FTL: Limited Information (Federation Victory!)

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Gammagooey
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Post Post #750  (ISO)  » Thu May 09, 2019 11:20 pm

I just have your 4 you sent me earlier

the worst
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Post Post #751  (ISO)  » Thu May 09, 2019 11:33 pm

I'm probs up to 9.5
ico if you have 5.5 spare I'll be so happy.
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Post Post #752  (ISO)  » Fri May 10, 2019 12:37 am

scraps are coming!
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Post Post #753  (ISO)  » Fri May 10, 2019 10:24 am

let us know when you're good to go duckboi

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Post Post #754  (ISO)  » Fri May 10, 2019 11:02 am

Jump 99

The Flagship has to come this way to continue its attack on the Federation. We can ambush it simply by waiting out the jumpcycle; we get into a good position to observe the beacon's pull radius, and sit down to wait. It's been tens of jumpcycles since we last had a break, but this one takes a while, so we catch a small amount of sleep while the beacon prepares itself.

Of course, we make sure to wake up well in time. Everyone's feeling refreshed and alert when the Flagship drops in from hyperspace. Our sensor scans immediately indicate that there are only two crew left aboard it. It's showing no damage apart from the two missing wings, but we hardly did any damage to it last battle anyway.

As usual, we're restricted in what we can do until we get past its Energy Shield, so all we can do in the short term is deploy a defence drone and wait for the weapons to wear down the shield. Unfortunately, the Rebels have learned from their previous experience and aim their mind control device at Varsoon. There isn't really anything anyone else can do to stop him, so we don't; the Rebels decide to send him to attack the hacking drone control unit, and one of the Rebels teleports over to join him, so we're probably just going to have to let it be destroyed. We still need someone to maintain the engines, so Elizabeth goes over to that station; the worst takes control of the doors.

Outside the ships, the first volleys of weapons go well for us. The enemy lasers can't get through our shields yet; ours couldn't get through their regular shields, but their Energy Shield is outside them, and we hit with all three shots. Their missile launchers can get through our shields, but between the Defence Drone and Gammagooey's piloting, only one gets through, and it doesn't hit anything important. The second volley goes fairly well too; we hit with one laser shot and the Pike and Artillery Beams both connect, knocking it down to about ⅓ of its normal integrity. Unfortunately, the enemy gets two missiles through the second time; one of them slows our Artillery Beam, another sets an airlock on fire. That said, "airlock on fire" is not a major problem when emptying out the oxygen is part of its design.

Inside the ship, Varsoon, being very familiar with the doors and hopped up from the mind control unit, is effectively unstoppable; the Rebel who teleported over is much less familiar, and we manage to temporarily separate them by slamming the door in between. Varsoon goes back to the engines and starts trying to destroy them, and Elizabeth puts in some decent damage while the Rebel is trying to break down the door. When the Rebel gets through – and Varsoon breaks one of the power relays going to the engines – we have the opportunity for the worst and Elizabeth to go back in and repair the hacking drones, which the Rebels consider a better target, and thus lure the attackers away from destroying the engines. That lets us try to get some quick repairs in.

Unfortunately, the Rebel's superweapon has loaded; it fires a huge burst of lasers that instantly disrupt all three shield layers and do heavy damage to the front of the ship. The navigation controls are knocked out, and so is Gammagooey; he's not dead, but he's not conscious either. We also lose the Burst Laser, so we switch to beams and bombs, On the other hand, Varsoon finally shakes free of the mind control, and the Rebel previously fighting alongside him is now trapped in a room with him. Unsurprisingly, that doesn't go well for the Rebel, and a few swipes later, Varsoon is ready to return to his post managing the engines. Elizabeth is badly injured and needs to heal (but with one of our most power-intensive weapons down, we have no problem finding the reactor power for that); the worst runs to the front of the ship to help with the repairs there, because much of it is broken. We've already taken two missile hits due to being unable to dodge, what with no working navigation.

