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Thread: Pre development shield design review

  1. #1

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    Pre development shield design review

    So, this evening I'm going to be starting on the shield system. I thought I would get some feedback before spending 6+ hours on the system.

    So
    As I envisage it currently the shield system will be

    Current intended shield system up for feedback

    -A ship will have up to 6 shields (front/rear/left/right/top/bottom).

    -Each shield can be independently enabled or disabled.

    -Each shield will consume fuel when active (variable amount). No remaining fuel = no more shield.

    -Each active shield will slow down the ship by a cumulative amount (5% to 15% per shield)

    -Each impact on a shield will drain fuel (a salvo can contain multiple impacts). Fuel drain is not modified by damage.
    -Weapons will have a separate damage stat for dealing with shields, allowing specialty shield-killing weapons.

    -No shield damage penetration.

    -Shields will not prevent outgoing fire.

    -Mobile ships will never have rear shields.

    -Raising a shield will take a variable amount of time. Lowering a shield will be instant.



    Secondary systems that interact with shields(this stuff is not up for feedback at the moment)

    -Fuel is an abstraction of reserve power cells and emergency fuel supplies. When it is fully introduced into the game it will be used for most high intensity combat mechanics (High speed movement. Some weapons.). Its a salvageable resource that players will want to maintain a good amount of, and minimise unwanted use of.

    Ramifications of current intended shield system

    -Getting behind someone is good. Having someone cross your T is bad!

    -Rapid-fire low-damage weapons are optimal for draining a targets fuel via its shields. They will be poor for dealing with armour (as armour will have a penetration factor to deal with)
    -Specialty shield-killing weapons will mostly be poor against armour.

    -Players will not want to run more shields then they need to. Unless directly under attack or assuming that attack is immanent, players will not want shields running at all.

    -Many mobile ships will have less than 5 shields, depending on their intended use. Standoff-ish ships may only have front shields (and a shitload of guns). Brawlers may have less weapons but more shields with a reduced impact on speed/fuel reserves.

    -Players need to make tough decisions about shield use in combat. Leaving your shields down and soaking damage on your armour may make you fast enough to get round behind your target and nail their engines. Killing someone without draining all their fuel = more fuel to salvage.



    Some alternatives I have considered
    Alternative - Impacts dont drain fuel. Shields burn a high amount of fuel while running and drain more of your speed.

    Alternative Shields prevent outgoing fire.

    Alternative Fuel needs to be dumped into a shield to raise it. The 'dump' provides a pool of shield power that can be drained. When the pool is gone, the shield drops. There are limits on how often a pool can be refreshed.

    What I want from you
    Thoughts. Feedback.
    Last edited by Nicholai Pestot; July 9 2013 at 03:02:55 PM.

  2. #2

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    If a set amount of fuel is reduced each time any impact happens, you have an extreme disparity between your current AC implementation and other weapons. A hit ever 0.1s vs a hit every 6 seconds or whatever means the AC is 60 times more effective vs shields.

    Seems a bit overkill imo. Everyone will use a token AC just to strip off shields in a second or two.
    Quote Originally Posted by Devec
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  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cool09 View Post
    If a set amount of fuel is reduced each time any impact happens, you have an extreme disparity between your current AC implementation and other weapons. A hit ever 0.1s vs a hit every 6 seconds or whatever means the AC is 60 times more effective vs shields.

    Seems a bit overkill imo. Everyone will use a token AC just to strip off shields in a second or two.
    The test AC represented the highest limit of what I will be doing with rapid-fire projectiles.

    High-frequency, low damage weapons will burn through your resources (ammo/fuel) very quickly. As your resources are limited and the resources you salvage from wrecks are determined by the resources left within that ship, burning through a lot of your own resources in order to produce a wreck empty of fuel is going to be a sub-optimal choice.

    You can use an AC-type weapon to drain your targets fuel and win the battle….but you will end up losing the resource war if you use that as a crutch.

    Given that additional information/reasoning, what are your thoughts? (and thanks for the feedback!)
    Last edited by Nicholai Pestot; July 9 2013 at 02:39:48 PM.

  4. #4

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    Having given your concerns more thought, I am going to change the system somewhat.

    Weapons will have a separate damage stat for dealing with shields.

    This will allow anti-shield weapons while allowing easier balancing by separating ROF and shield-killing effectiveness.

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    Are engagements intended to be 1v1 only, or are many vs many engagements occuring as well? And if so, how common?

