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Author Topic: Design: Soldier stats  (Read 12379 times)

Offline BTAxis

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Design: Soldier stats
« on: May 07, 2006, 11:27:38 pm »
Purpose of this thread: Brainstorming the soldier stats, their effects and the way in which they are developed.

So far this has not been an issue because it's far away on the schedule at best, but with revision 875 Hoehrer has added some weapon classes to the weapon design docs, so I feel this thread becomes a bit more called for.

The weapon classes that Hoehrer has allocated are the following:

- Assault
- Close
- Precision
- Heavy
- Explosive

In addition to these, I would introduce Psi. I think all weapons in the game can be categorized with those six.

Now, a soldier should have those six weapon classes as aptitude values, either as direct skill bars that you can develop individually, or emergent as functions of a superset of more general abilities (strength, agility, etc). I would go with a hybrid of these, with emphasis on the former. While it certainly does make a difference how agile a soldier is, if he's holding a pistol for the first time he won't be a crack shot. On the other hand, no amount of practice with a rocket launcher will make a downright wimpy soldier be able to lift and aim one correctly.

So what I propose is a set of five basic attributes for every soldier: Strength, Agility, Endurance, Intelligence and Psionic Strength (this last one would be hidden until the appropriate Psi research is complete). Below these are the five "normal" weapon proficiencies: Assault, Close, Precision, Heavy and Explosive. Psi weapons would take their strength directly from the Psionic Strength attribute, as Psionic warfare is literally in the mind and doesn't work in the same way normal warfare does.

Each primary attribute (except Psi) should affect two weapon classes, the first majorly and the second minorly:
Strength should affect proficiency with Heavy and Explosive equipment.
Agility should affect proficiency with Close and Precision equipment.
Endurance should affect proficiency with Assault and Heavy equipment.
Intelligency should affect proficiency with Explosive and Close equipment.
Psionic Strength should affect only Psi equipment.

Aside from that, the first four basic attributes should affect things like max TUs, max carrying capacity, damage taken from attacks, recovery rate after being injured, ability to wear heavy armor and ability to spot aliens.

I'm going to abstract from precise mechanics for increasing the soldier stats for now - that's complicated and requires a lot of hands-on tuning, and we're not at that stage yet. However, I will say that weapon proficiencies should be trained through use of weaponry (separately from the modifiers they gain from the primary attributes), and they should inhibit each other. This would mean that a soldier who is an unmatched sniper will always do poorly with other weapons. It's also possible to have a soldier who is fairly OK with all weapons, but excels in none. In short, there should be a limited pool of weapon expertise to go around for each soldier, so every soldier will evolve into a specific role, such as sniper, squaddie, heavy support, etc.

Training of the primary attributes should occur through training programs at the base, (possibly) implants, and/or various factors on the battlefield.

Offline Malick

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Design: Soldier stats
« Reply #1 on: May 08, 2006, 03:40:03 pm »
Hi !

If you allow me to slightly alter what you proposed, this is what I think better reflects the attributes' influence on weapon classes.

Strength should affect proficiency with Close and Heavy equipment.
Agility should affect proficiency with Assault and Explosive equipment.
Endurance should affect proficiency with Heavy and Assault equipment.
Intelligence should affect proficiency with Explosive and Precision equipment.
Psionic Strength should affect only Psi equipment.

Otherwise, I agree on most of what you said. I believe a soldier stats should depend on his/her basic attributes. Then, according to training and experience, these values may evolve so that the soldier can turn out into a specialist or a general purpose fighter.

IDEA/ PROPOSAL :
There could be another stat to reflect a soldier ability to command to others, let's call it command. According to the soldier's rank (private, sergeant, lieutnant, captain, major, colonel) and to this stat, the soldier could try to calm down or raise the morale of other soldiers through an action button, kind like a weapon is handled, targeted at a particular soldier. This action would have a given chance of success, depending on distance between the two soldiers (like weapons), rank (a sergeant has a better chance of calming down than a colonel, but a colonel can reach a lot farther) and the "command" stat. This would give good clues to the player or promotion algorithm which soldier to promote first and give a more important role to officers and NCO.

