Weapon mechanics

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Prokonsul Piotrus
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Weapon mechanics

#1 Post by Prokonsul Piotrus »

Looking at ship design and space combat counter, I think it is time to discuss some specific weapon details so we can resolve certan stand-offs in those threads.

I'd like to present here *ALL* parameters of weapons and its effects, based on general mechanic (it deals damage, simple :D), including the so callad hidden parameters that are almost never given to the player (or sometimes calculated by the programmers themselves, failure of which results in inbalanced games).

I. Research cost and probability
It is a very important factor, rarely given next to weapon.
How expensive it is to research a weapon - and not only how expensive the new tech is, but the total cost including all techs needed to develop it from the game start? If we go with some probability factor in tech research (which I strongly advocate), this must be factored here as well (if some techs are more probable to develop then others).

II. Ship desing
II.1 Size (or mass, space taken, slot size/type, you get the drift). Are we going to use mount idea (ie. scalable weapon size responsible for its size, damage, range, etc)?
II 2 Hull placement requirerements - if we go with hull layers (outer, inner, etc.) it is important to note here if a weapon has any related requirements - for example, most weapons may need to be placed on outer sections, but I can imagine some strange things that do not, or perhaps span several layers or have some other, diffrent requirements. Oh - firing arc anyone?
II. 3 Power requirment - if we go with power/energy requirements for compontent, it is obviously important to know how much of them a given weapon needs, isn't it? Also, does it require a constant flow of energy, can it use energy from batteries, etc.?

III. Ammo/supply
III.1 Does the weapon use any ammo besides energy/power?
III.2 Does the weapon need - or can have - any specialized or general ammo magazines?
III. 3 Does the ammunition for the weapon allows customisation (ammo-piercing, shield damaging, long range, ECM, ECCM, etc.)?

IV. Target
IV.1 What targets can the weapon acquire? Ships? Planets? Seekers (missiles, fighters)?

V. Damage and range (finally :)
V.1 Damage over range - what is the weapon's range, does the damage over range reamins constant, decreses, increases, is fluctuating?
V.2 Damage type: not only fluff thingy mass, energy (gravitic, electromagnetic, weak and strong nuclear) can differentiate weapons against specialised shields, armor types, can be connected to many other things as well. Perhaps the weapon always penetrates shields or deals only half damage to a shielded target and double to unshielded? Perhaps it can only affect special compnents (engines, shields), or do some funny stuff like attempt to take control over the ship, put it in stasis field, etc.?
V.3 Damage area: can the weapon hit many components of the ship at the same time? Can it hit many ships at the same time? What is the area shape - line (beam), circle, triangle...?
V.4 Damage time: are then any lasting effect of damage? Perhaps the weapon effect is long duration - think napalm, cording acids, growing agent (MOO Warp Dispersor, MOO2 Plasma Web, etc.)

VI. Firing rate/initative - constant, growing (think of gatling gun speeding faster and faster), slowing (big charge dissipating), random?

VII. Chance to hit - from 0 to 100%? Constant or changing over range? Homing in or dumb? Bonuses against thing based on damage type (homes in on positronic shields) or or enemy size, etc.

VIII. Projectile speed and parameters - weapon may either hit (or miss) the target instantly after being fired, or travel with some speed (beam versus missile). If so, what is the projectile speed (and acceleration), damage over rate (dissapating plasma torpedoes...), hit points vs. defensive systems, homing stuff...

As you can see, there is much room for weapon invention. Let's talk a little about weapons (who doesn't love them? :D) and then go back to ship designs and counters with some idea what we will actually be wanting to put on them :)
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skdiw
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#2 Post by skdiw »

Just a few quick comments:

1. We should agree on some sort of research system so we are all talking about the same language. The key is the higher tech should have have better advantages.

2. I think mass is better than size idea. Each hull can support some size and the engine determines the base speet. Mass can be related to accleration or speed of the ship.

