Ship weapons rework

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Re: Ship weapons rework

#31 Post by Oberlus » Mon Mar 11, 2019 6:15 pm

I'm diggesting Ophiuchus suggestions. And got this:


Assumptions:
  • Targetting rules:
    - anti-ship weapons (direct weapons, bombers, torpedoes) aims first ships.
    - anti-drone weapons (interceptors, flak cannons, missiles) aims first drones.
  • Drone weapons ignore shields.
  • Speed and range discarded for tactics.
  • Carrier-only stealth ships are targettable after round 1 (same as with direct weapons).

General degrees of tactic freedom that we can have already with current tech tree and ship parts:
  • Hull size (many small or few big) vs shot damage (small or big):
    - small hull fleets gets advantage against big weapons fleets.
    - big hull fleets gets advantage against small weapons fleets.
  • Type of weapon (direct or drone) vs type of defense (shield or flak / interceptors):
    - shield gets advantage against direct weapons fleets and disadvante against drone weapons fleets.
    - anti-drone defense gets advantage against drone weapons fleet and disadvantage against direct weapons fleets.
  • Stealth vs no stealth. Stealth, when winning the tech race, means -1 round of enemy damage (a sort of first strike).
    - Stealth gets advantage against lower detection empires and disadvantage against greater detection empires. Usless at late game but could be fixed.
So we get {small/big/mixed hulls} X {direct/drone/mixed weapons} X {stealh or not} you get 18 possible different specialised strategies. Not bad.


We could add some more minor degrees without requiring C++ tinkering, just using current FOCS mechanics:
  • Torpedoes vs bombers. Well, this could require some C++ work, to make the torpedo die on hit.
    - Torpedoes attacks only once per combat (launch round 1, hit on round 2 if not destroyed) and deals way more damage than bombers (>3xbomber). Best weapon against huge hulls, worst against small hulls.
  • Number of shots per round (many shots with less damage vs few shoots with more damage).
    Currently this only differentiates flaks (anti-drone) from direct weapons (anti-ship), and the targetting systems overrides this. So...
    - Direct weapons with multiple shots and low damage get advantage against small hull fleets and disadvantage against big hulls, compared to direct weapons with single shot and high damage.
    - A very low damage with very high shoot rate could be an all-round direct weapon with same role than fighters, i.e. no targetting priorities.
  • Advanced combat targetting. Parts or leaders that allow to aim first certain ships. Possibilities:
    - Ships with more direct damage (kill first beam weapon)
    - Ships with more anti-drone weaponry (kill first flak cannons).
    - Ships with less or more structure (kill first big vs kill first small).
    Sure there are others.
    I'm not sure if this brings in more degrees of freedom in fleet composition or actually the opposite (cause it may become a must-have, at least late game).
Will FOCS support to set targetting rules of weapons?

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Re: Ship weapons rework

#32 Post by The Silent One » Mon Mar 11, 2019 7:17 pm

Ophiuchus wrote:
Mon Mar 11, 2019 2:12 pm
I am a bit lost here, guys.
Tactical combat mostly means fleet composition based on ship design in our context. I am not sure if there is any way to make that real "fun".
I need a little more time to work on my ideas, but my general idea is that the player, to be successful, should have to combine different weapons for cummulative effects, and also should need to frequently adapt his designs to counter enemy strategies. E. g., if the enemy fleet relies heavily on fighters, he should be able to counter with a flak-beam weapon fleet build. But we'll probably need a fair amount of weapon/strategy options to make this work well.
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Re: Ship weapons rework

#33 Post by Ophiuchus » Wed Mar 13, 2019 9:54 am

Oberlus wrote:
Mon Mar 11, 2019 6:15 pm
I'm diggesting Ophiuchus suggestions. And got this:
...
General degrees of tactic freedom that we can have already with current tech tree and ship parts:
...
So we get {small/big/mixed hulls} X {direct/drone/mixed weapons} X {stealh or not} you get 18 possible different specialised strategies. Not bad.
Yeah thats probably one way to cut it roughly. There are also some unmentioned strategic degrees of freedom like initial cost and effectivenes and long-term development (hull and part upgrades via research like stealth for spatial flux and the fuel and weapon upgrades), auto upgrade like organic growth) and resupply (e.g. refueling out-of-supply). And for hulls also the numbers of slots are very important (e.g. the spatial flux hull line gets quite a good cost ratio for low research, but having just one type of slot is very restrictive) .

