Righteous Fire Takes Out the Big Guns (January 31, 2023)

Bandit LOAF

Long Live the Confederation!
I’m working on a Righteous Fire walkthrough and while playing the last missions I noticed the Elite Salthi were firing fusion guns. But my increasingly old man memory was sure the big reveal was that they fired copies of the Steltek Gun. Was I misremembering because there’s dialogue about the gun being copied? I watched a dozen YouTube videos and they were all fusion guns. Huh!

Then I realized: I first played the expansion when it was released on disk in early 1994, just a few months before the CD-ROM came out and that became the de facto version of Privateer. Could there have been an intentional change? I installed the floppy version from disk images and… sure enough!

WHY? It’s not an accident as the Dralthi uses fusions in both versions. I’m guessing the support folks were sick of people asking how to get the gun back and decided not to tease players. Too bad, as it was a distinct enough moment for me to remember thirty years later!
  • Here’s (somehow) the first detailed RF walkthrough on the information superhighway! I need to make an index and continue cleanup but you can access all the missions from the bottom for now.
  • Did a little more digging in the guts; I DIFF'd all the ship profiles between the two versions and found that the Elite Salthi (and Jones' Centurion) had all their Steltek Guns (09) changed to Fusion Cannons (08). So it had to be on purpose!

Original update published on January 31, 2023
Fascinating. I only ever played the CD-ROM version and never saw the version where Retro ships fired Steltek guns. This makes the dialogue about copies of the gun make a lot more sense now. I just assumed that the blue blasts the Retros were firing on me were their attempt at replicating Steltek technology, which isn't always going to yield the same result as the original.

How does the damage potential compare between the Steltek Gun and the Fusion Cannon (game-engine values)?
I believe it actually makes them deadlier:

Fusion vs. RF Steltek
Damage: 6.6 / 6.0 cm
Energy Use: 11 / 19 GJ
Refire: .5 sec / .45 sec
Speed: 1350 / 1175 kps
Range: 4590 / 3995 km

(The RF Steltek gun is nerfed somewhat from the Privateer one... which was certainly intentional to make the Salthi less painful.)
Did you notice that the Retros Fusion Cannons sound really strange? They definitely do not sound like a Fussion Cannon... it nearly sounds like a "poor quality" PC speaker sound. Weird... I just heard it while playing through Righteous Fire.

I see it like Wedge and always thought it should be seen as kind of a replicated Steltek weapon. I really would have loved to play the original version with the green guns. That would seem a lot more realistic. I think we should create a patch for Righteous fire to bring back the original Steltek guns to the elite Retro Salthi ships in the last mission.
There, the normal status of the Privateer Steltek Gun should be used.

Original not boosted Steltek Gun
Damage: 10.0 cm
Energy Use: 19 GJ
Refire: .45 sec
Speed: 1175 kps
Range: 3995 km

Do you think such a patch could be created for the CD RF version? I think you could really change all Retro Salthis to Steltek Guns for more difficulty...
I forgot that Burrows negotiates with the Steltek to boost the damage of his salvaged gun. Presumably the Retros and other people involved with the theft were unable to replicate this boosting technology. Out of curiosity what are the values for the boosted gun?

Even the standard gun is quite a bit more powerful than what came through in RF. Which, as LOAF mentions, was intentional to make it less challenging - or perhaps, frustrating. That was the reason for my question in the first place: if the original version of the Salthi were using Steltek guns would that have been more challenging than the replacement Fusion cannons?
Normal Steltek Gun (Privateer):
Damage: 10.0 cm
Energy Use: 19 GJ
Refire: 0.45 sec
Speed: 1175 kps

Boosted Steltek Gun (Privateer):
Damage: 19.0 cm
Energy Use: 17 GJ
Refire: 0.37 sec
Speed: 1250 kps

When I played the game first in my youth, I used Tachyon Cannons. In 2008, I used Tachyons on the inner ports and Lasers on the outer ports.
In 2013 I only used Lasers.
This time in 2022/2023 I first used Lasers, then Tachyon Cannons... and for Righteous Fire ... Fusion Cannons, but that's all crap. I changed back to Lasers and I will stay with this configuration. I was able to kill Menesh before he jumps out with just Lasers. With 4 Fusion Cannons... it did not work. Lasers and Gun Coolers allow permanent damage...
Lasers and Gun Coolers allow permanent damage...
The classic spray and pray. :)

I think @BonkusMaximus82 captured this in a stream.

About the steltek gun being nerfed... they were quiet, you normally would be surprised by a shot across the bow. With fusion we hear the shot and go full burn.