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Author: ekolis
Date: Oct 13, 2016 7:50 PM
Category: White Dwarf 2
Posts: 75
#1
Once more unto the breach... :)

So, moons. There's already an issue with the FQM moons breaking homeworld placement. Personally, though, I think moons in general are annoying. They make it hard to spot colonies (and colonizable planets) on the map, because they're hidden behind their parent planets. And they can also lead to exploits with training facility stacking...

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Commenter: berendtium111
Date: Oct 13, 2016 7:58 PM
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#2
That's an exploit? I even use it in stock. It happens often enough there to be sufficient. I only need two or three multiple-colony sites per game for this purpose.
Commenter: ekolis
Date: Oct 14, 2016 1:40 PM
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#3
I think the "standard" base/satellite/WP/etc mounts should have some sort of code on them so you can make sure you actually installed them on the designer screen. Something really simple like an asterisk, maybe? "S" might be confused for "small" or whatever... I seem to recall them previously being marked "S"; sorry if I asked you to remove it!

Why are the base shell mounts not named for their hulls like the ship ones, and instead have generic tonnage names?
Commenter: bearclaw
Date: Oct 14, 2016 6:05 PM
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#4
Mostly so that I could get you to ask why they are named differently 😀
Commenter: ekolis
Date: Oct 16, 2016 8:16 AM
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#5
I'm still not sure about the balance of the city facilities. They do have a 3:2 ratio between cost and effectiveness as compared to the standard facilities, but then they still only take up one slot, so I'm wondering if they might be a bit too cheap. Can't recall what kind of feedback I gave before, but I'm wondering if it might have been better to come up with something between the old ratios for the resource/research/intel facilities and the SY facilities - didn't the resource-type cities used to be a lot more expensive? Maybe they should have been made not quite so cheap, but the SY ones should have been made a bit more expensive?

I also still don't like the small ship engine mount; it's annoying to have to remember to use it and which hulls it can be used on. Why not reduce the engines per move of smaller ships by half instead? Were you running into issues with rounding? Maybe double larger ships' engines per move, and also double the thrust of all engines? Did you try that and hit the 255 thrust limit with baseships? Not sure how to balance engine cost at the moment; I just got up and can't quite think that far!
Commenter: Cipher
Date: Oct 16, 2016 10:41 AM
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#6
I'm so new to this mod that I can't make a well-informed comment, but still intend to make use of the advantage Ed mentions above (re cities), without the need to question how it compares to another configuration. :) I think we're stuck, (and should be) with small integer ratios.

One thing I did just see was that the description of research results for physics level 3 lists the same result twice in a row. Something must be a bit off there.
Edited 1 time(s). Lasted edited Oct 16, 2016 10:43 AM.
Commenter: berendtium111
Date: Oct 16, 2016 12:50 PM
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#7
Sometime the "same" item shows up twice in the research results because it applies to two different things, e.g. bases and ships. The items may have the same name but their properties may be different depending on where they are used.
Edited 1 time(s). Lasted edited Oct 16, 2016 12:50 PM.
Commenter: ekolis
Date: Oct 18, 2016 6:24 PM
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#8
I think Armor and Shields are the only two tech areas under the Armor category - and shields aren't really armor anyway! Why not rename the category to something more inclusive? I was thinking maybe Defenses, including also cloaking and ECM, and anything else appropriate (security stations?) but then ECM is buried under the Combat Support tech, which also contains multiplex tracking... Why on earth did Aaron mingle those two things together? Not to mention security stations are under boarding... why can't techs have multiple categories? ;) Or call the thing Combat Support and rename the combat support tech area, and throw it in there along with Ship Capture and Sensors, but then Sensors also includes tachyon sensors... or ignore me completely because this is a rather silly suggestion anyway! :P

