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Author Topic: Starshatter: The Gathering Storm. Now Free/Open-Source  (Read 20780 times)

Rift

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Starshatter: The Gathering Storm. Now Free/Open-Source
« on: August 31, 2013, 09:55:26 am »

As i just made Commodore [the first admiral rank]. It seems time to talk a bit about a older game that went open source a few months ago, and you can now play entirely free. [and get a few fan-patches for: One of which stops your ai-fighters from crashing into your carriers..so GET THEM]. It's worth playing if you can dedicate some patience to it, as there are few/no games like it.
Some Screens at Bottom.

Legit Download/Install instructions: http://www.hard-light.net/forums/index.php?topic=80935.0
(Contains everything you need, fan-patchwise)

Warning: You will spend some time looking at the controls/changing them, especially if you arn't using a joystick. You can choose full-newtonian-style physics or full arcadey-go-where-you-point, or the in between newtonian-sildey-with-drag. Personally i like the in between it gives you the feel that your in full-Newtonian but have a few auto-correcting thrusters. If you use a mouse: In Options>Controls change Mouse-Look to Virtual-Stick. Mouse-Look seems really screwy.

The Game:
  -In a few Words: dynamically generated wingcommander/space-fleet operations simulator.
  -Basically You are a newly minted cadet who after going through some training missions [And you better do the first 6 or so.. i think you end up being a ensign after doing those first 6 missions successfully.] Then you lowly ensign are assigned to a carrier as a fighter pilot that leads your 1-3 wingman through procedural generated dynamic missions in a series of dynamic campaigns with Ship-Permadeath. You climb through the ranks, fly attack runs on planets, capital ships, minefields, tons of protect/intercept missions, lots of patrols to keep the bastards away. All the while the AI is basically playing a giant strategic campaign across multiple systems/planets with multiple [usually 2] fleets attacking the enemy fleets. Eventually you will become a lieutenant commander and be given permission to take your own destroyer squadron out to play a 'larger' role, then when you reach captain you can command a cruiser squadron, and finally when you reach commodore you can lead a carrier battle fleet, assigning/creating missions for the many dozens of fighters[of which there are 4 types] and few cruisers/destroyer escorts under you. During all this you can radio for help as well, and most of the time, people try and help you.

  -It Took me 36 hours of flight time to reach Commodore and get my first Carrier command... [and i'm done the first 3/4 campaigns, [they lead into each other]].
Spoiler (click to show/hide)

Reasons To Play
  -Ship-Permadeath: Your ship dieing MATTERS, You destroying a enemy ship MATTERS. You destroy a cruiser squadron you've pretty much crippled that fleet. Suicidal rushes will make your people lose. (Albeit fighters arn't that big of deal, as a carrier carry's like.. 60+ of them..but if you kill those 60, the carrier will be next to useless for the rest of the campaign.)
  -Dynamic Campaigns/Missions: Hey, its more or less new every time you play, albeit there are limited types of 'missions' the actual execution of them is different every time.
 -Fleet-Operations/War Simulator: Little to no games actually try to simulate a fleet-style space war with actual capital-ship/planet/fighter interactions, where tactics/strategy are king.
  -Custom Fighter Load-outs/Missions[You choose what Missiles to attach to you and your wing-men and can choose your mission/plan how to implement it even before you leave the carrier! Later you can do custom mission planning for your capital ships squadrons]
  -Simulated Capital Ship Subsystems /w repairing of those systems [Hull basically doesn't repair[maybe a 1% a day or something], So if you shoot out their torpedo launcher, it'lll be down for 10-real minutes], you can target those subsystems specifically with missiles/laserfire/railguns, or manually hit em with lasercannons in your now-suicidal fighter. Capital ships can only repair a few subsystems at once,  so if many get targeted it will take even longer to repair them. [you can choose the order and when to repair which(they might not be completely ruined)].

Game Explanation/Hints
  -Some things i came across that will make your life... A lot easier.

Time Skipping/Advancing
  -You can increase speed to 2x or 4x normal time. You can, also skip to your next navpoint/[unless something happens on route, which brings you out]. Defaults to insert/delete for faster/slower and shift-insert to skip to next navpoint. Also worth mentioning the 'assigned' missions happen at the time indicated, meaning every time you accept a mission you are skipping ingame time until that mission start time.
  -The time-scale is 1:1, for every one second in real life, one second ingame passes. That's never a problem you skip hours at a time  in between missions [sometimes days if there are no enemies in the system your assigned taskgroup is in].

