Hey Cliff. Just want to say I am impressed. Very nice, well done, and well executed game you got here. I always love strategy/tactical sorts of games like this, and GSB is by far the best I’ve seen in a long time. Now hopefully I can give a few suggestions and try and give back a little for all the enjoyment.
Lets see… I guess I’ll try to do this by category to keep it organized.
a.) I’ve noticed only a few bugs, and most have been patched already. One I’m noticing lately is that ships are dissapearing in-game. I’ve seen posts calling this “perma cloak” but thats not it…they’re not “waving” out. they just…stop existing. This leads to ships running in circles due to the apparent ghost signature that still shows an enemy nearby. That, or my ships run to a corner and group there. Ran into this one for the first time tonight, so i thought i’d post this as up to date as possible.
b.)I’ve started seeing people exploiting glitches. Since every battle in GSB is entered into voluntarily, and can be quit instantly, I wouldn’t call this too urgent. All it means is one more “win” for the exploiter/hacker. What I’ve seen is the one challenge that puts a large group of enemy fighters in YOUR spawn. Another, which was by the same individual, said he had fighters with cruiser weapons. sounds like someones manipulating the code.
c.)About the stacking I’ve seen. I’m not sure, but it may not be formation abuse. It might have something to do with people not putting ANY engines in their ships and packing them instead with weapons or shields . (Effectively making them bases or turrets) I just figured the stack displacement code you might have used might rely on engines being present to move the ships out of the way.
d.)A system bug I’ve noticed is that sometimes ships that i’ve equipped with ecm defense STILL get disabled from Surge beams. Just wondering why, out loud. if i’ve taken up a whole slot just to defend against that, why’s it still happen, lol
2.) Ideas for improvement:
a.) Adding further weapon/system variety: I think the array of weapons you have right now is very good, but falls short of being GRATUITOUS. I also notice there is a definite shortage of weapon and system options for fighters. Here are some ideas, which could easily be implemented into the game as additions to the HQ unlockables (there needs to be more!)
fighters: the addition of more weapons would improve the number of uses to be found for fighters.
-So far there are only 5 weapons. 2 of which are so heavy they are unuseable (believe me i tried…I combo’d laser pointer and rockets=good improvement on hits on other fighters but made ship too slow…torps are too heavy too) I thought maybe lowering those weights slightly would make them a least feasible.
-More engines are needed, seeing as with so few slots the engine choice is key.
-Bombs are needed- I thought a heavier module designed to make it necessary to cover them with fighters, and with a very small range designed to only be dropped inside shields would make sense. If you’ve ever played homeworld, I think the blue plasma bombs like bombers had there would suffice and be pleasing to the eye
- Anti fighter missiles are a must. It doesnt make sense that space-faring races only have rockets for their jets, rather than air to air missiles… just take the current rocket and make it track better and be slightly longer reload should do it.
-These Air to air missiles (if they actually are effective) leads to another (and i think very good) possibility… a chaff system! a non-weapon-slotted chaff system with maybe 50/50 success rate to distract missiles, combined with a moderate length reload would open up a whole other depth for fighter strategy, and would add more visual flare to fighter battles.
frigates: more crew options! The one glaring thing i saw about frigates was that just after installing engines, I needed 2 crew pods!
-There needs to be more unlockables for crew sections that open up options for better ones so 2 are not ALWAYS needed.
-Engine variety is lacking. more variety is needed, like with the cruiser engines.
-need cloaking for frigates
-need more armor varieties
Cruisers: Not much here, this is obviously where you spent a lot of time. just a few possible weapon ideas
-swarmer missiles=missiles that swerve towards their target sinusoidally (like a snake). but since all pd is laser…this swerving wouldnt serve much purpose.
