Internals Discussion (Split from balance suggestion thread)

Post ideas & suggestions you have pertaining to the game here.
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Atarlost
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Sat Nov 14, 2015 11:00 pm

JohnBWatson wrote:
AssumedPseudonym wrote: Something of an odd thought for making internal compartments less ridiculously overpowered: Remove the WMD requirement to effectively damage them. There would have to be rebalancing across the board, yes, but that’s going to happen no matter how internals are eventually dealt with.
A capital ship should not be plinked to death by a laser beam as easily as a fighter. Of course, it should also not take 25 howitzer hits to destroy its unarmored interior either.

My suggestion, in its most concise form:

- Merge internal HP systems: Internal HP should be possible to deplete entirely, but the ability to kill critical armor segments and the chance to kill a ship with a WMD hit to a noncritical should return. This is both more realistic and more fun.
- Nerf internal HP overall: Reduction by a factor of 2 should suffice for any given ship.
- Make armor relevent in defending capital ships: A multiplier from 0.5 for WMD 0 to 1.5 for WMD 7 should be applied to all shots hitting a capital ship's armor. Serves to make WMD truly useful in addition to making fighting capital ships a bit different from fighting noncapitals.
Armor is ablative in Transcendence. Past a certain point, a thicker plate just has more HP, not resistance. WMD should not have any effect specific to capital ship armor. The correct way to make armor thicker is to extend the pseudoenhancement mechanic for slots to armor and run a global <ondestroyed> to double the amount of armor left in wrecks of ships with the capital tag. This would allow a lot of valuable flexibility in the thickness of a ship's armor and even allow some arcs to be covered by extra thick armor while others aren't similar to the old noncritical segment system.

I'd rather see the WMD mechanic removed than see it dominate capital ship combat. It makes nonsense of the lore which features capital ships with non-WMD primary armaments and non-WMD armed gunships not being completely ineffectual. If WMD represents anything it's the ability to do additional damage to non-armor. Increased damage to armor has its own mechanic. The WMD curve assumes that each point of station HP or ship internal structure is a compartment. The structure value should be the number of compartments to reach either a critical structural member or something that destroys the ship if lost. That's compartments, not rooms. These things:
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A station will tend to have a lot of compartments, but a ship will tend to have one go across the entire ship. That pic is the USS South Dakota, the second to last American battleship class. A larger ship might have seven compartments at each cross section, but destroying the second would mission kill the ship since doing so would involve destroying the main longitudinal structural members. A very broad ship like the worldship or terraformer might have nineteen, but the effective depth to kill would be three. It would take something enormous like the Xenophobe Arc or nearly immobile like the CSC to have station-like levels of structural redundancy. Otherwise it's just not worth modeling.
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TheLoneWolf
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Sun Nov 15, 2015 4:44 am

Afaik compartments are built for crew activities. A station will have many of those, as ^^^ said. But whats the deal with a dreadnaught? Its a freaking huge ship! But is it supposed to have compartments RIGHT beneath an armour? NO! IT FREAKING ISN'T! Now its like an egg. Something strong outside, but break a piece and all the mushy stuff is for your taking. Idk but it isn't supposed to be like that, or is it? We could have multi layer armour. Or we can do it like chocolate. There is a box, then a plastic wrapper, then some aluminium foil and then the goodies.

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Sun Nov 15, 2015 5:42 am

JohnBWatson wrote:Strikes me as the rule. I don't know of any vanilla counterexamples, at least, and I've been playing for a while. A few can be distracted during the mission and then kited afterwards, but that's the limit of it.
 If they’re not targeting you specifically, you can’t kite. Two instances that come immediately to mind are the Charon attack against Korolov in the Charon system and the Sung attacks against Huari stations. George himself got a good taste of the latter in his most recent stream episode (he may not have been trying to kite, true, but it would have been pointless regardless).
JohnBWatson wrote:If something is drastically unbalanced, it can't really be used as a metric by which to balance everything else.
 What blasphemy is this? We’re talking about Transcendence, here! We have a long and time-honored tradition of rebalancing something and then waiting at least two versions before trying to fix everything else that was broken by it! …Which is, of course, part of what got us into part of the mess with internals in the first place. So yeah. I don’t necessarily disagree on this point, but it’s still something for another topic, not this one.
JohnBWatson wrote:Only if it hit something important. That's covered in the other half of my proposed rebalancing.
 I’m not convinced that ships really have room for entirely unimportant sections. Whether it’s computer systems, reactors, vital systems like life support or cooling or the like, or even simply structural integrity, something is going to be damaged and eventually have an adverse affect on the rest of the ship if it gets shot full of holes.
JohnBWatson wrote:I believe it's best explained like this:

There is undeniably more of the armor. The ratio of segments to surface area on a capship is vastly different from the ratio of segments to surface area on a non - capital ship, meaning each segment must be orders of magnitude bigger in order to cover the entire ship. The same effect could be achieved by doubling/tripling/decupling the number of armor segments and giving WMD weapons the ability to damage nearby segments, but that would be somewhat storage and runtime - inefficient, not to mention that it would make destroying an armor segment of a capital ship a bit too arbitrary for my taste without incorporating AOE weapons.