Specialized Ship Construction is a rather silly name for a tech that gives you mostly mobile resource extraction components and hulls, isn't it? Not sure what to call it though, because Mobile Resource Extraction could also include robo-miners and the like, and it doesn't really sound like a hull construction tech name...
Commenter: Cipher
Date: Oct 19, 2016 10:56 AM
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#9
Ed... ever considered cutting back on the coffee? :>)
Commenter: ekolis
Date: Oct 19, 2016 12:59 PM
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#10
I actually haven't had much coffee lately, just too much free time and chitchatting about trivial things like this helps with my depression! :)
Commenter: ekolis
Date: Oct 19, 2016 4:07 PM
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#11
Hmm... Perhaps a way to nerf cities a bit, if that's necessary, would be to bump up the requirements on them such that even level 1 requires research into arcologies? Then they'd become more of a midgame item, rather than a "build them on every planet right now" item.
Commenter: berendtium111
Date: Oct 19, 2016 4:45 PM
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#12
I also think cities are a little too easy now. The are fairly even with the basic facilities on a ROI basis plus they only take up one facility slot vs. 3 slots for the basic facilities to equal the same output. I kind of like the Arcologies 1 requirement suggestion.
Commenter: Cipher
Date: Oct 19, 2016 6:37 PM
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#13
So the actual time elapsed in posting is longer than it reads.

Sounds like that last suggestion would have the desired effect. I did notice the "Arcologies" research category, but I'm not quite sure what it means.
Commenter: berendtium111
Date: Oct 19, 2016 6:45 PM
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#14
Arcologies is how you get better city facilities (mineral, radioactive, organic, research) and how to get the Monolith facilities.

Googled:

Arcology, a portmanteau of "architecture" and "ecology", is a field of creating architectural design principles for very densely populated, ecologically low-impact human habitats. The concept has been primarily popularized, and the term itself coined, by architect Paolo Soleri. It also appears in science fiction.
Edited 1 time(s). Lasted edited Oct 19, 2016 6:48 PM.
Commenter: bearclaw
Date: Oct 20, 2016 1:40 AM
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#15
Yeah, I noticed that too. Guess I was a little too liberal with "fixing" city facilities... What would be a good compromise? The original intent for them was that they were Homeworld facilities. A way of massively upping the value/output of your homeworld. The original costs was intended to make them less desirable on colonies until later in the game.

So I'm hesitant to make level 1 Arcologies require tech because I want them to be on homeworlds from game start. Upping the costs again? maybe to 5 turns to build rather than 3?
Commenter: Cipher
Date: Oct 20, 2016 8:08 AM
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#16
Since I'm new to this mod, what did the old cities facilities look like, that made you set out to fix them?
Commenter: ekolis
Date: Oct 20, 2016 4:07 PM
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#17
It's been a while since I played the old version, but as I recall, the SY cities were identical to what they are now, but the resource/research/intel cities (are there intel cities?) were much more expensive than they are now, something like 15K minerals for a mining city.

I'm sure bearclaw would remember better than I do, or someone could of course look it up in the data files!

Personally I like the idea of being able to build additional cities on colonies, not just having them on your homeworld, as a sort of investment in building a "tall" empire rather than a "wide" one. But as they stand, they are rather OP!
Commenter: ekolis
Date: Oct 20, 2016 4:16 PM
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#18
Hmm... I think a lot of the tech costs in this mod need to be reanalyzed. A lot of techs can be quickly "rushed" due to their low costs (and in some cases low max levels), pretty much eliminating all the benefits of having levels while keeping the micromanagement of researching the levels and upgrading things. Some of these, like Smaller Weapons, are holdovers from stock, while others, like Stellar Propulsion, are brand new.
Commenter: Cipher
Date: Oct 20, 2016 5:10 PM
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#19
Was there ever an intermediate level?
Commenter: ekolis
Date: Oct 20, 2016 7:28 PM
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#20
Intermediate level of what? Very few techs in SE4 have only one level. Or were you making a joke about the ease of rushing? :)
Commenter: bearclaw
Date: Oct 20, 2016 9:43 PM
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#21
Yes, there are Intel Cities.

Mineral cities did have a mineral cost of about 15000.
Commenter: Cipher
Date: Oct 21, 2016 8:15 AM
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#22
If the current (say research) cities facilities are too cheap, and the originals were too expensive, how about something of both intermediate benefit and intermediate cost? Or, as I think Bearclaw may have suggested, require an additional level or area of research to gain access? Don't ask me specifically what. This is my first DN game, after all.

I like your vision of having the option to build taller rather than broader empires. Taller might lead to slower expansion, or more open space between them. A taller empire might have the tendency to become defensive, but I'd have to think a bit more about those implications. Or is that another mod entirely? ... runs away.
Commenter: ekolis
Date: Oct 23, 2016 8:28 AM
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#23
I think it's only the cost that needs to be increased to an intermediate level, not the benefit. They're rather OP now, and they were weak before (except the SY cities, which were cheap as they are now).

