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Ishantil

Energy Weapon Analysis

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I took a hard look at the numbers here in the game, and I decided to do some analysis on them. I decided to use the total energy output of a energy weapon battery like this:

Battery Power = Range * Damage * Projectiles * ShotsPerMag

Legend:

Range=distance energy is delivered

Damage=intensity of energy delivered

Projectiles=number of times energy is delivered

Shots/Mag=number of times the battery can be used.

Mitigation=amount of armor the shots ignored (for reference only)

Battery Power=the total amount of energy delivered by the magazine (use the imaginary unit of your choice)

Efficiency=percentage of the weapon's battery power measured against the precision weapon's battery power

Here are the original numbers with my formula added:

[TABLE]

[TR]

[TD]Weapon[/TD]

[TD]Range[/TD]

[TD]Damage[/TD]

[TD]Projectiles[/TD]

[TD]Shots/Mag[/TD]

[TD]Mitigation[/TD]

[TD]Battery Power[/TD]

[TD]Efficiency[/TD]

[/TR]

[TR]

[TD]Laser pistol[/TD]

[TD]16[/TD]

[TD]30[/TD]

[TD]1[/TD]

[TD]6[/TD]

[TD]0[/TD]

[TD]2880[/TD]

[TD]20.00%[/TD]

[/TR]

[TR]

[TD]Laser carbine[/TD]

[TD]24[/TD]

[TD]30[/TD]

[TD]3[/TD]

[TD]6[/TD]

[TD]0[/TD]

[TD]12960[/TD]

[TD]90.00%[/TD]

[/TR]

[TR]

[TD]Laser rifle[/TD]

[TD]32[/TD]

[TD]45[/TD]

[TD]1[/TD]

[TD]9[/TD]

[TD]15[/TD]

[TD]12960[/TD]

[TD]90.00%[/TD]

[/TR]

[TR]

[TD]Precision laser

[/TD]

[TD]48[/TD]

[TD]75[/TD]

[TD]1[/TD]

[TD]4[/TD]

[TD]30[/TD]

[TD]14400[/TD]

[TD]100.00%[/TD]

[/TR]

[TR]

[TD]Scatter laser[/TD]

[TD]32[/TD]

[TD]53[/TD]

[TD]5[/TD]

[TD]3[/TD]

[TD]15[/TD]

[TD]25440[/TD]

[TD]176.67%[/TD]

[/TR]

[TR]

[TD][/TD]

[TD][/TD]

[TD][/TD]

[TD][/TD]

[TD][/TD]

[TD][/TD]

[TD][/TD]

[TD][/TD]

[/TR]

[TR]

[TD]Plasma pistol[/TD]

[TD]16[/TD]

[TD]45[/TD]

[TD]1[/TD]

[TD]6[/TD]

[TD]0[/TD]

[TD]4320[/TD]

[TD]19.91%[/TD]

[/TR]

[TR]

[TD]Plasma carbine[/TD]

[TD]24[/TD]

[TD]45[/TD]

[TD]3[/TD]

[TD]6[/TD]

[TD]0[/TD]

[TD]19440[/TD]

[TD]89.60%[/TD]

[/TR]

[TR]

[TD]Plasma rifle[/TD]

[TD]32[/TD]

[TD]70[/TD]

[TD]1[/TD]

[TD]9[/TD]

[TD]23[/TD]

[TD]20160[/TD]

[TD]92.92%[/TD]

[/TR]

[TR]

[TD]Plasma precision[/TD]

[TD]48[/TD]

[TD]113[/TD]

[TD]1[/TD]

[TD]4[/TD]

[TD]45[/TD]

[TD]21696[/TD]

[TD]100.00%[/TD]

[/TR]

[TR]

[TD]Plasma caster[/TD]

[TD]32[/TD]

[TD]80[/TD]

[TD]5[/TD]

[TD]3[/TD]

[TD]23[/TD]

[TD]38400[/TD]

[TD]176.99%[/TD]

[/TR]

[/TABLE]

From the analysis, you can see that the pistol weapons are woefully under powered based on the fact that they use the same energy supply that the rifle does. Additionally, the multi-shot weapons deliver almost twice as much energy as they should.

