Author Topic: Weapon size balance  (Read 3117 times)

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Offline Rabid_Cog (OP)

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Weapon size balance
« on: February 04, 2020, 07:19:18 AM »
There has been some discussion of spinal mount weapons in the discussion and question threads, so I figure we can split it off into its own thread.

There are 3 weapon configurations:
Turret mounted - Faster tracking, but have the downside of being heavier due to including the weight of the turret. That means less bang for a given hull space.
Hull mounted - Smallest possible configuration, but limited in tracking to ship speed.
Spinal mount - Increased range and alpha strike damage.

Turreted weapons have the function of anti-missile work. The ability to scale their tracking speed to far above that of the host ship allows them to actually track things at missiles speed. However, despite not being able to be turreted, railguns are still seen as a viable anti-missile screen. While this seems like an inconsistency, I like it. It gives things a bit more organic feel and gives railguns a bit of a niche.

We have to ask ourselves: What function do spinal mount weapons fulfill?

The answer, at least in my opinion, is that it is a way to increase range without having to increase tech level. As such, spinal weapons should have more range and greater front loaded damage, but at the expense of vastly reduced rate of fire. So much so that in actual DPS they should be outclassed by normal weapons.

Example:
Normal weapon: 3 damage, 10 seconds cooldown - 18 dpm.
Spinal weapon: 12 damage, 2 minute cooldown - 6 dpm.

If you got into a face slugging fight, the spinal weapon user might very well get wiped out in the time between one volley and the next. On the other hand, the greater range and higher alpha allows disabling and penetrating shots before your opponents are in range with a greater chance of shock damage.

I guess the real point of this thread is, what is the desired gameplay balance between the different sizes of weapon systems? How should spinals compare to hull mounted, compare to turrets? The end point of which is to figure out what other weapon types should do when spinal mounted.
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Offline Tikigod

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Re: Weapon size balance
« Reply #1 on: February 04, 2020, 12:07:19 PM »
Kind of a minor annoyance, but it has always bugged me that missile launchers appear to have a 360 degree firing arc when really you would expect missile to actually have to expend fuel to course correct to establish its initial heading to the target after being launched based on the facing of the launcher, unless we treat missile launchers are turrets and apply the same rules to them as actual turrets.

At present in the VB version, I guess we'd have to assume all missile launchers are front facing and so missiles fired at targets directly ahead would be a continuous engine burn building up speed each second and that would be basis for missile distance figures. However if a missile is launched in front of the ship with a intended target behind the ship firing, the missile would actually need to burn fuel to negate its initial momentum after which it would have to expend even more fuel to get to the speed similar to what it had when first launched, and depending on the missile design that could actually greatly impact the missiles effective range.

So what are missile launchers? Turrets? Fixed mounted Weapons? Magical Space Unicorns that poop large explosive objects of death into space?
« Last Edit: February 04, 2020, 12:11:11 PM by Tikigod »
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Offline Alsadius

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Re: Weapon size balance
« Reply #2 on: February 04, 2020, 12:34:20 PM »
Kind of a minor annoyance, but it has always bugged me that missile launchers appear to have a 360 degree firing arc when really you would expect missile to actually have to expend fuel to course correct to establish its initial heading to the target after being launched based on the facing of the launcher, unless we treat missile launchers are turrets and apply the same rules to them as actual turrets.

At present in the VB version, I guess we'd have to assume all missile launchers are front facing and so missiles fired at targets directly ahead would be a continuous engine burn building up speed each second and that would be basis for missile distance figures. However if a missile is launched in front of the ship with a intended target behind the ship firing, the missile would actually need to burn fuel to negate its initial momentum after which it would have to expend even more fuel to get to the speed similar to what it had when first launched, and depending on the missile design that could actually greatly impact the missiles effective range.

So what are missile launchers? Turrets? Fixed mounted Weapons? Magical Space Unicorns that poop large explosive objects of death into space?

It's trans-Newtonian physics, so inertia isn't a thing. The missiles gain no range advantage by being fired straight ahead and adding launcher speed to their travel speed, nor do they lose range firing straight behind. Their engines propel them at a fixed speed relative to the solar system, so orientation doesn't matter.
 
