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For what's not in 'Top Priority Game Design'. Post your ideas, visions, suggestions for the game, rules, modifications, etc.

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Impaler
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#106 Post by Impaler » Thu Nov 04, 2004 8:33 pm

Additonal thougts on Balance. As I said earlier the player should have 4 Options for their Shield and Armor thickness None, Light, Medium, Heavy. This value esentialy acts as a Modifier of the Shield or Armor componet/s of a ship and can be adde/removed/changed in the same mannor as other modifiers. The Thicker the Armor and the Stronger the shield the higher the critical Defence Factor X is and the more expensive it is as well. The relationship though should be none linear or else it would almost always be best to use the heaviest armor and shields to make your ships nearly unstopable. A diminishing rate of return is definatly preferable. The Defence value of something is determined by the Tecnology which can have Refinments. The Light Modifer reduces cost and gives one equivilent of -1 refinment level. Heavy is the opposite.

So for Example Zortium has the Refinment pattern

I - 3 Points
II - 4 Points
III - 5 Points
IV - 7 Points

Your level of knowlage is III and you chosse Light Armor thus you get the effect of level II and 4 Points of Defence. If you had chossen Heavy you get 7 Points. When you discover the next level of Refinment in Zortium all the Modifiers on your ships will downgrade to reflect your new tec level. Ships that were considered "Heavy" armored become Medium Armor, Medium becomes Light and Light becomes "Obsolete Tin-foil" aka "I need an Upgrade". At some level (like 3 levels obsolete) ships might simply get the upgrade for free to keep their from being all these old super obsolete ships acumulating. Aditional Thickness levels like "Ultra Heavy +2 Refinment" could also be possible if desired, cost just needs to be very very high for pushing your tecnology to the bleeding edge.
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#107 Post by PowerCrazy » Fri Nov 05, 2004 1:56 am

Impaler: Its not good if the player has complete control over all aspects of their ships. It is almost impossible to balance and makes building a ship more complicated then it needs to be.

Instead of letting the player create any kind of shield he wants we just present the player with shield classes, and maybe a mod or two. Hard Shields, Recharge rate etc. Then shield Class I-XX or whatever we decide.

Same with armor. The player chooses the type of armor and what it is good against, then can put a few mods on it, i.e. Heavy, or light, etc.

Also shields should be inherently different then armor. They should have different properties that make a shield something besdies just some more armor with a different name. It should also be possible for an advanced player to find an optimal ratio of shields and armor, just as it should be possible for a novice to just put the best type of armor/shields on a ship. It all depends on the style of play.
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#108 Post by Ranos » Fri Nov 05, 2004 3:57 am

Slightly Off Topic -

Now that I really think about it, I don't even know why I posted that stupid Suggested Rules thread. It was a waste of my time and everyone who read and posted in it. That leads me back on topic and to my reason for even writing this paragraph:

I'm going to play devils advocate, as I seem to do alot, about all this shields and armor stuff.
Impaler wrote:Also the idea that shields should be limited to only having pools of HP that absorb damage is a very very limited view, it excludes many many potential mechanism which can be of use. Why should limit ourselves to such a small set of options? I dont see how it would improve game play in any way, it simply seems to be your personal preferece. If your personal taste is for this kind of shield then you could reserch only it and ignore the rest, then your only limiting yourself not everyone else. Its a poor argument to say "I would never use that when playing so it shouldnt" be an option". Why should limit ourselves to such a small set of options? If the choices are balanced others will use them and enjoy them a lot.
You seem to still be under the impression that I want nothing but simple armor and shields and only one of each. I said it in both of my last two posts and I'm going to say it again so hopefully you see it, I am going to try to phrase it differently this time though:

I am not against having multiple different types of shields and armor. I don't want redundant or unbalanced types though. That is why I keep posting against some things and why I will continue to do so until somebody can show me some good math on how these would be balanced.
Impaler wrote:Energy Nulifiers - Flat subtract X amount of damage from each attack
Energy Walls - Absorb all Damage to a Pool of X points
Energy Screens - Reduce each attack by X%
Energy Deflectors - Completly delfects X% of all attacks randomly
Energy Barriers- Completly negate the first X number of attacks each turn (in a real time system their would be a "cool down time" after an attack is stoped afterwhich the shield is esentialy down, better shields have shorter cooldown)
Energy Absorbers - Negate the first X damage recived each turn (in real time the shield is continusly regenerating up to a total of X with regeneration being % based)
Energy Conpensators - Make a random roll from 1 to the damage amount of the attack and Nulify the attack if the shield value X is higher then or equal to the roll.
Energy Nullifiers and Energy Sreens are the same exact thing. The only difference is one is a flat rate and the other is a percentage. These, therefore, fall under the redundant category. I also think that Energy Nullifiers are unbalanced. This is because they would either be very usefull or totally useless.

To keep them from being overpowered in the early game, the number would have to be very low and would soon be outpaced by the weapons. You would have to research a new version that would be stronger, but to keep it from being invincible to the weapons at the same tech level, the number would still need to be low. This would continue through the whole game with the shields being quickly outpaced by the weapons they are used to defend against.

With that in mind, Energy Nullifers should not be used. Energy Screens can be.

Energy Screens and Energy Deflectors are exactly the same thing unless screens have HP that gets reduced. Both reduce X% of damage. They are therefore redundant. If HP was added to Screens, they would be underpowered compaired to Deflectors and eveyone would use the deflectors. The only possible way to balance these would be to make the percent reduced higher on Screens that are at the same level as a certain Deflector. Example: Screen 1 reduces 10% while Deflector 1 reduces only 5%.

Adding HP to Screens though would then unbalance them in compairison to Walls since Walls would absorb all damage until Y was gone while Screens would only reduce it by X until Y was gone. The solution to this is to make it so if a Wall and a Screen at the same level were attacked, by the time the Screen lost all of it's HP, the ship with the Wall would have recieved the same ammount of damage. If anyone doesn't understand that, I can explain it better, but I don't want to if I don't have to.

I agree that Barriers shouldn't be used since they negate full attacks and the same with Compensators. This would make them either over or underpowered but very rarely in the middle.

Absorbers sound exactly like Walls except with HP recharging. This means that if Walls have HP recharging, which they would need to have to be balanced with Screens which would have to have HP recharge to make them different from Deflectors, then Absorbers are redundant.

