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SgtToothpaste

Some thoughts on ship weapon design/categorization...

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Greetings! This will likely be a long post with lots of interconnected lists, so bear with me..

 

Ship Weapon design/customization system

 

    Most sifi games simply give the player access to a selection of existing weapons, designed by the devs. Each weapon has base stats that can sometimes be customized with upgrades, but for the most part this simplistic approach leads to the emergence of  a very confined meta of loadouts that work.

    The concept I will describe is aimed at making ship-mounted weapons modular, so that players can design and test weapons based on the need at hand and the resources available. The idea is to maximize the diversity of play styles and make encountering unique or niche weapon systems a common occurrence. Additionally, it will add a degree of R&D, where players can test and refine their systems and even invent entirely new methods of war. A player could, conceivably, make a career of designing weapons tech, for a price.

 

To describe how this could be done, I will try to represent the idea visually.

 

A weapon is made up of several modular parts arranged in a hierarchy, and the parts are chosen according to the desired outcome. Each part is contingent on the part above it on the hierarchy, and controls a major attribute of the weapon.

The hierarchy could be as follows:

 

Body

Core

Receiver

Barrel

 

Body - The frame of the weapon that is fitted to the ship's hardpoint, or weapon slot. This decides the class or size of the weapon: it's hitpoints, maximum weight, volume, and power consumption. Also controls the weapon's gimbaling range, if any.

Core - The guts of the weapon, mounted within the Body. This decides the basic type of weapon that will be produced. For example, a Kinetic Core will produce some kind of projectile weapon, be it a railgun, Gauss gun, chemically propelled gun, etc.. A laser core will produce some kind of directed energy weapon, be it a pulse or beam laser. The core affects the weapon's base stats like power consumption.

Receiver - Midsection of the weapon. This module determines what subtype of weapon that will be produced, and allows for things like multiple barrels. For example, a Kinetic Core fitted with a Gatling receiver will have access to certain barrels and thus ammo types, while a Plasma core fitted with a Mortar-style receiver will have access to others. This affects things like rate of fire, temperature, and damage output.

Barrel - The business end of the weapon. This is involved with the fine tuning of the weapon. For example, a Rail barrel of a given length and power rating will affect the muzzle velocity and charge rate of the weapon. Different types of focusing barrels for laser weapons could effect range and heat buildup.

 

Lets run through a hypothetical R&D session by an aspiring weapons designer who is trying to build the perfect weapon for a contract. He/she gathers some materials and opens the weapon R&D window, and is presented with a selection of parts that can fit the hardpoint in question:

 

Body 

Manufacturer 1: 3T, 0 degree Gimbal, 24 max power input, 10 Internal space.

Manufacturer 2: 2.2T, 5 degree Gimbal, 17 max power, 18 internal space.

Manufacturer 3: 1.8T, 180 degree turreted, 9 max power, 12 internal space.

etc..

 

Our tech decides on the second option, the heavy body with the 5 degree gimbal and ample power.

 

Core

Kinetic Core. Base power draw: 3.

Plasma Core. Base draw: 5.

Missile Core. Base draw: 0.5.

Laser Core. Base draw: 8.

 

The player decides they need something with a good balance of range and armor penetration, and they are starting to get an idea of what they want. They choose the Kinetic Core.

Based on that choice, they have these options for compatible receivers.

 

Receiver -

Cannon receivers: 1 barrel, 2 barrel repeating, 4-8 barrel gatling.

Rail receiver.

Gauss receiver.

 

The player wants range, so he chooses a Rail receiver, turning the weapon into a basic railgun and affecting it's base stats.

Based on this, the player has the following choices.

 

Barrel -

45 mm barrel.

72 mm.

85 mm.

102 mm.

 

The barrel decides what ammo types the weapon will have access to, and will every stat from rate of fire to heat generation.

 

The player chooses the 85mm barrel, and has thus designed a simple railgun with a moderate charge time, excellent range, and low heat generation.

 

More options and customization would obviously be needed, this is simply an example of the concept.

 

TL;DR: Making ship mounted weapons modular and allowing players to design them will add depth and immersion in the same way that leaving the economy open to be player driven adds depth and complexity to industry.

 

Please leave feedback if you have some, I would like to see if we can evolve this idea, and see where it takes us.

 

 

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I'm all for modular weapon systems, but i'd rather have the parts more elementary than what you wrote, a little more complexity :)

 

The Body in your concept defines to many of the weapon stats already, i'd rather have it only define the rough weapon class, maximum number of modules installed, rotation speed and, ofc, the volume. Everything else, maximum power, exact weapon class etc. etc. should be set up with the modules.

 

So as for your R&D example, you chose a medium turret mount as core, lets say it has 7 module slots and a barrel slot.

The turret mount defines the rough weapon class as either kinetic projectile like railguns or lasers or maybe light weight plasma weapons.

Your choice for the barrel defines the exact weapon type, lets say you chose a double laser barrel, so you got now:

 

Medium Turret Mount + Double Laser Barrel + 7 Empty Modules

 

For the modules there are a lot of choice, like from capazitators, energy scources, targeting enhancers, cooling modules etc.

 

So you have a laser gattling gun and dont care for targeting, then you could for example add 7 energy scources and 2 cooling modules, that would give you a lot of constant power output and the cooling modules would guarantee constant and fast shooting.

 

Or you don't want a gattling, you'd rather have an all powerful death ray, then you would propably add a targeting enhancers, maybe 1 or 2 power scources and 4 capazitators, the power scources would take some time to fill up the capazitators before shooting, so the speed of the gun is very slow, but on the other hand 4 capazitators can save up way more energy than 7 energy scources could generate per shot, thus you have a much more powerful beam.

