Total Conversion Ideas

There are certain game balance issues that I think are easily fixable, but require adjustments to everything. The Augmented Defenses Mod I posted up was an example of this – a total conversion that’s not really a conversion, but meant just to enhance the base game and fix balance issues. Unfortunately, the drawbacks of total conversion balance mods have recently been brought to my attention so there isn’t much point to simply modding a fix, but I felt I should mention my ideas here anyway in case anyone else has suggestions, ideas, or alternate viewpoints to share.

  1. Armor. Multiply armor values by x5.
    Armor is too weak right now, and kind of a joke as far as defense goes. As with most things about the game, my biggest problem with it is that it isn’t intuitive – armor just doesn’t really protect you the way you would think its supposed to. My solution is to multiply all armor values by x5. Of course, armor penetrations for all weapons would also have to be adjusted by a like amount. I tested this with a mod and had good results, except that it powers up fighters way too much, so I recommend that fighters have their armor and penetration multiplied only by x2 and that seems to work. i left the torpedo at x5 just to make it a little bit more awesome, because it needs it.

  2. Speed. Ships are too slow.
    Given the lack of firing arcs, defensive arcs, and position-oriented defenses, and the emphasis on concentration of fire, there’s really no reason to maneuver much in this game. Which is good, considering ships can’t really move much anyway. Fighters are where all the speeds at. To see ships actually move you gotta set the game on x4 or some such thing. I recommend increasing all thrust values of frigates and cruisers by x2 or x3, and raising the tracking speed in proportion. If this also makes weapons a little bit more effective against fighters, I don’t see much problem with that.

  3. Frigates. The military version of a child’s cap gun.
    There’s nothing wrong with frigates. The problem is with frigate modules. Frigates are smaller (and thus harder to hit) and hold less module space and weapons than cruisers. Why do they need additional advantages/disadvantages beyond that? Why do Frigate shields have to suck compared to cruiser shields? They can already hold less of them – disadvantaging them further seems pointless. They already cost less since they have less modules. I don’t mind having frigate-class modules in the game, but frigates suffer in their lack of access to cruiser gear. Even if they only have limited access – they should have it where it counts. Armor, shields, a couple of weapons (at least the smaller cruiser weapons and the basic cruiser modules). If Frigates had access to cruiser gear, they would still be smaller ships, a little more vulnerable, a little less firepower, and a little cheaper. Do we REALLY need to divide their hitpoints by a factor of 10, when they already have about half the modules anyway? Some people might opt for lighter (super-light?) frigate modules, and that’s okay – I think having superheavy modules that can only fit on cruiser hulls and superlight modules that can only fit on frigate hulls might be a good thing, but there needs to be much more overlap. Otherwise frigates are just a bad joke.

I have other ideas too, but they are minor in comparison and most of them can be found in my Augmented Defenses Mod. These are the three biggest “total conversions” that I think would enhance the game.

Well thought out. And really well put.

Would it be possible to work out this mod in great detail, such that it could be proposed to Cliffski as a patch/upgrade to the current game?

The only balance total conversion idea I would add shields don’t work right. It takes “no” energy to stop a rocket. The rocket has a “no effect” result. Anything the shield stops would take energy. Unless we have some weird model where once created a shield needs no power to maintain it. But then bigger cruiser missiles wouldn’t hurt the shield either. Because it is an “energy” field it has no physical mass, it has to be maintained by continous enery input (like a radio broadcast - cut the power and the radio signal dies).

Perhaps this is because there is a minor flaw in the design methodology. Our ships are forced to have enough power for all their weapons at design time. What happened to “shunt the power from lifesupport to the shields”? Or “the laser banks aren’t charged yet, we need to wait to fire”. None of our weapons need to store up energy or can’t fire because some other module is using the energy.

Numbers changes just kick the problem down the road a bit. What we have here are mechanics problems.

The armor mechanic is heavily biased against low and medium armor values, because shipwide total resistance falls whenever armor takes damage. Pilots aren’t competent enough to use any quantity of speed properly. Modding isn’t going to change that.

