New Polaris Sector Patch

Polaris Sector is a sci-fi 4X game that offers exciting exploration, detailed resource management, unique research mechanics and intense tactical combat.
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solops
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New Polaris Sector Patch

Post by solops » Mon Jul 23, 2018 3:06 pm

According to a recent dev post on steam there is a patch coming. I am shocked that there has been no news here, on the official forums. I am relieved that work still goes on for this stellar game, which I think is the best 4X game on the market.

https://steamcommunity.com/app/418250/d ... 688077062/

Ufnv
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Re: New Polaris Sector Patch

Post by Ufnv » Tue Jul 24, 2018 5:03 pm

Yes, there is a patch coming that fixes a number of things here and there.

Nothing big from the new features in it.

Darvin3
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Re: New Polaris Sector Patch

Post by Darvin3 » Sat Jul 28, 2018 10:41 pm

Interesting; glad to hear the game is still getting support. I don't expect new content at this point, but fixing bugs and making minor tweaks is still welcome. I'll be interested to try missiles after the patch. I've completely given up on missile weapons in the current version (to the point at which I don't even bother researching them until I want photon torpedoes for the Theoshians) so it'll be interesting to give them another try after the update.

While I'm here, here are a few bugs I've encountered that would be nice to see fixed:

* Carrier auto-lose bug: When a carrier that doesn't have weapons engages an unarmed enemy freighter that cannot retreat, the carrier and all fighters contained inside of it are destroyed while the enemy freighter remains unharmed.

* Radioactive Industrial World: if you have the radioactive world bonus (Logan special bonus) and you attempt to found an industrial colony, the buildings will construct out of order. It will build the factory before the atmospheric domes. This will mean there's insufficient population space to staff the factory and the construction job will never complete until the player comes in and manually cancels the factory to reset the build order.

* Capital Ship Clipping/Invulnerability bug: normally capital ships cannot overlap in tactical combat, and must move around each other. Sometimes they clip into each other anyways. While two or more capital ships share the same space in this fashion, they are invulnerable to damage. I have not been able to replicate this bug consistently, but I've seen it several times.

* Fuel Tanker Bug: the "insufficient fuel to return" warning does not work correctly for fleets that include fuel tankers. It will often report that there is insufficient range even when there is more than enough fuel.

edit: a few more I forgot when I posted

* destroyed ground forces bug: when you sign a peace treaty with another race that forces them to turn over planets, any ground forces you have currently fighting on those planets are destroyed even though the planet reverts to your control.

* formations bugged?: I'm not sure if formations actually do anything. If they have any benefits at all, it's very subtle. I've found using scatter to always be superior, since fighters can stay closer together under scatter than they can under formation.

* war negotiations bug: if an ally contacts you requesting that you join a war, you can request a technology for it as payment. If you cancel from the technology selection screen, negotiations will be terminated, you will not go to war, and you will not take a relationship hit with your ally for refusing to go to war.

* population controls bug: with industrial worlds, I will often queue up military units while I'm waiting for population to grow to staff a new orbital shipyard. If I do this, the automation AI automatically turns on population control, even though there's a completed structure that needs population.

(I haven't exactly been keeping a list or anything, these are just things that come to mind as bugs I've encountered)

Ufnv
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Re: New Polaris Sector Patch

Post by Ufnv » Tue Jul 31, 2018 12:54 pm

Thanks for summarising, I'll work on these issues, they seem to be easy to reproduce.

Darvin3
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Re: New Polaris Sector Patch

Post by Darvin3 » Tue Aug 07, 2018 1:47 am

I've been playing the Lumens in the new patch, and I've noticed that their planetary automation AI doesn't seem to be working properly.

Peacekeepers are not automatically built on planets when the population grows, meaning the planet will fall into unrest and rebellion unless the player manually adds peacekeepers in to the production queue. Edit: on further inspection, I've found that peacekeepers are built in most cases. I'll see if I can figure out the specific circumstances that cause this issue.

In addition, the AI keeps population control active even when more population is needed to staff the building that's currently being produced. Population control is only turned off after the building completes production, effectively halving the speed at which the colony builds new buildings since it alternates between production and population growth rather than doing both at the same time.

jerryford1985
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Re: New Polaris Sector Patch

Post by jerryford1985 » Mon Sep 10, 2018 6:41 am

This game definitely looks interesting. I've read that designing ships can be a bit frustrating because the systems can't be rotated to help fit.
Does this make any changes there?

Darvin3
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Re: New Polaris Sector Patch

Post by Darvin3 » Mon Sep 10, 2018 5:08 pm

jerryford1985 wrote:
Mon Sep 10, 2018 6:41 am
I've read that designing ships can be a bit frustrating because the systems can't be rotated to help fit.
Components can't be rotated. YMMV on whether this is a problem or not; there are some components whose entire niche is fitting into awkward spaces.

