Weapons Overview (basic++)

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Periculi
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Mon Aug 18, 2008 4:42 am

(if you are using the subSilver forum template, you won't be able to read the highlighted parts- this topic is formatted for the adInfinitum board style!)

Weapons are a class of items that are a primary feature of the Transcendence universe. They come in many varieties and flavors, and modding new weapons can be very enjoyable.

The first thing to understand about weapons is that they are items, which means that they use the same format as the other items, with the addition of a weapon element in the item element:

Code: Select all

	<ItemType UNID="&unid;"

		***standard item attributes here***

			>

		<Image imageID="&rsItems1;" imageX="96" imageY="0" imageWidth="96" imageHeight="96"/>

		<Weapon

		***weapon specific attributes here***

				>

                    ***weapon sub-elements here***

		</Weapon>

	</ItemType>
Before we go too far, I would like to define some conventions for this tutorial:

When I highlight something in green, it is because it is an attribute or parameter from the element I am discussing. For instance if I am describing the usage of an item name, I would show name = "[string]" which represents the actual xml attribute. I will include case and formatting for most samples like this.

When I place ***[text]*** in a code container around a line of text, it is because I have removed code for brevity, as in the above example.

When I use [] to surround a word such as the above [string], it means that you would replace that with the correct type of usage- in the case of a string, that means that you would place a string in there for the name, such as name = "Periculi Hyper-Omni-Mega-MaxiDestroyer Cannon"

When I use [n] that indicates a number value is required, and I will usually give the range if there is one: [n 1-10] means any number between 1 and 10.

I have put together a list reference of the weapon elements and attributes that I found in various places in the xml files, that you can look at in this post. I will be explaining these weapon parameters in the sections below in more detail.

This is a tutorial about the Weapon element, to begin modding new weapons it is assumed that you have an understanding of basic item element structures and what is required to place them in the game through extensions.

Firstly, in order to best explain weapons I will be breaking this tutorial into sections that deal with the weapon classes in the game.

Weapon Classes

Weapons have some basic classes that define the properties of the weapon and provide guidelines to what is expected in the <Weapon> element.

These basic weapon classes are:

Beam Weapons - there are many beam weapons in the game, it one of the most common weapon types.

Particle Weapons - There are 3 weapons in the vanilla game that use this class. Particle weapon fire is many small particles often spreading out as the go, and can therefore be very deadly.

Missile Weapons - there are many missile weapons in the game, and the missiles come in a wide variety from cannon shot to rockets to mines.

Area Weapons - there are only a few of these in the game, and for good reason- they can be very devastating! The Domina powers are the easiest way for the player to find an area based weapon, although many missiles and mines make use of an area effect when they explode.

In the weapon element you will always find the attribute type. This refers to the basic weapon class, so you can have either:
type = "beam" or
type = "particles" or
type = "missile" or
type = "area"

And nothing else will do for that attribute.

Common Attributes

There are attributes that all weapon classes share, beyond the usual item attributes.

Installation Types

Weapons must be installed to use. This isn't an actual attribute in the weapon element but it is an important part of weapons, because:
Installed weapons come in two flavors: Primary and Launcher.
Primary installation allows multiple weapons and you can switch them with the W key. Primary installation is the default type of installation.

Playerships can only install one Launcher weapon at a time,
but launcher style weapons can have multiple ammo types that you cycle
through with the Tab. I will explain launcher weapons further into this tutorial.

A weapon that is a launcher style weapon must have this attribute:
launcher = "true". Any type of weapon can be given this attribute, even though all the launchers in the game are currently 'missile' launcher types.

Device Slots

Device Slots - all weapons use device slots, and unless specifically defined in the weapon element, 1 slot is used. To alter the default use of 1 slot place deviceSlots = "[n]" in the weapon element with a number that represents the slots you wish to use. This number can also be a 0, so no slots get used.

Charges

Charges - any weapon can make use of a charge limitation. Charge number and maxCharges can be defined in the item attributes and the attribute charges = "true" added in the weapon element.

