A Star Citizen blog representing the vast silent majority who only wish to make the game better.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Aegis Eclipse

The Aegis Eclipse. What a beautiful ship! I don't know about everybody else but the idea of owning a graceful stealth bomber is absolutely appealing to me.

I come from an Eve'l background (sorry, my bad). The stealth bomber was one of my favorite ships. It could be flown around with confidence. And it could, on occasion, just suddenly appear and mess up someone's day. I never fired a single shot at a PC with my bomber. It just isn't in me to grief someone. I did it once, for no reason, in another ship type (they escaped, fortunately) and I felt bad. But the beauty of flying the bomber, the luxurious feeling of it, sticks with me. And I just know it is going to be orders of magnitude better in SC.

I'm as close to buying as one can possibly get ... but perhaps I'll pass. As a solo player there is no role at all for the bomber. In Eve one could shoot-up NPCs to one's heart's content but not so in Star Citizen. In Star Citizen NPCs are people, too. Shooting anything in SC has an impact. So how does one play a strident neutral if one goes around blowing random soft targets up willy-nilly? Can't.

And it is expensive. The price of art, I suppose. I could work toward acquiring one in game. That aint going to happen. I'm not playing for credits or fame. I'll be making just enough to pay the bills all the while experiencing the wide Verse. This great game is no grinder for me!

I'm an explorer. I plan on exploring every nook and cranny of my sector. That includes trundling along on all possible areas of each planet's surface. I'm going to meet good people all over the place. No place for a stealth bomber here. Stealth bomber pilots don't meet anyone. And it is short-ranged. An expensive toy.

Have I talked myself out of it, yet?

Friday, May 19, 2017

Progressing My Fighter Skills

Developing one's fighter skills is kinda important in Star Citizen. I bought into Star Citizen with an Aegis Sabre. Then, I went into Arena Commander, the Vanduul Swarm module (solo), to try out my ship. Didn't do very well.

In Vanduul Swarm, the best I could do was wave 8'ish. Drove me crazy. I told my wife that it was impossible! But the leaderboards implied that other players were able to do it.

I use a joystick (X52). The forum told me that aiming was better with a mouse. OK, that's not going to happen, says I. The immersion factor is more important than excelling as a mouse player. Others in the forum used a stick and did well stating that it was just a matter of more practice and excellent hardware. Well, I can do the more practice bit.

It soon became obvious that my poor performance was all the fault of my guns. Maybe not all, I admit, but I did need to upgrade my guns as much as possible. To do that I needed rec. Rec is the currency that lets one rent ships and hardware.

The fastest way to earn rec is to run a few races in the Arena Commander module. Racing is not my style. Don't really cotton to Mario-style space sims but sometimes one simply has to bight the bullet and get the job done. To earn rec all one has to do is complete one lap but I would always drive on to the end.

It didn't take too long before I had enough rec to buy anything I wanted. Took a little while to discover how to convert my rec. One has to go to the RSI Electronic Access store. Not too intuitive that name, I must say.

I started trying out weapon combinations. Weapons change all the time so don't get all huffy-puffy if characteristics change on you. Experimenting with the various combinations and options was sorta fun but I ended up asking Youtube for the best loadout. For my Sabre it was four Panther 227s. Then it wasn't. Now it is again.

Outfit with improved weaponry made a huge difference immediately. I was able to get up to levels 16 or 17 almost consistently. An investment in time and intensity finally got me over the top. Level 19! Yay! Vanduul Swarm (solo) conquered. Then I tried it with people.

It can be done.

It's hard getting a full complement of people. Most games are just with one other. But even then Vanduul Swarm can be done ... sometimes. Sometimes a really good player joins you and you're practically carried all the way to the end.

Solo play drops by the wayside except maybe to quickly test a loadout. Playing with people is more fun and interesting.

Graduating from Vanduul Swarm one moves to Pirate Swarm. It's a little different as the enemy ships are more varied. But it is just as doable. It has more tension as who wants to die in wave 17 or 18?

One thing I discovered is that the weapons one tries in Arena Commander often don't work in the Persistent Universe. Always a bit of a shock to realize, too late, that you are shooting blanks.

There are other PvP modules in Arena Commander. I have never played them. I don't plan on playing them. They are for the PvP people who seek to habitually kill other players in game. Not my style. I'm sick to death of shooters and pew pew. I'll learn how to fly but I'm not supporting PvP with my attendance. And I don't play Star Marine, either. Run'n gun not to my tastes. Maybe if they had a me against an NPC squad module.


