Author Topic: Armor and Armor Piercing  (Read 1196 times)

Offline Pumpkin

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Re: Armor and Armor Piercing
« Reply #15 on: September 01, 2016, 02:25:49 PM »
But maybe we disagree on the scale. Maybe when you say "no armor", you mean "less than 30" or something.

We probably disagree on scale. "No armor" is "less than 100" for me.  Yeah, there's a fair few ships that are effected heavily by 75 armor, but in the general case, I don't think its true.
Dammit! I can't resist! Let's see. We're going to study change in DPS for MkI and MkV fighter and frigate (both ends of RoF for the triangle).

Std Fighter MkI: (attack 40, reload 4s) DPS against armor 0: 10; DPS against armor 100: 2 (because 80%).
MFrigate MkI: (attack 96, reload 10s) DPS against armor 0: 9.6; DPS against armor 100: 1.92 (because 80%).
Std Fighter MkV: (attack 204, reload 4s) DPS against armor 0: 51; DPS against armor 100: 26.
MFrigate MkV: (attack 488, reload 10s) DPS against armor 0: 48.8; DPS against armor 100: 38.8

Conclusion:
At MkI, armor 100 is basically -80% for everybody (I found the Zombard and the ZElec Bomber to have an impact > 100. Among the MkI starships, the Flagship, the Leech and the Zenith are barely ahead). So basically, armor 100 feels like a high mark armor.
At MkV, armor 100 is still big but we can see differences. The MkV Fighter has approximately 50% of its "raw" DPS while the MkV MFrigate has approximately 80% of its "raw" DPS.
I don't fell this is a big difference. (I'm a bit disappointed, I must admit.) However, there are ships in the game with a much higher impact (Zomber, considering their lower cap) and RoF (Laser Gatlings, considering their higher cap). Maybe the armor has a real problem of impact on the gameplay, after all. I mean, mechanically, and not only in its current balance and distribution.

Eh, we'll see. I said no more talking about numbers and balance, didn't I?
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Online Draco18s

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Re: Armor and Armor Piercing
« Reply #16 on: September 01, 2016, 03:18:07 PM »
Thanks for digging up some of the numbers. There's definite a point at which "more armor" doesn't mean anything.  I was just wrong about where that threshold was.  Point still stands that it feels like there are some armor values that are just pointless.

Offline Pumpkin

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Re: Armor and Armor Piercing
« Reply #17 on: September 02, 2016, 02:38:02 AM »
Thanks for digging up some of the numbers. There's definite a point at which "more armor" doesn't mean anything.  I was just wrong about where that threshold was.
My pleasure. But the numbers I dug weren't very precious. I'm sure there is a vein nearby; we'll need to do some probing when the mod season will come. Then we'll start the true excavation and setup the number refinement industry. (Wait, are we playing Dwarf Number Fortress?)

Point still stands that it feels like there are some armor values that are just pointless.
Sure. But I believe there is also a balance, somewhere. We'll see where soon. (I must admit, I'm pretty excited with soon being able to test numbers and stuff by ourself.)
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Offline Tridus

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Re: Armor and Armor Piercing
« Reply #18 on: September 02, 2016, 07:46:59 AM »
It seems to me the biggest problem with armor and armor piercing is that they're overused, as people have shown in some examples. What's the point of having 2 armor, really? You could eliminate them from a lot of ships and go with the following:

1. Ships that are meant to counter swarms should have light armor, so they can mitigate damage from the swarm more effectively (but that won't slow down a heavy assault ship with it's much higher damage per shot).
2. Ships that are meant to "tank" and screen other ships should have high armor, so they can do that job effectively by reducing the damage from everything.
3. Ships specifically meant to counter #2 should have armor piercing, wihch lets them be effective against those ships without needing gigantic damage numbers (so they're not crazy against things with light/no armor).
4. Defenses could have light armor piercing, so they don't get slowed down by #1, but are still slowed down by #2.

It's probably possible to do that with hull types/weapon types/damage multipliers, but armor and armor piercing are easier to understand than a giant list of "I get 5x against this hull, but that does this, and this does the other thing..." so for these roles, it makes sense to use armor instead because it's easier to understand.

Offline tadrinth

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Re: Armor and Armor Piercing
« Reply #19 on: September 02, 2016, 09:14:54 AM »
I'm probably in the minority, but I think a simplified, consistent hull bonus system seems like the best way to implement armor and armor piercing. 

