The Backroads — an alternate route

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Tue Aug 07, 2018 8:26 am

 Update of the (insert random time period here): The Backroads has been updated again. This is a minor update involving a few minor tweaks, but most importantly the removal of a call to the obsolete &dsDryDock; dockscreen (which, annoyingly enough, I wasn’t actually even using). This will make TBR playable again for people who had been trying to run the latest version and run into trouble with an unknown type error.

 I accept full blame for having uploaded a nonfunctional version because, for me, it did work — but only because I also run TSB, which apparently de-obsoletes the relevant dockscreen. Let this be a lesson to test things without anything else running that might give bogus results. The silver lining here is that it’s only the main TBR library needing updated, not the 200MB+ resource library that takes forever to download.

 That said, I am blaming George for not listing types being deprecated in the API spec records on Ministry, and have a ticket of my own requesting that he do so in the future. He’s gotten a lot better about documentation since a bunch of us basically dogpiled on him over it a ways back, but he does still backslide from time to time. ^.~
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relanat
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Wed Sep 19, 2018 1:00 am

Tried the Naginata. The intro screens where you select ship devices are very clever. Nice one. (I'm gonna try and use that code too, TIA :D).

Also seen the device extensions (two anyway). Great idea.

And I see why you want 'broadside' attack now as well. That ship is devastating (not sure which one it was, I was too busy running away!). The firing effect looks great too.

I like the very tough armor on the Monitors(?) where it takes a lot of fire to get through the armor and then the hull blows near instantly (I think that's what is happening). Original. Nice.

The shadow effect for the weapon mounts on the Bootlegger is very well done. It's fun just sitting there watching it spin.

The Haetenaro hold is a bit confusing. I assume its purpose is to allow any hold to have smuggling capability. It doesn't appear to increase cargo space. Would it be better as a 'normal' slotless device which did this rather than appear as a cargo hold?

Having the Benedict missions start in Zyr is a bit difficult. The player doesn't really get a hint to go to St Kats and continue the missions. The Korolov station which is indicated by Benedict can be in any system, not necessarily one (mainline is the attribute I think) which sorta directs the player to the next mission like in standard SOTP. Maybe the game can force-spawn a Korolov station somewhere between Eridani and StKats (not the Charon one) and Benedict can indicate that one. But that directs players away from the TBR systems. Dunno.

Very enjoyable. Glad I finally got some time to play TBR.

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Wed Sep 19, 2018 8:21 am

 Thanks for the feedback, I always appreciate it. ^.^
relanat wrote:Tried the Naginata. The intro screens where you select ship devices are very clever. Nice one. (I'm gonna try and use that code too, TIA :D).
 Feel free! Just note that there can be clashes between mods if more than one try to run a startup screen right off the bat like that. PM and I think we know how to keep that sorted out (and I may have already included that in the Naginata code), but let me know if you run into trouble with that.
relanat wrote:Also seen the device extensions (two anyway). Great idea.
 There are just the two, yeah. George kinda side-eyed them until I tied them into specific slots.
relanat wrote:And I see why you want 'broadside' attack now as well. That ship is devastating (not sure which one it was, I was too busy running away!). The firing effect looks great too.
 I’m honestly not sure which one you mean. There’s only one in particular that I had in mind for it — the Obelisk — and even then it’s actually Heliogenesis who really wants it.
relanat wrote:I like the very tough armor on the Monitors(?) where it takes a lot of fire to get through the armor and then the hull blows near instantly (I think that's what is happening). Original. Nice.
 I’m going to guess you mean the Fialka. It was originally going to be a placeholder, but I like the way it works out, myself.
relanat wrote:The shadow effect for the weapon mounts on the Bootlegger is very well done. It's fun just sitting there watching it spin.
 They’re not actually weapon mounts, just decorative. Glad you like the effect, though. ^.^
relanat wrote:The Haetenaro hold is a bit confusing. I assume its purpose is to allow any hold to have smuggling capability. It doesn't appear to increase cargo space. Would it be better as a 'normal' slotless device which did this rather than appear as a cargo hold?
 Originally, yes, that was its purpose. It’s going to be reworked into basically a permanently-installed smuggling hold, though.
relanat wrote:Having the Benedict missions start in Zyr is a bit difficult. The player doesn't really get a hint to go to St Kats and continue the missions. The Korolov station which is indicated by Benedict can be in any system, not necessarily one (mainline is the attribute I think) which sorta directs the player to the next mission like in standard SOTP. Maybe the game can force-spawn a Korolov station somewhere between Eridani and StKats (not the Charon one) and Benedict can indicate that one. But that directs players away from the TBR systems. Dunno.
 I haven’t poked at the Benedict storyline or how it interacts with TBR. It’s on the agenda. Eventually. I want to get my own mission work in place before I really dig into that, though.
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The Lone Badger
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Sun Sep 30, 2018 12:20 pm

