AP Missile Balancing

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Gazz
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Post by Gazz » Tue, 14. Feb 12, 13:24

Globals.txt:
MAXHULL_TORPEDO;4000; // M7M Torpedos

Defaults:
MAXHULL_MISSILE = SectorBase->SA_GetGlobalParameter(SG_MAXHULL_MISSILE, 5);
MAXHULL_MISSILE_AF = SectorBase->SA_GetGlobalParameter(SG_MAXHULL_MISSILE_AF, MAXHULL_MISSILE);
MAXHULL_MISSILE_KHAAK = SectorBase->SA_GetGlobalParameter(SG_MAXHULL_MISSILE_KHAAK, 200);
MAXHULL_MISSILE_DMBF = SectorBase->SA_GetGlobalParameter(SG_MAXHULL_MISSILE_DMBF, MAXHULL_MISSILE);
MAXHULL_MISSILE_BOMBER = SectorBase->SA_GetGlobalParameter(SG_MAXHULL_MISSILE_BOMBER, 2700);
MAXHULL_MISSILE_LIGHT = SectorBase->SA_GetGlobalParameter(SG_MAXHULL_MISSILE_LIGHT, 50);
MAXHULL_MISSILE_MEDIUM = SectorBase->SA_GetGlobalParameter(SG_MAXHULL_MISSILE_MEDIUM, 90);
MAXHULL_MISSILE_HEAVY = SectorBase->SA_GetGlobalParameter(SG_MAXHULL_MISSILE_HEAVY, 2000);
MAXHULL_TORPEDO = SectorBase->SA_GetGlobalParameter(SG_MAXHULL_TORPEDO, 4000);
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TouchMyNipple
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Post by TouchMyNipple » Tue, 14. Feb 12, 14:27

Couldn't force myself into reading it all yet. Maybe later.

Ideas on some of the missle roles:

Mosqito - counter - like 5-10sec cd and being swarm (if it is possible to do auto targeting on missles). Makes you decide if you launch a counter or can handle the job with drones/turrets.
Maybe replace with (or add) a missle-defence drone (carries 10 mosquitoes as they are, targets missles, maybe fixed lifetime and slow speed so they are not so usable on fighters).

Multi-warhead missles. Not swarm. You fie one missle that splits into multiple explosions upon detonation. Then if a ship is caugt in crossing of many it is most probably dead but if you can make it out of it's range - you could be lucky. In fact it should be dumbfire or almost dumbfire missle with like range of 20-30km and aoe of like 4-8km. Also makes it unsafe to use in highly populated areas. If it is possible to toggle "proximity" fuse - than could be set to 2km to any target shown as hostile. And set safetimer to prevent colose range explosions.

Direct-hit missiles. Not dumbfire as they are but fast high dmg and with dramaticly low turn rate. Those can steer a bit to score the hit but best used in upfront ecounters. High velocity compensates lack of turn rate. Also it will be hard to intercept but easier to dodge. This kind can be usefull for cracking corvetes while flying a fighter.

(insane idea below)
Bomb-like missles. Speed of 30-50m/s range of 1-3 kms. HOLYCARP dmg and aoe. Used only on tiny swift ships. Feel yourself like Luke destroying the deathstar.
Get in a superfast ship.
Fly close to an enemy capital while it is bussy with your fleet.
Drop the package.
Get out before it's too late or become an hero!
...
PROFIT!

bonesbro
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Post by bonesbro » Tue, 14. Feb 12, 18:40

Thanks! I don't see those entries in any of the global.txt files in any of the cats, so I took a guess and got it working. Here's what I did:

1. Extract global.txt from addon\1.cat
2. Open the file in notepad (the X3 editor can't handle it)
3. Changing the "130;/Globalsize" line to "131;/Globalsize" because I'm adding a new line
4. At the end of the file, add "SG_MAXHULL_BOARDINGPOD;100000;"
5. Save and close the file and fire up AP.

Out of curiousity, where did you find those value assignments Gazz? I searched through the other types and through the scripts folder and couldn't find them, and it would be interesting to poke around through that code.

Bobucles
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Post by Bobucles » Tue, 14. Feb 12, 19:08

The most vital attribute for missiles is damage vs. cargo space. That's it. It's that simple.
This ultimately determines how much damage a ship's missile system can dish out. A high quality missile will deal a lot of damage while taking up little space, and a low quality missile takes up lots of space. You can finalize balance through adjusting the ship's own cargo capacity.

From these ratios, you can determine WHICH attributes should increase or decrease this ratio. These are things to consider:

- Bigger missiles are more efficient. Economy of scale.
- Rare missiles have better ratios.
- Agile/fast/anti fighter missiles have bad ratios.
- long range missiles have worse ratios.
- Special M7M missiles have better ratios.
- Special M8 missiles have superb ratios.
- Swarm missiles have worse ratios.
- super tough slow torpedoes have high ratios.

My own design went from ~2K damage:cargo up to ~8K:cargo on the biggest missiles. It's impossible to perfectly get every missile as they cover several orders of magnitude in strength and function.

