Acceleration, physics, and other ship enhancements/rebalance

Development directions, tasks, and features being actively implemented or pursued by the development team.

Re: Acceleration, physics, and other ship enhancements/rebal

Postby Deus Siddis » Fri Nov 29, 2013 1:28 am

klauss wrote:I'm seeing the following missing upgrades in the logs:
...
And I notice, looking at the upgrade screen, that they've moved. What should I replace them with?


Bah, I had thought ship_upgrades.py didn't deal with weapons.

Basically all weapons are under upgrades/Weapons/Accelerators and all ammunition is under upgrades/Weapons/Ammunition (except alien munitions, atm). I will take a closer look at ship_upgrades tomorrow, it should be an easy fix.

BTW: problem with replacing Robin.tutorial with Robin, is that it's rather easy to kill oswald now. Are you too attached to the idea of removing Robin.tutorial? (cuz it seems like a sensible reason to keep it)


Nah, he can always get a stronger non-variant ship than a Robin, a Lancelot or Admonisher or such.

But do we really want him to be durable? He isn't likely to get attacked for the brief time he is around, except by a player seeking relief from an unprovoked tutorial. :wink:
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Re: Acceleration, physics, and other ship enhancements/rebal

Postby klauss » Fri Nov 29, 2013 11:21 am

Deus Siddis wrote:
BTW: problem with replacing Robin.tutorial with Robin, is that it's rather easy to kill oswald now. Are you too attached to the idea of removing Robin.tutorial? (cuz it seems like a sensible reason to keep it)


Nah, he can always get a stronger non-variant ship than a Robin, a Lancelot or Admonisher or such.

But do we really want him to be durable? He isn't likely to get attacked for the brief time he is around, except by a player seeking relief from an unprovoked tutorial. :wink:


The problem is, he keeps speaking. Which is odd. Not even with a ghostly voice.

It's either making him almost-immortal, as Robin.tutorial is, or making quest_tutorial.py handle the case when he dies.

It could be done with an upgrade, but making sure the upgrade doesn't appear on the upgrade computer, I believe, is a tad harder than it is to add a Robin.tutorial that can't be bought. Though I'm not 100% sure. We could try a hidden upgrade.
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Re: Acceleration, physics, and other ship enhancements/rebal

Postby Deus Siddis » Fri Nov 29, 2013 2:17 pm

klauss wrote:...or making quest_tutorial.py handle the case when he dies.


This would be the proper way, methinks.

Looks like Execute() is the quest's update function and its last if-block handles termination:

Code: Select all
if (self.stage==99 and VS.GetGameTime()>self.timer):
    self.drone.PrimeOrders()
    self.playernum = -1
    self.name = "quest_tutorial"
    self.removeQuest()
    self.stage += 1 # don't enter this loop anymore
    return 0


So adding another if statement that checks if oswald's ship has been destroyed and then does the same stuff should (in theory) take care of oswald's ghost:

Code: Select all
def Execute (self):
    if self.drone.isNull():
        self.playernum = -1
        self.name = "quest_tutorial"
        self.removeQuest()
        self.stage += 1 # don't enter this loop anymore
        return 0
...


I will test this later...
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Re: Acceleration, physics, and other ship enhancements/rebal

Postby Deus Siddis » Fri Nov 29, 2013 11:26 pm

Here are my fixes for both ship_upgrades.py and quest_tutorial.py:

fixes.zip
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Re: Acceleration, physics, and other ship enhancements/rebal

Postby klauss » Sun Dec 01, 2013 1:22 pm

Ok for quest_tutorial, but the changes to ship_upgrades breaks difficulty-based enemy weapon loadouts.

Why not reinstate the heavy/medium/light subcategories? It makes sense, especially since they restrict what you can mount on your mountpoints.
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Re: Acceleration, physics, and other ship enhancements/rebal

Postby Deus Siddis » Sun Dec 01, 2013 3:21 pm

klauss wrote:the changes to ship_upgrades breaks difficulty-based enemy weapon loadouts.


It is a clumsy and largely unused way to adjust difficulty.

The size limitation of a weapon is part of how you control ship-versus-ship balance. Using it to also adjust difficulty interferes with that balance.
For example, say a light interceptor can only mount light weapons while a heavy interceptor mounts medium or light weapons, but the light interceptor has various mobility advantages that make them equals. Then when the difficulty is adjusted downwards the light interceptor is unaffected because it already mounts the lightest weapons available, while the heavy interceptor loses its one advantage by being forced to use light weapons.

Also, most of the ships the game currently spawns are static load out, especially the deadly military ships, so removing this feature makes little difference to the difficulty variability from how it is now.

Why not reinstate the heavy/medium/light subcategories? It makes sense, especially since they restrict what you can mount on your mountpoints.


