cloaking, weapons, shields and such

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Postby klauss » Tue Aug 19, 2008 2:58 pm

chuck_starchaser wrote:...I was NOT talking about the early jammers that used ultra-powerful beams to "fry" the electronics of a locking radar.

They didn't fry either, they just "glared" them.

chuck_starchaser wrote:And my belief about current technology is that a craft typically has a number of radar units dispersed around that are used like a synthetic aperture system, to --sort of "holographically"-- create EM phase differentials at the enemy radar unit. For such differetials to be significant at miles' range, the various synthetic aperture emitters have to push a lot of watts. But I don't remember where I got this idea.
In any case, my point was that ECM is NOT Stealth.


Better yet, they use those (hundreds of) emitters to act as array emitters that can electronically scan space in a fraction of a second. That is, there are no moving parts, they create interference patterns that focus the beam in this or that direction, and so refocusing is merely changing the interference pattern. This requires enormous computing power, but results in really fast and almost limitless tracking, jamming and stealth capabilities (those randomly-scanning radars are very hard to detect).

In short... you can let your imagination fly when it comes to ECM and stealth technologies in the future. They're already so advanced it sounds like science fiction NOW. They can make a 3D X-ray-like picture of a ship at sea from miles away! (only at the sea though, it won't work with airplanes to my knowledge).
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Postby chuck_starchaser » Tue Aug 19, 2008 4:19 pm

Interesting; and point well taken.

Early ECM *DID* work by "frying" radar sensors. I know that for a fact.
They'd beam a single pulse so powerful it blew up the transistors at the receiving end.
Did not last very long, though; protection devices advanced quickly and rendered the technology obsolete.
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Postby klauss » Wed Aug 20, 2008 6:56 am

chuck_starchaser wrote:Interesting; and point well taken.

Early ECM *DID* work by "frying" radar sensors. I know that for a fact.
They'd beam a single pulse so powerful it blew up the transistors at the receiving end.
Did not last very long, though; protection devices advanced quickly and rendered the technology obsolete.


Interesting. If you're so sure I'll have to dig into it, in my research for school I didn't find any such reference. But then again my research was into advance signal processing used in modern devices, not older ones ;)
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Postby TBeholder » Thu Aug 21, 2008 4:06 am

chuck_starchaser wrote:
Turbo Beholder wrote:
safemode wrote: Cloaking should just be a form of radar invisibility. [...] radar jammer. This would have real effects, rendering all radar in the area to be useless.
Aren't such things usually called... "ECM"? :wink:

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Postby klauss » Thu Aug 21, 2008 7:06 am

Signal forgery is made harder by pulse chirping and not random scanning. Random scanning only makes the signal received by the target to look like noise rather than a radar pulse, and thus harder to detect, so it's a stealth measure (you can keep the radar active and yet remain with an acceptable degree of stealthness), but pulse chirping makes it very hard to forge.

Pulse chirping is the variation of the spectrum in time. Ie: a pulse starts with a spectrum and ends with another, like a bird singing, so the radar recognizes that pattern only and not any signal within the radar's band, an enemy ECM has to forge the exact pattern, and that can be hard. Pulse chirping also has some merits in vessel identification IIRC, the return pulse gives you some information as to the shape of the object it bounced off of.
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Postby HoodedWraith » Thu Aug 21, 2008 9:37 am

klauss wrote:
chuck_starchaser wrote:Interesting; and point well taken.

Early ECM *DID* work by "frying" radar sensors. I know that for a fact.
They'd beam a single pulse so powerful it blew up the transistors at the receiving end.
Did not last very long, though; protection devices advanced quickly and rendered the technology obsolete.


Interesting. If you're so sure I'll have to dig into it, in my research for school I didn't find any such reference. But then again my research was into advance signal processing used in modern devices, not older ones ;)


Some of 'em still did up to the 80's too, my mother was an interference spec in the Army... it depends on what you're trying to accomplish. Some jamming/ecm tech works on the principle of confusing the sensor with a plethora of differing signals, while some (more modern) send out a much smaller number of signals that all point to something completely different. And of course there are the brute force jammers which just fry the heck out of most equipment unless it's really well put together.

Anyway, with that out of the way...

OP, how would your SPEC disruptor work? I really like the idea, if the AI didn't seem to constantly know exactly where I am (my box hates me, the AI on easy acts like it's precog :P) when I'm pirating I'd love to be able to hit a "deploy mine" button to deploy a small unit that dragged merchants out of SPEC just in time for me to shred them and tractor their cargo for sale elsewhere. Saves quite a bit of running around if you can run silent, have a fat merchantman drop out of SPEC, blast him with a couple torps, collect his loot and your unit, and bug out before anyone came to check the distress call.

