Hard Light Productions Forums

Hosted Projects - FS2 Required => The Aftermath: Reboot => Topic started by: herkie423 on March 29, 2020, 03:19:08 am

Title: RELEASE: The Aftermath II - The Blue Guardian
Post by: herkie423 on March 29, 2020, 03:19:08 am
"Is the universe really that complicated to you?...
   Or is it just simple enough that you utterly fail to understand?"
--- Draktar



Amidst tragedy in battle, the brutality of the great Wars, the corruption of those in power, the political strife and the personal struggles, an ultimate revelation is waiting to unfold just beyond the horizon. A revelation that might bring peace to society or death to all who lived. A story of a female pilot who outlived the horrors of The Third Shivan War that ended just six months ago only to face something even worse than her nightmares.


FEATURES:

The campaign has a fair number of 38 missions (including cutscenes) that are meticulously designed. Additional new ships, new weapons, new space backgrounds and new weapon effects are added. The missions are no longer just about shooting and blasting things, all of them require strategy and judgement like how will you disarm a destroyer in the shortest possible time or to take down an enemy cruiser in 25 seconds. Enemies will react and have strategies of their own to outflank, outmaneuver and outwit the player. some of them will even respond if you try to destroy their engines or their offensive turrets and even retreat in a disadvantage---Now, how to prevent them from escaping other than disabling their engines? Enemies will even have random behaviors. Here, you will have to use your survival skill, wits, and sheer will as you will pit against intelligent enemy fighters. The player will be faced with dilemmas on which targets to take on first or which asset to protect more. There are gameplay elements from bombing raids, artillery strikes, remote beam cannon control, capital ship piloting to fleet tactical command. The game will have a different feel. Aside from the epic battles and intense dogfights, the story is also character-driven which means more dialogue lines. There will be outrageous moments and even ridiculous ones adding more meat to the narrative as the mysteries pile up and explode until the very end. And everything will converge at the very end. This sequel also answers the questions that were brought up (intentionally) in "The Aftermath: Reboot" and the answers to these questions will actually sprinkle spice to this campaign.


ACKNOWLEDGEMENT:

Special thanks to CT27 who contributed more than half of the story, his plots and ideas that made the missions quite complex. And I also thank those who posted their suggestions that guided me to make this sequel.

SPECIFICATIONS:

The required SCP Build needed is 3.7.2 but it had been tested to run with 3.7.4 and the performance is even enhanced (with the "deferred lighting" option off), the AI is also improved.

https://www.hard-light.net/forums/index.php?topic=89597.0

The mod will run with middle-end computers or average PCs. My computer specs are:
   AMD A4-6300 APU with Radeon(tm) HD - Dual core 3.7GHz
   AMD Radeon R7 240 Grapics Processing Unit
   4GB RAM (the higher the better)
   2GB required disk space.


IMPORTANT:

This mod is dependent on "MediaVP 2014" and "The Aftermath: Reboot" with the latest March 2020 update. Download the Reboot's latest update.

The Aftermath Reboot latest update links:

AF-RootMain20.rar -
 http://www.mediafire.com/file/nj93f6pyxkgx4bp/AF-RootMain20.rar/file
AF-Extra20.rar    -
 http://www.mediafire.com/file/tpowkl6bn2qn0ow/AF-Extra20.rar/file

The Blue Guardian
DOWNLOAD LINKS:
Total Download size: 388mb

TBGRoot.rar       - http://www.mediafire.com/file/nsz75insxvr4g6o/TBGRoot.rar/file
TBGFiles.rar      -
 http://www.mediafire.com/file/3brovowbzcmz92o/TBGFiles.rar/file





Title: Re: RELEASE: The Aftermath II - The Blue Guardian
Post by: Nightmare on March 29, 2020, 05:51:01 am
Congratulations! :yes: :yes:
Title: Re: RELEASE: The Aftermath II - The Blue Guardian
Post by: herkie423 on March 29, 2020, 06:10:31 am
Congratulations! :yes: :yes:

Thanks a million
Title: Re: RELEASE: The Aftermath II - The Blue Guardian
Post by: theperfectdrugsk on March 29, 2020, 06:18:02 am
Woo! Looking forward to playing it! Congrats on the release, that's gotta feel good!
Title: Re: RELEASE: The Aftermath II - The Blue Guardian
Post by: CapellaGoBoom on March 29, 2020, 08:34:35 am
Congrats on the release good sir! Will this be on knossos soon? I got rid of my wxlauncher some time ago
Title: Re: RELEASE: The Aftermath II - The Blue Guardian
Post by: herkie423 on March 29, 2020, 08:52:35 am
Congrats on the release good sir! Will this be on knossos soon? I got rid of my wxlauncher some time ago

I guess you can if you can set the mod manually like in Wxlauncher. Just manually download it from Mediafire using the links here. I don't know how Knossos works.
Title: Re: RELEASE: The Aftermath II - The Blue Guardian
Post by: Nightmare on March 29, 2020, 09:54:41 am
Congrats on the release good sir! Will this be on knossos soon? I got rid of my wxlauncher some time ago

I guess you can if you can set the mod manually like in Wxlauncher. Just manually download it from Mediafire using the links here. I don't know how Knossos works.

Who put Aftermath I on Knossos then? Probably you could authorize that person to handle that for you (you said that you had some very bad internet connection).
Title: Re: RELEASE: The Aftermath II - The Blue Guardian
Post by: Su-tehp on March 29, 2020, 12:34:20 pm
Yeah, if the Aftermath Reboot updates and Aftermath II can both be put on Knossos, that would be beyond awesome. It certainly would be a lot easier than trying to mess with wxlauncher again.
Title: Re: RELEASE: The Aftermath II - The Blue Guardian
Post by: Nightmare on March 29, 2020, 04:14:35 pm
Yeah, if the Aftermath Reboot updates and Aftermath II can both be put on Knossos, that would be beyond awesome. It certainly would be a lot easier than trying to mess with wxlauncher again.

Yep, elseway the campaign will have a mod.ini that links to BP instead to this board. :D

Quote
website      = http://blueplanet.hard-light.net;
forum        = http://www.hard-light.net/forums/index.php/board,169.0.html;
Title: Re: RELEASE: The Aftermath II - The Blue Guardian
Post by: mjn.mixael on March 29, 2020, 04:37:24 pm
Yeah, if the Aftermath Reboot updates and Aftermath II can both be put on Knossos, that would be beyond awesome. It certainly would be a lot easier than trying to mess with wxlauncher again.

I have updated Aftermath Reboot and Aftermath Reboot II is uploading as I type this.

Herkie, I fixed three typo related bugs (One in Aftermath 1 and two in Aftermath 2). All three were in ships.tbl referencing sounds. If you run the mod through debug, you'll find them pretty quickly.

Additionally, the first mission/cutscene CTD's for me in the exact same place every time (right as it's facing the hangar near the beginning). Not sure what the cause is.
Title: Re: RELEASE: The Aftermath II - The Blue Guardian
Post by: spart_n on March 29, 2020, 05:26:11 pm
I got a CTD on the same opening cutscene, but i otherwise moved on from it, and the Floating Fortress also hits CTD once when the self destruct sequence hit in, which is already bitter considering the length and how aggravating the mission is
Title: Re: RELEASE: The Aftermath II - The Blue Guardian
Post by: Su-tehp on March 29, 2020, 05:54:08 pm
Ok, I can independently confirm that both Aftermath campaigns are on Knossos and both have been updated as of today judging by their "Last updated" dates.

