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News: Paul & Fred have reached a settlement with Stardock!

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1  The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release / General UQM Discussion / Re: Balance Mod updated on: October 17, 2019, 09:52:52 pm
Here's a small update that helps out VUX and sands away a few more rough edges.


* After the blazer damages an enemy ship, it is non-damaging for a single frame (1/24th of a second).
This halves the rate of damage dealt whenever Androsynth 'wedges' into an opponent. It still wrecks things alarmingly fast, but no longer at "you blink, you miss it" speed.
* Diagonal spouts consume 2 energy per burst. (Was at 1 for the last few updates)
Lowering the threat this ship poses to Androsynth and Mmrnmhrm back down some more.
* Top speed 26 -> 27, as in vanilla.
This might get reverted in the future due to its trickiness versus Chenjesu and Kohr-Ah, but I want to see how it shakes out.

* Acceleration increment restored to previous value. (4 -> 5)
The accel nerf from the last patch has been detrimental. Shofixti needs accel to catch Syreen (usually via gravity whip), which has few counter options already.
* Energy regeneration delay increased. (9 -> 11)
This is a dart nerf, intended to impair Shofixti's ability to win fights without its Glory Device.

* Limpet energy cost 3 -> 2.
VUX has a faster battery in Balance Mod, but this higher cost was still too debilitating.
* For each limpet deployed, energy recovery stalls slightly. This effect is cumulative; dumping an entire battery's worth of limpets will stall recovery for longer.
Limpet energy cost has been scaled up by a fraction to match the ship's faster battery.
2  The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release / General UQM Discussion / Re: Balance Mod updated on: September 22, 2019, 10:44:15 pm
Played some more games, did some more tinkering. Most notably, we're bringing back odd point values. Shofixti, Ilwrath, and Mycon in particular are much better off with them. This is a long change log, and I don't know if anyone follows my adjustments closely, but here it is.


* Forward teleport's destination has reduced lateral variance.
Forward teleport is randomized to prevent skilled players from to warping with total precision. For some reason, I wrote lateral variance to be double compared to forward/backward variation. I don't know why anymore, but this has been rectified.
* Melee camera repositions to Arilou's destination one frame sooner during a teleport cycle.
This looks smoother.
* Ship cost decreased. (18 -> 17)
* Ship cost decreased. (12 -> 11)
* When attacking with a full battery, the side spouts will fire 2 shots each rather than 3.
Too much burst damage from this weapon was causing problems for Androsynth and Mmrnmhrm while duking it out at close range.

* Holo-targeting cooldown increased. (12 -> 13)
Aim-assist animation appears less frenetic this way.

* Crew count increased. (20 -> 22)
I gave this jack-of-all-trades a little more crew to justify its 20 pt cost. It's been getting knocked around a lot lately.

* Ship cost decreased. (16 -> 15)

* Crew count increased. (16 -> 18)
Despite other changes, Orz still wasn't quite holding up. It would lose so much crew taking out Ur-Quan that a dingy Earthling or Thraddash could snipe it afterward.

* Ship cost decreased. (20 -> 19)

* Ship cost decreased. (6 -> 5)
Shofixti in particular really benefits from odd point values returning. I believe this ship has been over-nerfed for as long as Balance Mod has been around.
* Acceleration increment decreased. (5 -> 4)
Speaking of nerfs, here's another one! This helps prevent "kamikaze-less" wins, which are not desirable against well-played, fully-crewed ships. I may do away with this change later if it proves to be too much.
* Dart velocity increased. (80 -> 84)
Returning some of the reduced range from last update.
* Glory Device damage formula re-jiggered; it deals a bit more damage when that damage won't be lethal to the enemy ship.
The weird rules I attach to this weapon help Shofixti be useful yet leave Arilou with a better chance to survive against it - balancing those two ships against each other has been unpleasant to say the least.