Counters

There are two types of counters that I have found, and they use a set of attributes to determine the counter effect:
counter = "[string]"
counterActivate = "[n]"
counterUpdate = "[n]"
counterUpdateRate = "[n]"

The two types of counters are temperature and capacitor. Both counters place an additional graphic on screen in the center bottom of the HUD when they are in effect. Temperature counters reflect overheating and if the counter goes too high, the weapon can get damaged.

Capacitor counters reflect energy stored in the weapon. The weapon cannot fire continuosly, and when the capacitor is empty it shoots with a very low fireRate.

Counter activate sets a number for starting the counter, depending on the type of counter. I believe they both correspond to weapon shots.

Counter update is a time delay to update (reduce temperature or raise capacitor level). Update rate is the amount on the counter to alter it by for the update cycle.

Configuration

Weapons can use a variety of configurations which control the weapon fire pattern. Configurations can be defined using two different methods: The configuration = "[string]" value is an easy alternative to using the <Configuration> element. I will discuss the <Configuration> element later, for now I will explain a little about the configuration attribute for the <weapon> tag. I found these stock configurations:
dual - this is what makes dual weapons have two shots. The distance between the weapon fire is set.
alternating This is much like a dual weapon shot, but alternates one side to the other for each shot.
wall This produces a 'wall' of weapon shots, travels in a straight line from the source
spread[n] {2 - 5} range for the [n]. The spread weapon fire has an angle applied to the multiple shots that is set for the spread value.

Omni Directional

Any weapon can be given the omni-directional attribute, which allows it to auto-target and fire in any direction. This attribute is: omnidirectional = "true". Omni weapons have a great advantage over normal directional weapons, and are adjusted in the game to be either higher levels than the normal weapon they represent, or less powerful versions of the normal weapon.

(it isn't a common attribute, really- Area weapons don't need the omnidirectional attribute because they cover areas!)

Multi Target

In weapons that fire more than a single shot, the multiTarget = "true" attribute can be set to allow the weapon fire to target more than one target. When applied to a spread3 such as with the IM90 type weapon, each of the 3 shots can seek it's own target if there is one available.

Repeating

Weapons can have the repeating = "[n]" attribute set to fire more than one shot when the trigger is pulled. This stacks with any spread or configuration effects.

Recoil

Weapons can have a recoil effect applied through the attribute recoil = "[n]" I am unsure what the value represents, does anyone know? (most recoil weapons I found had low recoil values such as 2 or 3 - it may be similar to the damage effects table, see below)


Damage -

This is one of the most important weapon attributes, but not all weapons use this attribute in the same fashion. I will explain more about the usage of Damage in weapons in the weapon class explanations, but all the weapons share the same 16 damage values, and can make use of the additional damage effects.

The 16 basic damage types in the game are found in Transcendence xml and are:

Code: Select all

DAMAGE TYPES
	
	laser
	kinetic
	particle
	blast
	ion
	thermo
	positron
	plasma
	antimatter
	nano
	graviton
	singularity
	dark acid
	dark steel
	dark lightning
	dark fire
Damage attributes are a very important part of the weapon element, without them you don't have a weapon.

Whenever you see damage = it is expecting a certain format to be entered. This format is: damage = "[type]:[dice]; [effect]"
[type] must be one of the sixteen types listed above. When placing dark matter damage types in the [type], the format is darkAcid, darkSteel, darkLightning, darkFire. All the other types use the format they are shown in in the code box above.

[dice] expects one of several things- you can have just a number in there such as 1. And the weapon will have a base damage of 1. You can put a dice range in the format [n]d where [n] is the number of rolls and is the number of sides: 1d4, 1d6, 1d8, 4d24, and so on. You can also put a dice range and a bonus to be applied: 1d2+500 (ouch!)

Damage doesn't need anything other than [type] and [dice] to function well, but there are the additional damage effects which can be applied, and even multiple ones can be applied, separated by a ;.

