Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0
Max_Caine

Tweaking ballistic weapons in build v12 and onward.

28 posts in this topic

RotGtIE in in this thread and Comassion in in this thread have both commented on how the machinegun is the de-facto choice of weapon for a solider due to a relatively low AP cost, a high rate of fire and an acceptable level of accuracy (given the no. of shots) with the weapon. The issue with having a de-facto weapon in alpha is that game features are harder to test fully if the best choice for the player is to equip all his soliders with the same weapon. This thread therefore proposes to suggest tweaks to ballistic weapons within the framework of the existing alpha, to enable all weapons to be fairly tested.

So, without further ado. Having read Comassion and RotGtIE, I would propose the following changes to the machinegun. Increasing the AP cost to 45, while reducing the no. of shots to 4

The average AP of a corporal is between 55-61. The current AP cost of a machinegun is 25, so a machinegunner can get two bursts of 5 shots off with some change left over to move a little if necessary. It also has one of the higher suppression rates, and despite its low accuracy modifer, the sheer no. of shots almost guarantees a hit regardless of accuracy. Therefore, by increasing the AP cost to 45, the machinegunner has a between 10-15 AP to get into position (2-4 tile steps), but can only get one burst off regardless. It also "future proofs" the weapon, as the next time a machinegunner can get another burst off is when they get to 90 AP! By removing one shot from the burst, the overall accuracy of the weapon is also slightly reduced, as there are fewer chances for the machinegunner to hit a target, so a player is more likely to use a machinegunner to suppress a target than he is to kill it.

However in doing this a machinegunner becomes vulnerable to suppression. With a 50% drop in AP, machinegunners in general cannot return fire the turn they are suppressed. Is that a bad thing or a good thing? I'm not certain.

If you're not using Quartermasters weapon editor, look for weapon.machinegun and replace the BurstFire line with: <BurstFire ap="45" accuracy="35" sound="Weapon Machinegun Burst" shotCount="4" suppressionValue="50" suppressionRadius="5" />

Edited by Max_Caine

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Haven't had a chance to test it, since I think it's supposed to be a heavy weapon now right? That might impact things. But I don't bring all MG's anyways.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm actually going to try giving it MORE shots, but lower the accuracy. I'm modding the line to this, and gonna try it out.

<BurstFire ap="50" accuracy="5" sound="Weapon Machinegun Burst" shotCount="25" suppressionValue="30" suppressionRadius="2" />

Here's my rationale:

50 AP - prevents just any soldier from using it with Jackal armor (also stops it from being a 'move and shoot' weapon like it is now). Most soldiers won't be able to fire it if they're also wearing Jackal armor, unless they're really strong.

5 accuracy - a huge reduction to try to keep it balanced with the massive increase in shots fired.

25 shots! I want machineguns to eat ammo. This effectively lets you fire two massive bursts before you have to reload, meaning you'll actually have to carry ammo (in the current game, I've never had to reload - so much so that I don't carry extra ammo for machineguns as-is).

Suppression values - at the moment I find I don't like the magical auto-suppress in such a wide area, so I'm reducing the effect and range a bit.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Results: I lowered the accuracy all the way to 1. With this many shots, you just plain can't miss - even at 0% to hit I always had at least one shot connect with the target (and since these are the early aliens, it killed them outright). I suspect that when you 'miss' the bullet acquires a random alteration to its trajectory, but in some cases that alteration still ends up on the path directly to the target resulting in a hit. In short, even with accuracy 1 producing a 0% chance to hit, I never missed an alien in the open despite the minimal accuracy settings (I did miss aliens behind cover). So it's still super-deadly, perhaps too much so. I might consider dropping shots to 15.

That said, overall I like the changes vs. the regular machinegun - you really can't assault a UFO with it, and for effective use outside you need to use a spotter, then open up with the machinegun from a distance. Plus, with the sheer volume of fire any other Xenonauts or Civilians within the cone of fire are at serious risk, limiting its use in a tight tactical situation. Finally, 50 AP does limit its use to strong Xenonauts, and the fact that you now really should be carrying ammo can limit that group even more.

