~50ish games feedback longfirstpost & guide

Describe your experience with the latest version of FreeOrion to help us improve it.

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slv
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~50ish games feedback longfirstpost & guide

#1 Post by slv »

Hi there, I've been playing freeorion for quite some time, although have never posted here. Have some feedback from a lot of played games, couple balance concerns and UI concerns.

There will be 4 parts of the report (1.UI 2. Echonomical Technologies 3.Warfare technologies 4.Game reports/Personal guide). This will be partially a guide for newish players, partially a balance rant, partially an asking questions, in other ways it's and unreadable mess :)

Was playing 2016-02-28-1df7cf9

1.User interface

So let's start with a boring part, shall we?

In technology screen, Pedia window is unclosable, is it really needed? I would prefer it to be closable. On small screens you have to manually decrease window size just to see techs. That's especially obvious with a list view since no matter where you move it it will cover something. To open it again just click on any technoloy.
In technology screen list view, the list is scrollable only if there are more techs than fit he screen. It's certainly a good idea, but... Can you make it scrollable always? The "display window" sometimes covers few techs and you have to move it to see them (i.e. if you leave all Learning techs, Unified Consiousness and Xenoarcheology are not seen in my window mode).
In technology screen view it's not possible to sort w.r.t. science cost/results. I would definitely use this feature once in a while.
I assume since Pedia is unclosable in technology view screen you're supposed to use it frequently to see what effects and prerequisites technologies have. In that case I would like to be able to select a tech from pedia. I.E. If I have a contrived symbiosis tech page open in pedia double click on the name should select the tech for research.

In design view Quantum Energy Hull has a displayed stealth value of 0, if I add +40 stealth ship part it gets 25 stealth. Can it display "-15" in the first place? It's not possible to know the value in any other way other than creating the ship and adding a stealth part to it. Also I would like to have ship Pedia entries display stealth and detection range too.

On map view there is no way (afaik) to see the starlane distance between two systems. It makes warfare tricky sometimes. Also I would like to have an option of flying one system at a time. I.E. If you hold Ctrl and make a path your ship will fly one jump at a time, can be useful for fast ships/scouts.

Pedia on itself have a few issues. I would like to be able to click on the title (i.e. I look on "Chato" page, I think being abl to click on "Species" title is a good thing). Also I would like to be able to access all the pedia, I sometimes couldn't retrieve an info I know was definitely there somewhere. I.E. I saw a snowflake and wanted to see all its evolution forms, how to do it? I still don't know, is it possible?

I am not sure, I think this feature was in the old version (or maybe I am thinking different game), I would really like to have a "split in half" feature. So that you can split doomstack much quicker if you don't care how do you split it.

2.Economical technologies

1)Subearly & Early game

My first economical technologies are always Algorythmic Intelligence, Planetary Ecology, Subterranean Habitation and Nascent AI (these 4 I call "subearly technologies", don't think I've played a single game not queueing them on the first turn, although I sometimes add a hull/massdriver technology before Nascent AI). Maybe I would like to have a bit of variety here, maybe a technology which gives +50% troop strength vs natives, another which makes monsters not attack your scouts. So that in the first turns my actions isn't just "queue technologies and production, then move fleets".

Early game technologies consist of 2 Growth technologies (Terraforming & Xenological), 4ish production technologies (industrial centers, adapted automaton,orbital generation,microgravity industry) and 2 Science technologies (Quantum & Distributed thought) and a bunch of Construction stuff.

I really like Growth pattern here, there are two choices each not being strictly superior to the other. Same for Science (Except awful Gateway of the Void branch, what's that technology supposed to even do?). I like the support-esque feeling for whole construction line (although I never tried to research Cons.Camps and check if it's a reasonable early-midgame tech, can be good if you find a huge good planet or Gysache early).

What I am no particularly fond of is the production line. I pretty much have to research Adapted Automatons since all alternatives don't yield as much of an impact even in best cases. Although if you're playing High planets and got lucky than Orbital generation may be good too.

2)Midgame

I really like the feeling of "Oh god, I will get that technology and be ahead" of most midgame technologies. There are N-dimensional structures, Pure Energy metabolism, Artificial planets, Unified consiousness. Usually your choice is decided by what you've chosen in early game. I.e. if you went for terraforming you decide between Artificial planets and Pure-Energy, if you went for Quantum-networking rush you usually procede to N-dimensional structures. The layout is awesome anyway.

Speaking of N-dimensional things, what about Assembly? I really don't like the way it works now. Partially because I have no idea if it is advantageous or not. Usually it's not, but how can I tell it without spending an hour of calculations? I would like to see either a cap on population (i.e. Hyperspatial Dam increases production of planets by 0.4 of the population of all planets with >25 population, decreases population by 5) or it being applied only to large and huge planets.

3)Lategame
I rarely play much to lategame, usually I stop when I see that I can win (don't like micromanagement in particular). All of the interesting stuff going on here, much of this is done for roleplay purposes (moving planets/Megalith/etc).

3.Warfare technologies
So here i the place where I was supposed to tell about their favourite hull and explain that all other are bad :). Well, i actually like all of them. Ok, more like 85% of them :D

4)Unusables
I generally don't use Gateway to the Void itself, Psychogenic Domination, all the bombarding weapons. I especially would like death spores/rays/whatever to be more useful, I tried, but it doesn't feel good enough :(

1)Robotics&Asteroid
You may be surprised I put two best hulls together in one subsection I am not going to write a lot about. But the thing is, even though these hulls are good, possibly the best ones multiplier-wise (haven't played it, can't really say it), they are not very good in AI-smacking. If you're playing 1 vs 1 they may be your best best, but if your goal is to kill everybody on t180 and you're fighting 2-front war it's not the best.
Definitely best hulls for 1vs1 combat, better in high starlane galaxy. Good if you're stuck in the corner with Egassem neighbour who was lucky enough to conquer Tae Ghirus. Can't really tell you much since I use them too rarely to contribute. Usually I research them if I try to rush technologies and sudden eaxaw/trith happens.

Transspatial drive can be the weirdest one among these two hull ines. But that's an issue with having not enough core slot details yet.

One thing a Robotics and Energy line needs is an efficient coloniser. It feels wrong that I feel inclined to research organics just for that in the lategame. Why haven't I researched organics at the start of the game in the first place?

2)Organic hulls
One of the lines I am using the most. At least the first hull of it :).

I like the idea, I kinda like the layout, I don't like of being the 10 hull-branch. That's too much. Like 4 hulls too much!
For example look on Symbiotic hull and Protoplasmic hull. Yes, they're are different. Difference being one has 10 more stealth and one more slot. Hell, they even get the very same description in pedia. I mean if a person tried to find the difference he couldn't, Of course currently both of them have uses, advantages/disadvantages but does organic line need two hulls doing exactly the same thing strategically? I doubt it.

