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View Full Version : Drox beta patch 0.904


Shadow
06-27-2012, 05:27 PM
Beta Patch 0.904 of Drox Operative is available over on the Drox Operative patch page (http://www.soldak.com/Drox-Operative/Patches.html). Changes can be read here (http://www.soldak.com/Drox-Operative/Patches/Changes.html). This patch addresses the win/lose conditions, makes race for the player more important, and fixes a bunch of other things.

Castruccio
06-27-2012, 05:54 PM
Patch looks great. A quick note, the Cortex bonuses are obscured by the "advanced options" title in the ship creation screen.

Chumpy
06-27-2012, 06:19 PM
New race bonuses are cool, though I wonder if the Engineering races are strongest now.

New lose condition lends itself to more interesting situations. I'm unclear on what the new win condition fixes, though. Is it just to stop silly players from blowing all their cash on positive rumors?

Shadow
06-27-2012, 06:27 PM
I'm unclear on what the new win condition fixes, though. Is it just to stop silly players from blowing all their cash on positive rumors?

It along with some race changes should make the end game more exciting instead of dragging out when everyone becomes friends.

Castruccio
06-27-2012, 06:42 PM
It along with some race changes should make the end game more exciting instead of dragging out when everyone becomes friends.

RE Win Condition: But won't the best strategy now be to ally yourself with one race from the beginning and ignore all the quests and dynamics of the others? In other words, if my goal is to ally with one race by the end, why would I complete quests from any other race besides that one?

Shadow
06-27-2012, 06:47 PM
RE Win Condition: But won't the best strategy now be to ally yourself with one race from the beginning and ignore all the quests and dynamics of the others? In other words, if my goal is to ally with one race by the end, why would I complete quests from any other race besides that one?

If you can keep them in the lead sure.

Bluddy
06-27-2012, 07:00 PM
Nice patch, and I like the new loss condition.

Some more observations about the new victory condition though:

- It effectively turns you into the angel of death. The races may not seek to destroy each other, but you're looking to finish them off. If you see a race struggling, your best bet is to kill them. If you start an early sector and see a race with a single home planet -- kill it off, it'll clear up the later game.
- There's no reason to complete quests for any race but the one you're allied with. Let the quests fester -- it'll just help your allied race destroy them.
- The difference between victory and loss ie. one allied race defeating every other race and one non-allied race defeating every other race is just a faction grind.

Valgor
06-27-2012, 07:03 PM
I agree. The change in victory conditions seems a bit pointless.

Lyranaar
06-27-2012, 08:01 PM
Thanks a lot for the patch!

Some very quick thoughts on the new win condition though:
I'm very unsure if that really brings out the strong points of the game. E.g. the specialties of the Dryads are now worthless or better make them pesky guys (or girls) you need to kill off fast.

I would rather like to see making it possible to have still multi-allied victories and reward them more as they are more work if you manage even more than two races!

Just simply killing everyone off each time seems kinda weak compared to the great possibilities and interaction of the AIs and players with those.

After some star systems it will be clearer. But on first glance I don't think this makes the game shine more.

Let me explain a bit more:
In some of our most fun games we actually helped races we liked forge an alliance. By guarding some diplomatic ships through tough systems, starting a rumor and quickly defending ships and planets. That's great stuff. Actually you can shape the galaxy - up to some point - after your desire.
By killing monsters close to planets or ships with most races you can always gain some reputation back.

If some players don't like this style, this is certainly a matter of taste. But I rather would like to see more chances to interact. At least please bring back the possibility to set the old style as possible generation for a star system. ("Winning condition: Allied Victory/Last Race standing/..) When allied victory is the goal, the races shouldn't be more warlike than before, if Last race they can be more warlike.

On a last thought: Why couldn't there be instead/in addition to the rumor be a chance to get a quest to further the relation? That way you would rather play the game actually than only spend money? This would also be a great way to introduce more meaningful quests/questlines.

