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Author Topic: Alien bestiary  (Read 45863 times)

Offline TrashMan

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Re: Alien bestiary
« Reply #45 on: April 25, 2013, 01:50:52 pm »
@maackey: the main reason we have the damage weights (spray, light, medium, heavy, etc.) is to be able to model armour. The SMG, for instance, uses normal_light, and can be effective on Tamans early in the game. But as soon as armour is introduced it becomes pretty obsolete, because armour's protection against normal_light drastically reduces the damage potential. Having separate damage weights allows us to model the effectiveness of armour differently for different weapons. Assault rifles (normal_medium) get a lot weaker against armour, but the sniper rifle (normal_heavy) still packs a powerful punch. If we tried to do this just with higher damage values, we'd end up under-powering or over-powering weapons in the distribution.

Would a better solution be to tie armor penetration values to ammo?

That way there is no need to have special damage types - ballistic/kinetic is one type, period.
Then depending on the muzzle velocity/bullet it does different amount of damage to different targets.

Armors have damage reduction, which is negated by armor piercing.

So armor has 10 DR for kinetic, is hit from a pistol with 2AP and 10 damage, as a result the hit is treated as 10-2=8 DR and the shot does 2 damage.

If it's hit by a coilgun with 30AP and 20 damage, the effective DR is 0 (or you can even add bonus damage) so the shot does full 30 damage (or 40). Technicly you could model overpenetration.

Offline maackey

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Re: Alien bestiary
« Reply #46 on: April 26, 2013, 01:05:47 am »
Continuing with the offtopic discussion of weapon balance...

If it's hit by a coilgun with 30AP and 20 damage, the effective DR is 0 (or you can even add bonus damage) so the shot does full 30 damage (or 40). Technicly you could model overpenetration.
Overpenetration is modeled by simply setting damage to 50 ;) No need for special bonus damages or redundant code to check wild corner cases.

But I do think that an armor piercing value would be useful, and then armor can be drastically simplified as well.

@maackey: the main reason we have the damage weights (spray, light, medium, heavy, etc.) is to be able to model armour.
No, the main reason we have damage weights is because that was how they were first implemented, and noone has yet to change them to a better model :P I know that I'm coming into this from a fresh-slate perspective, while you are probably very used to the existing system and know its intricacies inside and out. I don't want to barge in and start telling everyone how to do things my way (the correct way :P ), but just give some fresh perspective from someone who isn't tied up in the existing system. I've tried a few times to go through the code and change stuff, but the documentation is incredibly sparse, and I wouldn't want to work on something that gets immediately rejected because it'd be too radical of a change (happened before, don't want to go through that again...) without some consensus first.

Having separate damage weights allows us to model the effectiveness of armour differently for different weapons.
This is 100% true. But its also 100% garbage. What is the **reason** for armor acting differently for different weapon types? I know the game has flavor text in regards to things like lasers and fire and explosions and stuff, but having the sniper rifle react completely independent of an assault rifle is flat out retarded. I'm sorry, that makes no sense to me from the perspective of a player or a developer, and doesn't contribute to realism in the slightest. There are LOADS of other ways to balance weapons irrespective of damage type! Reload time, ammo capacity, rate of fire, weight, size, accuracy... I could go on and on. What is the reason to have it but for added complexity and confusion (and the lazyness of the devs to change something already "done" :P)?

You mentioned re-writing the engine, but doesn't the engine already support armor piercing? If so, no engine work is needed and fixing the damages only requires editing the configs to get rid of the redundant armor categories and minor changes to weapon stats.

Offline beng

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Re: Alien bestiary
« Reply #47 on: January 16, 2015, 12:26:50 pm »
How about a disgusting worm-like parasite that burrows into people and lays eggs in them, and after a few turns infected people die and lots of new worms burst out of them.

Offline Sandro

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Re: Alien bestiary
« Reply #48 on: March 21, 2015, 04:39:17 pm »
How about a disgusting worm-like parasite that burrows into people and lays eggs in them, and after a few turns infected people die and lots of new worms burst out of them.

Exponential explosion. Players would not like it. Original X-Com handles it better: host are not a problem as long as not shot at.

Offline Rodmar

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Re: Alien bestiary
« Reply #49 on: September 08, 2015, 03:26:28 pm »
Personally, I'm not over-satisfied by some weapons' designed effects and renditions.
These ideas below are only to give ideas for a better rendition, for a better "durability" of some weapons, and always more tactical choices. In no way they are to teach prospective physics to the designers!

