Marvin asks...

General Starfire discussion, including information about old products and editions.

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Re: Marvin asks...

Postby Hawkwood on Fri 12 Oct 2018 13:31

1. How many of you have played scenarios in the last month? In the last year?
I've played 2 in the last year and will be playing a couple more between 10/18-22 during my gaming group getaway.

2. How many of you are playing a campaign within the last 30 days? In the last year?
I've recently started a new solo campaign. Too much time committment from my local friends as well as a lack of desire to learn the rules.

3A. How many of you are playing (SM or Player) with other players? How many?
N/A

3B. To make sure that I don't double-count anyone, if any of the people you play with are on the forum, what is their username?
N/A

4. If you could have whatever new product you wanted for Starfire tomorrow, what would it be? (You can give multiple answers here)
Computer support for campaigns that isn't necessarily a spreadsheet and isn't limited to Shipyard.
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Re: Marvin asks...

Postby szurkey on Sun 28 Oct 2018 12:42

Cralis wrote:1. How many of you have played scenarios in the last month? In the last year?

None in the past month. Only a couple in the past year, and those were to test my Advanced Tactical Starfire ideas.

Cralis wrote:2. How many of you are playing a campaign within the last 30 days? In the last year?

None in the past year.

Cralis wrote:3A. How many of you are playing (SM or Player) with other players? How many?

Haven't played with other players in several years. Too many players have dropped out of board games for online computer games. :(

Cralis wrote:3B. To make sure that I don't double-count anyone, if any of the people you play with are on the forum, what is their username?

n/a

Cralis wrote:4. If you could have whatever new product you wanted for Starfire tomorrow, what would it be? (You can give multiple answers here)

Advanced tactical rules, and simple grand campaign system generator so you only generate the most relevant planet(s) and not every rock. Or, I could simply finish up what I've been working on off and on for years.
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Re: Marvin asks...

Postby LesMasters on Mon 29 Oct 2018 04:39

Can't see why Szurkey is complaining about the sysgen rules - they are already simplified. You can't generate Kuiper Belt and scattered disc objects, you don't generate individual asteroids, and the maximum number of moons you can generate for a planet is 5 - and that only applies to G and I types. I wonder if he ever saw the rules Vandervecken put together? Probably not - if he thinks the current rules are complex, Vandy's would have blown his mind.

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Re: Marvin asks...

Postby Cralis on Mon 29 Oct 2018 13:19

LesMasters wrote:Can't see why Szurkey is complaining about the sysgen rules - they are already simplified. You can't generate Kuiper Belt and scattered disc objects, you don't generate individual asteroids, and the maximum number of moons you can generate for a planet is 5 - and that only applies to G and I types.


I think that the issue is not the complexity but rather the time and tediousness of building more than one system. Especially building 100 or 1000 or 100,000 systems...

I wonder if he ever saw the rules Vandervecken put together? Probably not - if he thinks the current rules are complex, Vandy's would have blown his mind.


They are rather detailed. I built a pretty complex sysgen back in the day and Vandevecken’s sysgen still impressed (inspired!) me ;-)
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Re: Marvin asks...

Postby szurkey on Tue 30 Oct 2018 16:58

LesMasters wrote:Can't see why Szurkey is complaining about the sysgen rules - they are already simplified. You can't generate Kuiper Belt and scattered disc objects, you don't generate individual asteroids, and the maximum number of moons you can generate for a planet is 5 - and that only applies to G and I types. I wonder if he ever saw the rules Vandervecken put together? Probably not - if he thinks the current rules are complex, Vandy's would have blown his mind.

Les

It would not blow my mind, but what I want is more focused on interesting battles. A few well detailed planets per system makes a more marketable game than mountains of detail. Master of Orion II has 5 planets per star. Stars in Shadows has 4 planets per system, and those computer games has the computer handling all the detail. I've played many more GDW Imperium campaigns than I have StarFire campaigns. Imperium only has at most one planet per star. Even Avalanche Press's Imperium 3rd Millennium has at most two planets per star, and I've played more campaigns of Imperium 3rd Millennium than I have StarFire campaigns.

What I've noticed is that while intellectually I like complexity, the greater complexity, the smaller your potential player base is.
Last edited by szurkey on Wed 31 Oct 2018 03:31, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Marvin asks...

Postby szurkey on Tue 30 Oct 2018 17:00

LesMasters wrote: I wonder if he ever saw the rules Vandervecken put together? Probably not - if he thinks the current rules are complex, Vandy's would have blown his mind.


Cralis wrote: They are rather detailed. I built a pretty complex sysgen back in the day and Vandevecken’s sysgen still impressed (inspired!) me ;-)

And where can I get a copy of his system generation rules??? My mind is very, very, bored and would like to blown!
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Re: Marvin asks...

