Space Clouds

Quality Assurance Improvements

Developer Blog

Hi everyone! I’m pretty excited about some improvements we have been making to our testing and quality assurance protocols. What this means for players is that we’ll have more frequent patches, better oversight on what goes live, and better balance testing of upcoming changes to the game.

These improvements have been made possible by several volunteers from the community. My colleague NCCIntrepid has taken the lead on Quality Assurance, assembling a team from the Press Corps to identify and fix bugs before they go live. His team has already covered the two most recent patches. Once a bug is discovered, they have worked out a rapid reporting system so that Developers and Contributors can resolve the issues and provide you with a smooth gameplay experience.

Some of our Press Corps volunteers have also been doing great work testing new content for balance before it’s finalized. I’d like to recognize the hard work of Joshua, Tornado, and Newman (Kanga) in particular.

If you would like to try your hand at testing or quality assurance, please drop me a line and we’ll go from there!

Ring Station

Galaxy Assault Revamp

BvB Revamp

BvB Revamp

Hello everyone! In this post, I will fill you in on the final details of the galaxy assault revamp that will go live for the upcoming universe. Until that time, the changes detailed in this post will be up on the test server for everyone to experiment with.

Summary of changes

Issue

Resolution

Players tanking pulses

Base mining vulnerability removed, base projectile damage increased, and base resistance increased to match.

Sun tanking

Unattached bases and permanent drones will receive serious vulnerability auras when near a sun.

Players spectating in spirits

Base and permanent drone target prioritization is revamped. Players won’t be shot by bases if they have anything better to do.

Base healing meta

Base transference resistance is increased somewhat to reduce the effectiveness of cross-healing between bases. However, base shield transference weapons are buffed to keep healing output constant.

Players having no combat role

Testing has confirmed that Unidyne Core Dumps are very effective at turning the tide of BvB.  Players are no longer priority targets of enemy bases, so it will be possible to actively participate in this way.

Buffer gal use

Active war and adjacent ownership instantly allows 1 BvB kit. Full 24 hours of adjacent ownership still required for 5 kits.

Junkyard kit spam

Junkyard kits now have the full 10 minute construction timer, but come with more junkyard hydros for convenience. Also, ALL kits that are under construction now receive a substantial vulnerability aura.

Developer Meeting Blog – 24th April

Ring Station

Hi everyone, here’s a report from press corps member DJ on this week’s meeting.

Jeff

-Fixed bugs with missions in Nexus

-New Tutorial speech for certain missions in Nexus

-Attack/idle patterns introduced into Nexus and early level areas, still in development.

-Replaced older missions with more updated one in Nexus layer involving Volcom Outpost.

-Debugged mission indicators

Markoz

-Station Expansion part one will be introduced at Uni Reset, part two under development

-Specialized Olympus fighters, bps requires Olympus gear.

-Possible DG rework(multiple AIs per lvl) -DGs one off with Hives and Delquads

Additional Notes

-Add soaks for Unforge in regards to base tanking

-Forcefield Generator Drones reworked and moved to testing for base tank/spamming

-Galaxy assault testing ongoing, minor changes coming and full list of changes coming this Saturday. Base healing weapons to be tweaked in regards to successful testing by our tester group

-Termite revamp

 

Universe Reset 5th May

Universe Reset
blog_packing2

Universe Reset

Subnavigator Xibesh, commander of the P.S.S. Excelsior, has reported increasingly large hordes of Aveksaka Suta in the Vihara region of Subspace. The Suta will soon breach the blockade and reclaim Subspace entirely. In response, Paxian scientists plan to use the device in Kumari to destroy Vihara and the countless Suta swarms inside. Lyceum scientists believe losing this region will destabilize all of Subspace and result in our universe imploding on the 5th of May, 13:00 EDT (18:00 BST, 17:00 GMT). With the destruction of our old universe, a new one will be created! All characters, their skills, ships, and bots will be transferred over, but deployed drones and userbases will be lost, as well as anything on the userbases! You’ll have to re-explore the universe to map everything out once again.

With the activation sequence of the Kumari device, Lyceum scientists also predict the arrival of two waves of ancient outposts surfacing from the depths of time. They will be reappearing some time around the 22nd and 28th of April.

Easter 2018

Easter is here! The bunnies have setup shop in Eastern Warren accessible from Sol, Elmer Fudd has returned to Handel’s Cove and is on the hunt for rabbits, and egg boxes litter the universe. The event will run until 13th April.