Static multicellular is a nice concept, although I am not sure it's good realisation. The speed is nice, but I am usually not even sure if organic hull itself is worse At least i don't have to worry about drydock repairs. I guess if we get more good internal parts (Fuel isn't that needed for warship and organic regenerates it) the hull might become better. Or if it got 15 stealth instead of 5. Or if all zombie hulls regenerated just not that quickly.

Bioadaptive hull is nice, having 75 stealth raider rather early is awesome. Actually AI might not even have a neutron scanner by the time you get it, so having just a +20 stealth part or just a hull itself can be enough for stealth warfare.

Endomorphic&Ravenous have surprisingly decent PP/eternal slot ratio but again, they are trying to acomplish the same task (and Endosymbiotic/Sentient tries to do that too!). Also it's not like it does it well, Ravenous and Endomorphic can definitely live (see the pun? They're zombie :o ) with an additional external slot.

For the very least I would remove one of protoplasmic/symbiotic (together with a tech), move Bioadaptive one tier lower (making it depend on Terraforming instead), make the tech itself more expensive, make Endosymbiotic dependent on Bioadaptive and static multicellular (with more expensive tech), make Endomorphic and Ravenous have one more slot. Make Sentient dependent on Endosymbiotic, so instead of
---------/Symbiotic---Protoplasmic\--Bioadaptive--------\
Organic-------------------------------Endosymbiotic- x x --Sentient
---------\Static MC----Endomorphic/----Ravenous--------/
Make it
---------/Symbiotic----Bioadaptive----Endosymbiotic--\
Organic----------------------------------------------------Sentient
---------\Static MC----Endomorphic---Ravenous--------/

3.Energy Hulls

This is the hulls i was having the most fun with recently. I even won the game with a rush into Energy hulls strat.

I like the hull, I like the how expensive to research it is since it's not a no-brainer hull like organic/military. You actually need to incorporate it into a strategy (want to rush Quantum computing? Guess you need force-energy anyway!).

I am having only two problems with this line.
First one is Energy Frigate. Look, I know what it's trying to acomplish (giving a robotic hull-substitute) but it feels both wrong, out-of-the-picture and weak. Even an energy hull-lover like me uses frigate once in a blue moon. Pretty much only if I went for energy hull line, never found a blue star and enemy suddenly got a neutron scanner (more on that later). Not quite a frequent thing, right?
240 RP research cost is a lot, for 144 you get an Endosymbiotic, for 250 BioAdaptive. And Frigate is just a fast Military Robotic for that cost.

The other problem is Quantum vs Fractal. It's not really a "problem", just a weird thing. How am I supposed to decide? Whenever I am given an important choice I want to have a feeling that I actually decide based on some information/analysis. Like terraforming vs genetics. Or choosing two organics branches. Or choosing to skip laser or not. Here it's usually "Well, I've played with fractal last game". I guess it should depend on whether or not I have reasonable shields, but for whatever reasons it's the other way around and I don't have time for shields before I have to decide.
(I think fractal better overall, takes less RP to be competitive).
A solution of both problems can be easy, make Energy Frigate better. Add and external slot and add a perk of having a +1 shield if a plasma shield or higher is equipped . In that case you will have the choice of skipping the frigate and going for the more efficient fractal, or to make a war with frigates (with plasma shield) in which case you will get a natural progression into quantum energy later.

Also possibly just having a decent optional internal slot tech solves the problem (so if research it take quantum, if you don't go fractal) but I think a frigate still needs a buff.

One thing a Robotics and Energy line needs is an efficient coloniser. It feels wrong that I feel inclined to research organics just for that in lategame. Why haven't I researched organics at the start of the game in the first place?

4.Game Reports
Since I've played a really lot of games (note that I have a bad habit of resigning after I realise AI is killed) I will write this section as a guide, so you will realise what I am actually doing and what I personally think to be a strong strategy.

This section is for people who like to need about strategy. Also it may explain why do i think some things are good/bad. And good for people looking for a guide.

I am usually playing non-human species on various kind of settings.
Species are all playable, you may argue that they are not the same powerlevel, that's partially true (Eggassem unbeatable on High planet/Natives, usually pretty bad otherwise), but I think the species were never intended to be balanced. Ones that seem to be unintentionally week are George/Laenfa (especially George) with a Research malus. Distributed thought computing makes them better, but It would be nice if had some advantage of playing George over humans.

If I play egassem and I see natives/oponents then I just try to conquer everything I see (if nonatives, large galaxy -> cry and suffer, still rush for nascent AI though).

Pretty much at every game I queue Algorythmic Intelligence,Planetary Echology,Subterranean Habitation, Nascent AI, switch the focus to research, queue two scouts and Outpost Ship.

Depending on your initial options you can see a monster guarding something spicey, or natives or an opponent.
If it's monsters I generally queue Mass driver 4 before Nascent AI (sometimes after) and kill it with Destroyers (large basic hull ship). If it's natives you usually should just conquer them (High tech natives might require either good ships or 3 destroyers and a frigate, invasion should be postponed).
If you see an opponent and you plan to fight right away, consider researching Organic Hull or Robotic Hull (sometimes before Nascent), if you can't connect research Orbital construction (always after Nascent).

At this point if you can expand, rush for Adapted Automatons, if you can't, make sure you can :) (Genetics works, in worst case put your Homeworld on growth). Depending on your species and whether or not you built organic/robotics before you will have a plethora of choices at this point.

If you see hundreds of habitable colonies I suggest researching organic hulls for cheaper colonies, sometimes even lifecycle manipulation is worth it.

If you have a lot of gas giants, get a generator, if not (that means your planets will be research-focused) go for research tech. If you have problems with colonisation try some growth thins (xenological genetics/terraforming). I like to have a Quantum Network/Distributed Thought researched by t80. If you got a Quantum tech, then together with production population-dependent techs it becomes worth it to research orbital habitation and symbiotic biology (symbiotic is good earlier, usually I get it approximately the same time).

If you're playing xenophobic species then growth tech/specials are very important to you, if you manage to make your homeworld 30+ populated you can consecrated camp yourself to get a production boost, stop at 22ish population (sometimes more, sometimes less, depends on how dire your situation is), let it repopulate. Usually until you hit 38ish population this trick doesn't give you additional production, but it gives you the needed production faster, and if you are utilizing it well (terraforming/gaia/colonies/generators) your expansion speed can skyrocket.

