Space Clouds

Pixel Blog 05-02-2017

Space Clouds
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Heya everyone this is just a short post showing what has happened this week. Expect a larger than usual blog post next week.

Been busy this week with help from Vaporize improving the Behemoth model. Here’s some imagery, enjoy!

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This also means the Divine Behemoth got a update!

Divine_Behemoth

Additionally a skin has been added to the Resistance and Wattage.

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The Isvas’ayu engine mount has been fixed!

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Expect all this to come in the next upcoming patch and much more!

Other News

In other news the ban topic has now been published: click here.

Incoming Weapon Balance changes

Star Sonata is a game that has changed much over the past 12 years, including tons and tons of new content, both small and large in scope, and more are yet to come. But to avoid going off on tangents as I enjoy doing, let me skip straight to the actual topic of this blog post:

All content, new and old, relies on our balance sheets to be ‘balanced’. However, as the game evolves, the sheets need to be adjusted to better reflect how the perception of ‘balance’ has shifted. Sometimes, doing exactly that goes too far, while other times necessary changes are not done at all. Both extremes are unhealthy, as new additions to the game continue along the same flawed principles.

A big motivator of all these changes is to make less used weapon types viable. You should be able to pick a weapon that feels fun to use without sacrificing effectiveness. Currently, despite their shortcomings, the best weapons are so powerful that they are always worth using.

While it would be simple to give all underused weapons a buff, this is not practical. Many of these underused weapons, specifically Pulse Guns and Magcannons, are commonly used by AI. This is not the case for many of the weapons that are too powerful, which means that changing them would affect the game’s overall balance the least.

Changes to the most commonly used weapons will, of course, affect the relative difficulty of many AI. We are aware of that and have already adjusted a lot of them, often going as far as halving their effective shields.

In fact, a recent addition allows us to adjust the strength of individual AI much, much more easily, so keep that feedback coming and we’ll act on it!

Pulse Guns

Pulse Guns are the quintessential weapons of Star Sonata, but over time and over tech, they become lackluster compared to the alternatives.

There are two major issues:

  • Weapons have 4 parameters that determine their power: Acquisition Difficulty, Cost, Size and Weight. Size is, by far, the most impactful modifier of these 4.

Pulse Guns however get very, very big.

  • Due to the lackluster nature of most Pulse Guns, there haven’t been many new ones for quite some time.

The changes:

All Pulse Guns are getting their size effectively halved.

Looking forward:

Pulse Guns are meant to be the default weapon. Reasonable DPS, reasonable DPE, reasonable skill requirement. As it stands, they are not.

The change to their size will hopefully make them more usable, but it is likely that more work is required. Ideas include increased projectile speed, or smart tracking (i.e. the projectiles are fired towards where a target is going, rather than straight).

The Thorax Conundrum

The ‘Thorax’ type weapons have been part of the game since the very beginning. Their principle is simple: High damage and high efficiency, in exchange for being very difficult to hit with.

Sometime before 2013, Torpedo (and therefore Thorax) behavior was changed:

  • Their projectiles were made to turn towards their target while they were spinning up.

  • Rather than only tracking near the end of their lifespan, they now only tracked near the start of their lifespan

Jumping forward, there are now additional factors to be considered:

  • With higher techs come stronger augs. Range bonuses further increase the distance during which Thoraxes have tracking

  • Sniper projectile speed bonuses had the unintended side effect of further increasing the effective tracking of Thoraxes

All these little changes and synergies combined, a Thorax effectively became a “fire and forget” weapon. Their high damage and efficiency was no longer offset by being difficult to use.

And then, there’s also the fact that Thoraxes have not used a balance sheet since 2013. That issue is being rectified as well.

The changes:

Torpedo projectiles (and therefore Thoraxes) will no longer turn towards their targets during their spinning-up phase.

Torpedo projectiles will no longer get increased tracking distance from range bonuses. To compensate, their base tracking range was quadrupled.

There will also be some minor changes to their stats.

 Looking forward:

While the changes to the mechanics of how Torpedoes work are significant, they should still be very effective low to medium range weapons in controlled environments (i.e. against stationary, large or controlled targets), but far harder to hit with at longer ranges.

Due to the unintended effects of Sniper projectile speed bonuses also increasing the effective tracking of thoraxes, Thoraxes will not currently get any projectile speed bonuses while we work on a satisfying solution.