As it happens, Gammagooey gets the navigation controls back into a workable state by himself before the worst has a chance to get there and help – we're on a pretty large ship, it takes a while to walk from one end to the other. the worst doesn't have a chance to repair the weapons either, getting mind controlled first. On the other hand, we're finally through the Energy Shield, so we can send a Pulse Bomb to damage the enemy mind control system, and a Hacking Drone to lock the lone surviving Rebel out from the bridge when he goes to repair it. The Rebels fire their superweapon again, but our navigation, engines, and shields are all at full capacity; between dodges, shields, and the Defence Drone getting in the way of one of the enemy shots, only one of them gets through. It breaks the aft airlock, causing its outer door to no longer be airtight; that doesn't seem like relevant damage at this particular moment, so we got off lightly.

Unfortunately, with the Defence Drone broken, we can't do much about the next missile barrage – the next Defence Drone hasn't finished fabricating by the time it hits, and it starts fires all over the ship. Luckily, they're all in locations which are fairly easy to fight. We've already landed two Pulse Bombs on the enemy mind control unit, weakening it to the stage that the worst can break free; we engage the hacking drone, just to make sure, and use a third to take it out for good.

The next enemy attack is more of a problem, though: the regular lasers and the superlasers from the Flagship's core fire at once. We're unable to survive unscathed from that much laser fire; the only systems damaged are the oxygen pumps (which accidentally allow the oxygen to leak out from the weapons room, delaying our attempts to fix that), but the ship's structure is in severe trouble. We deploy the Hull Repair Drone for some combat repairs; we'll juggle power between it and the Defence Drone depending on whether there are missiles heading for us or not.

We now discover that we have something of a problem in damaging the Flagship: we don't have enough Pulse Bomb ammo left to bring the shields entirely down. In other words, if we want to damage the enemy ship faster than the Artillery Beam does it, we'll need to use the Burst Laser to bring down the ships for the Pike Beam, and we're nowhere near being able to repair it. Luckily, it seems that the Federation fleet are coming to help; it must have been fired from truly extreme range, as we can't see the ship that fired it, but a cannon shot hits and destroys the Flagship's oxygen pumps. That means we can make the Flagship's systems difficult or impossible to repair by breaching the rooms they're in, so we launch one of our last two Pulse Bombs to make a hole by the flagship's burst missile launcher. We don't take it down, but it'll be firing more slowly, and maybe the beams will permanently take it down later.

The Flagship has its own ideas about defending itself, though; it brings its Energy Shield back up. That's maybe not a bad thing; if it's gathering power to do that, it means it wasn't spending it on anything else. That said, we're not exactly going to get through the shield quickly with only the beams, so the worst and Iconeum both work together on trying to bring our weapons back up. Even better, the Federation cruisers are nearer, and take the missile launcher out altogether as the shield is loading; it's a good thing we made it irreperable earlier, because now we're unlikely to have to worry about missiles for the rest of the battle.

Hiding behind the Energy Shield, the remaining Rebel attempts to fix up the regular shield generators, but we've broken enough holes in the room that that's very difficult; the Rebel is quickly on the point of asphyxiation, and has to run out to his Infirmary. That's great – it means no repairs were made to the regular shields, so we'll only have two of them to deal with once we manage to take the Energy Shield down. The Rebels try a blast from their superlaser, but our systems are pretty much back to full strength now; only one shot gets through, and it breaks the oxygen pumps again, but neither the worst or Elizabeth are busy so they won't take long to fix. The ship's structure is also out of the danger zone, too; we've used all the reinforced plating we have on making combat repairs to it, but the repairs seem to be holding.

With our ship and the Federation ship both pounding the enemy, we finally get our opportunity. The Energy Shield is going to be able to take only one more hit. The Rebels have only two shield barriers working. We've hacked their navigation controls, they aren't going to be able to dodge. 1 + 2 is 3; three burst laser hits break the Energy Shield and disrupt both regular shields. The Pike Beam is up; this is the first opportunity we've had to connect against the Flagship with it, and it will also be the last. We cut right through the Flagship's core. It doesn't jump; most likely, it can't. Rather, it breaks in half.

