Suggestion: More "race" variability


#1

Right now, perhaps my biggest gripe is that the various “races” are too homogeneous. I’m messing with mods to show what I mean right now, I think I’ll have something to upload to show the idea. Some might have modules only for specific aliens, others might be cheaper for a given race, and available, but more expensive (honor and cost) for another.

Anyway, a few ideas for “race-specific” modules.

Crew compartments/life support. Different aliens need different life supports. One race might be smaller, and can fit more crew in the same sized modules. Another race might be larger, and fit fewer—but perhaps they get “droid” upgrades to have more crew per module (at a cost).

Shield tech. Right now everyone has the same shields to mess with, if there is a “perfect” or ideal arrangement, all people will have them. What about lower strength shields with very high rebuild rates? I did this for a mod for EV Nova (great game, BTW) that was based on B5. In B5, they didn’t use “shields” but had PD weapons that shot down incoming shots—I faked it with low-power shields that refreshed almost instantly. The result is invulnerable shields below a critical damage level, then they get overwhelmed and fail. Might be a cool option for one “race” of aliens.

Some tech should be fairly generic as the game is—the physics doesn’t change between races, some stuff is optimal. Other choices have more to do with naval doctrine. Traditionally SF games (SFB, for example) have a “short ranged” race, or a missile heavy one, etc. I see Fed and Rebels as being very similar with most differences being doctrinal.

One alien race might get the the cloaking module (making it race specific)—and get some short ranged weapons (stuff others might have, but perhaps this race optimized them more for their combat style). Sort of like traveller fusion and plasma guns (unlike GSB, they are short ranged in traveller).

The Empire—they are the ancient ones in GSB, right?—they might get antimatter power plants.

I’m sure there are other ideas.


#2

uh, did you even unlock all the races? the alliance and empire have a few race-specific modules, and did you even look at a races bonuses in the big picture? feds: more hull integrity. rebels: more speed. alliance: better armor. empire: best shields.


#3

There does need to be more race variability than the current implementation.

Only difference now are overall hull bonuses and roughly 6 weapons. The racial weapons are close to the same in their functionality between the rebel/imp/fed races and the only exception are 2 weapons that the alliance have. Not that I have ever seen those 2 ever used in the top difficulty challenges.


#4

ahem. i agree with what you said, but you forgot to mention the empire beam laser. :wink:


#5

I saw what, 3 weapons? Aside from that, I have unlocked all the races, and it’s minor hull/speed/etc differences.

I am seriously thinking more in terms of every single module being slightly different by race. Sure, all races would have a “cruiser beam laser,” but they’d all be slightly different. Lighter and less damage, more range—but slower to shoot, etc. Every single module should be different except perhaps rebel/fed where they might share a common technological base.

If you are NOT the rebels, for example, you’d come up with better PD weapons to counter their better fighters.

For example, the Empire description:

Strikes me they should have a novel shield type (super fast recharge rate, for example), and probably a novel powerplant set. Say antimatter. More juice, less weight. They are super advanced, perhaps better repair bots. The Alliance has 3 special weapons, and the ancient empire has none?


#6

I think this is fair comment, and is something I’d like to end up addressing in ongoing patches. There is no shortage of ideas for new weapons types, and I’m planning on any substantial new modules or weapons types to be specific to certain races, for this very reason.


#7

I’d agree that the races do feel a bit homogeneous right now. However I’m not sure I’d want to have major differences between the crew modules and power plants of each faction. Crew modules and power plants are well, kind of boring, and I’d prefer that complexity wasn’t added for the sake of complexity here. I think it would create more work for most players in the form of extra stats you have to juggle rather than make the game more fun.

On the other hand, I’d love to see more faction specific weaponry. Weapons are more fun than crew modules because they blow things up. The Imperial Laser Beam is loads of fun since you can annihilate enemies with your beams before they can even get into range. That’s the kind of technological superiority I like! :smiley: And of course the Federation Fusion Beam overshadows most of the other faction specific weaponry in it’s multi-purpose destructive abilities.

On the other hand, the Rebel Fusion Beam is kinda meh. And I still can’t figure out what the deal is with all the Alliance faction weaponry. The Alliance Beam Laser is inferior to the Cruiser Beam Laser in every way except for tracking speed (for when you need to kill those speedy armored cruisers I guess). The other two Alliance weapons also lag in DPS, maximum range and minimum range unfortunately, or I might make more use of them.

As for faction specific abilities like cloaking devices, sure why not? Klingon cloaking devices are cool. :wink: Anyway, getting to the point, it would be nice if all the factions had one or two specialized weapons that you would sometimes, but not always want to design your fleets around. Both the Imperial and Federation beam weapons are interesting in this respect though they could use a few more faction specific modules. The other two factions really need some help in this department.

Oh yeah, the hull bonuses don’t really seem all that balanced. Rebel speed bonuses are pretty useful since they get superior fighters. Imperial shield bonuses are nice because you almost always use shields. But the Federation hull bonus seems pretty bland. Giving your ship more hitpoints after it’s weapons and shields have already been disabled doesn’t seem that helpful. Also, the Alliance armor bonus doesn’t seem all that great unless you like fielding armor tanks all the time. So maybe those two factions could use some tweaking in this department too.


#8

The crew module stuff would appear complex to the end user because he’d only see the crew modules available for that race.

So each race might have 3 standard cruiser sized crew modules, and each race might have a few that can be bought as upgrades—but you’d only see those that pertain to each race.

Not that under the player’s “ships” folder (My Docs/My Games/GSB/), it would be ideal if there were subfolders by race, and when you select a race, you ONLY see the ships you have built that match that race.


