More weapon balance stats

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JohnBWatson
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Sat Jan 30, 2016 6:33 am

Gunship's above post is spot-on throughout. Goes well with my point about the hard to quantify benefits of omnidirectional capability.

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Sat Jan 30, 2016 8:53 pm

pixelfck wrote:@George, May I ask why we 'need' the inherent damage type resistance curves on armor? If you ask me, the level dependent armour resistance makes the whole weapon balance challenge needlessly complicated.
Originally I added damage type resistance as a way to simulate discontinuities in technological development. For example, the development of tanks wasn't just a linear increase over armored horses. Technological development isn't always linear--sometimes there are big jumps. The damage type resistance makes earlier damage types obsolete faster than the commensurate increase in HP.

As you said, of course, we could approximate this by increasing damage and armor HP in large steps at the damage tier boundaries. But to me, that loses some of the flavor of the damage types. If laser and particle are identical except that one does more HP, then for the most part, HP is the only thing that matters. In my opinion, you lose some (though not all) of the differentiation between damage types.

If anything, this makes me want to double-down on damage type resistance and increase the difference between types. For example, what if some types (e.g., laser) had more or less resistance than others. Certain types might last longer than others (in exchange for some other strength or weakness). I'm not in danger of doing this any time soon--as Shrike said, it would be too hard to redo all the balance. But this would be trivially easy for someone to do as a mod. In particular, you can create your own <AdventureDesc> and specify whatever values for damage resistance.

See: http://wiki.kronosaur.com/modding/xml/adventuredesc
And: http://xelerus.de/index.php?s=mod&id=1199

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Sat Jan 30, 2016 9:05 pm

I really should try moving the Purely Hypothetical Adventure into actual development, rather than just concept work....it's a design concept I work on now and then to practice planning out an adventure....while I've never planned it out fully I'd always thought about having a flat armor resistance and then using traits to differentiate damage types. It's still purely hypothetical, of course. :P








If so I'm going to have to wrestle over whether to change that development name......
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Atarlost
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Sun Jan 31, 2016 12:22 am

george moromisato wrote:
pixelfck wrote:@George, May I ask why we 'need' the inherent damage type resistance curves on armor? If you ask me, the level dependent armour resistance makes the whole weapon balance challenge needlessly complicated.
Originally I added damage type resistance as a way to simulate discontinuities in technological development. For example, the development of tanks wasn't just a linear increase over armored horses. Technological development isn't always linear--sometimes there are big jumps. The damage type resistance makes earlier damage types obsolete faster than the commensurate increase in HP.
But Transcendence levels aren't really technology levels. A level 1 laser is arguably less advanced than a level 7 XM900 Lucifer missile. The latter is nearly pre-space technology. The former, to get a laser to cut titanium at all at 60 light seconds in a package that small and efficient is way beyond the state of the art.

Completely obsolete weapons just vanish entirely. They don't linger on for the four complete weapon/armor generations from lasers to positron and plasma weapons. If turbolasers are that far behind the state of the art it's like Somali pirates using wrought iron bombards, and the modern merchant vessels they prey on returning fire with the same ridiculously obsolete crap instead of carrying a few modern machine guns if they're going to carry anything.
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Sun Jan 31, 2016 3:06 am

JohnBWatson wrote:Gunship's above post is spot-on throughout. Goes well with my point about the hard to quantify benefits of omnidirectional capability.
I agree with both yours and Gunship's post. At minimum, I think the algorithm should treat omni as +100 balance (instead of +50).

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Sun Jan 31, 2016 3:14 am

gunship256 wrote:My operating assumption is that omni weapons are 2.5 times as powerful as equivalent fixed-angle weapons, but a couple of people have suggested to me that omni is worth more
I agree with the 2.5x part.

If I add omnidirectional to a fairly basic weapon that otherwise produces identical attacks, I consider it two levels higher (thanks to observations of existing weapon balance). Maybe one level higher if the base weapon is weak and the omni-fied weapon is strong, such as TeV 9s.


As for fragmentation, the DPS calculations in-game are fairly accurate. They may be slightly overpriced (but not by much), but that is probably due to short range of many fragments.
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Sun Jan 31, 2016 3:54 am

I would suggest we need formulas as a function of angle for both swivel/omni and particles/spread/inaccurate weapons. These types aren't very rigorously balanced. If we can figure out what's right for spread that would tell us what's actually right for fragmentation, which nobody seems to know yet, and if we can figure out what's right for swivel we'd know what omni should be.
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Sun Jan 31, 2016 5:40 am

Atarlost wrote:I would suggest we need formulas as a function of angle for both swivel/omni and particles/spread/inaccurate weapons. These types aren't very rigorously balanced. If we can figure out what's right for spread that would tell us what's actually right for fragmentation, which nobody seems to know yet, and if we can figure out what's right for swivel we'd know what omni should be.
Yes, that would be very helpful. Here's what I've been using so far for swivel:

Assume omni is equivalent to a 150% DPS enhancement. Assume a linear relationship between swivel amount and enhancement benefit. Combining these assumptions produces

b = (s/360)*150%

b = enhancement benefit
s = swivel arc, in degrees

PM and Atarlost, what improvements do you think can be made to those assumptions?

