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Re: Saturday, July 29, 2017

#46
You know, I just read the June 27 log, and another thing stood out for me. The idea of flow fields, where ships should avoid things and still follow a leader, had a phrase in it that seems curious. "Avoid ships that are stronger than you are." In a fleet of individual pilots, not all of them know how to form a good judgment of what ships are strong and what aren't. Mostly, they depend on their squad leader to judge that. If the squad leader can be made to have limited information about ship capabilities, you could have some interesting variable behaviors. For example, varying levels of conservativeness/aggresiveness would lead certain squads to attack anything in sight regardless of its perceived strength, and others to only attack after bearing witness to a ship's guns actually firing. Or, if a ship gets attacked and isn't able to fire back for some reason - out of ammo, jammed up, whatever - then your ultra-conservative pirate squad leader might finally decide he has an easy target and move his squad in for the kill.

I know it's always an interesting time on EVE comms when fighting gimpy-fit ships. You generally don't know how that big nasty battleship is fit - and when it turns out that the normally-armor-tanked Armageddon you're shooting suddenly pulses a shield repper, everyone gets pretty excited. It ultimately means he's wasting fitting and energy on a module that won't do him any good, and that means he's an easier-than-average battleship to kill. But until you know that, your fleet commander will normally assume and prepare for the worst unless he's feeling fiesty or drunk.
Spacecredentials: looks at stars sometimes, cheated at X-Wing vs TIE Fighter, killed a titan once.
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Re: Saturday, July 29, 2017

#48
I am hoping that LT can get up to the level of hypercomplex ships and stations (like really geometrically complex ones) cause that would bring a whole new level of ship eye candy into the game :}. Imagine ships as complex as EVE online, but an infinite number of procedural variants... ...my mouth waters with the prospect. And if we can get to the point where individual pieces can be blasted off ships (such as leaving laser holes in the ship's hull where you hit it) then it'll be BETTER than EVE. And then combine that with thousands of ships in a battle... ...a LOT better.

Then, if planets can get procedural plants and animals/lifeforms, it'll be AWESOOOOOOOOOOOOME!

So keep it up Josh and Adam and Sean, I hope you can get this game up to that kind of level (cause then everyone will want to buy it :D )

Good luck with the development!
Eye candy...
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Re: Saturday, July 29, 2017

#49
S46 wrote:
Sat Aug 12, 2017 2:05 am
And if we can get to the point where individual pieces can be blasted off ships (such as leaving laser holes in the ship's hull where you hit it) then it'll be BETTER than EVE.
if you outline a way where that doesnt make the guy with better cutting weapons the automatic victor you may get that :P

waaaaay back josh said that it would be theoretically possible, but the balancing headaches were too much to bother trying to untangle.

so propose away (in a fresh suggestion forum thread) \o/
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Re: Saturday, July 29, 2017

#50
Cornflakes_91 wrote:
Sat Aug 12, 2017 5:03 am
if you outline a way where that doesnt make the guy with better cutting weapons the automatic victor you may get that
Then think about shielding systems. Also, just because a guy has the better cutting weapons on the hull doesn't mean he automatically wins :D
It would still take time to cut through a whole ship with a laser beam (considering the beam doesn't run out of energy or gets destroyed by enemy fire first) unless, of course, you're like a titan lasering a frigate. Then it's just boom :twisted:
But of course, in battles, some ships have more advantage than others. Like in EVE where my starting ship was blasted to smithereens by a much stronger one (I should have never joined the army... :x )
And it depends on whether you're using lasers or a laser beam or missiles. Obviously missiles will do the most damage on impact, while laser beams will slice through turrets, and lasers are just general.

Whatever, as long as I get some nice explosions and dynamic destruction :lol:
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Re: Saturday, July 29, 2017

#51
S46 wrote:
Sat Aug 12, 2017 5:25 am
Also, just because a guy has the better cutting weapons on the hull doesn't mean he automatically wins :D
It would still take time to cut through a whole ship with a laser beam (considering the beam doesn't run out of energy or gets destroyed by enemy fire first) unless, of course, you're like a titan lasering a frigate. Then it's just boom :twisted:
But of course, in battles, some ships have more advantage than others. Like in EVE where my starting ship was blasted to smithereens by a much stronger one (I should have never joined the army... :x )
And it depends on whether you're using lasers or a laser beam or missiles. Obviously missiles will do the most damage on impact, while laser beams will slice through turrets, and lasers are just general.