If you decided to fight with neighbour earlier then at this point you should have killed him :). If you haven't decided then it's time to. Depending on your economic choices there are a bunch of offensive military options.
1. Robotic/Asteroid
If you had a tough fight and decided to go for early military robotic control you can continue, this approach makes killing first opponent much easier, the problem is moving your slow deathball to the other enemy. I very rarely play this way, can't give many hints. Still a reasonable way to play.
2. Organic
If you saw a rich neighbourhood, or a rich neighbour and researched an organic hull you shouldn't be disappointed at first. The problem arises when you want to play further. There are 3 choices here

a)Zombie
If you had to research genetics for poor world's colonisation or if you thought that lifecycle will be good enough tech to rush the zombie hull (SM->Endomorphic) are fine to play. They offer reasonable PP/Slot.

b)Stealth-warfare.
This is smth I've learned from reading this forum and I enjoyed it (Thanks, MatGB).
To get a grasp you need to know how does the combat handle stealth vs non-stealth ships battle and a battle at all.

During combat there are three combat-rounds and in each of them each ships shoots once against a random enemy target.
Example:
9/35 Sentry vs 10/21 Destroyer and 10/14 Frigate
Round One your ships deal 20, sentry has 15 remaining; sentry deals 3 damage three times at random
Round two your ships kill sentry; Sentry deals 3 damage three times (so 18 damage in total) at random. Result: 3/64 that sentry kills your frigate.

Not that simple but it's fine. What if one of the ships is stealthed? In first round each ship doesn't shoot at stealthed opponent. What does it mean? Well, if you have a 400 damage 10 hp stealthed ship it can destroy an army of 10 robocruisers 30/40 without taking any damage. Neat, right?

A tiny bit more information needed to be remembered for a proggressive stealther is 10-30-50-70. 10 is an initial detection strength; 30 is a detection strength with an active radar and so on.

AI researches active radar quite early [And it's easy to figure out if AI has it given he builds scanning facilities immediately after researching it], but is really really slow in researching the other two. In other words if you manage to have a 35-stealth fleet with 500 damage you will kill almost anything without having any casualties whatsoever. One day they will research neutron scanner
and then you need 55, etc.

Let's go back to our gameplay "guide".

If you decided to go for a stealth route living organic line can easily make your opponent dead (see what I did?). Symbiotic+Electromagnetic Damperer can go over active radar, Protoplasmic/Bioadaptive+Damperer or Symbiotic+Absorption Field can go over Neutrons and BioAdaptive/Absorption goes over anything except Omniscanner.
Usually I go directly for Absoption field to save RP. Just put all the best weapons on the hull (no shields, no armor) and melt them. Also try not to mix ships, if you have a battle ith stealth and non-stealth ships on your side in the first round all your enemies will attack non-stealth ones (cause that's the only thing they see), so your casualties will be high. Be careful with your troopships, they aren't invisible either.

As a minor note, stealth route is much better if you have a good pilots available. Having extra damage is insanely valuable if you pick only those battles where your damage>their structure which is what you need to do.

c)Switch
Can't say much about this route. Usually the best thing to switch into is energy and rush straight into fractal/quantum.

3.Energy
a.k.a My favourite
This is something most other players don't do (at least I haven't seen anybody saying they are using this strategy), but I really like to focus on energy. Someties even rush it. Why? Well, it's both the best lategame line, and a decent midgame line.

Yeah, energy is a decent midgame line. "How so? You told Energy Frigate is awful". That's a good question, and Energy Frigate is awful. I gave you a hint on that one, remember?

Trick is the Compressed Energy Hull. It has a native stealth of 45, making it the very best PP/laser stealth ship. Just build Compressed energy + weapon and that's it. Conveniently it's a premade design :). 20 of these have a total damage of 220. To have 220 stealthed damage you need 10 Symbiotics. And you need to equip a stealth part on them, so it's going to be 50% cheaper. Of course in reality compressed energy fleet is expensive due to fleet upkeep, although you have a way smooth transition into Fractal hulls. And Fractal Hull fleet isn't expensive and it doesn't care if your opponent ha omniscanner or not.

So that's more or less it. In the end of the midgame I generally finish N-dimensional structures & Unified Consiousness (if I went Quantum into Energy) or Pure Energy Metabolism (if I went BioAdapters)
Last edited by slv on Fri Mar 18, 2016 9:33 am, edited 1 time in total.

defaultuser
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Re: ~50ish games feedback longfirstpost & guide

#2 Post by defaultuser »

Gateway to the Void doesn't get a lot of love around here, but I have used it on occasion. It's a way to protect vulnerable points from AIs and/or trap and destroy their fleets. It's also a way to help contain and clean up areas infested by Experimenter spawn.

For hulls, my usual path is Robotic and then after development of Death Ray 2 weapons go for Titantic hulls. Most smaller games, that will be all I will ever use. A large game or one in which an AI get powerful early so it takes some more time, I might invest in Solar.

It's not really possible to talk about the distance between two systems for combat purposes, as it's dependent on the speed of the particular fleet. It might take troop ships three to get somewhere, and Titans with advanced engines one. So when planning an attack, just check the fleets you want to move to see what their particular distance is.

slv
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Re: ~50ish games feedback longfirstpost & guide

#3 Post by slv »

defaultuser wrote:It's not really possible to talk about the distance between two systems for combat purposes, as it's dependent on the speed of the particular fleet. It might take troop ships three to get somewhere, and Titans with advanced engines one. So when planning an attack, just check the fleets you want to move to see what their particular distance is.
Maybe I am not understanding the game mechanics fully, but it doesn't seem to be the case. Every ship and every fleet has a "fleet speed" parameter (i.e. basic scout has 75) and that's a starlane distance this ship/fleet can pass on one turn. If the distance between two neighbouring systems is less than 75 scout needs only one turn to pass, if greater than it needs two. That value (distance in uu) can't be found by any means (outside of taking the ruler and measuring the length of starlane). Sometimes you need to know whether or not your 100-starlane-speed battle fleet can pass this distance before you do the final jump. I will agree that it rarely matters, just I had a situation when it mattered recently. Also it' much more important if you are playing on high starlanes galaxy since combat is more tactical there often.

I don't ask for starlane distance between any two systems, just the starlane-connected ones.

UPD: Oh, and I almost forgot about Collective Thought Network. I played a game recently where I incorrectly thought that one of my Good-pilot shipyards is out of range and it was inside the range, had a real hassle to build other one.