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Of course, the downside of that little beastie would be very amusing if the AI started patrolling the shipways instead of just assuming it's you (rightly, of course), and you had a Clydesdale or something equally hefty drop out right on top of you instead of that fat little merchant you were hoping for. Since you wouldn't be able to just SPEC outta there, you'd have to take a pounding while your drives spooled up to a comfortable escape V.
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Postby loki1950 » Thu Aug 21, 2008 2:45 pm

All the SPEC disrupter needs is mass or some thing that behaves like mass to cause the SPEC field to drop why you have to get out of gravity wells for Spec to ramp up all the way and some of the bases have SPEC inhibitors so a mine is not anachronistic but for balance they should be rare and expensive and maybe only available at specific locations especially the black/grey market variety sorry to limit your fun Wraith :wink:

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Postby TBeholder » Thu Aug 21, 2008 4:13 pm

loki1950 wrote:All the SPEC disrupter needs is mass or some thing that behaves like mass to cause the SPEC field to drop why you have to get out of gravity wells for Spec to ramp up all the way and some of the bases have SPEC inhibitors
Either this or just "SPEC bends it, we unbend it", i.e. "reversed polarity" approach. Then it works on the range comparable with active zone of SPEC drive (of comparable size) and consumes comparable power.
BTW, there's already "reduction" mode, i.e. SPEC slows down ship when trying to decelerate. Maybe, it's the same, or special warp dissipators are just made bigger to have greater range, power-effective, etc.
loki1950 wrote: so a mine is not anachronistic
Well, considering that both modern sea mines tend to be automated torpedo launchers, and some landmines are automated single-use guns (MS warhead) or grenade/missile launchers... try to find 10 differences between mine and drone in space ? ;)
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Postby HoodedWraith » Thu Aug 21, 2008 8:35 pm

loki1950 wrote:All the SPEC disrupter needs is mass or some thing that behaves like mass to cause the SPEC field to drop why you have to get out of gravity wells for Spec to ramp up all the way and some of the bases have SPEC inhibitors so a mine is not anachronistic but for balance they should be rare and expensive and maybe only available at specific locations especially the black/grey market variety sorry to limit your fun Wraith :wink:

Enjoy the Choice :)


It doesn't ruin my fun at all. It just means I have to go out of my way to buy it, so if I'm playing my fat little merchie, the pirates I fight won't all have 'em too. :D

Turbo Beholder wrote:
loki1950 wrote:All the SPEC disrupter needs is mass or some thing that behaves like mass to cause the SPEC field to drop why you have to get out of gravity wells for Spec to ramp up all the way and some of the bases have SPEC inhibitors
Either this or just "SPEC bends it, we unbend it", i.e. "reversed polarity" approach. Then it works on the range comparable with active zone of SPEC drive (of comparable size) and consumes comparable power.
BTW, there's already "reduction" mode, i.e. SPEC slows down ship when trying to decelerate. Maybe, it's the same, or special warp dissipators are just made bigger to have greater range, power-effective, etc.
loki1950 wrote: so a mine is not anachronistic
Well, considering that both modern sea mines tend to be automated torpedo launchers, and some landmines are automated single-use guns (MS warhead) or grenade/missile launchers... try to find 10 differences between mine and drone in space ? ;)


Well yeah... a stationary (conventional) mine in space is utterly useless unless it's nigh on undetectable by vessels, and even then it needs to be in a rather large field to ensure impact. We still mostly use in US service the good old fashioned Claymore and subterranean mines, those are just some nifty examples of 'newer' innovation. If a mine doesn't move in space, it's useless. A useful space mine would be more like a big fire and forget missile, it acquires lock on its own, then hits the target in question and goes boom.
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Re: cloaking, weapons, shields and such

Postby dagg » Tue Oct 21, 2008 1:33 am

sorry for reviving this old post but I got a question regarding the cloak proposition, from what I understand, both the player an the ai pilot can see the cloaked ship, the cloaked ship cannot fire or raise it shields, so what is preventing from the opponent for put the crosshair on the image he "sees" and fire on it? the cloaked ship is defenseless, the cloak is not concealing her -> what is the gain in having a cloak then?
why not give starbases/outputs a cloak detection radius? there they can detect the cloak?

