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  #1  
Old 09-27-2012, 03:27 PM
Bluddy Bluddy is offline
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Shadow, I've been reading your design notes from before you started work on the game and I've been thinking about some of the issues that I'm seeing.

1. One of the big issues is that command points are always the right choice, to the detriment of everything else. One of the reasons for this is that more slots not only give you many more possibilities, they also mean that you can have more crew. Crew members (and entertainment items) cause an exponential effect, since they keep getting better and each one makes you able to equip better items. What I'm thinking is that there should be a negative crew bias in large ships to offset this exponential increase in large ships' strength. The idea is that crew in a large ship don't get to do much -- they're paper pushers. On the other hand, in a tiny ship, crew members get to be active, so their skills are constantly on the increase. This means that there's a huge advantage to small ships -- their crew will, on average, be much better than that of large ships.
You could even have crew members lose their abilities over time, especially if they're unhappy.

I think this could really balance out the trend of going for the biggest ship possible, and could allow small ships to equip some of the best items.

2. Because every item type is important to a ship, I think it's important to keep spawning items not around the level of the ship/map, but around the level of your stats. It doesn't help me if my engineering skill is at 30 and items are now spawning at level 50. See, I'm supposed to be able to still equip weak items, but those items aren't available anymore. In fact, I would have to either save items from much earlier or go to a boring low-level sector to find weaker items. I think it makes sense to spawn items around what I can equip -- the planets have many items but they're offering me ones I would be interested in. Of course, this could be done with a normal distribution, so that some items will be at the level of what I can equip, a few will be higher so I can see what there is to look forward to, and many will be lower level.

In multiplayer, you could take the average of the requirements, or seed some items according to each player's abilities.

3. I've found a killer combo (which others may have mentioned as well: I'm not sure) -- deadly aim + stealth + bombs. 2-3 bombs with these status effects easily take out a planet + all its ships, and I don't think I'll ever need to upgrade deadly aim or stealth. Perhaps deadly aim and stealth could get weaker as enemies go up in level, so at least I'll need to upgrade them.

4. I'm not sure if it makes sense to keep the same logic for stealth that DC and DoP had (you can't become hidden if somebody sees you). It made sense for those games because you were using your thief-y skills and were trying to blend in. For ships, it's more like you put on your cloak and disappear no matter where you are or who sees you. Also, should you really get a damage bonus to surprise attacks? I feel like there should be some other bonus to surprise attacks.

What I'm thinking is that perhaps it's worth thinking about integrating a shield on-off mechanism. Shields on could slow you down and perhaps reduce your sight radius. Combat as it is feels a tad bland, and adding a shield manipulation button might spruce it up a bit. A cloak would allow you to get a hit in before enemies can put up their shields.

5. Armor vs structure: It's been said many times that there's no reason to invest in structure when you have armor. I'd love to see armor become a damage reduction instrument as in DC and DoP (perhaps only for non-beam weapons), while structure could be your effective HP.

What about items getting hit and durability? Right now this element is really not a big part of the game IMO. It's just an annoyance -- a sign that your armor is gone and you didn't use a 'potion' at the right time. I'd like to see your crew fix items, so that as you/your enemies fight, once you got past the shields, you both lose functionality of items. You could then perhaps put priority on what you'd like repaired first. I think this would bring item damage/durability into the game so to speak and make things more interesting. Your crew would not be able to repair armor or structure though.

These are just some of the points I've been thinking about.
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  #2  
Old 09-27-2012, 04:00 PM
Valgor Valgor is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bluddy View Post
5. Armor vs structure: It's been said many times that there's no reason to invest in structure when you have armor.
It's a bit odd that as soon as all armour is worn down, vital components start taking damage immediatly, regardless of how much structure the ship has.
Most of the time, at least one crew member dies before even the first 10% of structure are gone, which means I can't fire my ship's weapons since its crew doesn't meet the requirements any more.
This may be partly a problem of my ship's build, but to me, it doesn't make much sense that the structure of a ship seems to offer no degree of protection whatsoever.
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  #3  
Old 09-27-2012, 04:10 PM
Bluddy Bluddy is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Valgor View Post
It's a bit odd that as soon as all armour is worn down, vital components start taking damage immediatly, regardless of how much structure the ship has.
Most of the time, at least one crew member dies before even the first 10% of structure are gone, which means I can't fire my ship's weapons since its crew doesn't meet the requirements any more.
This may be partly a problem of my ship's build, but to me, it doesn't make much sense that the structure of a ship seems to offer no degree of protection whatsoever.
Agreed. That reminds me -- I really don't think crew should die. It paralyzes you in a way that makes all component damage meaningless, since you end up not even having the requirements to use the items. Perhaps they could be injured and give you an on-screen warning, and only die after a long while if you haven't taken care of the problem.