I would adjust the numbers like this:

[TABLE]

[TR]

[TD]Weapon

[/TD]

[TD]Range[/TD]

[TD]Damage[/TD]

[TD]Projectiles[/TD]

[TD]Shots/Mag[/TD]

[TD]Mitigation[/TD]

[TD]Battery Power[/TD]

[TD]Efficiency[/TD]

[/TR]

[TR]

[TD]Laser pistol[/TD]

[TD]20[/TD]

[TD]30[/TD]

[TD]1[/TD]

[TD]15[/TD]

[TD]0[/TD]

[TD]9000[/TD]

[TD]62.50%[/TD]

[/TR]

[TR]

[TD]Laser carbine[/TD]

[TD]24[/TD]

[TD]20[/TD]

[TD]5[/TD]

[TD]6[/TD]

[TD]0[/TD]

[TD]14400[/TD]

[TD]100.00%[/TD]

[/TR]

[TR]

[TD]Laser rifle[/TD]

[TD]32[/TD]

[TD]45[/TD]

[TD]1[/TD]

[TD]10[/TD]

[TD]15[/TD]

[TD]14400[/TD]

[TD]100.00%[/TD]

[/TR]

[TR]

[TD]Precision laser

[/TD]

[TD]48[/TD]

[TD]75[/TD]

[TD]1[/TD]

[TD]4[/TD]

[TD]30[/TD]

[TD]14400[/TD]

[TD]100.00%[/TD]

[/TR]

[TR]

[TD]Scatter laser[/TD]

[TD]30[/TD]

[TD]48[/TD]

[TD]5[/TD]

[TD]4[/TD]

[TD]15[/TD]

[TD]28800[/TD]

[TD]200.00%[/TD]

[/TR]

[TR]

[TD][/TD]

[TD][/TD]

[TD][/TD]

[TD][/TD]

[TD][/TD]

[TD][/TD]

[TD][/TD]

[TD][/TD]

[/TR]

[TR]

[TD]Plasma pistol[/TD]

[TD]20[/TD]

[TD]45[/TD]

[TD]1[/TD]

[TD]15[/TD]

[TD]0[/TD]

[TD]13500[/TD]

[TD]62.22%[/TD]

[/TR]

[TR]

[TD]Plasma carbine[/TD]

[TD]24[/TD]

[TD]30[/TD]

[TD]5[/TD]

[TD]6[/TD]

[TD]0[/TD]

[TD]21600[/TD]

[TD]99.56%[/TD]

[/TR]

[TR]

[TD]Plasma rifle[/TD]

[TD]32[/TD]

[TD]68[/TD]

[TD]1[/TD]

[TD]10[/TD]

[TD]23[/TD]

[TD]21760[/TD]

[TD]100.29%[/TD]

[/TR]

[TR]

[TD]Precision plasma

[/TD]

[TD]48[/TD]

[TD]113[/TD]

[TD]1[/TD]

[TD]4[/TD]

[TD]45[/TD]

[TD]21696[/TD]

[TD]100.00%[/TD]

[/TR]

[TR]

[TD]Plasma caster[/TD]

[TD]30[/TD]

[TD]73[/TD]

[TD]5[/TD]

[TD]4[/TD]

[TD]23[/TD]

[TD]43800[/TD]

[TD]201.88%[/TD]

[/TR]

[/TABLE]

Pistols:

In order to make the pistols even remotely explainable, I had to triple the amount of energy they deliver. This meant increasing the range to 20 tiles and increasing the number of shots per magazine to 15. The pistols are now roughly 38% inefficient. This can be explained by their small size (as noted in the alien plasma pistol entry).

Carbines:

The carbines have been adjusted to 5 shots per blast, but the damage has been reduced to compensate. As you can see, these numbers work out rather nicely. The carbines total damage output has increased 11%.

Rifles:

The laser rifle fit perfectly in place after adjusting the number of shots per magazine to 10. In the case of the plasma rifle, I adjusted the shots per magazine to 10 and reduced the damage by two points.

Precision:

These weapons are the baseline for each era, and thus remain the same as the original.

Heavy:

The two "machine gun" weapons need double-strength magazines to make any sense. I adjusted the range down slightly to 30 tiles. The damage has been reduced roughly 10% but the number of shots per magazine has increased to 4. Thus, each double-strength magazine delivers 20 shots for four 5 round bursts).