by having problems to render the cloak, do you mean rendering the cloaking and decloaking process?
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Re: cloaking, weapons, shields and such

Postby TBeholder » Wed Nov 12, 2008 12:32 am

HoodedWraith wrote:It doesn't ruin my fun at all. It just means I have to go out of my way to buy it, so if I'm playing my fat little merchie, the pirates I fight won't all have 'em too. :D
And if it's "un-SPECking jammer", it also have to be either shield-incompatible (like SPEC) or implemented as droppable pod to avoid this problem (in which case it can be just shot on identification).
HoodedWraith wrote:
Turbo Beholder wrote:try to find 10 differences between mine and drone in space ? ;)
Well yeah... [...] If a mine doesn't move in space, it's useless. A useful space mine would be more like a big fire and forget missile, it acquires lock on its own, then hits the target in question and goes boom.
Whether missile guidance is active, or semiactive/remote (after all, you can have hundreds of really big phased arrays down on surface and nearby stations) is another issue.
Speaking of classics, one of oldest solutions were bottom mines for haven protection, detonated by wire from coast-guard station. Translated to orbital terms, it would be very large array of cheapest kill sats possible: low-signature missile launching containers, remotely controlled instead of (or in addition to) using their passive sensors and friend or foe identification systems.
Another option is to give them inferior sensors and use whole network as "VDA". :) Or just basic gravimetry/warp sensor on each, to trawl cloak users.
dagg wrote:but I got a question regarding the cloak proposition, from what I understand, both the player an the ai pilot can see the cloaked ship, the cloaked ship cannot fire or raise it shields, so what is preventing from the opponent for put the crosshair on the image he "sees" and fire on it? the cloaked ship is defenseless, the cloak is not concealing her -> what is the gain in having a cloak then?
That's the very problem: what exactly it should do, to be neither munchkin nor useless nor ludicrous...
dagg wrote:why not give starbases/outputs a cloak detection radius? there they can detect the cloak?
I propose to set radius proportional to target identification /target lock range for whatever sensor kit is used. And to make really big detection systems best ones.
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Re: cloaking, weapons, shields and such

Postby TBeholder » Thu Aug 12, 2010 9:20 am

On weapons:
  1. One more attribute, mass (per second for beams) would help to
    - handle purely kinetic damage of all weapons properly (i.e. as dependent on the velocity relative to the target, which is known only when it hits).
    - un-hardcode tractors
    - As a more remote possibility, making kinetic damage a function of the density (mass-per-section, and now both mass and radius of every bolt are set) would allow to handle armor-piercing effects via very simple and universal functions of the engine.
    - This also potentially allows to handle thrusters as effect emitters of the same "Beam" type, working by shooting reaction mass, only controlled by other functions.
  2. Add one more weapon type: "Burst". It's an equivalent of current missile explosion and its first use is to be fired by missile AIs (=proximity fuse) as warheads, instead of the current arrangement. As such, its basic (later default) version should be a spherical one-off wave and be implemented by functions moved from Missile.
    - With infinite duration it may be used for stellar radiation.
  3. Complex weapon effects. At least to initiate other "weapon" effects. It would allow to jump over most limitations. Any variant of this would also allow to combine EMP and normal damage in a way both sensible and transparent for a ruleset, even with the "negative damage" hack currently in place of proper damage typing, and would remain useful later:
    • Binding an event handler (among other things, allows a direct manipulation of shields/armor/whatever).
      - the Tractor Beam's force is applied only between OnHit and OnUnHit, while tractor beam as such is visible all the time. Possibilities include mining via conversion of asteroids hitpoints into ore cargo, or pseudo- typed damage.
    • Directly using on hit a child effect named in attributes ("firing" a secondary weapon X) at either the source or target location. Two weapon attributes: "hiteffectname", "hiteffectorigin" (source or hit spot)... maybe even a list of these?
      - when a tractor beam hits, it simply fires another ray (at the lightspeed or so) having negative effective mass (to give reverse momentum) from its source to its target (which naturally hits, as it retraces the ray which already did hit) and thus affects the momentum of both ships, affects the beam's running texture and makes a separate sound.
      - explosive bolts (Bolt calls Burst), also allowing to implement timed fuses (for autotrackers and PD turrets ): if a bolt running out of its range "hits" null (or "universe" :D ) object or itself at the given point, it still can hurt whatever is nearby. Come on, there are mini-fusion bombs and antimatter container bullets! Give them a flash.
      - improper missile explosion (ramming instead of the proximity fuse).
    • This can be done via special weapon attributes: E.g. telling that the beam applies its force only on hit instead of normal recoil, i.e. is a tractor... but this would clutter the engine with too specific details and limit cool scriptable possibilities in rulesets.

edit: more articulate version.
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Re: cloaking, weapons, shields and such

Postby TBeholder » Sat Aug 14, 2010 5:26 am

:?: Do the developers have some other and incompatible ideas on this?
If not, i'll do at least Burst and secondary effects for now?
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Re: cloaking, weapons, shields and such

Postby klauss » Sat Aug 14, 2010 12:51 pm

No ideas or time to work on them yet, but that description reads confusing and complex.