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JohnBWatson
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Sun Jan 31, 2016 6:32 am

I think omni can't really be considered as a raw boost to damage - it does allow for more time shooting at the target(I'd say 150 - 250% is about accurate in that regard), but it also lets users fire while dodging, something that synergises very well with range. Aiming difficulty also increases linearly with distance, which similarly causes longer ranged weapons to benefit more from omnidirectionality. A third factor here is the fact that the area a swivel mount covers increases exponentially with distance. An omni weapon with a range of 20 ls covers 1257 sqls of space, whereas an omni weapon of range 80 covers 20,106 sqls of space.

A second factor is ammo. Dodging while firing is more effective for fast ships, which typically can't carry as much ammo(or loot to sell for ammo, for that matter) as slower ones. Thus, tracking or omnidirectional capability might be less of a benefit for weapons that use ammunition, especially if it's heavy.

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Sun Jan 31, 2016 7:07 am

JohnBWatson wrote:I think omni can't really be considered as a raw boost to damage - it does allow for more time shooting at the target(I'd say 150 - 250% is about accurate in that regard), but it also lets users fire while dodging, something that synergises very well with range. Aiming difficulty also increases linearly with distance, which similarly causes longer ranged weapons to benefit more from omnidirectionality. A third factor here is the fact that the area a swivel mount covers increases exponentially with distance. An omni weapon with a range of 20 ls covers 1257 sqls of space, whereas an omni weapon of range 80 covers 20,106 sqls of space.

A second factor is ammo. Dodging while firing is more effective for fast ships, which typically can't carry as much ammo(or loot to sell for ammo, for that matter) as slower ones. Thus, tracking or omnidirectional capability might be less of a benefit for weapons that use ammunition, especially if it's heavy.
The dodging does sound tough to quantify. It would be more effective for fast ships, but slow ships need the large fire arcs more, since they turn slowly. It sounds like having more distance helps with dodging but may actually hurt slower ships, since slow ships can't dodge but have to deal with enemy ships which do dodge.

Area does increase exponentially with distance, but hitting a ship has more to do with the subtended arc that contains the ship. The ship will remain the same size with distance, but the radius of the circle it sits on will increase based on the formula for circumference, so the aiming difficulty should theoretically increase linearly, as you said earlier. My guess would be that true aiming benefit for an omni increases at some power less than one, since it's easier for targets to dodge shots from an omni weapon at a greater distance.

Omni capability may help launchers less because the most useful missiles already track or fragment. I do like having omni for Longbows, since the increased accuracy means I don't have to waste as many missiles.

Out of all these criteria, it sounds to me like weapon range and possibly shot speed are the ones that might be cleanly incorporated into a model for omni usefulness. I'm not sure how to go about doing the math, though.

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Sun Jan 31, 2016 9:21 pm

The dodging issue isn't separate from the hit rate issue. You only hit more against small targets that are usually harmless or if you're dodging. And you can dodge and fire a non-omni weapon. Figure eight dodging is tangent to the enemy at two points. This is most useful for medium range weapons that have some leeway, but is possible with any medium range weapon. It's possible with long range weapons as well, but there's little point. The Ion9 is particularly good at this, as are the fragmenting MAGs.
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JohnBWatson
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Sun Jan 31, 2016 11:51 pm

Atarlost wrote:The dodging issue isn't separate from the hit rate issue. You only hit more against small targets that are usually harmless or if you're dodging. And you can dodge and fire a non-omni weapon. Figure eight dodging is tangent to the enemy at two points. This is most useful for medium range weapons that have some leeway, but is possible with any medium range weapon. It's possible with long range weapons as well, but there's little point. The Ion9 is particularly good at this, as are the fragmenting MAGs.
While it's possible in some scenarios, like against Drakes, RDNs, or Urak destroyers, against enemies that put up a strong screen of quickly moving return fire it's much more difficult to hit with a non - omnidirectional weapon while still maintaining the same degree of safety. As you mentioned in the other thread, the Phobos, with its maneuverability, deadly spinal weapons, and powerful turrets, is a good example of this. It's reasonably simple to kill with a lightning turret, ion blaster, or (much less tediously) an omnidirectional thermo cannon, but fighting it with a fixed firing weapon within turret range is a lot harder.