* Lighting range cap extended. (160 -> 168)

* Torpedo duration increased. (24 -> 25)

* Ship cost decreased. (8 -> 7)
* Turn penalty while weapon is active increased. (2 -> 3)
* Fighter formation code revised. Fighters fan out from each other more and their movements are smoother. Fan out distance is much lower during a victory sequence.
* Jumbo fusion bolts narrowed in width slightly.
These were clearing out Orz marines (Ur-Quan's intended hard counter) too well sometimes.
* Point-defense shot may turn twice on the same frame while chasing a target.
A fringe accuracy buff to UQ's point defense.
* Point-defense shot duration decreased. (10 -> 8 frames)
These never stay around that long unless they somehow miss a target. This change prevents the shots from awkwardly careening around as much before they expire.
* Point-defense no longer targets Chenjesu shrapnel.
Accuracy against spinning fragments is abysmal. PD doesn't know how to pick out which bits will hit the Dreadnought, nor how to run into something that travels in a sharp curve, and I'm not going to teach it. Stopping the countermeasure in this instance prevents wasted energy.
* Ship cost decreased. (24 -> 23)
* Crew count increased. (20 -> 22)
A small boost to help Utwig tussle with Kohr-Ah. This should be fine, as more crew gives no real advantage versus Utwig's counters (limpets, confusion).

* Ship cost decreased. (14 -> 13)
VUX's price drop coincides with Utwig's. VUX should be a little more usable outside of its primary niche this way.

* Shield cooldown increased. (8 -> 10) Battery recharge freeze also increased to match.
Nerfed shield spam. It's easier to score hits against a defensive Yehat.
3  The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release / General UQM Discussion / Re: Balance Mod updated on: September 09, 2019, 02:31:15 am
I've updated the mod again to version 2.10. Included is a change log of the past two updates...


* Photon shard detonation also releases a small shockwave which inflicts 1 damage to non-friendlies within a smaller area than shrapnel blast radius. This effect is accompanied by a new, pretty animation.
A little extra damage has been added for shard explosions. This is helpful when your shard barely misses the enemy ship, or when clearing out hostile objects such as Ur-Quan fighters.
* The Shrapnel graphic at max-zoom has been reverted to its old image. The larger replacement graphic I added years ago is a bit ugly. With the new shockwave, the extra projectile coverage (the reason for the altered graphic) is not needed.

* Aim-assist holograms now shift position relative to the Trader's trajectory, making this tool much better for lining up shots.
* Confusion disables the afflicted opponent's 'Down' key again.
This must've been missed when the mod got ported from 0.6.2 to 0.7.

* Dart velocity 90 -> 80.

* Tightened spread of front gun just barely.

* Siren Song cooldown 24 -> 23.
* Max crew capacity 42 -> 32.

* Afterburner puff duration 72 -> 60.
Vanilla afterburner flames last 48 frames. This is still longer.
* Weapon relativity lowered from full to 3/4.

* Fighter laser cooldown 12 -> 14.
* Will not launch fighters against Earthling, as seen in vanilla UQM and probably pre-0.7 versions of Balance Mod.

* A fully ensnared opponent's turn rate is reduced a touch more.
* Increased maximum warp-in distance from the enemy ship slightly. Again.


[General Changes]
* Fleet scoring system reverted; the alternate point system that grants partial points for damaged ships is no longer displayed.
* Several AI fixes restored. These were not transferred over when this mod was ported to UQM 0.7.

* Top speed lowered (44 -> 42).
* Teleport energy cost reverted to default (4 -> 3).
The higher cost hasn't been needed, so I've dialed it back down.
* Forward teleport's minimum distance increased a bit (240 -> 250).
* Teleport transit time increased by 1 frame.
* Post-teleport weapon freeze decreased by 1 frame.
* Post-teleport movement freeze decreased by 1 frame.
The skiff spends a shorter instant disabled after a teleport.
* Removed post-teleport freeze of the teleporter itself.
Arilou performs feints against Shofixti a tiny bit better this way; it can't be stuck next to it for even a small fraction of a second.