Notes:

1. The overall trend is that the human plasma weapons deliver about 50% more energy to the target.

2. This means either that the energy delivery system of the plasma weapons is either more efficient, the batteries are better, or some combination.

3. Assuming half of the efficiency comes from better batteries, when plasma weapons come out you should see laser batteries become roughly 25% more efficient.

4. The double strength magazines would mean a battery that takes up 2x1 in the inventory.

Edited by Ishantil
typos

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I don't really think range should be multiplied into the equation that way. I would preferably look at just a simple damage/magazine ratio for each of the weapons.

Laser pistol: 30 damage / 6 shots = 180 dmg/mag

Laser carbine: 30 damage / 18* shots = 540 dmg/mag

Laser rifle: 45 damage / 9 shots = 405 dmg/mag

Laser sniper: 75 damage / 4 shots = 300 dmg/mag

Laser scatter: 53 damage / 15* shots = 795 dmg/mag

Plasma pistol: 45 damage / 6 shots = 270 dmg/mag

Plasma carbine: 45 damage / 18* shots = 810 dmg/mag

Plasma rifle: 70 damage / 9 shots = 630 dmg/mag

Plasma sniper: 113 damage / 4 shots = 452 dmg/mag

Plasma scatter: 80 damage / 15* shots = 1200 dmg/mag

The results are similar as expected but I think damage per magazine is a bit more of a useful metric than battery power. I wholeheartedly agree that pistols are woefully underpowered; the same magazine plugged into a scatter plasma has more than 4x the damage output!

However I disagree on the solution. A simple buff to 12 shots for each pistol magazine would be sufficient.

laser pistol with 12 shots = 360 dmg/mag

plasma pistol with 12 shots = 540 dmg/mag

As you can see these values align with the ballistic tendencies for pistols to have more ammunition, and the later technologies having overall less shots per magazine, while still keeping them at a reasonable overall strength.

The heavy weapons requiring larger (or multiple) batteries I like. Otherwise IMO just buff the number of shots per pistol up to 12.

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Ishantil: Shouldn't you include TU/AP costs in the comparison for it to make proper sense?

Or are we talking ralism rather than game balance?

Edit: why the pistols are so underpowered in comparison could possibly be explained by sacrificing efficiency in energy conversion to make it into a pistol format that is lighter and easier to carry and handle.

Edited by Gorlom

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Ishantil: Shouldn't you include TU/AP costs in the comparison for it to make proper sense?

Or are we talking ralism rather than game balance?

Edit: why the pistols are so underpowered in comparison could possibly be explained by sacrificing efficiency in energy conversion to make it into a pistol format that is lighter and easier to carry and handle.

Yeah, it's like how if you hooked up a car battery to a refrigerator, it'd last longer than if you hooked it up to a cell phone or TV remote... on account of... uh, energy conversion and, um... smaller and lighter. I guess.

Oh wait, that makes absolutely no sense.

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Yeah, it's like how if you hooked up a car battery to a refrigerator, it'd last longer than if you hooked it up to a cell phone or TV remote... on account of... uh, energy conversion and, um... smaller and lighter. I guess.

Oh wait, that makes absolutely no sense.

I was actually just thinking of the damage output per shot, not per mag/battery :P

But if you assume that the bigger bulkier weapon can focus the laser better giving better output then it needs to draw less energy from the battery to cause damage right? if it has less focus /efficiency in energy conversion it needs to draw more energy to cause the same damage... right?

Well it was just an idea.... and I can conceed that I might have been thinking about it incorrectly.

But the analogy to refrigerators and cellphones/tv remotes is silly. It has nothing to do with what I was talking about. apples and oranges etc.

Regardless I still think that AP/TUs need to be considered. Mostly because I consider gameplay > realism, but I understand there might be others that feel the opositte or this topic might not be about gameplay at all and just theorising realism for the fun of it?

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I'm prety cool that the way it is now, the sniper riflle is the only one at 100%, wich makes a certain sense because it's a "precision" riffle, I would just increase the carbine with one more shot at current damage to raise it above 100% like the scatter HMGs which use brut force, and can do that much damage usually at point blank.

edit: I would love it if the magazine physical sizes could be larger for more powerful guns in inventory, but right now it seems to be hardcoded?