ScrObot
06-28-2012, 12:38 AM
1. Bug: The lose condition countdown timer's hover text states that "you are currently in a war with all of the remaining races", however, I am not at war with the lone remaining race, nor was I ever, and we have a Mutual Protection Pact as well. This should be rewritten to state the actual win condition of being allied with them.

Not sure if it matters in this case, but this was a sector started in .903. I blew up the last Utopian planet myself (whom I was at war with) which started the loss timer.

Screenshot 1: http://www.scrobot.com/drox/drox_bug_lose_condition1.jpg
Screenshot 2: http://www.scrobot.com/drox/drox_bug_lose_condition2.jpg

2. Bug: Brunt was trying to get me to break my treaty with Utopian for 8,263 credits, and I ignored it for a while (rather than decline); after a while they had fewer than 8,000 credits but the offer remained the same. I didn't accept it at that point so I'm not sure how much I would've actually gotten or if it would've driven them into the negative. I'll keep my eye out for a similar situation.

Screenshot: http://www.scrobot.com/drox/drox_bug_too_many_credits.jpg

longshot
06-28-2012, 08:51 AM
I think the victory condition is a huge improvement, at least in games where there is more than one viable race, which is hopefully how a vast majority of games will be in the future.

The strategy of just picking a race and screwing over the other races just won't work when there are several built up races. In my current game, Shadow, Human, and Lithsoid are all competing for the lead. I am currently trying to ally with Shadow, but that could turn out badly, since they are at war with Human and Lithsoid. Who are both strong enough that I don't really want to go to war with them, and it is not clear at all who is going to win. Against all odds, Shadow happens to be wining the wars against both races. But that could quickly change, due to a hallucination outbreak that is quickly spreading across their planets, which they have generated about 6 quests for, on top of the other quests generated by effects of the outbreak, like radiation leaks.

So if they lose, it will be the humans and lithsoids. And I have absolutely no idea who the winner of that war will be, if Shadow doesn't keep beating the odds.

Before, I would just let the races duke it out, and ally with the sole winner. You can't do that anymore, unless you can build up your rep in ten minutes. The player has to ally with SOMEONE, and hope it is the right race. In my current game, it makes it a lot more interesting.

Bluddy
06-28-2012, 09:15 AM
I think the victory condition is a huge improvement, at least in games where there is more than one viable race, which is hopefully how a vast majority of games will be in the future.

The strategy of just picking a race and screwing over the other races just won't work when there are several built up races. In my current game, Shadow, Human, and Lithsoid are all competing for the lead. I am currently trying to ally with Shadow, but that could turn out badly, since they are at war with Human and Lithsoid. Who are both strong enough that I don't really want to go to war with them, and it is not clear at all who is going to win. Against all odds, Shadow happens to be wining the wars against both races. But that could quickly change, due to a hallucination outbreak that is quickly spreading across their planets, which they have generated about 6 quests for, on top of the other quests generated by effects of the outbreak, like radiation leaks.

So if they lose, it will be the humans and lithsoids. And I have absolutely no idea who the winner of that war will be, if Shadow doesn't keep beating the odds.

Before, I would just let the races duke it out, and ally with the sole winner. You can't do that anymore, unless you can build up your rep in ten minutes. The player has to ally with SOMEONE, and hope it is the right race. In my current game, it makes it a lot more interesting.

Interesting -- that does sound promising. Was this a sector that you developed from the start, or a pre-developed one? It sounds like the new victory condition is really suited for pre-developed sectors where races are balanced, rather than for fresh sectors where helping one side early on (and killing off races early on) can grow your ally into a huge empire, at which point the outcome is more certain.

Brian Rubin
06-28-2012, 10:13 AM
Could you please revert back to the previous victory condition? I had won my sector post-patch, and came back to find that I was now stuck there. It wasn't a good feeling. :/

longshot
06-28-2012, 11:46 AM
Could you please revert back to the previous victory condition? I had won my sector post-patch, and came back to find that I was now stuck there. It wasn't a good feeling. :/

You can declare war on both the races, then drive outside the sector and wait for ten minutes. I've had to do this twice so far, but that's what happens when you play a beta ;)

As an additional note, it would be nice if the game had an "Abort Sector" button.

