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damage types and interactions

#1
just some big brainfart regarding to damage types and creating "superweapons" and countering them.

right now theres a simple damage and hitpoints system in LT without any variations on that, so every weapon does the same damage on every shield and armor, and every shield and armor is equally effective agains every weapon

here i'll outline some method of generating damage types and counters to them dynamically

every weapon has one or more
<effect, magnitude, cause>
value tripletts

the tripletts create a relationship between an effect a weapon has on its target, its magnitude and the physical mechanism which has caused that effect

or to say it more clearly: what it does and how it does that

so for example a basic laser weapon would have as base values
<damage, 20, laser>

so this weapon causes 20 damage with type laser.

a shield or armor with a matching cause parameter would defend with its full capacity against laser weapons.

so a laser weapon with 20 damage does 20 damage vs a laser shield.

any mismatch of the types causes the shield (or armor) to be less effective.

so a laser weapon vs a plasma shield could do twice as much damage, or whatever turns out right for balance.

those effects could also "stack".

so a weapon might has and stats on it
<shield penetration, 100%, quantum interference>
<damage, 20, laser>
so it would penetrate shields which dont protect against quantum interference and damage the armor with laser damage.

there could be other effects than shield penetration and damage, engine interference, sensor interference etc.
Shields and armor could have different kinds of effects
Absorption, mitigation, reflection, conversion to energy...

this would create a tech race which is not only quantitative (more damage, more hitpoints) but also qualitative.
No "oh, no! They developed a new weapon with 2% more effective DPS" but instead "oh no! They developed a new "quantum interference" weapon against which our shields are useless!" ;)


shields can have multiple affinities, to prevent oscillation between a low number of damage types.

each effect could also have its own looks and sensor spectrum, to make visible which types your enemy uses

there could also relationships (laser shields only take 1.5 damage vs plasma weapons) between types be created (procedurally of course) but this would possibly create a big messy and complicated web of relations

i think this system could be the basis of a complex system of damage types which is still relatively easy to gasp.

hoping to see some replies soon :wave:
Last edited by Cornflakes_91 on Sun Aug 31, 2014 12:46 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: damage types and interactions

#2
So... different weapons do different "colors" of damage... and different shields offer different "colors" of protection?

Why not just weaponize the fact that weapon color can already be changed? A weapon that fires Red (255,0,0) is totally ineffective against a Red Shield but is highly effective against a Green(0,255,0) or Blue (0,0,255) shield. an Orange(200,125,0) is somewhat effective against a Red Shield, more effective against a Green shield, and highly effective against a Blue shield.

White(255,255,255) would of course be the most effective "color" of damage/defense and black be totally ineffective against anything.

This is not to say that one is totally out of luck if you meet someone with a white weapon, as it is only a strength multiplier.
A 20 damage/shot *|255|255|255| cannon will not really do much to a 1950 *|107|219|186| shield, though it will do more than any other color weapon can.

Weapon/Shield color would then unfortunately be no longer customizable for aesthetic reasons, but weapon/shield color would then have real tactical value, and weapon color could become a researchable thing.

Also, for graphical purposes, the "weapon/shield color" should be the primary color used in the graphical appearance, not the only color, because dear god, attack of the taupe would not be a pleasant thing to see.
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Imagination Fertilizer
Beauty may not save the world, but it's the only thing that can
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Re: damage types and interactions

#3
I agree completely that damage types, as well as shield types, should exist.

I disagree that the types themselves should be procedural. The computer is not smart enough to create 'realistic' damage types that make intuitive sense. However, I do think that you can do something like blend two types (plasma bullets, antimatter beam, photon torpedo) that are a procedural blend of the attributes from the parent types. Similarly we can describe some types of defenses, and their interactions with defined damage types, then procedurally blend those defenses. Here is a list of damage types, in vaguely least-to-most fancy order.
  • Kinetic: slugs of matter (white)
  • Electromagnetic: streams of photons (red)
  • Particlulate: streams of exotic matter (violet/blue)
  • Gravitational: slugs of gravity (black/purple)
  • Reality: distortion of physical laws (green)
And a list of protection types, in vaguely least-to-most fancy order:
  • Armor: dense, stable matter
  • Magnetic: deflect charged particles
  • Ablation: active redirection
  • Shields: energy absorbtion
  • Stabilization: matter stability enhancement
These types can have different hardcoded benefits and penalties. For example:

Kinetic
Speed: 2
Power: 5
Energy Cost: 1
Ammo Size: 10

Electromagnetic
Speed: 10
Power: 3
Energy Cost: 3
Ammo Size: 0

Now, this is not to say that research and tech can't tweak these values. But a generically 'twice as good' kinetic weapon will still be slow and require heavy ammo. Could you have a sufficiently advanced Kinetic weapon that's faster than a starting-tech Electromagnetic weapon? Probably, but it would be trivial and cheap to make a faster Electromagnetic weapon. This maintains the gameplay diversity even as you mix and match and grow via technology.

