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Mask

In the Defence of Armour

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2 minutes ago, Max_Caine said:

Firstly, I think that Trashman is perfectly capable of answering for himself, if Trashman decides to answer, which he doesn't have to. Secondly, if Trashman says he didn't know, but goes and visits the specific board that the thread was on while the thread was up, then I reserve the right to be skeptical about the claim. Everything else is moving the goalposts beyond the specific claim which I query.

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.

29 minutes ago, Max_Caine said:

Now, concerning complication. Please read my original post again. The sole issue I had complication with is what is now the newly implemented armour penetration system. As I said, that's what had me scratching my head. The argument you propose is a conflation of the thing I had complication with, with the things I don't. So, again, regarding an extra HP bar, regarding adding resistances - why is it complicated? Not why is it bad, which is what your OP addresses - why is it complicated? 

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.

1 minute ago, Chris said:

The old armour thread isn't gone exactly, it's been hidden. But we've done because we've rolled all the info about the various new systems into several new summary posts that will be unlocked next week. Most people don't really know what mechanics are and aren't in the current design for X2 because it has changed a lot over the past few years.

(That specific previous thread also included several other mechanics that haven't all made it into the game, which would be confusing.)

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.

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Yes, if our new mechanics don't work that well, we can of course revert to the system from the first Xenonauts - just like we took out the resistance-based armour and changed it into this new model which we thought might be an improvement. We're not permanently committed to this system.

Bear in mind the X1 system is incredibly simple and has some serious problems with it though. One of the big ones is that most armour isn't protective enough to fully absorb all the damage from an incoming shot, which makes the armour penetration of a weapon meaningless. If you have 20 armour, getting shot by a weapon that does 30 damage is the same as getting shot by a weapon that does 25 damage and has 5 armour penetration. So you may as well just throw away the idea of armour penetration entirely under that system.

It sounds like the way X-Division handled it was just to make armour very protective but suffer serious shred damage in combat, which is fine but falls foul of the reason why you're claiming ablative armour is bad - most units don't get hit very much, and when they do you can just rotate them out. Similarly, any armour system where every individual body part has its own individual armour is going to be way too complex when you're managing up to 16 soldiers in your squad, so that's a non-starter too.

Honestly, the new mechanics aren't that complex. It's ablative armour but if the armour hardness is higher than the weapon penetration, the damage is reduced. If the weapon penetration is higher than the weapon effectively inflicts extra armour shred. The goal is not to use weapons that have rubbish penetration against high-grade armour, because they'll be ineffective. Using overly penetrative weapons on low-grade armour will ignore the armour and shred it but doesn't inflict extra damage on the unit below.

The reason it's set up that way is that the ablative armour can then be set up to have a relatively low number of HP. In X1 advanced armour has to have higher significantly armour values than lower tier armour because that's the only possible way it can be better; if your Wolf armour has 40HP then your Sentinel has 60HP and your Predator has 80HP. It just leads to all the stats getting super bloated. Whereas in this system a light mobility-boosting Exosuit like a Sentinel could still have 40HP and thus be quite vulnerable against aliens of similar tech level .... but if you rushed the tech tree and unlocked it early in the game it'll still be extremely effective against low-end weapons because they don't have the penetration to deal with it (as advanced tech should be).

EDIT - oh yeah, I should mention that the damage reduction from high tier armour continues to apply even if you exhaust the Armour HP. In X1 you could strip the armour off literally anything just through sheer weight of fire, so the strongest Andron was vulnerable to basic pistol rounds if you shot them enough. That doesn't apply here, which I think is more realistic and helps balancing.

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Mask, what I think is when someone makes a claim and there's evidence to the contrary, then that that claim can be challenged. I've challenged a specific claim of Trashman's. That's all there is to it - the arguments you make on behalf of Trashman, and, I am sorry but you have made arguments on behalf of Trashman, seeing as in your previous post your propose reasons why Trashman may not have read the thread, move the goalposts from "I never saw it" vs. "But you were on the specific forum when the thread was still up" to "You don't understand our concerns or the points we are making". Now, that's a valid point to make, but it is moving the goalposts from Trashman's original claim and my counter-claim. That's something to be addressed separately. 