Like this: damage = "laser:2d10+2; mining3; WMD1; EMP1;" (nice laser, bro)

Damage Effects -

The damage effects that I have found are:
WMD[n] - Weapon of Mass Destruction effect targets station hulls and can destroy wrecks
[quote="digdug"]* WMD0 = 0%
* WMD1 = 4%
* WMD2 = 10%
* WMD3 = 20%
* WMD4 = 34%
* WMD5 = 52%
* WMD6 = 74%
* WMD7 = 100%

The WMD value is used only against stations with multiHull="true", wrecks, and ships with "non-critical" armor segments.
[/quote]
momentum[n] - this effect pushes the target, imparting momentum based on the [n] of the damage amount.
radiation[n] - this effect irradiates the target
EMP[n] - this effect can stun ships
mining[n] - this effect is used for mining from minable targets.
device[n] - this effect will destroy or damage internal devices
disintegration[n] - now you see it, *poof*, now you don't.
shatter[n] - this is a new effect in the Domina powers set. similar to disintegrate, causes targets to "shatter".

I am going to go with digdug's explanation of WMD[n] damage ratios transferred for the special effects unless someone with more experience modding weapons corrects this factor. According to this definition, only values 1 through 7 are used. I have included a quote above that you can use as reference for the effects.

There may be more effects, let me know if you discover something that I missed!


Fire Rate -

Weapon fire has a delay that defines how fast the weapon can be fired. This attribute is fireRate = "[n]". The lower the number is the faster the weapon will fire. All weapons need this attribute to be included in the weapon element. The value is pause time in ticks between 2 shots of the weapon.
(found by Betel) To get the firerate per second as displayed ingame you have to:
60/firerate = firerate per second
if the firerate is odd, add 1 to the firerate (so a firerate of 9 is the same as a firerate of 10)


Life Time-

Weapon fire also has a governing life time attribute, that is combined with it's speed to establish the weapon range. Launcher style missile weapons do not use the life time attribute in the weapon element, but they do it in the missile being fired instead. This attribute is lifetime = "[n]". The higher the number the longer the weapon fire will remain active. The value is in ticks.

A weapon of speed 100 travels in Transcendence space at 2 ls/tick.
With this it's possible to calculate the travel distance of any weapon accurately.


Power Use -

Like most every other installed device, weapons make use of a power usage attribute. This attribute governs the power used when the weapon is fired, although there seems to be a little power usage when weapons are idle. This attribute is powerUse = "[n]". The value is in hundredth of kilowatts, so a value of "50" means 5MW.

Placement

All of the above listed attributes would go in the <Weapon> element like this:

[code]
<Weapon

type = "beam"
damage = "darkFire:10d25; WMD9; EMP9; mining9; shatter2"
fireRate = "20"
lifetime = "40"
charges = "true"
powerUse = "4000"


>
[/code]

Notice that all these attributes are inside the weapon <Weapon > itself. This is important! These attributes are a part of the weapon , which can also have sub elements between the opening and closing tags.
And that's about all the shared attributes of weapons. Now we need to look into the specifics of the weapon classes, in the series of posts below.
Last edited by Periculi on Sat Aug 23, 2008 10:51 pm, edited 18 times in total.

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BEAM WEAPONS

Beam weapons are defined by the type = "beam" attribute, as shown above.

In addition to the above attributes in the first post, beam weapons have their own set of attributes that help define the graphic look and style of the beam, as well as firing configurations.

Beam Types

Beam weapons use the beamType attribute to define the weapon fire main graphic. The beam types that I have found are:

laser
blaster
lightning
greenparticle *
blueparticle *
heavyblaster
starblaster

*doesn't allow color adjustment

These beam types are graphic effects, and have no impact on weapon performance. All beams have the same basic speed- light speed!