Edited by smoitessier

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I was analyzing the battery output, not how long it takes to use the object in question. As far as I know, the weaponry TU costs are the same for all of each kind of weapon. I haven't really taken a hard look at those (as they did not factor into what I was interested in).

Range absolutely should be factored into this equation. How far you can deliver the energy to the target directly factors in to how much output a laser needs to be able to produce versus the amount of thermal blooming and other atmospheric interference.

As for the magazine sizes, they are handled inside weapons.gc, as far as I know, you can specify these values. I haven't taken a hard look at it though. I'm sort of planning on a mod based on this information. But I'm not sure if it should be Yet Another Weapons Balance Mod.

Edited by Ishantil

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To change magazine sizes, you need to change it in both "weapons" files. The weapons_gc change will take govern mag size after you reload, the weapons file will set your initial capacity in the loading screen, and how much ammo your soldier has in the first magazine loaded when he drops onto the battlescape. For example, if you only change the weapons_gc file, and set the ballistic assault rifle to have 30-round magazines, when your soldier lands on the battlefield, the mag loaded in the weapon when he steps off the Chinook will still have 20 rounds in it. You can immediately reload right there and have 30, though, but you're wasting a mag. To do it properly, you need to edit the capacity in both files.

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The inventory size (as well as the picture) is governed in the weapons.xml file, and the actual reload effects are covered in weapons_gc.xml, if memory serves.

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The inventory size (as well as the picture) is governed in the weapons.xml file, and the actual reload effects are covered in weapons_gc.xml, if memory serves.

That's correct; that said, the weapon's initial ammo load is handled in weapons.xml as well; if you set the ballistic assault rifle's ammo to say, 200 there? When your soldier lands, he'll have 200 rounds in his magazine. Reloading will give him a 20-round magazine.

This confused me for a while; I thought my change in the gc file hadn't done anything, but then when I reloaded, my M240 had 100 rounds. "Something worked. Why didn't the belt he had when he landed have 100 rounds?"

Edited by EchoFourDelta

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I was analyzing the battery output, not how long it takes to use the object in question. As far as I know, the weaponry TU costs are the same for all of each kind of weapon. I haven't really taken a hard look at those (as they did not factor into what I was interested in).

Ok so this is purely for lore/realism purposes and does not have anything to do with suggesting gameplay balance changes?

I was confused by the line

I would adjust the numbers like this:

But I realize this doesn't neccesserely mean what I thought/assumed it to mean. I inferred too much.

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Indeed, I was attempting to unify the output of the weaponry based on the fact that they all use the same energy supply, rather than alter the game balance. All for the sake of what I consider to be a more realistic approach.

The balance tweaks in here mostly even out. And there purpose was to stay inline with the overall output of the weaponry. Mainly, the damage output from shotguns went up 11% and the damage output from multi-shot weapons when down about 10%.

I will likely include these changes in a mod that I'll build when I have enough free time. I'm hoping to collaborate with some others, but there seems to be several different intents with the various mods.

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Pretty cool and informative analysis, Ishantil. Only thing that throws it off, and this has been mentioned before, is the pistol TU's to fire not matching up with the others.

With the others, you can use a 40TU shot in the assumptions, with the pistols you would have to assume 2x shots to match TU's...but then it gets fun with figuring out which accuracy to assume as well.

I would love to try a mod with these changes though!

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I'm glad you liked it and I welcome your feedback. :)

I'm not sure why the TU's keep coming up. I was looking primarily on whether the energy battery numbers made any sense. The answer to that question is "sometimes".

The amount of time to bring a weapon up to target and aim properly varies quite a bit depending on what weapon you have, the distance, and the size and movement of the target. A pistol should be pretty easy to move around, but inaccurate at range. The general feeling is that reacquiring a target with a pistol is relatively easy, thus, low in TUs.

Nevertheless, this has very little to do with the balance of the weapons themselves, which was the focus.

Why do you feel that the TUs for the pistol (which I do not know offhand) throws the balance?

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Because you can fire off a pistol much more cheaply than other weapons in regard to the accuracy you get. Will it do a lot of damage to be worth it?...eh.

I have had a hard time justifying pistol usage in the last few patches.

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So my intent is to align them better with the rest of the weapons. Thus an increase of range (4 tiles) and an in crease of shots per magazine (from 6 to 15).