3. I don't like firing arc or power requirements. An exception is spinal mounts like in moo3

4. Damage and range of a weapons should be treated seperately as they are independent.

5. We need to make sure that the programmers can program AoE before we involve a rps system with them.

6. We should add character to the armor types as well like a small HP regeneration for organic armor, a flat - X damage using hard armor.
:mrgreen:

Drakich
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#3 Post by Drakich »

skdiw wrote: 2. I think mass is better than size idea. Each hull can support some size and the engine determines the base speet. Mass can be related to accleration or speed of the ship.
This is a space game, not a wet naval game, so volume is really a better unit to use for capacity (and surface area for weapon mounts). Mass would still be used for things like acceleration.
3. I don't like firing arc or power requirements. An exception is spinal mounts like in moo3
I actually do, especially for 3d combat. It's realistic unless we're talking about using all quantum lasers.
4. Damage and range of a weapons should be treated seperately as they are independent.
Not in the real world. In the real world, damage decreases with range. This is true for lasers, bullets, etc.
6. We should add character to the armor types as well like a small HP regeneration for organic armor, a flat - X damage using hard armor.
From a programming perspective, at an object level, armor should be almost indistinguishable from shields.

ARMOR:
Energy Requirement: 0
Mass: 150 tons.
Hit Capacity: 150
Regeneration: 0/s

SHIELDS:
Energy Requirement: 5 MW
Mass: 20 tons.
Hit Capacity: 10.
Regeneration: 1/s.

In reality, the properties themselves should be dynamic to the object.
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discord
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#4 Post by discord »

in space things are slightly different from inside atmosphere....drakich, this is for you.

for one, the theoretical limit for a laser is, well, lets just say that travel time and accuracy of mount are the only things you need to worry about, as cohesion loss, is NOT that big of a problem in space.. if you can hit it(with a laser in mind), range is irrelevant, will do same damage at 10m as 10Km as it also would at 10AU...although the later there is EXTREMELY unlikely to happen, as it's 10 times the range to the sun from earth(wich amounts to a 2x80minutes targeting lag...no, you would not hit the target.).....same thing with ballistic weapons, no atmosphere to slow'em down, ergo, same damage at any distance(that includes 10 friggin lightyears, although i dont want to think about lon it would take it to get there....)

although laser cohesion IS a problem, and it would show itself at our tech level, but if we actualy put some research into it(as weapon tech, that is), i think it would get fixed pretty quickly, but still, weapons grade lasers would have a effective range of MAX 1LightSecond, due to targeting lag, and mount accuracy, mostly the later...might become longer with FTL sensors, and improvements on mounts....

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#5 Post by Daveybaby »

Realism arguments can take a running jump. This is space opera - energy beam weapons are instantaneous (though maybe kinetic energy direct fire weapons could be modelled to have travel time). Range limitations are built in for gameplay reasons, not because of the effects of relativity.

Prokonsul Piotrus wrote:How expensive it is to research a weapon - and not only how expensive the new tech is, but the total cost including all techs needed to develop it from the game start?
Just include the cost of the tech on its own. Most of the prerequisite techs have their own benefits - if there are techs in the game which serve no useful purpose other than as a prerequisite to another tech, then they shouldnt be in the game in the first place.

However i dont think this is the place to work out the tech system. All that is needed is some indication of relative positioning in the tech tree at this stage, and to start with all we would need is : early game, mid game, late game. Can shuffle things around in more detail later.
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Geoff the Medio
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#6 Post by Geoff the Medio »

discord wrote:...cohesion loss, is NOT that big of a problem in space.. if you can hit it(with a laser in mind), range is irrelevant, will do same damage at 10m as 10Km as it also would at 10AU...
If not "cohesion" or scattering, the problem with long distance lasers in space is diffraction.

For a Gaussian laser of visible wavelength 400 nm with a 3.5 cm radius collimated beam, the spot size (beam radius) on a target at 10 km would be about 5 cm. But if the target is 1.5 x 10^12 m away (~10 AU), the spot size is 546000 m.

This can be improved by using a shorter wavelength (say a 1 nm X-Ray) and a larger initial beam (say 1 m radius), focused as tightly as possible on the object. I get a 477 m spot size doing this, which is obviously a big improvement, but not small enough to be useful for ship-blowing up purposes.

At distances greater than the Raleigh range (3.14 x 10^6 km for a 1 m radius at focus X-Ray beam), the beam spreads like a cone, meaning the intensity falls off with the square of distance. Closer than that, the beam waist (radius) is only slowly varying (though the transition is fuzzy, not sharply defined).

Edit: Point being that either no distance depence or 1/r^2 dependence can be "realisitc".

Which actually gets used will be decidied for gameplay-type reasons.
Last edited by Geoff the Medio on Sat Dec 18, 2004 2:59 am, edited 1 time in total.