  • Plasma rifle blaster Rapid Fire/3-shots Burst modes:

    Because I think it's WIP, I won't tell here much. Simply, all plasma projectiles should be "low" speed, finite balls, and no mid-range beams.
  • Plasma fire rendition: a suggestion if feasible

    Game lore tells that plasma weapons are short/medium ranged because the plasma bullets end in breaking their containment shell, and then rapidly cools down in the air.
    What if this shell would deform a bit along its fly path, instead of staying unchanged from starting to ending point? However, persistence of vision would be taken into consideration, hence no round shape at the beginning. The shell would start oblong (shorter as currently) and end more elongated (longer as currently, or as currently).
  • Laser fire modes: Continuous Wave vs. Pulsed Wave

    I can only understand that a Pulsed Wave is a shorter time, higher intensity wave. That is, for a given weapon size and stored energy, higher power is achieved to the beam duration's detriment. Higher power is required to "overload" the target's thermal defenses. To my sense, a Pulsed Wave hit from a lighter laser weapon would only have the same effect as that dealt by a heavier, more powerful laser weapon in Continuous Wave mode. It's like an "overload" fire.

    In-game renditions are the same for both mode: orange beams. Pulsed Wave is said to be 6 hits and is rendered with a 3-beam sequence, whereas Continuous Wave is rendered by 1 longer beam. To me, it's essentially the same as a 3-shot burst, as compared to a single shot (except the beam durations).

    What if (I don't know if it's possible), the laser weapons (or only the heaviest ones) would have more, diverse fire modes:
    • Pulsed Wave, single pulse: the soldier actions the trigger and the weapon fires a power calibrated beam.
      Rendering would be the same as Pulsed Wave but with only one beam.
    • Pulsed Wave, semi-auto: same as currently; several pulses are fired in  sequence once the trigger is actioned. As far as targeting is concerned, those pulsed beams are quite similar to ballistic weapons and other "one shot" directed beam weapons: target is hit, the wound, and then it's safe unless the shooter has enough TUs left.
      The heavier the weapon, the broader and the longer duration the beams (e.g. if the current Pulse Wave beam would belong to the pistol or rifle, current Continuous Wave beam would belong to the heavy laser).
      Also, I wonder if the TU cost shouldn't be higher (e.g. single pulse would cost the same as current Pulsed Wave, and 3-pulse would cost more): I figure that emitting a pulsed wave is demanding on the generating and firing weapon parts, and that a kind of cool-down is needed.
    • Continuous Wave:
      Game lore tells that a laser pistol could cut through any armor providing it could be operated several minutes long. Moreover, let's think about an immobile soldier in the open: the more TUs, the more rounds/blasts/pulsed beam could reach him. On each hit, the armor penetration and wound tables would be checked. Possibly for some weapons, and irrespective of the rendering effects, semi-auto shots could still be considered as single, more inaccurate but more powerful shots. Now,  if on actioning the trigger, the laser weapon would emit a beam until the trigger is released (as for automatic fire) (that is, up to several seconds), what would a continuous (durable), low intensity hit mean for the target? One armor check only? A kind of a DoT? Still several possible wounds? Remember that the laser weapons get build-in focuser and stabilizer (probably through laser technology).
      Continuous Wave mode would count toward keeping the laser still worth face to the particle beam weapons.

    • Continuous Wave would be the only reaction fire mode for the laser (save the heavy laser?).
      Reason: firing a continuous wave is like "switching the light on" (only as compared to charge a pulsed beam, of course).
      Or, if the TU for Pulsed Wave are risen, the reaction fire mode would be self-limited by this large needed TUs.
    • Continuous Wave rendering would be thinner than Pulsed Wave (but possibly broader for heavier weapons). For instance, a pistol would emit a barely visible orange ray (as if a "dotted" line). The sound at the shooter would be milder too (like a buzzing electrical transformer).
    • Continuous Wave effect could be like the following, and basically a full-auto firing mode:
      • - Once hit, the target would be in a state IsHitByCW(weaponPower, 0) and armor penetration and wound tables would be used. Both reaction and aiming times and skills would be considered for this initial hit stage (like any normal shot).
      • - Every 3 TUs (2TUs?) left, the beam would deal additional damage, but WITHOUT any new hit determination, thanks to the auto-focusing weapon system. Only LOS and target coverage would be checked, as a loss of LOS would mean that the beam is interrupted, and coverage would be properly applied to lower the base damage when relevant.
      • - On each of these subsequent "time segments", the target would either (fixed percentage or based on target's size and max TUs) receive a new low power hit (status IsHitByCW(weaponPower, 0)), or endure the same hit as before (status IsHitByCW(weaponPower, N). For each N above 0, armor protection would be lowered by a cumulative number to simulate that the beam is cutting through it at roughly the same location. Thus, the more time the target is exposed (still in LOS and not well covered), the more efficient the beam gets over time. On a full turn, it would left the target with multiple superficial wounds (burnings) or with an important health loss because the armor would have been cut through.
      • - To balance this, ammo consummation and laser armor penetration should be reviewed, of course.
    • Continuous Wave fire would get a maximum shots (or TUs) limit per turn, balancing this fire mode, and allowing the firer to have time left to deal other actions if the firing occurred at the start of his turn. But after all, a PRL man doesn't move a  lot on the same turn he fires a rocket.
    • Also, laser beams should be silent at impact (if we neglect searing sounds). I don't know where the sound effect occurs in-game, but it should definitively be at the firing laser weapon. Having colored beams are enough for all (simulated) tactical purpose. The effect's sound volume should be lower too (less range than that of an assault riffle) and depend on the weapon power.
  • Dispersion effects for directed round/beam weapons:

    I don't know if the hit and wounds system may manage this, and it could be applied to any weapon effects (such as a distance-related damage for blast effects), but I think that plasma and laser weapons could be the ones to begin with. The purpose of this suggestion is only to augment the difference between weapons, thus making tactical choices more interesting, and some weapons worth the use all over the game.
    • Plasma weapons:
      Instead of stating that one meter more in the air means zero damage, we could have a distance (travel path length) related diminution of the damage caused by a direct hit. I don't know about the rule (linear, quadratic, etc.). A threshold would be possible, starting the diminution only after a minimal distance (lower than the current practical range). Maximum practical range could likely be risen a bit. Spread damage would still be based on direct hit damage. I mean that the spread (inaccuracy) effect and the short/medium ranges are perhaps not enough to "specialize" this weapon family (though the blaster "canonball" mode is superb for that purpose).
    • Laser weapons:
      Now that smoke is operational, we'd naturally wish that laser beams are less accurate or dispersed by it. To a lesser extent, if weather effects are implemented ever (rain, fog, snow storm), they could similarly hinder laser beams (have one of the map_properties a dispersion coefficient?). Laser should pass through fire squares if I understand what waves are (fire is not plasma), but often, fire means smoke... Also, on some map, when destructions occurred (wrecked UFO,...) there's already fire and smoke. Perhaps those squares should be marked as "misty" even if no mist is rendered.
      Back to the smoke effect, we could have the same distance-based computing as with plasma projectile: each traveled-through smoke square would lower the damage by a percentile (higher than if a "rainy" square). One could questions why the build-in weapon stabilizer wouldn't be impaired in turn: perhaps, the weapon spread could be altered by the weather, are more simply, each smoke square would also lower the practical range.
      Now, it would be simpler to have the laser beams blocked by any smoke square. Let's say a smoke grenade is an anti-laser defense device too.
  • Directed particle beam weapons:

    I think they are correctly modeled: instant (pulsed) hit, whitish ray (plasma generation that lasts through persistence of vision)), quasi pin-point wound like a Pulsed Wave laser beam.
    Now, I have a few questions:
    - Does the beam penetrate armors the same way high velocity, hardened round do?
    - Isn't a particle beam less focused than a laser beam, given a weapon size?
    - Couldn't a particle beam cut through a unarmored man to reach the other behind (with less power)?

    That's why, perhaps,
    • the beam rendering could have a fade away effect. I don't know how this wouldn't be the case for lasers  (if the laser is invisible and generates a plasma too), how in this case the two plasmas would be different, and how the persistence of vision would change the overall visual beam effect (Fading or not? How long a time?).
    • the beam rendering could be more fan-like (say, up to 2 square wide at max range?)?
      Or, a "sectoral" fire mode could be added, that would be a wider area emission through a fast deviation of the internal focusing system in  the horizontal plane (no need to strafe with the weapon). In this mode, dispersion (spreading of the damage) should be handled (distance-related as above?).
      Rendering would be a flat whitish 10° (30°?) sector that would flashes a shorter time than the current beam. However, this address a problem of visual occlusion (even if very short?), and lack of realism if LOS in not granted in all the sector (cutting through rocks and walls?). Perhaps, given that in this case, the plasma density would be less, only the sector's first meters could be rendered, or the whitish color would be more transparent (this, plus a flash).
    • the beam could be allowed to penetrate cover, windows, doors, light walls, ... and people, although at a great power expense.
« Last Edit: October 10, 2015, 01:41:18 pm by Rodmar »