As an additional bonus, we’re also giving +50% XP until Easter Monday (that’s 2nd April, if you don’t know).

Happy hunting!

Developer Blog – 1st February

Hi everyone, here’s an update on what we have done lately. As always, some of these changes may be finished but awaiting patch, so just ask if you aren’t sure if they’re live.

Star Sonata 2012-07-12 15-35-33-59

DarkSteel

We have put together some plans to iron out the cost of Tractoring skill levels 15 through 19.  The provisional idea is to make these skills obtained by turning in various DG-dropped tractor beams.  Alternatively, you will be able to use Adamantium Traction Modules to skip directly from 14 to 19.

NCC

I need a lot of help from the player testing for Red Photon, please pm me on discord for any squads you might have that you would like to attempt my Turret fight with. Possible changes coming in about a 25 man squad but will need to rebalance for that possibility. I have the ability to fix the Lion V2 if I can figure out what is causing it to be tiny!!!

enkelin (me!)

I am project manager for a design pass on the Gunner class.  My role is to supervise Contributors who are putting together the specifics of this project, and to make sure that any changes are fully vetted by the dev team and Jeff himself.  Here’s what Contributor Hober Mallow would like to report about the project.

We all know that Gunners have, for quite some time, suffered from feast or famine gameplay. Anyone who has played a Gunner knows this scenario well: You warp into a galaxy, lets say the first level of a DG, and there are 8 targets. You start firing on them, with your Deathblossom equipped of course, and decimate them quite quickly. You destroy them even faster if you have splash or chain weaponry. But as soon as there is only a single target left, your damage drops off like a rock. The current iteration of Gunner is not fun for a variety of reasons, and we hope to address them in the upcoming months. Gunner skills are going to be adjusted as neccessary, in the interest of making sure Gunner is fun for both single target and multiple target situations.

Here’s what you can expect. Splash weapons will no longer do less DPS than a comparable non splashing weapon, instead they will have worse DPE and have better DPE than a comparable weapon when you are hitting enough targets. The Deathblossom will now use extra energy for each extra shot. The Adv Class Subskill that gives +100% Splash Range will be removed. Missile Mastery will be removed, and Missile Launchers will gain bonuses to give their missiles more damage so that players can scale their missiles up via better launchers. This will be accompanied by an adjustment to missiles at various tech levels, transferring their power into the missile launchers. Finally, the Gunner Analyzer (Shield Remodulation Scanner) will no longer increase the energy used by your weapons for increased resistances. Instead, it will take a portion of your incoming damage and apply it to your energy bank!

The details of these changes will be made available later, stay tuned for further updates!

 

Developer Blog – 16th January

Hi everyone, here’s an update on what we have done lately. As always, some of these changes may be finished but awaiting patch, so just ask if you aren’t sure if they’re live.

Faranight

I have been working on two primary projects.
The first is a Kalthi manufacturing themed item line to invite more interaction with the Kalthi Depths and make Perilium more reliable to farm.

There will likely be wider applications of these assemblies as the technology is explored.

The second is a low tech Paxian Travel ship to use through the mission chains, and serve as a suitable replacement for the Aether Scout’s bugged inbuilt now that it is fixed.
Introducing the Pax Felicitas.

Equipped with dedicated navigation avionics, the Pax Felicitas is ideal for long adventures into the unknown.

Good luck, and safe travels.

NCC

The balance test pass on the Red Photon Turret Challenge Boss went well. Thank you all who attended! We will be adding additional features and hosting another test run in a short while. Afterward just need to come up with some loot numbers and get it good to go.

urza

I have recently reworked the Paxian exploration missions. It was discovered that in the last third of the chain that missions would switch between ones that f2p can complete and only p2p can complete. Changed so that all of the p2p only missions are in a block at the end. Also found and fixed some issues with missions not rewarding enough credits to pay for items purchased. Added 2 new travel ships and a micro warp device. As well as linking missions between all 4 ai stations so players will know the chain continues at the next station.

enkelin (me!)

Based on conversations with the dev team and the press corps, I have made some revisions to the planned revamp to galaxy assault.  Here’s a short summary of the changes that are remaining in the project:

Base mining vulnerability is removed, base projectiles impart vulnerability aura to players and temporary assets, unattached permanent assets receive vulnerability aura near planets and wormholes (in addition to suns), base and permanent drone targeting code is revamped, and PvB nanites are worked over.