SQUEE! (By the way, we really need a squee emoticon. I don't think the :D emoticon is cutting it.)
Title: Re: RELEASE: The Aftermath II - The Blue Guardian
Post by: CapellaGoBoom on March 29, 2020, 05:59:40 pm
Got that bug in the opening scene too.

Debug coming:

https://fsnebula.org/log/5e812847cb0d3321b0c98630
Title: Re: RELEASE: The Aftermath II - The Blue Guardian
Post by: Iido on March 29, 2020, 11:06:38 pm
OH MAN when I saw this pop up on Knossos :D Awesome that this game is finally out! I'm actually in the middle of replaying the first Aftermath right now, once I finish I'll gladly dive into the sequel!

Also glad to know you're alright Herkie! I recently visited the first game's thread and it seems you disappeared a long time and no one knew what happened...glad you're ok! ^^
Title: Re: RELEASE: The Aftermath II - The Blue Guardian
Post by: herkie423 on March 29, 2020, 11:18:08 pm
Are you using FSO 732. I don't know about Knossos but there is "setting.ini" file included in the download. Try deleting that.

I will download knossos and try it in my end. I am still using the 5.5g launcher. My PC is  not connected to the internet, I'm using my phone.

Title: Re: RELEASE: The Aftermath II - The Blue Guardian
Post by: CapellaGoBoom on March 29, 2020, 11:33:56 pm
Ok... ran this on knossos but switched to 19.0.0 RC3 in FSO settings and I got passed the weird hangar CTD in the opening scene. It is running fine at the moment. There might be something in the 20.1.0 2020 nightlies which conflicts with Aftermath2. I will update this if I can get past the opening scene and mission1

UPDATE: Passed mission1 and starting the next one. I can tell this campaign will have tougher missions than Aftermath1
Title: Re: RELEASE: The Aftermath II - The Blue Guardian
Post by: herkie423 on March 29, 2020, 11:53:10 pm
NOTE:: please use FSO 372. It is a compatibility issue

 https://www.hard-light.net/forums/index.php?topic=89597.0
Title: Re: RELEASE: The Aftermath II - The Blue Guardian
Post by: herkie423 on March 29, 2020, 11:56:21 pm
Can someone give me link to Knossos?
Title: Re: RELEASE: The Aftermath II - The Blue Guardian
Post by: herkie423 on March 30, 2020, 12:12:30 am
Ok, I can independently confirm that both Aftermath campaigns are on Knossos and both have been updated as of today judging by their "Last updated" dates.

SQUEE! (By the way, we really need a squee emoticon. I don't think the :D emoticon is cutting it.)

Wow... That is awesome! :)
Title: Re: RELEASE: The Aftermath II - The Blue Guardian
Post by: mjn.mixael on March 30, 2020, 12:12:50 am
FSO 372 is almost 5 years old... You really should figure out why your mod crashes modern builds and either fix your assets or submit a ticket to SCP with steps to reproduce.
Title: Re: RELEASE: The Aftermath II - The Blue Guardian
Post by: herkie423 on March 30, 2020, 12:16:49 am
Yeah, if the Aftermath Reboot updates and Aftermath II can both be put on Knossos, that would be beyond awesome. It certainly would be a lot easier than trying to mess with wxlauncher again.

I have updated Aftermath Reboot and Aftermath Reboot II is uploading as I type this.

Herkie, I fixed three typo related bugs (One in Aftermath 1 and two in Aftermath 2). All three were in ships.tbl referencing sounds. If you run the mod through debug, you'll find them pretty quickly.

Additionally, the first mission/cutscene CTD's for me in the exact same place every time (right as it's facing the hangar near the beginning). Not sure what the cause is.

Thanks, mjn. Help me with this compatibility issue so that I can have an update soon.
Title: Re: RELEASE: The Aftermath II - The Blue Guardian
Post by: mjn.mixael on March 30, 2020, 12:21:43 am
I have confirmed the first mission does not crash on 19.0. You really need to be playtesting your mods on a build muuuuuuch newer than 3.7.2. There's only a handful of nightlies since 19.0, so it should be pretty easy for you to nail down what code revision started causing issues with your mod.

EDIT: For anyone having issues with the mods on Knossos, you may need to check file integrity and/or uninstall-reinstall. I forced a metadata update to set the mods to use 19.0 only. The mods seem to run fine on that build release build. You may also need to set your Knossos Preferred Engine Stability to Stable so Knossos doesn't use the 20.0 nightlies.

Herkie, the particular crash in mission 1, I'm not sure how to debug. It occurs at the exact same moment every time, so I'd start with checking into assets that arrive in mission or weapons that are fired at that moment for bad data. I'm not gonna lie, that kind of crash can be a PITA to debug. You gotta figure out what asset is causing it and either fix the asset or notify SCP so that can figure out what changed in the build revisions. However, in most cases newer builds offer you much better debugging features and mod stability than something that's five years old. Not to mention all the new engine features you get access to. Time to upgrade my man.
Title: Re: RELEASE: The Aftermath II - The Blue Guardian
Post by: herkie423 on March 30, 2020, 12:31:26 am
I will try testing with 19.0 and I find some issues
Title: Re: RELEASE: The Aftermath II - The Blue Guardian
Post by: herkie423 on March 30, 2020, 12:44:34 am
Oh yes, everyone please give me FPS, frames per second. I want to know if you have performance issue. In my end, I get an average of 45 to 60.
Title: Re: RELEASE: The Aftermath II - The Blue Guardian
Post by: CapellaGoBoom on March 30, 2020, 01:07:59 am
Now I got another problem. I grabbed some kind of "update" for Aftermath and got the "FSO is missing" bug after applying it
Title: Re: RELEASE: The Aftermath II - The Blue Guardian
Post by: lordhood117 on March 30, 2020, 03:35:11 pm
I made it to the battle against the Demora and her escorts, disabled and destroyed the escorts, and debeamed and disabled the Demora.  After said superdestroyer finishes dying, well...  Nothing happens.  No matter how long I wait after destroying the Demora, nobody says anything of consequence and the Oberon and Venture just hold position.
Title: Re: RELEASE: The Aftermath II - The Blue Guardian
Post by: CapellaGoBoom on March 30, 2020, 03:56:16 pm
I made it to the battle against the Demora and her escorts, disabled and destroyed the escorts, and debeamed and disabled the Demora.  After said superdestroyer finishes dying, well...  Nothing happens.  No matter how long I wait after destroying the Demora, nobody says anything of consequence and the Oberon and Venture just hold position.

Weird. I got past that no problem before the update ruined my mod
Title: Re: RELEASE: The Aftermath II - The Blue Guardian
Post by: CT27 on March 30, 2020, 04:38:27 pm
I made it to the battle against the Demora and her escorts, disabled and destroyed the escorts, and debeamed and disabled the Demora.  After said superdestroyer finishes dying, well...  Nothing happens.  No matter how long I wait after destroying the Demora, nobody says anything of consequence and the Oberon and Venture just hold position.

I tried this last night and I too had this problem (I tried it on different builds too). 

My only suggestion is to let one of the escort ships escape.  If the secondary objective in that mission is failed, I could progress.
Title: Re: RELEASE: The Aftermath II - The Blue Guardian
Post by: spart_n on March 30, 2020, 05:13:55 pm
Did the Asuras always have 90 mps? And if so, why did you picked A Floating Fortress to demonstrate this? Their hitpoints are already massive enough that the burst of speed to outrun not just my bomber, but also a Cyclops, makes the mission frustrating when you're trying to deal with them fast and efficiently. I understand you tried to pick a more realistic tone with this campaign and nobody's gonna sit there and get nuked, but it slows the game to an unreasonable standstill and allows your fleet to be overrun.

