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Mask

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Mask last won the day on May 28

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  1. @TrashMan Battletech is a critically acclaimed tactics game developed recently... and it has armour and HP for something like 11 bodyparts, including front and back. You manage a team of six mechs (more in your mechbay), but you also have to specifically equip weapons to every slot. This should be common knowledge in gaming, and I just had to add this point. I gave a very simple solution, as well... but it doesn't matter. You can't fight against a willing deathspiral.
  2. @Charon Unfortunately, there is no correct time.... You've just explained that the game's development is in a death spiral, and the dev team is determined to ride it all the way to the ground. If somebody had said that earlier, I wouldn't have wasted my effort trying to help.
  3. Your audience are people who like XCOM but want something crunchier and more realistic than FIRAXCOM. There is literally no way for you to compete with their AAA budget, without that. So you ought to play to your strengths and appeal to that audience, not water down the game with unintuitive mechanics no one wants. There's nothing theoretical here.... Charon's mod is incredibly popular, which is really saying something when it's a SUBMOD for a niche indie game. I don't recall him having balance issues, aside from preference, despite the fact his balance model is practically all stat tweaks. The issues you mentioned were NOT issues in my mod, either. I also mentioned a famous mod that was massively more popular than native damage numbers, and all the mod could do was literally change the numbers. So nothing is theoretical, you can definitely make a far better game just by tweaking numbers. If that weren't true, then the game would be no worse if you put all its variables through a random number generator. The problem is, whenever you see a sure and simple solution, you ignore it and pick a convoluted one. Shotguns didn't do enough damage against armour... so you made an entire armour ablation system which would obviously be abused, instead of tweaking their damage numbers or adding in ammo types. So yes, no amount of balancing like that will fix a game, it will make it worse with each iteration. How would you know, when you didn't play the mod? It wasn't a scenario where DPS (damage per second) weapons reigned. I got a lot of use out of my riflemen, snipers, MG, rocket launcher, and vehicles in the mod, a diverse squad, and used a mixture of alien techs as I researched them (why wouldn't I want a better shotgun?). The long sight ranges made cover more important, and made the disadvantages of a shotgun more pronounced, which is why we pronounced its advantages. Far from hurting the gameplay, it MADE the gameplay, and you appreciated the tactical layout of each map. It also made the night missions feel more tense, since your troops weren't normally blind. You seem to be of two minds on everything, and being half-hearted is a great way to get balance problems. You were JUST complaining that the starting shotgun was useless against later enemies with heavy armour in your game. So do you want it to be effective against later enemies, or not? And if you have to get close to an enemy to use the weapon effectively... there's no point in doing that if you're not inflicting considerably more damage than a rifle. In this case, it's obvious from the numbers that you can't blow every enemy in the game in half with just 65 damage and no mitigation. There were some lightly armoured aliens, especially early on, but later ones did have some decent armour (so upgrading your CQB weapons is a good idea). The long sight-lines also made the shotgun great for urban maps, but trickier to use with open plains, which was a great way to vary the gameplay and make no weapon dominant. You were just complaining that everyone was using DPS weapons like MGs, in X1, to abuse the gamey ablation mechanic and the bullet-sponge aliens. Your fixes trying to get away from reality didn't make the game better or more diverse, it made it less balanced and less diverse. In reality, squads actually have varied armaments, especially if they're special forces with an unusual job, such as room clearing and fighting aliens, and even shotguns and crossbows are still used today. Even with ordinary platoons, their weapons and attachments frequently included sniper rifles, MGs, rocket launchers, SMGs, rifles, mortars, heavy mortars and artillery, a medic, demolition experts, and/or a vehicle attached to them. And if you're limited to 12 guys or less, then you can easily justify those platoon level weapons in your squad. And no... I can't think of any LMG that functions like, "a rifle with a high capacity magazine." They tried to do that a couple of times, most famously the BAR, and people still argue if you can use them like rifles (you can... barely). If you're ignorant of the subject, you need to be willing to learn or to get help. Based off what I'm hearing, I don't think it matters. You said it yourself, that when you spend more time balancing a game it doesn't improve the balance, but creates new and worse problems. Instead of shotguns being an underpowered weapon and everything else being viable, you made only the highest DPS weapons viable. X1 was, to be blunt, barely playable, especially if you experience balanced gameplay via mods. If even when people tell you ways of fixing a problem you say, "no, I'm going with the more complex solution," then you certainly can't do it without help. I saw the problem in your idea of shotgun versus sniper rifle in five seconds, but you want to discover that problem the same way you realized armour ablation would lead to issues. This is terrible and unfathomable. You admit that a simple fix, one that doesn't require three new overhaul systems and ten thousand hours of balancing, would fix the problem... but you're going to pretend that changing ammo types -- which is literally tweaking the variables -- is as complicated as coding in about three new inter-working core mechanics? It seems things will go about as well as Phoenix Point, which also ignored the advice and feedback of its core players, building up a mountain of problems that became impossible to fix. Worse, as this is effectively the remastered edition of a niche indie-game, so there's no profit in ruining it.