Additionally, frigates are a different class of hull and should be treated that way. I strongly disagree with the latest impetus to turn frigates into small cruisers; mere comparisons of module size or space totally ignore things like the differing pricing or thrust/weight ratios.

We’d also likely never use cruisers again. The #1 selection criteria for competitive cruiser hulls is size.

The mod could be made, but apparently no one would try it. People would, for example, rather discuss whether or not armor would still be effective rather than try the enhanced armor mod to see if the armor is actually effective. A lot of people are hestant to try mods, and even modders don’t want to try a total conversion mod because of the inherent complications. Archduke Astro compared the creation of total conversion balance mods with making my own rope to hang myself. To date, i don’t think anyone’s even tried the Augmented Defenses Mod as I have zero feedback on it.

This is just the way the GSB universe works. Rather than taking “no energy” or “lots of energy”, the energy requirement is constant, regardless of how much mass is deflected. And since the power output has already been adjusted for during the design process, the shields always have ample power to draw from, up to their maximum capacity.

Yes, I completely agree with this! Although I doubt we’ll see this dynamic level of power distribution in a GSB-style game, ever, made by anyone, I do have some minor suggestions that I’ll be posting in the future that address this. I’m testing out those ideas (and all the ideas I’ve ever suggested on this forum) in a board game I’m designing. They include such power distribution considerations as variable-intensity beams, shields that strengthen when other systems aren’t being used, increased shield or weapon power as a result of destroyed power-consuming systems, and managing capacitor energy to regulate rate of fire over multiple weapon systems. I’m trying to arrange it so that “when X occurs, Y occurs” or “when X occurs, you can do Y”, “or choosing to do X will make Y occur”, without ever actually having the math of “allocate 40 points to this system, 20 points to that system, etc.”

I am refraining from replying to yurch because I am noticing a bad tendency in myself to argue with opinions I don’t agree with. Yurch has his own arguments, and I think I’ve expressed my own already, and I’m not going to discourage feedback by trying to bash down every idea that contradicts my own. I encourage everyone to post their opinion, participate, and give honest feedback to my suggestions. If anyone wants to debate any particular point in detail, I will gladly do so in a dedicated thread for that purpose. And I will answer any questions or make any clarifications to the best of my ability. For now, though, I just want to thank everyone who posts here for reading and considering my suggestions/ideas/proposals and taking the time to express their own.

That’s because we’re afraid to break the game. If there was a mod switch (like the seperate mod directories I proposed) and a UI screen to toggle them on/off, that would make them easier to try. And because they are in an alternate directory path the game is left unharmed. Delete the directories uninstalls the mod.

Want to install a mod, add the directory, copy the files, and it shows up in the game. Toggle it “on” and play it. Don’t like it, toggle it “off” and you’re not playing it anymore. Hate it, go delete the directory and it won’t show anymore.

If Cliffski could/would do this it would make his game “mod heaven” and I would try out any mod, so long as I knew the game was safe.

I’m using it. It’s a great mod that make it worthwhile using armor on ships. With the vanilla game, I go on all ships 1 lightweight armor as there’s more cons than pros using more or heavier. The mod works very well, so well that I’m incorporated into my own mod that I’m atm. building at. Though I have made some modifications, only minor.

Regarding people wants to use mod or not, may as Ramcat said. There should be a mod dirctory and an ingame switch. Like they have in Sins of a solar Empire.

From what I’ve read, most people agree armour is THE single biggest issue in the game.

I propose a solution.

Ideally, a ship’s armour and shields would have similar resistance values. The most commonly used cruiser shield has a resistance of 27; the most commonly used frigate shield, 10. Therefore, a cruiser’s armour should provide about 27 resistance and a frigate’s armour about 10. For a rough approximation, this means multiplying cruiser armour values by 3 and frigate armour values by 1.5. There would be no need to change any weapon penetration values. In addition, this would have the benefit of helping to balance the tribe AND helping to stop CL spam. To counter the armour spam that would (probably) result, armour stacking efficiency should be lowered to 0.9-the same as that of shields.

This, I think, is the best immediate solution to the problem. It is quick AND it is easy: it only involves altering about 20 or so text files; no new code or other major changes would need to be made.