It's a cruiser for crying out loud, the fact it takes as much nukes as a corvette is bad enough, light bomber speed is being genuinely unfair and otherwise inexcusable.
Title: Re: RELEASE: The Aftermath II - The Blue Guardian
Post by: MitoPL on March 31, 2020, 10:45:36 am
For now looking around a bit, I see that there is a lot criticism coming about mission balance. While Shivans were very weak singularily and that made for an enemy that could be deployed in squadrons against your mere wings without excessive frustration, this time you're fighting against ships that actually match you. That means you can't realistically fight swarms of them that appear in your missions. Also it makes for absolutely no sense for actual people to act like Shivans did.
So, I guess you'd need to equalise the forces in your missions.

Other criticism turns to absurd speeds of cruisers that outrun bombers. While I can understand the friendly cruiser in that Shivan installation mission moving faster so the mission doesn't get overly tedious, Shivan cruisers that can outrun bombers and bombs while also being too absurdly tough to be feasibly killed by fighters make for hell that you need to cheat through. So even if you need their tabled speed to be so high for some reason, you can just make sure they are flying a waypoint path at all times and use the cap-waypoint-speed SEXP to limit their speed.

Also, Shivan Mjolnirs that take ten Trebuchets to disarm, there are five of them, and you cannot let any of them fire a single shot while being very time limited? This is a problem, another mission unpassable without cheats.
Title: Re: RELEASE: The Aftermath II - The Blue Guardian
Post by: CapellaGoBoom on March 31, 2020, 01:09:52 pm
For now looking around a bit, I see that there is a lot criticism coming about mission balance. While Shivans were very weak singularily and that made for an enemy that could be deployed in squadrons against your mere wings without excessive frustration, this time you're fighting against ships that actually match you. That means you can't realistically fight swarms of them that appear in your missions. Also it makes for absolutely no sense for actual people to act like Shivans did.
So, I guess you'd need to equalise the forces in your missions.

Other criticism turns to absurd speeds of cruisers that outrun bombers. While I can understand the friendly cruiser in that Shivan installation mission moving faster so the mission doesn't get overly tedious, Shivan cruisers that can outrun bombers and bombs while also being too absurdly tough to be feasibly killed by fighters make for hell that you need to cheat through. So even if you need their tabled speed to be so high for some reason, you can just make sure they are flying a waypoint path at all times and use the cap-waypoint-speed SEXP to limit their speed.

Also, Shivan Mjolnirs that take ten Trebuchets to disarm, there are five of them, and you cannot let any of them fire a single shot while being very time limited? This is a problem, another mission unpassable without cheats.

I agree with these sentiments too. The difficulty should be toned down and maybe allow for a few more wings to start with in these missions. Also capships going like a Lambo is quite odd indeed. During the "floating fortress" mission, I would highly recommend arming up with Maxims for your wingmen instead of the Trebs. The Asuras would get shredded apart easily and the heavy guns can get sniped much more efficiently. That worked wonders for me.

Oh and 1 more thing: have all wingmen hit the heavy guns 1 at a time
Title: Re: RELEASE: The Aftermath II - The Blue Guardian
Post by: lordhood117 on March 31, 2020, 04:09:41 pm
And while we're at it: using ship-subsys-guardian-threshold on engine subsystems when the objective is to disable a ship is not what I'd consider good form.  It's akin to dangling a carrot in front of a player's face and then pulling it away from them when they're about to finally get it.  What also doesn't help things is when destroyers seem to be going extremely fast for something that large (which one would come to expect after a couple missions of seeing Molochs and Rakshasas flying at speeds of over 50) and then, when it seems like one is about to cripple the ship, the above SEXP kicks in and the ship unexpectedly jumps.  It may be more realistic in comparison to real-life physics, but at the same time, this is Freespace 2.  Big ships enter Subspace with rapid acceleration from a near standstill, right?

To be succinct and entirely blunt, this campaign could've used a lot more playtesting and revision before release.  I know this is just more criticism getting lumped on with all of the rest, but herkie, I'm begging you: please get some people to thoroughly test this so the big concerns can be worked out.  The Aftermath's reboot's sequel can be so much better.  It's just going to take some time and effort, but I think it's going to be worth it in the end.
Title: Re: RELEASE: The Aftermath II - The Blue Guardian
Post by: MitoPL on March 31, 2020, 04:23:29 pm
Also one more thing that was mentioned in the Discord server: FSO 3.7.2 is ancient. Please, Herkie, consider upgrading to 19.0.0 FSO release, it has got multiple upgrades compared to 5 year old builds and people report that this campaign works just fine with the modern FSO versions, just as with MediaVPs 4.1.23.

Not only that, some people mentioned getting better FPS on newer builds!
Title: Re: RELEASE: The Aftermath II - The Blue Guardian
Post by: CapellaGoBoom on March 31, 2020, 08:23:08 pm
Spoiler:
I found a gamekilling bug in an act3 mission(forgot the name of it). You are facing 4 zod destroyers alongside the new emperor and a bunch of fighters/bombers. 2 zod vettes show up and I batter them down to 10% integrity. After that, they are totally invulnerable. Herk, I strongly recommend scouring missions for gamekillers like this. Also, please tone down the diffculty in these missions. It is really tough to take out 2 vettes against a very beat up destroyer and the mission will be over before you can blink

Debug:
https://fsnebula.org/log/5e840fdbcb0d3321afc98624


The mission is "lightning from heaven" looking in the techroom

UPDATE2: the only way to get past this mission until it is fixed is the 5 death skip
Title: Re: RELEASE: The Aftermath II - The Blue Guardian
Post by: 5thAce on April 02, 2020, 03:46:56 am
First things first, congratulations on the release!


So I believe I'm around 70% through the campaign, I've been playing through on hard difficulty. Here is some early feedback: (some spoilers ahead obviously)

Spoiler:
The swarm tactics that were used by the Shivans don't translate so well with the Vasudans, given their much tankier nature. On top of that is the armament used by the Vasudans. Their primary is a rapid fire laser and the secondary they use seems to be a rapid fire swarm missile. On top of having significantly more HP than the Shivans, the armament makes the Vasudans overpowered. Perhaps their loadouts should be more varied with the occasional wings being this well armed.

Next I would say the Anubis cruiser needs to be looked at. It's far too well armed for a cruiser. While it does have an exposed reactor, its anti-fighter capabilities are off the charts. Perhaps reduce the number of flak turrets or reduce the range?

This one isn't so much a balancing issue but I find it very strange that in the mission "Lightning from Heaven" that the only fighter escort is provided by the Midway. Why aren't the 2 allied Vasudan destroyers providing fighter/bomber wings as well?

On a personal note, I wish the Tempest were available in more missions, it's my usual go to in the first Aftermath.

Overall it seems like there are few friendlier wings this time around, when compared to the first Aftermath.

I'll return to this post when I'm done with the campaign. So far though I'm having an alright time with this, but the balancing issues are very much affecting the mod's quality.
Title: Re: RELEASE: The Aftermath II - The Blue Guardian
Post by: CapellaGoBoom on April 02, 2020, 02:32:02 pm
First things first, congratulations on the release!


So I believe I'm around 70% through the campaign, I've been playing through on hard difficulty. Here is some early feedback: (some spoilers ahead obviously)

Spoiler:
The swarm tactics that were used by the Shivans don't translate so well with the Vasudans, given their much tankier nature. On top of that is the armament used by the Vasudans. Their primary is a rapid fire laser and the secondary they use seems to be a rapid fire swarm missile. On top of having significantly more HP than the Shivans, the armament makes the Vasudans overpowered. Perhaps their loadouts should be more varied with the occasional wings being this well armed.