Pick an ammo type to be associated with armor pen.  Pick an armor type, or possibly types, to be associated with having lots of armor.  Give that ammo type a consistent multiplier bonus against things with armor.   IE, declare that energy bombs are good at hitting big heavy targets, and give everything with energy bombs a consistent, high bonus against heavy. Make everything that's supposed to have heavy armor use that hull type.  If necessary, add AP missiles as an ammo type and ultraheavy as a hull type, with AP missiles giving some bonus vs heavy but a huge bonus vs ultraheavy. 

Then just get rid of the entire concept of flat damage reduction, aka the current armor system. Stick to ONE representation for armor and armor pen.  If you must have flat damage reduction, give it to ONE unit as their special schtick. 

Currently armor either 1) acts as flat reduction, which interacts in really complicated ways with reload time and shot size, is hard to eyeball, and is prone to having lots of relatively subtle effects, or 2) the target has so much armor that you hit the 80% damage reduction cap, which is exactly equivalent to giving AP units an extra 5x multiplier.  It's also not consistent what has armor; does everything with a heavy hull have armor? does everything with an ultra-heavy hull have MORE armor?  I don't think so... if it was purely hull type based, then that WOULD be consistent.

Or, I guess you could have an 'armored' tag and an 'armor piercing' tag that acts as an extra multiplier, possibly stacking with whatever other tags are around, but I suspect that could rapidly get even more complicated than the hull bonus system if you have a lot of tags. 

Offline x4000

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Re: Armor and Armor Piercing
« Reply #20 on: September 02, 2016, 03:33:39 PM »
I will mostly crosspost this, which was about hull types:

Since my opinion has been sought out on this particular topic at this particular time: I have no opinion yet. ;)

I am leaning toward not having hull types... kinda-sorta.  I want to get substantially more involved ship designs in a way that is fun, and not in a way that requires memorization.  To some extent what this discussion is about is combat roles, and how to differentiate ships.  The fact that this argument is happening at all is, to me, a sign that ship mechanics themselves are not robust enough to provide interesting variations in battle roles.

In an ideal world, there would be no hull types and no ship to ship bonuses or penalties at all.  Nothing artificial like that.  Or if there are hull types, keeping it very broad and a bit more scientific-seeming (on the surface at least), versus having too many categories of it.  Aka having something like 3-5 types, and leaving it at that.

This is just my current working set of thinking at the moment, since it was solicited via PM. :)  In no way is this the plan yet.

Overall I am working from the bottom-up, and you guys are talking about some mechanics that are much higher-level than I am right now,and there are a lot of good points being made.  However, I'm still focusing on things at the lowest possible level and building up from there.  I want for the ship designs to be a lot more interesting in terms of their mechanics and roles in the game than AI War Classic remotely allowed.

When it comes to armor, I'd rather wrap that into the same sort of system, or else make armor into something like a secondary health amount that can be worn down by ships in general, yet bypassed by armor piercing.

It depends on whether or not that would really provide an interesting game mechanic without being too complex to learn.  I think that it could be, but I'm not quiiite there yet. :)
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Re: Armor and Armor Piercing
« Reply #21 on: September 02, 2016, 04:27:00 PM »
Careful with bypassing armor, I broke a table top system that did that.

(TL;DR: armor took damage instead of you taking damage, based on its protection rating: the higher the rating, the more the armor took damage and less you did.  Structures, like walls, worked the same way.  Explosives had armor piercing--which lowered the effective protection rating of armor--to the point at which you couldn't actually damage a wall with explosives....because all of the AP of the explosve bypassed all of the armor protection the wall had, resulting in no loss of structure....)

Offline x4000

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Re: Armor and Armor Piercing
« Reply #22 on: September 02, 2016, 04:56:14 PM »
Haha, yeah, I've played games like that, too.  And designed them and then subsequently had to redesign them. ;)  I can't remember what it was that had that.  Skyward Collapse?  Bionic Dues?  Maybe TLF.  It was a long while ago, and it didn't survive into the 1.0 of the game.
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Offline chemical_art

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Re: Armor and Armor Piercing
« Reply #23 on: September 02, 2016, 05:08:42 PM »
Having armor act as a secondary health bar, which armor piercing bypasses, sounds as a far simpler method to use. It really gets down to the core of what armor is. Of course there can be variations on how it is implemented but on the big picture I like that idea best.
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Offline zharmad

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Re: Armor and Armor Piercing
« Reply #24 on: September 02, 2016, 05:09:29 PM »
because all of the AP of the explosve bypassed all of the armor protection the wall had
Kinda like how high powered rifles can fire through thin walls, and you managed to create explosives made of sniper rifles.