Whatever, as long as I get some nice explosions and dynamic destruction :lol:
and you have to define positions for internal systems, have code to check if some internal component is cut off/through etc etc.
S46 wrote:
Sat Aug 12, 2017 5:25 am
Then think about shielding systems.
then the guy with the stronger shields wins because his ship starts falling apart later :P


currently searching for the word of josh, but the required terms are very general :lol:

edit: some word of josh on that
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Re: Saturday, July 29, 2017

#52
OK, Cornflakes, here's a softball for you to hit out of the park. :D

Q: How is who wins a fight affected by whether damage is processed per-system or abstracted away until one ship blows up?

You seem to be making an assumption that tracking damage per-system somehow gives an attacker an advantage over writing LT to basically treat all damage as hull damage and then explode the ship when hull integrity = 0.

If that's correct, I'm not grokking the logic behind it. Why does per-system versus whole-ship matter in terms of damage amounts, which ought to be balanced either way?

What I'm thinking is that the main difference in defeating another ship between a per-system and a whole-ship design would not be amount-of-damage-done, but rather that "winning" would be more likely for the ship with the more accurate targeting gear.

...except that there's no reason why targeting accuracy couldn't also do more damage (or damage over time by getting in more hits) in a whole-ship damage design.

So I'm not seeing the problem you're seeing for per-system damage. If you're still convinced that applying damage per-system changes who's likely to win a fight versus a whole-ship damage model, could you walk me through that, please?
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Re: Saturday, July 29, 2017

#53
Flatfingers wrote:
Sat Aug 12, 2017 12:16 pm
OK, Cornflakes, here's a softball for you to hit out of the park. :D

Q: How is who wins a fight affected by whether damage is processed per-system or abstracted away until one ship blows up?

You seem to be making an assumption that tracking damage per-system somehow gives an attacker an advantage over writing LT to basically treat all damage as hull damage and then explode the ship when hull integrity = 0.

If that's correct, I'm not grokking the logic behind it. Why does per-system versus whole-ship matter in terms of damage amounts, which ought to be balanced either way?

What I'm thinking is that the main difference in defeating another ship between a per-system and a whole-ship design would not be amount-of-damage-done, but rather that "winning" would be more likely for the ship with the more accurate targeting gear.

...except that there's no reason why targeting accuracy couldn't also do more damage (or damage over time by getting in more hits) in a whole-ship damage design.

So I'm not seeing the problem you're seeing for per-system damage. If you're still convinced that applying damage per-system changes who's likely to win a fight versus a whole-ship damage model, could you walk me through that, please?

if you look very closely you'll see that i didnt say "per system damage is bad" ;)

what i am saying is that weapons that can essentially cut away large portions of your equipment in one swoop and without the attacker needing much precision or knowledge to do that is bad.

say classic XWing design. an attacker doesnt need precision to cut away one set of two wings with one relatively unguided swing, taking all weapons and systems that are on/in the wings with them.

it doesnt need less skill than hitting the ship at all, no.
but it takes a lot less skill than actually picking off the cannons on the wingtips.

all it takes for two of my cannons to be just gone (not even damaged beyond immediate functionality but just gone) is a lucky hit with a swing of a beam weapon.

and any lucky hit can remove a lot of systems with a cutting mechanic in place
eg spindly ship gets hit somewhere in the middle -> all the systems on the other side of the control point gone.

it just doesnt seem to be any fun losing large chunks of your ship to bad luck or because you got screwed over by the PCG ship generator that dared to give you any protrusions from the ideal solid brick/sphere design.


also, how would you define internal structural integrity in an easy to understand and calculate way for many many ships?
how would you model the cutting/holing without making LT a full-blown voxel game?
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Re: Saturday, July 29, 2017

#54
Freelancer had mechanics for partial ship destruction and weapon loss. You could lose wings or protrusions, as well as the things mounted on the ship's hardpoints (thruster, countermeasure dropper, guns, even your shield module). This is partially because a lot of the ships in Freelancer were originally intended to have animated wing deployment animations, but this feature was dummied out because the game was rushed. This made the blast radius on explosives pretty deadly, since you could hit several components at once and deal a lot of extra hull damage, and would let you fly ships that are basically falling apart.

