I want to talk about the direction of gameplay. I don't feel it is good.

General discussion about anything related to Transcendence.
wnmnkh
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Hi, I don't make posts here often. In fact previous one made in 2017 and before that it was 2008.


Just like many others, I started playing this game for a long time. Wasn't the version number was 0.5 or 0.6 or something? My memory may be failing but I think I started this game around 2000, with zero English knowledge that is. I congratulate and thank George for maintaining and updating this game for now nearly 20 years, which something you just don't see it these days.


Also I must admit that I only 'beat' the game like three times. Most of the case I just got massively tired of the game and stopped playing for a long time. It seems 2017 was the last time I played this game, and after 3 years I started the game again with latest version.



And I am not sure if some of changes are positives to the game.



The game has been always hard (as seen that I only beat the game three times for entire 20 years of lifespan). But the issue is more like massive frustration rather than just being plain hard. Bad RNG rolls on station/device generation can definitely ruin the entire game. The problem I am facing is that recent ('recent' I mean... about last 5 years) changes actually made the game far worse in regard of RNG.


As now, the game has too many artificial 'limitations'. The game is vast, and certain elements can go unbalanced which I understand, but all the restrictions of game balance essentially narrowed down possible route to play the game.



1) Ship device space limitation:

I am not sure when it was changed like this, but it seems now things like shield, propulsion as well as cargo upgrade are now counted as 'device', which drastically cuts amount of devices can be installed on the ship (or I may be confused with this.) Shield and cargo are usually considered as essential that players are starting with two less device spaces. As now I feel only freighter barely have enough device spaces, never mind about other ships that have less device space than freighter.

The result is that the player only ever can use 2 weapons at max. You see, 2 weapons, shield, propulsion and cargo you have 3 spaces left. Of course without any sort of weapon enhancer a lot of weapons are actually weak so I will spend at least one on something like particle accelerator, it means I will have just 2 real 'free' device space for most of the case.

There are a lot of interesting devices, I must remind you, but with just 2 device space all I see is I am pretty much going to pick very same devices every single time because with exception of just couple a lot of them are "well, interesting and can be good, but..." category and can be safely ignored. There are more devices now than ever but ironically I will be using even less and same devices because I simply do not have available space to install them in the first place. The freighter has actual four free spaces so there are some breath room to put one or two gimmicky devices but that's really it.

Or I may be confused and perhaps it was always like that.... (but that's not what I remember. I believe a long time ago there was a post about Freighter was "nerfed" from having 10 device spaces to 7 slots. And now I see it once again has 10 device spaces but I feel it has even less than when it had 7 spaces.)

My suggestion is that increase all of ships' device slots by 3. That will effectively give 5 free slots from 2, allowing the player to customize their ships properly.



2) Weapon limitation.

In current setup, WMD is deeply flawed. I believe WMD is introduced because people were only playing with fast-hitting weapons, not slow-firing ones despite higher damage. But now It is introduced all I see is that WMD essentially killed all non-omni energy weapons, from lowly laser to ion weapons (ironically one of the most strongest energy weapons, Katana Star Cannon, is actually even more powerful now than ever). Laser is now strictly limited after St. K, particles are barely workable until dwarg appears, and only worthy ion weapons are omni ones and Katana Star Cannon.

And now with device space limitation, this gets far worse. You cannot have a ship configuration without WMD weapon, but with device space limitation you can only realistically have 2 weapons. Well, that means one goes for WMD which tends to be slow-firing and slow-projectile and other goes for something opposite, which would be either omnidirectional or something that has tracking capabilities. This really further limits anything else that does not fit into this 'basic' build.


Oh wait, there's more! As you play you will find stations that CANNOT be destroyed by either normal weapons or WMD weapons. They can be only be destroyed by.... wait for it.... mining weapons.

...I have to be honest this is such a bad gameplay desing right there. People are not going to play mining by forcing them to equip mining weapons. Such limitation only increases frustrations. I solved the issue by going back to friendly station. Then I removed my WMD weapon, equiped a mining weapon, killed station(s), went back to the friendly station, unequipped mining weapon and re-installed my WMD weapon. This is just pure frustation-inducing game design.


I thought about it. So maybe give some energy weapons WMD? But then WMD is just pointless at that point.

...perhaps WMD is pointless in the first place and maybe tweak some weapons would had been better.



3) Map limitation.

The truth is, current total number of systems is too small right now.

