The Backroads — an alternate route

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Fri Dec 21, 2018 7:00 am

 Once I get encounters properly sorted out (and once George fixes a few issues on his side of things), starting with a TBR playership in Zyr and sticking to TBR systems will mostly result in running into TBR stations (friendly and hostile alike, though outlaws and pirates will still show up regardless). That might be as late as the 1.8 stable or possibly even a 1.9 alpha, though.

 Some TBR playerships will be starters, some won’t. In particular, the Gryphon, Ferry, and Pariah definitely won’t be, the Constable probably won’t be, and the Naginata and Procyon might not be. I’m tempted to cheat outrageously and import a ship from AE Playerships to have a vanilla-esque spread of gunship, flexible ship, and freighter as a starting trio.

 I’m glad you like the look of ’em! I wish they meshed a little better with George’s style, but there’s only so much I can do what with him using trueSpace and me using POV-Ray. <.< >.> <.<;
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Wed Dec 26, 2018 7:15 am

I watched George's most recent Twitch session, and I think the new code that he was discussing (allowing for more randomized/customized spawns based on topology) will greatly help your mod. I'm excited about that.

Bearing in mind that the missile ship is not intended as a starter, and also because I want to try your custom weapons, I decided to swap ships. However, it appears that I'm unable to do this. I imagine it has to do with the ship broker code being updated, as pointed out to me by Relanat relative to VoTG. Here's the Ministry ticket they pointed me to: https://ministry.kronosaur.com/record.hexm?id=82255 .

Thanks for the mod and your prompt responses.
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Thu Dec 27, 2018 11:32 am

 Several of those topology/encounter changes were because of me, actually. I mean, he probably would have implemented something along those lines eventually, but I did a lot of griping until he did. (And even then I had to open up a new ticket on it because all of the fancy-shmancy new stuff breaks if you have any mods older than API 43.)

 The ticket and the inability to change ships are apparently entirely unrelated, from what I can tell. I asked George about it on one of his streams, and he said there was some new code that needs to be present on playerships to make changing ships possible. I just haven’t gotten that far as yet. It’ll be in the next release of TBR.

 …Speaking of which. I know I’m not exactly punctual with keeping up with the latest release of the game, but this one in particular is a case of bad timing due to being right around the start of the Holiday season. To make matters worse, I got a Switch for Christmas, so yay for even more distractions for a while… <.< >.> <.<;
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Sat Jan 12, 2019 4:37 am

Happy new year! Hope it's good for you so far.

I started over with Lambda gunship and gave the Backroads another whirl. The Psi feels well balanced. The linked-fire feature is cool but would be a lot more useful if two different weapons could fire at the same time. I don't find that stacking two of the same weapon is worth the use of an extra device slot, particularly not on a small ship like the Psi. Personally, I'd much rather hold out for dual weapons, and there are plenty of those to be found! The dual Truncheon and dual Sledge were both great finds that served me well. These have good sounds and graphics, seem balanced in terms of availability (rare enough to be excited about; common enough to actually find), are very competitive for their level, and are generally appealing to use. The legion shield effects are also wonderful. "Plink, plink, plink."

If having two entirely different weapons firing at the same time is OP, perhaps there could be another type of restriction. Having the linked fire only work with weapons of the same damage type would be interesting, for instance. I thought about that when I was using the Smartcannon and the Truncheon together with a cannon accelerator.

The Lambda armor has similar benefits and drawbacks to Novaya armor. I think it could be made a little more common at non-Lambda vendors. I was trying to stick to the Lambda armor/shields but couldn't find any to upgrade with from my starting armor. I died several times because my armor/shields were under-leveled. Finally I came across Lambda HQ, where I leapt straight into tier 3 (Beta dampener and Perseus-grade, IIRC). That was a crazy upgrade that left me feeling invincible...

...until I ran into Ares and Ventari two systems after that. That was rather implausible. I imagine this is the sort of thing that will be ironed out with the new topology-based encounters. More generally, since you're committed to using SOTP/CC network maps, I think you could do some thinking about/tinkering with how your maps mesh. You might want to do some cutting and pasting, i.e. remove some of the system spawns from the early game (which I still think is too crowded; finding the Eridani line is pretty tedious) and place them in the mid-game (creating new forks linking to the Ungoverned Territories). It feels to me like there's a large gap between the first and second cluster of Backroads system spawns. Right now I'm between St. Kat's and Sanctuary. I can see teasers far, far ahead but there's only one line to follow to get there.