We need to make sure that the Rebellion is completely destroyed. The Federation fleet are coming this way; it seems they've beaten the nearby parts of the Rebel ship and are hoping to help us clear up. We don't want the Flagship's AI to ever resurrect, so the Federation as a whole – both us, and the other Federation ships – attack the Flagship's computers over and over with everything we have left, until they're reduced to a small pile of melted silicon.

Zephyr (n). A new Federation warship hastily pressed into service after the destruction of the rest of its Federation base by Rebels. Carrying a vital message for the Federation High Command, it made its way to the heart of the Rebel assault, and destroyed the Rebels' flagship, throwing their fleet into chaos and ensuring a Federation victory.
Last edited by callforjudgement on Tue May 21, 2019 10:06 am, edited 4 times in total.
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Post Post #755  (ISO)  » Fri May 10, 2019 11:04 am

Statistics, as given by the game:

Ships defeated: 36
Beacons explored: 96 (not 99: the discrepancy is partly because I think I miscounted jumps at some point, and partly because there were a few repeated beacons while fighting the Flagship)
Scrap collected; 1344
Crew hired: 5

Final score: 4536
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Post Post #756  (ISO)  » Fri May 10, 2019 11:22 am

Sadly, I mistimed the end-of-game screenshot slightly. I was hoping to show the damage aboard the Flagship, but it wasn't to be. Here's what it looked like just after the final shot:

Image

From memory: the lone crewmember on the Flagship was in the infirmary, having just finished fixing the breaches in the Shields room (which was down to 4hp = two shield barriers). There were breaches in the Oxygen room (broken), and Burst Missile room (broken, breached twice). The Shields room, together with all the breached rooms, had no oxygen. The Rebel crewmember had been locked out from piloting by the Hacking Drone (with the Shields room on the other side of the door, and no air, breaking through would have been difficult); Piloting was on 1 hp (meaning that the Rebels had no way to dodge, as you need 2hp or more in piloting to dodge without a pilot present). That's one of the main reasons we did so well on our second attempt; the Federation cruisers normally miss the Flagship stage 3 (which has very high evasion), but with the Rebels having no ability to pilot the ship, they were hitting every time.

The reason we still had ammo left over is that the Energy Shield got refreshed before I had a chance to fire the final Pulse Bomb shot. I would have used it if I had a chance to, per Iconeum's instructions, most likely on the shield generator.

I accidentally forgot to enact one of the requests made via PT, but it turned out not to matter. The screenshot has been image-edited to how it should have looked :-D (There were a few other moments at which I missed a request, or forgot to ask about something I really should have asked for, or accidentally gave a ridiculous/suicidal command to a crewmember due to microing failure; in each of those cases, I reset to a previous save file, so this isn't quite a "pure" win. The major cause of this was Jump 65, where I kept getting bored trying to follow PvtUrist's instructions, decided "let's see if I can reach the same end result a faster way so I don't have to wait for hours attempting to follow this plan, I can always reload a save if it doesn't work", screwed up, and reloaded the save, continuously.)

It may take a while for me to total up the secondary victory conditions. The main issue is trying to establish how many kills Varsoon had; we may never know, because Varsoon was on full experience from mind-controlled system destruction (meaning there was no observable evidence of a kill), and we at one point accepted a surrender when he was on the point of killing an enemy Engi; I don't know whether he got the kill in before the surrender or not.
Last edited by callforjudgement on Fri May 10, 2019 5:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Gammagooey
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Post Post #757  (ISO)  » Fri May 10, 2019 11:34 am

Aw yesss

Gj everyone, and thanks for running this Call!