The real issue is thate now there are just too many stuffs. More precisely too many garbage loot that only exists to take the space where a semi-decent loot could had spawned. There is a particle cannon that does about 25% more damage but at about 1/2 firing speed of original particle cannon. Why does it exist? Well, it seems the base game is now including the weapons from expansions. But now there are a lot of redundant weapons, and some of them are going to be insta-sold or insta-ignored. Now that are actually fine in grand terms, but the issue is that with RNG nature of the game the player has even less chance seeing 'right' loots appear. Like that thermo cannon that you absolutely need right now but all you see is some weird dual particle cannons everywhere.


It is not just loot. Same goes for stations as well. At my current playthrough there is literally only ONE Huari fortress to play Huari route and only ONE commonwealth military station (excluding St. K) to advance my military career in entire game. I am not joking. A new race and new stations are being kept added but the overall available systems have been same. Once again RNG involves now I almost have playthrough that I would not be able to play Huari quests and military quests.


To be honest we needed polishing, not new stuffs. But now it would not be nice idea to remove already added stuffs.... so the alternative is add more systems. We need a lot of filler systems. Like... well, maybe 15 additional filler systems?



4) Shield vs Armor limitation.

I removed that shield on my ship and focused more on just armor and surprisingly it worked well. It seems as the game progress shield lasts maybe 5~10 seconds before it just get obliterated. Might as try finding some worldships for ultimate non-shield play.

Now I see is that the raw damage value of energy weapons in general got increased a lot. I see TeV-9 blaster does whooping 20+ damage without modification. I remember a long time ago it did like... well, like 9 damage? It was not definitely not much more than mere particle beam cannon. Of course, the shield hp has not been changed as far as I remember.

As now at early game shield has upper-hand (the fact that the player also has no money to repair armor so taking no damage is extremely important) but as the game progress the shield gets progressively weaker.. to the point that it is essentially useless, energy-consuming devices.

Oh well, I guess I lied about limiting device space limitation. Since giving up shield gives 1 more space for other more useful ones.


Well, certainly we could go back to "Find that Invincible Class Shield" days but I think the real issue is that all damage is completely blocked by shield before it collapses. This makes the balance between shield and armor difficult. I propose several solutions.

1) Make shields as damage-reduction rather than damage-blocking.

2) Make shields incredibly stronger, but make them specialized. For instance, laser-bloking shield blocks all laser projectile but provides no protection against any other types.




The point I'd really like to make is that the game should not try to be hard by being frustrating. Consider this as tl;dr for this long post. Thanks for reading!
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The device slots have remained unchanged since 1.01, except for 1) EI500, which has gained a device slot (from 9 to 10), to offset the cargo hold tax (it now has 50 instead of 200 without cargo hold), and 2) ships have no power without a reactor in newer releases, no doubt due to archaeotech ships in part 2. Formerly, ships had 10 MW and people tried no reactor runs.

Yes, the device slots limitations are annoying, especially for slow gunships (anything slower than Wolfen) with only four non-weapon slots.

I do not like the WMD problem either. Non-omni energy weapons are pointless, which I dump by midgame. It has made adding new mod weapons frustrating because I know they will not be used. (I removed some of my energy weapons due to the WMD problem.) Lately, I have considered adding WMD to my energy weapons just so they can hurt things. On the other hand, too many WMD on weapons that fire every frame can cause shrapnel spam. So far, I have considered adding very high level lasers (like from levels 6 to 8) and particle beams (at levels 9 and 10) because they do enough damage to hull.

Some of the loot is what enemies make and use, not necessarily what the Commonwealth would use.

For me, the main point of shields is avoiding damage (to avoid repairing armor) and avoiding status effects like radiation and EMP. Shields with damage reduction like Trenton makes ship highly vulnerable to status effects. Also, leaked damage adds up unless player use armor regeneration... or the Domina power Restore, which was changed recently to repair armor too.
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wnmnkh
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PM wrote:
Tue Jun 23, 2020 12:53 pm
The device slots have remained unchanged since 1.01, except for 1) EI500, which has gained a device slot (from 9 to 10), to offset the cargo hold tax (it now has 50 instead of 200 without cargo hold), and 2) ships have no power without a reactor in newer releases, no doubt due to archaeotech ships in part 2. Formerly, ships had 10 MW and people tried no reactor runs.
Oh yes, probably happened before 1.0 was released. I am talking about changes when still the game site was called as neurohack. You know, it took 10 years for the game to reach 1.0 release. That is a lot of history, and sometimes I miss the old version. I really should not had deleted my old 0.97c version of this game (does anyone still have backup copy?).
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 Talk to Digdug, he maintains an archive of all previous versions of the game. (Also I may dig into some of the original post when I get something vaguely resembling a shred of motivation; it has some good points in it that I kinda want to poke at.)
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Kourtious
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Hi! I am also a long time player. I have some of my opinions that I would like to discuss, contrast and push forward to the community. In general, I will be posting things that I don't like about the game since it's more constructive and that I love the game more than dislike it. Disclaimer: I know this isn't a suggestions thread, but I can't help but add them when contrasting with things I like and don't like about the game.