Missiles
  [More details in ingame tac-reference]:
  -Archer[SRM], Easily Decoy'd - Fire at <=20km Range [You get 3 per attachment in your loadout]
  -Javlin[SRM], Easily Decoy'd - Fire at <=25km Range [You get 3 per attachment] Basically slightly larger Archer.
  -Vector[MRM], Hard to Decoy -Fire at <=40km[35km for safety], you only get one per attachment
  -Hammer[GSM], Huge damage to ground targets, <=50km range, useless otherwise. 1 per attachment. [If there is Anti-air stuff around you likely want to fire before you get within 40km unless you want to be swatted]
  -Harpoon[ASM], Huge[relatively] damage to capital ships, <=50km range, useless otherwise, 1 per attatchment. [FIRE BEFORE you get within 40km of a capital ship... they will get serious about killing you if you break 40km.]
  -Rockets[RP?], You get 3X4 per attatchment, but most things can just dodge the things unless your extreme-close. Otherwise about as effective as a archer/javlin.
 There's also capital ship to capital ship missiles, but given they can be auto-fired when within range you don't really need to know the exact range.. you can look it up yourself if your interested. Fighters come equipped with 10 decoys that they can launch.

Radio
  -You have one! Use it! You can call your carrier and ask for help if you need it.. it likely won't save you, but hey, why not! Also when your a capital ship you can get people out of your chain of command to help you, which is often decisive in a battle. Also you can give override orders[that override their current mission] to your wingman/underlings.

Navigational-Map
  -Not just a map for telling you the situation, you can edit/delete/add your own mission plan before or even during your mission, Oh, and you can also edit/add/delete your subordinates missions, Immensely useful. Also you can give override orders via the 3rd-person capital-ship map by right clicking on one of your subordinates. Useful to give them Override-movement[patrol] orders quickly.

Points
  -Basically you accumalate these for completeing mission objectives, lose them for failing objectives, gain them for each time you hit something with a missile/gun, lose them for getting hit, and gain the most points for killing enemy ships, and lose the most for losing your ship, Cannot go below 0.. which you will see often if you get destroyed. Fighters/smallcraft seem in the 20-50point range per kill-ish, frigates more like 250, destroyers more like 500, cruisers more like 1000, carriers more like 1500. You also get points for your subordinates killing things, i suspect not as much though.  Oh, i think you get like at least 10 points just for docking at the end of your mission as a fighter too, possibly up to 100 if you didn't get hit/fail any of your objectives. It's totalled and given/not given to you at the end of your mission when you click dock or click 'end mission'. You get 0 if you 'abort'.

Death:
  -Don't do it. If something seems suicidal, it likely is, You are literally not just getting yourself 'injured' in combat [Although their is a medal for that], but are actually losing ships for your fleet, eventually, if you are losing more then you are killing [or more tactically important things], you will cause your fleet to get its ass kicked. Also you often get zero[or close to] points if you get destroyed without killing quite a few things your equivalent in size.

Quantum Drive/Farcasting
  -Capital ships can 'jump' to a random location in another system, should only be done to friendly systems, or with overwhelming force. Fighters -can- also use the station-style farscasting jumpgates if their carrier jumps without them for some reason. I think they are actually destroyable, not that you would want to.

Ranks
  -Ensign:500pts (you finished the tutorial, Good job)
  -Lieutenant:2000pts (You actually are getting the hang at being a fighter)
  -Lt.Commander:5000pts (Now that you don't die everymission, heres a destroyer squadron that YOU WILL GET KILLED)
  -Commander: 10000pts (Hey, you actually managed to kill some capital ships, Hope you didn't lose too many squadrons...)
  -Captain:20000pts (You've got the hang of this.. or muddled through anyway, Here have a cruiser Squadron.)
  -Commodore:40000pts(You Finally know how to play.. Good job, Heres a carrier so you can get your entire fleet screwed.)
  -Vice-Admiral:100,000pts(Wow, you have played a lot, heres the first of many fluff ranks.)
  -Admiral:150k pts, Fleet Admiral: 200k pts, Grand Admiral: 250k pts.

Medals
  -They exist, you get them for completing campaigns, for getting injured in combat [Which i guarantee you will get], and for being a badass.. Seriously, they have medals for 'going above and beyond', which is usually things like.. you killed a capital ship with a fighter, or in general earned huge points beyond what a ship your size should be able to.
Nice fluff, useless otherwise.