Drakich
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#7 Post by Drakich »

discord wrote:in space things are slightly different from inside atmosphere....drakich, this is for you.

for one, the theoretical limit for a laser is, well, lets just say that travel time and accuracy of mount are the only things you need to worry about, as cohesion loss, is NOT that big of a problem in space.. if you can hit it(with a laser in mind), range is irrelevant, will do same damage at 10m as 10Km as it also would at 10AU...although the later there is EXTREMELY unlikely to happen, as it's 10 times the range to the sun from earth(wich amounts to a 2x80minutes targeting lag...no, you would not hit the target.).....same thing with ballistic weapons, no atmosphere to slow'em down, ergo, same damage at any distance(that includes 10 friggin lightyears, although i dont want to think about lon it would take it to get there....)

although laser cohesion IS a problem, and it would show itself at our tech level, but if we actualy put some research into it(as weapon tech, that is), i think it would get fixed pretty quickly, but still, weapons grade lasers would have a effective range of MAX 1LightSecond, due to targeting lag, and mount accuracy, mostly the later...might become longer with FTL sensors, and improvements on mounts....
Using this argument, then laser weapons should have unlimited range (in game terms) as well. Effective range is determined by one of two things: the range at which you can acquire the target and the range at which you can deliver damage to the target.

Lasers can have an effective range greater than 1 light second, but would require either a target solution or a random spread.

As for chucking realism out the door, I agree, it isn't a simulation, but sci-fi isn't the same as fantasy, so some logic concepts derived from reality should be used where possible & convenient. The matrix should be fun > ease of implementation > realism, but that isn't to say realism isn't important. Weapon ranges and decreasing effectiveness is one of those things that isn't that hard to code.
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neat

#8 Post by guiguibaah »

I think it would be neat if if you could build your standard run-of-the-mill ships for 1x amount, or build the same ship with twice the shields, firepower, etc... for 3x the amount by substituting the regular power cell with a unique power cell.

A bit like the Air-Force-One plane compared to regular boeings
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Geoff the Medio
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Re: neat

#9 Post by Geoff the Medio »

guiguibaah wrote:...build your standard run-of-the-mill ships for 1x amount, or build the same ship with twice the shields, firepower, etc... for 3x the amount by substituting the regular power cell with a unique power cell.
Wouldn't this be done by making a new design the standard way?

We could perhaps have some random events gotten whilst exploring that generate specials on ships that signifcantly alter their properties (eg. "firepower").

It's might also be interesting to have all ships have some degree of randomness in the properties, deviating from the designed values by some distribution. Occasional hero ships would occur with especially high values in many properties... though they should also probably have a critial weakness to compensate / keep things interesting. How this would tie in with leaders, etc. I'm not sure...

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#10 Post by Black_Dawn »

The one aspect of weapons systems that was not listed above and which need to be VERY clear for design purposes are special weapon effects.
An example of an SWE from MOO2 is the Gyro Destabilizer. It damages the structure directly and makes the target spin, facing him in a random direction. This is a BASE effect of the weapon, before any mods. There will almost certainly be weaopns in this game that are desirable not for their damage or range but because of their special effects, e.g. Death Ray kills marines on target ship (but does little damage otherwise). Here's an example of a new weapon tech listing all the info asked for above:

Quantum Tunneling Torpedo
Research Category: Physics; Research Level: XYZ (Medium).
Weapon Type: Torpedo, fires in a straight line (can be avoided). ENERGY weapon, EXPLOSIVE (not targetted).
Ammo: N/A, fires every second turn
Arc: Fires in any direction.
Volume: XXX meters cubed
Mass: YYY tons
Energy Requirement: ZZZ Megajoules
Speed: X distance per second/combat turn [hidden variable?]
Base Damage: does Y to Z [Explosive, Energy] damage.
Seeking?: No.
Targettable by PD weapons?: Yes. [chance of hit is reduced by 25%]
Hull use: Outer Hull.
Special Effect(s): "Tunneling" effect: If it hits target, has 50% chance of passing through shields and armor, damaging structure and internal systems directly [animation 52e required]. If it does so, it has a 50% chance of passing through the ship completely, causing no damage. If this occurs, it can still damage any ships/bases/planet in its line of fire [damage is reduced].
[Programmers note: "tunneling" effect is nullified by Quantum Shielding].
Errata (text which describes tech): Quantum stuff can pass through solid objects. Now your explosives can too!
Possible Mods: Cluster, Overloaded, Homing, Armored Launcher, etc.