 

Now, to answer your question, Yes, if the overall system is made up of simple parts then, unless it is consists of many, many simple parts, is simple. An extra HP bar. A percent resistance. Location damage. Armour penetration. Of the four systems, I find 1 of those systems to be reasonably complex - the armour penetration system. The rest of it is raw damage * resistance * location damage = HP damage, and the HP damage from resistance and location damage is true whether it's armour HP or squaddie/alien HP, there's no special rule. Additionally, while I find armour penetration reasonably complex, that doesn't make it within the context of this armour system the be-all and end-all, as this armour penetration system has degrees of effectiveness as opposed to a penetrate-all or penetrate-nothing. 

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2 minutes ago, Chris said:

Yes, if our new mechanics don't work that well, we can of course revert to the system from the first Xenonauts - just like we took out the resistance-based armour and changed it into this new model which we thought might be an improvement. We're not permanently committed to this system.

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.

4 minutes ago, Chris said:

Bear in mind the X1 system is incredibly simple and has some serious problems with it though. One of the big ones is that most armour isn't protective enough to fully absorb all the damage from an incoming shot, which makes the armour penetration of a weapon meaningless. If you have 20 armour, getting shot by a weapon that does 30 damage is the same as getting shot by a weapon that does 25 damage and has 5 armour penetration. So you may as well just throw away the idea of armour penetration entirely under that system.

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.

19 minutes ago, Chris said:

It sounds like the way X-Division handled it was just to make armour very protective but suffer serious shred damage in combat, which is fine but falls foul of the reason why you're claiming ablative armour is bad - most units don't get hit very much, and when they do you can just rotate them out. Similarly, any armour system where every individual body part has its own individual armour is going to be way too complex when you're managing up to 16 soldiers in your squad, so that's a non-starter too.

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.

22 minutes ago, Chris said:

Similarly, any armour system where every individual body part has its own individual armour is going to be way too complex when you're managing up to 16 soldiers in your squad, so that's a non-starter too.

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?

29 minutes ago, Chris said:

Honestly, the new mechanics aren't that complex. It's ablative armour but if the armour hardness is higher than the weapon penetration, the damage is reduced. If the weapon penetration is higher than the weapon effectively inflicts extra armour shred.

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.

37 minutes ago, Chris said:

The goal is not to use weapons that have rubbish penetration against high-grade armour, because they'll be ineffective. Using overly penetrative weapons on low-grade armour will bypass the armour but doesn't inflict extra damage on the unit below.

The issue I see is that a much simpler system accomplishes exactly that.

39 minutes ago, Chris said:

The reason it's set up that way is that the ablative armour can then be set up to have a relatively low number of HP. In X1 advanced armour has to have higher significantly armour values than lower tier armour because that's the only possible way it can be better; if your Wolf armour has 40HP then your Sentinel has 60HP and your Predator has 80HP. It just leads to all the stats getting super bloated. Whereas in this system a light mobility-boosting Exosuit like a Sentinel could still have 40HP and thus be quite vulnerable against aliens of similar tech level .... but if you rushed the tech tree and unlocked it early in the game it'll still be extremely effective against low-end weapons because they don't have the penetration to deal with it.

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.

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2 minutes ago, Mask said:

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.

And did you manually do the maths each time on how much damage a weapon does against each alien, and how much damage alien weapons do to your suits of armour?

If not, you're not going to notice the difference - use the best armour in Xenonauts 2 and your soldiers are more likely to survive than otherwise.

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22 minutes ago, Chris said:

And did you manually do the maths each time on how much damage a weapon does against each alien, and how much damage alien weapons do to your suits of armour?

If not, you're not going to notice the difference - use the best armour in Xenonauts 2 and your soldiers are more likely to survive than otherwise.

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?

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In X1 an Andron with 30 Armour would be literally invulnerable to a shotgun that did 20x3 damage, but pretty vulnerable to a sniper rifle that did 50 damage, even though those weapons were the same tech level. Because having entire classes of weapons be completely useless against armour was bad game design (and unpopular with the community), we added an armour destruction system where 10% of the damage stopped would be removed from the armour (i.e. shooting 80 Armour with 50 damage leaves 75 Armour).