Don't be hating on missile refire rates. They determine the capacity of a ship's missile defense AND the DPS output of a bomber's main weapons. A bomber with slow refire will space its missiles further apart, and can't simply flatten sectors before jumping out. Spaced out torpedoes will also avoid blowing each other up, improving the power of a barrage. A mosquito missile with 1.5sec delay can only intercept a limited number of missiles.

High refire rates also limit the spam of obvious monsters like the Hammerhead or Wraith. It's a good idea to limit the DPS output of non-dedicated missile ships, as they are built more for lasers than pure missile power. Bigger missiles will necessarily need more damage output to properly handle their targets.

Unfortunately, swarm missiles do throw a lot of things off. Eight projectiles is 8 times harder to deal with on defense, and exceptionally easy to abuse on offense. IMO 3 is a good swarm number, but have yet to successfully implement it. Three times the challenge is still substantial without acting in another league. Spammy missiles can still be implemented with low refire rates and small cargo space.

IMO the bomber class is flawed. Heavy + agile missiles just don't belong on a tiny ship. I took the bomber missile and cut its damage in 1/4(125K), gave it low agility(<2RPM), and high endurance. The missile remains plenty deadly on the field, but isn't the 1-shotting monster it used to be. It still does great against capital ships in general, but won't clear sectors (nor should it). Small ships should dodge these missiles, as shooting them down is difficult.

I gave the M7M torpedo some love. Let the capital ship be a capital ship killer. 600K missiles with superb endurance and efficiency.

It is also a good idea to keep the prices in a similar area. Higher quality missiles should obviously cost more. I erred on the side of availability, preferring cheap missiles that aren't too much hassle to produce. Your tastes may vary.

Do missiles ALWAYS get 1-shotted by the mosquito? It would be nice if torpedoes could survive 2 or 3 hits from them. However, I think the game design doesn't make that possible?

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Gazz
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Post by Gazz » Tue, 14. Feb 12, 21:28

bonesbro wrote:Out of curiousity, where did you find those value assignments Gazz?
I made them up, then they were entered as the defaults.
You can override them in Globals if you want to.
Bobucles wrote:Do missiles ALWAYS get 1-shotted by the mosquito?
Yes, by any missile.


I've also be musing about a "bomber torpedo" that has a high top speed, like 350-400, but abysmal acceleration and turning.

It would start very slow, thus having a relatively small turning radius and be able to align with the target.
As it slowly speeds up, it's turning radius becomes huge so it won't be able to hit anything other than a capital ship.
Basically it's the design of a semi-dumbfire torpedo.
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Bobucles
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Post by Bobucles » Tue, 14. Feb 12, 22:37

I've also be musing about a "bomber torpedo" that has a high top speed, like 350-400, but abysmal acceleration and turning.
It would start very slow, thus having a relatively small turning radius and be able to align with the target.
It's unfortunate that ships don't worry about lining up sights before firing missiles. I've seen lots of missiles spend half a minute trying to face its target, it's not pretty. The slow launch is a good way to give the missile some time to point in the right direction. Such a missile is suitable for long range and incredibly dangerous to use in the mix of things.

If you can make ships "aim" before they shoot heavy torpedoes, that would be best! :D

This may have already been mentioned, but:
- "rockets"
Very short life, very high speed, dumbfire/low agility. Used for direct fire.
Ex: 1500m/s, 0.5 seconds, 5RPM.

expnobody
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Post by expnobody » Wed, 15. Feb 12, 00:17

Gazz wrote:
bonesbro wrote:Out of curiousity, where did you find those value assignments Gazz?
I made them up, then they were entered as the defaults.
You can override them in Globals if you want to.
Bobucles wrote:Do missiles ALWAYS get 1-shotted by the mosquito?
Yes, by any missile.


I've also be musing about a "bomber torpedo" that has a high top speed, like 350-400, but abysmal acceleration and turning.

It would start very slow, thus having a relatively small turning radius and be able to align with the target.
As it slowly speeds up, it's turning radius becomes huge so it won't be able to hit anything other than a capital ship.
Basically it's the design of a semi-dumbfire torpedo.

i love the semi-dumbfire torpedo idea, it is also good to see more agile ship can actually out maneuver torpedo to dodge
summer time..

Dh0ffryn82
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Post by Dh0ffryn82 » Fri, 17. Feb 12, 07:46

okay im just new to the whole X-universe, and only really a player and not a modder, but i try to see things from a dev's/modder's pov, missile barrage is a big issues, but why not just throw a cooldown on them, like some of the lazers they have a fire rate built into them, specificly on th m7m's, eg took an ares, into xenon sector with about 150 heavy hammers, boom there goes xenon base and as many q's till i ran out. can't they just write a cooldown into the m7m's cause they are meant to be turret launchers.

and as for bombers ppl complaining about them not getting through, i do see 1 prob here myself, but it comes from playing an older game (Freespace2) i found the bombers that were npc in that game were well scripted, they had a massive range, and their loadouts seemed hard to kill, so maybe even just some sort of shielding on M8 missiles(eg have them have their own Corvette Cracker) or even make them slightly faster!

