mandoman wrote:Please, I don't mean to be inflammatory, but could someone explain to me why it has become so incredibly important to hand NPC ships such extreme capabilities? The game, and computer AI, is the player for the NPC ships, right? The problem with giving computers that much control, is that they never make mistakes, can react to situations in a heartbeat, and from what I can tell, they never miss their target. Add to this Military Lasers, and extra heavy shields, and even just one ship becomes devastating. I found I could beat them, but when I was ganged up on by four, or five of these ships, they blew me to the river Styx, and beyond. Maybe I just like the sense of having power to make a difference, which is how I felt about the game before 1.77, but 1.77 makes me so defensive, no matter what system I'm in, that it's hard to focus on any other part of the game, like trading. Has Oolite suddenly become a "shoot-em-up" game, instead of the "you know, you just fly around the Galaxy from planet to planet, buying selling, trading". In 1.77, if you can make it to your next port with your whole load, you have accomplished something.
Someone said to me that I have too many dangerous ships in my AddOns folder, which is why I was getting hit so hard. Well, one of the things I loved about Ooliite is the presence of ALL those ships. If I want to use 1.77 with a bit less intensity, I have to get rid of most of my favorite part of the game? Is the game about equal rights for NPC ships, or about the player. Myself, I would say that 1.77 is for the former.
There is nothing forcing anyone to install this OXP on their game. If you feel that it gives too much power to NPCs, then all you have to do is not download it.
However, since I read your post as a more generic complaint about the game's difficulty, I would also like to go on for a little longer.
Nobody is handling extreme capabilities to NPCs. This has never been the intent of any of the developers who have worked on the code since the conception of Oolite. The actual intention has been to make the player just another entity in a dynamic universe that proceeds with or without them. This is one of the key elements of addictiveness in the game and that is how Oolite has always been advertised.
Unfortunately, up to now, this has not been the case. In reality, the player had a lot of advantages over the NPCs, which made life easy for him/her, but did not exactly correspond to the premise that the game is not player-centric. What was done in 1.77 was to even the odds a bit. Now the player is no longer superman compared to NPCs and things have become more or less equal. And that is the key here: equal. No one is better than the other in the core game
. If there is an impression that things are now so much more difficult, it is mainly because OXP ships up to now were made to balance NPCs as they were in the previous versions, i.e. weaker and limited. Obviously, making the NPCs more similar to the player may require adjustments for re-balancing. However, properly designed and well thought out ships will not normally require any adjustment. Only the uber-killer ones will, because they were uber to begin with and now are impossible to handle. This is not bad design on the part of the core game, it is bad design on the part of the OXP.
One important thing to note here: When we develop Oolite, we do so by trying to balance it in the best possible way in its unmodified incarnation, without any OXPs. If you play the game without any OXPs, you will probably find that even though it might be more difficult now than it was w/o OXPs before, it is by no means unbalanced. OXPs are meant to follow the core development, not the other way round (otherwise Oolite would have to become an I-do-it-all engine and thus turn into an umaintainable monster), so this would probably be a good time for the creators of the earlier mentioned uber-ships to start doing what adjustments might be deemed necessary for making them fit with the new situation.
Also, I would like to add that for every user who complains that it's all so difficult now and it's impossible to play etc., we have at least one who declare themselves happy with the way things are now, the balance between NPCs and player that is finally the way it was always meant to be and who produce or play OXPs that up the challenge still.
Finally, I can assure you that even with the new balance between NPCs and player, we do not allow the computer to be infallible. The AIs still contain code that generates missed shots or non-optimal responses based on chance and in the core game you will not find any intelligence-enhanced pilots. They will be exactly the same AI level as they were until now. As for the too many dangerous ships in the OXP folder, it may not be necessary to remove anything, but certain stats adjustments for some of them may be in order. Otherwise, it is only normal that too many dangerous ships will result in a much higher chance of game over.
Having said all this, I would not generally object to opening up a bit the NPC "cones of fire" so that there is a slightly higher overall chance of a laser miss. But only slightly.