One way to start designing weapons would actually not be weapons, but the categories and/or hull lines. Finding themes for the hull lines will necessitate fitting weapons parts.
E.g. for the mechanic/industrial category the theme could be "cheap". That means a good value at the time. So rather cheap throw-away hulls (few slots but fine stats) with low-cost parts. Fitting this would be very damaging multi-shot main ship weapons which would not have a good long-term value because they can be countered by advanced shield technology and can not be upgraded simply by research.

On the other hand the bio category could have the themes "care and growth". So e.g. organic growth structure and damage growth for organic weapon parts (claws etc). Organic weapon parts could be only added to living?/organic hulls. So the longer the ships survive the more dangerous they become.
* Torpedoes vs bombers. Well, this could require some C++ work, to make the torpedo die on hit.
- Torpedoes attacks only once per combat (launch round 1, hit on round 2 if not destroyed) and deals way more damage than bombers (>3xbomber). Best weapon against huge hulls, worst against small hulls.
Different implementation: torpedoes hit only the the last round. This would not need the self-destruct mechanic, just round-dependent combat targeting.
I'm not sure if this brings in more degrees of freedom in fleet composition or actually the opposite (cause it may become a must-have, at least late game).
What you should have in your fleet depends on your enemies fleets. Probably as long as there are different counters to certain threads the player will not be forced to research and build that single counter. Hm lets your new enemy has a close-range fleet but your enemy has the stealth advantage (so attacking twice with CR weapons, while you can only attack one turn). Now you can either upgrade detection, stealth distortion, or weapons which are able to attack stealthed enemies (spider fighters which have a "bonus in detection"; graviton pulsar which has a lot of shots which hit everybody in the combat, so better to keep your ships shielded)
Will FOCS support to set targetting rules of weapons?
What do you mean by that? Active/passive is available also for targeting.
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Furthermore, I propse... we should default to four combat rounds instead of three ...for the good of playerkind.

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Re: Ship weapons rework

#34 Post by Oberlus » Wed Mar 13, 2019 11:59 am

Ophiuchus wrote:
Wed Mar 13, 2019 9:54 am
There are also some unmentioned strategic degrees of freedom
I'm focusing on aspects most relevant for combat outcome.

Speed (one engine part) is a must-have for map control so you know that your late game ship designs must have one internal slot, or better a core slot. We will probably need new hulls with few internal/external slots (i.e. small) and with one core slot.

Fuel range/resupply and (interstellar) speed are irrelevant for combat outcome (not for map strategy). You will seldom use fuel parts (maybe that is fixable through balance, but would be hard nonetheless). So I ignore it.
Number of external and internal slots is more or less included in big vs small hulls: small hulls have less slots, huge hulls have more. Certainly, different combinations of internal/external slots do influence the ship design, but not really giving more freedom degrees because you have to pick the right hull for your weapon tactic:
- If you go for drone strategy, best hull (currently) will have many internal slots for hangars, corresponding external slots for launch bays, extra external slots for direct weapons and armour, and one core slot for speed (or two for that spinal antimatter cannon).
- If you go for no-drone strategy, best hull will change one hangar for a shield and discard the rest of internal slots (maybe one for fuel), launch bays for more armour and weapons, and the rest the same.