Galaxy Assault Revamp Announcement

Hello everyone! In this post, I will fill you in on the work the dev team has been doing to make galaxy assault more enjoyable. I would like to emphasize that we are more than open to discussing the particulars and making changes to the proposal. Let’s view this as a first official communication between the dev team and the community and build from there.

attached_kit

Introduction

In the current galaxy assault mechanics, most of the action takes place between two lines of bases, while players are relegated to tractor ship battles, blocking pulses, and spectating as spirits.  None of these behaviors is aligned with what players actually enjoy doing in the game, i.e. using their ships to deal and mitigate damage.  This represents a gap between the types of game activity that are rewarded in PvE and PvP environments, and the types of gameplay that are necessitated during BvB.  It should come as no surprise, therefore, that many players feel powerless and out of the loop during BvB, which is not how we want the game to feel!

However, there are certain positive aspects of the current galaxy assault system which should not be abandoned without cause.  The conditions on deploying BvB kits (active war, 24 hours owned adjacency, presence of amps if more than five kits) are in place to prevent large-scale surprise attacks, instead giving players some time to anticipate an assault on their space.  The flattening of the power progression of base gear both in terms of tech and tier, and the introduction of inbuilt X gear, have also created opportunities for players (especially newer players) to build respectable defenses without incurring unreasonably high sunk costs.  Lastly, while the preeminence of bases in galaxy assault pushes players to the margins, it does also gesture toward an important consideration of limiting the effect of player activity on the outcome of war.  The reason for this objective is that the game cannot effectively cater to casual players if galaxy assault depends strongly on the ability to play the game at all hours of the day and night.  While we do want to reward player activity, it cannot be allowed to be the single most important factor in galaxy assault.  It’s important to note, however, that this objective is not currently being achieved in the first place: use of ships to block pulses, tractor bases behind obstacles, and create excessive server lag have proven to be decisive strategies even in the face of numerically superior enemies.

Summary of changes

 

Issue

Resolution

Players tanking pulses

Base mining vulnerability removed, base projectile damage increased, and base resistance increased to match.

Tractor ships and sun tanking

Unattached bases and permanent drones will be rooted when they take damage, and will receive serious vulnerability auras when near a sun.

Players spectating in spirits

Base and permanent drone target prioritization is revamped and new mobile permanent drones are created for base assault to help players take cover.

Base healing meta

Base resistance is buffed further, but base healing weapons are nerfed. Each base will be a lot tankier now, and there is less incentive to have so many healing-oriented bases.

Players having no combat role

A design pass is made for player-delivered base nanites that have various debuffing properties.

 

Details

Mining damage

The following changes are being made to match base resistance profiles better with player ships. This is a necessary measure before player blocking of base pulses can be addressed. The changes are also helping to create a greater variety of effective base weapons for galaxy assault, instead of limiting players to Achilles Pulse Gun.

  • Base mining vulnerability will be removed. On a typical base kit, all resistances will be the same.

  • Base weapons will have their damage adjusted to reflect the change to base resistances. All damage types will be comparably effective against bases after this change.

Base damage and tanking

The following changes are being made to prevent players from blocking shots that are intended for a base. They are also helping to disrupt the current defensive meta that relies mostly on healing-oriented bases.

  • Base projectile weapons will do a lot more damage, especially those with short range. It will no longer be feasible to block pulses with player ships or drones.

  • Base resistances will be increased to compensate for the increased damage of base weapons.  Base healing will be reduced.  The upshot is that bases will individually be a lot tankier versus bases than before, but base healing will be less useful.

Target prioritization and player cover

The following changes are being made to help players stay alive during galaxy assault. They will effectively be able to hide under the cover of their bases and permanent drones.

  • Base target prioritization will be changed in the following way. If enemy bases are in range, shoot one of them.  If no enemy bases are in range, look for an enemy permanent drone and shoot that if possible.  If no enemy bases or permanent drones are in range, shoot an enemy player (or player asset).

  • Permanent drone target prioritization will be changed in the following way. If enemy players are in range, shoot one of them. If no enemy players are in range, look for an enemy permanent drone and shoot that if possible. If no enemy players or permanent drones are in range, shoot an enemy base (if any).

  • Players will be afforded a small number of “assault slots” for permanent drones, and new mobile permanent drones will be made available that are designed with a view toward this use.

Player debuffing of bases

The following changes are being made to give players the ability to actively undermine the bases of their opponents.

  • Nanite-injecting weapons that affect base shield regen, energy regen, damage, and rate of fire will be introduced and current weapons of this type will be revised for balance.