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Post Post #758  (ISO)  » Fri May 10, 2019 12:02 pm

Victory conditions:

Secondary victory conditions were balanced around 300 being a typical score for someone who aimed heavily towards the victory condition, with unlikely "perfect" scores in the 350-400 range (although Enter's/Gammagooey's had a much wider low end and high end, I still aimed for 300 as typical).

the worst (PT)

Primary: visit High Command → destroy Flagship: complete
Secondary:
100×1 = 100 for pre-installed systems
20×2 = 40 for two purchased systems (Hacking, Drone Control)
20×1 = 20 for one augment (Shield Charge Booster)
15×3 = 45 for three sellable weapons (Burst Laser II, Pulse Bomb I, Pike Beam)
15×2 = 30 for two drone schematics (Defence I, Hull Repair Drone)
Total: 235

I hadn't intended to count the Artillery Beam or Hacking Drone as a weapon and a drone controller respectively. However, you can interpret the wording of the victory condition like that; if you do, that increases the total score to 265.

In general, this ship was pretty technology-heavy; the worst worked towards the secondary victory condition fairly well. We had plenty of room in our cargo hold, but not really anywhere else, and FTL's often won with many fewer gadgets than this. The main place the worst fell down on it was in a lack of augments; also, there was a hostile sector map for the victory condition (going through green sectors definitely helps this one, but hardly any generated). So the worst ended up with a fairly typical score in the mid-200s.

PvtUrist/Iconeum (PT 1, PT 2)

Primary: visit Sector 1 Long Range beacon → visit High Command → save High Command from Flagship: complete
Secondary:
180×7 = 1260 for 7 long-range jumps
−10×96 = 960 for 96 beacons visited
Total: 300

PvtUrist didn't really aim for his secondary victory condition at all, leaving Iconeum somewhat locked out. However, Enter and later Gammagooey seemed to be aiming to achieve the victory condition on their behalves; we took a surprisingly direct route for a game of FTL (e.g. we went straight towards the Flagship at the end, and we left a sector early on at least one occasion). 96 is on the low side for beacon visits already, and it could have been still lower if we didn't go through so many nebulas. There was also a bit of luck, in that many of the Long-Range Beacons were a long way from the right-hand side of the screen; normally that's an invitation to go Rebel-diving, but our ship was never really in a fit state to do that, so we had to leave sectors early because of that.

PvtUrist and Iconeum had separate PTs because they had different levels of FTL experience, so I needed to explain things in different ways.

Enter/Gammagooey (PT)

Primary: survive to High Command → survive Flagship battle: complete
Secondary:
1×30 = 30 for unspent scrap
Total: 30

Our ship was struggling through much of the game, and that rather hurt Enter's and Gammagooey's secondary victory condition. Gammagooey got into the swing of things towards the end, but to do well at this victory condition, you really need the ship to be on top of its game and have more scrap than it knows what to do with (because that makes it much easier to embezzle it). It's possible to have something like 1000 unspent scrap at this point of the game if everything goes perfectly, and 300-400 on a more normal run, so the victory condition was based on an assumption that Enter and the worst would be fighting over it (the worst to buy junk, Enter to hoard it). We had 67, most of which was being hoarded by Iconeum for reasons I don't fully understand (maybe an intentionally attempt to hurt other people's secondary victory conditions?)

It would probably have been a good idea to upgrade the engines much earlier, in order to save on expenditure on repairs.

Varsoon (PT)

Primary: destroy flagship: complete
Secondary:
36×5 = 180 for defeated ships
7 or 8 ×4 = 28 or 32 for killed enemies (the exact amount is unknown; there's one potential kill I couldn't confirm)
Total: 208 or 212

We generally avoided red sectors, where most of the fighting is (we went through an Abandoned Sector early on, but that's about it). We never bought a teleporter. We didn't visit all that many beacons. That combination made Varsoon's bloodthirst pretty hard to satisfy, and we ended up with a low ship defeat count and a low killed enemy count.
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Post Post #759  (ISO)  » Fri May 10, 2019 12:06 pm

Above, I linked everyone's PTs, so you (and any spectators) can all see what everyone else was doing.