Next I would say the Anubis cruiser needs to be looked at. It's far too well armed for a cruiser. While it does have an exposed reactor, its anti-fighter capabilities are off the charts. Perhaps reduce the number of flak turrets or reduce the range?

This one isn't so much a balancing issue but I find it very strange that in the mission "Lightning from Heaven" that the only fighter escort is provided by the Midway. Why aren't the 2 allied Vasudan destroyers providing fighter/bomber wings as well?

On a personal note, I wish the Tempest were available in more missions, it's my usual go to in the first Aftermath.

Overall it seems like there are few friendlier wings this time around, when compared to the first Aftermath.

I'll return to this post when I'm done with the campaign. So far though I'm having an alright time with this, but the balancing issues are very much affecting the mod's quality.

I just wrapped up the campaign and I echo these same comments. Decent storyline but the difficulty holds it back quite a bit. The difficulty definitely should be looked at and tweaked. This mod can be fun to play again if said tweaks occur. I had to play it on easy for most of the way through. Medium was near impossible IMO. Not a fan of playing anything on easy since medium is optimal for most campaigns in FS
Title: Re: RELEASE: The Aftermath II - The Blue Guardian
Post by: spart_n on April 02, 2020, 03:44:15 pm
at the time ive written this, im absolutely salty and practically livid, so take that into regard.

i haven't finished TBG, and i probably won't. I got up to Solar Eclipse Part 2 and I practically lost all hair on my head.

Spoiler:
this sequel's came off as something of a disappointment. i loved the sheer corny and absurd nature of the first AF1; you're playing in hyperlethal vector fighters against swarms of shivans, but you're armed with military grade bug sprays. to add to the corny nature you got Halo's OST, X-Wing noises, Star Trek and a down-on-his-luck protagonist who God chose to save the day, as you obliterate entire fleets, let alone battlegroups, with the least amount of members with the biggest guns.

AFII's development cycle feels as if you've learned something from AFI, but also didn't. missions are no longer more than just charging in and shooting things until they're space dust, but there's actual objectives to accomplish to fully call your mission complete. yet, somehow and someway, this proves to be one of TBG's weakest points: not due to the fact they don't work, but due to the same reason everyone's already voiced, they're not balanced. the swarms don't stop. they've went from bees that can overwhelm you in numbers to violent wasps that wants to see the whole galaxy burn. the vasudans are the strongest offender of this, with the seraphis and horus fighters; unless you're using an avalanche with a weapon that combos off the Kayser, their heavy and ultra heavy armour is tough to punch through. but that's not all the vasudans got, because their weapons and missiles rival yours, and their numbers are no different from the shivan arcs. what you find then is your "squadron" of 2 or 3 wings depending on the mission against 3 Ultra Heavy or Heavy fighters at once that easily matches yours. that isn't a challenge, that's sheer absurdity, throw in vasudan capital ships and you get a fine mess. when did you ever plan to tell players about the weapons subsystem trick? there's definitely a prompt to target reactors but weapons never gets one, and that's the best thing you can target?

up until where i dropped i have yet to complete a single mission without cheating. again, balance. some objectives are next to impossible (The Floating Fortress being, by far, the WORST offender, and the Atlas Cannons defense, but that mission has more issues than just that) without `+k'ing or godding yourself. i also really don't appreciate these mission recommendations: they reek of a smart-alick grinning and pinching his chin going "i gotcha you at your dumbest". Solar Eclipse Part 2 is an example of this, but there were other missions beforehand, and they all had the habit of hoping the player had precognition of the mission. make them playable in one go, or don't at all. these are the objective failures, not the fact the player gets shot down.

the writing was significantly worse this time around. gone were the corny humour and laughable writing of AFI, replaced with the love triangle subplot where your character proclaims she is horny on the open comms and a vasudan arc that houses more than a dozen vasudan ships you blow up, forcing their fleet to be around the same as the terrans post war. richter the NPC is now incredibly vague and mysterious, which makes no sense and you would've probably gotten the same impact by making the nuRichter a guy named "Sensei" and making him just as one dimensional. the political tension that was promised is overshadowed by these bizarre subplots and characters i just cant care for.

final thoughts: TBG was a huge downgrade from AFI. In attempt of trying to be better, you've somehow went worse. TBG desperately needed more time in the oven of playtesting and bughunting by more than just CT27. for crying out loud, there's a debug message in one of the missions. i'd be lying if i said you're awful at mission designing but you're a person that desperately needs refinement, a slap on the knuckles with a blunt object, someone to actually say yes or no to your decisions, may that be a playtester or even a partner you need to work with. you clearly have the talent for it, but at the moment, you're also holding yourself back. i hope to see these missions rebalanced and updated and look forward to possible future projects but as they currently stand, i make my stop with TBG.
Title: Re: RELEASE: The Aftermath II - The Blue Guardian
Post by: lordhood117 on April 02, 2020, 05:02:09 pm
Well, it seems Spart managed to say almost everything I was going to say about TBG.  To sum up what I would've said, this campaign needs a general overhaul badly.  Now, as for the parts that my friend didn't cover...

The characters, aside from those previously established in Aftermath Reboot, never get proper backstories and what info you do get about the new people, including the main protagonist, is...  well, it's all thrown at you like birdshot from a shotgun: some hit and stick around (and some are even kinda effective), some glance off and get lost in the background, and the rest miss their mark by a decent margin. And Courtney Aguilar?  She comes off as a Mary Sue.

The enemy factions...  WHAT?!
Spoiler:
The Shivans go from hive minds, massive numbers of fighters, bombers, and ships, and scary weapons to mind-controlled bug people that end up changing sides in a way that seems like it was a plot pulled out of a crappy "what-if" story on fanfiction.net.
The Vasudans...  No.  You don't send in Serapis and Horus fighters equipped with heavier-than-FS2 armor and spammable missiles in wings hordes like that.  And since when did the Vasudans get such a huge xeno-boner for ASMs?  This is supposed to be semi-connected to canon FS2, not Blue Planet 2, so why would you pit the player against multiple ships with 2 or even 4 ASM launchers?  Oh, and while I'm at it, why would you equip Osirises with HELIOS BOMBS?!  Just use Sekhmets.  It's post-FS2, so those are fair game.  No need to use something that's been around since the Terran-Vasudan War when there's already something better in large quantities.
The Rigelians became the new FS-era Shivans.  They can't be touched until someone starts deploying X weapon (either R&D has been developing it from captured tech or it's already in limited use and is now being given to your squadron because Snipes and his SOC friends are "nice" guys) and using them against Y weakness.  In this case, it's the Widowmaker missile (speaking of which, why would you hold out on me with those things?  I LOVE them!
 They're like if you took a Treb, gave it the maneuvering of a Harpoon, and then made it a disruptor weapon as well!  It's so OP!).  The advice given about using it on Rigelian ships, though...  First off, you're right.  Don't chase the warships.  They're faster than you.  However, you got something dead wrong: DO NOT ATTACK RIGELIAN SHIPS FROM HEAD-ON.  Approach from side-on, lock on, fire, and wait a bit.  9 times out of 10, that warship will end up a sitting duck without it ever touching you.

Onto the special mechanics...
Spoiler:
Point-and-click turret defense with 6 Mjolnirs?  ****ing awesome.
Point-and-click turret defense that requires you to juggle blasting incoming capships and defending a fragile Charybdis from bombers and other dickery, the latter of which is so you don't end up with ****-tons of bombers coming in and blasting the turrets and the installation you're guarding?  And did I mention that only the first four Atlas targeting hotkeys work, so you end up having to quickly use the vanilla command menu to manually order Atlas 5 and 6 just to use them?  Not so much.

