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RedXIII

Impressions and Experiences...

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After browsing the internet a bit, I have downloaded this game to see what it is like. I have played the BC3K series before, but my memories of my previous playthrough were almost nonexistant, so I had to re-learn the game over again. Not a big issue. Given, the game has a steep learning curve, and it may not have been a good idea to skip the tutorial, but I managed. Although I would have loved to have found the 'tips' section in the documents before I started playing. Although I managed to find the thread about making money, which eased the worst part of the game, surviving the bordom of doing 500 trade runs until you have the necessary cash to survive.

My first important decision was ship choice. I loved carriers, so I decided to go between either Heavy or Super carrier. My analysis of the various Heavy Carrier classes based on stats are below:

Battlecruiser series: Nice model/texture, but terrible weapons loadout. Very underpowered at four turrets, lousy shields, and lousy speed. Given, they do have heavy fighters and nice shuttles... but they do not help.

Nightstar/Violon: The nightstar looks good, but I do not like the Violon's looks. Both have good number of turrets and the Nightstar has good shields. They both have good speed. Their only weakness is their fighter and shuttle compliments. I could say they are balanced over the Battlecruiser series, but not sure.

Megaron: This ship is popular. It is popular for a reason. Combining the shuttle/fighter choices of the Battlecruiser with the Firepower of the Nightstar/Violon was bad enough, but this ship takes it a step further and gives the best fighter choices of all the heavy carriers, while having more firepower than either the Nightstar or Violon (and equal shields to the Nightstar). Not only is this ship 'Best of its class' in nearly every category, it has no significant weakness. The only three weaknesses I can think of is that its hyperjump is a tad on the slow side, given, no worse then the Battlecruiser series, its ground compliment, which is still actually not that bad (it still has 8 ground vehicles), and its fuel capacities. 3500 is actually pretty low for a Heavy Carrier (which usually has 5000-10000), but again, not huge weaknesses. Becides, nothing really stops the player from using ground vehicles (especially those Mayhems) or shuttlecraft as spare fuel tanks anyway.

Moving past the Heavy Carriers, I decided to take a peek at the Super Carriers. Considering my love of big ships, my decision to get super carriers over heavy carriers probably would not be a suprise, and it would at least let me avoid the abysmally terrible Heavy carrier balance. While the Super Carrier balance is better, it does not appear much better. Because I decided to pick super carriers, mainly because I wanted the extra 4 fighters so I could feel like a true carrier. Overall, I noticed that Super Carriers have obnoxious amounts of armor, weak shields, mediocre guns, and smaller cargo holds. The smaller cargo holds is a bit odd. Combined with the fact supercarriers would need greater amounts of spare part stores to keep running, this combination would mean that the supercarriers would be more heavily restricted by logistics. Moving past this.

Stormcarrier: Despite being locked to Gammulans only in character creation, you will see this ship a lot in the universe, and more often then not driven by non-gammulans (I even had the honor of meeting a Vesperon Stormcarrier once, lucky!). Moving beyond this oversight, the Stormcarrier has one strength, and lots of weaknesses. Its greatest strength is its shield, 2500 shields is pretty great for a supercarrier, and fully upgraded the Stormcarrier can actually take a decent amount of damage. Going past that, the shields are the only strength the Stormcarrier has. In terms of weaknesses, it has a lot. It is the slowest, it has the weakest fighter and shuttle compliment, it actually only has half the ground unit compliment of other heavy carriers and super carriers (4 ground units as opposed to 8), and it has very poor fuel stores. The only other thing going for this ship is that it is the best looking of super carriers, but that is not saying much (Like with all opinions, your milage may vary).

Firestorm: This is the most popular of supercarriers. Much like the Megaron, it is popular for a reason. It has eight super fighters, a decent shuttle compliment, a competant ground force compliment, and the best fuel stores of any supercarrier. Oddly enough, this ship has a wierd juxtaposition. It has -excellent- PTA systems and direct fire guns, and is one of the few ships with a great main gun layout, but it really cannot use these advantages as it is far too slow and made of glass, meaning the best idea with this ship is to stay away from the enemy and let your fighters do all the killing.