With long ranged weapons, there's typically enough of a delay between enemy shots that can hit you that dodging and then shooting back is reasonably practical. Might even be a bit too easy to do, but once the range glitch is fixed we'll have some non - speculative data on that to discuss.

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Mon Feb 01, 2016 3:59 am

JohnBWatson wrote:
Atarlost wrote:The dodging issue isn't separate from the hit rate issue. You only hit more against small targets that are usually harmless or if you're dodging. And you can dodge and fire a non-omni weapon. Figure eight dodging is tangent to the enemy at two points. This is most useful for medium range weapons that have some leeway, but is possible with any medium range weapon. It's possible with long range weapons as well, but there's little point. The Ion9 is particularly good at this, as are the fragmenting MAGs.
While it's possible in some scenarios, like against Drakes, RDNs, or Urak destroyers, against enemies that put up a strong screen of quickly moving return fire it's much more difficult to hit with a non - omnidirectional weapon while still maintaining the same degree of safety. As you mentioned in the other thread, the Phobos, with its maneuverability, deadly spinal weapons, and powerful turrets, is a good example of this. It's reasonably simple to kill with a lightning turret, ion blaster, or (much less tediously) an omnidirectional thermo cannon, but fighting it with a fixed firing weapon within turret range is a lot harder.

With long ranged weapons, there's typically enough of a delay between enemy shots that can hit you that dodging and then shooting back is reasonably practical. Might even be a bit too easy to do, but once the range glitch is fixed we'll have some non - speculative data on that to discuss.
It's exactly the same dodging pattern I'd use with an omni. You just fire when you're pointing at the enemy. The only enemies that put out an uninterrupted curtain of high volume light speed fire are the Xenophobe Worldship, Xenophobe Ark, Failsafe, and the Luminous Hunter-Killers. The worldship can usually be shot in the back while it engages something else, the ark is an optional boss, and Failsafe and the LHKs appear in set piece battles where you have allies and have high speed instead of long range. If the ALT issue is fixed having those mostly unique enemies be difficult seems acceptable to me.
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JohnBWatson
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Mon Feb 01, 2016 8:00 am

Atarlost wrote:
It's exactly the same dodging pattern I'd use with an omni. You just fire when you're pointing at the enemy. The only enemies that put out an uninterrupted curtain of high volume light speed fire are the Xenophobe Worldship, Xenophobe Ark, Failsafe, and the Luminous Hunter-Killers. The worldship can usually be shot in the back while it engages something else, the ark is an optional boss, and Failsafe and the LHKs appear in set piece battles where you have allies and have high speed instead of long range. If the ALT issue is fixed having those mostly unique enemies be difficult seems acceptable to me.
I definitely benefit from being able to move constantly away from an enemy while using an omni weapon - the relative speed of the projectiles headed for me decreases greatly. It's certainly possible to hit back while dodging with a non - omni weapon, but the increased difficulty and risk in doing so are very significant, at least to me.

I'm not saying that this is definitely a bad thing - having weapons be noticeably different to use is practically a requirement for replayability, but I do believe that right now fighting with a standard omni weapon provides a bit too much of a defensive boost. Lowering their range a bit would add a modest defensive weakness to compensate for this(explainable as the decreased stability of an omni mount lowering the range at which weapon fire can be expected to hit its target).

As for the enemies, though I agree that some should be harder to fight with some weapons than others(I've actually felt like the Xeno ships are some of the few capships that are harder to fight with omni weapons, owing to their high resistance to the damagetypes most such weapons use), I feel like the fights against heavier enemies in which omni weapons are effective are a bit too drawn out, with the player being capable of avoiding enemy fire a bit too easily as the omni weapon slowly pecks through the target's health bar. Nerfing omni damage wouldn't really fix this issue, as it would only slow such fights down further rather than making them more interesting.

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Mon Feb 01, 2016 2:24 pm

Before 1.1, I gave +150% IM90 to the Wolfen, and circled enemies (especially Iocrym command ship) as I shot them. I could focus more on dodging as there was no need to line up shots.

As for swivel, I consider twenty degree arc about a x0.75 or x0.8 multiplier in terms of weapon guidelines. Not sure about much wider arcs. Smaller arcs, ten degrees or less are useful only for two things: Compensating for AI's lack of facings and/or bad aim, or to force repeating weapons to fire an entire burst with the same velocity (if aTargetObj is not Nil) even if the attacker turns - in other words, no spraying by turning the ship.
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