Shrike's Mines & Missiles ++

A place to discuss mods in development and concepts for new mods.
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Song
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Fri Jan 23, 2015 9:58 am

Because of work, things have been very, very slow. But I've made an important step: I've started re-coding SM&M++ almost from scratch. This ensures that the weapons that I modify effects for have up-to-date damage values (so I can test for balance effectively), and obsolete code gets taken out anyway. Newer stuff (the APA, BEL, that sort of thing) gets migrated straight over, but older stuff will be redone entirely. This will add time to the development (considering I'm barely coding at all these days), but it's worth it for a better end result. I'm also thinking about merging SASS with SM&M++.


With the release of Eternity Port, I'm also altering some of my stuff so it's not too similar to the Near Stars content. The Bushido Energy Launcher in particular needs some changes to cement it as something very different to the Archura launcher. The BEL will have lower damage, but have WMD (making it inferior as an armor/shield penetrator, but superior against heavier targets with internal HP: something the Eurasian Diarchy launcher has very serious problems with). I will not be altering any weapons from Eternity Port (or corporate command) to maintain compatibility with the base game...although I do think a few of those weapons could have their graphics improved, it's not that major and not worth breaking the extension.

The APA itself is also going to get some changes that will make it significantly more dangerous to the player. Currently, the gun is extremely powerful, with a very high maximum damage value and a very good average damage. However, the variation on that damage is also very extreme: the APA can do anything from 24 to 576 damage in a shot. At lower values, this allows most craft to survive a direct hit, while at the highest values it will usually slag a ship entirely. I am considering lowering that maximum damage value, and raising the minimum. This makes it more consistant, but removes some of the charm of the weapon.....testing will be required to see whether this works or not.
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Song
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Wed Jan 28, 2015 12:21 am

Added new defense layouts into the game for certain friendly stations. The Rasiermesser factory now mounts a custom akan-30 derived turret, with about 4 times the fire-rate of the Akan 600 and an absurd ammunition cost. This weapon is non-random and is only omnidirectional on stations: if you steal one off a factory it will be straightline-only. It's of limited use because of the blast damage type, but it's hilarious to watch. Just be careful around it. I have also improved the armor and hitpoints of the factory. I may further alter the factory so it can damage hardened targets with high blast resistance.

Makayev factories have received vastly improved hitpoint counts, and are now a stationary version of Anton Nasser, sporting 4 Mk.V howitzers (this is probably going to be reduced) and 6 Moskva 33's in 3 batteries of 2 guns, each with a 120-degree fire-arc. Do not dock with it while there are hostiles nearby.


I'm planning to expand the Bushido range of weapons at some point, which will involve adding a factory for them as well. That should be fun.
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Song
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Thu Jan 29, 2015 6:44 am

Today, I merged SASS into the SM&M++ project. The two go well together, and it means I can use them both at once. I might demerge them slightly to make SASS a library at some point though. The implementation of sounds would still be handled by SM&M++. I do need to remake a few sounds though. Fortunately I have a bunch I made last year but never implemented.
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Song
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Thu Jan 29, 2015 11:43 pm

I've rebuilt the Bushido Energy Launcher. This launcher-mounted energy weapon is a redevelopment of the Nandao Bolt Cannon from vanilla. It fires a range of energy projectiles. In terms of performance, it's most similar to the Archura launcher from Eternity Port, but fills a different niche: the Archura lacks WMD, but has higher damage (for ammunition of the same level), while the BEL has very high WMD for an energy weapon, but significantly lower damage. Put simply, the BEL is a more versatile weapon, while the Archura is more specialised towards breaching shields and armor (to allow other weapons to damage compartments and stations). It also accepts several enhancement devices (howitzer loader and bushido enhancer will both boost the weapon) and can fire EMP bolts to disable enemy craft. The only vanilla enemy using the Nandao Bolt Cannon was the Earth Slaver, and it now fits the new weapon with particle-bolt cartridges, so don't worry about getting EMP'd by the Sung....they will never carry the EMP version.