* Point value increased (10 -> 12).
Ilwrath hard-counters Arilou and has been too useful elsewhere to cost 10.
* Hellfire spout diagonal attack consumes energy at a lower rate.
* Hellfire spout velocity decreased from 35 to 32.
* Holographic Targeting Aid added! When toggled on, the Trader will periodically send out holographic tracers which replicate their primary weapon's firing path. This feature is only detectable to its pilot; it does not display for cyborg/network-controlled Trader ships. Press 'Down' to toggle this feature on and off.
* Blaster pulse relativity (which applies the ship's trajectory to its projectiles) increased from 1/2 to 3/4.

* Glory Device damage inflicts extra damage vs non-ship objects.
Glory Device is now more capable of shredding Chmmr satellites, although not as easily as it did in vanilla UQM.
* Re-arranged dart gun projectile velocity (92 -> 90) and duration (9 -> 10).
The shorter duration given to this projectile made it look choppy, which has been reverted.

* Battery regen delay restored to its original value (5 -> 4).

* Turn speed restored to its original value ("turn_wait" 5 -> 4).
* Turn speed slows down while the Drone's antimatter cone is active (+2 turn_wait).
Balance Mod's "big cone" made this ship a little overpowered until the ship's turn rate was nerfed. Turn_wait 5 was perfectly fair, but it gave the ship an unsatisfying, sluggish feel. This new variable turn rate lets the ship's pilot shift focus between mobility vs attack & defense.

* Fusion bolt "shot cycling" gimmick removed; fusion bolts only fire out of the front of the ship again rather than cycling between the front, left arm, and right arm.
* Fusion bolt energy cost reverted (5 -> 6).
* Fusion bolts use a wide sprite again, as seen in previous versions of this mod.
* Fusion bolt relativity (which applies the ship's trajectory to its projectiles) decreased from 100% to 75%.
Full relativity for the fusion cannon did not feel right and was too disadvantageous when moving away from an opponent.
* Fighter laser no longer drains target energy per laser strike.
This effect was neat, but it encroached on Chenjesu's design space too much (energy-siphoning support craft).
* Fighter laser cooldown decreased substantially (24 -> 12).
* Fighters hold their fire against invulnerable targets.
Ur-Quan keeps the upper-hand against Utwig this way, which is crucial for game balance and the main reason behind the energy-draining fighter beams.
* Fighter laser color reverted (cyan -> yellow).
* Turret no longer fires upon enemy ships. It is now strictly a defensive countermeasure.
* Turret expends more energy per shot (1 -> 2).

* Ship mass lowered (5 -> 4).
This gives the ship more 'bounce' when colliding with large ships, which helps it get away from a stationary Utwig after warping in right next to it.
* Limpet duration restored to its original value (72 -> 80).
The small nerf I gave to this was not needed.
* Battery capacity increased up to 36.
* Increased maximum warp-in distance from the enemy ship slightly.

* "Spitball" weapon relativity decreased 2/3 -> 1/2.
4  The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release / General UQM Discussion / Re: MegaMod: Hard/Easy/Nomad Mode balancing on: August 24, 2019, 11:34:38 pm
Hard mode seems like something to could use a lot of iteration to find just the right level of challenge/misery.

- Slylandro Probes dodge projectiles

Ohhhh dear. It's the super melee Slylandro, invading the campaign. This one might be more fun for people if it has more crew instead of that.

If I were to write some alternate AIs or ship variants, would you use them? I doubt I have the time for yet another Star Control project, but you never know.
5  The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release / General UQM Discussion / Re: SCII balancing "cracked" on: August 24, 2019, 11:12:55 pm
How many ships in total would need these AI and/or physical behavior changes? How many ships are already well balanced and played competently by the AI?

If we're just talking AI tweaks for the campaign, not too many ships...