When you boil everything down, there are only two ways for shields to work. Stop all damage or stop some damage. To balance those two methods, there must be some kind of penalty on the stop all damage method which means HP that gets reduced to zero at which point all damage goes through. But that then unbalances them because the stop some now stops some forever while the stop all runs out. The stop some must therefore also have HP that runs out so that in the end, as I said earlier, after an equal ammount of time, both ships would have recieved, and will continue to recieve the sama ammount of damage.

The only possible changes that could be made is to have the two evolve as the game goes. Maybe there is no shield recharging to start with and once both have run out of HP, shields are gone for the rest of combat. Then they evolve so both have recharging. Then they evolve further so the stop all has a high recharge rate and the stop some has no more HP and deflects the damage instead of absorbing it. That last evolution would take some work to get it balanced and as I think about it, I don't know if they could be balanced.

In the end, Walls are a definate, Screens and Deflectors could both be used if one had HP and the other had a lower percent deflection. As long as Screens and Walls were balanced as I described above of course.

Of course, if someone could show me the math or explain to me how more could be done, I am completely open to it. (Bold to make sure people understand I am open to more ideas)
PowerCrazy wrote:Certain armors are good against certain types of damage.
Bad against other types of damage.
Act as the hit points of a ship.
Nullifys an amount of damage depending on the tech level of the armor. More if the armor is "good" against the weapon, less if it is "bad" against the weapon.
The rest of the damage is applied to the armor/structure of a ship.
I think there should be two levels of HP, not counting shields if shields get an HP value. Armor is one, which would have resistances and Internals would be the other which would not have resistances. If ship capturing is implemented, then the Internals level need to be split into two. One is HP that when it hits zero, the ship blows up. The other is HP that when it hits zero, the ship is disabled.

I, of course, like the way armor would function in the rest of the ways. I know I stated in an earlier post that I would like to see armor with resistances (good and bad damage types), deflection (Nullifying some damage) and then the HP damage.
PowerCrazy wrote:Shields: an X% of damage is ignored/reflected/absorbed up to Y damage. The rest of the damage is applied to the armor.
Not good or bad against any type of weapon, special case shield piercing weapons exempt.
While having shields that absorbed all HP would be fun, I am starting to think it would be more fun if shields and armor functioned in two completely different ways. I would have to agree with this except I am not in favor of "shields piercing" weapons. That is something to be discussed and I may change my mine on that too.

I also don't think we should rule out resistances on shields. Having shields that functioned in the manner I stated in the last countering system I proposed would be quite interesting, IMO. That system:
Ranos wrote:Shields

Shields can also work in one of two ways. One is for the shields to block all weapons until the shield is depleted. The other is for shields to only block energy type weapons, normal shields anyway. The first allows for a very balanced system with everything being fairly equal. The second allows for more character, but the need to balance weapons in a more complex way. Both ways have their good points and bad points but as I was reworking this part from my last countering system, the second way just seemed to fit better. Here is the new system:

Shield - Description - Purpose

Energy - Basic energy is what powers this shield. - Strong against Basice Energy, normal against Advanced Energy, no effect on Projectiles and Missiles.
Harmonic - The field of energy created by this shield vibrates, causing a faint humming sound, if the ship is in atmosphere - Strong against Advanced Energy, normal against Basic Energy, no effect on Projectiles and Missiles.
Hard - This shields energy is so strong, a human could stand on it, if he didn't get vaporized first. - Decreases Kinetic damage on armor, stops Missiles, damage is increased of energy weapons.

Corrosive weapons have no bearing on shields since the corrosive material is still in its delivery container.
Having most shields be able to stop energy but not be able to stop kinetic and explosive weapons and then having one shield type that stops kinetic and explosive but that is weak against energy would give shields lots of character and the need for careful consideration when choosing which shields you will use.
Impaler wrote:Their are 2 factors here the X% and a Regeneration rate (and possibly a number describing the Shields total HP). If the player has several options with many differnt values say Shields that absorb 15% of damage into a shield that contains up to 500 points and regenerates 20 Points per time tick vs a Shield absorbing 40% into a shield of 150 points regenerating at 30 points per tick. Add on top of that an Armor calculation and I think we will have a complexity problem. The solution should be to either break up the equation into several differnt types of shields or to make some of these values Constants that the player can essentialy ignore for example we simply state that all shields of a particluar type regenerate 10% of its value per tick. That fuses together 2 seperate values and we can describe the shield simply as a "500 HP Regenating Shield".
Some of you seem to be concerned with the complexity of the inner workings of the game. How the game works on the inside is not important as long as the way it works on the outside is fun and understandable for the player. Do you buy a microwave, take it home and then take it apart because you want to see how it works? If you are really into that kind of thing then yes, but most people just want to be able to zap some food and maybe a few bugs or the cat once or twice. The same is true with computer games. Most people buy it, load it on their computer and as long as it is fun to play, they don't care how the damage to the shields and ship are calculated.

The people who do like to take microwaves apart either already know how they work and are just curious about this model or are intelligent enough to figure things out as they go. The same is true with computer games. It really doesn't matter if shield damage is as easy as X-Y=Z or as complicated as (R-Q)*P=J then J*X-Y=Z then Z/A+B=C as long as it works in the game.

Now for the heavy/light armor/shields thing. If you link it to the refinement level, it can get confusing. How is light armor figured for Zortium Mk1? If before Mk1 is nothing, does that mean Light Mk1 = 0? Instead, just use multipliers. None, Very Light, Light, Medium, Heavy, Very Heavy, Ultra Heavy or however many we want to have. None = Armor HP*0, VLight = Armor HP*.5, Light = Armor HP*.67, Medium = *1, Heavy = *2.5, VHeavy = *5, UHeavy = *10 and whatever else. This keeps it simple.
PowerCrazy wrote:Impaler: Its not good if the player has complete control over all aspects of their ships. It is almost impossible to balance and makes building a ship more complicated then it needs to be.
Giving the player complete control over all aspects is the point of the design process. The more choices we give them though, the more confusing and complicated it gets. In the late game, the player will already have to choose between dozens of weapons, maybe near a hundred. Needing to choose between two or three different types of shields and whether they will be light or heavy will be easy compaired to that.

If we have things balanced before it gets to the player, then it won't matter what the player does. The point of having heavy and light is to slighlty unbalance the system in favor of one player or another.