I've worked to make the types of projectile visually distinct....EMP bolts are somewhat longer than other bolts and trail particles, while the particle bolt lacks that particle trail. This gives me the opportunity to add more ion bolts in without having them all look identical later. Here's the EMP and particle bolts side-by-side (I have not made any of the other bolts yet):
BELtest.png
BELtest.png (8.89 KiB) Viewed 2133 times
In addition to the new visual effects, I've used a spare sound effect from SASS to make the weapon even more distinct. I have one future variant of this gun planned (an alternating version similar to the Hanzo) as part of the general revamp of Bushido weapons. My next challenge will be to make the Hanzo blaster worthwhile.....currently, it is absolutely appallingly bad. You pay twice the cost of a dual-TeV9 for a weapon at the same level with slightly less damage per second and lower per-shot damage (meaning particle-resistance is even more annoying than usual). While the Hanzo does have the advantage in terms of upgrades, I think I'm going to need to play around with the stats a bit all the same.
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Song
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Sun Feb 01, 2015 8:18 am

Today I worked on a new bolt for the bushido energy launcher. It's based on the Katana starcannon, and balancing it has been...interesting. I think it's reasonable for now though. I added an advanced (faster ROF+ alternating) version of the Bushido Energy Launcher as a test. It's very fun, but balancing it may be tricky. I've also made the omnidirectional makayev launcher, and started work on making the Black Strelka a decent missile...currently it suffers the same problem as the CRM100: it doesn't reliably do damage to anything. As an interim measure I've added a small radius fragment to ensure it does damage to small things, upped the number (and damage) of fragments, and made them scatter a bit further, slightly faster.

Unfortunately, it's still worse than the Red Strelka against large targets, while only being "about as good" against swarms. I may need to do some more work on this....on the plus side, I've taken the opportunity to merge the sound effects from SASS back onto the missiles. Unfortunately, this means (because of the way missile launchers handle sounds) that I have to override each and every missile, so that's another compatibility issue potentially.
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JohnBWatson
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Sun Feb 01, 2015 6:15 pm

That BEL looks wonderful. Are there any NPCs that use your new weapons? Some of them would make for very interesting fights.

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Song
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Sun Feb 01, 2015 7:05 pm

JohnBWatson wrote:That BEL looks wonderful. Are there any NPCs that use your new weapons? Some of them would make for very interesting fights.
At the moment, the Earth Slaver spawns with a basic BEL with particle bolts (as the BEL currently over-writes the nandao bolt cannon....which may change). Since I can't do custom graphics for ships I'm rather limited in terms of what I can do, alas. It might be fund to bump up the defense layout on some of the more powerful Sung stations to use this thing instead of their default (and rather wimpy) particle beam cannons. Alternatively, I could make a random encounter based off the Dragon slaver, using this launcher (or the advanced counterpart) instead of the QAC.

Unfortunately, having the EMP bolt match the damage curve makes the EMP duration a bit excessive. I may need to change it to a more limited blind+device disrupt effect. Or just remove it, since the EMP gun isn't a bushido weapon....and I'm trying to have each cartridge correspond (generally) to an existing Bushido product (which is why the Nandao bolt cannon may return). That would involve making an x-ray laser based projectile to replace it though, which would be.....interesting.
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Mon Feb 02, 2015 1:11 am

Today I got bored and decided to try making the Britannia not suck. I very nearly succeeded.....the main problem with that thing is that it lacks a (working) heavy gun, and its AI is not designed to handle its armor/shield specs. So I swapped the gun and missile pod for a dual TeV9 (on secondary, so it would fire properly), and the new Bushido Advanced Energy Launcher firing the new Nandao 400 ion bolts. This didn't do anything: anything with a positron gun would just "nope!" the shields away, then kill the brit as it ran away. So I also swapped the R5B deflector for a Mammoth of the same level, and made it more of a turn-fighter by slightly reducing the speed and increasing the agility. This made it a very capable heavy gunship, easily able to defeat a lone Chasm without taking any armor damage (this is very impressive: a vanilla britannia at close range will be wiped out by a chasm 100% of the time). In groups, it will do significant damage to either a deimos or a phobos, but will still invariably lose. I think this is quite close to how it should be, so I'm thinking I'll keep this as a variant of the Brit. It's still very fragile, but it can at least do significant damage. Unfortunately, the "advanced" combatstyle is still a massive hinderance.....when running away, it will run right out of detection range, ending the fight forever (on random battles) or taking a VERY long time to return (on forced battles). Not ideal.
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JohnBWatson
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Mon Feb 02, 2015 4:05 am

