Flagship Diversity Beta - Need Testers!

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Gidoza
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Joined: Mon Apr 11, 2016 1:49 pm

Flagship Diversity Beta - Need Testers!

Postby Gidoza » Wed Dec 21, 2016 10:33 pm

EDIT: New version as of January 18th, 2017 - done lots of fixes and balance changes, but still need plenty of testing! :)



Hello, everyone!

I'm looking for a number of hands willing to play through this presently-developing mod to test for bugs, oddities, and balance issues. The burden will be light and I imagine quite rewarding! Let me tell you a bit about it.


THE PROJECT: My simple idea of this project (apparently called Flagship Diversity in the subject line...but I don't have an official name for it) is to have a whole host of different kinds of balanced Flagship variants to fight against, instead of the typical, standard Flagship. The project is inspired from Flagship Randomizer by Rannl, which is fun and entertaining, but which I thought could ultimately be more interesting if a human being got directly involved in the Flagship designs. These designs can include Flagship types that are very similar to the original but with a different layout or weapons array, or different styles of Flagship entirely (that is, based on boarding primarily, or defensive peck-on-your heels; there is even a shieldless Flagship). The end-goal is to have a list of Flagships that can be played with a randomizer that picks one for you so the game is a surprise at the end every single time. Nothing would prevent a player from playing the same Flagship over and over if such a one wanted to - but the surprise is an element I want to keep. When the basic package is done, I also want to leave the door open for players to design more Flagships to go into the package for more fun surprises.

At present, my design for the package includes 26 Flagships - one for each letter of the Latin alphabet. Flagship A is a slightly tweaked version of the original.


Since this is a mod that only changes the final battle, there's no need to peel through events to scrutinize every detail of 8 sectors of stuff. ALL that's required of a tester is to play FTL as you normally would any other way! You'll just get a different final battle at the end - this is where your eyes need to stay peeled!

The mod is designed to be self-sufficient and non-conflicting, so you can presumably play it with ANY other mod that I can think of. Just load it and go!


So if you'd like to help out, I've made a list of [what I think is] the most constructive way to keep testing ordered and productive. A straight to-do list follows with all the essentials.

Feedback is going to be TOTALLY essential for this and I'm looking forward to it - so please scrounge through the following list and make note of it as you play. Here's the essentials when posting feedback.

    A. Which Flagship you're using.
    B. Which stage of the Flagship you're fighting when commenting on something.
    C. Any other mods you're using.

And now...

1. Download the mod at the bottom of the thread.

2. Look at the last few posts of the thread. Announce in the forum alphabetically what Flagship you're taking. If you're the first person here - say you're taking Flagship A; the next person should take B, and so on.

3. Use Slipstream to install the mod - "Custom Flagships" should be second-last on your list, and the Flagship type should come dead last.

Please play on NORMAL difficulty! (this is important)


BUGS/GLITCHES/OOPSIES

4. Are there any crashes? Let me know whether it happens when you start the fight, in the middle, or at the end, and anything else you might think is relevant to the crash.

5. Is the Flagship centred properly? If it isn't, tell me which stage of the Flagship you're fighting, and take a snapshot of it.

6. Is the shield bubble properly surrounding the ship? If it isn't, tell me which stage of the Flagship you're fighting, and take a snapshot of it.

7. Do all the weapons fire? Do all the Drones fire? Any invisible weapons or missing sounds or graphics or anything? Just let me know if anything seems weird.

8. Do the appropriate Flagship types have Drones assigned? If you see a Drone bay or a Hacking symbol and no Drones/Hacking Drones come out, I probably forgot to set the value.


INFORMATION I'M LOOKING FOR

9. If the enemy Flagship's Clonebay is ACTIVE but you have definitely killed some of their crew during the fight - do those troops re-appear at the next battle, or do they remain dead? I want to know how Clonebay carry-over works between Flagships.

