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Planet Explorers => Planet Explorers Suggestions => Topic started by: Gazz2 on July 11, 2013, 01:54:11 PM

Title: Weapon Creation / Design / Balancing... because cheese graters ain't weapons!
Post by: Gazz2 on July 11, 2013, 01:54:11 PM

With the release of 0.60 it has become practically impossible (for me) to design a weapon that is even equal to a store-bought template. Forget it if you want to design a weapon with a specific look. It will probably have 10-15% of the attack stat of the equivalent store-bought weapon.

The current rules / mechanics are a worst case scenario.
Strictly vertical balancing with zero lateral balancing factors and no practicable gating mechanisms because it's a sandbox game.

Your construction rules favour the design of stupid weapons, like swords that look like lace lattice. The only way to harm someone with such a sword is to tie it around his neck and strangle him.
Good looking guns are always ineffective because the distance between trigger and muzzle is a major factor. Create a Dirty Harry .44 Magnum? It blows.
That seriously hurts the creative crowd who you want to churn out pretty things to make people go ohh and ahh.

Right now the player can create one "best weapon" and that's it for the rest of the game because there can be nothing different.

This post focuses primarily on firearms but the same principles can be applied to melee weapons.
(I split it up because no one likes a wall of text =)

Title: Re: Weapon Creation / Design / Balancing... because cheese graters ain't weapons!
Post by: Gazz2 on July 11, 2013, 01:54:39 PM
My suggestion:
Title: Re: Weapon Creation / Design / Balancing... because cheese graters ain't weapons!
Post by: Gazz2 on July 11, 2013, 01:54:55 PM
As a result, the player creates a pretty model and then selects what materials it should be made of.
That way a pretty ISO can be re-used without re-doing hours of modeling work! Just change the material selectors...

Instead of twiddling numbers and gaming the system, the player makes a decision on what kind of weapon he wants - and it's largely independent of the model!


What I'm concerned with is long-term balancing.
With your current system you create a single weapon of the highest quality material and then you're done with the entire "weapon crafting"... for the rest of the game. In MP, everyone will be using the exact same weapon!
Boring and completely unsuited for interesting multiplayer where people should use different weapons and work together. There should be one to use a mud shotgun to slow down a pack of approaching critters while the largely immobile "heavy" with the machine gun does the killing. You can have interesting teamwork that way instead of everyone being a carbon copy of everyone else.


It's really not my intention to tell you that you suck and that I have all the answers (no, really!) - only that you need to consider what boxes you want to check with the concept of your weapon design / balancing.
A designer starting from scratch would do almost the complete opposite of what you did.
Sounds harsh? Compare...  =)
Adding "research" is possible.
Title: Re: Weapon Creation / Design / Balancing... because cheese graters ain't weapons!
Post by: Gazz2 on July 11, 2013, 01:55:52 PM
Sentry turrets could also be opened up for design because these are more or less on scale for personal weapons.

Adding the "turret base" increases magazine capacity but that's about it for changes.

You could even go one step further and make weapons dual purpose.
Create a machine gun like weapon that you can use personally but add a folding tripod and auto-targeting thingies.
If this weapon is deployed in the world, it is a sentry turret.
Alas, this would make a lot more sense in a typical FPS where your weapon inventory is actually limited and you can use your heavy weapon personally or as a turret.
Title: Re: Weapon Creation / Design / Balancing... because cheese graters ain't weapons!
Post by: yarnevk on July 11, 2013, 03:21:12 PM
I think one thing that should happen at a minimum is if you recreate the stock gun/swords with the voxel editor, it should function identically because the fiction is that is how the NPC created them in the first place.  The only difference there should be time to make vs. meat to buy.  Use that to establish the editor performance baselines.   Simple plot consistency, which then you can try to improve upon with your creative skills.
Title: Re: Weapon Creation / Design / Balancing... because cheese graters ain't weapons!
Post by: matty101 on July 11, 2013, 04:17:04 PM
i had an idea about melee weapons i'll put here, some of it mirrors a lot of ideas around the forums, first i'll explain a couple of reference words i use.


base material = highest volume of material closest to the handle core co-ordinate

contact material =  material furthest from the core

weapon type = can be blunt/sharp depending on base material volume(with blunt being a large amount of base material), if sharp the base damage stat is set by contact material hardness, if blunt the base damage is set by total weapon weight

weapon contact durability(wcd) = a stat that acts like armor against degradation, the higher the wcd the lower the degradation rate

so imo rules for making melee weapons would then be...