Mixing technology could be just doing a geometric mean of the values, or root-mean-square, or some other algorithm. There are many ways to morph one set of values into another.

Photon Bullets
Speed: 4.7
Power: 3.9
Energy Cost: 1.7
Ammo Size: 2.5 (using root-mean-square)

Various defenses can also have a matrix of properties, as well as an effectiveness against each type of attack. Attacks might also have unique properties; perhaps Gravity weapons get more effective the larger the target is. Reality distorters may be vastly more effective against drones. Electromagnetic could be the only one without limited ammunition. Etc.

With only 10 hard coded 'types', you have opened up the game to a vast sea of research, min-maxing, theorycrafting, rock-paper-scissors, counter research, faction differentiation, hybridization, etc. And yet the reason the types behave how they do (even if the reason is heavier on the 'fiction' than the 'science', like 'Hull Stabilizers are very effective against Reality Distortion waves'), and with only a small amount of reading you can make inferences and guesses on how effective weapons will be based on the visuals in the game.

I would like to note that I didn't even touch on some additional ways you can make weapons unique, such as delivery method (bullets, beams, missiles). You can deliver your electromagnetic energy in short pulses, long beams, or homing missile that primes and fires a single blast of pumped laser energy. Your weapon can fire a thin accurate beam, a shotgun blast, or a spherical pulse. And each method can have different costs and trade-offs, as well as different affinities to different weapon types (maybe Gravity weapons are much cheaper to fire in spherical blasts than normal, making them ideal as defensive blasts, or as missile payloads, but poor at long rang beams).
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Re: damage types and interactions

#4
Hyperion wrote:Why not just weaponize the fact that weapon color can already be changed?
A change like that is certainly compelling in a mathematical way, but it has several problems.
  • Better is brighter. There is no reason not to research white weapons. They will always be better in every situation.
  • There is no intuative match with reality, not even a tenuous one. This type of mechanic could fly in an abstract rail shooter, but is inappropriate for a Sci-Fi space drama.
  • It's kind of boring. There is no real thought about it. Blue shots means power the blue shield. No strategic depth. Good for a twitch game where you rotate your shields every second, but not for this one.
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Re: damage types and interactions

#5
Better is brighter. There is no reason not to research white weapons. They will always be better in every situation.
My idea was that weapon/shield color research would be incremental, as in researching a weapon color will produce a new weapon, where the color changes by +/- 5 over any of the RGB fields. So if you have a 125,125,125 blaster and research the color, you may get 130,125,125 as the result, or 120,125,125, or 127,126,123 as the result.
I would of course expect that after many many generations of research, you could get a 255,255,255 weapon, but you had to work hard to get it, and even then, researching that weapon for increased accuracy or efficiency may inadvertently lower the color, so it becomes just another way objects have trade-offs and interactions.

There is no intuative match with reality, not even a tenuous one. This type of mechanic could fly in an abstract rail shooter, but is inappropriate for a Sci-Fi space drama.
As far as I can remember, every single weapon fired thusfar has been a glowing light, I am unsure if this will remain so as josh pumps out content, but it doesn't seem too inappropriate to me. There are plenty of places where LT breaks with reality favoring Rule of Cool or Freelancer did it, etc... and I would need further convincing to say that weaponized color could not be another instance of that.
It's kind of boring. There is no real thought about it. Blue shots means power the blue shield. No strategic depth. Good for a twitch game where you rotate your shields every second, but not for this one.
I suppose if there were only a dozen colors, I could see your point. Having multiple shields which protect from multiple colors is an interesting idea that I hadn't considered, and I suppose If you could throw up a 1,0,0 a 0,1,0 and a 0,0,1 shield all at the same time, it would be the same as having a white shield... However since there are millions of possible weapon/shield colors, acting on only 3 variables your Salmon (250,128,114) shield might offer stronger protection from red weapons than blue, but it offers more protection than a pure Yellow(255,255,0) from blue weapons. And when you have sea green(46,139,87) shields, you may be protected from all weapons somewhat, just moreso forest green than orchid. This to me offers strategic depth, because while grey, neutral shields will offer the most well rounded protection, if you are going through a region of space that has heavily developed red weapons, you will likely want to get a shield with more red protection and less blue and green... But as I said, Color is just a multiplier for other stats, a strong weapon with dark color could still obliterate a weak light colored shield.

Edit: considering larger populations of color varient weapons at LOD, each cluster may have a couple seed selected RGB values appearing here and there, and populations in that area use generally that value, with variations and a couple outliers.
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Challenging your assumptions is good for your health, good for your business, and good for your future. Stay skeptical but never undervalue the importance of a new and unfamiliar perspective.
Imagination Fertilizer
Beauty may not save the world, but it's the only thing that can
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Re: damage types and interactions

#6
Hyperion wrote:Weapon/Shield color would then unfortunately be no longer customizable for aesthetic reasons, but weapon/shield color would then have real tactical value, and weapon color could become a researchable thing.