  4. To be honest, 20x3 damage sounds like birdshot, and you don't need to be an alien cyborg to stop that. Just 3 points of armour would do it (a thick jacket can stop bird shot, unless it's at point-blank range), so the weapon is designed to be useless against any amount of armour. At the same time, that is the basis of combined arms, that a sniper rifle is the opposite of a shotgun, so you have reasons to use each. Now, there are plenty of ways to design around it, including adjusting the stats, adding in armour coverage (20 chances to hit a chink in the armour), stun damage (it still hurts), or even things like armour ablation. Getting the right balance is hard, though, especially if you're not basing it off known quantities (IE: real ballistics). Making the system more complicated won't make it easier, though... you need a couple of simple systems that fix specific issues in a focused way, so you don't fix one problem and create five more. In this case, you mention how your fix created a new problem: This is the issue of layering systems. Balancing becomes much harder and you get unexpected consequences. Sometimes, it's impossible to balance for one system without unbalancing it for another. In this case, the results were fairly predictable. If you have high HP and ablation mechanics, DPTU (damage per time-unit) will reign, so you're going to be looking at MGs and shotguns. If Armour Piercing doesn't increase ablation, then AP weapons might be less effective against armour. Certainly, if you reduce an enemy's armour enough, then they become a soft target, and a DPTU weapon should take them out. And since you're working with a team... your DPTU will STACK, and this will multiply your ability to take out hard and soft targets alike, so AP weapons actually become a hindrance since they don't add to this as much as DPTU ones. Working with stats is like a jenga tower... any change can bring the whole thing down. With the Quasi-Realism mod, we had the advantage of working off a strong basis (an approximation of reality), and I figure the issue isn't that you need more systems but a stronger baseline of stats. To be honest, you need to use hard numbers and run the tests to know if that idea plays out. If the DPT (damage per turn) of a shotgun is twice that of a sniper rifle... then the shotgun is a better weapon, against armoured and unarmoured foes. And the shotgun needs to do considerably more damage than the sniper rifle to be justified, as it has the disadvantage of shorter range, so you're stuck. Environments play a role in this as well, of course, and you have to try and average the data... so it really is a pain to figure out what is balanced from theory alone. The issue with complex systems being that they're harder to test and harder to estimate, as well as harder to balance. As for limitations and balance... did you ever get to try the Quasi Realism mod? It was made for the alpha, and despite that, the only complaint we ever got was that it needed even more realism (some complaints were quite pedantic, about realistic grenade throwing radius and etc.). While it was surely far from prefect, the combat balance was pretty good. The person who I helped put it together was the guy who did the Realistic Combat Model for Mount&Blade, which also had pretty severe limitations for rebalancing (despite that, the RCM was so popular that a dozen of the largest mods incorporated it). With the shotgun in the mod, it had very short range compared to the other weapons (10, as opposed to 100), and we gave it 65 damage with no mitigation. At short range, it could blow someone in half, and was useful at point-blank range against all but the heaviest armour in the game. We assumed heavy buckshot, and if that stacks up on a target at arm's length, then even with armour it'll hurt like heck. The shotgun never seemed overpowered to me, but it was certainly fun to use at close range. So limitations don't help, but a lot of it is the artistry of the numbers; not complex and contradictory mechanical models. If your foundation isn't good, adding more mechanics and layers to it just tends to make more of a mess, and that's what I'm foreseeing here. If you want to see for yourself and try out the mod, let me know, and I can send the files.
  5. If there are best armours and best weapons, then it's quite different, as you just pick the best. For this, you also don't need a complex system, the simplest works. But you seemed to be interested in having more nuanced choices for the player, where a weapon is better in some contexts than others. For that, they need to understand the system at least moderately. XCOM didn't have much of an emphasis on equipment choice, your weapons and armour mostly did just get better. Despite that, you could still benefit from taking heavy weapons and using them against tough enemies with high HP and armour. I'm afraid I'm still not sure what advantage this system has, or what it is designed to accomplish. Could you explain the difference this system should make?
