Albion Prelude Blogs (Page 1)

X3AP » Creating an random universe

Posted by Roguey on Tuesday 21st January, 2014 | Comment 0 comments

For a bit of fun ill thought ill write some code in VB6, to see if I can make a random universe for X3AP. I quickly learnt its not as simple as because you need to add things like gates and link them all together. A little time later, and my code is generating random universes. Whether this is the start of something, I dont know but I have a few ideas...

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X3AP » A bit of a Balancing Act

Posted by RandomTank on Thursday 11th July, 2013 | Comment 0 comments

I was throwing ideas against the wall the other day about X3TC and AP, and one that's been bugging me for a while now is how useless most of the M4 class is compared to the M3's, the M3's are simply better, and only a tad slower! So here'e my idea for a bit of an overhaul....

It should be changed so M4 = Workhorse civilian ship/defense fighter; M4+ = Interceptor; M3 = Fighter-Bomber; M3+ = Tank. I’ll explain how I would like this done, firstly with weapons:

The PAC, PRG and PBE should be dedicated Interceptor weapons, as they are all generally low damage per shot, high ROF and high bullet speed. The PAC should be the hard hitter of the 3; doing the highest hull damage (400 instead of 140), highest shield damage (1200 is good), lowest ROF (310rpm is good), slowest speed (700m/s is good), much less energy usage (-66% of what is now). The PRG should be in the middle; decent hull damage (200 instead of 70) decent shield damage (800 instead of 680), decent ROF (400 is good), high speed (1560 is good), much less energy usage (-66% of what is now). The PBE should be the fast, super anti shield but burst weapon; low hull damage (35 is good), low shield damage (800 instead of 950), highest ROF (1150 is good), highest speed (2500-3000m/s instead of 7000), use more energy (+100% the usage), but any ship that can take it has much increased energy regen, to allow it to do bursts.

The HEPT, EBC and FBL should be dedicated Fighter/Bomber weapons, they are generally high damage per shot, low to med ROF and low bullet speed. The FBL should be the hard hitter of the 3; doing the highest hull damage (800 instead of 470), highest shield damage (3000 instead of 2800), lowest ROF (220 instead of 190), lowest speed (400m/s instead of 370), less energy usage (same as HEPT). The HEPT should be in the middle; good hull damage (550 instead of 330), good shield damage (2000 is good), decent ROF (300 instead of 280), low speed (450m/s instead of 430), slight increase in energy usage (+20%). The EBC should be the fastest with no real energy usage; lowest hull damage (250 instead of 210), lowest shield damage (1500 instead of 1200), highest ROF (400 is good), fastest bullet speed (550m/s instead of 600), almost no energy usage, no change needed.
Now for the ships:

M3+: Have a general speed decrease but shield increase, maybe a bit of agility decrease too, make each one similar stats to their race’s bomber, maybe worse. Cargo space should stay about the same, but maybe Boron and Teladi ones can carry XL; Generators should be upped to about 10000J with 250j regen minimum. They should only have a rear turret if the Race’s basic M3 does, and the front turret should upped to 2 guns, but also should able to takes CIG’s, IPG’s or ISR’s depending on race (I know). This change would make them a bit sluggish, but also very powerful; making them a very good escort (especially a few mounted in a TM) for a convoy and also make them the deadliest ship that you can mount in a Carrier.