As Bastian said, we should make a complex game without making it too complicated for the player. To understand that better, go here:

viewtopic.php?t=940&postdays=0&postorder=asc&start=87

Sorry for the long posts everyone, I am really into explaining myself so hopefully people don't misunderstand.
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Impaler
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#109 Post by Impaler » Fri Nov 05, 2004 6:43 am

In Response:

Energy Nulifiers and Energy Screens are quite different, a flat subtraction bonus has the chance to make a ship completly resistent to a brradge of small attacks. Energy Screens likly max out at 70-90% reduction at the end of the game and thus are unable to prevent the armor from taking some damage in any attack, conversly they prove hugly valuable in protecting a ship from very large attacks aka Death Ray.
I also think that Energy Nullifiers are unbalanced. This is because they would either be very usefull or totally useless.
ALSO
I agree that Barriers shouldn't be used since they negate full attacks and the same with Compensators. This would make them either over or underpowered but very rarely in the middle.

I think I see now why we have had so much disagreement, you seem to have a very odd definition of unbalanced. To me (and I think most people) unbalanced means a situation inwhich one choice is very good almost or nearly almost all the time and thus every other choice is Bad. Rock/Paper/Scisors is a Balanced game because each option is equaly likly to have been good or bad, the degree to which a choice can help or hurt you is not of importance in saying if the system is Balanced. Lets say though that their was a forth option in the game "Meteor" that Burns paper, Melts Scisors and Blast Rock. Obvously its the best choice and the other choices become uless distractions. Being usefull in some situations and less so in others is infact a good thing because your choice will effect the outcome, middle of the road choices are usaly borring and best avoided.
To keep them from being overpowered in the early game, the number would have to be very low and would soon be outpaced by the weapons. You would have to research a new version that would be stronger, but to keep it from being invincible to the weapons at the same tech level, the number would still need to be low. This would continue through the whole game with the shields being quickly outpaced by the weapons they are used to defend against.
This is realy quite obvius with any weapon or defence system and is quite desirable, obsolete weapons are unable to penatrate advanced defences and visa versa. Depending on how fast Damage totals/HP totals and other critical numbers in combat incresse (say for example the next generation of weapon dose twice as much damage) the Nulfiers will have potential very short spans of Dominance before becoming obsolete. So long as the average usefullness dose not greatly exceed that of the other options the choices is still balanced, the rapid swings of the system mearly act as another wrinkle for the player to consider, should he pour resorces into generation of ships that might rule the Galaxy for a brief time before becomeing obsolete or should he go with tecnology that has more staying power.
Energy Screens and Energy Deflectors are exactly the same thing unless screens have HP that gets reduced. Both reduce X% of damage. They are therefore redundant. If HP was added to Screens, they would be underpowered compaired to Deflectors and eveyone would use the deflectors. The only possible way to balance these would be to make the percent reduced higher on Screens that are at the same level as a certain Deflector. Example: Screen 1 reduces 10% while Deflector 1 reduces only 5%.
The flaw in your logic is that your not taking into account the size of the attack or the HP of the ship underneath the Armor. A small lightly armored ship under attack by very powerfull weapons that could otherwise get a 1 shot kill would have atlest some change of surviing an attack if its equiped with a Deflector, the Screen on the other hand will permit enough damage through to destroy the ship. A ship with some kind of Armor capable of Nulifying some damage off of an Attack is probably better off with the Screen because reducing the raw damage to the Armor on ever attack will essentialy multiply the armors effectivness on every attack.

The argument that every type of shield must have HP thus false and the subsequnt argument that most or all of these proposals boil down to just 2 types is also false. Their are many ways to balance things besides trying to give them all the same elements such as HP and Regeneration rates and ultimatly watering down their differnces.
The people who do like to take microwaves apart either already know how they work and are just curious about this model or are intelligent enough to figure things out as they go. The same is true with computer games. It really doesn't matter if shield damage is as easy as X-Y=Z or as complicated as (R-Q)*P=J then J*X-Y=Z then Z/A+B=C as long as it works in the game.
I have already stated my anathama for math formulas to complex to be performed mentaly. I believe it reduces the players control over the game by obscuring why things are happening, much like a Moo3 minister the player is left with a feeling of lack of control . The feeling inability to understand the choices is actualy worse then the inability to enter their choices into the game interface. See Drek's Design Principles http://www.freeorion.org/wiki/index.php ... ame_Design

This is basicaly doctorine here and helps explain why Discord got so anrgy, I sugjest you take these philosophies to heart because it will be very near impossible for anything that fails to follow them to get through a formal design thread. Aquitaine would suffer an anyursum (and rightly so) at the sight of (R-Q)*P=J then J*X-Y=Z then Z/A+B=C regardless of the ability of a computer to actualy perform such calculations.
Now for the heavy/light armor/shields thing. If you link it to the refinement level, it can get confusing. How is light armor figured for Zortium Mk1? If before Mk1 is nothing, does that mean Light Mk1 = 0? Instead, just use multipliers. None, Very Light, Light, Medium, Heavy, Very Heavy, Ultra Heavy or however many we want to have. None = Armor HP*0, VLight = Armor HP*.5, Light = Armor HP*.67, Medium = *1, Heavy = *2.5, VHeavy = *5, UHeavy = *10 and whatever else. This keeps it simple.
First off yes I think their should be negative levels of refinment to alow for a variety of penalties to be aplied to components if not nessarily for this purpose then for others sugjested in the Ship design threa. On the issue of Multipliers, that was my original idea and its definatly the more conservative one, the advantage of Refinment level based modifying is that it steamlines the whole design and keeps the player more familiar with whats going on, you dont have to make judgments on Light Zortium Armor at level III vs Heavy Zortium armor at level II because Tec level and Thickness are both acting on the same thing the effective refinment level.

Its my overarching design principle that when ever a desired effect can be produced by giving a simple bonus or penalty to some pre-existing mechanism this is preferable to creating a new piece of information or layer of information. Call this the D&D principle, its better to have "Sword of +2 Strength" then "Sword that multiples damage by 25%".
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#110 Post by PowerCrazy » Fri Nov 05, 2004 7:23 am

Ranos. I want their to be something else besides just Armor for the HP of a ship as well. However that is beyond the scope of the thread. The point of this thread is not to come up with a complete combat system. It is to come up with the general rules, with zero numbers. Just the overview of how it will work.