Capital Ships, Fighers, Their roles
  -Fighters/Heavy-Fighers: Destroy targets on planets, as nothing else can. Patrol/be the eyes of the fleet, Clear minefields, Protect capital ships, Damage Destroyers with some shipkillers every once and awhile, Kill frigates when you get the chance. [You may occasionally kill a destroyer if you are lucky/dedicated] NEVER, EVER, GET CLOSE TO A CAPITAL SHIP.
  -Frigates: Destroy fighters, Screen Destroyers [Protect from missile fire/fighters], add a bit of extra kick to whatever the destroyers are attacking, oh, and kill your fellow frigates. You're pretty easy for basically anything to kill, so stick to a destroyer/cruiser.
  -Destroyers: Not great at anything but slaughtering frigates and fighting fellow destroyers. Fighters don't tend to destroy you, but damage you from range without you being able to stop them.. and cruisers are SCARY MOFO'S that you should stay the hell away from without there being a bunch of you and only one of him. You can make a attempt at a carrier if for some reason its alone, but you'll likely not achieve anything.
  -Cruisers: Heavy-Lifters of the fleet. Your basically what destroyers want to be. You can take anything in a 1on1 fight [although its upto a bit of luck if your fighting a similarily sized cruiser], A squadren of you can easily destroy a destroyer squadron without taking too much damage, and with a bit of luck/suprise you can actually kill that carrier squadron. Fighters, Frigates are tiny flys to you, just waiting to die, and destroyers will only damage you a bit before they die.
  -Carriers: The -Real- Leaders of the fleet, they dispatch flighters at a rate of 4/minute if they feel like it, and throw them at you like they don't even care, They are surprisingly durable but have no capital-ship fighting ability, so would lose to a destroyer in a 1on1 fight if it came down to it, although they could dispatch flight after flight of fighters equipped with shipkillers... Should be kept well, well away from combat, and should not dispatch away its escort cruisers/destroyers as the opponent could theoretically get past them and kill it, which is a good way to massively cripple a fleet.
  -Types: There are a few types of all the capital ships, that have slightly different sizes/weapons. See the Ingame Tactical-Reference for more info.

Planets
  -Most of the sector you will be fighting in will be orbiting a planet/moon. you can deorbit[default 'o'] if you are a fighter and simply fly straight up to get back to space. While in the atmosphere you experience some gravity and can attack ground targets [usually airfields that act like un-moving carriers], their defences [laser AA, SAMS], and fellow enemy fighters. Occasionly you may be asked to take out things like factories, reactors, and other city-structures. Killing Civilians is discouraged, but i don't know what happens if you destroy a city-block.

Your Squadron
  -You're basically assigned to a fighter squardron at first, you can change it immediately to any other fighter squadron at any time, later you can request a transfer to a destroyer/cruiser/carrier squadron and command it. You can actually ask to be transferred to a specific ship, but in general you should always just pick the 'squadron' you want to be assigned to.

Multiplayer
  -It did exist in the original game, but the metaserver is down forever, so they disabled it in the open-source version. It might work over LAN via Evolve/Hamachi/whatever, but its only skirmishes [i think you can make your own..], which might be fun but not as interesting as the dynamic campaigns.

Not Obvious Controls
  -Time dilation effects INSERT/DELETE to speed up/slow down and SHIFT+INSERT to advance time until you reach your next nav-point or event
  -Reactions thrusters, the most important defaults to HOME-END, for forward/backward. Which you can use to 'break' your ship, extremely useful to prevent death when docking, or when your thruster is disabled, as reaction thrusters will still work.
  -If you use a mouse: In Options>Controls change Mouse-Look to Virtual-Stick. Mouse-Look seems really screwy.
  -Shift-N uses autonav, but Alt-N tells your ship computer and wingmen to skip this navpoint and go to the next one.
  -"~"/"`" key can be used to toggle to and from mouse control.
  -While t, y, u target ships any, hostiles and closest, SHIFT+ those keys targets the threat, that includes missiles, and things normally beneath your notice.
  -F9/F10 increase/decrease EMCON, this is kinda like DEFCOM, it decides how much of your systems should be brought online.. Theoretically you can actually go around in stealth at EMCON1, but in practice i haven't found it very useful to be at anything other then EMCON3 [the full power]
  -; and SHIFT+; are used to target subsystems, pretty much only useful against capital ships, but VERY useful against them.
  -F1-F4 switches views, SHIFT-H switches Hud colour.
  -"o" breaks orbit when your a fighter, you can just fly up to get back to space.

That's all the painstaking [and ship-costing] advice i can think of at the moment, although you can yell at me in the dfc chat [or dfc teamspeak] if you need more advice.  In addition to the in game tactical reference their is a manual in the install directory/manuals folder.