Shadow
06-28-2012, 12:17 PM
As an additional note, it would be nice if the game had an "Abort Sector" button.

You can abort a sector, just go through the Play button instead of the Resume and create a new sector.

Bluddy
06-28-2012, 12:42 PM
Nice patch, and I like the new loss condition.

Some more observations about the new victory condition though:

- It effectively turns you into the angel of death. The races may not seek to destroy each other, but you're looking to finish them off. If you see a race struggling, your best bet is to kill them. If you start an early sector and see a race with a single home planet -- kill it off, it'll clear up the later game.
- There's no reason to complete quests for any race but the one you're allied with. Let the quests fester -- it'll just help your allied race destroy them.
- The difference between victory and loss ie. one allied race defeating every other race and one non-allied race defeating every other race is just a faction grind.

Another issue with this victory condition:
- There's no reason to ever help an underdog against a stronger opponent. No amount of money will convince you to do so, since it brings you closer to losing (unless you just want to take the money and betray the underdog).

Shadow
06-28-2012, 12:51 PM
Bluddy I think your first 3 observations were really true with the initial win conditions.

I do agree about the underdog part, although that can be fixed. I could do things like make it so underdogs reward you with higher relations changes than the leader would. This would make the decision less clear cut.

Brian Rubin
06-28-2012, 01:11 PM
You can declare war on both the races, then drive outside the sector and wait for ten minutes. I've had to do this twice so far, but that's what happens when you play a beta ;)
Aaww, but I LIKE these guys, I don't wanna declare war on 'em. :/ I shouldn't HAVE to either.

Bluddy
06-28-2012, 01:31 PM
Bluddy I think your first 3 observations were really true with the initial win conditions.

I do agree about the underdog part, although that can be fixed. I could do things like make it so underdogs reward you with higher relations changes than the leader would. This would make the decision less clear cut.

The first 3 observations could be true for the earlier win conditions, but it was mostly up to you. You could approach the goal of unifying the sector either by unifying the races or by having one race dominate the others. Now, they're pretty much explicit since you really want to destroy everything but one race since that's your goal. In other words, your goal is now more brutal than the races', and they're the ones competing!

I think making the underdog reward you with more relations (and gold, if they have any) is a good idea regardless. You want the player to be motivated to fight the leader and help the underdog. However, it won't help that much in this case because even if the underdog likes you, he's still the underdog, and sticking with him vs the race in power is completely against the incentives of the victory condition.

I get that it's hard to come up with solid victory conditions here. That's why I kept coming up with ideas in the 'plays like a toy' thread.

It seems to me that as a mercenary, you shouldn't care who takes over the galaxy. There does need to be loyalty to a race in order to feel involvement, but I feel that loyalty should be to whomever you chose to help. One option is to use random victory conditions to keep things exciting: save this race; make this much money; destroy this race.

Another way would just be to say: do what you do as a mercenary: make this much gold from this sector. Then, you make it such that the leading race pays you very little while the underdog gives you everything he has. Also, make it such that the really good quests can only be offered to you when you're allied with a race and the opposing race hates you. To get the best (and most profitable) quests, you need to declare war on your ally's enemies.

If you don't like using X money as a goal, you can bring back the reputation meter from DC and make X reputation per sector as the goal. Except here, you can lose reputation from betraying allies and underperforming. The rest would be the same as with money above: helping the underdog gives you the most reputation. And to get high reputation quests, you must join an ally and declare war on his enemies. Your goal in this case is to raise the reputation of the Drox throughout the galaxy, and this is something I feel fits both the game and the Drox.

longshot
06-28-2012, 04:14 PM
Interesting -- that does sound promising. Was this a sector that you developed from the start, or a pre-developed one?

I'll let you know when the dust settles...

http://i.imgur.com/1smSrl.jpg

Yeah, the races are a *bit* more aggressive. Obviously my plan to ally with Shadow failed, since they declared war on me. My current goal for the sector is to try to survive to the next one.

Bluddy
06-28-2012, 04:17 PM
Wow. They all hate each other? I think we've gone too far to the other side with the race relation changes.

