets at least at present have at least some form of drone carrier in there. Drones are important in PH since they are arguably the best counter to each other, especially in the early game. Seeing a furball of drones dogfighting each other occurs pretty much anytime you're in combat.

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One of my very first screenshots was me wishing that debris stuck around. Guess what I still wish for? Ohh well, maybe in SOTSHD.

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No, there's not the ship from Futurama in there. I think.

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Leaving a solforce CR fleet to do its own thing (on Close to Combat Stance) results in a fight which looks very much like water-born naval battles do. Probably intentional design on Kerbs part.

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It may be an old game now, but it still has its moments.

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So drones can be built in multiple ways. They can be built just like they always could in vanilla or they can be given weapons which are designed to destroy other BRs and act as PD. Most drone designs, especially from the AI have them do a balance of both PD work and some kind of anti-cruiser weapon.

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Perhaps after I'm done with the power\supply rebalance for all factions, I'll look into texture work for planets.
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Re: Modding Picture of the day...

Post by Talverin » Sat Nov 03, 2018 12:01 am

I'm excited about Interceptor BRs targetting real ships. The 'strafe' armament for them is super strong, and using it against small targets like other BRs always felt wasteful to me. I'm glad PH is entering its' 'polishing' stage, for this part at least! The government systems are rather strange, to me, but they seem to generally end up supporting whatever things it is I'm doing anyway, so I guess I haven't been very conscious of their impact in the past.

How strong are their new numbers compared to similar extremes in the old system?

Also, I'm looking forward to your next release. Let me know if you need someone to beta test a couple rounds... I just might know a guy.

The guy is me. And I would play the crap out of it. I tend to play toward endgame, so I can try out a lot of different techs and such.

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Re: Modding Picture of the day...

Post by Haplo_Patryn » Sun Nov 11, 2018 1:03 pm

Looking forward this mod, looks awesome :)

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Re: Modding Picture of the day...

Post by Rossinna-Sama » Sun Nov 11, 2018 11:18 pm

Talverin wrote:
Sat Nov 03, 2018 12:01 am
I'm excited about Interceptor BRs targetting real ships. The 'strafe' armament for them is super strong, and using it against small targets like other BRs always felt wasteful to me. I'm glad PH is entering its' 'polishing' stage, for this part at least! The government systems are rather strange, to me, but they seem to generally end up supporting whatever things it is I'm doing anyway, so I guess I haven't been very conscious of their impact in the past.

How strong are their new numbers compared to similar extremes in the old system?

Also, I'm looking forward to your next release. Let me know if you need someone to beta test a couple rounds... I just might know a guy.

The guy is me. And I would play the crap out of it. I tend to play toward endgame, so I can try out a lot of different techs and such.
Interceptor BRs still focus on other BRs then drones. All I did for Solforce was use that naming scheme to trick the game into thinking this new interceptor is actually a patrol BR, so it uses the same code as patrol BRs do. I do the same thing for my makeshift Destroyers. The Solforce Cruiser EW section also uses the same trick in order to get it to function.

The government bonuses, I'm still toying with. Half of me is saying to just do what I have been doing for years and just force everything to remain as Centrist, the other half is saying to just let it play out and see how the numbers feel. Right now the numbers are fairly high but most things in PH are. However things which are basically required such as Loa needing to go Coopertism or whatever it was called no longer exist; that and Loa more or less ignore gate limits at present since as much as I like the system, I also see it as busywork for no gain. Sorry whoever designed it. :(
Haplo_Patryn wrote:
Sun Nov 11, 2018 1:03 pm
Looking forward this mod, looks awesome :)
The week where my life leaves me alone so I can just sit down and focus on this is the week this'll be released. I get interrupted so often it ain't funny.

Anywho, my latest mod run was this morning. Did a few tweaks to the tech tree in regards to early game costs on a few tech items such as shields. Was pleasantly surprised to see the AI even on normal difficulty have DNs by turn 60 even before I've done my VAE inspired AI changes. Still having problems with diplomacy though; the AI keeps flip flopping around either hating me or loving me - alliances last for about 3 turns before they declare war and about 6-7 turns later, they are asking for an alliance again.

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EDIT

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Part of my recent changes to how solar systems are spaced: moons can be closer together but hopefully avoid clipping.