There's various reasons why these categories are problematic in my opinion:

1) It is redundant. Weapon sizes are defined independently in weapons_list.xml.
2) It is a click-fest. Opening sub-categories and sub-categories of weapons that only contain a few items. And the interface greys-out weapons you cannot mount anyway.
3) Adding/changing weapon availability is a serious pain because of the number of station types times the number of weapon (and ammo) sub-categories.
4) Many more categories would be needed to fit all sizes of units and their turrets, capitals (and stations) in particular.
5) There's a lot more to weapons than hard point size.
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Re: Acceleration, physics, and other ship enhancements/rebal

Postby klauss » Sun Dec 01, 2013 8:01 pm

Deus Siddis wrote:
Why not reinstate the heavy/medium/light subcategories? It makes sense, especially since they restrict what you can mount on your mountpoints.


There's various reasons why these categories are problematic in my opinion:

1) It is redundant. Weapon sizes are defined independently in weapons_list.xml.
2) It is a click-fest. Opening sub-categories and sub-categories of weapons that only contain a few items. And the interface greys-out weapons you cannot mount anyway.
3) Adding/changing weapon availability is a serious pain because of the number of station types times the number of weapon (and ammo) sub-categories.


I don't think any of those are worthy causes to scrap the subsections.

Click-fest? One extra click isn't a big deal, and it's informative (you see it's a heavy gun without having to read the very verbose weapon info).

Redundant? Maybe, but it doesn't take much to sync them up.

Changing availability is hard, but only because the separation gives you freedom. The freedom to manipulate prices differently for the various weapon categories. I think this is one of the more compelling reasons to keep them.

Deus Siddis wrote:4) Many more categories would be needed to fit all sizes of units and their turrets, capitals (and stations) in particular.
5) There's a lot more to weapons than hard point size.


However, these two are a good point. Indeed, subcategories alone are a poor summarization of weapon classes, or upgrades in general. They are indeed part of several classifications depending on what you're interested in.

And this also applies to the economy. You might want to manipulate prices based on size at some point, and based on firepower at some other. Or race at some other.

So yeah, this needs more thought.

However, I do not think removing all classification is a good thing, and breaking behavior we don't know how to replace yet isn't either.

With that in mind, I grepped for Heavy/Light/Medium on the csv (because there's that forbidden upgrades and cargo imports thingy), and I got:

Code: Select all
installations.csv:upgrades/Weapons/Beam_Arrays_Heavy
installations.csv:upgrades/Weapons/Beam_Arrays_Light
installations.csv:upgrades/Weapons/Beam_Arrays_Medium
installations.csv:upgrades/Weapons/Mounted_Guns_Heavy
installations.csv:upgrades/Weapons/Mounted_Guns_Light
installations.csv:upgrades/Weapons/Mounted_Guns_Medium
vessels.csv:upgrades/Weapons/Beam_Arrays_Heavy
vessels.csv:upgrades/Weapons/Beam_Arrays_Light
vessels.csv:upgrades/Weapons/Beam_Arrays_Medium
vessels.csv:upgrades/Weapons/Mounted_Guns_Heavy
vessels.csv:upgrades/Weapons/Mounted_Guns_Light
vessels.csv:upgrades/Weapons/Mounted_Guns_Medium
weapons.csv:HeavyFlak
weapons.csv:HeavyIonBeam
weapons.csv:"Heavy_Ion_Beam__upgrades","Heavy
weapons.csv:HeavyTractor
weapons.csv:"Ion_Beam__upgrades","Light


That needs fixing if we remove the categories.
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Re: Acceleration, physics, and other ship enhancements/rebal

Postby TBeholder » Sun Dec 01, 2013 8:58 pm

klauss wrote:Changing availability is hard, but only because the separation gives you freedom. The freedom to manipulate prices differently for the various weapon categories. I think this is one of the more compelling reasons to keep them.
Right, but what availability and prices have to do with mount sizes? For capship weapons it's sort of a good idea, but L-M-H categories were overdue for overhaul, IMO. It would make more sense if e.g. Forsaken would always get relatively lower-tech mass drivers and particle beam weapons, less often lasers, and only rarely disruptors for the same mount.
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Re: Acceleration, physics, and other ship enhancements/rebal

Postby klauss » Sun Dec 01, 2013 10:45 pm

TBeholder wrote:
klauss wrote:Changing availability is hard, but only because the separation gives you freedom. The freedom to manipulate prices differently for the various weapon categories. I think this is one of the more compelling reasons to keep them.
Right, but what availability and prices have to do with mount sizes? For capship weapons it's sort of a good idea, but L-M-H categories were overdue for overhaul, IMO. It would make more sense if e.g. Forsaken would always get relatively lower-tech mass drivers and particle beam weapons, less often lasers, and only rarely disruptors for the same mount.


Yes, indeed.

Then categorize over that?
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Re: Acceleration, physics, and other ship enhancements/rebal

Postby TBeholder » Sun Dec 01, 2013 11:37 pm

So the right question is how to name the categories... for now, basic-advanced-somethingelse will do.
The correct solution would be not to lump the displayed group and optional economical groups into single cargo category.
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Re: Acceleration, physics, and other ship enhancements/rebal

Postby klauss » Mon Dec 02, 2013 7:11 am

Yes, I was thinking, python scripts can query CSV columns AFAIK. And if they can't, they ought to be able to ;)

So, economic group could be a separate column in MPL.