Commanding a fleet with the implemented tactical interface is really cool, but when you can only use the first 4 keys to do it, it becomes... frustrating.  It was such an obstacle for me that the only ships I managed to save in the final mission were my destroyers and a single corvette, my Chimera-X excluded, and all because I couldn't effectively counter Akhmim's fleet spreading out with a hook.

TL;DR: the 5 and 6 keys don't trigger anything in the Tactical Command Interface.

And one last thing, Herkie: that last message before the final mission (see the link below), considering the dumpster fire that version 1.0.0 of TBG has been...  While I understand that it was intended to just be a message to CT and removed later, I'm somewhat glad it stayed in because, to be completely honest, it comes off as you basically just telling your coworker to do all of the work you should've done (but didn't), and then walking out to never return.
https://cdn.discordapp.com/attachments/607738712884772876/695039616021168148/unknown.png (https://cdn.discordapp.com/attachments/607738712884772876/695039616021168148/unknown.png) (linking here instead of inserting because it's just too big)
I get that you want to be done with this, but no, you can't just dump this all on CT.  That's not fair to him, even if you had some kind of agreement during development.
This is an unfinished campaign that deserves better because it could be so much better with more time and effort.

EDIT: I talked with someone with more background on Herkie's situation. I wish I'd known sooner.  I admit, I was too harsh. 
CT, if you're reading this, DM me if you'd like some help with proofreading and possibly reworking some of the dialogue and story.  You don't have to do this alone, and I'm sure I'm not the only one that would like to step in and help.
Title: Re: RELEASE: The Aftermath II - The Blue Guardian
Post by: CT27 on April 02, 2020, 06:47:04 pm
For what it's worth, I didn't do much design work on TBG.  I was mainly involved in writing the plot for Acts 1-3.  So as far as technical problems people encountered go (some of which I encountered and some I didn't), unless he decides to revisit the campaign you might be out of luck.  I know what I would fix if I could, but I'm not good at FRED'ing or designing campaigns (or whatever the term is).

I loosely wrote the plot for Act I
Spoiler:
Shivan remnant cleanup in Mutara
though I originally only had it at three missions and Herkie made it into five.


I also wrote most of the plot for Acts 2 and three
Spoiler:
New Imperium Insurrection


Basically I gave Herkie most of the plot and script for those missions (though he would sometimes make additions) and he made the gameplay.  I also helped somewhat with the plot for Acts 4 and 5.

I do want to mention that although Herkie may not be posting here much anymore (I'll post later on that) I do occasionally message and talk with him on Facebook.  Out of respect for him I got permission from him to talk about this stuff because I don't want to appear like I'm trying to throw him under the bus (all I'll say for now unless he gives me permission to talk about specifics is that occasionally we had some disagreements on what to do after I got the initial three acts of the campaign for testing...though it never got heated or bitter).
Like lordhood117 said, Herkie's not in a great situation right now (on FB Herkie did give me permission to talk specifics on that later so I'll try to do that later).  Hopefully he just needs a break and can come back to do some cleanup work later.
Title: Re: RELEASE: The Aftermath II - The Blue Guardian
Post by: CT27 on April 03, 2020, 07:07:41 pm
I just ran into a problem (right before the final mission of TBG unfortunately):

I tried to start the final mission and got this:
Error: Can't open model file <AF-Scylla.pof>
File: modelread.cpp
Line: 1062

ntdll.dll! NtWaitForSingleObject + 20 bytes
KERNELBASE.dll! WaitForSingleObjectEx + 147 bytes
fs2_open_3_8_1_20171031_e2d8502_x64_SSE2.exe! <no symbol>
fs2_open_3_8_1_20171031_e2d8502_x64_SSE2.exe! <no symbol>
fs2_open_3_8_1_20171031_e2d8502_x64_SSE2.exe! <no symbol>
fs2_open_3_8_1_20171031_e2d8502_x64_SSE2.exe! <no symbol>
fs2_open_3_8_1_20171031_e2d8502_x64_SSE2.exe! <no symbol>
fs2_open_3_8_1_20171031_e2d8502_x64_SSE2.exe! <no symbol>
fs2_open_3_8_1_20171031_e2d8502_x64_SSE2.exe! <no symbol>
fs2_open_3_8_1_20171031_e2d8502_x64_SSE2.exe! <no symbol>
fs2_open_3_8_1_20171031_e2d8502_x64_SSE2.exe! <no symbol>
fs2_open_3_8_1_20171031_e2d8502_x64_SSE2.exe! <no symbol>
fs2_open_3_8_1_20171031_e2d8502_x64_SSE2.exe! <no symbol>
fs2_open_3_8_1_20171031_e2d8502_x64_SSE2.exe! <no symbol>
fs2_open_3_8_1_20171031_e2d8502_x64_SSE2.exe! <no symbol>
fs2_open_3_8_1_20171031_e2d8502_x64_SSE2.exe! <no symbol>
fs2_open_3_8_1_20171031_e2d8502_x64_SSE2.exe! <no symbol>
KERNEL32.DLL! BaseThreadInitThunk + 20 bytes
ntdll.dll! RtlUserThreadStart + 33 bytes


Apparently there's a problem with the new Scylla model (I couldn't even bring up the Scylla in the techroom...that caused a crash too).  This happened on multiple builds I tried.

However, when I tried the previous version of "Reboot" (the version before this recent update of Herkie's) I was able to look at the Scylla successfully.
Title: Re: RELEASE: The Aftermath II - The Blue Guardian
Post by: tomimaki on April 04, 2020, 07:29:34 am
This model is in AF. You don't have AF or you named AF folder differently than it is in AF-TBG mod.ini.
Title: Re: RELEASE: The Aftermath II - The Blue Guardian
Post by: Nightmare on April 04, 2020, 08:28:14 am
Yep it works fine on my end.
Title: Re: RELEASE: The Aftermath II - The Blue Guardian
Post by: CT27 on April 04, 2020, 05:33:25 pm
I figured out a work around for it.

I was playing Reboot and had some problems with the newest version so I switched to the previous version of "Reboot" which fixed those problems.  However that newer Scylla model wasn't in the previous version of Reboot so I extracted it from the newer Reboot folder I saved (I have both saved, though obviously I don't put both in my FS2 folder at one time) and put it in the TBG folder.  That solved the issue and I was able to progress with TBG.
Title: Re: RELEASE: The Aftermath II - The Blue Guardian
Post by: Madeye on April 06, 2020, 05:04:00 pm
After playing about 1/3 of the campaign, sorry to say, I resign. It's barely playable - it requires serious tweaking, testing and bughunting. It's difficult as hell, sometimes it's just impossible without cheating. And I'm astonished by some solutions, like Moloch 100 m/s, basically outpacing my 20-times-smaller bomber... I'm very interested in a story, but I wish I could have fun more playing by chance :/. Then I guess - nothing remains but to wait for the update..
Title: Re: RELEASE: The Aftermath II - The Blue Guardian
Post by: CT27 on April 06, 2020, 06:20:11 pm
Does anyone remember the "The Lightning Marshall" series of campaigns?  I ask because I'm using them as an example for what I'll try to talk to Herkie about.
Basically when they first came out, TLM had a unique physics engine (basically FS/FS2 combined with Independence War).  It was semi controversial as many people found TLM way too difficult.  However, a few years ago someone remade the TLM campaigns with traditional FS/FS2 physics and people were much more receptive to that version. 

