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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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….

Combat Log SD 11501.31

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

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

    Feds gather

    Feds gather

  3. 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.

    There's Klingons on the starboard bow,starboard bow..

    There’s Klingons on the starboard bow,starboard bow..

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.