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Offline Garfunkel

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Re: Weapon size balance
« Reply #3 on: February 04, 2020, 12:51:06 PM »
Aurora doesn't track orientation anyway. All ships are perfect spheres encapsulated inside an armour shell and the weapon systems pop-out through the armour when they need to shoot at perfect alignment, just like the engines.

I guess the real point of this thread is, what is the desired gameplay balance between the different sizes of weapon systems? How should spinals compare to hull mounted, compare to turrets? The end point of which is to figure out what other weapon types should do when spinal mounted.
I don't think there are any such issues with the current Spinal mount system. The laser is just larger meaning that it takes more space and requires more energy to charge than regular laser, meaning that it's DPS is worse. I'm pretty sure that the highest DPS goes to small rail guns and gauss guns as long as range isn't an issue since they can fire multiple shots ever 5 seconds.

But DPS in itself isn't that important because armour layers and positional hits are a thing, so a weapon with less overall DPS but more penetration has intrinsic value. So I'd say that we first need some hard data on the beam weapons to see if there is actually any balance issues.
 

Offline Tikigod

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Re: Weapon size balance
« Reply #4 on: February 04, 2020, 12:56:20 PM »
Kind of a minor annoyance, but it has always bugged me that missile launchers appear to have a 360 degree firing arc when really you would expect missile to actually have to expend fuel to course correct to establish its initial heading to the target after being launched based on the facing of the launcher, unless we treat missile launchers are turrets and apply the same rules to them as actual turrets.

At present in the VB version, I guess we'd have to assume all missile launchers are front facing and so missiles fired at targets directly ahead would be a continuous engine burn building up speed each second and that would be basis for missile distance figures. However if a missile is launched in front of the ship with a intended target behind the ship firing, the missile would actually need to burn fuel to negate its initial momentum after which it would have to expend even more fuel to get to the speed similar to what it had when first launched, and depending on the missile design that could actually greatly impact the missiles effective range.

So what are missile launchers? Turrets? Fixed mounted Weapons? Magical Space Unicorns that poop large explosive objects of death into space?

It's trans-Newtonian physics, so inertia isn't a thing. The missiles gain no range advantage by being fired straight ahead and adding launcher speed to their travel speed, nor do they lose range firing straight behind. Their engines propel them at a fixed speed relative to the solar system, so orientation doesn't matter.

Ah. Forgot those pesky wizards that apply in some situations.  ;D
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Offline iceball3

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Re: Weapon size balance
« Reply #5 on: February 06, 2020, 05:33:08 PM »
I'd like to cut in:
Spinal mounts are specific to "making a weapon about 25% and 50% in cm larger than your current highest tech, but you only get one of them per ship". Functionally, a spinal weapon becomes obsolete once beam size technology catches up enough, as large enough beam weapons are identical save for imprecision (only spinal mounts give 19 and 18 cm lasers, for instance). Just as well, the power costs are the same too: 1 power per 1 point of damage, while capacitor tech grows slowly, so smaller lasers in general will have higher DPS per piece than larger ones until you exceed their power supply significantly. And it's worth noting that capacitor tech maxes out at only 25 points per 5 second turn per weapon only at the very end game tech. This means railguns will have a unique DPS lead versus laser platforms
Another thing to consider, also, is that for rate of fire, it is not relevant until the first shots of a conflict have been fired off, which may be crucial for taking out especially large, heavily armored or shielded ships. Which leads on to my next point: lasers do more alpha strike damage per ton the larger they are. For comparison:
-10 cm laser, 3 HS, damage output 3.
-20 cm laser, 6 HS, damage output 10
30 cm laser, 9 HS, damage output 24
and so forth.
Considering that lasers also can have their sized reduced in half by sacrifice recharge time almost entirely, you can get seriously large alpha strikes in small spaces, but in general, lasers seem to benefit most in that their respective technology is incredibly easy to use for multiple purposes: cracking past heavy defenses, ranged brawling, or close in range splattering and anti-missile. Mesons, particle beams, and railguns/gauss can slightly outperform in each of these specific roles, but the fact that a laser can be mounted to perform a majority of these roles well at combat-time with no retrofitting makes them very strong.

On the mention of turrets, i'd like to picture them more as "tonnage you save on engine size, and fuel you save on engine overclocking", as the existence of turrets means you do not need to have all your anti-missile vessels fly like torchships to function defensively.
 