Aestrom: This is the opposite of the Firestorm. While all supercarriers are abysmally slow, the Aestrom has the bonus of being a good bit faster than its comrades in hyperspace (2 minute hyperspaces as opposed to 3 minute on the other supercarriers), and a teeny bit faster in normal space. In addition to having stronger-than-firestorm shields, my guess is that the idea behind the Aestrom is that it would allow the player to play a little more aggressively. As a Battlecarrier as opposed to a Fleet Carrier fiddling with fighters all day. However, this begins to fall apart in several places. The shields are only marginally stronger than a Firestorm's, the difference is only 250. My opinion lowered even more when I realized that the main gun systems of the Aestrom were spread out, as opposed to narrowly focused on the Firestorm. Combined with the lower number of PTA turrets, the Aestrom seems to be a ship that can certainly get to the battle faster, but would be incapable of doing much better than a Firestorm when its feet are held to the fire. Combined with lower fuel stores and worse shuttle/fighter compliment, it really makes you question the utility of this vessel.

Going beyond this, I decided to see if my analysis would hold up through actually flying the ships. My first playthrough was a VES/MIL using a Firestorm carrier. I spent most of that game in my MK1 shuttle doing transport runs between Sarien and Majoris. Given, I loved the MK1 shuttle, it was fast, it had lots of cargo, and it had that boxy look that I love.

After collecting enough cash (roughly 200 million) to be confident I would not run out of credits, my fully upgraded Firestorm ventured into the deep. I decided to tour through Empirion, and eventually Terran space, to make my way to Zelon space. Judging from what my IFF has been telling me, GALCOM has sided with the Zelons against the Credians, and I learned very early on that Military castes do not earn experiance and credits from killing raiders and criminals.

During my trip, I was rather intrigued that I was hostile against the Empirions. Given, there is no context given to the conflict, and I was rather puzzled, even as I managed to mangle a few Empirion carriers that crossed my path (without even launching my fighters). I figured it was due to the Empirions being avian and the Vesperons being feline, the whole cat/bird rivalry thing. I suppose the Terrans are having trouble keeping their animals well-behaved. I was not too interested in chasing Empirions, however, especially since most of the time they seemed intent on running away rather than fighting me. My fat slow Firestorm cannot chase anything. I also needed to stock on supplies and munitions, and I was planning to do so in Terran space.

Reaching Terran space, I slowly took on provisions and munitions. Firestorms are rather expensive to gather provisions for, and the lack of cargo space is really felt. Given, the Firestorm has the benefit of using its four shuttles (15000 cargo right there) and its ground units (Over 5000 cargo) for extra storage.

During my trip, I had managed to get into a few fights. The Firestorm is truly a dream when your shooting at the enemy, although, the shields, even fully upgraded, are rather flimsy when it comes to return fire. I used my fighters a few times, but my pilots have this ugly habit of getting killed. One time I even had a fighter, with health, shields, and subsystems all at 100, with a dead pilot. Guess thats why I have a cloning machine.

A few things I also noticed...

Shuttles: Why is the MK1 shuttle so superior to everything? It has speed, it has cargo space, it has good looks. The MK2 and MK3 shuttle shrivel before its might like pathetic cockroaches. Would be nice if the other shuttles had something going for them, too. Or if the MK1 had some weaknesses.

Armor: Useless. Enemy weapons fire automagically penetrates the armor, making swiss cheese of your subsystems in short order. I remember one time my Firestorm still had 98% hull and armor, and many of my subsystems, including my reactor, were around the 50% mark, with radiation flooding multiple decks. It pretty much made me realize I cannot count on armor/hull at all, and shields are your only ablative line of defense.

Diplomats: I hate these guys. Seems like no matter what race they are, or where they are at, if you are in the same sector as one getting slagged, you lose experiance. Not sure why a Vesperon would care about a Mandorian Diplomat in Droidian space. But apparently I get penalized for letting the diplomat die.