I also forgot to mention that I think crew perhaps should have a repair stat for their ability to repair your items.
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Old 09-27-2012, 04:44 PM
Valgor Valgor is offline
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Originally Posted by Bluddy View Post
I also forgot to mention that I think crew perhaps should have a repair stat for their ability to repair your items.
Why not take it a step further and have several different passive skills for crew members (maybe limited to rare and above) ?
I've seen several that had a title suffixed to their name, Gary the Gunner or Mike the Mechanic for example. All it indicated was a slight specialization in a particular stat,
but what if it actually provided a meaningful ability? Mike would slowly repair damaged components, as you mentioned; Gary could have a chance to trigger a temporary boost to Critical Hits,
similar to the Deadly Aim component.
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  #5  
Old 09-27-2012, 09:37 PM
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Crisses Crisses is offline
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Some of the complaints about the way the game runs are dependent on the build philosophy of "It's best to pour points into Command, and load up on high-stat crew"

I'm trying a low-command build. I'm at something like level 27 right now, under 20 command, and doing just fine (Cortex ship if I remember correctly).

Philosophy:

Getting more slots requires more slots.

Proof:

High-command builds need a much higher max power load so 2-3 slots (or more) end up being items that provide max power load -- a catch-22 issue. A low-command ship may be able to get away with a single power-load source. One slot.

High-command builds need a much higher thrust level -- so again, several items are required to get thrust high enough to move the ship. A catch-22 issue. A low-command ship may eventually be able to get enough bonus +thrust items to move the ship at max speed and free up a slot for other things. At minimum, this can be relegated to a light slot, because you might need only 100-200 thrust to be at 200 speed....

There are many great light items (especially energy & shield regen), but when using a high-command build these are set aside in favor of the crew needed to equip better & better items. What if you keep the ship small and only take on 1-2 crew if you want to? Or even none?

In high-command builds, crew die, leaving your ship incapacitated - if you actually HAVE the stats needed, you get hurt without losing everything in a rapid burst if one crew member dies. In low-command builds, you're much less crew-dependent.

I'm trying to see if it's possible on the grounds of "If there's only one 'right' way to build a ship, then the ship-development system is broken." Now, that doesn't mean I am always making the right choices with my other points, but in theory, you should be able to get through the game with minimal increases to command. Get a few extra slots (2-3), while they're cheap to get, and pour the rest of the points elsewhere. Otherwise you end up with "ship creep" as mentioned above...the more slots you have, the more slots you need....
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  #6  
Old 09-27-2012, 11:59 PM
eidolad eidolad is offline
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Embarrassingly, my first 12 hours of the game I leveled up without even *noticing* the command attribute at all and concentrated entirely on high quality components with default ship size. Initial ship size worked just fine for me...well at least in the early hours of a character build.

I noticed that the rival empire ships really don't load a ton of weapons/energy/etc....but a ton of crew members. So still the small player's ship does just fine.

But I wanted to get in on the ship size upgrading fun. With my second character I following the philosophy of:

1. Highest build priority is on upgrading the engine until I have ample speed and turn rate. A light component to aid in thrust helps also.

2. ...then upgrade the command points to the next ship size.

3. Repeat.

This provides the evolution of slots/capability in the other areas I want along the way.

...but gosh do those rival empire ships get big in a hurry. My lvl35 light dreadnought is facing "Flagship" class vessels at the moment.
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Old 09-28-2012, 10:57 AM
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Shadow Shadow is offline
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Some great thoughts as usual Bluddy. I'm not sure this is exactly what you meant on #1, but I really like the idea of crew in smaller ships leveling up a lot faster than those in bigger ships (well ships with more crew).
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  #8  
Old 09-28-2012, 01:43 PM
Bluddy Bluddy is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shadow View Post
Some great thoughts as usual Bluddy. I'm not sure this is exactly what you meant on #1, but I really like the idea of crew in smaller ships leveling up a lot faster than those in bigger ships (well ships with more crew).
That is what I meant.

I think the size of the ship should perhaps correlate to learning speed, because if learning speed correlates to number of crew, a ship with many crew members could remove some of them temporarily to increase leveling speed. This doesn't seem so desirable though I'm not 100% sure about that -- it might be ok as a tactic.
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  #9  
Old 09-28-2012, 07:09 PM
Chumpy Chumpy is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Crisses View Post
High-command builds need a much higher thrust level -- so again, several items are required to get thrust high enough to move the ship.
Nope!

That's to say, a slot for a heavy engine and a medium thrusters will give you all the thrust you need for the rest of the game. (Helm increases with crew.)

You might need more power plants eventually but after a certain point power plants are the only thing worth equipping in your new heavy slots, so.
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  #10  
Old 09-28-2012, 07:46 PM
Roswitha Roswitha is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Valgor View Post
It's a bit odd that as soon as all armour is worn down, vital components start taking damage immediately, regardless of how much structure the ship has.
Most of the time, at least one crew member dies before even the first 10% of structure are gone, which means I can't fire my ship's weapons since its crew doesn't meet the requirements any more.
This may be partly a problem of my ship's build, but to me, it doesn't make much sense that the structure of a ship seems to offer no degree of protection whatsoever.
The average durability for items is about 100 hp. Average durability for crew is 10 hp. If the damage goes to all components equally, the crew will be dead long before anything else has trouble. Maybe the crew could have personal armor. Or just more hp.
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