All Thoraxes are effectively Torpedoes, but the actual Torpedoes have not been addressed. Many of them are lackluster. In fact, the AI base torpedoes (Torpedo, Torpedo I, Torpedo II) are objectively the worst weapons in the game!

As mentioned before, the balance sheet for Torpedoes and Thoraxes needs work, which will be my (s_m_w) next priority. Torpedoes are fun to use, but there are only a select few that are worth using. (And fun fact: This is only because they completely circumvented the OLD balance sheets!)

 

Bursts are Magcannons

When Timotheus the Red was introduced, among his drops was the ‘De-Focused Plasma Particle Distributor’, a Sebastopol (or incinerator, aka ‘RNF Burst’) with slightly less power than a normal Sebastopol, yet a significant amount of tracking.

Initially, the weapon was not considered to be very good. Its range was increased significantly and with that change an entire new weapon archetype was created: The Burst.

The concept was continued at tech 22 with the Hazardous Oomping Burst and various other types.

There were, however, two problems:

  • The Sebastopol balance sheet works under the assumption that Sebastopols have NO tracking and SHORT range.

  • All Sebastopols receive a +15% DPS bonus PER TECH, for a total of +330% DPS at level 22. This means that Sebastopols were the only weapon type that had an exponential power scaling, rather than linear. (More on this in the next section)

The added range that the RNF Burst received caused the weapon to no longer fit into the Sebastopol sheet, since it no longer had any of the characteristics that Sebastopols were supposed to have.

The changes:

All Bursts have been moved into the balance sheet for Magcannons. While we have tried to preserve their position as some of the most damaging weapons in the game, we have had to make significant changes. We have attempted to keep their DPS and size as close to live stats as possible, but they will receive a significant decrease in DPE.

Looking forward:

Magcannons and Pulse Guns with self damage are a relatively new addition to the game. The self damage aspect has not been included in the balance calculations before. While it is simple to take the same calculations that we use for Sebastopols and apply them to Magcannons and Pulse Guns, the extraneous, tech-scaling DPS bonus Sebastopols receive makes it hard to know whether that formula is reasonable. There is still room for improvement, but it is impossible to properly judge a weapon by numbers alone. Time will have to tell.

 

Sebastopols (including Incinerators)

Sebastopols in our balance sheets currently receive a massive bonus to their DPS scaling by tech. Since pictures say more than a thousand words, here’s what that means:

For comparison’s sake, the graph uses ‘Power’, an intuitive number to judge how ‘good’ a weapon is, calculated by multiplying DPS with DPE.

Currently, at tech 0, a Sebastopol is roughly 93% better than a Pulse Gun (due to being a more difficult to use weapon while also factoring in self damage). At tech 22, a Sebastopol is roughly 731% better than a Pulse Gun.

Sebastopols are, in fact, the ONLY weapon type that scales exponentially over tech. This is not good.

 The changes:

The Cyan line shows the new scaling of Sebastopols. The extraneous +15% DPS per Tech modifier was removed. To compensate, their base power was increased by 33%. They are intended to stay very powerful, but they were magnitudes too strong.

 Looking forward:

The changes to Sebastopols are, unfortunately, massive but these changes are necessary. As with all things however, the numbers do not tell the whole picture. Neither does a graph.

While there is no possible justification to retain a DPS modifier per tech, there are other ways to boost Sebastopols up more, without affecting the lower techs. Specifically, the percentual self damage could be increased for the higher tech weapons.

 

Weekly Dev Blog – 1st March

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In-General

Everyone in general has been working towards the patch and universe reset, fixing any bugs and ironing out any potential issues that could arrise when the time comes. We’ve also updated the Steam trailer video for everyone to enjoy.

Jeff

Jeff has created a Support Drone Device that involves a Support Drone and a tech 3 weapon called “Push Back” which shoots a high velocity physical bullet with no recoil and short range. This is targeted towards ‘The Nexus’ for players to have the ability to play the support focus role by deploying this drone and healing your buddies while pushing the enemy back using the drones knockback weapon.

Darksteel

We’re changing some aspects of the commodity system of Kalthi Depths. Hazardium and Precarium are being phased out of the game as well as the Unstable / Stable / Enriched / Concentrated variants of the 2 as well as the stages of upgraded Perilium. We felt like this was unnecessary cluttering of drop tables as well as making KD builds more annoying than they really should be for no reason.

For instance, if a build currently takes 1 Precarium, 1 Concentrated Hazardium and 1 Enriched Perilium you will now have to supply 3 Perilium, 2 Rudimentary Admixium, 2 Middling Admixium, 2 Advanced Admixium and 1 Expert Admixium.