Difficulty
I find the game easy but it took me hundreds of hours to reach that point and it's mostly through memorizing equipment and remembering gimmicks. For example, these days I use autopilot in between almost every 3-5 seconds. Why? There isn't really much piloting skill involved in Transcendence compared to your typical arcade game. This is my first problem that there is a lack of skill to play the action part of the game. Fights are generally more about being gimmicky, overpowered, or underpowered. There are few instances in my hundreds of hours where I had to outmaneuver the enemy in a strategic way to strike a weak point. An obvious example is dealing with the Phobos Dreadnaught. Get a launcher with tracking missiles and fire from a distance while easily dodging it's predictable projectile. Apply this technique to 99% of the enemies, and you'll will be fine.

My next problem is that once you figured out the gimmicks and tricks of the game, getting money is so easy that RNG is not even a factor anymore. It's not a terrible issue, as it can make the game more fun and allow you to experiment more rather than be forced to backtrack, especially after getting to a more difficult and expensive system. I just wish RNG was more a factor in getting money.

RNG
I have my fair share of bad RNG experiences. I think most of these can be alleviated by tuning the game. For example, I find it terrible that a Sapien ship can spawn to attack you while you are doing the Militia Superfreighter escort mission. The superfreighter needs to have at least a hardened plasteel armor or a blast plate variant with anti-radiation coating. It is very easy to fail as the Superfreighter is too slow to receive decontamination at the Commonwealth Fortress.

However, RNG is also what makes it fun. It forces you to play the game in different ways. The only reason why it wouldn't be fun is that it forces you to reach the same goal but in a more annoying way, which unfortunately happens in some of my games. This is especially true, if you know how to play the game given the hundreds of hours of experience.

Ship device space limitation
I agree with you that the current implementation of the device system is not optimal. As you said, it incentivizes fewer equipment loadouts. This is only exacerbated by the vast quantities of subpar equipment. RNG with equipment and low skill ceiling combat further makes this situation worse. There are a set of weapons that will get the job done in 5 seconds, others in 10, and the rest in 20. And I can apply that knowledge to almost every enemy instead of thinking that one type of weapon in one situation is better than the other. And in those rare cases (due to low skill ceiling), device limitations is usually the reason why I don't even consider it.

My preferred suggestion is similar to Endless Sky game where there is a maximum space for each type of equipment - weapon, reactor, engine, etc. And each equipment has it's own space size. The player would then have to fiddle around to produce the best fitting ship rather than the most convenient ship. Of course, I have been told in the past that this would never happen given the direction they think game is going. However, I still have hope.

For the current implementation, a propose a simpler preference. Have two new categories of device slots. Critical device slots for engines and reactors. Auxiliary device slots for non-weapon, non-critical devices. Then, make weapon device slots mandatory on most ships. Lastly, add a sprinkle of general purpose device slots to most ships. This is as close as I could think of to my preferred idea. This proposal can limit ship design in a meaningful way, while at the same time, allowing for flexibility in playstyle through the general device slot. Want a bigger reactor? Use the critical device spot. Too large of a reactor and still want an engine? Use the general device spot. It turns out your playing as a freighter, so you may want to consider instead using general device spot for weapons. Of course, such a design would involve balance changes that I leave to everyone's imagination.

Weapon Design
Instead of talking about Weapon Limitation, I am going to talk about weapon design, since I partially addressed that issue. Foremost, the implementation of WMD was a great step forward. However, the execution of it has been getting worse as the fundamental problem is that WMD is too much of a defining trait. Given the low skill ceiling, the toughest enemies you will have to deal with are usually big burly ships or stations with a lot of internal health. In other words, it's usually a race against time, money, or fuel rather than how you fight. WMD is the main solution to those problems. I like the direction George is going with mining weapons being extra effective with buried stations, but it doesn't affect WMD as the primary attribute in determining weapon effectiveness. Btw, you can still destroy buried stations without mining weapons, just takes quite a bit longer.