total material weight:
-weight determines base swing time
-determines base damage stat that increases with weight if it becomes a blunt weapon type(to indicate a hard heavy weapon like a hammer)
-as weight damage increases the bonus damage effect from contact material decreases

base material hardness/volume:
-base durability stat

contact material:
-hardness determines base damage if weapon is classed as a sharp weapon
-gives a small bonus +damage if the weapon is determined as a blunt weapon type
-surface area gives +damage bonus but -wcd
-volume/hardness determine base wcd stat

degradation should be about 4x slower, and should be broken up into areas that affect the weapon differently, like:
0% = weapon broken
<30% = weapon slowed by 20%
<80% = weapon ignores damage bonus' from contact material for both sharp and blunt weapons
100% weapon is fully functional and damage bonus intact




the idea of all this is to put weapons into a spectrum type system where many types can be just a powerfull for instance the rules:

"as weight damage increases the bonus damage effect from contact material decreases" means a mace/morning star type weapon can use the damage from heavy  and blade effects

"surface area gives +damage bonus but -wcd" and "<80% = weapon ignores damage bonus' from contact material for both sharp and blunt weapons" means cheese graters and shiv type weapons can deal a lot of damage but lose their bonus' quickly if not maintained.
Title: Re: Weapon Creation / Design / Balancing... because cheese graters ain't weapons!
Post by: Thunderbird on July 11, 2013, 05:51:11 PM
Gazz, marry me?

i really only have one issue with your suggestion - rifle grip should base off "more" damage rather than less, rifles are generally more powerful, thats why theyre rifles  :)
Title: Re: Weapon Creation / Design / Balancing... because cheese graters ain't weapons!
Post by: Thunderbird on July 11, 2013, 05:59:48 PM
one thing, mainly for melee weapons...

if the creation system could take into account rough item dimensions and mass distributions, it could distinguish between tip-weighted swords (more damage,slower - modifier applied on top of stats made out from item base stats) or a heavier pommel would allow the sword to be more balanced (swinging faster) if there was a bit more weight just under the given grip, and stuff like two-bladed swords and battle staves, crescents, etc. - not as a category but making the weapon act more like them stats-wise

with guns, more weight on the front (muzzle brakes ftw) could drop the weapon recoil and/or barrel lift after each shot

ofcourse each of these modifications would still increase the sword/gun/whatever weight and have an impact on stamina, but hey, thats how it works in the real world anyways
Title: Re: Weapon Creation / Design / Balancing... because cheese graters ain't weapons!
Post by: Gazz2 on July 11, 2013, 06:09:09 PM
@Thunderbird

I'm using complete magic to (not) explain the freaky abilities of the different materials and the differences in grips are only there to define roles for weapons.
I'm well aware of little issues like bullet energy, rifling, barrel length, trajectories, and all those things... that don't actually make a game more fun. =)

This system is set up in such a way that you have to know nothing at all about physics in general or gunsmithing in particular.
Title: Re: Weapon Creation / Design / Balancing... because cheese graters ain't weapons!
Post by: Thunderbird on July 11, 2013, 06:15:28 PM
well, weighting is common sense...
and i just want to walk around with a hip-held high-tech enormous autocannon that i'll spend hours designing and every aspect of which will work as intended... just a little crazy dream of mine  ;D
also, power armor, but thats for a different topic  8)
Title: Re: Weapon Creation / Design / Balancing... because cheese graters ain't weapons!
Post by: Gazz2 on July 11, 2013, 07:02:44 PM
This isn't about common sense. How do you implement something like that and visualise the effect during construction?

That it matters how you arrange the pixels is the cause of the current problems!
Don't even go there! Shape is artistic design. Only.

Stats are stats. The only stat I would tie to the shape is total weight.
That is the only thing that is truly obvious to everyone. Big sword heavy. Doh!
Title: Re: Weapon Creation / Design / Balancing... because cheese graters ain't weapons!
Post by: Gmr Leon on July 11, 2013, 11:13:41 PM
If I understand what you're getting at, I think I really like the ideas presented. Also, minor thing, ammo sticks...Wouldn't these basically be modified magazines for the gun? That aside, the material used having some form of additional effect in the weapon behavior would be really, really interesting. Add this to vehicles and how the attached weapons behave as well, and you get something even more amusing and interesting.