  • Base exterminators will be revised for balance.

Design principles

In this section, I set forth a few general principles that we are aiming for in this project. Some of these aren’t possible to achieve precisely, but they will still be helpful in guiding our work.

  • Current popular configurations have ⅔ to ¾ HPS bases. After the change, it will be better to have around ⅓ HPS bases. We will approach this goal by increasing base effective shield regeneration and reducing base healing output.

  • With no players in support, and no sun tanking or other unintended mitigation, it currently takes the attackers 1-1.5x more bases than the defenders to prevail.  After the change, this figure should be somewhere around 3-5x (assuming comparable levels of tech and tier).  Player support should be able to reduce this figure to 1-1.5x, if the defending players and permanent drones are overwhelmed.  In short, an overwhelming player force makes bases 2-3x as powerful.

  • The marginal benefit of additional supporting players drops off substantially, so that a small group of active players is only somewhat less effective than a large group, assuming both are unhindered.

  • BvB amplifier mechanics are revised. Instead of building multiple amplifiers in a single galaxy, players will upgrade a single built amplifier to higher and higher tiers.  Each successive tier is rather more expensive than the previous one, and the expense hinges not only on credits but also substantially on ICs such as Sub-Shield Buffers and Reactors.

New Content Dev Team Structure

Lead Content Developer

I’m pleased to announce that I’ve taken on the role of Lead Content Developer for Star Sonata. This means that it’s my responsibility to manage the content development team and make content recommendations to Jeff based on the team’s work.  In my five years on the dev team, I have found myself drawn to managerial roles since these happen to align with my real-life profession quite well.  I see this new role as the best way for me to contribute my skills in management and organization to the betterment of Star Sonata.

Star_Sonata_Bot_-_Happy[1]

I want to acknowledge that I have obtained a greater level of influence over the game with this promotion. In light of this change, I do not believe it would be appropriate for me to continue to lead an aggressive endgame team as this would simply invite too many conflicts of interest. At the same time, I feel I would be unable to make informed content recommendations if I quit the game entirely. The middle ground I have chosen is to lead my team (Traders) into a less competitive era, while still playing the game with my teammates and keeping an eye on endgame issues. I have also decided to permanently retire my player forum account, as I will no longer be participating in player disputes on the forum. The following is an excerpt from my new job description that makes this clear:

  • As a player of the game, the Lead Content Developer should avoid conflict or disputes that might reflect poorly on the dev team.  He should also avoid involvement and the appearance of involvement in the affairs of the competitive endgame community, except as is essential to his duty of creating informed content recommendations.

My first project as Lead Content Developer is to reorganize the content development team in order to clarify the roles and responsibilities of our volunteers.  I have summarized these below for your information.

Press Corps

Responsibilities

  • Attend weekly content meetings.

  • Provide a community perspective on dev discussions.

  • Report to the community on dev discussions and practices.

How to join

Simply contact Jeff or enkelin to introduce yourself and tell us why you are interested in volunteering for Star Sonata.

Contributors

Responsibilities

  • Address balance issues with item stats.

  • Create new items, bosses, and content zones.

  • Collaborate on larger projects as assigned by developers.

How to join

In most cases, Contributors start on the Press Corps to get familiar with the team and how we operate.  Exceptions may be made if you have a special skill such as professional coding experience, graphics, or audio production.

Developers

  • Provide vision and direction on major game balance matters.

  • Manage major projects with the assistance of Contributors.

How to join

This rank is reserved for individuals with a long track record of successful development in Star Sonata. Furthermore, since Developers can have a large influence on the direction of the game, they are held to particularly high standards of professionalism and impartiality.  As players of the game, they are expected to avoid conflicts or disputes with other players and to limit their involvement with the competitive endgame, except as is essential for crafting informed content recommendations.

 

What’s this? There’s something in the air. What’s this? It’s CHRISTMAS

blog_xmas_small.png
It’s finally here! Astro-Santa has taken to the skies to deliver all his goodies, and let’s not forget the mischevious Astro-Grinch who’ll try to stop him. Astro-Santa and his Elves will be doing their good work until the 3rd of January.

The prediction made by Earthforce Scientists was correct (much to the surprise of the Lyceum Scientist, they think they know everything) and a wormhole has materialised within Sol which leads to Lapland.

Lastly a quick reminder that there’s the Astro-Santa Letter competition to take part in, information can be found on the blog post announcing the event and competition and submissions can be made directly to the forum topic.

Happy Holidays!