Thankfully, the solution to this is actually pretty easy. Make other attributes more relevant, which in turn will make other tactical options more relevant. I will get to WMD but let's start with an example, the Shield Buster attribute. Give this a scale from 0-10. Take the damage times this Shield Buster number and that will be your damage output on shields. Of course, this current game implementation makes shields quite weak compared to armor so that's not the best example. (#insert suggestion: If it were me, I would make most lower level shields pass damage through to mimic lower human tech effectiveness and then marginally increase shield strength to make shields a good portion of the space fight. And seriously, shields should be added to some stations as well. Perhaps compartmentalized them into station sections for more fun interactive gameplay).

WMD should be split into however many types George plans to add weapon-internal hull interactions. Right now, it is WMD and Mining. So, split WMD into Station Busting and Material Excavation (horrible name). Station busting is basically WMD and is for the mass destruction of a ton of unprotected compartments. However, Material Excavation is for the stripping away of lots of weak protection aka the miles of rock covering a Marauder Stronghold. For this attribute to be useful, there must be a good amount of buried attribute buildings.

Basically, having varied attributes with more similar weight for determining weapon effectiveness allows for more interesting weapon loadouts.

Loot and Storage
I agree that most loot should not be "insta-ignored" or "insta-sold". And I think my previous suggestions will partially reduce this feeling. My biggest problem with loot mechanics is that it is not intuitive. When you dock with a wreck, there should really be tabs of general, non-damage equipment, illegal, and damaged. This would help me find what I want quicker. When you jettison, there absolutely needs to be a sorting tab for illegals. It feels annoying to have to find your illegals before you dock with a Commonwealth station without a smuggling hold, especially for Slave Coffins.

I have an additional suggestion (I know this isn't a suggestions thread). First, when you have junk, such as damaged weapons, you can turn it into Scrap. Scrap is 10% value of the equipment and half the weight of it. Your cargo values it as the weighted sum. The benefit of scrap, is that most places should buy them, whether it be for burning it as fuel, finding random parts to tinker, or for makeshift bulkheads. This makes it easier for players to manage junk they don't want and save cargo space.

Map Limitations
I'd argue the opposite for Map Systems. There are too many uninteresting Systems and too much junk. Most systems appear to be a procedural sibling of its neighboring systems. And I'd suggest the opposite. Have slightly fewer systems by 3 or 4 and make each system a vibrant experience. Perhaps there are more patrols, more interactions, more stations, or a system wide random event. That would be more exciting and memorable for me. I think this would be especially true for new players as well.

And to plug another suggestion in, please add the ability to track where you have been or seen, like an optional fog of war. It would certainly make the boring vasts of space a smaller portion of everyone's gameplay.

Shield vs Armor
Yes. Armor is the meta and shields suck. Shields however, are needed to make sure you don't ended up spending lots of armor repairs. Both are generally needed. However, I find that shields don't last enough in most cases for an interesting game play mechanic. This was suggested previously that most human tech shields should allow damage to pass through to mimic weaker human tech and at the same time, marginally increase the health of shields. This would not only make shields much more relevant in the game but also add a dynamic of breaking shields to break armor or suppressing shields to break armor. For example, quicker shield recovery from broken would matter more, since it would force some players to switch weapons due to more shield resiliency. However, I would not go as far as suggesting shields do one polar role of damage-reduction to another of damage type specific prevention. I think that kind of implementation is not much more different than the current polar representation of shields just being a hp-bar going from 100-0%. Of course, it's nice if there are more variety of shields in which these kinds can show up once in a while.


And I just want to say, thank you for making this post. I usually don't express my thoughts on this level and your post made me want to. And I think we'd all want to make the game better.
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Something that you guys have to remember is that we have been playing this game too long time enough that we pretty much remember a lot of the game's detail, making the game far more easier.

This game seems to suffer Dwarf Fortress syndrome. That is, the players are getting used to the game, feeling the game is easy, so they ask the developer for more difficult and complex. So the developer does that. After a while once again players are getting used to the changes and additions so once again people are asking the game to be more difficult. It is almost never ending cycle.

(I know George was inspired by Dwarf Fortress when he was making this game, perhaps that's why lol.)


This game is only easy because we almost all know about details.
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Yah! I agree with that. I'm likely biased by that but it also opened me up to all the viable and practical fighting strategies. And to me, there really isn't a multilayered attempt to any fight.