You make a good point about the illogicality of being able to transfer the armor to a gunship after looting it, but as I understand it that appears to be something that's just assumed to be possible for the sake of gameplay at this point, like the ability to repair armor without using materials, its ability to be fitted to vastly different hull types, and so on. While I certainly understand your concern here, this strikes me as the best way to maneuver around the physical impossibilities without breaking too many things.
Atarlost wrote:Armor is ablative in Transcendence. Past a certain point, a thicker plate just has more HP, not resistance. WMD should not have any effect specific to capital ship armor. The correct way to make armor thicker is to extend the pseudoenhancement mechanic for slots to armor and run a global <ondestroyed> to double the amount of armor left in wrecks of ships with the capital tag. This would allow a lot of valuable flexibility in the thickness of a ship's armor and even allow some arcs to be covered by extra thick armor while others aren't similar to the old noncritical segment system.
 Actually, with the way Atarlost went about explaining and expanding on this, I might be suitably appeased on this point.
JohnBWatson wrote:That's another reasonable way of doing this, which I recall proposing a while back. One important point, however, is that DPS for WMD weapons and non - WMD weapons is roughly even without multipliers, meaning weapons that logically should be weak against massive armor segments work just as well as the superheavy bombardment weapons that should logically be effective against them. Thus, I suggested a multiplier that went into effect for extremely large armor segments, making them better resist low - WMD weapons fire.

Overall, what I'm saying here is that, at present, WMD weaponry is not inherently more powerful than non - WMD weaponry, but ammo requirements, cost, rarity, and lack of omni/firerate do often make them a worse choice for fighting off gunships. For the sake of both balance and realism, they do need to be somewhat more useful for dealing with capital ships.
 Actually, taking roundoff into account… yes, it usually is, if only because it deals a bigger bite of damage in a single shot that only gets affected by roundoff once instead of a bunch of smaller nibbles that each lose some of their potency to roundoff.
JohnBWatson wrote:Another way to achieve balance here while retaining uniqueness and a sense of fun could be to make WMD weapons actually be more powerful, with radius effects, much higher damage, and the works, and then massively cut down on their firerate/accuracy to make them less useful against gunships. This would fit well if you're dead set against WMD multipliers, but if we're going that route it would make sense to just eliminate the 'WMD' field entirely(not that there's anything wrong with doing that).
 I would not be opposed to this, for the most part. WMD should still be kept for dealing damage to multihull stations, though.
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Mon Nov 16, 2015 10:45 pm

AssumedPseudonym wrote:If they’re not targeting you specifically, you can’t kite. Two instances that come immediately to mind are the Charon attack against Korolov in the Charon system and the Sung attacks against Huari stations. George himself got a good taste of the latter in his most recent stream episode (he may not have been trying to kite, true, but it would have been pointless regardless).
Hadn't thought of those examples. On a side note, I wish we had those threads for the George episodes still. I always miss them due to scheduling, anyways, but it was fun to see the community talk about his exploits.
 I’m not convinced that ships really have room for entirely unimportant sections. Whether it’s computer systems, reactors, vital systems like life support or cooling or the like, or even simply structural integrity, something is going to be damaged and eventually have an adverse affect on the rest of the ship if it gets shot full of holes.
True. It'd be interesting for each compartment to introduce a penalty to the rest of the ship upon destruction, be it speed, rotation, fire accuracy, shield regen...

Of course, this may be too unbalancing if internals remain the main source of a ship's survivability. I've always thought internals should be something of a cathartic conclusion to a tough fight, rather than an entire second phase. This idea would work well under that framework.
Actually, taking roundoff into account… yes, it usually is, if only because it deals a bigger bite of damage in a single shot that only gets affected by roundoff once instead of a bunch of smaller nibbles that each lose some of their potency to roundoff.
Somewhat, perhaps, against armor optimized for resistance rather than health(which is unlike quite a bit of the capship armor we see). I still feel like the difference ought to be more drastic, just going by what a new player would expect weapons to do. I'm not saying it has to be WMD that does this; giving weapons that are supposed to be capship - killers the ability to hit multiple segments(through shockwave, radius, or just applying damage to adjacent segments) and / or inflict more armor damage would work just as well.
WMD should still be kept for dealing damage to multihull stations, though.
Agreed on that. I'd like it to be a bit more impactful there, against extremely large constructs like Shipyards and Arcologies, at least.