The original pistol has 15 shots. So this would be an advantage that energy weapons bring to the table.

The way I see it is that they would be more useful (longer range) and that having a pistol and two clips would be a perfectly reasonable sidearm for say, a heavy weapons guy.

Thoughts?

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Once the game gets past ballistics into laser, I honestly never use pistols on machinegunners or snipers. With machinegunners= they tend to skill up fast so anything that gets close is screwed. Snipers= usually have them just behind a rifle or machinegunner so N/A.

For me, they mostly need to be balanced for use w/ a shield. Increased magazine sizes for energy pistols would help a lot in that department, especially if they're using armor too.

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Well, one of the things about Xenonauts (or X-COM) is that you are free to play how you want. I use a mixed arms unit.

2xAssault (Shotgun, explosives, stun baton)

1xSniper (Sniper Rifle)

1xRocket (Rocket launcher, 5x Alenium Rocket)

1xHeavy (machinegun)

4xRifleman (rifle, grenades)

However, I have never once fired a pistol. Mainly because the aren't worth having. Now, I think they're worth having. Especially for a rocket guy who is out of ammunition in an Alien base.

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I use pistols for my shield bearers. My snipers have shotguns in their packs, so no need for pistols there. My RL and MG both have pistols for those special moments. ;)

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I use pistols in two roles: sniper and assault (shield). The pistol is the only ranged weapon that lets you hurl grenades quickly (~20 TU's) and is the only ranged weapon usable with shields.

Range absolutely should be factored into this equation. How far you can deliver the energy to the target directly factors in to how much output a laser needs to be able to produce versus the amount of thermal blooming and other atmospheric interference.

I meant that it shouldn't be multiplied directly to everything else. Range isn't all about the amount of energy you put into a shot -- yes it is a factor, but the special optics and the quality of manufacturing of the weapon I would imagine have a much greater effect, independent of battery power. An analogy would be a spud gun and the air pressure -- more pressure doesn't equate to more range after a certain point. In your equation a gun with half the range of another one would be able to fire two, full strength shots for every one of the longer ranged gun - atmospheric interference is *not* that strong.

Besides, the pistol is not meant to be a long range weapon. I don't like giving it that extra range. It is most effective in close combat, where you can fire off lots of shots at close enemies very quickly. It seems silly to give it lots of extra range -- that is what rifles are for.

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I can sort of see the point of your argument, even though I don't really agree.

I'm not exactly sure what you mean by your analogy. The expansion of gas causes the projectile to travel down the barrel. The amount of energy imparted from the expanding gases is a direct factor of range (how much energy is imparted into the projectile). Air friction is actually the limiting factor beyond a certain speed. Railguns and high speed aircraft have a problem with this.

In the case of energy weapons, the amount of energy imparted into the beam is a direct factor. Blooming or the dissipation of energy into the surrounding atmosphere, is a major issue to overcome in laser applications.

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Ish, I haven't done any research to back this up, but realistically, I'm fairly sure given two identical lasers one low powered and one high powered the % of energy lost in the atmosphere over a defined distance would be the same. At least that's what my scientific intution tells me. So, if that is true, the effective range for all lasers would be mostly determined by the optics, stabilization, and duration of the pulse. Obviously a pistol isn't going to stay on target as well as a rifle. That might not be an issue if the pulse is short enough, but it would be a BIG issue if was longer. Also, at ranges the Xenonauts fight at I'm not sure the atmosphere would be a big factor.

Edited by StellarRat

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From Wikipedia: "Laser beams begin to cause plasma breakdown in the atmosphere at energy densities of around one megajoule per cubic centimetre. This effect, called "blooming," causes the laser to defocus and disperse energy into the surrounding air. Blooming can be more severe if there is fog, smoke, or dust in the air."

As I read that, basically the more energy you put into it (joules), the worse it is. The amount of energy it takes to delivery a high energy beam versus a low energy isn't free. The higher the intensity, the worse the dissipation effect is.

Granted, this isn't intended to be a scientific equation. I found it to be the easiest way to calculate the total energy of a battery, given what I have to work with.

If anyone has suggestions as to how to better take the range into account I welcome them. But I'd like to hear some reasoning to back it up.

Edited by Ishantil

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