Eventually, I grew fustrated of my Firestorm's crawling around being unable to reach anything. I considered falling for the Megaron, but the Aestrom's speed really intrigued me. Considering my fustration of watching a diplomat die as my Firestorm slowly meanders through hyperspace, the idea of having a faster ship with the same number of fighters (even if the fighters are slightly inferior) that could react better certainly warrents merit.

So, I quit my Firestorm game, backed it up, and started a new game with an Aestrom. At this time, I also decided to get a little creative. I could barely tolerate the Firestorm's ugliness, and the Aestrom's ugliness was even worse. Looking into modding the game, I saw that the Assets files were protected by Md5 verification, so going that route was a no-go. So, I decided to approach this problem from a different angle: I went into the models folder, and swapped around the Aestrom and Warmonger 3D files. Given, my choices were a bit limited since the Warmonger was the only cruiser with 4 guns and 6 turrets, and I did not want to risk mis-matching the number of turrets/guns. However, the Warmonger was much better looking than either the Aestrom or the Firestorm, and even better looking than many of the Heavy Carriers (Why do Cruisers get much cooler models?), so it would work.

Loading in-game, I do the same thing with my Warmongerized Aestrom as I did in my Firestorm, which is land in Majoris, and begin trading runs. I am still gathering credits at this point, but I find that moving from a MK1 shuttle to the MK2 is very painful. The MK2 has smaller cargo space, is slower, and looks uglier. It is actually this painful experiance of trying to trade with a shuttle with half the cargo space as my lovely MK1 that is prompting me to post my experiances here. So far, nothing of note has happened, beyond the fact I stumbled upon a disabled Syrion fighter near an insurgent starbase and I went out of my way to tow it back to Sarien, learning how to tractor stuff in the progess.

I plan on eventually updating my experiance with my modded Aestrom, especially when I take it into combat. Will the Aestrom miserably fail? Or will it succeed beyond my wildest expectations? I hardly know, but I cannot wait to find out.

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Which game are you playing exactly? There are several in the series.

The Free version of UC. Which is why I posted this here.

A bit of an update: I restarted my Aestrom game over again, mainly because I accidentily deleted it. No big deal, I was only about an hour into it and my longer games I usually make multiple backups of. Yay for redundancy.

Here are some other things I noticed:

Aggressive Caste AI seems to be unusually passive, I know people noticed it before in this thread, and I can confirm something is definatly wrong. Carriers and Cruisers get an RTB order as soon as they spawn (they are supposed to patrol or search and destroy for a few minutes according to your response), fighters also RTB but their escorts will still search and destroy (usually under the 'Escort' order). Raider fighters (usually the escorts for other fighters that get the RTB order) often attack ODS and transport ships, which it eventually destroys since nobody tries to stop it and the ODS is incapable of defending itself. I hope they get rebuilt, otherwise the universe is going to run out of ODS systems very quickly.

Oddly enough, military transports get SAD and Patrol missions. Although they never actually attack, they usually just sit around where they spawned until something bothers to kill them (or they RTB, I have not spent a lot of time in one sector so I cannot be certain). Combat still sometimes happens, as occasionally you get two ships hostile to eachother RTBing to the same base, such as a Vesperon and Empirian ship RTBing to a Terran base. More often then not ships will RTB to stations in a different sector, so you see a lot of ships wandering through jumpgates until they reach their base.

Capital Ships also show no response to belligerance. I have engaged several enemy ships that, even though there PTA systems were working and they launched fighters at me, they mostly ignored me and continued going home.

My theory is that the AIs for transports and warships in aggressive castes got swapped around. That is why you have transports hanging around with SAD/Patrol missions as if they had nothing better to do then sit around and get blown up, and Warships always making haste to the nearest friendly/neutral starbase as if they were late for something.