There really is only one step you take in a fight and the options for that first step are pretty limited. You can spam missiles and howitzers or fire everything with Domina Defend. That will get rid of most enemies. I don't know what other layer you really need for a fight. I think honestly, a part of the problem is that weapons are too accurate and precise. Fighting from range will almost usually be better and unless the enemy can be flanked at all without retribution, there really won't be other ways to play. I do think the game tactically is much better than Endless Sky, whom I think is a strong competitor to Transcendence; but Endless Sky has a lot more tactical setup than the actual fight itself by having multiple ships to control.

IDK. I find Transcendence action fighting to be neither a bullet hell or rock/paper/scissors or tactical dodgefighting. It's not bullet hell, cause weapons generally are accurate and fast, making it quite hard to dodge. It's not rock/paper/scissors, since most of the fighting involves just spamming dps into your enemies. You really don't consider resistances in most cases. It's not tactical dodgefighting, because there really is no weakpoint for you or for your enemies. It's spam till one dies and as the player, Domina powers can really narrow what's most effective.
Last edited by Kourtious on Sat Jun 27, 2020 5:55 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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I think early game is easier and late game (or at least boss-level enemies) is a bit harder in modern releases.

Until recently, armor below 25% could not be repaired normally. (Repair kits and armor regeneration from patcher arm bypassed the check, but you do not get much of those early.) That really hurt if special low-level armor was damaged too much. Now, you can repair armor regardless of damage.

Until recently, buying limits could be ignored if your ship carried more than what the shop had. If not, item value got progressively less until buying limit was reached. That ripped off newbies of much needed money when they needed it, and encouraged those who knew how the system worked to hoard items as long as possible until they could sell for maximum profit. Now, you can sell items anytime and not be ripped off, although you cannot defeat buying limits for more money.

Wind slavers had four armor segments, and were deadly. Now they have one segment and are not much tougher than Hornets.

Ventari's ion disruptors had device damage. You take armor damage, you have high chance of permanent damage of your items. This is your rust monster in space that turns your expensive devices into slag. Today, ionization is more forgiving, although device damage is still possible if ship gets ionized too much.

Lately, with the new consumable UI, ROMs and the like are suddenly much more useful for repairing items. In particular, the weapon efficiency ROM is overpowered because a cheap level 4 item can repair that level 10 weapon with ease. +efficiency mod is kind of lackluster, but repairing a max level item to use or sell for big bucks (with a much lower level consumable) is huge.
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Kourtious wrote:
Sat Jun 27, 2020 5:43 pm
There really is only one step you take in a fight and the options for that first step are pretty limited. You can spam missiles and howitzers or fire everything with Domina Defend. That will get rid of most enemies. I don't know what other layer you really need for a fight. I think honestly, a part of the problem is that weapons are too accurate and precise. Fighting from range will almost usually be better and unless the enemy can be flanked at all without retribution, there really won't be other ways to play. I do think the game tactically is much better than Endless Sky, whom I think is a strong competitor to Transcendence; but Endless Sky has a lot more tactical setup than the actual fight itself by having multiple ships to control.

IDK. I find Transcendence action fighting to be neither a bullet hell or rock/paper/scissors or tactical dodgefighting. It's not bullet hell, cause weapons generally are accurate and fast, making it quiete hard to dodge. It's not rock/paper/scissors, since most of the fighting involves just spamming dps into your enemies. You really don't consider resistances in most cases. It's not tactical dodgefighting, because there really is no weakpoint for you or for your enemies. It's spam till one dies and as the player, Domina powers can really narrow what's most effective.
With limited device slots, ships cannot afford to mount a bunch of weapons for RPS gameplay. For ships with two weapon slots, they want a primary and a launcher. Ships with all-purpose slots will probably load-up on non-weapon devices and save only two for weapons. Only ships with four non-weapon slots would consider using more than two weapons because they have no other choice. Well, maybe not Wolfen, it is sensitive to mass and it is a good idea to remove unnecessary weapons that can weigh the ship down.

Minotaur feels slot starved because it wants three slots for weapons: main, linked-fire omni, and launcher. Two more taken by reactor and shield, which leaves three left for others. For me, that is cargo hold, jumpdrive, and Titan engine. (I spam Restore power for armor repairs.)

Evern (in Eternity Port) feels more powerful than other playerships, or at least on the same level as Minotaur because it has nine all-purpose slots and good all-around stats like Minotaur.