Ammo resupply out-of-supply is a relevant characteristic, but it is included in direct vs drone weapons, no extra degree of freedom.
Ophiuchus wrote:
Wed Mar 13, 2019 9:54 am
Finding themes for the hull lines will necessitate fitting weapons parts.
Indeed.
If I understood you well, we are talking (among others) about parts that are specific for certain hull lines. I have that in mind: organic weapons and parts for organic hulls. Asteroid and rock related parts for asteroid hulls. Cybernetic parts for cybertec hulls.
Ophiuchus wrote:
Wed Mar 13, 2019 9:54 am
Different implementation: torpedoes hit only the the last round. This would not need the self-destruct mechanic, just round-dependent combat targeting
If player changes round number to 2 or to 4 it won't work. I guess it will be simpler and more versatile if we allow it shoot(launch) like fighters and implement the self-destruction.
Ophiuchus wrote:
Wed Mar 13, 2019 9:54 am
so attacking twice with CR weapons, while you can only attack one turn
Judging by the feedback, that's not gonna happen. The ranges differences, I mean. Too complicated.

About FOCS, I meant if you will be able to specify for each weapon if it will target first ships, drones or anything, and also if it ignores shields, the same you can set damage or shots per turn.

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Re: Ship weapons rework

#35 Post by Ophiuchus » Wed Mar 13, 2019 3:08 pm

Oberlus wrote:
Wed Mar 13, 2019 11:59 am
I guess it will be simpler and more versatile if we allow it shoot(launch) like fighters and implement the self-destruction.
As someone who knows the code i think it will not be simpler to implement self-destruction and it would add a new part type with very specific implementation. I would rather have scriptable combat effects (in this case Destroy the Source), but generic combat effects will take much longer to discuss and get right.
]Judging by the feedback, that's not gonna happen. The ranges differences, I mean. Too complicated.
Geoff shot just down your one suggestion where you compare ship speeds and have preferred ranges IMHO. I still hope for generic turn based "ranges" (on which Geoff did not comment yet) or something similar. Close range weapons would play so well with stealth ... :twisted: back-stabbing ships out of nowhere.
About FOCS, I meant if you will be able to specify for each weapon if it will target first ships, drones or anything, and also if it ignores shields, the same you can set damage or shots per turn.
Yes, that is already possible and is in use in master. Look at flak (SR*_0_1) or the fighter hangar ship parts (or the PR linked in the fighter targeting poll). If I got it right Geoff wants species conditions next (because he implemented something). That needs quite a lot discussion in my opinion to become good. But i guess that could happen in the release timeframe.
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Furthermore, I propse... we should default to four combat rounds instead of three ...for the good of playerkind.

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Re: Ship weapons rework

#36 Post by Oberlus » Thu Mar 14, 2019 10:09 pm

Ophiuchus wrote:
Wed Mar 13, 2019 3:08 pm
Oberlus wrote:
Wed Mar 13, 2019 11:59 am
I guess it will be simpler and more versatile if we allow it shoot(launch) like fighters and implement the self-destruction.
As someone who knows the code i think it will not be simpler to implement self-destruction and it would add a new part type with very specific implementation. I would rather have scriptable combat effects (in this case Destroy the Source), but generic combat effects will take much longer to discuss and get right.
I don't know what's the difference between implementing destroy-on-hit weapons (that is, allow to specify that in FOCS for new drone weapons) and implement scriptable combat sffects like "destroy the source" that activates after it has hitted something. If either of these can be done, it would be great. Otherwise, I will refrain from designing suicidal drone weapons (torpedoes, acid krill...).

Regarding range, I can work with the simplest option (Long shoots three rounds, Short two rounds, Close one round, no fleet speed, only stealth can affect this). Long weapons will have 3 rounds to shoot (unless enemy is undetected), short weapons 2 rounds (won't be affected by long-range steath), and close range only 1 round to shoot.

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Re: Ship weapons rework

#37 Post by Oberlus » Fri Mar 15, 2019 6:27 pm

So, let's see if we all like this ¿very KISS? suggestion for stealth and range:

Assuming 3 rounds per combat.