Also, for graphical purposes, the "weapon/shield color" should be the primary color used in the graphical appearance, not the only color, because dear god, attack of the taupe would not be a pleasant thing to see.
Why not describe these different effect modes, whether from offensive or defensive technologies, as vibrations at different frequencies?

Then it's a matter of telling your frequency scanner to watch for those frequencies and alert you when detected: "*** WARNING *** Particulate fire incoming from aft quadrant!"

You might even be able to use scanner plug-ins to shift those frequencies down to whatever visible-light (color) mapping you like and show them on your HUD.

Also, if you enjoy depth, consider designing offensive weapons and defenses to be effective at not just one but two kinds of effect. That immediately increases the number of different kinds of weapons, and effectively invalidates gamey rock-paper-scissors ship systems design strategies.
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Re: damage types and interactions

#7
A few lines got lost when transferring to the forum, fixed that :oops:
Flatfingers wrote: Why not describe these different effect modes, whether from offensive or defensive technologies, as vibrations at different frequencies?

Then it's a matter of telling your frequency scanner to watch for those frequencies and alert you when detected: "*** WARNING *** Particulate fire incoming from aft quadrant!"

You might even be able to use scanner plug-ins to shift those frequencies down to whatever visible-light (color) mapping you like and show them on your HUD.

Also, if you enjoy depth, consider designing offensive weapons and defenses to be effective at not just one but two kinds of effect. That immediately increases the number of different kinds of weapons, and effectively invalidates gamey rock-paper-scissors ship systems design strategies.
well, my proposal already does that, albeit only as a footnote somewhere between ;)


Hyperion: you slightly miss the point.
(That could be caused by the missing lines >.>)

But the physical effects are not just a color grade, but each and any cause is independent from each .

So its not a sliding scale over 3 parameters, but an literally infinite amount of types which dont interact with each other.
So when your shield designer has never seen a plasma weapon, your shield is ineffective against that.
And not because your shield is "blue" because of some reason and thus protects you against blue plasma.

In yor proposal theres also one "best" of weapon, shield and armor.

In my proposal theres no penultimate type.



MyrddinE:
Your proposal basically does what i want to do away: hardcoded damage types which you can develop the ultimate defense against, in my proposal you cant develop one thing that protects against everything, because <everything> is infinite, and theres always something you dont know about and that your shields or armor dont protect well against.
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Re: damage types and interactions

#8
another thought to make types less harsh: affinities
(I mentioned that in "relations" in the OP, but discredited it as too complicated, i think a bit different now, after having sleep and breakfast)

Different types can have affinities to other damage types,
For example plasma could have 50% affinity to laser, and have 50% of the bonus/malus that the other type gets.

So we have a
<damage, 20, laser>
Weapon vs a
<plasma> shield

With 0 affinity the bonus would be 2x damage

So with the 50% affinity the damage bonus would only be 1.5x

So a laser weapon is more effective against a plasma shield (30dmg) than against a laser shield (20dmg), but not as effective as against a particle shield (40dmg))

Affinities can also have negative values.

Lets invert the previous example,
Laser vs plasma has -50% affinity
So the damage vs
Laser shield(20, x1.0)
Plasma shield (50, x2.5)
Particle shield (40, x2.0)
Would change

This affinities are symmetric and bidirectional, so laser vs plasma gets the same bonus as plasma vs laser.

Affinities are not inherited, so a plasma weapon might also have affinities vs particle, but lasers would not behave differently against particle because of that
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Re: damage types and interactions

#9
After some more thoughts about that i think that the "mid point" of the affinity scale is weird.

so lets redefine that 0% affinity means 100% of the effect gets applied.

affinities increase or decrease damage by +-50% (maybe even 100%, if we allow immunity shields to certain weapon types).

So a laser weapon on a laser shield does not 100% damage, but only 50%
And a plasma weapon with -50% affinity does 150% damage against laser shields.
A particle weapon with 0% affinity does 100% damage against laser shields

(You could also insert shield penetration or weapon disruption instead of damage)
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Re: damage types and interactions

#12
Pretty straightforward IMHO. It's important that there are no absolutes, so your +-50% is good. For me it is also important that the mechanics don't get overcomplicated. For RTS-oriented people maybe could be great to have very specialized weapons at their disposal, but for us wannabe explorers and the such it would be fairly okay to have jack-of-all-trades weapons and shield systems.
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Re: damage types and interactions

#13
Lum wrote:Pretty straightforward IMHO. It's important that there are no absolutes, so your +-50% is good. For me it is also important that the mechanics don't get overcomplicated. For RTS-oriented people maybe could be great to have very specialized weapons at their disposal, but for us wannabe explorers and the such it would be fairly okay to have jack-of-all-trades weapons and shield systems.
Most of the time you'd have 0% affinity to the others types, so you'd do 100% damage and receive 100% damage.
And in a developed area you would have enough diversity, with counters to the established types to not being completely screwed every second time you get attacked

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