Anti-Contact List

Just for the record, I published this in the Spectrum feedback section of the Spectrum forum a month ago. I sure hope Turbulent acts on it.

The Contact List might be used in game to better arrange groupings of players or accept missions. You are working on something along those lines already, I think. Great! Perhaps an Anti-Contact List would also be helpful but to do the opposite.
Players on a Contact List would receive a reputation boost relative to yourself. Players on an Anti-Contact List would receive a diminished reputation relative to yourself.
Both contact lists could be built from an option in-game and from Spectrum. There are so many unsavory players who present themselves in the Spectrum forum, especially lately. It would be nice to have a way to avoid having to play with them in game, too. Plus, there are a great many exemplary backers that I would love to have a greater chance of interacting with inside the game.
Hopefully, blocking will come to Spectrum. Blocking could be a way to populate, innocuously, the Anti-Contact List. BUT, I think a preferred way would be to have an Anti-Contact button within Spectrum itself. Also a Contact button in Spectrum. Coincidental Contacts (probably just from the Contact List) could populate an automatic Standard Contact List (as exists in-game now) and help bring people together.
The Anti-Contact List would greatly mitigate the desire for a PvP Slider ... which is not really an elegant solution to anything.
A Contact List is, of course, only relative to yourself. This makes trading or meeting people you respect easier and more favorable in-game. An Anti-Contact List is also only relative to yourself. This makes meeting those less savory, less likely. At the moment we have no way of carrying knowledge of reprehensible characters into the game; or, of those we greatly respect.

I may have refined my thinking on it a bit but the thought remains the same ... to reduce our having to play with ass-hats. Or more correctly, emotionally equivalent players will gravitate toward each other in-game and be able to avoid people of differing attitudes if they choose.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Star Citizen 50th Post

Well, I'll be darned, my 50th posting. Who would have thought I'd have that much to say?

Art Hornbie
Most everybody now knows that the next great update (SC a3.0) is coming mid-July'ish. That leaves a huge gap in time for backers to idle away. Already the forums are acting up as if some worldwide chemtrail experiment is taking place. Dissociative Mania has taken root: depersonalization, rationalizations, contemptuousness ... gives one pause for the human race.

I suppose it is all by design. It takes pressure off of our politicians to make a better world.

Just like most everybody else, I get my information and knowledge of the game through the Star Citizen YouTube site and through the Spectrum forum. From SC YouTube the Around the Verse episodes especially, which come out each Thursday (Friday morning for me as it is late). And from Spectrum the highly informative and least contaminated Economics and Employment thread.

Still, I have to place another plug for the Anti-Contact List idea. Currently, there is no method for sane, rational people to get together or self-identify within the Star Citizen environment. The Anti-Contact List allows us to weed out those proven by their own actions to be less desirable. We just read the Spectrum forum, click on a post's little Anti-Contact frowny face icon, and in-game, when the game starts, that person's reputation relative to us is downgraded.

The Anti-Contact List alerts us to avoid ass-hats. We know not to give them missions, buy their goods, fly or run with them ... . We'll know the good people from the less than savory; in game. Of course, all this assumes that the reputation system is viable and working. The reputation system is the lynch-pin element that will separate the construct of Star Citizen from all other games; mechanic speaking.

So, my 50th posting. Looks like I used it as a call for a reasonable game in the face of unreasonable players, yet excluding no one.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Star Citizen BDSSE

What am I going to do in Star Citizen?

When you think about it the answer is not so easy. The game is so BIG! Big in space, big in land mass, big in technology, big in flying, big in planet-side play ... it is many games in one. I could spend years simply trying to extend influence on a planet: exploring, mining, gathering, surviving. Don't even need a ship. Although I have four.

Initially, I plan on exploring. Not just any exploring but to search for Oretani, the lost system. Just search. And along the way, hopefully, make a few credits and pay the bills.

Starfarer and nice view.

I'll not be playing for credits. Not for ships, either. Not for glory. Not for organizations of the uncouth. Certainly not for shits and giggles. I'm going to hang out in my ship. Hang out for hours on end. Slow and easy. Let the Universe unfold as it should.