Bottom line:  if you make changes to something fundamental people are used to, that change could prove controversial.  Fighting against capital ships in your bomber/fighter is a fundamental element of FS/FS2 and if you change how that happens it can really alter how playing a FSO campaign 'feels' IMO.  How a game controls is one of its most basic elements (a reason the game Star Fox Zero was so divisive was that it changed the traditional way a Star Fox game controls).

Some people may have had issues with the plot of The Aftermath/The Aftermath:  Reboot, but at least it felt like Freespace.  Having capital ships of 'known' species (Vasudans/Terrans/Shivans) be 100m/s (faster than your craft at normal speeds) feels like a big shift from what we're used to.  I don't know the normal speeds of cruisers/corvettes, but I don't think it was above 50.  I could settle for maybe 60 (and that can justify slightly the ingame explanation of capital ship advancement and us learning from Shivans), but I thought 100 was too much. 
It may be scientifically accurate for capital ships to go as fast as fighters, but when playing a videogame...fun and playability can be placed slightly above science in the case of Freespace IMO. 
I noted that I thought capital ships were too fast when I tested the first three acts of TBG (I didn't get the last two acts for testing).

In the final mission of Act I, the Reliant's speed of 100 is that high because it was said the mission would be too long otherwise.  I would ask Herkie to then change the mission so that the Reliant comes in after sentry guns are destroyed and it jumps in near the entrance of the Shivan facility.

Basically I'll try to tell Herkie about this issue on FB, but on the off chance he sees this here:  I would strongly consider reducing the speed of the Vasudan and Shivan capships closer to what they normally were.  A slight increase is okay, but people are finding 90-100 too much.
On the other hand I think the speed of the
Spoiler:
Rigelian ships
can be kept as they are because they're a different element.


I'll make a post on difficulty of the campaign later since that seems to be another major issue people had.

FYI:  I have permission from Herkie to post about differences we had regarding TBG.
Title: Re: RELEASE: The Aftermath II - The Blue Guardian
Post by: MitoPL on April 06, 2020, 06:29:03 pm
Generally, it's not about making ships faster. It's about making only some ships much much faster than they used to be, upsetting the balance between ship classes and roles. If you double the speed of ships, double the speed of *all* ships.

Also, while the idea of a race of aliens who are flying much faster in sublight travel than GTVA/Shivans do is really cool, although changing the speeds of known ship classes in the middle of the plot is definitely strange.

I think I played this version of Lighting Marshall and the speed itself wasn't the problem. While everything got a rather conservative speed boost, the entire flight model also got introduced to the concept of inertia (like in Diaspora) and there was a big weapon rebalance in place.
Title: Re: RELEASE: The Aftermath II - The Blue Guardian
Post by: CT27 on April 06, 2020, 06:42:33 pm
Generally, it's not about making ships faster. It's about making only some ships much much faster than they used to be, upsetting the balance between ship classes and roles. If you double the speed of ships, double the speed of *all* ships.

Also, while the idea of a race of aliens who are flying much faster in sublight travel than GTVA/Shivans do is really cool, although changing the speeds of known ship classes in the middle of the plot is definitely strange.

I think I played this version of Lighting Marshall and the speed itself wasn't the problem. While everything got a rather conservative speed boost, the entire flight model also got introduced to the concept of inertia (like in Diaspora) and there was a big weapon rebalance in place.

Personally if it was up to me I'd only give a slight boost to the speed of GTVA/Shivan ships; but your suggestion has merit too.  Since combat against capital ships is much more difficult now, fighter/bomber speed would need to be increased too.
Also, I'm sorry I didn't clarify, but you are right about TLM.  I didn't have an issue with the speed, but what I remember the big issue being with the earlier version was the flight model/inertia.  I don't remember problems with weapon balance.





I also just got a FB message from Herkie and he says for those who are having issues with the difficulty of TBG to play on medium (I don't know what difficulty you all are playing on).  I tried both campaigns (Reboot and TBG) on very easy even...I still found TBG a noticeable spike in difficulty.


He also said he may have trouble making updates since his FS installation is from 2014 and things have changed in versions since them.  He said he feels obsolete now (his words not mine).  So now the chances of an update look a little less unfortunately.
Title: Re: RELEASE: The Aftermath II - The Blue Guardian
Post by: Nightmare on April 06, 2020, 06:59:30 pm
Changing the speeds might be difficult, I mean Herkie built the entire campaign with the current values.
Title: Re: RELEASE: The Aftermath II - The Blue Guardian
Post by: CT27 on April 06, 2020, 07:31:00 pm
You're probably right.  People are raising the issue though so I'll tell Herkie about it and it's up to him whether he wants to or can do something about it.  If he chooses to keep things as is because it would be too difficult to change them or because he likes this vision of the campaign, that's his right.
Title: Re: RELEASE: The Aftermath II - The Blue Guardian
Post by: CT27 on April 08, 2020, 05:55:12 pm
To be fair, I think some of the speeds of ships were reduced from the version of TBG I got for testing back in September.  Now there are only a few instances of capships going 90-100 (it was more before).


I've played through most of TBG now (the only mission left to play is the final mission and I'll try to get to that next week or so).  I'll give my thoughts on what I've played so far (mechanics wise...I'll try to talk about the story later).


Generally, I haven't found many technical/gamebreaking errors.  However, my personal opinion is that the game is a little too difficult.  If you play The Aftermath/Reboot and TBG on the same difficulty level you will notice a tangible jump.  (I'll try to also give suggestions on how to improve things/constructive criticism).

In the second mission of Act 1, it is impossible to get the primary and secondary objectives achieved.  I managed to disable and destroy all the escort capships and then the Lucifer class ship...but I never got a message to return to base or anything like that.  On the other hand, I did get clearance to jump out at the end of the mission if an escort ship escaped earlier.  Another weird thing I ran into on that mission was that as soon as I started the mission the "Demora" objective in Directives was blued out.
Also, I would suggest adding "Disable Demora" as an objective in the Directives list because it can take people by surprise.  Or, since you already have lots to do in the mission, I would suggest having the Demora start disabled to slightly lessen the difficulty.

In the final mission of Act 1, it does seem rather long for what's essentially a prologue.  I think the amount of enemies need to be reduced.  Even if you have your whole squad pounding on an Asura it can take a while.  I think there should only be one Asura.  (Like Nightmare said, I'll try not to ask too much for speed redesign though I think some would prefer that).  I also think there were a couple too many of those large sentry guns you had to destroy.  Like the Asura, they take a while to destroy even if your whole squad is shooting at one.  Honestly I'd say reduce the health and number of those sentry guns in that mission.
Also, in that mission...to reduce the time length of the mission...perhaps have the Reliant come in after the sentry guns are destroyed.  It would start/jump in near the opening of the Shivan facility. 


Like someone said before, the dynamics are very different between Reboot and TBG.  In Reboot the good guys have high technology but relatively lower numbers and the bad guys (Shivans) are swarms of numbers but lower technology.  So your one squadron against three of four of theirs creates a challenge but not one that can't be overcome.  Plotwise it does create a sense of challenge (and pilots do wonder if they'll ever be able to overcome the vast hordes of Shivans), but gameplay wise it doesn't feel frustrating.
However, in TBG,
Spoiler:
until Act 4 and 5 mostly though you do see a hint in Act 2
  you are mostly facing an enemy that is for the most part your technological peer.  So if you put the same numbers of enemies in that you faced in Reboot, the difficulty will go up dramatically.  It can feel like a chore to go through multiple squadrons.  I know the
Spoiler:
bad guy/rebel Vasudans
you face are supposed to outnumber you in the plot...,but gameplay wise that ratio should be reduced in a number of missions.  I also think the health of the newer Vasudan bombers/fighters is fine...but I honestly feel the health of Serapis and Horus fighters should be reduced since that's mostly what you seem to face  I'm not saying they should be paper thin like in FS2, but they shouldn't be as tough as they are in TBG.  I tested on very easy at least once and a Serapis ate multiple dual launched Trebs...that just doesn't feel right.  Again, I'm fine with the enemy outnumbering you in TBG, but the numbers you face (or their fighter's health) should be reduced somewhat.