This is a cool feature both for aesthetics and strategy, but in Freelancer's case it required ships with predefined sections and joints where the sections could break off. Cornflakes has a point in that if we wanted to achieve this procedurally, there would need to be some kind of voxel system that could determine how to break the ship into chunks.

But making it so that shield, gun, and thruster hardpoints (and similar mounts) are all exposed (and thus, the things attached to them are exposed) would be more interesting than critical existence failure at zero hit points.

Internals of the ship could also suffer from general hull damage, such as trouble with reactors and cargo bays. Hell, a passenger ship would have to worry a lot more about a hull breach than a damaged thruster.

Weapons whose projectiles have blast radii (e.g. explosives) would be exceptionally effective if different modules are exposed and destructible, since the blast could touch many of them at once. If this were the case with Limit Theory, there would be something of an advantage for larger ships of a given class (particularly ships that are given to tanking damage), since they can keep their external mounts spread out more to avoid suffering blast hits that touch equipment clusters. If hitting equipment just counts as hull damage, then explosive blasts won't be as big a concern. Smaller ships will probably always reign in this scenario, since they're just generally harder to hit.

I think the complexity of breakable wings and protrusions is a bit beyond what we need for this game (and certainly it'd suck if you have to fly your ship through asteroid tunnels for mining purposes or fly your ship through a mail slot or something), but making it so you can blast guns and fuel scoops off of people's ships would open up opportunities to disable ships out in space for nefarious purposes.

Hell, you can blast off someone's guns and run away to spite them. They won't enjoy their repair bill after that.
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Re: Saturday, July 29, 2017

#55
Cornflakes_91 wrote:
Sat Aug 12, 2017 2:50 pm
if you look very closely you'll see that i didnt say "per system damage is bad" ;)

what i am saying is that weapons that can essentially cut away large portions of your equipment in one swoop and without the attacker needing much precision or knowledge to do that is bad.

...

it just doesnt seem to be any fun losing large chunks of your ship to bad luck or because you got screwed over by the PCG ship generator that dared to give you any protrusions from the ideal solid brick/sphere design.

OK, clarification appreciated.

I'm still not seeing how being able to target specific ship components necessarily winds up being worse for the defender than an overall-damage design, though. If I can destroy some important component of an opponent's ship, and have some reason to be satisfied with that -- rather than continuing to wreak havok until the opponent ship blows up -- isn't that potentially less hardcore (and unfair-feeling) than a design where there's just a "% damage" number and your ship is destroyed completely once that number >= 100?

To the "protrusions" thing, let's go there next:

Cornflakes_91 wrote:
Sat Aug 12, 2017 2:50 pm
also, how would you define internal structural integrity in an easy to understand and calculate way for many many ships?
how would you model the cutting/holing without making LT a full-blown voxel game?
Grumblesaur wrote:
Sat Aug 12, 2017 6:00 pm
Freelancer had mechanics for partial ship destruction and weapon loss. You could lose wings or protrusions, as well as the things mounted on the ship's hardpoints (thruster, countermeasure dropper, guns, even your shield module). This is partially because a lot of the ships in Freelancer were originally intended to have animated wing deployment animations, but this feature was dummied out because the game was rushed. This made the blast radius on explosives pretty deadly, since you could hit several components at once and deal a lot of extra hull damage, and would let you fly ships that are basically falling apart.

This is a cool feature both for aesthetics and strategy, but in Freelancer's case it required ships with predefined sections and joints where the sections could break off. Cornflakes has a point in that if we wanted to achieve this procedurally, there would need to be some kind of voxel system that could determine how to break the ship into chunks.

But making it so that shield, gun, and thruster hardpoints (and similar mounts) are all exposed (and thus, the things attached to them are exposed) would be more interesting than critical existence failure at zero hit points.

I'm wondering if you guys are thinking about semi-realistically modeling ships: form follows function, where each kind of component produces a certain distinctive visual section of a ship.

With two exceptions, I'm not making that assumption. ;)

What I'm thinking is that, except for guns and engines, ships visually are just all hull structure. As a pilot, you can see the internal systems of your ship schematically, and their status (which affects performance). And as an enemy pilot, you have access (only notional if you're an NPC pilot) to a bit of UI that -- depending on the quality of your ship's targeting system -- shows you some or all of an enemy ship's components and the percentage chance of an attack on that target succeeding. (Not unlike V.A.T.S. from Fallout, I suppose, only without the magic pausing.)