I don't care if your armor gives a small ship 4 HP and mine gives it 5 HP. The point is to say that we want armor to have certain mods and be good against some weapons and bad against others. I think armor should determine the HP of a ship with maybe a set damage reduction dependent upon tech level thus at a higher tech level of armor the lower weapons will become useless.

However Shields should IMO do a percent damage reduction, and will of course have some kind of threshold to the amount of damage they can take before failing, or perhaps can only take X damage per turn etc. Though impalers Idea of a shield that is always on giving a set bonus regardless is ok as well.


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#111 Post by Impaler » Fri Nov 05, 2004 8:01 am

Lets simply agree that the game should be coded in such a way that any Armor or Shield can be given one of many different types that will determine its behavior along with numerical values. The same applies to Damage types on Weapons. Then when it comes time to make and Balance the games numbers through the easily modified content documents you can use or not use as much of that material as you wish. The game engine will be flexible enough to cover practicaly any consivable design and people who Mod the game can choose from the broad range of mechanism we have supplied. We should avoid tieing our hands here.

Rather then trying to promote our own single idea and shoot down everying else we should be looking to create as many valuable equations as possible to create as many possible options for inclusion into the game engine as possible. The actualy programing required to support a variety of equations should be no more complex then that needed to support Damage types and Resistences. Its just a switch statment with all the desired damage equations running off the plugged in Values. I dont know jack and I could program that with my eyes closed.

And in other news I just Hit #2 in total Posts, Utilae your next !! :wink:
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#112 Post by Ranos » Fri Nov 05, 2004 9:58 am

Impaler wrote:I think I see now why we have had so much disagreement, you seem to have a very odd definition of unbalanced. To me (and I think most people) unbalanced means a situation inwhich one choice is very good almost or nearly almost all the time and thus every other choice is Bad. Rock/Paper/Scisors is a Balanced game because each option is equaly likly to have been good or bad, the degree to which a choice can help or hurt you is not of importance in saying if the system is Balanced. Lets say though that their was a forth option in the game "Meteor" that Burns paper, Melts Scisors and Blast Rock. Obvously its the best choice and the other choices become uless distractions. Being usefull in some situations and less so in others is infact a good thing because your choice will effect the outcome, middle of the road choices are usaly borring and best avoided.
My definition is the same. The reason Nullifiers are unbalanced is because they are either too strong or they are too weak. They flip from one side to the other. It would be taking the atmosphere into account with your meteor analogy. The meteor starts to burn up as it enters the atmosphere. If it is big enough, it crashes down vaporizing all three. If it is too small, it burns up before it even reaches the game or it is so small that the paper could cover it like a rock, the scissors could chip away at it until it's gone and the rock could smash it. Every once in a while, the meteor is just the right size where it can fit nicley into the group, but only one in a thousand times, if not more than that.
Impaler wrote:This is realy quite obvius with any weapon or defence system and is quite desirable, obsolete weapons are unable to penatrate advanced defences and visa versa. Depending on how fast Damage totals/HP totals and other critical numbers in combat incresse (say for example the next generation of weapon dose twice as much damage) the Nulfiers will have potential very short spans of Dominance before becoming obsolete. So long as the average usefullness dose not greatly exceed that of the other options the choices is still balanced, the rapid swings of the system mearly act as another wrinkle for the player to consider, should he pour resorces into generation of ships that might rule the Galaxy for a brief time before becomeing obsolete or should he go with tecnology that has more staying power.
This is where my meteor analogy fits in. You develope the newest Nullifying shield and for a while, it stops most everything making you almost invincible to damage. Then at some point, everything catches up and for a brief moment, it fits right in stoping enough damage to be useful but allowing enough through to not be overpowering and then it goes on to being useless because everything passed it by.

This basically results in a yo-yo effect as you equip these shields on your ship and dominate your enemy for X number of turns allowing you to take a couple of planets or systems. Then your enemy catches up and for a short time, there is balance where neither has an advantage over the other from technology and then your enemy gets the next weapon which is powerful enough to make your shield basically useless and he takes everything back from you until you get your next weapon.

The next possibility is that you are far enough ahead of him in tech that you are able to keep your shields at a strength that never allows him to do damage to you, in which case the Nullifying shields are way too over powered and therefore unbalanced.

The last possibility is of course that your enemy is far enough ahead of you to make your Nullifying shields useless because they don't stop enough damage, in which case they are underpowered and therefore unbalanced.
Impaler wrote:The flaw in your logic is that your not taking into account the size of the attack or the HP of the ship underneath the Armor. A small lightly armored ship under attack by very powerfull weapons that could otherwise get a 1 shot kill would have atlest some change of surviing an attack if its equiped with a Deflector, the Screen on the other hand will permit enough damage through to destroy the ship. A ship with some kind of Armor capable of Nulifying some damage off of an Attack is probably better off with the Screen because reducing the raw damage to the Armor on ever attack will essentialy multiply the armors effectivness on every attack.
After reading this, I went back and looked at your definitions and realized I misread or something like that. Deflectors have a percent chance of completely stopping an attack altogether, not just a percent of the damage from a weapon. In that case, it falls under the category with Barriers and Compensators. They fall under the category of all or nothing. Either all of an attack is stopped or none of an attack is stopped and I think it is far too random.
Impaler wrote:The argument that every type of shield must have HP thus false and the subsequnt argument that most or all of these proposals boil down to just 2 types is also false. Their are many ways to balance things besides trying to give them all the same elements such as HP and Regeneration rates and ultimatly watering down their differnces.
As I said right after I made that arguement, shields could start out with no recharging and evolve into recharging and then beyond. Your right about the arguments of two types being false. It boils down to three types: Stop all damage, stop some damage or stop all or no damage.

Nullifiers stop some, Walls stop all, Screens stop some, Deflectors stop all or none, Barriers stop all, Absorbers stop all and Compensators stop all or none. Now a little note, the stop all is actually stop all then none as the stopping all effect, whatever it might be, runs out. There could be another category of stopping some then none, but that really is the same thing as stopping some, just with HP or something that runs out.