M3: Stats should be generally kept the same, maybe a few shield increase so no M3 has 1 25mJ. The main differences are that Argon, Boron, Teladi and Split use the HEPT; Argon, Teladi, Split and Paranid use the EBC; Paranid and Teladi use the FBL; Another big difference is that M3’s can’t mount PRG’s or PBE’s, as they are interceptor only weapons, though they can use the PAC. This is meant so that M3’s are great at killing each other, freighters and capitol ships in large numbers, but interceptors will wreck them as the M3’s struggle to hit them; they are designed for anti-capitol, not anti-fighter
M4+: Have a big speed increase (minimum of 200 m/s, the Asp heading towards 300), some shield increases (so that 25mj is the smallest shield health), round off the generators so that they are all between 3500J and 5000J, an agility increase, and a cargo bay decrease so that they can only carry their shields, weapons and a select few missiles; they’re fighters, not traders; they should also cost more, minimum 1.5 mill. Everyone uses the PAC; Argon, Boron and Teladi use the PRG; Split and Paranid use the PBE. M4+’s can’t mount HEPT’s, FBL’s or EBC’s. This makes it so they are very good at taking out M4’s, each other and M3’s, but really struggle against M6’s, as they are designed for anti-fighter, not anti-capitol.

M4: Not many changes, a shield increase so no M4 has 1 5mJ, have same weapons as interceptors, but most importantly they (in a lot of cases) have double the cargo space; I thought this because they have smaller shield and weapon generator, but similar sized engines and most are physically the same/similar size to their M3 brethren. This makes them a basic fighter, they guard the Fighter-Bombers from other fighters, and they have a similar speed to the M3’s, but have the anti-fighter weaponry to kill the enemy’s fighters as the M3’s can’t effectively; they can also be used as fast traders or civilian ships with the now larger cargo bays. The Vanguard versions of each type should have a considerably better combat ability, and should basically work as another type of Interceptor for each race.

All these changes would result in M3’s not being just simply better than an M4, that now they have different uses, and similar costs. You would now have to have a balance the amount of Interceptors, Fighters and Fighter-bombers stored in your Carriers; if you have too many M3’s they will get overwhelmed by your enemy’s Interceptors, and you lose your fighter cover = Death; or if you have too many M4’s, you’ll kill their fighters, but won’t be able to kill their Cruisers as the M4’s don’t do enough damage, which = Death. Just adds a bit more fleet co-ordinance, rather than just M3 spam. I spose you could do all this with a bit of fumbling around with the game code, could even make a 'Fake Patch' mod out of it, so then if you don't agree with it, don't use it; but I, at least, think this kinda needs doing.

X3AP » Advanced Capture Guide part 2 Fundamentals

Posted by JoelNussbaum on Friday 10th August, 2012 | Comment 0 comments

Its been a while since I last blogged a capture guide

The first thing about these ships is that they dont give up ever. This means you have to take them by force. In order to do this several conditions need to be satisfied. First, you need at least one equipped ship that can board, second you need to work on the weapons, finally you need the marines.

Part 1 Essential equipment:
Your ship is the core of your capture efforts. The ship you are using should have several essential systems. First it should be well shielded or maneuverable enough to dodge enemy fire. You will take damage so they need to have shielding. It should have lethal and less lethal weapons on board. I also suggest you buy several "sacrificial systems" that have a chance blown up instead of your primary reload the game type systems. The list of those primary systems follows:

Cargo life support system - Every ship you take should have one of these on it. It gives your marines a place to live on board your ships. It gets destroyed bye bye marines.

Bioscanner - The ship you are in NEEDS this. This system allows you to see if there is any enemy marines on the ship you are trying to capture.

Freight scanner - The ship you are in needs this. This will allow you to see if the enemy ship has any nasty surprises awaiting your marines. These surprises I will elude to later in the guide.

Jumpdrive - NEEDED on all capture ships. This allows your ships to jump into different sectors AND allows your ships to jump to your position.

Energy Cells - Needed to run the Jumpdrives Safe bet to keep about 1000-2000 on board

Transporter Device - Overlooked by most guides but it has several useful uses. Equip every ship in your capture fleet with this bad.

Salvage Insurance - Allows you to save anywhere ex. right before you board a ship in case the odds are not in your favor.