Color Attributes

With the beam types in most of the choices, there are additional attributes to set the colors of the beams:
primaryColor = "0x[n][n], 0x[n][n], 0x[n][n]"
secondaryColor = "0x[n][n], 0x[n][n], 0x[n][n]"

The colors are 24bit RGB, each value is in hexadecimal. First value is red, the second green and the third is blue.[/color]

The main color of the beam is primaryColor , while secondaryColor is the color of the tail of the beam. (the final effect depends also by the chosen beamtype)

Intensity

Intensity sets the size of the beam type. This attribute is: intensity = "[n]"
You can experiment to discover what happens when you turn the intensity up or down. This in no way defines the amount of energy actually in the beam.

laser, greenparticle,and blueparticle do not use the intensity attribute.
Last edited by Periculi on Sat Aug 23, 2008 10:52 pm, edited 5 times in total.

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[Section edited and maintained by Digdug]

MISSILE WEAPONS

Missile weapons are defined by the type = "missile" attribute, as shown above.
They are widely used in the vanilla game and by modders because of the high number of effects allowed. (including using additional images as main graphic of the weapon)

In addition to the above attributes in the first post, missile weapons have their own set of attributes that help define the graphic look and style of the beam, as well as firing configurations.

Speed of the missile

Missile weapons use the missileSpeed = "[n]" attribute to define the weapon speed. While beam weapons move at speed of light, missile weapons can have different speeds.
The value is a % of the speed of light.
The value can range from 0 (static missile, like a mine), to 100+.
Speeds over 100 (speed of light) are rarely used, and can cause graphic glitches because of the quantized time in Transcendence. Let's say that a safe upper limit is 200.

Tracking ability of the missile

Tracking ability are added to the missile when the variable maneuverability = [n] is added to the <Weapon> tag.
The number represent the number of ticks needed for the missile to curve 18° (1/20 of the facings of the missile if directional, see below), so smaller numbers are better and the best is maneuverability = "1"

Interaction with other missiles

A missile in 0.99 has hit points, and can interact with other projectiles (shot down or blocked by shockwaves)

The interaction = [n] attribute for a weapon specifies how a missile or bullet interacts when hit by another missile or bullet. For example, when bullet A hits bullet B, we compare the interaction value of the the two and take the highest value. The result is the percent chance that the two bullets will hit each other. If an interaction attribute is no specified, the weapon defaults to an interaction of 100.

The hitPoints = [n] attribute specifies the number of hit points that a missile or bullet has in flight. By default a missile or bullet has 0 hit points (i.e., it can be destroyed by any hit).

Weapon Effects (kindly written by George himself!)

An effect is (mostly) a way to paint something on the screen. A stand-alone effect looks like this:

Code: Select all

<Effect UNID="&efSomeEffect;" ...>
...
</Effect>
A weapon uses three different kinds of effects:

The FireEffect is painted just as the weapon fires. This is used to paint a muzzle flash from (e.g.,) a howitzer.
(Periculi tested what effects are accepted)
I was playing around with the <FireEffect> tag and found that it will take any of these:
<Flare>
<Starburst>
<Bolt>
<MoltenBolt>
<ImageAndTail>
<ParticleComet>

<Shockwave> is not accepted instead.


The Effect is how we paint the actual shot that the weapon fire.

The HitEffect is painted when the shot hits something.

If you want a weapon to use a particular effect, you can refer to an effect by UNID. For example:

Code: Select all

<ItemType UNID="&vtSomeWeapon;" ...>
   <Weapon ...
      fireEffect="&efSomeEffect;"
      >
   </Weapon>
</ItemType>

You can use effect=, fireEffect=, and/or hitEffect= to define the effects for a weapon. These attributes must point to the UNID for an effect; they cannot point to the UNID for another weapon.

The method above works best for the cases where multiple weapons share the same effect. Then you can define the effect once (give it an UNID) and refer to the same effect from multiple weapons.