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Re: Armor and Armor Piercing
« Reply #25 on: September 02, 2016, 06:46:15 PM »
It came about because we dropped a backpack full of C4 down a fissure and blew it up, and the rules were "what happens to a character behind a wall when a grenade goes off?"

I ended up posting on their forums about it (I'd link, but the game is beyond dead) that had four different resolutions, ranging from "abstract it, get a realistic result" to "patently absurd because numbers."  This was about 2 weeks before we broke the entire magic system and became gods right out of char-gen (char gen being "make a level 1 D&D character" equivalent, and we found a way to make that character be a god due to a single buff spell, which you could pick up during char gen).

Offline Elestan

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Re: Armor and Armor Piercing
« Reply #26 on: September 02, 2016, 11:43:51 PM »
When it comes to armor, I'd rather wrap that into the same sort of system, or else make armor into something like a secondary health amount that can be worn down by ships in general, yet bypassed by armor piercing.

I agree with most of what you said, but this point has a problem:  If damage is just damage, you can't create a ship that is much more durable against many weak attacks than it is against fewer strong ones, and I think that's an important distinguishing characteristic to keep ships distinctive.  You need to have some kind of defense that takes points off from each incoming attack.

I'm actually okay with the current Armor system, but I think AP should be more rare, so it's noteworthy when it's encountered.  It might make sense to have AP have a limited set of options instead of a number.  Attacks could be Normal (No AP), Armor Piercing (Halves the target's armor), or Super Armor Piercing (Ignores the target's armor).

Offline Pumpkin

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Re: Armor and Armor Piercing
« Reply #27 on: September 03, 2016, 02:29:46 AM »
Having armor act as a secondary health bar, which armor piercing bypasses, sounds as a far simpler method to use. It really gets down to the core of what armor is. Of course there can be variations on how it is implemented but on the big picture I like that idea best.
Did you just described Shields?

Beside, I believe there is things to do about flat damage reduction. The maths look promising. As the point is to give more tools for designing different ships, damage reduction and RoF are tools. Also, with no per-projectile damage reduction, the rate of fire becomes completely cosmetic, which is kindda sad.

Or else, "armored" ships would just be ships with higher-than-average total life points at cap. The only thing to play with for ship design would be the hp-per-metal ratio (or hp-per-cap as metal-per-cap isn't constant).

TL;DR:
Damage reduction and RoF are things for ship design. Please don't just scrap them.
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Pumpkin>> Do I need another cure about paranoia on top of overexcitement?
Mal>> We play AI War, enthusiasm and paranoia are both required!

Offline Pumpkin

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Re: Armor and Armor Piercing
« Reply #28 on: September 03, 2016, 03:17:34 PM »
I was working on another part of the design and realized something.

Armor (as we now understand it: flat damage reduction) must scale with mark because the damage scale with mark. But what if impact was constant through mark and RoF scaled up? Armor could be completely constant through mark, and we would be able to base our maths on a cross-mark basis. A MkX unit would have the same DPS reduction on an armored MkY unit as on the same MkZ unit.

Also, with the EntitySystem, we would be able to design kinds of weapons/ammo with fixed range, RoF and damage, and a high mark unit would just have more of them, increasing the DPS but not the impact. (A MkI Missile Frigate would be equipped with one "Culverin" missile launcher, firing one "Javelin" every 10s, which has a 70 kiloton yeld and the new-and-improved "adder" propeller able to reach an effective range of...: a MkII Frigate would be equipped with two, launching these two identical missiles every 10s.)

Constant armor and impact through mark: easy to design AND to understand.
Reused identical weapons: easy to design AND to understand.
Please excuse my english: I'm not a native speaker. Don't hesitate to correct me.
Pumpkin>> Do I need another cure about paranoia on top of overexcitement?
Mal>> We play AI War, enthusiasm and paranoia are both required!

Offline x4000

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Re: Armor and Armor Piercing
« Reply #29 on: September 22, 2016, 10:26:56 AM »
From a general architecture standpoint, the new mechanics for armor and piercing are now designed.  What specific ships will have is a different matter that is more a discussion for later.
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