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Cpeosphoros
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Re: ~50ish games feedback longfirstpost & guide

#4 Post by Cpeosphoros »

slv wrote: That value (distance in uu) can't be found by any means (outside of taking the ruler and measuring the length of starlane). Sometimes you need to know whether or not your 100-starlane-speed battle fleet can pass this distance before you do the final jump.
Just selecting the fleet and hovering the mouse over the destiny system should do what you are asking for, if I'm reading you right.
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slv
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Re: ~50ish games feedback longfirstpost & guide

#5 Post by slv »

Cpeosphoros wrote:
slv wrote: That value (distance in uu) can't be found by any means (outside of taking the ruler and measuring the length of starlane). Sometimes you need to know whether or not your 100-starlane-speed battle fleet can pass this distance before you do the final jump.
Just selecting the fleet and hovering the mouse over the destiny system should do what you are asking for, if I'm reading you right.
Apparently I am being unclear :(. No, hovering doesn't help.

Let's consider the following situation, there are two neighbouring systems, Antares and Bachra. I want to attack enemy at Bachra, to do that I gather my armies at Antares from all over the galaxy (one fleet from my production planet with good pilots, one fleet from a previous battle elsewhere, troopfleet from production planet with good troops, etc.) and once they are gathered I attack. If the last "attack" step takes two turns I can be punished since AI can 1)flee 2)add additional forces 3)retaliate on my system killing my troopships.

In other words before I start whole operation I need to know if the last attack From Antares to Bachra will take one turn or not. At this moment my fleets are scattered across the galaxy, hovering over Bachra will give me number of turns I need to get there, it doesn't help.

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Re: ~50ish games feedback longfirstpost & guide

#6 Post by defaultuser »

But the number is different for every fleet. You need to check each one to see what its distance in turns (that's what matters) is to see when they would arrive. Yes, if you knew absolute distance you could calculate it from the fleet speed but that would hard and pointless as the calculation would still be for each individual fleet.

As noted, select the fleet and check its turn number to the target. Sometimes it can be a little hard to see if the last jump is very short, but you can always right-click the world and check the ETA number on the fleet, the right-click back to the current system.

If you want the fleets to arrive simultaneously then you might have to start some earlier. There's nothing you can do to prevent the AI from seeing (modulo stealth) a multi-turn move to the system and reinforce before you arrive. Same as for you seeing their fleets.

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Re: ~50ish games feedback longfirstpost & guide

#7 Post by Bluehand »

There is an option to enable a circle around the currently selected system which is the same radius as the marked ruler at the top left of the screen. It's under UI or something in the Options menu.
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Re: ~50ish games feedback longfirstpost & guide

#8 Post by MatGB »

Bluehand wrote:There is an option to enable a circle around the currently selected system which is the same radius as the marked ruler at the top left of the screen. It's under UI or something in the Options menu.
Alt+C enables it (or should anyway, it does for me), it currently gives distances based on zoom levels but also will give circles based on selected fleets, it needs some UI improvements but is quite good.

We probably would benefit from some form of UU measuring mechanic but it would be way way beyond my coding ability.

(more detailed reply to OP to follow, busy but wanted to answer that point quickly)
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Geoff the Medio
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Re: ~50ish games feedback longfirstpost & guide

#9 Post by Geoff the Medio »

MatGB wrote:We probably would benefit from some form of UU measuring mechanic but it would be way way beyond my coding ability.
Easier than adding a distance survey tool might be adding a togglable label of lengths of starlanes, either on all lanes, or lanes connected to the selected system.

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Re: ~50ish games feedback longfirstpost & guide

#10 Post by Ouaz »

Geoff the Medio wrote:
MatGB wrote:We probably would benefit from some form of UU measuring mechanic but it would be way way beyond my coding ability.
Easier than adding a distance survey tool might be adding a togglable label of lengths of starlanes, either on all lanes, or lanes connected to the selected system.
That would be awesome. :)
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Re: ~50ish games feedback longfirstpost & guide

#11 Post by MatGB »

You know how I said "more detailed reply to follow"? Um, yeah, had this tab open since then, finally now getting to it in part because you raise some very good points. I'm going to snip out some stuff, in part because backend code isn't my thing.
slv wrote: 1.User interface
In technology screen, Pedia window is unclosable, is it really needed? I would prefer it to be closable. On small screens you have to manually decrease window size just to see techs. That's especially obvious with a list view since no matter where you move it it will cover something. To open it again just click on any technoloy.
I, honestly, do not understand why people are constantly asking to close the most important part of the technology page, the bit that tells you what something does is the important bit, surely? Now, allowing it to be moved more and redesigning that page layout that I agree with.
In technology screen list view, the list is scrollable only if there are more techs than fit he screen. It's certainly a good idea, but... Can you make it scrollable always? The "display window" sometimes covers few techs and you have to move it to see them (i.e. if you leave all Learning techs, Unified Consiousness and Xenoarcheology are not seen in my window mode).
Personally I never use the list view, however I've frequently asked to make all lists that can scroll to always be scrollable, in part because there are frequent edge case issues, but it's beyond me.
In technology screen view it's not possible to sort w.r.t. science cost/results. I would definitely use this feature once in a while.
I don't understand what you mean here. Cost is both RP spent and time taken, "results"? They're all unique, trying to quantify them would be difficult.
In design view Quantum Energy Hull has a displayed stealth value of 0, if I add +40 stealth ship part it gets 25 stealth. Can it display "-15" in the first place? It's not possible to know the value in any other way other than creating the ship and adding a stealth part to it. Also I would like to have ship Pedia entries display stealth and detection range too.
That's not good, displaying stealth in there is a relatively new feature, if it's not showing the negatives then it's misleading, I deliberately set several hull types to have negatives to make them much harder to hide, that needs to be clear.
Pedia on itself have a few issues. I would like to be able to click on the title (i.e. I look on "Chato" page, I think being abl to click on "Species" title is a good thing). Also I would like to be able to access all the pedia, I sometimes couldn't retrieve an info I know was definitely there somewhere. I.E. I saw a snowflake and wanted to see all its evolution forms, how to do it? I still don't know, is it possible?
The Pedia is very much a work in progress and depends on people having both the willpower to do work on it and spotting where the problems/lack of info are.

Theoretically the Monsters entry in the Pedia should list all entries, in addition the Design page Monsters tab gives you a fairly good setup for all of them that's probably easier to use.
I am not sure, I think this feature was in the old version (or maybe I am thinking different game), I would really like to have a "split in half" feature. So that you can split doomstack much quicker if you don't care how do you split it.
Never had it in FO (well, not since I've been playing), sounds like it might be useful for players that use doomstacks instead of strategy ;-)
2.Economical technologies

1)Subearly & Early game

My first economical technologies are always Algorythmic Intelligence, Planetary Ecology, Subterranean Habitation and Nascent AI (these 4 I call "subearly technologies", don't think I've played a single game not queueing them on the first turn, although I sometimes add a hull/massdriver technology before Nascent AI). Maybe I would like to have a bit of variety here, maybe a technology which gives +50% troop strength vs natives, another which makes monsters not attack your scouts. So that in the first turns my actions isn't just "queue technologies and production, then move fleets".
Agree completely here, as do most other contributors, we want to make the tech tree full of real actual choices and rebalance the tree throughout the game, I want to make the early game techs more flexible but it's not a high priority at the moment, hopefully we can do some work on it during the next Release cycle.