Faction-based alternative paths to a military ID (a la EP or Renegade) would be much appreciated and seem to make sense story wise. I imagine that's the sort of thing that will have to wait two or three releases, though.

Anywho, thanks again for doing this. I must continue to complement your aesthetic, design, and balance choices. Ships, stations, items, and devices all seem to look and sound great, work well, and have their own unique aspects in both form and function. Take care!
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Tue Jan 29, 2019 3:15 am

I agree with Alandra about linking the TBR chain to the SOTP chain. Possibly a stargate link between a couple of systems and TBR would help. So St Kats and Sanctuary maybe. This would stop it from being a more or less absolute choice between TBR and the SOTP systems.
But just doing the TBR systems is good too. (Shrugs.)

Also it is quite difficult to navigate through the TBR systems. SOTP sorta forces you in a straight line. But getting stuck in TBR somewhere can happen all too easily. The TX3s and Domina help are good here for locating stargates, as is some of the nodes being indicated at game start, but it is a maze. But I don't have any good ideas about this.

And well done on the system names. The variation is great. Layara 4-16, Stacy FF33, dsz071, 11 Inciarte, AEP6, L4 Ravenser, etc. I find it a struggle thinking up different names for systems but you have done really well here.

For info, to ship broker/change ships it seems the playership needs to have a characterClass defined in the ShipClass UNID. (I eventually got back through the inheritance chain for the VOTG ships and they do have access to <CanUpgradeFrom/To>).

Code: Select all

characterClass="&unidPilgrimClass;"
But this might not be it either! :lol:

You could probably change the action in the Naginata selection screens from Heavy titanium armor to titanium armor. They are the same thing but it looks like a bug when you select heavy titanium armor and the ship ends up with titanium armor displayed.

Found the harmless duplicate stargate when looking at Elysium code. TBRTopology.xml lines 86 and 90.

The nomad tracker, although very nice, seems like a bit of a cheat. Possibly it could be an item that you have to 'U'se in every system or maybe have it draw a lot of power so there is some cost, either time/smuggling or fuel, to get the reward.
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Tue Jan 29, 2019 2:21 pm

 …Okay then. *Cracks knuckles.*
Alandra wrote:I don't find that stacking two of the same weapon is worth the use of an extra device slot, particularly not on a small ship like the Psi. Personally, I'd much rather hold out for dual weapons, and there are plenty of those to be found!
 It’s not as helpful early on, admittedly, but it does help later when dual weapons are harder to find. That said, dual-wielding omni/tracking weapons has its uses.
[Alandra wrote:The dual Truncheon and dual Sledge were both great finds that served me well. These have good sounds and graphics, seem balanced in terms of availability (rare enough to be excited about; common enough to actually find), are very competitive for their level, and are generally appealing to use.
 The Ironground kinetic weapons are going to be cut in the next release. They don’t make sense for where you find Ironground in the game. …Athough I may just rebrand them to be from some other faction, like possibly Afus…
Alandra wrote:…perhaps there could be another type of restriction.
 Actually, they’re restricted by reactor output. I think it’s currently up to two-thirds the reactor’s total output. I plan on adding an owner’s manual dockscreen to each ship to explain their unique gimmicks better.
Alandra wrote:Finally I came across Lambda HQ, where I leapt straight into tier 3 (Beta dampener and Perseus-grade, IIRC). That was a crazy upgrade that left me feeling invincible... until I ran into Ares and Ventari two systems after that. That was rather implausible. I imagine this is the sort of thing that will be ironed out with the new topology-based encounters.
 I think it’s stupid story-wise for the HQ to not stock the full range of products, but it does cause issues gameplay-wise; I may wind up grudgingly conceding that point. Encounters will work better with the new topology setup… as long as you’re not running any mod of lower than API 43. There’s not anything I can do about that problem beside gripe at how George has it set up.
Alandra wrote:You might want to do some cutting and pasting, i.e. remove some of the system spawns from the early game (which I still think is too crowded; finding the Eridani line is pretty tedious) and place them in the mid-game (creating new forks linking to the Ungoverned Territories). It feels to me like there's a large gap between the first and second cluster of Backroads system spawns. Right now I'm between St. Kat's and Sanctuary. I can see teasers far, far ahead but there's only one line to follow to get there.
 The issue there is that I can’t get to the Ungoverned Territories without clashing with the Near Stars topology, and I’m not willing to do that. While I can technically reach St. Katherine’s Star without issue, it’s closest neighbor in TBR is currently Zyr — which is (and needs to be) a dead-end system. Also, official expanded universe systems connecting to St. Kat’s requires George’s approval, and quite frankly I don’t want to have to do an extensive lore rewrite on my end to make it work.
Alandra wrote:Faction-based alternative paths to a military ID (a la EP or Renegade) would be much appreciated and seem to make sense story wise. I imagine that's the sort of thing that will have to wait two or three releases, though.
 Ironground already has a military ID, and I’m planning on missions to earn it instead of them just handing it out the first time you go to the naval office. I’m considering a Zyrran military ID, and possibly a Haetenaro ID which will work similarly.
Alandra wrote:Anywho, thanks again for doing this. I must continue to complement your aesthetic, design, and balance choices. Ships, stations, items, and devices all seem to look and sound great, work well, and have their own unique aspects in both form and function. Take care!
 Thanks! I’ll admit that the aesthetic is completely unlike George’s which is kind of unavoidable when trying to work POV-Ray graphics in alongside trueSpace graphics, but I like to think it at least helps with feeling like you’re in a completely different area of Human Space.