You weren't the only people with PTs, though; I kept my own PT as well, in which I posted what I thought everyone ought to be doing. Bear in mind that I may well have been wrong in my assessments (I'm not a perfect FTL player, after all). But it was amusing to see just how different my plans often ended up to yours.
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Post Post #760  (ISO)  » Fri May 10, 2019 12:11 pm

In retrospect, I'm really surprised by the lack of crewmember turnover this game. Nobody died, and hardly anyone was hired (hi Elizabeth!). That works out quite well for an interactive playthough like this one, I guess.

I probably won't run this myself again; although it was a lot of fun, it was also a surprising amount of work to mod, and (because FTL can't really handle multiple active games at once) I haven't been able to play any FTL for myself over the last couple of months. There's also the issue that (at least in the mod I use) most ships are heavy on micromanagement in one way or another, and have a fairly set strategy, which isn't ideal for this type of game; Kestrel A and Federation A are the exceptions, and those have both been run now. I have no objection if someone else wants to take up the mantle, though.

At least the mod seems to work. I'd like to clean it up some time so that it works on other people's computers; if I do, I'll post here about it.
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Iconeum
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Post Post #761  (ISO)  » Fri May 10, 2019 12:26 pm

Thanks for hosting and letting a complete newb replace in!

Those battle scenes were great to read
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Post Post #762  (ISO)  » Fri May 10, 2019 5:15 pm

This was brilliant and super ambitious and I loved being a part of it. Thanks so much for hosting and for all the effort you put in, cfj!
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Post Post #763  (ISO)  » Fri May 10, 2019 5:49 pm

In post 42, Varsoon wrote:I've played a ton of FTL. I know that a similarly skilled Mantis can take down a Rock or two humans.

Incidentally, you don't know how much effort these simple-looking sentences caused me. One Mantis versus 2 Humans is, in a fair 1v2 battle, a win for the humans in FTL (both vanilla, and with the mod). So this made me assume there was some super-advanced microing technique I was missing.

It turns out that with huge levels of micro, this is actually possible – but only when aboard the enemy ship (it depends on an AI exploit), and the timing is really difficult. So I ended up spending a couple of hours practising while waiting for the game to start. I never actually managed to pull it off, but got close at one point.

Anyway, I was worried based on that comment that people were going to pull other requests for near-impossible micromanagement on me that I'd have to spend hours learning :-) Luckily, there was nothing worse than some finicky messing around with oxygen levels (which I actually screwed up at one point and cheated Varsoon out of 4 points on his secondary objective, but it wasn't enough to change the results).
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Post Post #764  (ISO)  » Fri May 10, 2019 5:54 pm

Thanks for the feedback in the mod thread too, cfj.
I've definitely been playing FTL less lately and have lots to learn in it.
The drone name stuff-ups were largely earnest. :oops: if I was at work, or out and about, and saw an update, I made an effort to try and communicate it to the others as quickly as possible to keep things moving. Unfortunately I slipped up a couple of names and I think I caught myself out later for the most part. My plays for secondary wincon were largely when it was convenient. I was definitely more focused on The Greater Good :P

With respect to not mentioning the hacking system vs. Flagship round 1's shields; I'm not used to hacking doing a whole lot to shields. Given the flagship has reasonable evasion, I was thinking it would be better to take down their piloting system and hammer them with weaponfire rather than using hacking to temporarily down ~1-maybe 2 layers of shields. This is something I should experiment more with in-game, though.

The poor synergy of hacking + defence drones + repair bots was a really good call as well, and something I'm a bit annoyed I didn't think about. Mind Control would indeed have been a much better buy. Sorry about that.