For what it's worth, changes have been made here, for example researching Mass Driver refinements now immediately improve your starting ship, which is sometimes useful, and Planetary Ecology was improved a bit so that it is sometimes chosen before AlgInt depending on circumstance. We want to do more (I've specific plans regarding detection techs) but any change of this nature require both balancing it in game and also recoding the AIs hence it's a bigger project than simply changing a few numbers.
Early game technologies consist of 2 Growth technologies (Terraforming & Xenological), 4ish production technologies (industrial centers, adapted automaton,orbital generation,microgravity industry) and 2 Science technologies (Quantum & Distributed thought) and a bunch of Construction stuff.
Ooh, I never consider going for terraforming that early, they're too expensive to build but I agree with the rest.
I really like Growth pattern here, there are two choices each not being strictly superior to the other. Same for Science (Except awful Gateway of the Void branch, what's that technology supposed to even do?). I like the support-esque feeling for whole construction line (although I never tried to research Cons.Camps and check if it's a reasonable early-midgame tech, can be good if you find a huge good planet or Gysache early).
If you want to mess with Camps, start a xenophobe race, they get them pre unlocked, takes a bit of getting used to but it's a very different way to play.
What I am no particularly fond of is the production line. I pretty much have to research Adapted Automatons since all alternatives don't yield as much of an impact even in best cases. Although if you're playing High planets and got lucky than Orbital generation may be good too.
Agreed, needs work, as does Research, I intensely dislike the obvious power of adaptive automation and nascent AI, tweaks to them are definitely needed, possibly before we have time to do the overall rebalance.
2)Midgame

I really like the feeling of "Oh god, I will get that technology and be ahead" of most midgame technologies. There are N-dimensional structures, Pure Energy metabolism, Artificial planets, Unified consiousness. Usually your choice is decided by what you've chosen in early game. I.e. if you went for terraforming you decide between Artificial planets and Pure-Energy, if you went for Quantum-networking rush you usually procede to N-dimensional structures. The layout is awesome anyway.
Good, and I mostly agree here, the costings are frequently weird, but there's a lot of choice and strategic choice involved, which is cool.
Speaking of N-dimensional things, what about Assembly? I really don't like the way it works now. Partially because I have no idea if it is advantageous or not. Usually it's not, but how can I tell it without spending an hour of calculations? I would like to see either a cap on population (i.e. Hyperspatial Dam increases production of planets by 0.4 of the population of all planets with >25 population, decreases population by 5) or it being applied only to large and huge planets.
It's awful, it's never worth building one (unless, potentially, you're playing xenophobes and are using concentration camps heavily, even then I wouldn't). It's already on the list of issues to be fixed at some point, I have many ideas but I've never had time to do the maths for them and there's always something else (easier) to play around with.
3)Lategame
I rarely play much to lategame, usually I stop when I see that I can win (don't like micromanagement in particular). All of the interesting stuff going on here, much of this is done for roleplay purposes (moving planets/Megalith/etc)
You haven't played the game properly until you can reliably defeat the Experimentors ;-)

I give up a lot more often than I used to now, I know when I've won—hopefully after the tech tree is rebalanced we can also do more to make differing choices more challenging, I would love to make the tech victory something that's both interesting and a challenge to stop, perhaps buildings and events that trigger sitreps "the Consociation are planning to Sublime and are building a monument on their capital, you have X turns before they win", etc.

And I also want to do some work on the starlane drive, it's a lot less fun now we have so many deep space nodes (yes, I did once move an entire galaxy worth of planets into one system...)
3.Warfare technologies
So here i the place where I was supposed to tell about their favourite hull and explain that all other are bad :). Well, i actually like all of them. Ok, more like 85% of them :D

4)Unusables
I generally don't use Gateway to the Void itself, Psychogenic Domination, all the bombarding weapons. I especially would like death spores/rays/whatever to be more useful, I tried, but it doesn't feel good enough :(
Agree with this, bombardment got a lot of love recently in terms of flexibilty and is getting some awesome artwork but it's not actually very good in game. It, alongside genome bank and bioterror, need a fairly major balancing pass at some point.

I know of people that use Gateway, I don't, far too defensive for my tastes.
1)Robotics&Asteroid
You may be surprised I put two best hulls together in one subsection I am not going to write a lot about. But the thing is, even though these hulls are good, possibly the best ones multiplier-wise (haven't played it, can't really say it), they are not very good in AI-smacking. If you're playing 1 vs 1 they may be your best best, but if your goal is to kill everybody on t180 and you're fighting 2-front war it's not the best.
Definitely best hulls for 1vs1 combat, better in high starlane galaxy. Good if you're stuck in the corner with Egassem neighbour who was lucky enough to conquer Tae Ghirus. Can't really tell you much since I use them too rarely to contribute. Usually I research them if I try to rush technologies and sudden eaxaw/trith happens.
They're the easiest hulls, I remain to be convinced they're the best ;-)
Transspatial drive can be the weirdest one among these two hull ines. But that's an issue with having not enough core slot details yet.
Agree, I'm really pleased I split the hull and the drive up, but it is lacking a bit, more core slots needed.
One thing a Robotics and Energy line needs is an efficient coloniser. It feels wrong that I feel inclined to research organics just for that in the lategame. Why haven't I researched organics at the start of the game in the first place?
I tend to just use the Robotic Hull, and if I've gone for Energy the frigate is awesome, that speed is amazing. Both are slightly expensive for it, and I do sort of agree with your point.
2)Organic hulls
One of the lines I am using the most. At least the first hull of it :).

I like the idea, I kinda like the layout, I don't like of being the 10 hull-branch. That's too much. Like 4 hulls too much!
For example look on Symbiotic hull and Protoplasmic hull. Yes, they're are different. Difference being one has 10 more stealth and one more slot. Hell, they even get the very same description in pedia. I mean if a person tried to find the difference he couldn't, Of course currently both of them have uses, advantages/disadvantages but does organic line need two hulls doing exactly the same thing strategically? I doubt it.
One is an improvement on the other, the first I use a lot for troop ships and other donkey work because it can be built with just an incubator, the latter is slightly better and don't underestimate the future power of that +10 stealth, I deliberately set those values to tie in with future plans (yes, it's my favourite line as well)
Static multicellular is a nice concept, although I am not sure it's good realisation. The speed is nice, but I am usually not even sure if organic hull itself is worse At least i don't have to worry about drydock repairs. I guess if we get more good internal parts (Fuel isn't that needed for warship and organic regenerates it) the hull might become better. Or if it got 15 stealth instead of 5. Or if all zombie hulls regenerated just not that quickly.
Agree, overall, it's a passable early game ship but it's not Good.

