Chainsaw - Grosse Pointe Blank

Post about your finished mods here.
Post Reply
robotarozum
Miner
Miner
Posts: 35
Joined: Sat Nov 30, 2013 10:05 pm

Tue Jan 14, 2014 9:42 pm

Short version: a fast ship with high damage but tiny weapons range, light armor, low cargo space, and limited slots.
http://xelerus.de/index.php?s=mod&id=1360

.

Whenever I played vanilla, I found myself getting a howitzer and mopping the floor with every enemy: at 120 ls they out-distance every engagement radius (making short work of bases) and the very few non-ammo weapons that can match them for distance are either not used (lancer cannon), not effective (Katana star cannon), or don't fire fast enough (Ares plasma archcannon, Hecates, other howitzers) to prevent easy player victory.

So I decided to make a ship with the following attributes in mind:
1. high damage at close range
2. high speed
3. lower defenses

As a child of the 80s, I recall with great fondness the chainsaw weapon of DooM: extremely limited range with devastating damage. Thus I made a weapon with range of 10 ls and tried it out. I found two areas of extreme difficulty: clearing a Commune was impossible, the Sentries just tore me up. Even at .40 c they had an easy time acquiring firing solutions on me. I could have tried making the ship even faster, but it seemed like that would have unacceptable ripple effects, as I was already outrunning some enemy projectiles.

My first attempted solution was a low-damage high-momentum weapon, with the idea that I would push Sentries away from everything else until I could chainsaw them one by one. It turned out that immobile objects are unmovable, so that didn't work.

Instead I created the engine cannon, a 1 damage wide area disintegrator with severe penalties that (I hoped) would only be practical against stationary, unshielded targets: Sentries. Obviously the weapon also obliterates Sandstorms, but I felt this was not a big issue as the chainsaw would make very short work of them anyway. Between general unwieldiness and lost loot costs, I feel that the engine cannon is not useful in general dogfight situations. I also set the power requirements such that the weapon would be totally unfeasible until 500+ MW reactors, late enough in the game that most enemies have shields anyway.

So now I could take down Communes, but unlike DooM certain enemies in Transcendence have non-critical areas. Even with WMD 7, I couldn't find a way to have the DPS high enough to credibly fight Phobos (even Deimos) without making every non-non-critical encounter totally pointless, so I looked at alternate damage. Disintegration on a direct damage weapon turned out to be super cheesy, radiation/EMP seemed like they would be the same plus they wouldn't work on higher level armor, momentum was counter-productive, that left device disable. This turned out to not be that cheesy in practice, because in practice you can't get 10 ls away from a Phobos without also being 10 ls away from a bunch of other ships, and having one disabled device doesn't make a ship as helpless as being EMPed or as dead as being disintegrated. I found in testing that the device disabling let me tip the balance during strafing runs, but without letting me squat against an Ares fleet and just hold down the fire button. The light armor also contributes here: before light Iocrym, the best armor available to this ship is Gusoku, and even with a 40% Taikon-200 I took armor damage strafing an Ares Shipyard, and an Ares plasma archcannon will drop 50% Gusoku in one shot (even through some shielding).

Of course, a weapon that can come out and play against the Phobos would be boring to use in the game leading up to that point, so I built stations that would appear in certain fixed systems to balance out the chainsaw. This is tricky because I have to balance not only the damage output against other weapons' DPS but to their range, which also means I have to balance against the time of survival, itself a function of my defense vs. opponent offense. When I tested it I felt pretty good, and I am open to feedback, but please try it rather than just computing the DPS and pointing out it's way higher than other options: it has to be.

.

Acknowledgements: thank you to...

George Moromisato, for making this fine game and being patient with my novice questions
digdug, for the function list topic, the Weapons Extended mod, and being patient with my novice questions
RPC, for being patient with my novice questions and adding me to the UNID database
editorRUS, for being patient with my novice questions
shaman, for alerting me to the debug console
Periculi, for the weapons overview topic
alterecco, for the Galactic Omni Device mod
vayra, for the NPC ships as player vessels mod
the proprietors of xelerus, the Transcendence wiki, and github

Shaman
Commonwealth Pilot
Commonwealth Pilot
Posts: 95
Joined: Fri Sep 20, 2013 2:03 pm

Tue Jan 14, 2014 10:47 pm

I played a short game. Rushing to the first systems, get the first upgrade and fool around in the arena.

Conclusion:
This is fun! Your mod makes T fast-paced, the action level rises.
The first two weapons seem balanced, no god-weapons at all. If you're stupid, Arco could kill you. The first upgrade gives enough power to deal with further enemies, but not too much I think.

Like I said, I rushed through the first systems. I quickly made money, but didn't pay attention to the goods. Did you change the sell price or was I just lucky?

I don't like the low freight capacity although it is necessary for balance. My favourite is the EI-500 so the ship is totally different than my normal play style.

It's late here, I will play more tomorrow.

robotarozum
Miner
Miner
Posts: 35
Joined: Sat Nov 30, 2013 10:05 pm

Tue Jan 14, 2014 11:11 pm

Thanks for the feedback! Fast pace is very much what I was going for, I'm glad to hear that others have found the same.

I didn't alter anything in the buy/sell bits as far as money goes. I would guess that the mod changes the money paradigm in favor of the player because of...

1. free weapons (even if they sell for nil)
2. free drive
3. less frequent armor purchase in mid to late game

...but in all my vanilla playthroughs I ended up with money to burn anyway, so for now I'm not worried about it. I also found in the later stages of the game that the chainsaw sometimes does that thing where the shot immediately after the one that kills an enemy shreds it, and when it fires 15 times a second that happens pretty frequently. Between that and disintegrating sentries, I found that while there is a swell in early game credits, the same does not apply to late game rin.