The third added category is so random that it is unbalanced because either you stop or you don't and you have no way of being able to tell when each will occur. This, IMO, makes for so much randomness that it would drive a person nuts.
Impaler wrote:I have already stated my anathama for math formulas to complex to be performed mentaly. I believe it reduces the players control over the game by obscuring why things are happening, much like a Moo3 minister the player is left with a feeling of lack of control . The feeling inability to understand the choices is actualy worse then the inability to enter their choices into the game interface. See Drek's Design Principles http://www.freeorion.org/wiki/index.php ... ame_Design
How does the player control the game better by knowing the formula behind the way something works? If you say in a pedia that tells the player how shields work:

"Shields have a few values that effect weapons. First there is resistances. (Explaination of resistances here. It seems to be a general consensus that we will use resistances in some manner whether it be shields, armor or both) Then there is deflection. Deflection causes a percentage of the damage to be deflected away from the shields. This damage is not reduced from the shields HP. The remeainder of the damage is then absorbed by the shields and the shield HP drops."

That is the more simple one where all damage is absorbed by the shields. Here is the more complex one where damage is only reduced by the shields:

"Shields have a few values that effect weapons. First there is resistances. (Explaination of resistances here. It seems to be a general consensus that we will use resistances in some manner whether it be shields, armor or both) Then there is deflection. Deflection causes a percentage of the damage to be deflected away from the shields. This damage is not reduced from the shields HP. The damage is then reduced by the ammount of shield absorbtion and that ammount is applied to the shields HP. The remainder of the damage is then remodified by the resistances and then passed to the ships armor."

I personally don't think either of those are complicated for somebody to understand. The first is one equation with three integers. The second is three equations, two with three integerss and one with two integers.

Remove resistances from both and you change it to one equation, two integers and three eqautions, two integers. Remove deflection also and you eliminate the need for an equation with the first and reduce the other to two equations, two integers. I could go on, but you get the idea I think.

The explainations are fairly simple and easy to understand. Take out some of the variables and you could reduce the explaination and make it even simpler but you also reduce what the shields can do.

Also, Drek's principles say simple mechanics, not simple mathematics. There is a difference.

I also suggest we not speculate on why discord got angry. He stated he was tired and in a bad mood but he didn't give anymore details than that. So lets just leave it at that and move on with brainstorming/debates.

I think the player would get confused trying to figure out what this whole -1 refinement level means and it would be easier to understand that light armor reduces by 67%. Percentages are a lot easier to keep track of than refinement levels.

It could be coded so that equations could be added or removed but talking about systems that, IMO, won't work due to balancing issues is pointless. I guess we are getting into the same old stalemate we got into a few pages ago though.

What we should do, is get back to trying to come up with a countering system that would allow for whatever we put into it. The way armor or shields work at the moment doesn't really have any bearing on how resistances and other counters would work in the system. I think we should get back to that, if we can, and get a nice countering system worked out.

Oh, real quick:

@ PowerCrazy

I misunderstood what you were saying. Sorry about that. I understand now.

Back to counters, I think we should start out by figuring out what exactly we want to include in the system. Here is Utilae's list from the very first post:
Now I think there are two parts to the countering system. The target and the targeter.
The Target includes:
Ships
------
Ship Armor eg Dense Armor, Heat Armor, Energised Armor
Ship Shields eg Particle Shield, Phase Shield, Subspace Shield
Ship Hull eg Metal, Organic, Crystal, Energy
Ship Size eg Tiny (Fighter/Missile), Small, Medium, Large, Huge
Ship Location eg one ship, a group of ships
Other Weapons eg Missiles

The Targeter includes:
Weapons
-----------
Weapon Type eg Beam, Missile, PD Beam
Weapon To Hit Target Type
Weapon Damage To Target Type
Weapon Targets eg Ships, Missiles, Many targets, One target
Of the Target, I think Armor, Shields, Hull Type and Hull Siaze should be included. The weapons eg Missiles falls under the ship size, IMO. Of the Targeter, Weapon (Delivery) Type and Weapon Damage Type should be included. The last one to me seems redundant in that those are the targets and fall under the Size and Location categories above. I don't think Location would have any bearing on a countering system, I could be wrong, and I don't really even know what the To Hit category is.

For now, lets work with these and figure out how they would interact with eachother before we get specifics on them.
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#113 Post by utilae » Fri Nov 05, 2004 9:59 am

Ranos wrote: Energy Nullifiers and Energy Sreens are the same exact thing. The only difference is one is a flat rate and the other is a percentage. These, therefore, fall under the redundant category. I also think that Energy Nullifiers are unbalanced. This is because they would either be very usefull or totally useless.
Energy Screens are better than Energy Nullifiers because they would reduce damage equally well in the early game and in the late game. Energy Nullifiers would only be better than Screens in the early game if the amount they subtracted was more than the amount screens subtracted. In the late game energy nullifiers could not be better than energy screens.
Ranos wrote: Energy Screens and Energy Deflectors are exactly the same thing unless screens have HP that gets reduced. Both reduce X% of damage. They are therefore redundant. If HP was added to Screens, they would be underpowered compaired to Deflectors and eveyone would use the deflectors. The only possible way to balance these would be to make the percent reduced higher on Screens that are at the same level as a certain Deflector. Example: Screen 1 reduces 10% while Deflector 1 reduces only 5%.
Although they are similar, I think deflectors should be slightly different. Screens can stay as reducing damage by a %. Deflectors can reduce damage by a lesser amount than screens, though all that damage is deflected at the attacker, who takes the damage. Maybe deflectors could reduce an amount of damage, and then half that damage is deflected to the attacker (if that is more balanced).
Ranos wrote: Adding HP to Screens though would then unbalance them in compairison to Walls since Walls would absorb all damage until Y was gone while Screens would only reduce it by X until Y was gone. The solution to this is to make it so if a Wall and a Screen at the same level were attacked, by the time the Screen lost all of it's HP, the ship with the Wall would have recieved the same ammount of damage. If anyone doesn't understand that, I can explain it better, but I don't want to if I don't have to.
The solution is to make it so that screens don't have hp. They will always reduce damage by a %. Walls will only last for so long, but block all damage at that time.
Ranos wrote: I agree that Barriers shouldn't be used since they negate full attacks and the same with Compensators. This would make them either over or underpowered but very rarely in the middle.
Barriers are just like walls really. Though instead of the hp of the wall, its just a simlified number (number of attacks).
Ranos wrote: Absorbers sound exactly like Walls except with HP recharging. This means that if Walls have HP recharging, which they would need to have to be balanced with Screens which would have to have HP recharge to make them different from Deflectors, then Absorbers are redundant.
This is true.
Ranos wrote: I also don't think we should rule out resistances on shields. Having shields that functioned in the manner I stated in the last countering system I proposed would be quite interesting, IMO
I think we should eliminate resistances on shields. We want to make armour and shields different right. Armours and weapons are the counter system, using resistances. Shields have different ways of reducing damage.
Impaler wrote:Energy Nulifiers - Flat subtract X amount of damage from each attack
Energy Walls - Absorb all Damage to a Pool of X points
Energy Screens - Reduce each attack by X%
Energy Deflectors - Completly delfects X% of all attacks randomly
Energy Barriers- Completly negate the first X number of attacks each turn (in a real time system their would be a "cool down time" after an attack is stoped afterwhich the shield is esentialy down, better shields have shorter cooldown)
Energy Absorbers - Negate the first X damage recived each turn (in real time the shield is continusly regenerating up to a total of X with regeneration being % based)
Energy Conpensators - Make a random roll from 1 to the damage amount of the attack and Nulify the attack if the shield value X is higher then or equal to the roll.
I'm gonna simplify and expand the above list (note-none of these shields regenerate unless stated):