For instance, take your sand example or dirt example, and you have helicopters flying about not only dealing damage, but blinding and slowing their targets. It would literally be a support helicopter in every sense of the word, including laying covering fire and providing transport. Er, sorry, I don't mean to sidetrack this too much, it just came to mind as I was reading over your suggestions.
Title: Re: Weapon Creation / Design / Balancing... because cheese graters ain't weapons!
Post by: yarnevk on July 11, 2013, 11:53:25 PM
I like how Defiance weapons are done.   Lots of variety for different styles of play and customizable with different parts for small improvements and effects.  Not just one shotgun or one sniper rifle but several subtypes of each.

http://www.defiance.com/en/game/technology/weapons/ 
Title: Re: Weapon Creation / Design / Balancing... because cheese graters ain't weapons!
Post by: Gazz2 on July 11, 2013, 11:55:11 PM
Also, minor thing, ammo sticks...Wouldn't these basically be modified magazines for the gun?
They are an abstract implementation of ammunition. They fix the problem of needing 140 different types of ammo and calibers. Instead you have one.

Scrounging bullets may make sense in a scavenging setting like Jagged Alliance but when you have a personal magic building device that creates a helicopter from a pile of rocks, such micromanagement would be ludicrous.

The result is that you can have many interesting weapon variants. A "six-shooter" revolver as well as a 100 round machine gun - both fed from the same stack of ammo sticks.


Besides, you can't allow the complexity to multiply.
Arrows are the more advanced and individual ammunition, bows are bland and generic.
Firearms are advanced and individual, ammo sticks are bland and generic.
Both systems have manageable complexity because one side of the equation is abstracted. Both systems are interesting...
Title: Re: Weapon Creation / Design / Balancing... because cheese graters ain't weapons!
Post by: Gmr Leon on July 12, 2013, 12:21:29 AM
They are an abstract implementation of ammunition. They fix the problem of needing 140 different types of ammo and calibers. Instead you have one.

Scrounging bullets may make sense in a scavenging setting like Jagged Alliance but when you have a personal magic building device that creates a helicopter from a pile of rocks, such micromanagement would be ludicrous.

The result is that you can have many interesting weapon variants. A "six-shooter" revolver as well as a 100 round machine gun - both fed from the same stack of ammo sticks.


Besides, you can't allow the complexity to multiply.
Arrows are the more advanced and individual ammunition, bows are bland and generic.
Firearms are advanced and individual, ammo sticks are bland and generic.
Both systems have manageable complexity because one side of the equation is abstracted. Both systems are interesting...

Oh...OH. I think I better understand what you meant there, maybe. When you say stick, you really mean like a sort of "stick", or block. As you fire the weapon, it's generating the bullet itself with the qualities that make sense for the template/weapon design, yeah? I'm not sure I completely understand why you'd want that, except to reduce the number of bullets and bullet scripts for various bullet types. Instead, it sounds like you'd reduce it to a craftable ammo stick that just works and maybe multiply the number of grips/barrels?

Sorry if I'm being dense, you explain other sides of this much better I think than this particular area.
Title: Re: Weapon Creation / Design / Balancing... because cheese graters ain't weapons!
Post by: Helic on July 12, 2013, 03:29:09 AM
From a personal standpoint, all I would want from the design system for weapons is a cool-looking weapon for my character to run around with. It doesn't have to be better than 'stock' guns - heck, it should not be better than stock weapons. Is my character a master weapons designer?

Certainly some things should have an effect. If my weapon is made with lots and lots of iron, it should be slow attacking but do more damage when you hit. That's easy to figure out. But trying to balance a thousand different factors as to a weapon's very specific statistics...it's a lot of time and effort coding, and as someone mentioned, someone is going to come up with the ideal design and everyone will use that.

So I probably wouldn't care if my titanium sword was no better than the titanium sword I could replicate from an in-game pattern, as long as my titanium sword looked way cooler.
Title: Re: Weapon Creation / Design / Balancing... because cheese graters ain't weapons!
Post by: Gazz2 on July 12, 2013, 10:32:45 AM
From a personal standpoint, all I would want from the design system for weapons is a cool-looking weapon for my character to run around with. It doesn't have to be better than 'stock' guns - heck, it should not be better than stock weapons. Is my character a master weapons designer?

Crafted weapons should be a little better than the identical stock template. They take much more effort to produce and that should be rewarded.
Mostly they should be more flexible, though. Lateral balancing instead of strictly vertical.