For what it's worth, no, it won't get 15 stealth to start, specifically we don't want to FORCE people to take specific techs, I did actually give the Organic Hull 15 stealth very briefly (it used to say "has very high stealth" in the description but didn't), and, well, I got overruled, for I think very good reasons. StaMs are basically an early game hull and as such won't require people to research not-early-game tech (I personally consider Active Radar early game, many others seem to disagree)
Bioadaptive hull is nice, having 75 stealth raider rather early is awesome. Actually AI might not even have a neutron scanner by the time you get it, so having just a +20 stealth part or just a hull itself can be enough for stealth warfare.
Agreed, it's by far my favourite hull.
Endomorphic&Ravenous have surprisingly decent PP/eternal slot ratio but again, they are trying to acomplish the same task (and Endosymbiotic/Sentient tries to do that too!). Also it's not like it does it well, Ravenous and Endomorphic can definitely live (see the pun? They're zombie :o ) with an additional external slot.
I don't disagree with this at all, giving Endo an extra slot and giving Ravenous potentially two extra slots are on my list of things to consider in future, the Organic line completely lacks a late game line-of-battle ship, and while that's in part deliberate giving them something that's at least capable of not dying to Titans is important.

On the other hand, Sentient + EndoSym fleets are really rather good at taking out titans before they've even noticed you're there ;-)
For the very least I would remove one of protoplasmic/symbiotic (together with a tech), move Bioadaptive one tier lower (making it depend on Terraforming instead), make the tech itself more expensive, make Endosymbiotic dependent on Bioadaptive and static multicellular (with more expensive tech), make Endomorphic and Ravenous have one more slot. Make Sentient dependent on Endosymbiotic, so instead of
---------/Symbiotic---Protoplasmic\--Bioadaptive--------\
Organic-------------------------------Endosymbiotic- x x --Sentient
---------\Static MC----Endomorphic/----Ravenous--------/
Make it
---------/Symbiotic----Bioadaptive----Endosymbiotic--\
Organic----------------------------------------------------Sentient
---------\Static MC----Endomorphic---Ravenous--------/
I don't completely disagree here, it's definitely worth considering, but it's not going to happen soon. It might especially be balanced to do this if the Endo gets an extra slot but the EnSym doesn't, and we can have refinement techs for things like hull stealth (possibly).
3.Energy Hulls

This is the hulls i was having the most fun with recently. I even won the game with a rush into Energy hulls strat.

I like the hull, I like the how expensive to research it is since it's not a no-brainer hull like organic/military. You actually need to incorporate it into a strategy (want to rush Quantum computing? Guess you need force-energy anyway!).

I am having only two problems with this line.
First one is Energy Frigate. Look, I know what it's trying to acomplish (giving a robotic hull-substitute) but it feels both wrong, out-of-the-picture and weak. Even an energy hull-lover like me uses frigate once in a blue moon. Pretty much only if I went for energy hull line, never found a blue star and enemy suddenly got a neutron scanner (more on that later). Not quite a frequent thing, right?
240 RP research cost is a lot, for 144 you get an Endosymbiotic, for 250 BioAdaptive. And Frigate is just a fast Military Robotic for that cost.
Actually, the main thing the Frigate accomplished was making use of some awesome art someone contributed that didn't fit anywhere else. I actually use them more than you seem to (awesome colonisers and troop carriers, that speed).

However, I haven't done a balance pass on them since I introduced them, it's probable that they're slightly overcosted to produce and very overcosted to research, this will be looked at.
The other problem is Quantum vs Fractal. It's not really a "problem", just a weird thing. How am I supposed to decide? Whenever I am given an important choice I want to have a feeling that I actually decide based on some information/analysis. Like terraforming vs genetics. Or choosing two organics branches. Or choosing to skip laser or not. Here it's usually "Well, I've played with fractal last game". I guess it should depend on whether or not I have reasonable shields, but for whatever reasons it's the other way around and I don't have time for shields before I have to decide.
(I think fractal better overall, takes less RP to be competitive).
You're not really meant to 'decide', at some point there will be a different way of managing fleet upkeep and I hope to make one cheaper than the other, the Fractal is an early game massive slot hull with major drawbacks (no internal slots so no shields, no hanger bays, no damage control parties, no stealth, no speed boosting engines), the Quantum is less directly powerful but a lot more flexible.
A solution of both problems can be easy, make Energy Frigate better. Add and external slot and add a perk of having a +1 shield if a plasma shield or higher is equipped . In that case you will have the choice of skipping the frigate and going for the more efficient fractal, or to make a war with frigates (with plasma shield) in which case you will get a natural progression into quantum energy later.
Ooh, this could be an idea.
4.Game Reports
Species are all playable, you may argue that they are not the same powerlevel, that's partially true (Eggassem unbeatable on High planet/Natives, usually pretty bad otherwise), but I think the species were never intended to be balanced. Ones that seem to be unintentionally week are George/Laenfa (especially George) with a Research malus. Distributed thought computing makes them better, but It would be nice if had some advantage of playing George over humans.
1) Laenfa are deceptively powerful. You know you've noticed that the AI rarely researched Neutron Scanner quickly? Well until they do, they can't invade Laenfa worlds. They can't even see Laenfa worlds. But you as the player won't necessarily see this.

2) Both are telepathic. Ergo Distributed Thought Computing jumps up to be an early game tech. Don't worry about the research malus, they get around it quickly enough.
If I play egassem and I see natives/oponents then I just try to conquer everything I see (if nonatives, large galaxy -> cry and suffer, still rush for nascent AI though).
Heh, designing settings to make Egassem really difficult to play with and winning anyway is something I do at least once a month. Their supply bonus and their troop bonus makes them scary.