Are you still recruiting people into the beta? I'd like to try it.

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Sun Sep 30, 2018 12:52 pm

 I am indeed! PM sent. ^.^
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Mon Oct 01, 2018 12:53 am

Reply sent :)

relanat
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Tue Oct 02, 2018 6:47 am

Had a God-look and decompiled the code. The Monolith class cruiser was the one that took forever to get through the armor and then hull-died quickly. But it's relative. 16 heavy ithalium armor. They. Just. Will. Not. Die!

I couldn't recognize the 'broadside' attack ship from the images. Not the Obelisk. All I can remember is it had a simultaneous, fixed, four barreled, red weapons effect (phew!) firing at the player. Which pretty much ripped the side out of the player ship, this being why I ran away! It's possible the ship was firing from its front because I didn't get a good look. But the weapons fire appeared to come from a somewhat recessed side section of the ship image. Very clever. It gives a lot of damage power to the ship while balancing it with slow spin.

And that is a great looking hit effect on the Kingpin. (I know I shouldn't be firing at friendlies).

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Wed Oct 03, 2018 1:04 pm

Some early comments:

* Error text about a cursor pops-up every time a Legion patrol gets spawned
* Re Legion, I don't really understand the difference between a low-hp-shield-that-takes-reduced-damage and a normal high-hp-shield. It takes a long time to burn through a legion shield, exactly as if it was a normal shield.
* Some of the new stuff seems a little overpowered - the dual weapons on the Psi gunship and combining a mitigator-shield with good armour in particular
* It's easy to get lost in the Back Roads. There's a couple of things that might help
........* Some kind of 'depth gauge' so you can tell whether you're heading deeper in toward the core, or actually heading back out. Could be as simple as a re-usable ROM that gives you the depth level of the system you're .........currently in
........* A way to locate stargates - when there may be 3-4 in a system, finding the one you want can be very difficult, making it in turn hard to see what system connects to what. Idea: Installable device that can be used to locate all gates in the current system. Alternatively / in addition, a cargo device with limited charges.

I notice the new ships are often substantially smaller than a vanilla ship of the same weight category. Legion corvettes for example are similar in size to a typical gunship. I assume this is intentional?

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Wed Oct 03, 2018 3:18 pm

 Okay. Part 1, to address relanat’s comments:
relanat wrote:The Monolith class cruiser was the one that took forever to get through the armor and then hull-died quickly. But it's relative. 16 heavy ithalium armor. They. Just. Will. Not. Die!
 Oh! Yeah, the Monolith does go down a lot faster once you get through the armor. Semi-deliberate, that. (Also, I need to reclassify it as a destroyer, probably.)
relanat wrote:I couldn't recognize the 'broadside' attack ship from the images…
 I have no idea, then. I am completely at a loss. The only thing that comes to mind that even comes close would be the Rectifier, and on that you would probably have been complaining about the EMP more than the other weapons.
relanat wrote:And that is a great looking hit effect on the Kingpin. (I know I shouldn't be firing at friendlies).
 The hit effect is actually a function of the shield. It was fun to get code for that figured out. ^.^