Oh, just a matter of personal preference... I don't really like things that get more expensive as they level up. Yeah, it does add the strategic decision of using old components/etc for minmaxing build queues, but that becomes really tedious when you want to upgrade designs! It would be nice if everything used the cost of the intermediate levels. In MOO2 things started expensive and got cheaper as they leveled up, but then that caused issues in Adamant with certain facilities (spaceports were one, I think) that gained no benefits but getting cheaper as they leveled up, so upgrading them was a waste of resources, and actually reduced the scrap value! So you'd have to be careful with that... :)

Would it be possible to move the small ship engine mount (and any other "mandatory/no-brainer" mounts, if there are any) to the bottom of the list (say, right above the shell mount) so it can easily be found and not forgotten? I doubt this will break the AI because if they are no-brainers then the AI would want to always use them, and it already uses the last possible mount on the list for any component!

I still think solar sails might be a bit OP; they provide ridiculous amounts of thrust (which already seems unrealistic). At least they're hit first like armor so they're only viable on civilian ships such as scouts, colony ships, and (non-troop) transports! Of course this would mean such ships can easily evade attack... maybe booster rockets could be bigger and more expensive (maybe faster too), but have a mount to make them smaller (if not also cheaper) on warships?

The solar collection shell might also be OP, at least on smaller ships; maybe on huge ones it's actually more efficient to install regular solar collectors? But I haven't researched those hulls yet :) There is the disadvantage of not being able to install a different shell, but who doesn't need more supplies? :D

BTW, we really need a term to mean "resource/research/intel" - that's too long to type all the time! I suppose research and intel are measured in "points", so we could say "resource/points", at least? Or "resource/etc"?
Commenter: ekolis
Date: Oct 24, 2016 11:06 AM
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#24
Oh hey, figured I'd say something positive for once, maybe that will provide some encouragement! ;) I like how the large weapon platform mount is rebalanced so that it's not OP compared to the specialty mounts (extended range, premium, etc). Did you do that recently? It's a bit odd that it's *more* accurate than the light mount, but then I guess it does at least require a larger hull size...

Speaking of OP, it occurred to me the other day that a hallmark of balance in a multiplayer game is when you can say "Everything's OP!" That is, each player thinks their particular choice of strategy, weapon, or whatever is the best, simply because they're most familiar with it, because each one is distinct enough that it requires a different mindset to use, and yet they're all balanced somehow. I'm not sure how one would design a game to accomplish this, but I think part of it has to do with making things simple (don't have too many things in your game such as weapons); I guess it's easier to balance the game and make things distinct when there are fewer things to actually balance and make distinct? :) I also read that the designer of one such game (DOTA I think, though this phenomenon also occurs in Cosmic Encounter, MOO2, Civ6, and Carrier Battles Mod) maintains this balance by accentuating (rather than mitigating) strengths and weaknesses when it's necessary to buff or nerf something, thus keeping everything distinct and yet balanced. If you'd like to see a further discussion of this topic, check out my post on reddit: https://www.reddit.com/r/gamedev/comments/58zrwc/i_think_the_hallmark_of_a_well_balanced_game_is

There's a minor typo in the description of the premium grade weapon mount; there shouldn't be a space between the plus sign and the percentage for the accuracy modifier! Or did you do this intentionally to prevent the next modifier from being split up by word wrap? Probably not because look at the low grade mounts? :)

About keeping things simple... Is it really necessary to require CNC on units? They don't take component damage so they can't take "crits" to the CNC like ships and bases can. Seems like all they add is needless clicking on the design screen!

I'm also not entirely sure what the point of the heavy missiles is. They're almost identical to just installing two of the regular missiles; they do fire slower, though, making them somewhat weaker. The only advantages I see are that they can't be destroyed as "incrementally" by PD (if it takes 37 damage, it still hits full strength, whereas 2 regular missiles would have one knocked out - but then couldn't the heavy missile be knocked out in one go by the heaviest PD, whereas the regular missiles would take at least two hits since there are two of them?), and that one component repairs quicker than two. But that seems pretty trivial compared to the fire rate issue... Maybe they need to be distinguished a bit further? Say, make them do triple damage instead of double, but reduce their speed to 4 or 5?