- repulsor gun. a gun that has the pushing effect of exploding cruiser on surrounding ships, but without the exploding ship. Great for keeping fast attack frigates from closing too quick. just remap the death explosion effect to the endpoint of a weapon beam or missile and voila!
b.) Further balancing and Ideas -It seems to me that many of the armor varieties just simply are a waste. They either have terrible weight/protection ratios or there is a better version nearby. Take cruiser armor for example. Did you notice that even after getting all the unlockable armors, that the power armor is still the 2nd or 3rd most protective, while being the lightest of all options except the superlight!? Anyone who can do any sort of math will be able to see this as well, so most of the armors will never get used, unless the ships being designed are tight on power needs. - to fix this I thought maybe you could implement armors that are specifically suited to defend from certain kinds of damage (missile, beam, laser fire, etc) This would actually get people to use more than just one type. and would create another level of depth and planning to the game. (the amount of coding to add this might be a bit steep though) At the least, a re-balancing of weight/protection ratios is needed to make other options more attractive than just the "heavy" or the power armor. -Another big issue I see is that every ship in the game that doesn't have instant/tracking weapons shoots where the target is...not where it will be when the bullet/laser arrives. This seems pretty basic to me for space faring races to know how to lead their targets!!! This is the largest contributing factor to ship-to-fighter weapons or even fighter-on-fighter weapons almost always missing (unless its heading directly away or towards the shooter) It seems pointless to me to advertise the tracking speed of certain weapons, when it has no effect on actually hitting those fast ships. Only beam defenses can possibly hit fighters, this doesn't seem right to me. -There are some options you can take to address this. You can either choose to patch the whole game, making all future shots from pulse or laser blaster weapons to attempt to lead their targets based on their velocities, distance between them, and the bullet speed of the weapon. The other option is that you can add it as an unlockable ship system for cruisers, frigates, and maybe even fighters(possibly called fire control), to be added to a ship that uses such weapons to enable its firing ai to lead its targets. Of course this whole thing is irrelevant to missiles and beams, but be wary that the addition of this ai doesnt effect beam weapons as well, or they will always miss unless the target is stationary. -Another idea i've had, and have heard others mention...is the rebalancing of hull bonuses. I think that its great there are so many kinds of ships, but we'll never get to see them all in action unless someone sees some reason they should use that specific hull. I think it would be a great reason to use those other models (various frigates, fighters, etc) if each one was more specialized. Making the hull bonuses for lesser ships stronger or more specialized would incentivize their use. For smaller ships, the stronger the hull bonus should be. ([esp with fighters [armor boost of 10% isnt much when armor is only 9 max...if installed]) Mixing it up by giving some models shield boost/armor/lower crew requirements/quicker firing times/ etc would increase the variety and enjoyment of strategies and ship designs used. And of course, as the size of the ship gets bigger the hull bonuses should be smaller (except for maybe speed, lol) because those ships have more slots to rely on. -Gun idea: if you do start making area explosive weapons, try making a flak gun. (fast track but inaccurate=off by a few degrees at random+ might blow short or long of target). I think it would be a good (and visually appealling) alternative to the cruiser defense gun for use against fighters. -System idea. If you've never heard of a game called Battleships Forever you should look it up. It was great fun, and is quite similar in many ways to your game. One idea you might be able to take away from a few youtube vids of it would be the cool Teleport ship system. It was basically a system that teleported the ship to a random location within a certain radius from the ship every time it recharged. Also the visual teleport distortion effect was very cool. I think you could successfully implement something like this into your game...either to help aid ships in retreating when damaged (activate system only when caution program is activated) or you could focus it towards helping those big ponderous ships make their way around the battlefield a little quicker...like maybe a generally predictable forward hop of 200-300 range. I dunno, just an idea. -***Balance Idea**** Implementing a requirement for ALL ship designs to have at least 1 engine. I think this is a very good idea to implement. And might do something to thwart those people who simply create ships with no engines in the hopes that the other player didnt as well and thus gain a system or 3 advantage over the enemy who actually used those slots for engines. -Another way to implement this, other than adding a "you're ship does not have minimum number of engines, cannot save" thing, you could redo all the ship models in the game to have 3 kinds of slots....square systems slots, hexagonal wep slots, and circular engine slots. This will guarantee engines in most ships, because players won't be able to gain 2-3 system slots simply by forgoing engines anymore...(take away the incentive) -Ship orders idea: Adding an option in the orders menu for "don't target a ship currently targeted by another ship" would enable deeper strategies to unfold, as well as letting special weapons ships to not waste their weapons on the same target (ECM shooting same missile/ everyone blasting the same ship with their electronic disable missiles, etc)
Well, that’s it for now. If I think of anything else I’ll be sure to let you know.
P.S. sry for the wall of text…it was necessary tho