10. Same as #9 - except if the Clonebay is totally knocked out and the variant has a Backup DNA Bank, do the crew respawn at the next stage? I can tell you with certainty that crew do NOT respawn if they are on YOUR ship AFTER the Flagship leaves, so you don't need to worry about that detail.

11. I've included an event that turns OFF the Flagship's Oxygen supply if all its crew are killed. Does it work? Does it fire when you reach each consecutive Flagship stage?


BALANCE

By "balance" I just want to specify: I'm aiming for the Flagship to be at the same level of difficulty as Vanilla Hard or CE Normal, or slightly to moderately more difficult than this overall. Obviously, since the Flagships can all be so different, assessing this meaningfully means you'll have to do some objective judgment and probably fight against the same ship 3 or 4 times for a global sense of what is going on. Nevertheless, here are some things to watch for, and things not to watch for.

THINGS NOT TO WATCH FOR

12. Assume the Flagship's ultimate floor design is sacrosanct and that the weapons arrays are unchangeable. If a ship is unbalanced, I can increase or decrease hit points, fiddle with Augmentations, swap a system, and so on. There's no need to re-design the entire ship.

13. Most ships are thematically-based, which means they will have natural advantages and disadvantages. This means that there's no problem if you're flying a Lanius ship that totally resists a boarding-party vessel, have many Defence Drones against a vessel with multiple Missile launchers, or that enemy crew have difficulty repairing rooms that are inaccessible. Remember, the end-goal is that players would play each game against a random Flagship, so this kinds of advantages/disadvantages would end up being about luck, and not an intended abuse.

14. Remember to play on NORMAL. I'm only looking for how the standard setup fares against a player. I've set up Easy to be Easier and Hard to be Harder, but this doesn't help me determine overall balance.

THINGS TO WATCH FOR

15. Is the enemy Flagship too easy to beat? For example...
    i. It's not inflicting sufficient damage for whatever reason (not enough firepower, can't penetrate shields.
    ii. The weapons are poorly-timed against one another for desired effect.
    iii. The boarding-party style ship engages, but accomplishes little to nothing.
    iv. Not strong enough defensively - too easy to crush its offence and kill it before it can damage you.
    v. Something is just "missing" and it could use a little extra oumph (e.g. enemy Transporter would give the player just a bit harder time winning).

Bear in mind about the above - since some ships depend on huge firepower and you might, too, it might be a first-hit-wins kind of situation. It's not really supposed to go that far, but it can - this is why it's all about assessment; that list is just there for thoughts about what could make a ship too weak.

Similarly...

16. Is the enemy Flagship too effective? For example...
    i. There is a singular weapon that is singularly way too freaking effective.
    ii. The combination of weapons/systems is just overwhelming in firepower and leaves the player in the dust no matter what he has.
    iii. The opponent is too strong defensively and it is scarcely possible to do any meaningful damage to it.

Once again - of course, you'll arrive at the final boss sometimes with better firepower, sometimes with worse. So any assessment on whether the ship is "really" balanced needs to be weighed against what would be reasonable for a player to have at this point. Use your judgment - tell me what you see.

17. Keep in mind, once again - the Flagships have various styles. It is intended that some variants of the Flagship not even bother to try to do damage to you, but just try to knock out one or two of your crewmen before the second stage; other editions in the first stage might just try to do you a few points of damage and that's it, before later stages finish you off. Each stage needs to be taken individually, but also each Flagship design is intended to be taken as a whole.




I don't know if this "questionnaire" is too weighty at all, but hopefully it paints a picture of what I'm looking for and essentially guides positive and useful feedback so I don't waste my time and you don't waste yours. The final result is, of course, to have a mod that is fun and balanced for everyone. This might not be the final version, but I hope nobody feels like this is "spoiling the surprise" - the rewards will be well worth it!


Thanks in advance to everyone who turns up to help! :)
-Gidoza


http://www.filedropper.com/customflagships11
Last edited by Gidoza on Thu Jan 19, 2017 3:34 am, edited 4 times in total.
Gidoza
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Re: Flagship Diversity Beta - Need Testers!

