Author Topic: RELEASE: The Aftermath II - The Blue Guardian  (Read 10550 times)

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Re: RELEASE: The Aftermath II - The Blue Guardian
This model is in AF. You don't have AF or you named AF folder differently than it is in AF-TBG mod.ini.

 
Re: RELEASE: The Aftermath II - The Blue Guardian
Yep it works fine on my end.

 

Offline CT27

  • 211
Re: RELEASE: The Aftermath II - The Blue Guardian
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.

 

Offline Madeye

  • 23
  • Knowledge is power
Re: RELEASE: The Aftermath II - The Blue Guardian
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..

 

Offline CT27

  • 211
Re: RELEASE: The Aftermath II - The Blue Guardian
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.

 
Re: RELEASE: The Aftermath II - The Blue Guardian
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.
Mito [PL] - Today at 8:52 PM
I was supposed to make a short presentation about basics of optical fibers and here I am, listening to Eurobeat while reading about quantum cryptography.

 

Offline CT27

  • 211
Re: RELEASE: The Aftermath II - The Blue Guardian
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.

 
Re: RELEASE: The Aftermath II - The Blue Guardian
Changing the speeds might be difficult, I mean Herkie built the entire campaign with the current values.

 

Offline CT27

  • 211
Re: RELEASE: The Aftermath II - The Blue Guardian
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.

 

Offline CT27

  • 211
Re: RELEASE: The Aftermath II - The Blue Guardian
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).
« Last Edit: April 08, 2020, 06:00:31 pm by CT27 »

 

Offline Iido

Re: RELEASE: The Aftermath II - The Blue Guardian
^ 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.

 

Offline CT27

  • 211
Re: RELEASE: The Aftermath II - The Blue Guardian
Thank you to Mjn for making this campaign a highlight.

  

Offline SL1

  • 26
Re: RELEASE: The Aftermath II - The Blue Guardian
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.

 

Offline bandit

  • 21
Re: RELEASE: The Aftermath II - The Blue Guardian
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!

 
Re: RELEASE: The Aftermath II - The Blue Guardian
Just press subsystem targeting until it shows up.

 

Offline bandit

  • 21
Re: RELEASE: The Aftermath II - The Blue Guardian
Done and thanks!
Anyway I'll take a pause, the game will be better more playable after some rebalancing.

 
Re: RELEASE: The Aftermath II - The Blue Guardian
You can always just cheat..

 

Offline CT27

  • 211
Re: RELEASE: The Aftermath II - The Blue Guardian
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.

 

Offline CT27

  • 211
Re: RELEASE: The Aftermath II - The Blue Guardian
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. 

 
Re: RELEASE: The Aftermath II - The Blue Guardian
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.