Problem is, this means that literally any unit can be destroyed by any weapon if you shoot it enough times - and "enough times" was frequently not very many times at all. This was one of the reasons late game aliens in X1 had to have so much HP bloat, and it means high rate-of-fire weapons like the Ballistic Machinegun were disproportionately effective even against end-game enemies. Now UFO hulls in X2 are destructible, it's even more obvious - the armour shred effect is so strong that even the armoured hull of a UFO can be breached by emptying a dozen pistol shots into it. Of course, you can tone down the armour shred effect ... but then it's not doing what it is supposed to be doing and shotguns become almost totally ineffective against Androns again.

The new system deals with this much more elegantly. A shotgun has less penetration than a sniper rifle, so against an armoured enemy it might well suffer a 50% damage reduction whereas the sniper rifle has no reduction at all. Shotguns are not a good choice against an armoured enemy, but they're thus also not completely useless. The armour of the UFO hull on the other hand can be set to be so tough that ballistic weapons will never even scratch it. In X1 you can't have both those things at the same time.

Basically it just smooths the hardness / penetration curve out a bit, which gives us a lot more space to differentiate our equipment. It's easy to say that the old system works fine if only you just spend enough time trying to balance it, but in practice it's way too simplistic to support weapons and armour that are anything more than straight numeric upgrades over one another.

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Posted (edited)

Ok ok, i think everbody is getting a bit heated here. Lets relax all a bit and take a deep breath.

 

15 hours ago, Chris said:

In X1 an Andron with 30 Armour would be literally invulnerable to a shotgun that did 20x3 damage, but pretty vulnerable to a sniper rifle that did 50 damage, even though those weapons were the same tech level.

Well, reality doesnt care about tech level. And that a weapon like a shotgun which works like a big sledgehammer on targets is only effective against soft targets is intended behaviour.

 

If you look at ballistic warfare from a physical side you want to transfer as much kinetic energy as possible into the targets body.

Im sure you are aware that water stops kinetic bullets quite effectiviely. The reason for that is that water molecules have a big cohesion factor, and therefore take in a lot of the bullets kinetic energy very quickly. You can experience that effect when you hit water with your hand - the faster ( more kinetic energy ) your hand is, the more you feel like hitting a hard surface. The least resistance you will feel when you gently put your hand into a body of water. The first advice when you potentially will get into a firefight is "Empty your bladder". If a bullet hits your bladder in a firefight and it happens to contain a lot of fluid it will take in an excessive amount of kinetic energy, and then disperse it through your body. You basically build a grenade in your body, with a bullet as the trigger. If such thing should happen you are unsafeable dead. On the other hand if a bullet just shoots through your body ( little amount of transfered kinetic energy ) especially with a small caliber you have a high chance to make it, it could literally just be a scratch.

Why am i writing this out ? Well, i want you to put your focus on the fact that Weapons having little effect isnt a Xenonauts only problem - most of militaristic research focuses on how to effectively transfer energy, not restricted to kinetic, into the target body. Lets first get the defensive definitions out of the way.

Target Body - This is the body you want to transfer energy into. Transfer enough energy and the material of the body will cease to function and transform. This is your goal.
Armour - A protective measure usually in the form of material in close proximity to the targets body. The key to understanding armour is to understand that the function of armour is to disperse the energy intended for the target body over a maximum amount of area. An assault vest doesnt negate bullets - all it does is increasing the area of effect for the impact, transforming a deadly amount of energy for an area into a withstandable amount of energy for the area. The function of ceramic plates against a plasma bolt is to be a material which has very bad thermal energy transfering properties.
Shield - A measure to stop the energy intended for the target body to even reach the armour. Common examples of this are riot shields, missiles which target other missiles, and recently i have also been informed that the german military has implemented lasers which cut and trigger missiles intended for vehicles right before the missile hits the vehicle.

