Armor penetration rework

I think it’s important to discuss armor before we go any further into weapon balance. This was high on my wishlist for GSB1.

Currently, armor defense decreases with any damage done to armor. It is inevitable that given enough time or DPS, any armor can be defeated with the ‘lucky hit’ system we have in play - at some point armor will drop below the penetration threshold of a given weapon and just become an incredibly expensive second health bar. We do want fights to eventually resolve, but I think this is the wrong way to go about it.

Armor is interesting in ship design because you can choose your level of protection. The problem is, you have to massively overshoot the level of protection you want - or ANY damage done to the armor will make it vulnerable to the very weapons you were trying to protect against. Since most weapons with a low armor penetration happen to be high-dps weapons, they ironically become the best at stripping armor away. All it takes is a bit of initial damage to the armor, be it from lucky hits, the explosion of a nearby craft, or a sniper beam laser 1200 units away.

This is way too binary.

I would really like to see a version where armor value was set in stone from ship creation, and armor health determined armor block chance.


A few pulse fighters (penetration 4) are shooting an unshielded cruiser of armor 6. A beam laser hits the cruiser, reducing the armor health to 85%. Instead of dropping the armor value, we instead allow 15% of pulse fighter shots through - there’s now a “hole”. The 85% of hits that don’t get through can roll for lucky hits. If the beam laser hits the hull next shot, the armor health stays the same.

I think this is really fair - the armor continues to provide at least some level of intrinsic protection against low penetration weapons as long as it isn’t reduced to 0%.

This makes:

  1. AP weapons more relevant. Currently, a single fighter laser outdoes the DPS of a full cruiser heavy beam on a raw hull, and many dedicated antishield weapons are pushing 20 armor penetration already - there’s just no reason to bring a lot of beams.
  2. Repair systems more relevant. Armor repair systems would have time to act.
  3. Armor tanks less ‘abusive’ - it will be possible to do a tiny bit of damage to them earlier. I know they’re near impossible now, but if we want to change how armor values are assigned in the future, there’s more leeway to do so.

Lastly, the shield disruption mechanic is also really binary, in that you have to bring a threshold of (otherwise) useless bombs to the table in order for any of them to have an effect at all. Treating shield stability like armor - allowing x% of shots through - would allow them to still be relevant in smaller numbers.

I really like this idea and I’m curious why there hasn’t been any commentary on it so far.

If I understand this correctly, its very interesting. What you are suggesting is that the problem with armor values for a ship is that they are fixed at the start of battle and even if a ship only has 1% of its armor left, its armor is still just as effective at reflecting low armor-damage weapons right?
If so thats a very good point.


if (armor > 0)
    if (weapon pen > (starting armor value * armor remaining %) OR luckyhit) //armor damage lowers penetration threshold
       armor -= damage
   hull -= damage


if (Random Roll > armor remaining %) //bypass chance increases with armor damage
   hull -= damage
   if ((weapon pen > starting armor value) OR luckyhit) //armor value is not adjusted after ship creation
      armor -= damage

Key difference we’re making is that we do not modify the armor value of the target, instead we’re changing the block chance. Lucky hits will still resolve the fight given enough time.

Rapid-fire fighters will immediately be doing a small degree of damage against a 18 armor target hit by a (25 pen) cruiser heavy beam laser, but something midrange like a multiwarhead missile (15 pen) won’t suddenly gain the ability to penetrate the armor it hits. This should go some way into preventing the systematic total armor collapse that the game has now.