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Posts: 3,014
Reply with quote  #1 
I have taken a look at 2.5.1, and these are the most interesting things I have found so far:

1) Fighters can now target and destroy drones. You have to have FAST reflexes, but it's possible.

2) BioMechs now appear in a brown color instead of red. They exhibit predictable behavior where they follow a path to the terrain feature they consume (asteroids or anomalies) and pause there for a short duration while eating. Their "Anti-Proton Levels" rise after this. I haven't checked what Anti-Proton level is needed for the next stage. I noted that it is possible for a BioMech to fly past a source of food and then turn around and come back.

3) I haven't tried to beat the Infestation mode, but taking a quick look at it, the sector is littered with asteroids and anomalies, even if those features are turned off. I'm assuming setting those features higher will increase the numbers. I also didn't check if the difficulty level effects the number of BioMechs, but there were a LOT of them even on diff 1.

4) The new view from the Fighter Bay is about 45 degrees off of the both the forward view and the left side view, as seen from the Mainscreen, which is a nice touch. It should be a great way to make the pilots aware of ongoing battle around the ship, even before they launch.

5) The fighter bay image can be edited, it is named fighterBayImage.png.

6) As I've mentioned in the announcement thread, there may be a bug with the "radar" feature which is normally seen on the Mainscreen. The radar appears while in the Landing Bay (the bay appears over it, making it hard to see) but disappears when the fighter is launched.
Xavier Wise

Posts: 1,143
Reply with quote  #2 
A note on 6.

If you have the fighter selected and switch to Vis, a radar appears in the lower left corner, along with a fighter image in the top right. The view doesn't match up with the fighter console view though (i.e. it isn't positioned looking behind the fighter).

Fleet Captain Xavier Wise - TSN Sabre
Link to TSN RP Community website

Posts: 30
Reply with quote  #3 
On 2:

I think they always need to eat three times to evolve.
They start at 1.1, after eating the APL goes up to 2.4 and then to 3.7. When they eat a third time, they evolve and start at 1.1 again.

Posts: 3,014
Reply with quote  #4 
Originally Posted by Xavier Wise
A note on 6. If you have the fighter selected and switch to Vis, a radar appears in the lower left corner, along with a fighter image in the top right. The view doesn't match up with the fighter console view though (i.e. it isn't positioned looking behind the fighter).

I believe that's always been the case. When I first tested 2.3, I found that both the LRS and the VIS tabs were available to the Fighter console. The LRS worked as normal, however, the VIS tab displays the 3D view centered in the fighter, with a (non-functional) fighter silhouette and the "radar". The fighter itself is invisible, but the vapor trail can be seen.

If you have more than just the Fighter console selected for the given ship, however, the VIS screen instead displays the parent ship, even when the fighter is launched. Unless this behavior has been changed for 2.5.1, I suspect if you were to set up a Fighter console with no other consoles, you'd still be able to see the VIS screen from the POV of the fighter.

My point is that whatever Thom was describing in the change log when he said "Fighters now have a directional ring to help them find targets that aren't in their FOV" is not visible to me. The Fighter screen while launched looks identical in this version to the screen in version 2.4. If anyone can point out to me what this "direction ring" is and where it can be found I'd appreciate it, but for now I'm assuming the radar is supposed to be visible on the Fighter console, but isn't.

Secondarily, the radar does appear while in the Fighter Bay, while presumably, it isn't supposed to appear.


Posts: 73
Reply with quote  #5 
I guess this means it's too late to add this to the "Suggestions/improvements" thread, so I'll post it here as a suggestion for 2.5.2.

I'd like the ability to adjust the game music/sound volume outside of simulations. Have it available on the client selection screen, the server setup screen...heck, why not have it on the startup screen?

Posts: 3,014
Reply with quote  #6 
Okay, now that Thom has posted the corrected 2.5.101 version, I will change 6) and carry on: [biggrin]

6) The new "directional ring" is awesome! This is an extension of the normal targeting system. When any targetable ship in range moves off of the screen, a direction indicator appears along an unmarked ring around the center of the screen. The indicator is an arrow, identical to the up and down arrows already in use on the HUD, pointing in the direction of the ship. Enemy ships appear as a red arrow, friendly ships, including the home carrier, in green, and monsters in purple. Wrecks are red, and I assume BioMechs are red too, although they could be brown.

7) The VIS screen now seems to be dependent on which console is currently selected. If you last selected the Fighter console with a fighter launched, you will see the VIS screen centered on the fighter and a silhouette of the fighter. If you last selected another console, or the Fighter Bay, you will see the VIS screen centered on the carrier, and a silhouette of the carrier. I believe this is new to 2.5, unless I simply missed this behavior when testing 2.3 and 2.4.

8) The VIS screen as viewed from the Fighter console is from the first person point of view now, and there is no vapor trail. The radar screen is also centered on the fighter. The fighter silhouette still has nothing to display, as there are no shields or internal systems on a fighter. Since it remains level with respect to the sector, even if the fighter dives or climbs, it is still very disorienting to fly from this screen. Once you set the VIS screen to first person view, it cannot be set back to third person view, even if you select another console. (This seems like a bug, but it doesn't really effect gameplay)

9) I wanted to test out how monsters appear to fighters, so I set up a mission with all the optional features turned on. I was able to confirm that no terrain is indicated by the direction ring or the targeting reticle. I then set out for a Wreck, and noted it appeared in red, like an enemy ship. As I neared, a school of piranha suddenly spawned! The directional ring indicated every single one of them, letting me know exactly where all of the enemies were even when they weren't on the screen, which helped in the fight considerably. I still got destroyed, but I was able to destroy several of them, and could even track a couple of the piranha as they made collision runs on me.