Because of this 3 definitions we usually split the offensive measures into 3 categories.

Anti-Personel Ammunition - The problem of your average bullet could be that it passes through the target body transfering very little energy into it, still having most of its energy after exiting. This kind of ammuniton focuses on transfering as much energy as possible into the target body at all costs. Take a look at the following example:

G2Research.jpeg>>>images?q=tbn:ANd9GcSQxtn5ZxZfhN9rT3nHdYH

For slightly worse aerodynamic this bullet increases its impact area in the moment enough resistance is encountered, transfering most if not all of its energy into the target body. On soft targets this usually leaves behind a fistbig hole.
The drawbacks of this kind of ammunition are usually that they have a shorter range than better aerodynamic models. Also the lethality of this ammunition could be a drawback if you want to do anything else than kill. If this kind of ammunition encounters enough resistance to trigger the impact area widening effect on the target body lethality is mostly guaranteed. This kind of ammunition is also ineffective against armour because it basically does what the armour should be doing in the first place, helping the armour in its use.

Normal Ammunition - Your standard bullet, not very lethal, not very far range, but cheap and your first choice if you want to pierce medium grade armour. Depending on the caliber and the weapon range you get what you pay for.

AP, Armour Piercing Ammunition - The answer to better normal bullets is better armour, and the answer to better armour is armourpiercing bullets. Did you ever hit a wall with your fists, and it hurt ? From the physical side it doesnt really matter if you hit hit a wall, or the wall hits you. If two objects collide and an impact occurs what matters is the relative kinetic energy to each other. You take all of the relative energy and ask "Which object is softer ?", and then transfer most energy on the softer target. The reason why your hand hurts when hitting a wall is usually becaise the wall is a lot harder than your hand, thuse more energy gets transfered into your hand. If you can make your fist hard enough you can hit walls and the walls would get damaged instead.
Armour Piercing rounds focus on decreasing resistance and impact area, in order to transfer as little energy as possible into the armour, so that some remaining energy reaches the target body. The armour piercing rounds make a full circle of where we started, which was trying to get as much energy as possible into the target body, while armour piercing rounds try to decrease resistance and energy transfer into armour in order to increase the chance of armour not stopping all the energy intended for the target body.

Untitled100.png

The downside of armour piercing is that it is less effective against soft targets, and that it usually carries a higher production cost. The upside is that the impact philosophy usually means it can afford a good aerodynamic, and with it a better range.

 

Now ofcourse how you transfer such a system into a game is another question.

If we try to simulate it as close as possible than "damage" for its possible energy transfer into the target body, and "mitigation" for its penetration properties is propably as close as it can get. Mitigation only negating armour and not increasing damage is realistic, since you cant decrease the lost energy to armour to less than zero. Mitigation also negates shred, because shred only applies if armour absrobs damage, which it doesnt if armour gets mitigated.

Shred is also a completely valid battlefield factor. Try to roll up a piece of paper. When you are rolling up a piece of paper you induce energy into it. Afterwards it will try to assume its original state, but depending on the amount of energy you induced it cant quite get back to its original form. Now, in order to get the piece of paper 'almsot' back into its original form you have to induce the same energy - by rolling it up the other way. As far as i am aware armour is only supposed to get punched from one side, and with it will inevitably get closer to a failure as more energy is induced into it. Not quite as much as 10%, but maybe more in the direction of 2% - 3%.

"Damage" "Mitigation" and "Shred" are propably the most realistic concepts put into a military simulation game.

Now you mentioned a problem with Shotguns not being effective against heavily armoured units - well thats the point, or is it ? The realistic approach to a similar problem in the real world would be to design ammunition for each purpose.
If we take an andron with 30 armour as a "haevily" armoured unit as our example.

Anti Personal Ammunition: 30 damage. In total zero damage.
Normal Pellets: 25 damage 10 mitigation. In total 5 damage.
Piercing Rounds: 20 damage and 25 mitigation. 15 total damage (per bullet)

As far as i can see it all you need to have is proper mitigation values balanced against proper armour values. In the above example you can also see that Piercing Rounds against targets with no armour are worse than Anti-Personel Ammunition.