I'd say the bigger problem is that the game has a lot of trap options. Some upgrades and weapons simply have costs or energy requirements that are way out of line with their effectiveness. It takes quite a while to try these out and separate the wheat from the chaff, so to speak.

Chris 'o war
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Re: New Polaris Sector Patch

Post by Chris 'o war » Tue Oct 09, 2018 3:44 pm

With those design features there's a place and time for everything! See one ship develop 6 prototypes etc etc war phase... Still one down does not automatically mean a bad design... Sadly i have not prgressed enough to know if the a.i. utilizes all technology... You have those simple learning algoritms that don't offer a lot of variation but do tend to get where they want in a most efficient way... simulating evolution of sorts... Is that included in this game?

Darvin3
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Re: New Polaris Sector Patch

Post by Darvin3 » Wed Oct 10, 2018 5:36 pm

Learning algorithms are extremely expensive to create and train. There are people doing really cool stuff with machine learning, but the technology is still in its infancy and is unlikely to see widespread application in a niche like video games for a long time to come.

As for the AI's ship designs, it seems like the AI plays by different rules than the player does. I've tried to replicate AI ship designs to the same specifications at the same tech level. Sometimes it works, but sometimes there are substantial discrepancies. Weight and power requirement are the two areas I found discrepancies popping up the most; the heavy equipment was either slowing them down to speeds far below what the AI had, or their power requirements were so high that I couldn't find any way to actually power the ship design (and I'm not talking "maybe if I juggle the components around I could make this fit" sort of deficit, more like a "I'm not even half-way there" deficit). A few of the designs are particularly extreme; I've seen AI ships whose weapons would require more than 12 million energy to power.

The AI ship designs seem to have certain templates it follows and if you play enough games you'll start noticing patterns. Tor instance the fast corvette armed with thermonuclear missiles is a common one to watch out for. Each race has some slight differences in fleet composition and weapon preference, but there are lots of shared commonalities. With some experience you can take a reasonable guess at the AI's fleet composition, design ships with the intent of hard-countering what the AI is making, then win engagements decisively. Once you've figured out the proper counter to every variant of enemy ship, it's not too hard to win battles decisively with few casualties.

Ufnv
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Re: New Polaris Sector Patch

Post by Ufnv » Mon Oct 15, 2018 3:20 pm

Actually, you can see the AI "rules" in the /Doctrines directory.

Darvin3
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Re: New Polaris Sector Patch

Post by Darvin3 » Fri Oct 19, 2018 6:19 pm

I took a look at that and found it very interesting. I can definitely see how a lot of common ship designs came to be with those priorities. I also began to think about how the AI ship designs could be improved.

Some of these look easy; tweaking each race to prioritize its stronger unit designs (Gavakens should ditch fighters the instant they get interceptors, while Logans and Magellans should ignore their terrible interceptor designs entirely), removing weapons from carriers (carriers should avoid engagements, not rush the front-lines with the combat ships), and ensure ship designs prioritize 100% energy/laser or 100% missile rather than some weird hybrid.

With that said, there are some things I'm not sure if I can change. Getting the AI to spend less on fighters and orbital satellites and more on frigates and destroyers would be huge; those fleet battles against 100 enemy frigates are exhilarating, and those battles where my small clean-up force is dealing with 500 fighters and 10 orbital satellites are boring slogs. Then there's the problem with the AI's use of fighters with its offensive fleets; whenever it retreats from battle it leaves its fighters behind, so its offensive carrier groups are often empty when the big climatic fleet engagement finally happens. Finally there are some deceptive weapons like the Russian Hooligan; high DPS and high range so they look awesome on paper... except for the fine print where they only deal damage to shields and not hulls (which, by and large, makes them completely useless). I'd imagine those high stats push it high on the priority list when the AI designs ships, without heed to the crippling flaws.

I wasn't planning on getting into modding this game (the days when I had time for modding my favorite games are well behind me, sadly), but I may well take some time to play around with this.

Ufnv
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Re: New Polaris Sector Patch

Post by Ufnv » Fri Oct 19, 2018 7:36 pm

Darvin3 wrote:
Fri Oct 19, 2018 6:19 pm
With that said, there are some things I'm not sure if I can change. Getting the AI to spend less on fighters and orbital satellites and more on frigates and destroyers would be huge; those fleet battles against 100 enemy frigates are exhilarating, and those battles where my small clean-up force is dealing with 500 fighters and 10 orbital satellites are boring slogs. Then there's the problem with the AI's use of fighters with its offensive fleets; whenever it retreats from battle it leaves its fighters behind, so its offensive carrier groups are often empty when the big climatic fleet engagement finally happens. Finally there are some deceptive weapons like the Russian Hooligan; high DPS and high range so they look awesome on paper... except for the fine print where they only deal damage to shields and not hulls (which, by and large, makes them completely useless). I'd imagine those high stats push it high on the priority list when the AI designs ships, without heed to the crippling flaws.
Yes, it's easy to change the way the AI builds the fleet to do it specific for each race. Currently it uses the default composition (with some minor exceptions).
What you suggest is totally possible to do, it's me being too lazy to specifically tune it.