That's a lot of info for just one piece of tech, but it prevents confusion later. Some of you may be asking "why list the volume of the weapon if it's on the outer hull? Space on outer hull is effectively infinite!" This may be true, but the bigger your weapon is, the more likely it is to be damaged when the outer hull is struck. Think of those round bulbous things the rebels always aimed for when attacking a Star Destroyer.
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utilae
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#11 Post by utilae »

Weapon effects have been discussed a fair bit in other threads, so they have crossed our minds.

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#12 Post by Impaler »

I was thinking perhaps all weapons should simply have an "Accuracy" value which enters into a larger equation that will determin the hit probability of all attacks. The speed of the Attack (light speed for a laser, slower for projectiles (maybe faster then light too)) might also be a consideration as the slow projectile has a longer travel time. Their would be a seperate parameter and Hit probability equation for a guided projectile like a Missle.

For strait line fire (lasers, beams, guns) the Hit calculator should take into account

Distance to Target
Quality of Sensor Lock on Target (Firers Sensors - Enemy Jamming) (possibly distance modified as well)
Projectile Speed
Weapon Acurracy (as noted Above)
Target Manuverability (how much its dipping, weaving, darting NOT its raw speed)
Power of Attackers Computer (it calculates the fireing solution and a fast computer will be better)
Size of Target

Once all that data goes through the equation it will spit out a % chance to hit, it the chance is less then .1% then we can consider the target to be "out of Range" aka not worth firing at, thus we dont actualy need a hard coded Range value for any of out weapons (if like SE4 weapons have a damage fall off at distance and they can fall to 0 damage than we could also consider that to be a maximum range as well)


Heres a stab at a Hit probability equation

Size of Target / ( A ^ 2 OR B ^ 2 (which ever is larger))

A = ( Acuracy of Weapon x Distance ) / 1000
B = ( ( Distance x ( (Sensors + Jammers / 1000 ) ) ) + ( ( Distance / Weapon Speed + Computer ) x Manuverability)

The A or B split is to reflect which of two factors is limiting you, either you know ware the target is (B equation) but your weapon isn't accuracte enough to consitently hit that spot (A equation) OR your knowlage of the targets location is so fuzzy that your weapons accuracy is irrelivent. A few other notable things about this equation, Sensors and Weapon Accuracy are expressed in Angular Resolution and Computers are expressed in Processing time so its better for these number to be lower, the "perfect" sensor/weapon and computer would have values of 0 (this should be though of as impossible though). Jammers act to defeat Sensors and thus have possitive numbers that add to the sensor values, better Jammers have higher values.

Interesting things happen when you compare long range fire to close in dog fighting. When Distance becomes trivial so do Sensors, Jammers and Weapon Speed. Manuverability and Computers Dominate esentialy the B equation reduces to (Computer x Manuverability) and the A Equation also aproatches zero meaning B will dominate. Large sized low manuverability targets will bit hit near 100% of the time when attacked at point blank range regardless of their Jamming or the attackers Computer (that seems resonabile to me). Its just the Opposite at very long ranges ware Manuverability will drop in importance and Sensors, Jammers and Weapon Speed will be important, due to their fast travel times Speed of Light weapons will be much more effective at long ranges then Projectile weapons (which would reasonably be expected to move less then 1/100 as fast and would be easily detected by radar and dodged).

A test case

Target Size 200 (square meters)
Distance 2000 (in thousands of KM, roughly the distance to the moon)
Manuverability 5
Computer 4 (seconds of computation)
Jammer 3
Sensors 2 (in the ration of resolution over distance times 1000)
Weapon Speed 300 ( in 1000's of KM per second, light speed)
Weapon Accuracy 12

20 / A-( ( 12 x 2000 ) / 1000 ) ^ 2 OR B- (( 2000 x (( 2 + 3 ) / 1000) + (( 2000 / 300 + 4) x 5 ) ^ 2

20 / A-( 24 ) ^ 2 OR B-( 10 + 50 ) ^ 2 [60 is greater then 24 so use that]

20 / 3600 = 1/180 = ~ .5 % Hit probability
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