Screen Shield-Damage hitting the shield is reduced by X%.
Wall Shield-Damage is ignored and collected into 'collected damage'. When 'collected damage' > X, the shield is down, allowing all damage to get through.
Deflector Shield-All except X% of damage gets through the shield (X% for deflectors is less than X% for screens). Half of X% is inflicted on the attacker as damage(not all damage deflected should be inflicted to the enemy, because people prefer attacking over defending, so they would favour attacking).
Roulette Shield-Make a random roll from 1 to 6. If you get a 6 then all damage is negated. If you get a 1 then all damage is trippled. All other rolls reduce damage by X%(less than X% for screens and deflectors).
Regen Shield-This shield has X amount of 'hp' to start with (there is no max hp). When the shield is hit the damage is absorbed by the 'hp'. Any remaining damage gets through (eg damage is 100 and 'hp' is 50, then 50 damage gets through). Every turn X amount of 'hp' is added to total'hp'.
Phased Shield-An attack with damage<X has damage increased by 50%. An attack with damage>X has damage decreased by 50%.
Deplete Shield-All damage taken during this turn is ignored and instead the damage/X is taken every turn for X turns (starting this turn). All damage taken in this way (a poison type style) is able to mount up, eg you take 5 damage every turn for 6 turns, then next turn you are hit again and take 5 damage every turn for 6 turns. There are turns where you are taking 10 damage in this example.


@Impaler
lol, you have a long way yet boy :).

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#114 Post by Impaler » Fri Nov 05, 2004 3:53 pm

Regenerating shields should have some kind of cap on HP or it would be possible to build up a huge value to the shield (say by running away from the enemy a bunch) and make it practicaly indestructable.

The idea of the Poison effect shield aka spreading damage over time is interesting but I think it could get confusing for the player and the processor is every single attack is creating its own multi-turn effect. A better way of achiving the same effect could be X% of the damage inediatly hits the ship with the rest being "absorbed" into an uncapped pool called "Damage in waiting" Every turn X% of the Damage in waiting pool flows into the ship. More advanced shields have lower X values here thus stretching out damage over longer and longer periods of time and giving the ship a better life span. An intersting side effect here is that your ship might kill the enemy but succum to the damage in waiting. Definatly a tacticaly interesting effect.

Also the Phased Shield which seems to be moving all attacks towards an "average" value, thats reminds me of a Card in Magic the Gathering that would alow you to nulify an attack at the cost of some life. Perhaps if the math was

Raw Damage - ((Raw Damage - Shield Strength X) / 2 ) = Damage Delt

Now the effect scales as the differnt between Raw Damage and Shield Strength incresses. The very very small attacks will be practicaly doubled and the very very large attacks will be practicaly cut in half. Because damage is going to incresse through the course of the game the shield actualy improves by having a lower X value
Last edited by Impaler on Sat Nov 06, 2004 4:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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wondering about.....

#115 Post by guiguibaah » Fri Nov 05, 2004 11:12 pm

... I do think it would be interesting though if there was some sort of shield / barrier that reduced the amount of damage concentrated fire would have on your ship - or something, that prevents really nice ships from being destroyed in one turn from an extra 100 ships.


Perhaps a ships becomes "Crippled" before it becomes "Destroyed", allowing you to salvage or protect it or retreat or whatever.

Perhaps going from normal to crippled takes 100 hitpoints, but from crippled to destroyed takes 400 hitpoints, making it more efficient to target different ships.
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#116 Post by utilae » Sun Nov 07, 2004 2:42 am

Impaler wrote: Regenerating shields should have some kind of cap on HP or it would be possible to build up a huge value to the shield (say by running away from the enemy a bunch) and make it practicaly indestructable.
That's true, we'll have a cap then. The Regen Shield should also be able to have its 'hp' cap lifted through technology, maybe even its regen rate increased (though for the later we will see). I don't know whether all types of shields should regenerate, but I think that if they did, then the Regen Shield should have a signifigantly faster regeneration rate.
Impaler wrote: The idea of the Poison effect shield aka spreading damage over time is interesting but I think it could get confusing for the player and the processor is every single attack is creating its own multi-turn effect.
This is indeed a problem, though if we can get around it then sweet.
Impaler wrote: A better way of achiving the same effect could be X% of the damage inediatly hits the ship with the rest being "absorbed" into an uncapped pool called "Damage in waiting" Every turn X% of the Damage in waiting pool flows into the ship. More advanced shields have lower X values here thus stretching out damage over longer and longer periods of time and giving the ship a better life span.
This would be fine, as long as it does effectively achieve the same effect.
Impaler wrote: An intersting side effect here is that your ship might kill the enemy but succum to the damage in waiting. Definatly a tacticaly interesting effect.
Yes, but that is the upside, because the damage would have killed you sooner without this shields effect.
Impaler wrote: Also the Phased Shield which seems to be moving all attacks towards an "average" value, thats reminds me of a Card in Magic the Gathering that would alow you to nulify an attack at the cost of some life.
I am pleased that you like it.
Impaler wrote: Now the effect scales as the differnt between Raw Damage and Shield Strength incresses. The very very small attacks will be practicaly doubled and the very very large attacks will be practicaly cut in half. Because damage is going to incresse through the course of the game the shield actualy improves by having a lower X value
Yes, infact if this shield was not upgraded through technology, it would still be good, because it is stronger when everyone else upgrades their weapons to higher strength weapons, and as a result of their tech advances your shield gets stronger automatically.