Certainly some things should have an effect. If my weapon is made with lots and lots of iron, it should be slow attacking but do more damage when you hit. That's easy to figure out. But trying to balance a thousand different factors as to a weapon's very specific statistics...it's a lot of time and effort coding, and as someone mentioned, someone is going to come up with the ideal design and everyone will use that.

Yep. That's precisely what the suggested system should "fix": the (intentionally) over-complex rules of pattern repetition and such.
Title: Re: Weapon Creation / Design / Balancing... because cheese graters ain't weapons!
Post by: yarnevk on July 12, 2013, 12:56:06 PM
Make weapon features different and modular supporting multiple playstyles, and hopefully no combo is discovered as OP and if it is it gets nerfed, the cheese graters get increasingly more complex with no plausible explain how they could possibly function as a weapon even in a sci-fi world with dinosaurs.

In Unity it is not a lot of time and effort coding, objects in Unity is entitys of modular components, with seperate systems to process each component (this is in fact why the builder starts with a piece you have to have - it is the component that is known to Unity).    Suppose you wanted a long distance UAV with a camera or a kill cam view, they need to do nothing more than add the camera component to the object and use the existing controller components (physics, keyboard, sticks, kinematics etc) to move it.   

In general you do not have to worry about the component aggregations if the parts are designed and coded properly.  It is a system that supports adhoc try this and that design that could indeed be passed thru to the player with little effort.   

It takes more effort just to hash out what the pieces and effects should be than it is to code the system especially if alpha testers all want competing conflicting things that do not 'fit' the designers vision.   Do we want 'magic' nano effects like Defiance (acid, fire, etc.) with the plausible explain that we reverse engineered the fire bear and sonic harpy and the giraffe spit?  That certainly would give a kill 100 quest purpose. What about shooting monkey poo?  :P
Title: Re: Weapon Creation / Design / Balancing... because cheese graters ain't weapons!
Post by: Gazz2 on July 12, 2013, 03:05:37 PM
Do we want 'magic' nano effects like Defiance (acid, fire, etc.) with the plausible explain that we reverse engineered the fire bear and sonic harpy and the giraffe spit?  That certainly would give a kill 100 quest purpose. What about shooting monkey poo?  :P
That's the direction I was thinking of with the "research" I mentioned briefly.
With a bunch of effects you get lots and lots of research items as well as synergies between effects... that also want to be researched.

There could be lots of hunting and researching just while exploring all the different weapon types.
And they would be different! Not just a generic +5% damage "technology"...
Title: Re: Weapon Creation / Design / Balancing... because cheese graters ain't weapons!
Post by: yarnevk on July 12, 2013, 03:15:03 PM
Speaking of monkeys - remember the dogpile screenshot?    I had the same thing happen with monkeys piled three high in a semicircle, so pack pathing is still bugged that way.    Sadly my damn followers insisted on getting in the shot and once they untangled themselves so I could take the pic, the monkey pyramid came tumbling down.  I am sure it was the same pack that derailed my fort defense, they was plotting their attack, so instead of being friendly this play thru it is war!  Just need a poo gun to fight back...
Title: Re: Weapon Creation / Design / Balancing... because cheese graters ain't weapons!
Post by: Helic on July 12, 2013, 03:55:49 PM
Crafted weapons should be a little better than the identical stock template. They take much more effort to produce and that should be rewarded.

To my mind, having a cooler looking weapon is justification enough to spend the time fiddling with the editor. I'd be content to call an iron sword an iron sword no matter what it looks like. Maybe weapon stat upgrades could be learned through game play, as something you use to improve weapons you design above stock weapons (either from a research system or from an improved skills system), or there are unique materials on Maria that allow you to make weapons not found on Earth.
Title: Re: Weapon Creation / Design / Balancing... because cheese graters ain't weapons!
Post by: Gazz2 on July 12, 2013, 08:45:39 PM
Along the idea of animal research, gazz posts for more interesting weapons we could have fire bear flame thrower, korona death blaster, etc.  Could be simple as kill X of them or as complex recipe as can be.  Since alchemy is fantasy RPG we need an equivalent for sci-fi.
Bring me 25 Fire Bear Hearts and I shall start researching the Flame-On Module?
Nah, that's really too fantasy.
It's just DNA. One should be plenty.

But.

One might not work. =)
So... you start the research project and supply a number of Fire Bear Hearts to do it with.
Each single item has maybe a 4% chance to lead to a successful isolation / reproduction of the ability.
If the research timer is up, the dice are rolled...

Of course, the research roll should be made immediately when you start the research project so you can't just reload the final 2 seconds until you get a successful research. =)