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Mon Jan 18, 2016 5:47 am

I believe I have an idea that would satisfy everyone here, being understandable to new players, functional in game, and without any need for excessive re - balancing. Rather than internal HP, capital ships could field multiple layers of armor in the same slot/position. WMD damage would allow damage to affect layers of armor below the current one. This would have the following advantages over the current system:

Immersion/intuitiveness:

This makes a lot more sense than the unarmored internal structure of a ship being ripped open and withstanding multiple thermonuclear attacks without any noticeable changes in performance.

Capital ships are expected to be more heavily armored than gunships.

Health will decline at roughly the same rate over the course of a capital ship's health bar, eliminating the apparent change in armor power mid - battle that makes little sense to anyone who hasn't looked up how the current system is coded.

Using WMD weapons against capital ships is something that can be seen to be effective from the start, rather than something that works intermittently depending on how much damage has been done.

The equipment dropped by a capital ship will be relevant to what it fielded against the player - no more wondering how that Drake using armor vastly weaker than your own managed to withstand that many Longbows.

Attacking the same location repeatedly doesn't go out the window 1/5th of the way into most fights - a capital ship that's been battered in the front won't draw from the exact same pool as attacking the rear.

Balance:

As this relies on existing stats and mechanics, the degree of balancing required to get other capship health systems to work would not be required here.

Much smoother to implement playable capital ships in mods/expansions with this system.

The armor a capital ship drops will always be related to how difficult it was to kill.

Capital ships can be given different weights naturally, making WMD more useful against some than others. A gunboat with 2 layers of plasteel will not be as impervious to light weaponry as a dreadnought with 4 layers of Heavy Tharsis plate, but WMD weaponry won't be pointless against the former either.

Gameplay:

By giving capital ships multiple layers of standard - weight armor, they can have a respectable defensive advantage against gunships without relying on superheavy armor that's of no use to the player or some invisible gimmick only understood by forum users.

WMD weapons are useful throughout the fight against capships, making fights a lot smoother. Weapon switching is brought about naturally rather than artificially.

Multiple means of defeating capital ships, which can be chosen by the player. Attacking the enemy precisely with a high damage weapon on the same area is a viable strategy, as is pummeling the enemy with battleship guns.

Military grade ships, civilian ships, and alien flagships no longer spend the vast majority of their time in combat responding the exact same way to damage.

Capital ships can be given more natural seeming weak points, with more layers of armor being present in different areas. Want a fast attack cruiser that requires heavy bombardment in the front, but has an exposed engine vulnerable to the lighter weaponry employed by fighters? That can be done.

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Wed Jan 20, 2016 3:07 am

I support JBW's proposition.

I actually make suits of armor in my free time (chainmaille/plate/etc) so I have to deal with similar situations when designing functional pieces. Except for areas like the hand that need freedom of motion, I always have at least two layers of protection. Take a light scalemaille suit, for example [equivalent of gunship armor]. The hand (if it even uses any at all) has a thin layer of European 4-in-1, a fairly light and flexible maille. But on the chest, which is less mobile and will (usually) take more hits than your hand, there is a layer of leather covered by the stronger and less flexible European 8-in-2, and a full scalemaille layer is "grafted" over the top* to better enable the deflection of weapons. For heavier armors [equivalent of capship armors], I add more layers, use thicker patterns, use special types of rings/scales/etc, or go for full plate armor.

Assuming the defense of a ship to be similar to the defense of one's body, using multiple layers is good logic on the part of the shipwrights for both combat and redundancy in case of an outer hull breach.

I also see this as a perfect opportunity to fully incorporate PSD into the game. If a flimsy little Sapphire maxing out at a mere two layers of light armor has no hope of taking down an immense capship sporting a half-dozen layers of heavy armor, there is suddenly a bit of incentive to upgrade to a larger ship capable of supporting more layers and using heavier armors.



*For those of you who know about maille but are confused on what I did, I have a grid of bottom-top connections spaced every other link. They firmly connect the two layers into a single piece while still allowing for some basic motion and circumnavigating the risk of cutting if fibers were used instead.
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Fri Jan 22, 2016 6:07 am

 The main reasons behind my initial suggestion to simply remove WMD requirements to effectively damage capship internals and to subsequently rebalance internal HP from there was for the sake of simplicity. Besides the fact that I think it would have the desired effect on gameplay — that being to make capships softer targets than supposedly fortified stations — I’m pretty sure it would probably be a much easier fix in the game engine code.
 Best case scenario? It works as advertised, everyone likes it, and no further engine code fixes are necessary. But even if it doesn’t, it should at the very least serve as a workable stopgap until another idea (such as Watson’s) can be implemented and playtested.
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