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Starting Player Mech Weapons

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I'm hands down better with the Flame Tank mech than any others. Cinth is also able to easily destroy all my beautiful creations using the Flame Tank. So I've been wondering about weapon balance. I did some number crunching. Below is the table of data.

--- Code: ---       Name Damage Reload Range Mult Speed Lifespan  dps maxdps EstRange
1    Flame    1.5   0.07   450    5   600     0.60 21.43 107.14 512
2    Basic   10.0   0.15   500    1  1200     0.42 66.67  66.67 640
3     Blue   25.0   0.30   550    1  1200     0.46 83.33  83.33 650
4     Fast    8.0   0.12   500    1  1200     0.42 66.67  66.67 640
5 LowRange   10.0   0.15   400    1  1200     0.33 66.67  66.67 512

--- End code ---

* Name, Damage, Reload, Range, and Speed should all be straightforward.
* Name is the name of the weapon. Damage is the damage per shot. Reload is how fast the shots are fired. Range is the listed range on the weapon. Speed is the speed of the shot. The Flame weapon has variable speeds, but the effective speed is close to 750.
* Actual Range
* Range is tricky. First, all shots have a decay period of X seconds. During this time they fade away and lose hitbox. This adds to range based on the speed of a shot and shot_disintegration_speed_mult. All weapons have a shot_disintegration_speed_mult=2 value, but their speeds are different. The Flame Tank is even more troublesome because it uses a special shot pattern which somewhat ignores Range and has variables speeds for variable times. To supplement the actual listed in file Range, I rough measured EstRange. I shot with each mech and roughly estimated where the shot deteriorated. It is not exact (error is mostly systematic), but gives a general ordering of the different weapons max range. Blue>Standard=Fast>Flame=LowRange.
* DPS is calculated by taking the damage per shot and dividing by fire_rate. The Flame tank is an exception again because it has 5 fire streams, potentially a 500% multiplier. On bosses you are virtually guaranteed this damage. Against regular enemies, odds are still pretty high. The maxDPS column is calculated with all 5 streams hitting.
* Lifespan
* Lifespan is how long a shot remains in game before the hitbox for the shot is removed. It was calculated based on range and does not include disintegration bonus time. Again, like the actual range, this is an estimate. Actual lifespan is this time plus the disintegration period.
The Flame weapon and the Short ranged weapon do have about 100 pixels less range. The Flame weapon does about twice the damage as the others. The real story however is hidden. That is the effect of accuracy. Players have to aim their shots. If they have good aim, then their effective DPS approaches the calculated DPS above. If they have bad aim (i.e., me) then their DPS is a fraction of the above. However, not all mech weapons are equal in this regard. The Flame weapon gives you a massive AOE to work with, so even if you have bad aim the flame weapon's AOE helps you to achieve a proficient players level of accuracy. The Blue weapon suffers the opposite fate. It has the second highest DPS, but due to the low rate of fire, it requires the player to have good aim to achieve it. With my poor aim, the blue weapon is horrible, because I'm missing too many shots.

Against bosses the Flame weapon is especially effective because of the transition periods of bosses between phases. Because the boss is not launching shots, the flame weapon is able to use its dps to maximum effect.

The speed of shots do vary as well. The effective speed of the Flame weapon shots is around 62.5% of the other shots. However, the Flame weapon shots also stay around for around 50% longer, which effectively adds to your range when kiting an enemy (running away while shooting).

Who is the flame weapon strong against? Basically everything? Highly mobile enemies, enemies around corners, enemies with small hitboxes, enemies with hard to reach hitboxes, and enemies with slow attacks.

So who is the flame weapon weak against? Enemies that are at long range (due to the shorter range of the Flame weapon) and stationary (the lower accuracy of the other weapons would not matter). Enemies that have a per hit mechanic would be stronger against the Flame weapon (assuming the firing rate of these mechanics is high enough). If armor (reduction of damage per shot, currently not in game) was a mechanic that would also counter the Flame weapon.

The Flame weapon is the best for the low skill players and high skill players with daring close range strategies and good reaction times. Its main disadvantage is shooting at long range at stationary targets, for all other purposes it is generally better than the other weapons.

I think this was sorta already known though...

Stuff like this though is why I've given HP boosts to the bosses and heavy enemies so many times (heck, both versions of Mirror just got another boost).  To give them a chance to set up their attacks, particularly during transitions.

Now, granted, there's other ways I could simply give them guaranteed time to do it... things that render them invincible while they initialize whatever they're going to do... but I'd really rather not do that.

I do tend to think the flame weapon though is a bit much.  It's kinda like the STG; it just causes all other weapons to become unappealing.   Ends up reminding me of Azazel's mini-brimstone attack in Isaac.  I end up finding the flame mech not all that interesting to use, same as Azazel.

I tend to stick with the weaker mechs (I use the basic one the most) because it's more interesting.  Dont like when things are easy, that's boring.

so I think the question is should the weapon it self be nerfed or the mech? or perhaps the flame tanks weapon should be changed entirely and have the flamer be its energy weapon?.


--- Quote from: Misery on February 10, 2016, 05:23:46 pm ---I think this was sorta already known though...

--- End quote ---
That's true. I was curious about a quantitative measure of the advantage.

--- Quote ---Stuff like this though is why I've given HP boosts to the bosses and heavy enemies so many times (heck, both versions of Mirror just got another boost).  To give them a chance to set up their attacks, particularly during transitions.

--- End quote ---

HP boosts don't solve the problem. If anything they make it worse. The Flame weapon does the most DPS, so any effect that just increases health is going to be least effective on him. Making enemies flame resistant would specifically target the flame weapon, but I'm not sure if that's an honest way to go about making a balance change. It feels cheap and unsatisfying.

I think I'd like it if the Orange mech relied on his flame for most enemies, but more on his energy weapon for bosses. However, since energy doesn't refill that's not an option. Unless the Orange mech gets a special effect of his energy regenerating.

--- Quote ---I do tend to think the flame weapon though is a bit much.  It's kinda like the STG; it just causes all other weapons to become unappealing

--- End quote ---
My perspective is that energy weapons are unsatisfying in general (except for the STG). In the early game you don't have enough energy to do anything with them. In the late game you have the energy, but the effects are generally too short ranged and too little damage. Additionally, I've gotten used to not using them for the first few levels, so switching behaviors is awkward as well. However, I've never been a fan of the removal of energy regeneration from the game, so I'm biased in that regard. I'm also not good at the game, which is going to flavour my perceptions as well.

Thinking about it some more suggests that having an increased shot density at 550 pixels or less from the edge of the enemies hitbox would counter the flame weapons advantage, while not really impairing the other mechs (except the redblack).  For bosses some sort of additional close in pattern would suffice.


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