About so called "ballance"

General discussion about anything related to Transcendence.
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Posts: 19
Joined: Sat May 11, 2019 11:17 am

Tue May 14, 2019 4:56 pm

I am veteran player of evrything , strted from flippers and pong and had such mashines as Amstrad and Amiga before streak of PCs. I kinda skipped last 10 years, but when looked what had been done in that time i am more than dissapointed. Nowadays its realy hard to find even half decent single player game. That crap, they are making for 8GB compuers with realy impressive abilities, is actualy WAY worse than games made for 1Mb or even 64kb mashines.
Thats why i think about Transcendence as a rare jewel.And thats why i am writing this post , because i care a bit. I think it turned in wrong direction, because it tries to balance things for highscores . Single player game is supposed to be fun for well... single player :P . Seriously you dont need to try to make evry single playership about same good using for that complicated algorithms. When i played 99c freigher was easiest to play, Wolfen kinda medium and Sapphire was definitely most dificult to play , but that was fine. Its all about personal choices. And same goes for evry game piece. So i saw those analyzers added - for Ai's sake why you made 3 of them and 2 first are not working?
Scaning and mining pods - same story. Worldship armors are removed from shop ,just because somebody found a way to exploit them , Teratons nest happened to be "too powerfull" wepon optimizer rom now works only up to level 6 weapons , and so on and so on. All that just so few guys could compete with highscores. I dont want a game to be too easy but there should be some borders ,drawn with common sense, to "balancing" evrything.
When you plan to make some change ,you should ask yourself :"Will it be more fun to play that way?" and definietly not if"Will it be more balanced?"
Ofc evrybody can mod the game in any way he or she likes...wait, not realy. Only those who can can. Its like with cooking ,when you know how to cook its obvious and simple, and if u dont then you may not even be able to fry some eggs. And it would be cool to make a game that average Joe could enjoy a lot without knowing how to mod it.

Fleet Officer
Fleet Officer
Posts: 1482
Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2011 8:43 pm
Location: Alaska

Tue May 14, 2019 11:11 pm

Thank You .

I have seen the changes and I am sure I make some people in the Fleet groan because I am quick to complain about anything unfriendly, hostile or just plain evil toward the player or extension makers ( I have very favorite extensions made by great minds ).

And What do I mean ?

Well, Changes that totally break or confuse something that has worked perfectly fine in the past. And, of course, totally take the word " challenge ' and turn it into the meanest thing in the game.

Let's take Orders ( functions ) ..... Now I understand if the changes relate to new abilities, but to simply alter the structure of the orders or functions without giving anything to express a new ability OR to suppress a known issue is just arbitrary .

"Challenge " .. used to be cool until hostile stations started repairing themselves While you are firing on it with everything you have. And don't get me started on mining......

Weapons and shields have not increased firepower or defense to keep pace with the strength of hostile stations or ships....I have seen traffic lane littered with ships just one Hostile ship patrolling i's station.... I men, it's the kind of salvage yard of wrecks you would expect near a Ventari station....but no, you're not even past BA !.

I am a Fan of the different Factions and I would love to see the game be expanded so we can see more of their commerce, private living situations and hear more of their stories.......
Then , naturally.... fly in there and kill em all :)

I would like to see the weapons get an upgrade in firepower, I would like to see the Player have more access to Civilian grade versions of different weapons....
Not every player wants to join the Fleet , militia or do escorts in every game.

I can make Extensions, Thankfully, I was allowed a Unid, and while I concentrate on traffic and trade by such traffic......I see many things that need to be beefed up, some Armors, weapons or shields that simply need to be removed and stronger versions that can keep the NPCs and Player alive long enough to use a tank of fuel should be pushed further into the front line.

But... nobody ever listens to the boy that cries wolf...

What sets Transcendence apart from the current popular games is that it's a Highly Personal game, you take it seriously, you take getting shot by your own Auton personal.......

Popular games on XBox or whatever will come and go , but THIS is a work of Art..and everything added to it by the great minds that do such adding is a treasure.

It's just that I believe we need to polish a few pieces of that treasure once in awhile.
Flying Irresponsibly In Eridani......

I don't like to kill pirates in cold blood ..I do it.. but I don't like it..