Umgah could stand to use its cone for protection against long range missiles a bit better. They let some easily-stopped attacks slip through. It's otherwise a great opponent.

Ur-Quan fighters should be less of a liability. Give them collision proofing against asteroids and enemy ships, and longer fuel reserves to return to the Dreadnought with. They don't need to be immune to attrition tactics, but they shouldn't be going kersplat left and right so much. No AI changes needed.

Kohr-Ah doesn't need to change, yet the amount of wasted potential with this ship is staggering. Why, why does it run straight after everything it fights? It should behave more dynamically. I say that, yet they could very easily become way too difficult for most players with the right (i.e. wrong) playstyle. This would a be a low-priority ship to work on.

Orz AI is terrible, but fixing it isn't important since fights against them are optional and comparatively uncommon.

Thraddash could use just a bit more rate-of-fire and crew or something like that, no AI changes needed for them.

And VUX (already discussed) is the one real offender in the midst of this.

Are there already plans for refactoring ship physics and AI into an Entity-Component-System model and/or moving ship data and AI behavior scripts out of the C files?

I wouldn't know what that means. It's doubtful anyone has a project like that in the works, core team or otherwise.
6  The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release / General UQM Discussion / Re: SCII balancing "cracked" on: August 21, 2019, 08:47:31 am
Anyone feeling motivated to write some AI is welcome to jump in and give it a try. A good place to start: Turn VUX into an actual threat for the campaign.

Is that possible when the player has cheap, perennial Cruiser production?  Against the Cruiser, is the Intruder good for more than just nuclear target practice in network play?

Er no, not really, come to think of it. There's a way to play that will let VUX win once in a while, with no help from the VUX warp-in ability. The laser can shoot down nukes with some skill, and you can get the Intruder drifting around looking for the planet while trying to defend yourself. After a lot of stalling, slingshot off the planet to chase down Earthling. Which they can still avoid, sometimes entirely, and sometimes they'll merely be grazed by the laser before slipping or bouncing away.

It would take ship buffs or some AI tuning with ship buffs to make VUX fit in nicely. The goal wouldn't be to make VUX deadly, just make it a fight. Even Umgah is a fight.
7  The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release / General UQM Discussion / Re: SCII balancing "cracked" on: August 18, 2019, 06:39:26 am
Writing AI is said to be one of the most difficult parts of programming. There hasn't been much work done in this area by the fan community. I did a little for Project 6014 to get the Lurg Prawn to fight and made minor fixes to some of the core ships; e.g. stop Ur-Quan from launching fighters at cloaked Ilwrath. Anyone feeling motivated to write some AI is welcome to jump in and give it a try. A good place to start: Turn VUX into an actual threat for the campaign.
8  The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release / General UQM Discussion / Re: SCII balancing "cracked" on: August 16, 2019, 02:35:58 am
I think it might take a more multiplayer-active community.  It is not just the total hours needed to play every possible match up so many times for a decent sample size.  You would need to only consider the results of battles between top players. Further, you would need many dozens of consistent online players to know that your top players are experienced and well rounded in their play styles.

We had a playerbase for net melee for a few years. It was less than dozens playing at all hours, and it was over than a decade ago, but we had one.

I would worry that statistics based off games between net melee experts still wouldn't be that helpful. The top players all use Utwig as a Kohr-Ah counter, but that match-up doesn't go anywhere unless the Utwig player's blocking game is on point. It's a lot harder to pull off against a Kohr-Ah player, even a shoddy one, than the cyborg. We could list "Utwig hard-counters Kohr-Ah" using empirical evidence and the lower 50% of players might never be able to replicate that.
9  The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release / General UQM Discussion / Re: SCII balancing "cracked" on: August 12, 2019, 10:41:27 pm
i thought shiver already figured this out?