  6. That's a relief. It seems there was just a misunderstanding about the armour system being set. I hope we can provide good feedback for you. If armour and penetration numbers are low, the system isn't very overt. Generally, the idea is to make armour and penetration numbers high enough that you are rewarded for using anti-armour weapons against hard targets, AP weapons inflicting more damage. Non-AP weapons are great for taking out soft targets, but for hard targets they either need to use volume of fire (to hit a chink in the armour) or you just have to rely on combined arms (melee, (stun) grenades, rockets, MG, etc.); combined arms being the main appeal of a squad tactics game. I prefer a model of armour multiplication rather than subtraction, where a bullet of the same energy but half the surface area should have twice the penetration, and thus armour's effectiveness would be halved, and the more armour your enemy is wearing the more you appreciate that penetration. So in the example of a 25 damage gun against 20 armour, the armour is halved down to 10, and it inflicts 15 damage vs the 10 of the other gun. Against 30 points of armour, it is reduced by 15, and you inflict 5 to 0. To clarify, I wasn't saying the game should follow the X-Division model. It makes sense for certain weapons like plasma throwers to reduce armour, or certain kinds of armour like second-chance vests to break down, but the greater emphasis should be on combined arms, and identifying soft and hard targets. If you had to manage that in detail, that would be a pain. So, I figured you'd just have uniforms for the entire body? That, if you equip the "Heavy Armour" module on a character, you would increase the chest armour by 5, and the arm armour by 1, etc.? As it is, if you want armour HP and % resistances, that is going to get complex when you factor in the limbs. Do you intend to make it a universal armour system, where all body parts share the same Resistance numbers and armour HP bar? When we work on a system, it sounds a lot less complex to us than to everyone else. Caine mentioned there'd be damage resistance involved, where you could inflict damage to a character before destroying his armour? Is that a thing, because I couldn't get that from your description. Even I'm having trouble wrapping my head around it, partially because it doesn't fit reality and so isn't intuitive. I learned from tabletop game design that even one extra simple calculation, per attack, was going to create a lot of strain in a game environment. Computers can do some of that heavy lifting... but this is a tactical mechanic, so it's something the player needs to understand and think about so to make a decision each time they're engaging an alien. They'll have to do this until they learn what weapons are effective against what aliens, and with many weapons and many aliens that might not be easy. The issue I see is that a much simpler system accomplishes exactly that. Ultimately, the point of armour is to reduce your chances of dying, or force the enemy to use different weapons or tactics against you. If your armour improves rapidly, then mathematically that means you'll have to become practically invulnerable at some point, that or improvements need to be slight. That's just the limitations of mathematics, and all we can do is draw a curve that presents an interesting scale of progression relative to the threats the player faces. I can't tell from your description how this is meant to get around that. Now, the way UFO Defence handled this, is your guys started out utterly vulnerable, and over time were eventually able to fight on equal footing with the aliens (save the top tier ones). This was an excellent curve to give a sense of progression, and it didn't require a complex system to achieve this. Mostly, it's just balancing, trial and error.
  7. Rather than address any of our concerns, about our feedback being ignored or weird behaviour from the Devs, you think it is more important that you question Trashman as to his activities? I wasn't speaking for Trashman, I was just responding to your study and question of what he was doing on April 23rd, when I expected you to answer our concerns to the best of your abilities. I didn't think it would offend you that I responded to your points. To clarify, the topic isn't about what Trashman was doing on a Thursday, it's about us apparently getting a limited window of opportunity to give feedback to the game we're thinking of buying, which ignored our previous feedback. Your question, however Trashman answers, cannot solve those concerns, so I was hoping you'd address them. This is starting to sound less like a discussion and more like an interrogation. Are you not worried about why the system is bad, so long as it's not complicated? But you yourself said a major part of it is complicated. Are you saying that, if the system is made up of many parts, and some or most of those parts are simple, then the system is simple? Even if major parts of it are complex? Because the gears in a watch are individually very simple, but if you have to think about twenty of them at once and how they all interact... then even simple individual systems can become overwhelmingly complex. You said it quite well: The only part of the armour system that is complicated... is penetrating/"defeating" the armour. As far as I understood it, that is the entire basis of an armour system. Thank you for answering that concern, Chris. It is a pity about the 8 replies that were lost, as I would have liked to have seen their thoughts on the subject (I guess you could transfer them to the relevant topics). I expect the fact these threads will be released in specific summaries, next week, means you are trying to get feedback on these systems? And it's possible the systems could change? My main fear is if you have committed to this armour system, and won't be able to to use an alternative system if controlled testing reveals problems. Thanks again for taking time to answer these worries. Good luck with development.