Posts: 19
Joined: Sat May 11, 2019 11:17 am

Thu May 16, 2019 8:04 am

Well i have kinda unique perspective , as i practicly changed from 99c to 1.8 and most of people dont know how it looked like or saw changes bit by bit.
if u care to look at std armors in 99c then you will see that evry single armor is diffrent from all others, best one was have ithalium with 400 hp upgradable to 600 with domina powers , and there was a point in changing armors at low levels and each higher level was realy better. Now armors up level 5 looks the same, and u fly with default armor, then buy blast plate - advanced cerraloy, and most likely something level 9 later, skipping 90% of content. And end game armors have 1350hp. Not sure how it is balancing anything.
Game has plenty of content that just need to be "activated" , dont need more items .
Like there are Akan turret and dragonfly missile systems as top of the line blast weapons, but both require ammo, and at that point of the game you need those weapons ,you simply cant afford dragon fly cartridges and cant buy Akan ,because its marked as military. So simple solution is to demilitarize akan turret and to make dragonfly ammo cheap, but what had been done instead? Added thorin repeater that is also level 6 blast weapon ,just dont need ammo. sic!
Thermo canon ammo is too expensive? Then why dont make it cheaper, or remove ammo completly from it? Wouldnt it be easier, than to create item making free ammo?
Probably not many people remember old Ferians, problem with them was that they was free loot, and supersimple solution to that was to make them leave very little or no wrecks and change fire rate in ai settings to 8, but instead there was added ferian warrior that looks super ugly (not like ferian at all) and just generates more free loot (you need howitzer)
And i could show many more such examples.
Point is adding more items/ships is very rarely a good idea to solve balance problems.

Fleet Admiral
Fleet Admiral
Posts: 2378
Joined: Wed Sep 01, 2010 12:54 am

Thu May 16, 2019 5:23 pm

I think the game has mostly improved since 2010.

Level based shop Inventory is more good than bad. Before that, level 4 items are bad because you almost never see them before St. K's, and become obsolete when you do. It also delays when player can get a jumpdrive so that he cannot dive straight to Heretic (and Teraton fabricators) after one-third of the game.

Fabricators really were too powerful back then. Now, they are useful for some things.

Dragonfly was awful; just an vastly overleveled laser cannon array that did blast damage. Now it can be useful.

Armor has been rebalanced in 1.8, and ships have lower armor limits. Before 1.8, I never used heavy armor. Actually, until solar was changed, I got solar armor for free fuel and did not upgrade until very late when I could get Taikon armor or light Iocrym plate. Also, shields seemed stronger back then as well.

Scanners are junk because they are not reliable enough. Mining pods are awful because the biggest one only removes four or so tons out of a rock that has dozens. The only way to really mine is to get a good mining weapon and shoot the rocks! Even then, damage thresholds hurt mining late.

One change that annoys me is mining balance. Not worth it early, and too hard to mine by the end of the game. The new mining items are generally a waste of money.

Ship changing is nice, except Minotaur is the one ship that rules them all. Two primary weapons, and good to great stats in everything except maneuverability, which is about on par with a freighter.

@ Kaama: As for no wrecks on Ferians, death by radiation always leaves a wreck behind. If I want to farm Ferians, I want a waste cannon for the job to 1) kill Ferians with radiation and 2) give me plenty of time to contaminate a bunch of miners then run to a station before the miners die and warriors spawn. Station guards can either kill warriors or warriors kill the station. Either way, it is a win-win!
Download and Play in 1.8...
Drake Technologies (Alpha): More hardware for combat in parts 1 and 2!
Other playable mods from 1.7, waiting to be updated...
Godmode v3 (WIP): Dev/cheat tool compatible with D&O parts 1 or 2.
Star Castle Arcade: Relive classic arcade gaming in a new Transcendence adventure!
Playership Drones (WIP): Acquire more wingmen from Ship Broker. Unfinished, but updated to 1.8 beta.

Commonwealth Pilot
Commonwealth Pilot
Posts: 81
Joined: Tue Dec 18, 2018 4:12 pm

Thu May 16, 2019 10:15 pm

Kaama wrote:
Thu May 16, 2019 8:04 am
Now armors up level 5 looks the same, and u fly with default armor, then buy blast plate - advanced cerraloy, and most likely something level 9 later, skipping 90% of content. And end game armors have 1350hp. Not sure how it is balancing anything.
Game has plenty of content that just need to be "activated" , dont need more items .
Yeah, same every game, early i usually go advanced reactive(radiation immume) than V300 or italium and than light locrym, thats a total of 3(max4) armor items out of whole game, every game.