What do you think ?

Offline BTAxis

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Design: Soldier stats
« Reply #2 on: May 08, 2006, 04:26:53 pm »
Quote from: "Malick"
Strength should affect proficiency with Close and Heavy equipment.
Agility should affect proficiency with Assault and Explosive equipment.
Endurance should affect proficiency with Heavy and Assault equipment.
Intelligence should affect proficiency with Explosive and Precision equipment.
Psionic Strength should affect only Psi equipment.


Hmm, Strength for Close? I understand how that would work with melee weapons, but keep in mind that pistols also rank as Close. I think Agility would make more sense that way. As for the rest, that works for me.

Quote from: "Malick"
IDEA/ PROPOSAL :
<snip>
What do you think ?

I think that's a good idea, though morale is currently not implemented. Also, I think there doesn't need to be a special stat for it, just the rank will do. In the original UFO, rank alone affected morale issues, including loss of morale when a ranking soldier was killed.

Offline Mattn

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Design: Soldier stats
« Reply #3 on: May 08, 2006, 07:11:04 pm »
Quote from: "BTAxis"
... though morale is currently not implemented ...


morale is implemented.

Offline BTAxis

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Design: Soldier stats
« Reply #4 on: May 08, 2006, 07:11:41 pm »
Sorry, my bad.

Offline Killertomato

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« Reply #5 on: May 09, 2006, 03:00:16 pm »
My 2 ct:
Well, Strength definitely influences the ability to fire heavy weapons and heavier assault weapons and TUs in terms of encumbrance while
endurance IMHO influences TUs and perhaps hit points.

But Endurance IMO does not influence the ability to wield ANY kind of weapon.
Just because I can run a Marathon in 3 hours I can't handle any assault weapon or such better than anyone else.

Also the use of explosives or precision weapons (sniper rifles) is not influenced by either agility or intelligence. A total dumbass can throw a grenade in the right direction with enough practice and I don't need to be an NFL wide receiver to hit my target with a sniper rifle. That takes concentration and the right breathing technique.
Granted, a sniper needs to know the effect of wind, distance n such on the flightpath of the projectile, and  someone who sets up an explosive trap needs to know what he is doing so it wont explode in his face, so a certain level of intelligence is needed, but that's it.

Personally I'd say that keeping the accuracy bar is much more important.
And that -with the exception of strength- primary stats should only have a very minor impact on weapon proficiency.
But that's just me.

Hoehrer

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Design: Soldier stats
« Reply #6 on: May 09, 2006, 03:40:45 pm »
There will be a (dynamic) morale modifier in the future depending on the rank of the soldier.
Ranks are currenly unter development by me and there are four of them implemented right now: "Rookie", "Squad Leader", "Commander" and "Captain".
My plan is to boost morale of lower ranks if one/or more higher ranks are on the field and decrease it if a higher rank dies. Simple and efficient.
Ranks will be gained when a certain number of enemies are killed, only a very low number of civilians&team-members have been killed (-> more sane) and the soldier has a high enough "mind". There may be more/other conditions in the future.

For details on ranks see the file "base/ufos/medals.ufo".

Concerning the rest of the stats-discussion here: I had no time to read it all and fully work out the existing stuff.
Alot of stats _do_ work already (e.g accuracy influences the aim) although i do not know what exactly is changed after a finished battle/etc... yet.
Just a hint: Keep your suggestions as simple as possible (not the single ones, but the overall complexity), we do not want to create a replacement for stats-driven rpg games or something similar.

There is also a "medal" system in the works which will be used to modify the basic stats (as opposed to the rank-system that work the other way around), but this is not of high priority right now since the implemention still needs alot of work.