A Carrier Screenshot:
Spoiler (click to show/hide)
Some of the Fighter-Views:
Spoiler (click to show/hide)
Spoiler (click to show/hide)
Spoiler (click to show/hide)

The only Let's play i could find, plays as a fighter for a bit: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vV3f-Jarnt0
« Last Edit: February 10, 2015, 02:26:38 pm by Rift »
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Flying Dice

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Re: Starshatter: The Gathering Storm. Now Free/Open-Source
« Reply #1 on: August 31, 2013, 10:22:52 am »

This looks pretty cool. I'll give it a shot sometime. Thanks for the explanations!
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Blaze

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Re: Starshatter: The Gathering Storm. Now Free/Open-Source
« Reply #2 on: August 31, 2013, 10:30:57 am »

Is there a better direct link for download? The links on the thread go to freespacemods, but then the download button redirects to things like zoomdownloader which are obviously malware.

Edit: Ignore this, I've been clicking the add button with the big green DOWNLOAD HERE button not the actual download which is a tiny url.
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MoLAoS

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Re: Starshatter: The Gathering Storm. Now Free/Open-Source
« Reply #3 on: August 31, 2013, 12:38:45 pm »

As far as no one trying to simulate "actual" fighter/capital ship interactions, to be fair, fighters are worthless in space. Other than that, this actually sounds kinda awesome.
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Rift

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Re: Starshatter: The Gathering Storm. Now Free/Open-Source
« Reply #4 on: August 31, 2013, 12:48:01 pm »

Well it calls them 'fighters' but they are really just 1-2person SSTO spaceships with various types of missiles and various-sized laser cannons.. Even the heaviest fighter ship cannons are next to useless against anything bigger then a frigate.. and i wouldn't advise you get within laser cannon range of a frigate[unless its anti-fighter weapons are crippled], let alone anything bigger.
Incidently it takes quite a few shipkiller missiles to take out anything other then a frigate, so don't expect you and 3 wingmen to just go around destroying destroyers, cruisers or carriers... at least not without like.. a dozen quad-fighter squads... However, If you just destroy say, 1/2 of the giant x-ray/grazers (capital ship lasers) on a capital ship or its main torpedo launchers, you might cripple the ship enough that your own capital ships can make short work of it..

Also, even if you only do say.. 10% hull damage in the long run to that capital ship, with a Assault between you and 3 of your mates, it means that it will be short that 10% for at least a week in game... which given most campaigns last more like a month or two at most, is a long time.. And it would thus, be at a disadvantage in capital ship combat for the indefinite future.
« Last Edit: August 31, 2013, 12:57:37 pm by Rift »
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Blaze

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Re: Starshatter: The Gathering Storm. Now Free/Open-Source
« Reply #5 on: August 31, 2013, 01:24:01 pm »

So I've run into a few problems, both gameplay and function related.

Function:
1. I can't click the bottom parts of the screen (Where the save and start mission buttons are). Hitting enter can start the mission but I can't save my progress.

2. Attempting to switch to mouse control makes my ship spiral out of control.

3. Moving the mouse takes a while to register on menu screens.

Gameplay:
1. I can't find a way to repair damaged systems on my fighter. I saw that hitting "E" opens up the engineering panel, but that doesn't seem to work. I'm pretty sure it's intended though...

2. Why are MINES firing lasers at me? The first hit conked out my reactor and I was SOL from that point on.

3. Is there any way to choose what kind of strike craft you can pilot? I'm guessing it's rank related.
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Shadowlord

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Re: Starshatter: The Gathering Storm. Now Free/Open-Source
« Reply #6 on: August 31, 2013, 01:30:57 pm »

Perhaps they are laser mines? :P

(What's the point of exploding when you can shoot the enemy with lasers instead?)
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Akura

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Re: Starshatter: The Gathering Storm. Now Free/Open-Source
« Reply #7 on: August 31, 2013, 01:34:22 pm »

Damn, don't have the time to download it right now. Looks fun enough, though.
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Re: Starshatter: The Gathering Storm. Now Free/Open-Source
« Reply #8 on: August 31, 2013, 01:46:29 pm »

This sounds pretty awesome. I shall have to give it a shot later.
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Rift

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Re: Starshatter: The Gathering Storm. Now Free/Open-Source
« Reply #9 on: August 31, 2013, 01:48:46 pm »

Quote
1. I can't click the bottom parts of the screen (Where the save and start mission buttons are). Hitting enter can start the mission but I can't save my progress.
Thats really unfortunate, i've never had that problem so i don't know what to suggest. It does however, autosave quite often, Possibly after every mission.