 

Ofcourse this would be if somebody would want to flesh out a diverse ammunition system. If you confine weapon viability to weapons alone ... than you will always end up with a weapon either being a very good anti-personal, normal or piercing weapon.

But if you think of weapons as delivery platforms instead of damage platforms, you could make very interesting weapon-ammunition combinations. This would mean that certain delivery platforms could have certain advantages, but also being able to be used in different scenarios, with less efficiency.

Hm ...

 

 

---

 

 

15 hours ago, Chris said:

Because having entire classes of weapons be completely useless against armour was bad game design (and unpopular with the community)

I agree.

15 hours ago, Chris said:

Problem is, this means that literally any unit can be destroyed by any weapon if you shoot it enough times - and "enough times" was frequently not very many times at all.

Isnt the definition of at least being somewhat useful that you just need more rounds to achieve the same goal ?

15 hours ago, Chris said:

and it means high rate-of-fire weapons like the Ballistic Machinegun were disproportionately effective even against end-game enemies.

less damage and more mitigation would have done wonders in that case. The less damage it has the less armour it can shred.

 

15 hours ago, Chris said:

Now UFO hulls in X2 are destructible, it's even more obvious - the armour shred effect is so strong that even the armoured hull of a UFO can be breached by emptying a dozen pistol shots into it.

Props shouldnt be affected by shred, including UFO walls.

 

15 hours ago, Chris said:

shotguns become almost totally ineffective against Androns again.

more mitigation, less damage.

15 hours ago, Chris said:

Shotguns are not a good choice against an armoured enemy, but they're thus also not completely useless.

So what you are saying is that "this means that literally any unit can be destroyed by any weapon if you shoot it enough times". Wink ;) just joking.

15 hours ago, Chris said:

It's easy to say that the old system works fine if only you just spend enough time trying to balance it, but in practice it's way too simplistic to support weapons and armour that are anything more than straight numeric upgrades over one another.

(Clears throat)

 

Anyway.

We all support you in the journey you want to make <3.

Edited by Charon
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1 hour ago, Chris said:

In X1 an Andron with 30 Armour would be literally invulnerable to a shotgun that did 20x3 damage, but pretty vulnerable to a sniper rifle that did 50 damage, even though those weapons were the same tech level. Because having entire classes of weapons be completely useless against armour was bad game design (and unpopular with the community), we added an armour destruction system where 10% of the damage stopped would be removed from the armour (i.e. shooting 80 Armour with 50 damage leaves 75 Armour).

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:

1 hour ago, Chris said:

Problem is, this means that literally any unit can be destroyed by any weapon if you shoot it enough times - and "enough times" was frequently not very many times at all. This was one of the reasons late game aliens in X1 had to have so much HP bloat, and it means high rate-of-fire weapons like the Ballistic Machinegun were disproportionately effective even against end-game enemies. Now UFO hulls in X2 are destructible, it's even more obvious - the armour shred effect is so strong that even the armoured hull of a UFO can be breached by emptying a dozen pistol shots into it. Of course, you can tone down the armour shred effect ... but then it's not doing what it is supposed to be doing and shotguns become almost totally ineffective against Androns again.

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.

1 hour ago, Chris said:

The new system deals with this much more elegantly. A shotgun has less penetration than a sniper rifle, so against an armoured enemy it might well suffer a 50% damage reduction whereas the sniper rifle has no reduction at all. Shotguns are not a good choice against an armoured enemy, but they're thus also not completely useless. The armour of the UFO hull on the other hand can be set to be so tough that ballistic weapons will never even scratch it. In X1 you can't have both those things at the same time.

Basically it just smooths the hardness / penetration curve out a bit, which gives us a lot more space to differentiate our equipment. It's easy to say that the old system works fine if only you just spend enough time trying to balance it, but in practice it's way too simplistic to support weapons and armour that are anything more than straight numeric upgrades over one another.

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.

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Charon - your ideas make sense in isolation, but if you nerf the damage of a LMG and increase its mitigation, you'll find it does less damage against an unarmoured target than a rifle and suddenly everyone is complaining about how unrealistic the game is. I think that's a good example why a more nuanced system is needed.