Three weapon ranges:
  • Long range: can shoot from round one (max 3 rounds).
  • Short range: can shoot from round two (max 2 rounds).
  • Close range: can shoot on round three (max 1 rounds).
  • Drones: launched at round 1 works sort of a mixture between long and short, triggers detection as long range weapon (from round 1) but has effective shots as short range (max 2 rounds).
Undetected ships that shoot a weapon or launch a drone are detected on next round (this could be more complex if we want to make stealth at least marginally useful late game).
This means different damage reduction depending on the weaponry of the undetected ship:
  • Long range and drones: -1/3 reduction from LR weapons (but not drones).
  • Short range: -2/3 reduction from LR weapons, -1/2 reduction from SR weapons and drones.
  • Close range: No damage taken (the sneaky bastards appeared from nowhere and were right on top of us! we couldn't do shit!).
This stealth-CR combo can be a problem. In that case:

Assuming 4 rounds per combat.

Weapon ranges:
  • Long: max 4 rounds.
  • Short and drones: max 3 rounds.
  • Close: max 2 rounds.
Damage reduction depending on the weaponry of the undetected ship:
  • Long range and drones: -1/4 reduction from LR weapons.
  • Short range: -2/4 from LR weapons, -1/3 from SR weapons and drones.
  • Close range: -3/4 from LR, -2/3 from SR and drones, -1/2 from CR (This time we at least could counterattack... sneaky bastards).

In any case, close range weapons plays very well with stealth as a very effective defense.

When designing weapons numbers, weapons of similar cost (in slots and PPs) should output similar Damage Per Combat (DPC). Correct me if I'm wrong.

So a CR weapon should deal in a single shot 3x the equivalent LR damage, and 2x the equivalent short range damage if assuming three rounds per combat.
With 4 rounds per combat, it would be 2x and 1.5x respectively. So the CR+stealth combo is allowing that fleet to deal full DPC and reducing enemy's DPC between -50% and -75%


Would it be an option to make rounds per combat default to 4 and strict minimum of 3? IMO it would be easier to balance this stuff (if accepted) with 4 rounds.

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Re: Ship weapons rework

#38 Post by Oberlus » Sat Mar 16, 2019 9:20 pm

I first draft of weapons design for the new main 4 tech categories:
WEAPON Theme Tier Targets first Range Slots Ignores Sh. Multishot
Jaws Small Biotec 1 Ships Close Ext Yes No
Spines Biotec 2 Any Short Ext No 3-6
Acid blobs (missiles) Biotec 2 Ships Long Int+Ext Yes 3-6
Jaws Medium Biotec 3 Ships Close Int Yes No
Tentacles Biotec 4 Any Close Int Yes 3-6
Jaws Huge Biotec 5 Ships Close Core Yes No
Interceptors (dones) Cybertec 1 Drones Long Int+Ext Yes 4-8
Fighters (drones) Cybertec 1 Any Long Int+Ext Yes 3-6
Bombers (drones) Cybertec 1 Ships Long Int+Ext Yes 2-4
Laser cannon Cybertec 2 Any Short Ext No No
Pulse cannon Energy 1 Any Short Ext No 1-3
Proton cannon Energy 2 Ships Short Ext No No
Plasma cannon Energy 3 Ships Close Ext No No
Neutron cannon Energy 4 Ships Long Ext No No
Antimatter spinal cannon Energy 5 Ships Long Core No No
Coil gun Mech 1 Drones Short Ext No 3-6
Rail gun Mech 2 Ships Short Ext No No
Mass driver Mech 3 Ships Short Ext No No
Torpedoes (missiles) Mech 3 Ships Long Int Yes 2-4
Spinal mass driver Mech 4 Ships Short Core No No
Spinal coil cannon Mech 5 Ships Short Core No 3-6
Missiles, understood as suicidal drones (die on hit), are just an idea, the suggestion could work without them.

The Laser cannon in Cybertec is a workaround for drones not being able to target planets. If bombers were changed to damage planets too, the laser cannon would be removed (or substitute the pulse cannon in Energy).