    How big do you imagen the manouverability discrepancy to be between the two most extreme cases. (just using RL navy for example big fat battleship vs torpede boat)

    Do you expect players to be frantically clicking to manage their shields in battle at 400 apm, or is it more a leisurely decided at 5 apm?
    Last edited by Torashuu; July 9 2013 at 03:34:50 PM.

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nicholai Pestot View Post
    Having given your concerns more thought, I am going to change the system somewhat.

    Weapons will have a separate damage stat for dealing with shields.

    This will allow anti-shield weapons while allowing easier balancing by separating ROF and shield-killing effectiveness.
    Much better imo. You could balance the AC to do say double the shield dps of the artillery, which would still present the player with interesting choices to make, without being imbalanced at 60 times the effectiveness.
    Quote Originally Posted by Devec
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  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by Torashuu View Post
    Are engagements intended to be 1v1 only, or are many vs many engagements occuring as well? And if so, how common?

    How big do you imagen the manouverability discrepancy to be between the two most extreme cases. (just using RL navy for example big fat battleship vs torpede boat)

    Do you expect players to be frantically clicking to manage their shields in battle at 400 apm, or is it more a leisurely decided at 5 apm?
    Nominally I had always envisaged no more than a dozen people in an engagement, but if I can produce a system that will allow more, than I will. There will, in practice, be a hard limit imposed by bandwidth and processing power. Much below that I want a soft limit – the more people you have the more you will need to subdivide the spoils. As everyone always has that 'ticking clock' of consumables burning down, resources are a prime motivator for how you operate. More people = more efficient operation but lower rewards.

    Movement seed divergance is not going to be that large. The higher the potential maximum speed of a ship, the more sacrifices I have to make with geometry based mechanics (high speed = more problems from latency when I apply a networking layer). Think 'cruiser to battleship' as the rl equivalent of the variance. Sitting still on the T of a healthy ship should never be easy, regardless of relative sizes.

    The smaller the fight, the more relevance fine control of shields will have. Against a single target you will probably be raising shields in anticipation of your opponent's movement in relation to your own.

    In a larger fight you will most likely be raising shields based on your own positioning, with a much lower amount of fine control. Someone sitting back and bombarding will likely raise a single shield. Someone charging forward to brawl will probably have one shield running on the way in(to maximise speed and minimise fuel use) and multiple shields running once they get close and they can no longer control incoming fire direction.

    As shield fuel consumption levels and shield activation speeds will be variable, it would be very possible to have ships designed for high APM play.
    Last edited by Nicholai Pestot; July 9 2013 at 04:36:17 PM.

  8. #8

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    Thanks for providing the context the shield system will be used in.

    An alternative you could consider to impacts draining resource units.

    Impacts only drain shields. But shields have 2 drain levels.
    Maintainence (remain constant) as low drain or Charging as high drain. Charging would also be the starting state as you power them up. The owner could switch between the two settings. This gives more control to the captain at how to spend his resources. For example, raise shields at start of a fight and only maintain them for low drain, relying on them more as a buffer.

    With a similar effect on ship speed, this again is about giving power to the captain of how he's spending his resources.

    Otherwise, the rof /drainperhit change was required, for the rest would need to do some actual testing.

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by Torashuu View Post

    An alternative you could consider to impacts draining resource units.

    Impacts only drain shields. But shields have 2 drain levels.
    Maintainence (remain constant) as low drain or Charging as high drain. Charging would also be the starting state as you power them up. The owner could switch between the two settings. This gives more control to the captain at how to spend his resources. For example, raise shields at start of a fight and only maintain them for low drain, relying on them more as a buffer.

    With a similar effect on ship speed, this again is about giving power to the captain of how he's spending his resources.
    I don't quite understand the system you're proposing. Could you break it down into components?

    What happens to fuel if the shields are hit while charging?

    What happens to fuel if the shields are hit while under maintenance?

    Do shields have an independent 'damage' variable? If so, what determines them. What happens if they drop. What happens to them when the shield modes flip?

    Is this something like the 'pool' system I stated as one of the alternatives I had already considered?

  10. #10
    fuck entrox Donor Jason Marshall's Avatar
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    Its sort of like he wants to be able to switch between active and passive tanking on the fly? I think.

    So it costs less resources to put up an initial large buffer at the start of the fight with the downside that you aren't going to be able to really recharge them during an engagement.

    Versus lower HP but stronger active tanking.

    "Sometimes someone just needs to be the OP" -Tellenta Philosopher of our People.