If you read some of the design guideline tickets at Ministry, the guidelines for small ships like classic playerships should have fewer slots. That seems crazy. It feels like most ships have just enough slots for the bare essentials and nothing more. Gunships slower than .25c and with only four non-weapon slots is not enough.
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I remember those times and I think George should've left them in game and instead made the ability to fix those issues more easily. Your armor is significantly damaged? More RNG armor repair kits. Your weapon is significantly damaged? Add a weapon repair kit separate from weapon enhancers. This rogue lifestyle would be more cool and players would tactically prepare to reduce those potential problems.

I agree Wind Slavers are weak nowadays. I think what would be cool is if they had two armor segments and one is nearly compromised, they would flip backwards to fire a single particle cannon or fire its weapons at a reduced rate. That would be awesome. Better yet, just removed the Shuriken cannon and instead have 1 particle cannon and 1 omnidirectional particle cannon to implement this idea.

Honestly, I'm confused as to why George hasn't created more Heisenberg cubes to cover the higher level ROM functionality and limit ROM effectiveness. That would make the Quantum CPU a much more valuable device to use. And if Quantum CPUs are a liability in most cases for device slots, why not make them a permanent upgrade without costing a device slot?
Last edited by Kourtious on Sat Jun 27, 2020 6:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Kourtious
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PM wrote:
Sat Jun 27, 2020 5:56 pm
With limited device slots, ships cannot afford to mount a bunch of weapons for RPS gameplay. For ships with two weapon slots, they want a primary and a launcher. Ships with all-purpose slots will probably load-up on non-weapon devices and save only two for weapons. Only ships with four non-weapon slots would consider using more than two weapons because they have no other choice. Well, maybe not Wolfen, it is sensitive to mass and it is a good idea to remove unnecessary weapons that can weigh the ship down.

Minotaur feels slot starved because it wants three slots for weapons: main, linked-fire omni, and launcher. Two more taken by reactor and shield, which leaves three left for others. For me, that is cargo hold, jumpdrive, and Titan engine. (I spam Restore power for armor repairs.)

Evern (in Eternity Port) feels more powerful than other playerships, or at least on the same level as Minotaur because it has nine all-purpose slots and good all-around stats like Minotaur.

If you read some of the design guideline tickets at Ministry, the guidelines for small ships like classic playerships should have fewer slots. That seems crazy. It feels like most ships have just enough slots for the bare essentials and nothing more. Gunships slower than .25c and with only four non-weapon slots is not enough.
Oh! I should've specified the amount of device slots that should be in ships. My problem is actually that ships have too few device slots but adding more without restriction would muddle ship identity. Here's a summary of my suggestion:
  • Make most ships have weapon-device slots. Those that lore wise shouldn't have weapons would not have dedicated weapon device slots.
  • Add Critical Device slots for Engines and Reactors. They are directly inbuilt to ships and should not interfere with other functions of the ship.
  • Add Auxiliary Device slots for Non-weapon and Non-critical equipment. These are for however the player wishes to augment the ship to support a playstyle.
  • Add one or a few General Device slots for most ships to add flexibility.
  • There should be in general, more device slots with this suggestion than in the current game implementation to promote more loadouts.
Balance for equipment slots would be up to your imagination.
Examples:
  • Wolfen would have 4 Weapon Slots, 2 Auxiliary Slots, 2 Critical Slots, 1 General Slot.
  • Freighter would have 1 Weapon Slot, 4 Auxiliary Slots, 3 Critical Slots, and 2 General Slots.
  • Sapphire would have 1 Weapon Slot, 3 Auxiliary Slots, 2 Critical Slots, and 3 General Slots.
Balance ideas for role differentiation:
  • More multi-slot weapons. Think triple weapon slots for Ares Plasma Archcannon.
  • More multi-slot equipment in general.
  • Add unique combination slot equipment. Weapon Enhancers could take a weapon slot and an auxiliary slot.
  • Implement Multi-slot reactors and Multi-slot propulsion. Pteracnium megadrive could take up two critical slots. You could also pair two Koshiba Reactors for lower efficiency (-15%?) and 1GW power for two critical device slots.
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The only item that is truly critical is reactor because without it, ship cannot move and dies in about thirty seconds. Plus, reactors cannot be removed or swapped in part 2. That would be one slot, as things are.

Engines are not critical. Wolfen does not need one, and none of the NPCs have them equipped. Maybe Centurion-X too if it sticks with light armor. However, they are very useful for the other ships. I definitely want one after I upgrade to Minotaur.

