Despite a lot of intradimensional interference, this upgrade is ready for release. In a bit a fortuitous timing, Belkov wil be making landfall on my humble planet soon, and we can go a maño y maño up close and personal. Almost like being back in the SFB days….
Upon further experimentation in OP, I discovered that the game uses non-SFB range brackets for the TR beams. While a little odd in terms of TR beams, this works better for the Neutron Blasters. I replaced the TRL with a chart based on my records for the NBs, and reducing the power cost to 2 + 2.
I’ve also made some changes to some other items in the EXE file to play around with, including a max ship sped of 50, faster hi-speed drones, two-turn plasma Fs that move at 48, improved fighter weapons for Montel, among others. I look forward to sharing this and the OP15a shiplist with Belkov very soon.
My notes on the NB Damage Charts are incomplete, compiled from SFB notes taken in 1988-1994 with data gaps filled in. Using this conjectural chart:
range 0 NB = TRL
range 1-3 TRL slightly higher avg
range 1 NB rolls 1 & 2 higher damage
range 2 NB rolls 1 & 2 = damage
range 3 TRL rolls 1 & 2 average higher than NB
range 4-5 TRL averages slightly higher >NB
range 4-5 NB minimum damage higher >TRL
range 6-8 roll 1 TRL higher damage >NB
Range 6 NB average higher >TRL
range 7-8 NB average higher >TRL
range 9-12 NB average higher > TRL by 1+
range 9-12 NB minimum higher >TRL
range 13-16 NB average almost double TRL
range 13-16 TRH average slightly higher > NB (.16)
range 17-25 NB average more than double TRH
range 17-25 NB maximum double TRH (6)
NB has 11 ranges (0,1,2,3,4-5,6,7-8,9,10-12,13-16,17-25)
SFC TR Beams can only have 6 ranges (0-3,4-5,6-8,9-12,13-18,19-25), but the ranges can be changed.
In terms of damage, NB are very similar to TRL beams, with a slightly higher close-up punch and much better mid- to long-range. At long range NBs equal TRH in damage and are twice as powerful at sniping range, indicating that the NB is powerful heacy weapon. There is a noticeable difference when compared by damage per arming power however. Neutron Blasters (in SFB) required 6 points of power (3+3) plus a point for “flare shields” when firing; TRH beams cost the same (3+3) minus the flare shield cost, and TRL are less at 4 points each (2+2). Using this metric, NBs are half as efficient as TRH out to range 8 and about equal to TRH in ranges 13-25, and somewhat less efficient than TRL to range 8, about the same as TRL in range 9-12, and more efficient out to range 25. Some of this disparity will be improve when the flare shield cost is eliminated. There was an overload function available for NBs in SFB, something that TR Beams do not have.
Moving forward in SFC, there are several possibilities. The damage chart to TRLs could easily be modified to match the NBs, leaving the TRHs for Andromedans. The overall arming cost for NBs could be changed, perhaps to 5. The cost per “turn” can be modified to make it a 1, 2, or even 3 turn arming cycle (longer cycle means lower cost per turn, leaving more power per turn for other uses). Another, and more radical, idea would be to rebuild the weapon in one of the 5 Disruptor slots. This could restore the overload function, and disruptors have 9 range brackets, 3 more than TR Beams (0, 1, 2, 3-4, 5-8, 9-15, 16-22, 23-30, 31-40). The man problem with this is that the arming cost & cycles for all disruptors are controlled by the same function, so any changes would affect all disruptors equally. We could make this nuNB a single turn weapon like disruptors, essentially halving the current damage chart but this would be a significant change to the NBs as we have seen them. Experimentation and testing will no doubt be helpful in deciding which method might be best.
One reason for the relative quietness in gaming terms is the dramatic news that came from the SFC community on Dynaverse. By using a hexadecimal editor, it is possible to change anything in CE/OP/SFC3 that relates to what might be a chart in SFB – weapon damage abilities, ranges, power costs. I have already begun experimenting with a few things, including ships moving faster than 31, slower plasmas, more powerful drones. More details to follow….
Lessons In Darkness
Another afternoon meeting, wherein most of the internet problems happened during the warm-up talk than during the games themselves. A software update on Belkov’s side allowed us some time to discuss trans-dimensional happenings and review the little Cabot story Montel had written. Belkov paid me the highest compliment in saying that I write Cabot better than he does, a distinction I would disagree with strongly (I was instantly captivated by the nugget of a story Belkov had about Cabot and a Lyran diplomat) but I will accept the compliment proudly
Meeting duration 2:38
- Free4All Late 333. Duration: 11:29 Victor = Montel
Fed NCLM Akagi, Kli D5K vs R-Sunhawk, Seahawk-D
Belkov’s lower-end fighters dies swiftly under ADD fire. Both Colonial ships managed to escape.
- Free4All Late 611. Duration: 10:48 Victor = Belkov
F-BCF, CC+, NAC vs R-Omnihawkp, 2xSabrehawk HDWs
The curse of AI wingman: although I had turned on negative tractor on the BCF, when I handed control
over to the AI it turned it off, allowing it to be anchored. (I self-destructed it to try to teach it a lesson).
The NAC decided on it’s own to tractor the OMH, which didn’t turn out too well for it either.
- Free4All, Middle, 450-600 range. Duration: 9:38 Victor = Montel
ISC-CCY, CSP, CLW vs. R-BSGW1, KD4R
Another attempt to test drive this ship. As with it’s last appearance, Belkov had fewer choices of fighters
than he should have, mostly phaser-armed Asps. Once again, they were lost to ADD fire, and, eventually,
the Battlestar and it’s escort.
We spent some time reviewing this battlestar and it’s issues. Mainly, Belkov felt that the ship was well-armed, if a little underpowered (although all ships can feel that way at times). We discussed the merits of adding power versus lowering the movement cost as a way to achieve the same. We both felt that it would be nice to maintain the historical aspects of the battlestars flown back in 1986 while still improving on the ships in SFC. Ultimately, the best thing would be to “fix” the problem with the fighters, both in their availability to Belkov, and maybe improving the fighters of that era.
We did have two game crashes, both early after starting. In both cases, the ships I flew had “unusual” fighters of Montel’s creation. One was the “MRS fighter” that were deployed on Federation ships, and the second was a set of “UFO” fighters on Hydran units to re-create the System War opponents for the early Battlestar. SInce i know I have test-flown these fighters successfully before, there may be an issue between the versions of the shiplist & ftrlist on Montel’s and Belkov’s battle computers. More research to follow.
Game night duration 2:28 Details to follow
A) Free Late 535. Victor = Belkov
Fed DVLX with F14C & A10 vs FHU, FCR, FCR
B) Free4All Advanced 300 Asteroid belt. Victor = (B)
Fed CAIp w/ RFP & PFP vs SBH SCPF, SNP. Tested asteroids/phasing issue; Belkov doesn’t see asteroids and they have no effect on his units. Game crashes on B side
C) Battlefest Lite L
XPF3, CB vs SEA, FFHA; disconnect on both sides – flying and fighting but no effect on either side
D) Free4All L. Victor = Montel
BW3p & BW-R vs SPB+ SEA SED
Another disconnect issue – still “playing” but not against each other