Postby Gidoza » Wed Dec 21, 2016 10:37 pm

Also, gosh - I'm terrible at formatting. My initial post is ugly as heck LOL! Well, I know my strengths and weaknesses, anyways...

EDIT: Tried a new format. It's better, I guess, but still not my forte. ;)
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elijahdb
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Re: Flagship Diversity Beta - Need Testers!

Postby elijahdb » Thu Dec 22, 2016 3:02 am

It is possible for the flagship to have different art layouts, such as maybe a Slug flagship or Mantis flagship, if someone came up with the hull, cloak and gib art?

Great work in what you're doing, man. Can't wait to see the results. I'd test it but I don't play FTL enough anymore..
I've created Type C Hulls for the enemy Mantis, Slug, Rock, and Zoltan ships, and anyone can use these for a mod.
Check out the details here.
Gidoza
Posts: 178
Joined: Mon Apr 11, 2016 1:49 pm

Re: Flagship Diversity Beta - Need Testers!

Postby Gidoza » Thu Dec 22, 2016 2:45 pm

elijahdb wrote:It is possible for the flagship to have different art layouts, such as maybe a Slug flagship or Mantis flagship, if someone came up with the hull, cloak and gib art?

Great work in what you're doing, man. Can't wait to see the results. I'd test it but I don't play FTL enough anymore..


I don't see why it wouldn't be possible for different art layouts - that would be neat! And thank you for the support. :)
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mr_easy_money
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Re: Flagship Diversity Beta - Need Testers!

Postby mr_easy_money » Thu Dec 22, 2016 8:49 pm

Gidoza wrote:2. Look at the last few posts of the thread. Announce in the forum alphabetically what Flagship you're taking. If you're the first person here - say you're taking Flagship A; the next person should take B, and so on.

I'm kinda confused about this. are you saying we shouldn't use any of the flagships someone else has commented on? because that would be pretty inconvenient because say we all take A (since no one has said anything about it), and I start building commentary on it only to find that someone has already said something about it, that would feel like a big waste of time. also you'd probably want multiple comments on the same ship for perspective.

Gidoza wrote:My initial post is ugly as heck

EDIT: Tried a new format. It's better, I guess, but still not my forte. ;)

you can change the size of headings to make them stand out more or try alternating colors, maybe even screenshots? You'd probably not want to spoil any of it on purpose though as that's the whole challenge of it.

it looks interesting though and I'll try it out :) now if only I can get to the boss fight in the first place... :roll:
Gidoza
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Re: Flagship Diversity Beta - Need Testers!

Postby Gidoza » Fri Dec 23, 2016 1:11 pm

I'm kinda confused about this. are you saying we shouldn't use any of the flagships someone else has commented on? because that would be pretty inconvenient because say we all take A (since no one has said anything about it), and I start building commentary on it only to find that someone has already said something about it, that would feel like a big waste of time. also you'd probably want multiple comments on the same ship for perspective.


The following is what I mean:

Say I am the first person testing in the thread.

I go: "I am taking Flagship A!" and I say so in the thread.

The next person scrolls to the bottom, sees Flagship A has been taken, and then says...

"I am taking Flagship B!"

And so on. That way everyone is not doing the same thing. :)
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mr_easy_money
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Re: Flagship Diversity Beta - Need Testers!

Postby mr_easy_money » Fri Dec 23, 2016 6:27 pm

okay so we should announce here which flagship version we're using if we want to provide feedback on it. got it. :)
meklozz
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Re: Flagship Diversity Beta - Need Testers!

Postby meklozz » Sat Dec 24, 2016 2:27 am

I played through A, it was similar to vanilla, so not much to comment on. Didn't notice the augments until I glanced at the files, but I had mantis B, flak II, flak I, halberd, and a pre-igniter. So you know. You wrote it was important to play Normal, but it's kinda boring (ftl in general) on it, is that necessary? Seems like all the difficulties should get some testing. In any case, didn't run into any problems. I would say that if by balance you meant that the flagship should be similar to vanilla, I'd say this was a straight difficulty increase, though. Not what I'd consider a problem at all, but I don't see any way in which it was weaker to compensate for any additions. Except maybe the weaker drone surge compared to vanilla Hard.
Gidoza
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Re: Flagship Diversity Beta - Need Testers!

