restarting the future

SD11711.18
Small steps are beginning to be taken in restoring the game to operational status. The mad geniuses are still at work over at Dynaverse and the nascent tools I had used a few years ago have advanced. Changing graphics, modifying weapons, going to HD while in Win10 – all are possible. As to our little conflict, Belkov and I had been mostly focusing on changing ship models and tweaking a few weapons, but as I relearn the what and how, we can hope to try experimentation soon…

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2016??! No, 2017, and counting…

Captain’s Log, Stardate 11602.11

Somehow, possibly due to some black holes, a whole year has passed since the last entry.  What had been a “busy-in-the-normal-sense” winter turned into a chaotic summer, followed by a crushing autumn…  The 15A upgrade that was all but ready for prime time has sat and languished unused, and our starfleets sit frozen in some sort of sargasso sea in space…..

 

That entry, unpublished at the time it was written, has already passed further into time past. A few darkly-worded interim entries have wisely been deleted. Time’s arrow can wound and injury, but there’s no point in trying to change it’s direction. We stumble, we trip, we pick ourselves up, and we keep going.

Toshiro Nakai, 11709.25

 

Upgrade 15a ready for Launch!

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….

vlcsnap-2015-07-27-19h05m05s145

Further Neutron Blaster rambles

SFBDon

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.

Neutron Blasters vs TR Beams

NB_v_TR_charts

My notes on the NB Damage Charts are incomplete, compiled from SFB notes taken in 1988-1994 with data gaps filled in using my best guess. Using that conjectural chart and comparing NBs to TR Beams I found that:

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 range brackets (0,1,2,3,4-5,6,7-8,9,10-12,13-16,17-25)

SFC TR Beams can only have 6 range brackets (0-3,4-5,6-8,9-12,13-18,19-25), but the ranges can be changed now.

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.

A dramatic shift

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….