We will be making factories that will exist for one universe for the players to convert their built materials back to their raw materials EG Concentrated Hazardium –> 1 Perilium, 1 Rudimentary Admixium, 1 Middling Admixium, 1 Advanced Admixium and 1 Expert Admixium and 1 billion credits.

Pixel

Has been busy creating/splicing pixels together to create the almighty ‘Space Urchins!’, these little creatures will roam around Perilous space grappling onto their victims and exposing them to their spikey bodies. Some will inflict a lot of damage while others could provide benifical purposes… Lyceum scientists expect these to appear next universe due to the unstable nature of the fabric of space.

Jewel Urchin

A new type of ship has also been created but its usage and reasoning remains a mystery!

Mystery Ship Top

Mystery Ship Side

Q/A

-13- : what is happening to Ruins at reset, specifically?
Not as far as I’m aware at this present time, apart from the current conversion of these ships which are more useful ships and will be tech 20 instead of tech 19:

  • Unt Faranji Wingship X
  • Bule Abadi Sidhe X
  • Golagoay Vazaha Archetype X
  • Kikale Mzungu Frigate X

-13- : is there going to be a patch before reset, and if so, when?
What will happen is the universe reset and patch will happen at the same time, this will result in a temporary universe for one week that will allow players to acquire the nessary class skill required for the proper universe reset. Gives everyone an equal start when the rush begins!

KangarooBlob: Could we get a comprehensive list of updates/balance changes coming in for reset please?
We will be providing a patchnote release and possibly other blog posts before this event takes place that we feel may need more context.

Chrono: Is XYZ gear being nerfed?
Only X gear has recieved a slight downgrade.

New Universe, New Classes

New Universe

Attention Star Sonata, on Saturday March 11 at 1:00 PM Eastern / Server time, there will be a universe reset to a 1 week temporary universe.  That means that all deployed bases and the entire universe itself will be destroyed, but after a short delay, a new universe will manifest into existence.  All of your ships and bots will transfer over into the new universe, but be aware of the last ship that you are in before the universe implodes, because that will be the ship you will be flying in the new universe, and you won’t want to dock all your ships in the wrong place just to switch out of your storage Thatch.

New Classes

At the same time as the universe reset, we will be patching in the new class system.  The new class system moves away from all class skills being regular skills that you have to train at special locations.  Instead, upon reaching certain level milestones (5, 10, 20, 40, 65, 100, 150, 200, 300, 400, 500, 600, 700, 800, 1000), you will be able to train a new skill from the class skill tree inside the character dialog. Skill Tree In addition to the new class skills which don’t cost any skill points, there are new Zen skills for each focus and class which do cost skill points and roughly equal the old skill point costs of all the previous class skills.  The overall power and stats of each class is designed to be very close to the previous classes at end-game, but much more powerful and impactful at early game.  We do plan to do a class rebalance later, after this new system is in place and everyone has had a good chance to try it and give feedback. Advanced Subskill Selection When you first log in, all your old class skills will be automatically reset, and you can choose/re-choose your new class skills from the character dialog.

Another New Universe

Because of the way a lot of the AI use existing class skills, we needed to patch in the classes at the same time as a universe reset.  But we don’t want to force people to deal with re-classing and building on the same day, so we are doing a 1-week temporary universe to try out the classes and maybe some other random stuff.  There will be a new-new universe on March 18 at the regular time. If all goes well with the classes and the new universes, we will be announcing the official Steam launch date shortly thereafter.

Weekly Dev Blog – 22th February

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Pixel

Pixel’s been busy working on a new Cleft Claw to roam around earthforce and wildspace layer. Bringing abit more hell fire to the universe.

Cleft Claw

He’s also going to start working on the base extractor changes, where only one type of each extractor can be equiped for next universe.

Hober Mallow

On test are also some changes to a variety of Pulse Guns, Magcannons and Laser Beams. Many of these weapons that had less than 1 second rate of fire now have between 1 and 1.5 second rate of fire (this is especially true of the Speed Demon locked weapons like the Hell Raiser, and other weapons that impart parasites/fires). The reasoning behind these changes was to preserve their DPS (they have the exact same DPS listed on the weapons) while enabling Speed Demons and other fast rate of firing characters to use the weapons without wasting DPS due to the rate of fire cap. It should be very hard, if not close to impossible, to hit the rate of fire cap with them now. Weapons that chain or splash, have been increased to 2-5 seconds as well. This was to make the Gunner weapons feel more thematic and heavy hitting. Let me know how these changes feel, or what effects they have on your setup.