Postby Gidoza » Sat Dec 24, 2016 5:12 am

meklozz wrote:I played through A, it was similar to vanilla, so not much to comment on. Didn't notice the augments until I glanced at the files, but I had mantis B, flak II, flak I, halberd, and a pre-igniter. So you know. You wrote it was important to play Normal, but it's kinda boring (ftl in general) on it, is that necessary? Seems like all the difficulties should get some testing. In any case, didn't run into any problems. I would say that if by balance you meant that the flagship should be similar to vanilla, I'd say this was a straight difficulty increase, though. Not what I'd consider a problem at all, but I don't see any way in which it was weaker to compensate for any additions. Except maybe the weaker drone surge compared to vanilla Hard.


You're welcome to test with other mods (like CE). The reason I'm suggesting to test on Normal is because on Easy the weapons get -1 power and the ship gets 2 or 3 less hit points, while on Hard the weapons get +1 power and 9 shield points - third Flagship gets 10 shield points, which is bound to make a difference. In other words - Hard is going to be unreasonably difficult compared to Normal, and Easy is going to be considerably easier compared to Normal. "Normal" will give you the right-ish balance for things, or at least that's the presumption I'm making. I guess Vanilla being what is is, there is perhaps no problem playing on Hard and having to deal with harder-to-disable weapons or an extra shield point.

However, I DID say that the difficulty I was aiming for was supposed to be equivalent to Vanilla Hard/CE Normal, so if you said that it was a straight difficulty increase (compared to Normal), then this sounds perfectly fine to me!



I was testing a few randomly-specific instances tonight because I was looking for specific information. I had a weird occurrence with Flag X1 - for some reason, in the first edition of X, none of the crew move at all. At all. They just sit there while their ship gets destroyed, not repairing anything. Why would this be? (also as a result of this test, I have confirmed that the Flag's Cluster Bombs are ridiculously overpowered as I presumed...reducing their count to 3 instead of 4...my goodness did I ever get slaughtered on X3 with a really powerful ship [Flag X is one of the fun non-direct-damage type designs that I've made and completely throws me for a loop on how to fight the thing when I myself designed it - if you ever want something "different," try this one and be entertained; a good example of an instance where I really needed more than 5 crew])


Anyways, reflecting - I SUPPOSE I could make all the difficulties the same during the testing phase in order to facilitate even-grounds testing at all levels to make Vanilla less boring if that's what you're doing? What do you think?

Either way, I'm testing with CE, and it seems a balanced exchange to me.


Except maybe the weaker drone surge compared to vanilla Hard.


Really? I actually had no idea there were more Drones on Hard.
meklozz
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Re: Flagship Diversity Beta - Need Testers!

Postby meklozz » Sat Dec 24, 2016 2:30 pm

Firstly, I really don't think this is a problem, but yeah, I read that you meant it was to be like vanilla Hard flagship, as far as I can tell it could do anything that one could do, + augments, + drone control in phase 3, + CE sluggish beam weapon. Drones go like 4, 6, and 7 on each setting, if I remember right. The difficulty of it mostly depends more on which types you get, really, a bunch of combat drones to keep getting through the shield is bad even if there are fewer of them. You can jump away to re-roll that.

Playing below hard on vanilla makes it really easy to get a very strong ship by the end. I guess I'm just gonna try Hard, as long as it's mentioned which difficulty it was it should be fine. I kinda want to try how those weapon levels work anyway, vanilla actually behaves differently than in the files, with only phase 3 getting all 4 levels as the files specify. It could be due to less systems, maybe again something to do with the maxPower stat, I dunno.

RE: Not moving on X1, maybe something to do with the doors linking? Did you try boarding it?

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