Maybe I encountered a technical error, but I think the new Blizzard cannon needs a bit of a subsystem damage buff.  Since a primary tactic against the enemy is attacking reactor or weapons subsystems, a disruptor cannon is important.  The Blizzard only seems to do a tiny bit more subsystem damage than the Maxim...but the Maxim has a much better range.  Since enemy cruisers have deadly anti-fighter weaponry it doesn't make much sense to choose the Blizzard over the Maxim.  So I would say enemy cruisers need to be slightly reduced in weaponry or the Blizzard needs to do a little more subsystem damage (I'm not a FRED expert but I guess the Blizzard option would be easier to program in) to cause someone to want to choose the Blizzard over the Maxim.


I also encountered a technical error in "Long Shot".  Only cannons 1-4 work using the number keys.  Cannons 5 and 6 don't work using number keys (you have to go through a couple manual steps through communications to use Atlas cannons 5 and 6).  So either you need to get 5 and 6 working somehow...or just take them out entirely.  However, if you remove two cannons and the player now only has four, you'll likely need to remove a number of enemy forces as well to compensate (or make cannons 1-4 more powerful and have a quicker refire rate and longer range perhaps).
I will say the first part of "Long Shot" was easier than the testing version I got months ago.  In that there were more enemy fighters and bombers attacking your AWACS so you had to divide your attention a lot more.
As for the second part of "Long Shot", I don't have technical issues to report, but I agree with some who say Courtney's "horny" line feels weird and out of place.  I would recommend taking that part of her line out.


Someone reported a technical problem with "Lightning From Heaven" in that the enemy corvettes wouldn't die.  I didn't run into that problem, but perhaps take the corvettes out.  That would help reduce the difficulty of that mission (you get a lot of stuff thrown at your destroyers) and remove a technical problem.


There was a technical problem I ran into with the
Spoiler:
Donald Esquire
missions.  The first mission "Deadly Contraband" went fine, but when you jump out and the second mission "Reunion" begins I was in the Eclipse gunship even though I was in a fighter in the previous mission (since the game proceeds right from that first mission to the next and doesn't give you a debriefing I would presume you're supposed to be in the fighter you were in the first part of the mission).  It wasn't a gamebreaking error since I was able to play and win the second part but a weird technical glitch.


"Solar Eclipse pt. 2" was a real challenge and frustrating.  Depending on how much damage the
Spoiler:
Sol Gate and control facility
take you can get slightly different dialogues at the end.  However, I found it impossible to get the light or even moderate damage dialogue lines.  I think there were too many enemy fighters and bombers in that mission and they should have their numbers/health reduced.  This was one of the more challenging missions and it didn't seem this hard in testing months ago.  In addition to slightly reducing enemy health and numbers, perhaps don't have the enemy bombers come in right away.  Have them come in a little later so your fighters can take out more of the enemy fighters before they have to help you with bombers.  I would also give the player some warning that the cruisers are about to decloak so the player can get in position.  If you want it to at all be possible to get the light or moderate damage lines (in addition to what I've said before) I'd suggest not having the cruisers be able to fire right away after decloaking.  Perhaps have Courtney say something like "The cruisers have decloaked but will need some time to begin firing.  Hit their reactors before they can do damage to our facilities!"
Also, I ran into a technical error in that part of the mission.  In this mission most of your allied squadron never fired weapons.  You would have three or four fighters behind an enemy but just chasing it and never firing.  So somehow in part 2 (and sometimes it happened in part 1 of Solar Eclipse as well) most of your fighters seemed to lose their weapons.


I forgot the name of it but the mission where you
Spoiler:
send your ambassador to meet with the Rigelians and try to prevent Akhmim's Vasudans from doing the same
really needs a difficulty rebalance.  You face three enemy squadrons while having to destroy a dozen transports.  It's near impossible.  Plus the transport you're escorting gets ambushed by enemy bombers while you're doing other stuff unless you're in exactly the right place almost..  I felt lucky to make it past this mission.    Enemy health of fighters/bombers need to be reduced here...or lessen their numbers somewhat (perhaps face two squadrons and eight transports instead of three/12).
There is also another suggestion if you don't want to do that:  let the player have access to Widowmakers.  Not just in this mission but you should have access to Widowmakers more often (that would also help reduce the difficulty that people are mentioning).

One more technical error I've noticed (though this one isn't gamebreaking):  At some point in Act 4
Spoiler:
Richter says you can have his Phantom fighter
however I never saw that fighter available.  In the ship selection screen I never saw that I could pick it.

Admittedly I'm biased, but I do see good in this campaign.  I'm just talking as a FS player and fan here as to what I see that could be improved (and also taking other thoughts that were put out here into consideration).
Title: Re: RELEASE: The Aftermath II - The Blue Guardian
Post by: Iido on April 10, 2020, 12:21:43 pm
^ I am stuck on that exact mission right now... it is utterly ridiculous... Even on Very Easy, I cannot do it. There are just too many enemies to defend the transport, while destroying the enemy transports at the same time. I've been ordering my wingmen to defend the transport while I go after the enemy transports myself, which seems to work the best. This also allows me to be near the bombers when they come in, so I can destroy them ASAP. But after that's where it gets hairy. My wingmen just stop killing things once the first 2 squadrons are mostly eliminated, and do a terrible job defending against the 2 wings of 4 fighters that jump in some time after you get the order about the destroyers. I think these wings are what's ripping apart my transport, but if I go to protect it myself at that point, the enemy transports will get to their destination. And if I divert wingmen to take care of them, that just means less protection against the overwhelming odds being thrown against my own transport.

All I can say is I agree with CT27. Lower the number of enemies/transports, or give us access to Widowmakers there. That would balance it out very nicely, actually. Could take out the transports from a distance, or snipe those deadly wings that warp in near the end before they can get too close.
Title: Re: RELEASE: The Aftermath II - The Blue Guardian
Post by: CT27 on April 24, 2020, 06:50:14 pm
Thank you to Mjn for making this campaign a highlight.
Title: Re: RELEASE: The Aftermath II - The Blue Guardian
Post by: SL1 on April 29, 2020, 09:51:23 pm
The HUD is way too small for me. I can barely read anything, and it's giving me a headache. The message gauge is particularly bad in this regard. Also, the arrows that tell you what weapons you have selected - and whether your secondaries are in single-fire or double-fire mode - seem to be missing for some reason. I'm excited to play the campaign, but it's hard to enjoy it when I'm so busy squinting to make out the text and I'm not sure what's going to launch when I pull the trigger.
Title: Re: RELEASE: The Aftermath II - The Blue Guardian
Post by: bandit on April 30, 2020, 07:16:24 am
I have an issue with the "Give no quarter" mission (rescue the Diligent...).
Flying into the shivan ship and find the core (or whatever it is) could be an easy task, flying into a blueberry soup - even into the shivan ship - and find the core is not an easy task; in fact I've not found it, yet.
 :banghead:

Suggestions?