#9

Well actually, the extra crew modules still add complexity regardless of how they are displayed on the ship building screen. Right now, I like the way the crew modules are. I know that when I install a reinforced crew module that it will provide exactly 250 crew and that it will use 1.6 power, which is .6 power more than a crew module #2 (yes I am that geeky :p). With crew modules for 4 different factions this will become much more confusing. This would simply add complexity for the sake of complexity without providing much in terms of play value. It doesn’t really matter to me or to most players whether it’s realistic that you can fit the same number of six-legged aliens and humans into the same crew module. The gameplay works better without a set of crew modules for each specific to each faction and at the end of the day, gameplay should trump realism, especially in a game where starship lasers make pew-pew sounds in the vacuum of space.

And also there is the added resources that will have to be devoted to drawing and programming additional crew modules. I think extra content added to the game should answer this question: How much extra gameplay does this content provide for the buck?

I would argue that weapons (properly balanced ones that are useful) provide much more gameplay value for the amount of work required to create them than crew modules. Creating niche additions like extra crew modules is really something that interested modders could spend their time on rather than using up time and resources that could add much more value to the game for the majority of players. Anyway, in the end I would like to see more differences between the factions, but I want to see the differences in terms of strategy and tactics you need to consider when using each faction, not in the minutiae of different types of life support systems.


#10

Well an easy start (coding wise) to adding variability is implementing 3 unique weapons per race for cruisers (adding 2 for emp/fed/reb and probably improving the underused 2 of alliance), 2 for frigates and 1 for fighters. The main issue with this at first would be balance especially on the fighter level.


#11

Some of the other underpowered options could stand to be improved as well. Like the Federation Wolf class frigate, and the quantum blaster. viewtopic.php?f=19&t=3614 More choices isn’t necessarily better when a lot of the choices are simply underpowered. Maybe even delete the Wolf class frigate and quantum blaster entirely if a unique role can’t be found for them. Better to make the game more streamlined instead of having useless options floating around to confuse us noobs.


#12

It’s not like new crew compartments takes loads of work, they are simple text files, copy and paste, change a couple numbers.


#13

I think it would be a good idea to make it so that you can only use the new modules on hulls of the race they are specific for.


#14

Well… you really don’t need to. Just enable more switches available to parse in the individual text files, and add a hundred or so DDS module/weapon image files.

Let the players work with them as they will.


#15

I would tend to agree. Just make sure that the core of the game is well balanced and exciting for challenges and tournaments and modders can do their own thing with the extra DDS files. At least that would be an easy solution for the short term. In the long term, hopefully some of the more successful mod ideas could be adopted into the core game.


#16

Having 99% of the modules shared between races homogenizes the combats, IMO.


#17

I couldn’t agree more with your viewpoint. While I am a passionate advocate of unrestricted modding, I do also wish for the core functionality of the game to be engaging and non-broken. Even the slight chance of certain choice systems or paradigms created by the ‘Mod Patrol’ eventually making it into the mainline game is encouraging.

It’s too soon for me to go into detail with y’all, but I am authoring a serious effort to thoroughly alter and then divide modules into something with a far more sharply defined flavor (cost, performance, uniqueness) for each race. Several completely new modules will appear for each race, as well. As with all mods, of course “caveat lector” applies. Nonetheless, I think that my humble effort is the kind of racial distinction that many of you are wishing for.


#18

I’ve been looking at this with a specific bent toward specializing reach race in a particular area (i.e. Empire using nothing but lazors, rebels moving like greased lightening, alliance using nothing but their lightning weapon, ect)… and looking at the races file I’m met with some confusion:

tractor_turret_v1 = tractor_turret_v1.dds,turrets_alliance.dds,27

Specifically, that last entry (27)… what does it refer to? A specific address in the weapons layout master DDS table?
That’ll make modding new weapons graphics a nightmare for know-nothings like myself.


#19

I think this is an excellent idea. Also, it is true that giving everyone access to the same weapon modules does homogenize combat. One way to specialize each faction more would be to make more of the weapon modules faction specific. So for example, make most of the beam weapons Empire specific and most of the missile weapons and target painters Federation specific. Perhaps the Alliance aliens should be the only faction with plasma weapons and perhaps cloaking devices. Only the Rebels would have access to best close-range weapons like Cruiser Lasers for their rush fleets (and give them some really good engines). And so on.

Right now, there are a lot of underpowered weapons that no self-respecting space admiral should be caught dead firing. I’m looking at you Mr. Quantum Blaster with less than 1/5 the DPS of the almighty Cruiser Laser. And there’s weapons that are way too similar. Choosing between Cruiser Plasma and Heavy Plasma is like choosing between Coke and Pepsi. They should at least be comparable to Coke and Mountain Dew (different colors). And do we really need four slightly different point defence systems? If you need to shoot down missiles, you need to shoot them down before they make mincemeat out of your cruisers. Let’s just have one system that does a well balanced job. Lastly, the cloaking device really needs a fix from it’s current unpredictable behaviour where cruiser captains cloak their ships at the start of the battle just for kicks.

So getting back to the core game mechanics, these underpowered weapons could be fixed and assigned to specific factions in a way that improves overall gameplay experience and balance. Try to avoid flooding players with an excess of module options before making sure the current modules are usable and have well defined functions. To do otherwise would weaken the core game mechanics as well as create a steeper learning curve for new players (and probably sell less copies of the game too). I’m still waiting for the day when my Quantum Blaster fleet will make it’s way out of the mothball yard. :wink:


#20

Great ideas, I agree in that I wish the races were more different, but it looks like this is being addressed in the expansion (reading the blog). I like the shooting down shots idea as well.

And EV Nova rocks!