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ryleyra

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Reply with quote  #1 
Now that I've had some time to test the new version, here are some comments and observations:

- Thom, did you intend for the TSN Scout to have 1.0 efficiency for Jump, or was that a typo? I suspect it's the latter, because the Ximni Scout similarly is very inefficient at warp.

- Due to the new efficiency formula and rounding, the Scout and Dreadnought have become a little more efficient than before. (Except for Jump, which has gotten less efficient as noted above)

- It apparently isn't possible to fight against the Ximni in standard game modes. The Ximni can only be used as enemies in scripts or PvP. (Where obviously you can play as TSN vs Ximni as well as against TSN and Ximni NPC ships)

- TSN ships can also now be used as NPC ships, in scripts or PvP. They do constant damage as player ships, and variable damage as NPC ships. I suspect the damage of TSN and Ximni ships as NPCs is about half of what it should be, comparing them to the Escort and Destroyer. But that can be tweaked as needed.

- In PvP, selecting a single ship type limits you to that type. That is, the Ximni Light Cruiser doesn't count as a TSN Light Cruiser. Of course, that probably wouldn't be an equal challenge.

- As I mentioned in the other thread, there are still no Bombers, although the Ximni have their own fighters. They're identical to the TSN fighter in terms of stats, though.

- Fighters still have an infinite supply of missiles. They have a bit more shielding. I suspect the 15 front and rear shields in vesselData are for NPC fighters, and don't apply to the player fighters.

- Drones can be fired by allied ships, if they are equipped with them. None are, but I to see drone firing allies in the future. (Particularly the Missile Cruisers would benefit from this, for use in NPC mode)

- The Ximni have a new race tag, "jumpmaster". I'm not sure what it does. The tag "elite" has been changed to "hasspecials", perhaps to be more descriptive.
ryleyra

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Reply with quote  #2 
If you change vesselData to add the "friendly" tag to the Ximni race, leaving "player" and "jumpmaster" intact, Ximni ships will be spawned as allies in the sector. The allies will be about half Ximni and half TSN.

If you add the tag "enemy support" the Ximni will appear as support ships in the Kralien fleets. The tag "enemy standard" or "enemy hasspecials" causes the game to lock up, presumably because the Ximni ships have no fleetvalue defined. (Actually, no, it's because they have no "small" "medium" and "large" defined) The "enemy" tag alone has no effect, and neither does "enemy loner". (I've already established that "loner" isn't part of the enemy generation code) 

As I noted above, I don't know what the tag "jumpmaster" means.

If you make Ximni enemies with "enemy support" their carriers will launch fighters! I assume this means they will also launch fighters if you create them using a script. I will test and see if they launch fighters as allies.

Darn. Ally carriers will not launch fighters. I guess it's too much to ask that allies launch drones AND fighters. [biggrin]

MarkBell

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Reply with quote  #3 
Jumpmaster defines the more efficient jump drives - a shorter countdown to jump, mainly. I don't recall if TSN jump ships get the combat jump either.
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ryleyra

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Reply with quote  #4 
Quote:
Originally Posted by MarkBell
Jumpmaster defines the more efficient jump drives - a shorter countdown to jump, mainly. I don't recall if TSN jump ships get the combat jump either.


I'll have to look into combat jump, myself. I haven't seen it. I think you're right about the shorter countdown, though.

EDIT: Oo, I forgot. No Pirate ships as previously hinted. No new torpedo types either, but I'm sure it's coming.

EDIT^2: Okay, I've tried combat jump. Quite nice. I think it's more intuitive, too, since you jump in the direction you are facing, or opposite to your facing.

I also like the idea that it's a sort of "flywheel". Instead of spending energy on the jump, you charge up the engines first, and you are ready to jump at a moment's notice. It fits with my theory of Jump Drive, where the Ximni take a month or two to charge up the drives for a jump of couple of light years.  

From a gameplay standpoint, it means there's a reason to keep Jump Engines online. The more power to Jump, the faster you can be ready to jump again after a combat jump.

Mike Substelny

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Reply with quote  #5 
As you see, the Ximni are not quite complete as a player race. They lack a few things that the TSN has, including:

A fleet of NPC Ximni ships.
A set of Ximni bases.
A set of Ximni default ship names.

These are "nice to have" aesthetic issues. When they become available the Ximni bases and NPC ships will probably be quite similar to the Terran NPC ships. In fact all of the races use cargo ships and luxury liners that are about the same. You can play a Ximni crew right now and have about the same game outcome as you would if the Ximni had bases and NPC ships.

The Ximni currently have a slightly different game interface because the Helm Jump Drive controls include the combat jump. In the future I would like to see all of the Ximni consoles have features that distinguish them from TSN consoles. For example, I would like for the Ximni to have weapons that are more effective against warp drive targets than the current TSN weapons.

In the long run I would like to see the Ximni have even more personality to distinguish them from the TSN. That will allow Ximni crews to develop their own style of play.

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notsabbat

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Reply with quote  #6 
Regardless of how "done" the ximni are, this was a heck of an update! So much good stuff was added



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ryleyra

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Reply with quote  #7 
Well, the ability to use player ships as NPC ships goes a long way to fleshing out the Ximni. You're right, they lack a base, but I'm assuming this is because for now, they are operating in TSN space. The only difference between the existing ships and a Escort or Destroyer analogue is more damage (which may need to be balanced out anyway) and about 50% more speed to compensate for the lack of FTL drive.