I'm not sure complexifying the system will be a good thing. Sure, it has simple basic rules you say, but... in order to get a tractor beam I have to apply negative mass? wtf? That's just convoluted and contorted. Very hard to grasp. Very unintuitive.

It's not a matter of code or implementation simplicity/elegance, it has to be easy to grasp, easy to mod, easy to extend. If the code has to be complex for that to happen, so what?

Besides, even though basing the damage model on real physical properties (like you say with armor piercing stuff) seems a good idea at first, it make the system complex to predict, and eventually modders will have to nerf this or that weapon - a purely physical system is hard to nerf, because it's hard to visualize how all the basic physical properties interact in the end.
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Re: cloaking, weapons, shields and such

Postby TBeholder » Sat Aug 14, 2010 6:42 pm

klauss wrote:No ideas or time to work on them yet, but that description reads confusing and complex.
Re-reading it, i have to agree. Disentangled it a bit.
klauss wrote:I'm not sure complexifying the system will be a good thing. Sure, it has simple basic rules you say, but... in order to get a tractor beam I have to apply negative mass? wtf? That's just convoluted and contorted. Very hard to grasp. Very unintuitive.
As if the current ECM/tractor system was non-contorted and intuitive. :wink:
If it doesn't spend ammo, it doesn't use any reaction mass, thus in the special case of Tractors and Repulsors "mass" is only a roundabout measure of momentum complementing the known velocity (or force) and in this form comparable with the collision scenario. Since for Tractors momentum and force are directed in the direction opposite to the normal "shooter receives recoil, target is knocked away", and velocity is normal, the effective mass got to be negative.
Conditional, because otherwise missing Heavy Tractors would be either reactionless drives or dependent on handling "very special cases", like with current damage-based hack. That, and if someone will do a new one, it's going to be estimated as proportional to existing tractors/repulsors anyway.
In the case of projectiles (where it's mostly going to be used until a good thruster model will be implemented), it's all quite straightforward and literal, of course.
klauss wrote: It's not a matter of code or implementation simplicity/elegance, it has to be easy to grasp, easy to mod, easy to extend. If the code has to be complex for that to happen, so what?
I'm all for complex code if it does something good (that's why i mentioned spherical burst as only the default case), but other than that it's "easy to extend" part. Hence, trying to make things work in a generic and flexible way (thus handling tractors in a sneaky way just because it's here and does this).
klauss wrote: Besides, even though basing the damage model on real physical properties (like you say with armor piercing stuff) seems a good idea at first, it make the system complex to predict, and eventually modders will have to nerf this or that weapon - a purely physical system is hard to nerf, because it's hard to visualize how all the basic physical properties interact in the end.
That's a more remote possibility (for a time when armor and shields will be more than piles of hitpoints), but old good stats output for weapons (with some calculated values as well as raw) could help with this issue too.

Either way, right now i can do only burst.
Do you think this much is a good idea?
Then perhaps secondary effects and mass for Bolts (to discern their kinetic damage from explosion and keep in average the current balance for now). These would open a few enhancement possibilities without diving deep into issues like AI and in itself are not dependent on any more changes in physical model or anywhere else in the engine, and all changes to ruleset data Burst requires is turning missiles into missiles with warhead "weapons", i expect do do it quickly, using a macro. :)
Do you think this much is a good idea?
"Timed fuses" is the farthest currently accessible part of this proposal and requires secondary effect and a few minor and easy-to-find-where changes, plus changes in stats of a few weapons that will use this (it's mostly a PD feature, anyway).
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Re: cloaking, weapons, shields and such

Postby klauss » Sat Aug 14, 2010 7:15 pm

Gameplay-wise, I think you got your damage types wrong.

In VS canon (and must not forget other mods), lasers are one way (they pierce shields), plasma is another way, missiles another, bullets another.