But sometimes you want to define an effect that works just for a single weapon--you may not need to share the effect. In that case, you can define the effect inline:

Code: Select all

<ItemType UNID="&vtSomeWeapon;" ...>
   <Weapon>
   ...
      <FireEffect ...>
      </FireEffect>
   </Weapon>
</ItemType>
How to make your missile weapon display the graphic you want

Because in a missile weapon there are no variables like beamType, inside the <Weapon> tag we have to put an <Effect> tag that will define the main graphic of the missile.
<Effect> accepts as a child a plain <Image>, this is the simplest way to introduce new weapon graphic. The image can be animated or static and that is controlled by the <Image> child tag.

The <Image> works also as a child of the <Weapon> tag (without <Effect>), an example of this is the Ares Archcannon.

In addition to the plain <Image>, the <Weapon> tag accepts a <Exhaust> tag as a direct child, where is possible to define a second image that will render the tail smoke of the missile.

If the image is torpedo like and needs to be faced correctly following the playerShip facing, an additional variable is added to the <Weapon> tag: directional = "true". This variable tells Transcendence that the <Image> tag has 20 facing.


Hardcoded graphic styles

Instead of a plain <Image> child, the <Effect> tag accept a number of hardcoded graphic styles that render the missile projectile.
The acceptable children are:
<Starburst>
<Flare>
<ImageAndTail>
<MoltenBolt>
<Bolt>
<PlasmaSphere>
<Shockwave>*
<ParticleComet>

* A Shockwave works as standalone graphic effects for missiles, however it was intended to be used only for fragments.

<ParticleExplosion> is not accepted instead, it causes a crash when the weapon is fired.

FRAGMENTS

Coming soon!
Last edited by Periculi on Sat Aug 23, 2008 10:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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[Section edited and maintained by Digdug. Thanks.]

AREA WEAPONS

Area weapons are defined by the type = "area" attribute, as shown above.

In addition to the above attributes in the first post, area weapons have their own set of attributes that help define the graphic look and style of the area blast.

A unique property of area weapons is that the area can pass through spaceObjects and generate multiple hits on each of them.
(Radius type fragments instead generates a single hit. See fragments section under missile weapons for more infos.)

All area weapons in vanilla transcendence are Virtual weapons, but this is not a limit of the weapontype.

Movement speed of the blast

All area weapons examples in vanilla Transcendence are static, they all use missileSpeed = "0".
However values different from 0 are accepted and the blast can move while expanding the area.

Expansion speed of the blast

The expansion of the area blast is regulated by one attribute under the <Weapon> tag: expansionSpeed= "[n]", the value is a % of the speed of light, and values accepted are similar to standard speed values in Transcendence weapons (between 0 and 100 for example). However a speed of over 50-60 do not make players appreciate the blast graphics.
Moreover the speed of the expansion is proportional to the number of hits that the area blast do: a too slow speed will make the blast take more ticks to pass through spaceObjects making more hits.

Blast Effects
Coming Soon!

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Mon Aug 18, 2008 11:49 am

[Section edited and maintained by Digdug. Thanks.]

PARTICLE WEAPONS

Particle weapons are defined by the type = "particle" attribute, as shown above.

In addition to the above attributes in the first post, particle weapons have their own set of attributes that help define the graphic look and style of the beam, as well as firing configurations and a new "personal" effect child: <Particle> (see below)

Damage of the particles
Particle weapons launch multiple projectiles, each particle is independent and can generate a hit. The total damage of the weapon is divided by the number of particles, with a minimum damage of 1/particle, before applying all the enhancements or bonuses of the defending target, that can bring the damage to 0.(can someone check this please ?)

Speed of the particles

Particle weapons use the attribute missileSpeed = "[n]" to define the speed of the bunch of particles launched. Just like missile weapons.

Particles!

Particle weapon use 2 attributes under <Weapon> to define the properties of the cloud of particles:
particleCount="n" defines the number of particles fire for each shot, the number can be a fixed number like 1, 20 or 30, or it can be a dice roll, to randomize the number of particles launched, like 1d11+44.
Do not put a very high number of particles, because it can slow down the game.
particleSpreadAngle="n" defines the spread angle of the cloud of particles. The accepted range of the value is 0 < n < 90. Any value over 90 degrees is considered 90.