Dark Steel

Dark Steel, mainly went over with the rest of the development team what Augmenters should be given a unequip due to changes.

This also applies to the following ships to recieve a free Augmenter reset:

  • Prawn
  • Resistance
  • Hephaestus Machine
  • Wattage
  • Delquad

Q/A

Masterful: Reset? Still in the works sadly as we’re still sorting out issues. The current goal is sometime March but don’t take this as a solid deadline.

Chrono: Are termites being more buffed again ontop? Yes next universe they’ll be unleashed into the wild to test your resolve!

Weekly Dev Blog – 1st February

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Community Meeting

Hober will be having a conversation with the playerbase about Kalthi Depths loot on Friday February 3rd 2017 at 3PM EST.

Click me!

Click the flailing rat to join the conversation.

Hober Mallow

Hober has finished the first pass on all of the Kalthi Depths AI, the new AI should be put on test shortly for your testing pleasure.

Hober has convinced the rest of the development team that blueprints requiring Station Management by the player equipping them was unnecessary. Going forward, they will require the appropriate level of Equipment for a player to equip them to a base.

Finally, he will be adding one time missions for the majority of non Serengeti Tech 20 ships. These missions will have (roughly) the same requirements as the blueprints. This change is meant to allow players who do not have a Wild Space presence to continue progressing through content.

Pixel

Pixel is having some technical difficulties.

enkelin

enkelin applied his renowned mathematical wizardry to the Gunner Analyzer. It should be up and running on the test server sooner rather than later. He has also come up with a brilliant plan that will solve all of our BvB woes… but he’s not ready to share it yet.

Bobbo

Working on Gunner Analyzer, courtesy of enkelin.

JeffL

Created a cool new Speed Demon super item that increases Shield Regeneration out of combat! Otherwise, he is working on things behind the scenes.

MicroCapacitor

Looking into potential issues with resistances and soaks.

Jey

He has been diligently hunting down bugs, and patching vulnerability issues. He was able to get the client to a point where it passed all of his stability tests. Out of the 183 dmps that were sent in the past 2 months, 164 of them are confirmed to be fixed by his changes. The rest were crashes without sufficient information, so they may or may not be fixed.

He has narrowed down the root of the graphical glitch that causes engine particle effects to display on things they shouldn’t, now he has to figure out the best way to fix it.

Oh, and we finally got him to move to Discord!

Weekly Dev Blog – 25th January

Cool man

Community Meeting

DarkSteel, enkelin and Hober will be having a conversation with the playerbase about Perilous Perilous Space/Kalthi Depths on Friday January 27th 2017 at 5PM EST. With the upcoming class changes, some of these AI are going to require reworking and rescaling. We wanted to take this opportunity to involve the player base in the process, since you are the ones who are engaging with the content on a daily basis.

Click me!

Click the following rat to join the conversation.

Hober Mallow

He has also worked with egrosphere on some interesting super item code. They are: charging based on current speed, and charging based on each instance of an evasion. The evasion and speed based charging should be helpful for both Seer and Speed Demon going forward, with some of their super items charging up faster as a result of successfully evading damage or going past a certain speed. There’s also functionality for a “target tracker” that causes all of the damage you have done to a target to be done again when the “target tracker” effect expires. He hopes to use this functionality in service of Seer in the future.

Micro Capacitor

Hes been doing a lot of things lately, heres some of them:

  • Been making Missiles 100% transference resistant so hps drones/bases don’t heal them (will work on code to prevent drones/bases healing them period).
  • Looking into making a tag for parasites/fires/nanites to allow buff type not get killed by exterminators.
  • Talked about new ways to allow players to alter the base’s targeting system. One of the thoughts were to have an item you may equip that allows the base to give targets with a specific property (example: further out) to have more priority than those not.

Pixel

PIXELS BEEN GOING CRAZY MAKING GALAXIES FOR WILDSPACE TO BUILD IN FOR NEXT UNIVERSE… enjoy!

New Wildspace buildable galaxies!

He has also added a new superitem to the Hephaestus Machine! This superitem will allow the deployment of a Hephaestus Hospital Drone that can do a hit effect of +1.75k shield charge and 1k energy charge for 5 seconds for friendlies within 1k range.