Werner

PsyWarrior

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Design: Soldier stats
« Reply #7 on: May 09, 2006, 06:16:44 pm »
I'd like to see a rank system based off a realistic army chain of command - for instance, there's no rank of Commander in the army, that only exists in the Navy. This doesn't necessarily mean that I'd like to have 20,000 ranks - I'd be happy with Private/Rookie, Corporal, Sergent, Lieutenant, Captain, Major, Colonel.

But stats... I'd say that you need a reasonable degree of intelligence to operate a rocket launcher or sniper rifle - fine, you don't need an MIT education, but you do need to take into account things like wind shear, distance to target and how much you need to lead your target and elevate your weapon.

I don't see why each attribute needs to affect two weapon classes... Endurance doesn't directly affect your ability to wield an assault rifle, unless your position requires you to stand still and hold a weapon aimed for a long period of time. Certain weapons benefit from high attributes (like strength or intelligence), but intelligence won't make you able to run for longer.

Less gibberish, more developed concept:

Five weapon classes as basic attributes, related to the basic skill of the soldier, can be developed by training (geoscape), and experience (actually operating the weapon, battlescape). Thus, if someone uses an assault rifle all the time, their Assault skill will improve.

The basic attributes, which all affect SOMETHING ingame.
-Strength: Affects ability to manipulate heavy weapons. Stronger soldiers can carry more things with less impact on TUs?
-Endurance: Soldier recieves more TUs. Modifiers for health.
-Intelligence: Affects ability to manipulate 'complex' weapons (alright so most weapons are complicated in their own way, you know what I mean), but not as much as the specific weapon-class skill bars. Modifies leadership ability?
-Agility: What would this directly affect ingame?
-Psionic Strength: Obviously affects proficiency at Psi warfare. Unlike the Psi weapon class skill, it also affects inherent ability to resist Psi attacks.

In this way, the Primary attributes affect the things you'd expect them to - not just weapons, but the performance of a soldier in battle as well. The Weapon attributes reflect specialisation, and skill with certain weapons. This adds just a little bit of an RPG element, and encourages commanders to be a little more careful with his troops - when you've paid lots of money to train your Sniper, you'll want to make sure he doesn't get killed in the first round.

-PsyW

Offline BTAxis

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Design: Soldier stats
« Reply #8 on: May 09, 2006, 06:42:47 pm »
Quote from: "PsyWarrior"
-Agility: What would this directly affect ingame?

Agility would cut the TUs used for walking and changing direction, I suspect. It might also reduce damage taken from falling. You could even make it reduce reload times, although that technically should be a function of dexterity, which isn't a basic stat in the model so far.

What are your views on specialization? As I put it, I didn't allow for a soldier to become expert in all weapons. Would you impose a similar restriction, or do you think having supersoldiers who excel at everything is not a problem?

Hoehrer

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Design: Soldier stats
« Reply #9 on: May 09, 2006, 07:54:59 pm »
Quote from: "PsyWarrior"
I'd like to see a rank system based off a realistic army chain of command - for instance, there's no rank of Commander in the army, that only exists in the Navy. This doesn't necessarily mean that I'd like to have 20,000 ranks - I'd be happy with Private/Rookie, Corporal, Sergent, Lieutenant, Captain, Major, Colonel.


Number of ranks:
Some of  reasons why that many ranks will not help anything:
1.) We do not have that much of a soldier-hierarchy to justify them all.
3.) More ranks will be harder to balance... as everything else.
2.) It's probably better to have only a few ranks, that are further apart, so the ranks make a greater difference .. visual- and influence-wise (morale).
3.) One Soldier going from one rank to the next one every battle (because the steps would then be much smaller) just seems a bit strange.

For now i'll leave it at 4 ranks in total. If this proves to be good/bad we can adapt it later on.

Rank names:
We are not in any existing army here, so please do not try to force existing schemes into this game.
The rank-names can be changed though and replacement-suggestions for "commander" are welcome. But if nothing better comes up i'll just use "Sergent" since it seems to fit exactly.

Werner

Offline BTAxis

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« Reply #10 on: May 09, 2006, 08:27:16 pm »
I agree completely. Note that it's spelled "sergeant". X-COM is not a real army, but please do use real English.