I'm still a bit concerned about premium grade armor. Sure, the mount is fairly balanced for most components, but armor is so cheap that it's kind of a trivial penalty to increase its cost by 30%. What if armor were quite a bit more expensive, but also stronger? It's always been rather weak in SE4 to begin with!
Edited 1 time(s). Lasted edited Oct 24, 2016 11:08 AM.
Commenter: ekolis
Date: Oct 25, 2016 12:34 PM
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#25
I found a warp point on top of a planet in Chkuuisaz system (or something like that, that font's hard to read!). Is this supposed to happen?
Commenter: berendtium111
Date: Oct 25, 2016 1:30 PM
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#26
It can happen. I've seen it before in the Fusion mod. It is a convenient way to defend the warp point. :)
Commenter: ekolis
Date: Oct 27, 2016 12:54 PM
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#27
The negative energy harvester and stellar gas ramscoop have a supply usage value, but this doesn't do anything as they don't have any supply using abilities, so these might as well be set to zero to avoid confusion.

The armor shell is still rather weak; it's only a little stronger than regular armor, and more expensive; plus it consumes the shell slot for a ship. Maybe give it quite a bit more HP, or add emissive or some other special ability - maybe even get rid of regular emissive armor to make things more interesting?

There are a LOT of ruins planets in this mod! Fun! :D Especially with all the extra unique ruins you added... makes each empire special! Need ideas for more? ;)

Why don't the External Mooring components require additional levels of Cargo tech? Maybe the Energized Shells could also require some other tech - Shields maybe? Or Ship Capture?

The citizen databank facilities should probably require Applied Intelligence level 1, just so they don't appear if that tech is disabled. Maybe even the other computery facilities, just in case you want to play a "no research" or even a "no minerals" game!
Commenter: ekolis
Date: Oct 29, 2016 7:14 PM
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#28
Is there any way we can exclude colony techs from appearing in ruins? They're already racial, and I have a long explanation as to why unique probably won't work, but I'll spare you that for now! :P
Commenter: bearclaw
Date: Oct 29, 2016 10:13 PM
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#29
First Post: good points
Second Post: No there isn't. When a random tech ruins is colonized, the game generates the techs granted at the time of colonization. I thought that adding the colony techs as racial techs might do the trick but it randomly grants techs based on what a race has available to them at the time of colonization.
Commenter: ekolis
Date: Nov 8, 2016 2:19 PM
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#30
I see that Advanced Armor tech only provides two components: Refraction Armor and Mental Deflection Armor. Maybe Emissive/Stealth/Scattering Armor should be moved here, and given appropriate additional prerequisites? Then add additional levels of standard armor past level 3 (which is used to unlock Advanced Armor), since armor's already rather weak! Maybe even more fancy armors via Advanced Armor?

And isn't Refraction Armor rather redundant with Stealth Armor? It doesn't even have any real prerequisites besides Advanced Armor, because the Armor requirement goes up to only level 3, which you'll already have in order to unlock Advanced Armor!

I do like the idea of having multiple ways to accomplish the same thing that behave and are unlocked differently, though, so Stealth/Refraction armor probably shouldn't require cloaking tech, rather some other prerequisite, since cloaking tech already gets you cloaking devices! Say, Emissive could require Chemistry, Stealth could require Physics, Scattering could require Military Science or Theory (what's the difference anyway?), and Mental Deflection could require Psychology as it does already (but not Cloaking).

Speaking of diversity, I'd also like to do something with sensors. There are five sensor types, but they all behave identically! Some mods go nuts with the sensor types, making master computers give psychic cloaks and lighter hulls give gravitic cloaks, but that gets rather complicated. How about just distinguishing the various sensor components - say, hyper optics could be extremely bulky but still rather cheap, while gravitic sensors could be tiny but expensive... psychic sensors could cost organics instead of minerals... tachyon sensors might be big and expensive, and only mountable on bases, but might give some system wide bonus to accuracy or something, sort of like the war shrine, if that ability even works on components... temporal sensors could be similar to tachyon sensors, but not quite as big/expensive, be mountable on ships/satellites too, and only give a ship accuracy bonus (like combat sensors) rather than a system wide one...
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