Shh! This video is super interesting. I also don't recall ever trying to map out the odds of every match-up in PvP, which would really be more of a "Shiver vs Gekko" map if such a thing were ever attempted.
10  The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release / General UQM Discussion / Re: New Mmrnmhrm theme extrapolated from their ditty on: July 04, 2019, 07:20:29 pm
There have been a few pretty good Mmrnmhrm themes in the past as well, one by TheMisterCat and one by Neonlare. Here is TheMisterCat's Mmrnmhrm track, hosted on PoNaF. I've lost track of the other one.
11  The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release / General UQM Discussion / Re: Stardock Litigation Discussion on: June 14, 2019, 04:34:16 am
Yes, this outcome is definitely for the best. The current state of things leaves me with a very uncomfortable question: Would I buy the next Star Control game that Stardock has in the pipe? I genuinely have no idea. As an old fan who's painfully aware of the details of the lawsuit, I feel like my answer should be "no". As a profoundly selfish person and as a gamer who just wants his entertainment, my answer should be "yes". Knowing that Brad Wardell tried to trick the core team into handing over rights to UQM, that should be a hard "no" again. Also knowing that every person I've ever met is screwed up in some fashion and being a big believer in forgiveness, there's more reason for "yes". The lawsuit's resolution seems perfectly tailored to make this choice difficult, at least for me. A question for later.
12  The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release / General UQM Discussion / Re: Stardock Litigation Discussion on: June 12, 2019, 06:11:28 pm
The source code for those two don't exist anymore, well, at least for SC1.
Brad says he still hasn't been able to find the source code for SC3 and it's looking like it also may have been lost.

Alas, the long-form of 'Daktaklakpak' may never be known.
13  The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release / General UQM Discussion / Re: Balance Mod updated on: March 13, 2019, 09:44:13 pm
The only point value change was for Ilwrath, which got bumped up from 10 to 12. Although I did re-tune the ship's weapon (slightly shorter range & the diagonal flame spouts drain 1 extra energy per shot instead of 2), it probably should have been at that value all along. Mod Ilwrath has always been noticeably stronger than its vanilla counterpart.

I don't think any changes in this update alter the match-up dynamics enough to necessitate other point value changes.
14  The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release / General UQM Discussion / Balance Mod updated on: March 06, 2019, 09:37:26 pm
All this news circulating about Star Control got me messing with my old Super Melee mod again. Balance Mod was my attempt at fixing and improving UQM's combat for competitive PvP matches which began a little over 10 years ago from today. After some experimenting and tuning, I've updated it again. A theme of this update is reverting back to original game mechanics anywhere I can get away with it. Ur-Quan fighter craft no longer drain energy from the target they're shooting at - while there was a good reason for implementing that, it encroached on Chenjesu's design too much. Supox gets its old battery regen back, VUX limpets get their old duration back, Arilou's teleport burns 3 energy as before, and Shofixti's glory device can crack Chmmr satellites again. I restored Umgah's default, faster turn rate and instead impair the ship's turning while the ship's Antimatter Cone is active, which feels pretty good in-game.

I added something new as well: An 'aim-assist' for my favorite ship, the Melnorme Trader. This feature is optional and can be toggled on and off with the 'down' key, When toggled on, the ship sends out little holograms which trace the charge-up weapon's firing path. Being a specialized sharp-shooter, Melnorme has always been a difficult one to play. I hope this feature helps other players enjoy piloting the ship as much as I do. Cheers!
15  The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release / General UQM Discussion / Re: Swarming is broken on: January 29, 2019, 02:18:44 am
That can happen. I'm not disagreeing with you, but keeping multiple save files can prevent this type of problem. Lots of old games have to be played that way, unfortunately.

I did kill quite a few and ran from many more, but it doesn't matter. Autopilot was already on before the first encounter.

You can break out of auto-pilot by using manual flight controls in hyperspace. It won't save you if you're already dogpiled like that, but you can maneuver around to avoid the start of a pile-up with some thinking ahead. I'm sure I've had to do just that several times in each of my playthrus of the game.
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