Linked-fire options

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george moromisato
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Sun Feb 11, 2018 4:09 pm

For the Minotaur class I would like to have an omni weapon linked to the primary. That is, when you fire the primary weapon, the omni weapon also fires.

The problem is that you can't fire the omni weapon without firing the primary. Imagine there's a Hornet flying around you. It would be nice if you could fire the omni weapon without firing the (non-omni) primary. But how do we do that? There are a few options:

1. The player selects the omni weapon as the primary; then only the omni fires. But the player has to switch back later.
2. Mark the primary weapon so that it doesn't fire unless there is a target in its arc (we can make the arc pretty wide). This scales to multiple linked-weapons.
3. Set the omni weapon to auto-fire on enemies; the player doesn't have to do anything.

I mostly prefer #2, but I'm not sure yet. What do you all think? Are there other ideas?

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Sun Feb 11, 2018 4:44 pm

To be honest, the current way of primary weapons always firing with linked-fire weapons is fine. That is why linked-fire weapons can be fun - firing all the weapons simultaneously. As for the suggestions...

#1 Would be problematic if the ship has many (four or more) linked-fire weapons, like many capital ships have. Should be okay for ships with only one or two weapons, but not for those with many.

#2 Can be done today by disabling the weapon. However, there is no fast one-click way to do this. Currently, we bring up menu then manually select, which breaks the flow of a fight. Adding a hotkey to disable, or enable, the current primary weapon would do this. This is probably the best of the three options. Note that if later version truly supports linked-fire launchers, we may need another key for that too.

#3 Is not feasible unless friendly-fire is always off/impossible aside from target exception (as done in Endless Sky). Auto-defense devices are indiscriminate and will hit anything in the way. Coding a mod weapon that always avoids friendly fire is too hard or impossible (although it can do a good enough job at avoiding most friendly-fire, just not all of them). Also, this might interfere with strange mod weapons that use weapons stats mostly for item display but does something weird that deviates from them (like firing a spiraling weapon akin to Blessed Hammer from Diablo 2). I made some strange mod weapons that do not always behave predictably, but could be fun if I had several fire in tandem, and this may be a problem if the game tries to be too clever predicting whether or not to fire them.

P.S. Another reason #3 is not feasible is even with no friendly-fire - enemies that could become friendly (if you do not kill any of them), namely the Huari (or aggravated neutrals that become peaceful if left alone), or even enemies that avoid shooting first, such as, again, Huari. Having weapons auto-firing at them would break such an uneasy truce. If the playership has multiple linked-fire weapons, disabling all of them would be a hassle. Even disabling one is no better than disabling the primary weapon in suggestion #2.
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george moromisato
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Sun Feb 11, 2018 6:38 pm

PM wrote:
Sun Feb 11, 2018 4:44 pm
#2 Can be done today by disabling the weapon. However, there is no fast one-click way to do this. Currently, we bring up menu then manually select, which breaks the flow of a fight. Adding a hotkey to disable, or enable, the current primary weapon would do this. This is probably the best of the three options. Note that if later version truly supports linked-fire launchers, we may need another key for that too.
Another possibility is to add a dedicated fire key for secondary/linked weapons. E.g., maybe the Z-key (and/or middle mouse button) fires all secondary/linked weapons without firing the primary. This would also scale to larger ships with lots of secondaries.

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Sun Feb 11, 2018 9:24 pm

 As an alternative on #2 (though I definitely like the idea of a secondary-only trigger, given some of my own playerships), installing a dummy weapon that does nothing when fired is a potential option, particularly if made unremovable.
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Mon Feb 12, 2018 12:00 am

Assign the "Alt" key to fire all linked/second weapons only. Additionally, assign each secondary/linked weapon to a key on the Number Row/Numpad (possibly based on the slot in which it was installed). For instance, an unarmed ship that installs a side-mounted light ion blaster and then a side-mounted Fusionfire howitzer could use the "1" key to fire the light ion blaster and the "2" key to fire the Fusionfire howitzer.

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Mon Feb 12, 2018 4:20 am

george moromisato wrote:
Sun Feb 11, 2018 4:09 pm
For the Minotaur class I would like to have an omni weapon linked to the primary. That is, when you fire the primary weapon, the omni weapon also fires.

The problem is that you can't fire the omni weapon without firing the primary. Imagine there's a Hornet flying around you. It would be nice if you could fire the omni weapon without firing the (non-omni) primary. But how do we do that? There are a few options:

1. The player selects the omni weapon as the primary; then only the omni fires. But the player has to switch back later.
2. Mark the primary weapon so that it doesn't fire unless there is a target in its arc (we can make the arc pretty wide). This scales to multiple linked-weapons.
3. Set the omni weapon to auto-fire on enemies; the player doesn't have to do anything.

I mostly prefer #2, but I'm not sure yet. What do you all think? Are there other ideas?
Option one is the safest choice. The omni weapon is always installed as the secondary, but if the player presses 'w' to switch over to it, it becomes the only active weapon while selected. It would work just like everyone's already used to, and probably requires minimal new code. I would encourage everyone in the thread to try out changeshipmod - the way the game currently handles playing as a capital ship is pretty robust and intuitive - we don't need to add a whole spreadsheet on top of that that players need to memorize.

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Tue Feb 13, 2018 4:22 am

Aaargh!: Edited to change the W-key to the fire-weapon key.
george moromisato wrote: Another possibility is to add a dedicated fire key for secondary/linked weapons. E.g., maybe the Z-key (and/or middle mouse button) fires all secondary/linked weapons without firing the primary. This would also scale to larger ships with lots of secondaries.
Great idea. Fire the primary weapon as normal and if things get too dangerous hit the secondary weapons button as well.
And the above 'use the Alt key' suggestion is great too. You would want the "fire linked weapons" key to be close to the existing 'fire weapon' key on the keyboard and this caters for both sides of the keyboard. Either that or set both the Z-key and the /-key.

But a way to link them all to the fire-weapon key would be good too. Sometimes you have enough power and ammo to be wasteful.

But if the linked weapons are optionally linked to the fire-weapon key then a quick easy way of linking/unlinking is needed. Otherwise it becomes too time-consuming and complicated.

Care is needed as omni weapons that auto-fire on enemies can (if no friendly-fire protection) create a heap of angry friendlies. Not desirable.


Summary:
Have a separate key for the linked weapons.
Have a way of linking/unlinking all weapons to the fire-weapon key that must be very easy and quick.

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