Not sure of the detail, but you should read the docs and pay attention to how diferent the should behave. The docs there are nice, I believe they're interesting from a gameplay standpoint, and we should try to implement them. For that, I believe, the different damage types of laser, plasma, ballistic and missiles should be considered.

And not only on VS canon levels, there's also vegatrek and privateer to consider.

And about tractors: I didn't say they make any sense, physically. Only that their effect and how they're modelled ingame is pretty straightforward: mark something a tractor beam, and it pulls stuff in. What's hard to grasp? Furthermore, in their stats I believe they're a bit more general than it seems: IIRC, they have a push force, which can be positive or negative, for tractors or repulsors. But it's clearly marked: if a gun is a tractor beam, its "special" damage value means a force.

It could be better, but difficult to grasp it is not. Now, if it makes sense physically... I didn't touch that subject.
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Re: cloaking, weapons, shields and such

Postby TBeholder » Sun Aug 15, 2010 5:34 am

klauss wrote:Gameplay-wise, I think you got your damage types wrong.
How i managed to do it without touching them at all? :)
klauss wrote:In VS canon (and must not forget other mods), lasers are one way (they pierce shields), plasma is another way, missiles another, bullets another.
Not sure of the detail, but you should read the docs and pay attention to how diferent the should behave. The docs there are nice, I believe they're interesting from a gameplay standpoint, and we should try to implement them. For that, I believe, the different damage types of laser, plasma, ballistic and missiles should be considered.
And where those damage types are now, in code, rulesets or Roadmap? Unless you count phasedamage, but it accompanies normal damage anywhere down to the calls of Unit::ApplyDamage (in 'vegastrike/src/cmd/unit_generic.cpp') so closely it could be a complex number just as well. :) If anything, this would allow to finally make plasma and bullets work in noticeably different ways. :P
The only two things that resemble damage types are tractors/repulsors exception for Beams and radius damage for missiles. As i wrote, for now i'd stay away from tractors as here's no compelling need to convert them. Obviously, right now such momentum-giving beams are a special case either way, just more uniform one... but later this would allow to make beam weapons (gravitic, for one) with knock/recoil effect and later can fit nicely into thruster model when we'll have any.
Radius damage is the same, it just moves from missiles to warheads.

When there will be damage types, i don't see how it will be harder or easier to assign them to weapons with or without one or two more attributes.
The "chained effects" proposal gives one extra option of simple combining... when there will be something to combine in first place.

The only thing that needs changes anywhere else are "warheads" - warheads themselves in weapon_list.xml and mounts on missiles in units.csv, but those changes are very uniform - and thus easy to do via script (not even working with csv/xml, just as strings), so updating any mods would be trivial.
The rest are options for those who edit weapon_list.xml - to change an arbitrary part of bolts' basic weapon damage to the kinetic or warhead procedure. For weapons you'll not assign either mass or secondary effects nothing changes at all. No one would have to do it with all weapons - and probably should not, given the existence of "non-corporeal" bolts like plasma and disruptors. :D

klauss wrote: And not only on VS canon levels, there's also vegatrek and privateer to consider.
I'm all for it. Show me something any of this can interfere with, and i'll consider it. :) For now, i look at weapon_list.xml and see nothing but the same easy damage/phasedamage.
klauss wrote: And about tractors: I didn't say they make any sense, physically. Only that their effect and how they're modelled ingame is pretty straightforward: mark something a tractor beam, and it pulls stuff in. What's hard to grasp?
Why and how this could be changed in any way with a different implementation? Except maybe a better hit indication. Cleaner tractoring force could help, though it can be implemented as is.
klauss wrote:Furthermore, in their stats I believe they're a bit more general than it seems: IIRC, they have a push force, which can be positive or negative, for tractors or repulsors. But it's clearly marked: if a gun is a tractor beam, its "special" damage value means a force.
It could be better, but difficult to grasp it is not. Now, if it makes sense physically... I didn't touch that subject.
They don't have "a push force" in the sense defined like damage and easily appraised. It's calculated and involves the target's mass, simulation atom and whatnot.
And the better way to make it much more transparent would be to indicate the force as such instead of "Special" in those weapon stats in-game. Though copying the current calculation from damage in Beam::Collide special clause would be a problem, since it's not uniform like beam damage, but dependent on the target.

But as i wrote, currently i consider only two of those improvements - warheads and bolts. With the third in mind - timed fuses for PD bolts - which would require some more changes through the engine and thus is a more remote possibility.
With corresponding changes in weapon stats output, including "average kinetic damage" for bolts that have any assigned (of course, only the average "assuming shooter and target don't accelerate" value).
So how about these?
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Re: cloaking, weapons, shields and such

Postby klauss » Sun Aug 15, 2010 11:30 am

Turbo Beholder wrote:How i managed to do it without touching them at all? :)

I believe you did. Is there a major misunderstanding under way here?