Chumpy
06-28-2012, 04:50 PM
Any chance we could make inter-race relation changes be based on actual events?

Would feel a lot better if relations went down because of races actually going around spreading propaganda or colonizing planets other races wanted or "accidentally" releasing monsters in other star systems.

That would give war a real weight to it, instead of everyone at each other's throats because "Hey, it's been ten minutes."

longshot
06-28-2012, 04:54 PM
Yes, and there are more named monsters than I care to count. It's basically a galactic free for fall, which is actually a nice change from the boringness before. I'm not sure if I would want to play every sector at an intensity level of 11.

There was a lot more propaganda spreading this game, (including against me), which I think had a lot to do with it.

I think that if the races formed power blocs, and didn't break them until everyone else was elminated, it would be about right. That way I could mentally compartmentalize the action, which I have no chance of doing this game. This sector pretty much feels like what happens when all hell breaks loose in DQ, and there is a systematic chain of failure.

longshot
06-28-2012, 04:55 PM
Any chance we could make inter-race relation changes be based on actual events?

Would feel a lot better if relations went down because of races actually going around spreading propaganda...

There was a ton of propaganda and sabotage this game. The start of the game was peaceful.

Bluddy
06-28-2012, 05:09 PM
It seems to me that as a mercenary, you shouldn't care who takes over the galaxy. There does need to be loyalty to a race in order to feel involvement, but I feel that loyalty should be to whomever you chose to help. One option is to use random victory conditions to keep things exciting: save this race; make this much money; destroy this race.

Another way would just be to say: do what you do as a mercenary: make this much gold from this sector. Then, you make it such that the leading race pays you very little while the underdog gives you everything he has. Also, make it such that the really good quests can only be offered to you when you're allied with a race and the opposing race hates you. To get the best (and most profitable) quests, you need to declare war on your ally's enemies.

If you don't like using X money as a goal, you can bring back the reputation meter from DC and make X reputation per sector as the goal. Except here, you can lose reputation from betraying allies and underperforming. The rest would be the same as with money above: helping the underdog gives you the most reputation. And to get high reputation quests, you must join an ally and declare war on his enemies. Your goal in this case is to raise the reputation of the Drox throughout the galaxy, and this is something I feel fits both the game and the Drox.

One thing that's nice about this approach is that it still leaves the gate open for you to do different things in the 4x part of the game. You could have achievements and extra rewards for accomplishing different things, like siding with the underdog, or being the ally of each race at some point, or bringing harmony to the universe without destroying any race, or even destroying every race. Random bonus goals per sector that give you extra rewards and achievements work really well with a reputation goal -- it could really bring out the uniqueness and range of possibilities within the 4x.

Chumpy
06-28-2012, 05:50 PM
There was a ton of propaganda and sabotage this game. The start of the game was peaceful.

The start of almost every game is peaceful. (Galaxies could start with some preexisting treaties/wars/relationships to differentiate them more.)

Maybe it's just because I play Very Fast, but the way relations decrease naturally over time feels inorganic to me. I want stories about how two races had a great relationship, but one couldn't resist stealing key technology. I want to tell people about how the sneaky Shadow destroyed an alliance with rumors. Maybe one race released monsters in a galaxy to mess with other races, but got caught! (This would not only provide another story reason we're fighting so many monsters instead of interacting with the races, it would also incorporate the "evidence" quests from Demon War.)

Maybe one race can offer another race a bunch of money/tech/info/planets to make peace, or to declare war on another race, because that is something they can do when they have lots of tech and money. Instead, low relations never, ever change without the player spending tons of money on positive rumors (what?).

Instead of having inter-race relations naturally decrease over time, let's just make the races naturally disposed toward behavior that could worsen those relations.

Bluddy
06-28-2012, 05:55 PM
The start of almost every game is peaceful. (Galaxies could start with some preexisting treaties/wars/relationships to differentiate them more.)