Hephaestus Field Drone Superitem

Also a new skin for the Hephaestus Machine+

Glorious Machine

Weekly Dev Blog – 18th January

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Hober Mallow

I will be adjusting the tech level for a variety of the lowest valued Olympus gear (Hephaestus’ Mallet’s/Brackish/Shorted/Damaged/etc), and I have also changed the blueprint requirements for the Hephaestus’ Striker and Maul so that they are the same cost as a Hephaestus’ Hammer.

I have been doing some work on the Subspace Monthly invasions, going forward they will provide very large and generous rewards upon completion. They will also require you to kill outposts themselves instead of droves of Aveksaka. Look forward to a blogpost from me about the changes.

Pixel

Pixel has been busy this week making skins for the players to enjoy, here’s some of them below:

Isvas’ayu – Bumble Stinger.

pulsing_bumble_stinger2pulsing_bumble_stinger

Kalthi Armored Deployer Skin.
Kalthi Wrathful Deployer Skin.

example_armoredred_kalthi_example

The skin names are subject to changes. Pixel also has been working on steam content. Here’s some examples:

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trading_card_3a
trading_card_1

Questions from players

  • Chrono: Can fine tuned gear drop from dugeons?
    • We’ve decided that Fine Tuned gear shouldn’t drop from dungeons, but we’re aware none exists at tech 21+ and we’re now considering buff the current pieces.
  • Reed: Is it possible to reward returning players like a mission would appear and they receive credits?
    • We plan to do this in the future but currently no.
  • Everyone: Whens patch?
    • We’re still working the kinks out of the skill tree and fixing some issues.

Weekly Dev Blog – 4th January

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Happy new year everyone! Here’s the first blog post of 2017!

Pixel

auto_mining_drone (1)Pixel has added new permanent drones that are made to mine astroids. You deploy them in the orbit of an astroid belt and the drone will shoot a mining pulse which will sit in place until an astroid collides into it. The astroid will then explode allowing your bots to scoop the debris. This will make mining bots more efficient at mining rock belts.

These drones can be found in the Capella galaxy. The permanent versions can be made from blueprints and the temporary drones can be directly purchased from Assayer’s Refinery.

Click here for more information (spoilers).

 

Dark Steel

After finishing his work with many augmenter rebalances DarkSteel has finally been able to balance the new Twisted light fighters.
unknown (5)The Bana light fighter also has 5% critical hit chance on its hull.

Micro Capacitor

I’ve changed the targetting code from bases and drones. Bases will now prioritize other bases in healing and damage and drones will now prioritize ships and other drones in healing in damage. You will no longer be able to be RTS bases.

Hober Mallow

Hober has been very busy these past few days! Here’s what hes done over the holidays:

  • Mythos Scanner’s resistance to damage changed from 5% to 3%, electrical tempering has been changed from -5% to -3%.unknown (4)
  • Addressed some issues with the Strontium Cannon, it had massive amounts of particle effects before and I’ve adjusted it to not be that way now.
  • Unlocked the class overloaders, in some cases made them a bit more distinct in their intended function.unknown (2)
  • Added a Mastodon Fighter Bay as an item, it’s ship bound and sticky (just needs to be added to the Mastadon hull). It has 10 Slots, and gives fighters 10k bonus shield bank for 5 seconds after being launched from it.unknown (3)
  • Increased the rate of fire of the Talon line of weapons so that their up front damage isn’t as high.unknown (1)

Jey

Jey has been busy over the holidays but has gotten some sercurity updates done! Should be back tomorrow to get back to work.

Weekly Dev Blog – 28th December

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Jeff

Jeff has fixed more unexpected issues with the skill tree content. As it turns out, it is very difficult to cap AI if your prismatic conversion suddenly gets bonuses to its DPS from your Weaponry skill! It is also very difficult to heal your friends if Shield Transferences suddenly do damage. The bonus DPS from the Weaponry skill no longer applies to weapons doing 0 or negative DPS.

Berserkers should now receive the correct amount of bonus hullspace from Arsenal Expertise on the test server. There was also an issue of everyone being able to MF, even new players in their trusty zebucarts. Except fighters, who had troubles firing more than two weapons at once, causing some of them to do less DPS than intended.

Urza

Urza has brought up an issue with the prospecting system: Nodes containing basic resources, like silicon, are a bother and serve no purpose. They will be removed for the next universe.

Hober

Hober has brought up the feedback he has collected for his upcoming Fighter rebalance. Expect an additional and more detailed blog post coming soon!