Marines: These men and women are your only means of capturing a ship bigger than a M8. You find them at military outposts, rehabilitation stations and marine training barracks. If you have a bioscanner, you can see what they are good at before you buy them. You want to initially pick the marines that have the highest fighting skills because all other skills can be trained at the aforementioned facilities. I typically have a TP ship that is dedicated to training marines that just sits at a station. Its wise to train marines in all skills not just one. Even though it costs more lets say a boarding pod never makes it to the ship. gets blown up in route and like always, its the marines that have best engineering hacking or mechanical. Now you are down several marines and its questionable if you can even make the capture. This is the breakdown of the skills

Fighting - Gained by successfully boarding ships this skill makes your marines harder to kill once they are aboard a ship. It also makes the equipment like internal security lasers and enemy marines easier to overcome.

Engineering - This skill is trained and it affects how thick of a hull your marines can cut through. The bigger the ship the bigger hull. High enough marines can even defeat the dreaded Hull polarization device.

Mechanical - This is another trained skill. This skill is overlooked but it is an essential part of defeating the Security lasers and not destroying the ship while clearing the decks. Fighting is going to damage the hull irrespective of how high the mechanical skill is BUT when its higher they do a considerable amount LESS damage to the hull.

Hacking - This is the third trained skill. This skill plays out once the marines reach the central computer. This allows you to transfer the controls over to you. It also allows you to get through any advanced firewall software.

The capture Process happens in 3 parts Boarding Clearing and Capturing. I will explain them in detail in the following Section. Depending on the ship type you may only be able to send in a limited number of marines. A m6 you can only send 8 while a TM you can only send 5. All others you can send 20. I suggest you send the MAXIMUM number every time.

Boarding: Sounds easy, but it is the hardest part of the whole process. Once the shields are low enough your marines will get in the pods or attempt to fly to the ship and breech the hull. This phase depends primarily on the marines ability in the engineering skill. While they are trying you need to keep the shields down. If the shields reach above a certain power level your marines get baked alive and you fail the mission. If the fail here they will typically get away from the ship and attempt to return to the ship they were launched from. If successful then the next phase clearing starts.

Clearing: Once in the ship, abilities needed shift from engineering to Fighting and mechanical. The enemies will resist and the system will lock doors and hatches trying to prevent the advance. There are two main obstacles that can hinder progress. First is enemy marines that can be on the ship the second is Internal security lasers that can shred an entire boarding team. Mechanical is needed to bypass locks on doors and hatches instead of blowing them up and damaging the hull. The ship size depends on how many decks they have to clear M6/TM have 3 decks, m7 has 4 m1/st/m2 have 5. If the succeed in taking all 5 decks then the final process begins.

Capture: Once they reach the central computer the music changes and there is nothing that can stop them other than the computer. If they hack it the ship becomes yours. If they fail everything is for nothing. The hacking skill here solely plays the part in determining success or failure.

DANGERS: The x universe is wrought with dangers Capturing is a high risk high reward game. For an example a single marine that is well trained is going to run you about 1.75 million credits that's as much as a good m3. Not too bad right Okay you are boarding up to 20 marines from a ship that costs 75 million equipped. Then, the ship can be part of a fleet of ships that costs around 200 million. There are a number of things that can go wrong that's why we save frequently with salvage insurance and in different slots so we don't trap ourselves in a loss.

1) Ramming ships: Accidental collisions happen outside of capturing. In side capture it happens as well nothing much can be done bout it. Reload

2) Over damaging the ship: This happens a lot with missile captures and m7 captures. You launch too many missiles or your broadside weapons pulverize the ship. Reload and fix the problem. This is a problem you have to fix either by getting missile timing down or removing some of your heavier guns.

3) Marines not getting to the ship: launch 20 and only 5 arrive because a turret takes them out. There are two ways to defeat this. The first launch screening missiles. Second get in close or approach from a blind spot and launch. Also stay out of range of short range defenses like cluster flak arrays and phased shock wave generators.

4) Marines failing to penetrate the hull. There are a few reasons this happens. Low engineering skill, Presence of hull polarization and finally just bad luck. Use your guns to blow off the hull polarization device then try to board. If both these things fail then you need to send your marines back to school.