Edit: Update! I found that messing with the Range parameter (I turned it down to 20 instead of 30) really helped mitigate some of its effectiveness, and I turned suppression way down (mainly due to the current suppression-related bugs that were making this weapon cause a CTD often, and now it doesn't crash the game). Now the MG is a solid medium-range support weapon, and I don't feel like it's as overpowered as I've now seen it miss some during distance shots - and when you spend your whole turn missing, it hurts. Go ahead and give it a shot if you like, see what you think.

<Weapon name="weapon.machinegun" bulletType="normal" emptySound="Empty Click 1">

<props range="20" hands="2" recoil="65" weight="12.5" isHeavy="1" clipSize="50"

reloadAPCost="25" reloadSound="Weapon Machinegun Reload" reactionModifier="0.6"/>

<SingleShot />

<BurstFire ap="50" accuracy="1" sound="Weapon Machinegun Burst" shotCount="25" suppressionValue="1" suppressionRadius="1" />

<GUIImage name="gui/weapons/machinegun.png"/>

<GroundImage name="grounditemimages/machinegun.png"/>

<Ammos>

<Ammo name="ammo.ballistic.machinegun" type="kinetic" damage="40" mitigation="15">

<Projectile spectre="projectiles/bullet/bullet" speed="1200"/>

<Impact spectre="particles/bulletplume/bulletplume"/>

</Ammo>

</Ammos>

</Weapon>

Edited by Comassion

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

How do you see these changes affecting people taking the machine guns along?

I doubt I would bother carrying a weapon that was going to be so situational.

If I couldn't fire it unless I had stayed pretty much still, could only fire it once anyway, and when I did fire it I was unlikely to be able to damage anything it wouldn't feel worthwhile.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Interesting changes man. I'll give these a go later. I especially like the idea of forcing a few more reloads.

I also tweaked the damage of the machine gun, so it was just slightly higher than the assault rifle (25 maybe? I can't remember just now and I'm at work so can't check) This, together with an accuracy reduction meant that it wasn't so reliable in getting kills as it is with the default values, while still being a good support weapon in a capacity other than providing suppression.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
when I did fire it I was unlikely to be able to damage anything it wouldn't feel worthwhile.

When you do fire this beast, it spits out so many shots that you almost always hit from medium range and closer, despite the abysmal accuracy values - and if you fire at a group of aliens you're likely to hit all of them. If people feel the accuracy / range is still a bit low you can raise it, but at range 30 I killed every single alien I fired at, which I felt was too powerful. Range 10 was too low, so there's a balance somewhere in there that makes it very effective without being overpowered. Plus if you ever get in at close range you are pretty much guaranteed to kill something, so if you increased reaction fire percentages (rather than the current decrease) they'd be exceptional for covering areas.

At 25 shots per burst you can fire twice without reloading, and if you bring extra ammo you can fire all you need to.

What you absolutely cannot do with it is give every trooper one. Some troopers just won't be able to handle it until they get stronger, and the move + shoot capability of other weapons makes them important to take with you as well. This configuration gives them a more specific role as an effective support weapon, and when suppression works again we can turn that back up as well.

Jimbob: You may want to re-up the damage if you take this configuration, since fewer shots per burst will hit, we want them to count when they do (plus MGs often fire higher-caliber bullets than other weapons, and thus ought to do more damage).

One minor downside is the sound effect expects a short burst - it won't play long enough for the long burst, so it gets quiet mid-way through the shot.

Edited by Comassion

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As Comassion has responded to his suggestion, I will respond to mine.

How often can one fire a gun per squaddie? Let us say for this discussion we have a corporal which has 58 AP - which is reasonable if you either cherry-pick privates and train them, or have a corp level up over a period of time. If that corp is armed with an assault rifle he can:-

a) fire three snap shots (51 AP). b) fire two normal and a snap (57 AP) c) Fire two aimed shots (46 AP) or d) fire a burst and either a snap or a normal (52 or 55). In comparison, with the current machinegun, our corp can fire two bursts of five (50AP).