I think the way we are going with shields, and the different types being based on how damage is reduced (math formulas and things in the list below) is a very good direction. Basically I think the counter system should involve armor and weapon types and shields should not have counters like armor does. Shields should be like in the list below. Plus we can have so many types of shields that reduce damage in different ways and won't have to worry about it getting too complex, because shields are not involved in counters.


Shield List (note-none of these shields regenerate unless stated, although they may regenerate at a rate far less then Regen Shields):
Screen Shield-Damage hitting the shield is reduced by X%.
Wall Shield-Damage is ignored and collected into 'collected damage'. When 'collected damage' > X, the shield is down, allowing all damage to get through.
Deflector Shield-All except X% of damage gets through the shield (X% for deflectors is less than X% for screens). Half of X% is inflicted on the attacker as damage(not all damage deflected should be inflicted to the enemy, because people prefer attacking over defending, so they would favour attacking).
Roulette Shield-Make a random roll from 1 to 6. If you get a 6 then all damage is negated. If you get a 1 then all damage is trippled. All other rolls reduce damage by X%(less than X% for screens and deflectors).
Regen Shield-This shield has X amount of 'hp' to start with (there is max hp: capX). When the shield is hit the damage is absorbed by the 'hp'. Any remaining damage gets through (eg damage is 100 and 'hp' is 50, then 50 damage gets through). Every turn X amount of 'hp' is added to total'hp'. The regen rate X and capX may be increased through tech.
Phased Shield-An attack with damage<X has damage increased by 50%. An attack with damage>X has damage decreased by 50%.
Deplete Shield-All damage taken during this turn is ignored and instead the damage/X is taken every turn for X turns (starting this turn). All damage taken in this way (a poison type style) is able to mount up, eg you take 5 damage every turn for 6 turns, then next turn you are hit again and take 5 damage every turn for 6 turns. There are turns where you are taking 10 damage in this example.
Flux Shields-X is a random number between 1 and 3 (reset every turn). Damage is decreased by X*Y% (Y% is less than X% for screens and deflectors).

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#117 Post by Ranos » Sun Nov 07, 2004 7:38 am

Well apparently everyone wants to continue talking about how shields would work so my job as devils advocate is not yet finished.
utilae wrote:Screen Shield-Damage hitting the shield is reduced by X%.
Wall Shield-Damage is ignored and collected into 'collected damage'. When 'collected damage' > X, the shield is down, allowing all damage to get through.
These two have been discussed before and most people, if not everyone, seem to agree that these are good choices.
Deflector Shield-All except X% of damage gets through the shield (X% for deflectors is less than X% for screens). Half of X% is inflicted on the attacker as damage(not all damage deflected should be inflicted to the enemy, because people prefer attacking over defending, so they would favour attacking).
I like this idea. I do think though that all damage deflected should have the potential of hitting the firing ship. When a weapon gets fired, it only has a chance to hit which is modified by the evasiveness of the targeted ship, level of targeting computer (how accurate is the computer) and whatever else is able to modify it. When the damage is deflected, the evasiveness of the enemy ship should come into account for whether the damage will hit as well as any other non-targeter based modifiers. Targeting computer would not be a factor since there is no targeting computer on the deflected shot.

Maybe the spot on the shields could determine which way the shot goes. This would make it so that maybe the firing ship gets hit, maybe another enemy ship gets hit, maybe the damage just flys off into space or maybe it hits one of your other ships. Its like looking in a mirror. If you stand right in fron of the mirror, you see yourself. If you stand off to one side of the mirror, you will see the reflection of something that is on the opposite side of the mirror from you.

Another possibility is to make the deflection aspect a modifier of Screen Shields. It reduces percent reduction by 50% and that damage bounces off the shield.
Roulette Shield-Make a random roll from 1 to 6. If you get a 6 then all damage is negated. If you get a 1 then all damage is trippled. All other rolls reduce damage by X%(less than X% for screens and deflectors).
I don't like these. Too random and ridiculous IMO. It would work the same as Russian Roulette but in addition to the bullet is a needle that injects morphene. 1 in 6 chance you die, 1 in 6 chance you go to happy land and 4 in 6 chance that nothing changes. Everything should, IMO, have a good explanation of how it works. If I read the above explanation about shields I'd think, WTF, where did this come from.
Regen Shield-This shield has X amount of 'hp' to start with (there is max hp: capX). When the shield is hit the damage is absorbed by the 'hp'. Any remaining damage gets through (eg damage is 100 and 'hp' is 50, then 50 damage gets through). Every turn X amount of 'hp' is added to total'hp'. The regen rate X and capX may be increased through tech.
The only way for these to really be able to be completely different shields is if they are the only ones that recharge and their hp is much lower than that of Wall Shields. The recharge rate would also have to be very high. Assuming we will be using real-time combat, or some variation of it, they would need to charge up at a rate of 400% per minute. So if they have 500 HP, they would be able to charge 2000 hp per minute. Just an example of course but basically they would have to be able to take about 10 shots lets say from a weapon at their same tech level before they failed. The recharge rate would need to be at least enough so that by the time the ship was ready to fire again, the shields would be able to take 5 or 6 more hits.

I've been sitting here for five minutes trying to picture how these shields would really work in combat. My first thought was that they are basically the same thing as Impaler's Energy Nullifiers and they may still be, but they would function differently enough because of actually having HP that I'm not sure. I also don't know if my above numbers are correct. The thing is how do you judge what the right ammount of base HP to give them is and what is the right recharge rate for them to have. Both have to be high enough so the shields are usefull but low enough so they arent overpowered.
Phased Shield-An attack with damage<X has damage increased by 50%. An attack with damage>X has damage decreased by 50%.
Deplete Shield-All damage taken during this turn is ignored and instead the damage/X is taken every turn for X turns (starting this turn). All damage taken in this way (a poison type style) is able to mount up, eg you take 5 damage every turn for 6 turns, then next turn you are hit again and take 5 damage every turn for 6 turns. There are turns where you are taking 10 damage in this example.
Flux Shields-X is a random number between 1 and 3 (reset every turn). Damage is decreased by X*Y% (Y% is less than X% for screens and deflectors).
I don't like any of these last three. The first and second are just as ridiculous as the Roulette Shields and the third is just Screen Shields with Bipolar Disorder.

