Game Design, Programming and running a one-man games business…

Radiation leak on deck twelve… bah…

I’ve been working yesterday and today on a new weapon, which is a threefold thing, because you have the simulation, the visual effect, and the balancing. The sim is moderately easy, the visual effect was a nightmare. I tried lots of things but ended up with a sort of greenish slimey effect that appears in blotches on the ships, which took a lot of code re-jigging, but looks good. I now have a more generic system for splatting one texture onto the surface of a ship, blending the source and destination alpha together so I can effectively splat a decal onto a ship. I was already hacking this in for the armor glows, now it’s more general. In theory, I could have done the damage textures that way… It’s all done without shaders, so even really old PC’s will still see that effect.

Anyway, the new weapon (likely for a new expansion one day) is a radiation gun. In game terms, this is a weapon that is rubbish at shield penetration, does little impact damage and has really slow rate of fire… So why bother?
Because if it makes it through to the ships internals, it delivers a radioactive payload which keeps ticking. Over a period of time, the payload causes repeated damage internally to different modules. This continues even if the original firing ship is no more, or the shields go back up.
Effectively its like gambling and throwing all your shots into one payload. If it hits, they all hit. and their damage is distributed across the whole target. You can damage every module on a ship with one hit. Yay!

I think this is interesting tactically for several reasons:
1) ‘sacrificial’ ships with tons of weapons but sod-all defences are now viable, because they only need to get a few shots in at the right time. They can then go bang! their work is done…
2) shield disruptor bombs are now more useful, because coupled with radiation payloads, they can deliver a one-two punch.
3) it’s a slight counter to the tribe, who trade armor and shields for more internal hit-points. Radiation could be their undoing, and negates their ‘big tank’ strategy.
4) It adds the first gradual weapon, meaning that if you can deliver this initial attack, just staying alive and waiting actually can be a winning strategy.
5) it adds a reason to have minimal shielding. People ignore the really cheap shield modules, but now that will leave them open to radioactive weaponry.

Of course it’s all in the final balancing. thoughts?

3 thoughts on Radiation leak on deck twelve… bah…

  1. Do you model the effect of weapons on the crew? I would expect that the efficiency of different components would decrease as the crew takes damage. A radiation based weapon might be particularly nasty this way.

  2. Presumably modules linked to radiation defense will also appear?
    Quite a few options available. so if it turns out to be unbalanced you could always chuck in a few more fancy gizmos.
    Radiation reflectors/absorbers.
    Though thinking about repair bots. If they went to repair a highly irradiated area things could turn nasty…
    I’m interested to see what effect the damage gives off. Weather it melts the hull or something.

  3. ha! you said “….shields come back up….” does that mean that there will be a new order stating that shields turn off, recharge and then come back online or did u just mean the shield disruptor bombs?

    In British law, a shopkeeper, if he speaks, must do so truthfully if queried as to the nature of a product that he/she retails!!! :P

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