Snipping the rest, it's most a fairly good strategy summary, some wouldn't work for my playstyle but I'm, shall we say, a little aggressive in how I play? I suspect a newish player copying my strategy would die horribly simply because it's always a bit too risky and I've learnt pretty much exactly what the AI will do in any given situation (that, fortunately, changes every so often then I have to relearn). Well, except when I'm playing stealth, when I forget that they don't know I've got massive fleets in various places and I have unanticipated fights, etc.
Mat Bowles

Any code or patches in anything posted here is released under the CC and GPL licences in use for the FO project.

slv
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Re: ~50ish games feedback longfirstpost & guide

#12 Post by slv »

Oh, that's definitely a more detailed reply :)
MatGB wrote:You know how I said "more detailed reply to follow"? Um, yeah, had this tab open since then, finally now getting to it in part because you raise some very good points. I'm going to snip out some stuff, in part because backend code isn't my thing.
I, honestly, do not understand why people are constantly asking to close the most important part of the technology page, the bit that tells you what something does is the important bit, surely? Now, allowing it to be moved more and redesigning that page layout that I agree with.
Well, there are two reasons. First is that for people who like the List view it looks really clunky. Unlike the tree view the pedia windows always covers something making the window look unapealing. Second reason is that some people don't really need to see the desscription, after playing the game few time they may know the effects of technologies, so don't need this info.
I don't understand what you mean here. Cost is both RP spent and time taken, "results"? They're all unique, trying to quantify them would be difficult.
I wanted to have a sorting by every category. If I click on RP spent I want to have sorting by RP, etc. Like we have in Objects view. This way it's easier to see what technologies are quicker to get, the cheaper RP-technologies are researched quicker. If I am not intending to rush a particular technology and trying to decide what to do next it would be awesome if I knew the cheapest non-researched technologies. Also in the lategame it happens that I realise that I forgot to research something (orbital habitation/industrial centers),
Early game technologies consist of 2 Growth technologies (Terraforming & Xenological), 4ish production technologies (industrial centers, adapted automaton,orbital generation,microgravity industry) and 2 Science technologies (Quantum & Distributed thought) and a bunch of Construction stuff.
Ooh, I never consider going for terraforming that early, they're too expensive to build but I agree with the rest.[/quote]
You're right, I don't usually take terraforming/xenological that early, it's just they are the "early" part of the growth line.

If you want to mess with Camps, start a xenophobe race, they get them pre unlocked, takes a bit of getting used to but it's a very different way to play.
I've of course already tried that, I was wondering if camps are worth it if you didn't start with xenophobes. They should be for Gysache, at least (I think).
You haven't played the game properly until you can reliably defeat the Experimentors ;-)
Well, I did that a couple of times, and I more or less have an idea of what fleet I need to easily defeat them. Am i recalling it correctly that Black Krakens don't even have a blackshield? I remember wanting to buff them last time I fought experimentors (these games when I am actually fighting them involve 30% of my fleet fighting all AIs at once while other 70% waits at the stargate near experimentors homeworld).

Also I am not entirely sure that Experimentors is relevant to gamebalance, I am worried about player against player issues more.

And I also want to do some work on the starlane drive, it's a lot less fun now we have so many deep space nodes (yes, I did once move an entire galaxy worth of planets into one system...)
One is an improvement on the other, the first I use a lot for troop ships and other donkey work because it can be built with just an incubator, the latter is slightly better and don't underestimate the future power of that +10 stealth, I deliberately set those values to tie in with future plans (yes, it's my favourite line as well)
As I said, I know that each of them has its uses and they are different technically. It's just they do not feel as different as say Contra-gravitational and robotic or fractal and energy frigate. With other lines when you research new hull it's usually something substantial, not "oh, I got another hull, need to redesign my scouts". Bio-adaptive hull doesn't struggle from this, it indeed feels different to play than symbiotics, most of other don't feel unique enough to exist.
For what it's worth, no, it won't get 15 stealth to start, specifically we don't want to FORCE people to take specific techs, I did actually give the Organic Hull 15 stealth very briefly (it used to say "has very high stealth" in the description but didn't), and, well, I got overruled, for I think very good reasons. StaMs are basically an early game hull and as such won't require people to research not-early-game tech (I personally consider Active Radar early game, many others seem to disagree)
I don't quite get it, Symbiotic hull has the same technology level and has 25 stealth. From my hull analysis it doesn't have very much different combat efficiency, so all problems which may arise with invisible SM already exists with symbiotic. Possibly you are right and we need to figure out the other solution.
I don't disagree with this at all, giving Endo an extra slot and giving Ravenous potentially two extra slots are on my list of things to consider in future, the Organic line completely lacks a late game line-of-battle ship, and while that's in part deliberate giving them something that's at least capable of not dying to Titans is important.

On the other hand, Sentient + EndoSym fleets are really rather good at taking out titans before they've even noticed you're there ;-)
I think I have different view on hull branches. I actually don't consider organic line to be a single line, more like a two lines. In other words I would like to be encouraged to try and research living line without researching dead line and vice versa. Also I think it would be neat to encourage players to shift their hull usage and mix branches (i.e. using living raiders + energy cruisers, ravenous ships + scattered support ships, etc.). While it's entirely possible to beat contra-gravitational with bioadapters it's actually not that exciting to do that with ravenous ships. At the time of posting I didn't know that ravenous hulls work with solar concentrators, perhaps making concentrator good can fix this problem, I don't know.

So I would like to see both half-branches have uses. Currently I am very happy to use living branch, but l most never use dead branch. It almost always feels better to use smth instead, especially energy. Have you tried playing the dead branch alone, and if so what were the results?


You're not really meant to 'decide', at some point there will be a different way of managing fleet upkeep and I hope to make one cheaper than the other, the Fractal is an early game massive slot hull with major drawbacks (no internal slots so no shields, no hanger bays, no damage control parties, no stealth, no speed boosting engines), the Quantum is less directly powerful but a lot more flexible.
As a small note, from my analysis in other threads its a good idea to increase structure of fractal ship a bit, to actually make it more directly powerful, otherwise quantums outclass it. Making it so that 2 quantums have the same structure as one fractal will make fractal more powerful. They need to have more than 70 structure to compete. Or maybe the other way around, decrease the structure of quantums, knowing that they are a bit OP.

If I am not meant to decide then its fine, but in my games it appears that as soon as I get any of them, game is more or less over. After that it's more efficient not to spend another 840 RP researching the other part and improve armour/weapons instead. At this point you can just produce unbeatable cruisers and send them everywhere across the galaxy crushing things.
Never had it in FO (well, not since I've been playing), sounds like it might be useful for players that use doomstacks instead of strategy ;-)
Thinking about it, lat time I've seen it it was in Europa Universalis. And no, it is useful for many purposes and not for people who use doomstacks instead of strategy, these kind of people don't split their stacks, and never feel the need of this feature, right ;)

Have you ever fought a 2-front war? What if you have 65 troopships produced on the same planet (well, I like energy corvettes as a troopships sometimes) and want to send them to two different places? What if you've just build 8 cruisers and want to send them to these two fronts. And even if you want to separe them as 5+3 it would be easier to split them and then move one ship.

Have you ever won a spacebattle indecisively? So that 80% of your opponents fleet is destroyed and he has only one planet to retreat? The best play in this situation is often splitting fleet exactly in half and have one half stay in case AI doesn't retreat and the other half follow the possible retreat.