Biotec are close range. Their living hulls will have the best stealth capabilities (base and parts) and hull out-of-supply regeneration, and no pilots, instead weapon damage will grow with time. Biotec Living fleets will be good versus bad detection fleets (specially against long range fleets) and bad against good detection fleets.

Cybertec use drones. Their hulls will have good within-supply regeneration. Cybertec carrier fleets will be good against no-anti-drone fleets, and ignore shields, so will be the nemesis of pure Energy builds.

Energy have shields and non-shield-piercing beams, some with long range, and only one subpar multi-shot weapon. Their hulls will be the fastest, with no stealth. Shield beam fleets will be good against unshielded fleets and bad against shielded.

A note: with targetting enabled, Energy cannons will always target first ships, and with no PD weaponry, fighting against a Cybertec fleet of similar power could mean mutual obliteration.

Mech use kinetic weapons, some with multishot, all short range, that are good against big targets. They will have two lines of hulls, self-gravitating (looking for a better name, maybe just mechanical) and asteroid. Self-grav. have increasingly big hulls with plenty of core slots. Asteroid have twice HP for same price but cannot repair after damaged (disposable ships), and have some small stealth and shield capabilities. The worst enemies for kinetic fleets will be swarm fleets (negating the mech efficiency against big ships).


All I've wrote here are suggestions (many. yet still incomplete), anything can be changed or discarded.

If one category alone could be good strategy for late game, then maybe all or most others should be (or that tech category could be a must-have), or the weaponry should be changed so that many combinations of two categories (weaponry and hulls) are better than any single category. That's the problem I'm trying to forsee before implementation, so insights on this particular question is very welcome.
I think Cybertec can't be because of easy counter. Energy won't be better than Energy+Cybertec or Biotec+Anything. Biotec alone, once everyone has high detection, should be subpar. Greatest doubt is with Mech, but I think I can balance damage and fire rate of weapons and hull and armour points good enough for Mech having a nightmare against small ship swarms, and therefore would'n be a viable strategy late game.

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Re: Ship weapons rework

#39 Post by Ophiuchus » Mon Mar 18, 2019 9:16 pm

Wow, that looks great, I think :)
Oberlus wrote:
Sat Mar 16, 2019 9:20 pm
The Laser cannon in Cybertec is a workaround for drones not being able to target planets. If bombers were changed to damage planets too, the laser cannon would be removed (or substitute the pulse cannon in Energy).
There is no technical problem to make bombers also target planets.

But there is no switch/configuration for "Ignores Shld". So your drones always ignore shield and against other weapons shield is always effective. That means all close range weapons but Plasma cannon. Such a switch would be no big problem i guess. Else maybe close-range weapons could get that (by default).
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Furthermore, I propse... we should default to four combat rounds instead of three ...for the good of playerkind.

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Re: Ship weapons rework

#40 Post by Oberlus » Tue Mar 19, 2019 8:51 am

Hmmm...
I think we can live without that toggle for direct damage weapons to ignore shield.
I'll try making some Energy weapons better at multishot and downgrade the damage per shot to make them even less effective against shields.

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Re: Ship weapons rework

#41 Post by Ophiuchus » Tue Mar 19, 2019 9:01 am

Oberlus wrote:
Tue Mar 19, 2019 8:51 am
Hmmm...
I think we can live without that toggle for direct damage weapons to ignore shield.
I'll try making some Energy weapons better at multishot and downgrade the damage per shot to make them even less effective against shields.
Coolio
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Furthermore, I propse... we should default to four combat rounds instead of three ...for the good of playerkind.

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Re: Ship weapons rework

#42 Post by Oberlus » Mon Mar 25, 2019 6:25 pm

RFC

Currently we have as defensive parts:
- Armour: increases HP.
- Shields: decreases direct weapon damage by an absolute value.
- Drones: soak entire shots and get destroyed.
- Stealth: acts as a form of first strike ability, avoiding all damage from first round.