10) Fighters definitely launch in the same direction as the carrier. I noticed the difference immediately. [biggrin]

11) This isn't a new feature, but I finally noticed that the large square that denotes the horizon has a triangle along one side which points out the "north" direction on the map. [smile]

As I posted in the thread in the News forum, the radar display can be seen on the view seen through the windows in the Fighter Bay. If there were holes in the display in the upper right area, the ship silhouette would be visible too. I have created a Fighter Bay background which will hide the radar, for most resolutions. It can be downloaded from my post in that thread. I don't know if this is a difficult thing for Thom to fix, but he may prefer to hide it behind the background, or just ignore it.

Posts: 3,014
Reply with quote  #7 
I just playtested the Infestation mode, and have more observations:

1) The number of BioMechs, asteroids and anomalies is constant in the Infestation scenario. The only thing affected by difficulty level is damage done (plus speed on high difficulties) and if any enemy fleets appear at all. The number of enemy fleets appears to be identical to the Peacetime scenario.

2) BioMechs are only brown until the player fires on them. They then turn red and become VERY aggressive, going after the player's bases. This appears to have replaced the behavior where if the enemy fired on them, they would agro on the player. BioMechs will fire on the player, or anything that fires on them, if they are close enough, but if you ignore them, they will go away.

3) The taunts are used to put the BioMechs back in "calm" mode. The two "right" taunts will display a message with a 75% counter, then 50%, then 25%, then 0%. You can repeat the same taunt over and over again. The wrong taunt will give the "Lifeforms are not compatible" message and you'll have to choose another. (The count does not start over) If the BioMechs aren't angry, all three taunts give a neutral message. You must be out of combat range for the "calm down" process to work.

4) I suspect the "wrong" taunt may always be the last one, "Please communicate with us" or some such. If anyone finds the first two to be the "wrong" one, let me know so I can confirm it's random. Intel still does not give a clue as to which is right.

5) Stage 1 and 2 BioMechs must eat three times, Stage 3 BioMechs twice. So a Anti-Proton level of 3.7 for Stage 1 and 2 or 2.4 for Stage 3 means the BioMech is ready to evolve. Stage 4 BioMechs appear to wander around aimlessly until another Stage 4 gets close enough to be detected. The Anti-Proton levels never rise above 1.1 for Stage 4s.

6) One of the two Stage 4s is destroyed when it "mates" and it spawns 5 Stage 1s. I never saw more or less than 5 appear.

7) It appears to be impossible for enemy fleets to destroy BioMechs, or even damage them, even at difficulty 11. I don't know if this is a bug or not. I did not get close enough to verify that the enemy ships were firing, but a single Stage 3 wiped out a whole fleet in a matter of minutes.

8) The Stage 3 BioMech above did not destroy the Wrecks and collect the anomalies. Probably that was not intended, but it seems like a waste. [biggrin]

9) I ran an Infestation mission until the BioMechs consumed everything in the sector. Just in case, I waited thirty minutes to make sure the timer from the Peacetime mission was in effect. It wasn't. Since I didn't fire a shot, the BioMechs left my bases alone. The impasse could have continued indefinitely. [biggrin]

10) The same rules apply in Infestation and the normal scenarios, it's just the additional anomalies make it likely the Stage 3s will make it to Stage 4 and end up increasing the population by 4.

11) BioMech behavior is not tracked in either the ship or monster AI stack display. This makes sense, since the "enraged" behavior doesn't appear to be individual AI, but collective behavior.

12) Fighters see BioMechs with a red reticle, whether they're enraged or not.

Posts: 3,014
Reply with quote  #8 
Possibly a bug, Intel on BioMechs (still?) appears on the first scan, not the second one. This appears to disappear if the console is disconnected from and reconnected to. (for instance, if a console is added) It appears again on the second scan.

Posts: 56
Reply with quote  #9 
So.. is it just about clearing the sector or any other ideas?

Posts: 3,014
Reply with quote  #10 
I never tested the victory conditions, but I assume once you clear all of the BioMechs, the Infestation mission ends. Unknown if you have to destroy the enemy ships or not. Your score is likely determined by how many base stations you have left. Note that if you begin shooting at the BioMechs, your Comms officer has to be FAST to calm them back down before they destroy a base.

I'd like to hear from someone who has played Infestation and can recommend some strategies. Is it best to attack one BioMech at a time, destroy it and then calm the rest down before continuing? Or should Comms wait until a whole area has been cleared before shutting them down? It would appear to be foolish to begin the attack before a Stage 4 is spawned which can be communicated with. What if your "negotiator" breeds and is destroyed? It is worth it to collect all the anomalies, and keep the BioMechs stuck at Stage 3?

Previously, I speculated that a potential strategy could be to hunt the Stage 3's, to protect your allied ships and bases. Or, you could hunt 1's and 2's, which would be a lot easier, but would leave your allies vulnerable to 3's, particularly when they went enraged. Stage 4's you can probably let breed, since they aren't aggressive (as I suspected they might be) and 5 Stage 1's are weaker and easier to kill than a Stage 4. And you don't want to accidently kill your negotiator.

It would be interesting if you could reduce the numbers to manageable levels and leave them alive, for all the whale lovers out there, but you probably have to kill them all to get your score. I'm guessing you can set a time limit, though, and stop if you feel that the population is under control. It would be a Peacetime scenario from that point on.

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Posts: 1,959
Reply with quote  #11 
You do indeed need to destroy all the enemies.  And they don't calm down - they start angry and eating.
Note - this is in no way intended to be an official position of Thom or Artemis, as I am not an official representative of the creator or game.
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