Postby coldsteel on Wed 31 Oct 2018 13:36

szurkey wrote:
LesMasters wrote:Can't see why Szurkey is complaining about the sysgen rules - they are already simplified. You can't generate Kuiper Belt and scattered disc objects, you don't generate individual asteroids, and the maximum number of moons you can generate for a planet is 5 - and that only applies to G and I types. I wonder if he ever saw the rules Vandervecken put together? Probably not - if he thinks the current rules are complex, Vandy's would have blown his mind.

Les

It would not blow my mind, but what I want is more focused on interesting battles. A few well detailed planets per system makes a more marketable game than mountains of detail. Master of Orion II has 5 planets per star. Stars in Shadows has 4 planets per system, and those computer games has the computer handling all the detail. I've played many more GDW Imperium campaigns than I have StarFire campaigns. Imperium only has at most one planet per star. Even Avalanche Press's Imperium 3rd Millennium has at most two planets per star, and I've played more campaigns of Imperium 3rd Millennium than I have StarFire campaigns.

What I've noticed is that while intellectually I like complexity, the greater complexity, the smaller your potential player base is.


With this being, at its core, an economic wargame, you'd want the 'complexity' of having up to 9 planets, the attendant moons and possible asteroid belts for the cash income value, if nothing else. I guess I'm used to it, having played Starfire for nearly 25 years...
TFN: 1 BB, 2 BC, 4 CA, 2 CL, 11 DD
RPSA: 2 CV, 4 CA, 2 CL, 8 DD
civilian: 4 'FTx' (made FT out of 40K Imp Guard flamer tanks)
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Re: Marvin asks...

Postby Cralis on Wed 31 Oct 2018 14:46

Let’s start a new topic in case additional players want to put their voice into the survey (original topic)
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Re: Marvin asks...

Postby Skarn on Fri 25 Jan 2019 20:04

Cralis wrote:1. How many of you have played scenarios in the last month? In the last year?

I have not yet played any of the scenarios. When I was introduced to the game, we went straight into 2E New Empires campaign play. (This was slightly BEFORE the Starship Troopers travesty of a movie released a trailer that looked like a Starfire planetary assault.)

2. How many of you are playing a campaign within the last 30 days? In the last year?

Last 30 days? No. Last year: I played solo campaigns using 1st Edition and 2nd Edition within the past year.

3A. How many of you are playing (SM or Player) with other players? How many?

I haven't played Starfire with anybody else in a little over twenty years, although I am currently trying to change that (by making it an alternate game when one of my regular weekly RPG GM's isn't able to run).

3B. To make sure that I don't double-count anyone, if any of the people you play with are on the forum, what is their username?

So far as I am aware, none of the people I'm courting as potential Starfire players were even aware that the game was still around (if they were aware of it at all) before I mentioned it to them. (Although one of them DID play the 0th Edition way back when!)

4. If you could have whatever new product you wanted for Starfire tomorrow, what would it be? (You can give multiple answers here)

  • Wish #1: A more readable layout of the 3E rules. (Following the original 3E hardcopy was hard enough; I found the 3eR PDF unintelligible.
    • Rules in the front of the book shouldn't require an understanding of rules in the middle AND the back of the book to make sense.
  • [s]The Monkey's Paw[/s] . . . uh, Wish #2: A software product that would automate the whole shebang, using any edition of the campaign game except 1st, able to be played entirely offline.
    • Online (human) multiplayer as an option is perfectly fine, but it would need to be wholly optional, so that those of us in areas where WiFi isn't ubiquitous (like the entire US west of Chicago and east of Sacramento) could still enjoy it.
      • I live in the largest city in the state of KS. Players in our largest game store can't use Hero Lab with Pathfinder 2E or Starfinder because these systems are Hero Lab Online only, not available for Hero Lab "Classic".
      • I also travel about 40 miles (less than the diameter of the Kansas City metro area) on a regular basis to game in a small town where I can't even get cellular VOICE coverage with a big-4 provider.
    • This dream-software should maintain the turn-based structure of the PnP game. Converting to a real-time mash-up of the rules (i.e. Infinity Engine adaptations of D&D, or more recently, the PC version of Kingmaker) is a deal-breaker.
    • Win 7 support required. ::currently wearing asbestos:: XP support (Java 1.7, .NET 4.0, or Win32 native) would be even better. (I'd rather have my privacy AND actual control over my computer than the "latest and greatest" versions of Windoze, but I digress . . .)
      • Incidentally, .NET 4.0 code will run on anything Windows from XP to 10 (8.0 and above run it via .NET 4.6.x); it might even work without modification on other OSes with MONO installed.
    • I'd code it myself, except I'm having difficulty wrapping my brain around logic for the hex grid, never mind the graphics for it. In any case, I don't have much of an idea where to BEGIN with AI coding. OTOH, I've already coded a universe builder for 2E which I'm trying to convert to parallel-processing code.
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Re: Marvin asks...

