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Thread: Tweaking ballistic weapons in build v12 and onward.

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  1. #1
    Forum Moderator Max_Caine's Avatar
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    Nov 2011

    Tweaking ballistic weapons in build v12 and onward.

    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" />
    Last edited by Max_Caine; 06-19-2012 at 22:48.

  2. #2
    Xeno Lover IceVamp's Avatar
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    Jan 2012
    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.
    I would if I could, but I can't, so I won't.

  3. #3
    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.

  4. #4
    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"/>
    <Ammo name="ammo.ballistic.machinegun" type="kinetic" damage="40" mitigation="15">
    <Projectile spectre="projectiles/bullet/bullet" speed="1200"/>
    <Impact spectre="particles/bulletplume/bulletplume"/>
    Last edited by Comassion; 06-20-2012 at 03:38.

  5. #5
    Moderator Gauddlike's Avatar
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    Oct 2011
    Leicester, UK
    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.
    Devil's Advocate and forum moderator

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Gauddlike View Post
    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.
    Last edited by Comassion; 06-20-2012 at 17:31.

  7. #7
    Sergeant jimbobfury's Avatar
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    Jan 2012
    Sheffield, UK
    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.

  8. #8
    Forum Moderator Max_Caine's Avatar
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    Nov 2011
    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.

  9. #9

    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.


  10. #10
    WishfullThinker Gorlom's Avatar
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    Dec 2011
    Quote Originally Posted by rynait View Post

    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)

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