Having multiple types of ammo for each weapon with different armour penetration properties would indeed fix the problem, but if adding an extra variable to the armour system is too much complexity for some players then I'm not sure they'd be that happy with your fix either!

Mask - while I get what you're saying, your view is basically that the existing number of variables is fine and the problems will just go away if only I just spend enough time tweaking the numbers. Having spent a great deal of time doing exactly that, my view is that isn't the case. I'm not sure theoretical debate will change either of our minds.

Thanks for the offer of your mod files, but I'm not sure they're what I'm looking for. If your shotguns in your mod are powerful against all but the strongest armour then you're basically invalidating the tech tree at that point. Why research anything more advanced when you can just run up to pretty much anything in the game and blow it in half with the starting shotgun? Similarly if you're talking about most weapons having 100 range in a game where the largest maps are roughly 70x70 it sounds like you're favouring realism over gameplay, which is fine but I think is best confined to mods that people can seek out if they want that in their game.

You may well be right that this system is overly complex, though, and as I said before I'm not afraid to junk my ideas if they're not working out. Maybe we will end up reverting to the X1 system. But we'll give this system a proper test and gather player feedback on it (of which you're welcome to be part of) first.

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Also, just to elaborate on why I think realism isn't too great a guide here - if you worry too much about realism, pretty much everyone ends up with an assault rifle.

Modern soldier squads are generally riflemen with a few underslung grenade launchers, marksmen rifles and light machineguns mixed in. In many armies the DMR is pretty much just the standard assault rifle with better optics, and the LMG is pretty much just the standard assault rifle with a high capacity magazine. Its not a very exciting squad composition unless you're really into rifles.

Realism has its place but interesting gameplay always comes first in my book!

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3 hours ago, Chris said:

but if you nerf the damage of a LMG and increase its mitigation, you'll find it does less damage against an unarmoured target than a rifle and suddenly everyone is complaining about how unrealistic the game is. I think that's a good example why a more nuanced system is needed.

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.

3 hours ago, Chris said:

Mask - while I get what you're saying, your view is basically that the existing number of variables is fine and the problems will just go away if only I just spend enough time tweaking the numbers. Having spent a great deal of time doing exactly that, my view is that isn't the case. I'm not sure theoretical debate will change either of our minds.

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.

3 hours ago, Chris said:

Thanks for the offer of your mod files, but I'm not sure they're what I'm looking for. If your shotguns in your mod are powerful against all but the strongest armour then you're basically invalidating the tech tree at that point. Why research anything more advanced when you can just run up to pretty much anything in the game and blow it in half with the starting shotgun? Similarly if you're talking about most weapons having 100 range in a game where the largest maps are roughly 70x70 it sounds like you're favouring realism over gameplay, which is fine but I think is best confined to mods that people can seek out if they want that in their game.

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.

3 hours ago, Chris said:

Why research anything more advanced when you can just run up to pretty much anything in the game and blow it in half with the starting shotgun?

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.

2 hours ago, Chris said:

Also, just to elaborate on why I think realism isn't too great a guide here - if you worry too much about realism, pretty much everyone ends up with an assault rifle.

Modern soldier squads are generally riflemen with a few underslung grenade launchers, marksmen rifles and light machineguns mixed in. In many armies the DMR is pretty much just the standard assault rifle with better optics, and the LMG is pretty much just the standard assault rifle with a high capacity magazine. Its not a very exciting squad composition unless you're really into rifles.

Realism has its place but interesting gameplay always comes first in my book!

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.

3 hours ago, Chris said:

You may well be right that this system is overly complex, though, and as I said before I'm not afraid to junk my ideas if they're not working out. Maybe we will end up reverting to the X1 system. But we'll give this system a proper test and gather player feedback on it (of which you're welcome to be part of) first.

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.

3 hours ago, Chris said:

Having multiple types of ammo for each weapon with different armour penetration properties would indeed fix the problembut if adding an extra variable to the armour system is too much complexity for some players then I'm not sure they'd be that happy with your fix either!

