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Galder

XTC background part 3

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XTC background part 3

As i promised, here are some explanations to the various TFile settings, regarding the balance.

First, bullet spam. To increase the performance, ES has reduced the amount of shots flying around by setting this lower. In exchange, the damage per bullet has been increased to maintain the same damage. The problem here is, that this interferes heavily with the speed of the bullet. Increased damage amount means always, if you hit your target, it really hurts. If your enemy can be destroyed by less hits/volleys, it is getting pretty simple to shoot down an enemy. He has a very much lower chance to enable countermeasures/evading maneuvres. So this is a big balance issue, to find the right spot between bullet spam and damage per hit.

Second, Bullet speed. If the rate of fire exceeds a certain level, and the bullet speed is too high, the damage is delivered so fast, that it creates a uber weapon. This is the issue especially for the PBE. It is absolutely and by any means to fast in TC. That can't be tuned down with hull/shield damage anymore. This is also a big issue for capship weapons. If the weapon generator setting (tied to laser energy) is too high, the average damage output is much higher than you may expect, when the ship is low on energy. It may be just cut down to half, instead of the expected near zero damage output.

So, be ever careful when adjusting rate of fire. This has far more dependencies than expected and can't be used for simple balancing issues.

Everything, which is in fixed stats in the TFiles is only the potentially damage dealt, it does not, in any case, apply to the in game structure. TC is not a round based computer game. There is no chance to hit, the shots aren't guided, and there is no dice rolled if you hit or not. Instead, everything is based on collisions. If something makes contact, it hits. Therefore, all shots, all damage calculations means nothing, zero, nada. If you can't get a bullet to make contact with its target, it can deal potentially millions of damage.... and the target still lives and is happily pounding on your shields. So calculating chances to hit, based on the bullet speed, lifetime and the rapid box, is the main task. The shorter the time period is for the bullet to make contact, the less time is on the hands of the target. Now why is that so important? The shots are always directed at the crosshair, indicating the movement of the target. Even if the FCS is turned off, you expect to hit, when you follow this crosshair, but the calculation of that crosshair is only an extrapolation where the ship will be, if it is not changing any vector. There are coiuntless vectors involved for the target... reducing speed, or accelerating, turning and so on. As long as your bullets are flying, the target has to stay at least with a part of its hull in the extrapolated area. If not, you don't hit. If it's following a different ship, it will do a logarithmic curve, instead of a radius shaped one. This alone leads to so many misses, that you need to compensate the turning form by adjusting your own position. The time it takes for a shot to make contact has to be calculated against the tasks and possible vector changes applied it currently does. The longer the time to make contact, the higher the cance to miss. The shorte the time period, the higher the chance to hit. With a high chance to hit, and a high potential damage value of a single bullet, the better the weapon gets, and up from a certain point, it's just a uber weapon. Shots above 500 m/s are critical, as their speed gets too high for normal ship speeds. They need to be toned down in rapid box lentgh and bullet lifetime/range.

This applies to capship combat and to dogfights. So, the main task is to calculate chances to hit, not to judge generally about a damage value. Ship speeds have to match the chances to hit on the weapons you have done. Both can't be modded on their own. If ships are too fast, bullets won't hit, if bullets are too fast, ships can't dodge. Believe it or not, ships do dodge, even with the stock ES scripts. The thing is, that almost everyone has forgotten about the fact HOW they dodge. They can't strafe and make turns shorter in that way, they reduce their speed to match the optimal turning radius. The faster they are, the higher the turn radius. The faster they are, the higher the amount of speed being decreased until they match the optimal turn radius for their yaw/pitch/roll settings. So max acceleration is one of the most important points in dogfights, and even in capship fights. This is the point where ES went the wrong way, as it wasn't taken into account how enemies would behave.

This leads also to the conclusion, that a ship or weapon doesn't need excessive stats somewhere, it just needs the right combination to deal damage. Have a look at the PX or the Heavy Centaur. Both are not that spectacular, stat wise, but if you encounter them in game, you'll notice that they have already turned in your direction, when you zipped past them with roaring lasers, and you're about to return now Even if they only have CIGs or their Xenon counterpart equipped all over, it hurts. They can do damage with them. As they are more directed into inflicting pain on heavy ships, this enables them to pump out every single MJ of laserenergy against their opponent. And as long as they're able to get their bullets connected to the target, they are getting pretty annoying in combat.
Again, it's important to remeber, that this is a shooter, not a round based MMO. If the chance to hit a certain ship with a given weapon doing 1000 damage is only 50% the weapon will only deal 500 damage. If a weaker weapon gives a hit rate against the same ship of 100%, but it can only deal 500 damage over all, the damage dealt from both weapons is absolutely the same. No difference. So all these realted TFile settings can never be judged or ruled about generally. Every ship and every weapon should be taken into account.

Overall weighting of the involved TFile settings:
Basically this means:
[(Hull damage + Shield damage)*Rate of fire] + [Bullet Speed/Bullet Lifetime] = potential damage dealt by a single gun (isolated view on the weapon)

This is no mathematical formula, it should just show the weight of the different factors.

So for a capship with turrets only this means:
{[(Hull damage + Shield damage)*Rate of fire] + [(Bullet Speed/Bullet Lifetime)]}*turret speed*weapons operating=potential damage dealt

For a ship with cockpit weapons, this is:

[(Hull damage + Shield damage)*Rate of fire] + [(Bullet Speed/Bullet Lifetime)*{(yawpitchroll value/angular acceleration)+(max speed/max acceleration)}]*weapons operating=potential damage dealt

As you can see, the accuracy componen t is getting very quickly complex.
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Updated 27-12-2010 at 04:10 PM by Galder

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