Quote
2. Attempting to switch to mouse control makes my ship spiral out of control.
In Options>Controls change Mouse-Look to Virtual-Stick.

Quote
3. Moving the mouse takes a while to register on menu screens.
I don't think i have this problem, at least not significantly to notice.

Quote
1. I can't find a way to repair damaged systems on my fighter. I saw that hitting "E" opens up the engineering panel, but that doesn't seem to work. I'm pretty sure it's intended though...
You cannot repair a fighter. Usually this isn't much of a problem because if you are partially damaged you are likely about to die anyway... or can just fly home and the ship will be repaired after awhile [and in the meantime you will get a different ship anyway]. You can use your reaction thrusters even if your thruster gets taken out btw. i think it defaults to HOME and END for forward/back.
It might be fast enough for you to limp home on if you get stuck.

Quote
2. Why are MINES firing lasers at me? The first hit conked out my reactor and I was SOL from that point on.
Because actual mines would make no sense in space? Incidentally, don't get too close, i think your gun range is 10km or just above depending on your fighter, so try not to get closer then you have to. Also, missiles seem super effective. If you really have a hard time, know that they tend to only be used in the early parts of campaigns when you are attacking the 'front-line' as it were. Perhaps they should however call them "laser-turret fields"... but hey, mines sounds cooler.

Quote
3. Is there any way to choose what kind of strike craft you can pilot? I'm guessing it's rank related.
When a carrier creates a mission plan [including when you do so as a carrier, or when its automatically done], it chooses a fighter craft based upon what it has, and what it thinks is best for this mission. Usually this means small fast fighters for intercepting enemies, scouting, and patroling, with larger fighters for strike/assault missions against capital ship / sometimes ground targets, where you really really need a bunch of big missiles and care less about speed/maneuverability.
« Last Edit: August 31, 2013, 01:51:58 pm by Rift »
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Hanzoku

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Re: Starshatter: The Gathering Storm. Now Free/Open-Source
« Reply #10 on: August 31, 2013, 02:08:36 pm »

I played the game before, but I just couldn't get into it, despite it having one of the things I really, really want - command of a capital ship.

It has two big negative points for me:

1 - The AI focuses exclusively on the player. To the point of two frigates chasing my poor, half-crippled fighter for 50+km, firing missile after missile after missile...
2 - Nothing happens unless you do it. Unless you're involved, no fights ever break out, no ships or fighters are destroyed. (Exception: I saw a frigate on my side was destroyed with no obvious cause.) It really takes the sense of immersion out if you have to be involved in every capital ship going down.
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Rift

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Re: Starshatter: The Gathering Storm. Now Free/Open-Source
« Reply #11 on: August 31, 2013, 02:13:24 pm »

Quote
1 - The AI focuses exclusively on the player. To the point of two frigates chasing my poor, half-crippled fighter for 50+km, firing missile after missile after missile...
This actually isn't the case so much as it focuses on one target. Once something decides to kill something else, it is extremely rare for it to break off, UNLESS it thinks its about to die/be killed. This will 'often' happen to you in that fighters might follow you all the way home if you don't turn to fight them.. but it also happens to your fellow fighters. It is, sadly still a flaw though.
Quote
2 - Nothing happens unless you do it. Unless you're involved, no fights ever break out, no ships or fighters are destroyed. (Exception: I saw a frigate on my side was destroyed with no obvious cause.) It really takes the sense of immersion out if you have to be involved in every capital ship going down.
It can seem like that sometimes, but it's actually untrue, or more likely a direct result of the tactical situation forcing something similar to a stalemate [they have little to no capital ships left for example]. I have actually received a messages of a fleet i wasn't being attached to, had its carrier destroyed, which actually led us to lose the entire campaign in the long run.
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Blaze

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Re: Starshatter: The Gathering Storm. Now Free/Open-Source
« Reply #12 on: August 31, 2013, 02:47:35 pm »

So I made lieutenant, but now I've encountered a huge bug.

Attempting to dock while piloting a Raptor causes my landing gear to clip through the bottom of the landing bay, making me crash.
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Shadowlord

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Re: Starshatter: The Gathering Storm. Now Free/Open-Source
« Reply #13 on: August 31, 2013, 02:51:47 pm »

Crash or crash? :V
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Iceblaster

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Re: Starshatter: The Gathering Storm. Now Free/Open-Source
« Reply #14 on: August 31, 2013, 03:06:13 pm »

So uh... this an IL-2 Sturmovich like game? Or a more War Thunder type game?
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