To keep people immersed in games, things have to be believable and make sense. It doesn't make sense to have shields that would either increase or decrease damage, shields are meant to decrease damage in some way. Why would we want shields that increase damage? Why would I want a shield that stops all damage but then has a poison effect on my ship? It just sounds too wierd.

As I stated earlier, all shields would function in one of two ways, stop some damage or stop all damage. There could be variations on these but they must be different enough to be considered a separate shield and believable enough to not be ridiculous.

For me, Wall and Screen shields are a definate, Deflectors could be a separate shield or just a mod on Screen and Regen Shields are a maybe, they just need to be properly balanced.
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#118 Post by utilae » Sun Nov 07, 2004 8:45 am

Ranos wrote:
Roulette Shield-Make a random roll from 1 to 6. If you get a 6 then all damage is negated. If you get a 1 then all damage is trippled. All other rolls reduce damage by X%(less than X% for screens and deflectors).
I don't like these. Too random and ridiculous IMO. It would work the same as Russian Roulette but in addition to the bullet is a needle that injects morphene. 1 in 6 chance you die, 1 in 6 chance you go to happy land and 4 in 6 chance that nothing changes. Everything should, IMO, have a good explanation of how it works. If I read the above explanation about shields I'd think, WTF, where did this come from.
They would not be quite as rediculas as you may think. First of all it would be better than no shield (maybe they're cheaper too), if you get 2, 3, 4 or 5 it stops a %damage, although less than screens and deflectors. However there's a chance that all damage is negated, and a chance that all damage is trippled (gotta have a downside). It makes things interesting to have crazy shields like this.
Ranos wrote:
Phased Shield-An attack with damage<X has damage increased by 50%. An attack with damage>X has damage decreased by 50%.
Deplete Shield-All damage taken during this turn is ignored and instead the damage/X is taken every turn for X turns (starting this turn). All damage taken in this way (a poison type style) is able to mount up, eg you take 5 damage every turn for 6 turns, then next turn you are hit again and take 5 damage every turn for 6 turns. There are turns where you are taking 10 damage in this example.
Flux Shields-X is a random number between 1 and 3 (reset every turn). Damage is decreased by X*Y% (Y% is less than X% for screens and deflectors).
I don't like any of these last three. The first and second are just as ridiculous as the Roulette Shields and the third is just Screen Shields with Bipolar Disorder.
The phased shields are very good against strong weapons, but poor against week weapons. It reverses the food chain in a sense. This makes things interesting, whats wrong with that?

The deplete shields give you a pretty good deal. All damage is not taken initially, but over a time period, so it essentially delays your doom, in the long run you may die, but for now you can survive long enough to kill enough ships to turn the tide. I think this shield is very unique and would be an interesting element in space combat.

Flux shields basically seem like a variation on screen shields (screens are basically like standard shields). Flux shields randomise the strength of the shield. There are low points, high points and points (maybe) equal to screen shields. The variation seems small, but it is enough to make it unique. Everyone will have there preferences, if all choices of shield are safe, then what will the fun be.

Also flux shields. Flux does not mean to vary or change like fluctuate does (i think), but its a cool name for something scifi that fluctuates. So flux shield.
Ranos wrote: To keep people immersed in games, things have to be believable and make sense. It doesn't make sense to have shields that would either increase or decrease damage, shields are meant to decrease damage in some way. Why would we want shields that increase damage? Why would I want a shield that stops all damage but then has a poison effect on my ship? It just sounds too wierd.
Realism argument? I could easily use scifi jargon to explain it all. It does not have to make sense cause we have no shields invented yet. What matters is gameplay.
Ranos wrote: As I stated earlier, all shields would function in one of two ways, stop some damage or stop all damage. There could be variations on these but they must be different enough to be considered a separate shield and believable enough to not be ridiculous.
In actual fact all the shields that I have come up with, as well as shields that others have come up with all come under the category of stopping some damage. To stop all damage is unfair. So since there is only one category, forget about this theory: "shields function in two ways".

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#119 Post by Impaler » Sun Nov 07, 2004 7:08 pm

Ranos we are quie familiar with your unchainging position on shields, your oposed to anything beyond the 2 or 3 types you like. Your last 10 post have been little more then to repeatedly restated that point over and over again. Pllease give it a rest and let thouse of us who are actualy Brianstorming to Brainstorm stuff up before you shoot it down.

Ranos did have one point though, it could be rather un-fun to have a ship take EXTRA damage from an attack because of the type of shield it has. Pherhaps if we modified the shield to only effect Attacks the critical defence value X, smaller attacks just pass right through as if theirs no shield present.

Another possible variation, the shield could reduce the attack not just by a % but reduce it all the way down to X so esentialy the Shield is acting to Cap the damage recived in any individual attack.

Also a fluff name for the poison effect shield, call it the "Energy Dialation" shield. Idea here is the shield is streatching time causing an attack to be recived over a longer period of time.

Also if you want a shield that reflects an attack back at the attacker (remeinds me of Thorns Aura in Diablo 2) I would spin that off as a seperate shield with that being the only effect aka the shield dose. Personaly I think its a bit too outlandish especialy when it comes to missles and stuff.

Another idea might be for a shield that absorbs some attacks to add to its HP total, adsactly what attacks get absorbed I dont know.
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#120 Post by utilae » Sun Nov 07, 2004 8:21 pm

Impaler wrote: Ranos did have one point though, it could be rather un-fun to have a ship take EXTRA damage from an attack because of the type of shield it has. Pherhaps if we modified the shield to only effect Attacks the critical defence value X, smaller attacks just pass right through as if theirs no shield present.
I don't see a problem if the shield gives damage as well as prevents it. My thinking is that all shields stop X damage. If a shield stops X+1 damage, then that shield must also stop X-1 damage to keep all shields balanced. Of course we could also balance the shields by their cost as well. This is the case with Phased shields where damage is increased for small weapons. But it remains balanced because it decreases damage for large weapons. See it's fine, as lone as we have a negative for every positive.
Impaler wrote: Another possible variation, the shield could reduce the attack not just by a % but reduce it all the way down to X so esentialy the Shield is acting to Cap the damage recived in any individual attack.
I see, so it will let X% damage through and the rest is blocked. That's interesting, but is it overpowered.

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