Thanks!
Title: Re: RELEASE: The Aftermath II - The Blue Guardian
Post by: Nightmare on April 30, 2020, 06:25:45 pm
Just press subsystem targeting until it shows up.
Title: Re: RELEASE: The Aftermath II - The Blue Guardian
Post by: bandit on May 01, 2020, 03:56:38 pm
Done and thanks!
Anyway I'll take a pause, the game will be better more playable after some rebalancing.
Title: Re: RELEASE: The Aftermath II - The Blue Guardian
Post by: Nightmare on May 01, 2020, 04:18:54 pm
You can always just cheat..
Title: Re: RELEASE: The Aftermath II - The Blue Guardian
Post by: CT27 on May 01, 2020, 04:56:50 pm
Done and thanks!
Anyway I'll take a pause, the game will be better more playable after some rebalancing.

I found it by targeting the fighterbay subsystem.

Anyways, the game is noticeably more difficult than "Reboot".  I'm hoping Herkie will eventually do a rebalancing (I don't think much would actually need to be done...just 1-Nerf the health of Serapis and Horus fighters and 2-Give the player Widowmakers more often)...but I unfortunately can't promise that will ever happen.  His schedule is unpredictable and he doesn't seem as enthusiastic about it as before...and unfortunately I was just a plot/script helper  along with being a tester so I can't be much technical help.  If you truly can't get by a mission, Nightmare's suggestion of cheating might be the way to go about it.

I generally agree there needs to be some rebalancing and I've tried to offer some constructive suggestions.
Title: Re: RELEASE: The Aftermath II - The Blue Guardian
Post by: CT27 on May 01, 2020, 07:13:49 pm
Update:

Some good news and some bad news:


Good-I just talked with Herkie on FB and he said he will probably be doing an update in the future.  Hopefully this means some of the gamebreaking errors get fixed.


Bad-For those who have had issues with campaign difficulty...he said he doesn't want to give more access to Widowmakers.  He said he liked the reason he gave in a command briefing about why Widowmakers are rare.  He said they would make things too easy.  I tried to say this would be a relatively easy way to address all of your issues with difficulty and balance of the campaign (probably easier than going in and removing fighters or changing missions), but this is his opinion on the issue.  He also said he regrets ever inventing them (a pity, I found them rather fun to use).

So hopefully this means some of the technical issues you all encountered could get fixed.  As for the issues about difficulty and balance...that's more up in the air. 
Title: Re: RELEASE: The Aftermath II - The Blue Guardian
Post by: Nightmare on May 01, 2020, 08:24:00 pm
Just my personal opinion... in a campaign where GTVA just wipes out the Shivans, has tons of new ships and ship classes to the point that loosing dozens of destroyers is sad but not a really big deal and the constant reminder that all that this doesn't happen decades or centuries in the future but 3 years after Capella the idea a weapon that could make the campaign perhabs more fun to play is scarce does not seem to fit. Pretty much anybody appreciated AF1 FWIW - a fun shooter where you kill swarms of enemys, with the story of Richters advantures being intriguing enough to look over everything that might not fit into "orthodox" campaign design, and it'd be nice to have that for AF2.
Title: Re: RELEASE: The Aftermath II - The Blue Guardian
Post by: SL1 on May 02, 2020, 03:00:30 pm
So just so I know, can anyone tell me if I'm the only one with this problem?

Also, the arrows that tell you what weapons you have selected - and whether your secondaries are in single-fire or double-fire mode - seem to be missing for some reason.


It's turning out to be an even bigger annoyance than I thought, and I'd at least like to know if it's normal for this campaign or if something in my setup is causing it. I'd also greatly appreciate if someone could tell me how to make the HUD font bigger. I figured out a way to make the message gauge font more readable, but no luck so far on the rest of the HUD.
Title: Re: RELEASE: The Aftermath II - The Blue Guardian
Post by: MitoPL on May 03, 2020, 06:39:25 am
@CT27:

Giving the player a miracle weapon when the mission is too hard to pass normally is an option, but you could as well not have the missions be that hard in the first place. This calls for a large rebalance, that's it.
Title: Re: RELEASE: The Aftermath II - The Blue Guardian
Post by: Nightmare on May 03, 2020, 08:31:47 am
I think adding a weapon isn't a big deal compared to rebalancing a mission, or in this case 37 IIRC.
Title: Re: RELEASE: The Aftermath II - The Blue Guardian
Post by: MitoPL on May 03, 2020, 11:07:00 am
Having the player rely on a crutch weapon all the time in order to progress in the game is a... cheap and boring move. Having actually balanced missions is - should be - the goal for mission designers. That is, unless you want to have some of the power fantasy as seen in AF1, using overpowered weapons every once in a while is sweet.
Title: Re: RELEASE: The Aftermath II - The Blue Guardian
Post by: CT27 on May 04, 2020, 07:05:19 pm
I talked with Herkie on FB about the overall difficulty of TBG and this was his response (he gave me permission in the past to say here what he says in FB PMs):

"I wonder why its difficult in your end when it is easy here. I even played hard. And the fact that I had tone down the difficulty factor in the AI profile.  That may be attributed to the FSO build. Remember, I said that FSO 374 has better AI than 372. That could be it. Have you tried using 372 so that you can see what I really intended. I cannot really balance it unless I am using your FSO build and, for some reason, the new FSO 19 and Knossos does not work for me. Partly because Knossos is dependent on the internet and my PC is isolated and offline."
Title: Re: RELEASE: The Aftermath II - The Blue Guardian
Post by: Urbana on May 10, 2020, 07:55:54 am
Ok i have been playing and uploading to Youtube but am currently stalled as im stuck on missions that would require the cheats to get past. Not sure if i can discuss here as i dont want to spoil anything here
Title: Re: RELEASE: The Aftermath II - The Blue Guardian
Post by: Bossman on May 10, 2020, 07:13:28 pm
I never really thought I was particularly good at Fs2 -- just a normie who enjoys playing and a writer who desperately wants to help out with more mission writing. But hearing everyone's complaints about how impossible everything is, I've gotta say I'm super proud of myself for getting up to Solar Eclipse Part 2 all on my own (besides the mission with the debug message, which i assume is objectively broken.) Early on, i was annoyed, but due to quarantine, actually had some fun re-doing the missions until I could get that random trick just right.

But Solar Eclipse 2, as far as I've seen, is absolutely impossible. My wingmen just aren't aggressive enough to achieve any individual objective on their own, so I'm afraid this is where the road ends for me.

I also wanna add, like everyone else, the "horny" line is so, so bad in that moment. I've never cringed so hard during a campaign over the years, and as y'all know, theres been a lot of hilariously bad campaign moments over the years.

THAT SAID! The makers of this clearly are very talented, and I congratulate them on the accomplishment -- for real, I really did enjoy the hours and hours of fun I got out of this, and it brightened up my days for sure. Thank you so much for this!

I suppose my broader feedback is, this needed more testing. I'd love if this could be a campaign where it is reasonably possible to complete the average mission on the first try on Medium, or even on Very Easy, for that matter.

Title: Re: RELEASE: The Aftermath II - The Blue Guardian
Post by: neoterran on July 31, 2020, 10:19:52 pm
Hey I just played this and I haven't gotten very far in yet but so far I'm having a blast. This is a really cool campaign, thanks for putting it together ! It's up there with my favorites so far :)

I can see some others have some philosophical issues but I just gotta say it's nice to be playing with fighters and weapons that can kick some shivan butt :). So sick of firing off hornets and never having them hit so it's a nice change of pace :0

I've played a lot of mods over the years, some better, some worse. Some people love, and some people love to hate. Pretty much all of them have some problems. I think the attention to detail you did was great.

Cool thing is that at least it's out :) I hope you continue to work on it and improve it :)