Compounding this, trying to do [kill Ferian] -> [Ringer ore] runs in 30 tons max after enjoying the freighter's expansive cargo space is a sure recipe for crossed eyes. I had one system spawn a Ringer Shipyard with two Ferian Nests around the same planet, otherwise I never would have bothered shuttling the ore. Further compounding this, Ringers become disinterested in buying ores after a sale, so selling in smaller increments is that much less appealing.

I can't even begin to write equations for all these variables, but I'm empirically confident that the money all works out the same in the end as a vanilla playthrough with traditional armament-buying and cargo-space-having.

Shaman
Commonwealth Pilot
Commonwealth Pilot
Posts: 95
Joined: Fri Sep 20, 2013 2:03 pm

Fri Jan 17, 2014 5:29 pm

I played further until Sanctuary.

Like I said before, the game now is really fast-paced.
An Issue might be cheating by going forward, take the upgrades and then shred every system before. Maybe you should get some requirements for the upgrade, at least to pay an adequate ammount of money.(maybe 10.000 for the first upgrade and 70.000 for the next one and so on).

You are often in a situation, where you rush to a base and find yourself in the center of all the enemy's attention aka weapon fire. This reduces your shield heavily and you have to to hit-and-run maneuvers.
Station explosions are now really dangerous, especially the further you get. You are so fast, you often fly above the station while firing and it explodes. On the brightside, you are faster than the explosion itself and so you're able to escape, unless you fly directly INTO the explosion
Penitent Shrines are dangerous, I think I'm gonna avoid them in the future. It is possible to destroy them by either sneaking into range and fly away from the shockwave or doing fly-by maneuvers.

I recommend this mod to every player, because it adds a different playstyle. It turns it more into an action game then a rogue-like one. The very few device slots don't let you differ your playstyle, but this limitation seems intended and works fine.

I'm curious about the engine cannon. Did you get this idea from the Ringworld-Saga? I imagine it a bit like a fire-breathing dragon.

You did a good job on this, go on!

robotarozum
Miner
Miner
Posts: 35
Joined: Sat Nov 30, 2013 10:05 pm

Fri Jan 17, 2014 10:17 pm

The upgrade economics are tricky, for sure. I think a big part is that the lower levels just go by so quickly, like any RPG. With that in mind the critical point is the upgrade in St. Kat's: it's too easy to sneak ahead from Rigel in vanilla, but the enemies get so much stronger after SK that the upgrade has to be acquirable shortly after getting there. I think I'll put a significant price tag on that and for consistency a trivial price tag on the Rigel upgrade. The next upgrades are far enough that I think no cost works, anyone who puts the effort in to sneak all the way from SK to Jiang's Star deserves it.

I have killed/desperate-escaped myself on base explosions at least once per playthrough, it definitely takes some getting used to after hardly ever seeing one during my Howitzer games. I also found that the chainsaw range sometimes extends just a tiny bit longer than the Penitent area weapon range: the nominal ranges are 10 to 12, so my guess is that this only counts to the center of the chainsaw projectile, then the spike length of 5 bumps it up to 15...? Or the weapon counts as being fired from slightly in front of the ship while the area weapon is fired from the center? With ranges this short the distinction between center-to-center and edge-to-edge is a lot more important, but soon enough you'll have shields that can handle the Penitents no problem. The thermoexplosion 3s and 4s of the world are what get me: being at 195 (Gusoku) instead of 1350 (octocarbide) is no picnic.

The engine cannon I got from an online CCG I used to play called Star Chamber (unfortunately discontinued), haven't read Ringworld. One card gave the ship a very strong weapon, but whenever it was fired the ship was rendered stationary for another turn. I designed its weapon specifications after encountering the problem with turret fortifications. I really wanted to have it automatically fire backwards, but the best I could do was have it fire from a point behind a target-facing ship and then pass through which was a bit silly looking.

I'm really glad you like the mod, thanks a lot for your feedback! :D

User avatar
sun1404
Militia Captain
Militia Captain
Posts: 527
Joined: Thu Nov 03, 2011 10:32 am
Location: Heretic. (Finally!)

Sat Jan 18, 2014 3:03 am

You can configure a weapon's firing position and firing angle. Try looking at the Ion Flame cannon for a vanilla example. Change the angle (not the pos angle) to 180, and your weapon should fire backward.
Yes, look at my avatar, I have a wyvera type ship.

User avatar
WillyTheSquid
Militia Lieutenant
Militia Lieutenant
Posts: 195
Joined: Wed Jan 18, 2012 4:32 pm
Location: Rotterdam, The Netherlands

Thu Feb 27, 2014 7:31 am

I'm SO trying this one out. I always love the close-range high-damage hit-and-run style weapons. This should be right up my alley. I'll make sure to give some feedback when I've taken it for a spin.
Image

“Normal people believe that if it ain't broke, don't fix it. (Modders) believe that if it ain't broke, it doesn't have enough features yet.” -Scott Adams

Resident mod-cobbler-together, freakspawn-fixer-upper & musical eclectro-ecumenologist.
If you love something, tweak it and twist it. Keep bending it until it breaks. Rip it apart, remix it, rebuild it. Kill your darlings and stitch them together again.

JOIN US ON IRC. IT KICKS ASS. JOIN THE HIVE MIND.
Place cursor on link. Click link. Never look back.

Post Reply