For giving up some "realism" (code that has to figure out how to represent every kind of ship system with some external/visual greeble), you get a design that makes it easier to implement system-targeted damage. If ships are mostly just structure, and I succeed with a targeted attack that damages your scanner, the damageShip() function can just randomly pick part of the damaged ship and remove some structural bits. If it's your ship that's hit, you also see that system damage reflected in your ship schematic (which does not have to correspond exactly to what your ship looks like visually) and the basic ship-system UI elements.

Guns and engines are a little bit different in that these things are shown visually as external components. So "randomly damage some structure" wouldn't work for them; you'd really need to pick a weapon or engine and remove it from the ship (and maybe add some blast damage decals). That reduces the value of "internal components don't need external representations" somewhat.

Maybe not entirely, though.

I know this suggestion won't sit well with some folks, for whom abstracting away visual representations of internal systems is irrational, illogical, and Goes Too Far, Sir! ;) But there is an element of realism required here, and that is: in this real world where software development takes real time, are you willing to give up a little visual verisimilitude in order to get a cool gameplay feature such as targeted damage?

If not, then I think it's fair to suggest that it's incumbent on you to suggest how a requirement for visually fidelity can be implemented efficiently. I'm saying I don't think that's necessary, but I'm open to being persuaded otherwise.
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Re: Saturday, July 29, 2017

#56
This other space game, Avorion (LT is more awesome though :D ) already has dynamically destructible ships. They are generated procedurally and they are destroyed where you hit them, and their pieces come off. This, even with a large conflict, does not lower FPS very much, if at all. So, if Avorion can do it, I'm sure that LT can cope with it. Think of the pieces that get broken off as mini asteroids.

In a conflict with thousands of ships, then there could be a certain "radius" in which broken pieces are visible. Other broken pieces further away will only become visible when you come closer. This means that there won't be thousands of pieces being rendered at once, but they will exist, just only actually be shown when they come into your "radius" of viewing them.
Devoted to providing LT with daily doses of eureka moments.
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Re: Saturday, July 29, 2017

#57
Flatfingers wrote:
Sun Aug 13, 2017 1:28 am
OK, clarification appreciated.

I'm still not seeing how being able to target specific ship components necessarily winds up being worse for the defender than an overall-damage design, though. If I can destroy some important component of an opponent's ship, and have some reason to be satisfied with that -- rather than continuing to wreak havok until the opponent ship blows up -- isn't that potentially less hardcore (and unfair-feeling) than a design where there's just a "% damage" number and your ship is destroyed completely once that number >= 100?
i'd like to have individually targettable subsystems and think that they would greatly enrich the game.

but what i think that would be decidedly unfun is when a weapon that hits nowhere near one of the systems (take the xwing wing cutoff scenario again)
can take out large amounts of systems with one hit because that cut your ship in half and removing all the systems behind the cut point.

which is something that couldnt happen in freelancer because even the worst "cutoff" hit removed one or two guns at most but left you with a basically functional ship.
in LT without predefined destruction sections you can lose in theory everything thats not your cockpit if the ship design and the hit are unlucky.
one hit that could take you from "im mostly fine" to "im screwed" in one hit that maybe wouldnt have been nearly as dangerous if it hit anywhere else but that weak point.
generating a lot of nonlinearity/unpredictability in hit effects that are generally unfun and frustrating "why did i die now?!"

To the "protrusions" thing, let's go there next:

Flatfingers wrote:
Sun Aug 13, 2017 1:28 am
What I'm thinking is that, except for guns and engines, ships visually are just all hull structure. As a pilot, you can see the internal systems of your ship schematically, and their status (which affects performance). And as an enemy pilot, you have access (only notional if you're an NPC pilot) to a bit of UI that -- depending on the quality of your ship's targeting system -- shows you some or all of an enemy ship's components and the percentage chance of an attack on that target succeeding.
i'd personally do that with a "distance map" based hit detection.
you place a point source representing the system/hardpoint somewhere into the volume of the ship and then raycast the point onto the surface of the ship mesh (maybe with some cutoff that a system at the back doesnt get hit by a hit at the front)
then you "paint" the ship with the distance from that point (modified by a size value maybe?)
now you mapped the system onto the surface of the ship with a value for how "deep" inside the system is from every point on the surface.