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.

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Posted (edited)

@MaskI would ask you to stop inquiring on this topic any further.

We know when Chris is dead-set on to trying out something new, any further arguing will only put him into a more and more defensive position - and that when people dont even have a testversion to give him feedback on.

The thing that you have to understand that a game is not only the property of the community, it is also the creative property of the creator. And as the creative creator of something you enjoy making never before seen content, and enjoy taking responsibility for its outcome - in the same way a child enjoys building a jenga tower, and then drive an matchbox automobile through it. They just wanna see what happens, its an important core step of "learning" something. Nobody can tell a child about how the world works - it has to see that for itself. All we can do is to be on standby when it asks for help.
For this reason Goldenhawk Interactive sometimes appears to not listen to the forum, but that is not the case. The discrepancy comes from the time frame in which a suggestion is made, and a working build is released. Sometimes that can literally take months, or half a year, where literally nothing seems to move, but the main thing is it just that it takes time to build a game.

I do understand that most people dont live on this forum, and therefore dont know "when" the best time to give feedback on something is. In this case i would ask to keep the arguments on this topic, and write them out after a reasonable amount of time after a version with these features is released. That is usually the best time to give feedback on.

 

Another word on the initial post on this topic and why it only got 8 replies.

It didnt go over the head of the more experienced users of this forum. But the proposed changes were so bad that they were literally beyond discussion. 80% of the feedback on this system received negative and sparsly worded feedback, but we all know when Goldenhawk Interactive is dead set on trying something out, and we keep our feedback for when the time is right.

At least thats my oppinion and read on the situation.

Edited by Charon
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@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.

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On ‎5‎/‎29‎/‎2020 at 4:38 PM, Max_Caine said:

Trashman, I must confess I have some difficulty believing that you didn't know the thread existed. You see, I can see that on April the 23rd you checked out the Xenonauts 2 features board - which had the Armour discussion thread, which was titled "New Damage/Armor system" - went to the orbital bombardment thread and gave your opinions on  Orbital Bombardment. Are you saying you went to the orbital bombardment thread and didn't once check out the armour thread? If you are, fair enough, but that day when you went to the specific forum on which that thread was advertised would have been your opportunity to give your two cents. 

Max, I don't want to sound confrontaional, but I do not care. I'm telling you as it is, weather you believe it or not is not my concern.

These boards are slow so I generally only drop by 1-2 times a month (or when I'm bored) to see what's new. I have no idea how I missed that discussion. There was nothing to draw my attention to it I guess. Perhaps because the armor thread itself was so inactive.

Either way, you checking my posting history... assuming I'm a liar even tough I have been here from day 1 and never lied nor do I have a reason to lie....you sure aren't earning any trust points from me.

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On ‎5‎/‎29‎/‎2020 at 6:48 PM, Chris said:

Similarly, any armour system where every individual body part has its own individual armour is going to be way too complex when you're managing up to 16 soldiers in your squad, so that's a non-starter too. 

I am going to LOUDLY object to this patiently false statement. There's nothing complex about it. Every turn you are going to be selecting and moving your troops, so you are going to be seeing the armor of every trooper. Not that the detailed armor info is THAT important, since limbs are less likely to get hit to begin with.

It is also a false assumption that a player needs to have ALL the information and that it has to be super-accurate.

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@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.

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I'll also add that turned-based games with too many troops are a slog, and that squad sizes shouldn't be too big. I'll never bring more than 12 troops.

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This is only tangenital to the conversation, but I'd like to suggest people look and comment on this thread about adding item components to creating gear as Chris uses armour as the main example of what item components might do for gear. Armour is one of the first things you're going to upgrade and improve in X2 and armour is more fleshed out beyond just stats and systems - don't forget each suit of armour has modules you can add to it.  

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I think everything that needs to be said here has already been said. This system wasn't particularly difficult to implement and has already been implemented, and I fully intend to test it to see if it's an improvement. If it's not, I'll revert it. Not sure what else you want from me.

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Posted (edited)
On 6/2/2020 at 6:10 AM, TrashMan said:

There's nothing complex about [damage based on what body part is hit].