there are some nice idea's but they sound like they are looking too deep into it, the idea about tubes is nice, but maybe have a sacrifice system to them, eg more tubes less speed?, eg M8 goes from like 6 tube to 10 but loses 30m/s(or there abouts) of its top speed, that way its slower but more gaurentee of a hit and also another thing bombers are meant to be long range but they aren't that long maybe increase them a bit just to add in a bomb run script that say eg in range, fire 4 missiles, retreat OOCR turn and repeat.

as i said im not a modder and know nothing of how complex it really is, but sometimes its the simple idea that is more easily done! and someone might want to see what i meant about Freespace2 bomber behaviour!
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Post by DrBullwinkle » Fri, 17. Feb 12, 08:12

One of the more difficult issues in trying to balance anything in the game is that the player is inherently unbalancing.

Make bombers more lethal to the player = good.

Give more destructive power (bombers) to the player = bad.

Can we remove the cockpit from bombers?

Can we give different barrage scripts to the enemy NPCs? Allow the enemies to fire more freely, while slowing down the player's bombers? Allow the player only a single volley, while enemies can fire several?

Bobucles
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Post by Bobucles » Fri, 17. Feb 12, 14:39

One of the more difficult issues in trying to balance anything in the game is that the player is inherently unbalancing.
That's always going to be unavoidable. The balance of the universe can't be determined by one ship, especially in X3 where the player could be in ANY ship. It's better to have a balanced combat model between the various ships FIRST.

You can add difficulty by changing enemy behavior and resources. After all quantity has a quality all its own! The problems start cropping up when one ship can kill fleets a thousand times its own value all on its own due entirely to missiles.

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Post by DrBullwinkle » Fri, 17. Feb 12, 22:42

Bobucles wrote:The balance of the universe can't be determined by one ship
While I agree with some of your thoughts about balance equations, I was trying to make a different point about the player.

It is not the *ship* (or weapon) that needs to be balanced so much as the *player* that needs to be balanced.

So I was trying to suggest a more direct approach: Make balancing changes that nerf the player and favor enemy NPCs.

(The specific example of bombers comes up only because they are one of the few real threats to the player. Most other ships are too easy, unless they are in vastly superior number.)

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Post by Bobucles » Sat, 18. Feb 12, 02:03

It is not the *ship* (or weapon) that needs to be balanced so much as the *player* that needs to be balanced.
No. The game is based around a sandbox universe. When 2 fleets engage, they NEED to do so with SOME kind of ship balance in mind. This determines what is necessary to have a well rounded fleet and how effective ships are against each other.

The player is always going to be an outlier. Players have access to extra gear, options, and abilities that the AI can not use in this game. By definition that means the player ship will be better no matter what. Because of that, you can not make a player killing ship that is balanced in line with the rest of the game. If it does okay against most things, players will wreck it. If it wrecks everything and is terrifically OP, players naturally have to try harder against it.

This is exactly what happens in game with missile ships. Bombers, in a nutshell, destroy eeeeeeeeeeeverything. They are inexpensive ships that jump in, unleash 150GJ+ of payload (Terran ships can store 300GJ+ of payload!), and watch the sector burn completely to the ground. Is it ANY surprise that EVERY SINGLE SHIP IN THE UNIVERSE- players included- are going to have trouble against that?
Spoiler
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It shouldn't be.
So no. Weapons and ships must be designed in such a way that there is SOME bit of sanity between them. It doesn't have to be perfect; there will always be some special item that is cheap, effective, easy to use, and thus very good. But fleets can't work if these... super weapons can incinerate it all for pennies on the dollar.

Because that's what missile ships are. Super weapons. And their missiles are what make it possible.

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Post by Dh0ffryn82 » Sat, 18. Feb 12, 02:37

a prime example of what happens when npc is more powerful then player, i think it was Dark Reign(or something like that), that even using some cheats the game couldn't be beaten, so they had to release a nerf for it, cause no one was buying it, so making npc's>players=bad games! equation needs to be npc=(or <)player :wink:
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Post by DrBullwinkle » Sat, 18. Feb 12, 02:53

Dh0ffryn82 wrote:equation needs to be npc=(or <)player
The exact balance depends on the player. A way to adjust difficulty levels is ideal, even if it means loading a different script or mod to do it.

For example, I use Ulfius's Hard Mode or Xtreme Mode jobs mod depending on my mood. Xtreme mode has better fights, but they repeat so frequently that I cannot do anything else other than fight. Hard Mode is less challenging, but gives me time to play other parts of the game.

I have Hard Mode installed always and use the Plugin Manager to turn Xtreme mode on or off (installed or uninstalled).

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Post by Shimrod » Tue, 21. Feb 12, 02:48

Following on from my earlier reference to the HW2 Complex mod, I came across a video from the latest release that was both entertaining and shows something of the missile mechanics.

Again, what appeals to me about the HW2 missile system was it was entirely automatic. Though iirc from the previous version of Complex, the big nukes had to be manually fired and had delays and build costs.
http://www.moddb.com/mods/homeworld-2-c ... x-8-series

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