you can then modulate damage/chance to effect the system based on this distance map.
hitting the weak point where its close to the surface still increases your effect on the system, but you dont have to roll a dice completely independent of where you hit the target

Flatfingers wrote:
Sun Aug 13, 2017 1:28 am
(Not unlike V.A.T.S. from Fallout, I suppose, only without the magic pausing.)
i personally dont think of the pausing in VATS as "magic". i personally think that its simply an interface to communicate something the character already knows and wants to do but the player doesnt.
the character knows how well E can hit some part on the enemy, but the player doesnt know how well the character can hit a part.
and VATS is a gameplay mechanic that enables the player to access the character knowledge about his hit chances and skills and get into the head of the character and make a decision the PC would make semi consciously in the same time the player would make it in normal shooter speed
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Re: Saturday, July 29, 2017

#60
Flatfingers wrote:
Sun Aug 13, 2017 1:28 am

I'm wondering if you guys are thinking about semi-realistically modeling ships: form follows function, where each kind of component produces a certain distinctive visual section of a ship.

With two exceptions, I'm not making that assumption. ;)
I wasn't thinking that, but I'd be open to exploring that some more. It might be too Spore-y, or cause ships to look samey, but if you had a series of ships with variations depending on armor and armament (like the ship lines of Freelancer or Homeworld), a given group of ships could share certain visual cues.
Flatfingers wrote:
Sun Aug 13, 2017 1:28 am
What I'm thinking is that, except for guns and engines, ships visually are just all hull structure. As a pilot, you can see the internal systems of your ship schematically, and their status (which affects performance). And as an enemy pilot, you have access (only notional if you're an NPC pilot) to a bit of UI that -- depending on the quality of your ship's targeting system -- shows you some or all of an enemy ship's components and the percentage chance of an attack on that target succeeding. (Not unlike V.A.T.S. from Fallout, I suppose, only without the magic pausing.)
The V.A.T.S. thing is actually more along the lines of what I was thinking. Freelancer has a subtargeting interface where you can select a hull segment or a component of the current target ship. Selecting this alters the position of the targeting reticle to guide your shots toward that component. Of course, with the ships being so small in Freelancer, it was mostly pointless -- you'd probably kill them before you sniped off their wings. In mods, though, with bigger ships, this was useful for targeting the guns on larger ships with torpedoes and blasting them off.

The torpedoes would splash the hull too, but you get the idea, I'm sure.
Flatfingers wrote:
Sun Aug 13, 2017 1:28 am
For giving up some "realism" (code that has to figure out how to represent every kind of ship system with some external/visual greeble), you get a design that makes it easier to implement system-targeted damage. If ships are mostly just structure, and I succeed with a targeted attack that damages your scanner, the damageShip() function can just randomly pick part of the damaged ship and remove some structural bits. If it's your ship that's hit, you also see that system damage reflected in your ship schematic (which does not have to correspond exactly to what your ship looks like visually) and the basic ship-system UI elements.

Guns and engines are a little bit different in that these things are shown visually as external components. So "randomly damage some structure" wouldn't work for them; you'd really need to pick a weapon or engine and remove it from the ship (and maybe add some blast damage decals). That reduces the value of "internal components don't need external representations" somewhat.

Maybe not entirely, though.

I know this suggestion won't sit well with some folks, for whom abstracting away visual representations of internal systems is irrational, illogical, and Goes Too Far, Sir! ;) But there is an element of realism required here, and that is: in this real world where software development takes real time, are you willing to give up a little visual verisimilitude in order to get a cool gameplay feature such as targeted damage?

If not, then I think it's fair to suggest that it's incumbent on you to suggest how a requirement for visually fidelity can be implemented efficiently. I'm saying I don't think that's necessary, but I'm open to being persuaded otherwise.
External representations of internal components could be things like heat or communications signals. If a ship stops putting out any radio signals, you can bet you probably damaged their communications console. Heat signature increasing? Their reactor might be having a meltdown. But since you can't see inside, there might be multiple causes for the same symptoms. An increased heat signature might also mean you damaged their cargo bay and the chemical drums in it have started leaking, causing an exothermic reaction.

That last example might be a little too detailed for modeling in the game, but something along those lines.
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