Second batch of invites sent out today. Got a fair number of kinks worked out, seems to be going pretty well.
Best posts made by Archon
Latest posts made by Archon
For those interested in the progress of Anathema, I've now finished the rewrite, a couple testing passes, and the majority of the debugging and balance testing. It's now at a point where I feel content opening it up for beta.
It's pretty late now, but hopefully sometime Sunday I can get a Google group set up for it and find a new host now that Megaupload's gone kaput. I have the contact info for those who have asked to be involved in the beta, but feel free to indicate your interest here.
I think the only one that gets a really vehement "yes" from me is the electronic warfare (many other points I agree on, and some I disagree with, but none as strongly on either side). Of course you could end up with absurd levels of ECM and ECCM and ECCCM and E=CM^2, but done well (read: not overwhelming) it could add a lot of depth – both flavor-wise and gameplay-wise. One of the things that I liked about the Earth-Minbari war in Babylon 5 was that the Minbari were so far advanced beyond any technology humanity had developed that EarthForce couldn't even target the Minbari ships. That just puts things on a completely different level than "Their shields are stronger/guns are bigger so they're beating us."
On the gameplay side, it's another useful knob for developers to turn and for players to adapt to. And on top of just "Enemy X has countermeasure Y so I need to bring equipment Z or find a way to manage despite my disadvantage," which is fine but a little rock-paper-scisorsy, it opens up new ship roles. But the biggest gameplay reason, in my opinion, is that it forces the player to deal with scarcity instead of abundance.
I could make a whole thread on scarcity vs. abundance in EV, which I may do at some point, but in brief, EVN, and to a lesser extent the EV and EVO, are games of abundance. (I took this abundance and ran with it in Anathema, and am dialing it back entirely in my post-Anathema project.) The majority of the things you want are pretty much handed to you – fuel/energy is cheap, afterburners are light, powerful weapons abound waiting to be exploited, etc. One of the biggest, and perhaps most overlooked, facets of this abundance is the ship's scanners. They're there, and unless you're in heavy interference, they work. You can use the credits you made from your first mission to get IFF and a density scanner and you're set. But if there are ships that can interfere with something as fundamental as jumping out of the system, or giving you accurate IFF readings, or effectively firing your weapons, suddenly there's a real tension – again, both in terms of flavor and gameplay.
For comparison, technological superiority being limited to the strength of guns, shields, and engines (and occasionally a few other things like cloaking) leads to scenarios where you have a David fighting a Goliath. Your enemy is pretty much like you, just bigger. Find a way around the bigness and you're good – and the way around it may just be bringing 20 Davids. On the other hand, if you bring in electronic warfare, you can end up feeling more like David vs. David, except your David suddenly forgets how to use a sling. What you're up against is preventing you from doing things that are fundamental, and it doesn't matter how good of a shot you are or how many others you bring because the things that are almost as natural to you as walking or breathing are stripped away. And that's really unsettling, which is good. On the flip side, if the player is on the winning side of the electronics arms race, they have a whole new element to consider in terms of ship design – also a good thing.
As long as you don't get quite to the extreme of "we can't even see them, so I guess we'll drop space mines all over Sol and hope for the best." Good for flavor. Not so good for gameplay. ^_^
If we're thinking about internal damage, I'd rather see the ability to damage (or target and damage) ship systems first. That was something I enjoyed about the X-Wing/TIE Fighter series, even if it was way too easy to neuter a Nebulon in your TIE Interceptor.
This may be getting past the realm of what you can reasonably put in the game and throw at a player, but I've also entertained the notion of some ships having better protection for their systems. Like turrets that can retract having +100% durability on their turrets, or a shielded sensor array having an extra X amount of strength before it gets taken offline.
Someone suggested some kind of enemy kill counter where you only need to kill x number ships out of an entire armada to complete a fleet battle mission.
If ambrosia would add some kind of metroidian alarm-timer-mechanism for missions with ship based goals, you could use it in conjunction with fleet battles and configure the surviving enemy ships to retreat when the clock hits zero; and then...
It'd be great for a climactic battle at the end of a storyline.
That's actually doable, it just takes quite a bit of, well, doing. Has to do with setting the AI of the shïps in the mission's düde to asteroid miner, then giving the mission that spawns them a flag to make them attack the player. Make another mission that aborts the first mission when a condition is met (destroying a particular ship, or in your case, a timer expiring), and when the mission disappears they'll default to asteroid miner AI and run away.
Sadly, I don't have a machine running NOVA online currently. But I love the Foundation series, and would love to take a look at your ship designs if you'll post screenshots or renders. When I read it, I was under the impression that foundation ships were much smaller - they got put on Terminus because it had no natural resources, so they'd have to use high-tech solutions to everyday problems; unlike the empire which had nearly unlimited resources and could solve everything with brute force (meaning that their ships were HUGE).
It's been years since I re-read the Foundation trilogy, but if I recall correctly, at the point of the war with the Mule, the Foundation's sphere of influence was much greater than just Terminus. I seem to recall a line or two about how difficult it was to protect their holdings since it was spread out around the periphery of the Empire, making reinforcing a nightmare, while the Empire could just kind of focus on one particular point and/or carve up the territory. I may be misremembering that, however.
Finally got a little free time to spend with the game, and while I didn't have Knight of the Red Branch active, I did still have, along with a few other ranks I'd been meaning to deactivate, United Shipping Courier. I'm going to guess that was the problem. I hadn't thought of that because I didn't know that the "don't attack" would keep allies from attacking you too, but I guess that makes sense. Thanks for the help everyone, and thanks Josh for setting me on the right course. It wasn't keeping me from completing the missions obviously, but man did it make balance and difficulty testing difficult.
Is never attack player checked in the gov't or dude resource?
Nope, and I can still hit them just fine with non-beam weapons, so I know there's not a resource conflict somewhere that's causing it to be checked by accident.
I've hit a rather odd problem in my Anathema testing. I can't get the Feds to try to kill me. I've checked to make sure I don't have any ranks that would keep them from going hostile, I set a few dummy missions to put me in the negative thousands with gov't 128 so I'm showing up as Wanted Criminal in Fed systems, but they still won't gun for me. I've ruled out a class/allies/enemies problem, because they'll attack other Exile (ID 199) ships, and on top of everything I'm flying a Cutlass which uses ID 199 for both combat and AI purposes.
Also, I can get everybody else to attack me – pirate, Auroran, Polaris, etc. And on top of not attacking, Feds give friendly hail responses so I know it's not something like Max Odds which can keep someone from being attacked even if the government would otherwise be hostile. I've also controlled for "attack player in non-allied systems," and, like I said, for class/allies/enemies. There must be some flag or something that I'm forgetting about. Anyone have an idea?
This post has been edited by Archon : 29 January 2012 - 01:32 PM
I actually thought of a refinement of toggling the "can't hit ships of this government and they can't hit you" flag with mission bits. That would be just putting in some sort of "rules of engagement" (or something) interface that would let the player select what governments they don't want to hit, with other toggles for "attack this government if the ship is already hostile with me." Very useful form a gameplay perspective, and completely justifiable realistically, again because the size/emptiness/3Dness of space make it almost unfathomable that a ship would wander into a shot meant for another ship. Aside from stray projectiles that become navigation hazards of course. ("Sir Isaac Newton is the deadliest son of a b**** in space!")