If there is another item I would consider critical, it is the item that takes the shield slot. All playerships start with a shield or a substitute (Novaya repairer). I think it is assumed player will have one, and four non-weapon (what you called auxiliary) slots assumes two taken by reactor and shields.

All-purpose slots are basically non-weapon slots once ship has enough weapons. There are many more useful non-weapons than weapons.

While Transcendence's slots could be better, I like it more than Endless Sky's. Transcendence is simpler, and I do not need to lug around a bunch of extra devices in my fleet to play a Tetris-like inventory puzzle mini-game in Endless Sky whenever I get a new ship or find better equipment. It is tedious trying to fit the equipment puzzle on a ship in Endless Sky.
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Kourtious
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I disagree in general that the current implementation of device slots are good. It's so simple that it actually hurts the game for some players. I understand how being more complicated can cause the same effect but I think my suggestions don't appear to push forward to that level. Furthermore, device slots for Human Tech should not be limited by Alien Tech designs. After all, they are two very different things and Part 2 should have limited relevance for human ships in Part 1, as human ships are a small presence in Part 2 as is alien ships are in Part 1. If anything, separate the attributes. This is what differentiates the ships currently in Part 2.

If I remember correctly, in The Backroads extension, there are multi-slot reactors but you can only equip one reactor. Now, I think you are talking about device limits and I am talking about both device slots and limits.

"Engines are not critical." - I just want to point out this space game treats the concept of engines in a weird way, at least naming wise. I'm just going to say Afterburners from now on, because it's a much more fitting concept.

NPC ships are clearly not designed with player intentions, so I wouldn't consider them comparable but it would be very nice to see variety in them rather than tweaking their base stats.

Shields are something I thought of and I wasn't sure how to deal with them. They are not critical because you can play without them, just like afterburners. Thus, I will cede the idea that afterburners are not critical and should be left to the auxiliary device slots. If anything, the easy way to fix shields in this sense would be to either add an artificial limit to them and put them into the auxiliary category or add a separate Protection Device Slot so that some ships could have two shields or shields with two slots (two shields could be for two parts of a ship/station). It never hurts to expand the current implementation.

For Endless Sky, I infer we have different tastes for equipment implementation. I do agree that Endless Sky's design is more tedious but my main idea leans more towards Transcendence's style. And I do think such an idea needs to discussed and refined and I appreciated it.

After several reworks, this is what I came up with:
For reference, in my head I think of 1 slot as a fighter-class, 2 as a destroyer, 3 as a cruiser, and 4 as a dreadnaught-class. Ofc, balance and interpretation is up to everyone's imagination. In this case, if the Ares Plasma Archcannon is a 4 slot weapon, then the Wolfen would be able to carry it and then probably use the general slot to equip a 1-slot Orkan Launcher. However, if the Wolfen really really wanted to, it can equip 4 Ion Blasters but no more, as perhaps the Wolfen has no way to alternate 5 or more devices.
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Fleet Admiral
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I did not say current implementation is good or great - I think there are too few slots for anything beyond the basics, except maybe for EI500 and Evern. I like that it is simple, and I prefer Transcendence's simplicity over Endless Sky's equipment puzzle game.

There is no need for critical slots because the only one that is truly critical is reactor, and that can be dealt with by +1 to general slots to offset the reactor tax. Maybe +2 or more if capital ships become truly supported and need multi-slot reactors (or can install multiple reactors). (I made custom reactors for capital ships in Playership Drones because 1 GW is not enough to power some capital ships. PSD Failsafe is the most extreme example with a ten-slot reactor.) Currently, capital ships is strictly a mod thing. The biggest ship player can pilot without third-party mods is either Minotaur or EI200, which is still quite small.

I mean engine items like Titan and megadrive. I never install such an item for Wolfen (and I would not for Centurion-X if I use light armor). On the other hand, I do think Wolfen needs a cargo hold - 35 tons is not enough. Most ships have low capacity, but Wolfen has the least.

Shields are basic equipment that all playerships and many NPCs have. Most ships have shield or alternative that takes shield slot. It is true that no shields is an option, much like no reactor was an option when ships could remove reactors and still have 10 MW left.

That picture appears more complicated than it needs to be.