Each assault rifle bullet will do 25HP damage, with an armour penetration of 10. Verses a sebillian noncom (the type most likely to be see in the early alpha game), with an average HP of 40 and an armour of 15 it must be shot twice before dying. However, a machinegun with 40HP damage and armour penetration of 15 will kill a noncom with one bullet. As aliens scale up, the machinegun becomes more valuable. The next grade of Sebillian with an average HP of 80 but an armour of 25 will make you wish you left the assault rifles at home!

There's the kicker. The machinegun as it stands doesn't need to hit as often to kill. Verses a sebillian noncom, an assault rifle armed squaddie's best option is to fire a burst and hope two shots hit, or fire two normal shots and possibly a snap. The machinegunner by comparison can fire a burst and only one shot out of five needs to hit. In either case, the squaddie is expending far more effort with an assault rifle then he is with the machinegun.

By upping the AP cost to 45, the machinegunner can't blaze away like John Rambo, but he can provide supporting fire or engage a target by himself (he still has 13 AP - four tiles of movement). By reducing the number of shots the machinegun fires by 1, the machinegunner is still likely to hit with one shot (the machinegun may have a low probility to hit, but it has low variance in bullet direction), but is less likely to plow more than one shot into the target, encouraging sqaud tactics, not lone gunmen.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hello,

well, i am not an soldier, but lets think bit of RL logistics and game balancing....

A) Quick to use, MG solider will pick location, setup the gun (to make Assault = to MG, ya need "Sylvester-Arnold" kind of soldier to handle the incredible recoil)

B) The hurt-kill use, obviously Assault is less; smaller caliber. MG uses bigger caliber, thus heavy.

C) Rate of fire, MG is a machine... as stated earlier... MG is going to eat up the ammo!!!

D) accuracy... RL, MG soldier (not Arnold) will not aim to kill. just open fire in direction then move gun/barrel fire-aim to target. This game does not have that kind of "progressive" accuracy. is using 1 number accuracy thus make MG accuracy lower.

so with above... I would use in game...

A) in game, AP should be higher... at least twice the Assault.

B) big... imagine twice the assault's damage capability

C) rate of fire is kind of timing factor. first time would be like equal to assault. but second time (already set up) should be already firing twice or thrice.. so should not top out more than thrice the assault's rate.

D) average... yeech... the first start fire would be terrible... probably 20% the fire-aim would bring it closer to 80%. averaging this is 30% to 40%. with respect to game balance. I would go for 30% and let the rate of fire offset the misses.

R

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Hello,

well, i am not an soldier, but lets think bit of RL logistics and game balancing....

I would prefer to discuss fun and game balancing over RL comparisons. That might be the same thing for you though. (I'm not commenting on your A, B, C and D points just commenting on what I think should be regarded first and foremost)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Since my last post, I've been fiddling with the assault rifle. In it's current configuration, I'm much better off equipping my squaddies with specialised weapons. The shotgun does more damage and has better armour penetration. The machinegun costs more to shoot but shoots more bullets which hit harder and much further than an assault rifle can. The precision rifle exists for more accurate shots, and the rocket launcher with the new AP missiles? Genius!

So, how to keep to the "jack of all trades" moniker without stomping on a specialist weapon? I didn't think boosting damage or armour penetration was the answer - that would make all the other weapons less valuable in their respective roles. Instead, I took a leaf from RoTGtIE's thread, and experimented with the cost of firing shots. This is where I think the assault rifle could differ from other ballistic weapons. Rather than shoot powerful or accurate shots, be able to fire lots of them!

Currently the cost of a burst shot is 35 AP. I would propose dropping this to 25. That would mean an average corp. could fire two burst shots off, as their AP ranges between 56-60. However, the next burst shot after that would be at 75AP, which would ensure that only highly experienced troops could bang lots of shots off (which is unlikely within the bounds of the alpha). At the moment, burst shots do 32pts of suppression damage, so two bursts would supress a noncom, but would be unlikely to kill one due to the low amour penetration. For that reason, I would also propose dropping the suppression damage to 24pts, so a single trooper could bring a noncom or guard very close to being suppressed, without actually suppressing one.