As to the "Russian Hooligan" and such, it takes into consideration the side effects, not just DPS and there are specific modifiers in the doctrines file that can control this.
For example, if you specify "Required Best Energy Pref spcAntiShield" the "Russian Hooligan" will have very high priority, but if you write "Required Best Energy Pref spcAntiArmour" it will be mostly ignored.

And yes, AI does not really try to fit the components into the hulls. It is quite computation-intensive task and AI creates a lot of trial designs. So instead of really fitting components it uses the precomputed coefficients to estimate the fit. Sometimes this gives too powerful designs, but there are downsides as well. For example, it cannot use weapon slots and engine slots to fit other kind of equipment.

Darvin3
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Re: New Polaris Sector Patch

Post by Darvin3 » Fri Oct 19, 2018 8:32 pm

Ufnv wrote: It is quite computation-intensive task and AI creates a lot of trial designs.
It's a particularly complex knapsack problem; I can appreciate that it's not something you want the AI doing.
Ufnv wrote:Sometimes this gives too powerful designs, but there are downsides as well. For example, it cannot use weapon slots and engine slots to fit other kind of equipment.
It's not actually that big a problem; all ship designs necessarily have a weakness, and since the AI lacks any cognizance of this it's trivial to match up the right ships for favorable engagements. So their overpowered designs aren't actually that much of an advantage since I won't give them the chance to use that power.

bjgrt
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Re: New Polaris Sector Patch

Post by bjgrt » Sun Oct 21, 2018 4:10 pm

Darvin3 wrote:
Fri Oct 19, 2018 6:19 pm
... ensure ship designs prioritize 100% energy/laser or 100% missile rather than some weird hybrid.

... With that said, there are some things I'm not sure if I can change. Getting the AI to spend less on fighters and orbital satellites and more on frigates and destroyers would be huge; those fleet battles against 100 enemy frigates are exhilarating, and those battles where my small clean-up force is dealing with 500 fighters and 10 orbital satellites are boring slogs... Finally there are some deceptive weapons like the Russian Hooligan; high DPS and high range so they look awesome on paper... except for the fine print where they only deal damage to shields and not hulls (which, by and large, makes them completely useless).
My experience (and opinion) on the matters discussed here are pretty much completely opposite.
I usually use "mixed" energy/missile designs.
Battles against huge fleets are always long, but I can be almost sure to destroy 100+ capital ships without losses, while 500+ fighters will most likely kill few of my Battleships.
The combination of "hooligans" with other weapons used by AI presents more challenge (in my experience).

Darvin3
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Re: New Polaris Sector Patch

Post by Darvin3 » Sun Oct 21, 2018 9:02 pm

bjgrt wrote:Battles against huge fleets are always long, but I can be almost sure to destroy 100+ capital ships without losses, while 500+ fighters will most likely kill few of my Battleships.
The AI almost never gets far enough up the tech tree to get battleships; ultra-late-game fleets like that are practically irrelevant for it, and if you're that far along tech-wise then it really shouldn't be dealing casualties to you. More important are the low and mid-level tech levels, where the game is at its most competitive.
bjgrt wrote:Battles against huge fleets are always long
While the battle itself may be long, individual engagements can be blazingly quick. This is especially true with regards to fighters; deathballs of fighters can deal massive amounts of damage in incredibly short periods of time, and can be in turn wiped out incredibly quickly by the boson gun. You basically need to set things to 1/3rd speed just to be able to see the action when fighters are involved. This is problematic for missiles because of missile traps, which will completely block missile fire until they are depleted. This makes missiles something you either want to specialize in to punch through anti-missile defenses reliably, or just avoid entirely and focus on an energy/laser combination.
bjgrt wrote:The combination of "hooligans" with other weapons used by AI presents more challenge (in my experience).
That's very context-dependent, but it's all about lining up the proper counter. Fighters would be the ideal answer to a hooligan ship; get in, blast it, and then get out before other ships can intervene. Alternately mobbing it with a baryon gun barrage also works, then withdrawing the one that took the brunt of the hooligan fire. The AI's inability to properly cover its unit types for their weaknesses in its fleet formation means it often can't leverage their strengths as well as they should. In theory that hooligan ship could be quite dangerous in combination with other ships in its fleet, but because of the AI's limitations it's not too hard to line things up so it can't do that.

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