  8. That's some impressive homework you're doing. That doesn't really answer the points that were made, however, and it seems you don't understand our concerns. It doesn't matter WHY there was effectively no feedback to the thread... rather, shouldn't it be a concern to the developer that the thread got little feedback? If the thread isn't getting enough attention, deleting it certainly won't help with that. The best argument I can think of for why Trashman or anyone else may have not replied in the thread, is they thought they already spoke their opinions on the subject of armour somewhere, such as in this thread, and that their feedback would be taken into account. Why does it matter if they give their feedback in this thread or in that thread? Also, if Trashman's appearance at the end of April is any indicator of other users' activity, it's no wonder the thread saw so few replies. It sounds like players weren't here for the first months, possibly due to the virus taking up their time and concerns, or possibly due to releases like Bannerlord (probably both). I also ended up showing up again in May, as coincidence has it, because another user checked back to the forum around now and messaged me. So, tragically, the thread was deleted at the time when people were returning to the forum and could've given their feedback? How did that end up happening? ...Caine, you were just having trouble describing how the system works to me. And now you're trying to convince me it's perfectly intuitive? The only complex thing about the armour... is how to defeat armour. I described at length the problems of Ablative and Percentile Armour... so why are you asking me why using both of those systems together, with another one on top which YOU find complex, is a problem? The best and only example. Except it's not an example, if you're not going to inform us what core mechanic changed completely in a DLC. How many betas have you tested, where it was normal to change foundational mechanics with DLCs? How many games are there which completely change how they're played in their DLC, in general? I think there must be some miscommunication here, as what you're suggesting isn't making sense. There is an unfortunate trend in the industry lately, where beta testers are completely ignored and the core systems that have been broken from version 0.4b are still broken in the release (Phoenix Point comes to mind, though this was also an issue in Bannerlord). I suppose we could consider fixing the game months after its release a complete change via downloadable content, and that is more common in the industry of late. Of course, this isn't referring to Xenonauts but the industry in general, since Alien brought up common practices for betas and DLC.
  9. If there's a hurry, shoving in a complicated armour system with levels and percentages and armour HP in the last few months sounds like a very bad idea. A reductive armour system would be easier to balance and more predictable in audience reaction. You can't really fix this in DLC, either... If you change the armour system totally, people who liked or got used to the first one will be thrown off, and you already have lost the chance to appeal to the majority of people who preferred the more sensible system, so it would be a bit late to change to it. It is possible there'll be a big demand from the playerbase to change/fix the armour system... but it's more likely players will just not be having fun and won't understand why, and so might make nebulous suggestions or even review-bomb the game and demand refunds. It's baffling that the feedback here was totally ignored, and this system was pushed in while no one was looking, then the evidence hidden away. If the feedback here is any indication of audience sentiment, I can only imagine this going down very poorly.
  10. Normally, you don't delete threads because no one has commented on them for a while. For that reason, I had already left most of my thoughts on armour here in the forum, and had thought they'd be taken into account along with the feedback of other users, which seems to be contrary to this system. I've been too busy IRL and worrying about the pandemic to pay much attention to the forum, sorry to say. In general, the fact the thread only generated 8 replies over months is kind of odd.... Maybe people didn't understand the system well enough to comment on it (I can only speculate, since the thread was deleted)? Clearly, it's not that we lack people who have an interest in armour mechanics, as there was quite a bit of discussion here about exactly that.
  11. Bobbit: What's the point of replying to me, if you're going to ignore half of my points, then quote pieces out of context so you can then respond to arguments I never made like, "you don't like shred"? This is especially weird, considering you also seem to be very disenchanted with the system you are arguing for.... If even the proponents of the new system don't particularly like it, that is very damning indeed. If 'nothing' was leaving the system the same as X1, I would say this is worse than nothing. Worse than that, they ignored all the feedback in this thread, which was far more extensive and probably with more user opinions. I often worry that developers are not paying attention to community forums, that I waste my time. This appears to confirm it, where the very few people who happened to be around while the thread was up were the only ones who got any say. Apparently, one of them did bring up the same problems I did, and he was ignored... so I guess it doesn't matter. ....And seriously, why on Earth was the discussion scrubbed, so that no one even knew about this system until Caine was kind enough to tell us? We don't get to see the feedback or share in the discussion that was posed in those 8 replies, nor do we get to see the workings of the system. So, we're literally having to go off of second-hand memory, because it was apparently considered to embarrassing to remain public?