——————————
relanat wrote:Also it is quite difficult to navigate through the TBR systems. SOTP sorta forces you in a straight line. But getting stuck in TBR somewhere can happen all too easily. The TX3s and Domina help are good here for locating stargates, as is some of the nodes being indicated at game start, but it is a maze. But I don't have any good ideas about this.
 …Actually, I’ll take that as a compliment. It’s meant to be sort of twisting and winding with branches and occasional dead ends — like, well, backroads. There’ll eventually be storyline to go with most of the different routes, even if it’s just being able to sidetrack from Lostreos Madthel (which is kind of a fustercluck, I know) over to Rigel Aurelius or making a run through Yatfwan Space to get back toward the end of the Ungoverned Territories.
relanat wrote:And well done on the system names. The variation is great. Layara 4-16, Stacy FF33, dsz071, 11 Inciarte, AEP6, L4 Ravenser, etc. I find it a struggle thinking up different names for systems but you have done really well here.
 A lot of them are named for friends, family, Transcendence communtiy, and the like. That made things easier. 11 Inciarte is the jersey number and name of the Braves’ center fielder because I’m an incorrigible baseball fan. <.< >.> ^.^;
relanat wrote:For info, to ship broker/change ships it seems the playership needs to have a characterClass defined in the ShipClass UNID. (I eventually got back through the inheritance chain for the VOTG ships and they do have access to <CanUpgradeFrom/To>).
 Actually, it’s the <CanUpgradeFrom/To> I need to add in. George answered that one for me during a stream a little ways back.
relanat wrote:You could probably change the action in the Naginata selection screens from Heavy titanium armor to titanium armor. They are the same thing but it looks like a bug when you select heavy titanium armor and the ship ends up with titanium armor displayed.
 Yeah, the renamed armor kinda broke a few things, and I would have forgotten all about this one if you hadn’t said anything.
relanat wrote:Found the harmless duplicate stargate when looking at Elysium code. TBRTopology.xml lines 86 and 90.
Ah-ha! Fixed. ^.^
relanat wrote:The nomad tracker, although very nice, seems like a bit of a cheat. Possibly it could be an item that you have to 'U'se in every system or maybe have it draw a lot of power so there is some cost, either time/smuggling or fuel, to get the reward.
 What I’m probably going to do is have it be a Haetenaro reward somewhere along the line, something you’ll have to work to get instead of just randomly stumbling across it at some Anarchist Gathering or whatnot.
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relanat
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Tue Mar 12, 2019 1:10 am

I like the Ascendent ships and stations so much I thought they were worth a post. Great designs but I particularly like the coloring too. Looks just right.
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Tue Mar 12, 2019 10:55 am

 Their latest incarnation is actually kitbashery of a number of George’s item/device/weapon models, with texturing that’s rooted in the project that eventually evolved into TBR — it was originally used on the ships that turned into the Lambda Coalition.
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Mon Apr 01, 2019 3:32 am

 Update of the (insert random time period here): The Backroads has been updated again. Finally. It’s not nearly as much of an update as I would like, but it does fix a few balance issues and technical things that weren’t quite doing what they were supposed to.

 Also, as per tradition, I have April Fool’s Day colors up. This might be the last year for that, though, since it’s hard to justify spending almost two months on renders that only get used for two weeks — especially since my computer isn’t really beefy enough to run POV-Ray and still run Transcendence.