Postby Cralis on Mon 28 Jan 2019 00:45

Skarn had some very specific requests that I need to ask for more detail, or that I can directly comment about.

Skarn wrote:
4. If you could have whatever new product you wanted for Starfire tomorrow, what would it be? (You can give multiple answers here)

  • Wish #1: A more readable layout of the 3E rules. (Following the original 3E hardcopy was hard enough; I found the 3eR PDF unintelligible.
  • Rules in the front of the book shouldn't require an understanding of rules in the middle AND the back of the book to make sense.


The rules are in a specific order because the rules are written so that the base rules, near the front of the book, are superseded by more specific rules towards the back of the book. Specifically, in the technology descriptions. Rules are grouped together by subject, and unfortunately that means that some rules are placed near the front of the book so that they are easy to find instead of being orphaned somewhere, out of order, later in the book.

We also have a publication rule that we only put something in the rulebook once. When you place the same rule in multiple places of the book, what inevitably happens is that the rule is changed in one location but not the other, and then hey become contradictory and/or confusing rules. It's hard enough keeping the notes in the tables the same as the actual rules that the note is about!

That said, if you have specific examples of where you think the rules are especially unclear, I am willing to try and change the wording and maybe the positioning of the rules to make them easier to understand. While we aren't currently looking to modify the older rule sets, updates may happen in the future when we have the time and I am putting together notes on what players have asked for if and when that happens.

And I'm also hoping that maybe learning what would work better for you can help me improve the current rule sets.

I would be willing have this conversation in a new forum topic (let's not do it in this topic), in private chat, or even on email if you prefer. Would that work for you?

  • [s]The Monkey's Paw[/s] . . . uh, Wish #2: A software product that would automate the whole shebang, using any edition of the campaign game except 1st, able to be played entirely offline.
  • Online (human) multiplayer as an option is perfectly fine, but it would need to be wholly optional, so that those of us in areas where WiFi isn't ubiquitous (like the entire US west of Chicago and east of Sacramento) could still enjoy it.
    • I live in the largest city in the state of KS. Players in our largest game store can't use Hero Lab with Pathfinder 2E or Starfinder because these systems are Hero Lab Online only, not available for Hero Lab "Classic".
    • I also travel about 40 miles (less than the diameter of the Kansas City metro area) on a regular basis to game in a small town where I can't even get cellular VOICE coverage with a big-4 provider.


That is the holy grail of Starfire! And I completely agree that it should be playable offline as well as online (that was the problem with the Starfire Online for Ultra Starfire). Big question: what is more important? Having the strategic game play or the tactical game play on the computer?

  • This dream-software should maintain the turn-based structure of the PnP game. Converting to a real-time mash-up of the rules (i.e. Infinity Engine adaptations of D&D, or more recently, the PC version of Kingmaker) is a deal-breaker.


Some people prefer combat to be real-time and have said turn-based is a killer for them because it takes so long. I happen to think that turn-based is better for the simple reason that it can support so many more modes of play (PBEM for example).

Here's a question: what about a hybrid mode? Where you put in orders for "1 tactical turn" worth of combat and it performs that tactical turn in real-time?

  • Win 7 support required. ::currently wearing asbestos:: XP support (Java 1.7, .NET 4.0, or Win32 native) would be even better. (I'd rather have my privacy AND actual control over my computer than the "latest and greatest" versions of Windoze, but I digress . . .)


Here you are not alone. I built my most recent machine using an Intel Broadwell CPU because it is the last chipset that is fully supported by Microsoft on Windows 7. Windows 7 is no longer receiving updates for newer chipsets. And I happen to completely agree with both of your sentiments and don't understand why anyone would be willing to give up the full details of every key they type, every website they visit, and every program they run to Microsoft.

  • Incidentally, .NET 4.0 code will run on anything Windows from XP to 10 (8.0 and above run it via .NET 4.6.x); it might even work without modification on other OSes with MONO installed.
  • I'd code it myself, except I'm having difficulty wrapping my brain around logic for the hex grid, never mind the graphics for it. In any case, I don't have much of an idea where to BEGIN with AI coding. OTOH, I've already coded a universe builder for 2E which I'm trying to convert to parallel-processing code.


You only need a hex grid for tactical combat. What about the strategic gameplay?

We are currently working on putting together agreements for players who want to release software they've built like your universe builder for other players to freely use. Forgive me if we've talked and I didn't associate your forum name with your email... but it sounds like you might have something other players might be interested in using :)

And you never know, after we can get certain things put together we may end up asking players if anyone would be willing to work on join projects. No promises -- but that's something I've considered discussing after we get to a point where we can move forward with them. Still trying to get all of the existing rules republished and updating SSF has taken a lot of our time!
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