 And now Part 2, for The Lone Badger (and I’m glad it finally decided to download for you):
The Lone Badger wrote:* Error text about a cursor pops-up every time a Legion patrol gets spawned
 Yeah, that’s new as of the most recent beta. I’ve already poked George about it.
The Lone Badger wrote:* Re Legion, I don't really understand the difference between a low-hp-shield-that-takes-reduced-damage and a normal high-hp-shield. It takes a long time to burn through a legion shield, exactly as if it was a normal shield.
 Part of it was early coding practice, admittedly. I probably don’t need to keep it set up like that, but I do like the unique shield as something weird should the player get hold of one.
The Lone Badger wrote:* Some of the new stuff seems a little overpowered - the dual weapons on the Psi gunship and combining a mitigator-shield with good armour in particular
 Balancing is still a work in progress. I do have limits on what weapons can be linked on the Psi — no dual weapons, and they can only total a certain percentage of the reactor’s output. Mitigators (and dampeners, for that matter) are a pain to balance, though, just because they work completely differently than anything George made. I’m still trying to get it all sorted out.
The Lone Badger wrote:* It's easy to get lost in the Back Roads…
 That’s actually not accidental. The vanilla topology is very straightforward and linear, and The Backroads are meant to be winding and trickier to navigate. (This is also partly Wolfy’s fault, since I took a few cues from The Stars Beyond when I was starting this monstrosity. Speaking of which, you should see the topology map with vanilla, Corporate Command, The Near Stars, The Stars Beyond, The Backroads, and Renegade all active in the same game. It’s… impressively convoluted.)
The Lone Badger wrote:I notice the new ships are often substantially smaller than a vanilla ship of the same weight category. Legion corvettes for example are similar in size to a typical gunship. I assume this is intentional?
 Some of my ships may need reclassified, yes, but I think part of the issue is that George has added a few larger ships in assorted classifications since I first did a lot of mine. It’s something I’ll be taking into consideration, whether renaming or just re-rendering to be a bit bigger. Probably the former. I’ve rendered everything in this more times than I’d care to try remembering, so adding one more time wouldn’t be a problem. The main thing is that I don’t want to have to re-trig all of the effect positions again. ¬.¬;
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The Lone Badger
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Sun Nov 04, 2018 9:24 am

Is there any documentation on which weapons will work for linked-fire and which won't? In fact, a ROM in starting inventory giving an 'owners manual' for your ship might be a nice addition.

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Sun Nov 04, 2018 11:40 am

 I don’t currently have any in-game documentation on what weapons can be set as secondaries on the Pariah, installed on the Ferry, or linked on the Psi, but here’s the basics (or at least as much as I can recall without some serious source-diving at why-the-kack-am-I-still-awake o’clock in the morning):
» Single slot weapons only.
» Single point-of-origin weapons only. This is slightly different from 'multishot — a laser cannon array will work, but a dual laser cannon will not.
» No launchers.
» The Psi-class has the additional restriction that the two weapons’ total combined power consumption cannot total more than three-fourths the reactor’s output.
» The Ferry-class has no additional restrictions per se, but non-Iler weapons will suffer a significant rate-of-fire penalty.

 I agree that they could stand to be clarified in-game as to what you can or can’t do. I’d rather have the “owner’s manual” done like I did on the Gryphon, though, as an extra option on the ship’s main interior dockscreen. I’ll probably add that on in the next version.
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Tue Nov 06, 2018 3:18 pm

 Update of the (insert random time period here): Progress is slow as I keep finding ways to procrastinate on making missions. <size=75>One of these years, I promise. <.< >.> <.<;</size> In the meantime, I went through and did a massive rebalance on all of the weapons. There are three that probably aren’t really balanceable, four more that are going to take a fair bit of work to get them to where they need to be and probably take a bit of fudging with more-or-less functionally similar weapons to properly balance, and two others that I really can’t be arsed to balance any better than I already have due to how they get used in-game. The other fifty-plus weapons, though? They’ve all been balanced (and nearly completely reworked where necessary) to be within +/-5 on George’s balance algorithm, and then had their price tags tweaked to be within +/-1 on the algorithm. It took… a while… @[email protected]
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Of all the things I’ve lost in life, I miss my mind the least. (I’m having a lot more fun without it!)

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