Turbo Beholder wrote:
klauss wrote:In VS canon (and must not forget other mods), lasers are one way (they pierce shields), plasma is another way, missiles another, bullets another.
Not sure of the detail, but you should read the docs and pay attention to how diferent the should behave. The docs there are nice, I believe they're interesting from a gameplay standpoint, and we should try to implement them. For that, I believe, the different damage types of laser, plasma, ballistic and missiles should be considered.
And where those damage types are now, in code, rulesets or Roadmap? Unless you count phasedamage, but it accompanies normal damage anywhere down to the calls of Unit::ApplyDamage (in 'vegastrike/src/cmd/unit_generic.cpp') so closely it could be a complex number just as well.

It isn't anywhere on the engine. Those weapons types aren't fully modelled yet, that's something worth fixing though, and it seemed your idea worked towards that end. Only a tad misguided.

Right now damage has three attributes: normal, phase and special. Although I think special is exclusive, so it's kind of encoded within a normal/phase pair in some way. Not a happy idea on the part of whoever wrote that.

That's all under an IIRC, I'm playing by ear here, it's bee a while since I saw damage-dealing code.

Anyway, to model what's documented everywhere, you're likely no need more attributes. Armor piercing effects, shield bypassing (somewhat related to phase damage), kinetic impulse, secondary effects, emp (there are emp warheads, so emp should be an effect), etc, etc...

It's quite likely that a better damage system would carry all those attributes with any shot, rather than modelling them as secondary callbacks or whatever - the damage model must be data-driven, not callback driven. All basic functionality should be built-in, with only complex stuff working through callbacks (perhaps). And the major reason for that, is that modders will want to edit CSV / XML files, which are data, and not callback scripts.

Turbo Beholder wrote:When there will be damage types, i don't see how it will be harder or easier to assign them to weapons with or without one or two more attributes.
The "chained effects" proposal gives one extra option of simple combining... when there will be something to combine in first place.

I see chaining as a convoluted way of supporting extension. I don't know... show me a mockup of how the dataset would represent chaining and I might change my mind, but what I understood of the idea just was overly complicated for simple, trivial stuff.
VS has been plagued with convoluted ways of extension, to the point that nobody (or few) can actually extend anything. That's almost as bad as not having an extension method.

Turbo Beholder wrote:The rest are options for those who edit weapon_list.xml - to change an arbitrary part of bolts' basic weapon damage to the kinetic or warhead procedure. For weapons you'll not assign either mass or secondary effects nothing changes at all. No one would have to do it with all weapons - and probably should not, given the existence of "non-corporeal" bolts like plasma and disruptors. :D

To avoid more confusion in this discussion, why don't you show me an XML or CSV entries of how it would look like?

How would a simple "damage-dealing laser-that's-not-a-laser" look like? (you know, the weapon that's called a laser and isn't a laser, the very first one you have at the beginning of the game).

How would a capship laser look like?

How would a plasma gun look like?

How would a missile look like? And an EMP torpedo? What about the cluster bomb?
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Re: cloaking, weapons, shields and such