Another idea is device slot cost evolves into slot size (0 = small, 1 = medium, 2 = large, 3 = extra large), and there is no total slot limit, just individual slots to fill up, which are all visible. And player can fill all the slots on the ship interior screen. Weapon slots are all visible, and ships have at least one misc. device slot (for things like enhancers, jumpdrive, quest item NARES probes). Actually, those NARES probes should be like mining pods. I dislike that NARES takes a slot, and I save it for last if necessary. Some ships could be missing slots for say... shields, drive, cargo. Let's say... Hornet, has no engine slot because it is fast enough. (It probably still wants one for acceleration, since its thrust is so low.)
Download and Play in 1.9 beta 1...
Drake Technologies (Alpha): More hardware for combat in parts 1 and 2!
Star Castle Arcade: Play a classic arcade game adventure, with or without more features (like powerups)!
Playership Drones: Buy or restore exotic ships to command!

Other playable mods from 1.8 and 1.7, waiting to be updated...
Godmode v3 (WIP): Dev/cheat tool compatible with D&O parts 1 or 2.
wnmnkh
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There is no need to make thing more complex. Making slots into specialized ones... I cannot help but feeling it even further restricts the ship customization.


The fact is we can make ships play very differently even if we give them same number of slots.


Look at the ships, playstyles are not defined by number of slots they have. The fact is even if both Wolfen and EI500 same 8 slots, they are still going to be played in utterly different ways.

Answer is already there at their stock setups. Wolfen, dual weapons, fast speed but weaker armor and critically low cargo space. EI500 omnidirectional, very slow but can equip extremely heavy armor. What they really need is that special features that make the ship special and can be only played with certain ways.

Forcing a ship to play certain ways would had been bad idea if we could not change the ship. But now we can swap the ship for new one if we do not like it much.


It is just those special features are not really strong enough. George has right idea when he introduced new ships from Corporate Command, it is just 2 out of 3 ships' special features are close to useless.



1) Sapphire: Actually it does not have any special feature, making the ship probably the weakest one. Oh wait, it is also the ONLY ship that the heaviest armor it can equip is heavy. All other ships can at least equip super-heavy ones. Major buff is probably needed here.
-strength: none.

2) Wolfen: Fastest speed/acceleration and people really do not realize how strong that acceleration provides survivality. Unlike many other starting ships it can crack Urak post from very beginning. After that it falls apart. Perhaps we can do something with the fact that ship really matches well with dual-firing weapons (on both visual and the fact that starting weapon is dual-firing laser)
-strength: speed.

3) EI500: With the change on the cargo space (now it is actually 50ton cargo in disguise) I have to say this ship is probably second weakest next to Sapphire. It does get stronger in very late game with the ability to install massive armor and does have highest device slots.... That is assuming you managed to go long enough that you can get omni thermo and thermo shell autofac.
-strength: really just +2 slots.

4) Manticore: Probably the strongest starting ship. This is the ship that special feature done right. That special armor can be restricting at times but at current balance it incredibly works well. Can also have massive armor like EI500, same max cargo space as EI500. It is basically better version of EI500 in many ways except slots.
-strength: special armor instead of shield.

5) Freya: Unfortunately just like Constellation it is the ship which its special feature is not strong enough, or even problematic because it seems the weapon mounted is treated as external, which can be damaged if the armor is attacked. Also the fact that only weapons from a single compnay makes it very weak feature.
-strength: swivel.

6) Constellation: Auton seems strong but they fell off very hard as soon as you go past St. K. Biggest issue is that any ship actually can install auton bay if anyone wants to play that style.
-strength: auton bay.


As you see, with exception of Manticore all of them have very blend and weak personalities. I am toying with some ideas on these ships right now.

All ships except EI500 gains 3+ general slots (means now Wolfen for instance has 5 non-weapon slots) EI500 only gains 2.

1) Sapphire: All devices installed on this ship is 40% more efficient. Increase base speed from .20c to .23c

2) Wolfen: Increase speed from 0.25c to 0.27c, and any dual-firing weapons installed on Wolfen is 50% more efficient and does 20% more damage.

3) EI500: Any installed single-point weapon gains omnidirectional. Increase cargo bay to 100 tons from 50 tons.

4) Manticore: No change. Perhaps 20% launcher firing speed boost.

5) Freya: make swivel'd weapon internal and remove restriction. Can now equip massive amor, and set standard armor as super-heavy so it won't get much speed penalty from having massive armor.

6) Constellation: Any installed single-point weapon gains omnidirectional. And for auton bay..... just like Freya it needs something more than the ship itself. Auton bay should not be buyable and just like Manticore's case it should be exclusive feature to Constellation. Also autons need to be far more stronger.


I am also looking at those 'upgrades' from the ship broker, which most of them are unfortunately nothing more than sidegrade or even degrade.
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