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Re: ~50ish games feedback longfirstpost & guide

#13 Post by AndrewW »

slv wrote:Well, there are two reasons. First is that for people who like the List view it looks really clunky. Unlike the tree view the pedia windows always covers something making the window look unapealing. Second reason is that some people don't really need to see the desscription, after playing the game few time they may know the effects of technologies, so don't need this info.
I use list view but I just move it to the right where it is out of the way and pretty much ignore it.

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Re: ~50ish games feedback longfirstpost & guide

#14 Post by MatGB »

slv wrote: Well, there are two reasons. First is that for people who like the List view it looks really clunky. Unlike the tree view the pedia windows always covers something making the window look unapealing. Second reason is that some people don't really need to see the desscription, after playing the game few time they may know the effects of technologies, so don't need this info.
Ah, um, yes. It is of course possible that I dislike the list view in part because the Pedia is in the way and it's been so long that I even looked at that view I'd forgotten how horrible it is.

Recently, someone made some changes to the Production window that allows the Pedia to be moved into the queue area and had screenshots of their preferred position above the queue. I think that would be a good thing to do, and given that your second point is valid it might be a plan to make it switch off-able, however all these things are beyond me.
I wanted to have a sorting by every category. If I click on RP spent I want to have sorting by RP, etc. Like we have in Objects view. This way it's easier to see what technologies are quicker to get, the cheaper RP-technologies are researched quicker. If I am not intending to rush a particular technology and trying to decide what to do next it would be awesome if I knew the cheapest non-researched technologies. Also in the lategame it happens that I realise that I forgot to research something (orbital habitation/industrial centers),
Heh, yeah, I forget things. "hmm, my production is a bit low, maybe I should research the next IndCen upgrade. Ah, wait, while I've captured at least 5 so far, I haven't actually researched the tech to turn things on..." (I never build them, that's what AI homeworlds are for).

Having the list sortable, with the recent icon instead of text labels, and having the Pedia out of the way might actually make that view usable. Anyone want to volunteer on that one?
You're right, I don't usually take terraforming/xenological that early, it's just they are the "early" part of the growth line.
Heh, I just completed two Exobot asteroid colonies and wondered why the population was falling. I'd forgotten to queue xenological genetics. Big Oops.

I generally consider Genetics to be earlyish, terraforming and Hybridisation midgame myself, but we've never really even planned out what is early/mid/late/endgame techs (that's sort of On The List but it's not going to happen soon).
Well, I did that a couple of times, and I more or less have an idea of what fleet I need to easily defeat them. Am i recalling it correctly that Black Krakens don't even have a blackshield? I remember wanting to buff them last time I fought experimentors (these games when I am actually fighting them involve 30% of my fleet fighting all AIs at once while other 70% waits at the stargate near experimentors homeworld).

Also I am not entirely sure that Experimentors is relevant to gamebalance, I am worried about player against player issues more.
Fair enough, I personally think the Experimentors are a bit weak as a victory condition and need boosting a bit, but others think they're far too powerful and dislike getting stomped on, even though we have changed the start turn for them to be more dynamic. Making them better than they are on defence remains a plan, Experiment Zero is a good start but I think they probably need more.

And no, Black Kraken don't have Blackshields, it's possible that wouldn't be horribly over the top hideous since I toned down the shield parts a bit, but I know we'd get far too many complaints if we did that ;-)
As I said, I know that each of them has its uses and they are different technically. It's just they do not feel as different as say Contra-gravitational and robotic or fractal and energy frigate. With other lines when you research new hull it's usually something substantial, not "oh, I got another hull, need to redesign my scouts". Bio-adaptive hull doesn't struggle from this, it indeed feels different to play than symbiotics, most of other don't feel unique enough to exist.
This is a fair point, to be honest whenever I've done any balance tweaking I've kept things as intended on original design and tried to get them balanced/useful against other things, the only major 'new' thing we've added ship wise in years is the energy frigate. And now of course we have the far better art for them and...

We'll see, major work rebalancing hulls isn't going to happen immediately (at least, not by me), but it's definitely not something I'm averse to happening.
For what it's worth, no, it won't get 15 stealth to start, specifically we don't want to FORCE people to take specific techs, I did actually give the Organic Hull 15 stealth very briefly (it used to say "has very high stealth" in the description but didn't), and, well, I got overruled, for I think very good reasons. StaMs are basically an early game hull and as such won't require people to research not-early-game tech (I personally consider Active Radar early game, many others seem to disagree)
I don't quite get it, Symbiotic hull has the same technology level and has 25 stealth. From my hull analysis it doesn't have very much different combat efficiency, so all problems which may arise with invisible SM already exists with symbiotic. Possibly you are right and we need to figure out the other solution.
Symbiotic has 2 external slots, StaM 3, that extra one makes the difference between corvette and frigate, able to attack a system or simply fight skirmishes. Plus, I like that the stealthy side of things is in the living line not the zombie line (although I'm not averse to scrapping the zombie fluff completely and making them all living, would make scripting easier).
So I would like to see both half-branches have uses. Currently I am very happy to use living branch, but l most never use dead branch. It almost always feels better to use smth instead, especially energy. Have you tried playing the dead branch alone, and if so what were the results?
Quite good, actually, although I've not done it as much recently, and last time I really committed to it was, IIRC, before the AI was taught how to use Titans. I find Ravenous ships to be really useful and you can get them relatively quickly, you need to pile them up to get into fights but they can hold systems effectively, etc.

Until relatively recently (ie, when I started trying to get stealth to work well) I rarely used the living hulls, didn't notice for ages they had the vision bonus, for example). Now that supply propagation is fixed I suspect the dead branch would be harder to use. Will give it another go sometimg.
Have you ever fought a 2-front war? What if you have 65 troopships produced on the same planet (well, I like energy corvettes as a troopships sometimes) and want to send them to two different places? What if you've just build 8 cruisers and want to send them to these two fronts. And even if you want to separe them as 5+3 it would be easier to split them and then move one ship.
See, I tend to not build in massive stacks, I also tend to (over) use stargates in the mid to late game. I can see where you're coming from with it but my playstyle is very much based on the way the game works now, and splitting production around the place works well for me.
Have you ever won a spacebattle indecisively? So that 80% of your opponents fleet is destroyed and he has only one planet to retreat? The best play in this situation is often splitting fleet exactly in half and have one half stay in case AI doesn't retreat and the other half follow the possible retreat.
I suppose, yes, but for me that's relatively rare and I've never felt the need to do that (the AI is terrible at retreating generally and I tend to either win big or die)
Mat Bowles

Any code or patches in anything posted here is released under the CC and GPL licences in use for the FO project.

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