 A few things I really want to get into for my next update include:
» Missions (as always)
» Ship broker stuff

 …I think that’s mostly it? Missions in particular will flesh out most of the plotlines that are going on in The Backroads, and that’s mostly what’s left at this point.
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Mon Apr 15, 2019 12:21 am

 Update of the (insert random time period here): TBR’s April Fool’s colors have been taken down. Also I updated the Zyrran ships, including removing the auton (including the item and launcher) and sort of merging a few of the others (the Type III and Type VII, and the Type V and Type VI). They all got renamed, too. Also, it was pointed out that Bane ships probably shouldn’t be carrying around fuel they can’t use. Just as a warning, this update will break existing TBR saves.
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Tue Jul 02, 2019 6:23 pm

 Update of the (insert random time period here): TBR is currently… slightly broken. It works fine as long as you don’t dock with a Zyrran station; something in the 1.9a update broke things and I have yet to really figure out exactly what.

 In other news, I’m finally adding proper compartments for cargo and engines to the TBR capships. Some already had them. but most didn’t.

 I’m also going to be doing yet another full re-render of all of my art assets, having adjusted the FOV to be more in line with what George currently uses. I’ll eventually be doing another full re-render to give all ships a full 360 facings, but that won’t happen until the game has been upgraded to 64-bit. In the meantime, I’m taking advantage of the re-render to redesign Starborn’s ships, partially because I’m not as happy with the original design and partially because a couple of them are difficult-to-impossible to properly set engine compartments up for. There were originally five ships, but I might stop at just these four:

Image

 These are the untextured versions, because I’m not sure I want to stick with the original palette I was using. Actually, I could use a bit of feedback on just what to do with them, because I’m indecisive. I have a whole spread, and I’m soliciting opinions on which ones people like out of these:

Image

 If you have a top three or four off that list, feel free to post or PM them. Because seriously, I’m horribly indecisive here. ^.^;
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relanat
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Fri Jul 05, 2019 5:24 am

The reason you are indecisive is because they are all really good! It takes some serious nit-picking to split any off.

So here goes:
C6, D6 and maybe A1 have a body color that is probably too dark to appear really well against the dark system backgrounds.
Others like B2 and D5 seem a bit off-balance because the "Wing/fin" color is too bright.
Whereas in C1, E1 and F3 the four dots look too bright, again looking slightly out of balance.
D2, F1 and F4 lack contrast, they seem a little faded or blurry compared to the rest.

Personally, A3, A4, C3, C5, F2; OMG, that'll do. They are all good. The more you look, the more you like.
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Fri Jul 05, 2019 8:59 am

The decorative circles strike me as weird for the Transcendence universe. If it weren't for those, I'd like more colors.

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Sun Jul 07, 2019 10:32 pm

I don't play this mod -yet- so i am not familiar whit this particular faction's / clan / sub-species; pre-disposition.
Are they suppost to be evil? Good? Indifferent Traders Whit defence pew pew? Indifferent Mining Zoatrope style?

for;
Evil: F4
Good: B6
Indifferent: E3

GL whit your RL,, and updating schedule ;-)

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Sun Jul 21, 2019 6:45 pm

 Update of the (insert random time period here): I wound up going with C4. …Mostly. I changed the purple to blue because I was afraid otherwise it would be too close to Ryudsew Iler. I may change my mind on that after having seen a side-by-side comparison of the two palettes, though. (EDIT: I did change my mind.)

 In other news, the full re-render has been canceled. …Kinda-sorta-not-really. More like, “repurposed.” I’m not going to be modifying the FOV; George said recently that my current (and preferred) viewportRatio of 0.2 is acceptable. Furthermore, Aury is now redoing TSB’s stuff at 0.2 because neither of us like the almost orthographic FOV George uses. I am, however, going to re-render almost everything anyway. I’ve been doing reskinnery/kitbashery for Song’s project, Elemental Shift, and in the process of doing that, I came to notice just how much of a difference the finish really makes on things. In POV-Ray, the finish is specifically the part of the texture that affects how light interacts with the surface of an object, and different finishes can give vastly different results even when using an otherwise identical palette. So, naturally, after observing what happened while rendering for Song, I ran a number of my own ships — one representative from each faction — through a few different finishes to compare. The results were rather striking:
Image
 While not everything is going to require a re-render, whether because the current version is the best or the alternatives aren’t sufficiently better to warrant a complete do-over on them, I’m going to have a fair amount of work ahead of me on making improvements on them.

 …Also, in the wake of this revelation, I went and poked at relevant POV-Ray documentation to see just what parts of the finish did what with what values. I now have a better idea of what I’m doing with it instead of just flailing. <.< >.> <.<;
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