As burst shots are cheaper to shoot, so should single shots. For snap, normal and aimed, a small reduction for each shot type: snap 16, normal 18 and aimed 20. That way, it will always be cheaper to shoot bursts than single shots, but single shots will be more accurate. All single shots currently have a suppression value of 20. I would suggest dropping this slightly to 15. Three single snap shots with a cost of 38 AP will do 45pts of suppression, which is slighly less than what 2 burst shots could do with 3 fewer shots, but each shot fired is more accurate and overall costs less AP to achieve.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

When decreasing the AP per shots try to bear in mind that the shotgun replacement in later tiers is the carbine. Primarily, the carbine fires more shots for a less AP at the cost of range at the moment. Obviously that can be balanced at a later time, but it might be difficult to drop the number of AP per shot at that tier.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I did think very carefully before I starting changing AP for the assault rifle. After having played quite a bit with the changes I made, the assault rifle is still crap. The problem is that in comparison to the other weapons, it takes a lot of shots to do anything. Because there are no health bars, you can pump shot after shot into a sebillian and think "Jesus, how many more can it take?!". In comparison, a precison rifle or a shotgun need far fewer shots to do the same job, so it feels like you're getting nowhere with the assault rifle. The only other thing I can think of doing is instead of fiddling with AP costs is to keep the same damage level for the AR, but up the mitigation and possibly make burst fire more accurate but keep that at 30-35 AP.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

To properly balance the weapons I think we have to look at the properties for the aliens a little more. With a kinetic armor of 25 a sebillian soldier is going to take a heck of a lot of rifle rounds to drop one with the current values (it only gets worse if you look at Androns). I suppose the question is, should Xenonaut Rifleman need support weapons to deal with alien soldiers and guards at the ballistic tier or does the ballistic rifle that need buffed a bit to have more utility than simply suppression?

Sebillian Guards more resilient to damage than Andron Guards for example and Caesan Guard armor becomes paper thin (they could be dropped in a single burst if all rounds hit). After looking at this a

My feeling on it is that it is could use a little bump, but after looking at the parameters for the aliens it would require an increase in the parameters values for the other races (Androns especially). If the rifle is increased it would be necessary to modify the other a lot of other aliens to keep the differences in the number of shots consistent with how they are now. The 5 mitigation increase ends up making little, if the Assault Rifle is to get a buff it will need to be in the accuracy and range department OR possibly making the burst fire four rounds (I believe the M16 was still issued as a fully automatic in 1979).

By the way the resilience of the Sebillian guard might currently have incorrect values unless Sebillians are supposed to be super tough. The Sebillian Guard has a resilience of 80 compared to the 60 for Caesan's and 50 for Andron's. So I would not use the Sebillian Guard as the measuring stick for different weapons.

This is giving me the idea that adding a graph to my modding program that shows the accuracy, damage per round, and the expected number to death would be quite useful.

Edited by Quartermaster
Additional Thoughts

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If that chart had an option to select a weapon to compare it to it could be more useful.

For example having the assault rifle as a default comparison might allow you to tweak other weapons better in relation to it.

If you were tweaking the laser weapons you could select the laser assault and use that as your baseline instead.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So, QM, I took your idea and ran with it... off a cliff and onto a speedboat! Instead of buffing mitigation, I buffed accuracy insanely high, and dropped the AP costs a little. For AP costs, Snap 17, Normal 19 and Aimed 21 which is 2 less each, with Burst at 30 instead of 35. However I jacked Burst's accuracy up to a whopping 90. A burst shot from an assault rifle at medium range stood a very good chance of hitting with 2-3 shots and 2-3 shots is all she wrote for sebillian and caesian noncoms. Guards are more trouble, but burst shots from 2 troopers with snap shots as filler also worked quite well. Against Androns, assault rifles suck. Because even the basic Andron has an armour value of 30, and with a mitigation of 10, the assault rifle will only let 5HP of damage through!

Quite possibly the true value of the assault rifle is as a LMG Junior. Make it lighter, handier, more accurate with the ability to fire more shots but with sucky damage.

Edited by Max_Caine

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

How does the accuracy compare with the precision rifle?

And how would the laser assault compare with the laser carbine if you followed the same trend through to the next tier?

It sounds like you are dropping the assault rifle into the slot between the LMG and sniper roles, which is just about where it should be I think.