  11. #11
    Super Moderator Global Moderator QuackBot's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cool09 View Post
    If a set amount of fuel is reduced each time any impact happens, you have an extreme disparity between your current AC implementation and other weapons. A hit ever 0.1s vs a hit every 6 seconds or whatever means the AC is 60 times more effective vs shields.

    Seems a bit overkill imo. Everyone will use a token AC just to strip off shields in a second or two.
    That sounds a bit extreme.

  12. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by QuackBot View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Cool09 View Post
    If a set amount of fuel is reduced each time any impact happens, you have an extreme disparity between your current AC implementation and other weapons. A hit ever 0.1s vs a hit every 6 seconds or whatever means the AC is 60 times more effective vs shields.

    Seems a bit overkill imo. Everyone will use a token AC just to strip off shields in a second or two.
    That sounds a bit extreme.
    I suddenly have an idea for an endgame boss.

  13. #13

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    Basically a combination of alternative 1 and 3 you posted. So alternative 1, with alt. 3 as intermediate state.

    But instead of the alt. 3 dump its the high drain (not instant) from 1 to put up shields. Then you can enable "low" drain to set it to alt.3 state. refreshes are infinite but recharge sets it to high drain again.

    Basically, the high drain is efficient over really short times with high incomming damage, the low drain effcient over a longer timespan with lower incomming damage.

    Example with arbitrary numbers:
    You turn on your forward shield, it now drains 12 fuel per second for 10 seconds to put it maximum 100 fuel shields.
    10 seconds after putting it on you can keep it at 12 fuel per second to keep it fresh in the face of incomming fire.
    or you can put it at 2 fuel per second to keep it at current fuel value, but if the shield facing takes damage (say 20 damage shot) it stays at 80 fuel value of shields. Even though you spend 2 feul/sec to maintain (but not increase) it.
    Finally you can turn it off and it'll collaps instantly.

    So as Jason said, both active and passive tanking. depending in comming fire.

  14. #14

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    I see.

    So, breaking it down into the component variables that a shield would have

    -Mode (charging/maintain/off) - The mode it is currently in

    -Mode flip time - The time it takes to change modes after the player indicates a mode change

    -Shield health pool - The amount of damage absorption the shield currently has in its buffer

    -Max Shield health pool - The maximum amount of damage absorption the shield can store in its buffer

    -Shield health replenishment rate - Amount/second the shield converts fuel into shield health when in charge mode. If the shield is at max, this effectivly becomes the maintenance cost when in charge mode

    -Shield maintenance cost - The cost of running the shield in maintenance mode

    Every shield with a health pool > 0 applies a speed penalty

  15. #15

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    Nailed it in one.

    Again, its a suggestion. In the end its your game, not mine.

  16. #16

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    No, I like it more.

    Ontop of the mechanical refinement, it provides more flexibility than the original system (which in turn allows more diversity in shield types via variable manipulation) and as I run through the way I would implement it in my head I can see how it would allow me to provide a much better visual representation of relative shield strength, than a system that draws directly from a central fuel pool.
    Last edited by Nicholai Pestot; July 9 2013 at 11:17:40 PM.

  17. #17

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    I've started coding this now (finished the internal variables and logic for a shield component), so any more significant proposed changes probably wont make it in unless they are the best thing to be invented since blowjobs.

  18. #18

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    Shield interaction with its parent ship has now been finished. Fuel interactions and methods of adding/removing shields from a ship have been setup.

    So now I have to

    -ensure that turrets do not include local shields as obstacles when deciding if they can hit their target. done

    -deal with turrets counting a valid trajectory on a shield of their target as a valid trajectory on their target proper (and identifying if they would be hitting a shield - important for turrets with a 'do not shoot at shields' mode enabled). done

    -deal with damage application to shields, including damage overflow (for when the shield cannot soak all the damage).This can be a bit interesting as assuming shields will be a little bit bigger than the ship they protect, it is very possible for a hit that overflows a shield to actually miss the parent ship...hmmmm. Tricky. I know how to do it the resource expensive way, but brute force is never the answer for efficient coding! done

    -deal with how a shield reacts visually to being hit. I don't really care about spiffeh art, but the programmatic portion that controls how art assets are applied will need to be setup.

    -deal with how a shield reacts visually to having its hitpoints at various percentages of its maximum potential hitpoints.

    Then....on the to UI.

    Shields should be done by the weekend....UI...god knows.

    Don't expect another build before next saturday.
    Last edited by Nicholai Pestot; July 11 2013 at 09:50:35 PM.

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