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Combat in PH is typically within 6000 'meters' but this is an example of 12000 'meters' since the opposing DN has ballistic snipers fitted.

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Hi! My name is Rossinna-Sama and I like making people who look directly at a star go blind! :googly:

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I also like long walks on the beach and... ohh wait.

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It is a shame you don't get to see these effects for very long if you focus on ballistics since this is a Tier 0 effect and Tier 1 isn't that expensive right now, granted that could change.

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I've been finding quite a bit of design success with the Autocannon design, so much so that I might convert 'blasters' (Lasers) into the same basic principle of being a variable weapon. Not entirely sure on that though as of yet.
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Re: Modding Picture of the day...

Post by Rossinna-Sama » Wed Nov 21, 2018 3:32 am

Just a small update today. May do more, don't know yet. Its very hot here and my PC only has half of its fans active due to having too many for my motherboard to handle compared to what the case offers and me not having gotten a fan controller yet.

My focus today was an idea I had to help save FPS rates without just removing cloaking from the game. If I consider this a success, I may also do the same thing with Psionics though not entirely sure how to do it with the Liirian Crusade as of yet.

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So this is what a ship design for Solforce currently looks like. I've added in Internal Kinetic Dampers since I did this screenshot and I've re-purposed the now deprecated Cloaking section as a Dancer section which helps deal with Solforce's terrible turning speeds.

I've made it a conscious effort to try and keep these things as neat as possible; Stealth Armor is always at the top followed by Structural Fields. Their order and the options they appear in is also kept the same if at all possible and the 'better' options are below the others within a category so at a glance its easy to see which is the default option.

What's the reason I actually took this picture? The cloaking options on the CnC section.

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"Cloaking is a variation of quantum shielding which instead of projecting a physical barrier against hostile fire focuses on bending incoming light and almost all forms of energy away from it. This essentially allows the vessel to be almost totally invisible in tactical combat. Only certain CnC ships can be cloaked and they can not fire while the cloaking field is active."

So this is the major change I've done - no ship apart from certain CP-providing sections can cloak anymore. This is to limit the number of ships which can cloak at the same time which I'd rather not have to do but I'd rather a fleet have one or two cloak capable ships and have a steady framerate than having an entire fleet capable of cloaking and having a framerate in the single digits.

While you could make a fleet of CnC ships, in PH all CnC ships cost at the very minimum 3x as much as the other ships in their category. It'd be too expensive to really do this and CnC ships don't have the best weaponry in any case. Right now only cruiser-sized CnC ships can cloak but I'm considering allowing Morrigi and Tarkasian DN CnCs to cloak - not the flagships though.

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"Similar in effect to standard cloaking technology, ships with this advanced variant can fire their weapons while cloaking is engaged however they suffer a rate of fire penalty. This allows certain CnC ships to fire while cloaked and is a more expensive replacement of the standard cloaking device."

This hasn't changed, its still limited to certain CnC ships like the standard cloak is though its fitting cost has gone up.

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"This advancement in cloaking tech allows a ship to phase out of the current quantum reality while the cloaking device is active, becoming a phantom for all intents and purposes. Unfortunately ships can not target 'un-phased' ships and while no weapon can affect it (except Phantom Missiles) the phantom ship can attack other 'phased' targets. This can only be fitted to certain CnC ships."

I don't know why but this tech never worked in the base game as it couldn't be fitted to any ships and its effects do not apply to cloaking or improved cloaking; that's one thing I know about this cloak. However once given as an option to ships, this cloak actually functions as advertised but because its rather new to me at least, I've not had time to figure out if it should be made much more expensive and harder to research.

Its description is as accurate as I understand the cloak to function but it'll change once I've had more time to experiment with it - I've literally never seen two ships with intangibility fight each other so while I know they can't fire at other ships, I don't know if the game has programmed the ability for intangibility ships to fire at each other as per the vanilla description.

The vanilla description also said the ship can't remain in intangibility for long but I've seen no ingame evidence of any time limit. I can only surmise its another feature which wasn't able to be fully completed.

I'm also concerned that, especially in MP, this could be cheesed really easily to have a ship which can't be killed since it doesn't turn off its intangibility cloak so if that's something I can easily pull off in SP, I'll be adding or altering certain weapons to have the Phantom property so they can hit Intangible ships without having to rely on the Phantom Missile\Polaris\IOBM variants.
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