No more run'n gun. No more frenetic gaming. No more grinding for nothing. Star Citizen will be my escape into imaginary science fiction. I'll explore all the variety the game can throw at me, and then seek out more. Just me and my NPC crew. Explorers of the unknown.

Then, one day, Oretani will be discovered. I'm thinking that will take quite a while. So when it's discovered I'll switch over to a support role, medical maybe, in the vicinity of Oretani. As I will have spent so much time looking for it I may as well put down roots there. Planet-side. It will become my permanent base of operations.

When I'm not off being selflessly supportive somewhere I'll be gathering plant samples, or prospecting, or simply exploring planet-side all the interesting nooks and crannies of the planet. Make a few credits here, a few there. Just puttering about.

Star Citizen is essentially a big Velcro computer game. It will have near infinite expansions and an interesting, convoluted evolution of play. It is designed to be played for decades. A journey without end.

And along the way I'll make friends. Build community. Get to know good people.

Really looking forward to Star Citizen.

Friday, May 12, 2017

A Great Game Needs Great Design

A great game needs great design. Without great design the game becomes stilted and boring; short-lived. In Star Citizen I think the hidden jewel within its construct will be the reputation system.

Again I'm back to the "individual" triadic, "the enemy of my enemy is my friend." Or EMEMF for short. This encompasses a great deal more than is immediately obvious. In the forum's Economy and Employment thread it was exquisitely described:

It's a triadic statement so it breaks down into four non-exclusive triangular structures: the friend of my friend is my friend, the friend of my enemy is my enemy, the enemy of my enemy is my friend, and the enemy of my friend is my enemy.
In Star Citizen, one would also expect several planes of relationship to which the triadic statement applies: race, authority (UEE, non-aligned), organization, and individual. It would cascade through them, I think. As in, I attack you, it affects your organization, too. ...
... I have read that such models end up with friend groupings which is interesting to me as it could be a natural method of forming organizations.

The observation that, over time, organic groupings of similarly minded individuals would appear. It IS interesting. Perhaps a natural way of establishing player groupings for such things as crew or missions or organizations.

It would be an interesting bit of analytical design to accomplish incorporating EMEMF into the reputation system. It would be great but it wouldn't be the jewel in the crown. The pièce de résistance would be a fifth triadic (in addition to race, authority,organization, and individual): the miscreant (aka ass-hat).

The miscreant triadic would be friend / enemy / ass-hat. Attacking someone or killing someone in this triadic wouldn't alter the friend / enemy differential. But doing a game no-no would alter both the friend and enemy values negatively toward the ass-hat.

In game miscreant no-nos could be killing children, adult civilians, surrended individuals, slaves, etc ... possibly even voice detection of bad language (see how I snuck that one in). I suppose these would have to slowly nullify with time as there is no game mechanic to undo ass-hattery.

Why identify ass-hats in game? Well, it's a way to put some in-game consequences to their actions. Their missions would become less rewarding, they'd get poor prices for goods sold, or pay more for items, technicians would repair their equipment less reliably, etc, etc. Just what ass-hats deserve. And the sublimely sweet bit is that they wouldn't know; they'd only suspect. Perfect behavior modification. (Can you see me smiling? Such a joyful paragraph to write.)

The friend of my enemy is my friend. Such a powerful tool to weave into a game.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Aliens are Coming, Aliens are Coming!

Why should we have a perfect counter-balance for each alien weapon? Why they, ours?

I would not object to the discovery of a hostile alien race which has a weapon that can shred our ships. Nor would I object to a weapon that is next to useless against ourselves but effective against a particular alien shield.

Banu tachyon cannon
In Star Citizen lore there is the implication that it could have taken several UEE fighters to take down one Vanduul Scythe before the introduction of the Aegis Gladius. The only point in our favor was that of superior numbers. Is such an assumption unrealistic? I don't mind unbalanced forces being in the game.

More to the question is why would one think we should be able to perfectly adapt an alien technology? Geez, even poor little North Korea is having a bit of trouble developing ICBMs and nuclear warheads despite the tech being relatively well known.

Imbalance is not a problem but a challenge. It is the aliens that present the problem.

It may be reasonable to have perfect rock, paper, scissors, lizard, Spock within the UEE-developed technology. One would think the UEE knows the tactics of both deploying and defeating its own military hardware. But not so against alien races. A little desperation and panic on our part makes for good science fiction.