Effects

Particle weapons are different in 0.99, if you import a particle weapon from Transcendence 0.98x it doesn't work as intended.
In fact the rendering system has been completely revamped. The particleType attribute has been abrogated.
Now particle weapons accepts lots of childs under <Effects>:
<Starburst>
<Flare>
<ImageAndTail>
<MoltenBolt>
<Bolt>
<PlasmaSphere>
<ParticleComet>
<Image> (a plain image, animated are possible too.)

<Particle> (NEW!)

Particle tag
the new Particle effect tag accepts these attributes:
style= "xxxxx"
minWidth= "n"
maxWidth= "n"
primaryColor= "0xfc, 0xe8, 0x87"
secondaryColor= "0x85, 0x0c, 0x0f"


The style attribute accepts 2 values: plain and line (maybe more? needs testing)
Plain generates spherical particles, while line generates short rods.

MinWidth and maxWidth are used with style=plain. The first sets the size of the particles at lifetime = "0", the second sets the size of the particles at maximum lifetime.
However you cannot use minWidth number larger than the maxWidth (shrinking particles), the particles simply remain at the minWidth size.

primaryColor and secondaryColor works in the same way, the first is the color of the particle at the beginning, the second is the color of the particle at the end of their life, enabling the possibility to fade gradually the color of the particles.
Last edited by digdug on Sun Nov 16, 2008 3:16 pm, edited 7 times in total.

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Fri Aug 22, 2008 8:02 pm

what is the value range for the mining damage effect?
"Darkness makes the sunlight so bright, that our eyes blur with tears. Misery sharpens the edges of our joy. Challenges remind us that we are capable of great things. Life is hard. It is supposed to be."

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Periculi
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Fri Aug 22, 2008 8:17 pm

I would figure it was the same as WMD for all the damage effects.

mining0 to mining7

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Fri Aug 22, 2008 8:31 pm

thanks :)

hmm.. what is the difference between leaving the attribute off, and using such things as mining0 and wmd0?
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Fri Aug 22, 2008 11:08 pm

default for those values would be zero I believe.

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Fri Aug 22, 2008 11:51 pm

Like most every other installed device, weapons make use of a power usage attribute. This attribute governs the power used when the weapon is fired, although there seems to be a little power usage when weapons are idle. This attribute is powerUse = "[n]". I am not certain what the number represents, but I think it is 100 kw to each- so 50 means 5mw of consumption. (?) Something like that, someone get me the facts on this! I have never really looked into it that much.
poweruse values are 10value to 1mw
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Sat Nov 15, 2008 6:46 pm

updated particle weapons section, if you find errors, please let me know. :D

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digdug
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Sun Nov 16, 2008 4:59 pm

edited area weapons section! more to come!
Periculi
Posted: Mon Aug 18, 2008 5:44 am
(please feel free to comment below on anything you see in the above posts that you believe is incorrect, want clarified or need to have defined better. Smile And bear with me as this is a large topic to put together the details on!)
next one will be fragments!

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Dalva
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Wed Mar 04, 2009 12:36 pm

trying to understand the dice thing,...
i'm trying to make the meaning of some code:

script = in-game
1d4 = 1-4
4d20 = 4-80
50d10 = 50-500
1d4+100 = 101-104

is it true?

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alterecco
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Wed Mar 04, 2009 12:41 pm

Yep - seems good - it's basically the old dnd dice way

Two sixsided die rolls = 2-12
Two twentysided plus 10 = 12-50

There is also a script equivalent called (rollDice)
(rollDice 2 20 10) = 2d20+10

.]

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Wed Mar 04, 2009 12:47 pm

and can a weapon have more tahn one damage type?

like a weapon have laser and plama damage

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