There's nothing complex about soccer/football either, except physics, which are immensely complex.

Realspace/parts-based damage makes no sense in a game with no realspace accuracy. There's no way to guess how it will work, far more complex than the proposed level system. Doesn't add any depth, only makes things more random until you research them. Only upside is realism, which is not a real upside.

Parts based damage makes a ton of sense in Phoenix Point, because it both has realspace damage and parts that will be wounded for the remainder of the battle and each have their own effects. But that's not simple, it needs a lot of mechanics to work well.

Edited by Bobit

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Before making more suggestions, let us Beta-Testers look at the new System the Devs got brought in. After we could test the Beta 13 with the new Armor-System, there will given a Statement. Therfore all Ideas are not usefull atm. Beta 13 isn´t out yet, so we can´t give a Statement how good or bad the new System is going to be.

You all know the Speech: "To many cooks spoil the broth."

 

 

 

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2 hours ago, Bobit said:

There's nothing complex about soccer/football either, except physics, which are immensely complex.

Realspace/parts-based damage makes no sense in a game with no realspace accuracy. There's no way to guess how it will work, far more complex than the proposed level system. Doesn't add any depth, only makes things more random until you research them. Only upside is realism, which is not a real upside.

Parts based damage makes a ton of sense in Phoenix Point, because it both has realspace damage and parts that will be wounded for the remainder of the battle and each have their own effects. But that's not simple, it needs a lot of mechanics to work well.

Yes there is. There are plenty of other games that had such system, it's simple in how it works.

You either use 3D collision detection to determine which body part is hit (my preference), or a simple probability modifier depending on body part (I.E. - first roll to hit, then if it's a hit roll to determine which body part is hit). So, for example you'd have a 50% chance to hit torso, 10% head, 10% left/right arm and 10% left/right leg.

If you want to go the extra mile you can add the abillitiy to target specific body parts, which would increase the odds of hitting. Fallout had that a million years ago and it's an ancient game. It also had specific body part damage consequences too.

Damage to limbs and body parts can range from bleeding, AP loss, daze/confusion, accuracy loss, blindness, immobilization, inabiltiy to use two-handed weapons (if arm was disabled), etc.

All of these are interesting because they add more variable to the battlefield. Having to drag one your knocked out/immobilized/wounded men into cover, having to switch to pistol because your arm is shot. All of these are interesting and ad more gravitas to the battle.

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Posted (edited)
16 hours ago, TrashMan said:

Damage to limbs and body parts can range from bleeding, AP loss, daze/confusion, accuracy loss, blindness, immobilization, inabiltiy to use two-handed weapons (if arm was disabled), etc. 

Exactly, that's like 10 different random status effects, pretty complex. If you just throw those on a random roll and they just last a turn, that's going to add very little depth and maybe just luck. Random status effects aren't bad, but they should consist of a few distinct categories which change your strategy in interesting ways, like engine or rudder damage on a plane, or retreating.

Quote

All of these are interesting because they add more variable to the battlefield. Having to drag one your knocked out/immobilized/wounded men into cover, having to switch to pistol because your arm is shot. All of these are interesting and ad more gravitas to the battle. 

Complexity usually adds depth. It's just that other kinds of complexity could add more depth. For example instead of working on making this and explaining it to users, they could add variable squadsize/equipment missions or a loot-based research tree that's more of a research web like OpenXCOM mods do.

If you add realspace aiming and mechanics that interact with those status effects, great. But not every game should spend its complexity on that. They have better things to do, and so do their players.

In a way this is kind of the same argument against the Weapon Level system. But to me that one has a specific gameplay purpose, while this one is more "wouldn't it be cool if..."

Edited by Bobit

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Sometimes a simpler system is better as it allows other areas to stand out more.

Also I'm not sure I appreciate Charon's attitude. I for one did NOT like his mod so people who do not appreciate his ideas exist.

Just because he made a submod does not mean he is entitled to lecture the devs on his idea for Xenonauts. If he wants his vision, let him remake his mod instead of putting it into the base game.

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