Offline Jorgen_CAB

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Re: Weapon size balance
« Reply #6 on: February 06, 2020, 05:59:14 PM »
About capacitor I think there are some odd misconception about DPS... larger weapons do not have lower DPS just becasue they take longer to fire... you get lower DPS if the larger weapons is not equaly divided by the max capacity technology...

Example...

If you have a capacitor technology of 5 then a 20cm laser that do 10 damage will fire every 10 seconds this is obviusly better than a 12 cm laser that only can be supplied with 3 power per 5 sec or a 15cm that also eed 10 sec as you only can provide 5 power.

Now.. take a 15 cm laser with a 6 capacitor, it will do 6 damage every 5 sec. Then take a 30cm spinal laser that do 24 damage every 20 sec... they both have the same DPS. In this instance ther would be no point in giving a 20cm laser that need 10 power a capacitor of 6 as that is inefficient and a 20cm laser with capacitor 5 will do less DPS than a 15cm laser for obvious resons.

It can often be better to loose some DPS for a bigger weapon. They might not actually loose DPS if two ships are moving closer to each other in practice and a bigger weapons also do far deeper damage to enemy armour. At very long ranges most relly large weapons actually do allot more damage as a lighter weapons do say only 1 damage while the bigger weapons with four times the damage do nearly eight times the damage, this is due to rounding at low damage rates. So in this case the heavier weapon might do 7 damage while the smaller do only 1 damage, until the smaller do 2 damage and the bigger do 8 which is four times more. The smaller will then do 2 damage while the bigger can do between 8-11 damage etc...
Doing more damage in one shot is also useful when two ship is closing in on each other as the bigger weapon will shoot every 20 seconds and deliver more damage while having higher chance to hit with a greater concentration of fire.
 

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Re: Weapon size balance
« Reply #7 on: February 08, 2020, 12:00:10 AM »
A laser with twice the damage and half the firing rate will have the same DPS... but it'll be larger. Ton for ton, you lose raw DPS (despite more favourable rounding at some ranges) and point defence capability, but gain penetration and shock damage.

Presently, midsize fast-firing lasers are attractive at extreme ranges where penetration and shock damage take a backseat to raw DPS, but this may change with weapon malfuction.
Shooting a high-tech laser to inflict a single point of damage 10% of the time will hurt the firing ship more than the enemy.
 

Offline Jorgen_CAB

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Re: Weapon size balance
« Reply #8 on: February 08, 2020, 12:50:39 PM »
A laser with twice the damage and half the firing rate will have the same DPS... but it'll be larger. Ton for ton, you lose raw DPS (despite more favourable rounding at some ranges) and point defence capability, but gain penetration and shock damage.

Presently, midsize fast-firing lasers are attractive at extreme ranges where penetration and shock damage take a backseat to raw DPS, but this may change with weapon malfuction.
Shooting a high-tech laser to inflict a single point of damage 10% of the time will hurt the firing ship more than the enemy.

At extreme ranges then having high damage weapons actually is preferred as they gain the most benefits from the rounding effect. At closer range they are also preferred as they cause shock damage and their penetration are higher.

In general high damage lasers are mathematically almost always better than a fast firing laser even if the bigger one is slightly larger in size. When you look at lasers then you generally see about four times the damage as twice the size (but the same DPS)... if you also include the power plant as part of the size (which you should). There is little point in sandblasting armour when internal hits is all that counts.

I did a program to test this a while back and the practical tests that I did showed that clearly.

Another thing that many don't take into account is experience. Sandblasting the armour of a ship will have that ships experience grow quicker than shooting bigger holes in it but not as often. Those things actually can matter as well in a confrontation.

Against shields on the other hand you do want as high raw DPS as possible to drain them faster.

With that said the most balanced and useful designs are probably those that use both high raw DPS and heavy high penetration lasers, especially if the enemy use shields.
« Last Edit: February 08, 2020, 01:00:12 PM by Jorgen_CAB »
 

Offline Michael Sandy

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Re: Weapon size balance
« Reply #9 on: February 08, 2020, 08:30:31 PM »
A couple of ways to make larger weapons in general more interesting is if they penetrate armor better, cause shock damage, or if they front load the damage.  Yes, their dps is lower, but if fleets close head on, there may not be a long ranged duel, but a volley at a range where the fire controls yield accurate shots.  Some people experiment with reduced size lasers on fighters, having a 9 HS laser reduced to 4.5 HS and squeezed into a fighter, to yield significant burst damage.