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Well, after getting my Aestrom, It took me a lot longer than usual to farm 200 million credits. After getting the necessary credits and ship upgrades, I make my way to Zelon space, since it appears that Galcom has sided with the Zelons in their war against the Credians. During my transit I visited every Galcom station along the way. During my visit to Jupiter, I got ambushed by a Empirian Aestrom (I wished it ambushed me, it was just RTBing to base while cloaked) and I dispatched it fairly easily. Unfortunately it was fighting very half-hearted, only launching two of its eight fighters at me and not pointing its main guns at me.

The rest of my trip was uneventful, aside from the occasional intruder alert and the hilarity that results from that (Oh Resnig, your incompetance cracks me up). I was actually dissapointed to arrive at Zelon only to find not a single Credian ship in sight. So I pushed on into Credian space. I think I found a pretty nice spot, a Credian Merchant station that is blue to me, but lots of Credian military spawns there. So I can probably camp the station and kill Credian military all day.

We shall see if the Aestrom is strong, or weak.

Here are some of the things I noticed:

My fighter pilots die awfully easy. It is very common for one or two fighters in my flight of eight to lose their pilots, and the fighter themselves are completely undamaged (100% hull, all systems at 100% integrity). I wish enemy fighter pilots died that easily.

Getting into a fight is not only hard, it is impossible. With combat ships always fleeing to the nearest base, your only chance of getting any kills is to camp bases and try to kill ships RTBing. Is there any way I can fix this? It is not very fun not being able to get into a fight when I am deliberately looking for one. Is there a way to fix the AI so that it will actually fight me? Shooting stationary transports and fleeing warships is not fun.

I did an experiment to see if I could change a ship model into something with a different amount of turrets. My test involved changing the Aestrom into a Nightstar's model (which has 8 turrets as opposed to 6), unfortunately, this experiment was unsucessful. The game still loads, but the Aestrom's turrets are completely nonfunctional (cannot turn them on or anything). I also tried changing the Nightstar into an Aestrom (maybe a smaller number of turrets would work) but this also failed.

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My fighter pilots die awfully easy. It is very common for one or two fighters in my flight of eight to lose their pilots, and the fighter themselves are completely undamaged (100% hull, all systems at 100% integrity). I wish enemy fighter pilots died that easily.

That is because occupants of a craft - just like in real life - can get injured dependent on the impact damage on the craft they are in. Also, train your pilots by sending them out on sorties more often as that beefs up their AI

Getting into a fight is not only hard, it is impossible. With combat ships always fleeing to the nearest base, your only chance of getting any kills is to camp bases and try to kill ships RTBing. Is there any way I can fix this? It is not very fun not being able to get into a fight when I am deliberately looking for one. Is there a way to fix the AI so that it will actually fight me? Shooting stationary transports and fleeing warships is not fun.

You're playing an older build of the FREE version. The free version of UC is light years removed from the latest CE version because a lot of revisions (AI, tweaks etc) have gone into the series since that 2004 edition. If you want to enjoy the latest, get UCCE (if you want multiplayer) or UCCE v2 (if you have the computing power and don't care about multiplayer)

I did an experiment to see if I could change a ship model into something with a different amount of turrets. My test involved changing the Aestrom into a Nightstar's model (which has 8 turrets as opposed to 6), unfortunately, this experiment was unsucessful. The game still loads, but the Aestrom's turrets are completely nonfunctional (cannot turn them on or anything). I also tried changing the Nightstar into an Aestrom (maybe a smaller number of turrets would work) but this also failed.

You can't. There is more to it than just changing a ship model. Each turret and entity in a craft is controlled by a script and AI module which it tied to the number of entities defined in the model.

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Hi everyone, I've recently downloaded the free UC version. I'm a long time battlecruiser series fan, and I've decided to get back into the old series, having played bc3000ad, BCM gold and now UC.

I have a question, to which I don't seem to find the answer: what is the cheat mode command line for the free version?

I know about the -i cheat, tried -opt_cheats_on but it didn't work. And I can't seem to find any clues on the forums.

Can anyone help me out a bit?

Is anyone still playing?

Cheers

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