I’d like to discuss some topics about the game further (beware, long post, but interesting).
These are some ideas I created some time ago and I wanted, but I didn’t have the chance, to develop a game or to work on one in order to implement them.
TANKING, DAMAGE & BALANCE
So we have two types of tanking. In fact 3 if we count the hull.
The armor should not use the slots from the interior of the ship because it’s an…armor (?). Of course the armor is applied on the body the ship or it’s the body(carcass) of the ship itself.
The armor can influence 2 stats of the ship: price and weight. (and look maybe).
Each ship should have a limited number of armor slots which will limit accordingly the maximum amount of thickness.
The armor can be made out of different types of materials, each of it having a different resistance against Kinetic, Thermal and Energy (particles) type of damage.
The turrets are outside of the armor and they are exposed to damage. They have a default armor, but that can be improved (if the game allows you to customize the turrets). Adding a heavier armor on turrets will influence the tracking speed and the price of it.
The armors can be repaired by nanobots provided from modules situated inside the ship (the armor repair systems), so protected by the armor. This can makes the difference between a passive and an active armor.
The modules inside the ship should not take damage if the armor is not penetrated.
The shields are actually particle fields, generated to deflect other particles or matter.
Now-days scientists are working on fields that can isolate the antimatter for instance. The only field we know today is the electromagnetic field. Other types of particles exist but who knows, one day…
The device that generates the shield is a Particle Generator or Shield Generator. It can generate a field with a certain Size/Thickness which in GBS is defined as Shield Strength and a certain Intensity, which in GBS is defined as Shield Resistance.
So far, so good. Now there are different types of damage which can be applied on shields (Kinetic, Thermal, Energy). Any type of damage which will be deflected or absorb by the shield, will destabilize it for a short period (which in game is represented by the shield bar). The particles are diminished and the generator will replace, and concentrate them to run it back on 100%.
Maybe there are weapons specially made to neutralize (transform) these particles (anti-shield weapons). So the shield generator must replace more particles in the field. (if the shield cannot be regenerated, the shield bar will not go back on full).
Here comes the Particle Capacitor (battery) or Shield Capacitor. These modules can make the difference between a shield which can resist better on short period and a shield made for a long run. So we have sort of active and passive shields also.
There can be 3 types of damage as I mentioned above: Kinetic, Thermal, Energy (emp & other utopic particles for the sake of SF genre. lol)
(in EVE online there are 4 types for example: kinetic, thermal, explosive and electromagnetic. Well explosions create a kinetic force so it doesn’t make sense to me. There should be just 3 in fact).
All the damage will be taken firstly by the shield (of course except when the ship is designed without) and then will hit the armor.
If supposingly the shield is hit by a projectile, will act like a barrier that can absorb a certain amount of potential energy. If the kinetic energy of the projectile is smaller or equal with the energy that can be absorbed by the shield, it will not pass through. If it’s higher, the amount of kinetic energy absorbed by the shield will absorb that part of kinetic energy and will hit the armor with a smaller force.
As an example, if we have Shield Resistance 27, and the projectile has a damage of 57, but shield penetration 54, 50% from the damage will be absorbed so the damage received by the armor will be 28.5 (57/2) in this case.
Having a shield that can absorb more damage would allow players to set a lighter armor, to get the ship faster.
A wise tank can be more efficient against a certain type of ships, weapons and situation.
Types of ammunition can be suggested, but this can be replaced by the types of weapons which have different ammunition and not complicate the game more if you don’t want.
Projectiles with plasma charge can pass through the shield and melt an armor which cannot face high thermal values in some cases.
Projectiles with antimatter can also create explosions which can be very dangerous. As we know antimatter inside a projectile is hard to contain, maybe there are complex projectiles used by dreads instead. Or maybe would be easier to load antimatter on torpedos, Etc.
The rockets can be even more complex as they can have double projectiles which penetrate on impact and will explode inside the ship destroying the modules, or different tactical missiles like the EMP, but for different purposes, etc.
For a great depth it can be made a system to create your own custom missiles, for example.
This is the trickiest part and allot of games fail on it because once you find the best method there is no reason to use another and like this ppl are quitting. When they found the combination/weapon/ship/ that beat the game, it becomes boring. GBS managed to have a decent balance, but in some cases not so good tough.
Balancing the damage in a game like this depends mostly on 3 things:
DPS, Range and Tracking Speed.
From the experience with EVE Online and Freelancer (I’ve worked for balancing an online mod for this one) I can say the damage must necessarily decrease proportionally with the increasing of range.
On top of that, it must decrease proportionally with the increasing of tracking speed.
A weapon with 2x range and 2x tracking speed may have ¼ dps.
I was not sure at the beginning how to calculate the dps in GBS. It would be nice if the 2.0 will have more explicit stats on ships and modules. It would be nice if some stats will be displayed automatically as the dps. It’s very confusing for a new player and players usually make use of other tools to calculate these things so why not having them in the game?
I did not understand what the fire interval means for example. No explanation.
If the fire interval is 2700 and that means 2700miliseconds (correct me if I’m wrong) than we have 0.37shots/second (1000/2700). So the dps of a Cruiser Beam Laser is 21 (57x0.37).
In other games there are also other tradeoffs for getting a better range, like the tank, movability, tracking speed.
The DPS, Range and Speed of the missiles are the same. If you’re using more space for the rocket engine, you have less for the offensive system on board so the rocket travels farther but will inflict a smaller damage.
The tracking speed of a turret is measured in ‘rad/sec’ (radians per second). It measures the maximum speed that the turret can turn as it tries to track your target.
To complete a whole 360% in a second, a turret must turn with 6.28rad/sec.
In other words, if a fighter orbit around a cruiser as fast as it makes a whole round in one second, the turrets of the cruiser must have the tracking speed at least 6.28.
However, if the fighter makes a complete round in one second on 5km for ex. (the angular speed), it will travel 31.4km so when orbiting on 10km, it will travel 62.8km. A gun with the half of the tracking speed can hit the fighter in this case.
For extremely long range cases it must be added another factor: anticipation (which depends on the signature of the ship also). The chance to hit a fighter at 1000km is smaller than on 100km. Maybe so small, is not even worth to waste the effort shooting it.
In reality a target is hit or not, there is no middle, but in games is better to have a chance of hit or a penalty of the dps in %, even if the tracking speed or the rocket speed is overpassed in order to make it enjoyable and avoid no win/loose frustrating situations or in other words not making fights decisive and boring.
For example if the angular velocity of the fighter is higher with 50% rad/sec than the tracking speed, the turrets will inflict half of the damage on the fighter. Therefore, on 100% will inflict no damage. This is a simple graphic, but it can be even more complex if gameplay tests prove the necessity.
NOTE: I wanted to post these ideas, maybe some of them are even good for GBS 2.0. They are not so detailed, is more about the concept and some already exist maybe. Since is a new game, probably is not so hard to implement them or change the mechanics from GBS 1 into a better one.
It would be easy to have the mechanics that can provide further balancing of the game even after the release with patches.