For now, basic, intermediate and advanced should do (like with scopes).
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Re: Acceleration, physics, and other ship enhancements/rebal

Postby Deus Siddis » Mon Dec 02, 2013 12:40 pm

klauss wrote:However, I do not think removing all classification is a good thing, and breaking behavior we don't know how to replace yet isn't either.


We already have a redundant difficulty feature that turns down the firepower of AI craft but not the player's (difficulty_based_enemy_damage in the config). Why not make that the only thing the difficulty setting modifies?

Also keep in mind that all this patch is doing is removing these categories in particular, for the short term.

In the longer term, I have a complete overhaul of weapons planned (for probably the release after next) which will be a lot easier if there aren't arbitrary sub-categories to complicate the data structures. Once this weapon balance overhaul is complete, I believe a new weapon classification paradigm will be apparent, one that is based on plausible weapon technologies that strongly overlap with useful game-play tactics.

With that in mind, I grepped for Heavy/Light/Medium on the csv (because there's that forbidden upgrades and cargo imports thingy), and I got:
...
That needs fixing if we remove the categories.


Okay, let me know if I have your approval on this and I'll sort these out.
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Re: Acceleration, physics, and other ship enhancements/rebal

Postby klauss » Mon Dec 02, 2013 4:31 pm

Deus Siddis wrote:
klauss wrote:However, I do not think removing all classification is a good thing, and breaking behavior we don't know how to replace yet isn't either.


We already have a redundant difficulty feature that turns down the firepower of AI craft but not the player's (difficulty_based_enemy_damage in the config). Why not make that the only thing the difficulty setting modifies?


Yes, I was also thinking that is probably the best way to address difficulty.

But, I think, given the wide range of damage output our weapons have, that it won't be enough. Limiting advanced weaponry on your enemies may be a necessary measure.

However, I could agree you can do that later on a weapon rebalance. I'd prefer having those basic/intermediate/advanced categories in the meanwhile, but do as you feel is best.
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Re: Acceleration, physics, and other ship enhancements/rebal

Postby Deus Siddis » Mon Dec 02, 2013 7:27 pm

Here are those fixes:

fixes.zip


klauss wrote:However, I could agree you can do that later on a weapon rebalance. I'd prefer having those basic/intermediate/advanced categories in the meanwhile, but do as you feel is best.


My ability to make sweeping changes and test them is a bit limited until the next release with its split csv support. Right now, I have to test changes in the two monolithic csv files and then carefully translate the good changes into a split csv structure for submission, leading to errors. That is why you have had to deal with so many bugs and crap in this patch. I had feared I might be building too many changes into it given the situation but the seductive power of feature creep proved too much for me.

With the next release I will no longer have to translate between csv layouts or deal with immense single csv files, so I can cover a lot more ground in the same time and produce fewer bugs. Overhauling units and weapons should not take too long then. When do you think it will be time for the next release, by the way?
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Re: Acceleration, physics, and other ship enhancements/rebal

Postby TBeholder » Mon Dec 02, 2013 7:28 pm

Deus Siddis wrote:We already have a redundant difficulty feature that turns down the firepower of AI craft but not the player's (difficulty_based_enemy_damage in the config). Why not make that the only thing the difficulty setting modifies?
Indeed. Because it's not only difficulty. As in, changing weapons means not only "needs more/less hits", this means changes in behaviour - even with beams, there are variations in range and energy consumption.

Deus Siddis wrote:In the longer term, I have a complete overhaul of weapons planned (for probably the release after next) which will be a lot easier if there aren't arbitrary sub-categories to complicate the data structures. Once this weapon balance overhaul is complete, I believe a new weapon classification paradigm will be apparent, one that is based on plausible weapon technologies that strongly overlap with useful game-play tactics.
The engine improvements like effect chaining and maybe damage typing could allow some refinement.
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Re: Acceleration, physics, and other ship enhancements/rebal

Postby klauss » Mon Dec 02, 2013 7:47 pm

Alright. Committed.

Now we need an updated windows binary. Volunteers? ;)
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Re: Acceleration, physics, and other ship enhancements/rebal

Postby jackS » Wed Dec 04, 2013 1:29 pm

Just wanted to mention that it has been very nostalgia-inducing to skim this thread. In particular, the repeated occurrences of "but, why would anyone do that this way?" on encountering how the upgrade process "works" were particularly familiar :) Remembering the reasons and discussions behind the sequences of decisions made (or left unmade) that got us to where we were (I've been away from the codebase too long to say "are") has been pleasantly bemusing, even while recalling how irritating some of the situations were to deal with at the time.

@Deus - the balancing task is a touch Sisyphusean, and I wish you both luck and sanity :)
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Re: Acceleration, physics, and other ship enhancements/rebal

Postby Deus Siddis » Wed Dec 04, 2013 7:07 pm

Glad you enjoyed the read and I appreciate the well-wishing. :)

But for progress to be made here, sanity must be the sacrifice. :wink:
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