  12. That was my general understanding of it. But, your exact description contradicts Max's summary: Clearly, my issue is not what it is called.... The mechanic was difficult for Max to explain, as it was unintuitive. My comment was about what the system boiled down to, which is simple level-appropriate weaponry mechanics, as the unintuitive details of how it works do not matter seeing as there is nothing innately good about complex nonsense. What is this meant to be? Realistic? Intuitive? I'm not even sure how this is meant to be tactical or interesting. Are we expected to shoot aliens with Level 5 BMGs to shred their armour, and then send in guys with SMGs to take them out? And should the SMGs be level 5, or does level not matter once you destroy their armour? I'm not sure how that'll work out mathematically, if we're using % based armour... will the alien tank half the damage of a .50 cal rifle? Like, say a tank came over the hill: Should you shoot it with another tank, and then send in a wave of riflemen to kill the tank, because you destroyed its armour? By the time we get a scenario for what you are doing and why with this mechanic, it starts to feel like we're incorporating Tail Whip from Pokemon into the game (which also reduces the armour of your opponent). But Tail Whip made sense and worked within its context, it was well designed for Pokemon, whereas awkward and forced mechanics tend to make gameplay feel forced and awkward. The thread contains some excellent ideas on how to deal with armour shredding and simulate those details. It would be very clumsy if we said titanium was level 5, steel was level 4, and wood was level 1. This is not a good system. In a game about simulating how long it takes to stand up or turn around, with modelling of suppression fire, we're suddenly adding in mechanics so gamey, complex, and weird, that not even FIRAXCOM would touch them. It's not going to be simple for players. They're going to have to think about what % of what types of damage is reduced by that character's armour, while remembering the current HP of that armour. If they get hit by a level 4 weapon compared to their level 2 armour, its penetration and shred values go up by X%, they should try to remember. Oh, and don't forget that 30% of weapon damage hurts your armour's HP. So players will just equip the highest level weapons and armour they can get, and won't understand why they win or lose, aside from having bigger numbers.
  13. I wish that this thread had been taken into account. There are 25 replies in it, since January, and none of them appear to have spoken in favour of using armour as an HP buff, or having it reduce damage by a percentage. The mass consensus was for a more logical, simple, and realistic damage reduction model. X2's armour and weapon level system sounds like it came from some horrible MMORPG.... It's confusing if you try to think about it, but really it's just dumb and simple: "That enemy is too high a level for you, grind more level 1 alien scouts until you level up." I'm amazed such a decision was made with barely any feedback.... Thank you for bringing this to our attention, and filling us in, Max. It was very kind of you. It's not easy being the bearer of bad news.
  14. I somehow missed that discussion, unfortunately. With only 8 replies... it seems everyone missed it. Could I please have a link to the thread, so I can see? I would be interested to hear how X2's armour system works, thank you.
  15. A bunch of replies turned up, without me being alerted. I'll try to answer the main points that were raised. Trashman's system is like the original XCOM, and is a good system in general, where like in reality armour has coverage and protection ratings. I am also in favour of the idea of damage and an armour penetration multiplier. As said, this works to make weapons unique within a damage type, instead of just working on what has the most damage of that type. Armour HP Indicators: It was mentioned that, with armour degradation, you don't know what state your armour is in. We could add in a stat or two to show this, or even a little human body outline like in Battletech, or we could have a notification come up if a soldier's armour has been badly damaged. Overall, I'm not too concerned with the matter, as gunfire is a good enough indicator that you should take cover and get support, and that's what low armour would tell you to do. Simple Straight Damage vs Complexities: There were many ideas about how to handle the details and complexities of the armour system. However, from what I could see, most everyone was in favour of a simple straight damage or damage-reduction system as its basis. I don't think anyone was against Trashman's point about armour coverage, either. So is it reasonable to say we all agree on that as our basis, and the Devs should pursue that line? We can hash out the details as we go. Armour Degradation: The formula for armour degradation should probably be something like.... AmrDmg = Armour * Min( (Attack * ArmourPenetration / Armour), 1) * DegradationMod To explain the key points of that formula: 1. Any damage that can penetrate the armour ought to damage it, since you put a hole through it. 2. Damage shouldn't exceed the armour rating, because no matter how powerful the rail gun slug, if it only puts a 3mm hole in the armour, that isn't going to damage it much. 3. The Degradation Mod allows you to do a lot more or a lot less damage to armour. If you bathe the armour in plasma, so you melt the entire chest-piece, you're going to do a lot more damage than a little hole. This is realistic, and about as direct and simple as you can get, while still having depth of detail.
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