(Also it was not lost on me that the Slug crew member was usually the last to send scrap; that was great. I should have sent my remaining pittance back to Gooey at endgame.)
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Post Post #765  (ISO)  » Fri May 10, 2019 6:10 pm

Hacking shields is completely overpowered in vanilla FTL, especially when the hacking system gets up to higher levels. The basic reason is that vanilla FTL has a wide range of weapons which are totally overpowered if you can let them hit an unshielded ship (the mod has fewer, but still quite a few, and some of the weapons it does still have were modified to make them better for that purpose); a large part of the game's combat tactics is working out how to drop the shields so that you can hit the ship beneath them. That's the main reason the balance mod has a ridiculously high 90 → 190 progression for its upgrades – most hacks work just fine at lower levels, but shield hacks really benefit from the extra time.

For the Flagship battle, the basic issue is that even with a perfect shot, Iconeum could only get through three shield barriers without help from the Pulse Bomb or Artillery Beam (both of which we relied on pretty heavily towards the end of the game); the Flagship has four. A level 1 hack knocks that down to two layers for a couple of seconds, which is low enough that it's better than 50:50 to drop them with the Burst Laser II against a ship with any reasonable amount of evasion, and the Pike Beam can do massive damage to an unshielded enemy ship. So "shields 4, hack to shields 2, burst shields down, hit with Pike Beam" would have been a decent strategy, comparable in DPS to the Artillery Beam and better at taking out specific targets (once you've hit with it once, now the Flagship only has three shield barriers, so it becomes easier and easier to hit with as time goes on). The other reason that would work well against the Flagship – which is hard to notice in the Limited Information version of things, because I didn't show anyone a map of the Flagship's layout – is that one of the major benefits from the Piloting hack is that you can lock the Rebels out from the room when they leave it, and you do that by locking the door between Piloting and Shields – but you can do that just as well with a Shields hack as with a Piloting hack. This realisation has actually inspired me to consider moving the Flagship's Shields room somewhere else in the mod (it's currently in the same spot as in vanilla).
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Post Post #766  (ISO)  » Fri May 10, 2019 6:21 pm

I had a blast playing this and it's been one of the major things keeping me visiting the site after my recent Mafia games ban.
I really appreciate all the effort you put in to not just running this whole game, but also relaying information and rendering flavor. It was a blast to read and keep up.
I'd hoped to be more of a murder machine, but teleporters never really came up and we were often so harried I couldn't just be like "Oh yeah guys lets putz around and kill some more this sector" but I think I made out well enough.
Very surprised we won at all and did so without any casualties! That defense drone and Hull Repair drone system put in some serious work!!

P-EDIT:
I do recall doing a lot of melee micro when it wasn't a sure-fire win, so that may be the case. I also wasn't considering experience as critically and was likely recalling times when I had a maxed out Mantis carving up inexperienced chumps.

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Post Post #767  (ISO)  » Fri May 10, 2019 6:25 pm

Like I wasn't about to tell you to kite enemies or bait into airlocks or anything.

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Post Post #768  (ISO)  » Fri May 10, 2019 6:25 pm

That's a really good point re. hacking shields, and something I suddenly feel really bad for not experimenting with more. :oops:
When I pick up FTL again, I'll have learned quite a lot from this game. :)
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Post Post #769  (ISO)  » Fri May 10, 2019 6:28 pm

Oh yes, max-experience Mantis against two inexperienced humans seems much more plausible. I'll have to test that some time.
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Post Post #770  (ISO)  » Fri May 10, 2019 9:18 pm

This was a very pleasant game to read, thanks cfj :D

max melee Mantis is like 1.8x damage, right? pretty sure Mantises can deal like 30 damage per hit on Mind Control 3 or something
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Post Post #771  (ISO)  » Mon Jun 17, 2019 7:54 am

/in for next ;)
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Post Post #772  (ISO)  » Fri Jun 28, 2019 4:32 pm

I've finally got the mod used in this interactive playthrough cleaned up and ready for public consumption (together with adding a few more fixes). If anyone wants to play it themself, they can read about it / download it here.
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