 

 

with a lot of different modules, barrels etc. we could have a vast variety of weapons.

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I am all for a system like this, either or, or a combination of the 2. It could also allow you to research parts for a chance at slightly better or worse stats (+5% range, but -3% fire rate ir +1 to slots)

 

Unfortunately it doesn't seem it will happen, at least not yet. But maybe we can convince the devs otherwise. Modular weapons have been discussed a few times. But so far it doesn't seem that's the direction the devs are planning to take it now.

 

Although I have to say, this type of modular system where it's just a mix of parts from 4ish categories wouldn't be so hard to impliment, at least I think. The models would be limited, And the modifiers vylqun mentioned could just affect stats, no physical change. I just hope one day the weapons become as customizable as the ships.

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Thanks for the replies!

 

@vylqun

I think having an assortment of minor attachments is a fantastic idea! The idea behind having four simple, general parts making up the majority of the weapon's stats is to make the system intuitive enough that it is approachable by players who are not necessarily interested in R&D. This way, if you don't really want to take time testing and refining a design, and just want to get out and shoot, you are not totally confined to the pre-made designs available on the market. You can build a basic weapon to your liking and it will work well enough. Additional attachments and research will just be a way for dedicated weapons technicians to perfect their designs. This idea, if complex enough, could conceivably tie into politics and industry, with factions having standardized weapon designs that are mass produced, and teams of players trying to reverse engineer each other's designs.

 

@DevisDevine

I think some kind of research system involving rare materials and skills could be very applicable. Rare materials involved with weapon and ammo manufacturing would introduce the kind of realistic demand that an open, player driven market thrives on. These materials would be strategic resources that wars are fought over (and with.) At the same time, it would be good to avoid the simple "gold ammo" problem that some games fall into. Instead of a flat upgrade, advanced materials could be used to design specialized weapons and ammo that still have downsides, but do something that most common weapons cannot. For example, if you have access to enough Pewpewinium, you can manufacture a specialized beam laser barrel that reduces it's range and damage but increases it's ability to overload the target ship's systems. Meanwhile refined Stalinium can be used to manufacture specialized armor that is more resistant to damage than the highest grade conventional armor, but also weighs more. When it comes to this kind of upgrade, I think "specialized" is more desirable than simple "better."

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@sgt toothfairy.

 

I wouldn't want it to always be a flat out positive. In fact I suggested a ring research system, where you could get positive, negative, or even both effects of various types and degrees. But it would be an unknown result and actually have a cost to research. So you may win you may loose

It would allow you to specialize a weapon for a particular type of usage, similar to what we talked about here. Except mine was research on a single module, not modular components. The thread on it is here.

https://board.dualthegame.com/index.php?/topic/475-component-research/page-1

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@sgt toothfairy.

 

I wouldn't want it to always be a flat out positive. In fact I suggested a ring research system, where you could get positive, negative, or even both effects of various types and degrees. But it would be an unknown result and actually have a cost to research. So you may win you may loose

It would allow you to specialize a weapon for a particular type of usage, similar to what we talked about here. Except mine was research on a single module, not modular components. The thread on it is here.

https://board.dualthegame.com/index.php?/topic/475-component-research/page-1

After reading your post, my main concern is that it would become a quality game.. Players would just spam research until they got something they like, and choose researched parts for their ships based on which modules have more +'s and fewer -'s. In my view it would be better to have incremental but predictable research paths that have upsides and downsides.

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Well you could design it where the higher tiers you get in the more it cost and the lower chance of return. If someone wants to invest 100x the resources for .5% increase let them. Sure some players will do it ignoring the cost. But it will get to a point where it's better to just put 2 guns on a slightly bigger ship that waste the resources for a mall chance.

 

I think overall it would be more a chance to customize a weapon for specific purposes. And it would create a market for players to research and sell their tech.

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Well you could design it where the higher tiers you get in the more it cost and the lower chance of return. If someone wants to invest 100x the resources for .5% increase let them. Sure some players will do it ignoring the cost. But it will get to a point where it's better to just put 2 guns on a slightly bigger ship that waste the resources for a mall chance.

 

I think overall it would be more a chance to customize a weapon for specific purposes. And it would create a market for players to research and sell their tech.

I think if anything were to drive the market for high tech modules, it would be fully refined components being very rare. If research options for a given module were arranged in a tree, with each path having unique advantages and disadvantages, equipment researched to the very end of one of those paths would be very valuable. It could be assumed this kind of top tier research would be quite difficult, and too much RNG would make it feel like a slot machine..

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I think if anything were to drive the market for high tech modules, it would be fully refined components being very rare. If research options for a given module were arranged in a tree, with each path having unique advantages and disadvantages, equipment researched to the very end of one of those paths would be very valuable. It could be assumed this kind of top tier research would be quite difficult, and too much RNG would make it feel like a slot machine..

 

But I love the slot machine, ok not really. 

 

I cant disagree with you, I just prefer the RNG because it mimics real life. And with an endless possibility game, we have limited component variety. The RNG ensures infinite variety. But I would be happy with any research system right now, especially one tied to a modular gun system. It can be refined later. 

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I would be all in for the idea of just building a tube from blocks, placing a shell made out of blocks to the bottom (with both explosive and projectile blocks in it) and then igniting the thing. Or some scripted way of creating specific shells and loading mechanisms.

 

But seriously, if you can't build an artillery cruiser that is basically just a ship wrapped around a vast cannon, then I'll be quite disappointed.

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I agree to go with the more complex system. From the depths has an amazing system, that could be combined with material quality to combine stats and create variability.

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