Armour Penetration

Hey all,

I’m fairly new and so may have easily missed something obvious, so feel free to point out any stupidity here.

Having read the manual, it seemed implied that if a weapon fired at my ship does not have an armour penetration exceeding my ship’s average armour, the shot will be reflected and bounce off.

Now this was far from the first thing i did, first spending many hours covering everything in fast missiles to explode stuff. But it was with a fair amount of glee that I put together a ridiculous tank of a python cruiser, mainly consisting of the heaviest armour. Its average armour was ~90. I forget specifics. I was under the impression that the highest armour penetration weapon was 73.00, and as such i presumed my (shieldless) ship would be invincible.

As many of you are probably aware, it was not. Now, i understand this is a good thing, as it would obviously be stupidly broken if invincible ships were possible. Plonk on a rudimentary engine and a token weapon and you win everything ever. What I was wondering was why is this? What mechanic am I missing that allowed my armour to be penetrated? Does armour above a certain rating simply take damage anyway to avoid the broken Ship of God? Or is it that shots reflected off armour do rudimentary damage anyway? How is this calculated?

A dude who loves his numbers almost inappropriately,


There’s % chance of critical hits that bypass the armor rating entirely and does damage to the armor. Armor rating is recalculated when armor is destroyed so your armor rating goes down.

Also, reported penetration may actually be lower than the actual value.

Try a few repair units.

If I’m understanding the game mechanics correctly, while your armor was impenetrable by “normal” attacks, nothing is immune to critical hits. The crits, though few and far between, will do damage to the armor regardless of the ship’s armor rating. Eventually, like a million chimps at a million typewriters for a million years, you get an accumulation of impacts/damage that lowers the ship’s armor value to below the “invincibility threshold” and everything starts doing armor damage, then moves on to tear through the ship’s hull like a horde of starving locusts. The trick, then, is to make sure everything attacking you is destroyed before you amass enough crits to suffer consequential damage.

Or there could be some other mechanic at work and all my eloquent little analogies might just be for naught. I’m sure the other folks around here will correct me if I’m wrong.

I believe you both got it right… One of my favorite anti-fighter tactics is to deploy cheap, engineless armor-heavy frigates with anti-fighter weapons at the front of my fleet. Any “loose” fighters USUALLY are set to engage frigates, and this is to their doom. They have to crit their way through the armor and since the darn thigns are so cheap I can usually plunk down more than enough to handle the fighters. The fighters DO eventually plink(crit) their way through the armor… Once the armor falls below a certain amount (16 is most common) they die rather rapidly, but it takes them so long to do it, and with armor repair, it’s even tougher…

So yeah… Your super armored hull is great until the crits do their work. It’s a balancing act… Do you want more defense and less weapons, or more weapons and less defense, or less weapons AND less defense and more speed(which means you’re harder to hit for slower tracking weapons), or… or… =D Gotta love GSB…

Sounds like everyone here has the right idea. If you read any of the armor threads (you can’t swing a dead cat in here without hitting an armor thread), you will find that a lot of people dislike the not-so-gradual erosion of a ship’s armor resistance, and it has cause many people (myself included at this point) to stop using armor on a lot of ships, since its usefulness can be measured in tenths of a second.

Rather than launch into a long-winded tirade about the problems with the armor system, I’ll just direct you to read any of the threads with “armor” (or “armour”) in the title both here in the main forum and on the suggestions forum as well.

Ive read the same thing here in these forums, but how do you guys know about crits? From where did you get your information?

Simple, make a ship that should be invulnerable to a certain weapon. Throw at it a bunch of ships armed solely with that said weapon. Watch the “invulnerable” ship die.

I think shields suffer from crits too, although their recharge nature pretty much negates it.

Watch laser fighters attacking a cruiser sometime - on occasion you’ll see the shimmering ‘absorption’ graphic.

Yeah, the crit mechanic is worthless vs. shields. Crits should damage the generator or something.

Armor is of interest for my Star Blazers mod in progress since in that show there are no shields. Obviously, this leads to ships getting whacked pretty fast in many cases.

I made an experimental module to test the idea that armor should not deteriorate as it does in game. GSB (and most other games, actually) treat armor as a sort of ablative material that constantly reforms to a new, lower thickness after each attack. Your armor is 20 units thick, absorbs a hit by a 20 unit weapon, and then becomes 19 units thick—so that now lesser weapons can degrade it further.

In reality, the weapons should be blowing fairly small holes in the hull, and most follow up shots should still hit an armor=20 area, not the 0.01% of the hull that is degraded.

The module is an armor repair module. I made it cost nothing, weigh nothing, and use no power. It has 1000 units of repair supplies, and right now repairs at a rate of 0.9 (the good armor repair stock module is 0.08). Peace interval is set to 1 right now. I have the stack effectiveness set to 0.01 (I only want one unit installed per ship, max).

As you can imagine, this makes the armor you do have pretty invulnerable to lesser weapons.

What controls this “fix” and allows progressive damage is the “peace interval,” repair rate, and supplies. The supplies is not a time limit, but a damage limit. A typical “stock” GSB frigate has something like 100 to 300 hit points (based on the ships supplied in the scenarios by cliffski). Higher values are certainly possible. The repair supplies can be adjusted to be some multiple of this common number, in this case my test is ~4 times the most typical 250 HP number. After supplies are gone, the hull has been so abused by these lesser weapons, the armor works as it does now. The HP of the unit itself (which I have not changed from the cruiser version I took it from) needs tweaking as well, the high value serves to protect the base armor value, though this could easily be dropped to balance the unit out and make armor behave as we wish. Having very low HP for this unit would in effect allow a real “critical hit” since taking it out would instantly render the ship far more vulnerable…

So far, it needs tweaking, but it’s working well for my star blazers ships to make them somewhat more survivable—particularly given the fighter-heavy nature of SB.

It also has the nice effect that an alpha strike by a large number of armor penetrating weapons can do serious harm since it can overwhelm the repair rate. That seems reasonable to me, because many hits spread all over the hull is not as bad as many at once (even spread out, impacts could bend the hull by pushing on different areas at once, etc).

unlockcost = 0
lockable = 0
classname = “SIM_RepairModule”
category = “OTHER”
size = “FRIGATE”
name = “frigate_armor_fix”
guiname = “Test to check armor idea”
description = “The idea is that if armor can be rapidly repaired it can maintain average value as it should (vs the “onion layers” paradigm we have now).”
weight = 0
hitpoints = 110
cost = 0
icon =
crew_required = 0
peace_interval = 1
repair_rate = 0.9
powerconsumed = 0
slot_type = STANDARD
repair_type = ARMOR
stack_effectiveness = 0.01
maxrepairsupplies = 1000
uisortpos = 4140

0 = cost,DECIMAL
1 = weight,DECIMAL
2 = hitpoints,DECIMAL
3 = powerconsumed,DECIMAL
4 = crew_required,INTEGER
5 = repair_rate,DECIMAL
6 = maxrepairsupplies,INTEGER

If a shot penetrates armor, say ave armor is 20, and the weapon has an AP of 50, does it damage a random module, or just apply damage to armor? I seem to see other modules damaged pretty well, or are those just criticals?

They were just criticals, sadly. A penetrating shot only hits armor (plus random criticals).

Ugh, I was hoping there was a way to fix the broken armor paradigm.