Not as good as either of them in their own role but gives the option to choose between them.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I ran teams armed half with precision rifles and half with assault rifles to compare them. The precison rifle has the edge over the assault rifle when it comes to accuracy at range. It seems that the optimal burst fire range (i.e. 2-3 hits from a burst shot) with 90 accuracy works out at around 10-12 tiles, whereas I was getting hits and near misses with the precision rifle at 18 tiles away (and that was with the 25 AP "oh shit I can see him do I have enough AP" normal shot).

Laser weapons are going to be a different kettle of fish. Unlike ballistics, they can do some serious damage to current-generation aliens (the laser rifle with 40HP damage and 25 mitigation per shot is a beast verses guards!) and the carbine as Quartermaster points out, can burst fire too! The sheer damage output of lasers will probably be balanced by newer and tougher aliens which will come in at that point, but we really need those newer and tougher aliens in the game to have a proper yardstick to measure the laser by.

Edited by Max_Caine

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Apart from the carbine you can carry the work you are doing on the ballistics over to the lasers pretty much, if everything upgrades by roughly the same amount then you have roughly the same balance in both tiers.

I was more concerned with how those changes you are making to the assault role, rather than the specific ballistic assault, would affect the carbine role later.

The carbine strikes me as a shorter range, but more mobile, LMG which is also what you are gearing the assault rifle towards.

I was curious where you saw the carbine sitting in comparison, taking into account the changes you are making at the moment.

You could reduce the laser carbine to ballistic level effectiveness to balance it, then simply increase its numbers back to be in line with the laser assault when you are done.

It isn't ideal but it's an option.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It is a tricky proposition, and I believe you're right. Because the laser rifles' shots don't suck half as much as the assault rifles' do, squaddies can benefit from single shots, whereas in my opinion they couldn't with the assault. The case would probably be then to reverse the roles established between shotgun and assault rifle. Have the laser carbine reflect the SMG-ish role it's cast in by emphasising the burst shot, and emphasise the importance of single shots with the laser rifle. I'm going to fiddle with the type of troops that crashed ships spawn, to try and reflect the stage in the game where laser rifles would be the weapon de jour.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I suppose the carbine would also have a better reaction modifier due to its smaller size, that would help settle it in a role.

Compared to the assault it would be less damage, faster firing, shorter range, more chance of reaction fire?

Good back up weapon for following your shield/pistol breacher in.

Kind of off topic though I guess as the thread is about ballistic weapons.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, it's something to think about, anyway. Did anyone notice the frag rocket has a radius of 1? Not really a frag rocket, is it? I changed it up to 3.1, same as the incendiary and I gotta say, it's not too shabby. If none of my rocket guys misses with it, the spash damage is usually wide enough to catch the alien he was shooting at. I think it's a pity supression is based on the launcher, because this is a case where the ammo (rockets) should dictate how suppressive the weapon is. (As you said back in one of the suppression threads. I forget which one).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yeah the rocket launcher is one of the glaring problems with the target based suppression as opposed to impact (and ammo) based.

Stun, nerve gas, or smoke rockets will have exactly the same suppression radius and effect as a huge explosive warhead.

Modders won't be able to work on ammo types with different suppression effects either.

I am also really concerned that flashbang grenades will affect the area you aim them at and not the area they land in.

Not going to get started here though ;)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Do shotguns really need tweaking? Cheap shots, high damage, nice mitigation - good against noncoms, guards and even soliders. The only problem is that they are very close range, which is all fine and dandy when you have the drop on an alien, but at the range a shotgun needs to be to hit successfully, if they can get a reaction shot off your squaddie is a dead man.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I wouldn't bother doing much with the shotgun personally.

As long as they are longer range and higher damage than the pistol but shorter range than the assault they are pretty much right.

The reaction modifier could also sit between the two as well to fit the same sort of role the carbine will fill later.

They may need a tweak if you have altered the other weapons significantly though to stay in the right sort of place.

I think of them as a breaching support or room clearing weapon.

They don't need a long range for those roles as you will be up close most of the time anyway.

Either use them to cover doorways with the extra reaction bonus or follow in the breachers to give fire support with their damage advantage over the shield/pistol users who have soaked up any reaction fire.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0