Maybe it's just because I play Very Fast, but the way relations decrease naturally over time feels inorganic to me. I want stories about how two races had a great relationship, but one couldn't resist stealing key technology. I want to tell people about how the sneaky Shadow destroyed an alliance with rumors. Maybe one race released monsters in a galaxy to mess with other races, but got caught! (This would not only provide another story reason we're fighting so many monsters instead of interacting with the races, it would also work in the "evidence" quests from Demon War.)

I agree. Having relations auto-degrade is a huge and gaping over-generalization for the level of simulation Drox is attempting to achieve, and doesn't belong in the game IMO.

Chumpy
06-28-2012, 06:07 PM
Not sure the engine can manage all this, but here's an idea:

Let's say race A has no colonies in a sector, but race B and C do. Race A pays some monster ships to cause trouble in the sector. B and C give quests to deal with the monsters. If you kill the named monster, it drops Evidence of Race A's involvement. At that point you can deliver the evidence to B and C. If we're getting creative, Race A might even want you to surrender the evidence.

If B and C get wiped out, maybe the monsters disappear, or maybe they keep causing trouble and race A pays you to wipe them out. They could even still drop Evidence! It wouldn't serve any gameplay purpose, but it would enhance the "story" of the galaxy.

alstein
06-28-2012, 09:29 PM
Some things I noticed

Some races listed as dead are alive and kicking.

Also, I think if you have alliances with all the remaining races that are alive, that should count as a won sector. It doesn't right now. You shouldn't have to solve every last quest.

Lyranaar
06-29-2012, 06:18 AM
Not sure the engine can manage all this, but here's an idea:

Let's say race A has no colonies in a sector, but race B and C do. Race A pays some monster ships to cause trouble in the sector. B and C give quests to deal with the monsters. If you kill the named monster, it drops Evidence of Race A's involvement. At that point you can deliver the evidence to B and C. If we're getting creative, Race A might even want you to surrender the evidence.

If B and C get wiped out, maybe the monsters disappear, or maybe they keep causing trouble and race A pays you to wipe them out. They could even still drop Evidence! It wouldn't serve any gameplay purpose, but it would enhance the "story" of the galaxy.

Good stuff Chumpy! I agree, let's get the player really more involved. That would make the underlying mechanics shine. Everyone gets grumpy, so just make sure you wipe everyone else is just too simple (boring) for this game.

Why not go the way in addition: You don't pay a rumor, you generate (for money?) a quest that you can solve and then decide who "seems" to have solved it. Dedicate the relation bonus to another race than yourself.

Aganazer
06-29-2012, 10:11 AM
Fairly often I'll start a sector and the races will offer missions in two systems, one of which being the starting system. The other system will not have a jump gate from the starting system which means I need to explore 2-3 other systems before finding it. By the time it is found half the missions are failed and half the races got wiped out. All with very little involvement or progress on my part.

So I would feel a lot more involved if I weren't sent on wild goose chases at the start of a sector.

Other than that, I'm having a blast. I've been playing with a fighter bay and a mine just to have a different play style. It works great! I keep wondering though, do fighters benefit from +attack? Do mines? I intentionally made this build without points in computers and I'm wondering if I am missing out.

Shadow
06-29-2012, 11:16 AM
Any chance we could make inter-race relation changes be based on actual events?

A lot of it is.

Also, I think if you have alliances with all the remaining races that are alive, that should count as a won sector. It doesn't right now. You shouldn't have to solve every last quest.

The win condition changed in patch 0.904 to only allowing 1 race to live.

Hecht
06-29-2012, 12:45 PM
Why not let the stricter victory condition be optional (i.e. "there can be only one")?

LostSoul
06-29-2012, 01:21 PM
Some races listed as dead are alive and kicking.

My suspicion is that this phenomenon is connected to the fact that non-faction ships attacking claimed planets can "plant" a faction seed on that planet if they destroy it. If the rogue ship is of a faction-design that's already been destroyed, they "claim" the planet but are still destroyed.

Ex: early on Dryads get knocked off by Legion. Mid-game, a legion planet is taken out by a rogue dryad-type ship and that plants a dryad colony on the planet. The dryad's are now alive and dead.