With incoming targetting, drones will no longer serve to soak direct weapon shots, so they could be considered as a defense only against other drones.
This is a great gamechanger in the figthers vs direct weapon strategy, because much less direct weapon damage would grant enemy obliteration (instead of being soaked by drones during rounds 2 and 3).
In other words, looks like shields will be much more interesting, and we don't want it to be a no brainer (and thus make Energy trunk mandatory).

Suggestion for a third form of defense: Regeneration during combat: at the end of each combat round, surviving ships can regenerate a percentage of its max HP. Would work like the shield capacitors in MoO.
I don't know if such an effect is already available via FOCS or if it could be implemented. I have only once played with Logistics Facilitator, does it provide something like this?
Like shields, it would be better against small weapons, but shields would be better against larger armies (because they can soak infinite damage if weapons are small enough; while regeneration can't soak more than max HP per round, regardless of weapon size). To compensate for this (and to avoid making it an underused tech), the percentage of HP they can regenerate should be much greater than the damage soaked by an equivalent shield in a single shot. Also, it would not consume part slots but be a hull ability that can be improved with better techs.
Clear hull line candidates for this within-combat regeneration ability would be Alive Hulls from Biotec and Robotic Hulls from Cybertec. Biotec could do just fine with the stealth and close range weapons I thought at start, so I would say Cybertec's Robotic Hulls shall have it.

Opinions?

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Re: Ship weapons rework

#43 Post by Ophiuchus » Wed Mar 27, 2019 9:08 pm

Oberlus wrote:
Mon Mar 25, 2019 6:25 pm
RFC
...
With incoming targetting, drones will no longer serve to soak direct weapon shots, so they could be considered as a defense only against other drones.
This basically depends on how we want it to be. Currently the all ship weapons still fire at fighters and ships.
Oberlus wrote:
Mon Mar 25, 2019 6:25 pm
...
Suggestion for a third form of defense: Regeneration during combat: at the end of each combat round, surviving ships can regenerate a percentage of its max HP. Would work like the shield capacitors in MoO.
I don't know if such an effect is already available via FOCS or if it could be implemented.
Not available. Again, combat effects could make such a thing possible.
Oberlus wrote:
Mon Mar 25, 2019 6:25 pm
...Opinions?
My gut feeling says i do not like it so much. But I do not have evidence and i cannot really explain what i do not like.

One thing to consider: Understanding what happens in combat gets more complicated. Also combat report log could become messy.
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Furthermore, I propse... we should default to four combat rounds instead of three ...for the good of playerkind.

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Re: Ship weapons rework

#44 Post by Oberlus » Wed Mar 27, 2019 10:58 pm

Appreciate the feedback.
Ophiuchus wrote:
Wed Mar 27, 2019 9:08 pm
This basically depends on how we want it to be
I guess a final decision is not something we can get, but I'd need to know what is the most probable course.
If it depends on me (it doesn't), anti-ship weapons, understood as any with enough damage per shot to be a waste fired at drones, should target ships first.
Whether they are going to fire anything or ships first, it is quite decisive for weapons design.
Ophiuchus wrote:
Wed Mar 27, 2019 9:08 pm
My gut feeling says i do not like it so much
Ah, too bad. I liked it as more interesting than the robotics interface shield.
But if no developer likes the idea, regeneration after combat and some kind of swarm shield shall do the trick.

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Re: Ship weapons rework

#45 Post by The Silent One » Thu Mar 28, 2019 11:47 am

Ophiuchus wrote:
Wed Mar 27, 2019 9:08 pm
One thing to consider: Understanding what happens in combat gets more complicated. Also combat report log could become messy.
I agree and I think there should be a more graphical representation of combat results. When I have some time I will prepare a mockup.

Other than that, good work here Oberlus, I like the regeneration idea, would love to see in-combat effects, but I guess it's probably not gonna happen now or even at all.
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