Offline XCOMTurcocalypse

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Design: Soldier stats
« Reply #11 on: May 09, 2006, 08:45:00 pm »
Meanwhile,is psychic Warfare going to depend on one stat?

I believe that though Psi is the primary attribute,injury,morale,fatigue and weight of armor should be minor modifiers.After all,one needs health to focus his mind better.

PsyWarrior

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Design: Soldier stats
« Reply #12 on: May 10, 2006, 12:01:43 am »
Okay, so many ranks = pointless if we've only got an 8-man squad. :roll:

 But I disagree with having random nonmilitary ranks... This organisation is supposed to be made up of the military elite of the world, so it's likely that the rank structure would be based on the various military organisations it draws from. Version 2:
Rookie, Sergeant (roughly analogous to Squad Leader), Lieutenant, Captain.
It roughly, though not exactly, follows the system used in the modern military.

If we'll be able to modify the ranks anyway (will they be stored in a config file somewhere, and easily modifiable?), then I'm really not too concerned. Then, the number and the dynamics of the morale system become more important than the actual names. Certainly no less than 3, no more than 5, 4 seems a good number:

Soldier (No morale modifier, unless 'strength in numbers' counts?), NCO (minor morale modifier), junior officer (larger morale effect), major officer (very large morale effect).

Morale in this instance should work both ways. Having a captain results in a large increase of morale, due to proven leadership abilities, experience, etc. If he is killed, there is a dramatic reduction in morale (after all, if the captain gets killed what hope is there for the rest of us?!).

Sidenote: I'm not trying to force anything on anyone, my suggestion was just that: A suggestion.

Specialisation:
Yes. Soldiers should be specialised, to some extent: But I'd say don't FORCE specialisation on the player: if s/he wants to spend all the money training one soldier to be brilliant at everything, or sending that soldier on missions with different weapons all the time, then fine. I don't think that's a good tactic, but the player should have the choice in the end...

Personally, I'd specialise: A Sniper and an Explosives expert is better than one person who can do both, and someone with no training / little experience. One soldier can't carry Precision, Close, Heavy, Assault and explosive weapons, and use them all at the same time anyway. HOWEVER, if someone wants to make a SPARTAN II super soldier who can do everything, why stop them? As long as there's enough balence to stop them making ALL their soldiers ultimate (for instance, training one soldier to do everything means other soldiers lose out on training, you can only train a certain number at a time, training to a high standard on all skills takes a long time, etc.).

-PsyW

cb6dba

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Design: Soldier stats
« Reply #13 on: May 10, 2006, 12:44:19 am »
Firstly, hello to all (this is my first post).

This is a great project and by far one of the best UFO type games around (even if it is still underdevelopment),

With regards to soldier statts and how they relate to skills I would say that as long as you start with how you think a given mechanic works in game the rest slots in to place.

Is close combat a kind of three musketters affars, lot of agilty, movement etc or is it a private ryan knife fight where it came down to strength in the end (or both?).

Is using an M60 a rambo running around using it one handed (strangth very important) or is it a case or running, setting the weapon in place and fireing it? (strength important for carrying etc but not so important for fireing.

Do you then just make a certain level of strength a requirement for using the weapon but restrict how strength effects the actualy skill?

With rank, do you have an "aliens wheres the sarge moment" when a senior officer gets killed or a "instant promotion" starship troopers style?

I think that once the way the event will take place in game is set, the mechanics will fall into place (or be hammerd there).

Offline BTAxis

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« Reply #14 on: May 10, 2006, 01:29:40 am »
The idea of this thread is to come up with concrete answers to the questions you ask, cb6dba. Can you be more specific about how you think the mechanics will "slot into place"? Keep in mind that a soldier's firing actions are limited to firing normally and firing in secondary mode. Two-handed weapons are always two-handed, melee attacks are just attacks made on a space adjacent to the soldier. It's all very simple compared to movies. So, that's how the events happen. Now it's up to you to make the mechanics fall into place.