Postby TBeholder » Sun Aug 15, 2010 4:59 pm

klauss wrote:Right now damage has three attributes: normal, phase and special. Although I think special is exclusive, so it's kind of encoded within a normal/phase pair in some way. Not a happy idea on the part of whoever wrote that.
I tried to dig in recently, there are "damage" and "phasedamage", with Beams that are scoops being a "special case" in that they don't work like others. Another "special case" are Missiles in that they have "detonationrange" and use "radius" not for collision check but in their own way.
klauss wrote: Anyway, to model what's documented everywhere, you're likely no need more attributes. Armor piercing effects, shield bypassing (somewhat related to phase damage), kinetic impulse, secondary effects, emp (there are emp warheads, so emp should be an effect), etc, etc... It's quite likely that a better damage system would carry all those attributes with any shot, rather than modelling them as secondary callbacks or whatever
With this i agree. Moreover, i suspect that hardcoding all this stuff may be avoided by handling flags the same abstract way i'd like to handle slots - indexed text tags, check damaging effect vs. whatever it hit (layer by layer). :)
But in my understanding "direct hit" and "explosion" are not damagetypes, for the same reason why "bolt" and "beam" aren't damagetypes. A direct hit may be plasma or slug and explosion wave may be frag or hard radiation or EMP - now these are damagetypes.
Specifically kinetic, strictly speaking, is - but such effects aren't supposed to work like most damage types are supposed to - the shooter takes a recoil, the target is kicked, and the damage is dependent on the velocity... in short, IMO it's best to handle this all in physics of shooting/hitting and cause damage via existing (and adjustable separately) kinetic damage procedures rather than carry relative velocity and projectile mass into the damage model where probably nothing else would need it.
klauss wrote: - the damage model must be data-driven, not callback driven. All basic functionality should be built-in, with only complex stuff working through callbacks (perhaps). And the major reason for that, is that modders will want to edit CSV / XML files, which are data, and not callback scripts.
Basic, naturally. Crazy stuff like that laser mining - how? It's too specific to pile into engine, and implementation via scripts would be more flexible.
klauss wrote:
Turbo Beholder wrote:When there will be damage types, i don't see how it will be harder or easier to assign them to weapons with or without one or two more attributes.
The "chained effects" proposal gives one extra option of simple combining... when there will be something to combine in first place.

I see chaining as a convoluted way of supporting extension. I don't know... show me a mockup of how the dataset would represent chaining and I might change my mind, but what I understood of the idea just was overly complicated for simple, trivial stuff.
For "trivial stuff" it's just not needed to be used, that's all.
Chaining: a mockup of exploding Flak (ready for use with a timed fuse) would look like this
<Ball name="Flak" mountsize="capship-light" >
<Energy rate="40" stability="6" refire=".25" >
</Energy>
<Damage rate="4" longrange="1" >
A hit and improper explosion still hurts, though not as much.
</Damage>
<Distance speed="3000" radialspeed=".8" radius="1" pulsespeed="15" range="10000"
endeffect="FlakBlast">
</Distance>
<Appearance file="
explosion_orange.ani flakball.ani" soundwav="MASS.WAV" r="1" g="1" b="1" a="1" >
</Appearance>
</Ball>

<Burst name="FlakFrag">
<Energy stability="1">
</Energy>
<Damage rate="8">
nothing more, a simple spherical / reverse square falloff explosion is default as it's used for missiles. I suspect that Frag should be closer to all-or-nothing, but it's another question.
</Damage>
<Distance speed="500" pulsespeed="15" range="20" >
</Distance>
<Appearance file="explosion_orange.ani" soundwav="FLAKBOOM.WAV" r="1" g="1" b="1" a="1" >
</Appearance>
</Burst>


klauss wrote: VS has been plagued with convoluted ways of extension, to the point that nobody (or few) can actually extend anything. That's almost as bad as not having an extension method.
VS got off lightly. I tried to mod Age of Wonders 2+, there you see almost everything moddable, but run into outrageous cases of "suddenly hardcoded!" on every other step until the complete frustration. :twisted: That's why i'm trying to imagine methods as generic and potentially flexible as it makes sense.
klauss wrote:
Turbo Beholder wrote:The rest are options for those who edit weapon_list.xml - to change an arbitrary part of bolts' basic weapon damage to the kinetic or warhead procedure. For weapons you'll not assign either mass or secondary effects nothing changes at all. No one would have to do it with all weapons - and probably should not, given the existence of "non-corporeal" bolts like plasma and disruptors. :D

To avoid more confusion in this discussion, why don't you show me an XML or CSV entries of how it would look like?
How would a simple "damage-dealing laser-that's-not-a-laser" look like? (you know, the weapon that's called a laser and isn't a laser, the very first one you have at the beginning of the game).
How would a capship laser look like?
How would a plasma gun look like?
What this little plasma soaker fires is neither Razor's pocket fusion bombs nor a heavy autocannon's slug, so it needs neither momentum calculated nor an explosion after it hits. Thus it would look... exactly the same, on account of extra attributes left unset? Ditto for the other two.

klauss wrote: How would a missile look like?
It doesn't require chaining as such, so i guess it's about warheads.
Warheads: HeatSeeker conversion
weapon_list.xml:
<Missile name="HeatSeeker" mountsize="light-missile">
<Energy rate="0" stability="6" refire="3.1" locktime="3">
</Energy>
<Damage rate="
400200" longrange="1" radius="1501" radialspeed="40">In the reformat script direct hit and warhead damage conversion rates should be accessible constants, so that modders could define what they want here. Here it's 0.5 and 1.0
</Damage>
<Distance speed="1300" pulsespeed="15" range="80000" detonationrange="10" volume="3" >
</Distance>
<Appearance file="heatseek" soundwav="missile_3.wav">
</Appearance>
</Missile>