5) Marines being killed once they are in the ship. This primarily is because of the fact your marines have low fighting skills or low mechanical skills. Internal security lasers can ruin your day even with the best fighters. Blow up the lasers and your marines will have a much easier time clearing the ship.

6) Marines reaching core but failing to capture the ship. Hacking skill is too low your marines could also be running into the firewall software ship defense. Again blow it away and continue to board.

X3AP » Advanced Capture Guide Part 1 Fighters

Posted by JoelNussbaum on Saturday 4th August, 2012 | Comment 2 comments

For people like me capturing ships is my primary source of income in the x universe. Now every guide I've run across is the same thing: missile boat torpedo flail flail flail. This works of course, but it has no details further than what I mentioned. In this guide I will not only discuss the capture of capitol ships but strategies on the capture of capitol ships and fighters. This guide will cover capturing fighters. Methods Strategies and dangers.

Fighter capture is much cheaper than capitol capture and some fighters when repaired can sell for as high as 1.6 million credits a pop. There are 2 strategies in the "liberation" of enemy fighters. There are things you want to avoid when capturing enemy fighters.

1 Dont use 1-hit kill weapons. If its going to drop the fighter in 1-shot you might want to consider canning the ppc for something a bit less death-happy.

2 Do not use an overpowering ship. Same concept as #1 if you are in a Terran Osaka, with its 300 batteries even if you put a low power cannon in its turrets, you are still firing several shots at it. Not to mention it handles like a school bus which makes for longer space suit trips to claim your new prize (or whats left of it)

3 Capture chances are low and random. Ive gone 22-23 ships before I got a bail out, then there are times where 2-3 pilots have bailed in a row. Be patient be vigilant the money will come.

The tools for the job: The 5 races have several weapons at their disposal while Terrans are quite limited. Stuck with their Electromagnetic Plasma Cannons which are respectable weapons but are a little overkill. Grouping is a must for EMPC.

IRE Impulse Ray Emitter (all except paranid): The cheapest of the preferred capture weapons low damage, rapid firing, rapid moving and average range of all the capture weapons.

PRG (Argon Weapon) Phased Repeater Gun: It has a longer range and fires very rapidly so faster ships are no problem winging at the range. One of these is more expensive than a battery of IRE.

MD Mass Driver: (Split Weapon) About the same price as the Phased repeater gun, but it has 2 unique qualities. First it uses ammunition instead of reactor energy. Second, it bypasses all shields. Its very rapid fire, and has less range then the IRE.

PBE Pulsed Beam Emitter: (Split Weapon) Similar range to the mass driver, and its homicidal on shields. Not as bad on the hull so its more useful for capping ships. My opinion its the best of the ship capture weapons. It is second most expensive of all the weps in this guide.

IPG Ion Pulse Generator: (Boron Weapon) Longest range, slowest moving, slowest firing, most expensive of all the capture guns. It does massive shield and system damage plus it slows down the engines of the enemy ships.

Fighter capture shopping list:
Ship: m6 or m3/m3+ that is well shielded and fully upgraded. Having a defensive turret or a few for missile defense is plus. (2 mil to 20 mil)
Weapons: Low damage rapid fire weapons IRE PRG PBE MD IPG (20k-4 mil)
Optional: High yield missiles non area of effect for thinning out the fighter wings.
Total 2.5 mil to 25 million

Targets: M4 M4+, M3 M3+, TS, M8

Strategy: Ok its very simple here find ship you wanna capture line up on it get in range and fire. Line up then lay down an unrelenting stream of fire onto the target until they bail or the ship is destroyed. If the weapon you selected is too destructive and its killing them too quick hot-key set 1-4 of them on key 2 so you aren't firing all 6-8 of them at a time.