EP has neutronium armor types.... but i usally ignore those, since youl need shield by than.

Militia Captain
Militia Captain
Posts: 725
Joined: Tue Nov 05, 2013 9:56 am

Wed May 22, 2019 3:46 am

This is a really good topic.

Kaama has pointed out a few things which are true but not acknowledged much. And I totally agree with sjf about this: "Changes that totally break or confuse something that has worked perfectly fine in the past.".

Balance is nice but not if it brings everything down to a level of mediocrity. Rather than total balance perhaps the focus should be more of a bell curve.

An example is finding 4 segments of heavy meteorsteel in Eridani. This doesn't happen in current game versions but it did back in 1.1. It was great fun (note use of the word 'fun' here) blasting your way to St Kats with few worries. But it only happened very occasionally. So although that game wasn't balanced, it was really enjoyable.

Rather than use strict criteria to balance the game maybe there should be a very high probability of a balanced game but without completely ruling out a chance of something outside the 'accepted' limits from happening. Like the 'wrong' level armor example mentioned above.

Balanced = bland and boring.
Fun = well, fun. Much more desirable. You never know what will happen.

A much discussed example is the omni thermo cannon with the lithium booster and ammo producer (which, I confess, I've never used). It sounds like it is totally unbalanced but great fun. Rather than somehow stopping this from happening at all, somehow make it only possible for this combination to occur in 1 in 5 or 1 in 10 games. I don't know how, but to just remove this combination from the game would be a boring alternative.

To paraphrase a wise person: "It is probably more desirable to have the "best-selling, most fun" game rather than the "best, most balanced" game. Or to put it another way "give the player a good time, not what would be best according to a strict interpretation of game development dogma".
Ofc evrybody can mod the game in any way he or she likes...wait, not realy.
This is true. The code is getting more and more complex. Which is great from a game perspective as it means more and better features. But from a player/modder perspective it is virtually impossible.
I suspect that quite a few people have tried to mod but got stuck because of one thing or another which is obvious in hindsight to experienced modders but cannot be deduced by someone without the required knowledge.

I quote murlocdummy from the "Basic ship modding tutorial" forum topic:
It's great that Pixelfck wrote up the tutorial, but without key information, it's extremely difficult to determine how to just make things work at their most basic level.
Too true.

I think it needs more tutorials, more documentation and more comments in code. The level of info is much greater than it was but a lot of it is definitions which although helpful isn't really what is needed.
What is needed is examples of how to use the code (possibly there could be a tutorial/learning mod section on the Multiverse). TransGeek's "Using ScrAddAction To Change Dockscreens Without Overwrting" forum topic is excellent, as is Xephyr's "Missions 101" topic.

'enum' is a great example.
From the function list:
(enum list itemVar exp) -> value

Iterate itemVar over list evaluating exp. Returns the last value of exp.
From the xelerus function explanation:
A function allowing you to run an expression using the variable to store the element you are at for every element in a list.
Although absolutely correct, this doesn't help someone trying to learn how to mod.

Please note that I am not criticizing or complaining, the effort put in by community members is outstanding and the Ministry reference topics are great, just trying to point out what is needed to get more mods out there. In my thinking the game will be more successful as the number of mods grows (but I'm not a game developer so this may be wrong).

Yes, people can go to IRC or Discord to get help but that helps only a few people in limited circumstances for a very short period of time. It would be better if everyone could benefit from all the info at any time.

Posts: 19
Joined: Sat May 11, 2019 11:17 am

Sat Jun 01, 2019 4:07 pm

What i realy dont like and is kinda hard to "fix" (need to practicly override all friendly stations) are those c/cu/crv thingies that replaced previous level+2 . Not sure if u tried to play recently plain trnscendence without any mods ,corporate comand and so on. Its way worse than it was 11 years ago. Most of systems seems to be quite desolate , and when something appears it has tendency to be 4 of A 4 of B and 4 of C - especialy after st kate. its superboring.
Think its those "ranx space, sung space ... " topology generating fault.
What i tried to do long time ago was to mess at least with random encounters ,to give small chance of "higher level" thingies to appear in lower levels, like occasional marauder below st kate , some kobol warlords before sanctuary and such.

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