In fact, I was thinking it would be kind of nice if "jumpmaster" would automatically grant the Jump Drive special power. The TSN ships could be given the Warp special. Of course, in a script you can do that manually.

What I would really like to see is the ability to take player races and switch them to enemies or allies. So for instance instead of the TSN and Ximni all lumped into the player ship selector together, you could choose a Ximni ship, and put the Terrans on the enemy side. Or vice versa. It would be like going in and editing the vesselData file, but you can choose to switch them in or out.
ryleyra

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Reply with quote  #8 
Here's another note I came up with after seeing Dave Thaler's update to Hull Damage on the wiki. It isn't a bug exactly, just "working as intended", but it's worth noting for Ximni players. I never looked too deeply at the SNT files when I was playtesting the new release, so full credit to Dave for doing the research...

Ximni ships appear to be more fragile overall than TSN ships. This makes sense; Ximni ships are more slender and elongated than TSN ships, and have ornate bits sticking out. There is less room for system nodes inside their narrow hulls. The least robust Ximni ship is the Missile Cruiser, with the Light Cruiser the runner up. The most robust Ximni ship is a tie between the Battleship and Dreadnought, both of which are largely elliptical.

The TSN Juggernaut is not just a beast in terms of firepower, it can take a lot of damage, too. It becomes the second more robust ship on the TSN side, right behind the Light Cruiser. All of the new ships, being largely rectangular and chunky, have extremely high numbers of nodes, both system and hallway.

Does anything need to be done about this? Probably not, as we accept that the SNT files are created by automated generation, and depend more on the physical appearance of the ship than actual gameplay factors. I think it also fits the character of the Ximni to see the fragility of their ships as a challenge, rather than a drawback. The TSN is more practical, and therefore builds in more redundancy to their ships.

My modified Missile Cruiser, Battleship and especially Dreadnought SNT files might be useful to get those ships up to the Juggernaut's level. They can be found here. Of course, Thom may be intending to redesign those ships to match the new textures and design, as he has done with the Light Cruiser. It will just take a little tweaking to make the ships a little "beefier" in the midsection and increase the number of nodes. In particular, the Dreadnought could use an obvious launch deck.
Xavier Wise

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Reply with quote  #9 
Quote:
What I would really like to see is the ability to take player races and switch them to enemies or allies. So for instance instead of the TSN and Ximni all lumped into the player ship selector together, you could choose a Ximni ship, and put the Terrans on the enemy side. Or vice versa. It would be like going in and editing the vesselData file, but you can choose to switch them in or out.


In a mission script, you can do this using the "set_side" value. I recently changed the player ships in a mission to side 12 so that all the bases in the sandbox appeared as enemies rather than allies. It mean I just need to change a couple of side values, rather than hundreds of lines of code, changing them from allies/neutrals to enemies.

Again, in a mission script you could set some player ships to side 1 and the rest to side 2 if you want them on opposite sides. As for standard games, there is the PvP that will allow you to play two opposing sides.

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ryleyra

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Reply with quote  #10 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Xavier Wise

In a mission script, you can do this using the "set_side" value. I recently changed the player ships in a mission to side 12 so that all the bases in the sandbox appeared as enemies rather than allies. It mean I just need to change a couple of side values, rather than hundreds of lines of code, changing them from allies/neutrals to enemies.

Again, in a mission script you could set some player ships to side 1 and the rest to side 2 if you want them on opposite sides. As for standard games, there is the PvP that will allow you to play two opposing sides.


Sorry, I should have been more clear.

I meant I would like to be able to take a player race and switch them to enemies or allies in INVASION MODES. For instance, I might want to play a TSN ship, but be in Ximni space, so my allies are all Ximni. I could also switch out the enemies, as long as I kept at least one "standard", one "support" and one "hasspecials". If I want to say I'm not at war with the Torgoth I can take them out of the game or even make them my allies.

I'm well aware that you can do this in a scripted mission, and I'm glad for the capability, especially since previously putting player ships in a mission messed up all kinds of things and was generally unworkable. But it wasn't what I was imagining when I was hearing Mike first talk about the Ximni and how they could be either enemies or allies. I didn't realize he meant, "only in a scripted mission".

I'll add that in PvP you can kind of do this, but your escort ships will be randomly chosen from all those available, and be the same for both sides. The TSN and Ximni can still show up in PvP, and that's great since now they will do reasonable damage. (They won't have Warp or Jump specials, but meh) But you can't have the TSN (players and allies) against the Ximni (players and allies) unless you code a mission that way. And that's probably all for the best because it would be very hard to balance.

Mike Substelny

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Reply with quote  #11 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ryleyra


Sorry, I should have been more clear.

I meant I would like to be able to take a player race and switch them to enemies or allies in INVASION MODES. For instance, I might want to play a TSN ship, but be in Ximni space, so my allies are all Ximni. I could also switch out the enemies, as long as I kept at least one "standard", one "support" and one "hasspecials". If I want to say I'm not at war with the Torgoth I can take them out of the game or even make them my allies.


This will be coming in the future but the game needs a lot more development first. The Ximni need an array of stations and support ships equivalent to their TSN counterparts.

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