Large mesons can be an interesting choice.  It is possible to build mesons that have a range that matches the effective limit of the fire control at many tech levels.  If they have the speed advantage, they can merrily plink away.

Similarly, if faced with an enemy that puts all their weapons into long ranged, slow firing weapons, that leaves an opening for ships that close to their optimum range, soak a lot of damage, but then dominate at closer range.
 

Offline Jorgen_CAB

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Re: Weapon size balance
« Reply #10 on: February 09, 2020, 05:04:36 AM »
A couple of ways to make larger weapons in general more interesting is if they penetrate armor better, cause shock damage, or if they front load the damage.  Yes, their dps is lower, but if fleets close head on, there may not be a long ranged duel, but a volley at a range where the fire controls yield accurate shots.  Some people experiment with reduced size lasers on fighters, having a 9 HS laser reduced to 4.5 HS and squeezed into a fighter, to yield significant burst damage.

But that is already how big weapons work... a laser for example might roughly have half the DPS per ton but front load four times the damage in a single shot.

If two ships are closing in on each other then being able to front load a heavier salvo but shooting less regularity actually mean their DPS is allot closer than you think. There is the rounding benefit and then there is the to hit benefit as well. A weapon that fire every 5sek will gradually get better at hitting as closer you get but the heavier weapon wait and deliver all the damage at a closer range which means more damage, higher chance to hit and even more penetration power. In reality in such scenarios the heavier weapon is allot more effective.

Then there is the experience gain whenever a ship is hit. If a ship is hit often it gain more experience and this also builds up over time, even in a single engagement.

Sandblasting armour very fast is only viable if you can keep an enemy at a certain optimum distance, but even then it might not be a sure thing. Otherwise it is just going to be a drawback.
 

Offline QuakeIV

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Re: Weapon size balance
« Reply #11 on: February 09, 2020, 11:24:48 AM »
I guess you could imagine a super huge weapon that fires a burst of shots (potentially at different targets) and then is stuck for a long time recharging or (literally) cooling down or somesuch.
 

Offline iceball3

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Re: Weapon size balance
« Reply #12 on: February 11, 2020, 06:55:57 PM »
I guess you could imagine a super huge weapon that fires a burst of shots (potentially at different targets) and then is stuck for a long time recharging or (literally) cooling down or somesuch.
Missile launchers, right?

I do wonder how it'd affect balance if particle beams could get laser-style miniaturization.
 

Offline QuakeIV

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Re: Weapon size balance
« Reply #13 on: February 11, 2020, 07:45:55 PM »
Well not really, missiles can pretty much go max cyclic rate for quite a while (and dont necessarily dont do that much damage, and tend to engage from much further than beam range).
 

Offline 01010100

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Re: Weapon size balance
« Reply #14 on: February 12, 2020, 10:18:19 AM »
Quote from: Tikigod link=topic=10572.  msg118562#msg118562 date=1580839639
Kind of a minor annoyance, but it has always bugged me that missile launchers appear to have a 360 degree firing arc when really you would expect missile to actually have to expend fuel to course correct to establish its initial heading to the target after being launched based on the facing of the launcher, unless we treat missile launchers are turrets and apply the same rules to them as actual turrets. 

At present in the VB version, I guess we'd have to assume all missile launchers are front facing and so missiles fired at targets directly ahead would be a continuous engine burn building up speed each second and that would be basis for missile distance figures.   However if a missile is launched in front of the ship with a intended target behind the ship firing, the missile would actually need to burn fuel to negate its initial momentum after which it would have to expend even more fuel to get to the speed similar to what it had when first launched, and depending on the missile design that could actually greatly impact the missiles effective range. 

So what are missile launchers? Turrets? Fixed mounted Weapons? Magical Space Unicorns that poop large explosive objects of death into space?

Missiles don't need to expend a lot of fuel for initial targeting, you push them out of the launch tube at small speed, they orient themselves towards their target and then fire their engine to accelerate towards the target.   You're probably assuming that missiles leave the launch tube at high speed.  The game Children of a Dead Earth models this well.
« Last Edit: February 12, 2020, 10:21:21 AM by 01010100 »
 
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