Targets: There are places where hostile ships are that races wont miss or ruin your reputation. If you are a Terran then go nuts. But as a member of the 5 races and being a goodie two-shoes like me you gotta look for those pirate sectors. There is one in Maelstrom which is 2 sectors south of Grand Exchange. Several sectors of typically lightly guarded ships exist north of Cardinal's domain that have few heavy ships and several wings of pirate fighters. Xenon are harder to capture BUT are very prevalent in Grand Exchange. Also the mission defend (insert factory name here) are great at grabbing ships. (nothing better then them coming to you)

Dangers: In X3 danger and prosperity go hand and hand. The more dangers and the more things that can go wrong typically the more lucrative the capture typically is. There are several things that are unavoidable that will send you to the game menu like that random missile hit that 1-shots your ship. There are other things that you can take action against to up your chances of survival.

1 M8 ships: While being a great lucrative capture target that can net 5 million a pop they do have their downsides. Those cute lumbering tomahawks can blow up a capture ship in 1-2 hits. Plus for rear attacks, they typically have twin heavy guns. The strategy is simple avoid avoid fire from the tomahawks while pounding the ship itself. With your short range weaponry. Maybe you can claim one of these gems for your collection.

2 Pyro ships: Basically ships that mount that plasma burst generator. Most pirate M3 fighters have these as their armament. They always travel in groups. The best way to deal with them is to barrage them at range to thin their numbers, then go after their reduced numbers but keep an eye on your shields. Also using PRG and IPG are preferred over IRE and PBE because they can hit the pyro ships out of range of their PBG

3 Bigger ships: We all know that a M3 cant really stand up to a battleship (M2) unless they are clip glitching. This is especially true when your little M3/M6 is outfitted to capture ships and not kill them. If you see a juicy fighter or that one you are looking for to complete your collection but its escorting a ship that makes yours look like a clown car its best to avoid it.

Conclusion: Capturing fighters is a great way to expand wealth rapidly. The investment in fighter capture can be lower than you'd pay for a space station or can easily top the most expensive station. You don't necessarily get what you pay for either. Just because you spent 25 million on a m6 pimped out capture ship does not mean you are guaranteed success. Using what compliments your skill set is instrumental learning to thrive the X-Verse.

X3AP » X3 AP, Rebirth and some other thoughts

Posted by NetHawk on Tuesday 21st February, 2012 | Comment 1 comments

Heyo everyone!

So, yeah long time no see. Had a lot of work going on for school and some personal BS to top it off.
Well, now Im hopefully back. A couple things changed, and a couple didnt. I still code, and I still prefer my operating systems to be Linux, but I got a copy of Windows 7 now, and a copy of X3 AP too.

X3 AP:
As some might know, Ive played only X2 and X3R, because they were available on linux. For X3AP, I actually installed a copy of windows, started a new game, and was pleasantly surprised.

GUI: The GUI redesign was a smart move, its much easier to play on 26inch screens now. I also seem to have less trouble navigating the menus (but thats probably just imagined. About the siderbar, well...I dont like it. it obstructs my view, and takes away some immersion. So, I keep "classic flight mode" on.
The sector map is now much more useful, especially in battles, the new zooming configuration is pretty neat. Station/Complex building still sucks, but we got FCC and Complex Cleaner installed for that.

There are a couple of things I would like to change, especially wing and fleet commands. Dunno about you, but Id like to have a sidebar option for configuring/commanding those.

Those are much better now, cant argue with that, and never will. Especially the new "big" stations (Military outpost, Shipyard) look beautiful now. Ships look better too, through we can argue about the ship design, cant argue about the graphic representation :P

Some weapons are too loud (still in 1.1), atleast for my taste and the Jump sound still sounds like a gdamn missile launch. Oh and please pretty please, just cut that damn landing music, or atleast give it some more tracks...Im using a Docking Computer just to avoid that sound. The music is beautiful as always, its immersive, full and yet doesnt distract you. Through I really wish for more songs, or even a "my music" directory.

Well its nothing special...or rather, its a let down. its short, uninteresting and doesnt explain anything. Like roguey mentioned, I still dont know why Saya had to blow the earth torus. And why she didnt keep the dress from X2 :P

Universe Map:
Well, I dont think it changed much...but then again, I dont really know, played Rogueys mod for too long to rememmber the original map Big grin
Its the classic X universe map, what can I say.

