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.
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)
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?
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.
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!