<Burst name="HeatSeekerWarhead">
<Energy rate="0.5">
A missile leeched dry really sucks and does not even explode
</Energy>
<Damage rate="
400" radialspeed="1500" radius="150" damageself="1">As a default. Not sure about radialspeed, though
</Damage>
<Distance speed="1500" pulsespeed="15" range="
10" volume="0.1" >10 is ex-"detonationrange": AI is supposed to use "range" to fire the weapon when its target is in range
</Distance>
<Appearance file="explosion_wave.ani" soundwav="explosion.wav">
Just some reasonable defaults.
</Appearance>
</Burst>

units.csv:
heatseek,./weapons/heatseek,heatseek,,FIXME,MISSILE,WRITEME,missile-hud.spr,,,,,,{heatseek.bfxm;;},,,,,,,0.08,4.68,0.01,5,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,0,0,0,,,,,1,4,103.56,126.27,103.25,50,50,50,79,62.38,38.99,43.67,43.67,43.67,43.67,220,220,FALSE,FALSE,10000,21.41,90,31.68,,,,,,,,<...>;;;;;;,{supernova.bmp.bfxm;0;0;-2.00000023841858;.6;;;;;},{HeatSeekerWarhead;;;;0;0;1;;;0;0;0;0;0;0;1;1},,,,,,,,

klauss wrote: And an EMP torpedo? What about the cluster bomb?
Mostly the same, and it will work, though doing EMP torpedo properly would involve chaining two Bursts - a normal explosion and wider lightspeed EMP wave. Assuming it work much like modern explosive-driven generators... not that i'd really expect any single-use pulsed power solution - and weaponized at that - to be less flashy than a twisted metal sheet buried in RDX. :wink:
edit: Drones and other launched interceptors, as well as KineticMissile, have negative "detonationrange" and as such are easy to detect and leave alone.
Last edited by TBeholder on Mon Aug 16, 2010 11:51 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: cloaking, weapons, shields and such

Postby klauss » Sun Aug 15, 2010 6:05 pm

Ah, I see.

I called that idea effectors, a long while ago, which are areas of definable (you're even proposing programmable) "effects", as abstract as you mention.

I had tons of wonderful uses for effects, not the least of which is star atmospheres (which really damage anything close enough), planetary atmospheres (that induce drag), and a lot of stuff.

Your kind of effectors would be created by weapon hits and pretty basic at that.

I'll try to write a draft on effectors somewhere, and queue their implementation, and your idea of how it would be specified in xml isn't half bad, so :D

Just one thing: do read about VS weapons, lasers, plasmas, bullets and such are different in how they interact with shields and system electronics. Ionized plasma weapons, for instance, are expected to induce some limited amount of EMP effect (systems disruption), IIRC.
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Re: cloaking, weapons, shields and such

Postby TBeholder » Sat Aug 21, 2010 12:07 am

klauss wrote:I called that idea effectors, a long while ago, which are areas of definable (you're even proposing programmable) "effects", as abstract as you mention.
I had tons of wonderful uses for effects, not the least of which is star atmospheres (which really damage anything close enough), planetary atmospheres (that induce drag), and a lot of stuff.
Your kind of effectors would be created by weapon hits and pretty basic at that.
I'll try to write a draft on effectors somewhere, and queue their implementation, and your idea of how it would be specified in xml isn't half bad, so :D
So, is it "let's do it" or not? :roll:
klauss wrote: Just one thing: do read about VS weapons, lasers, plasmas, bullets and such are different in how they interact with shields and system electronics. Ionized plasma weapons, for instance, are expected to induce some limited amount of EMP effect (systems disruption), IIRC.
Where? I didn't see it on the Roadmap, at least.
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Re: cloaking, weapons, shields and such

Postby klauss » Sat Aug 21, 2010 1:26 am

Turbo Beholder wrote:So, is it "let's do it" or not? :roll:

Soooo much stuff to do...
Soooo little time to do it...

Turbo Beholder wrote:
klauss wrote: Just one thing: do read about VS weapons, lasers, plasmas, bullets and such are different in how they interact with shields and system electronics. Ionized plasma weapons, for instance, are expected to induce some limited amount of EMP effect (systems disruption), IIRC.
Where? I didn't see it on the Roadmap, at least.

Dang... can't find it :(

There was a text file in the source code... where was it...
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