Shrike wrote:and its AI is not designed to handle its armor/shield specs.
This is what you've got to fix. Make it use the KSC's range(and perhaps buff it to deal a worthwhile level of damage, as well as a small firearc on the Brit) and it will handle threats much more effectively.
easily able to defeat a lone Chasm without taking any armor damage (this is very impressive: a vanilla britannia at close range will be wiped out by a chasm 100% of the time).
When I tested it, the opposite outcome occurred. At close range, the Brit can fire its missiles will rarely take a hit. Perhaps the evasion AI could be modified so that it flees at abstract angles and its missile firing could be made more liberal, which would cause it to flee in a manner that would let it continue firing at the target.

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Mon Feb 02, 2015 4:13 am

This is really cool! I am looking forward to reading a "Chronicle of Engineering Developments" from Commonwealth Fleet Engineering! ;) (I'm jingojingo from IRC).

By the way, I just wanted to mention that your particle/ion graphics are *very* beautiful. Absolutely love them.

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Song
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Mon Feb 02, 2015 6:44 am

JohnBWatson wrote:
Shrike wrote:and its AI is not designed to handle its armor/shield specs.
This is what you've got to fix. Make it use the KSC's range(and perhaps buff it to deal a worthwhile level of damage, as well as a small firearc on the Brit) and it will handle threats much more effectively.
easily able to defeat a lone Chasm without taking any armor damage (this is very impressive: a vanilla britannia at close range will be wiped out by a chasm 100% of the time).
When I tested it, the opposite outcome occurred. At close range, the Brit can fire its missiles will rarely take a hit. Perhaps the evasion AI could be modified so that it flees at abstract angles and its missile firing could be made more liberal, which would cause it to flee in a manner that would let it continue firing at the target.
Eh, this varient doesn't use the katana at all..the BAEL is firing shots that basically the katana only better, mind. Fixing the AI is beyond me....I can't do translisp at all. And applying "standoff" style makes for a hilarious fight to set to Yackety Sax.....but it's not effective. So all I can really do is buff the setup so it at least has a chance. And I think the new setup does that fairly well. Not quite well enough, but it's an experiment. In any case, adding a range thing will probably decrease performance....this is a 20-facing ship, which makes long-range sniping shots really, really hard. Jinking while running may also backfire: it's too big and not fast enough to get away with it against advanced Ares opposition.
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JohnBWatson
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Mon Feb 02, 2015 6:37 pm

this is a 20-facing ship, which makes long-range sniping shots really, really hard.
That's why I'd add the firearc. It'd also set it apart from the Centurion X.

In any case, I'm eager to see your modifications in action.

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Mon Feb 02, 2015 7:01 pm

Shrike wrote:
JohnBWatson wrote:
easily able to defeat a lone Chasm without taking any armor damage (this is very impressive: a vanilla britannia at close range will be wiped out by a chasm 100% of the time).
When I tested it, the opposite outcome occurred...
How do you guys run these tests?

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Song
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Mon Feb 02, 2015 8:05 pm

bzm3r wrote:
Shrike wrote:
JohnBWatson wrote:
easily able to defeat a lone Chasm without taking any armor damage (this is very impressive: a vanilla britannia at close range will be wiped out by a chasm 100% of the time).
When I tested it, the opposite outcome occurred...
How do you guys run these tests?
In my case, the head-to-head ship spawner in G.O.D. It's not a particularly fair trial: normally the britannia would get a range advantage for firing missiles, but it models attacks on stations fairly well.
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JohnBWatson
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Mon Feb 02, 2015 8:22 pm

Shrike wrote:
bzm3r wrote:
Shrike wrote:
JohnBWatson wrote:
easily able to defeat a lone Chasm without taking any armor damage (this is very impressive: a vanilla britannia at close range will be wiped out by a chasm 100% of the time).
When I tested it, the opposite outcome occurred...
How do you guys run these tests?
In my case, the head-to-head ship spawner in G.O.D. It's not a particularly fair trial: normally the britannia would get a range advantage for firing missiles, but it models attacks on stations fairly well.
Oddly enough, that's how I tested it as well. I'll try it a few more times and see what results I get.

EDIT: Britannia won 7 out of 10 matches. I alternated which one was selected first, to eliminate that as a factor. All 3 losses were incurred due to the AI failing you mentioned.

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