Fighting got a lot harder, and ship diversity made that possible. Sadly the command interface is still lacking a lot of features, so its very hard to use the new tactical possibilities. M3 ships dont blow everything up anymore, and M6 dont either...all in all its pretty balanced, through the M7Ms are a bit overpowered, unless you got "missile defence mosquito" installed. But since that is in the bonus pack, I think it should be considered a part of the game.

Trading and other stuff:
Recon and Freight Drones are a very welcome edition. The later make TLs much more useful, without making them too powerfull (yes, Im looking at you Bulk transporter). Jump beacons, Recon Drones, Explorer Command Software, will be great in X Rebirth, once you cant use the gate network with a jumpdrive anymore. Right now, those dont make much of a difference.
While first I got a bit annoyed to see even more weapons systems, once I understood that the Alpha, Beta, Gamma versions were dropped out, I realized that now there are less weapons systems, but they are more specialized. Wouldnt want it any other way now. About the missions in Space, while I still would like to have a bulletin board, to read news, or even better give me real-time news on whats happening in the universe, The way you accept missions now, is much simpler. Instead of docking to every single station in a sector, you just fly-by, hail the station, and check what they got. Also, accepting missions from other ships, is pretty nice, gives the universe a bit more life. I just wish they'd take the time and make a couple more missions. But thats what we got a community for.
I didnt try the stock exchange, I probably wont. Its not my style.

new ship classes are a great addition to the game, allowing your fleets to have more variation, and thus becomming better at their job. Gotta love the Light Carrier class ships (Griffon, Panther Raider), which again will become very important once the Gate network shuts down.

Okay I think thats it for X3AP, Ive probably left out some of my thoughts, but we can discuss that later anyway Big grin

Now, we dont really have much info about Rebirth, but since AP is suppossed to be a "prelude" I think its safe to base some things on it.

1. Gateless universe: I think we all agree, that having a HUGE place to travel around is much nicer than having hundreds of small sectors. Personally I see a lot of potential in that, from the Pirate, that's laying low close to some Space-Highway, waiting for the next prey, to the explorer, searching distant, un-populated space for the treasure of a life-time. It changes the tactical aspect of the game a lot, since now ship speed WILL be important, as will inteligently placed Jump Beacons.

2. Mega-Complexes: Not bothering with the creation of complexes, and still having them look great, sounds great to me. Station turrets will also help make the game more enjoyable and less micro-management. Another thing I noticed, the collision detection seems to be a lot better now, so flying close to a huge station, in a M3 dogfight is possible, and speaking from experience, beautiful!
Transfer drones will make it possible to buy wares off stations without docking, making your TL's much more important, and useful. You can use a TL to supply your factories (complexes), and it has enough shielding and ships docked to keep it pretty safe from pirates. But back to stations, did I mention that using a complex hub and "modules" directly will make the stations look MUCH better?
Doesnt sound important? Well it probably isn't, but I think once we'll make a couple fly-by's our huge complexes, in the background a cracked planet looming above it, I dont think anyone will want to miss that.

3. Corporations: Having corporations in-game, will allow for a much more vibrant universe, not just the old Races fighting it out, but corporations fighting for resources, or just trying to get rid of their adversaries. Also there is someone really directly competing with you on the economic, and probably also military market.

4. Single ship: Yeah I dont really agree either, but let's see how they'll implement it. If done good enough it just might be better then having 100s of ships that all fly the same.
Oh and...yeah I agree with no-capital one-man-army flight really aint no fun, and for those who like it...well I'm sorry guys, I'd much rather hang on the bridge, watch my minnions struggle to keep the ship flying and sip another glass of Space Fuel, then to try and manouver such a beast on my own Big grin

Okay, yeah, it's a long post, and I don't have internet connection at home, so...I'll trz to read the comments and post some more if I get some time Big grin

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